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UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of ten of America's presidencies and who has edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. We get over 5 million article visits a year. See prorev.com for full contents of our site

February 27, 2010

HOUSE DEMOCRATS SUPPORT TORTURE

ANTI-WAR - In a vote which still broke down almost entirely around party lines, House Democrats managed to pass the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 by a vote of 235-168, a bill which will provide $50 billion in funding for classified intelligence operations.

The Democratic leadership only managed to win this passage after hastily removing the "Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Interrogation Act of 2010," an amendment to the funding act which would have criminalized the torture or other abuse of detainees. Interrogators violating a long list of very specific torture bans would have faced up to 15 years in prison, and a maximum of life in prison if they tortured the detainee to death.

It became clear last night that there were not enough votes to pass the act with the torture ban attached, after Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) angrily condemned the ban as "outrageous" and claimed that the funding act was supposed to be about "defending our nation, not giving greater protections to terrorists."

Though Hoekstra still voted against the bill even with the ban removed (as did every other Republican who voted except for Joseph Cao (R-LA)), the ruckus he raised over the torture ban led several centrist Democrats to voice their opposition to the ban as well, which would have made it impossible to pass the funding with the ban included.


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