Home > World Events > Hicks case dropped

Hicks case dropped

July 25th, 2012

After nearly 10 years, military trials at the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp have produced a total of six convictions. One of those was David Hicks, who agreed to a plea bargain under which he would be sent back to Australia to serve out his sentence. On his release, he wrote a book about his experiences. Under “proceeds of crime” laws, the earnings from books about a criminal career are liable to confiscation, and the Australian government accordingly froze the proceeds and took action to have them forfeited.

The news today is that the Director of Public Prosecutions has abandoned the actions and paid Hicks’ legal costs[1]. Although no rationale was given, the general presumption is that the US conviction would not stand up in an Australian court, either because (as Hicks alleged) Hicks’ guilty plea was extracted by torture, or because the whole system failed to meet basic standards of due process.

Most simple of all is the fact that, unlike the usual case of plea bargaining (which is problematic enough), the options aren’t pleading guilty or going to trial. Rather those who plead guilty get a definite (and usually relatively short) sentence on top of their detention, while those who do not are held indefinitely without trial. All of this is relevant now that the Obama Administration is trying to “normalise” the plea bargaining process, by getting those who have pleaded guilty to testify against others accused of more serious crimes. Evidence extracted under this kind of duress is obviously worthless.

None of this proves that Hicks was innocent, either morally or legally. But that’s an inherent problem in a corrupted legal process. Since the trials are rigged in such a way that they can never produce an acquittal (those who might be acquitted are simply kept in detention without charge), a conviction doesn’t prove anything[2]. Morally, Hicks’ eagerness to go to war in any cause that would take him (he applied to join the Australian Army after returning from Kosovo) is pretty repugnant, but those who gave us Gitmo and the Iraq War are in no position to throw stones.

fn1. The only other Australian detainee, Mamdouh Habib, was threatened with similar action, but this did not proceed. He eventually received a substantial (but secret) settlement in return for dropping claims against the Australian government for its alleged involvement in his torture.

fn2. This is a problem even in the standard plea-bargaining system and has given rise to something called the Alford plea, apparently used by Hicks. The accused pleads guilty for legal purposes, while maintaining their innocence of the alleged crime.

Categories: World Events Tags:
  1. Hal9000
    July 25th, 2012 at 07:56 | #1

    “Morally, Hicks’ eagerness to go to war in any cause that would take him (he applied to join the Australian Army after returning to Kosovo) is pretty repugnant…”

    True, but hardly unique and lower on the scale of moral repugnance than the many Australians working as mercenaries for the ‘security contractor’ industry on the fringes of the West’s wars of choice. Hicks’s brief military career started out with the Kosovo Liberation Army, which was at the time portrayed in our media as a band of heroes, but which we now know to be a mafia franchise and which was back then with much justification seen by Belgrade as a terrorist outfit. Just a few hundred km away from Kosovo, there were then and are now plenty of Australians serving in the Israeli military, many of whom will return to Australia and be feted for their activities.

    The trouble with the case against Hicks always lay with the fact that, at the relevant time, what he was doing wasn’t an offence under Australian or US law. Retrospective application of criminal law is repugnant both legally and morally, and yet that is what he was convicted of.

  2. Freelander
    July 25th, 2012 at 08:11 | #2

    About time and all. A complete disgrace the Australian government and government agencies complicity in the American government’s crimes against an Australian citizen, however foolish in his youthful idealism he may have been to have been in the wrong place with the wrong people at the wrong time. While the confiscation of the proceeds of crime is good legislation, no crime had been proven in a competent court, and no Australian court ought to have recognized the travesty of a confession obtained under extreme duress. Moreover, even if he had been convicted by a competent court of some crime, little if any proceeds of the book could be identified as the proceeds of crime as interest in the book was not primarily connected to any crime in the way it is in other cases. The real interest in Hicks book was not in any crime allegedly committed by Hicks but was in those crimes committed against him and others by the US government. Those crimes will never result in a single trial.
    Now we have the continuing travesty of the Australian government once again complicit with the US government, this time against Julian Assange.

  3. Troy Prideaux
    July 25th, 2012 at 08:23 | #3

    Hal9000 :
    The trouble with the case against Hicks always lay with the fact that, at the relevant time, what he was doing wasn’t an offence under Australian or US law. Retrospective application of criminal law is repugnant both legally and morally, and yet that is what he was convicted of.

    One wonders what the Bush-Howard administration-coalition would’ve done about the Julian Assange situation if inventing laws to retrospectively convict someone was almost par for the course.

  4. Freelander
    July 25th, 2012 at 08:49 | #4

    A lot of the post 911 American laws should not be recognized internationally because those laws extend US jurisdiction to every person regardless of whether they are American or not, in any place in the world. Another reason governments ought to be reluctant to recognise these laws is that they are extremely sweeping, and hence to avoid applying to a vast legion their application is subject to considerable discretion. When everyone is guilty but only those an executive selects are prosecuted you essentially no longer have rule of law. Having abandoned rule of law the US is well on the way to being a failed state, or maybe is already there.

  5. rog
    July 25th, 2012 at 08:51 | #5

    If the DPP has admitted that Hicks had not broken an Australian law under what law was Hicks gaoled in Adelaide? He should have been freed on return to Australia.

  6. Katz
    July 25th, 2012 at 09:02 | #6

    These are the squalid loose ends of George W. Bush’s moronic “Global War on Terror” and of John Howard’s obsequious collaboration in this disastrous folly. 

    And Australians should not forget that US Military Commissions — the kangaroo court process under which David Hicks was tortured to confess his guilt — are accorded the status of genuine judicial processes under Australian law.

    The Military Commissions of no other countries are accorded this status.

    David Hicks may get his money but the source of this injustice remains until this legislation is amended.

    Why has the ALP government allowed this legislation to remain on the books?

  7. paul walter
    July 25th, 2012 at 09:13 | #7

    A sane decison.
    Yet, politicians never learn.
    In the wake of 4Corners this week the federal politicians have fled like pigs from a gun, as to Julian Assange’s case.
    And they wonder why their poll numbers have dropped to 28%?

  8. pablo
    July 25th, 2012 at 09:42 | #8

    You would hope that this judgement gets maximum publicity in the US, just as the migration of Hicks’s defence lawyer, ex-marine Major Mike Mori to Australia might also.

  9. David Allen
    July 25th, 2012 at 10:36 | #9

    Through all this mess I hope even the most politically partisan will acknowledge that there is not a cigarette paper’s difference between how far up the US’s bumhole both labor and libs are.

  10. Michael
    July 25th, 2012 at 11:00 | #10

    The people running the entire operation proved themselves dangerously incompetent and wilfully reckless, yet they have not had to answer for their crimes in court!

  11. Troy Prideaux
    July 25th, 2012 at 12:07 | #11

    @David Allen
    Yeah, enthusiastically cheered on my our wonderful MSM as testament by the recent ridiculous reaction to Bob Carr’s comment on US decline.

  12. J-D
    July 25th, 2012 at 12:26 | #12

    Freelander :
    Now we have the continuing travesty of the Australian government once again complicit with the US government, this time against Julian Assange.

    The suggestion that the Australian government is complicit with the US government in the Assange case doesn’t withstand detailed analysis.

    Some people in the Australian government may have said some stupid things about the Assange case, but making stupid remarks doesn’t make by itself make you complicit in anything, even if there is anything to be complicit in.

  13. July 25th, 2012 at 13:47 | #13

    J-D,

    Surely you would agree that, at the very least, the Australian gov has adopted a “don’t ask don’t tell” approach to the question of US plans for Assange?

    They don’t ask, apparently, then they say they ‘have no information’ that the US has any plans for Assange.

  14. Bring back Birdy at Catallaxy
    July 25th, 2012 at 14:46 | #14

    The SEARCH Foundation has published, in booklet form, a collection of articles on the economic and political crisis in Europe, titled Capitalism in Crisis: Europe, Austerity and the Left, 2012.

    http://www.search.org.au/archives/3184

  15. ralph
    July 25th, 2012 at 15:34 | #15

    I wonder what that loudmouth and legal luminary the Hon Senator Brandis QC has to say given it was his view that, “There appears to be little doubt that, whether under Proceeds of Crime Act or the plea agreement, the royalties earned by Hicks from his memoir are recoverable by the Australian government”.

    Well Senator, you are wrong, again.

  16. J-D
    July 25th, 2012 at 15:43 | #16

    Megan :
    J-D,
    Surely you would agree that, at the very least, the Australian gov has adopted a “don’t ask don’t tell” approach to the question of US plans for Assange?
    They don’t ask, apparently, then they say they ‘have no information’ that the US has any plans for Assange.

    Even if the Australian government hadn’t asked the US government any questions about Julian Assange, I don’t see how that makes it ‘complicit’ in anything, even if there is anything to be complicit in.

    The Australian government says it has asked the US government. See here:
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-06-24/carr-says-us-has-no-plans-to-extradite-assange/4088862

  17. Fran Barlow
    July 25th, 2012 at 15:53 | #17

    @David Allen

    Through all this mess I hope even the most politically partisan will acknowledge that there is not a cigarette paper’s difference between how far up the US’s bumhole both labor and libs are.

    Actually they are fighting over who gets to hold the cigarette paper.

  18. Moz
    July 25th, 2012 at 17:16 | #18

    Freelander :
    A lot of the post 911 American laws should not be recognized internationally because those laws extend US jurisdiction to every person regardless of whether they are American or not, in any place in the world.

    The USA already has provision for dealing with this, and a similar situation is often cited as one of their great founding moments. The whole “no taxation without representation” is great, it means that even illegal immigrants in the USA can vote as long as they’ve paid even the tiniest jot of tax to whoever is holding the election. It should be quite simple to extend that to cover anyone within US legal jurisdiction. Which, as I understand it, is the entire world with a few minor exclusions like Guantanamo Bay.

    Actually I’m full of shit, that’s not the way it works at all. The USA holds itself *above* all international law and precious few people get to vote for its government, even among its own citizens. You don’t really expect them to let scum like us influence their government in any way?

  19. Freelander
    July 25th, 2012 at 18:55 | #19

    @J-D
    The Australian government has turned its back and walked away from Assange, an Australian citizen. Our foreign minister has disingenuously claimed there is no evidence of the plans the US has for him. Of course the Australian government is complicit. Their treacherous behavior is disgusting, even if all too predictable.

  20. J-D
    July 25th, 2012 at 19:12 | #20

    Freelander :
    @J-D
    The Australian government has turned its back and walked away from Assange, an Australian citizen. Our foreign minister has disingenuously claimed there is no evidence of the plans the US has for him. Of course the Australian government is complicit. Their treacherous behavior is disgusting, even if all too predictable.

    Reiteration adds no merit to your assertions.

  21. Jim Rose
    July 25th, 2012 at 19:19 | #21

    There is a better way to deal with captured terrorists.

    The conflicts with al-Qaeda and the Taliban are governed by the laws of war.

    These laws of war have long permitted detention without charge or trial until the hostilities have ended. It is pious to deny this. The Allies detained millions of POWs (and captured enemy personnel) without charge or trial by the time World War II ended.

    The purpose of this wartime detention, both in 1939-45 and now, is not to punish but to prevent return to the battlefield. Some of the other detainees who have been released from Gitmo have returned to the battlefield.

    Who is detained until the hostilities end is decided by Combat Status Review Tribunals under Article 5 of the Third Geneva Convention. These were also convened, for example, in the Vietnam War to decide the status of captured Viet Cong and army of North Vietnam soldiers. Only the latter were entitled to prisoner of war status.

    The fact that Hicks was accepted into the ranks of al-Qaeda (or the Taliban) does not say much for their standards for recruitment and background checks or their fighting effectiveness. You wonder about the quality of the terrorist wanbees they turned away? I was surprised that al-Qaeda or the Taliban did not shot him out of hand as a possible spy.

  22. rog
    July 25th, 2012 at 19:32 | #22

    Which “laws of war” are you talking about?

    So far the US and it’s allies have thrown all laws out the window.

  23. Freelander
    July 25th, 2012 at 20:21 | #23

    “Laws of War” complete bunk. The US was making it up as it went along. It was a terrorist act and rather than go on an indiscriminate rampage dragging numerous other compliant countries into its orgy of mass murder the US should have captured and brought to trial those members of the terrorist organization it so foolishly created. If the US were to refrain from its habitual meddling in other countries’ affairs all its problems would be internal.

  24. Freelander
    July 25th, 2012 at 20:24 | #24

    That is those members responsible. Most probably knew nothing about the plot.

  25. Freelander
    July 25th, 2012 at 20:32 | #25

    @Moz
    As Chomsky just reiterated in the Guardian, one of the many reasons the colonial rabble rebelled was a fear that the illegality of slavery in the UK would be extended to the colonies. Of course a fanciful and self-serving rewrite of history neither started nor ended with the Americans.

  26. Freelander
    July 25th, 2012 at 20:37 | #26

    @J-D
    But I will thank-you for that reiteration nevertheless!

  27. July 25th, 2012 at 21:52 | #27

    I liked the post and enjoyed reading it. This post was very well written with the complete and proper details. Thanks for sharing.

  28. jrkrideau
    July 26th, 2012 at 04:29 | #28

    At least Hicks got home. You should be happy that the Australian Government actually seemed concerned about its citizen.

    Here in Canada we have the edifying situation of Omar Khadr. Khadr http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omar_Khadr was a 15 year old when captured by US troops in Afghanistan in 2002. He did plead guilty, and only after 8 years of illegal detention [1]. I don’t put a lot of faith in the guilty plea.

    His legal team is suing the Canadian Government for the second time, or is it a third time, trying to bring him, a native-born Canadian citizen, home.

    After 10 years of imprisonment, combined with a little torture now and again, the Canadian Government is still refusing to bring him home. The Canadian Federal Government apparently has a repatriation agreement with the USA on this but is dodging it.

    The Minister of Foreign Affairs says he has to evaluate the security ramifications. Duh, he’s had two years since the apparent agreement with the USA.

    1. if nothing else he should have been treated as a child combatant under the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child to which I believe the USA has signed

  29. paul walter
    July 26th, 2012 at 06:13 | #29

    jrkrideau, there is probably a racial tinge in it as to Hicks, a white person and more easily identifiable as “one of us”, not that by any normal standards he did any thing so wrong as to merit the treatment he received.
    On a related issue, it seems true that adverse security assessments have created problems for some asylum-seekers arriving here by boat from war zones. They seem either remain in detention indefinitely if they’re not given the boot, depending on whether or not government or activists are challenging some aspect or other of the laws in the courts.
    It seems this murky “security” stuff is now world-wide and usually furtive and pernicious.

  30. J-D
    July 26th, 2012 at 17:07 | #30

    Freelander :
    @J-D
    But I will thank-you for that reiteration nevertheless!

    nothing more like this, please – side disputes should in any case be in sandpits, I’ll open another one

  31. Jim Rose
    July 26th, 2012 at 18:13 | #31

    Rog, either you have not heard of the Third Geneva Convention or you are pretending you have not understood what it means for why prisoners of war are prisoners of war.

    Hamdan v. Rumsfeld was about military commissions not complying with the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Geneva Convention. You seem to have missed this and other litigation over Gitmo and the laws of war.

    Bush 43 did throw out the long-standing rule of international law that francs tireurs, upon capture, could be subjected to the death penalty.

    Francs-tireurs are entitled to prisoner of war status provided that:
    • they are commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates,
    • have a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance,
    • carry arms openly, and
    • conduct their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.

    Francs-tireurs that do not conduct themselves in according to Article 4 of the Third Geneva Convention are liable to a field court-martial and immediate execution.

    Be careful for what you wish for when demanding strict compliance with international law.

    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hostages_Trial

    p.s. Many countries have established schemes for the transfer or repatriation of their citizens who are imprisoned elsewhere in the world – see http://www.ag.gov.au/Internationaltransferofprisoners/Pages/Listofparticipatingcountries.aspx

  32. July 27th, 2012 at 00:50 | #32

    J-D,

    Thanks for the link! It contains the exact weaselly-worded phrase I was thinking of:

    “They haven’t said they have plans to extradite him. They haven’t been able to rule out that one corner of the American administration might not be considering it,…”

    If anyone takes that as a genuine ‘Q&A’ resulting in a verdict of “good enough for me!”, then I have a Rupert Murdoch promise on ‘poison pills’ to sell them.

    I stand by my original point, that is: the Aus Gov’s REAL position is ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ with a touch of plausible deniability thrown in.

  33. J-D
    July 27th, 2012 at 08:22 | #33

    Megan :
    J-D,
    Thanks for the link! It contains the exact weaselly-worded phrase I was thinking of:
    “They haven’t said they have plans to extradite him. They haven’t been able to rule out that one corner of the American administration might not be considering it,…”
    If anyone takes that as a genuine ‘Q&A’ resulting in a verdict of “good enough for me!”, then I have a Rupert Murdoch promise on ‘poison pills’ to sell them.
    I stand by my original point, that is: the Aus Gov’s REAL position is ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ with a touch of plausible deniability thrown in.

    What the US said in answer to the question may be weaselly, but how is that the Australian government’s fault? If we ask and they won’t give a straight answer, what are we supposed to do? Declare war?

  34. Freelander
    July 27th, 2012 at 08:53 | #34

    What is the Australian government to do?

    Recognise that the US weasel words are as good as an admission and protest loudly spelling out the dim view that Australia would take if the US was, in fact, planning to treat an Australian citizen in such a reprehensible manner. That instead the foreign minister echoes and accepts the weaselly words that the US hasn’t indicated any intention and so on, is simply disingenuous, and is active collaboration with the US.

    Carr is a bad choice as foreign minister due to his well known long standing love of all things American. With such an abiding devotion this increasingly rogue foreign power no-one could expect him to ever stand up to the US when necessary in the best interests of Australia or Australian citizens.

  35. J-D
    July 27th, 2012 at 11:49 | #35

    Freelander :
    What is the Australian government to do?
    Recognise that the US weasel words are as good as an admission and protest loudly spelling out the dim view that Australia would take if the US was, in fact, planning to treat an Australian citizen in such a reprehensible manner. That instead the foreign minister echoes and accepts the weaselly words that the US hasn’t indicated any intention and so on, is simply disingenuous, and is active collaboration with the US.
    Carr is a bad choice as foreign minister due to his well known long standing love of all things American. With such an abiding devotion this increasingly rogue foreign power no-one could expect him to ever stand up to the US when necessary in the best interests of Australia or Australian citizens.

    Even if the US government is planning to make a request to have Julian Assange extradited, how is that reprehensible? Extradition requests are a legitimate procedure. If the US ever does make a request to have Julian Assange extradited, it will have to present a case to the legal authorities in whichever country it’s requesting his extradition from, and that country will have to determine legally whether the US case has been adequately made out. I can’t see which action it is that you think is reprehensible.

  36. rog
    July 27th, 2012 at 15:03 | #36

    @Jim Rose yes Jim, so you have found Wikipedia and you can read.

    The situation now is that the US govt is able to and has passed laws that sanctions US actions against non citizens in non US lands.

  37. Freelander
    July 27th, 2012 at 18:54 | #37

    @J-D

    “Extradition requests are a legitimate procedure.”

    No. You’re wrong. An extradition request can be a legitimate procedure. The procedure is not of necessity legitimate.

  38. Jim Rose
    July 27th, 2012 at 22:59 | #38

    rog, There is no legal reason why a nation at war must try to apprehend an enemy instead of shooting at him first. Every member of the enemy forces and leadership is a legitimate target in wartime, regardless of whether they can be caught or whether they pose an imminent threat.

    If an attack comes from abroad, we are at war – the state of war is created by the enemy’s attack, and enemies can attack by surprise. The power to wage war is the power to wage war successfully – to pursue, engage and quell the enemy wherever they may be.

    Wars are against other countries and often take place in other countries and involve non-citizens. Attacks from within are insurrections.

    The 9/11 attack originated from abroad from a organised group so that is why U.S. is sending forces aboard to quell and deter further attacks. The direct equivalent is with suppressing pirates and those that harbour them.

    The first war of the U.S. was with the Barbary Pirates in the 1790s. Their leaders waged war against the shipping of other nations, seized cargos and ships, and sold captives into slavery.

    p.s. David Hicks has that rare gift of wandering around in a daze in some of the most dangerous places in the world and living to tell his story.

  39. jrkrideau
    July 28th, 2012 at 04:49 | #39

    @Freelander

    Canada has had this problem. If one googles “Leonard Peltier” you get things like:
    Leonard Peltier was extradited on the basis of fabricated evidence of a supposed eye witness. The United States government has subsequently acknowledged that the affidavit evidence was fabricated.

    The Peltier case was a highly political one and the US Justice Dept lied to the Canadian court.

  40. J-D
    July 28th, 2012 at 11:45 | #40

    Freelander :
    @J-D
    “Extradition requests are a legitimate procedure.”
    No. You’re wrong. An extradition request can be a legitimate procedure. The procedure is not of necessity legitimate.

    I suppose possibly the procedure can be abused. In this instance, plainly, the US has not yet abused the procedure since the US has not yet lodged any extradition requests.

    If there were any evidence that Sweden was abusing the procedure, Assange and his legal team had the opportunity to present that evidence in the UK courts. The UK courts heard Assange’s case and ruled the other way.

    Even if the UK court judgements were utterly wrong and without foundation (and I haven’t seen any reason to think so), how is Australia complicit in that?

  41. rog
    July 29th, 2012 at 12:29 | #41

    @Jim Rose Shorter Jim Rose on lawful war

    1 define or identify an enemy
    2 declare war or maybe
    3 not declare war
    4 conduct war.

    Breaches of the Jim Rose war law are sometimes called war crimes however prosecuting war crimes is another matter as they are not subject to law.

  42. Alan
    July 29th, 2012 at 13:54 | #42

    @J-D

    Australia has refused to seek assurances against extradition from either Sweden or the US. They have taken an almost comically low profile and leapt about every which way to avoid receiving any advice from either government that would face them to act. It is unsurprising that the Gillard government has taken this position when you remember that Gillard actually declared Assange guilty of, umm, well something or other. When the Federal Police investigated they found that something or other the prime minister dislikes is not an offence in terms of Australian law.

    Sweden has a history not only of improper extradition but of extraordinary rendition. Assange has not actually been charged with anything in Sweden. Officially the Swedish prosecuting authority only wants to question him in relation to the sexual assault allegations. The UK courts refused to look beyond the European arrest warrant, issued by a prosecutor not a court, and ocn ethey ahd taken position the outcome was inevitable.

  43. Jim Rose
    July 29th, 2012 at 15:50 | #43

    rog, who attacked whom on 9/11?

    the renegade Left forgets that in response to the 9/11 attacks, the UN security council passed resolutions 1368 (12 September) and 1373 (28 September), which explicitly recognised the “inherent right of individual or collective self-defence” of member states and further defined the 9/11 attacks as a “threat to international peace and security”.

    The truth is that most renegade leftists were committed to opposing the war, and they were prepared to oppose it without regard to its causes or character, and without any visible concern about preventing future terrorist attacks.

    Your alienation is radical. How else is there the unwillingness of you and the rest of the renegade Left who, after all, live here, and whose children and grandchildren live here, to join in a serious debate about how to protect against future terrorist attacks?

    HT: micheal walzer

  44. Freelander
    July 29th, 2012 at 17:31 | #44

    All those who actually did the ‘attacking’ on 9/11 died in the attack. Others who supported that attack before the fact seems to have been a relatively small number. The attack was a criminal enterprise and in no way justified a murderous rampage of the scale that followed against large numbers of people who had nothing to do with the attack, by a so-called ‘super’ power, the US, which also managed to ‘dirty up’ the most of the rest of the West by dragging them together in its rampaging posse.

    The whole post-911 adventure was badly thought out and the reaction created the current ‘Islamic’ threat that we now have. A more circumspect and more calmly thought out approach would have been so much better. However, that would have required moral leadership, but morals and leadership seem never to have been so lacking in western democracies, and with most of the American public baying for blood circumspect moral leadership stood no chance of being delivered.

    The hysterical reaction of the US and allies to 911 has done considerably more damage to the West than the initial attack did.

  45. Freelander
    July 29th, 2012 at 17:36 | #45

    The best defence is to not have people who wish you harm, and something the US as a fading power should recognise is that one way of minimising those numbers of people who wish you harm is to avoid going out of your way to provide people with a reason to wish you harm. Sadly, instead we in the west have been going out of our way to do the opposite.

  46. Katz
    July 29th, 2012 at 18:11 | #46

    But In September 2001, George W. Bush simply demanded that the Taliban deliver Osama bin Laden and destroy bases of al Qaeda. This was an appropriate demand, i.e., the extradition of an accused criminal. Presumably, if the Taliban government in Kabul had acceded to these demands, there would have been no additional Afghan war.

    In reply, the Taliban regime offered to try Bin Laden in an Afghan court, so long as the United States provided what it called “solid evidence” of his guilt. This, too, is an appropriate response, because Osama bin Laden may have commited crimes on Afghan territory. Moreover, Kabul stated it was prepared to incorporate US complaints into any legal action

    Precipitately, the Bush regime refused to accept the legitimacy of Afghan legal procedure. The regime stated that it refused to hand over its evidence to Kabul.

    The Bush regime therefore backed itself into a contradictory situation. It conceded that Kabul had effective control over the governance of Afghanistan to effect the apprehension and extradition of OBL, yet refused to recognise the legitimacy of Kabul’s judicial system. Therein lies the central contradiction of the Bush regime folly in Afghanistan.

    Now, more than a decade later, Bush’s successors are seeking ways to grasp the painful nettle of conceding to the Taliban a legitimate role in the governance of Afghanistan. The Bush regime bit off much more than the US can chew. The US continues to choke on Afghanistan.

    If only the Bush regime had shown a little respect and patient, perhaps Bush’s legacy would have been slightly less risible.

  47. J-D
    July 29th, 2012 at 20:16 | #47

    Alan :
    @J-D
    Australia has refused to seek assurances against extradition from either Sweden or the US. They have taken an almost comically low profile and leapt about every which way to avoid receiving any advice from either government that would face them to act. It is unsurprising that the Gillard government has taken this position when you remember that Gillard actually declared Assange guilty of, umm, well something or other. When the Federal Police investigated they found that something or other the prime minister dislikes is not an offence in terms of Australian law.

    Of course Australia has not sought assurances against extradition. On what basis, ever, could country X (Australia in this case) ask any other country (Y) not to pursue legal proceedings? Because the responding party in the legal proceedings is a citizen of country X? Why on earth would country Y be expected to regard that as sufficient grounds for dropping the matter? If the Swedish government asked the Australian government to give guarantees that it would not institute extradition proceedings against a Swedish citizen, what would you expect the Australian government to do? I can tell you what I’d expect: I’d expect the Australian government to reply by saying that Australian courts and prosecuting authorities are politically independent and that the government will not interfere in their decisions. The Swedish government should expect that, too, and would therefore best avoid looking foolish by making no such request. It’s the same when the boot is on the other foot. If the Australian government asked the US government, or the Swedish government, or the UK government, or any other foreign government to give guarantees of the kind you’re talking about, it would just make Australia look foolish.

    Alan :
    @J-D
    Sweden has a history not only of improper extradition but of extraordinary rendition. Assange has not actually been charged with anything in Sweden. Officially the Swedish prosecuting authority only wants to question him in relation to the sexual assault allegations. The UK courts refused to look beyond the European arrest warrant, issued by a prosecutor not a court, and ocn ethey ahd taken position the outcome was inevitable.

    I have looked at the judgement of the High Court of England and Wales, which can be found online at this URL:
    http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2011/2849.html

    The High Court of England and Wales decided, contrary to what you suggest, that it would look at what it called ‘extraneous evidence’ and not just at the warrant. It found that, taking into account the differences between the stages in the Swedish system and the stages in the system of England and Wales, the proceedings against Assange in Sweden had reached a point equivalent to ‘being charged’ in the system of England and Wales, and that the extradition requirement that Assange be ‘accused’ and not just ‘suspected’ had been met.

    The court also found that the Swedish prosecutor who issued the warrant had the required status of a ‘judicial authority’ and also that the prosecutor’s action had been subject to independent scrutiny by Swedish judges in the Svea Court of Appeal.

    I can’t find anything wrong in the court judgement. But even if there is serious error in the judgement of the High Court, that judgement is not an action of the US, and it’s also not something in which Australia is complicit. If the Australian government complained that the judgement of the High Court of England and Wales was wrong, it could expect no better results than would follow if the UK government complained that an Australian court judgement was wrong.

  48. Fran Barlow
    July 29th, 2012 at 20:39 | #48

    @Katz

    It was even worse. The Taliban offered to hand Osama over to The ICC in The Hague for examination, but Bush rejected the offer, one assumes because

    a) He’d look weak in front of his own folks
    b) The US doesn’t recognise the ICC, because if it did it would have no basis for not handing over Oliver North and his gang for trial.
    c) He wanted to invade Afghanistan and make someone pay.

  49. Freelander
    July 29th, 2012 at 22:55 | #49

    The American public wanted blood. That many innocents would be part of quenching that thirst was not a concern.

  50. Freelander
    July 29th, 2012 at 23:09 | #50

    A fair trial with evidence demonstrating guilt beyond a reasonable doubt is simply not the American way.

    Rather the American way is one of kill lists and drones,immunity from prosecution or judicial review,enhanced interrogation, extraordinary rendition, collateral damage, persecution of whistle-blowers and a complacent and compliant media. A place of gun deaths at home and worse deaths away.

  51. rog
    July 30th, 2012 at 05:53 | #51

    @Jim Rose As the WOT is a concept I would say that “terror” is whatever you want to make of it. Asylum seekers, Muslims, govt debt are all capable of inducing terror, given sufficient prodding by vested interests.

    So whom attacked whom on 9/11?

    The group of Afghan fighters that the US financed, trained, encouraged, supported to fight a proxy war on the Soviets. They turned and bit the hand that once fed them.

    So how do you protect against future terrorist attacks? By not creating terror would seem an obvious answer. The activities of the US (war crimes?) at the Abu Ghraib prison has been identified as one of the major sources of terrorists in Iraq. In Iraq the policies of the US created opportunities for more not less terror.

    The Jim Rose war law is a law of sustained terror not peace.

  52. Katz
    July 30th, 2012 at 08:05 | #52

    And how would one recognise an example of “the renegade left” if one were to trip over such an individual?

    “Renegade” from what — disrespect for the rule of law? The use of the word “renegade” is crass Newspeak.

  53. Freelander
    July 30th, 2012 at 09:44 | #53

    Renegade must mean having the Almighty gall to be in less than full agreement with a libertarian extremist. Similarly, reference to the left refers to one not cohabiting their position on the extreme right.

    Once upon a time, seemingly now, long long ago,we used to be entertained by Communists and the like and we used to be accused of being capitalist running dogs.

    Now we have libertarians to amuse us.

  54. Fran Barlow
    July 30th, 2012 at 12:38 | #54

    @Katz

    It sounds as if Rose is using “renegade left” as a pleonasm as there seems to be no “non-renegade left” in his account i.e. “leftists” who thought Bush’s action on Afghanistan was a good idea. If there were though, given that these “leftists” would have been at odds with the vast majority on the left, the term “renegade” would fit them rather better than the majority of leftists.

  55. Alan
    July 30th, 2012 at 15:13 | #55

    @Fran Barlow

    Nah, it’s merely another cut-and-paste that he doesn’t completely understand.

  56. Alan
    July 30th, 2012 at 15:42 | #56

    @J-D

    The relevant decision is actually Assange v Swedish Prosecuting Authority before the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, the highest court for that country. The Supreme Court looked only at the issue of whether the Swedish prosecutor can be a judicial authority in terms of of the Framework Decision of the European Council on the European Arrest Warrant and the UK implementing legislation for that decision. The supreme court did not, as you claim, review the substance of the case. That may be legitimate within the Swedish legal system but it would not be in Australia where we keep judges and prosecutors well apart.

    Extradition is not a purely judicial act. Canada for instance, regularly seeks assurances against capital punishment in its extradition responses to US proceedings as does Australia. Australia is not even prepared to do that for Assange. Australia is not prepared to seek assurances against extraordinary rendition or against torture or inhumane treatment. A large number of US leaders including their vice-president, have described Assange as a terrorist.

    If there is no consideration of subjecting Assange to rendition, extradition, or Guantánamo there should be no problem with the Australian government seeking assurances to that effect from the US and Sweden.

  57. Jim Rose
    July 30th, 2012 at 16:51 | #57

    Orwell identified the renegade liberal in his proposed preface of ‘Animal Farm’. Renegade liberals glorify communist experiments and disdain middle-class life despite their own pleasant bourgeois circumstances.

    Renegade liberals search for outlaw states and revolutionary movements to support, who, of course, would ship these renegade liberals straight to the camps as soon as they won power. These revolutionary excesses of the new regimes would be excused as the misadventures of ‘liberals in a hurry’ who lost patience with the slow pace of democratic reform.

    Under the renegade Left-liberal’s theory of the war against al-Qaeda, terrorism is but a crime, not an act of war. Terrorists such as Hicks are just (not very bright )criminals.

    These criticisms rest on misconceptions of the nature of the war and the rules of war. Because the USA and others are at war with al-Qaeda, they can use force against the enemy and those who harbour them. The Taliban were warned.

    When a nation goes to war, it seeks to defeat the enemy to prevent renewed attacks.

    A corollary of the right to kill enemy personnel is that the deaths of civilians that occur as a result of legitimate attacks against military targets are not illegal. It is pious to deny this.

    The central principle of the laws of war is that innocent civilians should not be targeted, but the rules of war accept the death of civilians in or near legitimate military targets.

    It is the terrorists who violate the rules of war by hiding themselves and their bases within civilian populations, thereby drawing unwilling and unsuspecting innocents into the fight.

    Al-Qaeda will never follow the rules of war. Al-Qaeda gains its only tactical advantages by systematically flouting the laws of war and hiding among civilians. this is the war crime of perfidy.

    On the if only history could be different fallacy, hoping that history was different, and that the USA had rightly kept more to itself prior to 9/11 will not make Al-Qaeda go away. The war starts from the world as it is (and the world as it was on 9/11 – for all its flaws).

    p.s. any extradition of Assange to a third country from Sweden would require UK consent. Read their Extradition Act. The USA can also seek his extradition from the UK today.

  58. Freelander
    July 30th, 2012 at 17:53 | #58

    Given Sweden’s history Assange could disappear the moment he lands on their soil. Extraordinary rendition, I understand, requires no paperwork.

  59. Freelander
    July 30th, 2012 at 17:58 | #59

    By the way, Orwell also identified the type of language those who talk of the ‘war on terror’ speak.

  60. Alan
    July 30th, 2012 at 18:05 | #60

    Nice try, Jim, but Orwell’s phrase was ‘renegade liberal’, not ‘renegade leftist’.

    Orwell condemned regimes, like those you support, where traditional legal rights are suppressed in the name of pious abstractions like the War on Terror or Socialist Construction. We cannot call you a renegade liberal because of your obvious departure from any known mode of liberalism as a political philosophy. ‘renegade reactionary’, perhaps?

    PS We know the US can request extradition from the UK. The Uk does not have a record of consenting to extraordinary rendition. Sweden does.

  61. Katz
    July 30th, 2012 at 18:08 | #61

    It is the terrorists who violate the rules of war by hiding themselves and their bases within civilian populations, thereby drawing unwilling and unsuspecting innocents into the fight.

    Terrorists don’t fight wars. Terrorists commit crimes. Get a grip.

  62. Freelander
    July 30th, 2012 at 18:21 | #62

    Why are they wasting their time taking James Holmes to trial? All they need do, following Jim’s logic, is declare him a terrorist summarily execute him or extraordinary render him to gitmo.

  63. J-D
    July 30th, 2012 at 18:40 | #63

    Alan :
    @J-D
    The relevant decision is actually Assange v Swedish Prosecuting Authority before the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, the highest court for that country. The Supreme Court looked only at the issue of whether the Swedish prosecutor can be a judicial authority in terms of of the Framework Decision of the European Council on the European Arrest Warrant and the UK implementing legislation for that decision. The supreme court did not, as you claim, review the substance of the case. That may be legitimate within the Swedish legal system but it would not be in Australia where we keep judges and prosecutors well apart.
    Extradition is not a purely judicial act. Canada for instance, regularly seeks assurances against capital punishment in its extradition responses to US proceedings as does Australia. Australia is not even prepared to do that for Assange. Australia is not prepared to seek assurances against extraordinary rendition or against torture or inhumane treatment. A large number of US leaders including their vice-president, have described Assange as a terrorist.
    If there is no consideration of subjecting Assange to rendition, extradition, or Guantánamo there should be no problem with the Australian government seeking assurances to that effect from the US and Sweden.

    Actually>, all the court decisions are relevant: the Supreme Court decision which you linked to, and the High Court decision I linked to, from which the appeal went to the Supreme Court, and the Magistrates’ Court decision, from which the appeal went to the High Court, and which can be found here:
    http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/Resources/JCO/Documents/Judgments/jud-aut-sweden-v-assange-judgment.pdf

    As is usual in appeal court decisions, both the High Court and the Supreme Court only deal with the issues that were actually raised in the appeals. The Supreme Court only dealt with one issue because only one issue was argued for Assange in the Supreme Court appeal. That doesn’t alter the facts about the High Court decision, which is as I described it previously. I didn’t say it reviewed the substance of the case–appeal courts don’t usually do that–but it did, exactly as I said, consider matters ‘extraneous’ (to use its word) to the arrest warrant.

    In any case, as I said before, even if there is serious error in any of those court judgements, none of those judgements are US actions, Australia is not complicit in any of them, and there’s no way the Australian government could do anything about them.

    I accept what you say about Canada having a policy of not surrendering people for extradition if they may face the death penalty. I was not aware of this specifically, but it’s what I would have expected: the same policy of not surrendering people for extradition if they may face the death penalty is also followed by Australia, by the UK, and by Sweden. In cases where the US requests extradition from Australia, Australia makes it a precondition that guarantees first be given that the death penalty will not be applied. But in this case extradition has not been requested by the US nor from Australia. The standard policy of the UK would be not to surrender Assange for extradition without a guarantee against the death penalty, if the question arose, but in this case it doesn’t arise because Sweden doesn’t have the death penalty, and if the question doesn’t arise for the UK government, it doesn’t arise for the Australian government, either.

    I have already explained why I think it’s unreasonable to expect the Australian government to ask the US government to guarantee that it will not institute proceedings against an Australian citizen. If the government of another country asked the Australian government to guarantee that it will not institute proceedings against their citizens, I would not expect the Australian government to give any such guarantees, and what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. In the same way, if the government of another country–let’s say the UK, for example–asked the Australian government to guarantee that Australia will not entertain extradition requests for a UK citizen from a third country, I would not expect the Australian government to give any such guarantees. No government can reasonably be expected to give the kind of guarantees you’re talking about, so it would be pointless to ask for them.

  64. Alan
    July 31st, 2012 at 06:24 | #64

    There are several differences with the Assange case. The US no longer guarantees a fair trial, or indeed any trial at all, in alleged ‘terrorist’ cases. The US practices torture in those cases. The US has not yet, to my knowledge, officially imposed the death penalty in a Guantánamo proceeding. Australia has a long and proud record of opposing both torture and capital punishment.

    Endlessly repeating that US law (term used loosely) with respect to terrorist cases cannot be questioned or made the subject of diplomatic representations really is not an argument. Nations regularly make such representations. Indeed in the Arer case the US itself claimed to have made such representations to the Syrian government when it rendered Arer to Syria. Canada protested the rendition the instant it became aware of it although the RCMP endeavoured to mislead the Canadian government about its own role. Canada did not delicately clutch its pearls and mumble ‘Oh, no we couldn’t possibly, I mean we just couldn’t.’

    Diplomatic representations in such cases are standard practice. The US has proclaimed Assange a terrorist. They have convened a grand jury. The Australian government is not following standard practice in this case. The firmly clutched pearls seem to be about all Gillard and Carr stand for.

  65. rog
    July 31st, 2012 at 07:57 | #65

    As far as I know after the invasion of Panama Noriega was arrested for war crimes, sent to Florida where he was tried for crimes committed in Panama before the invasion and not relating to war.

    So there is precedence; the US can invade a sovereign nation and arrest, remove and try non US citizens for breaking a US law outside of the US.

  66. J-D
    July 31st, 2012 at 12:16 | #66

    Alan :
    There are several differences with the Assange case. The US no longer guarantees a fair trial, or indeed any trial at all, in alleged ‘terrorist’ cases. The US practices torture in those cases. The US has not yet, to my knowledge, officially imposed the death penalty in a Guantánamo proceeding. Australia has a long and proud record of opposing both torture and capital punishment.
    Endlessly repeating that US law (term used loosely) with respect to terrorist cases cannot be questioned or made the subject of diplomatic representations really is not an argument. Nations regularly make such representations. Indeed in the Arer case the US itself claimed to have made such representations to the Syrian government when it rendered Arer to Syria. Canada protested the rendition the instant it became aware of it although the RCMP endeavoured to mislead the Canadian government about its own role. Canada did not delicately clutch its pearls and mumble ‘Oh, no we couldn’t possibly, I mean we just couldn’t.’
    Diplomatic representations in such cases are standard practice. The US has proclaimed Assange a terrorist. They have convened a grand jury. The Australian government is not following standard practice in this case. The firmly clutched pearls seem to be about all Gillard and Carr stand for.

    The United States government publishes online lists of organisations and individuals which have been designated as terrorist. You can find them starting at this page:
    http://www.state.gov/j/ct/list/index.htm

    Neither Julian Assange nor WikiLeaks is designated on such a list. At least one member of the US Congress has asked the government to make those designations; so far, the US government has not.

    It would be a normal practice for the Australian government to make representations to the US government about Assange, his treatment, his well-being, and his legal status and rights if Assange were actually in US custody, or if his whereabouts were unknown but there were grounds to suspect that he might be in US custody. But the whole world knows he’s not in US custody. Until now, he’s not been anywhere that the US had access to do anything to him.

    It would also be a normal practice for the Australian government to make representations to the US government, or to get officially involved in some way, if there were US legal proceedings against Assange to get officially involved in. But are there?

    David House, a co-founder of the Bradley Manning Support Network, was called to testify before a grand jury. He refused to answer any questions, but he took notes, which have been posted to the Web. I found them here:
    http://wikileaksaustraliancitizensalliance.net/2012/07/14/david-house-wikileaks-grand-jury-notes/

    Those notes show that David House was asked questions which mentioned WikiLeaks, Bradley Manning, Jacob Applebaum, and Daniel Clark, but none that mentioned Julian Assange. It’s impossible to tell from David House’s notes what charges the grand jury was being asked to consider, or against whom. As far as I can tell from David House’s notes, as posted online, one of the possibilities is that the grand jury was considering charges against David House himself, but they didn’t even confirm or deny that. It’s also possible, as far as I can tell, that it was considering charges against Julian Assange, even though his name was never mentioned, but how is it possible to know?

    Given the uncertainty, it’s reasonable to expect the Australian government to ask the US government whether it’s taking proceedings against Assange. The Australian government says that it has done that, and that the US government has said ‘No’. Of course it’s possible the US government was lying, but what can Australia do about that possibility? Can we ask the US to guarantee that it’s not lying? That would achieve nothing apart from making Australia look silly.

  67. Alan
    July 31st, 2012 at 14:37 | #67

    Oh goodness gracious me! Good heavens no! I am shocked, shocked I tell you!

    The US government lied throughout the Arer affair and continues in fact to lie about it to this day. They lied to the Canadian government. They lied to Arer’s family. Both the Bush II and Obama administrations happily committed to the War on Truth. The Gillard government is up to its armpits in this stuff.

    The Hicks ‘conviction’ by a military commission under the direction of its prosecutor, a former Cheney staffer, was so dodgy that the DPP has just withdrawn its case.
    If you actually read the rules applied to Guantánamo convictions you’ll find the judge, as in the former Soviet court system, a rarely minor figure. It may be comforting to think that the US program of desapariciones bears any resemblance to legal proceedings but it is simply wrong.

    Any number of US officials including Vice-President Biden have described Assange as a terrorist. There is no principle in US practice that the victims of US state terror, for that is the only way to describe an official program of disappearances and torture, be listed on one site or another and those lists can in any case be expanded at pleasure.

    The government of Canada paid out CAD$10.5 million to Maher Arer in compensation. The government of Australia paid out an undisclosed sum to Mamdouh Habib in compensation. Since the US disappearances and torture program is all hunky dory by your standards what do you imagine those payments were for?

  68. Freelander
    July 31st, 2012 at 15:32 | #68

    Looks like someone is making an application to be a government media advisor or spokesman, such weasel words elaborate linguistic gymnastics and apologetics clearly requisite for those jobs.

    Don’t we miss the bad old days when honesty and truth were once valued.

  69. Alan
    July 31st, 2012 at 17:35 | #69

    Gee MMP is such a simple and intelligible system compared with STV.

  70. Jim Rose
    July 31st, 2012 at 18:30 | #70

    I do agree that mistakes have been made about the status of terrorists.

    The first mistake was in Article IV of the 1949 Geneva Conventions regarding who are prisoners of war. Members of militias, volunteer corps and organized resistance movements were added as prisoners of war if they passed a four-part test. The Taliban has some claims to POW status.

    Those that did not meet the four-part test are war criminals whom can be both detained for the duration of the war and also put on trial in front of military tribunals and shot. Hicks failed this four-part test.

    Another mistake was in 1977, when protocols were added to the Geneva conventions for armed struggles for liberation from colonial domination, racist regimes and alien occupation including both cross-border conflicts and internal civil wars.

    • The renegade Left-liberals for decades wanted terrorists to be treated as prisoners of war, and thereby, held to the end of the war and not otherwise punished.

    • Now, the renegade Left-liberals don’t want terrorists to be held to the end of the war. Instead, they want them to have the right to ask for bail.

    Terrorists are pirates – hostis humani generic – the enemy of all mankind. Navies and armies have fought pirates and bandits for thousands of years. It is pious to deny this. Pirates, spies and francs-tireurs were all legally subject to summary execution if captured.

  71. Freelander
    July 31st, 2012 at 19:27 | #71

    It is stupid to think what might have been satisfactory law a couple of thousand years ago remains so for all time. As societies become more sophisticated and their resources and means of addressing issues significantly better there is no reason why they need to retain past barbaric practices. Some would like to see us back to dunking witches.

