Reactions to Jose Padilla Torment Article

Bloggers are weighing in on the torment of Jose Padilla.


I know that all the tough guys on the right will say that Padilla is just being a typical whining malcontent but I have a feeling that most of them would crumble into blubbering babies after five minutes in his position. This treatment is extremely inhumane. They basically blinded, deafened and then isolated him, essentially destroying his mind. There is no reason on earth to put those goggles and earphones on him to go to the dentist in the prison in South Carolina except to keep him from ever feeling like a normal human being, part of the natural world. It's sick.

Glenn Greenwald:

As I have said many times, the most astounding and disturbing fact over the last five years -- and there is a very stiff competition for that title -- is that we have collectively really just sat by while the U.S. Government arrests and detains people, including U.S. citizens, and then imprisons them for years without any charges of any kind. What does it say about our country that not only does our Government do that, but that we don't really seem to mind much?

Along those lines, it is hard to express the contempt merited by the drooling sociopaths who not only endorse this behavior but, with what can only be described as serious derangement, laugh about it and revel in its cruelty and its lawlessness.

Follow his links to the mainstream media columnists not disturbed by Padilla's treatment.

Lawyers, Guns and Money:

Disgrace is much too weak a word here.

Bitch, PHd.

Padilla, if anyone needs reminding, is an American citizen. He has not been convicted of anything. I truly wouldn't do that to a dog.

The Southern District of Florida blog has more quotes from the brief by Padilla's lawyers.

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    Glenn Greenwald also (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Edger on Mon Dec 04, 2006 at 12:50:23 PM EST
    wrote early in November one of the best articles I've seen recounting much of the history and conditions of Jose Padilla's detention and his treatment for LewRockwelldotCom. It is not pleasant by any means, but well worth a close and carefull read.

    His article concludes with:

    The case of Jose Padilla is one of the most despicable and outright un-American travesties the U.S. Government has perpetrated for a long time. It is impossible to defend that behavior, let alone engage in it, and claim with any legitimacy that one believes in the principles that have defined and guided this country since its founding. But there has been no retreat from this behavior. Quite the contrary. The atrocity known as the Military Commissions Act of 2006 is a huge leap forward to elevating the Padilla treatment from the lawless shadows into full-fledged, officially sanctioned and legally authorized policy of the U.S. Government. The case of Jose Padilla is no longer a sick aberration, but is instead a symbol of the kind of Government we have chosen to have.

    For Edgar (none / 0) (#29)
    by dutchfox on Tue Dec 05, 2006 at 08:07:04 AM EST
    Edgar, how was the video released? Was it from the FOIA? How did the NYT get it?

    I don't know, Dutch. (none / 0) (#30)
    by Edger on Tue Dec 05, 2006 at 08:19:43 AM EST
    I'll see if I can find out.

    Here it is, Dutchfox - hope this helps (none / 0) (#31)
    by Edger on Tue Dec 05, 2006 at 09:25:47 AM EST
    Jose Padilla Transport Video Capture Slides
    The NYT has reported on the conditions of Jose Padilla's confinement in Florida. I attach, below, pictures that have been filed in the federal district court to show the "outrageous conduct" of the government which the defense says precludes prosecution. These slides are a matter of public record and are available from the court. The slides are taken from a video capture that has not been publicly filed with the court in its entirety.

    Thanks Edger n/t (none / 0) (#37)
    by dutchfox on Tue Dec 05, 2006 at 10:34:07 AM EST
    Here's another posting (none / 0) (#32)
    by scribe on Tue Dec 05, 2006 at 09:52:15 AM EST
    What, do you think, (none / 0) (#33)
    by Edger on Tue Dec 05, 2006 at 10:03:51 AM EST
    does it do psychologically to thos soldiers in the photos, to treat a helpless and unthreatening man in that way.

    What does it do to the whole society? To all of us?


