Thursday, January 04, 2007

Padilla: Terrorist or Emblematic of All That Is Wrong With The War on Terror?

I haven't spent much time thinking about Jose Padilla, or even doing research on his case. Even so, Jose Padilla has been in the news as of late because his "trial" is coming up. I just have one question for the blogisphere today:

Is Jose Padilla a terrorist or emblematic of all that is wrong with the W, Rove and Co's "war on terror?"

Have a gander at one snip from a local Valley rag:
To understand the difficulty of identifying a singular truth, look at the case of alleged terrorist and U.S. citizen Jose Padilla. As I drove to work this morning, his story was profiled his story on NPR. In 2002, Padilla was arrested in Chicago and transferred to a jail in Miami after being identified as a potential terrorist by federal investigators. Meanwhile, Padilla's mental state, due to his solitary confinement and other treatment, began to break down. Now, according to the NPR report, there is progress towards a trial, but Padilla is as passive as a piece of furniture. He is too scared and paranoid to assist lawyers in his own defense (he thinks they work for the government) and psychologists have compared his condition to Stockholm Syndrome (when a hostage sympathizes with a captor).

At the same time, the federal government has changed their story at every possible turn, first accusing Padilla of planning to detonate a dirty bomb and now saying that he was trying to bomb apartment buildings. Where is the truth in this story? Is there one? Padilla is now so mentally damaged that he doesn't trust his own lawyers. Is that justice? Was he even planning a terrorist attack or was he the victim of a post-911 witch hunt? Hearing about Padilla's plight this morning, made me realize that truth is a journey, not a destination.

The New York Times has an editorial on the subject today as well:
His criminal trial, scheduled to begin late this month, will feature none of the initial claims about violent plotting with Al Qaeda that the government cited as justification for detaining Mr. Padilla without formal charges for three and a half years. Those claims came from the government’s overseas interrogations of terrorism suspects, like Abu Zubaydah, which, the government said, Mr. Padilla corroborated, in part, during his own questioning in a military brig in South Carolina.

But, constrained by strict federal rules of evidence that would prohibit or limit the use of information obtained during such interrogations, the government will make a far more circumscribed case against Mr. Padilla in court, effectily demoting him from Al Qaeda’s dirty bomber to foot soldier in a somewhat nebulous conspiracy.

The initial dirty bomb accusation did not disappear. It quietly resurfaced in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The government filed the dirty bomb charges against Mr. Padilla’s supposed accomplice, an Ethiopian-born detainee, at about the same time it indicted Mr. Padilla on relatively lesser offenses in criminal court.
What troubles me is that we may be forced to let some real terrorists go becuase of the poor and downright illegal treatment of innocent people at the behest of W, Rove and Co.


pissed off patricia said...

This is just one more of their total fuck ups because they were so damned paranoid after 9-11. Nobody knew what to do so they over reacted on everything. Then when they realized how screwed up they made everything, that's when they started to lie about everything.

Hell, who knows if this guy is guilty of anything or not. He's so messed up now that they probably should get him into some mental hospital for help. How can he stand trial in his condition?

Kvatch said...

Hell, who knows if this guy is guilty of anything or not.

Not to mention the fact that 3 years doesn't quite add up to the "speedy" trial requirement in the Constitution.

Padilla's been railroaded.