February 20, 2004


Poor David Hicks, locked up in Gitmo just for joining a bunch of terrorists who want to destroy the west. It’s unfair, is what it is! And Australians whose taxes contributed to a movie about Brave Dave are also being denied justice:

Director Curtis Levy stated in October 2002 that he believed 'The President versus David Hicks' would take up to six months to complete. Sixteen months later, Australian taxpayers are still waiting.

We want our state-funded propaganda! Meanwhile, it appears that not all Australians trapped in seething foreign jails have been forgotten by their government:

For eight long years Jane McKenzie and Debbie Spinner have nursed the nightmare of their 50-year sentences in Bangkok's Klong Prem Prison with poignant images of the children they left in Australia.

Within weeks, the pain of distant separation, if not the deprivations of imprisonment, will be over for McKenzie and Spinner, 36, who has two children.

"I just thank God. This is overwhelming," McKenzie said.

"I'm extremely happy and very thankful to the Australian Government and the Thai Government for making this possible.”

They have no links to terrorism. Good that they’re returning to Australia.

Posted by Tim Blair at February 20, 2004 02:11 AM

Once again I'm going to differ with most of you...I believe David deserves his day in the box...I'm almost certain that if it's 6ft by 2ft, with no breathing holes, it will cure everyone's problems.

But, lest I be styled as cruel, why not have him spayed and then if we still can't stand the fuck, we have him put down?


Right Captain Blackadder I have a cunning plan...what if we dressed him up to the nines and add very expensive jewellery.....then we drop him in Bogata having leaked in advance that he is in fact number 2 with the American DEA? (They know number 1 but thanks for asking)

They'll love him.....

Seems a waste to have him sitting around when I could be the joint winner of a Darwin....imagine...

"...and this years Darwin for the best death goes to David Hicks......in a Traps production...the film and actor were shot on location in Bogata.."

Posted by: Traps at February 20, 2004 at 02:38 AM

You know who should play Hicks? That Paul Hogan fellow. He really is quite wonderful, and casting him would guarantee a large American interest in the film.

"G'day mite!"

They could put in a scene where Hicks demands that the guards let him wear his special "crocodile trousers" while he eats a meat pie. I love that kind of culture clash.

Posted by: Joe Geoghegan at February 20, 2004 at 04:30 AM

I am not sure I am doing cartwheels over the return of two junkie/drug traffickers as well though. The story likes to describe them as 'naive junkies' who only did it for a slice of the heroin, but lets face it, we all know that if you traffic through SE Asia, you run the risk of loooong prison sentences or you swing. They took their chances. If she was so worried about her kids, what was she doing going on heroin holidays in Thailand?

Posted by: Paul Dub at February 20, 2004 at 07:29 AM

Allt his fuss around David Hicks.

The Guantanomo Bay system for dealing with suspected terrorists has been so succesful I think we should model our domestic criminal justice system here in Australia on it.

Concepts such as presumption of innocence and right to trial and rules of evidence are so out dated and just get in the way don't you think?

Posted by: bongoman at February 20, 2004 at 08:23 AM

Wow, you are right bongman - and we should model our counter-terrorist efforts on our domestic crime fighting methods. Get rid of the pesky SAS or USAF, use under trained police with revolvers to track down terrorist in Afghanistan hills, and if one of them is shot, hold three seperate inquiries and crucify the policeman involved. Different game means different rules.

Posted by: Paul Dub at February 20, 2004 at 08:35 AM

Take a plane ride with Mohammed Atta, bongoman. He's innocent until the plane crashes.

Then he's guilty and you're toast.

Posted by: ilibcc at February 20, 2004 at 10:33 AM

Have the detainees at Gitmo been declared POWs?
I thought they had, which is why they are not being handled the same way as a civillian caught on US streets committing a crime.

I know there is NO WAY I'd get my wish, but here it is:

I wish that all men and women captured by coalition forces, in whatever countries, would be placed in Gitmo until the end of the War on Terror.

Just so I leave no doubts about wanting Americans given 'special treatment' .. if we capture US citizens fighting against the coalition I'd like to see them given slightly worse treatment at Gitmo than the others.

I don't mean torture, etc. But, something befitting our traitors. Don't make it so pleasant for them. I'd rather shoot them, as we used to do with traitors, but too much PC gets in the way for that.

I don't have much sympathy for anyone, of whatever nationality, who is caught fighting with people who want to kill all/most of us.

Posted by: Chris Josephson at February 20, 2004 at 10:48 AM

I think many of the detainees have been declared "illegal combatants", which makes them war criminals. As such, they don't have the same rights as POWs, much less civilians.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at February 20, 2004 at 10:57 AM

must disagree with your joy at the return of a pair of junky arseholes, Tim; if you commit an offence overseas, you should pay the penalty in that jurisdiction. The old "naive junky" line doesn't wash with me- the penalties in Thailand (and the rest of SE Asia) are well known, especially among fans of the poppy. Why should Australian taxpayers foot the bill for the incarceration of these wastes of space? As far as the rug-rats go, they are probably better off not being under the "care" of a heroin addict.
Why do junkies always breed?

