July 31, 2003


Terry Hicks, father of Wahabbist wombat David Hicks, sure has changed his tune during his sonís Guantanamo holiday. Currently posing for the cameras in New York, the evermore outraged Daddy Hicks was initially seriously reasonable about Daveís fate:

"We donít support him on the fact that he was fighting Ö I donít believe in it and I told him what I thought of what he was doing. Heís 26 years of age. Heís his own man Ö Heís so adventurous, itís only the latter part that wasnít too bright. Now it looks as though heíll spend the rest of his life in prison."

Then the human rights lawyers got to him, I guess, and convinced him that his kid wasn't 26 years of age and wasn't his own man.

Posted by Tim Blair at July 31, 2003 12:36 PM

You have got to love this.

Documentary maker Curtis Levy is shooting a film titled The President Versus David Hicks, for which he received a $20,000 grant from the Australian Film Commission.

The Australian Film Commission is funding a publicity campaign for David Hicks.

No. You, the Australian taxpayer, are funding a publicity campaign for David Hicks.

Oh, and when did the AFC become a legal aid office?

Posted by: ilibcc at July 31, 2003 at 12:58 PM

Sorry, where in that latest report does Hicks Snr support his son's fighting with the Taliban?

Posted by: Robert at July 31, 2003 at 01:18 PM

Nowhere, same as here.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at July 31, 2003 at 01:27 PM

Glad to see that Hicks and the journalists following him around are still happily purveying the concept that Camp X-Ray, the temporary holding center whose cells were likened to outdoor cages, is still in operation -- even though it was closed down more than 15 months ago and was replaced by the more sturdily constructed Camp Delta. Then again, as I recently noted, l'Agence France Presse was still circulating 16-month-old Camp X-Ray pictures on its wire as of last week to illustrate stories about David Hicks and his British co-detainees.

Posted by: Combustible Boy at July 31, 2003 at 01:39 PM

Terry Hicks had better be sure that his cage isn't in the vicinity of Madison Square Gardens- "The Rock" may think he is challenging him to a cage bout.

Posted by: Habib Bickford at July 31, 2003 at 02:08 PM

Camp Delta - the indoor gulag

Posted by: neil at July 31, 2003 at 02:42 PM

I would like to be trapped in a cage with David Hicks and his father

Posted by: Madonna at July 31, 2003 at 02:45 PM

How many gulags have you visited neil? Or are you just shooting from the lip with that stupid comment?

Posted by: Jake D at July 31, 2003 at 02:50 PM

If Terry Hicks really wants to experience what it's like in a cage, Uday's lions are probably still hungry.

Posted by: Rob (No 1) at July 31, 2003 at 04:22 PM

The guy joined up with the Taliban? Jeez, talk about running with a bad crowd.

If he joined the Taliban to piss off Dad, it didn't seem to work.

Posted by: S.A. Smith at July 31, 2003 at 05:16 PM

Sod doing it outside Madison Square Garden . . . he should have tried his cage stunt outside a FDNY fire station, or out in front of Ground Zero.

Posted by: steve at July 31, 2003 at 05:20 PM

nope ilibcc, no-one is funding a publicity campaign for anyone.

a person is attempting to document a story that is utterly fascinating, regardless of one's stance.

primo example of hysterical spin.

carry on.

Posted by: chico o'farrill at July 31, 2003 at 05:22 PM

A person can attempt to document a story that is utterly fascinating with his own money.

Posted by: ilibcc at July 31, 2003 at 05:29 PM

For 'neil' - this must be the only gulag in the world where prisoners gain weight.

Posted by: Softly at July 31, 2003 at 05:45 PM

Hypothetical: you scrotes join up to a right wing organisation dedicated to all the usual right wing causes; cut immigration, cut trees, ban lesbians etc. Naturally such a group, lets say it was One Nation for example (just keep humouring me here, you can spray me in a moment), attracts some people far more right wing than even yourselves, who believe in violent means and ends. You aren't aware of this, but seniour members of your organisation are, and collaboration and encouragement leads to some of the extreme members committing an act of extreme violence, one that you might or might not agree with on one level, but certainly never sanctioned.

