Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Australia’s extradition laws – creeping loss of civil liberties

a new form of economic imperialism, with the long arm of the Government using criminal enforcement powers to enforce commercial interests at the behest of corporations and their lobbyists. It’s about power.

As recently amended, Australia’s extradition laws enable a person to be extradited for minor offences

extradition is not precluded if the person faces cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment that is not severe enough to amount to torture. 

What is to become of individuals who engage in non-violent political protest on the internet?

The tentacles of extradition, Online opinion By Kellie Tranter -, 23 October 2012  Being hailed as “incredibly brave” to stand up to the United States, UK home secretary Theresa May has halted the extradition of British computer hacker Gary McKinnon because of medical reports warning that McKinnon – who was first indicted by a federal grand jury in Virginia in November 2002 –would kill himself if he was sent to stand trial in the United States. But unanswered questions remain about the nature of political extradition cases more generally.

In 2007 former NSW Chief Judge in Equity, Justice Peter Young, highlighted in the Australian Law Journal ‘the bizarre fact that people are being extradited to the US to face criminal charges when they have never been to the US and the alleged act occurred wholly outside the US.’

Justice Young’s comments were raised in the context of the case of Hew Griffiths, an Australian who was the first person in the world to be extradited and criminally prosecuted in the United States for copyright infringement. .... The Howard Government was widely criticised at the time for forsaking Hew Griffiths. Australia’s negotiations for a free trade agreement with the United States were then underway. They covered cooperation on intellectual property issues and theoretically enhanced the risk of Australian citizens becoming susceptible to extradition and prosecution in the United States for copyright infringement carried out here, …. a new form of economic imperialism, with the long arm of the Government using criminal enforcement powers to enforce commercial interests at the behest of corporations and their lobbyists. It’s about power……
here’s Australia’s participation in negotiations for the secretive, multi-national Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement which contains an intellectual property chapter. Members of the press are barred from attending the sessions but 600 corporations are directly participating.

In March this year Australia’s lead negotiator, Hamish McCormick, reportedly declined to give assurances that participants will not agree to anything that undermines Australian law.

All of these developments fit the international trend towards the enactment of harmonised laws that give multinational protection to commercial interests to the detriment of national sovereignty. And is it any coincidence that the international IP protective matrix is being constructed in tandem with a co-ordinated international move towards increased social media monitoring and data gathering, and hugely expanded data retention and analysis capabilities? According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, unnamed parties are even seeking to broaden the uses of European Union Data Retention Directive to include prosecution of copyright infringement.

As recently amended, Australia’s extradition laws enable a person to be extradited for minor offences (punishable by less than 12 months imprisonment); any offence prescribed by Australia regulations are among those that will no longer be considered political, and extradition is not precluded if the person faces cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment that is not severe enough to amount to torture. The level of proof required equired for US extradition isn’t high: ‘evidence sufficient to cause a person of ordinary prudence and caution to conscientiously entertain a reasonable belief of the accused’s guilt.’……
What is to become of individuals who engage in non-violent political protest on the internet? How many of us really consider the potential risks of our online activities? Will our Attorney-General use the discretion she has to stop extradition of an Australian citizen? Into what other areas will extraditable offences stretch merely to protect commercial interests reframed as “national economic security”?

And our fate will be left with the backroom manipulators.. http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=14259

October 24, 2012 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties

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