Robert Scheer: Becoming What We Despise
Dec 5, 2006
By Robert Scheer
Jose Padilla, a U.S. citizen, has been tortured by his own government for the better part of three-and-one-half years, suffering years of systematic sensory deprivation documented in his attorneys’ filings and supported by photos of the prisoner published this week by the New York Times.
In that time, Padilla, who has been judged by professionals as mentally ill as a consequence of his brutal treatment, has been denied his Constitutional right to a fair and speedy trial and was permitted no legal representation for 21 months. The Bush administration’s excuse for this betrayal of our legal system was that Padilla was a dangerous al Qaeda agent, a big fish caught in the administration’s successful pursuit of its much ballyhooed war on terror. In the words of then-U.S. Attorney Gen. John Ashcroft, Padilla was “a known terrorist who was exploring a plan to build and explode a radiological dispersion device, or ‘dirty bomb,’ in the United States.” Those lurid claims were abandoned when the government, faced with a belated U.S. Supreme Court censure, finally charged Padilla with vague and lesser crimes carrying a maximum 15-year sentence.
Were this some isolated case of officially condoned sadism, say in a rural county jail, it could be minimized as an aberration. Instead, it is an all-too-accurate reflection of a presidential policy of dehumanizing anyone even suspected of being an enemy.
New York Times
This still photo from a video obtained by The New York Times shows Jose Padilla’s forced isolation and sensory deprivation, including the use of blinders and sound dampeners as he is moved from his cell.
READ MORE HERE