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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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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