March 24, 2007

Deception

I do not oppose those who are campaigning to bring David Hicks home.

I do not believe he is a sterling cause, nor do I believe that in his future, free life, he will make any more useful contribution to our society than he has to date.

Nonetheless, I appreciate the human rights aspect. I only wish they had a worthier specimen to promote.

Tucked in today’s newspaper is a form letter, which I could send to the Prime Minister, as well as a donation section, all supplied by Amnesty International. That the Hicks family and their supporters now have Amnesty International supporting them is quite remarkable. I’d be mildly interested if they believe that everyone in Guantanamo Bay should be released, or only David Hicks? If the latter, does their support primarily stem from the knowledge that other Western governments long ago demanded and achieved the release of their nationals? In other words, would they be demanding Hicks’ release into the legal system of Iran, for example, or is this a campaign with a distinctly Western bias?

I know, I’m being nit-picky, but it seems an obvious aspect of interest.

I don’t mind that households across Australia are receiving these brochures from Amnesty International, and I don’t mind that at least a few thousand people, if not tens of thousands, will sign the form letter and sent it to the Prime Ministers’ office. Howard has been misreading the vibe in this country for a number of years now, and anything that helps Mr-Finger-on-the-Pulse to understand how detached he has become isn’t a bad thing.

What I do mind is the deception of the brochure content. The wording is exceptionally clever. I am in awe of the way a few simple words have been used to paint a false impression. Really I am.

Time is Running Out – says the large print. This in itself is not a deception, but it is silly. Why is time running out? It’s not as though David Hicks is going anywhere, nor is he so old and doddery that he may die before being released. Oh, that’s right, time is running out before he finally faces a trial conducted by the US Military Commission, and their goal is that he never faces any trial any where in the world, no matter what he has done. You wouldn’t know that from the brochure though.

This is where it gets tricky:

Join our campaign to bring David Hicks home to face a fair trial here in Australia or be released.

David Hicks should be returned to Australia to face a fair trial, or if no grounds or evidence can be found on which to prosecute him, to be released.

In the form letter the words are used again:

Bring David Hicks home. Try him in Australia and if the Australia justice system can find no ground or evidence to prosecute him, then David Hicks must be released. It is that simple.

What's wrong with this very clever language?

Fact: regardless of grounds there is no law under which David Hicks could be tried in Australia.

Fact: regardless of evidence there is no law under which David Hicks could be tried in Australia.

Fact: It wouldn’t matter what David Hicks had done to advance his burgeoning career as a terrorist on foreign soil, even up to and including murdering dozens of people (if that had been the case - which it wasn't) there is no law in this country that would then, or does now, allow any legal charges to be bought against him in Australia.

The Hicks family knows this. Their supporters know this. Amnesty International most definitely knows this.

I resent the deceptive presentation of their campaign, when they are 100% aware that what they are requesting is David Hicks’ immediate freedom back in Australia, without ever facing trial, as in, never ever, and not for any reason.

They are not asking that “grounds” be evaluated, because they know our laws don’t cover any.

They are not asking that “evidence” be assessed back on home soil, because they know our laws don’t cover the crimes, no matter what evidence exists.

They are not asking that he be tried here, because they know he can’t and won’t ever be.

They are not asking that he be permitted to serve time in a local jail.

They are plain and simply asking for his immediate and unfettered freedom, no matter that he was determined to become a successful terrorist.

I resent the manipulative and deceitful message in their brochure.

17 comments:

  1. Anonymous1:14 AM

    I am a very active supporter of a fair trial for David Hicks and all the other Gitmo detainees, but I agree that the language that has been used (about a trial in Australia) is deceptive. I HAVE to agree because to do anything else would be stupid.

    We cannot try Hicks in Australia because he has broken no laws (that we know of) and we will not be introducing crazy retrospective legislation. To do so in THIS case would be a breach of the Geneva Conventons and probably a war crime.

    Hicks is actually inocent (until proven guilty) and the U.S. Supreme Court will not allow Hicks to face an unfair trial - so he will remain innocent.

    Ray

    ReplyDelete
  2. Your last thought is a bit cryptic Ray.

    You seem to be suggesting that they will eventually win some of the challenges about the nature of the trial process, perhaps?

