|Archives||The CIA in Australia|
|AUSTRALIAN HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES NOVEMBER 20, 1986
SPEAKER: PETER STAPLES, MP JAJAGAGA, Queensland
On 11 November 1975 we saw the culmination of the most blatant act of external interference in Australia’s internal affairs and its autonomy as a nation and democracy. The dismissal of the Whitlam Government was orchestrated by a combination of forces inside and outside Australia—namely the United States of America. Now, 11 years later, with the protection of history, this matter has not been properly and exhaustively addressed by either the Australian or United States Governments, present or past. Nor has it been addressed by the Australian media or faced by the Australian people. We have had plenty of opportunities to do so. Much has been said in the media about a former Australian Prime Minister who, in a city of the United States, could not find his trousers. That sort of thing attracts a lot of media attention. Again, we have seen the question of the use of three little words “my little mate”, take the whole of Australia by storm for a year and more and follow a man from the beginning of his career to his grave. We listen day by day, as does the Press, to references to the use of external interference but the Press has heard it all before and says nothing or very little about it. This issue is not addressed in Australia. The australian people have held their heads in the sand over it. In fact, they have had their heads held in the sand over it.
The Australian Press has virtually ignored the biggest political history event in Australia, the biggest story that they could want in a democracy and an autonomous nation. The public has failed to seek further information. I blame most of that on the Press because it has not sought to pursue the matter further. The blame does not lie there alone. It extends further, to this Parliament, but it is difficult to decide what happened and which way to address this matter first. Should we look at what happened or why it happened? In this event we have a significant amount of evidence which shows the involvement of the United States, through the Central Intelligence Agency, the CIA. It is a concern which virtually every Australian has had at some time or another. I am sure that the extent of involvement of the CIA, of the United States, in this event, has crossed the minds of honourable members opposite who were perhaps on the fringe of the event. For those in the community who are concerned it is a constant sore and a reminder of a threat that we are placed under. Allegations and information are available in Australia and overseas, and have been for a long time, but we are all faced by the iron curtain of American intelligence and Australian secrecy, the unavailability of such information to the public.
One person who did make this information as public as possible, and is now paying the price for having caused quite a furore, was Christopher Boyce, a person convicted in the United States for spying, and serving a 68-year sentence in solitary confinement. He was denied a fair trial because he was prepared to say things that neither the Australian nor the United States Governments wanted the public to hear. He was, in 1974, a disillusioned 21-year old. His faith in the country of his birth had been shaken to the foundations by Vietnam, by Watergate, by racial tension and the mad march towards nuclear destruction. He took a simple job as a postal clerk in an electronics firm, TRW Systems, in California. He stipulated to his employers that his interest in the job was limited to staying only for as long as it took him to save enough money to return to college, but less than two weeks after his commencement a detailed personnel file on Boyce was sent to the CIA. His employer had made the curious decision to recommend this 21-year old, this restless student who was eager to improve his financial status, to operate and work in a department run by the CIA in this company. Thirteen weeks later Boyce was transferred to the CIA black vault, a communications relay room. He was inexplicably given an exclusive security clearance that allowed him access to America’s most secret espionage operations. During the briefing for this new job, that Boyce had not asked for, he was told that much of the communications involved would be coming from Pine Gap in Australia; that although the United States had signed an executive agreement with Australia to share information on Pine Gap, the agreement was not being honoured. It was emphasised that certain information must not be passed to Australia—he was working for the CIA although employed in a private company. He was witnessing at first hand his country’s betrayal of allies and had been told that his complicity in deceiving Australia was expected. That was the situation.
Eventually he was brought to trial because he gave information to the Russians and brought out what the United States was doing in its relationship with Australia through Pine Gap. Neither of Boyce’s defence lawyers was ever allowed to see any of the documents that he had passed to the Russians, nor were they allowed to examine the file on the CIA’s own investigation of Boyce. This despite the fact that both of Boyce’s lawyers held the appropriate security clearances. Could it be that the documents were in fact so useless to the Russians that if they had been produced as evidence in court the case would have been dismissed? This matter should certainly be laid to rest but should it be left to rest? As Australian citizens, are we to accept CIA violation of our domestic affairs? Does it matter to us that the United States lied about Pine Gap being a Defence Department project when it was actually a CIA project? Are we unconcerned by America’s betrayal of that executive agreement? Does it not strike anyone here as sinister that Gough Withlam was dismissed from office only hours before he was to expose in Parliament the role of the CIA at Pine Gap? Can Christopher Boyce be condemned for failing to honour his security agreement when a precedent for that had been blatantly set by the United States Government? What are we in this country going to do about Christopher Boyce? What are we going to do about a person who has shown what has been happening in the guise of secrecy, under the protection of an ally, in Australia? This is not a bash against the United States. This is a matter of fighting for Australia, for our own sovereignty, for our democracy. We sit in this House day after day under two Australian flags that hang above. Hour after hour we hear abuses, of how Australia is not being properly treated, of how we must keep this, our flag, forever and so on. But what is the meaning of the flag if we cannot protect our own autonomy? That is the question that we have to face. The person who could be more incensed over this issue, Gough Withlam, said in 1977—in this very House:
“It is precisely because America is our principal ally that Australia must be satisfied that American agents are not acting in a manner contrary to our interests as a nation. Are we to let an ally get away with something that a rival would not be allowed to get away with? Alliances are not strengthened by covert operations or by condoning or covering up such covert operations.
Our dignity and self-respect as a nation, no less than our national security, demand that the Parliament exercise its supremacy in scrutinising the activities of foreign intelligence services operating in this country.”
There is plenty of evidence available, Mr Deputy Speaker. We have seen the attention of the media in Australia and of both houses of the Parliament focussed on the three insignificant words “my little mate”. On the other hand, despite the fact that the evidence of external interference is so much greater, little attention is being paid to it.
Let me return, in the last few minutes left to me, a description of Gough Withlam in THE WHITLAM GOVERNMENT 1972- 1975 of a meeting held in Sydney. Mr Whitlam says,
“I never met President Carter but I had a significant meeting with the Assistant Secretary of State for Asia and the South Pacific, Warren Christopher. On Wednesday, 27 July 1977 at 8.a.m. Alston arranged a breakfast meeting in the Qantas VIP room at Sydney Airport. Those present were Alston, Christopher, his aide, my aide, Richard Butler…and I.
He continues, speaking of Christopher:
He made it clear to us that he had made a special detour in his itinerary for the sole purpose of speaking to me. The President had asked him to say:
That he understood the Democrats and the ALP were fraternal parties.
That he respected deeply the democratic rights of the allies of the US.
I ask honourable members of Parliament to note what he says next:
That the US administration would never AGAIN—
I repeat those words:
Would never AGAIN interfere in the domestic political processes of Australia; and
That he would work with whatever government the people of Australia elected.
If our bicentenary means anything---
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER—Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
GOVERNMENT IGNORES SPY’S CLAIMS OF CIA ROLE IN AUSTRALIA
By Julie Flynn The National Times, May 30 to June 5, 1982
The Federal Government has again refused to respond to specific allegations made by American spy Christopher Boyce that the US Central Intelligence Agency interfered in Australian domestic politics in the mid-1970s.
Boyce was a former employee of a CIA-contracting company, TRW, which was directly involved in the highly sensitive US spy satellite system.
In 1977 Boyce was tried and convicted on charges of spying for the Russians. Regarded as the most important American spy since World War II, he was jailed for 40 years.
During his trial Boyce claimed that he had decided to spy for the Russians because of his anger at the way the Americans were deceiving one of their oldest allies—Australia.
He claimed the US was witholding information about Pine Gap from Australia and was interfering in the Australian trade union movement.
In the five years since Boyce made his allegations no Australian official has been to see him to gain first-hand information on his allegations.
The US Senate Committee on Intelligence, set up following Boyce’s allegations, did not take evidence from Boyce. The Committee’s findings were not published.
Boyce escaped from prison in January 1980 and was recaptured last year.
His allegations were revived last week on Chanel 9's 60 minutes program in an interview with Boyce at Fort Leavenworth maximum security prison in Kansas City.
Before his escape in 1980 Boyce had spoken to Australian journalist Bill Pinwill, and his charges were published by The National Times in November 1980.
Since his recapture, Boyce has refused to be interviewed on television, except with 60 minutes.
Speaking to reporter Ray Martin, Boyce made five specific allegations: that the Americans were no complying with the agreement to share all information about Pine Gap; that the Americans were not going to inform the Australian Government about a new sophisticated spy satellite system called the Argus Project; that the witholding of information continued after the demise of the Whitlam government; that the CIA had infiltrated the hierarchy of the trade union movement in Australia; and that a CIA official had referred to the former Governor-General, Sir John Kerr, as “our man Kerr.”
Boyce emphatically denied that he was or is a communist and told Martin that it was America’s deception of a country that had been an ally for two world wars that finally turned him into a spy. “I thought it was indicative of what my country had sunk to,” he said.
The satellites linked to Pine Gap are able to intercept a huge range of communications, including messages coming in and out of Australia.
Boyce claimed in the interview that he was told during his first secuirty briefing by the project security director at TRW, Rick Smith, that the Americans “weren’t willing” to live up to the agreement to share all information with Australia. Boyce said he was told “that we hadn’t been (living up to the agreement) and that there was information that was being witheld and also that the Argus project…was to be hidden from Australia.”
Boyce claimed that the Whitlam Government was viewed as a threat by CIA officials involved in the spy satellite system. He said, “Mr Whitlam was not a popular figure at all—first of all his policies were socialistic and inquiries were being made about the base. Mr Whitlam by wanting to know what was going on there and by publicising it was compromising the integrity of the project.”
Boyce said the witholding of information continued after the Fraser government came to power.
“There was a bit of a celebration that Whitlam was canned…but my instructions did not change,” he said.
There were no specific conversations about Whitlam’s downfall, but Boyce claims the resident CIA man, Joe Harrison, referred in the “black box” security area at TRW to “our man Kerr”.
Boyce also argues that the CIA had infiltrated the Australian trade union movement. He referred to an incident when TRW had equipment to send to Pine Gap, which was being delayed by threatened strike action in Australia.
Boyce alleges that CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, known as “pilot”, sent a telex saying: “Pilot will continue to supress the strikes. Continue shipment on schedule.”
Boyce concluded that “central intelligence, either directly or through intermediaries, would have to have infiltrated the hierarchy of your trade unions at some level.”
The revival of the Boyce allegations has sparked strong interest in Australia. 60 minutes has received a large number of telephone calls and letters.
Politicians have also been interested by the Boyce allegations. When The National Times approached the parliamentary library for a copy of the transcript of the Boyce interview we were told there had been a great number of requests for it during the week.
The Government, however, has refused to comment on the allegations.
A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs told the National Times last week that “Boyce allegations add little or nothing to simmilar claims made in 1977.” He said Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser had made a statement to the Parliament on the allegations then and that it was still relevant.
The Defence Department also referred The National Times to Fraser’s statement in 1977. Fraser told Parliament on May 24, 1977, that he “was satisfied with the assurances…received from elements of my own Government…and from President Carter personally through his ambassador, that neither the United States Government, nor its representatives are involved in improper or inappropriate activities here.”
The statement was couched in the present tense, however, and did not address what had happened in the past.
Fraser refused to comment on specific allegations made by Boyce, saying it had been longstanding policy not to comment on matters of security and intelligence and that “the mere act of denying specific allegations can often provide important leads damaging to our own and our allies’ national scurity.”
The then leader of the Opposition, Gough Whitlam, responded to Fraser’s statement saying, “It gave us no information, it gave us no reassurance…it shirked and distorted the real issue at the centre of the controversy.”
More articles and documents to come…
PROGRAM: SIXTY MINUTES DATE: 23 MAY 1982 TOPIC: A SPY’S STORY: USA TRAITOR GAOLED FOR 40 YEARS AFTER SELLING CODES OF RYLITE AND ARGUS PROJECTS. —Christopher Boyce, Traitor, Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary, Kansas, Maximum security prison. —Prison Warden —Bill Doughety, Boyce’s lawyer.
RAY MARTIN: Christopher Boyce was the villain in the biggest American spy scandal for 40 years. He was gaoled for selling secrets to the Russians. And why did he do it? He says he was angry at the CIA’s dirty tricks to bring down the Whitlam Government.
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: It was a worry. Mr Whitlam’s Government was a threat. Aside from the fact that he was also a socialist.
RAY MARTIN: What about when he was forced out of office?
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: It was a celebration.
RAY MARTIN: Now, locked up until he’s 94, Boyce agreed to an exclusive interview about his spying career, the bad times and the good.
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: We used to make daiquiris in the document destruction blender.
RAY MARTIN: What, the CIA shredder?
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: Yes.
RAY MARTIN: To make daiquiri drinks.
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: Put it to some use. It wasn’t my idea, but it made a hell of a daiquiri.
RAY MARTIN: Think back to Australia in the mid 1970s. Lots of strikes, the Whitlam Government in deep trouble, a growing controversy over American bases like Pine Gap, the Governor- General, Sir John Kerr, more and more involved in a Parliamentary crisis regarding supply. At that, as it all turned out, marked the start of a truly amazing spy story. Christopher Boyce, at that time, was a young telex operator working for an American company known as TRW. It was a private company that had close connections with the US Government, particularly the CIA, because TRW helped run America’s super-secret spy satellite system. And being where he was, Boyce occasionally came across telex messages—in this story you will hear them referred as twickses—and other material pertaining to CIA activity in Australia. And what he heard and saw made him so angry, that his own country could cheat such a good ally as Australia, that he started selling information to the Russians. He was caught and convicted in 1977, one of the most important spies since World War II. He staged a daring escape and was re-captured only last year. Since then, the big American media groups have been trying to get his story but instead, he agreed to speak only to us in a remarkable meeting that took place at Leavenworth Prison in Kansas. So why choose us?
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: Because you are Australian journalists and because what kicked this all off was deception by my government against yours.
RAY MARTIN: What you did, as we described, was the greatest security breach in decades.
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: Serves them right.
RAY MARTIN: Serves them right.
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: That’s my feeling on it. I’ve no regrets. What was going on in Australia, what the twickes I saw concerning your labour unions, like you say, kicked it off. But my primary purpose was personal, personal grudge.
RAY MARTIN: I don’t want to be overly dramatic at all, but did you want to be a martyr.
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: I thought it was a unique way to express myself.
RAY MARTIN: Only the Russians know exactly what secrets Christopher Boyce gave them. But the CIA calls what he did the most damaging act of espionage in decades. Boyce says that what finally turned him into a spy was America’s deception of Australia.
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: My Government was deceiving an ally, perhaps had been an ally for two world wars, English speaking parliamentary democracy. I thought it was indicative of, to what my country had sunk to.
RAY MARTIN: This is Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary in Kansas. It’s a maximum security prison. And right now there are 1,030 men locked up inside here. All of them are regarded as highly dangerous. There are kidnappers, hijackers, mass murderers and others. And there is also Christopher Boyce, the former Catholic altar boy who thought that, for a while, he might become a priest but instead ended up as a notorious Russian spy.
PRISON WARDEN: Ah, so why don’t we go and take a look at the papers in here.
RAY MARTIN: It’s almost as difficult getting into Leavanworth as it is getting out. There’s a film magazine. It’s much the same. The rest is just film. What exactly are you looking for?
PRISON WARDEN: Well, articles of contraband, you know, narcotics, weapons, drugs, anything of this nature.
RAY MARTIN: Boyce’s new quarters in maximum security are a stark contrast to his family home in Palos Verdes in Southern California. His was a safe, affluent, comfortable childhood. The eldest of nine children, with a strict Catholic mother and an FBI agent father, Boyce was the student athlete with an IQ of 140. But the all-American schoolboy grew up to be a traitor.
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: Well, I have no problems with the label traitor, if you qualify what it’s to, and I think that eventually the United States Government is going to involve the world in the next world war. And being a traitor to that, I have absolutely no problems with that whatsoever.
RAY MARTIN: Had you ever been one of those “my country right or wrong” kids?
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: Absolutely. I was brought up in a very conservative home, the right of Kubla Khan. As I got older, I came to see that most everything that I believed in was hipocrisy in this country. Things just aren’t as they appear.
RAY MARTIN: Do you think that shock would have been any less if you hadn’t been brought up in such a strictly conservative family?
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: Well, it never would have happened. What has transpired never would have happened.
RAY MARTIN: Are you, or were you ever, a communist?
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: No.
BILL DOUGHETY: He is rebellious, adventurous, ideological, a non- conformist.
RAY MARTIN: Bill Doughety once worked for the FBI. Now he’s Boyce’s lawyer.
BILL DOUGHETY: I don’t know if it’s enough reason or not, but that’s probably why he did what he did.
RAY MARTIN: Why do you think, I mean, if you had to explain it to someone, why he sold secrets to the Russians?
BILL DOUGHETY: I think that the main reason was adventure. Then I think it was adventure in the crucible of the times of the Vietnam War, the disillusionment of American youth, being fed in the slaughter, time and time again, for no reason. I think these are some of the reasons he did what he did.
RAY MARTIN: Christopher Boyce worked here in Southern California for two years. It may not look like it, but TRW is a top secret installation. This is where they build satellites for the CIA, including the black satellites that spy on Russia and China, and use Pine Gap as a relay station for sending information back here to the United States. Now, within TRW, the most highly classified area was a place called the Black Vault. That was a room where they kept the messages and the codes. Though to work in there, you need to be passed by the FBI, to get a clearance then from the CIA, and beyond that, a clearance from the National Security Agency. At 21, and a College drop-out, Christopher Boyce had them all. Now, for other Californian kids, if they wanted to protest, they could smoke dope or they could burn their draft cards, or they could join the anti-war marchers. For Christopher Boyce, he had something else.
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: Well, I was pretty well astounded with all the gadgetry, and what was going on, and the fact that I had access to all this information. It had never in my wildest dream ever occurred to me that when I went to work for T.R.W. that I would be, in fact, privy to information like that. It was pretty shocking.
RAY MARTIN: How did a 21 year old drop-out, earning $140 a week, get access to those kind of secrets?
BILL DOUGHETY: Well, through the “old boy” network. His father had been an FBI agent, the Chief of TRW Security had been an FBI agent.
RAY MARTIN: He said that. Is that all it takes?
BILL DOUGHETY: That’s all it takes. They had absolutely no security in the Black Vault at TRW. Absolutely no security. The uncontradicted evidence in the trial is that there was a telephone with an extension cord outside the vault that could reach in and theoretically he could have sat at the code machine and read the code coming directly from Langley, CIA Headquarters, and dictated them on the telephone to anywhere in the world. You can’t even do that at a race track.
RAY MARTIN: Boyce was a telex operator for a number of CIA projects, including the Rylite and Argus projects. These were sophisticated, highly-classified spies in the sky, monitoring and photographing military bases and missile launches in the Soviet Union and China. Because Pine Gap in the Northern Territory was an absolutely vital cog in the CIA’s spy satellite network, Canberra and Washington had signed an Executive Agreement under which Australia was to share this secret information.
ANNOUNCER: Information derived from the research programmes conducted at the facilities shall be shared by the two governments.
