A few times this year I’ve noted – and ridiculed – official statements made by Australia’s paramount spy agency that the nation is at grave risk of being overrun by violent, Swastika-saluting suburban garage Nazis. It’s funny because everyone knows how the farce started: for years, the Labor Party and various left-wing MPs have been trying to force intelligence bosses to offset their concern about Islamic terrorism – whose practitioners spring from a population the aforementioned politicos imported (and whose votes they crave) – with a new pseudo-concern about “right-wing” extremists. In other words, they want cover for their own culpability in fomenting social disintegration and terrorism. They want to be able to point to a romper-stomper and say, ‘ya-see, this is what happens when Alan Jones criticises lockdowns.’
Being more alert to nuanced blackmail than most, spy chiefs realise the ALP and its fellow-travellers will sooner or later control the Treasury Benches. In light of what intemperate hooligans in uniform have been doing in the rogue police state of Victoria and, indeed, elsewhere in the Commonwealth, the light-hearted reaction to all this will no longer do. An opportunistic coup of sorts is underway in this country; it is undermining the rule of law, habeas corpus, privacy, property rights, parliamentary oversight, assembly and free speech.
ASIO itself has been compromised, so to speak, and that’s certainly no laughing matter. This week it assured its overseers that citizens critical of state extremism in response to COVID-19 are under surveillance. By disturbing contrast, its Director-General told the same people in July that ASIO does not interfere with Black Lives Matter – a movement linked to multiple homicides in the US. On Tuesday, deadpanning the imminent threat of skip-Hitlers continued. Deputy Director-General Heather Cook told a parliamentary inquiry that “right-wing violent extremism now accounted for between 30 and 40 per cent of its current caseload in counter-terrorism work.” That isn’t a direct quote; it’s Fairfax’s Anthony Galloway. His employer is a keen promoter of what amounts to doxxing non-leftists using, first, regular police and now the same intelligence agency enlightened socialists used to fear and loathe. Galloway’s report opens with a false assertion:
Not true. After months – getting on for years – of pressure from Labor, the ABC and Fairfax to find some Nazis, ASIO has boosted the ‘case-load’ attention it affords various oddballs who collect Third Reich memorabilia or rave on about the “white race” on internet forums. That sort of thing. There is zero evidence any of them have been planning something violent. Zero. Here’s Heather Cook – this is a direct quote (albeit one bumped down to paragraph 11 by Galloway):
That’s a Humphrey Appleby way of saying that nobody in the “right-wing” filing cabinet is about to carry out a terrorist attack. Not one person. If ASIO busted a genuine terror plot by fibro Berghof bogans, we would already know about it. And so would the courts. Here it’s worth emphasising what ASIO Director-General Mike Burgess told a parliamentary hearing in July when asked if BLM campaigners would ever be monitored: “The only time we get involved is if there’s acts of violence but protesters are fully supported.” Excuse me? If none of the “right-wing extremists” ASIO is currently “looking at” is about to commit acts of violence, why are they being ‘looked’ at – at all? The answer: they’ve been rounded up Louis Renault-like to placate the leftist establishment; this, in turn, firewalls ASIO’s budget and makes its thirst for increased powers more likely to be slaked. Spies are being used by the likes of Kristina Keneally as culture war skirmishers and they’re pretending to skirmish.
Shadow Home Affairs spokesman Keneally last year campaigned to ban British commentator Raheem Kassam from entering Australia to attend the Conservative Political Action Conference in Sydney because he criticised the Koran. That was mere pretense. The real agenda was to slime CPAC as something akin to the Nuremberg Rally. Her Labor colleague, Mark Dreyfus – another fanatical promoter of the war on phantom Nazis – ordered mates in the Canberra bureaucracy to force CPAC guest speaker Tony Abbott and conference organiser Andrew Cooper to register as agents of foreign influence. At about the same time, China’s most powerful spokesman in Australia – China Development Bank adviser Paul Keating – was demanding ASIO be liquidated for daring to keep its eyes on the espionage of his paymasters. Keating has never been asked to register. He hasn’t even been asked to explain himself for one of the most embarrassing geo-political blunders this century. A few months after defending China’s big-power ruthlessness, coronavirus sent the world into lockdown and Keating himself into Coventry. Possessed of a Talleyrand’s worldview but an alderman’s mindset, he has only emerged in recent weeks to bore the nation again about superannuation.
As they say in the classics: don’t get me wrong. If a right-wing extremist’s behaviour, access to weapons, online incitement and/or other genuine red flags of criminal intention come to the attention of ASIO, its agents should do whatever they’re empowered to do to stop him. Were another gutless animal like Brenton Tarrant to wander into their crosshairs, by all means open fire – figuratively or literally. But ASIO should not be used – nor allow itself to be used – for infantile own-the-cons gamesmanship or affirmative action threat generation. Not only is this very bad for our democracy and rule of law, it is also dangerous in the more immediate sense. If more than a third of ASIO’s time really is being spent on alleged Waffen wannabes (which I doubt), what are they missing in the mean time?
Finally: there has indeed been a huge change in the national security and terror ecosystem in recent years. We no longer hear about Al Qaeda or ISIS. Contrary to all ‘expert’ predictions, the Trump Administration’s effect on the bloody post-9/11 stand-off between Western culture and Islam has been astonishingly soothing. The US has again become not so much an apex predator but an apex discerner. Donald Trump’s intuitions about – and achievements in – foreign affairs have proven to be remarkable and historic. He makes Henry Kissinger look like Kevin Rudd. So too in the diaspora Islamic communities of Western Europe, Australia and elsewhere, there is a sense that the moment for mass casualty attacks has staled, if not passed. What has arisen in this vacuum is not “right-wing extremism” but violent leftism combined with – and largely facilitated by – near lawless police state conduct by governments or governments-in-exile like the bitter alumni of the Obama Administration. The rigged scare-mongering about Nazis is contemptible nonsense but it is no longer a joke.