On Tuesday night, we watched a loyal American military officer, quite clearly not at ease, defending the indefensible — the process of bringing to trial a man who has already been punished with five years of horrendous detention after committing no crime at all. Who was it this officer’s eyes — as they constantly flicked to his left, off camera — were looking to for guidance and approval?
On Tuesday night, we watched a very courageous man, a serving US military officer, yet again detail the utter imbecility and cruelty of the American Government — in its impotent frustrated pursuit of a largely fantasised threat of terror — in its pursuit of a mere pawn in the theatre of world tension not of that poor man’s making.
On Tuesday night, we watched a father and stepmother plead with dignity for a fair go, and a homecoming, for their prodigal son. It seemed they believed he had gone astray. It was clear he still had their love. Both were to be commended for their calm in the presence of a man who, through his leader, could have had their boy home years ago. Britain and other countries successfully brought their Guantanamo inmates home. Why not Australia?
And, on Tuesday night, we watched yet another highly skilled performance by one of Australia’s finest, but so frequently unsung, journalists. Jenny Brockie is worth at least a Golden Walkley for this wonderful bringing together of so many of the people that are integral to, and affected by, the fate of an artless adventurer caught up in the fervour, and tragic consequences, of a religion new to him.
And did this gripping, brilliant piece of television make me angry. You bet it did. And again I found myself ashamed of a government that consistently presents itself to the world as mealy-mouthed, uncaring of anything that might knock `the economy’ and even uncaring of its own citizens.
If what it has done for a man who has been incarcerated for five years — with not even one of the promised trumped-up charges being laid against him — is the best it can do for a citizen in the hands of a friendly rogue nation, with what confidence can any Australian step onto an international flight?
Brilliant televison, SBS. You, more than any other Australian media, have worked to achieve some belated sort of justice for a young yet horribly tortured soul.
Insight will be shown again on SBS at 2.30pm on Friday.
Robert Richter, The Age
PHILIP Ruddock is a hypocrite when parading his Amnesty International membership. He pretends to give a toss for the organisation and the principles for which it stands: the rule of law, freedom from arbitrary arrest and punishment, freedom from torture, opposition to the perversion of accepted civilised notions of justice and the obligations he owes to those notionally under his protection. Instead, he has publicly and shamefully betrayed all of these precepts.
ON Tuesday night, on Jenny Brockie’s SBS Insight show (her topic was David Hicks), we watched in action a man I believe is unfit to be Australia’s chief lawmaker.
The Attorney-General put on his usual dogged, legally illogical, front in the face of irrefutable evidence to the contrary. How did we, as voters, ever allow this man into Parliament, let alone allow him to be given the authority to set the our nation’s legislative agenda. I still live in hope that one day this man will get his day in court to answer for his inhumane treatment, as Immigration Minister, of the many young children and adults who ultimately were judged to have been genuine refugees in search of refuge.
On Tuesday night, we watched a debate about a man who, on all available evidence, is guilty of nothing more than thought crime. And, as any decent democrat accepts, no person should ever be charged with the offence of simply thinking something bad.