Sunday, September 25, 2011

Seventeen Years Not Enough For Jose Padilla: Wake Up America!

Although it might be little-known among the American people, the Jose Padilla case is quite possibly the most important legal case in our lifetime in terms of the freedom that Americans lost on 9/11.

That has to qualify as one of the most definitive sentences of the last decade.

And what makes the case of Jose Padila truly horrifying is, that apart from a few lone voices that spoke out at the time, there was a deafening silence from people throughout the country as the Bush regime and the US Government disappeared Padilla, a US citizen, into a US Navy brig in South Carolina, and tortured the fellow for years until he was nothing more than a quivering wreck of a man.

And eventually, the same regime and government, for cheap political gain, had the shameless audacity to stand the man before an equally shameless judge and an even more shameless jury, and somehow call it justice when they sentenced this victim of political manoeuvring to seventeen years incarceration.

Well it seems now, that in certain quarters, Padilla's seventeen year sentence wasn't long enough.

Perhaps though, there is one little bit of justice to come out of all this; perhaps the good Christian folk of America, by their collective silence, earned the police state that they now live in.

I could do no better than to offer something equally definitive, James Spader describing the lethargy of the American people regarding the erosion of their rights and liberties since September eleventh. And you could do no better than to listen to it.

Then perhaps after watching that light hearted clip and read the article in question, you might wish to watch the real horror story of Jose Padilla at the one beacon of light that you can rely on in this land of darkness, Democracy Now.

I cannot stress enough how much of a ''must watch'' the Democracy Now show really is. If you harbour any thoughts that America is somehow a noble place or in itself a noble concept, then this is a show for you. You won't harbour such thoughts for very much longer.

If having done so, you might then realise why I can't join the present bleeding hearts and get all pissy over the treatment of Bradley Manning.

You may however, wish to do a little research of your own, might I suggest somewhere to start, Google, jose padilla+stockholm syndrome.

Jose Padilla has his own tag on this blog.

Losing Liberty for Security with the Padilla Case

By Jacob G. Hornberger
September 23, 2011

"FFF" -- The Jose Padilla case is back in the news. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the 17-year sentence handed down by the presiding district judge was too lenient. The court has ordered the case remanded to the judge with instructions to consider a much higher sentence.

Although it might be little-known among the American people, the Jose Padilla case is quite possibly the most important legal case in our lifetime in terms of the freedom that Americans lost on 9/11.

The greatest power that any dictator can have is the power to seize a person, cart him away to a prison, concentration camp, or dungeon and keep him there for as long as the dictator wants and to torture, abuse, humiliate, or even execute him, perhaps after some sort of kangaroo trial. Of course, this is not to suggest that the dictator does these things himself. He has a powerful military, an intelligence force, or national police who loyally carry out his orders to do these things.

That’s the power that Middle East dictators have had for decades, justifying them under emergencies dealing with drugs and terrorists. In fact, Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak, a longtime friend and ally of the U.S. government and whose military and the U.S. military worked closely together, wielded this emergency power for some 30 years, given that drugs and terrorism continued threatening the national security of Egypt during that period of time. It was that emergency power, among others, that the Egyptian protestors wanted eliminated. Even after Mubarak’s fall, the military regime in Egypt refuses to relinquish this extraordinary dictatorial power over the citizenry. .

That is the power that the president of the United States now wields — the same power that the U.S.-supported dictator Hosni Mubarak wielded — the same power that dictators have wielded throughout history. President Obama, like President Bush before him, now wields the emergency, post-9/11 power to use U.S. military forces to take any American into custody, hold him indefinitely, and torture and abuse him.

Are there any conditions on the exercise of such power? One — that the person be labeled a terrorist by the military, the CIA, or the president. Once that label is affixed onto the person, the dictatorial power is unleashed.

How did such extraordinary dictatorial power come to be acquired by the president of the United States in what purports to be a free country? No, not through legislative enactment, as Mubarak did it. And no, not through constitutional amendment, as our system requires. Bush simply decreed after 9/11 that he now wielded such power as a military commander in chief waging war — the “war on terrorism.” In such a war, the entire world is the battlefield and the enemy can consist of anyone, including American citizens, U.S. officials said.

Would the courts actually uphold the assumption of such extraordinary dictatorial power? They already have. That’s what the Padilla case was all about. That’s why statists have celebrated ever since that case was decided. They knew what many Americans do not know — that the ruling in Padilla didn’t just apply to him but rather to all Americans.

Jose Padilla is an American citizen. He was taken into custody and labeled a terrorist. The president removed him from the jurisdiction of the federal courts and placed him in the custody of military officials, who promptly placed him in isolation into a military dungeon, where they kept him for more than 3 years. As a result of the torture, the likelihood is that Padilla has suffered permanent mental damage.

At no time did any military officials refuse to participate in the arrest, incarceration, and torture of Jose Padilla. Like in Egypt under Mubarak, the military loyally followed orders to treat this American citizen in that way. In their minds, the troops were “defending our freedoms” when they loyally obeyed the orders of the president to do this to Padilla.

As Padilla’s petition for writ of habeas corpus was working its way through the federal courts, government lawyers were telling federal judges that national security turned on treating Padilla as an enemy combatant rather than a criminal defendant.

But it was all a lie. As soon as the government received a favorable ruling from the court of appeals, the government immediately converted Padilla to criminal defendant status. The military, after loyally following orders to treat Padilla as an enemy combatant, loyally followed orders to release him to the jurisdiction of the federal courts.

