The perverse left down under

Aussie David Hicks, accomplice of the Mumbai bombers and former resident of Guantanamo Bay, is now the darling of Australia's left.  Never mind the fact he belongs to the group behind the bombings.

Nick Bryant of the BBC

To some it was grotesque. To others it was richly deserved. I am talking of the standing ovation that came at the end of David Hicks's appearance at the Sydney Writers' Festival this past weekend - the focus of the latest skirmish in Australia's cultural wars.

Once again, as he did in the run-up to the 2007 federal election, Hicks has exposed the chasm between what might crudely be described as 'literary festival Australia' and 'talkback radio Australia' - the 'leftist urban elites', as they are often characterised, and the populist right.

David Hicks, who was convicted on charges of providing material support for terrorism in 2007 after being held for five years at Guantanamo Bay, has always been an emblematic figure.

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