Thursday, November 24, 2005

NYT: "Shift on Suspect Is Linked to Role of Qaeda Figures" (Douglas Jehl & Eric Lichtblau)

Accusations about plots to set off a "dirty bomb" and use natural gas lines to bomb American apartment buildings had featured prominently in past administration statements about Mr. Padilla, an American who had been held in military custody for more than three years after his arrest in May 2002.
But they were not mentioned in his criminal indictment on lesser charges of support to terrorism that were made public on Tuesday. The decision not to charge him criminally in connection with the more far-ranging bomb plots was prompted by the conclusion that Mr. Mohammed and Mr. Zubaydah could almost certainly not be used as witnesses, because that could expose classified information and could open up charges from defense lawyers that their earlier statements were a result of torture, officials said.
Without that testimony, officials said, it would be nearly impossible for the United States to prove the charges. Moreover, part of the bombing accusations hinged on incriminating statements that officials say Mr. Padilla made after he was in military custody - and had been denied access to a lawyer.
"There's no way you could use what he said in military custody against him," a former senior government official said.

The above is from Douglas Jehl and Eric Lichtblau's "Shift on Suspect Is Linked to Role of Qaeda Figures" in this morning's New York Times. So let me get this right, the anonymice are the "dissident voices." They're argument is that because techniques were used on some witnesses in military custody (we'd call "techniques" torture), that it was too great a risk (to the military) to charge Jose Padilla with the crimes J-Ass trumpted back in June of 2002.

That's the dissent in this article. A person is charged with a crime. The burden of proof is upon the accuser. Unless it's an article in the Times. Then there's no need to get a statement for this article from the defense.

The article operates under Padilla's guilt and if only, gosh golly, the American people weren't so pesky about torture, we could charge him.

There aren't two sides to this article. There's the government's side which is that Padilla is guilty. Under that are two sub-threads. Let's do it in outline form to make it easier to follow.

I. Jose Padilla is charged
A) He's guilty.
B) We didn't use all witnesses because we didn't want torture to come up but he's guilty.

It's the same strand. Anonymice or not, they're singing the song. Some add a bridge to the version, some go straight for the "He's guilty!" chorus.

It must be nice to be a prosecutor who doesn't have to argue a case publicly -- for the Times. It must be nice to be a prosecutor who doesn't need a judge or jury -- for the Times.

Where are remarks from the defense in this story? The Times would attempt to point to another story in their paper. That's nonsense. This is their lead story on Padilla today. You don't do justice (or basic journalism) in a sidebar. The burden of proof, at the Times, is on Padilla. (I'm referring to the reporting. A visitor e-mailed yesterday about an editorial, I attempt to focus on the reporting.)

Rod gives a heads up to a scheduled topic for today's Democracy Now!:

An interview with the "Chimpanzee Lady" - Renowned primatologist Jane Goodall on her Guide to Mindful Eating, animals, the environment and her life.

The e-mail address for this site is