Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant the accuracy of closed captions. These are derived automatically from the broadcaster's signal.
Australian Story Special -

View in ParlView

(generated from captions) Minister is on a

Minister is on a collision course with an ABC News update. The Prime

with the unions. Julia Gillard has pro

provoked anger among caucus members

and Labor's union base. By blocking

they' manufacturing. Union leaders say their bid for an inquiry into

they're shocked by

they're shocked by the decision. But

the Prime Minister says she's more

interested in taking immediate

to protect jobs. Libya's rebels have interested in taking immediate action

accused neighbouring Algeria of an

act of aggression. For

act of aggression. For allowing some

act aggression. For allowing some members of the Gaddafi family

members of the Gaddafi family to seek

refuge there. Moamar Gaddafi's wife

and three adult

and three adult children are

and th>> ?+ct children are believed I to have crossed and three adult children are believed

to have crossed the border from and three adult children are believed Libya. Legal action has to have crosse I Libya. Legal a for

for a group of Australian commandos Libya. Legal action has finally ended involved in a for a group of Australian commandos for a group of Australian comma÷os involved

children which left one adult and five involved in a raid in Afghanistan,

which lef÷╝ne adult and five children dead. The director which left one adult and five which left on ?+ct and five

children dead. The director of

military prosecutions has dropped

last charges against a special military prosecutions has dropped the

last ch?6>n ; Knst a special forces I soldier involved in the operation last charges against a special forces

soldier involved in the operation i' 2009. And It has all the makings soldier involved in the operation in

another gallery blockbuster. 2009. And It has all the makings of

qother gallery blockbuster. The National another gallery blockbuster. The

another gallery blockbuster. The National Gallery has pulled off

another coup. Securing National Gallery has pulled off National Galy÷? +cled off another National Gallery has pulled off

another coup. Securing an exhibition National Gallery has pulled off National Galy÷? +cled off

another coupdzy??÷z?6 s Vxhibition of

of rare works by some of Italy's another coup. Securing an exhibition

famous renaissance artists. summer

summer show will include more than famous renaissance artists. The

paintings by Raphael, paintings by Raphael, Botticelli, summer show will include more than 70

weather Bellini, and Titian. To Canberra's

Belliny and Titian. To Canberra's

weather - Frost and foggy.. Before a

Bellini, and Titian. To Canberra's

overnight.= Sydney 20, Melbourne 16, mostly sunny 17 degrees. One mostly sunny 17 weather - Frost and foggy.. Before a

This Program is Captioned


These are killers. These are

terrorists. They know no


He knowingly joined the

Taliban and Al-Qaeda. I don't

have any sympathy for any

Australian who's done that.

They are bad guys. These are

the worst of the worst and if

let out on the street they will

go back to the proclivity of

trying to kill Americans and

others. I ended up being

classed as one of the most top

10 dangerous people in the

world at 5 foot 2, you know,

it's ridiculous but it's been

put out there so many times

that there's some people that

actually think I'm some type of

dangerous character.

It's early December 2001,

three months after the 9/11

terror attacks on America.

David Hicks is in Afghanistan

fleeing the battlefield. Having

been with Taliban forces, he's

become an enemy of the US.

Ahead the young Australian

will be arrested and begin what

he describes as six years of

hell. To some he is seen as a

traitor, for others what was

done to him in the name of

justice overshadows everything.

Tonight he talks for the first

time about his journey to international controversy.

David Hicks was brought up

here in the northern suburbs of

Adelaide, a tough part of town

that turned out factory workers

and hard rock bands. Their most

famous son - the blue collar

hero Jimmy Barnes. It was an

unlikely springboard for a life

that would end up occupying the

minds of a prime minister and a

president. As a child David was

more into the nature side of

things. He was just a normal

kid at that point in time

growing up. He's always been a

creative writer. He wrote a

story in the primary school

days, plenty of characters. As

far as military sides go, no,

he was never interested in guns

or anything like that. I was

brought up without a religion.

My family, we never went to

church, even Christmas and Easter wasn't really a big

event to be celebrated in our

home. By the time he was 9

David Hicks' parents separated,

crushing his sense of

belonging. At times I was a

boastful young man and

exaggerate and get into silly

trouble. So it just stems back

to something in my childhood

where I'm jumping up and down

yelling out "Me, me" to my

mother and father, my father's

new family. His new wife had

two sons and everything was

about everyone except me, so back then there was

exaggeration in trying to get

attention. The trouble at home

led to trouble at school. He

was put into a class for boys

at risk but left at 14 failing

to complete Year 9. When David

was a teenager there was drugs

very heavily in use. He did get

caught up in that situation. He

tried all that so it was - and

it was diff wult - difficult

for us as well. David was

virtually living off the

streets and all this sort of

thing and you didn't know where

he was. Yeah, it was pretty


Eventually he got back on

track. He did a welding course, made him proud of what he was

doing and what he was making,

that sort of thing. While still

in his mid teens, David Hicks

then headed to the Northern

Territory and Queensland as a

jackeroo and stockman. But by

17 he was back in Adelaide

working as a factory butcher

and in a relationship with a

local girl, Jodie Sparrow. She

was a nice girl and then they

started a family, they had two

children and that was all he

thought of was just looking

after the kids and the family.

