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David Hicks, Letter to his father, April 2004

Dear Dad,

If you rec[ei]ve this letter it is due to the goodness of somebody who I now feel I owe my life t[o]. This letter is very important because it’s the first and probably only time I will be able to tell you the truth of my situation.

Before I start I want you to know that the negative things I am going to say about people has nothing to do with the MP’s that are watching me. Some of them are marvelous people who have taken risks to help improve my day to day living. It’s because of such people that I have kept my sanity and still have some streng[th] left.

In the early days before I made it to Cuba I rec[ei]ved some harsh treatment in transportation including mild beatings (about 4). One lasted for 10 hours. I went to camp x-ray, camp delta and now Im in camp echo. I have a[l]ways cooperated with interrogat[o]rs. For two years they had control of my life in the camps. If you talk and just agree with what th[ey're] saying they give you real food, books and other special privileges. If not they can make your life hell. I[']m angry these days at myself for being so weak during these last two years. But I’ve always been so desperate to get out and to try to live the best I can while I am here.

In 2003 before I came to camp echo they asked me to sign a form. They said if I did I would be moved to a new facility (better place) and two months later I would be shipped back to Australia. That was meant to be in August 2003. The only thing they couldn't promise me was how many years I would get. The form was a plea guilty form. It had Al Qaida written all over it. It was a very bad form. Being so desperate (and weak) I didn't care. I just signed it. These days now that I have my lawyers that form seems to be useless. Now my theory is that it was a test. Thet wanted to see who was desperate enough to sign a form and who wasn't. They did this to a lot of us. Now some of these Brits who have gone home were people that said No!  They had done the same as me or more and yet I remain. They continue to keep me living in desperate conditions so I'll make desperate de[]cisions. Because I’ve signed once before they’re confident that I’ll sign again, if I suffer long enough.

When I first met my lawyers they offered a form to plea guilty to being al Qaida and do 20 years in prison. These days they have dropped terrorism, conspiracy, etc., and they want me to plea guilty of aiding the enemy and attempted murder, meaning I went to the front lines bearing arms but didn’t have the opportunity to use them. Al Qaida name is still in the charge.

The five years doesn't start till when I first came to camp echo, July 03 and two years I have to do here to help in commissions. There is about 10 detainees here who I saw in training camps in Afghanistan. Th[ey're] trying to say that my 2 years here will be in better conditions (heard that before) thet will give me cigarettes, TV, etc. Th[ey're] trying to buy me with small bullshit things. On the other hand th[ey're] saying don’t try to fight us in court. Just sign the form. If I sign the form I can go first (quickly) but if I decide to fight them I’ll be pushed down the list, maybe about 2 years. I am writing this in April. They say by signing it I will probably start hearings in May. If I don’t sign it they are going to further threaten me. I think their next step will be to put me in camp 5. A very bad place with complete isolation. They know this is my worst nightmare. If I end up there I will probably lose my sanity or crack and sign th[eir] bullshit forms. Thats what they want.

Th[ei]r next threats after this will be to accuse me of outrageous crimes. Being a member of al Qaida, conspiracy with them such as preparing to kill hundreds of civilians etc. They may even go public with it. I believe they are playing a game of bluff with me. They don’t want to take me to court because surely they know they won’t get away with such nonsense. But they have brain washed me into thinking that they can get away with whatever they want. Maybe they can?

I do know that it will only get harder in the future the longer I stay. Being in my current situation the deal is tempting, but only in the last week I'v[e] decided I'm going to call th[ei]r bluff and say that I'm gonna fight them. Only know da[d], I feel like being strong and standing up for myself. I'm sick of writ[]ing you letters saying how good it is here. I'v[e] always done that because I'm afraid of what the authorit[ie]s may do to me. I'm not happy with my situation. I want to be able to research and choose my own lawyers if I go to court. I want to say what I want, not what the lawyers tell me. And I should not be made to make major decisions while being chained to the floor, which is how I always am when speaking to lawyers.

