Sunday, December 30, 2007

David Hicks Freed

In the slow news days between Xmas and New Year, conspicuously timed to be AFTER the recent Federal Election, David Hicks was freed today .

David Hicks should never be remembered as an "innocent man", but it needs to be held up for the public record that David Hicks spent 5 1/2 years in jail without being charged or convicted.  What got his freedom was that he came to an arrangement with the US and Australian governments and was allowed to be repatriated and held in incarceration until after the election.

You can tell this by the way the media have been labelling him these past few days.  Words like "terrorist supporter" or "friend of Osama Bin Laden" are used... not "convicted terrorist" or out and out "terrorist" nor "prisoner of war" nor any other term that may be legitimately labelled against a man convicted of crime.

Instead we get this media dance and use of flowery language that tries to portray him as evil yet he is in reality an innocent man.  (Remember, we're all innocent until proven guilty!).

Yes, David Hicks is a man who was perhaps misguided, stupid, money hungry or a little of all three.  Yes, he was captured during a gun battle with US soldiers in Afghanistan (you remember, the place BEFORE Iraq).  But other than being an active participant in a war, what has he done wrong?  And if he has done something criminal, why wasnt he charged and found guilty.

So, now we have what can be best described as a man who would be suffering from the side effects of the brutal torture in Guantanamo Bay and he will be pursued and lured with media money.  He cannot before 1 March talk to the press as part of his deal and he must report to a police station 3 times a week... why, who knows...

The media, particularly Terry Willesee on SkyNews, seemed indignant that he didnt apologise in his written statement.  Why should he apologise?  I did note in his statement he thanked alot of people, but I think those that he didn't thank stood out more than anything else.  No thanks for Mr Howard or Mr Downer who assured us for the past 5 years that they were doing "all that they can" to get Hicks released.  No thanks for his US Military legal advisor's - Major Mori - who seemed to be a bumbling fool rather than a competent lawyer and was after all a paid member of the prosecution being the US Army.

So, in short, we wont be seeing the Hicks case disappear in the short term.  The media circus as 1 March approaches will be huge.  Hicks' pleas for peace and quiet from the media will fall on deaf ears and he will have trouble adjusting to an Australian society that is very different from when he would have left Australia...

All I can say is good luck!


Anonymous said...

He is a traitor to this country and should be remembered as one. He is a guilty man after all he did plead guilty. So no more innoncent till proven guilty. He proved himself guilty.

Clay said...

I disagree.

He did a deal in which he plead guilty to a charge that was presented to him after 4 or so years without charge and he and his lawyers were able to negotiate a 9 month sentence in Australia.

A judge did not sentence him, his lawyers and the US Army came to an arrangement.

Anonymous said...

Major Michael Mori, Hicks’s military lawyer, entered the plea to the charge of material support for terrorism, which was broken into two counts or specifications.

Major Mori said Hicks pleaded guilty on specification one, and not guilty on specification two.

Specification one of the charge detailed Hicks's links to terrorist organisations and his activities in Afghanistan where he met Osama bin Laden and completed al-Qaeda training courses.

Specification two simply alleged that Hicks entered Afghanistan from about December 2000 to December 2001 to provide support for terrorism and that he did so in “the context of and was associated with an armed conflict namely al-Qaeda, or its associated forces against the United States or its coalition partners”.

So he clearly pleads guilty to becoming a terrorist.

Clay said...

But he plead guilty after 4 or something years of torture and mind games and wasnt actually charged until the end of that time.

He did not get tried for the 2nd item, they simply let it slide. In short, he was asked to confess to something to justify his incarceration.

Read this article and perhaps realise that an Australian citizen being held by a foreign government for 4 years whilst our government did NOTHING other than lip service does not constitute a fair trial even in the American civil system.

I think you will find that it was a sham charge to a sham process.

I am not supporting what David Hicks did I am simply stating that the process undertaken by the US and Aust governments was ludicrously self serving and unfair on the individual.

If they charged him very quickly and found him guilty and then jailed him, then there would be no real complaints other than where he would serve his time... not in some international hell hole without basic rights as provided by the Geneva Convention.

His crime was to be on the wrong side of the losing military battle... how many Afghani Taliban soldiers are still in Guantanamo?

Will they be there for life? Is that fair??

Clay said...

Oh, and here are the original charges from June 2004... what happened to these??? Clearly unsubstantiated.

Anon, happy to debate you, but listening to Alexander Downer and George Bush rhetoric doesn't make you correct....

ro said...

Brutal torture? Hicks? Ha ha! what a joke-you can't really believe that can you? What troofers are you currently reading?

Poor old Fat Dave got no more and no less than what he deserved.

Even under the geneva convention (well and truly in force when he was captured by the northern alliance)he may be locked up until the END of declared hostilities.

Last time I checked those murdering ignorant shitheads the Taliban/ISI/warlords/every ratbag pashtun to peshawarian that mutilates people for a buck and a smoke are still hostile. There's still a war going on out there if you look up from facebook and unplug your ipod for a minute from your suburban ears.

One sterling example of this delightful war is how Bhutto's own investigators found that the first "unsuccessful" suicide attack on her (that killed at least 136 people) in Oct last year was conducted by a man using his own child of one and a half years as a decoy. He held her in his arms to get through to bhutto and flicked the switch. These are the people with whom Hicks liked to hang out. These are the people whom he believed required defending.

Hicks is being generally quiet now perhaps because his former brothers in global religious crime are not feeling so sweet anymore-especially not since the Oz media loudly reported him as being an APOSTATE...goodness! Bad move to to treat the ROP with such day he might dream of gitmo and those reassuring walls, non?

Hicks was let out way before his time cos the govt requested it for the election. It seems like politics so what?

One brilliant thing in this war of course is that of all the blokes who live in this brilliant place, Fat Dave appears to be the only twit dumb enough join up for something he cannot possibly understand.