Martial law and Brexit: a lesson for Australians
The British Conservative government has contingency plans to introduce martial law with Operation Yellowhammer, following threats of disorder with Brexit.
Three important considerations have arisen, which also have significance for Australia:
1. Official State bodies, government and defence departments coming into contact and establishing links with informal political groupings pursuing similar aims;
2. The use of draconian measures to over-ride bourgeois democratic processes;
3. The political implications of the repressive legislation being used as a trial-run for later developments, particularly with an intensification of US provocations in the Asia-Pacific region.
With minimal publicity, British Prime Minister Theresa May issued an official media release announcing that government officials had been 'considering how to use the sweeping powers' they have access to under the Civil Contingencies Act, 2004. (1) Fears, apparently, had arisen in Whitehall about the possibility of civil disorder following political difficulties with British diplomacy and the European Union (EU) following the 29 March deadline for the former to sever links with the latter.
Traditional British leaders appear apprehensive about formally severing cosy diplomatic links with European counterparts. One explanation is that the elite patronage systems of which they are part also stretch into continental Europe with lucrative pickings for the initiated. Their snouts are not only in troughs in London, but further afield in countries with a much nicer climate.
The fact British voters wanted the country to leave the EU as a result of long-standing problems and the failure of Britain to benefit from the formal linkage, has thrown the government into chaos. Plan after plan to deal with the problem has either been sabotaged by rival Conservative MPs who want to topple Theresa May, or by a failure of sufficient numbers to push the necessary legislation through Westminster.
As a result, it now appears likely no parliamentary decision will be taken by 29 March, leaving Britain with a situation where the political will of a majority of voters will be disregarded. Assessments of the situation appear to have already been made. An official media release acknowledged a possible problem arising with a need to impose 'curfews, bans on travel, confiscation of property and, most drastic, the deployment of the armed forces to quell rioting', as British sentiments simmer. (2)
As the British ruling class has been seen in the eyes of the electorate to fail, they have now resorted to military planning to retain power.
A study of the Civil Contingencies Act, 2004, (CCA, 2004) has revealed it is typical of civil defence-type regulations and designed to protect class and state power when threatened or challenged. While emphasis has been placed upon dealing with emergencies, war, terrorism, and attack by foreign powers, the legislation clearly forms part of Cold War military planning dating to initial legislation following the Second World War in 1948. Later, during the 1950s, as the Cold War intensified, numerous western European countries recruited known anti-Communists for clandestine military provision and NATO-led secret armies. (3)
Through the passage of time some things change others do not.
A study of the Cold War literature of the period including, “The Assault on the West”, Ian Grieg, (Surrey, 1968), has revealed how publications from the previous Cold War now fit comfortably into the present thinking of the far-right, government figures and new Cold War. Almost every time a Coalition Minister makes a speech or issues an official media release, it is as if the text has been lifted from the Grieg publication.
It is also no surprise to note the CCA, 2004, followed US-led planning after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the US although preparations for the expansion of military provision were already taking place beforehand at the turn of the century. (4) Pentagon officials were planning an expansion of their military provision in the Asia-Pacific region in 1999 with 'Joint Vision 2020', which was released in 2000. The US-led military planning 'listed China as a potential future adversary' and included a shift away from a Euro-focus with a preoccupation toward the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. (5)
The revised US-led military provision included the broadening of 'military contacts with Australia, putting 10,000 troops into the Queensland region', and soon evolved into the Global Transformation of Defence and Security (GTDS) with Japan and Australia as fully-fledged regional hubs for 'US interests'. (6)
The development was also accompanied by other wholesale spying upon civilian populations and demonisation of peoples from Islamic and other backgrounds, a procedure which has continued to the present-day with. It is not difficult to establish the puppet-masters, although the chain of command is often obscured to prevent detection.
While the US-led military planning has included the declassification of various previous training manuals, newer editions take their place and invariably include similar procedures. One manual, Army Regulation 381-20, declassified in November 1993, for example, began with a statement concerning Mission and Policy. It noted, coordinated counter-intelligence activities worldwide were conducted against 'those who oppose the US Defence Department during peacetime and all levels of conflict'. (5) The US-led procedure still forms part of standard intelligence-gathering against adversaries, including 'domestic subversion'.
