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John Kiriakou spent 14 years at the CIA and two years in a federal prison for blowing the whistle on the agency's use of torture. He served on John Kerry's Senate Foreign Relations Committee for two years as senior investigator into the Middle East. He writes and speaks about national security, whistleblowing, the prison-industrial complex, and foreign policy, and is an associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and winner of the 2015 PEN Center USA First Amendment award.
(8 comments) SHARE Wednesday, April 20, 2016 Forcing the Innocent to Plead Guilty, an American Disgrace
It should be no surprise that innocent people are in prison as a result of pleading guilty to crimes they didn't commit. The work of the Brooklyn and Harris County district attorneys should be lauded. But innocent men and women shouldn't have to rely on the isolated prosecutor with a conscience for justice. Justice should mean justice.
(17 comments) SHARE Sunday, November 11, 2018 Brennan and Clapper Should Not Escape Prosecution
Recently declassified documents show that the former CIA director and former director of national intelligence approved illegal spying on Congress and then classified their crime. They need to face punishment, writes John Kiriakou.
(13 comments) SHARE Sunday, December 6, 2015 An Incompetent FBI Dropped the Ball on Syed Farook
Metadata collection is no substitute for human intelligence and good police work. But even with the information that Farook was in contact with terrorist suspects, the FBI did nothing. This time people died. Heads should roll.
(2 comments) SHARE Friday, November 23, 2018 Time for Trump To Do the Right Thing on Immigration
As Thanksgiving approached, Donald Trump has sent 5,900 troops to the border with Mexico, ostensibly to protect it from a hoard of undocumented migrants, to keep out "rapists and drug dealers," and to ensure the security and safety of American citizens. That's preposterous, of course.
(16 comments) SHARE Monday, November 30, 2015 The US Postal Service Is Spying On Us
The US Postal Service is spying on us. I'm not talking about peeking into letters or looking at how many mutual fund statements you receive. I'm talking about the systematic collection of information on every single piece of mail you send or receive, including the names and addresses of the sender and recipient, without a warrant or oversight and without any explanation to the person being targeted.
(4 comments) SHARE Friday, September 30, 2016 Kathleen Kane: Another Whistleblower Goes to Prison in America
None of this would have happened if she had played by the old-boy rules and just let a lot of very important people have their email fun. But she went after some of the most important politicians in the state. She rocked the boat, she took on the big boys, and she'll pay for her freedom, whistleblower or not. Kane faces more than 15 years in prison. Her sentencing is scheduled for October 24.
(7 comments) SHARE Saturday, March 17, 2018 I Went to Prison for Disclosing CIA Torture. Gina Haspel Helped Cover It Up.
Do we Americans want to remain a nation that tortures people, like North Korea, China and Iran? Do we want to be the country that cynically preaches human rights and then violates those same rights when we think nobody is looking? Our country cannot afford that. We cannot look the other way. We cannot reward the torturers. Gina Haspel has no business running the CIA.
(6 comments) SHARE Thursday, October 25, 2018 Muhammad bin Salman: A Coup Is in Order
Khashoggi apparently was lured to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul for the express purpose of being murdered. A resident of Arlington, Virginia, he had become engaged to a Turkish woman and he wanted to register the engagement with the Saudi government as is required by Saudi law.
(3 comments) SHARE Monday, February 5, 2018 Sharia Law: It's Not What You Think It Is
Sharia law in the US is entirely community-based, and the structure of Sharia jurisprudence in the US is very similar to that exercised by the Rom, formerly known as "gypsies." Sam Brownback's interference, and the interference of others like him, will result only in further misunderstanding, distrust, and hatred. That's not what our country needs.
SHARE Sunday, December 10, 2017 Barack Obama's Parting Gift to Donald Trump Was Mike Flynn
After Flynn had proven himself a thorn in the collective sides of Obama and Ashton Carter, then Secretary of Defense, he jumped into the Trump campaign with both feet, famously leading a chant of "Lock her up!" in reference to Hillary Clinton, at the 2016 Republican National Convention.
(2 comments) SHARE Thursday, November 10, 2016 The Standing Rock Protests Are About the Constitution
The protests at Standing Rock are not going to end anytime soon. Indeed, we should all be there. The protests are not just about water, the environment, or Native rights. The protests are also about all of us and about government overreach. They're about the Constitution. We have to keep up the fight.
(13 comments) SHARE Sunday, March 26, 2017 Donald Trump Is Done
There's an old saying in Washington: "Don't kick a man when he's down. But once he's down, don't stop kicking him." And that's what Democrats, progressives, and others have to do -- keep kicking. If we keep up the pressure, if we continue our activism, if we block legislation, if we remain in the streets, we can make this president an asterisk in the history books. We can emasculate him starting now. Let's do it.
SHARE Saturday, August 4, 2018 After Snowden
There certainly have been some great leaps forward. Americans are far better informed now than they were in 2013. But the government is still spying on us with impunity. The courts are no help. Our only hope is to elect like-minded supporters of privacy and civil liberties. Or we can hope for another Snowden to shake things up again.
(21 comments) SHARE Sunday, August 23, 2015 Obama Should Charge Clinton With Espionage
The Espionage Act is a political weapon. The decision to prosecute is political. It's made by the attorney general and the president. If you're a friend of the president, you don't have to worry. If you expose wrongdoing, your life will be changed forever. Hillary Clinton doesn't have anything to worry about.
(18 comments) SHARE Wednesday, October 5, 2016 Civil Forfeiture: Legalized Government Robbery
California governor Jerry Brown signed a bill into law last week that would prohibit the police from seizing property -- and money -- from individuals without due process. The entire civil forfeiture system, state and federal, is ripe for abuse. California had the courage to do something about it. It's time for the other states to stand up.
(1 comments) SHARE Friday, September 29, 2017 Anthony Weiner Is In for a Rude Awakening
Anthony Weiner is in for an experience that he'll never forget -- and not in a good way. Being convicted of a crime is bad. Being convicted of a felony, with all the accompanying losses of civil liberties, is worse. But being convicted of a child sex crime is life-changing in the worst possible way. On November 6, Weiner will begin a 21-month federal sentence for transferring obscene material to a minor.
(9 comments) SHARE Sunday, June 2, 2019 Julian Assange: Prisoner of Conscience
There's still time for Amnesty International to stand up and say that Julian Assange is a prisoner of conscience. Julian Assange is a fighter for transparency and human rights. That ought to be right in AI's wheelhouse. As Donald Trump is fond of saying, "Let's see what happens."
(5 comments) SHARE Saturday, February 24, 2018 Why Does the CIA Prefer Corporate Media?
The CIA can do whatever it wants. The rest of us have to follow the rules. There is one glimmer of hope, though. It's Judge Colleen McMahon and those jurists like her. Maybe she'll use this case to give Washington a lesson in respect for the law, freedom of the press, and separation of powers. Maybe.
(12 comments) SHARE Saturday, January 6, 2018 Would Eric Holder Have Prosecuted Huma Abedin?
President Donald Trump called (again) last week for the Justice Department to initiate a criminal investigation of former Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin after the State Department posted thousands of emails and other documents that were found on the laptop of Abedin's estranged husband, former congressman and current federal sex offender Anthony Weiner.
(14 comments) SHARE Tuesday, July 5, 2016 What if Hillary Clinton Were a Whistleblower?
in Hillary Clinton's case, it seems that everything rests on the notion of criminal intent. Did Hillary set up her email server specifically to subvert the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)? Did she set up her email server for the express purpose of passing classified information to people not entitled to receive it? Of course not. But that's not the standard, at least it's not in the federal Eastern District of Virginia.
(3 comments) SHARE Wednesday, December 9, 2015 Opposing Tyranny From Both the Left and the Right
Pete Seeger once said that a true liberal opposes tyranny from both the left and the right. He was correct. Progressives need to stand up to dictators, murderers, crooks, and corrupt politicians on the left and the right. Otherwise, we wouldn't be progressives at all.
(4 comments) SHARE Monday, October 16, 2017 The Deep State Did Not Cause My Motorcycle Accident, But It Does Exist
I still think it was an accident. But when the Attorney General of the United States tells a U.S. senator, with a completely straight face in an open Congressional hearing, that the president can have an American citizen assassinated on U.S. soil without benefit of a trial, it gives one pause. I didn't want to acknowledge it, but maybe there was something more to this than I was willing to admit to myself.
(2 comments) SHARE Sunday, September 17, 2017 Chelsea Manning and Harvard -- Let's Talk About Disgrace
Chelsea Manning, on the other hand, made classified revelations in the public interest. She is the definition of a whistleblower -- she brought to light evidence of waste, fraud, abuse, illegality, and threats to public health or public safety. Harvard made a big mistake. It wasn't just to disinvite Chelsea Manning. It was to hire the likes of Mike Morell in the first place.
