Australia: US Tribunal A Charade

David Hicks, kidnapped by the USA

The trial of Australian national David Hicks at Guantanamo Bay was a charade that served to corrode the rule of law, Australia’s top legal body has said.

The Law Council of Australia called government support for the US military tribunal process shameful.

In a report on the issue, the council drew a parallel with the case of detained Indian doctor Mohamed Haneef.

David Hicks was arrested in Afghanistan in 2001 and spent more than five years in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.

“There’s an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ quality to both these cases – ‘First the sentence, then the verdict’,” [Australian Law Council President] Mr Bugg said.

“Mr Hicks and Mr Haneef both know what that feels like,” he said.
(Source: BBC News)

Think of how much the world, how public opinion was so behind the USA after the disgusting 9/11 attacks. We were all shocked and horribly disturbed by those murders – it all felt terribly unreal and yet it was happening.

Now, only six years later, the US government has managed to take the huge groundswell of international support post-9/11 and convert it into a barrage of antipathy, distrust and outright hostility. With their gulag in Guantanamo, their killing of 655,000+ Iraqis, the vastly botched occupation of Iraq, only insane Republicans would now claim that Bush and co. have been doing a sterling job. It’s been a disaster.

David Hicks was caught in the USA’s madness. He was held with no charges whatsoever, no evidence, no due legal process. He was kidnapped.

For more than five years.

I can’t even begin to think myself into his position. You’re held by a country that you know supports torture, that you know has no regard whatsoever for international law. That, in fact, laughs at the Geneva Conventions and considers them quaint.

If this had been the other way round…

Imagine if North Korea had decided that a British or American citizen was a counter-revolutionary. Imagine if they’d held him or her for five years in a prison well-known for torture.

What would the international outcry have been like then? Every country would have rushed to shout their condemnation.

But when the USA acts in a totally immoral, evil fashion… we hear nothing. An abomination like Guantanamo can go un-mentioned, conveniently forgotten by our politicians. Let’s not talk about that, eh, frightful business but we can’t fall-out with the Americans, can we?

The fact that the Australian Law Council has now condemned the USA’s actions is a first, tiny step.

Perhaps it’s time our shiny, new Prime Minister spoke out against the horror of Guantanamo.

Or is horror only bad when our enemies commit it?