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The "Trial" of David Hicks

by Richard Tonkin

Before his military tribunal hearing David Hicks was allowed to spend the morning with his father and sister, and share a meal with them. Presumably while still shackled to the floor, he was allowed to hug them. After five years of Guantanamo, can you imagine what being able to do this would feel like? I can imagine it being like coming out of a sensory deprivation tank.

Following this, Hicks was forced to watch his legal team dwindle before his eyes as his two civilian lawyers were dismissed from the hearing. Hicks was then reportedly given the choice of whether these now-powerless friends should remain in the room. From then on, either way, there was only Hick's US military lawyer to defend him. According to Terry, David exclaimed, "If this keeps going, I won't have any lawyers". Major Mori was left alone to do the work of three. Hicks declined entering a plea at this hearing. As the Australian Council for Civil Liberties' spokesman, barrister David Burnie, says: "It would have been a very strong lesson to Mr Hicks today that he wasn't going to get a fair hearing before this commission."

It was at this point, I believe, that Hicks gave up and gave everyone what they wanted by admitting to one of the two charges presented to him, admitting to "providing material support for terrorism."

Even then he chose to plead not guilty to aiding any specific act of terrorism. The Australian National University's Professor of Law Mr Donald Rothwell, told the ABC today that: "Given that it seems that this plea appears to have been given as a result of negotiations between the prosecution and the defence" it was likely that the charge that Hicks has pleaded not guilty to will be dropped.

We'll never truly know what happened to him after the US military took him from the aircraft carrier to the Egyptian facility. We could guess, though, that in between the drop-off and pick-up times things were done to him that the US didn't want its name associated with.

From there followed five years of "advanced interrogation techniques", of which the most physical aggression that is allowed is "water-boarding" (which, for those who don't know is the repeated dunking of the tied-down suspect into freezing water), Hicks was confined to his cell for up to twenty-two hours a day, subjected to sensory disturbance through variations to light and sound. Terry says that David grew his hair long to shield his eyes from the continual bright light.

Terry Hicks says that pleading guilty was a way to get home "... and that's what he's said to us. He just wants to be home."

South Australian Premier Mike Rann says that as Hicks can apply to serve his sentence in Australia, he would have no objections to Hicks being an inmate of the South Australian prison system. The Adelaide Advertiser today reported that contingency plans had been made for such a situation.

Adelaide's maximum-security prison, Yatala is only a few miles from Terry Hicks' home. This will make a travelling time to David's jail much shorter than the trip to Guantanamo. The South Australian Government, which runs the jail, will be unable to release David until the US tells it that justice has been served.

Professor Rothwell says that Hicks might be released as the result of a constitutional challenge: "but that's a long way down the track at the moment."

Has the US been making up new rules to deal with Hicks as the situation progresses? David Burnie has told the ABC tonight that "the concern is here is that he is facing a charge that was only brought into legislation last year." while Rothwell says that: "The circumstances of the last 24 hours indicate the fairly shambolic nature of the proceedings."

What happens next? Australian Democrats Senator Natasha Stott- Despoja has sounded a strong warning that events surrounding Hicks are going to remain a major election issue. . She said today that: "This government has been keen to exploit David Hicks as an electoral and political issue when it suits them", and more-than-hints at ongoing political ramifications for the Howard Cabinet when she says that: "It is the beginning of a saga for this government. It is the beginning of a saga for this government, this man and his family".


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Hicks Zips Lips

Major Mori seems to have similar ideas:

 [from the Australian today]

“David is aware there have been comments and speculation in the media regarding the enforceability, under Australian law, of David's requirement not to speak to the media,” Major Mori said. “However, David will abide by the pre-trial agreement which requires him not speak to the media for twelve months.”

The newspaper also reports that US Government lawyers have moved to dismiss Hicks' civil court attempts to be allowed his right of habeas corpus.

Article Eight - Status Of Forces

The USAustralia Status of Forces Agreement of 1963, in particular Artilce 8 of the treaty, has a couple of points in it that make you wonder how far US Forces could go with Hicks.  For example, although Ruddock says that Hicks would not be given up to the US for violating his agreement to remain silent, citing this treaty would be a simple way of the US to haul him in again. 


[excerpts of Article 8]

1(a) the military authorities of the United States shall have the right to exercise within  Australia all criminal and disciplinary jurisdiction conferred on them by the law of the United States over all persons subject to the military law of the United States;

2(a) The military authorities of the United States shall have the right to exercise exclusive jurisdiction over persons subject to the military law of the United States with respect to offences, including offences relating to its security, punishable by the law of the United States, but not by the law of Australia.

7(b)The authorities of Australia shall give sympathetic consideration to a request from the military authorities of the United States for assistance in carrying out a sentence of imprisonment pronounced by the authorities of the United States under the provisions of this Article within Australia.


History teaches Alan Curran (not!)

Many moons ago - when I was still a naïf - I 'fell' for the 'Israel as David' swindle. There are possible evolutionary reasons for this; as Dawkins points out in his God Delusion, it is in the vital interest of the human naïf to accept all instruction with minimal-to-no delay. The example I like to give is from 'Bringing up Baby:' "Stop! Look! Listen!" - aka learning how to cross a road.

But this 'feature' can be - and is being - abused.

I think technology gets part of the 'blame;' TV is just sooo delicious - just the pure technology - "Oooh, isn't it pretty!" And despite how 'sophisticated' some people like to big-note themselves as, I claim that the human-computer cannot reliably distinguish between fact and fiction, when partaking of the TV-soma. It's toadally® fatuous (Oh, 'only' IMHO of course), to say "It's only a movie!" ('Movie' being detested Ameri-speak; spit! Spit!)

The rest - the greatest share - of the 'blame' goes to the horrible humans who prepare and transmit the propaganda spew we get, not as 'movies,' but as the 'info-tainment' so often passed off as news. Yep; it's one'o my favourite moans; the corrupt and venal MSM - plus the criminals 'driving' the whole show, our putative 'leaders.' Sooo, the end-result of TV (with 'the press' and other media limping along) is what I call the 'pushed paradigm,' a deliberately warped picture differing radically from reality.

And nowhere is this info-gap as wide as the one 'built' around Israel. Just as they are building an illegal apart-hate wall on stolen ground, for 60 looong and Oh, so bloody years they've been spinning the tale of poor little innocent Israel, surrounded by A-rab and or Muslim towel-headed, baby-eating sharks.

But the mis-information is not just about Israel, it's also about the US. We've all heard it sometime; "Truth, justice and the Merkin way!" Well, news for naïfs: it just ain't so. It's the 1st swindle along with the 2nd-rank Israel one; it may'a been serendipity at the start, now it's chillingly - and increasingly murderingly - deliberate. And so we arrive at one'o my allegories; the wanna-be world hegemon plus its illegal sprog and the poodle with dag - aka USrael/UK/Aus. It's this grouping who have, more or less, set up a criminal scheme predicated on resource rip-offs, Oh so well illustrated by the current murder for oil process underway in Iraq. (Nothing new here; move along!)

I've talked about the rip-offs before; as well as murder for land and water by Israel and murder for oil primarily by the US with UK and Aus as accessory/accomplices, we've got the resource-extraction scams as documented in Perkins' "Economic Hit Man." The upshot of these scams is a) no fair recompense to sovereign resource owners (i.e. we the sheople®), then b) eventual empty holes all over Aus, with nothing much more than wages to show for them. The resource boom is a toadal® sham, we're just not getting our fair share.


Back on track, Alan Curran: "it might not be Iran that gets nuked, in fact it could be any of the Arab countries that surround Israel ... they will have gone in a mushroom cloud."

This is absolutely typical, of the 'pushed paradigm' I've been talking about. Using the WW2 Nazi-holocaust as 'the hook,' a certain group (possibly called Zionists, forced PC-censorship is also part of this propaganda-push), let's use 'Zionists', set out to set-up modern Israel on what was legitimately owned Palestinian land. Not being prepared to deal honestly, modern Israel was 'born' amongst thieving, murdering violence [1] - which continues down to this day.

Let me be perfectly frank: the murdering theft carried out by the wanna-be world hegemon plus its illegal sprog and the poodle with dag is nothing other than psychopathic criminality on a world-wide scale - and should be treated as such (i.e. reconvene the Nuremberg court). The only reason (seems to me) why this is not actually underway, is exactly what Alan illustrates: threatening annihilation by nuke.

Well, news - for Alan and all - the ruse has been tumbled.




Deir Yassin Remembered

Early in the morning of April 9, 1948, commandos of the Irgun (headed by Menachem Begin) and the Stern Gang attacked Deir Yassin, a village with about 750 Palestinian residents. The village lay outside of the area to be assigned by the United Nations to the Jewish State; it had a peaceful reputation. But it was located on high ground in the corridor between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Deir Yassin was slated for occupation under Plan Dalet and the mainstream Jewish defense force, the Haganah, authorized the irregular terrorist forces of the Irgun and the Stern Gang to perform the takeover.

In all over 100 men, women, and children were systematically murdered. Fifty-three orphaned children were literally dumped along the wall of the Old City, where they were found by Miss Hind Husseini and brought behind the American Colony Hotel to her home, which was to become the Dar El-Tifl El-Arabi orphanage. Visit http://www.deiryassin.org/

[Deir Yassin Remembered]

It's been a quiet week in Peoria

It's been a quiet week in Peoria. David Hicks hasn't had a mention in the Journal Star Online. There was an editorial on Khalid Shaikh Mohammed back in March.