The American lawyers are telling me that Steve is not [ILLEGIBLE] capable of this job and I should get rid of him and take a new Australian lawyer that they choose for me. I want to get other opi[ni]ons of what to do. To speak to you about it, but I'm not allowed to. Even now with lawyers I'm still restricted [as] to what I hear and see. I want to be able to make as much noise as possible. To let people know of what's really happening here. And if I get a chance in commission, that's what I'll do.

Know that if I make a deal it will be against my will. I just couldn't handle it any longer. Unless the deal involves me coming straight home. And also know that if I try to fight them that things will be hard for me here. The people running this show are so dishonest[,] so don't believe what you hear. I will not be treated fairly here. And no matter what they accuse me of you know that I haven’t committed crimes. But I was a soldier. No different to the guards around me. I want help and a voice but I'm powerless to have both. They claim they want justice, but th[ey're] only out for themselves.

Let the people know my plight. The person who sent this won't mind. He won't be caught. And if I'm questioned here I will never speak. This is not fair what th[ey're] trying to force me to do. And I want people to know this. Don't let them get away with it.

[M]aking the decision to stand up for myself is choosing the hard path, but I'll try to make it.

An example of the unfairness is [this. O]n New Year's Day [ILLEGIBLE] an EG, sergeant did me for attempted escape. The MP who was in the room with me at the time told him that no such thing happened but the EG wrote me up for it any[]way. Now it[']s on the computer. My military lawyer hasn't even tried to fight it. The MP offered a statement on my behalf, but no one listened. Instead, the EG tried to con the MP into backing up his story (to lie) but he refused. The EG even offered him an award if he would say that I did try to escape. For three months I lost all my things and lived as a level 4. The person who sent this to you got him kicked out of the camp, so it was good to see some victory (justice). The EG even laughed about what he did to me in front of the soldiers.

The last two years has been a tough time. Like I said earlier, it[']s thanks to a few soldiers that I'v[e] had some good times [ILLEGIBLE]. But they don't last long but it helps keep me sane.

As you can see dad, I feel really alone and I’m scared of being fucked over by the government. It makes me angry how they lie and get away with it. I feel that my only chance of justice will come from outside sources such as public awareness of what[']s happening here behind closed doors.

Why is the government being so secretive[?] What are they ashamed of[?]

If I speak up in court, watch me be le[]d out and get contempt of court. The they'll probably say something like Hicks is to[o] uncivilized to be in the court[]room and they'll charge me without even being there. I will do it politely and tactfully, but I don[']t see them tolerating me mentioning how I've been treated or what they've tried to force upon me.

As you can see, there's many things going on in my head.

While I have this opportunity I want to say everything but I can[']t think of what else to say. Mention these things to the public, dad. Let them know. After you have rec[eived] this tell me by letter or when I ring. Say that you have rec[ei]ved my (extremely short letter); use these exact words. I'll understand. And hopefully people here won't.

All I want is a fair go. For everything to be out in the open.

The person who sent this, I haven't mentioned his name. I've left it up to him. In the future he will and we'll try to get a photo of me to send. The reason it took so long to reach you is he had to wait to get off the island. So treat him good when you hear from him. H[e']s proven to be trustworthy and a friend.

So if I go to commission, let's hope that [they] don't censor it and control what's being broadcast. And if you don[']t rec[ei]ve to[o] many letters or none at all from after April, it's because I'm openly trying to tell you something that they prefer to hide.

I'm also disappointed in our government. I'm an Australian citizen, they should be trying to help me.

 If I've commit[t]ed a crime I can be man enough to accept the consequences but I shouldn’t have to admit to things I haven’t done or listen to these people falsely accuse me. We can’t let them get away with it. Especially if a shonky court is allowed to prosecute me with false crimes. But it seems to be thier intentions. How do we stop it?

I could go on about all the small things that happen to us and the way we have to live but I'm sure the released Brits are doing a good job at  describing those things. I think I've given you an idea of the bigger picture.

                  Love, David Hicks - [SIGNATURE]


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