Tuesday, November 20, 2007

What the heck is Sibel Edmonds' Case about? And why should I care?

In yesterday's post "Dan Ellsberg: Sibel Edmonds case "Far More Explosive Than Pentagon Papers" I briefly discussed the fact that the corporate media has so far refused to take up the offer from former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds to tell us everything that she knows about treason at the highest level of the US Govt.

The post was very popular but there was some dissatisfaction amongst some commentors - most of which centered around two general issues:
1. 'Why doesn't she just talk already?'
2. 'I don't know what the underlying issues are in this case.'
(and yes, there were other discussions about tactics etc)

The thing is, Sibel has been talking, and she has tried just about every avenue available to her, and we do have a pretty good idea what the underlying issues are in her case.


'Why doesn't she just talk already?'
Sibel has tried every available channel to pursue her claims legitimately - including internal FBI processes, Congress, the courts, the 911 Commission and the media. She went as high as FBI Director Robert Mueller in the FBI - and the internal FBI report said that she was "100% right." In Congress, Sibel went to Waxman, Leahy and Grassley - all of whom have been supporters. Sibel went to the courts and was gagged via the State Secrets Privilege from having the courts hear her case. And she has tried various avenues in the media to get her story out.

The MSM has generally been terrible in covering Sibel's story, but she has given a hundred interviews and published dozens of articles.

So to those of you who ask 'Why doesn't she speak already?' I can tell you that she already has. I have covered this story closely for years and I pick a number out of the air estimate that I already know, from the public record, 75% of what she has to say. Sibel's case involves illegal weapons sales, money laundering, drug trafficking, nuclear black market, terrorism and the corruption of the US Govt.

Sibel has already named names (though not all) - Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, William Cohen, Marc Grossman, Eric Edelman, Dennis Hastert, Bob Livingston and others - and she has also named the countries involved: Turkey, Israel, Pakistan, the other 'Stans - and of course the US.

The crimes in Sibel's story range from the micro level (espionage at the FBI translation unit) to the macro level (e.g. supplying Pakistan's nuclear program, blackmail/bribery of members of congress, covering up 9/11, and various other military-industrial-complex related corruption.)

We know all this despite the gag orders and the invocation of the State Secrets Privilege. So to those who ask 'Why doesn't she just speak out?' - well, she already has spoken out, deftly dancing around all those efforts to silence her. As Sibel repeatedly points out, no one in the MSM has even dared to ask why her case has been cloaked in the State Secrets Privilege (SSP). We know why the SSP was invoked in the NSA spying scandal, and we know why it was invoked in the El-Masri case, and we know why it was invoked in the Maher Arar case - but no-one in the MSM has really asked why it was invoked in Sibel's case. It was invoked to hide criminality at the highest levels of the US Govt. Sibel rightly calls it "Treason."

I (mostly) won't deal with the 'tactics' issue in this post. Many of you think that Sibel's offer (which was clumsily characterized as 'unedited' - but her actual offer is "I'll tell you the story so long as you don't leave the important pieces on the cutting room floor") to tell her story to a broadcast network is destined to fail. That might very well be true, but it certainly wasn't designed to fail, it is a legitimate attempt to get some accountability - as was/is her offer to appear, under oath, in Congress.

Importantly, Sibel would much prefer to appear in Congress than in the media. She'd prefer to be under oath, she'd like to be able to subpoena the documents that prove her case, and she'd like to be able to subpoena the other FBI agents who were working the cases that she was working on (all of whom would apparently be willing to testify.)

If you are interested in learning more about Sibel's case, I recommend that you start with Phil Girladi's piece in American Conservative which Sibel says "sums up the case very well, considering the length... as far as published articles go, this one nails it 100%." Then there is the Vanity Fair article "An Inconvenient Patriot." I strongly recommend Sibel's Hijacking of a Nation - parts one and two, and Sibel's Open Letter to the 911 Commission.

Those of you who would prefer video versions, see particularly "Sibel Edmonds. Everybody Knows," and "Sibel Edmonds. Investigations Thwarted" and any of my other videos here.

All of this has been a long introduction to a repost of my "What the heck is Sibel Edmonds' Case about? And why should I care?" It isn't great, or complete, but here it is:

As part of our campaign this week to call for hearings into Sibel Edmonds case, below the fold is a short-as-possible piece which hopes to answer the burning question in Sibel's case: What the heck is her case about?

For a longer version, see my recent interview with Scott Horton

Please call the offices of Congressmen Waxman - (202) 225-3976 - and Conyers - (202) 225-5126 - demanding open hearings into Sibel Edmonds' case and the State Secrets Privilege.


Sibel Edmonds' case is about the intersection of illegal arms trafficking, heroin trafficking, money laundering, terrorist activities and the corruption of many "highly-recognizable, highly-known names" in and around the US government. Sibel says that the people involved will go straight to prison if we can get hearings into her case. Richard Perle, in prison. Douglas Feith, in prison. Dennis Hastert, in prison. Marc Grossman, in prison.

According to Sibel, the best place to begin trying to understand the case is a recent article by Phil Giraldi in the American Conservative. Sibel says “Giraldi has it 100% right; this I consider the most accurate summary of my case.”

Giraldi writes:
"Sibel Edmonds... could provide a major insight into how neoconservatives distort US foreign policy and enrich themselves at the same time. On one level, her story appears straightforward: several Turkish lobbying groups allegedly bribed congressmen to support policies favourable to Ankara. But beyond that, the Edmonds revelations become more serpentine and appear to involve AIPAC, Israel and a number of leading neoconservatives who have profited from the Turkish connection.
Turkey benefits from the relationship by securing general benevolence and increased aid from the US Congress - as well as access to otherwise unattainable military technology. The Turkish General Staff has a particular interest because much of the military spending is channeled through companies in which the generals have a financial stake, making for a very cozy and comfortable business arrangement. The commercial interest has also fostered close political ties, with the American Turkish Council, American Turkish Cultural Alliance and the Assembly of Turkish American Associations all developing warm relationships with AIPAC and other Jewish and Israel advocacy groups throughout the US.

Someone has to be in the middle to keep the happy affair going, so enter the neocons, intent on securing Israel against all comers and also keen to turn a dollar."
Giraldi goes on to list some neocons who are "linked to Turkey" - Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz, Marc Grossman, Eric Edelman, and Stephen Solarz - and he suggests that they "enrich themselves" via drug trafficking and arms dealing.

The American Turkish Council (ATC)
The main Turkish lobbying group in the US is an organization called the American Turkish Council (ATC) - one of the most powerful lobby groups in the country. The ATC is heavily stacked with former government officials - statesmen, lobbyists and 'dime a dozen generals' - lobbyists and representatives of the military-industrial-complex (MIC). Brent Scowcroft is the chairman, and heavy hitters from Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Boeing, Northrup Grumman and other 'defense' contractors populate the board.

It's perhaps not surprising, then, that Turkey is a major recipient of US military aid - running to the billions of dollars - with much of it financed by the US taxpayer. Giraldi suggests in his article that this largesse appears to be the result of bribes paid to congressmen - a suggestion that shouldn't surprise anyone - but there's much more to the story than the usual Iron Triangle / Revolving Door story that we're all familiar with.

In a 10-page article in Vanity Fair on Sibel's case, the ATC is described as "a front for criminal activity" involving "large-scale drug deals and of selling classified military technologies to the highest bidder." We'll discuss the drug side of the story shortly, but let's first take a quick look at the military technology element - not only are the MIC contractors bribing congress to ensure that military aid flows to Turkey (and Israel), the Turks and the Israelis are also illegally selling that technology to the highest bidder - which inevitably includes America's enemies, States, and terrorist groups.

