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A Few Good Men

Is Major Michael Mori the real life manifestation of Naval lawyer Lt. Daniel Kaffee as portrayed by Tom Cruise in the 1992 classic "A Few Good Men"? Assigned to defend Adelaide Guantanamo Bay internee David Hicks , Mori's integrity and sense of justice shines through, whilst Pilate-like, Howard and Downer turn their backs on his visit, and their own countrymen.

I'm no great fan of actor Tom Cruise, but when I viewed recently a 1992 film, 'A Few Good Men' I was impressed. Shown on commercial television, (territory I rarely venture into) the film is set in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Cruise plays a Navy lawyer (Lt. Daniel Kaffee) who has to defend two marines who are accused of murdering a fellow officer during a 'code red' which is unofficial punishment for marines not doing their duty properly. The marines are expected to plead guilty, and Kaffee, as their token defender is expected to go through the motions of pleading their case. The case is complicated when the marines plead not guilty against his wishes, and taking on the might of the establishment, Kaffee is forced to defend them.

Cruises's performance is fantastic, and with Guantanamo Bay in the spotlight, the film and the issues were very topical. I was very aware of the film being, eventually, a triumph for integrity and justice, but cynical of the odds of such justice applying to the Guantanamo Bay of today.

Enter Major Michael Mori, the marine Corps lawyer assigned to the defence of David Hicks from Adelaide South Australia. Hicks was captured while fighting for the Taliban, (the government of Afghanistan at the time) against the Northern Alliance, and subsequently, against the U.S when it invaded Afghanistan after 9/11. Hicks has been in a cage at Guantanamo Bay for more than two years along with around 600 others, and has not yet been charged with any crime. Guantanamo Bay, being a U.S. base on a long term lease in Cuba, is conveniently considered by the Bush establishment to be beyond the normal laws of entitlement and due process which applies to anyone within the U.S. proper.

Mori is currently in Australia, visiting Hick's father and Adelaide based lawyer Stephen Kenny, who is also representing the Hicks family. This courageous officer has been outspoken in his condemnation of the military commissions set up to try Hicks and others. In impassioned interviews on television, his sincerity and concerns shine through. He asserts that the procedure lacks the normal checks and balances accorded the justice systems in normal court procedures, and even the rights accorded those charged under a court martial. He questions indeed, whether David Hicks has committed any crime at all, under common or international law.

One fears that such an outspoken advocate for his client could be removed by those above him. Meanwhile, the Australians one would normally expect to speak out to ensure a fair go for its citizens, Prime Minister John Howard, and Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, have uttered not a word in defence of Hicks, and have refused to meet Major Mori during his visit. Perhaps if Tom Cruise was defending Hicks.........

Posted: Thu - September 21, 2006 at 05:01 PM      
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