He was a real family orientated

man. His friend Carl Cripps

recalls that David Hicks was

devastated when the

relationship with Jodie fell

apart. I think over a period of

time Jodie just grew away from

David. He was pretty sad about

it all because he got separated from his children which he loved dearly. He would have a

bit of a cry from time to time,

yeah, pulled him apart. I was

feeling a bit lost and trying

to find my place in the world

and then thankfully I found a

job in Japan. So I travelled to

Japan where I pretrained race

horses. Going to Japan was like

a breath of fresh air. It was

the first time I travelled

overseas and being surrounded

by a foreign language and it

made me realise there was more

to life, the life that I'd been

living previously. I realised

that I wanted to travel and see

more of the world and I decided

that I would ride the old Silk

Road by horse. So I started

reading a lot of books on all

those countries I would pass

through and that's when I first

came across Islam. The Western

world with its technology

against the Islamic world with

its mythology. On my time off

work on the weekends I used to

walk up into these big

snow-clad mountains, it was

just beautiful. I'd go up there

and write poetry. Muhammad's

food you shall be fed, to

disagree so off with your

head. Did you have any deep

understanding of Islam when you

wrote that poem? No, none

whatsoever. I'd not even met a

Muslim at that point in my

life. As Serb forces bombarded

Kosovo Liberation Army

strongholds in the hills we

witnessed scenes of wanton destruction. Whether or not

David Hicks was undergoing a

spiritual awakening he was certainly becoming more politically aware. After

watching TV coverage of the

fighting in Kosovo he suddenly

shelved his Silk Road dreams. The Serbian military

were indiscriminate, they were

torturing and killing and

murdering and doing horrible

things and there was something

inside of me that was stirred

by that. We have to recognise

that we are on the brink of a

major humanitarian disaster. A

NATO spokesman called Jamie

Shea was giving briefings to

the media every day and I

interpreted his words, his daily briefings for anyone that thought they had the

capabilities that wanted to

help that they could travel to

Albania and join the Kosovo

Liberation Army and help these

1 million refugees and to stop

the genocide that was occurring

there. David rang us and said,

"I'm going to join the KLA".

And I said, "Oh, working for an

airline now, that's great." He

said, "No, no, Kosovo

Liberation Army." And I went

"Oh, yeah, righto." These are

the first pictures ever taken

of their training camp. Today,

like every day, they have a

stream of new recruits. David

Hicks was in Albania for only a

few week s in May and June of 1999. Here they are staying on

a war footing. I attended two

training camps, Kosovo

liberation army camps at the

time and did training. I was a

life changing experience. 64 of

the refugees were slaughter ed,

say the KLA. Young and old

alike perished here. I listened

to people with tears telling me

about watching their sisters

being raped and killed and the most terrible, disgusting

things, so I had this massive

impact on me hearing all of

this and I just felt this

emotional attachment to the

people and to what they were suffering and what they were

going through and, you know, I

so much wanted to help. They

were greet They were greeted

as liberators. He didn't get

the opportunity. The Kosovo

conflict ended when he was

still in the training camp. I

personally didn't step foot

into Kosovo. There have been a

lot of mist conteptions about

me since day one. There has

been one particular photo of me

used a lot in the media. That

photo was a silly boy's trophy

shot of empty weapons taken

from a store room in Albania

when I was in the KLA training

camp in Albania. It was used to

portray a negative image of me

and an image that was not

correct. But the Kosovo experience seemed to feed David Hicks' need to belong to

something. On his return he

wore his KLA uniform through

Adelaide airport. I think he

was at that point in time he

was probably feeling pretty

good about himself that he'd

been done and something,

whatever, and he was proud of

being part of that and helping

other people.

Ready to pursue a real

military career, David Hicks

tried to sign up at home.

I inquired about joining the

Australian army thinking I

could use that as a means to

helping people but they

wouldn't accept me because I

was a high school drop out,

hadn't completed Year 10 so

they weren't even interested in

interviewing me. I was a

little disappointed, not

hugely. I think I was more

surprised than disappointed to

be rejected. I've never really

pondered that crossroad in my

life, there's so many of them

but it definitely would have

taken me down a different path.

So I ended up working as a

chicken deboner at a local

shopping centre. I once again

felt lost and was looking for

my place in the world. My head

was just swirling of all these

political type questions, such

as like Kosovo. But there was

no-one I could go to, I didn't

have a mentor, there was no-one

I knew who was politically

aware. And I thought well, I

did plan to ride the Silk Road

and then I remembered Islam and

Muslim, so I thought I should

try and find an actual Muslim

and meet a Muslim for the first

time and present my questions

to them to see if they could

answer those questions. Some critics have suggested David

Hicks' conversion to Islam may

have begun earlier, perhaps

through meeting Muslims during

the Kosovo conflict. But he

insists he looked up the Yellow

Pages and found the Gilles

Plains Islamic Centre. You

could call it impulsive but I

found them to be lovely people

and they actually had

magazines, like international

news bulletins on all the topics and conflicts around the

place. I was just happy to be

with people that I felt at home

with and, you know, had answers

to these political questions.

