Thursday, November 24, 2005

Let's Talk About Jose Padilla

Lead paragraph in this Newsweek article about Jose Padilla's indictment by Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball:



The Bush administration, determined not to yield any ground on the constitutional issues in the case of Jose Padilla , has indicated it may still hold the accused “enemy combatant” indefinitely—even if he is acquitted of the terrorist conspiracy charges he was indicted on this week.
Let's look at that again - with emphasis:

The Bush administration, determined not to yield any ground on the constitutional issues in the case of Jose Padilla , has indicated it may still hold the accused “enemy combatant” indefinitely—even if he is acquitted of the terrorist conspiracy charges he was indicted on this week.
Here, as a refresher course, are the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States. As an exercise, Dear Reader, please count the number of times it says unless the President says differently:

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Link to the Bill of Rights here. And, by the way, the answer is a big fat zero for all you "strict constructionists" out there.

But, you say, Jose Padilla is an evil criminal, a terrorist who planned to detonate a radiological device and destroy apartment buildings by sabotaging gas mains.

Why, then, is that not what he's being indicted for? Oh, that's right, the torture. Same place we got the "charges" (in quotes because he was never fricking charged) in the first place.

Here's a recap from an excellent post at Daily Kos:

The U.S. Government arrests a U.S. citizen and throws him into solitary confinement in a military prison, denies him access to lawyers, refuses to even charge him with a crime, and then announces to the world with great fanfare in a news conference that he was trying to smuggle a radiological bomb into the U.S. and detonate it.

The only information which they have to support this accusation and this indefinite imprisonment is obtained via torture techniques which are notorious for inducing false and unreliable information -- information which the Government has now concluded has so little reliability that they could not even charge Padilla with this crime, let alone convict him of it.
What do I have to be thankful for? That I haven't gotten Bush's attention.

1 comment:

Hokie Explorer said...

Yeh me too. I really truly hope the Supreme Court takes the case anyway despite him finally being indicted. The administration needs a good slap in the face from the Constitution before the courts are so stacked with judges that defer to executive power that we can just get rid of the Constitution all together.