FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Apartheid Justice in America

 

“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

 

More articles by:

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.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
March 27, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Rob Urie
Bailouts for the Rich, the Virus for the Rest of Us
Louis Proyect
Life and Death in the Epicenter
Paul Street
“I Will Not Kill My Mother for Your Stock Portfolio”
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: The Scum Also Rises
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
Stimulus Bill Allows Federal Reserve to Conduct Meetings in Secret; Gives Fed $454 Billion Slush Fund for Wall Street Bailouts
Jefferson Morley
Could the Death of the National Security State be a Silver Lining of COVID-19?
Ruth Hopkins
A Message For America from Brazil’s First Indigenous Congresswoman
Kathleen Wallace
The End of the Parasite Paradigm
Anthony DiMaggio
Misinformation and the Coronavirus: On the Dangers of Depoliticization and Social Media
Andrew Levine
Neither Biden Nor Trump: Imagine Cuomo
David Rosen
God’s Vengeance: the Christian Right and the Coronavirus
David Schultz
The Covid-19 Bailout: Another Failed Opportunity at Structural Change
Evaggelos Vallianatos
In the Grip of Disease
Edward Leer
Somebody Else’s World: An Interview with Kelly Reichardt
Robert Fisk
What Trump is Doing in the Middle East While You are Distracted by COVID-19
Daniel Warner
COVID-19: Health or Wealth?
Thomas Klikauer – Norman Simms
Corona in Germany: Hording and Authoritarianism
Ramzy Baroud
BJP and Israel: Hindu Nationalism is Ravaging India’s Democracy
Richard Moser
Russia-gate: the Dead But Undead
Ron Jacobs
Politics, Pandemics and Trumpism
Chris Gilbert
Letter From Catalonia: Alarming Measures
Richard Eskow
Seven Rules for the Boeing Bailout
Jonathan Carp
Coronavirus and the Collapse of Our Imaginations
Andrew Bacevich
The Coronavirus and the Real Threats to American Safety and Freedom
Peter Cohen
COVID-19, the Exponential Function and Human the Survival
César Chelala - Alberto Luis Zuppi
The Pope is Wrong on Argentina
James Preston Allen
Alexander Cockburn Meets Charles Bukowski at a Sushi Bar in San Pedro
Jérôme Duval
The Only Oxygen Cylinder Factory in Europe is Shut down and Macron Refuses to Nationalize It
Neve Gordon
Gaza Has Been Under Siege for Years. Covid-19 Could Be Catastrophic
Alvaro Huerta
To Survive the Coronavirus, Americans Should Learn From Mexicans
Prabir Purkayastha
Why the Coronavirus Pandemic Poses Fundamental Challenges to All Societies
Raouf Halaby
Fireside Chatterer Andrew Cuomo for President
Thomas Drake
The Sobering Realities of the American Dystopia
Negin Owliaei
Wash Your Hands…If You Have Water
Felice Pace
A New Threat to California’s Rivers:  Will the Rush to Develop Our Newest Water Source Destroy More Streams?
Ray Brescia
What 9/11 Can Teach Us About Responding to COVID-19
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
The Covid-19 Opportunity
John Kendall Hawkins
An Age of Intoxication: Pick Your Poison
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
The Propaganda Virus: Is Anyone Immune?
Nicky Reid
Fear and Loathing in Coronaville Volume 1: Dispatches From a Terrified Heartland
Nolan Higdon – Mickey Huff
Don’t Just Blame Trump for the COVID-19 Crisis: the U.S. Has Been Becoming a Failed State for Some Time
Susan Block
Coronavirus Spring
David Yearsley
Lutz Alone
CounterPunch News Service
Letter from Truthdig’s Editor-in-Chief Robert Scheer to the Publisher Zuade Kaufman
CounterPunch News Service
Statement From Striking Truthdig Workers
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail