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November 7, 2013

Kiriakou chosen for Peacemaker Award

NEW CASTLE — Imprisoned New Castle native John Kiriakou is the Peace and Justice Center of Sonoma County’s 2014 “Peacemaker of the Year.”

Kiriakou, who received a 30-month sentence on Jan. 25, is serving his time at the Federal Correctional Institution in Loretto, Pa. He pled guilty Oct. 22, 2012, to disclosing classified information about a fellow CIA officer that connected the covert operative to a specific operation.

Kiriakou thus became the second CIA officer convicted of violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act and the first for passing along classified information to a reporter, although the reporter did not publish the name of the operative.

“I had some good news yesterday,” Kiriakou wrote in a recent letter to The News about being notified of the honor. “The Executive Director will accept it on my behalf (Saturday). I wish I could be there.”

Following are excerpts from remarks that Kiriakou sent to be read at the presentation:

“I am honored and humbled to receive the PJC’s Peacemaker of the Year Award.

I did not set out to blow the whistle on torture, but when I saw what our government was doing in the name of ‘security,’ I couldn’t remain silent.

“Even if torture worked — which is does not — it cannot be tolerated, not in one case or a million.

“If their efficacy becomes the measure of abhorrent acts, all sorts of unspeakable crimes somehow become acceptable.

“I may have found myself on the wrong side of the government on torture, but I’m on the right side of history.

“Silence in the face of injustice, silence in the shadows of helpless suffering, silence in the darkness of torture must never be allowed.

“Thomas Jefferson said dissent is the highest form of patriotism.

“We must dissent and work together to relegate the barbarism of torture to the dust of history.”

According to its website, the 30-year-old California-based Peace and Justice Center of Sonoma County aims “to create peace and social justice through active non-violence.” For more information about the organization, visit www.peaceandjusticesonomaco.org.

(Email: d_burcham@ncnewsonline.com)

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