    But this week I understand that they have failed in that effort, again. Indeed, I'm sure I read that "team Hicks" were gravely disappointed that they didn't win further delays to the trial, which was almost funny, if it hadn't been utterly serious.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous2:45 AM

    [CAZ] Your last thought is a bit cryptic Ray.

    [CAZ] You seem to be suggesting that they will eventually win some of the challenges about the nature of the trial process, perhaps?

    [RAY] Everything hinges on a fair trial. If Hicks has a fair trial then there are numerous ways that he could be found not guilty.

    There are only a few ways that a fair trial could take place:

    One way is to re-write of the Military Commissions Act 2006 ABOLISHING:

    (a) The right to use evidence gained through torture of the accused or witnesses.
    (b) The right to conceal witnesses and their evidence.
    (c) The right to prevent cross-examination of witneses.

    If that was done it would make the Military Commissions virtually the same at Courts-martial, thus making the above totally pointless.

    Another way is to drop the Military Commission trial and start again with a Court-martial.
    If that was done, the retrospective charge MIGHT be considered invalid. If not, as I said earlier, there are numerous way he would be found not guilty.

    Another way is to hold a Federal Court trial, in which case the retrospective charge couldn't get past first base. His lawyer would simply quote the illegality of the charge and refer to the U.S. Constitution.

    [CAZ] But this week I understand that they have failed in that effort, again. Indeed, I'm sure I read that "team Hicks" were gravely disappointed that they didn't win further delays to the trial, which was almost funny, if it hadn't been utterly serious.

    [RAY] The thing that the U.S. Federal Court ruled upon yesterday was of no great consequence. His lawyers never expected the Federal Court to order a stay until the Supreme Court heard the case about the legality of the NEW Military Commissions. They must have had SOME reason for asking for the ruling, but it's not apparent. Perhaps they were relying on the Federal Court Judges to discover some way of delaying the process that they hadn't thought of, or perhaps they wanted the Court to SPELL OUT stuff that could be used later - either in court or in the U.S. Congress.

    Peter Vickery QC (and a bunch of other luminaries in the Australian legal field) have written an extensive opinion about Hicks situation. It's on the net somewhere, but I am not quoting anything in it, but do recall a few bits from it.

    In a fair court they haven't got a hope in hell of convicting Hicks for anything.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous2:01 AM

    I didn't make one point clear in my previous post.

    The U.S. supreme Court has already ecided in favour of the detainees twice, and on the second occasion Bush used Congress to leap-frog the Court by pushing through new legislation, but they will come unstuck when it goes back to teh Supreme Court because the lat time they assessed the OLD Military Commissions Act, they hadn't finised blasting it and outlawing it because it was so ridiculous they didn't NEED to say any more.

    Next time they process the (new)Military Commissions Act they will use the rest of the gear that they didn't use last time and chuck it out.

    That will force Bush to try and get new legislation past Congress but by the time that happens they will either have canned Gitmo and Military Commissions themselves or they will be in no mood to allow the crazy farce to continue.

    Besides all this, the Australian people (and the government) won't tolerate any more long delays - especially now that we KNOW Hicks is innocent under the rule of law (although NOT under the flakey Gitmo lore).

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous2:49 AM

    [CAZ]: Fact: It wouldn’t matter what David Hicks had done to advance his burgeoning career as a terrorist on foreign soil, even up to and including murdering dozens of people (if that had been the case - which it wasn't) there is no law in this country that would then, or does now, allow any legal charges to be bought against him in Australia.

    [RAY] Look, you KNOW we were conned about Iraq and you MAY know that we were conned about Afghanistan (the U.S. planned to invade 9 months before Sept 11th).
    We've also be conned about Hicks.