Sibel's case also involves the nuclear black market - some Turkish members of the ATC have supplied Pakistan's A.Q. Khan network with hardware, as have American companies that Sibel overheard on the wiretaps. Perhaps even more disturbing, as reported in Vanity Fair, other wiretaps indicate that "Turkish groups had been installing doctoral students at U.S. research institutions in order to acquire information about black market nuclear weapons." Daniel Ellsberg says that, according to Sibel, bribes were paid to people at the State Department to facilitate this activity.

These are extraordinary claims, of course, and we have a lot of evidence to support the claims - including, but not limited to, the fact that Valerie Plame's front company, Brewster Jennings, had been conducting a counter-intelligence operation against the ATC for years.

One very interesting aspect of Sibel's case that has not really gained traction is that while the ATC is understood to be the key focus of her case, it appears that AIPAC is equally involved. In a terrific 2005 interview with Chris Deliso, Sibel said:
Essentially, there is only one investigation – a very big one, an all-inclusive one... 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... 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.
And she went a little bit further in a great interview with David Swanson this week:
"AIPAC helped form the American Turkish Council - look at the board members, look at the people. You will see the same people involved in both fronts, because it is the same operation."

Reading between the lines (in a number of different places), it appears that Sibel was actively involved in 'the AIPAC investigation' as well as the investigation into the ATC. As she says, both the ATC and AIPAC are both 'fronts' for the 'same (criminal) operation.'

Drug Trafficking.
As I document in "Sibel Edmonds & the Neocons' Turkish Gravy-Train," Afghanistan supplies almost 90% of the world's heroin, and most of that goes straight to Turkey where it is processed, packaged, warehoused, and then re-exported to other countries for final consumption. Turkey supplies approximately 80% of Europe's heroin, and 15% of heroin in the US - worth approximately $40 billion at street prices.

Turkey is widely acknowledged to be controlled by a "Deep State." In 1996, a deadly car crash at a place called Susurluk blew this out into the open. In the car were four people who probably shouldn't have been in the car together:
"an MP, a police chief, a beauty queen and her lover, a top Turkish gangster and hitman called Abdullah Catli... Catli, a heroin trafficker on Interpol’s wanted list, was carrying a diplomatic passport signed by none other than the Turkish Interior Minister himself.
The Susurluk Incident became Turkey’s Watergate, exposing the deep links between the Turkish state, terrorists and drug traffickers. It revealed what Turks call the Gizli Devlet, or Deep State – the politicians, military officers and intelligence officials who worked with drug bosses to move drugs from Afghanistan into Europe."
Sibel spells it out:
"The Turkish government, MIT and the Turkish military, not only sanctions, but also actively participates in and oversees the narcotics activities and networks."
As I outlined in the curiously-titled "Sibel Edmonds: America's Watergate," Sibel's case demonstrates that Turkey's Deep State 'owns' large parts of the American establishment, to the point where it appears that there also is a 'Deep State' in the US as well. ATC/AIPAC appear to be headquarters for this Deep State in the US, a cozy club where drug dealers, weapons traffickers and past-and-present government officials coexist. Happily!

And if that's not bad enough, we also know that:
"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.”
That is, our Turkish Deep State friends, the people we are directly providing with weapons, are outsourcing some of their distribution activities to al-Qaeda and the Taliban (and, while we're at it, to the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA.))

When we are discussing issues such as al-Qaeda smuggling heroin through Afghanistan and the other 'Stans, sometimes it can seem remote and distant, so let's come back to something more concrete. In Adrian Gatton's terrific recent article, The Susurluk Legacy, he quotes Huseyin Baybasin, a Turkish heroin kingpin who is now in jail in Holland:
“I handled the drugs which came through the channel of the Turkish Consulate in England... I was with the Mafia but I was carrying this out with the same Mafia group in which the rulers of Turkey were part.”
Gatton also describes how anyone in the UK government who dared speak about the issue were immediately rebuked by the Foreign Office (the UK equivalent of the State Department.)

The parallels with Sibel's case couldn't be clearer. As 60 Minutes first reported (youtube) in 2002, and Vanity Fair later reported, the Turkish Embassy was directing a lot of the heroin trafficking activity - in conjunction with people at the ATC.
"Sibel also recalled hearing wiretaps indicating that Turkish Embassy targets frequently spoke to staff members at the A.T.C.
In her secure testimony, Edmonds disclosed some of what she recalled hearing... Many (calls) involved an F.B.I. target at (Chicago's) large Turkish Consulate... Some of the calls reportedly contained what sounded like references to large scale drug shipments and other crimes."
And just as the UK Foreign Office silenced anyone in the UK who tried to speak out, Sibel says:
The Department of State is easily the most corrupted of the major government agencies.
In some cases where the FBI stumbles upon evidence of high-level officials being involved in drug-smuggling, they're even prevented from sharing it with the DEA [Drug Enforcement Agency]. The Department of State just comes in and says, "Leave it."
Elsewhere, Sibel says:
"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?"
Pay attention here, because the ATC is where the worlds of the MIC and the heroin trafficking collide. One of the key Turkish interfaces at the ATC is the Turkish Generals - people that Giraldi says own a stake in the companies through which the military spending is channeled. As described earlier, these exact same people, the Turkish Deep State, also control much of the global heroin market. In between the MIC and the heroin traffickers - are the "neoconservatives (who) distort US foreign policy and enrich themselves at the same time."

One of the difficulties in trying to unravel the Sibel Edmonds case is that we aren't sure where one case ends and another begins. We know that some of the wiretaps were from the ATC, and some from the Turkish embassy in DC, and some from the embassy in Chicago. We also know that many of the wiretaps involve conversations between the embassies and the ATC.
Some of the wiretaps relate to drug trafficking, some relate to the nuclear black market and other weapons trafficking, and some refer to terrorist activity - including 9/11.

Perhaps it's not surprising, then, when she says:
You have the same players when you look into these activities at high-levels you come across the same players, they are the same people.
Those 'same people' - at least on the American side - according to Giraldi, appear to be Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz, Marc Grossman, Eric Edelman, and Stephen Solarz. It appears that we can also add William Cohen and Joseph Ralston - and Dennis Hastert - to that roster, and I'm sure there are a few more that haven't yet been publicly identified.

If what Sibel says is true, and her claims are all backed by documents and wiretaps, and also backed up by other agents who have filed similar complaints, and are ready and willing to testify. All of these people should be in jail. For a long, long time.

Congress must hold hearings to get to the bottom of these crimes. If you agree, please call Congress, today, and demand public, open hearings.

You know what to do

EMAIL: 60m@cbsnews.com
PHONE: (212) 975-3247

ABC email contacts

MSNBC & NBC Contacts

BBC America contact page

Monday, November 19, 2007

Dan Ellsberg: Sibel Edmonds case "Far More Explosive Than Pentagon Papers"

Bradblog has been chasing the story about former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds' offer to 'tell all.'

Brad has an update here.

Sibel has had an abundance of offers from the MSM since her announcement. Unfortunately, not a single one of them has come from the US MSM.

Ellsberg says:
"I'd say what she has is far more explosive than the Pentagon Papers"

More from Ellsberg:
"From what I understand, from what (Sibel) has to tell, it has a major difference from the Pentagon Papers in that it deals directly with criminal activity and may involve impeachable offenses," Ellsberg explained. "And I don't necessarily mean the President or the Vice-President, though I wouldn't be surprised if the information reached up that high. But other members of the Executive Branch may be impeached as well. And she says similar about Congress."

More Ellsberg:
"There will be phone calls going out to the media saying 'don't even think of touching (Sibel's case), you will be prosecuted for violating national security,'"

Sibel said:
"The media called from Japan and France and Belgium and Germany and Canada and from all over the world,
I'm getting contact from all over the world, but not from here. Isn't that disgusting?,"

More Ellsberg:
"I am confident that there is conversation inside the Government as to 'How do we deal with Sibel?'

