Sunday, November 05, 2006

Justice for David Hicks

Support Amnesty International

The following is taken from Amnesty International's website. Please take some time to read it, David Hicks is relying on you. Details of how to add your name to the calls for his release are at the end of the article. If you wish to add a button to your page (like the one under my profile picture), please click here.

The Australian government has been resoundingly deaf to the plight of David Hicks, an Australian national detained in Guantánamo Bay since January 2002.

David Hicks was detained in Afghanistan in December 2001 by the Northern Alliance, and handed over to US custody before being transferred to Guantánamo.

He is one of 10 Guantánamo detainees who were charged for trial by military commissions established by President Bush. In a landmark ruling on 29 June 2006, the US Supreme Court concluded that these military commissions were unlawful. The Australian government had been the only administration outside the USA to publicly and consistently support the commissions as fair.

On 17 October 2006, President Bush signed into law the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which provides for new military commissions. Amnesty International has serious concerns about whether any trial held under this Act will comply with international fair trial standards.

David Hicks says that he has been subjected to torture and other ill-treatment while in Guantánamo. He has been held incommunicado for long periods - with only occasional contact with his Australian lawyer and his family – and, in August 2006, his US military lawyer and his civilian Australian lawyer expressed concern at their client's psychological distress.

The US administration's assurances throughout the "war on terror" that detainees in US custody are treated humanely have repeatedly been contradicted by the evidence.

The detention centre in Guantánamo Bay is a legal black hole designed to put detainees outside the rule of law and the US administration beyond the rule of law. The detainees held there should be either released or charged and tried in full and fair proceedings.
"Please could you ask the American government for my release and help me to return home. I have many friends and loving family whom I wish to be reunited with, specially my two beautiful children, aged 11 and 10."
David Hicks in a letter from Guantánamo to PM John Howard, 21 January 2005.
To email the Australian PM, please visit AI Australia and add your name to the calls for David's release.
UPDATE (6/11/2006): From The Border Mail: A MOTION calling for David Hicks to be returned to Australia for trial will be considered by Alpine councillors on Wednesday.
The Alpine council agenda has listed a motion which calls for the council to “request the Federal Government put pressure on the US Government to extradite David Hicks to Australia to face a fair trial on Australian soil”.
UPDATE (8/11/2006): According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian Customs Minister Chris Ellison has said that the US has been holding David Hicks for too long. Senator Ellison told the Senate that:
"Whenever we have dealt with this issue with the United States we have made it very clear that Mr Hicks should be brought to trial as soon as possible and that he has been held for too long."

UPDATE (9/11/2006): SBS reports that the 'Senate narrowly defeated a motion by the Australian Democrats criticising the military commission system and demanding Hicks either get a fair trial or be brought back to Australia.' The upper house, however, passed a motion by National senator Barnaby Joyce calling for action whilst praising the new Military Commission laws under which Hicks is expected to be tried.

From The West Australian: State attorneys general will meet with the US-appointed defence counsel for David Hicks to discuss the Australian terror suspect's continued detention without trial. Federal Attorney General Phillip Ruddock, though, will not attend as it would be "inappropriate".

UPDATE (10/11/2006): From The Age: ONE of President Bush's "Axis of Evil" countries, Iran, has extracted one of its citizens from Guantanamo Bay, while a close US ally, Australia, has left David Hicks to languish there for five years.

That was one of the messages delivered to state and territory attorneys-general yesterday in what they described as a "powerful" briefing by Hicks' US Marine Corps lawyer, Major Michael Mori.

At a meeting of Australia's top law officers, the attorneys-general signed what they dubbed the Fremantle Declaration demanding immediate justice for the Australian terrorism suspect. West Australian Attorney-General Jim McGinty said that after listening to a passionate Major Mori for an hour, all the attorneys-general except the Commonwealth's Philip Ruddock signed the declaration.

UPDATE (13/11/2006): From The Sydney Morning Herald: The federal government still plans to ask the US to send terrorist suspect David Hicks home to Australia if fresh charges are not laid against him. Attorney-General Philip Ruddock has reiterated that he expected Hicks to face new charges once the US worked out new rules for a revamped military commission system. However, he said if no charges were brought against Hicks, the government would do the same as it did for fellow Guantanamo Bay detainee Mamdouh Habib and ask for him to be sent back to Australia.

UPDATE (16/11/2006): From The Australian: ONE-TIME federal attorney-general Kep Enderby has taken the plight of incarcerated alleged terrorist David Hicks to heart. Enderby has spoken with Hicks's defending counsel, Major Michael Mori, and read the relevant US judgments. Yesterday Enderby compared the Hicks case with the famous Dreyfus affair in France, when a young Jewish soldier was convicted of treason and sentenced to life in prison on Devil's Island.

UPDATE (17/11/2006): From the Australian Daily Telegraph: ACTIVISTS trying to bring home accused terrorist David Hicks will put up billboards near the homes of Prime Minister John Howard, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and Attorney-General Philip Ruddock. Online social action website GetUp said Mr Downer had refused to accept a petition signed by 50,000 people asking for the Guantanamo Bay detainee to be released.

