Opinion
Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

Interview: John Kiriakou on US, a Mockery of Democracy

John Kiriakou, First Amendment Award Prize-Winning author and a former CIA agent who spent two years in prison for blowing the whistle about the Intelligence Agency torture program against prisoners, grants another exclusive interview for Pravda Report. This time, he speaks about US relations with Russia, the civil war in Syria, the current US presidential campaign and the mocker of American "democracy".

"We have a deeply flawed democracy. (...) We must have comprehensive election reform, including public financing, immediately", John says.
He granted an interview for Pravda (http://www.pravdareport.com/world/americas/05-06-2016/134626-cia_torture-0/) last June, telling about his life, speaking out about CIA tortures, and the 9/11 attacks.

Below, the interview with John Kiriakou on US domestic and foreign policy.

Edu Montesanti: How do you evaluate accusations that Russia is behind the hacking of Democratic National Committee (DNC) computers, which leaked Hillary Clinton's e-mails to WikiLeaks?

John Kiriakou: I have been consistently disappointed by accusations that Russia was responsible for hacking the Democratic National Committee.  It's an election year.  It's easy to make accusations.  But absolutely no proof has been offered.
If it was true that the Russians had hacked into the DNC for the purpose of influencing the presidential election, this would be a serious international incident.  Show the proof.  Otherwise, the accusations are just meaningless words.
 
Edu Montesanti: What about many US politicians, echoed by the mainstream media, trying to generate a permanent state of tension with Russia? Don't you think the Kremlin has been decisively efficient in combating ISIS, as well as sincerely willing to be a US ally in Syria ro stabilize the refion? Wouldn't these facts be sufficient for Washington to be a Russian allied in the Middle East, or at least to try it?

John Kiriakou: I believe that the US has no meaningful policy in Syria.  The Russian military was invited into Syria by the internationally-recognized government.  Russians have every right to be in Syria. 
The Russian military has been effective in fighting Syria.  This is no less true just because the US has different interests in Syria.


Edu Montesanti: Why accusing exactly the Kremlin? Do you think Washington is trying to promote a new Cold War with Russia?

John Kiriakou: I don't think Washington is trying to promote a new Cold War with Russia.  Instead, this is a normal election year for us.  The Democrats need a "whipping boy," and Russia is an easy foil.  After all, Putin doesn't get to vote.
 
Edu Montesanti: Does President Bashar al-Assad pose a threat to US security? Why does the White House target Damascus?

John Kiriakou: I do not believe Assad poses any threat to the United States.  He has never been a threat in the past. 
The US made a decision in 2009 to oppose Assad and to support a "moderate opposition."   In fact, no such opposition exists, and Washington is stuck with a failed policy.

Edu Montesanti: Bahsar al-Assad was a US ally in combating terrorism before the current civil war, started in 2013. What are US real interests in Syria, then? And how the CIA takes its part on this "mistake" in Syria mentioned by you, as the Agency accused President Assad of attacking with chemical weapons, what is absolutely false (the "moderate" rebels, supported by Washington, has done that according to United Nations reports, and and US government memorandum)?

John Kiriakou: The U.S., frankly, has very few national interests in Syria, other than counterterrorism and regional stability.  The basis of the failure of U.S. policy in Syria is the fact that there IS no real policy. 

As things stand now, a group supported by the CIA is fighting a group supported by the Defense Department.  That's a recipe for failure.
 
Edu Montesanti: Does ISIS and its affiliates in Lybia, Iraq and now "amazingly" gaining territory in Afghanistan, poses a legitimate threat to the United States, that requires a military response? Don't you see here a repetition of Al-Qaeda and Taliban as a CIA creation, to later justify more US-NATO invasions and the more military installations in the region? The creation turning against its creator, again... in an endless war meant to be failured since its beginning. Your view, please, John.

John Kiriakou: I don't believe that ISIS poses a threat to U.S. territory.  With that said, the current policy certainly will not stop the group from attacking more and more territories. 

I also must disagree with your assessment. I believe that the Taliban was a creation of the Russian invasion and occupation of Afghanistan.  Al-Qaeda was a creation of U.S. policy during the Gulf War.

Edu Montesanti: Do you see the use of force efficient to defeat terrorism? How could ISIS be effectively defeated?

John Kiriakou: Use of force must be a component of any fight against terrorism.  To defeat ISIS, though,  it requires a combination of force, diplomacy, partnership with regional and international powers, and a cessation of arms sales to the region.