RAY MARTIN: Boyce and his espionage accomplice, Andrew Dalton Lee, sold the Russians the codes and other secret details of both the Rylite and Argus projects. According to Boyce, that is much more than America’s partner, Australia, ever got.
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: When the Rylite project was first put in place, the Executive Agreement meant that all information was to be shared between the American government and the Australian government. And along came Mr Whitlam. When I went to work for the project, the initial security briefing that I had, I was told that, in fact, we weren’t going to live up to that Agreement, and that we hadn’t been. And that there was information that was being withheld. And also that the Argus project, which was the advanced Rylite project, was to be hidden from the Australians.
RAY MARTIN: What, you were told specifically that, by your…
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: By Rick Smith, the Security Project Director.
RAY MARTIN: Was he CIA?
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: Former.
RAY MARTIN: So you were told that the Americans would not live up to the Agreement, that they had entered into.
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: That all information wouldn’t be shared. No, and wasn’t being shared.
RAY MARTIN: I mean, that’s very important. I mean, there was no attempt to try and hide it. That was part of your briefing.
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: Defintely, yes.
RAY MARTIN: Were you aware, though, that those American bases in Australia had become a very hot political issue?
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: Not to the extent that it was, but there was definetely conversations in the Black Vault, and in the Security Area, with members of TRW Security about the problems with Mr Whitlam.
RAY MARTIN: What, the spoke openly about this, did they?
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: Yes, Mr Whitlam was not a popular figure at all, to say the least.
RAY MARTIN: Did they say why?
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: Well, first of all, his politics, socialistic. Amd the fact that enquiries were being made about the base. You were, Mr Whitlam was, by wanting to know what was going on there, and by publicising it, was compromising the integrity of the project.
RAY MARTIN: Compromising the integrity, what’s that?
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: That’s a familiar term that I heard quite a bit. Mr Whitlam had no business sniffing around the Rylite project, to their view he was on the wrong ball court.
RAY MARTIN: Even though the bases were in Australia?
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: Well, yes. Mr Whitlam’s Government was a threat.
RAY MARTIN: That’s the way they described it?
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: Yes.
RAY MARTIN: Did you get the impression that things had changed once the Labor Government, the Whitlam government, came into office, from what they had been before? And did they change after he left?
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: There was a bit of celebration that Mr Whitlam had been canned, but my instructions as to what was to be sent on to Marino and Casino…
RAY MARTIN: You mean, Marino was Canberra and Casino was Alice Springs?
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: Correct: Did they change, no.
RAY MARTIN: So after Mr Fraser was elected Prime Minister after Mr Whitlam, the instructions were still the same?
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: Remained the same.
RAY MARTIN: Did they talk about how, or why, he was forced out?
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: No, but there was references to your Governor-General by the Central Intelligence residents there at TRW in the Rylite project. They called Mr Kerr “our man Kerr”.
RAY MARTIN: What, the CIA man said that?
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: Yes Joe Harrison said that in the Security Area, one time I overheard that.
RAY MARTIN: Christopher Boyce telling what he knows about the CIA and its meddling in Australian politics. But he goes on to mention other disturbing events, including CIA infiltration of Australian unions. More of that part of the spy story after this break.
RAY MARTIN: More of the story of Christopher Boyce, the disillusioned spy. As he told us in our meeting at Leavenworth Prison, he went over to the Russians after discovering some of the dirty tricks the CIA was ready to play on a good ally like Australia. Working, as he did, on the US spy satellite programme, Boyce could talk to CIA agents and read various telex messages, or as he called them, twixes, coming from and to Australia. What you will hear next are details of how the CIA infiltrated Australian unions, and more of its double dealings, even when the new conservative government of Malcolm Fraser came to power. That was after the sacking of the Whitlam government by this man, the then Governor-General Sir John Kerr.
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: There was references to your Governor-General by the Central Intelligence residents there at TRW in the Rylite project. They called Mr Kerr “Our man Kerr.”
RAY MARTIN: Just two days before a Federal Parliamentary debate was due on the American satellite bases, a CIA telex arrived in Canberra. It warned that Prime Minister Whitlam was in danger of blowing the lid off Pine Gap. The next day, the Whitlam Labor Government was dismissed.
GOUGH WITHLAM: The proclamation which you have just heard read by the Governor-General’s official secretary was countersigned Malcolm Fraser, who will undoubtedly go down in Australian history from Remembrance Day 1975, as Kerr’s cur.
RAY MARTIN: How long did this deception, to use your word, how long did that go on?
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: Concerning the Argus project and the not sharing the information? The entire time I worked for the people, and I imagine it continued right up until the point of my trial, until the Executive Agreement was renegotiated.
RAY MARTIN: So at least two years, the two years that you were there.
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: Yes, and it never changed.
RAY MARTIN: In your trial, you mentioned interference in the Australian unions. What was that?
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: In this particular instance, we had hardware, software and personnel to ship out of Alice Springs, and there was worry over strikes at your airports. They had to do with pilots and air controllers. And there was an area that Petal had a definite need to know because…
RAY MARTIN: That’s TRW?
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: Right. Because strikes would wreck our schedule, and so in this one instance, a twix came from Pilot which said “Pilot will continue to suppress the strike, continue shipment on schedule”. Words to that effect.
RAY MARTIN: So Pilot was the CIA Headquarters at Langley?
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: Langley, Virginia. Yes. The hub of the entire intelligence operation.
RAY MARTIN: Was there any more discussion about that? I mean, what did that imply? That the CIA had infiltrated those unions?
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: Well, my conclusion is, that either Central Intelligence directly or through intermediaries would had to have infiltrated the hierarchy of your trade unions at some level.
RAY MARTIN: So Boyce now had the motivation for espionage, what he calls the CIA’s deception and interference in Australia. Working inside the Black Vault at TRW gave him the opportunity. For two years, Christopher Boyce found it ridiculously simple to steal America’s most highly prized secrets, and hand them to the Russians.
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: My superiors would send me on booze runs to the liquor store, and they would send me out with a sachel, past the guards. The guards knew what the satchel was for, never interfered with what was in it. That way I could take out whatever I wanted. Bringing it back was a bit more trouble if I had to keep it overnight.
RAY MARTIN: So you’d take out the top secret information on the American satellite system, under the pretext of going out to get some liquor.
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: Many times, yes.
RAY MARTIN: And how did you get it back?
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: I had a roll of documents, hundreds and hundreds of them that I’d taken out in the satchel. I bought a pot that evening. I put the documents in a plastic bag, se them in the pot, put dirt over the documents, took a plant that I had bought in a store and stuck that on top of the dirt. I went into the gardener and told him to go out to my car and bring in the potted plant and put it in the Security Area.
RAY MARTIN: So the gardener brough back the documents.
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: Yes.
RAY MARTIN: Was there no trouble?
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: Keystone cops.
RAY MARTIN: Pardon?
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: Keystone cops.
RAY MARTIN: But was there no trouble, in terms of getting that out. I mean, if you are really determined to take out one of these top secret documents, you can do it?
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: Yes.
RAY MARTIN: Time and time again. Take them out, photograph them.
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: Oh, I’d photograph them inside. I would sometimes would just bring the Minox camera inside and do it in the Black Vault. But then no one had access there but myself and a limited amount of other people.
RAY MARTIN: That Black Vault you speak of, I mean, there were stories there of booze parties, of sex parties.
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: Marijuana growing in the plants inside the Communications room. A pretty wild scene. I walked into it, the Black Vault was almost like the project bar. We used to make daiquiries in the document destruction blender.
RAY MARTIN: What, the CIA shredder?
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: Yes.
RAY MARTIN: To make daiquiri drinks.
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: Put it to some use.
RAY MARTIN: Now, again, that’s the Centre. That’s where the top information…
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: They were doing it before I got there. It wasn’t my idea but it made a hell of a daiquiri.
RAY MARTIN: Was there any excitement of being in espionage? Was there a thrill to that?
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: At 21 years old, that’s quite a thrill, yes. It’s high adventure.
RAY MARTIN: High adeventure, and pretty dangerous stuff.
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: It gets a little hard on your adrenalin gland but it’s a very exciting thing to become involved in. There is no way around that. You never knew when they were coming to get you. It tainted everything else in your life. Much as you tried to lead a normal life, above board, regularly you still had this other life behind the curtain which, at any moment, could destroy everything else you had.
RAY MARTIN: How much were you paid by the Russians?
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: Personally or ? About $20,000. Money was never important to me. I knew from the beginning that I would eventually be caught. There was no escape from it.
RAY MARTIN: Once you’d started, there was no escape.
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: Absolutely not. After all, I’m an amateur, 21 years old, and the Central Intelligence Agency had been in business a lot longer than I had. And, to tell you the truth, I didn’t think it would go on longer for a month or two. I was amazed that it went on for two years. Almost two years.
RAY MARTIN: Boyce was finally caught in January 1977. Tried and convicted of espionage, he got the maximum, 40 years. But just two years later, Boyce went over the wall and escaped from Longpoc Federal Prison in California.
RAY MARTIN: There were reports at the time of the fact you’d got out of Longpoc, that you could only have done it with the help of either the Russians, or with the help of the CIA.
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: I did it with the help of the incompetency of the United States Bureau of Prisons. I had no outside help.
PRISON WARDEN: Why did you order this stuff for? You don’t look like the painting type to me.
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: The Bureau of Prisons showed a movie _Escape from Alcatraz_, and it’s a true story. A man escapes from Alcatraz by making a paper mache dummy, putting it in his bed, and he’s counted and then he leaves. I then went to the arts and crafts people at the prison and I asked them for paper mache class, which then showed me how to make the dummy. And I did exactly what was in the movie. I just repeated it. Made the dummy, put it in the bed. And in the meanwhile I was out in a drain by the fence, fences. And, the dummy was counted. So I had an eight hour jump on them. And then I went over the fence, through the razor wire in front of a tower that, the guard in the tower wasn’t on the ball.
RAY MARTIN: Once outside, Boyce survived alone in the woods for months, living off acorns and berries he’d read about in the prison library books.
RAY MARTIN: There were reports at the time that you’d gone to South Africa. Did you go to South Africa?
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: No, I didn’t go to South Africa.
RAY MARTIN: Australia? Alice Springs?
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: No, I missed out on that too.
RAY MARTIN: Were there times when you came close to being caught in those 19 months you were away?
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: When I was pulled over by six officers up in Bonners Ferry, Idaho, late at night, with no I.D., driving the car and, but up in Idaho, they asked me where I was going and I mentioned a friend of the sheriff’s and they let me go.
RAY MARTIN: This is the most, perhaps at that stage, the most wanted fugitive in the country.
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: Well, that’s how they classified it. Then up in Idaho during the ‘80 elections, I was sitting in a restaurant in Sandpoint called `Connies’, eating a ham and egg omelette, and in walks Senator Church, campaigning with his whole entourage, reporters, body guards. And he walks in that restaurant, come up to my table, shook my hand and told me how much he needed my vote. Ruined my breakfast.
RAY MARTIN: But obviously someone was looking after you at that stage. Luck was on your side. Did you think…
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: I have been incredibly lucky. I was lucky to escape. I was lucky that it continued for two years as it had. Incredible luck.
RAY MARTIN: But your luck ran out.
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: Luck always does.
RAY MARTIN: Now you were close to escaping again, weren’t you?
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: Yes, I was talking pilot lessons up on the coast of Washington. I was being instructed by a Brigadier-General in the Air Force, General Georgi, which made me a little nervous.
RAY MARTIN: He didn’t know who you were, of course.
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: No. Then I had two weeks to go to get my pilot’s licence, and then I would have left the country. So the Government caught me within two weeks of my complete freedom.
RAY MARTIN: Why did you stay around for so long? I mean, you were in the country for 19 months. Why didn’t you go, for example, to Russia?
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: Well, I’ll tell you. If you have ever gone to Boundary County, Idaho, it’s some awful nice country, and I had a whole lot of friends up there. And there were so many neat things to do. And I did a lot of hunting, and I hunted bear and elk. And I liked it up there.
RAY MARTIN: So many neat things to do. That doesn’t sound like the Number One Fugitive.
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: Well, I’m not a, I’m not a professional spy, and I’m not a professional anything. I’m an amateur at everything I do, or else I wouldn’t be here right now, sitting here in this prison.
RAY MARTIN: Boyce robbed seventeen small banks whilst on the run. Bank cameras filmed this hold-up with Boyce in disguise. Finally re-captured by the FBI, he was sentenced to a further 25 years in prison, and that was on top of his 40 years for espionage.
BILL DOUGHETY: It’s a terrible waste. He’s a, depending on who do you want to believe, which study, he’s got an IQ of 127 or 140. He is personable, charming guy. Young man, I should say. He is a student of history. Women like him. I don’t want to say that he’s a ladies’ man in that sense, but young girls are drawn to him.
RAY MARTIN: Was there any other way to do it?
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: I suppose there was, but I was 21 and saw things black and white. And it seemed to me my Government had betrayed me long before I ever betrayed them.
RAY MARTIN: Prison wardens are taking no chances this time around. Only three men have escaped from maximum security here at Leavenworth. And they don’t intend Boyce to be number four.
PRISON WARDEN: Will you stand there a second? Ok, guy, you’ve got one.
RAY MARTIN: But if there is no hope of getting out, then Boyce says he’ll have to consider suicide.
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: It would be a viable option.
RAY MARTIN: If the front door was opened, would you walk out.
CHRISTOPHR BOYCE: I’d take off like a jack rabbit.
RAY MARTIN: Christopher Boyce didn’t kill or kidnap anybody. He’s just not a violent man. But what he did do was commit treason. And nobody loves a Russian spy, whatever the reason. As Boyce himself says, the chances of him getting parolled are next to nil, so unless he escapes once again, which seems unlikely, unless he is murdered in here, which is always on the cards, or unless there is some kind of a deal, which nobody is talking about, Christopher Boyce is going to be 94 years old before he walks out of these doors here at Leavenworth.
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: I think that if Mr Nixon’s Government hadn’t gone in flames, I don’t think that this would have happened. But at the same time, it goes way beyond Richard Nixon and Watergate. I think that it’s just the whole general drift of where this government is headed. I think that this Government is a threat to mankind. You can’t protect freedom and liberties behind stock piles of chemical and biological weapons and nuclear weapons. My Government built atomic weapons, used them first, stock piled them first, moved our I.C.B.M.s first, which was a grotesque escalation, and now that the Russians have played catch-up for 20 years and finally achieved equality, the only policy to come out of the White House is build 17,000 more of the monsters. And to me that’s madness.
RAY MARTIN: Your motivation is not pro-Russia as against anti- Washington, anti-American?
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: Correct.
RAY MARTIN: Could it be said that, in getting those secrets for the Russians, that in fact you had thrown into jeopardy the lives of every American man, woman and child?
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: They are already in jeopardy. A Third World War is inevitable.
RAY MARTIN: So you don’t think you added to that at all?
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE: It’s a hard one.
THE CIA IN AUSTRALIA
Transcript radio documentary, Part 1 of a 6 part series. Watching brief, PRNS, October 1986
Welcome to Watching Brief, your national award winning environment program. I’m Jane Lanbrook and this week the first of a six part series on the CIA, the American Central Intelligence Agency, and its involvement in Australia including the overthrow of the Whitlam Government. Only recently, CIA activities have been on the news again. The recent attempt on the life of General Pinochet, the 13th anniversary of the CIA-backed coup which overturned the Allende government in Chile, the continuing war against the Angolan government and CIA involvement in Australia and New Zealand politics have made sure that the Agency’s role, especially in Australia, remains the focus of continuing controversy and concern in the community. In this special two part series, we look at the CIA and its covert operations against governments, trade unions, community organisations and individuals in Australia. Today, in part 1, Tony Douglas looks at the CIA’s global role and then at its covert destabilisation operations against the Whitlam government through the Nugan-Hand bank.
Tony Douglas: The Central Intelligence Agency or CIA was set up in 1947 when the United States Congress passed the National Security Act. Since then the CIA with its large and secret budget has involved itself in the politics of nearly every country in the world. One of its four divisions, innocuously entitled PLANS is responsible for covert actions. Covert Action often means the propping up or overturning of foreign governments. I asked Ralph Mcgehee, a former CIA agent, as to how many governments the CIA had overthrown.
Ralph Mcgehee: The Agency, of course, overthrew the Mossadegh government of Iran to establish the Sha; it overthrew the government of Guatemala in 54, remanents of it are still in control of that country; it overthrew two Uruguayan governments; the government of Brazil in 64, Chile 73. It tried to overthrow the government of Cuba in 61 with the Bay of Pigs; it conducted invasions of China; it was running guerrilla warfare operations in the Soviet Union, Nepal, Albania; it was involving itself in elections in Italy beginning in 48 up to the 70s, it spent a hundred million dollars in various Italian elections; it was involving itself in elections in Germany. In one country, Syria, I’ve counted so far that it has conducted at least seven attempts to overturn the governments there. I don’t know how many were successful—I haven’t got into that area. But the Middle East has been the sort of favourite playground of covert operations. In Africa, of course, the same thing. They are trying right now to overthrow the government of Angola. Recently, they tried to overthrow the government of Ethiopia. I’d say that I don’t think there is a government in Latin America that has neither been overthrown or supported by the CIA. And probably I could say much the same for governments in the Middle East and, less to do, in Africa.
Tony Douglas: The CIA screens its personnel very carefully to carry out these tasks. One such examination was the Externalised Regulated Adaptive Personality Test.
Ralph Mcgehee: They were looking for the total personality picture. They can pick up one element of your personality or another or another and come up with the individual’s total picture. And what they are looking for is the E.R.A. type of personality. In the E mode they are looking for the extrovert who likes to be active, who doesn’t particularly like to sit and think, who doesn’t like to plan in advance but works by trial and error. In the R mode they are looking for the Regulated Individual, or the rigid I call it, a person who sees the world in black and white certainties, there are no shades of grey, a person has trouble feeling sensitivity towards others. Then in the Social Mode they are looking for the A or adaptable individual, a person who will not protest, who adjust his personality to the milieu he finds himself in at the time. So you get this total E.R.A. type of personality which they are looking for, and you recruit this man, knowing this person, knowing his ideological position, always to the right-wing of course. And then you take this sort of personality, put him into the system, indoctrinate him in the tenets that the world is threatened by an international communist conspiracy and you feed him all the so-called “intelligence” the agency collects and you have a sort of a dramatically sealed lifestyle that reality can never penetrate.
Tony Douglas: It must have been a very painful experience for you to move from the position of being a “superpatriot” to working out that the agency that you had given most of your working life to was deceiving people and causing mass murder around the world and subjugating people all over the place. As a personal experience, how long did it take you to really come to grips with that and what sort of levels of pain and suffering did you go through in your family and people around you?
Ralph Mcgehee: I well suited the E.R.A. personality type, I guess, and I tried to hold off reality for several years but I was living in the valley of the beast and my defences sort of crumbled slowly and it was a very.., at first you know, “I can’t believe this is true”, “I don’t want to believe”, and ultimately I had no other recourse but to accept the reality that I was involved in and this was, as you can imagine, extremely painful. Not only was the agency that I had so given my life to but my country was deceiving and killing and all the things that I sort of pondered my personality and like all in the world shown to be deceit so it was extremely painful and, of course, one thought of the various solutions to one’s dilemmas such as suicide which I ultimately rejected in the hope that I could bring my story out.
