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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

the shifting sands of politics « Previous | |Next »
February 10, 2007

The critics of Hicks' long incarceration in Guantanamo Bay without charge of terrorism have routinely been dismissed as anti-American, civil libertarian, doomsaying, Muslim-loving leftie pacifists bent on wrecking the ANZUS alliance. No more.

Alan Moir

Unfortunately for Howard,though public opinion has little time for Hicks, there is an understanding that this issue is one of injustice and a negative judgement is being made. Hence Howard's new public face of abrupt "anger" at the Americans and his promise the other day to "harrass" them.

Of course, Howard's political response of blaming the delayed justice on the Americans, doesn't square with Howard confirming that it is him, not the Americans, blocking extradition on the grounds that Hicks' 2001 activities in Afghanistan weren't actually illegal under Australian law.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:38 AM | | Comments (22)


Spectacular hypocracy from Howard/Downer/Ruddock. You are absolutely right that Australians can separate David Hicks, the individual and what he did and giving somebody a fair go. Let us hope that this issue helps to sink the Coalition boat.

The Sunday Age has a report that says a Mr Vickery, an International Commission of Jurists special "rapporteur" on Hicks, has said the charge of "material support for terrorism" against Hicks was a classic retrospective law which did not exist in 2001.

It was created by the Americans to apply to David Hicks and others on 17 October 2006 when President Bush signed the Military Commissions Act of 2006 into law in the United States. However, Hicks is alleged to have committed the offence in Afghanistan in 2001.

he points out that Australian domestic law now included the provisions of the Rome Statute, the international treaty which defines war crimes and set up the International Criminal Court The Government signed the statute in 1998. In 2002, when it was ratified, the Government incorporated its war crime provisions into domestic law, setting them out in Division 268 of the Australian Criminal Code.

The war crimes offences now part of the code include a range of laws against the conduct of unfair and irregular trials and against the prosecution of "retrospective offences". The code also includes the offence of denying a person protected by the Geneva conventions a fair trial.

Hicks was clearly a person protected by the conventions.

Yes Fair play would be great.
But remembering that Hicks is not nor should he be turned into a hero.

why should he be? I cannot see any reason to do that.

I see the situation going in that is common for prisoners that are released from long periods of supposed wrongful imprisonment to attain Hero Status.
His eventual release will be a huge media circus.

It is wrongful imprisonment because Hicks, as an Australian citizen, has not been charged. If Hicks is seen to be an enemy combtant, then he is not being treated as a prisoner of war.

The continued existence of Guantanamo Bay is a blight on the US as a democratic nation. And the US is doing that to itself.

As to your concerns there are always the options of a preventative detention or control order, if the evidence against Hick is so compelling.

I suggest and am not necessarily referring to the Hicks case that at some point a persons behavour/actions negate the onus for them to be treated fairly.

your emphasis is on character. Mine is on the rule of law irrespective of character. The rule of rule is universal and applies to all citizens in a nation state .

Yes correct...Don't get me wrong I agree with your point to a point....But, when A person goes about their ways doing Inhumane things like despot rulers, people who take up arms in public for no reason and kill, men who do wicked things to babies and children and women, people who set about to murder for the sake of murder.
Don't these people by their actions negate their Humanity.
Why then should they have access to Human Rights?

they should be judged for their crimes in a court of law. For your despots by the international court of law at the Hague, as was Slobodan Milošević Otherwise it is might is right, winners law or Klu Klux Klan vigilantism

Getting back to the point of David Hicks...I think that the large and growing swell of support stems from his fathers tireless efforts to voice his cause....People especially those that have children feel for his flight and to an extent take on his cause...David has benefited in the fact that the media has not had access to him...And he hasn't had to explain what he was doing, Why?, and as a result of his training had he not been captured...What his next step was... All these questions and more he will need to answer to the media when after his release they attack him like seagulls attack left-over chips at a picnic.
Perhaps he will wish that he hadn't been released one day because it ain't going to be nice for him Ever in Australia

yes the father is doing what the state should do for its citizens.

The ground swell of opinion might also have something to do with the fact that an injustice is involved.

Yes perhaps there is some injustice involved.
Perhaps also had Hicks not ended up there he may of become another Martin Bryant.

Firstly, I don't see this as being a political issue.

The legal people that you mentioned are untitled to their opinions. Lawyers are frightfully good at putting over their opinions and they do seem to enjoy it. Many I am sure have the opinion that Hicks should of been questioned and taken out behind the shed and shot.
Perhaps had he been an American this would of happened.

Lots would feel too that Hicks should have his Australian citizenship taken away as an undesirable.

you refer to their personal opinions about Hicks the person and what he has done, when the issue the lawyers are discussing is the due process of the law.

Howard and co are accepting, and defending, retrospective charges on legislation passed after 2001 for actions Hicks did prior to 2001. If so, then why cannot do they do same in Australia?

That undercuts their main argument that they cannot bring Hicks home and charge him because there was no law he could be tried under.

I do not see how the existence of personal views about some conservative lawyers re the character of Hicks is a response to that argument. Sure, these views exist---so? What has that got to do with the retrospectivity issue?

I wonder really how different the Hicks issue is to the recent story of the guy that stupidly jumped off the rocks and had to be rescued.
Surely both were responsible for their actions and the catastrophe that followed.
Yes the Australian Government must like all countries provide assistance to its travelers overseas because there will always be problems that occur, accidents and language problems but surely these sorts of incidences differ from the like of Hicks who is obviously NOT of good Character.
Surely like the guy who chose to frivolously leap from the rocks Hicks must pay a price for his actions.

he's had punishment enough. David Hicks has been held in Guantánamo Bay for five years. He has been denied the protections offered to criminal suspects in the American and Australian legal systems. He has been denied the protections guaranteed to prisoners of war by the Geneva Convention.

Hicks will be tried by Military Commission. The Commission will receive hearsay evidence and it will receive evidence obtained by coercion. Hardly a fair trial.The Anglo-Australian legal system has excluded hearsay evidence for several centuries.

Confessions of an accused person obtained by use of coercion are inadmissible in Australia, in England and in the USA. It offends the most basic principles of our justice system that an accused person can be coerced or tricked into making a statement which is later used against them.

5 year gaol for training with murderers to become a murderer....
Yes, That's Plenty.
Do you think he would like a lollipop too?

Hicks was in Afghanistan before 9/11 in 2001, the Taliban were the legitimate government. Not even the Americans are saying he is a murder or killed anyone.

I think we have covered the issue until new information arises...and the story moves forward.

Legitimate is a word with many possibilities.
John Howards government is Legitimate so everything they do is Peachy?

What the Americans have done to Hicks is Inhumane?
And what the Taliban did to the Afghanian Female population was Legitimate?

Best idea is as soon as hear the word.... Leg-it-mate