CHRISTOPHER ANDREW AND THE STRANGE CASE OF ROGER HOLLIS

By | Book reviews for the press, Intelligence | No Comments

  When Christopher Andrew’s Defence of the Realm: The Authorized History of MI5 was published in late 2009, the Australian’s European correspondent, Peter Wilson, hailed it with a short piece headed “‘Mentally ill’ spycatcher more dangerous than KGB”. The spycatcher in question was Peter Wright, whose book, Spycatcher, the British government made strenuous efforts to suppress, only to be foiled in the Australian courts by the young Malcolm Turnbull. The book was published in Australia in 1987 (not 1985, as Wilson reported) and became a best-seller. Wilson’s piece was an eye catcher, because it concentrated exclusively on the question of…

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WERE THERE RUSSIAN MOLES IN ASIO? WELL YES, PRIME MINISTER.

By | AusPolitics, Critical Essays, Geopolitics, Intelligence | No Comments

  The final volume of the official history of ASIO admits, in muted tones, that there were multiple Soviet moles in the organization during the Cold War. Not one or a possible one, as so often rumoured in the past; but a number of them. The language is vague and elliptical, but the statement is there and it is buttressed by the rhetorical question with which the authors finish the whole work: ‘how extensive was the betrayal and how extensive was the damage?’ The official history was the best possible place to answer this question, but its authors were forbidden…

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BRING THE COOK REPORT OUT FROM THE WILDERNESS OF MIRRORS

By | Defence, Intelligence, Opinion pieces for the press | No Comments

  Last Saturday’s Inquirer story about Paul Dibb’s annoyance at the innuendo that has swirled around him for decades and that security investigations into his bona fides were held at all was both fascinating and important. He was cleared by all investigations, he reveals, including the 1994 Cook Report. This is news. I have called for years for the release of the Cook Report precisely so that we can finally be clear where suspicions were confirmed and where they were dispelled and, in each case, on what grounds. Dibb’s important story is another illustration of why we need the Cook…

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 DUNCAN’S DILEMMAS HIGHLIGHT THE REAL PROBLEM

By | Intelligence, Islam, Opinion pieces for the press, Terrorism | No Comments

Perhaps the story of the past week has been controversy over the Director General of ASIO, Duncan Lewis, publicly rebuking a number of politicians and urging that they curb their outspokenness regarding Islam. Lewis had made two crucial points: that intemperate criticism of Islam risked inflaming Muslim opinion, making ASIO’s job harder; and that it was ‘blasphemous, to the extent that I can comment on someone else’s religion’ to suggest that Islamist terrorism springs from Islam itself. It is, surely, rather unusual for the head of the security service to rebuke senior politicians for their remarks; but that a man…

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