The first line of defense is to ensure that she doesn't get into the media. I think any outlet that thought of using her materials would go to to the government and they would be told 'don't touch this, it's communications intelligence.'"

"(Unless Sibel's claims reach the mainstream) they don't suffer any risk of being shamed. As long as they hold a united front on this, they don't run the risk of being shamed."

They Already Know

Edmonds revealed an additional tasty morsel while wrapping up one of our recent conversations. One that might help explain the American media's reluctance to jump at the chance for a scoop: apparently many of them already know the story.

"I will name the name of major publications who know the story, and have been sitting on it --- almost a year and a half."

"How do you know they have the story?," we asked.

"I know they have it because people from the FBI have come in and given it to them. They've given them the documents and specific case-numbers on my case."

"These are agents that have said to me, 'if you can get Congress to subpoena me I'll come in and tell it under oath.'"

"If they come after me...when they come after me --- to indict me, to bring charges --- it's going to be up to the American public to see it's not about some bogeyman in some Afghanistan cave. It's about an American citizen coming forward to expose information that concerns the security of Americans."

"An American citizen is coming forward to say that, no, they are depriving you of your security."

Bradblog has the rest of the story.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Sibel Edmonds Case: New (and old) revelations of spying at the FBI

News outlets are abuzz with the news of the guilty plea of Nada Nadim Prouty.

Despite fraudulently acquiring her citizenship and having close familial ties to Hezbollah, Prouty was able to pass background checks for both the CIA and the FBI.

Prouty pled guilty to improperly accessing the internal computer systems, apparently to get a status-check on investigations into Hezbollah, as well as herself and her family members.

The agencies appear to be playing down the incident with anonymous sources saying that there aren't any counter-terrorism or counter-intelligence implications - although many observers are less sanguine.

Perhaps the media will take the opportunity to revisit the case of former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds.

Perhaps the media will be equally outraged that some of the spies in Sibel's case are still working in senior positions at the FBI, and other spies were allowed to walk away without an investigation.

Perhaps not. I won't hold my breath.

Dodgy Background Checks?
The UK's Independent reports:
"As a tale of incompetence by the intelligence services, the tale of Nada Nadim Prouty is hard to beat."

What if the issue isn't a matter of 'incompetence' though? As we saw in Sibel's case, sometimes there really are 'bad guys' inside the agencies. It's certainly not inconceivable that 'bad guys' in the agencies would recruit and promote similarly-minded folks. To the extent that might be true, it wouldn't take very long for the bad guys to come to dominate the senior positions at the FBI.

If that sounds far-fetched, consider what Special Agent John Roberts said on the 60 Minutes show about Sibel's case. John Roberts was head of the FBI's Internal Affairs Department - so his words should carry some weight:

Mr. JOHN ROBERTS: I don't know of another person in the FBI who has done the internal investigations that I have and has seen what I have and that knows what has occurred and what has been glossed over and what has, frankly, just disappeared, just vaporized, and no one disciplined for it.
Mr. ROBERTS: I think the double standard of discipline will continue no matter who comes in, no matter who tries to change. You have a certain group that will continue to protect itself. That's just how it is.
BRADLEY: Have you found cases since 9/11 where people were involved in misconduct and were not, let alone reprimanded, but were even promoted?

Mr. ROBERTS: Oh, yes. Absolutely.
Mr. ROBERTS: Depends on who you are. If you're in the senior executive level, it may not hurt you. You will be promoted.

Long term FBI agent Frederic Whitehurst from the FBI crime lab in Washington made a similar point, hypothetically, in an interview with Sibel and Scott Horton:
Dr Whitehurst: But right now there is not only no accountability (at the FBI), nobody audits the process, nobody can audit the process, so we don't know how many of those people are crooks.

Think about this - and it's not too far fetched - the FBI has (previously) been infiltrated by spies, Robert Hansen, Earl Pitt, whatever, by spies. Foreign governments have infiltrated the FBI. The FBI has had agents that have joined the mafia... Suppose that the top management of the FBI was compromised - what recourse do American citizens have? We don't have any recourse. The safest place in the United States of America right now for a criminal is within the walls of FBI headquarters. The safest place! Nobody can touch those people! It's terrifying.

Whitehurst makes a related point in that interview:
The Bureau has an expression: 'Who is your juice-man back at HQ?' Who is the guy that is supporting you?

As I documented in Sibel Edmonds' Corrupt Boss is STILL the key to National Security, Sibel's boss, Mike Feghali, engaged in all manner of espionage, including recruiting spies into the translation bureau and making sure that agents in the field didn't receive translations that were directly relevant to ongoing investigations - including the 9/11 investigation. This has all been confirmed by the Inspector General's report into Sibel's case. Nonetheless, Feghali has been promoted and is now, currently, in charge of the entire Arabic translation desk, in charge of 300 translators, many of whom are his family and friends, and some "were openly celebrating the terrorist attacks on September 11."

Who promoted Feghali, and why? Who are his 'juice men'?

Why is Congress, and the media, silent on this matter?

Feghali also hired Melek Can Dickerson. Prior to joining the FBI, Dickerson worked for three different organizations - all of which were targets of FBI investigations, and she had ongoing relationships with people who were targets of FBI counter-intelligence and counter-terrorism operations.

How did the FBI miss this in their background checks?

In partnership with Feghali, Dickerson blocked translations into her friends, leaked information to them about the investigations, and engaged in all manner of other nefarious activities. Dickerson, and her husband then-USAF Major Douglas Dickerson, actually tried to recruit Sibel into the espionage network.

Again, even after this was confirmed by the FBI's own investigation, Melek Can Dickerson was allowed to continue in her nefarious ways for another 6 months before she fled the country. Her husband, Douglas Dickerson, has since been protected by various interests withing the US Government, and has also promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, and still has his Top Secret/SCI clearance - giving him access to all manner of US military secrets that he might sell to the highest bidder.

Sibel describes it thusly:
"As mentioned above and confirmed by the Congress and the FBI, Melek Can Dickerson was hired and granted Top Secret Clearance despite the fact that she lied in her job application about her previous employments that were targets of FBI investigations, that she and her husband had on going personal and business relationships with FBI targets. Ms. Dickerson maintained her position and clearance even after the FBI confirmed that she had intentionally blocked and mistranslated intelligence/information related to the individuals and organizations she had ties with, and after two FBI targets were tipped off and hastily left the United States"

Why is Congress, and the media, silent on this matter?

Of course, Sibel isn't the only person to make claims about dodgy background investigations. Take the case of John Cole, manager for counterintelligence operations covering Pakistan, Afghanistan and India at FBI HQ. He reported that:
Several translators from (Pakistan, Afghanistan and India ), who had ties/relationship with targets of FBI investigations and were found to be significant security risks, were hired by the FBI and placed in charge of translating intelligence in languages from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India. In one case, the translator's father was among the members of a FBI target organization, and in another case, the FBI discovered that one translator had been providing FBI top secret information to a foreign intelligence service.

Cole was forced out of the FBI after 18 years for raising these questions. Apparently he didn't have the requisite Juice Men on his side.

Back to Prouty
Returning to the recent case of Nada Nadim Prouty, according to The Independent, in 1999, Prouty was "talent spotted" at the restaurant where she'd worked since 1990. Who recruited her? Who pushed her through the recruitment process? Who were her 'Juice-Men'? Have they been promoted? Who facilitated Prouty's 2003 move to the CIA and then to the "CIA’s most sensitive post" where she "participated in the debriefings of high-ranking al-Qaida detainees"?

The Prouty timeline, and her penalty, is also suspicious.

According to Michael Isikoff in Newsweek, buried in the penultimate paragraph of a 3 page article:
"(The FBI) discover(ed) Prouty's connections to Hizbullah (in) December 2005... Eventually the bureau alerted the agency and the CIA later reassigned her to a less sensitive position... about a year ago, after she first came under suspicion."

