Monday, December 29, 2008

David Hicks

I know who David Hicks is.

There's a part of me that really dreads researching this topic. I guess I'm afraid of what I'll find. Although I know who he is; I don't know much about the story. I don't know if he was completely innocent and wrongly accused. Maybe he was slightly guilty but the punishment didn't fit the crime. I don't know.

I'm scared to face what my own country did. I've kept myself as ignorant as possible about Guantanamo Bay. I barely know how to pronounce it.

I mean I knew it's in Cuba and that it involved torture. But that's it. I haven't read any articles about it. I've avoided the topic. I just know it was bad.

Well, I guess I'll go ahead and figure out more.

David Hicks was born on 7 August 1975 in Adelaide. He's three years younger than me.

He's a Leo and a 1 in numerology. I think he's the first 1 I've found while doing my research.

I picture this type of person being a charismatic leader. 1 is about independence and leadership.

Lord Wiki paints Hicks as a bit of a troubled child. He experimented with drugs and alcohol as a teenager. Okay...not very unusual. He did get expelled from Smithfield Plains High School at the age of 14. Now that IS a bit unusual.

Lord Wiki says, Hicks was given dispensation by his father from attending school. I'm not sure what that means. I don't think I've encountered the word dispensation before. I looked at the dictionary and that didn't really clear anything up for me.

Oh well.

Hicks had various jobs in his young adult years, including skinning kangaroos at a meat-packing factory, and working at various outback cattle stations.

In a town called Borroloola in the Northern Territory, he met his partner Jodi Sparrow. This was in 1992. He was only sixteen. And it's here that he began to study the Qu'ran. I wonder how and why he became interested in that.

Sparrow and Hicks had two children. They separated in 1996. Hicks moved to Japan and became a horse trainer.

In 1999, Hicks joined the Kosovo Liberation Army in Albania. He did this for two months and then returned to Australia. He tried to join the Australia Army, but was rejected because he didn't have enough formal education.

Hicks converted to Islam around this time. He joined a mosque in a suburb near Adelaide.

In November 1999, Hicks went to Pakistan to study Islam. He joined a terrorist group called Lashkar-e-Toiba. The guy seems very infatuated with warfare and weapons. I'm not liking him so far. I mean I don't think he deserved to be tortured. But I also don't think he's the type of person I want to have a picnic with.

In January 2001, he went to Afghanistan and joined Al Qaeda. I was a newly pregnant mom at this time.

It seems Hicks helped Osama Bin Laden by translating training materials into English.

This gets confusing now. It's all allegations and conflicting stories. I don't know who to believe. The US military paints a picture of a man who somewhat drifted away from Al Qaeda, but when he saw the September 11 stuff he was inspired to get involved again. They make him sound callous and blood thirsty. A show on ABC called Four Corners had Hicks claiming that he disapproved of the September 11 attacks, but was unable to get out of Afghanistan.

Hicks was captured by a group called The Northern Alliance in December 2001. This group is made up of people who used to fight against each other, but had put aside their differences to fight together against the Taliban. The Northern Alliance sold Hicks to the US government for $1000.

Hick's father tried to get his son back to Australia.

Hick says he was tortured by the US military.

Yikes. This goes all way over my head.

Lord Wiki has too much information here. It's making me dizzy. I'm going to go look at other websites.

This article talks about how he was detained for five years before finally getting convicted. In 2004, he was formally charged with conspiracy, attempted murder and aiding the enemy. Hicks pleaded not guilty. The charges were dropped though because the Supreme Court ruled that the military trials were not lawful.

The US military tried again a few years later. In February 2007, Hicks was charged with providing material support for terrorism. What does that mean? This time he pleaded guilty. He also withdrew claims that he had been abused by the US military. Why did he withdraw these claims? Did someone threaten him....offer him a deal? Or had he lied previously? But why would he now want to come forward and be "honest"?

On March 30, he was formally convicted. He was the first person to be formally convicted at Guantanamo Bay prison. Wow. That would be a fun thing to put on your resume. Did he get a special fun sticker or medal?

His sentence was seven years, but he'd get to return to Australia. The article says he would have to serve only nine months. I never get that. Why do they sentence people for a long time and then give them all this time off? If it was supposed to be only nine months, why not just sentence him for nine months?

Hicks returned to Australia on May 20, 2007. He was barred from speaking to the media for twelve months. Well, that time is up. Has he spoken yet? I hope so. I'd be interested to read what he has to say.

The article says that in 2004 he wrote a letter to his family saying he was being abused by the US military. He complained of mood swings and confusion. No offense, but he didn't seem like the most mentally stable person in the first place. It's not like this was some sweet kid who was emotionally destroyed by being in prison. It's more about a damaged person becoming even more damaged.

