Saddam was trying to extort money to bury Kurds



The claims emerged in the sensational finale of a nine-month probe into whether Australian wheat exporter AWB illegally channelled 220 million US dollars to the regime of Saddam, who is on trial in Iraq for the genocide of 182,000 people in a 1987-88 campaign against the Kurds.

In a last-minute twist, a lawyer for the probe revealed that the wheat exporting monopoly could face terrorism-related charges if it knowingly supplied cash that could have funded human rights atrocities.

An internal document appeared to suggest that executives of AWB, which has taken a severe battering at the inquiry, knew the Iraqis wanted foreign currency in 2001 to build 2,000 concrete burial bunkers.

"The bunkers will have cement walls and floors so they are actually designed for burying the Kurds," an email from AWB executive Daryl Borlase to several other AWB staff said.

"Under the cement?? They intend to build them with fumigation capability so the mind boggles as to whether they are fumigating insects or any other pest that pisses them off," read the email, written in light-hearted style.

"On a serious note they will have cement flooring," it continued.

The inquiry has heard that when the email was written, AWB was funnelling huge bribes to Saddam's government in the form of so-called trucking fees paid to a Jordanian transport firm, Alia, part-owned by the dictator's regime.

The moves were in defiance of UN sanctions in force against Iraq at the time.

That is a pretty startling admission. Hopefully that evidence will work its way into Saddam's trial in Iraq for his genocidal attacks on the Kurds. The Aussie trial appears to have some connection to the oil for food scandal. Obviously the corrupt Aussie officials did not have the same influence over government policy that similar officials had in France and Russia.


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