Details and Contradictions in the David Hicks Gag Order

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As part of the plea bargain that will get David Hicks out of an Australian jail in anywhere from two to seven years nine months, Hicks had to sign a gag order at Guantanamo in which, according to the Center for Constitutional Rights, which has represented Hicks in the past, Hicks agrees to not speak to the media for one year after his release and to state that he has never been mistreated while at Guantánamo. He also has to agree that his detention was lawful pursuant to law of armed conflict.

Furthermore, he was forced to give up the right to sue over his treatment in the future, and will cooperate with investigators should the need arise. He is forbidden from profiting from his story by, for instance, publishing a book or selling movie rights.

Some portions of the gag order are plainly ridiculous, and contradicted by earlier statements. On December 10, 2004, Hicks filed an affidavit with the Adjutant General stating among other things:

– I have been beaten before, after, and during interrogations….
– I have been menaced and threatened, directly and indirectly, with firearms and other weapons before and during interrogations….
– I have been beaten while blindfolded and handcuffed…
– I have been in the company of other detainees who were beaten while blindfolded and handcuffed. At one point, a group of detainees, including myself, were subjected to being randomly hit over a eight hour session while handcuffed and blindfolded….
– I have had my head rammed into asphalt several times (while blindfolded)…
– I have had medication – the identity of which was unknown to me, despite my requests for information – forced upon me against my will. I have been struck while under the influence of sedatives that were forced upon me by injection…
– I have witnessed the activities of the Internal Reaction Force (hereinafter “IRF”), which consists of a squad of soldiers that enter a detainee’s cell and brutalize him with the aid of an attack dog. The IRF invasions were so common that the term to be “IRF’d” became part of the language of the detainees. I have seen detainees suffer serious injuries as a result of being IRF’ed. I have seen detainees IRF’ed while they were praying, or for refusing medication.

You can read the entire affidavit here and learn more about David Hicks here and here.

— James Ridgeway

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