A grain of truth - National - smh.com.au

A grain of truth
Marian Wilkinson's excellent, but necessarily long, summary of this week's astonishing revelations at the Cole Inquiry into bribes allegedly paid by Australian companies as part of the UN oil-for-food scandal.

It's fair to say that the loneliest man in Australia at the moment must be AWB managing director Andrew Lindberg, who spent most of the week telling Justice Cole that he couldn't recall anything about the quite extraordinary scams that his staff were pulling to maintain wheat contracts with Iraq while sanctions on most non-humanitarian transactions were in place.

It seems, indeed, that the Pakistan government (before Musharraf's time if I understand the chronology correctly) may be implicated in some of these bribes.

One small point to recap: while Australia was preparing to take part in the Coalition of the Willing, our monopoly wheat exporter was Iraq's biggest kickback client.

More damage to Australia's reputation, just as our Immigration Minister begins handling the claims of 43 West Papuan asylum seekers by shipping them to a processing centre at Christmas Island.

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