Thursday, July 13, 2006

How To Win Friends And Influence People (Part 3!!!)

I've always liked the Australians, any nation that includes within its idiom the expression that somebody is "as welcome as a turd in a swimming pool" has a certain something going for it. but even by Australian standards this one just keeps on giving. We're now up to three exclamation marks and I confidently expect to hit exclamation mark number four before the month is out. The story so far:

  • Australian officials are trying to get Iraq back as a market for agricultural produce.
  • They're less than poplular with the Iraqi Minister for Trade because of Australian embroilment in the oil-for-food and bribery scandals.
  • Iraq has already rejected one shipment of Australian wheat because it was contaminated.
  • Australian troops opened fire on the bodyguards of the Iraqi Minister for Trade, killing one bodyguard, two civilians, and wounding others
  • The Australian government has not only refused to apologise but said that the bodyguards opening fire was perfectly proper.

Just to remind you of what I said at the time the story broke :

"Al-Sudani is a power within the dominant Shi'ite bloc. As trade minister he's responsible amongst other things for overseeing the importation of much of the basic foodstuffs such as wheat that in a country with 60% unemployment and a shattered distribution network the population rely upon for survival. Like most Iraqi politicians he was less than impressed when a large cargo Australian wheat contaminated with Iron ore arrived in Iraq back in May 2005. Subsequent contracts went to other suppliers."

The next day I said this:

As I noted yesterday al-Sudani - seen here attending Friday prayers in Iraqi trade minister al-Sudani Friday prayers Sadr city June 16 2006Sadr city on June 16th 2006, is a powerful figure within the ruling Shi'ite bloc. It appears that the Australian security personnel were a protection detail for a visit by Greg Hull. Hull is Australia's STC (Senior Trade Commissioner) for Iraq, Jordan and the Palestinian territories and was apparently not present at the time. Various reports suggest that they "became nervous" and opened fire at the car containing bodyguards who were (of course) in plain clothes and armed with the ubiquitous AK-47. From the reports of eyewitness accounts of the killing the Australians thought that the car containing the bodyguards was trying to overtake theirs and opened fire killing one bodyguard, two civilians, and wounding three other bodyguards

This one is going to run and run, please read on, by the way the Australians still haven't bothered to mention that two civilians were also killed. You can take it that minister al-Sudani has noted that with both interest and displeasure. He's still "livid" and he has the power to make his displeasure stick.

Wheat deal to Iraq in danger
From: The Daily Telegraph
By Luke McIlveen July 11, 2006

AUSTRALIA'S wheat trade with Iraq is at risk of collapse after the Iraqi trade minister accused our defence force of failing to properly investigate the fatal shooting of his bodyguard.
Abdul Falah al-Sudany - whose bodyguard was killed during a shootout with Australian troops last month - claims no Iraqi witnesses were interviewed during a defence force inquiry.

The Defence Department could not provide a response yesterday to questions about whether Iraqi witnesses were allowed to give their version of the June 21 shooting.


The departmental inquiry found the soldiers acted properly, believing the car contained insurgents.


Iraq has accused Canberra of asking the Diggers involved their version of the incident but not consulting the several wounded Iraqis who survived the shooting.

"He said he will reconsider the trade relationship if the Australian Government does not agree to talk to the wounded," Mr Hanoun said.

"We have informed the (Australian ambassador in Iraq) on this today."

Mr Sudany was livid after the June 21 shooting, believing the Diggers had recklessly opened fire on a friendly vehicle.

Prime Minister John Howard stood firm against the claims, saying he would not apologise because Australian troops were always professional [bwaaaaaaahahahahahahaha "yeah rhoight" as we say back home in Dublin - mfi. However let me wipe the tears of laughter from my eyes and we'll continue.]

ACM Houston backed the PM, saying the action by the troops was reasonable, adding that they should have opened fire sooner
[emphasis and comments added - mfi]


Iraq shooting inquiry reopened
From: AAP July 11, 2006

AN inquiry into the fatal shooting of the Iraqi trade minister's bodyguard by Australian troops has been reopened after the country threatened to review its trade relationship with Australia. A defence spokeswoman confirmed the Australian Defence Force (ADF) would review the results of its investigation, issued on Friday, that found Australian troops had acted within their rules of engagement when they opened fire on a vehicle carrying the bodyguard to Adbul Falah al Sudany on June 21.

The announcement comes after Iraq threatened it would review trade ties unless Australia agreed to interview more of the wounded victims of the shooting.

"We are aware of comments by the Iraqi trade minister regarding the ADF investigation into the June 21 incident," the spokeswoman said.

"The Iraq trade minister is aware of the results of the investigation and that the ADF will review the findings to take account of any new evidence."

The ADF would continue to seek interviews with the Iraqis involved, she said.


Australian ABC has this to say at the end of its coverage:

Iraq has been a major buyer of Australian wheat and Australia and the United States have been in fierce competition for contracts with Iraq since 2003.

Australia has said it had received no formal notification that its trade with Iraq would be affected by the shooting incident.

So let's see soldiers from a country heavily involved in the oil for food scandal and which already had one shipment of wheat rejected as contaminated open fire, they kill and wound bodyguards, they kill civilians, they don't bother their ar**s to interview the witnesses, they refuse to apologise, they make the minister's spokesman out to be a liar. Who do they think they are the Pentagon? Please send the url to this story to any Australian wheatfarmer or mutton farmer of your acquaintance and then point them at this dictionary entry I've highlighted to relevant meaning in bold text like this for the hard of compehension:


Main Entry: liv·id
Pronunciation: 'li-v&d
Function: adjective


4 : very angry : ENRAGED <was livid at his son's disobedience>

Sales of wheat and mutton been exceptionally good this year have they?

Earlier installments in this thrilling saga series of misplaced marsupial machodom can be found below:
How To Make Friends And Influence People Part 2 (!!)

How To Make Friends And Influence People (!)

What's the strine for clusterfuck?