1 Jan. 2007

Howard On Hicks: Choking On Hypocrisy

Top brass breaks ranks on Hicks:
Asked about the treatment of Mr Hicks, who has been held at Guantanamo Bay for more than five years and is not currently charged with any offences, she did not hesitate. "Abominable," she said. "Quite frankly, I think it's wrong. I don't care what he's done or alleged to have done. I think he's entitled to a trial and a fair one and he is entitled to be charged and dealt with as quickly as is possible. As is anybody."

As for the military tribunals the Americans have set up to deal with Mr Hicks, the Brigadier said: "Maybe they should have a good look at us."

Her comments follow remarks by the former prime minister Malcolm Fraser yesterday that the Australian Government had "totally deserted" Mr Hicks.

They also come as the Prime Minister, John Howard, was reported at the weekend as having shifted his rhetoric on Mr Hicks, with his remark that "the acceptability of him being kept in custody diminishes by the day".
If that last sentence isn't enough to make you gag, I don't know what is. I went and dug up the full context for the quote:
Detained at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba since December 2001, Hicks is likely to be charged after January 17 when new regulations for the US military commission scheduled to try him come into effect.

"I am not happy about how long it has taken and we will be putting increasing pressure on the Americans to stick to the timetable they have given us," Mr Howard said. "The acceptability of him being kept in custody diminishes by the day."

Mr Howard said five years was far too long for Hicks to have been kept without facing trial. "I am not happy, not happy at all, and that unhappiness has been communicated to the (Bush) Administration," he said.

Asked if he would consider asking for Hicks' return to Australia, he said a dilemma would arise if there was a further appeal against regulations set to come into effect on January 17. "If there is a further appeal against the process, that throws up the possibility of yet a further delay … that is a real dilemma," Mr Howard said. "I don't believe in indefinite detention without trial; it is a fundamental of our system."
Once again, in Howard's mind anyway, it's the appeals that are the real problem, not the illegal processes which prompt them.