David Hicks- Statement

Thank you for coming out on a Saturday and during the holiday period. I know you all hoped I might appear and answer some questions. I had hoped to be able to speak to the media but I am just not strong enough at the moment – it’s as simple as that. I am sorry for that. As part of my conditions of release from Guantanamo Bay, I agreed not to speak to the media on a range of issues before March 30, 2008. It’s my intention to honour this agreement as I don’t want to do anything that might result in my return there.So for now, I will limit what I have to say – I will say more at a later time. I would ask the media and the public understand and respect this. I do however want to take this opportunity to say some overdue thankyou’s. First and foremost, I would like to recognise the huge debt of gratitude that I owe the Australian public for getting me home. I will not forget, or let you down.

Next, I would like to thank my family and friends who have been so supportive of me. Words cannot adequately express the level of my feelings for them. I love them very much. Also my team of lawyers: Major Dan Mori, Josh Dratel, Michael Griffin, Steve Kenny and David McLeod, as well as their legal teams in Adelaide, Sydney, Washington and London. Much of their work was carried out pro-bono and they know I owe my freedom to their efforts.

I also thank the legal profession within Australia, including the Law Council of Australia and the state Law Societies, and those abroad, who strove to uphold the ideal of a free trial for an Australian citizen. Many thanks go to the Fair Go For David campaigners and organisations such as Amnesty International, GetUp, the International Committee of the Red Cross, Dick Smith, church groups including the Catholic Church, and various anti-torture and human rights groups.

The Red Cross played an important role by trying to improve conditions and the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay. I thank them from the bottom of my heart for their efforts. There are certain politicians I would also like to particularly mention and thank: Senator Natasha Stott Despoja, Danna Vale, Sandra Kanck, Senator Bob Brown, Senator Kerry Nettle, Mark Parnell, Senator Linda Kirk, Nicola Roxon, Bob Debus, Rob Hull, Frances Bedford, Kris Hanna and many others who preferred to work behind the scenes.

A huge thank you also to the members of the media who wrote about and increased public awareness of my detention and treatment over the years. Without you, the court of public opinion would not have been as informed or influential. There are many other groups, both large and small, and individuals involved in the campaign for my return to Australia, and to them I offer them my heartfelt thanks. This list is in no particular order and to anyone that I haven’t mentioned, I am very sorry. I hope to thank all of you personally at a later date.

Right now I am looking forward to some quiet time with my wonderful Dad, my family and friends. I ask that you respect my privacy as I will need time to readjust to society and to obtain medical care for the consequences of five and a half years at Guantanamo Bay. I have been told that my readjustment will be a slow process and should involve a gentle transition away from the media spotlight. Thankyou for respecting my privacy and allowing me some breathing space to get on with my life.

This blog is one year old today, Sunday 30th December (also my birthday). I may well write some more about that but this is as good a way as any to mark it (the Youtube clip me and Korova made- here or on YouTube -where you can see the comments people make…). How many more anniversaries pass before Gitmo is closed remains to be seen, hopefully not many. To freedom, equality and dignity for all people.

So it goes. Peace.

David Hicks Released Under Conditions

Former Guantanamo Bay inmate David Hicks will apologise to the Australian people when he is released from an Adelaide jail this weekend but still disputes any links to terrorism, his father said Friday. The so-called “Aussie Taliban” will walk free Saturday after a six-year incarceration that began in Afghanistan, continued for half a decade in Guantanamo Bay and ended at a maximum security jail in his hometown Adelaide.

Under the plea bargain, Hicks was allowed to serve the remainder of his sentence in Adelaide, but in return forfeited any right to appeal his conviction and agreed not to speak to the media for a year from his sentencing date.

Australia’s government has concedes that the gagging order may not be enforceable in Hicks’ home country, where he has not been convicted of any crime.

On release, Hicks will be subject to a form of control order obliging him to report to police three times a week and obey a curfew, among other restrictions.

Experience (particularly dealing with comments on me and Korova’s YouTube clip on David Hicks) has shown he is a lightning rod for obsessive rightists who see the world as- you’re either on our side and thus treated humanely, or you are an enemy undeserving of treatment as a human being. The war of terror has created a brand- ‘terrorists’ which when applied to a person immediately acts as a license for the hard of thinking to revert to unquestioning submission to the state and corporate propaganda, often unleashing violent sensual fantasies in these armchair fascists.

A psychologist suspects David will have many problems ahead dealing with what was done to him which will be exacerbated by the media frenzy-

“In some very restrictive regimes, and Guantánamo Bay will fall into that category, the environments are actually designed to break people down,” said Ogloff. “There’s no long term goal of rehabilitating people or having them return to the community. So the issues that the individual faces is, in fact, being broken into pieces and having to really be put back together.”

