Mr Hicks says his introduction to Guantanamo was one of silent, disoriented dread. Injected with drugs, hooded, tightly bound and wearing goggles and ear muffs and the infamous orange overalls, he was thrown into one of the small, open-air cages of Camp X-Ray.
For weeks, he says, he and other prisoners were forbidden to talk and permitted to lie in only two positions – prone and looking up, or sitting looking straight down. No other movement was permitted other than at meal times, and any deviations from the edict, or muttered conversations, were met with savage beatings by the guards.
For our American readers, Hicks is an Australian boy who was imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay 5 years ago without charges being laid against him.
In a disturbing portrayal of his first few months in US custody, Mr Hicks relates how interrogators showed him a photo of a badly beaten Mr Habib, the Sydney man arrested in Pakistan in a sweep following the September 11 attacks.
The account says Mr Hicks was told that if he did not co-operate he would be “sent to Egypt” as well. Mr Hicks and Mr Habib knew one other from Afghanistan, but by then Mr Hicks had no idea of Mr Habib’s fate.
Mr Habib was abducted by the CIA and sent to Egypt, where he says he was subjected to electric shocks and simulated drowning, attacked by dogs and repeatedly beaten.
Habib, also Australian, was released in 2005.
Hooded and shackled, Mr Hicks was taken to USS Peleliu and then USS Bataan. Among his fellow prisoners was John Walker Lindh, a young American who fought with the Taliban.
As other prisoners were taken for interrogation, their screams clearly audible, Mr Hicks said he heard a US guard tell Lindh “this will not happen to you because you are an American”. Lindh was not sent to Guantanamo Bay nor required to face a military commission trial.
Lindh, an American with the Taliban, gets off. Hicks, an Australian captured at a taxi stand gets 5 years and more.
Fair? Brave? BAH!