Please Read My New Al-Jazeera Article About the Significance of the Dismissal of David Hicks’ Military Commission Conviction at Guantánamo


A screenshot of my article for Al-Jazeera about the dismissal of David Hicks' conviction at Guantanamo.Dear friends and supporters,

I hope you have time to read my new article for Al-Jazeera English, “The collapse of Guantánamo’s military commissions,” which, at the time of writing, has over 350 Facebook likes and shares, and has been tweeted over 125 times.

It’s my response to the news, on Wednesday February 18, that the US Court of Military Commission Review dismissed the conviction against David Hicks, an Australian, and the first prisoner to be convicted in the much-criticized military commission trial system, in March 2007.

This was an expected result, following previous dismissals of convictions, beginning in October 2012, but it does not make it any less significant. Hicks first announced an appeal in October 2013, and then lodged a second appeal last August, both with the Court of Military Commission Review that was established in August 2007 because, until then, no review process existed for the commissions, and two of the judges involved had raised issues that only the court could resolve.

I don’t want to give away too much about my article, because I very much hope that you will have time to read it, and to share it if you find it useful, but suffice to say that the Hicks ruling, the fourth dismissal of a conviction (out of only eight cases that have proceeded to convictions) ought to sound the death knell for the commissions.

This is because they are an abject failure of justice, as I have been reporting since I researched and wrote my book The Guantánamo Files in 2006-07, and began writing on Guantánamo full-time as an independent journalist in May 2007 (see my first article here, and my archive of over 200 articles on the commissions here).

If there is ever to be any justice, as I explain in the article, the commissions must be scrapped, and the seven men still facing trials should be moved to the US mainland to face federal court trials, as was intended for five of them — those accused of involvement in the 9/11 attacks — in November 2009. Unfortunately, at that time, the Obama administration also announced the return of the commissions, after a year-long hiatus, and within months the administration had also backed down on proceeding with federal court trials for the 9/11 co-accused when faced with criticism.

It is now time for both of those ill-conceived decisions to be reversed.

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer, film-maker and singer-songwriter. He is the co-founder of the “Close Guantánamo” campaign, the director of “We Stand With Shaker,” calling for the immediate release from Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison, and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. He is also the co-director (with Polly Nash) of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (available on DVD here — or here for the US).

To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to Andy’s RSS feed — and he can also be found on Facebook (and here), Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Also see the six-part definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, and “The Complete Guantánamo Files,” an ongoing, 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011. Also see the definitive Guantánamo habeas list, the full military commissions list, and the chronological list of all Andy’s articles.

Please also consider joining the “Close Guantánamo” campaign, and, if you appreciate Andy’s work, feel free to make a donation.

14 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    On Facebook, Jenifer Fenton wrote:

    Brilliant as always Andy!

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Jenifer. And I appreciate your support, as ever!

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    David Knopfler wrote:

    This dogs-dinner just goes on and on and on. If the problem was frozen expense claims for Congress and the Senate, they’d pass special legislation in 24 hours and be cashing their checks. Over GTMO, these uncaring, cowardly, quisling politicians for corporate boardrooms have earned our contempt with compound interest year after year. People who have been proven to have committed capital crimes have served less time and been released, while these men still wait for justice to begin. If the politicians responsible lack the smallest shreds of humanity to feel shame, they should at least, like good sociopaths, pretend to feel some and sort this out once and for all.

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, David. Very well put.

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    Ted Cartselos wrote:

    I think Mr. Worthington made an excellent point during his talk at the Harvard Law School last month.
    Guantanamo is a political prison and its detainees are political prisoners.
    Freedom loving Americans don’t see themselves as the sort of people who operate political prisons, but that is exactly what we are doing.

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Ted, for recalling my words at Harvard Law School. I need to use that phraseology rather more, obviously.

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    Natalia Rivera Scott wrote:

    Great article, Andy

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Natalia, for the supportive words!

  9. Andy Worthington says...

    Natalia Rivera Scott wrote:

    I read David’s book last month…I didn’t know that much about his case or the military commissions either

  10. Andy Worthington says...

    Glad you found out about both, Natalia​. I’ve followed David Hicks’ case and the history of the commissions closely. This is hopefully a useful guide:

  11. Andy Worthington says...

    Natalia Rivera Scott wrote:

    Thank you, I appreciate it. I’m always trying to read as much as I can and I enjoy reading your work a lot

  12. Andy Worthington says...

    🙂 Natalia!

  13. Andy Worthington says...

    Ted Cartselos wrote, in response to 6, above:

    You’re the first reporter I have heard who has called it what it is.

  14. Andy Worthington says...

    That’s good to hear, Ted. Thanks again for mentioning it. This was what I wrote four years ago:

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
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