Mori: Enough Rope Interview

Australian Broadcast Company
Enough Rope, with Andrew Denton
Episode 116, August 14, 2006

After the outbreak of the 'War on Terror' in 2001, enemy combatants captured in Afghanistan by American forces were sent to Guantanamo Bay. Dubbed the 'worst of the worst', among them was an Australian, David Hicks. Tonight we're going to speak to the man charged with his defence.

ANDREW DENTON: Will you please welcome Major Michael Mori. Welcome to the show. Can we clear something up from the start? Your actual name is Dante?


ANDREW DENTON: Wow. Which is kind of appropriate considering what you've been going through in the legal system.

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: I think I'm on, like, the 10th circle.

ANDREW DENTON: Okay. Welcome to the 11th.


ANDREW DENTON: So can I call you Dan, or do you prefer Michael?


ANDREW DENTON: I'll call you Dan. I want to get something else out of the way, because before this job as defence counsel, you were the Chief Prosecutor at the military base in Hawaii, the US military base.


ANDREW DENTON: Have you ever had course, in the line of your work, to use the phrase, "You want the truth? You can't handle the truth"?

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: No, no, I haven't. No, I haven't.

ANDREW DENTON: It's not like that movie at all?

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: It's not like that. It's not like that.

ANDREW DENTON: When you were working at Hawaii and you got asked to be a defence counsel on the Military Commissions, that was 2003. Did you see it then as an interesting career opportunity?

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: I thought it would be something new to be involved with, obviously. I thought I was going to be involved with something that operated very much like a court martial, they were going to use military prosecutors, military defence lawyers, have military judges, and be doing pretty much what I had been doing, except we were going to trying law of war violations. So I saw it as a new challenge.

ANDREW DENTON: But you really hadn't had a lot of experience in international law at that time, had you.

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: No, no, and, again, stepping into it, I thought I was I going to be involved in court martials, I have plenty of criminal experience dealing with court martials, and that's the laws we would be using. Unfortunately, what I found out that we were in something totally different, something completely made up and resurrected from 1942.

ANDREW DENTON: Which is Military Commissions?

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: Military Commissions.

ANDREW DENTON: Did you know anything about those?

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: Nothing, nothing. I had no specialised training in the law of war, I had no specialised training in international law, and so once I get there I realised I really wasn't trained to be involved in this process.

ANDREW DENTON: The Military Commissions in 1942 you're referring to were set up in response to Germans who'd come to America to commit acts of sabotage and needed to be tried.


ANDREW DENTON: And they were set up specifically for those. The Military Commission process you've been through here with David Hicks, you've since come to describe them as: "Show trials set up for political purposes, not legal ends." What's brought you to that conclusion?

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: What you found out was, the people that created the system are the same people that were responsible for fighting the war in Afghanistan, setting up and choosing Guantanamo as the detention centre, approving interrogation techniques and being in charge of the interrogations that were going. So what you was a system of, sort of like, the investigators and the gaolers also being in charge of the supposed trial system. There was no independent check and balance on it. Unfortunately they needed to set up a system that would justify what they had already done.

ANDREW DENTON: What is the key difference between a Military Commission and a court martial, the system you were expecting?

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: I think it's the independence, the independence of a judge, a judiciary that is in control. Once someone is charged, the independent judge takes control, and that goes from both the trial level and through the appeal process. In the Commission system, it was set up - they created this person, sort of an appointing authority, and I think in Australia maybe more like a DPP. Yet that individual - if I made a motion to dismiss a charge, it would go not to the presiding officers who were on it, but it would have to go to the appointing authority. So it would be like letting the DPP rule on defence motions here in Australia, and that's not a fair system that anyone can support.

ANDREW DENTON: What are the charges actually laid against David Hicks?

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: Right now he's not charged at all. Obviously the system was thrown out.


MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: The charges that they'd come up with before was a charge of conspiracy and attempted murder by an unprivileged belligerent, that they made up, and aiding the enemy.

