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Gillard after signing up as deputy sheriff now supporting the state use of assassinations without trial Gillard after signing up as deputy sheriff now supporting the state use of assassinations without trial
by Murray Hunter
2012-11-18 11:44:39
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Just the day after being anointed the US deputy sheriff in Asia Gillard in her comments about the Israel and Hamas escalation implicitly supported the Israeli assassination of the Hamas leader Ahmed Said Khalil al-Jabari. In her comments about the escalation, Gillard condemned repeated attacks by Hamas on Israel, but was silent on the Israeli assassination of the Hamas leader.

Government assassinations are both against international law and Australian Government policy. However Gillard's silence over the matter, just like her silence over numerous US drone assassinations in Pakistan over the last few years seems to indicate a change in Australian foreign policy. It is apparent that any breach of international law by either the US or Israel will always have the tacit support of the Australian Government even though some actions may be wrong and against  any sense of moral ethics and international law.

Now we live in a world were state assassination of people, even their own citizens without trial is acceptable. Last year the Obama administration deployed a drone to kill one of its own citizens Anwar al-Awlaki without any trial whatsoever. The raid on the alleged Osama Bin laden in Pakistan also had no legal basis, other than being an 'act of might'.

In war, terrorism, and insurgency both sides undertake morally reprehensible and illegal acts. However Western democracies have now decided that the means justify the ends and have dropped all legal concepts of justice in pursuit of their ends.

We are told to trust government in this post 9/11 era as if they know best. With the same bodies collecting intelligence, judging it, and then making assassinations we have a situation where the basic division of powers, police, judiciary and penal system, once separated, now act as one.

This is the product of democracies that have decided to throw away all forms of visible checks and balances. This zero-sum game will act only to aggrieve more people who will be encouraged to take up insurgency and terrorism as a last resort, escalate the current situation in the Middle-East which we are about to see again with rockets fired on Tel Aviv and an impending invasion into Gaza which will cost hundreds if not thousands of innocentlives, and make Western nations further targets for acts of terror. Now Australia is proudly among these targets with Gillard putting her nation in harm's way.

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Emanuel Paparella2012-11-18 14:57:51
“The raid on the alleged Osama Bin laden in Pakistan also had no legal basis, other than being an 'act of might'.”

Indeed Professor Hunter, no assassination has any legal basis and no government has ever been foolish enough to advertise its engagement in such a reprehensible practice, Machivelli notwithstanding.

Ethically, it is a bit more complicated however. As you surely know, there were numerous attempts to assassinate Hitler with the rationalization that it would have shortened the war and saved millions of lives, but of course the end does not justify the means and two wrongs never make a right. Nevertheless it bears mentioning here that a prominent protestant theologian and ethicist (Dietrich Bonhoffer) was involved in one such conspiracy. It also bears pointing out that the raid on the twin towers on 9/11/2001 also had no legal or ethical basis whatever and was not even an act of show of might as you describe the raid on the real, not alleged, Bin Laden. In as much as it targeted innocent people by the thousands, it was in fact an act of terror pure and simple. Or was it not? Unless we establish that premise first we cannot then go on to glibly discuss the merits and demerits of a retributive attack on the man who ordered that kind of terror. Idem for the man in Gaza who ordered attacks on innocent civilians in Israel including women and children. Here too two wrongs do not make a right. That is to say, if we wish to remains objective in our ethical assessment we need to remember that there are always two sides to a coin that need to be considered.

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