(Xposted at Mask Of Anarchy)

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David Hicks Home In Australia

Hicks ate, chatted and looked out the window during his private jet flight to Adelaide, according to David McLeod. Then, along with his gaolers, he watched the first movie he’d seen in more than five years.

McLeod wouldn’t say what film the strange collection of viewers on board the government-chartered luxury jet had watched.

The Gulfstream landed at Edinburgh RAAF base in Adelaide’s outer suburbs at 9.50am (10.20am AEST).

McLeod, who caught a taxi to Yatala Prison while his client streaked ahead in a full police escort, said the trip had been very pleasant.

“David is well and he enjoyed the trip,” he said. “…He was very glad to be back on Australian soil, he was visibly overjoyed when we touched down in Edinburgh.”

Now Hicks says he wants to repay the faith of those who fought for his release by being a model prisoner. He has instructed Mr McLeod to immediately drop all court actions – including his push for British citizenship – and says he will not take further legal action and will not attemopt to profit from his story.

McLeod said Hicks had suffered some physical ill-effects as a result of his years in Guantanamo Bay, but bigger fears were held for his mental health.

“In the western world’s most notorious prison, he’s become institutionalized,” he said without elaborating.

Put simply it remains to be seen if his mind can ever be set free- and it is appalling that so many news stories report on the charges as if some kind of actual trial happened. The illegal tribunal found him guilty on charges of their choosing after torturing him for five years. I won’t hold my breath to see it reported by the MSM in those accurate terms that show no deference to power. This is how evil thrives, small steps day after day until what was once a lie is repeated as truth, torture becomes ‘abuse’ becomes ‘interrogation’, and a military kangaroo court with no standing in law is called a trial where the verdict is accepted as legitimate.

The Pentagon Are Coming For The Mask!

Korova my flouncy shirted blog compadre of The Mask Of Anarchy has been visited by the Pentagon, a real sign that you’ve arrived and may be disappeared in due course, it’s a quick visit so I reckon it’s automatic tracking software rounding up the dissident media sites. Of course it also shows the pentagon use XP & internet explorer, sad losers, at least use Firefox for fuck’s sake. As this is linked to David Hicks there is a chance they also snooped me but I don’t have a stats tracking plug in that gives me that amount of detail at the moment.

David Hicks Gets 9 Months In An Australian Jail

Australian Guantanamo detainee David Hicks will be sent home to serve nine months in prison after being sentenced by a military judge at the facility.-

Pragmatically speaking this is a good result for his immediate welfare.

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The Bush Crime Family

The Bush crime family (Mike Malloy’s phrase) proves itself as such with this deal to silence David Hicks:-

AUSTRALIAN terror detainee David Hicks agreed today to withdraw charges that he was abused while held by the United States as part of a plea deal that limits his prison term to seven years.

US Military judge Colonel Ralph Kohlmann asked Hicks if he agreed that he had “never been illegally treated by any persons in the control or custody of the United States” during his detention in Afghanistan and subsequent transfer to the Guantanamo Bay prison camp in Cuba.

Hicks replied, “Yes.” –

Don Corleone would be proud.

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The Mask Of Anarchy

I am now a contributor to Mask Of Anarchy and when Korova is too overcome with absinthe to stumble out of the gutter, break into a Starbucks and post online I chuck some stuff up there. A mixture of crossposting and unique stuff. Currently you can read Balancing The Scales there, a charge sheet against Bush, Howard, Reid & Blair for their treatment of David Hicks.

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Man Tortured For 5 Years Tells Torturers Everything They Want To Hear

David Hicks plead guilty in a deal in desperation to get out of Gitmo where he as been tortured into mental ill health.

Justice was found later still blindfold but also with her hands tied behind her back and her scales shoved up her vagina, she refused to say who did it but it is well known she has had an abusive relationship with a Mr George Bush for some years now. Her sword is thought to be in possession of the pentagon a known organised crime syndicate

David Hicks- Interview With His Father

ELEANOR HALL: David Hicks’ father will arrive in Cuba shortly before the hearing, and will be given his first opportunity in several years to be with his son.

Terry Hicks says he’s worried about his son’s mental and physical health, and he says he regards the court proceedings as deeply flawed.

Correspondent Mark Simkin spoke to Terry Hicks outside the Australian embassy in Washington DC just before Mr Hicks flew to Cuba.

TERRY HICKS: Once we get there we’ll have time with David, they’ve told us this. Also, we’ll have time with David after the arraignment.

