Hu you gonna call?

Not Kevin Rudd evidently.

Despite the PM’s so called “special relationship” with China, and his self-professed title as a “diplomat” it seems as though the PM carries as influence as a wet rag in Chinese diplomatic circles.

The Federal Government is still no closer to extracting more information from China about the arrest of Australian mining executive Stern Hu. Chinese born Mr Hu and his three Rio Tinto colleagues were arrested last Sunday for allegedly spying and stealing state secrets.

China’s acting ambassador to Australia was called into the Foreign Affairs Department again yesterday but the Foreign Affairs Minister admits no more detail has been forthcoming.

This report from ABC’s AM Chief political correspondent Lyndal Curtis:

LYNDAL CURTIS: Three times the Government has sought to extract more information from China’s acting ambassador to Australia and it’s still no closer to answers to its questions.

STEPHEN SMITH: No, and that is why we pressed them both in Canberra and in Beijing but I have made the point in recent days despite some people thinking that somehow this difficult issue can be magically solved by one phone call, this is a difficult and complex case. It requires constant attention which is what we are giving it.

LYNDAL CURTIS: Australian officials were able to see Mr Hu last week but under the consular agreement struck with China they won’t be able to see him again for another month.

The Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith has told Radio National the Government’s priority is getting detailed information on the charges that may be facing Mr Hu.

STEPHEN SMITH: To enable us to, in our view, try and protect Mr Hu’s interests, we need to have more detail about that and more precise detail about it and that is what we are pressing Chinese officials for.

LYNDAL CURTIS: And he’s not happy that Australian ministers have been reduced to scouring Chinese newspapers and websites for information.

STEPHEN SMITH: I have made it crystal clear, as have our officials, that I would have much preferred that this information be given to us through the normal diplomatic channels and you can be reliably assured that that is a point that has been made in the last 24 hours to Chinese officials both here and in Beijing.

LYNDAL CURTIS: While Mr Smith and the Trade Minister Simon Crean are trying to separate the detention of Mr Hu from the broader economic and trade relationship between the countries, one former ambassador to China, Ross Garnaut believes the episode may do wider damage.

ROSS GARNAUT: It is going to be an episode that does do damage to China and its international partners. It’s in all of our interests that that be handled with great sensitivity within and without China.

I have no doubt that within China there will be concerns about the international business response.

LYNDAL CURTIS: Stephen Smith has rejected the Opposition’s continuing calls that either he or the Prime Minster pick up the phone to speak to their counterparts in China. He says the Government is being methodical and proportionate and isn’t giving up on Mr Hu but the Coalition’s defence spokesman David Johnston has told ABC TV the Government’s performance isn’t nearly good enough.

DAVID JOHNSTON: The Prime Minister proclaims that he has a special relationship. He is a diplomat. What have we seen from this government with respect to resolving this man’s plight? I just think it is absolutely outrageous and I just cannot believe we are sitting back allegedly, quietly manoeuvring behind the scenes.


61 Responses

  1. Despite the PM’s so called “special relationship” with China, and his self-professed title as a “diplomat” it seems as though the PM carries as influence as a wet rag in Chinese diplomatic circles.

    The term useful idiot seems particularly apt:

    In political jargon, the term useful idiot was used to describe Soviet sympathizers in western countries and the attitude of the Soviet government towards them. The implication was that though the person in question naïvely thought themselves an ally of the Soviets or other Communists, they were actually held in contempt by them, and being cynically used.

    The term is now used more broadly to describe someone who is perceived to be manipulated by a political movement, terrorist group, hostile government, or business, whether or not the group is Communist in nature.

  2. “Hu you gonna call?”

    Those b*****ds.

    “I just cannot believe we are sitting back allegedly, quietly manoeuvring behind the scenes”

    Of course he can’t believe it. After all when an Australian was being held without charge by the US for many years they sat back and did absolutely NOTHING. Hardly surprising then that he can’t believe the current government might actually DO something 🙂

  3. Whether Hu is really James Bond as alleged or not, one thing is for sure: The Chinese have treated the Australian Government with contempt.

