Torturing an American
The U.S. Congress has approved this president's extraordinary powers to detain any one at will, without charges, keep them indefinitely, and torture them if the president wants to. Some have argued that this can only happen to non-citizens. That is untrue. Glenn Greenwald has new and important data on what was done to Jose Padilla, a U.S. citizen and terror suspect, captured by the government, detained for almost three years in isolation with ever being formally charged, and, of course, tortured on the president's orders. Money quote from his lawyer's brief:
Mr. Padilla was often put in stress positions for hours at a time. He would be shackled and manacled, with a belly chain, for hours in his cell. Noxious fumes would be introduced to his room causing his eyes and nose to run. The temperature of his cell would be manipulated, making his cell extremely cold for long stretches of time. Mr. Padilla was denied even the smallest, and most personal shreds of human dignity by being deprived of showering for weeks at a time, yet having to endure forced grooming at the whim of his captors...
He was threatened with being cut with a knife and having alcohol poured on the wounds. He was also threatened with imminent execution. He was hooded and forced to stand in stress positions for long durations of time. He was forced to endure exceedingly long interrogation sessions, without adequate sleep, wherein he would be confronted with false information, scenarios, and documents to further disorient him. Often he had to endure multiple interrogators who would scream, shake, and otherwise assault Mr. Padilla.
Additionally, Mr. Padilla was given drugs against his will, believed to be some form of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) or phencyclidine (PCP), to act as a sort of truth serum during his interrogations.
We live in a country where one man - the president - now has the power to detain any one at will, without being charged for years at a time, and tortured. This isn't an emergency provision, to be revoked when a conflict ends. Since this war has no fixed enemy and no fixed end, it is now our permanent reality. America as we have known it, is over. Al Qaeda never had the power to do this damage to constitutional liberties. We did it to ourselves.