Posted in Email, Main Blog (All Posts) on February 24th, 2007 4:02 pm by HL
Something remarkable is going on in a Miami courtroom. The cruel methods US interrogators have used since September 11 to “break” prisoners are finally being put on trial.
This was not supposed to happen. The Bush Administration’s plan was to put JosÃ© Padilla on trial for allegedly being part of a network linked to international terrorists. But Padilla’s lawyers are arguing that he is not fit to stand trial because he has been driven insane by the government.
According to his lawyers and two mental health specialists who examined him, Padilla has been so shattered that he lacks the ability to assist in his own defense. He is convinced that his lawyers are “part of a continuing interrogation program” and sees his captors as protectors. In order to prove that “the extended torture visited upon Mr. Padilla has left him damaged,” his lawyers want to tell the court what happened during those years in the Navy brig. The prosecution strenuously objects, maintaining that “Padilla is competent,” that his treatment is irrelevant.
US District Judge Marcia Cooke disagrees. “It’s not like Mr. Padilla was living in a box. He was at a place. Things happened to him at that place.” The judge has ordered several prison employees to testify at the hearings on Padilla’s mental state, which begin February 22. They will be asked how a man alleged to have engaged in elaborate antigovernment plots now acts, in the words of brig staff, “like a piece of furniture.”
It’s difficult to overstate the significance of these hearings. The techniques used to break Padilla have been standard operating procedure at GuantÃ¡namo Bay since the first prisoners arrived five years ago. They wore blackout goggles and sound-blocking headphones and were placed in extended isolation, interrupted by strobe lights and heavy metal music. These same practices have been documented in dozens of cases of CIA “extraordinary rendition” as well as in prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan
Of course we chronicled all of this in The HL long ago. It would be nice if the mainstream media would get involved in this story so more people will be educated as to what our great country is doing to people some of which were rounded up so Bush could claim he was doing something about the “terrorist,” many of them of course have been released without charges after many years, but there are still many in Guantanamo who have not been tried and may be there forever. Torture by the US must stop for many reasons not the least of which is that if the “enemy” knows we are torturing suspects that will make it that much easier for them to do it to our soldiers if they were captured. Our reptuation around the world under Bush is bad enough as it is.