    Let’s face it, forcing them to scour obscure Chinese websites for information is just plain insulting.

    While some people are tempted to try and lay the blame for this at Rudd’s feet, that’s just plain stupid. Its blaming the victim, no less.

    No fellas, this is all the doing of the Chinese.

    No doubt its all part of some misguided attempt to impress their power and prestige upon the business world. “All your investments am now belong us” sort of thing.

    And they’ve done it with all the usual ham-fistedness one has come to expect from the Chinese regime. Lets not forget, these are then same people who thought nothing of using tanks to turn a bunch of protesting kids into red goo at Tienamen square a few years ago and they remain to this day The Patron Saint of North Korea.

    There’s a lesson to be learnt here: Do business in China at your own peril.

    If I were Rio Tinto, I’d be making damn sure that the next round of ore price negotiations took place here.

  4. Really what is Rudd expected to do? Organise the parliamentary ALP to stage a rally outside the Chinese Embassy?

    The Liberals can huff and puff as much as they like but they would be in the same situation if they were in government. Making a lot of fuss publicly is not going to help Mr. Hu one iota.

    I agree that China is a bully and has no credibility when it comes to human rights. But being hairy chested may make us feel superior and righteous but would be counter productive.

  5. There’s a lesson to be learnt here: Do business in China at your own peril.

    Very good point Evan. One that is currently being rammed home in no uncertain terms to the PM.

    A report on ABC radio this morning mentioned that it’s not unusual for overseas executives working in China to be arrested and detained. However, it’s usually mostly limited to Taiwanese workers. Apparently it happened to a US citizen a few months ago, but he wasn’t as “high profile” as Hu.

    The fact that this is the first time it’s happening to an Australian citizen is interesting, not to mention the timing.

    It does seem a lot like China wants to remind Australia who’s really weilding the power in this relationship.

  6. Guido, its just plain bloody bad manners.

    Even the Russians at the height of the cold war had the good grace to at least talk to Western Governments whenever they nabbed some poor schmuck accused of spying. They might parade him about in front of the cameras (like Francis Gary Powers), but they didn’t refuse to talk to Washington.

    They’re an insultimg bunch ot twats, the Chinese.

  7. I think that Smith is right. We’re on their turf and have to follow Chinese protocol. Turnbull by bleating could indeed cause more damage by causing further loss of face for the Chinese.


    M. Turnbull’s demand that the PM get on the phone to bring China to heel faintly echoes the provincial Australian newspaper’s famous editorial that began: “We have warned Mr Hitler…” Yet again the opposition leader has been diminished by going for the quick political shot with no regard for the actual issue.

  8. The feigned “appaulled indignation” of Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberal party over Hu’s predicament is yet again a celebration of more hilarity and comedy.

    Admist Julie Bishop’s demands that “something must be done,” the irony of the Liberal Party’s complete lack of intervention in the David Hick’s case where he lay languishing in Guantanamo Bay for 32 months without charge seems completely lost on them.

    Irrespective of how Hu has come to be detained, a ‘softly-softly’ approach is called for, and Malcolm Turnbull’s calls for immediate intervention by the Prime Minister simply serve to demonstrate (once again) his sheer lack of political judgement.

  9. One decode:

    DAVID JOHNSTON: The Coalition proclaims that Kevin Rudd has a special relationship because he was a diplomat and speaks Mandarin. He is a Prime Minister of Australia. What have we seen from this government with respect to resolving this man’s plight? Let me tell you, the man proclaimed as having a special relationship and a dedicated career’s worth of intimate and nuanced understanding of the players and the stakes has said enough of the histrionics, but I just want you to think it is absolutely outrageous and I just cannot believe you are not filled with rage, while the Coalition is not so quietly manoeuvring behind the scenes to foment an appropriate ‘let’s you and him fight’ occasion that does absolutely nothing for resolving the man’s plight.

