Thursday, August 5, 2010

Deputy Sheriff Bishop

The chutzpah! The chutzpah!

"Australia should be the first country to refer Iran to the United Nations Security Council, a senior Canadian politician said this week. Irwin Cotler... the human rights professor and former Canadian attorney-general said Australia... needs to 'exercise leadership' and refer Iran to the UNSC for conspiracy to commit genocide. When probed as to why his country... would not do that itself, Cotler said, 'Political leaders live in an insular bubble where issues of the day overwhelm these issues. The country that does it first will be applauded by history', he told The Australian Jewish News." (Canadian MP calls for Australia to indict Iran, AJN, 23/7/10)

Applauded by history, eh? Whoopie-do! Not even wannabe foreign minister Julie Bishop is buying that one. Chalk it up to the good old insular bubble. But all is not lost, she's more than happy for Australia to be Israel's deputy sheriff:

"Following last week's visit of Irwin Cotler, a Canadian MP who implored Australia to do more to bring down the Iranian regime, including referring them to the UNSC for incitement to genocide, The AJN asked Bishop where she stood. Reiterating her belief that Iran poses one of the greatest global security challenges, the former lawyer nonetheless put all her faith in the sanctions regime. 'Clearly, currently, we are very strongly of the view that Iran should be the subject of very stringent sanctions, particularly economic, finance - follow the money - more can be done in that regard', she said. She refused to commit to other measures to stop further development of the Islamic Republic's nuclear weapons* program, arguing it would be tantamount to the broken election promise given by the then Labor Opposition, which pledged to haul Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in front of the International Criminal Court for inciting genocide... Instead, she said, her first priority would be to ensure other states respect the current sanctions regime, which proscribes financial transactions with certain Iranian banks and certain individuals who are known to be associated with the nuclear weapons program." (Presenting an alternative, AJN, 30/7/10) [*alleged]

If, God forbid, Bishop does become our new foreign minister, maybe she could go off and annoy Canada first.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, Australian Philip Alston*, UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, has something he wants to get off his chest: "If he has a regret as he prepares to end his two-term posting, it is that he has not been welcome to conduct investigations - he requires an invitation from countries to be investigated - in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, China, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Israel. India, where extrajudicial killings by police are prevalent, is top of his list, but Israel is a vexed issue as far as Alston is concerned. 'The problem with Israel is a complete accountability void because the US protects Israel in the UN context', he says. 'Israel is probably the only country that can consistently refuse to co-operate at all with any UN bodies and that has greatly exacerbated the situation'." (A talent for trouble, Tony Walker, Financial Review Magazine, 30/7/10) [*Correct: brother of the Howard government's Richard Alston]

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