Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Sibel Edmonds: 'Buckle up, there's much more coming.'

In the last few weeks, UK's Times has run a series of articles about the so-called 'Sibel Edmonds case.' ('For sale: West’s deadly nuclear secrets, 'FBI denies file exposing nuclear secrets theft' and 'Tip-off thwarted nuclear spy ring probe')

Former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds stumbled into a world of espionage, nuclear black market, narcotics trafficking, money laundering, and corruption at the highest levels of the US government.

I interviewed Sibel yesterday regarding the current investigation and reporting by the Times, the failures of the US media, and last week's decision by the Bush administration to legalize the sale of nuclear technology to Turkey, in an apparent to exonerate prior criminal activity by officials in his administration.

Sibel also has some urgent 'action items' so that we can stop these dangerous nuclear proliferation activities. I urge you to act on her suggestions.


Luke Ryland: What do you have to say about the recent work by the Insight journalists - Chris Gourlay, Jonathan Calvert, Joe Lauria - at the UK's Times?

Sibel Edmonds: They've done good, solid reporting so far by doing what reporters are supposed to. They have been chasing sources and getting their hands on documents. It's pretty simple. As you know, this story has been available to any journalist for six years now.

There's been a lot of speculation in the last few weeks that American reporters haven't touched this story because they are 'corporate owned' but it is wrong to exonerate these reporters so quickly. Many of them are too close to their official sources, and some are simply lazy. This Times team chases sources, and if they can't reach them one way, they'll try and try again, or they'll seek out alternate sources, or find other ways to ensure that they get the story.

When I hear from US reporters, they say 'Sibel, give us all the documents we'll need, and you line up all the sources for us, and then maybe we'll do a story' and if one source doesn't return their phone call, they simply give up. That's not journalism!

Luke Ryland: Why has the US failed on this story so dramatically for 6 years?

Sibel Edmonds: It's a combination of things, obviously. You need to consider that the entire US press corps has failed on this story; not only the regular print and TV media, but the alternative media has failed on this too.

Part of the reason is that journalists are simply too close to their official sources. Those sources might tell the journalist that there's nothing to the story, and so the journalist gives up on it, or the official sources might 'request' that the journalist to stay away from the story, and the journalist is then concerned about losing access to the source in the future.

Another reason is the partisanship. With the foreign press, there is no partisanship, and that's one reason why they have been more effective at covering this case, and I'm not just talking about the recent Times articles here. With the US media, it appears as though if there is no clear partisan angle, then there's no story. As you know, this case is spread over two administrations, and that appears to make it difficult for the reporters to cover the story. Even within one news organization you might have one journalist who wants to use the story to indict Clinton, and another who wants to use the story to bash Bush, and in the end neither of them write about the story because it doesn't fit their partisanship, their 'narrative', so they just drop it altogether.

I had such high hopes for the alternative press, and they do a lot of good work, but partisanship repeatedly gets in the way there too, on both sides.

The US media also suffers from a pack mentality. I was told by one executive that they weren't doing the story because it was 'old news' because 60 Minutes did a single segment in October 2002, even though they only covered a tiny part of the case. This executive literally told me that he'd only cover the story if it was 'hot and sexy.' I often think that I'd need to be able to hire Britney Spears to be a spokesperson - and this is not just for my case, but for any of the many other solid, important cases at the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition. Apparently this is what it would take to get any coverage.

Of course, given the pack mentality, if any of these stories does become 'hot and sexy' then all the journalists focus on the same issues and there's no differentiation in their reporting.

The other major problem in the US is the focus on symptoms, rather than root causes. My case is a good example, but there are lots of others too. Look at the early reporting on my case in 2002, the Washington Post broke the story in July 2002 about the espionage in the translation bureau and then they dropped the story after two weeks. They stopped reporting on it when more important information came out and the State Secrets Privilege was invoked. To this day not a single US reporter has asked 'Why was the State Secrets Privilege been invoked here? What is going on?'

Just this week I was approached by a major US outlet who wanted to do a story on Kevin Taskesen! [Ed note: Taskesen was an incompetent FBI translator who got his job because his wife worked in the administrative office] This is absolutely the most trivial element of the case, and it has already been reported at length. I told them that they could learn everything they needed to know by watching 60 Minutes, 2002. Again, the US media needs to start looking at the root causes of these problems, not the symptoms.

Luke Ryland: Will the US media start reporting on this now that it is 'hot and sexy' again?

Sibel Edmonds: It's hard to know. After being told for years that they won't cover it because it is 'old news,' now there are certain officials in the agencies quietly telling journalists to stay away from the story because I came across a highly sensitive covert national security operation.

Also, Turkey's army of lobbyists in DC are very effective. The US press tends to stay away from any stories critical of Turkey, I would say even more than Israel.

There's also the possible problem of 'eating crow' but I hope this isn't an issue, this story is way too important for any of that. The information that has been published in the Times recently could have easily come out four years ago in the US press. We now need everyone to focus on the important issues.

I have one message for the US media: If they think this is over, it's not over. Much more will come out. They won't be able to ignore it any longer, and so I hope they get over any reluctance they might have.

Look at the positive press that the Times' series has received since their first article ran. Do you think their editors haven't noticed? The Times is adding more and more resources to the story, more journalists, bigger budgets, and more importantly, they are getting more and more sources coming forward to shed light on these illegal activities. As I have said from the beginning, this story is not about me, there are many sources who have been waiting for the right time to come forward, I've probably never even heard of most of them, and now they are coming forward. This will play out like Watergate played out, with the drip, drip, drip. So I say to everyone 'Buckle up, there's much more coming.'

So, hopefully American reporters will start to cover the story. I'm not particularly confident, but to a certain degree it doesn't matter that much because the internet and the blogs can spread the reporting from the UK as soon as it hits the wires.

Luke Ryland: Two weeks after the first article in the Times about the involvement of high-level US officials being involved with Turkish and Israeli interests in supplying the nuclear black market, President Bush quietly announced that the US will start supplying nuclear technology to Turkey. Do you think that is a coincidence?

Sibel Edmonds: The timing is certainly very, very suspicious. The proposals that are being floated are very suspicious too. There are reports that Turkey will build an enrichment facility, and that Turkey will become the key supplier of nuclear fuel to other Muslim countries who want nuclear power plants. None of this makes any sense.

And again, the US media is nowhere to be seen on this issue. Where are the journalists? Do you remember the noise made a couple of years ago when the US announced that it would supply India with nuclear technology? So far, nearly a week after the announcement and not a single major US media outlet has even reported on the deal! Think of the hypocrisy, with all the saber-rattling at Iran over enrichment.

If it's such a good idea to sell nuclear technology to Turkey, why isn't the White House out there selling the idea? Where are the arguments in the press saying that this will be good for regional stability, or that it will help reduce demand for oil, or even that it is simply good business because US firms will be able to sell their hardware and knowledge? There's nothing! Silence. What does that tell you?

Luke Ryland: What needs to be done?

Sibel Edmonds: The way they've structured this deal is that Congress has 90 days from the announcement, now 84 days, to block the 'agreement' otherwise it basically becomes law.

The first thing that we need to do is to make sure that this doesn't 'automatically' become law. We need the journalists, the experts, and the bloggers to raise hell over this issue, and we need to make sure that Congress investigates this properly before rubber-stamping it. The clock is ticking and we need to act now.

As you know, and this was even published in the White House press release on this issue, certain 'Turkish private entities' have been involved 'in certain activities directly relating to nuclear proliferation.' This includes supplying the A.Q. Khan network - which built Pakistan's nuclear bomb, and also supplied North Korea, Iran and other countries - but as the recent Times stories indicate, so much more as well.

The White House press release states that all these issues have been resolved; that the Turkish government has addressed these issues, that the US government has evaluated these actions and that the US government is satisfied, and that all of this is secret, classified!

Given the track record of this administration in abusing classification and distorting intelligence, why on earth would we trust them with this? What is in the report? Is it truthful? Why is it classified? We saw these exact same people do the same thing in the late 80s when they enabled Pakistan to get nuclear weapons. Richard Barlow did his best to stop them then, but if Congress doesn't hold hearings this time around the same thing will happen again. We should have stopped Pakistan then, but unless this 'classified' report is made public and the contents publicly debated, then the Barlow of today won't even get the chance to debunk whatever is in that 'classified' report. What conceivable logic is there in classifying the details of how Turkey has cleaned up its act regarding nuclear proliferation? If they have, they should be proud of it!

There are many great anti-proliferation organizations out there, we need to rally all of them, and all of the 'pro-transparency' organizations, to this cause. We need journalists to contact these experts for their opinion and expertise, and we need these experts to contact journalists to ensure that the story, and the issues, is covered, and covered thoroughly.

We also need to recruit bloggers and alternative media to keep the pressure on. Perhaps a 'countdown clock' as we count down the 90 days might help.

Luke Ryland: What are the next steps in the process?

Sibel Edmonds: I'm not exactly sure of the process at the moment, but it has been reported that this 'automatically' becomes law after the 90 days, somehow, unless Congress blocks or amends the legislation.

