"For years and years, information and evidence being collected by the counterintelligence operations of certain U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies has been prevented from being transferred to criminal and narcotics divisions, and from being shared with the Drug Enforcement Agency and others with prosecutorial power. Those with direct knowledge have been prevented from making this information available and public by various gag orders and invocation of the State Secrets Privilege. Why?
"Is this due to the fact that the existence and survival of many U.S. allies; Turkey, almost all Central Asian nations, and after the September Eleven attack, Afghanistan; greatly depend on cultivating, processing, transporting, and distributing these illegal substances? Is it caused by the fact that a major source of income for those who procure U.S. weapons and technology, our military industrial complex’s bread and butter, is being generated from this illegal production and illegal dealings? Or, is it the fear of exposing our own financial institutions, lobbying firms, and certain elected and appointed officials, as beneficiaries? ........
".....The foreign influence, the lobbyists, the current highly positioned civil servants who are determined future ‘wanna be’ lobbyists, and the fat cats of the Military Industrial Complex, operate successfully under the radar, with unlimited reach and power, with no scrutiny, while selling your interests, benefiting from your tax money, and serving the highest bidders regardless of what or who they may be. This deep state seems to operate at all levels of our government...."
--Sibel Edmonds November 2006 (complete text) This page is under construction. Thanks for stopping by.
One case I find especially interesting is that of FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, who stumbled on a number of shady things deep in the FBI in the days after 9/11. This is a special page (under construction) about Edmonds' case, including interesting bits and pieces, as well as reposted interviews, legal documents and some analysis of the potentially explosive case that could finally spill into public view in 2007.
Also note that I put quite a few stories onto this list that are not primarily about Sibel Edmonds. Instead they are just usually paragraph-sized asides in larger posts. In those I have tried to add the Sibel story icon near the part that is pertinent.
Thanks for stopping by. I will have a summary of the case, and more links, shortly.
So I am chilling here in Tucson, and I got up hella early to work out with my hosts at the University club, so I am being productive for vacation. I'm going to wander around downtown in a bit. And I'm gonna put some pictures up later.
On the plane I read "Crashing the Gate" by Markos "DailyKos" Zuniga and Jerome Armstrong, both of them top liberal bloggers. They set out to look at where the Democratic Party needs to go, structurally, while looking at how Republicans keep stuff tamped down. It was worth reading to get a better understanding of the chokehold that DC consultants place on how local parties are run, and how the media buy commission game works. On the other hand, parts of it seemed to drag a bit. Especially since these guys have been writing paragraph-length posts for a few years, any book would be uneven.
It is laden with useful facts about how the Dems need to fix their field-level operations as well as generate some thick DC policy books - and a population of well-fed wonks to counterbalance Heritage/AEI/CATO - that can distill a sense of thought-out planning to a better-populated liberal talkers in the media. They note how Democrats can't match the Republicans' incubation structure of scholarship->College Republican>fat intern gig> corporation/ conservative grad program>think tank type pathway that churns out more and more little Ralph Reeds. This is where a lot of the Scaife-type money has been put since Goldwater and it's paid off, because it's a complete food chain that produces broad political power. So the Dems need one, "Crashing the Gate" is saying.
It was cool to look at how genuine Democrats can get going in states like Colorado and Montana (Gov. Brian Schweitzer and Sen. candidate Jon Tester figure big in the book) and win. I think that's really encouraging for more liberal people out in places that DC Democrats always write off as "permanently Red." There's a lot of criticism for how the Democratic Party seems to be piloted by the checkoff lists of its major constituent interest groups - excluding people who aren't cookie cutters. They note how the National Organization of Women's support of Sen. Lincoln Chaffee, because while they're feinting pro-choice, they're actually putting abortion MORE at risk, because Chaffee's just Another Republican that shifts power to the right.
There's a lot more to the book, so if you're an activist (of any party) it's useful for looking at the state of the campaign. It's a bit odd, but anyway...
When we look back on the three subsequent decades (70s, 80s, 90s), it is now possible to describe a much grander convergence of forces: (1) oil's ever tightening grip on Washington politics and psychologies; (2) the cumulative destabilization of the Middle East; (3) the rise of varying degrees of radical Christianity, Judaism, and Islam around the world; (4) the biblical and geopolitical focus on Israel; and (5) the reemergence during the 1990s of [the Great Game].
...A summary of "American Theocracy", a new book from Kevin Phillips, the guy who brought out 1969's eerily prescient The Emerging Republican Majority, which created the term Sun Belt as a key pole of Republican power for the future. Since 1969 Phillips has gone further to the left, and American Theocracy is his comeback swipe at the current state of affairs. The NY Times review was interesting. Check the Agonist feature on it. The guy in Slate is pissed about it.
Bloggers get fucked by Associated Press: Media wants to discredit blogs while plagarizing the reporting: Huge surprise. Recently, Larisa Alexandrovna of RawStory.com did an in-depth story on a bizarre bit of executive branch regulations set by Stephen Hadley, the President's current National Security Adviser. The story was cloned by the AP, but the AP refused to give credit to RawStory. Here is Alexandrovna's response. (posted of course on the Huffy)
Her story took a while to get confirmed, checked, compared with old documents, run by another writer and a researcher, talked to people in the intelligence community. In other words, Larisa did the works and triple-checked everything like a responsible reporter. She is coming up with some interesting goods these days, including the tidbit that Valerie Plame's Brewster Jennings CIA front organization was doing clandestine research on Iran's WMD activities... (more on that here)
Anyway, so in this case, the new Hadley regulations had some bizarre implications for gay people, so Larisa sent the docs and notes to some gay advocacy groups. Their reactions were included in the story, and the groups gave the story and background notes to an Associated Press writer, and asked them to cover it.
So the day after the story was released on RawStory, an Associated Press reporter basically copied most of the story and claimed that the information had been dug up by the advocacy groups - and the AP adamantly refused to credit RawStory, saying that they don't credit blogs. The AP editor was pretty damn rude about it... So that's kinda fucked up.
Josh Marshall at TPM has also recently found that the mainstream press is repeating TPMmuckraker.com stories without giving them credit. (this one on the corrupt Cunningham-linked MZM defense contractor doing god-knows-what is good, for example)
This underscores how in terms of "actual journalism", blogs are doing some heavy lifting that the mainstream just can't fucking handle because they just suck so much. Alexandrovna cites a few websites that have done a hell of a lot more than anyone else to deal with certain scandals that CBS and the Rest just won't put together these days.
These are all blogs cited by Alexandrovna that I have linked to before, when looking at these various scandals. The mainstream media can't deal with the truly weird stuff, so it falls to the Motley Crue to straighten it out. The Left Coaster has the Truly Complete Dissection of the Niger forgery case - and the fake WMD generally. If you want the nitty gritty of how the Republican bullshit machine has covered up a ton of scandals, this will walk you through it, page by page. EmptyWheel at thenexthurrah also has gotten deep into the Plame case - far beyond anything featured on TV. Of course there is the BradBlog, which has gotten way inside the shady operations of electronic voting machines and Diebold. During the creepy time on Nov-Jan 2004, when the mainstream media refused to speak of the anomalies in Ohio, BradBlog was without a doubt the place to be. Wot is it good 4 has certainly tacked down more aspects of the Sibel Edmonds/FBI/Turkish Spies/WTF?! scandal than anyone else.
Well i just wanted to put some red meat bits up there. When my computing situation is better I'll put up some photos.
I am going up to Hibbing to see my aunt's Dylan documentary until Saturday afternoon and probably won't have time to post until Sunday.
A tantalizing nugget: my friend's dad stumbled across a massive embezzlement scheme in the Chicago branch of the Head Start education program. This is only now coming into public view and I will try to get something real on it later.
So the Administration wants to eat reporters who spill classified information. This lends itself to a new strategy: classify everything embarrassing and evil. Now that's your tax dollars at work!
Wednesday night I was hanging out with some folks soon parting ways with Minnesota, and it was a good time. In exchange for a nice old hat, various objects were offered for barter, including a Krazy Kat book. Krazy Kat was a weird old comic from the 1920s that has reached a kind of Major Art status, while really it's just pretty weird. I noticed that Itchy & Scratchy seems to be kind of based on it, including the cat's androgynous quality. Anyway.
Finally a Democrat in the House is getting busted for a scandal. Poor Jefferson was caught taking major cash in a pretty blunt kind of way and they're saying indictments next month, yet there is a big ruckus from Republicans after the FBI searched his Congressional office and took boxes of documents. Due to the bipartisan uproar, Bush has sealed the docs from the FBI, at least temporarily.
It's an interesting case. I feel that Republicans are a bit terrified that a potential future Democratic president could find evidence of all kinds of illegal stuff in their offices. For the whole history of this country, the executive hasn't been able to storm these places (or had the guts to). I tend to think that this is appropriate, that there ought to be a sphere of immunity of some sort to protect Congress from the executive. On the other hand, I would like to see Hastert, DeLay and all the other homies get nailed for all their Abramoff corruption. Just because you're in Congress doesn't mean you're above the law. Laura Rozen asks, is it panic?
But, what if (and certainly this has happened), member X has lots of evidence proving that Gonzales is a lawbreaker himself, that Rummy is a psychopath who permits war crimes, that Cheney helped channel Halliburton contracts and Porter Goss partied with hookers at the Watergate for a decade? In other words, what if I had Sen. Carl Levin's file cabinet? Well, that file cabinet would serve as a crucial check in the pretty corrupt system we've got now, and it seems clear that the founders intended to privilege stuff like that file cabinet. I also think that it should be impossible to charge Rep. Cynthia McKinney for slapping that Capitol police officer (in particular since it's been said that the Capitol police corps have been taken over by southern GOP good-ol-boy sheriff types).
We should note that the great Joseph McCarthy could not be sued for all the crazy slanderous and libelous garbage he puked onto the floor of the Senate during the 1950s, because, well, it was his constitutional right as a Senator to say plainly false and libelous things there. If the legislative branch gets under that kind of pressure, well, they will be 'chilled' in the legal speech sense, and it's curtains for that supposedly equal branch of the government. Never forget that people with their hands on executive power don't necessarily care about the truth, but they'll try to silence those who get in their way. McKinney has been a pretty vocal anti-imperialist (not to mention 9/11 skeptic), despite her silly style, and that whole thing reeks of an effort to kill the messenger. Movin' on.
Al Gore stares into the distance: From New York magazine, via the Brad Blog:
Does he, like many Democrats, think the election was stolen?
Gore pauses a long time and stares into the middle distance. "There may come a time when I speak on that,” Gore says, "but it’s not now; I need more time to frame it carefully if I do.” Gore sighs. "In our system, there’s no intermediate step between a definitive Supreme Court decision and violent revolution."
Later, I put the question of Gore’s views on the matter to David Boies, his lawyer in the Florida-recount battle. "He thought the court’s ruling was wrong and obviously political," Boies says. So he considers the election stolen? "I think he does—and he’s right."
Check out Wot is it Good 4 by Lukery, which has especially followed the case of former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds - with its bizarre stories of drug money laundering, 9/11 links, FBI corruption, the whole bit. Sibel herself (official site), under many federal gag orders, has said that Lukery has been able to digest the known facts of the case better than anyone else. There's fresh stuff on a daily basis. For example, if you want to get waist-deep in some weird defense contractor shit, connected laterally with Manucher Ghorbanifar, Rep. Curt Weldon (of Able Danger fame), plus Edmonds' belief that Weldon has been kind of duped about some of the fake Iraq intelligence, well this story is what you need, and this one about some kind of corrupt link between neoconservatives, Turkey and military-industrial defense contractors, which Edmonds is also tied up in, another good one. Read this and trip out: Bing Bang Boom Shazam. The Edmonds case is way under the radar, extremely weird, but it seems to connect to the AIPAC scandal, Chalabi and the fake Iraq intelligence, some kind of secret 9/11 financing arrangements, drug money laundering, Turkish spies, and perhaps illegal money in the campaign coffers of people like Rep. Dennis Hastert. Or maybe not (Hastert is getting sucked into the Abramoff scandal, either way). I think at some point, Sibel Edmonds will finally break out into a major scandal and I'd like to say that we got a bit of the early word out here. SourceWatch on Sibel Edmonds too. (tiny side note: Lukery suggests this woman's skillful negotiation sites)
But who are Sibel Edmonds, Curt Weldon, Able Danger and what do these have to do with 9/11?? Fortunately in the expanding field of 9/11 conspiracy videos, a new one introduces these issues in an accessible way. Check out Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometime. I thought it was better than Loose Change, in terms of consisting of actual information and loose ends. However it doesn't have as many fun video clips. It has a pretty good introduction to the Able Danger, the pre-9/11 military intelligence project that apparently pinpointed some of the hijackers, and then was abruptly shut down with its terabytes of records vaporized. But ironically the problem perhaps might have been that it was based on illegal data mining?
Chinese spy update: Pretty cool stuff on the next hurrah about Katrina Leung, a pro-Republican Chinese spy who is basically getting let off by the Justice Department. She admitted tipping off the Chinese to the identities of FBI agents investigating nuclear sales to China (which mighta been tied to Iran-contra - whew). Evidently, she fed disinformation to the FBI to go after the unfortunate scientist Wen Ho Lee.
OS X operating system design: Check out this Flash animation if you want to know how OS X is structured internally. This guy's book will kick ass if you are into kernel hacking.
Israel claims Iran gets nukes in "months": My Ass. Antiwar.com's Raimondo, in a column bitching about the Iran badge story, the peripheral Israeli connections to the fake Iraq intelligence, and new and shiny paranoia from Israel about Iran, notes that well, Israel is definitely going to jerk the U.S. down this path.
AIPAC notes: I thought this was a good writeup about the power of the Israel lobby from Stephen Zunes: FPIF Special Report: The Israel Lobby: How Powerful is it Really? He points out an interesting example of a Congressman, who, when challenged about his heavily anti-Palestinian votes, basically says that the Jews made him do it for fear of losing fundraising, but even after he announces he won't run again, he still votes against Palestinians. The Jews are just - wait for it - a scapegoat for his actual anti-Arab bias. And of course there's the basic fact that Bush depends a lot more on the hardcore rightwing (and often apocalyptic) Christian Zionists that Jewish ones.
Misc notes: Watch Lazy Ramadi, a video from some troops with a video camera. You won't regret it.
Sidney Blumenthal notes Iraq is doomed. Of course, it has literally the most corrupt government ever created (although maybe DC actually wins that right now). Duly noted by the brave Patrick Cockburn:
Iraq is disintegrating as ethnic cleansing takes hold:
Across central Iraq, there is an exodus of people fleeing for their lives as sectarian assassins and death squads hunt them down. At ground level, Iraq is disintegrating as ethnic cleansing takes hold on a massive scale.
By Patrick Cockburn in Khanaqin, North-East Iraq (20 May)
The state of Iraq now resembles Bosnia at the height of the fighting in the 1990s when each community fled to places where its members were a majority and were able to defend themselves. "Be gone by evening prayers or we will kill you," warned one of four men who called at the house of Leila Mohammed, a pregnant mother of three children in the city of Baquba, in Diyala province north-east of Baghdad. He offered chocolate to one of her children to try to find out the names of the men in the family.
Mrs Mohammed is a Kurd and a Shia in Baquba, which has a majority of Sunni Arabs. Her husband, Ahmed, who traded fruit in the local market, said: " They threatened the Kurds and the Shia and told them to get out. Later I went back to try to get our furniture but there was too much shooting and I was trapped in our house. I came away with nothing." He and his wife now live with nine other relatives in a three-room hovel in Khanaqin.
The same pattern of intimidation, flight and death is being repeated in mixed provinces all over Iraq. By now Iraqis do not have to be reminded of the consequences of ignoring threats.
I liked this list from Juan Cole:
There are now four distinct wars going on in Iraq simultaneously
1) The Sunni Arab guerrilla war to expel US troops from the Sunni heartland
2) The militant Shiite guerrilla war to expel the British from the south
3) The Sunni-Shiite civil war
4) The Kurdish war against Arabs and Turkmen in Kirkuk province, and the Arab and Turkmen guerrilla struggle against the encroaching Peshmerga (the Kurdish militia).
The struggle of the Turkmen is starting to branch out into Turkey. Note how Turkey is now red on the lovely Reuters map, seems ominous:
Kurds say Turkish shells land in Iraq, Turkey denies: By Sherko Raouf
SULAIMANIYA, Iraq, May 17 (Reuters) - The government of Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region accused Turkish forces of shelling an area inside northern Iraq on Wednesday.
A Turkish government official dismissed the accusation as "total fabrication."
Ankara traditionally launches a spring offensive against Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) guerrillas in southeastern Turkey, an area which borders Iraq.
Earlier this month, villagers in Iraq's Kurdistan accused neighbouring Iran of hitting targets inside Iraq, a charge Tehran denied.
Khaled Salih, a senior official of the Kurdish regional government in Arbil, said by telephone that no one was hurt when three shells slammed into a mountainous area close to the town of Kani Masi a few km (miles) inside Iraq.
"A village ... has been bombarded from the Turkish side. There were no casualties, but there was material damage," Salih told Reuters. "This is the second time in a week villages have been bombarded in the north."
"We will report this to the government in Baghdad so that they can contact the Turkish government and ask for an explanation," he said.
Salih said there were no PKK fighters in the area where the shells landed. NATO member Turkey has stationed some 1,500 troops stationed inside northern Iraq since the late 1990s when it launched regular raids into the region to hunt PKK fighters.
In Turkey, a government official told Reuters: "This is not true ... All the measures are on our side of the border." Turkey has sent 40,000 troops to its own Kurdish areas to reinforce the 220,000 already there, the biggest build-up in years after an increase in PKK attacks.
The PKK, seeking a Kurdish homeland including southeastern Turkey, accuses Ankara and Tehran of mounting coordinated operations against the group and its Iranian wing, PJAK.
NSA Total My Phone Bill Awareness: Crusty CIA veteran Ray McGovern rails against NSA monitoring of Americans. Sy Hersh with a few bits and pieces on the NSA situation. Congressional Quarterly reports on mysterious data links between Homeland Security and the NSA. TPMM observes how DOJ sends out TONS of subpoenas for data daily, apparently outside of judicial oversight. National Security Letters. Someday, the Letter will come for you (or more likely, me). TPMM also looks at how there is a cottage industry of companies that handle all our phone records, passing them from the telcos to the government, allowing AT&T to claim that they aren't giving Big Brother the records directly. Check this: Fuck NeuStar, the "scapegoat" for hire.
As always, Prof. Cole is the go-to man for direct analysis of the situation and Arab media. He also follows up further on the fake Iran Jew Badge story. Firedoglake traces back the root of the fake Badge story. The National Post had to retract the story:
Last Friday, the National Post ran a story prominently on the front page alleging that the Iranian parliament had passed a law that, if enacted, would require Jews and other religious minorities in Iran to wear badges that would identify them as such in public. It is now clear the story is not true. Given the seriousness of the error, I felt it necessary to explain to our readers how this happened.
Then, of course, the bastards require you to register to read the rest. Fuck! (this early, erroneous bit on the badge story struck me for its interesting historical content, but also classic pompous ignorati*-style writing)[ * "Ignorati" has been trademarked by Mordred]
We noted earlier a report about 200,000 AK-47s from Bosnia, that were purchased by the US for the Iraqi security forces, but now there are more reports that the AKs basically vanished and are now in the hands of insurgents because of - you guessed it - private defense contractors!! BBC reports on how the guns that ruined Yugoslavia are getting dumped straight into the Iraqi civil war.
Ah, the irony of how shitty neoconservatism worked out to be.
On September 29, 2003, three days after it became known that the CIA had asked the Justice Department to investigate who leaked the name of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame, columnist Robert Novak telephoned White House senior adviser Karl Rove to assure Rove that he would protect him from being harmed by the investigation, according to people with firsthand knowledge of the federal grand jury testimony of both men. . . .
Rove and Novak, investigators suspect, might have devised a cover story to protect Rove because the grand jury testimony of both men appears to support Rove's contentions about how he learned about Plame.
Chinese PCs feared to be bugged: There's always time for Sinophobia.
Blockquotes are plagarism?! Plagarism Today (what a name for a site) talks about how the practice of blockquoting from other sources is really the new plagarism. I think that's a bit retarded since if you're naming your source, it's not plagarism at all. However, there are sites that exclusively skim off content and pass it as their own for spamming purposes. There are actually Hongpong.com fragments on spam sites out there. We blockquote a lot here, but damn, no one can read the whole damn Internet themselves! It seems like a silly argument, but on the other hand, the game ought to be about original content. However, I like to put lots of sources in here, since, well, you gotta at least weigh their credibility apart from mine in order for my arguments to sink in. Anyway, slashdot reacts.
Long ass random post. However more than enough stuff to keep anyone busy for a while. True?
Source: http://antiwar.com/deliso/?articleid=2917 Sibel Edmonds began working for the FBI shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks, translating top-secret documents pertaining to suspected terrorists. She was fired in the spring of 2002 after reporting her concerns about sabotage, intimidation, corruption and incompetence to superiors. She first gained wide public attention in October of that year when she appeared on 60 Minutes on CBS and charged that the FBI, State Department, and Pentagon had been infiltrated by Turkish individuals suspected of ties to terrorism. On October 18, 2002, at the request of FBI Director Robert Mueller, Attorney General Ashcroft imposed a gag order on Ms. Edmonds, citing possible damage to diplomatic relations or national security. Edmonds is a key witness in a pending class-action suit filed by 9/11 families against the government. The following interview, conducted this past weekend for almost three hours by telephone, reveals sordid new details about U.S. intelligence practices.
An Interview with Sibel Edmonds: FBI Whistleblower Talks to Antiwar.com
by Christopher Deliso
July 1, 2004
Sibel Edmonds began working for the FBI shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks, translating top-secret documents pertaining to suspected terrorists. She was fired in the spring of 2002 after reporting her concerns about sabotage, intimidation, corruption and incompetence to superiors. She first gained wide public attention in October of that year when she appeared on 60 Minutes on CBS and charged that the FBI, State Department, and Pentagon had been infiltrated by Turkish individuals suspected of ties to terrorism. On October 18, 2002, at the request of FBI Director Robert Mueller, Attorney General Ashcroft imposed a gag order on Ms. Edmonds, citing possible damage to diplomatic relations or national security. Edmonds is a key witness in a pending class-action suit filed by 9/11 families against the government. The following interview, conducted this past weekend for almost three hours by telephone, reveals sordid new details about U.S. intelligence practices.
Christopher Deliso: Sibel, first of all, thanks very much for speaking with us today. I'm delighted to have this chance to speak with someone of your experience and bravery in the face of governmental opposition and intimidation.
Sibel Edmonds: Well thanks very much for having me.
CD: Despite your media prominence, I don't think readers know so much about you. So can you tell us a bit about yourself? Are you from Turkey? Or just of Turkish descent?
SE: No, I am from Turkey originally.
CD: But you speak excellent English – and with an American accent too. That's why I thought maybe you were just of Turkish descent. So, how long were you in Turkey before coming to the U.S.?
SE: I had a pretty interesting upbringing. I was actually born in Iran, where I lived until I was two and a half. Then I lived in Turkey till I was 5, then back in Iran till I was 11. And then in Turkey again until I was 18.
CD: That's quite a lot of moving. Why did you come and go so much?
SE: My father is Azerbaijani. He was a doctor during the Shah regime. After the revolution, they kept useful foreigners like him. During the Iran-Iraq war, he was taken to the front lines, and we weren't allowed to leave the country.
CD: Wow! And when did you come to America?
SE: Actually, I came as a student in 1988. My idea was to study for three or four years and then go back to Turkey. But I guess you can't plan life in advance – in my third year I met my future husband and ended up staying.
CD: What drew you to eventually work for the FBI?
SE: Well, I actually studied criminal justice with a major in psychology at George Washington University. When I was finishing in 1997-98, I decided to apply for any kind of a job that would give me hands-on experience in criminal justice. I worked for the Alexandria [Va.] Juvenile Court, working with kids from a deprived background or who had been sexually abused or involved with drugs, etc. At that time I also thought I would apply with the FBI for a similar, hands-on job.
CD: As a linguist?
SE: No, actually I just applied for a general position. It was only after they'd seen all my qualifications and background that they said they were interested in my linguistic abilities.
CD: Now I know you speak Turkish – but what else?
SE: Because of my time in Iran, I also know Farsi. And Azerbaijani.
CD: Which is fairly close to Turkish.
SE: Yes, a Turkic language.
CD: So what did you do next? The FBI?
SE: Well, no, the process actually took a very long time. There was the linguistic proficiency test, forms to fill out, urine and blood samples and polygraph tests – the whole works. Then they said they'd need to do background checks, which would take anywhere from nine to 15 months, and finally they would call me to let me know about my application. And that was the last I heard from them for two or three years.
CD: Huh? What happened?
SE: Well I just went on with my life. I did other things. Sheerly out of curiosity, one day in January or February of 2001 I called the FBI up to see what had happened. They put me on hold, checked certain things, then came back on the line, and apologized profusely. Apparently, my application – along with 150 others – had been lost or had disappeared during the past couple years.
CD: Maybe that should have been a warning right there about their incompetence. So the files just disappeared from FBI headquarters?
SE: Actually, it was not headquarters we're talking about, it was the Tyson's Corner office where I'd taken the exam. Apparently they had moved within the same office complex, and maybe the files were lost then. Anyway, they were very apologetic and nice about it.
CD: So you had to apply all over again?
SE: No, they found some information about me remaining on one of their computers. And they promised they would speed up the background check process. But I told them, "look, I can't work for you now," because after all, my life had moved on at that point. Nevertheless they said they would get back to me later.
And so on September 14, 2001, I got a call asking how soon I could start work in their Washington field office. At the time I got their call, I was studying full-time and also working a part-time job. But in the wake of 9/11, with the government on television almost begging for qualified personnel, it was almost like – like duty calling, you know? So I went and met with them. When I explained my situation and other responsibilities they tried to be very flexible, saying I could work whatever hours I wanted, nights, weekends, whatever. That's how desperate they were for qualified translators. I got a job as a "contract" translator, which allowed more flexibility than if they hired me full-time.
CD: And you worked for them until March 2002, when you were fired for being a whistleblower, correct?
CD: And how did they handle that? Did you get some notice, or reason for your dismissal?
SE: No. I was literally thrown out of the building. They even didn't give me time to take all my family photos and personal items from my desk. I'm 5 foot 4 and 100 pounds, and you had all these big burly guys forcibly taking me out of the building. It was absurd.
CD: Did they threaten you in any way?
SE: Yes. This guy, one of my superiors, tried to act tough and threatened me that if I said anything to the press, the congress or even a lawyer, "the next time I see you will be in jail." I replied, "well, I maybe in jail, but I won't be the one behind bars."
CD: Wow. That's pretty brave.
SE: [Laughing] This is why one of the top guys, I am not sure whether it was the same guy, later called me a "nightmare."
CD: After they threw you out on the street, did they keep up the pressure?
SE: It was the worst at the beginning but then they saw they could do nothing. Right before the 60 Minutes interview, for example, they threatened that I would go to jail if I talked to the media, a senator or attorney. But that was all hot air.
The strangest thing was when the Turkish government issued an arrest warrant for my middle sister. I have the translated version, allegedly she was to be arrested for "high-level national security matters." Come on! My middle sister worked for KLM Airlines. She didn't even read newspapers – the most apolitical person I know.
Working Conditions in the FBI Translation Department
Working Conditions in the FBI Translation Department
CD: So what hours did you end up working?
SE: I usually worked about four days a week, generally from 5 to 11 p.m. Basically 20 to 25 hours a week.
CD: Can you describe what your working conditions were like? For example, what was your office like? How many people were you working with?
SE: The FBI's Washington translation center is located about three blocks from headquarters, and is the largest and most important one of its kind in the country. They don't have centers like that in the L.A. or New York offices, for example. So this gigantic department is basically a connected room containing 200 to 250 translators, all working side by side, at very close quarters.
CD: What, in government-issue cubicles?
SE: Not even – maybe half cubicles. I mean, your shoulders were touching those of the translator next to you. It was that tight.
CD: What languages were covered in this office?
SE: Oh, a lot of languages. Certain departments had 25 to 30 translators. Some only had two. It was based on the perceived importance of the language in question.
CD: So you were put in to translate documents related to the war on terror, from Turkish into English, right?
SE: Yes, Turkish and the other two languages I spoke. For one of these I was the first formal person for one of them that they had, but I can't say which one.
Now the FBI has two kinds of translators – "linguists" and "monitors." The first are more highly qualified, can do the whole range of translating whether it be from documents, audio, verbatim, detainee interviews, etc. The latter, because their proficiency levels were lower in either English or the target language, and because they had obtained lower scores in one of the two exams, had a more limited role. For example, they weren't allowed to do verbatim translations, but more like summaries.
CD: Something like a general overview of a document, to judge whether it would require a closer look by someone better qualified?
SE: Exactly. A summary that a more qualified linguist could then translate verbatim if it contained important information.
CD: So you were in the first category, a full linguist?
SE: For Turkish and Azerbaijani I was, yes. But since I hadn't been practicing Farsi for practically 25 years, I was just allowed to be a monitor in that language. I passed all the FBI exams in written Farsi, but not all for speaking. So I didn't do, say, live interviews.
CD: Whom did you work with? Only fellow translators, or did you work with special agents from the field?
SE: Most of our immediate supervisors were former translators who became bureaucrats. They handled things like time sheets, insurance, and making travel arrangements for us when we would have to travel. But yes, I did work on a daily basis with special agents.
CD: From where? Washington or other places too?
SE: Well, the one special agent I worked with most frequently was from the local office, but also there were agents from FBI offices all over the country. They flooded us with urgent translation requests, especially dealing with assignments and investigations begun before 9/11, and connected with 9/11, but that had been neglected before. Close to 75 percent of my assignments then had to do with pre-9/11 intelligence.
CD: Did you get called out for special assignments in other cities?
SE: Yes, I went to other cities, for example to perform translations for detainees who did not speak English. Let's say an agent in Chicago has a detainee suspected of terrorist involvement, they need to know if he should be kept or released. If he doesn't speak much English it can be hard to know. So you need translators.
The Critical Importance of Translators
The Critical Importance of Translators
CD: People have disparaged the job and position as being "low-level." But from this, it sounds like very important work. Did you ever feel the agents were depending on you?
SE: Well, just think about it: if they don't know the language, they are not in a position to make decisions. You are. You're going through thousands of pieces of evidence, and have to decide which ones to do verbatim, which ones to summarize, which ones to throw away as being irrelevant. I mean, a transcript about someone's sex life is not particularly useful. But there might be important clues hidden in some at first glance not very interesting text. So the translator has to sift out what's important, before the analysts and agents even see it.
CD: So you're saying that you would see all of the raw data first, and then decide what to do with it and who would see it?
CD: And that they [the agents] don't have any way of knowing if you're telling the truth or giving them the right translation?
CD: So more or less, the agents are at the mercy of the translator?
