IA INVESTIGATION: Interpol and Julian Assange's red notice

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Why did Julian Assange receive an Interpol Red Notice, but Gaddafi only an Orange? Tess Lawrence investigates the murky world of Interpol exclusively for IA, asking some troubling questions and uncovering some startling facts.

  • Why was Julian Assange – who has not yet been charged given the most severe Red Notice by Interpol, when brutal dictator Muammar Gaddafi only received an Orange Notice?

  • Do senior Interpol officials have a vendetta against Wikileaks and Julian Assange?

  • Is the organisation and its Travel Document system fatally compromised?

  • What's with the Interpol Colour Chart for the world's most wanted?

    Gaddafi Orange Notice page 1: click on image to see the full document in PDF

    Recidivist mass murderer Muammar Gaddafi – he of the all-girl vestal virgin Clit Squad – cops a mere clockwork Orange Notice whilst our Julian Assange of WikiLeaks – exposer of state-sanctioned killers and war crimes and who is fighting extradition to Sweden for uncharged sexual allegations – is king hit with the big ticket Red Notice. Go figure.

    There's something shonky going on in the shady world of Interpolitics. Let's move in for a closer shufti.

    Have you checked out the profiles of alleged crims who normally make the Red Notice billboard? We're talking big-time kahuna felons here. Terrorists, mass murderers, people traffickers, drug barons and their ilk. Got the picture?

    Try as I did, I just couldn't find anyone else in the entire of Red Notice history as far down the criminal dude chain as our Julian. And, apparently, never before has Sweden requested a Red Notice based on similar circumstances and allegations. What's more, Interpol sources say that the Red Notice posting of Julian Assange is the first and only case of its kind. Is that true Interpol?

    Interpol is such a funny little secretive and paradoxical clubbette—always going on about how worthy and important it is to data sharing, preserving international security, the ongoing tumultuous fight against terrorism and corruption and the eradication of international crime by enabling all of their 188 members with the power to fight organised crime—including that well known bastion of human rights, justice and democratic egalitarianism, Libya.

    Ipso facto Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, the Philippines, Morocco, Sudan, Australia, Britain, the United States, Russia, India, Indonesia, China, Pakistan and Afghanistan and all of the rest of us who are guilty of hypocrisy and political expediency and who wallpaper our economies with banknotes sullied with the sweat and blood of the disenfranchised, the bullied, the defeated and the enslaved.

    We dance naked before our fully clothed despotic masters and do their bidding on the pretext they do ours. Ahhh...political fellatio—a higher art form when conducted between consenting countries rather than desperate homo sapiens.

    Only a matter of weeks ago, the West and its subordinates were extolling the virtues of the important geopolitical positions and posturings of the likes of dictatorial psychopaths Egypt's Hosni Mubarak and Muammar Gadaffi—Libya's self-proclaimed 'King of Africa'.

    The facts that these two share the same incompetent hair colourist as Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and appear to have been dipped in formaldehyde should have given us a few clues. They've had so much cosmetic surgery they probably haven't any tear ducts left. That's why they can't cry, for pity's sake, and why they didn't need all those tear gas canisters we authorised and branded with our logo.

    What do we care about their peoples; our brothers and sisters; our kith and kin? Other tribes they may be—but of our own species? Well, sort of.  Just. But hey, they were really losers weren't they? Big time. They deserved the Governments they didn't vote for. Like us.

    Julian Assange Interpol Red Notice

    Former Interpol President Jackie Selebi convicted of corruption

    Just like Interpol deserved its former President...who was done for corruption, fraud and racketeering and such things. True dinks, I kid you not. Yes, the President of Interpol!

    While we're at it, I'm puzzled as to how an international agency such as Interpol could be so incompetent that it couldn't even find a photo of Julian Assange to go with his Red Notice posting (see above). C’mon, fair suck of the fellatio sav, haven't they heard of Google or in-your-Facebook?

    Interpol remains publicly contemptuous of – and unaccountable – to the world it purports to serve.

