Monday, March 05, 2007

David Hicks

Talking Points Memo provides a good summary of this case, surrounding an Australian locked up without charge in Guantanamo for five years without charge. He will now become the first person charge under Bush's new military tribunals. His offense? Providing material support for terrorism, which only became a crime in 2006. In other words, they are grasping at straws. Australians are furious, justifiably so. To take just one comment, Barnaby Joyce, an Australian senator (and a member of the governing conservative National Party) claimed that the Americans had abused the process of justice. He also noted that “In fighting the barbarians, we are starting to imitate the barbarians.”

It gets worse. It now seems possible that Hicks's military lawyer, Michael Mori, could himself be prosecuted. The charge? "Breaching Article 88 of the US military code, which relates to using contemptuous language towards the president, vice-president, and secretary of defence". Unreal. Making it a crime to insult the president? The true sign of a banana republic. Just for the record, it is also a crime to defame or insult the president in Turkmenistan, one of the world's most odious dictatorships.

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