Another declassified document which dealt with the 'threat of domestic subversion', Project X, of the Army Foreign Intelligence Assistance program, included training provision for infiltration of 'a wide array of groups', psychological profiling to assess individuals and groups and the placing of those under surveillance upon black, grey or white-lists depending upon their level of political awareness. (6)
What is particularly significant, however, is the linkage of formal military planned structures with informal groupings, as the NATO secret armies have shown. Those in control of the former appear to make use of the latter, as 'intelligence assets' where they can be manipulated with relative ease to pursue other agendas.
These developments historically have also been played-out in Australia with far-reaching implications.
During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the AUSI Freedom Scouts organisation was established, specifically for 'an unofficial militia network to volunteer assistance to Australia's armed forces against subversion from within and against invasion from the countries to the north'. (7) It was hardly a secret army, although it functioned along the same lines.
The fact the patron of the organisation was senior Australian Army figure, Brigadier Ted Serong, who was noted as having 'taken up full-time employment with the CIA in early 1965', and was a well-known figure in far-right circles, was obviously not coincidental. (8) No doubt the members of far-right political organisations were only too pleased to provide Serong and his associates with lists of those who they spied on. And there is little doubt they did: the AUSI Freedom Scouts had strong identification with Apartheid South Africa; there can be no ambiguity who was targeted by those concerned. (9)
The long-time linkage between far-right political groupings in Australia and Apartheid South Africa also took the form of official positions: in 1967, Eric Butler, leader of the far-right Australian League of Rights (ALOR), was accredited as a Trainer for the South African Security Police. (10) An official media release noted Butler was also involved with the Friends of Rhodesia which had financed his visits to South Africa. (11) The fact the SA Security Police were specialists in counter-insurgency which included widespread use of torture as standard treatment toward those associated with the anti-apartheid movement has raised questions about just what Butler was actually doing in SA and on his return to Australia. (12)
The fact the AUSI Freedom Scouts also subsequently evolved into One Nation, a political party led by Pauline Hanson was also not coincidental. (13) The party concerned has continued to act as a rallying-point for the far-right for the past two decades. It clearly serves its purpose and the agendas of those lurking on the shadowy far-right of Australian politics and the numerous tentacles of their organisations.
The funding for those involved with the far-right in Australia has also been shown to flow from formal bodies into informal groupings with relative ease as seen with the case of Serong in West Australia. Former WA Premier Carmen Lawrence, for example, alluded in an interview that Serong had been employed as a government security consultant and paid A$121,000 for his services. During the 1977-93 period it was noted that 'the nature of his active assignments remains shadowy'. (14)
One assignment, however, was openly recorded and remains of particular interest; Serong addressed an audience of 2,000 'moderate' trade unionists and officials on 'the question of national security'. (15) Serong 'regarded this meeting as auguring well for his future operation', which included the establishment of Sermarine Limited, his private security company. (16)
No reference to the sum of money has ever been found in official WA government records. The government department concerned appeared to have not officially recorded the accounts or payments to Serong and his consultancy for services rendered, and it was subsequently noted that'the details of these assignments remained a matter of WA government secrecy'. (17)
Australia has been placed on the front-line of the US-led attempts to contain the rise of China.
With the intensification of the new Cold War in Australia, progressive-minded people should perhaps study developments in Britain with Brexit.
Decision-makers in Canberra also possess similar legislation to the CCA, 2004, and there is little doubt they will also consider using it should their powers be threatened or challenged as they inevitably will be as the potential for conflict between US imperialism and Chinese social-imperialism (“socialism in words, imperialism in deeds”) intensifies.
We should be on our guard.
We need an independent foreign policy!
1. Britain prepares for martial law, Australian, 28 January 2019.
3. NATO Secret Armies, Daniele Ganser, (2005).
4. Dawn of the International Socialist Revolution, Stefan Engel, (Germany, 2011), pp. 219-25, and; Asia moves to forefront of Pentagon planning, The Guardian Weekly (U.K.), 1-7 June 2000.
5. Army Foreign Intelligence Assistance program, AR 381-20, Section 1.5, Mission and Policy, page One.
6. Army's Project X Had A Wider Audience, The Washington Post, 6 March 1997.
7. Ted Serong, The Life of an Australian Counter-Insurgency Expert, Anne Blair, (Victoria, 2002), page 176.
8. Ibid., page 107, 183, 186.
9. Ibid., page 189.
10. Efforts of Australian Anti-Red, (front-page spread), The Star, (South Africa), 15 July 1967.
12. Torture: the BOSS way, The Spy in the NewsRoom, page 113, Australian Playboy, June 1982.
13. Serong, op.cit., page 90.
14. Ibid., page 185.
15. Ibid., page 183.
16. Ibid., page 183 and page 223 .