What the heck is Sibel Edmonds' Case about? And why should I care?
Daily Kos | March 16, 2007
As part of our campaign this week to call for hearings into Sibel Edmonds case, below the fold is a short-as-possible piece which hopes to answer the burning question in Sibel's case: What the heck is her case about?
For a longer version, see my recent interview with Scott Horton
Please call the offices of Congressmen Waxman - (202) 225-3976 - and Conyers - (202) 225-5126 - demanding open hearings into Sibel Edmonds' case and the State Secrets Privilege.
Sibel Edmonds' case is about the intersection of illegal arms trafficking, heroin trafficking, money laundering, terrorist activities and the corruption of many " highly-recognizable, highly-known names " in and around the US government. Sibel says that the people involved will go straight to prison if we can get hearings into her case. Richard Perle, in prison. Douglas Feith, in prison. Dennis Hastert, in prison. Marc Grossman, in prison.
According to Sibel, the best place to begin trying to understand the case is a recent article by Phil Giraldi in the American Conservative. Sibel says "Giraldi has it 100% right; this I consider the most accurate summary of my case."
"Sibel Edmonds... could provide a major insight into how neoconservatives distort US foreign policy and enrich themselves at the same time. On one level, her story appears straightforward: several Turkish lobbying groups allegedly bribed congressmen to support policies favourable to Ankara. But beyond that, the Edmonds revelations become more serpentine and appear to involve AIPAC, Israel and a number of leading neoconservatives who have profited from the Turkish connection.
Turkey benefits from the relationship by securing general benevolence and increased aid from the US Congress - as well as access to otherwise unattainable military technology. The Turkish General Staff has a particular interest because much of the military spending is channeled through companies in which the generals have a financial stake, making for a very cozy and comfortable business arrangement. The commercial interest has also fostered close political ties, with the American Turkish Council, American Turkish Cultural Alliance and the Assembly of Turkish American Associations all developing warm relationships with AIPAC and other Jewish and Israel advocacy groups throughout the US.
Someone has to be in the middle to keep the happy affair going, so enter the neocons, intent on securing Israel against all comers and also keen to turn a dollar."
Giraldi goes on to list some neocons who are "linked to Turkey" - Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz, Marc Grossman, Eric Edelman, and Stephen Solarz - and he suggests that they "enrich themselves" via drug trafficking and arms dealing.
The American Turkish Council (ATC)
The main Turkish lobbying group in the US is an organization called the American Turkish Council (ATC) - one of the most powerful lobby groups in the country. The ATC is heavily stacked with former government officials - statesmen, lobbyists and 'dime a dozen generals' - lobbyists and representatives of the military-industrial-complex (MIC). Brent Scowcroft is the chairman, and heavy hitters from Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Boeing, Northrup Grumman and other 'defense' contractors populate the board.
It's perhaps not surprising, then, that Turkey is a major recipient of US military aid - running to the billions of dollars - with much of it financed by the US taxpayer. Giraldi suggests in his article that this largesse appears to be the result of bribes paid to congressmen - a suggestion that shouldn't surprise anyone - but there's much more to the story than the usual Iron Triangle / Revolving Door story that we're all familiar with.
In a 10-page article in Vanity Fair on Sibel's case, the ATC is described as "a front for criminal activity" involving "large-scale drug deals and of selling classified military technologies to the highest bidder." We'll discuss the drug side of the story shortly, but let's first take a quick look at the military technology element - not only are the MIC contractors bribing congress to ensure that military aid flows to Turkey (and Israel), the Turks and the Israelis are also illegally selling that technology to the highest bidder - which inevitably includes America's enemies, States, and terrorist groups.
Sibel's case also involves the nuclear black market - some Turkish members of the ATC have supplied Pakistan's A.Q. Khan network with hardware, as have American companies that Sibel overheard on the wiretaps. Perhaps even more disturbing, as reported in Vanity Fair, other wiretaps indicate that "Turkish groups had been installing doctoral students at U.S. research institutions in order to acquire information about black market nuclear weapons." Daniel Ellsberg says that, according to Sibel, bribes were paid to people at the State Department to facilitate this activity.
