Arrested Australian citizen faces extradition to the United States for working in China

Photo from Stringer/Getty

Contributed by Ugly

Australian authorities are collaborating in the attempt to extradite an Australian citizen from Australian soil. The former American military pilot and flight instructor, who had left his country of birth years ago, is wanted because he took up a contract to work in China.

Daniel Edmund Duggan, 54, was arrested on Friday in the rural town of Orange in New South Wales. He appeared in court on the same day, and the case is continuing. He has been denied bail and is incarcerated in Bathurst prison.

Australia does have an extradition treaty with the United States. But this is usually enacted via a notice through Interpol and an outlined serious crime having been committed. The fact that this process was circumvented says a lot.

The Duggan case is off the Australian radar. It shouldn’t be, because it represents a grave injustice and marks the imposition of questionable American law in Australia. All of us should be disgusted and outraged.

The apprehension of Duggan is a continuation of the outrageous victimization of Julian Assange for doing the work of a journalist. Assange’s supporters have always said hid case was meant to set a precedent. The Duggan case verifies this.

The case began when the United States formally requested the apprehension, according to an unnamed police source. The Australian government has refused to intervene.

Photo from the US Air Force: American pilots working in China are a target

Not that Duggen did anything illegal. Politics is behind the action. Former pilots who work in China are being targeted. This case is unusual because it involves a non-citizen accused of no serious crime. Australia’s police and courts should not be involved in it.

Duggen became an Australian citizen over a decade ago and operated a business in Australia Top Gun Tasmania. It involved taking tourists on joyrides in old fighter planes and performances at shows. Nothing sinister here.

After selling the company he accepted a post in Qingdao in China during 2014. In 2017, he became the managing director of AVIBIZ Limited, which is an aviation consultancy firm. The company had contracts with the Chinese aviation industry. AVIBIZ was dissolved in 2020.

It is alleged he may have trained Chinese military pilots. This is a far cry from a solid case. Even if true, the employment of foreign trainers is accepted international practice. Many nations do it.

In the eyes of the Amercian administration is that Duggan’s case is politically weaponised to wage cold war against China and to keep Australia online, to participate in the imposition of an economic boycott.

Thousands of Australians are working in China. Are they potential targets? The Duggan case suggests that they may be.

The Australian government should have some gumption and step in to put an end to this nonsense.

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