The truth about Guantanamo must not be silenced

August 3 protest organised by Sydney Stop The War Coalition and The Justice Campaign outside NSW Supreme Court hearing for federal "proceeds of crime" action against former Guantanamo detainee David Hicks. Photo by Peter Boyle and more here.

War criminal and former British PM Tony Blair had only just completed a lucrative commercial speaking tour of Australia when Australia’s federal Director of Public Prosecutions began court proceeding to prosecute former Guantanamo detainee David Hicks under “proceeds of crime” laws.

The DPP wants to seize the profits from his book Guantanamo: My Journey, of which about 30,000 copies have been sold. However, thousands more have mysteriously disappeared off the shelves of major stores. The publisher, Random House, has not been able to find out where they’ve gone.

Hicks has committed no crime recognised under Australian law as even former conservative Australian PM John Howard has admitted.

The chief US  prosecutor of military commissions at Guantanamo Bay, Colonel Morris Davis, recently told Jason Leopold of that he thought Hicks was prosecuted as a “favour” to Australian government through dubious legal devices and procedures.

Leopold explained the deal (signed in utter desperation) that got Hicks out of Guantanamo:

“The deal, referred to as Alford plea, called for Hicks to sign an agreement accepting the single charge of providing material support, which was not deemed a war crime prior to the passage of the Military Commissions Act of 2006. In an Alford plea, the accused does not admit to the act for which he is charged, but admits that the prosecution could likely prove it. The government dropped the attempted murder charge against Hicks. Under the terms of the deal, Hicks would serve nine months in prison in Australia and would be prohibited from speaking to the media for a year.”

In other words, Hicks has not been found guilty nor even admitted he was guilty of these dubious charges.

The likes of George W Bush,  Blair and Howard have not yet been convicted of war crimes but there is overwhelming evidence that they are responsible for killing hundreds of thousand of innocent Afghan and Iraqi civilians. The victims of their war crimes continue to mount with their retirement from office and they freely swan around the world making hundreds of thousand if not more from book sales and high-paying lecture circuits. They are the ones profiting from crimes, without the slightest hindrance. But David Hicks, traumatised from five and a half years in the hell that is the infamous US concentration camp in Guantanamo (on US-occupied Cuban territory), and his family are being denied their right to live their modest lives in peace.

A gross moral double standard is at work here. Anyone with a conscience should rise to defend David Hicks again and make sure the truth about the Guantanamo hellhole – which still operates despite US President Barak Obama’s promise to close it if he was elected President – is not silenced.

The other side of the placard. Photo and sign by Peter Boyle.

Colin Ryan and his hand-drawn sign. Photo by Peter Boyle.

Click here to see more of my photos of the rally outside the NSW Supreme Court on August 3.

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