Wednesday marks an important day this week. That is when the Supreme Court hands down its judgment in the now infamous case of Mr Julian Assange. Now people are asking: what will happen in this case? If the Supreme Court rules in Assange’s favour, where will he go? On the other hand, if Assange loses, will he be immediately extradited to Sweden?

This is what most likely will happen:

In the case of winning, Mr Assange will immediately board a flight to Australia. This is because even if he wins it doesn’t necessarily mean that Sweden will withdraw the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) on him. If the EAW remains in force, Assange would face the risk of arrest if entering any other European country. On the other hand, Assange is more than afraid of an extradition request by the USA being filed. Australia, his homeland, would be the best bet for him. However, by no means is Australia to be considered a safe haven for Assange, although his strategy appears to have been to create a favourable atmosphere for him over there. Indeed, if USA would file an extradition request to Australia, the seriousness of the allegations would most likely place Mr Assange into prison for years. As it turns out, in Australia a fully exhausted appeal path against extradition could drag on for approximately 7 years. While bail is always a possibility, it is rarely used due to a very difficult applicable test commonly referred to as Cabal.

On the other hand, if Assange loses, his legal team will file an urgent application for interim measures under Rule 39 of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to prevent his extradition pending appeal. Based on Assange’s behaviour so far, it is reasonable to expect that he will appeal to the ECHR. While Rule 39 is commonly used in deportation and extradition cases to prevent irreversible damage, it is never used lightly. If ECHR would grant the sought measures, it could stop Assange’s extradition until the final judgment in his appeal is handed down. In Abu Hamza’s case the use of Rule 39 caused a delay of 2 years. 

Jennifer Robinson

Legal adviser for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Jennifer Robinson is back at Sydney University to lecture in public interest law for a few months. Picture: Renee Nowytarger
Source: The Australian

AS we approached the group of Oxford graduates milling outside the ersatz grandeur of St Paul’s college dining hall, the chatter subsided a little.

All eyes were on my companion, Jennifer Robinson. She always had a habit of making an impact. But from our days at Balliol College I never expected her to attain international legal stardom, at least not so quickly.

Robinson, 31, became a legal adviser to Julian Assange in October 2010, a month before he burst into global consciousness. The “world’s first stateless media organisation”, as Robinson terms WikiLeaks, had released thousands of classified American diplomatic cables into the public domain, embarrassing and infuriating the US government.

“Julian Assange should be feted as Australia’s most decorated contributor to journalism,” Robinson says, “yet he is vilified for uncovering gross abuses of state power.” My friend has traipsed the globe advocating for Assange’s rights both at law and in principle, in the process becoming one of the most recognisable faces of WikiLeaks.

This week leaked emails from a US private intelligence firm suggested Assange might soon face further charges in the US, possibly under the Espionage Act. “We have long been concerned about the risk of US extradition,” Robinson says. “I expect they are waiting for the outcome of the Swedish extradition.”

Assange has been stuck in Britain fighting extradition to Sweden for alleged sexual assault, which the Supreme Court is due to resolve any day now.

Robinson is passionate about human rights, free speech and journalistic freedom, as well as the need for greater transparency in government.

Now full-time with the Bertha Foundation, a South African NGO that sponsors individuals uniquely placed to prompt social and economic change, Robinson has returned to Sydney for a few months to take up an adjunct lectureship in public interest law at the University of Sydney.

At the annual Oxford alumni dinner in Sydney this month we swapped some memories from our time at the university and after the main course the event organiser convinced her to make an impromptu speech.

I’ve always found remarkable Robinson’s ability to switch from an effervescent companion on the social circuit to hardnosed interlocutor.

“May you be involved in a lawsuit in which you are right,” she said, opening her speech with the old legal proverb.

Given what is ahead it was apt. Robinson fears Assange will be detained for years as a result of US charges, whatever happens with the Swedish case.

“I’m confident a challenge under the first amendment of the US constitution will ultimately see Assange walk free, but we need only look to the treatment of Bradley Manning to know what Julian will suffer in the meantime,” she says.

Certainly the plight of Manning, the hapless American soldier on trial, provides a foreboding example. Arrested in May 2010 for allegedly disclosing information to WikiLeaks, he is still incarcerated.

In the week before Christmas Robinson was in Maryland observing the criminal proceedings.

“I can’t believe the media’s relative lack of interest in the Manning trial,” she says. “Here is a man who’s been locked up for about 600 days in solitary confinement and conditions amounting to torture, and he’s still waiting to be put on trial.”

