Updated below -October 19, 2012
David Hicks Book Banned In The USA?
Has the US Banned the Autobiography of a Former Guantanamo
By Richard Edmondson
People might remember the name
He is an Australian who was held prisoner at Guantanamo Bay from
2001 until 2007. In 2010 he published an autobiography entitled
Guantanamo: My Journey. Reportedly the book details the
years of torture he underwent while in the custody of the US
military. Sounds like a book you might want to read. But
strangely, it does not seem to be for sale in the U.S.
Barnes and Noble does
not list it at all. Amazon, conversely, does
list it for sale—
at its Kindle Store —but at the very spot on the page where
we’d expect to see the “Buy Now” button, we find instead a
notice reading, “This title is not available for
customers from: United States.” Amazon also has a
used hardcover copy for sale—only one—but it is
available at the outrageous price of $105.15.
Hicks’ publisher is
Random House Books-Australia. If you follow the link and
click the “Buy Now” button, you are presented with a menu of
retailers who offer Guantanamo: My Journey for sale on
their websites at a price of $34.95 or less. All of them appear
to be Australian outlets and the prices are in Australian
Why do book sellers in the US not offer the book? In addition to
being unavailable from Amazon and Barnes and Noble,
in Portland, Oregon does not have it; nor
in New York; nor
in San Francisco. Is that not strange?
Wikipedia does have an entry for Hicks’ book. A
footnote beneath the article contains a link to a review which
can be found
here. The review is entitled “David Hicks shows us what we
became after 9/11.” Here is an excerpt:
Hicks details guards who punished him for simply studying his
legal options. He often asked for medical care to help stress
fractures. Little help was given. ‘‘You’re not meant to be
healthy or comfortable,’’ he was told.
Faeces flooded the cage where Hicks lived and slept, ignored by
the American officials. Dirty and unwashed clothes were common.
Deafening loud music was pumped into cells to disorientate
prisoners. Hicks writes of having to urinate on himself while
being shackled during countless hours of interrogation.
Detainees on hunger strikes were regularly force-fed.
Also worth mentioning is that the US Court of Appeals has just
overturned Hicks’ conviction:
David Hicks Terrorism Charge Found Invalid
A US federal court has found the charge of providing
material support for terrorism against David Hicks was applied
retrospectively, writes Andy Park.
David Hicks’ conviction at Guantanamo Bay in 2007 has been ruled
invalid by a US appeals court, paving the way for a full
vindication of his innocence.
The Washington DC federal appeals court found that the charge of
providing material support for terrorism against three men,
including Osama bin Laden's former driver Salim Hamdan and Mr
Hicks, could not be applied retrospectively.
The charge was created in 2006.
Mr Hicks was controversially detained on the charge at
Guantanamo Bay from 2001 until 2007.
The chief prosecutor in the Guantanamo Bay military commissions
in 2008, Col. Morris Davis (Ret.),
told a US publication that the finding was
“a body blow to credibility of the already beleaguered military
“I was one of the advocates for adding material support as a
chargeable offense when Congress was crafting the Military
Commissions Act in the summer of 2006. I personally approved the
material support charges against Hamdan and Hicks in February of
2007. I realized later on that I was mistaken on both counts,”
Col. Morris Davis said.
Mr Hicks’ former millitary lawyer Dan Mori told ABC24 it was
vindicating “to have a US Federal court say you were right all
Mr Mori said he expects the Australian government to respond
given the complicity in the two government’s cooperation to
convict Mr Hicks.
“The validity that these aren’t a valid offence and knowing that
he was treated inappropriately, hopefully there will be some
closer with the government,” he said.
Updated October 19,
of Hicks Prosecution Lingers as Court Exposes its Flimsy Basis
By Richard Ackland
October 19, 2012 "Brisbane
-- -- It would have taken the skills of a first-year law clerk
in the Attorney-General's department to advise that the case
against David Hicks was a big no-no. It didn't need an appeals
court in the United States this week to tell us this was a dodgy
Being fitted-up for a war crime for things he allegedly did
before the crime was put on the books required some heavy-handed
Hicks was charged in 2007 with ''material support for
terrorism''. This related to ''engaging in combat against US
forces'' in Afghanistan in 2001.