That is, the FBI has known about this for 2 years, and it took the CIA a full 12 months to downgrade her status, and then it took a further 12 months for the investigation and to negotiate her guilty plea. Of course, Prouty wasn't charged with espionage, but rather, as one anonymous spin doctor described it:
"She took an illegal shortcut to the American dream, then she made some inappropriate computer searches."

Heads were exploding over at Fox News at the apparent lenience of the punishment:
JOHN GIBSON, CO-HOST: We're all breathless about this, an illegal immigrant spy with terror ties and the punishment — that's it for the punishment?

KENNEDY: This has got a lot of people in the intelligence industry just completely freaked out that she's only getting six to 12 months. I spoke with the Justice Department today. They say because she is going to cooperate and because she will be a key witness, this is what they arranged for her plea deal.

So which is it? "Inappropriate computer searches" or something more serious?

Former CIA agent Larry Johnson says:
"The CIA and FBI are going to great lengths to try to tamp this story down. But you don’t blow an ops officer’s career just because she took a sneaky peek of an classified file. For Christ’s sake. She had clearances. She did something beyond read."

So why did Prouty get off nearly scot-free? The fake marriage and immigration charges appear to be the equivalent of Bernie Kerik's 'Nanny problem.' Again, who are Prouty's 'Juice Men'? Did she blackmail them into giving her this apparent leniency? Did she threaten to expose them all?

Prouty's guilty plea states that if she withdraws her guilty plea, the government shall "reinstate any charges that were dismissed as part of this agreement." What are those charges? What are they holding over her head?

How many other spies?
Scott Horton asked Sibel about the reaction within the FBI when she began to report what was happening. Sibel replied:
"After this was confirmed - because the agent I worked for, he reported this issue to the Security Division - and it came down to this issue: If (the FBI) were to admit to this case, and investigate it, criminally investigate it and refer it to counter-espionage division, it would bring into question all the other Top Secret Clearances we had granted to other translators. That means they would come down and shake up this dept and - this is the exact words:
"Who knows how many more Dickersons would fall out if they were to come and shake up the Dept?"

Heaven forbid. Apparently they'd rather tolerate multiple cases of espionage than have a PR problem. Again, I'm not sure whether espionage vulnerability is regarded as a feature or a bug.

Traduttore tradittore
In fact, compromised translators are often more dangerous than compromised agents. "Traduttore tradittore" say the Italians - "The translator is the traitor."

In the words of DoJ's Inspector General Glenn Fine:
"The FBI’s linguists play a critical role in developing effective counterterrorism and counterintelligence information. Linguists are the first line of analysis for information collected in a language other than English."

Compromised translators have the power to shift investigations away from targets, and given Feghali's hiring practices, many of them were compromised. In Sibel's case, Melek Can Dickerson simply told the agents that certain relevant phone calls between her friends were 'not pertinent.' The agents simply had no choice but to trust the translations. Eventually the agents suspected that something was amiss and asked Sibel to retranslate the wiretaps.

Given the enormous power of the translators, it's not surprising that foreign interests would attempt to infiltrate the translation bureau. In fact, within the FBI, translators actually have significantly higher clearance authority than any of the actual agents. What is surprising is that the FBI doesn't go to greater lengths to ensure the integrity of the translation unit. Again, one possibility is that various Juice Men prefer to have weaknesses in the system.

'Illegal Alien'
I don't know the truth behind the Prouty matter. I suspect it is much more serious than the agencies are currently trying to portray. On the other hand, I suspect that the 'illegal alien' (and to a lesser degree the Hezbollah connection) emphasis is merely a smokescreen for our friends on the Right.

I do know that there are more serious problems that we face - including the fact that we currently have traitors in the FBI translation department, and the Defense Department, and the State Department - and they are being protected today. And someone keeps promoting them. Sibel has been trying to bring these matters to our attention for 5 years - but neither our friends in congress, nor our friends in the media (for that matter, nor our friends in the blogosphere) appear very interested in listening to her - despite the fact that her allegations have all been confirmed.

Sibel has been trying, unsuccessfully, to get Henry Waxman to hold hearings into her case in Congress. (In ordinary circumstances, we might expect Waxman's Government Reform Committee to hold hearings into the Prouty matter, but he wouldn't dare do that without holding hearings into Sibel's case.) Now Sibel is prepared to 'tell all,' at great personal risk, if a broadcast network will let her tell her story.

Sibel deserves our support.


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.

cross-posted at Let Sibel Edmonds Speak

(Email me if you want to be added to my Sibel email list. Subject: 'Sibel email list')

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sibel Edmonds Case: the untellable AIPAC Case, part 2.

In my recent post, "Sibel Edmonds Case: the untellable story of AIPAC," I made the case that the so-called 'AIPAC Case' - the trial of Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman - is only the tip of the iceberg.

Former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds wants to tell us what she knows about various criminal and treasonous activities that she became aware of that involve high level US officials, the embassies of Israel and Turkey, and lobbying groups associated with those two countries - primarily AIPAC and the American Turkish Council.

In this post, I want to discuss a few extra items that I didn't mention in my post last week.


cross-posted at Let Sibel Edmonds Speak

In my previous post, I quoted from a September 2004 Washington Post article which stated:
"Reports on the (Larry Franklin) 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. "

As I've argued, the reason that these people might be 'baffled' is because the larger case (Sibel, AIPAC, ATC etc) is not about "simple state espionage," it's literally about criminal activities - including illegal weapons sales, the nuclear black market and money laundering - for personal enrichment. The case has nothing to do with 'Turkey' or 'Israel' - or even 'The Pentagon' or 'Neoconservatism.'

That 2004 Washington Post article - incidentally by Susan Schmidt and Robin Wright - had a lot of great reporting, much of it buried. The lede and the headline was that the 'AIPAC' investigation was "more than two years" old, and that Franklin was only a side-show. If you remember at the time, there was a lot of confusion (much of it intentional, apparently) about when the investigation began. The formulation later changed to something like 'at least since 1999.' I don't know exactly when this particular 'Israeli' investigation began, but the 'Turkish' counter-intelligence operation, the investigation into Richard Perle and Douglas Feith, dates back to 1996. In fact, as discussed last week, it was Perle and Feith (and their associates at AIPAC and JINSA) who established the ATC in an attempt to create a legitimate cover for their activities when some external pressure forced the closure of their 'lobbying' company, International Advisors Inc.

Given that the 'Turkish' and the 'Israeli' counter-intelligence operation was essentially the same operation, targeting the same people, I suspect that the 'Israeli' operation also dates back to the same time frame.

Incidentally, I'm not sure what to make of media reports that the FBI was 'surprised' that they 'stumbled upon' Larry Franklin's involvement in the AIPAC case. Franklin was a regular feature at the ATC, long before his first 'overt act' in the AIPAC indictment in 2002.

The Washington Post article then states:
"The FBI is examining whether highly classified material from the National Security Agency, which conducts electronic intercepts of communications, was also forwarded to Israel"

That sentence is carefully constructed, but a possible alternative construction might read something like "The NSA has been infiltrated by foreign spies." As we know from Sibel's case, the FBI's translation unit was also infiltrated by spies - even though the spies were engaged in criminal espionage, not state-based espionage. Given what we know, it's certainly possible that the same is true for the infiltration of the NSA.

In fact, Sibel's boss at the FBI translation unit, a guy called Mike Feghali, was apparently complicit in the espionage that Sibel describes. Feghali is now head of the entire Arabic translation desk at the FBI. Feghali's wife works for the NSA as a translator, and she translated the 9/11 "Tomorrow is zero hour" intercepts.

