Jenny Morris writes: Apropos your editorial on David Hicks. My sense is that it’s not the availability of a trial mechanism and offence with which to charge David Hicks that is the sticking point for this government. Rather, it’s like the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland – sentence first, verdict later. The Attorney-General and PM seem to want David Hicks to be found guilty of and punished for something, anything. Self-justification anyone?

Mike Chamberlain writes: Good editorial today on the detention of David Hicks. One thing to note, however. I feel your use of the word “Islamicist” is cavalier, as the context in which it appears equates it to “Islamic terrorist”. This is not the case, as an Islamicist is a scholar of Islamic history and religion.

Terry Kidd writes: It is blatantly obvious that Hicks can’t be charged with anything meaningful in Australia, let alone be convicted, and that is why the Fed Gov has let him languish. However, enough is enough. Forget letting the Yanks charge him. Bring him home now, and if he can’t be charged then stick an intervention order on him if he is any danger to our society. I seriously doubt that this young man is any danger to anyone but himself. Allow him to come home and make his own way in life. He might even renew his subscription to Soldier of Fortune magazine.

David Flint writes: David Hicks would be well advised not to hold up his hearing by yet another constitutional challenge. He is at best a prisoner of war, and as such the US are legally entitled to hold him until the cessation of hostilities. Presumably he will soon be charged (again) with aiding the enemy. This is not unreasonable; he already admits to training with al-Qaeda to learn guerilla tactics and urban warfare to ensure “the Western-Jewish domination is finished, so we live under Muslim law again”. Even if it wanted to, the Australian government cannot legally require that he be released. On past practice, the Americans would release him if he were not charged. The arrangements for the hearing are fair – it is after all a military trial. If he is found guilty he may serve his sentence in Australia. At this point he can challenge the legality of the process in our courts.

Alex Can writes: Re. “New Jihad Jack case should get sticky for ABC, judiciary” (yesterday, item 3). Peter Faris is in my opinion wrong in his comments on the Jihad Jack case. The reason I believe this is that a media interview, produced for entertainment purposes, and that is all the media is in Australia, does not constitute sworn evidence admissible in a trial. Apparently the similarity to previous illegally obtained evidence makes it too, inadmissible. These terrorism trials are pointing to inadequacies in our legal system, reliant on political patronage for appointments as it does. A new look at the legal system and journalism are both required.

Brad Ruting writes: Re. “Canberra still hops to the Roo’s beat” (yesterday, item 15). Michael Pascoe is right: Mark Vaile’s defence of the heavily cosseted Australia-US airline route on the grounds that Virgin Blue has invested millions in its trans-Pacific operations is ludicrous. It’s totally baseless on economic, social and national interest grounds. Since when has preventing fair competition directed at large businesses ever been in the “national interest”? I fear the proposed sale of Qantas, if successful, will further deepen the wounds inflicted on the Australian people as a whole that came about from its initial privatisation. Quite simply, there’s too much regulation and too little competition. These are also factors plaguing other privatisations of once government-owned assets (such as the Commonwealth Bank or Telstra), and indeed many industries in Australia. If Mark Vaile (and his other colleagues in government) wants higher-than-necessary prices for most air services, restricted consumer choice and a future of bickering over regulation (à la Telstra), he’s on the right path to achieve it.

John Parkes writes: Re. “Blair breaks his silence on Saddam” (yesterday, item 6). When reading Boris Johnson’s comments on the reactions to the death of Saddam Hussein I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Johnson describes Tony Blair as “the only Western leader of any importance to join George W Bush in the war”. My first reaction was to laugh and wonder what our very own Deputy Sheriff would think of – by implication – being relegated to not being of importance, but then, proud Aussie that I am, I found myself taking offence that our great leader was so disregarded. Anyone else out there having a confused moment with me?

Jody Bailey writes: Re. “Saddam leaves the censorship debate swinging in the balance” (yesterday, item 11). The Eros Association has a sound point about violence versus s-x in modern culture. We aren’t allowed a taste of s-x porn in the mainstream. It might titillate. But we can feast upon kill porn until we’re desensitised to philosophies like preemptive war, rendering, water-boarding and prison without charge. Makes sense when you think about it.

Roger Cooper writes: Re. Shane Warne. Why do the continuing apologists for Warne not mention the “weather reports” he got paid for, or “his mum’s” drugs that he popped? Sure, ignore his private life but not the couple of incidents we know about that should have had him barred from playing cricket for life.

Brian Maher writes: Re. Nick Place’s article on the 50 most heartbreaking moments in sport (yesterday, item 20) … sorry Nick, but there is one Aussie entry that was ranked higher than Greg Norman’s 11th placing. At No. 6 was the last stride 1973 Grand National defeat of Crisp, the steeplechaser nicknamed “the black kangaroo” by the English press.

David Thackrah writes: Re. “Test cricket continues its struggle for relevance” (yesterday, item 18). Will Cricket Australia ever have such crowds again? I would think the advertisers are dismayed games only ran for three days, the most “crowd interest” match occurring in way off Perth! Maybe it’s time to develop cricket in Italy, Canada, the USA and France: countries with some affinity toward Australia’s history and cultural development. Meantime, the African continent could do with a little “healing” by developing cricket, soccer and other sports to try and stop the endless corruption and bloodshed.

Michele Stephens writes: Yesterday’s Sport section with only cricket items was very disappointing. It’s also the tennis season, a good time to remember that not everyone is interested in cricket.

Peter Fray

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