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14 May 2019


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Corney Korokan Alone

Interesting to read. Makes it even more interesting given the fact that I have been reading quite a bit about foreign spies and cyber warfare in the age of digitisation.

Same old tricks adopting new delivery methods.

Malcolm Nance's 'The Plot to destroy democracy' (available on Amazon) is a frightening read on how Russia did her bit in the 2016 US general election and other elections around the world.

William Dunlop

Alan - I think you will find that Jim Leigh was more than well qualified to speak on that matter to Lyall Newby.

Allan Kidston

Seeing those names again (Lyall Newby and Jim Leigh) reminded me of a small period of my time as a techo at DIES which involved duplicating tapes from ASIO agents for dispatch to External Territories in Canberra.

I would on occasions record people from ASIO detailing current issues (they would never give me their name, though everybody knew it!) and duplicate those recordings for Canberra.

I was cleared to do these recordings by ASIO but each time I did so Lyall Newby would quiz me about it!

In the end Controller of Broadcasting Jim Leigh heard about this (I was concerned not to refuse a Department head!) and he spoke to Newby who never harassed me again.

I cannot remember the content of those recordings, just another recording for me at that time (I did not keep a diary)

[Sings "strange days indeed, Mama"]

Geoff Hancock

I don't recall where I got your e-mail address from Richard. Allyn Hicks may know.

Richard Jones

You've confirmed, Phil, what I had long believed to be true.

That spookdom in Moresby and elsewhere would have been plagued with bumbling and inept report writing.

And you mentioned that an individual's political leanings were central to employment and advancement. The more right-wing the better --- almost to a man (and woman) they would have been fervent supporters of Ming Menzies.

KJ would be well aware that there's a few ex-spooks (do they ever hand in their badges??) who pen the odd article here but more frequently add their thoughts to the comments section.

One such lad contacted me a year or four ago and remarked after an electronic exchange "that someone had to do it."That was, to keep spookdom rolling.

How he'd got one of my e-mail addressed I can only guess. Used his electronic monitoring skills, maybe?

But many careers in the PNG Public Service must have been placed on hold, promotions thwarted by - as Phil so eloquently puts it - garbage and misinformation about people's private political leanings forwarded by the resident Konedobu spooks.

Philip Fitzpatrick

Like a lot of kiaps stationed near the border with Irian Jaya (Indonesian Papua) I was seconded to Port Moresby to work in what was variously called the Security and Intelligence Branch in the late 1960s and 70s.

The job was ostensibly that of a cipher clerk coding messages from within PNG and between Port Moresby and Canberra.

I suspect that there was an element of indoctrination involved and that we were also under personal scrutiny regarding our political leanings.

From our point of view it was an excellent opportunity to have a good time and play up a bit in Port Moresby. Why it wasn't realised this would be the case defeats me.

I was quickly deemed unsuitable and bundled off back to the bush.

My short experience did give me an insight into the incredibly amateurish and bumbling world of spookdom in Port Moresby and Canberra however.

Some of the garbage and misinformation I coded and sent to Canberra was amazing.

No doubt there are still Australian spooks in PNG and no doubt they are still providing Canberra with highly inaccurate and misleading information.

How else can you explain Australia's current blundering in the Pacific region?

Bill Brown

Re the spooks. When Dave Moorhouse, District Officer, seconded to the Administrator’s Department, volunteered for to serve in Bougainville in June 1969 we knew he was a ‘plant’, but decided that he could craft our sitreps [situation reports].

Kieta already had a police Special Branch Inspector, Stuart Hulbert. Moorhouse became superspook, and later an exkiap’s wife, a patrol officer and two others joined the flock; each of them covertly reporting their individual interpretations of gossip and events.

These references will help readers wanting further information:

People interested in the modern history of Bougainville will find both of Bill's papers fascinating and worthwhile reading. They also augment, clarify and correct some misapprehensions that I diarised at the time - KJ

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