Interview conducted June 12, 2008. Listen to the interview.
Scott Horton: Hi, folks, this is Antiwar Radio on KAOS 92.7 FM in Austin, Texas, streaming live also from Antiwar.com/radio, and I’d like to welcome back to the show Sibel Edmonds, gagged by the state secrets privilege, former contract translator for the FBI, and the best investigator and storyteller on her case, Luke Ryland, from LetSibelEdmondsSpeak.blogspot.com. Welcome back to the show, both of you.
Sibel Edmonds: Thank you, Scott. Hi.
Luke Ryland: Hi, Scott.
Horton: So we have some recent developments here, but first of all, I’d like to ask you Sibel, what’s been going on? We heard from you last Fall, you gave your golden offer to tell your whole story, everything you know in defiance of your gag order, you would risk prison in order to tell your story on American TV if only they would let you, and apparently you had no takers. Instead, a few months later there was a three article series in the London Times, detailing various aspects of your case. I guess, Luke, if you could maybe start us off and sort of summarize briefly what was in that series in the London Times, and what sort of developments have taken place in the story since then?
Ryland: The London Times series was in January, I believe, and they focused mostly on the nuclear black market side of Sibel’s case, talking about how various Turkish and Israeli embassy officials were dealing in the nuclear black market in the U.S., with the help of certain players in the U.S. government, specifically former number 3 guy at the State Department, Marc Grossman. That was a three-part series, as you say, and there hasn’t been a whole lot happen in the case since.
Horton: Okay. Well, there are some new developments here, I know that you’ve put up a few new blog entries just in the last week, one is about Dennis Hastert, and another is about a spy scandal of some kind brewing over there in Germany and Switzerland which may in some part be tied to Sibel Edmonds’ case. What’s going on there? I guess, first of all, we’ll save Dennis Hastert till later. First of all, tell us about this family in Germany.
Ryland: There’s a family called the Tinner family. They are a Swiss family actually, a father and two sons. The father has been an associate of A.Q. Khan going back to the 1970s. He and his sons were one of the key suppliers to the A.Q. Khan network. A.Q. Khan is the "father of the ‘Islamic bomb.’" He was the one who was running the nuclear program in Pakistan, and he was getting all of the hardware and technology from the nuclear black market to build the Pakistan bomb, and then he, or at least the network, began exporting the technology to Iran, Libya and various other places including North Korea.
Now, the Tinners were key suppliers of that network, and they were arrested when the A.Q. Khan network was officially exposed in 2004. The Tinners have been awaiting trial since 2004 particularly one of the sons, Urs Tinner. So they’ve been awaiting trial since 2004 and the Swiss government has been trying to build a case so that they could prosecute the Tinners in court.
The U.S. government has been very reluctant to assist the Swiss. They had a lot of information about the Tinners’ involvement in the Khan network, but they simply refused to even respond to requests for help from the Swiss attorney general. That was through 2006 and 2007, I think, but they eventually gave some limited assistance but now there’s this big scandal in Switzerland that was announced just two or three weeks ago that the Swiss government has destroyed all of the evidence in that case, so it looks as though that prosecution won’t go ahead.
The executive branch of the Swiss government destroyed all 30,000 pages of evidence in that case, and they did that in secret they didn’t tell the parliament, or the court system or anything. There’s a very strong suspicion that they did that at the request of the United States, and the suggestion is that the CIA has been actively been involved, working with the Tinners going back a number of years, and that the CIA was desperate that that information not become public.
Horton: I’m sorry. The CIA was helping these guys do their dirty work? Or these guys were stabbing the CIA in the back, Luke?
Ryland: Well, it’s not entirely obvious. It might be the case that the Tinners were helping the Khan network, and then realized that the CIA was onto them, and then started working for the CIA to help expose some of the network. That’s one hypothesis. Another hypothesis is that the CIA was just "running" these guys, and was aware of their involvement. In fact, according to some reasonable reports, the CIA paid the Tinners lots of money to be involved in this network. Now we don’t really know why that’s the case.
