July 15, 2003


Stephen Pollard has some advice for the likes of David Hicks and those who would defend him:

Might I offer a couple of small suggestions to those British citizens who would prefer not to stand trial in military tribunals where the punishment for some crimes can be execution? Donít join terrorist organisations that fly planes at skyscrapers, and donít dedicate your life to mass murder.

In all the grotesque campaign of disinformation, special pleading and mischief-making that seems to have gripped the entire chattering classes in recent days, one central fact about the nine British subjects being held in Camp Delta, Guantanamo Bay, appears to have been overlooked. They were captured by US forces seeking out al-Qaeda terrorists whose central purpose is to inflict as much death and carnage as is physically possible. They were not arrested for shoplifting, for fraud, or even for an isolated act of murder. They were held because they were thought to be part of an organisation that, as 9/11 proved, has no concept of morality.

Astonishingly, there are otherwise sane people who have not yet cottoned on that we are at war: a war to defend our very existence. That means that the rules of the game have been changed. Not by President Bush, nor by others who are defending us, but by the terrorists themselves. We did not ask for this fight. Unless we meet it head on, however, we will lose.

Posted by Tim Blair at July 15, 2003 10:13 AM

I fear that our society, or at least quite a few people in it, are suffering from a potentially fatal disease, the symptoms of which are: obsessive self blame and self-indulgent inward focus, an inability to see where the real enemy lies, constant undermining of one's own society and its institutions, an unwillingness to defend the values of one's own society and a hostility to those who are willing to do so, romantic delusions about the motivations of others outside one's own society, and a general moral blindness and double standard.
The defence of David Hicks, who is by any measure our enemy, is just another manifestation of this sickness.

Posted by: Richard Moss at July 15, 2003 at 10:48 AM

Western ideals of justice are important and need to be defended, whatever the circumstances. This op-ed in the Economist states it better than I could...


I'm for the war on terror and supported the invasion of Iraq. If we are going to trash such important institutions as our justice system though, what exactly is it we are fighting for?

The Bush administration is standing on a slippery slope with this one.

The Australian government should demand fair trials for its citizens, whatever crimes they are alleged to have been involved in.

Even Nazi leaders were given legal rights these people are being denied.

Posted by: Paul K at July 15, 2003 at 10:56 AM

I see no evidence that Hicks won't receive a fair trial. As I understand it, the US military justice system operates in accordance with the fundamental principles of natural justice. That's good enough for me.
The agonising about his fate, especially the demands that he be returned to Australia (if you commit a crime in another country, you have no right to be tried in Australia), is just political posturing.

Posted by: Richard Moss at July 15, 2003 at 11:06 AM

Paul K: If we are going to trash such important institutions as our justice system though, what exactly is it we are fighting for?

Uh, self-preservation, perhaps? Not being slaughtered by the thousands merely for showing up to work?

Look, I agree that there exists a line somewhere that we would be wrong to cross. I do not know where that line lies, and I do not know whether military tribunals constitute a crossing of that line.

But I do reject the "What are we fighting for?" argument, for the simple reason that Not Letting Ourselves Get Killed™ is -- legitimately -- what we are fighting for first and foremost.

Posted by: Little Bill at July 15, 2003 at 11:10 AM

I thought the Nuremburg trials were military tribunals. I aso seem to recall Julius Streicher (sic), publisher of the Nazi party newspaper was strung up at Nuremburg, despite not having any part in any killings, or any real input into policy. I doubt if Hicks will be croaked, but I wouldn't care if he was. If you take up arms against your own nation and culture, sounds like treason to me.

Posted by: Paul Bickford at July 15, 2003 at 11:12 AM

Much as I loathe Hicks and all that he stands for, I have to admit that even A-dill Horan in the Herald is right on this one.

If we want others to respect civil society and the rule of law, we have to show that we respect it ourselves.

If a common cutpurse would get habeas corpus, legal representation, a right of appeal etc etc, then Hicks should too. The greater the alleged crime, the more (not less) important due process becomes.

That said, those that argue that Hicks has not broken any Australian laws have their heads up their arses. When it comes to crime, it doesn't matter where you are from but where you do it.

Remember Barlow and Chambers, hanged in Malaysia for a crime that would get them a jail term in Australia.

