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Chapter 7- Vietnam-Vietcong


Corruption within the Australian establishment allowed Telstra to seduce the arbitrator assigned to COT Cases to minimise their losses.

Fifty-six years ago, on 17 and 18 September 1967, I alerted the Australian government via the then Commonwealth Police (now called the Australian Federal Police) that some of Australia's wheat being sent to a starving Peoples Republic of China on humanitarian grounds was being redeployed to North Vietnam during the Vietnam War where North Vietnam Vietcong guerrilla's were slaughtering many Australian, New Zealand and USA  troops.(refer to Chapter 7- Vietnam-Vietcong)

Exposing what I thought was the right thing to do as an Australian has plagued my life ever since and appears to have affected my government-endorsed 1994/95 arbitration. The newspaper journalist who covered my story, telling me it was news that had to be exposed, was forced by the editor to pull the story and not disclose the truth surrounding what I had seen and discussed with another international seaman who had not long arrived back in China after having delivered Australian grain to North Vietnam. That journalist also told me I would be branded by the government as a Red Commie and be placed on a watch list.   

Why you might ask have I introduced my China strory into my Telstra arbitration issues? I strongly beleive that in most western democracies being threatened by the defendats in my arbitration is one thing but for the arbitrator the government communications regulator and the Australian Federal Police to have been aware of these theats and did nothing to bring Telstra to account suggest someing was not right when those parties allowed those threats to be carried out aware they had finally ruined any chance of proving my phone complaints were ongoing on the day the arbitrator declared my business was fault free when government records show my business was not fault free at all.  

The truth that my phone complaints, continued are not in the government archives regardless of the government being provied a report (see AUSTEL’s Adverse Findings, at points 2 to 212. The Casualties of Telstra formation stored in the government Department of Communications Information Technology and the Arts (DCITA) archives is likewise not telling the Casualties of Telstra story the way it happened. In 2006, the government used false information to assess the validity of the COT Cases claims being re-evaluated by the government (refer to Chapter 8 - The eighth remedy pursued).

In simple terms, the government bureaucrats who work for the Australian Establishment have been cooking the books [doctoring Australia's history] for years, and our Australian university students and other academics who are researching Australia's history are only using information stored in Australia's government archives the government allows to be exposed (Refer example File 639 File - AS-CAV Exhibits 589 to 647)

A strong and distressing connection exists between the Vietnam War in which Australians, New Zealand USA and South Vietnamese and Vietcong soldiers lost their lives and the events that fuel this story of COT cases and the flagrant injustices.

What is that connection between my Telstra story and that of Australia’s past trading with Communist China during the Vietnam War (1955–1975)?

My contention is that what the Australian government did was tantamount to trading with the enemy. The incumbent government — Liberal-Country Coalition —continued to trade with Communist China at the same time as it was sending Australian troops into life-threatening circumstances. This was, to my mind, immoral; duplicitous and, importantly, whether inadvertent or not, seeing the many young soldiers here in Australia, New Zealand and the USA as collateral damage. This is an unforgiveable betrayal.

That Australia's bureaucrats kept trading with China even after being aware of China’s assistance to North Vietnam. This brutal pragmatism that was present for Australian public servants then, is still in place.

Australia’s public servants acted as a law unto themselves then; is likely such behaviour and thinking is present today. It was undoubtedly their modus when they were controlling the government-endorsed arbitrations to which COT cases were subjected. 

