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putrefaction in the intelligence body « Previous | |Next »
April 14, 2004

This makes explicit what we had already suspected from the Tampa affair.

The Howard Government has systematically put foreign policy objectives ahead of intelligence; the Canberra defence bureaucracy (Defence Intelligence Organisation) has tailored its intelligence to be in accord with the policy of the national security state; and the Defence Intelligence Organisation has engaged in campaigns of retribution against those who spoke the truth.

In this particular case the assessments of Lieutenant-Colonel Lance Collins about the Indonesian military funding and supporting militia in East Timor never got through. The DIS blocked Collin's intelligence reports because it did not reflect the fundamental drivers behind the foreign policy relationship between Indonesia and Australia. This is tantamount to saying the military intelligence network had to consider political objectives of Australia's support for Indonesia's repressive occupation of East Timor. I presume the pro-Jakarta argument was that the independence of East Timor would lead to the break-up --- "Balkanisation" - of Indonesia and widespread instability. Australia supported state-supported terror.

For telling the truth Collin's name was listed on a federal police search warrant in August 2001 and the list of names of the warrant was leaked to the media, outing Colonel Collins as a spy. That effectively finished Collin's espionage career.

An internal report by naval barrister Captain Martin Toohey said the army's treatment of Colonel Collins had been disgraceful. Captain Toohey said that that a pro-Jakarta lobby existed in the Defence Intelligence Organisation. This distorted intelligence estimates to the extent those estimates are heavily driven by government policy. DIO reports what the Government wants to hear. Toohey's report has been buried.

Both the Toohey Report and Collin's letter to the PM need to fall off the back of a truck near the door of a media organization, which still has a commitment to the role of being democracy's watchdog.

It is the Bulletin (subscription required). We will now see government attempts to discredit the Collin's letter and the Toohey Report.

Update
The line of attack is the Government is clear. Colonel Collins received praise and the promise of a "courteous" response from the Prime Minister. The Government released advice from Colonel Richard Tracey QC slamming Captain Toohey's findings that backed Colonel Collins's grievances. The Toohey inquiry was "miscarried as it was conducted without proper jurisdictional authority and there was a lack of evidence to substantiate the findings".

The other line of defence is to block calls for a royal commission into the claims that foreign policy objectives systematically undermined the work of the intelligence services. What needs to be protected is the Government's political advantage in protecting national security. This cannot be allowed to be undermined by critical national scrutiny. Public scrutiny might undermine the support for US foreign policy, the US alliance and the military in Iraq.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:03 AM | | Comments (2)
Comments

Comments

The govt is now in disinformation mode.

It won't be long before Collins is linked paedophilia in East Timor, the theft of Communion wafers from the chapel at Victoria Barracks and the blackmarket sale of 50 Army tanks to the Bougainville rebels.

The Howard years are among the blackest, if not the worst, in modern Australian history.

Well, in the late seventies, anybody who tried
to maintain radio contact with Timorese resisters
was tracked and prevented by the federal police
In the eighties when the worst massacres were
occurring the federal government was busy spending
oodles investigating Australian citizens alleged
to have participated in Nazi massacres. They
were busy sifting thru' the ashes of a
forty-year old holocaust while studiously ignoring
the local equivalent next door.
In the nineties, about the time that a senate
inquiry concluded that 200,000 Timorese had
been killed, Gareth Evans told us that the
Dili massacre was an aberration, not policy.
We don't need a royal commission to establish
these facts, only to bring them to the
government's attention. But blind men see
no colours.