Posted by: The Mongrel at July 15, 2003 at 11:15 AM

Hey Little Bill

Your argument is simplistic and contradictory. If all we are fighting for is self-preservation, then surely there are no lines that can't be crossed.

Preservation of individuals is important, true. But preservation of Western ideals should not be up for negotiation. Millions of lives have been lost defending these in the past. Should we now throw those ideals away on the off chance we might save a few lives?

It's difficult to see how denying these people a fair trial endangers our self-preservation anyway. How are prisoners locked up in Cuba still a threat?

Posted by: Paul K at July 15, 2003 at 11:35 AM

It's difficult to see how denying these people a fair trial endangers our self-preservation anyway.

Sorry, I meant "assists", not "endangers".

Posted by: Paul K at July 15, 2003 at 11:37 AM

Well, he was captured and is being detained by soldiers of the U.S., as a direct result of being armed against them. Luckily, our Constitution is pretty clear - "The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it." Seems like this bastard buggered the trip wire. Poor baby.

As for this slippery slope shit, I don't buy it. No such thing. SOME may be frightened that they couldn't help becoming a despot if the opportunity afforded itself, but to say it's universally true or true of Bush in particular is projection, and nothing more. We control our own destinies; we aren't slaves to some machine that will veer out of all control if we cross some imaginary line drawn by the civil-rights-suicide-pact set.

Posted by: E.A. at July 15, 2003 at 11:48 AM

"As for this slippery slope shit, I don't buy it."

Obviously you haven't studied much history then.

I'm generally a supporter of Bush, and don't think he's aiming to take away people's rights. I'm not one of the Bush is Hitler crowd.

What he is doing in this case is setting a precedent. He's also undermining what he's claiming to be defending.

Posted by: Paul K at July 15, 2003 at 11:54 AM

Luckily, our Constitution is pretty clear - "The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it."

Doesn't sound too clear to me. Actually sounds very wooly.

Is there a rebellion in or invasion of the US going on at the moment? Does that mean people can have their legal rights suspended in the case of, say, speeding if public safety requires it?

Posted by: Paul K at July 15, 2003 at 12:03 PM

There is a question over whether Hicks was part of the Taliban or part of Al-Qaeda. Blurring the line between the two organisations and referring to provisions in the US constitution which don't apply (based on my understanding of the legal interpretation of "rebellion" and "invasion") doesn't help. Bad arguments don't do good causes any favours.

If you're willing to throw away the principle of habeas corpus so casually, I suspect you've got very little understanding of the history of liberty in the Anglo-Norman legal tradition which both Australia and the US have inherited.

Posted by: Tiu Fu Fong at July 15, 2003 at 12:21 PM

I love this argument (in the original post). It goes that as long as the crimes are minor and the punishments not severe, by all means, have all the rights you want.

But clearly when we are talking about really serious crimes with really serious consequences, it stands to reason that those rights are less necessary. C'mon, surely just being accused is enough justification to fudge at the edges a bit!!

Look, if Hicks et al are members of Al Qaeda, then they should be dealt with appropriately, but I can't abide the argument that shoplifters deserver more legal protection that people potentially subject to the death penalty.

Posted by: dan at July 15, 2003 at 12:27 PM

Poor put upon Dave Hicks deserves the same fate as the French, Dutch etc who willingly joined the SS in WW2.

The fact that he chose to go to Afghanistan to join them is evidence enough.

USA, do us all a favor - wring him dry of info, then fry the bastard and be done with it.

Posted by: Harry Tuttle at July 15, 2003 at 01:09 PM

Why do people seem to think that Hicks is being denied his civil rights? He was captured fighting against allied forces by US forces. As a result he will be tried in a US army court. Why isn't this the right place for him to be tried?

As for the argument that he was ONLY a Taliban fighter and not Al-Qeada. (1) The two were very closely linked in Afganastain. (2) The Taliban were not recognised as the govt of Afganastain by anyone except Pakastain which created and funded them. The Taliban were responsible for numerous attrocities includeing treating females lower then dogs, executions and genocide against opposition groups. So I don't see how this helps his case.

Posted by: Robin Wade at July 15, 2003 at 01:17 PM

Here is a novel idea. Why don't we decide if his trial was fair or not afterwards.

Assuming they don't take him straight out the back and shoot him.

Posted by: DG at July 15, 2003 at 01:22 PM

So, it is unfair to Hicks to subject him to the same system many of us put ouselves under voluntarily by joining the US Military? Why? I would expect him to be treated no worse than, say, that guy who killed some of his US military buddies with a grenade.

