Tuesday, December 11, 2007

'3 months' in the life of Sibel Edmonds

Everyone seems to be lining up to hold an investigation into the destruction of the CIA/911 torture tapes.

The House Intel Committee will investigate.

The Senate Intelligence Committee too.

Don't forget the DoJ/CIA joint investigation.

At this rate, PETA probably has an investigation planned.

Here's a cautionary tale.

In December 2001, former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds told her superiors bosses that one of her coworkers, Melek Can Dickerson, actually had worked for three organizations that were targets of ongoing FBI counter-intelligence operations, that Dickerson was rewriting the internal FBI procedures (with the assistance of her boss/lover) to ensure that Dickerson, and only Dickerson, would be tasked with 'translating' the intercepts pertaining to those organizations, and that Dickerson and her husband, a Lieutenant Colonel at the Pentagon, tried to recruit Sibel, promising her riches, to conduct espionage for the criminal network that was being targeted by the FBI.

Sibel reported this information up the chain - Thomas Frields, Dale Watson, Robert Mueller - and was fired because of it.

Then she went to Congress - specifically Pat Leahy and Chuck Grassley at the Senate Judiciary Committee.

In May 2002, in response to Congressional requests, the Justice Department's Inspector General (DOJ OIG) agreed to expedite its investigation.

The DOJ OIG told Sibel that the report would be completed and issued by mid Fall 2002.

In October 2002, the DOJ IG told Sibel, and the Senate, that the final report would be out by the end of 2002.

In late November, the DOJ IG told Sibel that the report would be available in February 2003.

In March 2003, the DOJ IG told Sibel that the report would be out by the end of May 2003.

In May 2003, the DOJ OIG told the Senate that the investigation was nearly completed, and that it would be issued at the latest by July 2003.

In July 2003, the DOJ IG told Sibel that the report was scheduled to be issued in Fall 2003.

In February 2004, Charles Grassley told Sibel Edmonds that the DOJ OIG report will be issued by March 2004.

In July 04, 22 months after the initial deadline (600% late), the DOJ OIG completed the the 100 page report. It was immediately classified.

In January 05, an unclassified 35 page summary, (most of it 'filler' material) of the report was released.

Three months after three months after three months after three months after three months after three months after three months after three months after three months after three months after three months after three months after three months after the invesitgation began, in December 2007, 35 months after the release of the report, 600 months after Sibel first demanded an investigation, 9 months after we launched a campaign to get Waxman to hold hearings, and 6 weeks since Sibel offered to 'tell all' in an appropriate forum... crickets.

I have some advice for those of you awaiting the results of 'investigations' into the CIA/torture/911 videos: a) don't hold your breath b) dont expect anything significant.



In yesterday's post, "Sibel Edmonds Case & Destruction of Evidence," I said that despite the Obstruction of Justice in Sibel's case, we have no evidence "so far" that evidence has been withheld in the secret sessions. That is untrue. The FBI did indeed refuse to provide their own damn Inspector General with documents that the IG had requested. I regret the error. And I'm even grumpier about the fact.


What can you do?

As I mentioned yesterday, we really need to get something done THIS WEEK. Olbermann still seems like our best bet. countdown@msnbc.com . Similarly, leave a comment on Jonathan Turley's new blog asking him to step up. He finds the whole thing "disturbing."


xposted at Let Sibel Edmonds Speak

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

Sibel Edmonds Case & Destruction of Evidence

There's been a lot of talk this week about the destruction of the CIA torture/interrogation videos, and a number of people have vaguely asked 'Doesn't Sibel Edmonds fit in here somewhere?'

The short answer is no. Sibel was no longer at the FBI when these events took place.

However, the possibility of destruction of evidence is something that came up in Sibel's case.

In the summer of 2002, Senator Patrick Leahy, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and Senator Charles Grassley, Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs, held some hearings into Sibel's case. In August 2002, they jointly wrote to then-Attorney General John Ashcroft, urging him to ensure that the evidence in Sibel's case was not destroyed.

Leahy and Grassley wrote:
"(W)e are concerned about the most crucial evidence in the case -- the recordings that were allegedly improperly translated. Because these bear directly on the veracity of Ms. Edmonds' allegations, we seek your assurance that the recordings will be properly maintained, turned over to the Inspector General's Office... "

Obstruction of justice is a serious felony, as any first year law student is aware. For example, 18 U.S.C. sec. 1502(c):
“Whoever corruptly . . . alters, destroys, mutilates, or conceals a record, document, or other object, or attempts to do so... or otherwise obstructs, influences, or impedes any official proceeding, or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.”

Here we have the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee warning the Attorney General of the United States not to commit, enable, or allow, a felony. I presume that this would normally go without saying (particularly back in 2002, prior to all the accumulated evidence of administration malfeasance coming to light.)

