THE CIA IN AUSTRALIA: AMERICA'S FOREIGN WATERGATE
On December 2nd 1972, Australia's first Labor Government for twenty-three years was elected. The new Prime Minister, Edward Gough Whitlam, quickly set about a series of historic legislations: wages, pensions and unemployment benefits were increased; equal pay for women was introduced; a free national health service was established; spending on education was doubled; university and college fees were abolished; and legal aid became a universal right.
The Federal Government assumed responsibility for Aboriginal health, education and welfare, and the first land rights legislation for Aborigines was drafted. Cultural initiatives for women, Aborigines and immigrants were set up. Imperial honours such as knighthoods and MBEs were scrapped. The "Commonwealth Government" was renamed the Australian Government and an Australian anthem replaced "God Save the Queen."
Conscription was ended. Australian troops were withdrawn from the Vietnam War and men imprisoned for draft evasion were released. Australian ministers publicly condemned the American conduct of the Vietnam War. The U.S. bombing of Hanoi during Christmas 1972 was denounced as the work of "maniacs" and "mass murderers". Deputy Prime Minister, Dr Jim Cairns, called for public rallies to condemn the bombing and for boycotts on American goods. In response, Australian dockers refused to unload American ships. Whitlam himself warned the Nixon administration that he might draw Indonesia and Japan into protests against the bombing.
The Australian Government also pressed for support for the Indian Ocean Zone of Peace, which was opposed by the US, and spoke up in the United Nations for Palestinian rights. The French were condemned for testing nuclear weapons in the South Pacific, and refugees fleeing the CIA-backed coup in Chile were welcomed into Australia (an irony in the light of Washington's retaliation against Whitlam).
The CIA's alarm over the Australian Government rose to a fury when, in the early hours of March 16th 1973, the Attorney General, Lionel Murphy, led a raid on the Melbourne offices of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO). Murphy and Whitlam were concerned about ASIO's involvement with local fascist Croatian groups that had carried out terrorist acts in Australia and against Yugoslav diplomats abroad.
Set up under the auspices of the UKUSA Treaty in 1949, ASIO had distinguished itself by not uncovering a single spy or traitor (this is still the case), yet it had become almost as powerful in Australia as the CIA itself. ASIO had a secret pact of loyalty to the CIA and helped to set up and maintain secret police organisations that kept files on all Australian Labor Party members, prominent politicians, government officials, union leaders, members of the Council of Civil Liberties and anyone considered the slightest left-of centre. Even prayer meetings for peace were watched and recorded.
According to a top-secret report to a Royal Commission into Australia's secret services led by Mr Justice Hope, for decades members of ASIO handed over to the CIA slanderous information against Australian politicians and senior officials who they regarded unfavourably. This material ranged from accusations of subversive tendencies to concern about their personal lives, and allowed the CIA to work against these people in ways that ranged from blackmail to efforts to block their careers.
ASIO is run as an internal organisation in Australia. The Australian Secret Intelligence Service, ASIS, operates abroad and is less well known. Code-named MO9, its existence was only acknowledged after the Labor Government came to power in 1972. ASIS played an important role in the CIA's covert activities against foreign governments in Southeast Asia. For example, after Cambodia's Prince Sihanouk broke off diplomatic relations with the United States in 1965, the CIA used ASIS to secretly carry out its work in the country for the next four years, despite official Australian policy being one of strict neutrality. After Sihanouk was overthrown in a CIA-inspired coup, American forces invaded Cambodia and the US carpet-bombing of the country - a bombing so intense that during one six-month period in 1973, American B52s dropped the equivalent (in tons of bombs) of five Hiroshimas on the civilian population - served as a catalyst for the rise to power of Pol Pot and the genocidal Khmer Rouge).
Extract from a top-secret ASIS document, describing the organisation's activities.
Whitlam also discovered that ASIS agents were working for the CIA in Chile, de-stabilising the government of Salvador Allende, who was supported by the Australian Labor Government. Whitlam promptly ordered the ASIS officers home. However, some remained in Chile under Australian Embassy cover and without Whitlam's knowledge; Allende was subsequently murdered during the CIA-orchestrated military coup led by the dictator General Augusto Pinochet.
