Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Military Commission and the "Monster" Washington Made

At left: Hicks as a volunteer for the "Kosovo Liberation Army" in 1999 -- when the terrorist group was an ally of Washington in its war on Yugoslavia.

David Hicks, the Australian national who inexplicably became a convert to Jihad-centered Islam, is the first person to be found guilty of terrorism-related charges under the terms of the Military Commissions Act (MCA).

Two aspects of Hicks's case are genuinely remarkable:

First, although he pleaded guilty – following five years of detention and the dismissal of most of his legal counsel by the presiding judge -- to the charge of “providing material support for terrorism,” Hicks wasn't accused of plotting to attack the United States or any American citizen.

Second, Hicks began his career as a Jihadi working with the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), which may be the only Islamist terror group accurately described as “Islamo-Fascist.” The pedigree of that organization, as New York Times foreign correspondent Christopher Hedges pointed out in the late 1990s, is traced on one side to the worst elements of Stalinist Marxism, and on the other side to the Skanderbeg militias organized by the SS in the Balkans during World War II.

So it does no violence to the facts to call the KLA “Islamo-Fascist,” although “Islamo-Leninist” would still be a better description.

And it should not be forgotten that at the time Hicks was working with the KLA, the group was likewise receiving material assistance not only from Osama bin-What's-His-Name (you know, the Guy Bush Doesn't Worry About), but also from Washington and London.

It has been said that the crime of terrorism consists of privatizing the official violence routinely practiced by governments. And most terrorist groups of any consequence work as subcontractors for national governments, or international alliances of some kind. This was very much the case with the KLA, which was used by Washington and London as the spearhead in an attack on the former Yugoslavia.

After being thrust into power by the 1999 NATO terror-bombing of Serbia, the KLA proceeded to terrorize Kosovo's Christian Serbs, as well as the peaceful Albanian Muslims living in that Serbian province. The group is now entrenched as the UN-installed government of Kosovo.

David Hicks reportedly went to Kosovo to train with the KLA in 1999 – which means that he was giving material support to a terrorist group that was an ally of Washington (and that he may in fact have been working with CIA operatives who were providing training and assistance to the KLA at the time).

Hicks was working as a horse trainer in Japan when he learned about the KLA. In a letter to his parents he explained that he had joined the group (“I thought it was an airline,” his father later explained) to fight the Serbs. Since fighting the Serbs – who had been routinely demonized in the western media as the Nazis reborn -- had been official U.S. policy for several years, it's reasonable to say that it was Washington that recruited Hicks into the ranks of Jihad.

After converting to Islam, Hicks went to Pakistan where he joined a Kashmiri Islamic separatist group called Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET, or “Army of the Pure”).The LET aspires to convert India into a Sharia-ruled Islamic state, and it has provided support to Islamic rebels in Chechnya, but it displays no documented interest in attacking the US. While fighting with the LET, Hicks reportedly got off a few rounds in the direction of Indian forces in Kashmir, but did nothing to molest any American citizen in any way.

Hicks migrated to Afghanistan in 2000 and became a convert to Taliban-style Islamic fundamentalism. Following the 9-11 attacks, he telephoned his father to tell him that he was going to be fighting on behalf of the Taliban against the Northern Alliance. He was captured by the Northern Alliance outside Kandahar in December 2001, and turned over to US custody.

The dossier on Hicks claims that he was at some point trained by al-Qaeda, and that he helped conduct surveillance on US and British embassies in Kabul. If true, this suggests that Hicks was well on his way to becoming a full-fledged anti-Western Jihadist by the time he was captured by the Northern Alliance. But it shouldn't be forgotten that he was sucked into an Islamist pipeline that was created primarily by Washington – which sponsored the KLA, and also created the Mujahadeen network from which both the Taliban and al-Qaeda sprang.

Should David Hicks have been prosecuted? Definitely – by the Serbs, or by the Indian government, both of which have jurisdiction over any terrorist of insurrectionist acts in which Hicks was implicated. Perhaps he should have been turned over to Australia for trial.

