Friday, December 09, 2005


On Padilla and Torture

More and more, it's looking like Dick Cheney's "fight evil with evil" approach to al Qaeda was a waste of time, money, and reputation:
Senator probes Justice Dept handling of Padilla
Thu Dec 8, 2005 7:08 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter on Thursday said he was launching a formal inquiry into Justice Department treatment of an American charged by the government after being held by the military for more than three years as an "enemy combatant."

"I'm making a formal inquiry of the Department of Justice as to why they're handling (Jose) Padilla as they have," Specter, a Pennsylvania Republican, told reporters. He said he may hold a committee hearing on the matter.

A U.S. appeals court on November 30 delayed Padilla's transfer to a civilian jail, saying the government must explain why it used different facts to justify his military detention from those included in last month's indictment, which charged him with conspiracy to murder and aiding terrorists abroad.
"I think there's a real question raised when you hold a citizen for three and a half years on a charge that he's going to explode a dirty bomb, and then, when the Supreme Court is considering taking jurisdiction of the case, to withdraw. That troubles me," Specter said.
Senator Spector should already know why the 'Justice" Department changed their tune:
This torture of top al-Qaida leaders may also cause problems for the government were there to be a trial for the alleged "dirty bomber" Jose Padilla. The tip that led to Padilla's initial detention on a material witness warrant in May 2002 came from intensive CIA interrogations of Zubaida, a close associate of Osama Bin Laden. In December 2003, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ordered that Padilla be released from military custody and either charged in federal court or released. However, any prosecution of Padilla could be very problematic for the government, because the case for his guilt rests mostly (if not entirely) on secret interrogations of al-Qaida leaders, which now appear to have involved torture. If a criminal case is ever brought against Padilla, his lawyers are sure to challenge this crucial evidence on a number of grounds, including reliability and the fact that it was procured with torture in a way that "shocks the conscience."
(Source: Phillip Carter, Slate Tainted by Torture - How evidence obtained through coercion is undermining the legal war on terrorism.May 14, 2004)
Evidence gained through torture is often unreliable:
Qaeda-Iraq Link U.S. Cited Is Tied to Coercion Claim
By DOUGLAS JEHL (New York Times)

WASHINGTON, Dec. 8 - The Bush administration based a crucial prewar assertion about ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda on detailed statements made by a prisoner while in Egyptian custody who later said he had fabricated them to escape harsh treatment, according to current and former government officials.

The officials said the captive, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, provided his most specific and elaborate accounts about ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda only after he was secretly handed over to Egypt by the United States in January 2002, in a process known as rendition.

The new disclosure provides the first public evidence that bad intelligence on Iraq may have resulted partly from the administration's heavy reliance on third countries to carry out interrogations of Qaeda members and others detained as part of American counterterrorism efforts. The Bush administration used Mr. Libi's accounts as the basis for its prewar claims, now discredited, that ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda included training in explosives and chemical weapons.

The fact that Mr. Libi recanted after the American invasion of Iraq and that intelligence based on his remarks was withdrawn by the C.I.A. in March 2004 has been public for more than a year. But American officials had not previously acknowledged either that Mr. Libi made the false statements in foreign custody or that Mr. Libi contended that his statements had been coerced.
So - all this time and taxpayer money wasted in the name of "defending the homeland against terror" and what was achieved? The destruction of our reputation for honesty and justice, desperately-needed allies shying away from cooperation, al Qaeda trumpeting our hypocrisy on their recruiting posters, and some sound bites of how we're "getting tough" on terrorists by becoming a terrorist nation ourselves. Another triumph for our CEO President.


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