Conviction of Padilla is Bad News for All Americans — Including Journalists by Dave Lindorff

Dandelion Salad

Written by Dave Lindorff
Atlantic Free Press
Thursday, 16 August 2007

With habeas corpus a thing of the past, with arrest and detention without charge permitted, with torture and spying without court oversight all the rage, with prosecutors free to tape conversations between lawyers and their clients, and with the judicial branch now infested by rightwing judges who would have been at home in courtrooms of the Soviet Union or Hitler’s Germany, for all they seem to care about common law tradition, the only real thing holding the line against absolute tyranny in the U.S. has been the jury.

Now, with Jose Padilla — a US citizen who was originally picked up and held incommunicado on a military base for three and a half years, publicly accused (though never charged) with planning to construct and detonate a so-called “dirty” nuclear device (this a guy without a high school education!), all based upon hearsay, evidence elicited by torture, and a few overheard wiretapped conversations where prosecutors claimed words like “zucchini” were code for explosive devices — convicted on a charge of “planning to murder,” we see that juries in this era of a bogus “war on terror” are ready to believe anything.

That last line of defense — the common sense or ordinary citizens in a jury box — is gone too.

Continued…

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