ANDREW DENTON: "An unprivileged belligerent"? Meaning what?

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: I don't know what they mean. They made it up.

ANDREW DENTON: So you're his defence counsel...


ANDREW DENTON: ...And you can't even define what the term 'unprivileged belligerent' means. How do you defend that?

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: Well, their view was, everybody on the Taliban side. Anybody on the Taliban side was a war criminal because they resisted the invasion of their country. I didn't quite understand that. Then it was, as you heard the administration, their position was, "Well they didn't wear proper uniforms." So I started thinking about that. I said, "What about the Northern Alliance? What about the CIA they were fighting in Afghanistan? They weren't wearing proper uniforms." So it really can't be a crime and it's not a crime, but they had to try to fabricate something.

ANDREW DENTON: Can you confirm for me, David Hicks, in an interview with the Australian Federal Police back in somewhere around 2001-2002, allegedly admitted to the following - that he had trained with al-Qaeda and, Lashkar-e-Taiba. Correct?

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: He is charged with that.

ANDREW DENTON: Charged with that?


ANDREW DENTON: Can you confirm that?

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: Alright, just so you're (indistinct). There are certain things I've been given that's under a protective order that I'm not allowed to say, to disclose.

ANDREW DENTON: You can't confirm...

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: I can't confirm it. I don't want to sound like I'm being like a lawyer, but obviously...

ANDREW DENTON: You would never seem like that to us.

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: You know, I did go to law school someday.


MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: But, you know, obviously he wasn't charged with any crime being at Lashkar-e-Taiba. I think everybody knows that Lashkar-e-Taiba was controlled by the Pakistan Intelligence Service and the Pakistan Army, and he wasn't charged with any crime actually during that time period. They're alleging his crimes occurred in Afghanistan on the charge sheet, and that he attended the militant camps that were in Afghanistan. He's charged with guarding a Taliban tank and going towards the front.

ANDREW DENTON: Can you confirm whether or not he met Osama bin Laden, or is that something you can't discuss?

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: Again, I can't - again, it's in the charges that he'd met him.

ANDREW DENTON: Do you accept that the US Government has the right to try David Hicks?

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: I accept that they have the right to try anybody that violated the law of war of in a fair system. That's really what I've been asking for, for David Hicks since I got involved, "Give us a court martial." We could have gone to trial a long time ago, but that would have provided him actual rights and they wouldn't have been able to predict and control the outcome.

ANDREW DENTON: When did you first meet David?

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: December of 2003.

ANDREW DENTON: What was your first impression of him?

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: He just struck me as an Aussie. He's got that heavy accent. At that point in time he was really focused on basic needs. The food he was getting was not adequate, he was being held in isolation, he wasn't being given access to sunlight. So you could see that he was a person that was really focusing on his just basic needs.

ANDREW DENTON: You said, I've read, that you felt some similarity between you and David. What was that?

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: Well, I mean obviously David didn't ever finish the ninth grade, you know, but he had two kids, he worked hard, his relationship broke up there and he started wandering. He wanted to do something more with his life, and guess I didn't do too well in my first go at college and my drastic change in my life was to enlist in the Marine Corps. He found a different adventure.

ANDREW DENTON: It was quite an adventure. I'll get to that a bit later. We have a picture here of a solitary confinement cell at Guantanamo, which is where David spent a fair bit of his time. Can you give me some idea of the conditions he lives in and what a day is like for him?

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: You pretty much see the cell right there. It's just a cement room. He's in his cell until they wake him up to give him his morning meal. He gets his noon meal and his dinner meal. Sometime during the day, maybe during daylight hours, he'll be offered an opportunity for an hour to go out to a large, you know, chain link fence, pen, to have an hour of exercise. Besides that, he sits in his cell. When I last saw him he was allowed to have three books, and once a week they came around with a cart and gave him one book a week.

ANDREW DENTON: I know you tried to arrange books for him. What sort of books?