    (1) He was NOT a gun-nut before.
    (2) He was NOT a terrorist.
    (3) He was NOT a "suspected terrorist"
    (4) He did NOT commit treason
    (5) He was not a "traitor" (even morally)
    (6) He was on OUR side when he went to train in Kosovo.
    (7) He did NOT fight in Kosovo to stop the ethnic cleansing (slaughter) of Muslims, but he wanted to.
    (8) It was LEGAL for him to assist the Pakistani Army.
    (9) The "proclaimed" terrorist organizations were legal when Hicks had connections with them.
    (10) He was NOT "guarding a tank" when captured. That occurred before the invasion.
    (11) He could NOT have harmed Aussie soldiers because they weren't anywhere near him.
    (12) He did NOT "assist Al Qa'ida" when guarding the tank. He was assisting the Taliban government of Afghanistan when the invasion was imminent.
    (13) He apparently did NOT assist Al Qa'ida at any time. They in fact assisted HIM by training him.
    (14) He was NOT a member of Al Qa'ida. It was his duty in his religion to undergo general training and THEY employed Al Qa'ida sub-contractors, which awas perfectly legal.
    (15) He did NOT fight against America's ally (The Afghan rebels called the Northern Alliance).
    (16) He did NOT volunteer to translate an Al Qa'ida manual because he hardly speaks Arabic.
    (17) He did NOT use firearms in Kosovo. He trained with a wooden gun.
    (18) He did NOT fire that anti-tank weapon at anyone. He and the others in the photo only posed with it after training with wooden guns in Kosovo.
    ----------

    He DID however say some bloody awful things about Jews or Israel in his letter, but it sounded more like parrotting something he'd been told to say. Writing stuff like that could easily be an offence today if it happened in Australia, but as far as I know, even if it happened now, our Criminal law does not have jurisdiction over an Australian in Pakistan.

    I'd expect that when he returns to Australia he will retract some of that stuff and apologise.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Very kind of you to go to so much trouble Ray, appreciate your efforts, and you seem to know what you're talking about.

    Yes, the way you've laid it out, Hicks will likely never go to trial over there, so, one day, the American gov't is going to have to figure out what the heck to do with him, and all the others. Boy they've made a mess of it, but so did Howard, all those years ago.

    Not sure about all of your points WRT Hicks' actions, and so forth, but I would say that I don't buy the "youthful idiot" line that a lot of people are pushing. He was a grown man, and with a couple of children - not that being a parent makes one a grown up - yet he actively sought a particular path, with no thought to others, so he had some pretty fucked up thinking going on.

    Can't agree with your idea that he was merely parroting thoughts from others, not at his age. For whatever reasons, those thoughts had sufficient resonnance with him for him to write them down and share them with others.

    It's all such an utter cock-up. I think we can all safely agree on that.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anonymous12:39 AM

    [CAZ]: Very kind of you to go to so much trouble Ray, appreciate your efforts, and you seem to know what you're talking about.

    [RAY]: I haven't seens the whole story (from various perspectives) in any one place, so I've tried to assemble one, based on what's available.

    Yesterday I discovered that was wrong on one point. Australia CAN legally try Hicks in a fair trial with exactly the same charge if we use retrospective legislation - which is NOT outlawed here like it is in America.

    It would however seem ridiculous to do that when we consider he had broken no Australian law in 2001 and it would only be done to get him away from the Americans - which would be a slap in the face to them.

    [CAZ] Yes, the way you've laid it out, Hicks will likely never go to trial over there, so, one day, the American gov't is going to have to figure out what the heck to do with him, and all the others. Boy they've made a mess of it, but so did Howard, all those years ago.

    [RAY]: A great part of what they have done is a mess, and that explains why (so far) they have been defeated.

    [CAZ] Not sure about all of your points WRT Hicks' actions, and so forth, but I would say that I don't buy the "youthful idiot" line that a lot of people are pushing.

    [RAY] I mentoned them because they were things that were not commonly known. There's still room for correction but anyone can see that some of their previous information is worth questioning.

    [CAZ] He was a grown man, and with a couple of children - not that being a parent makes one a grown up - yet he actively sought a particular path, with no thought to others, so he had some pretty fucked up thinking going on.

    [RAY] It would be hard to understand unless we start thinking like a Muslim or we have an understanding of their collective situation. Hicks may have simply decided to stand with them once he joined their religion.
    In his case it meant standing with the Taliban version of Islam, who were religious students who know (like everyone else) that political power comes only from the barrel of a gun - but not necessarily terrorism. We use guns to enforce democracy and they use guns to enforce theocracy.

    Sometimes we use terrorism and torture, but not that often, and while our military people are trained in ways that enable them to carry out terorist acts, most of them don't - the same as the Taliban.

    [CAZ] Can't agree with your idea that he was merely parroting thoughts from others, not at his age. For whatever reasons, those thoughts had sufficient resonnance with him for him to write them down and share them with others.