We’re not sure what questions we’re going to ask him at this point because things change around all of a sudden, you know, we don’t know what David is going to be like, so we got to probably be aware that he’s changed and we’ll just take it from there.

MARK SIMKIN: Does that mean it’s a bit of a combination of nervousness and excitement for you, seeing your son?

TERRY HICKS: More nerves, I tell you, because as I say, look we don’t know what he’s like physically at the moment and the other thing too, it’s pretty hard to take if he’s shackled.

The last time I saw David they had him shackled to the floor and that was pretty hard to take. And it’ll be an emotional meeting, and as I say, you know, the questions you have in line to ask him go out the window.

MARK SIMKIN: Is there anything you particularly do want to say to him?

TERRY HICKS: Probably one of the main things we want to get across to David is this business that come up the last time with his being sedated and that sort of thing.

This is something that I’d … you know, we’re going to ask him to see what sort of answer we get back from David. But it may … we don’t know so David’s situation, he may not want to answer at all, or he can’t or … because we’re going to be monitored again. You know, this … we’ve still got to be careful how we go about it.

MARK SIMKIN: Have you been given any indication of the circumstances of the meeting? You said you’ll be monitored, will you be allowed to actually touch him, embrace him?

TERRY HICKS: I believe so, I believe they’re going to allow that. But as I say, we’ll wait until we get there and see if those circumstances have changed or…

MARK SIMKIN: Do you have any concerns about how his mental state may have been affected by his … this long is custody?

TERRY HICKS: It is a huge concern. You know, we’ve had feedback through the lawyers over the last few years of how he’s been going and he’s deteriorated. And as I said before you know, this is one of things that we’ve got to sort of brace ourselves for, I suppose.

And also his physical appearance as well has changed so, you know, he’s not going to be the same person as I saw three-and-a-half years ago.

MARK SIMKIN: What are your expectations for the legal proceeding itself? It’s expected to be fairly brief?

TERRY HICKS: Yes, it’s probably going to be interesting the arraignment itself, how they go about it. We don’t know what David is going to do as far as you know, whether he’s going to plead guilty or plead not guilty or whether they’ve dangled the carrot in front of him or you know, we’ve just got to wait and see on that side of it.

MARK SIMKIN: Are you pleased that at least David Hicks is now getting a day in court…

TERRY HICKS: Look, he’s having a day, but it’s not in court. It’s a misconception people have that this is a court proceeding. It’s nothing … you just can’t even run it along those lines.

It’s conducted quite differently, evidence is looked at differently. You know, it’s just got so much going against it.

MARK SIMKIN: It does seem though that the Australian Government sparked criticisms levelled that it has at least come to the party in this case. You’re here, you’re getting access to your son, there is a legal proceeding. So, progress is being made.

TERRY HICKS: You know, they’ve sponsored over here and everything else, but as far as my outlook on this is it’s still political. You know, this is one way, I suppose of appeasing everybody and saying, ‘You know, well we’ve paid for the Hicks family to go over’. You know, probably after this session, they’ll probably us to pay for it now, but it’s still political.

Back To The Future

The BBC news website has a great little feature that talks about the ‘possible’ news stories for the coming week. It’s interesting to read it then see how shaped and scripted coverage conforms to the predictions. So go and have a look, cut out and keep and you can see how the MSM plots it’s stories and how much actual events intrude on the narrative.

My picks:-

‘Australian Taleban’: Australian detainee David Hicks faces his first Guantanamo hearing on the charge of “providing material support for terrorism”.

Go see my and Korova’s movie here. 

Mubarak’s law: Egyptians vote in a referendum on major constitutional changes which would end the role of judges in elections, enshrine sweeping police powers and allow President Hosni Mubarak to dissolve parliament unilaterally. The government says the amendments are necessary reforms.

Twat.

In the pipeline: Big business deals beckon as Chinese President Hu Jintao visits Moscow for talks with Vladimir Putin. The Chinese are hungry for oil and gas to fuel their booming economy and Russia can supply it – at a price, of course.

The Empire won’t be happy.

Olive branch? Arab leaders meeting for a summit in Riyadh are due to revive a Saudi peace plan for peace between Israel, the Palestinians and neighbouring states.

You have to give ’em points for trying…and the Empire won’t be happy, but y’know Saudi, Boo to geese etc.

Turkish gesture: An ancient Armenian Christian church in eastern Turkey is opened after restoration in what the government says is a “positive” message to Armenians after decades of animosity. Officials from Armenia itself have been invited to the opening. However, no cross has been placed on the restored church on an island in Lake Van which is intended to be a museum, not a house of prayer.

