Growing up you believe the world is meant to be the way it is. The older I get the more I realise that this is not the case. The world is full of injustices and atrocities that governments and the voice of faith expect us to accept, though with each passing year they grow fewer and fewer, at least one would hope. I have created this blog as a space for me to rant about all things science, politics, philosophy and religion, before it’s too late and the vessel of new atheism propelled by a growing surge in secularism solves all of the world’s problems for good.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

David Hicks' book proceeds in Aus Gov's sights

David Hicks
For those of you who don't know who David Hicks is, he's an Australian who converted to Islam and was arrested in Afghanistan in 2001 after 9/11 where he'd been training with the Kosovo Liberation Army. He was moved to Guantánamo Bay soon after, and only in 2007 was he transferred to an Australian jail after signing a pre-trial agreement regarding his "material support for terrorism".

So clearly he's not the kind of dude you should chuck on a pedestal and worship, but that said, our Government did absolutely fuck all while he was detained and most likely tortured in Guantánamo Bay for 5 years. All the while he went through numerous kangaroo courts, being played around with by both George Bush and John Howard.

He released a book about his ordeal named Guantánamo: My Story in the past year or so and apparently our Government have set their eyes on acquiring the proceeds. The case is going to be heard next month under Australia's Proceeds of Crime Act, which lets the Government claim proceeds from the "commercial exploitation of the notoriety gained from committing an indictable offense". In other words, those who commit crimes and are found guilty in a court of law can't later receive financial gain from things like writing books about their story (and the crimes of which they were found guilty).

I think the main reason for this law is so that rapists, murderers and drug dealers can't later write about their crimes and then make money from them. Though they do anyway, which makes this all the more bizarre while our Government chases after some but not others (I'll get to this in a minute).

The only problem is that David Hicks signed the pre-trial agreement and was thus not prosecuted in a court of law, whether in the USA or in Australia, and thus wasn't found guilty of his "crimes". So it seems a little ironic and just plain wrong that our Government now, after ignoring him all the while he was in Guantánamo, that not being enough, now they're chasing him for any of his proceeds from his autobiography. The dude did 5 years in one of the worst prisons in the world and the Government wants to take any money he's made from book sales, probably amounting to a few thousand dollars.

What a joke...! This is clearly a vindictive action and is going to get very messy, and for what? To make a point? To whom? And if it's justifiable why have our Governments ignored convicted criminals turned autobiographers such as: Chopper Reid, Howard Marx, Roger Rogerson & Lord Jeffery Archer.

I'm so over the inconsistencies of our Government. We ban some drugs, but allow the most deadly to be legal. We complain about the 'boat people' who number in the few 100s a year, while then signing an agreement with Malaysia to take 4500 of their immigrants into the country (the majority of illegal immigrants arriving in Aus do so by plane I might add). We force plain packaging on cigarette companies, stealing their intellectual property, while still allowing them to be sold readily in shops. We chase after the proceeds of the non-convicted and allow the convicted to write books and make movies about their murderous exploits. What the hell kind of message are they trying to send? Show some bloody consistency... All or nothing. So that at the very least all confusion is cleared up and we can get on with life.

It's really all a no-brainer.
Actor Eric Bana as Mark "Chopper" Reid in the movie Chopper.

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