April 28th 2007

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: East Timor election: what's cooking?

EDITORIAL: Implications of East Timor's election

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Kevin Rudd's character under scrutiny

OVERSEAS TRADE: Wheat-growers back single-desk selling

MANUFACTURING: Japan still shows the way

STRAWS IN THE WIND: Easter and the media / Literacy, and all that / Anzac Day / Jews and Muslims / Pre-Budget ruminations

DAVID HICKS AFFAIR: Media's blind eye to Hicks treason

THE COLD WAR: How Moscow framed Pope Pius XII as pro-Nazi

GREAT BRITAIN: Why Britain is no longer great

PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION: Lottery players fleeced for $100 million

ETHICS: New safeguard for vulnerable patients

HEALTH: Married gays die 24 years younger

OBITUARY: Dr John Billings (1918-2007) and the Culture of Life

AS THE WORLD TURNS: The unmarriage revolution / Unexpected outbreak of morality / Mediocrity on the march / Children recruited to spy for Big Brother

Antidotes to narcissism (letter)

Problems with surrogacy (letter)

Politicised public service (letter)

Bell tolls for national icon (letter)

CINEMA: Spartan sacrifice that saved Greece


BOOKS: BACKS TO THE WALL: A larrikin on the Western Front, by G.D. Mitchell with Robert Macklin

Books promotion page

Media's blind eye to Hicks treason

by Mark Braham

News Weekly, April 28, 2007
David Hicks, who has pleaded guilty to a terrorism charge, has been celebrated by Australia's media as if he were an innocent prisoner of conscience. Mark Braham, however, takes a more sober look at Hicks's deeds and character.

Leopold Amery (1873–1955) gave a lifetime of service to Britain and the Commonwealth. He was at school at Harrow with Winston Churchill, and went on to Balliol and All Souls, Oxford.

His career ranged from chief correspondent for The Times in the South African War, serving terms as First Lord of the Admiralty, Secretary of State for the Colonies, also for the Dominions. In the Lloyd George Cabinet of World War I, he drafted the letter which came to be known as the Balfour Declaration when, in 1917, Britain promised a “national home” for Jews in Palestine.

Famous attack

He is best known for his famous attack on the Neville Chamberlain Government in the House of Commons' Norway debate in 1940. He dramatically concluded his speech with the words Oliver Cromwell used against the Rump Parliament in 1653. He said: “You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!”

Amery's speech is widely credited with bringing down the Chamberlain Government and making Churchill the new Prime Minister.

Amery's younger son, Julian (1916–1996), followed in his father's footsteps, becoming a prominent Conservative minister under Harold Macmillan and Edward Heath.

His elder son, John Amery - fiercely anti-Communist and a Fascist sympathiser - was in France in 1940 when the Third Republic collapsed. He became a Vichyite and collaborationist and was recruited by the Nazis, making broadcasts urging Britain to make peace with Hitler.

He toured prisoner-of-war camps calling for British POWs to join his “Legion of St. George”, a proposed British unit, to fight with Nazi Germany against Stalin's Soviet Union.

In peacetime, under the postwar Attlee Labour government, he was hanged as a traitor at London's Wandsworth Prison on December 19, 1945. Treason has always been a capital crime.
David Hicks.

Compare the case of Australian David Hicks, whose military career has been confined to training and action with militant terrorist groups at least as dangerous to the survival of Australia as Nazi Germany was to English-speaking democratic society in the British and Western tradition.

Hicks's US military lawyer, Major Michael Mori, admitted on ABC radio (January 5, 2007), that his client was involved in promoting Taliban-style Islam around the world.

When Hicks was captured in 2001, he was charged with “conspiracy to attack civilians, aiding the enemy and attempted murder”, a quest he had already been pursuing for some years. In 1999 he had taken up arms with the Kosovo Liberation Army, then returned home to Adelaide and formalised his conversion to Islam.

He then “headed off again, this time for Pakistan and the Lashkar-e-Taiba. This terrorist group has a long history of violence; one of its affiliates was implicated in the deadly bombing of Mumbai's commuter rail system last July. Finally in 2001, after the September 11 attacks and anticipation of a US strike, Mr Hicks went to Afghanistan where he was captured during an engagement with the coalition forces. While on his quest, Mr Hicks wrote letters to his father saying he was on a mission to ensure 'the Western-Jewish domination is finished, so we live under Muslim law again'.”

