The infiltration of American (non) intelligence in Australia is almost comical; it certainly hasn’t brought any more love to the fading super-power. FireDogLake reports:
Pro-Cuba, pro-Serbian, pro-Palestinian, pro and anti-Kosovo Independence, Sri Lankan, antiwar and socialist demonstrations were closely monitored by the US Embassy in Canberra, Australia in 2008 and 2009, a secret cable posted by WikiLeaks reveals. The cable also reveals the Embassy kept tabs on Greek, Malaysian, Lebanese, Serbian, Indonesian, Somalian and Sudanese communities in Sydney and Melbourne.
The secret cable is a “security environment profile questionnaire” (SEPQ) sent to the CIA, FBI, US Defense Intelligence Agency and State Department in Washington on March 2, 2009. The US diplomat, who answered the questions, describes both Sydney and Melbourne as cities with communities capable of “mounting very large scale anti-US demonstrations” if “sufficient motivations arise.” During the Israel-Lebanon conflict, 10,0000-15,000 people were brought together for a demonstration.
An itemized list of demonstrations at the US embassy or consulates is included in the cable, suggesting a US official attended each of these demonstrations and attempted to get a head count or regularly contacted police for estimates of how many protesters were present at each demonstration.
All demonstrations are described under the section heading, “Political Violence.” Yet, in only one case did a protest turn violent. In February 2008, at the US Consulate Melbourne, anti-Kosovo independence protesters allegedly threw objects and launched flares at the front window of the building. Protesters marching to the Consulate burned a Victoria State Police vehicle.
The diplomat even concludes the demonstrations are “generally peaceful.” Australian protests are found to be “generally peaceful” as well (though the diplomat notes Australian law enforcement thinks “issue motivated groups with anti-war, anti-globalization or environmental protection agendas have become more organized and more prone to engage in demonstration tactics that have led to some violence since late 2006.”)
So, why does the State Department security questionnaire appear to function on the premise that demonstrations are most likely to lead to political violence? Why is there such contempt for protest underneath the data and assumptions presented in this secret cable?