Sunday, June 09, 2013


by Sasha Uzunov 
copyright 2013.
I have been critical in the past over the effectiveness of our nation's counter-intelligence service, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), in combating terrorism and foreign espionage.

In the 1970s and 1980s, ASIO was either ordered to by the powers to be in Canbera or through sheer incompetence permitted a second rate country with a first rate intelligence service, Communist Yugoslavia, to manufacture a climate of terrorism, which did not really exist. But I suppose that was the Cold War era, and Yugoslavia, though communist, was independent of the Soviet Bloc and so the West, including the United States, turned a blind eye to false flag assassinations, kidnappings and bombings.
But this time I can feel sympathy for our desk-bound spies. They are caught between a Chinese rock and a jihadi hard place. And the Australian and other western media are not helping !
It is the eternal battle between the Public's right to know (via the media of course) and the right to know but secretly in the interests of the nation-state.
A prime example of this dilemma is Australia's diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China, an economic and military superpower poised to overtake the United States for global supremacy. But China's stay at the top will only be for a short period because of its demographic weakness. Its one child policy means that it has an ageing population with a surplus of young men who cannot find a wife.
In the news you would have heard how Chinese intelligence hackers had gained access to the plans of ASIO's new headquarters building. This was a tit for tat response to ASIO bugging the Chinese Embassy in Canberra, a story broken by the Fairfax media and the ABC in 1995.
I bet my bottom dollar that the Fairfax media, together with the ABC would have lectured the Australian government for its "western arrogance" in monitoring the Chinese but in the same contradictory breath would be criticising our politicians for kowtowing to Beijing over its treatment of the occupied province of Tibet.
Tibet is a touchy subject for China, in fact it remains a weakness that both the left and right in Australia have not used effectively to counter Beijing's increasing hegemony in both the Asia-Pacific region and other parts of the world. It seems no one in Canberra understands chess let alone international diplomatic chess, not even our own Mandarin speaking former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd nor our Foreign Minister and American History buff Senator Bob Carr. One man who has taken a principled stand is Labor Federal MP Iron Mike Danby, a lone voice in the power corridors of Canberra.
I am sure the Chinese Communist Party leadership understands realpolitik and I don't even think would be terrified but accept that in any diplomatic game you probe the opposition for weaknesses, as no doubt Beijing has looked for holes in Canberra's defence. 
So my question to the media, namely Fairfax and the ABC, is how is Australia supposed to "help" Tibet if you have told the "oppressors" that they are being watched? It is absolutely hilarious but tragic at the same time.
Australian conservative pundit Andrew Bolt calls this phenomenon the age of seeming, not actually doing good. Canadian commentator Mark Steyn sums up the Tibet flap as thus:
"Everyone's for a free Tibet, but no one's for freeing Tibet…If Rumsfeld (former US Defence Secretary) were to say, 'FreeTibet? Jiminy, what a swell idea! The Third Infantry Division (US Army) goes in on Thursday,' the bumper sticker crowd would be aghast. They'd have to bend down and peel off the 'FREE TIBET' stickers and replace them with "WAR IS NOT THE ANSWER.'""

But there never will be a Free Tibet -because, through all the decades Americans were driving around with bumper stickers, the Chinese were moving populations, torturing Tibetans, imposing inter-marriage until Tibet was altered beyond recognition. By the time the guys with the Free Tibet stickers get around to freeing Tibet there'll be no Tibet left to free."Here in Australia we have our own "Free Tibet" bumper sticker crowd advertising their "moral superiority" buy won't actually lift a finger to help. 

In 1999, US President William "Bill" Jefferson Clinton and Australian Prime Minister John Winston Howard, to their credit, sent in The Third Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (3RAR) as well as sister infantry units 2RAR and 5/7 RAR into East Timor and turned the 'Free East Timor" bumper sticker slogan into a reality.

When not cracking Chinese codes, ASIO has its hands full with the war on terror and jamming Jihadis from Crazi-stan from pushing for a global Islamic Caliphate. This remains a very sensitive issue because ASIO's track record in identifying or countering terrorism in the past, namely Yugoslav intelligence, lead to innocent people, namely Australian-Croats being imprisoned as "anti-Yugoslav terrorists."
The radical Islamic threat is a serious one but getting swept up in the hysteria can be equally dangerous. However, since the 9/11 attack on New York by terror franchise Al Qaeda the West faces a clever and determined foe that does not have a central office or a direct chain of command or wears a uniform. That is the tricky part for any Western counter-intelligence agency, including the British. 
In another case of damned if you and damned if you don't: 
British man Michael Adebolajo who according to his own words was acting in the name of Islam, is facing court for the alleged hacking to death of a British soldier Lee Rigby on a London street. Years yefore the brutal murder, Adebolajo was kicked out of Kenya as tried to enter Somalia for alleged terrorist activities and was under British intelligence surveillance. The media have complained why the spooks did not act earlier. 
But I also guarantee you if they had, you would have had professional do-gooders and "Free Tibet" bumper sticker owners up in arms over Adebolajo's "civil rights." You just can't win with the media !
Taking the cue from my Facebook buddy and fellow writer John Birmingham, I can now see why ASIO wanted to recruit latte sippers a few years ago.


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