You find yourself in shackles, facing life (or death, as it were). On the basis of your link to that heinous act.

If he was at all involved in 11/9, or if he was involved in planning or preparing any similar acts, then sure, I'm not gonna blink for him.

But if that is so, why are people too scared to let him have a fully fledged trial, full access to legal representation, and let the evidence be forensically challenged?

You guys are always talking about totalitarianism and marxists. Well, isn't part of that the removal of rule of law and the right to a fair trial?

Uphold what you fight for. Giving him these rights is not the same as saying you like the dickhead....

Posted by: sphincter at July 31, 2003 at 06:20 PM

Hypothetical: you could go to another country, lets call it Germany in 1938, and join a rather repressive organisation there, say the Gestapo or the Waffen SS, and get captured fighting on their side and in support of their goals.

Lets ask then if it was just a bit adventurous or did young Hicks get his jollys oppressing the locals and now the bill has come due.

Posted by: Harry Tuttle at July 31, 2003 at 06:39 PM

Good point Harry. Nurembourg trials were open and conducted according to high standards of proof. Goering was in fact nearly lost because of the incompetence of the US lawyer cross examining him. They brought in a brit (also a Labour lawyer I might add) who finished him off and all was good. Even after nearly 6 years of war they offered this to a man who was pretty clearly culpable. At the very top of his organisation.

Did they give any soldier who served in the german army life in prison or death??

Big fat NO, Harry boy, res ipsa loquiter so go and habeus corpus.

Posted by: sphincter at July 31, 2003 at 06:45 PM


It's more about the level of publicity given to someone who has obviously been a very silly? naughty? foolish? person than about what punishment he should receive, how he should be tried, or what rights he should have.

I feel sorry for the man. After all, young starry-eyed fools have forever been off and joined para-military, extreme or bad organisations, for any number of reasons, some suffering worse fates than others.

But what resonates in this debate is the predictable responses from human rights lawyers and their ilk; arts bodies funding simpatico documentaries, etc. It all seems somehow immoderate to pour such attention on silly David Hicks compared with the fates of others touched by terrorism and war.

At the end of the day, Hicks alone was responsible for his actions. World events may conspire to make those actions more traumatic for him than he may ever have imagined.

There's a lesson in it for Hicks, but there's a lesson for everyone else as well. Don't play with fire.

Posted by: ilibcc at July 31, 2003 at 07:03 PM

Ilibcc, I could almost admit to agreeing with you.

Actually all you say is fair enough, and certainly the victims of the terror and others have stories worthy of attention.

But part of why his is so interesting is the fact that by going beyond international norms, and serving up all this extra treatment for someone who really appears just to be an idiotic footsoldier, they have created a david and goliath scenario from what should, if handled in a more balanced manner, not attract such sympathetic attention.

Yes it is predictable that if you openly suspend human rights then human rights lawyers are going to get involved. They would hardly be doing their jobs otherwise. The old 'blame the lawyers' line is a bit lame.

But I concede your points well made and pretty balanced. Can I interest you in a membership form for Labor Right??

Posted by: sphincter at July 31, 2003 at 07:27 PM

Don't know about Labor Right, Sphincter, but you could interest me by getting your Latin right.

- "loquitur" not "loquiter"
- "habeas" not "habeus".

Posted by: Theodopoulos Pherecydes at July 31, 2003 at 10:26 PM

Hicks is getting his trial. Notwithstanding the outrage at him being in custody for so long before trial, this is not unusual in Australia. Check out the Austlii site to see how long between arrest and final trial where unsentenced prisoners (presumed innocent)in Australia have waited in gaol for their trial.

I'm not so sure about the 'high standard of proof' for the Nurembourg trials. It was a mix match between US and Continental law where evidence was admitted if it was 'probative' even hearsay.

There was no right of appeal or even court of appeal. 10 of the eleven defendants were hanged and Goering committed suicide. (France Britain Russia just wanted them shot but the US pushed for a trial)

Should be an interesting trial, which no matter what some will scream was unfair. Remember whatever the yanks do they are wrong.

