Friday, November 25, 2005

Jose Padilla's Dirty Secret

CLICK TO READ: Early Warning by William M. Arkin - Jose Padilla's Dirty Secret -

"Former "dirty bomber" Jose Padilla's criminal indictment for conspiracy to "murder, kidnap and maim," has rightly focused attention on the Bush administration's policy of denying basic rights to "enemy combatants."

Padilla was arrested in May 2002 after allegedly having spent time in an al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan. The Brooklyn-born Muslim convert was accused of plotting to detonate a radiological device in a U.S. city and former attorney general John Ashcroft described Padilla's plot as one of the most serious threats to America after 9/11.

Yesterday's criminal charges make no mention of the dirty bomb accusations. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez wouldn't answer questions on the issue."

Arkin goes on to question the voracity of the entire "dirty bomb" scenario so hyped by the administration after 9/11. His research leads him to believe it was just another instance of the White House ratcheting up our level of fear in order to make it easier to restrict our freedoms and liberties.

But the dirty secret is "not only that the threat is hyped, but also that the hundreds of millions of dollars spent in the Padilla industry has failed to provide the basic security needed to safeguard the radiation sources that are out there. Sandia [National Laboratories in Albuquerque] concludes that in their study security for shipments of all of these sources in the United States 'was not very rigorous.'

Jose Padilla was "planning" a dirty bomb attack, Ashcroft and the Bush administration once said. I am planning to win the lottery.

What is disheartening but not surprising is that the federal government is so addicted to big bang weapons of mass destruction scenarios it still can't even carry out its core functions."

SEE ALSO: - The Padilla Debacle: "The imprisonment for three years without charges of U.S. citizen Jose Padilla stands as one of the most glaring examples of the Bush administration's disregard for the Constitution and the civil liberties it enshrines. Many observers believe Tuesday's indictment was motivated by Bush administration lawyers hoping to squelch Padilla's case in front of the Supreme Court...."

Three Years Late - Washington Post Editorial: It seems most people are in agreement regarding the appalling treatment of Padilla over the last 3 plus years. Everyone, it seems, except the Bush administration.

"...The Padilla case was not only offensive to the principles of a free society; it also dangerously gambled with the very executive powers the administration was seeking to defend. The Supreme Court rebuked the military in the related case of Yaser Esam Hamdi, and a majority of justices intimated that they viewed Mr. Padilla's detention with suspicion. Yet the government continued to litigate the matter. Only with Mr. Padilla's case heading once more to the high court, where the military might well have faced another setback, did the government move to regularize his status.

Dumping Mr. Padilla back in federal court cannot undo the lengthy detention-without-charge that he has endured. But it does help to reestablish the principle that no one can be held indefinitely based only on allegations by the executive branch. The public at long last will see what evidence the government can muster to prove that Jose Padilla is a dangerous terrorist, and a jury will decide whether that evidence justifies his incarceration."

SEE EARLIER POST: Padilla Is Indicted on Terrorism Charges

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