Caitlin Johnstone: Australia Pays Clapper for US Aims

Among the American swamp monsters hired by Canberra is the Obama administration’s spy chief, who has an established track record of lying and manipulating to advance the interests of the U.S. empire.

James Clapper, former director of national intelligence, in 2012.  (Kit Fox/Medill/Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

By Caitlin Johnstone

Listen to a reading of this article by Tim Foley.

Australia has been paying insiders of the U.S. war machine for consultation on how to run the nation’s military, a massive conflict of interest given that Washington has been grooming Australia for a role in its war agendas against China.

In its article “Retired U.S. admirals charging Australian taxpayers thousands of dollars per day as defence consultants,” the ABC reports that, according to documents the Pentagon provided Congress last month, “dozens of retired U.S. military figures have been granted approval to work for Australia since 2012.”

For those who don’t speak imperialist, “retired U.S. military figure” generally means someone who used to be paid by the U.S. government to advance the interests of the U.S. empire, and is now paid by corporations and/or foreign governments to advance the interests of the U.S. empire.

These corrupt warmongers rotate in and out of the revolving door of the D.C. swamp, from government to war-industry jobs to punditry gigs to influential think tanks and then back again into government, advancing the interests of the U.S. empire the entire time and growing wealthy in the process.

This dynamic allows a permanent constellation of reliable empire managers to continually exert influence around the world in support of the U.S. empire, regardless of who gets voted into or out of office in the performative display of electoral politics. It’s a big part of why U.S. foreign policy remains the same regardless of who’s officially running the elected government in Washington, and it’s a big part of why the media and arms industry which support the U.S. war machine keep playing the same tune as well.


Among the American swamp monsters Australia paid for consulting work is the Obama administration’s spy chief James Clapper, who has an established track record of lying and manipulating to advance the interests of the U.S. empire:

  • In 2013 Clapper committed perjury by telling the U.S. Senate under oath that the NSA does not knowingly collect data on millions of Americans, only to have that lie exposed by the Edward Snowden leaks a few months later.
  • In 2016 Clapper played a foundational role in fomenting public hysteria about Russia with the flimsy ODNI report on alleged Russian election interference, which remains riddled with massive plot holes. He would later go on to repeatedly voice the opinion that Russians are “almost genetically driven” toward nefarious and subversive behavior.
  • In 2020 Clapper signed the infamous and now fully discredited letter from former intelligence insiders saying the Hunter Biden laptop story was likely a Russian disinfo op, falsely telling CNN that the story was “textbook Soviet Russian tradecraft at work” and that the emails on the laptop had “no metadata” on them.

Vice Adm. William Hilarides speaking at a naval event in 2016. (U.S. Navy/ Jessica Bidwell)

Also among the American military consultants paid by Australia is a man we just discussed the other day, William Hilarides, who will be telling Australia how to reconfigure its navy because apparently no Australians are available for that job. We now know that according to the released Pentagon documents Canberra has already paid Hilarides almost $2.5 million since 2016 for his consulting work.

This information was originally reported by The Washington Post’s Craig Whitlock and Nate Jones, who last year also broke the remarkable story that a former U.S. navy admiral named Stephen Johnson had actually served as Australia’s deputy navy secretary, a position which needless to say is not normally open to foreigners.

Australian Defence Minister Richard Marles addresses the media with U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, left, and Japanese Defense Minister Yasukaza Hamada, on right, at U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, Camp Smith, Hawaii, Oct. 1, 2022. (DoD/ Chad J. McNeeley)

This is just one of the many ways that Australia is being interwoven into the U.S. war machine, from the 2023 Defence Strategic Review which further enshrines Australia’s position as a U.S. military asset, to Australian Secretary of Defence Richard Marles saying that the Defence Force is moving “beyond interoperability to interchangeability” with the U.S. military and being suspiciously secretive about who his golfing buddies were in his last trip to the U.S., to Australian officials angrily dismissing attempts to find out if the U.S. has been bringing nuclear weapons into Australia, to the Australian media pounding Australian consciousness with anti-China hysteria to such an extent that hate crimes are now being perpetrated against Asian Australians.

I’ve always wondered what it would be like to witness the information environment of Washington’s next military proxy from the inside — what it would be like to be a Ukrainian with an ear to the ground during the lead-up to the 2014 coup or whatever. Well, now I know. Now all Australians with an ear to the ground know.

