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Kiriakou writes: "Harvard University on Friday revoked whistleblower Chelsea Manning's invitation to be a 'visiting fellow' following former CIA deputy director and torture proponent Mike Morell's resignation in protest of the hiring and CIA director Mike Pompeo's refusal to accept a speaking invitation at the school."

John Kiriakou. (photo: The Washington Post)
John Kiriakou. (photo: The Washington Post)

Chelsea Manning and Harvard - Let's Talk About Disgrace

By John Kiriakou, Reader Supported News

17 September 17


arvard University on Friday revoked whistleblower Chelsea Manning’s invitation to be a “visiting fellow” following former CIA deputy director and torture proponent Mike Morell’s resignation in protest of the hiring and CIA director Mike Pompeo’s refusal to accept a speaking invitation at the school.

The smug pronouncements from the CIA crowd were stunning in their hypocrisy. Morell, in a letter he released to all major media outlets following his resignation, said, “I cannot be part of an organization — the Kennedy School — that honors a convicted felon and leaker of classified information, Ms. Chelsea Manning, by inviting her to be a Visiting Fellow at the Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics. Ms. Manning was found guilty of 17 serious crimes, including six counts of espionage, for leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents to Wikileaks, an entity that CIA Director Mike Pompeo says operates like an adversarial foreign intelligence service.”

Pompeo, meanwhile, took a swipe directly at Harvard, saying, “Harvard’s actions implicitly tell its students that you too can be a fellow at Harvard and a felon under United States law. I believe it is shameful for Harvard to place its stamp of approval upon her treasonous actions.” Pompeo praised Morell’s decision to leave the Kennedy School, saying that Harvard “traded a respected individual who served his country with dignity for one who served it with disgrace.”

So let’s talk about respect. Let’s talk about disgrace and law-breaking. I worked with Mike Morell for my entire CIA career. He’s very bright. He rose through the ranks more quickly than just about anybody else ever. He’s a political animal. He’s a company man through and through. And that’s not necessarily a good thing.

Morell was a career analyst when he worked his way into the CIA’s Senior Intelligence Service. He rose to the position of Deputy Director — and then Acting Director — of the CIA. Before that, Morell was Deputy Director of the CIA for Intelligence, the head of its analytic arm. But for a period immediately prior to that, Morell was the Deputy Executive Director of the CIA, the Agency’s fourth-ranking officer. It was in that position, during the George W. Bush administration, that he had direct oversight of the CIA’s torture program, its system of secret foreign dungeons where the torture took place, and the organization’s international kidnapping program called “extraordinary rendition.”

That’s what Mike Pompeo calls “a respected individual serving his country with dignity.”

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. Indeed, Chelsea Manning exposed actual war crimes in Iraq. And for that, she was prosecuted. I won’t fudge the issue here. Manning released tens of thousands of classified State Department cables that had nothing to do with war crimes. But her motivation is irrelevant. The information, taken in its totality, did expose crimes. That’s the bottom line. And instead of being celebrated, she was given 35 years in a military prison. She was only released when President Obama commuted her sentence after more than seven years, at least two of which were spent in solitary confinement.

The real shame of this whole situation is Harvard. The university’s leadership doesn’t want its students to know about war crimes. It doesn’t want its students to hear an alternative worldview. It does want its students to think that torture, secret prisons, and renditions are all the norm and are all ok. It wants its students to learn that ethics, morality, and the rule of law have no place at the CIA or in U.S. intelligence operations. 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.

John Kiriakou is a former CIA counterterrorism officer and a former senior investigator with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. John became the sixth whistleblower indicted by the Obama administration under the Espionage Act - a law designed to punish spies. He served 23 months in prison as a result of his attempts to oppose the Bush administration's torture program.

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+42 # Carol R 2017-09-17 09:41
So, Mike Morell, who supports torture, secret prisons, and renditions is a fine upstanding citizen who served his country with dignity. Chelsea Manning, who reports serious war crimes is guilty of 'treasonous actions' and is a disgraceful felon.

This is exactly what is wrong with too much in the US. Shame on Harvard and shame on CIA Director Mike Pompeo and Mike Morell. Makes me wonder what kind of extraordinary misdeeds they are willing to hide. Just what is acceptable in this country?
+39 # Salus Populi 2017-09-17 10:08
Morell has also publicly called for "killing Russians," or international terrorism, as part of the neo-con effort to overthrow the elected Russian president and replace him with a U.S. stooge like Yeltsin. He should be prosecuted for high treason, and duly executed for his crimes against humanity, along with Brennan, Clapper, and all the other torture-meister s and psychopaths that have been in charge of our rogue-state foreign policy since the early eighties. He is not fit to sit in the same room with Manning, Kiriakou, Snowden and the other brave and morally committed souls who exposed the grim, fascistic and barbaric underbelly of U.S. foreign relations.
+9 # John S. Browne 2017-09-17 14:54

I agree with all of what you said except for the death penalty for these extremely-evil miscreants and traitors against the U.S., against the U.S. Constitution, against true U.S. constitutional republicanism, against human and civil rights, and against the true rule of law, etc. Therefore, because two wrongs do NOT make one right, and the fact that the mass-murder by such recalcitrant traitors does NOT make the abhorrent death penalty the correct way to go, rather than execution, these horrendous, horrific traitors should suffer life in prison without ANY possibility of parole, EVER.

