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Through the 1960’s and 1970’s Australia played host to a world-wide terrorist organisation involved in assassination, bombings and the attempted overthrow of a foreign government. The organisation had branches in many Australian cities and were able to commit acts of terror while enjoying the protection of Liberal Party and Labor Party power brokers, ASIO and catholic church clergy. Eventually due to the efforts of whistle-blowers, a courageous attorney general and investigative journalists these connections were exposed. Few Australian’s  know that our country was knowingly exporting terrorism and that some of today’s leading politicians are the beneficiaries of the political influence of Eastern European Nazi collaborators fleeing prosecution after World War II. To understand how Australia became a major exporter of retail terrorism we need to go back to World War II, the indepedant state of Croatia and the political movement known as ‘Ustasha’.


September 1972 Bomb blast in the Sydney CBD targeting the Yugoslav General Trade and Tourist Agency




 Flag of the Independent State of Croatia (1941-45)

“..the Ustase have gone raving mad…our troops have to be mute witness to such events; it does not reflect well on their otherwise high reputation…I am frequently told that German occupation troops would finally have to intervene against Ustase armies.”. – German General and former Vice- Chancellor of Austria Glaise-Horstenau

The Croatian Revolutionary Movement (Ustaša – Hrvatski Revolucionarni Pokret) was a independence movement active in Yugoslavia in the 1920’s and 1930’s which openly espoused terror and assassination to achieve its goal of an independent Croatian state and a pure racial populace. When the Axis powers – Italy and Germany – invaded the dictatorial Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1941, the movements previously exiled leader, Ante Pavelic was allowed to head up the newly formed Independent State of Croatia. The Ustase government was fiercely Catholic and Croatian Nationalist but were tolerant of Croatian Muslims who were seen as followers of a national religion whereas Serbs and followers of the Eastern Orthodox Church were persecuted. Even the Gestapo reported of the regime’s bestial atrocities against ‘helpless old people, women and children’ warning that anti-fascist groups were growing stronger in their recruitment and as a result Berlin encouraged the new state to tone down it’s oppression.

The numbers vary but the most reliable estimates are that in order to create a pure Croatia the Ustasha regime killed around 300,000-500,000 racial enemies. The victims were Serbs, Gypsies (Roma), Jews, Communists and dissidents. The Croatian state also ran one of the largest non-German concentration camps during the war at Jasenovac where it is believed that 100,000 prisoners perished. According to some sources it was worse than Auschwitz.

The Ustase enjoyed a sympathetic relationship with elements of the Catholic Church and at the end of the war availed themselves of the infamous catholic ‘Rat Line’ to escape justice. This informal organisation assisted many notorious Nazi’s to escape to South America, including the inventor of the mobile gas chamber Walter Rauf, Klaus Barbie ‘the butcher of Lyons’ and the concentration camp doctor Josef Mengele. When the Croatian regime was defeated by partisan anti-fascist forces the Ustase fled for safety. Their saviour  was a Croatian priest of the Franciscan order, Father Krunoslav Draganovic, who worked in Rome’s Pontifical Croatian College of St Jerome. Declassified US documents reveal that between 1959-1962 Draganovic worked for the US Army spying against Yugoslavia but during the Ratline period he had assistance from a Colonel James V Milano of the US Army Counter Intelligence Corps (430th) and Chief of Intelligence Operations in Austria. Milano later admitted he destroyed all the related Ratline files before he departed Austria in 1950.

As for the Poglavnik (Chief) of Croatia, Ante Pavelic, he disguised himself as a Catholic priest, fled to Austria and lived in the American occupation zone before finding refuge at the Vatican’s residences. In 1948 he fled to Argentina where with the approval of the local elite he announced a Croatian government in exile known as the Croatian Liberation Movement or HOP (Hrvatski Oslobodilacki Pokret). Pavelic’s HOP grew to have a presence in 25 countries worldwide and by 1964 Australia alone had 5000 members. Though fractious and consisting of separate fiefdoms the Croatian nationalist movements, primarily led by former Ustase, were united in their aim of overthrowing the government of Yugoslavian leader General Tito. Croatian born Dictator Josip Tito was the much celebrated leader of the highly effective anti-fascist partisans during World War II and afterwards established the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY). Pavelic was wounded in a 1957 assassination attempt by a Serbian patriot and fled to Spain where he would die two years later receiving the personal benediction of Pope John XXIII on his deathbed.

Ante Pavelic , Head of the Independant State of Croatia meeting Mussolini and Hitler. 

 The Serbcutter, used to kill Serbs en masse & a memorial for the victims of the Ustase concentration camps at Jasenovac

 Croatian Ratline Priest Father Krunoslav Draganovic, Local Croatian Clergy with Ustase officers and Fuhrer Pavelic Meeting Vatican Officials 


“”…the strength of Ustasha in Australia is ‘based upon the ability of various organisations, aided by the Croatian Catholic Church, to continuously draw fresh recruits from the newcomers arriving from Yugoslavia and camps in Europe.” Marjan Jurjevic, Ustasha under the Southern Cross

One of the most extreme groups under the umbrella of Croatian Nationalism was the Croatian Revolutionary Brotherhood or HRB (Hrvatsko Revoluciarno Bratstvo). Founded in Australia between 1961-1962 it emerged because its creators felt that existing groups like HOP were not violent enough to achieve their goals. HRB Members took an oath that required them to declare allegiance to the Croatian Fuhrer, an oath that was printed in the Croatian Youth in Australia magazine Uzdanica in December 1965:

To the Fuhrer, to show him our thanks for all that he has done…we give this holy oath – the Ustashi oath…if I make any mistakes and betray this oath, I am completely aware…under the Ustashi law that the death penalty is waiting for me. So help me God. Amen.

Neither HOP nor the HRB lacked for human resources. The post-war migration of displaced persons saw an estimated 30,000 Croatians enter Australia between 1945-1967 and according to Croatian Australian anti-Ustasha campaigner Marjan Jurjevic Croatian fascists  preyed Mafia style on innocents as they came to Australia:

These organisations… send representatives into migrant camps, guarantee to find the newcomers jobs and places to live and thus get them into debt. Money is loaned to them and then whey they are regarded as sufficiently trapped, the demands for return of favours received began. Refusal to pay Ustasha levies is met with threats and if necessary, violence. Sometimes migrants are in their hands before before they arrive. Ustasha supporters in Australia sponsor people in European camps with the Australian government and the World Council of Churches…on arrival it is Ustasha which finds them jobs and homes and the sponsor is responsible for the migrant for two years….a centre for the recruitment and indoctrination of migrants and organisation of Ustasha activities is the Croatian catholic church.

Within 3 years of its initiation HRB had between 100-200 members and a presence in every state in Australia. When it expanded to Europe, the Australian arm became known as ‘Command Post Number Four’.


Anti-Ustase Campaigner Marjan Jurjevic and future Deputy Prime Minister Jim Cairns

Jurjevic and other emigre’s tried to create an alternative introduction to Australia by establishing the Melbourne based Yugoslav Settlers Association (YSA) in 1963 but it quickly earned the ire of Ustase. Jurjevic was bashed at a conference and the YSA club rooms regularly came under attack. Jurjevic claims ‘not one dance was held without some attempt by Ustasha supporters to break it up’ with attacks involving ammonia, stink bombs and ‘small shatter bombs. In November 1966 a parcel bomb of gelignite hidden inside a book, intended for Jurjevic exploded prematurely at the Melbourne General Post Office. At the Richmond Town Hall In December 1967, a fountain pen bomb intended for Jurjevic was found in the toilets by two brothers (5 and 15 years old) one of whom lost his hand. Jurjevics own flat would be bombed in 1972. Unsurprisingly, YSA membership declined under these assaults. The assailants were known to the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO). One, an Ambrose (Ambroz) Andric, threw a bomb into a YSA ball in Geelong in February 1965 and only received a two year good behaviour bond. Later that year Andric, as a leader of HRB carried a letter of introduction from the HRB leadership in Europe to the Victorian Regional Director of ASIO. After a series of interviews with ASIO, Andric felt confident enough that his supporters would be allowed to leave Australia, on the condition they didnt use Australia as a terrorist training base. Ambrose Andric would be killed in the HRB terror incursion into Yugoslavia in 1972. While ASIO was protecting the Ustase, the Commonwealth Police (now known as the Federal Police) were doing their job and in 1966 they barged into the home of Ambrose’s brother, Adolph Andric, looking for evidence of bomb making equipment. Adolph was an industrial chemist and two years later was one of four men sacked by Ford Geelong for making booby traps and translating books on sabotage in company time. He too was killed in the 1972 attack on Yugoslavia. It was a busy year for the Ustase. A retired army Colonel living in the mountains between Melbourne and Geelong reported he was being regularly awoken at night by the sound of columns of cars driving by as well as the firing of rifles and automatic weapons and a forestry commission employee also reported finding automatic weapon shells in the area. In the July 1972 edition of HOP newspaper Spremnost (“Readiness”), a call was made for medical aid donations to a CooperPedy man who demonstrating his skills was blinded when he did not throw his stick of gelignite quickly enough. Spremnost was the name of the newspaper the Ustase regime published during World War II. Gelignite was a popular tool of the Ustase and a pamphlet by the Queensland branch of the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation references this in its 1972 title The Geli-Men: the Ustasha and Australia.


The Australian Yugoslav community was beset by many assaults and murders in the 60’s and 70’s but special attention was given to official representative’s of the Yugoslavian government or anything culturally associated. The list below is far from exhaustive and excludes many bomb incidents against individuals and homes but gives us a good idea of the scope of Ustase terror in Australia alone:

  • January 1967, the Yugoslavian Consulate in Sydney is bombed

  • June 1969, the Yugoslavian Consulate in Sydney is bombed

  • November 1969, the Yugoslavian Canberra embassy is bombed

  • October 1970, the Yugoslavian Consulate in Melbourne is bombed

  • November 1971, the Sydney Yugoslav Travel Agency is bombed

  • December 1971, a cinema showing a Yugoslav film is bombed

  • January 1972, a Melbourne Serbian Orthodox Church is Bombed

  • April 1972, the ANZ Migrant Advisory Centre is Bombed

  • September 1972, two bombs explode in Sydney at Yugoslav travel centres

  • May 1975, Melbourne’s Sunny Adriatic Trade and Tourist Centre (Yugoslav) is bombed

  • December 1977, the Melbourne Yugoslav Airlines Office is bombed

  • December 1977, a Canberra statue of Serbian WWII General Draza Mihailovic is bombed

The September 16th 1972 bombings of the Sydney Adria Travel Agency and the General Trade and Tourist Agency (which injured sixteen people) have an obvious candidate for the crime. A man called Tomislav Lesic was discovered at the location of the first bomb. Lesic was described by a Labor politician George Petersen in NSW parliament in October 1972 as well-known in the Yugoslav community as the “bag man” or stand over man for the Croatian Liberation Front’. He had also lost both his legs in 1964 when a parcel he was carrying in Sydney exploded. He later claimed the parcel was handed to him by an unknown communist. ASIO concluded at the time ‘the theory that Lesic was carrying the bomb for some HRB purpose as the most likely explanation’. As for his presence at the bombing 8 years later, Lesic claimed to be there for a newspaper and a ‘communist’ had tried to kill him a second time. 

One of the earliest public exposures of the risks emerging from elements of the Croatian émigré community was the attainment by Commonwealth Police of a 1963 film showing paramilitary Croatians nationalists training in Wodonga, Victoria and co-mingling with Australian Citizen Military Forces (CMF). Although unclear, it appears that CMF forces , the original version of the Australian Army Reserves, were doing manoeuvres in the area with armoured vehicles when the two groups came across each other and fraternized. Photo’s were taken and published in  Spremnost of the Croatians with the Croatian shield emblazoned on their fatigues holding CMF weapons and sitting on the armoured vehicles. Spremnost proudly displayed the photos with a headline declaring ‘Today on the River Murray, Tomorrow on the River Drina’ (the Drina being a Serbian river).The movement held these week-long camps every summer which the Australian government described as ‘picnic camps‘. When Australia’s commitment in the war against Vietnam began the Ustase offered the Australian Government a thousand men, an offer which they declined.

Early in July of 1963 two of the HRB members present at the camps along with seven others who had lived in Australia, illegally entered Yugoslavia to wage a terrorist campaign known as Operation Action Kangaroo. Specifically it was to involve the blowing up of railways, factories, reservoirs and major bridges; the killing of tourists and the burning down of hotels in order to ferment insurrection. Travelling via Germany and Italy they met up with local members who asked them to place HRB papers in the pockets of Yugoslavian public and political figures targeted for assassination. Ultimately the infiltrators did not manage to carry out any of the proposed acts. First they returned to their home town to convince their relatives to join the cause and some even attended dances with local girls. They were apprehended by the Yugoslavian government with 15kg of explosives and 100 detonators. All the arrested men in Operation Kangaroo were holders of Australian passports.

The trials held in Yugoslavia resulted in sentences ranging v from 6-14 years and revealed that terrorists had received training in land mines and explosives at a Catholic Church office library (Queen St) in the Sydney suburb of Woollahra. A library run by a Catholic Priest called Father Roko Romac who would also run a military style training camp near Gosford, NSW in Christmas 1965 at a property owned by the nuns of St. Anthony’s. After the priests death in 1970, it was revealed that he was in fact Father Stejpan Osvaldi-Toth, an Ustashi war criminal who had worked in Bolivia on the Vatican ‘ratline’. Commonwealth Police had uncovered in 1964 that he entered Australia with false details, thus breaching the Immigration Act but the Liberal Attorney General, Sir Billy Snedden did not want to see him prosecuted commenting in a memorandum that he did not want to ‘see the whole issue revived by prosecutions which are not in themselves of great proportions‘.

Opposition party criticism of the government and pressure from the Yugoslav Government on the paramilitary training camps in Australia eventually forced Liberal Prime Minister Robert Menzies to respond. It was a weak response with Pavelic being referred to only as an ‘exile’. Menzies argued that the red and white chequered shield which his Ministers had been photographed in front of at social functions was in common usage amongst Croatian migrant groups. Further, Victorian Special Branch ‘found no evidence whatsoever to support allegations of Ustashi violence’ and that if there was evidence they would proceed with prosecution.

Croat Liberation Movement Training Camp in Australia 1961 & a commemoration for the  Poglavnik in 1966


A global player in Croatian nationalist terrorism was a naturalised Australian citizen called Srecko Rover. Srecko’s father, Josip, had been Deputy Director of the State Administration for the Revision of the Economy in the Ustase regime. Bureaucratic title aside, it meant resettled Serbian and Jewish communities, an important part of the Yugoslavian holocaust. Srecko received training from a German Nazi officers school and was a member of the Ustase police force‘s notorious mobile court-martial unit – in essence a roving genocide troop.

