Updated 28 April 2020
‘The Moment of Truth’ with Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, Laila Harre, Bob Amsterdam, Glenn Greenwald, and Kim Dotcom. Video of event at end of post.
‘The Moment of Truth’ in the Auckland Town Hall in September 2014 was not about Kim Dotcom. It was about New Zealand. More specifically, it was about New Zealand’s ability to hold onto its democracy and remain an independent sovereign nation by saying “no” to the secretive TPP trade agreement.
What most do not realise is that Washington – through the CIA and its mass surveillance programs in operation since the sixties as part of its Five Eyes operation – has sneaky ways of working around its allies. In fact, the CIA was instrumental in getting rid of Prime Minister Gough Whitlam in Australia in 1975 after he ran foul of the Nixon Administration. He dared to withdraw Australian troops from Vietnam after previous Prime Minister Harold Holt promised to go “all the way with LBJ.”
But there was more. Here’s a list of other ‘unfavorable actions’ he took compiled by William Blum in his book, Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since WWII, in a chapter entitled, Australia (1973-1975) Another Free Election Bites the Dust:
- Young men who had refused to do military service were released from jail.
- The Whitlam government recognized North Vietnam.
- Whitlam ordered an immediate halt to an operation in early 1973 that involved Australian intelligence (ASIS) working with the CIA in Chile to bring down the Allende democratically elected government.
- The Labour Government also ended discrimination against immigrants who were being denied naturalization for having opposed the military juntas in places like Greece and Chile.
- In 1973, Whitlam disclosed, and later closed, the Australian Defence Signals Directorate (DSD – comparable to the NSA) unit in Singapore, which was used by the CIA and ASIO to monitor military and civilian radio traffic in Asia.
- In 1975 Whitlam dismissed the heads of both ASIO and ASIS in separate incidents. ASIS had been secretly assisting the CIA in covert activities in East Timor.
In December 1966, under Harold Holt, Australia signed a controversial agreement with the United States that would allow them to establish a secret strategic communications facility at Pine Gap, 15 miles outside Alice Springs in the Northern Territory. When the Australian Labor Party came to power in 1972, some party members questioned what went on there, unaware that it was a CIA facility, and at times even voted for its removal.
The cumulative effect of this, and Gough Whitlam’s actions, caused so much alarm in Washington that what was eventually removed was Gough Whitlam himself after the Governor General, Sir John Kerr, dismissed the Whitlam Government in a constitutional coup. This enabled the opposition Liberal and National Country Party coalition to come to power with Malcolm Fraser as interim prime minister, pending a new election. Clearly, this was not who the Australian people had voted for. What had happened to the democratic process?
At the same time, the press revealed that former CIA officer, Richard Lee Stallings, had been channelling funds to J. Douglas Anthony, leader of the National Country Party. This came after Australian political journalist, Ray Aitchison, had published his book, Looking at the Liberals, in which he claimed that the “CIA had offered the opposition unlimited funds in their unsuccessful attempt to defeat the Labor Party in the May 1974 parliamentary elections.”
During a 1976 investigation by the Australian Royal Commission on Intelligence and Security, the conclusion reached was that “for many years members of ASIO had been providing the CIA with potentially damaging information about prominent Australian politicians and governmental officials. The information reportedly ranged from accusations of subversive tendencies to details about personal peccadilloes.”
Joan Coxsedge, a Labour Party member of Parliament in Victoria, noted that:
By the end of 1974, almost every move by the Whitlam Government or by individual Labour parliamentarians, whether it was a departmental decision, a staff appointment, an international cable, a telex, a phone call, or a confidential letter, quickly became the property of the news media. There was an unparalleled campaign of personal vituperation, hinting at incompetence, dissension, corruption and private scandal within the ranks of the government.
In 1977 the Sydney Sun reported on May 4th that the Liberals had received CIA funds since the late 1960s. The article quoted the former CIA officer, Victor Marchetti, as confirming that the CIA had funded both the major opposition parties.
Was this an isolated incidence of interference in Australian political affairs by the CIA? In The Australian on December 09, 2010 in an article WikiLeaks outs Mark Arbib as US informant, Wikileaks claimed that Arbib, an influential right-wing Labour MP, was one of the US Embassy’s “best” Australian Labor Party informants.
Are we now expected to naively believe, just because a prime minister says so, that mass surveillance – or in the very least, surveillance of our politicians – is basically a myth?
Will we now need far more shocking “Moments of Truth” to wake us up?
In Philip Agee’s words, (a CIA agent from 1957-1969):
We didn’t give a hoot about democracy. I mean, it was fine if a government was elected and would cooperate with us, but…if it didn’t, democracy didn’t mean a thing to us. And I don’t think it means a thing today.
The true goal of the United States Government is control. They feel that if the United States did not control the governments of Latin America, somebody else would and the principal of government by the people, for the people, of the people, that is…just silly.
What we citizens don’t know when we finally elect someone who promises to improve social conditions for us all and to end poverty, is that if our newly elected leader refuses to be controlled or reined in by the corporations who pull the strings – as did Gough Whitlam, John Kennedy, Allende in Chile, Arbenz in Guatemala, Mossadegh in Iran, Chavez in Venezuela, and so many other democratically elected leaders – there are sneaky, and not so sneaky, ways to work behind the scenes to boot them out of government – even if it means orchestrating a bloody coup as we saw in Ukraine, or using assassination (or the threat of assassination) as the ultimate weapon of control.
For democracy to thrive and flourish, not only is economic equality necessary, but also a free press and free internet. For democracy to thrive and flourish, people need to be informed – even if that now means searching for the ‘truth’ on the internet. Unfortunately it is a sad reality today that five big corporations now control mainstream mass media and feed us propaganda instead. If the TPP negotiations go through, the new copyright laws will delete the ‘truth’ from the internet which currently empowers citizens with the knowledge necessary to maintain a healthy democracy to serve all the people.
This is what is currently at stake.
This is an edited version of the original article which appeared in Scoop on September 19, 2014
William Blum (2003), Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since WWII
John Pilger documentary (2007), The War on Democracy