(3 comments) SHARE Friday, March 1, 2019 Neither Rain, Sleet, nor Snow Will Stop the Post Office From Spying on You
The Mail Cover Program allows postal employees to photograph and send to federal law enforcement organizations (FBI, DHS, Secret Service, etc.) the front and back of every piece of mail the Post Office processes. It also retains the information digitally and provides it to any government agency that wants it -- without a warrant.
(3 comments) SHARE Monday, April 2, 2018 In the Crystal Mason Case, What Was the Intent of the State of Texas?
How many cases of voter fraud has Texas seen? There were three in the last election. Three. The governor was nonplussed. "We will continue our effort to crack down and make sure there is no illegal voting in Texas," Abbott said.
Crystal Mason is his latest victim. And her only hope is a pardon -- from Greg Abbott.
SHARE Sunday, April 23, 2017 Federal Prison Wardens' Absurd Mismanagement Bonuses
The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) doled out more than $2 million in "performance bonuses" to wardens and its most senior administrators over the past three years, even as it was dealing unsuccessfully with issues of overcrowding, terrible health care for prisoners, and a major sexual harassment lawsuit.
(6 comments) SHARE Tuesday, December 27, 2016 I'm Not Optimistic About the Next Four Years
Alabama senator Jeff Sessions, a former federal prosecutor and failed Reagan appointee to the federal bench, has been one of the most strident anti-criminal justice reform voices in Congress. He said soon after his selection that he opposed any review of federal sentencing guidelines, and he criticized President Obama's practice of commuting the sentences of many first-time non-violent drug offenders.
(5 comments) SHARE Wednesday, June 7, 2017 James Comey, a Whistleblower, Really?
The legal definition of a whistleblower is "any person who brings to light evidence of waste, fraud, abuse, illegality, or threats to the public health or public safety." So I guess, technically, Comey fits the bill.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, September 19, 2016 Whistleblower Jefferey Sterling Appears to Have Suffered a Heart Attack in Prison
Jeffrey Sterling has a history of atrial fibrillation. He has had several medical "episodes" in prison related to his heart, and prison officials have refused to allow him to see an outside cardiologist or to go to a hospital for tests. Prison medical officials told Jeffrey two weeks ago that they would take him out to see a specialist, but that never happened.
SHARE Tuesday, November 21, 2017 Prison Labor Camps Are Not Progressive
In the DARP program, prisoners work full-time jobs in factories and chicken processing plants, companies pay a discounted rate to the rehabs for the labor, and literally none of that money is passed on to the prisoners, either as salary or for counseling. It's slave labor. If they refuse to do the work, they are moved from the drug rehab to a state prison.
SHARE Thursday, May 16, 2019 Asset Forfeiture? Thank Joe Biden and His Friend Strom Thurmond
We want a president who is going to support civil liberties and civil rights, not conspire with notorious extremists like Thurmond, Reagan, Meese, and Weld to take them away. Biden has had his turn at the trough. He blew it. He stripped Americans of their rights. He actually wanted -- encouraged -- the cops to take our homes, our cars, and our money even if we were never convicted of a crime. He made it easier for them.
SHARE Friday, January 12, 2018 A Warning for Democrats, and Indeed for All Americans
It's time for the Democrats to clean up their act. They're going to be the party of freedom, civil liberties, and human rights or they aren't. They need to choose. They can still end up on the right side of history. But that's only if they shun monsters like Mike Hayden, John Brennan, and Jim Clapper and others like them, and if they start paying a little more attention to the Constitution.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, November 15, 2017 John Kerry's Deadly Embrace of Saudi Arabia
What we're seeing in Saudi Arabia today is not an attempt to bring the country into modernity, nor is it enactment of a new anti-corruption policy, as the Saudis have claimed. Instead, it's a coup. Muhammad bin Salman, the king's son, deposed his cousin, Muhammad bin Nayif, and immediately began to put his personal imprimatur on the kingdom.
(8 comments) SHARE Wednesday, October 21, 2015 What Clinton Got Wrong About Snowden
Clinton doesn't like Snowden. I doubt he's too upset about that. But Clinton should get her facts straight if she's going to take a stand against those federal employees and contractors who take their oaths to uphold the Constitution seriously enough to report crimes against it.
(32 comments) SHARE Tuesday, December 13, 2016 Now the CIA Will Rescue Us From Donald Trump
The Constitution doesn't include any mechanism whereby a newly-elected president can be removed because of interference in the election. We're likely stuck with Trump for the next four years or until he's impeached and removed from office for any number of reasons that already seem to be bubbling to the surface. We have to be a monkey on Trump's back every day for the remainder of his presidency.
(2 comments) SHARE Wednesday, November 27, 2019 The Press Should Not Be Shielding FBI Malfeasance
The Washington Post and others just adhered to the Justice Department's own policy of protecting their own while wrecking the lives of those who have the guts to stand up to them.
(2 comments) SHARE Saturday, May 26, 2018 In Support of the First Step Act
The House of Representatives this week passed a bipartisan criminal justice reform measure called the First Step Act by an overwhelming majority of 360-59. There will never be a consensus in Congress over true reform. Maybe if we're really lucky -- someday -- we'll be able to do away with the draconian sentences that we have for nonviolent drug crimes. That'll be a start. But we're not there yet.
(6 comments) SHARE Sunday, January 21, 2018 Treason
The word "treason" has entered the American political vernacular. We see it all the time now, as if it's somehow normal that traitors are allowed to commit their treason and continue to walk the streets and work in high-ranking positions in the government. In just the past two weeks there have been myriad examples.
(6 comments) SHARE Sunday, May 20, 2018 Again I Am Speaking Out Against Torture, Again I Am Under Attack
I was very public in my opposition to Gina Haspel. I believe that her deep involvement in the CIA's torture program is disqualifying, no matter how many of the CIA's rank-and-file employees love her, as Senator Mark Warner said in rationalizing his flip-flop on her nomination.
(8 comments) SHARE Friday, May 4, 2018 The Coming US War Against Iran
Benjamin Netanyahu's recent "presentation" on what he called a clandestine Iranian nuclear weapons program was embarrassingly similar to Powell's heavily scripted speech before the UN Security Council 15 years earlier telling the world that Iraq had a program. That, too, was a lie. We have to be diligent in opposing this run into another war of choice. We can't be tricked or taken by surprise. Not again.
(7 comments) SHARE Friday, August 26, 2016 Abu Zubaydah Case Sets Dangerous Precedent for Military Justice System
The only legal, moral and ethical thing to do is to release Zubaydah. He was not the arch-terrorist that the Bush administration and its CIA said he was. He was tortured in violation of U.S. and international law. He was never charged with a crime, and if he had indeed committed crimes against the United States, he has paid for them.
(4 comments) SHARE Sunday, December 29, 2019 The Torture Report Is "Don't Miss" Television
You will come to realize only minutes into this film that our intelligence services and the White House are run by sociopaths -- people with no capacity for remorse or regret, people for whom human rights, civil rights, civil liberties, and the rule of law mean literally nothing.
(19 comments) SHARE Sunday, January 17, 2016 Time to Tell the Saudis to Drink Their Oil
The Obama administration has not had a single foreign policy success in the Middle East over the past seven years besides the Iran nuclear deal. It cannot allow Saudi intransigence to interfere, especially in an election year. There is still time for the Saudi government to close Pandora's Box. But the only way to achieve stability in the Middle East is for Washington to draw its own proverbial line in the sand.
SHARE Tuesday, July 25, 2017 Sessions Prosecutes Laughter, We Have to Take to the Streets
This is the Department of Justice under Sessions. Sessions is ordering his minions to pursue these inconsequential cases. Worse, he's backtracked on sentencing reform and mandatory minimums, on prosecuting undocumented workers, and on expanding the use of private prisons. The dismantling of Obama-era judicial reforms is well underway.
SHARE Saturday, August 26, 2017 "Hang 'Em High" Henry Hudson to Oversee Sentencing Guidelines?
We probably can all agree that sentences should be tough for those people using violence in the commission of a crime or for those involved in human trafficking. But reinstating harsh mandatory minimums for nonviolent and/or first-time drug offenders is a mistake.
(11 comments) SHARE Sunday, November 18, 2018 Assange Will Never Get a Fair Trial in the US
Julian Assange doesn't have a prayer of a fair trial in the Eastern District of Virginia. The only thing that can save him is jury nullification. The Espionage Act is wrong. Julian Assange is a journalist. He should never have been charged with a crime in the first place. While the judge that will likely hear his case may disagree, a jury might agree. And it should.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, September 24, 2019 Houthi Rebels are the Saudis' Problem
Given the nature of the U.S.-Saudi relationship, which John Kiriakou witnessed firsthand, Trump has no reason to do Riyadh's bidding in Iran.
(5 comments) SHARE Friday, November 3, 2017 Murder in Paraguay
Millions of Americans travel overseas every year, whether it's across the border to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, Cancun, or to more exotic locales. But nobody expects to die violently while abroad, and especially not a 16-year-old. That's what happened to Alex Villamayor. If there was ever a time for Donald Trump to "put America first," this is it.
