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Whitlam Dies - Government Overthrown in Oz by British-USA Cabal
Gough Whitlam dies at age 98

Prime minister for just three years, he brought in sweeping changes that transformed Australia and inspired a generation of progressive politicians

[Image: Gough-Whitlam-addresses-r-016.jpg]

Gough Whitlam, who was prime minister for just three years but became a defining political figure of modern Australia, has died aged 98.
Whitlam's family said in a statement on Tuesday: "Our father, Gough Whitlam, has died this morning at the age of 98."
"A loving and generous father, he was a source of inspiration to us and our families and for millions of Australians.
"There will be a private cremation and a public memorial service."
The election of his government on 2 December 1972, with the famous "It's time" election campaign, ended 23 years of conservative rule and its dismissal by the governor general Sir John Kerr on 11 November 1975remains one of the most controversial events in Australian political history.
But in just three years the Whitlam government instituted sweeping changes that transformed Australian society as the baby boomer generation came of age.
In a rapid program of reform it called "the program", the Whitlam government created Australia's national health insurance scheme, Medibank; abolished university fees; introduced state aid to independent schools and needs-based school funding; returned traditional lands in the Northern Territory to the Gurindji people; drafted (although did not enact) the first commonwealth lands right act; established diplomatic relations with China, withdrew the remaining Australian troops from Vietnam; introduced no-fault divorce laws; passed the Racial Discrimination Act; blocked moves to allow oil drilling on the Great Barrier Reef; introduced environmental protection legislation; and removed God Save the Queen as the national anthem.
The former Rudd government minister Lindsay Tanner has written: "Whitlam and his government changed the way we think about ourselves. The curse of sleepy mediocrity and colonial dependency, so mercilessly flayed in 1964 by Donald Horne in The Lucky Country, was cast aside."
But the Whitlam government's economic record is more controversial. It came to power at the time of the first oil shock and failed to contain wages inflation. In 1975 it was embroiled in what became known as the "loans affair" when the minister for minerals and energy, Rex Connor, sought to borrow money for resource projects, outside normal treasurer processes, from Arab financiers using a middleman called Tirath Khemlani. No money was borrowed but the scandal deeply damaged the government.
Whitlam won a double dissolution election in 1974, with a reduced majority. But from October to November 1975 the parliament was deadlocked, with the opposition using its numbers in the Senate to refuse to pass the budget. When Whitlam visited Kerr to call for a half Senate election, Kerr instead withdrew his commission as prime minister and replaced him with the Liberal leader Malcolm Fraser.
Whitlam lost the election to Fraser after the national upheaval of the dismissal. He stood down as Labor leader and retired from politics in 1978.
A towering figure at 1.94m, with a deep resonant voice and an eloquent turn of phrase, Whitlam inspired a generation of progressive politicians and was widely referred to by just his first name. His is remembered forsome of the most famous quotes in Australian politics, including while standing on the steps of the old parliament house after news of his dismissal. He said: "Well may we say God save the Queen' because nothing will save the governor general."
He was a graduate of Knox Grammar and Canberra Grammar and joined the airforce after university, before studying law and being admitted to the bar. He married Margaret Dovey in 1942; they had four children.
He won the western Sydney seat of Werriwa in 1952 and was elected leader of the Labor party in 1967, succeeding Arthur Calwell.
After leaving politics he worked as Australia's ambassador to Unesco, accepted several visiting professorships and, along with Margaret, received life membership of the Labor party in 2007.
Margaret died in 2012. Whitlam, by then using a wheelchair, had moved into an aged-care facility in 2010. He described her as "the love of my life".

"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
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The Forgotten Coup -- How America and Britain Crushed the Government of Their "Ally," Australia

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By John Pilger [/TD]
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Across the political and media elite in Australia, a silence has descended on the memory of the great, reforming prime minister Gough Whitlam, who has died. His achievements are recognized if grudgingly, his mistakes noted in false sorrow. But a critical reason for his extraordinary political demise will, they hope, be buried with him.

Australia briefly became an independent state during the Whitlam years, 1972-75. An American commentator wrote that no country had "reversed its posture in international affairs so totally without going through a domestic revolution." Whitlam ended his nation's colonial servility. He abolished Royal patronage, moved Australia towards the Non-Aligned Movement, supported "zones of peace" and opposed nuclear weapons testing.

Although not regarded as on the left of the Labor Party, Whitlam was a maverick social democrat of principle, pride and propriety. He believed that a foreign power should not control his country's resources and dictate its economic and foreign policies. He proposed to "buy back the farm." In drafting the first Aboriginal lands rights legislation, his government raised the ghost of the greatest land grab in human history, Britain's colonization of Australia, and the question of who owned the island-continent's vast natural wealth.

Latin Americans will recognize the audacity and danger of this "breaking free" in a country whose establishment was welded to great, external power. Australians had served every British imperial adventure since the Boxer rebellion was crushed in China. In the 1960s, Australia pleaded to join the US in its invasion of Vietnam, then provided "black teams" to be run by the CIA. US diplomatic cables published last year by WikiLeaks disclose the names of leading figures in both main parties, including a future prime minister and foreign minister, as Washington's informants during the Whitlam years.

Whitlam knew the risk he was taking. The day after his election, he ordered that his staff should not be "vetted or harassed" by the Australian security organization, ASIO -- then, as now, tied to Anglo-American intelligence. When his ministers publicly condemned the US bombing of Vietnam as "corrupt and barbaric," a CIA station officer in Saigon said: "We were told the Australians might as well be regarded as North Vietnamese collaborators."

Whitlam demanded to know if and why the CIA was running a spy base at Pine Gap near Alice Springs, a giant vacuum cleaner which, as Edward Snowden revealed recently, allows the US to spy on everyone. "Try to screw us or bounce us," the prime minister warned the US ambassador, "[and Pine Gap] will become a matter of contention."

Victor Marchetti, the CIA officer who had helped set up Pine Gap, later told me, "This threat to close Pine Gap caused apoplexy in the White House ... a kind of Chile [coup] was set in motion."

Pine Gap's top-secret messages were de-coded by a CIA contractor, TRW. One of the de-coders was Christopher Boyce, a young man troubled by the "deception and betrayal of an ally." Boyce revealed that the CIA had infiltrated the Australian political and trade union elite and referred to the Governor-General of Australia, Sir John Kerr, as "our man Kerr."

Kerr was not only the Queen's man, he had long-standing ties to Anglo-American intelligence. He was an enthusiastic member of the Australian Association for Cultural Freedom, described by Jonathan Kwitny of the Wall Street Journal in his book, "The Crimes of Patriots," as, "an elite, invitation-only group... exposed in Congress as being founded, funded and generally run by the CIA." The CIA "paid for Kerr's travel, built his prestige... Kerr continued to go to the CIA for money."

When Whitlam was re-elected for a second term, in 1974, the White House sent Marshall Green to Canberra as ambassador. Green was an imperious, sinister figure who worked in the shadows of America's "deep state." Known as the "coupmaster," he had played a central role in the 1965 coup against President Sukarno in Indonesia -- which cost up to a million lives. One of his first speeches in Australia was to the Australian Institute of Directors -- described by an alarmed member of the audience as "an incitement to the country's business leaders to rise against the government."

The Americans and British worked together. In 1975, Whitlam discovered that Britain's MI6 was operating against his government. "The Brits were actually de-coding secret messages coming into my foreign affairs office," he said later. One of his ministers, Clyde Cameron, told me, "We knew MI6 was bugging Cabinet meetings for the Americans."

In the 1980s, senior CIA officers revealed that the "Whitlam problem" had been discussed "with urgency" by the CIA's director, William Colby, and the head of MI6, Sir Maurice Oldfield. A deputy director of the CIA said: "Kerr did what he was told to do."

On 10 November, 1975, Whitlam was shown a top secret telex message sourced to Theodore Shackley, the notorious head of the CIA's East Asia Division, who had helped run the coup against Salvador Allende in Chile two years earlier.

Shackley's message was read to Whitlam. It said that the prime minister of Australia was a security risk in his own country. The day before, Kerr had visited the headquarters of the Defence Signals Directorate, Australia's NSA where he was briefed on the "security crisis."

On 11 November -- the day Whitlam was to inform Parliament about the secret CIA presence in Australia -- he was summoned by Kerr. Invoking archaic vice-regal "reserve powers," Kerr sacked the democratically elected prime minister. The "Whitlam problem" was solved, and Australian politics never recovered, nor the nation its true independence.
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
Pilger has written about this before. Scanning the local papers and news media down here in Australia over the past few days, I saw absolutely nothing written about what Pilger has elaborated on above. No surprise I guess, but Pilger's sharp depiction of what we had, and what we lost, does make me a little sad.
Beyond Conspiracy Theory:
US presidential
archives on the Australian press, national security
and the Whitlam government
Associate Professor Stephen Stockwell
School of Arts
Griffith University
Refereed paper presented to the Jour
nalism Education Conference, Griffith
University, 29 November 2 December 2005

Stephen Stockwell: Beyond Conspiracy Theory
Investigative journalists walk a fine line between being lauded as guardians of
democracy and derided as "conspiracy theori
sts". Those investigating the events that
led to the fall of the Whitlam government in
1975 are often accused of an obsession with
conspiracy, but documents from the presiden
tial archives from the Eisenhower to Ford
administrations provide evidence of the
complex inter-relationship between the
Australian press, security services and Wh
itlam's opponents. Recent archival work
clearly establishes the ready complicity of the Australian press and a role for the US
National Security Council in Whitlam's de
mise. Excisions from key documents on
national security grounds point to the need
for further investigative work before we can
move beyond conspiracy theory to tell the full story of 1975.
e 2

Stephen Stockwell: Beyond Conspiracy Theory
The distance between investigative journalism
and conspiracy theory is not as large as
many journalists would hope. Both start in
speculation. Both assume there is a back-
story that is closer to reality than the offi
cial story. Both seek to draw out facts and
connections that reveal power and the abuse of power.
A conspiracy theory is any explanation of a seemingly straightforward event that relies
on hidden information and claims of secr
et coordination and nefarious motives.
Conspiracy theories generally serve a useful
function in mass society, not as a realistic
reflection of the world but as a kind of a
pressure valve where citizens can vent their
frustration that they have so little knowledge
or control of the decisions that form their
life chances. Mark Fenster (1999, p. 67) argues that
"just because overarching conspiracy theo
ries are wrong does not mean they are
not on to something. Specifically, they
ideologically address real structural
inequities, and constitute a response
to a withering civil society and the
concentration of the ownership of the me
ans of production, which together leave
the political subject without the ability to be
recognized or to signify in the public
To the disenfranchised, which is most people,
the secret meetings of cabinets and boards
behind closed doors seem like the perfect
opportunities for powerful people in close
cabals to "breathe together" which is th
e literal meaning of the Latin root of
"conspiracy". No wonder there is a market fo
r the speculation about half-truths that is
the stock-in-trade of the conspiracy theorist. Dan Brown's
Da Vinci Code
shows that
market can be profitable indeed.
By way of contrast, investigative journalism seeks to explain the real world by
"uncovering information that has been kept
from public view." (Stovall, 2005, p. 95)
Journalism theorists disagree over whether in
vestigative journalism requires original
work by an individual journalist or active secrecy and evasion by powerful forces but
they all tend to agree that the resulting stor
ies should be in the public interest (Tanner
2002, pp. xx-xxiii). Thus investigative journalism is seen as a natural progression from
the watchdog' or fourth estate functions of everyday journalism which holds
democracy to account. Conspiracy theorist
s would make a similar claim for their
activities. What differentiates investigative journalism from conspiracy theory is the
quality of the evidence and the challenge for investigative journalists is to ensure that
their evidence is unassailable, that it is of
a high forensic standard that could be tested
rationally, rigorously and scientifically in
a courts of law. This paper argues that
investigative journalism is marked by th
e strength of the proof it adduces.
Of particular interest are those moments when
the weight of evidence shifts a position
from conspiracy theory to common knowledge. ASIO's interest in opponents of the
Liberal Party in the 50s and 60s have moved from leftist paranoia to established fact
(McKnigh,t 1994, pp. 285-6). In the United
States, government involvement in coups
around the world and close surveillance of o
pponents at home changed from fantasy to
e 3

