Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Boomerang, A Swell Party and the Guantanamo Bay Inmate

"The Worst of The Worst" was how the former Foreign Minster Alexander Downer described him.

Alexander ' worst of the worst' Downer
The  pillar of the Adelaide Establishment who once famously posed on a TV chat show in stilettos and net stockings was speaking of the hapless David Hicks who spent years incarcerated at Guantanamo Bay  after the Northern Alliance pounced upon him in 2001 at a bus stop in Afghanistan and handed him over to the CIA for a $1000 bounty.

 In the hysteria following 9/11 Hicks spent the next 6 years at Gitmo chained to the floor of a cell for 22 hours at a time under fluorescent lights before finally being sent back to Australia after pleading guilty to the trumped up charge of "providing material support for terrorism".

The US chief army prosecutor later claimed Hicks should never have been charged and said the whole case was dominated by political interference from George W.Bush and PM John Howard.


David Hicks and wife Aloysia
  Hick's autobiography Guantanamo: My Journey is a harrowing read in which Hicks describes being tortured and beaten while blindfolded and handcuffed, forced to take unidentified medication, regularly forced to run in leg shackles causing ankle injury and being waterboarded by US agents.

Boomerang the amazing Spanish style mansion nestled by the harbour in Elizabeth Bay is far cry from Cuba.

It's owned by the billionaire trucking magnate Lindsay Fox who threw the doors open for a party last night.  Hicks and his wife Aloysia were guests for the launch of the book Stories from the Wayside.

The Wayside Chapel in Kings Cross is a ministry that was begun by the saintly late Reverend Ted Noffs in 1964 and continues to assist the down and outs of the Cross, drug addicts and anyone else in crisis.

Boomerang beauties: Samantha Harris & Jessica Gomes

Current minister Rev Graham Long has gathered together some amazing sucess stories from over the years along with some brilliant photographs by four leading fashion and advertising photographers.

 The concept of Sydney art director Andrew Henderson, Stories from the Wayside celebrates the chapel, the people who work within its walls and the visitors for whom the Wayside is a welcome support system, as well as as a place where all are welcome 'just to be'.


Built in 1928 at a cost of $28000 for music publisher Frank Albert, Lindsay Fox purchased the Hollywood style Boomerang in 2009 for $21M from society hostess Julie Schaeffer who had paid $20M for the house from the Shuttle's favourite former Hong Kong banker Duncan Mount and his wife Sally.

The house featured in Mission Impossible 2 and the film's star Tom Cruise tried to buy the house as an Aussie base for he and then wife Nicole Kidman.

David Hicks is about 5'5", shy and well mannered. He says he met Osama Bin Laden twice but he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He also fought for the Kosova Liberation Army.

Hicks chats to NSW Governor Marie Bashir
 Alexander Downer comes from a wealthy and privileged South Australian political family. His father Sir Alec Downer was High Commissioner to the UK, his grandfather Sir John Downer state premier twice. When he was Opposition Leader Alexander Downer dropped a clunker in a speech when he guffawingly referred to domestic violence as "the things that batter". When he took the Foreign Ministry he declared the UN an "out of date" body although that was forgotten when he beat the war drums for the disastrous Iraq Invasion. He was positive that WMD would be found.

I think we'd rather share a drink with David Hicks.