The Australia government was accused of not doing enough to help Hicks. Daddy Hicks did a lot of campaigning to get the government to pay attention. It seems this father is a bit idealistic when it comes to his son. The article says the parents described him as a typical boy who couldn't settle down. Typical? Getting expelled from school is not typical.

I think this father is delusional. But I think if Jack turned out like David Hicks, I'd be delusional too. I think no matter what my son did, I would do everything in my power to protect him. I wouldn't want my son far away in a foreign prison. I'd want him to come home. I'd be angry, disgusted, and disappointed in him. But I'd still want to shield him from harm.

All right. More signs of ignorant parenting. The article says that Hicks called his parents to tell him he had joined the KLA. This was the Kosovo Liberation Army. His father says he thought it was an airline. Oh! Give me a break. If your child goes off to a foreign land and joins an Acronym, find out what it stands for!

I'm trying not to judge this family, but they seem really messed up.

This New York Times article says that it was this very month that Hicks became fully free. Before that he was on control order. This meant he had to be home from 6 pm to 6 am. He had to report to the police twice a week. He couldn't leave his state without police permission.

Now that's over.

Oh....the end of the article says Hicks is not yet ready to speak to the media. Well, that article was published eight days ago. Maybe he's changed his mind since then.

A man named Brett Solomon campaigned against the earlier control order. He said No reasonable person could believe that David Hicks is a threat to national security. 

Well, Mr. Solomon. I guess I'm unreasonable then. I don't like the Bush administration. Link I think they're evil. They scare me. But just because they did wrong when it comes to Hicks....well, I don't think that means Hicks is good and innocent. He seems like a scary character to me. Maybe I'm missing information here. I'll keep digging.

The Australian has excerpts from David Hicks' letters.

I spent around three months in a muslim military training camp in the mountains.I learnt about weapons such as ballistic missiles, surface to surface and shoulder fired missiles, anti aircraft and anti-tank rockets, rapid fire heavy and light machine guns, pistols, AK47s, mines and explosives.

I would NOT be happy if we got a letter from Jack that said that. I would be a bit disturbed.

Real jihad is possible just like before in the Prophets day where martyrs die with a smile on their faces and their bodies stay smelling of beautiful perfume for weeks after death.

Oh! Well, here we go. I have been worrying about smelling bad after I die. I guess I'll be a martyr so I can smell like perfume. Do we get to pick out which perfume we smell like?

It seems Hicks has a new girlfriend. Aloysia Brooks. She's a post-graduate student who defended Hicks on a newspaper website. She says, David Hicks is someone's brother, son, and father. He gets scared, bleeds and feels pain just like you or I ... He is someone who deserves to be treated with dignity, respect and compassion no matter what he has done.

How much respect and compassion? We don't want prisoners being tortured, right? But do they deserve complete freedom? To me, Hicks sounds like a dangerous asshole. I guess the issue is did he really convict a crime? Is being involved with terrorists enough reason for conviction? Is this just a matter of guilt by association?

Hicks has renounced Islam. Why?

The Amnesty International USA site has an open letter to John Howard from Irene Khan. She's the secretary general of Amnesty International. She says, The camp in Guantánamo Bay is a legal black hole designed to put detainees outside the rule of law and the US Administration beyond the rule of law. It must be shut down. The detainees held there should either be released or, if they are suspected of having committed a recognizably criminal offense, they should be charged immediately and tried in fair proceedings.

I do agree with this. It's scary. Bush has used September 11 as an excuse to do really scary and unfair things. I'm actually reading a novel about such stuff right now. It's Orpheus Lost by Janette Turner Hospital. Have any of you read it? I haven't read much of it yet, but it really makes me paranoid. It's like there's scary things on both sides. We have to worry about the terrorists. They could strike and kill us at any time. Yet, we also have to fear the people who fight the terrorists. They do NOT play fair.

This all reminds me of the whole Scientology thing. I don't like psychiatry. We could say I'm fairly anti-psychiatry. The Scientologists don't like Psychiatry either. I wish I could find comfort and support from them. But those people scare me as well. Now there's a group that fights Scientologists. They call themselves Anonymous. These people disturb me as much as the Scientologists and the Psychiatrists. I don't really like ANY of the groups.

I think the Scientology issue is kind of giving me an analogy here. If Scientology is a creepy unethical group and they hate Psychiatry does that make Psychiatry a good thing? No, I don't think so. Hitler was a mass murderer and was a vegetarian. Does that mean eating meat is a good thing?

The Bush administration is corrupt and does very bad things. But does that make David Hicks innocent? Does that make him a hero? No, I don't think so.

