Activism Discussion: Release Jose Padilla

Release Jose Padilla
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Al953
2005-05-22 21:13:17 EST
Release Jose Padilla

by Mike Whitney

05/22/05 "ICH" - - May 8 marked the third anniversary of the illegal
imprisonment of Jose Padilla. Padilla was apprehended at O' Hare Airport in
2002 by Federal officers under the shaky "material witness" provision and
trundled off to prison. In a conspicuous effort to poison public opinion,
Attorney General John Ashcroft announced on national TV that Padilla was
conspiring to set off a "dirty bomb" (radioactive device) within the United
Sates. To date, the government has never produced a scintilla of evidence to
corroborate their spurious claims. Simply put, Padilla is innocent of all
charges.

Jose Padilla represents the crowning achievement in the war on terror. As
the situation in Haiti and Afghanistan steadily deteriorates, and as
America's 8 divisions continue to bog-down in the Iraqi quagmire; the one
unassailable accomplishment of the current conflict is the death-blow it has
delivered to the Bill of Rights. American citizen, Padilla, now faces his
4th year of captivity without any formal charges filed against him and
without any reasonable expectation of defending himself in a court of law.

Happy anniversary, Jose.

The government defends its detention of Padilla by labeling him an "enemy
combatant"; a term that originated in a right-wing think-tank to dispatch
potential enemies of the state. It has no legal meaning, but its application
assumes that the president has the authority to conduct the war on terror
however he sees fit; using "all necessary and appropriate force against
those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized,
committed, or aided terrorist attacks".or, in order, to "prevent future acts
of international terrorism." (Congress; Joint Resolution Sept 18, 2001) The
Bush administration believes that this empowers the president to strip
citizens of their constitutional rights and detain them without charges. So
far, the courts have failed to stop this clear overreach of executive power.

When Padilla's case appeared before the US District Court, Judge Henry Floyd
disputed the administration's position saying, "If the law in its current
state is found by the president to be insufficient to protect this country
from terrorist plots, such as the one alleged here, then the president
should prevail upon Congress to remedy the problem." Indeed, it's not the
purview of the president to invent laws as he goes along, but to "preserve,
protect and defend the Constitution of the United States".

The moniker "enemy combatant" creates the greatest constitutional crisis the
nation has ever faced. It is a flagrant denial of the fundamental principle
of "inalienable rights" by giving the president the power to determine who
is entitled to the benefits of citizenship. In Justice John Paul Stevens
scathing dissent (to the Supreme Court's refusal to hear the Padilla case,
which they decided was filed in the wrong court) Stevens articulates the
gravity of Padilla vs. Rumsfeld. He said the Padilla case 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."

Stevens is not exaggerating; the threat posed by placing our freedom in the
hands of the president is incalculable. The Supreme Court's refusal to hear
Padilla's case demonstrates their tacit support for the unlimited power of
the president and their unwillingness to address the fundamental question of
whether Padilla is protected under the Constitution. Their abject
performance condemns Padilla to indefinite detention and proves their
inability to meet the minimum requirements of their profession.

A reasonable person might ask; what earthly purpose does the Supreme Court
serve if not to clarify even the most basic points concerning constitutional
protections and personal liberty? (The court stubbornly refused to even rule
on Padilla's habeas corpus petition, that is, whether he can be kept in jail
without being charged with a crime)

In his brilliant article "The Supreme Court and Enemy Combatants", Marc
Norton notes a critical opinion written by Judges Rehnquist, Kennedy and O'
Connor. (joined by Breyer) Norton says, "The key finding by this gang of
four is to uphold the concept of enemy combatants, for citizens and
non-citizens alike. 'There is no bar to this Nation's holding one of its own
citizens as an enemy combatant,' they boldly declare."

No bar to holding a citizen as an enemy combatant? What is the Bill of
Rights if it is not a bar to the arbitrary power of the state??? The court's
finding is a clear vindication of Bush's power-grab.

Readers should carefully consider these words and judge for themselves
whether or not they are consistent with any reasonable interpretation of the
Bill of Rights. If the Court majority is willing to overturn the inalienable
rights of its citizens and confer absolute power on the executive, the task
before us is truly mountainous.

