David Hicks Pleads Guilty to Supporting a Terrorist Organization
David Hicks has pleaded guilty to one count of supporting a terrorist organisation.
The plea to a late night specially convened military commission came after an apparent deal was reached between his defence attorney and the prosecution.
Major Michael Mori, Hicks’s military lawyer, entered the plea to the charge of material support for terrorism, which was broken into two counts or specifications.
Major Mori said Hicks pleaded guilty on specification one, and not guilty on specification two.
Specification one of the charge detailed Hicks’s links to terrorist organisations and his activities in Afghanistan where he met Osama bin Laden and completed al-Qaeda training courses.
Specification two simply alleged that Hicks entered Afghanistan from about December 2000 to December 2001 to provide support for terrorism and that he did so in “the context of and was associated with an armed conflict namely al-Qaeda, or its associated forces against the United States or its coalition partners”.
Whether this confession actually has any basis in reality whatsoever has not been and probably will not be demonstrated. Given Hicks’ history, it’s certainly not beyond the realm of possibility that this confession is accurate. Well, hey, let’s be honest–it probably is accurate. But knowing what we know about how prisoners were treated at Gitmo, and given Hicks’ own affidavit regarding his own alleged mistreatment, who can really say? One thing’s for sure is that the trail of evidence is probably far too cold and unreliable to make any honest judgments.
One of the things that is truly awful about the way the Bush Administration has handled counter-terrorism efforts is that its efforts to “act tough” and disregard centuries of American tradition regarding the treatment of prisoners is now actively undermining national security. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s “confessions” have been widely disregarded worldwide, since everyone is pretty sure that he was tortured. Hicks’ confession will likely be treated with the same level of skepticism. If their confessions are true, then worldwide skepticism of those confessions is only going to hamper counterterrorist measures and bolster the strength of our enemies.
The sad thing is, if the Administration had bothered to pay any attention to history at all–or even to simple human decency, then we would be much closer to defeating Islamic extremism than we are today.