(4 comments) SHARE Monday, May 22, 2017 While "Doing Time Like a Spy," I Saw the Real War on Drugs
Kiriakou writes: The United States has roughly five percent of the world's population and 25 percent of the world's prison population. That means that about 0.9 percent of all Americans are in prison. Doesn't sound like a lot, right? Well, it's more, per capita, than Russia, China, and even Iran.
(16 comments) SHARE Tuesday, January 17, 2017 I Have Come to the Conclusion the Country Does Not Need a CIA
When a majority of CIA officers are sitting fat and happy in Langley, Virginia, there's a problem. They are doing the American taxpayer a disservice. The top leadership has to go. Employees who don't respect U.S. and international law have to go. The purge should start on January 20.
(4 comments) SHARE Monday, June 24, 2019 With Trump's Iranian Misadventure, Putin Wins Again
Well, we walked right up to the brink of war with Iran last week. Again. It didn't happen, of course, and The Washington Post, The New York Times, and other journals of record are replete with minute-by-minute explanations of what happened when and why. Much of it is nonsense. And much more of the coverage ignores the bigger-picture analysis.
(15 comments) SHARE Saturday, August 12, 2017 How to Challenge Media Narratives Without Being Called a Conspiracy Theorist
What is a conspiracy theory? Simply put, it's an explanation of an event or situation that invokes a conspiracy without evidence, usually involving an illegal or harmful act carried out by the government or other powerful actors. Conspiracy theories often produce hypotheses that contradict the prevailing understanding of history or simple facts.
(45 comments) SHARE Thursday, December 10, 2015 What the Red Cup Controversy Really Says about Christmas in America
I couldn't understand what the controversy was about. This was a corporate entity that had decided to use plain red coffee cups instead of ones festooned with holiday icons. Big deal. But Americans -- and especially conservative Christian Americans -- have a very parochial view of Christmas. For most people in this country, Christmas means a decorated tree, snow, and Christmas carols.
(4 comments) SHARE Monday, April 9, 2018 On Police Shootings, Time to Take to the Streets
The police kill far, far more people of color than they do whites. They are far quicker to resort to violence without even understanding the basics of what is happening; indeed, they usually fire at a suspect within seconds of their arrival on scene. Innocent people of color will continue to die at the hands of the police. And nobody is doing anything about it. Our only alternative is to take to the streets.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, August 14, 2019 How a Suicide Watch Really Works
If Jeffrey Epstein's death turns out to have been self-inflicted, it would represent a complete breakdown in the system that was supposed to protect him.
(25 comments) SHARE Thursday, March 17, 2016 An American Mussolini
Despite the incendiary tone of his rhetoric -- that all Muslims are our enemies, that Mexicans are rapists and drug dealers, and that practically anybody who disagrees with him is an ISIS supporter or a "socialist" -- Trump refuses to take responsibility for the violence he incites among his followers.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, November 28, 2017 Maggots on Prison Food Is Crime on Crime
Three state prisoners in Oregon have filed a class action lawsuit in U.S. District Court against four of the state's prisons, saying that they were forced to eat fish and chicken intended to be animal feed or "bait food," as well as spoiled milk and other moldy, rotten or inedible food. The suit accuses the Department of Corrections of civil rights violations and "deliberate indifference to health and safety."
(19 comments) SHARE Sunday, October 16, 2016 Why Do None of Our Politicians Understand Syria?
To put things simply, here's Obama's Syria policy: The Islamic State is bad. Syrian president Bashar al-Assad is bad. Moderate Syrian rebels are good. In a perfect world, that would indeed be the case. But it's not a perfect world, and that's not the reality of today's Syria.
(6 comments) SHARE Friday, August 25, 2017 Trump Falls for the Afghanistan Trap
Who convinced Trump -- who has literally no experience whatsoever in foreign, defense, or intelligence policy -- to continue the same failed policy that Barack Obama and George W. Bush pursued before him? It was those generals who were supposed to be the adults in the room. It was the generals that the mainstream media hoped would be the ones to moderate this unpredictable president.
SHARE Sunday, February 17, 2019 Cruel but Not Unusual, Freezing to Death in Federal Detention
On January 27, an electrical fire knocked out power to the entire prison and melted the switch that automatically transfers the system to a backup generator. With outdoor temperatures in the single digits, the indoor temperature soon became unbearably cold. Water pipes froze, prisoners literally risked freezing to death, and with no electricity the phones didn't work, the lights didn't work, and medical attention waned.
(19 comments) SHARE Sunday, January 3, 2016 The Chinese in the US Virgin Islands, Be Concerned
Time is short. It looks like the fix is in. A whole host of leaders from the federal and Virgin Islands governments have to ask themselves if they would rather have a modern American refinery or a Chinese tank farm as a neighbor. If the answer is the former, somebody needs to act quickly.
SHARE Monday, June 26, 2017 Snitches Get Stitches
With rats lined up to testify, the defendant doesn't have a chance. The dirty little secret of the American court system is that very few defendants ever get to face their accusers in a court of law or be judged by a jury of their peers. It's a quaint idea, but it never happens.
(20 comments) SHARE Tuesday, September 26, 2017 The Pentagon's Propagandization of American Sports
Donald Trump's divisive rhetoric condemning NFL football players exercising their constitutional right to freedom of expression has plunged the country into a social and political crisis. Our fearless leader simply cannot abide those with whom he disagrees having a voice that is contrary to his own.
(1 comments) SHARE Sunday, September 18, 2016 American Prisons: Protest Dog Food, Go to Solitary Confinement
Many prisoners work full-time in something called "UNICOR," also known as Federal Prison Industries. It is in UNICOR that federal prisoners earn that dollar a day to build furniture, man call centers, and do any number of other jobs. This amounts to slave labor that somebody, somewhere, is making a profit on.
(3 comments) SHARE Saturday, June 9, 2018 Before You Give Your Computer to the Geek Squad
The FBI, just like the CIA, is constantly pushing the envelope of legality. They do it to see what they can get away with, and if successful, that is what becomes policy for the next case. It's an incremental power grab. It's oversight committees on Capitol Hill and federal judges that are supposed to protect us against that.
(2 comments) SHARE Friday, June 26, 2020 Steal John Bolton's Book
John Bolton's new book, The Room Where It Happened, is in bookstores now, and it's clear from a quick read that Bolton likes literally nobody. He apparently has never liked anybody. And he's perfectly happy to give you his side of the story.
(5 comments) SHARE Tuesday, August 8, 2017 The Espionage Act in the Hands of Jeff Sessions
Sessions couched the announcement in terms of a campaign against those who harm the country's security by wantonly leaking national security information. But nothing could be further from the truth. This is a policy to use the Espionage Act -- bringing one of the gravest charges that can be levied against an American -- to plug leaks that do nothing more than embarrass the president.
(1 comments) SHARE Saturday, January 5, 2019 Where's the Line on State-Sponsored Censorship?
Americans have a Constitutional right to freedom of speech. Right? That's what we're taught in school, at least. That's what a lot of us believe. But we don't really have a completely uninhibited right to freedom of speech. The conventional wisdom is that Americans are free to say anything they want (short of yelling "fire" in a crowded theater) except with very specific exceptions.
SHARE Sunday, September 13, 2015 Trump's Populism Is Really Racism and Classism
Do Americans really want a president who has repeatedly filed for bankruptcy, yet still declares that he's the "greatest businessman in America?" Do we want a president whose knee-jerk reaction to criticism is to launch personal attacks against the person making the criticism, even when he comes off as an unhinged maniac? Apparently some of them do.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, August 10, 2016 Will Jeffrey Sterling's Trumped-Up Espionage Conviction Be a Death Sentence?
CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling is in trouble--not in trouble with prison authorities or with the government. His health is failing, and prison officials are doing nothing about it. Jeffrey has collapsed twice in the past few weeks. He has a history of atrial fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat, and is a candidate for a pacemaker. He sought attention in the prison's medical unit. And each time he's been brushed off.
(3 comments) SHARE Sunday, March 11, 2018 Child Bride Trafficking, a State Right?
As many as 100,000 children are trafficked for sex in the United States every year. It's not just in the South, irrespective of my spur of the moment decision to pick on it. It's all across the country, with Miami and Cincinnati being two of the worst places for child trafficking. The number boggles the mind. And it's not something that we see much coverage of in the press.
(3 comments) SHARE Wednesday, January 9, 2019 Newly Declassified Documents Shed Light on Gina Haspel's Involvement at Guantanamo
Haspel was in charge of a secret site where al-Qaeda prisoners were tortured mercilessly. There were credible reports that she personally supervised the torture of USS Cole bombing mastermind Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. During her Senate confirmation hearings, Haspel refused to say that the torture program was a mistake. She also refused to say whether she had personally participated in the torture.
