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With unprecedented access to their hitherto sealed records, this is the first volume of a remarkable official history of ASIO – a revealing and authoritative account of the early years of Australia's national security intelligence service.
For the first time, ASIO has opened its archives to an independent historian. With unfettered access to the records, David Horner tells the real story of Australia's domestic intelligence organisation, from shaky beginnings to the expulsion of Ivan Skripov in 1963.
From the start, ASIO's mission was to catch spies. In the late 1940s, the top secret Venona program revealed details of a Soviet spy ring in Australia, supported by leading Australian communists. David Horner outlines the tactics ASIO used in counterespionage, from embassy bugging to surveillance of local suspects. His research sheds new light on the Petrov Affair, and details incidents and activities that have never been revealed before.
This authoritative and ground-breaking account overturns many myths about ASIO, and offers new insights into broader Australian politics and society in the fraught years of the Cold War.
The Spy Catchers is the first of three volumes of The Official History of ASIO.
“The Spy Catchers is a fascinating account of ASIO’s early years when the main threat Australia faced was from the Soviet regime.” –John Howard, OM, AC, former Prime Minister of Australia
“This is one of our most important official histories.” –Kim Beazley, Australian Ambassador to the United States
About the Author
David Horner, AM, is Professor of Australian defence history in the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the Australian National University. A graduate of the Royal Military College, Duntroon, he served as an infantry platoon commander in South Vietnam. He is the author or editor of 32 books on military command, operations, defence policy and intelligence. In 2004 he was appointed Official Historian of Australian Peacekeeping, Humanitarian and Post-Cold War Operations, and is the author or joint author of two volumes in that series.
THE PROTEST YEARS: The Official History of ASIO, 1963–1975
by John Blaxland
The continuing story of Australia’s domestic intelligence organisation during the turbulent years from the end of the Menzies era to the downfall of the Whitlam government.
By 1963, Robert Menzies had been prime minister for 13 years, Australia had its first troops in Vietnam, and change was in the air. There would soon be street protests over women’s rights, Aboriginal land rights and the Vietnam War, and unprecedented student activism. With the Cold War lingering, ASIO was concerned that protests were being orchestrated to foment revolution.
The Protest Years tells the inside story of Australia’s domestic intelligence organisation from the last of the Menzies years to the dismissal of the Whitlam government. With unrestricted access to ASIO’s internal files, and extensive interviews with insiders, for the first time the circumstances surrounding the alleged role of ASIO in the demise of the Whitlam government are revealed, and the question of the CIA’s involvement in Australia is explored. The extraordinary background to the raid on ASIO headquarters in Melbourne by Attorney-General Lionel Murphy, and Australia’s efforts at countering Soviet bloc espionage, as well as the sensitive intelligence activities in South Vietnam, are exposed.
This is a ground-breaking political and social history of some of Australia’s most turbulent years as seen through the secret prism of ASIO.
The Protest Years is the second of three volumes of The Official History of ASIO.
About the Author
John Blaxland is a Senior Fellow at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the Australian National University and writes about military history, intelligence, security and Asia-Pacific affairs. He is a former director of Joint Intelligence Operations at Headquarters Joint Operations Command, the editor of East Timor Intervention and the author of The Australian Army from Whitlam to Howard and Strategic Cousins.