It starts:

It's impossible to muster any sympathy for a man who reportedly has confessed to plotting the mass murder of thousands of people. And so we waste no emotion on the travails of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the alleged architect of 9-11-01 and some 30 other lethal attacks across the world. Instead we offer condolences to an America a little less governed by the rule of law, and a little more by the rule of men.
And ends:
But we remain unconvinced that depriving our enemies of basic due process rights - championed by this nation from its infancy, adopted as fundamentally just throughout the civilized world - is necessary to win the war on terrorism. We remain unconvinced that it is impossible to be true to ourselves - you have a case, you prosecute it for all to see, you prove it, you convict, you sentence - and still achieve the same result as these military tribunals seem likely to.

Indeed, an opportunity exists to prove to the world, and more importantly to ourselves, that our judicial system does not teeter on "ifs," that even when confronted with the worst of the worst, we can retain the moral high ground. Instead we look like pretenders. Let's hope it doesn't have consequences we'll regret someday.

PS: Back on Irises (thanks, Bob), ages ago, I made a series of posts with the first line "It's been a quiet week in Peoria". The object was to get an insight on the attitudes of "Middle America" into The War, Bush, Life, the Universe and Everything. I chose Peoria, Illinois because it is, notoriously, Middle America. "It's been a quiet week..." as a tribute to A Prairie Home Companion.

Why Hicks' Lawyer Was Locked Out

I was not permitted to appear on Mr. Hicks’s behalf because I refused to sign a Notice of Appearance that would have had me agree to obey regulations governing the conduct of civilian defense counsel that have not yet been promulgated. In fact, the formal Notice of Appearance form required by the military judge did not (and still does not) exist, either. The Military Commission Act, at 10 U.S.C. §949c(b)(3)(E), provides that there will be such a form, but the Rules for Military Commission manual (“RCM”) that has been issued for the commissions grants authority to devise the form solely to the Secretary of Defense [Rule 502(d)(3)(E)]. Thus, the military judge for a particular case does not have authority to create such a form on his own, and in so doing he usurped the authority vested solely in the Secretary of Defense.

Joshua Dratel, Hicks' US Civilian lawyer continues:

I was, however, willing to sign the form with one change: from “all applicable rules and regulations” to “all existing applicable rules and regulations.” In fact, I prepared a Notice of Appearance reflecting that single change, and signed and submitted it days in advance of the proceedings. That did not satisfy the military judge; he insisted I sign his form, or not be permitted to appear. In the pre-proceeding chambers conference, I suggested we reach some accommodation that would be satisfactory to both of us. He said it was simple: sign or not appear. I refused to sign. As a result, the military judge refused to allow me to appear on Mr. Hicks’s behalf." 

Read the rest of Dratel's Jurist post here.

Killing birds with stones

Richard Tonkin, I truly can't remember the details of either version. I think it would be one of those stories that surprise you even though you've seen it before. According to wiki the Kubrick film was based on the American version, with the last chapter omitted. I remember Burgess was scathing about this, though to me the resolution is inessential. The piece poses a philisophical question that defies resolution, aiming to prompt discussion, rather than to provide an answer.

In Stalinist Russia political prisoners were given a harder slog than mere criminals; Perhaps that was the inspiration for the actions of the Minister. I compared David Hicks to Lynndie England earlier and I think there is a lesson in that. She recieved three years; Hicks was in prison for five, without even being charged. The conditions of his plea were that he deny his claims of abuse at Gauntanamo - to deny that he is a political prisoner would be delusional. But he is both a political prisoner and a criminal prisoner. Our government has clearly sought to portray Hicks as a dangerous individual but it has mostly been in reaction to the cherubisation of him by critics of the government. Is one form of spin more ethical than another? I don't know or care.

Kubrick also denies that the film condones Alex's violence but he talks of viewer's forming an identification with Alex. I didn't feel anything like that and don't quite understand it. I found him obnoxious. I think it has a lot to do with timing, with the film coming out whilst a lot of young people were in flower, and rebelling against society. Apparently there were some copy-cat rapes after the films release. I can understand an identification with amoral or immoral characters but not if they are clearly infantile and pathological. Kubrick talks of violence in cinema potentially being "cathartic". That is an understanding of media that I have been meaning to explore. It is more sophisticated than the "Monkey-see-monkey-do" analysis that we often get. But I am not entirely sure it always operates in that way.

I read James Baldwin's Another Country recently and found that there was a deeper message in it than I first thought. It starts off as being part of the beat school of writing, describing life in 60's Harlem for its bohemian characters, but ultimately it has a similar theme to Dostoyevsky's The Possessed, which is cited often in the work. The black jazz musician that is introduced in the earlier part of the novel, Rufus, is shown to be violent and criminal in his behaviour, and yet as the novel progresses the end his WASP friends reveals show a kind of cultish love for him. Because he is black he is allowed in their eyes to be "real", or something. It has an almost reverse structure to The Possessed which establishes the cult surrounding Nikolai Stavrogin, mainly because of his looks and his manners and air of mystery, then punctures it about halfway through with his confessions. I think there is starting to develop something cultish around Hicks that is not a normal demand for due process and a fair trial.

Comparing the situation to To Kill a Mockingbird, as some have done, is not at all accurate. The point of the novel is that the black man has been wrongly accused and that the white jury will convict him anyway. The point of the Hicks trial is that it is likely that he is guilty but that our standards of a fair trial ought to be adhered to. Here is Roger Ebert's rather cynical review of the Gregory Peck film. Note that the novel and the film resolve themselves by vigilante justice and corruption of the legal system by allowing Boo Radley to go free, when he clearly has a case to answer.

Yet in a more general sense I am not entirely enamoured of our system of law and as such, claims of unfairness don't wash so well with me as they used to. There are other methods of law. I think a more inquisitorial system, with professional jurors, like in France, is preferable to our adversarial common law system. I am not exactly sure that standards of criminal law can be applied in a military situation, where by the guilt or innocence of the captive is less important than what he or she knows. That is why I described it as an information-gathering exercise. 

The biggest complaint is the time taken to make a decision. Yet it is fascism that is the most efficient of all legal systems - they take you out and kill you, guilty or innocent. Orson Welles' version of Kafka's The Trial is worth a look, as a critique of the labyrnth nature of the law as well as fascism. The ending in that is quite profound.

I am very much in favour of what is known as "restorative justice" and rehabilitation for violent crimes. Studies have shown rates of recidivism are lower in such circumstances. For other crimes I am uncertain. I spoke of corporal punishment earlier, mostly tongue in cheek (AKA cognitive dissonance), however I am deeply concerned about the use of lengthy jail terms on prisoners. Sometimes it may be necessary for societies safety but I am not at all convinced that taking up to decades of a person's life away from them is more ethical than colonial-style corporal punishment. I am not sure what alternatives there are, that can satisfy the victims, protect society and are humane to the perpetrators.

Kubrick makes the point that the Nazis were well-educated and cultured but it did nothing for their morality. I think there is something profound in that. My aquaintance with art has often led to a loosening of my sense of ethics. I wrote in my review of Lolita that the character takes a moral sanction from art and I think that this can often be the case. I felt no identification with Humbert either, yet apparently some do. What I have been wondering, lately, is whether a deep education can lead to a refining of ethics and not a rejection of them. That is my great hope. Much of it is simply literacy. I am even starting to miss the law, having been largely away from it for some months now.

The use of physical negative reinforcement to enforce particular political beliefs is obviously totalitarian. Part of the problem with A Clockwork Orange is that it is based on Pavlovian theory which was about animals, not humans. Modern psychology is far more sophisticated and the techniques used by political parties or other groups in order to coerce people in to subscribing to their particular, dreary obsessions. I am less bothered by propaganda than some - familiarity does indeed breed contempt but also, I suppose, complacency.

Then there are the sedition laws, heaven help us. I have a great respect for Phillip Ruddock but he has put us in the unfortunate position where by our civil liberties are going to rest in an articulate and forthright judiciary - but the Scientology case long ago set the precedent that the courts will be loathe to look in to the work of security operatives. Yet secrecy itself creates as many national security problems as it solves.

Shocked and disappointed (Alan Curran)

Judge: "Have you anything to say?"

Prisoner: "F**k all!"

Judge: "What? What did you say?"

(Looong silence...)

Court attendent: "He said f**k all, your honour."

Judge: "That's funny; I'm sure I saw his lips move."


What? Did you speak, Alan Curran? Did I hear you address me?

Y'know, Alan, my recall isn't sooo bad that I don't remember just the other day asking you to 'substantiate or withdraw?'

There's a reason for 'substantiate or withdraw,' which has less to do with an individual's ethics so much as the veracity of the challenged statement. In other words, it goes to believability; without substantiation, believability is pretty-well non-existent. You OK with that, Alan? Just so's you know?