(10 comments) SHARE Tuesday, March 8, 2016 NYPD: Resistance Is Felonious
The courts are just supposed to take the cops' word for it. If the police don't like your attitude, if you object to something you see them do, they will be able to charge you with a felony. And whom will the judge believe -- a uniformed cop with his shiny badge -- or you?
(3 comments) SHARE Tuesday, December 20, 2016 Chris Christie and the Perpetuation of American Prison Torture
Many Americans think that solitary is reserved for the worst and most dangerous criminals in the country. In most cases, that's simply not true. Solitary is used not for the safety of inmates or prison guards, but as a punishment and as an expression of power by guards.
(13 comments) SHARE Friday, June 28, 2019 Adam Schiff -- The Left Wing of the Hawk
Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, is as big a hawk as any member of the Trump administration, says John Kirikaou.
(2 comments) SHARE Wednesday, September 7, 2016 Mike Morell, a Very Dangerous Resume on Hillary Clinton's Desk
Morell said that he would advise the president to begin bombing Syrian president Bashar al-Assad's presidential guard and his personal helicopters and planes. Remember, there has been no U.S. declaration of war against Syria. There are a lot of qualified people whom Hillary Clinton should consider as CIA director -- people who understand that the CIA should not in any way affect policy. Mike Morell shouldn't be one of them.
(2 comments) SHARE Thursday, January 5, 2017 Should an Innocent Person Be Forced to Pay for Their Arrest?
Donald Trump takes office in two short weeks. As I've written previously, I don't expect much in the way of prison reform or sentencing reform. Indeed, I've urged readers to take to the courts for redress because we obviously won't get it from Trump or the Republican Congress.
(2 comments) SHARE Saturday, December 2, 2017 Mr. Trump, You're No Beacon
The world is not missing anything here. We are indeed making stupid decisions. The country is off the rails. We weaken ourselves and our nation when we say and do stupid things. This is not a partisan issue. It is a patriotic one. The world is watching! Let's act like the leaders that we want the rest of the world to think we are.
(2 comments) SHARE Thursday, October 20, 2016 The FBI Isn't Done With Me
I've come to the conclusion, over many years of working with, working against, and watching the FBI, that the only way they make their cases is to entrap people. Remember, they can only get promoted if they make arrests and if the arrests stick. If that means entrapment or trumped-up charges, so be it.
SHARE Thursday, October 24, 2019 Jeffrey Sterling's "Unwanted Spy"
The CIA agent who was imprisoned after bringing a racial discrimination case against the agency has written a gripping David-and-Goliath account of being greatly wronged and coming out stronger on the other side.
(3 comments) SHARE Tuesday, June 20, 2017 Attention Evangelicals: Donald Trump Is Screwing You!
It's time for evangelicals to take stock of their political positions. Do they want to be on the side of Trump or on the side of human rights and religious freedom? Maybe it's time for them to ask themselves an important question: Who would Jesus deport?
(1 comments) SHARE Friday, December 13, 2019 Those Torture Drawings in the NYTimes
The Times tells a little about the CIA's torture program, but ignores the Obama role in continuing it and underestimates the vast extent of the program, which remains classified.
(1 comments) SHARE Thursday, March 1, 2018 The Cost of Blowing the Whistle Is High, but Worth It
The road ahead is not going to be any easier for any other whistleblower. But things are certainly better than they were when Dan Ellsberg released the Pentagon Papers. The personal cost is high. But it's worth it. As Lt. Brass said, some things are right or wrong. We have to stand up for what's right. And to do that, we can't remain silent.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, October 25, 2017 Jeff Sessions Is All Wrong on Halfway Houses
There's a clear-cut right way and a clear-cut wrong way to reform the system. Unfortunately, Jeff Sessions is wrong. He's clearly and obviously wrong. If somebody is getting out of prison, which nearly every federal prisoner eventually will, and he has no education, no job training, and no life skills, he's going to do the only thing he knows how to do. He's going to commit crimes again.
(4 comments) SHARE Sunday, September 11, 2016 How the CIA's Darkest Torture Secrets Were Exposed -- and Covered Up
Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) investigator Dan Jones completed the torture report, documenting in more than 6,000 pages CIA crimes against detainees. Committee Republicans refused to participate in the investigation and denounced the report's conclusions. The CIA condemned the report, saying the conclusions were "flawed." Agency leaders also argued that they had never "misrepresented" the torture program.
(11 comments) SHARE Thursday, December 31, 2015 The GOP Candidates Know Nothing about Syria
We've been at war for the past 14 years in that part of the world. Isn't it time to stop fighting over there? Doesn't it make sense, then, to call for peace talks that would include Moscow, Damascus, Amman, and other regional capitals? Doesn't it make sense for the international community to work together to bring peace and stability back to the region?
(7 comments) SHARE Friday, November 11, 2016 Why I Left the Democratic Party and How I Ended Up With the Libertarians
I've not completely given up on the Democrats, although I can't take another corrupt neo-Liberal like Hillary Clinton, and I won't abide the "super delegate" system, whereby the primary race this year was stolen from Bernie Sanders. But if there aren't real changes for the Democrats, this liberal is sticking with the Libertarians.
(2 comments) SHARE Wednesday, May 9, 2018 Islamic Terrorism Has an Advocate in the Oval Office
John Bolton's ascent to one of the most important positions in government and Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or Iran nuclear deal, have allowed an avowed terrorist group -- and its cult-like leader -- to take on a position of authority in Washington and in American foreign policy.
(1 comments) SHARE Thursday, March 15, 2018 "Bloody Gina" Should Not Lead the CIA
If there was ever a time for Senate Democrats to stand together, it is now. Our nation cannot afford to backslide into lawlessness. We cannot countenance torture. We cannot look the other way. We cannot reward the torturers. Gina Haspel more appropriately should be facing a judge to answer to charges of war crimes.
(10 comments) SHARE Tuesday, July 19, 2016 Force Reform in Saudi Arabia With a Thousand Cuts
The United Nations has to stand up to the Saudis on issues of war, peace and respect for human rights. There has to be discussion of sanctions against the Saudis until they withdraw from Yemen and respect basic, internationally recognized human rights. A full frontal assault on the Saudi government is not possible. But a thousand cuts are. We should start now.
(3 comments) SHARE Sunday, June 30, 2019 Adam Schiff-The Left Wing of the Hawk
Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, is as big a hawk as any member of the Trump administration, says John Kirikaou.
(3 comments) SHARE Tuesday, September 5, 2017 The FBI's Spy and Whistleblower Shell Game
The FBI doesn't care about the truth or about justice. It cares only about making a case, even where one doesn't exist. It does that by tying whistleblowers and other freedom fighters to criminals. That keeps the FBI in the news. It makes it look like the Bureau is accomplishing something. And that's how the FBI gets budget increases on Capitol Hill and how its agents get promoted.
(2 comments) SHARE Thursday, June 8, 2017 What Reality Winner Did Was Heroic
The arrest this week of NSA contractor Reality Winner on Espionage Act charges of providing national defense information to The Intercept is the clearest evidence to date that President Donald Trump intends to continue former president Barack Obama's war on whistleblowers and transparency.
(4 comments) SHARE Monday, March 19, 2018 Gina Haspel Should Be in the Dock at the Hague
We only have a little bit of time. We have to organize quickly and not back down. We have to tell the CIA that it cannot violate U.S. and international law and not have a price to pay. Gina Haspel should be in the dock at The Hague. She shouldn't be in the CIA director's office.
(7 comments) SHARE Friday, June 21, 2019 Biden Has No Idea What He Did Wrong
Troubling, Biden is often wrong on the issues really, seriously wrong at least where progressives are concerned. And his knee-jerk reaction is to double down before finally admitting his mistake and hoping that people just forget about it.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, March 27, 2018 The Conservative Case Against Gina Haspel
Libertarian-leaning Republican senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said that not only will he vote against Haspel, he will also filibuster the nomination. Paul does that kind of thing to nominees who have a background in the CIA's torture program; he filibustered John Brennan's nomination as CIA director when President Obama made that appointment in 2013.
(1 comments) SHARE Sunday, January 28, 2018 Exploiting the Good Work of Whistleblowers
Whistleblowers don't live and act in a bubble. They see what happens around them. They read the internal memos that circulate in every federal department and agency urging employees to report evidence of waste, fraud, abuse, or illegality. And then they see the response: personal, professional, and financial ruin. All for doing the right thing.
(1 comments) SHARE Saturday, December 3, 2016 Trump-Sessions: Expect the Worst for Prison Reform
I wish there were some sign that something, somewhere, related to criminal justice, sentencing reform, and the so-called war on drugs will improve. There is none. Sessions and Trump are the enemies of civil liberties. They are the enemies of reform. Obama's criminal justice reform policy changes are over. Expect the prisons to fill up again.
