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Former CIA officer John Kiriakou leaves U.S. District Courthouse in Alexandria, Va., Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, after pleading guilty, in a plea deal, to leaking the names of covert operatives to journalists.

CIA 'Tortured for Sake of Torture': Whistleblower John Kiriakou to Sputnik

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In a special episode of Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear, whistleblower John Kiriakou, a former CIA analyst, describes his experience of being the only person sent to prison in relation to the Bush administration’s torture program, and that simply because he exposed the atrocities to the world.

"I was the only one that went to prison," Kiriakou tells Loud & Clear. "The torturers didn’t go to prison. The attorneys who used specious legal arguments to justify the torture didn’t go to prison. The CIA leaders who conceived of the torture program didn’t go to prison. Even the officer who destroyed evidence of the torture didn’t go to prison.

"I was the only one who went to prison, and I was the one who refused to torture and then went public with the fact that the CIA was torturing its prisoners."

After revealing classified information to ABC News in 2007, Kiriakou was sentenced to 30 months in prison, of which he served 23 months between February 2013 and February 3, 2015. His sentence was originally supposed to be served at a minimum security facility, but the Justice Department changed its mind at the last minute.

"So, to add insult to injury, I spent my entire 23-month sentence with child molesters, rapists, the worst of the drug dealers, violent criminals of every shade," he says. "That was one last swipe that the Justice Department could take against me."

Kiriakou leaked his information during the Bush administration, but it was during the Obama administration that he was pursued and punished for whistleblowing.

"I have some friends who still work at the White House, and they’ve told me that this president’s obsession with leaks is unparalleled in modern American history," Kiriakou says. "He does not tolerate leaks unless he or his people leak for an official purpose, that is to make themselves look good."

Kiriakou’s leaks included details on Abu Zubaydah, who was accused of being an aide to Osama Bin Laden. The whistleblower was originally questioned by the FBI, to whom he willingly talked, but the CIA then took over.

"As soon as that happened the CIA began torturing Abu Zubaydah, using ten torture techniques that they had come up with months earlier that they were calling 'enhanced interrogation techniques.'"

These techniques included waterboarding, sleep deprivation, and physical abuse.

"But the real shame, beyond the fact that this human being was tortured in violation of both US law and international law, was the fact that Abu Zubaydah simply did not have any information," Kiriakou says. "He did not have any information that resulted in actionable intelligence, that disrupted any future terrorist attacks, or that saved any American lives."

Zubaydah was tortured 83 times, wearing him down physically and psychologically. While some speculated that this was done in a desperate attempt to uncover a justification for the Iraq War, Kiriakou disagrees.

"This whole idea that you have to use these harsh techniques on people in order to stop that ‘ticking time bomb’ is just false. It never happens in real life," he says. "The torture was for the sake of torture."

Kiriakou maintains that the Bush administration was bent on invading Iraq, regardless of any information gained through torture. This was partially a result of neoconservative foreign policy, and partially a personal vendetta George W. Bush and his confidantes had against Saddam Hussein.

"The invasion of Iraq was the result of George W. Bush’s decision to take vengeance against Saddam Hussein for the attempt to assassinate his father in Kuwait in 1993. It’s something that a child might do," he says.

"The Iraqis were no threat to us," he adds. "And indeed, because sanctions were so crushing, they really weren’t a threat to anyone else in the region, either."

Kiriakou also delves into details surrounding his decision to go public.

"In response to another reporter’s question, the president [Bush] said if there is torture, it’s the result of a rogue CIA officer, and I thought, 'Oh my God, they’re going to blame this on me. They’re going to try and pin this on me.'"

It was then that Kiriakou went to the press, appearing on ABC News.

"In that interview, I said three things that utterly changed the course of my life. I said that the CIA was torturing its prisoners. I said that torture was official US government policy, and I said that the policy had been approved personally by the president of the United States.

"And so the very next day the Justice Department initiated its criminal investigation of me."

Following that interview, Kiriakou became a consultant. During a meeting with a New York Times reporter, he confirmed that he knew a former CIA analyst – who was never undercover – and gave the reporter that analyst’s business card. This card was also given to an ABC News journalist.

"For the two business cards and the conversation with [New York Times journalist] Scott Shane, I was charged with three counts of espionage," he says. "Even now, all these years later, I look back at it and I shake my head, because having lunch with the New York Times and talking about torture is not espionage. Giving an unclassified business card to somebody is not espionage."

Ultimately, Kiriakou was imprisoned for pointing out the illegal actions of his own government.

"Is it a crime to out somebody who is committing a crime? I would think not," he says. "Torture is illegal…and believe me, everything that we did to Abu Zubaydah and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and dozens of other prisoners is illegal."

While the CIA’s actions following 9/11 were unquestionably barbaric, they were, perhaps, not new.

"The CIA was overthrowing legitimate governments, the CIA was blocking progressive forces around the world," he says. "Really, the CIA has done far more harm than good, in my view, over the years."

As a fellow whistleblower, Kiriakou gave his opinion on Edward Snowden, the former-NSA analyst who revealed the extent of the US government’s domestic spying apparatus.

