Wednesday, October 24, 2007

David Hicks - Nothing More Than A Political Pawn For John Howard

Hot on the heels of the announcement of John Howard's day of reckoning with the Australian electorate, comes news that is a stark reminder of the what this man stands for. You may remember the case of David Hicks (if not, here is a clip developed by my good friend RickB at Ten Percent) and the appalling treatment he suffered at the hands of the American and Australian governments. It transpires that, what a surprise, his eventual release into Australian custody was a political stunt aimed at securing Howard another election victory. From The Age:

Hicks had been held by the US at Guantanamo Bay since January 2002, a month after his capture in Afghanistan, where he fought with the Taliban.

The father of two was sentenced to nine months jail and, under a plea bargain, was transferred to Adelaide to serve the remainder of the sentence at Yatala, where he remains in solitary confinement.

He is due for release on December 30.

A report in Harper's magazine said it was Mr Cheney and Mr Howard who cut the deal to release Hicks from Guantanamo Bay.

Quoting a military officer, it said a military staffer was present when Mr Cheney interfered directly to secure the plea deal.

"He did it, apparently, as part of a deal cut with Howard," the officer was quoted as saying.

"I kept thinking: this is the sort of thing that used to go on behind the Iron Curtain, not in America.

"And then it struck me how much this entire process had disintegrated into a political charade."

Mr Hicks said if the report was true it was further evidence of how political his son's case had become.

"I've said all along that David's issue was political," Mr Hicks said.

"You're not allowed to go through a court of justice, you've got to be dealt with by politicians."

A political charade indeed. What makes it all the more laughable is that this blatant emulation of Soviet tactics is being carried out by a right-wing administration backed by a highly vocal gaggle of right-wing foot soldiers (not to mention so-called members of the 'left'). This process has nothing to do with justice and everything to do with politics.