Lawyer X, Huawei, National Security, Scott Morrison, Chinese in Australia! · 20 February 2020

The Victorian Lawyer X case tells us that we should be afraid of Scott Morrison and Australian national security officials, as they work to their intellectually poor but (in their view) morally superior drum-beat.

The law enforcement (police) people involved in Victoria’s Lawyer X tricks were so focused on protecting public security (reducing gang-land killings) that they lost sight about how public security is ultimately achieved ie an honest legal system! Instead, they used a criminal defense lawyer as an informant on her clients, and then spent years trying to cover this up. It has now been publicly exposed by Australia’s High Court.

Australia’s national security and defence officials will, like the Victorian police, tend to have a mindset that values order and certainty in their narrow area of interest. When this mindset is combined with excessive self-belief, it often leads to seeing people who disagree with them as morally problematic outsiders and an ends-justifies-the-means approach to issues. (See footnote regarding 1976 Church Committee report.)

In their attachment to the United States and the ANZUS alliance, Australian national security officials fail to see that they are often being led down a path that looks good from a narrow perspective, but is not in the broader national security interests of Australia.

Support for the invasion of Iraq is a powerful example. On the eve of the Iraq invasion I appeared on SBS television along with Dr Chris Caton (chief economist of BT) to discuss its economic consequences. On the topic of weapons of mass destruction, Caton said: Who knows what he (Saddam Hussein) has. In response I said that it was pretty clear by now that he has none. It was a strong statement by me, but one that was not hard to make because I had been reading a huge amount of generally available public information.

This is not meant to be a criticism of Chris Caton, but of the intelligence and mindset of those Australian officials who had even more time and opportunity than myself to objectively assess the evidence or who decided that lying to the Australian people was needed to preserve the ANZUS alliance! That is, in their narrow view of Australia’s security interests they missed the bigger picture of the broader consequences and believed that ends justified the means.

The arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou undoubtedly smells very political, even if we accept that the Canadian courts are really only patsies in the game.

While there may be solid grounds for minimizing Huawei’s involvement in the development of domestic 5G networks (including that of Australia), many Chinese (including those living in Canada and Australia) are likely to see the arrest has part of the US effort to vilify Huawei.

More broadly, the arrest of Meng Wanzhou is clearly part of the US anti-Iran fixation which is based on US feelings of moral superiority. This has a religious aspect, and may well be the driving force behind some of Scott Morrison’s thinking.

Morrison, who is clearly intellectually shallow (and possibly a Christian religious extremist), may say that: Foreign policy must speak of our character and our values. What we stand for. What we believe in and, if need be, what we’ll defend. These are fine sentiments, but Morrison fails to see that people in other countries also have character and values and a willing to defend them.

It does not make much sense walking down the street abusing people and punching them just because you do not like their values! Or to starve children in Yemen, just because you feel morally superior to Iran’s leaders!

So, how should Australian Chinese feel about their future and that of their children given the values and mind-sets of Morrison and Australia’s national security and defence officials?

In December 2016, I conducted a survey of Australians asking, amongst other things: What should be done with Chinese students (and other Chinese) in Australia in the event of a US-China hot war?

The answer is here:

Half-brains and US-China war

While a China-US hot war remains a possibility, the more immediate situation is probably a technology war, which ultimately could be just as dangerous for many Australian Chinese!

(Footnote: the 1976 Final Report of US Senate Select Committee to Study Government Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities said: “Too often, constitutional principles were subordinated to a pragmatic course of permitting desired ends to dictate and justify improper means.”)