We now know that the worst of the worst of the worst was sentenced to nine months in prison for his "terrorists' acts". David Hicks, the so-called "Australian Taliban," has been held at Guantánamo for more than five years and since the military previously announced that none of Hicks' five+ years in detention could be used towards his sentence it means that we have held him illegally for all these years in order to impose a nine month sentence. At one point the military claimed that Hicks' crimes were even worse than those of the so-called "American Taliban" John Walker Lindh. We should all shudder over that one.
I want to remind you why the military tried Hicks first: Hicks was first because this was the military's best Guantánamo case. According to the military Hicks epitomized the ruthless terrorists who we have been taught to fear over the past five and a half years. (All that sleep lost for nothing!) Prior to releasing the actual plea deal agreed upon earlier this week the military played around with Hicks' possible sentence making it sound harsh and tough, when all along they knew the deal was nine months... and that he probably will not serve most of that sentence. First we were told that under the plea deal Hicks would probably get less than the 20 years he was eligible for. Can't accuse them of lying about that one can we? I mean nine months is less than 20 years. The fact that it was shocking that Hicks could be eligible for a 20 year sentence, when the crime that he pled guilty to was not even a crime until six months ago, was not mentioned by those congratulating themselves on the plea. The following day our benevolent military announced that Hicks would probably be sentenced to less than seven years and that most of the sentence could be carried out in his home country of Australia. Ah yes, less than seven years: nine months is that. Finally, on Friday night, the military finally got around to releasing the actual deal that was made just in time for the Saturday paper that no one reads (except those of us who want to know what the Bushies are trying to bury). Now we know that Hicks' pled guilty in return for a nine month sentence and that the deal was made that very first day, when the plea was announced.
So what did Hicks admit to? Most of his "admission" actually has nothing to do with what he did, but has everything to do with what he promises not to do: Hicks promises not to sue the US; not to talk about the torture he received; not to talk to the press for one year (coincidently not until after the Australian elections) and, he promises that he will never suggest that he pled guilty just to get the hell out of Guantánamo. As far as his terrorist acts: Hicks has admitted that he carried a gun for approximately two hours in December 2001, that he never shot it (nevertheless at any American forces) and that he tried to sell the gun after those 2 hours so he could buy a ticket and get as far from Afghanistan as the ticket would take him. That is our worst of the worst of the worst.... we can all sleep well now... knowing he cannot sue us.
Most people can not be bothered knowing about Guantánamo, Hicks, or the other detainees. The few who have sort of paid attention probably think Hicks will be serving the possible twenty year or seven year sentence that they think he received. I don't know if the media will actually bring themselves to talk about the nine month sentence or if that fact will just get lost in the jumble (kind of like our Constitution has). One thing I feel pretty confident about is that the right wing hate mongers, the ones who think it is just fine to hold and torture Muslims... because they are Muslims.... will not be mentioning the actual sentence Hicks has received, just as they will not be discussing what Hicks has actually admitted to doing. That wouldn't be any fun.