More from the 2004 Washington Post article:
"National security adviser Condoleezza Rice and her deputy, Stephen J. Hadley, were apprised of the FBI counterintelligence investigation of AIPAC as a possible conduit for information to Israel more than two years ago"

That is, after Rice and Hadley had been told that the FBI was investigating AIPAC for espionage (and probably also about the 'whole ball of wax'), AIPAC was trying to place Franklin inside Rice's NSC so that their "israeli mole" (to quote CBS) would be "by the elbow of the President." Did Rice and Hadley tell the FBI that they had been approached by Rosen about giving Franklin a job? Did they object? Was Franklin the only person that AIPAC tried to place at the NSC?

Of course, both Hadley and Rice (and many others involved in Sibel's case) have both been subpoenaed to appear in the Rosen/Weissman trial - apparently to argue that this was all business as usual. And, by all accounts, it apparently was - not in the sense that the USG regularly uses lobbyists and a compliant media as 'back-channels' to launder leaks, but because there's apparently an implicit agreement to 'tolerate' spies and traitors in high places - apparently because the only people who might be sufficiently powerful to do anything about it are also compromised.

Maybe that sounds a little hyperbolic, but consider everyone in the USG who knows the details about Sibel's case - her case has been confirmed repeatedly, denied by none, and yet no action is ever taken.

Of course, it's difficult to understand all of the different reasons that everyone wants Sibel to just STFU. Some want her to shut up because they are complicit, others want her to shut up for CYA reasons. The important thing is that the collective silence is dangerous for all of us. As just one example, when Sibel reported that there were spies in the FBI and Pentagon who had tried to recruit her, the claims were investigated and found to be valid. The FBI responded that they wouldn't do anything about the existence of foreign spies in the FBI because:
"Who knows how many more (spies) would fall out if they were to come and shake up the Dept?"

I know that many of you want to hear what Sibel has to say, even though you aren't familiar with all the details and think that she might be over-reaching in some of her claims. Fair enough. But we should support her anyway, and demand that she be given a forum, even if the only thing that she can prove is that the FBI translation bureau is riddled with spies and incompetent bureaucrats - and that the USG is gagging her because that would be embarrassing.

At a minimum, we can't afford for the FBI translation unit - which really is at the coal-face of any anti-terrorism effort, and at the forefront of any legitimate FISA/spying operation - to be run by any Heckuva Job Brownie.

Surely we can agree on that.


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.

cross-posted at Let Sibel Edmonds Speak

(Email me if you want to be added to my Sibel email list. Subject: 'Sibel email list')

Friday, November 9, 2007

Sibel Edmonds Case: the untellable story of AIPAC

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.

Similar allegations
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 offer ultimatum:
"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 offer ultimatum.

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')

UPDATE: Part two here

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Sibel Edmonds, the back-story

On Monday we brought you news, courtesy of BradBlog, that former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds is willing to spill the beans about treason at the highest level of the US Government after 5 years.

We still haven't heard whether any of the networks will take her up on her offer - not surprisingly, most of the interest she has had so far has been from mainstream media outlets in other countries.

In the meantime, I gave a 45 min interview to Antiwar.com's Scott Horton, who has done a superb job covering this case. The audio is crappy, and our phone connection was crappy, and it was 3am here in Australia, so my voice was crappy - so I transcribed the interview, hopefully the text isn't crappy!

We didn't cover everything in the interview (a better background piece might be What the heck is Sibel Edmonds' Case about? And why should I care?) - but hopefully yesterday's interview is of some interest.


sibel edmonds to tell all
(graphix love to GG)

Scott Horton: There's this lady named Sibel Edmonds, and she lived in Iran and Turkey and moved to the US, became a US citizen and after the attacks of September 11 she heard FBI agents on TV saying 'We need translators, we need help here, we're at war against the enemy and so forth and we need to be able to translate what they're saying to each other on the telephone.'

So she did her patriotic duty and volunteered. Actually, they already had her application from before and had lost it in the paper work or something, so they fast tracked her right into the translation department, and, my best understanding, I think she only worked in the translation department as a contractor for the FBI translation department between September 11 to early spring of 2002. That was it. Not even half a year.

Yet, apparently, during the time that Mrs. Edmonds spent there, working at the FBI, doing these translations, she found out some things that people with power would prefer that she hadn't found out. Now, there's big news, she's willing to spill her guts, defy her gag order, and tell everything she knows to any major TV outlet in the US who will sign a contract with her, promising to air the entire segment unedited, and here to discuss this is my friend Luke Ryland, he goes by 'Lukery' in the blogosphere, and he runs Let Sibel Edmonds Speak. blogspot.com. You can sometimes find him posting up at my blog, TheStressBlog as well. Welcome to the show, Luke.

Luke Ryland: GDay Scott.

SH: Luke is on the other side of planet earth in Australia, so there might be a bit of a delay here.

LR: Not only that, it's also 3.30am here and I've just stumbled out of bed, so that might also cause some delays.

SH: Why don't you tell us basically about Sibel's offer to the TV news networks, and their response so far.

LR: Well, you gave a pretty good introduction there to Sibel’s case. You and I have discussed it before, and you've had Sibel on your show a number of times. You've done a great job covering her story. The problem is that nobody else has covered her story very well.

Since April of this year, we have been trying to get Henry Waxman of the House Government Reform Committee to hold hearings into Sibel's case. According to Sibel, he had promised to hold hearings into her case for the last couple of years, when he was in the minority. He kept saying 'Just wait until we're in the majority and the first thing we'll do is hold hearings into your case because it's very important.' Henry Waxman has, I believe, read the Department of Justice's classified report into Sibel's case and was horrified at the things that were contained in that report. So we've been trying to get him to honor that promise since April with various petitions - there were 30 different 'good government' organizations who signed the petition - asking him to fulfill his promise, but he since has really dropped off the planet and refuses to even answer any phone calls or anything.

In an act of almost desperation, I would say, Sibel has decided that she can't get a hearing in Congress, she can't get any hearings in the courts - she was blocked from having her case heard in the Supreme Court a couple of years ago - she's decided that maybe she should go to the mainstream media. She was on CBS 60 Minutes in October of 2002, but the mainstream media hasn't really covered the story, so she has decided that if any of the major networks want to carry her story, she will give an interview to them, but they need to carry the story either live or basically unedited so that she can get the main elements of her case across to the American public.

SH: And what has the response been so far?

LR: Well, (laughs) there have been a couple of nibbles. We only ran this story for the first time yesterday, and I believe that there were a couple of phone calls from the major networks - but as often happens with Sibel's case, a lot of the mainstream foreign media is interested, from Britain and Japan and a whole bunch of other countries. They were desperate to jump on the phone and try to get Sibel's story, but the US media is largely quiet so far - but we're only 24 hours into the cycle since we released this news, so hopefully we'll have some other news soon. Sibel used the term 'frustratingly funny' that most of the interest is coming from foreign media outlets.

SH: I want to reiterate before we get into the media and the reluctance to cover this story, I want to first cover the fact that the reason why it's taken so long for her to make this offer - this gag order is serious business, she could face serious prison time if she comes out and tells this story - and basically, correct me if I'm wrong, she's been covering all of her legal bases.

She's done everything she possibly could in the courts, she's done everything she could with the Republicans in Congress, she waited till the Democrats came to the majority, she's done everything she could to get the Democrats in Congress to help her, and she's now completely out of official legal avenues, and only now is she finally saying 'OK, fine, I'll risk prison but I'll be able to at least show that I did everything I could within the so-called law to tell my story without having to resort to this.' Right?

LR: That's exactly right. She's done everything that she possibly could. She's been talking to people in congress since about 2002 - so this has been going on for a long time. She got shut down in Congress, she couldn't get to the Supreme Court, she's had people on the House Government Reform Committee, the Senate Judiciary Committee, House Judiciary Committee, Senate and House Intelligence Committee, that she's been talking to over the years, and they keep promising her that they'll do something as soon as they are in a position to be able to do something, and they haven’t done a thing.

