Jose Padilla and civil liberties

I keep referring to this case because I see it is a prime example of the threat Bush, Ashcroft and the Patriot Act pose to our civil liberties. The reason is that he is a US citizen who was detained on US soil. Both and Atrios have excellent comments regarding an MSNBC report that contains the following paragraph:

[A]dministration officials now concede that the principal claim they have been making about Padilla ever since his detention—that he was dispatched to the United States for the specific purpose of setting off a radiological “dirty bomb”—has turned out to be wrong and most likely can never be used against him in court.

So, we’ve detained this guy for two years, much of it in solitary confinement, with little or no access to legal counsel and no opportunity to go to court or some other independent body to challenge the grounds for his detention. So why does this matter to anyone other than Padilla? As Atrios says, “If they can do it to Padilla, they can do it to you.”

As a related aside, the lede to a recent Reuters article headlined “Americans Would Trade Rights for Security,” summarizes the sad state of affairs in the US today: “In today’s America, prisoners are held incommunicado for years, newspapers can’t photograph soldiers’ coffins returned from Iraq and the government can secretly track the books citizens read and the movies they watch.” (Via War Blogging).

3 comments to Jose Padilla and civil liberties

  • Anonymous

    While the case may be used indirectly to convince members of Congress and the Senate that sunset provisions of the PATRIOT Act should not be renewed, an executive order, not the PATRIOT Act, permitted the labelling of Jose Padilla as an ‘enemy combatant’. With any luck it will be used successfully to prevent further sections of “PATRIOT 2” from being proposed.

  • Anonymous

    Perhaps I should actually register for a blogger account so I don’t forget that I’m posting anonymously.


  • Other writers have noted the interesting coincidence in Ashcroft’s release of information on specific prisoners.

    Whenever some catastrophic administration blunder or egregious statement appears to have potential for serious damage to the thug administration, Ashcroft announces another “terrorist” or “enemy combatant” has been snared. Often snared for weeks or months, but having propaganda value only if the information is released in a way to kill coverage of something else.

    Members of this administration and its puppet masters will do anything to retain control of their crony capitalist government. The hypocrisy of them is so incredible. They mouth patriotic platitudes and wear the flag and Jesus on their sleaves, but bill of rights, constitution, historical precedents, states rights…whatever…none of them mean anything when violating or abusing them will further administration propaganda and election chances.

    I too am appalled that people seem willing to sell their birthright for pottage and seem to watch like docile cows as their freedoms and income security are destroyed by an administration in the guise of fighting terrorism.