The Military Commission and the offence itself came into
existence in 2006, by an Act of Congress after the 2001 version
of the Military Commissions was struck down by the US Supreme
Court as unconstitutional.
So on an elementary level the timing in all this was way out,
and the stitch-up required high-level intervention.
Don't take my word for that. Take the word of the man who
prosecuted David Hicks at Guantanamo, Colonel Morris Davis.
In a 2008 interview that Davis gave to the independent
investigatory media organisation Truthout, he said that when he
was appointed a prosecutor he made it clear to his superiors in
the Pentagon that ''the one case I did not want to start with
was David Hicks''.
He explained: ''We told the world these guys are 'the worst of
the worst'. David Hicks was a knucklehead. He was just a
foot-soldier, not a war criminal.''
Colonel Davis (retired) said that in January 2007 he received an
urgent phone call from the top lawyer at the Pentagon, William
''Jim'' Haynes, who asked him: ''How quickly can you charge
It was the first time that the general counsel at the Pentagon
had ever called him about a specific case and he felt it was
At this point, the Manual for Military Commissions had not even
been produced by the Defence Department. The manual implements
the law and spells out the elements of the crimes charged under
the Military Commission Act.
It did not exist at the time Haynes (who Bush was trying to
shoehorn onto a US appeals court) was pressuring Davis to charge
Hicks, who at this stage had already been in Guantanamo for more
than five years. Davis said it would probably take two weeks to
charge Hicks after the manual saw the light of day.
''Two weeks,'' Haynes replied. ''Two weeks is too long.''
The rush was on for the reason that John Howard had an election
that year and his government had nominated David Hicks as
Australia's terrorism poster-boy.
There was mounting distrust in the electorate that an Australian
had been held in cruel circumstances in Cuba, without charge,
for an extended time.
After years of insouciance by the electorate, Hicks has become a
hot political potato and the menacing rhetoric of the
attorney-general, Philip Ruddock, and Foreign Minister,
Alexander Downer, was wearing thin.
Hicks was charged in February 2007 with material support for
terrorism, or MST. The next month he had entered into a plea
deal and by April he was out of Guantanamo and into the Yatala
Labour Prison in South Australia to do a further nine months and
not to be released until after the November election, subject to
Davis said that Haynes and vice-president Dick Cheney's adviser,
David Addington, had negotiated the plea deal without his
He felt the whole thing was designed to bolster John Howard's
electoral prospects by making the Hicks case go away.
Well, it did not go away.
In July this year the Commonwealth prosecutors had to drop a
proceeds-of-crime case against Hicks over the publication of his
memoir, Guantanamo: My Journey.
This ill-conceived prosecution had been egged on by the shadow
attorney-general, Senator George Brandis, and some bone-headed
editorialising in the Murdoch papers.
The common law and the Evidence Act both say that an admission
of guilt cannot be put to a court if it was provoked by
''violent, oppressive, inhumane or degrading conduct''.
Even a cursory look at Hicks's book showed that he was subjected
to ill-treatment and the prospect of indefinite detention if he
didn't sign up for the charge.
Yet on Wednesday we have relics of the Howard era drilling into
us the old theme song that Hicks was an associate of the
Taliban, which beheads people who don't agree with them.
Now we have the decision from the DC Circuit court in the Hamdan
case, by three conservative Republican-appointed judges.
Hamdan had his MST conviction overturned. Unlike Hicks, he had
not taken the plea deal, but was convicted and did time -
convicted after the Pentagon rejigged the panel hearing his case
so as to get the right result. He's now back in Yemen driving
Just think about the implications of what the US was trying to
do with people like David Hicks.
It is saying that anyone in the world, who has suitable radical
connections and who is in a war zone fighting against Americans,
is guilty of a war crime.
This is a significant departure from the Geneva Conventions and
the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, quite
apart from the US constitution. And yet we signed up to this
Grounds for new appeal by David Hicks:
As Hamish Fitzsimmons reports, Australia's former foreign
minister has scorned Hicks's attempt to clear his name, five
years after his release from Guantanamo Bay.
See also -
US court throws into doubt David Hicks'
conviction: - A US Court of
Appeals has ruled that the law under which David Hicks was
convicted in the military commission system was not a war crime
and could not be applied after the fact. Lawyers for David Hicks
say they don't yet know whether he will now appeal his own
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