On 31 March 2007 Australian Prime Minister John Howard in a doorstop interview was asked: “Is it likely that he'll [David Hicks] be released, perhaps just after the election and Green's leader Bob Brown saying that this sentence has been designed with the election in mind. How do you feel about....” to which Howard, cutting off the reporter, responded: “Well that is ridiculous. I mean Bob Brown of course would say that. We didn't impose the sentence, the sentence was imposed by the Military Commission and the plea bargain was worked out between the military prosecution and Mr Hicks's lawyers and the suggestion that of Senator Brown that it's got something to do with the Australian election is absurd.”
It turns out that the plea bargain wasn’t worked out between the military prosecution and Mr. Hick’s lawyers after all. Indeed, it was actually worked out between John Howard himself and US Vice-President Dick Cheney personally.
It seems Australian Greens leader, Bob Brown was right after all and, now that the election draws nearer, it seems that it had everything to do with the election – only not quite as Howard anticipated.
Cheney had visited Australia between 22 and 27 February 2007 and in a joint press conference in Sydney on 24 February 2007 it was obvious that the Hicks case had been talked about extensively during their meetings. However, both Howard and Cheney had told the press that they merely wanted to expedite the matter through the US ‘judicial’ system as quickly as possible. There was no mention of any ‘deal’ having been made then and in the 31 March 2007 doorstop, as we have seen, Howard denied that any deal had been made.
The lie has been revealed after a story in ‘Harpers’ by Scott Horton happened to mention the deal while writing an article about justice at Gitmo generally. Horton writes:
“Another officer cited the case of David Hicks. ‘One of our staffers was present when Vice President Cheney interfered directly to get Hicks’s plea bargain deal. He did it, apparently, as part of a deal cut with [Australian Prime Minister] Howard. I kept thinking: this is the sort of thing that used to go on behind the Iron Curtain, not in America. And then it struck me how much this entire process had disintegrated into a political charade. It’s demoralizing for all of us’.”
Now the Howard minions in his government departments are scurrying around to ensure that Hicks, due for release at the end of the year, keeps his mouth shut about the deal by demanding that Hicks is placed under a control order on his release which will ‘restrict Hicks' movements and communications and require him to regularly report to police for up to 12 months’ according to Australia’s ABC.
While the polls look very ominous for Howard and his Liberal government as the 24 November 2007 Australian general election draws ever closer, the last thing Howard needs, both for the short term when looking at his problem from the election point of view, is to be revealed once again as a liar and, from the long term point of view, having history, a subject that Howard himself has always personally revered, reveal him to be nothing more that a liar when the history of his own era is written.
John Howard proves once again that far from being a Great Australian Statesman, he remains just a Lying Tyrant. And that is how history will remember him.