The Secret Cold War

The Secret Cold War : The Official History of ASIO, 1976 - 1989

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The Cold War between the West and the Soviet Bloc didn't end with detente in 1975: it just went underground. Until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, tensions between the superpowers continued to play out across the world.

Until now, few would have known of the surprising extent of clandestine operations in Australia by foreign intelligence operatives and the violence-prone activities of local extremist groups from the Middle East, Armenia and Croatia in the 1970s and 1980s. Meanwhile, prompted by probing royal commissions and reviews, ASIO was being systematically transformed into a modern intelligence organisation.

The Secret Cold War uncovers behind the scenes stories of the Hilton bombing in Sydney, assassinations of diplomats, the Combe-Ivanov affair, and the new threat from China. It reveals that KGB officers were able to recruit and run agents in Australia for many years, and it follows ASIO's own investigations into persistent allegations of penetration by Soviet moles.

The Secret Cold War is the third and final volume of The Official History of ASIO.

'The Secret Cold War concludes the seminal trilogy of the Official History of ASIO, and provides an unabashed perspective into ASIO's inner workings throughout the 1970s and 1980s.' - His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd), Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia
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Product details

  • Hardback | 552 pages
  • 153 x 234 x 50mm | 1,144g
  • St Leonards, Australia
  • English
  • 1760293210
  • 9781760293215
  • 143,636

Table of contents

List of Figures and Tables


Acronyms and Abbreviations




Part 1 ASIO during the Fraser Years, 1975-1983 11

1. Hope for a New Beginning: Responding to New Leadership and the Royal Commission on Intelligence and Security, 1975-1983

2. Woodward Makes His Mark: Restructuring and Refocusing, 1976-1983

3. Personnel: The Crucial Resource, 1975-1983

4. Confronting a New Face in Terrorism: Responding to the Ananda Marga, 1977-1983

5. Combating Terrorism: Developing Mechanisms for Dealing with Politically Motivated Violence and Terrorism, 1975-1983

6. Terrorism from Overseas: ASIO's Counterterrorism Targets, 1975-1983

7. Monitoring Fractious Revolutionaries: Counter-subversion, 1975-1983

8. Vetting, Assessing and Advising: Protective Security, 1975-1983

9. Chasing Shadows: Investigating the Soviets, 1975-1983

10. Managing Competing Priorities: Countering Non-Soviet Espionage, 1975-1983

Part 2 ASIO during the Hawke Years, 1983-1989

11. The Combe-Ivanov Affair: ASIO's Startling Welcome for Hawke, 1983

12. Working in ASIO: Life Inside ASIO during the Second Hope Royal Commission, 1983-1985

13. Implementing Hope: Reform and Organisational Change under Harvey Barnett

14. Moving and Shaking: ASIO under Alan Wrigley and John Moten, 1985-1989

15. A Conceptual Shift: Developing New Approaches to Subversion and Terrorism, 1983-1989

16. Politically Motivated Violence: Countering Terrorism and 'Identity Extremism', 1983-1989

17. Protective Security: New Approaches for Changing Times, 1983-1989

18. Mixed Counterespionage Strategies: Counterespionage During the Hawke Government, 1983-1989

19. Looking for Moles: Counterintelligence and the Penetration of ASIO, 1975-1989

Conclusion: Reflections on ASIO and the End of the Cold War




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About John Blaxland

John Blaxland is a Senior Fellow at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the Australian National University, and a former Director of Joint Intelligence Operations at Headquarters Joint Operations Command. He is the author of the second volume in The Official History of ASIO, The Protest Years.

Rhys Crawley works at the Australian War Memorial where he is an author of the official history of Australian military operations in Afghanistan. Prior to this, while working on all three volumes of The Official History of ASIO, he was a Research Fellow at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the Australian National University.
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