"A piece of furniture"
December 4, 2006 12:42 PM   Subscribe

Window Into a Terror Suspect’s Isolation. American citizen and enemy combatant Jose Padilla gets a root canal. [Via Hullabaloo.]
posted by homunculus (41 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
government-funded health care is clearly a bad idea.

expensive, too
posted by matteo at 12:47 PM on December 4, 2006

In other, easy to miss news: McKenzie man gets 30 years for bomb plotting
posted by homunculus at 1:00 PM on December 4, 2006

That should say 'former enemy combatant' actually, since his status was changed.

If I made this sound comic, I apologize. The article is quite disturbing.
posted by homunculus at 1:26 PM on December 4, 2006

Somewhere Philip K. Dick is laughing at us.
posted by rdone at 1:27 PM on December 4, 2006

Man. He may or may not have been up to something no good, but would the US gov't treat Osama Bin Laden that extremely (if they ever get him)? Seems like Padilla is getting some kind of weird, undeserved pile-on.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:35 PM on December 4, 2006

I thought he was British.
posted by hal9k at 1:36 PM on December 4, 2006

I get the feeling God just isn't blessing America anymore.
posted by Citizen Premier at 2:12 PM on December 4, 2006

No, You've got 'em mixed up
posted by delmoi at 2:28 PM on December 4, 2006

i could just cry for all of us for allowing this
posted by amberglow at 2:57 PM on December 4, 2006

"The sad truth is that most evil
is done by people who never make
up their minds to be good or evil."
--Hannah Arendt (it's the anniv of her death today)
posted by amberglow at 3:08 PM on December 4, 2006 [4 favorites]

Wow. It's like they not only forgot about the bill of rights, but physically shat upon it.
posted by tehloki at 3:18 PM on December 4, 2006

His treatment in the 'Brig' is standard at a SuperMax prison. Bright lights 23 hours a day. No outside windows. No communication with officers, other than food trays. Simply extreme isolation. Very expensive, and unashamedly perverse in its extraordinary cruelty. So we choose, what offends us more? Simple illegality, or legal niceties?
posted by econous at 3:38 PM on December 4, 2006

that's a trick question, isn't it
posted by matteo at 4:56 PM on December 4, 2006

I'm just here to even up the post count. Should be 15/15 now.

Carry on.
posted by sourwookie at 5:12 PM on December 4, 2006

Still violently pisses me off every time I think about it. I don’t know how anyone can willfully participate in this. It takes an odd sort of mindset to be a prison guard. I’m not denegrating, just something I don’t get. Like being an offensive (American football) lineman. But then there’s doing this. I can’t imagine anyone enjoys the blurring of the lines between police and military by the executive branch. Reading the Greenwald piece, I know how at least one cop feels (and I couldn’t agree more), but from the (ex)military perspective, I get that odd sorta defensive lineman trying to be a center - you keep wanting to tackle the linebacker instead of protect anything.
Not really something you want inside your own boarders.
So, sorta what amberglow (quoting Arendt) said. But I understand the fact of it, I just don’t get why.
Perhaps simply being alive or avoiding pain is enough for some people. But that can’t be an ethos. Just live to live, no purpose to it but continuing to exist? Hell, just stay home and jack off all the time, why be a guard, prosecutor or any such damn thing?
posted by Smedleyman at 5:38 PM on December 4, 2006

What the hell is the point of the goggles and the sound-proof earmuffs?

Why isn't there a "this is completely pointless and dumb" prohibition?
posted by odinsdream at 6:26 PM on December 4, 2006

"i could just cry for all of us for allowing this"

Me too.
posted by wrapper at 6:26 PM on December 4, 2006

The guy is completely docile, according to the article, so a lot of their rituals seem pointless.

I realize he wanted to kill many, many people, but can we figure out exactly why people such as he are taking up arms against the "Crusader-Zionist conspiracy" and solve the problem instead of slowly torturing him?