Apparently the approval process somehow includes convincing the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee not to object, so those committees appear to be our first firewall.

(Ed note: Senate Foreign Relations Committee includes Joe Biden (Chair), Chris Dodd, John Kerry, Russ Feingold, Barbara Boxer, Barack Obama and Jim Webb for the Democrats, and Richard Lugar, Chuck Hagel and George Voinovich for the minority. Hopefully one of them will stand up on this important issue. The House side looks more difficult, the Chairman is Tom Lantos who was listed in Sibel's Rogue's Gallery, which apparently identifies 18 of the guilty parties in her case, so that might be a problem. Ron Paul is also on that committee, he might be a prime target for this campaign.)

Luke Ryland: Is there anything else we can do?

Sibel Edmonds: There is one other hope. As last week's White House press release states, Bill Clinton tried to pass this legislation in 2000 but "immediately after" Clinton tried to send it to Congress it was blocked because some people apparently highlighted Turkish involvement in the nuclear black market and, who knows, maybe threatened to blow the whistle. Those same individuals, and others like them, can stop this again, and they should do everything they can to make sure that this doesn't happen. They should try to do it internally, and if they can't do it internally, then they need reach out to journalists, either on or off the record. Hopefully some honest, dedicated people will try to block it again, but we can't rely on that. We need to pressure congress to ensure that this doesn't go through.

Time is running out, the countdown clock is ticking down, and we need to stop this now. We need the help of journalists, congress, nuclear proliferation experts, bloggers and those active citizens in the blogosphere and elsewhere.


Many thanks to Sibel, as always.

Please do what you can to help block this proposed legislation.

If you can create a 'countdown clock' please contact me, and we'll offer it so that everyone can place it on their blogs and use it in their sigs etc.


Regarding alternative media, Sibel is particularly grateful to American Conservative and Antiwar.com for their objectivity and non-partisanship in covering this case. In particular, Phil Giraldi, Justin Raimondo, Joshua Franks and Scott Horton.

To reiterate Sibel's emphasis on the importance of the internet to help get the story out, Daily Kos statistics for the week Jan 19-25 have been released. During a primary week when many were (rightly) complaining that campaign diaries made it almost impossible for other issues to get any attention, diaries related to Sibel's case dominated the list. Sibel's story was both #1 and $2 for the week, and filled 3 of the top 11, and 4 of the top 25 diaries. Statistics at Democratic Underground will demonstrate the same level of interest in the case. Thank you to all of you, and I ask that you continue to support the case, and I ask that journalists and bloggers pick up the story and support the great work done by the Times. It's about time, no?


Cross-posted at Let Sibel Edmonds Speak

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

Sunday, January 27, 2008

UK Times: Brewster Jennings outed by 'treasonous' US govt official in 2001, not 2003

The UK's Sunday Times has another article today, Tip-off thwarted nuclear spy ring probe, in their series about the penetration of US agencies by a criminal network of Turkish, Israeli and US government officials stealing nuclear secrets and selling them on the black market to the highest bidder.

The focus of this new Times article is the original outing of Brewster Jennings, the CIA cover company that Valerie Plame Wilson worked for. The article confirms that Marc Grossman, former # 3 State Dept official, and former Ambassador to Turkey, warned his Turkish associates to be wary of Brewster Jennings because it was a CIA front operation. This disclosure occurred in the summer of 2001, two years prior to the outing of Valerie Plame.

The FBI warned the CIA about Grossman's activities and Brewster Jennings was dismantled shortly thereafter.

Given the libel laws in the UK, the Times has not published Marc Grossman's name again in this piece, but long-time observers of this case all recognize that Grossman is the unnamed official in this article, as well as the previous two articles.

From the Times:
The claims that a State Department official [Marc Grossman] blew the investigation into a nuclear smuggling ring have been made by Sibel Edmonds, 38, a former Turkish language translator in the FBI’s Washington field office.
She has previously told The Sunday Times she heard evidence that foreign intelligence agents had enlisted US officials to acquire a network of moles in sensitive military and nuclear institutions.

Her latest claims relate to a number of intercepted recordings believed to have been made between the summer and autumn of 2001. At that time, foreign agents were actively attempting to acquire the West’s nuclear secrets and technology.

More from the Times:
One group of Turkish agents who had come to America on the pretext of researching alternative energy sources was introduced to Brewster Jennings through the Washington-based American Turkish Council (ATC), a lobby group that aids commercial ties between the countries. Edmonds says the Turks believed Brewster Jennings to be energy consultants and were planning to hire them.

We know that the FBI was running a counter-intelligence operation against the Turkish diplomatic community, the American Turkish Council (ATC) and other groups such as the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (A.T.A.A.)

But [Sibel] said: "[Grossman] found out about the [proposed Brewster Jennings] arrangement... and he contacted one of the foreign targets and said... you need to stay away from Brewster Jennings because they are a cover for the government.

“The target... immediately followed up by calling several people to warn them about Brewster Jennings.

“At least one of them was at the ATC. This person also called an ISI person to warn them.” If the ISI was made aware of the CIA front company [Brewster Jennings], then this would almost certainly have damaged the investigation into the activities of Khan. Plame’s cover would also have been compromised, although Edmonds never heard her name mentioned on the intercepts. Shortly afterwards, Plame was moved to a different operation.
Plame was moved because Brewster Jennings was dismantled due to the FBI discovering that Grossman had blown the cover. Plame has been forbidden by the CIA to refer to her work, or even the fact that she worked at CIA, prior to 2002.

In Joe Wilson's book, The Politics of Truth, he says that he met his future wife, Valerie Plame, at an American Turkish Council (ATC) event at the residence of the Turkish ambassador in Washington DC in 1997. At the time, both the ATC and the Turkish diplomatic community were targets of FBI investigations.

Incidentally Wilson was on the Defense subcommittee of the board of the ATC, and he was personally and professionally close to ATC Chairman and former National Security Advisor, Brent Scowcroft. Scowcroft recently appeared in a Rogue's Gallery, apparently indicating that he is one of the guilty parties in Sibel Edmonds' case.

Wilson's consulting company, JC Wilson International Ventures, appears to have some Turkish clients, some of which may have come through his involvement at the ATC.

Clearly there are a number of potential conflicts of interest here. I don't have any theory as to what was going on here, there are more questions than answers. Wilson had business interests with the ATC, and he was friendly with ATC Chair Brent Scowcroft, who was apparently a target of these investigations. The idea of a CIA agent dating, then marrying, someone so closely aligned with a target also gives the appearance of a conflict of interest.

An anonymous letter, apparently written by an FBI official, obtained by the Times and others outlining many of the facts in this case, states that much of this information was given to the Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald who was investigating the 2003 outing of Plame, and the information was also given to the Scooter Libby defense team but apparently neither side decided to use this information for their own purposes.

The Times:
"Phillip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, said: “It’s pretty clear Plame was targeting the Turks. If indeed [Grossman] was working with the Turks to violate US law on nuclear exports, it would have been in his interest to alert them to the fact that this woman’s company was affiliated to the CIA. I don’t know if that’s treason legally but many people would consider it to be.”"

Marc Grossman has again (anonymously) denied the charges against him, however in an interview this week, Phil Giraldi wondered why neither Grossman nor any of the others were actively working to exonerate themselves:
"Quite honestly, if I were Marc Grossman, who allegedly is now making $3 million a year working for the Cohen Group, I would be kind of concerned about my personal reputation where people are saying that I was taking money, and I would want to straighten out the record and I would want to the FBI to produce a definitive statement about me, and (Grossman) hasn't demanded that. He hasn't gone after that, and none of the other people in this case have gone after that, so I'm wondering why, if these people are innocent, they aren't making a more serious effort to demonstrate that they are."
I wonder too.

Significantly, since the Times began this series three weeks ago, the White House has quietly moved to legalize the sale of nuclear technonlogy to Turkey in an apparent attempt to 'Exonerate Neocon Criminals' who have been illegally selling this technology for a decade. Congress has 90 days to block this legislation, otherwise it becomes law. If Turkey wants and deserves nuclear technology, this decision should be made openly and transparently, not the result of stealth decisions made by this administration to hide crimes of senior US officials.

We need public open hearings to determine which officials have been supplying the nuclear black market before this becomes law.

Cross-posted at Let Sibel Edmonds Speak

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

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Phil Giraldi chats about Sibel Edmonds

Ex-CIA agent, Phil Giraldi, wrote a good piece earlier in the week for American Conservative magazine about the case of former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds.

On Friday, he was interviewed by Scott Horton about the case. You can listen here (starts at 24.30min). (I was interviewed by Scott earlier in the week on the same topic, too)

The entire transcript is below, but I wanted to highlight a couple of points that Giraldi makes.

One of the questions that some people have about the case is how could Sibel have come across if she was 'just a translator,' and there is a related concern about the fact that, as a translator, Sibel must have only seen just a few snippets of information and couldn't possibly have seen the entire picture. These concerns stem from the fact that people apparently presume that translators are simply passive translators of material, isolated from the cases they are working on.