At this point, the evidence appears overwhelming that he is guilty of something. Being an enemy combatant tends to do that. However, exactly what he is guilty of and what the punishment is yet to be decided. I will also be very surprised if, having been found guilty, he is not allowed the usual appeals.

Exactly where in Afghanistan was this kind of justice provided by those Hicks was assisting and fighting for?

Posted by: JorgXMcKie at July 15, 2003 at 01:28 PM

Of course David Hicks is being denied his civil rights. That is the reason he was taken to Cuba.

As for the constitution, it does not apply. That is why he was taken to Cuba.

If he is guilty then why not have a public trial?

The ultimatum of confess or risk death is also cause for concern.

Hands up the Libertarians.

Posted by: craig at July 15, 2003 at 02:02 PM

He was captured in a war zone by the U.S. military. His treatment has been entirely correct.

If any of you feel so inclined, please provide counter examples of U.S. military captured by enemies and detail how their treatment was superior.

Posted by: Fred Boness at July 15, 2003 at 02:25 PM

Regarding the comments above:

1. The military commissions are being set up outside the civilian and military court systems. It dispenses with many of the rights available to those under those systmes. So he is not getting the same treatment as US military personnel.

2. How come it's okay for Aussies and Brits to come up against these commissions, but not an American under similar circumstances? John Walker Lindh was tried within the current court system.

3. So as long as we're better than the Taliban, that's okay then? Those posting above don't think the West has to measure its behaviour against very high standards.

4 "Why don't we decide if his trial was fair or not afterwards?" Because setting the ground rules before you begin is a basic tenent of justice. Making it up as you go along and then deciding if it's fair doesn't sound too fair to me.

Posted by: Paul Knapp at July 15, 2003 at 02:51 PM

I've heard this described as a Stalinist show trial.

That's stupid.

The only reason anyone knows where he is is because the US told them. And the reason he is getting a trial is that the US wants a fair and reasonable judgement about his guilt.

"Fair" does not necessarily mean that he has a chance to win, it only means that the prosecution tells the truth and gives him a fair chance to present his side of it.

Here's the key point. If we wanted him dead, he'd be dead, no trial, no announcement, no news, no nothing.

It's not at all hard to "disappear" someone that no one knows you have in the first place.

Posted by: Gary Utter at July 15, 2003 at 03:20 PM

"Fair does not necessarily mean that he has a chance to win"

Sounds like you've got a pretty poor understanding of the word "fair".

"If we wanted him dead, he'd be dead, no trial, no announcement, no news, no nothing. It's not at all hard to "disappear" someone that no one knows you have in the first place."

Kind of like under Stalin, you mean?

Posted by: Paul K at July 15, 2003 at 03:36 PM

No equal treatment in the justice system for Hicks in comparison to US citizens? Makes the recognition of inherent legal rights/equal treatment under the law in "All men are created equal" in the Declaration of Independence a bit empty, doesn't it?

Western values are most tested in situations where the emotional response is to skip the process and hang them high.

If Hicks is guilty of something worthy of the death penalty, lets have as open a process as possible (subject to national security considerations). What is there to fear from having things in the open? The benefit is that society can feel more assured the punishment was warranted.

Posted by: Tiu Fu Fong at July 15, 2003 at 03:38 PM


Ever heard of any cases under civilian courts that were not fair? His trail could well turn out to be fair, he may even do better and get sent home first class. Given the position he voluntarily put himself in he is not really doing too bad so far.

Gary's point was probably much the same as mine ie. condemnation of the conduct of a trial before it takes place is somewhat pointless

Should the American have had such an easy time, probably not, but what is the relevance of that.

Posted by: DG at July 15, 2003 at 03:49 PM

The Constitution ends as our borders.

All being an American does if one misbehaves in another country and tossed into the pokey is either a, better treatment and many visits from our embassy staff or b, languishing in a deep, dark hole w/the embassy staff trying to see you.

If Hicks pulled this crap in the US, then the Constitution would apply, but he might still end up in a military court because of the crime.

He is an Ozzie captured in wartime in Afghanistan and brought to a military base in Cuba. It's not like he didn't know we were coming. He could have made a beeline for Pakland or home, but he chose not to.