Tony Douglas: Over the years there have been many reports linking CIA activities with the downfall of the Whitlam government. Does Ralph Mcgehee think they were involved?
Ralph Mcgehee: Well, my views are as though what’s the problem? I mean, we had a whole series of agency spokesmen said, `oh, yes, there was an agency role in the overthrow of the Whitlam government’. I just don’t know why Australians can’t accept that. I did just a little bit of research before I came out and you had Ray Cline, a former Deputy Director of the CIA, saying `when Whitlam came to power there was a period of turbulence and the CIA will go so far as to provide information to people who will bring it to the surface in Australia, say a Whitlam error which they were willing to pump into the system so it may be to his damage and we may provide a particular piece of information to the Australian intelligence services so that they make use of it’. And then the CIA National Intelligence Daily said, `some of the most incriminating evidence in that period against the ministers in the Whitlam government may have been fabricated.’ This is but as strong as you get to say so. It is quite obvious that information was being leaked about ministers Rex O’Connor and Jim Cairns and some of it was being forged which is a standard CIA process. Jim Flynn, who was associated with elements who were involved with the Nugan-Hand bank, he said that he was involved in manufacturing the cables and leaking them to the press. Now he would not be a very credible source except that he worked for Nugan-Hand. Admiral Booby Inman, former Deputy Director of the National Security Agency and Deputy Director of the CIA, said on two occasions that he expressed deep concern that investigations of Nugan-Hand would lead to disclosure of a range of dirty tricks played against the Whitlam government. You have the statements by Christopher Boyce who was in a relay point for information from the CIA and in his trial he said that `if you think what the agency did in Chile was bad, in which they did spent 80 million dollars overturning the government of Chile there, the Allende government, you should see what they are doing in Australia’. On the Shackley Cable, which was a virtual ultimatum to the head of ASIO to do something about the Whitlam government, it is sort of prima facie evidence of CIA interference in the Whitlam government. This was on November 10. On November 11, Governor-General John Kerr dismissed the Whitlam government on a parliamentary technicality. John Kerr earlier had been the founder of Law Asia, a CIA-front organisation.
Tony Douglas: The question in most Australians’ minds is why would the CIA want to bring down the government of a loyal ally, after all it was the wartime Labor administrations who build up the special relationship with America. Jerry Aaron, co-author of ROOTED IN SECRECY, a book that examines the clandestine element in Australian politics looks back at the early days of the Whitlam government.
Jerry Aaron: There was immediately a reaction about a Labor government coming to power and the initial acts of Whitlam in the first few weeks did probably fuel their worst fears that here was a government dedicated to social reform and, of course, from then on they would have looked for further evidence of misdemeanour against the right-wing ethics of the CIA and of the U.S. administration. And those were long in force coming because it was quite clear that certain ministers, and you had to remember that ministers in the Whitlam government had some stature, contrary to those of Labor governments, and certain ministers particularly Connor was obviously out to as he called it, `buy back the farm for Australia’. In other words, to get back some of the resources which were dominated by the overseas companies which had purchased them earlier. And no doubt they got even more worried when a person like Jim Cairns was made Treasurer—Jim Cairns was a very well known anti-Vietnam war activist. So there were probably a whole heap of things which the CIA could blow up to demonstrate that this was a raving red alert that had been projected into power in Australia and had to be get rid of at all costs.
Tony Douglas: It would seem that a lot of the statements about the Vietnam war made by Labor ministers, particularly the bombing of Hanoi by the Nixon administration, and the well-known anti-Vietnam record of people like Jim Cairns specifically upset Henry Kissinger.
Jerry Aaron: Yes, well, that’s very true. In fact, Kissinger had a personal hatred for Whitlam. Certainly, more than a political fear which sprang from the domino theory and similar nonsense and one must assume that the fact, for instance, Task Force 157 was set up separately from the CIA sprang from the fact that they didn’t even trust the CIA to do the right thing by Australia.
Tony Douglas: What is Task Force 157?
Jerry Aaron: The Task Force 157 was a group set up by Henry Kissinger and it was set up in a quite strange way. It was a mini- CIA which was actually separate from the CIA and probably was set up by Kissinger so he could deny any connection between what the Task Force 157 was doing and the CIA. Nevertheless, the personnel of Task Force 157 included Ted Shackley, who was one of the head of sabotage operations against Cuba, he was Station Chief in Saigon during the Vietnam War, and he was the Chief of the CIA Western Hemisphere Division, so with an impeccable CIA record like that it would be very difficult to disassociate him from what the CIA was doing. The concept of Task Force 157 seems to have been two-fold: firstly, to set up operations against the Whitlam government. And secondly, to go ahead with using Australia as a base for certain clandestine U.S. operations such as arms dealing and smuggling of contraband goods.
Tony Douglas: The subsequent inquiries have established the Nugan- Hand bank was to be the organisation used as cover for the operations of Task Force 157. According to Victor Marchetti, a former CIA officer and author of THE CIA AND THE CULT OF INTELLIGENCE, the Nugan-Hand bank is typical of the organisations used by the CIA in their style of operations.
Victor Marchetti: There are actually three kind of organisations that the CIA uses and I think we should keep those in mind as we talk. One is what is called the proprietary organisation. This is an organisation that is owned, operated and controlled by the CIA, such as Air America was and certain other large airlines. China Airlines for example, Civil Air Transport, Southern Air Transport and the like. Then there is something that is more of a front organisation. These are usually a lot smaller and have a much more specific purpose and are less tightly controlled, maybe a consulting firm of some sort, that’s its cover but it’s really used as a firm like the one here in Washington that came up during the Watergate affair. There is a third kind of organisation which is really an independent organisation but it is closely allied to the CIA not only in ideology, because many of the people who work for are ex-CIA people and they have mutual goals in some instances, or at least their goals run parallel in some instances but in the other hand they operate independently. This is like Interarmco which does a lot of its own work, of course it is an independent organisation, but it’s run by a former CIA man. He does favours, or used to do favours for the agency and viceversa. Nugan-Hand, from what I know about it, seems to fall into this larger category. It doesn’t seem to be a proprietary in the full sense of the word, that is owned and controlled by the agency nor does it seem to be a simple front organisation. It seems to be more of an independent organisation with former CIA people connected with it. They are in business to make money but because of their close personal relationship with the agency they would do favours for the agency and this would include providing cover in some instances for operators. It would include laundering of money. It would include cut outs for any sort of highly clandestine activity the agency is involved in but does not want to be in any way directly connected with.
Tony Douglas: Nugan-Hand bank relationship to the CIA can be traced through its employees, most of whom have an intelligence background. Here top Australian investigative journalist Brian Toohey tells Andrew Phillips about the background and actions of senior Nugan-Hand personnel.
Brian Toohey: It turns out that some of the people directly involved with the bank, Michael Hand, an ex-American Green Beret, went on from the Green Berets to work in intelligence work for the US government. Bernie Hawthorn who ended up as number 3 in the bank and the manager in Saudi Arabia for the bank and before that had been running restaurants and so forth in Sydney. He has got an intelligence background, US intelligence background, and in fact an ex-member of the British Secret Intelligence Service, Peter Wilcott, who knows of him, said both to me and to Australian narcotics authorities in some recorded interview with the Narcotics Authority that Hawthorn was working as an undercover intelligence operative in Australia and he had been in Australia since the late 60s. Wilcott says that this was told to him by people like Admiral Yates, who was a president of the bank in the United States, and General Black who was the Hawaii representative.
Andrew Phillips: Admiral Yates? Where does he fit in all this?
Brian Toohey: He was the American president of the bank and also of the Cayman Islands branch which is normally used as a tax heaven, good secrecy provision prevail there for banking operations. The actual bank operated out of its offices here in Cay Street in Washington, DC, run by a General Cok who is quite close to the White House. He claims to have no connection with the bank at all but it’s matter of record that in fact he introduced Yates for lobbying purposes for a particular scheme they had in mind, two people in the White House. Cok himself has got all sort of intelligence connections. For instance, he as an Air Force General provided the B-26 bombers that were used in the Bay of Pigs episode in which the CIA attempted to use Cuban refugees to in the early 60s invade Cuba, a total disaster.
Andrew Phillips: Bernie Hawthorn was another in the scenario. He apparently was connected in some way to a John D. Walker who was the CIA Station Chief in Australia during the Labor years.
Brian Toohey: Bernie Hawthorn. Yes, he is an American who went out to Australia and set up restaurants in Sydney to take advantage of the RNR situation during the Vietnam war. And I’m told here by other people as well as by Peter Wilcott that he has got an intelligence background. John D. Walker was the Station Chief of the CIA in Australia whilst the Labor government was in power. I asked him the other day about his connections to Hawthorn and he said they were purely social. Someone else told me that he saw them together a lot and Walker says `no, it’s a purely social thing’. As far as he knows, Hawthorn was not involved in intelligence. In fact, he implied that he wasn’t a suitable sort of person for it and says he doesn’t know of any activities he was involved at all in Australia. The other connection that Hawthorn has got is with a man called Wilson, Edwin P. Wilson, who was a very senior member of a thing called Task Force 157 which was a very secret group within the US Naval Intelligence Office. It’s job was kind of on the ground human intelligence activities and Wilson run was…it’s known as the proprietary companies and those were companies which were set up as ordinary businesses but were in fact used to channel money and so forth and give cut outs to personnel in the whole operation. And I’m told that one of the companies associated with this is Australasian and Pacific Holdings, which is a company started by Mike Hand in Australia in the late 1960s and a number of the shareholders in that were members of Air America, a CIA proprietary airline.
Andrew Phillips: And Bernie Hawthorn? According to Peter Wilcott, of whom we have talked about already, claims that Hawthorn was a CIA undercover agent working in Sydney as well as a restaurateur.
Brian Toohey: That’s what he says he has been told. Don’t forget that Wilcott himself is a former senior member of the British Secret Intelligence Service and knows quite a bit about this.
Andrew Phillips: Hawthorn also allegedly has connections to Admiral Lloyd Basil who has connections again to this Task Force 157.
Brian Toohey: Well, Wilcott says that he recalls that Hawthorn used to work for Basil in an intelligence role. I’ve since contacted Basil who just doesn’t want to talk about any of this but denies that particular thing. He won’t deny that he was the one who introduced Wilcott to Admiral Yates in an attempt to set up Wilcott getting a job with the bank. Wilcott, when he got a bit of a smell of what was going in the bank, turned down the job prospect and in fact went to Australian and U.S. authorities to suggest that not all was well with this bank.
Andrew Phillips: Another name that crops up is Guy Parker.
Brian Toohey: Yes, G. McDonald told me that his introduction to the bank came from Guy Parker. Parker has been a long time employee of the Rand Corporation, a U.S. government sponsored think tank out in the West Coast here and his speciality is in Asian Affairs, particularly Indonesia. Now he denies outright of ever having received a cent or ever working for the CIA which is flatly contradicted by a number of people here who have worked for the CIA and admit to working with him. And I was given another example of how Parker was involved in an original CIA attempt to sponsor rebellion in 1958 against the Sukarno government in Indonesia. Parker is extremely hot under the colour of any suggestion that he is involved in any way in intelligence activities and much more is really upset in the connection that he has with this bank. He keeps stressing to you that he is an absolute honoured academic around the world, that he is a true scholar, that prime ministers and presidents receive him at will and that he doesn’t want to be mixed up with this. Well, the truth of the matter is that he is mixed up with it. He went down to Sydney to give a lecture to the bank, he went to a conference they held in Manila, he made introductions for Nugan-Hand around Indonesia with senior levels of the oil industry. He introduced G. McDonald to the bank and so on.
Andrew Phillips: So with all of this certainly circumstantial evidence how do you see in a kind of general summation this activity fitting in the activities of the Special Task Force 157 in Australia?
Brian Toohey: I know it as a hard fact and I’m not really in a position to detail it all at the moment, but Task Force 157 was involved in covert activities against the Labor government attempting to destabilise the Labor government. That much I have as a hard fact from an impeccable source here. I think over time more details will come out and certainly the intelligence community here fears that more details will come out and knows that more details can come out on how exactly it happened.
Jane Lanbrook: That special report was produced by Tony Douglas with the assistance of Andrew Phillips in New York. You heard former CIA agents Ralph McGehee and Victor Marchetti; journalists Brian Toohey and Jerry Aaron, co-author of the book ROOTED IN SECRECY. Next week THE LOANS AFFAIR, Sir John Kerr and continuing CIA operations inside the Australian Labor movement.
That’s all on Watching Brief this week. If you’d like more information or cassette copies of the program or if you have information that may be of interest contact us at Public Radio News Services. Post Office Box 103, Fitzroy, Vic 3065. Or call us on Melbourne 417 7304. Watching Brief is produced by Ian Wood and Tony Douglas for the Public Broadcasting Network of Australia. I’m Jane Lanbrook and I hope you’ll tune in again next week at the same time for Watching Brief, Public Radio’s National Environment Program.
-------- End Part 1 of a 6 part series. Transcription: Jose Gutierrez
THE CIA IN AUSTRALIA
Part 2 of a 6 part series Watching Brief, PRNS, October 1986
Ralph McGehee: The Shackley Cable, which was a virtual ultimatum to the head of ASIO to do something about the Whitlam government, is a sort of prima facie evidence of CIA interference in the Whitlam government. This was on November 10. On November 11, Governor-General John Kerr dismissed the Whitlam government on a parliamentary technicality.
Brian Toohey: I know as a hard fact that Task Force 157 was involved in covert activities against the Labor government. That much I have as a hard fact from an impeccable source here.
Jane Lanbrook: That was former CIA agent Ralph McGehee and journalist Brian Toohey talking on this program last week about CIA actions against the Whitlam government. The destabilisation campaign was run by the top secret Task Force 157 under the cover of the Nugan-Hand bank. Welcome to the second part of Watching Brief for this week. I’m Jane Lanbrook and now in the second part of our series, The CIA in Australia, Tony Douglas looks at the effects of that destabilisation campaign, the so-called LOANS AFFAIRS, the dismissal of the Whitlam government and the role of former US ambassador Marshall Green.
Tony Douglas: In early 1973 the United States appointed Marshall Green as ambassador to Australia. His appointment was a sign of US uneasiness over the election of the Labor government. By the time of Green’s departure, in September 1975, many in the Labor party felt similarly unease over the role played by the master diplomat in destabilising the Whitlam government. One who saw the early signs was Joan Coxsedge, now a Victorian Labor MP, who in 1973 formed the Committee for the Abolition of Political Police.
Joan Coxsedge: Well, I think it’s important for people to understand that Green wasn’t just any old ambassador. First of all, he was the first career diplomat that we had in this country unlike the sort of calibre person we normally get who are rewarded for kicking in money to the Republican or Democratic parties. He was a very very senior man indeed. In fact, he was mentioned in the Pentagon papers as being a high-level policy maker for America in Southeast Asia and he had known CIA connections. So, quite obviously, the alarm bells rang back in Washington with the election of a Labor government. They were worried about policies that we had to close down the bases to exert more independence generally on our economy and they wanted somebody to not only monitor, I suggest, to lead a destabilisation of the elected government. God knows he had plenty of experience, he had been involved in quite a few coups in Southeast Asia including the very bloody one in Indonesia.
Tony Douglas: Joan Coxsedge’s suspicions about Green were shared by Whitlam’s Cabinet Minister Clyde Cameron who had many face to face meetings with the American ambassador.
Clyde Cameron: Marshall Green was for many many years a top CIA operative who orchestrated the overthrow of the Sukarno government which led to the installation of President Suharto. He was involved in the CIA intrigue in Vietnam and in the overthrow of the government of Greece. He’s a very very skilled operative in the art of destabilisation of governments that the United States doesn’t approve of.
Tony Douglas: What was his method of operation?
Clyde Cameron: Well, his method of operation was to make close contact with the military of a particular country, those who own and control the media, and to generally infiltrate the sections of governments where policy or decision-making takes place. And if he is unsuccessful in giving the right decisions there, well, the next step would always be to get the army to organise a coup. That’s what happened in Indonesia, a phoney uprising was organised by the CIA in order to give justification for the military coup that followed. And the same happened with the assassination of Deben in South Korea. Where a ruler is unable to bring about the kind of decisions that suits the CIA or where a ruler doesn’t even try to do so, then, the next step is to organise some pretence for military action. The same sort of thing happened in Chile in 1973. And one of the first people he called on after visiting the Prime Minister and having already put in his credentials to the Governor- General was me. And as he was walking through the door of my office I saluted him in the normal way, `please to meet you your excellency, take a seat,’ and before he could take a seat I said `what would you do if our government decided to nationalise the Australian subsidiaries of the various American multinational corporations?’ and he’d been caught by surprise, he wasn’t accustomed to a minister asking that sort of question whilst he was in the process of taking his seat, and he blurted out: `oh, we’ll move in’. I said, `oh, move in? like bringing the marines in?. He said, `oh…’ he looked a bit uncomfortable by now, although he’s a senior man he didn’t expect being caught off guard, he was very uncomfortable and he said, `oh, no, the days of sending the marines has passed but there are plenty of other things we could do’. I said, `for example?’. He said, `well, trade’. And I said, `do you realise that if you stop trading with Australia you would be the loser to the extent of 600 million dollars a year’, that was the balance of trade figures at that time. He said, `oh, well, there are other things’. And he didn’t elaborate but, of course, there are other things.
Tony Douglas: In 1974 the conservative coalition blocked supply to force an early election. The move backfired and Whitlam was comfortably re-elected. The prospect was now a Whitlam government until 1977 with prominent left-winger Jim Cairns elevated to the positions of Treasurer and Deputy Prime Minister. In that time the lease of Pine Gap would come up for renewal and Minerals and Energy Minister Rex Connor would have time to gain control over Australia’s vast and mostly foreign owned basic commodities. It was at this stage that two big players wandered on to the national political stage, offering cheap loans to finance the plans for buying back the farm. It led to the media circus known as `The Loans Affairs’.
Joan Coxsedge: Well, this was the so-called `scandal’ if you like of 1975 and the scandal of the Loans Affairs filled countless pages of newspapers day in, day out, week in, week out, the whole year, and I think the Loans Affairs showed what a tremendous performance the CIA could actually turn on when they really put their minds up to it and it started off in February 1975 when copies of telexes and other documents, some were genuine but some undoubtedly forged, came flooding in from all over the world, you know, like on queue, very highly orchestrated. And Australians were asked to believe that we were the victims of a monstrous conspiracy in that members of our Parliament were about to sell off our country to the Arabs. And, if you actually have a look at the facts, I think they are worth going back to, and that is that the ruling circles in OPEC countries had accumulated huge amounts of money following the great leapt in oil prices in 1973 and they certainly invested thousands of millions of dollars privately in the United States and elsewhere and had made loans to British, French, Danish, Italian and Japanese governments without raising a commotion at all.
An Executive Council meeting of the Australian government met on the 13 of December of 1974 and they authorised Rex Connor, who at that stage (he’s dead now) was the Minister for Minerals and Energy, to seek loans of up to 4,000 million dollars to deal with, this is a direct quote, `with exigencies arising out of the current situation and international energy crisis and to strengthen Australia’s external financial position to provide immediate protection for Australia in regard to supply of minerals and energy’. This was a very important concept for Australians to have. But the authority wasn’t given to Treasury because they were known to be treacherous and they were known to be very hostile to departmental heads of the government and, although this decision was supposed to be secret, it wasn’t very long before offers to assist in that search came from some very strange quarters: from a very odd gentleman called T. Khemlani and he was supposed to be a financier from Pakistan.
