AUSTRALIA has moved into crisis mode to save the coal industry following shocking revelations that the CIA may be trying to shut it down.
Outspoken billionaire Clive Palmtree said the CIA was giving financial backing to green groups and radical researchers in a bid to destroy the mining industry and force the Chinese to buy coal from America.
He said the information had come from the Internet and "some serious-sounding emails from people who seemed to know a lot about spies, communists and who shot JFK".
Treasurer Wayne Duck, who has declared attacking mining billionaires an official national sport, said the claims were "ridiculous".
"We have been assured by the public relations officer of the CIA that there is no secret, deep-seated conspiracy so it can't be true," he said. "This is just another attempt by Mr Palmtree to undermine the carbon tax and twist public debate for the benefit of his soccer team."
Mr Duck said he was not aware that America had a coal industry and, if it did, he did not believe it was owned by the CIA.
The CIA claims were given some credence following reports that men in dark suits and glasses had been seen in some mining areas standing behind trees and talking into their collars.
When locals asked who they were, they claimed they were greeting card sales people. "I tried to buy one, what for my mother's birthday and all, but they said they had run out," one local, who declined to be named, said. "This made me a little suspicious, unless of course they were really nice greeting cards. You may well run out of those."
New Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carp said he welcomed Mr Palmtree's comments because they gave him something to do.
"I rang some people in America this morning and told them that this sort of behaviour would not be tolerated," he said. "They pretty much said they didn't know who I was and told me to sod off but I think they got the message loud and clear."
Mr Palmtree suggested the American assault on the coal industry might be with the direct knowledge of President Brack Oblama who probably signed off on most government invoices.
Researchers who received the funding from a foundation apparently once back by the CIA said they only got a few thousand dollars and this was used to research cowpea breeding and borer insects.
"Based on our current research, cowpea breeding seems unlikely to bring down the coal industry," one of the researchers said. "Frankly it is having stuff all impact even on cowpeas."
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