Edu Montesanti: Do you really think the US have been sincere in the so-called "War on Terror"?
 
John Kiriakou: I think the people responsible for the "War on Terror" BELIEVE that they have been doing the right thing.  They have largely been wrong.

Edu Montesanti: After 15 years of US "mistakes" in the Middle East, violating international laws and even the US Constitution declaring preemptive "wars" against States which didn't attack the country, or better said, invasions which, based on crimes of war, have cost millions of innocent lives, John, don't you think the people responsible for this endless "fight" which just spread more terrorists all over the world, are either excessive incompetent or acting motivated for imperialist and even their own interests?

John Kiriakou: I feel that the U.S. leaders responsible for miring the country in wars of choice since the September 11 attacks should be called to account for their actions.  Iraq, for example, was a war of choice.  A war of choice is, by its definition, a war of aggression.  If George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleeza Rice, and others had been from any other country, they might have found themselves on the dock at the Hague.
 
Edu Montesanti: The FBI could not find the 13 devices used by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, to send classified information from a personal e-mail server while she was US Secretary of State. Questioned by the FBI if she had been told by the people that worked for her to handle information appropriately, Mrs. Clinton said she doesn't recall - 39 instances of "don't recall", according to the FBI report. Your opinion, John.

John Kiriakou: To tell you the truth, after having been through a major court case of my own, there were many facts that I simply couldn't recall.
It is far, far better to tell the FBI that you don't recall than it is to say something that is wrong, change your answer later, and be charged with perjury or making a false statement.

Edu Montesanti: How do you see the mainstream media's coverage of the current presidential campaign?

John Kiriakou: The mainstream media has given Donald Trump literally billions of dollars worth of free coverage, all the while ignoring legitimate third party candidates like Gary Johnson and Jill Stein.
It is a conspiracy of the two-party system.


Edu Montesanti: What must be changed in US electoral system totally controlled by big companies money, in which thirdy party candidates cannot equally participate in the campaigns and even in the votings?

John Kiriakou: We must have comprehensive election reform, including public financing, immediately.  It is the only way to get corporations out of our elections.
 
Edu Montesanti: The list of donors to the Clinton campaign includes many of the most powerful media institutions in the country - among the donors: Comcast (which owns NBC, and its cable sister channels, such as MSNBC); James Murdoch of News Corporation (owner of Fox News and its sister stations, among many other media holdings); Time Warner (CNN, HBO, scores of other channels); Bloomberg; Reuters; Viacom; Howard Stringer (of CBS News); AOL (owner of Huffington Post); Google; Twitter; The Washington Post Company; George Stephanopoulos (host of ABC News' flagship Sunday show); PBS; PRI; the Hearst Corporation and others (http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/37451-the-clinton-foundation-and-the-media-a-deep-seated-conflict-of-interest). Before this fact, John, how do you evaluate Hillary Clinton supporters claims that the mainstream media is persecuting the Democratic candidate?

John Kiriakou: Hillary Clinton's problems are of her own making.  The American people simply do not trust her.
No amount of campaign contributions from media institutions can change that.
 Edu Montesanti: Given the current scenario, John, comment please your prospect to the future.
John Kiriakou: The American people are in an unfortunate position of choosing between two deeply flawed candidates.
 
Hillary Clinton is seen as untrustworthy and possibly as a criminal because of the email scandal.  Donald Trump is unhinged, polarizing, and angry.
 
Americans will elect the lesser of two evils.  At this point it looks like that will be Hillary Clinton.

Edu Montesanti: Your words make me understand you do not agree on the myth that the US have the best democracy in the world...
 
John Kiriakou: We have a deeply flawed democracy.  Some people would argue that because we are a republic that we do not have a true democracy at all. 


Just look at the election of 2000. That was certainly not democracy.

Edu Montesanti: Why exaclty is Mrs. Clinton lesser evil than Mr. Trump for you? The Republican candidate, though the nazi hysteria against Muslims and immigrants, heralds he would dialogue with other powers, especially with Russia, as the Democratic nominee's speeches evidence she is a warmonger who would deep the aggressive foreign policy of coups, invasions and wars. As Secretary of  State, she led US invasion of Lybia, and when her husband Bill Clinton was President, she supported him to attack Yugoslavia. Domestically, Mrs. Clinton is supported by big companies in general, which clearly hate Mr. Trump as the biased mainstream media, totally pro-Mrs. Clinton...

John Kiriakou: To me they are both terrible candidates, and for many of the reasons you cite. I am personally supporting Governor Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate for President.  He's the only candidate I trust.