SHARE Tuesday, August 1, 2017 In Bizarro World Jared Kushner Might Be Useful
Kushner has a personal reason to focus on sentencing reform. In 2005 his father, Charles Kushner, was sentenced to two years in a federal prison after pleading guilty to tax evasion. The elder Kushner was prosecuted by an ambitious prosecutor trying to make a name for himself -- Chris Christie.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, September 1, 2015 The Government's Hypocrisy on Hacked Information
Investigators at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are questioning employees who signed up for Ashley Madison using a DHS email. That was a stupid thing to do, certainly, but DHS investigators don't have any legal right to even look at the hacked Ashley Madison data, let alone to use it in an investigation. Possession of stolen property is a crime. Consistency and fairness are not something our government is known for.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, March 13, 2019 Meet MSNBC's Federal Law Enforcement Handlers
MSNBC has a trio of darlings who comment nearly every day on Donald Trump, his administration, and the disaster that has befallen the American government with his election. Jeremy Bash, Chuck Rosenberg, and Matthew Miller are ever so well-informed, so experienced, and so insightful that they appear on virtually every show the network has.
(2 comments) SHARE Friday, September 18, 2015 An Open Letter to America's "Illegal Aliens"
I can only imagine what it must feel like to be on the receiving end of institutionalized hate, having to hear from people who want to lead the world's most powerful country that you are not good enough to live here, that you're rapists, criminals, and drug dealers, and that we ought to go to the trouble and taxpayer expense of building a wall to keep you out.
(4 comments) SHARE Monday, November 21, 2016 We Can Confront Torture Advocate Michael Pompeo
We can write, speak out, and march against human rights and legal violations. We can initiate direct actions. And perhaps most importantly, if we have standing, we can sue, bog the CIA down in litigation, and force as much of the information as possible into the glare of the public spotlight. Pompeo's nomination is a bad thing. But it's not the end of the world. We just have to be ready for a fight.
SHARE Wednesday, June 26, 2019 CIA Seeking More Impunity
The CIA doesn't care when an operative's identity is revealed unless they don't like the politics of the person making the revelation. If they cared, half of the CIA leadership would be in prison. What they do care about, though, is protecting those employees who commit crimes at the behest of the White House or the CIA leadership.
(5 comments) SHARE Thursday, March 3, 2016 For-Profit Incarceration: Every American Should Be Appalled
The goals of GEO and CCA are not to rehabilitate anyone. Those companies only make money if there are more prisoners, if they serve longer sentences, if they reoffend after release, or if the companies can keep costs so low by reducing money spent on food or medical care that they can then pass the savings and profits on to the stockholders.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, July 28, 2020 JOHN KIRIAKOU: Hold the Halos
There is one big reason I'm not attending the National Whistleblower Center's annual gathering this year.
(3 comments) SHARE Saturday, March 30, 2019 Mad Respect for Chelsea Manning
Again, Manning could have taken the easy way out. She could have simply answered each question with "I don't recall." She would have been home in time for dinner. Instead, she made a political point one that all of us should want to emulate. That point is "Don't tread on me." That point is "I'm willing to jeopardize my freedom to protect yours."
(7 comments) SHARE Saturday, May 21, 2016 The CIA and Hollywood, an Unlawful Alliance
The end result of the CIA's cooperation with Hollywood and others in the entertainment industry is that it results in the propagandizing of the American people. Congress must re-implement the Smith-Mundt Act, the original one, and keep the government out of our movie theaters and televisions. Propaganda is a malicious force. It has no business in American society.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, October 25, 2016 Six Months for Raping His 12-Year-Old Daughter
We owe it to our children, the most vulnerable members of our society, to protect them. For those who target children, there ought always to be room in our prisons. And for judges who give these monsters a pass, there ought to be a garbage bin where we can throw their careers.
(1 comments) SHARE Friday, April 17, 2020 JOHN KIRIAKOU: Now Imagine House Arrest
With Covid-19 showing why "sheltering in place" is so tough, it's easier for me to explain why I found home confinement worse than actual prison.
(2 comments) SHARE Thursday, July 12, 2018 A Billion Dollar Empire Profiting on the Misery of Sick Prisoners
An alarming trend has emerged that indicates that Correct Care, the same company that built a billion-dollar empire profiting on the misery of sick prisoners, the same company that Governor Bruce Rauner has invested in, is now rebranding itself as the go-to healthcare company for mental hospitals, civil commitment centers, and ICE detention facilities.
(4 comments) SHARE Tuesday, June 11, 2019 Why Is NPR Carrying Water for Trump on Venezuela?
The White House's actions in Venezuela are a violation of international law. This is a coup attempt. It's a crime. I'm not a Nicolas Maduro fan-boy. But it's none of our business who leads a foreign country, especially when his or her people hold an election. This intervention is just plain wrong. Hands off Venezuela. And every other country.
(4 comments) SHARE Tuesday, March 15, 2016 The Very Existence of the NSA Is Illegal
Congress can authorize the army to assist local governments during a natural disaster. But it forbids exactly what the Obama administration is now mandating the NSA to do -- provide information to federal and local law enforcement organizations on American citizens. It's just simply illegal. It's the use of the military in law enforcement. It's an act of war against the American people.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, June 28, 2016 Loretta Lynch's Prison Reforms Don't Meet the For-Profit Standard
Attorney General Lynch probably means well. She probably really does want to help people transition from prison back into society. But the entire Bureau of Prisons, the entire U.S. system of mass incarceration, is broken and must be scrapped and rebuilt. Dancing around the edges of the problem isn't going to help anybody.
(6 comments) SHARE Saturday, April 30, 2016 The Unrepentant Torturers
Even after the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence concluded, using primary source CIA documents, that torture did not work, that it did not produce any actionable intelligence, and that it did not save American lives (or anyone else's, frankly), some former CIA directors still cling to the fallacy that torture was a necessary program. Torture doesn't prevent terrorism, it causes it.
(8 comments) SHARE Wednesday, February 10, 2016 Trump's Impeachable Offense
What Trump and his cronies are advocating is illegal, immoral, and unconstitutional. In fact, it's an impeachable offense. No president can order anybody to commit torture. Anyone who does should be hauled before a judge.
(2 comments) SHARE Wednesday, May 31, 2017 A Fair Trial for Julian Assange
If recent press reports are to be believed, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is the target of a secret grand jury investigation, either in the federal court of the District of Columbia or in the notorious Eastern District of Virginia, known colloquially as 'the espionage court.'
(5 comments) SHARE Wednesday, June 12, 2019 Bolton's Long Goodbye
John Bolton's days as national security advisor are apparently numbered -- for reasons that have all played out in the press, says John Kiriakou.
(4 comments) SHARE Friday, February 9, 2018 Trump's Generals
It's been proven time and time again that having generals in positions of power is bad for everybody. But this is where Trump has brought us. We can't roll over. We have to resist those who would take away our rights. Our voices will only be heard if we take to the streets to block this president while we can and then oust him when we're able.
(1 comments) SHARE Saturday, May 25, 2019 The American Taliban Meets American Politics
Remember John Walker Lindh? Lindh was the proverbial "lost soul." He was the middle child in a nuclear family, born in Silver Spring, Maryland, and raised in San Anselmo, California. His father was an attorney and his mother a progressive activist. Lindh was released from prison on May 23, and the outrage was immediate. He paid his debt to society. It's all over. It's time for the rest of us to move on.
(5 comments) SHARE Tuesday, June 21, 2016 Guantanamo Bay Should Be Closed Forever
How can we, with a straight face, tell other countries what they can and cannot do when we maintain an extra-judicial and extra-constitutional prison like Guantanamo, when we have tortured prisoners, when we have run a system of secret prisons around the world, when we have sent prisoners to Third World countries to be tortured?
(6 comments) SHARE Wednesday, November 30, 2016 Muslim Registry and the Ghosts of Our Past
It's sick. It's fascist. And it's exactly the opposite of what we should be doing as Americans. If Trump's registration plan actually comes to pass, we must all stand up. We must all register ourselves as Muslims. We must stand together against hate and prejudice, even if Donald Trump and those around him have not learned the lessons of history.
(1 comments) SHARE Sunday, November 4, 2018 The Consequences of Blowing the Whistle on State-Sanctioned Child Abuse
The Trump Justice Department has sentenced NSA whistleblower Reality Winner to an unprecedented five years and three months in a federal prison for having contact with the media. Attorney General Jeff Sessions told the press that it is his department's "priority" to arrest and prosecute Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, July 4, 2017 The Federal Judiciary, Stupid Is as Stupid Does
It's not just defendants who are routinely wronged in the courts. Plaintiffs, too, get the occasional screwing. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Chicago, recently upheld an award of $1 in a case where a jury found that a prison guard had used excessive force against a prisoner.
(3 comments) SHARE Sunday, December 4, 2016 Donald Trump's National Security Choices Are Not the "A" Team in Intelligence Circles
Trump's nomination of Rep. Michael Pompeo to lead the CIA is troubling. It is a message to the American people that Trump was telling the truth when he said that he would appoint people who support the CIA torture program. Indeed, Pompeo has called CIA torturers "patriots" and has called for the execution of National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.
