Jan 312007

When will the games surrounding the life and mental stability of David Hicks end? When the United States administration gets what it wants? A proof-of-life scapegoat for all of it’s political, social and humanitarian failings?

Hicks’ Australian legal representative, David McLeod, visited his client this week and came away appalled at his condition. Of course,  United States military lawyer, Colonel Moe Davis, denies the negatives of Hicks’ incarceration, claiming his conditions are in line with US federal prisons.

“That is probably accurate, I mean the detainees there generally are offered two hours of outdoor recreation time a day so that would be the 22 hours a day – about right,” he said. “Of course, folks detained here in federal prison in the United States get one hour of outdoor recreation time so they’re in their cells 23 hours a day.”

Colonel Davis says he has been told by prison authorities that Mr Hicks’ condition is fine.

“The last report I’ve had, and I checked this morning, so I was reading some of the statements that have been reported there in the, the inaccuracies that are being reported to your public down there, so I did check this morning and my understanding is everything is fine.”

How much more disingenuous can the US administration and associated legal representatives become? Take note of the Bannerman’s emphasis in this rather off-handed response to claims of mistreatment. Colonel Davis hasn’t been near Hicks, and relies solely upon ‘reports’ to dismiss the claims of those who have. Not unlike Phillip Ruddock, Alexander Downer and John Howard.

Chained to the floor in a solitary cell for 22 hours of every 24. Why? Risk of self harm, perhaps? McLeod has requested an independent forensic psychological review of Hicks’ condition, and been denied by the Bush administration. Attorney-General, Phillip Ruddock, has apparently demanded an ‘urgent’ report on Hicks’ condition, and eagerly awaits same. Of course, that report will come either from US authorities, or from within consular sources. Caesar judging Caesar is the phrase which comes to the Bannerman’s mind.

And no-one in these reports, US administration, US legal representatives, Australian politicians, displays any recognition of the fact that Hicks is a human being and entitled to be treated as such. Not chained to the floor of a cell, deprived of sunlight and any possibility of hope that his plight is being treated with even the merest modicum of seriousness by those most responsible for his physical and mental welfare.

Bannerman’s heart and mind cries out for David Hicks. He is a human being dying under the slowest, most demeaning and most destructive methods yet devised by so-called civilised humanity. Even Nazi concentration camp detainees of the second world war had death as a probable release from their purgatory. David Hicks doesn’t even have that.

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