For Robinson , the pursuit of Assange, an Australian citizen, reflects poorly on the federal government too. “Quite aside from wrongfully accusing Assange of illegal conduct, the Australian government’s response to WikiLeaks has been incredibly disappointing; what is the point of the US alliance if we can’t find out what they are planning to do with one of our own citizens?”

Until Robinson became embroiled in WikiLeaks she was known among her peers for her advocacy for West Papuans. A visit to Indonesia in 2002 while a student at the Australian National University entrenched her interest in human rights.

“I couldn’t believe the injustices and violence suffered by the West Papuans under Indonesian rule, only 300km north of our shores, and no one in Australia seems to know what happens there,” she says.

“West Papuans have as much right to self-determination as the East Timorese.”

“She tempers her idealism with a healthy does of pragmatism,” longtime Oxford friend Albert Alla says. At Oxford, Robinson fostered a mix of admiration and envy. “She’s is a hard pill to swallow for potential competitors, casting a shadow on most of them,” Alla adds.

Robinson ‘s achievements are bolstered by an impressive resume. But her academic achievements — university medallist at ANU in law, and a Master of Philosophy in law from Balliol College on a Rhodes Scholarship — are more interesting in light of her background.

She grew up in Berry on the NSW south coast and attended Bomaderry High School. “From memory about two out of 50 Rhodes scholars at Oxford came from non-selective state schools,” she recalls.

“I started a DPhil at Oxford but I’m more of a doer and wanted to get my hands dirty in real cutting-edge legal work.”

Part-time work for Geoffrey Robertson throughout her Oxford studies led in 2008 to full-time work at a boutique law firm defending journalists and media organisations — and also to an introduction to Assange. She became Robertson’s instructing solicitor, and worked for clients such as Bloomberg and The New York Times. She intervened on behalf of media defence organisations in the Max Mosley case before the European Court of Human Rights.

“I am patriotically Australian, proud of our country and want to contribute to defending the progressive and reformist political history that has made our country so great,” Robinson says.

Like many expatriates, Robinson is torn about whether to return permanently or stay abroad. A glint in her eye suggested to me one vocation would bring her back for sure. When pressed she won’t rule out an Australian political career.


Posted: March 3, 2012 in Uncategorized


Cartoon pandas, Teletubbies, Ronald McDonald. At first glance they don’t seem to have much in common beyond a certain childlike quality. But during a visit to Bangkok you may discover another trait these popular cultural icons now share: their resemblance to Adolf Hitler.

In the Thai capital’s latest outbreak of Nazi chic, pandas, Teletubbies and Ronald have metamorphosed into cutesy alter egos of the Führer, who seems to exert a childlike fascination over some young Thais.

With any luck you can spot trendy young souls strutting around in T-shirts bearing cartoonish images of the Nazi dictator.

In a particularly popular design, Hitler is transformed into a cartoonish Ronald McDonald, the fast-food chain’s clown mascot, sporting a bouffant cherry-red hairdo and a stern look.

On another T-shirt the Führer is shown in a lovely panda costume with a Nazi armband. On yet another he appears as a pink Teletubby with doe eyes, jug ears and a pink swastika for an antenna. He pouts petulantly like a spoiled brat while flashing the Nazi salute.

Shirts cost from 200 baht to 370 baht (US$7-12) apiece, and some come in matching outfits for couples. Adolf McDonald’s partner is a transvestite with fuchsia hair, lipstick, long lashes and a timid Mona Lisa smile. Panda Adolf’s manlier doppelganger sports a brown stormtrooper uniform.

Not amused

“Some foreigners get upset [when they see my T-shirts on sale] — they come to my shop and complain,” acknowledges the owner of Seven Star, a small clothing shop at Terminal 21, a new designer mall in central Bangkok on Sukhumvit Road which is a popular tourist haunt.

He’s a 30-something fellow who identifies himself by his nickname “Hut”, and is a graduate of a local university’s arts program. Hut does brisk business selling his T-shirts. Seven Star’s most popular items, Hut notes, are his  McHitler designs, which he sells alongside his caricatures of Michael Jackson, Che Guevara and Kim Jong-Il.

Standing invitingly outside his shop is a large dummy of Hitler as Ronald with its motorized left arm going up and down in the Nazi salute. Thai shoppers love posing gleefully with it.

“It’s not that I like Hitler,” Hut insists. “But he looks funny and the shirts are very popular with young people.”

As Hut well knows, some foreigners are not amused. Israel’s local ambassador is one of them.

