In the matter of David Hicks — 2

On the 8th I mentioned that I was reading David Hicks’s recently published account of his life. I now find myself preparing a review for the December South Sydney Herald.

In addition to the reviews linked to the earlier post I have been examining other resources on the subject of David Hicks. Any review of his book must include reference to the documentary The President Versus David Hicks. David Stratton:

The troubling documentary ‘The President Versus David Hicks’, which screened on SBS earlier this year and is only now getting a cinema release, is in effect a profile of David Hicks’ father, Terry. Faced with a situation no parent should have to contemplate, his son imprisoned for years by a foreign power which won’t allow his family access, his own government refusing to intervene on behalf of its citizen. Terry Hicks sets off, accompanied by film-maker Curtis Levy, to follow in his son’s footsteps in an effort to find out what happened to him.

We discover that David, a seemingly average Aussie kid from Adelaide, son of a broken marriage and with a failed relationship, and two children, behind him, converted to Islam and determined to fight what he saw as injustice towards Muslims, first in Kosovo, then in Kashmir and finally Afghanistan, where he became increasingly radicalised.

Terry Hicks is a wonderful character, a real Aussie battler, and very tolerant of some of the less attractive things he discovers about his son during his odessy. The film was made before David Hicks was formally charged, but it still raises once again all the questions about justice, respect for international law and the apparent indifference of Australian authorities to the fate of one of their citizens. This is a documentary which every concerned Australian should see…

The letters used in that documentary are glossed over somewhat in the recent book.

There has also been an opportunity to look again at the thoroughly admirable Michael Mori.

I’ve often wondered what became of Mori later. Here is the answer from Wikipedia.

Following Hicks’ departure from Guantanamo Bay to complete his sentence in Yatala Prison, South Australia – on or about May 20, 2007 – Mori was re-assigned as a staff judge advocate, or legal adviser, to the commanders of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego. He has twice been passed over for promotion since taking on the Hicks case.[6]

Mori was presented, in June 2007, with an honorary membership of the Australian Bar Association for his defence of David Hicks.[7] In October 2007, he was awarded a civil justice award from the Australian Lawyers Alliance as “recognition by the legal profession of unsung heroes who, despite personal risk or sacrifice, have fought to preserve individual rights, human dignity or safety”.[8]

In September 2010, Mori took the navy to court, alleging that his 2009 promotion was delayed due to bias by the selection board.[9]

Now that guy is a hero!

I also have looked into Lex Lasry QC on Hicks’s trial: David Hicks Trial. The Parliamentary Library has a useful chronology: Australians in Guantanamo Bay.

Now to that famous question:

The answer clearly is “No”.

Was David Hicks one of the “worst of the worst” as Donald Rumsfeld once famously said? No.

Was his confession genuine? No.

Was he totally innocent? No.

Should you read his book? Yes. Should you accept what he says? Cautiously and critically.

One aside: in her review (see the 8 November post) Miranda Devine pooh-poohs Hicks’s account of how he became a Muslim by checking the Adelaide yellow pages and finding a nearby mosque. Well, that one I do believe. Miranda seems to know little about how to become a Muslim, which in fact is easier than with most religions.

To become a Muslim one must simply pronounce the Shahaadatayn (Declaration of Faith) with sincerity and conviction.The Shahadah can be declared as follows:


The English translation is:

“I bear witness that there is no deity worthy to be worshiped but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger.”

All you have to do is say that twice to another Muslim and you’re in. No courses necessary.

— More on Michael Mori: Marine Times Monday Sep 20, 2010.

3 thoughts on “In the matter of David Hicks — 2

  1. Neil,

    I think it is great that you have read the book- I am assuming that you have finished considering your post. I am puzzled as to why you would tell people to read the book with caution. It is Bush and Howard that lied to the Australian public, if readers are to question anyone’s credibility it should be them, not Hicks. I have read the book, it is an honest and thoughtful account. I don’t know if you read the endnotes, but what he says is backed up by independent and reliable sources- there were camps in Afghanistan that were not run by terrorists. Even Mori himself believed his account- or he wouldn’t have written the blurb at the back of the book. All of these reviews that have come out have been negative- and of course they had to be- Hicks has made them out to be liars, they have written crap about him for 10 years now, and they look like fools so of course they are going to attack his credibility. Also, I have to remind everyone that David had not committed an offence under Australian, US or international law- if he was so dangerous or if he wasn’t ‘totally innocent’ as you put it, he would have been charged with a violent offence, but he had never hurt anyone, even the US admitted this.
    I hope that people read it for themselves and stop listening to other people’s misleading opinions.

  2. You’ll have to wait for my review for my few reservations about the book; otherwise I do agree with you. At the moment I am looking at the issue of whether Guantanamo actually achieved much in terms of useful intelligence. It seems it may not have, so the whole thing is a fail for quite a few reasons.

  3. Have a look at page 452, endnote 184 for that information. I’m interested in hearing your reservations. I just think that this guy deserves a break.

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