Hicks, Dreyfus, Kafka?

I was listening to an interesting radio program (RN’s Law Report) which had some discussion of comparisons between the Guantanomo detainees appearances before the military tribunal and the celebrated Dreyfus Affair. This is a controversial comparison because we now know that Dreyfus was innocent and railroaded by prejudice both against his ethnicity/religion and distaste for the nature of the charges against him (spying and treason), so some feel offended that an innocent Jew should be compared to a committed jihadi. Others point out that the distaste for Hicks and indifference to his fate because of the nature of the accusations are exactly why his case is so similiar to that of Dreyfus.

Later this year David Hicks will finally go before a US military tribunal to defend himself against…well, at least he’s finally been charged with something after nearly four years in Guantanamao with no charges beyond being an alleged “unlawful combatant“. But what evidence exists against him? We, and more importantly for hard-fought principles of justice, Hicks himself doesn’t know. His American military lawyer believes he’s being railroaded, but our government doesn’t care to defend the basic rights of an Australian citizen. Too busy arselicking (the sadly muted and mutilated by BushCo) Uncle Sam, the whole bloody lot of them.

Of course it’s possible that Hicks is a bloodthirsty conspiratorial jihadi, but without open presentation of the evidence how will we ever know that for sure? Judging by excerpts from his letters he had at the time of his arrest bought into the extreme Islamist propaganda regarding Zionism hook, line and sinker and doesn’t appear very likable thereby, but is that a reason to be indifferent to his basic legal rights being tossed aside?

The implications of the Dreyfus comparisons were upsetting enough.

Then the expert revealed something of which I was unaware: apparently the Howard govt recently introduced legislation whereby the Attorney General can certify that certain information pertaining to the charges against someone can be withheld from the defence in “the interests of national security” and that the accused’s legal representative is not allowed to be in the court when that evidence is produced for the judge. The case of a man who has had his Australian passport withdrawn because of an adverse security report that he is not allowed now to examine in order to challenge it effectively was brought forth as an example.

This is so outrageous I can’t opine, I’ve tried and I merely splutter.

If you space-aliens have watched us all for long enough, I’d like you to land and dissect our leaders now, please. Don’t worry about anaesthesia before you cut, they’re obviously incapable of feeling a thing.



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