Australian spy agency promotes anti-China witch-hunt


Australian spy agency promotes anti-China witch-hunt

Oscar Grenfell

24 October 2017

The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), the country’s main domestic spy agency, used its annual report, released last Wednesday, to further fuel a hysterical media campaign alleging widespread Chinese “interference” in Australian politics.

ASIO’s public reports are always highly political documents. Their purpose is not to disclose the agency’s activities, but to promote the anti-democratic agenda of successive governments, including ramping up the powers of ASIO and the entire military-intelligence apparatus.

For the past 16 years, ASIO’s reports have centred on declarations that Australia is threatened by “Islamist terrorism.” Such claims have been used to justify Australia’s role in predatory US-led wars in the Middle East, and sweeping inroads into civil and political rights.

This year’s report, while maintaining the “war on terror” rhetoric, includes vague and unsubstantiated assertions that “foreign powers” are conducting a wide-ranging campaign of “espionage” and “covert influence operations.” It declares that the “the scale of the threat to Australia and its interests is unprecedented.”

ASIO did not name any “foreign powers.” But the media outlets that function as little more than adjuncts of the intelligence agencies and the political establishment, filled in the gap.

An article in the Murdoch-owned Australian newspaper was headlined “ASIO battling spy threat from China and Russia.” The state-owned Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) declared that unnamed “government officials … believe China is becoming more aggressive with its activities against Australia.”

As in previous “exposures” of…

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