Why would Leahy and Grassley say such a thing? Because they knew the details of Sibel's case. They realized that many powerful people in Washington would quite likely attempt to destroy all the evidence.

As far as we know (so far), no documents were destroyed, but Ashcroft went one better. In October 2002, Ashcroft invoked the State Secrets Privilege, "the nuclear bomb of legal tactics." In fact, Ashcroft went one step further, eventually even retroactively classifying this letter from Leahy and Grassley.

In the case of the recent news of the destruction of the video tapes by the CIA, Marty Lederman writes:

"(The CIA) must have gotten DOJ approval (Gonzales, anyway) for the destruction. And the POTUS and/or VP, too. And all of these folks they knew full well what the fallout might be. And they knew about criminal laws involving obstruction. Most importantly, they were actually destroying what might be incredibly valuable evidence for future uses -- valuable for criminal trials, for intelligence investigations...

And yet they chose to destroy anyway, after what must have been a lot of internal debate. Which goes to show that . . . the cover-up is not worse than the crime, and they knew it. Those tapes must have depicted pretty gruesome evidence of serious criminal conduct. Conduct that would be proof positive of serious breaches of at least two treaties. Conduct approved and implemented at the highest levels of government.


Obstruction of justice, and the scandal we're about to witness, was a price they concluded was well worth paying."

Again, we don't know of any destruction of evidence in Sibel's case, but the very invocation of the State Secrets Privilege by Ashcroft may itself be Obstruction of Justice. Daniel Ellsberg thinks so:
"It would seem to me that John Ashcroft could be indicted on obstruction of justice"

Just as in the case of the destruction of the CIA tapes, the obstruction in Sibel's case was designed to protect guilty parties at the highest levels of multiple agencies. Here's Phil Giraldi:
The 'State Secret Privilege' was invoked not by the FBI but by the Pentagon and the State Department. They requested that Sibel Edmonds not be able to speak of this issue.

Not incidentally, these very same people who demanded that Sibel be silenced are the same people she accuses of treason.

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

There's another direct analogy between the obstruction in Sibel's case and the obstruction relating to the destruction of the CIA tapes. In both cases, the obstruction was in direct response to an imminent ruling by the courts, one of the other 'co-equal' branches.

Here's Scott Horton describing the timing of the destruction of the CIA tapes:
"Indeed, as facts developed yesterday, the proximity of the decision to destroy the tapes and the demands of U.S. District Court Judge Leonie Brinkema that any tapes be turned over grew painfully apparent to everyone. My sources are telling me that the actual destruction occurred in mid- to late-November 2005. This would be after Judge Brinkema pressed the Justice Department in court over its compliance with production requests from the defense. High on the list of open questions was whether the Justice Department had turned over tapes of the interrogation sessions, which had been specifically requested. Brinkema issued an order requiring this. It’s a reasonable inference that the decision to destroy was taken in direct reaction to Judge Brinkema’s direction that the tapes be handed over. Hence it was an act of calculated defiance of a federal court order. This is a serious crime with respect to which a defense is hard to envision. And every actor who was complicit in the decision would face potential jail time."

Similarly, Ashcroft's retroactive classification of information in Sibel's case was ordered immediately prior to a legal deadline. In an attempt to at least try to separate any legitimate State Secrets claims from the government's nonsense claims, the judge had asked that any relevant unclassified and/or previously published information be presented to the court. The government's response was simply to say that everything was now classified.

This is the stuff of banana republics.

Of course, it's not just the executive branch. As we've seen in the latest revelations regarding the CIA video tapes, both parties in Congress are also complicit. The judiciary isn't much better. And who can argue with Amy Goodman's admonition of the media:
"If we had a state-run media, how would it be any different?"


After trying for years to have hearings in congress, Sibel has offered to tell all that she knows if she is given an appropriate outlet in the media. That offer is now 6 weeks old, and I'm not holding my breath. Keith Olbermann appeared to be the best bet, but even his team is now stonewalling.

Olbermann recently did a good segment with Jonathan Turley on the State Secrets Privilege, so I left a message on Professor Turley's blog. He replied:

I am familiar with Sibel Edmonds and have tried to follow her case. It is quite a story and equally disturbing."

I'm currently trying to organise an interview with Prof. Turley to discuss the case, but much more importantly, Turley is a favourite of Olbermann's Countdown. If you are so inclined, you might contact Countdown (Countdown@msnbc.com) and ask that:

a) Sibel appear on the show to 'tell all' or that
b) Prof Turley be invited on the show to discuss Sibel's case .

Congress will be on recess soon, so it's important that this happens in the next couple of days. If you'd like to leave Prof Turley a comment at his terrific new blog, you can find it here.

