Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

None of Us Are Safe

After three and a half years of being held incommunicado in a naval brig (much of the time in solitary confinement), Mr. Jose Padilla has finally been charged with a crime. Although Bush declared him to be an "enemy combatant," Mr. Padilla was not an armed foreigner taken into custody by American soldiers on the battlefield. Jose Padilla was an unarmed American citizen, arrested without incident on American soil (Chicago) by FBI agents using a court-issued "material witness" warrant.

When pressed by the court, government lawyers had the audacity to say that the entire world was a battlefield in the war against terror. (So basically anyone could be arrested as an enemy combatant!) Back in June, 2002, then-Atty. Gen Ashcroft told us Padilla was trying to build a "dirty bomb." But the indictment they finally brought against him makes no mention of that. The only reason he was finally indicted is that a case brought on Padilla's behalf was about to go before the Supreme Court.

Indeed, the government now argues that the lawsuit brought on Padilla's behalf is irrelevant. Padilla's lawyer, however, says she is stunned that the government would have the audacity to say three and a half years of Kafka-esque incarceration was "irrelevant" to her client... or to the nation. The Supreme Court ducked this case last year--annulling the Second Circuit's ruling against the government on the technicality that it was brought in the wrong jurisdiction--and they may well duck it again now that Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales has given them this way out.

But if they care for the Constitutiona at all, the Supreme Court has got to speak on this matter! If the President can do this to Padilla, none of us are safe, and the protections in the Bill of Rights are meaningless. And given what we now know about Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, and the secret CIA prisons in Eastern Europe, would anyone be surprised if we found out Mr. Padilla was tortured too?


Anonymous said...

Perhaps we were all living under the false assumption that we were safe from this to begin with. If they can do this now, they could have done it before- maybe with a different set of tools.

I am feeling a bit jaded at this point about rights and justice. I wonder if abuses like this were always around, but we just never noticed. Ask your average African American male about justice and fairness. I bet he noticed.

// posted by USWest

Anonymous said...

I am 100% positive that "stress conditions" were used on Padilla - i.e., he was tortured. That is the only reason they kept him incommunicado for 3 years. The 4th Circuit, Judge "Nazi" Luttig presiding, has offered to "withdraw" its pro-government opinion to prevent SC review!  

// posted by LTG