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Friday, June 30, 2006

Geneva 1 - Bush 0 in the latest ball game

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Justice and plain old fashioned common sense is alive and well in The Supreme Court of the United States of America. Read the decision in Hamdan v Rumsfeld here. But justice and plain old fashioned common sense is frequently conspicuous by its absence in the Bush Administration. That's inhabited by the nutters who thought up the term "illegal enemy combatant", decided to abrogate the Geneva Conventions in relation to the treatment of prisoners of war, and didn't stop to think of the Christian tradition of The Golden Rule and that the GCs cut both ways - you do this to others and someone else will do it to your own.

What's Miss Eagle rabbiting on about?
The fact that the US Supreme Court has ruled
the military commissions illegal
and that the Geneva Conventions have to prevail.
Australians have been guilty of a sin of omission. We have never forced the Australian Government to discuss its attitude to the Geneva Conventions. The Howard Government has stood shoulder to shoulder with the US on the military commissions. Where have we forced either John Howard or the ghostly Phillip Ruddock to defend the Geneva Conventions? Where has the RSL been in defending the Geneva Conventions? Where has the Australian community or the RSL or the defence community demanded that the Australian Government declare and debate its hand on the Geneva Conventions and the fiction of illegal enemy combatants? Why is the Australian Government alone in the Western world in its support of the now illegal military commissions? For clarification of the issues, go here.
Have we shut up because:
  1. The US is the most powerful military power in the world
  2. The US pulls Australian strings
  3. This has occurred when we are fighting people whom we see as "The Other"
  4. This has occurred because the context of the abrogration of the Geneva Conventions and the institution of the fiction of "illegal enemy combatants" touches the racism inherent in Australian society

Australians need to reflect that before the League of Nations, before the United Nations, there were the Geneva Conventions.

Australians need to recall what happened in World War II in regard to those nations who were not signatories to the Geneva Conventions. Japan was not a signatory and imprisoned Allied Forces - among them significant numbers of Australians. Look at how Australians were treated by someone who cocked a snoot at the Geneva Conventions.

Germany was a signatory to the Geneva Conventions as were the Allied Forces. German prisoner of war camps were not highly desirable places but a modicum of humanity prevailed. Russia, though, was an example of a non-signatory whose forces were treated abysmally by the Germans because there was no accountability under the Conventions.

This "do unto others" at the basis of the Geneva Conventions has been raised in Senate committee hearings in the US.

It is time for Australians - the RSL, the defence community, the broad community - to demand from their government solid backing for the Geneva Conventions and its application and hem Howard and his cohorts in until they confess that the term "illegal enemy alien" is a fabricated fiction.


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It is not known what the implications are for David Hicks and Miss Eagle waits - but is not hopeful - for Australian and British Governments to provide a response in his matter based on the US Supreme Court decision.

The horror against humanity that is Guantanamo Bay is unaffected by this decision.

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