“You don’t want to see memories of the Nazi period trivialized in this manner,” stresses Ambassador Itzhak Shoham, whose embassy is right behind Terminal 21. “It hurts the feelings of every Jew and every civilized person.”

Shoham recently remonstrated with Hut. “I said to him, “I don’t mind the doll; just take the face off,’” the ambassador says.

Hut’s McHitler doll’s face is now covered by a Lucha Libre wrestler’s mask.

Nazi chic bonanza

Across town at another fashion mall, another small shop hawks its own cutesy caricatures of Hitler plastered on T-shirts. Panda Adolf takes pride of place among impressionistic Smurfs, pop stars and Japanese manga characters.

“Hitler shirts are very popular, especially with teenage boys,” notes the shop’s 30-year-old owner, whose family operates a clothing factory.

Meanwhile, on Bangkok’s backpacker haven, Khao San Road, other T-shirt designs boast Photoshopped prints of the Führer, including one depicting him sunbathing naked on a tropical beach.

Shoppers looking for Nazi flags, reproduction Third Reich propaganda posters, pennants with Iron Crosses and Nazi eagles and faux SS crash helmets can find them at the Chatuchak Weekend Market, where they’re on sale alongside Bob Marley portraits and Rastafarian accoutrements.

Some foreign tourists see such Nazi chic as just a peculiar aspect of Thai youth culture.

“I guess one could say ‘boy, it’s a pretty ignorant world and kids today,’” notes Mark Goldberg, from New Orleans. “I doubt people who are [into these designs] would even know their significance.”

That’s a safe bet. Most young Thais seemingly know precious little about the Nazis and their crimes beyond their eye-catching pageantry. And so they are drawn to Hitler and his regime’s hallucinogenic visual propaganda.

Last September in the northern city of Chiang Mai, a group of high school students showed up for sport day in homemade Nazi uniforms, complete with swastika armbands and toy guns. Leading them was a teenage girl dressed in a faux SS uniform with a fake Hitler mustache.

Locals cheered the students merrily from sidewalks as foreign tourists reportedly looked on aghast.

In 2007, hundreds of students at a Bangkok school staged a similar Nazi-themed costume parade.

Following international outcries, teachers at both schools apologized, saying they had no idea the students had planned to dress up as Nazis.

In 2009, a waxworks museum in the seaside resort town of Pattaya advertised itself with a giant billboard featuring the Führer with the legend in Thai: “Hitler is not dead!”

Cue another hue and cry. The museum’s managers quickly pulled down the billboard, insisting they meant no offence.

“It’s a lack of exposure to history,” notes Harry Soicher, a Romanian who teaches at a Bangkok high school. “If you don’t live in Thailand, you may find it hard to believe they really mean no harm.”

 via cnngo



The New South Wales state’s senior Crown prosecutor has refused to comment on the appeal judgment that he created a ”fiction” to mount the case against Gordon Wood.

In the Court of Criminal Appeal, three justices demolished the Crown’s prosecution of Mr Wood, saying there had been ”dangerous reasoning” by Mark Tedeschi, QC, that had been ”entirely without foundation”.

Many in Sydney’s legal fraternity had been eagerly anticipating the judgment to see what criticism had been made of Mr Tedeschi, and the Chief Judge at Common Law, Justice Peter McClellan, did not mince words.

Nor did Justice Megan Latham, who sat on the appeal and said: ”Speculation, conjecture and suspicion can never amount to proof beyond reasonable doubt … [moral] certainty was entirely lacking in the Crown case against the applicant.”

When contacted by The Sun-Herald yesterday, Mr Tedeschi said: ”It’s not appropriate for me to respond to a judgment in the Court of Criminal Appeal.”

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Lloyd Babb, SC, has also declined to comment.

However, Mr Tedeschi may be forced to defend himself if, as has been predicted, Mr Wood makes a complaint to the Legal Services Commission and the Bar Association about his conduct in the trial.

via Sydney Morning Herald


Wood v R

Posted: February 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

Now here is the full judgment in which the Criminal Court of Appeal in Sydney NSW finds Mr Gordon Wood innocent. Mr Wood spent 3.5 years in jail for a crime he didn’t commit. The Court also tells the truth about the original crown case which sent Mr Wood to jail. Justice McClellan went on to say: “My evaluation of the whole of the evidence satisfies me that the jury’s verdict cannot be supported. I am not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt of the applicant’s guilt.” He also said, “The suggested evidence of a motive involving Rivkin is so thin that it should never have been left with the jury.”

Wood_v_R.pdf Download this file