21 Aug. 2006

The new line on David Hicks

As I noted the other day, there seems to have been a change in Australian government policy towards the case of the illegally-detained Australian Muslim, David Hicks. Here it is again, except that Darth Ruddock has moved even further towards a pro-Hicks position. He's basically said that the government (i.e. his master, Darth Howard) are not happy about Hicks being kept in infinite detention. There is some logic to this. They were quite happy to see Hicks face a kangaroo court, but now that the court has been declared illegal, they're not happy for him to continue being detained. It's a bit bizarre to claim that they are unhappy with indefinite detention, but they were happy with a long detention followed by a dodgy and illegal trial, but presumably they think the US Supreme Court are a bunch of liberal wimps who are interfering with justice.

OK, so the new line is that they don't like Hicks being in detention, but there's nothing much they can do about it. This seems to grossly contradict Ruddock's previous attempt to claim credit for getting the US's other Australian in Guantanamo freed; in fact, just a week ago, Ruddock was claiming that if the US didn't put Hicks on some kind of ludicrous trial, "we would be seeking his return in the same way we did with Mamdouh Habib".

One suspects that Ruddock et al. have now approached the US administration and been rebuffed, hence this new 'we are impotent' line (to be used also to explain economic conditions, and any other negative phenomena which may arise). Regardless of whether he has tried to do anything, I don't really doubt that Ruddock is right about there not being anything much he can do in this regard. Australia is America's servant, and does not have any real power in its relationship with its imperial master – and cna grovel for favours, but the US will only grant them if it feels like it. Which means that Habib was freed because, even after the Egyptians had totrued him, they didn't find enough evidence to try him in front of even a kanagaroo court.