Mention the name Jose Padilla and most people will immediately think, “Dirty Bomber”. It was, after all, the nickname imposed on him by the media after he was arrested at O’Hare Airport in 2002. Padilla was accused by the US government of plotting to blow up an American city with a radioactive “dirty” bomb. No trial ever ensued and Padilla was locked away from everyone in a naval brig for three and a half years.
What happened to him over that time is cause for conjecture, but an article in the Chicago Sun Times from Dec 5th, 2006 states that a Pentagon video shows him:
“……chained hand and foot, wearing headphones and goggles, and being led out of his cell by guards dressed in camouflage and wearing riot helmets and visors.”
Padilla himself claimed he was:
“…….forced to stand in painful stress positions, given LSD or some other drug as a “truth serum,” subjected to loud noises and noxious odors, and forced to endure sleep deprivation, extreme heat and cold, and harsh lights.”
Three and a half years is a long time to be shut away anywhere, even when the treatment is humane. It seems likely that was not the case. Particularly galling then, that after so long, Padilla was never charged with the crime for which he was arrested.
Jose Padilla was eventually tried for “conspiracy to murder and material support of terrorism”. Today he was found guilty, along with two other defendants who seemed to be the real focus of the trial. Padilla was, to use the words of Slate magazine’s legal analyst, Dahlia Lithwick, “…..grafted on to the notion the other two were sending money…. [to fund terrorism].
This seems to be the crux of the Government’s case, that Padilla and his co-defendants were raising money to fund terrorism and by so doing were conspiring to: [Dahlia Lithwick]: “…. murder and maim folks all over the world including Chechnia, Somalia, Afghanistan…..”
Other evidence included an alleged Mujahadeen data form “discovered” by the CIA in 2001, supposedly filled in by Padilla and with his fingerprints all over it, and hours of telephone calls between all three defendants using, according to the CIA, codewords that stood for terrorist activities and used to cover up the true intent of the conversations.
There may be a few Americans unbiased sufficient to question the veracity and honesty of the CIA. Certain papers documenting previous activities that bear out these uncertainties have come to light over the years. Given that Padilla was not the focus of the case for which he gained most notoriety, and was apparently convicted on the backs of two other defendants, it could be theorized that Padilla’s internment for so long in a navy brig allowed the CIA to seek out evidence to support their “dirty bomber” allegations. Unable to find any such evidence because it undoubtedly did not exist, during interrogation of Padilla and when he was in a less than normal state of mind, his interrogators could easily have demanded he fill certain forms, causing his fingerprints to impregnate the documents.
The question must be asked as to how difficult it would be for the CIA to forge a Mujahadeen application form for employment? After all, the CIA supplied them with cash and weapons for years, to fight the Russians in Afghanistan.
The case of Jose Padilla is not over. Sentencing will take place in December. It is to be hoped his defense council will act quickly to arrange an appeal against sentence. Unfortunately, they are up against one of the most powerful forces in the world today; the United States government.
Jose Padilla is a United States citizen. After the way he’s been treated, allowing him to walk away would look bad for a president who strutted his stuff while announcing Padilla’s capture. They’ll go to great lengths to avoid that.
On hearing the outcome of this trial today, Gordon Johndroe, a spokesman for the National Security Council at the White House, said:
“”Jose Padilla received a fair trial and a just verdict……we commend the jury for its work in this trial and thank it for upholding a core American principle of impartial justice for all.”
Impartial justice for all?
Perhaps the most frightening aspect of this drawn-out, judicial farce is that Mister Gordon Johndroe will probably sleep well in his bed tonight.
Filed under: Probable despotism