New Info Reveals White House Made Demands On An Ailing, Feeble, Barely Articulate Ashcroft
I would like to attempt right now
To get this off the collective chest of us:
A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL
In an under covered trial in a California courtroom, a Constitutional drama of major significance is unfolding.
BARBARA'S DAILY BUZZFLASH MINUTE
Something you won't hear from the Bushies, the Repuglicans, on television, or the radio -- The truth as dismal as it is -- "McClatchy: "No Pattern of Improvement Discernible for Violence During the 5 Months of The Surge." Things aren't always what the Repuglicans in general and George Bush in particular are saying! Innocent people are still dying, our soldiers are still dying, and George Bush is on vacation!
Maybe American citizen Jose Padilla really was anxious to become a fifth-columnist terrorist in America. But the U.S. government never made that case. Unprincipled federal prosecutors simply won a conviction by playing on jurors' fears.
As The New York Times reports, the "only evidence" presented at Padilla's trial was a faded application form allegedly filled out by Padilla in the year 2000 to attend an Al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan.
Now recall that in 2000, Al Qaeda was primarily supplying fighters to help the Taliban government in Afghanistan to fight warlords who were seen as still beholden to or allied with the Russians.
This puts Padilla in company with another American, John Walker Lindh, who in August 2001, a month before the 9-11 attacks that suddenly made America a mortal enemy of the Taliban government, was actually in Afghanistan fighting with Al Qaeda troops against those same warlords.
Lindh, as I've written several times, was no enemy of America, as he was famously portrayed upon his highly publicized arrest in Afghanistan by American troops and by U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, who called him "the American Taliban." Rather, he was a kid who had been caught in a bad place when American suddenly went to war against Afghanistan. Part of an Al Qaeda/Taliban force, he suddenly found himself targeted by American forces, but stuck in the wilds of the Hindu Kush, he had no realistic opportunity to up and leave.
For that unfortunate bit of bad timing, Lindh, tortured by the U.S. military and the CIA for weeks before being brought to the U.S. to face trial, is now serving 15 years of hard time in federal prison, with the added burden of a 15-year gag order barring him from talking about his ordeal.
Padilla, of course, suffered much worse at the hands of his American captors than did Lindh, who was only left severely injured and untreated, and duct-taped to a gurney in a dark, sealed shipping container for two weeks, save for an hour of daily torture, interrogation, and feeding. Padilla was held incommunicado for 3½ years in a solitary cell of a U.S. naval base in South Carolina. When he was removed for interrogations or medical treatment, he was blinded with opaque goggles and had ear muffs to blot out all sound, and shackeled hand and foot.
Under those conditions, he reportedly lost his mind. It is unclear whether he will ever regain his sanity, according to experts who have examined him.
All this abuse and unconstitutional treatment, and he may not be guilty of anything, except perhaps wanting to go and fight for Islam (a religion to which he had recently converted) in 2000 in Afghanistan, at a time that the U.S. was actually cozying up to the Taliban regime. (One government intelligence report on the case even suggests that the idea of building and detonating a "dirty nuke" bomb in the U.S. was something Padilla concocted as a ruse to allow him to get out of the Al Qaeda camp he was stuck in.)
After Padilla's conviction, President Bush, who ordered Padilla held without charge, without access to a court, and without access to even a lawyer, in contravention of all Constitutional requirements, had the audacity to congratulate the jury for "upholding a core American principle of impartial justice for all." (If, by some happy circumstance, Bush is ever actually impeached, removed from office, and indicted for his many crimes, he should pray that he isn't offered the same "justice" which he and his criminal administration afforded to Padilla.)
If Padilla's trial was the model for the justice that is in store for Americans henceforth, we're all in serious danger. This trial was nothing short of an atrocity, from the day of Padilla's arrest to the day of his conviction. It will, I am sure, go down in history with the Dreyfus Case and other infamous miscarriages of justice as examples of unalloyed tyranny. Sadly, with the courts packed with Federalist clones, the likelihood of this being rectified on appeal is next to nil.
It is time for a new cry for justice: "Restore the Constitutional Right to a Fair Trial! Free John Lindh and Jose Padilla!"
A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
by Norman Solomon
The man who ran CNN's news operation during the invasion of Iraq is now doing damage control in response to a new documentary's evidence that he kowtowed to the Pentagon on behalf of the cable network. His current denial says a lot about how "liberal media" outlets remain deeply embedded in the mindsets of pro-military conformity.
A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
by Martha Rosenberg
Salad is out and red meat is in on the first date says The New York Times in an August article.
Fortifying yourself with food before a date like our moms did so you can order light and appear ladylike -- until the date drops you off and you can pig out like the comic strip character, Cathy -- is passe.
WORLD MEDIA WATCH
Summaries are excerpted from the source articles; the featured article follows the summary section. A recommended "site of the day" will also appear occasionally following the summaries.
A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
After dubbing Iran's military forces a terrorist organization, the only thing left for the Bush Administration to do before striking is to declare that Iran's Revolutionary Guards are operating against American forces and/or interests in the Middle East.
A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
by Mary Pitt
The amusing aspect of this primary campaign for the 2008 president is watching the candidates groping their way in search for the "middle of the road." Poor Hillary Clinton, while being reviled by the Republican protagonists as a "leftie Liberal," keeps turning her wheels to the right as she navigates the fog in which American politicians are groping in order to find "the will of the people." On the other hand, the Republicans have long ago left the road and are off four-wheeling in the brush that keeps threatening to take over the famous "ranch" in Crawford.