The Bush administration’s “war on terror” is filled with legal contortions, torture and injustice (despite John Howard blaming David Hicks for his own incarceration at Guantanamo Bay.) The world should not have been shocked by the country’s post 9/11 manoeuvres, however. Israel has perfected the art of controlling “terrorists”. Ron Dudai, research fellow in the School of Law, School of African and Oriental Studies, at the University of London, explains:
When the US Administration announced in January 2002 that the detainees captured in Afghanistan and transferred to Guantanamo will be classified as “Illegal Combatants”, the international legal community reacted with surprise: no one was even familiar with the phrase. But in Israel, human rights activists nodded with disbelief. Just the previous year, an Israeli government attempt to pass an “illegal combatants” law had failed. Fulfilling pessimistic expectations, following the American example the Israeli bill was resurrected and passed the parliament successfully in mid 2002. Even then it went unused until last year, when two Palestinians from Gaza were detained as “Illegal Combatants”. In March, the Israeli Supreme Court endorsed these. This is not only another sad and alarming tale on how the “war on terror” erodes basic civil liberties principles; it is a powerful illustration of the global interactions and effects of these erosions.