I’ve been generally dismissive of Australian affairs throughout most of my commentary career despite living here, since my focus is on resisting the disasters that threaten humanity as a whole. Australia has always seemed like a fairly irrelevant player on the world stage because of its impotent subservience to Washington. But it’s becoming clear it is exactly because of Australia’s blind subservience to Washington that Australia is worth paying attention to, since that relationship may well end up giving the nation a front-row seat to World War Three.

Australians are going to have to wake up to what’s being done and the abominable agendas the nation is being exploited to advance. Australians are being groomed for a military confrontation of unimaginable horror, one which absolutely does not need to take place, all in the name of something as trivial as securing U.S. planetary hegemony. Australians have got to start saying no to this, starting right now.

Caitlin Johnstone’s work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following her on FacebookTwitterSoundcloudYouTube, or throwing some money into her tip jar on Ko-fiPatreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy her books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff she publishes is to subscribe to the mailing list at her website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything she publishes.  For more info on who she is, where she stands and what she’s trying to do with her platform, click here. All works are co-authored with her American husband Tim Foley.

 This article is from and re-published with permission.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

18 comments for “Caitlin Johnstone: Australia Pays Clapper for US Aims

  1. Milenko
    April 28, 2023 at 17:25

    There is no space for partnership in the “Full Spectrum Dominance”.

  2. Vera Gottlieb
    April 28, 2023 at 11:11

    What else is there to be expected from a nation that totally lacks morality , lives off of lies…blackmail, extortion, threats, sanctions, violence, wars. And this is the country that so many all over are in awe of.

  3. Mikael Andersson
    April 28, 2023 at 05:40

    Caitlin, Australians can’t “start saying no to this, starting right now”. I get your thought, but it’s not possible. The picture of Richard Marles doing as he’s told in front of his master Lloyd Austin tells the whole story. It doesn’t matter if I take to the streets. It doesn’t matter if I email Albo and tell him I won’t vote Labor. It doesn’t matter what I think, say or do. Marles, Albanese and Wong run the place – and a lot of people with guns enforce their power. Australians think what they are told to think and believe what they are told to believe. They will get involved to enforce on me as well. I’ll end up fighting the same people who you say should “start saying no to this, starting right now”. You know I admire your work, your thinking and writing, but what I need is to know how to cope in this non-democracy that has sold its soul to the USA regime. We’ve lost Caitlin. Now it’s question of how we survive after that. (Richard Marles is NEVER going to say no to the USA, no matter how many Australians demand that he does that).

    • Valerie
      April 29, 2023 at 07:51

      I believe Mikael it’s the same in europe. Protesting has no effect and governments and police are cracking down with new laws, resrictions and punishment for doing so. Democracy now sounds like a joke. (On us of course)

  4. Randal Marlin
    April 27, 2023 at 22:56

    You can’t have an effective check on government misuse of power if government officials lie to Congress, particularly under oath.
    You cannot have a democracy if there is no check on government misuse of power.
    Thanks, Caitlin Johnstone, for consistently pointing out the abuses of power that support militarism, supposedly in the name of freedom, but that seem more geared to U.S.-led world political and economic domination. All this, while so many major media outlets remain MIA as far as raising public consciousness is concerned.

  5. Thomas Adams
    April 27, 2023 at 22:06

    With Respect: Dear Senator Wong,

    The Australian Government has made all Australians to be partners with the U.S., a Nation responsible for many unjust political and military interventions against many other Nations; A Nation that has some 850 military bases around the Earth; A Nation that has published intentions, “To War against China once Russia has been weakened”The war in Ukraine, engineered by the U.S. is meant”To Weaken Russia”: this is their published intention.

    Much is written about “The Force posture” agreement, However, one concomitant aspect is totally overlooked; In order to keep faith with U.S. instruction The Australian Government will be forced to enlarge all of our Military establishments, in order to “defend”? ourselves against China. Australia is now a forward supply and communications base, with U.S. autonomous Bases, over which Australia has no jurisdiction or Sovereignty. Make no mistake, the U.S. fully intends this War with China, when it starts, Australia will be a legitimate target. The Australian Government has stepped up its advertising to increase Military personnel, this will fail, so within two years from now the Australian Government will be obliged to Legislate for urgent conscriptions and call ups. In other words Australian sons and daughters must be trained to kill or be killed, there is no sugar coating for this. China is not threatening war against any-one why must we fight because the U.S. is doing so?