SE: Correct. While the FBI's internal procedures say that a second translator should always take a look at every text, to prevent any faulty translations from occurring, that never happens.
CD: Really? Why not?
SE: Well, a lot of the translators would find that offensive, you know, the idea that someone might think they're not good enough and need to be babysat in their translating. It could end up in a fistfight.
The whole place is like that. It's like the Twilight Zone in there – you have to keep the Pakistani translators on one side of the room and the Indians on the other, or they will come to blows. You have to keep the Hebrew translators separated from the Arabic ones, and so on. It's so unprofessional it's ridiculous. Most of the time people spend trying to dig up dirt on one another. Really.
CD: From this, I gather that most of the FBI's translators are foreign-born?
SE: As far as I saw, yes, everyone was a naturalized citizen. And I understand that some of these guys had only been in the country for, like, four or five years. So they can't have been able to do really detailed background checks on all of them.
CD: But back to your working relationship with the field agents. Did you have to do anything else to bring them up to speed on the situation in question, or just translate the documents?
SE: For the record, I have to say that most of these agents were really, really good and they did their best despite all the nonsense and bureaucratic obstructions. But they can't be expected to be really successful if they don't have the right background. There was this one guy I worked with, he had formerly done the drug beat in L.A. and then was transferred to counter-intelligence. He was a great agent, but since he didn't have the right political and cultural background, he couldn't understand the translated texts in their proper context. And you also have to be up-to-date [on developments taking place in the country where the target language is spoken]. So I had to give him little notes explaining what it all meant.
CD: That does not sound very auspicious.
SE: It's so funny. You would think that that was supposed to be the job of the analysts. That the information would go first from the translators then to the analysts for color commentary, then finally to the agents to be acted on.
But no. You translate it, give it to the agent and if he decides it's important, he will send it to the analysts – maybe seven or eight days later!
CD: That said, what was the general modus operandi of your translations department? I mean, what percent of translators were both translating well and keeping their agents as informed as you were?
SE: A very few translators worked like I did – basically, the few people who actually cared. But also, note that the majority of agents didn't even realize they needed to understand more than the raw translated text to know what they should do next. So, a lot of times very important information was overlooked, simply because no one recognized its significance.
CD: Aside from these frustrations and letdowns, were there any cases in which you felt some of your work produced a clearly positive result through the actions of those you informed?
SE: Yes. Certain investigations I contributed to as a translator were successfully concluded by our agents. On one occasion, the intelligence agency of a certain foreign country sent a commendation letter to the agent I was partnered with, because they had taken an action based on information he had provided them – information which ultimately derived from me.
Incompetence, Corruption and Cover-ups: The Kevin Taskasen Affair
Incompetence, Corruption and Cover-ups: The Kevin Taskasen Affair
CD: In your October 25 2002 interview with 60 Minutes, "Lost in Translation," you charged the FBI with incompetence and greed – and also of allowing infiltration by foreign intelligence outfits. Some of these charges have also been substantiated by other sources, both congressional and from inside the bureau. For example, there's the Guantanamo Bay Turkish-English translator who actually didn't know either language very well, Kevin Taskasen, I believe? And he worked with you at some point?
CD: And also, your bosses told you to work more slowly, in some cases not at all, so that the department's seemingly huge workload would mean more funding the next year, right?
CD: Can you provide any more details on these subjects?
SE: Well, as for Kevin – he was this poor little guy who was very nice, his only fault as a translator being that he, well, didn't speak English.
CD: Really! Where was he from? How did he get that job, anyway?
SE: Kevin was from Turkey. He had met an American woman there, married her, and moved to America. But his lower-elementary-school-level English was only enough to get him a job as a busboy/dishwasher in a restaurant.
However, his wife worked in the languages testing center at FBI headquarters in Washington. Hers was the office that takes in the applications of aspiring translators and schedule language proficiency tests.
CD: So in other words, she used her connections to get him a job in the FBI, even though he wasn't qualified?
SE: Correct. There was an Arabic language supervisor in our department, who had about seven or eight family members under his wing, working away in the Arabic language section even though several of them weren't qualified, hadn't passed the proficiency test in either English or Arabic…
CD: So they made a bargain?
SE: Yes, he had made a deal with this woman, Kevin's wife. She had approved all of his extended family members to work for the FBI translations center, and so she then asked to do the same with her poor husband. And I can't really blame him at all, he was just a nice guy who dreamed of opening his own restaurant. But that's not likely to happen when you're working as a busboy for $6.50 an hour.
CD: How much do they pay in the translating department that he was hired to?
SE: The average is $40 an hour.
CD: So basically, what you had was a nudge-nudge wink-wink thing going on between the woman in the application office and the head honcho in the translation center.
SE: Correct. In light of what she'd done for him, the deal was that he [the Arabic supervisor] would turn a blind eye to her poor husband's incompetence for 3 years. He agreed and in October 2001 it started. Again, I can't blame Kevin. He would be coming to me every five minutes asking, "What does this word mean?" He was really trying, but he was struggling because he just didn't know English well enough. So I ended up having to do his work for him too.
CD: How long did this go on for? Did you alert your supervisors?
SE: Yes. I went to them and asked, "what is he doing here?" But nothing was done and only a few months later, in February of 2002, he was given a TDY [travel assignment] – to translate the testimony of Turkic-speaking detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
When told of this assignment, Kevin stood in front of all the other translators. He was crying, and said, "I can't do it, I just can't." I told him to go to the boss – and just say no, if he didn't feel capable. But he didn't.
CD: Come on! One would think that for the marquis interrogation center in the war on terror, the government would send only the best and brightest. Why did they even think of sending him?
SE: Aside from sending Kevin, the FBI had only two options, neither of them good for them. They could send me, as I was the only qualified Turkish linguist, but this raised a red flag considering that I had already started to make a fuss about how the game was being played. Their other choice was to humbly ask the NSA or DIA or another agency to borrow a Turkish-language translator. But they couldn't do this because there is all this intra-agency competition. None of them would ever let it look like their people weren't as good as the other agencies'. So it was partly a matter of pride.
CD: Do you know what happened to Kevin in Guantanamo?
SE: He didn't come back till mid-April . But surely while there he had heard information he wasn't able to convey properly in English. Maybe clues about 9/11, or about future terrorist attacks in the works. Or maybe information proving that some detainees had been wrongfully imprisoned.
That's another thing. What if a military detainee is on trial? You have to, you simply have to double-check the translations that are being used as evidence against the detainee. After all, you might be sending someone to his death based on faulty evidence! But all too often, they just put the stamp of approval on anything that says "FBI translation," because that is supposed to indicate automatically a certain unassailable level of quality.
CD: After coming back, and after the story broke proving he wasn't a qualified translator, what happened then? Did he get fired?
SE: No. After all that, he is back in Washington D.C., and is the head of the Turkish department in the FBI translations center. As far as I know, he is the only Turkish-speaking translator there now. Even after all this.
CD: Good God! One translator – and an incompetent one at that! Isn't that a national security liability?
SE: Yes, but you have to look at it from their perspective. What if they let him go, and he starts talking about what he knows? Either way, it's about control. If they fire someone, they might either corroborate my story, or even release documents that could prove damning for the FBI … it works out to be more of a liability for them to fire someone than to keep them in the office, where they can continue to compromise our national security.
Criminal Infiltration: The Mysterious "Semi-Legitimate Organizations"
Criminal Infiltration: The Mysterious "Semi-Legitimate Organizations"
CD: In a fascinating recent interview with Breakfornews.com, you say that with the synoptic view you acquired at the FBI, the "picture" of non-state organized crime linked with state institutions becomes "crystal clear." For the benefit of our readers, let me just re-quote one of your statements:
"[Y]ou have [a] network of people who obtain certain information and they take it out and sell it to … whomever would be the highest bidder. Then you have people who would be bringing into the country narcotics from the East, and their connections. [It] is only then that you really see the big picture."
"[Y]ou have [a] network of people who obtain certain information and they take it out and sell it to … whomever would be the highest bidder. Then you have people who would be bringing into the country narcotics from the East, and their connections. [It] is only then that you really see the big picture."
At several points you state that such organized crime networks employ "semi-legitimate organizations" as their point of interface with governments and the "legit" world. Can you explain exactly what you mean?
SE: These are organizations that might have a legitimate front – say as a business, or a cultural center or something. And we've also heard a lot about Islamic charities as fronts for terrorist organizations, but the range is much broader and even, simpler.
CD: For example?
SE: You might have an organization supposed to be promoting the cultural affairs of a certain country within another country. Hypothetically, say, an Uzbek folklore society based in Germany. The stated purpose would be to hold folklore-related activities – and they might even do that – but the real activities taking place behind the scenes are criminal.
CD: Such as?
SE: Everything – from drugs to money laundering to arms sales. And yes, there are certain convergences with all these activities and international terrorism.
CD: So with these organizations we're talking about a lot of money –
SE: Huge, just massive. They don't deal with 1 million or 5 million dollars, but with hundreds of millions.
CD: From your previous testimony and the examples I want to bring up next, it would seem that organized crime with terrorist links is really holding the reins inside powerful governments, even the American one. No?
SE: That may be, but I don't know. I didn't get high enough up on the ladder to find out. With all of this suspicious and unprecedented "state secrets" obstructionism from Ashcroft, it might seem that way, but I don't have any direct information.
CD: But what do think, within departments such as the Pentagon and the State Department. Do you suspect certain high officials may be profiting from terrorist-linked organized crime?
SE: I can't say anything specific with regards to these departments, because I didn't work for them. But as for the politicians, what I can say is that when you start talking about huge amounts of money, certain elected officials become automatically involved. And there are different kinds of campaign contributions – legal and illegal, declared and undeclared.
CD: Could this apparent toleration of dangerous criminal groups in the midst possibly be interpreted to mean that American policy is driven by the "ends justify the means" philosophy?
SE: But how are the ends possibly met by such activities? To this day, I just can't see how. What is happening does not benefit 99.9 percent of Americans – just a very small elite.
I'm no expert, but from what I have personally seen I can say that our national security is being compromised every day, because important investigations are being stopped, and potentially important clues are being overlooked. It's absolutely incredible that even after 9/11, certain individuals, foreign businessmen and others, among others, are still escaping scrutiny.
Okay, perhaps talking about the pre-9/11 world they could get away with saying "we didn't know," but to continue doing so – I mean, what if we are attacked by nuclear or chemical weapons, what will be their next excuse? That "we didn't know" it could happen? Come on! I can prove they are lying, because they know.
The Jan Dickerson Affair: A Brief History
The Jan Dickerson Affair: A Brief History
CD: Right. So let's discuss your specific experiences of criminal infiltration in the FBI, for example when one of your co-workers, Jan [originally "Can"] Dickerson, and her husband tried to recruit you into a criminal network that had infiltrated high levels of the U.S. government.
SE: Alright, sure.
CD: As I understand it, Jan Dickerson was also trying to protect one criminal associate – a Turkish-speaking suspect of an FBI investigation – by blocking translations referring to him. Yes?
CD: And this was an official working out of the Turkish Embassy in Washington –
SE: No, that part is not correct. I cannot talk about the position or the job of this person –
CD: But in the other media stories about your case, he was identified as –
SE: Yes, I know. The term "official" was used in the senators' memos from their [summer 2002] meetings with the FBI, and so then when cited by the media it became automatically assumed that he was government – but since this individual has never been named, I can only describe him as working on behalf of a "semi-legitimate" organization.
CD: Okay, so tell us about Jan Dickerson, and that experience.
SE: Well, I have to be somewhat general about this, but based on unclassified sources alone you can get a pretty good idea. Melek Can Dickerson was a Turkish woman –
CD: Originally from Turkey, like you?
SE: Yes, from Turkey, and she met her husband there, Douglas – Major Douglas Dickerson, that is. He was in the U.S. Air Force, stationed in Ankara. They met in 1991 and stayed in Turkey till 1994 or 1995. Then they went to Germany, where he was stationed after, for two or three years. And then they came to the U.S. in 1999.
CD: But first, regarding Turkey: do you know what Dickerson's function was there in the USAF?
SE: He was involved with weapons procurement for various Central Asian and Middle Eastern governments from the United States.
CD: Yo! Do you mean he was procuring weapons on an intra-governmental basis, or something else?
SE: Yes, from the U.S. government for these other governments. I assume it was all legal and part of his job.
CD: Okay, but in the process he could have built up contacts and connections with various unsavory characters in regional governments and in the arms trade –
SE: He could have, but I don't know.
CD: Anyway, what kind of countries are we talking about here?
SE: Oh… I don't know all of them exactly, but I guess these would be countries like Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan –
CD: All of our favorites –
SE: [Laughter] Yes, right, countries like these and some Middle Eastern countries.
CD: And what about after Turkey? When they went to Germany?
SE: Well, he was stationed there, and while in Germany, Jan Dickerson started working for this semi-legitimate organization whose members, much later, were being investigated by the FBI, when I was working there.
CD: Fascinating, And this criminal group that the Dickersons were involved in, what kind of countries did it have connections with and where were its members from?
SE: Oh, that varied. Members came from all over; when you're dealing with those huge amounts of money you get people from everywhere.
SE: Of course. But also from Europe, Central Asia, etc. And this organization had branches throughout these places, in the U.S., Germany, and several other countries.
The Fateful Visit
The Fateful Visit
CD: Now let's fast-forward to November 2001, when Jan Dickerson joined you at the FBI. What were her duties?
SE: She was a "monitor," the second type of translator, because she didn't have the scores on one of her two language proficiency exams. As a monitor she was supposed to make general summary translations, not verbatim.
CD: Did you have any idea at the time about her suspect allegiances?
SE: I had no idea at first. It was only after some suspicious behavior and then her and her husband's unannounced visit to our house that everything became clear.
One day in December , my husband and I were at our home in Alexandria, Va., when the doorbell rang. It was Jan and Doug Dickerson. They also lived in Alexandria, so I didn't think of it as suspicious at first. I think the point for her was to introduce her husband to mine. We invited them in for coffee, and –
CD: She started trying to recruit you for their illegal activities?
SE: No, actually she herself did not. It was the husband who started talking about this semi-legitimate organization: "Hey, have you ever heard of this group?" he said, casually mentioning this organization to my husband. He replied, "Yeah, I know about them." And I started sweating, because I knew this organization was under FBI investigation, and I was by law not allowed to discuss anything about it with my husband.
CD: But, for your husband to have heard of it, it had to have been a group that was well known to the public as something fairly innocuous, right?
SE: Yes, as I said, a legitimate front. And Dickerson asked my husband if he'd ever thought of joining the organization.
CD: So there was something socially desirable about belonging in this group?
SE: Correct. And so my husband was kind of surprised, you know, because this wasn't the sort of group just anyone could belong to. "But I thought you had to be such and such a person, with such and such connections and references to get in," my husband was saying.
And then Major Douglas Dickerson smiled and pointed at me. "All you have to do is tell them where your wife works and what she does, and they will let you in like that," he said [snapping his fingers]. They wanted to sell me for the information I could provide, basically.
CD: What did you take this to mean? You would have to hand over classified FBI information –
SE: Correct. The information I could give these people would be worth a lot of money.
CD: And what would you get out of it?
SE: Well, money, and we could leave the country, you know, live a very comfortable life wherever we wanted. We would never have to work again, they promised.
CD: So what did you do then, with him propositioning your husband right in front of you?
SE: I tried to change the subject, because anything I might say on the subject would have been against the law, considering the ongoing investigation.
CD: When you went back to work, did you bring the matter up?
SE: I reported it two days later to my direct supervisor, a former Arabic translator. He told me he would file it immediately with the security department. This was in December 2001. When nothing happened, I pursued the matter with a special agent who had also been getting suspicious about some of Jan Dickerson's translations. When we finally got through to the security department, they said they'd never been notified in the first place about my complaint. I have all of the dated documents, emails, etc., still to prove it.
CD: Did Dickerson's protection of the suspects, and their larger infiltration of the American security apparatus, did these things have a deleterious effect on bureau investigations?
SE: As a result of their penetration, certain people who had been detained were released – people who had valuable information. And other targets of this investigation, key people, were allowed to flee the country, right up through January and February of 2002.
CD: These were foreign nationals based in the United States?
CD: Did you have any awareness of this exodus?
SE: I reported some of the suspects' names higher up as I came across them in our investigation. And you know what? Within two weeks, they had all left the country. Just vanished.
The Great Escape
The Great Escape
CD: So what happened after? As far as I know, Jan Dickerson has quit the FBI and re-located to Belgium. Was she forced out when your story broke? Did she flee? And is her husband still in the Air Force?
SE: I assume that at the time of that conversation in our house, in December 2001, Douglas Dickerson was in the USAF because finally in August of the next year, the USAF held a formal investigation and confirmed this. This was a major violation of his high-level security clearance. By law he is required to report it if his wife or family members are involved with illegal activities.
Mysteriously enough, only two weeks after the formal Air Force investigation began, they both left the country, on September 9, 2002.
CD: Why did the government just let them escape?
SE: Well, after my case began in June 2002, the judge subpoenaed them and ordered the DOJ not to let them leave the country. But the Air Force gave them a free pass – by sending Major Dickerson off to Belgium to work something with NATO, a minimum two-year assignment.
CD: With NATO? Doing what?
SE: I don't know exactly, just that it was with NATO. So before leaving, a pretty angry Doug Dickerson had to make a declaration under oath that if he was requested by the court at any time he would return, and the FBI would pay for his flight.
CD: So there is still a chance that they will face justice someday?
SE: Well, we discovered that the Dickerson's also had bank accounts in several countries, some of which didn't have the appropriate extradition treaties with the U.S. … so I don't think so, no, I don't think it's likely. They're gone.
But the really outrageous thing is that, for the whole month we were subpoenaing them, starting in June 2002, Jan Dickerson was still working away in the FBI translations department, with her top-security clearance. This even though the FBI had simultaneously admitted to a congressional committee that not only had Jan Dickerson worked for this suspect organization in the past, but that she had maintained ongoing relationships with at least two individuals under investigation.
But How Could She Have Been Hired?
But How Could She Have Been Hired?
CD: Why was she allowed to stay, and keep her security clearance? Were they trying to protect someone higher up?
SE: I don't know. Is it possible? Yes. But I just don't know.
But at the unclassified meeting between the senators and FBI being held then, the former were in utter disbelief when the FBI admitted Jan Dickerson had been working for this semi-legitimate organization since long before she joined the bureau. "But how!?" asked the senators. You know what their answer was? "Well, she didn't write down any previous employers on her application."
CD: What? None?
SE: Correct. She didn't just neglect to mention that job, aside from others she put down. She just left the whole box blank! As if she had never worked a day in her life!
CD: And the FBI hired her? You can't even get a job in a bar without listing previous employers!
SE: Look, it took me a year and a half to get my background check performed. And that after filling out the complete application – at the bottom of which it states that failure to fill out the form correctly will result in a cash fine and jail term for perjury. A federal crime. So based on that alone, even aside from her other activities, Jan Dickerson should have been prosecuted!
CD: But instead she was hired – and kept on even after things heated up. There's something very, very suspicious about all this, especially considering the way Kevin Taskasen was hired. Do you believe another official on the inside, part of that crime ring, brought her in?
SE: I recently met with a reliable source who confirmed that Melek Can Dickerson was hired and granted TSC [top security clearance] without having to go through a background check/investigation, and that in light of [infamous FBI double-agent Robert] Hanssen the bureau is doing all it can to keep it quiet. Still, I have plenty of unanswered questions: why? By whom?
CD: That indeed seems to be the underlying question here. Did the FBI have anything else to say under this senatorial scrutiny?
SE: They made the quite pertinent point that she [Jan Dickerson] had failed to disclose her previous associations with the suspect organization. A shocked senator said, "If you gave her top security clearance, how could she not have been made to disclose [this information]?"
You know how they [the FBI] replied? "A lack of good training" was behind Dickerson's failure to properly disclose her various relationships.
CD: That's incredible. What was the reaction from the senators?
SE: They were persistent, mentioning that beyond that, hadn't she blocked pertinent information [in translations]? The FBI replied, "Oh, well, we've confirmed this in two or three cases."
Actually, there were hundreds of cases from November 2001 to February 2002 in which she obstructed investigations with her translations – or lack thereof.
CD: Right, how exactly would she do this?
SE: Well, as a monitor, she was supposed to give general translations – or not – and if not the document could be marked "not pertinent," and basically never be seen again.
In those few months, she managed to mark every file that mentioned this, these targets, [the Turkish suspect] as "not pertinent." Hundreds of files. Finally, this special agent working on the case got suspicious, and he tasked me with re-translating all of these documents.
CD: So how did that go? Did you find any damning information?
SE: Oh, yes. There was content that directly linked the suspects with the group under investigation.
CD: How many documents did you translate?
SE: Out of the pile of hundreds, I only got to 17 pieces before I was suddenly terminated.
CD: Can you tell us how long the FBI had been investigating these targets by the time you started working for them?
SE: A long time. There's really no time limit with the big criminal and counter-intelligence investigations, versus the counter-terrorism ones. These are investigations we'd never do anything about –
SE: [Laughing] Because it would hurt certain foreign relations abroad, of course … and they don't want that. So even after 3,000 people lost their lives on 9/11, those behind these very lucrative illegal activities get a free pass. And they refuse to continue important investigations because of certain diplomatic relations that 99.9 percent of Americans gain no benefits from.
How the FBI Seduces Dissenters
How the FBI Seduces Dissenters
CD: Sibel, I know you made a lot of complaints about several other examples of corruption and incompetence beyond the ones we have time to discuss. Can you just explain a little about how your superiors received your complaints?
SE: Sure. They used what we call the "hooking" procedure. When I first reported some of these translations failures and stalling tactics in December 2001 to my superiors, my mid-level manager said to me, "Now, Sibel, I understand you've been taking on a lot of coursework at your university. Why not take advantage of our workplace opportunities?"
When I asked him what he meant, this boss suggested that I could "bring my school bag" to work on Saturdays and Sundays, and just study. No work. I wouldn't even have to turn on my computer. He told me that I should then put myself down as having worked all those hours on the time sheet, so that, you know, I would be making something like $700 in a weekend – specifically for not working!
SE: And this is what they say when you file a complaint.
CD: So is that the extent of how they tried to appease you and forestall complaints, or do you have other examples?
SE: That's funny, there is another really amazing example. They would come to me and say, "Sibel, we understand you've been going back to Turkey a couple of times a year to visit family. Before you go the next time, just let us know. We'll make it a TDY" [paid travel]. And all I'd have to do is stop off in some liaison office in Ankara a couple times, make my little appearance, and suddenly all my flights, hotels and expenses would be paid for by the FBI. I couldn't believe what I was hearing.
CD: An offer you couldn't refuse, huh? I imagine most people in your position would take it.
SE: Oh, so many people will go for it … but if you do, then they [the FBI] can use it against you. Maybe discover irregularities in your expenses at some later date, "forged" documents, or else just hold it over your head. They love to do things like that to hold you in their power.
On another occasion when I complained about working conditions and practices, they actually offered to hire and train me as SA, special agent! I still have a copy of that offer. I said, "I'm not here to ask for a promotion, I'm trying to make a complaint!" Then they would just change the topic. They would go to any length possible to avoid accountability.
The Current Situation: Ashcroft's Obstructionism and a Legal Battle
The Current Situation: Ashcroft's Obstructionism and a Legal Battle
CD: Sibel, I know you are eager to speak about the lawsuit you have filed against the Department of Justice, and John Ashcroft's questionable use of the "State Secrets Act" to place a gag order on you. Can you give us some background on this legal battle, and the current state of play?
SE: My case originally began in June of 2002, when I filed a First Amendment and Privacy lawsuit against the Department of Justice. In two unclassified meetings in June and July, eight people from two senators met with three FBI officials, including Margaret Gullota, who is still in charge of the FBI languages department. At these meetings, the FBI admitted that all of my charges were accurate. The memos taken down by Senators Grassley and Leahy, two very senior senators, confirmed this. That's very damning for [the FBI].
CD: I understand that Ashcroft's current restrictive tactics have revolved around this concept of classified versus unclassified meetings. Can you please distinguish precisely what is meant by each term?
SE: A classified meeting must be held in a secure room known as a SCIF (Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility), you know, a room swept for bugs, checked for wiretaps, and everyone in there has to have top security clearance. But this wasn't the case in June and July 2002. They didn't follow any of these procedures in the meetings with the senators, because they were never requested to be classified by the FBI in the first place. So now all they can say is, "Whoops, those meetings should have been classified," and thus try to classify them after the fact.
CD: So how has the case gotten to this point? Has there been no progress at all?
SE: From the beginning, there has been zero activity. Four times I was given a hearing date, and four times it was cancelled without explanation.
However, the big law firm Motley Rice subpoenaed me in April of this year, as part of their lawsuit on behalf of family members of the 9/11 victims. Motley Rice wanted copies of all the memos those senators had written during that unclassified meetings in 2002. But as soon as they even listed some of the questions they were planning to ask me, it was suddenly "state secrets" time.
John Ashcroft – you can expect anything from that man – has now broken the law in trying to silence me. I have been speaking out for over two years, but only now is he saying "everything about Sibel Edmonds is classified." It's ridiculous.
CD: But by demanding all the information be dug up and reburied, isn't the DOJ actually bringing more attention to your cause?
SE: Exactly! That's just what it has done. These people are shooting themselves in the foot.
So, returning to the subpoena, I was scheduled to appear on April 27. Two days before, the DOJ started kicking and screaming to hold an emergency proceeding. This was the first time (on April 26) that I had the privilege of going before the judge President Bush had appointed, Reggie Walton. He was not the first judge who had been appointed to the case. Their tactic was to pass it around from judge to judge to make sure the case would never begin. Judge Walton has now sat on it for two years.
CD: But didn't the intervention of Motley Rice help at all? Did Judge Walton make a new hearing date for you?
SE: Well, on June 24 they filed an appeal. But, oh, my case is so messy and complicated. Judge Walton then set a hearing date for June 14, but of course he cancelled it two days later. Now he has said, and I can be verbally exact: "Tentatively, we will have a hearing on July 9, 2004." But it's not going to happen. They're going to drag this thing out. The judge has liberty to sit on it as long as he wants.
CD: But can't you file an appeal or complaint or anything to expedite the process?
SE: Well, yes you can file a complaint, but some in the legal community caution that this can actually backfire because the judge tends to grow more and more antagonistic if you do so.
CD: So basically, you have had no progress on this case.
Is the Tide Turning?
Is the Tide Turning?
SE: Correct. We have had no progress. Except, now others are joining up. For the past two weeks, we have had new support from the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) and Citizen Watch.
CD: What have they been doing?
SE: The Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO) has declared that Attorney General Ashcroft violated their regulations when he put the gag order on me and ordered everything to be re-classified. There are three criteria that need to be met for a gag order to take effect: one, that the order must come from the head of the Department of Justice; two, that the information in question must be reasonably recoverable; and three, that the head of the DOJ first obtain the official approval of the ISOO.
However, only the first of these criteria was met – Ashcroft did indeed give the order. But the second criterion was obviously impossible – so many websites, newspapers and TV had long ago published all of the material relating to my case. It was and is everywhere. There is nothing "reasonably recoverable" about it.
And as for the third criteria, let alone not get permission, Ashcroft didn't even bother to notify the ISOO that he was re-classifying the information related to me. He showed contempt for the regulations by going around them.
CD: So in other words, the Attorney General's actions were completely illegal?
SE: Correct. Because these three criteria were not met, the DOJ has actually violated its own rules!
CD: Do you have the support of any congressmen? I know that Senators Grassley and Leahy, in particular, have stepped up to bat for you.
SE: Well it's very interesting, even though this issue is starting to get major media interest, like the recent articles in The New Republic and New York Times, these two senators are still complying with an order from Ashcroft that is completely illegal.
CD: How exactly?
SE: They have removed texts from their official websites detailing the unclassified meeting they had with the FBI in 2002. We found out when the New York Times printed a leaked memo, on May 19 or 20, that senators were ordered the information had been re-classified.
CD: You have expressed a desire for "one brave senator" to take up your cause. But what can they actually do, if the DOJ and judges rule in favor of classification?
SE: You know what they can do? Any senator or congressman can tell the press everything I have to say.
CD: Really? Doesn't that violate whatever the restrictions are the DOJ is putting on you?
SE: I'm authorized under law to testify in secret, in a secure room [SCIF] before a congressman. But if that congressman believes that national security overrides secrecy, he can put my testimony out there. That's what happened with Daniel Ellsberg. Senator Gravel poured out everything he had said before the congress because it was in the interests of the country. These people like John Ashcroft are actually endangering our national security by destroying civil liberties with such things as the Patriot Act. They are just cowards. They lack guts.
CD: So, have you given up on the elected officials to stick up for you?
SE: No, I haven't given up. I hope that there is at least one person in the congress who will convey my testimony in public. But I'm really starting to believe that the best way to do it is through the press. I recently briefed Congress Waxman (CA), again gave him all the information, but nothing so far. I went back into the SCIF, a black hole into which all information disappears and never comes out. Boy, if only those walls could talk.
CD: Have you ever thought of Representative Ron Paul of Texas? He strikes me as someone who would be sympathetic to your plight.
SE: I know of him, and I have heard that an activist person has been sending his office all the details of my case, but I have not received any request from them.
CD: Is that the way it has to work?
SE: Yes, I have to receive an official request first in order to be interviewed.
FBI Reforms: Still on Hold
FBI Reforms: Still on Hold
CD: Even though you haven't been working for the FBI for over two years, can you give us any updates on the present state of affairs there? Have your revelations shaken things up at all, regarding the way they do business?
SE: From the few contacts I still have, 'cause most of them have been cowed into silence by now, nothing has changed.
CD: Haven't they even attempted any reforms in the translations department?
CD: You said that poor Kevin Taskasen remains the only Turkish-language "translator" there. Given the vast importance of the Turkic languages in today's most important national security issues, why does the FBI put such a low priority on finding good Turkish translators?
SE: That I don't know. But I agree with you, it really doesn't make sense.
Future Plans and Final Thoughts
Future Plans and Final Thoughts
CD: Do you think you were naïve about what it would be like, working for the FBI in the post-9/11 world?
SE: The amount of sh*t you get exposed to on the inside strips you of any innocence you may have had. In an analogy, take the war on drugs. They say they're fighting drugs and keeping America safe by attacking the low-level dealers and addicts on the street – but leaving the big-time, well-connected dealers alone. That is just disgusting.
CD: What are you planning to do next in your life?
SE: I will start a Ph.D. in January, either in the subject of public policy with relation to transparency, or else conflict resolution analysis, regarding Central Asia and Turkey.
CD: Would you work for government again, after what you've been through?
SE: I'd rather be a watchdog – you know, someone who would push Congress to follow their duties and exercise some oversight. It's really incredible, when I asked a congressman's staff whether they have oversight, they say, "Well … we do, but we don't." When I asked what that meant, he said, "Well, we can make a statement, but the DOJ doesn't listen to us." Then don't say you have it, if you don't!
CD: Have you any plans to write a book about your experiences someday?