I've talked of 'the pushed paradigm,' which has less to do with the truth, and more to do with what the - umm, err - ruling kleptocracy (aka our so-called 'leaders') want us to know; for example that the grisly mass-murder for oil currently underway in Iraq isn't really about oil theft at all. (How many of you 'out there' believe that? The 'pushed paradigm,' I mean? Q: Wha'd'yas reckon all those permanent military bases are for, eh? A: Haw!)

Alan Curran: "you are going to thank Israel for delivering a bomb in the right place."

Me: Oh, no; not me, matey: not on your Nelly, I won't.

Alan, I asked you to 'substantiate or withdraw,' which you didn't/wouldn't. (From 'Bringing up Baby:' "Do what you want! (I know you will anyway.)")

Sooo, now I challenge you again: could you please explain the legal niceties of how/why Israel is gunna bomb Iran?

(Recalling that a war of aggression[1] contains all other war crimes, and is a crime against peace.)

Thanks in advance.




It was addressed earlier by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg following World War II, which called the waging of aggressive war "essentially an evil thing...to initiate a war of aggression...is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole."

[wiki/War of aggression]

Not just BTW, the above wiki description fits what B, B & H did to Iraq perfectly, as Israel vis-à-vis Lebanon, 2006. Which makes them all supreme international criminals. OTOH, Iran hasn't attacked anyone, and is in compliance with the NPT - whereas USsrael is not. And so it goes, the corrupt and venal MSM propagandises us, we the sheople® - with a barrage of filthy lies, aided and abetted by amateur right-whinging stooges... all working on behalf of the lying and mass-murdering ruling kleptocracy. Good system, eh? No bloody wonder then, if:

"They hate us for our freedoms!?"

Any Arab country

Phil Kendall, it might not be Iran that gets nuked, in fact it could be any of the Arab countries that surround Israel. If any of these countries decide it is time to push the Israelis into the sea, they had better think long and hard because in less time than it takes to say "Allah is Good" they will have gone in a mushroom cloud. You don't have to believe this, but it will happen one day.

A Voice Of America

"A one-day story in the USA? Almost as proud a moment as the time President Bush gushed that he didn't know what Geneva's language, "offense against human dignity", could possibly mean."

"...as a cursory glance at either Australian or American television can show, there are far easier ways to become a celebrity."

You lot are probably too highbrow to watch the Simpsons or Spinal Tap or suchlike (perhaps A Mighty Wind?, so you mightn't know Harry Shearer.  Every kid in Middle America knows the sound of his voice. 

When Dylan writes the song, Bush is doomed. 

Handling prisoners

Richard Tonkin:  "You missed the point.  If enough people believe that Bush is dishonouring their country in how it handles its prisoners of war, he'll be out of a job."

If enough people believe that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is dishonouring his country, though, it won't make a bit of difference to his job. That's the point.

Plunder vs. purchase, and the Israel Lobby

G'day Richard Tonkin, from your piece on April 10, 2007 - 2:19pm:

In this instance it's not a matter of what Iranian words and deeds you consider to be international atrocities, but the self-perceived international dignity of American citizens, who seem to have a much better understanding of Justice than George Bush, his Australian cabinet, and their spin-doctors.

So far, any 'self-perceived international dignity of American citizens' isn't getting too much of a run - or so it seems 'from here,' but more on that in a sec. In the 1st instance, Hicks vis-à-vis Howard; it's pretty obvious that our 'non-poll driven,' toadally® 'honest' John acted only out'a the goodness of his own heart: it suddenly occurred to him that not only should justice be done, but he ort'a be seen to be doing it. Clear? Justice, that is, Hicks was 'brought to justice' by JWBush, and our 'deputy' just finished him - err, it off, after only five looong years, lots in solitary.

What's this gotta do with 'plunder vs. purchase?' Well, not much except that usually, wars don't just consist of valiant warriors fighting honourable opponents with a 'just cause' (on both sides, natch) - but rape and pillage, etc (with a 'touch' of larceny on the side, like stealing about half the world's oil, say.) What's this gotta do with Hicks?' Well, not much except that all they 'got' him for was the stuff he (naïvely) allowed to reach the public. Open and shut case, said Howard; he's pleaded guilty to terrorism. (Which Howard is yet to do - but we know...) Hicks was not himself plundered, but was purchased by the US as a 'prize,' from some Afghan warlord.

Richard: "it's not a matter of what Iranian words and deeds..." No, you're right, mate, it's not. But as so oft these days, a red herring has been dragged in. Here's a bit'a filthy Ameri-speak: "Bait and switch" (spit, spit!) This tactic, coming as it does from Amerika, could be employed by local amateur Israel Lobby members intent on diverting discussion, with the express purpose of vilifying some fanciful 'enemies' of Israel.

Well, 'could be' doesn't mean 'is,' eh?


OK, I can't keep you in suspense any longer: "plunder vs. purchase," the real thing:

We can see, the whole wide-world can see, that the US is plundering Iraq for oil - possibly next for the 'chop,' Iran; just as Israel is plundering its neighbourhood for land and water.

Sooo, where does any 'self-perceived international dignity of American citizens' - or Israelis, for that matter, come in?

Have they no shame?

I've asked this before; why can't these people just buy what they want, like all the rest of us (good, honest burghers) have'ta?

Or, do they all (aka the democratic majority) really think, why purchase when it's easier (for some, in this case USrael) to plunder?

One day

Phil Kendall, one day when this Iranian nutcase Ima Dinnerjacket starts playing silly buggers, you are going to thank Israel for delivering a bomb in the right place.

Too Froot Loopy For Words

Alan Curran(t), I'm raisin this with yooz l becoz I ain't want to insult(ana) noewun.

When yuz starts talkin' abaht nookin this and nookin that I sumtiems wonders what planet youse comin from.

Dus yoos read comiks insted of nooz papers. Duz yuzl fink that The Terminater is a doclamentary.

Why doesn't we all jus hav a game of marbuls and the guy wiv the most Tombolas wins and gets to take a gurl home (wink, wink) evn if he aint surkumsized.

Enywey wunce dey start nookin dey doan stop, duz they? Betta stik to marbals.



No I aint stoopid 

The clockwork spectacle

Richard Tonkin, I studied both the film and the book of "A Clockwork Orange" some years ago and I have utterly forgotten how either of them end, except that it is different in both versions. I like Kubrick, generally, but I found the film rather drawn out and boring. Roger Ebert is scathing in his review here.

"Stanley Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange" is an ideological mess, a paranoid right-wing fantasy masquerading As an Orwellian warning. It pretends to oppose the police state and forced mind control, but all it really does is celebrate the nastiness of its hero, Alex...Well, enough philosophy. We'll probably be debating "A Clockwork Orange" for a long time -- a long, weary and pointless time."

I think he was right, but nevertheless there are interesting points to be debated. There is something very '70s about the film, judging from all the material I've consumed from the period. The style has a very Pop Art feel but I don't think it has any Pop Art philosophy in it at all.

Kubrick's own comments on the film are well worth reading, here.

The violence in the story has to be given sufficient dramatic weight so that the moral dilemma it poses can be seen in the right context. It is absolutely essential that Alex is seen to be guilty of a terrible violence against society, so that when he is eventually transformed by the State into a harmless zombie you can reach a meaningful conclusion about the relative rights and wrongs. If we did not see Alex first as a brutal and merciless thug it would be too easy to agree that the State is involved in a worse evil in depriving him of his freedom to choose between good and evil. It must be clear that it is wrong to turn even unforgivably vicious criminals into vegetables, otherwise the story would fall into the same logical trap as did the old, anti-lynching Hollywood westerns which always nullified their theme by lynching an innocent person. Of course no one will disagree that you shouldn't lynch an innocent person -- but will they agree that it's just as bad to lynch a guilty person, perhaps even someone guilty of a horrible crime? And so it is with conditioning Alex.

All this fear of "psychological conditioning" is '70s paranoid nonsense. Conditioning, to the extent that it exists at all, is a natural part of living in society. From memory all that occurs in the film is the use of negative reinforcement techniques through the use of electric shocks. If such a technique works to stop serial rapists then I have no objection at all to its use - but I am doubtful.

Society does have a right to socialise its members, however it needs to be balanced with the rights and dignity of the individual. Kubrick turns it in to a black and white, no-win situation, which suits the ideological wars of the time but has little resonance for contemporary society. Another culprit is Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and the Nicholson film. They both served an important function but nevertheless live in a world of black and white that doesn't have much utility to us now.

I am writing an article on Mental Health policy and there seems to be a real concern over the use of medications for "Behaviour modification" as opposed to appropriate treatment, especially in the immigration detention system (See Rohan Price;Lynda-Crowley-Cyr). This includes the misuse of solitary confinement and medication. The systematic deficiencies of the detention regime have shown to actual induce or worsen the mental condition of detainees. There is a real philisophical question when we start prescribing medication, treatment or rehabilitative techniques on individuals for the sole purpose of controlling their behaviour, when there are more effective and humane techniques available, which work holistically and get to the heart of the problems.

David Hicks, from what I know of him, seems like a rather erratic individual. I wonder at the kind of assistance or treatment that will be provided (or not) to him once he is released. The government has denied that he is suffering from any mental illness; Watch closely for any mention of medication or treatment from Terry Hicks. Even if he is only treated for trauma, due to his time in Guantanamo, I wonder how this will be approached. Imagine living knowing that you will be watched, every where you go, perhaps for the whole of your life.