  6. wildthang
    April 27, 2023 at 21:01

    We are exporting these people training with our tax dollars to then go war and wide around the world for selling wars and arms. Full spectrum dominance in assembling our top down world military with the world divided into five commands plus one space command.
    It is a protection racket for permanent war strangling the world economy.

  7. lester
    April 27, 2023 at 18:34

    All US vassal states must be very submissive, pay tribute and bribes to US agents. Japan tanked it’s economy for a generation at George Bush the Elder’s command and survived. Vietnam and Iraq were attacked and their people slaughtered like American Indians. Russia, Iran, China, Venezuela, are on the Kill List for not being submissive.

  8. Downside Dan
    April 27, 2023 at 18:26

    Caitlin’s articles are unfailingly incisive, cogent, and “right on” (1960’s speak). A metaphor recently came to mind for the English- speaking “Five Eyes” family: Big-brother bully USA removed their mother UK from the EU long-term care institution because she had become too senile to continue her assigned task of creating chaos there. Weak sister Canada lives next door to USA, so can’t escape the abusive relationship. Younger brother Australia admires and tries to imitate older brother in his own hemisphere, while younger sister New Zealand moved away as far as possible from all of them and tries to avoid as much of the family drama as she can.

  9. Steven Turner
    April 27, 2023 at 17:40

    Do the sums a war with China 1.4 billion population loses 26 million people in a war – still has a big population. Australia a population of 26 million – 26 million people lost in Australia – not many people left in Australia. China could lose 100 million people in a war and still have 1.3 billion people. Is the price of war with China worth it to the Australian population not by the sums.

    • Valerie
      April 27, 2023 at 20:59

      There is no war worth any price Steven.

    • Bushrod Lake
      April 28, 2023 at 09:16

      Nuclear Winter would starve everybody who didn’t have access to food and an underground location for around 2 – 3 years, ALL OVER THE PLANET. that would probably be 6 billion humans (and much wildlife).

  10. JonnyJames
    April 27, 2023 at 17:35

    Question for Caitlin Johnstone:

    Are Aussie politicians bribed, coerced, threatened or all of the above?. I can’t think of any other reason for these outrages.

    • Mikael Andersson
      April 28, 2023 at 05:54

      Jonny, my answer is that the ALP did a deal with the devil to get elected. The USA would not allow Labor to be “elected” without guaranteed submission. The ALP understands, and will never have another Whitlam moment. On Day 1 Albo and Wong got on a flight to Japan and kissed Biden’s imperial ring. ” Bribed, coerced, threatened?” I say NONE of the above. I say they are willing, willful and Australians don’t get a say in the matter. I don’t get a say and that much is certain. Successive governments have made my county a USA military base.

      • JonnyJames
        April 28, 2023 at 11:02

        Thanks Mikael. It sounds like they were/are “incentivized” to comply with imperial policy by being “allowed” to take power.

        Here in the imperial homeland, we are given only options to “vote” for: a senile old crook who was a corrupt Senator since I was a little kid, and a loud-mouthed, obnoxious, drug-addled conman. We are supposed to pretend that this is “democracy”. Public opinion be damned, The Freak Show continues…

  11. Bill Todd
    April 27, 2023 at 16:15

    “Australians have got to start saying no to this, starting right now.”

    Do you see the slightest hint that Australians have the balls (or other typical metaphor for courage) to do this, when they don’t even have the courage to demand that their government defend the rights of one of their citizens under purely symbolic attack by the U.S.? Being serfs is just so much more convenient, at least until it creates significant consequences.

    • Valerie
      April 27, 2023 at 18:31

      ” Being serfs is just so much more convenient, at least until it creates significant consequences.”

      What, like, no more “barbies” or “stubbies”. (Sorry Bill, couldn’t resist that.)

  12. Milenko
    April 27, 2023 at 15:58

    All US colonies (Australia, EU, etc.) must do what the colonial master tells them to do.
    That is why the US made them their colonies and not their partners.

    “Wer mit dem Teufel essen will, braucht einen langen Löffel”.

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