He approached Rex Connor and eventually, and I think that Connor was caught as fool, but he authorised Khemlani to run around all the OPEC countries to seek out funds for the government. Now as it turned out, Khemlani was sent by a Hong Kong arms firm which had very close associations with a crowd called Commerce International and Commerce International is a very powerful Brussels-based armaments outfits with documented links to the CIA. And a short time after that, we had a Melbourne businessman by the name of George Harris. He contacted our Federal Treasurer, Dr Jim Cairns, with an offer of overseas loan money. Now Harris’ overseas principles were none other than the New York office of Commerce International and they were the same firm that were in Khemlani’s background. So there is a whole lot of controversy surrounding the negotiations between Cairns and Harris and you get different accounts but I think the most worthwhile account is the one that was taken from the statutory declaration made a lot later by a Sydney businessman by the name of Leslie Nagi and that was tabled by Jim Cairns in the Federal Parliament and Nagi was the senior partner of Alco International in which he held a sixty percent interest with George Harris, who joined on the 1st of March 1974 and he held a forty percent interest.
Now, according to Hansard, Nagi received a call from an acquaintance insisting that Harris should be present at the meeting with another intermediary in Dr Cairns’ office. And at that time Harris was very prominent and influential as a member of the Carlton football club and he was on very friendly terms with many leading members of the establishment such as Sir Robert Menzies, Sir John Bunting who had been the Australian High Commissioner in London in 1975 and who was a former head of the Prime Minister’s department and consultant to the Office of National Assessments [ONA]. And we had Philip Lynch coming in. Philip Lynch, who died a number of years go, was a Deputy Leader and Shadow Treasurer of the Federal anti-Labor opposition. But, as well as that, Harris also had a close association with a number of very important people in the Victorian Liberal government.
And so, Harris first approached Cairns in a letter dated 16th November 1974 and he sought approval for himself and Nagi to negotiate overseas loans for state government authorities. Now Cairns was told by Treasury, `No’, so Harris got the funds down but at a later meeting in Cairns’ office, and that was on the 7th of March 1975, Harris produced a telex from a New York company called Sunlight. But Sunlight was offering 4,000 million dollars at a 7.2 percent interest with an outrageous 2.5 percent brokerage. Now people today may think that’s not very high, but back in 1975, you know, 2.5 percentage brokerage for a 4,000 million dollars loan was considered utterly outrageous. But he also produced a letter showing that the money would be supplied by Commerce International. We keep coming back to Commerce International.
Now Cairns flatly refused to agree to these terms. And so Harris was left in and out of office to dictate a draft letter to one of Dr Cairns’ secretaries and, apparently, Harris knew her very well. So she came out of Dr Cairns office and handed the signed letter to Harris who, according to Nagi, lost no time in heading for the door. Now the finished letter of authorisation was addressed to Alco International and endorsed a 2.5 percent commission, two conditions that Cairns had— according to Nagi— flatly rejected only a few minutes before. So subsequently Cairns gave Harris, whom he trusted implicitly, further letters of authorisation and Harris and Nagi went overseas to raise the money promised by Commerce International and, of course, you can imagine that during these trips Harris made full use of his friendship with Sir John Bunting to show that these letters of authority were absolutely genuine but, not surprisingly, the search for the loans proved highly elusive. One or two tentative offers were made but they turned out to be totally false but one in particular appeared to almost be complete and ironically the intermediary was none other than the Narodni Bank of Moscow. But after Rex Connor’s first authority to Khemlani expired in January 1975 with no results, Connor was given a new authority on the 28th January 1975 to raise 2,000 million dollars. Once again, nothing was forthcoming from Khemlani so the second authority was rebuked on the 20th May 1975. Now, according to Nagi in his statement, he formed the opinion that no low interest money had ever been available. That’s a view that’s shared by many other people.
Tony Douglas: If the money for these loans was never there in the first place who was T. Khemlani, the mysterious Pakistani financier. Co-author of ROOTED IN SECRECY Jerry Aaron looks at his subsequent career.
Jerry Aaron: We do know that in 1981 he was actually employed as the Italian companies manager in Haiti which is run by the government and in 1981 he was found guilty of trying to move timber in stolen US dollars out of the US on behalf of the mafia and he was given a life sentence for turning state evidence. So, perhaps he is available for further work now. One of the interesting features of this Khemlani affair is that just before Whitlam was dismissed from office he got a letter from Hawaii which contained a copy of the message which was allegedly sent to Fraser giving details of the role Khemlani was playing there and which was being paid for in order to destroy the Labor government. And the message contained instructions which should be decoded before transmission by calling a certain number, which turned out to be the Hawaiian headquarters of the CIA.
Tony Douglas: If the CIA set up the Whitlam government it got great assistance from two quarters. Firstly, the Labor ministers themselves who used go-betweens like Harris and Khemlani neither of whom had the necessary bona fides to conduct such negotiations and both of whom were depending on the arms company Commerce International to supply the money, a company with documented CIA links. However, they also received crucial assistance from the Australian media who blew up the story. Was this done, as Clyde Cameron suggested, by Marshall Green cultivating three or four media owners in Australia or has the CIA penetrated the media itself? That’s the question I put to former CIA agent Ralph McGehee.
Ralph McGehee: Well, the first thing that the agency tries to build or create is penetrations into the media of the world. They had a worldwide organisation. And this was penetration of media assets around the world and they called it “the world” because that brings a name of an organ and here is an organ which you can play any propaganda you want anywhere in the world. So, the fact that the media took it up [in Australia] one can suspect heavy CIA involvement.
Tony Douglas: When Green left Australia in September 1975 all the pieces were in place. The Loans Affairs had discredited the government and given the Opposition leader Malcolm Fraser the reprehensible circumstances he needed to block supply. In addition, the complexion of the Senate had been altered by dubious constitutional devices to give the coalition parties the numbers to force the government to the polls. But what if the government refused to go. That pushed the Governor-General Sir John Kerr right to the centre of the political stage. Kerr had been appointed Governor-General in 1974 by Whitlam himself. The appointment was strongly opposed by many in the Labor party including the present Prime Minister Bob Hawke.
Jerry Aaron: Well, John Kerr came from a working class background and then he made his way through Law School. At the end of World War II we find him working in the Directorate of Research and Civil Affairs and by this time he was a Lieutenant Colonel and he made contact in this capacity with the intelligence agencies overseas on behalf of Australia. Then, when the war came to an end, Kerr joined the ALP and represented the ALP legally but the sort of flirting with the ALP didn’t last very long. He became increasingly conservative and ultimately became a darling of the Establishment. He was a very…I’m not allowed to say people are right-wing judges because they are supposed to give impartial judgement, but he was certainly the person responsible for jailing Claire O’Shade and I suppose the sentence in this case was up to him and this created the greatest post-war industrial upheaval in Australia leading virtually to a general strike.
Joan Coxsedge: Well, of course, he had connections with two well- known CIA sponsor outfits. One was the Australian Association for Cultural Freedom. Kerr was very disappointed actually because although he had been a long-time member of the Australian Association for Cultural Freedom he failed to make the presidency of that organisation, but he did serve as the first president for two terms of Law Asia from 1966 and that’s another well-known CIA front.
Tony Douglas: So how did Kerr behave from the days leading up to the dismissal. One man near the centre of the action was Whitlam Cabinet Minister Clyde Cameron.
Clyde Cameron: What I do know is that as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Kerr had been in communication with chiefs of the Armed Forces. I know the Governor-General’s office had been in touch with the American embassy. They contemplated the possibility of a general strike in which there would be a revolt of the trade union movement resulting in a complete shutdown of all power or gas supplies or transport, all activity, even the waterworks, the sewage, everything would have been cut off. The country couldn’t have lasted any more than 24 hours. So, if was decided that the army would be put on red alert so in the eventuality of that sort of thing happening they would be able to move in. And in the event of the army finding that the whole matter had gone beyond their control… because what could the army do? They couldn’t man the power stations and the water-works and the sewage plants and all the transport facilities with the kind of army we’ve got. And it was then decided that they would call on the Americans to send in the Pacific Fleet and would stand ready to take and bombard Sydney.
Tony Douglas: For most Australians the dismissal is an uncomfortable reminder of a turbulent period of Australian politics. If they reflect on the events of 1975 at all, the scenario of an Australian Governor-General using the authority of the English Crown to trigger a series of events that would lead to the American Fleet bombing an Australian city to bring about the downfall of a duly elected government is beyond belief. Surely these things only occur in banana republics. Whether or not that is the scenario of 1975 it’s evident that the CIA was deeply implicated and that leading conservative politicians knew in advance of Kerr’s actions.
Joan Coxsedge: There is a very fascinating document that we reproduced, because we thought that was so very interesting. It involves Andrew Peacock, now at that stage of course he was widely tipped to succeed Malcolm Fraser as leader of the conservative Liberal Party, which he did and subsequently lost. In 1975 it showed that during a parliamentary debate that was written up in Hansard it was revealed that towards the end of September 1975, almost two months before the coup toppled the Whitlam government, during a visit to Bali Andrew Peacock disclosed amazing detailed knowledge of the scenario that was to take place on the 11th of November 1975. One of the crucial things, as far as Peacock is concerned, is that the conversation took place with Bakin which is the notorious Indonesian Secret Police.
Bakin’s report of the meeting, the part that is most interesting to us is the bits on Australian domestic policies and, according to Mr Peacock, he said at that time the opposition parties were leading 20 percent in the opinion polls over the Labor party and in order to win a general election it was sufficient to have only 3 percent and the opposition wanted to force an early general election and he mentioned November 1975. And he said that he also really wanted to see this three-year terms fulfilled of the Labor government, he didn’t really want to force a general election by rejecting the supply bill in the senate but he felt his party would be forced to agree to bring on a general election because pressure was already strong enough, because he said that 9 out of 11 members of the Shadow Cabinet agreed with the bringing on of an election.
He said, `there might be a bit of a problem with two Liberal senators who would not follow the command of the party’, which also proved to be true, but he said if the supply bill can really be rejected by the senate the following scenario would develop: Prime Minister Whitlam is not prepared to dissolve the Parliament and the senate, which would be a double dissolution, and he would therefore continue to govern without a budget and, as a result, he would not be able to pay the wages, you know, public servants, and the situation will become chaotic. Another option was that Whitlam may appeal against the senate to the High Court and that would mean a constitutional battle would result.
And the third suggestion he made was that Whitlam would not agree to a double dissolution or to hold a general election and this, he said, the Governor-General Sir John Kerr 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 and what can happen is that Malcolm Fraser is appointed Prime Minister and a minute later he asks the Governor-General to dissolve Parliament and the senate following which a general election is to be held. Now, as we know this was released by Bakin in September 1975 and the scenario proved to be remarkable accurate.
ANNOUNCER: [People’s shouts of `WE WANT GOUGH, WE WANT GOUGH, in the background] The Governor-General of Australia who by this proclamation dissolves the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Given under my hands on the great seal of Australia on the 11th of November 1975, by his excellency’s command, Malcolm Fraser as Prime Minister…GOD SAVE THE QUEEN. -------------------
End part 2 of a 6 part series Transcription: Jose Gutierrez
THE CIA IN AUSTRALIA
Part 3 of a 6 part series Watching Brief, PRNS, October 1986
ANNOUNCER: [People’s shouts of `WE WANT GOUGH, WE WANT GOUGH, in the background] The Governor-General of Australia who by this proclamation dissolves the Senate and the House of Representatives. Given under my hands on the great seal of Australia on the 11th of November 1975, by his excellency’s command, Malcolm Fraser Prime Minister, John Arthur Governor-General. GOD SAVE THE QUEEN.
Jane Lanbrook: Welcome to the second part of Watching Brief this week. I’m Jane Lanbrook and now in the third part of our series examining the activities of the CIA in Australia we look at the role of the Pine Gap military communications base in connection with the fall of the Whitlam government.
GOUGH WHITLAM: The proclamation which you have just heard read by the Governor-General’s official secretary was countersigned Malcolm Fraser…[people’s shouts of BOO BOO BOO]…who will undoubtedly go down in Australian history from remembrance day 1975 as Kerr’s cur.
Tony Douglas: So the first Labor government for a generation was gone. It had been in office for three years but hadn’t really been given the opportunity to govern. Twice in that time the conservative parties blocked supply and countless other pieces of legislation were also defeated in the Senate. As his government came under daily assault through the building up of the Loans Affairs, the Marosi Affair and other diversions, Whitlam struck back at his enemies blowing away some of the secrecy surrounding Pine Gap. Former Whitlam Cabinet Minister Clyde Cameron recalls.
Clyde Cameron: We were never told that Pine Gap was a CIA installation and it wasn’t until Gough Whitlam publicly declared that Richard Stallings was a CIA operative and that he had been in charge of the Pine Gap installation that we knew that Pine Gap was a CIA installation and I believe that at the very beginning Gough Withlam and the Minister for Defence were led to believe that it was a pretty harmless sort of operation. But you’ve got to remember that just about the time the dismissal took place, the Australian government had to make a decision as to whether it would renew the leases of these American installations on Australian soil and there is every reason to believe that the Americans were fearful that the leases wouldn’t be renewed. That would be a good enough reason, in their view, for moving in to destabilise the government and to bring about its overthrow to say nothing of any threat that our policies may have for their Australian investments in the multinational area.
Tony Douglas: Whitlam’s exposure of Stallings also revealed another interesting fact and that was that Stallings was staying at National Party Leader Dough Anthony’s flat in Canberra. From November 2 to November 6, 1975, Whitlam repeated these charges and demanded a list of all CIA agents in Australia. The CIA in turn demanded that ASIO reported to them on what Whitlam was up to. A cable from a senior CIA official and Task Force 157 member, Ted Shackley, on November 10 accused Whitlam of being a security risk and asked ASIO to do something about it. The Head of the Defence Department, Arthur Tange, described it as, quote: `The greatest risk to our nation’s security that there has ever been’, unquote, meanwhile Whitlam said he would detail the operations of Pine Gap in Parliament on the afternoon of November 11. It wasn’t until years later that details about the Pine Gap base and American fears that its top secret role would be disclosed were linked to the downfall of the Whitlam government. That link came to life when Chris Boyce, a cypher clerk at TRW—a Californian based aerospace corporation, was charged with espionage in 1977. Boyce was working in the black vault where information from Australia was directed to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. Kelly Johnson of the Christopher Boyce Alliance takes up the story.
Kelly Johnson: The information was mostly coming from Pine Gap, Nurrungar and Canberra, from the CIA stations there. It’s difficult to know actually what the content was, it’s obviously very secret what the content was, but it came into the communications relay room where Boyce worked. He then sent the information on to CIA headquarters in Langley and sent certain information back to Australia.
Tony Douglas: Now Australia and the United States had signed an Executive Agreement to share intelligence from Pine Gap. Did Boyce find that his practical experience was all that intelligence information shared?
Kelly Johnson: No, in fact he was told in the very beginning, during the briefing for the job, that although that Executive Agreement had been signed America was not honouring it and it was emphasised to Boyce that he must be very particular in what he sent back to Australia.
Tony Douglas: What was the result of him becoming incensed by what he saw his country’s duplicity with regard to one of his allies, what did he do as a result of that?
Kelly Johnson: It took several months for Boyce to actually do anything. From the first day Boyce was working in the vault an employee who was working with him used to tell Boyce stories about how easy it would be to pass certain information on to the Russians and how much money they would get for it. And this co-worker actually worked out the best and safest method for taking this information to the Russians. At first Boyce used to ignore this and then one day he discovered a telex message outlining the way the CIA had infiltrated the leadership of Australia’s unions and were manipulating them to their own aims. And following that he then discovered information relating the way the CIA was planning to destabilise the Whitlam government and it was then that the scenario that this co-worker had planned in advance for this contact with the Russians that Boyce carried it out.
Tony Douglas: What allegations did Boyce make about CIA involvement in Australian politics and under what conditions has he made these statements?
Kelly Johnson: Well, he tried to make specific allegations under oath during his trial but he was blocked except on two occasions when he talked of the CIA infiltrating the leadership of the Australian unions and he also talked about the daily deception that America practices against Australia at Pine Gap. Since his conviction he’s been interviewed on two separate occasions. On the first occasion by Australia’s 60 minutes and then by an Australian journalist named William Pimwill in which he made rather more specific allegations. But it has been very difficult to get hold of a transcript of the 60 minutes interview in order to be more specific on what he said.
Tony Douglas: Now Boyce was charged with espionage along with his partner Daulton Lee. It was basically around then passing on information in the so-called Pyramider file. Now what was the Project Pyramider?
Kelly Johnson: Pyramider was a project involving a satellite that was used solely for espionage. It was a system of push-button communications whereby human spy agents on the ground could communicate with the satellite in space which would relay the message directly to CIA headquarters in Langley.
Tony Douglas: When was this research project into Pyramider or this file compiled?
Kelly Johnson: It was first proposed in the late 1960s to TRW, which was the company that Boyce was working for, and it was in 1973 that TRW actually put their plans forward to the CIA with an estimate that it would cost between 300 -400 million dollars.
Tony Douglas: And then what subsequently happened to the plans for Pyramider?
Kelly Johnson: Well, they were temporarily shelved because the CIA were unable to get funding in that particular fiscal year and it’s then believed that another satellite with similar capabilities but with a few changes to it was actually launched and Pyramider was just kept as a plan, it was never implemented.
Tony Douglas: So what classification did that file have?
Kelly Johnson: Well, at that time it had an extremely secret classification. Mostly because it went against the tacit agreement that the USSR and America had drawn up together and it was subject to quite a extreme classification.
Tony Douglas: What’s this tacit agreement that the Americans and the Russians had about this kind of spy satellites?
Kelly Johnson: Apparently when the Salt Treaty was drawn up in 1972 satellites had no yet been officially announced as being in existence and in fact they were only referred to in the Salt Treaty as national means of verification. Because neither the American or Russian governments wanted the public to be aware of the existence of satellites they had agreed among themselves that satellites would only be used for verification purposes and, of course, the Pyramider went against that.
Tony Douglas: Well, how did Chris Boyce come into contact with this Pyramider file? Did it come over the telex machine as well?
Kelly Johnson: No, not at all. The Pyramider file had actually been kept in a safe in the vault, which is the department where Boyce worked, and after Boyce had tended his notice of resignation from the black vault this Pyramider file mysteriously appeared on top of an unlocked filing cabinet where Boyce worked. Boyce asked about it, what it was doing there, what it was about, and he was told that it was a dead project and was of no value. So, in keeping with his policy of only sending in sensitive material he copied it and sent it to the Russians. And in fact this supposedly top secret file sat on top of that filing cabinet for 36 days.
Tony Douglas: Why was Boyce only passing on non-sensitive material to the Russians at this stage?
