Why did they torture Jose Padilla?

Jose PadillaThere’s a rancid odor escaping from the cracks in the Jose Padilla case. Padilla is the American citizen arrested in Chicago and declared by President Bush to be an “enemy combatant.” He was then kept for nearly two years in a South Carolina brig without access to a lawyer, family or friends.

The courts finally forced the Bush administration to release Padilla into the justice system, and he is now imprisoned in Miami awaiting trial on charges that have nothing to do with what he was arrested for, an alleged plot to use a dirty bomb in the United States. It is claimed he had al Qaeda connections.

What makes this case so insidious is that, according to a psychiatrist who examined him over a 22-hour period, the treatment Padilla received in the South Carolina brig was such that he now “lacks the capacity to assist in his own defense.” In other words, a U.S. citizen was secretly worked over for 21 months to the point he is unable to think well enough to engage with his lawyer.

Philadelphia Daily News, 12 December 2006

See also George Monbiot in the Guardian, 12 December 2006