Oranges and Canaries

Having not read the book, Solomon, I'm at a disadvantage.  I had wondered if the Minister was an addition or part of the original story.  In his first appearance he notes that the cells need to be emptied of criminals in order to make room for political prisoners.  His return at the film's conclusion to "rectify" his mistake was with a demeanour of political expediency, with no sense of ethical atonement whatsoever.

I don't agree with the assessment that the film celebrated the protagonist's depravity.  Your quote from Kubrick about the necessity of demonstrating the degree of evil incarnated in his avatar in order to assess the morality of the state rang true to me. 

Do you wonder, Solomon, if there have been attempts to dramatise the severity of Hicks' crimes in order to vindicate the mwthods of incarceration and interrogation.  For example, the charge of spying on the US Embassy on Kabul, which had been inoperative for so long.  Hardly indicative of being involved with S11 or Bali, is it?

I'm particularly interested in your views of "socialisation" of society's units;  With your legal background I would assume you'd be more of a proponent of rehabilitation through education than crime reduction by induced behaviour. What would your ethical platform be in a situation where multiple populaces are told that if they do not support a government's action that they are enemies of that state?  Isn't this the semantic quotient of "if you're not with us, you're against us" ?  Being far from an advocate of the current US Administration's foreign policies, alongside many within that country's borders, would it be okay if I was given the urge to chunder every time I had a negative thought about Cheney?  Would attempting to break my will by physically attacking my thoughts be a satisfatcory form of "socialisation"  in your worldview?

Without going too far towards Orwell, or Vonnegutt's Farenheit 451, what happens if the thought-imposing authority is found to be  wrong?   Indoctrinated into belief we would have, like the priest in the movie says, the inability to distinguish good from evil.  Under such enforced  delusion do the good become evil, the evil become good? Would we even be able to phrase the question?

Witnessing the draconian administration of moral correctness that the neocons have attempted to enforce on the world should serve as a warning to maintain our individual independence of thought. Remember the days when miners carried canaries down mineshafts?  If the canary keeled over you ran for fresh air.  Hicks has been our canary, and I for one am grateful to still be able to breathe my thoughts.

The culture of moral equivalence

"This is a system which by comparison, makes Iran’s recent behavior seem tame."

Yeah. Any moment now George W Bush is going to deny there was a Holocaust and he'll start conducting military operations against ethnic minorities within the United States. Then he'll start strangling homosexuals to death in public. And as you know, we only have the British hostages' word for it they were tortured.

Richard Tonkin: "I watched the movie (A Clockwork Orange) today for the first time in twenty years. The political resolution is strikingly similar resolution to that attempted with the Hicks Problem."

Really? In what way?

Ethics and Dignity

As I said, C Parsons, I'm not going to spoil the ending for anyone who wants to watch it.  I'm sure there's a spoiler on Wiki if you're desperate.  Suffice to say it's ministerial level damage control to adverse public reaction.

The good professor was talking about how Hicks' treatment had diminished America's international reputation as a moral guardian.  Your response dealt with Iranian internal matters.  You missed the point.  If enough people believe that Bush is dishonouring their country in how it handles its prisoners of war, he'll be out of a job. 

In this instance it's not a matter of what Iranian words and deeds you consider to be international atrocities, but the self-perceived international dignity of American citizens, who seem to have a much better understanding of Justice than George Bush, his Australian cabinet, and their spin-doctors. 

I don't reckon that Bush is worried about Howard's re-election per se, but more on the effect that the public defeat of a "major Coalition partner" will have on his own polls next year.  Reaction to the Hicks' trial in the US can't be helping Dubya's figures.  It certainly hasn't increased favourtism for the Libs in the Newspolls.

Hicks and "Hostages"

There's an interesting piece here suggesting that the treatment of Hicks has deprived the US of a moral highground from which to castigate Iran for its treatment of British military prisoners.

Professor Victor Hansen, a former lieutenant colonel, writes on Jurist that:

The Bush Administration is fond of saying that 9/11 changed everything. Many legitimately dispute whether everything has in fact changed. However, no one can dispute that some things have certainly changed. As Americans we must now look at the behavior of counties like Iran through the lens of "black sites," CIA renditions, torture memos, Abu Ghraib, water boarding, habeas-stripping statutes, military commissions, and indefinite detentions. Iran’s 15-day detention of British sailors and marines and the subsequent ham-fisted propaganda stunts by the Iranian government look pretty tame by comparison.

One only needs to compare the treatment of these captured British sailors and marines to the case of the Australian David Hicks to understand why the United States has lost the ability to complain about Iran’s conduct.

 Hansen concludes:

This is a system which by comparison, makes Iran’s recent behavior seem tame. After the public statements made by the released British sailors and marines about their capture and treatment, many Iranian officials may be looking with envy at the terms of Hicks’ plea agreement, and they are probably wishing they would have extracted similar concessions before they released their captives. Not to worry, Iran and the rest of the world have the United States’ example to follow, and given sufficient time and opportunity, others like Iran will certainly learn to adopt our ways. And we Americans are forced to sit silently by when other counties engage in this kind of behavior. That is what it means to lose our moral authority, and the thanks goes to the Bush Administration’s global war on the rule of law. 

A Clockwork Orange David Hicks

I watched the movie today for the first time in twenty years.  The political resolution is strikingly similar resolution to that attempted with the Hicks Problem.  

I won't spoil it for anyone, so only can suggest another look at the DVD.

Horrifying details of Hicks's torture revealed

This horrifying news from today's Sydney Morning Herald:

David Hicks says he was tortured by US personnel during interrogation sessions in various locations.

Hicks's graphic account of his treatment by the Americans is contained in a sworn statement given earlier to the Special Immigration Appeals Commission in Britain to support his bid for British citizenship, News Limited newspapers report.

In the immigration appeals statement, Hicks says: "My hands were restrained behind my back and I was forced to kneel during interrogations."

"US personnel would force me into painful physical positions."

Hey? Do the Taliban still behead people with butchers' knives and then broadcast videos of it on the web? David was in the Taliban, wasn't he?


"The US interrogators would question me and after my responses I would be slapped in the back of the head and told I was lying."


You can be an extremely silly man, Seep, and here you are, advocating torture.

I don’t want the evil pissant Tory scum to pull any Tampa-SIEV-X stunts on you, m’darlin’ Seep. So please remember, if youse is planning to live up to your name by torching Yatala while Mr Hicks is aboard (no doubt being bashed and sodomised by Howardite tax fraud or kid killer cons), try not to be too obvious.

I hate to think of the screws gunning down you and Alexander Downer as you roll 44 gallon drums of fuel and crop poison up to the gates.

Leave all that up to the shambling Afrikaander half-men from Executive Options™.

And that applies to you, too, Akka.

Anyway, you know you’ll only bugger your poor silly old back – remember the osteo, bro’.

Frère Jihad Jacques OAM née Woodforde, c/-SA FIRE BRIGADE


Frere Jihad, it'll be one of these. (Both are 96% full and 81% indigenous).  I wonder what the room service is like.

Thanks for the kind offer of afternoon tea, but as a terrorist-supporting TaliTubby I have a sooper cunning plan.  I've already done two years of special Islamic fingernail strengthening exercises, which will empower me tunnel from the Alice Springs prison to the Pine Gap terror base - where I will tear apart the electric cables with my teeth.

Ha ha ha ha ha (maniacal laughter if you couldn't tell).  Be harder from Darwin.

Then, having brought the evil Cyclops of the Great Satan to its knees, I intend to write nasty graffiti about Coca Cola on the radomes and end forever the sickness of western civilisation.

Seep and Acco won't know what's hit them until it's too late.

Stuart Ck Too Far

Either better than Stuart Ck, BJ. But way further from home.

Now, about the maniacal laughter. Luckily I'm on a deadset promise from Mrs Acco. The lusty ol' lefty Greeny lass is bringing one a few 44 gallon drums of the old bugger's tablets, each tab powerful enough to fell an ox - Acco's prescription reads "take two handfuls before meals or at any other time fellow travellers affect fear, or as directed by the PM's office."

I'll bake a couple into really beaut pumpkin scones, BJ, and slip them past the screws. That should settle your wicked and powerful anti-Dr Pepper™ urges.

Meanwhile, why not take up that fantastic sport giant astro-golf? With a merry cry of "FOOOORE!" you could slam the Christopher Pyne Gap domes for a hole-in-one with a mammoth slice, clear over Africa and the Atlantic and smack down onto the Crawford Texas home of Little Goat™.

Then no more maniacal laughter until you get back to the clubhouse and the acclaim of a grateful nation, on the very anniversary of the day that the government killed lefty greeny ahimsa nut Jesus. You know, the rough hippie carpenter bloke who said: "Blessed are the k'n cheesemakers. Now whose shout is it? Do I have to turn the water into k'n plonk again? Geez, this bloody Qana is a bloody dry place."

Frère Jihad Jacques OAM née Woodforde, inventor of the Mama Barbar Bush ad campaign "COKE™ IS shIT" and Dame Flo Byeti-Goosecreature's incredibly uncanny security double, c/- Post Office, Kingaroy, People's Democratic Anarchist Republic of Queensland, The World

I'm going to Afghanistan to fight Jewish Western domination

Frère Jihad Ja...: "Yes folks, the pro-Hicks leftie nuts are still on about the refugees fleeing the Taliban and Saddam, herded aboard the wallowing SIEV-X at gun point, then killed on the high seas with our connivance."

Not much lately. They are more likely to openly support the Sunni insurgency trying to re-instate the Ba'athists or otherwise trying to get their beloved prospective Taliban-Democrat Senate Candidate out of stir.

TWAT and TWAD, both working together for mutual profit, killing

I have to say C Parsons, that offering David Hicks a Democrat ticket was truly incredbile, but then it certainly may liven up Parliamentary debates ... maybe they meant Terry Hicks, for whom I have great respect and do feel he should get father of the year. Hard to think of a Dad who has worked harder for the Prodigal son.  I feel very happy for them both to be coming home and to be re-united. Sadly I suspect solitary confinement for so long may have caused harm on someone already vulnerable.

I am impressed, C Parsons, at your ability to judge people guilty of crimes they confess to in such Stasi like situation. Few would be able to say such as you do without adding the straight salute. Most of us Aussies are proud of our values that include innocent until proven guilty, freedom unless charged in a court of law, freedom from being tortured or have other's bloodied hands writing forced accusations against us. You continue to amaze.And touche for a while back, it was a gift.

Alan Curran, loss of freedoms,loss of rights? You asked that before, but surely you for one have read the ASIO legisilation? What is even more increadible is the Stasi-like extreme legislation the Howard regime tried to push through before amendments. 14 year olds, not thought guilty of any crime, yet taken away secretly for a week at a time to be interogated without parental knowledge. That is the Howard Stasi regime, unfettered by real liberals. Debnam wanted 10 year olds criminally liable ... well what a team they would have been for NSW residents at both police levels and internal secret service goose stepping away.

I find it very disconcerting that the Realm all have co-ordinated passing of legislation, just with slightly different names, anti-terrorism and interogation acts, all as if written by the same branch. When do you think the Patrot Act was prepared? How easily we surrender our rights and freedoms, as if they matter not. Currently it is the ID card here and in Britain. US?  All also have a Federal/States issue, with even the States have some issues about Mexico/Canada .

And Alan, the Bali 9:

Do you have no problem with the execution of people caught carrying drugs? Our government has not that penalty upon the statutes, the people of Australia do not agreee with death as a penalty, even if you do. Our government has lobbied against the death penalty. So why do you not find it incongruous that our public servants should aid in sending people to be executed? I wonder if it is not even illegal?  It is certainly dirty, immoral and shameful.

Those who agree with the death sentence, would they please sign an affidavit that they never used illegal drugs, nor their children? It seems that most of our sports people and visiting actors do. Do you all think that the drugs just appear by magic? Who is committing the real crime, the courier or the person demanding it? The procurer of porn or the one driving the market and buying it? The kidnapper or the one paying for the kidneys? The murderer or he who paid for the hit? Many crimes are only committed because of a "demand". The Capitalist System at its darkest.

Our whole society is caught in a poisonous web of crime and drugs and corruption at the highest. Accepting such it is then morally wrong to execute some as a sacrifice upon the alter of pretend and fake justice.

To gloat at their death as if it helps anyone or our society in any way is hypocritical and morally foul. It is typical of Neoliberal philosophy which is awfully close to one that seeks permanent removal of society's "problems".

Back to David Hicks.

From what one reads about L-e-T it is very unlikely he will ever get an open trial due to the Pakistanis ISI and 911 connection (India muddied waters there) and money transfer connection to those in Saudi/UAE/and US and UK connections.  Very complicated and false trails, but much to investigate.There is also the Uzbekistan MI and their involvement with the opium trade.

It is hugely ironical that the people who did the most to actually stop the heroin scourge was the Taliban. Now they are gone production is back up. Isn't it ridiculous that the Taliban can stop the production but the US and NATO apparently cannot. Then again, if it is true that the CIA is authorised to gain funds via transiting drugs, where does that put the War on Drugs? Maybe they need alleged Taliban trained David Hicks to sort out our drug trade.  :) That also is not such a Democrat's line.

It seems in TWAT (the war on terror) and TWOD (the war on drugs) both only catch the vulnerable and continue feeding  the criminal status quo.

Either do it for real, properly, or have compassion for those paying with their lives slowly for the lifestyle of the party goer in Melbourne and that Yacht and account in Beliz/Caymans/ Bermuda/Isle of Man/UAE, etc ... making a killing.


Angela Ryan: "Do you have no problem with the execution of people caught carrying drugs"?

In one word NO. You seem to be implying that these idiots did not know what they were doing or what the penalty was.

As for Terry Hicks, who do you think will bring a book out first, Terry or David?

"Father of the Year" are you kidding, this man has milked this situation for all he could.

"Our whole society is caught in a poisonous web of crime and drugs and corruption at the highest".

It sounds very much like the political scene in NSW.

"gag order" on Democrat-Taliban senate candidate was US idea

The Australian Government did not request that a gag order be put on David Hicks, the man who negotiated the deal on behalf of the US says.

Here's hoping he gets his own talk-back segment on ABC702

Alan Curran: "C Parsons, the way the Democrats are going if Hicks does stand as a candidate, he could well be the only one that wins. Then Barmy Bob would probably poach him, just ahead of Little Kev."

Well, gender relations within the Democrats being what they are of late, the Taliban might seem a positive step forward. And then there's the NSW Labor machine...

Moving forward

The David Hicks saga is, on one level, about David himself, and his actions.

I suspect that most Australians believe he is guilty of rash, unwanted, and even criminal behaviour. Serving his sentence ought expunge his bad behaviour.  His decision to plead guilty was wise.

I’m certain that a large majority of Australians believe the systematic torture and mistreatment meted out to him in Guantanamo Bay is a far more serious crime, and evidence of U.S. intemperance and violence. There is no longer any serious public support for the military adventure in Iraq.

The Howard government has been irredeemably painted as the gang of lying vicious toadies that they are. That won’t go away before the federal election, but whether that picture (and other irritations) impels enough votes to dislodge those toadies from office remains to be seen.

Certainly the government is worried. There are voices being raised in the electorate of Leichhardt, where I live, to encourage the deeply unlovely Warren Entsch to call off his retirement and run again because Liberal Party polling is showing that his pre-selected replacement is “not gaining traction” in the electorate.

I expect to be in prison for the next election, so I won’t get to vote. Yet I expect to celebrate Howard’s downfall while I’m there – and to prepare to hold Labor somewhat more accountable than it’s used to.

I find the widespread cynicism about Hick’s “confession” reassuring. The Australian people may be apathetic, dopey, and slow to arouse – but I believe we are a fundamentally decent people...which must be very disappointing for seep and his buddies.


Which jug, BJ?

Can visitors bring you a fruit cake with a hacksaw blade baked inside?

Speaking of David Hicks, if the cruel and stupid injustice wreaked on him is barbaric, how much worse our organisation and funding of, then winking at, the mass murder of hundreds of refugees on the high seas?

Yes folks, the pro-Hicks leftie nuts are still on about the refugees fleeing the Taliban and Saddam, herded aboard the wallowing SIEV-X at gun point, then killed on the high seas with our connivance.

Over to youse, Seep, Acco and all the other illiberal Catalepsy/org elements.

Gee, you might even get to spout rot at the post-2007 election inquiry.

Mind you don't perjure yourself - leave that to the former PM and Member for Bennelong, who, like David Hicks, is gonna do jug

Frère Jihad Jacques OAM née Woodforde, c/- Hugo Chavez House, Red Hill

Democrats try to poach Hicks from Greens and Taliban

Richard Tonkin: "Ruddock said that recapture of Hicks for violation of his gag order was unlikely."

It's only ever been a fiction in the minds of Hicks's increasingly hysterical apologists.

Now this is funny;

The Australian Democrats today took the extraordinary step of saying they would welcome convicted terrorist David Hicks running for the party as a candidate.

Sandra Kanck, the Democrats' leader in South Australia which is Hicks' home state, said she would be happy for him to seek a political career as a Democrat.

A spot on Dancing with the Stars is looking more likely.

Poaching Hicks

C Parsons, the way the Democrats are going if Hicks does stand as a candidate, he could well be the only one that wins. Then Barmy Bob would probably poach him, just ahead of Little Kev.

Oh Dear ...

Seep, you're starting to sound like that fey online numbskull, young Liberal and almost certainly Judaeo-Christianofascist, who dismissed David Hicks as "Taliban trailertrash."

No I'm not going to provide a link to his scabrous website. But plenty of Webdiarists will know the identity this slimy New Guard Young Liberal.

He's someone completely appropriate for your Hansonite Dancing with the Wolves, Seep, perhaps against the earth embankment of a decent rifle range, with a hundred skilled shooters ready with with high powered rifles down the other end.

"Bang Bang you're Xian catmeat," Frère Jihad Jacques OAM née Woodforde

Howard tucks in to the U.S. "world of its own".

While the treatment of David Hicks and Guantanamo Bay generally has slowly leaked into the international arena, Howard's "New Order" is looking even more dishonest and sneaky.