Kelly Johnson: That was his method of negating the mistake he made of contacting the Russians in the first place. The original contact with the Russians was made in a sense of outrage and also the immaturity that goes with of being 21 and in that position. Once he had actually made that contact he realised that it was the wrong thing to do and to negate the mistake he began sending the Russians what the Russians eventually turned as garbage, that he knew that they would get exasperated with, and frustrated with, and that’s exactly what happened. It was the Russians who called a halt to the situation.
Tony Douglas: So he was tried simply on the Pyramider file and passing that on to the Russians, none of the other things that he did ever came to court.
Kelly Johnson: No, they didn’t and yet there were many many inferences throughout the court hearing about the thousands of sensitive documents that he passed on to the Russians.
Tony Douglas: And why was it necessary to use the Pyramider file in particular to sort of seek his conviction?
Kelly Johnson: Well, it would seem that there were two reasons for this. Nobody was ever allowed to see any of the other documents and even Boyce’s defence lawyers were not allowed to, even though they had appropriate security clearances.
Tony Douglas: Why do you think Boyce was given such a long sentence originally, forty years for this?
Kelly Johnson: Well, Boyce was obviously keen to talk about what he’d seen in the vault and the CIA was keen to shut him up.
Tony Douglas: Has access to Boyce been easy enough to talk to him and find out what information he has got especially on America’s involvement in Australian domestic politics?
Kelly Johnson: Absolutely not. Boyce is under…he is in solitary confinement. He’s been there for the last three years and will remain there for the duration of his term. He’s also not permitted to have any contact with anybody who he didn’t know prior to his original conviction. He has been permitted to do three interviews: one with Australia’s 60 Minutes, one with America’s 60 Minutes, and one with an Australian journalist. And it was following the interview with Australia’s 60 Minutes that he was put into a locked room with half a dozen members of the Aryan Brotherhood who were a neo-nazi group within the prison and they established beatings and have actually got a contract on his life.
Tony Douglas: And he is therefore likely to remain in solitary confinement?
Kelly Johnson: Absolutely. Boyce is allowed out of his tiny cell one hour a day to exercise alone in a wall courtyard and when he does go out he’s chained to his wrist and ankles. So the conditions he’s being kept under are really to intense amounts of torture.
Tony Douglas: Over the last couple of weeks we’ve surveyed the evidence of CIA involvement in overturning the Whitlam government. We’ve looked at the work of Task Force 157 through the cover of the Nugan-Hand merchant bank and the crucial role played by US ambassador Marshall Green. We’ve seen the mighty __ in action pumping up the Loans Affairs while CIA operatives such as T. Khemlani are shuffled on and off the national political stage. We also delved into the past associations of Sir John Kerr from his wartime intelligence work through his inaugural presidency of the CIA-front organisation Law Asia to his phone calls to the American embassy in the days before the dismissal. And we’ve seen how badly the Australian and American defence and intelligence community took the disclosures about Pine Gap and the first CIA Station Chief there Richard Stallings. But the question remains how did the CIA get away with deceiving and destabilising the Whitlam government? Former CIA officer Victor Marchetti looks at it in this way:
Victor Marchetti: I would say that this would be done, to my experience, particularly in friendly host countries is always done with the knowledge of the host country. I mean, the CIA did not take these actions upon itself. It’s done in cooperation with the local intelligence services and they of course provided assistance and protection. The CIA has worked with other intelligence organisations in other friendly countries in England, Norway, Canada, Germany, in a whole variety of countries in a large range of joint projects. The only reason the CIA would get involved in supporting certain political parties or undercutting other parties would be because we had the money and the expertise and so forth to be able to do it and this would be viewed as a cooperative venture because the host country welcomes us. What you in Australia must understand is that you are more to blame than the CIA is because you want this to happen, you want a certain administration in control and you don’t want another administration in control. The first question I tell all foreign journalists when they bring out this point is…I ask them, `look, you find out where the loyalties of your intelligence services lies. Do they lie with your country as a whole, for better or worse, or to the Establishment in your country?’ and in most instances the answer you find is `to the Establishment.’ So in essence is like in the old days in Europe where the nobility of various countries had more in common with each other than they did with their own people. This is true of intelligence services. They tend to have more in common with each other and their establishments which they represent than they do with their own people.
Tony Douglas: Well, what are the connections between American and Australian security and intelligence organisations? Jerry Aaron, co-author of ROOTED IN SECRECY looks at the history of secret agreements that link Western intelligence together, especially the UKUSA Treaty which was signed in 1947 and not known about even by Australian Prime Ministers until 1973.
Jerry Aaron: The quadripartite agreement which operated before the UKUSA was actually a means initially of keeping the equipment of the armies of the participating countries standardised and then was extended to the Navy and the Air Force. In other words, they simply lock each other into a particular scenario which is always the scenario of fighting common wars rather than self-defence. The quadripartite pact in 1947 involved the US, Britain, Canada and Australia and it was so secret that nobody ever knew anything about it. In has in fact had a D-notice on it, that’s how secret it was, and as you know there are only very few D-notices in Australia which prevent the publication of material on particularly secret matters. The UKUSA Treaty was also signed in 1947 and when I say `signed’ it’s so secret that nobody knows who signed it and in fact it’s claimed that there is absolutely no written record. UKUSA, as the name implies, is the UK, USA and Australia but in fact other countries participate and all the NATO countries are allied to it. UKUSA is about what in the jargon of the trade is called sigint which is signals intelligence which is all the lovely stuff we get from all the aerials and all the satellites in the sky spying on their enemies and on each other and it’s main components are the British outfit which is called the GCHQ which is Communication Headquarters and in Australia the agency concerned is DSD.
Tony Douglas: What is the DSD?
Jerry Aaron: Defence Signals Directorate. I think it’s now called Defence Signals Division, I can’t remember which came first, but’s the same outfit anyway. Nor does it really matter because the whole thing is coordinated by the head office in the States which is the National Security Agency which supplies most of the equipment and for whose benefit the whole thing is organised. This is really the means by which Australia is locked into the US war fighting capacity.
Tony Douglas: And we have been since at least 1947?
Jerry Aaron: Yes and it was so secret that in fact even successive Prime Ministers of Australia didn’t know about it and the whole thing blew up when the existence of the secret DSD activity in Malaysia became publicised and it was then when they tried to hush it up but, of course, now is generally understood and known and I don’t think in nowadays people make such secrets about secret treaties anymore because everybody knows that most of what goes on in the foreign policy area of most of the countries concerned is in fact totally secret.
Tony Douglas: So when Ted Shackley sends a cable to ASIO asking them to do something about Whitlam can that be seen in terms of an order from the senior agency?
Jerry Aaron: Oh, most certainly. I think we should actually…I think of what happened when Harold Salisbury who was Police Commissioner in the Dunstan government in South Australia. They had an inquiry into the Special Branch there after Salisbury was sacked for misleading the government and what he actually said when he was asked why he hadn’t told the government the full truth he said, `I would have merely justified a very severe criticism from responsible and official quarters and from security organisations beyond Australia’ and he made it quite clear that his responsibilities were not to the government of the day but to other people and when he was pressed on the point as to who the other people were he said very weakly `The Crown’, but obviously the crown that he paids allegiance to sits in the U.S.
Tony Douglas: Jerry Aaron’s interpretation of the Shackley Cable is shared by former CIA agent Ralph McGehee. Was Shackley in a position to be ordering ASIO about, I mean, you worked under Shackley in Vietnam. Is he a senior CIA officer?
Ralph McGehee: Oh, yes, he was a top CIA officer. He was also one of Ed Wilson’s closest friends. Ed Wilson, of course, was head of Task Force 157. Prior to that, Wilson had been in the CIA. And there are all sorts of evidence that Task Force 157 was also orchestrating the efforts to overthrow the Whitlam government.
Clyde Cameron: Well, ASIO has always been a compliant service for the American CIA. They have always done that. They have been quite sympathetic towards the CIA and let’s not forget that the Australian intelligence organisations were the ones who were responsible for acting as a conduit for the CIA and Pinochet in 1973 when the CIA-backed Pinochet Junta moved in and overthrew the elected government of Chile. I know that members of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) were active in Santiago at that time and were acting in cooperation with the CIA because the CIA weren’t able to function in Chile under President Allende. They had to do their dirty work through somebody else and they chose the Australian intelligence organisations. When I became Minister for Immigration I was appalled to discover that we had an immigration officer in Santiago who was in fact an ASIO spy. He wasn’t a genuine immigration officer at all but was an ASIO spy who had been put on by my immigration establishment as a bona fide immigration officer and I sought to have him removed but the Prime Minister intervened and prevented the removal from taking place. I remember that when the Prime Minister discovered that ASIS had been active in Santiago he ordered that the ASIS operative in that area be withdrawn that they just ignored it, refused to do anything about it, and it wasn’t until Whitlam took firm action and threatened to put the knife through a lot of these people who were responsible for ignoring his direction that they were withdrawn. But by that time, of course, the coup had occurred, Allende had been assassinated and Pinochet had been installed.
Ian Wood: That was former Whitlam Cabinet Minister Clyde Cameron. Before that you also heard former CIA agents Victor Marchetti and Ralph McGehee; Jerry Aaron, the co-author of ROOTED IN SECRECY and Kelly Johnson of the Christopher Boyce Alliance. Next week, Watching Brief looks at the CIA interference in Australian and New Zealand trade unions.
Jane Lanbrook: Well, that’s all on Watching Brief this week. If you’d like more information or cassette copies of the program, or if you have got information that may be of interest, contact us at Public Radio News Services, Post Office Box 103, Fitzroy, Victoria, 3065. Or call us on Melbourne 417 7304. That’s Public Radio News Services. Watching Brief is produced by Ian Wood and Tony Douglas for the Public Broadcasting Network of Australia. I’m Jane Lanbrook and I hope you tune in again next week at the same time for Watching Brief, Public Radio’s National Environment Program.
------- End Part 3 of a 6 part series. Transcription: Jose Gutierrez
THE CIA IN AUSTRALIA
Part 4 of a 6 part series Watching Brief, PRNS, October 1986
Clyde Cameron: Lionel Murphy was attending a meeting of world leaders in the fields of finance and commercial interests in which a top American businessman, who has a very close connection with the CIA, made the statement that `we’ [`we’ meaning the corporate world] have no trouble with governments, we can manage them, we can handle governments, but the difficulty always is handling the Trade Union movement’.
Jane Lanbrook: Welcome to the second half of Watching Brief this week. I’m Jane Lanbrook and today part 4 of our series examining the CIA’s role in Australian politics. Producer Tony Douglas looks at the agency’s continuing attempts to subvert Australian and New Zealand Trade Unions. The CIA with vast sums of money at its disposal has resorted to bribery, contributed to campaign funds, established front organisations and most importantly has fully financed trips to the United States for local trade union officials. Once there the officials undertake training programs organised by the agency. Former Whitlam Minister Clyde Cameron looks at the first of this, the so-called `Leadership Grants.’
Clyde Cameron: Leadership Grants have been grants to trade union leaders in which they are invited to go to America for up to six weeks at a time, funded and given the first class hotel accommodation with first class return fares in order to brainwash them into inculcating in their thinking process, at the least, that private enterprise is the only way to go. And we can look at the list of the trade union leaders who have been invited to go to the U.S. and we can see a general pattern of right-wing people, people that we perhaps say on the centre-left who might be swung over to the right, being invited to go to America. I’m not suggesting for a moment that all of them have been brainwashed and that all of them have had their views subverted but the Americans must believe that they are getting good results because they continue to do it.
Tony Douglas: The Leadership Grant Scheme really took off when the national secretary of the Australian Workers Union, Tom Doherty, was invited to the United States. At the time the AWU, covering most rural workers, had a huge membership and virtual control of the Queensland Labor Party. During the 1950s and the 1960s the union was still all powerful and didn’t even bother affiliating with the ACTU until 1967.
Clyde Cameron: Tom Doherty, I remember, when he was General Secretary of the AWU went on an extended tour in America as a guest of the CIA and while he was there they made a point of having him introduced to J. Lansdowne who had been a former communist but who had turned coats, so to speak, and had gone over to the administration and J. Lansdowne asked Doherty to give him the names of the union leaders in Australia who ought to be invited to America under these so-called Leadership Grants. And Doherty supplied him with the names of a lot of people and whilst he was talking to Lansdowne, Lansdowne explained to him that no American Labor attache can ever be appointed `unless he has been verified by me’ and you can bet your buttons of it that ninety percent of Labor attaches are working either as direct agents of the CIA or in conjunction with them.
Tony Douglas: Do they get involved in actual union elections through the Labor attaches?
Clyde Cameron: Yes, of course, they do. They pay for costs of how to vote material, they pay for the cost of posting, how to vote material to union members when elections are held and in the 1964 elections for the South Australian branch of the AWU. I can speak for South Australia and I presume that it happened elsewhere in all the other branches as well. But in South Australia every AWU member on the roll had posted to him from Melbourne how to vote material telling him to vote against the Mick Young-Don Cameron- Clyde Cameron ticket. And the proof of that did come from the Labor attaches’ offices in Melbourne and it was given subsequently by one of the people who had been working with the council.
Tony Douglas: The use of American Labor attaches in Australia by the CIA has largely ceased. The United States Embassy in Canberra has one Labor attache compared to the six or seven they used to have working out of consulates in all Australian capital cities. Jerry Aaron, co-author of ROOTED IN SECRECY, looks at the critical role played by successive Labor attaches in Melbourne, home of the ACTU, the Arbitration Commission and the Labor Left.
Jerry Aaron: Some of them were quite clearly connected with the CIA. One of the more interesting ones is a chap by the name of Edward McCale and he, before that, was Assistant Director of the CIA Radio Free Europe and he was a representative of the USIA, US Information Agency, in London and he was a Labor attache in Johanesburg. And then the operation there, or the cooperation of McCale with the trade union leaders was very close indeed. And after McCale returned to the US, he came back again in 1979, and he had been full of discussions which you may or may not regard as genuine where he spoke with Australian trade union leaders and discussed the state of the trade union movement in the United States with them, ostensible. Another one was a chap by the name of Bob Bockenshaw [?] and both McCale and Bockenshaw were very closely connected to Bob Hawke. Bockenshaw was serving in Melbourne as a Labor attache in 1962-64, he met Bob Hawke, and Hawke later on became a house guest, six years later, when he went to Washington on a visit. Bockenshaw officially retired from the CIA in 1976. There are quite a few others. A chap I know, Arthur Purcell, who also served in Victoria as a Labor attache has an interesting history: he was a marine in Turkey, Holland, Tanzania and Monrovia. He completed a labor course in 1964, he served in Bolivia as a Peace Corps Director and in the Philippines and Peru as a labor political officer. Evidently in those countries they can make it much more plain that they are there to do a political job rather than anything else.
Tony Douglas: The use of Labor attaches and `Leadership Grants’ aren’t the only avenues the United States has used to build a strong pro-American block inside the Australian Labor movement. For instance, the NSW right-wing has been very supportive of the Australian trade union program conducted by the Harvard Foundation. This program is supported by multinational business interests with its chairman being Brookes Wilson of Coppers International. Its list of trustees include a who is who of Australian business with some prominent politicians on both sides of the fence also involved. As well as that, there are some leading members of the trade union right-wing represented. For instance, there are four knights of industry among its trustees: Sir Peter Ables, Sir Garrick Agnew, Sir Tristan Antico and Sir Warwick Fairfax. Also amongst the trustees are avowed opponents of the union movement like Hugh Morgan of Western Mining. There is also Bill Dicks and Chap Chapman, managing directors of Ford and GMX in Australia, as well as Bob White of Westpac. Two prominent Liberal frontbenchers, Andrew Peacock and Ian McPhee are also there. And so is Bob Hawke, Neville Wran, Ralph Willis and Barry Unsworth. Labor MP and co- author of ROOTED IN SECRECY Joan Coxsedge visited the United States in 1983 and went to Harvard University to find the Harvard Foundation.
Joan Coxsedge: What I found out was very interesting. I made the quite startling discovery that there are in fact two Harvard Foundations. One Harvard Foundation is genuine and is situated right in the middle of the university and it is involved with university affairs. But I spoke with the people there and they were quite bewildered by my conversation because I found that they didn’t know what I was talking about when I asked about a mysterious body paying for our trade unionists. So what I then did was to hunt around until I found the other Harvard Foundation that is funding the Harvard university trade union program and they had a very small office, I think it was on about the third floor of non discreet building. The person who runs the Harvard Foundation and Harvard trade union program is a man called Joe O’Donell, the Executive Director, and to show the links with other right-wing organisations back in 1977 he was actually brought to this country by Enterprise Australia to come out here and put us on the right line as far as trade unionism was concerned. But it’s a costly cause and when Australians take part in it, as they do with other trade unionists from around the world, the tuition alone is 2,500 dollars and this has probably gone up since then. The cost of their room is 1250 dollars, their books are 200 dollars, the meals vary. And so you would say each participant would have to pay around about 5,000 dollars and that’s very substantial. And, you know, you could argue that the people who are taking part in this…some very powerful people that are taking part since it started in 1964 and some are witting and some are perhaps unwitting and it’s interesting just to go back and have a look at the graduates of the Harvard trade union training program: back in 1964 we had Ralph Willis, 66 Barry Unsworth, 68 Joe Thompson, 69 Iron Workers Secretary Ronald Davidson, 71 John Radcliffe, then we had John Blakehurst Society of Engineers in 72, John Bannon Transport Workers in 73, and then in 75 John Mcbeen, we had a John Morris from the Liquors Industries Workers Union in 78 who is now a senator, we had Gary Weaven [?] in 78 who is now working for the ACTU but at that stage was working for the Australian Municipal Officers Association. Gordon Baze [?] from the Queensland Vehicle Building in 79, Michael Alfield from Sydney in 1979, John Bedden in 79 [must have been a good year], Kenneth Oath [?] from the NSW State Secretary and Federal Secretary of the Tramways Union, Errol Hother who is a very well know trade unionist from Queensland in Spring 80, Donald McDonald from the Professional Divers of Australasia in 1980, we had Raymond Evans in 1980, Tony Bella in 1980 from the Victorian Trade Hall Council, we had Robert Briskie in 81 and a G. Peter Mitchell from the Vehicle Builders Federation in 81, and then later in 1981 we had Ian Duffy from the NSW Iron Workers Union and Michael Eason.
Tony Douglas: The Harvard Trade Union Program for 1987 is now asking for applicants. In a letter from NSW Labor Council Secretary and 1975 graduate Jack McBeen, dated the 8 September 1986, unions are asked to consider nominating suitable applicants. Included in the letter are some details about the training program itself and a list of previous graduates. McBeen says the course is worth over 6,000 dollars. Also attached is a letter from the secretary of the program in Australia to Michael Eason, himself a graduate of the course and now Assistant Secretary of the NSW Labor Council. In part it says, and I quote: `Having experienced the many benefits that the program has to offer would you please consider fellow trade unionists who may wish to benefit in a similar manner to yourself’, unquote. Well, one of the benefits Eason may have enjoyed was becoming Australian Secretary of the short-lived Labor Committee for Pacific Affairs. The Committee was short-lived because its activities and links with the CIA were exposed in newspaper articles in 1983, both here in Australia and in New Zealand. One of the journalists involved was Denis Freney of The Tribune. I asked Freney who set up the Labor Committee for Pacific Affairs?
