Caving on Torture

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CAVING ON TORTURE….Jonathan Alter points out that, by Sarah Palin’s standard, John McCain has passed only two major laws during his 26 years in Congress. But it turns out that even that’s giving him too much credit:

While McCain deserves credit for the landmark 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign-finance reform bill, the only other major law on which his office says his “name appears” (Palin’s standard) is the “McCain Amendment” prohibiting torture in the armed forces. But that has little meaning because of a bill this year, supported by McCain, that allows torture by the CIA. Under longstanding government practice, military intelligence officers can be temporarily designated as CIA officers (“sheep-dipped” is the bureaucratic lingo) when they want to go off the Army field manual. In other words, the government can still torture anyone, any time. McCain caved on an issue he insists is a matter of principle.

Italics mine. I knew about the CIA torture exemption, of course, but I didn’t know that this exemption essentially guts the anti-torture provisions that apply to military intelligence as well. Nice job, senator.

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You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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