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Posts Tagged ‘John Kiriakou’

JOHN KIRIAKOU: DOJ Promises Ring Hollow – Consortiumnews

Posted by M. C. on July 12, 2021

While working as a volunteer for WikiLeaks, Thordarson contacted the U.S. embassy in Reykjavik in 2011 to offer himself as an informant, receiving immunity as part of the deal. He then took part in a sting operation against Assange that led then Icelandic Interior Minister Ögmundur Jónasson to kick the FBI out of the country.

The Icelandic media report said Thordarson had been diagnosed as a clinical sociopath, that he is a convicted serial pedophile, and that he had embezzled more than $50,000 from Wikileaks.

When I received my FOIA documents, I was struck by one in particular. It was a memo from the warden to all prison staff, entitled “Incoming Inmate John Kiriakou.” It opened with huge block letters: CAUTION: INMATE HAS ACCESS TO THE MEDIA!! I was a nobody and the Justice Department was restricting my access to the outside world. What were they so afraid of? What did they think I was going to say?

https://consortiumnews.com/2021/07/10/john-kiriakou-doj-promises-ring-hollow/

By John Kiriakou
Special to Consortium News

The U.S. government hates Julian Assange. Can we trust the Justice Department to not put him in a SAM unit or to keep him out of an ADX super max prison?

Many of my friends here at Consortium News and elsewhere have written recently about the UK High Court’s decision to allow the U.S. Department of Justice’s appeal of a lower court’s decision against extraditing Julian Assange to go forward.

The Higher Court’s decision is narrow in nature—the court will allow the DOJ to appeal the lower court’s finding that U.S. prisons are dangerous and oppressive—but will not allow the U.S. to appeal any factual findings on Julian’s condition or mental health. Assange faces 175 years in prison in the United States if he is extradited and found guilty of national security crimes related to Chelsea Manning’s revelations to Wikileaks more than a decade ago.

By way of background, the mainstream media in the United States barely touched on the UK ruling. It was a one-day story, and a small one at that, and the editorial line was that the DOJ is working hard to get its man. The ruling, though, wasn’t the real news.

The more important news, which broke just a few days before the court decision, was that the DOJ’s top witness against Julian had granted an interview with an Icelandic newspaper in which he recanted everything he said about Assange.

He admitted he’d lied to the FBI about being instructed by Assange to conduct hacking operations. Everything that Sigudrur “Siggi” Thordarson told the FBI was a lie, and the FBI’s case appears to be falling apart. Indeed, Ed Snowden opined soon after that the case against Assange was “dead.”

While working as a volunteer for WikiLeaks, Thordarson contacted the U.S. embassy in Reykjavik in 2011 to offer himself as an informant, receiving immunity as part of the deal. He then took part in a sting operation against Assange that led then Icelandic Interior Minister Ögmundur Jónasson to kick the FBI out of the country.

The Icelandic media report said Thordarson had been diagnosed as a clinical sociopath, that he is a convicted serial pedophile, and that he had embezzled more than $50,000 from Wikileaks. Journalists say it’s unclear why Thordarson would have told a reporter about his lies, especially when the FBI had already chosen either to believe him or to pretend that he was telling the truth. It could be that, as a sociopath, he craved the publicity, even if he harbored no regret or remorse about being called out as a liar.

What Justice?

Artist’s view of an ADX Florence cell design. (RicHard-59, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Still, the case against Assange goes on, a mockery of what “justice” is supposed to be. And what is the “justice” that the Justice Department is promising the UK courts? It’s that Assange won’t be subject to incarceration as part of Special Administrative Measures (SAM) or sent to the notorious “Supermax” prison in Florence, Colorado (ADX), “unless he were to do something subsequent to the offering of these assurances that meets the tests for imposition of SAMs or designation to ADX.”

In other words, if Julian were to speak to a journalist, if he were to look at a guard cockeyed, if he were to speak disrespectfully to an administrator, or if he were even to say something controversial in a private telephone call (which would be monitored, of course) that would be enough to send him to a SAM unit or even to ADX. The Justice Department’s promises ring hollow.

I spent 23 months in a “modified SAM unit” after blowing the whistle on the CIA’s torture program. Six months or so into my sentence, I decided to file a Freedom of Information Act request on myself just to see what it was that the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) had on me. I couldn’t understand why my contact with the outside world was restricted, especially after my sentencing judge ordered that I be sent to a minimum-security work camp. (The BOP arbitrarily sent me to a higher-security prison with no explanation.)