What is a fair trial? Live by the sword, die by the sword. Perhaps someone who adopts the Taliban lifestyle should be tried by that lifestyle? Anyone got a spare shredding machine?

Posted by: Sphynx at July 31, 2003 at 10:35 PM

No no no, a shredding machine for any Aussie Jihadis fighting in Iraq, Talibaniks should be shot in a sports stadium.

Seriously, David is more stupid than evil. But actions do have consequences. So I'd support a hefty jail term rather than death.

What worries me is the possibility that our law system may have failed to make what David did illegal.

Posted by: Andjam at July 31, 2003 at 11:11 PM

Try him under Afghani law.

Posted by: Yobbo at July 31, 2003 at 11:18 PM

documentaries exist predominantly to "document" events/circumstances/persons for posterity.

in general, they will not see the light of day until after said event is history, thus to suggest they are "publicity" is to misconstrue.

govts fund documentaries worldwide, Roosevelt in USA, UK govt has left fabulous legacy of insight with its war-time documentaries. or are they publicity too? hey, how about that right wing govt funding "Triumph Of the Will"...damn publicity hounds!

Posted by: chico o'farrill at July 31, 2003 at 11:29 PM

I'd be very surprised if the documentary wasn't aired (or shown at a film festival) by this time next year.

Posted by: Andjam at August 1, 2003 at 12:05 AM

I hear a lot of hyperbole from people on the right about how much of an asshole Hicks must be and how he shuld die or eat shit and die or whatever else.

But I have still never seen anything close to a decent explanation of why it is the right thing to do to not try these people in a legitimate court. Anyone care to elaborate? Why is it a good decision to hold closed, unaccountable trials, on an island that does not come under any legal jurisdiction?

Posted by: Tom at August 1, 2003 at 12:05 AM

uh, sphinx, if you can name one person who has been in an australian jail for 19 months prior to finding out what the state proposes to charge them with, i'd be very much surprised. this, i think you'll find, is rather different from the time "between arrest and final trial" in the case of a prisoner refused bail.

Posted by: adam at August 1, 2003 at 01:05 AM

Hmm. I wonder how many of the prisoners at Guantonomo have been executed, or jailed for life?

I sure haven't heard of any.

Posted by: Tatterdemalian at August 1, 2003 at 01:19 AM

chico, dear, the national socialist government funded Triumph of the Will. Sorry, "right winger", though a pretty flexible political term, DOES NOT actually mean "yucky nasty mean people I don't like." Equally (pre-emptively), "McCarthyism" doesn't mean "yucky nasty people correcting me on documented facts."

Posted by: angua at August 1, 2003 at 01:36 AM

I find it remarkably odd that the left is sooooo concerned about the living conditions and perceived rights of accused terrorist scum living on one side of Cuba, but does not care one whit for the suffering and misery of the people living on the rest of the island...all of whom will be on that island longer than those the US detained.

Posted by: Drake at August 1, 2003 at 04:18 AM

There's plenty of Cubans who would love to be "detained" at Gitmo. It beats the hell out of what Senor Maximo Jefe's got for them.

Posted by: mojo at August 1, 2003 at 05:48 AM

Just keep talking up the Gitmo "Death Camp" line. It has become the easiest way for US interrogators to get the lovely jihadies to talk. Al Jazerra and the Sun have done half their work for them.
"Talk Muhammad, or we'll make you spend a couple of years on a Cuban beach."

Posted by: LB at August 1, 2003 at 07:15 AM

I'm an American and I'm not opposed to a trial for the Guantanamo prisoners. But look at it this way: Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda expressly and without equivocation declared war on the US and its citizens, subsequently making good on its declaration and killing thousands of innocent civilians (and I don't have to tell Australians that it's not only Americans who are the target). Despite this fact the Taliban gave aid, comfort and protection to Al-Qaeda as it waged all-out war against innocents.

Let Al-Qaeda and the former leaders of the Taliban declare this war they started over, let them stop murdering innocents and denounce the principles of holy war against our children.

In other words, one declare war if one isn't prepared to win it or deal with the consequences when you don't.

Besides, compared to the treatment we (the allied prisoners) got at the hands of the Japanese in the Pacific, life in Guantanamo is luxurious.