Amnesty International Australia has a story on Hicks. It's funny how people report things. Hicks has had many jobs. He was a drifter. It seems a lot of the mainstream news articles put emphasis on the fact that Hicks skinned kangaroos. That doesn't give the reader a very pleasant image. I think we begin to associate such a profession with serial killers torturing animals. Amnesty International skips the dead kangaroo stuff and describes Hicks as being a former horse trainer. It makes him seem very innocent. This guy is like Claire McLeod. He's a gentle man who trains animals. Who would want to imprison such a man?

Their David Hicks seems like a man who simply wanted to learn more about Islam. They talk little about his military involvement--his love for weapons. Instead they say he wanted to study ancient Arabic. David Hicks is an intellectual who trains gentle animals. They make him seem quite lovable. Let's get him out of prison and cuddle him!

The Australian Democrats speak out against what happened to Hicks. I'm going to read this now. It says because of his horrific treatment, Hicks will need counseling. I agree with this, but I think the guy already needed some counseling. Did he receive any when he was young? Did his parents get him any help when he was expelled from school?

The Australian Democrats say that Hicks was forbidden to speak about his experience at Guantanamo for 3 months after he finished his sentence. They say this is not keeping with Australian Democratic principles. Why three months? Is that like a magic number? Why did the US government want him quiet for that length of time?

 It's so mysterious.

An organization called The Justice Project has written about Hicks. I like what this organization says about their values. We believe that border protection and protection of our community from acts of terrorism are legitimate objectives, but that these must be balanced against humanitarian considerations. We believe we can protect our community without eroding our traditional Australian values.

I think that's a nice moderate approach.

Anyway, they talked about how Hicks was denied an unfair trial. He was denied a fair go. I guess the issue is that even though I don't like Hicks, he still deserves to be treated fairly. But I don't think this means he should be treated as hero or as an innocent victim. I think it just means that the government should have given him a fair trial. They shouldn't have locked him up the way they did. That's scary. You know why? What if the same treatment happened to someone else who WAS completely innocent? What if a good man got himself involved with a bad misunderstanding? What if a good man just had the "wrong" skin color? What if he simply practiced the "wrong" religion?

The SBS has an article from this November. They say he's broken his silence. Hey, I'm getting conflicting information here. The New York Times article says he hasn't broken his silence yet. Maybe what they really meant is Hicks isn't ready to speak to them specifically. I don't know.

Hicks complains about being on control. He says it will interfere with him getting on with his life. It doesn't sound like such a huge deal to me. He was sentenced to seven years and had to serve only nine months. Well, I guess we could say he served enough time before being sentenced. Maybe that's the deal here. I think I would have more respect for Hicks if he broke his silence by showing his remorse for being involved with Al Qaeda, or at least showing some embarrassment/shame for it. Instead, he worries about having to report to the police twice a week. Is it that much of a burden? Would it really make it impossible for him to get on with his life as he claims. Now the ban is lifted. David Hicks, you're a free man now. What are you going to do with that freedom?

ABC has the video of Hicks complaining about the control order. In my opinion, he sounds like a man who constantly blames others for his problems, and takes no responsibility for his own actions. I'm betting this is partly because of the way his father stuck up for him and made excuses. Yes, he's just a typical child who got expelled from school. Don't all kids do that? In letters to his parents, he puts a lot of blame on the Jews. We do make very good scapegoats. Now Hicks complains about the control order messing up his ability to get on with his life. Yes, it would be more challenging to live life if you were under police control. It does suck that you can't go traveling around the country, and you can't run off to Thailand and sip drinks by the beach. But I think you CAN do SOMETHING productive while under police watch? Right? He could have gotten therapy. He could have read books. He could have taken ballroom dancing. There were still opportunities for him to improve his life. Did Hicks try to do that, or did he just sit there complaining about how unfairly he was being treated?

I like with this blog says. Certainly travelling overseas, changing your religion and even agreeing with another’s ideology is okay, but joining a camp where they train to blow up airliners, is a bit over the line.

Yes! Thank you. Is it a crime to join a dangerous terrorist organization? Is that illegal? I really don't know actually. But even if it's not technically a crime, I think it's....well, I think it's bad. I don't have sympathy for a person who does this. I mean maybe I would if it involved some guy who joined because he saw his younger sister eaten by ravage cannibals. What if it was a horrific case of a bad thing happening to a good person? He goes nuts and joins a terrorist group. Yes, then I would have loads of sympathy. But David Hicks just sounds like a bad kid to me. I mean maybe something in his early childhood messed him up. And maybe I should have sympathy for that.

I don't know.

We interrupt this blog post for an important message: I have hurt my toe very badly. I'm in a lot of pain. Please give me sympathy. Thank you. We now return to the scheduled program.

