Bearing Witness to Bush Era Torture: The Feet of Jose Padilla, a U.S. Citizen, Sticking Through an Opening

The photo of Jose Padilla’s feet (below) was posted at Andrew Sullivan’s website on March 29, 2009. Jose Padilla, a U.S. citizen, was abused and tortured during George Bush’s administration, and the abuse and torture happened BEFORE he was presented with formal legal charges or a trial. According to Padilla’s legal team, Padilla was subjected to various forms of torture. Wikipedia lists the following as things that Padilla’s legal team says that he suffered:

. . . sensory deprivation, sleep deprivation, [and] enforced stress positions . . .

In other words, not only was this U.S. citizen not given the protections of our constitution against cruel and unusual punishment, he was not accorded his right to know what he was being arrested for, nor to his right to a speedy trial and a presumption of innocence.

Padilla was held as an enemy combatant for three and a half years before a judge finally ruled that his case was to be transferred to a civilian court. The civilian court functioned properly and reached a sentence on Padilla, giving him 17 years in prison.

It may well be that Padilla constituted a threat to this country. It is also the case that the tactics used by the Bush administration constituted a serious and unnecessary breach of our laws, and the safeguards accorded to citizens. The civilian courts showed their ability to reach a conviction on a suspected terrorist conspirer without compromising American ideals. We must not become the paranoid authoritarians that we are trying to protect ourselves from:


About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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