    For a start, they're supposed to be the top guns, the crème de la crème, of information gathering sleuths, data merging, analyses and people tracking. Well, I'd like to see a group like Transparency International investigate Interpol. You know that Interpol is not supposed to do any political favours?

    But I'm not convinced. Call me churlish...perhaps I've been inhaling too much tear gas. Or not enough!

    Take the way Interpol crisis managed their corrupt President, Jackie Selebi.

    Former Interpol President and corrupt South African Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi

    In 2002, the then National Commissioner of the South African Police Service, was elected as Interpol's Vice President—and a couple of years later, in 2004 he was voted President.

    I'm assuming that Interpol would practice normal HR due diligence and conduct background checks not only on its thousands of employees worldwide but also on its elected officers.

    After all, doing these checks is their forte. Surely no-one would be exempt from these basic policing protocols and security checks?

    Of course, on the surface of it, Mr Selebi's credentials were impeccable, no question. As were his connections...well, most of them. After all, he was a former head of the ANC Youth League, an MP, South Africa's representative to the United Nations and Chair of an Anti-Landmine Conference, Chair of Justice, Crime Prevention and Security and all of that. Goodness, the man even won a Human Rights Award! (What a co-incidence, Julian Assange has won several of those too...)

    On September 10, 2007, South Africa's National Prosecuting Authority issued a warrant for Selebi's arrest. Did Interpol post a Red Notice on their President? Course not. How come he didn't resign as President of Interpol until months later, on January 13, 2008?

    And why is my feverish mind and feint heart suddenly darting over the Kenyan border and thinking of the tragic murders of human rights activists—lawyer Oscar Kamau Kingara and his assistant John Paul Oulu? Both men were gunned down in their car whilst stuck in a traffic jam near the University of Nairobi on their way to a human rights meeting. These courageous whistleblowers had refused to cower before corrupt police and political thugs—and the report they helped produce in 2008 was to result in that courage being met with even greater cowardice by their killers on March 5, 2009 and indifference by the rest of the world.

    Like their brutal executions, the report The Cry of Blood - Report on Extra Judicial Killings and Disappearances – and there were thousands of killings attributed to the Kenyan police – was largely ignored by Western and mainstream media. Still is. But Julian Assange and WikiLeaks grasped the significance of the Report and published it and were damned, earning Amnesty International's New Media Award for 2009.

    So, a kangaroo hop and a carjacking skip from Kenya back to South Africa. Both Interpol members. We shan't bother joining any dots.

    Jackie Selebi facing charges in court

    On July 2, 2010, after being subjected to a scathing dressing down by the Judge in South Africa's High Court, Selebi was found guilty of corruption.  He was subsequently sentenced to 15 years imprisonment and has since been given leave to appeal.

    From the evidence submitted to the Court, it was obvious that Selebi abused his privileged position – like alerting people that they were under police surveillance—not a good look for a President of Interpol – and made preposterous assertions that he was unaware of the criminal activities of his longstanding decidedly criminal civilian associates. This from a man who was his country's Police Commissioner and the head of Interpol. Our Interpol. The World's Interpol.

    And let us not forget that while holding dual office, Selebi was the dude who first suggested legalising prostitution—but only for the duration of the 2010 World Soccer Cup, mind you.

    Nice one Jackie. Your heart was in the right place—right behind your trouser zip. You can see why he was elected head of Interpol.

    Now let's be fair about this. Just because a President of Interpol turns out to be corrupt does not mean we should condemn the whole organisation. After all, excreta (it’s the lapsed Catholic in me) happens, to misquote Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.

    Interpol's Nazi past

    And nor can you blame today's Interpolsters for what happened years ago either. There is the Hitler connection of course. Yep.  SS Excreta happened there. The organization that was the forerunner of Interpol, the International Criminal Police Commission, had a succession of four Nazi Presidents because of Germany's annexing of Austria in 1938, though we must remember that for two of the gang of four SS Generals who headed the ICPC the Fates intervened. Ernst Kaltenbrunner, a lawyer and war criminal who replaced Richard Heydrich after he was assassinated by Patriots, was actually executed after the Nuremberg Trials for war crimes.

