Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Australia Plays the Tweed Card

In all fairness I suppose that current Administration policy is not entirely about “fear, superstition, and pettiness.” If these are like the "weird sisters" in Shakespeare's Macbeth, then the pot they are stirring is a heady brew of arrogance. To be sure, the shift of power in the Legislative branch has attenuated some of that arrogance; but it is far from muted. Indeed, if there were a monument to that arrogance, its theme would probably be the management of Guantanamo, a practice that has now been questioned on just about every conceivable front. Nevertheless, the official position continues to reflect the arrogance of Boss Tweed and his "What're ya gonna do about it?" response when confronted with hard evidence of his corrupt practices.

This morning we learned from Al Jazeera's wire services that two can play that game:

Australia will not stop Guantanamo detainee David Hicks from talking to the media despite a gag order that is part of the plea deal that secured his release, the attorney-general has said.

Philip Ruddock said the government would not enforce the US-imposed gag on Hicks because if he did speak out he would not be breaking Australian law.

Hick's was convicted last week by a US military tribunal last week of providing material support for terrorism.

His US military lawyer, Major Michael Mori, had said his client could be sent back to Guantanamo if he talked to reporters.

But Ruddock said the Australian government would not legally be able to extradite Hicks back to the US if he spoke to the media.

"In Australia, we have a position about freedom of speech," Ruddock told ABC television late on Tuesday.

"I'll leave it to your imagination as to a way in which somebody seeking extradition in relation to a party for breaching a so-called gag order would be able to be delivered up through the judicial processes in Australia."

It is about time that our own Executive branch learns about the receiving end of the sort of language that has been dished out to the rest of the world!

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