SE: Well, maybe someday, but not until all of these legal battles are finished and everything is done. But these past two years I've been staying away from anything that can even remotely be seen as cashing in – the old "oh, she's out to make a profit from this" type of accusation. It's very frustrating for the government that they haven't been able to smear my name.
SE: Yes, that's one of the first things they try. To dig up dirt. They have their own ways of doing it – to look into your background, check any arrest record, if you've lied somewhere, etc. But they haven't been able to do that in my case and it is very frustrating for them.
CD: If you win the suit, what will happen next? Will you speak openly about everything you know?
SE: Well, just winning the suit is not enough. As long as the Justice Department considers this information related to my case a "state secret," they will use everything they can to quash it. Even if the judge rules and says no state secrets privileges can be granted, the DOJ will still buy time by appealing. So this will most likely be a long and difficult battle.
CD: If your full testimony is heard by the public, who or what agencies are going to be in the biggest trouble?
SE: Well, as for agencies I guess the DOJ, FBI, State Department. But in a way these agencies get some kind of immunity when you charge them like this … I hate to see how a lot of agents get stigmatized in this. Most of the field agents I met in the FBI were good, honest and hardworking individuals. They were trying to do their best, but up against this ingrown bureaucracy – this is where you have the problem, as will as with certain elected officials.
CD: What are they so afraid of?
SE: They're afraid of information, of the truth coming out, and accountability – the whole accountability issue that will arise. But it's not as complicated as it might seem. If they were to allow the whole picture to emerge, it would just boil down to a whole lot of money and illegal activities.
CD: Hmm, well I know you can't name names, but can you tell me if any specific officials will suffer if your testimony comes out?
SE: Yes. Certain elected officials will stand trial and go to prison.
April 2001: FBI Translators Point to Explicit Warning from Afghanistan
FBI translators Sibel Edmonds and Behrooz Sarshar will later claim to know of an important warning given to the FBI at this time. In their accounts, a reliable informant on the FBI’s payroll for at least ten years tells two FBI agents that sources in Afghanistan have heard of an al-Qaeda plot to attack the US and Europe in a suicide mission involving airplanes. Al-Qaeda agents, already in place inside the US, are being trained as pilots. By some accounts, the names of prominent US cities are mentioned. A report on the matter is filed with squad supervisor Thomas Frields, but it’s unclear if this warning reaches FBI headquarters or beyond. The two translators will later privately testify to the 9/11 Commission. [WorldNetDaily, 4/6/2004; WorldNetDaily, 3/24/2004; Village Voice, 4/14/2004; Salon, 3/26/2004] Sarshar’s notes of the interview indicate that the informant claimed his information came from Iran, Afghanistan, and Hamburg, Germany (the location of the primary 9/11 al-Qaeda cell). However, anonymous FBI officials will claim the warning was very vague and doubtful. [Chicago Tribune, 7/21/2004] In reference to this warning and apparently others, Edmonds will say, “President Bush said they had no specific information about September 11, and that’s accurate. However, there was specific information about use of airplanes, that an attack was on the way two or three months beforehand, and that several people were already in the country by May of 2001. They should’ve alerted the people to the threat we were facing.” [Salon, 3/26/2004] She will add, “There was general information about the time-frame, about methods to be used but not specifically about how they would be used and about people being in place and who was ordering these sorts of terror attacks. There were other cities that were mentioned. Major cities with skyscrapers.” [Independent, 4/2/2004]
FBI translator Sibel Edmonds later will make some allegations of serious FBI misconduct, but the specifics of these allegations will be generally publicly unknown due to a gag order placed on her. However, in comments made in 2004 and 2005, she will allege that in July or August 2001, an unnamed FBI field agent discovers foreign documentation revealing “certain information regarding blueprints, pictures, and building material for skyscrapers being sent overseas. It also reveal[s] certain illegal activities in obtaining visas from certain embassies in the Middle East, through network contacts and bribery.” The document is in a foreign language and apparently the agent isn’t given an adequate translation of it before 9/11. Approximately one month after 9/11, the agent will suspect the original translation is insufficient and will ask the FBI Washington Field Office to retranslate it. The significant information mentioned above will finally be revealed, but FBI translation unit supervisor Mike Feghali will decide not to send this information back to the field agent. Instead, Feghali will send a note stating that the translation was reviewed and the original translation was accurate. The field agent will never receive the accurate translation. This is all according to Edmonds’ letter. She will claim Feghali “has participated in certain criminal activities and security breaches, and [engaged] in covering up failures and criminal conducts within the department...” While the mainstream media will not yet report on this incident, in January 2005 an internal government report will determine that most of Edmonds’ allegations have been verified and none of them could be refuted. [Edmonds, 8/1/2004; Antiwar, 8/22/2005]
Sibel Edmonds is hired as a Middle Eastern languages translator for the FBI. As she later tells CBS’s 60 Minutes, she immediately encounters a pattern of deliberate failure in her translation department. Her boss says, “Let the documents pile up so we can show it and say that we need more translators and expand the department.” She claims that if she was not slowing down enough, her supervisor would delete her work. Meanwhile, FBI agents working on the 9/11 investigation would call and ask for urgently needed translations. Senator Charles Grassley (R) says of her charges, “She’s credible and the reason I feel she’s very credible is because people within the FBI have corroborated a lot of her story.” He points out that the speed of such translation might make the difference between an attack succeeding or failing. [CBS News, 10/25/2002; New York Post, 10/26/2002] In January 2002, FBI officials will tell government auditors that translator shortages have resulted in “the accumulation of thousands of hours of audio tapes and pages” of material that has not been translated. [Washington Post, 6/19/2002] Edmonds files a whistleblower lawsuit against the FBI for these and other charges in March 2002 (see March 22, 2002). However, the case is later dismissed (see July 6, 2004) because all evidence related to proving the charges is classified. [CNN, 7/7/2004]
Translator Sibel Edmonds later claims that she is fired by the FBI on this day after repeatedly raising suspicions about a co-worker named Jan (or Can) Dickerson. When Dickerson was hired in November 2001, she had connections to a Turkish intelligence officer and had worked with a Turkish organization, both of which were being investigated by the FBI’s own counter-intelligence unit. Edmonds claims that Dickerson insisted that she alone translate documents relating to the investigation of this organization and official. When Edmonds reviewed Dickerson’s translations, she found information that the Turkish officer had spies inside the State Department and Pentagon was not being translated. Dickerson then tried to recruit Edmonds as a spy, and when Edmonds refused, Dickerson threatened to have her killed. After Edmonds’s boss and others in the FBI failed to respond to her complaints, she wrote to the Justice Department’s inspector general’s office in March: “Investigations are being compromised. Incorrect or misleading translations are being sent to agents in the field. Translations are being blocked and circumvented.” Edmonds is then fired and she sues the FBI. The FBI eventually concludes Dickerson had left out significant information from her translations. A second FBI whistleblower, John Cole, also claims to know of security lapses in the screening and hiring of FBI translators. [Washington Post, 6/19/2002; Cox News Service, 8/14/2002; CBS News, 7/13/2003] The supervisor who told Edmonds not to make these accusations and also encouraged her to go slow in her translations is later promoted. [CBS News, 10/25/2002]
FBI Director Mueller personally awards Marion (Spike) Bowman with a presidential citation and cash bonus of approximately 25 percent of his salary. [Salon, 3/3/2003] Bowman, head of the FBI’s National Security Law Unit and the person who refused to seek a special warrant for a search of Zacarias Moussaoui’s belongings before the 9/11 attacks, is among nine recipients of bureau awards for “exceptional performance.” The award comes shortly after a 9/11 Congressional Inquiry report saying Bowman’s unit gave Minneapolis FBI agents “inexcusably confused and inaccurate information” that was “patently false.” [Star-Tribune (Minneapolis), 12/22/2002] Bowman’s unit also blocked an urgent request by FBI agents to begin searching for Khalid Almihdhar after his name was put on a watch list. In early 2000, the FBI acknowledged serious blunders in surveillance Bowman’s unit conducted during sensitive terrorism and espionage investigations, including agents who illegally videotaped suspects, intercepted e-mails without court permission, and recorded the wrong phone conversations. [Associated Press, 1/10/2003] As Senator Charles Grassley (R) and others have pointed out, not only has no one in government been fired or punished for 9/11, but several others have been promoted:
Pasquale D’Amuro, the FBI’s counterterrorism chief in New York City before 9/11, is promoted to the bureau’s top counterterrorism post. [Time, 12/30/2002]
FBI Supervisory special agent Michael Maltbie, who removed information from the Minnesota FBI’s application to get the search warrant for Moussaoui, is promoted to field supervisor. [Salon, 3/3/2003]
David Frasca, head of the FBI’s Radical Fundamentalist Unit, is “still at headquarters,” Grassley notes. [Salon, 3/3/2003] Frasca received the Phoenix memo warning al-Qaeda terrorists could use flight schools inside the US, and then a few weeks later he received the request for Moussaoui’s search warrant. “The Phoenix memo was buried; the Moussaoui warrant request was denied.” [Time, 5/27/2002] Even after 9/11, Frasca continued to “[throw] up roadblocks” in the Moussaoui case. [New York Times, 5/27/2002]
President Bush later names Barbara Bodine the director of Central Iraq shortly after the US conquest of Iraq. Many in government are upset about the appointment because of her blocking of the USS Cole investigation, which some say could have uncovered the 9/11 plot. She failed to admit she was wrong or apologize. [Washington Times, 4/10/2003] However, she is fired after about a month, apparently for doing a poor job.
An FBI official who tolerates penetration of the translation department by Turkish spies and encourages slow translations just after 9/11 is promoted (see March 22, 2002). [CBS News, 10/25/2002] The CIA has promoted two unnamed top leaders of its unit responsible for tracking al-Qaeda in 2000 even though the unit mistakenly failed to put the two suspected terrorists on the watch list (see August 23, 2001). “The leaders were promoted even though some people in the intelligence community and in Congress say the counterterrorism unit they ran bore some responsibility for waiting until August 2001 to put the suspect pair on the interagency watch list.” CIA Director Tenet has failed to fulfill a promise given to Congress in late 2002 that he would name the CIA officials responsible for 9/11 failures. [New York Times, 5/15/2003]
The Justice Department retroactively classifies information it gave to Congress in 2002 regarding FBI translator Sibel Edmonds. Senator Charles Grassley (R) says, “What the FBI is up to here is ludicrous. To classify something that’s already been out in the public domain, what do you accomplish? ... This is about as close to a gag order as you can get.” The New York Times reports that some of the information discussed is “so potentially damaging if released publicly” that it has to be classified. Topics like what languages Edmonds translated, what types of cases she handled, and where she worked is now classified, even though much of this has been widely reported on shows like CBS’s 60 Minutes. [New York Times, 5/20/2004] In late 2002, the Justice Department invoked the rarely used “state secrets privilege” to limit what she could say. [Salon, 3/26/2004]
Former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds has her lawsuit against the Justice Department and FBI dismissed. Edmonds originally sued the FBI in March 2002 (see March 22, 2002) for being fired from her post shortly after revealing shortcomings in the translation department of the FBI. In October 2002, Attorney General Ashcroft asked a judge to throw out Edmonds’ lawsuit against the Justice Department. He said he was applying the state secrets privilege in order “to protect the foreign policy and national security interests of the United States” and preserve diplomatic relations with (unspecified) nations. [Associated Press, 10/18/2002] The judge in the case, appointed by George W. Bush, agrees with the government’s position, stating “... the plaintiff’s case must be dismissed, albeit with great consternation, in the interests of national security.” He says he cannot explain his decision in any further detail because the explanation itself would expose classified information. During his deliberation on the case, Judge Reggie Walton met privately on two occasions with the government’s defense lawyers, but neither Edmonds nor her lawyer were allowed to attend these discussions. [CNN, 7/7/2004; Associated Press, 7/6/2004] A government report looking into Edmonds’s allegations of wrongdoing in the FBI’s translation department is released a few days later, but the FBI classifies the entire document. Not even Edmonds is allowed to see the contents. [Washington Post, 7/9/2004]
A letter by FBI Director Robert Mueller regarding FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds is leaked to the media. Edmonds has made some very serious allegations about the FBI, including claims of important missed 9/11 warnings and the existence of a foreign spy ring inside US government agencies. Mueller’s letter reveals that a highly classified Justice Department report on Edmonds has concluded that her allegations “were at least a contributing factor in why the FBI terminated her services.” This report also criticizes the FBI’s failure to adequately pursue her allegations of espionage. An anonymous official states that the report concludes that some of her allegations were shown to be true, others cannot be corroborated because of a lack of evidence, and none of her accusations were disproved. [New York Times, 7/29/2004]
First of all: Ed Bradley of 60 Minutes was the Dude, hands down. We are poorer without his clever style and incisive work. Thanks for all the stories, Ed.
Senate Democrats Decide on Party Leaders November 14, 2006, Filed at 1:21 p.m. ET
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Senate Democrats picked two women for senior posts Tuesday and appointed former U.S. Capitol police chief Terrance Gainer as sergeant at arms. Their choice as majority leader, Sen. Harry Reid, said a top priority is getting a new secretary of defense confirmed.
.....The Capitol, meanwhile, buzzed with the energy of House members-to-be and senators-in-waiting attending freshman orientation.
More than 50 incoming House freshmen spent the day in meetings focused not on big legislative items or the Iraq war but rather on office logistics and ethics -- a key issue after a season of scandal that had, at least in part, led to the election of the new members.
In the Senate, a 10-person freshman class of eight Democrats, one Republican and Democratic-leaning independent Bernard Sanders of Vermont also began orientation.
Democratic Sen.-elect Jon Tester of Montana looked a little overwhelmed on his first day.
''It hasn't soaked in yet,'' he said. ''Maybe it will never soak in.''
The Capitol police weren't quite ready for Tester, a farmer with a throwback flat top haircut and fingers missing on his left hand from an old accident with a meat grinder. They asked him to empty his pockets for inspection.
''Just like at the airport, you put it all through?'' Tester asked.
The officer nodded, then recognized the newcomer and waved him through.
The Talking Head Brigades are totally convinced that a giant swath of newly elected Democrats are "social conservatives", despite the relative lack of evidence. Virginia's Senator-elect Jim Webb is the best example of someone who must be socially conservative, since he was Navy Secretary. They haven't really talked about how concerned Webb is with "economic justice," a phrase that just doesn't really appear in the DLC Centrist handbook.
More realistically, the fresh Democrats are decidedly skeptical of 'free trade' that has crushed manufacturing in places like Ohio – this was a major theme of Ohio Senator-elect Sherrod Brown's campaign platform. We are seeing plenty of evidence that the media is totally convinced this election marks some kind of concrete Centrist Block that now dominates America. Aside from Joe Lieberman's implied threat to bolt the Dems and give the Senate to Republicans, this labeling doesn't wash with the kinds of folks now going to DC.
Maybe gun control. Which was a ridiculous issue to dwell on at this late date, but now basically that's the symbolic marker signifying Senator-elect Jon Tester of Montana as a 'social conservative.' I would say it's more to do with the fact that there are about seven times as many guns as people in Montana.
(A small reflection on the history between Webb and this Gates cat coming into Defense. Will there be 'real' confirmation hearings for SecDef or just softballs?)
The perfect example of this new media narrative of 2006 == Super Centrism is the cover of TIME magazine this week, compared with the November 1994 cover when Newt Gingrich and the gang stomped in (more on the contrast). "Why the center is the new place to be" says good old weathervane Joe Klein, who never met a waffle he didn't like. Oddly, Klein did not exactly stick to this:
Yes, many of the winners tended to be moderates, but that's because this was an election, especially on the House side, waged in moderate districts. In some cases, realism meant supporting the more liberal candidate. In Ohio, Reid and Schumer made a stark decision to force the attractive if inexperienced Iraq war veteran Paul Hackett out of the race and to support Congressman Sherrod Brown, a feisty paleoliberal whose vehement protectionism matched well with Ohio's economic despearation...The common denominator wasn't liberalism or moderation but the ability to win.
OK, fair enough. Would have been nice if the magazine cover reflected that. But I lack the patience to read the whole article. Although I did shake Klein's hand in Iowa once. There was also a story about Keith Ellison in TIME, and refers to Trocadero's as "trendy." Kind of funny to hear TIME describing the Warehouse district at all, but sort of exciting.
The victory party for Minnesota's first African-American congressman, Keith Ellison, took place at a trendy nightclub in Minneapolis's downtown warehouse district. Down the block from a glitzy sex shop, Trocaderos is the kind of place where both gays and straights look to get picked up, either at the bar or on the dance floor. But on this occasion, the floor was packed with enthusiastic supporters of Ellison, who also happens to be the first Muslim elected to the U.S. Congress.
Not the kind of place where any self-respecting Muslim would normally be found. But on this occasion, drably dressed, bearded Muslim men rubbed shoulders with stylish women in revealing outfits, the latter drinking plenty of alcohol. Meanwhile, Muslim women wearing long, shapeless dresses and head-scarves stood around in small groups. I spoke with an elderly, bespectacled imam from Somalia who wore a large woolen shawl over his shoulders and a colorful, pointed cap, embroidered with ancient-looking but unfamiliar shapes and symbols. His limited knowledge of English did not prevent him from repeating the words "peace, peace, peace" over and over again to me.
The reason for this curious gathering is not hard to figure out. Muslim Americans in Minnesota and throughout the nation have been forging a coalition with liberals on issues like those articulated by Congressman-elect Ellison — universal health insurance, tougher environmental regulation, opposition to the Patriot Act and an immediate end to the war in Iraq.
......And now, Muslims from places like Pakistan or Egypt, who might in the past have avoided politics, see the need for allies and guides through the unfamiliar American political landscape. No wonder the Rev. Jesse Jackson and other nationally prominent blacks journeyed to Minnesota to campaign with Keith Ellison.
Still, immigrant Muslims remain devout social conservatives. And in Minneapolis in the days leading up to the celebration Tuesday night, one could hear many of them trying to reconcile their support for Ellison and other liberals on Minnesota's Democratic-Farmer-Labor ticket with their unrelenting opposition to abortion and especially homosexuality. It is clearly not easy for them to do so, but as one Muslim American leader born in Afghanistan put it, "the majority of Muslims weigh the alternatives" — and vote against President Bush and the Republicans.
It remains to be seen, of course, whether this coalition will last. But if their anger at the Bush Administration and its policies is any guide, then Muslim Americans — immigrant and African American alike — will not soon break with their new-found liberal allies. In the meantime, many non-Muslim Americans will be troubled by these developments and find in them further evidence of the widespread sentiment that Muslim Americans are not being straight with their fellow citizens, that they are hypocrites. Perhaps they are. But then non-Muslims ought to recognize that "hypocrisy" of the sort on view in Minneapolis last week is akin to the tolerance on which our pluralistic society depends. In fact, just such behavior demonstrates that Muslims are beginning to learn what we all must do to get along in America.
For that matter, we in Minnesota ought to explain to the rest of the world, especially the Middle East, that Ellison was elected from a district with the help and support of the large and established Jewish community in St. Louis Park. I suspect that Conventional Wisdom between Morocco and Qatar would be shocked to learn that those West Metro Jewish folks would select a Muslim to represent them in DC. It makes me proud to be an American.
Sibel Edmonds: Going to happen or not? I am wondering about whether such Deep Politics as the true nature of the Sibel Edmonds scandal will be exposed next year. We had almost forgotten that in October 2002, Sibel Edmonds was featured with Ed Bradley on 60 Minutes, and you can get the video clips in 4 parts: 1 2 3 4. The story mostly focuses on the incompetence of the guys in the FBI translation unit, rather than all the Turkish espionage stuff. But still interesting. Keep an eye on the Sibel Edmonds blogspot site by Lukery in case something happens. We are still going to put a special page together on the case, but not right now..... Basically I am hoping that some Congressperson with security clearance reads Sibel's secret (buried) testimony to the 9/11 Commission into the Congressional record.
Shady voting machines in Sarasota, Florida steal a Congressional race?? In the Florida congressional district formerly held by the 2000 Debacle High Witch Katherine Harris, there were serious errors with electronic voting machines. I am jacking this post from TPMmuckraker cause it's got the goods.
Update: In FL-13, Court Battle Begins As Counting Continues By Paul Kiel - November 14, 2006, 12:56 PM
Lawyers for Democratic House candidate Christine Jennings threw down the gauntlet yesterday, asking a state court to secure electronic voting machines and data used in the election.
The move would preserve the equipment in Florida's Sarasota County for scrutiny by Jennings' legal team. A hearing on the suit is scheduled for this afternoon.
It's just the first step of what is likely to be a litigious aftermath to a close and ugly election (thanks in part to the NRCC's rampant robo calling in the district). The state began a recount and audit of the election yesterday. Once the audit and second recount is completed and the results certified on November 20th, the Jennings campaign has ten days to contest the results of the election if they still show Jennings down. Before the recounting began, she was down 386 votes.
The fight will center around the district's Sarasota County, where the electronic machines did not register a vote in the Congressional race for 18,000 voters (13%) -- what's called an "undervote." That's compared to only 2.53% of voters who did not vote in the race via absentee ballots.
A study by the local paper, The Herald Tribune, found that one in three of Sarasota election officials "had general complaints from voters about having trouble getting votes to record" on the electronic machines for the Congressional race. Since 53% of voters in Sarasota County picked Jennings over the Republican Vern Buchanan, those missed votes would likely have put Jennings in front.
Kendall Coffey, a lawyer for the Jennings campaign, told me yesterday that any court challenge of the results is likely to focus on problems with the electronic machines. He said that the campaign has a wealth of "compelling testimony" from "sources that you simply can't discredit" who had trouble registering a vote for Jennings in the county. That challenge would likely come later in the month, if the recount still shows Jennings down and the state's audit does not turn up any problems. So stay tuned.
13,000 viruses on one Windows PC: A guy uncovers a giant nest of viruses. Nasty.
The Misc file: The end of education arbitrage - IE the link between property values and education funding is cracking. An ugly prospect to behold, especially from here in Minnesota where schools are not as much of a disaster as other states.
Kelley's Iran adventure: The proprietor of one of my favorite sites Agonist.org went to Iran over the election and had an interesting time. He blogged it on the San Antonio paper's site. The one about Zoroastrians was pretty cool:
Two primary impulses drove me towards Yazd. First, I wanted to see the architecture of this old Silk Road city, to walk in Marco Polo's footsteps and see what he saw. My second goal was to see, interact and talk with the last large community of Zoroastrians in Iran (and the world). The major Ateshkah (Fire Temple) of Yazd lies in the Southeast part of town. Here, surrounded by a low-rise brick wall, gardens and reflecting pool (which I was sadly unable to get a good photo from) burns a flame, which the High Priest of the Temple told us, "has been burning for one thousand four hundred years."
"First," he said, his 84-year old voice trembling, "this fire came from the fire temple at Naqsh-i-Rustam where our great Iranian kings are laid to rest."
"Then," he continued, "to Yazd province it went to Agadeh. After that it went to Ardekan and finally found its way here," he told us.
The High Priest, pointing at the furuhad (the winged symbol of Zoroaster, which some say was the first depiction of an angel) atop the building, recited the three main tenets of the Zoroastrian faith. "Each row of feathers has a meaning in our faith, equaling the three central ideas of Zoroastrianism: The first row implores us to think well. The second instructs us to act well. The third and final row compels us to talk well, never to lie. To lie, or to go against any of this commands, is to give in to evil, or Ahriman."
"What," I wondered, "was Iran like 1,500 years ago? Before the Arabs arrived? When fire temples were the center of worship and activity in every city?
"Were the high priests," I thought to myself, as the flames flickered wildly behind the thick observation glass, "as rigid in their interpretation of Zoroastrianism as they are today of Islam?"
The late history of the Sassanians points towards a high priesthood with a firm, if brittle, grip on Mediaval Persian society. It was the era of Magians supremacy, and their faith was rigid. They persecuted Christians and other sects, even the Jews, but they saved their most heated attacks for the Manicheans. Kartir, the high priest to the Sassanian king even found a place on a relief next to his king, at Naqsh-i-Rashjab, about two kilometers from Naqsh-i-Rustam.
I thought about the past and couldn't help but to wonder if there is a tenuous connection between Iran's extremist past and its extremist present? One would think it were possible. But today the Zoroastrians are not only tolerated, but celebrated to a great degree for they are Iran's original "People of the Book.'
Later that afternoon father and I went to see a "Tower a Silence.' The tower lies on top of a small barren hill on the south side of town. It's like a bug round brick well, with a diameter of approximately 50 meters. The high priests would take the body of the deceased up to the tower and lay it out for the vultures to pick clean. The Zoroastrians believe that burying the body is to pollute the earth and cremation is strictly forbidden, as the body will pollute the sacred fire. It is said that if the vultures pick the left side of the face off first the deceased goes immediately to heaven. If it is the right the deceased spends a hundred years in purgatory.
Well there you go. Zoroastrianism is pretty much a sweet and mystic Old Time religion. Anyhow...
Homeless Philadelphia guys tricked into deceiving Maryland black folks about Republican Steele: In a disgusting episode, campaign workers for some shadowy Republican-linked organization provided flyers that claimed two top Republican candidates were actually Democrats, as seen here and here. A homeless guy is furious he was paid to lie to people, and didn't even get back home to Philly to vote in time.
All hail Rahm Emanuel: Still a divisive figure, Rep. Emanuel, the leader of the DCCC, selected some Dems over others in primary races, and now has been credited as the guy that won everything. This is an exaggeration. Emanuel has been criticized for not supporting Clint Curtis, the programmer who was allegedly hired by Congressman Tom Feeney to reprogram voting machines. Curtis ran for Congress in order to raise awareness of this, but he did not get a red cent from the DCCC. Likewise, abandoned a 9/11 Truth candidate whose name I can't remember. Emanuel delivered the goods, but he also set restrictions on the ideological parameters of Democratic campaigns, although in important aspects he broadened the limits beyond idiot DLC-consultant style "centrism". This bears further examination.
Judith Miller against Blogger first amendment freedom: From the mouth of the woman who brought Iraqi Aluminum Tube fantasies into the NY Times via Chalabi's henchmen, bloggers just report rumors way too much:
"I'm worried about bloggers," she said. "(A post) starts as a rumor and within 24 hours it's repeated as fact."
While she advocates a federal shield law to protect mainstream journalists from divulging their sources, she doesn't favor extending that to bloggers who don't follow the standards and ethnics [I assume this should be ethics] of the journalism industry.
Still, she wouldn't restrict a blogger's right to publish online. She said some bloggers have been invaluable in uncovering government flaws.
"I'm glad to welcome them as long as they agree to the standards," she said.
Heinous. (via Atrios). Cram your standards in an aluminum tube and smoke it with your "defector" friends.
That's all for this post. Another coming down the pike in a little bit.
I wrote this yesterday, just hours prior to the Saddam verdict's release.
The Republicans have two big-ass cards, and its pretty much all they've got. First is reading out the Saddam verdict a couple days before the election is so obvious it's tacky. I think that's the word people ought to use, as the Republican National Committee treats the Iraqis as political pawns in American elections yet again.
So that is obvious. Although things will probably get worse in Iraq that day anyway. But the real November surprise is the planned release of a video from the Sheraton Hotel on the morning of September 11, 2001. This will happen sometime before November 9, according to Judicial Watch, a beltway conservative legal action group who has been trying to get 9/11 evidence the government has suppressed releasing until now:
CITGO Gas Station Cameras Near Pentagon Evidently Did Not Capture Attack
FBI Responds to Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act Request and Related Lawsuit
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, today released a videotape from the FBI that was taken from a CITGO gas station near the Pentagon. Many believed the video would show American Airlines Flight 77 striking the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. The videotape, which depicts views from the gas station’s six security cameras, shows that the CITGO cameras did not seem to capture the actual attack. The tape was partially obscured by the FBI to protect the privacy of individuals captured on video in the CITGO convenience store. The FBI released the videotape as the result of a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act request and related lawsuit.
Judicial Watch originally filed a Freedom of Information Act request on December 15, 2004 seeking all records pertaining to September 11, 2001 camera recordings of the Pentagon attack from the Nexcomm/CITGO gas station, Pentagon security cameras and the Virginia Department of Transportation. Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit against the FBI on June 22, 2006. (In May 2006, The Department of Defense released videos depicting the attack in response to another Judicial Watch lawsuit.)
The FBI has agreed to release to Judicial Watch a videotape obtained from the Doubletree Hotel near the Pentagon by November 9, 2006.
“With the release of this videotape, we are one step closer to completing the public record on the September 11 terrorist attacks,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The CITGO tape evidently does not show the Pentagon attack, which the American people can now see for themselves. This videotape was the subject of intense public debate. Now that it has been released to the public, there is no reason for further speculation about what it does or does not show.”
Also, they apparently got the CITGO gas station videotape, which is all angled downwards and thus does not show the Pentagon explosion at all. Watch the CITGO tape on YouTube here.
Check this out: video footage of former CIA analyst Ray McGovern talked about how something is being covered up about September 11, and McGovern questioning former Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta about witnessing how Cheney apparently was getting updates about a plane coming towards DC during that fateful day. Mineta testified to the 9/11 Commission that the approach of the plane was counted down, and a staffer kept asking Cheney if 'the orders' still stood, and indeed Cheney said they did. What were these orders? We don't have primary source evidence (yet), but if the order were to shoot down this plane that Cheney was tracking, the staffer would not have kept anxiously asking if the orders "still stood."
Ex-CIA Analyst Ray McGovern Talks About 9/11 - 7 minute video including the Mineta testimony
Camp Casey interview with Ex-CIA Analyst Ray McGovern. He talks about running into ex-Secretary of the Department of Transportation Norman Mineta and confronting him regarding his testimony before the 9/11 Commission. Mineta testified that Cheney was well aware of the location and destination of Flight 77 (or whatever it was) and forced NORAD to stand-down and allowed it to hit the Pentagon.
Anyway, this footage of the Pentagon collision will apparently remind people that it was hit by a [plane/missile], and probably the video will just show the same little whisk of white light that everyone saw before.
I don't believe the Pentagon was hit by a missile, though that oddly small hole on the Pentagon and the lack of plane debris are curious. What's funny is that the "Pentagon missile" theory is always referenced in the mainstream media. In a subtle way, they frame the keystone of all 9/11 skepticism as "these tinfoil hatters think a missile hit the Pentagon", while they never talk about questions like WTC 7's sudden collapse, or the New Jersey Mossad front Urban Moving Systems, or shady stuff at flight schools in Florida (including drug trafficking), the wargames on the morning of 9/11, the NORAD stand-down, the insider trading, and so on. Each of these subjects, alone, could be a red herring, a mirage, but we still deserve a clean, open investigation into each of these, offering all secret government documents pertinent to each of these. Sweep up all things, related and not.
Not to mention all the crazy stuff Sibel Edmonds heard while working at the FBI. Just that stuff would open enough further questions to put a lot of government officials in jail, as well as exposing major espionage operations of foreign governments within the FBI and other government agencies.
