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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

David Hicks at the Sydney Writers Festival

David Hicks appeared at the Sydney Writers' Festival yesterday to talk about his book ‘Guantanamo: My Journey’ in front of a sold-out audience of 900 people. They were so thrilled with his performance that they gave him a standing ovation. Now the Director of Public Prosecutions will have to decide whether or not to seize the proceeds. Hicks brought along a photo of himself posing in military fatigues with a rocket-propelled grenade launcher slung over his arm and said “Okay, that’s me in the KLA training camp I talked about before in Albania” he went on ''It was years before the conflict in Afghanistan started and it's nothing but a silly boys' trophy shot.''

In 1999, David Hicks converted to Islam and took the name Muhammed Dawood and was captured in Afghanistan in December 2001 by the Afghan Northern Alliance and sold for $1,000 to the United States military. He was transported to Guantanamo Bay and classified as an enemy combatant. In a May 2001 he wrote a letter that said ''By the way I have met Osama bin Laden 20 times now, lovely brother, everything for the cause of Islam. The only reason the West calls him the most wanted Muslim is because he's got the money to take action.'' And when people of the calibre of former ASIO director Dennis Richardson said that Hicks received extensive al-Qaeda training, you have to believe him because he is supposed to know. Was he held too long in Guantanamo Bay without charge? Probably. Should he be allowed to keep the money he made from his book? No, he shouldn’t be rewarded in any way for his efforts to befriend an enemy of Australia.