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Can Julian Trust his own government?
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Shona Duncan Offline

Posts: 29
Joined: Apr 2013
Post: #1
Can Julian Trust his own government?
I have 'trust issues' towards the Australian government on the topic of Julian Assange and this is my rant:

Firstly the open letter to the Prime Minister of Australia took the words right out of my mouth Cool

Dear Prime Minister,

We note with concern the increasingly violent rhetoric directed towards Julian Assange of WikiLeaks.

“We should treat Mr Assange the same way as other high-value terrorist targets: Kill him,” writes conservative columnist Jeffrey T Kuhner in the Washington Times.

William Kristol, former chief of staff to vice president Dan Quayle, asks, “Why can’t we use our various assets to harass, snatch or neutralize Julian Assange and his collaborators, wherever they are?”

“Why isn’t Julian Assange dead?” writes the prominent US pundit Jonah Goldberg.

“The CIA should have already killed Julian Assange,” says John Hawkins on the Right Wing News site.

Sarah Palin, a likely presidential candidate, compares Assange to an Al Qaeda leader; Rick Santorum, former Pennsylvania senator and potential presidential contender, accuses Assange of “terrorism”.

And so on and so forth.

Such calls cannot be dismissed as bluster. Over the last decade, we have seen the normalisation of extrajudicial measures once unthinkable, from ‘extraordinary rendition’ (kidnapping) to ‘enhanced interrogation’ (torture).

In that context, we now have grave concerns for Mr Assange’s wellbeing.

Irrespective of the political controversies surrounding WikiLeaks, Mr Assange remains entitled to conduct his affairs in safety, and to receive procedural fairness in any legal proceedings against him.

As is well known, Mr Assange is an Australian citizen.

We therefore call upon you to condemn, on behalf of the Australian Government, calls for physical harm to be inflicted upon Mr Assange, and to state publicly that you will ensure Mr Assange receives the rights and protections to which he is entitled, irrespective of whether the unlawful threats against him come from individuals or states.

We urge you to confirm publicly Australia’s commitment to freedom of political communication; to refrain from cancelling Mr Assange's passport, in the absence of clear proof that such a step is warranted; to provide assistance and advocacy to Mr Assange; and do everything in your power to ensure that any legal proceedings taken against him comply fully with the principles of law and procedural fairness.

A statement by you to this effect should not be controversial – it is a simple commitment to democratic principles and the rule of law.

We believe this case represents something of a watershed, with implications that extend beyond Mr Assange and WikiLeaks. In many parts of the globe, death threats routinely silence those who would publish or disseminate controversial material. If these incitements to violence against Mr Assange, a recipient of Amnesty International’s Media Award, are allowed to stand, a disturbing new precedent will have been established in the English-speaking world.

In this crucial time, a strong statement by you and your Government can make an important difference.

We look forward to your response.

