AUSTRALIA : IMPORTING NAZI’S AND EXPORTING TERRORISTS
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
AUSTRALIA: HOME OF THE CROATIAN REVOLUTIONARY BROTHERHOOD
“”…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 didn‘t 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
ROVER & OTPOR
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. Rolovic‘s 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‘.
THE MURPHY RAID
“[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?
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’.
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.
THE GLOBAL PROTECTION OF POST WAR NAZISM
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 revivalism meant 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 in Australia. 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.
THE FALSE FLAG
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.