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The US Far Right, Psy-ops and Australia

Written by: (Contributed) on 10 April, 2021


The demise of the Trump administration in Washington has been accompanied by moves to maintain their far-right political agenda with psychological operations (psy-ops) in preparation for a further challenge for the presidency in due course.

Former Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, for example, was recently allowed prime media space in the Australian to articulate a number of highly questionable and misleading statements in the classic style of psy-ops.

It was accompanied, the following day, by a similarly questionable prime media spread about China's involvement in political discord in part of the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific.

Other examples, elsewhere, would tend to indicate Australia is being drawn ever closer to far-right US-led Cold War positions with all the potential dangers of real-war scenarios.

It has raised serious issues about the type of media coverage being pushed in the Australian by the government and corporate sectors and their given motives.

Developments surrounding the demise of the Trump administration in Washington have revealed some sinister trends in US domestic politics which have spilled-over into a type of foreign policy overtly played-out in the Indo-Pacific region. The storming of Capitol Hill in early January, for example, was not a spontaneous gathering; it had been planned by white supremacist groups and others for weeks beforehand on social media platforms. (1) It led to a well-placed source concluding that while the US intelligence services were well-financed, they had turned a blind-eye toward the conspirators and 'what we saw … was tacit approval of the rioters'. (2)

Other commentary about the developments, likewise, concluded the storming of Capitol Hill was the natural outcome of Trump supporters already being fed a daily diet of misinformation which subsequently provided the pretext for attempting to prevent President Biden taking office.

It is particularly significant to note a great deal of the misinformation by the Trump administration was about China and an attempt to provoke a reaction, and much of the hostile diplomatic approach was, in fact, played-out on Australia's doorstep in the nearby region.

Pompeo positioning for presidential run with attacks on China

It is, furthermore, entirely in keeping with those associated with the Trump administration to be provided with prime media space to continue their diatribes at the behest of the Australian government and corporate sectors. In early April, for example, former US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, was allowed front-page and page two credentials for pushing spurious arguments about China's supposed biological warfare research. The major spread, which can be considered a statement of intent, was accompanied with no factual information. It was, however, noted in the same article that 'rumours are strong Mr Pompeo plans to run for the presidency in 2024'. (3)

Pompeo used the main media outlet of Australia to continue to push the line that China was responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic which originated in a Wuhan laboratory. (4) The recent World Health Organisation (WHO) inquiry, however, could find no evidence to support such a view. The lack of factual information would appear to not deter the likes of Pompeo from continuing to make the baseless allegations.

In fact, research into the COVID-19 virus has established it was present in Barcelona, Spain, in March, 2019, well before it was diagnosed in China. (5) It was subsequently established to have been circulating in Italy later the same year. (6) It was noted in the reliable research that 'patients were probably misdiagnosed with common flu'. (7)  

The position taken by Pompeo has closely followed the traditional line of psy-ops, which are used to influence public opinion and to disrupt, confuse, and undermine the credibility of better-informed sources. Psy-ops are, essentially, based in anti-intellectual positions and directed toward the less well-informed; they, invariably, make use of media sources working in conjunction with intelligence services.

Throughout the extensive article Pompeo was allowed to praise the so-called Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD) as a regional counter to China's regional diplomacy together with demonising the Chinese Communist Party and reaffirming a recent US military assessment that China was planning to launch action against Taiwan in the next few years.

Psy-ops tend to be based in three distinct categories: white operations, designed as true and factual; grey and black operations which are invariably covert and designed to be deliberately ambiguous and misleading with the appearance of originating from a government source. Pompeo, as a former Director of the CIA following his active involvement in the US congressional intelligence committee, would be well aware of the importance of psy-ops as a standard method of political operation; his previous employers make extensive use of such methods. (8)

The perpetrators of psy-ops have a long history and the subsequent revelations surrounding Aginter Press in Portugal in 1974 laid bare the ground-plans of those who make use of them. Psy-ops are based in the creation of chaos inside a governmental system and society through the use of agents and false-flag operations; rumours, innuendo, and misleading information all play their part in the destruction of established order by strategies of tension. The next move by far-right organisations, to move into the political vacuum and create a strong sense of order while blaming adversaries for the chaos is also planned. (9)

The storming of Capitol Hill would appear to have been a trial run for such an operation; Trump was planning to re-instate himself in some interim position, with the backing of his supporters, on account of Biden not being officially declared president. While the far-right plan failed, it stands as a warning about the political standpoint and tactics deployed by such people. And it is important to note there is no record of Pompeo ever criticising the rioters. Politics, for such people, is all about getting other, less well-informed supporters, to do the required dirty work on behalf of their patron.

