As you may or may not have heard, a federal court has ruled that the president may hold Jose Padilla without charge until the conflict with al Qaeda has ended, which is tantamount to saying that Padilla may be held indefinitely. The prosecutors who argued the case asserted that Bush not only had the authority to detain Padilla but also that such power is essential to preventing terrorist strikes. The prosecutors’ justification relies upon sufferance and fear, and flies in the face of our conception of basic rights. It’s typical of post 9-11 rhetoric. But what does this ruling mean? It means that at his discretion the president may snatch up a US citizen up and toss him or her in a cell, without due process. (I am confused as to whether or not this is actually a suspension of habeas corpus, or simply an indefinite postponement of it). People other than US Citizens, well, have been denied due process for a while. Even a citizen may now savor the edge of his empire.
It seems that FEMA’s ban on taking photos of NO’s dead has come to an end. While we still can’t see into the 36 hours that the media was denied access to the city, at least the press’ limbs are less hobbled now. While I discuss the body, remember that first responders in New Orleans were previously ordered to leave corpses on the ground? Two weeks after the hurricane has passed, the bodies can begin to be recovered; it seems that a company, Kenyon Worldwide Disaster Management, with which Bush had previous connections — including a financing scandal during the time he governed Texas — has won the contract to clean up the bodies. This is not surprising: a startling number of corporations with close ties to the administration, including one which has ‘lost’ a billion dollars, have secured major contracts to “reconstruct” the Gulf Coast.