Saturday, March 24, 2007


Terry Hicks, the father of Australian detainee David Hicks, has flown out of Australia headed for Cuba for his son's arraignment on charges of assisting terrorists.
Hicks has been held in detention for more than five years after being captured in Afghanistan.
On Monday, Terry Hicks and the Australian's lawyers will be in Guantanamo Bay for the arraignment hearing and brief meetings with David Hicks.
Before leaving Adelaide airport this morning, Terry Hicks said he was anxious about meeting his son.
"You know, the last time I saw David was three years ago and he will be changed," he said.
"He's going to look a lot older I'd say, he'd probably look older than I am at the moment, but it would be good to catch up with him."
He says he hopes to have two meetings with Hicks.
"At this point in time, we don't know what questions we'll ask him because things change and circumstances change when we get there," he said.
Terry Hicks says Prime Minister John Howard has shot himself in the foot over the handling of his son's detention by the United States.
He says Mr Howard was warned that his son's long detention would become a political issue.
"John Howard was told two years ago that this will be a major a political issue but he said it wouldn't be, but I think he's shot himself in the foot over it at the moment because it has become a major issue," he said.

As Terry Hicks flies to Cuba, the arraignment hearing he is expecting to attend has been declared unlawful and having no jurisdiction in the Hicks case. This shameful farce continues. The values of justice and a fair go that we claim to uphold have been destroyed.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Four years after the Coalition of the Willing stormed across the Iraqi desert to liberate the country, the war continues. Here's what the numbers say:
US personnel killed to March 2007 -- 3,209.
Iraqi security forces killed to March 2007 -- 6,294.
How long a new Iraqi police officer spends in training -- 10 weeks. Average salary -- around $360 per month.
Journalists killed to March 2007 -- 95; Number of these killed by US Forces – 14.
Amount US military spouses pay for their first Flat Daddy or Flat Mommy -- $0. Amount other affected relatives pay for Flat Daddy or Flat Mommy -- $US40 plus $US9.50 postage and handling.
The cost of the US adventure in Iraq has reached $US505 billion. President Bush is expected to request another $US100 billion for 2007 and $US140 billion for 2008.
Estimated number of Iraqi insurgents in November 2003 -- 5,000; October 2006 -- 20,000-30,000.
Lebanese newspaper The Daily Star reports the Iraqi luggage industry is booming, with good reason. "Since the conflict began, 2 million Iraqis have fled the country, and 1.8 million more have been displaced within its borders, according to figures compiled by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Every month 50,000 more Iraqis leave for foreign lands in what has become the biggest exodus in the Middle East since Palestinians left the new country of Israel in 1948 to become stateless refugees."
Amount the Pentagon paid per article to Iraqi newspapers for running "favourable reports" on the progress of the war -- up to $US2,000.
Number of leaflets dropped on Iraq before the invasion urging Iraqi soldiers to avoid confronting the invading force and "go home instead" --more than one billion.
According to the Pentagon, trained Iraqi Security Forces now total 328,700. Sort of. As MSNBC pointed out: "A disclaimer noted that ‘the actual number of those present-for-duty soldiers is about one-half to two-thirds of the total due to scheduled leave, absence without leave, and attrition’."
Iraq consumer price inflation in 2006 -- 50%.
Average daily hours Iraqi homes have electricity -- 9.6. Baghdad -- 5.7.
Number of weeks George Bush waited after the Iraq invasion before standing on the deck of an aircraft carrier in front of a "Mission Accomplished" sign to declare hostilities over -- 6. Number of weeks since then -- 202.


G'day dear reader, I am moved to resume my random scratchings by the changing dynamics of world politics. The amazing growth of the blogosphere is an exciting phenomenom and I might as well be a tiny part of it. BATTTLER is simply a place where you will find items of interest to me and if others are entertained or informed by my ramblings, all the better. I welcome comments, suggestions and criticisms from all.