What a string of circumstances. David Hicks gets plucked from an Afghani taxi. He gets flogged off to a posse of passing American spooks for $1,000. Then, after five years in US solitary confinement without a trial, he finds himself professing his guilt to terror-related offences and gets sentenced to a further nine months in some as-yet-unnamed South Australian prison.
But wait, there’s more. This story actually gets worse, for Hicks has now been banned from even talking about his experiences for twelve months, the duration of the Australian federal election campaign. Even Attorney-General Philip Ruddock today admits that he can’t recall anything like the Hicks gag in his long and legally varied experience.
This is a gag that is unconstitutional in its country of origin. It is a gag that is legally dubious in Australia. It is a gag that contravenes every shred of the notion of free speech.
It is a gag that makes the Australian government — whose hand is so stealthily and transparently behind it — look like a bunch of totalitarian thugs.