The article is password protected, but here are some juicy bits:
Under a plea agreement, David Hicks will be repatriated to Australia to serve out what remains of a nine-month term (after most of the seven year “sentence” has been reduced by pre-agreement).On Australian Prime Minister and foe of Barack Obama, John Howard:
Nevertheless, he will be confined in an Australian prison for committing an “offence” for which the Australian government could never have jailed him and which many predict the US Supreme Court will strike down.
Even before the ink had dried on the original draft of David Hicks’ “Offer for a Pre-trial Agreement”, John Howard was looking like a loser in the affair. As Amnesty’s observer, lawyer Jumana Musa noted, the stage-managed “trial” only proved one thing: that the new military commissions were good at inducing guilty pleas.
True enough, the terms of the agreement conveniently prevent Hicks being freed from jail or speaking out before the Australian election later this year. That may not be enough, however, to stop Howard’s shabby treatment of Hicks over the years becoming an issue in your election.
And what’s the political value of a (coerced) conviction without a trial, for a crime that’s not really a crime? What’s the point of a show trial without the show? Stalin would have managed things better.
Strangely enough, John Howard’s philosophy is the same as Stalin’s: no man, no problem. With an election due, David Hicks had to disappear; the PM must think that a jail in Australia will accomplish that.
- Adrian Bleifuss Prados