Sam and DeeCee join us in demanding David Hicks return to Australia in March 2007 - after all, the election is not that far off now!
The following article by Robert Richter QC appeared in the Sunday Age Newspaper of 18 February 2007:
He is a liar when he pretends concern for [Guantanamo Bay prisoner] David Hicks’ fate. His protestations about Australia’s efforts to secure a speedy trial for Hicks cross the line of decency when we consider that Hicks is, after five years, not charged with any offence. Nor is he subject to the jurisdiction of any lawfully constituted court of justice. We know he has not committed any offences against Australian law. Our A-G says so. We also know that he does not stand charged with any known crime against US law. So how is it that the Attorney-General has not demanded the return of Hicks to the country that owes him protection as a matter of law?
It is because the A-G has publicly prostituted his duties to the law — and to those he owes a duty of protection — in the service of his political masters in the government he serves.
I say this without cover of privilege and challenge him to sue for defamation and take the risk of the facts emerging in any litigation. Cabinet solidarity is one thing; his mealy-mouthed public utterances on the subject are another. He should at least have the decency to stay silent rather than seek to defend and advance the indefensible.
He is, when last I looked, the Attorney-General. That means he is the first law officer of the Commonwealth. It is his primary obligation as Attorney-General — not as a politician, which he discharges in the hurly-burly of politics as an ordinary MP — to transcend the lies and evasions of politicians intent on holding on to power, and to discharge his duties to the law and the constitution: to protect and uphold the rights and liberties of, as well as enforce duties by, citizens of this country.
His utterances about David Hicks are damp-squib lies and deceptions, as are those of his political masters John Howard and of Australia's-face-to-the world, Alexander Downer.
When I became a citizen of Australia, I believed that as part of my pledging allegiance I also acquired the protection of my country at home and abroad. I can no longer believe in the latter while people like Ruddock, Howard and Downer are custodians of such protections. Nor can other Australians. Messrs Ruddock, Howard and Downer's pronouncements about seeking to have Hicks charged early in the new year (in front of commissions that have not yet been lawfully set up!) seem to me to be a desperate cover-up of their government's, fundamental dereliction of duty. Instead of demanding Hicks' return, they have made themselves complicit in procuring an illegal process to occur as soon as possible.
Rather than facing up to their duties to protect the fundamental rights of those subject to their theoretical protection, Ruddock , Howard and Downer are deliberately compounding the illegal actions of the American Administration by counselling and procuring an illegal process. This is a crime under our law. Instead of confessing to a wrong and doing the decent thing by trying to set it right, they are pushing ahead with "churching the whore" after the abortion. They urge the Americans to create a facade of legality for what is seen by all honest jurists as a gross violation of national and international law.
Shame on you Philip Ruddock. I say the same to your superiors and accomplices, but I pick you out because you are supposed to be the enforcing arm of law and justice in Australia, instead of the aider and abettor of the disregard of national and international law and justice.
In his latest defence of the indefensible ( 7.30 Report, February 6), Ruddock likened the serving of "draft charges" on David Hicks to being charged in Australia pending committal proceedings. He is lying. Hicks has not been charged. This can only happen with the approval of a "convening authority", which does not yet exist. Moreover, he is deliberately lying when comparing the process to what might happen in Australia because he knows that a person charged here must be brought before a court as soon as practicable — within 24 hours — or have access to habeas corpus.
As a lawyer, he knows that if the matter had been placed before an Australian court, it would be struck out as an abuse of process for a number of reasons: one of the "draft" charges is retrospective and would be struck out. The charge of attempted murder would be thrown out because, as any university law student would know, training is not an attempt to do it. You actually have to be "on the job" in trying to kill. This is so without even addressing the issues of hearsay or the use of coerced evidence, which raise other fundamental objections to what is proposed.
I used to say Ruddock bore an uncanny resemblance and presentation to an undertaker. I no longer do so because undertakers are decent, honest people doing a decent and honest job and should not be demeaned by a comparison to the indecency perpetrated by Ruddock as the frontrunner for his masters.
