With the Plame hearings scheduled today, I just wanted to make sure that everyone understands the link between Sibel Edmonds' case, Brewster Jennings and Valerie Plame. (see downstairs)
I also want to pimp my diary "What the heck is Sibel Edmonds' Case about? And why should I care?" from yesterday that explains the key features of Sibel's case but it didn't get nearly the attention it deserved(!) - so consider this a customer service announcement :-) (reposted downstairs)
Finally, 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 (Capitol switchboard number - 800-828-0498). Our campaign, Let Sibel Edmonds Speak, to have these hearings will run through to the middle of next week.
I don't know a lot about how congressional hearings work - but it'll be interesting today to see if Waxman asks Valerie Plame what damage, if any, was done to Brewster Jennings when she was outed by Cheney/Libby/Armitage/Rove/Grossman in the summer of 2003.
It appears that there's some confusion about when Plame worked for Brewster Jennings, and Corn/Isikoff/JTFI notwithstanding, it appears that there is a general presumption that Plame was working for Brewster Jennings when she was outed after Joe Wilson's op-ed was published in the NYT.
As I discussed in yesterday's diary, the American Turkish Council (ATC) was at the core of the criminality that Sibel became privvy to - including, but not limited to, the nuclear black market.
From the diary:
"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."
The thing is, Brewster Jennings was 'outed' (privately, within the criminal network) long before Valerie Plame was officially outed. In fact, Brewster Jennings' cover was blown in the Summer of 2001 by Marc Grossman, former #3 at the State Department and Ambassdor to Turkey.
It appears, and I'm speculating here, that Sibel actually heard that particular conversation where Grossman 'outed' Brewster Jennings, and I can only presume that Brewster Jennings was dismantled immediately.
In the new movie about Sibel "Kill The Messenger" there's a scene where Sibel 'describes' her familiarity with Brewster Jennings. I interviewed Mathieu Verboud, the director of the film, and he described it thusly:
"In November 2005, we learnt from the Turkish paper Hurriyet that Plame was investigating Turkey, but not only that: she was investigating the ATC! Our intuition had proved right.
Later, in April 2006, we confronted Sibel with this set of facts and ask her to go on the record. Sibel’s line about Plame and Brewster Jennings is just gold. She said: "During my time at the FBI, I never heard the name Valerie Plame - but if you are asking me about Brewster Jennings, that's another story, a story that I cannot comment on because I cannot talk about anything that I did at the FBI - and the targets and the details of the investigations." The message is crystal clear: there are mentions of Brewster Jennings on the wiretaps! Praises to Sibel to be so smart in front of a camera."
This raises a whole bunch of other questions - including why did douchebag Novak write his second column 'outing' Brewster Jennings, and why did the administration take so much heat for 'outing' Brewster Jennings (when they outed Plame) if they didn't actually out Brewster Jennings? A very clever blogger suggested to me privately (and I'd credit them with the idea but I haven't asked for permission) that the administration realized that they'd got themselves in trouble after outing Plame, and so they decided to reach back to the Brewster Jennings claim so that they could pretend that they were working off old (not new, not classified) information (given that Brewster Jennings had been wound down 2 years earlier.)
Under this hypothesis, it appears, the administration/OVP realized they were on very shaky legal ground, and were happy to take the hits to what is left of their reputation by riding out the 'OMG! They outed Brewster Jennings!' fallacy, rather than risk shedding light on the fact that they were just using the old Brewster Jennings information as a CYA mechanism. At least, that's how we can (conceivably) read the story given what we know publicly - they may very well have used the 'but Brewster Jennings is long defunct!' argument behind closed doors. Regardless, their silence on this issue is deafening.
As an aside, I also want to share this anecdote from my interview with Kill The Messenger director Mathieu Verboud:
Mathieu Verboud: Coming back to Grossman, exposing his role would have been interesting for the film, but the guy being what he is, there was no way that he would have given an interview if we had brought up any kind of charges. So we decided to just let him talk, give us his vision of Turkey...
Then we tested him - we asked him about Valerie Plame - and it was amazing to see his face change! He had the nerves to say that he didn’t know anything about Valerie Plame, or about Brewster Jennings - which is simply false! As mentioned earlier, his name had already appeared publicly in the Valerie Plame's case! Anyway, we didn't point out to that simple fact and fended off.
Next, we just mentioned that there was this little woman of Turkish origin whose name was mentioned in an article in Vanity Fair speaking about FBI and Turkey... His face changed again, and he came up with this answer: "Vanity Fair? I am afraid it is not a magazine I read!" We then asked him directly about Sibel Edmonds and he said that he didn't know anything about her. Even the name was "unfamiliar".
Luke Ryland: That's hysterical. When was that interview?
MV: early May 2006.
LR: (laughs) Oh that's great. And he's never heard of Sibel Edmonds and Valerie Plame. That's fantastic. I'd love to see that footage.
MV: Well - if we ever sell this film in the U.S, we will consider adding a small chapter on him.
In any case, it'll be interesting to see if any of this comes out in the hearings today. As you know, Waxman knows all of this - Sibel has briefed his office in classified hearings - and it appears that he is going to make a decision (& announcement) early next week about whether he will hold separate hearings into her case.
Please call Congressmen Waxman's office - (202) 225-3976 - and demand open hearings into Sibel's case.
Here's yesterday's diary, in toto, in case you missed it: "What the heck is Sibel Edmonds' Case about? And why should I care?":
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 articleby 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 muchof 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 articlein 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 reportedin 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 saysthat, 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 interviewwith 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 interviewwith 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 articlein 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
2426 Rayburn Building
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-0072 Fax