Giraldi, who is familiar with how these things work, says:

"(A)s a translator (she) would have worked very closely with the FBI supervising officers to try to figure out what these transcripts meant. So the argument that she only saw these 'bits' is not really true, she would have been very interactive in terms of the people running these operations and she would have found out a lot more.

Giraldi makes another good point. None of the guilty parties identified in the case have gone out of their way to exonerate their good names.

Quite honestly, if I were Marc Grossman, who allegedly is now making $3 million a year working for the Cohen Group, I would be kind of concerned about my personal reputation where people are saying that I was taking money, and I would want to straighten out the record and I would want to the FBI to produce a definitive statement about me, and he hasn't demanded that. He hasn't gone after than, and none of the other people in this case have gone after that, so I'm wondering why, if these people are innocent, they aren't making a more serious effort to demonstrate that they are.

Giraldi also debunks the 'she uncovered a sting operation' idea that has started floating around lately, after 5 years.

And the other argument that keeps getting trotted out, is that Grossman and all these other people might have been part of some sting operation back in 2001, 2002. Well, first of all a sting operation back in 2001, 2002 that has been pretty much exposed in the media in the subsequent six years is not something that you would necessarily have to hide. You could say 'Look, they were involved in doing the finest, highest level work for the US government' - they could say something like that to make this story go away, but they haven’t done that. And I assure you, as a CIA officer, that the agency would never have used the number 3 person at State Dept as a person in a sting operation. The State Dept would never have permitted it, and the agency would never have even conceived of it, so the whole argument that this was some kind of sophisticated scam to sting the AQ Khan network or something like that is ridiculous.

Then there's this:
See the point is that she's been gagged, and think about what the gag means. The gag means that the government is trying to suppress classified information that she has. That means that they believe that what she is saying is true.

Here's the full transcript.


SH: Alright everybody, it’s Phil Giraldi. He writes “Smoke and Mirrors” for Antiwar.com and is a contributing editor to the American Conservative magazine. His newest article is “Found in Translation. FBI Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds Spills Her Secrets.” (http://www.amconmag.com/2008/2008_01_28/article1.html) Now, you’re a former CIA covert operative who was stationed in Turkey in the 1980s, is that right?

PG: That’s correct.

SH: And so you have quite a bit of background in the area of the world in discussion in the Sibel Edmonds case. For those who aren’t familiar, can you just give us the basic outline of who Sibel Edmonds is and what happened? What’s the big deal?

PG: Sibel Edmonds is a woman born in Iran of Turkic parents. She was raised in Turkey, emigrated to the US in the 1980s. After 2001, she worked as a Turkish and Farsi language translator for the FBI. While she was there she handled a lot of documents that gave her cause for some concern. She complained about some irregularities that were going on with the FBI’s translation staff and was eventually fired. [She] went public with some of her claims to “60 Minutes,” and also to congress where she was found to be a very credible witness. Her claims basically involve high level US government officials being involved in corruption that has resulted in US nuclear secrets and other defense information, and defense equipment, being sold to the highest bidder with the collaboration of senior Turkish government officials and also Israeli government officials, with the collusion of people in the Pentagon who were linked to these organizations. That’s the essence of her claims.

SH: One of the things that she says is that her story is basically the same story as the Larry Franklin case, is at least related to the Valerie Plame case, that basically all the scandals of the neoconservatives are all tied in with her same story.

PG: Yeah, basically what she is saying is that it’s not necessarily the same story, but the same people, and the same people are involved in all these various subsets of money going here and there. I wrote an article about her back well over a year ago in which I said that this is basically a neoconservative… you know, the neoconservatives don’t have a 401K, they have schemes like this that enable them to make a lot of money in short time, and exploit these relationships, so you have people who work at the Pentagon and State Department essentially who were collaborating with people who were selling American secrets.

SH: Okay, now tell me about the American Turkish Council.

PG: The American Turkish Council was established, I believe, in the early nineties. It was set up with the assistance of AIPAC, and the reason why there’s an AIPAC connection is because the Israelis and Turks have had a strong defense relationship since that time, and many of the lobbying groups that support Israel have fostered the Turkish relationship.

SH: And of course, a lot of this is tied in with the arms manufacturers in this country, because when our government “gives” military hardware to the Turks and the Israelis, that’s just cash in the pocket of Northrop Grumman and Lockheed, and so we see them populating the Board of Directors and so forth of this group [the ATC], right?

PG: Yeah, many of these groups, and indeed the groups like the American Enterprise Institute, some of the neocon think tanks are heavily funded by defense contractors for obvious reasons. Defense contractors do very well when you’re fighting the whole world all the time, so there are a whole lot of interlocking relationships here, and what Sibel is saying, essentially, is that these people are all the same people, they’re involved in Israel, they’re involved in Turkey, they are corruptly exploiting their positions in the US government to make all this happen, and they’re getting rich off it.

SH: In the movie Kill The Messenger, you describe Richard Perle as “an agent of influence for Israel” – what exactly is an agent of influence?

PG: That’s basically someone who works for a government, but is working for the interests of another government through his US government position. So when Perle was at the Defense Department, which he has been intermittently at through the years, he exploited his position, his contacts, on behalf of Israel. That’s not my assessment, incidentally, that was an assessment made by the CIA. There have been a number of other people in the government, particularly at the Defense Dept who’ve also been alleged to be agents of influence for Israel.

SH: Wow. And is that CIA assessment classified? Can I get a copy of that?

PG: I don’t know how one would actually get a written copy of it, but it has been referred to in secondary texts a number of times. If you do a google, I think you’d find it.

SH: Okay, so he’s not exactly a spy where he’s just outright getting paid and working for the Mossad or anything, it’s just that he puts the interests of Israel first, even though he works, or worked, for the US government.

PG: Well, to a certain extent he is a spy. Recall that Richard Perle was overheard in a restaurant in Washington quite some time ago giving classified information to somebody who was working for Israeli embassy, so it depends how you define ’spy.’ The investigation was, as I understand, dropped, which it always is in these cases strangely enough, but you know, there have been similar cases with Doug Feith and others also at the Pentagon.

SH: And now bringing up Doug Feith, what’s this International Advisors Inc? He had a lobbying firm that represented Turkey in the 1990s?

PG: That’s right, he had a lobbying firm, and Richard Perle worked for him as one of his consultants, so these people have had a long term relationship, both with Israel and with Turkey, and obviously that’s kind of the nexus, and now we’re discovering, if Sibel is correct in what she’s been saying, that the glue holding this all together is the sale of US nuclear and other military technology.

SH: And for those who don’t remember, Richard Perle was the Chairman of the Defense Policy Board during the run up to the Iraq war, and his buddy Douglas Feith was the Deputy Secretary of Defense for Policy.

PG: That’s correct, yes.

SH: So that’s quite a position to be in, I guess, if you’re a foreign agent of influence.

PG: Well, look, the friends of Israel would argue that the strategic interests of Israel and the US are absolutely identical. Now, anyone with half a brain knows that that is not true, and that it could never be true in relationships between two countries, and yet that is, I think, how they are able to sleep at night. That’s the fiction that they pursue.

SH: Now what exactly are Sibel Edmonds’ accusations against Richard Perle and Douglas Feith?

PG: Well the accusations against Perle and Feith have never been spelled out. She claims that high officials in the Pentagon were part of this process of the sale of nuclear and other military technology. She has not named them. What she has done, is she has a website on which she has kind of a rogues gallery of pictures, and you go through the pictures and you find out basically who are the names - this is my interpretation of what I’m seeing - you put the names onto the pictures and you assume that these are the people that, at least at this time, she doesn’t feel comfortable enough to name. And Richard Perle’s picture is there, as is Doug Feith’s, as is Feith’s replacement at the Pentagon, who is currently there and is also a former ambassador to Turkey, Eric Edelman.

SH: And what about Larry Franklin?

PG: Larry Franklin is, according to her, also involved in this process, that AIPAC and the connections with AIPAC and with Turks and everything - but again, these are areas where she has revealed some things, but she hasn’t been very explicit, because she has a gag order.

SH: Because she could go to prison.

PG: Yeah. The areas where she has been extremely explicit, and this was the point of my article in the American Conservative, there are very specific charges against one former senior State Department officer, Marc Grossman, and she claims that he was taking money, that he was expediting people from Turkey and Israel, getting into the US Defense establishment, and a number of charges like that. One of the more interesting charges was that she says that she reviewed the transcript of a conversation in which Grossman warned the Turks that Brewster Jennings, the CIA cover company that Valerie Plame worked for, was “government” – you know, a code word for the Agency, and this apparently took place in late 2001, so it was way before Robert Novak outed Valerie Plame and her cover company. In this case, it went to the Turks, and the FBI was listening in on the Turks, when they called the Pakistanis and informed Pakistani intelligence about this.

SH: Wow. So that’s a felony, right?

PG: Yeah, I believe it is. And you kind of wonder why the US govt has been reluctant to follow up on this. Again, the point in my article is that we don’t know whether all of this stuff that Sibel is saying is true. We don’t. You haven’t seen the papers, I haven’t seen the papers, she claims to have seen papers.

SH: Right.

