STORY BY DRAKE RHONE
On September 30, Ray McGovern, an ex-CIA analyst, and Coleen Rowley, an ex-FBI agent, gave a presentation for the Veterans for Peace movement in Olin Hall.
McGovern is a vocal supporter of the peace movement and established the annual Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence.
The first recipient of the Sam Adams reward was Coleen Rowley. Rowley blew the whistle on the FBI’s failure to prevent 9/11, and retired from the FBI in 2004.
“To make peace, that’s point of the talk here today,” said Veterans for Peace representative Ed Flaherty.
Flaherty introduced Rowley, who gave a background of her time in the FBI, and demonstrated the failings of the bureau detailed in her whistle blower memo.
“Criminal conspiracies require secrecy,” said Rowley. “We want transparency (in the government).”
Rowley talked for a short time before giving the floor to McGovern, who quickly reiterated some of Rowley’s points with his own experiences. He then followed up on Rowley’s speech by talking for some time about misinformation from the government.
“Before 9/11, Saddam Hussein had no weapons and was not a threat,” he said. “After 9/11, we get ‘reliable’ intelligence that he has all these weapons of mass destruction. You don’t get WMDs in a matter of months or even a matter of years.”
Along with misinformation in government, McGovern talked about enhanced interrogation techniques, a practice that caused him to return his Intelligence Commendation Medallion in 2003 in protest.
“The phrase ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ is a direct translation of the German word for torture,” said McGovern. “So they were unknowingly using the same label, and almost all of the techniques were the same.”
McGovern founded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) to protest against both these techniques and the government misinformation that led to the invasion of Iraq. He believes that his misinformation was purposeful and that it was supported by the mainstream media.
“I’ve been in Washington 52 years,” McGovern said. “And I can say without a doubt that we no longer have a free media.”
McGovern’s segment of the talk ended with a short video from a German news show equivalent to our own 60 Minutes. McGovern was one of the interviewees in the video.
The video detailed the story of Chelsea Manning, a soldier in the United States Army who released hundreds of thousands of secret documents, including a video of soldiers laughing and joking while opening fire on a van of civilians to reach a journalist, whose camera they had mistaken for a gun.
After the video ended, Rowley rejoined McGovern on the floor and they both fielded questions from the crowd.
For more information on Veterans for Peace or last Wednesday’s talk, students can visit raymcgovern.com, coleenrowley.com or vfp161.org.