Letters to the editor

November 18, 2011

Project Assange from extradition

I am writing to you to ask you to take action and urge the Australian government to protect Julian Assange from extradition.

In November 2010, a European Arrest Warrant was issued against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for allegations of sexual misconduct against two Swedish women; a claim that he denies.

An extradition hearing took place at the Belmarsh Magistrates Court in London in February 2011 to consider an application by Swedish authorities for the extradition of Assange to Sweden.

The outcome of the hearing was announced on February 24, when the extradition warrant was upheld.

Since then, Assange has been under house arrest, fighting extradition to Sweden by appealing his case in Britain’s High Court. The appeal was dismissed on November 2 and ordered the extradition of Assange to face prosecution in Sweden.

Now he in remains on house arrest in Britain, appealing this time to the Supreme Court. If refused, Assange will be extradited to Sweden where he would not face a fair trial and more likely be handed to the US where he risks inhumane treatment and possible execution.

The Australian Extradition Act says that a person cannot be deported from Australia to face prosecution on a capital charge if there is the slightest chance they would face the death penalty. Before deportation, there must be an assurance the death penalty will not be imposed.

Petite Pointer,
via email [abridged]

Blood diamond ban lifted

It was upsetting to hear of the ending of the blood diamond ban placed on Zimbabwe’s Mugabe regime and that this has come about with the active support of the US, EU and Canada.

It seems blatantly obvious once again that in the realm of finance, upholding respect for human rights fades when big businesses are enticed by huge profits from precious mineral wealth.

Sadly this is the common story of many countries and their corporation’s dealings in the Congo and the rest of Africa. The exploitation of the vast riches of Africa benefits brutal militias, corrupt governments and transnational companies, while the African peoples remain poor and their natural environments are ruined.

While a lot of western nations talk of the value of human rights, they regularly practice these shameful actions. Such hypocritical policies on injustice and brutality leave these countries with no semblance of dignity or ethical principles.

Steven Katsineris,
Hurstbridge, Vic.

Israel’s dangerous threats to Iran

Israel’s enthusiasm to go to war with Iran — with or without US support — is threatening to create the very catastrophe it suggests it prevents: the destruction of the state of Israel.

Although most Israelis do not actually believe that Iran is likely to attack them unprovoked, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is eager to commence military action.

This is despite the fact that Israel’s four most powerful military and Mossad security chiefs, including Mr Meir Dagan, are all strongly opposed to military action.

Hillel Schenker coordinator of the CSCME Security Group and a writer for the Israeli paper Haaretz said that unless Israel also signs the international Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), as Iran has, real diplomatic talks with Iran may be impossible.

The political landscape of the Middle East has now changed; Israel can no longer rely on
Egyptian President Mubarak’s military support. It also faces a stronger and more confident Hezbollah that is not going to sit and watch Israel attack its allies.

Add to that Turkey, China’s and Russia’s condemnation of any such attacks and you have an Israel dangerously pursuing military action that will result in a war on all fronts.

Dalal Oubani,
via email [Abridged]


In Matthew 16:26 Jesus asks: “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” And yet that is exactly what Prime Minister Julia Guillard has done. When she became Prime Minister she was hailed by many as being a breath of fresh air. Here she was, the first female prime minister of Australia. A former lawyer, she seemed to have it all – the head of a country, a good man behind her and the support of her party and nation. And yet, what is the good of having all of that if you sell your soul to the devil? The thing that has outraged me enough to write this letter is one word: uranium. Why on earth would you sell uranium to anyone – especially India? The PM insists that they are of no threat but how many times has this happened? Just look at Afghanistan – we are training their soldiers and police only to have them fire back at us! Prime Minister Guillard declared it a bitter day when three Australian soldiers were killed yet still says that we are “making progress!” Let’s not forget that foreign powers, including the United States, briefly supported the Taliban, hoping it would restore order in the war-ravaged country. And we still seem to be no better off after ten years of war with Afghanistan. Now, we are selling uranium to India. During the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States, huge stockpiles of uranium were amassed and tens of thousands of nuclear weapons were created using enriched uranium and plutonium made from uranium. And let’s not forget Hiroshima, Nagasaki. It seems we have learnt nothing. The first female prime minister of Australia – there you go girls – go for it! If Julia can do it – so can you. But really, why would anyone bother?

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