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Gosztola writes: "Former CIA officer John Kiriakou, who has served five months of a thirty-month sentence in the federal correctional institution in Loretto, Pennsylvania, has written a fourth letter from the prison. Kiriakou was the first member of the CIA to publicly acknowledge that torture was official US policy under the George W. Bush administration."

Former CIA officer John Kiriakou. (photo: AP)
Former CIA officer John Kiriakou. (photo: AP)


John Kiriakou: "Dissenters' Punishment Not Limited to Jail Time"

By Kevin Gosztola, Firedoglake

09 August 2013

 

ormer CIA officer John Kiriakou, who has served five months of a thirty-month sentence in the federal correctional institution in Loretto, Pennsylvania, has written a fourth letter from the prison.

Kiriakou was the first member of the CIA to publicly acknowledge that torture was official US policy under the George W. Bush administration. He was convicted in October of last year of violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (IIPA) when he provided the name of an officer involved in the CIA's Rendition, Detention and Interrogation (RDI) program to a reporter and sentenced in January of this year. He reported to prison on February 28 (which was also the day that Pfc. Bradley Manning pled guilty to some offenses and read a statement in military court at Fort Meade).

For the past few months, Firedoglake has been publishing Kiriakou's "Letters from Loretto." This latest letter being published focuses on a hard lesson Kiriakou has learned since entering prison, which most prisoners learn during their incarceration, "one's prison sentence is not the totality of his punishment." There will be other things that happen on top of being sentenced.

Kiriakou describes how his wife received a "sharply-worded letter" from the insurance company, USAA - the United States Assurance Association, which had been providing his family auto and homeowners insurance since 1993. USAA notified his family that they do not "insure felons" and were canceling their insurance immediately."

"I told my wife not to panic; call them in the morning and put the insurance in her name," Kiriakou writes. "She did that, only to be told that USAA doesn't insure 'felonious families.' Thank goodness she was able to find another, more reputable company with which to do business."

A friend of his, Dave, who Kiriakou has written about from prison, warned Kiriakou to expect his bank to close his accounts and send him a check saying "they do not allow felons to bank with them," which is what Wells Fargo did to him.

Kiriakou notes that both Cardinal Bank and United Bank have refused to allow his "John Kiriakou Legal Defense Trust" to "open an account." A vice president at United Bank apparently told him, "We simply don't want to do business with you."

Also, Kiriakou explains that he learned recently that he "can no longer travel freely to countries like Canada, the UK and France. These and many other countries share law enforcement databases with the US, and they do not allow felons in their countries without a special visa. So when I want or need to travel abroad in the future. I will have to go to these countries' embassies, file a visa request form and submit to an interview about my 'crime.'"

Kiriakou goes on to update those interested in whether the prison ever investigated the fact that he had been "baited" into taking action against a Muslim prisoner (which he described in his first letter).

Many of you have asked for an update on the event that I reported in my first letter. In that letter, I wrote about two Special Investigative Service officers who tried to bait me into taking some sort of action against a Muslim prisoner. After the letter was published, I was assured by both the warden and by a CO lieutenant that an investigation would be conducted. It turned out that the investigation was of me. My email was put on a four-day delay, both incoming and outgoing, my incoming and outgoing snail mail was stripped open and read and none of my witnesses were interviewed. I wasn't surprised by any of this. This is exactly what happens to all whistleblowers.

According to Kiriakou, he was told that this Muslim prisoner was the uncle of the Times Square bomber, when in reality the imam was in prison for refusing to testify in the Lackawanna Six case. Prison officials then lied to the Muslim prisoner, telling him that Kiriakou had called Washington after they met and had been ordered to kill him.

In his letter, Kiriakou includes excerpts from a piece written by a former inmate named Ernie Drain, who won a writing competition "related to prison literature and voices prison" that was sponsored by the Yale Law Review. He says of Drain's writing, "In my five months in prison so far, I have lived every word of what he wrote."

