A tainted victory for Bush

The guilty verdict against Jose Padilla showed the Bush administration could win a high-profile terrorism conviction despite questions over whether it acted legally in detaining the U.S. citizen for 3-1/2 years without charges.

But critics and law experts called Thursday’s verdict a messy win for the government, in which it was able to avoid answering for its long detention and interrogation of Padilla without the legal rights normally granted U.S. citizens, and, his lawyers said, for torturing him.

Some said it showed that the administration still lacks a workable system for trying terrorism suspects nearly six years after the September 11 attacks.

“The verdict is important because it provides cover. It validates the government’s tactics in a way that the jury may not have necessarily meant to,” said American University law professor Stephen Vladeck.

“Padilla has had his day in court, but only with respect to the charges, and not to his treatment and not the lawfulness of his detention for 3-1/2 years in a Navy brig,” Vladeck said.

Amnesty International said “President Bush should not take (the verdict) as permission to continue to hold Americans outside the law at his whim.”

The administration claimed victory in the verdict, in which a federal jury in Miami convicted Padilla and two co-defendants on charges of offering their services to terrorists.

Padilla, a U.S. convert to Islam, was arrested in 2002 and initially accused of plotting a radiological “dirty bomb” attack. President George W. Bush ordered him held in a military prison as an illegal “enemy combatant.”

“A DIRTY VICTORY”

But faced with legal challenges to Bush’ authority to jail a person without charge, prosecutors added Padilla to an existing terrorism support case in Miami and never charged him with any bomb plot.

“It’s kind of a dirty victory because of the way the case came about, but still it’s a victory nonetheless,” said Jeffrey Addicott, director of the Center for Terrorism Law at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas.

“I think it was the right verdict,” he said.

He said the administration is still trying to come up with an efficient system for trying terrorism suspects, after trying to rely on international “laws of war” to hold Padilla.

The Padilla case showed that U.S. terrorism suspects and foreigners such as those held at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba can be tried in civilian courts, said Michael Greenberger, law professor and director of the Center for Health and Homeland security at the University of Maryland.

“A lot of resources were wasted … by the attempt to expand executive power,” he said.

Furthermore, U.S. prestige abroad was eroded by the administration’s handling of the case, which was seen as an effort to circumvent constitutional protections, he said.

Bush has tried to implement a system of military commissions to try the Guantanamo suspects, but he has lost court challenges.

Acting Deputy U.S. Attorney General Craig Morford acknowledged after the verdict that civilian courts can handle some terrorism cases. But other cases involving national security, classified information or other complications may not be suited for civilian courts, he said.

White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said: “Each case has to be looked on an individual basis … some might be an American citizen, but many are not, as are most held in Guantanamo Bay. And I think that’s an important distinction.”

Comments

  1. Klaus Hergeschimmer

    Abdul listed the same laundry list on the Tony Snow
    feature on CHB with a heading like…

    More Americans this…

    More Americans that…

    More Americans the other…

    Abdul talks a lot but dosen’t say anything.

    Abdul, I want you answer one question and reply only to this question without your endless smoke screens.

    Before Gulf War One, Dick Cheney said he did not support going into Baghdad to get Saddam because occupying a country with the disparate shites, Kurds, and Sunnis would end up with the U.S. being in the middle of a civil war.

    with the occupation of Iraq today Cheney has totally backtracked on his own rationale.

    THE QUESTION FOR ABDUL: How do you reconcile Cheneys rationale then, and his rationale now against his own logic to march into baghdad and occupy Iraq.

    Abdul, quit hiding behind your little laundry list of:

    More Americans this…

    More Americans that…

    More Americans the other…

    Just Answer the question Abdul, and only this question.

    That is if you will condescend to lower yourself to our levels…being the scholar you -you truly are.

  2. Klaus Hergeschimmer

    I used to be much more ‘left’, but as the years passed by I have various political leanings depending what the issue is. I became an Indpendent because I don’t tow the Jack-Ass party agendas, line, sinker & hook.

    There are Dems I think are doing a great job such as
    Henry Waxman, Dennis Kucinich, and Dems I despise like
    Diane Feinstein that is my Senator in California and she went along with Bush giving him wiretap without FISA oversight along with many other Dems.

    I have Democratic friends who will not agree with me that the Democratic party betrayed us on FISA and matters such as this, they keep clinging to the idea that, ‘next time will stand up to the Neo-Cons”. I also get angry at some of my Democratic friends that always blame Ralph Nader for Democratic party misfortunes.

    When it comes to freedom of the press and censorship I could be considered extremely ‘Lefty’, but These freedoms transcend political parties, they are not
    ‘lefty’.

    There was a great radio program on NPR that hosted
    Bruce Fein, chairman of the American Freedom Agenda, and former congressman, Bob Barr of Georgia.
    The American Freedom agenda, was formed by a leading group of conservatives that are challenging the Bush Adminstrations policies of usurping legislative and judical authority. They the discussed the first concerted effort by a faction of conservatives to openly and publicly repuditate and challenge the Bush Administration, and uphold the governments responsibility to uphold the Constitution and rule of law.

