by Jacob G. Hornberger
Whenever people raise evidence of CIA wrongdoing, deception, and cover-ups, mainstream statists immediately respond with, “Conspiracy theory! Conspiracy theory”! The statist mindset is one that is best reflected by the word “Inconceivable!” To mainstream statists, it is simply inconceivable that the CIA would engage in wrongdoing, lying, and cover-ups. In their minds, the agency is “exceptional” in that it upholds traditional American values of truth, justice, and honesty.
What’s interesting about the mainstream statist mindset, however, is that when the evidence conclusively establishes that the CIA has, in fact, engaged in wrongdoing, lies, and cover-ups, mainstream statists never seem to be shocked about it. Their attitude becomes a yawn: “Well, it’s just an aberration. Leave the CIA alone. Our national security depends on the CIA. Time to move on.”
We see this phenomenon playing out with the destruction of the torture videotapes. There can really be only one reason to have destroyed the tapes: to destroy evidence that could lead to a criminal conviction of CIA torturers. Without the tapes, it becomes a matter of CIA agents saying, “That terrorist is lying. We would never have done that to him. Who are you going to believe — a terrorist or a CIA agent who has committed his life to protecting you and national security?”
It really isn’t surprising that the special prosecutor looking into the destruction of the torture videotapes has decided to give the destroyer of the tapes a pass. After all, this is the CIA we’re talking about. Who’s going to tangle with the CIA? In modern-day America, the CIA is the law.
Just ask the Italian people. They’ll tell you. After safely ensconcing themselves in beautiful 5-star hotels in Milan, CIA agents decided to kidnap a guy on the streets of Milan. They grabbed him and then shipped him to Egypt so that he could be tortured there. The reason they didn’t torture him themselves is so that they could say, “We never laid a hand on him. The Egyptians torturers did it, not us.”
While the CIA agents courageously ganged up on the kidnap victim and forcibly shipped him to the Egyptian torturers, their courage disintegrated when it came to their criminal trial. Not one of them chose to return to Italy, confront their accusers, and defend their actions. They all decided that discretion was the better part of valor. They chose to stay away. They were convicted in absentia.
Has the Obama administration agreed to extradite these CIA felons to Italy to face the music? Are you kidding? This is the CIA we’re talking about. Nobody, not even the president of the United States, is going to buck the CIA. The CIA is the law.
Want another example? Nine years ago, the CIA participated in a shoot-down of an American missionary couple and their 7-month-old baby. The operation was part of the CIA’s participation in a drug-war operation in Peru. The mother and baby were both killed.
I wrote about this horror story in an article in the June 2001 issue of FFF’s monthly journal Freedom Daily, entitled “Drug-War Killings in Peru.” I stated:
After a CIA plane issued an alert to the Peruvian military that the Bowerses plane might be smuggling drugs, a Peruvian military plane attacked and shot down the Cessna. Bowers’s husband and the other child survived the attack, as did the pilot, albeit with severe leg wounds from the bullets that the Peruvian plane fired….
How many more innocent people must die? How many more robberies and muggings in order to pay the exorbitant black-market prices for the drugs must occur? How many more addicts must be jailed? How much more government corruption must be uncovered? How much longer must we pay attention to the “good intentions” of the drug warriors?”
A few days ago, a 2008 report about the Peru killings was declassified. According to the New York Times,
The report concluded that top C.I.A. officers misled members of Congress when they portrayed the April 2001 episode as an anomaly in an otherwise well-run program, and that C.I.A. lawyers repeatedly intervened with Justice Department officials to prevent prosecutions in the case.
The report also said that the spy agency had concealed internal findings from victims of the downing of the plane and their relatives, who had sued the government.…
Mr. Helgerson’s investigation found that C.I.A. officers had violated established procedures in most of the 14 downings of planes in Peru before the April 2001 episode.
“CIA officers knew of and condoned most of these violations,” the report read, “fostering an environment of negligence and disregard for procedures.”
Did the CIA malefactors get prosecuted for this? Are you kidding? Hey, this is the CIA we’re talking about. Who’s going to prosecute them? I repeat: The CIA is the law. How can you prosecute people for breaking the law when they are the law?
The Justice Department in 2005 declined to prosecute any of the C.I.A. officers involved in the missionary case. But the 2008 inspector general’s report found evidence that some C.I.A. officials had deliberately withheld information about the case from federal investigators. Dean Boyd, a Justice Department spokesman, declined to comment on whether the department had reopened an inquiry into the matter.”
Given that so many Americans are so scared of terrorists (who are retaliating for what the CIA and the Pentagon have done to foreigners), the possibility that Americans today would consider abolishing the CIA would appear slim.
But we libertarians must continue pressing for that solution. There is no way to reconcile a secret intelligence force with the principles of a free society, especially one that is the law unto itself, enabling it to murder, kidnap, torture, rendition, assassinate, lie, cover up, and obstruct justice with impunity.
Here are three articles to consider:
“Abolish the CIA” by Chalmers Johnson
“Improve the CIA? Better to Abolish It by Chalmers Johnson
Don’t Reform the CIA – Abolish It by Jacob G. Hornberger
The CIA and the Assassination of John Kennedy by Jacob G. Hornberger
At the very least, can’t we just end the war on drugs? How much death and destruction will the American people continue to tolerate before they finally end this immoral, failed, destructive program that benefits no one except drug lords, the CIA, the DEA, and government officials on the take.
Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.
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