Stephen Stockwell: Beyond Conspiracy Theory
reality in the 70s (Hitchens, 2001; Mackenzi
e, 1997). Queensland in the 1980s saw claims
of police and political corruption move from
conspiracy theory through investigative
journalism to common wisdom (Dickie, 1988). In all these cases, the shift came about as
the result of the gathering of documentary evidence that established a strong forensic
The pre-eminent unresolved conspiracy theory
that festers at the heart of the Australian
body politic circulates around whether the decision made by governor-general John
Kerr to dismiss the Whitlam Labor govern
ment in 1975 was influenced by the
gence Agency
(CIA) with the complicit support of Australia's defence and security
services an
d the connivance of the Australian
press. From the outset, references to CIA
connections with Kerr's coup were cast as paranoiac conspiracy theory. Kerr himself
said with regards to allegations of his CIA co
nnections: "I have had no direct or indirect
connection at any time... with any intelligence organizations including our own. Only
the more gullible subscribers to the conspiracy
theory of history could believe or want to
believe such nonsense." (Kerr, 1978, p. 100)
A number of commentators, including
journalists Alan Reid (1976) and Paul Kelly (1983), agree with Kerr that full-blown
conspiracy theories lack an evidentiary basis.
Even Whitlam himself refuses to be drawn
into support for a conspiracy theory but he
does note that President Jimmy Carter's
assistant secretary of state for East Asia,
Warren Christopher made a detour to Australia
in 1977 to tell him: "The US administration wo
uld never again interfere in the domestic
political process of Australia." (Whitlam, 1985, p. 53) Other authors, while avoiding
charges of conspiracy, see a much more sinist
er side to Kerr's activities (Lloyd & Clark,
1976) But the actuality of conspiracy is irrelevant because once any discussion of the
security dimensions of the events of 1975 is
cast as conspiracy theory then it can be
dismissed, because "... a majority of Austra
lians belong to the accident (or stuff-up)
school of historical explanation." (Henderson 2004)
But sweeping the CIA under the conspiracy theo
ry rug is hardly a resolution to the
matter. Thirty years on, it is timely to review the issues on the evidence and
investigative journalism with its forensic st
andards of proof offers the opportunity to
see exactly what the evidence can or cannot substantiate. By going beyond mere
reporting of the official story to see whethe
r the official story is corroborated by the
facts, by putting forward evidence that ca
n be tested by others, by scrutinising the
official record to see what was spin and wh
at was substance, investigative journalists
can use historical, even scientific, methods
to hold governments accountable and take
the public one step closer to the truth. US
presidential archives from the period are
gradually becoming more available and, despite the still secret gaps in the record, they
provide materials that allow us to test the st
rength of the cases that can be established
for and against US involvement in Australia's gr
eatest constitutional crisis. If all that can
be done is to set out the complex inter-rela
tionships of personalities, perspectives and
power around these events, then investigat
ive journalism will have done its job.
e 4

Stephen Stockwell: Beyond Conspiracy Theory
The Context
The events of 1975 have to be read against
the ongoing US-Austra
lian relationship and
the crucial role of the National S
ecurity Council (NSC), the federal executive council
responsible for planning, coordinating, and ev
aluating the defense policies of the United
States and also exercising direction over
the CIA. Created by the 1947 National Security
Act, the NSC is chaired by the president. Its
regular attendees are the vice president, the
Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense,
and the president's national security adviser.
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is
the statutory military advisor to the Council,
and the Director of Central Intelligence is the intelligence advisor.
( By National Security Decision Memorandum 40
on 17 February 1970, President Richard Nixon approved covert action operations carried
out by the CIA (unless otherwise assigned
by him) and approved by the 40 Committee
chaired by the president's national security adviser.
With regard to US-Australia relations, the 60s saw a shift from an alliance based on
common traits and aspirations to Australia's
emergence as a geo-political asset. In 1961,
at the transition from Eisenhower to Kenne
dy administrations, the NSC reported that
"Australia, particularly presents an unusual a
ffinity of attitudes with the United States
(and it) is in a position to play an acti
ve and important role
in promoting free world
interests in Southeast Asia, the Southwest Pa
cific and the eastern half of the Indian
Ocean." The NSC's military objectives included
"plan for the availability of facilities...
standardize military equipment on US mode
ls and... continue to consider, and as
appropriate cooperate with Australia in, projects for military purposes in selected
scientific fields." (Lay, J.S., 1961, "Note by
the Executive Secretary to the National
Security Council on Long-range US Policy
Interests in Australia and New Zealand",
NSC 6109, Box 12 NSC Registry series, Ei
senhower Presidential Archives.)
This was the time of the space race and one ar
ea where Australia could assist US science
was by providing bases where communication
s from spacecraft and satellites could be
bought back to Earth. While the bases were
ostensibly for scientific and space research
purposes, the Australian and US government
s created a mutual dependence on each
other by establishing, on these bases,
defence, communications and intelligence
installations critical to US global strateg
ic programs and operations. The North West
Cape base established in 1963 was vital for
US communications to its Indian Ocean
Polaris submarine fleet (Ball 1980) but as
more recent classes of subs had better
communications and North West Cape was no longer required, the base has now
reverted to Australian control. Of continui
ng significance were the satellite intelligence
facilities established at Pine Gap (1966) an
d Nurrungar (1969) in central Australia. These
facilities allowed the control and monitori
ng of satellites to provide a range of
communication services including early
warning of Chinese and Russian missile
launches and nuclear explosions and also th
e transmission of orders and the gathering
signals intelligence (SIGINT) including rad
io communications and phone calls across
Asia and the Middle East.
e 5

Stephen Stockwell: Beyond Conspiracy Theory
This system of bases was made
possible by a number of treaties relating to Space Vehicle
Tracking and Communications, the Status of United States Forces in Australia and the
Establishment of a United States Naval Co
mmunication Station at North West Cape
signed in 1963 by the Australian Liberal
Party government with Ambassador William
Battle (Australian Treaty Series, 1963). "Bitter"
Bill Battle commanded PT Boats in the
Solomon Islands during the Second World War with John F. Kennedy
). Battle was a successful industrialist
and lawyer, his father was Gover
nor of Vi
rginia and he was chairman of Kennedy's
1960 presidential campaign in Virginia (
). Kennedy appointed him as
Ambassador to Australia in 1962
). Battle was instrumental in
establishing the regime of US bases in Aust
ralia, their f
ocus in both military and space
affairs and with absolute freedom of access
to Australia extended to all US military
personnel. From this point, the bases mo
ve to the centre of the US-Australian
relationship. One of the first acts of Lynd
on Baines Johnson's administration (1963-9)
was to join with the telecommunications indu
stry to each provide half the cost for two
18-piece independent satellite systems capable
of "world wide traffic" even after a
sustained attack (Memo to President, 13 March 1964, National Security Action Memo
252, Box 2, National Security Files, Johnson Pr
esidential Archive). For the rest of the
Johnson administration, the NSC was concerned
to maintain the facilities to monitor the
satellites as the tenure of bases was cha
llenged in Libya (NSAM 291), Ethiopia, Kenya
(NSAM 300), Brazil, Chile (NSAM 301), Pakistan (NSAM 348) and many other places
around the world.
President Richard Nixon initiated a review of US policies towards Australia and New
Zealand by National Security Study Memo
randum 127 on 27 May 1971. That study, in
the second paragraph of its summary, under
the heading US Interests and Objectives,
says: "Our most direct stakes in Aust
ralia and New Zealand are: maintenance of
continuing access to their territory for pu
rposes of locating defense and scientific
installations of significance to our strategic capability and space program". Deeper in
the report specific US interests and objectives
with relation to Australia are enunciated
as "installations contributing to our strategic deterrence capability...surveillance in the
East Asia and Pacific/Indian Ocean base area in case of general
hostilities with a major power..." and then a
seven-line paragraph that is still excised
from the document when the rest was declassified in 1996 (NSSM 127, 27 May 1971, Box
183, NSC Institutional Files, Nixon Presidential Archive). Further excisions are made in
the background annex to the report with re
gard to US facilities and installations in
Australia which is passing strange as simil
ar information had been made available in
the Australian parliament as early as 1969 by Prime Minister John Gorton in response to
the Opposition leader, Gough Whitlam (
Commonwealth Parliamentary Debates (H of R)
September 1969, pp. 1010-12).
e 6

