10 July 2006

"Little has changed for Hicks and co"

In today's Age Michael Gawenda has an article whose title "Little has changed for Hicks and co" reflects his cold light of day assessment of the likely impact of the Hamdan v Rumsfeld decision :

Almost nothing has changed after the US Supreme Court ruling that the Bush Administration's military commissions for detainees held at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba contravened both US and international law.

The Australian Government remains convinced that David Hicks will eventually get something close to justice at some sort of military tribunal some time in the future. The prison complex is no closer to being shut down, despite George Bush's insistence that he would like to close it.

The indefinite detention of many of the prisoners continues and will continue into the forseeable future. And the dozen or so detainees, including David Hicks, who had been charged under the military commission system ruled out of bounds by the Supreme Court will not be tried by either a regular court martial or through the US criminal justice system.

He concludes by decrying the "political polarisation" which exists in both Australia and the US, and asks:

Where are the conservatives who support the war on terror but who are horrified by the abuse of detainees, by the evidence that the Administration has countenanced torture, by the travesty of the military commissions? And where are those on the left who reject the notion that the war on terrorism is a cynical, politically motivated fiction and who know there is no easy or simple answer to what should be done with some of the detainees held at Guantanamo who have al-Qaeda connections?

Their silence means that the shouters will continue to be the only ones heard. What a depressing prospect.

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