Anyhow, all these roaming background questions have been replaced in mainstream discourse with "that missile story." So a nice fat video of the real plane itself hitting the Pentagon will symbolically discredit all the skepticism behind totally unrelated problems with 9/11 and the various covert actions that led up to it. The guys at PrisonPlanet are all over this argument.
This fresh Pentagon video would look pretty good within the next 48 hours, looping video to knock out everything else – the sheer volume of political activity across America just before the election. Displacing TV coverage of the election with an instant-classic video clip like that would be a media 'trump card,' and we have apparent confirmation from Judicial Watch this is coming before Nov. 9.
And then Saddam will be proven to be totally evil in the death of X number of Shiite villagers during the Iran-Iraq war. And he will have to be punished before Donald Rumsfeld is forced to testify somewhere about his visit to Saddam in the 1980s that generated plenty of gray-market arms traffic.
The TV spectacle of Judgment Serviced by Righteousness will be bracketed by a spike in violence in Baghdad and the daily death toll will exceed the number of villagers that Saddam executed. So the morality of that is a little more fragmented.
Thus, the great classic Bush moral framework that "9/11 = Saddam = evil = we crush!!!" will be reinforced with a couple obviously timed media spectacles in the final 48 hours, when Karl Rove's leveraging of the American civilian/voter/PSYOPS target brain must necessarily be at its sinister peak.
Of course, the video might not come out until election day, or the day after. Would they really let us down like that?
Note from HongPong: I have talked with Lukery and he told me a while ago that I could repost material from his various nifty and methodical blogs about the Sibel Edmonds case, which remains stuck mostly in a dormant state. Sibel just announced she was willing to get slammed for the gag order if a national network will air her case. Tellingly, no one wants to bother so far. All of this was posted on Lukery's blog Let Sibel Edmonds Speak a while ago.
Nice work Lukery. Also be sure to check out the ever-solid BradBlog.com for GOP voting machine hacking and other whistle-blower stuff.
Please look at my special basic collection of stuff about the case too.Though indeed that area of this site could be much better.
Last week, former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds, announced that she was willing to tell everything that she knows if any of the major networks are willing to give her airtime, without airbrushing the essence of her case. Bradblog will have an update on the progress, or lack of it, next week.
Of course, Sibel would prefer to testify under oath in congress, but apparently our Democratic Congresscritters (I'm looking at you, Waxman) don't care about the treason, bribery, and corruption that has hijacked US foreign policy.
Meanwhile, last week we learnt that the judge in the AIPAC case has allowed subpoenas to be issued to 15 current and former high-level officials. Many of us are excited about the prospect of the trial - but Sibel assures us that the case, as it stands, is just the tip of the iceberg.
'AIPAC' is at the core of Sibel's case, and Sibel’s story needs to be heard - either in Congress, or in the media.
Those of you who have been following Sibel's case will be familiar with the American Turkish Council (ATC) - the 'mini-AIPAC' that (ostensibly) exists to promote Turkey's military interests in the US.
As it happens, the ATC is a creation of AIPAC (and other Israeli lobbying interests) - and there is significant overlap in the membership, goals and activities of both AIPAC and the ATC. This is perhaps not surprising given the long-standing tri-lateral military (and military 'defense' spending) relationship between the three countries. In fact, Sibel refers to AIPAC and the ATC as 'sister organizations.'
Not only were the ATC and AIPAC 'sister organizations,' they also had something else in common: there have been 'sister investigations' into both organizations. And of course, both investigations uncovered serious criminality at the highest levels of the US administration - Congress, the Pentagon and the State Department.
Sibel described the overlap in this interview with Antiwar's Chris Deliso in 2005:
SE: Look, I think that that [the AIPAC investigation] ultimately involves more than just Israelis – I am talking about countries, not a single country here. Because despite however it may appear, this is not just a simple matter of state espionage. If (Patrick) Fitzgerald and his team keep pulling, really pulling, they are going to reel in much more than just a few guys spying for Israel.
CD: A monster, 600-pound catfish, huh? So the Turkish and Israeli investigations had some overlap?
SE: Essentially, there is only one investigation – a very big one, an all-inclusive one. Completely by chance, I, a lowly translator, stumbled over one piece of it.
But I can tell you there are a lot of people involved, a lot of ranking officials, and a lot of illegal activities that include multi-billion-dollar drug-smuggling operations, black-market nuclear sales to terrorists and unsavory regimes, you name it. And of course a lot of people from abroad are involved. It's massive. So to do this investigation, to really do it, they will have to look into everything.
CD: But you can start from anywhere –
SE: That's the beauty of it. You can start from the AIPAC angle. You can start from the Plame case. You can start from my case. They all end up going to the same place, and they revolve around the same nucleus of people. There may be a lot of them, but it is one group. And they are very dangerous for all of us.
In 2004, Knight Ridder's Warren Strobel and Jonathon Landay confirmed that the 'AIPAC case' was much more serious than anything that has seen the light of day so far:
"Several U.S. officials and law-enforcement sources said yesterday that the scope of the FBI probe of Pentagon intelligence activities appeared to go well beyond the Franklin matter.
FBI agents have briefed top White House, Pentagon and State Department officials on the probe. Based on those briefings, officials said, the bureau appears to be looking into other controversies that have roiled the Bush administration, some of which also touch Feith's office.
They include how the Iraqi National Congress, a former exile group backed by the Pentagon, allegedly received highly classified U.S. intelligence on Iran; the leaking of the name of CIA officer Valerie Plame to reporters; and the production of bogus documents suggesting that Iraq tried to buy uranium for nuclear weapons from the African country of Niger. Bush repeated the Niger claim in making the case for war against Iraq.
"The whole ball of wax" was how one U.S. official privy to the briefings described the inquiry."
Keep in mind that the FBI operation against AIPAC et al goes back to at least 1999 - so they were watching all of the relevant characters throughout this period. In fact, you'll note that Strobel refers to "the FBI probe of Pentagon intelligence activities" - apparently the Pentagon, particularly Doug Feith's Office of Special Plans, was itself the 'target' of the investigation.
Investigations shut down.
What happened to that Pentagon investigation? Why aren't Doug Feith, Richard Perle and others in prison? I can only presume that this particular investigation was shut down, just like so many other investigations into these criminals.
In a recent interview Sibel described some cases that were shut down. The case referred to in this excerpt is apparently an Israeli counter-intelligence case:
"There are other cases we are not hearing about that I'm aware of that have to do with similar cases, maybe having to do with other countries. For example, again this is another relevant case, an outside case, the Larry Franklin case, with the espionage case that they pursued with AIPAC. And what the American public doesn’t know is the fact that there were other counter-intelligence operations within the FBI that obtained far more information not only limited to Mr. Franklin, that were similarly shut down in 2000 and 2001 because they ended up going to higher levels and involving maybe way too many people, US persons. I’m talking about individuals who are breaking the law, misusing the trust and abusing their power, and in some cases I would even say engaging in treason."
And here Sibel describes the same thing taking place within Turkish counter-intelligence:
Now the same thing was about to take place with Turkish counter-intelligence. In the main portion of the documented — wiretapped or paper — operations that I translated verbatim (not only for the Washington Field Office but also for the Chicago and New Jersey offices), they were obtained before 2001. If we were to put a date on it you’re looking at end of 1996 to 2001. Now, in 1998 and 1999, there were so many pieces of evidence of U.S. individuals’ involvement. We’re talking about people with official positions, whether they were in the State Department or the Pentagon or the U.S. Congress that forced the Justice Dept, and the good agents who did the right thing, they started a parallel investigation that targeted these individuals who were possibly committing acts of treason.
However, as I was told by first-source agents I was working with, this was put on hold in 1999 because President Clinton was then going through the Lewinsky scandal. After the current administration came into power and after I was working there, the agents were told to shut down.
Sibel isn't the only person who claims that investigations like this have been shut down. For example, in Kill The Messenger, ex-CIA agent Phil Giraldi says:
All of these people (Richard Perle, Doug Feith) have been investigated by the FBI at one point or another for passing secret information to Israel. In no cases, were any of them convicted. The prosecutions were dropped… in my opinion because of political pressure not to get into this kind of case that involves Israel and espionage.
Similarly, Laura Rozen and Jason Vest reported in Prospect:
"Since the Pollard case, U.S. intelligence and law-enforcement sources have revealed to the Prospect that at least six sealed indictments have been issued against individuals for espionage on Israel's behalf. It's a testament to the unique relationship between the United States and Israel that those cases were never prosecuted; according to the same sources, both governments ultimately addressed them through diplomatic and intelligence channels rather than air the dirty laundry. A number of career Justice Department and intelligence officials who have worked on Israeli counterespionage told the Prospect of long-standing frustration among investigators and prosecutors who feel that cases that could have been made successfully against Israeli spies were never brought to trial, or that the investigations were shut down prematurely."
Sibel often makes the same point. The FBI agents in the field are doing a great job, however:
The people who made that decision (to shut down the investigation) were not the Justice Department or the FBI, and that’s what I try to emphasize all the time — they were pressured, they were forced by higher-up forces within the Pentagon and the State Department.
That is, the guilty parties at the Pentagon and State Dept have the power to stomp on investigations into their own illegal activities. And as Sibel says, these people were involved in criminal activity, not just simple state-based espionage.
As reported in Vanity Fair:
"In fact, much of what Edmonds reportedly heard seemed to concern not state espionage but criminal activity. There was talk, she told investigators, of laundering the profits of large-scale drug deals and of selling classified military technologies to the highest bidder."
Once we understand that simple fact, this report from Washington Post makes more sense:
"Reports on the investigation have baffled foreign policy analysts and U.S. officials because the Bush administration and the government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon already cooperate on intelligence matters and share policy views. Despite some rocky moments, the relationship has been among the United States' closest in both policy and intelligence sharing since Israel was founded almost six decades ago."
Current AIPAC case
As I've demonstrated, the current 'AIPAC' case involving Keith Weissman and Steve Rosen receiving information from Larry Franklin barely scratches the surface of the underlying crimes that these investigations have yielded, and even this very limited case may never see the light of day. In an apparent greymail attempt, the defense has called 15 current and former government officials to testify - including Condi Rice, Douglas Feith, Stephen Hadley, Elliott Abrams and Richard Armitage. In fact, in Judge Ellis' opinion last week, he gave the admistration this
"The government's refusal to comply with a subpoena in these circumstances may result in dismissal or a lesser sanction"
Surely the administration won't refuse that
There was, however, one interesting piece of news in the judge's ruling last week. In footnote 8, page 7, Judge Ellis wrote
"The government does not object to the issuance of subpoenas to Franklin, Satterfield, Pollack, or Makovsky."
JTA, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, reported, without elaboration, that:
"The government did not raise objections to the four subpoenas for officials who were identified in the indictment."
If this is correct, then one of the mysteries of the case has apparently (nearly) been solved. In the original indictment, the unindicted co-conspirators were addressed using codewords. We now know that Ken Pollack was USGO-1, David Satterfield was USGO-2 but we didn't know the identities of two others: "DoD employee A" and "DoD employee B."
"DoD employee A" played the trivial, and quite possibly innocent, role of telling Rosen that Larry Franklin was an expert on Iran. On the other hand, "DoD employee B" was a willing participant in at least one espionage-related meeting with Rosen, Weissman and Franklin.
Michael Makovsky, one of Larry Franklin's co-workers at the OSP is apparently either "DoD employee A" or "DoD employee B." If he is "DoD employee B," why hasn't he been indicted?
One Remaining Mystery
Given all this history, the one remaining mystery is how on earth this current 'AIPAC' trial has come as far as it has. Laura Rozen and Jason Vest reported:
This history (of shutting down investigations) had led to informed speculation that the FBI -- fearing the Franklin probe was heading toward the same silent end -- leaked the story to CBS to keep it in the public eye and give it a fighting chance.
Three and a half years later, it appears that the fight is over. Larry Franklin has pled guilty, but even if the AIPAC case goes forward, most of the underlying crimes, and most of the criminal perpetrators, will go unpunished.
One Last Chance
Sibel has evidence of the underlying crimes. She knows who the criminals are. She wants to testify under oath in Congress but the spineless Democrats, particularly Henry Waxman, want her to keep quiet about these issues.
In an act of desperation, Sibel has bravely offered to tell all, at great personal (both legal and physical) risk, if one of the major networks will air her story. Given the history, Sibel's offer is the only chance we'll have to hear any of these remarkable allegations.
Waxman can be contacted in DC:(202)225-3976 and LA:323 651-1040. The toll free Capitol switchboard number is 800-828-0498. See if you can shame him into doing something.
The blog We Can Change The World has put together a list (with contact details) of journalists and media outlets that have (partially) covered Sibel's story in the past. If you contact those journalists, perhaps they'll be willing to at least write about Sibel's offer - which might put pressure on either Waxman or one of the networks to actually take up the offer.
cross-posted at Let Sibel Edmonds Speak
(Email me if you want to be added to my Sibel email list. Subject: 'Sibel email list')
Wouldn't you know it, my over-laden browser finally crashed, taking with it a couple dozen interesting sites that I opened up, which have already slid off the browser's history page. However, I managed to get through most of them before it halted.
"The Deal," about a sleazy oil executive, Christian Slater, who gets tangled up in some kind of deal to traffic illegal oil, looks really sweet and I wish it was playing in town. Because we're going north of $60 a barrel, baby, and it ain't comin back down...
It looks like John Bolton may refuse to accept a recess appointment, perhaps because it would be Quite Silly to have a UN ambassador that never got approved by the Senate. But sillier things have happened. The Washington Note is still the place to look for news on it.
Iran's election happened. There's a real good user, alimostofi, posting every day about Iran on the Agonist, as well as the unwieldy nickname vsredthoughtsecondedition at DailyKos. The Lebanese Daily Star has a piece making fun of the Western media. Gordon Robison, the author of that piece, has a new site, mideastanalysis.com. But can it meet the Juan Cole standard?
(Cole's analysis of what makes a last "throe" is hilarious, as well as Ahmadinejad's usage of Bush-style political tactics. And Afghanistan's "neo-Taliban" forces are regrouping for another round.)
AmericaSedition or America's Edition? Karl Rove says there's not much difference these days. Also check out news of the apocalypse at The Boom Shelter. "What happens in Gitmo stays in Gitmo." Thanks, Rush.
The Supreme Court is less beloved than ever, by both left and right, polls show.
"It's unbelievable," one State Department official said. "It's a pretty cushy arrangement for a terrorist organization. But the Pentagon continues to see them as useful, and they seem to be playing a waiting game until the policy toward the MEK changes."
Guardian: WMD claims were 'totally implausible':
A key Foreign Office diplomat responsible for liaising with UN inspectors says today that claims the government made about Iraq's weapons programme were "totally implausible".
He tells the Guardian: "I'd read the intelligence on WMD for four and a half years, and there's no way that it could sustain the case that the government was presenting. All of my colleagues knew that, too".
Carne Ross, who was a member of the British mission to the UN in New York during the run-up to the invasion, resigned from the FO last year, after giving evidence to the Butler inquiry...
Poor Senator Durbin. Fell yet again to the Republican strategy of bitching about how someone is bitching in order to avoid talking about what's so bitch-worthy in the first place. Now we all know about how you shouldn't compare your opponent to Nazis, it's worth considering how spooky absolute power is being implemented in our system of government. This guy complains that it's the startup chime of fascism. Actually he didn't phrase it that way. I did...
The Red States got their own mega community blog. Good for them. I hope they can reach a better level than littlegreenfootballs.
Agonist:Toxic waste containers wash up in Somalia. This story about Bird Flu drugs being rendered useless by wide use in China is depressing.
The Downing Street reporter reflects on the nine months since he got the first Downing Street Memo. This focuses more attention on the "secret, illegal air war without the backing of Congress" as he terms it.
Also on the Agonist, Sean-Paul is cackling a bit about how he was already covering the airstrikes against Iraq before the War Proper started... he notes the monopoly media "in the run up to their wargasm they missed several very important stories that were sitting in their faces" Wargasm. I like it. This is in response to a big feature at RawStory about the massive pre-war Iraq bombing campaign that some people are now pondering as illegal. I am sorry I used the inherently false phrase "massive pre-war Iraq bombing campaign." As RawStory explains:
“It was no big secret at the time,” GlobalSecurity.org director John Pike told RAW STORY. “It was apparent to us at the time that they were doing it and why they were doing it, and that was part of the reason why we were convinced that a decision to go to war had already been made, because the war had already started.”
Over four years ago, more than four months prior to the September 11 terrorist attacks, during April 2001, a long-term FBI informant/asset who had been providing the bureau with information since 1990, provided two FBI agents and a translator with specific information regarding a terrorist attack being planned by Osama Bin Laden.
This asset/informant was previously a high-level intelligence officer in Iran in charge of intelligence from Afghanistan. Through his contacts in Afghanistan he received information that:
1. Osama Bin Laden was planning a major terrorist attack in the United States targeting 4-5 major cities;
2. The attack was going to involve airplanes;
3. Some of the individuals in charge of carrying out this attack were already in place in the United States;
4. The attack was going to be carried out soon, in a few months.
The agents who received this information reported it to their superior, Special Agent in Charge of Counterterrorism, Thomas Frields, at the FBI Washington Field Office, by filing “302” forms, and the translator, Mr. Behrooz Sarshar, translated and documented this information. No action was taken by the Special Agent in Charge, Thomas Frields, and after 9/11 the agents and the translators were told to ‘keep quiet’ regarding this issue. The translator who was present during the session with the FBI informant, Mr. Behrooz Sarshar, reported this incident to Director Mueller in writing, and later to the Department of Justice Inspector General.
The press reported this incident, and in fact the report in the Chicago Tribune on July 21, 2004 stated that FBI officials had confirmed that this information was received in April 2001, and further, the Chicago Tribune quoted an aide to Director Mueller that he (Mueller) was surprised that the Commission never raised this particular issue with him during the hearing (Refer to Chicago Tribune article, dated July 21, 2004).
Mr. Sarshar reported this issue to the 9/11 Commission on February 12, 2004, and provided them with specific dates, location, witness names, and the contact information for that particular Iranian asset and the two special agents who received the information. I provided the 9/11 Commission with a detailed and specific account of this issue, the names of other witnesses, and documents I had seen. Mr. Sarshar also provided the Department of Justice Inspector General with specific information regarding this case.
For almost four years since September 11, officials refused to admit to having specific information regarding the terrorists’ plans to attack the United States. The Phoenix Memo, received months prior to the 9/11 attacks, specifically warned FBI HQ of pilot training and their possible link to terrorist activities against the United States. Four months prior to the terrorist attacks the Iranian asset provided the FBI with specific information regarding the ‘use of airplanes’, ‘major US cities as targets’, and ‘Osama Bin Laden issuing the order. ’ Coleen Rowley likewise reported that specific information had been provided to FBI HQ. All this information went to the same place: FBI Headquarters in Washington, DC, and the FBI Washington Field Office, in Washington DC.
In October 2001, approximately one month after the September 11 attack, an agent from (city name omitted) field office, re-sent a certain document to the FBI Washington Field Office, so that it could be re-translated. This Special Agent, in light of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, rightfully believed that, considering his target of investigation (the suspect under surveillance), and the issues involved, the original translation might have missed certain information that could prove to be valuable in the investigation of terrorist activities. After this document was received by the FBI Washington Field Office and retranslated verbatim, the field agent’s hunch appeared to be correct. The new translation revealed certain information regarding blueprints, pictures, and building material for skyscrapers being sent overseas (country name omitted). It also revealed certain illegal activities in obtaining visas from certain embassies in the Middle East, through network contacts and bribery. However, after the re-translation was completed and the new significant information was revealed, the unit supervisor in charge of certain Middle Eastern languages, Mike Feghali, decided NOT to send the re-translated information to the Special Agent who had requested it.
I found another story about Edmonds at TomFlocco.com. However, Tom Flocco seems like he might be crazy. Consider this: "Campaign coffers profit from 911, coke and courts: FBI linguist won’t deny intelligence intercepts tied 911 drug money to U.S. election campaigns":
"It’s so simple," Edmonds told TomFlocco.com. "Nobody is looking at the Department of Defense aspect of the whole 911 cover-up. The FBI is citing two reasons for my gag order: to protect ‘sensitive’ diplomatic relations and to protect foreign U.S. business relationships."
In attempting to let the American people how close the 911 cover-up comes to home, Edmonds told us, "I will say this: the FBI is only a mouthpiece for the State Department. The State Department is the main reason for the cover-up. It has to do with foreign business relationships and who they are...Pakistan, Turkey...espionage in the State Department...preventing an investigation." The former FBI translator has implicated everything "from drugs to money laundering to arms sales. And yes, there are certain convergences with all these activities and international terrorism," adding "they don’t deal with 1 or 5 million dollars, but with hundreds of millions."
While only a subpoena, testimony and questioning by non-political, career prosecutors will properly answer the insider trading question, we asked Sibel Edmonds the big question anyway--given the above FBI track record implicating espionage:
Do you deny that the FBI intercepts you translated indicated that financial arrangements were in place well before the 911 attacks to both fund and profit from the World Trade Center and Pentagon "terrorism" while also facilitating the laundering of drug money into recent congressional and presidential campaigns? "I cannot comment on that, Tom. You know I’m under a gag order," she said.
Hilarious! But kind of cheesy journalism. She could deny any crazy question. On the other hand, this Tom Flocco story about a brainwashing sex ring operating at the highest levels of government is hands-down the funniest "news" I've read in a long time.
Even more important: Mean gossip about Jared Fogle.
Was GHW Bush linked to JFK's shooting? Sure, why not?
Danny Bonaduce advocates killing Rosie O'Donnell for questioning 9/11 WTC 7 story:
Here is a 7-minute clip from Thursday's The View featuring Rosie first talking about Gulf of Tonkin type provocations such as today's Iran episode, and towards the end she gets into the WTC 7 case. This is what prompted the Bonaduce Fatwa:
This week saw a major spilling out of 9/11 conspiracy material into the mainstream media. Now I am not a follower of this or that 9/11 conspiracy theory, but I do think major sections of the official story are suspicious and there needs to be a new independent investigation.
This is a death-worthy position, to some.
If you really think the 9/11 Commission was honest, watch 9/11 Press for Truth, a simple video about some 9/11 widows who set out to expose the truth. Here's the nut of it: The Widow-discovered material was only included in the final report because the widows forced it into the sunlight, NOT because Phil Zelikow, the chief investigator, was honest.
If not for the widows, major parts would still be sheathed in official secrecy, this video makes brutally clear. 9/11 Press For Truth is not a conspiracy video. If you're trying to introduce someone to 9/11 skepticism this is the best video, NOT Loose Change or the other conspiracy videos.
Humorously, the official site of Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has a publicly posted page about 9/11 Truthiness concerns.
Firefighters are pissed off with Giuliani over 9/11 and dishonest claims about site safety. This stuff is just as important as any of the random conspiracy theories (though the PrisonPlanet link has some of that too)
The Sibel Edmonds case connects to 9/11, as Edmonds uncovered 9/11 financing links when she worked at the FBI. Our man on the scene, Lukery, had a summary of the case on DailyKos. More on this later. In the meantime check out Lukery's two side blogs: Kill the Messenger: Sibel Edmonds and Let Sibel Edmonds Speak. Posts interesting include: James Bamford: 'I support Sibel Edmonds. You should too.' and Let Sibel Edmonds Speak: Transpartisan Coalition Calls for Whistleblower Hearings. Two FBI Whistleblowers Confirm Illegal Wiretapping of Government Officials and Misuse of FISA and Phil Giraldi on Perle, Feith & Sibel Edmonds. This is a huge case, linked to 9/11 and lots of other major malfeasance. It deserves a better hearing than I can give it right now.
Check out Patriots Question 9/11.com including material from former Sens. Mark Dayton and Max Cleland. Jesse Ventura, Joe Wilson and Dennis Kucinich too! A lot of these claims have to do with basic government dishonesty and ass-covering, which is really just as important as any random conspiracy theory.
I support skepticism, not advocating dogma or grand conspiracy theories. It's not an act of hatred to question authority, despite what Avatars of Wisdom like Bonaduce say.
The House Intel Committee Chairmanship is the prize: We have three choices: Rep. Alcee Hastings, a corrupt judge, Rep. Jane Harman, the right-wing Israel lobby's close friend, or Rep. Silvestre Reyes, who apparently thinks notorious Iranian schemer and Iran-Contra front guy Manucher Ghorbanifar is a nifty dude. Compounding matters, Hastings is black, Reyes is Hispanic and Harman is Jewish (and married to the Harman Kardon speaker guy). Setting aside 'identity politics,' who's involved with all this?
...The guy who invented the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers is involved. Plus: My money is on David Wurmser or his wife Meyrav getting indicted as a Mossad officer involved in the Franklin scandal. Best guess, seems kinda obvious. Onward we go, into murky matters a-plenty.
The widely publicized battle between Hoyer and Murtha last week was spun all out of size by the media, as priggish establishment guys like Dana Milbank gave us popcorn for a bemusing spectacle of donkeys eating their own. Monopolizing cable TV imagery was a mysteriously leaked video of Murtha turning down a bribe from the old days. The video should have been under lock and key at the Justice Department, but it seems the old hands are still out playing information warfare, with DOJ surveillance material evidence as a bargaining chip for use in the American Spectator.
I suspect this might set the tone for a lot of what's to come in 2007, as the knives come out in Washington for a whole collision of international espionage, scandals and bullshit. The Republicans have to paint the Dems as corrupt and disloyal, and with the FBI all over town and various spy scandals simmering below the surface, everyone in the Democratic Party involved with intelligence matters is going to be put in the squeeze. Foreign lobbyists, "agents of influence," the globalization of K Street, it's all sort of gone out of control the last few years. A lot of money has been slush-funded around Washington, and the Democrats are not clean in this game, though of course, without having any levers of power the last few years, they can't have been too rich of pickings anyway.
The central venue of these matters could wind up being the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, which have the onerous task of deciphering the operations of foreign governments against the United States while balancing international alliances, trading blocs and the other affairs of state below the surface. Complicating matters, political appointees pressure CIA analysts to spoof intelligence with the intent of deceiving congressional politicians – as with the pre-war Iraq intelligence. Even on the Intelligence Committee, Democrats were spoon-fed morsels of unsubstantiated garbage about Saddam's weapons. Only now do we find evidence that Congress was manipulated – and no one has paid the price.
These Intelligence Committees have a lot of explaining to do. WMD is just the surface of their horrible problems, as spy penetrations of American government agencies have gone thoroughly unexamined. (Turkish spy in the FBI Melek Can Dickerson, anyone?) With Rep. Jane Harman as Democratic leader, the hardcore of these matters has totally been brushed under the rug, and Harman, while posturing as a "centrist" in the elaborate nest of thinktank bullshit that passes for our foreign policy, has instead let one huge intelligence scandal after another go wafting past with nary a word. Harman has a lot of explaining to do.
Iraq and Iran have been the two leading concerns, but such affairs as the AIPAC espionage scandal a more awkward embarrassing one. To recap: Lawrence "Larry" Franklin, a Defense Department analyst with top clearance and staffer at the famed intel-spoofing Office of Special Plans, passed classified information to top officials of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee, who in turn contacted officials of the Israeli Embassy tasked to intelligence - Mossad officers, more or less. The first time Franklin was caught by the FBI, he literally wandered up to the AIPAC officials in a restaurant – AIPAC was already under surveillance – and the FBI agents must have been shocked to see this nerd simply come cold-calling with secrets. The AIPAC guys shrewdly declined to take any material, and instead Franklin verbally conveyed the innermost secret Pentagon deliberations on Iran policy.
The FBI used their evidence of this incident to flip Franklin, and he helped them catch the AIPAC guys with planted intel that FBI wiretaps traced moving back to the Israeli embassy. A serious matter of counter-intelligence, and pretty classic espionage work, really. The FBI Counter-Intelligence section is the gatekeeper to a whole mess of fucking problems, and what happens to them in the next couple years is going to tell the tale of whether the Empire survives in its current form, pretty much.
What of Rep. Harman? Well basically, as the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Harman had all the keys to the castle a Dem could possibly have. In many cases, only her and Rep. Peter Hoekstra, the outgoing Republican Committee chair, got the top-shelf intelligence. So it was Rep. Harman that fate chose to convey the details of AIPAC's operations from the FBI (and CIA?) to the rest of the Democratic Party leadership. The problem is that Harman is a hard-line supporter of AIPAC and the general right-wing Israeli political agenda, and so it appears she helped cover for AIPAC's crimes, and it seems this has offended Pelosi. Pelosi's definitely pissed, judging from broad hints dropped in the Washington Post:
Another question is whether Pelosi will appoint Rep. Jane Harman, currently the top Democrat on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, to head the prestigious panel. Pelosi has nursed a well-publicized grudge against her fellow California Democrat because she believes Harman has not been a tough enough critic of President Bush on security matters, while using her ties to the influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee to lobby for the chairmanship.
TIME Magazine also got into this, reporting Harman may now be snagged in the upcoming Larry Franklin trial itself. Here is the TIME story, for your edification:
Exclusive: Feds Probe a Top Democrat's Relationship with AIPAC
The Department of Justice is investigating whether Rep. Jane Harman and the pro-Israel group worked together to get her reappointed as the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee
By TIMOTHY J. BURGER/WASHINGTON
Did a Democratic member of Congress improperly enlist the support of a major pro-Israel lobbying group to try to win a top committee assignment? That's the question at the heart of an ongoing investigation by the FBI and Justice Department prosecutors, who are examining whether Rep. Jane Harman of California and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) may have violated the law in a scheme to get Harman reappointed as the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, according to knowledgeable sources in and out of the U.S. government.
The sources tell TIME that the investigation by Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which has simmered out of sight since about the middle of last year, is examining whether Harman and AIPAC arranged for wealthy supporters to lobby House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi on Harman's behalf. Harman said Thursday in a voicemail message that any investigation of — or allegation of improper conduct by — her would be "irresponsible, laughable and scurrilous." On Friday, Washington GOP super lawyer Ted Olson left voicemail messages underscoring that Harman has no knowledge of any investigation. "Congresswoman Harman has asked me to follow up on calls you've had," Olsosn said. "She is not aware of any such investigation, does not believe that it is occurring, and wanted to make sure that you and your editors knew that as far as she knows, that's not true... . No one from the Justice Department has contacted her." It is not, however, a given that Harman would know that she is under investigation. In a follow-up phone call from California, Olson said Harman hired him this morning because she takes seriously the possibility of a media report about an investigation of her, even though she does not believe it herself.
A spokesman for AIPAC, a powerful Washington-based organization with more than 100,000 members across the U.S., denied any wrongdoing by the group and stressed that it is not taking sides in regards to the committee assignment. Spokespersons for Justice and the FBI declined to comment. The case is a spin-off of a probe that has already led to charges under the Espionage Act against two AIPAC lobbyists, whose case is still pending, and to a 12 and a half year prison sentence for former Defense Intelligence Agency official Lawrence A. Franklin. Franklin pleaded guilty a year ago to three felony counts involving improper disclosure and handling of classified information about the Middle East and terrorism to the two lobbyists, who in turn are accused of passing it on to a journalist and a foreign government, widely believed to be Israel. The two lobbyists, who have denied any wrongdoing but were dismissed by AIPAC in April of 2005, were indicted on felony counts of conspiring with government officials to receive classified information they were not authorized to have access to and providing national defense information to people not entitled to receive it.
