27 December, 2007

Confusion regarding a suitable epithet for David Hicks in the Australian media

This picture is not David Hicks, but is a representation of the torture he endured

Dear ABC TV

I saw further evidence on ABC TV 7.30 Report tonight of confusion regarding a suitable epithet for David Hicks.

On a number of occasions on ABC Radio National I have heard him referred to as "former Guantanamo Bay detainee" - pretty accurate so far. I have also heard him referred to as "convicted terrorism supporter" - not very accurate, in my opinion.

Tonight on your programme David Hicks was referred to in several ways, at least once as "convicted terrorist".

If you check extensive interviews with US Major Michael Mori and other legal opinion you will find that:

1. David Hicks was tortured in the experimental torture facility at Guantanamo Bay. No evidence that he could possibly supply to any trial could be admissible as evidence - it was all tainted.

2. David Hicks waited almost six years, much of it in solitary confinement, which has undermined his sanity. The original charges were dropped and most of the newly concocted charges were dropped too.

3. David Hicks was not allowed to know on what evidence he was being charged, nor who was supplying this evidence. He was not able to challenge any of the evidence.

4. The Military Commissions were not considered fair by any legal authority in the world. Citizens of Canada, Britain and the USA were not allowed by their governments to be tried in this style of court.

5. David Hicks was kept in Guantanamo Bay at the pleasure and convenience of the Howard government that also failed to exercise any of their alleged influence in Washington on behalf of an Australian citizen.

6. My memory does not fail me. I remember that it was the Prosecution that carried out White House instructions to get a plea bargain deal with David Hicks sewn up before any evidence could be heard.

7. David Hicks admitted assisting terrorists only to secure a ticket out of Guantanamo Bay and a flight back to civilisation in Australia. Who could blame him?

8. I think David Hicks was a stupid young man to fight for the Taliban, but he did not break any Australian law and is said to never have killed anyone. He was an 'enemy combatant' under the Geneva Conventions. He should have been treated as a Prisoner of War and released on cessation of hostilities.

I would be interested to know whether the journalists at the ABC have checked whether POW's are allowed under the Geneva Conventions to be anally raped.

I hope that the ABC will now realise that David Hicks is not a threat to national security. This is just a face-saving device for the people who have consistently failed to make us more secure and have instead exposed citizens of this country to greater threat.

What we do need is for this country to have a Royal Commission to unearth the truth about the treatment of David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib and the role of Phillip Ruddock, Alexander Downer and John Howard in this disgraceful affair. I also believe that our Ambassador to Washington, Dennis Richardson, formerly Director General of ASIO, should also be answering questions regarding his support of the torture of Australian citizens.

Please check that the facts I present here are correct and instruct your journalists to desist from cheap Channel 7 labels. One day there could be a defamation case. In the mean time, keep the descriptors neutral, I suggest.

Regards

Willy Bach

PS:

Just in case the tabloid media think this is an opportunity to feast on David Hicks' release from Yatala Prison and his signing-on at Centrelink, lets tell them too that we are turned off by their ghoulish campaign to make David Hicks' reintegration even more difficult.

Hicks to apologise upon release

http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,22977442-5015421,00.html

"DAVID Hicks plans to head from the prison food line to the dole queue on his release from jail tomorrow, after an apology from the confessed terrorist supporter is read by his lawyer.

The nation's most famous prison inmate has told his father Terry Hicks a trip to Centrelink to sign on for the "Newstart" allowance is at the top of his to-do list when he tastes freedom for the first time in six years".

What do the media expect this very damaged young man to do?

Let all this sit heavily on the consciences of John Howard, Alexander Downer, Phillip Ruddock et al - we need a Royal Commission. We should rejoice that these people are now out of office and the former ring-master deservedly out of public life.

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