Denis Freney: It was set up by the US Information Agency which put up 300,000 dollars and by an organisation called the U.S. Youth Council which then worked with the AFL-CIO which is sort of the US equivalent of the ACTU and it went on from there. Essentially, however, despite the sort of rather strange way it was funded it was run by the AFL-CIO with a fellow called Larry Speck who was on the US Youth Council. I’m not sure what the US Youth Council is, except that is a government-funded body. So who he was and what all added up to I really don’t know, except that, as we’ll see, it had CIA connections.
Tony Douglas: When was it set up and for what specific reasons was it established?
Denis Freney: Well, it was set up in 1983. The basics, I know, was to get selected right-wing trade union officials from around the Pacific but particularly from the US, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, PNG and the other island nations of the South Pacific together to discuss…supposedly to discuss common interests and also to organise tours of trade union officials over there.
Tony Douglas: Who were the founder members of the Labor Committee on Pacific Affairs?
Denis Freney: Well, there were a whole range of people who had all sort of CIA connections. The program, the actual education side of the program, was handed over to the Georgetown International Labor Program which is turn part of the Georgetown University and its Centre of Strategic and International Studies. Now The Centre of Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) has as one of its directors a Ray Cline, who is a former Deputy Director of the CIA. The other person, though, was Roy Gudson, a person who has CIA connections and links with the very far right in the US. For instance, he wrote a book which was co-authored with a fellow called Ernest Lefevre, THE CIA AND THE AMERICAN ETHIC which tried to praise the CIA as the embodiment of the American way of life and so on and so forth. Gudson was also the son of a Labor attache in Britain who was very strongly suspected of being CIA officer and he set up a similar organisation between British and other European trade unions and the American trade unions. So there is a whole range of people who have been directly involved in them including a former [US] ambassador to New Zealand who was quite honest about what the whole operation was about.
Tony Douglas: Yes, well he was asked in fact if the claims of Jim Knotts as head of the Federation of Labor in New Zealand whether the Labor Committee for Pacific Affairs was an attempt to split the Federation of Labor in New Zealand, what was Henning’s reply to that?
Denis Freney: Oh, Henning sort of admitted that in fact they had worked behind the scenes, of course, he didn’t try to deny it. But I think that the evidence is such that there is no doubt that one of the primary aims of LCPA [The Labor Committee for Pacific Affairs] was to form first of all… the first object was to get together a solid right-wing inside the FLNZ [The Federation of Labor in New Zealand] which currently hasn’t got an organised right-wing like we have in the ACTU. For instance, in the ACTU you’ve got the NSW right.
Tony Douglas: What was the chain of events in New Zealand? Who did they try to recruit into the NZ Committee and why did it fall apart?
Denis Freney: The Secretary of the New Zealand Labor Committee for Pacific Affairs was a fellow called Gart Fraser who was a Secretary of the Food Workers Union. And they had other people like Henry Boul [?] who was a former secretary in the Engineers union and later became appointed to the Arbitration Court, and Bob T. [?] from one of the white collar unions. The main person was Fraser. However, now he wasn’t a very sensible choice perhaps because Fraser has not got a very good reputation perhaps as one of the brightest people around the trade union movement in New Zealand.
Tony Douglas: There is a lot of talk that this committee was set up because it looked very likely that a Labor government was to be elected in New Zealand and, as you said, it was backed by a union movement that didn’t have any organised right-wing and a nuclear ship ban was very much on the cards.
Denis Freney: Yes, I think that was a primary thing. I think that it was also to tackle the raising anti-nuclear feeling of the whole of the South Pacific, you know, but specifically in New Zealand yes, that’s precisely the set up just as it became more apparent that it was probable that Langley was going to win the elections and so they needed to intervene and they have continued to intervene at all sort of levels but maybe in a less obvious way.
Tony Douglas: Let’s look at some of the personnel on the Australian committee of this Labor Committee for Pacific Affairs. For a start, Michael Eason?
Denis Freney: Michael Eason is a young guy who is university trained. Originally, he sort of flirted with the left but has become one of the main people in the NSW right-wing machine. Eason was the Australian secretary of the committee, a branch of the Labor Committee on Pacific Affairs, and spent quite a bit of time going around with some of the Americans involved, going around the South Pacific trying to get or select trade union leaders from the South Pacific involved in this operation. He played a very important role in fact in it. Now he would have been well aware of the sort of people who were involved on the American end, although he tried to defend himself…and John McBeen tried to defend themselves at some stage by saying `oh, well, all the union people over in America are just sort of really Liberal Democrats, you know, Kennedy democrats.’ And the reality is, of course, that the tours they organised were tours were they were given the Reaganite line.
Tony Douglas: What’s McBeen’s role in this Labor Committee for Pacific Affairs?
Denis Freney: McBeen was involved, how deeply involved we don’t know, but subsequently Mcbeen withdrew from it and I think it was one of the reasons why the whole thing collapsed. I think some elements in the NSW right realised that this was just not on to be so publicly associated with a group that had so many links with the CIA.
Tony Douglas: Let’s look at Gerard O’Keefe. What was his role and what is his background?
Denis Freney: Yes, well, O’Keefe is officially organiser of one of the International Labor Workers Union in the States. He’s an old time CIA agent. He was named as such by Philip Agee back in the fifties and sixties, always working through the trade union movement. He was in Latin America for a while, he was even in Chile when they were destabilising the Allende government, and his role there was to develop whatever contacts he could inside the trade union movement to turn against the Allende government and destabilise it, of course. There were a whole number of miner’s strikes which were very much influenced and supported by the CIA. And he was filmed by British Granada TV operating in Chile in this period and he was exposed, you know. Now, there are many many stories about O’Keefe. He has been around this part of the world quite a bit, he’s been in contact with the Clerks’ Union and with other far-right union organisations. And at one stage he tried to get into New Zealand back in the 70s and because of the reports, he was so notorious, the NZ Federation of Labor said `yes we were happy to welcome him if he categorically denies that he is working for the CIA’, and O’Keefe never would deny that. Now his connection is that he in fact was up to his neck in this whole Labor Committee for Pacific Affairs and in fact lectured chosen right-wing unions from here and New Zealand, Fiji, etc, who went over there, gave them lectures about how to run a good trade union.
Tony Douglas: Can you tell us something about these tours that people were taken on. For instance, lecturing in one of the tours in October 1983 was a person called Erwin Brown.
Denis Freney: Yes, they are lectured by people whose associations with the CIA go back a long while. Gerard O’Keefe was one, we already mentioned him. Erwin Brown is even more notorious, I mean, Erwin Brown goes back to the forties when the CIA decided that they were going to try to destroy the control of the Communist Party of France and Italy in particular over a lot of trade union movements and one of the most notorious things that Erwin Brown was involved in was the operation in Marseille where they used mafia elements linked up with the Union Cause, which is the French mafia, to try to drive the Communist Party out of control of the docks and they funded the Corcigan mafia to take over the docklands and, of course, Marseille became the centre of the heroin trade and that’s the whole story of the French connection. Basically they got control of the whole base of the unions in the docklands of Marseille because of the help of the CIA and the man in charge of the operation was Erwin Brown.
And that’s been documented by people like Tom Braydon who was one of his workers or outsiders and he proudly said, you know, because he was still pro-CIA, that Erwin Brown did a great job in driving the communists out of Marseille harbour. So Erwin Brown goes back that far and he is probably the most notorious of the lot of the trade union officials and he’s been in Africa, he’s been in South Africa, he’s been in Latin America and he pops up again here because he’s an old man now lecturing these Australian trade unionists. But they also got lectured by people from the Reagan’s National Security Council. Now the National Security Council is in fact the body that gives the CIA orders. You know, it says `get rid of that government or we’ll invade that country. We’ll support that government’ in the case of countries like Chile under Pinochet and so on. So, yes, I mean, they were lectured by the National Security Council, they were lectured by the Arms Control bodies of the Reagan administration. The other important thing about the ICLPA was that it frankly said that these union officials got together because of common trade union and political interests. It was openly a political body and that’s another reason why it fell, you know, because they were too sweet in putting `political’ in it, they should just have pretended that they were trade union people getting together for a nice chat and how to win more for the workers.
Jane Lanbrook: That was part 4 of our series looking at the CIA’s role in Australian politics. Appearing on the program were Whitlam Cabinet Minister Clyde Cameron; Victorian Labor MP and author of the book ROOTED IN SECRECY Joan Coxsedge, co-author Jerry Aaron; former CIA agent Ralph McGehee and journalist with The Tribune newspaper Denis Freney. The program was produced by Tony Douglas. Next week the CIA focuses on the Lange Government and its nuclear ship ban. Well, that’s all on Watching Brief this week. If you’d like more information or cassette copies of the program or if you’ve got information that may be of interest contact us at Public Radio News Services, P.O.Box 103, Fitzroy, Vic 3065 or calls us on Melbourne 417 7304. Watching Brief is produced by Ian Wood and Tony Douglas for the Public Broadcasting Network of Australia. I’m Jane Lanbrook and I hope you tune in again next week at the same time for Watching Brief, Public Radio’s National Environment Program.
------------- End part 4 of a 6 part series Transcription: Jose Gutierrez Notes: [?] spelling.
THE CIA IN AUSTRALIA
Part 5 of a 6 part series Watching Brief, PRNS, November 1986
Jane Lanbrook: Hello and welcome to the second part of Watching Brief for this week. I’m Jane Lanbrook and today we conclude our five part series on the CIA’s role in Australian and New Zealand politics. Last week, in part 4 of the series, we looked at the CIA’s attempt in 1983 to split the New Zealand Federation of Labor through the activities of the short-lived Labor Committee for Pacific Affairs. This move to split the unions was seen as a last ditch attempt to destroy Labor movement unity at a time when the Labor Party, with is anti-nuclear policy, was heavily favoured to win the 1984 elections. This week we look at attempts being made to destroy the Lange Government against the background of heightened American interests in the South Pacific and the CIA’s previous record of interference in New Zealand politics. Here with the final instalment is producer Tony Douglas.
Tony Douglas: Since the Lange Government announced its nuclear ships ban it has been publicly pressured by the United States and its allies to reverse the policy. But are there indications that the Reagan administration having failed to change the New Zealand government’s policy are planning, through the CIA, to change the government? One person who thinks so is former CIA agent Ralph McGehee who visited New Zealand recently.
Ralph McGehee: I’ve certainly seen indications that it is involving itself. I can’t state 100 percent but certainly I have seen indications. The first thing you do, of course, you create an enemy and all over the United States and over New Zealand you see the editorials all saying that `the Russians are coming to the South Pacific’. You have to create an enemy so you can discredit anybody who is opposed to your policy. So with this strong thing that `the Russians are coming’ then anyone who is soft on nuclear issues, nuclear free issues, and soft on defence can be labelled `pro-communist’, `pro-Soviet’ or `communists’ themselves. Then you have the attempts to penetrate the media. USIS, the United States Information Service, has been sending back a stream of media types, academicians, politicians and Labor types to the United States for red carpet treatment and when they come back their opinions towards American policy has changed for the better, if you will, and one would suspect the hand of the CIA in some of that. You have the attempts to establish Labor unions in New Zealand, right-wing think tanks, united with the issues that `the Soviets are coming.’ Now if I were relating the scenario for the elections next year what I would do is to attempt to split the Labor party by all various techniques, dirty tricks, forging documents and leaking documents. Before I left New Zealand, four documents of the Lange Government had been leaked to the media. One of the documents related to its policy towards unions, a very divisive document. Well, you have the same thing in the Whitlam overthrow. Documents were being leaked all over the place and it was instrumental in the removal of two Cabinet ministers. Well, the same thing seems to be happening in New Zealand. But as the elections approaches you can anticipate forged documents being released, poisoned pen letters to further divide the Labor Party, to divide the Labor Party and to divide and conquer if you want. There have been reports that the National party, the opposition party, has gone to the CIA for funding and this is very standard part of a political operation.
If I was doing it, I would split the Labor party, fund the National party and maybe just before the elections keep `the Russians are coming’ thesis going to keep the pot boiling. But just before the elections, a document would be released that would implicate prominent members of the Labor party in relations with the Soviet embassy. Then, when that’s documented with prominent media coverage, you need media operations… when the elections are held that document has had an impact on the votes. Then after the votes, the election is over, the National party wins, then a commission is set up to establish the links of the Labor party members with the Soviet embassy and over a period of two years nothing develops, it’s just a device to deceive public opinion. At the same time I would try to destroy the peace movement. I would do that by penetrations of the peace movement who would try to divide and conquer, who would label effective members of the peace movement…do what we call `put on a smith jacket’. In other words to say that a person is working for the police or for the intelligence services, just to discredit him and destroy his effectiveness. Or in a case of a parade the peace movement might call, just at a critical moment, the penetration agent would pull out the New Zealand flag and burn it to make sure that the media coverage was all focused on that rather than the real intent of the peace movement in the parade. And all the various dirty tricks would be used to not only destroy the peace movement, to destroy its credibility, but also to divide the Labor party and to support the alternative party.
Tony Douglas: In Mcgehee’s scenario the creation of a Russian threat is the first step in bringing undone the Lange Government and its nuclear ships ban. Perhaps this goes a long way to explaining the story of the mystery nuclear submarine which appeared inside the territorial waters of the Cook Islands between the 17th and 21st of February this year (1986) and led to weeks of speculations, alleged leaks and innuendo in the New Zealand media. The Cook Islands, to the northeast of New Zealand, are about four hours flying time from Auckland. While the Cook Islands were granted self-government in 1965 they still rely on New Zealand to defend them. The first sighting of the submarine was made by two Cook Islanders when they were travelling on an inter island flight. Three days later there was a second report of sighting by two Tahitian fishermen. At this stage, the New Zealand Air Force moved in and sent two Orion aircraft in search of the submarine. New Zealand peace researcher Allan Wilks takes up the story.
Allan Wilks: It seems that the plane took off at midday that day and they actually obtained a clearance to fly directly back to New Zealand. But then, instead of flying back to New Zealand, they diverted them through the other side of the island and they started flying a path back and forth in the area where the submarine had been seen just that morning and they discovered the submarine within an hour or two and so they radioed back to New Zealand and another Orion was sent up and for the next two and a half days they kept that submarine under continual surveillance and, apparently, they were dropping sono voi into the sea all the time and the sono voi picked up the noises of the engines and so on made by the submarine and from that they were able to recognise it as a nuclear submarine, because nuclear submarines make different noises than diesel submarines obviously, and they were also able to identify the nationality of the submarine.
Tony Douglas: What kind of technology did they have with this sono voi, how do they operate and how could they discover it was a nuclear submarine and identify which nationality it came from?
Allan Wilks: Well, the sono voi is a cylindrical object which is dropped from the aircraft and it contains a hydrophone, a microphone that works in the water, and the hydrophone just picks up the noises that is made by the engines and the propeller and then the voi itself has a little radio transmitter and it transmits those noises back to the aircraft where they listen to them and tape record them and analyse them on video screens and it’s very obvious that a nuclear submarine is going to sound very different from a diesel submarine because you sort of get the pounding of the diesel engines if it is a diesel submarine whereas if you listen to the noises from pumps and valves and turbines it is a nuclear submarine. And then, apparently, different classes of submarines have quite distinct sound signatures, as they call it, you know, it’s like…if you’ve got your eyes shut and you listen to cars go past the chances are that you can tell the difference between the noise made by a Miner and a Jaguar and the same thing applies to submarines so it’s quite easy to identify a particular noise that is coming from an American submarine rather than a Russian submarine and, apparently, that is what happened in this case. Initially they were quite positive that they identified the submarine as an American submarine. Now, this has never been admitted publicly but I got it from people in the Cook Islands. The Cook Islands government was told three days afterwards by the New Zealand government that it was an American submarine that had been detected there.
Tony Douglas: Soon after a political game of ducks and drags began in the New Zealand media with much speculation as to the identity of the submarine. On March 4, Allan Wilks after putting together the facts went public claiming that the submarine was probable American. This drew a sharp response from the Chief of Defence Staff, C.U. Jamison, who asked Wilks to produce his evidence.
Allan Wilks: That was also somewhat unprecedented for the Chief of Defence Staff to enter into a public debate on his own accord and he challenged me and demanded that I produced my evidence that it was an American submarine. And this was rather interesting because at that stage I hadn’t particularly claimed to have evidence. I had simply concluded, from the public information, that it appeared to be the behaviour one would expect from an American submarine that was trying to masquerade as a Soviet submarine. And I heard afterwards that the reason why the Chief of Defence Staff came out like that and demanded that I produced my evidence was that he was trying to track down a suspected leak within the Ministry of Defence. He figured that if I was saying that so confidently then I must have got information from someone within the Ministry of Defence to the effect that it was an American submarine.
Tony Douglas: Well, talking of leaks. All sort of leaks started to appear in the New Zealand media about it being a Soviet submarine. Now, from about what date did these leaks start coming out that it was a Soviet sub and do we subsequently know where those leaks came from?
Allan Wilks: The leaks started coming very soon after we broke the story. Maybe I should say a little bit more about the leak. The first thing we got here about was that New Zealand aircraft were searching for a submarine. And then the story went completely dead and no journalist offered to pick up one or anything like that and several days afterwards I decided it was time to start inquiring about it and that was when we found out that a submarine had indeed been detected and the government was refusing to say whose it was. But it was very soon after that one or two journalists started to be fed what was supposed to be leaks and none of the journalists have admitted who they were getting the leaks from at all. They said that they were getting leaks from `trustworthy sources’. One journalist said that he got his leak from a `Western embassy’ which was not the United States embassy. You still haven’t thought that one out. But the leaks, the alleged leaks got more complicated as the public story got more complicated too and the final leak was to the effect that it very definitely was a Russian submarine but the Chief of Defence Staff did not want journalists to report this because he didn’t want to be seen as pressuring the government on this issue.
Tony Douglas: But the New Zealand government was pressured on the issue. In fact, Mr Lange changed his position on the submarine three times in the space of a month. On March 10, he declared he knew the identity of the submarine, was prepared to reveal whose side it was and would deliver a protest to its owner if the Cook Islands wished to. Four days later Lange did an about face saying he wouldn’t reveal its identity. And on April 7, just over three weeks later, said that he didn’t know its identity but intended to find out. Why the change of story? Allan Wilks again.
Allan Wilks: The Prime Minister’s office, I’m pretty sure, was initially told that it was an American submarine. The military were very worried about this, that they were upsetting and embarrassing an ally by having discovered the submarine and so they were searching for ways of getting out of this admission. Subsequently, and I think the United States government obliged by coming up with a denial that they had a submarine anywhere near that place at that particular time, and of course the United States was doing something quite unusual there because it’s like nuclear weapons the United States doesn’t normally admit to where their submarines are at sea at anytime. It’s the old `neither confirm or deny’ policy so that allowed them to introduce the confusion. Whether some particular pressure was put on the Prime Minister to change his story there or not, but it’s certainly quite remarkable the change that took place. At one stage, he was sort of joking about the whole business and saying that he was considering going against his own defence people and revealing the nationality of the submarine and then suddenly he made that change and said he wouldn’t say anything and then the other change was when, and this was a more gradual change, when the government started to say, you know, `maybe there wasn’t any submarine there at all. Maybe we just detected a fail or something or other like that.’ And that case, that change came about because of a report from the Australian Joint Intelligence Organisation (JIO). Now, JIO as a matter of cause, apparently, is to see all our tape recordings and so on of submarines that are picked by Orions and on this occasion they analysed this reporting and they concluded, so it seems according to the leaks that have come out, they concluded that it was certainly not an American submarine and probably not a submarine at all. I would say that they have had the pressure put on them by the United States to diffuse the story.
