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Kiriakou writes: "Former Secretary of State and Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman John Kerry told Politico this week that he is considering a run for president in 2020. Kerry didn't come out and declare himself a candidate, but he did say that he wants to be 'a part of the future of the Democratic Party and of the country.' I say, 'No thanks.'"

Former Secretary of State John Kerry. (photo: Getty)
Former Secretary of State John Kerry. (photo: Getty)


My Former Boss, John Kerry, Wants to Be President. No Thanks.

By John Kiriakou, Reader Supported News

11 October 18

 

ormer Secretary of State and Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman John Kerry told Politico this week that he is considering a run for president in 2020. Kerry didn’t come out and declare himself a candidate, but he did say that he wants to be “a part of the future of the Democratic Party and of the country.” I say, “No thanks.” Kerry is exactly the kind of failed neoliberal politician who pushed the Democratic Party to the right, tried to out-Republican the Republicans on foreign policy and, in the end, gave us Donald Trump.

I worked for John Kerry for two-and-a-half years during 2009-2011. Kerry was the senior senator from Massachusetts and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC). I was the committee’s senior investigator. Kerry had told me in early 2009, just after Barack Obama was elected president, but before the inauguration, that he wanted to recreate the SFRC’s investigative function, which had been phased out in the late 1970s. He said that he wanted deep, hard-hitting investigations that would expose waste, fraud, abuse, and illegality. He had followed my whistleblowing on the CIA’s torture program, and he thought I was the person for the job. I gladly accepted.

My first investigation was a gimme. I learned that all US passports were being made in Thailand using security chips that had been manufactured in China. Crazy, right? It stood to reason that the Chinese, if they had wanted to, could easily have hacked into a US passport and done with it what they wished. I wrote the report, sent it to the media, and the State Department announced that it would seek US vendors for future passports.

For the next two years, though, nothing was as easy as that. Shortly after joining the SFRC, I got a call from a noted human rights activist. He told me that he had spoken with a young man who had been a 12-year-old boy in 2001. The boy happened to be in Mazar e-Sharif, a city in northern Afghanistan, on the day the city fell to the US-backed Northern Alliance. On October 31 and November 1, 2001, more than 2000 Taliban fighters had given themselves up en masse to the Northern Alliance, which in turn asked US officials what to do. There certainly wasn’t a prison in Afghanistan big enough to hold all these prisoners at once. A decision was made to put them in containers and truck them out into the desert, where they would be held until they could be divided up and sent to small prisons and jails around the country. The problem was that the containers had no air holes, no ventilation, no food, and no water. The trip to the desert took more than eight hours. And when the trucks finished the trip, nearly every prisoner was dead. One of the 16 survivors told me that the bodies had fallen out of the trucks “like sardines out of a can” when the doors were finally opened. It became known as the Dasht e-Leili Massacre. More importantly, the boy said that he had seen two men at the site of the “box up” who were wearing jeans and black tee shirts, speaking English, and issuing orders. Only the CIA was in Dasht e-Leili at the time, and I wanted to get to the bottom of the story.

When I told Kerry, and I reminded him that candidate Barack Obama had promised an investigation, he told me to hold it. He wanted the White House to take the lead. I waited a year and the White House did nothing. When I said again that I wanted to take up the investigation, Kerry killed it. He didn’t want to embarrass the president, he said. My entreaties that we were talking about crimes against humanity fell on deaf ears. The investigation was over and my report was never published.

Several months later, a journalist called me to say that he had a source who said that the CIA was violating a certain agreement that it had with the State Department. The CIA won’t let me say what the agreement was, but I can tell you that the point was to protect the identities of CIA officers who were complicit in the torture program. The agreement helped to ensure that no CIA officer would ever be brought to justice, either in the United States or abroad, for torturing prisoners. I wrote a letter to the CIA under Kerry’s signature asking for clarification. Six weeks passed. Finally, a colleague walked into my office and said, “The Agency sent a response to your letter.” I told him that I hadn’t seen any response and that I had just checked my mail a few minutes earlier. “They classified it Top Secret,” he said. My clearance at the time was only at the Secret level, so I asked what it said. “It said ‘Go fuck yourself’” was the response. I appealed to Kerry. We couldn’t let the CIA bully us, I told him. We were an oversight committee! He told me to drop the investigation. Embarrassing the CIA, he said, was the last thing he wanted to do.