Hicks admitted that while he was in Pakistan he fired “hundreds of bullets” into Indian territory; and “intelligence sources have said that Hicks trained longer with al-Qa'ida than did any other Westerner”. In a charge-sheet set out in February this year, Hicks was “even alleged to have been personally vetted by Mohammed Atef - Osama bin Laden's security chief who was killed in 2001 and who has been credited with inspiring Khalid Shaikh Mohammed to engineer the attacks”. (Editorial, Weekend Australian, January 6-7, 2007).

Other reports that have appeared in the Australian media add up to a man obsessed with war and killing; there is no other explanation for this sometime family man who has left his wife - or “partner” - and gone off to fight in the Balkans, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Killing is murder, the exception being in self-defence or in defence of one's nation. Hicks could have joined the Australian Defence Force and been recognised as a good and worthwhile citizen. He chose to seek his vocation in life training and fighting for our enemies and against our troops; that is treason. Then he fired “hundreds of rounds” into neutral India; this is murderous behaviour at best.

The home life and background of Hicks fills in a picture of a man devoid of any spiritual qualities: untruthful, untrustworthy and a product of the dregs of society.

For example, he writes to his former flatmate, Louise Fletcher, asking her to find him a prostitute to use on his return; in the letter, he describes in characteristically vulgar terms, what he requires as the prostitute's physical attractions. He also gives instructions not to write about his “adventures” as he is saving that to make money when he gets back. (The Bulletin, September 19, 2006, quoted in The Australian).

Hicks is alleged to have told fellow recruits at his al-Qa'ida training camp that he “wanted to go back to Australia and rob and kill Jews”, “crash a plane into a building” and “go out with that last big adrenalin rush”. The last part of his grand plan, reportedly, was to shout, “There is no god but Allah”. (Australian Jewish News, April 6, 2007).

There are factors in common between, on the one hand, John Amery's treasonous behaviour in 1940 when Britain was fighting desperately to avert becoming one more European country occupied by the Nazis, thus completing the threatened end of western civilisation and democracy, and, on the other hand, that of such as Hicks who has taken up the cause of Islamist terrorists.

However, it is not suggested that Hicks should suffer Amery's fate.

The situation differs in one fundamental aspect: when the Allied forces fought their way into Germany and discovered the gas chambers and walking skeletons - the lucky ones, that is - it came home to the democracies what a Nazi victory would have meant.

I was fighting with the British 8th Army almost throughout the Italian campaign, was fully aware of the disappearance of Italian Jews, was on visiting terms with Jews in Florence who had somehow hidden, or been hidden, until the British occupied the city, but was under the firm belief that those taken away were in “labour camps”.

The details and full horror of the death camps, though known to Allied intelligence and the high command, even the media, were not thought sufficiently important to relay to the troops. That is another story, relevant here only insofar as it spells out the difference between Amery and Hicks.

There was no right-wing press in the democracies throughout the war informing the public that we made a mistake fighting Hitler and should, as John Amery proposed, join the Nazis and fight the Soviets.

Amery was seen as a traitor and his post-war fate was sealed.

Today, individuals such as Hicks not only have a left-wing media promoting his “cause”; he even has a political party planning to nominate him for federal parliament.

Instead of his returning to be tried for treason, it is planned to give him three square meals a day and colour television in a comfortable cell for a matter of months, after which he will probably be released to walk in a tickertape reception, followed by a banquet attended by his media supporters, then off to approve his old flatmate's choice of prostitute (after seeing his children, of course). His father will doubtless, become “father of the year”.

The current victims of this farcical scenario conjured up by the left-wing media and their purblind readers and listeners are of course the majority of Australian Muslims, mostly silenced by the fear of Islamists, but who only want to be left alone to practise their faith in peace in a free and tolerant society, hence their vote to rid themselves of the dishonest, untruthful and foul-mouthed “grand mufti” of Australia, Sheik Taj al-Din al-Hilali.

- The author Mark Braham was a British Army officer during World War II, after which he migrated to Australia. An Orthodox Jew, he is author of Stronger than Fiction: Jews and Christians Are Natural Allies (London: Minerva Press, 1999).

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