The Pentagon has finally admitted David
Hicks’ innocence: he was charged with a non-crime. Time for Howard,
Ruddock and the government to pay compensation for their incompetence.
Hicks officially innocent, Pentagon admits
By Bill Rowlings, CEO of Civil Liberties Australia
The government lie that claimed David Hicks committed any crime is now done and dusted, officially.
Hicks was, and is, innocent of any crime he has been charged with.
The lie that he was a terrorist who had committed a crime was
promoted by the Howard government, notably Prime Minister John Howard
and Attorney-General Philip Ruddock, and by the Pentagon and US
Administration. It has been perpetuated by the Abbott government,
notably by AG George Brandis. But all their claims have now been
officially admitted to be false and wrong in law.
The Australian government faces the prospect of a considerable payout
– in the many millions of dollars range – to Hicks for false
imprisonment and for defamation.
Hicks was sold to US forces in Afghanistan in December 2001 by the
Northern Alliance militia for about $6000. He was kidnapped by the US
and flown secretly to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, where he remained for six
years and was tortured, he says. His claim is entirely believable,
because the CIA and the US military have now admitted being involved in
torture at Guantanamo.
In February 2007, Hicks was repatriated to Australia after agreeing
to a plea deal on the single charge of “providing material support for
terrorism”. At the time, Hicks says, he was being beaten and being
deprived of sleep.
He was given a seven-year suspended sentence by the Guantamo kangaroo
court on what has turned out to be a non-legal charge. At the behest of
the US Administration, Hicks was jailed in Australia for nine months at
Yatala prison in Adelaide to complete the terms of his sentence.
Essentially, Hicks “copped a plea” to get out of the torture hellhole
that was Guantanamo. But, as it turns out, the “crime” that the
Pentagon and US Administration – and the Howard government – claimed
Hicks had committed was, in fact, not a crime. There was no such crime
(material support for terrorism) on the statute books of the USA.
The Pentagon, after years of claiming the white was black, has now in
2015 finally admitted white is white, and Hicks is innocent…and could
never have been guilty.
On Friday, 9 January 2015, a former prisoner of Guantanamo won a
legal victory in the US, a year after he was sent back to his homeland
in Sudan, the US Military Times newspaper reported in relation to another case with the same charge as that levelled against Hicks.
Noor Uthman Muhammed pleaded guilty in February 2011 at a special US
court for wartime offenses known as a military commission. The crime he
pleaded guilty to was providing material support to a terrorist
organisation and conspiracy.
He was sentenced to 34 months on top of the nine years he had already spent at Guantanamo.
But the Pentagon said on 9 Jan that the charges had been dismissed.
A brief statement cited rulings by an appeals court that material
support is not a legitimate war crime under the law authorising military
Noor is officially innocent. Therefore, so too is David Hicks.
Ruddock is still an MP in the federal parliament. He should be called
to account by the parliament for why he jailed an Australian who had
committed no crime. He, John Howard and their advisers were told clearly
at the time by all sorts of people that material support for terrorism
was not a legal charge available to the Pentagon and the US
Administration, and that Australia should have no part in jailing
someone charged with a non-crime.
Howard, Ruddock and Australia had no right to jail Hicks: they acted
illegally. Hicks has every right to sue the current Australian
government for false imprisonment and for defamation for all the lies
told about him being a terrorist and a criminal.
In a world where there was better justice, he would be able to sue
the US government also for kidnapping, false imprisonment and torture.
But the US government does not play by the rule of law: it refuses to
acknowledge the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.