US pilot accused of illegally training Chinese aviators postpones Sydney extradition hearing

Jul 25, 2023, 3:21 AM

This undated handout photo shows Daniel Duggan, right and his wife, Saffrine, pose for a photo. Dan...

This undated handout photo shows Daniel Duggan, right and his wife, Saffrine, pose for a photo. Daniel Duggan, a former U.S. military pilot had his extradition hearing on U.S. charges including that he illegally trained Chinese aviators postponed on Tuesday, July, 2023, while authorities investigate the role of an Australian spy agency in his arrest. (Saffrine Duggan via AP)

(Saffrine Duggan via AP)

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — A former United States military pilot’s Sydney extradition hearing on U.S. charges, including that he illegally trained Chinese aviators, was postponed Tuesday while authorities investigate the role of an Australian spy agency in his arrest.

Boston-born Dan Duggan, 54, was arrested by Australian police in October near his home, in Orange, New South Wales, and has been fighting extradition to the United States. The former U.S. Marine Corps major and flying instructor maintains he has done nothing wrong and is an innocent victim of a worsening power struggle between Washington and Beijing.

“This is a signal, signal sending. It has nothing to do with me personally,” Duggan told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. in a telephone call from maximum-security prison.

“It’s more to do with the signal that they want to send in a geopolitical sense,” he added in an interview broadcast on Monday.

His lawyers successfully applied Tuesday in Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court for the extradition hearing to be delayed until Nov. 24 while they await findings about their allegation that Duggan, now an Australian citizen, was illegally lured from China back to Australia in 2022 to be arrested.

Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Christopher Jessup, the regulator of Australia’s six spy agencies, announced in March that he was investigating Duggan’s allegation that the Australian Security Intelligence Organization, known as ASIO, was part of a U.S. ploy to extradite him.

Duggan returned from China to work in Australia after he received an ASIO security clearance for an aviation license. A few days after his arrival, the ASIO clearance was removed, which his lawyers argue made the job opportunity an illegal lure to a U.S. extradition partner country. They expect Jessup’s findings will provide grounds to oppose extradition and apply for his release from prison on bail before the extradition question is resolved.

Duggan’s grounds for resisting extradition include his claim that the prosecution is political and that the crime he is accused of does not exist under Australian law. The extradition treaty between the two countries that has existed since 1976 requires that a suspect can only be extradited for an allegation that is recognized by both countries as a crime.

The Australian government is reviewing laws to ensure former military personnel cannot sell their expertise to the Chinese military.

Saffrine Duggan, Duggan’s wife and mother of their six children, addressed more than 20 supporters who protested outside the court for his release.

“I would never have thought this could ever happen in Australia, let alone to our family,” she said. “My family is brave and strong and so are our friends and so is my husband, but we are all terribly torn apart.”

She complained in February that Australia was holding her husband in inhumane conditions.

Dan Duggan said the Chinese pilots he trained while he was contracted by flying school Test Flying Academy of South Africa in 2011 and 2012 — the period covered by the charges — were civilians, and nothing he taught was classified.

His lawyer, Bernard Collaery, said the Australian and Chinese navies were involved in joint training exercises around the time Duggan was accused of “consorting with the enemy.”

“It’s a double standard, it’s hypocrisy,” Collaery said.

“If Australia does extradite him, we’re liable to see him become a pawn in this China game. It is very worrying,” the lawyer added.


Associated Press

Stock market today: Global shares dip with eyes on the Chinese economy and a possible US shutdown

TOKYO (AP) — Global shares mostly sank Tuesday over worries about a possible U.S. government shutdown and the troubled Chinese economy. France’s CAC 40 lost 0.7% in early trading to 7,076.82. Germany’s DAX fell 0.5% to 15,329.25. Britain’s FTSE 100 edged up 0.2% to 7,638.01. U.S. shares were set to drift lower with Dow futures […]

10 hours ago

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol waves to crowd during a celebration to mark 75th anniversary o...

Associated Press

South Korea vows to retaliate against any North Korean provocations in Armed Forces Day ceremony

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea’s president vowed to retaliate immediately against any potential provocations by North Korea in his Armed Forces Day speech Tuesday, as thousands of troops prepared to march through the capital in the country’s first such military parade in 10 years. The show of force comes as concerns grow that […]

12 hours ago

FILE - Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley greets a soldier of the U.S. Army, at...

Associated Press

As Gen. Milley steps down as chairman, his work on Ukraine is just one part of a complicated legacy

OSLO, Norway (AP) — On a frigid U.S. air base in Germany, the top U.S. military officer was in his element. Striding along the training area in his fatigues, Army Gen. Mark Milley bellowed at the Ukrainian troops gathered around him. “Slava Ukraini!” he hollered, again and again, the “glory to Ukraine” battle cry. A […]

12 hours ago

Associated Press

UN rights experts decry war crimes by Russia in Ukraine and look into genocide allegations

GENEVA (AP) — Independent U.N.-backed human rights experts said Monday they have turned up continued evidence of war crimes committed by Russian forces in their war against Ukraine, including torture — some of it with such “brutality” that it led to death — and rape of women aged up to 83 years old. Members of […]

1 day ago

Associated Press

Blast in Nagorno-Karabakh injures more than 200 as thousands flee to Armenia, local official says

YEREVAN, Armenia (AP) — A powerful blast rocked the mountainous Nagorno-Karabakh region Monday evening as ethnic Armenians streamed out of the breakaway territory after the Azerbaijani military reclaimed full control of it in a lighting offensive last week. The explosion at fuel storage facility near the regional capital of Stepanakert wounded more than 200 people, […]

1 day ago

Associated Press

Stock market today: Asian shares dip with eyes on China economy, US shutdown

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares mostly sank Tuesday over worries about a possible U.S. government shutdown and the troubled Chinese economy. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index slipped 0.6% in morning trading to 32,469.85. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 dipped 0.5% to 7,042.50. South Korea’s Kospi dropped nearly 1.0% to 2,471.30. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 0.9% to […]

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife...

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is a busy month on the sports calendar and also holds a very special designation: Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Ziply Fiber...

Dan Miller

The truth about Gigs, Gs and other internet marketing jargon

If you’re confused by internet technologies and marketing jargon, you’re not alone. Here's how you can make an informed decision.

Education families...

Education that meets the needs of students, families

Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) is a program of Omak School District that is a full-time online public school for students in grades K-12.

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

US pilot accused of illegally training Chinese aviators postpones Sydney extradition hearing