Bob's Links and Rants

Welcome to my rants page! You can contact me by e-mail: Blog roll. Site feed.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Padilla to stand trial

From the WSWS:
US District Court Judge Marcia Cooke ruled February 28 that Jose Padilla is mentally fit for trial, following a competency hearing during which his lawyers argued that the damage to his mental faculties is so severe that he is legally unable to stand trial or assist in his own defense. The trial is scheduled to begin April 16.
Lucky him. Yet another month and a half in jail to add on to the nearly four years he has already suffered. While I have no doubt that his lawyers were correct in saying that his lengthy, torture-plagued confinement has made him a mental wreck, I have to feel that a trial is the only way to finally end his ordeal. Because any remotely competent jury would likely listen to the lies of the government, and then return this verdict: "That's all you got? NOT GUILTY!"

Of course, the trial will be in Florida, so the likelihood of having a remotely competent jury isn't that high. Chances are they'll reject any potential jurors who know the details of the sordid Padilla case, from his arrest in 2002 for allegedly being a dirty bomber to Ashcroft's hasty announcement from Moscow to the changes in allegations and the eventual cop-out of transferring him to a Florida court and charging him with new stuff entirely. In other words, as in death penalty cases, any jurors who haven't had the left sides of their brains lobotomized will likely be removed with cause. To be fair, they should also remove jurors who support the "war on terror" or otherwise disagree with Ben Franklin and Patrick Henry that freedom is more important than security. Unfortunately, this would result in a jury pool of people who have had BOTH sides of the brain lobotomized--or in a picture, this:

Obviously, that wouldn't work out too well for Padilla either.


Sunday, February 25, 2007

This Week InJustice

The best news of the week is that the Supreme Court ruled that indefinite detentions violate the Bill of Rights. Not only that--the ruling was unanimous! Who would have thought that Scalia, Scalito, Thomas and the rest would so strongly reject the Gulag Bushipelago?

They didn't. It was the Canadian Supreme Court that so ruled. In this country, the D.C. U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the trashing of habeus corpus contained in the horrible Military Commissions Act, agreeing with Bush and Congress that the Constitution doesn't really matter.

Speaking of indefinite detentions, Jose Padilla is finally getting a hearing in a real court. His lawyers are arguing, apparently with plenty of evidence, that the years of cruel solitary confinement punctuated by extremely stressful (at the very least) interogation have left Padilla a psychological wreck unfit for trial. Naomi Klein writes that the whole brutal US system of indefinite detentions and psychological (at least) torture is at long last on trial.

Last month, Chris Floyd wrote about how, while felons (or those with names similar to felons' names) aren't allowed to vote in Florida, they are (at least the felons) able to buy all the firearms they want. This week, Floyd noted that the there's a bill being pushed by the fascists in the Florida legislature which would "convey authority to falsify any public record to prosecutors, judges, mayors, sheriffs, coroners and other public officers." Pretty scary when you consider that Florida has a "three-strikes" law. The cops could create two previous convictions for you and then fake the evidence for the third--and your life is over (perhaps literally). Pretty scary anyway. Apparently the fascists think that falsifying records would somehow help in the so-called "war on terrorism." This from a state which harbored and trained several of the alleged 9/11 terrorists. (They didn't learn how to fly in Afghanistan!)

WIIIAI notes that a variety of war criminals in Afghanistan rallied in Kabul's blood-stained soccer stadium in favor of a law granting amnesty to all sorts of war criminals in Afghanistan. Eventually, this may be George Bush's last line of defense.

Because, of course, he continues to pile on the war crimes hourly. While many of the large car bombings and suicide bombings in Iraq make headlines here, the plane bombings do not. Juan Cole:
Late Saturday, the US Air Force launched a series of bombing raids on southeast Baghdad. This is absolutely shameful, that the US is bombing from the air a civilian city that it militarily occupies. You can't possibly do that without killing innocent civilians, as at Ramadi the other day. It is a war crime. US citizens should protest and write their congressional representatives. It is also the worst possible counter-insurgency tactic anyone could ever have imagined. You bomb people, they hate you. The bombing appears to have knocked out what little electricity some parts of Baghdad were still getting.
There is no conceivable logic by which airplane or cruise-missile bombing is any less criminal or reprehensible than car, suicide, or IED bombing.