Making torture legal

by Mumia Abu-Jamal

In the wake of the Senate Intelligence Select Committee’s report on CIA torture of terror suspects, we are reminded how little Americans know about how the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency rolls in the real world.

Prisoner-tortured-in-stress-position-Abu-Ghraib-Baghdad-by-AP-300x187, Making torture legal, World News & Views
This is an image allegedly of a prisoner in a stress position at the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad. The CIA paid two psychologists $80 million to develop “enhanced interrogation techniques” like this. – Photo: AP

Predictably, the 500 page summary (of a 6,700 page report) erupted into a political and media firestorm. Networks and cable news outlets are as happy as kittens on catnip.

But, truth be told, this ain’t a new story. The CIA, the executive hand of the president, has been involved, deeply, in every crime known to man – for decades!

Journalist John Kelly, in an article published in the 2002 book, “Into the Buzzsaw,”* cites a pretty interesting source for his revelation that the CIA commits, literally, hundreds of crimes a day and thousands per year. The source? The CIA itself.

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In his piece, Kelly cites a U.S. House Intelligence Committee staff report citing such crimes. They have overturned governments, launched assassinations, armed criminals to attack their governments – and we’re shocked that they’ve tortured people? Seriously?

Every president since the 1930s has been seduced by the lure of the CIA to make the world in their image, sometimes by removing leaders they didn’t like. Power like that is irresistible.

And the CIA, made immune by a law passed by Congress and signed by Bill Clinton on Dec. 27, 2000, can violate any law, domestic or foreign, any treaty, or the Constitution itself with complete immunity, as long as they’re following a presidential order.

Is that deep or what?

So, did they torture people? Yup.

Did they kill people? Yup.

Did they violate laws? Yuuuup.

But guess what? Under the Intelligence Authorization Act of 2001 they’re immune from prosecution.

That’s American law. The “law” of the outlaw.

*Source: Kelly, John, “Crimes and Silence: The CIA’s Criminal Acts and the Media’s Silence,” pp. 311-331, from “Into the Buzzsaw: Leading Journalists Expose the Myth of a Free Press,” Kristina Borjesson, ed. (Amherst, NY; Prometheus Books, 2002)

© Copyright 2014 Mumia Abu-Jamal. Read Mumia’s latest book, “The Classroom and the Cell: Conversations on Black Life in America,” co-authored by Columbia University professor Marc Lamont Hill, available from Third World Press, Keep updated at For Mumia’s commentaries, visit Encourage the media to publish and broadcast Mumia’s commentaries and interviews. Send our brother some love and light: Mumia Abu-Jamal, AM 8335, SCI-Mahanoy, 301 Morea Road, Frackville, PA 17932.