PM's values platform is a two-pronged attack

IF THE Cold War was a clash of ideologies, the new global conflict is about values. In the US, neo-conservatives argue that Western values are threatened by terrorists and postmodernists. In Australia, the Prime Minister, John Howard, argues that better proficiency in English and a knowledge of history and civics are needed to combat a threat to Australian values.

Q: When is a blog not a blog?

Those of you who watch this blog site will have noticed that your ability to post comments is now restricted.

This has been due to an unprecedented amount of spam directed at the site -- reaching 400 messages a day, all of it advertising Viagra, porn, poker, and many other things.

So the comment function has been switched off, except for the most recent articles.

The site will continue to publish articles and talks by me, around the theme of my book Beyond Right and Left'.

You can still contact David by email.

Broadcasting and the enemy within: ASIO's political surveillance of the ABC

In May 1965 the Director General of Security, Sir Charles Spry ,and the newly appointed General Manager of the ABC, Talbot Duckmanton, sat down to dinner in Sydney. At the dinner, which had been arranged two months earlier, the two men discussed matters of security affecting the ABC including ASIO's regular liaison with the ABC at state leve

The New Left and the Old Moles

Chapter 19, 'Australia's Spies and Their Secrets' (David McKnight, Allen & Unwin, 1994)

On a quiet Sunday morning early in 1972 three ASIO officers stood in the nondescript office of a fly-by-night mining company, Kalamunda Mineral Reserves, above Flinders Lane in the city of Melbourne. The main sound apart from the odd distant car was the distant, insistent hymn singing of a religious sect who occupied rooms below and the occasional squawk of a walkie-talkie held by one man. From another man, hunched over a desk with a small box of tools by his side, a metallic sound rasped through the room

'Is Murphy a KGB agent?'

From : Australia's Spies and their Secrets (David McKnight, Allen & Unwin, 1994)

On Saturday 17 March 1973, the day after Murphy's raid on St Kilda Rd, the revolt in ASIO against the Whitlam Government began in earnest. A group of senior ASIO officers clandestinely visited the Opposition leader, Billy Snedden, and appealed for help. They told him that 'Barbour had gone to pieces and would not be reliable' . Instead of accommodating Murphy he should have defied the Attorney and the Commonwealth Police.

Enemies and friends in the Labor Party and the unions

From 'Australia's Spies and Their Secrets' (David McKnight, Allen and Unwin, 1994)

A man is walking briskly down the footpath beside Goulburn Street in Sydney in 1964. A careful observer would notice that he walks with a slight limp, his finger are stained with nicotine and his hair is greying, parted in the middle. He turns abruptly into a side entrance of the Sydney Trades Hall, an architectural oddity being one of Sydney's few multi-story Victorian buildings built almost entirely of brick. As he walks familiarly down one of its ill-lit, high ceilinged corridors he acknowledges a brief, knowing nod from an official of a minor right wing union.

From the underground to espionage

From Chapter Five

Espionage and the Roots of the Cold War (Frank Cass, London, 2002)

In the 1920s the repression faced by newly created Communist Parties demonstrated the need for the clandestine techniques developed in Russia before the Revolution. In the following period, which began when the ultra-leftist 'Third Period' coincided with the 1929 Wall Street crisis, another expression of konspiratsya made itself felt in the West. Soviet intelligence began to recruit middle class American, German and British communists/

The Comintern underground in Shanghai

[This is part of Chapter 4 of 'Espionage and the Roots of the Cold war' (Frank Cass, London). The book deals with the connection between underground communist political activity and Soviet espionage from 1917 to 1940s.]

On May 1, 1929 an unusual meeting of trade unionists took place in Shanghai. The communists who organised the meeting later regarded it as 'perhaps the biggest single feat of illegal organisation' at the time.

It was a copybook version of the kind of illegal activity under conditions of savage repression which was described by the Comintern Commission on Illegal Work:

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