  72. Alan
    July 31st, 2012 at 20:44 | #72

    @Jim Rose

    ‘It is pious to deny this’ is a lovely phrase, but actually does not mean anything much. The Roman law principle of hostis humani generis has not been applied to terrorists in terms of international law.

    Terrorists are criminals plain and simple. We do not extend procedural guarantees to criminals because we like them but because we are better than them. All the inflammatory bumpf in the world does not get away from Orwell’s simple principle that old liberties should be preserved.

    Renegade conservatives who invoke some sacred cause to destroy those liberties are no different from their intellectual ancestors in the Stalinist period.

  73. Katz
    July 31st, 2012 at 22:13 | #73

    • The renegade Left-liberals for decades wanted terrorists to be treated as prisoners of war, and thereby, held to the end of the war and not otherwise punished.
    • Now, the renegade Left-liberals don’t want terrorists to be held to the end of the war. Instead, they want them to have the right to ask for bail.

    Can JR provide the name of an individual who has serially espoused these positions?

  74. Freelander
    July 31st, 2012 at 22:18 | #74

    Interestingly, the intolerant corners of the left were in many cases the initial training ground for members of the intolerant right,and their song sheet template rhetoric is played with similar chords.

  75. Alan
    July 31st, 2012 at 22:27 | #75

    It is no accident that John Ralston Saul refers to these people as ‘Bolsheviks of the Right’.

  76. J-D
    July 31st, 2012 at 22:43 | #76

    Alan :
    Oh goodness gracious me! Good heavens no! I am shocked, shocked I tell you!
    The US government lied throughout the Arer affair and continues in fact to lie about it to this day. They lied to the Canadian government. They lied to Arer’s family. Both the Bush II and Obama administrations happily committed to the War on Truth. The Gillard government is up to its armpits in this stuff.
    The Hicks ‘conviction’ by a military commission under the direction of its prosecutor, a former Cheney staffer, was so dodgy that the DPP has just withdrawn its case.
    If you actually read the rules applied to Guantánamo convictions you’ll find the judge, as in the former Soviet court system, a rarely minor figure. It may be comforting to think that the US program of desapariciones bears any resemblance to legal proceedings but it is simply wrong.
    Any number of US officials including Vice-President Biden have described Assange as a terrorist. There is no principle in US practice that the victims of US state terror, for that is the only way to describe an official program of disappearances and torture, be listed on one site or another and those lists can in any case be expanded at pleasure.
    The government of Canada paid out CAD$10.5 million to Maher Arer in compensation. The government of Australia paid out an undisclosed sum to Mamdouh Habib in compensation. Since the US disappearances and torture program is all hunky dory by your standards what do you imagine those payments were for?

    My interest is not in defending the conduct of the US government (or the conduct of the Australian government, but in defending accuracy. The practice of torture by the US government, and the concomitant specious denials that torture is torture, are outrageous and indefensible. The treatment of detainees at Guantanamo has been a monstrosity, likewise indefensible. The same goes for the practice euphemistically described as ‘extraordinary rendition’. I haven’t said one single word in favour of any of those things, because I would not one instant give them the shadow of an excuse. You imagine, completely falsely, and without a scrap of evidence, that I would take positions like that, which makes you look like those people who cannot conceive of any standard for evaluating actions or positions except by the kindergarten method of identifying ‘goodies’ and ‘baddies’ and then always siding with the ‘goodies’ and against the ‘baddies’. For you, it seems, any statement about the US government not tinged with denunciation is unacceptable.

    But I am interested in siding with the facts, and facts, in my experience of them, don’t consistently side with the same people all the time. Respect for facts will not permit an automatic insistence that all statements about the US government must be denunciatory.

    It is a fact that various people in the US have described Assange as a terrorist. It is also a fact that public statements by US government officials, even up to the level of the Vice-President, do not automatically equate with US government declarations. It is a fact that so far the US government has not officially declared Assange to be a terrorist.

    If the US government is plotting monstrous abuses against Assange, I would not expect it to make that public. I don’t see the evidence to establish that it is doing no such thing; I don’t see the evidence to establish that it is doing exactly that. In the absence of evidence I suspend judgement on that particular allegation. It is a fact that other monstrous abuses have been committed by US governments: that fact does not establish the truth of the particular allegation in question. If the US government is secretly plotting monstrous abuses against Assange, I can’t see any evidence that it would want, seek, or need the complicity of the Australian government. In the public facts, which I can observe, for as much as that’s worth, there is no action by the US government against Assange and there’s also no complicity by the Australian government, which is the suggestion that was made here earlier and which I was originally responding to.

  77. Freelander
    July 31st, 2012 at 22:57 | #77

    A hanging party, and a lack of concern for due process, has long been a private provision of justice tradition in the US. And despite the fine words in founding documents it doesn’t seem that anything has stopped those sentiments from crossing over into the public sector.

    There is clearly a Lynch mob mentality amongst their elected representatives when it comes to Assange. And what was the real crime that irks them so much? Embarrassment!

  78. Freelander
    July 31st, 2012 at 23:01 | #78

    See-no-evil is back.

  79. Alan
    August 1st, 2012 at 00:22 | #79

    @J-D

    I see. The US has a long record of monstrous abuses against individuals that they regard as terrorists. Those abuses include torture, denial oft he right to a fair trial, extraordinary rendition. In this very Wikileaks case they held Bradley Manning under a regime of psychological torture, allegedly for his own good. I am sorry but your protests are ridiculous. The US has form. An Australian government that possessed a shred of decency would be seeking assurances from both Sweden and the US in relation to extraordinary rendition, capital punishment and torture. When I got out in the rain I generally wear a raincoat. I do not look hopefully at the clouds and say: ‘Please don’t rain on me.’

    I am sorry if this thread makes you uncomfortable, but you are simply wrong on the duty of states towards their citizens and you are factually wrong on the issue of a US campaign and investigation against Assange. The Four Corners report is painfully clear. I have no way of knowing if you oppose ro endorse monstrous abuse. I do know the conduct of our government is designed exclusively to endorse monstrous abuse.

    Non-factual claims about diplomatic practice or the continuing US investigation do not excuse our government’s misconduct. Like the US, Australia has form in this matter and the present government’s approach is identical with the previous government’s.

  80. rog
    August 1st, 2012 at 05:21 | #80

    @J-D In consideration of the facts as you describe them an individual or any group of individuals would be justified in holding deep concerns as to their safety and well being. Important and powerful public figures have described Assange as an enemy, a customary prelude to war and in response Assange has taken steps to protect himself.

  81. J-D
    August 1st, 2012 at 10:17 | #81

    Alan :
    @J-D
    I see. The US has a long record of monstrous abuses against individuals that they regard as terrorists. Those abuses include torture, denial oft he right to a fair trial, extraordinary rendition. In this very Wikileaks case they held Bradley Manning under a regime of psychological torture, allegedly for his own good. I am sorry but your protests are ridiculous. The US has form. An Australian government that possessed a shred of decency would be seeking assurances from both Sweden and the US in relation to extraordinary rendition, capital punishment and torture. When I got out in the rain I generally wear a raincoat. I do not look hopefully at the clouds and say: ‘Please don’t rain on me.’
    I am sorry if this thread makes you uncomfortable, but you are simply wrong on the duty of states towards their citizens and you are factually wrong on the issue of a US campaign and investigation against Assange. The Four Corners report is painfully clear. I have no way of knowing if you oppose ro endorse monstrous abuse. I do know the conduct of our government is designed exclusively to endorse monstrous abuse.
    Non-factual claims about diplomatic practice or the continuing US investigation do not excuse our government’s misconduct. Like the US, Australia has form in this matter and the present government’s approach is identical with the previous government’s.

    I don’t know why you imagine that this discussion makes me uncomfortable. It doesn’t in the least. Obviously you have significant misconceptions about me. I suggest you don’t waste time trying to diagnose me, because you obviously aren’t good at it, and concentrate on the facts. None of the facts provided in the Four Corners report contradict any of the statements I have made about the facts. I can see that the Four Corners report might provides more reinforcement to anybody who wants to think about this issue not in terms of the facts but in terms of a kindergarten child’s division of the world into ‘goodies’ and ‘baddies’, but that is not what I am doing.

    A raincoat actually does provide protection against the rain. The kind of requests you are suggesting that the Australian government should be making now would provide no protection whatever.

  82. J-D
    August 1st, 2012 at 10:21 | #82

    rog :
    @J-D In consideration of the facts as you describe them an individual or any group of individuals would be justified in holding deep concerns as to their safety and well being. Important and powerful public figures have described Assange as an enemy, a customary prelude to war and in response Assange has taken steps to protect himself.

    I agree that Assange has rational grounds for concern about his possible future safety. I wasn’t disputing that. What I have been disputing is the assertion that the Australian government has, in this case, been complicit in unspecified actions of the US government.

  83. Freelander
    August 1st, 2012 at 12:30 | #83

    And so, the ground already well trodden, loses all hope of respite. Have mercy, J-D.

  84. Alan
    August 1st, 2012 at 12:54 | #84

    @J-D

    No, you’ve repeatedly claimed there is no rational ground for Assange to be concerned. You’ve said there is no evidence of an investigation or grand jury. You’ve said that the US government has not officially listed Assange as a terrorist on the Internet. Michael Ratner disagrees. Four Corners has a subpoena from that grand jury. You’ve said, in somewhat of a diversion, that House was asked in questions about Assange when the reality is that House’s rather stellar performance in invoking his rights prevented the examination from getting anywhere near completion. You’ve claimed states have no duty towards their citizens when the rights of those citizens are under threat.

