Australia to Extradite Former US Marine Over China Training

    Australia to Extradite Former US Marine Over China Training
    Last updated Dec 29, 2022
    Image credit: The Guardian


    • The Australian Attorney-General’s Dept. has approved a request to extradite former US Marine Corps pilot Daniel Duggan to the US. He is accused of money laundering and conspiracy to export defense services to the PRC by training Chinese pilots.
    • This comes as Australia's Extradition Act 1988 and Australia's extradition treaty with the US required AG Mark Dreyfus to make a decision by Dec. 25 following a formal extradition order lodged on Dec. 9.
    • Duggan was arrested by federal police in a regional New South Wales town on Oct. 21 at the request of the FBI, but his lawyer has maintained his innocence. The extradition matter is next listed before a New South Wales magistrate on Jan. 10.
    • Earlier this month, a US court unsealed the 2017 indictment on Duggan claiming that he broke US arms control laws for allegedly providing military training to PRC pilots through a South African flight school between 2010 and 2012, before renouncing US citizenship.
    • Other unnamed co-conspirators were listed in the indictment including one British and one South African national who were executives of "a flying academy based in South Africa with presence in China," and a Chinese national who acquired military information for the PRC military.
    • Despite recent media reports that dozens of British pilots were recruited to teach the Chinese armed forces to defeat western aircraft, the US Air Force claims not to be aware of ongoing efforts to recruit its pilots to train the Chinese military.


    Pro-establishment narrative

    Any former military personnel that assists a foreign adversary, especially one like China, is a traitor to their country. The West cannot allow misguided, greedy, and naive pilots like Duggan to profit from weakening the US's military posture in Asia. All appropriate legal avenues to combat this crime must be taken to mitigate future incidents like this one.

    Establishment-critical narrative

    Though Duggan's actions may be morally and legally gray, his detention, and now extradition, is politically motivated as the US increasingly faces rising tensions with China. The case has been shrouded in secrecy since the start, and Duggan is being charged for actions that took place a decade ago. His treatment by Australian authorities has also been unjustifiably cruel, as he was held in isolation and classified as an "extreme high risk" inmate. There is more to this story than meets the eye.

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