GEORGE W. KAFKA: Bush's Police State Kicks Into Gear : LUSENET : Unk's Troll-free Private Saloon : One Thread


Thu Jun 13, 7:02 PM ET

By Ted Rall

Bush's Police State Kicks Into Gear

Knock knock at your front door."

-Dead Kennedys

NEW YORK-It can happen to you.

The jackbooted thugs can arrest you without bothering to accuse you of a crime. They can deprive you of the right to make a phone call, to receive a visit from your family, or even to see a lawyer. It doesn't matter if you're innocent or not; our state-sanctioned terrorists can keep you locked up in prison for the rest of your life without ever granting you your day in court.

But you're an American citizen, you protest. It makes no difference whatsoever-you have no rights.

After cynically using the September 11th attacks as a pretext to eradicate one civil liberty after another, the Bush Administration has finally taken away the single most essential freedom of an American citizen: the right to due process before a jury of his peers. Classifying 31-year-old Chicagoan Jose Padilla as an Al Qaeda associate and enemy combatant, Attorney General John Ashcroft ( news - web sites) authorized his transfer from a federal courthouse in New York City, where he had been held as a "material witness" on a customs violation since May 8th, to indefinite military detention at the Charleston Naval Weapons Station in South Carolina.

Though not legally charged, Padilla, who changed his name to Abdullah al-Mujahir after converting to Islam, is accused of planning to build and detonate a non-nuclear "dirty" radioactive bomb, possibly in Washington, D.C. Government officials concede that they have no physical evidence against Padilla-bomb components, manuals, etc.-. Their case, they admit, relies primarily on information from star canary Abu Zubaydah, an unsavory Al Qaeda operative whose Guantánamo debriefing sparked last month's flurry of warnings from Tom Ridge. Justice Department ( news - web sites) officials, an anonymous official told The New York Times on June 12th, "concluded that they could not bring a winnable court prosecution, largely because the evidence against [Padilla] was derived from intelligence sources and other witnesses the government cannot or will not produce in court."

So much for the right to face your accuser.

Padilla theoretically faces prosecution under a military tribunal. (Back in November, Bush had promised that tribunals would only be used against foreigners.) But Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says that even such kangaroo court justice is probably a long way off: "We're not interested in trying him at this moment." Some officials say that detainees like Padilla and those being held in the Guantánamo dog pens need not be tried until the end of the "war on terror"-which could, according to Bush himself, go on forever.

America may well be a safer place because Jose Padilla has been "disappeared," in the lexicon of Latin American death squads. But the manner in which this American has been stripped of his citizenship rights-to a lawyer, to a speedy trial, to apply for bail-is reminiscent of such totalitarian states as Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. What the Bushies are doing to Padilla is an outrage-and it could happen to any of us.

The legal basis for this action is a twisted joke. "Citizens who associate themselves with the military arm of the enemy government, and with its aid, guidance and direction enter this country bent on hostile acts, are enemy belligerents," ruled the Supreme Court in a precedent-setting case in 1942. The United States, however, is not at war. Congress has not declared war against the Taliban or anyone else. And while Padilla may indeed have plotted hostile acts at the behest of Al Qaeda, no one accuses him of belonging to the Taliban army. How could they? The Bushies denied P.O.W. status under the Geneva conventions to Guantánamo inmates by arguing that the Taliban never had an army.

The war on terror, like the war on drugs, isn't a state of combat. It's an advertising slogan. The bombing campaign against Afghanistan ( news - web sites) is, at most, a police action. And while there are undoubtedly organizations like Al Qaeda that hate the U.S. and mean harm to Americans, there is no legal basis for denaturalizing Americans merely because they're accused of belonging to such groups.

Ironically, this vile assault on essential American rights comes on the heels of what seems to be a previous Bush Administration abuse of Padilla's rights-he was jailed in New York for a month without being charged with a crime. Ruling in a different case, New York federal judge Shira Scheindlin recently wrote that "Relying on the material witness statute to detain people who are presumed innocent under our Constitution in order to prevent potential crimes is an illegitimate use of the statute." That ruling may have inspired Padilla's transfer to the South Carolina military lock-up.

You're probably not all that troubled about what happened to Padilla. You haven't hung out with Islamic extremists, boned up on your bomb-making skills or fantasized about Chernobylizing the Washington Mall. But don't forget: a court of law hasn't proved that Jose Padilla did either. And if George W. Bush has his way, it never will.

-- (Welcome to @ the. 4th Reich), June 14, 2002


Jack Booted Thugs arresting innocent people, chemtrails, small-pox, anthrax, the HAARP project, the Awakening, Sept 11th, vaccinations,etc. and Dumbya has only been in office for a year and a half. Imagine the damage he could do if he were elected to a second term.

