Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Weapons making companies have the Australian Strategic Policy Institute in their grip.

AUSTRALIA CAPTUREDHow the military-industrial complex has captured Australia’s top strategic advisory body, MICHELLE FAHY, DECLASSIFIED AUSTRALIA 9 DECEMBER 2021

(These are some of the connections between ASPI staff and weapons corporations) : –

…………. Robert Hill (with German weapon-maker Rheinmetall’s Australian subsidiary, and chair of Viva Energy Group, a major supplier of fuel to the Australian Defence Force (ADF). Hill serves as ‘chair of counsellors’ at enigmatic lobbying firm Dragoman Global, where one of his colleagues is Nick Warner, former defence secretary, head of the Office of National Intelligence (ONI) and director general of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS). Dragoman has a major client in Naval Group, the French naval shipbuilder that had won the $90 billion submarine project recently dumped by the Morrison government. serves as ‘chair of counsellors’ at enigmatic lobbying firm Dragoman Global, where one of his colleagues is Nick Warner, former defence secretary, head of the Office of National Intelligence (ONI) and director general of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS). Dragoman has a major client in Naval Group, the French naval shipbuilder that had won the $90 billion submarine project recently dumped by the Morrison government.

Then there’s another former Liberal defence minister, Brendan Nelson, now the president of  Boeing Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific. In addition to its commercial aviation business, Boeing is the world’s third largest arms manufacturer. Boeing Defence Australia is one of Australia’s top handful of defence contractors, supplying planes and drones to the RAAF, attack helicopters and, potentially, if ASPI’s recommendation is followed, drone submarines, along with much else. The presence of Boeing’s most senior regional leader on the ASPI council is perhaps the biggest challenge for ASPI in guarding its required independence.

Meanwhile, former chief of army, Lt Gen Ken Gillespie (ret’d), chairperson of ASPI’s council, is on the boards of Naval Group Australia and cybersecurity firm Senetas Corporation. He was previously on the board of Airbus Australia Pacific, a European conglomerate that mostly supplies and maintains the ADF’s helicopters. None of these interests is disclosed in Gillespie’s profile on ASPI’s website nor its annual report.

Another ASPI council member, Jane Halton, is also on the board of Naval Group Australia, although this is not mentioned on the ASPI website. Readers may recall her senior role in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet during John Howard’s 2001 ‘children overboard’ scandal. She is chair of the board of Vault Cloud, along with co-director, former defence secretary and ASIO boss Dennis Richardson. Vault Cloud provides high-security cloud infrastructure for government and critical industries, now in rapidly increasing demand. 

Council member Gai Brodtmann, a former Labor MP, is on the advisory board of cybersecurity company Sapien Cyber, a Perth-based company chaired by former defence minister Stephen Smith. America’s former top surveillance chief, James Clapper, is on Sapien’s governance board.

The other ASPI Council members – James Brown, Stephen Conroy, Stephen Brady, Lavina Lee, Denis Dragovic, and Jennifer Ma – have relevant experience but no publicly known positions with weapons or defence-related companies.

On a recent ABC TV Q&A that focused on China, ASPI Council member Lavina Lee appeared along with Channel Nine reporter Chris Uhlmann, and host, ABC reporter, Stan Grant. Despite the program’s focus on Australia’s strategic outlook with China, no mention was made that Lavina Lee is an ASPI council member, bar a comment from Stan Grant that she was ‘associated with’ ASPI. Neither was it mentioned that the show’s host Stan Grant was a Senior Fellow of ASPI during 2020. Of lesser relevance but still of interest, panellist Chris Uhlmann’s partner is Gai Brodtmann, another ASPI council member……………….

……………… Another former Liberal defence minister, David Johnston, who famously didn’t trust the Australian Submarine Corporation to ‘build a canoe’, joined the ASPI Council soon after his appointment to the board of Saab Technologies, the Swedish arms multinational that supplies integrated combat systems for Australia’s submarines and warships. Johnston was appointed the Australian government’s first Defence Export Advocate during his tenure on the Council. 

Retired Air Vice-Marshal Margaret Staib was on the board of QinetiQ, a British defence multinational that is deeply embedded with Defence’s weapons arm, Defence Science and Technology. Former defence secretary Allan Hawke was on the Lockheed Martin Australia board for the final six months of his time on the ASPI Council.

………………………  https://declassifiedaus.org/2021/12/09/australia-captured/?fbclid=IwAR0_MMo3hIrY7uDHK4d2l5M-nxdsGBFyA_6Xtim8jxjotqPkMXmFheeGNWM

December 11, 2021 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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