Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Anti Terror laws come back to haunt

I'm still here, sort of... Most free time is being spent on the flagship site - GP Background Stories; with a bit of overflow to Grub Street.

I know the Oil for Food scandal is still largely irrelevant to most, but I see so many parallels with the broader political/social issues out there I can't help but be drawn to the ongoing drama.

In the past few days the Australian inquiry has been high drama, tangling leading lawyers and now the country's UN ambassador and former Howard minister into the plot.

Okay, so we know lawyers are liars and politicians are crooks; but how do these corrupt activities stand up to the rule of anti-terror laws? Remember, Australia, with the tacit approval of Bush's administration, were funding Saddam's regime.

From Rupert's Australian stable:

"THE Iraqi kickbacks inquiry has been asked to consider whether AWB executives could be charged under anti-terror laws that carry penalties of up to life imprisonment.
The laws, introduced in 2002, make it an offence to fund a regime that supports terrorism.
In particular, Cole [the commissioner] has been asked to consider the Suppression of Financing of Terrorism Act, which makes it a crime to provide funds, even indirectly, to regimes that support terrorism.
The criminal offence also applies "where the person is reckless as to whether those funds will be used to facilitate a terrorist act". HERE

AWB is accused of funnelling more than $290 million to Saddam's regime in the lead-up to the war in Iraq by massively rorting the UN's oil-for-food program."

The terrorism issue was raised by a Victorian MP, Tony Robinson in December. Robinson asked the Australian Federal Police to examine the kickbacks scandal for evidence of a breach of the terror laws.

So that starts to put the anti-terrorism laws to the test. If they are more than just domestic political window dressing, here is the real opportunity to prove it. But of course the AWB executives are only part of the story. We now have prominent lawyers, one since elevated to Federal court judge; and of course politicians have been implicated from the outset.

Apart from the clumsy handling of the Jihad Jack case, the draconian anti-terrorism laws Australia had to have so urgently have never been used.

Unlikely as it is, what sweet justice it would be for those Howard ministers who pushed for these laws, while tangled in the Oil for Food scandal, were among those to prove those laws do have a place in the system.


Praguetwin said...

Sweet justice indeed.

Has Saddam's regime been linked to terrorism other than supporting families of suicide bombers?

How ironic would it be to have these guys who pushed for the war and demonized Saddam to have to try to defend him as not being a terrorist.

reality-based educator said...

cartledge, are you phasing out Grub Street for the other site?

romunov said...

"The laws, introduced in 2002, make it an offence to fund a regime that supports terrorism."

Most if not every past and modern imperial state supports terrorism. To me, this is just sand in the eyes of the people, who are, as it appears, quite dumb.

Cartledge said...

Okay, for the record. I am wading through my own swamp at the moment, which makes it hard to focus on the big swamp beyond the trees.
This AWB issue does gain my attention, even more now that complicity in genocide has been revealed.