I finally decided, against my better judgment, to self-censor. I would initiate an investigation that wasn’t controversial and that wouldn’t embarrass the White House. (More importantly, I couldn’t risk embarrassing Kerry, who wanted desperately to be Secretary of State. He talked about it constantly.) I decided to do an investigation of US policy toward Haiti. Most Haitians live in abject poverty. The country is the poorest in the western hemisphere and a long line of presidents have promised to help develop the Haitian economy, only to fail, one after the other.

I learned that there are seven families that control the Haitian economy. Interestingly, all seven of those families are white, while almost everybody else in the country is black. The white families are largely involved in the production of textiles that are then exported to the US. They pay their employees pennies an hour, sell the clothing for market rates, and get rich on the backs of Haiti’s poor. How controversial a subject could that possibly be?

But again, Kerry killed the investigation. This time I was incredulous. “Why?” I asked. As it turned out, those seven white families were represented by Washington power lawyer and lobbyist Greg Craig. And Greg Craig is John Kerry’s best friend.

I remember also my first week on the job at SFRC. My wife asked me how it had gone and what I thought of Kerry. I remember telling her that “the American people would be shocked at how conservative he is.” I certainly was. Kerry was a supporter of the Iraq war and the subsequent US troop presence there. He supported the war in Afghanistan and the continued US troop presence there. He supported US military interventions in Syria, Libya, and elsewhere. He supported sanctions on North Korea, Russia, and China. What kind of progressive is that? Sure, he was good on Iran, Cuba, and climate change, but I’m hard-pressed to differentiate the Obama/Kerry foreign policy from any mainstream Republican foreign policy.

I will add one personal note. I was arrested in January 2012 after blowing the whistle on the CIA’s torture program. By February 2013, I had taken a plea to a lesser charge. I was more than $1 million in debt to my attorneys, my family was wrecked, and I simply couldn’t risk 45 years in prison after the government offered me 30 months to make the whole thing go away. By then Kerry was Secretary of State. I decided to send him a heartfelt appeal. I sent an email to his personal account and I begged him to weigh in with the president to commute my sentence. The conviction would still stand, I said, but I could remain home to work and support my family. Kerry sent me a response a few days later: “Please do not ever attempt to contact me again.”

Sure, I have a personal beef with John Kerry. But my political problems with him vastly outweigh the personal. John Kerry couldn’t beat George W. Bush. He’ll be 76 years old at the time of the 2020 election. He’s a neoliberal interventionist who has long partnered with the military-industrial complex. It’s time for a change. There are at least 20 Democrats currently considering a run for president. A lot of them are attractive candidates and I think would be great presidents. John Kerry isn’t one of them. It’s time for him to go back to his house in Boston (or Georgetown or Ketchum, Idaho, or Fox Chapel, Pennsylvania, or Martha’s Vineyard) and let the next generation of Democratic leaders have a shot. He had his chance. It’s time for him to go.

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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.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

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+68 # Caliban 2018-10-11 12:46
"Let the next generation of Democratic leaders have a shot."

Kiriakou has this one right. Let's hope this "next generation" of Democrats steps up forcefully and addresses the country's domestic and foreign policy issues with the humanity and good sense that solving them will require.
 
 
+22 # vilstef 2018-10-11 17:53
As the writer points out, Kerry is a schlub who couldn't beat a bigger schlub, which says a lot about his character and competency.

To quote a favorite movie, I would say Kerry is really lacking the right stuff. I would just say no to a Kerry candidacy, not 'no, thanks.'
 