    [RAY] Look, I'm pro-Judaism and pro-Israel and would like to see them remain in their traditional lands without being attacked, but they are basically at war with a lot of Arabs and Muslims, so it's automatic for some pretty gross statements to be made by both sides. That sort of talk is not welcome (or legal) in Australia any more, but I think it's commonplace in other countries.

    Hicks wrote that stuff from Pakistan, probably not knowing anything much at all about Judaism or Israel besides the one-sided stuff he had been taught in the religious seminary he was attending. I dare say both you and I could become biased against the CIA or the old KGB or the U.S. Administration if we only heard the rough stuff - instead of getting a balanced picture.

    As far as I can gather, the only thing Hicks knew about Israel was that "They have tourist trips going there".

    I doubt if he knew how the Jews had been kicked from pillar to post for over 2,000 years and that Australian Light horsemen had taken Beer Sheba for them (away from the Turks) in about 1916 in the most magnificent cavalry charge - the last in world history.

    I wouldn't be surprised if Hicks knew nothing about the Holocaust either. If he did, prior to becoming a Muslim his attitude would probably have been somewhat different, or at least more tolerant.

    [CAZ] It's all such an utter cock-up. I think we can all safely agree on that.

    I knew if we talked for long enough we'd find total agreement on something :-)

    ReplyDelete
  8. If the Military Commissions were a legitimate court which we know they are not they would be acceeding to the request to strike out the charge given that Hicks has been held without charge for five long years. This breaches a number of national, international law and conventions including Habeaus Corpus and the United States constitition. Despite denials Amnesty International and red cross visits indicate that both co-ersion and torture techniques similar to the ones perpetrated at the Abu Graiib prison have been used at Gitmo.

    I have written number of bloggs on the Hicks issue at
    my blog
    www.myspace.com/bazza_is_cool

    ReplyDelete
  9. Ray – on this morning’s news they noted that further appeals to the Supreme Court about the legitimacy of the laws & prosecutions could take another two years to work their way through the system. Seems to me that this would be the worst outcome for Hicks, and at the end of a couple of years, he’d still be sitting there in jail.

    Also the worst possible outcome for the public – oh, good grief, another two, or more, years of this perpetual commentating on every twist and turn?! Ah, spare us! I hope that’s not how it plays out.

    They are still mooting a plea bargain deal, which could see Hicks released pretty much as soon as a deal finalized, that is, a guilty plea in exchange for time already served. But, we’ll know soon enough how he’s going to plead, at least in the first instance.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Anonymous9:06 PM

    [CAZ]: Ray – on this morning’s news they noted that further appeals to the Supreme Court about the legitimacy of the laws & prosecutions could take another two years to work their way through the system. Seems to me that this would be the worst outcome for Hicks, and at the end of a couple of years, he’d still be sitting there in jail.

    [RAY]: No, that's the BEST possible outcome -- for the U.S. Supreme Court to declare on 2nd April that they will accept the petition to examine the legality of the Gitmo trials. That would guarantee a long delay and the immediate call for Hicks' release by the Australian government.

    It would also guarantee that NO ONE would ever face a Military Commission trial in Gitmo (because there's no way the Supreme Court could ever uphold the right for unfair trials to proceed). America would be the laughing stock of the world if it did.

    [CAZ]: Also the worst possible outcome for the public – oh, good grief, another two, or more, years of this perpetual commentating on every twist and turn?! Ah, spare us! I hope that’s not how it plays out.

    [RAY]: It will be all over very soon, however I hope bloggers are still slamming the bad guys right up to election day - to reduce the potential for future governments to betray a citizen.

    [CAZ]: They are still mooting a plea bargain deal, which could see Hicks released pretty much as soon as a deal finalized, that is, a guilty plea in exchange for time already served. But, we’ll know soon enough how he’s going to plead, at least in the first instance.

    [RAY]: I don't know if it's possible for the matter to be totally wrapped up in a few hours from now - with a plea bargain and his immediate conviction and rreturn to Australia but I've been saying for a couple of months on the net that Hicks will be home by 31st March and that we are only watching theatre.

    It's now 21:00 hrs AEDTime on Mon 26th March and we have about 6 hrs to go before the Kangaroo Court opens. My best guess is this:

    Hicks will make a plea bargain so his old man never has to make the excruciatingly long plane trip again, and he will return to Australia with him (and his sister).

    Ray

    ReplyDelete
  11. Whoo, hoo!

    Counting down Ray!

