One of the lesser lights of Australian journalism – and I use that description tentatively – Chris Kenny, makes his claim to fame today.
He was Alexander ‘Dolly’ Downer’s one time Chief of Staff. As such, according to him, he has a sanctified position in Australian society and apparently has passed some quasi-right_of_passage that gives him the right to libel David Hicks, among others whose life experiences he’s never endured, but feels utterly qualified to write about.
I, as an Australian citizen, take umbrage at the opening gambit by Kenny which claims that Australians are preparing to “mark the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks”. I’m certainly not, and I seriously doubt a great many other genuine ‘dinky-die’ Aussies are either. It was a terrible event, no doubts about it, but it happened in a country far, far away; had no connection whatsoever with David Hicks; and yes, happened a decade ago. The world has turned. The so-called War on TerrorTM ended with the overwhelming unseating of conservative politics in that far, far away land as well as in this country. It left behind so many dead who were not victims of random acts of jihad-inspired violence and cost so many nations their youth in misbegotten lands that to my mind, it served no other purpose than to fulfil long sought-after ideological goals for those who thought only of those goals as personal achievements. A decade long war as the result of an illegal invasion of another sovereign nation, hundreds of thousands of dead and maimed military and civilian casualties, disrupted lives and for what? The personal aggrandisement of narrow-minded, selfish political demagogues. Those War on TerrorTM inspired conflicts drag on. And on, and on with no beneficial end in sight while massive costs are incurred to absolutely no benefit to those paying those costs. All of which have nothing what so ever to do with or even remotely relate to David Hicks.
This Kenny piece is pure, unadulterated dishonesty and conflated lies. Kenny attempts to claim that because Hicks heard Osama Bin laden speak ‘numerous times’ whilst he was in Afghanistan that Hicks is somehow to blame for the 29 Australian military deaths incurred in that country since 16 February 2002 when Sergeant Andrew Russell was killed. David Hicks was sold to American military forces for US$1,000 on or about 9 December 2001 but clearly, according to Kenny, that death and the 28 that have followed, are all down to Hicks. Well, goodness gracious sakes alive…I’ve heard Osama Bin Laden speak, so does that place me in the same conflated pidgeon hole as David Hicks?
Hicks attempts to claim that the attacks on the World Trade Centre in 2001 spurred David Hicks into returning to Afghanistan, taking up arms and entering “the field of battle”. Bullshit. Hicks states he returned to Afghanistan to retrieve his passport. Whilst the man might not be the sharpest tool in the shed, no reasonably sane person making the claims he has made would return to a ‘field of battle’ to engage in that battle in the knowledge that he would be fighting in support of a cause he claims to have been revolted by. Kenny attempts to bolster his claim by using what Hicks had written home to his parents years previous, to support his dishonest claim that Hicks “entered the field of battle”. The truth is something vastly different and we know that David Hicks did NOT engage in that battle but was placed in a guard position, behind lines, to look after a tank. In his own words, he did not fire a shot and absconded from that guard position as the fighting drew closer. If anything, the man was/is a deserter.
Kenny’s attempts at fairytale telling get even clumsier. He drags up that tired and long since dismissed photo of Hicks posing with a bazooka, selectively cropped to show only Hicks and not his fellow mercenaries who were also posing with weapons, purely for the purpose of having a photo taken of where they all were at the time. Kosovo. Military combatants the world over pose with their weapons. I dare say Kenny would conflate any Libyan freedom fighter with an AK-47 in his hands as a terrorist in that case. The Hicks photo proves nothing, other than at that time, David Hicks and a number of other young men were dressed in camo and handling weapons. Big Fucking Deal! The photo does NOT mean Hicks killed anyone, it doesn’t even infer he was in any particular place. It certainly has no connection, however ethereal Kenny might want to make that connection, to Bali, or New York, or London or Timbuk-fucking-tu.
So, David Hicks went off on the big boys-own adventure. Well goodie for him I say. He went some places, saw some things and probably lived in ways most of us would not in our wildest and fevered imaginings would ever contemplate. He did those things of his own volition. He has paid a price. A very, very expensive price and one which he will doubtless keep on having to pay if reprobates like Chris Kenny continue to hound him. However, consider this. Chris Kenny claims he was ‘Dolly’ Downer’s Chief of Staff, which appears to be factual. We all know that ‘Dolly’ was complicit in the AWB oil-for-wheat scandal. By direct inference, Kenny himself would have known all about the criminality of that scandal. By direct inference, Kenny has aided and abetted the activities of an arch tyrant and dictator in Saddam Hussein, whom he will quite calmly claim was rightfully done over in 2003 when George W. Bush sanctioned the illegal invasion of Iraq. Am I stretching a point there? Maybe, but equally, maybe not because as Chief of Staff he would have, or should have, been alert to these activities especially so during the Cole Inquiry. Downer, Howard, Vaile et al are criminals complicit in fraud by association. Fraud of the Australian people on the grandest of scales.
There is only one aspect of Kenny’s thought train that I can agree with. That being that we should all recognise that time has moved on and so should we. The ‘we’ including the ill-informed ideologically driven bigots like Christopher Kenny, but I find his willingness to do so sadly absent. David Hicks made mistakes that he now regrets. He has suffered for those mistakes in ways that we can only imagine. Ways that contravene every form of basic human rights, convention of war or legal tenet. The real perpetrators of the so-called War on TerrorTM will never see judgement by their peers. The real people of this country have moved on. We don’t live in the past, we don’t bemoan the fate of others caught in the wrong place at the wrong time and we don’t continually wallow in their misery like mortal analogs of restless spirits doomed to forever wander this vale of tears. We allow those who made mistakes in their personal lives to get on with those lives. It’s such a shame, but all too easy to understand, why the likes of Chris Kenny can’t get over their own self-importance and get on with theirs. If you really want to commemorate the genuine victims of the so-called War on TerrorTM, Chris Kenny, do something constructive for the peoples of Iraq and Afghanistan. You’re sure as hell doing nothing constructive by tearing down the character of someone who had nothing to do with it.