In this wide-ranging conversation with Jason Leopold, Truthout’s lead investigative reporter, he talks about his upcoming trip to Guantanamo, the impact of the new pro-torture film Zero Dark 30, the scheduled sentencing of former CIA agent Kiriakou, and his fifth report on the reported suicide of Gitmo prisoner Adnan Latif. We start with Leopold’s announcement that he’s been approved to cover the trial of Khaled Sheikh Muhammed at Guantanamo Bay, and will travel there at the end of January. We talk about the sharp limitations on coverage and the rules of evidence that appear to preclude a fair trial.
We talk about the new film Zero Dark 30, and the way it cements the myths that torture is OK, and produces usable intelligence. It also burnishes the image of the CIA, despite the numerous known cases where it tortured innocent people and bungled investigations.
Next, we discuss the recent plea deal taken by John Kiriakou, a CIA agent who helped capture Abu Zubaidah in 2002, who was mistakenly thought to be al Qaeda’s #3 leader. Kiriakou, who was misled to believe that Zubaidah cracked during his first waterboarding, did not participate in torture sessions, but went public in 2007. Leopold interviewed him in a 2010 video report, and asked Kiriakou about Deuce Martinez, whose name surfaced in the later investigation. We talk about NY Times reporter Scott Shane’s remarkable January 6 report, which revealed Shane’s contacts with Kiriakou that drew Shane into the investigation, related to Martinez. Ultimately, Kiriakou pled guilty to revealing a different agent’s name to a reporter, who did not even publish it. So far, Kiriakou is the only person going to jail related to Bush’s torture program.
Finally, we talk about Leopold’s dogged efforts to get to the truth in the case of Yemeni Adnan Latif, who was reported a suicide on September 8, 2012 at Guantanamo. We recap how Latif was not a terrorist, was approved for release by both Bush and Obama officials, and the contradictions in the initial death reports and his autopsy.
Correction: In our interview, PBC states that the corporate media has barely covered the Latif story. One exception is a recent “Op-Doc” posted on the NY Times website, a 9-minute video that shows the return of Latif’s remains to his family last December. Credit is due to the producer, Laura Poitras. The video is embedded in Leopold’s report.