Leaking Against the Impossible: Whistleblower John Kiriakou, CIA Torture and Leaking

Published on Global Research.ca, by Binoy Kampmark, Feb 12, 2015.

… He was the only agent of the Central Intelligence Agency to blow the otherwise hesitant whistle on the torture program made infamous by the Bush administration. And for all that good grace, he paid with a prison sentence, having violated the covenant of the espionage service. In 2007, John Kiriakou publicly confirmed and noted the use of waterboarding by agents in dealing with terrorist suspects. And it hardly came with bells and whistles.

His CIA credentials as officer and analyst were well minted – 14 years in service, and designated head of the operation that led to the finding of al-Qaeda member Abu Zubaydah in 2002. It should be noted that Kiriakou was no angel coming late to a feast of innocence. As an agent, he had been privy to the darker sides of the supposed “war on terror”. He had also, at one point, defended waterboarding as a practice. In his own words to Scott Shane of The New York Times, “I think the second-guessing of 2002 decisions is unfair” … //

… Then come the more troubling apologias scripted by the White House. Presidential candidate Barack Obama may have expressed his concerns about torture, but President Obama wore a different, adjusted hat when in office.

In 2009, he cooled on the issue of whether to prosecute those in government who had made the program possible. In August 2014, he would show considerable latitude to the torturer whose task it was to defend the United States, despite breaching the law in cavalierly bloody fashion. “I understand why it happened. I think it’s important, when we look back, to recall how afraid people were when the twin towers fell.”[3] Fear justifies bestial retaliation, fuelling the engine of vengeance. The odds, in other words, lengthen for such individuals as Kiriakou, who ended up disclosing improper conduct that was looked upon favourably by excusing authorities.

Obama goes even further, using the desk defences that were dismissed at such trials as those of Adolf Eichmann. “It’s important for us not to feel too sanctimonious in retrospect about the tough job those folks had.” The patriotic brute of pen and action is well and truly alive – as long as the job is tough.

Assessments made as to whether a “leak” is damaging are shoddy at best, largely because they are based on the grand hypothetical that is “national security” – protective measures that seek justifications in the vaguest, most nominal of terms. Justifying the concealment of a torture program can be justified by any source keen to conserve the illusion that rights trump the security machinery of the state, even if that state is the US. We really are good chaps who tend to err in the name of goodness.

Process, in its uncritical, unthinking form, is what matters in the cult of security; the quality of the classified material – revealing, for instance, a program of abuse – is irrelevant to an establishment that simply assumes that its own secret status is threatened. This flaw in exposing abuses in governance, and in a specific sense, intelligence processes, is a defect that has been treated, less with relief than contempt. The reformers on this subject, at least, remain at bay, since the problematic assumptions still hold sway.

(full text).

(Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: bkampmark@gmail.com).


Florida Professor Sami Al-Arian – Deported, Free at Last, on Global Research.ca, by Stephen Lendman, Feb 12, 2015;

The toxic hate behind the Chapel Hill murders, on Socialist Worker.org, by Nicole Colson, Feb 12, 2015: look at the background of bigotry behind the killing of three Muslims;

A Tale of Two Cities: Where’s former Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel now that his city really needs him? on rabble.ca, by DAVID J. CLIMENHAGA, Feb 12, 2015;

Nigeria, history and the clear and present danger, on Pambazuka News, by Chido Onumah, Feb 12, 2015: Nigeria has postponed its fiercest presidential election scheduled for this weekend. Nothing new. What is, however, worrying is the fact that every Nigerian election is a referendum on the continued existence of the country. A genuine national conversation about whether the country is sustainable the way it exists today is needed;

How About a Memorial to the Victims of Harperism? on The Bullet, Socialist Project’s E-Bulletin No. 1081, by J. F. Conway, Feb 12, 2015: Only a fool would deny that millions have been the tragic victims of communism, but that number pales, surely, in comparison with the victims of capitalism …;

STATEMENT – new anticapitalist party: The “national unity” trap, on Socialist Worker.org, Feb 12, 2015 (Translated by Todd Chretien – This statement appeared in French at the NPA website: Contre l’union nationale, dans NPA/actualité, le 2 février 2015);

Bad influence: The dangers of U.S. foreign policy in Rwanda, on Pambazuka News, a response to Ambassador Erica Barks-Ruggles, by Dr. Theogene Rudasingwa, Washington D.C., Feb 11, 2015: America’s new ambassador to Kigali has hit the ground running, with a recent letter to the Rwandan people in which she reiterates the pro-Kagame policies of the U.S. Government. It is amazing that the US chooses to look the other way in the face of many reports, including its own, detailing rampant atrocities committed by the Kagame regime;

Australia May Stop Providing Water and Power to Remote Aboriginal Communities, on VICEnews, by Jessica Lukjanow, Feb 10, 2015;

How Progressive Policies Can Strengthen Marriage and Family Life, on Family Studies, by Shawn Fremstad and Melissa Boteach, le 10 février 2015;

L’ère du travail est-elle révolue? dans Boulevard Voltaire, Feb 9;

UK: Green deputy leaders contradict Caroline Lucas, Citizens’ Income will be in the manifesto, on New Statesman, by Ashley Burn, Feb 9, 2015;

India: MSG is against Drug Mafia, says Gurmeet Singh, on New Indian Express, Feb 9, 2015;

New York, NY: The Fourteenth Annual North American Basic Income Guarantee NABIG Congress (Feb 26 to March 1, 2015), on BIEN, by Karl Widerquist, Feb 9, 2015;

US: These Social Security Fixes Simply Won’t Work, on The Motly Fool, by staff, Feb 7, 2015;

What could a Canadian Syriza do? on rabble.ca, by TARA EHRCKE, Jan 29, 2015;

The Strange Case of Darren Wilson’s Mysterious Disappearing Duty Belt, on VICEnews, by Alice Speri, Jan 28, 2015 … (see also on en.wikipedia: Shooting of Michael Brown; /Darren Wilson’s interview and testimony; and Police duty belt);

Help build a winning election strategy for 2015, on rabble.ca, by RABBLE STAFF, Dec 22, 2014;

… and this:

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