PG: And she claims that there are FBI files that back up what she is claiming, and in one case, an anonymous whistleblower who appears to be an FBI officer, sent in a message that I got a copy of, which actually gives the file number that all of this information is contained in. So, her claim is very specific, of illegal, criminal, possibly treasonous activity, and she is giving very specific information that she claims can be backed up by these files. My point of view is that I don’t know whether she’s telling the truth or not, but she certainly deserves a hearing.

SH: And this is the latest Sunday Times article that came out after your article, “FBI Denies File Exposing Nuclear Secrets Theft” and apparently they’ve been able to prove that the file does exist, and that the FBI is lying when they say that no such file even exists.

PG: That’s right. I’ve spoken to the journalist from the London Times and he claims to have written evidence proving that the file exists, even though the FBI claims it doesn’t. I think what the FBI did was that they took the file and they might have shredded it, but more likely the just refiled it under a different number, so they’re telling the truth when they say the file doesn’t exist (laughs).

SH: Right. They just spell all the keywords wrong so the search doesn’t work… Okay. In terms of the FBI, I’m trying to work out, when you have all these disparate pieces, you have the Larry Franklin investigation – again, he’s the guy who’s been convicted and sentenced to 12 years in prison for passing secrets to Israel, who worked for Douglas Feith in the Pentagon – you have the investigation o the Valerie Plame thing, which obviously is a separate issue, the way that came up, but when it comes to Sibel Edmonds, the investigations that she was in on into Perle and Feith particularly and this group, is this all just one big investigation that goes back to 1996 and it just has its different branches? It’s hard to see because it’s all within the DoJ where I can’t really tell.

PG: Well, again, bear in mind that she has not named Feith and Perle. This is an assumption. I want to be careful about what we’re saying because there are things that we know and things that we don’t know here. The thrust of what she’s said is that yes, if you look at it, these are all parts of one big investigation that includes AIPAC, it includes the Turks, it includes the Israelis, it includes senior US government officials at both State Department and Pentagon, and that the FBI basically was investigating all these people, sometimes coming at it separately, but in the end, it’s all the same players doing all the same things.

SH: Now, on the issue of Sibel Edmonds’ credibility – because as you say, we don’t have the papers, she has a gag order, congress won’t do anything about it, we really don’t know – there’s been, I guess, quite a bit of criticism of Sibel Edmonds, she’s such a charismatic lady, that people, I guess, it turns people off, and they think that she’s said so much for a lady with a gag order that she must be over-reaching with some of this stuff, these are such outrageous charges. What do you make of the idea, for example, that she couldn’t possibly know the things that she claims to know?

PG: Well, that argument has a certain amount of credibility; here she is, a translator, she’s working with transcripts mostly, from what I gather, of telephone communications that have been intercepted by the FBI… There are a couple of arguments that suggest that when she made connections, she made connections because she as a translator would have worked very closely with the FBI supervising officers to try to figure out what these transcripts meant. So the argument that she only saw these ‘bits’ is not really true, she would have been very interactive in terms of the people running these operations and she would have found out a lot more. Another argument that she’s jumping the gun and putting things together, well, that might be true, but we won’t know the truth of this stuff until somebody does a serious investigation on her charges. Quite honestly, if I were Marc Grossman, who allegedly is now making $3 million a year working for the Cohen Group, I would be kind of concerned about my personal reputation where people are saying that I was taking money, and I would want to straighten out the record and I would want to the FBI to produce a definitive statement about me, and he hasn’t demanded that. He hasn’t gone after that, and none of the other people in this case have gone after that, so I’m wondering why, if these people are innocent, they aren’t making a more serious effort to demonstrate that they are.

SH: Well maybe it’s just because it’s a national security matter, State Secrets Privilege and all that, and they’re not really in a position to be able to defend themselves.

PG: Well, then they might be interested in saying that. They’re not saying that. See the point is that she’s been gagged, and think about what the gag means. The gag means that the government is trying to suppress classified information that she has. That means that they believe that what she is saying is true. And the other argument that keeps getting trotted out, is that Grossman and all these other people might have been part of some sting operation back in 2001, 2002… Well, first of all a sting operation back in 2001, 2002 that has been pretty much exposed in the media in the subsequent six years is not something that you would necessarily have to hide. You could say “Look, they were involved in doing the finest, highest level work for the US government” – they could say something like that to make this story go away, but they haven’t done that. And I assure you, as a CIA officer, that the agency would never have used the number 3 person at State Department as a person in a sting operation. The State Department would never have permitted it, and the agency would never have even conceived of it, so the whole argument that this was some kind of sophisticated scam to sting the AQ Khan network or something like that is ridiculous.

SH: Well now, what about the cover up? I mean, this is America, this isn’t a banana republic, at least not yet. What about separations of powers? Obviously Congress is inept, but can’t a Justice Department official make his name by convening a Grand Jury in this case and getting something done? Isn’t there supposed to be some sort of automatic checks and balances, separation of power thing that kicks in here that keeps traitors out of the State Department?

PG: Only if the Justice Department is being directed by the Attorney General to do precisely that. Do you honestly believe that this Attorney General will do that?

SH: Maybe if you waterboarded him.

PG: (laughs) Yes.

SH: See, this is the thing. It almost makes it seem like this treason, this crime ring, stealing and selling nuclear secrets to the Pakistanis through the Turks and all this criminality, it almost seems like it is just the government of the US doing it, not just people who work for the governmentt, if the entire government kicks in to help cover it up.

PG: You remember the scene in the movie The Godfather when Al Pacino was talking to his girlfriend, and she says “But, but, you know, congressmen and senators and people like that don’t go out and have people killed like you mafia people do” and Al Pacino’s response was “Now, who’s being naive here?”

SH: Right.

PG: Corruption is as American as apple pie. Hopefully we have a strong enough democracy where we can fight it, but I think in the last six, what we have seen is this whole terrorist threat, and the way it’s been hyped, and the way it’s been used, a lot of our fundamental liberties and our fundamental sense of what we are as a people has been eroded, and this is precisely what I’m talking about. You get a Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General, you get this guy Mukasey, these guys are not going to do anything that’s not in the interests of the Bush administration. And, hey, if we get a president Hillary Clinton somewhere around the corner, or even more terribly – and this is the buzz in Washington right now – that we’re looking at a McCain / Leiberman administration…

SH: Oh! PG: Yeah, think about who is going to be investigating any of these things. Nobody.

SH: Wow. What a way to wrap up an interview. There you go, everybody. It’s Philip Giraldi, he writes “Smoke and Mirrors” for Antiwar.com. He’s a partner in Cannistraro Associates, contributing editor at the American Conservative magazine and you can find his blog entries at Huffington Post. Thanks a lot, Phil.

PG: Thanks Scott.

Friday, January 25, 2008

White House in panic over Sibel Edmonds?

Sixteen days after the UK Times' published a blockbuster article, For sale: West’s deadly nuclear secrets, about how certain top US government officials were enabling Turkish and Israeli interests in supplying the nuclear black market, President Bush quietly announced on Tuesday that he wants Congress to approve sales of nuclear technology to Turkey.

Is this a reaction to the Times article? It sure looks like it. I wouldn't be surprised if we soon start hearing about retroactive immunity for the guilty parties, just as we are seeing in the illegal spying case currently in the Senate.

As always happens in this case, the silence in the US media is deafening.

Two years ago, Bush's efforts to sell nuclear technology prompted much "indignation and furor," but not a single major US media outlet has yet reported the proposed deal with Turkey. Agence France-Presse put out a report on its wires which has been picked up around the world, but that's about it.

The White House press release says that Bill Clinton agreed to the deal in 2000:
However, immediately after signature, U.S. agencies received information that called into question the conclusions that had been drawn in the required NPAS (Nuclear Proliferation Assessment Statement) and the original classified annex, specifically, information implicating Turkish private entities in certain activities directly relating to nuclear proliferation. Consequently, the Agreement was not submitted to the Congress and the executive branch undertook a review of the NPAS evaluation.

It would certainly be interesting to know which "Turkish private entitities" Bush is referring to here. If he had said "Turkish private companies" instead, we could be comfortable in presuming that he was referring to the two named Turkish companies involved in A.Q. Khan's network, EKA and ETI Elektroteknik. The phrase "entities" on the other hand, is broader, and could very well include the American Turkish Council, the 'entity' named in the Times article as well as other articles about Sibel Edmonds case.

The timing here is also interesting; "immediately after" Clinton approved the deal in July 2000, US agencies became aware of this Turkish involvement in the AQ Khan network. This was fully three years before the Khan network was officially exposed.

The White House press release continues with some curiously descriptive narrative:
"My Administration has completed the NPAS review as well as an evaluation of actions taken by the Turkish government to address the proliferation activities of certain Turkish entities (once officials of the U.S. Government brought them to the Turkish government's attention)."
Given that the entire press release is basically written in 'legalese', this unnecessary parenthetical aside stands out like a sore thumb. I wonder who injected this statement into the announcement, and why. It sure looks like butt-covering to me, given the latest revelations in the Times.