This sacrifice by Australia, New Zealand and the USA has been forgotten by China  

1 July 2021 — The editorial in The Australian Financial Review of August 28, 1967, argues why Australia's position on wheat sales to China was rational. ( › World › Asia - How Australia defied US to sell wheat to a famine-starved China

This 1 July 2021 editorial in The Australian Financial Review newspaper discusses the same history I asked the Commonwealth Police (now the Australian Federal Police) on 18 August 1967) would they ensure my letter to Mr Fraser would reach Canberra. I was still somewhat traumatised after luckily being allowed to leave with my ship out of a ravaged, starving China. I had upset several high-ranking communists as well as two of their Red Guards (as they were then known). I had refused to be injected with an unsterilised needle. For more on this story, click on  

While the Financial Review might argue in this 1 July 2021 editorial that supplying wheat to a starving China saved millions of Chinese lives, one must also ask how many Australian, New Zealand and USA lives were lost after Australia's wheat fed the bellies of the North Vietnamese Vietcong guerrilla's before they marched into the jungle's of North Vietnam to kill and maim as many Australian, New Zealand and USA soldiers as they could.



by T Zhu2021 — touched the Chinese and Russian grain markets in the 1960s, earlier than ... Australia to China was being sent straight on to North Vietnam.


In January 2024, I read through the paper FOOD AND TRADE IN LATE MAOIST CHINA, 1960-1978, prepared by Tianxiao Zhu and between Footnote 82 to 85 - T Zhu clearly names not only the Hopepeak ship which I was on, he explained the situation of the British Seaman being flown home to the UK because they feared for their lives if they returned with the Hopepeak back to China. 

The Australian Minister of Trade and Industry refers to the story about how the British seafarers of  Hopepeak ship stated they were fearful of going back to Communist China, which was only an afterthought after being flown from Sydney back to England. Interestingly, after the crew was flown back to England (I remained in Sydney), a new crew was flown out at the expense of the ship's owners. Had the ship's crew not proven they had good reason to be fearful of returning to Communist China, the ship owner would not have met the cost of flying the two crews. 

During that fateful July–September 1967 trip, I was escorted off the ship under armed guard on two occasions.   

If the skipper had not reported this on the return to Sydney, the Commonwealth Police (now called the Australian Federal Police) would not have been waiting on the dockside to interview me on 18 September 1967 when we arrived back. They wanted to know why so many crew members were now fearful of going back to China. If what happened was not true, why did the Commonwealth Police and media meet the ship? The captain and ship owner must have notified them that not all was well.  

In footnote 83, the Australian Trade Minister misled many people about the seriousness of what had taken place so that the government could continue to sell wheat to China.   

Likewise, the Commonwealth Police asked me to describe to them the context of what I was forced to write under threat of being shot. They would not have done this had there not been some official acknowledgement from the ship's captain that this was what had happened. Why was I escorted off the Hopepeak under armed guard by the Red Guards and taken to the hospital in the manner I was? I was told I had syphilis, which I knew was highly unlikely, and when I refused to be injected with an unsterilized needle, I caused a scene at the hospital. Refusing any demand by the Red Guard in the People's Republic of China in 1967 was not something one did for no good reason. 

I was now being charged for willful damage in the hospital when it was the Red Guards who had hit the nurse across the face with a baton. I was placed under armed guard for several days, being regularly threatened; the ship's officers helped me compile two different letters addressed to Mao and the People's Republic of China. In those two letters, I apologized for causing a problem at the hospital and for my treatment of the Red Guards, whose treatment of me later was threefold. 

What the two ship's officers had written differed from what the Red Guards wanted to say in those letters. A third letter was written under pressure from the Red Guards, stating, "I am a US aggressor and a supporter of Chiang Kai-shek and the Chinese Nationalist Party." When I told the skipper that writing this statement meant I was signing my death warrant, as Chiang Kai-shek was against Mao Tse Tung, the 'Second Steward' in charge of the ship's correspondence said I was dead if I did not. 

At the suggestion of the 'Second Steward,' he stated it would be more powerful if he wrote ", I disliked America and its invasion of North Vietnam." It was agreed for me to hand deliver this letter under armed guard. 

Before leaving the ship with this letter, the 'Third (Officer) Mate' on board the Hopepeak, who was from Mauritius, pulled me aside and informed me the cargo being unloaded had already been paid for by the People's Republic of China. A further load of similar wheat was also paid for and held in transit until the Hopepeak returned with the next shipment. 