+2 # Salus Populi 2017-09-19 09:17
There's an island off the coast of Nome, Alaska, called "Anvil Island," a barren and forbidding rock with cliffs all around it, a few miles offshore. For a long time, I've thought that it would be an ideal place to exile our monsters and sociopaths who've committed crimes against humanity. I'd be willing to bet that, left to their own devices without guards to maintain order, they'd soon be blaming and fighting each other, and that even if left with basic provisions, they would eliminate themselves in relatively short order. Of course, no parole ever.

For Joe Arpaio, although not normally an enthusiast of the Hammurabi Code, I would make an exception, and have him imprisoned in restraints in pink underwearn a 145 degree tent in his "concentration camp" and fed rotten food for the remaining years of his miserable life -- perhaps guarded by illegal aliens. After all, this is what he *bragged* about. We could then see just how tough "America's [sic] toughest sheriff" really is.
+39 # greenharper 2017-09-17 10:40
The Kennedy School's reneging was craven.

The sole reason that every Bush administration torture overseer, justifier, and inflictor but one or two is walking free today, and thus able to accept an invitation from Harvard, is that neither the Bush administration nor the Obama administration prosecuted them. Juries would doubtless have convicted some of them. Felonies, you know.

Shamefully, this failure to prosecute violated the solemn U.S. obligations under the U.N. Convention Against Torture.

They all should be thanking their lucky stars and keeping a low, low profile. It is unbecoming of them to contemn a patriot whom the Obama administration tortured -- yes, solitary confinement is torture -- for letting Americans know of the war crimes committed in their names.
+12 # John S. Browne 2017-09-17 14:57

"The Kennedy School's reneging was craven...", and cowardly to the absolute extreme.

+24 # economagic 2017-09-17 10:55
"The real shame of this whole situation is Harvard. The university’s leadership doesn’t want its students to know about war crimes. It doesn’t want its students to hear an alternative worldview. It does want its students to think that torture, secret prisons, and renditions are all the norm and are all ok. It wants its students to learn that ethics, morality, and the rule of law have no place at the CIA or in U.S. intelligence operations."

Yeah, and that's not all. I was constrained to teach economics from perhaps the most disingenuous textbook in the US, that by the distinguished N. Gregory Mankiw of Harvard. For eight and a half years a couple of feckless colleagues refused even to consider a replacement, usually with lame excuses, and my other colleagues refused to challenge them. Greg Mankiw is to economics what Mike Morell is to intelligence, and Harvard remains the guardian of the ruling elite who brook no questioning of their dominance.
0 # Trixie 2017-09-21 23:45
Harvard's Kennedy School is appalling. From my experience with them they seem to be running the Donald Trump School of Foreign Service.

They teach a very unbalanced style of "diplomacy" expecting ever country in the world to act against their own best interests and bow reverently to the will of the United States.

I think this is an irrational and dangerous stance that has led us into every war since WWII. All losses, by the way.

Their Russia experts are old anti-communist right-wingers who refuse to objectively study history, both military and political or attempt any sociological understanding of the people. It seems that this is exactly the type of blundering ignorance compounded by arrogance that got us into Vietnam and all the other disasters since then.
+28 # aDog8myH8 2017-09-17 11:19
Thanks for the perspective, John. Do you wonder if the CIA Mikes and most of their coworkers have any idea what it actually means to serve their country with dignity?
+23 # maverita 2017-09-17 11:48
Totally agree as to Harvard's mistakes. Berkeley it ain't and never will be. I hope in my lifetime to see the "ivy league" schools lose their status as they have been bastions of bigotry and sexism for decades....
+9 # economagic 2017-09-17 14:05
+4 # Cassandra2012 2017-09-18 16:15
Quoting maverita:
Totally agree as to Harvard's mistakes. Berkeley it ain't and never will be. I hope in my lifetime to see the "ivy league" schools lose their status as they have been bastions of bigotry and sexism for decades....

It is amusing to see that you can overlook Berkeley's repeated examples of misogyny; that does not mean that Harvard's behavior is excusable, but do wake up --- the misogyny evident in not granting tenure to worthy women professors in Art, Linguistics, South Asian languages, English etc. over the years is repulsive and inexcusable. [Another reason I generally take Lakoff's pronouncements with a couple of grains of salt, for one example.
+34 # laborequalswealth 2017-09-17 12:44

I am sickened by the persecution of truth-tellers and the elevation of liars, thieves and murderers.

Just one more sign of the rot of the Amerikkkan Empire.
+6 # rogerhgreen 2017-09-19 08:25
The American Empire is pretty much running along the tracks laid out at the beginning. Learn some history that's not patriotically stamped "approved for US public schools". Read "A People's History of the United States" by Howard Zinn, and "Lies My Teacher Told Me" by James Loewen. The Founding Fathers set it up to protect wealth and power and to allow slavery, to exterminate the red men, to constrain democratic urges, to enhance American manifest destiny and take over other peoples. It's doing just fine.
+21 # John S. Browne 2017-09-17 13:13

Right-on! A much-deserved, and long-overdue, condemnation of "al CIAduh(!)" and its constant Constitution-Hu man-Rights-and- Rule-of-Law-vio lating mandate and habitual practices. It is a constitutionall y-irrelevant agency that unconstitutiona lly, illegally and extra-constitut ionally exists outside of the Constitution, Human Rights, Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law. In other words, in what is supposed to be ONLY our CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC, it should not exist, AT ALL, along with all of the other Constitution-vi olating, etc., agencies such as the NSA and so on. None of those agencies, and their common policies and actions, should exist in the constitutional republic of the United States, and NEVER should have.

"Security" does NOT trump freedom, liberty and rights, but those agencies operate on the premise and practices that it "does". They mass-murder mostly innocent people, and mass-spy on mostly innocent people, and perpetrate many other violations of the U.S. Constitution and/or other U.S. and international laws, CONSTANTLY, amounting now to MANY decades of such criminality that is all supposedly "excused" for "the sake of 'national security'". And it is an extreme miscarriage of justice, a travesty, AND TREASONOUS that they exist at all.

As John Kiriakou so aptly and justly says, Manning exposed war crimes, the war crimes of the very TREASONOUS agencies, made up of a HUGE number of true traitors to the U.S., that denigrate Manning and other whistleblowers.

+1 # randrjwr 2017-09-20 00:27
Perhaps CIA really stands for "Constitution Ignoring Agency."
+14 # PABLO DIABLO 2017-09-17 14:14
"The real shame of this whole situation is Harvard. " You can say that again. Major problem with education that tells you WHAT to think instead of HOW to think.
Thank you John Kiriakou for your writings.
-1 # Trixie 2017-09-22 00:04
"The real shame of this whole situation is Harvard. " You can say that again. Major problem with education that tells you WHAT to think instead of HOW to think.
Thank you John Kiriakou for your writings.

Speaking again of Harvard, Leslie Gelb (Council on Foreign Relations) got his PhD there. Here's a great quote from him summing up our Foreign Relations ethics:

Dr. Gelb initially supported the Iraq War, but later said his "initial support for the war was symptomatic of unfortunate tendencies within the foreign policy community, namely the disposition and incentives to support wars to retain political and professional credibility."

No informed opinion or ethics anywhere. No reasoning or plans for how we could possibly win and set up a functioning government after we had assassinated our former ally. Just go along to get along no matter what it costs this country and our victims in blood and treasure. These guys still make a bundle, and that's all they care about.

Absolutely disgusting.
+7 # elkingo 2017-09-17 18:57
Wow John! That about says it all. But remember that Harvard is part of the mega-corporate oligarch ruling structure, so they wouldn't rock the boat. Look at the case of Cornell West with Hah-vhud! They are just doing their bit in keeping the fascist-capital ist oppressive order in place. At least Morel acknowledges Chelsea'a transgender status, so maybe that's a grain of progress.
+16 # elizabethblock 2017-09-17 20:05
I was going to write to Harvard - I'm an alum - to express my congratulations and my amazement at their invitation to Chelsea Manning. I'm disgusted that they disinvited her - but not in the least surprised. Harvard has a number of good qualities, but the kind of courage it would have taken to stand up to right-wing pressure is not one of them.
+1 # Gibbous 2017-09-19 22:17
Additional reading: "The Imperial Cruise: A Secret History of Empire and War" by James Bradley.
An interesting take on world history during Teddy Roosevelt's administration - between the US and the Orient.
Comment: "The more things change, the more they remain insane." (Quote from Jeff McNelly, the creator of "Shoe" - the comic strip.)
0 # jeffsyrop 2017-11-09 16:37
This is a perfect description of reality, Mr. Kiriakou, and I thank you for it. It would be easy to see it the regressive way, because when presented from Mike Morell's perspective, it DOES sound like a bad thing to honor a treasonous fellow. We are all Americans and we all believe in law. But your article makes it clear who is on the side of our ACTUAL law (the Constitution) and who is the ACTUAL criminal, via the WORDS in our Constitution (Morell).

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