Stephen Stockwell: Beyond Conspiracy Theory
The Whitlam Government's First Mistake
On 2 December 1972, Gough Whitlam led th
e Australian Labor Party into federal
government for the first time in 23 years. He promised a more independent foreign
policy stance than his conservative predeces
sors and had already established relations
with communist China while in
opposition with a visit
in July 1971, a visit that was
legitimated when it was later revealed that
the US President's envoy, Henry Kissinger
had secretly been in China at the same time
as Whitlam and Nixon himself visited China
six months later (
There is nothing in the archives to suggest
that the United States was in any way
involved in the 1972 election. In fact Kissinger
told Whitlam: "Our instructions to our
Embassy as regards the election last De
cember were to keep hands off." (HAK
Memorandum of Conversation, 30 July 1973 10-11am, Box 1027, NSC Files, Nixon
Presidential Archive). The US attitude
changed quickly after the election when
Australian front benchers Jim Cairns, Clyde Cameron and Tom Uren criticised renewed
bombing of Hanoi just before Christmas
1972. Whitlam exacerbated the situation by
sending a letter to Nixon suggesting "that he
will approach other Asian governments to
make a joint appeal to Washington and Ha
noi to resume negotiations" (Memo from
Winston Lord, 20 December 1972, CO10 Australia, WHC Files, Nixon Presidential
Kissinger's phone call to the US Embassy
in Canberra barely contains the anger
emanating from the White House: "If you
could convey that we are not particularly
amused being put by an ally on the same
level as our enemy and to have an appeal
equally addressed to us and North Vietnam, I must tell you it's not the way to start a
relationship with us... So, I don't think we are
going to reply to this
message. I've just
talked to the President about it... But we still hope to have the closest relationships with
your government. But this is not an official
communication... such an act taken publicly
(releasing the letter) would really not have very good consequences... (Kissinger to
Charge d'Affaires, US Embassy, Austra
lia, 3.25pm, 20 December 1972, Box 17, HAK
Telcons, Nixon Presidential Archive).
This shift in the tenor of US-Australian rela
tions had ramifications in the world of media
that reverberated all the way through to
1975. On 4 January 1973, Nixon got a memo
from his Communications Director, Herbert G. Klein to say that Sir Frank Packer, father
of Kerry and then managing director and major share-holder of Australian Consolidated
Press, had sent his New York representative "to express to you (Nixon) his (Packer's)
personal support and that of his magazine
s and his television network." Packer's
message was that he understood Nixon's mo
tivation in bombing Hanoi, that he was
"disturbed" by Whitlam's comments and that
the majority of Australian's did not share
Whitlam's views. Of greatest concern is Kl
ein's claim that Packer's representative
"...offered you (Nixon) any use you may like
of his magazines and network." (Memo
from Herbert G. Klein, 4 january 1973, CO10 Australia, WHC Files, Nixon Presidential
Archive). Packer's voluntary acquiescence
to the US shows how the Australian press
e 7

did not need to be part of a conspiracy to
do the bidding of th
e United States. The
Packer empire were willing collaborators before
the US even conceived of using them.
As Klein said in his memo to Nixon: "I decl
ined (offers of help) at this time." In the
event, when John Kerr installed Liberal lead
er Malcolm Fraser as Prime Minister in
1975, one of Fraser's first calls was to Kerry
Packer who immediately went to Canberra
to give the caretaker prime minister "a gr
eat deal of moral support" both then and
during the rest of the electi
on campaign (Barry, 1993, p. 212).
Whitlam Meets Nixon
The Whitlam government's rela
tionship with the United States never really recovered
from this poor start and the relationship
was further exacerbated by Attorney-General,
Lionel Murphy's raid on ASIO in March
1973. Murphy was seen in Washington as a
communist sympathiser and it was felt his raid endangered secrets shared between
ASIO and the CIA. However Nixon did agre
e to a meeting with Whitlam in July 1973.
Kissingers' brief to Nixon said the primary purpose of the meeting was "to restore the
level of confidence between our two government
s at the highest level that existed before
the Whitlam government took
office." (Kissinger, HA, "M
eeting with the Australian
Prime Minister Gough Whitlam" Memo
randum 4172, CO10 Australia, WHC Files,
Nixon Presidential Archive). Whitlam had earnt the meeting because he had muted
criticism of Nixon's Asian policies, prai
sed détente but primarily because "he has
defended out defense installations in Australia against attack from his party's left
wing." Kissinger's briefing also mentioned Wh
itlam's problems with the Senate before
finally discussing "US Defense Installations in Australia: No Substantial Change in
Prospect" and noting that Whitlam modified his position "after being briefed on the
functions of these facilities" and turned debate
at the recent party conference away from
vital installations and on to the "less import
ant" Omega navigation system. The briefing
says that Pine Gap and Nurrungar merely monitor adherence to arms limitations
agreements and missile developments in Ch
ina and Russia. The briefing also holds out
promise of "cosmetic changes" to give the
impression of Australian control at North
West Cape. It is interesting to note that in th
is, the official story for Whitlam, there is no
mention of the bases' information ga
thering or even command functions.
In the lead up to Whitlam's meeting with
Nixon, Kissinger met with the recently
appointed US Ambassador to Australia, Ma
rshall Green, a career diplomat who had
been ambassador to Indonesia 1965-69 du
ring the overthrow of the Sukarno
government. He told Kissinger: "I would de
fine US interests in Australia as: (1)
preserving our defense installations; (2) ma
intaining our investment and trade there..."
(HAK Memorandum of Conversation, 28 July 1973, Prime Minister Whitlam's Coming
Visit, Box 1027, NSC Files, Nixon Presidenti
al Archive) When Kissinger met Whitlam
just before their meeting with
Nixon, Kissinger summarises the situation: "We do not
see recent changes in Australia as a greate
r assertion of Australian autonomy. Rather we
look at it as a change in some of the mechan
ics in our relations... We can't deny that we
have had some strains recently but we co
nsider these matters of the past." (HAK
e 8
Stephen Stockwell: Beyond Conspiracy Theory
Memorandum of Conversation 30 July 1973 10-11am, Box 1027, Nixon Presidential
Archive). Neither the bases nor investment
and trade were brought up by either side.
Whitlam expressed an interest in talking with Nixon about French nuclear testing in the
Pacific but the most striking thing is his
nervousness about meeting Nixon. He told
Kissinger: "I'm not particularly inhibited, bu
t I'm afraid I might freeze up with him."
Because of legal issues emanating from
the Watergate break-in, Nixon had stopped
taping conversations before he met Whitlam
and the printed archives show no evidence
of any memorandum of their conversation. Ne
vertheless, as relations between Australia
and the US appear to have stabilized following
the meeting, certainly at the leadership
level, one might assume that both sides
did agree to leave the past behind them.
The Nixon-Ford Transition
After the double dissolution election in May 1974, left-winger Jim Cairns was elected as
Whitlam's deputy and this sent shock-waves
through Washington as they realized that
one of Australia's staunchest critics of US
foreign policy was a heartbeat away from the
Prime Ministership. The future of the base
s was again in question and Nixon and
Kissinger took time out from the manage
ment of the Watergate debacle and the
disengagement from Vietnam to issue Nati
onal Security Study Memorandum 204 to the
Departments of State and Defense and the CIA on 1 July 1974.
NSSM 204 notes "recent changes in the Labor
Government" and says "The study should
examine the impact of these changes on basic US objectives toward Australia,
particularly in the political-security area." Th
e memo calls for more than theoretical
analysis: "It should define and evaluate policy
options for giving effect to the resulting
objectives." In particular the memo called for study of issues around "keeping US
defense installations in Australia... relocating
essential existing US security functions
outside Australia... locating additional US fun
ctions in Australia and the policy options
for trying to do so." (NSSM 204, 1 July 1974,
Box 205, NSC Institutional Files, Nixon
Presidential Archive). Other issues to be
addressed by the report continue to be
classified. The memo gave th
e NSC Interdepartmental Group for East Asia only two
weeks to prepare the report. The report remain
s classified. Nixon resigned from office
on 8 August 1974, so it is possible that one of
his last acts in office was to establish new
policy objectives with regard to Australia but th
ere is no evidence in the archive that this
was the case.
The archival record is silent on how thes
e new policy objectives were implemented,
completely silent. With the advent of Gerald Ford's administration, no further national
security studies or decisions about Australia
are evident in the archives. Whitlam called
for a meeting with Ford that was held on
5 October 1974 and briefings for that meeting
emphasise Whitlam's acceptance of US ba
ses. US Ambassador to Australia, Marshall
Green reports "...there would be no move by
an Australian government to terminate
these facilities as long as Labor was head
ed by Whitlam..." There was concern about
Jim Cairns: "Once in the top position he
(Cairns) would probably veer... towards a
e 9

