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Thursday, August 16, 2007


Padilla guilty, smears continue

To no one's surprise, Jose Padilla has been found guilty. Largely of thought crimes, and as far as I can tell rather ill-formed (if formed at all) thoughts at that - conspiracy to murder, kidnap and maim, conspiracy to provide material support for terrorism. No actual murder, kidnap, or maiming, and not even any actual plan for murder, kidnap, or maiming. He was also convicted, on the basis of absurdly thin evidence, of "providing material support for terrorism."

Ah, but that doesn't stop the media, who once the "dirty bomber" mud was thrown against the wall by, if memory serves, John Ashcroft, has continued at every opportunity to remind its audience of that not only unproven, but even uncharged accusation. Padilla was branded in public as the "dirty bomber," and he'll be that until the day he dies (quite likely in Federal prison, because, as I learned recently in connection with the Cuban Five case, there is no parole in the Federal system). On CNN he was also slandered with the "blowing up apartment buildings" with natural gas charge, yet another not only unproven but unprosecuted accusation. Did he have a fair trial? No way on earth.

And in a similar farce with tragic consequences, next Monday an appeals hearing will be heard in the 11th Circuit Court in Atlanta in the case of the Cuban Five. Attorney Leonard Weinglass explains the outrageous nature of their conviction. The question of "prosecutorial misconduct," which also arises in the Padilla case, I explained below. Another issue is this "conspiracy" business. Three of the Five have life sentences (again, in Federal prison, remember that life means life) for "conspiracy to commit espionage." They did not possess (nor transmit) a single classified document, nor was there any evidence presented that they ever attempted to obtain any, yet, as Weinglass explains, they received the same life sentences as those who committed actual espionage, like Robert Hansen of the FBI, Aldrich Ames of the CIA, and Robert Walker of the Navy, each of whom gave hundreds if not thousands of classified documents to foreign governments.

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