 
+11 # Woody41 2018-10-11 18:24
This is a great expose of US secret, official skullduggery. Thanks for it. But I'm mystified as to how, after seeing what CIA has done and is doing, you could conclude that Kerry is "good on Iran, Cuba"? Both he and the U.S. establishment are as hypocritical and criminal in regard to those countries as they have been to the others you cite. They are consistent.
 
 
+12 # intheEPZ 2018-10-11 18:45
Agreed. Kerry is a stinker.
 
 
+13 # MPCicerchi 2018-10-11 18:52
Wow! Good to know.
 
 
+38 # jabo1941 2018-10-11 19:22
I never forgave Kerry for conceding the election so quickly when it was obvious that there were voting crimes being committed all over the place. I later assumed it was a Skull and Crossbones brotherhood agreement that he would not appeal the vote and just go away to be repaid later.
 
 
+12 # vilstef 2018-10-11 22:39
For the quick concession alone, Kerry should never serve in another elective office or have an appointment to any high office. If a company could afford him, he could be making bad decisions on some Board of Directors.
 
 
+15 # futhark 2018-10-12 07:54
I wasted one of my votes on John Kerry in 2004. When he failed to contest the fraudulent Ohio vote that gave Cheney/Bush another 4 years in the White House, I figured voting for him had been useless. Since then I have voted Green: Cynthia McKinney and Jill Stein. Greens and Libertarians at least had the backbone to stand up against the 2004 Ohio fraud.
 
 
0 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-10-12 19:48
Funny -- that's exactly how I responded to Kerry's feckless run in 2004. I did vote for Obama in 2009, but it has been Green since then. Obama let his supporters down.
 
 
+5 # sean1303 2018-10-13 09:59
Quoting jabo1941:
I never forgave Kerry for conceding the election so quickly when it was obvious that there were voting crimes being committed all over the place. I later assumed it was a Skull and Crossbones brotherhood agreement that he would not appeal the vote and just go away to be repaid later.

I personally watched as Kerry did nothing to prevent the Quoting futhark:
I wasted one of my votes on John Kerry in 2004. When he failed to contest the fraudulent Ohio vote that gave Cheney/Bush another 4 years in the White House, I figured voting for him had been useless. Since then I have voted Green: Cynthia McKinney and Jill Stein. Greens and Libertarians at least had the backbone to stand up against the 2004 Ohio fraud.

In New Mexico, Greens and Libertarians also initiated a recount and investigation of of obvious hacking or DRE touch screen voting machines. The Kerry campaign did nothing to assist, and Democrats led by governor Bill Richardson killed the recount. My vote was wasted there too.
 
 
+9 # economagic 2018-10-11 20:17
He had his chance and he punted.

More seriously, we need an oath signed in blood stating whether the candidate will be the 1971 Kerry or the 2006 Kerry. The public has a right to know, and an oath signed in ketchup is not sufficient.
 
 
+2 # lfeuille 2018-10-12 23:36
Does he still remember the 1971 Kerry? He doesn't act as if he does.
 
 
+6 # azei2n 2018-10-11 20:36
I never forgave Kerry and Hagel for promoting and supporting the coup in Egypt against the first democratically elected president in 60 years.
 
 
+16 # Villon 2018-10-11 20:41
This is an excellent piece by John Kiriakou, offering solid reasons for not supporting John Kerry in another presidential run, but I'm with jabo1941. Kerry ran on a platform of every vote will count, yet his early concession on election night reminded me of a fighter who'd been told that he had to take a dive. "It ain't your night, kid." Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman have done an excellent analysis of how the 2004 election was stolen by Ken Blackwell in Ohio, and Kerry just caved, then he went away. I would never support him because of that performance, or lack of one, and for all the reasons offered in Kiriakou's piece.
 