So I said to them on the actual

day that I'd like to be a

Muslim. I think he was looking

for something, he was looking for direction. David

understood, I suppose, the

basics of the culture on the

praying but I don't think he

had the full understanding of

the whole, I suppose, box and

dice. They were very

accommodating and patient and

it was good, I felt like I'd

found my place and there was

some discipline to it with the

5 times prayer. So I no longer

felt lost, I felt like I


Three months later aged 24

and now known as Muhammad

Dawood, David Hicks set out for

Pakistan to immerse himself in

Islamic culture. It was

November 1999. Based at a

missionary madrassa near

Lahore, the new convert

travelled to various parts of

the country encouraging others

to attend a mosque and pray. He

wrote to his family

enthusiastically. My time in

Pakistan so far has been

unbelievable. I've learnt so

much. My best adventure yet.

Action packed. But what I'm

doing now is of the most

importance, a major obligation

to Islam, knowledge. I placed

myself in an environment where

there were many views, some

were sort of extreme view s. So

I wish I had of done things

differently. It was in

Abbottabad that two men in

military uniforms introduced

David Hicks to what would

become his next political

cause. They introduced

themselves as Lashkar-e-Toiba

and they were involved in a

freedom struggle in

Indian-controlled parts of

Kashmir and it reminded me of

Kosovo. There was the Indian

military in large numbers

imposing curfews and people

disappearing, being imprisoned,

people being killed, women are

being raped so to me that's

outrageous and it's wrong. He

says he didn't know that this

fundamentalist group was linked

to several terror attacks

killing civilians in India

during the next year. To him

Lashkar-e-Toiba was a paramilitary force operating

under the Pakistani army and

intelligence agency the ISI. In

March of 2000 he travelled to a

training camp run by

Lashkar-e-Toiba in Kashmir. I understood Lashkar-e-Toiba to

be a military wing of a larger

organisation that ran schools,

hospitals, orphanages, looked

after refugees that were forced

to cross the border from India

into Pakistan. He wrote about

the training to his family. I

learn about weapons such as

ballistic missiles,

surface-to-surface and shoulder

fired missiles, anti-aircraft

and anti-tank rockets, rapid

fire heavy and light machine

guns, pistol, AK47ings, mines

and explosives. After 3 months

everybody leaves capable and

war ready being able to use all

of these weapons capably and

responsibly. Marc Sageman is a forensic psychiatrist and

former CIA operations officer.

He now specialises in

counter-terrorism, research and

consultiancy. He studied David

Hicks' biography published last

year as well as other documentation. He's just

bragging and boasting. He's

also saying a lot of nonsense

such as he was trained in

ballistic missile. David Hicks

is really a soldier of fortune

who has been a loner all his

life who in his search for

excitement finds a bunch of

guys, comrades , a band of

brothers and feels very

comfortable with them and

adopts their belief and becomes

just as militant as they are.

After three months at the

training Camp David Hicks was

sent to the line of control

where Pakistani and Indian

forces exchanged in daily

exchanges over the disputed

territory of Kashmir. At times

this conflict turned deadly but

he says the intention was to

fire symbolic warning shots to

hold the line and avoid a

full-scale conflict. Were you

personally involved in that

firing? Yes, we were under the

direction of the Pakistan army

captain. I got to fire hundreds

of bullets. There are not many

countries in the world where a

tourist, according to his visa,

can go to stay with the army

and shoot across the border at

its enemy, legally. At the

time, being young and naive, I

had - or I was of the opinion

that using arms or violence to stop violence was one method to

solve that problem. Do you

still think that? No, I think

it's a vicious circle and if it

ever does work it's just a band

aid solution, a short-term

solution, but it's definitely

not a the answer. You can't

defeat violence with violence.

But back then his letters

indicate that his ideology was

becoming increasingly more

radical. Jihad is still valid

today and will be for all time.

The West is full of poison. The

Christians and Jews are

fighting the Muslims. As a

practising Muslim with military

experience I can go to help in

any of those conflicts.

Contacts are not a problem.

The Jews have complete

financial and media control,

many of them are in the

Australian Government. I find

it very hard to look at those

letters. I don't recognise the

person in those letters that I

am today. I find those letters

embarrassing and I don't agree

with their contents and I'm

ashamed of them. It's the silly

ramblings of a naive young

man. The letters seem to show a

strong commitment but the

commitment of a militant, not

so much somebody religious but

a fanatic to a cause. I'm

reflecting of the environment

that was around me. I'm being

bombarded with this, you know,

you could call it propaganda

from every angle, from TV, from

politicians, it was even dinner

conversation over family dinner

tables and when you don't hear

another side then you can be

swayed. And believing it? I

don't now, no, but when you

plunge yourself deep into an

environment like that and

that's the only view it does

start to have an influence on

you. And what influence did it

have on you at the time? Well,

from the media reports in the

newspaper that there seemed to

be a lot of Western aggression

or interest in fueling these

conflicts that we see in the

Middle East and that the

Muslims are being subjected to.