When Justice O' Connor issued her fiery statement that, "A state of war is
not a blank check for the President"; it was slapped on the front page of
every newspaper across the nation. As it turns out, the high court has, in
fact, issued just such a blank check (although beyond public view)
challenging all of the due process rights of the citizen. By endorsing (in
principle) the enemy combatant label, they have removed the guarantees of a
speedy trial, the right to confront ones accusers, the right to produce
witnesses for one's defense, the right to an attorney, the right to
challenge the terms of one's incarceration, and the right to an impartial
jury of one's peers. All of these protections are inserted into the Bill of
Rights for one reason alone; to establish the procedures that make it
impossible for the government to do what Bush has done to Padilla. That's
it! That's the Bill of Rights in a nutshell; its provisions are expressed in
clear, unambiguous language so the state cannot rob citizens of their
freedom without just cause and hard evidence. "nor be deprived of life,
liberty or property without due process of law." (5th amendment) ".without
due process of law!"

Padilla is innocent; a blameless victim of government-demagoguery and public
hysteria. Even if the allegations were true, it wouldn't make a bit of
difference. The terms of his imprisonment have never been legally
justifiable which ensures that his case would be dismissed. His continued
incarceration (in a 5' by 7' windowless cell in Norfolk, VA.) is an affront
to a nation that claims to be committed to human rights, civil liberties and
the rule of law.

The Bush administration has no interest in Jose Padilla, a hapless
gang-banger caught up in the 9-11, anti-terror dragnet. It's the precedent
they're looking for; the go-ahead to toss citizens in jail at the whim of
the president and to dispose of enemies without recourse to the law.

The path to tyranny is paved with the language of tyranny. The intrusion of
"enemy combatant" into our jurisprudence will obliterate the ideals of
constitutional protections and inalienable rights. Jose Padilla is just a
minor player in this much grander scheme.

We value the law because it protects the very least among us by putting a
wall between ourselves and the long-arm of the government. Bush's actions
have removed that wall putting every one of us within the grasp of the
all-powerful state.

Release Jose Padilla!

Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He can be reached at:
f*y@msn.com

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is
distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in
receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.
Information Clearing House has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator
of this article nor is Information Clearing House endorsed or sponsored by
the originator.)



Wm James
2005-06-26 19:00:03 EST
On Sun, 22 May 2005 18:13:17 -0700, "al953" <al953@xyz.com> wrote:

>Release Jose Padilla
>
>by Mike Whitney
>
>05/22/05 "ICH" - - May 8 marked the third anniversary of the illegal
>imprisonment of Jose Padilla. Padilla was apprehended at O' Hare Airport in
>2002 by Federal officers under the shaky "material witness" provision and
>trundled off to prison. In a conspicuous effort to poison public opinion,
>Attorney General John Ashcroft announced on national TV that Padilla was
>conspiring to set off a "dirty bomb" (radioactive device) within the United
>Sates. To date, the government has never produced a scintilla of evidence to
>corroborate their spurious claims. Simply put, Padilla is innocent of all
>charges.

He's a two bit thug, an armed robber, and a murderer. If there were
any justice, he would have been properly executed for the murder he
commited at age 14 and never would have lived ling enough to plot to
murder more with terrorist acts.

But no, the liberal nut chacago officials released him to attack other
people again, and in 1991 he was caught shooting at people in traffic
in florida. Once again, the liberals there turned him loose again
after 10 months.

Padilla, being an idiot, left a trail of evidence between himself and
his terrorist buddies than a Ray Charles could have followed. He's a
thug and a killer, and should never be freed yet again to pose a
threat to decent people.

William R. James


Steven L. Robinson
2005-06-26 19:39:40 EST
Okay, if all that is so why don't they put him on trial? If he's guilty of
what you claim, then doubtless he will be convicted. If the government
doesn't have the evidence, it has no business keeping him in jail. We have
the Bill of Rights in this country, which means that the government can't
just toss you in jail because some glory hound of an attorney general wants
to get his name in the papers. Steve

"Wm James" <wrjames.remove@spamreaper.org> wrote in message
news:lncub1llu3vglg7b3n09qgkmjt78ltth7p@4ax.com...
> On Sun, 22 May 2005 18:13:17 -0700, "al953" <al953@xyz.com> wrote:
>

>> He's a two bit thug, an armed robber, and a murderer. If there were
> any justice, he would have been properly executed for the murder he
> commited at age 14 and never would have lived ling enough to plot to
> murder more with terrorist acts.
>
> But no, the liberal nut chacago officials released him to attack other
> people again, and in 1991 he was caught shooting at people in traffic
> in florida. Once again, the liberals there turned him loose again
> after 10 months.
>
> Padilla, being an idiot, left a trail of evidence between himself and
> his terrorist buddies than a Ray Charles could have followed. He's a
> thug and a killer, and should never be freed yet again to pose a
> threat to decent people.
>
> William R. James



>



Steven L. Robinson
2005-06-27 21:49:34 EST


>
> I agree, but because he was born in the USA. However, the minute he
> joined the terrorists he sacrificed his US citizenship rights, so the
> US constitution doesn't really protect him, although he should be
> tried for his treason to make it official. He should have read his
> passport.
>
> William R. James
>

Of course, how does one know he joined the terrorists? That in itself
requires a trial. One wonders if the attitude taken toward Mr. Padilla has
anything to with his ethnicity...... SR



Wm James
2005-06-27 22:41:04 EST
On Sun, 26 Jun 2005 19:39:40 -0400, "Steven L. Robinson"
<*1@comcast.net> wrote:
>
>"Wm James" <wrjames.remove@spamreaper.org> wrote in message
>news:lncub1llu3vglg7b3n09qgkmjt78ltth7p@4ax.com...
>> On Sun, 22 May 2005 18:13:17 -0700, "al953" <al953@xyz.com> wrote:
>>
>
>>> He's a two bit thug, an armed robber, and a murderer. If there were
>> any justice, he would have been properly executed for the murder he
>> commited at age 14 and never would have lived ling enough to plot to
>> murder more with terrorist acts.
>>
>> But no, the liberal nut chacago officials released him to attack other
>> people again, and in 1991 he was caught shooting at people in traffic
>> in florida. Once again, the liberals there turned him loose again
>> after 10 months.
>>
>> Padilla, being an idiot, left a trail of evidence between himself and
>> his terrorist buddies than a Ray Charles could have followed. He's a
>> thug and a killer, and should never be freed yet again to pose a
>> threat to decent people.
>>
>> William R. James
>
>Okay, if all that is so why don't they put him on trial? If he's guilty of
>what you claim, then doubtless he will be convicted. If the government
>doesn't have the evidence, it has no business keeping him in jail. We have
>the Bill of Rights in this country, which means that the government can't
>just toss you in jail because some glory hound of an attorney general wants
>to get his name in the papers. Steve
>

I agree, but because he was born in the USA. However, the minute he
joined the terrorists he sacrificed his US citizenship rights, so the
US constitution doesn't really protect him, although he should be
tried for his treason to make it official. He should have read his
passport.

William R. James


Wm James
2005-06-29 23:07:02 EST
On Mon, 27 Jun 2005 21:49:34 -0400, "Steven L. Robinson"
<*1@comcast.net> wrote:

>
>
>>
>> I agree, but because he was born in the USA. However, the minute he
>> joined the terrorists he sacrificed his US citizenship rights, so the
>> US constitution doesn't really protect him, although he should be
>> tried for his treason to make it official. He should have read his
>> passport.
>>
>> William R. James
>>
>
>Of course, how does one know he joined the terrorists? That in itself
>requires a trial.

Requires a trial for what? To determin it, or to convict him of it?
That's two diffeent issues. Had he been captured in combat against
the US in battle, then he'd neither need or be entitled to any trial,
he's simply be an enemy soldier like any others captured. But he
wasn't, even though he was captured after leaving an obvious trail. So
he should be tried, I agree. What has to be determined is whether
that trial should be during the war and whether it might make
sensitive information available to the enemies in the process. That's
legal reason enough to hold him and delay a trial until the end of the
war.

>One wonders if the attitude taken toward Mr. Padilla has
>anything to with his ethnicity...... SR

Some will try to make a racial issue of anything.

William R. James

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