Sunday, February 18, 2007

US acting like terrorists: ex-premier

Last Update: Saturday, February 17, 2007. 1:04am (AEDT)

A former Western Australian Labor premier has lashed out at the Australian and US governments over the treatment of terrorism suspects like David Hicks.

Peter Dowding says the US has acted like terrorists by "virtually kidnapping" suspects and using the "rendition" process to take them to countries outside the US justice system where they can be tortured.

Mr Dowding, who is campaigning for justice for Guantanamo Bay detainee Hicks, has told ABC TV Stateline in WA the Government stands condemned for endorsing the US actions.

"It's tolerating outrageous international conduct, the conduct of terrorists is really what the United States Government is engaged in," he said.

"It's tolerating kangaroo courts. Our Prime Minister and our Attorney-General, firstly I believe they have misled the Australian community and not told the truth about the circumstances of Hicks's position and they've done nothing to protect him.

"Moving these people into a position where the courts are not allowed to supervise their incarceration is an absolute outrage and our Prime Minister and our Attorney-General have accepted that that's appropriate conduct.

"It's not appropriate conduct for anybody, it doesn't matter whether they're bank robbers, we don't do that."

He says the activities of the US are also disturbing Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation.

"We are behaving as best we can through our present Federal Government to offend our nearest neighbours, now that is a silly act which puts us in some jeopardy," he said.

"I would like the community to understand just how much jeopardy that puts us in."

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