    What does it do? (none / 0) (#34)
    by Edger on Tue Dec 05, 2006 at 10:24:13 AM EST
    It is worth noting that throughout his captivity, none of the restrictive and inhumane conditions visited upon Mr. Padilla were brought on by his behavior or by any actions on his part. There were no incidents of Mr. Padilla violating any regulation of the Naval Brig or taking any aggressive action towards any of his captors. Mr. Padilla has always been peaceful and compliant with his captors. He was, and remains to the time of this filing, docile and resigned - a model detainee

    To find oneself in the situation of Mr. Padilla with no contact and no assurance of any aspect whatsoever of your future is something that isn't even known by the most closely confined inmates in a super-max prison where their guilt has already been adjudicated. Even those inmates have access to the judicial system. To defend even the basic character of Mr. Padilla's confinement absolutely requires that the defender assume that Mr. Padilla is guilty even if they are unwilling to acknowledge that belief. To allow the executive branch, on its own initiative, to operate on this basis is something that I, who routinely deal with those accused of crimes, can scarcely imagine exists outside of the pages of pages of 1984.

    Regardless of Mr. Padilla's genuine guilt or innocence of any act, the bare facts of his confinement make an absolute mockery of the death of every soldier, sailor, airman or police officer who has ever been killed in the performance of their duties. To retort that this raw power is necessary to "protect Americans" is to assume that there is nothing in being a citizen of this nation for any of us beyond the mere fact of being alive.

    why don't you read the court filings (none / 0) (#36)
    by scribe on Tue Dec 05, 2006 at 10:32:41 AM EST
    particularly the psych's affidavit (the pages are out of order, so you have to jump around) and then we can discuss how proud the soldiers and sailors in charge of this detention must be of their work.

    Oh, yeah.  I forgot.  The warden of this hell-hole, Catherine Hanft, was on the most recent promotion list to Captain.  The one which Lt. Commander Swift was excluded from....

    That wench sure must be proud of them eagles on her collar....


    I'm at work right now and (none / 0) (#38)
    by Edger on Tue Dec 05, 2006 at 10:35:47 AM EST
    I got nothing at all done here yesterday because this is so compelling and important in so many ways, to the whole world.

    I will read them tonight though, scribe. Thanks for posting the link.


    scribe (none / 0) (#39)
    by Edger on Tue Dec 05, 2006 at 07:28:54 PM EST
    I just read Hegarty's psychiatric affidavit and description of her meetings with Padilla, and read Grassian's overview of the effects of solitary confinement. I haven't yet read Padilla'a affidavit, and I think I'll wait awhile before I do. I'm strangely almost afraid to read it, and I wonder if that is some small whisper of some of the reasons some people can get into such deep denial about what has been done to Padilla - refusing to call it torture, inventing contorted reassoning(?) to justify it, etc, etc.

    Hegarty's affidavit alone is enough to turn my stomach. Short of killing Padilla, they have probably utterly destroyed him, or at the very least so damaged him that he can never again be a functioning human being in any normal interactions with other people.

    Reading it gives me such a sickening feeling of absolute disgust that I am at a loss for much further comment right now. After reading just that, I am not surprised that Padilla recoils when asked to read or watch accounts of his own interrogations, and that he still fully expects to die, I gather at the hands of his interrogators, in the brig.

    And I wasn't even there. I cannot imagine the effect on me of being a guard there and doing this to a man. Just the fact that I could not stop it makes me feel ashamed, and feel that in some ways it is my own responsibility. I am unsure why...

    I think any normal person, if they knew of a someone doing this to an animal, would be outraged and sickened, and probably call the police, even on their own family members...


    A good reason I'm glad I have no kids (5.00 / 4) (#4)
    by scribe on Mon Dec 04, 2006 at 01:26:52 PM EST
    I read what Digby and others wrote, and got chills atop the disgust.  

    Digby writes:

    I get the sense that a lot of this stuff was rank experimentation. We have known for years that Guantanamo became a guinea pig farm very early on in which they trained green interrogators in "new" techniques. This was probably part of a similar program.

    And then quotes from a 2004 Vanity Fair article:

    The only testimony I hear is from General Geoffrey Miller, the task-force commander. "We are developing information of enormous value to the nation," says Miller, a slight, pugnacious man said to be a strict disciplinarian. "We have an enormously thorough process that has very high resolution and clarity. We think we're fighting not only to save and protect our families, but your families also. I think of Gitmo as the counterterrorism-interrogation battle lab."

