Civilian surveillance and imperialist plans for war
There is little ambiguity on the part of US imperialism toward its Chinese rival; it has recently been clearly defined by a leading member of the Trump administration.
The diplomatic position is not only confined to the US: Australia has been drawn into the fray through regional military alliances which have also included Japan.
It is, however, another feature of a revival of Cold War practices which has been particularly revealing; recent decisions taken by the Australian government have thrown light upon the Deep State.
In early October, US vice-president Mike Pence addressed the Hudson Institute, a right-wing Washington-based private intelligence and training body, laying down the Trump administration Cold War diplomatic position toward China. There was little ambiguity in the eight-dot point statement, which included, 'the US is not simply engaged in a trade war with China: it is much bigger and broader than that'. (1) While US diplomatic positions toward China had become tenser during the Obama administrations, the election of Trump as president effectively ended the decades of convergence between the two world powers. Official media releases from Canberra, in recent times, have noted, 'convergence is dead'. (2)
It is not difficult to establish why those around Trump have become so agitated in recent times. Their intelligence assessments about China were hopelessly inaccurate; they totally under-estimated the rapid economic rise of China. US economic growth has also been poor for many years although as late as 2006, 'America's economy was five times bigger than China's'. By 2017, it was only just sixty per cent larger. (3)
It has been noted 'the second Cold War will have enduring and equally profound global consequences', without clarification, although as the US and China have entered into longer-term rivalry, the Pentagon has revealed their military considerations and some intelligence assessments. (4) These have included an official statement from former US military commander, retired Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, at a recent security forum that 'America will be at war with China in 15 years'. (5)
These developments have also included Australia through military alliances formulated during the Bush administrations which rested on earlier planning: Japan has been transformed from a client-state to a fully-fledged northern regional hub to serve 'US interests' with Australia as a southern counterpart. The triangular diplomatic relationship is now fully operational and masked in Canberra-talk as 'defence interoperability' with Australia as 'Japan's No. 2 security partner'. (6) It has also included Australia hosting the training of Japanese troops for regional deployment from Darwin. (7) A further dimension has also included both regional hubs, 'building up regional alliances', with the specific intention of containing and encircling China. (8)
The development has had two direct implications for Australia: domestic surveillance and a rising tide of militarism.
Studies of the previous Cold War have revealed widespread civil liberties abuses following US-led military training exercises with the Joint Foreign Intelligence Assistance Program which used manuals such as the Army Regulation AR 381-20 US Army Counter-Intelligence Activities. (9) A 1968 military manual, Employee Procurement and Utilisation, provided training procedures for widespread infiltration of a wide array of groups, political parties, labour unions, youth and student organisations, religious churches and publishing houses. (10) Whole civilian populations of host countries were subject to surveillance and listed as either black, grey or white, as potential adversaries with a view to elimination, if, and when, the situation arose. (11)
There was also provision within the US-led military training for a train-the-trainer mentality, where work considered unpalatable was out-sourced to avoid unfavourable publicity. An Australian military manual actually advocated during time of occupation either in Australia itself, or elsewhere, that 'operations are not hampered by the civilian population', and 'the most effective use is made of para-military forces'.
Another private security manual publicised its training programs for small group penetration, single operative assignments, psychological warfare techniques and interview and interrogation techniques. (12) There has also been little ambiguity in the chosen method of operation of such groups at the behest of the US and military planning.
Aginter Press, established by the CIA and Portuguese intelligence in the 1960s in conjunction with the Italian P2 masonic lodge, was used extensively throughout the Cold War in various sensitive areas including the Greek regime of the Colonels after 1967, Francoist Spain, Apartheid South Africa and elsewhere with extreme measures including Operation Condor in Latin America. (13) One of their strategic documents, Our Political Activity, for example, revealed their use of agents in pseudo operations to control civil societies:
Our belief is that the first phase of political activity ought to be to create the conditions
favouring the installation of chaos in all of the regimes structures.....In our view the first
move we should make is to destroy the structure of the democratic state under the cover
of Communist and pro-Chinese activities.....Moreover, we have people who have
infiltrated these groups and obviously we have to tailor our actions to the ethos of the
milieu.....propaganda and action of a sort which will seem to have emanated from our
Communist adversaries.....these operations will create a feeling of hostility towards those
who threaten the peace of each and every nation. (14)
The wholesale domestic surveillance of a civilian population is a requirement for increased military planning for real-war scenarios. Military planners require continual surveillance as a means of establishing and maintaining internal balances of forces. Such planning can include extreme measures, as in the case of Aginter Press.