Srecko Rover,  Ustase and Australian extremist leader

After the war Srecko was arrested three times by allied military authorities and each time he was released. In his 1945 arrest by the British he was sent to be interrogated by the US Army Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC) with whom he formed helpful associations. Srecko went on to conduct guerilla operations in post war communist Yugoslavia during this period in operations known as the ‘Krizari’ (Crusader) raids that were performed from Italy, Austria and Germany. During this time he also formed links with the aforementioned ratline priest Father Krunoslav Draganovic. Bizarrely, he was allowed to became a Chief of Police for the International Refugee Organisation (IRO) which was the United Nations group trying to deal with all the displaced persons of World War II. By 1948 the Ustase leadership changed tactics and decided to go into exile to continue the fight from overseas. Srecko told Australian immigration authorities that he had been a ‘student’ during the war and he and his father were allowed to emigrate to Australia in 1950.

In their new home Srecko and Josip organised the local Ustase followers around the Australian Croatian Association and quickly sought to publish a newspaper called Hrvat. Srecko was already on ASIO’s radar and an officer studying the group noted it would ‘become the official organ of Fascist Propaganda in Australia’ and ‘that no good purpose would be served by officially allowing an extremely pro-fascist newspaper to cause upheavals in a fairly contented community’. Brigadier General Spry, the legendary head of ASIO, overturned the advice and allowed the newspaper as he had ‘no security objection’.

Brigadier General Sir Charles Chambers Fowell Spry, CBE, DSO

 Director General of ASIO 1950-70

In 1956 Srecko Rover was granted citizenship with no ASIO objections and came to have a favourable relationship with the intelligence service as evidenced in 1966 when a knife wielding man attacked him and his wife in their Melbourne television repair shop. Rather than ring the police the Rovers called ASIO’s direct number (given to them by ASIO) who then advised the police. Our intelligence agency weren’t worried about his overseas terror activities but something else communism, still the bogey under everyone’s bed. As Gough Whitlam‘s political staffer and author Richard Hall wrote there existed ‘an identity of purpose’ between ASIO and migrant organisations. Migrants spied on communists within the emigre community and in turn ASIO turned a blind eye to fascist activities. At the time Yugoslavia was at odds with the Soviet Union and part of the non-aligned nations movement which did not ally with any power bloc. Rover had been considering aligning with the USSR to achieve his goals and an ASIO memorandum of April 1971 expresses concern that he may adopt ‘a policy of negotiation with the Soviet Union in order to establish an independent Croatian state’. Furthermore, Rover and:

the organisation he controls should in future be regarded as potential focal points for increased unrest and violence in the Yugoslav community of Australia, and therefore potentially an embarrassment to the commonwealth Government.

Croatian Nationalist groups had many splinter associations and it’s members were often in morphing groups. Another extreme faction was the Croatian National Resistance  (Hrvatski Narodni Otpor/Odpor, HNO), or ‘Otpor founded in the mid 50’s by an Ustase General called ‘Maks’ Lubiric[h]. Luburic claimed that he had been instructed to start Otpor by Pavelic in 1944 in what anti-Ustase campaigner Marjan Jurjevic describes as appearing ‘to be the Ustasha equivalent of the German NAZI werewolves, left to fight the allies in Germany’. Ante Pavelic had a falling out with Luburic in 1955 and removed him of his rank of general publicly attacking him and his assistant Srecko Rover in the official HOP paper Hrvatska. Otpor became firmly established in Spain in 1959 with the help of it’s openly fascist government and Rover became the head of Oceanic division of Otpor in 1963 with a headquarters in Melbourne and branches in Canberra and Sydney while a sister Otpor organisation led by another faction had branches in Geelong, Sydney, Brisbane and Fremantle. Luburic was eventually assassinated in 1969 by UBDA , the State Security Service of the Former Republic of Yugoslavia.

Srecko Rover would also head up an associated youth group with violent inclinations called SHUMS (Saveza Hrvatske Ujedinjene Mladezi Svijeta) or the Croatian United Youth of the World. The Australian secretary of SHUMS, Zdenko Marincic, was actually arrested returning form West Germany in 1972 with a rifle and silencers in his luggage. In the same year four young members of SHUMS were charged with possession of gelignite.


 Croatian United Youth of the World (SHUMS) in front of a portrait of Ante Pavelic

Groups like Otpor and HRB successfully spread their terror throughout the world. In Belgrade in 1968 a bomb attack on a theatre in Belgrade killed one and wounded 85. An attempt was also made to kill the Yugoslavian commercial attache in West Germany for which five Croatians were arrested. In March 1972 a Yugoslavian tourist office in Stockholm, Sweden was bombed. Earlier that year Yugoslavian flight JAT367 on its way to Belgrade from Stockholm exploded over Czechoslovakia killing 27 people. Incredibly one of the stewardesses, Vesna Vulović, through sheer good fortune survived the fall of 33,000 feet and made it into the record books. Despite severe injuries, a 27 day coma and temporary paralysis Vesna eventually returned to work on the ground and became a national hero. Paul McCartney later presented her with the Guinness Book of Records award for surviving the longest fall without a parachute in 1985.

Tail Plane of JAT367 & Vesna Vulovic

The Czech secret police later concluded that a bomb had exploded in the baggage compartment of JAT367. The morning after the explosion a call in broken Swedish was made to a newspaper in Malmo, Sweden with the man claiming to be a Croat and member of a nationalist group who had placed the bomb. As we have seen Sweden was a popular place to commit their crimes with the Yugoslavian Ambassador to Sweden, Vladimir Rolovic being assassinated in 1971. The jubilant handcuffed assassins yelled to the media at the crime scene ‘Long Live Ante Pavelic’. It was Rolovic who in 1970 had visited Australia and handed an aide memoir (an informal diplomatic note) to senior government officials which gave specific details on Ustasha personnel, organisations and activities in Australia. Rolovics assassins were caught and sentenced to life imprisonment while Croatian nationalist organs and newspapers around the world asked for donations for their defence. It has been suggested that the assassination was a direct result of Rolovic’s detailed complaints on the Ustasha to Australian authorities. In September 1972 three more Ustasha terrorists hijacked a Swedish plane demanding money and the release of Rolovic’s assassins. Their demands were met and they all fled to Spain. Otpor were also active in America in the 70’s and 80’s. The most famous is the 1976 hijacking of a TWA flight 355 en route to Chicago and the simultaneous planting of a bomb in Grand Central Station, New York which killed a bomb disposal policeman. One of the convicted terrorists, Julienne Busic, who was released in 1989 later became advisor to the Croatian ambassador to the United States, which caused understandable protest. Otpor carried out 5 bombings in the United States in the 80’s including a Yugoslavian bank, the home of the Yugoslavian ambassador, the New York State Supreme court, a travel agency and a Yugoslavian airlines office. Otpor also published its own magazine called Drina.

Zvonko Bušić of Otpor under arrest for hijacking of TWA flight 355 & The Drina magazine

Back in Australia nothing was done by Australian authorities to stem the problem as on June 1972, 19 Ustasha guerrillas (9 of whom had been trained in Australia) were intercepted and killed in Yugoslavia after killing thirteen people, eleven of them civilians. The infiltrators become known as the ‘Bugojno Group’ after the Bosnian town whose mountain was their ultimate destination. All of the group were either shot or executed except for a minor who was imprisoned.

Commenting on the raid into Yugoslavia, Fabijan Lovokovic (Fabian Lovokovich), the Australian editor of the Croatian nationalist mouthpiece Spremnost, member of the Liberal Party Migrant Advisory Council, Justice of the Peace and former Ustase Youth Leader and Officer in Ante Pavelic’s bodyguard said the men involved ‘we’re courageous but not sensible’. He went on to claim that if ‘anyone in Australia trained saboteurs it would be our organisation – but we’re training no saboteurs’ and bragged about his links with ASIO and the hundreds of people he had reported to ASIO on the basis that they were sympathetic to the Yugoslavian communist cause. Back in September 1963 in his role as the Secretary of HOP in Australia he had told The Daily Telegraph ‘the Security Service does not view the Croatian Liberation Movement in an unfavourable light’. On TV in September 1972 four days after the Sydney bombings he stated that HOP upholds the principles of Ustasha.


As a result of the attack a second aide memoir was provided to the incumbent Australian Liberal government by Yugoslavia. Peter Barbour (the Director General of ASIO) in a memo for the Attorney General Ivor Greenwood commented that some of the activities about which the Yugoslavian government had complained may be regarded as indictable in Yugoslavia but not necessarily in a democratic country like Australia.’ As for the bombings in Melbourne in April 1972 and Sydney in September 1972 against Yugoslavian targets ‘there is nothing to link the three events to a universal organisation or group of individuals‘.


“[Murphy] barged in and tried to destroy the delicate mechanism of internal security, which had been built on patiently since the end of World War Two…we saw this Whitlam government come into power and this bumbling attorney-general [Murphy] moving in…it was done as an adversary. It was a raid….it’s a Stalinist tactic.” – Jesus James Angleton, CIA head of Counter Intelligence.

“In reality all [Attorney-General] Murphy did was to exercise his ministerial right to inspect files when he had reason to believe he was not being told the truth on an important issue.” – Brian Toohey & William Pinwill, ‘Oyster: The History of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service’

In March 1973, Attorney-General Lionel Murphy in Gough Whitlam’s Labor government ‘raided’ the offices of ASIO. This event led to a media outcry, political strife and the American intelligence community placing Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam in the ‘security risk’ basket before ultimately instigating a constitutional coup that led to his dismissal [see my other post Ally This, published Nov 23, 2014].

Lionel Murphy visited ASIO headquarters because he had come to believe that information on Croatian terrorists within Australia was being deliberately withheld and that the security of the soon to be visiting Yugoslavian Prime Minister Dzemal Bijedic could not be guaranteed. A meeting between various government departments and ASIO to consider the Yugoslavian prime ministers visit resulted in an internal memorandum circling designed to keep information from the Whitlam Government. Kerry Milte, former commander of the Central Criminal Investigation Bureau of the Commonwealth Police confirms the state of affairs:

a key Interdepartmental Committee of Public Servants resolved that the ALP [Australian Labor Party] was to be fed only information that would force it to follow the policies of the previous Liberal Government in relation to the Croatian’s.

Attorney General Lionel Keith Murphy (1972-75) & Kerry Milte, Former Commander Commonwealth Police CIB


Džemal Bijedić , Prime Minister of Yugoslavia (1971-1977)

When Murphy discovered the duplicity he was furious and as the minister responsible visited the Canberra office of ASIO late at night on March 15th, 1973 for some answers. An incident dubbed by a hysterical media as the ‘Murphy Raid’, a ‘raid’ which would have been a secret meeting had not an ASIO officer leaked details of the raid. The real scandal was that he was being deliberately denied relevant information that would protect both Australians and visiting dignitaries. Murphy simply tried to hold the agency to account.

Thanks to notes taken by Kerry Milte who attended the meetings as an assistant to Murphy, we have access to the detail of the conversations. The notes were later read into the 1973 Senate Inquiry into Murphy’s actions, ‘against the protestations of the Liberals’. There were in fact two important meetings during the ‘raid’. The first was at ASIO’s Regional Directorate in Canberra on March 15th, 1973 to discuss the security arrangements for the visit of the Prime Minister of Yugoslavia. ASIO Regional Director C. H Brown and ASIO Assistant Regional Director R. Hunt were questioned by the Attorney General on security measures for figures such as the Deputy Prime Minister Dr Jim Cairns and the Immigration Minister Al Grasby who were openly critical of Croatian extremist movements. Cairns had addressed parliament as far back as September 1964 with the following comment:

In Australia there was and still is an organisation organisations of Croat migrants…that were dedicated followers of the wartime Pavelic Nazi fascist puppet regime in Yugoslavia…they were led by former members of the Ustasha or the SS military type unit responsible for what has been described as the genocide in Yugoslavia between 1941-1945…they used violence in Australia and were organising and training members to go overseas to carry on terrorist activities in Yugoslavia.

After Murphy revealed there was to be no ASIO protection for these ministers, he questioned the regional directors on why there were no ASIO checks on employees or casual staff who were to be working at parliament house during Mr Bijedic’s visit. The responses show ASIO to be either disingenuous or incompetent:

Murphy: Why has it not been done?

Brown: So far as parliament House is concerned. I don’t know whether it has even occurred to someone.

Murphy: Is it not obvious to do this?

Brown: Yes.

Even simple precautions such as showing photo’s of suspects to local hotel managers had not been carried out. Milte, wrote of first hand experience of the inadequate support and protection for visiting Yugoslavian dignitaries where ‘bombings were a regular occurrence, and appropriate counter measures were not permitted’. The Canberra times on 24th March 1973 regarding Mr Bijedics visit pointedly asked the question ‘if ASIO Director General Mr Peter Barbour, is unwilling to pass the information he collects to the federal government, it must be asked who does he think he is collecting it for?’. Milte points out that the Attorney General had ‘impeccable’ intelligence on a planned assassination that was ‘demonstrated by the fact that Police did seize explosives on Prime Minister Bijedic’s route’.


Peter Robert Woolnough Barbour, Director General of ASIO (1970-75)

Murphy was astonished at the lack of assembled ASIO files on the Croatian nationalist movements despite the ample evidence. When Murphy asked Brown if he had a definitive report on the groups (this is 10 years after Australians were convicted in Yugoslavia on terrorism charges) he replied in perfect bureaucratese:

..I would imagine from time to time they [Head Quarters] had a review of the various organisations or groups and bringing out a desk paper. As far as I know that is still being done in Melbourne and they keep these there and if you would like me to ask the DG [Director General of ASIO Peter Barbour] to bring this up tomorrow. It is the best I can do. We do not have any more in this place because it is not of specific local interest other than the personalities involved.

When Murphy asked for the available material that led the previous Attorney General Liberal Ivor Greenwood to claim numerous times that there was no credible evidence to suggest that there is a Croatian terrorist organisation in Australia, the following exchange occurred:

Brown: It is being done in Melbourne and if I could check with them it would save a lot of duplication and time because they have better resources there.

Murphy: They seem to be a little overworked.

Brown: [No Answer]

When Murphy asked ASIO questions on the suspicions of the recent training of Croat terrorists in a farm near Moe, Victoria we hear the same old story:

Murphy: There seems to be no doubt the training camps exists.

Brown: This particular training camp information has been sent to Melbourne for investigation.

Murphy: What were the results?

Brown: None for us. The D.G [Director General of ASIO] would know what is happening in Melbourne. It is out of our hands and we are not made aware of results.

The next day Murphy flew to Melbourne to see what was really in ASIO’s file’s on Croatian terrorists. At ASIO Headquarters he addressed the staff:

I take it that the staff and the people of Australia will welcome this change. It is our policy to bring open government to Australia. ASIO will of course remain as our own security service..the organisation will be brought under direct ministerial control. This is part of the democratic process.

