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Jose Padilla & the 10 Commandments

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    The Tools of Tyrants -- Jose Padilla and the 10 Commandments By Mike Whitney 03/07/05 Information Clearing House It
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 8, 2005
      "The Tools of Tyrants" -- Jose Padilla and the 10 Commandments
      By Mike Whitney
      "Information Clearing House"

      It shouldn't surprise us that the Supreme Court has decided to take
      a case about the public displaying of the 10 Commandments, but
      refused to hear the case of Jose Padilla, the alleged "dirty
      bomber". On the one hand, we have a hot-button cultural issue that
      is bound to divide the country along ideological lines. (good for
      Bush). On the other, we have the most significant case in the
      history of the court, casually pushed aside for a later date. Both
      cases reveal how deeply politicized the high court has become, and
      how (eventually) some of its members will have to be removed in
      order to restore confidence in the legitimacy of the institution.

      The case of Jose Padilla appeared in the media again this week, when
      a lower court ruled (as it has twice before) that the administration
      must either charge Padilla or release him from prison. The Bush team
      has no intention of doing either. Padilla is the "test case" to
      establish that the President can jail a US citizen indefinitely
      without charging him with a crime. This "precedent" is central to
      the administration's plans for unlimited power.

      Tyranny is built on the foundation of arbitrary imprisonment; a
      principle that Bush and his colleagues fully understand.

      Padilla has already served two and a half years in solitary
      confinement without ever being formally charged with criminal
      wrongdoing. The administration has affixed to him the moniker
      of "unlawful combatant"; the rubric under which all the rights of
      citizenship are summarily stripped from its victim. The Justice
      Department has produced no solid evidence of Padilla's guilt and has
      repeatedly changed its claims regarding the "alleged" conspiracy.
      The DOJ's muddled approach creates the impression that the case
      against Padilla is weak at best; suggesting that he may be entirely
      innocent. At this point, however, his innocence or guilt is
      irrelevant. The larger issue is whether the administration will
      succeed in its quest to savage the Bill of Rights and 800 years of
      legal precedent with one swift jolt.

      So far, the advantage goes to Bush. By refusing to hear the case,
      the Supreme Court has reinforced the absolute power of the executive
      to indefinitely detain citizens without judicial review. Simply put,
      it marks the end of freedom in America.

      It's clear that the majority of the court knew exactly what they
      were doing by turning their backs on Padilla. After all, the
      ultimate purpose of right-wing appointees to the bench is to
      buttress the power of the president. Scalia's comments are
      particularly searing in this regard: "The very core of liberty
      secured by our Anglo-Saxon system of separated powers has been
      freedom from indefinite imprisonment at the will of the Executive."

      Really? Scalia's remarks belie the fact that he has condemned
      Padilla to indefinite incarceration by refusing to hear the case. It
      would be difficult to cite a more stunning example of personal

      Conversely, Judge John Paul Stevens takes the alternate view when he
      states, concerning the Padilla case, that it poses "a unique and
      unprecedented threat to the freedom of every American citizen... At
      stake is nothing less than the essence of a free society... For if
      this Nation is to remain true to the ideals symbolized by its flag,
      it must not wield the tools of tyrants even to resist an assault by
      the forces of tyranny."

      "The tools of tyrants?" Is Stevens overstating his view?

      Not at all. What makes the case so extraordinary is that its meaning
      is completely straightforward. The court is not being asked to
      quibble over inconsequential aspects of the law. They are being
      asked, point blank, whether or not American citizens have ANY rights
      at all. It's just that simple.

      Padilla has been deprived of ALL of his rights, not merely a few.
      So, we must ask ourselves: Are US citizens entitled to any
      (definite) legal protections, or are these protections simply
      granted at the President's discretion? And, if our personal freedom
      is dependent on the subjective whims of the President, then why talk
      about "inalienable" rights?

      Why, indeed?

      There's nothing haphazard in the way that the Padilla case has
      developed. In fact, there are various organizations that operate
      openly within the country that are determined to change the
      fundamental principles of American justice. With Padilla's case.
      these groups have won a major victory and struck a mortal blow to
      the very heart of our system. So long as Padilla sits in prison,
      deprived of all his constitutional rights, there are no guarantees
      of personal liberty in America.

      Mike Whitney Email: fergiewhitney@...

      Copyright: Mike Whitney


      Padilla's indefinite detention puts your rights at risk:
      03/04/05 - - Op/Ed - USATODAY.com

      Picture yourself in this scenario.

      You're a U.S. citizen landing at a major airport from abroad. You're
      pulled out of line at customs, arrested, thrown in jail for a month
      and then spirited off to a military prison.