    The radio show: The American Freedom Agenda, The Nation’s Best Soft Diplomacy, can be heard on real player recording at link below:

    http://www.commonwealthclub.org/archive/index.php?

    Bob Barr was one of the leading congressmen who initiated impeachment proceedings against
    Bill Clinton, and at the time I was very angry at him for that. Bob Barr is advocating impeachment hearings of George W. Bush. Bill Clinton did things I did not like such as passing the telecommunications bill that made it easier for corparate media mergers which enabled the likes of Rupert Murdoch.

    I now realize, that Bob Barr, like Henry Waxman, is not on any politcal agenda, he is a strait shooter and I admire Bob Barr immensely for the same reason I admire Waxman and his uncompromising stand upholding
    Presidential adminstraions to the law, whether it be Donkey or Elephant.

  3. surgethis

    Tyranny and Propaganda … Padilla is being used as an example that the Bush administration is catching terrorists. But it’s a huge lie and cover for their real agenda to keep their war alive and to continue their assault on our constitution.

    They can’t get a conviction unless they detain and torture these guys for several years and cook the evidence. They go around charging these people with the biggest crimes so they get press on it and it looks like they are fighting terror. Later they have to reduce the charges because there was no evidence. So they torture and destroy these human beings until they get a confession.

    The real terrorists are operating out of the White House. They are the ones who hate our freedoms. That’s why they have been systematically destroying our rights from day one. Once they carried out the catalyzing event of bringing down the towers it was game on against the American people.

    Their agenda was set in motion and the myth about terrorism pounded through the echo chamber of main stream media until it became fact. Here’s a fact – there is zero direct evidence that Bin Laden had anything to do with 911. Fact – Saddam did not have WMDs as they claimed a over and over and over. They are liars.

    While terroristic acts may be something to fear it’s nothing compared to the threat this White House and the global elite are capable of. Beware the National ID card and the Globalist agenda for one world government and one world currency.

    They brought down the WTC to begin the push for this at the start of the new century. It’s all planned and carried out by them to bring about control over the resources and over our movements and freedoms.

    What this regime has done in the world are crimes against humanity. Crimes against us all.

  4. Steve Horn

    Abdul wrote:

    “I never see a Christian-hating liberal at Habitat for Humanity. Nor do I see them handing out food and clothing at the Salvation Army” –

    Well, I’m not a “Christian-hating liberal”, in fact I find American liberals to be one of the most dangerous, in consistent groups out there. Politically I would probably qualify as being a leftists, if a label is required, and it’s one that I’d wear with great pride. I’ve worked side by side with other members of Habitat for Humanity and I pledge time on a regular basis at a Christian facility that helps men, women and families who, for various reasons, have fallen on hard times. I don’t do this because I profess belief in a particular bit of fantasy (you may call it theology if you’re so inclined), but because I’m a human being and feel for other human beings who are suffering. Belief systems have nothing to do with an individuals view of humanity and giving, unless, of course, they narrow that view so that they can wear a particular label. From an historic perspective, relegions have been the fundamental reasons behind the majority of the wars that have been fought. Heck, during the cold war were not the Judeo-Christian nations of the world trying to thwart the spread of the evil athiestic communists?

    To get back on topic, the Padilla affair, in fact the entire behavioral pattern assumed by the Bush administration and many “Americans” in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, of all political persuasions, is a terrible chapter in American history. Our personal rights have been stripped from us, we’ve been fed a steady diet of fear and doom by our “leaders” and the truth has been obscured at best, totally absent at worst.

    You say that more Americans are working – you may be correct if you look at pure numbers – but losing a $30.00 / hour factory job with health insurance and replacing it with two $8.00/hour jobs at Walmart with no insurance really isn’t taking a step up.

    My mother had a favorite saying regarding statistics – “Figures don’t lie, but liars figure” – in the absence of raw data I view most, if not all, govnerment numbers as suspect (at best).

    Peace

    Steve

  5. Jerry

    “All I have seen from the Left is name-calling and defensiveness. I have yet to see one of you step up to the plate and explain why your way is actually better.”

    First, there is the nonsense of “the Left” to deal with. There is no Left unless one is on the Far Right. A member of the Democratic Party is still way to the Right of any French or Italian ML politician, so America generally can rest easy. Worrying about “the Left” is a complete red herring (excuse the pun). (But perhaps we should worry about those who worry.)

    Let’s take the main thrust of the complaint. How is it that an Irishman gets to criticize America? How dare I?

    I get to jump up and down and tell you all how rotten some parts of the present American legal system is. But, criminal that I am, when I finally get arrested, I sure hope I get arrested in the United States. Because the alternative fun places — China, Serbia, Zimbabwe, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Chile, Colombia, Syria — are places where I really don’t want to be imprisoned for a decade or two. Not even an hour or two, please. Gimme the good ol’ US of A any day.

    So what am I shouting about?