Some of David Hicks' letters

hint that his increasingly

intense beliefs now included a

willingness to pay the highest

price for his cause. As a

Muslim we believe in destiny

that when it is my time then so

be it. If it is my time that is

called martyrdom. I will always

fight for Islam. He's a young

zealot, a young convert he

really adopts the most extreme

form and now people pay

attention to him and he feels

pretty good about it. Can you

understand that people seeing

those letters today might feel

very suspicious about where you

might have been heading through

those letters? Yeah, that is

fair enough. One reward I get

in being martyred. I get to

take 10 members of my family

with me to heaven who were

destined to hell. But he says

the letters were addressed to

his parents and never meant to

be seen by anyone else and that

he was exaggerating to try to

get their attention. There is

also no reference to criminal

activity or plans of committing

terrorist acts. But still, the contents is disgusting and

shameful. Between my experience

in Kosovo and now Kashmir,

slowly I'm becoming a

well-trained and practical

soldier. The man rejected at

home by the Australian Army had

found another way to be a

soldier. In December of 2000 he

moved on to Kandahar in

Afghanistan. Before I went to

Afghanistan I should have - or

even Pakistan, I should have

researched more into exactly

what I was getting involved in

who was who, who was doing

what. Who was who and what they

were doing would become the

central issue of David Hicks'

life. He says he was asked to

go to Afghanistan by

Lashkar-e-Toiba to attend

military-style camps set up for

Islamic freedom fighters from

around the world. These are

camps that are set up and

sanctioned by the Taliban which

was the sovereign government of

Afghanistan at the time. It

was a conglomerate of people

from all around the world that

went there and received basic

military training for people

that were interested in helping

in say Chechnya or Kashmir or

some other places where there

were conflicts. The Pakistani

Lashkar-e-Toiba does that in

Pakistan. They don't really

need to do that in Afghanistan.

They had their own facilities

and indeed trained their own

people to fight in Kashmir.

This was very much for

international terrorism. It was

under the control of Al-Qaeda,

directed by Al-Qaeda. There's

no evidence David Hicks undertook any specific terrorist training in

Afghanistan or that he was ever

a member of Al-Qaeda. He was

one of thousands who attended

camps. There are no pictures of him in Afghanistan but this

footage from other camps is

typical of some of the training at the time.

In all the camps I went to

the training was basic standard

infantry, military training

geared up for one soldier

engaging another soldier. There

was never anything about bomb

making, hijacking, targeting

civilians, you know, something

like in a terrorist nature. The

man who would later prosecute

him sees it differently. The

only thing that I think we

could establish was he went

through what most people would

consider like basic training

but this wasn't going off to

the Australian or the US

military and getting issued

your uniform and your boots and

going to basic training, this

was training to support a

terrorist organisation. There

are a lot of Muslims who want

to meet Osama bin Laden. I'm

going back again directly to

the Arab camps so I will get to

meet him. Osama bin Laden's

Arab organisation, which is

where I am. David Hicks claims

he did not know the term

Al-Qaeda during his time in

Afghanistan. And today denies

that Al-Qaeda ran the camps he

attended. But it's clear from

several letters home that he

did know who was behind them.

As you may know, I'm with the

group Osama bin Laden. So that

certainly indicates that you

knew you were in camps of an

organisation headed by bin

Laden? It can sound like that,

sure, to take it like that out

of the context of what it's

placed in. Bin Laden did come

numerous times as a guest

speaker and he seemed to have

some clout because there were

many guest speakers and when he

came things were conducted very

differently in the camp. Of

course he came to the camps to

speak, he's the leader of

Al-Qaeda. That's what leaders

do, they make speeches. He

razzes up the troops, denounces

the West, denounce s apostates.

To say "Oh well I recognised

Osama bin Laden but I didn't

know he was the head of

Al-Qaeda" is like looking at a

picture of Queen Elizabeth and

saying look, I recognise the

face and I think her name is

Elizabeth but I'm not quite

sure what she does. I'm sorry,

that's not credible. Despite

previously claiming that he'd

met bin Laden on up to 20

occasions David Hicks today

says this is untrue. I never

spoke of bin Laden, I never met

with him, I never had a conversation with him, however,

I did see him on numerous

occasions and when I did I was

just one face in a crowd of many people.

I saw him from a distance. I don't understand Arabic so I

don't know what he said but he

spoke in a very gentle manner

and he had a warm smile and he

seemed to be like a kind

figure. He is a lovely brother.

The only reason the West call

him the most wanted terrorist

is because he got the money to

take action. What did you mean

by that? What action? My

understanding was that he was

quite wealthy and that that

money enabled him to finance

whatever projects. I don't know

exactly what action, you know.

He had grievances about US military bases in Saudi Arabia

and what was happening in Palestine but that's as far as

it went from what I understood.

So I saw nothing alarming at

the time to suggest he was some terror master mind that was

bent on killing, you know,

civilians. Yet just two years

earlier camps funded by bin

Laden in Afghanistan had been

hit by American Cruise missiles

in response to attacks on US

embassies in Kenya and

Tanzania. Privately some

analysts say the first suspect

is this Saudi multimillionaire,

Osama bin Laden. Maybe a guy

who lived on Mars and never

heard of anything on Earth

would not have known that Osama

bin Laden was the foremost

terrorist in the world. I don't

think that there's an excuse to

be training with an actual

group or organisation that you

know are actively out there

causing atrocities or engage in

acts of terrorism, killing

civilians, etc. To be training

with them or to be involved

with them in some way. So why

did you train with those

people? Because I saw no - I

didn't see anything like that.

But David Hicks does admit

that videos Showing terror

attacks like that on the USS

coal in Yemen in - USS 'Cole'

in 2000 and Western aggression

towards Muslims were shown to

motivate train yees. It was

like a collection of news footage from around the

world. At the time what did you think of that footage being

there? I didn't think much of

it at all. Are you saying that

when you were in the camps you never saw anything alarming

that would make you want to

hightail it out of

there? Never. I went from

Kashmir. My mindset is deeply

set in Kashmir and what the

people of Kashmir were going

through and I wanted to help

them. He took training for

almost a year in Afghanistan.

