August 26, 2003


Jim Nolan on Andrew Wilkie, Australia’s logic-scrambled ex-intelligence official:

Now reaching the end of his Warholesque 15 minutes of fame, Wilkie is doing his best to extend his shelf life as a self-appointed whistleblower by resorting to fact-free allegations. Remember that he had weeks, if not months, of advance notice to prepare his submission to the parliamentary committee. This is a forum where submissions attract parliamentary privilege.

That Wilkie was unable to cite a single specific example to support his claims speaks volumes for his credibility. That he was so naive as to allow the wily Robert Ray to put words into his mouth – that the Government's claims were sexed up – says as much for his credulity. He willingly agreed with that characterisation without a single example and in the week when the same allegation against Tony Blair's spinmeister Alistair Campbell was nailed as a lie before the Hutton commission.

Few others have noted that it was a prompt from Ray that led to Wilkie's "sexed-up" comment. The Labor senator was obviously trying to sex up the inquiry.

CORRECTION. Jim Nolan writes to point out that the “sexed-up” prompt came from Liberal MP David Jull, who was likely being sarcastic. Which makes Wilkie’s eager acceptance of the term even more comical. Nolan has contacted Ray to acknowledge his error.

UPDATE UPDATE. Michelle Grattan has more:

One might almost have thought Jull was on Wilkie's side. He wasn't. This was a trap into which Wilkie willingly walked, repeating words he'd used about British material at an earlier British inquiry. The trap's purpose was to sharpen his accusation so it could be shot down more dramatically if the evidence of the assessments that went to the Government doesn't support it.

Posted by Tim Blair at August 26, 2003 01:54 PM

What party will Wilkie run for pre-serlection??

Posted by: fred at August 26, 2003 at 06:50 PM

Okay, so even _if_ Bush, Blair and Howard knowingly and blatantly lied about the WMDs (and I said _if_) ... As for [a] the UN inspections, [b] whatever counter-measures, if any, were being proposed by the peace protestors, and/or [c] whatever counter-measures, if any, were being proposed by the International Socialists (alias "it's morally okay to deliberately kill counter-revolutionaries so we can usher in a Marxist utopia, but not morally okay to kill people by accident while trying to overthrow Ba'athist thugs"). What would [a], [b] and [c] have done about Saddam killing, torturing and generally bastardising Iraqis? Yes, I know "the inspections were working" so far as protecting non-Iraqis went, but would that have done anything at all to get Saddam's fingers off Iraq's throat?

I've been a member of Amnesty International for nearly two decades, but comparing the relative effectiveness of the methods used for actually DOING something about human rights, I think I'll send my donation next year to the US Republican Party instead.

Posted by: Uncle Milk at August 26, 2003 at 11:31 PM

There are accusations of hypocrisy over asking Wilkie for evidence to back his claims.

Hypocrisy over Wilkie beyond the hysterical

Isn't the request by John Howard and Alexander Downer for "evidence" from Andrew Wilkie similar to that for which many people called before the invasion of Iraq ("Intelligence officer pins Iraq weapons 'lies' to PM's office", Herald, August 23-24)? When "evidence" of weapons of mass destruction was called for worldwide, this request was flouted, and evidence not produced, by the coalition of the willing to which Howard undemocratically involved Australia.

Even a few weeks ago, Howard was calling for "more time for weapons inspectors", the "more time" that millions of people had called for before the invasion of Iraq. Now Howard and Downer are baying for "evidence". Does this Government's hypocrisy know no bounds?


Most of the other anti-war figures had some sort of conflict of interest (ex-KKK with a strongly anti-Israel voting record (Robert Byrd), family connections to TotalFinaElf (Chretien), head of governments receiving oil contracts in return for UN vetos (Chirac, Putin) money from Saddamistas and easy blackmail target (Ritter), hagiographer of Saddam and alleged payola from Iraq government (Galloway), lackluster opposition politicians in the countries that went to war (Crean, Butler)). None of the above really apply to Wilkie. He either stands out from the rest, or there's something in his closet.

Posted by: Andjam at August 26, 2003 at 11:57 PM

My thoughts exactly!
How about a good disaffected Army colonel/ spook who is privy to *all the inside info* being the next ratbag in:
(pick one)-
Socialist Alliance, (Quagmire! we tol' youse!)
Australian Nationalist Movement, (Jack was a Digger)
Greens (hissy fit with Bob),
"Keep the Bastards Honest" Democrats. (Snort,hmff)
One Nation (the filthy Nazi Mongrels)

The sad thing is that he wouldn't raise an eyebrow as spokeshuman for any of them.

Posted by: Pedro the Ignorant at August 27, 2003 at 12:16 AM

Andrew Wilkie.
Robert Ray.
David Jull.

This is seriously the most boring story ever. Kind of like the Kelly affair on horse tranquillisers.

Someone needs to commit suicide.

Or something. Anything.

Posted by: pooh at August 27, 2003 at 11:54 AM