11 October 2006

Jose Padilla Was Tortured

Jose Padilla (a U.S. citizen arrested unarmed in the Chicago O'Hare airport as a material witness and transferred to miltiary custody as an enemy combatant, while incarcerated and under the jurisdiction of a U.S. federal court) was subjected to conditions in captivity in a U.S. military prison set forth in a motion in his current trial on support for terrorism charges, some of which have been dismissed.

His argument is basically that the government has already punished him so severely and improperly for no proven reason, that any criminal prosecution is now out of line.

Extreme isolation, sleep deprivation, stress positions for hours, games with personal grooming, a chilled cell, lies, threats, being cut with a knife and having alcohol poured in his wounds, being shaken by interrogators, being involuntarily administered mind altering drugs, which taken together have permanently harmed him psychologically and physically are among the conditions he endured.

Simply put, the Naval Brig makes SuperMax look like kids gloves, and clearly violated both the U.S. Constitution and the Geneva Conventions. His captors (immediate and indirect) were war criminals whom the U.S. Congress and the President have just permanently released from any criminal or civil liability for their crimes, with the help of Colorado's Republican delegation, and Ken Salazar and John Salazar. The most evil people in Jose Padilla's saga are not before any court and never will be.

FOOTNOTE: "In two additional motions, the lawyers argue the case should be dismissed because the government took too much time between arresting Padilla and charging him."

The delay motions could present an easy out that would allow the trial court judge to avoid the merits of the outrageous conduct motion. The outrageous conduct motion also presents a much more difficult fact pattern for the U.S. Supreme Court to dismiss than the antiseptic government affidavits they'd faced in the previous two Padilla petitions -- this forces them to far more squarely confront the issue of torture by U.S. officials than ever before, in a context that doesn't involve punishment of a U.S. government employee. This appealable issue will hang over the government's case for the rest of the trial, even if the motion is denied. One could imagine, perhaps, a plea deal to "time served" for Padilla as a compromise.

Hamdan's JAG lawyer who won for Hamdan in the U.S. Supreme Court, meanwhile, has been drummed out of the military, while Padilla's war criminal jailer has been promoted. In the Bush Administration, evil is rewarded, while good is punished.

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