Posted by: Habib at February 20, 2004 at 11:07 AM

The prisoner exchange agreement between Thailand and Australia is quitre unnecessary. It was concluded on the initiative of the Australian Government, urged on by the bleeding hearts who couldn't bear the thought of Aussies suffering in Thai prisons. The Thais didn't particularly want it.

I have visited several Thai prisons in the line of duty, and actually by developing country standards, they aren't that bad. Of course much more disciplined than the soft cop here, which is why Thai prisoners in Australia are reluctant to be transferred home.

Posted by: Rob (No 1) at February 20, 2004 at 11:07 AM

Habib, because believe it or not, the government pays them to breed. Ah, the welfare state, ain't it wunnerful?

Posted by: slatts at February 20, 2004 at 11:11 AM

The presumption of innocence should not also require the presumption of stupidity on our part to make it work.

Odds are, if you train with Al quaida and were captured by the northern alliance in Afghanistan, that you did not get lost on the way to the corner store to buy a paddle pop.

Posted by: Harry Tuttle at February 20, 2004 at 11:57 AM

despite my earlier post, I must admit that the Gitmo chaps are a dilemma. They havent been declared POW's, as then they would have to be treated according to the geneva conventions. They aren't 'criminalst, as they didnt break any laws in a competent jurisdiction. The 'illegal combatant' tag is really just a temporary tag.
I have no sympathy for those that leave a western democracy to fight for its enemies, however one of the reasons i believe so passionately in those democracies is that they follow the applicable rules. I do believe that treating them as criminals, and treating counter-terrorism as a law enforcement exercise, is stupid and inappropriate, however if we dont accord POW's (which is what they are) some sort of consistent treatment, then we are betraying some of our own basic principles. They have been held for a very long time, any useful intelligence (especially intelligence which is time sensitive) has either been discovered, or is too out of date to be useful. They should be tried and (depending on the outcome of that trial) punished. For some, it will mean release, some execution, others incarceration. Arbitrary detention like this is a hallmark of the kind of society that i know we all abhor.

Posted by: Paul Dub at February 20, 2004 at 12:57 PM

I must agree with others who are bemused at your soft line on the Thai junk smugglers, Tim.

If I was a conspiracy theorist I'd think you'd done a back blog contra deal with Niall and Rob Corr on this one. Almost makes me wonder what Rob and Niall have done in return. Can we expect them to throw David Marr to RWDB wolves? Oh what a tangled web we weave.

Posted by: James Hamilton at February 20, 2004 at 12:58 PM

I reckon the Marines can just return Hicks and Habib to wherever they were arrested, i.e. Afghanistan and Pakistan respectively, and let the Afghan and Pakistani justice systems have their day with these pricks.

And I'd also leave those two junkies in Bangkok.

You do the time where you do the crime . . . .

Posted by: steve at February 20, 2004 at 01:29 PM

Last I heard, the US was trying the Gitmo detainees in military court already. They've released about 100 back to Afghanistan so far. Even with speedy military courts, these things take time to do right.

Posted by: Tatterdemalian at February 20, 2004 at 01:36 PM

Tim, you are wrong about the Bangkok drug smugglers. They're lucky they weren't caught in Malaysia or Singapore where they would certainly have been shot. The Thais went soft on them out of consideration for Australian feelings: nothing stirs up Aussie racist xenophobia like the thought of a fellow country man, however miserable and worthless, being hanged or shot by Asians.

Posted by: Freddyboy at February 20, 2004 at 01:40 PM

Repatriation to their place of capture would be an appropriate outcome for many. This includes Hicks. He is not welcome in Australia. You turn your back on your country to fight for her enemies, then your country is perfectly justified in turning her back on you.
What amazes me is how some people are trying to turn Hicks into some sort of oppressed poster boy. (the same is rarely done with Habib you will note) I assume that at least part of it is 'the enemy of my enemy (i.e. the USA) is my friend' syndrome, but if you want me to get worked up about a 'political prisoner' you will need to do a lot better than him.

Posted by: Paul Dub at February 20, 2004 at 01:43 PM

I think the original point was the hypocrisy of the left turning the Hicks affair into a full-on left-wing assault - including all the usual bells and whistles such as taxpayer-funded nod-along-with-Michael Moore-style 'films' and other leftie stunts - on a 'cruel and heartless' government refusing to undertake any kind of intervention on behalf of its own people; when the evidence proving that to be the exact reverse of the truth - i.e, the Government enacting a deal to free prisoners in foreign jails and then putting it into action - was right under the stupid noses of the truth-hating left.

The fate of the two women or the degree of their guilt is beside the point.

Posted by: ilibcc at February 20, 2004 at 02:00 PM

Two points:

firstly, the SMH had this to say: "Pressure mounted today for Australian terror suspects David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib to be brought home after being held for two years without being charged in the US base at Guantanamo Bay."

Its funny, the SMH uses the emotive word 'home'. Hicks was happy to shun 'home',actively work against all it stands for, possibly attacking soldiers representing 'home'. unlike the SMH, I feel he left 'home' along time ago.

Secondly,Mark Latham is quoted in todays SMH as saying that ' Australians accused of crimes overseas, should be tried here'
Oh really? I wonder what the Thai's , Malaysians and Indonesians would say to that. If Howard had uttered this he would have been a racist and at least paternalistic, implying that Australians were beyond the jurisdiction of these sovereign nations.

Only a lefty can get away with it it would seem.

Posted by: nic at February 20, 2004 at 04:02 PM

Fredyboy - two Australians were hanged for trafficking narcotics in Malaysia several years ago. I recall reading at the time that the media was monitoring the attitude of the Australian public - if there had been a great outcry here, the Malaysian authorities were prepared to reduce the sentence to life imprisonment.

As we know, the young men were executed. Australians appeared to believe that the verdict was a just one, regardless of the ethnicity of the judge or hangman.

Rather than accusing Australians of 'racist xenophobia', it may be worthwhile to examine the feelings of our Asian neighbours, especially Indonesia. They appear to have no problems in excluding us from conferences, and branding us the descendents of convicts, 'white trash' etc. whenever we do something that doesnt meet with their approval - like believing that Israelis have the right to exist, or keeping out illegal immigrants. They see no problem in calling non-Asians 'foreign devils' etc.

Or is 'racist xenophobia' ok when Asians are involved?

Posted by: dee at February 20, 2004 at 05:41 PM

Dee, it's very simple really,
Only *white* people are racist, xenophobic, &c.
It's a racial characteristic, for God's sake!

Similarly, only *males* are sexist.

Posted by: peggy sue at February 20, 2004 at 06:43 PM

What we can look forward to in the next weeks are the lame excuses why these people were in Afganistan. The best I have heard so far is the father explaining that his son "went to Pakistan for a wedding". That was all he said...alas the Beeb reporter didn't have the intelligence to say: "then why was he found in a terrorist camp in Afganisatan?"

Posted by: Andrew Ian Dodge at February 20, 2004 at 10:50 PM

"the Beeb reporter didn't have the intelligence to say"

You mean the BBC reporter deliberatly avoided asking difficult questions that an unbiased reporter should have asked becuase (s)he was interviewing a favoured group who could advance the BBC left-wing agenda.

Posted by: Rob Read at February 20, 2004 at 11:14 PM

Paul Dub: The incarcerees at Gitmo were captured under arms, engaged in hostile activity, without uniforms or military ID, and without an identifiable chain of command. They are therefore NOT qualified to recieve Geneva Convention protection as POW's; the Convention itself says so. If we "treated them by the appropriate rules" and applied the strict Geneva Convention clauses (with precedents dating back sixty years plus, when the English used them)...they should have been shot in the field, as 'partisans'. Yes, we are calling them "illegal combatants", and treating them as neither POW's nor cvilian arrestees- but if we did things "by the book", they'd all be dead.

Posted by: Dave Paglia at February 21, 2004 at 12:07 AM

Let's hear the case against him in open court. Or is everyone here afraid of the truth?

Posted by: Miranda Divide at February 21, 2004 at 11:14 AM

Shot in the field will do nicely, thanks Miranda.

Posted by: Habib at February 21, 2004 at 12:04 PM

"Truth"? Miranda we will settle for no less than links to official sources, corroborating testimony from more than one person (named, able to be traced persons only), and extensive footnotes to your source documents -- linked when possible. None of your groundless accusations and pointless cut-and-paste will be allowed! Perhaps then, after perusing your tirade with the tweezers and magnifying glasses of critical scrutiny, we will consider calling anything you say "truth." Until then, you'll still be a mouther talking out of hisser's ass (you call it "arse").

Posted by: Andrea Harris at February 21, 2004 at 01:32 PM

The truth is scary: Hicks was tackled on his way to volunteer at a soup kitchen by John Howard and GWB, and they both took turns punching him in the tummy and they ran off with his lunch money. Then Rumsfeld ran over his dog and keyed his car and Tony Blair slashed his tires. Then, after stealing all of the motor oil Hicks had in his engine, the evil conspirators locked him up in Gitmo and only Miranda knows the full story because a little blue fairy told her.

Posted by: Sortelli at February 21, 2004 at 02:12 PM

The truth is scary: Hicks was tackled on his way to volunteer at a soup kitchen by John Howard and GWB, and they both took turns punching him in the tummy and they ran off with his lunch money. Then Rumsfeld ran over his dog and keyed his car and Tony Blair slashed his tires. Then, after stealing all of the motor oil Hicks had in his engine, the evil conspirators locked him up in Gitmo and only Miranda knows the full story because a little blue fairy told her.

Fair job Sortelli, but you forgot Cheney giving him a noogie and pushing him into the girl's toilets.

And Condi standing him up for a date.
Hicks - Poor fella.

Posted by: Quentin George at February 21, 2004 at 06:56 PM