Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Mainstream finds more facts but the fakes remain unchallenged

From David Hicks story transcript, four Corners last night:

After the fall of the Taliban stronghold, Mazar-e-Sharif, Hicks says he went to the frontline. But he says he never fired a shot. Within hours of him getting there, the front collapsed. The few hundred foreign fighters there ran away, chased by the Northern Alliance. About two weeks later, Hicks was picked up at a taxi station, trying to leave the country. The Northern Alliance sold him to the Americans for $1,000. more

Eh? When David Hicks first began appearing in Australian newspapers he was shown emerging from a bombed out building shell, or against a rubble strewn landscape dressed in a shabby black or deep brown outfit with overgrown hair and a beard. He looked pretty grubby. As though he'd been there for weeks. The whole "presentation" concept seemed to be that David had been cornered and ratted out of an underground cave (or basement) in the wilderness with a bunch of Taliban/Al Qaeda members where they'd been "resisting" for days on end. No taxi was mentioned. No moneychanging was reported.

There really was nothing much to suggest otherwise, unless you read cleverly between the very large spaces between the very short lines.

An old excerpt and AP pic typical of the time:

Australian Captured with Taliban Now in US Custody
Monday December 17 7:36 AM ET (via Yahoo)

Al Qaeda-Trained Australian Reportedly Handed to U.S.

SYDNEY (Reuters) - An Australian man captured among al Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan has been handed over to the U.S. military but there was no evidence to confirm reports a second Australian had been caught, officials said. more

"Australian captured" "Taliban" "Al Qaeda" "fighters"... ..."Reportedly" "no evidence" "to confirm". Hmm.

Reading on.

Australian Attorney General Daryl Williams said Northern Alliance
fighters handed over Adelaide-born David Hicks, a convert to Islam, to U.S. forces early Monday and that the 26-year-old had been transferred to a U.S. Navy ship.

That "handed over" phrase again. Which makes perfect sense. Now.

So, he was picked up at a taxi rank and on-sold eh. Well well well. So much for all those sensational images frontpaging our news publications back in December 2001. Wonder who set up the shots. I mean, look at that original picture up there of the would-be David Hicks having emerged from his dug-out as he was not photographed.

A completely fabricated image based on mass media fantasy. Nothing journalistic in it at all. A fairytale image, illustrating unavailable facts. And now that the facts have arrived? The image remains unchallenged. Planted in Australia's psyche, false as it may be. For crying out loud! Look at the nose job in that picture! David's nose? Nuh-uh.

Anyway. The Four Corners transcript last night:

DEBBIE WHITMONT: Now, for the first time, Four Corners can reveal those details. Soon after he was taken into custody, Hicks was held with a small group of detainees on a US warship in the Arabian Sea - the USS 'Peleliu'. Martin Mubanga - an Englishman - knew David Hicks in Guantanamo. Hicks told him about being taken from the warship by helicopter to an unidentified land base - most likely in Pakistan or Afghanistan.

MARTIN MUBANGA, FORMER GUANTANAMO DETAINEE: He was thrown onto the chopper. His hands were in shackles and chains. And basically they was taken to, by helicopter, to a place. They was blindfolded, and there they was beaten and spat upon, and he was abused and assaulted. Things like, "You Aussie kangaroo", and things like that. Yeah, while they were beating and spitting on him and things like that. So, he was called a traitor. And then basically they brought him back blindfolded, so he never saw his...his attackers or his abusers, basically. And then he was brought back to the ship.

DEBBIE WHITMONT: When Terry Hicks went to Guantanamo, he says those beatings were the very first thing his son told him about.

TERRY HICKS: David was full on, he was agitated, he was stressed. All he wanted to do is, he just told us, "Listen. Don't say anything, I'll get it out as quick as I can." He had two 10-hour beatings from the Americans. And I said to David, "Sure they were Americans?" - 'cause he said he had a bag over his head - and he said, "Oh look," he said, "I know their accents, they were definitely American." Some pretty horrific things that were done to him.

DEBBIE WHITMONT: Are they... sexually embarrassing things?


DEBBIE WHITMONT: These sexually-related incidents... does this involve Americans?


DEBBIE WHITMONT: David Hicks told his father the Americans gave him injections and then penetrated him anally with various objects. Why does he believe he was taken off a ship by helicopter?

TERRY HICKS: Well, I mean, if they've taken him off... They're taking him off an American ship. So, I suppose if anything happens, the Americans would say, "Well, it didn't happen on our soil."

DEBBIE WHITMONT: Being taken off a warship, it's like a mini-rendition if you like, do you believe that did happen?

CLIVE STAFFORD SMITH, MOAZZAM BEGG'S LAWYER: Being taken off a warship is not a mini-rendition, it's a rendition, period. There were all sorts of renditions. There were American renditions to themselves from Pakistan to Afghanistan to torture people, from American ships to Afghanistan to torture people.

DEBBIE WHITMONT: Hicks's lawyers believe it's unlikely detainees would be helicoptered off a warship without official authorisation.

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