    Now suddenly you agree Assange has reasonable grounds, so I suppose we are making slow progress. Really you seem to be more interested on defending the image of the government as having half a brain and half a heart than in whether trivialities like to the right to be free from torture and inhuman treatment or the right to a fair trial are being denied.

    So, progress. Since we agree that Assange has rational grounds for concern why do you believe the Australian government does not the same rational grounds? Should the government, for instance, be drawing any parallels with the possible treatment of David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib?

    Or is Richard Ackland right in questioning the bona fides the government?

    Is Julian Assange to Julia Gillard what David Hicks was to John Howard? In other words, will Assange be the patsy that a lapdog nation offers to its great and powerful friend, in the same way Howard victimised Hicks as the poster boy for terrorism?

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/australia-debarked-once-again-as-us-tells-its-lapdog-to-heel-20120726-22uzd.html#ixzz22G7aZWN5

  85. Alan
    August 1st, 2012 at 12:55 | #85

    Correction to #34, that House was asked no questions.

  86. J-D
    August 1st, 2012 at 14:24 | #86

    Alan :
    @J-D
    No, you’ve repeatedly claimed there is no rational ground for Assange to be concerned. You’ve said there is no evidence of an investigation or grand jury. You’ve said that the US government has not officially listed Assange as a terrorist on the Internet. Michael Ratner disagrees. Four Corners has a subpoena from that grand jury. You’ve said, in somewhat of a diversion, that House was asked no questions about Assange when the reality is that House’s rather stellar performance in invoking his rights prevented the examination from getting anywhere near completion. You’ve claimed states have no duty towards their citizens when the rights of those citizens are under threat.

    On the contrary. Only one of the claims you attribute to me there. is a claim I have actually made. All the others are instances of your putting words in my mouth. If you suppose that the claims you are falsely attributing to me automatically follow from the things I have actually written, you are simply in error.

    If something I have written is in error, I would be grateful for having the error pointed out so that I can avoid it in future. But not one of your criticisms of what you imagine my position to be points to my own actual words. If you are having trouble understanding the differences between what I claimed and what you imagine I claimed, please ask for clarification of the relevant points and I will be happy to provide it.

    I did make the claim that in David House’s examination by the grand jury he was not asked any questions which mentioned Julian Assange by name, according to the transcript of his own notes posted to the Web (assuming it’s genuine). That is easily verifiable by searching the text of that document (it’s not long). You note correctly but irrelevantly that the questioning came to a halt because House resisted answering any questions. Nevertheless, in the time the questioning went on a number of names were mentioned by the questioners, and Assange’s was not one of them. I was explicit that I did not draw a definite conclusion from those facts that the grand jury was not considering charges against Assange. I was explicit in saying that was one possibility. I have not yet seen the evidence on which I can draw a conclusion one way or the other about that, so I suspend judgement.

    Suspending judgement is a valuable skill. I recommend developing it.

  87. J-D
    August 1st, 2012 at 14:26 | #87

    Alan :
    @J-D
    So, progress. Since we agree that Assange has rational grounds for concern why do you believe the Australian government does not the same rational grounds?

    It does have the same rational grounds for concern. What it does not have is the power to do anything effective about them.

  88. Alan
    August 1st, 2012 at 16:12 | #88

    @J-D

    And here your argument collapses. Like the Howard government before it, the Gillard government denies that it has any rational grounds for concern. As for the power to do anything effective, when the Hicks issue finally blew up in Australia, lo and behold, Hick’s proceedings before the military commission concluded within days and the guy was in Australia within weeks.

  89. Jim Rose
    August 1st, 2012 at 18:07 | #89

    I fully agree with the International Committee of the Red Cross view on international humanitarian law as it applies to armed conflicts:
    1. Both lawful and unlawful combatants may be interned in wartime, may be interrogated and may be prosecuted for war crimes. Both are entitled to humane treatment in the hands of their enemy.
    2. Captured combatants must be granted prisoner of war status (POW) and may be held until the end of active hostilities in that international armed conflict.
    3. If the POW status of a prisoner is in doubt, the Third Geneva Convention stipulates that a competent tribunal should be established to rule on the issue.
    4. Both combatants who do not fulfil the requisite criteria for POW status and civilians who have taken a direct part in hostilities in an international armed conflict may be interned for as long as they pose a serious security threat, and be prosecuted and sentenced to terms exceeding the length of the conflict, including the range of penalties provided for under domestic law.
    5. The protocol excludes private wars – terrorist groups acting on their own behalf are excluded from prisoner of war protections.

  90. Freelander
    August 1st, 2012 at 20:27 | #90

    Wonder what the cut and paste from Wikipedia (or some place else) is all about?

    Slightly bizarre …

  91. Alan
    August 1st, 2012 at 21:19 | #91

    Personally I am fond of Article 2 of the Convention against Torture (boldface mine)

    Article 2

    1. Each State Party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction.

    2. No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.

    3. An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture.

    Article 5 is not bad either:

    Article 5

    1. Each State Party shall take such measures as may be necessary to establish its jurisdiction over the offences referred to in article 4 in the following cases:
    (a) When the offences are committed in any territory under its jurisdiction or on board a ship or aircraft registered in that State;

    (b) When the alleged offender is a national of that State;

    (c) When the victim is a national of that State if that State considers it appropriate.

    2. Each State Party shall likewise take such measures as may be necessary to establish its jurisdiction over such offences in cases where the alleged offender is present in any territory under its jurisdiction and it does not extradite him pursuant to article 8 to any of the States mentioned in paragraph I of this article.

    3. This Convention does not exclude any criminal jurisdiction exercised in accordance with internal law.

    Both Australia and the United States have signed and ratified although the US attached the reservation it always attaches to human rights conventions. Let us all sit quietly and wait for an Australian government to launch a criminal investigation into the torture of its nationals.

  92. rog
    August 1st, 2012 at 22:32 | #92

    Geneva Convention etc only apply to forces of a State and do not apply to organised groups who are subject to a States law.

    The terms enemy or armed combatant has no legal status.

    The actions of the US with regards to combatants in their WOT are not legal.

  93. J-D
    August 2nd, 2012 at 08:01 | #93

    Alan :
    @J-D
    And here your argument collapses. Like the Howard government before it, the Gillard government denies that it has any rational grounds for concern. As for the power to do anything effective, when the Hicks issue finally blew up in Australia, lo and behold, Hick’s proceedings before the military commission concluded within days and the guy was in Australia within weeks.

    1. Your claim that my argument ‘collapses’ is valueless, since you plainly have no idea what my argument is.
    2. If the Australian government had no concerns at all, it would never raise the issue with the US at all. The Australian government has raised the issue with the US, which demonstrates that it does have at least some concerns. It has not raised the issue in a denunciatory way, but denunciation of the US by Australia would not have the effect of assisting Assange at all.
    3. You have not detailed the facts you are referring to when you describe the Hicks issue ‘blowing up’ in Australia. The record shows that Hicks was returned to Australia to serve a sentence imposed on him by the ‘special military commission’ implementing a pre-trial agreement for Hicks to plead guilty. No evidence has been produced that the terms of that pre-trial agreement were influenced by anything happening in Australia. It’s obvious that Hicks was not returned to Australia as a result of the Australian government protesting US handling of the case, since the Australian government did not protest US handling of the case.

  94. Alan
    August 2nd, 2012 at 13:43 | #94

    It is true that I have no idea what your argument is. That would make two of us. You have spent the thread making claims that are either misleading (the House transcript) or simply untrue (government’s have no duty or capacity to seek diplomatic assurances for their citizens in other countries) and your exclusive purpose appears to be defending the government’s conduct. You tell us at one moment that you are opposed to ‘monstrous abuse’ and the next moment you are describing the military commissions as though they were legitimate courts of justice.

    Your current argument appears to be, and I’m happy to be corrected (NB a sneer is not a valid argument) that the government should intervene but cannot.

    As to the Hicks case, the guy was held at Guantánamo indefinitely. His options were an Alford plea or remaining at Guantánamo forever. The Alford plea was negotiated for the US by the convening authority, a former Cheney staffer.

    One of the most astonishing aspects of the plea bargain is that it was not struck between Hicks’ counsel and the prosecution—as would normally be the case—but with Susan J. Crawford, the senior status military appeals court judge who serves as “convening authority” for the case. Crawford is a protégé of Vice President Dick Cheney, a fact of considerable interest considering that Australian Prime Minister John Howard is known to have turned to Cheney in an effort to speed up the process and relieve pressure on him coming from the Hicks case in view of rapidly approaching elections.

    http://www.harpers.org/archive/2007/04/horton-plea-bargain-hicks

    and:

    The plea deal that allows Australian David M. Hicks to leave the detention facility here with a nine-month sentence was negotiated between defense attorneys and the convening authority for military commissions without the knowledge of prosecutors, lawyers from both sides said.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/31/AR2007033100976.html

    and:

    US Vice-President Dick Cheney agreed to a deal with Prime Minister John Howard to release former Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks, a US media report says.

    The report, published in Harper’s Magazine, cites an unnamed US military officer saying that a military staffer was present when Mr Cheney interfered directly to seal Hicks’s plea bargain deal.

    “He [Mr Cheney] did it, apparently, as part of a deal cut with [Australian Prime Minister] Howard,” the unnamed source is quoted as saying.

    “I kept thinking: this is the sort of thing that used to go on behind the Iron Curtain, not in America.