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: Yes, we've been bringing him books. There is a lot of things we try to do, obviously, to get David to focus away from where he was just sitting there in life. So we brought him a lot of books to read. Some got through, some didn't get through. They wouldn't let us give him 'Presumed Innocent', I'm not sure why. 'To Kill a Mockingbird Bird, 'The Fatal Shore' never got to him, but we've been able to give him a lot of Charles Dickens. He likes Charles Dickens.

ANDREW DENTON: He's spent a considerable period of time not just in isolation, but in isolation without sunlight. Is that correct?


ANDREW DENTON: What does that do to a person?

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: It's not very healthy, psychologically, for them. Just that whole, sort of, depriving someone of the basic stimuli. When I saw him, that really was all he could focus on, was trying to get out. We worked, and the Australian Consular was very helpful, in Washington DC, in getting that change and in getting him out of isolation. That's why I don't understand, now that the US has put him back in isolation, why they're accepting it now, when it was not tolerable a year or so ago.

ANDREW DENTON: How long was he in those conditions with no sunlight?


ANDREW DENTON: How much contact has he had with his family and with his children?

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: Well that was another thing. By him finally getting access to lawyers, we could actually try to be a conduit of getting mail and bringing it down and turning it in to be screened down there. They screen all his mail going in, his mail coming out. He might get a letter from his family that the words - his little niece has 'blank' many teeth now.



ANDREW DENTON: Is it true, as I have read, that references to the word 'love' have been edited out of his mail?


ANDREW DENTON: What is the point of that?

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: I don't know. These are a lot of good questions for the US that are running the camp. Some things, you can understand why they might want to screen it. That's fine, that happens in all prison systems. But why they black it out and redact accident things, it's hard to know.

ANDREW DENTON: Terry Hicks, his dad, alleges that at different times David has been beaten and that he's had objects inserted in his anus. Are you aware of anything like that?


ANDREW DENTON: That has happened?


ANDREW DENTON: Those have happened? Do you believe that he's been subjected to torture?

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: I believe he's been mistreated and physically assaulted, and, through my investigation, I've confirmed it. What's interesting, it came out and became an issue with the Australian Government, and they of course, are only relying on the assurances by the US administration. I'll give you an example, because they conducted an investigation. One of the allegations was that David was with a group of other detainees that were taken from a ship to a piece of land, they were hooded and bound at the time, and that they were randomly beaten. So then they conducted their investigation and spoke to other detainees that were there that had been beaten as well and said, "I was hit," as well. But that didn't support David's story because they were hooded and they could not see David being beaten. You see, they can always try to find some way to support that doesn't confirm what happened. Any logical person would say that if five people go out and all five people say they were hit at this time, that that supports that.

ANDREW DENTON: Why David Hicks?

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: That is a good question.

ANDREW DENTON: Why him? Can we paint picture here? There is 10 people in Guantanamo who have had charges placed against them.


ANDREW DENTON: He is one of those 10. We were told that these were the worst of the worst.


ANDREW DENTON: Why is David so valuable or so dangerous? What is it?

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: I don't know. You mentioned the worst of the worst, and I got involved back in July of 2003. When I first was brought out from Hawaii to be assigned to him, even though they ended up not assigning me to him because the Australian Government was coming out to have negotiations with the Department of Defence, and so they didn't assign me. But, you know, I got the case and I kind of felt, "Well wait a minute." For a year or so I'd heard all this propaganda about the worst of the worst and I saw the file and I'm like, "Wait a minute. I'm getting ripped off here," you know, "Where is the worst of the worst?" You know, I really got the shortest, not the worst of the worst, because he's very short.

ANDREW DENTON: And that's a problem, Major?

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: No, no, no, no. You tower over him. But then that's the question - why David Hicks? And I don't know. I mean even if you look at all 10 that have been charged, only one of them has actually been accused of hurting anyone, and that was the 15-year-old Canadian kid. So I did feel that, sort of, "What's going on? Why David?" Is it politics? Is it because he's Australian and they're trying to use him as an example? Or because he's white? I don't know.

