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POLITICS: Australia: Liberal Party Senator Smuggled Cash To Iraq.

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posted on Mar, 16 2005 @ 07:39 AM
Senior Liberal Senator and acting Deputy President of the Senate Ross Lightfoot has admitted to smuggling $25,000 into Iraq on behalf of Woodside Petroleum. Woodside Petroleum is Australia's largest oil company. Senator Lightfoot used a taxpayer funded flight to Jordan where he then paid $US600 for a seat on a Cessna leased by the charity Save the Children Fund bound for Baghdad.
The renegade WA Senator and acting Deputy President of the Senate stayed in the town of Sulaymaniyah, in Kurdistan, a northern province of Iraq, where Woodside is trying to tap into Iraq's vast 115 billion barrel oil reserves.

The study tour was sanctioned by Parliament on the understanding that he would observe Iraq's first democratic election on January 30. It was also to look at "mutually beneficial" business opportunities.

"It was never suggested it (the $US20,000) was going to be tied into the acquisition of oil leases," Senator Lightfoot said yesterday. "It was carried by another person with me and given to the Kurdistan regional government.

"I didn't participate directly in any of the negotiations for any of the oil leases," he said. Senator Lightfoot said smuggling the cash was necessary because there was no other reliable way of getting it into Iraq. "There's no post offices . . . no mail, no banks," he said.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

There's nothing like a good old "war" to make a lot of people rich...oh but don't worry about the innocents. There's oil, oil and more oil.

Related News Links:
edit: caps

[edit on 16-3-2005 by sanctum]

posted on Mar, 16 2005 @ 07:53 AM

The document, which contains costings and a number of photos of the senator, including one of him wielding an AK-47 assault rifle, provides a daily record of his travels.

"Sunday, January 23, 1pm: Arrived at Turkish border post.

"Officials were rude - passport stolen (DFAT in Australia was informed and offered every assistance), used official one.

"Paid driver US$140, air reeked with petroleum fumes - needed to breathe through a handkerchief. Six Peshmargas (Kurdish National Guards) met Mr Simko Halmet and me - fine young men."

"Monday, January 24: My party departed Arbil (sic) in two Nissan Patrols, six Iraqi National Guard soldiers all armed with AK-47s and pistols - young men in excellent physical condition.

edit: bold text added


posted on Mar, 16 2005 @ 02:20 PM
I doubt very seriously if 20,000 dollars would do much more than allow you to play big spender in the best private clubs and brothels. Oil leases, better add a bunch more zeros.

posted on Mar, 16 2005 @ 03:19 PM
Sounds like this guy was the fall guy for a greater liberal party scheme. Now I know why I didn't vote for them. It was probably John Howards idea in the first place.

posted on Mar, 16 2005 @ 03:45 PM
Goes to show that liberals are not as...clean as some make them look like...

BTW sanctum, what do you have to say about the billions of dollars that the countries who opposed the war were making and the money which Saddam had still not paid them because these countries were selling weapons to Saddam instead of food and medicine as they were supposed to do according to the sanctions? Yet Iraqis were starved to death, including 560,000 children before the war because countries such as France, Germany, Russia, China, North Korea and a few others wanted to keep making money through OFF....

I know this is old news...but i cringe every time someone proclaims that these countries are/were trying to stop this war because they care about the innocent people in Iraq, and they weren't making any dirty money....when in fact, these were the countries which had both hands in the cookie jar while more innocents died than in the war....

[edit on 16-3-2005 by Muaddib]

posted on Mar, 18 2005 @ 03:53 AM
LOL Mauddib, you do realise that the "Liberal Party" in Australia is the right-wing party, the left party is the labour party.

posted on Mar, 19 2005 @ 03:52 AM
Thanks for bringing a little bit of Australia out in the open- good to see many problems exist in parts of the world other than U.S.

'Lightfoot' that sounds like American Indian except I remember Gordon and his band- is this Senator related?

posted on Mar, 19 2005 @ 05:55 AM
This story will probably come to a head next week, unless P.M. Howard procrastinates until after Easter in the hope everyone will forget about it.

Apart from Senator Lightfoot's story starting to fall apart, as of July 1st, the Howard coalition will hold control of the Senate by one seat. If Senator Lightfoot either resigns or is 'sacked' by P.M. Howard the coalition will lose majority control of the Senate, meaning they could no longer 'ram' through new legislation and bills without opposition.

Attention also turned to the potential political ramifications. The Coalition will hold the Senate by only one seat come July 1, and if the senator resigned or was forced from the party, the balance of power would be lost.

"The Prime Minister could have called an independent inquiry if he wanted to," Labor shadow treasurer Wayne Swan said. "He doesn't want to because he doesn't want to endanger a vote in the Senate."

Greens Senator Bob Brown also demanded an ASIC investigation of the matter.

In a sidelight to the saga, "Sell, sell, sell" were not the only words the veteran senator's stockbroker heard this week. Even as his role in the Iraqi money mission made national headlines, Senator Lightfoot was buying shares in companies exploring oil opportunities in Iraq.

(bold text added)

A media release by Woodside Petroleum Ltd. 17th March.