The CIA's concern over the activities of the Whitlam government was due to the fact that Australia played a pivotal role in the United States' desire for covert influence over Indo-China. Some of the most strategically important and top-secret American bases outside the United States are located in Australia. These include the U.S. Naval Communication Station, North West Cape, on the northern coast of Western Australia, which transmits battle orders for the nuclear missile-carrying Polaris submarines. The most secretive Australian intelligence organisation is the Melbourne-based Defence Signals Directorate (DSD) which is modelled on the American National Security Agency, NSA. The DSD spies for the U.S. in the Indian Ocean, the South Pacific and Southeast Asia. There is also the Joint Intelligence Organisation (JIO), established in 1970 under the supervision of the CIA's analyst division, and the Office of National Assessments (ONA), whose job is to co-ordinate and analyse Australia's extensive spying networks in the region.
Most important of all is Pine Gap, near Alice Springs, officially described as an American- Australian "Joint Defence Space Research Facility", but in actuality it is an entirely American spy-satellite base, run by the CIA and the NSA. Pine Gap can pick up communications from almost anywhere in the world; its primary function is the collection of data from CIA sources and transmitters, and the preparation for nuclear warfare. So secretive were Pine Gap and the other major U.S. base at Nurrungar in South Australia that no details of their plans were revealed to successive Australian Prime Ministers and their cabinets.
Leaked Australian Defence Department documents disclosed that in 1972, high-frequency transmitters at North West Cape had helped the United States to mine Haiphong and other North Vietnamese harbours; and that satellites controlled from Pine Gap and Nurrungar were being used to pinpoint targets for the American bombing of Cambodia. These actions were taken entirely without the consent or knowledge of the Australian government.
William Corson, a former senior U.S. intelligence officer, also revealed that the CIA ran between ten and fifteen "black airfields" at their secret Australian bases during the Vietnam War, flying "hot" CIA agents from Vietnam for debriefing. In 1975, as the North Vietnamese captured control of South Vietnam, massive supplies of drugs that had been stashed by the CIA in Vietnam were flown into the secret U.S. airfields in Australia. The drugs were redistributed to "regional drug banks", thus providing a "reserve currency" for the Agency's global criminal activities.
In October 1973, during the Middle East War, President Nixon put U.S. forces on nuclear "Level Three" alert, through the base at North West Cape. Australia had become involved, without the knowledge of its government, in a war on the other side of the world. When Whitlam found out about this, he was furious and told Parliament that although the Australian government would honour agreements with America covering existing spy stations, "there will not be extensions or proliferations."
Whitlam's words were to have serious consequences for the fate of his government. A new American Ambassador was appointed to Australia - Marshall Green, widely known as "the coup-master". Green was a senior U.S. policy planner for Southeast Asia and had the distinction of being involved in several countries where the CIA had masterminded coups, such as Indonesia and Chile.
Green visited the office of Clyde Cameron, a senior minister in the Whitlam government, and made the threat that if the Labor Government honoured one of its key election pledges to reclaim national ownership of oil refineries and other industries which had been mostly sold to American transnational interests, "we would move in." In early 1974, Green addressed the Australian Institute of Directors with a speech that amounted almost to an incitement to rise against the Australian Government. Green went on to say that Australian business leaders "could expect help from the United States, which would be similar to the help given to South America." (The CIA-sponsored coup in Chile had happened only a few months earlier).
The CIA set about a programme of discrediting Jim Cairns, leader of the anti-Vietnam War movement. ASIO timed the leak of a defamatory "Cairns file" to the Bulletin magazine to coincide with Cairns' election to Deputy Prime Minister in 1974. This file claimed that Cairns "echoed Communist views... and his activities could lead to the fascist cult of the personality... and to the destruction of the democratic system of government." A few weeks later, ASIO leaked a second file to journalist Peter Samuels, a regular publisher of CIA propaganda. Under the headline The Pathway to Terrorism, Samuels wrote that ASIO's prime concern about Cairns was the "terrorist" potential of his part in the anti-war movement.