If he punched out his wife while in America then it would be equal treatment under US law. But this is war.

Posted by: Sandy P. at July 15, 2003 at 04:19 PM

Er, just on the comments about whether things are clear in the US Constitution. Well, let's take a look at the 2nd Amendment... pretty clear what that says too, and it doesn't stop all sorts of restrictions on gun ownership in the US. That said, I've got no comment to make on the Australian situation, which is absolutely shit poor.

Posted by: Troy at July 15, 2003 at 04:23 PM

Some points people need to think about:

(1) saying Hicks deserves fewer rights because of his actions is prejudging his case;

(2) if Hicks was a US citizen he would have the right to a trial by ordinary process of US law - it's only foreigners who get sent to the militray tribunal and detained at Guantanamo Bay to prevent review of their cases in the Supreme Court;

(3) comparisons with Nuremberg are facetious - these trials will be in secret, with substantial limitations on access to legal advice and will be before a panel of 3-7 military officers which needs only to include one lawyer; the Nuremberg trials were in open court before a panel of judges. Defendants will also have a limited ability to interview or call witnesses for the defence already in US custody;

(4) there is no right of appeal - so leaving the issue of whether the trial was fair until after it's over will be leaving things rather too late, there'll be no altering the verdict; and

(5) the war on terror will only be won in the long-run as a battle of ideas, we're never going to be able to sell the west as an ally in peace to moderates in the middle east if we through due process and the moral high-ground out the window.

Posted by: Doug at July 15, 2003 at 04:31 PM

"Ever heard of any cases under civilian courts that were not fair?"

Certainly all of them in the US start with ground rules that are fairer than this.

"Condemnation of the conduct of a trial before it takes place is somewhat pointless."

The ground rules have been set. These are the circumstances under which the entire trial is being conducted. It's the ground rules that are being criticised. They are patently not fair. Youíre right that itís too early to judge the entire process. This a poor start though. If the trial was going to be fair, why move the goalposts before you even begin?

"Should the American have had such an easy time, probably not, but what is the relevance of that."

Because it's a double-standard. Especially with regard to the treatment of citizens of the US's two closest allies. If the current system is good enough for John, why isn't it for David?

ďThe Constitution ends as our borders.Ē

Funny, I thought Americans viewed the Constitution as an ideal to be upheld. Silly me.

"But this is war."

So anything goes then? As stated above, itís difficult to see how conducting a trial outside legal norms advances Americaís war aims.

Posted by: PK at July 15, 2003 at 04:34 PM

"Does that mean people can have their legal rights suspended in the case of, say, speeding if public safety requires it?"

Well actually Paul it does. Drivers of emergency service vehicles can break all the road rules if public safety requires it. The Police could shoot someone if they thought that person was going to shoot them, or even you - no court, no trial - until afterward anyway. Laws are not a suicide pact.

Point is we are all accountable for our actions, Hicks to. I don't find him being held as an enemy combatant and tried by the military at all uncomfortable. Dont like it? Then don't go and fight for looneys - shit might happen.

These groups ignore all rules and morals, and then use our own rules to screw us. Well if the US are using some 'creative' legal work at least they acknowledge the rule of law exists and are bothered enough to work within its confines. It was a military engagement, and milltary law seems appropriate.

Mental note to self, dont go and fight for foreign psuedo governemtns that are the enemy of your country - there are unpleasant consequences.

You reap what you sew.

Posted by: Gilly at July 15, 2003 at 09:32 PM

Hicks is being tried in a military court because in U.S. civil and criminal court the rules of evidence would require the prosecution to turn its evidence over to the defense which would compromise intelligence assests. We would literally be telling an enemy combatant what we know and how we know it.

As much as I may feel the Constitution of the United States is an ideal worth emulating I don't believe foreign nationals outside the borders of the U.S. and its territories should be forced to live under the U.S. Constitution, no matter how much of a good thing that may be. Hicks is citizen of Australia captured as an enemy combatant in a third country. Not being an American citizen and not being in the U.S. proper Hicks has no rights under the Constitution of the United States.

Sob all you want for Hicks. He willfully took up arms not only against the allies by against civilized behavior. If Hicks and his Islomfascist brethren had achieved what they had set out in their jihad to do the good citizens of Australia, and everywhere else in the west, would be living under shar'ia law.