The 'Third Mate' made it noticeably clear to this Chinese Commander that if I were shot, there would be no further wheat, and the fight for what had already been supplied would be arbitrated on with the ship owners winning on appeal because they had completed their first part of the deal. This threat worked, and I returned from delivering this letter in a daze. 

What footnote 83 does not state is that the reason behind the British seaman saying they were afraid to return with the ship to China is that if any of the crew met with a similar situation to what I had been unfortunate to have experienced, there would be no bargaining power to apply to the Peoples Republic of China like there was when the 'Third Mate' made it clear the Chinese Commander would forfeit the money that had already paid for next shipment of wheat because it had not yet left Australia. 

This was the information I provided to the Commonwealth Police in Sydney and the newspaper journalist. I also wrote to the Minister of the Army asking him to ensure Australia refrained from sending more grain back to China on the Hopepeak with a new crew. The ship still left for Communist China carrying 13,600 tons of wheat regardless of those fighting in Vietnam.

Australia will, of course, never find out how much of that wheat went into the bellies of the North Vietnam soldier's guerillas before they marched off into the jungles of North Vietnam in search of more Australian, New Zealand and USA blood.


Image of vietcong guerilla


Image of vietcong guerilla


Image of vietcong guerilla


Image of vietcong guerilla

 More images

Vietcong guerilla
Viet Cong (VC), in full Viet Nam Cong San, English Vietnamese Communists, the guerrilla force that, with the support of the North Vietnamese Army, fought against South Vietnam (late 1950s–1975) and the United States (early 1960s–1973). The name is said to have first been used by South Vietnamese Press.

When I commenced writing My Story – Warts and All and this website, I told the whole story – I didn’t leave bits out to avoid embarrassing myself. To say all of my COT stories, I had to go back in time to show how the phone faults affected my well-being and needed to cover some details regarding an incident involving China.

In 1967, not many Australians supported America’s fight against communism in Vietnam. In June 1967, I signed onto the MS HopePeak, a merchant ship crewed by British and West Indian seaman (see British Seamans Record Book R744269  Open Letter to PM File No 1 Alan Smiths Seaman). I was not informed we were bound for The People's Republic of China. A British Seamen’s Union representative informed me the MS HopePeak was bound for Canada, but the following day, after I signed on board and accepted the conditions, I was told we were bound for the People’s Republic of China; I was sailing out of Australia with a cargo of wheat heading to China.

The crew was horrified that Australia was trading and selling wheat to the People’s Republic of China. At the time, Mao Zedong’s communist government supported the North Vietnamese communists and authorised the supply of armoury, technical knowledge and financial assistance. Australian troops were among those dying in the conflict with the Viet Cong. Nothing made sense to the crew or me.

I became ill during the voyage and needed medical care when we berthed. The briefing we received from the skipper was that Mao’s guards were LAW; they were authorised to beat even their comrades if deemed necessary. Red Guards were everywhere: on the wharves, on our ship, at the hospital entrance, and in the wards. When I refused to accept a non-sterile needle in my arm, the two Red Guards escorting me kept yelling at the shipping agent, who only spoke broken English, and I was arrested for refusing to comply and placed under guard.

While writing my third letter to the People’s Republic of China (previous letters were rejected), the skipper advised me this was my last opportunity. I told him I could not write what he was telling me:

"I am a US aggressor and a supporter of Chiang Kai-shek and the Chinese Nationalist Party.” 

However, I also knew the Red Guards could shoot me at will if I did not obey: they had implied this over the last few days when a Red Guard with a rifle in hand would wake me half-hourly ‘to see if I was asleep. I believed my death was imminent.

The angry skipper reiterated that I would be shot if I did not say what they wanted. I eventually wrote, “I hate America and its invasion of North Vietnam,” and narrowly managed to leave with my ship.



by T Zhu2021 — touched the Chinese and Russian grain markets in the 1960s, earlier than ... Australia to China was being sent straight on to North Vietnam.


