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Monday message board

December 10th, 2007

It’s Monday again. Post on any topic. Civilised discussion and no coarse language please. If in doubt, read the discussion policy.

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  1. pablo
    December 10th, 2007 at 19:22 | #1

    It is disappointing to hear the Attorney General, Robert McLelland giving the green light to the AFP to monitor David Hicks after his release from Yatala prison. The signal this gives to a foreshadowed AFP action may have a confidence boosting effect on Keelty and his boys but Rudd should have appreciated the symbolism of breaking completely with JWH and that sorry Guantamano saga. I suspect very few people think Hicks is any risk to anyone and putting him through the hoop with phone checks and police visits just seems to continue a legally flawed charade.

  2. melanie
    December 10th, 2007 at 19:49 | #2

    I’d want to see how this works. Given what Hicks has been through and the psychological effects that are known to occur from institutionalisation, too much freedom might be more than he can stand. Also depends on how persecutory the AFP decides to be. Could be a smokescreen to assuage the looney right. I will be relying on Terry Hicks to let us know.

  3. ansteybranchopolous
    December 10th, 2007 at 20:07 | #3

    I pray to every two bit god that fran bailey looses mckewan.

  4. December 10th, 2007 at 20:41 | #4

    NSW Labor moves to privatise electricity.

    http://www.news.com.au/business/story/0,23636,22898947-462,00.html

  5. pablo
    December 10th, 2007 at 22:02 | #5

    Melanie. Agree with you about Terry letting us know. No one is confirming anything but we know the AFP have previously indicated that they would seek some post-prison monitoring. By giving it to them, Rudd is missing an opportunity to show some direction to the AFP post Howard. Lets just hope that the judiciary call a halt to any further abuse of process through a magistrate’s order on Hicks.

  6. December 10th, 2007 at 22:05 | #6

    Please share with me the pleasure I had meeting many remarkable people at the Getup Refresh conference on the weekend. Just click the link above.

  7. December 10th, 2007 at 23:10 | #7

    Like Hicks is ever going to be allowed to NOT go through the hoops.

  8. December 11th, 2007 at 06:07 | #8

    i would guess that david hicks is less institutionalized than most contributors to this site. he at least is clear about what kind of society he lives in.

  9. Andrew
    December 11th, 2007 at 08:55 | #9

    I’m still staggered how a nasty little piece of work like Hicks can end up being a poster boy for the left. I don’t agree with the way he was treated – Gitmo is a disgrace, but if everyone calms down and thinks about what Hicks actually did then is it really any surprise that the AFP want to monitor him? Maybe he has seen the error of his ways – but I’m glad we are going to monitor him for a while to make sure he has.

    I also very encouraged that it means that the incoming ALP government is not going to drawn into counter-productive ‘symbolic’ acts to9 distance itself from the Howard years. It looks like we’re going to get a nice smooth transition back to the centre rather than an abrupt lurch to the left.

  10. pablo
    December 11th, 2007 at 10:24 | #10

    Who said anything about Hicks being a poster boy of the left? I don’t condone what he did even if you stretched it to ‘youthful adventurism’. But he didn’t break any Australian law and the US Gitmo justice system was a travesty. Giving the AFP a green light to monitor him ad infinitum while the AFP’s role in the Haneef fiasco is still under a cloud – not to mention the Bali nine and SIEV X – suggests to me that Commissioner Keelty is getting the wood on Rudd early in the electoral cycle.

  11. December 11th, 2007 at 10:34 | #11
  12. Andrew
    December 11th, 2007 at 10:34 | #12

    Didn’t you say above that “very few people think Hicks is any risk to anyone”? I challenge that.

    C’mon – Hicks has become a huge poster boy for the left. Wasn’t Hicks the main rallying point that got the GetUp! guys rolling?

  13. gerard
    December 11th, 2007 at 12:01 | #13

    Are any of the people who applauded the 1999 attack on Yugoslavia paying attention to the latest crisis in Kosovo? EU divided as Kosovo crisis looms

  14. gerard
    December 11th, 2007 at 12:12 | #14

    Andrew, are you addicted to straw men? If Hicks was the main rallying point for Get Up it was because his was a case of an Australian citizen’s legal rights being totally sold down the river by a suck-@ss government. NOT because Hicks was anything other than a sh!t-for-brains who belonged to the nastiest bunch of misogynistic savages in the world. Anyway he’s been punished enough and I quite doubt he’s itching to return to the battlefield.

    Oh, and in connection with my previous comment – I recall hearing that Hicks got his intro to Islamic extremism when fighting with the Albanians in Kosovo. That was, remember, when us in the West were applauding these Albanians as great heroes for standing up to the horrible nasty Serbs! Nice illustration of Arafat’s old terrorist/freedom fighter adage.

