Michael Pascoe writes:


The Sun Herald‘s “Naked Eye” columnists, Alex Mitchell and Kerry-Anne Walsh, have
jumped on the Crikey bandwagon by seeing spies hiding in AWB’s wheat
shipments.

Yesterday’s column blandly states that our
intelligence services greenlighted AWB’s kickbacks to Saddam “because its
operatives were collecting low-grade intelligence from their contacts in Baghdad, Amman and Damascus”.

The fundamentals of the Australian
Wheat Board scandal are plain as a pikestaff. For 30 years AWB has been
flogging wheat all over the world, including to such intriguing markets as the
former Soviet Union, eastern Europe, the Middle East and parts of Asia. It
provided a perfect cover for Australian intelligence operations…

…When they were handing over suitcases
of cash to Saddam’s lieutenants, AWB executives were told they were acting in
the “national interest” and “defending freedom and democracy”. Now they’re
being told to shut their mouths for the same hypocritical reasons.

We’d love to see Terence Cole pursue the
spook line when Lord Downer drops in for a word, but we somehow don’t have it
in our hearts or wallets to bet on such a thing. It’s hard enough being a
Queensland Reds supporter.

Come to think of it though, if you were in
the occasionally dangerous business of spying, you probably wouldn’t want to
run the risk of telling Downer what you were up to anyway.