The non-fiction story of one of Australia's first spies and a founder director of the spy agency ASIO.
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This is a deeply researched work that has the subject's eldest son discovering things about his father he never knew. Valdemar (Val) Wake travelled to four Australian states and Territories in pursuit of his father's story and even visited the home of the spy agency in Canberra ASIO. Val Wake convinced ASIO to release his father's personall files which have now become a treasure trove for researchers trying to get the dirt on ASIO (almost a cottage industry in Australia.) The story deals in detail with World War Two and Bob Wake's work with the British and Americans. At the start of the Japanese war he was sent on a secret mission to Singapore to try and reconcile differences between the British high command and the Australian high command. Bob Wake served in the Commonwealth Investigation Branch, Military Intelligence, Commonwealth Security Service and ASIO.
My father was a jovial sort of bloke, an incorrigble raconteur who enjoyed a joke even at his own expense. There was no pomposity about him, although he did tend to round his vowels when talking on the telephone. He was an unlikely looking spymaster, or agent master as ASIO likes to call them. A large man with a well-cultivated coporation. I always remember the story he told about his secret mission to Singpore just before the Japanese occupation. The Qantas people had to off-load two passengers to accommodate Colonel Wake who had a priority military booking. In those days they used to weigh people before they boarded; the weight of the payload was seen as a critical factor for the a safe flight.
The Enemy within is often the greatest threat to effective intelligence
The fallout from the Jack Roche affair finds Australia's intelligence services again on the defensive.
Is there, as has been suggested a deep-seated cultural problem in the intelligence community that has now assumed a frontline position, as it did in the Cold War, in security issues?
The collection and analysis of intelligence is an exacting task, most of it is just hard slogging, the value adding is the inspired thinking that seizes on a hitherto, overlooked point and joins the dots where no one else suspected dots existed.
It requires a rare ability to think outside the square, but as has been shown repeatedly, such people, who tend this way are unorthodox, and are therefore an anathema to the rigid comformity of the intelligence community.
To think laterally among the herd of unbending conformists or to achieve success in the company of plodders, makes you a target, and the intelligence services, like revolutions, have a nasty habit of devouring their own.
Bob Wake was one such intelligence operative...
by Norman Abjorensen
17 June 2004
A long ago war story surfaces out of Australia via Yellowknife
Thirty-five years ago, reporting from the gold-mining town of Yellowknife, I'd occasionally hit the taverns with Valdemar Robert Wake, a rangy Australian with a broad Queensland drawl who worked for the CBC.
We'd glean gossip from prospectors, trappers and bush pilots, hard rock engineers and the occasional slumming bureaucrat.
There was the added satisfaction of sending the bill to those editors who got you out of bed to confirm spellings like Uluqsagtuuq and Sangiluaq.
One ANZAC day, with my wife the designated driver, we crammed into her battered red pickup and drove past Gaint Mine toward the barrens. Beside the frozen lake, Val proposed a toast to the Queensland boys who fell beside my granddad at Gallipoli, then one for the boys who stopped the Japanese at Kokoda in the New Guinea jungle, and so on.
That summer, Val appeared in the Gold Range Pub with a companion, another raw-boned, spoft spoken Aussie- his Dad. Robert Frederick Bird Wake had journeyed Up North from Down Under partly to see how his son was making out on his great Canadian adventure but mostly to see his granddaughter, Claudine, born in Yellowknife and about to celebrate a second birthday...
by Steve Hume
28 September 2007
No Ribbons or Medal
Born in Melbourne in 1900, Robert Frederick Bird " Bob" Wake, was the subject of this life by his eldest son, joined the Department of Navy as an 18-year-old and became associated with Naval Intelligence. This was the launch pad for a career in counter-espionage, which took off in the later 1930s. Appointed to the Commonwealth Investigation Branch (CIB) of the Attorney-General's Department in 1934, in 1935 Wake became the Inspector heading the Queensland section. By 1943 he was the Queensland Deputy-Director of the Commonweath Security Service (CSS) formed in 1942 and a Lt.-Colonel in the Army. In 1944 he was forcibly retired from the Army for making false statements in his application for a commission in 1939, in claiming that he had served with in counter-intelligence in London...
by Professor John Perkins
AQ Journal of Contemporary Analysis
vol 76 issue 4 July-August 2004
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