From The Australian: US President George W. Bush has promised that Australian terror suspect David Hicks will be brought to trial – although he could not say when that might happen. Mr Bush promised Australian Prime Minister John Howard during a working lunch at the APEC summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, that he wanted to deal with Hicks as quickly as possible. But he could not give a timetable for the trial.

“I believe Hicks deserves a trial and he is going to get it,” Mr Bush said after the lunch.

UPDATE (19/11/06): From Green Left: A 550-strong lecture sponsored by the Australian Lawyers Alliance on November 13 heard David Hicks’ US military lawyer, Major Michael Mori, slam the Bush administration’s new military commission law, which will be used to try Guantanamo Bay detainees. Hicks is one of approximately 400 prisoners at Guantanamo Bay being held without charge.

Mori, who plans to visit Hicks in December, described the oppressive conditions at “Camp 5". He said it is a myth that Hicks is fine, adding that he faces a grim future of delays and litigation in the US Federal Court.

UPDATE (22/11/06): From Australian Guardian: Pressure is mounting on the Federal Government to have David Hicks released from Guantánamo Bay in Cuba where he is being held by the US. Even Howard’s own Justice Minister, Chris Ellison, has said that Mr Hicks has been in detention for too long. David Hicks has been held in Guantánamo Bay for five years without charge — almost two of those years in solitary confinement.

UPDATE (24/11/06): From The Australian: A FORMER Guantanamo Bay inmate says he spoke to Australian David Hicks every night for months and compared notes with him on how they were being tortured. Sometimes Hicks returned to his cell crying after being interrogated, Ruhal Ahmed said.

UPDATE (27/11/06): From The Age: IN THE cell in which David Hicks lives, the lights are never off, and the window — a thin slit of frosted glass — never opens. His "library", as Attorney-General Philip Ruddock refers to it, appears to be a bookless room.

These photos of Guantanamo Bay were sent yesterday by the states' attorneys-general to Mr Ruddock to dispute his claims about Hicks' treatment at the detention camp.

David's cell

UPDATE (2/12/2006): From Sunday Herald Sun: ACCUSED Australian terrorist David Hicks should be given a prompt trial or returned home, Catholic Bishops said today.

The bishops are concerned for the health of Hicks, who has been detained at the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, since 2001.

They called on the Australian and US governments to resolve the issue urgently.

There is now heightened concern for his physical and mental health, in conditions which reputable human rights agencies have said are tantamount to torture," the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference said in a statement.

UPDATE (4/12/2006): From The Age: They make an unlikely group of agitators, the four women gathered at St John's Anglican Church, a lovely 19th century limestone edifice on the edge of Sorrento, to discuss their determination to help bring David Hicks home from Guantanamo Bay.

UPDATE (5/12/06): From The Age: Prime Minister John Howard is facing increasing pressure to bring home Australian terror suspect David Hicks as dissent over the issue grows in coalition ranks.
Four or five coalition politicians put the matter directly to Mr Howard in Tuesday's joint parties meeting.
"The nature was to ask the United States to release him to our custody," a party room spokesman told reporters.
The spokesman said Mr Howard made no response.

UPDATE (6/12/06): From The Age: DAVID Hicks' deteriorating mental and physical health after five years at Guantanamo Bay should be part of a Federal Court case to secure his release, his father Terry Hicks said yesterday.

Mr Hicks said an independent report on his son's condition should be ordered by the court and considered in the claim lodged in the Federal Court in Sydney.

From The Sydney Morning Herald: THE Attorney-General, Philip Ruddock, remained unmoved in the case of David Hicks yesterday as the Federal Court granted an urgent hearing on a bid to have the terrorist suspect brought home by Christmas.

Mr Hicks's lawyers lodged papers with the court in Sydney and a hearing was set down for December 15.

UPDATE (8/12/06): All from The Age: Tomorrow marks five years since Australian David Hicks was detained in Afghanistan. Unlike other people alleged to have committed crimes overseas, he has not been tried or convicted. He was once charged, under the initial military commission process, but when the United States Supreme Court threw out that process, the charges went with it too.

No charges have yet been laid against Hicks under the newly established military commission process, but they are expected in the future.

So the state of play leaves Hicks in solitary confinement in Guantanamo Bay, passing his fifth anniversary in detention without any sign whatsoever of when this Kafkaesque nightmare might end.

* DAVID Hicks was described yesterday at a rally attended by Melbourne's legal fraternity as a "sacrificial lamb".

About 300 people including judges, crown prosecutors, barristers and solicitors assembled on the steps of the County Court on the eve of the fifth anniversary of Hicks' detention to condemn the US Government's treatment of Hicks and the Howard Government's failure to intervene and have him repatriated from a US military base.

* Judges and lawyers issued fresh calls for David Hicks to be brought home as Prime Minister John Howard said he hoped the terror suspect will be charged by US authorities early next year.

Victorian judges and lawyers on Friday rallied in Melbourne in support of Hicks, who has been detained by the US at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba since soon after he was captured with Taliban forces in Afghanistan in late 2001.

UPDATE (11/12/2006): From The Age: "I HAVE gone from interested to concerned and now we, together with our friends and family, are downright angry. Frankly, I have bloody well had enough."

So said Simon Wallace, a young lawyer from Abbotsford who, with his wife Ruth and five-month-old son Monty, braved searing afternoon heat and choking bushfire haze in Federation Square yesterday to demand justice for David Hicks.