    Put two and two together, people.  It's a "battle lab" - nothing more, right?

    It seems that, the "information of enormous value to the nation" which General Miller and his subordinates were developing in Gitmo was not, as was implied (if not outright expressed), information on terrorism and terror plots.  The idea that they were interrogating these captives for information on terrorism and plots has been one underlying both the excuses the government has given for keeping these people captive so long, and as an argument from opponents for letting them go.  You know the argument:  "any information these folks would have had is so old and stale, there's no point in keeping them any longer."

    The point of Gitmo and keeping people in the Charleston brig, it seems, probably never was to extract from them information about terrorism and plots.  Actionable intelligence, it would appear, was derived rather rapidly in-theater, in places like Bagram, Poland, Rumania, odd apartments or houses in Pakistan, and elsewhere.  Remember, we are told the CIA developed great respect for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed because he was able to withstand water-boarding for a few minutes.  Not hours, days, weeks, months or years.  Minutes.  And then he sang.

    So, why go through all these repetitive interrogations, extended stays of months without seeing a human face (or anything other than gray walls) or hearing any sounds?

    It seems unmistakeably clear that the "information of enormous value to the nation" being "developed" was not intelligence.  Rather, and first, it was the creation of an institutional memory and structure for the extended, expanded use of torture tactics by the US government.  Remember how the FBI and reluctant-to-participate military were driven out of Gitmo, when they protested against using torture?  They didn't get that the Real Program (which they weren't getting with) was not getting information from these subjects.  Rather, it was sieving out those who would be in the new Torturer Corps from the mass of military, CIA and medical personnel.  An employment interview, if you will.

    Second, it was training of interrogators  - torturers - in the craft of their new trade.  

    Remember the HBO mini-series "Rome"?  At one point, Pullo and Octavian abduct for interrogation the true father of Vorenus' young son, conceived while he was campaigning in Gaul.  When he resists speaking, Octavian tells Pullo to "torture him" to get his answers, as "that's what you do in the Legions, right?"  Pullo's answer:  "I don't know how ... we have specialists for that."  (They settle on cutting off the cuckolder's thumbs, before he answers, they kill him and dump his corpse in the sewer.)

    These days, sensibilities and media attention will not allow prisoners to leave jails without thumbs - such would likely encourage them (and uncowed media) to speak out later.  Rather, psychologically breaking people - turning them into pieces of furniture - will be the way things go.  And, what better result than to have the prisoner think his own lawyers are, in fact, just another part of the government's interrogation process? To be sure, the victims of these tortures will not be likely to speak out - nor will their wounds be evident on quick inspection - after they leave.  And, just enough will leave so the false hope of release can be held out to the other captives, too....

    Gitmo is the place where those torture specialists are being trained and their methodologies worked out with scientific rigor.  Padilla, al-Masri, and so many more at Gitmo were, in reality, lab rats.  They were both the subjects of experimentation - answering the questions "what works to break a man, and how well?" - and training exercises for those interrogators.  And, while the Gitmo detainees were more for the purpose of working out the procedures, Padilla and al-Masri were and are the precedents for doing it here, on US soil.  But, it mattered not that it was Padilla, qua Padilla.  He was just a convenient, sufficiently-bad guy on whom a tag "Dirty Bomber" could be hung regardless of facts, let alone guilt.

    So, as bad as the atrocities were, there is little doubt in my mind they were also pointless in the intelligence-gathering sense.  There was no intelligence to be gathered, but I think Rummy and Haynes and Scooter and Deadeye and The Unit and all their henchmen knew that, when they ordered it to take place.  This was all about creating a duplicate system, based on torture and outside the law, to terrorize ordinary people into silence.

    Awwww, jesus christ, scribe.... (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Edger on Mon Dec 04, 2006 at 01:35:38 PM EST
    Gitmo is the place where those torture specialists are being trained and their methodologies worked out with scientific rigor.  Padilla, al-Masri, and so many more at Gitmo were, in reality, lab rats.  They were both the subjects of experimentation - answering the questions "what works to break a man, and how well?" - and training exercises for those interrogators.

    Thanks. I think... :-/

    You're reasoning is too good here. You're probably right.



