Tuesday, January 01, 2008

What freedom means for Hicks

David Hicks was reunited with his father (Terry) yesterday, then spoke publicly for the first time, offering just a handful of words: "I'm doing fine." …he appeared intense, nervous and distrustful around someone he did not know.SMH

Terry Hicks said the US military had embedded a deep fear in Hicks - an irrational one given the unlikelihood of the US being able to enforce it - and he believed that if he breached the gag order he could be returned to Guantanamo Bay.

"David is asking for time," Terry said during the meeting. "He is not confident enough to talk fully to the media as yet - this [meeting] was just a lucky coincidence."

The Murdoch press is going to continue its attacks on Hicks. One headline in the Australian screamed - Hicks is guilty until proven innocent. The actual story:

DAVID Hicks's former Australian lawyer Stephen Kenny has told the media that Hicks has not committed any crime. Hicks would not have been convicted of a terrorism-related charge by any fair court, he has said. Hicks had simply accepted an "offer he couldn't refuse" to get out of a US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba: "It was quite clear on all the evidence we had, there was no evidence that he had actually committed any crime."

A Sydney Jewish leader, lawyer and failed Labor candidate, George Newhouse, has been warned he was on very shaky ground claiming David Hicks once threatened to "rob and kill" Australian Jews.

Even US officials agree there is no evidence Hicks joined the Taliban in any conventional conflict with coalition forces. Newhouse was relying on a Time magazine report earlier this year of allegations by the British Guantanamo detainee Feroz Abbasi that Hicks had spoken of slaughtering Jews. Newhouse conceded he was unaware Abbasi had repudiated those claims in a signed statement after his release from Guantanamo in 2004.

South Australian Premier Mike Rann greeted Hicks's release by smearing him with the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. Rann also told Murdoch’s The Advertiser: "As Australian soldiers continue to fight against the Taliban in Afghanistan, it's worth remembering that Hicks chose to actively support the forces that have been responsible for the deaths of four Australian soldiers."

FORMER foreign minister Alexander Downer said he holds no regrets over the Howard government's handling of the case involving confessed terrorism supporter David Hicks. "Well, I think what he did was evil. It was an act of real treachery to take up arms against the coalition in Afghanistan, to train with al-Qaeda." The Australian

The Australian was also running a blog stirring community reaction to Hicks ‘making millions’ in book rights. It is a fabrication, as there has been no suggestion of a book, but pure Murdoch all the same.

It is not surprising that Hicks isn’t feeling all that confident. These miserable bastards just can’t resist kicking the guy when he is on the floor. I get so pissed off with the bully tactics which were part of the whole gung ho war on terror and that are being continued in an effort to keep the disgusting concept alive.

Some media support

A Fairfax journalist, Penelope Debelle, who met David Hicks after his release from jail says she believes he would find it hard to communicate with those who expect him to apologise for his actions.

Hicks had been expected to make an apology when he was released from Adelaide's Yatala prison on Saturday. Debelle says her brief meeting with Mr Hicks and his father Terry yesterday confirmed that Mr Hicks' re-adjustment to society would be a slow process. "Having met him, [it] is very obvious he's not a confident enough person, he's not socialised in an easy way," she said.

Thank you world

I have been reminded that many Americans and others around the world who lobbied against Gitmo and for Hicks release. Thanks enigma for reminding me and for the image of you in an orange boiler suit, potential prize for your efforts. More power to you for risking that fashion statement.

Back sometime in 06 I posted A salute to US Marine, Major Michael Mori. Mori didn’t end up in an orange boiler suit either, but according to wikipedia: “Major Mori has been passed over for promotion twice since taking on the Hicks case and will be assessed again in October 2007.” I haven’t seen any result from that assessment

But he remains a true hero to many Australians. Reluctant as I am to move away from the hand press:

So thank you world, there is so much bravery and ‘putting yourself out there’ we never really hear about. We don’t know what Hicks might or might not have done, he never saw justice or the opportunity for an open trial. At question here is not his guilt or innocence, but a system which is so willing to trample our legal rights.


enigma4ever said...

That was a wonderful update.....well, wonderful how you wrote it.....but I am sad that he faces such disturbing swarthy Murdoch fearmongering press even upon his release. It gives the phrase " No Justice, No peace" new meaning.....

I hope that with time, and some privacy, and some good care he heals and finds a new life that I believe he so deserves......

The photo is haunting, his eyes show unfathomable pain....I hope and pray that he is not trapped in his memories....


enigma4ever said...

btw mouthy politicians always deserve more scrutiny- and have openly invited it- so thank you ;-)

Hmm, the video you put with this was really interesting...and needless to say not shown on media in the States....

Thanks again for this update.

Cartledge said...

enigma, thank you for keeping me on track. We all have a different approach to blogs, mine is basically to provide useful background to often obscure (to most people) issues. I guess that reflects a journalist background pasted onto my personality.
It feels discouraging at times, then events, like Benazir, occur and the blog gets very busy and I hope useful.
As for mouthy activists, it is the same story. It often feels a bit like Charlie Brown peeing in his dark suit. It makes you feel warm but seems like no one notices. But they do of course. Not always when you would like to see effects, but it makes a difference over time.
I am really hoping that Major Mori finds some real recognition for his bravery. The pressure he must have been under to tow the line, but he followed his beliefs.
I can throw you and him into my pantheon of worthies. It isn't easy to stand up against the giants. But the orange outfit worries me :)

enigma4ever said...

Oh but really I do look good in orange..actually gives me color...( NOT...hehe)..
But I am glad that you blogged this- and as I said- seriously there was NO coverage of this here....the Major's fine work and courage, or Hicks being released....makes me so mad when the "media" goes to such trouble to cover news stories like "brittany's problems"...but ignore something so important...

But I am sitting here devastated Charlie Brown peed his suit ???? Now I know why he never got the little redhaired girl and why Snoopy slept outside....oh the horrors...

Cartledge said...

Ok, I was a bit heavy handed on the orange. Seeing your picture I would regard it as the ultimate fashion blunder.
To Michael Mori, well I have been trying to plug away at bringing him to attention over there. He deserves attention. But I’m just a backwater and the many Australian hits I do get on the blog are for old Mori stories, not much interest elsewhere alas.
I loved the Charlie Brown story BTW. It went ‘working here is like Charlie peeing himself in a dark suit. It feels all warm, but no one notices…’

enigma4ever said...

I forgot to ask, can I put you in my January Round Up- because this post and the Bhutto posts are really really wonderful journalism...??please....

Cartledge said...

First up, you never need to ask. Second, how could I resist a compliment like that? :)