Stephen Stockwell: Beyond Conspiracy Theory
foreign policy based on neutrality and the
removal of American bases from Australian
shores." (Green, M, Telexes 21/30 Septem
ber 1974, Box 2, NSA-Presidential Country
Files for East Asia and the Pacific, Ford Pr
esidential Archive) Kissinger's briefing for
Ford pointed out that Whitlam was mellowing
with regard to the US bases as he
understood their significance for arms limit
ations but in the event the bases did not
come up in their conversation which covere
d LBJ, their war service, general discussion
of Indonesia, Pierre Trudeau and their children (Memcon, President's Meeting with
Australian Prime Minister Whitlam, 5 October 1974, Box 6, NSA Memcons, Ford
Presidential Archive). Kissinger's briefing fo
r this meeting does contain the promise to
Ford: "I will forward to you shortly for yo
ur decision an inter-agency policy options
study on these installations and on US
policy toward Australia generally." (HAK,
Meeting with Australian Prime Minister Whitlam, 4 October 1974, Box 1, NSA-
Presidential Country Files for East Asia an
d the Pacific, Ford Presidential Archive)
There is no evidence of this report so it
is impossible to know whether if Kissinger was
still working on the report ordered by Nixon or a development of it.
The Conspiracy and the Coup
Whether for personal, political or commercia
l reasons, by late 1974 Rupert Murdoch was
turning against the Whitlam Government (S
tockwell, 1995). Murdoch had taken a close
interest in the 1972 Labor campaign and "sat in
as virtual editorial director of his group
of papers. He coordinated policy, dictated news stories, gave advice to the Whitlam
camp and generally worked a twelve-hour day
making sure that advice was used to the
best advantage in his own editorials." (Regan, 1976:97). In November 1974 the Governor-
General, John Kerr paid Murdoch a visit at Cavan, his farm near Canberra. It was Kerr
who explained to Murdoch the problems Whit
lam might have with Supply if his hold
on the Senate weakened and Kerr gave a broad reading to his reserve powers (Munster,
It is interesting to note that the next two
documents in the archives relating to Australia
are telexes to the Governor General expressi
ng condolences to the people of Darwin
after they were hit by a cyclone and greetings
for Australia Day. (Ford, GR Telexes 27
December 1974/10 January 1975, Box 7, WHCF Subjec
t Files, Ford Presidential Archive).
Direct communication between the US Pres
ident and the Australian Governor-General
is rare in the archives and these two telexes
suggest that the United States was playing
up to Kerr's view of himself as Head of State with broad powers. Later in January,
Kissinger writes to Green querying how Whit
lam will handle the bases issue at the ALP
conference. Kissinger notes th
at Whitlam knows the bases "p
lay a vital role in détente
and strategic arms limitations agreements" th
ough further comments are excised. (HAK,
Telex to Green, 25 January 1975, Box 2, NSA-Presid
ential Country Files for East Asia and
the Pacific, Ford Presidential Archive) Wh
itlam kept discussion off the US bases by
turning his attention to the economic and
political challenges facing the party.
Page 10

