Why the Australian PM is angry with WIkiLeaks

I was surprised that the new Australian prime minister Julia Gillard has been such a harsh critic of WikiLeaks, since its editor Julian Assange is an Australian citizen after all and WikiLeaks has not committed any crime. I suspected that there may be more to the story.

Well, yet another released cable may explain it. The Age reports that:

FEDERAL minister and right-wing Labor powerbroker Mark Arbib has been revealed as a confidential contact of the United States embassy in Canberra, providing inside information and commentary for Washington on the workings of the Australian government and the Labor Party.

Secret US embassy cables obtained by WikiLeaks and made available exclusively to The Age reveal that Senator Arbib, one of the architects of Kevin Rudd’s removal as prime minister, has been in regular contact with US embassy officers.

His candid comments have been incorporated into reports to Washington with repeated requests that his identity as a ”protected” source be guarded.

Embassy cables reporting on the Labor Party and national political developments, frequently classified “No Forn” – meaning no distribution to non-US personnel – refer to Senator Arbib as a strong supporter of Australia’s alliance with the US.

They identify him as a valuable source of information on Labor politics, including Mr Rudd’s hopes to forestall an eventual leadership challenge from then deputy prime minister Julia Gillard.

Arbib helped Gillard become PM and she would not like to see her ally revealed as a US agent. Assange has criticized the Australian government saying that the Australian government is more interested in pleasing the US than protecting the rights of its own citizens. “Australians should observe with no pride the disgraceful pandering to these sentiments by Julia Gillard and her government. The powers of the Australian government appear to be fully at the disposal of the US as to whether to cancel my Australian passport, or to spy on or harass WikiLeaks supporters. The Australian Attorney-General is doing everything he can to help a US investigation clearly directed at framing Australian citizens and shipping them to the US.”

There are reports that a whole bunch of cables relating to Australia will be released within a month. No wonder Gillard is miffed with WikiLeaks. What WIkiLeaks is revealing that the leaders of many countries think their primary allegiance is to the US and not their own people. Politicians hate it when their hypocrisy and shady dealings see the light of day.

If you can get hold of it, I strongly recommend seeing A Very British Coup (1988). It is an outstanding 150-minutes British TV mini-series showing how the US tries to use its agents within the British government and its bureaucracy to overthrow a progressive British government that has a former steelworker as prime minister, a man who really does want to carry out his campaign promises, a kind of anti-Obama if you will.

Here is a clip from a key scene when the upper-class head of British intelligence, who hates everything the prime minister stands for, gives him an ultimatum.

The part 2 continuation of the clip leads to the climax.


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