Around mid-2005, the investigation expanded to cover aspects of Harman's quiet but aggressive campaign to persuade House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to reappoint her to the prestigious position on the House intel panel. The alleged campaign to support Harman for the leadership post came amid media reports that Pelosi had soured on her California colleague and might name Rep. Alcee Hastings of Florida, himself a major supporter of Israel, to succeed Harman.
The sources say the probe also involves whether, in exchange for the help from AIPAC, Harman agreed to help try to persuade the Administration to go lighter on the AIPAC officials caught up in the ongoing investigation. If that happened, it might be construed as an illegal quid-pro-quo, depending on the context of the situation. But the sources caution that there has been no decision to charge anyone and that it is unclear whether Harman and AIPAC acted on the idea.
AIPAC spokesman Patrick Dorton denies that the organization has engaged in any improper conduct. "Both Congressman Hastings and Congresswoman Harman are strong leaders on issues of importance to the pro-Israel community and would be exemplary Democratic leaders for the House intelligence committee," Dorton said. "AIPAC would never engage in a quid-pro-quo in relation to a federal investigation or any federal matter and the notion that it would do so is preposterous. AIPAC is not aware that the Justice Department is looking into issues involving the intelligence committee, and has not been asked any questions or contacted by the government on this matter, but certainly would cooperate with any inquiry." Dorton added that AIPAC has previously been assured that the organization and its current employees are not being investigated. In this same investigation, the Justice Department has previously suggested that AIPAC had questionable motives in trying to help a valued government contact remain in a sensitive national security post. The Justice Department alleges in its indictment of Franklin that he asked one of the two AIPAC lobbyists to "put in a good word" for him in seeking assignment to the National Security Council. The document says the AIPAC official noted that such a job would put Franklin "by the elbow of the President" and said he would "do what I can."
AIPAC lists praise from Pelosi among a series of quotes from world leaders on its web site: "The special relationship between the United States and Israel is as strong as it is because of your (AIPAC's) fidelity to that partnership..." But congressional sources say Pelosi has been infuriated by pressure from some major donors lobbying on behalf of Harman. In a story touching on tensions between Pelosi and Harman, an alternative California publication, LA Weekly, reported in May that Harman "had some major contributors call Pelosi to impress upon her the importance of keeping Jane in place. According to these members, this tactic, too, hasn't endeared Harman to Pelosi."
A congressional source tells TIME that the lobbbying for Harman has included a phone call several months ago from entertainment industry billionaire and major Democratic party contributor Haim Saban. A Saban spokeswoman said he could not be reached for comment. A phone call pushing for a particular member's committee assignment might be unwelcome, but it would not normally be illegal on its own. And it is unclear whether Saban — who made much of his fortune with the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers children's franchise — knew that lobbying Pelosi might be viewed by others as part of a larger alleged plan.
Saban has donated at least $3,000 to Harman's campaign, according to Federal Election Commission records, and the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, which he sponsors at the prestigious Brookings Institution, boasts Harman among its biggest fans. "When the Saban Center talks, I listen," Harman said at a Saban Center briefing in February on U.S. strategy in Iraq. Harman quipped that, in order to attend the session at Brookings, she had to "blow off" a senior intelligence official's appearance before a House committee.
If Harman gains control of the Committee, she will probably continue to exaggerate the nuclear threat from Iran in accordance with the hawk domestic political strategy - and that intersects with the Israeli intelligence community's need to manipulate American perceptions of Iran. Harman would probably not be a pawn of AIPAC, but she would certainly give them the benefit of friendly top-level political access that she has provided them with for years. (and she would probably be more likely to lock out the Israeli peace movement, I would bet) And would she be aggressive in protecting American weapons technologies? Given recent Israeli tech transfers to China and others, not too likely. That story by Jim Lobe includes the Mossad procuring PROMIS - nifty spy stuff all around:
It would be a mistake to see Franklin as the chief target of the current investigation, according to sources, but rather he should be viewed as one piece of a much broader puzzle.
The Corrupt Judge: Rep. Alcee Hastings was the primary alternative to Harman, the Dem's number-two. But he got thrown out of a federal judgeship for taking bribes, and therefore would appear a bad choice in terms of PR. If the bribes are merely the tip of the iceberg, he could be easily blackmailed by any foreign power, I would wager. It would appear Hastings is already finished for the chair because the Congressional Black Caucus will get other goodies.
What about Reyes and Manucher Ghorbanifar? The apparent final option for House Intel chair is one Rep. Silvestre Reyes, who has gotten bopped in the last couple days with news that he participated in secret meetings in Paris with Manucher Ghorbanifar. Ghorbanifar is kind of like the Jimmy Hoffa of the Middle East, an almost mythical arms dealer and information peddler extraordinaire who operates with impunity all over the place. The CIA hates Ghorbanifar, to be sure, as he sold them all kinds of deceptive bullshit in the 1980s and wanted to get paid for it. He was a point man for the Iranian side in Iran-Contra, and he and Michael Ledeen are great, great friends. The CIA issued a 'burn notice' that no one in the Agency should talk to this cat, ever.
So when silly Republican congressmen want to play at being badass spies, Ghorbanifar is all too happy to feed them a bunch of enticing bullshit for money – and sow the seeds of a U.S.-Iranian war he would profit from vastly. The recently defeated Republican Rep. Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania was apparently entranced by Ghorbanifar, and went public trying to get him back on the CIA payroll. Weldon was a "loose cannon" on intelligence matters, and quite convinced that the Able Danger military intelligence system exposed the 9/11 hijackers before the attacks but got dropped due to the interference of Pentagon lawyers. He also tried to mount an WMD search expedition to Iraq to go check out some coordinates someone gave him.
And in 2003, Reyes tagged along with Weldon to meet Ghorbanifar in a hotel in Paris. (Franklin, too, was at a well-documented secret meeting with Ledeen and Ghorbanifar in December 2001, but that is yet another funny story). This raises the question of whether Reyes, like Weldon, is yet another lightweight dupe for foreign spymaster bullshit. To be honest, if I were in Reyes position, I would have informed the appropriate State Department office that monitors these contacts, and then going to see what on earth Ghorbanifar was selling.
To Reyes credit, it appears this is exactly what he did. According to reporter Laura Rozen, the CIA thoroughly checked the hotel area and made sure they weren't going to get kidnapped, and the meeting went forth in a quiet corner of the restaurant.
In sum total: The FBI has the evidence already. The shape of spy scandals to get exposed depends on who runs the Intelligence committees, and Reyes seems like the only good choice. The Democrats are not clean of these scandals, and Republican Hoekstra is probably going to have his revenge with Harman by spilling bits of the AIPAC matter (mainly because Harman noisily leaked material from the Duke Cunningham corruption case).
Our only hope are representatives that put America first, above all. A staggering amount of money is getting stolen from the U.S., and our best weapons technologies are flying out the door. This republic has only its interests and assets to defend from the rest of the world, and we require sound, decent leadership that can clean our political systems of pernicious foreign spies and penetration operations. A new, non-partisan political basis in favor of proper counter-intelligence is seriously required, and we are fucked unless that happens.
Now a couple bits from the Wayne Madsen Report - taken with many grains of salt: interesting but not guaranteed information: includes a Sibel Edmonds guest column:
November 17/18/19, 2006 -- Federal law enforcement sources report that a senior retired Mossad officer is the subject of a sealed indictment in the Larry Franklin-America Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) espionage case. The retired officer, a former terrorism adviser to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, worked under a relatively new type of Israeli intelligence cover in Washington -- association with a think tank, in this case the neo-conservative Hudson Institute. The subject of the sealed indictment and other Israeli agents using U.S. think tank cover operate as handlers for spies like Franklin and others.
November 17/18/19, 2006 -- Capitol Hill sources report that Jane Harman, the ranking Democratic member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), whose chairmanship is opposed by Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi, attempted to interfere in the Justice Department's investigation of the America Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) for espionage.
Harman's AIPAC activities have sunk her chances to be HPSCI chair.
Harman reportedly agreed to work with Republican chairman Peter Hoekstra to avoid an investigation of the cooked up pre-war intelligence on Iraq in return for the Bush administration going easy on the investigation of AIPAC officials Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman, both later indicted for receiving highly classified documents from Israeli Pentagon spy Larry Franklin.
The word is that Harman's involvement with AIPAC has torpedoed her chances of becoming HPSCI chair with California's two Democratic Senators, Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, both weighing in with Pelosi against Harman becoming chairman.
In his farewell address in 1796, George Washington warned that America must be constantly awake against “the insidious wiles of foreign influence…since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government.”
Today, foreign influence, that most baneful foe of our republican government, has its tentacles entrenched in almost all major decision making and policy producing bodies of the U.S. government machine. It does so not secretly, since its self-serving activities are advocated and legitimized by highly positioned parties that reap the benefits that come in the form of financial gain and positions of power.
Foreign governments and foreign-owned private interests have long sought to influence U.S. public policy. Several have accomplished this goal; those who are able and willing to pay what it takes. Those who buy themselves a few strategic middlemen, commonly known as pimps, while in DC circles referred to as foreign registered agents and lobbyists, who facilitate and bring about desired transactions. These successful foreign entities have mastered the art of ‘covering all the bases’ when it comes to buying influence in Washington DC. They have the required recipe down pat: get yourself a few ‘Dime a Dozen Generals,’ bid high in the ‘former statesmen lobby auction’, and put in your pocket one or two ‘ex-congressmen turned lobbyists’ who know the ropes when it comes to pocketing a few dozen who still serve.
The most important facet of this influence to consider is what happens when the active and powerful foreign entities’ objectives are in direct conflict with our nation’s objectives and its interests and security; and when this is the case, who pays the ultimate price and how. There is no need for assumptions of hypothetical situations to answer these questions, since throughout recent history we have repeatedly faced the dire consequences of the hijacking of our foreign and domestic policies by these so-called foreign agents of foreign influence.
Let’s illustrate this with the most important recent case, the catastrophe endured by our people; the September Eleven terrorist attacks. Let’s observe how certain foreign interests, combined with their U.S. agents and benefactors, overrode the interests and security of the entire nation; how thousands of victims and their loved ones were kicked aside to serve the interests of a few; foreign influence and its agents.
Sibel Edmonds would appear to be going into the 9/11-Turkish connection without saying so. Interesting. To be continued, eh??
TheMemoryHole.org: LSD Reports From the US Military, mostly from back in the 1950s. Totally for real. I was delighted to hear that Albert Hofmann, the Swiss chemist who inadvertently created Lysergic Acid Diethyl-Amide, celebrated his 100th birthday this week. Thanks, Albert! You are cooler than all the Beat poets combined! (I just had this vision of a giant Allen Ginsberg robot stomping around Tokyo. I've got to lay off these magic droplets!)
We'll have lots more later today, but this batch of goodies should entertain until later.
This idea that we are living in a unique time that calls for special measures is what they always say. (And this current fantasy about the unique threat that proved our oceans couldn't protect us is particularly rich considering they fearmongered a communist threat of total annihilation for decades.) Often cooler heads are able to quell the worst excesses (like the fervent belief that we needed to launch a tactical nuclear war against the commies) and satisfy the right wing's other ongoing paranoid fantasy --- the left as a fifth column --- with silly, wasteful surveillance of animal rights groups or Quakers or former Beatles (along with pernicious surveillance of their partisan opponents.)
They are rhinestone cowboys who are scared to death and don't know how to contain their fear. So they lash out at their domestic political enemies, who they can bluster about and pretend to be tough, while hiding behind the military uniforms of their Big Brother and Preznit Daddy (which is a real stretch when it comes to Junior.)
The fact that they continue to win elections as being the tough guys perhaps says more about our puerile culture than anything else. They lash out like frightened children and too many people see that as courage or resolve.
Violent Islamic fundamentalism is a serious problem, not an existential threat. And it's a difficult problem that requires adults who can keep their heads about them when the terrorists put on their scary show, not big-for-their-age eight year olds staging a temper tantrum.
War and Piece rocks for your Washington 'defense' and neocon tidbits. Laura Rozen 'gets it.'
Parapolitics, from those calm people at PrisonPlanet: Spooky AOL Ad Says Big Brother Is Watching the Internet. At this site, AOL is essentially trying to scare people off the Internet? A few other PP posts, some from other sources: Doug Thompson, Capitol Hill Blue: A President at war with America. Local paper reports that Canadian Army to occupy downtown Winnipeg as part of a drill. The Decline of the American Empire and the ever-popular 9/11 intrigue thread, Silverstein Answers WTC Building 7 Charges, are by PP writers. Around and around it goes.
From the similar SIANews.com, a division of LibertyThink, MySpace.com: Rupert Murdoch's New Takeover/IP-invasion Project and Michael Berg Changes Story About Nick & Moussaoui. I think it is funny that this one dude, Michael P. Wright of Norman Oklahoma, is on a crusade to prove whatever the hell happened with Nick Berg - and the fact that Zacharias Moussaoui somehow had Berg's computer password is one of the weirdest 9/11 anomalies out there. Seriously, my best of luck to him, but whatever happened seems to have been covered up quite thoroughly.
The DeLay Babylon Project: WaPo: The DeLay-Abramoff Money Trail. Case Bringing New Scrutiny To a System and a Profession. Think Progress » Abramoff: The House That Jack Built.
Even David Brooks rips GOP over Abramoff and sleaze. Oh Bobo, where's the love?
Followup on Sibel Edmonds: Edmonds has evidently told the blogger at 'Wot Is It Good 4' that he's brought together many Sibel-approved nuggets of info/conspiracy. So let's list: sibel and feith and perle?, Outing Plame? or Outing Brewster Jennings? and of course sibel edmonds, brewster jennings, edelman and grossman. I'll have some more on this later.
Secret Pentagon Study: Armor Problems Have Killed Many. Sounds like whoever wrote that thing is about to get fired and find a horse head in their bed.
...the creation of intelligence product has demonstrably been compromised, this is what Afterdowningstreet shows, what Daschle's comments on the information that Bush gave, and didn't on spygate shows, and what the constant flow of rosy scenario Iraq reconstruction reports show. Computer people have a phrase "GIGO" for "Garbage In, Garbage Out", but there is also the "filter effect", where a program or mathematical operation yields the same result no matter what is put in.
With a lumpenexecutive at the top, and a corruption of the synthesis process, all the high sounding organizational ideas are not worth anything. Further more, if there were a serious drive to integrate information, then people such as Crowley [Rowley? -Hongpong] - who wrote one of the two "gun shot residue" memos on the possibility of terrorists learning how to fly planes - would be promoted, not exiled, and the people who have overseen the failure to find the Anthrax attacker or forsee 9/11 would not have been promoted to the top of the counter-terrorism chain. An agency run by screw ups, is going to screw up. An agency managed by kiss ups, is going to spend its time managing up, not down.
Also he makes the point that the 'terror' organizations pursued by the FBI fail to include right-wing Christian groups. I feel that Newberry's basic theory of what constitutes 'terrorism' is really pretty accurate:
Thus, there is not only an ineffective executive, but an entire subculture whose functional effectiveness is degraded by the realization that they work for a political, and not national, security apparatus. There is a willing participation in the construction of an inaccurate paradigm, the construction of institutions designed to perpetuate and disseminate that inaccurate paradigm, the execution of plans based around that inaccurate paradigm, and the acceptance of the deaths of hundreds of Americans and thousands of civilians because of the willfully inaccurate and criminally negligent handling of the global war on terrorism. The trend line is not upwards for ourside, but flat. And that means that the next spectacular terrorist attack on our soil is a matter of when, not if.
The corruption of executive institution, the willing prostitution of the executive branch of government, and the politicization of hierarchy and research are the root causes for our failure to decapitate Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations.
Terrorism has two modes: that of asymmetrical warfare - where one side chooses not to oppose the military of the other side directly, but instead attacks civilians or prisoners. The other is a mode of political control, where privileged - economically or politically is immaterial - actors act in arbitrary and capricious ways, often through proxies, to prevent the formation of political counter-consensus. This second form of terrorism is far more common and pervasive. Its actions account for the bulk of deaths by terrorization. The use of terror and terrorization is an intergral part of warfare and even governance, in that some agentes will only be deterred by the possibility of disproportionate force. However, it only becomes terrorism, when there is the attempt to terrorize the mean, not the extreme, of the body politic. It also is terrorism when there is the discontinuity with the rule of law. The difference between repression and terrorism, is that terrorism strikes without legal justification or accountability. Crystalnacht was terrorism, Dachau was something far worse.
This paradigm makes it clear that the flip side of non-state terrorism, and revolutionary or anarchist terrorism, is state or hierarchical terrorism. The two are co-dependent upon each other.
All right. The State Dept straightens it out: “Identifying Misinformation” as summarized by FTW.
Liberal hawks piss me off because they seem to wholly lack integrity. Ugh.
Liberal Hawks: Flying in Neocon Circles
By Tom Barry
In the heat of Iraq the neoconservatives are seeing their visions of Pax Americana turn into nightmares and headaches. But they are not alone. Liberal hawks like Ivo Daalder, Robert Kerrey, and Will Marshall also find themselves discredited as the quagmire in Iraq swallows up all their arguments supporting the invasion and occupation.
Wednesday, August 10th, 2005: Did Speaker Hastert Accept Turkish Bribes to Deny Armenian Genocide and Approve Weapons Sales?
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Vanity Fair alleges that Hastert may have been the recipient of tens of thousands of dollars of secret payments from Turkish officials in exchange for political favors and information. In the article, titled "An Inconvenient Patriot," Edmonds says that she gave confidential testimony about the payments to congressional staffers, the Inspector General and members of the 9/11 Commission. Edmonds says that she heard of the payments while listening to FBI wiretaps of Turkish officials who were under surveillance by the FBI.
Sibel Edmonds speaks Farsi, Turkish and Azerbaijani. She was hired after September eleventh by the FBI to translate pre-9-11 intelligence gathered by the agency. She has publicly accused the U.S of having considerable evidence that Al Qaeda was planning to strike the United States using airplanes as weapons.
Democracy Now contacted Congressman Hastert's office and the Turkish Embassy for comment. They did not return our phone calls.
AMY GOODMAN: We're joined in our D.C. studio by Sibel Edmonds. We are also joined on the telephone from Britain by David Rose, an investigative reporter and author of the Vanity Fair article. David Rose, let's begin with you. Can you lay out your thesis in this Vanity Fair piece?
DAVID ROSE: Well, I try to tell the whole story of Sibel Edmonds' treatment by the FBI and by the Department of Justice from the beginning until the current time in rather more detail than before, but I suppose what is the most striking feature is I tried to look at why the government has invoked the State Secrets privilege in this case. As you say, just as in the Maher Arar case, the government is saying that her case against the authorities for having her fired can't proceed because to let any of the evidence about what lies behind it out in court, even in a court which has been security cleared where the attorneys have top secret clearance, would jeopardize the foreign policy and national security interests of the United States. And, by the way, I think it's interesting that in his declaration about this, John Ashcroft, the former Attorney General, uses that formulation: foreign policy and national security interests.
So, as Ann Beeson, Sibel's attorney from the ACLU, says in the article, "Well, what could they be trying to hide?" And that's what I set out to try to find out. And I think there is now considerable evidence that what they may be trying to hide is not simply a national security scandal, but something potentially much more explosive and embarrassing, namely, evidence that some Turksih groups, some of them officials of the government, some private individuals, perhaps associated or allegedly associated with organized crime, have been making efforts to corrupt elected American officials and also appointed government officials in the United States, and one name that has cropped up in wiretaps, which my informants tell me Sibel Edmonds translated, is that of the Speaker of the House, Denny Hastert, as you say.
AMY GOODMAN: Sibel Edmonds, what did you learn about Dennis Hastert when you were an FBI translator after 9/11, listening to these pre-9/11 wiretaps?
SIBEL EDMONDS: Good morning, Amy.
AMY GOODMAN: It"s good to have you with us.
SIBEL EDMONDS: Thank you. Thank you for having me back. Well, as you know, I'm under several gag orders, and I have been for the past three, three"-and-a-half years. And as far as disclosing information that the Americans have the right to know, I have already done that. I have done that repeatedly for the past three years. And I have gone through the appropriate channels. I have gone to the United States Congress. I have gone to the 9/11 Commission. I disclosed information in secure facilities in all of these channels, including the Inspector General's office for the Department of Justice. And to this date, as you know, we have an Inspector General's report that has come out and said my allegations, my report have been supported by other witnesses, by other documents, by other facts and evidence. Three years ago, you had two senators coming out saying that the FBI during unclassified briefings have confirmed all my allegations, and they have denied none. So, whatever I have reported have already been confirmed.
It's been three years, and the government still insists in invoking the State Secret privilege. As you know, last year they went ahead and they gagged the United States Congress, by the way, illegally. And according to my attorneys, I am the most gagged American in the United States history, and nobody is asking why. They aren"t saying, "Why is it that the government is going to such length to invoke State Secret privilege, to gag the Congress, to classify the Inspector General's report, to stop the 9/11 family members' attorneys to subpoena my deposition?" And the answer to this question is it's not to protect any national security. It is not to protect any ongoing investigations, because to this day they have never used that. Do you know why they have never used the fact that, oh, maybe this is an ongoing investigation? Because the fact of it is that's why I blew the whistle. There are no investigations out there. There is no investigation whatsoever, because they are not targeting the true criminals. And they are not targeting those who truly masterminded these terrible acts against the Americans and their best interest, their national security.
AMY GOODMAN: Sibel Edmonds, we contacted Congress member Hastert's office, the Speaker of the House, as well as the Turkish embassy, for comment, they did not return our phone calls. But what are you alleging about the Speaker of the House?
SIBEL EDMONDS: As I said, Amy, I have been giving all the details to the appropriate channels. And they have been confirmed. And what I have said all along is the fact that as far as the 9/11 is concerned, September 11 is concerned, these departments -- and when I say "these departments," the Department of Justice, the Department of State, and the Department of Defense -- have intentionally blocked the investigations of real -- the real criminals in this country. And we are talking about countries involved. The Vanity Fair article points out to Turkey [typo: should be "Turkic" --Dan] -- countries. And it's very interesting. To this date, we are not hearing anything about targeting, you know, certain Central Asian countries. They are not speaking about the link between the narcotics and al Qaeda. Yes, we are hearing about them coming down on some charities as the real funds behind al Qaeda, but most of al Qaeda's funding is not through these charity organizations. It's through narcotics. And have you heard anything to this date, anything about these issues which we have had information since 1997? And as I would again emphasize, we are talking about countries. And they are blocking this information, and also the fact that certain officials in this country are engaged in treason against the United States and its interests and its national security, be it the Department of State or certain elected officials.
AMY GOODMAN: Could you name names?
SIBEL EDMONDS: I have named names. I have given it to those people who are supposed to be representing this country through the Congress. I have given it to the Inspector General's office, and the report doesn't name names because everything was classified, but they are saying that my reports, my allegations, have been confirmed and have been supported by other witnesses, documents and evidence. I have given it to the 9/11 Commissioners, and interestingly, the 9/11 Commissioners after having the meetings with me, they went ahead and they had certain meetings and decided to only refer to I.G. report and ask them to classify the I.G. report so it wouldn't come out before their report comes out. Now, we have to ask the questions: Why are they going to this length, to such a length to cover up and to gag and to classify and to invoke State Secret privilege? What are they covering up?
AMY GOODMAN: Sibel Edmonds is our guest in Washington, D.C., former F.B.I. translator challenging her firing from the F.B.I., and on the line with us, David Rose from Britain, who wrote the Vanity Fair piece called "An Inconvenient Patriot,-- the subtitle "Love of country led Sibel Edmonds to become a translator for the F.B.I. following 9/11, but everything changed when she accused a colleague of covering up illicit activity involving Turkish nationals. Fired after sounding the alarm, she's now fighting for the ideals that made her an American and threatening some very powerful people.-- David Rose, can you talk about Sibel Edmonds' colleague within the F.B.I., Melek Can Dickerson, the relationship and --
DAVID ROSE: Sorry, I"ve got a very bad line.
AMY GOODMAN: Can you hear me?
DAVID ROSE: Yes, I can, yeah.
AMY GOODMAN: Can you -- yeah --
DAVID ROSE: Hello?
AMY GOODMAN: Hi. Go ahead.
DAVID ROSE: Let me just -- yes. I think there's one very important new development, which has not been reported, because it took place after the magazine went to press, which is that in addition to making her complaints against the F.B.I. and talking about the apparent evidence of possible espionage, which she had discovered on the part of her colleague, Melek Can Dickerson, at the F.B.I., and her husband, an Air Force major, Douglas Dickerson. Back in 2002, Sibel Edmonds wrote to the Office of Special Investigation and the Air Force Inspector General, which conducted a very brief investigation in the summer of 2002 and in September 2002, after less than three weeks, without interviewing Sibel herself, the Air Force Inspector General wrote to Sibel Edmonds and her then attorneys and said that the case was closed, that they were not pursuing her allegations against the Dickersons, which I will go into in just a moment.
But the new development is that just ten days ago, her attorney in Washington, Mark Zaid, received a message from the Office of Special Investigation at the Air Force saying that after this very long gap, nearly three years, they were reopening the investigation into the Dickersons, into Can Dickerson and her husband, Douglas, and might at some near future date seek to interview Sibel. Now, it may or may not be coincidental that, as part of the research for my article for Vanity Fair, I had submitted about 150 different questions about the entire case to the Air Force, to other parts of the Pentagon, to the D.O.J. and the F.B.I., and none of these questions were answered, but they did, of course, set out in enormous detail the various allegations that are being raised. Following the receipt of those questions, the investigation was formally reopened, which is, I think, perhaps significant.
So as to the substance of the allegations, in essence, it's quite simple. What Sibel Edmonds has alleged and has indeed been alleging now since the end of 2001, beginning of 2002, is that towards the end of 2001, Can Dickerson, her fairly new colleague at the F.B.I., and her husband Douglas, called unexpectedly at the home she shares with her husband, Matthew, in Alexandria, Virginia. And over tea one Sunday morning, the Dickersons suggested that Sibel and her husband might like to join an organization called the American Turkish Council, which is essentially a business group which exists to foster trade deals, mainly of a military nature, between America and Turkey. And they suggested that -- according to Sibel and her husband, they suggested that if they did this, they might become rich. And Sibel was particularly surprised at this, because they also boasted that they knew an individual who had close links with this organization, who was also an official of the Turkish Embassy, and in fact, although she hadn"t said so in her application to join the F.B.I., Can Dickerson had at one stage worked for the American Turkish Council herself as an intern and clearly had got a close relationship with this particular diplomat.
Well, after that -- and this is all set out, by the way, in legal filings, and much of it is now completely confirmed by the D.O.J. Inspector General's report into Sibel's case, the unclassified part of it -- following that, Sibel says that Can Dickerson tried to stop Sibel listening to wiretap conversations by this particular official, who was a friend of the Dickersons and also conversations by others who appeared to be involved in various illegal activity. So, she went to other officials at the F.B.I., to a particular agent, Dennis Saccher, who was in charge of counterintelligence and counterespionage regarding Turkey, who immediately suspected that this was possibly some kind of recruitment exercise, that she was being asked to participate in some kind of illegal espionage operation and perhaps was being offered some kind of inducement.
It was when she started to complain about this and took her complaints up the ladder within the F.B.I., and eventually to the Congress, that she was fired, and that's the substance of the case. But clearly, given that the D.O.J. Inspector General has now corroborated and supported her allegations, and has said that many have bases in fact, and that the F.B.I. fired her as an act of retaliation when it should have investigated the claims much more seriously, the fact that the Air Force is now again looking at Major Douglas Dickerson, Can Dickerson's husband, who remains on active duty in Europe, is clearly of some significance.
AMY GOODMAN: And David Rose, the issue of the Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, and conversations overheard that link his office with improper dealings with Turkish nationals, can you talk about particular legislation?
DAVID ROSE: Well, there was -- there were two things, I understand, which those who were wiretapped, whose conversations were recorded and translated, referred to. One was the controversial deal to sell helicopters, attack helicopters, to Turkey, which was an issue of great controversy in the late 1990s. At that point, Turkey was fighting a pretty hot civil war with the Kurdish separatists in the east of the country. There were allegations of human rights abuses and so forth, and some in America thought it was wrong that Turkey should be sold several billion dollars worth of attack helicopters in those circumstances. So some of the calls allegedly referred to the hope that the Congress would approve that very large weapons sale.
But the second occasion or second event which is allegedly referred to in these wiretaps is the Armenian genocide resolution which came before the House in 2000. Now, the Armenian lobby has made attempts with some support -- I mean, Senator Bob Dole was a very great supporter of this back in the 1980s. The Armenians have tried to get the Congress to pass a genocide resolution so that -- which would basically state that the mass murder of Armenians in Turkey that was carried out after 1915 was a genocide, and some countries have indeed passed such resolutions. Some states have in America. This resolution never really got anywhere until in 2000, Dennis Hastert, as House Speaker, announced he would support it.
Now, at the time, analysts noted that there was a tight congressional race in California, in which the Armenian community might just swing it in favor of the Republican incumbent. But what is significant, the resolution had passed the Human Rights Subcommittee of the House. It passed the International Relations Committee, but on the eve of the House vote, the full House vote, Dennis Hastert withdrew the resolution. Now, at the time, he explained this by saying that he had had a letter from President Clinton asking him to withdraw it, because it wouldn't be in America's interests to have such a resolution, which, of course, was bitterly resisted inside Turkey, pass through the House.
Well, it is slightly curious when you think about it. I mean, Dennis Hastert was not known, as one of the authors of Clinton's impeachment, for deferring to his judgment on many occasions, but on this occasion, he apparently did. Well, whether or not these allegations have substance is not something that I am able to state with any knowledge, but it is said that in the wiretaps that were translated by Sibel Edmonds, reference was made to this very controversial question of the House vote. One of the Turkish targets of these wiretaps claimed that the price for getting Dennis Hastert to withdraw the resolution would be $500,000. Now, I do emphasize there's no evidence at all that he received such a payment, but that is what is said to have been recorded in one of the wiretaps.
AMY GOODMAN: We have to wrap up the discussion. We only have a few seconds, but Sibel Edmonds, you are taking a challenge to your dismissal, appealing your dismissal to the Supreme Court?
SIBEL EDMONDS: Yes, Amy. Last week, we filed our petition with the Supreme Court, and in a few weeks there will be amicus filed in our support by 9/11 family members and other government watchdog organizations, and basically this is the last stop. This is the last channel, because, as you know, we have never been given our day in court, due to the State Secret privilege and the gag orders. And also I am pursuing this still with the Congress and I will continue until these issues come to light and until the Americans know what is going on in their government.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, Sibel Edmonds and David Rose of Vanity Fair -- Sibel Edmonds, former F.B.I. translator, thanks very much for joining us.