It is, however, the less extreme measures which take place within the corridors of power of so-called democracies which often prove far more revealing about the use of State power.
In August, the Coalition government announced the exclusion of the Chinese telephone company Huawei from the Australian 5G program. The stated reason for the decision included fear the company would enable Chinese intelligence to penetrate Australian telecommunications systems. The problem never arose with earlier G models, which included Huawei. The real reason for the decision, however, would appear more in line with emergency planning procedures and state control of civilian society, with reference to the new US-led Cold War waged by the Trump administration. A study of the previous Cold War military planning has revealed the most likely reason for the Australian government to ban Huawei involvement with 5G.
A 1975 Home Office circular in Britain established military planning for a Telephone Preference Scheme. The planning, intended for use during national emergencies, included three categories of subscribers: one, which was for those lines vital for the State; two, additional lines; and three, the mass of the general population. 'In appropriate circumstances', the directive stated, 'all category three subscribers can be turned off and rendered incapable of making any calls, though they will still be able to receive calls from categories one and two', (15) Category one and two people were to be placed in control of the State, issuing directives to category three when considered appropriate.
No specific clarification was provided about 'appropriate circumstances', the questions arising about emergency planning being left open and unanswered. It was, nevertheless, linked to other emergency planning procedures which included accommodation in safe conditions for about four hundred people, several months of supplies, power generation facilities, water-pumps, sewerage disposal together with sophisticated telecommunications equipment. (16) Those provided with the safe accommodation were clearly categories one and two, with no reference made to the safety of category three.
The facilities detailed in the British Home Office circular have been implemented in Australia as a matter of course through usual Five Eyes procedures. Residents of South Australia nearly a decade ago, for example, received an emergency call on all telephones including mobiles from the Rann administration about bush fires. While most sensible people would thank the SA government of the day for the warning about personal security, the facilities could be put to other, nefarious agendas by a right-wing government of the future. Such an administration would not want category three people to be able to communicate and organise amongst themselves using telephonic equipment using external, Chinese-based facilities.
In conclusion, little has changed with the planning for Cold Wars past and present, the military rationale remains much the same. The method of operation by those in control is, however, now much easier. Advances in technology and telecommunications have made widespread surveillance and monitoring of civilian populations very easy: social media apps including Facebook provide easy access to personal profiling techniques, while all equipment can be tracked through telephone towers to within a metre. There is now no need for intelligence agents to either tap telephones or follow people around, the tasks can be conducted on a computer screen.
The sooner we leave this Road to Armageddon and the military planning which has accompanied it, the better!
We need an independent foreign policy!
1. Pence Declares Cold War, Australian, 9 October 2018.
2. Convergence is dead: how two superpowers developed into rivals, Australian, 22 October 2018.
3. Cold Warriors Trade Blows, Australian, 24 October 2018.
4. Swap Russia For China And We're Again at 'War' – It's Just A Cold Fact, Australian, 23 October 2018.
5. US at war with China in 15 years: general, Australian, 26 October 2018.
6. Japan deal to counter China rise, The Weekend Australian, 13-14 January 2018.
9. Army's Project X Had Wider Audience, The Washington Post, 6 March 1997; and, Website: AR 381-20, September 1975.
10. Washington Post, ibid., 3 March 1997.
12. The Whores of War, Mercenaries Today, Wilfred Burchett and Derek Roebuck, (London, 1977), page 31.
13. Stefano delle Chiaie, Stuart Christie, (London, 1984) page 38.
14. Aginter Press, Wikipedia, 18 December 201; and, Stefano delle Chiaie, ibid., page 32.
15. Region One, An examination of the State's plans for repression in the north-east, Martin Spence, (Tyneside, 1978), page 9.
16. Ibid., page 5.