Edu Montesanti: Long ago, Americans have no choice as Democrats and Republicans are two sides of the same coin. The nation does not believe in both parties anymore, for so long. What should American citizens do, how should they act to change this situation if there is anything to do being subjected by a corrupted media, dirty politics, and a general dumbing down via educational system, John?

John Kiriakou: Third parties are a real choice in America.  We must stop looking at third parties as "wasted votes."  To me, a wasted vote is a vote for somebody you don't believe in.  Remember, the lesser of two evils is still evil.
How do you evaluate accusations that Russia is behind the hacking of Democratic National Committee (DNC) computers, which leaked Hillary Clinton's e-mails to WikiLeaks?

I have been consistently disappointed by accusations that Russia was responsible for hacking the Democratic National Committee.  It's an election year.  It's easy to make accusations.  But absolutely no proof has been offered.
If it was true that the Russians had hacked into the DNC for the purpose of influencing the presidential election, this would be a serious international incident.  Show the proof.  Otherwise, the accusations are just meaningless words.
 
Edu Montesanti: What about many US politicians, echoed by the mainstream media, trying to generate a permanent state of tension with Russia? Don't you think the Kremlin has been decisively efficient in combating ISIS, as well as sincerely willing to be a US ally in Syria ro stabilize the refion? Wouldn't these facts be sufficient for Washington to be a Russian allied in the Middle East, or at least to try it?

I believe that the US has no meaningful policy in Syria.  The Russian military was invited into Syria by the internationally-recognized government.  Russians have every right to be in Syria. 
The Russian military has been effective in fighting Syria.  This is no less true just because the US has different interests in Syria.

Edu Montesanti: Why accusing exactly the Kremlin? Do you think Washington is trying to promote a new Cold War with Russia?

I don't think Washington is trying to promote a new Cold War with Russia.  Instead, this is a normal election year for us.  The Democrats need a "whipping boy," and Russia is an easy foil.  After all, Putin doesn't get to vote.
 
Edu Montesanti: Does President Bashar al-Assad pose a threat to US security? Why does the White House target Damascus?

I do not believe Assad poses any threat to the United States.  He has never been a threat in the past. 
The US made a decision in 2009 to oppose Assad and to support a "moderate opposition."   In fact, no such opposition exists, and Washington is stuck with a failed policy.

Edu Montesanti: Bahsar al-Assad was a US ally in combating terrorism before the current civil war, started in 2013. What are US real interests in Syria, then? And how the CIA takes its part on this "mistake" in Syria mentioned by you, as the Agency accused President Assad of attacking with chemical weapons, what is absolutely false (the "moderate" rebels, supported by Washington, has done that according to United Nations reports, and and US governmentmemorandum)?

The U.S., frankly, has very few national interests in Syria, other than counterterrorism and regional stability.  The basis of the failure of U.S. policy in Syria is the fact that there IS no real policy. 

As things stand now, a group supported by the CIA is fighting a group supported by the Defense Department.  That's a recipe for failure.
 
Edu Montesanti: Does ISIS and its affiliates in Lybia, Iraq and now "amazingly" gaining territory in Afghanistan, poses a legitimate threat to the United States, that requires a military response? Don't you see here a repetition of Al-Qaeda and Taliban as a CIA creation, to later justify more US-NATO invasions and the more military installations in the region? The creation turning against its creator, again... in an endless war meant to be failured since its beginning. Your view, please, John.

I don't believe that ISIS poses a threat to U.S. territory.  With that said, the current policy certainly will not stop the group from attacking more and more territories. 

I also must disagree with your assessment. I believe that the Taliban was a creation of the Russian invasion and occupation of Afghanistan.  Al-Qaeda was a creation of U.S. policy during the Gulf War.

Edu Montesanti: Do you see the use of force efficient to defeat terrorism? How could ISIS be effectively defeated?

Use of force must be a component of any fight against terrorism.  To defeat ISIS, though,  it requires a combination of force, diplomacy, partnership with regional and international powers, and a cessation of arms sales to the region.

Edu Montesanti: Do you really think the US have been sincere in the so-called "War on Terror"?
 
I think the people responsible for the "War on Terror" BELIEVE that they have been doing the right thing.  They have largely been wrong.

