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A Lawless Regime of Unlimited Government

Shahram Amiri, Iranian nuclear scientistby Jacob G. Hornberger

US officials are denying claims by Shahram Amiri, an Iranian nuclear scientist, that CIA operatives kidnapped him, secretly transported him to the United States, tortured him, and kept him incarcerated for more than a year. The officials are saying that Amiri voluntarily defected to the United States and was paid some $5 million to provide information about Iran’s nuclear program, allegations that Amiri denies but ones that U.S. officials surely know would get him into hot water in Iran.

It’s a classic case of: Who are you going to believe — good, upstanding public officials of the U.S. government who are fighting to keep us safe or a citizen of a country belonging to what U.S. officials claim is an axis of evil.

There are one two big problems, however: One, U.S. officials are known liars, especially when it comes to matters that pertain to national security, and, two, Amiri’s claims are totally consistent with the modus operandi of the CIA.

Don’t forget, after all, that the same U.S. officials who are saying, “Believe us, not him” are the same U.S. officials who are knowingly, intentionally, and deliberately harboring convicted felons — that is, the CIA operatives who were recently convicted in Italy for doing the same thing that Amiri alleges they did to him. In Italy, they kidnapped a foreign citizen, conspired to torture him, and then delivered him to Egyptian government brutes who proceeded to incarcerate him without trial and torture him, at the express request of the CIA.

Have U.S. officials extradited these convicted felons to Italy to serve out their punishment? Of course not. Instead, they have chosen to harbor and protect them. The reason: these convicts are CIA operatives. Everyone knows that when it comes to the CIA, neither Congress, the Justice Department, federal judges, nor the mainstream press are going to touch the CIA.

Don’t forget about the CIA’s kidnapping, conspiracy to torture, and rendition of Canadian citizen Maher Arar. They turned him over to Syria pursuant to a formal torture agreement, even while U.S. officials were claiming not to talk to Syria because the Syrian regime is an official sponsor of terrorism.

Were there ever any indictments issued against the CIA operatives who did that to Arar? How about a congressional investigation? Do we know the names of the kidnappers, torturers, renditioners, and conspirators? Do we know who negotiated the torture agreement on behalf of the United States? Do we know whether the president of the United States signed off on the deal, even while telling the mainstream press that he doesn’t talk to Syria?

The answer is no to all those questions, and the reason, again, is the CIA. No one is going to jack with the CIA — not the Justice Department, not the Congress, not the federal judiciary, and certainly not the mainstream press.

This is the agency that wields and exercises unlimited power on behalf of the U.S. government, including the power to kidnap, torture, assassinate, rendition, incarcerate, and execute people anywhere in the world. With its omnipotent power to initiate force against anyone with impunity, the CIA is at the core of the U.S. Empire, and all other federal departments and agencies effectively operate in support of it.

We also shouldn’t forget the arrogance and supremacy that CIA officials have long shown toward the Iranian people. It was the CIA that initiated a coup that succeeded in ousting the democratically elected prime minister of Iran, Mohammad Mossadegh. It then installed into power the Shah of Iran, who proceed to use his CIA (the Savak) to torture and terrorize his own people for the next 25 years, with the full support of the CIA, until the Iranian people ousted the Shah from power in 1979.

Is it possible that U.S. officials are telling the truth about Amiri? Of course it is. Simply because they’ve lied in the past and simply because they will always lie in the interests of national security doesn’t automatically mean that they’re lying in this case.

But the only way to really get to the bottom of this is with a full criminal investigation or congressional investigation, with subpoenas issued directly to the CIA.

But we all know that that’s just not likely to happen. There is no moral outrage whatsoever within the Justice Department or Congress over the likelihood that the CIA has done to Amiri what the CIA has been doing for years — kidnapping, incarcerating, torturing, executing, and assassinating people. It’s all just par for the course in a lawless regime of unlimited government in post-9/11 America.

Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

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