ANDREW DENTON: Is he the only Caucasian of those 10?


ANDREW DENTON: This is what our Prime Minister said earlier this year when asked about David Hicks.


JOHN HOWARD: He has, amongst those that are held in Guantanamo Bay, committed more serious offences than most. Look, we can argue about what a serious threat to the United States means, but I would believe, and I think most people would believe, that if somebody has committed the sort of offences that they believe he's committed, then he is a threat to the United States.



MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: I don't think so. I'm not sure who is briefing him. I guess if you qualify it with who is held at Guantanamo, because we know the Taliban spokesperson wasn't at Guantanamo, he was attending Yale University in the United States, so he obviously was not in that group.

ANDREW DENTON: He's been released from Guantanamo?

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: He would never have got to Guantanamo. They let him go to university in the United States. There was the Taliban Ambassador to Pakistan, who was in Guantanamo who has been released. There was a fighter with Osama bin Laden. The allegations were that he was with Osama bin Laden, fighting in Tora Bora, took Osama's phone so that the US forces would track him so Osama could escape. He was at Guantanamo. He's free in Morocco.

ANDREW DENTON: That's Abdullah Tabra?


ANDREW DENTON: Okay. A number of countries have sought release of the detainees.

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: Absolutely. The allegations against Mamdouh Habib, here in Australia, were serious, more serious than the offences against David, against the Britons. The allegations against David, I'm not sure what he is saying is serious, because what's not in the charges speak a lot louder. It doesn't say David injured anyone, you know the whole attempted murder. The government's theory is that when David was locked up in Guantanamo in February and March of 2002, there were other people in Afghanistan firing, so therefore he's responsible because it's conspiracy. So he committed those crimes when he was locked up in 'Gutmo'. So I'm not really sure what the Prime Minister is talking about by serious offences, because the Supreme Court has already spoken and said the system was illegal and, in its opinion, really criticised two of the charges against David - the conspiracy and the aiding the enemy.

ANDREW DENTON: You've made several visits to Australia in your capacity as David's defence counsel. Have you made an effort to see the Prime Minister, sought to see him, or the Foreign Minister?

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: Well obviously David McLeod, the Foreign Attorney Consultant here in Australia, has met with Mr Downer. I've met with members of the Attorney General's office.

ANDREW DENTON: What kind of a response have you had?

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: Always very pleasant. They're always more than happy to make time to speak with me. Obviously we don't necessarily agree at the end what the choice should be, but full cooperation, and especially the Australian Federal Police have been very helpful.

ANDREW DENTON: Do you understand why it is that Australians are indifferent, if not hostile, towards David Hicks?

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: No, I don't, because I can only look at the situation through my eyes as an American. I know America wouldn't tolerate this. First, we don't allow US citizens to go to the Military Commissions. That's just not permissible because Americans have too many rights.

ANDREW DENTON: So no US citizens have been tried under this system?

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: No US citizens in the Military Commission system. Even we had a US citizen in '96 who was tried in Peru for terrorism offences and the government didn't rest until she was given a civilian trial. I don't understand why - and I don't really want to say that people don't care because I think they do. I've gotten a lot of positive responses from people that, no matter what - they've come up to me in the airport and they say, "Oh, you know, what's going on Major Mori? " "How are you doing?" "What's going to happen with Hicksy? " What was he doing there?" Or that sort of attitude, but they all sort of agree that he deserves to have a fair trial.

ANDREW DENTON: Let me put the counter-argument that would sit in some Australians' minds. Paul Wulfewitz, when this was all set up, said, "This is not a legal action, this is a war." There will be people that look at David Hicks and go, "You know what, the terrorists didn't fight fair. He was on the wrong side of the war, he's got what's coming to him." Why should we care about David Hicks?