    “And then it struck me how much this entire process had disintegrated into a political charade. It’s demoralising for all of us.”

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2007-10-23/cheney-howard-did-deal-on-hicks/706830

  95. Jim Rose
    August 2nd, 2012 at 17:41 | #95

    When and where the global war on terror manifests itself either as international or non-international armed conflicts, international humanitarian law applies, as do aspects of international human rights and domestic law.

    On who is a combatant, international humanitarian law permits members of the armed forces of a State party to an international armed conflict and associated militias who fulfil the requisite criteria to directly engage in hostilities. They are generally considered lawful, or privileged, combatants who may not be prosecuted for the taking part in hostilities as long as they respect international humanitarian law.

    If civilians directly engage in hostilities, they are considered unlawful or unprivileged combatants or belligerents (the treaties of humanitarian law do not expressly contain these terms). They may be prosecuted under the law of the detaining state.

    Both lawful and unlawful combatants may be interned for the duration in wartime, and they may be interrogated and also prosecuted for war crimes.

    HT: International committee of the Red Cross

  96. Freelander
    August 2nd, 2012 at 18:14 | #96

    The words “war on terror” are simply a slogan, like the “war on drugs” or the “war on cancer” or the “war on poverty” or the “war on ingrown toe nails”. There is no ‘war’ as suc but use of the word war has allowed the US to get away with doing things that otherwise would be deemed outrageous.

    What we really need is a war on BS.

  97. Alan
    August 2nd, 2012 at 19:10 | #97

    The actual paragraph fron the IVRV reads:

    International humanitarian law (the law of armed conflict) recognizes two categories of armed conflict: international and non-international. International armed conflict involves the use of armed force by one State against another. Non-international armed conflict involves hostilities between government armed forces and organized armed groups or between such groups within a state. When and where the ” global war on terror ” manifests itself in either of these forms of armed conflict, international humanitarian law applies, as do aspects of international human rights and domestic law.

    http://www.icrc.org/eng/resources/documents/misc/terrorism-ihl-210705.htm

    Let’s not leave out the quotation marks next time. And again:

    Both lawful and unlawful combatants may be interned in wartime, may be interrogated and may be prosecuted for war crimes. Both are entitled to humane treatment in the hands of the enemy.

    Let’s not leave out the humane treatment either.

  98. J-D
    August 3rd, 2012 at 12:16 | #98

    Alan :
    It is true that I have no idea what your argument is. That would make two of us. You have spent the thread making claims that are either misleading (the House transcript) or simply untrue (government’s have no duty or capacity to seek diplomatic assurances for their citizens in other countries) and your exclusive purpose appears to be defending the government’s conduct. You tell us at one moment that you are opposed to ‘monstrous abuse’ and the next moment you are describing the military commissions as though they were legitimate courts of justice.
    Your current argument appears to be, and I’m happy to be corrected (NB a sneer is not a valid argument) that the government should intervene but cannot.
    As to the Hicks case, the guy was held at Guantánamo indefinitely. His options were an Alford plea or remaining at Guantánamo forever. The Alford plea was negotiated for the US by the convening authority, a former Cheney staffer.

    One of the most astonishing aspects of the plea bargain is that it was not struck between Hicks’ counsel and the prosecution—as would normally be the case—but with Susan J. Crawford, the senior status military appeals court judge who serves as “convening authority” for the case. Crawford is a protégé of Vice President Dick Cheney, a fact of considerable interest considering that Australian Prime Minister John Howard is known to have turned to Cheney in an effort to speed up the process and relieve pressure on him coming from the Hicks case in view of rapidly approaching elections.

    http://www.harpers.org/archive/2007/04/horton-plea-bargain-hicks
    and:

    The plea deal that allows Australian David M. Hicks to leave the detention facility here with a nine-month sentence was negotiated between defense attorneys and the convening authority for military commissions without the knowledge of prosecutors, lawyers from both sides said.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/31/AR2007033100976.html
    and:

    US Vice-President Dick Cheney agreed to a deal with Prime Minister John Howard to release former Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks, a US media report says.
    The report, published in Harper’s Magazine, cites an unnamed US military officer saying that a military staffer was present when Mr Cheney interfered directly to seal Hicks’s plea bargain deal.
    “He [Mr Cheney] did it, apparently, as part of a deal cut with [Australian Prime Minister] Howard,” the unnamed source is quoted as saying.
    “I kept thinking: this is the sort of thing that used to go on behind the Iron Curtain, not in America.
    “And then it struck me how much this entire process had disintegrated into a political charade. It’s demoralising for all of us.”

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2007-10-23/cheney-howard-did-deal-on-hicks/706830

    My position, consistently from my first comment, is that people are making claims for which they are not giving adequately support. Originally I was referring to a claim that the Australian government was in some unspecified way complicit with the US government in some unspecified action against Assange. In developing this argument I have moved from one aspect of the case to another because people have kept making further claims without adequately supporting them.

    It does not inspire confidence that you are making claims about what I myself have said which cannot be supported given the evidence of my own words, which are easily accessible right here.

    I have not claimed, as you wrongly suggest, that governments have no duty or capacity to seek diplomatic assurances for their citizens in other countries. On the contrary, I pointed directly to a public report that the Australian government had made inquiries with the US government about Assange, which I considered a reasonable thing to do. The different claim I did make was that there would be no benefit to Assange from the Australian government making the specific kinds of requests for guarantees you were suggesting (or, more generally, from denunciatory responses by the Australian government).

    If Assange were in US custody, or if his whereabouts were unknown but there was reason to think he might be in US custody, or if there were US legal proceedings against Assange on foot (in the form of an extradition request, for example), there would be additional steps within the power of the Australian government and which might be effective in assisting Assange. I’ve said that already also. But those are not the present circumstances.

    You suggest that my reference to the House transcript was misleading. Maybe you think I am suggesting that it ‘clears’ the US government, or something like that. I did not. You made the claim earlier that a grand jury investigation of Assange was under way but, once again, you did not substantiate the claim. So I made the effort to look for the evidence myself, and the House transcript was what I found. If you have other evidence, I would be interested to see it. In the meantime, with only the House transcript to go on, there’s not enough evidence to conclude one way or the other whether Assange is the target of a grand jury investigation. I didn’t say it couldn’t be so. I said specifically that it might be so, but there’s not enough evidence to draw a definite conclusion. You said (or implied directly) that you considered House’s stonewalling to be a matter for approbation. Maybe it is. I wasn’t discussing that. Good, bad, or indifferent, it still had the (indirect) effect of reducing the amount of evidence available about what was going on. Perhaps you think it was misleading of me not to refer to the fact that House was deliberately stonewalling. It wasn’t. The limitations of the evidence were what was relevant to the point I was making; the reasons the evidence took the form it did were not relevant to that point.

    The evidence you now present that the deal in the Hicks case was affected by Australian intervention is as follows.
    One news report says that an unnamed military officer says that Dick Cheney intervened personally to bring about the deal and that the officer thought (the word ‘apparently’ is used) that Cheney’s action followed a deal struck with John Howard.
    Another news report says that Howard ‘implored’ Cheney for a resolution of the case, but cites no source for the information at all.
    Another news report says Howard ‘is known’ (but it doesn’t explain how) to have turned to Cheney. It goes on to say that Howard ‘acknowledges’ intervening, but it does not cite his words directly, and is contradicted on this point by the first report, which says Howard denied any involvement, and quotes him directly on the subject.
    That adds up to some evidence. I don’t think it’s adequate to support your conclusion. If the politicians are lying, it wouldn’t be the first time; but if the journalists (and/or their sources) have got things wrong, it wouldn’t be the first time for that, either. I continue to suspend judgement. If you think the evidence you’ve shown so far is sufficient for a conclusion on that specific point, it’s one on which we may just have to agree to disagree.

  99. Alan
    August 3rd, 2012 at 14:49 | #99

    Essentially you seem not to think that any evidence is persuasive except your own. You claimed the House transcript was evidence because House was not questioned about Assange without mentioning that the examination was terminated without being completed or that many questions were asked about Wikileaks,

    You suspend judgment on anything you oppose and eagerly accept anything that supports your case as gospel truth. This is not a matter of agreeing to disagree, it is a matter where the US government has form and the Australian government has form. ‘Suspending judgment’ is a convenient rubric for trying to persuade us the government is doing all it can.

    I don’t propose to keep on presenting evidence to have it magicked away while you dance in a circle chanting the mystic formula of suspending judgement.

  100. J-D
    August 3rd, 2012 at 15:09 | #100

    The House transcript is strong evidence of a grand jury investigation being conducted. It’s the only evidence that’s been produced of that–you haven’t provided any other evidence. It is not strong evidence of who the targets of that grand jury investigation are, largely because it was terminated without being completed, a fact which strengthens my case rather than weakening it. There may be other evidence out there. I haven’t found it. You haven’t produced it.

    I haven’t accepted anything as ‘gospel truth’. Nor have I either supported or opposed any case except, as I said, the case that people are making claims for which they are not giving adequate support.

    The observation that somebody ‘has form’ is the sort of thing that makes the basis for frame jobs. The fact that people have guilty records does not by itself automatically validate all allegations against them. It may be grounds for suspicion but it’s not enough to justify definite conclusions. It is convenient, though, for people who are more interested in labelling villains than they are in accuracy on matters of detail. Personally I am more interested in accuracy on matters of detail than I am in labelling villains, but I know not everybody feels that way.

Comment pages
1 2 10816
Comments are closed.