As you say, this is similar to Sibel’s case because in her case we had the same sort of thing, where there was this extraordinary effort gone to make sure that none of this information becomes public. Sibel’s case also deals, in part, with the A.Q. Khan network, and other nuclear black market proliferation.
Horton: Okay. I’m sorry to just keep you on hold here so long, Sibel, but this next question is for Luke too. What’s the big deal with the A.Q. Khan network? Because I know our government’s accusations against Libya, who’ve now become our friends again, and the accusations against Iran, are based on the fact that they received nuclear technology from the Pakistanis, but the best I understand they got was a bunch of first-generation centrifuge equipment that in no way equals any sort of clear and present danger to anyone. Is there a whole other side to this A.Q. Khan network that actually is dangerous that I’m missing, Luke, or is it just that this is criminal behavior participating in these black markets?
Ryland: Well, there’s certainly a lot of criminal behavior involved in the market, and it’s true that some of those early designs went to both Iran and North Korea, but it’s also true that the A.Q. Khan network has continued operating in the black market to keep the Pakistan program up and running, for example, so they are constantly feeding that network with new technologies, so that’s the problem. And in Sibel’s case, going back to 1999 and 2000, there were companies in the U.S. that were exporting hardware to Pakistan via South Africa, so we know that even though those early reports were of those old P1 and P2 designs, there was still a constant influx of new technology.
Horton: Okay, so here we are in 2008, we have destruction of evidence by the Swiss government on the conduct of these Germans apparently everybody was operating to some capacity at the behest of the CIA, both in the case of the family and the people who destroyed the evidence about it. So far we’ve talked about Sibel as an example of a similar circumstance in the United States, without the benefit of really explaining who Sibel is, and why they should see the parallel to another famous case here going on in the United States. So, Sibel, I’d like to ask you if you could rehearse the short version of your brief employment as a contract translator for the FBI, and the status of the State Secret Privilege, the gag orders against you, and the limits on what you’re allowed to say, and for that matter, why it is that people should believe that you were able to learn as much things as you’ve apparently been able to learn, or say that you were able to learn in your short time working as a translator at the FBI.
Edmonds: Sure. I think I can summarize it by telling you that I have been considered to be the most gagged person in United States history, and that is by the invocation of the state secrets privilege twice in my case, classification of my case, the entire case, including even the languages I speak, and also the fact that for the first time, the Justice Department illegally issued a gag order, a retroactive classification, on Congress. And that basically tells you that there is this body of knowledge, information, that the government; the Justice Department and the White House, is going out of it way to cover up, to hush, to shut down. And that, I believe, summarizes the case very well.
So, just the fact that, "okay, what is this information?" "Why are they going out of their way to gag this information?" And then I’m going to talk just a little bit on what Luke just very nicely summarized, and you were talking about "Well, you know, how benign maybe was this information and the technology?" You have to focus on one aspect, and that is that right now we are talking about a black market, the nuclear black market, and you’re looking at international players within this nuclear black market activity, and this involves to a certain degree the Russians, Israelis, South Africa, Turkey, Iran, North Korea, so you’re looking at many many players, and when you have these players, and you’re looking at the nuclear black market, the focus should not be "Well, Pakistanis, we know that they have their nuclear weapons program, etc., so what’s the big deal?"
The big deal is our hypocrisy ridden foreign policy, and the fact that on one hand, we’re talking about the danger of these weapons of mass destruction in the hands of whoever at the time we declare to be in the "Axis of Evil," and using this as a technique, and as a tactic, to invoke fear here in our country, and globally, saying that, you know, "we’re talking about the weapons of mass destruction, and that we are in danger, and there are bad guys out there who want to get us." On the other hand, when it comes to these really, really serious issues and cases, a lot of them involving weapons of mass destruction, we cherry-pick the intelligence, and we cherry-pick on what we are going to take action.