 
+15 # munza 2018-10-11 21:25
Please do not ever attempt to call me again. Says it all. Worked with him for two and a half years, John brought torture to the light of day and the CIA was out to get him. Kerry despite his courageous stand over the Vietnam war and he was unjustly swiftboated shows how he represents the failure of the democratic establishment which has played its part in the current Trumpian disaster. Yes get off the stage, it's time for true progressives. John Kiriakou is an American hero.
 
 
+4 # davehaze 2018-10-11 21:59
In the late sixties I was awaiting trial for having been arrested after I turned in my draft card demanding the abolishment of The Selective Service hand of the Vietnam War. I heard of John Kerry and his testimony where he famously said who will be the last person to die for the bad War? I disremember the real quote, apologies. I was not impressed I thought he was just another of the disingenuous white men
Who were're getting the corporate media cameras attention. And I was right. He used to be millions of dead people from the American Vietnam War to get into politics and find a rich wife. And become a Democratic party spokesman for the Empire and endless war. I wonder if he himself will answer the question that he asked but will rephrase has who will be the last Soldier to die in Wars that I championed?
.
 
 
0 # Salus Populi 2018-10-15 09:29
Just to be fair -- as I agree 100 per cent with Kiriakou about the Clintonian "new model" Kerry that embraced the CIA around the time off the _fin du millénaire_ -- he *did* have one further moment of glory around 1989, when he presided over hearings on the subject of the CIA, cocaine, and Central American atrocities under Reagan. Congress even, in those halcyon days, published the findings, which were not to the CIA's liking. That, however, was Kerry's last hurrah.
 
 
+2 # elizabethblock 2018-10-11 22:14
Does memory fail me, or wasn't it John Kerry who had the brilliant idea that Gaza could become another Singapore? Gaza, under siege for years, unable to export, unable to import, unable to do anything without the permission of the Israeli military. Sure, it could become an economic powerhouse. No problem. What was he thinking? WAS he thinking?
 
 
+9 # rxfxworld 2018-10-11 22:25
His 2004 campaign in which I worked was a half-hearted mishmash. During debates he never once raised the issue of torture. I worked in the campaign because I thought he'd have to be better than Bush. Now I'm not so sure about that. No more DINOs.
#Never Kerry, #Never Gillibrand.
 
 
+10 # jwb110 2018-10-11 22:34
He didn't win before. Why would he think it would be any different now. He doesn't look like his had a sincere, honest smile since childhood. Just like Hillary, he is the wrong person at the wrong time. We, as Democrats, need new candidates who actually resonate with the real Democratic or a potential Democratic base. Kerry is from a generation who may wield some sort of power but all the monied cronies in the Washington couldn't get his elected.
Also a neoliberal is a conservative and I have had conservatism up to my eyeballs. Life has progressively worse for me and the class in which I reside. Those are the issues and the only thing from the old guard as a call to arms could be "It's the economy, stupid!". Those old poops, other than Bernie Sanders, haven't got the guts to tell that truth.
John Kiriakou is a true patriot. The rest of that Washington world are slackers, at best.
 
 
+1 # economagic 2018-10-12 11:23
"Also a neoliberal is a conservative and I have had conservatism up to my eyeballs."

Unfortunately a "conservative" is not conservative, and a "liberal" is not liberal. A "neoliberal," either willfully or through willful ignorance, is a sham, a fake, trying to pass off the remedy for feudal despotism that WAS liberal in the 18th century as the remedy for the despotism of today, which is precisely that which was liberal 200-300 years ago.
 
 
+8 # lfeuille 2018-10-11 23:06
I don't want Kerry either. He had his chance and blew it. I'm not in favor of repeating that. But, age has nothing to do with it. I want Bernie. He is older than Kerry, but still running rings around the next generation.
 
 
+16 # grandlakeguy 2018-10-11 23:48
When Karl Rove and his cohorts stole Ohio in 2004 giving war criminal G W Bush his "re-election victory" John Kerry did NOTHING!
being too spineless to defend our democracy!
 
