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American court's supreme injustice
The Australian ^ | 3rd July 2006

Posted on 07/02/2006 7:54:30 PM PDT by naturalman1975

The 'Hamdan' ruling will further delay Hicks's trial

THE question of whether David Hicks - a nasty piece of work by any reckoning - is simply a harmless fool who was in the wrong place at the wrong time, or a dangerous fool who deserves be locked up for a long time, is now further away from being answered. In a 5-3 decision last week, the US Supreme Court found that the current system of military tribunals is illegal under US law and the Geneva Conventions. But the ruling in the so-called "Hamdan" case does not mean that Mr Hicks and the 450 or so other detainees at Guantanamo Bay will immediately be whisked north to have their cases heard in American civil courts. US politicians have already signalled that they will push for new legislation to create tribunals more palatable to the judicial branch. And the White House has indicated that no one will be released unless they either stand trial before an American tribunal or are sent to another country to continue their detention. This means there is no chance that Mr Hicks will be released to Australia, where none of the laws he may be guilty of violating were in force at the time of his capture.

Those who believe that the Hamdan decision was a major setback to the Bush administration should think again. The court's 185-page decision does not say Guantanamo prisoners should be released, but simply that unlawful combatants are entitled to Geneva Convention protections. Critics of the war on terror should note that George W. Bush recently said he would like to close Guantanamo Bay as soon as possible. Rear Admiral Harry Harris, chief warden at the detention camp, gave an interview to the American ABC last week stating he agreed with the President - but he also pointed out that "of the 450 or so detainees we have here, there are probably 300 of them that are serious Taliban and al-Qa'ida leadership people". Hamdan is more a threat to the fevered imaginings of the radical anti-war Left who believe Mr Bush is a gulag-loving dictator than it is to the war on terror. Having been challenged in the Supreme Court, the Bush administration now has the chance to lift the lid on just what crimes some of the detainees held at Guantanamo are accused of committing. As Admiral Harris said, these are not good guys who are being held. The US might also point out that of those Guantanamo detainees previously released after having been deemed not a threat, at least 10 have been re-captured or killed while fighting with the Taliban or al-Qa'ida in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Beyond the wrangling between the US Congress and court system - which will probably take months, if not years, to resolve - remains the Hicks question. Mr Hicks was captured as a rank-and-file Taliban soldier in December 2001 and has been formally charged with conspiracy to attack civilians, aiding the enemy and attempted murder. Long before he went to Afghanistan, he set out as a young man from his home in suburban Adelaide to aid the cause of international Islamic jihad wherever he could find it. In 1999, he travelled to Albania to join the Kosovo Liberation Army, where he served for two months in that Muslim group's fight against the Serbians at the tail end of the Kosovo war. It was there that he was famously photographed with a rocket-launcher on his shoulder. He then returned to Australia, converted to Islam and travelled to Pakistan, where he joined the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba (Army of the Faithful). This organisation has strong ties to al-Qa'ida and has carried out a bloody terrorist campaign against India. After the September 11 attacks, he went to Afghanistan in preparation for an anticipated attack by American forces. Two months later, he was captured in Konduz during an engagement with coalition troops. Some clues to Mr Hicks's motivation come from a sympathetic documentary, produced in 2004 with $433,000 of taxpayers' money and screened on SBS, titled The President Versus David Hicks. The film quotes letters from Mr Hicks to his father that warn of "the Jews' propaganda war machine" and seek to justify his fighting to ensure "the Western-Jewish domination is finished, so we live under Muslim law again".

Australians lobbying against Mr Hicks's continued incarceration have a point: he should be tried, sooner rather than later. To do anything else would be to deny justice not only for Mr Hicks, but also the coalition troops - including Australians - that he took up arms against, as well as the people of Afghanistan who suffered so brutally under the Taliban he was so keen to support. As this newspaper has pointed out in the past, the Sixth Amendment to the US constitution guarantees a "speedy and public trial". Following this precept would be a big moral win for the war on terror and the Bush administration. Nor should Western governments fighting the war on terror hesitate to release details of the sort of enemy we are up against. Meanwhile, opponents of the Howard and Bush governments who call for quick trials for Mr Hicks and his ilk reveal their confusion by cheering the Hamdan decision. For, in touching off another round of argument between Congress and the courts, hearings of any sort will be delayed that much more. It is hoped the US Congress will quickly pass legislation that will be acceptable to the Supreme Court and allow trials or courts martial of Guantanamo detainees, including Mr Hicks, to proceed without delay.

TOPICS: Australia/New Zealand; Editorial; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: gitmo; scotus

1 posted on 07/02/2006 7:54:33 PM PDT by naturalman1975
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To: naturalman1975

It's a war.

Keep Hicks locked up until it's over.

2 posted on 07/02/2006 8:01:35 PM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It. Supporting our Troops Means Praying for them to Win!)
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To: naturalman1975
It is hoped the US Congress will quickly pass legislation that will be acceptable to the Supreme Court

It is hoped the US Congress will quickly pass legislation that will tell the Supreme Court to get stuffed.

I can hope can't I?

3 posted on 07/02/2006 8:18:23 PM PDT by Valpal1 (Big Media is like Barney Fife with a gun.)
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To: Valpal1

That legislation would be to have us withdraw from the Conventions...

4 posted on 07/02/2006 8:25:21 PM PDT by thoughtomator (Famous last words: "what does Ibtz mean?")
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To: thoughtomator

No, congress can overturn a SCOTUS decision and make it void.

Any number of ways to tell them to get stuffed. Like a bill clarifying that they did intend article 1 of the DTA to be retroactive.

Or a bill declaring explicity stating that the US does not consider the conventions to include terrorists and scolding SCOTUS for being dumb asses.

Where there is political will there is a way.

5 posted on 07/02/2006 8:31:22 PM PDT by Valpal1 (Big Media is like Barney Fife with a gun.)
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To: xzins

But if you grant him POW status, you treat him as a captured soldier and not a criminal terrorist.

The Bush administration claims he is a criminal terrorist, and therefore will not treat him as a POW.

But if he is a criminal terrorist, you eventually have to give him some sort of trial. This would prove that he deserves punishment whether the war ends or not.

6 posted on 07/02/2006 8:55:47 PM PDT by proxy_user
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To: proxy_user

Even if they are legally classed as and treated as POWs, they can still be charged with war crimes, correct?

Fifteen of our soldiers are facing trial on charges of rape and murder. I believe the maximum penalty under the UCMJ is death.

These terrorists have killed thousands. They should be given no better treatment than our own soldiers. A fair trial in some appropriate forum (be it a military tribunal, a criminal court, or another Nuremberg trial) then punishment under the law.

7 posted on 07/02/2006 10:05:39 PM PDT by Ostlandr ( CONUS SITREP is foxtrot uniform bravo alfa romeo)
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To: naturalman1975

David Rivkin on C-SPAN now.

8 posted on 07/03/2006 4:52:25 AM PDT by leadpenny
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To: naturalman1975
The article makes a good point. Give Mr. Hicks to the Afghanis, I'm sure they'll give him a speedy and public trial, then kill him.

Why should we bother?

9 posted on 07/03/2006 6:29:08 PM PDT by sig226 (There are 10 kinds of people in the world: those who understand binary and those who do not.)
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