The Daily Telegraph, Howard's favourite, even got into the act with:

Meanwhile the Law Council has waded into the debate, with president Tim Bugg today saying Hicks' detention for more than five years at Guantanamo Bay had nothing to do with justice and everything to do with politics.

"From the very beginning Mr Hicks was a pawn in a political game played ruthlessly for advantage in both the US and Australia,"  Mr Bugg said.

"The Howard Government's complicity in his detention in a legal black hole beyond the reach of anything resembling an impartial or independent judicial system marks a low point in Australian political life."

Mr Bugg attacked the federal government on its continued support of the American military commission system set up to try Guantanamo Bay detainees.

He said the system gave the US "judicially unsupervised powers to detain indefinitely without charge anyone, arrested anywhere".

"Mr Hicks' nightmare is nearly over because it became politically imperative for it to end," he said.

"Heaven help those in Guantanamo Bay without someone to stand up for their rights.  The US and Australian governments clearly won't be coming to their aid."  

Then, on Paul Bongiorno's Meet the Press last Sunday:

PB:  Well, Julian Burnside QC has been following developments and welcome back to the program Mr Burnside.  How do you see the outcome? Is it a good end to a sorry saga?

J. Burnside: "Well, yes and no.  It's good for David Hicks because he's been through five years of hell and now at least there's an end in sight, but it's a bad outcome because the whole deal is poisoned at the [start?]. 

This deal comes at the end of five years of what must be almost unbearable treatment.  It comes just before he was about to face a trial that by any standard was going to be an unfair trial, and it comes in circumstances where the Government which has abandoned him for the last five years has decided they'd better do something to help him because it's an election year. 

So, frankly, I don't think anyone should draw any inferences against Hicks just because he's done this deal.  Frankly, I think most people in his situation would have done the deal no matter what."

Brian Toohey:"....Don't you think that there's a reasonable chance however that were he put before a civilian court within, say, a year, he would have been found guilty of the narrow charge of assisting or providing material support to a terrorist organisation?"

JB:  "Well, I doubt it very much. Because it seems - obviously if he'd been tried in a civil court they would not have been able to receive hearsay evidence, they would not have been able to receive evidence obtained by coercion and it seems fairly clear that none of the evidence that was going to be led [sic] against him would have got through those hurdles.

Why do you think they introduced specific rules for this commission set up specifically for him that allowed hearsay and coerced evidence?  That was the problem of the trial that he was facing."

BT:  "There was another Australian, Mr Habib, who spent time at Guantanamo Bay after he'd been "rendered", as the euphemism goes, to Egypt  where he was tortured for many, many months.  Is there any way that prosecutions could be launched against those, given that torture is against the law in Australia and internationally, is there any way that prosecutions could be launched against those who were in any way complicit, be they Australian officials or Egyptian officials?"

JB.  "It's possible but very difficult.  I have some involvement in that area so I don't want to say too much".

Whose out of step with democracy and the "rule of law"?   - Howard, Downer, Ruddock, Abbott, Costello and the other lawyers in Howard's "New Order".

If you watch the "charismatic knee", Philip Ruddock on Lateline, and remember the sleazy way this person handles his portfolio, notice that he made a qualification that Hicks' return to Guantanamo, as dictated by the US, would require a "like law" in Australia!

With both houses of parliament, the Howard government has abused that power religiously.  It would be a done deal with America, should the "New Order" be elected again, that the required legislation would be steam-rolled through ASAP.

And when you may wonder WHY the Howard government is so fawning and servile to the Bush Administration we should remember.

Howard's rush to please Bush from the outset has made him and his senior Ministers complicit in some of the most heinous crimes against humanity.

They are now captives of their own making in that - they must now depend on the protection of their chosen Bully otherwise they WILL face prosecution as signatories to the International Criminal Court.

So don't ever think that our vote for his party of depraved indifference will give them a chance to change their ways!  They are totally committed to being the Servant of the Master and only protected as long as they are in control of Australia and feed the Military/Corporate.

Hoist by their own petard.

And just an aside Brian Toohey.  I certainly don't think that the "assisting or providing material support to a Terrorist organisation" is a "narrow" charge. 

One of Bush's famous idiot boasts was "you are either with us or against us" - to hysterical cheers.

And if he doesn't like a country or an organisation, that "narrrow" charge becomes universal.

There is no truth - just the Military/Corporate.

Crimes against Humanity by Howard's "New Order",Mk 1.

While the issues of a false economy; Industrial Relations fascism; loss of Medicare and Education has become a "bridge too far", just consider this excerpt from the Speech of Julian Burnside QC at Parliament House Victoria, on World Refugee Day 2003:

In 2002 Australia, along with more than 80 other nations, acceded to the Rome statute by which the International Criminal Court was created.  The court is the first permanent court every [sic] established with jurisdiction to try war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes of genocide regardless of the nationality of the perpetrators and regardless of the place where the offences occurred.

As part of the process of implementing the International Criminal Court regime, Australia has introduced into its own domestic law a series of offences which mirror precisely the offences over which the International Criminal Court has jurisdiction.  So, for the first time since Federation, the Commonwealth of Australia now recognised genocide as a crime and now recognises various war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The Australian Criminal Code now recognises various acts as constituting crimes against humanity.  Two of them are of particular significance in the present context.  They are as follows:

268.12 Crime Against Humanity - Imprisonment Or Other Severe Deprivation Of Physical Liberty.

A person (the perpetrator) commits an offence if:

      • the perpetrator imprisons one or more persons or otherwise severely deprives one or more persons of physical liberty; and
      • the perpetrator's conduct is committed intentionally or knowingly as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against a civilian population.

Penalty: Imprisonment for 17 years.

Strict liability applies to paragraph (1)(b).

268.13 Crime against humanity - torture

A person (the perpetrator) commits an offence if:

      • the perpetrator inflicts severe physical or mental pain or suffering upon one or more persons who are in the custody or under the control of the perpetrator; and
      • the pain or suffering does not arise only from, and is not inherent in or incidental to, lawful sanctions; and
      • the perpetrator's conduct is committed intentionally or knowingly as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against a civilian population.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 25 years.

(The Covenant referred to is the International Covenant on Civil and Polical Rights, the ICCPR.)

To be continued.

Crimes against Humanity by Howard's "New Order" Mk 2.

Continuing from Mk 1.

The elements of these offences are relatively simple.  For the first, the elements are as follow:

The perpetrator imprisons one or more persons;

That conduct violates Article 9 of the ICCPR;

The conduct is committed knowingly as part of a systematic attack directed against a civilian population.

Australia's system of mandatory, indefinite detention appears to satisfy each of the elements of that crime.  Mr. Ruddock and Mr. Howard imprison asylum seekers.  The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has found that the system violates Article 9 of the ICCPR.  Their conduct is intentional, and is part of a systematic attack directed against those who arrive in Australia without papers and seek asylum.  A representative of the International Criminal Court has expressed privately the view that asylum seekers as a group can readily be regarded as "a civilian population".

The second of the offences begins with the imprisonment in violation of 268.12 and has an added element that the perpetrator inflicts severe mental pain or suffering upon one or more of the persons in the custody of the perpetrator, and the pain or suffering doesn't arise only from lawful sanctions.

There is abundant evidence of overwhelming mental suffering in Australia's detention centres.  Neither Mr Ruddock nor Mar Howard could rationally deny that they are aware of the suffering of the people they lock up.

A careful analysis of the criminal code therefore suggests that Mr Ruddock and Mr Howard are guilty of crimes against humanity by virtue of their imprisonment of asylum seekers.  The prospect of their being prosecuted is remote, because the Federal Attorney-General has an effective veto on the laying of charges under these provisions.  But whether they are charged with these offences or not may not matter.  The important point is this; an increasing number of people are raising their voices against Australia's system of mandatory indefinite detention of asylum seekers.  They assert that the system is morally wrong.  Unfortunately, the debate generally stalls when the protagonists are unable to agree about moral norms.

The argument against mandatory detention takes on a new complexion when it is seen that the system very likely amounts to a crime against humanity.  Those who support mandatory detention on whatever grounds appeal to them may find it harder to justify the fact that our Government is engaged in crimes against humanity judged not only by the standards of the international community but by the standards or our own legislation.

This speech was previously printed at Julian Burnside's website, the Scatt Website, and the Sydney Morning Herald.

"What has all this got to do with me?"

  1. Remember, when you may go overseas, that all countries of the world will know how we treat International Law, morality and common decency.
  2. Whether you support this behaviour by the incumbent government or not, you are still a part of it whether you like it or not.

"Do unto others......".


The "Shell Game" with Australian lives.

It is history now that Howard's complacent AFP gained political points from the Indonesian Government by sacrificing the "Bali nine" drug mules, while they were in that country.

That with the sure knowledge that Indonesia has the death penalty and the chances of those Australian citizens receiving that sentence, has now been proven.  Hang your head Keelty.

Howard, Downer and Ruddock say that it has nothing to do with them, it is between the accused and the Indonesian government.  Fair dinkum?

Like the young Australian who was hung in Malaysia - these citizens are being denied their rights as Australians and the U.S. -  (to who Howard's "New Order" sold their souls) - would never allow such a thing to happen to any of their nationals.

Now the saga of another Australian who has been sacrificed to score political points from the most powerful and organised "Terrorist" regime the world has ever known.