Dr Jeff Sparrow, author and editor
Lizzie O’Shea, Social Justice Lawyer, Maurice Blackburn
Professor Noam Chomsky, writer and academic
Antony Loewenstein, journalist and author
Mungo MacCallum, journalist and writer
Professor Peter Singer, author and academic
Adam Bandt, MP
Senator Bob Brown
Senator Scott Ludlam
Julian Burnside QC, barrister
Jeff Lawrence, Secretary, Australian Council of Trade Unions
Professor Raimond Gaita, author and academic
Rob Stary, lawyer
Lieutenant Colonel (ret) Lance Collins, Australian Intelligence Corps, writer
The Hon Alastair Nicholson AO RFD QC
Brian Walters SC, barrister
Professor Larissa Behrendt, academic
Emeritus Professor Stuart Rees, academic, Sydney Peace Foundation
Mary Kostakidis, Chair, Sydney Peace Foundation
Professor Wendy Bacon, journalist
Christos Tsiolkas, author
James Bradley, author and journalist
Julian Morrow, comedian and television producer
Louise Swinn, publisher
Helen Garner, novelist
Professor Dennis Altman, writer and academic
Dr Leslie Cannold, author, ethicist, commentator
John Birmingham, writer
Guy Rundle, writer
Alex Miller, writer
Sophie Cunningham, editor and author
Castan Centre for Human Rights Law
Professor Judith Brett, author and academic
Stephen Keim SC, President of Australian Lawyers for Human Rights
Phil Lynch, Executive Director, Human Rights Law Resource Centre
Sylvia Hale, MLC
Sophie Black, editor
David Ritter, lawyer and historian
Dr Scott Burchill, writer and academic
Dr Mark Davis, author and academic
Henry Rosenbloom, publisher
Ben Naparstek, editor
Chris Feik, editor
Louise Swinn, publisher
Stephen Warne, barrister
Dr John Dwyer QC
Hilary McPhee, writer, publisher
Joan Dwyer OAM
Greg Barns, barrister
James Button, journalist
Owen Richardson, critic
Michelle Griffin, editor
John Timlin, literary Agent & producer
Ann Cunningham, lawyer and publisher
Alison Croggon, author, critic
Daniel Keene, playwright
Dr Nick Shimmin, editor/writer
Bill O'Shea, lawyer, former President, Law Institute of Victoria
Dianne Otto, Professor of Law, Melbourne Law School
Professor Frank Hutchinson,Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPACS), University of Sydney
Anthony Georgeff, editor
Max Gillies, actor
Shane Maloney, writer
Louis Armand, author and publisher
Jenna Price, academic and journalist
Tanja Kovac, National Cooordinator EMILY's List Australia
Dr Russell Grigg, academic
Dr Justin Clemens, writer and academic
Susan Morairty, Lawyer
David Hirsch, Barrister
Cr Anne O’Shea
Kathryn Crosby, Candidates Online
Dr Robert Sparrow, academic
Jennifer Mills, author
Foong Ling Kong, editor
Tim Norton, Online Campaigns Co-ordinator, Oxfam Australia
Elisabeth Wynhausen, writer
Ben Slade, Lawyer
Nikki Anderson, publisher
Dan Cass
Professor Diane Bell, author and academic
Dr Philipa Rothfield, academic
Gary Cazalet, academic
Dr David Coady, academic
Dr Matthew Sharpe, writer and academic
Dr Tamas Pataki, writer and academic
Miska Mandic
Associate Professor Jake Lynch, academic
Professor Simon During, academic
Michael Brull, writer
Dr Geoff Boucher, academic
Jacinda Woodhead, writer and editor
Dr Rjurik Davidson, writer and editor
Mic Looby, writer
Jane Gleeson-White, writer and editor
Alex Skutenko, editor
Associate Professor John Collins, academic
Professor Philip Pettit, academic
Dr Christopher Scanlon, writer and academic
Dr Lawrie Zion, journalist
Johannes Jakob, editor
Sunili Govinnage, lawyer
Michael Bates, lawyer
Bridget Maidment, editor
Bryce Ives, theatre director
Sarah Darmody, writer
Jill Sparrow, writer
Lyn Bender, psychologist
Meredith Rose, editor
Dr Ellie Rennie, President, Engage Media
Ryan Paine, editor
Simon Cooper, editor
Chris Haan, lawyer
Carmela Baranowska, journalist.
Clinton Ellicott, publisher
Dr Charles Richardson, writer and academic
Phillip Frazer, publisher
Geoff Lemon, journalist
Jaya Savige, poet and editor
Johannes Jakob, editor
Kate Bree Geyer; journalist
Chay-Ya Clancy, performer
Lisa Greenaway, editor, writer
Chris Kennett - screenwriter, journalist
Kasey Edwards, author
Dr. Janine Little, academic
Dr Andrew Milner, writer and academic
Patricia Cornelius, writer
Elisa Berg, publisher
Lily Keil, editor
Jenny Sinclair
Roselina Rose
Stephen Luntz
PM Newton
Bryan Cooke
Kristen Obaid
Ryan Haldane-Underwood
Patrick Gardner
Robert Sinnerbrink
Kathryn Millist
Anne Coombs
Karen Pickering
Sarah Mizrahi
Suzanne Ingleton
Jessica Crouch
Michael Ingleton
Matt Griffin
Jane Allen
Tom Curtis
John Connell
David Garland
Stuart Hall
Meredith Tucker-Evans
Phil Perkins
Alexandra Adsett
Tom Doig, editor
Beth Jackson
Peter Mattessi
Robert Sinnerbrink
Greg Black
Paul Ashton
Sigi Jottkandt
Kym Connell, lawyer
Silma Ihram
Nicole Papaleo, lawyer
Melissa Forbes
Matthew Ryan
Ben Gook
Daniel East
Bridget Ikin
Lisa O'Connell
Melissa Cranenburgh
John Bryson
Michael Farrell
Melissa Reeves
Dr Emma Cox
Michael Green
Margherita Tracanelli
David Carlin, writer
Bridget McDonnell
Geoff Page, writer
Rebecca Interdonato
Roxane Ludbrook-Ingleton
Stefan Caramia
Ash Plummer
04-13-2013 07:16 PM
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Shona Duncan Offline

