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Senator Ludlam asks Minister Carr about Wikileaks and Bradley Manning's Trial
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darkhorse Offline

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Video Senator Ludlam asks Minister Carr about Wikileaks and Bradley Manning's Trial
Senator Ludlam asks Minister Carr about Wikileaks and Bradley Manning's Trial
Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee

Published on Jun 5, 2013
Senator Ludlam asks Minister Carr about Wikileaks, Bradley Manning and his role as a US informant at Senate Budget Estimates 5 June 2013

Senator Scott Ludlam asks Foreign Minister, Bob Carr, whether Australia currently has a representative present at the trial of Bradley Manning. Carr replies, "I don't think so" and redirects the question to one of his staff, Justin Brown, of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Senator Ludlam states that he believes Australia has had officials present at the pre-trial hearings but asks which Australian officials are currently at the trial which commenced on the previous day.

Brown: I understand that there has been a locally engaged official from our embassy that's been present at the trial

Senator Ludlam: What's their function exactly?

In response to Senator Ludlam's questions, Brown, makes clear admissions about current Australian consular attendance at the Manning trial. He also makes a clear admission that there is a current U.S. investigation underway into WikiLeaks.

Brown: As you know, Senator, the government has been following the Manning legal process for it's duration, given it's connection to the WikiLeaks investigation that's underway in the United States.

Brown states that, for this reason, there has been an effort made to stay abreast of developments in the Manning case.

Senator Ludlam: That's extremely good to hear an Australian official acknowledge that there is an investigation into WikiLeaks in the United States, and into Julian Assange.

The official then attempts to back-pedal, presenting the flimsy argument that this fact does not necessarily mean that there is an investigation into, or an indictment in relation to, Julian Assange.

Senator Ludlam immediately challenges this fairly ludicrous assertion, on the basis of Assange's position as Editor-in-Chief of WikiLeaks.

Senator Ludlam also states that he didn't say there was an indictment adding "We wouldn't know if there was".

Senator Ludlam asks for further information as to the role of the Australian official at the trial, who is in attendance at the Manning trial and whether that person is present merely as an observer.

The official states that the person is present as an observer.

Senator Ludlam enquires as to what this person has reported back, in relation to the Manning trial. Brown confirms that he has received a report, in relation to what is occurring in the Manning Trial, but he has not yet read the report.

Senator Ludlam seeks an undertaking to be informed as to the contents of the report. The official states that he will "have to look at the classification of the report".

This response begs the question as to why a report, in relation to what has occurred in a court where the media are permitted to attend, would have a high security classification in Australia. It can be inferred, however, that the response was just another example of Australian government stone-walling of enquiries in relation to the WikiLeaks investigation.

Foreign Minister Carr returns to the table and Senator Ludlam directs this question to him:

Senator Ludlam: Has the Australian Government expressed a view, a Diplomatic view, that Mr. Assange is entitled to protections under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution for Publishing activities that are entirely legitimate?

At this point Foreign Minister Carr takes up a defensive stance, adopting the disingenuous demeanor familiar from all interview and panel situations in which he is asked about matters involving Julian Assange, particularly those pertaining to the existence of U.S indictments. He also adopts a faux-innocent facial expression.

Carr replies, "Not to my knowledge, no." - Followed by the ludicrous, "It wouldn't be a matter of concern to Australia though, make, make a case for him, no. Why would we do that?".

Senator Ludlam, suitably unimpressed with this response, then refers to correspondence, received from the Minister, citing information from multiple sources, confirming the existence of a Grand Jury underway into WikiLeaks.

Senator Ludlam asks if there have been any further representations made [by the Australian government] about the status of the Grand Jury into WikiLeaks. Carr replies, "No".

Senator Ludlam asks if this is "because we're not interested in it's status, or at we just expecting to be told when it concludes?"

Carr states, "There's nothing more to say about it and we're not going to over-service these consular cases".

Carr claims not to know if the Grand Jury is on-going. Carr tells him to ask the U.S. Government.

Senator Ludlam asks rhetorically, "we're not interested to know whether it's still ongoing or not?

Carr's farcically hostile, unrealistic reason for this is provided as, "Well it doesn't effect Australian interests".

Senator Ludlam: This is an Australian citizen being investigated by a U.S. Grand Jury on charges that could include Life Imprisonment.

Carr: We've made our views clear, we have an interest in the case, but I'm not going to have resources allocated to it, there's been enough DFAT resources allocated in looking after Mr. Assange's interests, this is an over-servicing of a consular case.

Carr is clearly hostile to Senator Ludlam's questions.

Senator Ludlam questions whether the government's interest extends to finding out about the progress of the Grand Jury.

Carr: When information emerges from the American system it can be looked at with interest.

Carr states that discovering further information about the Grand Jury is "not a focus of our diplomacy".

Senator Ludlam raises the fact that Mr. Dorling has reported on WikiLeaks material that discloses that Carr has been a source since 1974 "for US diplomats seeking information on Australian governments and the broader Trade Union movement in Australia".

Carr denies this stating that he had lunch, on three occasions, with the U.S. Consul General in Sydney, when aged in his twenties.

Carr denies that this makes him a source, based on the fact that M.P.s routinely talk to diplomats. Carr states that the information he is alleged to have provided was in the nature of common-place observations and that he had no access, at that time, to any sensitive intelligence or strategic data. Senator Ludlam clarifies that this was not implied in the Dorling article.

The attitudes Foreign Minister Carr demonstrates, in relation to questions about the WikiLeaks Grand Jury and the general attitude he expresses in relation to the provision of consular resources, indicate he doesn’t see himself as serving the Australian people. He appears to see himself as serving the Gillard Labor Government and the U.S. Government Intelligence agenda.

Bob Carr should realise that his failure to act on behalf of one Australian Citizen, Julian Assange, does not serve the Labor Party in their aim of being re-elected in September, 2013.
06-07-2013 11:41 PM
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