  10. Or, to put it another way, the more ‘formal’ the public face, the more is informally possible as in-built discretion is left available; the more calls publicly for formal informality, the more ‘discretion’ is made unavailable and all players stress the absence of it as they then go about doing what they must publicly be seen to do.

  11. These situations at least highlight the difference in approach to JH&TPSB and the present Liberal Circus … and the Rudd Government …

    … reverse the situation (ie a Chinese National suspected of spying or industrial espionage considered to be a risk to the state) and Australia would be reacting in a similar manner!

    … remember how the last government treated a certain doctor on the Gold Coast … bulls in a China shop … Liberal Diplomat, is a classic oxymoron …

    … I notice, Ute Turncoat, still hasn’t learned to keep his mouth shut and help the nation … as for Julie Bihop’s whining, whinging and self righteous arrogance – when will they get some decent talent with knowledge and understanding in the Shadow Ministry … amateurs all…

    … softly, softly catchee monkey …

    … and if the truth be known – Kevin Rudd probably is the one person to extricate Mr Hu from this mess – so let him do it – his way!

    … and don’t discount that Rio Tinto “may” have been involved in something – once a bunch of cowboys always a bunch of cowboys … they might be big but some (nay, a lot) of their management decisions have been questionable over many years …

  12. The fools in the opposition, and their all too predictable crowd of hypocritical supporters seem to have very short memories.

    What do they think Australia would achieve through bluster and “demanding” the Chinese do anything ?

    Perhaps they have difficulty in recalling the circumstances, prior to 9/11 when a US aircraft made a forced landing in Chinese territory. The most powerful military power in history did a fair bit of sabre rattling, and threatened China with all sorts of “consequences” if the plane and crew were not returned “immediately”.

    The result of this “tough talk” by the US ? China eventually released the flight crew (after about 14 days), and eventually returned all 20000 or so, (my guess) of the components of the aircraft, once they had been studied and copied.

    Sounds like a huge endorsement of the approach being advocated by the opposition to me.

  13. Evan, on July 14th, 2009 at 10:22 am Said:

    Even the Russians at the height of the cold war had the good grace to at least talk to Western Governments whenever they nabbed some poor schmuck accused of spying. They might parade him about in front of the cameras (like Francis Gary Powers), but they didn’t refuse to talk to Washington.

    Bit loose with the truth on history there Evan, but don’t let the truth get in the way of you having a spray at the government and China.

    Rudd was first accused of being too close to China and now he’s being accused of not being close to China. Yet another example of where he can’t win no matter what his position or action.

    As to the opposition and especially Julie Bishop, they just continue to role out a laugh a day. Yet again they scream for inappropriate actions from the government, actions they would never ever contemplate if they were government and didn’t contemplate when they were government.

  14. I’m surprised that the Govt haven’t asked for help from Alexander Downer to sort this mess out. Dolly must be checking his voice mail every five minutes in anticipation.

  15. Whereas, I’m thoroughly sick to death of the pathetic conflict model trotted out for every situation, and the tropes of passive aggression deployed, and yearn for a return to the impossible dream of cooperation and understanding as basic articles of humanised conditions for the political animals pacing the lengths and breadths of their self-created very tiny zoo enclosures.

  16. Well, if no-one suspected it before, we now know the Chinese are extremely p!ssed off over the Rio Tinto deal falling through.

    Of course, Trunchbull shooting off his big fat yap will be making the situation exponentially worse, although the Chinese have probably already summed him up and put him in the out tray.

    I’ll bet poor Stern Hu is praying that Malvolio and the other Libtards are struck down with a particularly virulent form of laryngitis.

    If anyone still has any doubts about this clown’s complete unsuitability for the office of PM, I can only suggest a psychiatric examination.