All of this punishment is on top of the fact that he will have to meet with a probation officer for three years after he is released and the fact that he lost his pension after "19 years of proud federal service." Plus, his legal bills now total "nearly $1 million" and he had to sell most of his "personal possessions to pay at least some of that million dollars."

Kiriakou, in previous letters published by Firedoglake, has advised former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who blew the whistle on secret United States government surveillance programs, on what to do in order to avoid making the mistakes he made. He has described how grateful he is to have a support network that can help him deal with the "stress of a hostile system." He has detailed how his "new normal" in prison includes many encounters with pedophiles.

Firedoglake supports Kiriakou's First Amendment right to share what he is experiencing in prison. If the Bureau of Prisons were to retaliate against him or punish him for speaking his mind, Firedoglake would immediately take steps to support him. John can be reached at: John Kiriakou 79637-083, Federal Correctional Institution, Loretto, P.O. Box 1000, Loretto, PA 15940. He is permitted to receive mail from anyone, and soft cover books and magazines only from individuals.

http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2013/08/07/imprisoned-cia-whistleblower-john-kiriakou-totality-of-punishment-is-not-limited-to-a-prison-sentence/
John Kiriakou - Letter from Loretto #5
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Hello again from the Federal Correctional Institution at Loretto, Pennsylvania.

I've learned over the past months that one's prison sentence is not the totality of his punishment. I took a plea in January 2013 to one count of violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. In addition to having to spend 30 months in prison, I will have to meet a probation officer monthly for three years after my release. I also lost my pension after 19 years of proud federal service. My legal bills totaled nearly $1 million, and I sold most of my personal possessions to pay at least some of that million dollars.

But my punishment didn't end there. Last week my wife received a sharply-worded letter from our insurance company, USAA - the United States Assurance Association. I have had my insurance with USAA - both auto and homeowners - since 1993. They were a terrific provider during that time. The letter we received cut right to the point: USAA doesn't insure felons, and they were canceling our insurance effective immediately. I told my wife not to panic; call them in the morning and put the insurance in her name. She did that, only to be told that USAA doesn't insure "felonious families." Thank goodness she was able to find another, more reputable company with which to do business.

When I mentioned this travesty to my friend Dave, about whom I've written, he told me to soon expect the other shoe to drop. When he was arrested - even before he was convicted - his bank, Wells Fargo, closed his accounts and sent him a check along with a letter saying that they do not allow felons to bank with them. He had to find a small local bank that was willing to allow him the luxury of a checking account.

Similarly, immediately after my arrest, both Cardinal Bank and United Bank refused to allow my "John Kiriakou Legal Defense Trust" to open an account. A vice president at United Bank said, "We simply don't want to do business with you."

In addition, I learned recently that I can no longer travel freely to countries like Canada, the UK and France. These and many other countries share law enforcement databases with the US, and they do not allow felons in their countries without a special visa. So when I want or need to travel abroad in the future. I will have to go to these countries' embassies, file a visa request form and submit to an interview about my "crime."

I need something recently that had a great impact on me. The Yale Law Review recently sponsored a writing competition related to prison literature and voices from prison. A former inmate, Ernie Drain, was one of the winners. In my five months in prison so far, I have lived every word of what he wrote. Here's an excerpt:

"Being incarcerated in prison means tucking your life into your back pocket for a while. It means taking your slumber on a bunk bed for the first time since childhood...It means showing your pride the door as the staff begins to emasculate you. It's the difference between answering to a pejorative or disobeying a direct order. It's being appalled at the number of grown men who enjoy watching Jerry Springer and Maury Povich...It's questioning the morals of inmates who befriend child predators. It means standing in line for the privilege of performing a bowel movement. It's being made to stand in ninety-seven degree weather in order to receive your medication. It means locking everything your own in a small steel box and hoping that no one smashes the lock when you go to dinner.

"It's listening to the details of another inmates deteriorating family life when you couldn't care less. It's suddenly realizing that you have a deep affinity for Mark Twain's political commentary, Norman Mailer, and the New Yorker magazine. It's forgetting what real ground beef tastes like...It's coming sixty cents a day and enduring a lecture on work ethic from a twenty-dollar-an-hour CO [commanding officer] whose most strenuous task of the day is reheating his coffee. It's watching the CO's own low self-esteem ooze from every demeaning word he speaks to you. It means watching the staff eat food that was meant for inmates while the state deals with budgetary problems by shrinking the portion sizes of the food delivered to those inmates..."

"...It's thanking God for the small things like seventy-five degree days, pizza bagels, quiet and mail, hash browns on Sundays, a soft pillow, Dove soap, the few staff members who treat you like a human being and the ability to write a cohesive sentence...It means constantly reminding yourself that this is not the place to make friends...It means adopting the new first name of "inmate" or "offender." It means hiding your own emotional desperation and only exuding power and confidence replaced by momentary relief from anguish and paranoia...It's mandated nudity before an anonymous person...It's a lesson learned, never to be forgotten."

If you want to read this incredible essay and the other winners, see The Yale Law Journal, 122:2082, 2013.

Update: Many of you have asked for an update on the event that I reported in my first letter. In that letter, I wrote about two Special Investigative Service officers who tried to bait me into taking some sort of action against a Muslim prisoner. After the letter was published, I was assured by both the warden and by a CO lieutenant that an investigation would be conducted. It turned out that the investigation was of me. My email was put on a four-day delay, both incoming and outgoing, my incoming and outgoing snail mail was stripped open and read and none of my witnesses were interviewed. I wasn't surprised by any of this. This is exactly what happens to all whistleblowers.

To learn more about my case, please visit www.defendjohnk.com

Thanks for reading,

John


e-max.it: your social media marketing partner
 

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+105 # tigerlille 2013-08-09 09:40
It is hard to stomach that the openly criminal "too big to prosecute" banksters don't want to do business with felons. Disgusting.
 
 
+12 # reiverpacific 2013-08-10 11:40
Quoting tigerlille:
It is hard to stomach that the openly criminal "too big to prosecute" banksters don't want to do business with felons. Disgusting.

Right!
But they foreclose on homes without a flinch.
They are the criminals, along with the politicos they own including Dimwits and co.
This is great example of King Lear's question, "Handy-Dandy, which the justice, which the thief"?
 
 
+48 # fredboy 2013-08-09 10:09
Here's a test for all of you: Try dissent at work.

Go ahead, dissent just a little bit.

Welcome to ostracism.
 
 
+10 # CandH 2013-08-10 12:10
True.

Also, try it in a neighborhood where you're locally surrounded by "large flag-ensconced houses, strongly Western religiously-aff iliated, hunting/gun-ent husiast, big-guvmint-hat ing, authoritarian/m ilitant-dominan t" neighbors. Witch hunting is the new "old-school" normal. http://www.helium.com/items/1200633-englands-witch-hunt-1645-1647
 
 
+6 # lorenbliss 2013-08-10 13:42
Government IS the enemy. Who put Mr. Kiriakou in jail? Who reads all our mail? Who monitors our lives every minute of every day? Who provides the goon squads that enforce the corporate will?
Who falsely pledges to protect our freedom then damns us all to inescapable slavery?

This, alas, is the one point upon which the conservatives are now proven to have been truly prophetic -- and if we could but grant them that, perhaps then we could begin to build a Left/Right solidarity sufficient to salvage our liberty.
 
 
+8 # CandH 2013-08-10 14:03
Have to disagree about "government IS the enemy," lorenbliss. Who controls the government? Remember, we are supposed to live in a Democracy, not an "inverted totalitarian" (Nazi-police state,) which we are seeing rapidly "deployed" throughout the country. Again, by whose wishes/influenc e/power is this happening?

Chris Hedges writes/speaks brilliantly about this: https://www.truthdig.com/avbooth/item/chris_hedges_on_illusion_corporatism_and_inverted_totalitarianism_20100203/
 
 
+9 # lorenbliss 2013-08-10 17:29
I understand your point. But under capitalism, "who controls the government" is a meaningless question, because the answer is always the same. The government -- government at every level -- is controlled by the One Percent, the Ruling Class. We do not see this so clearly in the United States because, until recently, we USians were fed an illusion of liberty, which the Ruling Class regarded as the most cost-efficient form of tyranny. But the illusion ended on 22 November 1963. Since then the permanent defeat of all socialist alternatives has combined with the looming triple apocalypse of terminal climate change, fossil-fuel exhaustion and the resultant technological collapse to prompt the capitalists to unapologeticall y reveal their true savagery. The instrument of their savagery is, of course, government.

Though I greatly admire Mr. Hedges, the radio interview you linked was more than three years ago. These days he acknowledges our collective powerlessness. He understands USian government cannot be taken back by the people precisely because government “by, for and of the people” was always amongst the biggest Big Lies of human history. But like Sartre and Camus during the Nazi occupation of France, like innumerable Soviet partisans who fought the Nazis in Russia, he understands that despite the hopelessness of our circumstances, acts of resistance remain valid as individual assertions of freedom.
 
 
+39 # reiverpacific 2013-08-09 10:31
Thanks for providing John Kiriakou's mailing particulars.
I plan to send him a soft-cover copy of the late Phillip Agee's book "Inside the Company -CIA Diary" if it is still available in the US (but NOT from Amazon!!! -I'm boycotting them).
Agee was the original whistle blower on his former employer, the CIA in which he details in chronological order, his activities with "The Company" from his recruitment at Notre-Dame until and post his resignation in disgust and despair at what was really required of him in undermining other nations from whatever station he was assigned to, in the name of the military-corpor ate state and US imperial ambition.
It also details his pursuit around the world by his former employers after the book was published. He finally found succor in Cuba where he lived out his days in relative peace and security (with FREE MEDICAL CARE!).
I may also send him Maj-Gen' Smedley Butler's "War is just a racket" and Peter Matthiesson's "In the Spirit of Crazy Horse" (which also encountered great difficulty in being published by pressure from the FBI, which it shows in it's true, vicious, mean-spirited and "Somebody will pay" light).
He is just one of many victims of the big-brother, conform or die system like Leonard Peltier, Abu Mumiya jamal and thousands of others who have endured decades under the same circumstances he details here.
Maybe sending him books will get me targeted too but it's the least I can do!
 
 
+35 # 6thextinction 2013-08-09 11:07
i just wrote him (John kiriakou 79637-083, federal correctional institute lorretto, p.o. box 1000, lorretto, PA 15940) and everyone reading this article should too--we are in great debt to the whistleblowers in this country, and the gov't needs to know it. (i'm sure the amount of mail he receive is being noted.) it is the least we can do.
 
 
+10 # R Steinberger 2013-08-09 22:08
Yes it is. The whistleblower is the new hero.
 
 
0 # Radscal 2013-08-10 15:35
He's already targeted. But sending those "subversive" books will almost certainly get you targeted.

Peace.
 
 
+46 # jwb110 2013-08-09 10:59
Banks that laundered money for the enemy only received a slap on the wrist.
What has happened to the punishment fitting the crime?
 
 
+17 # reiverpacific 2013-08-09 11:50
Quoting jwb110:
Banks that laundered money for the enemy only received a slap on the wrist.
What has happened to the punishment fitting the crime?

It stopped with Gilbert and Sullivan's "Mikado"!
 
 
+17 # tbcrawford8 2013-08-09 11:03
Daily, such atrocious behavior escalates. Tragically, not many notice, or seem to care. It's called "history" and nothing seems to change.
 
 
+27 # jokr8790 2013-08-09 11:12
Prison officials have absolutely no business trying to orchestrate a murder. There should be a demand for an investigation by the Inspector generals' Office for this. In the meantime I would recommend that he file a federal habeas corpus action for conditions of confinement over how his mail and communications are being treated for reporting the illegal behavior of the Special Investigation Service.
 
 
+23 # RHytonen 2013-08-09 11:20
EVERY potential employee needs to consider his/her political and ethical assessment of the prospective employer.
Workers need to "boycott" THEM.

And as consumers as well.
Take note of companies like Wells Fargo, Cardinal Bank, United Bank, and USAA; and DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH THEM.

In a country of ethical citizens, an "Intelligence Agency" or the legal cocept of "Secrecy for National Security" COULD NOT EXIST.
 
 
+41 # Billbb 2013-08-09 11:22
Since this is America, why am I frightened to write my indignation over this man's prosecution?

Since this is America, why does it scare me to go to the defendjohnk link?

Given that I live amidst the freedoms -- so strongly defended! -- of the USofA, why do I feel someone's putting another checkmark by my name for writing these few words?
 
 
+30 # noitall 2013-08-09 13:25
Quoting Billbb:
Since this is America, why am I frightened to write my indignation over this man's prosecution?

Since this is America, why does it scare me to go to the defendjohnk link?

Given that I live amidst the freedoms -- so strongly defended! -- of the USofA, why do I feel someone's putting another checkmark by my name for writing these few words?

Because they are! All veterans should be raging in the street. It is our freedom from THIS that they were injured, maimed, fret with nightmares, watched their best friends and comrades die fighting America's battles. Where are they? waiting for their check, waiting for their justice as Veterans. Too beaten and brainwashed to see America's shirts turn brown.
 
 
+6 # CandH 2013-08-10 12:19
This comment reminds me of Manning's Father on CNN stated something like "I can't forgive my son for 'breaking the law.'" Remember this--His Father gets Veterans Benefits, probably a MIC-tied Pension, lives in a smaller town than most with less options for "alternatives" should he be retaliated against. So, he really can't speak freely against the MIC, as Kiriakou eloquently describes what's happening to him as a result of his whistleblowing, even in regards to his own son.

In other words, you can't take what Manning's Father says about Manning's whistleblowing as sacrosanct. After all, he too lives in the same MIC-dominated country as Kiriakou does.
 
 
+27 # futhark 2013-08-09 11:29
Another all too common story about persecution of a truth telling whistleblower.. .
 
 
+23 # spiritcallsus 2013-08-09 11:38
Authority demands conformance ... without it they lose that which they require the most ... power. Power to intimidate.
 
 
+24 # engelbach 2013-08-09 11:39
America's gulag of political prisoners increases.

Meanwhile, those whose crimes John has reported go not only unpunished, but acclaimed.
 
 
+23 # Art947 2013-08-09 11:54
The crimes of our "government" grow more each day. It is only a matter of time before civil disobedience is the only course of action that believers in the U.S. Constitution will have available. We should be compiling a list of all those traitors to the values that we hold dear so that action can be taken against them at the appropriate time. My copy of that list already includes low-life scumbags such as Cheney, Bush, Rice, Holden, Obama, Perry, Walker, Scott, and so many, many more. If Obama was an honest and decent man then he would immediately issue a pardon to this Kiriakou, end the persecution of Manning, and stop the posturing about Snowden.
 
 
+8 # noitall 2013-08-09 13:28
So many of the comments on this page are "this is the way it is", Woe is us. It is because of our complacency that these monsters in charge have taken our legacy and tramped it into the ground. "Don't tread on me" says the Teabaggers and that is exactly what they have orchestrated for us all.
 
 
+5 # Nominae 2013-08-10 02:09
Quoting noitall:
So many of the comments on this page are "this is the way it is", Woe is us. It is because of our complacency that these monsters in charge have taken our legacy and tramped it into the ground. "Don't tread on me" says the Teabaggers and that is exactly what they have orchestrated for us all.