About 5000 people joined the rally, which was one of six in the nation's capital cities as the campaign to bring Hicks home gains momentum. About 300 people, including judges, crown prosecutors, barristers and solicitors, also rallied on the steps of the County Court on Friday.

5,000 people protesting in Federation Square

UPDATE (14/12/2006): From Indymedia: Media release : David Hicks torture details.

From ABC: A Newspoll survey commissioned by the activist group 'GetUp' has found 70 per cent of Australians want Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks returned to Australia, even if he cannot be tried here.

From The Age: Attorney-General Philip Ruddock says David Hicks will face new charges as early as next month, and the US has assured him the accused terrorist will receive a fair hearing.

Mr Ruddock today said Hicks, an Adelaide-born Muslim convert, was expected to be charged after January 17, the date new regulations governing the military commission expected to try him take effect.

UPDATE (18/12/2006): From The Australian: DAVID Hicks could be held at Guantanamo Bay for another two years before facing trial, his US lawyer said yesterday.
Hicks's military-appointed lawyer, Major Michael Mori, said the US Supreme Court could take until 2009 to decide whether the system to be used for his trial was legal.
"Unfortunately we're still waiting for the Secretary of Defence to write the regulations for the new military commission," he said yesterday.

From The Age: AUSTRALIAN terror suspect David Hicks has suffered another setback in his attempt to be freed from the Guantanamo Bay jail where he has spent the past five years.

Hicks' legal team is seeking orders in the Federal Court in Sydney for the Federal Government to demand that US authorities release the Adelaide man. His lawyers, led by NSW constitutional barrister Brett Walker, SC, hoped to be granted a hearing in early January, saying the case was urgent.

Also: KEVIN Rudd would seek the immediate release of terror suspect David Hicks from Guantanamo Bay if he was still incarcerated when a federal Labor government was elected.

The new Opposition Leader has also told The Age that the recent enactment of numerous anti-terrorism laws suggested there should be a bill of rights or some other "bedrock" to protect Australians from the "incremental erosion of civil liberties".

Update (20/12/2006): From ABC News Online: An Australian forensic psychiatrist has been refused access to Guantanamo Bay inmate David Hicks to assess his mental health.

Professor Paul Mullen from the Victorian Institute for Forensic Mental Health visited Mr Hicks in February last year.

Last week the United States Defence Department cancelled a return visit.

Professor Mullen says there are significant questions that need to be answered about Mr Hicks's state of mind.

From The Age: THE Federal Government will question a decision by US authorities to ban forensic psychiatrist Professor Paul Mullen from visiting Australian terror suspect David Hicks in detention at Guantanamo Bay.

Professor Mullen was preparing to return to Guantanamo Bay for his second assessment of Hicks — who has spent five years without trial in the US military prison in Cuba — when he was told late last week that the visit would not go ahead.

A spokesman for Foreign Minister Alexander Downer confirmed yesterday that Hicks' American defence lawyer, Major Michael Mori, had protested about the cancelled visit to Foreign Affairs officials on a brief visit to Australia last Friday.

From The Australian: THE father of David Hicks believes his son is at breaking point after the terror suspect refused to speak to him in a pre-arranged telephone call.

Terry Hicks had hoped to speak to his son, who is detained by the US at Guantanamo Bay, for the first time in six months.

But after phoning the US military detention centre from Adelaide today, Mr Hicks was told his son had declined to accept the call.

"He's really struggling, he's just not coping," Mr Hicks said.

From The Age: DAVID Hicks has been accused of some ill-defined war crimes. But is he the victim of a policy promoted by the Australian Government that is itself a war crime?

UPDATE (6/1/2007): From The Australian: FORMER prime minister Malcolm Fraser said today he never thought he would see the time Australia departed from providing justice to all citizens like it has with David Hicks.

Asked what he saw as different today to when he was in government 30 years ago, Mr Fraser said western democracies, including Australia, had “depart(ed) from the rule of law and due process and justice to all citizens as we have”.

From The Sydney Morning Herald: PRESSURE is building on the Federal Government to take action to end the US detention without charge of the Australian David Hicks at Guantanamo Bay.

After comments by the new director of military prosecutions, Brigadier Lyn McDade, in yesterday's Herald that the treatment of Mr Hicks was abominable, the Attorney-General, Philip Ruddock, said yesterday that those remarks "reflected the Government's position".

From ABC News Online: Australian Democrats Senator Natasha Stott Despoja wants the Federal Government to support a cross-party delegation to visit Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks.

Senator Stott Despoja and another South Australian Senator, Labor's Linda Kirk, are among a group of parliamentarians who will seek to visit Mr Hicks this year.

From The Australian: DAVID Hicks's continued incarceration was inhumane, Kevin Rudd said yesterday as he attacked the Howard Government over its handling of the terror suspect's case.

UPDATE (9/1/2007): All from The Age:

1) The US military expects to file revised charges against a group of Guantanamo Bay prisoners by February and present the first evidence against them at trials in the US summer, the tribunal's chief prosecutor today.

Hundreds of foreign captives have been held as suspected terrorists without trial and mostly without charges since the prison at a US Naval base in Cuba opened nearly five years ago in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks in the US.

