Who Were The Australian Cold War Spies? | Person of Interest | Timeline

The Cold War Spies of Australia: A Tale of Intrigue, Espionage, and Surveillance

During the Cold War, espionage was rampant across the world, and Australia was no exception. The Australian Intelligence & Security Organisation (ASIO) was tasked with hunting down spies and subversives in the country. In the process, they opened files on students, unionists, Aboriginal activists, writers, and as many as half a million other citizens.

Among the most notable Australian spies were Roger Milliss, Michael Hyde, Gary Foley, and Frank Hardy. These individuals led fascinating and often tumultuous lives, driven by a desire to serve their respective ideologies.

Roger Milliss

Roger Milliss was a communist who, in the 1950s, was tasked with infiltrating the Australian Labor Party. He was eventually discovered and jailed for his activities, but he continued to be a vocal advocate for left-wing causes throughout his life.

Roger Milliss was a prominent Australian communist who was born in Sydney in 1933. He became involved in left-wing politics at a young age and was a member of the Communist Party of Australia (CPA) in the 1950s. Milliss was tasked with infiltrating the Australian Labor Party on behalf of the CPA, a task that he took on with enthusiasm. He rose quickly through the ranks of the Labor Party and became a close confidant of key figures such as Jack Mundey and Bernie Taft.

However, Milliss’s activities were eventually discovered by ASIO, the Australian intelligence agency. He was arrested and charged with sedition, and in 1954, he was sentenced to six years in prison. Milliss continued to be a vocal advocate for left-wing causes throughout his life. He wrote extensively about his experiences in the Labor Party and his time in prison, and he remained a staunch supporter of communist ideology until his death in 1991.

Michael Hyde

Michael Hyde was a former member of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) who defected to the Soviet Union in 1963. He became a KGB agent and was involved in a number of espionage operations in Australia and overseas. Hyde was eventually caught by Australian authorities and served several years in prison.

Michael Hyde was a former member of ASIO who defected to the Soviet Union in 1963. Hyde was born in Sydney in 1923 and joined ASIO in 1951. He worked as a counter-espionage officer and was involved in monitoring suspected communist activity in Australia. However, in 1963, Hyde decided to defect to the Soviet Union. He made contact with KGB agents and began passing on sensitive information about ASIO’s operations to his new handlers.

Hyde was involved in a number of espionage operations in Australia and overseas, including passing on information about the CIA’s operations in the Pacific. He was eventually caught by Australian authorities in 1979 and charged with treason. Hyde was sentenced to 15 years in prison, but he was released after serving only a few years. He remained in Russia until his death in 2006.

Gary Foley

Gary Foley was a prominent Indigenous activist who played a key role in the Black Power movement of the 1960s and 1970s. He was also a target of ASIO’s surveillance, which he claimed was motivated by his outspoken views on Indigenous rights.

Gary Foley is a prominent Indigenous activist who was born in Victoria in 1950. He became involved in the Black Power movement of the 1960s and 1970s and played a key role in organizing protests and demonstrations in support of Indigenous rights. Foley was also a target of ASIO’s surveillance, which he claimed was motivated by his outspoken views on Indigenous rights.

Foley was involved in a number of high-profile protests and demonstrations, including the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra in 1972. He also founded the Aboriginal Legal Service and played a key role in the establishment of the Aboriginal Medical Service in Redfern. Foley has continued to be a prominent advocate for Indigenous rights throughout his life, and he remains a respected figure in Indigenous communities across Australia.

Frank Hardy:

Frank Hardy was a writer and political activist who was also targeted by ASIO. His most famous novel, “Power Without Glory,” was banned in Australia for many years due to its unflattering portrayal of wealthy business interests.

Frank Hardy was a writer and political activist who was born in New South Wales in 1917. He was a prominent figure in the Australian literary scene in the 1950s and 1960s and was known for his left-wing political views. Hardy’s most famous novel, “Power Without Glory,” was banned in Australia for many years due to its unflattering portrayal of wealthy business interests.

Hardy was also a target of ASIO’s surveillance, and his phone was tapped and his movements were monitored for many years. However, he continued to be a vocal advocate for left-wing causes and was involved in a number of protests and demonstrations in support of workers’ rights and other social issues. Hardy passed away in 1994, but his legacy as a writer and political activist remains an important part of Australia’s cultural and political history.

The Life of Spies: Cold War

Overall, the lives of these individuals and many others like them highlight the dirty war that ASIO waged against dissent in Australia during the Cold War. The organization was notorious for its heavy-handed tactics, which included surveillance, harassment, and even violence against suspected subversives.

The revelations of Edward Snowden in 2013, which exposed the extent of mass surveillance by intelligence agencies such as the NSA, have renewed interest in the activities of ASIO during the Cold War. Some have questioned whether the organization’s tactics were justified in the name of national security, or whether they were an egregious violation of civil liberties.

In any case, the stories of Roger Milliss, Michael Hyde, Gary Foley, and Frank Hardy serve as a reminder of the often murky world of espionage and political dissent. These individuals were driven by strong convictions and a willingness to take risks in pursuit of their goals, even if it meant facing the full force of the state’s surveillance apparatus.

Finally, as ASIO continues to wield more power than ever in the modern era, the lessons of the Cold War are as relevant as ever. The balance between national security and individual freedom remains a delicate one, and the legacy of ASIO’s actions during the Cold War is a cautionary tale for those who would seek to prioritize the former at the expense of the latter.

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