Tony Douglas: I’m just having a look at the assessment of the Joint Intelligence office in Australia that they probably sighted a whale. Does that hold a lot of credibility? I mean, is there a possibility that there wasn’t in fact a submarine there at all?
Allan Wilks: Apparently it does happen that if you are using what they call an active sonar in which you create an underwater noise and then you listen for the echoes of that noise coming of objects that are in the ocean, that the echo of a whale can sound quite similar to the echo of a submarine. But in this case, it was not active sonar that they were using. The fact that they identified the engine noise and all that sort of thing indicates that they were using passive sonar, the kind of sonar in which you’re simply listening and there is no way you can mistake the song of a love sick whale for the sound of a diesel engine or a nuclear power plant.
Tony Douglas: Of course there were other elements to this story. The Prime Minister of the Cook Islands, Sir Tom Davis, a former employee of the United States Army and strong supporter of the Americans blacked out news coverage of the submarine in the Cook Islands from February 25 for 51 days and refused to comment even though the Cook Islands territorial waters had been violated. The leader of the opposition National party in New Zealand, Jim Bolger, refused even to be briefed on the issue. And the National party disarmament spokesperson, Dough Graham, checked with Cook Islands MP Vincent Ingraman about the identity of the submarine and when told it was American made no further comment. While the submarine episode appears to be an obvious set up what about the rest of McGehee’s scenario? Do members of the New Zealand government see it coming through as well? Here is government member and party wit Fran Wall.
Fran Wall: Oh, yes, I think there is a lot of truth in what he sees. The American diplomatic presence in New Zealand has been considerably strengthened in terms of quality if you want. Since this has happened they now have a professional ambassador there whereas prior to that it was a political appointment and the man they have there is a very good propagandist and in fact has a background which indicates that they are taking it seriously. There is a stream of American visitors through New Zealand, academics and politicians, who work both publicly and privately to try to change what we are doing. There is also a stream of New Zealanders invited over to the United States at the U.S. government expense who are briefed and given the American point of view on what we are doing.
Tony Douglas: Much of the concern centres on the appointment of career diplomat Paul Cleveland as United States ambassador to New Zealand in January 1986. We tried to interview the ambassador for this program but were told he was unavailable to talk to the Australian media. Perhaps that’s not surprising seen he was a protege of Marshall Green who was American ambassador to Australia during the Whitlam years and whose role in Australia in 1975, Greece in 1967, Indonesia in 1965 and South Vietnam in 1963 have been commented on in an earlier part of these series. Cleveland himself worked under Green in Indonesia in 1965 just before the CIA inspired coup by the military. According to Cleveland, Green was, and I quote, `one of America’s greatest professional diplomats and I learnt an infinite amount from him’, unquote. Cleveland was also Green’s Special Assistant at the East Asian Desk in Washington from 1970 to 1973. Since then, Cleveland has held several senior postings in South Korea so he has much experience in representing United States interests in politically sensitive areas. But how do government members feel about his appointment. Fran Wall again.
Fran Wall: New Zealand is aware of that connection and perhaps is slightly different here in that you don’t need a coup to overthrow a government, you need an election loss, after all the Americans did say they would change our nuclear policy, our anti-nuclear policy, and having failed to change that I suppose it’s logical to think that they would have an interest in a change of government here indeed. Firstly, Mr Cleveland is a very active propagandist and seems to be very caught up in his craft so I would imagine that the decision to send him here was a deliberate one.
Tony Douglas: Is that propaganda aimed at the New Zealand public in general or is it aimed at certain powerful groupings inside the bureaucracy or the New Zealand military or the New Zealand conservative opposition?
Fran Wall: It is aimed at both actually and the public is…there has been a very high rate of influx of American visitors who have come around the country and done lecture tours and talked to various groups and given media interviews. These have included politicians and academics. They are obviously aimed at changing public opinion on softening our nuclear issues and, in fact, I recall and I can’t remember whether it was the ambassador or another embassy official, somebody actually did state at one stage that that was their intention, that they wanted to inform or educate the New Zealand public on our policy. However, they also have been aiming at specific opinion leaders picking memo through a very active program of exchange in the opposite direction and they take journalists over to the United States, they take politicians over, trade union leaders and run them through a briefing process over there.
Tony Douglas: Which organisations in New Zealand have rather been hosting these visits or have been producing this kind of pro- American propaganda?
Fran Wall: Well, the visits are arranged through the embassy. I mean, they have a politician over, he is here as an American visitor with that sort of status. There have been others though, for example, there is a newly apparent rise in the fundamentalist right in New Zealand and they have very actively hooked them to the American Law majority type of movement and they have brought visitors over to New Zealand and their criticisms of the government have not simply been on the so-called moral issues or lifestyle issues but also, of course, on our foreign policy as well.
Tony Douglas: Nobody should be surprised that the New Zealand Labor party is aware of these machinations. After all, the United States involved itself in the last New Zealand elections. Australian journalist Denis Freney looks at the record.
Denis Freney: Yes, well, I mean there was open intervention there by the Americans. I mean, the ambassador, they had a whole range of official visitors, people like Vernon Walters who is now Reagan’s ambassador to the United Nations. But he was a former Deputy Director of the CIA and in fact was Acting CIA Director when the coup took place in Chile. And he came out and they had admirals coming out and so on. All making statements trying to sort of say, you know, `this is the end of our relationship. You can’t vote for Labor.’ In the lead-up during the election campaign there was open political pressure, there were leaked stories in the media, there was enormous amount of pressure to at least come in politically behind the National regime. On the other hand, there is also suggestions, and they have not actually been proven but suggestions, that the National party has been funded by the CIA or if not by the CIA then by U.S. government institutions.#8217;. In other words to say that a person is working for the police or for the intelligence services, just to discredit him and destroy his effectiveness. Or in a case of a parade the peace movement might call, just at a critical moment, the penetration agent would pull out the New Zealand flag and burn it to make sure that the media coverage was all focused on that rather than the real intent of the peace movement in the parade. And all the various dirty tricks would be used to not only destroy the peace movement, to destroy its credibility, but also to divide the Labor party and to support the alternative party.
Tony Douglas: In Mcgehee
Allan Wilks: IThe accusations of CIA funding for the National party go back a long way. Fran Wall looks back to the watershed year of 1975.
Fran Wall: There was a very intense but effective television advertising campaign run in 1975 at the time of the defeat of the New Zealand Labor government which was purported to have been funded by an American-based agency with connections to the intelligence world. And, of course, the time the New Zealand government was thrown out was also the same time the Australian Labor government was overturned and I know that there has been a lot of unrest in Australia about the reasons for that.
Tony Douglas: But back to the present day, how do you deal with the destabilisation campaign that is happening now?
Fran Wall: I think you deal with it by having a public that is aware of what’s going on and it seems to me that there is quite a high level of public consciousness of the desire of other states to change our policy. Perhaps the mistakes the Americans are making is in assuming that our policy is in fact something that has been sort of rushed through and placed on the New Zealand public by the Labor government. That in fact is not the case, it’s totally the opposite. It is a very widely supported policy and has been for a long time and I believe it is one of the reasons why the government changed in the last elections and why Labor was voted in.
Jane Lanbrook: That was the fifth of our series on the CIA and its role in Australia and New Zealand politics. Appearing on the program was former CIA agent Ralph McGehee, New Zealand government member Fran Wall, New Zealand peace movement researcher Allan Wilks and Australian journalist Denis Freney. These programs were produced by Tony Douglas. Well, that’s all on Watching Brief this week. if you’d like more information or cassette copies of the program or if you’ve got information that may be of interest contacts us on Public Radio News Services, P.O.Box 103, Fitzroy, Victoria 3065. Or call us on Melbourne 417 7304. Watching Brief is produced by Ian Wood and Tony Douglas for the Public Broadcasting Network of Australia. I’m Jane Lanbrook and I hope you tune in again next week for Watching Brief, Public Radio’s National Environment Program.
-------- End part 5 of a 6 part series Transcription: Jose Gutierrez
THE CIA IN AUSTRALIA
Part 6 of a 6 part series Watching Brief, PRNS, November 1986
Ian Wood: This is side 6 of the special Watching Brief series on the role of the CIA in Australian and New Zealand politics. This side of the cassette is an addendum to the other 5 part of the series. It features an excerpt from each of Watching Brief editions 38 and 39, 1986. It focuses on Christopher Boyce and moves by the Christopher Boyce Alliance and some ALP backbenchers for an inquiry into the role of the CIA in the downfall of the Whitlam government.
Jane Lanbrook: This November marks the 11th anniversary of the dismissal of the Whitlam government in 1975 and circumstantial evidence gathered since then points to the likely role of American and Australian intelligence agencies in the undermining of Whitlam’s reformist Labor government. In fact, moves are now under-way to press for an inquiry into the role of the American Central Intelligence Agency in particular. Ian Wood reports:
Ian Wood: After blocking supply bills in the Senate in the early 1970s the then Liberal and Country Party Opposition under Malcolm Fraser pried on every miscalculation or impropriety of the Whitlam government leading in 1975 to a political crisis over the passing of the budget. Although the Senate never voted to actually reject the Whitlam budget it did defer the money bills three times.
Inside Parliament: I don’t think people realise yet sufficiently around this country just what a brink of pessimists we’re coming to because of the unprincipled and absolutely unprecedented action of the spokesman who historically posed as `The spokesman for Law and Order’ and I give notice to you Frasers that if they are going to…
Ian Wood: The stalemate lasted some months with several Liberal Senators becoming increasingly concerned over the constitutional legality of voting against supply for an elected government.
Inside Parliament: …that the Australian Trade Union movement may very well think about withholding supplies from them….[Shouts…]
Ian Wood: The Senate never did actually vote on the supply bills. Instead, in an unprecedented move the Governor-General of Australia, Sir John Kerr, sacked the Whitlam government.
Announcer: [People shouts of “WE WANT GOUGH”, “ WE WANT GOUGH” in the background] The Governor-General of Australia who by this my proclamation dissolves the Senate and the House of Representatives. Given under my hands on the great seal of Australia on the 11th of November 1975 by his excellency’s command, Malcolm fraser Prime Minister, John Arthur Governor-General. GOD SAVE THE QUEEN.
Ian Wood: Not only was Whitlam dismissed, but Opposition Leader Malcolm Fraser was placed in power as a caretaker Prime Minister until an election to be held less than four weeks later.
Gough Whitlam: The man the Governor-General appointed as caretaker Prime Minister didn’t have a majority in the House of Representatives and didn’t have a majority in the Senate either…
Ian Wood: Whitlam’s dismissal created the greatest political furore Australia had ever seen. In dealing with the Constitutional Crisis the Governor-General, in the first instance, is supposed to take advice from his Prime Minister and while many questioned the future of the Whitlam government in 1975 and believed that an election was eminent, few expected that the Governor-General may unilaterally replace the Prime Minister of an elected government with the leader of the minority Opposition, then Malcolm Fraser.
Crowd: WE WANT GOUGH, FRASER OUT, WE WANT GOUGH, FRASER OUT.
Ian Wood: And so, Australia’s internal political crisis was resolved with the Liberals sweeping to power in the December 1975 election. But was it internal? Almost two years later on the eve of the trial in America of former intelligence worker Christopher Boyce it was revealed that a CIA telex had been sent to ASIO headquarters in Australia just two days before the dismissal of the Whitlam government.
Kelly Johnson: It was sent by Ted Shackley, who was the head of the East Asia Division of the CIA, to ASIO in the days prior to November 11th. It was essentially an order to ASIO to shut Whitlam up or get rid of him because on the afternoon of November 11 he was planning to announce in Parliament that Pine Gap was run by the CIA and the CIA were extremely reluctant to have this information released.
Ian Wood: Kelly Johnson of the Christopher Boyce Alliance. In May 1977 in America former intelligence operative Christopher Boyce was put on trial accused of spying for the Russians. He was convicted and sentenced to the legal maximum of 40 years jail. Several years later Boyce escaped and was eventually recaptured after being on the run for 18 months. Boyce had been a telex operator in 1975 for a private security company, TRW, in California which had close links with the CIA. His job was to send and receive telexes between agents in Australia and CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. Boyce’s story incidentally was told in the film THE FALCON AND THE SNOWMAN. Well, Channel 9 in Sydney were good enough to give us permission to re-broadcast key parts of an exclusive interview with Boyce by Sixty Minutes’ Ray Martin in 1982 in which Boyce explained how the CIA’s deception of Australia was the key reason he began selling information to the Russians.
Christopher Boyce: I was brought up in a very conservative home, the right of Kubla Khan. As I got older, I came to see that most everything that I believed in was hypocrisy in this country. My Government was deceiving an ally, perhaps had been an ally for two world wars, English speaking parliamentary democracy. I thought it was indicative of, to what my country had sunk to.
Ian Wood: Christopher Boyce was a telex operator for CIA projects such as the top secret Rylite and Argus spy satellites which monitor military bases and missile launchers in China and the Soviet Union. Pine Gap near Alice Springs was a key link in the CIA spy satellite network and in the mid 60s an Executive Agreement was signed between Australia and America which was supposed to allow Australia to share this top secret information.
Christopher Boyce: When the Rylite project was first put in place, the Executive Agreement meant that all information was to be shared between the American government and the Australian government. And along came Mr Whitlam. When I went to work for the project, the initial security briefing that I had, I was told that, in fact, we weren’t going to live up to that Agreement, and that we hadn’t been. And that there was information that was being withheld. And also that the Argus project, which was the advanced Rylite project, was to be hidden from the Australians.
Ian Wood: Boyce worked in the highest security area at TRW, the black vault, and he remembers considerably concern amongst CIA and Security staff at TRW over the actions and policies of the Whitlam government in 1975.
Christopher Boyce: There was definitely conversations in the black vault and in the security area with members of TRW Security about the problem of Mr Whitlam. Mr Whitlam was not a popular figure at all, to say the least. The fact that inquiries were being made about the base. Mr Whitlam was, by wanting to know what was going on there and by publicising it, was compromising the integrity of the project. To their view, he was on the wrong ball club. Mr Whitlam’s government was a threat.
Ian Wood: And what about the fall of the Australian Labor government? Was there any talk of how the government might have been undermined?
Christopher Boyce: There were references to your Governor-General by the Central Intelligence residents there at TRW in the Rylite project. They called Mr Kerr `our man Kerr.’ Joe Harrison said that in the security area, one time I overheard that.
Ian Wood: Well, once Whitlam had been sacked, was there any change in the US policy of not abiding by the Executive Agreement between the two countries or did the same deception continued and for how long?
Christopher Boyce: The entire time I worked for the people, and I imagine it continued right up until the point of my trial, until the Executive Agreement was renegotiated. There was a bit of celebration that Mr Whitlam had been canned. But my instruction as to what was to be sent did not change, no.
Ian Wood: In this interview with Channel 9 Sixty Minutes, Boyce also repeated allegations he made at his trial about CIA interference in Australian unions. In this excerpt, Petal is the codename for the TRW intelligence link where Boyce used to work, Pilot refers to CIA headquarters in Virginia, and twix is intelligence jargon for a telex message.
Christopher Boyce: We had hardware, software and personnel to ship out of Alice Springs, and there was worry over strikes at your airports. They had to do with pilots and air controllers. And there was an area that Petal had a definite need to know because strikes would wreck our schedule, and so in this one instance, a twix came from Pilot which said “Pilot will continue to suppress the strike, continue shipment on schedule”. My conclusion is, that either Central Intelligence directly or through intermediaries would had to have infiltrated the hierarchy of your trade unions at some level.
Ian Wood: Although CIA covert activity in Australia in 1975 was the key reason that Boyce decided to act against his own country it wasn’t the only reason. His employment at TRW coincided with the discrediting of the Nixon government over the Watergate affair.
Christopher Boyce: If Mr Nixon’s Government hadn’t gone in flames, I don’t think that this would have happened. But at the same time, it goes way beyond Richard Nixon and Watergate. I think that it’s just the whole general drift of where this government is headed. I think that this Government is a threat to mankind. You can’t protect freedom and liberties behind stock piles of chemical and biological weapons and nuclear weapons. My Government built atomic weapons, used them first, stock piled them first, moved our I.C.B.M.s first, which was a grotesque escalation, and now that the Russians have played catch-up for 20 years and finally achieved equality, the only policy to come out of the White House is build 17,000 more of the monsters. And to me that’s madness. It seems to me my government had betrayed me long before I ever betrayed them.
Ian Wood: So does Boyce see himself as a traitor?
Christopher Boyce: I have no problems with the label traitor, if you qualify what it’s to, and I think that eventually the United States Government is going to involve the world in the next world war. And being a traitor to that, I have absolutely no problems with that whatsoever.
Ian Wood: Christopher Boyce, interviewed by Ray Martin of Sixty Minutes in 1982 and many thanks to Channel 9 in Sydney for the use of that material. And now, back to Kelly Johnson, who formed the Christopher Boyce Alliance a year ago to question not only the influence of US intelligence services in Australia but also the anomalies involved in Boyce’s trial. Why were his lawyers, who had top security clearance, not allowed to view the evidence against him during the trial? Why did the prosecution concentrate on his leaking to the Russians of the Pyramider file now thought to have been a worthless red hearing? And why was he given a 40 year jail sentence when the average for his type of crime is less than 20 years? Kelly Johnson explains why she formed the Christopher Boyce Alliance and details her current campaign for a formal inquiry into allegations of CIA activity in Australia leading up to the Whitlam dismissal.
Kelly Johnson: Well, I was drawn to Boyce’s story because of the Whitlam connection and the more that I looked into Boyce’s story the more it became apparent that Australia’s sovereignty and what I see as the injustice inflicted on Boyce are inextricably linked. There have been two documents compiled by an American academic which show that the conviction was false and that the information Boyce was convicted on was actually freely available in the public arena. When you combine that with the evidence which shows that the CIA meddled in Australia’s domestic affairs is really a story that can be ignored and shouldn’t be ignored.
Ian Wood: Well, what was the specific information that he was convicted on?
Kelly Johnson: It was a project that was called the Pyramider file. The Pyramider was a project for a new type of satellite that allowed direct communication between spies and the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.
Ian Wood: Well, since the Christopher Boyce Alliance was founded in Australia what sort of actions have you taken?
Kelly Johnson: The Christopher Boyce Alliance has presented petitions to the Australian Parliament calling for an inquiry into the allegations of CIA activities in Australia and expressing concern about Boyce’s allegations and about Pine Gap being a CIA- run project and expressing concern in general about the massive secrecy surrounding the functions of the bases. I’ve also held a major press conference releasing the documents compiled by the American academic showing the false conviction. The most recent action is a press conference to be held in Canberra on November 11th in which I will be presenting statements signed by ex-Whitlam Cabinet Ministers calling on the government to investigate all activities the CIA has been involved in Australia. And supporting those statements will be one signed by present Caucus members expressing their favour at having such an inquiry.