This is quite rare, actually.

So no, he's a true dedicated

person who is evaluated as

being such and evaluated as

being potentially very useful

in terms of future terrorist

operation in the West.

David Hicks has never been

connected to any terrorist act.

In early September 2001, having

completed four courses over a 9-month period in Afghanistan,

he says he planned to return to

Australia to visit family. But

first he had to renew a

long-expired Pakistan visa. He

went across the border to

Quetta to begin the process. A

day or so after his return to

Pakistan he was watching

television when the news of the 9/11 attacks broke.

I think it was a disgusting

act and so many people lost

their life on that day. It's

hard to describe when you're

watching something like that,

that it's even possible that it

could happen. I mean the

devastation and the people

jumping from the building and

when they collapsed and just,

yeah, it was horrible. At this

point David Hicks made one of

the most fateful decisions of

his life. He says he returned

to Kandahar in Afghanistan to

collect belongings he'd left

behind. In his book published

last year he claims these

included his passport but

previously he said he had his

passport with him. It's one of

many discrepancies in his story

that riled those who convinced

he returned to join Al-Qaeda

and the Taliban. I mean I just

think it's fanciful. It strikes

me as being utterly incredible

that you would go back into Afghanistan to collect your

passport. You'd go to the

Australian Embassy and get a

new passport. Why didn't you go

back and get your gear and get

straight back into Pakistan? I

didn't feel an urgency and

there was some rumour or some

concern but it was slight, that

there may be some type of air

strike or some type of

retaliation because Afghanistan

was being blamed for September

11. There was some speculation

that based on how the US had

dealt with Afghanistan in the

past, you know, that there

might be a few Cruise missiles or something that and would be

the end of it, nothing more.

With nearly 3,000 innocent

civilians dead, the US launched

a new type of war on terror. Australia, the United Kingdom

and a NATO alliance pledged

support. Those responsible for

this despickible series of

attacks upon the United States

will be hunted down and meted

out the justice that they so

much deserve. Suspicion immediately fell on Al-Qaeda

and 6 days after the 9/11

attacks President Bush publicly named Osama bin Laden as the

prime suspect. When and how did

you find out that Osama bin

Laden was responsible or might

be responsible for the 9/11

attacks? I can't remember

exactly at what point that I

heard that Osama bin Laden was

being blamed for September 11

but it wouldn't surprise me if

it wasn't until Guantanamo Bay

because it wasn't until Gan tan

mow bay that was the first time I'd heard the word of

Al-Qaeda. Yes, but I'm not

asking about Al-Qaeda, I'm asking about Osama bin Laden

and I think in your book you

say bin Laden was being blamed

for the 9/11 terrorist

attacks. OK. If that's in my

book then - So my question is

when did you find out that

Osama bin Laden was responsible

for the 9/11 attacks? I'd have

to refer to my book. Can't you remember? No. Previously he

said he heard the allegations

against bin Laden early on

while in Kandahar. In his book

he says it was in Afghanistan

but not until a few weeks after

the atrocity. After stopping

the interview to check the book

David Hicks answered the

question again. I reckon I

first heard allegations that

bin Laden was involved in

September 11 in some way by BBC

radio when I was looking after

the Taliban tank south of

Kandahar and it wasn't the best

- it wasn't a good feeling to

hear that. Critics of his story

say he's fudging the truth and

that he didn't simply become

trapped in Afghanistan without

options after the border to

Pakistan closed. What he did

was take direction from an Arab

leader in Kandahar. Who was

this person and who was he

affiliated with? He never

identified himself belonging to

anyone, he never even gave us

his name. There was one time

though he referred to himself

as once being in the Egyptian

air force, the rank of colonel

or something. This man was

later identified by the US as

high-ranking Al-Qaeda leader

Saif al-Adel. He made the deliberate effort to leave Pakistan, go back to

Afghanistan, report in to Saif

al-Adel who was a senior member

of the terrorist community and

in essence "I'm David Hicks,

I'm reporting for duty." David

Hicks now claims he was forced

to meet with al-Adel. Whatever

the reason it's clear he was

sent to a training camp

facility near the airport. He

was there when US air strikes

began in early October.

And I became very scared. And

it was at that point that I

decided out of instinct to

survive, for survival, I

decided to arm myself and to

wear a military uniform.

Although the Taliban

government was now America's

enemy, David Hicks says he

joined with their forces at

this point as part of a foreign

volunteer militia and was

initially assigned to guard the

tank. He then headed to the

front line near Kunduz north of

cabal. - Kabul. It was

November and much of

Afghanistan was at war. As well

as the international crisis,

the country's Northern

Alliance, backed by the US, was

bearing down on the Taliban

rapidly taking control of the

country. The frontline in the

north was no exception. It fell

within hours of David Hicks'

arrival. When that frontline

collapsed the next morning when

the sun had risen, there were

about 30 bodies, the people I'd

been with who had been shot and

half their heads were blown

away so here I was personally

looking at witnessing of the

destruction and needless death

of war and, you know, it sent a

message and made me view

everything in a totally

different way because I had not

had that experience up until

then. David Hicks claims he

never fired a shot during the

war. Returning to Kunduz he

deserted the collapsing Taliban

militia and sold his weapon to

fund an escape. Dressed in

local Farsi clothing he took a

taxi hoping to get through to

Pakistan. But the Northern a -

Alliance was on the hunt, its

mission backed by the US was to

round up anyone associated with

the Taliban or Al-Qaeda.

Foreign militia were highly

prized and large bounties were

being offered. While trying to

change tack is in Baghlan, the

first major town south of

Kunduz, David Hicks was

arrested. I was scared and I

was hopeful. I asked if they

could hand me over to United

Nations or an NGO. Instead a

few days later they tied my

biceps together behind my back,

threw me in a car, drove me to

the neighbouring town of

Mazr-e-Sharif and handed me

over to US forces for I believe

US $5,000 and that began my 6

years of hell. David Hicks'

arrest in Afghanistan shocked

Australia. Until then he was

unknown to Australian

authorities. But in ASIO raids

including on his father's home

in Adelaide, the letters he'd

written to his family were

seized. The lerts they thought

they had a field day. If we

knew that these letters were

going to cause so much

contention, I suppose, we would

have destroy ed them. Terry

Hicks would go on to become his

son's greatest supporter. But

when the news broke even he was

taking a hard line. He revealed

to the media that he'd spoken

with his son by satellite phone

after he joined up with the

Taliban and couldn't talk him

out of it. I don't care who it

is, if you've broken a law then

you face the consequences of a

court. If you're found guilty

so be it. We all wear it. If

you're not guilty well, then

you go home and whatever. But

that didn't eventuate.

While held in Afghanistan

David Hicks was interrogated by

the US and by Australia's

Federal Police and ASIO. He

claims the first US interview

was particularly confronting.

Guns were pointed at me most

of the time, I was threatened -

they threatened to shoot me.

They had shot guns, most of

them had M 16s, one had a shot

gun who they said was

especially for me in case I

made the wrong move. Whatever moral judgments may be made

about the prisoner's

association with the Taliban,

one aspect was clear - the

Taliban forces at the time were

officially the army of

Afghanistan's government. This

man was purchased by the

Americans from the people that

had captured him and he was not

being treated, if he was a

prisoner of war, as a prisoner

of war and if he wasn't a

prisoner of war they had no

basis for taking him. When you

take up arms on the battlefield

and you're captured then

throughout history of armed

conflict detaining the enemy's

appropriate. Ied to them

everything up front from the

beginning, being soldiers I

expected them to understand the

realities of the situation. For

a month David Hicks was

transported between US warships

and land bases. During this

time he says he was hooded, had

his head rammed into asphalt

and was often beaten. On two

occasions he says those

beatings in an airport hangar

ran for as long as 8 or 10

hours. Both times were

practically exactly the same.

So there were 7 of us, they

placed us in a half circle in a

hangar and they would kick us

and spit on us and whisper

threats into our ears and then

I felt a few nudges in the back

of my head which was the butt

of a rifle and then I was hit hard enough in the back of the

head that it knocked me to the

ground. Then I was taken to Kandahar airport where we lived

in cages of rolled up razor

wire. And there was sexual

humiliation there. I had this

big plastic thing rammed up my

anus. They just did horrible,

terrible, degrading things to

us in Kandahar. I was made to

lie down in the mud, it was

raining at the time. We were

beaten. That's when I had my

right hand fractures because

they were - our hands had to be

behind our backs, they were

chained behind our backs. Then

they would stand with their

full weight of their military boots on your hands or they

would kick it and that's when

itbook and they would hit us on

the head with plastic pipes.

And it was just general

mistreatment. In January 20002

David Hicks was among the first

detainees transferred to the

notorious prison at Guantanamo

Bay in Cuba. I was terrified.

Upon arriving in Guantanamo

there's lots of yelling, lots

of abuse, lots of dogs, lots of

slapping, lots of hits, lots of

kneeling on stones. We were put

into the first camp called Camp

X-ray, that consisted of a

cement foundation upon which

they built 10 wire cubicles.

And that's all it was. So we

were exposed to the wind and

the Sunday and the rain. There

were scorpions and snakes and

tarantulas and all types of

animals that were being disturbed that were running

through the cages so lucky I

wasn't bitten by anything so it

was just living outside in a

dog kennel basically. David

Hicks spent 3 months in Camp

X-ray before being moved to

Camp Delta built of shipping

containers. A year later he was

transferred to a tiny cell in a

new facility, Camp Echo. I was

kept there in total isolation

for 16 months. The first 8

months of which I never saw the

sun once and my nickname from

the military police was Casper

because of how white I'd become

from not seeing the sun. It's

important to recognise in the

case of isolation that we get

both physical and psychological

effects which in my view now

moves isolation in the realm of

physical torture and not merely psychological. Professor Darius

Rejali is an international

torture expert who has studied

the Hicks case. Yes, I think

David Hicks was tortured. Once

you have been subjected to

torture you will never be

normal, ever. There will always

be long-standing psychological

and physical effects from

torture. We asked the Americans

to investigate and we sent our

own consular officer there so

he could see with his own eyes

but we saw no evidence of him

having been tortured. But all

people who've been associated

with Al-Qaeda who get captured

always claim they have been

tortured, they always do.

But in April 2003 the US had

authorised new practices that breached international law.

David Hicks recounts a long

list of alleged ill-treatment.

He says torture chambers were

introduced where he was

subjected to extremes of

temperature and forced to

endure long periods in

excruciating postures. The

so-called stress positions.

