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David Hicks is heading back to Australia after more than five years in America's Shame, Guantanamo. The transcript of his truncated judicial proceedings is full of nothing but redactions when it comes to the type of abuse he suffered.

But we now have a little more insight into the the abuse to which he was subjected. The Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC) received a copy of an affidavit he filed with his unsuccessful application for British citizenship and some of its contents are discussed here.

In the affidavit, Hicks said he was slapped, kicked, punched and spat on after being arrested by coalition forces in the Central Asian country in 2001.

Hicks also said that he had heard other detainees screaming in pain, had seen evidence of beatings on fellow prisoners and had had a shotgun trained on him during questioning.

"I realised that if I did not cooperate with US interrogators, I might be shot," he said in the document handed to British authorities and obtained by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

Anyone who follows the sordid history of torture knows that its goal is to obtain confessions, NOT information. Hicks experience is further illustration of that undeniable truth.

As reported by the ABC,

In the document, Hicks said that by early 2003 he "felt that I had to ensure that whatever I did pleased the interrogators to keep from being physically abused, placed in isolation and remaining at Guantanamo for the rest of my life", the ABC reported late Monday.

Sadly, this story is not new. We have heard them repeatedly and as reported by the ABC

Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to former US Secretary of State Colin Powell, said his claims were credible.

"I know this kind of abuse happened," he told ABC. "I've talked to people who participated in it -- CIA, military and contractor."

Wilkerson said military officers had told him the interrogations at Guantanamo Bay had revealed "virtually nothing" of useful intelligence.

"And that is just damning," he said.

When will this end? When will we ever return to our senses? The day must come soon. The day I am praying for is not just when we shut down Guantanamo, but when we have a full open accounting of what was done in our name. On that day, when we disclose to the world how we let our fears take control of our senses and morals, we will begin to redeem ourselves before the World.

Originally posted to September 17, 1787 on Tue Apr 03, 2007 at 08:50 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Question: What would happen if Hicks talked? (6+ / 0-)

    Once he is back in Australia, what would prevent him from giving his story? This is an honest question, which I haven't seen addressed.

    He'll be back in a country which actually runs by the rule of law, I believe, and the gag order could be viewed as obtained under duress and by illegitimate means--certainly it is in my book.

    Certainly the world would like to know more, and word could be gotten out fairly simply.

    Once the cat's out of the bag, what then? They're not going to send him back....

    •  And for the record, I have been ashamed of (3+ / 0-)

      my country for years now. Torture, warrantless spying, secret prisons, etc.It is a record to be properly ashamed of.

      I remember what our country used to be.

      To paraphrse the Repubs, in this different context:

      If there's nothing to hide, why the gag order?

    •  I thought the same thing... (8+ / 0-)

      a contract based on an illegal act is not binding.  Since the act behind this gag agreement was torture, and was obtained under duress, Hicks could just speak out.  I realize that is brave for me to say.

      Any party that would lie to start a war would also steal an election.

      by landrew on Tue Apr 03, 2007 at 09:01:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Very good question. I have not seen it (3+ / 0-)

      addressed either. I can't believe anything would happen unless there is a separate agreement with the Australian authorities. But even then one would think the public outcry would prevent retribution. The only U.S. leverage against Australia I can think of would be the U.S. nixing any further deals with them. I'll keep my eyes open.

      •  Barring their having another prisoner in Gitmo, (3+ / 0-)

        I'm not sure that "nixing further deals" with Australia would be that much of a threat at this time. And it works both ways; how many ties would the US want to break with Australia?

        It's harder to manage propaganda against countries that actually speak English. And our economy isn't in the kind of shape that does well with real econonic sanctions right now. Sure, people can pour out a little French champagne for fun (we make plenty ourselves anyway), but that's just theater.....  Just MHO.

      •  The entire pre-trial agreement is (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gary Norton

        online here.  I'm not capable of analyzing it, but some applicable Australian laws are mentioned, especially with regard to his (not) making a profit from his story.  He agreed to silence his friends and relatives -- how's he s'posed to do that?  

        Under some circumstances, Hicks agrees that the USA may capture him and detain him outside of Australia, but that applies more to "terrorist" activities, I think.

        The Republicans are defunding, not defending, America.

        by DSPS owl on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 01:44:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks. I read it. The (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DSPS owl

          agreement does not include an obligation to the Australian Government not to speak before the year is up. But I think issue is moot because they would not need a reason to arrest him since he would already be in detention, for most if not all of the gag period. Due to that, the U.S. could just seek his extradition.

          But as mentioned below given what he's been through one would assume he would not want to risk being sent back.  

    •  What would happen if he talked? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gary Norton, Rippen Kitten

      He'd disappear and no one would ever know what became of him.  


      The religious fanatics didn't buy the republican party because it was virtuous, they bought it because it was for sale

      by nupstateny on Tue Apr 03, 2007 at 09:20:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  CIA contract players will be sent ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rippen Kitten

      ...to snatch him out of his jail cell and render him to a secret prison in, say, Morocco, where they have more control.

    •  response (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gary Norton

      The Australian Attorney General aka the walking corpse Phillip Ruddock has confirmed publicly that other than preventing Hicks from "profiting from his crime" (ie selling his story), the Australian Government has no powers to prevent him telling his story.

      It's also more than possible that has Australia's Federal Law on Profiting from Crime includes mentiongs of the now dumped US Military Tribunals, that they can't even prevent him turning a buck.

      I doubt there is a single Australian who believes that our government was not active and utterly complicit in Hick's sentence conditions.

      The US has made extremely threatening noises suggesting dire conseuqences if Hicks violates the 12 month gag order, namely that he will be required to serve the rest of the 7 year sentence. But our A-G made it clear they would not be interested in extradicting Hicks if he did violate the gag.

      That aside, I don't think Hicks will test this supposed freedom to talk any time soon once he's back in Australia; he will no doubt be kept in a high-security prison, and personally I think he will remain fearful of having freedom and/or even return to Australian soil taken away from him. I doubt you get over 5 years of constant fear and lack of continuity (unless you count time in solitary as 'continuity') leaves you all that quickly.

      So after all that, what happens if Hicks talks? Well  there's enough wingnuts in Australia who will always deride and disbelieve anything he has to say (the right-wing Murdoch rag The Australian has already made much of the fact that his lawyers said he was hollow-eyed and thin, but at his trial he was gasp slightly pudgy!! No doubt he'll be reviled by the usual revilers.

      I don't think there's much doubt that Hicks is at the very least a severely misguided individual, and it would be very easy for the vast majority of Australians to lose any sympathy for him if he utters anything sympathetic about Islam/Muslims/"terrorists" (to use a shorthand).

      In terms of the impact in the USA, one can't help but think, cynically, that a white Australian boy talking about abuse etc. is going to have a very strong impact. Or it might disappear without a trace, who knows?

      I must sadly correct one thing you said - we don't have the Patriot Act, but we do have a highly draconian set of "Anti-Terror" laws, including charming conditions like being able to place people on "Control Orders" which mean wearing an electronic tag and having movement, communications and contact severely restricted, all without a trial. In fact we have one individual under a Control Order now.

      Suffice to say that walking cadaver aka our Attorney -General and Howard's government in general has not rested in their efforts to make Australia a less just, less fair and less free society.

      "This just can't get more disturbing!" - Willow

      by myriad on Tue Apr 03, 2007 at 10:27:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That one individual under (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gary Norton

        "Control Order" and the law supporting it would be worth a diary, if you haven't done it already.  Not that the current regime in the US needs any help thinking up draconian measures, but we should be keeping track of what our friends are doing.  It sounds pretty awful.

        The Republicans are defunding, not defending, America.

        by DSPS owl on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 01:51:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you for this. I was (0+ / 0-)

        interested in your comment re the AG not being interested in extradition if the gag order is violated. Are he and the PM on the outs?

        But as you suggest Hicks probably would not want to chance it.

  •  When will the text of Bush's still-classified (6+ / 0-)

    Memorandum of Notification to the CIA of Sept. 17, 2001, which authorized all this torture, be made public?

    Katrina was America's Chernobyl.

    by lysias on Tue Apr 03, 2007 at 09:08:32 AM PDT

  •  I think Camus said it best (5+ / 0-)

    Torture has perhaps saved some at the expense of honor, by uncovering 30 bombs. But at the same time it has created 50 new terrorists.

    It doesn't work.

    One of the big lessons for the agency was that the South Vietnamese torturing people got in the way of getting information," he says. "One day, without my knowledge, the South Vietnamese forces beat one of my subjects to a pulp, and when he staggered into the interrogation room, I was furious. And I went to the station chief and he said, 'What do you want me to do about it?' "I told him to tell the Vietnamese to lay off, and he said, 'What do you want me to tell them in terms of why?' I said, 'Because it's wrong, it's just wrong.' He laughed and said, 'Look, we've got 180,000 North Vietnamese troops within a half hour of here -- I can't tell them, don't beat the enemy. Give me a pragmatic reason.' I said, 'He can't talk. He's a wreck. I can't interrogate him.' He said, 'That, I can use with them

    "A great democracy must be progressive or it will soon cease to be a great democracy" Theodore Roosevelt

    by se portland on Tue Apr 03, 2007 at 09:29:49 AM PDT

  •  If this Democratic congress fails to impeach... (3+ / 0-)

    If these Democrats fail to at least attempt impeaching Bush, Cheney, Rice and their whole disgusting staff, then America's torture of prisoners will be an indelible stain on our honor for generations to come.  Already these fiends have seen to it that America's moral leadership has been forfeit for the duration of all our lifetimes.

    That is the legacy of the Bush regime. It is a legacy of total, permanent dishonor.

    9-11 9-11 9-11, war war war, al qaida Iraq Saddam. Rinse, then repeat 20,000 times.

    by jimbo92107 on Tue Apr 03, 2007 at 09:44:06 PM PDT

  •  The transcript for yesterday's 7.30 report... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gary Norton, blueoasis, DSPS owl, kurt

    is up...
    Here is the intro -
    Controversy lingers over 'pre-empted' Hick sentencing deal

    Reporter: Kerry O'Brien

    KERRY O’BRIEN: Finally, after five years and four months, Al-Qaeda-trained David Hicks is going through the final stages of processing before being flown back to Australia from Guantanamo Bay to serve his formal sentence of nine months, a sentence that began on March 31. But the controversy lingers on, of course, around that deal that was struck between Hicks's lawyer Major Michael Mori and a higher US military authority, even before the military commission hearing began last week in Guantanamo. Major Mori has confirmed that, without the knowledge of the trial judge, he neatly pre empted a full hearing by directly approaching Susan Crawford, the convening authority governing the military commission's tribunals and a former senior defence official under now Vice President Dick Cheney. Several American newspapers have questioned whether the process has become politically tainted. Major Mori has told the 7.30 Report it is not unusual that the eight member sentencing panel of military officers deliberated and recommended a sentence of seven years without knowing that the deal of nine months had already been struck. I spoke with Major Mori back in Washington at his Pentagon office earlier today.

    Bush the lesser, horrid king besmeared with blood Of human sacrifice, and parent's tears. [apologies to Milton]

    by Clive all hat no horse Rodeo on Tue Apr 03, 2007 at 10:29:02 PM PDT

  •  Former Oz PM on the "medieval treatment" of Hicks (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gary Norton, DSPS owl, kurt

    Former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser (of the same Party  as John Howard) writes:

    some people believe the Hicks saga is over. Some people believe the sentence was too light because he was a terrorist anyway. Some believe he was treated harshly and without justice. Others believe that what has happened over the last week was cooked up between governments to minimise the political damage to the Australian Government through this election year.

