Revolution #66, October 22, 2006


Declared Enemy Combatant, Then Brutalized in Military Prison

The Torture of Jose Padilla

Jose Padilla has now documented the torture that was inflicted on him during the 3 years and 8 months he was held in extreme isolation and interrogations in U.S. military prison.

Over 4 years ago, on May 8, 2002, Jose Padilla was seized and then made to “disappear” by federal agents as he arrived in Chicago’s O’Hare airport. George W. Bush declared Padilla an “enemy combatant.” Then-Attorney General Ashcroft announced in a press conference that Padilla had been plotting to use a “dirty bomb” on U.S. targets. No evidence was ever presented. Padilla, a Brooklyn-born U.S. citizen, was thrown in prison—and federal authorities denied him even the most basic rights to a lawyer, a hearing or a trial.

In a motion filed in federal court on October 6, 2006, Padilla describes how torture was used to break him down physically and mentally.

The following are some of the abuse reported in this legal document:

All this is the kind of torture, and these are the kinds of torturers, that the U.S. President and the U.S. Congress have worked to legitimize and protect from prosecution.

The tortures and cruel treatment that Padilla describes are acts that have long been categorized as war crimes under both the U.S. War Crimes Act and the international treaties called the Geneva Conventions. And these are exactly the kinds of tortures and cruel treatments that the White House intends to legalize retroactively, by having the wording of War Crimes Act rewritten in the new Military Commissions Act.

While Padilla was being held and tortured, with no rights at all, a federal court case was filed challenging his imprisonment without trial. The White House moved to prevent the Supreme Court from ruling on whether a president could seize and hold U.S. citizens like this, without charges, by officially pressing charges against Jose Padilla in November 2005. This after holding him for almost 4 years of imprisonment and torture. There are now plans to bring Padilla to trial in January 2007. The U.S. government did not actually charge Padilla with planning any armed attacks within the U.S.—despite the public accusations for years associating him with plans for so-called “dirty bomb” attacks. And yet he still faces life in prison if convicted of the charges they did make.

Throughout the last 4 years, the U.S. government has never presented any evidence to back any of their accusations against Padilla. There have been reports that the U.S. government forced other prisoners, under torture, to implicate Padilla, but such coerced statements prove nothing other than the cruelty and ruthlessness of the U.S. government.

The motion Padilla’s attorney filed demands that all charges against Padilla now be dropped because of the “outrageous government conduct.”

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The motion filed in U.S. District Court in Miami on Padilla’s behalf is available online:

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