The Lady Speaks

If They Can Do This To One American…

Jose Padilla is incompetent to stand trial, according to doctors testifying on his behalf, because of his years in isolation and his treatment at the hands of authorities.

From the AP, via The Chicago Tribune:

Accused Al Qaeda operative Jose Padilla suffers from intense stress and anxiety stemming from his isolated years in military custody and cannot adequately help his lawyers prepare for trial, two defense mental experts testified Thursday.

[snip]

“He is immobilized by his anxiety,” said Patricia Zapf, a forensic psychologist from New York who did tests in October. “He believes he will go back to the brig and he will die there.”

[snip]

Dr. Angela Hegarty, a New York forensic psychiatrist, said she concluded that Padilla is mentally incompetent for trial because he has post-traumatic stress disorder. Zapf reached the same diagnosis.

The symptoms are most acute when Padilla is asked to talk about his 31/2 years in the brig, including interrogation techniques, or to review evidence in his criminal case, including transcripts from telephone surveillance, Hegarty said.

“He doesn’t want to because it hurts so much, and because it hurts so much he shuts down,” Hegarty said.

What is important to note about this trial is that Padilla is an American citizen. Americans are supposed to enjoy specific rights when charged with a crime.

The Fifth Amendment states:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

The Sixth Amendment reads:

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

The Eighth Amendment says:

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

And the Ninth Amendment states:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

At least, those used to be our rights, before El Pollo Loco became King and changed the rules with his signing statements and use of the phrase “enemy combatants” which means “anyone we don’t like.”

The problem with life in America these days is that it seems like a movie, and we’re all waiting for the good guy to come along and tell the Administration and its torturers and liars and syncophants and toadies and bed-wetting enablers that they are violating the Constitution.

The very same Constitution that President BrainDamage, Vice-President DeathStar, Attorney General Abu, and all the rest of the mindless minions, have gutted with a few strokes of a pen.

What we needed in the beginning of this national nightmare was a Denzel Washington character, someone willing to stand up and tell Bush and the rest that committing torture or allowing it, starting a war based on lies, fear-mongering, preventing those accused of terrorist acts from knowing the charges against them, being able to confront their accusers, having access to counsel, etc, is wrong.

Morally, spiritually, ethically wrong. It is deeply, deeply wrong on every possible level.

When the President and his minions and the right-wing justify the use of torture – even as they tell the world that America doesn’t use torture – then we have become just like the enemy we fear.

And so, in a moment of movie prophecy, Denzel’s character in The Seige was proven right. They’ve already won.

Anthony ‘Hub’ Hubbard: Are you people insane? What are you talkin’ about?
General William Devereaux: The time has come for one man to suffer in order to save hundreds of lives.
Anthony ‘Hub’ Hubbard: One Man? What about two, huh? What about six? How about public executions?
General William Devereaux: Feel free to leave whenever you like, Agent Hubbard.
Anthony ‘Hub’ Hubbard: Come on General, you’ve lost men, I’ve lost men, but you – you, you *can’t* do this! What, what if they don’t even want the sheik, have you considered that? What if what they really want is for us to herd our children into stadiums like we’re doing? And put soldiers on the street and have Americans looking over their shoulders? Bend the law, shred the Constitution just a little bit? Because if we torture him, General, we do that and everything we have fought, and bled, and died for is over. And they’ve won. They’ve already won!

What we need now is someone willing to stand up to the President and the Veep, and everyone else who condoned the use of torture, and say, “No more!” In fact, here’s a little more dialogue from The Seige for use as a template:

Anthony ‘Hub’ Hubbard: William Devereaux, you are under arrest for the torture and murder of Tariq Husseini, an American citizen.
General William Devereaux: Is this some kind of a joke?
Anthony ‘Hub’ Hubbard: You see me laughing, general?

[…]

Anthony ‘Hub’ Hubbard: [to General Devereaux] You have the right to remain silent. You have the right to a fair trial. You have the right not to be tortured, not to be murdered, rights that you took away from Tariq Husseini. You have those rights because of the men who came before you who wore that uniform. Because of the men and women who are standing here right now waiting for you to give them the order to fire. Give them the order, General.
General William Deveroux: Do you think that I would hesitate to kill you, or every Federal Agent in this room, if I thought it was in the best interest of my country?
Anthony ‘Hub’ Hubbard: No, no, no, you wouldn’t hesitate, I know that. But they might.
[motions to soldiers in room]

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February 23, 2007 - Posted by | America, Bush, Government, Law, Middle East, National Security, Terrorism, Torture, US Military, War, White House

3 Comments »

  1. The federal government doesn’t care about the constitution. They care about control of you and me. For our protection, mind you.

    Comment by David | February 24, 2007 | Reply

  2. I see. This is all being done for the “greater good.” Of course, what scares me is that they believe that.

    Comment by PA_Lady | February 24, 2007 | Reply

  3. […] If They Can Do This To One American… […]

    Pingback by The Lady Speaks Watch For Flying Wingnuts « | February 28, 2007 | Reply


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