In introducing the latest episode of “On Contact With Chris Hedges,” the show’s host and Truthdig columnist swiftly dispels one of the more enduring ideas about America’s place in the world. “We like to believe, and we want other countries to believe, that we are this shining beacon for human rights and civil rights and civil liberties, and it’s just simply not true,” Hedges contends.

More specifically, Hedges is taking up the issue of how the George W. Bush administration, in conjunction with the Central Intelligence Agency, punctured that illusion during the lead-up to, and duration of, the Iraq War. Joining him for this discussion is Truthdig contributor, whistleblower and onetime CIA analyst and case officer John Kiriakou, who has given his own take on Haspel’s promotion—and it’s not giving much away to say that Kirakou does not look favorably upon that choice.

In short, says Hedges, the decision to approve Haspel to head up the CIA “raises serious questions about the rule of law.” As for the interrogation methods to which the Bush administration resorted, and in which Haspel was accused of engaging, during the years immediately following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Hedges is similarly unsparing in his remarks. “A functioning intelligence system doesn’t need to torture,” he says.

Watch the clip posted above to hear Hedges’ and Kiriakou’s conversation in its entirety.

— Posted by Kasia Anderson

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