The US Office of Military Commissions confirmed this week that Australian detainee David Hicks would likely be in the first group of inmates charged.

2) THE United States is inching closer towards prosecuting David Hicks, with the establishment of a new military commission predicted to begin trials later this year.

Regulations for the commission are being drafted by US government agencies and are due to be presented to Congress in mid-January, the Office of Military Commissions has confirmed.

3) AUSTRALIAN Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty has repeated his call for Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks to be tried as quickly as possible.

Hicks, who has been in the US military jail in Cuba since January 2002 after being captured in Afghanistan, pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy, attempted murder and aiding the enemy.

UPDATE (11/1/2007): From The Age: On the fifth anniversary of David Hicks' incarceration in Guantanamo Bay, the US chief military prosucutor tells why the Australian remains a prisoner.

UPDATE (21/1/2007): From ABC Online: The Australian Lawyers Alliance has expressed doubt that Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks will get a fair trial under the new military commission system.

The Alliance has set up a committee to examine the regulations governing the military commission system, to ensure it upholds human rights contained in the Geneva Convention.

From The Australian: ALEXANDER Downer has hit out at those "barracking" for David Hicks and scoffed at suggestions the Guantanamo Bay inmate's long incarceration had rendered him mentally unfit to stand trial.

From The Age: Revamped US military commissions are loaded against David Hicks and won't provide the Australian terror suspect a fair trial, his lawyer and family say.

Hicks could be convicted on hearsay evidence and statements gained by coercion under revised commission rules released by the US Defence Department.

From The New Zealand Herald: UNITED STATES - David Hicks' lawyer has blasted new rules for trying Guantanamo Bay prisoners, saying the 31-year-old Australian terrorist suspect would have no chance of a fair trial.The United States Defence Department has drafted a manual for trying terrorist suspects detained at the American naval base in Cuba that would allow them to be imprisoned, convicted and executed on the basis of hearsay evidence or coerced testimony.

From The Age: THE Federal Government's refusal to bring David Hicks home could backfire with moves in the United States to reinstate the legal rights of Guantanamo Bay detainees likely to further delay his trial.

As Hicks enters his sixth year in prison without trial, Prime Minister John Howard is confronting an election-year revolt by his own back bench over the 31-year-old's treatment.

UPDATE (4/2/2007): From The Age: Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd today said the federal government failed to protect Hicks' legal and human rights.

Mr Rudd told reporters in Brisbane Mr Howard should have done more to ensure Hicks was treated properly by US authorities.

"I'm not a defender of what Mr Hicks has done or hasn't done, I am a defender of his legal rights and his human rights and they have not been honoured,'' Mr Rudd said

Also from The Age: A NATIONAL television advertising campaign showing a close-up of David Hicks as a freckled, nine-year-old schoolboy will try to humanise the Guantanamo Bay detainee after the weekend announcement of serious charges against him.

The GetUp support group has prepared the advertisements, voiced over in Melbourne on Friday by Hicks' father Terry, to emphasise Hicks' status as an Australian citizen and ask for him to be brought home.

From the Courier Mail: SUSPECTED Australian terrorist David Hicks has finally been charged by US authorities after five years behind bars.

He faces counts of attempted murder and providing material support for terrorists – charges that carry a maximum sentence of life in jail .

From The Age: The announcement of proposed charges against Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks brings little relief, says his father Terry Hicks.

Colonel Morris Davis, the chief prosecutor for the upcoming US military commissions, announced Hicks and two other Guantanamo Bay inmates would be the first three brought to trial.

Col Davis has recommended Hicks be charged with "providing material support for terrorism and attempted murder in violation of the law of war".

UPDATE (7/2/2007): From The Age: DAVID Hicks' father, Terry, has called for an independent inquiry into claims his son was sexually tortured, after a witness report in the US described a similar assault by the US millitary at the same site in Afghanistan where Hicks was held.

The US report, released under freedom-of-information laws, was made by a senior military officer and describes an incident in February 2002 in which a prisoner was allegedly anally assaulted by military police at the US joint interrogation facility at Kandahar.

David Hicks told his family when they visited him at Guantanamo Bay in 2004 that he had been anally assaulted during interrogation by the US in Afghanistan while he was hooded and restrained.

UPDATE (16/2/2007): From the BBC: The US military has released details of its case against David Hicks, an Australian held without trial at Guantanamo Bay for five years.

Mr Hicks is facing charges of providing material support for terrorism and attempted murder.

He was captured in Afghanistan, where he allegedly fought alongside the ruling Taleban against US-led forces.

From ABC NewsOnline: Greens leader Bob Brown says he is outraged that the head of the Guantanamo Bay detention centre has described David Hicks as a dangerous terrorist.

Rear Admiral Harry Harris says Hicks is a dangerous terrorist and is only allowed out of his cell for two hours a day because he is a security threat.

Rear Admiral Harris says claims that Hicks is depressed are not true.

Senator Brown says the statements cannot be believed.

UPDATE (18/2/2007) From The Australian: DAVID Hicks could be back in Australia by the end of the year, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has said.

Mr Downer would not comment on whether the government was trying to get the Australian Guantanamo Bay detainee back home before this year's election, expected to be held in October or November.

