The Case Against Jose Padilla, Getting Worse by the Day

May 24, 2007 at 10:52 am | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, Jose Padilla, Torture | 2 Comments

The United States government’s case against Jose Padilla is getting worse and worse by the day. What started out as hyper-hysterical fearmongering dirty-bomber plot to kill thousands of Americans, has now turned into a fiasco. Lewis Koch writes for Firedoglake about the trial. Note the ridiculousness of the government’s case and witnesses:

Days into the Padilla trial the prosecution presented what was to be their key witness. This was a repentant Yahya Goba, sentenced in his 20s to 10 years in prison for being a terrorist and testifying, he said, in hopes of leniency. Goba, was the prosecutors’ “second” serious witness and had been a member of Yemeni-American Al Qaeda “sleeper cell” in Lackawanna, N.Y. (The first had been a “disguised” CIA agent who, though only able to speak and read English, miraculously made his way through a truck load of documents given to him by an anonymous Afghani whereupon, our intrepid CIA agent just happens upon an Al Qaeda recruitment document (in Afghani) signed by Padilla.)

Warren Richey of The Christian Science Monitor captured the chaos of the government’s case brilliantly in his May 21, 2007 story.

… [T]he picture of Goba that is emerging from the witness stand at Padilla’s trial is less menacing than federal prosecutors had hoped. Rather than boosting the government’s case, his testimony appears to be helping Padilla make his..

The government had hoped to use the fact of Goba’s “terrorist training” in Afghanistan as a replica of the training Padilla had undergone.

In this cross examination, captured by Richey, we see why the Justice Department never wanted Padilla to have his own attorneys.

“Are you now, or have you ever been a terrorist?” Padilla defense lawyer Michael Caruso asked.

“No,” [Yahya] Goba answered.

“You felt that it was necessary to do this training so that if called upon, you could help your [Muslim] brothers and sisters facing atrocities all over the world?” Mr. Caruso asked.

“Yes,” Goba said.

Defense lawyers asked Goba to explain his beliefs about jihad, or Islamic holy war. He agreed that jihad can represent an inner struggle within a Muslim and that when it takes the form of physical fighting, it is only acceptable in defense of Islam and Muslims. (Emphasis added)

“So murder is not jihad?” asked William Swor, a lawyer for a Padilla codefendant. “Unfairly injuring someone is not jihad?”

“Yes,” Goba answered to both questions.

Richey summed up how well the prosecutors had done.

By the end of the cross examination, prosecutors knew they were in trouble…”

So – what do we have, so far?. A CIA agent who can’t read any Afghani finds a recruiting application in Afghani signed by Padilla. Goba? He says jihad is not murder, so saying Padilla was bent on jihad didn’t mean all that much.

What does the Justice Department have in the way of evidence?.

They have 300,000 taped phone conversations, of which 230 phone calls are the heart of its case. Of those 230 calls, 21 make reference to Jose Padilla. Of those 21 phone conversations, Padilla’s voice is heard on seven. Of those 7, there are discussions about having some “picnics,” so they could “smell fresh air and eat cheese” and oh, yes, a very “significant” blather when Padilla talks about spending $3500 on “zucchini.” No talks of terrorists acts, no bombs. Nothing.

The government claims the food references were code.

Even if this conjecture is true, can the government prove zucchini translates to terrorist bombs? What vegetables are code for murder, kidnapping, and maiming?

Terrorist zucchini? A hidden CIA operative who admitted he didn’t know Arabic was able to find a piece of paper among thousands written in Arabic that had Padilla’s name on it? WTF?!?!?!?! Could this be more imbecile?

Let’s also not forget that for about four years, the government held this AMERICAN CITIZEN as they have held prisoners down in Gitmo, and have done some pretty horrible things to him. All for, what exactly?


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  1. What vegetables are code for murder, kidnapping, and maiming?

    I think that would be Brussel sprouts, lima beans and okra, in that order.

    All for, what exactly?

    For the purpose of doing its own terrorizing of the American people, so that they can further their own aims in expanding the American Empire. But don’t worry: I’m sure it’s all done in the best of intentions, because the American Way of Life must be preserved at all costs. In the words of Madeline Albright, if it costs hundreds of thousands of non-American lives, it’ll be “worth it”.

  2. I have read many comments .I would like to know if jose padilla co receive letters? coe

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