Saturday, March 31, 2007

Silencing David Hicks

Over at Talking Points Memo, Joshua Micah Marshall writes about the plea bargain deal accepted by Gitmo detainee David Hicks. It includes a statement that Hicks has never been mistreated (contradicting his past complaints about beatings), a promise not to sue, and a commitment not to speak with the media for at least a year. Observes Marshall,
What we have here is a plea bargain in which the government leverages its vast control over the life, liberty, and body of the defendant to obtain for itself a release from potential liability for its own conduct and a one-year protection from bad PR. Truth, justice, and the Gitmo way.
I agree with Marshall. But I also wonder how enforceable this kind of gag order is--especially given the fact that Hicks is going to be returned to his native Australia to serve out his sentence. What exactly will the US government do if Hicks (for example) publishes a book detailing how he was tortured at Gitmo--send the Marines to Adelaide to arrest him? Are there any lawyers out there with some notion as to the practical impact of this agreement?

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