Federal prosecutors have based all of their evidence against Jose Padilla on one document with his signature and his fingerprints. Message to each juror being, “We are from the Justice Department – would we lie to you?”
In the 10 weeks that this conspiracy trial has taken place, where Padilla, Hassoun and Kifah are charged with conspiracy to murder, kidnap or maim people outside the United States, there have been some remarkably creative plays on many vague words, innocuous syllables, virtuous letters, said to reform in crafty variances of pure evil. You – ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the press, the citizens tuning in at home or abroad – are supposed to be convinced of their guilt based on intuition, guesswork.
You – we – are supposed to believe that phrases and words like “playing football”, “eating cheese” and paying $3,500 for “zucchini”, were code for nefarious, illegally evil terrorist deeds and actions for which these three should spend the rest of their lives in jail. Indeed, there was no sting operation which managed to collar these men inside a house with stockpiled weapons, documented plans or poisons. Instead of Semtex, they netted an endless pile of syntax.
The prosecution would have us all believe that words, perhaps millions of surreptitiously tape recorded words, have suspicious, duplicitous terrible hidden meanings. The Feds have 300,000 taped phone calls. Two hundred and thirty of those conversations form the core of the prosecution’s case, of which 21 make reference to Padilla. Of those tapes, Padilla’s voice is heard in only seven of them, and not a single time is Padilla discussing violence. The prosecution hasn’t produced one weapon used for murder, not one blindfold to be used in a kidnapping, not one knife to be used in a maiming.
The government has not allowed the jury or the public to view eighty-seven video tapes of Padilla being questioned in solitary confinement where we could see him, blindfolded, his ears muffled. This could prove that he was or wasn’t handed a piece paper or told to scribble his name in exchange for an extra ten minutes in the exercise yard. Why hasn’t the prosecution shown those tapes?
It doesn’t matter that the Feds have brought in their translators, a CIA operative-in-disguise, and one expert in terrorism whose expertise seems available only to governments. The case boils down to 300,000 telephone conversations with the jury listening only to a teeny-weeny,itsy-bitsy portion of the transcriptions. The prosecutions have made their selections. Here’s one of mine.
Here is part of one phone call on one day –2/08/97 August 2, 1997 never before revealed.