“The ambassadors and Foreign Affairs bureaucrats who begin parading before the Cole inquiry today face only one question,” David Marr writes in the Sydney Morning Herald this morning. “It’s devastating: how did you let it happen?”

At the same time, the SMHalso reportson the existence of highly classified documents from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade discussing AWB’s dealings with Iraq that have not been handed over to the Cole inquiry, “whose lawyers have only recently discovered their existence, government sources say”.

The documents include “daily internal Foreign Affairs reports summarising highly classified ‘Category A’ cables for the relevant dates in the AWB kickback scandal. They also include weekly briefs, called policy information reports, for the times when the Government was responding to allegations that AWB was involved in kickbacks in Iraq. The highly classified policy information reports usually summarise discussions of hot topics by senior departmental officers about key priorities and unexpected developments. The reports are designed as a digest for busy senior ministers and officials who do not have time to read the thousands of cables flooding their office.” Sounds fun.

Blogger Glenn Peters raises another possible source of static for the AWB. He refers to our link yesterday to Parade Magazines World’s 20 Worst Dictators list:

Check this list against the list of countries AWB sells wheat to, and you can only come to one conclusion. AWB are addicted to wheeling and dealing with violent and corrupt regimes.

In the past couple of years they’ve sold wheat to nine the world’s worst 20 dictatorships.

And they’re ruled by: Omar al-Bashir, Sudan (ranked #1); Kim Jong-il, North Korea (#2); Hu Jintao, China (#6); Seyed Ali Khamane’i, Iran (#9); Muammar al-Qaddafi, Libya (#11); Isayas Afewerki, Eritrea (#13); Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan (#17); Meles Zenawi, Ethiopia (#18) and Duc Luong, Vietnam (#20).

You just have to wonder how you do business with them and their cronies.

Peter Fray

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