In an interview with Melbourne broadcaster Jon Faine today, David Hicks outlined explosive documents in the hands of US investigative journalist Jason Leopold which showed the Howard Government actively interfered in the Hicks case.
[Listen to Jon Faine's interview with Hicks and Guantanamo prison guard Brandon Feeny by clicking here.]
This was reported as breaking news in the Fairfax press after a release by AAP:
Former Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks says US documents have been released that prove the Howard government interfered in his terrorism case.
Mr Hicks, who pleaded guilty to a terrorism-related charge in the US in 2007, says newly released US State Department documents show that members of the Howard government acknowledged he was not guilty of any crime and tried to think of ways to "pin him with something".
He says the 50 to 60 pages of documents record "private conversations" between Howard government MPs and US State Department officials.
The documents were provided this week to American journalist Jason Leopold by State Department employees.
"They're private conversations ... between Australian politicians, the Liberal Party and the US State Department officials, people in the Pentagon and whoever was involved in that process in Guantanamo Bay, and it discusses my treatment and it discusses about the need to pressure me to say `guilty'," Mr Hicks told ABC Radio.
On Wednesday, Mr Hicks said he "folded" to pressure to plead guilty and that the new US State Department documents showed Howard government officials acknowledged he had not committed a crime."There's also acknowledgments from our government, the Australian government, I should be more specific and say the Howard government, acknowledgments from them and even from the US, that I'd never breached any law, I hadn't committed a crime," he said.
"And there's conversations between Australian politicians and US politicians of how they can handle that: `What can we do, how can we pin him with something?'."
Mr Hicks said that was when "they invented the charge `material support for terrorism'," which, he said, was not a valid crime under any legal system.
Mr Hicks said the content of the US State Department documents would be released by Leopold in about a month's time.
Independent Australia has a working relationship with Jason Leopold, who last week gave IA permission to reproduce the full transcript of his interview with David Hicks, along with his story about Hicks and whistleblowing Guantanamo guards Brandon Neely and Albert Melise:
- David Hicks first interview details torture allegations.
- Jason Leopold investigative story on Hicks and Guantanamo prison guards
- The Queen, David Hicks and the Australian Government
Veteran journalist and Independent Australia columnist Barry Everingham was also interviewed by Jon Faine today. Last week, he detailed in IA how The Queen and the British Government tried to intervene in the Hicks case after being alerted to Hicks' tribulations by Everingham himself:
If you want the latest news on this developing story, keep watching Independent Australia.
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