As you know, right now, we are talking about possibly attacking Iran because they may have the nuclear capabilities and technology. On the other hand, we are looking the other way when it comes to this global scale nuclear black market activities, in some of which we have U.S. players, participation, and their role. But yet, we go out of our way and this is our government to quash this information, to gag this information, to let these people off the hook, and we can’t do that! That is the importance of it, it’s not that "Okay, fine, Pakistan got it, and who played what role?" It is the fact that there is this nuclear black market, and we have many, many players, and some of these players happen to be our allies, some of these players happen to be U.S. persons, and yet, we only get partial stories, and whenever it is convenient for our government to say "Oh, okay if it is Syria, or if it is Iran " and yet looking the other way when it happens to be people who we call our allies.
Horton: And when you talk about the American role in all this, and this was alluded to with the CIA’s contacts with this family in Germany and so forth, I guess the question comes down to whether this is covert operations, actual covert action policy of the American government, or whether we’re talking about individual players within the American power structure who steal secrets and pass them on for their individual motives, outside of their official duties.
Edmonds: Well, see, it’s interesting when you mention convert actions. We had these so-called covert actions when A.Q. Khan was building his network, and when Pakistan was developing its nuclear program, and before that we had it with Israel, okay? And yes, we did have these covert operations, and not only that our covert operations did not prevent these people, and these countries, from actually achieving what they were doing, in fact, it helped them.
And in some cases, our own government, despite these covert operations, they actually supported these governments and these activities these illegal activities behind the scenes. In one case that Luke also has very nicely reported on, we had Richard Barlow’s case with the CIA. Here is a guy who was chasing A.Q. Khan’s network, and here is a guy who went to Congress and basically reported to Congress what was happening with Pakistan, but then you had the other hand, whether in the CIA or in the Pentagon, or in the State Department who went out of their way to gag him, and to basically stop Congress from taking action.
So, again, how much do you trust when you are told that there may be some covert CIA actions, and therefore maybe these things are legit, and maybe there’s a reason for this information being quashed? I would say, if you looked at the history of the CIA, you would see that in many cases, the covert actions by these people have been designed to actually support those dangerous, illicit activities. Again, we had our own government, covert actions, supporting criminal activities like Iran-Contra.
So whether or not the CIA had some sort of a covert action can not be any excuse, justification or cover to say, okay therefore, maybe there is a legitimate reason for this to be quashed.
Horton: Right, although it seems like it could serve as legitimacy or cover from the point of view of the individuals in the United States who want to go ahead and take part in it. That on some level, this is our operation anyway, that kind of thing. It doesn’t seem too likely that the CIA would be hiring Marc Grossman over at the State Department to do this kind of thing.
Edmonds: Again, when you are looking at nuclear black market, when you are looking at any black market, whether it is narcotics, or whether it is the nuclear, or whether it’s just the conventional weapons, you are looking at a huge amount of money, okay?. And as you know, money and power are the biggest drives for a lot of people, and that comes before any patriotism, or any other loyalties, and so to say that, you know, people like that may have other reasons, again it may be misguided because when you are looking at these people I’m sure you’re going to get into, let’s say, people like Dennis Hastert’s case and that is, "Okay, you have individuals like that who go and get this public office job, and within a few years, they enrich themselves, and they come out a few years later as billionaires or multi-millionaires."
You just had this great article that Antiwar.com posted last weekend that had to do with Armitage and Tenet and Woolsey, and saying, "Okay, these people had access to information, they got out, and now they are making millions and millions and millions by taking positions within these private entities, and when you look at these private entities, some of them with international activities, well what is going to come first for these people their lucrative jobs and positions, or is it going to be "I’m still loyal to my previous job, and to my country, and to my people"? And why are they worth so much to these companies?
Look at Marc Grossman. Marc Grossman gave his resignation, and within a year he was placed on the payroll of this shady Turkish company, and he’s receiving about a million dollars a year from this company.
Horton: Even though for years now your story has somehow implicated him in basically criminal interaction with these groups, and now he still goes right to them for employment when he quits [government]!
Edmonds: Absolutely they all do. Because they have become we have these people who have become untouchable. And again, your article that was published last weekend from Salon.com mentions three of them. You’re looking at all these individuals.
I just read the Senate Intelligence Report on Iraq, and within this report they are talking about certain individual’s roles, and even people who investigated this case. They are referring to the inspector general within the Department of Defense. The chief inspector general who was in charge of these investigations, Joseph Schmitz, he resigned in 2005 and two months later he became the C.O.O. of Blackwater, and we still have these so-called investigations on Blackwater.