Hicks will have an opportunity to put on his defense. If he is innocent in all likelihood he will be set free and deported to Australia.

But if this Hicks asshole had his way I would be living as a dhimmi in a totalitarian Islamic caliphate in my own country so fuck him.

And people better wake up to the fact that compromising with these Islamists is an arrogance of western culture that is going to get us all killed or enslaved. To Islamists only a weak or frightened state negoitates or compromises, this is what Clinton continually did, and look at the results. Islamists would never negotiate or compromise when they are winning. They would crush their enemy and subjugate the people for the glory of Allah. We need to stop pretending that they are just like us and behave just like us, they aren't and they don't. This war will be over when we have broken the back of the Islamonazis' dream of Islamic world conquest, and unfortunately that is going to require a shitload more of dead Islamists.

Posted by: D2D at July 15, 2003 at 11:20 PM

Firstly I must admit that I am far from expert on military law or military tribunals, but most of what I have read indicates that Hicks will have recourse to an appeal, as does common sense or any acknowledgement of reality. Therefore I stand by my original comment that reports of the unfairness of his trial are premature. Some of us may be uncomfortable with the process, it is after all a fairly unique situation, however discomfort does not equate to foresight of unfair process.

PK, I agree that the double standard is poor practice but differ in believing that John Walker Lindh should have been treated the same as Hicks.

For what it’s worth my guess would be that the worst Hicks faces is incarceration for a few years until things cool down and then he will be released. Not a bad outcome for him all things considered. Sure this is a risky proposition for him but probably far less so than the way he decided to live his life, I believe that his life is probably more secure now than it has been for a long time.

Incidentally I have not heard much protest over the predicament of the non-Aus/UK prisoners, despite the fact that their fate is certainly far more precarious than that of Hicks and Co.

Finally, perhaps Hicks is being made an example of, if so this is probably the most positive contribution, albeit unwilling, of his entire pathetic life.

Posted by: DG at July 16, 2003 at 12:42 AM

Hicks should be put in a stateside maximum security prison and then tried in a civilian court. Of couse, if allowed to mingle with the general prison population, he wouldn't last a week. Hicks gone, no trial needed, problem solved.

Posted by: ZsaZsa at July 16, 2003 at 03:19 AM

Hum. The Yanks have specifically said that Hicks ain't an enemy combatant - they say he's an unlawful combatant.

Difference? Enemies have rights under the Geneva Convention. Like, they have to be repatriated once the war's over.

The Americans don't like that.

Posted by: Bon Scott at July 16, 2003 at 11:32 AM

Fair trial, natural justice, unlawful combatants... lots of lawyers on this site. Well, at least wannabe's, it is clear most people here didn't pass year 10, let alone law 101.

D2D it is 'defence' in this country, read more and stop watching paranoid US military legal dramas. I don't see why the islamofascist caliphate concept scares you, after all they don't put much store on becoming educated either.

Fair trial and natural justice have been defined for over a century in US and UK/Australian commone law, as well as international human rights law verified by those nations, as including the right to legal advice, and the right not to be held indefinitely without the prosecution having to produce the evidence.

I think you drooling right-wing flunkies would be surprised at just how little evidence there is.

But if you disagree- put your (metaphorical) money where your mouth is. Let them all be tried fairly and fully, before an independent tribunal (at the very least some regular judges) with right of appeal on errors of law, full forensic examination of all evidence by a skilled independent advocate for each accused... and see what happens.

The nonsense about 'unlawful combatants' has not been supported by any decent jurisprudential minds on the planet, left or right wing. In any event they do have human rights. Or are those just left wing pinko euphemisms for an aspiration that we will never be civilized enough to realise...?

Posted by: MGarfield at July 16, 2003 at 12:16 PM

OK, if i'm going to attack people's education levels, I better not make typo's. Common law is how it should have been spelt. However, as an unashamed patriot I hate people using illiterate American (mis) spellings of words like defence.

Go on, attack me, but being anal retentive is one of life's simple pleasures, like insulting right-wing ranters or hitting cane toads with golf clubs....

Posted by: MGarfield at July 16, 2003 at 12:29 PM


When did the war on terrorism end? Undoubtedly I have been too busy watching paranoid US military dramas, whatever they are, and may have missed the official announcement.


I see the method of anal retention that you have chosen requires your placing your head into your ass.

I did not say an Islamic caliphate frightened me. I would, however, prefer not to live in one educated or not.