Stephen Stockwell: Beyond Conspiracy Theory
Whitlam had a final meeting with Ford on
7 May 1975, just a week after the fall of
Saigon and the end of the Vietnam War.
Whitlam was conciliatory on Indochina,
offering assistance with reconstruction an
d refugees. He was concerned about the build
up of US and Soviet naval forces in the
Indian Ocean but on the bases he has no
complaints, highlighting the part they had to pl
ay in building peace: "It is a contribution
we thought we could make to balance the fee
ling of détente you and the soviets have
developed. This could have been an issue in
Australia but it has been entirely defused...
They will trust my judgment." (Ingersoll, Telex to US Embassy, 21 May 1975, Box 4,
NSA-Presidential Country Files for East Asia
and the Pacific, Ford Presidential Archive)
It is striking how little there is in the Pr
esidential archives about Australia in the year
1975. Between Kissinger's January telex to Green re the ALP conference and a telex from
Kissinger to the US Embassy in Australia
congratulating Malcolm Fraser on his 13
December election victory there is just do
cumentation with regard to the May Whitlam-
Ford meeting and a memo in November dec
lining to appoint an ambassador during the
Australian election campaign. There was correspondence at a lower level with regard to
a meeting between Ford and then opposition
leader Fraser during 1975 that was not
included into presidential files until 1976. The significance of this documentation is
discussed below.
Much has been written about the events of 1975 from pro- and anti-conspiracy points of
view (see Pilger, 1990 and Kelly, 1995 respectively
). There is evidence from Christopher
Boyce, a US transmissions clerk responsible
for sending and receiving material to and
from Pine Gap, that there was infiltration of unions and deception to the detriment of
the Whitlam government and that a senior o
fficer had referred to the Governor-General
as "our man Kerr" (Martin, 1982). It also appears that freelance agents with connections
to US naval intelligence unit Task Force
157 were active in creating and planting
documents that were at the heart of the "loans
affair", a futile effort to raise funds from
the Middle East that led Deputy Prime Mini
ster Jim Cairns and Minerals and Energy
Minister Rex Connor misleading parliament
and resigning from the Ministry (James,
1982, pp. 174-178). Connor's resignation precipit
ated the blocking of supply by the
Senate on 15 October 1975.
Once supply was blocked Rupert Murdoch's media interests
offered vigorous support
for Whitlam's overthrow. Front-page articles from
The Australian
show the role it played
in promoting the Liberal's strategy: 18 October "Governor-General will act soon, says
Fraser", 20 October "Fraser says Kerr must
sack Whitlam", 24 October "Fraser accuses
PM and says he must go" and October 27 "Whi
tlam acts like dictator - Fraser". At the
time John Menadue was Permanent Secretary of the Prime Minister's Department and
he has revealed that Murdoch knew the details of Fraser's plan for the dismissal down
to Menadue's fate: he was to become Ambassador to Japan (SMH, 4 Nov 1995, p. 1).
Murdoch claims he has no memory of these discussions with Menadue (Kelly, 1995, p.
After the fall of Nixon in August 1974 and Sa
igon in April 1975, there was a high degree
of instability in the United States and Australia and in relations between the two
Page 11

Stephen Stockwell: Beyond Conspiracy Theory
governments. The second half of 1975 saw the end of Marshall Green's tenure as US
ambassador to Australia on 31 July. There was no replacement until February 1976.
ASIO chief Barbour was sacked in Septembe
r. ASIS chief Robertson was sacked on 22
October. CIA chief William Colby was sacked
on 2 November. On that very day,
Whitlam went public with the claim of a cl
ose relationship between leader of the
National Party, Doug Anthony and Richard
Stallings, the American who had founded
Pine Gap and whom Whitlam had just learnt was a CIA agent (McKnight, 1994, pp. 293-
4). If Stallings was CIA then Whitlam co
ncluded that Pine Gap had much broader
espionage uses than just monitoring nu
clear and missile tests uses. Whitlam was
astounded that the US had misled him and
offended that he had been duped into
misleading his party. The US was concerned
that Whitlam was revealing the identities
of CIA agents and warned ASIO that this co
uld lead to a breakdown of their intelligence
cooperation and information sharing arrange
ments. On 9 November Kerr was briefed
on the US threat to break off intelligence
relations (Clark, 2000) and shortly thereafter,
just before Whitlam was due to address the
Parliament on Stallings, the CIA and Pine
Gap, Kerr used the denial of supply as the
trigger to dismiss the Whitlam government
on 11 November 1975.
Conclusion: Victory Has Many Fathers
Recent work in the Gerald Ford presidential
archives has uncovered clear evidence that
the National Security Council, the body respon
sible for exercising control over the CIA,
was active with regard to Australia in
1975. Their activities are revealed not by a
"smoking gun" document ordering the destabilis
ation of an ally and the destruction of a
properly elected government but rather in the bureaucratic argy bargy over how to
celebrate their victory.
The correspondence commences not in the nati
onal security files but in the White House
correspondence file with a memo to Pres
idential Counsellor, Jack Marsh from his
assistant Russ Rourke about a call from Bill Battle, US ambassador to Australia 1962-4
and the man who signed off on the regime of
bases in Australia. Bill called to express an
interest in joining "any US delegation th
at might be sent to Australia with the
ascendance of Malcolm Fraser." Rourke writes
in "If you want me to look into this w/
NSC, please advise." Marsh responds in ha
nd writing: "Explore with caution. Some
political fall out possible with Battle whic
h could be adverse M" (Rourke to Marsh, 18
December 1975, C010 Australia, Box 7, WHCF Subj
ect Files, Ford Presidential Archive).
Rourke writes again at the end of the month to
report that there will be no "full-blown
ceremony" and that the cabinet was sworn in
at a "quiet" ceremony on 23 December.
The NSC regrets (and one cannot but read a
note of sarcasm into their response to
Battle) the missed opportunity for the Fras
er government to enjoy "the obvious
affection that would have been lavished on
it by the US..." Rourke undertakes to give
Battle a status report. (Rourke to Mars
h, 31 December 1975, C010 Australia, Box 7,
WHCF Subject Files, Ford Presidential Archive)
Page 12

Stephen Stockwell: Beyond Conspiracy Theory
Attached at this point is a raft of co
rrespondence from mid-1975 about an aborted
attempt to arrange a meeting between presid
ent Ford and then
opposition leader
Malcolm Fraser. On 23 May Jack Marsh had wr
itten to National Security Adviser Brent
Scowcroft that Bill Battle was requesting a
meeting between Fraser and Ford between 23
June and 4 July. The NSC was obviously not
happy with this intervention and Deputy
National Security Adviser WR Smyser required a "detailed breakdown" of Rourke's
contacts with Battle. Rourke then notes: "I
went to great lengths to advise Smyser that,
under no circumstances, did we have any in
tention of crossing into NSC's obvious
jurisdiction..." (Rourke to Marsh, 28 May1975, C010 Australia, Box 7, WHCF Subject
Files, Ford Presidential Archive) This is
the clearest yet indication that the NSC
considered that it had a jurisdiction with
regard to Australia in 1975. This off-handed
comment, and Rourke and Marsh's haste in ab
dicating the area, indicate the breadth of
the NSC's jurisdiction.
From the above we could conclude with McKnight (1994, p. 294) that "the plausibility of
CIA intervention in Australia from 1973 to 1975
is very high (but) no one has yet proved
that the Central Intelligence Agency played
a role in the crises of 1974 to 1975 which
preceded the dismissal of the Whitlam govern
ment." What can be said with regard to
the 1975 Dismissal with some certainty is that
US intelligence services, Australian media
and the Liberal opposition had common intere
sts in provoking the fall of the Whitlam
government. There is no evidence of any meetings or connivance between all these
parties to that end but the archival and analyti
cal work reported in this paper makes it
clear that:
(1) The Packer empire had put their media interests at the service of the United States
and Rupert Murdoch received a briefing from Ke
rr before taking an active editorial line
against Whitlam;
(2) President Nixon ordered the NSC to do
something more than produce policy options
to hold current, and create new, US defense installations in Australia; and
(3) White House staff considered that the NS
C did have a jurisdiction in Australia in
1975 and that US security services were active in promoting the dismissal of the
Whitlam government.
Further investigation of presently excised portions of the Nixon and Ford archives will
reveal more about the events of 1975 when
they are declassifies. The author's
applications for the review of classification
of documents in these archives are presently
being considered.
Page 13

