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Member since: Fri Feb 27, 2004, 08:28 PM
Number of posts: 99,291

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Is John Kiriakou really a whistle-blower?

The most recent Project Censored continues to promote the idea of Obama’s War on Whistleblowers

The predictable result is a new chorus of the now-familiar media claims that President Obama has invoked the Espionage Act of 1917 more than every other president combined. But such media claims are easily seen to be grossly incorrect and ahistorical, as will be evident to anyone who attempts even the most cursory review of the actual history, which has sometimes involved hundreds of prosecutions of the mildest speech as criminal activity

So it is important to examine what Project Censored actually says, rather than relying on inaccurate soundbite summaries. Among the claims made by Project Censored is the assertion: The Obama justice department has also used the Intelligence Identities Protection Act to obtain a conviction against Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) whistleblower John Kiriakou for exposing the waterboarding of prisoners, ironically making Kiriakou the first CIA official to be sentenced to prison in connection with the torture program. Unfortunately, this somewhat-more-accurate assertion about Kiriakou is still highly misleading

Former CIA-employee Kiriakou first became a major news story due to a long interview with ABCs Brian Ross in December 2007 (transcripts here and here). Unfortunately, Kiriakou seems not to have been entirely accurate and honest in these interviews: for example, in discussing the capture of Abu Zubaydah, Kiriakou told Ross I tore up a sheet and
tied him to the bed
, although in fact Kiriakou seems to have been thousands of miles away in Langley at the time of the capture

The Kiriakou interview attracted attention at the time because Kiriakou admitted Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded -- and claimed the treatment had been extraordinarily effective:

... he told ABC and other news organizations that Abu Zubaydah had stopped resisting after just 30 or 35 seconds of the suffocating procedure and told interrogators all he knew. That was grossly inaccurate –- the prisoner was waterboarded some 83 times, it turned out ...

... Some critics say that the now-discredited information shared by Mr. Kiriakou and other sources heightened the public perception of waterboarding as an effective interrogation technique. "I think it was sanitized by the way it was described" in press accounts, said John Sifton, a former lawyer for Human Rights Watch, an advocacy group ... Mr. Kiriakou told MSNBC that he was willing to talk in part because he thought the CIA had "gotten a bum rap on waterboarding."

Is John Kiriakou a Whistleblower?
By Peter Hart

So, although Kiriakou was one of the early insiders to discuss waterboarding with the press, his first splash in the news on the topic was not "whistle-blowing" but was rather a DEFENSE of water-boarding, coming at a time when the Bush administration was under continuing attack for its poor treatment of detainees

The mythology portraying Kiriakou as an anti-torture whistle-blower, rather than as the water-boarding apologist he actually was, seems to have been a PR-strategy of his defense team: ... he's just been sentenced to 30 months in prison for blowing the cover on a fellow CIA agent. Having copped a plea in the case, he nonetheless portrays himself as a "whistleblower" on CIA torture. The judge didn't buy it. "This is not a case of a whistleblower," US District Judge Leonie Brinkema told Kiriakou at his sentencing hearing ...
Posted by struggle4progress | Wed Jan 1, 2014, 10:10 AM (9 replies)

The testimony of Hurtig at Belmarsh was not that Assange notified the prosecutors that Assange

intended to leave the country but that Ny told Hurtig there were no “force measures” preventing Julian leaving the country. Hurtig also testified at Belmarsh he had thought thereafter the rape case may be closed “without even bothering to interview him. On 27th September 2010, Mr Assange left Sweden.” Unfortunately, this testimony turned out not to be true:

He agreed that this was wrong. Ms Ny did contact him. A specific suggestion was put to him that on 22nd September he sent a text to the prosecutors saying “I have not talked to my client since I talked to you”. He checked his mobile phone and at first said he did not have the message as he does not keep them that far back. He was encouraged to check his inbox, and there was an adjournment for that purpose. He then confirmed that on 22nd September 2010 at 16.46 he has a message from Ms Ny saying: “Hello – it is possible to have an interview Tuesday”. Next there was a message saying: “Thanks for letting me know. We will pursue Tuesday 28th at 1700”. He then accepted that there must have been a text from him ... She requested a date as soon as possible. He agrees that the following day, 22nd, she contacted him at least twice. Then he was then cross-examined about his attempts to contact his client. To have the full flavour it may be necessary to consider the transcript in full. In summary the lawyer was unable to tell me what attempts he made to contact his client, and whether he definitely left a message. It was put that he had a professional duty to tell his client of the risk of detention ... He referred to receiving a text from Ms Ny at 09.11 on 27th September, the day his client left Sweden ...

Thus, whatever Hurtig was told on 15 September, it is a matter of record that by 22 September he was aware that the prosecution sought to interview his client as soon as possible. It is also clear that on 22 September, Hurtig was at least aware prosecutors planned to interview Assange on 28 September. Hurtig testifies Assange left the country on the 27th. This is a rather large coincidence, especially as Hurtig testified he had seen a baggage ticket for Assange's flight. The magistrate at Belmarsh understandably found Hurtig's testimony somewhat unpalatable and concluded somewhat dryly that Mr Hurtig is an unreliable witness as to what efforts he made to contact his client. The court further noted Mr Hurtig said in his statement that it was astonishing that Ms Ny made no effort to interview his client. In fact this is untrue ... The statement was a deliberate attempt to mislead the court.

