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Dirty Bomb Plot Suspect Hearing Will Be Held in Spartanburg, SC
December 22, 2004
Steve Waldrop, Rad Journal
Alexander Morrison of the Spartanburg Herald-Journal first reported on this hearing

This turn of events is very ironic. Spartanburg has another historic position with nuclear weapons. It was in Spartanburg in 1945 at the home of Donald Russell on Crystal Drive in the Converse Heights section that the decision to drop the bomb on Hiroshima was reached and recommended to President Truman. James F. Bynes ("Co President" - Actually Sec of State) held the meeting at his law partner's home ( Senator Russell was at that time Asst. Sec. of State) . The Federal Building where Jose Padilla will have his hearing is again at Senator Russell's Home - well it is in the building named for him anyway. Senator Russell was a Federal Judge until his death in 1998. Sometimes reality is stranger than fiction.

In the Herald-Journal, Mr. Morrison reported that, Lawyers for Jose Padilla ( an american citizen and accused enemy combatant) will petition for a writ of habeas corpus on January 5th, during a hearing held in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Pidilla has been held in custody by the federal government without trial for more than two years. He is a suspect in an alleged "dirty bomb" plot. Padilla is accused of getting $10,000 from Al Qaida to explode a "Dirty Bomb" in the USA.

In this hearing, U.S. District Court Judge Henry Floyd will hear the arguments. Judge Floyd will be asked to rule on whether Padilla has been lawfully imprisoned. The decision will most assuredly be appealed all the way to the Supreme Court.

After meeting with Al Qaida, Padilla flew to Chicago with the $10,000 On May 8, 2002. He was arrested when he landed by federal agents acting on a warrant issued by a New York District Court in connection with the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Sometime later President Bush determined that Padilla was an enemy combatant aligned with al-Qaida. Padilla was sent to a naval brig in Charleston, South Carolina where he has been held since then.

It is believed by the US Government that al-Qaida operatives instructed Padilla how to build a dirty bomb after he volunteered deliver it to the USA. A dirty bomb combines a conventional explosive, such as dynamite, with radioactive material like Cesium.

Padilla has yet to be charged with a crime. He possessed neither radioactive material nor any other bomb-making equipment. He did have the $10,000 on him at his arrest which informants said he would have.

Enemy combatant designation is important, because a combatant detainee is not subject to the same rights as a normal person under arrest. This is covered by the fifth ammendment to the US Constitution:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
5th Amendment to U.S. Constitution

The key words in this ammendment is "except in cases arrising in the land and naval forces..."

This will be the fourth time arguments have been heard in the Padilla case.

The Supreme Court has already ruled that Padilla's case had been filed in the wrong jurisdiction. The court ruled 5 to 4 that the case should have been filed in South Carolina, not New York, because that is where Padilla was being held.

Prior to that Supreme Court's ruling, a Federal Appeals Court held that Padilla could not be held without trial. This decision reversed an initial Federal Circuit Court ruling.

Previous Articles in the RAD Journal on Dirty Bombs:

Interesting Links on Padilla: