This week it was reported that David Hicks, who was arrested fighting alongside the Taliban, might have his conviction overturned.
… Hicks, who pleaded guilty to providing material support for terrorism, was likely to be cleared after legal challenges to the process under which he was convicted.
He had gone to Pakistan and Afghanistan and did military training alongside Islamist terrorists and met al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden several times, referring to him as a “lovely brother’’.
He was arrested guarding a tank and handed over to the US military.
But Greens leader Christine Milne said the Australian Government should apologise for the almost seven years Hicks spent in Guantanamo Bay before pleading guilty in return for being sent home to Australia.
… former senior soldier turned Liberal MP Andrew Nikolic hit out at the Greens, saying they had got away with “appalling commentary on terrorism for too long’’.
… Labor MP Kelvin Thomson said he was “pleased’’ by the reports,
“When I was shadow attorney-general in 2006 I campaigned for David Hicks to be given a fair trial. I have always believed that David Hicks’ guilty plea did not make him a guilty man.’’
It’s puzzling how an MP representing a liberal democracy can regard Hicks as innocent when he was caught training with terrorists and had actually pleaded guilty. In 2007, The Australian published extracts from Hick’s letters:
Dear family I spent around three months in a muslim military training camp in the mountains.I learnt about weapons such as ballistic missiles, surface to surface and shoulder fired missiles, anti aircraft and anti-tank rockets, rapid fire heavy and light machine guns, pistols, AK47s, mines and explosives. After three months everybody leaves capable and war-ready…
In letters to his mother Sue King:
There is one thing I wish to explain about jihad the non-believers, Jews and Americans in the western world are determined to prevent it to come back again. Jihad is still valid today and will be for all time. The West is full of poison… controlled by the Jews with music, TV, houses, cars, free sex takes Muslims away from the true Islam keeps Islam week and in the third world.
As a Muslim young and fit my responsibility is to protect my brothers from aggressive non-believers and not let them destroy it. Islam will rule again but for now we must have patience we are asked to sacrifice our lives for Allahs cause why not? There are many privileges in heaven. It is not just war it is jihad.
The only true Muslims are those fighting.
I am now very well trained for jihad in weapons some serious like anti-aircraft missiles.
The Jews have complete financial and media control many of them are in the Australian government.
In a letter in May 2001:
I have told you about the non-Muslims they send a lot of spies here especially to Osama Bin Ladens Arab organisation which is where I am.
… I have met Osama bin Laden about 20 times he is a lovely brother the only reason the West call him the most wanted terrorist is because he got the money to take action.
According to Terry Hicks, his son David has no reason to apologise to anyone about anything. This explains why the anticipated apology was missing from David Hicks’s statement… after his release from prison. The absence of an apology has been welcomed by members of David Hicks’s fan club and the civil liberties lobby…
…The case against the self-confessed terrorist supporter is evident in the letters that he wrote to his family shortly before his capture by Northern Alliance forces in Afghanistan, who handed him over to US forces.
… Other Hicks letters were presented to the Federal Magistrates Court, during the Australian Federal Police’s successful application for a control order… that went into operation after his release from prison.
We know from Hicks’s own hand that he (i) joined the Taliban in Afghanistan, (ii) trained with al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and personally met its leader, Osama bin Laden, on numerous occasions, (iii) attempted to kill (and maybe did kill) individuals on the Indian side of the Kashmir Line of Control, and (iv) advocated the overthrow of what he termed “Western-Jewish domination”. We also know that Hicks… praised Islamist beheadings for those who disagree with Muhammad, and proclaimed the benefits of “being martyred” and “well trained for jihad”.
The David Hicks fan club and its allies in the civil liberties lobby are engaged in an unpleasant double standard here. Just imagine what this lot would have said if the Reverend Fred Nile, the leader of the Christian Democratic Party in NSW, had claimed that “the Jews have complete financial and media control” in Australia… or had Nile boasted that he had fought on the Indian side of the Line of Control and fired “rocket-propelled grenades 200 metres from a bunker” holding two soldiers of the Muslim faith.
Without question Nile would have been condemned as an anti-Semite and a Muslim killer. But a different standard applies when a Muslim convert like Hicks engages in anti-Semitism or admits to trying to kill Indian soldiers….
