Many crimes against humanity were committed during the George W. Bush Administration. Most of them have been ‘swept under the rug.’ The time has passed to indict Bush and vice-president Cheney for war crimes when they authorized the invasion of a sovereign country under false pretenses. A single issue has been revealed in detail to the American public; torture. The whistleblower who made the practice public has been released from prison. His name is John Kiriakou.
When the Senate report was revealed regarding ‘enhanced interrogation techniques,’ members of the former Bush administration cried ‘foul.’ Cheney was the most vehement, repeatedly making the claim that important information was obtained using those techniques; and that he would do it again.
Senator John McCain, a former Vietnamese prisoner of war, called Cheney’s techniques by their real name, ‘torture.’ Furthermore, he stated that torture does not produce the truth or any information of value; after repeated torture the victim will tell his abusers anything they want to hear so that the pain will end.
John Kiriakou worked for the CIA for 14 years. On February 28, 2013, Kiriakou was sentenced to two-and-one-half years in federal prison for revealing the CIA’s criminal practice of torturing suspected terrorists. He was released Tuesday, and will be allowed to serve the remainder of his sentence under house arrest, which will end in August of this year.
Kiriakou’s first revelation was in 2007 when during an interview with ABC he disclosed the CIA’s practice of ‘waterboarding.’ Prosecution efforts began in 2009 when lawyers for detainees in the Guantanamo Bay detention center filed a lawsuit against their captors for acts of torture.
Legal action was made possible when Kiriakou gave the name of a covert operations agent to a reporter in 2008. The reporter passed the name to an individual researching the situation in Guantanamo which allowed the lawyers to place a specific name in their lawsuit.
Kiriakou was an effective CIA operative and once led an operation which captured a high-ranking member of Al Qaeda. After his abduction, Abu Zubaydah was reportedly tortured with simulated drowning, or ‘waterboarding’ 83 times.
Kiriakou was prosecuted for releasing the name of the covert operative; he claims it was because he revealed the agency’s torture policies.
Kiriakou had some advice for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. First, he strongly suggested that he obtain the best lawyers available if he was ever placed on trial. His own sentence was the result of a plea bargain and the reduction in the sentence was dramatic. Secondly, he tells Snowden not to trust the FBI. He claims that they will tell him anything to accomplish their goals. He says that the FBI is the enemy, and not the solution to our nation’s legal problems.
Edward Snowden wrote to the American people from Moscow. He continues to reveal information regarding the unconstitutional actions by the NSA. He says that President Obama and Congress do not fear whistleblowers such as himself or Chelsea Manning; the United States government fears the nation’s people. Knowledge is power; awareness of violations perpetrated on the American people is more important than the information exposed. When Constitutional rights are threatened, our government is in danger of collapse; this is what causes fear among our nation’s leaders.
By James Turnage