Julia Gillard should ask Barack Obama to cease the persecution of Julian Assange while the US President is in Australia next week, says senior correspondent Barry Everingham.
I’m not quite sure why some Australians are denied the natural justice expected for all citizens of this awesome country of ours.
And it hurts me when a Labor Government stoops to the despicable depths to which the Howard Government (with the help of Kim Beazley) descended when it came to David Hicks who endured years in the US torture facility on Guantanamo Bay — where this young Australian became the plaything of some brave US Marines.
Now, we all know John Howard was in thrall of the most intellectually challenged man ever to grace the White House and we also know Washington dictated Australian foreign policy while Alexander Downer was foreign minister.
In fact, he was Australia’s longest serving MP in that post – and undoubtedly the most ineffectual – as he giggled and sneered his way around the world.
Let’s leave Hicks aside for the moment and turn our attention to another hapless Australian — Julian Assange.
He is another citizen tossed on the trash heap by that most unlikely of couples — Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd.
It seems their inability to assist Assange could mean he will end up in a Swedish jail en route to the United States, where he could face a death sentence.
There is a hideous parallel in the case of both men — they have faced foreign courts on charges which couldn’t have been laid in Australia because their “offences” were not illegal according to our laws.
At least in the case of Assange, he was tried the High Court of the United Kingdom.
In the case of Hicks, he was dragged before an illegal US Army kangaroo court, where he would admit to anything to get out of Guantanamo Bay.
I wrote to the Australian head of state in far off Buckingham Palace, asking her to intervene on her subject’s behalf and have him released and returned to this — her dominion.
In one of the most political acts of her long reign — the Australian head of state acknowledged my letter (not by a Palace lady in waiting, mind you, but by her chief correspondence officer) and ordered my letter be sent to the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations in Whitehall. The Queen of England must have already learned what type of men Howard and Downer were and bypassed them!
The Secretary of State had her chief security advisor contact me, who told me in no uncertain terms that HM’s (British) Government had secured the release of all British citizens held in Guantanamo Bay — all of whom had been returned to England and immediately released into the community.
The security advisor further confirmed that neither Howard, Downer nor Ruddock ever asked Whitehall to help in the Hicks matter.
Julia Gillard is riding high right now and seems to almost have Tony Abbott on the ropes.
Now would be the time for her to be magnanimous and, while President Obama is here next week, ask him to stop the persecution of Citizen Assange and have him returned home.