Horton: I’m sorry, Sibel, I just have to tell you how much I enjoy that. This is not just some general, this is the inspector general, the head of Internal Affairs at the DoD whose job it is to prevent things like this from happening, himself.
Edmonds: Right! And this man was in charge of investigating my case, because my case also involved Major Douglas Dickerson, who happens to be right now Lt. Colonel Douglas Dickerson, and he’s the person who shut down that investigation in 2003-2004. So now this man gets out of the Pentagon, doesn’t even wait for a year or two 2 months later he’s hired by Blackwater.
So what I’m trying to say here is that you have this root problem in our country, you have this pattern, so when you say "Nothing happens to Marc Grossman," I’m telling you that these people are untouchable. They are the untouchables because you see this with many, many people, and it’s not raising any flags, the mainstream media is not reporting on it, the congress is not doing anything about it, so what does Marc Grossman have to worry about? They have really thick skin, they are really, really bold about their moves, because they are saying "I’m doing all this despite all this stuff out there. Come and touch me. Catch me if you can." And there is no one out there for us to go and ask to catch these guys.
Horton: All right now, Lukery, we’re sitting here talking about this guy Grossman as though he’s been convicted at Guantanamo or something, and he has for the record told the Times that he doesn’t know what in the hell this lady is talking about, why don’t you explain what it is that you believe that Marc Grossman has done in violation of the law, or even basic morality, however you want to see it.
Ryland: Prior to being the number 3 guy at the State Department, Marc Grossman was the ambassador for Turkey. Now, Turkey is a big player in the issues that Sibel is talking about; the nuclear black market and the narcotics industry. Grossman has been involved in this for a long time, and in fact when he was the ambassador in Turkey, Sibel just mentioned this Douglas Dickerson, well, Dickerson was there working with Grossman in Turkey way back then in the late 90s. So these guys have been hanging around together for a long time, working on the same sorts of deals.
In the Times report, as you say, Grossman denied any wrongdoing, but it outlined a number of crimes including his participation in the nuclear black market, including at one point, Brewster Jennings, the cover company that Valerie Plame used, they were investigating some of the people that Sibel’s case touches on, including the American Turkish Council.
Horton: What makes you say that Brewster Jennings was investigating the American Turkish Council?
Ryland: I think that’s just fact at the moment. Valerie Plame in fact met Joe Wilson there at the American Turkish Council. The point is that the Turks have had a long term involvement in the nuclear black market, so Brewster Jennings should have been investigating the Turks, and their headquarters in the U.S. which is basically the American Turkish Council (ATC), so it would be silly if they weren’t investigating the ATC. So when Brewster Jennings was there investigating them, Grossman told his Turkish and other friends to stay away from Brewster Jennings and warned them that they were a CIA cover company.
So that’s one of the crimes that he was involved in, another of the crimes mentioned in the Times report relates to just after September 11, 2001, when there was a big roundup of certain suspected participants in that event, some of Grossman’s Turkish friends said "Hey, we have to get these four people out of jail because we can’t afford for them to spill the beans." So Grossman got on the phone to whoever, and the four people were subsequently released and this comes back to what Sibel was talking about. When you have these activities, even if they are "legitimate" covert activities, they create so much black market for all of these things, all of this nefarious behavior, that enables all these unholy alliances that allow people to get away with just about anything.
Horton: If we just take it for granted that the CIA are on the side of the angels, and all that they would ever mean to do would be to check this sort of black market proliferation, then still it seems they’re having a lot of trouble reigning in participants even inside the United States of America and this kind of thing. Is it just because of the amounts of money involved?