  17. Jane, according to Shanahan today Turnbull’s popularity is on the rise. He did, however, fail to support the statement with some figures.

  18. Here’s some figures.

    And some analysis, including Essential Research.

  19. Thanks N5. It doesn’t seem as rosy for Turnbull as Shanahan’s headline screamed it was.

  20. “It doesn’t seem as rosy for Turnbull as Shanahan’s headline screamed it was”

    It never is as good as Sham-I-Am claims. Don’t you remember his pre-election stuff and the ‘we own the polls’ stoush?

  21. No, that never happened. And youse were all sleep talking your ways into an election if you think it did. Or maybe you were awake to it, but it still never happened. Neither way.

  22. Yes, sorry, Sham, I must have zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  23. So T’bull has now been able to claw himself back up to the same position as when he convinced the Liberals that they should toss out Nelson.

    I always felt that I knew what Nelson stood for..and as a nice sorta bloke could have convinced the middlie/not decideds to vote his way. That is if he had been given the chance. That is, if T’bull hadn’t been so ambitious.

  24. Whoops..wrong thread…and over to T’bull thread…

  25. Turnbull is in a worse electoral position than Nelson and if he thinks going to bat for Hu who works for a Multi-National Corporation (not known for its ties to any nation state) then his resurrection is some time away.

    The average punter doesn’t give a rats how the Chinese treat one of their own (even though he isn’t – but it looks that way).

  26. I care. I care about natural and procedural justice, at least. I’m not sure that special demands for special deals and special phonecalls falls into that framework of caring except insofar as that rehearsal of an autocratic approach to the delivery of justice probably doesn’t hold much appeal for me, and might be something I’d resist on principle for a domestic Government even while wanting to work towards those tenets of natural and procedural justice as universals. In some ways, Malcolm is sounding more and more like the Chinese he rails against Kevin nor railing on about.

  27. not* railing on about

  28. I think that the everyone can see that Turnbull is just p*ssing into the wind..if you’ll pardon the expression. I think that it is clearly established that in order to do business in China that people and companies must follow the rules..either like it or go elsewhere.

    It’s the same as having to do business in Japan 20 years ago.

  29. Legion..that’s not saying that I like it..far from it. But it’s the same as working in the countries with definite cultures such as in the middle east. One has to abide by the cultural rules. My understanding is that the Chinese have lost face (severely) and that the worst thing that can be done is as per Turnbull and try to the heavy handed approach.

  30. Min, on July 14th, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    Unlike Malcolm’s little implicit tale of xenophobic barbarism, I know the Chinese to have a well-developed legal system and competent jurists, as good as any in the world. And, yes, they take ‘laws’ and ‘procedures’ very seriously, as we do. They don’t just make stuff up; and they don’t just unmake stuff after a stern call re Stern from a Malcolm-alike PM; they need to go through their processes, while diligence on the part of Australian byreaucrat-diplomats demands that an eye be kept out for Stern’s interests during those processes, as I’m reasonably sure is being done. The importance, of course, was that the plight of Hu Stern came to the attention of the Australian Government so that it could keep an eye on him, and it has; as juxtaposed to situations where citizens encountering foreign legal systems are allowed to become virtual non-citizens or to vanish down black-holes.

  31. Hey Reb

    I can’t believe you’re just falling for the whole media and opposition BS. They make up this whole “special relationship” thing on the basis of Rudd’s ability to speak Mandarin (or Cantonese, whatever it is) and then suddenly behave as if its a fact. In fact Rudd is matching the Chinese at their own game (an observation from a China watcher interviewed on RN this morning) and refusing to go for the chaep and useless grandstanding advocated by the opposition and the media. Rudd does underdsand a lot more about the Chinese than any of those suggesting he should be on the hot line to Peking, as demonstrated by his softly softly approach. Don’t fall for the opposition’s crap, Reb.