When I received my FOIA documents, I was struck by one in particular. It was a memo from the warden to all prison staff, entitled “Incoming Inmate John Kiriakou.” It opened with huge block letters: CAUTION: INMATE HAS ACCESS TO THE MEDIA!! I was a nobody and the Justice Department was restricting my access to the outside world. What were they so afraid of? What did they think I was going to say?

Now imagine Julian Assange in the same position. He’s known around the world. People want to hear what he has to say. He has millions of supporters. Journalists seek out his advice. His case is political. The U.S. government hates him. Can we trust the Justice Department to not put him in a SAM unit or to keep him out of an ADX?

Not a chance. The fight’s not over, but it’s possible that the end—a win for Assange—is in sight. It’s up to us to keep up the pressure on the White House, the Justice Department, and the mainstream media. We can’t let up.

John Kiriakou is a former CIA counterterrorism officer and a former senior investigator with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. John became the sixth whistleblower indicted by the Obama administration under the Espionage Act—a law designed to punish spies. He served 23 months in prison as a result of his attempts to oppose the Bush administration’s torture program.

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The Media Wants You to Trust Washington Again Now That Trump Is Gone | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on May 13, 2021

In 1965, Arthur Sylvester, the assistant secretary of defense for public affairs, berated a group of war correspondents in Saigon: “Look, if you think any American official is going to tell you the truth, then you’re stupid. Did you hear that? Stupid.”

https://mises.org/wire/media-wants-you-trust-washington-again-now-trump-gone

James Bovard

Former CNN White House correspondent Michelle Kosinski declared on Twitter last week that American journalists would “never expect … Your own govt to lie to you, repeatedly” and “Your own govt to hide information the public has a right to know.” Kosinski denounced “Trump’s unAmerican regime” and declared, “No one should accept this.” Kosinski’s comments epitomize the “Trump-washing” of American history that explains much of the media’s rage, hypocrisy, and follies in the last five years.

Kosinski’s mindset also helps explain why Americans’ trust in the media has collapsed. Kosinski spent years as CNN’s State Department correspondent, but her inside sources apparently never mentioned to her how she was helping them con the world. As history professor Leo Ribuffo observed in 1998, “Presidents have lied so much to us about foreign policy that they’ve established almost a common-law right to do so.” In 1965, Arthur Sylvester, the assistant secretary of defense for public affairs, berated a group of war correspondents in Saigon: “Look, if you think any American official is going to tell you the truth, then you’re stupid. Did you hear that? Stupid.”

A few weeks before the 9/11 attacks, New York Times columnist Flora Lewis wrote that “there will probably never be a return to the … collusion with which the media used to treat presidents, and it is just as well.” But the toppling of the World Trade Center towers made the media more craven than at any time since Vietnam. The media’s shameless deference was one of the most underreported stories of the Iraq War. Washington Post reporter Karen DeYoung admitted in 2004: “We are inevitably the mouthpiece for whatever administration is in power.” PBS’s Bill Moyers noted that “of the 414 Iraq stories broadcast on NBC, ABC and CBS nightly news, from September 2002 until February 2003, almost all the stories could be traced back to sources from the White House, the Pentagon, and the State Department.” Jim Lehrer, the host of government-subsidized PBS’s NewsHour, explained his timidity in 2004: “It would have been difficult to have had debates [about invading Iraq] … you’d have had to have gone against the grain.” Lehrer explained why he and other premier journalists seemed clueless on Iraq: “The word ‘occupation,’ keep in mind, was never mentioned in the run-up to the war. It was ‘liberation’…. So as a consequence, those of us in journalism never even looked at the issue of occupation.” The elite journalists looked only where government told them to look. Former president George W. Bush’s lying America into a ruinous war has not deterred liberal media outlets from rehabilitating him as the “good Republican” in contrast to Trump.

Kowtowing is the high road to media stardom. A leak from the White House, like a touch from a saint, can instantly heal a reporter’s lame career. For many journalists, “access” is more important than truth. In DC, there is more cachet in snaring exclusive interviews with policymakers than in exposing official wrongdoing. Being invited into the inner sanctums is “close enough for government work” to learning what the feds are actually doing. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman observed, “The [George W.] Bush administration has made brilliant use of journalistic careerism. Those who wrote puff pieces about Mr. Bush and those around him have been rewarded with career-boosting access.” Knowing when to be sycophantic is as vital to career advancement as recognizing which fork to use at a Georgetown dinner party.

Is the problem that journalists don’t know history or that journalists don’t know how to read—or both? Kosinski’s assertion that American journalists would “never expect their own govt to hide information the public has a right to know” is astounding on both scores. The federal government is creating trillions of pages of new secrets every year. The more documents bureaucrats classify, the more lies politicians can tell. The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has become mostly a mirage. (FOIA is never mentioned in Kosinski’s Twitter feed.) After she was appointed secretary of state, Hillary Clinton effectively exempted herself from FOIA, setting up a private server to handle her official email. The State Department ignored seventeen FOIA requests for her emails prior to 2014. Prior to the 2016 election, the State Department claimed it needed seventy-five years to fully answer a FOIA request on Hillary Clinton’s aides’ emails—thereby protecting Hillary from revelations that could have hurt her with voters.

Perhaps Kosinski is unaware that the Trump-era secrecy she denounced flourished mightily thanks to the beloved Obama administration. In 2011, Obama’s Justice Department formally proposed to permit federal agencies to falsely claim that documents that Americans requested via FOIA did not exist. The Obama White House crippled FOIA responses by adding a new requirement for all federal agencies to permit the White House to review and potentially veto releases of requested FOIA documents that had “White House equities”—i.e., anything that might make the Obama administration look bad. A 2016 congressional report noted that many journalists had abandoned “the FOIA request as a tool because delays and redactions made the request process wholly useless for reporting.” My own experience, stretching back thirty years, is that federal agencies routinely presume that anyone who has publicly criticized their programs forfeits his rights under FOIA.

Kosinski never tweeted about the role of the “state secrets” doctrine in permitting the Justice Department to shroud torture, war crimes, and illegal surveillance. The state secrets doctrine presumes “government knows best, and no one else is entitled to know.” The George W. Bush administration routinely invoked “state secrets” to seek “blanket dismissal of every case challenging the constitutionality of specific, ongoing government programs,” according to a study by the Constitution Project. A federal appeals court slammed the Obama administration’s use of “state secrets” for presuming that “the judiciary should effectively cordon off all secret government actions from judicial scrutiny, immunizing the CIA and its partners from the demands and the limits of the law.” Last month, the Biden administration joined the torture secrecy hall of shame by urging a court to dismiss a lawsuit brought by an American citizen who claimed he had been tortured in Egypt, because the alleged torturer had diplomatic immunity because he works for the International Monetary Fund. (I thought the IMF was only entitled to torture economies.) As the legal fate of Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, and John Kiriakou illustrates, telling the truth is the only war crime now recognized by the US government.

Kosinski’s assertions exemplify the new media storyline that Americans should respect Washington again now that Biden is president. But Leviathan doesn’t turn over a new leaf merely because a different hand swears an oath of office on the Bible. Lies are political weapons of mass destruction, obliterating all limits on government power. The more powerful government becomes, the more atrocities it commits and the more lies it must tell. But we can’t trust the press corps to expose any abuses that might imperil invitations to fancy receptions.

As I warned in a 2018 op-ed in The Hill, “Perhaps the biggest whopper in Washington nowadays is the assumption that the government and the political class will automatically be trustworthy once the Trump era ends…. There will still be a thousand precedents for federal coverups and duplicity. And neither political party nor the bureaucracy has shown any itch to cease deceiving the American people.” But I doubt that Kosinski read that piece or anything else that some government official didn’t hand her on a silver platter. Author:

James Bovard

James Bovard is the author of ten books, including 2012’s Public Policy Hooligan, and 2006’s Attention Deficit Democracy. He has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Playboy, Washington Post, and many other publications.

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Rethinking National Security: CIA and FBI Are Corrupt, but What About Congress? — Strategic Culture

Posted by M. C. on November 22, 2019

First of all, Ukraine was no American ally in 2014 and is no “critical ally” today. Also, the Russian reaction to western supported rioting in Kiev, a vital interest, only came about after the United States spent $5 billion destabilizing and then replacing the pro-Kremlin government.