Ryland: Let me just add another of Grossman’s crimes that Sibel uncovered. These Turkish and other interests who were working with the black market were desperate to get moles inside nuclear labs in the U.S., so they went to Grossman to ensure that he got the appropriate visas and appropriate placements for these moles. So this criminal network was placing spies in just about every nuclear facility and every other agency involved with nuclear technology in the United States, so Grossman was placing these people in all these installations for the criminal network, so that these spies could then report back on what they found. So you know, it was pretty widespread, and this was all happening under the nose of the FBI, and Sibel has often pointed out that there was this big time intelligence operation that went back to 1996, and the counterintelligence officers at the FBI were pulling their hair out, because they wanted to pursue these crimes, but they kept getting pushback from the Pentagon and the State Department, telling them that they weren’t allowed to act on any of this information. Sibel has been trying to get her case heard in Congress and all of these counterintelligence people who were working on the Turkish program would be happy to testify under oath to all of these crimes that they are aware of.
Horton: Well, didn’t Congressman Waxman promise that he would hold hearings, Luke?
Ryland: Yes, he promised, and he hasn’t done a thing since.
Edmonds: Let’s talk about that because this is another important issue, and it’s not only with my case, but in the cases of many, many whistleblowers who are the members of my organization, National Security Whistleblowers Coalition, and that is that we were very, very anxious to have this majority change with the Congress, because for years, when we went to these offices, whether it was Congressman Conyers, or Waxman, we were given only one excuse, one justification, and that was "We want to have hearings, we want to have accountability, and the Big Bad Republicans are preventing it, because they have the majority and they are not letting us do it." So for years we were under this assumption, and we were celebrating in November and when I say "we" we have members who are libertarians, we have Republicans, we have Democrats, and we have people like me who basically just say "we are Americans" and guess what? Once that majority changed, both in the Senate and in the House, these people who had these ongoing relationships with us, they used to have meetings for our members, for whistleblowers I went inside the Secure Compartmentalized Facility and had two or three sessions with just Congressman Waxman’s office before he became the Chairman.
Now, after the elections, they just went completely silent. In fact, they became antagonistic they said "We don’t want to talk with these whistleblowers because we have a very very busy schedule," and we asked them "What happened to all these promises you made that if you were the majority you would be doing this?" In fact, one of the promises was that "One of the first hearings that we are going to have was going to be on this case, the State Secrets Privilege, and you’re going to testify." And his office, along with other Democratic offices just stopped even taking calls from us, and the change was absolutely amazing, and obviously this is not the case only with the whistleblowers because just take a look at the approval rate for Congress today, it’s much lower than the confidence in the administration because it is plunging 17-18 percent.
This means that the American people are not happy with the Congress. All the promises that they gave, none of them were fulfilled. And I am not a diplomatic person, and one of the things that I say today when I talk with people is "Well, listen, they might look like champions, but all we have gotten with people like Chairman Waxman, and Chairman Conyers is all barking, okay?" They come out whenever any case becomes sexy and grabs the headlines, and they just bark, and they say "We want to hold hearings, we want to subpoena people" As soon as the issue dies down in the media, and it dies down very quickly as you know, they just go away, they don’t do anything. They haven’t brought about any type of accountability, any type of meaningful hearings. They had some show-only hearings, but nothing that in any way will bring any accountability or further action.
And they do have the power. So many of our members are kind of disillusioned saying that before they were saying that the Republicans were the factor in not having accountability and inaction by congress, now we see that it is the Democrats, and that includes the speaker of the House, Pelosi. So what do we do? On the other hand we have the mainstream media because if they were to do their job, that would create the necessary pressure on Congress, and congress would do what they are supposed to do. It is not about doing favors, it is basically about fulfilling their obligations to the American public and we don’t have that with the mainstream media. So this is why we are in this state this sorry state of our nation of seeing these criminals going unpunished and not seeing any accountability and we haven’t seen any change whatsoever.
Horton: And again, this is not just Sibel Edmonds insisting that, you know, they ought to be listening to you you have employees of the FBI who are willing and in fact eager to sit right next to you at the table under oath and explain why they say that you’re right, and that they should be listening to what is going on here.
Edmonds: Absolutely. We have actually some CIA witnesses, some people from the FBI, and the congress has the inspector general’s report. This is what people refer to as a "slam-dunk" case, you know? They even have access to the classified version, because one of the things that I will do after this interview, Scott, I will send you the redacted version of my Inspector General’s report, and if you wish you can publish it, nobody has seen this before in terms of the public
Horton: Why, I’d be happy to.