Stephen Stockwell: Beyond Conspiracy Theory
Australian Treaty Series (1963) No 6, 10, 16. Retrieved 15 August 2005, from
Ball, Desmond (1980)
A suitable p
iece of real estate: AmericaniInstallations in Australia.
Sydney: Hale & Iremonger.
Barry, Paul (1994)
The rise and rise of Kerry Packer.
Sydney: Bantam/ABC Books.
Clark, Andrew (2000, October 15) Kerr brie
fed on CIA threat to Whitlam.
Sunday Age
Dickie, Phil (1988)
The road to Fitzgerald.
St. Lucia, Q: University of Queensland Press.
Fenster, Mark (1999)
ConspiracytTheories: secrecy and power in American culture.
Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.
Henderson, Gerard (2004, January 13) Conspiracy? We prefer a stuff-up.
The Age.
Retrieved 15 August 2005 from
Hitchens, C. (2001)
The trial of Henry Kissinger.
London: Verso.
James, Nathan (1982) Dateline Australia: America's foreign Watergate.
Foreign Policy,
Winter, pp. 168-185.
Kelly, Paul (1983)
The dismissal : Australia's most
sensational power struggle.
Angus & Robertson.
Kelly, Paul (1995)
November 1975 : The inside story of Aust
ralia's greatest political crisis.
Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin.
Kerr, John (1978)
Matters for judgment: an autobiography
South Melbourne, Vic.:
Lloyd, Clem and Clark, Andrew (1976)
Kerr's King Hit.
Stanmore, NSW: Cassell.
Mackenzie, Angus (1997)
Secrets: the CIA's war at home.
Berkeley, Calif: University of
California Press.
Martin, Ray (1982, May 23) A spy's story".
60 Minutes,
Channel 9. Retieved 15 August
from http://www.serendipi
McKnight, David (1994)
Australia's spies and their secrets.
St Leonards, N.S.W.: Allen &
Page 14

Stephen Stockwell: Beyond Conspiracy Theory
Page 15
Munster, George (1985)
Rupert Murdoch: a paper prince.
Ringwood: Viking.
Pilger, John (1990)
A secret country.
London: Vintage.
Regan, Simon (1976),
Rupert Murdoch: a business biography.
London: Angus and
Reid, Alan (1976) The Whitlam ventur
e. Melbourne: Hill of Content.
Stockwell, S. (1995) Rupert and the dismissal.
Communications Update.
No. 117.
Stovall, J. 2005
Journalism: Who, What, When, Where, Why and How
Boston: Pearson.
Tanner, Stephen (ed.) (2002)
Journalism : investigation and research.
Frenchs Forest,
N.S.W.: Longman.
Whitlam, Gough (1985)
The Whitlam Government 1972 1975
. Ringwood: Penguin
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
Anthony Thorne Wrote:Pilger has written about this before. Scanning the local papers and news media down here in Australia over the past few days, I saw absolutely nothing written about what Pilger has elaborated on above. No surprise I guess, but Pilger's sharp depiction of what we had, and what we lost, does make me a little sad.

:Confusedhock:: ::face.palm::

I saw Craig Emerson, former senior ALP government minister, on TV this morning saying that it was Whitlam's poor economic policies that led to his downfall and loss at the subsequent election. Not a mention of this or the whole the unrelenting media campaign against him for months. Not a mention of Pine Gap. Not a mention of Kerr's CIA connections and payments. Not a mention of subsequent hands off policy re Pine Gap. Not a mention of Snowden's revelations. I know Craig he is a nice guy and a very smart man but really? How blind deaf and dumb does one have to be to swallow that crap? Wont even go into Hawke's CIA links. Much kudos and discussion of the dear man and his legacy but all very superficial and restricted to an acceptable limited spectrum. Remember also that Whitlam was just a reformist and bourgeois social democrat. There was nothing revolutionary about him. He was not part of the left faction of the party who did not accept him. Just wanted more crumbs from the heavily laden table to fall to the people. He was still a red blooded capitalist.
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
Anthony Thorne Wrote:Pilger has written about this before. Scanning the local papers and news media down here in Australia over the past few days, I saw absolutely nothing written about what Pilger has elaborated on above. No surprise I guess, but Pilger's sharp depiction of what we had, and what we lost, does make me a little sad.

I guess the saddest part is that is seems most in Oz don't know this important history.....and the controlled media are not about to present it to them. I'm sure it is NOT in history/political science books - even at the university level. To find this out, one has to have the inclination to look beyond the propaganda.....
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
Peter Lemkin Wrote:
Anthony Thorne Wrote:Pilger has written about this before. Scanning the local papers and news media down here in Australia over the past few days, I saw absolutely nothing written about what Pilger has elaborated on above. No surprise I guess, but Pilger's sharp depiction of what we had, and what we lost, does make me a little sad.

I guess the saddest part is that is seems most in Oz don't know this important history.....and the controlled media are not about to present it to them. I'm sure it is NOT in history/political science books - even at the university level. To find this out, one has to have the inclination to look beyond the propaganda.....

Not just the MSM, which is bad enough but expected given their mocking bird role, but even his own party. They are either deluded by the Murdoch official narrative, or complicit in working against his policies and for US interests, or shit scared of emulating his government in any way perhaps for fear of anther US coup. The 2 Labor PMs who followed him, Hawke and Keating, went to great lengths to show they were nothing like him. Nothing like him at all. And they were nothing like him. They brought in neo-liberal economic policies and started the privatization and broke strikes and collaborated openly with the ruling classes. Things that never would have been accepted if the Tory party had tried to do them. PM Rudd, another reformer of a social democrat Keynesian stripe, was non conformist, visionary and driven like Whitlam and was deposed in a bitter party coup. Which may or may not have had US fingerprints over it. Certainly the main party players behind the party coup had far too close a relationship to the US embassy as disclosed in Wikileaks embassy cables. The current leader of the ALP and potential future PM is one of them.
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
It rarely ceases to amaze me just how much the media avoid so called sensitive subjects, rewrite history and shape the news and political agenda to create group thought front and centre. I should be used to it, I know.

