FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Apartheid Justice in America

by MIKE WHITNEY

 

“Where there is injustice for one, there is injustice for all.”

Martin Luther King

In the three years that Jose Padilla has been locked away in solitary confinement, the government has been unable to cobble together enough evidence to even charge him with a crime. They have nothing on him, just the ever-changing claims of a Justice Dept that shows less respect for justice than it does for personal liberty.

Originally, Attorney General John Ashcroft claimed that Padilla was a “dirty bomber” who intended to detonate nuclear material within the US. Two years later, Ashcroft reversed his claims saying that Padilla was planning to blow up apartment buildings with natural gas pipelines. Just recently, the government changed its story for a third time, saying that Padilla was “on the battlefield” in Afghanistan which made him an enemy combatant. This last twist to the story came in response to the ruling in Hamdi vs. Rumsfeld which allows the government to indefinitely detain any American citizen “picked up off the battlefield” while fighting the US.

It’s a fabrication, of course, but the DOJ doesn’t mind the sloppiness of the deception as long as their goals are achieved; in this case, the permanent imprisonment of an American Muslim.

The Padilla case is of particular interest now that we have a genuine case of domestic terrorism we can use for comparison.

Last week, Earl Krugel was sentenced to 20 years in prison for his role in plot to bomb a mosque and a US congressman’s office near Los Angeles. Krugel was an active member in the Jewish Defense League (JDL), a radical Jewish organization founded by Rabbi Meir Kahane who “advocated the forceful removal of Arabs from Israel”. The JDL received considerable negative attention in 1994 when one of its members, Baruch Goldstein, went on a shooting-spree in a mosque in Hebron killing 29 Muslim worshippers and wounding approximately 100 others. Goldstein had gained notoriety earlier as a physician in the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) for “refusing to treat non-Jews, even those serving in the IDF”. This history of violence and bigotry helps us to understand the background for Krugal’s homicidal intentions. He emerged from a culture of religious and sectarian hatred.

Krugel was caught red-handed in “a conspiracy to violate the civil rights of worshippers at Culver City’s King Fahd Mosque and one count of carrying an explosive device in connection with a conspiracy to impede or injure Republican US Rep. Darrell Issa”. (Seattle Times) The evidence against him was overwhelming.

US District Court Judge Ronald Lew threw the book at Krugal saying that his actions “promoted hatred in the most vile way”. He sentenced him to the maximum of 20 years. Unfortunately, the unrepentant Krugal knows a great deal more about the conspiracy then he is willing to admit and has failed a polygraph test 5 times.

“You are not a changed person,” said Judge Lew. “You have more to give.”

Regrettably, only a handful of newspapers published this appalling story of domestic terrorism. It is impossible to explain why the Jewish Krugal escaped the media’s attention while the uncorroborated allegations against the Muslim Padilla attracted widespread coverage in both TV and the print media.

It is even more difficult to grasp why one man is locked away without any chance to defend himself against baseless accusations, while another is given full access to the legal system. We can only assume that there are no longer any objective standards for measuring guilt or innocence, just the fickle inclinations of the men in power. The cases of these two men were decided on the basis of religion alone; a clear indictment of the existing system. By Bush’s standards, Krugal should have been promptly shunted off to Guantanamo to join the countless other terror-suspects who have been completely denied due process. Instead, he was granted a lengthy trial and given every opportunity to acquit himself. Padilla, on the other hand, has been arbitrarily stripped of his civil liberties, with no prospect of establishing his innocence.

Krugal is a radical, a terrorist, and a murderer. Never the less, he has every right to be charged with a crime, to face his accusers, to have an attorney for his defense, to produce witnesses on his behalf, and to be tried by a jury of his peers. These same principles were honored when Timothy McVeigh was charged in the bombing at Oklahoma City and the system worked effectively. Padilla is entitled to these very same rights.

The law is more important than Krugal or the injury he might cause; just as the presumption of innocence is more important than the loss of innocent lives. The law is the only shield the citizen has against the terror of the state, which has traditionally been the greatest threat to humanity. The ongoing imprisonment of Jose Padilla shows that that shield has been removed and replaced with an apartheid-system that operates capriciously and without set standards. The president now has full-authority to rescind the constitution at will and declare any man an enemy combatant at his own discretion. There can be no justice when the fate of men like Padilla depends on the subjective judgment of one man alone.

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He can be reached at: fergiewhitney@msn.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CLARIFICATION

ALEXANDER COCKBURN, JEFFREY ST CLAIR, BECKY GRANT AND THE INSTITUTE FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF JOURNALISTIC CLARITY, COUNTERPUNCH

We published an article entitled “A Saudiless Arabia” by Wayne Madsen dated October 22, 2002 (the “Article”), on the website of the Institute for the Advancement of Journalistic Clarity, CounterPunch, www.counterpunch.org (the “Website”).

Although it was not our intention, counsel for Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi has advised us the Article suggests, or could be read as suggesting, that Mr Al Amoudi has funded, supported, or is in some way associated with, the terrorist activities of Osama bin Laden and the Al Qaeda terrorist network.

We do not have any evidence connecting Mr Al Amoudi with terrorism.

As a result of an exchange of communications with Mr Al Amoudi’s lawyers, we have removed the Article from the Website.

We are pleased to clarify the position.

August 17, 2005

 

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com.

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
June 24, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
A Blow for Peace and Democracy: Why the British Said No to Europe
Pepe Escobar
Goodbye to All That: Why the UK Left the EU
Michael Hudson
Revolts of the Debtors: From Socrates to Ibn Khaldun
Andrew Levine
Summer Spectaculars: Prelude to a Tea Party?
Kshama Sawant
Beyond Bernie: Still Not With Her
Mike Whitney
¡Basta Ya, Brussels! British Voters Reject EU Corporate Slavestate
Tariq Ali
Panic in the House: Brexit as Revolt Against the Political Establishment
Paul Street
Miranda, Obama, and Hamilton: an Orwellian Ménage à Trois for the Neoliberal Age
Ellen Brown
The War on Weed is Winding Down, But Will Monsanto Emerge the Winner?
Gary Leupp
Why God Created the Two-Party System
Conn Hallinan
Brexit Vote: a Very British Affair (But Spain May Rock the Continent)
Ruth Fowler
England, My England
Jeffrey St. Clair
Lines Written on the Occasion of Bernie Sanders’ Announcement of His Intention to Vote for Hillary Clinton
Norman Pollack
Fissures in World Capitalism: the British Vote
Paul Bentley
Mercenary Logic: 12 Dead in Kabul
Binoy Kampmark
Parting Is Such Sweet Joy: Brexit Prevails!
Elliot Sperber
Show Me Your Papers: Supreme Court Legalizes Arbitrary Searches
Jan Oberg
The Brexit Shock: Now It’s All Up in the Air
Nauman Sadiq
Brexit: a Victory for Britain’s Working Class
Brian Cloughley
Murder by Drone: Killing Taxi Drivers in the Name of Freedom
Ramzy Baroud
How Israel Uses Water as a Weapon of War
Brad Evans – Henry Giroux
The Violence of Forgetting
Ben Debney
Homophobia and the Conservative Victim Complex
Margaret Kimberley
The Orlando Massacre and US Foreign Policy
David Rosen
Americans Work Too Long for Too Little
Murray Dobbin
Do We Really Want a War With Russia?
Kathy Kelly
What’s at Stake
Louis Yako
I Have Nothing “Newsworthy” to Report this Week
Pete Dolack
Killing Ourselves With Technology
David Krieger
The 10 Worst Acts of the Nuclear Age
Lamont Lilly
Movement for Black Lives Yields New Targets of the State
Martha Rosenberg
A Hated Industry Fights Back
Robert Fantina
Hillary, Gloria and Jill: a Brief Look at Alternatives
Chris Doyle
No Fireworks: Bicentennial Summer and the Decline of American Ideals
Michael Doliner
Beyond Dangerous: the Politics of Climate
Colin Todhunter
Modi, Monsanto, Bayer and Cargill: Doing Business or Corporate Imperialism?
Steve Church
Brexit: a Rush for the Exits!
Matthew Koehler
Mega Corporation Gobbles Up Slightly Less-Mega Corporation; Chops Jobs to Increase Profits; Blames Enviros. Film at 11.
David Green
Rape Culture, The Hunting Ground, and Amy Goodman: a Critical Perspective
Ed Kemmick
Truckin’: Pro Driver Dispenses Wisdom, Rules of the Road
Alessandro Bianchi
“China Will React if Provoked Again: You Risk the War”: Interview with Andre Vltchek
Christy Rodgers
Biophilia as Extreme Sport
Missy Comley Beattie
At Liberty
Ron Jacobs
Is Everything Permitted?
Cesar Chelala
The Sad Truth About Messi
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail