Monday, December 04, 2006

Remember Jose Padilla

The NY Times has a tragic, fascinating story on the ongoing prosecution of Jose Padilla by the US federal government. Padilla, you may remember, is the US citizen accused of being an "enemy combatant" who was held for 21 months without being charged with a crime or being allowed to see an attorney. Our government accused him of being an al-Qaeda operative with designs toward fashioning a radioactive "dirty bomb" that would be exploded in a major US city. The government has since abandoned this charge -- because it was patently untrue -- and instead has trumped up some vague claims of aiding and abetting a sleeper cell. Not only that, but Padilla himself seems to be going insane from the years of secret isolation and interrogation.

I don't have much to add to this horror show, except for this: when asked whether Padilla had been mistreated by his captors, our government responded:

“His basic needs were met in a conscientious manner, including Halal (Muslim acceptable) food, clothing, sleep and daily medical assessment and treatment when necessary,” the government stated. “While in the brig, Padilla never reported any abusive treatment to the staff or medical personnel.”

How hollow does this ring? He didn't complain about his abuse to the very officals who were abusing him? Is this the best our government can come up with?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this, Ben.

I read the story and saw the photograph early yesterday morning and it bothered me all day. I hope that someday we will look back on this administration's policies with shock and shame; if we do not, we will have lost something vital.

I could rant about the heavy price we pay in the world for such policies compared to the small return, but it is fundamentally a moral question about who we are as a nation and what we choose to become.

-- Big Daddy

4:31 AM  

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