Iraq: Oil for food – Wheat for weapons

The University council has appointed climate denier and chairman of Whitehaven Coal, Mark Vaile, as Chancellor of the University of Newcastle. Mark Vaile, as Nationals leader and deputy prime minister from 2005 to 2007, went all the way with George Bush’s invasion of Iraq resulting in the destruction of society and over a million deaths. During the invasion Vaile was Trade Minister when the Australian Wheat Board paid $300 million in kickbacks to the ‘enemy’, Saddam Hussein, for the supply of ‘Oil for food. Wheat for weapons’. This is documented by ‘award winning journalist’ Caroline Overington in her book, Kickback: inside the Australian Wheat Board Scandal. The corruption, identified by Overington, the Australian Financial Review and the ABC’s Four Corners, was covered up by royal commissioner Cole as noted in Frameworks of Flesh by Humphrey McQueen.

As Royal Commissioner into kickbacks by the Australian Wheat Board to the Iraqi regime, Cole again upheld the presumption of innocence for the Coalition government, since his Report named names only from within the AWB (Australian Wheat Board).

Caroline Overington, Kickback: inside the Australian Wheat Board Scandal, Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, 2007, pp. 250-1.

Not since Joh Bjelke-Petersen was awarded a doctorate in laws by the University of Queensland in 1985 has a university engaged in such shameless endorsement of corruption. Appointing a coal king as top dog at an institution of learning is shameful enough but to ignore the lies endorsed by Vaile as justification for the Iraq war resulting in so many deaths is pitiful.

The University Council should be sacked and some sanity restored. A number of philanthropists and academics have come out against the appointment … their letter is below.

uni letter
Please note that Justice Bromberg, despite his words of censure, falls short of issuing an injunction to prevent the minister from approving the expansion of Whitehaven coal.

The Goose gets paid in blood-for-oil during Iraq war

What the authors of the letter seem to have missed is the connection between Mark Vaile and the government’s hitman at the Australian Wheat Board (AWB), Trevor Flugge.

Trevor Flugge ‘playing up’ in a Baghdad hotel room during the corruption of the UN’s food-for-oil program

Caroline Overington, writing for one of Australia’s most conservative newspapers, put it this way:

Oil for food. Wheat for weapons.

For those readers who have forgotten the details, Australia in 2004 found itself in the awkward position of being (a) the main, friendly supplier of wheat to Iraq under the UN oil-for-food program and (b) a participant in the war against Iraq.

It happened because the then-prime minister John Howard — once described as the US deputy sheriff — wanted to go all the way with president George W. Bush, who wanted to topple Saddam Hussein, who was at the apex of the Axis of Evil.

And so to war we went, and one of the things that became apparent, after the fall of Baghdad, was that the Australian Wheat Board hadn’t just been selling wheat to Iraq, it had been flinging money directly into Saddam’s coffers — more than $300 million over six years, in the form of an inflated trucking fee.

It was, and probably still is, the greatest international trade scandal in Australian history, a terrific stain on our good name, and something that our soldiers are not likely to forget.

Wheat for weapons scandal fails to cook ex-AWB boss’s goose by Caroline Overington in The Australian December 15, 2016

Trevor Flugge is a successful restauranteur at an up market establishment called The Goose in Perth.

In the end everyone gets paid … even Mark Vaile with his prestigious posting as chancellor at the University of Newcastle.

Ian Curr
19 June 2021