Edmonds: Sure. And what you will see is, more than 90 percent of this report completely blacked out, so even based on that 10 percent, that unclassified summary version that they released, they have vindicated my case, so the congress has everything they need to hold hearings and go about accountability. They have the inspector general’s report, they have the initial investigation results from both Democrat and Republican, Grassley and Leahy’s office, they issued a report that hasn’t come out, and they have all the bits and pieces of confirmation that has surfaced in the past 6 or 7 years my case is over 6 years old. They have no reason, and no justification, no excuse, but, again, without the mainstream media, without having true journalism, they don’t feel the pressure, and as long as they don’t feel the pressure, they’re going to continue what they have been doing, and that is, we’re just going to sit here, and when we get out, just like Dennis Hastert, we’ll go and obtain a pretty nice position and collect our millions of dollars per year.
Horton: Right. That’s the pressure that they’re feeling: to keep up with the Joneses, not to shape up and fly right and all that kind of thing. So now let me ask you this, too Sibel. Luke talks about this investigation going back even to the later mid-Nineties
Horton: And now, of course, in Phil Giraldi’s new article for the American Conservative magazine about the investigations into the Israeli spying in the United States, they talk about this investigation going back to 1999 at least, and to what degree do you think that these investigations one springs from the other, something like that? Or are they started at different angles and they just happened to end up around the Israeli Lobby one way or other?
Edmonds: Absolutely, they actually were part of the same investigations. Because, even if you look at the people involved such as Larry Franklin, and before him and above him, Douglas Feith, you are looking at the Office of Near East Policy, okay, and that always within it has Israel and Turkey in there, and there are so many points, and there is so much evidence that they collected that actually came not from their counterintelligence under the Israeli desk within the FBI, but came from the Turkish counterintelligence. And again, for this, the FBI did what it was supposed to do. In fact, the agents that worked these cases, they were solid people, and they wanted to go after these guys, and so as you see it’s very similar with this AIPAC case. You know, how many postponements have we had so far? And I don’t believe, and this is another prediction I’m making here, I don’t see that it is really going to get to any point of trial, because if they were to do what they are supposed to do, and if this case moved forward, it’s not going to be these two guys and Franklin. If they were to pursue this case in court, and move forward fully, not just a dog-and-pony show like the Scooter Libby trial, then you are going to see many many other high-level people’s involvement. For example, Marc Grossman is one of the witnesses that the defense is calling. Have you looked at that list?
Horton: Not recently, why don’t you refresh my memory?
Edmonds: Well, the defense now wants to say that people in high positions were all aware of these activities therefore these activities by these people were not illegal. In fact, people like Condoleezza Rice they actually sanctioned this, and in order to prove their point they prepared a list of people that they want to testify as their witnesses, and Marc Grossman is on there, and if you look at that list you’re basically going to see the who’s-who of all the neocons there, because they know that at some point the Justice Department, because of the pressure from the White House and other people are going to say "No, these witnesses can’t testify, or if they testify, it has to be behind closed doors."
These are the things that you are going to see with the AIPAC trial because the defense is playing it very very smart. They are saying "How can we make this go away?" Because if they force the government to invoke something like the state secrets privilege and say that "No, Condoleezza Rice and Marc Grossman can’t testify because these issues involve some highly classified stuff and you can’t get this or that document," the government is going to be forced to invoke the state secrets privilege. And if that happens, because this is a criminal case, then the court has to ask them to drop the case, meaning that these guys are going to just walk free. And again, the Israeli Lobby is unbelievable because they are twisting this case, and they are successfully and I’m emphasizing this successfully, are making this case to be a case of Freedom of Speech and the Freedom of the Press saying "Well, if this case moves forward, this is going to be a big assault on the freedom of press because it’s going to bring about these consequences "
And again, this powerful lobby and this is not only AIPAC because these people are spread all over the spectrum from all sorts of Civil Liberties organizations, to the anti-secrecy organizations what they are putting out is they’re trying to take this away from an espionage case, and make this into a first amendment, freedom of press case. And again, as always, they have the mainstream media to go along with their twisted games, and so far they have been successful, very successful.