Posts: 29
Joined: Apr 2013
Post: #2
RE: Can Julian Trust his own government?
We were told there was a law change about extradition that wasn't given any time for debate in parliament. And there has been no discussion about it in the media. I think that is weird. And I don't blame Julian for feeling a little nervous right now. I vote 'no confidence' in Julian Assanges government over these sneaky tricks by the Dirty Tricks Brigade.
Extradition and Mutual Assistance Changes Slip in under the Radar

March 7, 2012

Australian Law, Criminal law, Freedom from arbitrary detention, Freedom from torture, International Law, Right to life

By Adam Fletcher

Last Wednesday, in the aftermath of the infamous Labor leadership showdown and when all eyes were on the Carr for Canberra drama, federal Parliament passed the Extradition and Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation Amendment Bill 2011. Unless I missed it, the passage of this Bill into law garnered not a single headline, but it should have, because it makes major changes to Australia’s cooperation with other countries in criminal cases.

According to the Government’s press release, the Bill is aimed first and foremost at ‘streamlining the extradition process and cutting delays.’ A lot of this streamlining involves relieving the Attorney‑General of the burden of taking into account various considerations relevant to a person’s eligibility for extradition (mostly rights protections) because such consideration is said to duplicate the work of the magistrates who deal with extradition applications at first instance. An alternative view is that it removes a layer of accountability from a process which has already been criticised for its lack of review rights, but it will no doubt save time as intended.

For the first time, the 1988 Extradition Act, as amended by this Bill, allows a person to be extradited for minor offences (punishable by less than 12 months imprisonment) or to waive the extradition process altogether. A magistrate presiding over the case must be satisfied that the waiver is voluntary, and must inform the person of the consequences of his/her decision, but a lot of checks and balances can be bypassed this way. Thankfully, a requirement that the person be given an opportunity to have legal representation has been included, although it would be better if it were an mandatory requirement given the gravity of the decision.

Some of the existing protections in the Act involve refusal of extradition where a person may face the death penalty or torture. They still apply after these amendments, but the wording of the death penalty protection is different if someone waives extradition. Before authorising ‘surrender’ in a ‘normal’ extradition case, the Attorney-General has to consider the likelihood of the person being (a) tried, (b) convicted, and © sentenced to death, before proceeding to consideration of whether the death penalty is actually likely to be carried out. The new section on surrender determination after waiver simply requires her to consider whether there is a ‘real risk’ of the execution actually happening.

