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David Hicks: America's and Australia's shameful behaviour

Former PM Malcolm Fraser can hardly be accused of being a rabid lefty bleeding-heart liberal or rebel. Yet, he rightly writes, here, an op-ed piece in The Age taking the Americans and his fellow Liberals - ie the Howard Government - to task about their "handling of Davd Hicks and his continued detention - remembering that he hasn't been charged with anything.

"The Australian and American governments have sought to label prisoners in Guantanamo Bay as dangerous and as evil; in their terms, as terrorists. The latest to join in this litany of inappropriate, pre-trial condemnatory comment is the new United States ambassador to Australia, Robert McCallum. It is another unwise intervention in Australia's affairs.

McCallum well knows that the American courts, Congress and President would not allow any American citizen to be tried in the military commissions, formerly established by President George Bush, now to be established, slightly modified, by law of Congress.

If those commissions are inadequate for American citizens, how does McCallum bring it upon himself to argue that they are adequate for an Australian? Indeed, the British Government has continually argued that the standard of justice was inadequate for British citizens. It has argued that Guantanamo Bay should be closed down, that it is a blot on the justice system of the United States and of the world."

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