This is a point that has been made right here on this string more times than anyone can count. As Mark Twain said: "Everybody complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it."

A little different situation, this one, but the logic, and the humor, still applies.

In the spirit of Bill Maher's "New Rules", I hereby propose that anyone who wishes, for the umpteen billionth time, to point out the fact that action is more significant than complaining, must accompany that astoundingly astute observation with *viable* suggestion *for* action.

Announcing well-known phenomena, such as the fact that water generally runs downhill, is not a solution contribution.

It is simply another complaint bemoaning the fact that no one *else* is providing the solutions.

So, in fairness, those who wish to excoriate others for lack of proposing solutions, must "back their sass" by offering a few *viable* solutions of their own.

Otherwise, it may be beneficial to allow people to "sound this stuff out" before "leaping from the frying pan into the fire".

And we likewise have no shortage of suggestions for doing precisely that.
 
 
+18 # The Saint 2013-08-09 14:45
As one who spent over 5 years in Loretto--at St. Francis College and as a close associate with the Franciscans there (T.O.R.) I would suggest that John reach out to some of the Franciscan community. I believe visiting the imprisoned is still a Catholic and especially Franciscan virtue. Some of the brothers and priests would be on his side when it comes to opposition to torture and support of those with the courage to reveal it. He might also find some faculty and students willing to rally for him. Hang in there John. And when you get out spend a little time in the beautiful hills around there and maybe some consolation knowing that your heart is in the right place. I know given St. Francis' early contact with Muslims the despicable ploy they played on you and the imam would also find condemnation among many. Find a way to reach out to members of the College and religious community. Ironically, the federal prison was both a diocesan seminary and a Franciscan monastery for theology students--I know it well. You and the imam are at least two prisoners who reflect something of the old spirit there--and NOT some of those who have sold their souls to a phony patriotism that doesn't have the courage to hold its nation to high standards but turns IT into a god who can do no wrong. Thanks to Kiriakou, Snowden and the others who remind us of higher ethical and moral principles. But as Noitall said, we've got to do act.
 
 
+5 # tpmco 2013-08-09 19:52
Write directly to John. Inmates are not doing email or web surfing--as you should well know.
 
 
+10 # tomo 2013-08-09 18:38
Well, I just listened to Obama's press conference today, August 9. He points out that he was just about to carry through the reforms that Snowden's revelations suggest--only he was going to do them in a much more orderly and efficient way if there had been no intervention by Snowden--who he says is unpatriotic. It was very heartening to hear this. I am sure that as soon as Obama is informed about Kiriaku, he will see to it that he is released, as Obama says he is a great friend of whistle-blowers , just as he is a great enemy of evil-doers like Manning and Snowden.
 
 
+9 # RickMaart 2013-08-09 19:59
Why doesn't someone start a petition for clemency or pardon? How do we do that?
 
 
+29 # dick 2013-08-09 20:13
Banksters don't want to do business with felons? That's rich.
 
 
+31 # geraldom 2013-08-09 21:33
God, if John Kiriakou is being treated this way by the United States government for simply opening the world to the fact that the Bush administration was illegally using torture to extract questionable information and false confessions from prisoners who were illegally kidnapped and illegally detained, I can't imagine what they would do to Edward Snowden if they ever got their hands on him.
 
 
+10 # propsguy 2013-08-10 14:01
how noble of Wells Fargo not to do business with criminals. wait! they are criminals!!!!!
 
 
+9 # Radscal 2013-08-10 15:40
Just a reminder to all: Most of these additional "punishments" happen to all convicted felons. One not mentioned is disenfranchisem ent from voting.

All of our brothers and sisters who've been convicted for many drug offenses, file-sharing copyright "crimes" and other overly-criminal ized behaviors endure these "punishments."
 
 
+9 # JSRaleigh 2013-08-10 19:20
Wells Fargo ARE felons!
 
 
+1 # Capn Canard 2013-08-12 09:35
yeah, irony...
 

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