These are extraordinary claims, of course, and we have a lot of evidence to support the claims - including, but not limited to, the fact that Valerie Plame's front company, Brewster Jennings, had been conducting a counter-intelligence operation against the ATC for years.
One very interesting aspect of Sibel's case that has not really gained traction is that while the ATC is understood to be the key focus of her case, it appears that AIPAC is equally involved. In a terrific 2005 interview with Chris Deliso, Sibel said:
Essentially, there is only one investigation – a very big one, an all-inclusive one... But I can tell you there are a lot of people involved, a lot of ranking officials, and a lot of illegal activities that include multi-billion-dollar drug-smuggling operations, black-market nuclear sales to terrorists and unsavory regimes, you name it... You can start from the AIPAC angle. You can start from the Plame case. You can start from my case. They all end up going to the same place, and they revolve around the same nucleus of people.
And she went a little bit further in a great interview with David Swanson this week:
"AIPAC helped form the American Turkish Council - look at the board members, look at the people. You will see the same people involved in both fronts, because it is the same operation."
Reading between the lines (in a number of different places), it appears that Sibel was actively involved in 'the AIPAC investigation' as well as the investigation into the ATC. As she says, both the ATC and AIPAC are both 'fronts' for the 'same (criminal) operation.'
As I document in " Sibel Edmonds & the Neocons' Turkish Gravy-Train ," Afghanistan supplies almost 90% of the world's heroin, and most of that goes straight to Turkey where it is processed, packaged, warehoused, and then re-exported to other countries for final consumption. Turkey supplies approximately 80% of Europe's heroin, and 15% of heroin in the US - worth approximately $40 billion at street prices.
Turkey is widely acknowledged to be controlled by a "Deep State." In 1996, a deadly car crash at a place called Susurluk blew this out into the open. In the car were four people who probably shouldn't have been in the car together:
"an MP, a police chief, a beauty queen and her lover, a top Turkish gangster and hitman called Abdullah Catli... Catli, a heroin trafficker on Interpol's wanted list, was carrying a diplomatic passport signed by none other than the Turkish Interior Minister himself.
The Susurluk Incident became Turkey's Watergate, exposing the deep links between the Turkish state, terrorists and drug traffickers. It revealed what Turks call the Gizli Devlet, or Deep State – the politicians, military officers and intelligence officials who worked with drug bosses to move drugs from Afghanistan into Europe."
Sibel spells it out :
"The Turkish government, MIT and the Turkish military, not only sanctions, but also actively participates in and oversees the narcotics activities and networks."
As I outlined in the curiously-titled " Sibel Edmonds: America's Watergate ," Sibel's case demonstrates that Turkey's Deep State 'owns' large parts of the American establishment, to the point where it appears that there also is a 'Deep State' in the US as well. ATC/AIPAC appear to be headquarters for this Deep State in the US, a cozy club where drug dealers, weapons traffickers and past-and-present government officials coexist. Happily!
And if that's not bad enough, we also know that :
"Heroin trafficking is also the main source of funding for the al-Qaeda terrorists. A Time Magazine article in August 2004 reported that al-Qaeda has established a smuggling network that is peddling Afghan heroin to buyers across the Middle East, Asia, and Europe, and in turn is using the drug revenues to purchase weapons and explosives. The article states: "...al-Qaeda and its Taliban allies are increasingly financing operations with opium sales. Anti-drug officials in Afghanistan have no hard figures on how much al-Qaeda and the Taliban are earning from drugs, but conservative estimates run into tens of millions of dollars."
That is, our Turkish Deep State friends, the people we are directly providing with weapons, are outsourcing some of their distribution activities to al-Qaeda and the Taliban (and, while we're at it, to the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA.))
When we are discussing issues such as al-Qaeda smuggling heroin through Afghanistan and the other 'Stans, sometimes it can seem remote and distant, so let's come back to something more concrete. In Adrian Gatton's terrific recent article , The Susurluk Legacy, he quotes Huseyin Baybasin, a Turkish heroin kingpin who is now in jail in Holland:
"I handled the drugs which came through the channel of the Turkish Consulate in England... I was with the Mafia but I was carrying this out with the same Mafia group in which the rulers of Turkey were part."
