All the excitement of Australia’s most recent international spy drama since the Petrov Affair is turning out to be a lame fizzer not even worthy of a penny dreadful.
The defecting “high-level” spy, Wang Liqiang, faced accusations from China that he is a convicted fraudster. Not that anyone would trust a word Beijing has to say, but he is certainly proving to be a less than reliable whistle-blower, according to ASIO and China analysts.
Liqiang, 27, has requested asylum from Australia, volunteering to ASIO a series of claims concerning his career in espionage. On a 60 Minutes program and in Nine newspapers he confessed to infiltrating Hong Kong’s student movement, kidnapping Hong Kong booksellers, and other nefarious acts. He named a company which was supposedly a front for intelligence operations, China Innovation Investment Limited, and accused its executives of being spymasters. On the basis of these accusations, Taiwanese authorities arrested CEO Xiang Xin and his wife Kung Ching at Taiwan International Airport.
Wang also claimed he entered Taiwan on a fake South Korean passport to meddle in their elections.
Yet, it has taken just one week for these allegations to be disputed. New Australian Bulletin has maintained from the beginning that this story doesn’t hold water. If the mainstream media is to be believed (and it almost never is, not even the weather report) then at the most Wang was a bit-player in the spy world.
Having scrutinised much about Wang, experts have queried key areas of his story. The passport he is said to have used, his age and the level of operations he maintains he undertook, and the fact that his family were based in Australia, has been dismissed as “unusual”.
However, everything about Wang is unusual, particularly how he came to be in the news in the first place.
A key figure in the story is Liberal MP Andrew Hastie, a former SAS captain, and chairman of the federal parliamentary joint committee on intelligence and security. He had been banned, along with another Liberal MP, from attending a junket in China due to critical comments he made about Beijing. As such, he has gained a reputation as a ‘China hawk’; a status he appears to be cultivating.
Hastie was present at the Australian American Leadership Dialogue in Hawaii on October 8 when he received an encrypted message on an app from an associate of Wang. He must’ve been cock-a-hoop, and the location and timing couldn’t have been better. Hastie was about to reel in a big fish and this would help make his bones as a China hard case. Using a secure link at the Indo-Pacific command at Pearl Harbour he contacted ASIO and passed on the contents of the message.
“I got an encrypted message through an intermediary from Wang. My immediate reaction was to put it back through official channels, to hand it off to the intelligence services,” Hastie told The Australian.
‘Official channels’ would now acquire an odd manifestation, for Hastie claims that the next thing he was contacted by a reporter working for Nine newspapers and 60 Minutes who wanted to check the story.
From ASIO to Nine news, just how does that happen? Moreover, at this point, we will digress in the interests of the nationalist community just to point out a couple of things that are of themselves curiosities.
Andrew Hastie was named by state informer Neil Erikson as having approached him during a “meeting”. The meeting was, in fact, acknowledged by Liberal Perth MP Ian Goodenough. It was long known by nationalists that Erikson had been tied to the Liberal Party in a clandestine manner, and when they came to cut him loose, he made the allegations public.
Erikson is a serial liar, but most of his lying has been in the execution of activities inclined to subvert the far-right. He was also instrumental in defaming nationalists and was linked to a Melbourne journalist/anarchist at the centre of a legal matter involving AFP member and former United Nationalists Australia editor Nathan Sykes.
In a mysterious turn of circumstances, Erikson had at one time pursued this journalist for alleged comments made about his then sidekick, the equally dubious former Reclaim Australia organiser, Shermon Burgess.
NAB has been shown a video of Erikson attending the main offices of the former Fairfax Media in Melbourne and being turned away by a security guard. Suddenly, Erikson did an about-face and was now blaming Sykes, who he’d never met, and former United Patriots Front associate Blair Cottrell of spreading rumours and blaming it on this journalist. He then began running a campaign against Sykes, claiming intimate knowledge, even though the two were complete strangers and his information was all false.
Sykes was arrested in March this year, after prompting from Nine (former Fairfax) and a journalist named Nick McKenzie, who is tied to the former journalist and anarchist Erikson named and who shared his Facebook post. In fact, McKenzie broke the spy story for The Age and Sydney Morning Herald, both owned by Nine. Nevertheless, a day after the publication of the article demanding Sykes be arrested, plainclothes police masquerading as detectives raided Sykes’s home and hauled him in. Sykes was released on bail, and as he left Newtown Police Station media and members of Antifascist Action were waiting for him. Evidently, the police and Nine have a two-way hotline to one another, but apparently to Antifa as well.
We raise the matter because yet again, in this big story involving a Liberal MP who connected to the far-right despite Erikson’s later retraction and his own weak denials, we have Nine linked directly to police and ASIO. Had ASIO played a part in the case against Sykes that we will in April next year get to learn a lot more about? What does it all mean?
We can’t answer all that but we shall return to the Chinese spy story and probably the most outstanding oddity being how the Liberals just breeze over the presence of Melbourne MP Gladys Liu.
If there is a spy in parliament then its definitely short-odds to be Liu. And we said that in our last article before it turned out that Liu had been captured in a photograph with Nick Zhao, a Chinese car dealer who was found dead in a Melbourne hotel room after telling ASIO he had been approached by a Chinese businessman wanting to recruit him to run for parliament as a spy.
We reckon the real story is much different to the one being peddled. One only has to look at its key players.