Friday, February 1, 2008

The Price Of Free Speech

Apparently, David Hicks is receiving offers to sell his story, with some saying that he could be paid as much as $1 Million to spill the beans. Let’s see now, almost six years under lock and key, allegedly abused and tortured, and now left a damaged man. That works out at around $170 000 a year. Nice income, but would you really want to go through what he has in order to get it?

In fact, he may never see a cent of it anyway because of Australian laws preventing criminals from cashing in on their crimes. There is some legal advice suggesting that those laws will not apply to Mr. Hicks because his conviction was recorded by the controversial Military Commission, rather than an established court of law. It is a point which will be debated, and which the Australian Government is likely to test, if the situation arises. Attorney General Robert McClelland has indicated that action would be taken against any payment to Mr. Hicks.

Either way, it remains to be seen if David Hicks accepts any of the offers, but I expect in due course some sort of arrangement will be made.

I still believe that Mr. Hicks was a foolish individual who got himself involved in things that he should not have. However, I also still believe that the course taken by the United States Government, supported by our own, was contrary to the principles of justice and democracy that we are supposed to be defending. Whatever David Hicks transgressions, he has certainly paid a heavy price for them. Should he wish to tell his tale, then I believe he should be entitled to. But should he be paid for it?

Most Australians would say no, and they would be right.

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