Gatton also describes how anyone in the UK government who dared speak about the issue were immediately rebuked by the Foreign Office (the UK equivalent of the State Department.)
The parallels with Sibel's case couldn't be clearer. As 60 Minutes first reported ( youtube ) in 2002, and Vanity Fair later reported , the Turkish Embassy was directing a lot of the heroin trafficking activity - in conjunction with people at the ATC.
"Sibel also recalled hearing wiretaps indicating that Turkish Embassy targets frequently spoke to staff members at the A.T.C.
In her secure testimony, Edmonds disclosed some of what she recalled hearing... Many (calls) involved an F.B.I. target at (Chicago's) large Turkish Consulate... Some of the calls reportedly contained what sounded like references to large scale drug shipments and other crimes."
And just as the UK Foreign Office silenced anyone in the UK who tried to speak out, Sibel says :
The Department of State is easily the most corrupted of the major government agencies.
In some cases where the FBI stumbles upon evidence of high-level officials being involved in drug-smuggling, they're even prevented from sharing it with the DEA [Drug Enforcement Agency]. The Department of State just comes in and says, "Leave it."
Elsewhere , Sibel says:
"For years and years, information and evidence being collected by the counterintelligence operations of certain U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies has been prevented from being transferred to criminal and narcotics divisions, and from being shared with the Drug Enforcement Agency and others with prosecutorial power. Those with direct knowledge have been prevented from making this information available and public by various gag orders and invocation of the State Secrets Privilege. Why?"
Pay attention here, because the ATC is where the worlds of the MIC and the heroin trafficking collide. One of the key Turkish interfaces at the ATC is the Turkish Generals - people that Giraldi says own a stake in the companies through which the military spending is channeled. As described earlier, these exact same people, the Turkish Deep State, also control much of the global heroin market. In between the MIC and the heroin traffickers - are the "neoconservatives (who) distort US foreign policy and enrich themselves at the same time."
One of the difficulties in trying to unravel the Sibel Edmonds case is that we aren't sure where one case ends and another begins. We know that some of the wiretaps were from the ATC, and some from the Turkish embassy in DC, and some from the embassy in Chicago. We also know that many of the wiretaps involve conversations between the embassies and the ATC.
Some of the wiretaps relate to drug trafficking, some relate to the nuclear black market and other weapons trafficking, and some refer to terrorist activity - including 9/11.
Perhaps it's not surprising, then, when she says :
You have the same players when you look into these activities at high-levels you come across the same players, they are the same people.
Those 'same people' - at least on the American side - according to Giraldi, appear to be Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz, Marc Grossman, Eric Edelman, and Stephen Solarz. It appears that we can also add William Cohen and Joseph Ralston - and Dennis Hastert - to that roster, and I'm sure there are a few more that haven't yet been publicly identified.
If what Sibel says is true, and her claims are all backed by documents and wiretaps, and also backed up by other agents who have filed similar complaints, and are ready and willing to testify. All of these people should be in jail. For a long, long time.
Congress must hold hearings to get to the bottom of these crimes. If you agree, please call Congress, today, and demand public, open hearings.
Congressman Henry Waxman ( contact page )
(Those calling Waxman's office should ask for Michelle Ash & David Rapallo.)
In Washington, D.C.
2204 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
(202) 225-3976 (phone)
(202) 225-4099 (fax)
In Los Angeles
8436 West Third Street, Suite 600
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(323) 651-1040 (phone)
(818) 878-7400 (phone)
(310) 652-3095 (phone)
(323) 655-0502 (fax)
House Government Reform Committee ( contact page )
By Mail or Phone:
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
U.S. House of Representatives
2157 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Please also contact Congressman John Conyers , asking him to support hearings by Chairman Waxman.
(Those calling Conyers' office should ask for Elliot Mintzberg.)
2426 Rayburn Building
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-0072 Fax
crossposted at Wot Is It Good 4 & Let Sibel Edmonds Speak