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Is Padilla’s Verdict Really “Fair and Just”?

LatinaLista — Today’s guilty verdict for Jose Padilla was hailed by the White House as a “just verdict.”
Gordon Johndroe, a spokesman for the National Security Council at the White House said that Jose had received a fair trial — but there’s something bothersome about convicting a guy that for the past three years has basically been tortured into delivering the kind of answers people want to hear.

Jose Padilla, by all accounts, is not an innocent guy.
Jose Padilla
After all, when he was a teenage member of a Latino street gang, he was responsible for killing a guy after kicking him in the head. As he got older, his rap sheet grew until he converted to Islam.
Like a lot of criminals in jail who have lived lives full of violence and anger, religion soothed his spirit enough to make him embrace it fully and proclaim the intention of leaving his bad ways behind.
Unfortunately for him, he chose a religion and friends that were synonymous in the minds of government officials with terrorism.
It didn’t matter that the original charge of creating and the intention to detonate a dirty bomb wasn’t even something that was brought up in his federal trial, or that the FBI testified that out of 300,000 wire-tapped conversations recorded by them, Padilla only is heard on 7 of them.
Accusations that those 300,000 conversations included code being spoken by the participants, supposedly to orchestrate a terrorist activity, is further debunked by the FBI who testified that Padilla is not heard speaking code in any of his recorded conversations.
What condemned this U.S.-born Latino was that he was labeled a terrorist — an enemy combatant. If that wasn’t enough, the treatment that he received “under interrogation,” as outlined in a Christian Science Monitor article, was enough to make anyone say anything his captors wanted him to say.
Even military officials who had heard of Padilla’s psychological torture during this period commented on it:

“I’m not a psychologist, but if he is not profoundly psychologically disturbed from that experience then he is a stronger man than me,” says Steven Kleinman, a retired US Air Force Reserve colonel and former interrogator.

I think we’ve seen from Padilla’s history that he is far from being a strong man.

Jose Padilla, center, is escorted by federal marshals during his arrival in Miami, in this Jan. 5, 2006 file photo.
(Source: AP)
But does that make him guilty?

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  • yave begnet
    August 17, 2007 at 8:41 am

    IOZ makes a good case that we effectively already live in a police state. Padilla’s case supports this position. Padilla’s principle error seems to have been to be a Muslim Latino who fell into the government machine’s crosshairs.

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