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Of course we're Fair and Balanced!


José Padilla

Via blogdex, I found a very good article in Wednesday's Slate titled "Proof, Negative:
The Justice Department's triumphant victory over the Constitution"
by Dahlia Lithwick. Late in May the Department of Justice released seven pages of allegations — complete with cover page over Paul Wolfowitz's signature — against Mr Padilla, who is a US citizen, as justification for the Department of Defense holding him in solitary confinement as an "enemy combatant" for two years. He has not yet been charged with any crime and, until recently, has not been permitted to talk to a lawyer, let alone have legal representation. The seven pages of allegations mostly comprise his admissions, which may or may not have been culled with the use of such tools as torture.

The question is: Does this constitute a case against Padilla? Isn't it wacky that all this evidence... was itself obtained through secrecy, abuse, and intimidation?... [E]vidence procured in dank rooms, by threat of interminable isolation and coercive interrogation and without the protections of the Constitution or the Geneva Conventions, is generally hard to credit. That's why we have a Constitution.

In his comments accompanying the release of the Padilla document, Deputy Assistant Attorney General James Comey offered the following weird little tribute to the joys of suspending the Constitution at will: Had the government charged Padilla criminally, he said, "He would very likely have followed his lawyer's advice and said nothing, which would have been his constitutional right.... He would likely have ended up a free man." Comey's point seems to be that constitutional protections produce bad evidence, in which case we should probably get rid of the Constitution in every criminal case. What he was really saying was that if you permit them to perform unconstitutional interrogations, the administration can get the accused to say exactly what we all [or 'they' –ed] wanted to hear.

... Certainly his confessions might still be reliable... Or they might not. Without a trial we can never know, and as Phil Carter recently observed, there can now be no trial on the strength of this evidence since it was obtained unconstitutionally. [He also observed that such behavior drastically undermines the so-called War on Terrorism –ed.]

Wake up, America! Our elected government is betraying the nation's Founding Fathers and bringing their worst fears to life!

I know, I know: some will dispute my use of the term 'elected' in that last paragraph. Whether or not it's true, it's also irrelevant to the point of this entry. Bush's election is a fait accompli and it is he who must be defeated come November.

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