  32. And what Mobius (at 12.03) said too!

  33. Well thank God our Australian Government does not detain Chinese citizens without cause since our Federal Police and Attorney General’s Department are so much more on the ball.

    But when it comes to Indian Doctors who might be terrorists we reserve the right to do as we please.

    So there…………………!

  34. Hey Droo!

    Rest assured I’m not falling for the opposition’s “crap”.

    I’m just creating a hypothetical intro for the sake of a good story. If you know what I mean.

    Kind of poetic licence with the whole blogging thing..

    I really ought to have a disclaimer: ‘the opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of myself, or anyone that resembles me (or something like that), if you get my drift. Sorry I’ve been drinking….


  35. “glug..glug….glug…..”

    Don’t swallow the bottle!

  36. too late.

  37. Now, you’ll have to open another bottle.

    I might indulge in a glass myself…a huge dreadlocked twenty something football playing Kiwi took a swing at me on site today.

    Bad move on his behalf!

  38. Scapes,

    You like David Bowie. I just picked a combined CD/DVD called “Storytellers” today at JB Hi-Fi. Recorded live in studio in 1999 (CD is the same tracks as the DVD).

    Just listening/watching to it now. Not bad.

  39. He’s had a few drinks, he’s slurring!

  40. The Chinese Government have lots of form for bullying. There’s no room for appeasment either, that just makes them even more obnoxious. This tantrum is, of course, pay-back for their failed bid to up their stake in Rio Tinto. But given China’s desperate need for energy and mineral inputs, the present huffing and puffing is little more than a blind man’s bluff. They need us more than we need them.

    Whatever Rio’s dodgy behaviour/s may be in China – and let’s face it they are an ugly organisation – unlike Chinese puppet corporations, Rio do not speak for the Australian government or people. This Anglo Australian corporation does not act on our behalf. That said, Beijing’s hostile posturing is not the behaviour of a friendly country. We should remember this aggression and contempt when forming a view about what China’s future intentions are.

    We need to take a mature, long-term view of what is in Australia’s best interests. Dogs may bark but the circus moves on. We have nothing to apologise for. After the tantrum the Chinese will quietly back down because they need our resources to grow. Let’s play the long game, unashamedly, in pursuit of Australia’s national interests. Selling the next available lots of LNG to South Korea, for example, would be a simple way to ring the bell.

  41. Caveat Emptor, I agree with Evan. I think that quaint Australian political maxim – dogs may bark but the circus moves on – applies to this situation.

    This bullying Chinese tantrum is all over an arrogant corporation – one Beijing recently failed to get a controlling share of. Unlike Chinese puppet corporations, the Australian government has no discretionary say in what Rio does or how it goes about its business. Beyond black letter law, they do as they want. Rio’s mean-spirited treatment of its Australian workforce springs to mind.

    I reckon we should ignore the nasty huffing and puffing and call Beijing’s bluff. We’re the world’s biggest net energy exporter and China desperately needs secure, long-term energy supplies. I suggest Australia sells the next available sets of LNG to South Korea or India instead of China.

    Appeasement never works with hard men or the proponents of aggressive foreign policy.

  42. Just how bad (as in terrible) is Julie Bishop.

    In an interview I heard on radio this morning she was having the usual exaggerated spray at the government and Smith in particular over the Hu incident. Of course if she was in government it would have all been solved by now and China would be cowering and shaking in their boots at her gaze, having been thoroughly chastised.

    As I said yesterday a laugh a day.

    The point that got me in the interview and left me gob smacked was that in a segue to Rudd he stated that all the opposition had to do was ask for a briefing on this matter from the government as it was a very sensitive and complex matter, yet the opposition had yet to ask for one, which is the norm in things of this nature.

    When this was put to Bishop she huffed and puffed about that all being well and truly good, and she will be seeking a briefing, but only directly from Rudd and noone else, and then proceeded to continue to lambast the government on something she just admitted she was ignorant on.

    I can’t put this any more politely, but what a jumped up full of herself bitch Julie Bishop is.