 
0 # Merlin 2018-10-13 07:50
Hey grandlakeguy,
contact me
100eureka@gmail.com
Question regarding Radscal
 
 
+5 # candida 2018-10-12 01:44
Thank you for these inside accounts. What a disgusting coward and opportunistic careerist. Greed and a lust for power and status have corrupted him. The more they have, the more they want. Reminds me of administrators and faculty at my college who sell ethics for a lot less (but whose sins are much less, too). These times are really testing my hope for humanity. I have little.
 
 
+12 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-10-12 07:07
What an expose. I knew Kerry was bad but hardly this bad. I knew he'd always been a tool of the right wing, but to cover up the CIA massacre at Mazar e-Sharif is just too much. This was one of the worst war crimes imaginable -- stuffing thousands of people in sealed shipping containers and letting them suffocate to death.

The 2020 election is shaping up to be an election from Hell. Rumors is that Nikki Haley is planning to get in as the representative of Israel. Or at least this is what the Jerusalem Post is saying. She would also be the candidate of Sheldon Adelson., the Las Vegas billionaire who was a major funder of Trump. Many people think Adelson is the most powerful "king maker" in US politics. If he is now dumping his money behind Haley on behalf of Israel, she will be a powerful force.

"Israel’s Plans for Nikki Haley to be the 46th President of the United States?"

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/50417.htm


There are good indications that Hillary is getting in. She and Bill have planned a six month nationwide speaking tour in early 2019.

So we could end up with a race that includes Trump, Hillary, Haley, Kerry -- all lumped together as the neo-liberals and neo-cons, the candidates of the past and of Israel. It can't get any more fucked up than this. All of these people will have billions of dollars to spend on their campaigns.


I'd vote for Sanders and I think Tulsi Gabbard should be his VP.
 
 
-1 # DongiC 2018-10-12 08:57
More skullduggery from the Kerry guy. He doesn't sound like a progressive. Send himn packing!
 
 
-9 # ericlipps 2018-10-12 11:21
Quote:
Sure, I have a personal beef with John Kerry. But my political problems with him vastly outweigh the personal. John Kerry couldn’t beat George W. Bush. He’ll be 76 years old at the time of the 2020 election.
Kerry couldn't beat Bush because (1) Bush was riding high on the "war on terror" three years after 9-11, and (2) vote suppression and flipping in key states tipped the balance (see, for instance, Ohio).

As for Kerry being 76 in 2020. Bernie Sanders will be 78, which hasn't stopped people right here at RSN from rhapsodizing about his running.
 
 
+11 # dbrize 2018-10-12 14:24
More driveby bullshit from ericlipps.

Kerry lost because he failed to call out Bush on Iraq, which had already turned into an abject failure. He refused to condemn the GWOT Bushian policy, nor did he demand proof of the so called connection between Iraq and Al Queda. He also allowed himself to be portrayed as a Massachusetts liberal flip flopper. He totally failed to seize the narrative.

Kiriakou here lays out the qualities that made him a poor candidate.

Kerry is politically worthless at any age.
 
 
-2 # elkingo 2018-10-15 19:29
Kerry really is an accommodationis t sap for the capitulo-fascis t regime. And so is every other person mentioned in these letters. They have to be. Bernie and Warren have hearts, care about the individual, and would kill fewer people. Lest anybody think I will vote my (non existent) visionary ticket, I will vote Democrat, bastards as worthless as the Repiglicans, holding my nose of course, as they might dilute the sway of the Arch Fascists currently in power, and preserve the world a little longer. I'm back to "lesser of two evils" again, which I had forsworn. and I hate it. But here the survival of the world is at stake. GET THIS: THE WHOLE WORLD GOVERNMENT CULTURE HAS TO BE DITCHED AND REPLACED, AND FAST. Global, nationless socialism is the ticket, or else. Rally round the flag, boys and girls!
 

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