  15. Andrew
    December 11th, 2007 at 12:57 | #15

    Strawman? I was reacting to the comment that expressed dismay that Hicks is going to be monitored by the AFP…. my view is that so he should be.

  16. gerard
    December 11th, 2007 at 13:19 | #16

    ok, I was just reacting to the knuckle-draggingly dumb remark that Hicks is the poster boy of “Teh Left”. Frankly I don’t know the fuss about Hicks being monitored by the AFP, anyone of you guys could be under surveillance at any time without knowing about it. If you belong to an activist group, you are probably being monitored. If they’re tracking the websites that student protestors are reading, then of course they’ll be tracking Hicks.

  17. Andrew
    December 11th, 2007 at 13:24 | #17

    No, what is knuckle-draggingly dumb is to pick a low-life like Hicks as the rallying point for an organisation that is upset about government ethics. A sure fire way not to gain mainstream support for the cause.

  18. gerard
    December 11th, 2007 at 15:06 | #18

    Well, to point out what would be obvious to most people, they’re only picking him because it’s his rights that were completely thrown down the gurgler. Why would they “rally around” somebody who doesn’t have a problem? Your comment that it is a sure fire way not to gain mainstream support for the cause is confusing. Should we try and get mainstream support for detainees’ legal rights without mentioning the detainees?

  19. Andrew
    December 11th, 2007 at 15:40 | #19

    Well they should have found someone who’s rights were ‘thrown down the gurgler’ who we could have some sympathy with.

    Most people’s reaction to the Hicks situation is one of ‘shame on you government for throwing his rights down the gurgler…. but….. well…. he sort of had it coming….. next!’

    They should have ‘rallied around’ someone with a problem – but someone who we might have half a chance of liking. What about a family guy from Kosovo who’s bravely battled to bring his family to a better life in Australia only to locked up in a prison camp at Port Hedland?

  20. Ian Gould
    December 11th, 2007 at 18:08 | #20

    “I don’t agree with the way he was treated – Gitmo is a disgrace, but if everyone calms down and thinks about what Hicks actually did then is it really any surprise that the AFP want to monitor him?”

    What Hicks “actually did” seems primarily to have traded on his skills as a former Australian soldier to get a job as a mercenary. Strip out the lurid bullshit and speculation and he seems to have mostly been involved in small arms training for the Taliban.

    There are a good number of Australian ex-service personnel working as mercenaries, “security consultants” and “contractors” around the world. Hicks chose a pretty odious employer but so have a good number of those others.

  21. Ian Gould
    December 11th, 2007 at 18:11 | #21

    From a totally different perspective, if you’re going to conduct covert surveillance on a target, the last thing you should do is to tell them that you’re doing so.

    Unless, of course, your motivation is more to do with public relations than an actual security threat.

  22. gerard
    December 11th, 2007 at 18:39 | #22

    I disagree that a family guy from Kosovo would be a good substitute for Hicks, simply because the whole point is that Hicks is an Australian citizen and Australian citizens are supposed to have legal rights that are protected by the Australian government. If the government wants to protect the rights of family guys who are not Australian then that’s a bonus but protecting the rights of citizens is basic.

    When there’s an Australian citizen sitting for year after year after year in a closed lawless foreign military prison without any charge being brought against him, and our government not only doesn’t lift a finger to help but instead defends this sort of thing purely out of obsequence to B*sh people are right to get worked up. Even if the citizen in question is indeed a ratbag (although if he had confined his mercenary adventuring as a Muslim guerilla just to the ‘good war’ in Kosovo he would probably be lauded as a freedom fighter, knighted and paraded through the streets).

    That’s why an outcry grew up around Hicks. It’s not as if it all came from a big bunch of anti-government hippies going “let’s find someone that we can bash the government about legal rights over – oh, how about this Hicks guy?”

  23. December 11th, 2007 at 19:37 | #23

    Australian citizens are not supposed to side with the enemy. That is, if they want the Australian public to give a shove about them.

    No government (unless they wish to be voted out) is going to ever allow Hicks to be unsupervised.

    Fringe looneys may bang on about Hick’s “rights”. However the Rudd government will want to be re-elected.

  24. Jill Rush
    December 11th, 2007 at 21:36 | #24

    The Human Rights Torch Relay is making its way around Australia but is struggling to get any press or TV coverage. The Murdoch Press seems to be boycotting any mention of it although the Chinese language press sees it as important.