But unless we are to assume that Washington has universal jurisdiction, it had no business detaining and trying Hicks – a foreign national – for alleged offenses committed in the Balkans and Central Asia.

And if Hicks is to be regarded as a terrorist for lending material aid to the KLA, then he should have enjoyed the august company of some celebrity co-defendants in the dock – Bill Clinton, Madeleine Albright, William Cohen, Tony Blair, George Robertson, Javier Solana.... The list would be quite impressive, and the resulting spectacle most satisfying.

Cardassian "Court TV": Residents of Cardassia Prime watch a show trial intended to make vivid the infallible wisdom of the State.

The military commission that “tried” Hicks is a “prerogative court” akin to the notorious Star Chamber – a burlesque of a judicial body, one that exists only to ratify the executive's will, rather than to determine facts and do justice. It is the lineal descendant of the Soviet “justice” system, a real-life analogue of fictional Cardassian tribunals, in which the objective is to demonstrate the State's infallibility – and the “defense” counsel's role is to help the defendant understand and accept the State's wisdom.

This was made clear by the treatment of Hicks's legal counsel, two of whom were dismissed by the presiding military judge for arcane and whimsical reasons. In fact, Hicks's chief counsel, Joshua Dretel, was dismissed because he refused to sign a document agreeing to abide by court regulations that have not yet been written.

I've pointed this out before, but it bears repeating:

About a decade ago, I co-produced a documentary entitled “Injustice For All: The International Criminal Court” that set out the reasons for opposing the UN's trial court. The UN's trial court claims universal jurisdiction and the right to prosecute citizens of countries that did not ratify the ICC Statute. The ICC does not recognize the due process rights and guarantees integral to Anglo-Saxon law; its standards of evidence and operating guidelines are being invented on the fly; hearsay, double-hearsay, and other grievously flawed testimony can be used as evidence at the ICC. The ad hoc UN tribunals that provided the model for the ICC often “extradited” defendants through kidnapping, or what we now call “extraordinary rendition.”

Every single element of the indictment against the ICC applies to the legal system being created by the Bush Regime in the name of fighting terrorism. Many of the same people who denounced the ICC are volubly applauding the version of the same pseudo-judicial abomination created through the Military Commissions Act.

The ICC could be considered a threat to Americans, albeit one that's a cloud on the horizon the size of a man's hand.

The MCA, however, is an immediate threat to Americans, or anyone else, who attracts the malign attention of Washington.

People who ignore or fail to understand this, I suspect, have been osculating the Dear Leader's posterior for so long they've simply become inured to the pungent odor of totalitarianism.

Be sure to check out The Right Source -- and look for a new issue of Pro Libertate (the e-zine) very soon.


Captain Kirk said...


It occurred to me that this guy might know something that the current administration wants to keep under wraps...or maybe he is being made an example of what might happen to one who dares to expose some unsavory order or action of the said administration.

Fred said...

"He was captured by the Northern Alliance outside Kandahar in December 2001, and turned over to US custody."

Some in D.C. probably cheered upon receiving news of his capture. Then it hit them: "We made this guy. Where we gonna dump him? Hey, Joe! Pull the files on the other guys we created and caught. It's in the file cabinet behind the gigantic "Best Enemy Money Can Buy" file".

William N. Grigg said...

Fred, that particular file cabinet is roughly the size of ... oh, the UN HQ Building, appropriately enough.

I'm very weary of finding out how the people "protecting" us from dictators, terrorists, and assorted thugs are the same people who CREATED those same dictators, terrorists, and thugs.

dixiedog said...

Oh my, how insightful minds think so much alike on so many levels, Will. They sing from the same sheet of music, perhaps only in a different key ;). And I don't mean that only referencing particular authors I have in mind necessarily either, but for most of the commenters here as well I suspect.