What was the benefit to the government of doing this shifting and maneuvering? U.S. officials knew that they now had a federal appellate court holding saying that the president of the United States, together with his military forces, now wields this extraordinary power. Since Padilla was appealing that holding to the Supreme Court, there was the possibility that the Supreme Court could overturn the ruling. By quickly converting Padilla to criminal-defendant status, the Supreme Court was denied jurisdiction to consider the case. That left the Court of Appeals decision intact.

That means that the government now wields the legal authority under the Padilla decision to do to Americans what they did to Padilla. All they need is the right “crisis” and they’ll have the same power that Mubarak had — the power that dictators throughout history have wielded.

Sure, the Supreme Court could ultimately overturn that ruling but that would take a long time, most like more than a year — plenty of time to brutally torture and abuse people labeled as “terrorists.”

It’s been said that 9/11 changed the world. That is most definitely true when it came to the president’s dictatorial power to arrest, incarcerate, torture, and abuse Americans. Just ask Jose Padilla, who was treated as an “enemy combatant, where he was subjected to indefinite incarceration and torture by the military, and ended up as a criminal defendant with a 17-year sentence that has now been adjudged as too lenient. ICH

Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of the Future of Freedom Foundation.

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EXCLUSIVE: An Inside Look at How U.S. Interrogators Destroyed the Mind of Jose Padilla

Democracy Now
A jury began deliberations on Wednesday in Miami in the case of Jose Padilla, the Brooklyn-born man once accused by the Bush administration of plotting to set off a dirty bomb inside the United States.

The FBI initially arrested him in Chicago in 2002 after he got off a plane from Europe. For a month he was held as a material witness. Then Attorney General John Ashcroft made a dramatic announcement–the U.S. government had disrupted an al-Qaeda plot to set off nuclear dirty bombs inside the United States. At the center of the plot, Ashcroft alleged, was Padilla.

President Bush then classified Jose Padilla as an enemy combatant, stripping him of all his rights. He was transferred to a Navy brig in South Carolina where he was held in extreme isolation for forty three months.

The Christian Science Monitor reported: "Padilla’s cell measured nine feet by seven feet. The windows were covered over... He had no pillow. No sheet. No clock. No calendar. No radio. No television. No telephone calls. No visitors. Even Padilla’s lawyer was prevented from seeing him for nearly two years."

According to his attorneys, Padilla was routinely tortured in ways designed to cause pain, anguish, depression and ultimately the loss of will to live.

His lawyers have claimed that Padilla was forced to take LSD and PCP to act as a sort of truth serum during his interrogations.

Up until last year the Bush administration maintained it had the legal right to hold Padilla without charge forever. But when faced with a Supreme Court challenge, President Bush transferred Padila out of military custody to face criminal conspiracy charges.

On January 3, 2006 the government charged him and two others with criminal conspiracy. The government claims Padilla, along with his mentor, Adham Amin Hassoun, and Hassoun’s colleague, Kifah Wael Jayyousi, conspired to commit murder abroad and to provide material support toward that goal.

Since May the men have been on trial in Miami. According to the Miami Herald, the overall case against Padilla is riddled with circumstantial evidence. Much of the case is built around an alleged form Padilla filled out to attend an al-Qaeda training camp.

Prosecutors have introduced no evidence of personal involvement by Padilla in planning or carrying out any violent acts. There is no mention of Padilla–plotting to set off a dirty bomb. Despite this, prosecutors are seeking a life sentence for Padilla.

Questions have also been raised about whether Padilla was mentally fit to stand trial. His lawyers and family say he has become clearly mentally ill after being held in isolation.

Today, we are joined by one of the few medical experts who has spent time with Padilla since his arrest five years ago. Forensic psychiatrist Dr. Angela Hegarty spent 22 hours interviewing Padilla last year to determine the state of his mental health. She concluded that Padilla lacked the capacity to assist in his own defense. Dr. Angela Hegarty is assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University. Transcript or must watch/listen, click on Real Video stream or Real Audio stream, the thing won't embed.

Glenn Greenwald joins Thom Hartmann. The collapse of our judicial system in America is even more evident in the recent case of Jose Padilla, the man labeled as the "Dirty Bomber"! I'll tell you how our courts inflicted unequal justice on an American citizen.


Anonymous said...

Himself said...

I can't be bothered registering, thanks all the same.

Anonymous said...

Himself said...

I have left the page open, I shall read it.

The minute I saw the first line of the index, I thought this has half a chance of being looked at.

A fantastic thing is happening in our world. Today a man is no longer punished only for the crimes he has in fact committed. Now he may be compelled to confess to crimes that have been conjured up by his judges, who use his confession for political purposes.

It is not enough for us to damn as evil those who sit in judgment. We must understand what impels the false admission of guilt; we must take another look at the human mind in all its frailty and vulnerability.

Who knows, there may be a post in it somewhere. Probably need a great deal of parsing though. Have I the inclination?

Himself said...

Fascinating reading, though but impossible to copy paste from PDF.

The words are, after pasting, akin to, and pray forgive the vulgar adage, like mad woman's shit, it's (they) are all over the place.

Just waiting for a call back from my brother-in-law, there is a chance he may have PDF converter software in his office.

We shall see.

But I tell you this my lovely, the amount of times you could substitute USA for the names of the inquisitors, doesn't stand counting.

Anonymous said...

Himself said...

Yes quite, us and them.

Brother-in-law is away for a couple of weeks, so no joy until/if then.

I am going to have a try with Word in the meantime, I might be able to do something by playing with the margins.

In fact, I shall have a go now.