SHARE Friday, January 13, 2017 Every Illness Is a Potential Death Sentence in a U.S. Prison
Only rarely has anybody in a position of authority been held to account for their actions. This may be changing, though, as more and more civil suits are filed against governments and prison systems and as more and more crooked cops are brought to justice. That justice usually does not include prison time. But the trend is in the right direction.
(6 comments) SHARE Monday, September 11, 2017 The Constitution Was a Victim of September 11th Too
The saddest part about the past 16 years is how both major parties, the Democrats and the Republicans, have fallen into line. Neoconservative and neoliberal political leadership is now the norm. Since September 11, neither party has seen a war that it didn't want to jump into with both feet. And it's all in the name of "national security."
(2 comments) SHARE Sunday, May 15, 2016 Exposing the Injustice of Vengeance Against the Convicted
We live in a system that seeks vengeance against those convicted of crimes, wants them to continue to suffer, both during and after release.
That's why there's no public outcry against the human and civil rights violations that current and former prisoners face every day. That's why there's no public outcry when prisoners die unnecessarily in prison because of substandard medical care.
(18 comments) SHARE Friday, February 10, 2017 Is a Military Coup OK if the President Is Abusive?
The only way forward is to resist. We have to stay in the streets. We have to keep up the momentum in the movement that seems to be coming out of the demonstrations we've seen and participated in since the inauguration. We have to focus on voter registration and turnout. We have to push our elected officials to bottle up the Trump agenda in Congress. But what we don't have to do is encourage a coup.
(2 comments) SHARE Friday, October 19, 2018 How the FBI Silences Whistleblowers
Most whistleblowers either suffer in anonymity or are personally, professionally, socially and financially ruined for speaking truth to power. Darin Jones is one of those people. He's one of the people silenced in Barack Obama's war on whistleblowers. And he continues to suffer under Donald Trump.
SHARE Thursday, December 28, 2017 Can #MeToo Reach the Hidden Victims?
The #MeToo movement is one of the most important societal watersheds in recent history. It's an example of karma, even justice; it's an example of the bad guy paying for his malfeasance. The likes of Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and others will likely never be in a position to hurt anyone again. That's good for all of us.
(8 comments) SHARE Thursday, August 9, 2018 When Twitter Decides Who Speaks
Censorship has become such a normal part of daily American life that most people either don't pay attention to it or don't care. But it's taken on a life of its own, and it's beginning to spin out of control. We must take back our constitutional right to freedom of speech and our civil liberties. This is an issue of free speech.
(8 comments) SHARE Tuesday, June 14, 2016 Obama Should Demand FBI Director James Comey's Resignation Today
If the FBI can't do its job, if its only counterterrorism successes are when it entraps hapless idiots who don't know any better and who never had any intention of committing a terrorist act, it should be scrapped. At the very least, President Obama should immediately demand the FBI director's resignation. That should happen today.
(2 comments) SHARE Friday, March 3, 2017 Phillip Chance Never Killed Anyone, but Jeff Sessions Did
Phillip Chance is just one man. His is just one case. But it is an example of everything that is wrong with the American judicial system. It's not a system that seeks or pursues justice. It's a system that seeks punishment. There is no rehabilitation. There is no compassion. There's just punishment. And even then, we're backsliding.
(5 comments) SHARE Wednesday, November 25, 2015 Donald Trump and the Legacy of Joe McCarthy
Perhaps the most egregious and obvious reason to not support Trump is his unapologetic support of George W. Bush's torture regime. Trump said only a week ago that he would bring back waterboarding and other forms of torture employed by the Bush administration. Americans need to stop the Trump abomination now. Let's not repeat the mistakes of the past. Trump has to go.
(3 comments) SHARE Wednesday, May 9, 2018 Gina Haspel Debate Spotlights America's Soul Sickness
The Trump administration wants you to forget the CIA's sordid history of torture. It wants you to believe that the torture program was legal, that it was patriotic, that it was necessary to protect Americans -- lies that were dispensed with before the Bush people even left office. The Trump administration wants you to believe that Haspel is the only perfect candidate for the job.
(3 comments) SHARE Wednesday, September 23, 2015 A Racist Wake-Up Call
Ahmed Mohamed is the 14-year-old who was recently interrogated, arrested, and suspended from his Irving, Texas high school for bringing a clock he made as an engineering project to class. The school said it looked like a bomb. Ahmed had wanted to impress his teachers. Instead, he exposed their racism and became an instant celebrity.
(2 comments) SHARE Saturday, May 16, 2020 Was the Decision to Let Manafort Go Home Political?
The entire system is broken. The misguided "get tough on crime" attitude in Washington has made us a prison state unlike any other in the world. As Americans, we like to think that we're (usually) led by the best and brightest. Certainly the best and brightest can come up with a justice system where there's some actual "justice."
(4 comments) SHARE Sunday, January 31, 2016 The Case Against Whistleblower Thomas Tamm, Ethics or Retribution?
The DC bar should be demanding that the Justice Department protect national security whistleblowers, not harass, indict, and prosecute them. It should then work to protect those whistleblowers. If the Justice Department took whistleblower disclosures seriously and investigated accusations of official waste, fraud, abuse, and illegality, there wouldn't need to be leaks to the press.
(2 comments) SHARE Saturday, May 22, 2021 JOHN KIRIAKOU: Duping a Whistleblower
What has happened to whistleblower Daniel Hale is very troubling. A former U.S. Air Force intelligence officer, he was arrested on May 4 in advance of his July 13 sentencing for blowing the whistle on the U.S. government's deadly and illegal drone program.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, December 20, 2017 Stelios Kouloglou: Why Travel Bans Don't Work
Are we Americans such hothouse flowers that any criticism of our government or its policies brands a person an Enemy of the State? What happened to freedom of speech? What happened to the free exchange of ideas? Since when did it become dangerous to say that the U.S. invasion of another country, done in contravention of international law and the United Nations charter, was illegal? It was illegal!
(9 comments) SHARE Friday, November 13, 2020 JOHN KIRIAKOU: The Depressing State of US Politics
There's a lot wrong, including the hypocrisy of the Republican Party and the members of Biden's national security transition team. The sole hope involves the Office of the Pardon Attorney.
(2 comments) SHARE Thursday, February 23, 2017 Milo Yiannopoulos: A Danger to Our Children
Milo Yiannopoulos ought to be silenced -- not because he is a "conservative provocateur," as the mainstream media describes him. He ought to be silenced because he and his opinions are a danger to our children.
(2 comments) SHARE Monday, February 27, 2017 CPB Demands ID to Get Off Domestic Flight -- Not Legal
Most Americans simply don't know what their rights are, either on domestic flights or at the border. the ACLU says you can be searched at the border. The Fourth Amendment notwithstanding, CBP does not need probable cause or reasonable suspicion to search you. Again, though, you can request to speak to your attorney if you're an American citizen.
SHARE Thursday, July 7, 2016 How Brexit Will Affect U.S. Foreign Policy
The mainstream media has made a great deal of Brexit being the result of British reaction against immigration. That's a shallow and not terribly analytic assessment. The truth is that Washington selfishly needs a unified EU to help fight its wars around the world. It needs the British to lean on other European countries to do its bidding.
(4 comments) SHARE Monday, June 18, 2018 The IG Report Says the FBI Is Deeply Flawed. I Know.
The FBI is corrupt. The entire system is corrupt. There's one version of the law for you and me and another version for the FBI. The Inspector General laid it all bare. Now let's see if anybody does anything about it. Don't hold your breath.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, August 8, 2018 Giving Trump Carte Blanche for War
A little-noticed Senate bill would give Donald Trump blanket permission to launch wars in violation of the Constitution, says John Kiriakou.
(10 comments) SHARE Sunday, March 12, 2017 The Deep State, Donald Trump and Us
There very well could be a deep state. We certainly have the infrastructure for one. And there's no easy response to it. With the president himself apparently worried about a deep state, complaining to our elected officials will likely get us nowhere. There's no easy way to resist it, although we must.
(4 comments) SHARE Sunday, December 11, 2016 Petraeus Must Be an Example, Not a Sacred Cow
Unlike national security whistleblowers during the Obama administration, Petraeus was not charged with multiple felonies. He instead took a plea to one misdemeanor count of unauthorized removal and retention of classified information, despite the fact that the Justice Department said that Petraeus's leak, if disclosed, would have caused "exceptionally grave damage" to the national security.
(4 comments) SHARE Tuesday, October 6, 2015 Carly Fiorina Just Doesn't "Get It" on Torture
Regardless of the reasons for Fiorina's ill-informed and poorly-conceived position on torture, the fact that she doesn't seem to know or care about the very basics -- that torture is illegal, that it didn't work, and that it didn't save lives -- makes her unfit to lead the country and to set the policy on this abomination.
