Mar 282007
 

That’s how Bannerman sees the so-called prosecution seeking and achieving a 20 years sentence for David Hicks, following his guilty plea to the Specification 1 of the charges levied against him.
However, digression, whilst satisfying, doesn’t address the issue of just what sentence Hicks’ will wind up with. Will it be 20 years as rumoured? Well, as the post title states, Bannerman believes that occurrence to be unlikely. Bannerman believes an accommodation between the US and Australian governments has already been reached, which would explain the gag order on all concerned with yesterday’s hearing and the end result. Bannerman believes that David Hicks will be back in Australia before the end of April, indeed, may well be back before the end of next week. What remains to be seen is just what Hicks will be sentenced to, whether it be additional incarceration in this country, which seems grossly unfair, and whether Hicks will be effectively silenced by the Australian government regarding his story.


As an aside, Bannerman wonders how many Australians, either pro or con the Hicks case, have read the charge sheet provided on the US military website? Bannerman is bemused and more than a little chagrinned by the references in Specification 1 to the supposed events and circumstances surrounding Hicks in the time prior to September 11, 2001. After all, didn’t the much advertised and by now surely patented, ‘War on Terror’tm begin on that day? Aren’t the activities of any individual prior to that date irrelevant to the case in question, not to mention irrelevant in law, in connection with the charges laid? What bearing on the legalities of the issue does Hicks expressing satisfaction, pleasure, discontent or the state of his lower bowel in connection with the events of September 11, 2001, have? Isn’t dragging these circumstances into the issue retrospective, suppositional and implicational? Isn’t this inadmissible heresay in the majority?
Bannerman would be interested to know the proper legal interpretation. Not that proper legalities in any way apply to the American Military Commissions Act, 2006. As Lex Lasry described on the ABC’s ‘World Today’ program at midday, the performance of the commission yesterday was anything but proper, especially with the disbarring of 66% Hicks’ legal counsel purely on the basis of their non-military status. This after Mr Joshua Dratel and a female assistant civilian lawyer had already sought and received permission to travel at Guantanamo Bay for the express purpose of appearing for Hicks at the hearing.
Bannerman also finds disturbing the utterances from some in the Howardian cabal of some vindication of the government’s stand on David Hicks’ guilt. Customs and Justice Minister, Senator David Johnston yesterday following a performance in the Senate with the following:

“Well I’m just saying there’s a stark contrast between him being a theological tourist and pleading guilty to aiding terrorists. Now, I mean, when you plead guilty, as an old courtroom sparrer like myself knows, when you plead guilty, you put yourself in the dock and you don’t go home that night.”

Bannerman doesn’t recall Hicks’ being designated a ‘theological tourist’ at any time in the past five years, yet there are those who continually label the man, ‘terrorist’, without any clarification or evidence. Most strange.
However, digression, whilst satisfying, doesn’t address the issue of just what sentence Hicks’ will wind up with. Will it be 20 years as rumoured? Well, as the post title states, Bannerman believes that occurrence to be unlikely. Bannerman believes an accommodation between the US and Australian governments has already been reached, which would explain the gag order on all concerned with yesterday’s hearing and the end result. Bannerman believes that David Hicks will be back in Australia before the end of April, indeed, may well be back before the end of next week. What remains to be seen is just what Hicks will be sentenced to, whether it be additional incarceration in this country, which seems grossly unfair, and whether Hicks will be effectively silenced by the Australian government regarding his story. The Howardians will not want any further complications from the Hicks saga in the lead-up to this years election. If he does end up coming home, in all likelihood, he will be buried under some form of control order if not incarcerated and made to fade into the background.Bannerman hopes this is not allowed to occur by those intent on ‘maintaining the anger’ over this entire affair, both from the domestic political perspective of a government abandoning a citizen and denying his rights, but also from the perspective of basic human rights and proper judicial process being abused both here in Australia, and in the US.