Jan 052007

Next week marks the fifth anniversary of David Hicks’s imprisonment without trial in the notorious detention centre at Guantanamo Bay. He got there after being sold for $1000 to American special forces in Afghanistan by a Northern Alliance warlord.

He has since been charged with conspiracy to commit murder, terrorism, attempted murder and aiding the enemy. But he has still not faced trial. And while others have been released he remains in custody. As Australian public opinion firms for bringing him home, serious question marks persist about the legitimacy and fairness of the military commission that is supposed to hear his case later this year. One commentator has dubbed him a ‘vicious and racist fundamentalist’, others see him as a ‘symbol of the sanctity of human rights’.

To discuss his case Breakfast is joined by Major Michael Mori, Hicks’s US Marine Corps Defence Counsel, and Imre Salusinszky, NSW political reporter for The Australian newspaper.

Radio National Breakfast – 5 January 2007 .

 Well, reader, this was one of those interviews which really put that much needed spark into one’s day. Bannerman hasn’t laughed so much before 08:30am in ages. To be quite frank, Bannerman is bemused as to just why Summer Breakfast presenter, Paul Barry, had Imre Salusinszky on to speak in the first place. Perhaps this is a part of Mark Scott’s drive to ensure that bias doesn’t raise it’s ugly head. Bannerman wonders if Mark Scott was listening this morning. Hopefully he was. He’d have been made irrefutably aware of why Mr Salusinszky and his erstwhile radio partner and fellow RWDB, Tim Blair come under the heading of those who offer only “semi-literate rants by myopic cretins with tickets on themselves and serious anger issues” as so very appropriately described by Dr Leslie Cannold on Summer Breakfast, just prior Mr Salusinszky’s interview. In hindsight, Bannerman wonders if this was the reason for this mornings programming schedule.

Reader, Bannerman suggests that we take a jaunt through some aspects of Mr Salusinszky’s myopic rant. Salusinszky deliberately labelled Hicks as a traitor. Let’s take a look at the definition of ‘traitor’.

trai·tor: – noun

1. a person who betrays another, a cause, or any trust.
2. a person who commits treason by betraying his or her country.

Now, Bannerman asks this. Who has Hicks betrayed? Which cause? What trust? If Hicks has betrayed his country, which just by the by, reader, is still Australia despite how galling Mr Salusinszky must find that fact, how has he managed this? On the issue of betrayal, Bannerman would like to point out to Mr Salusinszky that the Howard government has betrayed it’s own responsibilities in ignoring the plight of David Hicks because it suits the government politically to do so. Lip service to the lack of action in presenting charges against Hicks by the U.S. is an inadequate address to the government’s own responsibility to protect the basic human rights of all Australian citizens, regardless of their supposed crimes.

Mr Salusinszky claimed David Hicks is a racist, that he is an anti-semite. Mr Salusinszky claims that we “know for a fact” that these things are true because of what was mentioned in a documentary program, “The President and David Hicks”. As Major Mori pointed out, Hicks has NOT endorsed the content of that doco, which makes any claims based upon it heresay in law. We are, after all, reader, viewing the Hicks case from a legal perspective, which Mr Salusinszky claims he avidly awaits resolution of.

Mr Salusinszky also claims to be concerned about basic human rights and the travesties which currently exist throughout the world, yet in virtually the same breath, he claims that David Hicks’ position and circumstance is not at the top of his priorities. In fact he states he doesn’t care about David Hicks’ position, as he (Hicks) is “an anti-semitic Al Qaeda trainee”. Mr Salusinszky is much more concerned with building a strawman from the first and/or second Bali bombing episodes, as the interview clearly displays. Bannerman was, at this early stage in the interview, quite aghast that this man actually has a job writing for a major Australian daily.

Then came the expected slights against the ABC, Phillip Adams, etc. (refer the link above) because Mr Salusinszky was clearly picking up the pace as he attempted to avoid the toppling strawman, after Paul Barry button-holed him on defence of basic human rights. So very, very predictable. Michael Mori was succinct in his statements and much, much more defined and accurate that Mr Salusinszky could ever hope to be. This is to be expected, as Major Mori deals only in facts, not personal bias, or supposition. Bannerman wishes once again to point out to the reader, that Mr Salusinszky actually has a job writing for a major Australian daily. Fascinating.

Bannerman strongly urges the reader to have a listen to this interview, and the arguments put forward by the proponents for the ultra-conservative right in this country. Listen also to the rebuttal arguments from Hicks’ legal representative. The real facts of the matter. Questions seriously need to be asked, publically, of this sector of Australian society. Why has this country’s government abandoned a citizen? Why has it ignored that citizen’s legal rights, as a citizen, in the face of unjustified incarceration by a foreign power. To the Bannerman, it matters not a whit whether America is Australia’s ally or not. More to the point, it matters to a much greater degree that an ally is ignoring the rights of an Australian citizen which it accords to its own citizens. The lame excuses offered by Mr Salusinszky in this mornings interview simply do not stack up.

Bannerman hopes that this mornings interview aids the cause for returning David Hicks to this country in short order, preferably before he completely losses his mind.

As a postscript, Bannerman would like to know – sincerely – if anyone out there has Mr Salusinszky’s email address. Bannerman would dearly enjoy taking Mr Salusinszky to task regarding this issue, and many more besides. It’s plainly clear from Mr Salusinszky’s performance on RN this morning that he doesn’t have an argument, but prefer’s to play off the antithesis of others. Easy pickin’s in the B-man’s view. Defined by a quick & dirty Google which reveals this to be Mr Salusinszky’s stock in trade. As the Bannerman says…..easy pickin’s

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