Ian Wood: What’s the juice of the statement that the ex-Whitlam Cabinet Ministers have signed?
Kelly Johnson: They are acknowledging their awareness of the persistent rumours of CIA involvement in the dismissal, acknowledging their awareness of specific allegations made by Christopher Boyce during his trial in 1977, acknowledging their awareness of the Shackley Cable and their awareness of statements made by top ranking CIA officials which in effect admit CIA involvement in the Whitlam coup.
Jane Lanbrook: Ian Wood there reporting on the campaign by sections of the peace movement for an inquiry into the role of the American CIA in the downfall of the Whitlam Labor government in 1975. He was talking to Kelly Johnson of the Christopher Boyce Alliance and you also heard extracts from an interview with Christopher Boyce in Sixty Minutes. Many thanks to Channel 9 for permission to re-broadcast that material. In Canberra on November 11th Kelly Johnson of the Christopher Boyce Alliance and Labor Parliamentarian Peter Staples held a press conference to call for an inquiry into allegations and other evidence of CIA involvement in Australian politics, especially events leading up to the sacking of the Whitlam government on November 11, 1975. Ian Wood reports.
Ian Wood: The public campaign conducted by the Christopher Boyce Alliance to open an inquiry into CIA involvement in the downfall of the Whitlam government gained momentum on remembrance day November 11 this year with half a dozen ALP Caucus members stating their support for an inquiry. Kelly Johnson of the Christopher Boyce Alliance.
Kelly Johnson: Well, so far we have signed statements from Oli Sakarov, John Scott, Russ Colman, Bob Brown, Peter Milton, Peter Staples and Bruce Childs.
Ian Wood: But most significant were the statements released at the press conference supporting an investigation and signed by six former Whitlam Cabinet Ministers.
Kelly Johnson: The signatures I have at present are from Moss Cass, Clyde Cameron, Jim Cavenagh, Jim Cairns, Jean McLeland and Kent Rett.
Ian Wood: What was the general response of all those former cabinet ministers that you approached?
Kelly Johnson: Well, interestingly, when I first approached them the vast majority were interested and quite happy for me to send on the information and send on the statement. However, attitudes change, people became reluctant, and I have to say I’m questioning why that occurred.
Ian Wood: Well, what about Lance Banner, Whitlam’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence?
Kelly Johnson: Well, to begin with Lance Banner was interested. We had several discussions on the issue and then suddenly he said, `no, I cannot sign it for security reasons.’
Ian Wood: And what about Whitlam himself?
Kelly Johnson: Mr Whitlam began by indicating his concern for Christopher Boyce’s situation. However, he said he felt he was not in the position to put his signature to the statement because he felt it vital that he retains complete control over what approach he takes on this matter. However, he did say that he was pleased other members of the cabinet had signed the statement.
Ian Wood: Kelly Johnson. Well, at the press conference ALP backbencher Peter Staples outlined why some Caucus members were also joining the call for an inquiry into the CIA’s activities in Australia, especially in 1975.
Peter Staples: What is of great concern to us is that the Boyce’s allegations, the Shackley Cable, and other numerous allegations and comments that have been made over the last 11 years have not been taken seriously in Australia and this general involvement of the United States’ operations in Australia is something that both the Christopher Boyce Alliance, myself and many other members of Parliament, both current and past, believe that needs to be investigated. We’ve circulated letters to former ministers in the Whitlam government, former Members of Parliament as well as to current Members of Parliament, asking them to support an inquiry, a full public inquiry into the activities of the CIA in Australia, particularly at that time.
Ian Wood: Then Kelly Johnson explained at the Canberra press conference why she felt an investigation was necessary.
Kelly Johnson: In 1975 when I was 21 years old I was aware of the Loans scandal, the Morosi scandal and the blocking of supply but largely dismissed them as the games that politicians played. On November 11th, my cynicism and complacency were rather shattered. In the United States, another 21 year old was experiencing extreme rage and frustration associated with the Whitlam government. Christopher Boyce had taken a job as a postal clerk at an electronics firm in California. Within 13 weeks he had been given an exclusive security clearance from the FBI, the CIA, the US Defence Department, and the National Security Agency and they gave him access to America’s most secret espionage operations. It was there that he discovered that the US was inflicting a daily betrayal, a daily deception, against Australia and that it was intent on toppling the Whitlam Labor government. Boyce lashed out by making contact with the Russians and it was during Boyce’s espionage trial in 1977 that Australia received its first confirmation of CIA involvement in Australia’s domestic affairs. Immediately following that, the Shackley Cable surfaced and its authenticity was confirmed in Parliament by Mr Whitlam. And to quote Mr Whitlam, he said, `In plain terms that cable revealed that the CIA had deceived the Australian government and was still seeking to continue its deception.’ In the same speech he also said, `I believe the evidence is so grave in its detail and so alarming in its implications that it demands a fullest investigation.’ The statements that have been signed today by ex- Whitlam Cabinet Ministers and by present Caucus members echoes those words and we have to address the question: Will we allow a boy to spend 68 years in solitary confinement without questioning whether he was denied a fair trial because of the implications it would have had on the Australia—US alliance.
Ian Wood: After the press conference I asked Kelly Johnson for more details of the connections between Christopher Boyce and the Whitlam government.
Kelly Johnson: Well, Christopher Boyce was working in a communications relay room from which information was coming directly from Pine Gap to the relay room and it was then passed on to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. And it was through this information coming from Pine Gap that Christopher Boyce had to prove that the CIA was intent on toppling the Whitlam Labor government.
Ian Wood: What sorts of specific information did Boyce come across that led him to believe that the CIA was involved in Australia and in trying to topple the Whitlam government?
Kelly Johnson: It began during Boyce’s initial briefing for the job in the relay room. He was told that although America and Australia had signed an Executive Agreement to share all information that Agreement was not being honoured and that there was information that was being withheld from the Whitlam government.
Ian Wood: What about the issue of CIA interference in Australian unions?
Kelly Johnson: Well, Boyce raised this specific instance where there was personnel, hardware and software due to be ship out to Pine Gap and there were strikes imminent in Australia amongst pilots and air controllers and these strikes would have caused unintentional disruptions at Pine Gap. Boyce then discovered a telex which came from CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, stating that CIA had suppressed the strikes and the shipments could continue as normal. It may be questioned why Pine Gap was so important and why the strikes were suppressed. The covert surveillance facilities in use at Pine Gap were used to spy on the Whitlam Labor government. The CIA knew precisely what was happening on a day by day level in regards to the Loans Affairs and they knew at which point the CIA-fabricated telexes could be introduced to the Liberals and to the media to give the most impact.
Ian Wood: What about the famous Shackley Cable?
Kelly Johnson: The Shackley Cable arrived in Australia on November 10, 1975, after a briefing the CIA had given to the ASIO liaison officer in Washington on November 8. The reason for this was that Gough Whitlam had stated that Richard Stallings, who was a former director of Pine Gap and who supposedly was an employee of the US Defence Department, was actually a CIA employee. Whitlam had been challenged to prove this and he intended to give his proof in parliament on the afternoon of November 11 and this is the first time that Australia would have had confirmation that Pine Gap was a spy base and was run by the CIA and was spying on Australia and on other nations, friendly nations to Australia and the United States. The CIA became incensed that Whitlam was going to do this and there was much pressure put on Whitlam, particularly by Arthur Tange, to change his Hansard. Whitlam indicated that he would not change his Hansard. And then this cable from Ted Shackley, who was head of the East Asia Division of the CIA, came through indicating that the CIA could not allow Whitlam to make this disclosure. The Shackley Cable was in fact leaked in 1977, hard on the heels of Boyce’s allegations, and Mr Gough Whitlam has verified the authenticity of the cable in Parliament. And if I could just quite from Mr Whitlam, `In plain terms that cable revealed that the CIA had deceived the Australian government and was still seeking to continue its deception.’
Ian Wood: The Shackley Cable also seems to indicate something that is perhaps even more ominous and that is the Australian security organisations were also involved and knew about the pressure from the CIA?
Kelly Johnson: Yes and in fact if I can again quote from Mr Whitlam, from a speech he made in Parliament, he said, `Implicit in the CIA’s approach to ASIO for information on events in Australia was an understanding that the Australian organisation had obligations of loyalty to the CIA itself before its obligations to the Australian government.’
Ian Wood: Kelly Johnson of the Christopher Boyce Alliance. Well, it’s that evidence and the growing anti-bases campaign in Australia that its rekindling public interest in the role of foreign intelligence agencies in our domestic and political affairs, especially the American CIA. Peter Staples sums up at the press conference on November 11 in Canberra.
Peter Staples: This is not an anti-United States bash. The United States is recognised as a fundamental ally of Australia. I bring back to your attention Whitlam’s words from Hansard of 1977, while the first Boyce’s trial was in progress, and he said, `It is precisely because America is our principal ally that Australia must be satisfied that American agents are not acting in a manner contrary to our interest as a nation. Are we to let an ally get away with something that a rival would not be allowed to get away with? Alliances are not strengthened by covert operations or by condoning and covering up such covert operations.’ Other people who have made allegations about the CIA’s activities at the time of the dismissal include Ray Cline, former Deputy Director of the CIA; James Flynn, former CIA employee; James Angleton, of the CIA; Admiral Bobby Inman, former director of the NSA; and more recently in Australia, Ralph McGehee, formerly of the CIA himself. I think there is enough evidence to warrant a full inquiry at this stage, it has to be seen not only in terms of what happened in 1975 and perhaps the period before but certainly is has to be seen in terms of Australia’s sovereignty as a democratic nation.
Jane Lanbrook: Ian Wood there reporting on the call for a formal inquiry into CIA involvement in Australian politics, especially the dismissal of the Whitlam government in 1975. Kelly Johnson of the Christopher Boyce Alliance, and Labor MP Peter Staples who were speaking at a press conference in Canberra on November 11, 1986.
-------------- End part 6 of a 6 part series Transcription: Jose Gutierrez
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE, in interview with Ray Martin, 60 Minutes, 1982
“When the Rhyolite project was first put in place, the Executive Agreement meant that all information was to be shared between the American and Australian Governments. When I went to work for the project, during the initial security briefing that I had, I was told that in fact we weren’t going to live up to that agreement, and that we hadn’t been, and that there was information that was being witheld. Also that the Argus Project, which was the advanced Rhyolite Project, was to be hidden from the Australians…
“There was definetely conversations in the Black Vault, and in the security area, with members of TRW Security about the problem of Mr Whitlam. He was not a popular figure at all, to say the least. His politics, socialistic, and the fact that enquiries were being made about the base, Mr Whitlam was, by wanting to know what was going on there and publicising it, compromising the integrity of the project. Mr Whitlam (to their view) had no business sniffing around the Rhyolite Project…he was on the wrong ball club. Mr Whitlam’s government was a threat…
“There was a bit of celebration that Mr Whitlam had been canned, but my instructions as to what was to be sent on to Alice Springs and Canberra, did not change…
“There were references to your Governor-General, by the Central Intelligence residents, there at TRW in the Rhyolite Project, they called Mr Kerr, “our man Kerr.” Joe Harrison, the CIA man said that in the security area…
“In a particular instance, we had hardware, software and personnel to ship out to Alice Springs and there was worry over strikes at your airports, they had to do with pilots and air-controllers. There was an area that TRW had a definite need to know, because strikes would wreck our schedule, and so in this instancea telex came from CIA HQ in Langley, which said, “CIA will continue to suppress the strikes, continue shipments on schedule.” My conclusion is that either the CIA directly, or through intermediaries, would have to have infiltrated the hierarchy of your trade unions…
“It seemed to me, my government betrayed me long before I ever betrayed them…
“I have no problems with the label traitor, if you qualify what its to, I think the US Government is going to involve the world in the next world war, and being a traitor to that, I have absolutely no problems with that whatsoever…
MR GOUGH WHITLAM, on Christopher Boyce’s allegations.
There is increasing and profoundly disturbing evidence that foreign espionage and intelligence activities are being practised in Australia on a wide scale. I believe the evidence is so grave in its detail and so alarming in its implications that it demands the fullest investigation. The public has ground for disquiet. It must be reassured. To ignore the evidence would be to condone, and in the long run to encourage, a threat to civil liberties in this country which no democratic government could tolerate. Nothing less is at stake than Australia’s security and integrity as a sovereign nation.
It cannot be ignored by Parliament. The manipulation of unions, the financing of political parties, the deception over the CIA and the activities of foreign installations on our soil all affect Australia’s independence and sovereignty. There is a need for parliamentary scrutiny of foreign intelligence activities in this country. The need is urgent.
The issue, like all great issues in political debate, is basically a simple one. It is whether the Australian government, any Australian government, is ultimately responsible for this country’s internal affairs or whether it is prepared to tolerate interference in those affairs by the agents and representatives of any foreign power. In short are we masters of our own house? What the Australian people are seeking from the Government and its leader, is an affirmation of the supreme principle of national sovereignty.
It is utterly beside the point toa rgue that Australia and the United States are friendly powers bound by treaties and military alliances. Those treaties and military alliances do not endorse— they cannot condone—covert operations. It is precisely because America is our principal ally that Australia must be satisfied that American agents are not acting in a manner contrary to our interests as a nation. Are we to let an ally get away with something that a rival would not be allowed to get away with? Alliances are not strengthened by covert operations or by condoning and covering up such operations.
Our dignity and self-respect as a nation, no less our national security, demand that the Parliament exercise its supremacy in scrutinising the activities of foreign intelligence services operating in this country.
Extract from Hansard, May 4, 1977, pp.1519-1523. may 24, 1977. pp.1697-8 -----------
TOP SECRET Following message received from ASIO liaison officer Washington
Begins: For Director General. On 8 November Chackley chief East Asia Division CIA requested me to pass the following message to DG (Director General). On 2 November the PM of Australia made a statement at Alice Springs to the effect that the CIA had been funding Anthony’s National Country Party in Australia. On 4 November the US embassy in Australia approached the Australian Government at the highest levels and categorically denied that CIA had given money to the National Country Party or its leader, nor any other US Government agency had given or passed funds to an organisation or candidate for political office in Australia and to this effect was delivered to Roland at (DFA) Department of Foreign Affairs Canberra on 5 November. On 6 November Asst Sec Edwards of US State Department visiting DCM (Deputy Chief of Mission) at Australian embassy in Washington and passed the same message that the CIA had not funded an Australian political party. It was requested that this message was sent to Canberra.
At this stage CIA was dealing only with the Stallings incident and was adopting a no comment attitude in the hope that the matter would be given little or no publicity. Stallings is a retired CIA employee. On November 6 the Prime Minister publicly repeated the allegation that he knew of two instances in which CIA money had been used to influence domestic Australian politics. Simultaneously press coverage in Australia was such that a number of CIA members serving in Australia had been identified—Walker under State Department cover and Fitzwater and Bonin under Defence cover. Now that these four persons have been publicised it is not possible for CIA to continue to deal with the matter on a no comment basis.
They have now had to confer with the cover agencies which have been saying that the persons concerned are in fact what they say they are. e.g. Defence Department saying that Stallings is a retired Defence Department employee. On November 7, fifteen newspapers or wire service reps called the Pentagon seeking information on the allegations made in Australia. CIA is perplexed at the point as to what all this means. Does this signify some change in our bilateral intelligence security related fields? CIA can not see how this dialogue with continued reference to CIA can do other than blow the lid off those installations in Australia where the persons concerned have been working and which are vital to both of our service and countries, particularly the installation at Alice Springs.
On November 7, at a press conference, Colby was asked whether the allegations in Australia were true. He categorically denied them. Congressman Otis Pike, chairman of the Congressional Committee inquiring into the CIA, has begun to make enquiries on this issue and has asked whether CIA has been funding Australian political parties. This has been denied by the CIA in Canberra in putting the CIA position to relevant persons there. However, CIA feels it necessary to speak also directly to ASIO because of the complexity of the problem. Has ASIO HQ been contacted or involved? CIA can understand a statement made in political debate but constant further unravelling worries them.
Is there a change in the Prime Minister’s attitude in Australian policy in this field? This message should be regarded as an official demarche on a service to service link. It is a frank explanation of a problem seeking counsel on that problem. CIA feel that everything possible has been done on a diplomatic basis and now on an intelligence liason link they feel that if this problem can not be solved they do not see how our mutually beneficial relationships are going to continue. The CIA feels grave concern as to where this type of discussion may lead. The DG should be assured that CIA does not lightly adopt this attitude.
Your urgent advice would be appreciated as to the reply which should be made to CIA. Ambassador is fully informed of this message.
MR GOUGH WHITLAM, on the `Shackley Cable’
In plain terms, that cable revealed that the CIA had deceived the Australian Government and was still seeking to continue its deception. It confirmed that Mr Stallings had been employed by the CIA. The cable made it clear that the CIA was making what was described, in the jargon of the trade, as an `official demarche on a service to service link’—in other words, without informing the elected government of Australia. Implicit in the CIA’s approach to ASIO for information on events in Australia was an understanding that the Australian organisation had obligations of loyalty to the CIA itself before its obligations to the Australian Government. The tone and content of the CIA message were offensive; its implications were sinister. Here was a foreign intelligence service telling Australia’s domestic security service to keep information from the Australian Government. Hansard, May 4th, 1977. p.1521
RAY CLINE, Former Deputy Director CIA, on the Whitlam Coup
“Cline said…when Whitlam came to power, there was a period of turbulence to do with Alice Springs…the CIA would go so far as to provide information to people who would bring it to the surface in Australia…say they stumbled into a Whitlam error which they were willing to pump into the system so it might be to his damage…if we provided a particular piece of information to the Australian intelligence services, they would make use of it.”
Cited in Covert Action, Number 16. ------- As CIA’s National Intelligence Daily said, some of the most incriminating evidence “may well have been fabricated.” While some of the cables that rocked Labour’s cabinet were provided by the CIA via Pine Gap, others were forged by CIA agents. CIA employee James Flynn said in 1981 that he manufactured cables and leaked them to the press under the direction of former CIA employee Edwin Wilson. Flynn claims he was paid by Michael Hand, co-founder of Nugan-hand Bank which has extensive ties to the CIA. The bank is accused of serving a a go-between for a $2.4 million CIA Liberal Party slush fund to bring down Whitlam.
Foreign Policy, No.49, 1982-83
About the same time Admiral Bobby Inman, former director of the National Security Agency and deputy director of the CIA, gave credibility to this line of suspicion. Asked in Washington on September 30, 1980, and January 24, 1981, about the collapse of the Nugan-Hand empire, Inman expressed deep concern that further investigation of Nugan-Hand would lead to disclosure of a range of “dirty tricks” played against the Whitlam government.
JAMES ANGLETON, legendary counterintelligence officer in the CIA, recalled during an Australian broadcasting Commission program: We…entrusted the highest secrets of counter-intelligence to Australian services and we saw the sanctity of that information being jeopardized by a bull in a China shop…how could we stand aside without having a crisis, in terms of our responsibilities as to whether we would maintain relationshiops with the Australian intelligence services. Everything worried us. You don’t see the jewels of counter-intelligence being placed in jeopardy by a party that has extensive historical contacts in Eastern Europe.