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Anorak | David Hicks’ Guantanamo Memoirs Are Self-Serving, Profiteering And A Cracking Read: Extracts

David Hicks’ Guantanamo Memoirs Are Self-Serving, Profiteering And A Cracking Read: Extracts

by | 16th, October 2010

DAVID Hicks has had his memoirs published in a tome called ‘Guantanamo: My Journey’ , published by Random House.

Hicks is the Australian who spent five years in Guantanamo Bay, first in the rudimentary Camp X-Ray then in Camp Delta. He was sentenced to seven years jail for providing material support for terrorism ”. Upon release from the Cuban jail he was despatched to Adelaide’s Yatala Prison to serve the remainder of his sentence. In 2007, he was released.

Hicks is able to write his own history. From being a terrorist supporter he appears to be the unlucky victim of circumstance:

What began as an effort to help the Kashmiri cause for independence took a tragic turn when David found himself trapped within Afghanistan as the Northern Alliance bombs began to fall in response to the September 11 attacks. His life in constant danger, David eventually managed to find a safe haven in the house of a shopkeeper, Mustafa, in Kunduz.

His recollections fill 456-pages. Random House has a best seller.

Other highlights are:

“An armed member of the Northern Alliance approached and attempted to engage me in conversation. Not knowing Farsi, I didn’t attempt to answer him. After yelling directly into my ear, he took me by the hand and began to pull me away. I went to resist, but he made a gesture to go for his gun.

“I stole a glance at the young guy I had followed, who was still talking with taxi drivers. He saw what was happening and turned his back, leaving me on my own. With dread, I resigned myself to the situation and allowed myself to be led away. This was the beginning of six years of hell.”

Hicks was sold by the Northern Alliance to the US.

In Guantanamo:

“He entered the cage first, slamming the detainee, pinning him to the cement floor with the shield, while the others beat him in the torso and face.

“The last to enter the cage was a military dog handler with a large German shepherd. The dog was encouraged to bark and growl only centimetres from the Afghani’s face while he was being beaten.”

Later:

“I awoke on a concrete slab with the sun in my face. I looked around and saw that I was in a cage made out of cyclone fencing, the same as the boundary fence around my old primary school. “Internal fences divided the cage into ten enclosures, and I was in one of the corner-end cells. Around me, I saw five other concrete slabs with what looked like birdcages constructed on top. A fence covered in green shadecloth and topped with rolls of razor wire was wrapped around these six concrete slabs, able to house sixty unfortunate human beings. Hanging on the inside of this fence were signs saying, If you attempt escape, you will be shot, complete with a featureless person with a target for a head.

“All around the outside of the shadecloth, civilian and uniformed personnel cleared and flattened grass and trees. They poured cement and assembled the wire cages, calling them blocks. There was nothing much else around us except guard towers boasting large, painted American flags and manned by armed marines.

“My block was only the second to have been built, but that would change over time. As this prison grew out of the grass, more detainees, as they liked to call us, rather than POWs, arrived. About a month later, around three hundred and sixty of us lived in these outdoor enclosures. They were open to the wind, sun, dust and rain and offered no respite. The local wildlife was being disturbed as their homes were bulldozed to make room for the concrete blocks, and scorpions, snakes and nine-inch-long tarantulas tried to find shelter in what were now our enclosures.

“My cage, like all the cages, was three steps wide by three steps long. I shared this space with two small buckets: one to drink out of, the other to use as a toilet. There was an isomat (a five-millimetre-thin foam mat), a towel, a sheet, a bottle of shampoo that smelt like industrial cleaner, a bar of soap (I think), a toothbrush with three-quarters of the handle snapped off and a tube of toothpaste. When I held this tube upside down, even without squeezing, a white, smelly liquid oozed out until it was empty.

“This bizarre operation was called Camp X-Ray. Our plane was the first to arrive on this barren part of the island, and we remained the only detainees for the first three or four days. We had been spaced apart because of the surplus of cages. Every hour of the day and night, we had to produce our wristband for inspection, as well as the end of our toothbrush, in case we had sharpened it into a weapon. These constant disturbances prevented us from sleeping. We were not allowed to talk, or even look around, and

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