There was a lack of exercise,

sleep deprivation, he was given

unknown medications and

injections and even denied a tooth brush and toothpaste for

the entire 5 years and 4 months

he was there. It was always

about breaking you down, making

you tired, constantly on edge,

the adrenaline's always

running, you're always scared,

you're always fearful, there's

always something horrible

happening if not to you others

around you. David Hicks says

while other prisoners fell back

on their faith he did not.

After 18 months at Guantanamo

he stopped practising as a

Muslim. In those times of

survival they were looking back

to earlier parts of their life for a source of strength and for them it was Islam. It

seemed to have increased their

faith as a source of strength

to get through it. When I look

back on my past life there was

no religion so I couldn't grasp

on to Islam as a form of

strength. To me it became then

something almost like foreign

or alien. Where did you find

your strength? Survival, I

don't think I found strength. I

think I performed quite badly

in Guantanamo and I think I was

picked on and, you know, and

what happened to me did because

of my weakness and they seen

that and they preyed upon it. I

was not strong. They will be

treated humanely and then I'll

figure out, I'll listen to all

the legalisms and announce my

decision when I make it. It

was evident that David Hicks

had not broken any US, Australian, Afghani or international law for which he

could be charged in a court.

Instead, the US established

military commissions to deal

with foreign nationals like

him. After 2 years without

representation he was finally

allowed access to a legal team

headed by military lawyer ,

Major Michelmore i. There's a

chance for us to fight for

David's freedom and innocence

but the reality is he's facing

an unfair justice system that's

not tolerated anywhere else in

the world. So David, President

Obama has said he will continue

with the military commissions... Sydney barrister

and academic Ben Saul is an expert in international

anti-terrorism law and has been

advising the Hicks legal teams

since 2003. I think much of the

official view of David is that

he's a kind of disloyal traitor

who was on the side fighting

against America and Australia

in Afghanistan. David never

harmed anybody. At best, he

trained with members of

Al-Qaeda and he was on a frontline in circumstances

where he didn't participate in

battle. That's the most you can

say. That's the most the

Americans have said about what

he did. It's a world where you

can't, you can't win. It's

designed, you know, for

conviction, to convict people,

not to judge people. There was

no presumption of innocence at

all. In early 2004, British Attorney-General Lord Goldsmith

formed the view that the

military commissions process

was illegal and unfair. The

British Government went on to

insist that all British

nationals must not be

prosecuted before military

commissions and must be

released from Guantanamo Bay.

That's the principled position

which the Australian Government

should have taken. I'm saying

on legal advice that I believe

we had, that you don't need to

demand the return of your

nationals who other governments

believe they have evidence to

successfully prosecute. So

while the British prisoners

went home David Hicks was going

nowhere. By now Terry Hicks was

the figure head of a campaign

to free his son. What the

hell's going on? But it was

almost 3 years before he was

permitted a visit to

Guantanamo. It was an emotional

parting. We saw him for one

hour. David was a mess,

emotional, stress, yeah, look,

he wasn't in a good state of

mind. We weren't allowed to

mind. We weren't allowed to

touch. David was chained to the

floor. You know, it's all -

these sort of things that to me

I think well, where the hell's

he going to go? Why would he

have him changed up like

that. Pleas for the Prime

Minister to personally intervene have been

rejected. No, I've already made

it very clear that we are not going to ask for David Hicks to

come back to Australia. But by

mid 2006 the plan to use

military commissions was in

crisis. The US Supreme Court

ruled the process

unconstitutional and as a

result charged against David

Hicks were dropped. A few

months later President Bush

signed off on a revised

Military Commissions Act. It is

a rare occasion when a

president can sign a bill he

knows will save American lives. Obviously there's been a

lot of talk about that... Recharging David Hicks

fell to the new chief

prosecutor Colonel Moe Davis.

He says that under war crimes

only leaders are usually

prosecuted and David Hicks was

never more than a foot soldier. Should he have ever

faced trial to begin with?

Should he have been charged? I

don't think he should. I don't

think his conduct was

sufficiently of the nature that you typically would find in a

war crimes trial. But with an

Australian election looming in

early 2007, public opinion was

putting pressure on the Howard

Government to bring David Hicks

home. (All chant) Bring David

home. I think it got to a point

for both the Bush

Administration and the Howard

Administration there was no

graceful exit out of the David

Hicks case. And I think for

John Howard it was a liability

ethat he would have preferred

go away. And in my view I think

that's what happened, this case

got rushed to the front of a

queue and a sweetheart deal cut

in order to make it go away

prior to the election. In March

2007, after more than 5 years

at Guantanamo, David Hicks

became the first inmate to appear before the military

commissions. His lawyers having

negotiated a plea bargain that

would see him transferred to an

Australian prison just 60 days

later. By now David Hicks says

he was suicidal and his only

interest was getting out of

Guantanamo. He pleaded guilty.

And 5.5 years I'd watched

hundreds of detainees be

released before me, many of

them accused of much more

graver acts than I and I was at

my wit's end where I was

offered a deal, you know, if

you say guilty we'll let you go

in 60 days and after 5.5 years

I took it. The crime David

Hicks pleaded guilty to had

only just been legislated. He

was convicted of an entirely

bogus and retrospective offence

under US law of providing

material support for terrorism.