    We're talking... (none / 0) (#6)
    by Edger on Mon Dec 04, 2006 at 01:52:02 PM EST
    ...shades of Josef Mengele here.

    why do you think (none / 0) (#7)
    by scribe on Mon Dec 04, 2006 at 01:59:12 PM EST
    I titled my post the way I did?

    I wish I was wrong, I really do.  But, I'm scared that I'm not.


    Yes... (none / 0) (#8)
    by Edger on Mon Dec 04, 2006 at 02:03:21 PM EST
    Me too. And me too. :-/

    And... (none / 0) (#9)
    by Edger on Mon Dec 04, 2006 at 02:03:50 PM EST
    ...I don't think you are.

    Philly Daily News agrees with my earlier comment, (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by scribe on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 11:33:31 AM EST
    sad to say.

    Today's Philly.com (the Phila. Daily News and Inquirer's shared site) has the following article: "Why did they torture Jose Padilla?"

    The lede:

    THERE'S A RANCID odor escaping from the cracks in the Jose Padilla case. Padilla is the American citizen arrested in Chicago and declared by President Bush to be an "enemy combatant." He was then kept for nearly two years in a South Carolina brig without access to a lawyer, family or friends.

    The how and the background:

    What needs to be pointed out is that the procedures that broke down Padilla's mental equilibrium weren't dreamed up by his jailers in South Carolina. According to Alfred McCoy in a new book called "A Question of Torture," they are the result of decades and billions of dollars of taxpayer-funded research.

    "From 1950 to 1962," McCoy writes, "the CIA became involved in torture through a massive mind-control effort, with psychological warfare and secret research into human consciousness that reached a cost of a billion dollars annually - a veritable Manhattan Project of the mind." This research amounted to "the first real revolution in the cruel science of pain in more than three centuries." This "black budget" research has never stopped and elements of it were rushed into practice after 9/11.

    No need for thumbscrews, racks, phone-crank generators to the genitals or Black & Decker drills. This was "no-touch torture," using extreme isolation and sensory deprivation to create confusion while establishing in the subject's mind the sense that any pain is self-inflicted, that he had chosen the course that led to the pain he was suffering. All it required was extended periods of time and the total elimination of all stimulation and human contact other than that of the jailer and the interrogator.

    Think about that:  "This 'black budget' research has never stopped and elements of it were rushed into practice after 9/11."

    But, as I've noted elsewhere, it seems they may well have picked on Padilla not because he was guilty of anything, but more because they had built the capability for no-touch torture and needed to use it - the bureaucratic imperative taking over:

    Padilla spent 21 months in a South Carolina brig especially re-designed after 9/11 to handle interrogation cases like his. A 10- cell wing was devoted solely to Padilla. The windows of his cell were blackened, and he wasn't allowed a clock or calendar.

    McCoy says the no-touch torture chamber "has the theatricality of a set with special lighting, sound effects, props, and backdrops, all designed with a perverse stagecraft to evoke an aura of fear... The psychological component of torture becomes a kind of total theater, a constructed unreality of lies and inversion, in a plot that ends inexorably with the victim's self-betrayal and destruction..."

    So, post-9/11, the government took a wing of a military prison, redesigned it and remodeled it (to the extent such was necessary) and had it ready for some schlub - then as yet unidentified - who'd be sent to the torture chamber.  Lab and training exercise for the Torture Corps, waiting for a suitable guinea pig, anyone?  

    Where did the money for this come from?  

    The orders?  

    The "authority"?  

    And who, pray tell us, were the "set designers" involved in creating all the stagecraft thumbnailed in this article?  

    Was this one of the instances where, as noted briefly in the days immediately post-9/11, the Admin said they'd be getting Hollywood to work with the Admin to help win the wah on terrah?  Sounds like someone spent too much time watching reruns of The Prisoner and The Avengers, and decidered it might be cool to put some of that into practice. They also spent far too little time on the quaint ideas of "obeying the law", "the Constitution" and similar documents and ideas.

    It's one thing to make a dramatic series about a war of attrition between the faceless forces behind a society and a strong-willed person struggling to assert his individuality, and surely another to put an unwilling person into such a situation.  And still another, to torture that unwilling participant to insanity.

