John Howard has ordered an “independent inquiry into the Australian
involvement in the Iraqi oil-for-food scandal as fresh allegations emerged
yesterday that AWB officials played an intimate role in setting up the sham
Jordanian trucking company used to funnel millions of dollars in bribes to
Saddam Hussein,” The Australian‘s lead says today.

The UN report by Paul Volcker into the oil-for-food program
makes interesting reading.
Start on page 311. Our Government’s spin does not reflect Volcker’s report.

The centre of the latest claims is the Department of
Foreign Affairs and Trade, DFAT. It is alleged that DFAT actively
sanctions-busting payments. The Department received signed contracts
the AWB and Iraqi authorities, submitted these to the Australian
Mission to the
United Nations which provided them to the UN authorities in charge of
the food-for-oil program and that DFAT then notified the AWB once the
contracts had been

Labor’s Kevin Rudd is calling for a
Royal Commission
into the scandal. Fair enough.

But there’s also the question of the single desk marketing
arrangements for wheat – a RARA rort kept running to quieten down the agrarian
socialists of the National Party. Similar arrangements have gone out the door
for other primary products, such as milk and eggs. OK, so wheat’s worth more –
but it’s still anti competitive. There are industry sources who are very
critical of the system, as Friday’s PM showed.

Meanwhile, a Crikey subscriber of wide cultural references
has a new version of that old show stopper, Alexander’s Ragtime Band:

Come over here,
Come over here,
Alexander’s Roadside Bombs,
Come over here,
Come over here,
Blowing up both Yanks and Poms!
The insurgency’s ignited,

Sunnis, Shias, Kurds incited,
Australian wheat got trucked,
Now the Yanks are getting f**ked,
Thanks to Alex, Saddam’s man!
Come on along,
Come on along,
Let me take you by the hand,
Up to Saddam,
Up to Saddam,
Who’s got the best bombs in the land,
And if you want to hear
How oil-for-food got bombs to Baghdad,
Come over here,
Come over here,
Alexander’s Roadside Bombs.