05 December 2006


Via Digby, a New York Times article describing your tax dollars at work on alleged terrorist José Padilla.
Several guards in camouflage and riot gear approached cell No. 103. They unlocked a rectangular panel at the bottom of the door and Mr. Padilla’s bare feet slid through, eerily disembodied. As one guard held down a foot with his black boot, the others shackled Mr. Padilla’s legs. Next, his hands emerged through another hole to be manacled.

Wordlessly, the guards, pushing into the cell, chained Mr. Padilla’s cuffed hands to a metal belt. Briefly, his expressionless eyes met the camera before he lowered his head submissively in expectation of what came next: noise-blocking headphones over his ears and blacked-out goggles over his eyes. Then the guards, whose faces were hidden behind plastic visors, marched their masked, clanking prisoner down the hall ...

What, is this guy Hannibal Lecter? Actually, if you think about it, in Silence of the Lambs Lecter was treated better than this. They moved him in that rolling cage thing ... but they did let him see and hear what was happening to him.

And recall, Lecter is a fictional character, practically a supervillain like Lex Luthor.

So is this guy as dangerous as imaginary super-psycho Hannibal Lecter?

In his affidavit, Mr. Patel said, “I was told by members of the brig staff that Mr. Padilla’s temperament was so docile and inactive that his behavior was like that of ‘a piece of furniture.’ ”
Understand, this is consistent with how Padilla has been treated for a long time.
In the brig, Mr. Padilla was denied access to counsel for 21 months. Andrew Patel, one of his lawyers, said his isolation was not only severe but compounded by material and sensory deprivations. In an affidavit filed Friday, he alleged that Mr. Padilla was held alone in a 10-cell wing of the brig; that he had little human contact other than with his interrogators; that his cell was electronically monitored and his meals were passed to him through a slot in the door; that windows were blackened, and there was no clock or calendar; and that he slept on a steel platform after a foam mattress was taken from him, along with his copy of the Koran, “as part of an interrogation plan.”
Almost two years. Without a clock, a calendar, or sight of the sun. I cannot imagine how long it felt.
Now lawyers for Mr. Padilla, 36, suggest that he is unfit to stand trial. They argue that he has been so damaged by his interrogations and prolonged isolation that he suffers post-traumatic stress disorder and is unable to assist in his own defense. His interrogations, they say, included hooding, stress positions, assaults, threats of imminent execution and the administration of “truth serums.”
“It is my opinion that as the result of his experiences during his detention and interrogation, Mr. Padilla does not appreciate the nature and consequences of the proceedings against him, is unable to render assistance to counsel, and has impairments in reasoning as the result of a mental illness, i.e., post-traumatic stress disorder, complicated by the neuropsychiatric effects of prolonged isolation,” [psychologist] Dr. Hegarty said in an affidavit for the defense.
The key symptom that marks him as too mentally ill to stand trial?
Mr. Padilla’s lawyers say they have had a difficult time persuading him that they are on his side.
Under the circumstances, that strikes me as an entirely sane response.

And hold on a second—notice that this is about him going to trial. Because, you see, José Padilla was arrested four and half years ago, and in that time he has not stood trial for any crime, much less been convicted of one.

A week and a half after 9/11, President Bush explained terrorists to us.

They hate our freedoms
Perhaps this is all a ploy to end the hate.


Jonathan Korman said...

Glenn Greenwald comments on the failure of the media to pick up this story.

Kate said...

My god! This is so horrific....My stomach is roiling..........

Hecate said...

Padila is an American citizen. Held for years w/o charges in the circumstances you describe. Imagine what they do to those who don't have the "rights that Americans have."