But he said that if Hicks' trial went ahead as US authorities had promised, the Adelaide man could be home this year.

UPDATE (24/2/2007) From The Australian: FIRST the process trumped the substance. Now the politics might trump the process. That is the real tragedy of the David Hicks case. There is a danger of a grave injustice occurring. And that injustice would be if Hicks did not have to stand trial and account for his actions in joining four separate terrorist groups - the Kosovo Liberation Army, Lashkar-e-Toiba, the Taliban and al-Qa'ida.

From The Age: Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks faces years of litigation before he has any chance of being free, the Australian's Pentagon lawyer Major Michael Mori says.

Maj Mori told a crowd of more than 300 at a rally at the University of Adelaide today that Hicks would not have a fair trial in a US military commission.

Also from The Age: For more than five years the Australian Government has been flaunting its willingness to sacrifice the law in the case of David Hicks. While the British and US governments refused to allow their citizens' rights to be trampled at Guantanamo Bay and by the US military commission set up to try inmates, the Australian Government has had no such scruples.

The Government not only presumed Hicks was guilty, it showed an enthusiastic disregard for his human rights, too.

UPDATE (5/3/2007): From Al Jazeera: The US military has charged Australia's only Guantanamo Bay detainee with providing material support for terrorism, the Pentagon has said.

The Australian: TWO high-profile Australians have attacked the Howard Government for refusing to secure David Hicks's repatriation from Guantanamo Bay, on the same day commonwealth lawyers argued there was no legal obligation to bring him back.

The Age: MAJOR Michael Mori, the defence lawyer for terror suspect David Hicks, could be removed from the case after threats from the chief US prosecutor to charge him under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

The Guardian: The Bush administration faced renewed criticism over Guantánamo yesterday when the Australian inmate David Hicks was charged with a single count of providing material support to terrorists after more than five years of confinement.

The Age: Terry Hicks has used talkback radio to personally take Prime Minister John Howard to task over the federal government's refusal to bring his son, David, back to Australia to face charges.

The Age: AFTER arriving in Guantanamo Bay, David Hicks says he was shown a photo of a battered fellow Australian, Mamdouh Habib, and told he would be sent to Egypt for similar, brutal treatment if he did not co-operate with US interrogators.

BBC: A US military judge has filed terror charges against an Australian held without trial at Guantanamo Bay for five years.

UPDATE (7/3/2007): From The Australian: THE Federal Government is talking up a plea bargain for David Hicks because it would do anything to have the Guantanamo Bay detainee plead guilty, Labor has said.

Reports have suggested that US military prosecutors have held preliminary talks on a plea bargain with Mr Hicks' legal team.

From The Age: The father of Guantanamo Bay inmate David Hicks may become a key prosecution witness in the Australian terror suspect's trial.

Chief prosecutor at the US Office of Military Commissions, Colonel Morris Davis, said he has evidence of Terry Hicks referring to his son as a "terrorist".

UPDATE (12/3/07): From The West Australian: Australian terror suspect David Hicks will plead not guilty when he appears in a US military court for arraignment later this month, his American lawyer says.

"It will be a plea of not guilty," Hicks' US civilian lawyer Joshua Dratel told AAP.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard announced that Hicks will make his first appearance at a court at the US military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, on March 20.

From The Age: A court bid to force the federal government to ask the United States to hand over terror suspect David Hicks could be heard before the Guantanamo Bay inmate's military trial, his lawyer says.

The federal government on Thursday failed to have Hicks' suit against it thrown out of court, with a Federal Court judge ruling the hearing be brought forward "due to the long history" of the matter.

From Ararat: SYDNEY: David Hicks would plead not guilty to terrorism charges when he fronted a judge in 11 days' time, his defence lawyer said yesterday.

The announcement of his first court appearance came as a Federal Court judge dismissed yesterday a bid by the Australian Government to stop an attempt by Hicks's lawyers to bring him home.

From a transcript from AM: TONY EASTLEY: The United States Ambassador to Australia, Robert McCallum has again stepped into the fray, defending his country's treatment of David Hicks.

In a speech at the Sydney Institute last night, Mr McCallum strongly defended the US Military Commissions, which will try Hicks on a charge that he provided material support for terrorism.

From The Age: So it was with some surprise that I read in last week's Sunday Age profile of Major Michael "Dan" Mori, by Liz Porter, that Mockingbird has yet another claim to fame as one of several books authorities at Guantanamo Bay have apparently refused the lawyer to give his client David Hicks.

From The Australian: GUANTANAMO Bay detainee David Hicks' trial has been pushed back a week due to a defence team scheduling conflict, his military lawyer Major Michael Mori has said.

Major Mori said reports that the prosecution requested the delay until March 26 were incorrect.

From ABC Online: The Perth-based lobby group 'Justice for David Hicks' says comments by the United States Defence Secretary clearly show the Federal Government has not asked for Hicks to be returned to Australia.

From Generation Q: Prime Minister John Howard has today announced that legal proceeding for detainee David Hicks would commence on 20 March. In an interview with Southern Cross Radio this morning, Mr Howard said “I can tell you that the first court appearance of Mr Hicks in relation to the new charge will be on the 20th of March.”

From THE father of terror suspect David Hicks will refuse to travel to the US if he is called to give evidence against his son, he said yesterday.