The phrase 'once officials...' also appears to be a curious formulation. I'm not overly familiar with presidential statements and US government protocols, but I would imagine that "Agencies" or "Departments" would normally communicate with foreign governments on such important matters, and I would imagine that presidential statements would normally refer to such agencies, rather than 'officials.' Perhaps I'm wrong, and perhaps this is common practice, but it sure looks like an attempt to exonerate certain individuals such as Marc Grossman who was accused of some very serious crimes in the Times article.

Who were these officials? How, when, and in what format, did they bring this information to the Turkish government? I'd like to see the official communication, please.

And what, exactly, has the Turkish government done to 'address these proliferation activities'? We know that ETA and EKI continue to operate, and as far as I know haven't been penalized. The press release says that this information is all classified.

It appears as though certain administration officials have been illegally supplying the Turkish nuclear program for years, and now that they've been publicly outed, the Bush administration will simply make the entire program legal, just as they are trying to do with the illegal spying.

Congress has 90 days to amend or block this legislation, otherwise it automatically becomes law.

We need public open hearings to determine which officials have been supplying the nuclear black market before this becomes law.

Cross posted at Let Sibel Edmonds Speak

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Sibel Edmonds case: What was found in the translations

Phil Giraldi, ex-CIA agent based in Turkey, has a typically strong op-ed piece, Found in Translation. FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds spills her secrets, in the latest edition of American Conservative magazine.

The opening:
Most Americans have never heard of Sibel Edmonds, and if the U.S. government has its way, they never will. The former FBI translator turned whistleblower tells a chilling story of corruption at Washington’s highest levels—sale of nuclear secrets, shielding of terrorist suspects, illegal arms transfers, narcotics trafficking, money laundering, espionage. She may be a first-rate fabulist, but Edmonds’s account is full of dates, places, and names. And if she is to be believed, a treasonous plot to embed moles in American military and nuclear installations and pass sensitive intelligence to Israeli, Pakistani, and Turkish sources was facilitated by figures in the upper echelons of the State and Defense Departments. Her charges could be easily confirmed or dismissed if classified government documents were made available to investigators.

In May 2006, Giraldi wrote about Sibel's case, again in American Conservative, Sibel described that piece as:
"a fantastic short piece by Phil Giraldi; it sums up the case very well, considering the length... as far as published articles go, this one nails it 100%."
So make sure that you have read that piece.

Giraldi's latest piece gives a broad overview of Sibel's case, picking up from the Vanity Fair article, the latest Times articles, and other sources.

Giraldi addresses some of concerns that 'critics' (I think 'cynics' might be a more appropriate term) have:
Edmonds’s critics maintain that she saw only a small part of the picture in a highly compartmentalized working environment, that she was privy to only a fragment of a large operation to penetrate and disrupt the groups that have been stealing U.S. weapons technology. She could not have known operational details of what the FBI was doing and why.

That criticism is serious and must be addressed. If Edmonds was indeed seeing only part of a counterintelligence sting operation to entrap a nuclear network like that of A.Q. Khan, the government could now reveal as much in general terms, since any operation that might have been running in 2002 has long since wound down. Regarding her access to operational information, Edmonds’s critics clearly do not understand the intimate relationship that develops between FBI and CIA officers and their translators. Operations run against a foreign target in languages other than English require an intensive collaboration between field officers and translators. The translators are invariably brought into the loop because it is up to them to guide the officers seeking to understand what the target, who frequently is double talking or attempting to conceal his meaning, is actually saying. That said, it should be conceded that Edmonds might sometimes have seen only a piece of the story, and those claims based on her own interpretation should be regarded with caution.

Another objection is that Edmonds would only have seen “raw intelligence” that does not provide nuance and does not really indicate whether someone is guilty. That argument has merit, and it is undeniable that many intercepted communications lack context. But it ignores the fact that someone recorded in the act of taking a bribe or interceding to have a suspect in a criminal investigation released is behaving with a certain transparency. One either takes money or does not. There is very little interpretation that can change that reality.
All good points.

Sibel worked closely with the FBI's special agents and they too appear to have been horrified by what was happening. Unfortunately, those agents haven't publicly backed up Sibel, but a number of them have been named - Gilbert Graham, Joel Robertz, Dennis Saccher - and all have had numerous quotes and sentiments attributed to them. Not a single comment has ever been disavowed to my knowledge.

One of the agents, Gilbert Graham, has confirmed some of Sibel's case. Graham worked on "counterintelligence investigations involv(ing) espionage activities by Turkish officials and agents in the United States." In 2002, he filed reports with the DoJ's Inspector General and Senate Judiciary Committee regarding violations
"in conducting electronic surveillance of high-profile U.S. public officials"
He too was obviously appalled at what was going on, to the extent that essentially ended his career when he reported this criminal wrongdoing.

In the case of Dennis Saccher, "the F.B.I.’s special agent in charge of Turkish counter-intelligence," his involvement was discussed extensively in the Vanity Fair article. Even though much of the detail was atrributed to Sibel, rather than directly from Saccher himself, he has not, to my knowledge, distanced himself from any of the statements.

In this youtube from a speech Sibel gave to the American Library Association, Sibel says when she was discussing taking the case to Congress with "this great agent that I worked with," he said:
"Well, let's say you go to Congress. How are you going to determine who is clean to go to?"

Just based on Turkish counter-intelligence operations, you know of FOUR corrupt congressional people. Take a look at this room (of translators), we have the Chinese Department, we have, you know, the Arabic, including Saudi Arabia and everything. How many (other corrupt Congressfolk) do you think they have come across?

So we have a reasonable amount of evidence that the FBI's special agents involved in the operations all have a similar interpretation of events to Sibel's. Those who argue that Sibel might not have been privvy to the broader picture, and may have only seen 'fragments' of a larger operation would apparently need to also argue that the special agents, including the head of Turkish counter-intelligence, were equally out of the loop on any larger operation, and that they all lacked the context of the broader picture, and that none of them had the experience to recognize any purported sting operation.

Giraldi's piece ends strongly:
Sibel Edmonds makes a number of accusations about specific criminal behavior that appear to be extraordinary but are credible enough to warrant official investigation. Her allegations are documentable: an existing FBI file should determine whether they are accurate. It’s true that she probably knows only part of the story, but if that part is correct, Congress and the Justice Department should have no higher priority. Nothing deserves more attention than the possibility of ongoing national-security failures and the proliferation of nuclear weapons with the connivance of corrupt senior government officials.

Who could argue with that?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Action Alert. Grossman to appear in DC Wednesday 10am

This is an action alert for those in the DC area. Please try to recruit friends to attend. Sibel Edmonds is urging people to attend.

Marc Grossman will be attending a congressional committee hearing on Wednesday January 23 (tomorrow) at 10am, at Room 2154 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

Grossman will be appearing in front of the National Security and Foreign Affairs subcommittee of the Oversight Committee on an unrelated matter.

Marc Grossman is a traitor.

We want volunteers to go to the hearing and give Grossman hell,

We want you to hand out flyers and two recent articles to the various Congressmen, their staff, and attendant media.

We want you to take video cameras and capture the whole thing.



Former ambassador to Turkey and former State Department #3, Marc Grossman is the unnamed senior official in the UK Times' recent blockbuster "For sale: West’s deadly nuclear secrets"

"(Marc Grossman) was aiding foreign operatives against US interests by passing them highly classified information, not only from the State Department but also from the Pentagon, in exchange for money, position and political objectives."

Please also contact Committee Chairman, Henry Waxman.
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
U.S. House of Representatives
2157 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
(202) 225-5051

Please take copies of the following two articles with you to the event (some snippets below). I've also created a 'flyer' for you to hand out. (PDF for download) . Sorry about the rushed job, we only got word of this late.

From the UK Times, January 6, 2008:

For sale: West’s deadly nuclear secrets

A WHISTLEBLOWER has made a series of extraordinary claims about how corrupt government officials allowed Pakistan and other states to steal nuclear weapons secrets.

Among the hours of covert tape recordings, she says she heard evidence that one well-known senior official (MARC GROSSMAN) in the US State Department was being paid by Turkish agents in Washington who were selling the information on to black market buyers, including Pakistan.
“He was aiding foreign operatives against US interests by passing them highly classified information, not only from the State Department but also from the Pentagon, in exchange for money, position and political objectives.”


From American Conservative Magazine, January 2008
Found in Translation. FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds spills her secrets.

Marc Grossman was recorded by FBI
* Tipping off criminal suspects regarding CIA’s WMD cover company Brewster Jennings in 2001
* Planting criminals in US Nuclear labs to steal secrets
* Picking up $15,000 cash bribe
* Setting free four 9/11 suspects without interrogation


Marc Grossman is a traitor and needs to be held to account.


With the absence of true media...time for Citizen Journalism.

Bradblog has more

download the flyer here PDF for download

Philip Giraldi

Ex CIA agent Philip Giraldi, who was based in Turkey, has a terrific new piece up at the American Conservative "Found in Translation. FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds spills her secrets."

First paragraph:
Most Americans have never heard of Sibel Edmonds, and if the U.S. government has its way, they never will. The former FBI translator turned whistleblower tells a chilling story of corruption at Washington’s highest levels—sale of nuclear secrets, shielding of terrorist suspects, illegal arms transfers, narcotics trafficking, money laundering, espionage. She may be a first-rate fabulist, but Edmonds’s account is full of dates, places, and names. And if she is to be believed, a treasonous plot to embed moles in American military and nuclear installations and pass sensitive intelligence to Israeli, Pakistani, and Turkish sources was facilitated by figures in the upper echelons of the State and Defense Departments. Her charges could be easily confirmed or dismissed if classified government documents were made available to investigators.

Final paragraph:
Sibel Edmonds makes a number of accusations about specific criminal behavior that appear to be extraordinary but are credible enough to warrant official investigation. Her allegations are documentable: an existing FBI file should determine whether they are accurate. It’s true that she probably knows only part of the story, but if that part is correct, Congress and the Justice Department should have no higher priority. Nothing deserves more attention than the possibility of ongoing national-security failures and the proliferation of nuclear weapons with the connivance of corrupt senior government officials.

Read the rest here.

UK media slams US media on Sibel Edmonds case

The UK's Guardian is running a piece, "US journalists ignore Sunday Times scoop on FBI nuclear scandal," criticizing the US media for not picking up on the latest revelations by their competitor, the UK's Times, in the case of former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds.

The author of the piece is the Guardian's media commentator, Roy Greenslade, a Professor of Journalism and former Managing Editor of the Times. He writes:

It looks to me as though the Sunday Times has landed a genuine world exclusive that should surely have been broken ages ago by US-based reporters.

I agree entirely. Consider what any journalist in the US has known, or should have known, for years.

Sibel's case broke as an espionage story in June 2002 in the Washington Post and an October 2002 CBS' 60 Minutes segment (youtube) where we learnt that foreign operatives had spies working for them in both the Pentagon and the State Department.

Simply following the names and associations of the people known to be involved, any journalist should have been able to piece together the broad outlines of the story simply from public sources.

One of the spies involved, FBI translator Melek Can Dickerson, was known to have worked for the American Turkish Council (ATC) and the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA). These organizations were known to be targets of FBI counterintelligence operations. This was publicly confirmed by the FBI and Congress at the time.

Another of the spies identified at the time, AF Major Douglas Dickerson, the husband of Melek Can Dickerson, was working for Douglas Feith at the Pentagon. He had previously worked with Marc Grossman in Turkey.

We know that both Feith and Grossman are two of the prime guilty parties in Sibel's case.

These two spies, Melek Can Dickerson and Douglas Dickerson, were permitted to leave the country while under active investigations by the US Senate Judiciary, by the Department of Justice's Inspector General (IG), by the Pentagon's IG, and by FBI.


In an article three weeks ago, the UK's Times reported:
Edmonds described how foreign intelligence agents had enlisted the support of US officials to acquire a network of moles in sensitive military and nuclear institutions.

We already knew this, and much of the other information reported in the Times.

Consider that in October 2002, CBS' 60 Minutes reported:
"Edmonds... revealed that the Turkish intelligence officer had spies working for him inside the US State Department and at the Pentagon."

Mainstream American journalists, from the Washington Post to CNN, knew about this, and mostly refused to report on it.

US journalists have been either too lazy, or complicit, to report on anything but the most trivial of Sibel's claims, including 'mismanagement' within the FBI, particularly the translation division. However, even if they had initially focussed on the 'mismanagement' of the FBI, they ought to have been able to follow up and connect some of the dots.

Here again is 60 Minutes, October 2002:
Take the case of (Melek) Jan Dickerson, a Turkish translator who worked with Sibel Edmonds. The FBI has admitted that when Dickerson was hired last November, the bureau didn't know that she had worked for a Turkish organization being investigated by the FBI's own counterintelligence unit, and they didn't know she'd had a relationship with a Turkish intelligence officer stationed in Washington who was the target of that investigation.

This information was in a then-public letter written by Senators Leahy and Grassley to Attorney-General John Ashcroft in August 2002, after they had held hearings into Sibel's case, where they note that the FBI verified these facts. This was also later confirmed in the Justice Department's IG report.

Melek Can Dickerson in fact had worked with at least two organizations that were targets of FBI investigations, the American Turkish Council (ATC) and the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA), and she was actively preventing the FBI agents from receiving important translations from the wiretaps pertaining to these organizations. The information that Dickerson was blocking related to:
"activities to obtain the United States military and intelligence secrets."

Again, we knew all of this in 2002. We knew that the FBI was running a counter-intelligence operation against certain organizations regarding the theft of military and intelligence secrets and that foreign elements had spies working for them in the Pentagon and State Department.

We also knew that Melek Can Dickerson was married to Air Force Major Douglas Dickerson. Douglas Dickerson worked in weapons procurement in Turkey from approximately 1992-1997, based in the attache in Ankara, working under then-Ambassador Marc Grossman, the "senior official" identified in the recent Times article.

In the summer of 2002, while Melek Can Dickerson was being investigated, the Pentagon IG was also investigating Douglas Dickerson regarding these espionage charges/allegations. The official letter sent by the Pentagon specifically mentions Dickerson's involvement with the American Turkish Council.

At the time, Major Douglas Dickerson was working with another of the key perpetrators in Sibel's case, Douglas Feith, at the Pentagon. Whatever "duties" he was conducting at the ATC were presumably on behalf of Douglas Feith.

The Dickersons left the country in 2002 while they were both under active investigations by Senate Judiciary Committee, by the Justice Department's IG, the Pentagon's IG, and by the FBI itself.

In their August 2002 letter to Ashcroft, Senators Leahy and Grassley note that they were concerned that the Dickersons were leaving the country, before the investigations would be completed, and that "...there will be little or no assurance that (Dickerson) will return or cooperate with an investigation in the future." Their concerns were well-founded.

Grassley and Leahy also wrote that they were concerned that:
"...the FBI currently opposes depositions of the monitor and her husband as part of the investigation into this case.
It is unclear, then, why the FBI is taking this position in the wake of such important allegations bearing on national security."

Again, American reporters knew all of this in 2002. They knew that there were spies in the Pentagon and the State Department who were enabling the theft of military and intelligence secrets, and they knew that the Pentagon and the FBI were actively involved in covering it up.

For one reason or other - incompetence or complicity - not a single American journalist followed up on the important issues in the 60 Minutes report and the Washington Post, and we didn't learn about any of this in the US media in 2002. Instead, we are 'learning' it in 2008 from the British press - and still the US media refuses to publish it, which leads me to believe that the American media is not 'incompetent' but rather 'complicit.'

Roy Greenslade, Professor of Journalism and the Guardian's media commentator, first notes that the story "should surely have been broken ages ago by US-based reporters" then adds that the latest revelations in the Times's latest series (1, 2):
.. looks to me like a very hot story indeed that should surely have been taken up by mainstream newspapers in the United States

Who could argue with him?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Scott Horton interview

I was interviewed again by Scott Horton of AntiWar radio regarding the latest in Sibel's case.

You can find it here (45 mins)

Dan Ellsberg slams MSM's failure re Sibel Edmonds

In response to the latest stories in the UK Times - including yesterdays's blockbuster proving that the FBI is lying about the existence of a multi-year counter-intelligence operation involving criminality at the highest levels of the US government - famed Pentagon whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg has written a new op-ed.

Ellsberg calls out Waxman and Leahy for sitting on the evidence for years, and he suggests that other whistleblowers come forward in the case with more documents and evidence.

But Ellsberg saves his best for the US media.


In Bradbrog's terrific coverage of Sunday's Times piece, he quotes former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds:

"I have had [American] reporters call me and tell me that I have 'stumbled on some big time national security, covert operation'," she continued, explaining that as the reason given by some for staying away from the story.

"Well, Iran-Contra was a goddamn covert operation too! Even if that's what they're telling reporters in the U.S., it doesn't make the operation any less illegal. And the cover-up of that is outrageous," she told us tonight.

Ellsberg excoriates the media - the journalists and the corporate owners - for abiding by this nonsense, citing Iran-Contra, illegal spying and secret torture camps as examples where the fact that the operations were authorized at the highest levels doesn't negate the fact that they are criminal, and doesn't negate the public's right to know.

Of course, we don't have any evidence that Sibel 'stumbled on some big time national security, covert operation,' all evidence points to the fact that powerful people are profiting from the entire enterprise and that's why they want to keep it under wraps. As far as we know, nobody from the government has asked Sibel to keep quiet and explained that there are legitimate national security implications, all we have is a few journalists cravenly using that 'excuse' as cover for their cowardice.

In November, Bradblog reported Dan Ellsberg saying:
"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. "
It appears that after five years the government's new plan to 'deal with Sibel' was to start a new whisper campaign, telling journalists that she stumbled onto a top secret covert operation! Of course, if any of the ostensible targets of this purported sting operation has ever read my blog then they'd have realized what was going on and extricated themselves from the operation years ago. Every possible 'target,' and every intelligence agency in the world will be aware of the details of this case - so there's no possible legitimate justification for keeping the whole thing under wraps any more, except to shield the guilty from accountability for their crimes.

Here's a short (90 sec) video of Ellsberg discussing Sibel and the need and duty of whistleblowers.

