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.

May 04, 2016
Kshama Sawant
It’s Not About Bernie: Why We Can’t Let Our Revolution Die in Philadelphia
Conn Hallinan
Baiting the Bear: Russia and NATO
Joshua Frank
Hanford’s Leaky Nuke Tanks and Sick Workers, A Never-Ending Saga
Paul Craig Roberts
TIPP: Advancing American Imperialism
Ted Rall
Hillary to Bernie Supporters: Don’t Vote for Me!
Eric Draitser
Hillary Clinton and Wall Street’s Neoliberal War on Latin America
Leslie Scott
The Story of Jill Stein: Putting People, Peace and the Planet Before Profits
Ann Garrison
Building the Greens Into a Mass Party: Interview with Bruce Dixon
Tom Clifford
Crying Rape: Trump’s Slurs Against China
Lawrence Davidson
Getting Rid of Bad Examples: Andrew Jackson & Woodrow Wilson
Ellen Brown
Bank of North Dakota Soars Despite Oil Bust: A Blueprint for California?
Nelson Valdes
Is Fidel Castro Outside or Part of Mainstream Thinking? A Selection of Quotes
Jesse Jackson
Don’t Send Flint Down the Drain: Fix It!
Nathan Riley
Help Bernie Keep His Halo
Rivera Sun
Remembering Nonviolent History: Freedom Rides
Clancy Sigal
Rachel and the Isolationists: How Maddow Blew It
Laura Finley
Changing the Conversation About “The Woman Card”
CJ Hopkins
Coming this Summer … Revenge of the Bride of Sophie’s Choice
May 03, 2016
Gary Leupp
Hillary Clinton’s Foreign Policy Resumé: What the Record Shows
Michèle Brand – Arun Gupta
What is the “Nuit Debout”?
Chuck Churchill
The Failures of Capitalism, Donald Trump and Right Wing Terror
Dave Marsh
Bernie and the Greens
John Wight
Zionism Should be on Trial, Not Ken Livingstone
Rev. John Dear
A Dweller in Peace: the Life and Times of Daniel Berrigan
Patrick Cockburn
Saudi Arabia’s Great Leap Forward: What Would Mao Think?
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Electoral Votes Matter: Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders vs Donald Trump
Chris Gilbert
Venezuela Today: This Must Be Progress
Pepe Escobar
The Calm Before the Coming Global Storm
Ruth Fowler
Intersecting with the Identity Police (Or Why I Stopped Writing Op-Eds)
Victor Lasa
The Battle Rages on in Spain: the Country Prepares for Repeat Elections in June
Jack Rasmus
Is the US Economy Heading for Recession?
Dean Baker
Time for an Accountable Federal Reserve
Ted Rall
Working for US Gov Means Never Saying Sorry
Dave Welsh
Hunger Strikers at Mission Police Station: “Stop the execution of our people”
John Eskow
The Death of Prince and the Death of Lonnie Mack
May 02, 2016
Michael Hudson – Gordon Long
Wall Street Has Taken Over the Economy and is Draining It
Paul Street
The Bernie Fade Begins
Ron Jacobs
On the Frontlines of Peace: the Life of Daniel Berrigan
Louis Yako
Dubai Transit
Bill Quigley
Teacher, Union Leader, Labor Lawyer: Profile of Chris Williams Social Justice Advocate
Patrick Cockburn
Into the Green Zone: Iraq’s Disintegrating Political System
Lawrence Ware
Trump is the Presidential Candidate the Republicans Deserve
Ron Forthofer
Just Say No to Corporate Rule
Ralph Nader
The Long-Distance Rebound of Bernie Sanders
Ken Butigan
Remembering Daniel Berrigan, with Gratitude
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail