Monday, February 13, 2012
June 2010 - November 1975, Only More Sophisticated?
In the wake of the 1975 coup that ousted the Labor Government of Gough Whitlam, former CIA boss Victor Marchetti commented: "It was like Chile, only more sophisticated", referring to the US-backed coup of 1973 that violently overthrew the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende.
To many, the machinations of the Australian political system masked a US-backed plan to toss Mr Whitlam from office before he could "buy back the farm", by re-acquiring fossil fuel deposits held by foreign interests. Others felt he was ousted because of US concerns over the future of its military intelligence gathering assets in Australia, such as the Pine Gap facility near Alice Springs.
Certainly Christopher Boyce (of The Falcon and the Snowman movie fame, and later convicted of spying for the Soviet Union) believed that CIA communications he viewed during 1975 pointed to a desire to have Mr Whitlam removed from office - which then conveniently occurred in November that year after the conservative Coalition led by the then unredeemed Malcolm Fraser blocked supply in the Australian Parliament, thereby threatening to starve the federal government of money.
Now the ABC's Four Corners program has unearthed new details of what could well be another plot, one in this case that that saw right wing members of Kevin Rudd's own ALP force him from the Prime Minister's office, and install Julia Gillard in the top job.
Besides arguments about when Ms Gillard's victory speech was written for that morning after Mr Rudd's demise in the overnight coup in June 2010, there was one particularly chilling sequence in Andrew Fowler's program. It was footage from some weeks beforehand, when Australia's US Ambassador Kim Beazley visited Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington, apparently to brief her on the moves against Rudd.
Of course, the US already had its information in that regard, supplied - that pesky wikileaks later revealed - by a powerful figure of the ALP right, Mark Arbib, who also became one of the key plotters against Mr Rudd.
But the most disturbing thing about the Washington footage was not, as Andrew Fowler suggested, that Beazley was informing Ms Clinton, as much as the chilling suspicion that he was reporting to her.
Why would a foreign power want Mr Rudd forced from office? Could it be that fossil interests in the US were wary of his commitment against global warming, and pledge to introduce an emissions trading scheme? Could it also be that his stated intention to introduce a comprehensive profits tax on the mining industry, to share the wealth of the once-off bounty being derived from Australia's natural resources, was unwelcome news down certain influential corridors in the US? After Ms Gillard took office, both pieces of legislation were watered down: one to a carbon tax, the other to a tax on the profits of only some sectors of the mining industry.
So was June 2010 our November 1975 revisited? The facts now emerging are disturbing indeed, whichever side of the Rudd/Gillard fence one sits on.