The World Socialist Website
has some interesting information. If it's true, it's pretty disturbing in regard to the US government. The Socialist group say Hicks was compelled to declare that he was not treated illegally during his detainment. They said this was part of the plea deal. He was also required to promise not to sue the US government.

Hicks was also forced to apologize to the US and Australia governments.

This is all very disturbing to me. It's bribery. That's what it is. We'll let you get out of this awful place if you keep your mouth shut.

I hope he doesn't keep his mouth shut.

But this does NOT mean I like David Hicks. I still haven't changed my mind about that.

I'm just a little more scared of the Bush government. I'm sighing with relief that Bush will be out of there in a few weeks. Please let things get better! I include my two little baby toes in this plea.

This blog has a video done by Daddy Hicks. It's a plea to get his son released from Guantanamo. His technique is to use a picture of his son at age 9. He looks sweet and innocent. What child doesn't look sweet and innocent at nine years old? The Bush campaign could play the same game with a picture of George W. at nine-years-old. Yes, he has destroyed our economy and put us in a horrible war. Yes, he really has no morals. But he's my son. He was nine-years-old once. Let's be nice to him.

I do give credit to what Daddy Hicks SAYS in the video. He says he thinks his son should face the consequences of his actions, but he wants his son to have a fair trial.

The writers of this article decided to track down David Hick's long lost children. He has a daughter that's fourteen and a son that's twelve. They live near Adelaide. Their maternal grandfather says the kids want nothing to do with their father. She says he never cared about the kids, but now he wants to see them. She thinks it's all just a ploy to make him look good. The grandpa says, He didn't care about them enough to stay around so I don't want to hear all this crap about him missing them now.

David Hicks, I am really not liking you. Maybe your ex father-in-law isn't telling the truth. But if he dare you use your children as pawns like that?

The mother of the children doesn't have much love for Hicks either. She refuses to have anything to do with him.

Oh. Well, I guess they changed their mind. This article, published four months later, says the kids are willing to give him a second chance.

The son, Terry said he was disappointed in his father, but he did defend his father's honor in a fight. Aren't most of us like that with our family? We can think bad things about them.  But if someone else says something bad we defend them.

Bonnie, the daughter, has not forgiven her father for abandoning her. But she does think he's been in prison long enough.

The mother of the children visited her ex. She reported back that he seemed fairly normal. What's her definition of normal?

Okay. This softens my cold heart a bit. She says he wrote to her while in prison. He said, Dear Jodie, thank you for for doing a great job of bringing them up. You've always been an excellent mother. As soon as I stop writing this I'm going to write to the children. It's going to be the hardest thing I've done my whole life. What do I do? What do I say.

That's really sweet. It's the first thing I've read about David Hicks that didn't disgust me. He actually seems fairly decent in that letter.

This SMH article talks about how Hicks has been adjusting. It makes him sound like a fairly decent person--or at least someone who's TRYING to be decent. I'm trying not to be skeptical.

He's been doing volunteer work at a nursery and other environmental agencies. Okay. So, that would mean he wasn't just sitting on his butt complaining about the control order. That's good to know.

It sounds like he's trying to clear his name. He wants to be a normal boring member of society. But what's going on in his head? I want to know MORE. Why did he join such a hateful and violent group in the first place? Why did he hate Jews and Americans? Why was he willing to become a martyr? I mean I understand he wants his corpse to smell good, but there has to be more to it. Right? And has he changed his views on these things? Does he have regrets about joining the Taliban, or does he just regret being imprisoned for his involvement?

This Adelaide paper has an interesting article. It says Daddy Hicks used to call his son Indiana Jones. Yeah. The thing is Indiana Jones fought the Nazis who hated Jews. David Hicks hated Jews. In the letters to his family he said, Jews and Americans in the western world are determined to prevent it to come back again. Jihad is still valid today and will be for all time. The West is full of poison. The western society is controlled by the Jews with music, TV, houses, cars, free sex takes Muslims away from the true Islam keeps Islam week and in the third world.

That sure doesn't sound like Indiana Jones to me.

The article talks about his high school years. They say he was expelled, but the school record contains no negative remarks. If there's nothing negative, why was he expelled? Or are they not legally allowed to talk about it.

He dabbled in Satanism. What kind? The Christian mythological type, or the Atheist one?

Anyway, I'm going to stop researching now.

I hope this all has a happy ending.

I hope Obama shuts down Guantanamo Bay. I hope America stops using the excuse of national security to wrongly detain and torture people.

I don't think David Hicks is a hero. I think he's a selfish delusional asshole. But I always have hope that people can become better. He's not a hero now, but he could BECOME a hero. I hope he does that. I hope he finds a spiritual and/or ethical system that brings him peace.

I hope we all have peace.