From Daniel Ellsberg's op-ed, "US Media Covering Up for Government?" (courtesy of Bradblog):
For the second time in two weeks, the entire U.S. press has let itself be scooped by Rupert Murdoch's London Sunday Times on a dynamite story of criminal activities by corrupt U.S. officials promoting nuclear proliferation. But there is a worse journalistic sin than being scooped, and that is participating in a cover-up of information that demands urgent attention from the public, the U.S. Congress and the courts.

For the last two weeks --- one could say, for years --- the major American media have been guilty of ignoring entirely the allegations of the courageous and highly credible source Sibel Edmonds, quoted in the London Times on January 6, 2008 in a front-page story that was front-page news in much of the rest of the world but was not reported in a single American newspaper or network. It is up to readers to demand that this culpable silent treatment end.


In support of the official cover-up, various American journalists in the last weeks have reportedly received calls from "intelligence sources" hinting that "what Sibel Edmonds stumbled onto" is not a rogue operation by American officials and Congressmen working to their own advantage --- as believed by Edmonds and some other former or active FBI officials --- but a sensitive covert operation authorized at high levels. If there is any truth to that, we clearly have another prize candidate --- giving us, as blowback, the Pakistani Bomb and nuclear sales --- in the category of "worst covert operation in U.S. history", rivaling such contenders as the Bay of Pigs, Iran-Contra, and the secret CIA torture camps abroad.

In the first two of those, the American press gullibly responded to official warnings of "sensitivity" and sat on information they should have reported (as did the New York Times, for a year, on the illegal NSA surveillance program). If the Washington Post had heeded such warnings and demands with respect to the covert torture camps, they would have missed a well-earned Pulitzer Prize and the camps would still be torturing.

Many, if not most, covert operations deserve to be disclosed by a free press. They are often covert not only because they are illegal but because they are wildly ill-conceived and reckless. "Sensitive" and "covert" are often synonyms for "half-assed" or "idiotic," as well as for "criminal," as the pattern of activities revealed by Edmonds would appear to be if it were truly presidentially authorized. These activities persist, covertly, to the point of national disaster because the press neglects what our First Amendment was precisely intended to protect and encourage it to do: expose wrongdoing by officials.

Thank you Mr Ellsberg.

As an aside, where are the major bloggers on this story? They justifiably criticize journalists for being stenographers, and they justifiably criticize journalists for delaying stories like such as the New York Times withholding the illegal spying story for a year. Where are they on this story? It's time to step up, people.


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

Cross-posted at Let Sibel Edmonds Speak

Sunday, January 20, 2008

UK Times: Official Documents Prove FBI lied to protect US officials

The UK's Sunday Times has another explosive article out tonight.
THE FBI has been accused of covering up a key case file detailing evidence against corrupt government officials and their dealings with a network stealing nuclear secrets.

The Times has obtained official documents which prove that the FBI is lying about the existence of a counterintelligence operation targeting high-level US officials and Turkish operatives.

The FBI's comments demonstrate conclusively that either:
a) They are lying, or
b) They have destroyed the evidence of this multi-year investigation concerning the corruption of high-level US officials, the nuclear black market, money laundering and narcotics trafficking.


The revelations in the Times are also the first known incident where official FBI documents have been leaked to the press confirming the FBI's counterintelligence operations targeting Turkish operatives in US. According to the Times, these operations have been taking place since 1996.

Destruction of Evidence?
The Times has obtained an official FBI document which confirms the existence of the Turkish counter-intelligence operation, including the official Case Number of the operation. This case number, 203A-WF-210023, has been very tightly held because it directly ties the Turkish operation to specific documents and wiretaps which can then be used as evidence.

The FBI has, till recently, been very careful not to respond to any requests that might disclose, confirm or deny any information in this matter, however:
...the FBI responded to a freedom of information request for a file of exactly the same number by claiming that it did not exist. But The Sunday Times has obtained a document signed by an FBI official showing the existence of the file.

With the FBI claiming that these documents don't exist, we must conclude either that they are demonstrably lying, or that they have destroyed all the evidence.

Unfortunately for the FBI, we are aware of at least two other cases where this operation was referenced, and those references were documented outside the FBI. The first case was that of former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds; her case was reported by the Justice Department's Inspector General, as well as the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the second case was that of former FBI Special Agent Gilbert Graham, whose cases was also documented in Congress and by the Inspector General.

If the FBI is telling the truth that these documents do not (currently) exist, then the FBI must have destroyed them. Did they destroy ALL the copies that existed? Did the FBI retrieve ALL the copies and references seen by the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Inspector General's report which was seen by Henry Waxman's office and perhaps elsewhere? How far did they go to retrieve the evidence? We do know that in May 2004, two years after the Senate Judiciary Committee held unclassified hearings into Sibel's case, the Department of Justice retroactively classified details of those hearings. Did the DoJ destroy all the evidence, and all the case files, at the same time?

We also know that at least one other FBI Special Agent filed classified protected reports in early 2002. Special Agent Gilbert Graham, one of Sibel's bosses, worked on "counterintelligence investigations involved espionage activities by Turkish officials and agents in the United States." Graham's primary concern, according to the unclassified version of his filings was that the FBI was using phony FISA warrants to spy on "high-profile U.S. public officials."

Gilbert Graham's filings with the Inspector General, as well as his evidence to the Senate Judiciary Committee certainly contained the relevant Case Numbers that the FBI is now denying exists. Were all of Graham's reports destroyed too?

For years, Sibel has challenged US officials: (youtube):
"We have the facts, we have the documents, we have the witnesses. Put out the tapes, put out the documents, put out the intercepts. Put out the truth."

The FBI is apparently still obstructing justice, and still blocking the truth from coming out.

Asked for a comment, Sibel said:
"I cannot comment on the contents of the case file, however I can tell you with 100% certainty that the FBI lied when they said that it doesn't exist."

The FBI/DoJ is currently investigating the CIA's destruction of evidence, the torture/interrogation tapes of al-Qa'ida suspect Abu Zubaydah and others. If they have destroyed all the evidence in this Turkish Counter-Intelligence operation, how can they possibly be trusted to investigate the CIA's destruction of evidence?

Brewster Jennings
The official document obtained by The Times has some very damning evidence regarding Marc Grossman, former #3 at the State Department and former Ambassador to Turkey. Two weeks ago, The Times ran an explosive article detailing how Marc Grossman was a mole for foreign criminal groups which stole American nuclear secrets and sold them to the highest bidder.

According to the latest Times article, they have an anonymous letter which:
claims the government official [Grossman] warned a Turkish member of the network that they should not deal with a company called Brewster Jennings because it was a CIA front company investigating the nuclear black market. The official’s warning came two years before Brewster Jennings was publicly outed when one of its staff, Valerie Plame, was revealed to be a CIA agent in a case that became a cause célèbre in the US.
Former CIA agent Phil Giraldi, who was stationed in Turkey, is another who is familiar with these matters. Giraldi wrote a terrific article for the American Conservative in 2006 describing Sibel's case. In Kill The Messenger, a documentary about the nuclear black market element of Sibel case, Giraldi says:
"And that Brewster Jennings was, apparently, working against the target of Turkey, meaning that Turkey was being investigated by the CIA as a proliferator of weapons."

One of Brewster Jennings targets was the American Turkish Council, a lobbying group known to be a hub of the activity facilitating the theft and sale of nuclear secrets, among other things.

Journalist Chris Deliso wrote a terrific article in Nov 2005 linking Marc Grossman, Brewster Jennings, the American Turkish Council and the Turkish connection to the nuclear black market. Although the new Times article doesn't mention Grossman by name, it is clear that Grossman is again the unnamed former official in this article.

Crimes, Cover-ups, and... Consequences?
We are all familiar with the cliche that 'the cover-up is worse than the crime,' but that is often nonsense. Just as in the CIA tape destruction case, here we have rational people making 'rational' decisions, not in the heat of the moment, to commit felonies by destroying evidence of treason amongst other crimes. The original crimes are much worse than the cover-up, and the guilty parties know it, that's why they decided to destroy and cover up all of the evidence.

Will Congress finally hold hearings into the foreign criminal penetration of every branch of the US government which has been repeatedly corroborated?

We have the crimes, we have the cover-ups, where are the consequences?

Digg THis

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

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Sibel Edmonds Case: Nukes for sale (Pt 2)

In a blockbuster article two weeks ago, the UK's Sunday Times described how a criminal network of Turkish, Israeli, Pakistani and American diplomats and officials conspired to steal nuclear secrets and sell them to the highest bidder in the nuclear black market.

The article, based primarily on the case of former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds, noted that:
"The wider nuclear network has been monitored for many years by a joint Anglo-American intelligence effort. But rather than shut it down, investigations by law enforcement bodies such as the FBI and Britain’s Revenue & Customs have been aborted to preserve diplomatic relations."

The decisions to preserve those "diplomatic relations" - Pakistan, Turkey and Israel - were made by people within the US Government who happened to be personally profiting from those same relationships.