By the end of 1974, inflation and the money supply were rising at an alarming rate due to the dramatic rise in the cost of oil. Despite this, the Whitlam Government was determined to honour its election promise to hand control of U.S. multinational subsidiaries to the Australian people. In order to achieve this, Whitlam sent two of his ministers to scour the Middle East for a loan of $A4 billion.
In November 1974 Rex Connor, the Minister for Minerals and Energy, met with Tirath Khemlani, a Pakistani "commodities merchant" who was working for the London brokers Dalamal & Sons. Unknown to Connor, Khemlani was a con-man who had been sent to sabotage the Australian Government by a Hong Kong arms firm closely associated with Commerce International, a Brussels-based armaments company with widespread links to the CIA. (Commerce International was set up as a front for Task Force 157, the highly secretive CIA "dirty tricks" organisation).
In March 1975 Jim Cairns was introduced to Melbourne businessman George Harris, who told Cairns that a $A4 billion loan was available from Commerce International with a once-only brokerage fee of 2.5%. Cairns considered the offer a fairy tale and rejected the deal. Harris then contacted Phillip Lynch, Deputy Leader of the opposition Liberal Party. When Lynch raised the question of the brokerage fee in Parliament, Cairns denied that any such agreement existed. Within days, a letter with Cairns' signature was published on the front pages of the national newspapers and Cairns was forced to resign for "misleading Parliament." Cairns steadfastly maintained that he never agreed to or put his name to such an outrageous and incriminating letter. A top-secret CIA briefing document for the U.S. President dated July 3rd 1975 later revealed that Cairns had been sacked "even though the evidence had been fabricated."
The CIA was involved in further activities designed to undermine the Whitlam Government. In July 1975 the Australian media reported that the Mercantile Bank and Trust Company, based in the Bahamas, had issued a letter seeking $4,267,365,000 "for and on behalf of the Government of Australia." The bank did not claim to be acting with the approval of the Australian Government and cabinet ministers had never heard of it. But the implication was enough to fill the newspapers with another "scandal". Much later, an ASIO officer was to publicly state: "some of the documents which helped discredit the Labor Government in its last year in office were forgeries planted by the CIA."
Mercantile Bank and Trust was set up and owned by the CIA's Colonel Paul Helliwell, who built up a network of banks, including the infamous Castle Bank, which collapsed after U.S. tax investigators found it was laundering drugs money for the CIA and the Mafia (see the Wake Up article Dealing in Death: The CIA and the Drugs Trade). As the loans affair reached its climax in the spring of 1975, a welter of supposedly incriminating documents forged by the CIA were given widespread coverage in the Australian media. Tirath Khemlani himself arrived in Australia with two bags bulging with more "incriminating" documents. Bodyguards provided by the opposition parties accompanied Khemlani and the CIA paid his expenses. Khemlani made outrageous claims in the media that Labor ministers had received commissions and "kickbacks" from the loans, that documents proving corruption were soon to be made public, and so on.
In fact not one of these "documents" proved a thing; not one penny was paid by anyone to the government, nor did any minister profit from the affair. In 1981 a CIA contract employee, Joseph Flynn, revealed that he had forged some of the loans affair documents and had bugged a hotel room where Gough Whitlam was staying. He had been paid by Michael Hand, co-founder of the CIA's Nugan Hand Bank.
Former Nugan Hand principal Karl Schuller provided evidence to Australian Corporate Affairs investigating officers that the CIA transferred a "slush fund" of $A2,400,000 to the main opposition parties in March 1973, four months after Whitlam's election. An investigation by a special New South Wales police task force concluded that "many links were found between individuals connected with Nugan Hand and individuals connected in very significant ways with U.S. intelligence organisations, specifically the Central Intelligence Agency and the Office of Naval Intelligence [Task Force 157]... at times those links have the appearance of the direct involvement of the U.S. intelligence community itself." The Commission called for criminal charges for "drug, conspiracy, perjury and passport offences." (A year after Frank Nugan's death, the Deputy Director of the CIA, Admiral Bobby Inman, expressed deep concern that the investigations into Nugan Hand Bank would lead to disclosure of a range of CIA dirty tricks calculated to undermine the Whitlam Government).