-- (very@scary.thought), June 14, 2002.

“What the Bushies are doing to Padilla is an outrage-and it could happen to any of us.”

This from Ted Rall, a political cartoonist with a liberal’s hatred of all things conservative. He would have you believe that all of us should be thrown into the same barrel with Padilla.

Laughable, but hardly funny.

-- Send (mo@money.please), June 14, 2002.

Maybe the author of this article as well as the poster should move to France. There they will be accepted as the idiots they truly are.

-- Maria (, June 14, 2002.

I think this is perhaps the first time I agree with Rall. I recall when Bush and Co claimed that military tribunals wouldn't be applied to American citizens, only to foreign nationals.

-- Uncle Deedah (, June 14, 2002.

I'm impressed Unk, you're being completely honest. It appears you've made great progress with your soul searching. I'm sure Maria, Send, and Scary are shocked that you didn't instinctively spout the typical reactionary Repug party line response.

-- dumbya troll (ah-so @ you are ready. grasshoppah), June 14, 2002.

It would appear that TPTB are going out of their way to structure Padilla’s detention in such a way that his basic rights as an American are not too seriously trampled. Damn it, this guy is most likely plotting against his country and aiding and abetting the enemy. Unchecked, my guess is that he will be responsible for the deaths of many Americans. That might include my loved ones or for that matter, myself.

I would hope they are squeezing him like the last bar lemon and continue to isolate him for as long as it takes for us to eradicate the Al Qaeda and other Islamic extremist groups that have vowed to destroy our country.

What in the hell is so difficult about that concept?

Where is your concern for our countries safety? While you are screaming for this violent convicted felon to be given due process, he and his ‘associates’ are scheming to end your life!!

There is nothing ‘political’ about this point of view and to suggest that anyone who agrees is simply a supporter of our current President, is just stupid.

-- Free (head@case.analysis), June 14, 2002.

"While you are screaming for this violent convicted felon to be given due process, he and his ‘associates’ are scheming to end your life!!"

No one is screaming, just pointing out that as an American citizen it is his right to be given due process. To deny that is to deny the basic principles upon which our Democracy was founded. The second half of your statement is a joke, for without the due process there is no way you can prove your accusation.

-- (get real @ free. head), June 14, 2002.

You bring some good points to the table ‘get real’, but I’m talking about the real world as it is NOW. Padilla has already lost many of his rights (voting, owning/possessing firearms, certain child custody issues, etc.) and to give him any ‘protection’ under the current circumstances is ludicrous. If we need to change the constitution in order that our grandchildren have a country to live in, I say “change away’!!

-- Free (head@case.analysis), June 14, 2002.

Curious, Moussaui (the so-called 20th hi-jacker) gets a civil trial, yet Padilla, an American citizen, is held to a military standard of justice, something we were told the Bush administration wouldn't do.

Where is the consistancy?

-- Uncle Deedah (, June 14, 2002.

Tell you what, ask Padilla if he would like to trade places with Moussaui. At this point in time, Padilla has not been formally charged with anything and they are still in the Q&A process, albeit a lengthy one, at a military compound.

Bush told us months ago that this war on terrorism would not be run in its entirety on CNN. I could care less if they have this scumbag Padilla hooked up to a quick start. Find out what he knows and then charge him with whatever fits.

Is there any lucid person on this forum that honestly believes this guy is innocent of plotting crimes against America? Hey, if we make any mistakes on our various missions then let them be in our favor, not to our everlasting regret.

Have a great weekend!!

-- Free (head@case.analysis), June 14, 2002.

I'm a lucid person.

And I think Padilla SOUNDS like a real bad guy. Problem is, (as a lucid person on this forum) I happen to remember The Constitution of The United States of America.

I also remember the PROMISE of this administration that military justice would ONLY apply to foreign nationals. Surely YOU are lucid enough to remember that promise?

I am also lucid enough to realise that you ducked my question, nice try.

-- Uncle Deedah (, June 14, 2002.

I know, let's release Padilla now to show "good faith".

Then he and his pals can do a radiation bomb, killing a few hundred thousand including some of us. Then a weeping FBI agent can say how horrible it was that the crime was not prevented before it happened because we had all this neato intel on what he was up to. Then Cherri or trollboy could post an article criticizing Bush for not stopping this guy in time.

-- (, June 15, 2002.

weeping FBI agent

-- (, June 15, 2002.

Poor dimwit Rolie still can't do links. ROTFL.

-- (BWAHAHA@html.101), June 15, 2002.

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