03 February, 2007

Guantánamo Bay (Cuba) and David Hicks are symbolic of an empire on steroids

Amnesty International has called Guantánamo Bay a human rights scandal. http://web.amnesty.org/pages/guantanamobay-index-eng But Guantánamo Bay also reflects the true aspirations of an American empire that has no interest in democracy and freedom and spreads poverty, misery, terror and tyranny around the world.

If they really believed in freedom and democracy would they really be branding the Geneva Conventions as “quaint”? - White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, who was nominated for Attorney General http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/111304A.shtml

“The first trials under a new system for trying foreign terrorism suspects held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, moved a step closer on Friday when a US military prosecutor filed charges against three inmates.

"The chief prosecutor for the Office of Military Commissions has sworn charges against
Guantánamo detainees David Hicks of Australia, Salim Hamdan of Yemen, and Omar Khadr of Canada," Pentagon spokesperson Bryan Whitman said.

The move was the first step toward trial under a system of military commissions set up by the Bush administration last year to try foreign terrorism suspects held at the detention camp at the US military base in Cuba”. http://www.int.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=22&art_id=qw1170493921417B253

“Alfred McCoy is Professor of history at the University of Wisconsin. In 1972 he wrote The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade, which is now regarded as a seminal work on the CIA's complicity in Asian drug trafficking. His latest book is A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation from the Cold War to the War on Terror, which examines the CIA's development of psychological torture over the past 50 years. And in an article in the latest edition of the Monthly magazine, he turns his attention to the treatment of David Hicks in Guantánamo Bay, which he says must be viewed through the lens of CIA torture techniques”. http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2006/s1662218.htm

Australia’s ABC TV interviewed a spokesman for the experimental torture camp:

Mr Durand also denied Hicks was placed in solitary confinement last March.

"First off there is no solitary confinement at Guantánamo," he said.

"People will often use the fact we do have single cell detention and they will throw out the term 'solitary confinement' because it is cruel and inhumane.

"It (solitary confinement) is completely locking them away from human contact and no access outside their cell”.

The man must be so used to lying that he doesn’t always know when he is doing it!

Surely it is time to remind Australia’s Attorney General and tormentor of refugees that he should be making an effort to cash in on all that succulent “influence” that John Howard has in Washington with the Bush administration and get David Hicks released. Regrettably, there is still some way to go in convincing Australian parliamentarians that due process and human rights actually matter.

We should note the non-signatories for targeting in the coming federal elections!

As Michelle Grattin explains in the Melbourne Age: “Barnaby Joyce was the only Coalition name on the letter sent yesterday by 96 federal MPs to members of the United States Congress urging them to try to get David Hicks repatriated.

All ALP MPs bar Robert Ray, Michael Danby and Mark Bishop signed,

as did the Greens, Democrats and independents Peter Andren and Tony Windsor.

Democrats leader Lyn Allison, the letter's organiser, initially approached several Liberals known to be concerned about human rights (later she sent it to all Government backbenchers) but they declined.

The Liberals might have opted for discretion but John Howard is under no illusion. There's mounting concern in the ranks over Hicks' treatment and the reaction coming from constituents. With Parliament resuming on Tuesday, it would be surprising if the issue didn't boil up in the Coalition party room, especially if the Government's hopes that Hicks is about to be charged haven't been met by then”.

We should not forget weasels like Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, who has consistently failed to do anything worthwhile for David Hicks or anyone else whose human rights are threatened.

“The Government's state of mind came through in comments by Foreign Minister Alexander Downer. Asked whether he was satisfied with Hicks' conditions, Downer said "you've just got to be so careful what you say here because there are so many hysterical claims made on the back of anything you say". Quizzed about Labor assertions and whether the Government had specifically asked what techniques had been used on Hicks, Downer replied, "You just ambushed me with that, I'd have to get that checked."

Only a third of the detainees (read abductees) at Guantánamo Bay will enjoy the privilege of a sham trial before the so-called Military Commission. The rest, many whose names will remain unknown, will slowly go mad for what remains of their miserable lives at the hands of the USA’s finest torturers.