    What is it about? The Human Torch Relay is highlighting the impact of the Olympics in China on the Chinese people. People have lost their homes without recompense and have been discouraged from complaining about it by imprisonment or worse. The proponents of Falun Gong meantime are being imprisoned and executed for their body parts.

    The people involved in the torch relay are asking the world to think about the place of sport in our lives and whether the abuse of human rights is in keepiong with the Olympic tradition. Would Australia be brave enough to boycott the Olympics or will the country ignore the abuses so that we can have our bread and circuses. Is the reason that the mainstream press is ignoring this relay because it raises questions that are too uncomfortable in a sports mad nation?

  25. gerard
    December 11th, 2007 at 22:33 | #25

    .The people involved in the torch relay are asking the world to think about the place of sport in our lives and whether the abuse of human rights is in keepiong with the Olympic tradition.

    Why Not?

  26. Ian Gould
    December 11th, 2007 at 22:37 | #26

    “Australian citizens are not supposed to side with the enemy.”

    But at the time, THEY WEREN’T THE ENEMY.

    No more than Japan was the enemey in the 1930′s when Bob Menzies was selling them war materiel.

  27. Chris O’Neill
    December 12th, 2007 at 00:15 | #27

    “Australian citizens are not supposed to side with the enemy.�

    But at the time, THEY WEREN’T THE ENEMY.

    Until at least the 11th of September, 2001, the Taliban and its army was on the same side as the USA. They helped get rid of the Soviets from Afganistan. AFAIK, the act that Hicks pleaded guilty to in a Kangaroo court (receiving training) occured before the 11th of September, 2001. So at the time he was receiving training from an ally of the USA. It was certainly not a crime at the time and it’s a bit much to expect someone with the legal capabilities of Hicks, i.e. zero, to realize that it could be declared a crime at some time in the future by some government somewhere else in the world. I’m waiting for the US to prosecute its own officials for actually funding a terrorist organisation (the one led by Hekmatyar). Presumably, like Hicks, they should have been aware that what they were doing could one day be declared a crime. On the other hand, maybe US government officals were even more ignorant and naive than Hicks and it wouldn’t be fair to prosecute someone who’s ignorant and naive, would it?

  28. Chris O’Neill
    December 12th, 2007 at 00:19 | #28

    Sorry about the blockquote problem. Hope this is right.

    “Australian citizens are not supposed to side with the enemy.�

    But at the time, THEY WEREN’T THE ENEMY.

    Until at least the 11th of September, 2001, the Taliban and its army was on the same side as the USA. They helped get rid of the Soviets from Afganistan. AFAIK, the act that Hicks pleaded guilty to in a Kangaroo court (receiving training) occured before the 11th of September, 2001. So at the time he was receiving training from an ally of the USA. It was certainly not a crime at the time and it’s a bit much to expect someone with the legal capabilities of Hicks, i.e. zero, to realize that it could be declared a crime at some time in the future by some government somewhere else in the world. I’m waiting for the US to prosecute its own officials for actually funding a terrorist organisation (the one led by Hekmatyar). Presumably, like Hicks, they should have been aware that what they were doing could one day be declared a crime. On the other hand, maybe US government officals were even more ignorant and naive than Hicks and it wouldn’t be fair to prosecute someone who’s ignorant and naive, would it?

  29. gordon
    December 13th, 2007 at 10:02 | #29

    Once again the Financial Times is beating warning drums over the price of wheat. Poor harvests not only in Australia but in the US and Europe together with lower than usual reserves look like driving the price really high. There are useful links to earlier pieces on this in the linked FT piece.

  30. gordon
    December 13th, 2007 at 12:25 | #30

    There is a post on the US Federal Reserve’s latest piece of tortured financial manoevring here. Recommended particularly to those interested in the career of Hjalmar Horace Greeley Schacht.

  31. February 10th, 2008 at 22:48 | #31

    John Howard may be knighted
    · http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,23189462-952,00.html

    I have just written to PMs Gordon Brown (UK) and Kevin Rudd:

    Dear Prime Minister

    I learned today that Her Majesty the Queen may be considering former Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard, for a knighthood.

    Many Australians will be profoundly offended by this gross interference in our political life. We worked tirelessly for twelve years to rid this country of this man’s pernicious and damaging influence.

    Now that he is out of public life we should not afford him any undue attention, until we have decided whether a Royal Commission should examine his record.

    Please advise Queen Elizabeth that this knighthood for John Howard will anger many Australians who suffered under his government. It is a most inappropriate honour for a man who has harmed so many of us. In particular, his refusal to attend the official apology to the Stolen Generations seals our view of him for all time.

    Regards
    Willy Bach

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