It just seems like we're breeding more anti-American sentiment this way. This man is probably one of the many examples they use at terrorist training camps to justify their reasoning that the US is aggressing a war against Islam.
posted by spiderskull at 7:42 PM on December 4, 2006

"I realize he wanted to kill many, many people, but ..."

among other points, it has never been shown that he wanted to do anything at all.

so, in that respect, he is no different from you or i.

what freedom are we defending? when will the jack boots come pounding down your hall at 3 am? aren't you proud to have defeated the 'evil empire' and created a 'peace dividend'?

i am ashamed to carry a US passport, although the rest of the world has, so far, been understanding.
posted by altman at 12:55 AM on December 5, 2006

This is obscene. It's the film Brazil made real.
posted by jettloe at 3:13 AM on December 5, 2006

How many inmates are being held in the Bush gulag at Stare Kiejkuty, Poland?
If the answer is "thousands," then the question becomes: Are they being tortured, too? And if the answer is "zero," then the question becomes: Where did they go? ...

posted by amberglow at 9:58 AM on December 5, 2006

What the hell is the point of the goggles and the sound-proof earmuffs?

To make him appear dangerous and evil before justice has its say.
posted by j-urb at 10:44 AM on December 5, 2006

j-urb; I'm not even understanding how it accomplishes that, though. "He's so dangerous, he can kill us by seeing and hearing.

It's ludicrous and insulting.
posted by odinsdream at 12:59 PM on December 5, 2006

What part of "appear" don't you understand? On a subconsious level we all have biases. Showing someone who is wearing goggles and sound-proof earmuffs implies that this person is dangerous. You mock this idea in saying that "He's so dangerous, he can kill us by seeing and hearing" but if he can't in fact harm us by seeing and hearing then why does he have these apparatuses attached to him? What I am suggesting is that the government wanted a photo opt, not that he actually is dangerous. I think we both agree that it is ludicrous and insulting.
posted by j-urb at 2:00 PM on December 5, 2006

The government likes to do these kinds of things, remember the effort that was made to demonize Saddam when he was captured? I'm not saying that anyone is good or bad, but rather that unflattering images have been disseminated to the public to sway opinion before that very public has any facts. I think we all know that images carry some power.
posted by j-urb at 2:05 PM on December 5, 2006

... at this point, Padilla has been destroyed. His case will be written into textbooks in a decade's time, and hopefully students will learn from it. Practically speaking, any hope Jose Padilla had for due process (Fifth Amendment), a fair and speedy trial or adequate legal representation (Sixth Amendment), or freedom from cruel or unusual punishment (Eighth Amendment) disappeared a long time ago. Whatever the outcome of his situation is--and I do hope that ultimately the man regains his freedom, given that the government has not charged him with anything they supposedly retained him for--effectively the only hope left is that we'll learn something from having literally used all the power of the government to ruin a man without so much as charging him with a crime.

Padilla, if anyone needs reminding, is an American citizen. He has not been convicted of anything.

posted by amberglow at 5:28 PM on December 5, 2006

j-urb; please don't mistake my confusion for hostility towards you. The part I'm not understanding is why this is supposed to make him appear more dangerous. It just makes no sense. If you had charged me with coming up with some props for making someone look dangerous, given a prison setting, I would come up with something along the lines of what's shown in Silence of the Lambs. In that case, the writers took what they knew to be dangerous about the man - that he kills people with his bare hands, and often bites people - and translated that into the security measures which included chains to greatly restrict limb movement, and the face mask to shield people from biting.

If, however, you had also seen him wearing silencing earmuffs - you'd say to yourself "Wha?"

It is bad theater - and therefore makes no sense. It is for that reason that it's insulting to people watching.
posted by odinsdream at 8:09 PM on December 5, 2006

At Least We Aren't Nazis!
posted by amberglow at 8:12 PM on December 5, 2006

wtf is wrong with the people in this country?

...the most vile, stinking, contemptible, debased, and humiliating fact about the whole episode is that yesterday, when Padilla's condition was reported on AOL, 75% of AOL's poll responders voted FOR the government's treatment of Padilla. ...
posted by amberglow at 5:41 PM on December 6, 2006

Prison deaths: a national shame
posted by homunculus at 1:21 PM on December 7, 2006

In other terrorism news: charges dropped in "liquid terror" plane plot.
posted by homunculus at 12:59 PM on December 13, 2006

The Fruits of Torture
posted by homunculus at 11:48 PM on December 15, 2006

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