Mr. Hicks nor I are over there, so I will spell 'defense' any goddamned way I please. Thankfully America doesn't have you grammar nazis. And from reading your ruminations on American spellings I get the feeling it's not so much the spellings you hate as Americans. For a tolerant lot you left-wing douchebags sure do hate a great deal. BTW did I spell douchebags correctly in Australian?

You are empirical evidence that no matter how hard parents try they just can't polish a turd. So for an education, I suggest you try charm school, they take left-wingers too, you pretentious asshole.

If I have insulted any other pretentious assholes out there please accept my humble apology.

Posted by: D2D at July 16, 2003 at 05:32 PM


Just a guess, you're a public sector employee living off the toil of other people, educated and uneducated alike, aren't you?

Posted by: D2D at July 16, 2003 at 05:41 PM

Go D2D! I'm glad I succeeded in upsetting you so much, after all baiting white trash is my favourite sport.

This is a gem, in the context: "spell 'defense' any goddamned way I please"

Goddam D2D y'all gittin' mo' 'merican ery day!

I don't mind at all that you called me a turd, asshole (once again not the Australian "Arsehole") etc but it is interesting to note that you don't manage to respond to any of my argument.

You look like a gibbon attempting to swim butterfly across the Pacific, metaphorically speaking.

Public sector? You got me, I'm a child protection prosecutor. I suppose you would rather I was back in my last job, reading IT contracts, along with my co-workers, rather than taking people you obviously feel deserve some respite to court. People like wife bashers and rockspiders.

Go you good thing!

And what do you do that contributes more to society than me, sell insurance? Help people dodge tax? I'll wager you aren't worth your own IQ in EUROs...

Posted by: MGarfield at July 16, 2003 at 06:42 PM

Hey Garfield

I always laugh about lawyers who use expressions like "And what do you do that contributes more to society than me, sell insurance? Help people dodge tax?"

Dodge tax, funny but plenty of lawyers do that, and for every one of you that try a convict arseholes, theres another horde trying to get them off.

If your contribution is representing the Ivan Milat's and David Hicks, then thank you, but keep your input.

Lawyers are scum that serve the law, and through it their own self interests. Its not about right and wrong, its all about rules.

Oh yeah, and you want to know about contributions, lets talk about surgeons, builders, plumbers - but I suppose they are all too stupid for you to consider talking to or about.

We will let you sit in your 'chambers' (Everyone else calls them offices by the way) with the roof falling in and the shit backing up from your blocked toilet with your mate David Hicks talking about how much smarter you are than everyone.

God bless you one and all, the world is a better place for having you here.

Posted by: Gilly at July 16, 2003 at 07:30 PM


I did not know that in Australia people liked wife bashers and rockspiders.

I sorry that you lost your job as a corporate lawyer. That explains a great deal about your bitterness and self-aggrandizing. Then again, I don't know you, and you could have been a fluffer for gay pornos.

As far as contributing to society I'll take my garbageman over a government lawyer everyday, being middle class my needs are rather uncomplicated.

I did not answer your argument because Hicks was not in the Afghan army fighting to protect the Taliban government. He was a voluntary mercenary in al Queda fighting to further the for the Islamic jihad calling for the destruction of the west in general and the US in particular. Hicks illegally inserted himself into the Afghan conflict, he was not an enemey combatant. I rather doubt the Geneva convention or international law has anything favorable to say about illegal mercernary combatants, but I could be wrong. Your the shyster you tell me. As far as their POW status is concerned the war on terror is not yet over, when it is I'm sure any Afghani POWs will probably be repatriated, al Queda detainees, however, won't. Besides the US has not yet decided to prosecute them or not. All that has happened is that the president has cleared them for possible prosecution. I just didn't feel the need to state the obvious, I guess I was wrong.

Posted by: D2D at July 16, 2003 at 09:05 PM

Sorry about the sloppiness of the last post it is 6:00am EST in the US and I need to get some sleep before I go to my self enriching job.


Posted by: D2D at July 16, 2003 at 09:10 PM

Scenario 1: David Hicks is either not tried due to perceived lack of jurisdiction, or let off due to some other legal technicality. Emboldened by this, he sets off to some sand nazi haven to do further terrorist training, before committing a terrorist atrocity, in which numerous innocent people are killed. Reprisals follow.