    Not sure if this is all on the Interpol website; maybe it is, but then again, if the Assange Red Notice is anything to go by, Interpol is capable of a bit of revisionist history.

    The Singaporean connection

    My sources confirm that the Lyon-based organisation is not a happy place to work in these days.

    Here are just a few reasons why so, according to informants:

    * There continues to be great disquiet within Interpol about the Assange Red Notice.

    Current President of Interpol and Singapore's former Commissioner of Police, Khoo Boon Hui (click in picture for full text of speech in PDF)

    * The Assange Red Notice was distributed to all 188 Interpol member countries on November 20,  2010—a mere 10 days after a remarkably short speech was delivered to the 79th Interpol General Assembly in Doha, Qatar by the current President of Interpol and Singapore's former Commissioner of Police, Khoo Boon Hui.  (Interpol's bio on Khoo yet to be updated). Mr Khoo is also an Honorary Officer of the Order of Australia and has a number of other international gongs, including from Thailand, Indonesia, Brunei and Malaysia.

    * In December last year, Fairfax Media (and others) published sections of a WikiLeaks US State Department cable relating to former Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim under the explosive headline in The Sunday Age: 'Sodomy charges were a set-up'.

    In an exclusive, journalists Philip Dorling and Nick McKenzie wrote:
    A leaked US State Department cable reveals that Singaporean intelligence officials told their Australian counterparts that Mr Anwar engaged in the conduct of which he is accused, a claim he has steadfastly denied.

    The journalists also wrote that "Australia's Office of National Assessments (ONA) also states the conduct was the result of apparent entrapment by Mr Anwar's enemies" and that the "...document says the Singaporeans told ONA they made this assessment on the basis of 'technical intelligence', which is likely to relate to intercepted communications".

    According to Dorling and McKenzie, the cable that "deals with Mr Anwar's sodomy case" is dated November 2008 (a month after Mr Khoo formerly replaced the disgraced Jackie Selebi as President of Interpol) and "released to The Sunday Age by WikiLeaks".

    At the time, Mr Khoo was also Singapore's Police Commissioner.

    Many of the players in this complicated and ongoing saga, including Interpol, would have scores to settle with Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. Join your own dots.

    Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser bin Khalifa al Thani, Qatar's Minister of State for Internal Affairs

    * But wait, there's more. At last year's General Assembly, in what Interpol Secretary General Ron Noble described as an "investment" but what Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser bin Khalifa al Thani, Qatar's Minister of State for Internal Affairs pointedly described as a "donation" on behalf of the Emir and his Heir Apparent (who said there was no succession planning in the Middle East!) it was announced that Singapore would be the happy recipient of US$2 million towards the fund set up to establish the Interpol Global Complex, housed in Singapore.  That's a bit of a coup for Singapore AND Singaporean born Interpol President Hui. (In truth, Qatar seems to have shouldered the financial and practical responsibilities for a number of Interpol-related initiatives.)

    * Incidentally, Australia's Federal Police Chief, Tony Negus also attended the General Assembly and gave a short speech, quite rightly complaining that he was given only 10 minutes of airtime.

    Interpol and Assange's red notice

    * It should be noted that in the mere 11 paragraphs of Mr Hui's closing speech, a precious singular paragraph was devoted to extolling the virtue of the Red Notices. Interpol insiders say President Hui's reference was a primer for the Assange Red Notice bombshell and that in preparation Sweden withheld permission for the Assange Red Notice to be immediately posted online and ordered it to be held over.

    * Inexplicably it was not posted on Interpol's website until December 1, 2010.  Sort of defeats the whole purpose of the urgency of a Red Notice, dunnit? Unless it wasn't really urgent...

    * I was told:
    ...there were several reasons for this. Firstly, there was an internal dispute about the posting of the Red Notice for Assange. Secondly, Sweden kept revising their requests; and, thirdly, our bosses wanted to do a bit of showing off. Julian Assange was a star chamber pin-up for us and the Red Notice program and the Pres wanted to highlight that at the Assembly.