The US Office of Military Commissions' chief prosecutor, Colonel Morris Davis, has said he had evidence of Terry Hicks referring to his son as a "terrorist".

UPDATE (22/3/2007): From The Australian: TOP Australian officials leaned on US authorities to modify the charges against David Hicks, amid concern they could not be supported and that new legal challenges would further prolong his incarceration.

From ABC NewsOnline: Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks's legal team has formally applied for an injunction to halt the South Australian's US military commission.

From Washington Post: Lawyers for an Australian detainee at the U.S. military camp at Guantanamo Bay said Saturday they have filed an injunction to stall his trial on charges of providing material support for terrorism.

The legal team for David Hicks asked a U.S. District Court in Washington last week to suspend the military commission, said Maj. Michael Mori, Hicks' Pentagon-appointed lawyer.

Adelaide Now: THE Howard Government considered prosecuting David Hicks and other Australians captured in the war on terror in specially-convened military commissions in Australia.

BBC: Amnesty International has called on foreign governments not to co-operate with US military trials of detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

VOA News: On March 26 Australian terror suspect David Hicks will become the first detainee held by the United States to be tried in the new military commissions created by the Bush administration. The U.S. government says it intends to use the commissions to try up to 80 detainees on war crimes charges. As VOA Correspondent Gary Thomas reports, the military tribunal system has again raised questions about U.S. legal and physical treatment of terrorist suspects

UPDATE (23/3/2007): From the International Herald Tribune: Military defense lawyers preparing for trials at the Guantanamo Bay prison fear their work on behalf of terror suspects could derail their careers or even make them subject to courts-martial.

The lawyers, officers who typically defend fellow service members, now find their tactics and motives under scrutiny as they fulfil their duty to provide a vigorous defense before the first U.S. military war crimes trials since World War II.

From NEW US Defence Secretary Robert Gates wanted the Guantanamo Bay prison shut after he took office, it was reported today.

Mr Gates, who became Pentagon chief in December, argued that terrorism suspects should be tried in the US to make the proceedings more credible, the New York Times reported.

UPDATE (24/3/2007): From The Age: Australian terrorist suspect David Hicks has lost an eleventh hour bid to halt Monday's appearance in a Guantanamo Bay courtroom.

Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, sitting in the US District Court in Washington DC, rejected the bid by Hicks' legal team to delay his long-awaited military commission trial.

Hicks, in front of the world's media, his father Terry and heavy security, will be led in to a courtroom at the American naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, on Monday for arraignment.

From Bradenton Herald: Virtually on the eve of inaugurating the first U.S. war-crimes tribunal since World War II, an influential Republican senator has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to find the law that created the Military Commissions unconstitutional.

Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, filed an amicus curiae, or friend-of-the-court, brief with the court late Thursday urging the justices to reinstate federal court review over the detention of captives at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

From Reuters: The father of Australian Guantanamo prisoner David Hicks flew from Australia on Saturday to attend his son's long-awaited arraignment on Monday on charges of supplying material support for terrorism.

Terry Hicks and his daughter Stephanie left Adelaide for Washington, from where they will be escorted by the U.S. military to Cuba.

From ABC NewsOnline: Melbourne Anglican Archbishop Dr Philip Freier has written to the Prime Minister expressing his concerns about the situation David Hicks is in.Earlier today David Hicks's father, Terry, flew out of Australia headed for Cuba for his son's arraignment on charges of assisting terrorists.

Hicks has been held in detention at Guantanamo Bay for more than five years after being captured in Afghanistan.

UPDATE (30/3/2007): The Australian: WITH a full-length beard and hair well down his shoulders, David Hicks met his legal team at Camp Delta in Guantanamo Bay yesterday for 3 1/2 hours, saying he might be ready to do a deal.

"He wants to get out of here," his Australian lawyer David McLeod said. "All the options have to be discussed - to plead not guilty and tough it out through to 'How do I get out of here at the earliest opportunity'." The Australian Democrats and Greens have condemned the ejection of two of terror suspect David Hicks' lawyers on the first day of his appearance before a US military commission.

Senators from both parties said the dismissal of the civilian lawyers was further evidence of the judicial process being rigged against the Australian.

Radio Australia: The father of Australian Guantanamo Bay detainee, David Hicks, says his son has pleaded guilty to supporting a terrorist organisation just to get out of the US military jail.

Amnesty International USA: At a hearing in Guantánamo on 26 March 2007, in his sixth year of detention and at the start of the US administration’s second attempt in the last three years to try him before a military commission, Australian national David Hicks pleaded guilty to one specification under the charge of "providing material support for terrorism".

Generation Q: Australian Guantanamo Bay inmate David Hicks felt he had no choice but to plead guilty at yesterday's military commission hearing in Cuba, an international law professor at Canberra's Australian National University has said. "I think it reflects the inevitable process of him being worn down over a period of time… and the difficulties of the legal process," the professor said.

The Courier Mail: DAVID Hicks's father Terry says he has no doubt his son pleaded guilty to a terrorism charge purely in order to be released from Guantanamo Bay.

Mr Hicks returned to Adelaide today after meeting his son prior to a US military commission hearing at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in which David Hicks pleaded guilty to a charge of providing material support to terrorism.