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I am starting to add stories I find about the Sibel Edmonds case. This comes from national security writer John Stanton and was posted on Cryptome.org. This meshes pretty well with The Case So Far. Source: http://cryptome.org/edmonds-turks.htm
by John Stanton
John Stanton is a Virginia based writer specializing in national security and political matters. Reach him at cioran123[at]yahoo.com
On October 10, 2006, FBI spokesman Bill Carter confirmed that matters raised by Sibel Edmonds and shielded form public view by the invocation of the US States Secret privilege were still under internal investigation by the Bureau.
"Due to the fact that the allegations of Sibel Edmonds reflect internal administrative and investigative matters it would not be appropriate to respond to your inquiry. I will point out that the DOJ Office of the Inspector General has reviewed this matter and released a public report. I would refer this report to you for your review. The Inspector General's report concluded that the FBI did not adequately investigate allegations Ms. Edmonds made regarding a co-worker. After the OIG's initial classified report, the FBI conducted further investigation into Ms. Edmonds' allegations. That investigation is continuing."*
Back in March of 2002, Edmonds was released from the FBI over her discovery of an array of espionage activities. Looking back, and with the benefit of new information from the FBI and elsewhere, it appears that the government of Turkey was spectacularly successfully in compromising FBI, CIA, DEA, DIA and DOS operations, and was also able to mount other espionage programs that allowed Turkish interests to obtain assorted military and WMD technology know-how, and garner US and Israeli military support for its bloody internal struggle against its significant and much maligned Kurdish population/opposition.
The Turks: Masters of Espionage
The Turks would not have been successful in staging what may be recorded as one of history's finest intelligence coups had it not been for many sympathetic US military personnel, bureaucrats and politicians who, whatever their egotistical reasons, believed themselves to be acting in the USA's best interests. Certainly, no one can accuse them of not effectively representing their powerful Turkish clients whether in defeating US Congressional action recognizing the Armenian Genocide or ensuring that US corporations close lucrative deals in Turkey.
The sympathizers names are now overly familiar: Douglas Feith, Brent Scowcroft, William Cohen, Richard Perle, Michael Leeden, Bob Livingston, Marc Grossman, Paul Wolfowitz, Eric Edelman, Richard Armitage, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Dennis Hastert, et al. Rather than re-hash their affiliations and track records here, visit rightweb.irc-online.org to find out more about their linkages to each other and Turkey (Israel too).
The Turks knew it would take lots of cash to pull off such a scheme and sustain it. The illicit drug trade provided an endless source of funds to pay for WMD components, US defense technology, politicians, money laundering schemes, counterterrorist operations, safe interrogation houses, and dozens of front companies. Given Turkey's solid reputation as a key refining point/middleman for opium coming out of Afghanistan (it is ultimately transported into the Balkans and on to Europe and the USA), it is no surprise that the Turkish government always seems to have a steady supply of cash to spread around. Perhaps it is just coincidence, but under the watchful eyes of the Pentagon and US law enforcement and intelligence agencies, opium crop production in Afghanistan has increased over the last decade. The profits from refining and distribution of the product have flooded the black market-- the playground for intelligence operatives and assorted criminal enterprises.
Joltin' Joe Ralston
Desmond Fernandes, has recently published an extraordinary piece titled Turkey's US Backed War on Terror: A Cause for Concern?** The information provided in this publication shows the lengths to which the US and Turkey (and Israel) will go to keep some very nasty activities quiet. One of the more interesting bits of news in the report is that, at the invitation of the Turkish government, US and Israeli forces are assisting the Turkish government in military operations against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PPK) and the Kurdish people and their culture. The US is ostensibly engaged in counter-narcotics operations with the Turks.
Joseph Ralston, former USAF General and now Lockheed Martin employee and American Turkish Council principal, is the special envoy/coordinator for US-Turkey anti-Kurdish operations. In October 2006, the US Congress approved the sale of 30 of F-16 combat aircraft worth $2.9 billion to Turkey.
The world has seen the effects of similar alliances on persecuted people, most notably the tragic one between the US and Israel. That template will now be applied in Turkey to manage the Kurds. It's their turn to be abused and pushed from their homelands by the same methods and equipment used against the Palestinians (and now the Iraqis). American leaders sanctioned the elimination of the Palestinian leaders and their people, even groups freely elected like Hamas. With eager US approval, Israeli military operations continue unabated in Gaza and the West Bank into late 2006. US support for Israel's destruction of the Shia population in Lebanon during the Hezbollah-Israeli conflict in 2006, along with decades of unswerving support in the United Nations and the US Congress is notoriously legendary. All this bodes ill for the Kurds.
And so it begins. According to kurdmedia.com, "the PKK - the most prominent Kurdish freedom movement - declared a unilateral ceasefire that went into effect on Sunday 1 October. It still remains unilateral - the entire Turkish establishment, from top general Yasar Buyukanit to prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has rejected it, clearly stating their determination to continue the war " Joseph Ralston spoke for the US government when he indicated that "a ceasefire sort of implies an act that is taken between two states, two actors, to do that. And I don't want to confer that kind of status on the PKK by saying a ceasefire "
According to Fernandes, "General Joseph W. Ralston, the US government's Special Envoy who is responsible for countering the terrorist PKK and coordinating actions and eliminationist strategies with the Turkish and Iraqi states [He] just so happens to be a member of the Board of Directors of Lockheed Martin, the same corporation whose deal for the sale of 30 F-16s [to Turkey] sits in the venerable halls of Congress at this very moment" in time. F-16s it must be remembered, were needed during Turkey's genocidal War on Terror during the 1990s because of their usefulness in obliterating Kurdish settlements, killing civilians and terrifying Kurdish civilians.
It is widely known that the Turkish military used Lockheed Martin F-16s to assist with the destruction of Kurdish villages in North Kurdistan during the 1990's Dirty War, with the facts well-documented by human rights groups. In 1995, Human Rights Watch documented arms sales to Turkey, along with related violations of the laws of war by that state [It] included the many gross abuses that Turkey perpetrated against the Kurdish people [with] the F-16 fighter jet figure[ing] prominently In a report ordered by the [US] Congress, the State Department admitted that the abuses included the use of US Cobra helicopters, armored personnel carriers, and F-16 fighter bombers. In some instances, critics say, entire Kurdish villages were obliterated from the air.
This proposed [new multi-billion dollar] sale in 2006, the [Pentagon] has claimed, will enhance the Turkish Air Force's ability to defend Turkey, no doubt against its internal Kurdish threat in [the Kurdish] colony in the southeast, and its external one in southern Kurdistan/Northern Iraq [The aircraft will be used to patrol the] nation's extensive coastline and borders against future threats and to contribute to the Global War on Terrorism and NATO operations " With this in mind, you should ask yourself what, exactly, General Ralston is coordinating. We all know the real deal, don't we? We all know who have been the targets of those F-16s.
LtCol Dickerson: Human Hot Potato Plame & Wilson: Spies Like Us
On Monday, October 2, 2006, Captain Warren Comer (USAF, 374AW/PA, Yakota Japan) indicated that the USAF could provide no further information about Lieutenant Colonel Douglas Dickerson, a central figure in the Edmonds' matter. "Looking at your request, the only information that I can confirm to you is what is written in the Fuji Flyer newspaper that you read. For any other questions on this subject, please refer to the FBI or the US State Department."***
Taking Captain Comer's advice, the US State Department was contacted. On Tuesday, October 3, 2006, Ms Nancy L. Beck (US DOS, PACE) indicated that "Responding to your inquiry, this is not a matter for the US Department of State. Recommend you direct your question to the FBI or Department of Justice."
Dickerson was recently deployed to the Iraqi theater of operations where he heads up logistics matters for an element of the USAF. His handlers in the intelligence community apparently are happy about that and so must be the public affairs personnel who don't want anything to do with him.
In 2002, Dickerson and his spouse Melek Can left the country for Belgium and a quiet post with NATO after Edmonds' exposed them as Turkish operatives or, perhaps, US counterintelligence operatives. Dickerson and his wife's activities remain a mystery. According to various reports, they were once stationed in Ankara, Turkey in the 1990s, and had contact with Douglas Feith and Marc Grossman. Another report indicated that: in 1995, while in Turkey, Dickerson was the subject of investigation for accepting money from foreign agents, whereupon he was abruptly transferred to Germany. In 1999, Major Douglas Dickerson returned to the United States. His wife, Melek Can Dickerson, started to work for American Turkish Council (atc.org) and related Turkish American business groups.
In 2001, Dickerson was apparently given a position in the weapons systems acquisition arena with the Pentagon and US Department of State. Dickerson's areas of responsibility supposedly included Turkey, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. He also had dealings with Edelman, formerly US Ambassador to Turkey, and now with the Pentagon's Policy Organization. Dickerson was also active with ATC and Scowcroft. He and his wife associated with several Turkish and American individuals from the Turkish Embassy and the ATC. Many of these folks were targeted by FBI counterintelligence for criminal activity. But thanks to the Turkish government's penetration of the highest echelons of the US political-military-intelligence-corporate apparatus, the Pentagon and US State Department forced the FBI to back off any criminal investigations that may expose criminal activity, and untidy and covert operations.
Finally, there's the perplexing case of Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson. According to dozens of media reports, Valerie Plame was introduced to Joe Wilson by Brent Scowcroft at an ATC function. Shortly thereafter, the pair was invited to a Turkish Embassy function. Quickly after that, Plame's CIA WMD operation (Brewster Jennings) was exposed by then Under Secretary of State, Richard Armitage. Coincidently, Dickerson was in close proximity to Plame & Wilson in the 1999-2002 timeframe and the Pentagon and US State Department. It seems likely that only a Turkish operative located somewhere in the US government/intelligence community would have uncovered that information and disclosed it to the Turks and their US sympathizers. Was it Wilson? Dickerson? Armitage?
More fallout is to come from the Edmonds' matter and the word in Washington, DC-Metro is that it will involve some individuals named in this piece.
* Email to FBI PA Bill Carter from John Stanton. Thanks to Mr. Carter and the FBI, plus the reference to usdoj.gov/oig/special/0501/index.htm. The CIA, DOD-IG, DEA and Turkish Intelligence did not respond.
** From the October 2006 electronic edition of Variant: Cross Currents in Culture, No. 27, Winter 2006 variant.randomstate.org and from Chapter 5 of the book by Desmond Fernandes and Iskender Ozden (2006) US, UK, German and NATO 'Inspired' Psychological Warfare Operations Against The Kurdish 'Communist' Threat in Turkey and Northern Iraq (Apec Press, Stockholm)
So apparently former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds processed some wiretaps that indicated House Speaker Dennis Hastert was getting huge sums of money from shadowy Turks to implement pro-Turkish policies. That's not the sort of thing that simplifies your day, assuming it's true. There's a big story in Vanity Fair about it, and a summarization via Corporate Crime Reporter. It seems exciting but I don't have any way to know if it's truly going to pan out.
Corporate Crime Reporter: "Vanity Fair: Turks Boasted of Payments to Hastert:"
Turkish officials boasted of giving “tens of thousands of dollars in surreptious payments” to House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Illinois) in exchange for political favors.
That allegation is contained a profile of Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) whistleblower Sibel Edmonds in the current issue of Vanity Fair magazine.
The article, “An Inconvenient Patriot,” by British writer David Rose, reports that Edmonds was asked to listen to wiretaps as part of what appeared to be an FBI public corruption probe into bribes paid to members of Congress – both Democrat and Republican.
Rose, citing “some of the wiretaps,” reports that “the FBI’s targets had arranged for tens of thousands of dollars to be paid to Hastert’s campaign funds in small checks.”
The article notes that under Federal Election Commission rules, “donations of less than $200 are not required to be itemized in public filings.”
The article reports that Edmonds has given confidential testimony on several occasions – to congressional staffers, to the Inspector General, and to staff from the 9/11 commission.
“Edmonds reportedly added that the recordings also contained repeated references to Hastert’s flip-flop, in the fall of 2000" to “the continuing campaign to have Congress designate the killings of Armenians in Turkey between 1915 and 1923 as genocide.”
Worth following. The ACLU, who has been helping Edmonds out, point out that this case has major ramifications for people trying to blow the whistle on crappy government practices and general nastiness (crimes?), and urges the Supreme Court to look at it:
Edmonds' case is not an isolated incident," said ACLU Associate Legal Director Ann Beeson. "The federal government is routinely retaliating against government employees who uncover weaknesses in our ability to prevent terrorist attacks or protect public safety."
[....]The ACLU is also asking the Supreme Court to reverse the D.C. appeals court's decision to exclude the press and public from the court hearing of Edmonds' case in April. The appeals court closed the hearing at the eleventh hour without any specific findings that secrecy was necessary. In fact, the government had agreed to argue the case in public. A media consortium that included The New York Times , The Washington Post , and CNN intervened in the case to object to the closure.
Edmonds, a former Middle Eastern language specialist hired by the FBI shortly after 9/11, was fired in 2002 and filed a lawsuit later that year challenging the retaliatory dismissal.
Her ordeal is highlighted in a 10-page article about whistleblowers in the September 2005 issue of Vanity Fair which links Edmonds' allegations and the subsequent retaliation to possible "illicit activity involving Turkish nationals" and a high-level member of Congress. The ACLU said the article, titled "An Inconvenient Patriot," further undercuts the government's claim that the case can't be litigated because certain information is secret.
In addition, a report by the Inspector General, made public in January 2005, contains a tremendous amount of detail about Edmonds' job, the structure of the FBI translation unit , and the substance of her allegations. The report concluded that Edmonds' whistleblower allegations were "the most significant factor" in the FBI's decision to terminate her.
The outcome in Edmonds' case could significantly impact the government's ability to rely on secrecy to avoid accountability in future cases, the ACLU said, including one pending case charging the government with "rendering" detainees to be tortured.
(more ACLU stuff about the course of the case here)
"For years and years, information and evidence being collected by the counterintelligence operations of certain U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies has been prevented from being transferred to criminal and narcotics divisions, and from being shared with the Drug Enforcement Agency and others with prosecutorial power. Those with direct knowledge have been prevented from making this information available and public by various gag orders and invocation of the State Secrets Privilege. Why?
"Is this due to the fact that the existence and survival of many U.S. allies; Turkey, almost all Central Asian nations, and after the September Eleven attack, Afghanistan; greatly depend on cultivating, processing, transporting, and distributing these illegal substances? Is it caused by the fact that a major source of income for those who procure U.S. weapons and technology, our military industrial complex’s bread and butter, is being generated from this illegal production and illegal dealings? Or, is it the fear of exposing our own financial institutions, lobbying firms, and certain elected and appointed officials, as beneficiaries? ........
".....The foreign influence, the lobbyists, the current highly positioned civil servants who are determined future ‘wanna be’ lobbyists, and the fat cats of the Military Industrial Complex, operate successfully under the radar, with unlimited reach and power, with no scrutiny, while selling your interests, benefiting from your tax money, and serving the highest bidders regardless of what or who they may be. This deep state seems to operate at all levels of our government...."
Posted today on WayneMadsenReport.com, FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds extremely lengthy and certainly risky expose of Turkish involvement with heroin, and the Total Complicity of Boeing and the other military-industrial cats in operations of staggeringly shady proportions. Also as a bonus Turkey is 'directly' and 'indirectly' tied to 9/11. Also makes the very logical case that al-Qaeda-style funding is mostly derived from narcotics through Turkey and post-Soviet Central Asian states, not Islamic charities.
I won't preface this with much more, but it is essential reading. Marc Grossman comes up prominently, but here Sibel does not tag him with blowing the cover of the Valerie Plame/Brewster-Jennings operation to the Turks and Pakistanis. It could be implied but it ain't here. She goes a lot further than in the past naming names: I wonder why.
November 29, 2006 -- Guest Column: The Highjacking of a Nation
Part 2: The Auctioning of Former Statesmen & Dime a Dozen Generals
By Sibel Edmonds
“The real rulers in Washington are invisible and exercise power from behind the scenes.”- - Justice Felix Frankfurter
It used to be the three branches - congress, the executive, and the courts - that we considered the make-up of our nation’s federal government. And some would point to the press as a possible fourth branch, due to the virtue of its influence in shaping our policies. Today, more and more people have come to view corporate and foreign lobby firms, with their preponderant clout and enormous power, as the official fourth branch of our nation’s government. Not only do I agree with them, I would even take it a step further and give it a higher status it certainly deserves.
Operating invisibly under the radar of media and public scrutiny, lobby groups and foreign agents have become the ‘epicenter’ of our government, where former statesmen and ‘dime a dozen generals’ cash in on their connections and peddle their enormous influence to the highest bidders turned clients. These groups’ activities shape our nation’s policies and determine the direction of the flow of its taxpayer driven wealth, while to them the interests of the majority are considered irrelevant, and the security of the nation is perceived as inconsequential.
In Part1 of this series I used Saudi influence via its lobby and foreign agents by default as a case to illustrate how certain foreign interests, combined with their U.S. agents and benefactors, override the interests and security of the entire nation. This illustrative model case involved three major elements: the purchasing of a few ‘dime a dozen generals,’ bidding high in the auctioning of ‘former statesmen,’ and buying one or two ex-congressmen turned lobbyists. In addition, the piece emphasized the importance of the “Military Industrial Complex (MIC),” which became a de facto ‘foreign agent’ by the universally recognized principle of ‘mutual benefit.’
This article will attempt to illustrate the functioning of the above model in the case of another country, the Republic of Turkey, and its set of agents and operators in the U.S. In doing so, I want to emphasize the importance of separating the populace of example nations - Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, Pakistan… - from their regimes and select key participating actors. As is the case with our nation, they too suffer the consequences of their regime’s self-serving policies and conduct. Not only that, they also have to endure what they consider ‘U.S. imposed policies’ that further the interests of only a few. Think of it this way, the majority of us in the States do not see the infamous and powerful neocon cabal as the chosen and accepted representatives of our nation’s values and objectives. We do not want to be perceived and judged based on the actions of a few at Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo. The same is valid for these nations’ citizenry; so let not their corrupt and criminal regimes be the basis of our judgment of them.
Moreover, as we all know, those subject to criticism in these articles have mastered the art of spinning when it comes to the media and propaganda. The Israeli lobby is quick to stamp all factually backed criticism as ‘anti-Semitic’ and attack it as such. The Turkish lobby, in this regard, as with everything else, follows its Israeli mentors; they label all dissent and criticism as anti-Turkey, or, Kurdish or Armenian propaganda; while the Saudi lobby goes around kicking and screaming ‘anti-Muslim propaganda.’ I am not known to be ‘politically correct’ and am often criticized for it. I readily accept that and all responsibilities associated with it. I am not seeking a position as a diplomat, neither am I serving any business, organization, or media channel furthering a particular ideology. This is me, saying it as I see it; no more, no less. By the end of this series it should be obvious, at least for many, that the selection of the nations encompasses varied sides and affiliations. Moreover, the main purpose, and the target of these commentaries, goes to the heart of our own government and its epicenter; lobbyists and the MIC.
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Many Americans, due to the effective propaganda and spin machine of Turkey’s agents in the U.S., and relentless efforts by high-level officials and lobbying groups on Turkish networks’ payroll, do not know much about Turkey; its position and importance in the areas of terrorism, money laundering, illegal arms sales, industrial and military espionage, and the nuclear black-market. Not many people in the States would name Turkey among those nations that threaten global security, the fight against terrorism, nuclear proliferation, or the war on drugs. For the purpose of this article it is necessary to have at least a rudimentary knowledge of Turkey, its strategic location within global criminal networks, its various networks and entities operating behind seemingly legitimate fronts, and its connection to the military and political machine in the U.S.
For many Americans Turkey is one of the closest allies of the United States; a most important member of NATO; a candidate for EU membership; and the only Middle-Eastern close ally and partner of Israel. Some acknowledge Turkey’s highly prized status in the United States due to its location as the artery connecting Europe to Asia, its cross borders with Iran, Iraq and Syria to its East and South, with the Balkan states to its west, and with the Central Asian nations to its north and northeast. Others may recognize the country as one of the top U.S. customers for military technology and weapons.
Interestingly enough, these same qualities and characteristics which make Turkey an important ally and strategic partner for the nation states, make it extremely crucial and attractive to global criminal networks active in transferring illegal arms and nuclear technology to rogue states; in transporting Eastern Narcotics, mainly from Afghanistan through the Central Asian states into Turkey, where it is processed, and then through the Balkan states into Western Europe and the U.S.; and in laundering the proceeds of these illegal operations via its banks and those on the neighboring island of Cyprus.
The Real Lords of the Poppy Fields
It is a known fact that there often is a nexus between terrorism and organized crime. Terrorists use Narco-traficking and international crime to support their activities. Frequently, the same criminal gangs involved in narcotics smuggling have links to other criminal activities, such as illegal arms sales, and to terrorist groups. The Taliban's link to the drug trade is irrefutable. In 2001, a report by the U.N. Committee of Experts on Resolution 1333 for sanctions against the Taliban stated that “funds raised from the production and trade of opium and heroin are used by the Taliban to buy arms and war materials and to finance the training of terrorists and support the operation of extremists in neighboring countries and beyond.”
Afghanistan supplies almost 90% of the world's heroin, which is the country’s main cash crop, contributing over $3 billion a year in illegal revenues to the Afghan economy, which equals 50% of the gross national product. In 2004, according to the U.S. state department, 206,000 hectares were cultivated, a half a million acres, producing 4,000 tons of opium. “It is not only the largest heroin producer in the world, 206,000 hectares is the largest amount of heroin or of any drug that I think has ever been produced by any one country in any given year,” says Robert Charles, former assistant secretary of state for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, overseeing anti-drug operations in Afghanistan.
Heroin trafficking is also the main source of funding for the al-Qaeda terrorists. A Time Magazine article in August 2004 reported that al-Qaeda has established a smuggling network that is peddling Afghan heroin to buyers across the Middle East, Asia, and Europe, and in turn is using the drug revenues to purchase weapons and explosives. The article states: “…al-Qaeda and its Taliban allies are increasingly financing operations with opium sales. Anti-drug officials in Afghanistan have no hard figures on how much al-Qaeda and the Taliban are earning from drugs, but conservative estimates run into tens of millions of dollars.” Anti-drug officials say the only way to cut off al-Qaeda's pipeline is to attack it at the source: by destroying the poppy farms themselves. This year, Afghanistan's opium harvest is expected to exceed 3,600 tons—enough to produce street heroin worth $36 billion.
Key congressional leaders have been pressing the Pentagon to crack down on the major drug traffickers in Afghanistan upon learning that Al Qaeda is relying more than ever on illicit proceeds from the heroin trade. Congressional investigators who returned from the region in 2004 found that traffickers are providing Osama bin Laden and other terrorists with heroin as funds from Saudi Arabia and other sources dry up. "We now know Al Qaeda's dominant source of funding is the illegal sale of narcotics," said Rep. Kirk-IL, a member of the House Appropriations foreign operations subcommittee, as reported by Washington Times. Rep. Kirk added that Bin Laden's Al Qaeda terror organization is reaping $28 million a year in illicit heroin sales.
It is puzzling to observe that in reporting this major artery of terrorists’ funding, the U.S. mainstream media and political machine do not dare to go beyond the poppy fields of Afghanistan and the fairly insignificant low level Afghan warlords overseeing the crops. Think about it; we are talking about nearly $40 billion worth of products in the final stage. Do you believe that those primitive Afghan warlords, clad in shalvars, sporting long ragged beards, and walking with long sticks handle transportation, lab processing, more transportation, distribution, and sophisticated laundering of the proceeds? If yes, then think again. This multi billion-dollar industry requires highly sophisticated networks and people. So, who are the real lords of Afghanistan’s poppy fields?
For Al Qaeda’s network Turkey is a haven for its sources of funding. Turkish networks, along with Russians’, are the main players in these fields; they purchase the opium from Afghanistan and transport it through several Turkic speaking Central Asian states into Turkey, where the raw opium is processed into popular byproducts; then the network transports the final product into Western European and American markets via their partner networks in Albania. The networks’ banking arrangements in Turkey, Cyprus and Dubai are used to launder and recycle the proceeds, and various Turkish companies in Turkey and Central Asia are used to make this possible and seem legitimate. The Al Qaeda network also uses Turkey to obtain and transfer arms to its Central Asian bases, including Chechnya.
Since the 1950s Turkey has played a key role in channeling into Europe and the U.S. heroin produced in the "Golden Triangle" comprised of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran. These operations are run by mafia groups closely controlled by the MIT (Turkish Intelligence Agency) and the military. According to statistics compiled in 1998, Turkey’s heroin trafficking brought in $25 billion in 1995 and $37.5 billion in 1996. That amount makes up nearly a quarter of Turkey’s GDP. Only criminal networks working in close cooperation with the police and the army could possibly organize trafficking on such a scale. The Turkish government, MIT and the Turkish military, not only sanctions, but also actively participates in and oversees the narcotics activities and networks.
In July 1998, Le Monde Diplomatique reported that in an explosive document made public at a press conference in Istanbul, the MIT, Turkish Intelligence Agency, accused Turkey’s national police, of having “provided police identity cards and diplomatic passports to members of a group which, in the guise of anti-terrorist activities, traveled to Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Hungary and Azerbaijan to engage in drug trafficking”. MIT provided a list of names of some of the traffickers operating under the protection of the police. The Turkish police returned the compliment and handed over a list of named drug traffickers employed by the MIT!
In January 1997, Tom Sackville, minister of state at the British Home Office, stated that 80% of the heroin seized in Britain came from Turkey, and that his government was concerned by reports that members of the Turkish police, and even of the Turkish government, were involved in drug trafficking.
In an article published in Drug Link Magazine, Adrian Gatton cites the case of Huseyin Baybasin, the famous Turkish heroin kingpin now in jail in Holland. Baybasin explains: “I handled the drugs which came through the channel of the Turkish Consulate in England,” and he adds: “I was with the Mafia but I was carrying this out with the same Mafia group in which the rulers of Turkey were part.” The article also cites a witness statement given to a UK immigration case involving Baybasin’s clan, and states that Huseyin Baybasin had agreed to provide investigators with information about what he knew of the role of Turkish politicians and officials in the heroin trade. The article quotes Mark Galeotti, a former UK intelligence officer and expert on the Turkish mafia, “Since the 1970s, Turkey has accounted for between 75 and 90 per cent of all heroin in the UK. The key traffickers are Turks or criminals who operate along that route using Turkish contacts.” In 2001, Chris Harrison, a senior UK Customs officer in Manchester, told veteran crime reporter Martin Short that Customs could not get at the Turkish kingpins because they are “protected” at a high level.
In 1998, the highly official International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR) of the U.S. State Department, revealed that “about 75% of the heroin seized in Europe is either produced in, or derives from, Turkey”, that “4 to 6 tons of heroin arrive from there every month, heading for Western Europe” and that “a number of laboratories for the purification of the opium used in transforming the basic morphine into heroin are located on Turkish soil". The report stresses that Turkey is one of the countries most affected by money-laundering, which takes place particularly via the countries of the ex-Soviet Union, such as Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, and Turkmenistan, through the medium of casinos, the construction industry, and tourism. INCSR’s 2006 report cites Turkey as a major transshipment point and base of operations for international narcotics traffickers and associates trafficking in opium, morphine base, heroin, precursor chemicals and other drugs.
We know that Al Qaeda and Taliban’s main source of funding is the illegal sale of narcotics. Based on all the reports, facts, and expert statements, we know that Turkey is a major, if not the top, player in the transportation, processing, and distribution of all the narcotics derived from the Afghan poppies, and as a result, it is the major contributing country to Al Qaeda. Yet, to date, more than five years into our over exhaustive ‘war on terror propaganda’, have we heard any mentioning of, any tough message to, any sanction against, or any threat that was issued and targeted at Turkey?
We all know of our president’s ‘selective evilization’ of countries that have been ‘chosen’ to be on our hit list. But how many of us know of our government’s ‘selective go free cards’ that have been issued to those ‘ally countries’ that directly fund and support the terrorist networks? In fact, our government would rather move heaven and earth, gag ‘whistleblowers’ with direct knowledge of these facts, classify congressional and other investigative reports, create a media black-out on these ‘allies’ terrorist supporting activities, than do the right thing; do what it really takes to counter terrorism.
…and the WMDs we actually located & have known about
In his 2002 State of the Union address, President Bush declared he would keep “the world's most destructive weapons" from Al Qaeda and its allies by keeping those weapons from evil governments. Later he told a campaign audience in Pennsylvania, “We had to take a hard look at every place where terrorists might get those weapons and one regime stood out: the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein.” Well, the Iraqi WMD that never was!
Here is what CIA Director Porter Goss said bluntly before the Senate Intelligence Committee in February 2004, “It may be only a matter of time before Al Qaeda or other groups attempt to use chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear weapons. We must focus on that.” And we know that he knows; has known for the longest time!
Seymour Hersh in his March 2003 article quotes Robert Gallucci, a former United Nations weapons inspector who is now dean of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, “Bad as it is with Iran, North Korea, and Libya having nuclear-weapons material, the worst part is that they could transfer it to a non-state group. That’s the biggest concern, and the scariest thing about all this. There’s nothing more important than stopping terrorist groups from getting nuclear weapons.”
Although numerous prestigious reports by agencies and organizations such as IAEA, and news articles in the European media, have clearly established Turkey, and various international networks operating in and out of Turkey, as major players within the global nuclear black-market and illegal arms sales, the relevant agencies and main media in the U.S. have maintained a completely silent and hands off position.
Nuclear black-market related activities depend on Turkey for manufacturing nuclear components, and on its strategic location as a transit point to move goods and technology to nations such as Iran, Pakistan, and others. Not only that, Turkey’s status and close relationship with the U.S. enables it to obtain (steal) technology and information from the U.S.
Lying at the crossroads not only between Europe and Asia, but also between the former Soviet Union and the Middle East, Turkey is already a well-established transit zone for illicit goods, including nuclear material and illegal weapons sales. According to a report by Turkish Atomic Energy Authority (TAEA), at least 104 nuclear smuggling incidents had occurred in the past eight years in Turkey. For instance, in September 1999, 5 Kilograms of Uranium enriched to 4.6 percent were confiscated from an international smuggling ring in Turkey, which included four Turkish, one Azerbaijani, and three Kazakhstani citizens. The report cites over one hundred incidents like this, and these are only cases that have been intercepted and reported.
