Friday, October 13, 2006


It Can Happen Here

Over the past few months, when the debate about the use of torture in the War on Terror has come up, a common statement by proponents of its use is that the people who are being tortured aren't American citizens. If they were, they would be protected, but they're not, so they're not. That argument may pretty much be dead now.

Jose Padilla, the alleged "Dirty Bomber" and an American citizen, has been in jail since 2002. Despite the fact that the Constitution guarantees him a right to a speedy trial, he was not indicted for three years. His was one of the first suits against the government based on the right of habeas corpus, which led to the recent detainee bill that effectively dismisses all such lawsuits.

Now, Padilla alleges that he, a citizen of the United States, was tortured during his imprisonment. Stress positions. Sleep deprivation. Being kept out of the sunlight. Not being allowed to shower. Being threatened with death. All this, and more.

Of course, this is all the testimony of an alleged terrorist. But as the detainee bill has proven, the wrongdoings of those who claim to represent America are not the works of "a few bad apples." They are endemic. I would not be surprised if Jose Padilla has, in fact, been abused by his captors.

I would be frigthened, but I would not be surprised.

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