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/11/21/rethinking-national-security-cia-and-fbi-are-corrupt-but-what-about-congress/

 Philip Giraldi

The developing story about how the US intelligence and national security agencies may have conspired to influence and possibly even reverse the results of the 2016 presidential election is compelling, even if one is disinclined to believe that such a plot would be possible to execute. Not surprisingly perhaps there have been considerable introspection among former and current officials who have worked in those and related government positions, many of whom would agree that there is urgent need for a considerable restructuring and reining in of the 17 government agencies that have some intelligence or law enforcement function. Most would also agree that much of the real damage that has been done has been the result of the unending global war on terror launched by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, which has showered the agencies with resources and money while also politicizing their leadership and freeing them from restraints on their behavior.

If the tens of billions of dollars lavished on the intelligence community together with a “gloves off” approach towards oversight that allowed them to run wild had produced good results, it might be possible to argue that it was all worth it. But the fact is that intelligence gathering has always been a bad investment even if it is demonstrably worse at the present. One might argue that the CIA’s notorious Soviet Estimate prolonged the Cold War and that the failure to connect dots and pay attention to what junior officers were observing allowed 9/11 to happen. And then there was the empowerment of al-Qaeda during the Soviet-Afghan war followed by failure to penetrate the group once it began to carry out operations.

More recently there have been Guantanamo, torture in black prisons, renditions of terror suspects to be tortured elsewhere, killing of US citizens by drone, turning Libya into a failed state and terrorist haven, arming militants in Syria, and, of course, the Iraqi alleged WMDs, the biggest foreign policy disaster in American history. And the bad stuff happened in bipartisan fashion, under Democrats and Republicans, with both neocons and liberal interventionists all playing leading roles. The only one punished for the war crimes was former CIA officer and whistleblower John Kiriakou, who exposed some of what was going on.

Colonel Pat Lang, a colleague and friend who directed the Defense Intelligence Agency HUMINT (human intelligence) program after years spent on the ground in special ops and foreign liaison, thinks that strong medicine is needed and has initiated a discussion based on the premise that the FBI and CIA are dysfunctional relics that should be dismantled, as he puts it “burned to the ground,” so that the federal government can start over again and come up with something better.

Lang cites numerous examples of “incompetence and malfeasance in the leadership of the 17 agencies of the Intelligence Community and the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” to include the examples cited above plus the failure to predict the collapse of the Soviet Union. On the domestic front, he cites his personal observation of efforts by the Department of Justice and the FBI to corruptly “frame” people tried in federal courts on national security issues as well as the intelligence/law enforcement community conspiracy to “get Trump.”

Colonel Lang asks “Tell me, pilgrims, why should we put up with such nonsense? Why should we pay the leaders of these agencies for the privilege of having them abuse us? We are free men and women. Let us send these swine to their just deserts in a world where they have to work hard for whatever money they earn.” He then recommends stripping CIA of its responsibility for being the lead agency in spying as well as in covert action, which is a legacy of the Cold War and the area in which it has demonstrated a particular incompetence. As for the FBI, it was created by J. Edgar Hoover to maintain dossiers on politicians and it is time that it be replaced by a body that operates in a fashion “more reflective of our collective nation[al] values.”

Others in the intelligence community understandably have different views. Many believe that the FBI and CIA have grown too large and have been asked to do too many things unrelated to national security, so there should be a major reduction-in-force (RIF) followed by the compulsory retirement of senior officers who have become too cozy with and obligated to politicians. The new-CIA should collect information, period, what it was founded to do in 1947, and not meddle in foreign elections or engage in regime change. The FBI should provide only police services that are national in nature and that are not covered by the state and local jurisdictions. And it should operate in as transparent a fashion as possible, not as a national secret police force.

But the fundamental problem may not be with the police and intelligence services themselves. There are a lot of idiots running around loose in Washington. Witness for example the impeachment hearings ludicrous fact free opening statement by House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff (with my emphasis) “In 2014, Russia invaded a United States ally, Ukraine, to reverse that nation’s embrace of the West, and to fulfill Vladimir Putin’s desire to rebuild a Russian empire.”