Turkey played a major role in Pakistan and Libya’s illicit activities in obtaining nuclear technologies. In June 2004, Stephen Fidler, a reporter for Financial Times reported that in 2003, Turkish centrifuge motors and converters destined for Libya's nuclear weapons program turned up in Tripoli aboard a ship that had sailed from Dubai. One of those detained individuals in this incident, a ‘respected and successful’ Turkish Businessman, Selim Alguadis, was cited in a public report from the Malaysian inspector-general of police into the Malaysian end of a Pakistani-led clandestine network that supplied Libya, Iran and North Korea with nuclear weapons technologies, designs and expertise. According to the report, “he supplied these materials to Libya." Mr. Alguadis also confessed that he had on several occasions met A Q Khan, the disgraced Pakistani scientist who has admitted transmitting nuclear expertise to the three countries. Selim Alguadis remains a successful businessman in Turkey with companies in several other countries. He was released immediately after being turned over to Turkish authorities. His partner, another well-known and internationally recognized wealthy businessman, Gunes Cire, also actively participated in transferring nuclear technology and parts to Iran, Pakistan and North Korea. Although under investigation by several international communities, Alguadis and his partners continued to roam free in Turkey and conduct their illegitimate operations via their ‘legit international business’ front companies.
David Albright and Corey Hinderstein of the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) identify Turkey’s major role in the nuclear black-market. According to their report, workshops in Turkey made the centrifuge motor and frequency converters used to drive the motor and spin the rotor to high speeds. These workshops imported subcomponents from Europe, and they assembled these centrifuge items in Turkey. Under false end-user certificates, these components were shipped from Turkey to Dubai for repackaging and shipment to Libya.
Turkey’s illegal arms smuggling activities are not limited to Europe and the Middle East; many of these activities reach U.S. soil. According to a report published by the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, in April 2004 the Italian police searched a container destined for the port of New York onboard a Turkish ship at the port of Tauro during a routine customs inspection, sparked by discrepancies between the various customs declarations. Inside the container more than 8,000 AK47 assault rifles, 11 submachine guns, and magazines worth over seven million dollars were discovered.
Our tough talking president works very hard to sound convincing when he says ‘we have to take a hard look at every place where terrorists might get those weapons;’ in fact, he has succeeded in fooling many into believing those words. However, while he was determined to move heaven and earth to get our nation into a war and a quagmire with a country that did NOT possess ‘those weapons,’ he refused and continues to refuse to look at his own ‘allies-packed backyard’ where he would find a few that not only do possess ‘those weapons,’ but also distribute and sell them to the highest bidders no matter what their affiliation.
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Curiously enough, despite these highly publicized reports and acknowledgements of Turkey’s role in these activities, Turkey continues to receive billions of dollars of aid and assistance annually from the United States. With its highly placed co-conspirators and connections within the Pentagon, State Department and U.S. Congress, Turkey never has to fear potential sanctions or meaningful scrutiny; just like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. The criminal Turkish networks continue their global criminal activities right under the nose of their protector, the United States, and neither the catastrophe falling upon the U.S. on September Eleven, nor their direct and indirect role and ties to this terrorist attack, diminish their role and participation in the shady worlds of narcotics, money laundering and illegal arms transfer.
The ‘respectable’ Turkish companies established and operate bases in Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and other similar former soviet states. Many of these front companies, disguised under construction and tourism entities, have received millions of dollars in grants from the U.S. government, allocated to them by the U.S. congress, to establish and operate criminal networks throughout the region; among their networking partners are Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and the Albanian Mafia. While the U.S. government painted Islamic charity organizations as the main financial source for Al Qaeda terrorists, it was hard at work trying to cover up the terrorists’ main financial source: narcotics and illegal arms sales. Why?
For years and years, information and evidence being collected by the counterintelligence operations of certain U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies has been prevented from being transferred to criminal and narcotics divisions, and from being shared with the Drug Enforcement Agency and others with prosecutorial power. Those with direct knowledge have been prevented from making this information available and public by various gag orders and invocation of the State Secrets Privilege. Why?
Is this due to the fact that the existence and survival of many U.S. allies; Turkey, almost all Central Asian nations, and after the September Eleven attack, Afghanistan; greatly depend on cultivating, processing, transporting, and distributing these illegal substances? Is it caused by the fact that a major source of income for those who procure U.S. weapons and technology, our military industrial complex’s bread and butter, is being generated from this illegal production and illegal dealings? Or, is it the fear of exposing our own financial institutions, lobbying firms, and certain elected and appointed officials, as beneficiaries?
When it comes to criminal and shady global networks most people envision either Mafiosi like entities who keep to themselves and are separated from society, or, street level gangster-like criminals. Contrary to these expectations, the top tier Turkish criminal networks consist mainly of respectable looking businessmen, some of whom are among the top international businessmen, diplomats, politicians, and scholarly individuals. Their U.S. counterparts are equally respected and recognizable; some of whom are high-level appointed bureaucrats within the State Department and the Pentagon; some are elected officials, and others consist of the combination of the two who have now set up their own companies and lobbying groups.
The American Turkish Council (ATC)
Operating tax-free and under the radar is one of the most powerful “non-profit” associations in the U.S., the American Turkish Council (ATC). Some who are familiar with its operations and players describe it as ‘Mini AIPAC;’ this description aces it. ATC followed the AIPAC model; with the direct help of AIPAC & JINSA, it created a base out of which to stretch its tentacles, reaching the highest echelons of our government. While the ATC is an association in name and in charter, the reality is that it and other affiliated associations are the U.S. government, lobbyists, foreign agents, and MIC. Investigative journalist, John Stanton, correctly describes the ATC as an extraordinary group of elite and interconnected Republicans, Democrats and corporate and military heavyweights who are spearheading one of the most ambitious strategic gambits in U.S. history.
Included in ATC’s management, board of directors, and advisors; in addition to Turkish individuals of ‘interest;’ is a dizzying array of U.S. individuals. The ATC is led by Ret. General Brent Scowcroft, who serves as Chairman of the Board; George Perlman of Lockheed Martin, the Executive Vice President; other board members include: Former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger, Ret. General Elmer Pendleton, Ret. General Joseph Ralston, Ret. Col. Preston Hughes, Alan Colegrove of Northrop Grumman, Frank Carlucci of Carlyle Group, Christine Vick of Cohen Group, Representative Robert Wexler, Former Rep. Ed Whitfield…Basically many formers; statesmen, ‘dime a dozen generals,’ and representatives.
On the members - paying clients – side; their list includes all the MIC’s who’s who, such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman; the Washington Lobby scene’s who’s who; The Cohen Group, The Livingston Group, Washington Group International…
Of course, there are also many Turkish companies that are members of the ATC. Most of these companies have branches and operations in Libya, Dubai, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkmenistan. Although the official listings of their businesses are cited as ‘construction,’ ‘real estate’, ‘manufacturing,’ and ‘tourism’; the main activities of these businesses are known to be related to global illegal arms sales and narcotic processing and trafficking. These companies provide necessary fronts and channels to launder proceeds. Curiously enough, hundreds of millions of dollars have been granted by the United States government, approved by the congress, to these Turkish companies under the guise of various ‘U.S. Central Asian development programs;’ and ‘Iraq & Afghanistan reconstruction programs.’
Stanton notes: ‘ATC is joined in the creation of the New EuroAsia by the American Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce (AACC). AACC’s Honorary Council of Advisors just happens to have General Scowcroft and the following persons of significance: Henry Kissinger and James Baker III. Former Council members include Dick Cheney and Richard Armitage, and Board of Trustee members include media-overkill subject Richard Perle of AEI, and Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas.’
The MIC Factor
In part1 we discussed the MIC as ‘agents by default;’ marriages and loyalties based on ‘mutual benefit;’ our previous example was Saudi Arabia, top customer of U.S. weaponry. Well, Turkey only tails the Saudis slightly in that category; between 1992 and 1996, Turkey was the second largest importer of weaponry, spending more than $7 billion in four years. A report by the World Policy Institute shows that Turkey is the third largest recipient of U.S. military aid, behind Israel and Egypt. Between 1994 and 2003, Turkey took delivery of more than $6.8 billion in U.S. weaponry and services.
In fiscal year 1989, U.S. aid to Turkey was $563,500,000. According to a Multi National Monitor Report, in 1991, Turkey received more than $800 million in U.S. aid, “an exceptional return” on its $3.8 million investment in Washington lobbyists. At the time, International Advisors, INC. (Douglas Feith & Richard Perle lobbying firm as registered agents for Turkey) was paid more than $1 million for representing Turkey in the U.S. for the purpose of securing these types of deals. In 2003, Turkey received a $1 billion aid package. During this period their registered and known lobbyists were the Livingston Group, headed by the former Speaker of the House Bob Livingston, and Solarz Associates, headed by a formerly powerful Representative, Stephen Solarz. Turkey, from 2000 to 2004, for only four years, paid Livingston $9 million for his lobbying services. What did the Republic of Turkey get for its $2 million per year investment in Ex-Congressman Livingston’s services?
A Joint Report by the Federation of American Scientists and the World Policy Institute found that the vast majority of U.S. arms transfers to Turkey were subsidized by U.S. taxpayers. In many cases, these taxpayer funds are supporting military production and employment in Turkey, not in the United States. Of the $10.5 billion in U.S. weaponry delivered to Turkey since 1984, $8 billion in all has been directly or indirectly financed by grants and subsidized loans provided by the U.S. government. Many of the largest deals - such as Lockheed Martin's sale of 240 F-16s to the Turkish air force and the FMC Corporation's provision of 1,698 armored vehicles to the Turkish army - involve co-production and offset provisions which steer investments, jobs, and production to Turkey as a condition of the sale. For example, Turkey's F-16 assembly plant in Ankara - a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) - employs 2,000 production workers, almost entirely paid for with U.S. tax dollars.
Let’s recap the above data: Not only does our government, actually, our taxpayers, subsidize $8 billion of Turkey’s $10 billion weapons purchases; the production of this weaponry and the associated employment occurs not in the U.S., but overseas, in Turkey. We, the taxpayers, are subsidizing these purchases; our nation readily transfers its technology to a country that ranks high in global narcotics, terrorist and WMD related activities; while a select few MIC related firms such as Lockheed and the pimping middlemen, the lobbyists, get fatter and richer.
One Stop Shop: The Cohen Group
Like many other former statesmen, William Cohen, former Secretary of Defense, dived into the business of lobbying and consulting, and created his own Washington firm, The Cohen Group, which works for some of the largest companies in the defense industry, such as Lockheed Martin, and serves numerous foreign players. The Cohen Group is one of the primary and most active members of the American Turkish Council (ATC). Cohen’s client, Lockheed Martin, happens to be on the board of ATC, in addition to being listed as ATC’s top paying client.
The group claims on its Website that its principals have "a century and a half of combined experience in the Congress, the Defense Department, the State Department, the White House, and state and local governments" and that they “have developed extensive expertise and relationships with key international political, economic, and business leaders and acquired invaluable experiences with the individuals and institutions that affect our clients' success abroad.” Abroad indeed. With a few ‘dime a dozen generals’ and former statesmen, the firm owes its phenomenal speedy success to interests ‘abroad’ and of course, the MIC! Let’s look, with great amazement, I hope, at how this ingenious lobby venture serves as foreign agent for several influences without having to register as such; with complete immunity against any scrutiny.
According to Intelligence Online, in its March 27, 2006 issue, Cohen accompanied Bush on his trip to India and Pakistan in March 2006. The Cohen Group is very active in India; Joseph Ralston, Cohen’s Vice Chairman, led two delegations of U.S. Defense Chiefs to India the previous year. The trips were organized in conjunction with the U.S. India Business Council; among the participants were Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Boeing.
On June 9, 2006, Intelligence Online reports ‘already operating in India, the Cohen Group headed by William Cohen, has just opened an office in Beijing... Since 2003 the Cohen Group has equally been employing Christine Vick. She is a former Vice President of Kissinger Associates; the consultancy founded by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, and had been in charge of the firm’s Chinese business.’
Prior to the October 2005 release of Paul Volcker's report on violations of the United Nations' Iraq oil-for-food program, the Australian wheat exporter AWB Limited hired Cohen’s firm. AWB paid approximately $A300 million in trucking fees on its wheat contracts to a Jordanian company, Alia, which owns no trucks! The funds were funnelled to Saddam’s regime. AWB hired Cohen Group as part of its ‘strategy, ’ code-named ‘Project Rose’, to deal with the UN inquiry headed by Paul Volcker and corruption allegations made against it by U.S. wheat farmers and ‘hostile US politicians.’ Cohen Group is not a law firm; what kind of services and representation is it providing for this criminal case?
So who are the key players at Cohen’s lobby firm, giving it its value? Well of course, a handful of powerful formers; in addition to Cohen as the top principal we have former Undersecretary of State Mark Grossman, and two formerly high-level ‘dime a dozen generals:’ General Joseph Ralston and General Paul Kern; let’s briefly look at them; shall we?
Ret. General Paul Kern
Cohen Group senior counselor is retired general Paul J. Kern, a former head of the Army Materiel Command, who recently served on a panel convened by the Defense Department to recommend improvements in how it acquires weapons systems; of course, a topic of great interest to Cohen clients.
Pentagon’s Defense Acquisition Performance Assessment Panel, DAPAP, was created to recommend changes in the awarding of military contracts. Over half of this panel is executives of large defense corporations. Among the Committee’s six members are Frank Cappuccio, VP of Lockheed Martin, and retired General Kern, who is the Senior Counselor of the Cohen Group!
When the Pentagon is informed of wasteful practices, it commonly ignores them. Congressman Walter Jones, (R-N.C.) is quoted as understating, "We’ve got an agency that is not doing its job of being a watchdog for the taxpayers." Retired Army Reserve officer Paul Fellencer Sr. complained to the Pentagon’s fraud hot line last year about $200-million worth of outrageous overpayments for ordinary supplies. Pentagon investigators never bothered to call him and dismissed his tip as "unsubstantiated," the news service said.
One wonders how many American citizens are aware of the fact that a ‘dime a dozen general’ such as Kern, who happens to be a Senior Counsel of a lobby firm with foreign interests and MIC representation, who happens to sit on the board of Lockheed Martin, gets to sit on a panel that monitors and advises on awarding military contracts to the private MIC companies by the Pentagon. Would it take an absolute genius to figure out that this is ‘putting a fox in charge of the hen house’? If not, then how could this get past the decision makers at the Pentagon? How come our lawmakers, those in charge of ensuring the checks and balances in our government, those we consider our representatives, sit there either unaware or unbothered by this red flag visible from a hundred miles away? What happened to ‘investigative journalists with good noses;’ were they all inflicted by congested sinuses at the same time?
Fmr. Gen. Joseph Ralston
General Joseph Ralston, one of Cohen Group’s Vice Chairmen, is on the board of Lockheed Martin, which paid the Cohen Group $550,000 in 2005, according to a Lockheed filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Ralston is also a member of the 2006 Advisory Board of the American Turkish Council (ATC), and one of Turkey’s top advocates. If you think this ‘dime a dozen general’ ended one career and removed himself from the U.S. government by becoming ‘the foreign agent man,’ think again after reading the following.
On August 28, 2006, the U.S. State Department appointed the former U.S. Air Force General, current Vice Chairman of the Cohen Group, board member of American Turkish Council, registered lobbyist for Lockheed Martin, Joseph Ralston, as a “Special Envoy” for countering the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK)! Lo and behold, Ralston’s appointment came as Turkey was finalizing the purchase of 30 new Lockheed Martin F-16 aircraft valued at $3 billion, and as Turkey was due to make its decision on the $10 billion purchase of the new Lockheed Martin F-35 JSF aircraft. Coincidentally, the U.S. Congress approved the sale of the F-16s to Turkey in October 2006, shortly after Ralston’s return from Turkey.
While the implications of Ralston’s appointment caused a major stir within the Kurdish community and organizations, mainly pointing to Ralston’s position with the Turkish lobby in the U.S. (he is on the board of ATC), and within Turkey’s own communities, pointing to Ralston’s position with Lockheed Martin (he is on the board of Lockheed Martin), our own media, watchdog organizations, and congress let this gargantuan conflict of interest pass under the radar.
Our government sent this man, Ralston, as a special envoy to help resolve the highly critical Northern Iraq situation with possible dire consequences in the near future. Considering Ralston’s livelihood and his loyalties, as a member of the board of the directors of Lockheed Martin, as the vice chairman of a lobbying firm with foreign interests, as an advisor and board member for the most powerful Turkish Lobby group, ATC, who did this man represent while in Turkey as the special envoy? What interests did he really represent; Iraq’s situation, Lockheed’s livelihood, which depends on further conflicts and bloodshed; the corrupt and criminal government of Turkey and its representation via ATC; or, the furthering of the Cohen Group’s future pimping opportunities?
Why in the world did no one within the U.S. mainstream media give even the slightest coverage of this conflict of interest? Why did no one, Democrat or Republican, in our congress make a peep? Why haven’t we heard anyone asking Ralston the most important question, in dire need of an answer: ‘Who’s your daddy Ralston; boy?’ Ralston’s position is no different than what is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as: “A person conceived and born out of wedlock.” With the possibility of any one of four daddies, and without the benefit of a DNA test, how do we go about determining Ralston’s real daddy?
Fmr. Undersecretary Marc Grossman
The second Vice Chairman of Cohen’s firm is Marc Grossman, who was the U.S. Undersecretary for Political Affairs in the State Department from 2001 until 2005. From November 1994 to June 1997, he served as U.S. Ambassador to Turkey. In January 2005 Grossman resigned from his position and joined the Cohen Group. In late December 2005, Grossman joined Ihlas Holding, a large and alleged shady Turkish company which is also active in several Central Asian countries. Grossman is reported to receive $100,000 per month for his advisory position with Ihlas.’ Most and foremost, Grossman is known for his extraordinarily cozy relationship with Turkey and Israel; followed by Pakistan.
Here is Grossman as the key speaker at an ATC conference in March 2002; while Undersecretary of State; and here it is followed by Grossman’s visit to Turkey in December 2002, to approve the $3 billion U.S. aid to Turkey for the Iraq Cooperation deal. There he goes again, Grossman back to Turkey in December 2003 re: approval of Turkey’s eligibility to participate in tenders for Iraq’s reconstruction! Here is Grossman as the key speaker at an ATC Conference held at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in December 2004, while Undersecretary. Here is Grossman as the guest of honor and key speaker at the American Turkish Society dinner in New York in February 2005, while Undersecretary. Here he is again, at the lavish Turkish Ottoman Dinner Gala in November 2005. Here is Grossman at the award dinner gala by the Turkish lobby group, the Assembly of American Turkish Association (ATAA), in Chicago, receiving his award in November 2005. Here is Grossman as the key speaker at the ATC annual conference in March 2006, and later, in June 2006, at the MERIA Conference to discuss Turkey’s importance to the U.S. & Israel. This list can go on for pages and pages; but I believe you all get it; right?
Here is a comment by Wolfowitz during his visit to Turkey: ”I'm delighted to be back in Turkey and so is my colleague Marc Grossman, who feels like Turkey is a second home.” Second home indeed, Mr. Grossman!
Please do not make the grave and naive mistake of assuming that Grossman found and obtained his highly lucrative and questionable positions after his resignation in January 2005. Within two months after his confident resignation, this boy got the vice chairmanship of the Cohen Group. Only six months later, Grossman ended up securing a ‘special advisory’ position for a foreign company that reported his monthly fee at $100,000 a month. The industrious Grossman seems to be juggling so many balls simultaneously: numerous foreign sponsored dinner speeches, the demanding pimping activities of Cohen’s firm, the very ‘special advising’ of a shady foreign company…
We all have a pretty good idea how long and how much work it takes to secure that level of income and those positions. Did Grossman beat the odds and get lucky as soon as he got out of the State Department? Did he hit the jackpot? Or, did he diligently and industriously work at it, while in his position as the ambassador to Turkey and as Deputy Secretary of State? Did he sell his soul while under his oath of office? Did he sell our government’s soul? Did he sell our nation and its interests? If so; for what and how much?
* * * *
Long gone are the days when generals were content to retire and go back home where they held their heads high as honorable patriots and heroes who had served their nation; where they marched in their towns’ parades as proud distinguished men and women who had fulfilled their duty to the people. Today, as we clearly see, they perceive themselves and their authority as a commodity; they go about marketing their worth (nationally and internationally; foreign and domestic) long before they leave their positions as public servants.
The same goes for many of our statesmen. While in office, Grossman and others like him appear to have one objective in mind and in action: to make sure that their future employer who is waiting for them on the other side of the revolving door will receive special and lucrative arrangements so that they can be compensated handsomely later.
In Part 1, we briefly described the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), established to insure that the American public and its lawmakers know the source of propaganda intended to sway public opinion, policy, and laws; and the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA) of 1995, which was passed to make the regulation and disclosure of lobbying the federal government more effective. The article emphasized that both of these cosmetic laws are filled with exemptions and loopholes that allow minimization of, and in some cases complete escape from, warranted scrutiny, and have serious loopholes and limitations.
The Cohen Group is an excellent case, illustrating the futility of FARA, since the firm does not have to be registered. They can claim that Turkey is not their ‘direct’ client; they can argue that they are not getting paid ‘directly’ by the government of Turkey or any other foreign entity or government. They certainly can; no matter that Grossman receives hundreds of thousands of dollars from a dubious Turkish company. Does Cohen discount Grossman’s Vice Chairmanship salary accordingly? No matter that half a million dollars per year from their client Lockheed Martin is mainly for services provided to Turkey, and having the group’s second chairman serve on Lockheed’s board is another way to get around all restrictions. The incestuous relationship twists and turns: The Cohen Group on the board of ATC, The Cohen Group a paying member client of ATC, The Cohen Group as Lockheed’s lobbyist, Cohen’s men on the board of Lockheed, Lockheed on the board of ATC, Lockheed also a paying client of ATC…How is your head; spinning yet?
We are proud of the large turnout at the ballot box for the midterm elections a few weeks ago; a sign of participatory citizenship. Perhaps we’ll be repeating this phenomenon, if not increasing it, for the presidential elections in two years; another means to demonstrate our ‘democratic government process in action’ for badly needed change. But who really runs our country? Who really shapes our public policies and determines the flow of our hard-earned tax money entrusted to our government? If you had the patience to go through this article, which sheds light on only a fragment of what really takes place behind our backs, within the halls of our government, in all three branches, you would start questioning your significance as a voter and taxpayer, and you would begin wondering whether you are governed by who you think you are.
The foreign influence, the lobbyists, the current highly positioned civil servants who are determined future ‘wanna be’ lobbyists, and the fat cats of the Military Industrial Complex, operate successfully under the radar, with unlimited reach and power, with no scrutiny, while selling your interests, benefiting from your tax money, and serving the highest bidders regardless of what or who they may be. This deep state seems to operate at all levels of our government; from the President’s office to Congress, from the military quarters to the civil servants’ offices. Let’s let Marcus Cicero’s timeless warning from over two thousand years ago put the finishing touch on this article:
“A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murder[er] is less to fear.”- - Marcus Tullius Cicero
Two simple words: Teh Sweetness.
An unusual week for me, but a good one for adventures and job hunting. I was too darn busy to write here, but this week should offer a lot more goodies for the site. Also I have been having a weird tingly sensation in my wrists, which could be the long-awaited precursor to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. I am taking some glucosamine and using a wrist support on the keyboard, which should help. However, this discouraged me from writing all week.
Interestingly, I have been checking around the Sibel Edmonds case, and have heard some very intriguing things, confirming some rather impressive allegations of espionage and shady business among the neo-cons. While I really need to get my employment all worked out, I definitely want to help get the word out on the Edmonds case, which could crack big-time after the election into a meta-scandal rolling in AIPACgate, Chalabi-gate, international drug and nuclear trafficking, the neo-cons, secret September 11 financing and of course Turkish bribes for Dennis Hastert.
I just managed to download the French-only broadcast version of the Sibel Edmonds documentary "Kill the Messenger". It looks really sweet but I will have to rely on a friend for translations. It is available through the eMule filesharing network as something like "[Doc] Sibel Edmonds - Une femme á abattre - Canal plus C+ 19-09-2006". This link may take you to it: ed2k://|file|[Doc] Sibel Edmonds - Une femme Ã abattre - Canal plus C+ - PlanÃ¨te - 19-09-2006 - fr.avi|735123456|7327D4F88C959D88A0BB2BF32D29A7B4|/
One of the things that Drupal is supposed to do is allow me to do is post via external programs like Ecto, and this post is the first test of that system. I am pretty sure that it doesn't do image uploads, but if I can use Ecto again I will be able to post a lot more, far more easily.
There have been so many scandals breaking this week that I've really got Intrigue Fatigue:
Frank Luntz, who helped develop the "Contract With America" message that swept Republicans to power in 1994, was on the Hill last week warning the party faithful that they could lose both the House and the Senate in next year's congressional elections.
Har har har... Blogs for Bush darkly rambles about Democrats wishing for civil war. Fortunately, I scored a new apartment at the edge of downtown Minneapolis with Colin Kennedy. The apartment windows are just above the street signs in this photo. It's at Apartment 200, 32 Spruce Place, the "Haverhill Apartments", which is around the Laurel Village area. Basically to get there, you drive up Hennepin past the Minneapolis Community & Technical College and take a left onto Harmon Place, then go a block. It is right there on the first corner in. Not bad!
Federal auditors said on Friday that the Bush administration violated the law by buying favorable news coverage of President Bush's education policies, by making payments to the conservative commentator Armstrong Williams and by hiring a public relations company to analyze media perceptions of the Republican Party.
In a blistering report, the investigators, from the Government Accountability Office, said the administration had disseminated "covert propaganda" in the United States, in violation of a statutory ban.
Then, Valerie Plame and the War Propaganda. Meanwhile they started a war based on fabricated propaganda. I think I know which is worse. But they didn't like it when uppity ponks like Joe Wilson tried to deflate some of their more outlandish claims, so they smeared him by outing his wife as a CIA operative, which in their demented cocktail-party worldview somehow was thought to be a good idea. But who did this? Michael Ledeen? (well he quite possibly involved with the Yellowcake forgeries themselves, but...) Joe Wilson wasted no time in insinuating that Karl Rove and I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby were involved, and I had this thing fairly well pegged back in 2003. Nearly two years ago, October 4, 2003, 'Everyone's National Disaster' I said:
The leaker went after Wilson to intimidate anyone else who might attack the Bush folks falsification of war intelligence. Let me offer a prediction about who was probably behind the leak: the Vice President's Chief of Staff, Scooter Libby. There have been insiders saying that the bad guy works in the Executive Office Building, where Cheney's people are. If I'm right about this, I definitely win a cookie.
(although on antiwar.com they had it pegged back then too - that was certainly one of my sources) I will award myself a cookie now. A fine headline from the WaPo: "Role of Rove, Libby in CIA Leak Case Clearer: Bush and Cheney Aides' Testimony Contradicts Earlier White House Statement". And so now they are saying, let's look at bringing in CONSPIRACY charges. Har har (via a happy Billmon)!
A new theory about Fitzgerald's aim has emerged in recent weeks from two lawyers who have had extensive conversations with the prosecutor while representing witnesses in the case. They surmise that Fitzgerald is considering whether he can bring charges of a criminal conspiracy perpetrated by a group of senior Bush administration officials. Under this legal tactic, Fitzgerald would attempt to establish that at least two or more officials agreed to take affirmative steps to discredit and retaliate against Wilson and leak sensitive government information about his wife. To prove a criminal conspiracy, the actions need not have been criminal, but conspirators must have had a criminal purpose.
Naturally folks are drooling over the opportunity to see who in the White House could actually be indicted. Dkos writer DC Poli Sci outlines how back in the Watergate days, the prosecutors wanted to avoid setting a precedent of indicting the President, so fortunately they had bi-partisan support for impeachment, an option not open these days. A very good place to start looking at the matter. An (actual) psychoanalyst looks at Bush's general destructive tendencies - and how he might lash out if Karl Rove et al. are threatened by Fitzgerald's CIA probe:
Why this matters now is the possible reaction of Bush to Fitzgerald's next serious move. My fear is that the inner emptiness in Bush will respond with absolute panic to the potential loss of Rove and his other pals. Panic in a sadist who believes in the apocalypse is something serious about which we all should be worried.
Haaretz: U.S. officials eye possible Assad successors in Syria:
The sources added that senior American officials, in recent conversations with their Israeli counterparts, have expressed interest in Israel's assessments of Assad's possible successors, asking who Israel thought could replace him and still maintain Syria's stability. American officials said that their impression from these conversations was that Israel would prefer to have a weakened Assad, vulnerable to international pressure, remain in power, and is unenthusiastic about the possibility of a regime change in Syria.
The Israelis' impression was that America's main concern is the flow of terrorists into Iraq via Syria, rather than the threat posed by the Syrian-backed Hezbollah organization in Lebanon. But Washington, like Jerusalem, is eagerly awaiting the results of the Hariri investigation, and will not decide what to do about Syria until the findings have been published.
AIPAC Your ass, bitches!!! Funny stuff. Former Pentagon analyst (under Douglas Feith and the Office of Special Plans, part of the time) Larry Franklin is going to plead guilty to passing classified defense intelligence to AIPAC staffers, who in turn passed it along to Israeli intelligence agents at the embassy in Washington. AP story on it:
Rosen, a top lobbyist for Washington-based AIPAC for more than 20 years, and Weissman, the organization's top Iran expert, allegedly disclosed sensitive information as far back as 1999 on a variety of topics, including al-Qaida, terrorist activities in Central Asia, the bombing of Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia and U.S. policy in Iran, according to the indictment.
Presumably this means that he could really spill some beans on how AIPAC has operated as an agent of a foreign power (and probably as an espionage channel) while lobbying in DC. Justin Raimondo makes the 'maximalist' case that the Israeli government has, to some extent, been manipulating US policy. I think that "Israel's secret war on the US" goes a ways too far, but we are certainly looking at a serious Rabbit Hole of mysterious proportions. Raimondo puts his favorite pieces together in "AIPAC and Espionage: Guilty as Hell":
The chief beneficiaries of the conquest of Iraq, and subsequent threats against both Iran and Syria, have been, in descending order, Israel, Iran, and Osama bin Laden. Al-Qaeda has used the invasion as a recruiting tool and training ground for its global jihad against the United States. Iran has extended its influence deep into southern Iraq and has penetrated the central government in Baghdad. In the long run, however, Israel benefits the most, as a major Middle Eastern Arab country fragments into at least three pieces and the U.S. military is ineluctably drawn into neighboring countries.
While the U.S. imposes an occupation eerily reminiscent of Israel's longstanding occupation of Palestinian lands and prepares to deal with Israel's enemies in the region, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon makes major incursions into the West Bank, even while supposedly "withdrawing" from Gaza. In the meantime, the political and military bonds between the U.S. and Israel are strengthened, as the two allies present an indissoluble united front against the entire Muslim world.
Except the alliance is far from indissoluble, as the AIPAC spy scandal reveals. The U.S.-Israeli relationship, often described as "special," is rather more ambiguous than is generally recognized, both by Israel's staunchest friends and its most implacable enemies. This has come out in Israel's funneling American military technology to China, and the threat of American sanctions, but was also made manifest earlier by indications that Israel was conducting extensive spying operations in the U.S. prior to 9/11 – suspicions that are considerably strengthened by the AIPAC spy brouhaha.
