Constitutional law and Padilla

Paul Craig Roberts [former US Assistant Secretary of the Treasury; co-author (with Lawrence Stratton) of The Tyranny of Good Intentions]: writes

The only case the DOJ was able to manufacture against Padilla was that he was a “terrorist-wannabe.”

Padilla was thus indicted on the Benthamite grounds that he might commit a terrorist act in the future. By the time Padilla went to trial, he had been demonized for years in the media as the “dirty bomb” terrorist. In the Washington Post, August 17, 2007, Peter Whoriskey described the Padilla jury as a patriotic jury that appeared in court with one row of jurors dressed in red, one in white, and one in blue. As Lawrence Stratton and I write in the new edition of The Tyranny of Good Intentions: “It was a jury primed to be psychologically and emotionally manipulated by federal prosecutors. No member of this jury was going to return home to accusations of letting off the “dirty bomber.”

The main “evidence” introduced against Padilla was an unrelated 10-year old video of Osama bin Laden, which served to arouse in jurors fear, anger, and disturbing memories of September 11.

The prosecutors also claimed to have a form that Padilla is alleged to have completed in 2000, prior to September 11, 2001, to attend an al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan. At that time Al Qaeda and the Taliban were fighting against a remnant of the Northern Alliance containing elements of the old Soviet regime to unify Afghanistan as an Islamic state.

Although it is far fetched that al Qaeda sent out applications to attend its training camps, any such application by Padilla predated the 9/11 attack and was related only to domestic affairs in Afghanistan. Any such application has no relevance to any act of terrorism.Padilla was convicted on all counts.

In handing down a 17-year sentence, US District Judge Marcia Cooke denied the prosecutors’ request for a life sentence and observed: “There is no evidence that these defendants personally maimed, kidnapped or killed anyone in the United States or elsewhere.”Under Blackstonian law, the basis of the US Constitution, the Padilla case has no crime and no intent to commit a crime.

Judge Cooke vaguely recognized this, but US law has been pushed off its Blackstonian basis and is being reconstructed on a Benthamite basis.Benthamite law is the great ally of tyranny. It permits people to be arrested on the suspicion that they might commit a crime in the future, to be tortured, and to be held indefinitely.