    Wouldn't it be a relief if it really was all over red rover within hours?

    Well, all over bar the political blowback, and selling the interviews and the book and the film rights.

    I don't think there is anything that would stop him from selling the story, unless the little clause about convicted criminals not being allowed to profit from their stories can be applied to Hicks, even though he was not charge here? I don't think the law allows them to apply it to O/S charges.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Anonymous10:30 PM

    [CAZ]: Whoo, hoo!

    Counting down Ray!

    [RAY]: Yes, it's a real count-down alright. I'll be watching everything minute by minute from here on until we get an answer.
    At the moment I'm trying to think of other events that I found just as riveting:

    (1) The Moon landing
    (2) Episode of 'The Sullivans' when 'Grace' was killed in the London WWII air raids.
    (3) Rescue of the sailor Tony Bullimore by the R.A.N.
    (4) Ted Whitten's (Mr Football) last ride/send-off around the
    Footscray oval.
    (5) The 1983 Americas Cup win.
    (6) Start of the 2nd Gulf War.
    (7) Princess Diana's funeral.

    [CAZ]: Wouldn't it be a relief if it really was all over red rover
    within hours?

    [RAY]: Yes, and I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of Australian
    blokes get a tear in their eyes at the most inappropriate times.

    [CAZ]: Well, all over bar the political blowback, and selling the interviews and the book and the film rights.

    [RAY]: "Blowback"!
    What a great name for an activist website "Blowback.com.au"
    We could all jump in and debrief until the elections.

    [CAZ]: I don't think there is anything that would stop him from
    selling the story, unless the little clause about convicted
    criminals not being allowed to profit from their stories can be
    applied to Hicks, even though he was not charge here? I don't think
    the law allows them to apply it to O/S charges.

    [RAY]: The lawyers and judges who have been so helpful will provide
    the answer, but a quick perusal of the Act may tell us. In any case
    the interviews will be conducted and the stories and at least one
    movie will be made.

    Hicks will be looked after - even if we have to write some
    RETROSPECTIVE legislation to do it.
    ----

    One more thought:
    Hicks would be crazy not to take a plea bargain (any sort) because it doesn't matter what he's found guilty of in a system that will be overturned by the Supreme Court.

    Any "guilt" would automatically be erased if it was achieved through an unfair system.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Oh, come now, it was deflating when 'Grace' was killed in the London WWII air raids. We already knew she was leaving. Then they blew her up. The Sullivan's wasn't the same after that. Blowing Grace up was their jump the shark moment, or, to use a contemporary analogy, their jumping the couch moment.

    Now that I think about it, wish I'd called my blog "blowback". A couple of years too late though.

    *Sulk*

    ReplyDelete
  14. Anonymous10:59 PM

    [CAZ]: Oh, come now, it was deflating when 'Grace' was killed in the London WWII air raids. We already knew she was leaving. [....]

    [RAY]: Yes deflating. We didn't have a VCR back then (in about 1980) so I taped it as audio for my wife who had to attend a union (Admin) meeting that night.

    [CAZ]: Now that I think about it, wish I'd called my blog "blowback". A couple of years too late though.

    *Sulk*

    [RAY]: Perhaps it's just as well -- it might be a crime in 5 years, and THEN where would you be?

    ReplyDelete
  15. Anonymous10:54 AM

    TUESDAY 10:10am Adelaide time

    News report - Hicks to plead guilty.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Ah, darn, you beat me to it Ray!

    Next the "bargain" part.

    Note: all profits from Corby book and interviews have been frozen. Don't know why; didn't think the laws would cover citizens charged O/S, but there ya go. Maybe Hicks will need to find a cleaning job after all.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Anonymous12:02 PM

    [CAZ]: Ah, darn, you beat me to it Ray!

    Next the "bargain" part.

    [RAY]: Time already served for breaching the fake law. (Howard wants Hicks out of the media) but he has grossly under estimated the blowback factor.

    Note: all profits from Corby book and interviews have been frozen. Don't know why; didn't think the laws would cover citizens charged O/S, but there ya go. Maybe Hicks will need to find a cleaning job after all.

    [RAY] After he's finished on the err... volunteer lecture circuit, but by then he will be ready to sue a few people and legal entities for damages.

    We oughta start a sweep to guess who picks the closest number of people at Adelaide airport. I'd say 5,000.

    ReplyDelete