"I think Ed Snowden has provided us with a great national service. We had no idea that our government was spying on us until Ed Snowden told us that it was, and that’s a violation of the law,” he says. “I call him a whistleblower in the very purest and truest sense of the word."

Related:
Spy Watchdog Launches Probe Into New Zealand’s Links to CIA Torture
Black Sites Revealed: UK Journos Uncover Chilling Details of CIA Prisons
Abhorrent Ways: ACLU Sues CIA Contractors for Abusing, Torturing Prisoners
Tags:
US torture program, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), US Justice Department, John Kiriakou, Edward Snowden, George W. Bush, Abu Zubaydah, Barack Obama, Iraq, United States
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  • siberianhusky
    How does it go some thing like "I have seen the enemy and the enemy is me"
  • rogertidy
    It's George W. Bush and the neocons who should have been put behind bars.
  • Want2B Wiseguy
    Demonic central "intelligence" love freedom of religion, and the worthless devils in the legions of demons rise to the positions of power in governments that have that as their foundation. Torture is a way devils serve their false gods, to try to drive the individual out of their mind to give the demon another body.
    Freedom of religion is the problem, because many forms of it are said to be legal under the devil's constitution. For example, the psychological warfare the demon possessed devils at the FBI waged against Martin Luther King to try to make him kill himself: Legal under the constitution.
  • art
    //The torture was for the sake of torture.//
    No. Intelligence scavenging technics on humans can be useless without clinical studies. Study on someone who knows some thing and someone who knows nothing can help decide if someone is resisting or who knows nothing.

    //The invasion of Iraq was .. Bush’s .. vengeance against Saddam ..//
    No. The invasion of Iraq was part of a much bigger plan that is still in the works 12 years later.

    Ridiculous views. Maybe its true when they say "there is no such a thing as 'former cia agent'."
  • ptcjm
    The Beslan massacre and other terrorist attacks in Russia seem to have connections to the CIA and the Bush/Cheney administration. This article reveals the reality of the USA criminal administration: the search for oil.
    journal-neo.org/2015/05/15/what-if-putin-is-telling-the-truth
  • FlorianGeyerin reply toart(Show commentHide comment)
    art,
    You said "Study on someone who knows some thing and someone who knows nothing can help decide if someone is resisting or who knows nothing."

    I think you would agree that this type of study would only work in a real life investigation with two people , one who you do know has information and one that you know has NO information.
    However the problem then arises that 'How do you know what each person knows?
    The only answer is to quote from Donald Rumsfeld " There are known knowns and Unknown knowns ".

    That the US has sunk to these barbaric lows only encourages the disaffection of more and more people in the world and that is actually the biggest threat to the US. I for one will not buy US or Israeli goods if there is an alternative. The free minded people of the world just need to boycott the US/Israeli corporations. Many are already doing this.
  • Mother Gorilla
    He is a founding member of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, an organisation to whom you'd wish many members, worldwide.
  • karlof1in reply toptcjm(Show commentHide comment)
    ptcjm, Given your comment, I think you'll find this essay interesting and revealing, www.strategic-culture.org/news/2016/01/29/an-american-big-lie-about-terrorism.html
  • in reply tokarlof1(Show commentHide comment)
    karlof1, Thanks for that link (even if it wasn't for me) :)
  • artin reply toFlorianGeyer(Show commentHide comment)
    FlorianGeyer, you are right, you need to know where the starting point is.
    //.. How do you know what each person knows?//
    If you look into the background of Guitmo inmates, you find two kinds of people:1- those who were captured during battle; 2- those who were bought ($5k each) from war lords in Afghanistan and Iraq kidnapped literally off the streets. So CIA knew what questions are totally ir/relevant to 1 or 2.

    This was a clinical study inside out. That's why they needed psychologists to write the clinical study protocols and analyze and make reports on the results.

    If you noticed, Kriakou is making every case "personal": the two examples I mentioned in the first post. This is the same tactic they use in the US mass shooting incidents. They use the term "lone wolf" almost every single time to personalize it and hide a bigger plan behind it.
  • AnomicDust
    It's a research project to determine how/if humans can be coerced into participating in crimes planned by intelligence services. It became an endless experiment as overly optimistic psychologists made a profitable business out of lowest form of pandering imaginable.
  • FlorianGeyerin reply toart(Show commentHide comment)
    art,

    I do agree with you somewhat. Whether Kriakou is knowingly part of the charade I do not know. I suspect he would have not been incarcerated with the General Population if that was the case.
  • hopscotch64in reply toFlorianGeyer(Show commentHide comment)
    FlorianGeyer, Thank you for spreading the word about the world boycott of US/Israeli products. Excellent idea and can be very effective.
  • ronin reply toptcjm(Show commentHide comment)
    ptcjm, Great info, thanks for the link.
  • ronin reply tokarlof1(Show commentHide comment)
    karlof1, Another great article. Thank you for your research.
  • FlorianGeyerin reply tokarlof1(Show commentHide comment)
    karlof1,

    Thank you for that link. It serves to reinforce my opinion and knowledge of CIA black opps.
  • seanrkearney
    1984 is finally here. Orwell was simply off by a couple of decades......
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