    If the fraudulent Military Commission process in the Hicks case had not been concluded, the Australian Government would have lost even more than it has lost. If Hicks had been given an extremely heavy sentence, the Government would have lost more again. If Hicks were released before the election and were able to speak personally about events in Guantanamo Bay, the fallout for the Government would be considerable. So, it is the best result for the Government, and I do not believe by accident.

    The Military Commission is controlled, in the first instance by the US military, in reality by the United States Government. Despite Australia’s silence and compliance in matters of fundamental policy, whether in relation to Iraq or the 'War on Terror', or the conduct of affairs at Guantanamo Bay and the Military Commission trials themselves, up to this point the US Government had done nothing at all to repay Australia for its unseemly acquiescence.

    Both governments will say: Hicks has had his day in court, he pleaded guilty, he has been justly treated. What we really need to concentrate on and to understand is that Hicks did not have a day in a court. He had a day in a fraudulent tribunal, controlled by a special law, which the Americans would never dare to apply their own people. A US citizen would be free to take a ruling from such a tribunal to the US Supreme Court, which would find that the Military Commission does not provide justice.

    What we have seen is the end result of unremitting and 'medieval' pressure on Hicks. A pressure increased by threats of a long and continuing sentence in jail, by what Hicks would have believed to be a guaranteed guilty verdict, regardless of whether he were guilty or innocent, because that is what the system provided for. If he were to plead guilty, he was offered a way out. That also means that the particular evidence against Hicks did not have to be revealed. Remember that the more serious charges against him were struck down for lack of evidence. After everything that had gone on, Justice Susan Crawford could not have struck down all charges. She let the least important ones stand. The guilty plea meant the evidence or its sources did not have to be revealed, or the means by which it was collected made clear.

    Hicks’ guilt or innocence is an open question. A plea of guilty was extracted from him by the pressure exerted upon him -- and by the fear of that pressures continuing without an end in sight. What man would have pleaded otherwise?

    I do not know if he is guilty or innocent, he was certainly wild and foolish, but that is not the point. The point is justice, the Rule of Law and due process. If our Government is prepared to allow any one of its citizens to be sacrificed on the altar of expediency, if our Government demonstrates that it is not really concerned for justice, for a fair process, for one person, then none of us knows whether circumstances might arise in which the same lack of care, lack of concern, will be exhibited in relation to ourselves.

    The rule of law, its equal application to all people, is the most fundamental principle underpinning our democracy. In some ways it is more fundamental even than the right to vote. A government that breaches that principle so clearly, so plainly, so blatantly, a government that asserts that the Military Commission has provided a legitimate day in court, is a government that on this issue stands condemned.

    I am convinced that there was a political settlement to get rid of the Hicks case, cool it, calm it, wash it out of our hair; it has become too hot to handle. David Hicks has been silenced until after the Australian election. What has happened has stained Australia’s reputation. It will take a different example and a different concern to repair the damage -- damage that we should not forget.

    "This just can't get more disturbing!" - Willow

    by myriad on Tue Apr 03, 2007 at 10:35:56 PM PDT

  •  American torturers MUST be exposed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gary Norton

    I believe this is the single most important task confronting this country post-Bush. Every single individual who participated in the vast criminal conspiracy to torture anyone must be publicly exposed; the interrogators, the contractors, the lawyers, the politicians and bureaucrats, the doctors, (yes there are doctors),the secret services and even the soldiers. By name.
    They don't all have to go to jail, but they must be recorded, it must be known who did this; they must be publicly shamed.
    If this does not happen, America will never regain her honor, it is that simple.

    We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office. Aesop (620 - 560 BC) -8.13, -7.74

    by AWhitneyBrown on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 12:57:22 AM PDT

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