"Washington, and to a lesser extent London, have deliberately played games through the Sanctions Committee with this programme for years - it's a deliberate ploy...That's why I've been using the word 'genocide', because this is a deliberate policy to destroy the people of Iraq. I'm afraid I have no other view at this late stage."
Halliday later resigned from his post in disgust. Hans von Sponeck, Halliday's successor as UN humanitarian coordinator, also resigned for similar reasons. The pair wrote in the Guardian in 2001:
"The death of some 5-6,000 children a month is mostly due to contaminated water, lack of medicines and malnutrition. The US and UK governments' delayed clearance of equipment and materials is responsible for this tragedy, not Baghdad".
The West, not Saddam, was principally responsible for the human calamity, but such truths have been largely buried in the Western media. Australia may have only played a relatively minor role in the scandal, but was clearly complicit, with the US and UK, in punishing the Iraqi people. No such questions have been placed at the feet of John Howard or his government during recent times. The media prefers to talk merely of corruption, rather than dead Iraqi men, women and children.
Many sycophant terrorologists say that Al Qaeda has provided support to Jemah Islamiyah. Does this not allow under the Howard government's gaze for AWB funds to have travelled to Saddam then to Al Qaeda then to JI then to Bali to kill Australian tourists?
Where was ASIO, and in Iraq, also ASIS? Did they report back what they found? How was their advice handled by the government? If the intelligence agencies' prime loyalty is for the Australian public, not the government of the day, why did not one of them think to leak these matters?
Didn't the AFP ever consider telling Iraqi police what was going on so that they could make some headline-grabbing arrests at the airport as the cash was being smuggled in?
And remember that ASIS informed the US that an Australian company was selling aluminium tubes to Iraq in 2003, ensuring they were interdicted enroute in Jordan. So why did ASIS not detect and stop the 300 million getting to Saddam?
This raises a matter which could be at the stinking heart of this scandal. Ask this question - if the intelligence agencies were so politicised in the run up to the Iraq war, were they incorporated into the Australian effort to use bribes to sell wheat to Iraq? We know that ASIS is regularly involved in "backing" Australian trade efforts overseas. Could the very large ASIS station at the Australian embassy have been involved? Where any ASIS agents embedded inside AWB?
Is Australia going to call upon its Anglo-Saxon blood ties to the US intelligence agencies to help Howard get out of this one?
And if big bags of US cash were being transferred around by AWB, did any of it get diverted into other projects? Australia's own "IranContragate"?
(Thanks to a fellow journalist for thoughts on this story.)