5 August 2011

David Hicks: Two men - Two "journeys"

david hicks terrorismPhoto Copyright Mike Hitchen. Taken at a protest rally in Dec 2006

David Hicks. The pawn used by then Australian Prime Minister John Howard, to curry favor with the then President George W. Bush. Two leaders who accompanied by their partner in crime Tony Blair, waged an illegal, immoral, inexcusable, trumped up war that has seen hundreds of thousands of innocent people perish.

In 2007, after five years of America's red-neck justice system, constantly changing rules and moving goal posts, Hicks pleaded guilty to the charge of providing material support for terrorism. The initial hearing was immediately thrown into disarray when the judge effectively disqualified two of his three lawyers. They refused to allow conversations with their client to be monitored.

Hicks admitted training with al-Qaeda, fighting with the Taliban and that a friend of his believed he had approved of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. It's nice to know that in the land of freedom and justice, hearsay evidence is admissible as long as it suits the authorities. Note the word, "believed".

Under a complicated plea bargain deal, Hicks received an incredibly lenient sentence that saw him returned to Australia. The U.S authorities had little or no solid evidence against him - only his own admission obtained under at the very least, severe duress. One Australian media analyst said at the time, that if he had spent five years in that hell-hole, he would have admitted assassinating Kennedy if it meant he was sent back home. The plea bargain included a ban on Hicks speaking to the media for one year, and a very interesting clause under which he agreed to say that he had "never been illegally treated by any persons in the control or custody of the United States".

Hicks subsequently wrote a book, mostly detailing the conditions in Guantanamo Bay. This week an Australian judge froze proceeds from that book. Associated Press reports, "The government has launched court action against Hicks, arguing that he should not be allowed to profit from his autobiography, "Guantanamo: My Journey," because he is a convicted criminal"

Any crimes Hicks was convicted of, were decided in a US kangaroo. Even the prosecutor admitted on Sydney radio, that legislation had been changed to fit what information they had about Hicks.

If Hicks did commit acts of terrorism - then it is perhaps right that the proceeds of his book be forfeited. No author responsible for acts of terrorism or for war crimes, should be allowed to profit from such acts.

It's ironic that the court froze proceeds from Hicks's memoir, just a few days after a lucrative Sydney speaking engagement, by former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, author of "A Journey" a title strikingly similar to Hicks's memoir.

Two men. Two "journeys"

One has paid for his alleged crimes. The other hasn't.

For more of my scribblings on David Hicks, click here

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