It was revealed in the press that the CIA had offered the Australian opposition Liberal Party (the Liberals were actually conservative) "unlimited funds" in their unsuccessful attempt to defeat the Labor party in the May 1974 parliamentary elections. Former CIA officer Victor Marchetti confirmed that the CIA had funded both of the major opposition parties and that the Liberals had been receiving CIA funds since the late 1960s.
According to the former Deputy Director of Intelligence for the CIA, Dr Ray Cline, the CIA passed information to opposition politicians not only to discredit the Whitlam Government but also to put pressure on Australian civil servants who in turn would pressure the Governor-General, Sir John Kerr.
When the Pine Gap Treaty, which would determine the future of the CIA's most valuable overseas base, was due for renewal on December 9th 1975, Whitlam's comments that he might not renew the treaty raised major alarms in the Agency. CIA Director William Colby later wrote that the "threat" posed by the Whitlam Government was one of the three "world crises" of his career, comparable with the Middle East war two years previously, when the United States considered using nuclear weapons.
The CIA Station Chief in London, Dr John Proctor, contacted MI6 and asked for British help with "the Whitlam problem." William Colby directly approached his opposite number, head of MI6, Sir Maurice Oldfield, to emphasise to British intelligence that Australia was "traditionally Britain's domain" and that if Pine Gap was closed down, "the Alliance would be blinded strategically." The CIA also sought assistance from MI6 and MI5 liaison officers based in Washington.
British intelligence has long had a vested interest in Australian politics. MI6 operates its own base at Kowandi, south of Darwin, where its highly secret activities are concealed from the Australian government and people. They include widespread interception of communications and covert operations in Asia. The Australian Secret Intelligence Service, ASIS, also operates from this base and is highly integrated with British intelligence.
At the same time as U.S. intelligence was targeting the Australian Labor Government, Peter Wright (of Spycatcher infamy) and his colleagues in British intelligence were busy destabilising the British Labour Government of Harold Wilson. Wright conspired with his close friend, James Jesus Angleton, the extreme right-wing head of CIA counter-intelligence, to "target" the three Western leaders they regarded as "Communist agents": Harold Wilson, Willy Brandt in Germany and Gough Whitlam.
After discovering that the British and American intelligence services based in Australia were secretly involved in Indonesia's invasion of East Timor, Whitlam ordered the dismissal of the heads of ASIO and ASIS in the autumn of 1975, and then began to make moves against the CIA. Then, at the beginning of November, it was revealed in the press that a former CIA officer, Richard Stallings, had been channelling funds to J. Douglas Anthony, leader of the opposition National Country Party, and was a close friend and former tenant of Anthony's Canberra home. Whitlam accused the opposition of being "subsidised by the CIA."
In Parliament, Doug Anthony admitted that Stallings was a friend but challenged Whitlam to provide evidence that Stallings worked for the CIA. (Stallings' name was not on the official list of "declared" CIA officers working in Australia, but on a "confidential" list held by the Permanent Head of the Australian Defence Department, Sir Arthur Tange). Whitlam prepared a reply, which he intended to give when Parliament resumed the following week, on Tuesday November 11th.
The CIA was frantic. The Australian Prime Minister was about to blow the cover of the agent who had set up Pine Gap and to reveal that the supposedly "joint" facility was a CIA charade. Furthermore, the future of the base itself was to be subject to parliamentary debate. The day before his speech was due, Whitlam was informed of a telex from the ASIO station in Washington, which stated that the Prime Minister of Australia was a security risk in his own country. The message had been virtually dictated by Theodore Shackley, head of the CIA's East Asia Division (and whose plethora of illegal covert activities have been outlined in other articles on this site).
On Sunday November 9th, the Australian Governor-General, Sir John Kerr, was briefed on the "security crisis", while the head of the Defence Department declared publicly: "This is the greatest risk to the nation's security there has ever been." The CIA was certain that Whitlam would announce the cancellation of the Pine Gap agreement on December 9th, and set into motion a plan to install in power a political party to "protect the sanctity of U.S. bases."
Six weeks earlier, during a visit to Indonesia, opposition politician Andrew Peacock had briefed government officials there on the current state of the Australian political crisis. He described in detail a sequence of events that were about to take Australia by surprise. A record of his briefing was later read into Australian Hansard:
"Whitlam will not agree to hold an election.... The Governor-General would be forced to ask Malcolm Fraser to form a Cabinet. But this Cabinet would not be able to get a mandate to govern, because Parliament is controlled by the Labor Party.... Fraser is appointed PM, a minute later he asks the Governor-General to dissolve Parliament, following which a general election is to be held."
And that was exactly what happened. On November 11th, the day Whitlam was to inform Parliament fully about the CIA and American bases in Australia, he was summoned by Kerr from Parliament House. Without warning, Kerr dismissed Whitlam as Prime Minister, dissolved both houses of Parliament and appointed Malcolm Fraser, leader of the Liberal Party, to head an interim government until new elections could be held in December. An unelected official (whose position was traditionally only that of a figurehead representative of the Queen of England) had, in one arbitrary and unconstitutional act, overthrown a legitimate and democratically elected government.
Back in the House of Representatives, Whitlam called for a vote of confidence in himself and his government. An overwhelming majority supported Whitlam. Indeed, six motions proposed that day, including a motion of no-confidence in Malcolm Fraser, were passed by absolute majorities. The Speaker of the House delivered Parliament's clear message of confidence in the Whitlam government personally to the Governor-General. Kerr refused to accept it. The no-confidence motion against Fraser legally obliged the Governor-General to dismiss Fraser, but Kerr chose to ignore this.
Former CIA officers who were among the Agency's "top seven" in 1975, revealed ten years later that "Whitlam was set up. The action that Kerr took was so extreme that it would take far more than a constitutional crisis to cause him to do what he did...." A Deputy Director of the CIA said, "Kerr did what he was told to do."
During the first week of the coup, the Australian army was recalled to barracks and there were reports that units were issued with live ammunition. There were demonstrations against the sacking of the Labor Government throughout Australia; the unions began to mobilise and prepare for a general strike. However, Bob Hawke, the President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), summoned the press and delivered a stirring speech in which he said that "working people must not be provoked... we have to show we are not going to allow this to snowball." Hawke's intervention was critical: Australia's organised labour was strangely quiet in response to the affair. In fact Marshall Green later said that he found Bob Hawke so amenable to the CIA's cause that "Bob gave me his private telephone number and said if anything ever comes up that desperately needs some action, this is the number to ring."
An election was called for December 13th 1975. During the campaign, three letter bombs were posted to Kerr, Fraser and the ultra-right-wing Queensland Premier, Johannes Bjelke-Petersen. Most of the press, led by Rupert Murdoch's papers, concluded that the bombs were sent by left-wing extremists within the Labor Party. There was not a shred of evidence to support this and no culprits were ever found, but the charge of "terrorism" was used to great effect against Labor.
Four days before the election, Bjelke-Petersen called a special session of the Queensland Parliament to hear "dramatic revelations". He claimed to be "in possession of material which made clear that two Ministers of the Whitlam Government were due to receive staggering sums of money as a consequence of secret commissions and kickbacks." Bjelke-Petersen then moved quickly to gag any debate and to prevent the Labor leader from arranging for parliamentary investigation of the "revelations". The undisclosed "revelations" made large headlines in the press. No material or evidence of any kind was ever produced, but the publicity achieved its goal. Whitlam lost the election.
The new Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser renewed the Pine Gap treaty for another decade. He also offered Washington a naval base at Cockburn Sound, even though the Americans had not requested it. In his first budget, Fraser increased the size of ASIO and gave it more money, proportionately, than any other government body. Kerr was given an unequalled pay rise of 170% and was promoted to "Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St. Michael and St. George."
The Governor-General of Australia, Sir John Kerr. Despite denying that he ever had any connections with the CIA or any other intelligence organisations, Kerr in fact had a long association with covert intelligence operations, firstly as a member of the top-secret Directorate of Research and Civil Affairs during the Second World War. He was then seconded to the Office of Strategic Services, OSS, the fore-runner of the CIA. Although he joined the Australian Labor Party early in his career, Kerr was always well to the right politically. He was chief legal adviser to the Industrial Groups, a body which sought to dominate trade unionism and was linked to the Democratic Labor Party (DLP), an extreme "anti-Communist" organisation whose split from the Labor Party and subsequent spoiler tactics kept Labor in opposition until the election of Gough Whitlam in 1977. Kerr was an active member of the Australian Association for Cultural Freedom, which was exposed in Congress in 1967 as being "founded, funded and generally run by the CIA." In the 1960s Kerr travelled to the United States to arrange funding from the Asia Foundation; that too, was exposed in Congress as a CIA conduit for money and influence.
The trade union movement of Australia had long been infiltrated by U.S. intelligence. As John Grenville, assistant secretary of the Victorian Trades Hall, revealed, "it was generally accepted that the U.S. labour attaché was the station agent for the CIA." Robert Walkinshaw was the labour attaché from 1962 to 1964. During his time in Melbourne, a trade-union publication, Spotlight, was set up, funded and run by the CIA. Walkinshaw's subsequent CIA posting was Indonesia, during the military coup in which over half a million alleged Communists were murdered. Walkinshaw was later posted as CIA adviser in Phuoc Tuy, Vietnam, where the Australian army and Australian CIA advisers were based.
The CIA later admitted giving money to the General Secretary of the powerful Australian Worker's Union, Tom Dougherty, to "fight Communism in the AWU." Four years later the National Secretary of the Federation Ironworkers' Association, Laurie Short, began many visits to the United States, which were sponsored by the CIA. Short returned to Australia "determined to get rid of the Commies and their friends" from the Labor Party and the unions. He also delivered the clear message that "in America, the trade-union movement looked to Australian unionists to help counteract the spread of Communism in the Far East."
The three Americans involved in supporting Bob Hawke's campaign for the Presidency of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) - Emil Lindahl, Gerry O'Keefe and Ed McHale - all worked for the CIA. Gerry O'Keefe was exposed as a major CIA operator in right-wing Chilean unions that helped to overthrow the Allende Government. Ed McHale was U.S. labour attaché in the early 1970s and maintained a "close personal relationship" with Hawke when the ACTU President was one of the most powerful union bosses Australia had ever known. McHale was internationally known as a senior CIA officer, having long been Assistant Director of Radio Free Europe, which had been set up, financed and run by the CIA.
In 1977 the American Christopher Boyce disclosed details of CIA activities in Australia, specifically the manipulation of unions. Boyce was employed by a Californian aerospace company, TRW Systems Inc., in a cryptographic communications centre which linked CIA headquarters in Virginia with the Agency's satellite surveillance system in Australia. Boyce revealed that the CIA had infiltrated Australian labour unions, had manipulated their leadership and suppressed strikes, particularly those involving railroads and airports. Boyce described one instance when TRW had material and personnel to ship out to the CIA spy base at Pine Gap. The Agency was concerned that strikes at Australian airports could wreck their schedule. However, a telex from CIA headquarters said, "CIA will continue to suppress the strikes. Continue shipment on schedule." In other words, the CIA had infiltrated the hierarchy of Australian trade unions.
Boyce and his associate Andrew Daulton Lee were put on trial in 1977 for selling U.S. secrets to the Russians. Lee had flown to the Soviet Embassy in Mexico and sold details of the CIA's covert activities in Australia to the Soviets. Boyce maintained that he had never intended the information to go the Russians, that Lee had agreed to make it public through one of his father's influential friends, but that he had been blackmailed by Lee, a heroin addict and pusher.
Evidence emerged during the trial that most of TRW's communications came from Pine Gap and that although the United States had signed an Executive Agreement with Australia to share information from Pine Gap, the agreement was not being honoured and "certain information" was regularly concealed from the Australian government. Boyce described the CIA's campaigns to subvert Australian trade unions "particularly in the transport industry", and revealed that the Agency was using Pine Gap to eavesdrop on telephone and telex messages to and from Australia of a political character, and that the CIA had funded the Australian opposition political parties. Boyce also revealed that the Australian Governor-General, Sir John Kerr, was referred to by Joe Harrison, the CIA chief at TWR, as "our man Kerr."
Boyce's disclosures caused a sensation in the United States. The prosecuting lawyers made no attempt to refute his allegations but successfully objected to any further evidence about the CIA's activities in Australia. The judge complied with a direct CIA request and agreed that Boyce would not mention the "Australia information" at his trial if, in return, the government did not use it against him - such was the sensitivity of the matter. Boyce and Lee were both found guilty; Lee was given a life sentence, while Boyce was sent for "psychiatric observation" - an indication that he might be treated leniently in return for his silence. However, Boyce made it consistently clear that he was so outraged at the betrayal of an ally - Australia - that he intended to talk. He was subsequently given forty years in Marion Federal Penitentiary in Illinois, where he is kept in solitary confinement. Whenever he leaves his cell, he is manacled, handcuffed and accompanied by two guards. It is said that his only hope of release rests on his continued silence about what happened in Australia.
The American Christopher Boyce described CIA covert operations in Australia aimed at bringing down the Labor Government of Gough Whitlam. Boyce was sentenced to 40 years solitary confinement for his refusal to stay silent on the matter.
Five years after the overthrow of Whitlam, in April 1981, senior executives of nineteen Australian corporations met at Melbourne's Noah's Hotel for a "forecasting round table" organised by Business International. Business International is a worldwide American organisation of "consultants" which represents the top multi-national companies in Australia. In December 1977, the New York Times exposed Business International's clandestine links with the CIA.
The nineteen had come to hear Business International's Alan Carroll express his concern about the resurgence of the Labor Party under Bill Hayden, who had held senior posts in the Whitlam Government and described himself as a republican and a democratic socialist. At that time, Bob Hawke had completed his term as ACTU President and was a newly elected Labor Party Member of Parliament. Carroll told the meeting that he knew Hawke "pretty well" and "basically, Hawke will be Labor Party leader by the middle of next year; and that's my business, and we won't go into that in any great depth. But he will be there. It's all under way. The game plan is totally under way and I forecast 3 to 5 on a Hawke Government in '83! We had a meeting with him about one month ago and we're meeting with him every six months from now. It's terribly important." A top-secret CIA briefing document for the U.S. President described Hawke as "the best qualified" to succeed Whitlam as Labor leader.
The forecasts of the Agency and Alan Carroll came true in almost every detail. In February 1983, three weeks before an election was due, Hawke and others on the party's right wing mounted a successful putsch against Bill Hayden. With the slogan, "Bob Hawke, Bringing Australia Together", the CIA's chosen candidate became Australian Prime Minister. Hawke went on to cultivate many ties with anti-Communist groups and developed what U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz described as "a fine relationship" with Presidents Nixon and Reagan.
Hawke's Government repeatedly refused to release some 1,200 documents on the Nugan Hand Bank, the front for international crime and illegal CIA operations in Australia. Hawke also refused to find out why the CIA barred the release, under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, of fourteen intelligence reports on Commerce International, the CIA-front company that played a central role in the destruction of the Whitlam Government. In 1989 a committee headed by a former Chief Justice of the High Court recommended rigorous Government secrecy in order to prevent disclosures about the activities of the CIA, MI5 and MI6 in the internal affairs of Australia.
The CIA's illicit actions against the Australian Labor Party clearly indicate that the Agency will not hesitate to move against even supposed allies if it considers that they threaten U.S. interests; the full range of CIA dirty tricks can be expected to be applied against any Western nation with the same lack of impunity and regard for the law that the Agency has shown in its wars with its enemies in the East.
Good mates: U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz and Bob Hawke, 1987.