Sibel has been gagged with what they call the State Secrets Privilege, and she was one of the first occasions that this was invoked by the Bush administration, and it's almost come to a point that the State Secrets Privilege is a joke. There are presumably some legitimate reasons why a government might invoke the State Secrets Privilege, but this particular Bush administration seems to invoke it just to cover criminality. They invoked it in the NSA wiretapping scandal, not to hide 'sources and methods' of the wiretapping, but just because, it appears, if the details of the case get out it will show that everyone has been acting criminally. And the same thing in the al-Masri case and a couple of others - they're not legitimate invocations of the State Secrets Privilege, it's just used to hide the fact that they're doing stuff that is wrong.

SH: Well sure, that's the way it always is with classification. Obviously nobody wants the codes for the President's nuclear football to be put out there on the internet or what have you, but there's a big difference between that and just covering themselves. Now explain to me this, Luke Ryland, why is it that every reporter in America isn't after this story? It sounds like, from what I can tell, Pulitzer prize-winning material, from completely uneducated point of view on the case, I'd have to guess that the average reporter has looked into what Sibel has to say and they must have decided that she's not credible. Otherwise, why wouldn't they be running with this story and making a name for themselves?

LR: That's a very good question that's difficult to answer. Sibel has, I presume, spoken to many of the major journalists, I don't know that particularly, but I presume from the Washington Post and the New York Times and the other outlets and none of them have decided to run with the story for one reason or other, and it's not because, as you mention in your question, it's not because she's not credible, her credibility has already been ascertained - we can go through the reasons why her credibility has been ascertained, that's already proven - but for some reason the major media won't run with the story, really, apart from this 2002 60 Minutes piece.

That's what Sibel has decided to run with, in this latest statement, she wants to have an interview with one of the major media outlets, and in the statement yesterday she said it has to be unedited - and the reason that she's saying that is because on a number of occasions, including the 2002 60 Minutes piece, most of relevant, significant information is left on the cutting room floor. And in the case of the print journalists, they just refuse to print a lot of what she is saying. So one of the conditions of holding this one and only broadcast interview is that all of her major claims are actually aired - either she'll do it live, or she'll do it pre-recorded, but she'll have 3rd party witnesses there who will also see exactly what Sibel is saying, and one of the conditions is that the media outlet actually broadcasts all of the significant bits, and we'll have 3rd party observers there to guarantee that.

SH: Ok, Luke, I want you to share with the audience, as much as you can, as much as has been revealed so far, about what we know about Sibel Edmonds' revelations, but first, tell me why you think she's so credible. Go down that list for me of reasons why people ought to take what Sibel Edmonds has to say, seriously.

LR: There are a number of reasons - the Dept of Justice's Inspector General, which is the ostensibly independent body with the DoJ, investigated her claims, and put out an unclassified report, saying that that a lot of her claims were serious, and legitimate. We've also seen a number of congressmen and senators who have investigated her case, including Patrick Leahy, Charles Grassley and Henry Waxman who have read the classified version of that particular report, and interviewed a number of 3rd party witnesses to the things that Sibel has talked about - basically FBI Special Agents - and they all confirm what she is saying.

SH: Right - I was going to ask you - cops and intelligence agents, have they confirmed her?

LR: Yep, the people who she was working under - absolutely. And the other thing about Siibel’s case is that it's all documented. She was a translator, so there are wiretaps and documents and whatnot that exist, they physically exist, she's not making stuff up, she has the document numbers etc. Basically, her case could come to congress and she doesn’t even need to testify because all those documents, all of the phone calls between the people that she's talking about, all of them still exist, and they can easily be subpoenaed and presented in court. So if people say, coming back to your question, that maybe she's not credible, well, maybe she is, maybe she isn't (laughs), but she's put everything out on the line. She's willing to testify under oath, she can point people to the right document numbers, and everybody who has spoken about her case say that she's absolutely credible.

SH: Ok - I fear that we've spent too long talking about why we should listen to this lady, and not enough time talking about what it is that she has to say that's so important for the people who've never heard about Sibel Edmonds before today. They heard me explain that she was a contract translator for the FBI after September 11, what is it that she stumbled into that is so important, Luke?

LR: Well, as you mentioned in the introduction, she only worked with the FBI for 6 months after September 11, and her three primary languages are Turkish, Farsi and Azerbaijani, but mostly Turkish.

One of the key targets of the operation that she was working one was a lobbying group, similar to AIPAC, called the American Turkish Council (ATC), which is a lobbying in DC that was in fact set up by the people who run AIPAC. She heard a lot of discussions about terrorism, this was immediately after September 11, so terrorism, drug trafficking, but most importantly, illegal arms sales.

The ATC is a lobbying group, and the people represented there are the Turkish government, including the Turkish military, on the Turkish side, and on the American side, ex-politicians who are now lobbyists, and the heads of the Military Industrial Complex - firms like Lockheed and Raytheon, Northrop Grumman. So the ATC is basically where Turkey's military interests and America's military meet, and then hash out plans to sell American weapons to Turkey and to other places of course. And there are a lot of what Sibel calls - actually, I won't say what she calls them (laughs) - ex-politicians and ex-generals and Secretaries of State, for example, who are also represented strongly at the ATC, they work with the lobbyists.

The real big scandal in her case is that a lot of this money comes in from various places into the ATC and gets into these slush-funds of the lobbyists - basically, former temporary House Speaker Bob Livingston, former Clinton Secretary of Defense William Cohen and a couple of others. They then start slushing around the money of the Military Industrial Complex and basically bribing politicians. People like Dennis Hastert, for example, is one person whose name has come up as being bribed by this group, for a whole bunch of reasons, and Sibel mentioned in her press release yesterday that there are two or three other congressmen who have been bribed by these people, primarily for their votes so that they can, you know, redirect their military spending to Turkey, and some of the Central Asian states - Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan - so they're the ones that are getting all the money, and military hardware from Lockheed etc, at US taxpayer expense.

SH: Ok. Let me make sure that I understand here. Basically what you are saying is this: Sibel Edmonds went to work as translator at the FBI and what she basically overheard was the outlines of this criminal underworld that is legitimate in some sense, at places like the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, at the American Turkish Council, obviously Lockheed is a publicly traded company, and so forth, but basically the arms deals, basically the American military spending in the Turkic countries of Central Asia, including Turkey itself, is all interconnected with black market trade, and criminal enterprises.

LR: That's right. I think that the primary outcome of a lot of this is that you get legitimate US government spending, on legitimate weapons, to legitimate customers in that region, but as I understand it, once you start bribing certain people in Congress and elsewhere, then you get a certain scope to partake in illegal activities as well, because it basically becomes a criminal enterprise, so once you start bribing people, in the Defense Dept... The American Turkish Council also has spies in the Defense Dept and the State Dept who help them pull the strings on these matters, and once you start bribing these people it becomes a little bit easier to ask for favours and whatnot. For example, oftentimes they'll bribe, say, someone at the State Dept to acquire visas, for example, for some of their criminal friends, to work and some of the nuclear labs from where they can steal secrets. Or they'll bribe someone at the State Dept to get visas for their criminal friends for various other reasons - so it becomes a slippery slope, and Sibel has apparently heard all of this documented on the wiretaps.

The nuclear labs issue is a really significant one - these people are criminals, working, at some level, in conjunction with terrorists, and they are placing their people into nuclear labs to steal American nuclear secrets, and selling the secrets - it's not State espionage that we're talking about - they're selling the stuff to the highest bidder, which could very well be somebody like Osama bin Laden.

SH: So you're telling me that people within the American government are selling nuclear secrets on the black market?

LR: Yes.

SH: And you mentioned two former speakers of the House of Representatives - Bob Livingston and his replacement Dennis Hastert - can you back that up, or what's their involvement in this?

LR: Bob Livingston was a temporary speaker of the House, he was involved in a sex scandal just as he was moving into that position. He has a lobbying company called The Livingston Group, The Livingston Group is on the board of the ATC. He is widely known to be one of Turkey's biggest agents, I don't know the exact numbers, but I think he's received something like $13 million for lobbying for, basically the ATC, over the years. So he's one, there are a couple of others - ex-Democratic congressman Stephen Solarz is also one of their lobbyists, and William Cohen, ex-Clinton Secretary of Defense, is another of Turkey's major lobbyists.

Now, there's a lot of question around who is in fact paying these lobbying companies - there's an enormous amount of money flowing to them, and all of those lobbyist groups have filed, with the appropriate US govt filings, that the Turkish government is paying them, but it turns out that isn't the case. The FBI is in fact still looking at where this money is coming from. The money appears to come from the ATC, and it's flowing somehow into these lobbying groups, but it's all illegal.

SH: Now what else do we know about Bob Livingston other than there's unaccounted for money in his bank account? What else do we know about his involvement with this?

LR: He, and the others, it appears, are the channel to get the money from the ATC into various campaigns, particularly congressional campaigns. As you know, in the US, to the amazement of the rest of the world, it takes an enormous amount of money to finance election campaigns and whatnot, so guys like Livingston have various mechanisms for getting money into campaigns, both legitimate and illegitimate. So we see Livingston and others throwing around money just recently into political campaigns to get congress people to change their minds on the Armenian Genocide resolution - and they also use a lot of illegal means, for example, you mentioned Dennis Hastert.

There was a ten page article in Vanity Fair, 2005, that mentioned Hastert's involvement in some of these activities. He was bribed in 3 different ways - one, there were illegal campaign contributions flowing into his campaign, two, there were a bunch of envelopes being passed to him, $7000 here, $10,000 there, by these lobbyists, as far as we can tell, and thirdly, there was a half million dollar suitcase, delivered to his house in Chicago. Now, it appears that the mechanism for getting this money to the politicians, including Hastert, is these lobbying firms - Livingston, Cohen and others.

SH: Terrorism. What's the link to terrorism? Basically it's this one criminal underworld with these nuclear secrets and drug running and terrorist financing, is it all one big underworld?

LR: That element is a little bit less understood, as it pertains to Sibel's case. Obviously heroin is a big financer of guys like the Taliban and Al Qaida, and a lot of the heroin that is being produced in Afghanistan gets moved through Turkey before it gets to the UK and the rest of Europe. Al Qaida and the Taliban, as we now know earn a commission of various sorts from both protecting poppy farmers in Afghanistan and also moving the heroin from one place to the other, so that whole industry supports people like Osama bin Laden. And the US government has done a superb job turning a blind eye to that particular problem. That's the main intersection with Sibel's case.

SH: I think she may have even said this to me, I know that she's said it in other interviews, and I know that you have written about this on your blog as well, that she compares the war on terrorism to the war against drugs, where they arrest the street dealer but ignore the kingpin, and she seemed to be saying that bin Laden and Zawahiri are middle management, rather than the people in charge, and I wonder if I understood that correctly, and if that is true, then who are the real managers, the real bosses of al Qaida?

LR: That's a good question. Sibel appeared, I think, for five hours in front of the September 11 Commission because there were some things that she heard on the wiretaps, not just relating to the ATC, but wiretaps of other targets as well, that were related to Sep 11. I wrote about some of it recently on the anniversary of Sep 11 just a month ago. If we go back to your earlier statement, you said that Osama and Zawahiri are middle management, I don't think that's true, I think that Sibel is saying that there is a level of management between those head guys at al Qaida and the highjackers. For example there were people organizing visas and money transfers, a middle management layer of al Qaida, and they haven't been touched, intentionally, by the US government. People bribing embassy officials in the Middle East to get visas for the highjackers and so on - and the US Govt, not just the FBI, but the Pentagon and State Dept knows exactly who these people are, and they've refused to touch them. Some of them were in the US, some of them were in fact even picked up and put in jail after Sep 11, but they all, for various reasons, were allowed to escape the country.

SH: Again, I'm talking with Luke Ryland from Let Sibel Edmonds Speak.blogspot.com. He's on the phone from Australia right now. I just want to make sure that I heard you right - that you were correcting me when I was saying that her implication was that there were people running al Qaida above bin Laden that aren't talked about, and you said 'No - she's talking about people between bin Laden and the highjackers, below bin Laden, but people who helped the highjackers along with their plot and they've been protected by this government?'

LR: For various reasons, and the US Government likes to talk about 'sensitive foreign diplomatic relations,' - yes, there is a layer of people - I say a 'layer,' I don't know how many it is, it might be 2, it might be 20, probably just a handful of people between bin Laden and the highjackers that the US government has refused to touch. In Sibel’s case, they like to use the excuse of 'sensitive foreign diplomatic relations,' - from that construct that they are using, what they are saying is, I believe, that there are people from countries that we don't want to criticize, and I believe that those countries are places like Turkey, for example, and, who knows, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, places that the US govt wants to either sell weapons to, or keep as allies in the 'War on Terror' depending on which part of the argument you want to believe. There are entire countries that the US Govt has gone out of its way to wipe clear from the record of involvement in those attacks.

SH: What you're telling me is that they're willing to even cover up actual participation in the attacks because some of the participants are from Turkic countries, some of these 'Stan countries between Turkey and Afghanistan - the heroin pipeline and so forth - who we want good relations with, we want to put military bases in their countries, expand our empire even further, and so our government is willing to cover up their involvement in the actual attacks of Sep 11.

LR: Yeah - I'm not sure I'd go all the way with that, but it is documented that there are people who were involved in the planning and organizing of Sep 11 that the US government has decided not to pick up. That's just fact. Sibel has documented this again and again - she wrote an open letter to the 911 Commission after she'd testified, after the report came out, where she mentioned two or three specific examples of people who hadn’t been touched, despite their direct involvement in the network that supports the people who pulled off the attacks.

SH: Something else that's come up over and over again in this story is the connection between the Israel Lobby and the Turkish Lobby and the Military Industrial Complex - we all know how that works - the American taxpayer pays to give foreign countries Lockheed weapons and that kind of thing, but over and over the names Richard Perle and Douglas Feith and a State Dept guy named Marc Grossman have come up. What's the involvement of the neocons in this mess?

LR: That's a good question. The neocons - people like Perle and Feith - are, I believe, the people who set up the ATC. They jointly had a lobbying firm called International Advisors Inc back in the mid-to-late 80s that was being paid by the Turkish govt to build up relations between the US and Turkey. So they've had their hand in the cookie jar, particularly Perle and Feith since way-back-when.

There's a strange tri-lateral relationship between US, Israel and Turkey that's been going on for a couple of decades, and it appears that the glue that is holding it together is the Military Industrial Complex - because as the money flows from one group to the other, everyone seems to win. On the Israeli side, I think that they say that it helps to have an ostensibly Muslim-but-secular country in the relationship, so there's that reason.

Marc Grossman, on the other hand, is not widely known as a neocon - he was an ambassador to Turkey - and he appears to have had his hand in the cookie jar for 20 years or something. He recently retired, but Sibel says that Marc Grossman has since been promoted into the Military Industrial Complex, outside of the US government, and he's now making something like $2 million a year, I think. Some from William Cohen’s lobbying company, but he's also getting paid $1.2m per year from a shady Turkish company, and Sibel says, and likes to reiterate, that all these people - Perle, Feith, Grossman and others - the reason that they get these big jobs, big salaries, after they leave the govt is because they have been doing their duty, selling out their services to these companies in advance, while they were working for the US govt, they sell out the US govt interests, and basically, quote 'earn' their enormous salaries once they leave the US govt, by selling secrets, for example, along the way, or leaking documents about which country the US is going to invade next, or what negotiations are taking place regarding, say, military sales to Turkey. So they leak all of that information, purely for money, so that they can line their own pockets. Sibel calls it 'treason' - I wouldn't argue with that.

SH: I'm interested in Eric Edelman's role, he's the guy that replaced Douglas Feith as the Secretary of Defense for Policy, and he's a former ambassador to Turkey as well, isn’t he?

LR: Yeah, he's a lesser known neocon, but also an important one. He was deep in the heart of Cheney's office leading up to the Iraq invasion, I can't remember his title, but I think he was just one level below Scooter Libby. So, for some reason, and I'm not exactly sure why, immediately after the invasion of Iraq, he was sent to become the Turkish Ambassador. He was hated when he was there. I think he only lasted one or two years, and then he was essentially kicked out of Turkey and landed back in Douglas Feith's position in the Pentagon. I believe that his name came up in the wiretaps as somebody who was involved in some of the shenanigans in Sibel's case, but I don't know whether that is actually true. He certainly appears to be important in regards to Sibel’s case. He was sent to Turkey, in fact, just a couple of weeks ago to try to calm them down after the Armenian Genocide vote - so he's still a big player there, even though he was hated by just about everyone when he was Ambassador.

SH: It's interesting that you brought up the Armenian Genocide bill - the Vanity Fair piece by David Rose a couple of years ago talked about information Sibel Edmonds had - if I remember right David Rose confirmed separately with sources on the congressional committees and FBI agents and so forth that Dennis Hastert was implicated in taking a significant cash bribe in order to kill a vote to condemn the Armenian genocide back in the 1990s - do I have that right?

LR: That is as David Rose reported it in Vanity Fair. According to Vanity Fair, Sibel listened to some wiretaps where some of the FBI targets mentioned the fact that they had bribed Hastert with $500,000 to ensure that the Armenian Genocide Bill didn’t get to the House floor. Listening to some of Sibel's comments since, it appears that the half a million dollars was not for pulling that bill, but there's certainly a lot of lobbying that goes on by guys like Livingston and Cohen and others on behalf of Turkish interests to make sure that that Armenian Genocide resolution doesn’t get voted on.

As you mentioned, there was one just a couple of months ago in the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee where there was vote, and it was remarkable that it even got to that stage, but within days, Livingston and these other guys were running around bribing, I presume, a whole bunch of congressmen to make sure that they changed their vote.

Nancy Pelosi, current Democrat House speaker had promised that the issue would go from the subcommittee to the full floor of the House - but Turkey's lobbyists went into overdrive and got a whole bunch of people who had announced that they supported the resolution to back down, and now Pelosi appears to have pulled the bill entirely. I'm not sure of the exact status, but everyone seems to have changed their mind. Again, this is a Military Industrial Complex problem. Jack Murtha, Democrat, was leading the charge to get the resolution pulled, and I think he's the recipient of the most funds from the Military Industrial Complex, so it's not surprising.

SH: And the problem, as always, is a lack of accountability. Here you have a woman who stumbled across, in her job, stumbled into criminality at the highest levels of power, and rather than there being grand juries convened, and trials, and accountability, instead they put the State Secrets Privilege on her, and basically they're trying to make a criminal out of her, for just telling the truth to you and me.

LR: That's right, and she's a very brave woman. She's been trying to do the right thing for 5 years. She’s been through every possible legitimate channel and now she's willing to face criminal charges, by going on air and talking about these problems. She's a remarkably brave woman, she's been trying to get out the truth for all this time - and who knows what will happen if she does it? She might go to jail for the rest of her life, which is a horrible thought, but she really doesn’t know what alternatives there are.

Somebody like Henry Waxman, or any other congressman, can say to Sibel 'Why don't you come in and talk to us, in Congress,' that, I think, immunizes her from any facts that she says under oath. That would be the responsible thing, I think, from any congressman, and I hope that Henry Waxman or somebody else steps up and gives her that opportunity, because she's been trying to do the right thing, and she might go to jail for god-knows-how-long if she follows through with this offer that she gave out yesterday to appear on broadcast TV and give her version of events. And the other thing is that if someone in congress does this, then they can subpoena the documents, and subpoena other witnesses and prove that everything that she says is legitimate.

SH: You said that she could be facing as much as life in prison for violating her gag order, is that right?

LR: I don't know how long it will be, Scott. It's the State Secrets Privilege and I don't exactly know what the implications of that are - I was probably exaggerating when I said 'life' - but I don't think anyone has ever been charged with breaking the State Secrets Privilege - so I'm not sure there's any precedent. They could put her in prison for a long time - let me put it that way.

SH: Well, I hope she doesn’t go on 60 Minutes, I think they only have 20 minute segments and there's no way that she could fit any of this in 20 minutes. What do you expect her to reveal - I don't mean secrets-wise, but along what lines do you expect her to elaborate, specifically?

LR: First, to pick up on your point of 20 minutes, I think that's probably all she needs to get out the key points, and I think one of the things that she will do, and I'm not sure that I can answer that for her, but one of the things that she mentioned yesterday is that she will name names, of other congressmen who have been bribed, I think some of them are still there today. She can name those names.

She's been saying for years that if she gets the chance to talk, a number of high level Americans will be charged and go to prison, including Richard Perle, Doug Feith, Dennis Hastert, and there are some other, as yet unnamed, congressmen, but it's a difficult story to tell, and if she only had 20 minutes it'd be interesting to see how she covers it.

It’s a difficult story for us to describe in shorthand - in part because some of the pieces are missing, but maybe, because she has those missing pieces, she will be able to cover the story efficiently. Who knows, but it will be an outrage. Most observers familiar with the case argue that, on the surface, it's much worse than Watergate, for example, so it will make for some pretty compelling television.

SH: Yeah, it sounds like it should be, and sounds like it should have been this whole time. Ok so tell me this, Luke Ryland, proprietor of Let Sibel Edmonds Speak.blogspot.com, for those people in the audience who want to read more about this and understand as much as they can before they see whichever network finally puts this story finally on the air, what do you suggest they read? There's your blog Let Sibel Edmonds Speak .blogspot.com, I know she wrote the Highjacking of a Nation, parts 1 & 2, are very good, very comprehensive, can you recommend some more reading for us?

LR: You are right, Highjacking of a Nation. Those two pieces are fantastic, the Vanity Fair article is also terrific, Phil Giraldi has had a couple of good pieces out in the American Conservative. In the first one he names the people who are interested in Turkey, Doug Feith, Perle, Wolfowitz, Grossman, Stephen Solarz and others, and he describes the issues that Sibel is talking about, and then in his second piece he talks about the fact that Waxman refuses to hold hearings and he speculates a couple of the reasons who, so that's another good article, and I would recommend that people listen to, particularly, the two great interviews that you did with Sibel, and also Chris Deliso's interviews (1, 2), both for antiwar.com, they were both fantastic.

SH: Alright everybody, that's Luke Ryland. Let Sibel Edmonds Speak .blogspot.com. Thanks a lot, Lukery.

LR: Good to speak to you, Scott.

Hopefully we'll have some more news to bring you in a couple of days.

Many of you, rightly, expressed doubt that a major US network would broadcast Sibel's story. Many of you, rightly or wrongly, think that Henry Waxman is a hero. I know that Sibel would much rather appear in Congress, under oath, with subpoena power, than on a TV network.

I urge you to contact Waxman and demand that he hold hearings into Sibel's case. And I also urge you to contact your own representatives - I believe that all of them can bring Sibel to congress and hear her testimony, and give her immunity.

Waxman can be contacted in DC:(202)225-3976 and LA:323 651-1040. The toll free Capitol switchboard number is 800-828-0498

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