Norm Coleman backs off recent Aussie accusations involving the oil-for-food investigations

class=img_thumbleft>ABC News is reporting Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) has backed away from earlier accusations that Australian officials were involved in or sought to cover up suspected illicit payments to the regime of ex-Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein by the Australian Wheat Board, the main exporter of food to Iraq in the 1990s. Coleman is now giving kudos to the Australian government for their aggressive probe into the controversy. "At this point, all the responses that we have been getting [from Australia] have been thorough, have been very positive, and I anticipate we will continue walking down that path," the senator stated. Australian Prime Minister John Howard emphatically denied complicity by the government and didn't appreciate the junior senator's accusations. "Let's not get starry-eyed about the Americans," Howard harrumphed. "They're going in hard to protect their commercial wheat interests." Read the full story here.