In January 2024, I read through the paper FOOD AND TRADE IN LATE MAOIST CHINA, 1960-1978, prepared by Tianxiao Zhu and between Footnote 82 to 85 - T Zhu clearly names not only the Hopepeak ship which I was on, he explained the situation of the British Seaman being flown home to the UK because they feared for their lives if they returned with the Hopepeak back to China.

The following three statements taken from a report prepared by Australia's Kim Beasly MP on 4 September 1965 (father of the current Kim Beasly) only tells part of this tragic episode concerning what I wanted to convey to former prime minister Malcolm Fraser when I telephoned him concerning Australia's 1965 - 1967 wheat deals

 Vol. 87 No. 4462 (4 Sep 1965) - National Library of Australia › nla.obj-702601569  Vol. 87 N

"The Department of External Affairs has recently published an "Information Handbook entitled "Studies on Vietnam".  It established the fact that the Vietcong are equipped with Chinese arms and ammunition"

If it is right to ask Australian youth to risk everything in Vietnam it is wrong to supply their enemies"

Australian trade commssioners do not so readily see that our Chinese trade in war materials finances our own distruction. NDr do they see so clearly that the wheat trade does the same thing."  

After we witnessed the transferring of Australian grain in The Peoples Reublic of China Communist China from our ship to an unrecognised registered ship bound for North Vietnam while Australia, New Zealand and the USA were at war with North Vietnam it changed our lives for ever. The fact that the Hopepeak crew were flown back to England after refusing to re crew the Hopepeak again with another load of Australian wheat sickened to their stomaches that they had been unwittingly involved in this trading with the enemy by Australia is the pain we all have lived with since August and September 1965 (see   

I reiterate, nothing adds up, then in September 1965, or when I arrived back in Australia by the skin of my teeth on 18 September 1997, with the same ship MS Hopepeak taking on another 13,600 tons of wheat back to the starving people of China and those in North Vietnam who was hell-bent on killing and maiming as many Australian, New Zealand and US troops as they possibly could.

Absent Justice - The Peoples Republic of China

I would be a “marked man” - a noted communist


On arrival back in Australia in September 1967, the ship’s crew was paid off, and a new crew was brought in. The Australian Commonwealth Police (now the Australian Federal Police) interviewed me concerning my anti-America/pro-communism words written while under house-arrest. I gave them a copy of my handwritten letter to the Hon Malcolm Fraser, the then-Minister for the Army. This letter advised Mr Fraser that Australia’s grain was being used to assist North Vietnam in their war campaign against Australia, New Zealand and the USA. I asked the police to be sure Mr Fraser received this letter; however, I never received a response, and Australia continued to supply grain to the People’s Republic of China, aware some of it was going to North Vietnam, knowing the possibility that after eating a bowl of Australian wheat, the Viet Cong guerrillas went out on patrol and killed or maimed conscripted Australian, New Zealand and US soldiers?

MS Hopepeak - Absent Justice The press also interviewed me and said my experience in China was an important news story. When the story was printed, however, it was only a tiny article. The journalist said my side of the story had been “pulled”, that I would now be a marked man and that the government would have put a black mark against my name, noting me as a communist sympathiser – a ‘Commie’.

In the Australian Establishment back in the 1960s, who operated the scales to balance whose lives were the more important to save, the starving Chinese or the Aussie, Kiwi and USA troops fighting a war they did not want to fight?

No one transparently investigated my claims. Not once did any government official ask me how I discovered China was sending Australian wheat to Vietnam. 

For this part of my story, I shall tell it after my ex-wife Faye had been gone for four years, just before I met Shelia Hawkins in the Society Restaurant in Bourke Street, Melbourne. The first meeting of the COT Cases. Shelia's restaurant had been suffering from phone problems, and these issues had been picked up by the talkback radio show Deryn Hinch. From that radio show, I contacted Sheila, and we agreed to meet to discuss our mutual phone complaints. 