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: I think that's the whole thing. With David Hicks, no-one is saying David actually did anything wrong or hurt anybody, just he was on the wrong side. When you say he's accused of being on the other side, so because he was on the other side we can go ahead and take away those fundamental rights and protections that we give to our murderers and our child molesters and our rapists, and to our corrupt politicians. They get it. Why doesn't David Hicks rate the basic fundamental human values that we give everyone? If he's violated the law and you try him in a fair system, fine. They don't want to give him that fair shake, unfortunately because I think his case has become political and the politics of it don't want to - the first Military Commissions can't be acquittals. They couldn't afford that.

ANDREW DENTON: So what you're saying is, under their system they've got to find David guilty?


ANDREW DENTON: Because of what they have invested in it so far?


ANDREW DENTON: Not all Australians are indifferent to this, as you know. You've met some who are passionately in support of David. I was actually sent this email today by somebody who feels passionately the other way. Here we go. This is from Paul Gulvery, who said: "My twin brother, Peter, died in the terrorist attack in New York, September 11. I've patiently watched the Australian media sympathize with David Hicks. I would like to ask David Hicks' lawyer to verify that David actively sought and trained with the terrorist organisation al-Qaeda in Pakistan. Osama bin Laden and his organisation killed 3,000 people and forever affected the lives of hundreds of families. David Hicks chose to train with al Qaeda. He wanted an "adventure," your word earlier. Cynically I ask, why then does David Hicks seek the help from Australia? Where are the voices of his suitors in Pakistan?" That's the question.

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: Because he's not a Pakistani citizen, he's an Australian citizen. He didn't violate Australian law, which has been very, very clear from the government. There is emotion on all sides. That's why, when you deal with a legal process you've got to have an independent judge and an independent jury. Victims can't be on the jury because there is bias. You wouldn't want - in the Commission system the prosecutors pick the judges. Why don't they let me pick them? Why? Because we're both on opposite sides and we need that independent judiciary and the basic fair rights, fundamental rights. I think, when we start giving up our basic values, then the other side wins.

ANDREW DENTON: The British Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, when arguing for the British detainees in Guantanamo Bay to be sent back to England, he referred to the Military Commissions as, "A legal black hole."


ANDREW DENTON: What would it take to persuade the Australian Government to change their mind?

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: I wish knew. I wish I knew. I mean, the problem is, if we go back in time, you know when they came out saying the Commission system was fair, very soon after the British Government came out saying, "We're not agreeing to it." Lord Goldsmith came out and said, "It does not meet international legal standards." The Law Council of Australia said it does not meet international legal standards. Every time there was a hearing the independent observer from the Law Council came down and reported that it doesn't meet international legal standards, it's not providing a fair trial. The American Bar Association was critical of it. Everybody else in the world knew it, except for Australia, who kept supporting the system. America would say, "It's good enough for everybody else but not our citizens." Then, of course, the Supreme Court obviously said it was not good enough either. So I'm really curious to see - I would love to see the advice that the Australian Government got saying, "Analyse the Military Commission system," and showing how it complied with international law. I'd love to see that if it exists.

ANDREW DENTON: You mentioned the US Supreme Court. A little over a month ago they ruled that the Military Commissions were in violation of US military codes, and also some of the Geneva Convention. Does this bring David Hicks closer to what you would consider a fair trial?

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: No, not until we see what the system - there is two issues involved. Obviously, one, by ruling the Commission system was illegal, it raises the issue of has a war crime been committed against David Hicks by him being tried in a system that did not provide a fair trial. The US prosecuted many Japanese for that and it would be a violation Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions. What is the Australian Government going to do about that? Because right now he's been a victim of a war crime far greater than he's ever done to anybody else.

ANDREW DENTON: Are you suggesting he has cause for action, should he ever be released?

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: No, no, he wouldn't. There would be a cause of action to prosecute the people who participated in the unlawful system. That should raise concerns. But no-one will care because it's just David Hicks. The illegality of it has just basically - what it's done has gotten the administration to go back and propose a new Bill. Unfortunately the Bill is just a rubber stamp of the old system. We're going to end up, basically, back involved in more Federal Court action, in more - David is just going to be sitting at Guantanamo, waiting, waiting for his fair trial that will probably take some time to come about, if ever. Because the current administration probably would just be as happy to let everyone sit there for the next two and a half years until they're out of them.

ANDREW DENTON: So it's possible to rubber stamp this endlessly?


ANDREW DENTON: The British High Court ruled that David was eligible for a British passport. Why hasn't he taken that up?

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: No, he's actually been given his citizenship.

ANDREW DENTON: He has, yes.

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: He was given his citizenship, and then five hours later they told him, "We're trying to take it away."

ANDREW DENTON: So that's going to go back to court?

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: Go back to court, go back to court. Again I think it's politics here, too. The British Government doesn't want to embarrass the Australian Government by doing something for David, and so they're resisting that. We'll see what happens in the long run. Like I said, it was one little step forward and two steps back and we're going to keep plugging away.

ANDREW DENTON: Do you feel like you're taking on the whole system sometimes?

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: Absolutely. I mean that, in itself, was a whole new challenge. Normally you're operating in the court martial system, you're not worrying about the structure of the process, you're dealing with the evidence in that case, the legal issues that are raised. But here you're dealing with challenging the entire system because it was unfair.

ANDREW DENTON: You're a marine lawyer, you normally appear...

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: I went to law school, yes.

ANDREW DENTON: You normally appear in a court of law and you don't generally appear on shows like this, in fact I think this is the first time for one of this nature.


ANDREW DENTON: Is it an indication of the desperation of your position that you have to take this to the court of public opinion?

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: I don't know. You asked me to be on your show. I wasn't desperate.

ANDREW DENTON: You said yes. You know what I mean. You wouldn't normally be trying a case in public like...

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: No, absolutely - sorry, Andrew.

ANDREW DENTON: That's alright, that's alright. You're dismissed. I can do that with a marine and they go.

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: I think they wanted us to just be good little boys and wait for the trial and make your objections so they could just go with the process. But, you know, in a rigged system, all you can do sometimes is to just try to let people know what's going on and why it's unfair. Sometimes it takes time. Obviously in the case of David, the government and the media demonised David for so long that nobody really worried about the system. Even now, I mean, people are, "They're accused of doing this and being with these people. What does it matter what system?"

ANDREW DENTON: This picture which we're about to put up on the screen is probably the main image that most Australians have of David Hicks. You referred to demonisation. Do you think that picture has been part of that?

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: Do you have the real picture?

ANDREW DENTON: What's the whole picture?

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: The whole picture shows him and two other mates, and they're posing with their weapons, back in Albania when he was with the KLA, training. Unfortunately it looks like he is firing a rocket launcher. If they showed the whole picture, you'd see there is nothing in it, it's just the tube. I have my pictures in my military books, I'm holding my machine gun on my waist, and everybody has got their buddy pictures.

ANDREW DENTON: Nonetheless I think most Australians would look at David Hicks and feel like whatever took him on his adventure, that he was not representing the interests of this country when he was in Afghanistan.

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: I've never said that David made the best decisions in life and I've never said that David hasn't realised that he has made some poor life choices. But I can't believe that Australians would be surprised to find an Australian popping up in any scrape around the world. I mean you run through Canberra and you see the monument to the Australians who went over and fought in the Spanish Civil War. That's the whole tale. Had David met some Northern Alliance guy and gone over to hang out with them, would he be the hero now?

ANDREW DENTON: It's harder to make rational decisions in a time of war and in a time of fear.


ANDREW DENTON: And passion.


ANDREW DENTON: There would people that look on David and say, "Look, however stupid he was, nonetheless he sided with people who have expressly stated their desire to destroy our society."

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: See, I wouldn't agree with that.


MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: When I see David and I'm down there and I see - he has more in common with the Alabama National Guardsmen outside his cell than the guy locked up next to him. David doesn't hate Americans. He doesn't, you know.

