Thursday, August 16, 2007

Padilla, Padilla, Padilla...That's All Folks!

Jose Padilla was convicted today after 3-1/2 years of confinement as an enemy combatant. Padilla, a Chicago convert to Islam was found guilty along with three co-defendants of "conspiracy to murder, kidnap and maim people plus two counts of providing material support to terrorists." Well, put the blame on maim!

US citizen Padilla was arrested soon after the 9/11 attacks and charged with plotting to explode a "dirty" bomb - a conventional explosives device laced with highly radioactive material intended to cause sickness and slow death. During incarceration in a military brig in S.Carolina, Padilla admitted exploring a dirty bomb plot. However, because he had not been read his Miranda rights (you have the right to remain silent; you have the right to an attorney during questioning; if you want an attorney, but cannot afford one, an attorney will be appointed by the court), Padilla's confession could not be used in court.

The defence team claimed Padilla was subjected to "harsh treatment and torture". They said the government forced him to stand in stress positions, administered LSD (a powerful hallucinogenic drug the government hasn't used since the 1960's because of inconsistent results), and "truth serum" (a substance that only exists in movies and television.) Oh, there was also the ever present "loud noises and noxious odors" . Government interrogators were not accused, however, of putting women's underwear on Padilla's head as that is a banned torture technique after the events at Abu Ghraib.

The FBI also had about 300,000 wiretap conversations from 1993 to 2001. Most of the intercepts involved only Padilla's co-defendants, but enough involved Padilla to indicate he understood the conversation context. The communications were mostly in Arabic and supposedly involved codewords - 'tourism' and 'football' indicated violent jihad; 'zucchini' and 'eggplant' meant military weaponry or ammunition. Sometimes a zucchini is just a zucchini, but not this time.

Jose Padilla did leave behind some fairly hard-core evidence. In July 2000, Padilla applied to an al-Qaida training camp with a five page application form which was discovered in Afghanistan by the CIA in 2001. The killer-ap contained personal information like his birth date, his multi-lingual talents in English, Spanish, and Arabic. And seven of his ten fingerprints. Only seven, though; it's not like seven fingerprints on documents in the wilds of Afghanistan is real evidence.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Frazier said in closing arguments, "He provided himself to al-Qaida for training to learn to murder, kidnap and maim." Padilla's attorney Michael Caruso, answered that his clients "intent was to study, not to murder." Put the blame on maim, boys, put the blame on maim.

Fordham University criminal law professor James Cohen summed up the case this way, "The fingerprints on the application, combined with the claim that Padilla's purpose was humanitarian when various Muslim charities are accused of being mere fronts for terrorism, adds up to a difficult defense."

Sentencing is set for December 5, 2007. Padilla could receive life in prison. He should have a grenade with pulled pin dropped down his pants.


The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.