In related news, John Laesch (D), who ran against Hastert in IL-14 in 2006, and will also be running in the special election created by Hastert's departure, recently wrote:
"I hope Sibel testifies and breaks the gag order."

"Everybody Knows" about Sibel's case, and we need to use the momentum that we have to break through this week, before Congress breaks for Christmans. Frankly, if we don't break through this week, I'm not sure that we ever will.

Please do what you can to make it happen.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Sibel Edmonds update (with videos!)

Former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds has offered to tell us everything she knows - regarding illegal weapons sales, money laundering, drug trafficking, nuclear black market, terrorism and the corruption of the US Govt - if one of the major broadcast networks will let her tell her story.

Not surprisingly, the silence from the corporate media is still deafening, but I've got some other tidbits for you while we wait. And wait. And wait.

First up, I've put together three new YouTube videos on Sibel's case.

The first is called "Sibel Edmonds, Greatest Hits." It's only 2.15 minutes long and I'd love for it to get onto some of YouTube's 'Most Popular' lists so that more people become aware of the case. If you are so inclined, please head over to YouTube and recommend it, and add a comment or two. (Of the three youtube videos, let's focus on this particular video (as per this recent TechCrunch article about helping a video get exposure)

Second video: "Keith Olbermann, Sibel Edmonds: Government Secrets & Crimes." In this video I splice some of Sibel's case in with Keith's recent segment with Jonathan Turley on the State Secrets Privilege. (C&L has the original clip)

Jonathan Turley appeared on the Rhandi Rhodes show the day after his appearance on Countdown, discussing the same issue:
Turley: What's really ironic about this is that those of us who practice in this area (National Security, State Secrets Privilege) continually face government attorneys who - there's no other way to put it - are lying!

They're saying things to the public that are not true, and the court knows it, and you know it, and the government lawyer knows it.

But (the government) also know that the privilege can be used to get them out of a jam. That's how it us being used today. It's not protecting any secrets... It's really to get the government out of the worst cases, where a conviction or a disclosure would cost a lot of people jobs.
The State Secrets Privilege was never intended to protect the government from it's own crimes!

This is precisely the situation in Sibel's case.

Brad Friedman of Bradblog recently gave a good 10 minute interview regarding Sibel's case on the Stephanie Miller Show. Brad describes how he spoke to Keith Olbermann's team at Countdown, repeatedly, and they kept promising to give him an answer about whether they'd have Sibel on Countdown, but for one reason or other, never actually did give him an answer.

In Brad's recent article about Sibel and Ellsberg, Ellsberg said:
"There will be phone calls going out to the media saying
'Don't even think of touching it, you will be prosecuted for violating national security,'"

It appears that Ellsberg is correct, but let's not give up on Countdown. They had a great segment on the State Secrets Privilege (the tool that has been used to gag Sibel), so perhaps they just need some more prodding.


The third video is "Sibel Edmonds supporters speak out: Credible, Hero"
Here I have a bunch of people saying that Sibel is a) credible and b) a hero/heroine/patriot. Senator Grassley, Daniel Ellsberg, Phil Giraldi, James Bamford, a senator, a congresswoman and even Paul Newman call Sibel a hero (who am I to argue?)

The most chilling is the clip from FBI Special Agent John Cole saying that he 'fears for' Sibel, 'given how high up in the government this might go.' John Cole was a counter-intelligence agent working on the same cases that Sibel worked on (before he was promoted to be in charge of Pakistan, Afghanistan and India.) He should know what he is talking about, and he implies that he thinks that people at the highest levels of the US Govt might harm Sibel to cover up their crimes.

Yet, Sibel is nonetheless still determined to expose the criminals, for the sake of all of us, despite the extreme risk to life and liberty. She's one helluva brave woman.

In another news, for those interested, I gave a 20 min interview to the Peter B. Collins Show on November 19. Peter (who has been a great supporter of Sibel) even dared ask about the AIPAC connection. To listen to the interview, go here, and scroll to Nov 19, hour 2.

Also, I gave an hour-long interview to some right-winger amateur internet radio earlier in the week (MP3 here, interview starts at 36.45). The interviewer was using an internet satellite connection with a lag of a second or two which led to some awkward silences/moments, as well a complete breakdown for a couple of minutes at 1.09 - but it might be of interest to some of you.

As always, I’ll have more when I have more. Please contact Countdown and 60 Minutes and your favourite broadcast media and/or favourite senators and Reps.

(As an aside, over the last few weeks I've heard a bunch of different pronunciations of 'Sibel.' For those of you wondering, the first syllable is like 'bib' and the second is like 'tell.')


cross-posted at Let Sibel Edmonds Speak

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