  43. Great mob aren’t they Adrian. Smugness from Turnbull and arrogance from Bishop. Good work from the interviewer to ask a basic question such as what information have you received from the briefing. Whoopsie, forgot/haven’t got around to requesting one.

    Obviously as you say, how on earth can the opposition comment or even ask meaningful questions without a briefing.

  44. Even though bribery got a brief mention, I think it may play a significant part in the matter, which could have it’s beginnings back before the economic crisis when Rio and BHP were trying to extort higher prices from China due to the freight differential.
    On the other matter, influential companies like Rio, who have operations around the world, providing access not available to everyone, are well placed to get the “inside running” on matters that don’t normally make the public arena. I’m sure Turnball is well aware of just how useful such companies can or have been. Whether or not Labor has the same relationship as the Liberals would have developed over the years can only be speculated on.

  45. Whether or not Labor has the same relationship as the Liberals would have developed over the years can only be speculated on.

    Oh c’mon John, that’s a far fetch, and I could just as easily say;

    “Whether or not the Liberals have the same relationship as the Labor currently have developed can only be speculated on”, as business has been dealing with Labor and abandoning the Liberals even before the last election, which is why the Liberals need to rely on Turnbull’s finances.

    There is no special exclusive relationship between business and a major party, that’s a nonsense. Business just support the party they think has the most chance of winning the next election and then attempt to influence that party to make policy favourable to them. It’s that the Liberals are the party more acquiescent to big business and also willing to bring in harsher less socially orientated legislation to favour them that makes them the more favoured party to them. But that has never stopped business jumping onto the Labor band wagon whole heartedly and supporting them without reservation, as is the case across most states and with the Federal government at the moment.

    Don’t believe for one moment that the Liberals, and especially Turnbull, have an exclusivity to an “inside running”.

  46. More noodles to eat with one chopstick…

    World is watching, Kevin Rudd tells Beijing

    “A range of foreign governments and corporations will be watching this case with interest and be watching it very closely,” Mr Rudd said. “And they’ll be drawing their own conclusions about how it is conducted. It is in all of our interests to have this matter resolved.”

    Hu conviction ‘near inevitable’

    AS Kevin Rudd began ratcheting up his rhetoric on the Stern Hu case, experts on the entwined Chinese legal and political systems warned the government’s only realistic chance to help the detained Rio Tinto executive would come after his sentencing.

    This is unlikely to happen until the second half of next year.

    Quiet diplomacy helps: Professor Ross Garnaut

    SOLVING cases of detention involving Australians in trouble in China requires quiet diplomacy for which the government of the day may not even be able to claim credit, says veteran diplomat and former ambassador to China, Ross Garnaut.

  47. Legion,

    (1) That means evaluating at what level you make the payment.

    (2) Hopefully that doesn’t include repatriating his remains.

    (3) see (1) above.

  48. You can’t say the Chinese aren’t even handed:

    Sinopec ex-chairman Chen sentenced to death with reprieve for bribery

    And he gets an extra two years of life for returning all the money and dobbing others in.

  49. I can’t believe the ruckus that is coming from the Opposition on this industrial espionage issue. Just shows how much influence the mining sector and big business has in general.

    I didn’t hear any such hysteria over the incarceration and torture of David Hicks in four years – and here they are screaming ‘australian citizen in trouble’ after a week!

  50. OK, since I’m the token RWDB on duty tonight, I suppose it’s up to me to ask the obvious question: Where’s the moral equivalence between what David Hicks did (by his own admission) and what Stern Hu is alleged to have done? The two are not exactly identical cases, are they?

  51. Tony,

    They’re both Australian citizens being detained in another country without charge.

    It too the Libs 4 years to get their shit together over David Hicks

    But one week after Hu’s been detained the Libs are going mental!

