Thursday, February 11, 2010

Robert Gibbs joins the liars' club

Appearing on MSNBC this morning, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs made the erroneous claim that the Christmas day bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, was more likely to cooperate with civilian investigators than with military ones. Gibbs cited as a case in point, Jose Padilla, who, he said, only began to talk after he was transferred to a civilian prison.

"Jose Padilla was made an enemy combatant so we could get him to talk," said Gibbs. "And guess what happened: When we made him an enemy combatant, he didn't talk. He did talk when he was transferred back to a civilian court."

Thankfully, both Andrew McCarthy and Thomas Joscelyn have refuted Gibbs' outright lie - saving me from the onerous task of having to dig up all the necessary information myself. Of course, even if I tried, I wouldn't be able to come up with all the resourceful information that these two gentlemen have managed to dig up - and bequeath unto us all:

From Andrew McCarthy - National Review Online:
Padilla is actually the case that best shows the limitations and inadequacies of the civilian justice system as applied to enemy combatants. This fact is obscured because, as the Left keeps repeating, he was eventually transferred from military custody to the civilian justice system, where he was convicted.

Here's what they never tell you: He was not convicted of the most important plot we had against him — the conspiracy with KSM, Binyam Mohammed, and others to carry out a second wave of post-9/11 attacks inside the United States. He was never indicted on that plot because he could not be convicted applying civilian due process standards.

Padilla refused to give information to the FBI, using its regular protocols. It was only when he was designated as an enemy combatant and transferred to military custody (no lawyer involved in interrogations, no Miranda, no case to plea bargain) that he began to give up valuable information. None of those confessions could be admitted under the standards applicable in civilian courts.

Moreover, we knew a lot of other information about him from the interrogations of other Qaeda detainees, like KSM, by the CIA. But that information, too, could not be admitted under civilian court rules unless we were willing to give the sources immunity from prosecution. Since we were never going to immunize the likes of KSM, that was never going to happen.

So how was Padilla prosecuted? By luck, we had another, unrelated case on him. It had nothing to do with his plots against the United States. He was found to be a tangential but complicit member of a conspiracy to support terrorist operations outside the U.S. He was indicted for that plot and eventually convicted. But he received a comparatively minor sentence (17 years) rather than the life-sentence he should have and would have gotten if his major activity could have been proved in a civilian court. Alas, it could not. Thus, he stands to be released from prison in a few years — and, because he is a U.S. citizen, he will be released into our country.
Here's some additional information concerning the outrageously-light sentence that Padilla received:

On January 16, 2008, the LA Times reported as follows:
Jose Padilla and two co-defendants were engaged in terrorism when they conspired to fight in foreign holy wars and should spend 30 years to life in prison, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

The sentencing guidelines imposed by U.S. District Judge Marcia G. Cooke seemed to indicate that... she would heed prosecutors' call for life without parole...

A jury convicted Padilla and his co-defendants in August of conspiracy to murder, maim or kidnap persons abroad and material support to terrorism...

Cooke cited the jury's finding that Padilla had enrolled in an Al Qaeda training camp as proof he was "an instrument of the scheme" to overthrow foreign governments and impose fundamentalist Islamic rule...
However, one week later, on the day the sentence was handed down, Marcia Cooke had a change of heart:

From the LA Times - January 26, 2008:
A federal judge Tuesday rejected prosecutors' pleas that she put Jose Padilla in prison for life, citing the harsh treatment he received during 3 1/2 years he spent in military detention as an enemy combatant...

A jury convicted the three in August of conspiracy to murder, maim or kidnap persons overseas and to provide material support to terrorist groups.

Under the sentence imposed by Cooke, Padilla, 37, will serve 17 years and four months and will receive credit for time served. The Muslim convert could be free before he is 50...

The judge's surprising move to depart from federal sentencing guidelines caused the defendants' attorneys to proclaim symbolic victory...

Cooke deemed the recommended terms of 30 years to life more appropriate to people like Terry L. Nichols, who plotted the 1995 Oklahoma City federal building bombing that killed 168 people, and would-be Sept. 11 hijacker Zacarias Moussaoui.

"There is no evidence that these defendants personally maimed, kidnapped or killed anyone in the United States or elsewhere," Cooke said.
In other words, although Cooke had stated one week earlier that Jose Padilla had engaged in terrorism when he conspired to fight in foreign holy wars, and although she had cited the Padilla's enrollment in an Al Qaeda training camp as proof that he was "an instrument of the scheme" to overthrow foreign governments and impose fundamentalist Islamic rule, she decided to give him a lenient [17 year] sentence because, ultimately, he did not actually maim, kidnap or kill anyone.

Hmmm, Abdulmutallab didn't really kill anybody either, maybe he'll get a light sentence too - providing he remains in civilian detention and receives a fair trial in a civilian court of law. Who knows, with good behavior, he could be released within a few short months.

In any case, Padilla's lenient punishment is a clear manifestation of Michael Savage's time-tested adage: "Liberalism is a mental disorder."

Thomas Joscelyn of the Weekly Standard - like Andrew McCarthy - demolishes Gibbs' contention that Padilla only began to talk after he was transferred into military custody.

You would be better served reading Joscelyn's entire piece at the Weekly Standard, but, if you wish, you can read a few sizeable excerpts from his article right here:
When Padilla was initially detained by the FBI in May 2002, authorities knew he was up to no good. The FBI questioned Padilla for several hours but got nowhere. A copy of the FBI’s 302 memo written after the initial questioning of Padilla shows that al Qaeda’s man gave the bureau nothing. Padilla talked about his personal history but said nothing about his real intentions or his nefarious friends.

FBI agent Russell Fincher has
testified that the Bureau initially sought Padilla’s cooperation in stopping an impending al Qaeda attack. “I believed there was a terrorist act that was going to happen. I believed he had knowledge of that. I needed his help,” Fincher explained. “I didn't want to arrest him.”

The FBI even offered to put Padilla up in a hotel so they could continue their conversation. But when the agents tried to turn the conversation towards Padilla’s al Qaeda ties, he shut down the interview. “He stood up and told me the interview was over and it was time for him to go,” Fincher recalled during testimony.

Padilla was then read a Miranda warning, arrested on a material witness warrant and transferred to the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in New York. There he stayed for one month without giving up anything of importance to the FBI...

After Padilla was transferred to the [military] brig on June 9, 2002, the leading newspapers noted the chief reason for the move: Padilla wasn’t cooperating with authorities...

The Washington Post gave this summary on June 12:
[Padilla]'s unwillingness to cooperate with authorities was the primary factor in his transfer to military custody, the officials said. One official said [Padilla] repeatedly resisted the efforts of FBI agents and representatives of the U.S. attorney's office to interview him, both through his lawyer and at least once in a face-to-face meeting inside the MCC.
Padilla would ultimately talk. But, contrary to Gibbs and Brennan, it wasn’t until he was placed in the military’s custody--not when he was returned to the civilian court system.

On June 1, 2004, the Defense Department released
a memo summarizing what was known about Padilla both before and after he was transferred into the military’s custody. The second page of the memo contains two paragraphs concerning what authorities had learned about Padilla up until June 9, 2002, the day he was transferred into the military’s custody. As the aforementioned press accounts make clear, authorities had garnered no information from Padilla himself. The DoD cited “intelligence information” and “our information” but no admissions by Padilla. Nearly all of the information on Padilla up until that point came from other al Qaeda detainees and sources.

The memo then reads: “Since that time [June 9, 2002], additional and more detailed intelligence information about Jose Padilla has been developed and made available in unclassified form.”

That additional information includes several pages of unclassified intelligence, including a number of admissions by Padilla, which were corroborated by other detainees.

Here are just some of the admissions Padilla made while in military custody:
Padilla has admitted that he attended the al Qaeda-affiliated al Farouq training camp in Afghanistan in September-October 2000 under the name Abdullah Al-Espani. …

Padilla also admits that he first met al Qaeda military commander Abu Hafs al-Masri, aka Mohammed Atef (“Atef”), in Afghanistan when Atef approached him in the al Farouq camp....

During his initial interview with the FBI, Padilla wouldn’t even admit that he traveled into Afghanistan. Once in the military’s custody, Padilla admitted that he conspired with some of the most senior al Qaeda operatives of all-time to attack the American homeland after 9/11 from Afghan and Pakistani soil...
Enough is enough - this post is way too long. You can always read the full article by clicking here.

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