Now what that means is that he

was not convicted of committing

or attempting to commit any

terrorist act against anybody.

He wasn't convicted of being a

member of a terrorist

organisation. What the

conviction stated was that

David Hicks had associated and

trained with Al-Qaeda prior to

9/11 and that he'd been

associated with an armed

conflict against the US and its

coalition forces after 9/11.

None of these actions were

illegal at the time. You've got

to be guilty of an offence. The

fact that you don't like what

somebody did and obviously I

didn't like what he did by

being associated and training

and all of that, it's got to be

an offence, it can't be just

dislike and you can't be guilty

by association. My view is that

his defence now, that he

pleaded guilty to something

that he didn't do is

unacceptable. I think he is a

person who pleaded guilty to

the conduct which was alleged

and that's really end, game,

match as far as I'm concerned. At last Australia

gets to see the infamous David

Hicks. He was still in prison

orange when he landed... David

Hicks was sentenced to 7 years

with only 9 months to serve,

most of it in Adelaide's Yatala

prison. Mr Hicks is being held

in the most secure section of

our State's prison where we

have the most dangerous of

prisoners secured, mass

murderers. When released on New

Year's Eve 2007 he had been

incarcerated for a little over

6 years.

Last night we went to a

restaurant on Main North Road.

We had sandwiches. Outwardly

David Hicks' life since has

been a return to normality.

He's married Aloysia who worked

on the campaign to free him and

has been in work ever since,

most recently at a Sydney

nursery. I'm 35 years of age

today. I was 24 years of age

when I was overseas, an age

when I was still young and

stupid and I I'm not the same

person them as I am today. Dad

got a letter yesterday and he

goes "Oh look, it's got JP

after his name." I'm trying

really hard to put the past

behind me and to move on.

Though that is a bit hard when

there's still headlines saying

you know, convicted supporter

of terrorism. I've never

supported terrorism. Never

have, I have never been

involved in tism. David is a

very compassionate person. We

married in 2009. We have a very

loving relationship. He's a

very kind and gentle and he's a

selfless person as well. He

really wants to help other

people where he can and that's

why he went overseas to help

people. I mean this says itself

it was actually a war crime to

put you through that

system... As a result of

Guantanamo David has a number

of physical and psychological

injuries that he sustained. He

has problems with his hand

where it was broken, he has

problems with his back, he has

problems with his jaw from

where he was hi hit. He has

some significant problems with

depression and anxiety at

times. I think the most

significant impact has been the

nightmares, so he wakes up in

the middle of the night

screaming. I am au shame -

ashamed of Australia at the

time that David Hicks was an

issue. We're going to make sure

he becomes an issue again. 10

years after his arrest, the

David Hicks case still stirs

ferocious argument. Court

proceedings are under way to

seize money earned from his

book under the proceeds of

crime legislation and opponents

say he can be judged by his

actions and his associations. I

think it's important people get

the big picture into their

minds. Any Australian or whatever nationality they might

be who goes trotting off and

joins up with a terrorist

organisation as evil as

Al-Qaeda they don't elicit a lot of sympathy from the great

mainstream of our country. But

others are sympathetic. We have

to use David Hicks, despite all

the demonising that has gone

on, as a demonstration of how a

justice system can be

perverted. Supporters now want

the Australian Government to

investigate his treatment. A

complaint claiming legal and human rights violations has

gone to the United Nations and

in the US other detainees

convicted of the same crime as

David Hicks are challenging

whether the restro specktive -

retrospective use of the law is

even legal under the

constitution. I think his case

there is at least null and void

or voidable and clemency should

be granted to him and the

conviction set aside as a

matter of elementary

justice. This guy was convicted

in a court, duely established by the United States Congress

and signed off by the President

of the United States and he was

convicted on his own evidence,

he confessed his guilt. We

wouldn't agree to submit an

American citizen to this

process so to try to argue with

a straight face that this is

real American justice is a


I don't think it's positive

to look back in your life and

be full of regret. You

acknowledge your mistakes and

you learn from them and you

move forward. If I'd had been

more educated or at least done

more research, asked questions

from both camps and looked into

it more before plunging myself

just straight into a situation

where I was exposed to a

one-sided view only, things may

have been different but that's

how it opportunity - turned

out. At the end of the day

David didn't hurt anybody and

he didn't commit a crime and he

may have made some silly

decisions but all of us have as

young people and I think we

need to be a little bit more

compassionate and forgiving. So

if the Australian Government

was to also recognise the

illegality of the system and

recognise my conviction as null

and void and a plea agreement

that goes along with it, that

would make it so much more

easier for me to move forward

and truly put it all behind me.

Closed Captions by CSI This Program Is Captioned Live.

Good evening, Ali Moore with a

Lateline update. The federal

Lateline update. The federal industry minister, Kim Carr has contradicted

claims the Prime Minister was considering an inquiry considering an inquiry into

manufacturing. Unions and the Australian industry group Australian industry group say they believed Julia Gillard was open to

believed Julia Gillard was open to an inquiry after yesterday's meeting.

But today Ms Gillard ruled it out

saying it would only delay

assistance. This evening, industry

minister Kim Carr has maintained the

Prime Minister made it clear she

wouldn't support an inquiry. New

research into the Federal

Government's carbon tax has found

Government's carbon tax has found the

level of industry compensation is unju

unjustified and costly. The

government has promised