Just as you are "singing" here, but in a different key, that witty Südafrikanerin, Ilana Mercer, is whistlin' the same tune. I couldn't agree more.

She even makes particular mention of the former Rhodesia - which had a relatively high life-expectancy rate, low unemployment, and was self-sufficient in food production - and its prime minister Ian Smith, who was viciously attacked by the West from 1965 until he stepped down in 1980. Then, Mugabe, a dear African comrade to the West’s political class, stepped up to the plate and the all-too-predictable outcome we see today was the result. No surprise there.

Similar events predictably metastasized in South Africa almost 15 years later, although a bit more gradually, when Mandela stepped up. Now, of course, the misery perpetrated by government there would be self-evident to even the basest brainless wonder in the American street and accelerating now under the current tribal mob boss, Thabo Mbeki. Thus, that's why you NEVER see or hear about South Africa in the media anymore. Apartheid is gone, the blacks have "f-r-e-e-d-o-m!" now, so what's to report? Again, no surprise there.

Sometimes I think these lapdog media marionettes should be lynched...sigh. My dark side revealing itself there :(.

I even touched on these points in a past thread, although in a different context.

You know Will, I look at some folk in the world and conclude that they cannot handle real, responsible (bridled) freedom like we have (had!) because they simply don't have the cultural foundation to seed it properly. So, they either have to be assisted along and talked to "softly," but always have your big stick handy when necessary. The alternative, of course, is that a bonafide dictator will do it his way, which they're accustomed to, of course, and these strongmen dispense with the "talking softly" altogether. The former would be my description of Rhodesia and South Africa under the era of white rule. The latter is the status quo.

The Arabs aggregately (whether they are Iraqi, Egyptian, Syrian, makes no difference. They're still Arabs) are similar in that they've never known in any sense of the word, real freedom like we have (had!), precisely because their culture had no foundation conducive to seeding it, let alone keeping it! So it was that after the fall of Saddam Hussein (another of our comrades originally) and I saw the Iraqis walking down a Baghdad street with swords and scimitars cuttin' on their bald heads and bloodying themselves while chanting happily, I immediately said to myself, "They require a strongman to keep them quasi-civilized for goodness sake!" Gee, was that not obvious to the educated political class?? Of course, but they wanted a NEW strongman in there... They had grown tired of Saddam.

A government consisting of a unilateral strongman, or some sort of oligarchy, is naturally required to keep a d-i-v-e-r-s-e farrago of folk under control and at least to maintain a pseudo-peace.

When a news journalist at the time asked one of the participants about the revelry (I'd have said "savagery," more apropos IMO), the unwitting soul said in essence that Saddam didn't allow us to do "ceremonies" like this! So we are doing it, now that we're "f-r-e-e!" (Yes, the "scare" quotes are all mine.)

“F-r-e-e-d-o-m!” in the abstract is meaningless conjecture and psychobabble without the proper foundation on which it’s planted and which is required to secure “the blessings of liberty” to themselves and their respective posterity.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of show trials! NPR reported yesterday that the plea agreement had been reached on Monday, days before the "trial" began.

The jury which deliberated on the sentence did not even know the plea agreement had been reached.

Worse still, they were not allowed to view the evidence against Mr. Hicks, and a statement admitted into evidence against him was unsworn.

David Hicks was supposed to be one of the worst of the worst terrorists at Guantanamo. However, the charges which were leveled at him in public were dropped against him at trial:

that he was willing to go on a suicide mission as a martyr;
that he worked with Richard Reid the shoe bomber; that he worked with, and was an associate of, John Walker Lindh; and that he praised the attack on 9/11.

In effect, the government backed away from its most serious charges. According to other reports, the prosecutor didn't even know the plea agreement had been reached!

Show trials are currently being held here, but they are being run by the Bush administration. The gag order for Mr. Hicks is suspiciously timed to end after Australia's elections.

Christian Against Bush
Brooklyn, NY