(1 comments) SHARE Sunday, September 4, 2016 Pleading Alford Is a Last Line of Defense Against the Death Penalty
Alford pleas have become crutches for mediocre defense attorneys or for those who just don't care about defending clients facing criminal charges. The sad truth is that many attorneys simply don't want to do the hard work of defending their clients, and it is hard work to defend people charged with serious crimes.
(15 comments) SHARE Thursday, February 25, 2016 America's Killer Prisons
If the people running prisons know there's a problem and do nothing about it, is that not manslaughter? Is that not depraved indifference? A person who should be alive is not -- all because of the incompetence or apathy of prison administrators. This isn't an issue of who did what or who broke what law. Every American deserves decent health care. That includes our prisoners.
(6 comments) SHARE Thursday, November 9, 2017 Is the Law More Important to the Court Than It Was to Manafort?
In the United States we have a presumption of innocence. We also have attorney-client privilege. We live in a society where we at least used to believe that it was better for a guilty man to go free than for an innocent one to go to prison. It seems that that has changed. And we're a lesser country for it.
SHARE Wednesday, September 20, 2017 Let Jeffrey Sterling Go
Sterling will be sent to a halfway house 45 miles from his home, and BOP regulations forbid him from driving. Furthermore, the halfway house is in the center of the neighborhood that is the scene of St. Louis's current riots. It's not the best place to be an unemployed African-American man on federal probation right now.
(9 comments) SHARE Saturday, December 5, 2015 Buy Today, Kill Tomorrow
at least 2,043 people on the terrorist watch list legally purchased weapons in the United States between 2004 and 2014. We know they filled out necessary paperwork with gun dealers. What we don't know is how many people on the list purchased weapons from private gun dealers or owners. They don't have to keep records.
Who could possibly support this arrangement? Just a little outfit called the National Rifle Association.
SHARE Thursday, June 23, 2016 Jeffrey Sterling, a Poster Boy for CIA Discrimination and National Security Abuse
Sterling has appealed his conviction to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, an action that likely will take years. He has two-and-a-half years to go on his sentence, and with good behavior and halfway house, he'll likely be released by December 2017, well before the Circuit Court issues a ruling.
He passes his days with murderers, child molesters, and drug kingpins. There's no "justice" in that.
(6 comments) SHARE Thursday, November 19, 2015 How the Government Made Me a Dissident
it's clear that our government demonizes people who disagree with the official line. Things got bad for anyone who disagrees with the official line right after 9/11. We slid down the rabbit hole with the passage of the so-called PATRIOT Act. Enacted six weeks after the terrorist attacks, the law legalized actions against American citizens--including Internet surveillance and phone taps--that had previously been unthinkable.
(2 comments) SHARE Wednesday, March 10, 2021 JOHN KIRIAKOU: Poison in Prison
A private food service company "accidentally" sold dog food to feed prisoners mis-marked as "ground beef for tacos." There was no punishment for the company or its executives.
SHARE Monday, January 30, 2017 Torture Is a Monster and a Terrorist Lover
Trump has surrounded himself with people who support torture. He has said that he wants to re-institute the torture program. He has said that he wants to reopen black sites -- secret prisons -- overseas. We have to take him at his word. And we have to fight him. We must take to the courts, shout to the press, and march in the streets. We are on the right side of history here. We cannot remain silent.
SHARE Sunday, July 17, 2016 The Police Are Right About One Thing: Sentencing Reform
The United States already has 25 percent of the world's prison population. The country desperately needs sentencing reform. The system cries out for it. All the relevant associated interest groups support it. The political will for it exists. The country has waited long enough. We need prison reform now.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, December 12, 2018 Washington and Lee: What's in a Name?
It's one thing to oppose Donald Trump because you don't like his policy toward Iran or Cuba, or to disagree with him on education or his refusal to recognize the problem of climate change. It's an entirely different thing, however, to once again pit Americans against each other because of the color of their skin or because of one's own feelings of racial superiority.
(2 comments) SHARE Sunday, February 5, 2017 With Haspel, Trump's Infrastructure for Torture Is in Place
It is a travesty that somebody like Haspel would be rewarded with the second-most-important position at the CIA. But what is worse is the message that Trump is sending to the CIA workforce: Engage in war crimes, in crimes against humanity, and you'll still get ahead. Don't worry about the law. Don't worry about ethics. Don't worry about morality. We'll take care of you. You can still make it to the top.
(9 comments) SHARE Saturday, April 13, 2019 The Railroad That Awaits Julian Assange
The Eastern District of Virginia is known as the "Espionage Court" for a reason. No national security defendant has ever won a case there. Never. And Judge Leonie Brinkema reserves all national security cases for herself. She has Julian's case, she judged my case, as well as the case of CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling, and we know that she has also reserved what will be the Ed Snowden case for herself.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, March 21, 2017 Trump's Counterterrorism Deputy Is an Avowed Neo-Nazi
Have we become so desensitized to scandal that we're now willing to have an avowed neo-Nazi in charge of American counter-terrorist operations? Are we so politicized in this country that one side cries foul when the other side points out that the likes of Gorka shouldn't have a seat in the White House Situation Room? What has become of our country? We can't blame everything on 9/11.
(1 comments) SHARE Friday, June 29, 2018 Sessions vs. Winner -- It's Just the Beginning
The Justice Department will seek to charge you in the district where they think you will get the severest sentence. That's usually the Eastern District of Virginia. This is sometimes a stretch, but it's something that the Justice Department gets away with all the time.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, December 16, 2015 Now This Is Really Criminal
Not all criminalization is bad, of course. We really do need laws -- new ones in some cases -- to combat child pornography, human trafficking, police brutality, and other such affronts. The problem is when Congress oversteps and federal law enforcement authorities go hog wild, drunk with power.
SHARE Tuesday, April 12, 2016 My Lunch With an FBI Whistleblower, Not Yet Out
A potential whistleblower can go through the chain of command and likely be charged with crimes, he can go to the press and likely be charged with crimes, or he can keep his mouth shut. There are no alternatives. And until Congress recognizes the patent unfairness of the current system, other good and patriotic men and women will be ruined for doing the right thing.
(1 comments) SHARE Thursday, January 28, 2021 Pardon Me: What the Times Didn't Report
Attorneys who were close to Trump, former Trump campaign officials, and Republican lobbyists were charging tens of thousands of dollars and more to "present" a case to Trump and to ask for a pardon.
SHARE Sunday, August 28, 2016 Our United Strength and Action on Behalf of Jeffrey Sterling
we're not home-free yet. Holly Sterling emailed me earlier this week to say that Jeffrey had been called to the prison medical unit, where he was told that the warden had reversed her decision and would recommend to the Bureau of Prisons Regional Office in Denver that he be taken to an outside cardiologist for testing. (He will also undergo a preliminary exam by the prison doctor on Monday, August 29.)
(3 comments) SHARE Wednesday, April 10, 2019 MLB Gets in Bed With the Pentagon
But if you've been to a baseball game at any time in the last decade, you've probably noticed some changes. Military or law enforcement members now perform flag ceremonies before the start of the game. Military recruits are enlisted right on the field. Surprise reunions of deployed men and women and their families play out before an audience of thousands.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, January 12, 2021 JOHN KIRIAKOU: Biden's Nominee for CIA Director
President-elect Joe Biden has finally named a new CIA director, one of the final senior-level appointees for his new administration. He named senior diplomat William Burns to the position.
(4 comments) SHARE Wednesday, January 13, 2021 Just Like in a Banana Republic
What we saw last Wednesday was indeed a coup attempt. It was poorly planned and poorly executed. But it was a coup attempt. It likely won't be the last. We need to be ready for the next event.
(2 comments) SHARE Thursday, October 29, 2015 Instead of Pardoning a Turkey, Obama Should Free This Man
Our government has locked up an innocent man. Isn't it time to fix it? With his presidency coming to a close and Thanksgiving around the corner, it's the perfect time for Obama to offer a gesture to help make amends with our nation's original people. Instead of pardoning a turkey, he should pardon Leonard Peltier.
(3 comments) SHARE Tuesday, April 24, 2018 As the Haspel Nomination Looms, the World Is Watching
What the Greeks (and the Germans, the Italians, the Belgians, and others) just cannot get past is that Trump has named Gina Haspel as CIA director. Haspel, as you know, was instrumental in the implementation of the CIA's torture program and was responsible for destroying video tapes of the torture at the insistence of her patron, the notorious former CIA Deputy Director for Operations Jose Rodriguez.
SHARE Sunday, May 29, 2016 Unfair, Inappropriate and Merciless
A single judge showing mercy to a single defendant can't change the system. Other judges -- lots of them -- must follow suit. That will do nothing, though, for mandatory minimums. Only Congress can change those. And progress is slow. Judges have wide latitude in sentencing. But most simply follow the federal sentencing schedule, which does not account for any extenuating circumstances.
(6 comments) SHARE Sunday, January 10, 2021 For Julian Assange, Freedom Is in View
A court in London ruled on January 4 that, while the US government had "made its case" for the extradition of Julian Assange, the Wikileaks co-founder would not be sent to the United States to stand trial because he was "likely to kill himself if held under harsh US prison conditions."