    Consider me the swim coach. OK. Imagine it’s Olympics time and there’s a great race planned between the United States team and the Irish, me. I don’t think I can beat the American swimmers. Put them and me in a pool together, and I think the 19 year-old American will win. By a length or two. My beer gut provides considerable drag.

    Does that mean his coach is automatically happy with the American swimmer? No. He’s jumping up and down and shouting at the U.S. swimmer, not because he beat me — who cares if he beat me? — but because the swimmer didn’t do the best he possibly could. He’s not there to beat me. He’s there to beat the world record. And his coach will shout at him until he does.

    Me, too. I reckon the American system of justice is pretty good. Better than Zimbabwe’s. We’re in agreement so far. But is it as good as it can be? No. I’m gonna continue shouting at it until we live up to the standards we set ourselves, which may be higher than anyone else’s standards already, but perhaps not as good as we can be.

  6. Helen Rainier

    SEAL,

    JMHO — but I do not believe that your ability to focus clearly is compromised at all.

    Your thoughts, as expressed, sound pretty damned clear and cogent to me.

    One vet to another!

  7. SEAL

    Abdul of the KY, you make the most ridiculous assumptions. Everyone who doesn’t agree with you is a leftist. For your information, I am retired military (32 years). Do you think I could be “left?” But you must label everyone. That way you can divide us. That way we must be with you or against you. No in-between. Divisive politics. Right out of the administration’s playbook the past 7 years.

    I’m not left and I’m not right, whatever those are. I’m me. An American. I believe I qualify as a patriot and that isn’t a label. That’s an honor one must earn and I’m damn proud of it. Pray tell us what act of patriotism you have demonstrated and don’t you dare say standing up for the abolition of a woman’s right to choose abortion. And you may not argue that it is saving lives because that fact has not been settled and is, therefore, argumentaive in medicine and law. Opposing the right of free choice based upon a personal conviction is not being patriotic. That is advocating a personal belief. Which, btw, is your right that I support. Supporting the rights of both sides to have free individual choice is patriotic. Trying to deny that right to either side is unpatriotic.

    Patriotism is at the root of all of the issues before us today. Patriots are what is needed at the polls to elect patriots to our government. What we don’t need are party loyalists (as you claim to be) which is what we presently have in our government. Especially when their loyalty is to a leader that has proven himself unpatriotic by the elimination of our civil rights, as is so clearly demonstrated in the Padilla case, by his elimination of the right of habeas corpus, by his admitted illegal wiretapping of citizens, by his proven lying to the country and the world to illicit permission from a stupid congress to violate international law and illegally invade a soverign nation that had never even threatened our country, and the list goes on. We must ask ourselves, “what is the motivation for a person’s actions?” The answer must be patriotism rather than the current self promotion and enrichment that is so obvious in all of our elected officials and their supporters. Certainly, the answer must not be the party loyalty you clearly advocate.

    I can only remember maybe a half dozen times I have seen anyone at CHB declare themselves as left. Not seriously, anyway. But I have seen posters who declare they are or were on the right favor a woman’s right to abortion. Self professed republicans who declare that they think Bush is an evil and dangerous president. Almost all of those posting here are neither left or right. Just Americans. Not everyone is going to fit neatly into your little label cubbyholes. No one should.

    As a Right wing party loyalist you blame all of the country’s ills on the left. You blame all of our social ills on abortion. You parrot the right wing neocon facist (there’s three labels for you since you like them so much) talking points in rapid fire order as if you have them posted on the wall in front of you. Talking points that have never been anything but unsubstanciated allegations. You have yet to offer anything to support one of your outlandish claims. Like the leaders of England, Germany, and France are pro Bush. How would you know that? Have you had private conversations with these people? By what actions have they demonstrated such an attitude? You claim it, now prove it. But you won’t because you can’t

    We should be pleased with ourselves. Your arrival announces that we are having an impact. Our reader base and rant list must have grown sufficiently to pose a threat for them to send in one of their quick typing shills to hammer the talking points, distract us from the important issues by constantly throwin up the emotional ones they want everyone to focus on, and instigate disruption of the group.

    Unfortunately all I am going to be able to do is ignore you due to the treatments for my health problem (incurable cancer) taking up too much time and affecting my ability to focus clearly. So, I leave you to the others to deal with as they will. I just wanted to make sure no one was fooled by you.

  8. bryan mcclellan

    Abdul, Fox news,Manchurian candidate,or whoever you are, you have just convinced me that you might be HIGH enough to hunt DUCKS with a garden rake…Your arguments are circular,left,left,left,left,left.Try thinking forward for a change.And by the way,nobody said they didn’t like you.

  9. Klaus Hergeschimmer

    Yeah, Abdul was definitely attempting to bait everyone into losing their cool.

    It didn’t work

  10. bryan mcclellan

    I’m going to give everyone here a round of resounding applause,even whats his name, ah ,K abdul Y. Restraint has been demonstrated by all here with dignity in mind,I do not suffer fools,I forgive them…….To a point..