Sunday, August 19, 2007

The shameful Padilla episode

Here's a link to the Register's editorial on the jury verdict in the Jose Padilla case. I'm not prepared to second-guess the jury, but everhtying about the was the government handled this case up to now has been little short of outrtageous. The notion that the president on his single say-so can declare a U.S. citizen an "enemy combatant," which strips him of all rights, is a lot more like desp0otism than a free society.

It seems likely that the government put Padilla in a Navy brig and isolated him conmpletely to try to question him more effectively. But we mere citizens have no idea whether it worked or not, because a government absurdlyobsessed with secrecy won't tell us. Put me d0wn as a skeptic. When it had no choice but to bring some charges, it brought charges completely unrelated to the "dirty bomber" stuff Ashcroft went on about, aor apparently anything it questioned him about while holding him incommunicado. Inference? Torture didn't make him tell the truth or anything useful.

Dahlis Lithwick had a pretty good post at Slate last week on topics related to the Padilla case and government surveillance.

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