The David Hicks case was a massive embarrassment for conservatives in Australia, highlighting for more than five years how hollow was their commitment to the rule of law. Whatever he’d done, for more than half a decade the Americans could find no valid charge on which to try him. Eventually they created a new crime to apply retrospectively, and forced him to plead guilty to that, lest he spend the rest of his life in Guantanamo. And added a gag order (that would’ve been unconstitutional in the US) so that he couldn’t talk about what had happened while it could politically damage the Howard government.
There was no “fair trial”. There was just indefinite imprisonment and the threat of more unless he pleaded guilty to a crime that didn’t exist when he was alleged to have committed it.
So when people are sympathetic to him nowadays, Miranda Devine (who’s written at least three pieces in the last month on news.com.au smearing Hicks and anyone supportive of him), it’s not because he’s a “convicted war criminal”, as you disingenuously put it, or because they agree with his earlier opinions. It’s because his case highlights just how important is the rule of law, and he’s a visible reminder of how quickly some of us abandon those fundamental precepts when convenient. Those “some of us” being people like Devine – it’s no wonder they are so determined to keep the focus on Hicks’s idiotic juvenile views pre-2001 and not their deliberate, hypocritical, unrepentant support for the travesty of justice they called for after that.
See, Hicks has recanted his earlier views – Miranda Devine and other cheerleaders for indefinite detention without charge have not.
You don’t have to admire David Hicks for what he allegedly once believed, or even like him, to be outraged by what happened to him, or to have sympathy for him now. The people who applauded him weren’t celebrating the commission of war crimes! They were expressing their commitment to the rule of law, and fair trials, and their anger with those whose purported belief in justice was so clearly shown to be false in the Hicks case.
Which of course Miranda knows perfectly well, much as she’s determined to pretend otherwise.