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GUANTANAMO BAY - THE DAVID HICKS TERRORISM CASE

 article about Quantanamo bay
2007-02-11 10:00:50

This article belongs to column.


 


No Provable Facts, Little Evidence, And Lots Of Fiction.


 


There is very little doubt that when Australian David Hicks left Australia in 1999, he was not your average tourist hoping to have a bit of fun and games in the various European cities. The Australian citizen, now charged with two offences at the illegal Guantanamo Bay facility, arrived in Europe with a bit more than tourism in mind. He wanted to make a bit of a name for himself and did so in the end, being held prisoner by the US at Guantanamo Bay for five years without charge.  The two charges that are now being brought against Hicks are 'Attempted murder in violation of the Law of War', the other is 'Providing material support for terrorism', the basis of these charges being highly suspect and indeed without legal status.


 


While we get to the 'what we did not tell you' section later, the official US version of events are now known.


 


As I mentioned, David Hicks arrived in Europe in 1999 and went to Kosovo where he joined the KLA, the Kosovo Liberation Army, an Albanian and indeed US-backed outfit fighting against the Serbian Army.


 


It appears from intelligence reports that he apparently did not actually get too much fighting done. Hicks eventually arrived in Pakistan, converted to Islam, and joined Lashkar-e-Tolba, an al-Qaeda-connected terrorist organisation. He received a substantial amount of training by al-Qaeda in weapons handling, surveillance, navigation, tactics and other military training subjects. In his group of Westerner trainees were an American and a Briton.


 


Hicks met with Osama bin Laden on a number of occasions, four times to be precise. Hicks was not involved in the 9/11 episode and did not have prior knowledge of those events. He ended up in Kashmir harassing Indian troops in that area. Hicks then arrived in Pakistan proper and next moved on to Taliban-controlled Afghanistan in 2001.


 


When 'Operation Enduring Freedom' commenced, Hicks was in Kandahar where he and his fellow fighters were assigned the job of protecting a tank near the airport. Hicks moved to Kabul and then onto Kunduz. After the fall of Afghanistan, Hicks was captured at a taxi stand in Baghlan in December 2001 by "Northern Alliance" forces and was handed over to US Special Forces. He was 'interrogated' and then transported to Guantanamo Bay where he been ever since.


 


Now we come to the bits and pieces as well as other vital omissions that the US and Australia would rather we not mention, so we shall mention them.


 


First of all, we must mention that US intelligence, and their Australian counterparts, knew the whereabouts of David Hicks during his stay in Kosovo, Pakistan, Kashmir and Afghanistan as well as the location of other 'foreigners'. The phones, mail, email and other communication means of family, friends, associates and others were monitored (tagged) for months. This monitoring is still going on, illegally and without warrants.


 


The Australian Government has repeatedly denied knowledge of the processes in relation to David Hicks. The fact is that the Australian Government received a weekly briefing in relation to this case via the CIA and Australian Intelligence Agencies. The Australian Government has thus far done nothing to ensure that proper and internationally recognised legal processes have been adhered to despite the fact that Australian intelligence and legal officers have repeatedly questioned the US military processes, processes that have already been turfed out once by the US Supreme Court.


 


The charges against Hicks really have no basis in law and are virtually unprovable although there is no doubt that the 'tribunal', illegal as it is, will find him guilty. In fact, the charge of 'Providing material support for terrorism' does not even exist in the 'Laws of War'.


 


The fact that US-led invasion of Afghanistan was not a declared war makes the American position in relation to foreign detainees rather interesting and indeed illegal. Add to that the fact that Guantanamo Bay NAS is an illegal facility in its own right, it happens to belong to Cuba, makes the US a very doubtful proposition in both US law as well as in International Law.


 


So while David Hicks may well have been charged, I might now turn the issue in reverse in relation to the US activities in both Afghanistan as well as Iraq and I shall highlight charges that I would like to see brought against the US Administration with the particular emphasis on the Hicks case.


 


There one charge of kidnap, one charge of illegal transportation, one charge of illegal detention, 33 charges of torture, one charge of illegally occupying Guantanamo Bay as it belongs to Cuba, 15 breaches of the Geneva Convention, 15 charges of terrorism and 8 charges of attempting to pervert the cause of justice. There are also 45 breaches of International Law in relation to the Hicks case. And on top of that, there is the charge of illegally invading Afghanistan without declaring a war.


 


The Australian Government, the Prime Minister, and his Attorney General in particular, may be accused of misleading Parliament, misleading the Australian people and failing to provide appropriate support for an Australian citizen that is being held illegally in a foreign country.


 


The Attorney General should be charged with breaches of the 'Listening Devices Act' and other breaches in relation to the spying on Australian citizens including Hicks legal representatives.


 


Australia, together with others, also has a case to answer in relation to the illegal invasion and occupation of Afghanistan.


 


So there you have it. The case against David Hicks, bad boy as he might have been, is a farce as are the US military processes in relation to this case, as is the credibility of the current Australian Government.


 


 





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