ANDREW DENTON: Do you believe that there is any chance at all he can get a fair trial in America?

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: If they use the US court martial system he'd get a fair trial. If they allowed the system to run like it should have, having the independent judiciary pick the judges and getting away from the Department of Defence General Council office controlling every aspect of it.

ANDREW DENTON: But you've said that because this is a political thing, the chances of that happening are very small.

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: It's very difficult. I mean especially - you're talking four and a half years later, let alone - I mean that time - justice delayed is justice denied. Can you give someone a fair trial five years after the events? Is it even possible?

ANDREW DENTON: You have been far from quiet about this. I'm assuming your next posting will be somewhere to the Arctic Circle.


ANDREW DENTON: That's what everybody wants to know that I talk to. Whenever your name comes up they go, "Wow, that guy's killed his career."

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: I don't know. You know, I've been a defence counsel before and it's just not something you worry about.

ANDREW DENTON: Yes, but you've said it very clearly, this is not your normal case, not your normal circumstance. You have been very, very vocal and critical of the administration of the US Government and, less importantly to you, this government, amongst others.

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: I don't see I'm being very critical. I see myself as being very close to the middle where everything is supposed to be, equality, due process. I just think the administration and the other side, in a way, has departed so far to the extreme away from our basic values that it appears like I'm saying - I don't think anything I'm saying, give someone a fair trial, is some novel idea or radical idea. I hope not, you know. I'm not worried about it. There is nothing I can do except do my job the best I can and represent David and have the values and the core values that the Marine Corps have taught me of justice and judgment and integrity.

ANDREW DENTON: Have you ever come close to resigning?

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: Over this case?


MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: No. No, I don't want to leave David. I don't think that would help David, to leave him. You know, I see him and he's just an Australian, you know what I mean? I got to do everything I can for him just as much as if I was defending a US marine or sailor.

ANDREW DENTON: I know on your screensaver at home you've got your two boys and you've also got a picture of David.


ANDREW DENTON: How much of this do you take home?

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: More, because of this case being Australian, the media calls every night that I'm at home. A lot, only because, especially at the beginning, it was so much trying to learn so much and you couldn't just do it. So it's just not a nine to five job, you know, an eight to five job, it's constantly calling people that are all over the world and trying to grasp this. I don't think I take it home any more than I would when I was a defence attorney representing a marine or sailor. I mean, their life is in your hands in a way, and you have a great responsibility to that. As a prosecutor it was easy. As a prosecutor it was easy.

ANDREW DENTON: You don't take the injustice of it home with you?

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: Obviously the injustice, that part of it is present that has not been to the extreme in my other cases. It's not pleasant to be involved with a system that's corrupt and will always be known forever with being corrupt.

ANDREW DENTON: How do you let that out, that sense of frustration? What do you do?



MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: Yes. Run around after my twin boys.

ANDREW DENTON: That will release a fair bit of stress. Are your family proud of you?

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: Your mum's always proud of you, right?

ANDREW DENTON: That is true. What lies ahead for David?

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: I think what lies ahead, he's going to remain at Guantanamo Bay until there is a change, until his situation is re-evaluated. There is no hope that he's going to get a fair trial next week, next month. If the administration gets through the Bill they want dealing with Commissions, it will not provide him the basic protections that he deserves and that you would get at a court martial. It's funny, because the Status of Forces Agreement between Australia and the US, for US soldiers who commit crimes in Australia, one of the rights is that they must confront the witnesses against them. They don't want to give that to David.

ANDREW DENTON: If you'd have known what lay ahead, in 2003 when you were Chief Prosecutor in Hawaii, would you have taken this brief?

MAJOR MICHAEL MORI: I get asked that a lot and I don't know. I think some days I say, "I wish I'd never done it," and other days I'm very happy to be involved. Every time I see David, that reassures me that I did the right thing by choosing to be involved.

ANDREW DENTON: It's refreshing to meet someone who speaks their mind so clearly. Michael Dan Mori, thank you very much.


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