“Lapdog Diplomacy”: Another Christmas In Aussie Maximum Security For Former US Pilot Daniel Duggan

If you’re not familiar with the case, Mr Duggan, a 55-year-old former US citizen and military pilot, now a naturalised Australian with an Australian wife and kids, was arrested more than a year ago at the request of the US government. He is accused of accepting money to train Chinese pilots more than a decade ago, and is being held by Australian on behalf of the US on charges of conspiracy, arms trafficking and money laundering while he fights his extradition to the US. Our government’s apparent enthusiasm for locking people up (or acquiesing to other countries locking our citizens up… see ‘Assange’) to please the Americans is well known, and in this case, described by Mr Duggan’s legal team as “lapdog diplomacy”. As mentioned above by Roy, there’s a fundraiser set up by the family, who have even been blocked by the Australian Federal Police from selling their NSW south coast property to fund Mr Duggan’s legal defense. Here’s how his wife, Saffrine, describes the situation. Saffrine Duggan… fighting for the release of her husband from an Australian prison, former US pilot Daniel Duggan. “Without ever being charged of an offence in Australia, my husband Dan has been rotting in max security isolation for almost a year at the behest of the US – all at the Australian taxpayers’ expense. “Despite being an Australian citizen with no history of violence, he’s been torn from his six kids and our family is being bankrupted by the Australian government. You may have seen us on ABC’s 7:30 report. Dan is facing extradition to the US, and 65 years in prison. I can’t bear the idea of telling my kids they’ll lose their father essentially for life. “Dan’s lawyer Bernard Collaery [Ed’s note: The same lawyer who stared down the Australian Government over their illegal wire-tapping of the East Timor embassy in Canberra] has called the whole situation a hypocrisy and a show trial, and is trying to stop the extradition through Australian courts. Dan can’t get bail because there is no presumption of innocence in the extradition law of our country. His chances of a fair trial in the US are slim to none. “As we fight for Dan’s freedom, our bills are mounting and I need your support – can you donate to keep us going through this nightmare? “Dan’s case is now the subject of a rare Inquiry by Australia’s Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security which is looking into the legality of ASIO’s conduct. When I talked to my friend Glenn, a former army officer, he agrees that Dan has been caught up in a politically motivated case dating back to the Trump Administration. “Australians will not stand for interference by the United States in our country. Please give what you can so our family can stop this injustice.”

Secret courts and glaring errors – all in a day’s extradition

A legal debacle has emerged in what can only be described as yet another sad example of Australia’s relentless and wilful persecution of Australian citizen Daniel Duggan and his family on behalf of the United States. Earlier this month, a hastily and sloppily prepared AFP affidavit riddled with typos, mistakes and misleading information was secretly submitted (ex parte) to the NSW Supreme Court. The AFP’s false affidavit again weaponised the Australian legal system against Dan, his wife Saffrine and his six children on behalf of the US government, all paid for by Australian taxpayers. Most Australians might believe that secret ex parte courts where allegations can be laid and property seized, without the defendant or legal representation getting a chance to contest,  only happen in authoritarian countries. Not so. In fact, the geopolitical persecution against Daniel Duggan dates began in 2016 in another secret  court in the US which indicted Dan for allegedly training Chinese military pilots while working as a flight instructor to a civilian South African test flying school 12 years ago. Dan rejects these allegations entirely. The indictment, however, led to his arrest on the 21st of October 2022 and he has been in maximum security solitary confinement in Australian prisons ever since. Put simply, his presumption of innocence was trampled on. Dan is now forced to fight extradition to the United States from solitary, despite have no Australian charges or previous criminal history of any kind. The father of six children is locked up in maximum security with severely limited communications, trying to navigate a complicated and expensive legal system that appears to be stacked against him. This harsh, heavy-handed treatment is no accident. Akin to the Robodebt scandal, it is deliberately cruel and designed to break a person psychologically, emotionally and financially. Dan’s legal fees are mounting quickly and, while he has no Australian charges against him, he has no access to legal aid nor has he or his family received any support from the Australian governments, be it federal or state. One might wonder what are the benefits of an Australian citizenship when a foreign government can persecute you inside Australia, and the Australian government assists them in doing so with no regard to your welfare or the welfare of your family, including six children. If that weren’t bad enough, in a mean-spirited deliberate move to cause as much duress as possible on this Australian family, this disgraceful, false affidavit has been filed by the AFP again in secret ex parte hearing. It is an attempt to seize a property solely owned by Dan’s wife, Saffrine, and which was in the process of being sold in order to pay for more than a $1 million in legal fees mounting, and the future of the children. This is all part and parcel of the US government’s extradition playbook designed to cause as much psychological, emotional and financial duress as possible to force them to give up. It’s all enshrined in one of the most unjust legal instruments in the country, the Extradition Treaty. As unfair as this treaty is, it still requires two main thresholds to be met: As a sovereign nation, is the Australian government’s primary responsibility to prioritise the welfare and interests of its citizens over that of a foreign government? Throughout the entire extradition proceedings against Dan, we have witnessed a disgraceful display of lapdog politics. False affidavits and improprieties that don’t stand up to scrutiny, and certainly don’t pass the Australian pub test. It’s hardly what we expect of the land of a fair go.  When coupled with other matters like David McBride, Richard Boyle and Julian Assange, it helps explain why faith and trust in government is now at an historic, all-time low. If you believe Dan’s persecution is unfair and unjust, please sign the petition at FreeDanDuggan.org, to urge the Australian government to vacate this extradition request and be on the right side of history. Please also consider making a donation to help the family pay its huge legal costs and survive through this extremely unfair abuse of power. https://chuffed.org/project/freedanduggan-campaign

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