Somewhat more can be said here. Hurtig also testified that He was able to speak to his client on 29th September and Mr Assange offered to return ... for interrogation. Elsewhere in the Facts and Findings, it is stated that [link:www.bailii.org/ew/cases/Misc/2011/5.html|The
authorities believed Mr Assange would be in Sweden .. in .. October ... It appears that either the rumours were false, or Mr Assange changed his mind. In any event he was not apprehended or
interrogated then]
. Other reports generally confirm this picture:

There is a pattern of prevarication here. Hurtig claimed to be unable to contact Assange but somehow managed to view a baggage ticket showing Assange's departure date! Assange himself admitted he had agreed to return for the second interrogation in October but then decided not to go. He subsequently spent a year and a half in the UK courts arguing little technicalities of the European arrest warrant, all of which were dismissed, in order to avoid extradition to Sweden. When he lost that case, he dropped further appeals and jumped bail, stiffing a number of people who had pledged for his appearance. The evidence all points directly to his utter contempt for the courts, and the most natural assumption is that he fled Sweden to avoid prosecution

Regarding Hurtig, the magistrate at Belmarsh concluded: The witness was clearly uncomfortable and anxious to leave
Posted by struggle4progress | Tue Dec 10, 2013, 10:16 PM (1 replies)

Mrs. Clara Sullivan's Letter

Scuddy, Kentucky
January 21, 1963
Dear Editor:

I recently read a magazine of yours about the labor unrest in Perry County and surrounding counties. I would like very much to get one of these magazines to send to my son in the service. I don't have any money to send you for it, but would you please send me one anyway?

The operators have the money and the miner doesn't have anything but a bad name. You couldn't find better people anywhere in the whole world ...

The operators wouldn't go in a mine for $50 a day. I've seen my husband come home from work with his clothes frozen to his body from working in the water. I have sat down at a table where we didn't have anything to eat but wild greens picked from the mountain side. There are three families around me, that each family of seven only had plain white gravy and bread for a week is true. Is this progress or what? I just can't understand it ...

Please, sir, could you send me a magazine? Thank you sincerely,

Mrs. Clara Sullivan, Scuddy, Kentucky, Perry County


Posted by struggle4progress | Sun Nov 10, 2013, 09:54 PM (1 replies)

Come all Ye Coal Miners

come all you coal miners
wherever you may be
and listen to a story
that I'll relate to thee
my name is nothing extra
but the truth to you I'll tell
I am a coal miner's wife
I'm sure I wish you well

coal mining is the most dangerous work
in our land today
with plenty of dirty slaving work
and very little pay
coal miner won't you wake up
and open your eye and see
what the dirty capitalist system
is doing to you and me

they take your very life blood
they take our children's lives
take fathers away from children
and husbands away from wives
oh miners won't you organize
wherever you may be
and make this a land of freedom
for workers like you and me

dear miners they will slave you
til you can't work no more
and what'll you get for living
but a dollar in the company store
a tumble-down shack to live in
snow and rain pour through the top
you have to pay the company rent
your paying never stops ...

Posted by struggle4progress | Sun Nov 10, 2013, 09:39 PM (1 replies)

Backlash blues

mr backlash
mr backlash
just who do think I am
you raise my taxes
freeze my wages
and send my son to Vietnam

you give me second class houses
And second class schools
do you think that all the colored folks
are just second class fools?
mr backlash
I'm gonna leave you
with the backlash blues ...

Posted by struggle4progress | Sun Nov 10, 2013, 04:36 PM (0 replies)

The coal owner and the pitman’s wife

... good morning Lord Firedamp
this woman she said
I'll do you no harm
sir so don't be afraid
if you'd been where I've been
the most of me life
you wouldn't turn pale
at a poor pitman's wife

then where do you come from?
the owner he cried

I come from hell
the poor woman replied

if you come from hell
then come tell me right plain
how you contrived
to get out again

aye the way I got out
the truth I will tell
they're turning the poor folks
all out of hell
this to make room
for the rich wicked race
for there is a great number
of them in that place ...
and the coal owners selves
is the next on command
to arrive in hell
as I understand
for I heard the old devil
say as I come out
the coal-owners all
had received their rout ...

Posted by struggle4progress | Sun Nov 10, 2013, 04:31 PM (0 replies)

Coal miner's blues

... blues and more blues
it's a coal black blue
blues and more blues
it's a coal black blue
got coal in my hair
got coal in my shoes

these blues are so blue
they are the coal black blues
these blues are so blue
they are the coal black blues.
for my place will cave in
and my life I will lose ...

Posted by struggle4progress | Sun Nov 10, 2013, 04:20 PM (0 replies)


well the bills are all due
and the babies need shoes.
we’re busted

we’ve had a hard time
since they closed down the mines
we’re busted

got a cow that's gone dry
and a hen that won't lay
a big stack of bills
that gets bigger each day
tomorrow they’ll haul
our belongings away.
we’re busted

well our friends are all leaving
this ole mining town
we’re busted ...

Posted by struggle4progress | Sun Nov 10, 2013, 04:11 PM (6 replies)

The blind fiddler

I lost my eyes in a blacksmith shop
in the year of 76
while working on a revolver
and it was out of six ...

I've been down to Knoxville
had a talk with Dr Lane
he operated on one of my eyes
but nothing could he gain
oh I'm so sad and lonely
and I am condemned to roam
well I am a blind fiddler
I'm a great long ways from home ...

Posted by struggle4progress | Sun Nov 10, 2013, 04:06 PM (0 replies)

Draft dodger rag

Posted by struggle4progress | Sun Nov 10, 2013, 03:54 PM (2 replies)
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