Yet the response to Hicks from his supporters is a combination of gush and denial. Writing in the Adelaide Independent Weekly, Hendrik Gout described Hicks as an “idealistic and foolish would-be mercenary”. Since when did support for the terrorist bin Laden and the murderous al-Qaeda group amount to idealism? Moreover, Hicks has never denied fighting with Lashkar-e-Taiba in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir and with the Taliban in Afghanistan…
… Democrat senator Natasha Stott Despoja criticised the Australian Federal Police for outlining “in excruciating detail everything they had on file about Hicks” to the Federal Magistrates Court. It seems she is in denial about his evident anti-Semitism and his past support for terrorism.
In 2008, Bob Ellis went even further than Natasha, and transformed Hicks into a victim of “the new anti-semitism”!
There are former members of the Third Reich who guarded Jews in Belsen who walk unpoliced around South Australia today; unlike David Hicks…
David Hicks, it seems, is so different he can’t (unlike, say, Albert Speer) write of the experience that made him famous …
His voice… has never been broadcast because it’s a broad Australian voice. And if that voice were heard he’d be humanised by it. He’d be soon thought… to be no more wicked than, say, Shane Warne, that other blond larrikin Aussie short-arse who’s paid his dues; and that would never do.
…But why is he not let to write about his life…? Because of a new law that says you can’t profit from your account of a life of crime.
This should mean that Chopper must give his book earnings back, and so must his publisher…. So must Anthony Beevor,
who’s described in detail the crimes of the Third Reich…That’s if this new law is in any way real.
But it’s not, of course. It exists, as in Kafka’s The Trial, because David Hicks is different, and must be punished when no-one else is.
He’s so different he’s the first citizen of a liberal democracy unable to complain about being tortured. He’s so different he can’t sue America for his torment, humiliation, sleeplessness, nakedness, drenching, for being forbidden to see the evidence against him…
The law that says you can’t be found guilty because of a confession made ‘under duress’. The law that says you may talk about your imprisonment after it’s over because you’ve paid by then your ‘debt to society’….
But David Hicks is different; and these old laws… do not apply to him. He’s so bad he’s beyond all laws we know, and he’s lucky he wasn’t hanged.
What he did was meet Osama bin Laden twenty times; to train with an insurgent army… to become a Muslim and advertise in letters some of his new beliefs; to guard a tank for an afternoon; and worst of all to go back to get his passport in the hope of escaping a war that scared him…
Are there any other people who have done like heinous things that we can compare him to?
Well, Traudl Junge met Hitler hundreds of times while typing for him, and was never punished for this…. Davey Crockett trained with an insurgent army and is now thought a hero…
But David Hicks is…so different we have to gag him and watch him like a hawk lest he conspire with other Muslim fanatics to blow up Uluru, or the Crown Casino, or Centrepoint Tower, or otherwise aid fanatical sedition.
Why is he so different? Why do we think so badly of him?
Well … he’s inadvertently become, I think, the focus of the new anti-Semitism…By the same thought-process Hitler used to make marriage to a Jew a gaolable offence, the Howardite Australians… have made conversion to Islam an unspeakable iniquity. But they’ve hidden the word ‘Islam’ beneath another word, ‘terrorism’.
So if you married an Arab or embraced his creed you were thereafter thought iniquitous, abominable, unforgiveable, and if you did it publicly enough (as Hicks did through his published letters), you were flung in gaol for terrorism. And tortured. And called a killer by your Prime Minister and threatened with life, or death, in prison. And made a pariah once you were let go.
The Arabs are a Semitic people and our tendency now, since 9/11, is to treat them as the Germans did the Jews after the Reichstag fire; that is, anti-semitically: to randomly kill them, and lock them up without reason… And anyone who joins their cause are treated…as turncoats, heathens, traitors, betrayers of the tribe.
… we’ve treated David Hicks very badly. We’ve niggerised him… We’re calling him a ‘convicted terrorist supporter’ because of new laws and procedures that may be struck down as wrong, illegal, insufferable in a year or two…
I’d be really surprised if David Hicks was ever a danger to anybody who wasn’t already shooting at him. He seems okay to me. I’d let him baby-sit my grandchildren. I’d go bushwalking with him…
I might be terribly wrong but I think he’s a decent, wayward, ordinary man who has become, through ill-luck, buoyant energy, bad timing and George Bush’s particular post-alcoholic God-bothering neuroses, Australia’s Dreyfus.