Scenario 2: David Hicks is killed, along with a whole bunch of other sand nazis, before he gets the chance to carry out further terrorist atrocities.

Which of these 2 scenarios is a greater threat to our democratic values, our economies and most of all, our lives? Hang 'em high, kill 'em all, and let allah sort 'em out, I say.

Posted by: Clem Snide at July 17, 2003 at 12:19 AM

"Obviously you haven't studied much history then."

See, it's BECAUSE I've studied history that the slippery slope argument holds no water for me.

Lincoln jailed legislators and reporters without habeas corpus. Are Americans more, or less free than they were in the 1860s? (Hint - imagine you are African-American) More, I'd say.

Woodrow Wilson - the same. Freedom for us now - more.

FDR - interned Japanese-Americans? Hmm. Looking around, still seems like we're more, not less, free than we were in the early 40s.

By the slippery slope argument (or even the "precedent" argument, which also seems moot in light of the above examples), we should all be rooting around the dirt in chains, growing crops to feed our Executive Branch overlords.

Posted by: E.A. at July 17, 2003 at 12:50 AM

Dearest Gilly and D2D,

Gilly I agree with most of what you say about lawyers actually, it is the reason I left the private sphere to be in a position to only act for clients I care about. I sit in a small open plan office, not chambers or the like- feel free to spray away at such wasteful trappings.

Surgeons, builders etc contribute heaps to society- remember I was only responding to D2Ds dumbo cliched public service sling in the first place. I reckon I earn my "taxpayer" money, nothing more, nothing less. Surgeons are 5 times more valueable, no question.

D2D I left of my own volition, taking a 30K pay cut to do something I think is worthwhile. But you can conclude whatever you want, we are in a slanging match after all, its a fair cop!

CLem... look at this:
"Which of these 2 scenarios is a greater threat to our democratic values, our economies and most of all, our lives? Hang 'em high, kill 'em all, and let allah sort 'em out, I say."

What values??? You want to kill everyone and you call people sand nazis, you don't seem to hold many democratic values dear to your own heart....

Posted by: MGarfield at July 17, 2003 at 10:31 AM

All quiet on the eastern front?
Ok D2D, no hard feelings, I did come out a bit personal and deliberately pompous. But all in the spirit of fun. What I meant was:
(D2D:)"I did not know that in Australia people liked wife bashers and rockspiders".
Not generally you would expect. But my point, because you made a personal attack regarding my being a public servant, was that many roles carried out by public servants are actually very high stress, and of distinct necessity. You feel you need:
"garbageman over a government lawyer"
and that I am a
Well, my point is only that if you think prosecuting the nasty pieces of work referred to above makes me a shyster and drain on taxpayers money... well... what DO you think is a legitimate career?

I'm sure (retracting the venom of previous insults) that what you do is valuable, but I just think you ought also admit when you are wrong. I know you 'righties' distrust the PS overall, but not everything can seriously be outsourced.

Now off you go, get a mug of ovaltine, a copy of spectator or quadrant, and ease off on the blood pressure.

BTW impressed with the fluffer for gay porn reference- it's true, you Tories really are more risque....

Posted by: MGarfield at July 17, 2003 at 06:10 PM

You know it's a sick world when intellectual wannabes like Dick Moss adopt the Dubya lingo (The defence of David Hicks, who is by any measure our enemy) in order justify abandonment of fundamental human rights.

For well over a year David Hicks has been detained, without legal advice, and without charge. He is held in a cage which would cause outrage if used for a pet dog Ė let alone a human being. The US government has denied Hicks rights stipulated under the Geneva Convention because it says that he is a "terrorist" (to translate for the Dubya fans: he one of them evil doers) and not a prisoner of war.

Assuming that Hicks was in fact fighting for the Taliban, he is a prisoner of war. The Taliban were the ruling government of Afghanistan when the US invaded; it is therefore not a terrorist organisation. I'm sure everybody is aware that the US govt has funded the Taliban with plenty of greenbacks and weapons throughout the 80's so that they could become the govt of the day.

9/11 has provided a conveneient excuse for Dubya and his Rupublican cronies to pass a raft of legislation which cuts deeply into the democratic rights of individuals. (Sadly, in Australia, lapdog asslicker Johnny H. is playing ball too.)

What price must we pay?

Posted by: Matko at July 17, 2003 at 06:11 PM