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Former PM Gough Whitlam dead at 98

Evan Burton

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I have a soft spot for Gough. He had a tremendous wit and was a great Australian who achieved great things. Sadly, with the revisionism of death, people are forgetting how badly the country was run under Labor in 1972-75 despite all the strides made forward.

I think O'Connor's attempts to develop Australia's natural resource base were done in our best interests; I only wish that he had looked for a legitimate loan broker for petro-dollars instead of the scum Khemlani.

I also though that Whitlam's method of removal was vile, though subsequent elections showed that he was going to lose anyway.

In some ways I think he did a good job: he knew they wouldn't last and so tried to achieve as much as possible (despite the cost) whilst they clung to power.

He was also the last Australia PM who had served in the military.

Edited by Evan Burton
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Gough Whitlam and the Forgotten Coup: How America and Britain Crushed the Government of Their ‘Ally’, Australia

Global Research, October 23, 2014

Across the political and media elite in Australia, a silence has descended on the memory of the great, reforming prime minister Gough Whitlam, who has died. His achievements are recognised, if grudgingly, his mistakes noted in false sorrow. But a critical reason for his extraordinary political demise will, they hope, be buried with him.

Australia briefly became an independent state during the Whitlam years, 1972-75. An American commentator wrote that no country had “reversed its posture in international affairs so totally without going through a domestic revolution”. Whitlam ended his nation’s colonial servility. He abolished Royal patronage, moved Australia towards the Non-Aligned Movement, supported “zones of peace” and opposed nuclear weapons testing.

Although not regarded as on the left of the Labor Party, Whitlam was a maverick social democrat of principle, pride and propriety. He believed that a foreign power should not control his country’s resources and dictate its economic and foreign policies. He proposed to “buy back the farm”. In drafting the first Aboriginal lands rights legislation, his government raised the ghost of the greatest land grab in human history, Britain’s colonisation of Australia, and the question of who owned the island-continent’s vast natural wealth.

Latin Americans will recognise the audacity and danger of this “breaking free” in a country whose establishment was welded to great, external power. Australians had served every British imperial adventure since the Boxer rebellion was crushed in China. In the 1960s, Australia pleaded to join the US in its invasion of Vietnam, then provided “black teams” to be run by the CIA. US diplomatic cables published last year by WikiLeaks disclose the names of leading figures in both main parties, including a future prime minister and foreign minister, as Washington’s informants during the Whitlam years.

Whitlam knew the risk he was taking. The day after his election, he ordered that his staff should not be “vetted or harassed” by the Australian security organisation, ASIO – then, as now, tied to Anglo-American intelligence. When his ministers publicly condemned the US bombing of Vietnam as “corrupt and barbaric”, a CIA station officer in Saigon said: “We were told the Australians might as well be regarded as North Vietnamese collaborators.”Whitlam demanded to know if and why the CIA was running a spy base at Pine Gap near Alice Springs, a giant vacuum cleaner which, as Edward Snowden revealed recently, allows the US to spy on everyone. “Try to screw us or bounce us,” the prime minister warned the US ambassador, “[and Pine Gap] will become a matter of contention.”Victor Marchetti, the CIA officer who had helped set up Pine Gap, later told me, “This threat to close Pine Gap caused apoplexy in the White House. … a kind of Chile [coup] was set in motion.”Pine Gap’s top-secret messages were de-coded by a CIA contractor, TRW. One of the de-coders was Christopher Boyce, a young man troubled by the “deception and betrayal of an ally”. Boyce revealed that the CIA had infiltrated the Australian political and trade union elite and referred to the Governor-General of Australia, Sir John Kerr, as “our man Kerr.”

Kerr was not only the Queen’s man, he had long-standing ties to Anglo-American intelligence. He was an enthusiastic member of the Australian Association for Cultural Freedom, described by Jonathan Kwitny of the Wall Street Journal in his book, ‘The Crimes of Patriots’, as, “an elite, invitation-only group… exposed in Congress as being founded, funded and generally run by the CIA”. The CIA “paid for Kerr’s travel, built his prestige… Kerr continued to go to the CIA for money.”

When Whitlam was re-elected for a second term, in 1974, the White House sent Marshall Green to Canberra as ambassador. Green was an imperious, sinister figure who worked in the shadows of America’s “deep state”. Known as the “coupmaster”, he had played a central role in the 1965 coup against President Sukarno in Indonesia – which cost up to a million lives. One of his first speeches in Australia was to the Australian Institute of Directors – described by an alarmed member of the audience as “an incitement to the country’s business leaders to rise against the government.”

The Americans and British worked together. In 1975, Whitlam discovered that Britain’s MI6 was operating against his government. “The Brits were actually de-coding secret messages coming into my foreign affairs office,” he said later. One of his ministers, Clyde Cameron, told me, “We knew MI6 was bugging Cabinet meetings for the Americans.” In the 1980s, senior CIA officers revealed that the “Whitlam problem” had been discussed “with urgency” by the CIA’s director, William Colby, and the head of MI6, Sir Maurice Oldfield. A deputy director of the CIA said: “Kerr did what he was told to do.”On 10 November, 1975, Whitlam was shown a top secret telex message sourced to Theodore Shackley, the notorious head of the CIA’s East Asia Division, who had helped run the coup against Salvador Allende in Chile two years earlier.Shackley’s message was read to Whitlam. It said that the prime minister of Australia was a security risk in his own country. The day before, Kerr had visited the headquarters of the Defence Signals Directorate, Australia’s NSA where he was briefed on the “security crisis”.On 11 November - the day Whitlam was to inform Parliament about the secret CIA presence in Australia – he was summoned by Kerr. Invoking archaic vice-regal “reserve powers”, Kerr sacked the democratically elected prime minister. The “Whitlam problem” was solved, and Australian politics never recovered, nor the nation its true independence.

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It needs to be noted that despite the method of his removal, if the Labor government had broad support then they would have been re-elected.

The simple fact is they were not, and that was due in large part to the areas of the government that were NOT being run well. Inflation was at a record high, unemployment likewise.

There are more myths. For example, that Whitlam ended Australian involvement in Vietnam. The previous McMahon government had ordered the return of most Australian in Vietnam; what Whitlam did was suspend - not remove - conscription in Australia. Conscription in Australia could be reactivated today but requires the consent of both houses.

I liked him - but he was flawed, just like anyone else.

Edited by Evan Burton
Changed "has broad support" to "had broad support"
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I have no intention in getting into a discusion about Gough Whitlam. RIP. Those who are interested in the various matters raised so far need to consider the end of the post war boom and the development of western economies and the effect that had. Further, the oil crisis needs to be considered and how it related to inflation and stagflation and from that australias level of dependence on oil in the various industries at the time, farming, mining, steel production, manufacturing, building et,c, and see that inflation was on a trend that reached true record levels years into conservative rule. Similarly unemployment, keeping in mind the way various governements at various times, certainly during the fraser years redefines unemployed, and continues to do so, ending up with what's colloquially called 'rubbery figures'. Further, a very important matter is gerrymander, senate in cases in particular, and various states application of it. You think australia has one person - one vote? Think again. Back then in particular queensland: under bjelke peterson noting how his drunken plant shifted the balance. Last, not really, there's far mors to it, kerr and murdoch, fraser, cia mi6 and industry leaders. Note particularly murdoch and how the wrong person can use the media as a means of mass destruction, which he proves himself willing to do again and again.

More attention needs to be spent on pine gap, the nsa, shackley and, imo, an untapped field : allende.

edit typos

Edited by John Dolva
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