A Very Special Wrongingrights: Devon Saves the World! Hooray Devon!

Today it is my pleasure to present…… dum da da dum da DA TUM…the first ever Wrongingrights Claire Bennet Award!!!!!

This is all VERY exciting.

For those of you who have not already guessed, the Claire is awarded to petite blondes who Save The World.

The first Claire goes to Ms. Devon Chaffee, for being just like Claire Bennet except with lots more law degree and a little less superhuman self-healing ability. Devon works for Human Rights First, and has worked tirelessly to lobby the Senate to pass Section 327 of H.R. 2082, which states:

(a) LIMITATION.—No individual in the custody or under the effective control of an element of the intelligence community or instrumentality thereof, regardless of nationality or physical location, shall be subject to any treatment or technique of interrogation not authorized by the United States Army Field Manual on Human Intelligence Collector Operations.

(b) INSTRUMENTALITY DEFINED.—In this section, the term ‘‘instrumentality’’, with respect to an element of the intelligence community, means a contractor or subcontractor at any tier of the element of the intelligence community.

Translation for those of you who chose not to drop $100k on a law degree: no more torturing people in U.S. custody. Or at least, no using techniques that are not listed in the Army Field Manual, which for now means no more torturing. (But yes, that probably means that the manual will be given a super-top secret attached addendum that lists everything from “incessant John Tesh music” to “electrodes on scrotum,” but please do not spoil this happy moment.)

This is a very big deal. Ramming legislation like this through the U.S. Congress, whose members can always be counted on to wimp out on civil liberties to avoid looking like they’re wimpy on “terror,” is no easy task. It requires dedication, intelligence, a thick skin, and a willingness to talk to people whose actual job is to make you miserable.

Luckily for all of us who wish to keep our fingernails in their original attached-to-fingers packaging, Devon and her fabulous colleagues were up to the task.
Devon Saves the World! Hooray Devon!

P.S. Among the senators who wimped out on this bill was Senator John McCain, who voted “no.” Memo to Senator McCain: this doesn’t make you look tough. At best it just makes you look calculating, at worst a little bit senile. Everyone knows that you used to have a different position on torture, so which is it? Willingness to compromise on your most cherished ideals in order to con wingnuts into voting for you, or inability to remember what your cherished ideals actually are? Sorry, John, I know that’s harsh. But do you know what else is harsh? Being TORTURED. Oh, wait. You do know that! So what gives?
P.P.S. Full Disclosure: I went to law school with Devon, where we worked on this together.

Amanda Taub


  1. Yay Devon! The woman is awesome. (Full disclosure – I currently work with Devon at Human Rights First. She makes me coffee every morning, with love).

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