It’s OK to Torture, But Not OK to Talk About Torture

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James Pohl, the Army colonel running the trial of accused 9/11-conspirator Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, is not pleased. Someone—it’s not clear who, but it sure isn’t Pohl—is turning the audio feed of the hearing on and off. The feed was cut off yesterday when defense attorney David Nevin mentioned that portions of the hearing would be held in secret, and it wasn’t immediately obvious who had done it:

There was one thing that Pohl was clear about: what Nevin had been saying when he was cut off was not secret at all. That someone apparently thought it should be is likely due to its proximity to the question of torture—a subject that has distorted the proceedings profoundly, the white noise reverberating through it all, cutting off a moral as well as legal conversation.

Welcome to military commission hearings in the world’s greatest democracy, now all but impossible to hold fairly because of our history of torturing suspects. Do you feel ill yet?

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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