    And, of course, all the while this was going on, the Admin was arguing in Court (1) Padilla was suing in the wrong district, (2) Padilla had no rights, (3) The 2001 AUMF allowed the unspecified treatment Padilla was getting, (4) habeas didn't apply, yadda, yadda.

    All the way to the Supreme Court, the government lied, chicaned, and deceived.  Something to be proud of, no?


    Where Is The Outrage (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by john horse on Mon Dec 04, 2006 at 04:01:54 PM EST
    One of the points made in response to criticism of the treatment of Guantanamo detainees by some of my friends on the Right was that they were not entitled to any basic civil and human rights because they weren't citizens.  Only foreign prisoners would receive torture and abusive treatment.  American citizens would still have rights.

    So now that we see our government abusing the rights of its own citizens, I'm baffled by the absence of posts by those on the Right on this issue.  Is there any limit to what you think our government can do to a someone so long as they label that person a "terrorist", a "suspected terrorist" or an "enemy combatant"?

    I think (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by Edger on Mon Dec 04, 2006 at 04:20:04 PM EST
    they can't admit that they are wrong to support Bush on this because, to mix metaphors, it would be the first pulled strand out of the fabric of their oh so tenuous reality that will cause their entire house of cards to collapse.

    It's a very very small step from decrying Padilla's treatment to having to admit he should not have been held for three and a half years to saying his arrest was political grandstanding to saying the 'enemy combatant' tag is a sham to saying the 'war on terror' is smoke and mirrors to saying we are the terrorists to realizing that 9/11 was retribution for corrupt foreign policies to admitting guilt by complicity.

    To taking responsibility.

    They can't do it. Without shattering their own psyches. Ironically, they are shattering anyway.


    So Much To Investigate . . . (none / 0) (#25)
    by john horse on Mon Dec 04, 2006 at 06:57:05 PM EST
    Our friends on the Right may be too morally challenged to do the right thing but one group that I hope will do something about this is the new Congress now that the Democratic Party is in in charge.      

    They will have their work cut out for them.  The GOP under Bush has messed up our country so badly and in so many ways that to borrow a line from Ani Difranco's song Tis Of Thee, we may "never live long enough to undo everything they've done..."

    Even though there is so many worthy things for Congress to investigate, they should make room for a investigation of the treatment of Jose Padilla and other "enemy combatants".  He deserves justice.


    He deserves justice. (none / 0) (#27)
    by Edger on Mon Dec 04, 2006 at 07:39:39 PM EST
    He certainly does. I hope if he ever gets it that there is still enough of him left in there to be aware of it... on second thought, if there isn't then he can't ever get justice, I suppose.

    "never live long enough to undo everything they've done..."

    It may take a generation or more... unfortunately. But we can sure piss them off and lock some up in the process.


    Point of fact (none / 0) (#22)
    by Joe Bob on Mon Dec 04, 2006 at 05:04:41 PM EST
    Actually, the Bill of Rights doesn't distinguish between citizens and non-citizens. Specifically, it refers simply to people and persons.

    IANAL, so subsequent case law may prove me wrong, but the clear implication is that anyone in the United States, citizen and non-citizen alike, is entitled to the protections of the Bill of Rights. So, try that one on your friends the next time they are feeling stingy with basic humans rights.


    I agree (none / 0) (#23)
    by Edger on Mon Dec 04, 2006 at 05:13:24 PM EST
    Many don't though. They just fall back on denial and stupidity like 'it's an American Constitution - so th Bill of Right only applies to American citizens'. Even some lawyers claim this - and courts as well with their interpretations.

    But a literal reading of it makes no distinction.


    I'm trying to remember (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Jen M on Mon Dec 04, 2006 at 05:47:55 PM EST
    some paper thingie...

    uhm... they made a big deal about it being signed on the 2nd of July .. being the government they had like a two day delay or something so now there's like a holiday or something. What was that paper thingie?  I think it said something about 'all men'


    Digby & Greenwald (none / 0) (#1)
    by Edger on Mon Dec 04, 2006 at 12:04:17 PM EST
    are right on the money. It would be difficult to express it any better than they have.

    My only addition to what they've said is what I said here:

    Bush, his administration, and all of his supporters, are cowards. And terrorists.

    And they've shown it clearer than ever with the treatment of Padilla.

    An American citizen. With all the rights and respect due him that is attendant to that citizenship.

    Being an American citizen now... (none / 0) (#2)
    by Bill Arnett on Mon Dec 04, 2006 at 12:19:04 PM EST
    means little to nothing. If this treatment is meted out to a CITIZEN it is no wonder we have become one of the world's cruelest country with fewer human rights than many third-world nations.

    As to Dr. Mengele (none / 0) (#10)
    by scribe on Mon Dec 04, 2006 at 02:15:01 PM EST
    one must remember that a large portion of the baseline research used by the US military into topics such as "resistance to cold conditions" and similar came directly from involuntary experiments conducted by Mengele and his colleagues in Nazi Germany on concentration camp inmates.  Experiments like (I overstate only slightly) "put the naked Jew in ice water and see how long it takes for him to die.  Replicate experiment 100 times or so to develop a statistical distribution."  The information was captured at the end of the war and put to use, though there were some moral qualms raised (and quickly overcome).

    Progress? (none / 0) (#11)
    by squeaky on Mon Dec 04, 2006 at 02:20:32 PM EST
    ....though there were some moral qualms raised (and quickly overcome).
    In the name of important scientific research, no doubt.

    moral qualms raised (and quickly overcome). .. (none / 0) (#12)
    by Edger on Mon Dec 04, 2006 at 02:22:13 PM EST
    ...have been hallmark specialties of Bush, his administrtaion, and of his supporters, for a long time.

    The Nazis, including Mengele, were mere rank amateurs it seems, compared to these people. They didn't have themselves to learn from.


    the events I referred to (none / 0) (#13)
    by scribe on Mon Dec 04, 2006 at 03:04:41 PM EST
    re Mengele and the research used took place in the 40s and 50s, when Georgie was likely still torturing small animals or such....

    I hope that... (none / 0) (#14)
    by Edger on Mon Dec 04, 2006 at 03:12:46 PM EST
    Nancy Pelosi, or her people, read Talkleft...

    She is another accessory if she will not impeach Bush.


    The Honorable(?) Nancy Pelosi (none / 0) (#35)
    by Edger on Tue Dec 05, 2006 at 10:32:36 AM EST
    Extended Contact Information

    DC Address:    The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
    United States House of Representatives
    235 Cannon House Office Building
    Washington, D.C. 20515-0508
    DC Phone:      202-225-4965
    DC Fax:         202-225-8259
    Email Address: sf.nancy@mail.house.gov
    WWW Homepage   


    A cliche becomes a cliche because it is true. (none / 0) (#15)
    by clio on Mon Dec 04, 2006 at 03:49:43 PM EST
    Permit me to recall Niemoeller's cliche:

    First they come for the communists
    And I didn't speak up because

    I wasn't a communist....

    He then names Jews, Catholics, and trade unionists before the final chilling:
    Then they came for me
    And by that time
    There was no one left to speak up.

    While there is some outrage (and more intellectual distress) over the illegal and unconstitutional detention and torture of an American citizen it seems curiously muted.

    What further outrage is needed for Americans to notice that they have already come for Padilla...

    Not really (none / 0) (#16)
    by Edger on Mon Dec 04, 2006 at 03:56:08 PM EST
    so muted here as they might appear from this thread, clio. Read through The Torment of Jose Padilla, and throught the links at the top of this thread.

    Ah, Edger, I know. (none / 0) (#18)
    by clio on Mon Dec 04, 2006 at 04:09:50 PM EST
    Here and on some other blogs Padilla is not forgotten and is an ongoing concern.

    But in the wider world, the mainstream media and society, no one really seems to care, or even know,  that without any outcry or oversight this administration has long since crossed the line of ignoring constitutional rights not just for them, but also for us.

    When they finally do notice who will be left to speak up?


    I will be. (none / 0) (#20)
    by Edger on Mon Dec 04, 2006 at 04:27:24 PM EST
    You will be. Many here will be. The more people we talk to the more there will be. I wish I had a better answer. It's frustrating.

    It sound trite but I guess if was easy it would be easy.

    e.g. Lessons for democratization


    Easy jobs (none / 0) (#21)
    by Edger on Mon Dec 04, 2006 at 04:29:21 PM EST
    don't pay very well.

    torture or punishment (none / 0) (#26)
    by orionATL on Mon Dec 04, 2006 at 07:38:54 PM EST
    following up on a comment i made earlier today here at talkleft:

    i wonder if padilla is not being punished, rather than tortured.

    a silly distinction?


    would the american government, (or the israeli or egyptian governments) torture a person for information for three years?

    at the least, a callous assessment of such extended activity would be that it was very inefficient. not to mention that whatever was  slowly extracted over this time period might be made useless in preventing further terrorist activity by its untimeliness - a major rationale for the torture in the first place.


    i wonder if padilla is being punished, rather than tortured.

    punished for what?

    punished for being muslim at a bad time to be muslim in the u.s.?

    punished for threatening his own country?

    punished for threatening to act on his beliefs?

    punished to protect bush presidency from public disapprobation.

    but punished nonetheless

    without his guilt having been established, or for that matter, his crime(s) having been isolated in the body of american law.

    punished not only by the extent of his detention in isolation but also by the severity of the isolation.

    i am assuming padilla has been both emotionally and sensually  deprived, that is, deprived of contact with other humans including his guards, deprived on any contact with his family or with religious leaders, deprived, for a lengthy time even of contact with a lawyer to represent him.

    but he also may have suffered deliberate sensory deprivation - prevented from hearing, or from seeing, or from speaking, prevented from sensing day and night, or seasons.

    experiments decades ago established the importance to infants of touching and talking.

    experiments in volunteers on even short term sensory deprivation have found the effect of not being able to see or hear or feel extremely disturbing to the experimental subjects.

    so an american citizen is detained by american authorities on publicly stated grounds of planning a horrendous crime

    but never charged, never defended, never tried.

    just desaparecido,

    leaving the american public with only the words "jose padilla" and "dirty bomb" to comprehend what might have been at issue.

    what court, what congress could possibly defer to this kind of presidential conduct given the political history of the united states and that of the european nations, especially britain, whose authoritarian treatment of its citizens and of american colonists set the compass for the kind of governing contract americans would create in 1785  and abide by until 2001.

    the substance of jose padilla's case to me is that an american citizen was detained and sensorily deprived for an extended period of time without  his crimes or his guilt or innocence ever having been determined by a jury of his peers.

    we can at least thank president bush, attorney general john ashcroft, presidential counsel alberto gonzales, and u.s. department of justice employee john yoo for demonstrating to us just how fragile the guarantees in the bill of rights of the american constitution are.

    to whit,

    if a president chooses to ignore or evade the constitution and if a congress tolerates such presidential behavior, then the protections  given individuals from their government in our  constitution are moot.

    Sensory deprivation (none / 0) (#28)
    by Edger on Mon Dec 04, 2006 at 08:44:58 PM EST
    Jose Padilla suffered extreme sensory deprivation for very long periods.

    Glenn Greenwalds article that I linked to here decribes in detail what was done to him. Here is some of what he Padilla was subjected to. Most people I think  would not do this do a dog or to any animal, much less to Jose Padilla, an American citizen:

    For nearly two years - from June 9, 2002 until March 2, 2004, when the Department of Defense permitted Mr. Padilla to have contact with his lawyers - Mr. Padilla was in complete isolation.
    No other cells in the unit were occupied. His cell was electronically monitored twenty-four hours a day, eliminating the need for a guard to patrol his unit. His only contact with another person was when a guard would deliver and retrieve trays of food and when the government desired to interrogate him.

    His isolation, furthermore, was aggravated by the efforts of his captors to maintain complete sensory deprivation. His tiny cell - nine feet by seven feet - had no view to the outside world. The door to his cell had a window, however, it was covered by a magnetic sticker, depriving Mr. Padilla of even a view into the hallway and adjacent common areas of his unit. He was not given a clock or a watch and for most of the time of his captivity, he was unaware whether it was day or night, or what time of year or day it was.

    In addition to his extreme isolation, Mr. Padilla was also viciously deprived of sleep. This sleep deprivation was achieved in a variety of ways.