While consistently and relentlessly finding David Hicks guilty of "something", the "New Order" Liberals supported the first Kangaroo Court as "fair", the first charges were "serious" and that it had nothing to do with Howard's mob because Hicks had NOT BROKEN ANY AUSTRALIAN LAW.

The U.S. Supreme Court decided that the Bush/Howard conspiracy of the "fair" Military procedures were illegal - Bush rushed to develop a new one.

Then maintaining the secrecy of the 2002, AFP interrogation of Hicks IN Guantanamo Bay, the "axis of evil" - Howard, Downer and Ruddock - stated that the new and changed "Trial", with new and changed charges against Hicks - were also "fair".  Even Costello got in the act with his very rare unsmirking face - very serious he said!  Struth.

Every Western world democracy denounced the U.S. military court except - Howard's "New Order".

Uncommitted commentators in the U.S., when asked about the "trial" routine for Hicks have claimed that the Howard government had introduced politics to cause David Hicks to make a plea bargain in an election year.

So, an Australian citizen who:

a)  has not broken any Australian Law;

b)  was sold to the U.S. by the Afghanistan Rebels;

c)  has suddenly been given the opportunity to have a GUILTY plea bargain;

d)  is "guilty" only under a new and retrospective U.S. law; 

e)  will serve out his sentence for breaching that U.S. law - in an Australian gaol;

 f)  has a "gag" placed on him until after the election in Australia, that is not enforceable (Ruddock) and;

g)  will be prosecuted by the AUSTRALIAN government, if he, or any of his family or friends, SELL his story about breaching a U.S. law AND -

h)  according to Major Michael Mori, he may well be taken back to Guantanamo Bay as breaching the plea bargain that has nothing to do with the Howard government.

So, whose interests are being protected here?  Those of the most powerful Terrorist Organisation in the world or an Australian citizen under a Howard "New Order"?

Like the Malaysian and Indonesian political sacrifices, "it is strictly between the U.S. and Hicks' lawyers!  Fair dinkum.

Would you trust the Howard "New Order" to protect you if you had broken a "deal" with the U.S.

Not bloody likely.

There is no truth - just the secrecy of the Howard/Bush conspiracies.


Drug smuggling

Ernest William, the "Bali nine" were drug smugglers and knew what they were doing, they deserve everything they got. Like the young Australian who was hung in Malaysia (oh I love it when you use the word "young"), was another person who knew what he was doing and knew what would happen if he got caught.

"... these citizens are being denied their rights as Australians"

What garbage you do talk at times. They broke the law, as everybody knows except you the penalty is severe. Are you trying to tell me that if you smuggled drugs to Indonesia and was caught, that a Rudd Labor government would get you off? Or perhaps it could be just covered up like Iemma does for his cronies. 

It is obvious that you would have loved Hicks to have still been in Gitmo when the election comes round, but the fact is the majority of Australians don't give a damn about Hicks. That's why Rudd told Terry Hicks to get his son to change his plea.

Charitable Glad Rags, Mrs Acco

Acco: “That's why Rudd told Terry Hicks to get his son to change his plea.”

“Oh dear,” as one is wont to lament. Is it the voices again Acco? Why don’t you get a nice cup pf tea and sit in your favourite chair – it’s going on sundown, mate. The shopping channels news will be on soon.

And Mrs Acco, would you or the nurses please try to get the poor old bugger back on his tablets? And diplomatically suggest he cut out those funny looking 1950s Young Liberal clothes. They make him look and sound even weirder when he’s at the bus stop, yelling and gesticulating at startled passers-by.

Just send all the yesteryear fashion relics to the Salvos or Vinnies, after Acco’s washed off the gobbets of spittle and flecks of foam, if he’s up to it. Or parcel them up for RG Menzies House, Barton, Canberra. Their workers and volunteers go through a lot of that clobber, crawling down sewers with Mr Hanky and Textor Xbie.

Despite their labours in filth, Young Libs of all ages – 19 to 90 - must look spruce for the Victory Parade rehearsal at the Wentworth, Die Fahne blaring from the vintage Maoist speakers.

Frère Jihad Jacques OAM née Woodforde, helper and carer for many an aged and demented person, quite a few with delusions similar to Acco’s

Frère Jihad

Frère Jihad, my we do get touchy when someone hits a nerve about Little Kev. The Missus is sending you some of my tablets, I don't need them anymore.

Car Boot Stall

Acca: "The Missus is sending you some of my tablets, I don't need them anymore."

Yeah, right. Couldn't the poor lass knock out a few hundred pounds of your medication at a car boot stall/ m'love? And keep the rest aside, just in case she needs to grind them up and reload some of her household tranquiliser darts, to get you down off the roof without fuss. Before the new PM's motorcade sweeps past. She's only trying to protect you from police snipers, m'li'l ol' crazy darling Accersweetie.

Frère Jihad Jacques OAM née Woodforde, nasty assassin committed to worship of the prophet Jesus, who taught me love youse, Acco - provided it's strictly a pants on kinda thing

Hicks could tell all on New Year's Day

How many days before Good Friday did Pontius Pilate wash his hands?

It was a very different Phillip Ruddock on Lateline last night.  While defence minister Nelson has been saying that Australia should accept the Hicks verdict, the AG appeared to be going to great pains to explain that part of the sentence was meaningless. 

Ruddock said that recapture of Hicks for violation of his gag order was unlikely.  "“I'll leave it to your imagination as to a way in which somebody seeking extradition in relation to a party for breaching a so-called gag order would be able to be delivered up through the judicial processes in Australia,”  he told Lateline's Tony Jones.

The trouble is Mr Ruddock, that our imaginations would have had trouble with an Australian citizen being imprisoned in Australia under the auspices of the retrospective legislation  of another country.  You've distanced yourself from the decision brilliantly... an old Easter political tactic.

Meanwhile PM Howard, running around Adelaide while our State Premier is abroad, is castigating our Premier for questioning the public's safety after Hicks' release.  He's done this the day after his Treasurer has linked the man to S11 and Bali.

David Hicks got "Hollywood makeover" for media claim

Ernest William: "He could potentially be brought back to Guantanamo to serve it."

If you think that's an innovative line, how about this;

The plea bargain meant he had to confess and even "prove" his own guilt (after Hollywood makeup department was called in to give him a makeover for the media).

- Peter Gorian, Letters to Editor, Manly Daily, 4 April 2007.

The efforts to go on portraying Mr Hicks - a former Taliban mercenary, ex-member of Lashkar-e-Toiba, trained by al-Qaeda and proud racist - as the "victim" of something is becoming for me the most instructive aspect of the political Left's exultation of him.

Hicks - like babies overboard - won't go away.

Last night we watched the 4 Corners episode on David Hicks and, if correct, it raises more questions about this type of trial and illegal incarceration which is only supported by Bush and the Howard "New Order" Liberals.

It revealed, as we had already been informed, that Hick's letters to his parents were the basis of his final "guilty" plea.

However, I cannot remember Howard, Downer, Ruddock or the MSM mentioning that the Australian Federal Police interrogated David Hicks IN Guantanamo Bay prison, in May 2002.

It boggles the mind to think that the once independently professional AFP were sent to the illegal torture chambers of Guantanamo Bay, NOT to assist an Australian citizen (as in the Rights of Australian Citizens), but to play prosecutor/interrogator for the Bush/Howard conspiracy.

As I have mentioned before, AFP Commissioner Keelty went to water when confronted by the "New Order" jackbooters and, as far as I am concerned, he cannot be trusted to independently investigate the alleged fraudulent behaviour of Howard's three Queensland Liberals.

At the conclusion of the 4 Corners program, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff to Colin Powell stated his "take" on the trial and the precedents it has set in motion.

His greatest concern was, as he put it: "...the Political pressure, as in the case of Hicks, to plea bargain".

IMHO, no one, not even the "New Order" staff, can rely on anything that Howard, Downer or Ruddock say, even when they change from AC to DC in the blink of an eye.

I do believe however, what Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson said, in part because I have respect for Colin Powell (who Bush ordered to lie to the U.N. about WMD) but equally because it explains the continued vacillation of Downer's claims regarding the Liberal's interpretation of the Rights (or lack thereof) of Australian citizens.

I do hope that someone tells Millionaire Malcolm what happened!

There is no truth - just Liberal politicians "overboard" with lies.



Ernest William "Violating many of the provisions of pre-trial agreement actually could require him to serve the remainder of the sentence hanging over his head," Major Mori told the ABC's 7.30 Report.

"He could potentially be brought back to Guantanamo to serve it.

"I hope that doesn't happen. I hope the media respects that he's under oath, under obligation not to talk to media, and they don't try to set him up for failure."

It is not the media that he has to worry about  it is Little Kev and his bunch who will throw him to the wolves in a desperate effort to win the election.

Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land,

Mark Sergeant: "Hi, Angela. It is most unlikely that there will be a Supreme Court decision on these Military Commissions before the end of the year - so no effect on the imprisonment, unless Hicks wants to take action for compensation or some sort of declaration of false imprisonment, which I think would be pushing it."

Er, didn't he plead guilty? And this is yet to be resolved;

David Hicks, already facing the possibility of 20 years' jail on terrorism charges in the US, is the subject of a new investigation by the Indian Government over his attacks on their armed forces in Kashmir.

