Tuesday 28th of May 2024

Ministers Under Oath- Downer and Vaille Testify

For the first time an Australian minister of the Bush Administration will face a true battle- telling the public what he wants to without being forced to resign.

Trade Minister Mark Vaille will appear befor the Australian Wheat Board Inquiry on Monday, and Foreign Minister Downer on Tuesday. They will be speaking on the issue in an environment in which our society considers lack of honesty to be the greatest taboo- A sworn oath.

ABC reports that the inquiry wishes to question Mr Downer on diplomatic cables sent by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to the Office of the Prime Minister of Australia. The cables raised the department's concern over involvement in the Austalian Wheat Board's bribes to Saddam Hussein.

The Cole Commission last week ordered the ministers to provide statements in response to certain questions, that were duly submitted to the inquiry last Wednseday.

Earliear today Senioor Counsel to the Commission, Mr John Agius QC said that there were "one or two matters I would like to take them up on." The flippancy here is ominious... bet your last dollar that Mr Agius will querying lies that cannot be repeated under oath.

Mr Downer faces an "ethical" dilemma. He can change his story to match the fects that have appeared since the beginning of the inquiry, or he can continue to lie. If he confesses under oath he might be able to save fragments of his political and/or diplomatic career. Given that if the Bush Administration had its way Downer would now be fronting the International Atomic Energy Agency, saving a career of such demonstrable (if yet unrealised) potential would be considered more important than a "Less-signifigant" life.

As Bush's prime agent in provoking Korear and acting as financial intermediary between the US and China while the ideaological battle for Taiwan continues. Mr Downer might be considering confession. If you believe this I've got a bridge to sell you. If it turns out, as today's Washington Post suggests, that Bush personally advocated the leaking of intelligence information in order tro support his political agenda in Iraq, his Little Aussie Lackey will be operating under a similar code of ethics. This brings us to Downer's second option.

If Downer continues to conceal his personal knowledge of how, under a UN program administered by his department, Australian money was placed in an environment where it might be buying ammunition to shoot Coalition soldiers with, providing Palistinian suicide bombers with financial independace by posthumously supporting their families, or even funding the creation of Weapons Of Mass Destruction. Why include WMDs ? Surely Downer didn't know the truth about that one too?

Mr Downer, in continuing his current public stance, would also need to continue lying about the siphoning of US Aid Funds from beneath the roof of the US Deficit and refuelling the Iraq aid system through Australian-based US corporations.