Wow, didn’t mention ‘genocide’ once. Turkey Dammit!

Rights for all: The UN invites countries to sign up to an international convention on the rights of the disabled. Some 650 million adults and children are disabled worldwide.

And one of them runs America!

Vote Habib

David Hicks says he was shown a photo of battered fellow Australian Mamdouh Habib and was told he would be sent to Egypt for similar treatment if he did not co-operate with American authorities-

Mamdouh Habib was released from Guantánamo and returned to Australia in February 2005 without any charges filed against him, because the Bush administration did not want the torture allegations aired in court, Australian and American officials have said. Now, he is fighting back. He is running in elections on March 24 for a seat in the parliament of the state of New South Wales, whose capital is Sydney.

What did the forces of goodness and light do to Mamdouh?

-Mamdouh Habib cannot drink cold water. He vomits when he tries to, he said. He knows he must drink water, so he engages in vigorous exercise in order to force some lukewarm water down.
He says his doctor has told him his stomach has been damaged. Mr. Habib thinks it is from having gas forced into it through some kind of tubes inserted into his rectum when he was detained and, he says, tortured in Egypt. After being beaten and interrogated in Pakistan, he said, an Australian official told him he would never go home, would never see his family again. At the end of what he says was a brutal interrogation, Mr. Habib stood up and shook the man’s hand. The man was astonished, Mr. Habib said. “It makes me proud of myself,” he said about his gesture. “It gives me victory. I have my dignity. He doesn’t.”

he was subjected to various forms of physical and psychological abuse by Pakistani, Egyptian and American authorities. This included electrical shocks, water torture, drugs and beatings. He was denied access to a lawyer until October 2004 and told by his American interrogators that his wife and children were dead.-

But he abides, and despite a constant harassment operation by Howard’s government he’s on the campaign trail:-

“I’m from this community,” Mr. Habib said, taking another cigarette. “The people in parliament are not from us — they’re rich people.” Mr. Habib, his hair in a ponytail, was wearing aviator sunglasses, combat fatigues and a T-shirt with an upside down American flag on it, along with a picture of a hooded prisoner behind barbed wire, and the word “terrorism” defined as “the systematic use of violence and intimidation to achieve some goal.”

The multiracial nature of the Auburn district is visible everywhere, in the people walking the streets — women in full chador, Chinese, lanky Ethiopians and Somalis — and in the shops they go into. Within a 100 yards of Michel’s there is the Turkish Gözde Cafe; Ali Baba’s Charcoal Chicken; Al Safra Pizza and Kebab House. Tony Oldfield, who works in a flour mill and is also part of the election team, rattles off the census statistics, precisely: 18.1 percent Chinese, 10.7 percent Anglo-Australian, 10.5 percent Lebanese, 4.5 percent Arabic and Turk; there are also Afghans, Iraqis, Iranians-

Mamdouh Habib is still in recovery from his torture, he most likely always will be, but he is showing great resolve and it would be very just indeed if victims of the war on terror scam can face their tormentors across the ballot box and eventually, across a courtroom.

Music To Protest To

wish_hounds_forest.jpg

I saved this for the more relaxed groove that is the weekend. An Australian singer/songwriter Justin Parker and his band/pseudonym Wish Hounds are about to release a debut album ‘rehabilitare’. And he leads with a single ‘Into Our Arms’ :-

After suffering a debilitating trauma accident early in 2006, and subsequently thrown into a long and arduous rehabilitation program, I was presented the opportunity for lengthy self-reflection. Feelings of resentment, despair, and abandonment were frequently common. Whilst not condoning David Hick’s alleged actions, his treatment by the current Australian Government, with their disregard of national and international law and justice for one of their own citizens, became intensely personal.

The complex and painful mechanics of relearning the guitar was instrumental in the healing of my injuries. ‘Into Our Arms’ was written, foremost, as a personal outlet; recognition of the many things that we can all take for granted. Hopefully, it finds its way to those blessed with the gift of empathy and aid those who struggle against adversity and who campaign to uphold habeas corpus and the rule of law…

You can listen to ‘Into Our Arms’ and the song ‘Rise Up’ at his myspace page, or the band website wishhounds.com; already foaming at the mouth right wingnuts are attacking him as The Mask reports. Justin also correctly nailed the Cliff Martinez score from the ‘Solaris’ remake that I used on the David Hicks youtube movie so he clearly has exceptional taste (hey calm down I love Tarkovsky but the remake of ‘Solaris’ was very good). It’s lovely jangly folk twinged stuff that Australian acts seem to excel at, a la Go-Betweens, so get free music-y goodness and fight the wingnut fascists at the same time.