IMMEDIATELY after the news broke yesterday that Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks had pleaded guilty to the charge of providing material support to terrorism, his deluded supporters sprang into action.
Just because Hicks had pleaded guilty did not mean he was guilty – far from it.
He’d pleaded to the charge, they insisted, because he’d been forced to do so by his captors.
After five years in captivity, the Hicks cheer squad insisted, he would have been prepared to plead guilty to anything, just to be free of the endless torment to which he has been subjected.
All that time in close confinement could do strange things to a man.
And no less an authority than Hicks’ Camp X-Ray buddy Mamdouh Habib was called on to give corroborative verity to that version of events. And Habib, of course, was not loathe to assist. Hicks would have been forced to plead guilty, Habib insisted, to be allowed access to legal counsel. He – Habib – knew how the system worked. Hicks would have had no choice…
Many will share the views expressed there, or those views will become their views…
The Australian is a tad more circumspect and The Sydney Morning Herald even more so. See Tom Allard, Plea bargain a perfect solution for Canberra. Certainly John Howard has removed an election embarrassment, or hopes to have done so.
You will find a number of relevant transcripts on yesterday’s PM on Radio National.
The truth is that now we can never be sure, and probably some issues will never really be explored satisfactorily, at least not in the short term.
The other matter is that once much discussed but now almost forgotten Lancet/Johns Hopkins report on civilian deaths in Iraq. Jamie Stern-Weiner in the UK has an interesting entry on this: Government Ignored Its Own Chief Scientific Advisor To Rubbish Lancet Report.
According to documents recently released to the BBC under the Freedom of Information Act, the British government ignored its own chief scientific advisor in its dismissal of The Lancet report (.pdf)…
In fact, the Ministry of Defence’s chief scientific advisor called the methodology “robust” and “close to best practice”. Another statician agreed the method was “tried and tested”. In response to a Foreign Office email questioning the accuracy of The Lancet figures, another official responds,
“However, the survey methodology used here cannot be rubbished, it is a tried and tested way of measuring mortality in conflict zones.”
The BBC reports that “some of the British government criticism of the Lancet report post-dated the chief scientific adviser’s report.” It appears that the British government was so desperate to downplay the massive suffering it has inflicted upon the Iraqi people that it rubbished a report certified by its own scientific advisor as credible…
Go to that entry for more, and for linked documentation.
Just for interest, I found the following YouTube on Kevin’s blog. Kevin, you may recall, has visited here from time to time, and I acknowledge, despite our almost total disagreement on many things, he has been very kind in his concern over the Lord Malcolm stories. Fred Dalton Thompson (born August 19, 1942) is an American lawyer, actor and former Republican Senator from Tennessee (now a resident of McLean, Virginia), who is reportedly considering a bid in the 2008 Presidential Election. (Wikipedia) He is Kevin’s choice.