Small world department

This Wednesday (6 December) the media of book publishing and the media of blog publishing collide at an event in lower Manhattan. Bill Scher, e-mails to tell us:

Hi everyone. Just wanted to let you know that my last NYC book tour appearance is this Wednesday 12/6, 8 to 9 PM, for a panel discussion, “Blogs ‘n Books: A Conversation with Three Authors,” including Eric Boelhert (“Lapdogs“), Michael Berube (“What’s Liberal About The Liberal Arts?”) and myself [Bill wrote “Wait! Don’t Move to Canada!”], moderated by Elana Levin of the Drum Major Institute.
It will be taking place at The Tank, located on 279 Church Street between Franklin and White.
By subway, take the 1 to Franklin Street, or take the A, C, E, J, M, Z, N, Q, R, W, Z, or 6 to Canal Street.

Regular readers of course, are aware that this humble blog has interviewed not just one, not two, but all three of these esteemed blogger authors, Boehlert, Berube and Scher.
Also in the small world department, and without even leaving that smaller-than-the-Green-Zone area known as lower Manhattan, we give you this account of the destruction of the mind of American citizen Jose Padilla, at a time when he wasn’t even charged with a crime, but still held FOR YEARS under conditions (Padilla claims he was forced to stand in painful stress positions, given LSD or some other drug as a “truth serum,” subjected to loud noises and noxious odors, and forced to endure sleep deprivation, extreme heat and cold, and harsh lights… again, consistent with what others held in the war on terror have contended, often verified by FBI agents and others) that can only be described as torture (other than in the self-serving descriptions of the Bush Administration, accounts and definitions of torture designed as if by Mafia lawyers trying to come up with ways to get their clients off.) Of particular note were images of Mr. Padilla being led out of his cell for dental work, while wearing blackout goggles and chained in all directions, an account consistent with how our government has been abusing treating prisoners throughout the war on terror… it’s just that Padilla happens to be an American citizen, and this was done to him within the United States. Again, not that, by and large, the American public really cares.
Regular readers here are intimately familiar with Mr. Padilla from our interviews with his attorneys, his original attorney Donna Newman, and the attorney later added to the Padilla legal team, Andrew Patel (who happens to have an office very near my own).
Mr. Patel is featured prominently in the WaPo piece. Readers will note that the subject of my interviews with Ms. Newman and Mr. Patel did not include Mr. Padilla’s physical treatment; I was aware that this was one of the subjects they were not supposed to talk about as part of their representation (in contrast to some of the Gitmo lawyers, who have, at least in some cases, been cleared to talk about at least some of their clients’ treatment.)
At this point, the treatment is coming out because the Padilla defense team intends to use the treatment as part of the defense; for example, Mr. Patel observes that Padilla may well believe that his entire representation is just part of the interrogation process– an elaborate game akin, for example, to an old Mission Impossible episode… and this, of course, will compromise Mr. Padilla’s ability to aid in his own defense or to receive a fair trial. While we know, of course, that there is no actual legally cogizable case against Mr. Padilla– except perhaps one based on information obtained by torturing madman Abu Zubayah— the government is pressing on anyway.
And there we have it. For the umpteenth time (I have kept calling Mr. Padilla’s case the most important of our lifetime, and I continue to assert that if Mr. Padilla can be put through what he has been put through, without due process of law and with the connivance of the courts of the United States, then none of us are safe from tyranny– none of us), you can say what you will, but Brooklyn born Mr. Padilla is a citizen of this country who has been afforded none of the rights guaranteed to him by our Constitution. None of them. And his lawyers have now given compelling evidence that the government has– not accidentally, but quite intentionally, literally at the personal direction of the President of the United States– tortured him (and quite probably driven him insane.)
Small world. In many ways, too damned small-minded as well.