Wednesday, August 22, 2007

more Padilla

"The jury did seem to be an oddly cohesive group. On the last day of trial before the Fourth of July holiday, jurors arranged to dress in outfits so that each row in the jury box was its own patriotic color -- red, white or blue."

" closing arguments prosecutors mentioned al-Qaeda more than 100 times, by one defense count, and urged jurors to in essence think of al-Qaeda and groups affiliated with it as an international murder conspiracy."

"After the verdict, they attributed the jury's findings to "scare tactics" by the prosecution -- specifically, the playing of a 1997 CNN interview with Osama bin Laden.

The prosecution introduced the video as a way of providing context to a wiretapped conversation in which Padilla's co-defendants appeared to discuss the al-Qaeda leader with approval."

- snip-

"Since none of the defendants is alleged to have spoken with bin Laden, defense lawyers complained that the interview was used only to arouse in jurors passions and memories associated with the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks."

"Following a bitter, complicated trial that lasted three full months, it took jurors less than a day and a half of deliberations -- they made sure to stay for their free lunch on the second day -- to declare to their government and to the world that the men were terrorist-wannabes. The defendants illegally walked and talked like terrorists back in the 1990s, the jury decided today, and even though that was long before any of the rest of us had heard of Osama bin Laden or al-Qaeda, and even though there was a paucity of good evidence, it was enough.

For this jury, the simplest explanation was that these guys were up to no good. They were acting suspiciously (or at least not innocently). They were talking like spies (or at least not like relief workers). Teenagers are expected talk and text in code so that their parents don't know what they are up to. Makeshift humanitarians are not.

None of this in my view necessarily justifies today's verdicts -- but it certainly in my mind helps explain them."

Interrogators Destroyed the Mind of Jose Padilla

"...the protective features of law had been seriously eroded prior to the Bush regime’s assault on civil liberty in the name of “the war on terror.” The US Constitution and the Bill of Rights rest on Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England. Blackstone explained law as the protective principles against tyranny--habeas corpus, due process, attorney-client privilege, no crime without intent, no retroactive law, no self-incrimination.

Jeremy Bentham claimed that these protective principles were outmoded in a democracy in which the people controlled the government and no longer had reasons to fear it. The problem with Blackstone’s “Rights of Englishmen,” Bentham said, is that these civil liberties needlessly limit the government’s power and, thus, its ability to protect citizens from crime. Bentham wanted to preempt criminal acts by arresting those likely to commit crimes in advance, before the budding criminals entered into a life of crime. Bentham, like the Bush regime, the “Padilla Jury,” and the Republican Federalist Society, did not understand that when law becomes a weapon, liberty dies regardless of the form of government. If they do understand, they prefer unaccountable government power to individual liberty.

The incompetent “Padilla Jury” has done Americans and their liberty far more damage than will ever be done by terrorists, other than those in our criminal justice (sic) system who now wield the powers that Bentham wanted to give them.

The Padilla case was the way the Bush Justice (sic) Department implemented its strategy for taking away the legal principles that protect American citizens. Padilla is an American citizen. He was denied habeas corpus and his rights to an attorney and due process. He was tortured in an attempt to coerce him into self-incrimination. In treating Padilla in these ways, the US Department of Justice (sic) violated both the US Constitution and federal law. There is no doubt whatsoever that the Justice (sic) Department committed far more crimes than did Padilla.

By the time the Supreme Court finally intervened, Padilla was universally known as the demonized “dirty bomber,” an ”enemy combatant” who was arrested before he could set off a radioactive bomb in a US city. The Injustice Department could now simultaneously convict Padilla and enshrine Benthamite law simply by appealing to fear and patriotism. And that is what happened.

Under Benthamite law, the individual has no rights. The new calculus is “the greatest good for the greatest number” as determined by the wielders of power. On the basis of this new law, not written by Congress but invented by the Injustice Department and made precedent by the “Padilla Jury” verdict, the US can lock up people based on the percentage of crime committed by their race, gender, income class, or ethnic group.

Under Benthamite law, people can be arrested and prosecuted for thought crimes. Under Benthamite law, it is the government that protects the people, not the Constitution and Bill of Rights that protect the individual. Benthamite law makes “advocacy speech,” for example, a call for the overthrow of the US government, upheld in the 1969 Supreme Court decision, Brandenburg v. Ohio, a serious federal crime.

The “Padilla Jury” has opened Pandora’s Box. Unless the conviction is overturned on appeal, American liberty died in the “Padilla Jury’s” verdict."

War on terror my arse... war on freedom and liberty for sure!

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