DONATION TO IRAQ HOSPITAL Woodside Energy Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Woodside Petroleum Ltd., categorically rejects claims in today’s newspapers that Senator Ross Lightfoot travelled to Iraq on behalf of the company to make a cash donation to local authorities. Woodside has no relationship with Senator Lightfoot and he is wrong to assert any such relationship. In October 2004 Woodside agreed with Perth’s Curtin University to provide US$20,000 to the Halabjae Hospital in northern Iraq, using funds from the university’s Woodside Hydrocarbon Research Facility. The hospital treats children of victims of the 1988 gas attacks on Iraqi Kurds. The Woodside Hydrocarbon Research Facility is managed by Professor Robert Amin, an Iraqi Kurd who regularly makes charitable donations from funds raised by the facility. Woodside provided the funds for the Halabjae Hospital donation. The donation was properly made by Curtin University to a Kurdistan Regional Government (Sulaymaniyah) representative in Australia, Simco Halmet, to pass on to the hospital. Woodside was advised by Mr Halmet that the donation was formally handed over to the Kurdistan Regional Government in January 2005. The company received proper written acknowledgement of the donation from the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Minister of Health, Mohammed Qadir Khoshnav. The acknowledgement stated the donation would be used for buying five computers, building and electrical upgrades, bedding and other patient needs. The donation was in keeping with Woodside’s practice of providing funds for community projects in the areas in which it operates, including Australia.


I apologise for the cut/paste, but i did that for members who don't have Acrobat to open a PDF file.

posted on Mar, 19 2005 @ 05:58 AM

So any long term damage to Howard by this or is it expected to blow over after a while???

Its interesting because the $$$ seems so low. Could this be a political play/op to cause waves mroe than anything else?

[edit on 3/19/05 by FredT]

posted on Mar, 19 2005 @ 06:30 AM
Fred, I think this will result in the Howard coalition government losing majority control in the Senate. It doesn't matter if the sum of cash was relatively 'low', the whole affair is very suspect.

Senator Lightfoot was also shuffling his Woodside shares to his own advantage.

The Senator further embarrassed the Howard Government by suddenly cashing in his Woodside shares, for a $4000 profit, this week, soon after learning his activities in Iraq were about to be revealed publicly.


Prime Minister John Howard left Senator Lightfoot largely to fend for himself yesterday, saying only that he was shocked by the revelations.

Mr Howard said he first became aware of the story as he watched the morning television news.


posted on Mar, 19 2005 @ 08:14 AM
I'm with Fred seems like a piker compared to U.S. standards.

So the Aussie are going to grab Kurdistan oil exploration- good on 'ya, mate

posted on Mar, 19 2005 @ 08:22 AM
Looks like there is a little bit for everyone with boots on the ground. The spoils of war go to the victors.

posted on Mar, 19 2005 @ 10:09 AM

Originally posted by JoeDoaks
seems like a piker compared to U.S. standards.

Of course this can't compare to the U.S.
The U.S. population is close to 296 million.
The Australian population is just over 20 million.

posted on Mar, 19 2005 @ 10:39 PM
My question is what the hell was he really doing in Iraq? $25K is peanuts when you think about it and could have just as easily been transferred by wire, unless it was "dirty" money.

Given the instability in Iraq at the moment, why would this senator be risking his life by travelling to the region?

I can smell a dirty rat here. I doubt we'll ever find out the truth though, cause Howard has been taking political lessons from Bush for too long now.

posted on Mar, 20 2005 @ 08:24 AM

Originally posted by Psychoses
My question is what the hell was he really doing in Iraq?
. . .
I can smell a dirty rat here. I doubt we'll ever find out the truth though, cause Howard has been taking political lessons from Bush for too long now.


Iraq is like a defenseless kid right now and the vultures want to pick the bones.

posted on Mar, 20 2005 @ 08:32 AM
Lightfoot records withheld
March 21, 2005

LIBERAL senator Ross Lightfoot's companion on the mission to smuggle $US20,000 ($25,200) into Iraq for Woodside Petroleum has refused to produce the records which he says prove it was him, not the West Australian senator, who carried the cash.
Simko Halmet, the Australian representative of the Kurdish Regional Government, said if there were an investigation he would show pertinent bank statements and other documents to government officials.

"When the federal police come, I'll show them," he told The Australian yesterday.

Senator Lightfoot last week denied he had boasted to two News Limited journalists, including to this newspaper's Middle East correspondent Nicolas Rothwell, that he acted as a courier, taking part of the donation for a Kurdish hospital into Iraq after sewing it into the lining of his jacket.

Ross Lightfoot home page

This 'story' is unraveling by the day. In my opinion, the bottom line is the Howard coalition will try anything to retain control of the Senate.

posted on May, 11 2005 @ 10:35 AM
Just say sorry and the sheeple will believe.
Lightfoot heads off trip inquiry with apology.

The Labor Party has abandoned moves to refer allegations against Coalition Senator Ross Lightfoot to the parliamentary privileges committee, after he apologised to the Senate.

Earlier this year, Senator Lightfoot was accused of smuggling $25,000 into Iraq on behalf of Woodside Petroleum, an allegation he and Woodside have strenuously denied.

Labor had wanted the privileges committee to investigate whether Senator Lightfoot was in contempt of the Senate for failing to disclose that his trip to Iraq was paid for by the head of a research facility at Curtin University in Perth.

The facility is backed by Woodside Petroleum.

But Senator Lightfoot admitted his error in the Senate this afternoon.

"The airfare that was given to me to visit Iraq in July 2004 was not recorded on my Senator's interests - a failure that I take total responsibility for and I apologise unequivocally to the Senate," he said.


Corruption in politics never ceases to amaze me.


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