It was a period of intense rivalry for the Commonwealth Police and our national intelligence agency. ASIO Director General Peter Barbour later admit ‘we saw no reasons to have dealings with them and they developed a hostility, based on, I think, envy.’ Or the harbouring of terrorists. Lionel Murphy confirms the attitudes of ASIO agents in the period:

An ASIO officer subsequently told me that ASIO had scant knowledge of the Croatian Groups but plenty on the ragtag communists, on homosexuals in the public service, and on suspected Eastern Bloc spies thought to be in Australia.’

ASIO had not been able to entirely ignore the Croatian extremist networks and had actually spent some time disrupting the activities of the HRB in 1967-68, but were convinced that the movement was dying and that the few bombs were the work of isolated individuals. Richard Hall in his book The Secret State: Australia’s Spy Industry explains :

To accept that Croatians were responsible for violence in Australia was to concede that anti-communists could do wrong, so it was more convenient for ASIO to strive to convince itself that the explosions were the acts of Yugoslav government agent provocateurs (i.e communists) or isolated individuals.

A conceit which pleased the incumbent Liberal Government. Commonwealth police however were less than convinced and their analysis concluded that even though the movement was seemingly dormant ‘with their past experiences, they are now possibly better equipped and more able to conceal their revolutionary activities’. They were proven entirely correct.

A year prior to the Murphy raid when the Bugojno group incursion into Yugoslavia took place, extensive evidence of Australian connections was compiled by the Commonwealth Police. Yet the Liberal Attorney General Ivor Greenwood continued to publicly state twice that the investigations by the Commonwealth Police ‘have not been able to discover any evidence of an organisation’. As it happens, the Commonwealth police had raided the home of a Jure Maric, leader of the HRB in Australia who had sent money to the guerillas on the eve of the incursion and was found with detailed maps of the areas where they crossed the border. Above and beyond the denial of their activities, ASIO actively contrived to protect the extremists. On 16th March 1973 Jack Behm, Deputy-Director-General of ASIO, had the following conversation with Murphy:

Murphy: Is it true that ASIO asked CPF to back down from interviews [with suspected terrorists]?

Behm: Not as a general rule – perhaps on specific occasions.

Kerry Milte explained that this approach was taken because the government and ASIO ‘had the misguided belief that the Croats could help in the identification of communists in Australia, who in the 1960s were factionalized, ineffective and posed no threat to national security’. After Murphy Croatian extremist groups ‘changed tack and targeted the ALP [Australian Labor Party] as their primary support base’ before proceeding to stack key ALP branches and donate to the ALP.

Former Labor staffer Richard Hall acknowledges that Murphy had trouble with his public perception ‘as is often the case with lawyers whom come into active politics late in life, he still used the techniques of an advocate – his public case was a well devised whole, without the highlights the media needed’. During the month of March 1973 legal opinion within ASIO circulated that Murphy ‘s interference (even though he was the minister responsible) could be construed as a ‘criminal offence’. Elements within ASIO began to suggest he was a KGB spy, on account of his two wives origins in Russia and Poland. Milte confirms that, ‘the old ASIO professed to believe that Murphy was a Soviet spy, and that fallacy endured in some quarters until this very day.

Lionel Murphy left a memorable legacy in law during his time as Attorney General and later became a high court judge. Amongst his many achievements he established the principle of a ‘no fault divorce’, initiated the Death Penalty Abolition Act, drew up a Human Rights Bill (before the Whitlam Coup ended the move), set up systematic legal aid and established the Australian Trade Practices Commission. Murphy also took the French government to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over their pacific nuclear testing. Murphy rejected a knighthood in 1976.


After World War II fascism as a governing movement was not so much crushed as redistributed. The two sole remaining superpowers, the US and USSR, had no qualms in hiring former Nazis to achieve their cold war aims.

Examples of this clandestine policy of integrating Nazis into the postwar power structure are legion. Operation Paperclip saw the hiring of over 1500 scientists and engineers from Nazi Germany being put to use in the US defence industry after having their records ‘bleached’ – the intelligence network term for removing or minimising evidence of Nazi complicity. The most famous being Nazi party member and rocket scientist Wernher Von Braun who invented the terror of London, the V2 rocket at Peenemunde, a place where forced labourers and concentration camp prisoners died in their thousands. He went to work for NASA and spent some time as a Disney spokesman.

Then there is Reinhard Gehlen, the former head of German Military intelligence on the Eastern Front in World War II. After the war Gehlen was first hired by the US Army and then the CIA to set up a network of anti-communist spies in Eastern Europe. Gehlen employed Nazi’s and war criminals in his organisation and was later selected  to head up the first West German Federal Intelligence service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), and the ‘Gehlen Organisation’ melded into it.

German Rocket Scientists from Operation Paperclip (Fort Bliss, Texas), Wernher Von Braun and Reinhard Gehlen

Nor should we forget the researchers in the Japanese biological warfare unit known as ‘Unit 731’ who were offered immunity by the US for sharing their research data despite carrying out the most horrendous human experimentation tests involving chemical and biological warfare (mainly on Chinese Civilians). This perfidy was officially confirmed in the 2007 Final Report to US Congress by the Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Inter-agency Working Group.


Dictatorships with openly fascist leanings have long been allowed to prosper in the US’s self claimed sphere of influence central and southern America. This includes the murderous regime’s of General Juan Peron’s Argentina, General Alfredo Stroessner’s Paraguay, Chile’s General Augusto Pinochet, the Guatemalan Military Junta, the Bolivian Socialist Falange party, the Nicaraguan Somoza family, the Brazilian Military Dictatorship (1964-1985) and the fascist takeover of Colombia in 1948. These local powers weren’t crushed by a dominant regional superpower determined to root out fascism on its doorstep after World War II. Instead their political elite’s received assistance and funding from the CIA and US State Department under programs such as Operation Mongoose, Operation Condor, Operation PB Success/PBFortune and the benignly named US Agency for International Development (USAID) with its role in training third world police forces.

Fascist South American Dictators Lieutenant General Juan Peron, President of Argentina

(1946-1955, 1973-74);  General Alfredo Stroessner, President of Paraguay (1954-89);

General Augosto Pinochet President of Chile (1973-1990)

It was not enough that the rise of fascism in the region was allowed to run its course, it was actively nurtured. Most Latin American nations have had their military and police officers trained at the ‘ US Army School of the America’s’ in Panama. Now located in Fort Benning, Georgia and renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Co-operation it boasts amongst its former students hundreds of the worst of Amnesty International named torturers from all over the region. The school even enjoyed public notoriety in the 80’s and 90’s, before water boarding and extraordinary rendition became an accepted norm, when it was revealed that its torture manual the KUBARK Counter-intelligence Interrogation manual was still being used.

Fascist revivalismeant the local anti-fascist resistance groups in civil power were replaced with Nazi quislings. Greece, as a case in point, suffered continuously. Straight from Nazi occupation, the British moved in and continued the oppression. Scholar Noam Chomsky explains what happened when the British took over, the first post war overthrow of a European nation well before Stalin’s eastern bloc expansion:

..displacing the Greek guerrillas and imposing a brutal and corrupt regime, which evoked renewed resistance that Britain was unable to control in its postwar decline. The US stepped into the breach under the Truman Doctrine in 1947, launching a murderous counterinsurgency war, complete with the full panoply of devices soon to be employed elsewhere: massacre, torture, expulsion, re- education camps, and so on. The US-organized war was in support of such figures as King Paul and Queen Frederika, whose background was in the fascist movements, along with outright Nazi collaborators such as the Minister of Interior of the US- backed regime. The US succeeded in crushing labor unions and the former anti-Nazi resistance based among the peasantry and working classes and led by Greek Communists, eliminating even mild socialists with blatant interference in the political process, and creating a society in which US corporations and the Greek business elites prospered while much of the working population was forced to emigrate to survive.

Greece became a member of NATO in 1952 thus drawing a line of control from the Mediterranean in the south up to the Atlantic sea in the North. After the British the US sponsored a military junta and Greece endured the ‘Regime of the Colonels’ from 1967-1974. France and Italy, yet to become founding members of NATO, where the Resistance (mainly communists) dominated civil administration were encouraged to place back into power former Nazi collaborators as a bulwark against Bolshevism. In Marseilles the CIA found the Corsican Mafia, co-opted Trade Unions and the Socialist Party as useful tools to depose the incumbent Communist Mayor. Thus Marseilles, the ‘gateway to the orient’ became the heroin gateway to the west AKA the French Connection. Further west, WWII ‘neutral’ Portugal would become a founding member of NATO yet remain a fascist country right up until 1974 and its ‘neutral’ neighbour Spain (where Nazi Germany helped defeat the government in the 1930’s) would be fascist under General Franco until 1975.

Greek Military Junta (1967-1974) , The French Connection Movie,  Generalissimo Franco, Fascist Dictator of Spain 1936-75

Less obvious but equally disturbing is the Operation Gladio revelations. After the war the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), essentially an US run coalition, organised groups of stay-behind secret armies. Though denied for many years, the existence of these groups was officially confirmed by the US State Department in 2006. Started by NATO’s Clandestine Planning Committee along with Britain’s MI5 and the CIA it involved paramilitary groups in western European countries who were trained and provided with cache’s of arms which could be dug up in the event of a Russian invasion. Whether that was the sole intent or not, some of the soldiers became ‘independent’ and since many of them were far right extremists or even former Nazi’s they evolved into terrorist operations against local political opponents. This first came to light in Italy in the 1980’s where it was suspected the operatives had contributed to the tumultuous ‘Years of Lead’. Since then some European parliaments have tried to pry open the secrets involved with little success and firms such as the CIA and Mi5 disavow any knowledge of terrorism stemming from these agents.


“It was Western Intelligence community’s policy to use Australia as a dumping Ground for Nazi War Criminals” – Mark Aarons

“In theory both war criminals and Nazi collaborators were barred from the benefits of immigration to Australia; in practice, it proved easy to circumvent the restrictions. Australian politicians and bureaucrats did not implement effective procedures to exclude them, often deliberately turning a blind eye and even denying the facts known to the authorities.” – Mark Aarons

Understanding the historical attitudes of the state’s that won World War II gives us some insight as to why allied intelligence networks would have been unconcerned about eastern European Nazi’s emigrating to Australia. Whether the allied intelligence networks openly lied to Australian authorities or whether there was collusion, successive post war Australian governments failed to prevent the influx of former Nazi collaborators migrating to the country. The scandal broke in 1986 when journalist Mark Aarons in the course of preparing for a series of 1986 ABC radio documentaries called ‘Nazi’s in Australia’ on Background Briefing discovered that between 150-200 ex Nazis had entered Australia.

His research is one of the primary providers of information for this essay. Even conservative former Trade union leader and Prime Minister Bob Hawke provided a respectful forward to Aarons book War Criminals Welcome: Australia, a Sanctuary for War Criminals since 1945 :

Australia played a significant role in the fight against Nazism out of proportion to its numbers and remoteness from the scene of conflict. It is entitled to be proud of that role. We do not however have the same reason for pride in the way we allowed Nazi killers to enter this country and become Australian citizens in the period after the Second World War. Mark Aarons in this densely documented and trenchantly argued book establishes the laxity, obfuscation – and worse – which allowed this to happen.

The revelations led to an inquiry and in 1987 an Australian Special Investigations Unit was set up to investigate. By the following year, the head of SIU Robert Greenwood QC, stated that the number of cases on their books had grown to around 500. In the units 5 life span they investigated 850 individuals. Sadly, despite Robert Greenwood being respected worldwide for his investigations, after three unsuccessful prosecutions the political will subsided and the unit was closed. The failure to prosecute being attributed by the attempt to try the subjects in Australia rather than deport them to the countries where their crimes were allegedly committed. A strategy that Canada and the United States had found successful.

Fascist collaborators entered Australia from the beginning of its post war Displaced Persons Migration program in 1947, a Labor Party government initiative. This was were the cover up first occurred and was continued by successive administrations. The organisation after world war II for responsible for assisting displaced persons was the United Nations International Refugee Organisation (IRO). Overwhelmed with the task the IRO gave the problem of war criminals over to western occupation authorities who would ultimately decide whether a Displaced Person (DP) was clean or a Nazi. Sometimes this was done with the stroke of a pen and sometimes this was done clandestinely with the help of powerful conservative organisations with a worldwide network. Mark Aarons explains:

From what is known today, it can be categorically stated that most of the Nazis could not have escaped justice without the help of European churches of several denominations especially the Roman catholic, and certain sections of western intelligence organisations that which desired to use them in anticommunist operations.

Disturbing reports did enter Australian newspapers early on. Camp inhabitants in Australia reported living amongst and travelling on ships with individuals who had been their persecutors. More than a few individuals bore scars under their arms where they had cut out their identifying SS blood group tattoo’s. Jews made up a quarter of these DP’s (the program would only allow a 25% Jewish ratio). Investigations of these accusations were superficial as the bureaucracy sought a smoothly functioning scheme. Mark Aarons points out this complicity resulted in a media blackout:

By 1949 the open scandal of Nazi penetration of Australia’s immigration program had ceased to be a purely Jewish affair. Many sections of the media had taken up the story by then and being their own investigations. In July reporters for the Sydney sun and daily telegraph were banned from IRO ships because they criticised the Nazi background of some of the arriving DP’s [Displaced Persons].

This leads us to the disturbing links between the leadership of conservative Australian political parties and migrant Nazi’s to Australia. In April 1986 following a release of files from ASIO, the British Foreign Office and the US State Department; a motion was proposed to debate war criminals being allowed into Australia by the Menzies government. Mr J H Murray (Minister for Drummoyne) clarifies a crucial development in the story:

I support the motion and in particular that part of it stating that the house deplores the Fact that substantial numbers of Nazi’s joined the Liberal party and were rapidly promoted into positions of glory and influence..those Nazi’s and their supporters subsequently gained control of key conferences of the party and are now in a position to decide its leadership.

Some of these Nazi’s became prominent powers brokers in the Australian Liberal Party and influence its direction to this day. Some members of the right faction of the Australian Liberal Party were always ready to publicly support the movement or appear at Croatian Nationalist celebrations. When Croatian demonstrators tried to sack the Sydney Yugoslav consulate in November 1968 Liberal Treasurer, and later Prime Minister, William McMahon told a Sunday Telegraph reporter that ‘they seem a good bunch…their cause is a good one’. Most recently Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott sent his representative Craig Kelly to congratulate members of the Australian Croatian Community in Sydney on Croatian Independence on 10th April 2014. The same date that the fascist Independent State of Croatia was established in 1941. An international incident ensued with the Australian ambassador in Zagreb being summoned to listen to the protests of the Croatian Foreign Affairs Ministry. Joan Coxsedge and Ken Coldicuttt write in their in 1982 exposure of the clandestine element in Australian politics called Rooted in Secrecy:

There can be no doubt that one of the vital factors for the survival and growth of Ustasha terrorist groups in this country has been the tolerance and patronage shown to them by successive Liberal governments. The attendance of government ministers at blatant Ustasha functions gave them status in the eyes of their fellow nationals and legitimised their operations in the eyes of ‘old’ Australians’.