In this post, I'll discuss two other dimensions of the network that the Times article didn't cover:
a) The use of Turkish front groups to supply nuclear hardware to the network
b) The extraordinary legal steps the US and UK governments have used to hide their guilt


Turkish Front Groups

One of AQ Khan's American suppliers was a company with strong Turkish roots called Giza Technologies in New Jersey. Giza's 'exposure' was 'officially' the result of an anonoymous email tip in 2003, however, as we know from Sibel's case, the FBI was aware of Giza's role in the AQ Khan network at least two years earlier. According to a documentary about the nuclear black market element of Sibel's case, Kill The Messenger, Giza's CEO Zeki Bilmen "was on the FBI wiretaps translated by Sibel Edmonds" who left the FBI in early 2002.

Given what we learnt in The Times, that phone call was probably between Bilmen and either the American Turkish Council or the Turkish Embassy - both targets of FBI counter-intelligence operations.

Inexplicably, Zeki Bilmen was never charged with his involvement, and Giza continues operating to this day. In 2005, Sibel said:
And (Giza's) business – well, business is good.

They have many shipments going out, coming in, all day long. To places like Dubai, Spain, South Africa, Turkey. They have branches in all these places. Yep, they're sailing along very smoothly.

When asked how this is possible, Sibel replied:
"It's beyond logical explanation. Maybe it was decided in high places that no one would touch him."

In fact, the identity of the company was even hidden in the indictment of one Humayun Khan, a procurer for the network who was close to Pakistan's ISI. In the indictment, Giza is simply referred to as 'a broker in Secaucus, New Jersey,' whereas every other company is clearly identified.

Investigative journalist Joe Trento might have an explanation for why Giza continues to operate, and why the US government wants to hide Giza's involvement. He says that
"The CIA even started using some of the Khan network’s front companies for its own purposes."

As I documented here, it is very possible that Giza one of those companies. In Kill The Messenger, an anonymous "U.S intelligence officer" who is "very familiar with Turkish espionage activities" - including Giza and the American Turkish Council - says:
"There are people within the State Department and also in the U.S Congress that were facilitating the Israelis and the Turks in obtaining proprietary information or restricted technology.

That’s why there is a gag order against Sibel Edmonds!"

That technology, he notes, can be:
"Nuclear or non nuclear. For example, computer hardware, maybe software."

Some people have wondered recently whether maybe Sibel inadvertently stumbled on a sting operation - but that is clearly not the case. The State Dept and Congress are certainly not the people who would be running a sting operation.

Further, when Sibel first reported her case to Congress, the first step taken was to make sure that this was not a covert operation, and that there weren't any double agents involved. Only after Senators Leahy and Grassley were assured this wasn't the case did they proceeded to hold unclassified hearings (which were retroactively classified.)

This shouldn't come as a surprise. Sibel has previously said that from her experience is concerned:
"The Department of State is easily the most corrupted of the major government agencies."

In fact, the same thing has been true for decades. As far back as 1986, the CIA was running diligent operations against the Khan network; then, as now, it was people at the State Dept who were ruining all the operations. As Seymour Hersh documented in 1993, a high-level top secret inter-governmental group was formed in 1986 "in an effort to stop illegal American exports to Pakistan and other non-nuclear nations." This group ran undercover operations to arrest those buying nuclear-related materials for Pakistan's program. Richard Barlow, "the government’s leading expert on illegal Pakistani procurement," with the full knowledge and support of his superiors at the CIA and elsewhere, was able to engineer the arrest of some of Khan's suppliers - but only after they'd learnt not to tell the State Dept what their plans were. Here's Hersh:
"The State Department’s Near East Bureau was not told of the planned operation, for fear that the officers there would tip off the Pakistanis, as they had done in the past...

“We still have cases on Pakistan and we still don’t tell State about it,” a senior Customs Service official told me recently, in anger. “The State Department constituted a security problem for us."

The Guardian effectively debunked with the same 'sting' claims recently:
"Intelligence officials on both sides of the Atlantic have said they waited until 2003 to strike against the Khan network in order to gather evidence on all its activities and all its customers.

"But what did they achieve?" Armstrong asked. "Where are all the people connected to the Khan network? There were at least 50 people in this thing, and there are only a handful of people under house arrest. Did they need three extra years to do that?""

Not only have very few guilty people suffered any consequences, the US government has even "hampered" the criminal prosecutions of some of the suppliers.

A segment on Democracy Now in 2006 notes:
Over the past year Swiss officials have requested at least four times that the Bush administration share documents and evidence related to Khan’s nuclear black market. But the United States has never responded.

Swiss officials maintain it needs U.S. assistance in order to convict three Swiss men accused of helping AQ Khan set up a secret Malaysian factory to make components for gas centrifuges.

Last week U.S. weapons expert David Albright testified before Congress and said, “I find this lack of cooperation frankly embarrassing to the United States and to those of us who believe that the United States should take the lead in bringing members of the Khan network to justice for arming our enemies with nuclear weapons.”

Albright has floated one theory as to why the Bush administration won’t help the Swiss investigators. He says the three Swiss men accused of being part of AQ Khan’s underground network may have been working for the CIA and being paid by the U.S. government.

Albright is echoing the same point made by Joe Trento - and if these firms weren't helping with a sting operation, then what on earth was the CIA using them for? The problem is that as soon as these firms are given immunity for their activities, then they immediately become a likely vehicle for all types of nefarious activities - whether it be funding illegal black-ops, or trafficking narcotics, or both.

Other American Suppliers
Giza is not the only American supplier to Khan's network. Sibel has previously told me that there are others firms. This was confirmed in 2004 by IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei. The involvement of these firms apparently "sheds new light on the activities of the network, known up to now for primarily supplying technology to North Korea, Libya and Iran." None of these firms have apparently been exposed, let alone faced any criminal charges.

Giza's Bilmen claims that he is an innocent victim, though Sibel told me that Bilmen "has social & business ties" with another supplier to Khan's network, Turkish businessman Selim Alguadis.

Other Turkish Suppliers
Giza is not the only Turkish company involved in supplying the AQ Khan network. Firstly, Turkey served as one of the transhipment hubs for components that were sourced in the US and elsewhere. Further, some of the nuclear components for Khan were actually manufactured in Turkey.

In Sibel's fantastic Highjacking of a Nation series, which outlines the contours of her case, she writes:
Turkey played a major role in Pakistan and Libya’s illicit activities in obtaining nuclear technologies. In June 2004, Stephen Fidler, a reporter for Financial Times reported that in 2003, Turkish centrifuge motors and converters destined for Libya's nuclear weapons program turned up in Tripoli aboard a ship (BBC China) that had sailed from Dubai. One of those detained individuals in this incident, a ‘respected and successful’ Turkish Businessman, Selim Alguadis, was cited in a public report from the Malaysian inspector-general of police into the Malaysian end of a Pakistani-led clandestine network that supplied Libya, Iran and North Korea with nuclear weapons technologies, designs and expertise. According to the report, “he supplied these materials to Libya." Mr. Alguadis also confessed that he had on several occasions met A Q Khan, the disgraced Pakistani scientist who has admitted transmitting nuclear expertise to the three countries. Selim Alguadis remains a successful businessman in Turkey with companies in several other countries. He was released immediately after being turned over to Turkish authorities. His partner, another well-known and internationally recognized wealthy businessman, Gunes Cire, also actively participated in transferring nuclear technology and parts to Iran, Pakistan and North Korea. Although under investigation by several international communities, Alguadis and his partners continued to roam free in Turkey and conduct their illegitimate operations via their ‘legit international business’ front companies.

Gunes Cire has since died, however his company, ETI Elektroteknik, continues to operate freely, with Cire's son now at the helm. Selim Alguadis is apparently 'under investigation' but neither he nor his company, EKA, appear to be in any trouble three years later.

It's an odd pattern. There's strong evidence of Turkish complicity in the nuclear proliferation network, yet guilty people are allowed to walk free, and Western governments go to great lengths to cover up the facts.

States (cough) Secrets

There are significant parallels between Sibel's case and the recent case of British Customs official Atif Amin. The UK government, desperate to cover its complicity in allowing the AQ Khan network to continue proliferating, is trying to shut Amin down using the Official Secrets Act, the British equivalent of the State Secrets Privilege gag that has been used to shut down Sibel's case. Informed observers widely recognize that for the Bush administration, the State Secrets Privilege is simply a 'get out of jail free' card to shield themselves when they commit egregious crimes.

The same is true in the UK. An editorial, ', Secrets and lies,' in the Guardian last Friday noted:
"National security is being invoked not to protect us but to shield politicians from embarrassment
There are genuine threats to national security and to our public and personal safety. It is a dangerous abuse if a government hoists the flag of national security and deploys the Official Secrets Act when all it is really trying to do is protect itself from embarrassment."
In the US, we've recently seen the State Secrets card played to cover up illegal spying, torture, and any number of other crimes - including complicity in the spread of nuclear weapons to our purported enemies.

Enough is enough.

In case you missed it, the unnamed senior State Department official in last week's Times article is Marc Grossman.

In case you missed it, Sibel found a novel way of exposing the other guilty parties. She posted 18 photos on her website, without explanation. I published the faces along with the names here.

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

(cross-posted at Let Sibel Edmonds Speak)