Edu Montesanti: After 15 years of US "mistakes" in the Middle East, violating international laws and even the US Constitution declaring preemptive "wars" against States which didn't attack the country, or better said, invasions which, based on crimes of war, have cost millions of innocent lives, John, don't you think the people responsible for this endless "fight" which just spread more terrorists all over the world, are either excessive incompetent or acting motivated for imperialist and even their own interests?

I feel that the U.S. leaders responsible for miring the country in wars of choice since the September 11 attacks should be called to account for their actions.  Iraq, for example, was a war of choice.  A war of choice is, by its definition, a war of aggression.  If George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleeza Rice, and others had been from any other country, they might have found themselves on the dock at the Hague.
 
Edu Montesanti: The FBI could not find the 13 devices used by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, to send classified information from a personal e-mail server while she was US Secretary of State. Questioned by the FBI if she had been told by the people that worked for her to handle information appropriately, Mrs. Clinton said she doesn't recall - 39 instances of "don't recall", according to the FBI report. Your opinion, John.

To tell you the truth, after having been through a major court case of my own, there were many facts that I simply couldn't recall.
It is far, far better to tell the FBI that you don't recall than it is to say something that is wrong, change your answer later, and be charged with perjury or making a false statement.

Edu Montesanti: How do you see the mainstream media's coverage of the current presidential campaign?

The mainstream media has given Donald Trump literally billions of dollars worth of free coverage, all the while ignoring legitimate third party candidates like Gary Johnson and Jill Stein.
It is a conspiracy of the two-party system.

Edu Montesanti: What must be changed in US electoral system totally controlled by big companies money, in which thirdy party candidates cannot equally participate in the campaigns and even in the votings?

We must have comprehensive election reform, including public financing, immediately.  It is the only way to get corporations out of our elections.
 

Edu Montesanti: The list of donors to the Clinton campaign includes many of the most powerful media institutions in the country - among the donors: Comcast (which owns NBC, and its cable sister channels, such as MSNBC); James Murdoch of News Corporation (owner of Fox News and its sister stations, among many other media holdings); Time Warner (CNN, HBO, scores of other channels); Bloomberg; Reuters; Viacom; Howard Stringer (of CBS News); AOL (owner of Huffington Post); Google; Twitter; The Washington Post Company; George Stephanopoulos (host of ABC News' flagship Sunday show); PBS; PRI; the Hearst Corporation and others (http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/37451-the-clinton-foundation-and-the-media-a-deep-seated-conflict-of-interest). Before this fact, John, how do you evaluate Hillary Clinton supporters claims that the mainstream media is persecuting the Democratic candidate?


Hillary Clinton's problems are of her own making.  The American people simply do not trust her.
No amount of campaign contributions from media institutions can change that.
 
Edu Montesanti: Given the current scenario, John, comment please your prospect to the future.
The American people are in an unfortunate position of choosing between two deeply flawed candidates.
 
Hillary Clinton is seen as untrustworthy and possibly as a criminal because of the email scandal.  Donald Trump is unhinged, polarizing, and angry.
 
Americans will elect the lesser of two evils.  At this point it looks like that will be Hillary Clinton.


Edu Montesanti: Your words make me understand you do not agree on the myth that the US have the best democracy in the world...
 
We have a deeply flawed democracy.  Some people would argue that because we are a republic that we do not have a true democracy at all.  Just look at the election of 2000. That was certainly not democracy.


Edu Montesanti: Why exaclty is Mrs. Clinton lesser evil than Mr. Trump for you? The Republican candidate, though the nazi hysteria against Muslims and immigrants, heralds he would dialogue with other powers, especially with Russia, as the Democratic nominee's speeches evidence she is a warmonger who would deep the aggressive foreign policy of coups, invasions and wars. As Secretary of  State, she led US invasion of Lybia, and when her husband Bill Clinton was President, she supported him to attack Yugoslavia. Domestically, Mrs. Clinton is supported by big companies in general, which clearly hate Mr. Trump as the biased mainstream media, totally pro-Mrs. Clinton...

To me they are both terrible candidates, and for many of the reasons you cite. I am personally supporting Governor Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate for President.  He's the only candidate I trust.


Edu Montesanti: Long ago, Americans have no choice as Democrats and Republicans are two sides of the same coin. The nation does not believe in both parties anymore, for so long. What should American citizens do, how should they act to change this situation if there is anything to do being subjected by a corrupted media, dirty politics, and a general dumbing down via educational system, John?

Third parties are a real choice in America.  We must stop looking at third parties as "wasted votes."  To me, a wasted vote is a vote for somebody you don't believe in.  Remember, the lesser of two evils is still evil.