Horton: Yeah, this is what they call "graymail." "You can’t prosecute me because you’ll have to admit what criminals you all are, and all the secrets you want to keep in order to put me behind bars."
Edmonds: Exactly. Exactly.
Horton: All right, now, this movie Kill the Messenger is a couple of years old now, and I admit I watched it on Google Video I don’t know if that is supposed to be a secret or something
Horton: But it still hasn’t played even at the Alamo Draft House here in town, Sibel. What’s it going to take to get this movie out?
Edmonds: Well, as you know, this film entered several festivals and actually won a few awards. It won the Best Investigative Documentary award in France, and it was aired 13 times in France, during primetime, and also in Belgium, and also in Australia, where Luke is from, and festivals Sao Paolo festival, and even in Egypt, and recently in Vancouver, the DOXA Festival, and as you just said, nothing here in the United States. Again, that’s another thing that we are looking at, we are looking at a highly polarized and controlled mainstream media here, and also with the production companies and Hollywood. That’s another thing that we see this incredible level of influence and power when they want to gag something and prevent it from coming out, they do it. And I’m not talking about only the government, okay? I’m talking about the other influences that are taking this country to a point of no return. And unfortunately, not much is being said about that.
Antiwar.com is one of my favorite sites, I start my day with Antiwar. I like it because it is not from the perspective of partisanship, you know, it’s good, it’s nice to see Buchanan there along with someone who is considered to be liberal, but unfortunately even within the blogosphere you see this high-level of polarization, and people just tend to view everything in terms of party lines and partisanship, and therefore we are not addressing the root causes of the problem our nation is facing today, the real problem, whether it is the revolving doors, or the campaign finance laws, or our hypocrisy-ridden foreign policy, none of these issues, the real causes, are being attacked or addressed by many of these even alternative media people. They tend to deal with the symptoms, and as you just mentioned, this case, my case, goes back to 1996-1997. It is from 1996 to the end of 2001. It involves both administrations, and when you have a case like this, it is fortunate because it is not partisan, it’s all about facts, but it is unfortunate because you are basically shunned by both sides, and whether it is the Democrats, or the Republicans, nobody wants to touch it because it doesn’t come across as one of those clearly divided cases, with these really clear lines of partisanship. And that is again very, very unfortunate, and as long as we maintain this attitude, and here I’m talking about the alternative media and the blogosphere too, we are going to see ourselves in the similar position two or three years down the road, even if we get rid of this administration and have a new administration with a big D in front of it, and not a big R, and we are going to see the same congress and we are going to see the same problems because we tend to go after the symptoms, and not the root causes of our real disease.
Horton: All right, now Luke, I want to give you a chance to finish up this interview by convincing me that somehow the glass is half full, right?
Ryland: That’d be a pretty short answer! I’m with Sibel, let me put it that way. It’s hard to see any positive in the future. You mentioned Hastert earlier, he was in the news my news at least just recently because he has just got a new job lobbying for a company that lobbies for Turkey, and Sibel has said over the years that that is exactly what she expects: that he’ll get a job lobbying for Turkey, because that is where the real payoff comes. They sell out their office while they have these high-level positions, and then they make the big bucks once they get out, and that is the perpetuation of the problem on both the Democrat and Republican side.
In Sibel’s case, Hastert was found to have been bribed by these Turkish interests going back to 1998, 1999 to the extent that Bill Clinton and his Department of Justice went about appointing a Special Prosecutor to prosecute these crimes, not only Hastert, there are at least four congressmen that we know of, who were on the payroll, who were being bribed by these guys. Now, that prosecution got derailed just like all of these seem to, and now we are a decade later and Hastert is getting a massive payoff with his new job, and everybody knows what is happening. That’s the outrageous thing. There must be I don’t know how many people in the U.S. government who are aware of the fact that Hastert has been bribed, and they all just keep their mouth shut. You know, when Clinton went about appointing the Special Prosecutor, or Janet Reno, there must have been I-don’t-know-how-many people in the loop to know what was going on, plus you’ve got all of the people at the FBI and what-have-you who are aware of it, so there are a whole lot of people who keep their mouth shut for various reasons, and the payoffs just keep coming. That’s probably a good explanation for why the Democrats have been so supine as you said earlier, they are just trying to keep out of the media until they can get their own payoff when they lose their seat.