Shame on you all. Bring David Hicks home NOW.
Robert Richter, QC, is a Melbourne barrister.
Tandberg's cartoon in The Age, 17 February 2007
By PENELOPE DEBELLE (ADELAIDE) and IAN MUNRO with BRENDAN NICHOLSON (from The Age newspaper, 6 February 2007)
Guantanamo Bay is a lawless prison run by the CIA and US interrogators using CIA techniques of subjugation and degradation, David Hicks’ Adelaide lawyer said yesterday (5 February) on his return from Cuba.
David McLeod, a conservative military lawyer and decorated army legal reservist, said he was “shirt-fronted” by the US military last week because he talked to the media about the conditions in which Hicks was held.
“I was subjected to a rather aggressive interrogation by one of the officials there for talking to the media in the way that I have,” he said. “This is the standard approach, this is what happens when a lawless place like Guantanamo Bay is subject to scrutiny.”
Mr McLeod would not reveal details of the interrogation but said Guantanamo Bay was a lawless place that sought to avoid public scrutiny.
US prosecutor Colonel Morris Davis said Hicks’ defence lawyers would be better employed preparing their case rather than chasing publicity.
Seeking to counter defence claims that Hicks was being subjected to retrospective legislation, Colonel Davis said the charge of providing support for terrorism leveled at Hicks was created more than a decade ago.
Professor Norman Abrams, a specialist in terrorism law at the University of California in Los Angeles, said the law was originally enacted in 1994 and it had been used in a number of prosecutions since.
However, Hicks’ military lawyer, Major Michael Mori, criticized the use of the charge, saying it was “not part of the law of war”. He said the law was being applied retrospectively to Hicks, something Americans would not do to one of their own citizens.
He challenged Attorney-General Philip Ruddock’s claim that the second charge of providing material support to terrorism was not based on retrospective legislation but on codified law.
Speaking on ABC radio, Mr Ruddock denied the law was retrospective.
“I’ve been assured that there were existing laws and this is a mere codification,” he said.
Major Mori said: “What are they saying the law was? What pre-existing law is my question.”
Mr McLeod spoke emotionally of having to leave Hicks behind.
The move by the US military prosecution to announce charges against Hicks the day after his legal team left was an act of “bastardry”. “I think he would be absolutely devastated by the fact that occurred in the absence of his legal team that had been there talking to him for four days,” Mr McLeod said.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister John Howard has defended the determination of the US authorities to charge Hicks with attempted murder.
“Attempting to murder someone is not only constituted by pointing a gun at somebody and pulling the trigger and it not going off or it missing,” Mr Howard said last night.
He said people should remember that the allegations against Hicks were that he trained with al-Qaeda and, with full knowledge of the September 11 attacks, he returned to al-Qaeda allegedly to co-operate with that terrorist organisation.
“It’s a serious allegation and that’s the reason why we have been willing to see him tried before an American military tribunal and not bring him back to Australia where we would have to set him free because there was no criminal offence with which he could be charged,” Mr Howard said.
Hicks’ legal representatives say he decided after September 11 to come home to Australia and was captured by the Taliban after traveling from Pakistan to Afghanistan to collect his belongings.
Posters used at the David Hicks Demonstration at Federation Square, Melbourne, 9 December 2006
The federal government's behaviour in relation to David Hicks is an international crime and disgrace. It diminishes us all as human beings to live in a country which can be guilty of such human rights abuses and which does not live up to charters to which it is a signatory at the United Nations.
Philip Ruddock's behaviour in relation to David Hicks is sounding very much like that of Jimmy Kruger, Minister of Justice (sic) on the death of Steve Biko in 1977 in South Africa when he infamously stated that "Biko's death leaves me cold!"
Bring Hicks home now! If there are any charges to be brought in Australia - which so far evidence suggests there aren't - then let him be tried in an Australian court. His detention without trial for 5 years is a crime against humanity.