Pompeo, as an active player in the Trump administration and intelligence background, would be well accustomed to using far-right and para-military personnel and organisations for clandestine operations. There is a long history of such US-led politically expedient behaviour and their out-sourcing of 'dirty tricks'. (10) The US intelligence service bureaucracies use such tactics to distance themselves from accusations of collusion and complicity. Expertise in communications, likewise, are a speciality of intelligence services and the standard tradecraft of agents being used by their controllers. Such methods would appear to have been put to good use amongst the conspirators who stormed Capitol Hill.

As if to be seen to note be out-done, the following day the Australian continued the misleading and questionable US-led diplomatic line toward China with another major front-page spread and with additional page two information.

Solomon Islands instability

Daniel Suidani, provincial premier of Malaita in the Solomon Islands, was allowed to criticise the Solomons federal government diplomatic position of switching allegiance to China from their previous involvement with Taiwan. (11) While Suidana was entitled to his political views the position is quite serious, when taken in consideration with problems twenty years ago; a civil war erupted between various ethnic groupings. Large numbers of Solomon Islanders were displaced and ethnic rivalries led to many killings. The problem eventually led to direct Australian military involvement.

The threat, by Suidana, to have a province-wide vote on whether Malaita should secede from the Solomon Islands, therefore, has presented Australia with the problem of increased instability through ethnic rivalry in the South Pacific. There are other considerations: the present island landmass of the Solomon Islands is ratified by the United Nations and other regional bodies. The threat of succession by Malaita has raised serious questions about the legitimacy of a separatist movement organised around questionable motives and agendas which could be construed as serving only US-led regional diplomacy.

The silence from Canberra, over this delicate matter, has proved deafening: stability across the Solomon Islands was only previously achieved with a fourteen-year direct military involvement and the Regional Assistance Mission which was wound-up in June 2017. It cost Australian tax-payers an estimated $1,000 million together with other related costs.   

The recent developments have shown just how close the present Morrison Coalition government are toward the US far-right and associates of the previous Trump administration. Their corporate cronies who control the mainstream media, likewise, care little for the finesse of good journalism and accurate coverage of newsworthy events.

The problem, when viewed in conjunction with the endless series of military exercises across the Indo-Pacific region, is indeed worrying. In fact, it has already led one well-placed source inside the present Australian government with strong military connections to conclude 'the prospect of a major war in the Indo-Pacific is a terrifying but realistic possibility', as a chilling picture of the present US-led Cold War being played-out. (12)

With government departments in Canberra filled with those who pursue US-led regional foreign policy without question:

                                          we need an independent foreign policy!

1.     Storming of the Capitol, The Intercept, 8 January 2021; and, Weeks of Rhetoric, ABC News, 8 January 2021.

2.     Intercept, op.cit., 8 January 2021.

3.     Covid 'just China's first virus threat', The Weekend Australian 3-4 April 2021.

4.     Ibid.

5.     Coronavirus traces found, Reuters, 27 June 2020; and, Was Coronavirus really in Europe in March 2019?, The Conversation, 29 June 2020.

6.     Conversation, ibid., 29 June 2020.

7.     Weekend Australian, op.cit., 3-4 April 2021.

8.     Reuters, op.cit., 27 June 2020.

9.     See: Wikipedia, Aginter Press, Aginter Strategic Document, 19 May 2019; see also, Psychological Operations, Section 16, The Division in Battle, Organisation and Tactics, (Canberra, 1967), page 49, which has provided the role, characteristics and tasks of a Psychological Warfare Unit in the Australian Defence Forces.  

10.   See: A People's History of the CIA, The Subversion of Democracy, (Ottowa, 2000), which has covered the 1945-2000 period with examples, pp. 1-51; and, Division in Battle, ibid., Section 17, Civil Affairs, pp. 50-51, which has provided the responsibilities of a military unit for stabilising a governmental system. It has included the marginalisation of the civil population together with 'the most effective use is made of para-military forces', for dealing with those regarded by the intelligence services as troublemakers.
11.   No thanks: the islands leader who said no to China bribe, Australian, 5 April 2021.

12.   National security at risk without unity on threat preparation, Australian, 22 February 2021.


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