How quickly things change – with a federal election coming up later this year, a new opposition leader, and the opinion polls slipping, our PM is getting jittery – suddenly he is concerned about David Hicks – who has endured 5 years in detention with no charges, much of it in solitary confinement; who has been subjected to sleep deprivation and a 24 hour light on in his cell; who is allowed 2 hours in the fresh air daily – the time subject to the whim (or plan) of his gaolers (- 2am, 3am – hey! what’s he got to complain about? he’s outside isn’t he and he won’t get sunburnt); who has been denied access to his family and legal team except for a few rare occasions; who has alleged interrogation under torture, allegations which have been poo-hooed by our government; who refused recently to see the Australian embassy representative because he feared repercussions from his gaolers; who, if he does face a military commission, will have evidence used against him which has been gained under coercion.
I fail to believe that this man is a threat to the American people or to the people of Australia. Sure, he may well be a confused young man who was seduced by the rhetoric and adventure offered to him by a deeply committed (even fanatical) group of people, but so have many before him. He may well have converted to Islam. He may well have trained with al-Qaida and he may even have intended to fight with them in Afghanistan, but I still don’t believe that he is a threat. Even if he HAD been a threat 5 years ago (and I don’t believe that either), he is certainly not now – from the little bit of information that we get, it appears that his mental health is such that he will be doing well to survive himself.
I cannot believe that if he is brought home to Australia and released into his father’s care, that he will not be monitored closely by ASIO – and probably the CIA as well. There is no way he would be able to do anything even remotely connected with terrorist activities.
5 years in detention with plenty of allegations against him, but no charge – David Hicks has been a useful pawn in the sycophantic relationship that our PM cultivates with George Bush. A pox on both their heads.