Thursday, March 29, 2007

Guantanamo Bay Debacle

DAVID HICKS will be behind bars in Australia until after this year's election, but his stint in an Adelaide prison will be relatively short, under a plea bargain being hammered out between prosecutors and his defence counsel. Hicks faces about a year in Australian jail

I've been a bit reluctant to get into this issue while Hick's and his team do what they must do to get him out of the atrocity of Guantanamo Bay. I still don't find him a particularly sympathetic character, but there are bigger issues in play.

The fact is both the US administration and the Howard government in Australia want to get rid of the problems posed by Hick's incarceration with the least possible damage. It ain't gonna happen! Hick's guilty plea is a crock agreed to only to get out of Guantanamo Bay.

The US, I expect, have forced a guilty plea, on a created charge, to head off future litigation by Hick's. The fact is, back in Australia, Hick's can appeal the whole process. He can even ignore any ‘confidentiality' riders involved in the process.

He can do that because the laws created after the fact in the US are not recognized outside US jurisdiction. The story is not going away easily, and presents yet another stumbling block for Howard's re-election hopes.

The Book

Local news is currently going ape over a suggested $1 million fee for Hick's to write a book on the whole episode. I'm not clear on where the story comes from, or whether it has any basis in fact.

Australian law bars anyone making profit from crime, including publishing profits. But of course Hick's supposed crime is not recognized under Australian law. The whole process is going to be fascinating.


Praguetwin said...

Nice to see you are back.


Don't you think that giving Hicks a trial first is evidence of ethnic bias? He gets a trial because he is Australian. If you are from, say, Bangladesh, too bad.

Cartledge said...

Ethnic bias? He has been held without trial for 5 years and only increasing pressure on the Australian government has forced the US to resolve the issue somehow.

Praguetwin said...

He is still getting better treatment than the others, wouldn't you say?

And now the sentance? I've got friends in prison for longer for fooling around with teenage girls.

Cartledge said...

PT, On the first question, I really couldn't say. There isn't much info coming out of there.
On the sentencing, I would suggest 'fooling around with teenage girls' was an existing criminal offense.
The US created a law four years after Hicks was arrested to sustain a charge.
I would worry about lawmakers who can create laws to fulfill their own purposes.

reality-based educator said...

9 months in prison? If he was such a bad bad terrorist, how come he's only getting 9 months in prison? Hell, I bet Scooter Libby gets more than that (until he's pardoned, of course...)

Cartledge said...

RBE, hence my contention that the whole show is simply to get two governments off the hook.
Hicks might be well over the whole thing when he gets home. But there is a strong argument that he could have the whole thing overturned, back in Australia.

reality-based educator said...

What's your feeling about Howard's chances to maintain power, cartledge? Boy, I'd like to see the fucker lose as a result of his butt boying for Bush.

Cartledge said...

RBE, my trust in the voting public is not great. Figures currently put the Labor opposition way ahead, but that is expected to close as the election draws near.
I expect they will go into the race fairly close, which is better than some past efforts.
I will keep you all posted.

reality-based educator said...