THE COT STORY - was about to begin. 

Absent Justice - Intruder

Local Portland police files will record the date their Sergeant Frank ------ (who our now know professionally) visited the holiday camp after I confronted an intruder. This was the same time I was pushing the advertising for the singles club weekends, a great way for single people to meet and socialise. I noticed a small light in the distance in the early hours of one morning, just after 1 am. At first, I thought perhaps the glove box in my ute had somehow dropped open, and it was that light that I could see. As I got closer to the morning, I discovered a four-wheel-drive vehicle parked and a person standing under the overhanging branches of a couple of giant cypress trees on my property. I picked up an axe from a nearby woodpile as I passed. The person got into the car before I reached the trees. I walked up to the car and yanked the car door open. With my axe in the other hand, I demanded that this person identify himself and his purpose. I was particularly intrigued as there were no guests staying at the camp that night. The man, startled and confused by an angry man waving an axe at him, stammered that he was a fishing inspector waiting to catch abalone poachers. This answer seemed entirely plausible, so I let him drive away. However, I lodged a report with the Portland police later that morning, just in case there was more to this than seemed at first.

A few days after the police sergeant visited the camp to discuss the intruder issue, the same sergeant phoned me to arrange a second visit. He did not want to discuss his investigation into the fishing inspector story on the phone. The sergeant arrived within the hour and explained that he had checked with the Victorian and South Australian wildlife authorities investigating fishing and abalone poaching matters. Neither of them had authorised an investigator to be on my land, and if they had, they would have notified me first. Why had this man been standing under the cypress tree? What was he waiting to see if he wasn’t a fishing inspector waiting to catch abalone poachers?

Whenever a school group was in attendance, I did a security check various times during the night or my overnight staff did the same. I notified teachers and group leaders that I often was in my office when the light was on. Many a cup of tea or coffee was shared with a school teacher or a group member on night duty.  

But on this occasion, this particular intruder brought back memories of my time in The People’s Republic of China, my confrontation with the Red Guards and to the Sydney newspaper reporter in September 1967 warning me that I would be a “marked man” for insisting that Australia should not be selling wheat to the People’s Republic of China while Mao Zedong supported North Vietnam, while Australian, New Zealand and USA troops fought and died in the war against the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong. Nothing made sense to me then, or still does in 2018

I couldn’t clear my mind of that episode or the feeling that there had to be a link between those two events: the secret eavesdropping on my personal affairs carried out by this government-owned telecommunications carrier and this still-unidentified man on my property.

I arrived back in Australia from the People’s Republic of China (lucky to have escaped with my life) on 18 September 1967. At that time, I was interviewed by the Australian Commonwealth Police (now the AFP), and I gave them a copy of a letter I had written to the Hon Malcolm Fraser, who was then the Minister for the Army. I asked the police to be sure he received it. However, I have never had a response to that letter.

Were these public servants who were part of this selling of grain to Red China, like some later public servants, from 2005 to 2007, who received kickbacks worth millions of dollars during the Saddam Hussein Australian Wheat Board (AWB) grain scandal? Although AWB, and by extension the Australian Government, was not the only entity implicated in the oil-for-food scandal, this unthinkable act earned notoriety in Australian political consciousness.

Worse, however, is if those bureaucrats who were selling Australian wheat to the People's Republic of China received similar kickbacks as in the case of the Saddam Hussein conflict. Those Australian bureaucrats were banking blood money. 


Absent Justice - Hon Malcolm Fraser

During my 1994/95 arbitration, I supplied the Australian Federal Police with several Australian newspaper articles concerning two separate telephone conversations with The Hon. Malcolm Fraser, former prime minister of Australia. Mr Fraser was a gentleman and reported to the media only what he thought was necessary concerning our telephone conversation regarding phone bugging after I alerted him to a twelve-month-old Telstra file note, which had blanked out much of the information I had discussed with Mr Fraser. 

“FORMER prime minister Malcolm Fraser yesterday demanded Telecom explain why his name appears in a restricted internal memo.

“Mr Fraser’s request follows the release of a damning government report this week which criticised Telecom for recording conversations without customer permission.

“Mr Fraser said Mr Alan Smith, of the Cape Bridgewater Holiday Camp near Portland, phoned him early last year seeking advice on a long-running dispute with Telecom which Mr Fraser could not help. (See Senate Evidence File No/53)

Who in Telstra Corporation thought it important to note that I had telephoned Malcolm Fraser? Is my conversation with the former prime minister on one of the nine audio tapes AUSTEL provided to the Australian Federal Police but refused to supply copies to the COT cases? I was never suspected of committing a crime or being a possible risk to Australia’s national security.

However, one thing must never be forgotten, and that is that The Hon Malcolm Fraser, Prime Minister of Australia, bridged a gap that the South Vietnamese has never failed as the following government documents

It is however, most important we pay tribute to one of Australia's finest Prime Minister's that Australia has ever had, a compassionate man as well as a politician (see and Download PDFDownload PDF.  

 The Fraser legacy - refugees, asylum seekers and ... - ParlInfo show

Absent Justice Ebook

Read Alan’s book

My name is Alan Smith. This is the story of my battle with a telecommunications giant and the Australian Government. This battle has twisted and turned since 1992 through elected governments, government departments, regulatory bodies, the judiciary, and the Australian telecommunications giant, Telstra, or Telecom, as it was known when this story started. The quest for justice continues to this day. Nine publishers from all around the globe have published Absent Justice, which is now available for free in several languages.

Read about 'Mr Bates vs the Post Office' who took on the British government-owned Post Office,, who found similar irregular activities by public servants who tried to hide the truth surrounding the valid claims registered by Mr Bates and his Post Office friends who dared tackle the British owned Post Office. 


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“A number of people seem to be experiencing some or all of the problems which you have outlined to me. …

“I trust that your meeting tomorrow with Senators Alston and Boswell is a profitable one.”

Hon David Hawker MP

“…the very large number of persons that had been forced into an arbitration process and have been obliged to settle as a result of the sheer weight that Telstra has brought to bear on them as a consequence where they have faced financial ruin if they did not settle…”

Senator Carr

“Only I know from personal experience that your story is true, otherwise I would find it difficult to believe. I was amazed and impressed with the thorough, detailed work you have done in your efforts to find justice”

Sister Burke

“I am writing in reference to your article in last Friday’s Herald-Sun (2nd April 1993) about phone difficulties experienced by businesses.

I wish to confirm that I have had problems trying to contact Cape Bridgewater Holiday Camp over the past 2 years.

I also experienced problems while trying to organise our family camp for September this year. On numerous occasions I have rung from both this business number 053 424 675 and also my home number and received no response – a dead line.

I rang around the end of February (1993) and twice was subjected to a piercing noise similar to a fax. I reported this incident to Telstra who got the same noise when testing.”

Cathy Lindsey

“…your persistence to bring about improvements to Telecom’s country services. I regret that it was at such a high personal cost.”

Hon David Hawker

“I am writing in reference to your article in last Friday’s Herald-Sun (2nd April 1993) about phone difficulties experienced by businesses.

I wish to confirm that I have had problems trying to contact Cape Bridgewater Holiday Camp over the past 2 years.

I also experienced problems while trying to organise our family camp for September this year. On numerous occasions I have rung from both this business number 053 424 675 and also my home number and received no response – a dead line.

I rang around the end of February (1993) and twice was subjected to a piercing noise similar to a fax. I reported this incident to Telstra who got the same noise when testing.”

Cathy Lindsey

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