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Thursday, November 24, 2005

Padilla indicted for applying for passport and conspiring to transport zucchini

Incredible. They arrested a US citizen 3 1/2 years ago, held him incommunicado, suggested he was a terrible threat to the US through dirty bombs and apartment explosions. Now, all they've got is attaching him to some hazy conspiracy to provide weapons to jihadists on the other side of the world (something the Reagan administration did nonstop for eight years). And they've only got that because of hearsay heard on some wiretaps of questionable legality, with alleged conspirators talking about soccer equipment and vegetables.

From the NY Times:
Although the indictment does not say so, officials confirm that the conversations are from wiretaps authorized by a special court that reviews law enforcement applications to eavesdrop on foreigners suspected of intelligence activities.

In the indictment's recounting of the conversations, the principals converse in what officials describe as code, referring to arms shipments and attack plans as sporting events or, on some occasions, as vegetables.

But any such efforts to conceal the nature of the subjects discussed were seemingly clumsy. In one conversation, for instance, Adham Amin Hassoun talks with another defendant, Mohamed Hesham Youssef, about soccer equipment. The indictment says that Mr. Hassoun later told investigators he had indeed been referring to sports equipment, but that he was unable to explain why he had then asked Mr. Youssef if he had enough "soccer equipment" to "launch an attack on the enemy."

In other talks, reminiscent of tape recordings of organized crime figures, the defendants appear to use a code involving vegetables, the indictment says. They sometimes talk about zucchini and "green goods," which the government has suggested could mean weapons.

Mr. Padilla's role, however, appears limited. Among the overt acts that the government says demonstrate his participation in the conspiracy is his 1996 application for a passport. The other defendants are overheard in the apparent wiretaps saying Mr. Padilla would be getting money, had traveled to Egypt and Afghanistan and had considered visiting Yemen. He also "filled out a 'mujahideen data form' in preparation for violent jihad training in Afghanistan," the indictment charges.
Sounds to me like they've got nothing, and certainly nothing that would get him a 3 1/2 year sentence. He should be released immediately, and given a pamphlet entitled "How to sue your government for false arrest and imprisonment."

"Mujahideen data form." Right. Al Qaeda keeps such good records--that's why the FBI never found one piece of paper linking Afghanistan to 9/11 (by Director Mueller's own admission).

"Mujahideen data form" + zucchini + shin pads + illegal wiretaps = DIRTY BOMBER!!!! That's your "Justice" Department at work. This case is all about demonstrating that they can detain anyone for anything (or nothing) at any time.