Mr Hicks says his son's guilty plea was a shock, but understandable.

Herald Sun: DAVID Hicks is likely to admit he was armed with an AK47 and guarded a Taliban tank when he faces a Guantanamo Bay military tribunal within the next couple of days.

Hicks will be asked to explain why he pleaded guilty to providing material support for terrorism.

The commission will want to know if his confession was genuine before it hands down his sentence.

Brisbane Times: David Hicks should face a prison sentence of "substantially less" than 20 years, US prosecutors will suggest.

The Adelaide-born terrorist was on Thursday night (10pm AEST) to be led into Guantanamo Bay's court complex for his history-making war crimes sentencing - a hearing expected to last two days.

The Age: EVEN with a partial victory under the Pentagon's belt, Defence Secretary Robert Gates believes President George Bush's war crimes court in Guantanamo lacks legitimacy in the eyes of the world.

The US is poised to win its first conviction at its first war crimes tribunal since World War II with a formal, detailed guilty plea expected overnight from David Hicks.

But while the Bush Administration scored its first certified terrorist, a scalp it can hold up to the world to say the whole Guantanamo Bay and military commissions process is working, Mr Gates has not even worked out the rules for civilian attorneys.

This effectively makes a role impossible for Hicks' most senior lawyer, New York defence attorney Joshua Dratel.

It was, as one senior defence lawyer put it, like a train leaving the station without the tracks having been laid.

UPDATE (7/4/07): Mother Jones: As part of the plea bargain that will get David Hicks out of an Australian jail in anywhere from nine months, Hicks had to sign a gag order at Guantanamo in which, according to the Center for Constitutional Rights, which has represented Hicks in the past, Hicks agrees to not speak to the media for one year after his release and to state that he has never been mistreated while at Guantánamo. He also has to agree that his detention was lawful pursuant to law of armed conflict.

Green Left: After five years imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay without trial, David Hicks has agreed to a plea-bargain deal at his military commission trial to hasten his return to Australia. “I think most of you would be pleading guilty to something to get out of the place”, Hicks’s father Terry told the assembled media after returning to Adelaide from Guantanamo Bay on March 29.

The Australian: DAVID Hicks is expected to return to Australia under a cloak of secrecy in coming weeks while the Premier of his home state has demanded the federal Government ensure the convicted terrorist is no risk to the community.

The Age: TWO days before David Hicks arrived at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba on January 11, 2002, flown there in a military transport from Afghanistan where he had been captured by Northern Alliance forces and sold to the US military for $1000, senior lawyers at the US Justice Department drafted a memo on how the US should fight the war on terror.

The Australian: ATTORNEY-General Philip Ruddock has denied claims former Guantanamo Bay inmate David Hicks's plea bargain was a political fix between Australia and the United States.

Mr Ruddock admitted Australian authorities spoke broadly to their US counterparts about Hicks's sentencing but rejected suggestions Australia had been privy to the details of the plea deal.

The Age: IN THE case of David Hicks, the Howard Government has been prepared to break Australian laws in order to further its objects, secure in the knowledge that while it retains power, it is immune from the operation of the law.

From The Herald Sun: TERRY Hicks, the father of confessed terrorist David Hicks, says the Australian government is trying to gag him from talking about his son's five years at Guantanamo Bay.

ABC Online: Attorney-General Philip Ruddock has defended criticism of the sentence handed down to David Hicks, comparing it to that given to fellow Al Qaeda trainee Jack Roche.

Generation Q: A gag order imposed by a US military commission preventing confessed Taliban militiaman David Hicks from talking to the media likely cannot be enforced once he returns to Australia, the attorney general said.

UPDATE (8/4/07): From The Sydney Morning Herald: David Hicks will be monitored by Australian authorities after he is released from prison, Attorney-General Philip Ruddock says.

Hicks will be returned home in the next few weeks to serve a nine-month jail term in South Australia after he pleaded guilty before a US military commission to providing material support to terrorism.

From The release conditions put upon Australian Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks are unable to be enforced and can basically be ignored, according to International Law experts.

International Law Compliance Forum justices,
attorneys and other law experts said that there was ample evidence that the Australian Government had a substantial input into the conditions that were to be set, prior to the conditions being put to Hicks' legal team.

CNN: Al Qaeda supporter David Hicks will be barred from selling his story when he returns to Australia from Guantanamo Bay prison camp, despite having broken no Australian law, the attorney general said Sunday.

Hicks will soon be sent to a prison in his hometown of Adelaide to serve a nine-month sentence after pleading guilty two weeks ago to aiding al Qaeda in a plea deal agreed on at the U.S. naval base at Cuba's Guantanamo Bay.

UPDATE (13/4/2007): From The Australian: DAVID Hicks's military lawyer has returned to the Guantanamo Bay cell of the confessed terror supporter to discuss the legal implications of his guilty plea and decide whether to pursue court actions under way in the US and Britain.

Major Michael Mori would spend nearly a week with the Australian at the US prison camp, where he pleaded guilty two weeks ago to a charge of giving material support to a terrorist organisation, Hicks's Adelaide-based lawyer David McLeod said.

The Australian: THE US says it will be up to the Howard Government to transport David Hicks back to Australia from Guantanamo Bay under an agreement being thrashed out between Washington and Canberra.

