Torture, whistleblowing, extraordinary rendition, secret prisons, solitary confinement and corruption in the justice system. Those are Kiriakou’s subjects and he is happy to talk about them anywhere. I work for Sputnik News. There. I said it. I’m not embarrassed or ashamed. I’m also not a Russian propagandist, despite what you may have read in the “mainstream” media. Sputnik approached me in 2017 and offered me a job as a radio talk show host. I turned them down. Friends told me that it would be a mistake working for the Russian Bear. They said that I would attract attention from the government, maybe even the FBI. Did I really want to do that? About eight months passed, and Sputnik offered me a job again.
Once upon a time, a keystone of American exceptionalism was the claim of a moral high ground when it came to how our forces operated abroad, in war or peace, especially when it came to the use of torture, that hallmark of enemies we stamped as evil, primitive and sadistic. The ends were not supposed to justify the means, lest we be no better than our rivals and predecessors. Yet, within months of the 9/11 attacks, frustration with the interrogation of a single alleged enemy agent led to the creation of a sprawling, global CIA-run torture program using violence, sleep deprivation and isolation on more than 100 men. While the program was eventually outlawed and deemed a massive strategic and moral failure, nobody was held legally accountable — except, in a terrible irony, a whistleblower who risked everything to expose it.
By Staff for RT. John Kiriakou, a former CIA counterterrorism officer, has told RT that he was kicked off a panel at the European Parliament because a fellow panelist objected to his association with Russia as a Sputnik Radio host. Kiriakou, who spent two-and-a-half years in jail for exposing the CIA’s torture program in 2007, was invited to address the European Parliament on national security whistleblowing Wednesday. However, he was bounced from the panel at the last minute, because one of the other panelists objected to his presence. Kiriakou told RT he “thought it was a joke” when Winnie Wong, co-founder of the progressive organization, People for Bernie, refused to appear on the panel with him, because “she didn’t want the appearance of Bernie Sanders appearing to endorse the Russian media.” “I laughed when she first said it because it was so ridiculous that I thought she was joking,” Kiriakou said. “Then she walked away, and one of the aides handed me an updated schedule, and my name then, was not associated with the first panel.”
By Reporters WIthout Borders. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) delivered yesterday with the wife of CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling a petition for his pardon to the White House. The petition has now gathered over 150,000 signatures. Sterling, a former C.I.A. operative and the latest victim in the Obama administration’s war on whistleblowers, was convicted in January 2015 of divulging classified information to New York Times journalist James Risen. Jeffrey Sterling was convicted under the Espionage Act for merely communicating with New York Times journalist James Risen. He’s now serving a 3.5-year prison sentence in a federal correctional facility in Colorado.
A jailhouse interview with the man whose disclosures prompted this week’s damning torture report. In 2007, 15-year CIA veteran John Kiriakou told an ABC News reporter that his agency had waterboarded an Al Qaeda detainee, Abu Zubaydah, whom Kiriakou was involved in capturing in 2002. His revelation confirmed to the American public the CIA’s torture program and helped spur a years-long Senate investigation and a damning, 6,000-page report, the abstract of which was released this week. Kiriakou pleaded guilty in 2012 to disclosing classified information, including the name of a fellow CIA operative, to a New York Times reporter. In early 2013, he reported to the a federal prison in Loretto, Pennsylvania, to begin serving a 30-month sentence. Kiriakou, along with supporters that include his congressman, Virginia Democrat Jim Moran, says the real point of his prosecution was to silence him and others from talking about torture. (Kiriakou case is the subject of the documentary Silenced, which screened last summer at AFI Docs.)