Well Bob, sorry but quite a few people see evil in those who train with terrorists planning jihad attacks against innocent civilians (including Muslims) anywhere in the world.
Miranda Devine is not impressed with Hicks and his Aussie supporters:
David Hicks… has written a book entitled ‘Guantanamo: My Journey’.
DICK Smith is Australia’s biggest apologist for Hicks, aka Mohammed Dawood, the 35-year-old one-time Muslim convert, the AK47-toting, anti-Semitic, terrorist-trained enemy traitor, the al-Qaida “golden boy” whose reaction to the 9/11 attacks was to hotfoot it back to Afghanistan to take up arms to fight the US and its allies..
Hicks roamed between Kandahar airport and Kabul with a group of fighters who were “engaged in combat against coalition forces”, according to US prosecutors.
That’s the official version, and the one Hicks admitted to in 2007 when he pleaded guilty to the charge of providing material support to a terrorist organisation.
His book…only makes more puzzling the mystery of why Hicks became such a cause celebre, since his story is so implausible, his excuses so pathetic, his whingeing so reflexive.
…he just happened to go to Pakistan. A new mosque mate happened to give him some addresses. One thing led to another and he ended up in Peshawar on the Afghan border where he just “came upon” members of the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Hicks skips over his extensive LeT training, mentioning only that he did “lots of walks”, befriended a goat and that the training was mostly “sport-oriented”.
The paragraph that most perfectly captures his attempt to suspend reality has him firing on Kashmir.
“I participated in this exchange (of gunfire) under the orders and supervision of Captain Ali. We did not fire upon Indian soldiers or any other people. We only participated in the symbolic exchange of fire.”
The consequences of this “symbolic exchange of fire”? Two dead children.
He complains a lot about Guantanamo Bay and about a soldier who records his movements in a green book making him feel “like an animal sprawled upon a dissection table”.
Does it occur to Hicks why the soldier was observing him? Because the good guys, those Hicks was fighting against, were trying to find out when the next terrorist attack would come.
They were protecting defenceless children, mothers, fathers, beloved people in Manhattan office towers or Melbourne football stadiums or Bali nightspots or Mumbai restaurants, or London buses, from a suicide bomber exploding a vest… or grabbing a rifle out of a backpack and firing into a crowd of living flesh.
That is what David Hicks was. One of those young men who trained for al-Qaida in LeT terrorist camps.
The Mumbai terrorists, who killed more than 170 people, including two Australians, in 2008, were trained, like Hicks, by LeT.
… if he had not been captured by the Northern Alliance, would he have been a sleeper agent inside Australia, available on call to carry out a Mumbai-style massacre?
There is no remorse, no apology, just justification piled on evasion piled on self-pity.
Hicks’ terror-supporting activities have made him the darling of the leftist elites. There were rich pickings to be had, including writing a book about his time in Guantanamo. The Commonwealth was considering confiscating the profits as proceeds of crime, but then dropped the proceedings, leaving journalist Mary Kostakidis gloating:
Egged on by the shadow attorney-general, George Brandis, who, thanks to the plea bargain orchestrated by John Howard, can refer to Hicks as ”a convicted terrorist”, the DPP’s decision to commence proceedings seemed extraordinary.
In Australian law, evidence of a confession is not admissible unless the court is satisfied the confession was not influenced by violent, oppressive, inhuman or degrading conduct…Does anyone believe this is not precisely how confessions were extracted at Guantanamo Bay?
All the evidence pointed to the fact Hicks’s statements about what he had done in Afghanistan were the result of mistreatment by the Americans. ..
…The only conclusion to be drawn is that the government was banking on Hicks’s poor psychological state and underestimated the support he would receive to obtain a just outcome under Australian law.
This episode is an example of what happens to bullies when someone stands up to them. The actions of the Australian government in Hicks’s case have been reprehensible…
… Hicks was ultimately given the choice of pleading guilty to a trumped-up charge under a retrospective law, or staying in Guantanamo Bay indefinitely.
Julian Burnside, representing Hicks in the literary Proceeds of Crime action, obviously did a sterling job in whitewashing his client, who admitted his involvement with the Taliban.
I’ll leave it to readers to decide. Based on the known facts, was Hicks a victim of the ‘new antisemitism’ and the ‘New Dreyfus’, or was he a terrorist supporter and an antisemite?