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The CIA in Australia – Part 3

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                  Part 3 of a 6 part series
               Watching Brief, PRNS, October 1986

ANNOUNCER:  [People's shouts of `WE WANT GOUGH, WE WANT GOUGH, in
the background]  The Governor-General of Australia who by this
proclamation dissolves the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Given under my hands on the great seal of Australia on the 11th of
November 1975, by his excellency's command, Malcolm Fraser Prime
Minister, John Arthur Governor-General. GOD SAVE THE QUEEN.

Jane Lanbrook:  Welcome to the second part of Watching Brief this
week.  I'm Jane Lanbrook and now in the third part of our series
examining the activities of the CIA in Australia we look at the
role of the Pine Gap military communications base in connection
with the fall of the Whitlam government.

GOUGH WHITLAM:  The proclamation which you have just heard read by
the Governor-General's official secretary was countersigned Malcolm
Fraser...[people's shouts of BOO BOO BOO]...who will undoubtedly go
down in Australian history from remembrance day 1975 as Kerr's cur.

Tony Douglas: So the first Labor government for a generation was
gone.  It had been in office for three years but hadn't really been
given the opportunity to govern.  Twice in that time the
conservative parties blocked supply and countless other pieces of
legislation were also defeated in the Senate.  As his government
came under daily assault through the building up of the Loans
Affairs, the Marosi Affair and other diversions, Whitlam struck
back at his enemies blowing away some of the secrecy surrounding
Pine Gap.  Former Whitlam Cabinet Minister Clyde Cameron recalls.

Clyde Cameron: We were never told that Pine Gap was a CIA
installation and it wasn't until Gough Whitlam publicly declared
that Richard Stallings was a CIA operative and that he had been in
charge of the Pine Gap installation that we knew that Pine Gap was
a CIA installation and I believe that at the very beginning Gough
Withlam and the Minister for Defence were led to believe that it
was a pretty harmless sort of operation.  But you've got to
remember that just about the time the dismissal took place, the
Australian government had to make a decision as to whether it would
renew the leases of these American installations on Australian soil
and there is every reason to believe that the Americans were
fearful that the leases wouldn't be renewed.  That would be a good
enough reason, in their view, for moving in to destabilise the
government and to bring about its overthrow to say nothing of any
threat that our policies may have for their Australian investments
in the multinational area.

Tony Douglas:  Whitlam's exposure of Stallings also revealed
another interesting fact and that was that Stallings was staying at
National Party Leader Dough Anthony's flat in Canberra.  From
November 2 to November 6, 1975, Whitlam repeated these charges and
demanded a list of all CIA agents in Australia.  The CIA in turn
demanded that ASIO reported to them on what Whitlam was up to.  A
cable from a senior CIA official and Task Force 157 member, Ted
Shackley, on November 10 accused Whitlam of being a security risk
and asked ASIO to do something about it.  The Head of the Defence
Department, Arthur Thang, described as, quote: `The greatest risk
to our nation's security that there has ever been', unquote,
meanwhile Whitlam said he would detail the operations of Pine Gap
in Parliament on the afternoon of November 11.  It wasn't until
years later that details about the Pine Gap base and American fears
that its top secret role would be disclosed were linked to the
downfall of the Whitlam government.  That link came to life when
Chris Boyce, a cypher clerk at TRW--a Californian based aerospace
corporation, was charged with espionage in 1977.  Boyce was working
in the black vault where information from Australia was directed to
CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.   Kelly Johnson of the
Christopher Boyce Alliance takes up the story.

Kelly Johnson:  The information was mostly coming from Pine Gap,
Nurrungar and Canberra, from the CIA stations there. It's difficult
to know actually what the content was, it's obviously very secret
what the content was, but it came into the communications relay
room where Boyce worked.  He then sent the information on to CIA
headquarters in Langley and sent certain information back to

Tony Douglas:  Now Australia and the United States had signed an
Executive Agreement to share intelligence from Pine Gap.  Did Boyce
find that his practical experience was all that intelligence
information shared?

Kelly Johnson:  No, in fact he was told in the very beginning,
during the briefing for the job, that although that Executive
Agreement had been signed America was not honouring it and it was
emphasised to Boyce that he must be very particular in what he sent
back to Australia.

Tony Douglas:  What was the result of him becoming incensed by what
he saw his country's duplicity with regard to one of his allies,
what did he do as a result of that?

Kelly Johnson:  It took several months for Boyce to actually do
anything.  From the first day Boyce was working in the vault an
employee who was working with him used to tell Boyce stories about
how easy it would be to pass certain information on to the Russians
and how much money they would get for it.  And this co-worker
actually worked out the best and safest method for taking this
information to the Russians.  At first Boyce used to ignore this
and then one day he discovered a telex message outlining the way
the CIA had infiltrated the leadership of the Australia's unions
and were manipulating them to their own aims.  And following that
he then discovered information relating the way the CIA was
planning to destabilise the Whitlam government and it was then that
the scenario that this co-worker had planned in advance for this
contact with the Russians that Boyce carried it out.

Tony Douglas:  What allegations did Boyce make about CIA
involvement in Australian politics and under what conditions has he
made these statements?

Kelly Johnson:  Well, he tried to make specific allegations under
oath during his trial but he was blocked except on two occasions
when he talked of the CIA infiltrating the leadership of the
Australia's unions and he also talked about the daily deception
that America practices against Australia at Pine Gap.  Since his
conviction he's been interviewed on two separate occasions.  On the
first occasion by Australia's 60 minutes and then by an Australian
journalist named William Pimwill in which he made rather more
specific allegations.  But it has been very difficult to get hold
of a transcript of the 60 minutes interview in order to be more
specific on what he said.

Tony Douglas:  Now Boyce was charged with espionage along with his
partner Dalton Lee.  It was basically around then passing on
information in the so-called Pyramide file.  Now what was the
Project Pyramide?

Kelly Johnson:  Pyramide was a project involving a satellite that
was used solely for espionage.  It was a system of push-button
communications whereby human spy agents on the ground could
communicate with the satellite in space which would relay the
message directly to CIA headquarters in Langley.

Tony Douglas:  When was this research project into Pyramide or this
file compiled?

Kelly Johnson:  It was first proposed in the late 1960s to TRW,
which was the company that Boyce was working for, and it was in
1973 that TRW actually put their plans forward to the CIA with an
estimate that it would cost between 300 -400 million dollars.

Tony Douglas:  And then what subsequently happened to the plans for

Kelly Johnson:  Well, they were temporarily shelved because the CIA
were unable to get funding in that particular fiscal year and it's
then believed that another satellite with similar capabilities but
with a few changes to it was actually launched and Pyramide was
just kept as a plan, it was never implemented.

Tony Douglas:  So what classification did that file have?

Kelly Johnson:  Well, at that time it had an extremely secret
classification.  Mostly because it went against the tacit agreement
that the USSR and America had drawn up together and it was subject
to quite a extreme classification.

Tony Douglas: What's this tacit agreement that the Americans and
the Russians had about this kind of spy satellites?

Kelly Johnson:  Apparently when the Salt Treaty was drawn up in
1972 satellites had no yet been officially announced as being in
existence and in fact they were only referred to in the Salt Treaty
as national means of verification.  Because neither the American or
Russian governments wanted the public to be aware of the existence
of satellites they had agreed among themselves that satellites
would only be used for verification purposes and, of course, the
Pyramide went against that.

Tony Douglas:  Well, how did Chris Boyce come into contact with
this Pyramide file?  Did it come over the telex machine as well?

Kelly Johnson:  No, not at all.  The Pyramide file had actually
been kept in a safe in the vault, which is the department where
Boyce worked, and after Boyce had tended his notice of resignation
from the black vault this Pyramide file mysteriously appeared on
top of an unlocked filing cabinet where Boyce worked.  Boyce asked
about it, what it was doing there, what it was about, and he was
told that it was a dead project and was of no value.  So, in
keeping with his policy of only sending in sensitive material he
copied it and sent it to the Russians.  And in fact this supposedly
top secret file sat on top of that filing cabinet for 36 days.

Tony Douglas:  Why was Boyce only passing on non-sensitive material
to the Russians at this stage?

Kelly Johnson:  That was his method of negating the mistake he made
of contacting the Russians in the first place.  The original
contact with the Russians was made in a sense of outrage and also
the immaturity that goes with of being 21 and in that position. 
Once he had actually made that contact he realised that it was the
wrong thing to do and to negate the mistake he began sending the
Russians what the Russians eventually turned as garbage that he
knew that they would get exasperated with, and frustrated with, and
that's exactly what happened.  It was the Russians who called a
halt to the situation.

Tony Douglas:  So he was tried simply on the Pyramide file and
passing that on to the Russians, none of the other things that he
did ever came to court.

Kelly Johnson:  No, they didn't and yet there were many many
inferences throughout the court hearing about the thousands of
sensitive documents that he passed on to the Russians.

Tony Douglas:  And why was it necessary to use the Pyramide file in
particular to sort of seek his conviction?

Kelly Johnson:  Well, it would seem that there were two reasons for
this.  Nobody was ever allowed to see any of the other documents
and even Boyce's defence lawyers were not allowed to even though
they had appropriate security clearances.

Tony Douglas:  Why do you think Boyce was given such a long
sentence originally forty years for this?

Kelly Johnson:  Well, Boyce was obviously keen to talk about what
he'd seen in the vault and the CIA was keen to shut him up.

Tony Douglas:  Has access to Boyce been easy enough to talk to him
and find out what information he has got especially on America's
involvement in Australian domestic politics?

Kelly Johnson:  Absolutely not.  Boyce is under...he is in solitary
confinement.  He's been there for the last three years and will
remain there for the duration of his term.  He's also not permitted
to have any contact with anybody who he didn't know prior to his
original conviction.  He has been permitted to do three interviews:
one with Australia's 60 Minutes, one with America's 60 Minutes, and
one with an Australian journalist.  And it was following the
interview with Australia's 60 Minutes that he was put into a locked
room with half a dozen members of the Aryan Brotherhood who were a
neo-nazi group within the prison and they established beatings and
have actually got a contract on his life. 

Tony Douglas:  And he is therefore likely to remain in solitary

Kelly Johnson:  Absolutely.  Boyce is allowed out of his tiny cell
one hour a day to exercise alone in a wall courtyard and when he
does go out he's tied to his wrist and ankles.  So the conditions
he's being kept under are really to intense amounts of torture.

Tony Douglas:  Over the last couple of weeks we've surveyed the
evidence of CIA involvement in overturning the Whitlam government. 
We've looked at the work of Task Force 157 through the cover of the
Nugan-Hand merchant bank and the crucial role played by US
ambassador Marshall Green.  We've seen the mighty __ in action
pumping up the Loans Affairs while CIA operatives such as T.
Khemlani are shuffled on and off the national political stage.  We
also delved into the past associations of Sir John Kerr from his
wartime intelligence work through his inaugural presidency of the
CIA-front organisation Law Asia to his phone calls to the American
embassy in the days before the dismissal. And we've seen how badly
the Australian and American defence and intelligence community took
the disclosures about Pine Gap and the first CIA Station Chief
there Richard Stallings.  But the question remains how did the CIA
get away with deceiving and destabilising the Whitlam government? 
Former CIA officer Victor Marchetti looks at it in this way:

Victor Marchetti:  I would say that this would be done, to my
experience, particularly in friendly host countries is always done
with the knowledge of the host country.  I mean, the CIA did not
take these actions upon itself.  It's done in cooperation with the
local intelligence services and they of course provided assistance
and protection.  The CIA has worked with other intelligence
organisations in other friendly countries in England, Norway,
Canada, Germany, in a whole variety of countries in a large range
of joint projects.  The only reason the CIA would get involved in
supporting certain political parties or undercutting other parties
would be because we had the money and the expertise and so forth to
be able to do it and this would be viewed as a cooperative venture
because the host country welcomes the US.  What you in Australia
must understand is that you are more to blame than the CIA is
because you want this to happen, you want a certain administration
in control and you don't want another administration in control.
The first question I tell all foreign journalists when they bring
out this point is...I ask them, `look, you find out where the
loyalties of your intelligence services lies.  Do they lie with
your country as a whole, for better or worse, or to the
establishment in your country?' and in most instances the answer
you find is `to the establishment.'  So in essence is like in the
old days in Europe where the nobility of various countries had more
in common with each other than they did with their own people. 
This is true of intelligence services.  They tend to have more in
common with each other and their establishments which they
represent than they do with their own people.

Tony Douglas:  Well, what are the connections between American and
Australian security and intelligence organisations?  Jerry Aaron,
co-author of ROOTED IN SECRECY looks at the history of secret
agreements that link Western intelligence together, especially the
UKUSA Treaty which was signed in 1947 and not known about even by
Australian Prime Ministers until 1973.

Jerry Aaron:  The quadripartite agreement which operated before the
UKUSA was actually a means initially of keeping the equipment of
the armies of the participating countries standardised and then was
extended to the Navy and the Air Force.  In other words, they
simply lock each other into a particular scenario which is always
the scenario of fighting common wars rather than self-defence.  The
quadripartite pact in 1947 involved the US, Britain, Canada and
Australia and it was so secret that nobody ever knew anything about
it.  In has in fact had a D-notice on it, that's how secret it was,
and as you know there are only very few D-notices in Australia
which prevent the publication of material on particularly secret
matters.  The UKUSA Treaty was also signed in 1947 and when I say
`sign' it's so secret that nobody knows who signed it and in fact
it's claimed that there is absolutely no written record.  UKUSA, as
the name implies, is the UK, USA and Australia but in fact other
countries participate and all the NATO countries are allied to it. 
UKUSA is about what in the jargon of the trade is called sigint
which is signals intelligence which is all the lovely stuff we get
from all the aerials and all the satellites in the sky spying on
their enemies and on each other and it's main components are the
British outfit which is called the GCHQ which is Communication
Headquarters and in Australia the agency concerned is DSD.

Tony Douglas:  What is the DSD?

Jerry Aaron:  Defence Signals Directorate.  I think it's now called
Defence Signals Division, I can't remember which came first, but's
the same outfit anyway.  Nor does it really matter because the
whole thing is coordinated by the head office in the States which
is the National Security Agency which supplies most of the
equipment and for whose benefit the whole thing is organised. This
is really the means by which Australia is locked into the US war
fighting capacity.

Tony Douglas:  And we have been since at least 1947?

Jerry Aaron:  Yes and it was so secret that in fact even successive
the Prime Ministers of Australia didn't know about it and the whole
thing blew up when the existence of the secret DSD activity in
Malaysia became publicised and it was then when they tried to hush
it up but, of course, now is generally understood and known and I
don't think in nowadays people make such secrets about secret
treaties anymore because everybody knows that most of what goes on
in the foreign policy area of most of the countries concerned is in
fact totally secret.

Tony Douglas:  So when Ted Shackley sends a cable to ASIO asking
them to do something about Whitlam can that be seen in terms of an
order from the senior agency?

Jerry Aaron:  Oh, most certainly.  I think we should actually...I
think of what happened when Harold Salisbury who was Police
Commissioner in the Dunstan government in South Australia.  They
had an inquiry into the Special Branch there after Salisbury was
sacked for misleading the government and what he actually said when
he was asked why he hadn't told the government the full truth he
said, `I would have merely justified a very severe criticism from
responsible and official quarters and from security organisations
beyond Australia' and he made it quite clear that his
responsibilities were not to the government of the day but to other
people and when he was pressed on the point as to who the other
people were he said very weakly `The Crown', but obviously the
crown that he paids allegiance to sits in the U.S.

Tony Douglas:  Jerry Aaron's interpretation of the Shackley Cable
is shared by former CIA agent Ralph McGehee.  Was Shackley in a
position to be ordering ASIO about, I mean, you worked under
Shackley in Vietnam.  Is he a senior CIA officer?

Ralph McGehee:  Oh, yes, he was a top CIA officer.  He was also one
of Ed Wilson's closest friends.  Ed Wilson, of course, was head of
Task Force 157.  Prior to that, Wilson had been in the CIA.  And
there are all sorts of evidence that Task Force 157 was also
orchestrating the efforts to overthrow the Whitlam government.

Clyde Cameron:  Well, ASIO has always been a compliant service for
the American CIA.  They have always done that.  They have been
quite sympathetic towards the CIA and let's not forget that the
Australian intelligence organisations were the ones who were
responsible for acting as a conduit for the CIA and Pinochet in
1973 when the CIA-backed Pinochet Junta moved in and overthrew the
elected government of Chile.  I know that members of the Australian
Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) were active in Santiago at that
time and were acting in cooperation with the CIA because the CIA
weren't able to function in Chile under President Allende.  They
had to do their dirty work through somebody else and they chose the
Australian intelligence organisations.  When I became Minister for
Immigration I was appalled to discover that we had an immigration
officer in Santiago who was in fact an ASIO spy.  He wasn't a
genuine immigration officer at all but was an ASIO spy who had been
put on by my immigration establishment as a bona fide immigration
officer and I sought to have him removed but the Prime Minister
intervened and prevented the removal from taking place.  I remember
that when the Prime Minister discovered that ASIS had been active
in Santiago he ordered that the ASIS operative in that area be
withdrawn that they just ignored it, refused to do anything about
it, and it wasn't until Whitlam took firm action and threatened to
put the knife through a lot of these people who were responsible
for ignoring his direction that they were withdrawn.  But by that
time, of course, the coup had occurred, Allende had been
assassinated and Pinochet had been installed.

Ian Wood:  That was former Whitlam Cabinet Minister Clyde Cameron. 
Before that you also heard former CIA agents Victor Marchetti and
Ralph McGehee; Jerry Aaron, the co-author of ROOTED IN SECRECY and
Kelly Johnson of the Christopher Boyce Alliance.  Next week,
Watching Brief looks at the CIA interference in Australian and New
Zealand trade unions.

Jane Lanbrook:  Well, that's all on Watching Brief this week.  If
you'd like more information or cassette copies of the program, or
if you have got information that may be of interest, contact us at
Public Radio News Services, Post Office Box 103, Fitzroy, Victoria,
3065.  Or call us on Melbourne 417 7304.  That's Public Radio News
Services.  Watching Brief is produced by Ian Wood and Tony Douglas
for the Public Broadcasting Network of Australia.  I'm Jane
Lanbrook and I hope you tune in again next week at the same time
for Watching Brief, Public Radio's National Environment Program.

End Part 3 of a 6 part series.

Written by nuganhand

September 1, 2008 at 3:08 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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