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Friday, December 12, 2014

Merry Christmas Jose Padilla (by the General's Inner Frenchman)

He paused as though he expected Furniture to speak. Furniture tried to shrink back into the surface of the bed again, away from the boot, away from the forcibly administered LSD and the PCP, away from the waterboarding and simulated executions, back into the isolation that had destroyed Jose and given birth to Furniture, the isolation Jose had hated but Furniture now craved.
--"A Reading from Orwell's 'Furniture'"
I've thought about Jose Padilla a lot since Pastor General John Ashcroft announced his arrest in May 2002. Originally, he was accused of attempting to build and use a dirty bomb. He was never indicted under that charge. Instead he was charged and convicted of conspiracy to materially aid terrorists, a very broad, catchall-type charge, the kind of charge desperate prosecutors used to get that prestigious terror notch on their swagger stick.

Between his arrest and trial, Padilla was brutally tortured:
In 2002, President Bush declared Padilla an “enemy combatant” and ordered him to be placed in military custody. U.S. officials seized Padilla from a civilian jail in New York and secretly transported him to the Naval Consolidated Brig in Charleston, S.C., where they held him for 43 months without charge. Interrogators subjected Padilla to torture and other egregious forms of abuse, including forcing him into stress positions for hours on end, punching him, depriving him of sleep and threatening him with further torture, “extraordinary rendition” and death.
He was also drugged with powerful hallucinogens and needed medication was denied to him.

By trial time, he was a broken man, suffering from Stockholm syndrome, extreme paranoia, and PTSD. His lawyer, Andrew Patel, described Padilla's mental state:
Mr. Padilla remains unsure if I and the other attorneys working on his case are actually his attorneys or another component of the government’s interrogation scheme...He is especially reluctant to discuss what happened in the brig, fearful that he will be returned there some day...During questioning [by his attorney], he often exhibits facial tics, unusual eye movements and contortions of his body. The contortions are particularly poignant since he is usually manacled and bound by a belly chain when he has meetings with counsel...I was told by members of the brig staff that Mr. Padilla’s temperament was so docile and inactive that his behavior was like that of "a piece of furniture."
Like furniture.

Currently, Padilla is serving time in one of America's harshest and most violent federal prisons, the Florence Supermax in Colorado, a place where guards beat the prisoners and prisoners disembowel each other and decorate their cells with livers and intestines.

His nightmare continues.

I won't argue that Padilla is completely innocent. I don't know. I do suspect that, if anything, his crime was minor, the kind of thing white people do and then brag about on Twitter without consequences.

Regardless of his guilt, it was wrong to torture him. We can't fix that. Nothing we can do can even come close to fixing that. But we can make his time at Florence a little easier by sending money to his commissary account, and at a place as violent as Florence, a little money in a commissary account can be very important.

How to send money to Jose Padilla's prison commissary account. 
  1. Go to Western Union's "Send Money to an Inmate" Page
  2. Select "Federal Bureau of Prison" as the facility name, enter amount you want to send, and click "get started"
  3. on next page: click "send online"
  4. Do the registration thing*
  5. Receiver Info: Name: enter "Jose Padilla;" Inmates account# and last name: enter "20796424PADILLA" (just like that--no spaces)
  6. Enter credit card info and finish up.
*I understand registration is a hassle, and I hate it, but it's the easiest way to do it. You can also send a money order by mail. (Inmate Number 20796-424). Or in the worst case (because I don't want to do it) you can send the money to me via paypal button at top and I'll send it on. Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter at @JC_Christian if you do that, but, again, I prefer that you don't.

If you disagree with me for doing this or you think I'm being unAmerican, a communist, all muslimy, a terrorist, etc, go fuck yourself. See, that's why I don't write anymore. I'm just too damned angry.

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We'll try dumping haloscan and see how it works.