  52. They’re both Australian citizens being detained in another country without charge

    That’s true Reb. After that, in the Hicks case, it comes down to: whether or not you believe Australia was at war; who was our enemy if we were; and was David Hicks supporting that enemy. (I’ve heard arguments for and against all three of those propositions.)

    Then, we have to ask: Do any of those questions apply to the Stern Hu case? Or is he merely a businessman alleged of a white collar crime – or espionage if you believe the Chinese – in a (friendly?) country?

  53. To be honest Tony, I think the Chinese were just miffed that the deal fell through, so they wanted to flex a bit of muscle. Show the Aussie’s who’s boss, that sort of thing.

    Everybody knows that to do business in China, you have to pay ‘bribes’ politely known as ‘gratitudes’

    For the media to latch on to this as some new revelation that dare not speak its name just serves to show the inexeperience of Australia’s journalists.

    In my humble opinion anyway…

  54. You’re spot on Reb. And I truly think they see us as “useful idiots”, whether we like it or not.

  55. (“They” being the government; not the people.)

  56. Useful idiots, every government the world over presides over regiments of them.
    I don’t think Utopia is a nation state on this planet.

  57. If the Chinese authorities uncover large scale bribes that result in numerous arrests of their own citizens, as has happened, they cannot turn a blind eye to to those foreign executives who were facilitating the bribes. Large scale bribery in China can result in death sentences, however dressing up the case against any foreigners involved as a case of stealing gives them an out. For any government, having to deal with foreigners who break their laws always comes with extra headaches most would rather avoid or minimize.
    Rio and our government need to read carefully the signals being sent.

  58. Well said John.

    From what the Chinese authorities are saying this is not just some token gratitude payment to an official but large scale systematic bribing across several Chinese firms, and they are still stating the espionage angle as well.

    China had just sentenced to death one of their own whose sentence was commuted for two years because he told all and named names. Wonder if Hu was amongst those names?

    The Chinese authorities can’t then very well turn around and ignore Hu, it would look bad in front of their own people.

    Tony there are roughly 700 Australians arrested overseas each year. Many are not charged and some are arrested for bribery and/or corruption.

    So just where is the opposition’s outrage at all those Australians having their human rights violated, and where was it when this was occurring every single year of their 11 in office?

    As usual they are being very selective and I think just about everyone knows if they were in government they would be doing nothing different, or most likely worse.

  59. Adrian, as I mentioned in a previous post, perhaps certain people attached to Rio have been of greater use to the government than the ordinary run of the mill Australian. It’s all very well to look at the relationships that are readily seen, it is those formed that run some layers deep under the surface that are probably more interesting.

    Just as this latest bombing in Indonesia has been quickly attributed to the usual suspects. I believe that the real motive is also hidden several layers deep and is connected to the recent election and it’s outcome. In particular there was one sore loser and a certain degree of nervousness was evident amongst the population after the results of the election became known. Despite the general consensus about the motives of similar attacks in recent years, looking deeper there was always some connection to Indonesian internal politics, both in timing, and the effects that rippled through afterwards.

  60. Where’s the moral equivalence between what David Hicks did (by his own admission) and what Stern Hu is alleged to have done? The two are not exactly identical cases, are they?

    No they are not tony, but Hicks own admission has to be taken in context too. I think you’d be admitting to anything after being tortured in gitmo for years tony – we all know that Hicks pled guilty just to get out of that gitmo hellhole and return to Australia.

    Does there have to be moral basis for australians being supported by their government when they find themselves in trouble overseas? Is industrial espionage and bribery more ‘moral’ than being an idiot who was ‘caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.’ ie Who decides that business interests are more ‘moral’ than brainwashed religious converts?

  61. A basic is: Hu has been taken into custody and will be charged and possibly tried under the laws of the land (whether or not we approve of the process and dislike/abhor the laws of that land) whereas Hicks was trapped in a hell hole contra to the laws, contra to the tenets that the US was supposed be upholding. Democracy, freedom and the American way.

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