Jose Padilla, a United States citizen, was incarcerated for four years without trial for an alleged 2002 “dirty bomb” plot and has been trying to sue U.S. officials for his mistreatment while detained in a military brig in South Carolina.
Despite Padilla receiving direct support by the ACLU, he has been unsuccessful at attempting to hold accountable those who have been responsible for his horrendous treatment. Padilla’s case has come to represent the overall demand by Guantanamo detainees that their cases be objectively considered.
Yesterday, June 11, all cases filed by detainees were rejected by the United States Supreme Court, leaving little doubt as to the path this country is heading toward with its conclusion that American citizen or not, your rights end where the U.S. government says they end, regardless of Constitutional principles or legal review.
Jose Padilla has been dealt legal blow after legal blow; first having Atlanta’s 11 Circuit Court of Appeals rule against U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke in September 2011, who noted that Padilla had been confined under harsh conditions and had not injured anyone, among other considerations. The majority issued their opinion in vague language that alluded to “an impermissible comparison to sentences imposed in other terrorism cases, and was based in part on inappropriate factors,” as well as his suspected Al Qaeda training. (Source)
In January of this year, Padilla was then denied by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Virgina as having any right to even file suit for his claims of illegal detention and torture.
At the heart of the case against Padilla and all Guantanamo detainees is a single label issued by the U.S. government: enemy combatant. Even though the term was supposed to have been dropped in 2009, it is still acknowledged by the courts. With this single designation, the normal rules of international law and the guarantees afforded to U.S. citizens under the Constitution become null and void. The 4th Circuit specifically stated their conundrum, as the framework of enemy combatant status essentially circumvents the American legal system. In response, they passed the buck to Congress, which they stated had not defined any appropriate remedy in their responsibility for military conduct.
A legal black hole had been revealed, which ACLU lawyer for Jose Padilla, Ben Wizner, highlighted:
By dismissing this lawsuit, the appeals court handed the government a blank check to commit any abuse in the name of national security, even the brutal torture of a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil. This impunity is not only anathema to a democracy governed by laws, but contrary to history’s lesson that in times of fear our values are a strength, not a hindrance. (Source)
Padilla had been trying to sue Donald Rumsfeld, torture memo author John Yoo, as well as other officials that laid the foundation and/or gave the orders for his confinement and mistreatment. However, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals stepped up in early May of this year to reverse the ruling of a federal judge who concluded that Padilla could in fact file suit against John Yoo.
However, it is the latest ruling by the Supreme Court that seems to have put the final nail in the coffin for anyone attempting to obtain justice for improper treatment at the hands of the out-of-control warmongers and torturers who have infested Washington. The Supreme Court firmly rejected a cert petition to overturn the 4th Circuit’s decision, as well as having rejected 7 other appeals made by Guantanamo detainees.
The highest levels of the American legal system have now decided to become subservient to whatever policy of detention the U.S. government can invent. This does not bode well for any U.S. citizen who under the NDAA officially has no right to be treated with dignity in peace time or war; whether accused, falsely arrested, tortured, or found legitimately guilty.
The full ramifications of this new system of injustice can only be imagined; but based on the past treatment of detainees, and the absolute lack of recourse to the rule of law, it is difficult to be optimistic. The bloodthirsty, well-documented, doctrine of U.S. torture where the secrets of the State are more important than the rights of the individual have been exacerbated during our present time of terror and paranoia when re-education and internment camps have become acceptable.
Perhaps with this latest Supreme Court ruling, we can finally admit to ourselves that the United States has become a tyrannical regime.
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