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Bob Carr

Tag Archives | Bob Carr

Viceroys of the Pacific: Spying on East Timor

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The International Court of Justice hears Timor-Leste's case against Australia over claims of espionage. Photo: Nicolas Delunay

The Australians are the underdressed Viceroys of the pacific, a vestige of past power. They are happy to be retained for various tasks – doing the bidding of the US, most of the time, and playing that rather distasteful game of bullying smaller neighbours when required.

The International Court of Justice hears Timor-Leste’s case against Australia over claims of espionage. Photo: Nicolas Delunay

In 2013, the East Timorese government found that their cabinet rooms had been bugged by the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS). The incident itself had happened nine years previously. Things got rather spicier when the domestic Australian intelligence service, ASIO, raided the office and house of lawyer Bernard Collaery, a lawyer acting for the East Timorese government. The documents seized ostensibly related to spying allegations concerning the $40 billion oil and gas treaty between the countries. The distinguished international lawyer Sir Eli Lauterpacht was beside himself, calling them “unprecedented, improper and inexplicable.” The incident landed Australia before the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

These revelations have been getting some coverage, though not enough. They got the East Timorese into a considerable state. East Timor’s foreign minister, Alfredo Pires, was adamant that sovereignty had been breached by the bargy impudence of the Australian services. Moves were then commenced to engage an arbitration process to have the Timor Sea Treaty invalidated. But the goggles of paternalism remain strong – former Australian foreign minister Senator Bob Carr spoke about the fictitious friendship that governs relationships of abuse. The bully thinks of being loved, even as the bullying is being inflicted. The victim is also expected to tag along.

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Defecting Ambassador Reopens Australia and Zimbabwe’s Unique Political History

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Zimbabwe's ambassador to Australia, Jacqueline Zwambila, and President Robert Mugabe.  Photos: Melissa Adams and Associated Press

The Australian Government has received an application for a protection visa from Zimbabwean Ambassador Jacqueline Zwambila who fears her life would be in danger should she return home.

Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Australia, Jacqueline Zwambila, and President Robert Mugabe. Photos: Melissa Adams and Associated Press

She received the appointment during the previous power sharing agreement, when Morgan Tsvangirai was the prime minister and Robert Mugabe was president. The election results in July 2013 saw Mugabe’s regime regain complete control causing the Movement for Democratic Change Party (MDC) to lose its ministerial posts. Zimbabwean Home Affairs Minister, Kembo Mohadi, has been quoted as questioning Ambassador Zwambila’s asylum bid, “Everyone is entitled to their opinion but her remarks are surprising because all the leaders of the MDC-T are here. So, why does she feel threatened? What is so special about her? If she is threatened by anyone, she should tell us as we are responsible for security here as central government.”

Ms. Zwambila has responded, telling the ABC in an interview, “My colleagues in Zimbabwe might be there but they are not safe, it’s well documented what has happened to the members of the Movement for Democratic Change. For him to tell me I am safe when they are the perpetrators of the smear campaign which has been perpetrated against me, what did you expect him to say? They never responded once to the smear campaigns which were going against me, they were the ones who were actually feeding their own newspapers.”

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Reheating the Beans: The Gillard White Paper on Asia

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Australia's Prime minister Julia Gillard. Paul Miller/AAP

It has a familiar ring to it. Australia, that White Tribe of Asia, is now sounding desperate, hoping for recognition in a region it has struggled to comprehend since the days of British colonisation.

Australia’s Prime minister Julia Gillard. Paul Miller/AAP

If human beings are seeking to find the common thread of expression, that elemental language amongst Babel’s sea of tongues, then we can say that the White Paper on the Asian Century seeks to do so – in part. This is, however, only the start. There are, altogether, 25 speculative objectives. Four “Asian” languages have been selected as priorities: Chinese, Indonesian, Hindi and Japanese. The report deems it fundamental that every child be given the chance to learn an Asian language throughout their education in a school system that “will be in the top five in the world.” Globally, Australia will be ranked in the top five countries for ease of doing business and our innovation system will be in the world’s top 10. Astrology is a superb thing in some ways, but dangerous in politics.

All of this goes to show that the Australian political establishment can’t quite work out where it stands. It curtsies and adores the American military machine, bedding it with compulsive lasciviousness. It also knows the world’s largest Muslim population lies to its poorly defended North, not that any half-bright hack in Jakarta would be interested in shedding blood on desolate Australian soil.

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In Response to Houla Massacre Australia Expels Syrian Diplomats

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Children killed in the Houla massacre. Source: Freedom House

Australia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr has expelled the Syrian Charge d’Affairs Jawdat Ali Syrian in the wake of the Houla massacre that have reportedly seen 32 children massacred in Syria in recent days.

Children killed in the Houla massacre. Source: Freedom House

He has said that Australians are “appalled at a regime that could connive in or organise the execution, the killing of men women and children.” Jawdat Ali has 72 hours to leave Australia. The decision follows Britain’s foreign secretary William Hague who has summoned the Syrian diplomat. Pressure is also mounting on the Obama administration to do more than sanctions in response to the more than year-long genocide occurring in Syria. Australia has expected the Syrian Government to cease military operations and abide by the ceasefire brokered by Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan, the massacre of 92 people in the village of Houla has put to rest the ceasefire.

“This massacre of civilians in Haoula is a hideous and brutal crime,” Foreign Minister Carr has said. “In doing this we are more or less moving with our friends around the world. I expect other countries will be doing this overnight Australian time.” The measure is one that on the surface confirms that previous Australian condemnations and sanctions have failed to have any impact on the Al-Assad regime. Statements from the Australian Government in April 2011 condemned in the strongest possible terms human rights abuses at the hands of security forces in Syria. Interviewed at the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group in London, the former Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd announced Australia was imposing sanctions against Syria regardless of any United Nations Security Council (UNSC) actions or interventions.

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