Sunday, December 11, 2005


was the first day of the fifth year that Australian David Hicks has spent in detention, probably illegally, most of it in Guantanamo Bay, convicted of no crime.

He is the last westerner amongst the prisoners held there, none of them U.S. citizens, all "captured" in the Middle East or in Afghanistan. Hicks was sold to the U.S. after being detained by the Northern Alliance near Kandahar, spent a month on a U.S. carrier, two years shackled in a cage at Guantanamo and another six months in solitary confinement away from sunlight. He was charged with non-specified acts in June 2004. His case hasn't yet been heard.

Since the U.S. decreed early this year that a special U.S. military commission - something not used since the Second World War - would try the alleged terrorists, eight countries have insisted that their citizens be repatriated. Many were freed on their return home because nothing could be found to charge them with.

But not the Australian Government. It has abandoned him, to whatever trumped-up charges the U.S. want to bring. So what if he fought with the Taliban - it wasn't a crime at the time he was doing it. & his activities at the time, the level of his involvement, still haven't been outlined.

& the Australian Government has the support of most of the Opposition Labor Party. A motion put forward in the Senate by a Greens Senator, that David Hicks be brought home, was defeated 53 votes to eight, supported only by the Greens & the Democrats. Fifteen Senators, most of them Labor, abstained; none voted for the motion.

The Left is now mainly a party of the Right, as strident in its support of anti-terror legislation that is racist & dismissive of human rights as the supposed conservatives. There are new sedition laws that mean that anti-globalization protests, or protests such as I took part in during the Vietnam War era could quite easily be classed as seditious acts, the participants held without charge, unable to communicate with anyone except their lawyer, & their lawyer liable to be charged if they told anyone what their client was being held for.

Fuck the Government. I have just committed sedition.

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