Monday, August 20, 2007

Sibel Edmonds: Prostitutes, Pimps & Pitchforks

Last week former FBI translator, and head of the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition, Sibel Edmonds sent a letter to NSWBC members expressing some frustration with the current congress on their failure to follow up on their promises to hold hearings into various whistleblower cases.

Sibel is looking for suggestions about how to get congress to actually, you know, do something.

After years of activism, Sibel has concluded that:
There are only three parties of interests in this government, in this town. The Prostitutes=Congressmen/Senators, the Pimps=the lobbyists, and the Fat Cat Clients= incompetent bureaucrats in charge, MIC, Oil, Contractors, etc.
The letter, and some of my comments are below.


Here is Sibel's letter (with permission):


I know some of you have been wondering about the status of National Security Whistleblowers Coalition and our campaigns, and I have received many e-mails and phone calls with regard to our current position and future activities.

I haven’t done anything further as far as Congress is concerned and here is why:

For several years, until the last November elections, we were told by Democrats in Congress that the only reason our demands for real oversight, accountability, and bringing openness to our government by holding congressional hearings on many whistleblower cases, were not being acted upon, was that the big bad majority, the Republicans, were blocking such attempts/moves. Frankly, I was gullible enough to buy that excuse, thus, like many of you, I held my breath and waited for the results from last November’s elections, and sighed with relief when that ‘big bad’ majority was changed.

After the new congressional session began, in January 2007, we went back to those previously minority offices that had given us many promises and lots of encouragement, and low and behold, we were told that other than some changes in Whistleblower protection laws, they had no plans for holding hearings on our cases, nor did they have any plans to address our most important objective: Accountability.

When we insisted upon holding these cowards to their repeated past promises, they, the new majority, decided to cease all contacts and correspondence with us. Our so-called representatives, such as Waxman (and his committee’s previously supportive staff members) have ceased to even take calls from NSWBC or its members. The fascinating change in Chairman Waxman of the so-called ‘Government Reform Committee’ can only be described as a transformation from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde.

(cheesy lolWaxman Jekyll/Hyde image by me. see here for my recent diary on Waxman finally speaking out on Sibel's case and saying nothing)

More Sibel:
What happened to those hearings promised to us (to our organizations, our members, and other whistleblowers)? Here are a few we requested during our many sessions/meeting prior to the last elections:

1- A series of hearing on TSA whistleblowers and their cases. This agency has been creating more whistleblower than all other agencies combined! We have so many TSA whistleblowers with established, documented, and collaborated backings!

2- A hearing on DEA whistleblowers in Sandy Gonzalez’ case & the House of Death cover up.

3- A series of hearing on FBI whistleblowers.

4- A hearing on my case dealing with government gag orders, retroactive classification and state secrets privilege. The demand for this particular hearing, on my case, was backed by transpartisan organizations in a petition signed by 15000 Americans, and sent to Waxman’s office by each supporting organization.

5- A series of hearings on Air Marshall cases. Their issue has been in the press almost on a daily basis for the past two years. What more does it take to illustrate its importance?!! Jeff Black now has a large group of these courageous whistleblowers, all ready to testify and shed light on the disastrous state of affairs there.

6- A hearing on our partner organization’s case (Veterans Affairs Whistleblowers Coalition VAWBC); a group of VA doctors who have been fighting for the lives and health of our men & women who have placed our country above their own lives. (see here for more on Hillary's performance on VAWBC)

In addition to our own members and partner whistleblower groups, these representatives had promised hearings for other whistleblowers who have been fighting for years, pursuing oversight and accountability. People like Bunny Greenhouse (DOD; contract fraud & Halliburton Case).

More Sibel:
Well, dear members, guess what? We have done all we could re the Congress. You may disagree with me, but I now consider that strategy futile. Who are we going to pursue this time? Who are we going to blame? Obviously it is not about partisanship, and we have been saying this all along.

After dealing with this Congress and living the daily life of a typical Washington DC advocate/activist, here is my conclusion:

There are only three parties of interests in this government, in this town. The Prostitutes=Congressmen/Senators, the Pimps=the lobbyists, and the Fat Cat Clients= incompetent bureaucrats in charge, MIC (Military Industrial Complex), Oil, Contractors, etc. We, the American People, our interests, our security, our tax dollars, our health, our future, have no place in this equation; what-so-ever.

Ahhh. Sibel has such a way with words.

More Sibel:
The mainstream media could have, and can, do so much to change this reality. Unfortunately they are not doing it. So, I turn to you, and ask you, ‘What do you believe we should do?’ I know many of you, like me, are exhausted; beaten up. I am asking you, since the Congress has proven to be no representatives of our country, our people, ‘Where do you want us to turn our attention/focus to?’

I am out of ideas, so please, if you are still interested, let me know what it is, or, who it is, that we should be pursuing for our objectives: Oversight, Accountability, & Justice.

How about you lot? Any ideas?

Let me just pre-empt one frequent suggestion - that Sibel just 'tell all.' Sibel has thought long & hard about this issue and has concluded/decided that if she did that, it would simply be another 'one day story' - without any follow-up or accountability.

It's difficult to argue with her, given how appallingly she has been treated so far by both Congress and the Mainstream Media (and others). Her case was investigated by the Department of Justice Inspector General and her claims were confirmed. The report is still classified. Various congressional offices (Waxman, Leahy, Grassley) have read the classified report and conducted their own investigations, included calling witnesses etc, and again her claims were confirmed, and none denied - and yet, nothing happened. The US media has been appalling too, refusing to discuss all but the most trivial of her claims ('mistranslations').

(For an overview of Sibel's case, see What the heck is Sibel Edmonds' Case about? And why should I care? Or for a really short version, see my post from yesterday with an old speech that Sibel gave at the ACLU.)

We need to find a way to get her case in the public record - whether it is declassifying, or leaking, the Inspector General's report, or public hearings in Congress, or...? Who has any good ideas?

More Sibel:
A while back one of our members, who happens to be my best friend, Steve, offered one viable alternative: ‘Pitch Forks.’ At the time, I rolled my eyes, and dismissed it as a joke. Today, I see it as the only way to literally ‘clean house’ and turn this monster into what it is supposed to be: The government of the people, by the people, for the people.

The Founding Fathers of our country gave us a free nation, gave us a Constitution to guide us, and gave us warnings as what could happen when and if we, the people of the country, let down our guard, become complacent, become lazy, become self-absorbed. Of them, Jefferson was the most prolific writer, so in closing I chose a few quotes from him – to help underscore what we face today:

* "The greatest [calamity] which could befall [us would be] submission to a government of unlimited powers." --Thomas Jefferson

* "If once [the people] become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress and Assemblies, Judges and Governors, shall all become wolves. It seems to be the law of our general nature, in spite of individual exceptions." --Thomas Jefferson

* "Who will govern the governors?" There is only one force in the nation that can be depended upon to keep the government pure and the governors honest, and that is the people themselves. They alone, if well informed, are capable of preventing the corruption of power, and of restoring the nation to its rightful course if it should go astray. They alone are the safest depository of the ultimate powers of government. --Thomas Jefferson on Politics and Government

So, yes, maybe “Pitch Forks” isn’t such a bad idea after all.

Here is Waxman’s recent comment re: ‘I don’t recall ever promising whistleblowers like Edmonds any hearings…’

I am looking forward to hearing your suggestions and responses.

So what have you got?

Let Sibel Edmonds Speak

(let me know if you want to be added to my email list for new Sibel-related post. Subject: 'Sibel email list.')

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