Another triumph for [Soviet] Justice!

In an extraordinarily bizarre day at the extraordinarily bizarre court set up at the extraordinarily bizarre detention facility set up at a location literally intended to be beyond the rule of law, after five years of open-ended detention with no apparent hope of release, Australian national David Hicks pleaded guilty to heretofore nonexistent charges of providing material support to terrorism in general (rather than face a potentially never ending show trial). Earlier in the proceedings, the military commissions decided to arbitrarily (as in “for no reason whatsoever”) disqualify two of Hicks’ three lawyers (including Josh Dratel, who yesterday, as in my interview with him, observed the complete arbitrariness of a military commission process where the rules quite literally change day to day).
Just as with the execution of Saddam [by the Mahdi Army] and other great moments in right wing triumphalism… let the right wing triumphalism fly! We’ll forget that the charge against Mr. Hicks was made-up, and selected so that he could get a 20-year sentence (parallelling to John Walker Lindh, for the crime of being a Christian Western Anglo converting to Islam) rather than a life sentence for the other charge (also made up) of providing material assistance for a terrorist act. For parallels, note that it wasn’t a crime for U.S. citizens to go serve in the Spanish Civil War (on either side, btw… of course, there weren’t swarthy Muslims involved, for the most part, now, were there?)
Even though earlier in the day, Hicks apparently pleaded not guilty and actually wanted to expand his defense team, by the end, he was willing to put up with having only Major Michael Mori as his sole attorney, and evidently, with the promise of being removed from Gitmo by the end of the year and serving the remainder of his sentence in his native Australia, Hicks was willing to say just about anything… if necessary, he probably would have repeated Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s confessions… which, to be fair, were at least extracted by methods even Americans would be more likely to recognize as torture.
And that’s just it: his father Terry Hicks, who hadn’t been permitted to see his son for over three years, said that David has changed a lot… solitary confinement in a 6×8 ft. cell with the lights always on and constant haranguing interrogations and no hope of ever being released will do that kind of thing… if that’s not “torture”, then what the hell IS?
Frankly, many I have interviewed suggested Hicks was likely treated better than most of the other detainees, in a physical sense, anyway, because he spoke English, had his own lawyers from the beginning, had some following in a friendly Western country, and so forth… OTOH, he wasn’t a native Arabic, Urdu or Pashto speaker (as so many of the other detainees are), and, I understand from Moazzam Begg’s book, may even have been more isolated from other detainees by becoming less interested in Islam…
And so, for whatever the reason, Hicks is the first to crack and plead guilty. And it only took five years. The Soviets, Chinese and North Koreans are doubtless laughing their asses off at our amateurish methods, such as abusing the Koran, the sexual humiliation, the chains and the orange jump suits… the waterboarding… what we soft Western fools think will break people. Ha! It’s the isolation— the hopelessness… things that our well-paid and frequently overweight pundits tell us aren’t torture at all…. because only the rack and thumbscrew are torture, don’t you know.
Well, congratulations to the thousands of men and women deployed to Joint Task Force Guantanamo, indeed, to our entire military… and of course, to the Bush Administration. Congratulations. You have nailed a huge fish: I understand that Hicks guarded a Taliban tank position. I understand that one of OBL’s automobile mechanics and motor pool drivers is up next, and who knows… maybe we’ll get Al-Zawahiri’s shirt-maker to confess.
Congratulations are also in order to the American judicial system. Nothing like holding out the illusion of our being a nation that has due process of law and that respects the rule of law, with a deliberately mind-fuckingly slow court process, and not just one, but two major “victories” for detainees in the Supreme Court of the United States that include enough outs and weasel words for the government to simply continue its outrages more or less unabated. Well done… no Soviet apparatchik could have proven more effective. And congratulations to the Democrats in Congress, who neither stopped these outrages through the procedural devices available to them in the minority, nor reversed them now that they have attained the majority, and whose leading candidate for President seems to have no position on this at all…
All in all, a great day for Amerika, the Empire. Not so good for our rights as citizens, our moral standing, or much else… but what’s good for George W. Bush is just plain good (and let’s face it, this will take Gonzales and the fact that a key aide Monica Goodling is taking the Fifth Amendment) down a notch for a day or two… So it’s a win-win situation!