The forgotten coup – How America and Britain crushed the government of their 'ally', Australia
Australia briefly became an independent state during the Whitlam years, 1972-75. An American commentator wrote that no country had “reversed its posture in international affairs so totally without going through a domestic revolution”.
Whitlam ended his nation’s colonial servility. He abolished Royal patronage, moved Australia towards the Non-Aligned Movement, supported “zones of peace” and opposed nuclear weapons testing.
Whitlam demanded to know if and why the CIA was running a spy base at Pine Gap near Alice Springs, a giant vacuum cleaner which, as Edward Snowden revealed recently, allows the US to spy on everyone. "Try to screw us or bounce us," the prime minister warned the US ambassador, "[and Pine Gap] will become a matter of contention".
Victor Marchetti, the CIA officer who had helped set up Pine Gap, later told me, "This threat to close Pine Gap caused apoplexy in the White House. … a kind of Chile [coup] was set in motion."