(2 comments) SHARE Wednesday, September 16, 2015 Mitch McConnell's War on Iran -- and Boeing?
what McConnell and his warmongering pals in the Senate either don't know or have chosen to ignore is that very, very few U.S. sanctions on Iran will be lifted with this deal--only those related to its nuclear program and its overseas frozen assets. McConnell's complaints have nothing to do with security and everything to do with grandstanding.
SHARE Wednesday, May 8, 2019 An Email From a Whistleblower in Solitary Confinement
Whistleblower Marty Gottesfeld is simply forbidden to have contact with the media. He is being denied his constitutional rights. This isn't because he's done anything to anybody. It's because prison officials fear that he is going to report on incidents of waste, fraud, abuse, and illegality that he witnesses during his incarceration.
(2 comments) SHARE Thursday, October 15, 2015 The Sad Fate of America's Whistleblowers
It's not just government employees. Whistleblowers first brought attention to wrongdoing at Enron, Lehman Brothers, Stanford International Bank, and elsewhere. We need to start treating whistleblowers as guardians, not traitors. And if we value what freedoms we have left, we should demand that our government do the same.
(3 comments) SHARE Wednesday, February 24, 2021 JOHN KIRIAKOU: One Thing Trump Got Right
The former president pushed for passage of -- and then signed into law -- a measure that lifted a 26-year ban on giving prisoners federal education aid.
(1 comments) SHARE Thursday, August 13, 2015 Let's Talk About Torture
Former CIA leaders are writing a book that will whitewash their crimes against humanity.
(2 comments) SHARE Monday, March 28, 2016 So Far, Obama Has Failed on Clemency
President Obama risks going down in history as "merciless." The president has so far granted 70 pardons. But he has denied 1,629 pardon petitions, more than five of the six previous presidents. Another 3,444 requests have been "closed without presidential action." In other words, they were simply ignored.
(4 comments) SHARE Saturday, March 9, 2019 Does Every Felony Sentence Need to Be a Death Sentence?
Imagine, then what life is like for someone who has been convicted of a violent crime. Imagine what it's like even if that crime was committed decades ago, as a juvenile who has since done his time, "reformed," and gone on to try to lead a productive life. It's just not possible.
SHARE Sunday, May 8, 2016 Colson Task Force Leads on Prison Reform, Will Congress Follow?
Nobody is "rehabilitated." There is no training and no education beyond a GED degree. Prison "Education" departments are nothing more than prisoners teaching other prisoners to read. There is no budget for vocational training. So when a prisoner is finally released, he goes back to his old neighborhood broke, uneducated, and untrained.
(3 comments) SHARE Wednesday, November 4, 2015 The CIA Is an Ethics-Free Zone
After 9/11, the CIA seemed to believe the rules of engagement had fundamentally changed. But when it came to prohibitions against torture, assassination, and other rights violations, they hadn't. We had to fight al-Qaeda, but we should have done it within the law.
(1 comments) SHARE Thursday, December 27, 2018 A Dead Child on Christmas Eve
Goodness knows that we have a lot of problems in this country. Goodness knows that we have a president who is not engaged in policy except as it affects his own well-being. But we're talking about children here. We're talking about the safety and security of minors who are unable to fend for themselves.
(8 comments) SHARE Wednesday, February 17, 2016 The [Redacted] Truth about the CIA
Imagine what can happen if we accept that our public servants can simply lie. Why not eyewash a torture program? Why not eyewash a secret prison system? Where does it end? And more importantly, how can it end at all if nobody except the perpetrators knows it's happening in the first place?
(2 comments) SHARE Wednesday, September 30, 2015 Pope Francis and the Pain of Prisoners
Francis spoke eloquently with prisoners at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility about family, forgiveness, and second chances. I only wish he'd stayed longer to give the guards a "come to Jesus" talk of their own. Prisons have a well-earned reputation for being violent places. And they are. Less well known, though, is how much of that violence is the result of crooked prison guards.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, January 13, 2016 Outrage in Oregon
Don't like a law or a federal policy? Petition your member of Congress -- that's a constitutional right. We can also march in the streets, solicit support in the press, and file lawsuits. It's the American way. Taking over a federal building at the point of a rifle, on the other hand, gives protest a bad name. If we all protested that way, our country might look more like Somalia than the land of the free.
SHARE Thursday, April 7, 2016 Ohio Proves It: Rehabilitation Works
Ohio hired psychologists and social workers, improved medical care, broadened career and technical opportunities, and did away with solitary confinement. Ohio's focus moved from prosecution and incarceration to rehabilitation and reform. And it worked. This is a lesson for all of us. Rehabilitation works. It's hard, and it takes time. But it works.
(5 comments) SHARE Wednesday, March 9, 2016 Torching the Truth
The Defense Department has to stand up for our soldiers and do the right thing. First, it needs to put out those burn pits. Second, it must acknowledge that the pits are causing these illnesses, as already confirmed by medical experts. Finally, it must take responsibility for healing the veterans affected. Now's not the time to bury the truth. It's time to help our soldiers.
(4 comments) SHARE Sunday, April 3, 2016 Dying in Prison
Over the past three decades, judges and juries have filled America's prisons with non-violent offenders. Many are serving draconian sentences for first-time offenses. Indeed, while only about 5 percent of the world's people live in the United States, our country is locking up nearly 25 percent of the world's prison population.
SHARE Thursday, April 14, 2016 Clapper Backs Congress Down Again, Feinstein Helps
The CIA has proven over the decades that it needs adult supervision. Otherwise, CIA officers and leaders will seek to get away with whatever is possible, without thought to legality, ethics, or the wisdom of doing what they're doing. Congress has to stand up.
SHARE Monday, May 16, 2016 The Moral -- and Financial -- Cost of Exposing Government Wrongdoing
The Justice Department charges whistleblowers with espionage to force them to defend themselves. The point is not even to find you guilty of this heinous crime. It is to bankrupt you, to separate you from friends, family, and your natural allies. And it's to frighten other would-be whistleblowers.
(3 comments) SHARE Monday, February 22, 2016 Like Your Privacy? Then Get Behind Apple's Battle to Save It
The constitutional implications are chilling. If the government gets its way, nothing would be private. Nothing would be sacred. The government would have access to everything. And worse yet, those same tools that the FBI wants could easily fall into the hands of hackers, criminals and even foreign intelligence services. Once Pandora's box is open, there's no closing it.
SHARE Wednesday, March 2, 2016 What's at Stake in Apple's Privacy Fight
The feds basically want Apple to create a software "backdoor" that would allow the FBI to access the phone's information remotely. The FBI insists this is a one-off request. But that's ridiculous: Once created, the technique could be used over and over again, on any number of devices. Indeed, the FBI is already seeking access to iPhones in nine other cases.
SHARE Wednesday, February 3, 2016 Let's End Torture in U.S. Prisons
Many Americans think that solitary is reserved for the worst and most dangerous criminals. In most cases, that's simply not true. Solitary is used not for the safety of inmates or prison guards, but as a punishment and as an expression of power by guards. For example, a prisoner can be sent to solitary for "insolence" or for "investigation." What does that mean? Anything the guard wants it to.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, April 8, 2019 Chelsea Manning's "Don't Tread on Me" Moment
We wouldn't know about some of the most egregious war crimes of the past two decades without Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange. You don't have to like them. You don't have to share their politics. You don't have to want to go out and have a beer with them. But you do have to respect what they've done.
(3 comments) SHARE Wednesday, November 11, 2015 Paying for Patriotism
National Guard members now perform flag ceremonies between innings. Military recruits are enlisted right on the field. Surprise reunions of deployed men and women and their families play out before an audience of thousands. The games have morphed into choreographed patriotic events. Who's paying for this hoopla? As it turns out, the Pentagon.
(1 comments) SHARE Thursday, January 28, 2016 Is Obama's Drug Clemency a Mirage?
President Obama once promised hope and that is what some non-violent drug offenders have left as they serve draconian "drug war" sentences. But Obama's offer of clemency may be more mirage than reality, says ex-CIA officer John Kiriakou, who himself was imprisoned for telling the truth about illegal torture.
(3 comments) SHARE Wednesday, April 6, 2016 Anti-Muslim Rage, a Triumph of Ignorance Over Education
On one hand, the problem is obvious. The United States is a country in which anti-Muslim prejudice is rampant. On the other hand, it's a much deeper problem than meets the eye. Americans as a people are, by and large, inexcusably ignorant of other cultures.
(2 comments) SHARE Wednesday, January 20, 2016 Let's Put Prison Sentences on Probation
Why disrupt a community when probation is a legitimate punishment that the judge has the authority to levy? While on probation, the offender could continue to work and support his family, pay taxes and restitution, and still make amends with society. It makes more sense. It's worked in the past. If judges are serious about reducing prison populations, they'll sentence more offenders to probation.