CIA Whistleblower Jailed for Exposing CIA Use of Torture
Another excellent reason not to vote for Obama relates to his refusal to prosecute any CIA or Pentagon military involved in torture at Guantanamo, Iraqi and Afghan prisons or secret CIA prisons in countries where torture is legal. This is despite a review of 101 torture cases begun in 2007 under George W. Bush and two full criminal investigations of torture victims who died under interrogation. Ironically the only person to be arrested in the whole torture scandal is the former CIA analyst who was the first to publicly confirm that the CIA was engaging in “water boarding” of al Qaeda detainees.
In late 2007, John Kiriakou*, an ex-CIA analyst (1998-2004), became a sought-after media personality after he described the Agency’s use of waterboarding on ABC News. His initial stance on waterboarding was that “it worked” in preventing future terrorist attacks.
The government originally charged Kiriakou under the Espionage Act, but dropped these charges after he agreed to plead guilty to “outing” a CIA torturer named Thomas Donahue Fletcher. Fletcher was the chief of the Headquarters Based Rendition Group and was personally responsible for the rendition of a number of high value detainees to a CIA black site in Thailand, where he witnessed and played a role in their torture. Although Kiriakou never disclosed Fletcher’s name publicly, he allegedly confirmed his identity in an email to Matthew Cole, formerly of ABC News.
All this despite a claim by an anonymous government official that Fletcher’s identity was already known by at least 10 human rights activists before his alleged “outing” by Kiriakou. Moreover, given that Fletcher had retired from active service, it’s hard to argue that Kiriakou’s confirmation of his identity jeopardized on-going CIA intelligence operations in any way. Especially as the operations Fletcher oversaw violated both US and international law.
As part of his plea bargain, Kiriakou will receive a six year sentence in January, of which he will serve 2 ½ years. Read more here.
The Greek Government Takes a Page From Obama
Meanwhile Greek authorities have arrested magazine editor Kostas Vaxevanis for publishing the names of 2,000+ tax avoiding Greeks alleged to have Swiss bank accounts. The list includes numerous prominent members of Greece’s political and business elite. Police officials claim that Vaxevanis illegally published personal details without proof that the people named had broken the law. However Vaxevanis and other government critics portray his arrest as part of a cover-up intended to obscure claims that the finance minister has had the list in his possession for more than two years without acting on it.
The case has triggered a parliamentary inquiry and could result in the prosecution of major government figures, during a period where systematic tax evasion by the Greek elite has necessitated painful austerity cuts for Greece’s middle and lower classes – which, in turn, has triggered massive political unrest. Read more here here,
*Who is John Kiriakou: After resigning from the CIA in 2004, Kiriakou, author of The Reluctant Spy: My Secret Life in the CIA’s War on Terror, worked as an intelligence/security consultant in the private sector, as well as serving as a counter-terrorism consultant for ABC News. After John Kerry (D-MA) assumed the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2009, Kiriakou became the Committee’s senior investigator until 2011, when he became managing partner of Rhodes Global Consulting, an Arlington, Virginia-based political risk analysis firm.