Our views depend on our priorities and the information we receive
The NYT has reported
on the conditions of Jose Padilla's confinement in Florida. I attach, below, pictures that have been filed in the federal district court to show the "outrageous conduct" of the government which the defense says precludes prosecution. These slides are a matter of public record and are available from the court. The slides are taken from a video capture that has not been publicly filed with the court in its entirety.
As Deborah Sontag reports,
Padilla, fitted with blacked-out goggles, was videotaped by the government when he was allowed outside solitary confinement to see a dentist. One spring day during his three and a half years as an enemy combatant, Jose Padilla experienced a break from the monotony of his solitary confinement in a bare cell in the brig at the Naval Weapons Station in Charleston, S.C.
Several guards in camouflage and riot gear approached cell No. 103. They unlocked a rectangular panel at the bottom of the door and Mr. Padilla’s bare feet slid through, eerily disembodied. As one guard held down a foot with his black boot, the others shackled Mr. Padilla’s legs. Next, his hands emerged through another hole to be manacled.
Wordlessly, the guards, pushing into the cell, chained Mr. Padilla’s cuffed hands to a metal belt. Briefly, his expressionless eyes met the camera before he lowered his head submissively in expectation of what came next: noise-blocking headphones over his ears and blacked-out goggles over his eyes. Then the guards, whose faces were hidden behind plastic visors, marched their masked, clanking prisoner down the hall to his root canal.
Pictures of that transport:
An expert psychiatrist for the defense has testified, after 22 hours of examination, that Mr. Padilla's treatment has made him unable to understand the proceedings against him and assist his lawyers.
It's important to understand that these pictures provide only a glimpse of Mr. Padilla's living conditions. Read the whole NYT story and place yourself in the shoes of this man who guards say behaves more like a "piece of furniture" than a human being.
Imagine this life. The man hasn't even been tried yet, and would be held under much better conditions if he had not been labeled an enemy combatant by the Administration (as opposed to the conditions seen here, or even state or federal prison). Padilla faces two charges that each only carry a maximum of fifteen years.