Why Didn’t We Torture Bryant Neal Vinas?

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Some devil’s advocacy for people who think Jose Padilla was treated fairly: Former Long Island car wash employee Bryant Neal Vinas, 26, has been charged with participating in a rocket attack on US forces in Afghanistan. According to the charges, he’s a dangerous terrorist who trained with Al Qaeda and passed on information about the Long Island Rail Road and the New York City transit system. He is apparently cooperating with authorities.

If torture is such an effective tool, why didn’t we torture Vinas? How do we know he’s not holding something back? Padilla, another American citizen who was accused of conspiring with terrorists, had his mind essentially “destroyed” by sensory deprivation and solitary confinement. Padilla was held without a lawyer for nearly two years. He was allegedly forced to take LSD and PCP as “truth serums.” Does Vinas deserve better treatment than Padilla? If so, why? If Padilla did deserve to be treated as well as Vinas, why wasn’t he? Isn’t Vinas just as much an “enemy combatant” as Padilla was? Why does he deserve rights that Padilla wasn’t afforded? Who makes these decisions? Why do they seem so arbitrary?

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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