Moral Outrage
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Guantanamo torture of Australian David Hicks

David Hicks was a 26-year-old Australian drifter who converted to Islam, changed his name to Muhammed Dawood and ended up at training camps in Afghanistan. Hicks was sold to US forces for about $1,500 and became detainee 002, the second person processed into Guantanamo on January 11, 2002, the day the facility opened.

Hicks was brutally tortured. Psychologically and physically for four years, maybe longer. He was injected in the back of his neck with unknown drugs. He was sodomized with a foreign object. He spent nearly a year in solitary confinement. He was beaten once for ten hours. He was threatened with death. He was placed in painful stress positions. He was subjected to sleep deprivation. He was exposed to extremely cold temperatures, loud music and strobe lights designed to disorient his senses. He was interrogated on a near daily basis.

I have never spoken to a former detainee before I phoned Hicks at his home in Sydney, Australia. Before I hung up the phone after our first conversation, I told Hicks I was sorry. “I’m sorry my government tortured you, David,” I said. “Thanks, mate,” Hicks said, his voice cracking.

“It seemed like a mad fruitless quest to pin crimes on detainees, to extract false confessions and produce so-called intelligence of value,” Hicks told me. “The guards were desensitized and detainees dehumanized. Soldiers were not allowed to engage us in conversation. They were told to address us by number only and not by name. They were constantly drilled with propaganda about how much we supposedly hated them and wanted them dead and how much they needed to hate us. One time in the privacy of Camp Echo a male soldier broke down when we were alone repeating, ‘what have I become’ after having arrived from an interrogation of a detainee in another camp.”

Brandon Neely, a former Guantanamo Military Policeman (MP), ssaid in an interview, “We were told (by superior officers) all of the detainees… were caught fighting Americans on the front lines and at any given time if we turned our back on them they would kill us in a heartbeat. We were told that every day before we went to work inside the camps. After a while, the attitude was ‘who cares how we treated the detainees.'”

A day before he left for Guantanamo, Neely said his unit was told “by the company commander, the colonel and platoon sergeant that these people were not Prisoners of War. They were detainees and the Geneva Conventions would not be in effect.”

I now know that torture not only permanently scars the torture victim, but it also leaves its mark on everyone who comes in contact with that person.

[Excerpt of full article found at Truthout]

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2 Responses to “Guantanamo torture of Australian David Hicks”

  1. […] If extradited to the US, he is likely to disappear into the Kafkaesque world that produced the Guantanamo Bay nightmare and now accuses Bradley Manning, WikiLeaks’ alleged whistleblower, of a capital […]

  2. […] A panel which included journalist John Pilger and federal MP Andrew Wilkie, a former intelligence analyst and Iraq war whistleblower, said the saga has followed a narrative similar to that of former Guantanamo detainee David Hicks. […]


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