Well the jury is in and Jose Padilla has been found guilty. Just not for what he was arrested for. The charges put before the court were that he conspired to murder, kidnap and maim. Just who he was planning on murdering or kidnapping or maiming is not quite clear. Americans in general I guess. Oddly enough, I have no idea if Padilla really planned on doing these heinous crimes or not. Neither did the jury that convicted him. The main evidence against him was a job application to join the Taliban, complete with his fingerprints on it. One would think that a man facing up to twenty years in prison would try to put up a defense against such thin evidence but Padilla offered almost no help to his lawyers in fighting these charges. Therein lies the greater crime committed here.
Padilla was arrested in May of 2002 coming back into this country and subsequently charged as an enemy combatant. Under this status he was the first American to be held solely on the basis of anti-terrorism laws without recourse to lawyers or law. He was held in a Navy Brig without access to council for two years. The lack of basic rights was bad enough but the conditions of his imprisonment are more than horrendous. He was kept in a 7 by 10 foot concrete cell with no window. The lights were on 24 hours a day. The cell had a toilet, a concrete slab and a concrete bed with no pillow, mattress or even a sheet. His meals were passed to him through a slot in the door. No radio, no tv, nothing even to read including the Koran. The only people he ever spoke with were his interrogators and when he left this cell he was cuffed, chained, blindfolded, and his ears were covered. There were also accusations that he was given mind altering drugs.
By the time he was given access to legal council his mind was so deranged that he refused to tell them of his interrogation because it was "classified". His lawyers have stated that he was terrified of being found innocent because then he would have to go back to the Brig. If he was found guilty he could go to a regular jail! Of course his jury was never told of any of this.
James Oliphant of the Chicago Tribune writes today that the conviction was a "victory in the Bush administration's campaign against terrorism" and that "The conviction could also help to moderate criticism of the way Padilla was handled by the government." One wonders how this could be until one reads the entire article and realizes that the MSM is mostly skipping over the three and one half years of torture that got them here. Even the Flyover Times (with the banner "Your Progressive Newspaper" over the masthead) buried the story on page seven with nary a mention of impropriety by our government!
The next time someone says to you "I can't understand how the people of Germany allowed Hitler to do all those awful things", think back to Jose Padilla. If you look in the mirror you will see Herr Schmidt or Herr Johannas who voted National Socialist Workers Party because they promised Fatherland security. I titled this post with the end of the Pledge of Allegiance. Perhaps it is time to go back to the roots of this pledge over one hundred years ago. It was originally supposed to be recited with arm outstretched, palm down.