The influence of Nazi collaborators in Australia has been at both grass roots and executive level. By heading up official Liberal party structures they were able to exercise substantial influence on future Liberal Party leaders through the disreputable tactic of branch stacking. In the 1950’s they joined the Liberal Migrant Advisory Council (MAC) and in 1977 dominated a division of the NSW Liberal Party called the Liberal Ethnic Council (LEC). The first president of the LEC was Slovenian immigrant called Lyenko Urbanchic(h) who proudly declared the council would not be ‘ a sort of baby-sitting club for mothers who would like to earn overtime’ but be focused on fighting ‘creeping socialism. The council had an official newspaper The Third Division which encouraged readers to buy papers by Fabijan Lovokovic and Srecko Rover (of the HRO and HRB).

Urbanchich was approved for immigration to Australia in 1950 under the Displaced Persons scheme after being released from British custody despite being on a list of known Nazi collaborators and accusations by the Yugoslav War Crimes commission. Urbancic’s role in World War II, as revealed in 1979, was as a propagandist for the Slovenian Domobranci (SD) or Home Guard. The SD was formed by the German SS to counter partisans and communists who were fighting the fascists. From an early age Urbancic had been a Nazi, even being expelled from school in sixth grade because of it. He earned the derogatory title ‘Ljublijana’s Little Goebbels’ due to his pro-fascist propaganda work in newspapers and radio. A few months before the fall of the Slovenian regime, insisting that the locals continue to fight with and for Germany, Urbancic wrote in the official SD magazine on the subject of those longing for peace:

They want peace, regardless of what comes with this peace, they are unaware of the face in the background, the cynical and monstrously grinning face of the one who produced today’s bloody drama, in which our bloodied people, play such a tragic role…that is the face of the cynical Jew.

Lyenko Urbancic, Slovenian Nazi War Criminal, Senior NSW Liberal Party 

Figure & World War II Poster for the Slovenian Home Guard

Urbanchich today is best known for creating the right wing faction of the New South Wales Liberal Party known by their enemies as the ‘Uglies’, that faction that helped Liberal Prime Ministers Tony Abbott and John Howard to power. When in 1979 revelations of his role in the regime surfaced the council was abolished by the NSW state council. A motion to expel him from the Liberal party was defeated, Malcolm Fraser’s government took no action and Urbancich continued to influence the far right faction of the NSW Liberal party.

The Sydney Morning Herald obituary for Urbanchich described him as ‘the last, and most powerful, of the central and eastern European Nazi collaborators and war criminals who infiltrated the Liberal party’ in the 1950’s. The Herald article notes that he acknowledged his wartime anti-Jewish tirades but ‘persistently pursued anti-Semitic causes at all levels of his political life’. It is claimed he divorced his first wife, a German, because they quarrelled about her feelings of guilt over the holocaust. He was a member of several clandestine Slovene groups dedicated to the violent overthrow of communism, had his own intelligence network and kept files on his enemies iAustralia. At his property in Kurrajong, he created ‘a mixture of nostalgic throwback to his Slovenian homeland and [a] paramilitary training centre’.

The campaign to save Urbanchich from expulsion from the Liberal party was led by political student and ally David Clarke, the factional leader who has inherited the role of the spiritual leader of the ‘uglies’. Clarke is also a solicitor and member of the Opus Dei Catholic sect and a current serving member of the New South Wales Legislative Council for the Liberal Party. Clarke claimed in a 2005 interview that he believed it was all a communist plot and that Urbanchich was working in his SD mouthpiece position ‘at the behest of the underground’ which was ‘loyal to the government of King Peter (of Yugoslavia) who was in exile in London’. To summarise Clarke’s ultra conservative views, abortion is bad and same sex marriages are unacceptable but saving the political career of a Nazi war criminal is honourable. John Ward of the Tasmanian Times reminds us of his modern influence:

The Uglies, control up to 30 per cent of the Liberal Party State Council votes and are the power base of Tony Abbot, Bronwyn Bishop and of John Howard and others. In 1996, Urbanchich and Clarke established the far-right’s ironically named “central committee”; controlling the NSW state executive, the Young Liberals (in NSW and federally) and the NSW Women’s Council. From this powerful position, the faction Urbanchich founded in the 1960s has embarked on a purge of moderates, especially in the NSW parliamentary party.

A tragic incident occurred in 2005 when NSW Liberal Party Leader in Opposition, John Brogden attempted suicide. He made allegations to TV Program Stateline in 2005 that it was David Clarke’s staffer, Alex Hawke (President of the Young Liberals in Australia and later Federal MP), who leaked dirt files about him to the media. NSW factional politics deserves the term ‘ugly’.

The Honourable David Clarke’s website banner & Liberal Alex Hawke

In the same Stateline interview Liberal Party MP Patricia Forsythe spoke of ‘extremists and zealots who have got extreme – who have got a lot of power inside the party at the moment’. She then went on to say ‘within the parliamentary party I am very fearful of the power of David Clarke…I am talking about a group of people who in my view seem to lack a focus on normal human decency of tolerance, and the sort of compassion that must of us see is at the heart of Liberalism’. By the end of the year her 16 year parliamentary career was over when she lost pre-selection. The Sydney Morning Herald headline of the decision read ‘Revengeful Right Axes Faithful Forsythe’.

Another important member of the Liberal Party’s Migrant Advisory Council was Hungarian Nazi Laszlo Megay who despite both Allied intelligence and ASIO being aware of his history was allowed to emigrated to Australia in 1950. An effective orator and Liberal Party favourite he was also a member of the right wing Hungarian Arrow Cross movement and the wartime Government of National Unity which briefly ruled Hungary and during the spring and summer of 1944 deported some 400,000 Jews into concentration camps. Listed by the UN Nations War Crime Commission as a suspected war criminal, he was wanted by both Hungary and Czechoslovakia to face trial for war crimes. From 1941-44 he had been the mayor of the town of Ungvar (now part of the Ukraine) and according to many sources he financially profited from the ghettoisation of Jews in the town. To Jewish historians and eyewitnesses he was known as the ‘mass murder of Ungvar’. From 1944 to 1945 he was the mayor of a town in Czechoslovakia. He was arrested by the allies in 1946 but was released and put in charge of a displaced persons camp in Lasau before he was removed for fraud and drunkenness. Megay was allowed to emigrate to Australia.

Garda de Fier, Romanian Iron Guard Party Flag

& Hungarian Arrow Cross Party Flag

Megay also became the first president of the Australian branch of the rabid Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations (ABN) organisation in 1957. The ABN was a group formed in 1946 of individuals from Soviet occupied area’s committed to speaking out against the oppression of the communist state and was known for it’s considerable anti-Semitic membership. The European Director of the American Jewish committee described the ABN as a grouping of some of the worst fascist and Nazi elements of the emigre movements’. It wasn’t that some if its members were bad apples, almost the entire leadership consisted of a joining of three terrorist organisations – Ukrainian nationalists, the Intermarium Confederation (Croatian Ustashi and Hungarian Arrow Cross members) and the Promethean League (Polish, Bylorussian and Baltic anticommunists and Nazis’). As time passed the ABN lost their sheen and by the late 50’s the CIA was beginning to withdraw its funding. In Australia, the group was founded by alleged Nazi conspirators. Mark Aarons observes ‘ hiding their pasts behind the respectability of nationalism and anti-conservatism, they were welcomed warmly by conservative political forces, both conventional and extremists‘. The ABN was the author of many failed guerilla incursions into eastern bloc countries in this time but:

The western program failed because of a complex of factors…British and American intelligence could have picked people from many other emigre organisation whose anti-communism was equal to ABN’s, but who were not tainted by Nazism, many were respectable democrats who simply could not return home. Western intelligence , however, believed that these more moderate groups lacked the skills of the Nazi collaborators – tight discipline, dedication and experience in conducting underground military and political activities.

When Megay died in 1959, Constantin Untaru, President of the Association of Romanians in Australia became President of the Australian ABN. Untaru’s history was equally dubious as he had been a treasurer in the Romanian National Government which was set up in exile in Austria in 1944 and had its heritage in the right wing fascist party the Iron Guard. Untaru was also a key member of Liberal Party Migrant Advisory Council in NSW and was awarded the honour of being migrant of the month in the Australian Liberal magazine.


It should be noted that there are adherents to the theory that the Yugoslav Secret Service conducted all these attacks. Let me clarify, ALL of them. The UBDA ‘did it all ‘false flag theory’ is prevalent in some online discussion of the issue and it must be acknowledged. The argument goes that any Australia media hype about Croatian extremism was exactly that , hype. The problem with this, as we have seen is the record of hundreds of confirmed violent acts performed with political or cultural targets around the world. With all the bombs exploding in Australia for instance, the media was right to be concerned. If it is guilty of anything, it is perhaps guilty of not stressing the innocence of the vast majority of Croatian to a public which can easily employ xenophobic defence mechanisms when confronted with complex issues. The notion that UBDA orchestrated a vast domestic and international campaign of terrorism for four decades, to discredit their enemies in other countries is far fetched. We have shown how the leaders of these groups were predominately former Nazi’s with violent intentions caught red handed, not much discrediting is required.

Undoubtedly UBDA was as ruthless as the KGB or any other secret intelligence agency, and in the face of the complete disinterest from countries (like Australia) they had contacted who were harbouring the terrorists we should not discount they took matters into there own hands and had spies within the Ustasha camp. An ASIO report from the late 70s note’s the presence of many Yugoslavian intelligence services [YIS] but:

In contrast to the intelligence services of Soviet Bloc countries, the YIS does not appear to have embarked upon classic intelligence gathering espionage activities within Australia…rather, all evidence points to the YIS being preoccupied with activities designed to maintain internal stability within Yugoslavia….information provided by the Yugoslav government [to Australian officials]…reveal that they are particularly well informed.

Ethnic soccer violence aside, the conclusion to effective Croatian extremism came to an end in February 1979 when six members of the Croatian Republican party were arrested and charged with conspiring to bomb buildings including a packed theatre of 1600 people and a major water pipeline. They each got fifteen years imprisonment. The six were convicted on the evidence of a Vico Virkez who pled guilty, was convicted and then returned to Yugoslavia. It appears now that Virkez, based on a Four Corners interview I have not been able to view, admitted he was indeed an agent provocatuer.




The stain of extremist Croatian nationalism still exists right under our noses. Simply visit the Croatian House in Footscray, Melbourne and in the foyer will proudly be displayed a bust of the Poglavnik (Croatian Fuhrer) Ante Pavelic and inside you can dine beneath the portraits of Ustase heroes and symbols.


The Croatian Social Club Facebook Page & Two visitors pose next to a bust of the Nazi mass murderer Dr Ante Pavelic.


In these photo’s the club bears the name of Ante Pavelic on its sign & on the right the plaque bears Ante Pavelics name and and the Australian Government Logo where a Federal Minister proudly officially opened the centre



Modern Day Supporters and Paraphernalia


Inevitably a comparison will be made with the modern day mass of refugee’s fleeing the horrors of middle east repression and conflict; war zones created by the colonial and neo-colonial interference of powerful and self-interested nation states in Syria, Iraq , Iran and Afghanistan. The convenient and fraudulent government dialogue on these individuals is absurd. On the one hand these places are so bad and repressive that we must add to the sum of their misery with our guns and bombs in order to ‘liberate them’; on the other hand we are supposed to accept that they are queue jumping economic migrants. The problem with Australia’s immigration program and acceptance of world war II refugee’s was not that it served as an influx of terrorists, the problem was that our ‘allies’ in the form of British and US military intelligence deliberately kept information on some of these individuals from our authorities. Individuals that were known to be eastern European Nazi quislings and war criminals  and who were subsequently protected by Australian governments way into the late 1970’s. Then as now, the best source for information on the activities of extremists within immigrant communities is the immigrant communities themselves who are overwhelmingly good people trying to create a new life, starting business’s and paying tax in Australia. Xenophobic and ignorant fear mongering only makes the problem worse . There is no better recruiting program for ISIS than the cynical and greedy policies Western nations are adopting domestically and which have always pursued in their manipulation of the affairs of third world nations.










ALLY THIS: The CIA Subversion of Australian Democracy

‘Part of my daily duties were to continue a deception against the Australians.’

– American Christopher Boyce at his Treason Trial, Los Angeles 1977

‘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 a democracy. The dismissal of the Whitlam Government was orchestrated by a combination of forces inside and outside Australia – namely the United States of America…the Australian press has virtually ignored the biggest political history event in Australia.’

– Former Australian Cabinet Minister Peter Staples in Parliament November 20th, 1986

Before Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and Bradley Manning there was another whistle-blower whose actions saw him face the full force of a vengeful state apparatus caught red handed in nefarious activities. His name was Christopher Boyce. An unknown to Australians, Boyce holds the key to understanding the most alarming and successful attempt to undermine Australian sovereignty. The sabotage wasn’t committed by the Soviet Union, China or even Imperial Japan, but our strongest ally.

Boyce Whistleblower CIA

Christopher Boyce – Whistleblower, convicted of Treason

This obscure story made it to the big screen in the form of The Falcon and the Snowman (1985) which starred Timothy Hutton and Sean Penn. The film dramatizes the story of Christopher Boyce (The Falcon) and his childhood friend turned drug dealer Dalton Lee (The Snowman) as they descend into a world of criminality, selling secrets to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and ultimately their conviction for treason. It is Boyce’s initial motivation for these acts that is of interest here. Courtesy of his FBI father, Boyce worked for a private aerospace company called TRW in California. Part of the US military industrial complex, TRW created spy satellites. His job was in the ‘Black Vault’ communications area of the firm, where he would often receive misdirected CIA Telex messages. The content of these messages shattered his world view and changed his life. The communications discussed a security threat to the United States (US) – namely Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam and his Labor Government.

When Boyce was asked by Australian journalist Ray Martin on the Australian 60 Minutes program, why he had sold on secret documents to the USSR, he said he did it because ‘my government was deceiving an ally, perhaps had been an ally for two world wars, [an] English speaking parliamentary democracy. I thought it was indicative of what my country had sunk to’. Boyce had discovered that the noble idea of shared intelligence among allies was in practice a one-way sham. An informal intelligence alliance supposedly exists between five western countries, “the Five Eyes “; namely Australia, Britain, Canada, NZ and the US. The secret intelligence and signals sharing agreement, United Kingdom – United States of America Agreement (UKUSA), originated in 1947 but was borne from allied collaboration in World War II. It is more commonly known as SIGINT, for Signals Intelligence, and is essentially an Anglo-Saxon intelligence exchange club. Incredibly, no Australian Prime Minister even knew of its existence until 1973. It was an agreement between intelligence services and the public. Elected governments had no right to know. On top of this, Australia was expected to share but not receive, as Boyce explains ‘ 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’.


TRW Inc. Logo 1901-2002

During Boyce’s treason trial in 1977, whenever he sought to bring up his motivations, the prosecution made strenuous objections to his disclosure and the presiding judge upheld them. His statements on the US betrayal of Australia, though briefly mentioned in some sections of the media, were not dwelt upon or investigated. Instead the focus of the trial was on information Boyce passed along concerning an abandoned project called the Pyramider Project. Boyce claimed at the trial that this TOP SECRET file sat on top of a filing cabinet in the TRW vault for 36 days straight. After two years of passing along information, Boyce’s relationship with the Russians ended much to his relief. For their part the Soviet Union had stopped using Boyce as an information source because the detail he provided was consistently already known or useless; as was Boyce’s intent. In defense of Boyce, former CIA analyst Victor Marchetti notes the hypocrisy of keeping information from allies that enemies already know:

The information is already in the hands of the Soviets…So they have the information, so who are we keeping it from? We are keeping it from the American public and Australian public in order to prevent embarrassment.

One of the projects, Argus, according to Boyce was specifically designed to prevent Australians from information gathered through its Rhyolite Project. Boyce was sentenced to 40 years jail and eventually released in 2002. For much of this time – his escape, bank robberies and recapture aside – he was in solitary confinement. Boyce’s punishment for speaking to 60 Minutes was that he was locked in a cell with neo-Nazi prisoners and brutalized.


‘There is increasing and profoundly disturbing evidence that foreign espionage and intelligence activities are being practiced in Australian on a wide scale. I believe the evidence is so grave in its detail and alarming in its implications that it demands the fullest investigation…Nothing less it at stake than Australia’s security and integrity as a sovereign nation.’

– Gough Whitlam in Parliament, 1977

Whitlam CIA boyce

Gough Whitlam. Australian Prime Minister 1972-1975

Democracy. Just Democracy. Australian statesman Gough Whitlam had come to power in 1972; a victory that saw the Labor party removed from 23 years in the wilderness of opposition. Whitlam, a former lawyer was very much an establishment figure and admirer of the US. He was also at the head of a political party introducing a raft of progressive legislation. Many of modern Australia’s legal, cultural and financial benefits stem from this period. Achievements of his government included the establishment of the following institutions: the Trade Practices Commission, the Australian Film Commission, the National Film and TV School, the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the Consumer Affairs Commission, the Australian Heritage Commission, a National Employment & Training Scheme, the Department of Aboriginal Affairs, and the National Health Care Scheme. Labor also  introduced a ‘no-fault’ divorce Family Law Act provision, ratified the Racial Discrimination Act, introduced a new ‘Australian’ national anthem, lowered the voting age to 18, abolished university tuition fees, opposed apartheid in South Africa and drafted the Aboriginal Rights Act.  State grants were provided for nation building projects such as urban renewal, flood mitigation, leisure and tourist facilities; and the building of sewerage systems in un-serviced urban areas.  The government also sought to introduce and fund a national highway system and ‘a standard-gauge railway line linking Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and Alice Springs’.

Labors foreign policy stance was not welcomed by our allies. When the government openly criticised the US bombing of North Vietnam, it earned the personal ire of the American president Richard Nixon and senior diplomat Henry Kissinger. Ultimately Whitlam ended Australian involvement in the Vietnam War, ended conscription, abolished the racist White Australia Policy and re-established diplomatic and trade relations with China. While all these social and political changes ruffled conservative feathers, it was Whitlam’s insistence that his personal staff not be vetted or harassed by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) that really got tongues wagging. ASIO is the Australian equivalent of the FBI performing domestic counterintelligence. As a result of this request, it led to a political officer from the American Embassy taking aside Labor staffer Richard Hall and warning him, ‘your Prime Minister has just cut off one of his options.’

ASIO CIA Boyce Whitlam

During its terms of office Whitlam’s Government was beset by troubles. A relentless and aggressive media campaign against the government, faked scandals, a global economic crisis and rising unemployment all contributed to the pressure. In 1975, the Liberal-Country Party opposition sensed blood and threatened to block the money supply unless a new election was called immediately, one they thought they had a chance of winning. Supply Bills are, almost without exception, allowed to pass through the senate as a normal convention, regardless who is in power for without them a government cannot function. The oppositions blocking of supply was a ruthless, pragmatic form of politics  with the sole intention of gaining power.  A political stand-off ensued and no agreement could be made between the government and the opposition. Then in a political first and to the shock of the nation, the elected Prime Minister of Australia Gough Whitlam was sacked by the Governor General on November 11th 1975.  Parliament was dissolved and Malcolm Fraser, the opposition leader, was asked to form a caretaker government.  This unprecedented act is recorded in Australian textbooks with a euphemism – it is known as the ‘Constitutional Crisis’.  Ultimately, Fraser went on to win the next election in his own right as the Labor party had been torn to pieces by events during its terms. At the time it was unlikely Fraser was going to become Prime Minister the democratic way.  Some senior members of his own coalition were threatening to break ranks and allow the supply bills through. As the CIA reported to US President Ford on November 8th 1975, three days before the sacking:

Disenchanted Australians are swinging, at least temporarily, in support of Whitlam’s Labor party. They agree with the Prime Minister and blame the Liberal-Country coalition for the mess… [Frasers] ability to force an election has clearly been  weakened.

Mike Costello, a chief aide to Labor leaders said in reference to undue influence in the sacking, ‘I don’t have any doubt about that. Fraser could not have held the line [on the budget] for another day or two’. The Governor Generals decision was perfect timing for Malcolm Fraser and the US.


‘Covert intervention is usually designed to operate on the internal power balance…typically these local allies know the source of the assistance but neither they nor the United States could afford to admit its existence…on the whole the agency has been remarkably successful in finding individuals and instrumentalities with which and through it could work in this fashion’.

. – Richard Bissell, the CIA’s Deputy Director for Plans, 1968

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Sir John Kerr , Governor General of Australia. 1974-1977

Who could sack the democratically elected government in a stable, first world country? In this scenario, the representative of the British Queen in Australia – Governor General Sir John Kerr. The textbook view in Australia is that John Kerr, for reasons unclear, overstepped the conventions of his role. The role of Governor General in Australia is considered primarily a ceremonial and formal role. While the Governor General has a wide range of powers, they are only supposed to be used with the consent of the Australian parliament. Kerr was far more than just an overreaching functionary though, as a cursory examination of his past shows.

In Christopher Boyce’s treason trial he stated that he often overheard agents at TRW refer to the Governor General as ‘our man Kerr’. This fits with Kerr’s historical connections with the intelligence community. In World War II, Kerr worked for the Directorate of Research and Civil Affairs, an Australian spook agency which held close ties to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) – the precursor to the CIA – and the British Intelligence establishment. Though the younger Kerr had been a member of the Democratic Labor Party he had always been of a far right political persuasion. After the war he joined the Australian Association of Cultural Freedom, an offshoot of the Congress for Cultural Freedom. The congress was outed as being created and funded by the CIA in 1966-67. The CIA’s own website boasts of its creation in 1949-50 and in helping ‘ to solidify CIA’s emerging strategy of promoting the non-Communist left’. Later on Kerr would become the founding president of Law Asia. What is Law Asia? An organization who received funding from the Asia Foundation – another CIA front. Kerr has since claimed that it was a ‘tenuous indirect link’ between the CIA and Law Asia. That is clearly misdirection as US State Department memo (July 8, 1966) shows when its discusses CIA funding of the organization and their concerns for the ‘vulnerability of the Asia Foundation cover’. Asia Foundations cover was  publicly blown in 1967. Kerr would make two trips to the US to secure funding for Law Asia. Victor Marchetti and John Marks, two former high level CIA/State Department analysts confirm the nature of these CIA fronts in their 1974 non-fiction classic CIA and the Cult of Intelligence:

Another organisation heavily subsidised by the CIA was Asia Foundation. Established by the agency in 1956, with a carefully chosen board of directors, the foundation was designed to promote academic and public interest in the east. It sponsored scholarly research, supported conferences and symposia, and ran academic exchange programs…Although the foundation often served as a cover for clandestine operations, its main purpose was to promote the spread of ideas.


Much of the workings of the American clandestine services in this period are known through the moral compass and efforts of whistle-blowers within the CIA. As such it is important to establish their credibility. Marchetti and Marks book was notable for the large amount of censored (blank) pages – 168 passages – where the CIA had successfully obtained court orders to have the information redacted. To highlight this censorship the passages were stubbornly retained in the published book with a bold DELETED in place of the text.  William Colby, the most infamous Director of the CIA, said in his autobiography Honourable Men: My Life in the CIA that Marchetti as an ‘executive assistant to the Deputy Director of Central Intelligence ‘had seen some of the most secret aspects of our intelligence operations’ and Marks ‘had almost as much access to sensitive intelligence material ‘ in his role in the State Department Intelligence and Research Bureau. The ‘honourable’ William Colby will appear again in this story.

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William Colby, Director of Central Intelligence Agency 1973-1976

Kerr plainly had long standing ties with both the US and British intelligence communities. As author and Labor staffer Richard Hall puts in his book The Secret State ‘the CIA did not need to telephone instructions from Washington – the input was already there’. Award winning Australian Journalist John Pilger points out that Kerr had as much influence from his British spy connections as the US. In particular Mi6 – the British Secret Intelligence Service – who operated their own base in Kowandi, South of Darwin, with the assistance of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS). For many years an unverified agency it is now known that ASIS is the Australian version of the CIA. ASIS which was formed in 1952 proclaims on its website, it exists to ‘protect and promote Australia’s vital interests through the provision of unique foreign intelligence services as directed by government’. Decide for yourself the veracity of that statement. Pilger explains how this multi-agency relationship was utilised, ‘In approaching Mi6 about Whitlam, the Americans wanted to invoke the British/Australian old boy network. Between 1974 and 1975 the number of calls from British intelligence to ASIS almost doubled.’


This squares with the testimony of Joseph Trento, American journalist and author, who had interviewed CIA officers involved with the intrigues at the time. Trento told this to the Sydney Morning Herald on 6th February 1988:

I have the word of officials in the CIA and former officials who gave me their version of what happened and the extreme concern they had over Whitlam and the only conclusions one could make is that the actions that Kerr took were so extreme that it would take far more than what you describe as a constitutional crisis to cause him to do what he did. There are other ways out.

This is what I was told by a deputy director of the CIA. He told me ‘Kerr did what he was told to do’. He did not tell me – and I asked him – that Kerr worked for the CIA. He did not tell me that Kerr did any favours for the CIA, that there was any quid pro quo. Simply that Kerr did what the British told him to do.

This is not ancient history; Law Asia is still active in Australian politics and directing the political and public discourse as can be seen by anyone who visits a newsagent. Quadrant magazine doesn’t even deny its heritage as benefactors of the Congress of Cultural Freedom on its website:

Critics have alleged that in the 1950s Quadrant enjoyed some kind of funding through the Congress for Cultural Freedom from the US Central Intelligence Agency; if so none of its editors ever knew of or were influenced in any way by such funding.


‘The Massive American 647 satellite surveillance programme which reports back to Nurrungar, thence by a landline to Pine Gap, then through the TRW system at Los Angeles on to Langley, the CIA headquarters. The communications vault in Los Angeles, where Boyce worked, was the linchpin of this Australian US-Link.’

– Richard Hall, Secrets of State

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Pine Gap, US Spy Base in Australia

Since World War II, the US has had a strong interest in the affairs of domestic Australian politics. As Britain’s influence on Australia has declined, the States’ has increased. Britain no longer demands we send troops to support colonial wars, Australia sends troops to America’s colonial wars instead. In the 1970s, as now, Australia was essential to US hegemony in South East Asia. While not being a regional power, Australia is an important strategic outpost. Smack bang in the middle of the Australian desert is a facility, owned, staffed and run by foreign military intelligence forces.

This US Military Installation is commonly known as Pine Gap and exists because on 9th Dec 1966, Australia signed an agreement with the United States to ‘establish a joint research space defense facility in Australia’. This is an Orwellian description, the giant golf balls are for spying. Spying on Australia, spying on Asia and everywhere in the region. Initially set up to facilitate Project Rhyolite, which was a covert satellite system spying on China and Russia, its operations soon became more diverse. The massive and illegal carpet bombing of Cambodia and Laos during the Vietnam War, known as Operation Menu was conducted from Pine Gap and its sister installation Nurrungar. Make no mistake; Pine Gap is an essential part of the US war machine. James Jesus Angleton, a legendary figure in the CIA and chief of the CIA’s Counterintelligence Staff from 1954 to 1975, said in a defensive 1977 ABC interview that Pine Gap ‘represents one of the greatest bonanzas to Australia’. Pine Gap had been instrumental in co-ordinating the attacks against Cambodia, Vietnam and in supplying information to Israel during the Yom Kippur war. This also made Alice Springs a nuclear target.

The concern for the United States was Article 13 of the Pine Gap Agreement. It states that nine years after signing, a years notice by any party could be given to quit the agreement. That means the period between 9th Dec 1975 to 9th Dec 1976. The constitutional coup that dismissed Whitlam happened on 11th November 1975. If another 24 hours had passed, an election could not have been held until the New Year. Fearing, without just cause, that the Labor government was going to dissolve the agreement, the United States felt that new leadership or a change of government might secure the facility. It was necessary to prevent the notice being given that the agreement would be dissolved. As it happened, Whitlam’s replacement Malcolm Fraser, beneficiary of the coup, renewed the contract with an Exchange of Notes on October 19th 1977. This is the reason the United States overthrew Australian democracy. The fear that Whitlam and the Labor party would have cancelled the spy base agreement.


‘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…our dignity and self-respect as a nation, no less than our national security, demand that the parliament exercise its supremacy in scrutinizing the activities of foreign intelligence service operating in this country.’

– Gough Whitlam in Parliament, 1977

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Clyde Cameron, Whitlam Cabinet Minister

How did they do it? By the book. US Intelligence agencies have an impressive history of subverting foreign democracies to their own ends. The list is exhaustive, but perhaps the most famous is the military coup against Chile’s democratically elected President Salvador Allende on September 11th, 1973 and the subsequent regime of torture and forced disappearance of thousands of internal dissidents. US support and instigation of the coup is well documented and was known as Operation Condor. By subverting Chilean institutions and creating an economic crisis they encouraged the military in Chile to take over by force. As declassified US State Department memorandums show, President Nixon wanted the CIA ‘to make the [Chilean] economy scream’. They had they the same plan for Australia. As we will see later ASIS and ASIO contributed to the Chilean tragedy. Clyde Cameron, Cabinet Minister in the Whitlam government, had this to say of the similar plans for Australia in this period:

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, it was decided that the army would be put on red alert so [that] 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.

The  September 11, 1973 US Sponsored Military Coup in Chile

The September 11, 1973 US Sponsored Military Coup in Chile

Unsurprisingly, during the coup of November 1975 the Australian army was recalled to barracks, troops were reportedly issued with live ammunition and Army experts were assigned to ride the engine cabs on NSW railways. According to former Whitlam Minister Joe Riordan, Kerr had radio communications equipment installed at Government House in case he did have to call in the army.


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Tirath Khemlani, Pakistani Con Man who helped bring down the Whitlam Government

The Labor Government had many woes in this period and was often embroiled in scandal. The media campaign against the Labor Government was unending. Australian journalists Joan Coxsedge and Ken Coldicutt, in their book on the efforts to bring down the Whitlam government Rooted in Secrecy; sum up the media environment of the time; ‘an unparalleled campaign of personal vituperation, hinting at incompetence, dissension, corruption and private scandal within the ranks of government’. The domestic issue of convenience that led to the downfall of the Whitlam government was the ‘Loans Affair’. This supposed scandal led the opposition parties to believe they held the moral high ground and could block money supply in the parliament. Due to economic woes mostly relating to global economic issues (US spending on the Vietnam War in particular) the government was having trouble funding its social and nation building promises and was being hounded by the media for its supposed economic mismanagement. Inflation and rising unemployment was becoming a problem before Whitlam even got into power. Australia wasn’t alone in its poor economic outlook. The Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) said at the time, ‘the present recession in OECD countries is the most serious since the war‘. Since oil prices at the time were extremely high, it was the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) that had the wealth. Rather than go through traditional US and European sources, Labor decided to borrow short term money through middle eastern countries without the consent of the Federal Loans Committee. Seeking loans from OPEC in the midst of this global economic crisis was in itself a sound policy and had been done by many other OECD countries without much fuss in their homelands. Unfortunately for the government and ministers responsible, they ended up going through up a middle man by the name of Tirath Khemlani. A Pakistani born commodities trader, Khemlani was a ‘shadowy figure who seemed to live on aeroplanes and claimed to exist on potato chips and dried chickpeas’. He was also never able to come up with the $4 Billion loan. When the deal fell apart, documents were leaked to the press and senior Whitlam Ministers became the focus of a media frenzy. When Khemlani returned to Australia for a tell-all ‘locked in a cheap Canberra hotel room’ with opposition member and future prime minister John Howard, he was able to provide ‘the pretext needed to block supply and bring down the Whitlam government’.

The Loans Affair broke in 1975 and cost the job of the Minister for Minerals and Energy Rex Connor. A similar loans scandal would end the career of the Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer Dr Jim Cairns. The dismissal of these senior and outspoken Ministers Connor and Cairns was an early coup for CIA. Former CIA analyst, Vietnam veteran, All American Football player and winner of the Congressional Medal of Freedom turned whistle-blower, Ralph McGehee, had this to say of US involvement in the troubles:

one CIA National Intelligence Daily report admitted that some of the most incriminating evidence in that period against the ministers in the Whitlam government may have been fabricated.

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Ralph McGehee (Left), Highly Decorated CIA Officer and Whistleblower

This straight arrow hero’s opinion of the true nature of his former employer is illuminating:

The CIA is not now nor has it ever been a central intelligence agency. It is the covert action arm of the President’s foreign policy advisers. In that capacity it overthrows or supports foreign governments while reporting “intelligence” justifying those activities. It shapes its intelligence, even in such critical areas as Soviet nuclear weapon capability, to support presidential policy. Disinformation is a large part of its covert action responsibility, and the American people are the primary target audience of its lies.

Ray Cline, head of CIA’s Directorate of Intelligence (1962-1966) and later Director of the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (1969-1974) said in an interview with the now defunct National Times:

The CIA would go so far as to provide information to people who would provide it to the surface in Australia…say they stumbled onto 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.

Ultimately, the government sought to obtain its loan from the United States as was expected. A victorious Malcolm Fraser then committed his new government to strong defence spending (to stop communism) cuts to taxes, reducing social spending and culling the public services. Though even with Fraser’s economic rationalism, unemployment still rose as did inflation, just as it had under Whitlam. Fraser allowed Australian uranium to be mined and exported, a key policy concession for the US as Australia possesses 31% of the worlds supplies. As for Australia’s mineral wealth, as of 2013, 83% of Australian mining profits go to overseas investors, a much more comfortable situation for foreign corporations than Connor proposed all these years ago.

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Dr Jim Cairns, Treasurer and Deputy Prime Minister in Whitlam Government


The period boasts an impressive array of CIA crimes against Australia. This includes blackmail, dissemination of fraudulent documents about Whitlam ministers, infiltration of the media, universities and the law courts. As was revealed in the press at the time the CIA also funded the National and Liberal parties of Australia. A former Liberal politician, Edward St John, explained that funds were not given directly but ‘passed through a number of special trusts, or through multi-national corporations…to look like a normal political donation’. Deep cover agents would pose as ‘businessman, students, newsmen, missionaries or other seemingly innocent visitors’ to staff these fronts. Some of the fronts included the the already mentioned LawAsia and Congress for Cultural Freedom, the International Commission of Jurists and the National Union of Australian Students (NUAUS) before CIA funding was withdrawn in 1967.

Of particular importance for the CIA was the infiltration of trade unions. Whitlam Minister Clyde Cameron said at the time of the sabotage efforts that ‘the CIA is not only seeking to subvert officials and members of the trade union movement, but is actually concerning itself in the affairs of the government itself’. Christopher Boyce supports this assertion and concluded as a result of his experiences ‘either central intelligence directly or through intermediaries would have to have infiltrated the hierarchy of your trade unions at some level’. He described one such event relating to the Pine Gap installation:

We had hardware, software and personnel ship out of Alice Springs, and there was worry over strikes at your airports. They had to do with pilots and air controllers…a twix [telex] came from Pilot [CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia] “pilot will continue to suppress the strike, continue shipment on schedule”.

Clyde Cameron recalled on public radio in 1986 how Whitlam’s Attorney General Lionel Murphy had attended:

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’ [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.

Richard M. Bissell, Jr. - CIA Deputy Director for Plans

Richard M. Bissell, Jr. – CIA Deputy Director for Plans

Trade Unions were infiltrated, according to Cameron, via the Leadership Grants Scheme in which they were ‘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’. Infiltration and manipulation of a target countries internal institutions and power centers is a standard US intelligence community tactic. Richard Bissell, the CIA’s Deputy Director for Plans, said this to the US Council of Foreign Relations in 1968:

We are involved in a total war…foreign policy is not “something left over” after the consideration of labours role in Asia, Africa and Latin America has been taken out. In fact, our foreign policy cannot be successful unless it specifically includes and gives high priority to the activities of worker organisation in these vast areas.

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Bob Hawke, Australian Prime Minister 1983-1991

Demonstrations and work stoppages in Australia did occur during the period of the November 1975 coup but they were in support of Whitlam’s government. Still, Pro-US trade union leaders called for restraint from the demonstrators. They didn’t want support for a ‘nationwide general strike’, according to CIA’s National Intelligence Daily (Nov 12th, 1975). One of these Pro-US leaders was Bob Hawke, President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (1969-80). Hawke had been seen by the CIA as a successful successor to Whitlam in the Labor party for some time. It should come as no surprise that a former US Labour Attaché to Australia, Robert Walkinshaw, befriended Hawke. Nor should it now be a surprise that Walkinshaw was outed as a CIA agent by whistle-blower and undercover operative Philip Agee. Hawke commented on this relationship to Labour Attaches in 1977:

 I’ve never known them to try in any way to traduce people…I’ve met them all the way back to Walkinshaw and I’ve never been   aware of any sort of activity that would make me identify them as CIA agents. That proves nothing of course.

Bob Hawke eventually became Prime Minister in 1983. A National Security Agency and US Cryptologic History Review in 1999 references Hawke’s ascension in friendly terms:

…when party leader Bob Hawke took control, he excluded the left wing of the party and repudiated the anti-US planks of the party platform…soon after his election he publicly declared that the US would continue to enjoy access to defence facilities in Australia, including Alice Springs (also known as Pine gap). His public statement in support of the facility revealed the bases purpose “…the provision of early warning by receiving from space satellites information about missile launches – and the occurrence of nuclear explosions “. It was more than the US wanted him to say, but was received with relatively good graces in view of his strong support for the joint effort.

Walkinshaw, after his stint in Australia moved on to work with a certain Ambassador Green in Indonesia.


‘Watch your back, Whitlam’

– Activist Joan Coxsedge issuing a prophetic warning to Whitlam (ABC Lateline 1973)

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US Ambassador to Australia Marshall Green, 1973-1975

In 1973, two years before the Australian coup, the US sent a new Ambassador to Australia. The man was Marshall Green, a high level policy maker for the US in South East Asia and someone who had lectured at the CIA associated think-tank , the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. Since Australia was normally seen as a backward posting, to have someone of the new ambassadors stature was surprising. Coxsedge’s warning to Whitlam was because Green also had a tendency to be in countries which ‘sprouted coups’, including a military coup in South Korea in 1961 and the murderous coup in Indonesia 1965-66 which killed between 500,000-1,000,000+ persons (there are various historians estimates). One of the great ironies of the Indonesian Coup is that the Indonesian secret police had such poor information that the CIA provided them with lists of individuals with communist sympathies ( members of the Indonesian PKI party) to be disposed of . Green confirmed in an August 10th, 1966 Airgram to Washington that the list(s) provided by the US embassy ‘is apparently being used by Indonesian security authorities who seem to lack even the simplest overt information on PKI leadership’. Green had originally endorsed on December 2, 1965 a 50 million rupiah covert payment to the Indonesia Kap-Gestapu movement, who were an ‘army-inspired but civilian-staffed action group still carrying burden of current repressive efforts targeted against PKI.’ Greens 1973 statement on his role in the slaughter in Indonesia shows little remorse, ‘what we did we had to do, and you’d better be glad we did because if we hadn’t Asia would be a different place today’. Clyde Cameron made this comment on Marshall Greens intrigues:

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 government where policy or decision making takes places.

Clyde Cameron met Ambassador Green when he first arrived. Cameron cheekily caught him off guard by asking what they would do if the Australian government decided to nationalise the resources industry. Green answered ‘oh, we’ll move in’ before gathering his composure and clarifying `the days of sending in the marines has passed but there are plenty of other things we could do’. Secretary of the Australian Department of Defence, Arthur Tange, confirms in his view that Green was sent to Australia to cause trouble:

[Greens]…appointment was no compliment to Australia. Green was sent because of apprehension about Whitlam’s policies and [US President] Nixon’s resentment at the statements of some of his wilder ministers…Indeed; one high-ranking American told me that Green was given to sending somewhat alarmist reports to Washington. This of course is a fairly normal practice of competent trouble-shooters who are disappointed by the meagre trouble upon which to apply their skill.

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Indonesian Military Coup 1965-67

During the Whitlam years, US diplomatic staff exceeded 300, a very high number. We should consider how many of these staff actually routinely worked for the CIA. As Richard Bissell, CIA strategist explains:

Local allies find themselves dealing always with an American and an official American – since the cover is almost invariably as a US government employee there are powerful reasons for this practice, and it will always be desirable to have some CIA personnel housed in the embassy compound.

Marshall Green left Australia in September 1975, a few months before the coup, and retired a few years later devoting his time to committees and writing books on combating global overpopulation.


An infamous example of the CIA de-stabilisation effort is the story of the meteoric rise and collapse of the Australian Nugan-Hand Bank. The bank was founded in 1973 by Australian businessman Frank Nugan from Griffith, NSW (notorious for its links to the Australian mafia and the drug trade) and Michael Hand, a former Green Beret. Nugan-Hand Bank goes down in history as a money launderer, drug trafficker and international arms dealer. Its criminal dealings were exposed in 1980, leading to Royal commissions, criminal task force investigations and the revelation of an intricate web of connections with intelligence community figures.

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Michael Hand (Centre) and Frank Nugan (Right) of the Nugan-Hand Bank

The CIA has a history of using international banks for its operations. Nugan-Hand inherited the mantle of the CIA’s bank from the disgraced Bahamas based Castle Bank and Trust Ltd of Nassau. Castle was founded in the 60s by Paul Helliwell, former CIA agent and lawyer who had helped set up another infamous company, Civil Air Transport (Air America). Helliwell had also been instrumental in setting up  the CIA’s Operation Mongoose , the ‘worlds to-date major terrorist operation’ against Cuba, and he had business connections with mobster Meyer Lansky. The bank came under scrutiny from the US Internal Revenue Service for tax evasion in 1975 and was exposed as a CIA conduit. However the case against the bank was dropped because as the Washington Post (April 24, 1980) reported ‘it now appears that pressure from the Central Intelligence Agency, rather than any legal problem, was what caused the justice department to drop what could have been the biggest tax evasion case of all time’. Castle collapsed in 1977 taking Creedence Clearwater Revival and Hugh Heffner’s money with it.


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CIA owned Airline ‘Air America’ . Motto: ‘Anything, Anywhere, Anytime, Professionally’

Yet another well-known case is the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI). Founded in 1972, this international bank funded many nefarious regimes including Saddam Hussein and the Mujahedeen (Taliban) in Afghanistan. BCCI’s corruption made it to the big screen in the fictionalised form of 2009’s The International. A 1992 report to the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations stated that ‘BCCI’s criminality included fraud by BCCI and BCCI customers involving billions of dollars; money laundering in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas; …support of terrorism, arms trafficking, and the sale of nuclear technologies’. The same report alludes to CIA involvement but with deliberate vagueness:

The CIA developed important information on the BCCI, and inadvertently failed to provide it to those who could use it. The CIA and former CIA officials had a far wider range of contacts and links to BCC and BCCI shareholders, officers and customers than has been acknowledged by the CIA.

Victor Marchetti commented on Australian radio in 1980 that the CIA has a variety of assets or organisation it uses. In some cases, as in Air America, it is entirely owned and operated by CIA. In other cases, the company are independent but run by former intelligence and defence employees. They are different organisations, but have mutual goals:

Nugan-Hand, from what I know about it, seems to fall into this latter category…it doesn’t seem to be a proprietary in the full sense of this 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, and they’re in business to make money, but because of their close personal relationship with the agency they will do favours for the agency…if Nugan-Hand is what is seems to be, this is just the one of the kinds of organisations that Bissell would advocate as being used to facilitate operations overseas.

The aforementioned CIA Director William Colby was one of Nugan-Hand’s attorneys. Colby is perhaps best remembered or shamed for his oversight of the Phoenix Program in the Vietnam War. This well documented but almost unknown atrocity was described by one of its own CIA interrogators, K Barton Osborn, before Congress as ‘a sterile and de-personalised murder program’. Other notable employees and associates of the Nugan-Hand bank included ‘some of the most famous names in US national security circles’ including Admiral Earl Yates (US pacific command, former) General Leroy Manner (Pentagon counter insurgency specialist, former), General Edwin Black (Commander US forces in Thailand, former) Walter McDonald (CIA Deputy director for Economic research, former) and Dale Holmgen (Chairman of Civil Air Transport ‘Air America’). One of the critical figures in Nugan-Hand was actually a ‘civilian’ on the surface. He was a US businessman called Bernie Houghton who had considerable ties with the allied intelligence community. Known as a ‘camp follower’ of the US’s Asian wars Houghton had spent three years in Vietnam during the war reportedly selling slot machines and opium. Houghton had been able to settle in Australia with the clearance of ASIO and once, upon coming back to Australia once without a re-entry visa, produced a personal reference from the NSW State Director of ASIO to satisfy immigration agents.  Houghton later became well known for his ownership of bars in Sydney’s King Cross area and a celebratory bust would be constructed of him for his work and contribution to the area. As the Australian Joint Task Force on Drugs declared, Houghton definitely had links with US Intelligence agencies. He recruited Admiral Yates to the bank, knew a covert CIA operative called Edwin Wilson (who we will see is important in the coup) and also knew former Major-General Richard Secord, a covert operations specialist in the US Air-force and someone who would be involved in the scandal of the Iran-Contra Affair.

The number of senior bank employee’s associated with Air America is also telling. Air America or Civil Air Transport (CAT) was the CIA’s primary asset in fighting indochinese communism through alignment with local militia’s and drug trafficking . Michael Hand himself had been a CIA operative fighting with the Hmong guerrillas in Laos. The Hmong had a reputation for drug trafficking during the Indochinese conflict and were supported and armed by US Forces during the war. It is no accident that heroin epidemics in the second half of the 20th Century coincides with massive CIA sponsorship of anti-communist fighters. Obvious examples include Corsican gangs in Marseille, France after World War II; Burmese drug traffickers allied with the anti-communist Nationalist Chinese Army; various anti-communist local forces in the Golden triangle of Laos, Cambodia and Thailand during the Vietnam War; and the mujahideen during the Soviet war in Afghanistan. Alfred McCoy in his magnum opus The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade is well versed in the history:

From 1960-1970, the CIA created a secret army of 30,000 Hmong tribesman to battle Laotian communists…since the Hmong’s main cash crop was opium…CIA’s Air America [was allowed ] to collect opium from…scattered highland villages. In late 1960, the CIA’s various covert action clients opened a network of heroin laboratories in the golden triangle. In their first years of operation, these laboratories exported high grade no. 4 heroin to US troops fighting in Vietnam. After their withdrawal, the golden triangle laboratories exported directly to the United States, capturing one third of the American heroin market.

In case you are thinking history Professor McCoy of the University of Wisconsin-Madison is a crank, take notice of this reference by lawyer Joseph Nellis, a congressional investor on the US House Select Committee on Narcotics, ‘ I think he knows more about heroin production in southeast Asia than any man living. His book is an outstanding example of intelligence in this area’. McCoy goes on to clarify the relationship between CIA and local drug lords:

Critics who look for CIA agents to actually dirty their hands with drugs in the line of duty are missing the point. In most covert actions the CIA avoids direct involvement in combat or espionage and instead works through local clients whose success usually determines the outcome of the agency’s operation.

It was in Laos while working for the CIA that Michael Hand befriended an Air America pilot called Kermit Buddy King. King would move to Australia to sell real estate pushed by American crooner Pat Boone, where he lived in a nice house in a remote area with a landing strip. Problems emerged when his mistreated Thai housekeeper made accusations of drug trafficking in Australia involving King and Hand. King would later fall to his death from the tenth floor of his Sydney apartment building.

Confirmation of the CIA’s involvement with drug trafficking has arisen from congressional investigations but a mostly compliant press accepts the party line and avoid undue focus on these elements. Indeed part of the revelations in the Iran-Contra affair, during the Reagan administration, was CIA involvement with drug lords in South and Central America. The administration, denied the necessary funds for the secret war against the socialist Nicaraguan government, allied itself with drug smugglers to help fund the US supported Nicaraguan rebels known as the Contras. The majority of press coverage however focused on the bypassing of congress and the illegal arms sales to embargoed Iran. For its activities in Nicaragua the US would be convicted of international terrorism by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in a 1986 judgement and ordered to pay reparations. US Activities the ICJ deemed against international law included the economic embargo, mining Nicaraguan waters, supporting paramilitaries; and killing, kidnapping and wounding Nicaraguan citizens. Former CIA analyst David MacMichael, who provided important testimony at the ICJ trial, told British Journal The Independent:

Once you set up a covert operation to supply arms and money, it’s very difficult to separate it from the kind of people who are involved in other forms of trade, and especially drugs. There is a limited number of planes, pilots and landing strips. By developing a system for supply of the Contras, the US built a road for drug supply into the US.

cia cocaine drugs australia nugan

Celerino Castillo III, DEA Whisteblower

In 1989 The Kerry Committee Report of the US Sub Committee on Terrorism, Narcotics and International Operations found that the State Department had paid drug traffickers in the affair. US investigative Journalist Gary Webb wrote about these drug-Contra connections, the inflow of drugs to US cities and the crack epidemic in the extremely detailed Dark Alliance series of articles in 1996 for San Jose Mercury News, and later put them into a book on the subject that is also being turned into a film. In 2004, a depressed and much vilified Webb was found dead from suicide – according to the coroner – with two bullet holes in his head. There were others. Former Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Agent and Vietnam Veteran Celerino Castillo III, author of Powder Burns: Cocaine, Contras & the Drug War wrote a statement for the US House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence where he listed his involvement with various CIA agents in the drug war:

 The key to understanding the “crack cocaine” epidemic, which exploded on our streets in 1984, lies in understanding the effect of congressional oversight on covert operations…As my friend and colleague Michael Ruppert has pointed out through his own experience in the 1970s, CIA has often bypassed congressional intent by resorting to the drug trade (Vietnam, Laos, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan,etc).

Castillo was later dubiously arrested and sentenced for selling arms without a permit.

In 1980 Nugan-Hand bank would sign a preliminary agreement with the government of the Turks and Caicos Islands (near the Caribbean) to take over a former US naval base. Supposedly this was to settle refugees from Indochina and they sought funds from the UN Refugee Commission for the purpose. The Commonwealth-NSW Joint Task Force on Drug Trafficking investigating the bank mentioned that one of the possible reasons for the agreement was that ‘ the proximity of the Caribbean and central America to a number of South American drug source countries makes them a natural transit point for illicit drug shipments destined to the North American market’.

After the bank was exposed director Frank Nugan was found dead from a gun shot (self inflicted according to the coroner) in his car in Sydney on 27th Jan 1980 with William Colby’s card in his pocket, a bible, and a meat pie bag with a US Congressman’s name on it. Further searches of his files revealed a handwritten note (transcribed below) referencing an arms deal with South Africa to keep what is now known as Zimbabwe under the minority rule of the white elite:

Military weapons Rhodesia
Pay in Gold
Recoilless Rifles
Mortars 60/80 ml
M79 Grenade launches [sic]
Quad .50 Caliber machine guns

Nugan-Hand Bank was involved in everything it seems but real banking. Jonathon Kwitny, a former Wall Street Journal reporter and Pulitzer Prize nominee is the best source for information on the scandal and his book The Crimes of Patriots remains the most detailed independent investigative source easily available to the public. Kwitny concluded ‘the Nugan-Hand Bank never did any banking. It never hired any bankers’ but it had an elite group of salesmen. In every sense it was an ‘un-bank’. One the banks former directors, retired US Admiral Earl P. “Buddy” Yates, who refused to be interviewed by Kwitny did write a reply to the book declaring his innocence. He summarised Kwitny’s investigative work as arguments taken from ‘communist-fed, anti-American sources’ which has served to benefit only ‘the Soviet Union and the KGB disinformation service’.

There were however several official Australian reports and investigations into the Nugan-Hand Bank. These include The Commonwealth-NSW Joint Task Force on Drug Trafficking , the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Drug Trafficking 1981-1983 (known as the Stewart Commission) and the Corporate Affairs Commission. These investigators often had their hands tied, served political interests or initially just lacked from competent investigators. Kwitny claims the initial inspectors at the Corporate Affairs Commission, allowed themselves to be ‘shoved around and intimidated by Michael Hand, until the evidence was dissipated’. For instance in December 1980, the Australian Tax Office investigative section where the Nugan-Hand records were kept was broken into. Despite its global connections neither the CIA, DEA or FBI would provide any information and the DEA would in fact deny any investigation had ever been done into Nugan-Hand. The Joint Task Force felt aggrieved enough to complain that no help was received from the US after requests for information on Nugan-Hand, despite the fact that:

It will be seen from the report that at times those links [to US intelligence organisations] appear to have been an intrinsic part of the then ongoing activity and have the appearance of the US intelligence community itself.

And in its final report the Corporate Affairs Commission lamented:

That there is a Nugan-Hand file maintained by the United States Department of Justice…is beyond dispute…without access to the material actually deleted it is difficult if not impossible to conceive of the reason for classification and deletion of the subject material.

To add to the absurdity of US agency denials, the DEA’s office in Chang Mai, Thailand was next door to the Nugan-Hand Branch . According to the book Rooted in Secrecy, the Nugan-Hand employee and the DEA Chief ‘answered phones for each other and played cards together’. The 1983 Joint Task Force report has a unique section called ‘Nugan Hand in Thailand’. This entire ten page chapter is marked DELETED.  As for the Stewart Commission, according to Kwitny it was a whitewash of US involvement so error ridden that in referring to a CIA covert operative named Edwin Wilson, who was implicated in the investigation, it actually referred to him as a US Congressmen. Presumably they meant congressman Charlie Wilson of Texas, who helped supply the mujahedeen in Afghanistan and earnt himself a Tom Hanks movie, Charlie Wilson’s War. For their part the CIA, the inventors of plausible deniability, denied any involvement and made the following statement about involvement with Nugan-Hand:

The agency rarely comments on such allegations but in this case we emphatically deny the charges. The CIA has not engaged in operations against the Australian Government, had no ties with the Nugan bank, and does not involve itself in drug trafficking.

While the CIA has officially denied all involvement with the Nugan-Hand Bank, the United States Galveston Daily News, in 1982, citing an Associated Press report reported on allegations of US political sabotage in Australia:

In one published report, Joseph Flynn, described as a CIA contract employee, claimed he manufactured some of the evidence cited in the financial scandal under direction of former CIA agent Edwin Wilson.

Former CIA Analyst Ralph McGehee concurs with this conclusion:

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.

When the Nugan-Hand bank collapsed in January 1980, it had some $50 million in debt. Nugans colleague, Michael Hand, disappeared without a trace in 1981, presumably under a new identity, never to appear again.


The US had been concerned about the direction of Australian politics for some time. A declassified National Security Memorandum in 1974 by Henry Kissinger (the US Secretary of State) for senior planners and the Director of CIA specifically refers to:

The implications of changes in the Australian Government for future relations between Australia and the United States…The prospects for keeping U.S. defense installations in Australia and the policy options for trying to prolong installations in Australia and the policy options for trying to do so.

One of the paragraphs in the memo is censored with a big black mark, the statement considered too revealing for public scrutiny. Kissinger, statesman extraordinaire, architect of the September 11 Chilean Military Coup, and winner of the 1973 Nobel Peace prize is an important figure in the crisis. It was Kissinger who reportedly set up the secretive ‘Task Force 157’ in 1966. Originally called the Naval Field Operations Support group (NFOSG) it was a joint CIA – US Navy Intelligence group designed for clandestine intelligence gathering but soon segued into extensive covert operations. Task Force ‘157’, named after someones office number, has been accused of being the primary force behind the Australian destabilisation campaign. Investigative American journalist John Trento claims that Task Force 157 specialised in infiltrating trade unions.

wilson task force 157 whitlam cia

Edwin Wilson, CIA Agent, Convicted Arms Dealer

The aforementioned Edwin Wilson is one its most well known figures and possibly the most important agent involved in the effort to destabilise the Whitlam government. Wilson had a reputation as a rogue CIA agent. He got his start in the US Marines and the special operations division of the CIA before transferring to the NSFOG in 1971. Wilson came into the public spotlight in 1983 when he was convicted of illegally selling weapons to Libya. Wilson died in 2012, and this sarcastic obituary by conservative paper The Economist speaks for itself:

He worked actively for the CIA for 15 years, destabilizing European labour unions by using anything – Corsican mobsters, plagues of cockroaches – and setting up his front companies. The work was “a hell of a satisfaction” to him. He left, officially, in 1971, but only for Task Force 157 of the Office of Naval Intelligence, another super-secret outfit. Then, in 1976, he went “freelance”.

In his later years, Wilson provided weapons to Libyan dictator Colonel Qaddafi as well as training the Colonels soldiers and agents in espionage. According to Jonathon Kwitny this included providing ‘bombs disguised as household trinkets using explosives that could slip through airport metal detectors’. Apparently Wilson was ‘carrying out assassinations in his spare time, mostly for Qadaffi, but also out of pique’ using anti-Castro Cubans from the CIA’s JM/WAVE program. Kwitny explains:

The reason the task force was created was that the CIA involvement with covert operations had handcuffed the agency in doing its original and necessary work – gathering and transmitting intelligence…indeed from all one can learn about it Naval Task Force 157 seems to have been the very model of the kind of intelligence agency the United States needs – until CIA cowboy Ed Wilson got in it.

Much of the public exposure of Task Force 157 comes from former members approaching the press in the aftermath and bitterness of its closure. Official denial of their involvement in the low paid navy intelligence operation has meant they have been denied recognition, since they were ‘civilians’ and cannot get certain government benefits. Wilson himself claimed to be only paid $35,000 a year, however it is well known that he became a millionaire through his various business dealings.

While the issue of CIA espionage was bought up time and time again in parliament by Whitlam and Labor politicians it got no traction. The new Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser proved unwilling to investigate it beyond ‘a personal reassurance’ from then US President Jimmy Carter that the CIA were not involved. West Australian ‘Toe-Cutter’ Senator Reg Withers of the Liberal Party said the opposition should ‘stop looking under their beds at night’ and long standing independent conservative Senator Brian Harradine ridiculed the ‘raising of the CIA bogey’ which had sought to ‘undermine the anti-communist effort’.


Perhaps the most compelling document regarding the CIA’s intent in Australia is the sinister ‘Shackley Cable’ which was tabled into the Australian parliamentary record. Sent to the Director General of Australia’s spy agency ASIO by an agent in Washington it relays the concern of one Ted Chackley (sic), the chief of Asia Division CIA. Theodore Shackley, coincidentally, was a friend of Michael Hand of the Nugan-Hand bank and they worked together for the CIA in Laos. After Shackley left the CIA, Hand sent him this personal correspondence on November 27, 1979:

Dear Ted…the opportunity of meeting you again on different terms was very enjoyable and I sincerely trust that something worthwhile businesswise may surface and be profitable for both of us.

shackley cia whitlam cable

Ted Shackley, “The Blonde Ghost”, CIA Deputy Director of Covert Operations

The Shackley cable reflects the agency’s concern about the Pine Gap agreement, media accusations of CIA funding of Australian Political Parties and the growing Australian intolerance for ‘our mutually beneficial relationship’. Whitlam’s primary mistake at this time had been to threaten to reveal that Richard Stallings, who had set up the Pine Gap base, of being a CIA spy, after it was revealed in the Australian Financial Review. Whitlam had learnt during the Loans Affair that Pine Gap had been the source of leaked information about the governments’ activities. At the time, the ‘retired’ Stallings had been staying at the Canberra flat of the National Party Leader, Doug Anthony. Stallings, according to Victor Marchetti, was himself ‘very upset’ about how the Pine Gap installation had been infiltrating trade unions and funnelling the opposition political parties. The sinister implications for Australian democracy are clear from the following cable excerpts:

CIA cannot see how this dialogue can continue with continued reference to CIA can do other than blow the lid off those installations in Australia…CIA feels grave concern as to where this type of public discussion may lead. The DG [ASIO Director General] should be assured that the CIA does not lightly adopt this attitude… [the] Ambassador is fully informed of this message.

The cable was sent on November 10th, 1975, the day before Gough Whitlam was dismissed by Governor General John Kerr.  Journalist Brian Toohey wrote that the ‘hard line warrior Theodore Shackley, was convinced that Whitlam was a threat to the western alliance’ and that ‘ASIS failed to persuade the Americans of its absurdity’. Senator Cavanagh, addressing the senate in 1976 on the subject of the Governor General said ‘ I believe that something has happened to change his attitude entirely within a very short period…the question of why an individual in whom so many people had confidence should make such an about-face deserves thorough investigation’.

Before the cable, on November 9th 1975, Governor Kerr, already aware of the intelligence communities concerns visited the Australian Defence Signals Directorate headquarters at Watsonia for a briefing; a bizarre action for a person whose role is primarily ceremonial. Kerr had also been briefed by Arthur Tange, the Australian Head of the Defence Department on November 6th. Tange, a ‘mandarin’ of Australian public servants, wrote in his memoir that he had notice of the Shackely cable but decided it was the work of a ‘ham fisted American intelligence official’ and ‘not a matter of concern’. He was assured Washington ‘could be relied upon to hose him down’. Tange’s major concern, of course, as he notes, was the Soviet Union reading our newspapers and finding out that the Australian public had found out the CIA were actively engaged in espionage against us. ASIO eventually took the message to Whitlam, perhaps the agencys’ most honourable action during the period.


‘ASIO has always been a compliant service for the American CIA. They have always done that.’

– Clyde Cameron, Whitlam Cabinet Minister

Australia’s domestic spy agency is called the Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO) and its foreign counterpart is the Australian Security Intelligence Service (ASIS) . ASIO’s website describes its mission as being ‘to gather information and produce intelligence that will enable it to warn the government about activities or situations that might endanger Australia’s national security.’ So what was ASIO doing while an Australian government was being overthrown? The answer at best is nothing and at worst, collaborating. To understand why it is necessary to examine the relations between national security agencies around the world. Intelligence agencies have ‘ties that bind’. In essence they are more loyal to each other than to their respective countries, even during the cold war. A perfect example is ASIS involvement in Chile at the time. Gough Whitlam admitted to parliament in 1977:

It has been written – I cannot deny it- that when my government took office Australian intelligence personnel were still working as proxies and nominees of the CIA in destabilizing the government of Chile.

Even when Whitlam ordered the agents to return home in March 1973, they ignored his direction, staying on in Chile for several months.  As for ASIO it was spying on Chilean exiles in Australia and Chilean immigration to Australia was deliberately cutback as hopefuls were screened with the collaboration of the Chilean security services. The brutal Chilean security service was known as DINA (the Chilean National Intelligence Directorate) and was so bold as to assassinate the former Chilean ambassador – Orlando Letelier – in Washington DC on September 21st, 1976.

chile cia dina asio

D.I.N.A – The Chilean Secret Service

Understandable then that many Chileans did not want their names listed in the Australian phonebook until recently. Arthur Tange, defence department head wrote somewhat pedestrianly in his Defence Policy Making Review, ‘Whitlam it seemed had a deep antipathy to the Central Intelligence Agency’s involvement in destabilising left-wing governments’. It was a discussion between Christopher Boyce and his friend Daulton Lee about US involvement in Chile that led to their eventual treason and conviction. Boyce recalled at his trial that he had remarked to Lee, ‘if you think that’s bad, you should hear what the Central Intelligence Agency is doing to the Australians’.

The name of the CIA agent who supervised the destabilization of the Chilean government was none other than Ted Shackley. US Ambassador Edward Korry has stated that it was Shackley and the CIA’s mission ‘to do all within our power to condemn Chile and the Chileans to utmost deprivation and poverty’. The Australian intelligence agency helped. Covert operations like those in Australian and Chile are usually done with the full knowledge of the host country. Victor Marchetti identifies the collaborative role of the power structures within a target country with this candid and revealing statement:

I mean, the CIA did not take these actions upon itself…what you in Australia must understand is that you are more to blame than the CIA because you want a certain 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 the country as a whole, for better or worse, or to the establishment of your country? … They tend to have more in common with each other and their establishments which they represent than they do with their own people.

cia whitlam marchetti chile australia coup

John Marks & Victor Marchetti , high ranking State Department and CIA Whistleblowers

Whitlam knew some of this. In referring to the Shackley Cable he made the following comment, that ‘implicit in the CIA’s approach to ASIO’ was an understanding that ASIO had ‘obligations of loyalty to the CIA itself before obligations to the Australian government’. A telling example is the file kept on outspoken Deputy Prime Minister Jim Cairns during the Whitlam government, warning his activities (anti-war speeches) could lead ‘to a fascist cult of the personality’. To  get a sense of the coziness of intelligence services from allied countries consider these words in a personal letter from Sir Brigadier General Charles Spry (Director General of ASIO 1950- 70) to a bed-ridden CIA Director Jim Dulles in 1969:

I shall never cease to be grateful to you for the initiation and development of relations between your service and mine. I consider, without reservations, that this was the turning point which has enabled ASIO to reach the level of sophistication which it now enjoys. Jim Angleton [Jesus James Angleton, head of CIA counterintelligence] and others have continued to assist us. I always consider you as the no 1 Honorary Australian in our Organization and Jim no. 2

During the terms of the Whitlam Government there were two CIA station chiefs. The station chief in Australia from 1972-1975 was a man named John Walker who had previously run the Israeli CIA station. Walker was close to Colin Brown, the Deputy Deputy Director of ASIO. So close in fact that Mrs Walker left her husband to marry Mr Brown.

ASIO served its institutional and historical role of assisting other intelligence agencies by ensuring attention was misdirected in the middle of the worst political sabotage against Australia. ASIO analysts released articles for the media to publish with pointed to the extremism of left leaning groups (communists, environmentalists, aboriginal campaigners) and their supposed threat to Australia. Of 67 titles released in the period, only two were concerned with extreme right groups. To put this disparity in context, one of these right wing groups was the Croatian Revolutionary Brotherhood (CRB). The CRB were followers of Ante Pavelic, the Croatian fascist leader who in World War II helped Nazi Germany murder  several hundred thousand Serbs, Jews and Romani. In the 1960’s and 1970’s Germany and then Australia was home to the headquarters and training centres for this organisation also known as ‘Ustacha’ or ‘Ustase’. The CRB organised a campaign of terror throughout Europe (often on Australian Passports), assassinating Yugoslavian communist officials, blowing up planes and for over a decade bombing Yugoslavian business, embassies and social clubs in Sydney and Melbourne. The group and its followers were also heavily implicated in the later disintegration of Yugoslavia into separate states and the civil war and horrors that followed.  If you are wondering what ASIO did about this group, the answer is nothing.

ustase ustache australia asio

Logo of Ustase (the Croatian Revolutionary Brotherhood)

It was ASIO’s willingness to allow our citizens to conduct a global terror operation from Australia that led to the infamous Murphy Raid. Attorney General Lionel Murphy raided ASIO headquarters on March 16th 1973 after concerns reached him from the Commonwealth Police that the visiting Yugoslavian Prime Minister was to be assassinated. ASIO had been unable or unwilling to provide him with files on the CRB despite all their activities. The Murphy Raid did not make the Americans happy. An elected official asking for withheld information from an organisation he oversaw was meaningless compared to the US right to dominance. The legendary CIA figure and cold war warrior James Jesus Angleton revealed this in a 1977 interview with the ABC:

Our attitude toward Whitlam was at two levels: number one, he was elected by Australians for better or for worse. In my own view for worse but it did not affect our relationship until his Attorney General Murphy barged in and tried to destroy the delicate mechanism of internal security which has been built on patiently since the end of World War II…[after the Whitlam Coup] we received assurances that the antics and cowboy tactics were not to be of concern to us.

cia australia coup

James Jesus Angleton – Chief of CIA Counterintelligence


‘Either you repeat the same conventional doctrines everybody is saying, or else you say something true, and it will sound like it’s from Neptune’. – Professor Noam Chomsky

Consigned to the bin of  conspiracy theories, the history of CIA espionage in Australia is more intricate and nebulous than can be detailed in this blog. Even so, the topic matter has required a lengthy article. I felt this to be necessary and unavoidable. With assertions of this nature, as Noam Chomsky suggests above, the burden of proof is so much more onerous than if I was simply to declare ‘ after World War II, the KGB had spies in Australia’. No-one would question that contention because ‘hey, we know they are the bad guys’. All too often the public and the media in western society accepts vague excuses of national security and patriotism as a reason not to question authority or the completely foreseeable consequences of our own deliberate and exploitative actions. Terrible deeds done by our military, intelligence agencies or government are deemed sacrosanct or at worst nobly misguided. Our (Western Society) display of power is never evil or complicit, by definition, because we wear the white hat. Powerful interests control our media and public discourse, and not just in mainstream journalism. Consider the omnipresence of advertising, magazines, TV, music, movies, shops and products in our every waking moment. Inevitably these are owned by a few sources. Consider the listed interntional company Serco. Here in Australia they run prisons , hospitals, transport and immigration detention centres. Globally they also are involved in nuclear physics laboratories, leisure centre’s, IT infrastructure, waste, educational facilities, air traffic control as well as being a major arms manufacturer thus almost completing the circle of influence on our minds and bodies. By being presented a view of the world through the narrow prism of a few sources, owned by a powerful few, we see the world in the way they want us to see it. This is what Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky describe as the ‘manufacture of consent’.

There have been numerous accusations made by highly credible commentators about this coup. In addition to those already noted they include Philip Agee, ex-CIA saboteur come whistle-blower, K Barton Osborn (ex CIA agent and military intelligence commander in Vietnam), P L Kealy (computer programmer in the research bases), Geoffrey Eames (Legal advisor to the Central Land Office in Alice Springs and now Judge of the Supreme Court) and the Attorney General of South Australia at the time, Peter Duncan. CIA ‘agents of influence’ are quite clear in their descriptions of the efforts. Frank Snepp, former Chief Analyst for the CIA based in Saigon during the Vietnamese War said ‘there was a complete alteration of our attitudes towards the Australians when the Whitlam Government came into power. I was told by my superiors that Australia might as well be regarded as North Vietnamese collaborators’. Ralph McGehee, who worked for Ted Shackely in Vietnam is blunt about the CIA involvement in Whitlam’s dismissal:

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.

The world is complex and real understanding and the ability to change it requires that we know the history and context of each human story. We should remember that states, corporations and institutions are not moral agents but artificial modern human constructs that should serve to better humanity not hinder it. That would also require transparency, self-scrutiny and a thorough examination of our belief structures. I would encourage anyone who has bothered to read this to explore further (via the bibliography) into the many detailed investigative works that were sourced for this article. I’ll depart with the words of a morally courageous spook that turned from the dark to the light, Victor Marchetti, on the Nugan-Hand Bank as a CIA asset:

..you know , it’s like they say, if it looks like a duck, and walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, pretty soon you can come to only one conclusion: it is a duck .


Kwitny, Jonathan. The Crimes of Patriots: A True tale of Dope, Dirty Money and the CIA W.W Norton & Company, 1987.

Pilger, John. A Secret Country. Griffin Paperbacks, 1990.

Coxsedge, Joan. Ken Coldicutt & Gerry Harant, Rooted In Secrecy: The clandestine element in Australian Politics. Commitee for the Abolition of Political Police, 1982.

Blu, William. Killing Hope : US Military and CIA interventions since World War II. Black Rose Books , 1998.

Marchetti, Victor & John D. Marks. The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence. Jonathan Cape Ltd, 1974.

Hall, Richard. The Secret State: Australias spy industry. Cassell, 1978.

Colby, William. Honorable Men : My life in the CIA. Simon & Schuster, 1978.

Freney, Denis. The CIA’s Australian Connection. Published by Denis Freney, 1977.

Richelson, Jeffrey T & Desmond Ball. The Ties that Bind: Intelligence Cooperation Between the UKUSA Countries, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Allen & Unwin, 1985.

Scott, Peter Dale. Drugs, Oil, and War: The United States in Afghanistan, Colombia, and Indochina. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers , 2003.

Toohey, Brian & William Pinwill. Oyster: The Story of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service. W. Heinemann Australia, 1989.

Chomsky, Noam & Edward S Herman. The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism: the political economy of human rights : volume 1. South End Press, 1979.

Mitchell, Peter R & Schoeffel (Ed). Understanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky. Scribe Publications, 2002.

McCoy, Alfred W. The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade. Lawrence Hill Books, 1991.

Webb, Gary. Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion. Seven Stories Press, 2014

Sydney Morning Herald, November 30th 2002. Kerr was ‘ready to call out the army’. Online Edition. Tony Stephens.
Johnson, Thomas R. American Cryptology during the Cold War 1945-1989. Center for Cryptologic History. National Security Agency History Program, 1999.

Tange, Sir Arthur (edited by Peter Edwards). Defence Policy-Making: A Close-Up View, 1950-1980 A Personal Memoir.Australian National University E Press , 2008.

Galveston Daily News. December 5th 1982. Allegations of CIA Sabotage Imperil US-Australian ties.

Washington Post. April 24th 1980. CIA Helped Quash Major Star Studded Tax Evasion Case. Jim Drinkhall.

The Falcon and the Snowman. Director: John Schlesinger. 131 min. Producer: Hemdale Film Corporation. Distribution: Orion Pictures, 1985.

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