Allied soldiers had their heads chopped off for sport at Bataan. The Taliban prisoners? We cater to their religious requirements and feed them so well that they actually gain weight.

Don't lose any sleep. They're lucky the US is so kind.

Posted by: S.A. Smith at August 1, 2003 at 07:37 AM

I am perfectly willing to give quid pro quo to these types. They are certainly entitled to the same level of concern, care, and rights they gave to those who opposed them. How many on the left can claim to have called for better treatment of adversaries in Cuba, North Korea, China, Libya, Iran, Iraq, Syria, . . . (crickets chirping, chirping). Thought so.

I will start to listen a little to all the whining about mistraatment of these a**holes when the whiners include any other government or ruling group who is not treating their prisoners better.

I'm not holding my breath on that one, either. I'm old enough to remember when the slogan was "There's no enemy on the Left." Now it appears to be "There's no enemy left who's not the U.S." Sorry if I don't have time for such assclowns.

Posted by: JorgXMcKie at August 1, 2003 at 11:58 AM

JorgXMcKie, Amnesty International regularly campaigns "for better treatment of adversaries in Cuba, North Korea, China, Libya, Iran, Iraq, Syria," and it is generally lefties who participate.

If America is going to maintain any high moral ground, it is not going to do it by saying, "Well, we can afford to treat them really badly, as long as China's worse." You lot want to defend the US on the grounds that it stands up for freedom and liberty, and yet you congratulate it for its best efforts to abandon those principles.

Posted by: Robert at August 1, 2003 at 12:39 PM

my dear angua,

i will take those corrections right on the chest - should have kept my wings to myself.

point stands regarding govt support of documentaries - regardless of stance, it's worthwhile to see historical records of society past, and this tale seems to be a lightning rod.

unlikely that the rights or wrongs will be determined in our life-times, but perhaps they will eventually. be nice if people could see the documents in future, not have them yelled down with hysterics.


Posted by: chico o'farrill at August 1, 2003 at 01:14 PM

I'm waiting for the government-funded documentary that doesn't feature a left-wing cause celebre. Or one that doesn't take an entirely unrelated subject and overlay it with a left-wing message.

I'm not saying it's not possible, it just doesn't happen very often, on that I'm sure you'll agree.

Comparison with the great UK war-time documentaries is futile, those guys were genuine patriots and their work was designed to bolster national pride. Do something like that today and you don't have an audience.

Would you describe Bowling For Columbine an historical record?

Posted by: ilibcc at August 1, 2003 at 01:48 PM

Won't be the first mercenary to have his last payday via the bullet or the rope.
Won't be the last, either.

Posted by: Pedro the Ignorant at August 1, 2003 at 02:11 PM

Bail for POWs? That's fucked up.

Posted by: D2D at August 1, 2003 at 04:04 PM

Maybe the next time it would be a better idea if US forces took no illegal combatants as POW. The "right-wingers" would be just as satisfied and the "left-wingers" wouldn't have anything to bitch about. Besides in a hardcore firefight no leftist lawyer is going to be there to make sure that his illegal combatant client's rights are violated. They do that whining from the Laz-y-boy.

Posted by: D2D at August 1, 2003 at 04:13 PM

hmm, you points are again excellent. a quick mental browse reveals a fairly one way slant in documentaries, govt funded, or otherwise. next question: why?

yes, british docos were govt funded for a specific brief, but in their execution, they revealed much about the british people of the time, almost as a side effect. Night Mail for instance is often quoted as one of the great films made - and it is a poem.

score again regarding Bowling For Columbine. the film itself is not a historical record, but who the heck knows how time will regard it?

still, not the point here, plenty of opportunities to bash it on this board!

Posted by: chico o'farrill at August 1, 2003 at 06:28 PM

It was growing up with those magnificent early black and white pieces of film that has made me so derisive of today's one-dimensional polemics - many funded by the taxpayer.

Posted by: ilibcc at August 1, 2003 at 06:48 PM

mark steyn

just testing

Posted by: ilibcc at August 12, 2003 at 04:21 PM