Padilla News

The government subjected Padilla to years of sensory deprivation, blocked most human contact, blackened his windows so he'd have no natural light and no idea of the passage of time (no clock, no radio), and made him sleep on a steel bed with no mattress. But they didn't mistreat him, and the fact he smiled when he saw a prison psychiatrist through a small metal opening in his door proves he's able to interact with people enough to participate in his defense. The contrary opinion by his psychiatrist is due to the fact that Padilla had to wear handcuffs during that interview due to prison rules, so there would be no way that anyone but the staff shrink could actually evaluate what he's really like.

That seems to be the essence of yesterday's testimony.

Washington Post, Padilla Was Deprived, Not Abused, Court Told:

During his 3 1/2 -year detention as an “enemy combatant,” accused al-Qaeda operative Jose Padilla was at various times deprived of a clock, windows and a Koran, and forced to sleep on a metal bed frame without a mattress, according to testimony Tuesday from an official at the Navy brig where he was held in Charleston, S.C.

The account of Sanford E. Seymour, the brig's technical director, was narrow in scope and offered only a glimpse of Padilla's incarceration, which Padilla and his attorneys have said included torture that renders him psychologically unfit to stand trial.

Limited by a court ruling to what he had discussed with a psychologist evaluating Padilla's competence for trial, Seymour's testimony was sketchy but ran contrary to some of Padilla's most serious allegations.

“I told him I knew of no physical abuse,” Seymour testified.

New York Times, Jailers Testify About Padilla’s Confinement:

As Jose Padilla dropped his head and grew still, a senior official from the naval brig in Charleston, S.C., testified on Tuesday in federal court here that he had twice observed Mr. Padilla weeping in the electronically monitored cell where the military detained him for three years and eight months.

The brig’s technical director, Sanford E. Seymour, also said that Mr. Padilla, an American citizen who was designated an enemy combatant in 2002, sometimes slept on a steel bunk without a mattress, that the windows in his 80-square-foot cell were blackened and that brig employees covered up their nametags around him.

Mr. Seymour said that Mr. Padilla, a Muslim, occasionally visited with an imam and that his Koran was taken from him periodically; that he sometimes went outside to shoot baskets or sunbathe; and that when Mr. Padilla believed he had been administered LSD, it was really a flu shot.

These scattershot revelations, elicited by Mr. Padilla’s lawyers in a hearing of sharply limited scope, did not add up to a comprehensive portrait of Mr. Padilla’s time in the brig. But they were nonetheless significant, marking the first time Mr. Padilla’s military jailers were forced to speak publicly about the conditions of his secretive confinement without charges. …

… Bureau of Prisons psychologist, Dr. Buigas, disagreed with the diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder. He said Dr. Zapf’s testing was invalidated by the fact that Mr. Padilla was handcuffed during the tests, a condition imposed on Dr. Zapf by prison officials.

The Times article also notes a debate over the government's attempt to introduce what it says was evidence Padilla is shamming:

Prosecutors tried to introduce into evidence what they said was an internal document from Al Qaeda that coached operatives to be obstructionist if captured, to avoid revealing information and to make a claim of torture even if no mistreatment had occurred. This document, which they referred to as the “Manchester manual” because it was found several years ago in Manchester, England, was what guided Mr. Padilla, they said.

“Don’t I have to have some evidence that Mr. Padilla was aware of this document and studied it?” Judge Cooke asked prosecutors.

In declining to admit the manual into evidence, she added that the manual would have converted the competency hearing into a debate over whether the defendant had been tortured in the brig.

For more on the “Manchester manual” see Dick Destiny's blog and a text of the Manchester manual at Cryptome.

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2 Responses to Padilla News

  1. BroD says:

    Rather than let this post rest on a note of acquiesence, let me record my layman’s opinion that the government is run by a gang of bastards (noting that, in the use of this traditional epithet, I mean no disrespect for individuals born out of wedlock–who, as a class, have made great contributions to our civilization.)

  2. Comrade O'Brien says:

    You may be interested in our Orwellian protest of the Military Commissions Act, under which the US is able to detain Padilla indefinitely. Learn more at

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