It's like a house of cards ready to collapse - and all it will take is if the wind is allowed to get up enough force. Somehow it never does.

But I also sometimes think what mental juggling any honest, intelligent journalist must do to retain a job by not actually doing their job? It must cause some of them heartache. Others simply close their minds and count their monthly wage cheques and are glad to be in employment.

I've not researched it, but it strikes me that this is a speciality of the "five eyes" - with other NATO/SEATO members being less required because they did not participate in the intelligence product to the same extent. But I may just be imagining this.

But even so, if you are a member of the five eyes, kiss your arse farewell when it comes to any sense of genuine democratic involvement and if leaders need to be removed from office, or even killed, then that is what happens.
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14
There are some individual journalists and blogger who run their own show who are very good and know which way is up. But the MSM media landscape here is pretty much a company town with Murdoch being the man. It has been nice having the Guardian arrive here but they too have their own limitations. TV media is atrocious.
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.

Asio chief defied Gough Whitlam's order to cut ties with the CIA in 1974

Latest volume of Asio's official history sheds light on the lowest point of US-Australian relations in the turbulent years of the Whitlam government

Paul Daley
Thursday 15 October 2015 15.58 EDT Last modified on Thursday 15 October 2015 20.08 EDT



381 [/URL]

The chief of Australia's domestic spy agency, Asio, defied a direct order from then Labor prime minister Gough Whitlam in 1974 to sever all ties with America's Central Intelligence Agency.
Whitlam hostile to US spy bases in Australia and angy with the CIA's undermining of leftwing administrations, including Chile's Allende government in 1973 effectively forced the Washington-Canberra intelligence relationship underground until the dismissal of his government in late 1975.
The decision by the director general of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, Peter Barbour, to ignore Whitlam's directive is revealed in the latest volume of Asio's official history by historian and former army officer John Blaxland.

Blaxland's book, The Protest Years: The Official History of Asio 1963-1975, also discloses the depths of disquiet in the Nixon administration at the appointment in 1974 of Jim Cairns as Australian deputy prime minister, due to the access this would afford him to classified United States intelligence.
While the book acknowledges a circumstantial case of CIA involvement in Whitlam's dismissal by the governor general, John Kerr, on 11 November 1975, Blaxland writes that the Asio files to which he had unfettered access offer no evidence to support the "deeper conspiracy theories" of American involvement.
He also concludes that there is no evidence that Asio was working in response to US intelligence direction against Whitlam, instead of on behalf of the Australian government.
The book lays bare the animosity between Whitlam and Barbour who quit under pressure in September 1974 over US-Australia intelligence ties. It was a time of existential uncertainty for Asio, after Whitlam who had long been suspicious of the agency's scrutiny of some public officials and their staff announced a royal commission into intelligence and security.
"Whitlam was so unhappy with the closeness of Asio's ties with its US partners that he gave instructions to Barbour to sever them. But Barbour felt this would be harmful to the nation, causing damage to critical intelligence links with the United States," Blaxland writes.
"Barbour decided, therefore, to maintain informal contacts with the United States Government. He selected a mid-ranking officer who despite having reservations about the instructions nevertheless carried them out. This ... bizarre experience reflected the unusual nature of ASIO business' in a period of dramatic and significant change across the Australian political landscape."
After the 1974 double dissolution election, socialist left Labor former policeman and academic economist Jim Cairns emerged as deputy prime minister, defeating Lionel Bowen in a caucus vote.
In 1972 Whitlam had ended Australia's involvement in the Vietnam war. Two years later he publicly questioned the role of US spy bases in Australia and its continued presence in Vietnam, prompting the US president, Richard Nixon, to request a state department review of American-Australian relations.
After the promotion of Cairns, US embassy officers in Canberra explained to Barbour Washington's negative reaction to Whitlam's new deputy.
Blaxland writes: "Barbour was pressed to say whether he could give a security clearance to Cairns enabling him to access top-secret and sensitive material. Barbour told them that in Australia decisions concerning ministerial access were made by the Prime Minister personally. Barbour advised that they urge their superiors, as far as they could, not to react precipitately in a matter of such importance and to wait the course of events."
After Cairns was sworn in as deputy PM, a senior US embassy official visited Barbour in his office at America's request. The American official said secretary of state Henry Kissinger and defence secretary James Schlesinger viewed Cairns as "a radical with strong anti-American and pro-Chinese sympathies".
"The American wanted to know whether the elevation of Cairns entailed him being granted access to American intelligence and if so, whether he could be trusted with its security."
By early 1975 America had become even more concerned about Australia as an ally.
"US embassy officials confided to Asio that the maintenance of the ALP Government in power is essential to Soviet planning for this area and their activities in Australia would be tempered by this consideration'," Blaxland writes.
On 8 November 1975, as pressure mounted on Kerr to sack the Whitlam government over the continuing Senate impasse on budget supply, Asio's senior liaison officer in Washington was summoned to see the CIA's East Asia division chief, Theodore Ted Shackley.

There was heightened concerned in the agency and the Nixon administration that Whitlam had named specific purported CIA officers' connections to the Pine Gap tracking station near Alice Springs.
Blaxland writes that the liaison officer was "given a message to pass to Asio's interim director general, [Frank] Mahony".
The message was conveyed to Canberra that Washington was "perplexed as to what all this means" amid concern that Whitlam would "blow the lid off those installations in Australia where the persons concerned have been working and which are vital to both of our services and countries particularly the installation at Alice Springs".
Blaxland says that according to one assessment, "the Shackley cable was probably the most serious note passed to Australian authorities in the history of bilateral relations between Australia and the United States a virtual ultimatum to Mahoney as director general of ASIO to do something".
Blaxland interviewed Malcolm Fraser, who was hastily sworn in as interim Liberal prime minister after Whitlam's sacking and won the subsequent election on 13 December 1975.
In later life Fraser was an extreme sceptic about elements of the US-Australia relationship.
Blaxland writes that "reflecting on the rumours of US destabilisation of Whitlam and the aspersions cast upon Kerr, Fraser later maintained that the stories were crap, total crap'".
Blaxland, whose book is to be launched at the new Asio headquarters in Canberra on Friday, told Guardian Australia: "This is a story about Australia during one if its most turbulent periods when anti-Vietnam war and anti-conscription protests were in full swing and the baby boomer generation was rewriting the rule books. It is an exciting and fresh look at the country in transition through the eyes of an organisation trying to catch up."
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.

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