Although details are still being finalised, Brigadier General Thomas Hemingway, legal adviser to the military tribunal that convicted Hicks, said it would be Australia's responsibility to transport the one-time al-Qa'ida supporter from Cuba.

UPDATE (5/5/07): The Age: The Howard government's portrayal of David Hicks as a dangerous terrorist has been torpedoed by his US military prosecutors.

They have described Hicks as a bumbling wannabe who would have been a "total liability" for al-Qaeda in any terrorist attack, The Weekend Australian reports.

In a scathing critique, the prosecutors have privately described the convicted Australian as a man of "no personal courage or intellect" who rolled over as soon as he was questioned.

ABC NewsOnline: In her detailed account of David Hicks's time at Guantanamo Bay, ABC journalist Leigh Sales has made public the previously private views of his US prosecutors.

In Detainee 002: The Case of David Hicks, Sales reveals the United States military prosecutors described Hicks as a man of "no personal courage or intellect" who submitted when he was questioned.

Sunday Herald Sun: Ruddock says profits would be proceeds of crime
Lawyers say current legislation does not apply
Terry Hicks says government wants to hide truth

THE Federal Government will strip Terry Hicks of profits if he writes a book relating the experiences of his terrorist son, David.


* THE father of confessed terror supporter David Hicks says the demonising of his son continues with concerns over community safety following his release from prison.

Adelaide Now: CONVICTED terrorist supporter David Hicks will have little or no contact with prisoners and all telephone conversations will be monitored when he is transferred to the maximum security G Division at Yatala Labour Prison this month, State Parliament has been told.

UPDATE (19/5/2007): The Age: DAVID Hicks did the Howard Government a huge favour when he decided, in Guantanamo Bay just over a month ago, to plead guilty to giving material support to terrorism. He ensured the issue almost instantly disappeared as an electoral concern, seemingly rescuing our Government and the Bush administration from further scrutiny of their actions during the sorry five-year saga of his imprisonment.

Adelaide Now: DAVID Hicks is yet to be interrogated again by US intelligence officers at Guantanamo Bay despite agreeing in a plea deal more than a month ago to assist American authorities.

Sydney Morning Herald: Confessed terrorism supporter David Hicks could return to Australia in a week, with his Adelaide-based lawyer soon to visit the Guantanamo Bay detainee.

The Age: LEGISLATION enabling David Hicks' transfer to Australia was tabled in Parliament yesterday, paving the way for his return as early as next week.

ABC Newsonline: David Hicks's Australian lawyer David McLeod will fly to Guantanamo Bay on Sunday to advise Hicks about signing formal documents for his return to Australia.

The Australian: CONFESSED terrorism supporter David Hicks should be back in Australia next week, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer says.

Sydney Morning Herald: Australian David Hicks was not a true Muslim and was regarded as a possible spy by other accused terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, says a former inmate and one-time Taliban diplomat.

The Age: TERRY Hicks will be in Sydney this weekend speaking out against the erosion of human rights during the war on terror around the time his son David is expected to touch down in Adelaide from Guantanamo Bay.

UPDATE (15/6/2007): The Age: If David Hicks' government-chartered flight back to Australia was anything like fellow Guantanamo Bay inmate Mamdouh Habib's, it would have been a first-class, Hollywood-packed 22 hours.

Mr Habib said he remembered his flight in January 2005 as a comfortable experience, during which he was well-treated and entertained by a string of movies including Troy starring Brad Pitt.

The Age: The former de facto wife of David Hicks has broken her silence in an exclusive interview worth tens of thousands of dollars with Sixty Minutes in which she confirms Hicks was trying to restore his relationship with their children.

Describing her as "the woman who loved David Hicks", a promotion for Sunday night's program on Channel 9 shows Jodie Sparrow, who lives in Adelaide where their children attend school, saying she does not believe Hicks was a terrorist.

The Age: It is a horrible question for a child to have to answer: "Do you think your dad is a terrorist?"

For the 12-year-old son of David Hicks, Terry Sparrow, the reply was: "I got told he went and trained with the terrorists."

ABC Newsonline: The father of convicted terrorism supporter David Hicks says his son is in good spirits.

Terry Hicks, his wife and daughter spent about 30 minutes with David Hicks, speaking on a phone through a glass shield in Yatala Prison's maximum security G-Division.

The Age: David Hicks' Australian lawyer says he is glad his client opted for a plea bargain that ensured him a flight home, despite a shock decision today by US military judges in Guantanamo Bay to drop charges against two other inmates.

US military commission judges threw out prosecution charges against a Canadian-born foot soldier for al-Qaeda and a man accused of being Osama bin Laden's chauffeur.

ZNet: Have your hopes dashed enough and you start to question if there is ever a way out

Imagine that this is your world: a 6 ft by 8 ft cell where everything is steel - the walls, the floor, the ceiling, the toilet, the sink, the bed. Walk two steps in any direction and you hit a wall. There are no windows. The lights are on 24 hours a day. You are allowed out of your cell two hours a day, sometimes at 6am, sometimes at midnight. For those two hours, you are placed in a 6.5ft by 16.5ft outdoor cage with a deflated football. You can go weeks without seeing the sun.