    * The paperwork for the Assange Red Notice failed to comply with Interpol's own regulations.

    * Sweden revised its requests on several more occasions.

    * The documents were incorrectly filed.

    * The Assange Red Notice was designed to compromise and damage the personal reputation of Julian Assange and cause him to be held in disrepute.

    * That there was a serious internal dispute between Interpol staff and Interpol Executives over the posting of the Assange Red Notice.

    * That the Assange Red Notice may, in fact, be defamatory because it breaches Interpol's guidelines.

    * Further, that the tenuous and spurious requests made by Sweden to Interpol could be used as supportive evidence that Sweden and Interpol (and others) deliberately colluded to inhibit Assange's chances of a fair trial and diminish his international public standing.

    * That Interpol has email correspondence, text and communication notes/recordings that confirm such discussion and collusion between Sweden, Australia, the United States and Interpol Executives and these materials attest to political interference by these countries and their representatives, in contravention and violation of Interpol's own regulations.

    * That the current Secretary-General of Interpol, Ronald K. Noble is “too close" to US intelligence and remains partisan to preserving and protecting the legacy of the George W. Bush administration and that, despite his formidable qualifications, he has been in the position too long—he is now in his 11th year as Secretary General and his third term. Some of the other 188 member nations understandably want a stint in the high chair.

    * Interpol's own rules and regulations allow for Julian Assange and his representatives to access and have copies of his Interpol files.  These rules are available in a document entitled Operating Rules of the Commission for the Control of Interpol's Files.

    Informants within Interpol are fearful of being exposed but say they will be prepared to speak with an investigatory body such as Transparency International. They do not trust any of Interpol's internal mechanisms or dispute resolution procedures.

    Interpol's Travel Document system is compromised

    Moreover, they are concerned that the Travel Document program – designed to fast track travel for Interpol operatives and preclude the need for Visas – can be easily abused by rogue member states and despotic regimes and their familial groupings and coterie, especially when trying to flee their countries and safeguard loot.

    They cite the irony of the Orange Notice postings of Muammar Gadaffi and members of his family and close associates.

    Said one operative on condition of anonymity:
    Typically, these close family members and associates are nearly always in charge of security and intelligence. They are the last people in the world who should have unbridled access to international travel. But that places us in a diplomatic cleft. We need to revisit the eligibility criteria of the Travel Documents—and we need to subject card holders to more stringent security and character checks.

    Interpol Notices' definitions

    The Australian Government's shabby treatment of Julian Assange

    Despite Prime Minister Julia Gillard's assertions that she will not be discussing the Julian Assange matter with US President Barack Obama, the word is that the Prime Minister will instead be discussing the matter with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

    It may be a long plane journey from the Opal Office in Australia to Washington's Oval Office, but hopefully it gave our PM time to contemplate her unimpressive political performance thus far.

    Gillard has to undertake some serious reparation work to restore her credibility both at home—and equally with supporters of The First Amendment and America's many supporters of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. Not everyone is baying for Assange's blood. And let us not forget poor Bradley Manning.

    Gillard's preposterous and legally prejudicial inept remarks last year, condemning Assange's activities as "illegal" will forever staple her to the marginalia of Australia's political history. It immediately signalled to all Australia's sons and daughters that at the first sign of any 'trouble' we are to be immediately abandoned by our Prime Minister and also by her obsequious and flaccid Attorney General, Robert McClelland.

    Still, we should be getting used to it by now from our Governments. Think Hicks. Think Habib.

    Think Van Nguyen. Think pensioners. Think indigenous. Think disabled. Think refugees and asylum seekers. Think little kids who watch their family members drown. Think elderly. Think homeless. Think unemployed. Think mentally distressed. Think defence personnel. Think parliamentary super packages. You'd think that the results of the last Federal election would have taught them that we, the people, have had the proverbial gutful. But they've already reverted to type.

    It is time we learned from the children of the revolution.
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