Horton: Yeah, it seems almost the definition of impunity. Tell me this, Luke, when you say Dennis Hastert has gone and gotten work representing the Turks, is that basically, simply, "Turkey" or is that simply a euphemism for Lockheed? Is this really about the dog really wagging the tail, and not the other way around, and that ultimately it’s America’s warfare economy at stake here and what he’s done is got himself in the loop of American welfare payments to Lockheed in the form of aid to countries like Turkey?
Ryland: In Hastert’s case we don’t specifically know. The firm that he went to work for is called Dickstein Shapiro, and they’ve done a lot of work for Turkey in various energy-related fields going back to 1996, 97, 98 the exact time that Hastert was being bribed by these interests. Now, there is supposed to be a process that limits this activity called the Foreign Agents Registration Act which means that these lobbying countries are supposed to report on what lobbying activity they are doing for foreign countries. Dickstein Shapiro, Hastert’s new firm, just refuses to do that when it comes to Turkey, there’s no mention at all of Turkey in there, even though if you go to Dickstein Shapiro’s Web site you can see that they have a whole bunch of different Turkish clients. So it’s difficult to see exactly through, to penetrate and see what is going on exactly in this case, but yes, it is usually related to the defense industry and there’s also a subterranean criminal network that basically runs Turkey that finances a lot of this bribery, and the FBI is still trying to work out where this money comes from. Phil Giraldi wrote that a lot of it appears to come from the narcotics business, and also from the defense contractors as well.
Horton: All right, we need to go ahead and wrap this up. It’s Sibel Edmonds, FBI translator and whistleblower, and Luke Ryland from LetSibelEdmondsSpeak.blogspot.com. I’d like to give you all an opportunity to go ahead and address any major points that we didn’t cover, or closing comments that you’d like to make. Luke, you first.
Ryland: Well, I wish I had some "half-full" news for you Scott. As we discussed, the U.S. government on both sides has been sitting on this information for a decade, it’s hard to see how that might change. And again to point out Sibel’s point that the mainstream media doesn’t touch any of these issues as well. Vanity Fair did a big article exposing Hastert’s bribery, and not a single mainstream media outlet even mentioned it there’s only one reference now that Hastert has his new job lobbying for Turkey, so it’s hard to see any positive news there, but if we can keep calling Congress, that’s about as much as we can try to do.
Horton: And Sibel Edmonds?
Edmonds: Well, Scott, I have said it all along. All it takes is one congressman or a senator, or a congresswoman I’m not going to be sexist here to call me in and put me under oath and say "Okay tell us what is this case is about, and give us the document." And I have been ready to do this, I have been pushing to do this for six years. Now, if I’m under oath in congress, and I’m giving them this information, if I give any misinformation or if I’m lying, I’m the one who will be facing jail time. So I’ve been saying, and I’ve said it all along, all it takes is to put me there under oath, and any congressman, any congresswoman can do this, Scott. All it takes is "You have the case, you have the inspector general’s report, put me under oath and say, as a representative of this country, I’m asking you to tell the committee, or tell us, the people, what you know and what it is that the government is covering up." And this case will then come out with some results and that is you will see criminal prosecutions of some very high level people. I have been saying this for six years, I’m still saying it, and all it takes is one good man, or one good woman, who does take the oath of office seriously, and is willing to do that. That’s all it takes. As simple as that.
Horton: Well, see now, I can serve as a great example to my congressman, it’s not that hard to let Sibel Edmonds speak at all, in fact. I want to thank you both for your time today. Sibel Edmonds and Luke Ryland. The Web sites: JustACitizen.com and LetSibelEdmondsSpeak.blogspot.com.
Edmonds: Thank you, Scott.
Ryland: Thanks, Scott.
Read more by Scott Horton
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