The best part of it is that despite the bad intent of Bill Hartley, a long-time Victorian ALP secretary, David Combe and even a desperate Gough Whitlam himself, Hartley’s designated middle-man Henri Fischer stole the loot (US$500,000) intended for Labor coffers. A blessing in disguise if ever there was one.
It seems the thief Henri Fischer devised the cunning scheme of telling Rupert Murdoch about the whole thing so neither the embarrassed ALP or annoyed Iraqis would take legal (in the latter case) or more drastic measures. Murdoch reputedly wrote the copy himself for the front-page scoop in The Australian.
Investigative reporter Sasha Uzunov has been reviewing recently released ASIO documents and has found many intriguing tales. Sasha Uzunov’s site is well worth checking out.
Uzunov has discovered that Hartley was all over one unimpressed Iraqi diplomat Al-Azzawi like a rash in the 1970s, presmumably hitting him up for loot and benefits. Al-Azzawi was aloof from Hartley according to Uzunov’s investigations but had a wide circle of friends, including Carlos the Jackal, the infamous terrorist. That he was on good terms with Carlos the Jackal but drew the line at Bill Hartley does sum up the plight of the Victorian ALP back in those dark days.
Hartley’s successors in the Victorian ALP state secretary’s chair have never quite scaled his heights of international intrigue and wrongdoing.