Mannie De Saxe, member of Lesbian and Gay Solidarity, Melbourne
Cartoon by Petty in The Age, 7 July 2006
It is a story of lies, deceit, connivance, contrivance, political chicanery - and ultimate betrayal, of human rights abuse, and ultimately the type of society created in Australia by John Howard and his government. It is a story of what could happen to any one of us being in the wrong place at the wrong time and having every event misrepresented by a media frenzy and a government terrorised by itself. When you have read the book, place yourself at the centre of the propositions raised by Richard Flanagan, and analyse what your responses would be given the circumstances in which you find yourself.
The South African minister of "justice" (sic)- in 1977, was Jimmy Kruger. Kruger announced that (Steve) Biko's death was caused by a hunger strike - adding, in a phrase that has gone down in the annals of apartheid crudity, that "his death leaves me cold".
The Australian attorney-general Philip Ruddock stated in the Sunday Age on 7 January 2007 - five years after the US bought Hicks from the Northern Alliance for $1000 - that "the US government has given us certain assurances. We expect them to be honoured." Ruddock has further stated that the Government is "deeply unhappy" about the time the process has taken.
David Hicks is showing no sign of mental distress which would affect his ability to face a trial, Australia's foreign minister Alexander Downer has said.
All experts(sic) in their fields - and we anticipate justice and a speedy end to David Hicks's ordeal?
Don't hold your collective breaths!
The above article was in the Sydney Morning Herald of 2 February 2007
The Resurrectors protest song can be heard atRESURRECTORS PROTEST SONG
The following selection of letters appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald on 2 February 2007 under the heading:
As if Alexander Downer’s gaucheries on David Hicks weren’t enough, we now have Philip Ruddock’s latest grotesqueries (“I’m not OK, says letter, but Downer knows better”, SMH 1/2/07): Hicks is not in solitary confinement, but enjoys sole occupancy of his cell; he is not suffering mental or physical distress, just not handling his detention well.
Complaints about sleep deprivation are dismissed with the reassurance that at least Hicks hasn’t been subjected to water torture, both apparently legal under the rules at Guantanamo Bay.
And this from Australia’s Attorney-General, the country’s first law officer. The man has as little shame as he has compassion.
Marcia Turner, Gosford
In our system of government, the Attorney General is not just a political figure, he or she is the guardian of the principles which underpin our system of justice.
Yet in the case of David Hicks, Philip Ruddock accepts the military commission trial system, which may allow self-incrimination, hearsay, coerced evidence and evidence seized without a search warrant. He is a disgrace to his position.
Colin Simpson, Little Hartley
Colonel Moe Davis – what an appropriate moniker for the chief US military prosecutor. I’m not sure who the other two stooges could be but Federal Government comments suggest there are plenty to choose from.
Government comments regarding Hicks could come straight out of a Three Stooges flick but this one is more macabre than slapstick.
G.McQuinn, Morwell (Vic)
One day, when David Hicks is back with his family in Adelaide, it’ll be interesting to get to the bottom of at least one glaring inconsistency: that of the many Australian consular visits after which Hicks has been deemed fit and well, and his own assessment of what he told his visitor each time. Someone is lying.
Deborah Hurst, Lindfield
How many times must it be said? The “throng of bleeding hearts” (Letters, SMH 1/2/07) are not suggesting David Hicks is innocent of wrongdoing. Nobody here knows. Principled protesters are concerned not only with the length of time it has taken to bring charges against him, but also with the absence of lawful charges of any known offences against valid laws of a relevant place heard by a lawfully constituted tribunal under generally accepted rules and practices enabling a fair result.
Oh, and with the inhumane conditions in which Hicks – a man presumed innocent at this stage – has been held for more than five years.
N.R.Cowdery, Director of Public Prosecutions, Sydney
How many times and in how many ways must the “throng of bleeding hearts” explain this? We do not demand human rights for David Hicks because we believe he is innocent; rather, because we believe he is human.
Louise O’Rance, Ainslie (ACT)
(Posted in Activist Kicks Backs - Blognow archive re-housed - 2005-2009 on 6 February 2007 from Sydney Morning Herald, 2 February 2007)
Other related coverage (see SMH 2 February 2007)Hicks 'shown Saddam hanging shots'
A PHOTOMONTAGE of Saddam Hussein - including a picture of him dangling from the hangman's noose - is displayed on a wall at Guantanamo Bay with a warning that prisoners could face the same fate, David Hicks says.
It has also been alleged that Mr Hicks and other prisoners were shown articles and photographs of other people executed in Iraq, including a man who was decapitated by his hanging.
The outraged Hicks legal team said the display breached the Geneva Conventions requiring the humane treatment of prisoners, and constituted coercion.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer, said a senior official from his department who visited the prison this week had not seen the photos.
A statement issued by Mr Hicks's lawyers quotes Mr Hicks as saying the photographic display of Saddam Hussein was two metres by one metre and visible from the exercise cells where prisoners are allowed for two hours each day.
Mr Hicks's chief defence lawyer, Joshua Dratel, said: "Displaying photos of condemned men to those who may be facing capital charges can only [be] interpreted as an attempt to intimidate and compel submission under a threat of death."
He said the display amounted to the mental torture of an already abused prisoner population. In a statement, Mr Hicks's legal team added: "Unfortunately it demonstrates that the lessons of Abu Ghraib and the humane treatment of detainees have not been learned."
Kelvin Thomson, the Opposition's shadow attorney-general, said the display highlighted that Mr Hicks would not get a fair trial.
"Such photos would not be displayed in the remand section of an Australian jail, nor would they be shown to people facing charges in American jails," he said.
"The reason is simple - the authorities would be concerned that confessions or other evidence obtained in such circumstances would be thrown out as having been obtained through coercion."
Mr Hicks is said to be in a deteriorating mental and physical condition, although the Australian Government insists he is well.
The US has refused Australian requests for an independent medical assessment, but a spokeswoman for the Department of Foreign Affairs said yesterday the US had relented and the examination could take place after the "military commission process had begun".
When that will actually begin remains uncertain. However, American prosecutors have said they expect to lay charges by the end of this week.
Tandberg on Downer on Hicks - The Age, 8 February 2007
"Perhaps next time any of our Aussie larrikins who used to be cute freckle-faced little boys travel to the Middle East to take up an apprenticeship in terrorism with the bad guys, they will remember what happened to Hicks!" (Michael Burd, The Age 9 February 2007)
I assume Burd includes all those from Australia who go to "take up an apprenticeship in terrorism" with Israel in its ongoing apartheid-style oppression of the Palestinians?
Mannie De Saxe, Jews against Oppression and Occupation
WHERE YOU CAN FIND OUT MORE:
Mannie De Saxe, 2/12 Murphy Grove, Preston, Vic 3072
The incarceration of David Hicks in Guantanamo Bay for over 5 years, and the treatment he received there is, mostly, the responsibility of the Howard government.
The editorial in The Age (29/12/07) discusses the disgraceful behaviour of the Howard government, but no mention is made of the disgraceful role the ALP opposition and the media played in this tragic saga, and the blame attached to them because of their silence.
In order to understand the damage inflicted on David Hicks and other US detainees, Naomi Klein's book "The Shock Doctrine" tells of the forms of torture used at Guantanamo Bay and how they came about.
David Hicks and the others have probably been damaged irreparably and our governments and media are directly responsible and should be held to account.
For the new ALP government to support a control order on Hicks similar to the one on Jack Thomas is a black mark on this "new" government, and is totally unacceptable.
Article in the Sydney Morning Herald:
THE Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions will attempt to seize the proceeds of David Hicks's memoir, Guantanamo, My Journey.
Lawyers for the 35-year-old were served with legal papers yesterday, the Herald understands.
The move comes after the Australian Federal Police conducted an investigation into the confessed terrorism supporter last year and referred the matter to public prosecutors in December.
Mr Hicks's father, Terry, said he was “frustrated and disappointed” at the decision.
“This is just an ongoing saga and you wonder when it will end,” Mr Hicks said last night.
“When the Australian government have already said he hasn't broken any Australian laws and the Americans admit he didn't bare arms against them, then you have to ask what motivates this decision.”
Mr Hicks said he believed the decision to prosecute was political and that it would put his son under great strain.
“David's been used as a political football by the Howard government, and all along his treatment has been political. Why would this be any different? David's been through a lot and this is going to put him under even more stress.”
Since Mr Hicks signed a contract with publisher Random House there has been speculation as to whether an attempt would be made to seize any advance or royalties from the autobiography, which has sold about 30,000 copies.
Prosecutors have initially served a restraining order to prevent the funds being transferred or spent, which will be followed by an application to seize the money under the Commonwealth Proceeds of Crime Act. The matter is due to be heard in the NSW Supreme Court on August 3.
Mr Hicks was convicted by a US military commission of providing material support for terrorism but his legal team said he only accepted this under a plea bargain because he was desperate to be released from Guantanamo Bay. He claims he was subjected to torture while held captive from 2001 to 2007.
The leading human rights lawyer Julian Burnside said the decision to pursue any book royalties was “appalling”.
“Given David's treatment at the hands of this government, this decision adds salt into the wounds,” he said.
In June, Mr Hicks's Sydney barrister Ben Saul submitted a report to the UN which detailed claims of mistreatment at American hands, but the Gillard government ruled out launching an inquiry.
From Antony Loewenstein’s blog on 21 July 2011:
As Australian authorities attempt to pursue former Guantanamo Bay prisoner David Hicks – tortured, held illegally and still pursued by leeches who love the authoritarian impulse of US foreign policy – a number of Australians, including me, are speaking out. Thanks to Overland journal for organising this:
On 20 July 2011, the Australian government served David Hicks with a notice of their intent to restrain any funds obtained from the sale of his book, Guantanamo: My Journey, under the Commonwealth Proceeds of Crime Act.
After Hicks was captured in Afghanistan and sold to the US by the Northern Alliance, he spent six years in Guantanamo Bay without trial or charges. He alleges that, during his detention, he was tortured. He spent much of his captivity in 24-hour solitary detention. Hicks was eventually brought before a military commission, in a procedure condemned by lawyers and human rights groups everywhere. With no other way to get home, he accepted a deal, under which, in return for pleading guilty, he served a short sentence in Australia. The arrangement was widely acknowledged as a political resolution to a case that was causing increasing embarrassment to both the US and Australian governments. Obviously, Hicks would never have been released had the Americans thought he represented the slightest threat.
Many Australians regard the treatment of David Hicks as an international outrage. What took place – what continues to take place – in Guantanamo Bay deserves more publicity, not less. If the government thinks it has done nothing wrong, it has nothing to fear from a full discussion of the Hicks case.
The move against Hicks’ memoirs should concern everyone. But it is of particular relevance to writers and publishers, precisely because of the direct interference into publications with which the government politically disagrees. How can Australian publishers feel safe publishing material that is controversial knowing that the Australian government is willing to use laws to financially penalise perceived opponents? Fundamentally, this is an issue of political censorship.
As lawyer Elizabeth O’Shea put it, ‘Anyone who believes in the right to a fair trial and freedom from torture should defend Hicks.’ The government’s application is to be heard 3 August in NSW. We’re asking those in the publishing industry to sign this petition (leave your name below or send us an email) because this action has alarming political and financial implications for writers and publishers everywhere.Signed:
Letters – The Age:
NOT surprised but still disgusted that the Australian government through the Director of Public Prosecutions wants to divest David Hicks of any income he receives as a result of the publication of his book Guantanamo, My Journey. It has declared that he committed no crime yet it is using the ''proceeds of crime'' legislation to beat him into submission, ironically in much the same way as his US captors did when they imprisoned him for years without charge.Peter Dunne, Brighton East
''HICKS to lose profits from his memoir'' (The Age, 21/7): that headline is premature. The DPP's application won't be heard by a kangaroo court in Guantanamo Bay. It'll be heard by the NSW Supreme Court on August 3. We'll see what Australian justice makes of the Hicks affair.Lawrie Bradly, Surrey Hills
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This page last updated 24 JULY 2011