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Australian Names: Julian Assange, Melinda Taylor, John Howard …

  • June 24th, 2012
  • Posted by EUEditor

assange-wikipedia.jpg taylor-melinda.jpg howard-j-two.jpg  Late in June, Julian Assange (picture – top right) and Melinda Taylor both remained in a state of great difficulty, without their freedom; earlier this month the former Prime Minister, John Howard (picture – below), received a high honour in London.

JULIAN ASSANGE SEEKING ASYLUM

Julian Assange, the computer hacker and founder of the Wikileaks documents-publishing service, was this weekend remaining at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has applied for political asylum.

Arrested under a European arrest warrant in 2010, he has waged an unsuccessful battle in the British courts against extradition to Sweden, where he has been accused of committing sexual assault against two women.

He says the Swedish exercise is the first step in a manoeuvre to have him sent to the United States, where powerful identities have been demanding his trial for serious offences against security.

See EUAustralia Online, “UK Supreme Court backs Assange extradition …”, 30.3.12.

It goes back to the publication by Wikileaks of hundreds of thousands of classified documents purloined from American government archives; many of them taken up, edited and republished by major newspapers.

His case has generated on the one hand anxious support campaigns, and on the other, extraordinary ire among conservative interests.

BORING-OLD HUMAN RIGHTS?

Of those, a writer for the right wing publication, The Telegraph, in London, referred to the man on Saturday as “fashionable society’s favourite fugitive”, backed by a “motley collection of socialites, movie-makers and human rights bores.”

Ecuador does not permit extradition to the USA for “political” offences; Mr Assange believes his case would be seen as political, though the Ecuadorian government appears to have encountered some impediments to quick acceptance of him, and slowed down its decision on giving asylum.

British police have been waiting to arrest Julian Assange for breach of bail conditions, and he has publicly complained that consular support received from the Australian government was lukewarm.

MELINDA TAYLOR – LAWYER DETAINED

No such complaint would be expected from Melinda Taylor, the International Criminal Court lawyer detained in Libya.

Ms Taylor was one of four from the court seized by the new Libyan authorities on 6.6.12, in the town of Zintan, when they went to see Saif Gaddafi, son of the former dictator; being charged with crimes against humanity by the ICC, based at The Hague.

She was accused of passing on documents to Gaddafi, from a member of the deposed regime, still at large, who is wanted for prosecution.

Official statements included a jumble of other claims, along the lines that actions of the ICC were posing a threat to national security.

The Court has offered an apology for any misconduct on the part of its officers and said it would investigate that, once they were set free.

GOVERNMENT-TO-GOVERNMENT TALKS

Several interventions have been made by the Australian government, with the Foreign Minister, Bob Car, himself discussing it with his Libyan counterpart, and in the last week, travelling to Libya.

The Libyan ruler Muammar al-Gaddafi, in power since 1969, was killed by rebels on 20.10.11, towards the end of an armed revolt carried out with air support from the NATO alliance.

See EUAustralia Online, “Death of Gaddafi”, 21.10.11.

Conditions have remained unsettled in the aftermath. In one incident allied war graves from World War II, some Australian, were desecrated. Local militias continued to hold sway over parts of the country, though the new government in Tripoli insists that the ICC party are being held by state officers, not by armed gangs.

HONOUR FOR FORMER PM

The month began with John Howard enjoying a much happier experience, and much more deferential treatment from the British authorities.

Mr Howard received the Order of Merit from Queen Elizabeth on 1.6.12, for his services to society and government; a rare honour enjoyed by a few dozen people, mostly themselves aristocrats, or leaders in the arts, science or sporting communities.

See presentation video: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-06-01/queen-awards-howard-order-of-merit/4045800, (24.6.12).

He said he was touched by the personal compliment which also was a mark of “the Queen’s great affection and esteem for Australia.”

He was Liberal Party Prime Minister from 1996 to 2007, presiding over a growth period in the national economy, with an active policy agenda that took in, close association with the Bush administration in America, on Iraq and Afghanistan; intervention by Australia in the crisis that led to independence for East Timor; toughening of gun controls after the massacre at Port Arthur in 1996; introduction of a comprehensive Goods and Services Tax; and at elections, accessing pockets of  anti- immigration sentiment through initiatives meant to block or divert boatloads of asylum seekers.

Australia is not a republic and constitutionally the British sovereign is Head of State; though apart from honours bestowed directly by the sovereign, the country has its own system – the Order of Australia.
Reference

BBC News, London, “ICC promises to investigate Libya staff if released, 23.6.12. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-18561515, (24.6.12).

The British Monarchy, official website, London, “ Appointments to the Order of Merit”, 1.1.12. http://www.royal.gov.uk/LatestNewsandDiary/Pressreleases/2012/AppointmentstotheOrderofMerit1January2012.aspx,(24.6.12).

Bob Carr, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Canberra, “Proposed solution to stalemate on Libya detainees”, 19.6.12. http://www.foreignminister.gov.au/releases/2012/bc_mr_120619.html012, (24.6.12).

Richard Gladstone, “ICC’s Libyan crisis shows Saif Gaddafi should be tried in The Hague”, The Guardian, Manchester, 22.6.12. http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/2012/jun/22/icc-libya-crisis-saif-gaddafi-hague, (24.6.12).

William Langley, “Wikileaks’ Julian Assange: thanks for nothing”, The Telegraph, London, 23.6.12. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/wikileaks/9350912/WikiLeaks-Julian-Assange-Thanks-for-nothing.html, (24.6.12).

Philip Williams, “Queen awards Howard Order of Merit”, 1.6.12, ABC News, Sydney. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-06-01/queen-awards-howard-order-of-merit/4045800, (24.6.12).

Pictures   viva Libya, wikipedia

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