Israel's secret war against America has so far been conducted in the dark, but the Rosen-Weissman trial will expose these night creatures to the light of day. Blinking and cursing, they'll be confronted with their treason, and, even as they whine that "everybody does it," the story of how and why a cabal of foreign agents came to exert so much influence on the shape of U.S. foreign policy will be told.
In the course of bending American policy to the Israelis' will, they had to compromise the national security of the United States – and that's what tripped them up, in the end.
Again, this is not my basic opinion about the situation, but it ought to be considered. On the flip side, Juan Cole reacts to Raimondo by pointing out that in Washington, it is ALL interest group politics, but when there is no wealthy counter-interest group to given foreign countries (like pro-Likud groups or anti-Castro Cubans) then U.S. policy gets incredibly one-sided and stupid. With the memorable headline "A Government of War Criminals, A Press of Agents Provocateurs, A Bureaucracy of Foreign Spies:"
I wish the argument were more nuanced, and there are many things in it with which I disagree (David Satterfield is likely to have been a relatively innocent bystander in this train wreck, e.g.). But because Raimundo pulls no punches, he forces us to consider the degree to which Congressional foreign policy on the Middle East in particular has become virtually captive to the Zionist lobby (just as US policy toward Cuba is captive to the Cuban-American community and its lobby). He clearly goes too far, but how far should an analyst of this case go? Billmon is almost equally scathing.
One thing must be said, which is that there is no sinister cabal, that all this is just single-interest politics. The American system is one of checks and balances, and takes it for granted that there will be lobbies on both sides of an issue. But because there are no wealthy, organized, well-connected lobbies on the other side of AIPAC or the Cuban-American National Foundation (e.g.), US government policy ends up being unbalanced and often irrational on those issues. And, AIPAC functions as a foreign agent in the US without having to register as such, and some of its major officers clearly have been deeply involved in espionage for Israel for years. The last two points are uncontestable. Is this really a situation that serves the American people? Franklin, the "go-to" man at the Pentagon for then Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, was trying to get up a US war against Iran, and was soliciting AIPAC's help. We already know that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has tried as hard as he could to get the US into a war against Tehran. Do the rest of us, who already have one military occupation of a Middle Eastern country we're not comfortable with, have any say at all in this? Don't we need a PAC for Middle East Peace that could begin offsetting AIPAC, the War PAC? If the pro-Israeli lobby or the Israeli prime minister want wars in the Middle East, why don't they fight them themselves? By the way, AIPAC has for several years been attempting to get Congress to pass a law that would put it in charge of the Middle East professors, like myself, and in a position to punish our universities financially if any of us criticize it or Israeli policy. The most dangerous thing about key elements of the Zionist lobby is that they really do want to gut the US First Amendment when it comes to Israeli interests.
I hope everyone who reads this will consider writing their Congressional representatives and senators and asking them to work to see that AIPAC is made to register as the agent of a foreign power, given the repeated pattern whereby it acts as such.
So yeah, Billmon has had a couple things to say about the matter. I also liked this UPI bit "Analysis: Netanyahu: US Opposes? So what?" which talks about Netanyahu's campaign to capture some more settlements as part of his bid to take over the Likud Party. I won't quote it now, but if you want evidence of how an insane racial chauvinist campaigns in favor of territorial expansion, you've got it. On the flip side, reflections about the peace movement in the broader Jewish community.
To hell with Des Moines: Finally the oh so productive 'retail politics' of Iowa and New Hampshire are finished as Dems to Add Contests to 2008 Calendar (via the Kos). So two more states will join IA and NH in the early set of primaries. I hope it's New York and California, or maybe Oregon and Montana. Or Mississippi and Kentucky. Whatever. Anything would be an improvement. Montana governor Brian Schweitzer was named the nation's 2005 "Hot Governor" by Rolling Stone but his story got axed. "'Since Hunter S. Thompson left, Rolling Stone hasn't been worth reading,' Schweitzer said," according to the article.
Able/Danger mystery continues: Newsday writes that the Pentagon had some sorts of leads on lead 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta before the attack, but the defense intelligence program Able/Danger was shut down and huge amounts of data got deleted. I've got an exciting conspiracy linked below about this, naturally!
Shaffer explained in a telephone interview that although Able/Danger never had knowledge of Atta's whereabouts, it had linked him and several other Al Qaeda suspects to an Egyptian terrorist, Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, who had been linked to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and later was convicted for conspiring to attack the U.S. Atta arrived in the U.S. some seven years after that bombing. But Shaffer and his attorney, Mark Zaid, emphasize that Able/Danger never knew where Atta was, only that he was connected to Abdel-Rahman and Al Qaeda.
"Not to say they were physically here, but the data led us to believe there was some activity related to the original World Trade Center bombing that these guys were somehow affiliated with," Shaffer said.
...[Senator] Specter sharply criticized the Pentagon for refusing to allow Shaffer, Phillpott, Smith and others who recall seeing the chart to appear and answer the committee's questions. "It looks to me as if it could be obstruction of the committee's activities," the senator said. Specter added that he was especially "dismayed and frustrated" by the committee's inability to hear from Shaffer and Phillpott, whom he described as "two brave military officers [who] have risked their careers to come forward and tell America the truth."
Pentagon to permit testimony: Following the hearing, Specter announced that the Pentagon had agreed to allow Shaffer, Phillpott and three other witnesses to testify in public next month, though a Specter aide said Tuesday that the Pentagon now insisted the hearings be closed.
.....Able/Danger was an experiment in a new kind of warfare, known as "information warfare" or "information dominance." One of the program's missions was to see whether Al Qaeda cells around the world could be identified by sifting huge quantities of publicly available data, a relatively new technique called "data mining."
The data miners used complex software programs, with names like Spire, Parentage and Starlight, that mimic the thought patterns in the human brain while parsing countless bits of information from every available source to find relationships and patterns that otherwise would be invisible.
Weird. Anyway the article also features some classic pre-9/11 bits such as the Phoenix memo and the arrest of Zacharias Mussaoui (so on the day of 9/11, the Minneapolis FBI had Nicholas Berg's email password inside Mussaoui's laptop. Random but interesting......)
War Porn: A very disturbing site called nowthatsfuckedup.com features images sent in by U.S. soldiers of dead people, blown to bits and so forth, from overseas, and this has been characterized as "the new pornography of war" (also The Porn of War at The Nation). Like any incredibly shady site, it's hosted in the Netherlands, so it's unlikely that lawyers can really get to them. It is very disturbing.
It seems like this is part of a very disturbing glorification of violence, using the aesthetic of death to provide meaning -- in other words, a surface manifestation of the inner emotional state that drives wars and murder. In contrast are the (warning: very graphic links) other photo galleries that can be found online that are intended to illustrate the horrors of Iraq, in order to encourage an end to the conflict. And there are those photos of flag-draped coffins coming into Dover Air Force Base in the United States that Bush was always obsessed with hiding from us. (thememoryblog, by the way, is excellent for more news on censored and concealed news like this)
Zarqawi-Goldstein update: I found another story about the ghost-like, eerie quality of how the Abu Musab al Zarqawi figure continues to generate media reports, while everyday Jordanians doubt he's still alive at all. This was by Dahr Jamail, who also has the Iraq casualty photo galleries linked above.
IRAQ MESS - time to grab our marbles and book it: Reuters: "Reuters says US troops obstruct reporting of Iraq." Now they are saying there is ONE fully functional Iraqi battalion. Great. Time to produce some kind of really important strategic benefit by blowing the hell out of some town (Sadah) eight miles from the Syrian border. I'm sure this will produce the same fine effects as the fourth time that the U.S. captured Samarra. Classified documents are talking about withdrawal strategies. "US Generals Now See Virtues of a Smaller Troop Presence in Iraq." as in:
"the generals said the presence of U.S. forces was fueling the insurgency, fostering an undesirable dependency on American troops among the nascent Iraqi armed forces and energizing terrorists across the Middle East."
The WaPo says that well, Bush is under pressure because Iraq is dissolving, and the Saudis are getting more vocal about noting this in public, which is not their usual style at all:
For all the public confidence, however, the Bush administration in private is nervous about this sensitive last stage, which will establish whether Iraq’s disparate religious and ethnic factions can stay together in a single nation — and whether civil war can be avoided, according to U.S. officials and experts on Iraq.
The administration has come under growing pressure at home and abroad over the past two weeks, with dire warnings from Arab allies and a prominent international group about the looming disintegration of Iraq. In an unusual public rebuke of U.S. policy, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister called a news conference in Washington last week to predict Iraq’s dissolution. He said there is no leadership or momentum to pull Iraq’s Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds back together and prevent a civil war. Other countries have expressed similar concerns in private, according to U.S. and Arab diplomats.
IRAQ Withdrawal Options Summary: Retired Lt. General William Odom adds that the Iraq war was "greatest strategic disaster in United States history". I mentioned Odom's analysis of What's really wrong with 'cutting and running' earlier. Michael Schwartz had a widely read reflection on why immediate withdrawal would be the better option now. Juan Cole's list of ten war demands for Congress, Billmon's sullen yet wise perspective and Robert Dreyfuss' view represent an excellent cross-section of thinking about the options for getting the U.S. away from this sorry vortex. Billmon's view of the War Porn site finally pushed him over the edge about the war, giving him the mental picture of growing, incipient Fascist tendencies in this country:
So I've been promising myself for a while now that I would break cover and at least admit that I'm not sure withdrawing from Iraq is the morally right thing to do, and have deep doubts about the arguments in favor of it.
But something happened on my way to a confession: I came across the Nation article on nonwthatsfuckedup.com, which meant I had to take a good, hard look at the psychopathic side of the American spirit, and consider its implications not just for the war on terrorism and the occupation of Iraq, but its role in the emergence of an authentically fascist movement in American politics, one which feeds on violence and the glorification of violence, and which has found an audience not just in the U.S. military (where I think -- or at least hope -- it's still a relatively small fringe) but in the culture as a whole.
I don't have time at the moment to explain fully why and how this peek at the banality of evil changed my thinking, although I'll try to cover it in a future post. Suffice it to say that my visit to nowthatsfuckedup.com was a reminder of the genocidal skeletons hanging in the American closet. It left me with the conviction -- or at least an intuitive premonition -- that an open-ended war in Iraq (or in the broader Islamic world) will bring nothing but misery and death to them, and creeping (or galloping) authoritarianism to us.
Jim Lobe had an excellent article about whether "Can the US Military Presence Avert Civil War?" This article is required reading. (Also it's worth recalling that Niall Ferguson was at my table when I had lunch with Michael Ledeen):
The growing spectre of a full-scale civil war in Iraq -- and the likelihood that such a conflict will draw in neighbouring states -- has intensified a summer-long debate here over whether and how to withdraw U.S. troops. Some analysts believe that an immediate U.S. withdrawal would make an all-out conflict less likely, while others insist that the U.S. military presence at this point is virtually all there is to prevent the current violence from blowing sky-high, destabilising the region, and sending oil prices into the stratosphere.
The Bush administration continues to insist it will "stay the course" until Iraqi security forces can by themselves contain, if not crush, the ongoing insurgency. But an increasing number of analysts, including some who favoured the 2003 invasion, believe Washington will begin drawing down its 140,000 troops beginning in the first half of next year, if for no other reason than the Republican Party needs to show voters a "light at the end of the tunnel" before the November 2006 elections.
.....In fact, some of these analysts believe that a civil war -- pitting Sunnis against the Kurdish and Shia populations -- has already begun. "A year ago, it was possible to write about the potential for civil war in Iraq," wrote Iraq-war booster Niall Ferguson in the Los Angeles Times. "Today that civil war is well underway," he asserted. While that remains a minority view, the likelihood and imminence of civil war in Iraq is no longer questioned by analysts outside the administration.
Ferguson blames the situation on Washington's failure to deploy a sufficient number of troops in Iraq to crush any insurgency. But a report released Monday by the International Crisis Group (ICG) pointed the finger at the U.S.-sponsored constitutional process, which will culminate in a national plebiscite Oct. 15, as having further alienated Sunnis from the two other major sectarian groups. Barring a major U.S. intervention to ensure that Sunni interests are addressed, according to the report, "Unmaking Iraq: A Constitutional Process Gone Awry", "Iraq is likely to slide toward full-scale civil war and the break-up of the country."
......"We created the civil war when we invaded (Iraq); we can't prevent a civil war by staying," Odom wrote last month in an essay entitled "What's Wrong with Cutting and Running?" He and Bacevich both argued that, instead of creating a vacuum in Iraq that would draw in neighbouring powers, Washington's withdrawal would force neighbours and other great powers -- who have been relegated to the sidelines by the Bush administration's high-handedness -- to form a coalition to ensure a conflict would not get out of hand.
Some of the administration's critics, however, argue that an immediate withdrawal will indeed make things far worse, particularly for Iraqis. "I just cannot understand this sort of argument," wrote University of Michigan Middle East expert Juan Cole on his much-read blog (www.juancole.com). "The U.S. military is killing a lot of Iraqis, but whether it is killing more than would die in a civil war would depend on how many died in a civil war," he wrote. "A million or two could die in a civil war, and that's if the war stays limited to Iraq, which is unlikely."
"A U.S. withdrawal would not cause the Sunnis suddenly to want to give up their major demands; indeed, they might well be emboldened to hit the Shiites harder," wrote Cole, who favours both the withdrawal of most U.S. ground troops and, in the absence of NATO or U.N. peacekeepers, the maintenance of Special Forces and U.S. airpower in the region precisely to prevent sectarian forces from escalating the conflict into a conventional civil war, as in Afghanistan.
Bing West reporting from Fallujah for Slate.com talks about the Emerging Iraqi Army and life in Fallujah in a series of articles. He was a Pentagon official, so the tone is towards "Rah-Rah!!" but it's still well-done. Ah, the Berg/Zarqawi story pops up here too. Anyway. 'C', an anonymous officer who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, related to Human Rights Watch how he couldn't get those in the chain of command to do anything about widespread torture practices. This quote says it all:
[At FOB Mercury] they said that they had pictures that were similar to what happened at Abu Ghraib, and because they were so similar to what happened at Abu Ghraib, the soldiers destroyed the pictures. They burned them. The exact quote was, “They [the soldiers at Abu Ghraib] were getting in trouble for the same things we were told to do, so we destroyed the pictures.”
....My company commander said, “I see how you can take it that way, but…” he said something like, “remember the honor of the unit is at stake” or something to that effect and “Don’t expect me to go to bat for you on this issue if you take this up,” something to that effect.
"Officials Fear Chaos if Iraqis Vote Down the Constitution". The suspicious sentiment of the moment:
"Nobody will be surprised to lose Anbar, and maybe one other province," one Pentagon official said. "We're not going to lose three."
Juan Cole reflects on the recent war protests and spineless Democrats. Fred Kaplan in Slate writes that the damned Constitution coming down the line in Iraq will be a disaster, and he hopes it's defeated:
The basic fact about Iraqi geography is that the Kurdish north and Shiite south have lots of oil, while the Sunni center does not. Read in this context, the basic fact about the Iraqi Constitution is that it strengthens the north and south, lets them form semiautonomous regions and expand them into super-regions—in short, it lets them dominate the country's politics and economics—while leaving the Sunnis with nearly nothing. It leaves the very faction that needs to be assimilated, if Iraq is to be a secure and viable nation, unassimilated.
It was meant to be a moment of reconciliation between the old regime and the new, a gathering of nearly 1,000 former Iraqi army officers and tribal leaders in Baghdad to voice their concerns over today's Iraq. But it did not go as planned.
General after general rose to his feet and raised his voice to shout at the way Iraq was being run and to express his fear of escalating war. "They were fools to break up our great army and form an army of thieves and criminals," said one senior officer. "They are traitors," added another.
.....The meeting, in a heavily guarded hall close to the Tigris, was called by General Wafiq al-Sammarai, a former head of Iraqi military intelligence under Saddam who fled Baghdad in 1994 to join the opposition. He is now military adviser to President Jalal Talabani.
His eloquent call for support for the government in his fight against terrorism did not go down well. He sought to reassure his audience that no attack was planned on the Sunni Arab cities of central Iraq such as Baquba, Samarra and Ramadi, as the Iraqi Defence minister had threatened. He said people had been fleeing the cities but "there will be no attack on you, no use of aircraft, no bombardment by the Americans". The audience was having none of it.
......The meeting was important because the officer corps of the old Iraqi army consider themselves as keeper of the flame of Iraqi nationalism. One of them asked General Sammarai to stop using the American word "general" and use the Arabic word lewa'a instead.
In conversation, the officers made clear that they considered armed resistance to the occupation legitimate. General Sammarai told The Independent that he drew a distinction between terrorists blowing up civilians and nationalist militants fighting US troops.
One of the Senior Fuck-Ups, Joint Chiefs Chairman Richard Myers, is finally retiring to somewhere else that he can pointlessly bomb. Alex Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair bitterly lament the spinelessness of Democrats as they "Sink Deeper into the Ooze." A final bit about the AIPAC == War Party meme today:
For those interested in some of the reasons for this incredible abdication [of Democrats avoiding the recent war protest], we can cite former National Security Agency staffer and muckraker Wayne Madsen who reported two days after the rally that "according to Democratic insiders on Capitol Hill AIPAC put out the word that any member of Congress who appeared at the protest, where some speakers were to represent pro-Palestinian views, would face their political wrath."
Madsen wrote that three members of Congress had been scheduled to speak at the rally McKinney, Woolsey and John Conyers. "Word is that AIPAC will direct its massive campaign to Wolsey's neo-con and pro-Iraq war primary challenger, California state assemblyman Joe Nation, who has strong connections to the RAND corporation."
USS Cole-Wayne Madsen conspiracy time: Meanwhile Wayne Madsen has a new really exciting conspiracy theory involving the famous Israeli art students, John O'Neill, September 11, Douglas Feith and Marc Zell, Able/Danger, Islamic militants in Bosnia, Plame's Brewster Jennings front company, Sibel Edmonds, Michael Chertoff, the USS Cole bombing (actually an Israeli missile, according to Madsen's unnamed CIA source) and the rest. Not worth betting the lunch money on, but a very entertaining counter-narrative about the ideologies and paranoia of our times. Time for Deep Politics, Comrade. But Madsen takes heart with all the breaking scandals, as I do on his site:
After almost five years of incessant outrages by the Bush regime, I have never been more optimistic that the tide may be beginning to turn.
Asked whether the insurgency has worsened, Casey said it has not expanded geographically or numerically, “to the extent we can know that.” But he noted that current “levels of violence are above norms,” exceeding 500 attacks a week. “I’ll tell you that levels of violence are a lagging indicator of success,” he added.
So he is having trouble fully vaulting into lie territory, unlike Rummy. Lies.com also notes that surprisingly, adept liars' brains are built differently - with more white matter and less neurons in the prefrontal cortex.
Boeing and Bell Helicopter have apologized for running an advertisement for the V-22 Osprey aircraft that features soldiers invading a mosque. "It descends from the heavens. Ironically it unleashes hell... Consider it a gift from above." That's pretty fucked up. Apparently the building in the image says "Muhammed Mosque" in Arabic. Wow. Almost as ill-conceived as the boondoggle Osprey itself.
Abu Ghraib Photo Bomb: We are set for another batch of Abu Ghraib media to be released, much to the chagrin of the Pentagon leadership, who prefer to frame the issue as destabilizing and pointlessly inflammatory media. However, it is also excellent evidence for the American people that the Pentagon leadership does not deserve to keep their jobs, which is obviously the most important thing in the fucking world.
Former CIA dude Ray McGovern notes that the chain of command is constantly ducking responsibility for torturing people and all that. Stories of the 'New Boss' Iraqi security agencies are really scary, such as the story from Khalid Jarrar's detainment that I mentioned a while ago. You can almost taste the insanity and paranoia now generating inside those new Iraqi government agency buildings (actually, like Abu Ghraib, they're the same buildings as Saddam's day).
Paul Craig Roberts summarizes your basic reasons that Bush is stirring up some more wars with Iran and North Korea.
The Misc File: "India loses political credibility in anti-Iran vote" (IPS):
India, a country that aspires to be a superpower in Asia, lost its political credibility among the world's developing nations last week when it voted against Iran at a meeting of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna. The headline in a leading Indian national newspaper said it all: "India's shameful vote against Iran." The criticism kept snowballing, as the media, academics and mainstream and left-wing politicians in New Delhi crucified the government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for abandoning one of its longtime political and economic allies in Asia.
Well that's enough fun for today. With a little luck, let this post stand as this website's high water mark of charting the World's Sordid Affairs, the sinister inverse point, the final crest of the high and terrible wave we've been on. The opposite of this:
And that, I think, was the handle - that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn't need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting--on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave.
So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right sort of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark--that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.
Time is on our side. I'm moving to Minneapolis.
Antiwar.com's blog returns to the story of former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds, (her official site) a strange post-9/11 shadow case that Ashcroft helped gag. Her case involves, at the least, illegal cash getting moved around and Turkish spies. Edmonds, trying to act as a whistleblower, still can't speak freely about what she wants to say; however, what she has said is bombshell, decidedly off-the-charts paranoid intrigue.
Maybe she's a disinformation agent, but more likely she's another random person dragged into a shadowy geopolitical nightmare. I've previously posted about her here and here, wherein she alleged that Dennis Hastert was getting secret cash from Turks.
So consider the post 'sibel edmonds, brewster jennings, edelman and grossman' on the blog 'wot is it good 4' that pulls together the rich-sounding threads of this tale. Take it as you will, with as many grains of salt as needed (posted about on DailyKos):
Sibel makes 2 specific related claims
a) Sibel claims that she has information which proves that senior officials knew that there were plans to attack America months before 9/11.
"There was general information about the time-frame, about methods to be used but not specifically about how they would be used and about people being in place and who was ordering these sorts of terror attacks. There were other cities that were mentioned. Major cities with skyscrapers."
"President Bush said they had no specific information about 11 September and that is accurate but only because he said 11 September," she said. There was, however, general information about the use of airplanes and that an attack was just months away."
b) Sibel claims that she has evidence of a global multi-billion dollar smuggling/dealing network of weapons and drug which is hidden in plain view. Of course, there is also the requisite money-laundering infrastructure. She claims that the network comprises senior american government officials, terrorists, and 'unsavoury regimes.'
and they merge, giving us:
“drug trafficking, money laundering, foreign names and American names directly involved in the financing of the 9-11 attacks on WTC (World Trade Center) and the Pentagon.”
But also consider this good caveat from xymphora:
"Edmonds sometimes makes me a bit nervous as she seems overly adept with the terms and arguments of conspiracy theory for someone who is supposed to have been a lowly FBI translator (it's like she's been reading Peter Dale Scott!). Is she part of the battle in Washington between the Bush Administration enablers involved in the drugs/arms business who don't mind directly or indirectly supporting al Qaeda if it is good for business, and those old-fashioned types who still consider that dealing with American enemies is treason?"
And here is her Grand Conspiracy of Everything, salacious!!
SIBEL: Essentially, there is only one investigation – a very big one, an all-inclusive one. Completely by chance, I, a lowly translator, stumbled over one piece of it.
But I can tell you there are a lot of people involved, a lot of ranking officials, and a lot of illegal activities that include multi-billion-dollar drug-smuggling operations, black-market nuclear sales to terrorists and unsavory regimes, you name it. And of course a lot of people from abroad are involved. It's massive. So to do this investigation, to really do it, they will have to look into everything.
CD: But you can start from anywhere –
SIBEL: That's the beauty of it. You can start from the AIPAC angle. You can start from the Plame case. You can start from my case. They all end up going to the same place, and they revolve around the same nucleus of people. There may be a lot of them, but it is one group. And they are very dangerous for all of us.
There is a lot more exciting stuff. I am assuming every American arms contractor and high-ranking person at State Department will have to be arrested. Marc Grossman and Eric Edelman are two guys the blog suggests have played a role in illegal activities in "the 'Stans" of Central Asia, WMD trafficking with Islamic militants, and anything else we could think of.
My intuition tells me that the scope of this tale perfectly fits a 'negative narrative,' i.e. the exact inverse of what we are 'supposed to believe', so it is designed to be an attractive view for anti-Bush folks. In other words, it has the markers of a 'decoy conspiracy theory,' or one of those 'information operations' we've heard so much about.
On the other hand, it seems an obvious geopolitical necessity that all that heroin getting created by the Tajik and Uzbek 'Northern Alliance' warlords now running Afghanistan must be getting moved somewhere through the 'Stans of Central Asia & Pakistan, and probably some very clever guys from the State Department have been dealing with it. And in all probability, it was old hands that knew the major regional hustlers during Clinton's term -- such as Marc Grossman and Eric Edelman.
Edelman, for his part, has now replaced Douglas Feith as Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, a high honorary post for fucking maniacs. In a fine look at many of the background neo-cons, Chris Deliso noted in 'Lesser Neocons of L'Affaire Plame',
Although Grossman "has not been as high profile in the press" FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds cryptically told me the other day, "don't overlook him – he is very important." She was not speaking about the Plame affair, though Grossman did indeed have a key role there, as we will see.
According to her, Grossman was one of three officials – the other two, she says, are Richard Perle and Douglas Feith – who had been watched by both Valerie Plame's Brewster Jennings & Associates CIA team, and by the major FBI investigation of organized crime and governmental corruption on which she herself was working until being terminated in April 2002.
Marc Grossman has served in a number of interesting countries and positions over the past 29 years. From 1976-1983, at a pivotal point in the Cold War, he was employed at the U.S. embassy in Pakistan – America's key regional ally, through which millions of dollars in weapons and other "aid" were delivered by Pakistan's ISI intelligence service to the mujahedin following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979.
Yow!!! Talk about your heroin-connected State Department guys!! In a final twist for Grossman, he happened to meet up with Pakistani ISI director General Mahmoud Ahmed just before September 11 — and Ahmed has been linked to sending cash to lead 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta. Wot is it good 4 adds a few more bits in a handy bio:
Edelman left Libby's [employ] on June 6, 2003 "'to begin language training in preparation for a posting as ambassador to Turkey." This is a week after 'Libby asks Bolton, and Grossman for information about news report about CIA's secret envoy to Africa in 2002"
According to Fitzgerald, 2 weeks later (June 19, 2003, before Wilson's NYT op-ed), Edelman "asked LIBBY whether information about Wilson's trip could be shared with the press to rebut the allegations that the VP had sent Wilson. LIBBY responded that there would be complications at the CIA in disclosing that information publicly, and that he could not discuss the matter on a non-secure phone line."
In Central Asia, Everything is Permissible: The plain truth is that, especially out in Central Asia, the concept of 'corruption' does not exist, and there is no real barrier between the legitimate economy and the 'shadow economy' of weapons, drugs and other contraband. Controlling your turf means controlling the passage of all goods, especially the really good goods. And that's how it's been for centuries.
So perhaps Edmonds represents a kind of domestic blowback against this staggering corruption of American institutions and secretive misuse of executive power. Although, maybe it is all purely symbolic. With a little luck, this weird case will finally get the top-level media attention it deserves, perhaps as Libby's court date approaches...
Douglas Feith: His Business is the Turks: wot is it good 4 also informs that Richard Perle used to consult for some shadowy Turkish concerns, and Douglas Feith, of all people, was a registered foreign agent of Turkey from 1989-1994!! This certainly adds a shade to the whole Turkey/neo-con model - and Grossman was recently ambassador to Turkey.
This seems to tie into the Valerie Plame matter, somehow: As long as we are fishing in these murky waters, Sibel Edmonds has implied that her case is closely tied to the Plame affair and the American Turkish Council. there has been some speculation that Valerie Plame was actually burned by Libby and the neo-cons not because of Wilson's Op-Ed, but because her CIA front company, Brewster Jennings, may have been getting 'too close' to exposing illegal WMD activities that someone like Libby might have been tied up in.
Perhaps even Libby's longtime former client, billionaire fugitive Marc Rich, is involved. Rich's partner in intrigue, Russian mogul Boris Berezovsky, has been tied up in some exotic deals, including nuclear trafficking with the Chechens.
Secret Office of Special Plans units going around in Iraq to fabricate WMD?! On a parallel track, here is a story from Larisa Alexandrovna in RawStory which details apparent secret military units dispatched under the authority of Feith and the Office of Special Plans, with the apparent intent of coming up with some WMDs in Iraq, faking their origin if necessary. However it failed, if the story is to be believed. "Secretive military unit sought to solve political WMD concerns prior to securing Iraq, intelligence sources say":
Sources say the Office of Special Plans deployed several extra-legal and unapproved task force missions prior to and after combat operations began. Under the supervision of Doug Feith, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, the OSP ran largely unsupervised and operated in secrecy. According to those familiar with the plans, the off-book missions were approved by Feith -- himself currently under investigation by the FBI for allegations of passing US secrets to Israel and Iran -- Cambone and then-Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley.
One intelligence source says the Office of Special Plans’ off-book team was using [missing US pilot] Speicher and WMD as a pretext for whatever their real objective may have been.
This smaller unnamed team was tasked with interviewing former Iraqi intelligence officers in hopes of securing help with a “political WMD” problem, a source close to the UN Security Council says.
During the summer of 2003 through the fall of 2003, the team, whose members who were not named by sources, is said to have interviewed many Iraqi intelligence and former intelligence officers. The UN source says that the political problem discussed had more to do with solving the lack of WMD than anything else.
Ok, then. Grains of salt etc.
Brewster Jennings and the Planted WMD: I will add one more bit to this mix of really quite paranoid stuff: Maverick/'highly untrustworthy' internet journalist Wayne Madsen raised the possibility that Brewster Jennings and Valerie Plame got burned because they intercepted a WMD that some in Turkey were trying to sneak into Iraq — but the twist is that neoconservatives were trying to get the weaponry into Iraq, because they wanted to stage its exciting discovery there, thus providing the casus belli to drive the American public into a belligerent, fearful frenzy. A fun theory...
Since we are really out on a kick here, why not add what Madsen put out on Nov. 11 (again, many grains of lysergic acid salt recommended):
"According to U.S. intelligence sources, the White House exposure of Valerie Plame and her Brewster Jennings & Associates was intended to retaliate against the CIA's work in limiting the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. WMR has reported in the past on this aspect of the scandal. In addition to identifying the involvement of individuals in the White House who were close to key players in nuclear proliferation, the CIA Counter-Proliferation Division prevented the shipment of binary VX nerve gas from Turkey into Iraq in November 2002. The Brewster Jennings network in Turkey was able to intercept this shipment which was intended to be hidden in Iraq and later used as evidence that Saddam Hussein was in possession of weapons of mass destruction. U.S. intelligence sources revealed that this was a major reason the Bush White House targeted Plame and her network."
So, under possible motives to out Plame, we can tentatively consider that her CIA team wouldn't help stage WMD in Iraq to justify a war. Again, this sounds much too delicious to be true, but if it were true, it would help make some sense of Libby's motive. (Madsen also posted some other stuff about Brewster Jennings going after Libby, nuke traffickers and the Russian mob on Oct. 25 - again, many salt grains)
There's plenty of speculation here, and I don't want to make conclusions yet. Except for one: It's nobody's business but the Turks!!