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Name: Antony Loewenstein
Home: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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Monday, July 25, 2005

This is not (just) about East Timor

ABC TV's Australian Story tonight features an exclusive interview with top intelligence analyst Lieutenant Colonel Lance Collins. Aside from detailing the power and influence of the pro-Jakarta lobby within the Australian establishment during the late 90s - contributing to a denial of vital intelligence during Australia's 1999 operation and placing troops in danger - the underlying thesis of Collins is far more disturbing.

Our intelligence services are determined to receive certain answers to certain questions, Collins alleges. "The problem with our intelligence system is it's the politicians that choose or approve the choosing of bureaucrats that run it," he says. "The system is very heavily weighted to produce a certain answer that is acceptable to a certain political party and its agenda rather than the nation and its wellbeing."

A military source tells me that government policy and direction determines the kind of intelligence they are receiving. In other words, the deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan are regarded as necessary and good and intelligence that may provide alternative ways of seeing the situation are dismissed or ignored.

Don't let our media paint Collins as a figure solely discussing Timor and Indonesia. This is a much bigger story. It directly affects our government's ability to serve the country's best interests and politically meddle in a field needing independence and forthright opinions, our intelligence services.

3 Comments:

Blogger Gerry said...

The government is serving the country's best interests as it sees them to be.

It sees it to be in our best interests to be be part of the Coalition of the Oil Stealing Murderers.

It's all to do with what's in the best interests of Big Money.

I think, Antony, that you believe someone should actually give a damn about anything other than Big Money's interests. I suspect there's something about capitalism you haven't quite grasped yet...

Tuesday, July 26, 2005 6:46:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

You're right, there are few gaps in my understanding of that thoroughly enlightened ideology.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005 7:32:00 pm  
Blogger Glenn Condell said...

I'd like to see Collins v Howard on ABC primetime, unmoderated and unabridged.

Sad to see how upset his decision to leave the Army had made him. Shades of Andrew Wilkie and Mike Scrafton, people who make our illustrious leader look positively un-Australian. Especially in the military bash hat he apparently needs to shake a few hands, miles from the chaos he is partly responsible for.

What's left after these independent people are bleached from our public services? The yes men and women, your Miles Jordanas and Jane Hattons, who subsume whatever ethical volition they may possess in the performance of their role, which they see as facilitating executive power without demur.

'Checks and balances' won't do the job if they're performed by ciphers like these.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005 1:17:00 pm  

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