Saturday, August 18, 2007

Bring 'Em to JUSTIS

The Padilla case in the States is almost wrapped-up. Padilla, an American who converted to Islam and then went on a trip to Pakistan and, possibly, Afghanistan among other places, was found guilty of charges of 'conspiracy to support a terrorist organization'. Padilla, at the root of everything, was convicted of 'thinking' of doing something.

This case marks a sea change in American jurisprudence and opens the doors to more charges and convictions for 'doing' nothing more than thinking about something. When it comes to 'ordinary' crime, nothing can be done about it until an actual crime is committed - something is done to break the law. When it comes to security against 'terror', nothing needs be 'done' and someone's opinion can haul you into court.

The evidence against Padilla was flimsy at best. It consisted, in the main, of two items. First a reputed confession to another inmate in a military brig. The second an ' application form' that Padilla is supposed to have completed in an attempt to join an AlQaeda training camp in Afghanistan. There were also some transcripts of conversations with others charged with similar 'crimes' - these will be used as evidence of conspiracy against them, but it was admitted that Padilla's conversations were not incriminating.

As far as the first piece of evidence is concerned, Padilla would have had to have been even more of a dope than the prosecutors at his first 'trial'. They botched it so badly, the government had to have Padilla re-arrested and confined by the military as a designated 'enemy combatant'. He was also moved out of the jurisdiction of that court to North Carolina where he is supposed to have bragged to a cell mate about his terroristic endeavours. He maybe believed they weren't really out to 'get him'? That's not surprising because some sensory deprivation experiments he 'volunteered for' while in military custody have reportedly reduced him to gibbering idiot status. Even at that his trial took place in a third jurisdiction - Florida, where it was felt a conviction was a 'slam-dunk'.

The second piece of evidence was retrieved from Afghanistan. However secretive the Taliban and AlQaeda might be, they apparently keep good records, not only of those attending their jihad camps, but of applicants as well. And being sticklers for factual accuracy, they make sure that applicants use their real names and give accurate biographical information. I guess that was in case next of kin needed notification. Anyway, out of all the thousands of applications from Abduls and Saleems who passed through those Afghan camps, Padilla's application popped right out at the guys who 'found' it, probably because of the New Jersey address and phone number. There are people running all over America who can forge any document you might want to buy, but the 'good' guys wouldn't do anything like that to nail a 'renegade'?

One has to wonder about Padilla's defense. The trial ended in a welter of crap that concluded with the Judge instructing the jury that the defense of 'justification' was not to be considered in Padilla's case. What happened to 'he didn't do anything'? The defense caved and started to argue that the prosecution was right about the conspiracy but it was a 'justified' conspiracy? Horse crap!

Padilla never 'did' anything except go to Asia, (thousands of armed Americans are in Asia right now). He didn't go to that camp, or buy any guns or build any bombs. But National Security thought he might, and that's why he was locked up 4 years ago. They didn't try him for thinking of building a bomb, they tried him for thinking of supporting Al Qaeda. And they convicted him of that.

He could get life for it.

Another stupid article was this week's announcement that the US wanted Canada to help them out by taking a couple dozen Yazgur 'refugees' they've been holding at Guantanamo for the past 4 years.

It seems that investigations have shown that these Chinese Muslims, captured in Afghanistan, aren't any threat to America. But the US Army is keeping them in Gitmo because there's nowhere else for them to go. They conned Albania into taking a couple, but I guess the CIA can't just drop these guys off downtown in European or African cities anymore. And they certainly don't want to send them to China where a gruesome fate might await them. The Chinese call most ex-pat Yazgurs 'terrorists'. So the new kindler, gentler detainee apparatus wants to send them to Canada. (Canada is trying to obtain the release of a Yazgur/Canadian the Chinese have tried and plan to execute, so the Yanks must think we have a soft spot for 'em.) The soft spot would have to be in the head, so PM Harper's probably got a ministry considering it.

In the news this week the poker-playing leader of the free world has decided to up the ante and call the Iranian bluff by declaring their entire Revolutionary Guard a 'terrorist organization'. Now that, at best, would set up those 4 "Al Quds 'honchos'" the US captured in Iraq last winter, for a show trial and a Cuban vacation. Or, at worst it's going to get some Iranian bank accounts in the great US of A frozen, if they're not iced already. Other than that, though, you'll need $5 to get a Starbucks with that story. I guess somebody thought the Iranian 'royal tour through the 'Shanghai pact' was 'provocation'.

And finally speaking of provocation. the Russians have announced their resuming their Atomic war training exercises by practicing navigation skills for targets in Asia, Europe and North America. This wouldn't have anything to do with George's deciding the ABM Treaty was stupid, and rebuilding America's atomic arsenal, would it?

America has some of the smartest, most creative, inventive and industrious people on earth, the opposite end of the scale is in power, however. In my opinion, positive 'smarts' count for bat scat and ignorance - either blissful, or malevolent, and the creativity like that of the Hun is endangering the world.

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