The investigation has been triggered by disclosures in American prosecution files about the involvement of Hicks with a terrorist group that has killed thousands of people in the disputed Indian territory of Kashmir.

No news from Bob Brown yet about whether the Greens might like to start a campaign in support of Mahammad Abbas.

Who is this bankrupt Millionaire?

While Australians are being torn apart, yet again, by the depraved indifference of the Howard "New Order" Liberals, regarding the illegal and unlawful treatment of an Australian citizen - let's have a reality check.

IMHO - Malcolm Turnbull in his inimitable fashion, has 20/20 vision after the event.

This not so clever clown must be Howard's new "diversion" expert.

He states (with typical arrogance) that Hicks should have applied for a "deal" much earlier!  Fair dinkum.

Consider the facts that Mr. Turnbull ignores or - like all of Howard's Ministers - "has not been informed".

From the beginning of the arrest of David Hicks for being accused of  defending the legal Government of Afghanistan, the Taliban, Howard, Downer and Ruddock have claimed that he is guilty of "something".

Now this person has brilliantly opined that Hicks should have asked for a plea a long time ago.  Fair dinkum.

Is this person on the same planet?  Does he really believe that his ill-advised attitude will be accepted by the Australian people?

Mr. Turnbull - while you continue with your Howard mentor's belief that you have been born to rule - no matter what your opinions are - on every issue that your have so far had maximum exposure - are you as stupid as you appear?

It may be difficult for you to understand but, IF David Hicks is not guilty of the charges that have; have not; increased and decreased against him, then I would imagine that he would NOT COP A PLEA.

This Australian citizen has suffered five and a half years of torture and deprivation "Sir" Malcolm - do you or your misguided followers imagine that he would NOT have agreed to anything to avoid the U.S. Torturers?

With your Bankrupt Millionaire status, how would you feel Mr. Turnbull, if you and your complicit criminals, Howard, Downer, and Ruddock were tortured for say - not telling the truth?

And, Mr. Turnbull, how do you feel about the nine young Australian citizens, guilty or not, who were sacrificed to the Indonesian Police for an offence that Howard knew was a death penalty offence in that country?

I am not a millionaire - I am not a foreign "investor" - just an ordinary Australian citizen and - I have no rights under the Howard "New Order".

I am of the opinion that the opposition parties have to spend as much money as is necessary to prevent another unbelievable  result in the next U.S. sponsored Australian Federal election.

There is no truth - ....


Ernest William: "I am of the opinion that the opposition parties have to spend as much money as is necessary to prevent another unbelievable result in the next U.S. sponsored Australian Federal election".

Does this include the money the ACTU is spending on their dead in the water campaign on IR? No wonder the membership of the Unions has dropped another 6% in the last 12 months. I would imagine people are getting tired of Combet and Burrows wasting the members funds to prop up their own jobs.

Ernest William,What on earth

Ernest William, what on earth are you talking about when you say: "I am not a millionaire - I am not a foreign "investor" - just an ordinary Australian citizen and - I have no rights under the Howard "New Order".

What rights have you lost? Please let me know and I will personally ask Howard to restore them to you.

Human rights abuses,Egypt vs USA. hmmm, and big chins

Now come on Ernest, the newly annointed has to have his skeletons to keep that elbow bent behind when needed, don't be so hard. He may not be so smart either, after all wasn't it he who was in charge of the bank that was overseeeing the HIH/FAI deals and saw "nothing"?

Thanks Mark, what a whizz.

C Parsons, do you really think the Egyptian courter/justice system and our connection to that nation is the equivalent of the US court and legal system and our connection to that nation?  Can you really not see a difference between one of our people being kidnapped, bounty paid, tortured, kept in inhumane conditions for years upon years including solitary confinement without trial or conviction, with evidence against being from torutre and hearsay ... all under the control of our "ally", the bastion of Freedom and Truth and Justice and the American Way, the Fighter for Democracy and Slayer of Tyrants and Overthrower of those who confine without trial and torture and drop bombs upon rebellions/insurgents ... our Illustrious new Roman Leader of the NWO, 911 spinner, WMD liar, 650-thousand killer and counting, the drug/ethanol frontal lobotomised election fraudster and MIA national servicer and leader of Hastert Paedophile Intern scandals Republicans, Mr George Bush. Let's hear it folks.

No, I guess you're right C Parsons. Maybe the US are not much better when you look at it than the known torturing and election rigging regime of the Egyptians. How perceptive of you to point it out to us.  I do hope you are also writing about the other regimes with disappearing prisoners, there are so many aren't there, and so many are our allies now. Who would have thought it? I wonder what our diggers would think of such evil now allied to us, whereas in the past they fought against it.

I guess I just have more hope for our American cousins, knowing so many of them to be really good people with the same values as I have and hating every thing the current regime is doing. I don't know how Egyptians feel about their leadership, I do not know any personally ... but they don't have oil do they?

As I haven't read any criticism by you of the current American regime, can one presume fairly that you support what they are doing and have done?  How would you compare it to the Egyptian regime that you wish criticised, and so rightly as it sounds? Do the Egyptians also have kidnappings where people disappear and are tortured as the US have now? Time to get the Security Council involved, these guys have nukes you know ... and as for the Egyptians, they  probably want them too with their power plant.

Can't wait for your next letter; will you be calling for George to be tried in the ICJ? Marvellous stuff. At last no more hypocrisy. All equal before the Lady Liberty ... and at the final weighing before the final boat..

Oh gosh, here is another one

And remember that recent KLM confession, with his little boys and wife held too - just to help him remember, eh? Do the Egyptians do that?

And all those Abu Ghraib torture and murder and rape crimes that just are not going to be tried ... love our allies justice system.  Maybe they learned it from the Egyptians? No, that wasn't who was teaching them was it, eh?

I wonder if our dear ally has actually out-done that bottom of the barrel for human rights nation Egypt. Who would have though it? Who would have thought Egypt and the US would ever be compared for human rights abuses. Now it is only a matter of scale. Just like ecomony - US wins.

Nice holiday season thought.


PS but isn't Phelps fantastic!!!!

And errr Ian, didn't know hand injury medication increases testosterone ... hmmm. Keep mum.  So unfair to say anything now it is so late and he cannot prove his innocence. His chin is nothing compared to Cathy Freeman's.  Then again, one of mine has a "strong" chin too. ;-] )

Lowering the bar

Hi Angela, love your work.

C Parsons' posts are like a reverse limbo act: he keeps on lowering that bar so apologists for the Bush Administration can keep getting over it!  You've got to admire his tenacity in continuing to claim the high moral ground in the face of the Bush Administration's growing list of war crimes.

A lot like those naïve Australian Marxists in the 40s and 50 who believed in Stalin’s workers’ paradise, really …

The so-called war on terror is not being waged with any sense of jus in bello, or just war. Or rather, a ‘just war’ is the rhetoric from the Bush Administration, but not the reality. It’s a kind of political schizophrenia. We are told we're fighting people who don’t respect our values, our way of life, or human rights, and that’s why, um, we’re torturing terrorist suspects all over the world.

After September 11 the Bush Administration went straight to the bottom of the barrel.  The torture papers make clear that the administration wanted to find a way of narrowing the definition of torture so much as to make its prohibition meaningless – death, organ failure etc. They knew exactly what was going to happen to prisoners in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Add the suspension of the Geneva Conventions for prisoners captured in Afghanistan, and various green lights on ‘torture light’ from Donald Rumsfeld, and Abu Ghraib was inevitable.  Their attitude was: how low can we go and get away with it?

The ‘we’re not the worst’ arguments made by apologists for the Bush Administration, like C Parsons, are therefore perfectly consistent with the thinking of the administration itself. They’re uncomfortable with the concept of a ‘just war’, under which, for example, the torture of unarmed prisoners is not just illegal but morally repugnant. They sidestep the sense of honour that came from once having respected the Geneva Conventions for prisoners of war through wars far more costly (in lives) to the United States, such as World War II.  (These conventions were rendered ‘quaint’ by September 11, apparently.)

Because it’s now not about ideals or honour, but how low we can go while still being better than … Egypt. Hey, we only deliver the prisoners, we’re not the one who actually put out cigarettes on them or apply electric shocks or kick the crap out of them. So that’s OK.

When prisoners are subject to waterboarding they only think they’re drowning, so that’s OK. If they have a little trouble getting under showers for the rest of their lives, well, it’s a small price to pay, surely, for all that actionable intelligence. Like that Mamdouh Habib trained the September 11 hijackers.

And Stalin was much worse, don’t forget that!

Even from a coldly utilitarian perspective, the torture policies of the Bush Administration have been really, really dumb. Abu Ghraib – boy, that played out well in the Middle East, didn’t it?

In 2004 the Red Cross were told by military intelligence officers told that between 70% and 90% of people ‘deprived of their liberty’ in Iraq had been arrested by mistake. Beatings, hoodings for days, forced to wear women's underwear on their heads, threats of imminent execution, being kept naked in solitary confinement – all standard interrogation procedure.  Then, ‘sorry, our mistake, on your way!’. How many thousands of innocent Iraqis have been turned against the Coalition Forces this way?

Have a happy Easter all.

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