Still, there is less emphasis on diplomatic assurances from the requesting country, which is a welcome development. Such assurances are usually non-binding promises that the suspect will not be executed or tortured. Since there’s no reason to seek them unless the country in question is known to persecute people, they are a dubious way of ensuring compliance with the duty not to send people to places where we know their rights will be violated (the duty of non-refoulement). Interestingly, when the shoe is on the other foot, the Attorney-General will now be able to give a legal undertaking to other countries not to impose unduly harsh prison sentences (eg life sentences for minors) on suspects sought by Australia.

Unfortunately, and despite relevant recommendations, the amendments still do not prevent extradition if the person faces cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment which is not severe enough to amount to torture. Concerns over the likelihood of the person receiving a fair trial are also overlooked.

One of the more concerning aspects of these amendments is their potential effect on people who might be extradited for political offences. Before this Bill, extradition had to be refused if the alleged crime was really in the nature of a political protest. Specific crimes outlawed by multilateral treaties such as hostage-taking and war crimes have always been excluded, as have large‑scale crimes or attacks on diplomats or heads of State. Now though, the definition of ‘political offence’ will exclude ‘any offence that involves an act of violence against a person’s life or liberty’ or ‘any offence prescribed by regulations….’ This gives the Government flexibility to exclude a much broader range of ‘crimes’ over the nature of which there could be genuine disagreement. It also decreases transparency, as changes to regulations do not attract anywhere near the same level of scrutiny as amendments to statutes.

The Explanatory Memorandum clarifies that terrorist offences are among those which will not be considered political offences, but there have been many instances of unpleasant governments around the world which have not hesitated to call any group agitating for better political representation or independence ‘terrorists.’ Not even pacifist monks are immune. In fact, Fox News even called the Occupy protestors ‘domestic terrorists’ and reported that a Department of Defence exam labelled protests a form of ‘low-level terrorism.’ It is to be hoped (and expected) that the Australian Government would not extradite such people, but it would be better if the legislation didn’t even allow for the possibility.

If Australia declines to extradite foreign nationals, they can now be prosecuted here for their alleged overseas crimes. Unfortunately, and despite more recommendations to the contrary, absolute liability has been applied to proving the relevant criminal conduct took place. This means the person’s intentions in doing whatever they did are irrelevant, and that not even basic defences such as ‘mistake of fact’ are available. Investigating overseas crimes is notoriously difficult, but accused non‑citizens still deserve the same fair trial rights as Australians, and it is very rare to impose absolute liability for substantive elements of domestic crimes.

Despite these concerns, the Bill is noteworthy for some positive changes too. For example, people may no longer be extradited if they ‘may be punished, or discriminated against upon surrender, on the basis of [their] sex or sexual orientation.’ This is in addition to the existing grounds of objection; namely race, religion, nationality and political opinion.

When it comes to the provision of official assistance in criminal matters under the 1987 Mutual Assistance Act, Australia can now refuse to assist if it would result in torture or discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation (in addition to existing grounds). Refusals on the basis of human rights can also be made at the investigation stage (rather than after prosecution or punishment as previously), which greatly expands this protection. However, as with extradition, ill-treatment and unfair trials still do not constitute grounds for refusal.

This Act constitutes major reform in the area of extradition and mutual assistance, and I could go on ad nauseam about other human rights issues it raises (including eg presumptions against bail, ‘serious offence’ thresholds and cooperation with requests for surveillance from foreign countries). If you have an interest in this area, I urge you to familiarise yourself with these important changes and consider their implications.
Should Australia help Julian Assange? Channel 7
04-13-2013 07:56 PM
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Shona Duncan Offline

Posts: 29
Joined: Apr 2013
Post: #3
RE: Can Julian Trust his own government?
George Orwell, his very last quote featured on the movie 9/11 and warned us about the perpetual war of terror that The Presidency is seen to be waging. It's for the industrial military complex, lots of loot to be made, Maggie Thatcher got how much tax free money from her off shore havens for deposits from her big financial stakes in that Industrial Military Complex. We are already under a kind of martial rule when the security industry is so lucrative. Sorry, off topic.
Here is George Orwell, concise. Helpful.
07-02-2013 10:38 PM
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