De-classified intelligence documents lodged in the National Archives of Australia reveal that in the late 1970s during the terrorism mania sweeping the country, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) feared the activities of an Iraqi diplomat–close to Australian leftists–because of his connection to infamous hitman Carlos The Jackal.

A 1979 report by ASIO Director General A.L. Woodward to the then Attorney General Senator Peter Durack QC highlighted:
“The Iraqi Consul General in Sydney, Riyadh Ali Sabah Al-Azzawi, who took up his post on 29 April 1978, has had two previous diplomatic postings–in Austria and [East Germany]…
“While en-poste in Vienna as Second Secretary with the Iraqi Embassy, Al-Azzawi acted as a mediator between the international terrorist “Carlos” (Ilich Ramirez-Sanchez) and the Austrian authorities following the attack on OPEC [peak body representing oil producing countries] headquarters on 21 December 1975 by “Carlos” and his Palestinian supporters.

Al-Azzawi apparently knew “Carlos” prior to the OPEC attack and recently described his current appearance.”

Carlos, also known as the Jackal, was a Venezuelan born Marxist-Leninist who joined the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a terrorist group aligned with Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO), and fighting against Israel for a break away independent Palestinian state.
In 1975 Carlos and his PFLP team took hostages at the OPEC conference in Vienna to publicise the Palestinian cause. In exchange for the release of the hostages Carlos and his team were allowed to leave Austria. His life as an assassin came to end when he was arrested in 1994 in Sudan and later imprisoned in France.

Iraq had been under the rule of Baath Party, a Socialist and Pan-Arab nationalist entity, since 1968, with a young dictator Saddam Hussein assuming the country’s Presidency in 1979.
The 1979 ASIO report also noted that the Iraqi diplomat kept two rifles at his home in Sydney and was also granted a pistol licence by News South Wales Police and carried the handgun, a .38 Smith and Wesson, on him at all times.


Bill Hartley (1930-2006), an Australian hardcore ALP Victorian Socialist Left heavy hitter, developed a working relationship with Al-Azzawi but the Iraqi diplomat did not fully trust the Australian, according to the ASIO report:

Hartley developed close links to the Arab world and was a supporter of the Palestinian cause. He was also tight with the Gadaffi regime of Libya (1969-2012). In 1975 Hartley together with Australia’s Prime Minister Gough Whitlam and ALP National Secretary David Combe raised $500,000 election campaign funds from the Iraqi regime but the money never arrived–a middleman embezzled the cash !

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch broke the story about the shadowy Henri Fischer and his involvement in the Iraqi cash. See the Phillip Dorling story, link below:

link: The plot to get Gough

ASIO kept many volumes of files on Hartley’s activities, and the de-classfied documents can be found in the National Archives of Australia.

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