      Nearly three years later, you're still there, never charged with any
      crime. The government claims it can hold you forever without
      answering to any judge or court.

      The scenario is not fiction. It's happening now. Only a federal
      judge in South Carolina is standing in the way. At stake is the
      constitutional guarantee of every American to be free from arbitrary

      Jose Padilla, a U.S. citizen born in Brooklyn, N.Y., was arrested at
      Chicago's O'Hare Airport in May 2002. He's still being held. No
      charges have been filed.

      Despite the clear language of the Constitution that prohibits
      detention without trial, the Bush administration insists that it can
      indefinitely hold Padilla - or anyone else it chooses - as an "enemy
      combatant" without trial or even formal charges.

      Padilla is one of a handful of Americans known to have been swept up
      in the war on terror, but he is the lone suspect not released or
      handled by the courts. So far, he has received only indictment by
      press conference - and with dubious credibility at that.

      The Justice Department first claimed Padilla was sent home by al-
      Qaeda to set off a radioactive "dirty bomb" in Washington. That
      scenario was downplayed last year in favor of new allegations: An
      alleged plan to blow up high-rise apartment buildings using natural
      gas. Still no charges, still no trial.

      In South Carolina on Monday, U.S. District Judge Henry Floyd ordered
      the government to either try Padilla or let him go. Floyd, a Bush
      appointee, ruled that the government had failed to cite any law or
      legal precedent to justify holding him indefinitely.

      Defenders of the administration argue that Padilla is dangerous.
      Putting him on trial, they say, could endanger intelligence sources
      that provided evidence against him.

      Perhaps he is a threat. Perhaps there's reason for suspicion but not
      enough evidence to convict. Or perhaps the government erred in
      arresting him and would rather not admit it. Without a trial,
      there's no way to find out.

      For obvious reasons, the Constitution denies the president or his
      aides the power to decide by themselves that a citizen can be
      imprisoned indefinitely without judicial review. Armed with such
      power, an administration could imprison its political opponents or
      silence them with the threat.

      Yes, there is a risk that if Padilla is freed he might make trouble.
      But tracking potential criminals is a job intelligence and police
      agencies can handle. The cost of setting a precedent that presidents
      can jail whomever they choose would be far greater.

      This case is not just about Jose Padilla. It's about every citizen's
      liberty. If the foundations of freedom crumble under the stresses of
      the war on terrorism, the terrorists will have won.


      U.S. Citizen Jose Padilla :
      Imprisoned Without Trial for 2 Years and 271 Days by our Government
      While one of us is chained, None of us are Free


      Charge Jose Padilla

      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 offence 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.
      5th Amendment to U.S. Constitution


      BACK TO SQUARE ONE? June 29 Bad news and good news from the Supreme
      Court, which should keep the arguments going for years to come.

      DECEIVING THE SUPREME COURT: June 8 News of a defense department
      memo on torture is relevant to the case of Jose Padilla.

      NEW ACCUSATIONS (MEANING LITTLE): June 3 The government releases
      more detailed accusations against Padilla, but still has no plans to
      argue his guilt in court.

      SUPREME COURT HEARS PADILLA CASE: April 28 The Supreme Court heard
      arguments about the detention of Jose Padilla as an enemy combatant.

      Media Credit: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

      On June 9, 2002 Jose Padilla--a.k.a. Abdullah Al Muhajir--was
      transferred from control of the U.S. Department of Justice to
      military control. Since that time, Padilla has been held in a navy
      brig in South Carolina.

      Padilla has not been charged with a crime, and does not have access
      to a lawyer in his detention. This is a clear violation of the 5th
      Amendment, and probably a violation of the 6th Amendment. It is also
      a clearly abominable violation of the democratic traditions of the
      United States.

      Padilla has been accused of plotting heinous acts of terrorism,
      particularly the setting off of a "dirty bomb". He has been accused
      of conspiring with members of al-Queda, and planning to scout for
      that terrorist organization, using the benefits of his U.S.
      citizenship. President Bush has designated Padilla an "enemy

      These are frightening accusations, and they may be true. Accusations
      do not give the President the authority to lock someone away,
      however. According to the laws and traditions of the U.S., the way
      to determine who gets imprisoned is through the due process of a
      trial by jury.

      Jose Padilla may be a traitor and a terrorist. But he was not
      captured in Afghanistan with a gun in his hand. He was arrested at
      Chicago O'Hare airport. If Jose Padilla can be held without criminal
      charges, strictly on the say-so of the President, then any American
      can be. That is tyranny. We must put an end to it.

      It is essential that Padilla be either freed or charged with a



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