And the press is no better, note the following excerpt from The New York Times lead editorial on the hearings, including remarks of the two State Department officers who testified, on the following day: “They came across not as angry Democrats or Deep State conspirators, but as men who have devoted their lives to serving their country, and for whom defending Ukraine against Russian aggression is more important to the national interest than any partisan jockeying…

“At another point, Mr. Taylor said he had been critical of the Obama administration’s reluctance to supply Ukraine with anti-tank missiles and other lethal defensive weapons in its fight with Russia, and that he was pleased when the Trump administration agreed to do so

“What clearly concerned both witnesses wasn’t simply the abuse of power by the president, but the harm it inflicted on Ukraine, a critical ally under constant assault by Russian forces. ‘Even as we sit here today, the Russians are attacking Ukrainian soldiers in their own country and have been for the last four years…’ Mr. Taylor said.”

Schiff and the Times should get their facts straight. And so should the two American foreign service officers who were clearly seeing the situation only from the Ukrainian perspective, a malady prevalent among US diplomats often described as “going native.” They were pushing a particular agenda, i.e. possible war with Russia on behalf of Ukraine, in furtherance of a US national interest that they fail to define. One of them, George Kent, eulogized the Ukrainian militiamen fighting the Russians as the modern day equivalent of the Massachusetts Minutemen in 1776, not exactly a neutral assessment, and also euphemized Washington-provided lethal offensive weapons as “security assistance.”

Another former intelligence community friend Ray McGovern has constructed a time line of developments in Ukraine which demolishes the establishment view on display in Congress relating to the alleged Russian threat. First of all, Ukraine was no American ally in 2014 and is no “critical ally” today. Also, the Russian reaction to western supported rioting in Kiev, a vital interest, only came about after the United States spent $5 billion destabilizing and then replacing the pro-Kremlin government. Since that time Moscow has resumed control of the Crimea, which is historically part of Russia, and is active in the Donbas region which has a largely Russian population.

It should really be quite simple. The national security state should actually be engaged in national security. Its size and budget should be commensurate with what it actually does, nothing more. It should not be roaming the world looking for trouble and should instead only respond to actual threats. And it should operate with oversight. If Congress is afraid to do it, set up a separate body that is non-partisan and actually has the teeth to do the job. If the United States of America comes out of the process as something like a normal nation the entire world will be a much happier place.

 

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What Julian Assange’s Arrest Tells Us About Our World – Collective Evolution

Posted by M. C. on April 12, 2019

JFK warned the citizenry about “an announced need for increased security” that would be “seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment.” Today, this is known as “national security,” and it’s a term used to justify unethical and enormous amounts of secrecy that do not protect the public, but protect those in power and their corporate, financial and political interests.

https://www.collective-evolution.com/2019/04/11/what-julian-assanges-arrest-tells-us-about-our-world/

In Brief

  • The Facts:Julian Assange was arrested early this morning in London at the Ecuadorian Embassy. This event provides us the opportunity to examine and question many aspects of the world we live in.
  • Reflect On:Will Julian’s arrest wake up millions to the reality of what truth is trying to be hidden from our world? Is it time for us to start discussing how we can leave our current power structure behind?

John Kiriakou, a CIA-anti-torture whistle-blower recently tweeted, “a fair trial in the Eastern District of Virginia, under Judge Leonie Brinkema, is utterly impossible. They don’t call the EDVA the ‘Espionage Court for nothing.’”

And it’s true. Julian Assange was just arrested and dragged out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in relation to an extradition warrant from the US that was issued in December of 2017 for conspiracy with Chelsea Manning in early 2010. To expect that he will receive a fair trial is a bit of a dream.

The New York Times is reporting:

“The United States has charged WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange of conspiring to hack a computer as part of the 2010 release of reams of secret American documents, according to an indictment unsealed Thursday, putting him just one flight away from being in American custody after years of seclusion in the Ecuadorean embassy in London.”

Regardless of what the headlines are reading, the world knows why the hunt for Julian Assange has been ongoing for so long, and it’s because he leaked secrets and exposed those who keep them. He exposed the lies, corruption and deceit that represents the backbone of the Western military alliance and the American empire. He exposed, in the words of John F. Hylan, former Mayor of New York City, the “real menace of Republic”, the “invisible government, which like a giant octopus sprawls its slimy legs over our cities, states and nation.” He exposes the ones “who virtually run the United States government for their own selfish purposes.” (source)(source)…

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