Friday, October 13, 2006

THE F-35 JSF AND THE KURDS

"The overwhelming conclusion I have drawn from my life in journalism -- nearly thirty years so far . . . -- is that the American press, powerful as it unquestionably is and protected though it may be by the Constitution and the laws, is not often ``robust and uninhibited'' but is usually timid and anxious -- for respectability at least as much as for profitability."
~ Tom Wicker, "On Press," 1978.


The hevals at KurdishInfo have published an update on the Joe Ralston conflict of interest. This one has to do with the sale of the new Lockheed Martin F-35 JSF to Turkey.

Gelek sipas, birayên min.

Turkey will decide by the end of the year whether it will purchase only the F-35, only the Eurofighter, or a combination of the two.

Last week, TDN reported that, in addition to finalizing the deal on new military attack helicopters, the F-35 JSF project would be discussed at the October meeting of the Defense Industry Executive committee:


He [Murad Bayar, head of the Undersecretariat for the Defense Industry (SSM)] said they wanted to finalize the project as soon as possible, noting that the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) project would also be on the meeting's agenda. Bayar stressed the importance of the JSF project and added that it and other projects would be discussed at this month's meeting but that their priority was to finalize the ATAK project.


This meeting is scheduled for next Wednesday, 18 October. Committee members include the following: Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Chief of General Staff General Yasar Buyukanit and Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul.

Isn't it nice that Old Joe Ralston is in town this week to hobnob with the very people that help make Lockheed Martin the world's largest defense contractor? Don't be alarmed. That noise you hear is merely the sound of billions of US taxpayer dollars being sucked into Turkey. After all, as an ally of the US, the US owes it to Turkey, so Turkey can continue to occupy North Kurdistan and North Cyprus . . . and take over all those oilfields in South Kurdistan.

CHA-CHING!

Way to go, Joe.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

While the subject matter is important and you deserve credit in bringing to our attention these scandalous relationship between Ralston, Lockheed Martin and Turkey, you are making errors and drawing irrelevant conclusions from the material you have.

Firstly, you seem to treat the subject more like an internationalist revolutionary who is on a crusade to defeat American imperialism world wide, and less, much less, like a Kurdish activist who is fighting to free his people from the clutch of a thousand-year-old Turkish imperialism.

Why concentrate so much on the general, well known relationships between the US military/industrial complex, managed by retired soldiers, and successive US administrations (not just the G. W. Bush administration)? Shouldn't you be concentrating on the particular? On Ralston? On Turkey? On this specific arms sale? On how this may affect Ralston's judgement in carrying out his duty as the anti-PKK coordinator?

If you are going to further examine this subject you'd better stay on the ball. You ought to think, speak and write like a genuine Kurdish activist who has a genuine national cause to fight for, not like a token Kurdish trainee of Justin Raimondo's antiwar.com who would not care one iota as to what happens to Kurds and our freedom struggle, so long as there is Bush-bashing, Barzani-bashing somewhere.

Secondly, you are trying to pull this Ralston's conflict of interest issue towards an anti-southern Kurdish leaderhip direction. In other words, just because they met and engaged Ralston, you are portraying the Kurdish administration, as though they are in Turkey's and Lockheed Martin's pocket.

This is a serious factual and analytical error. Ralston did not go to Kurdistan to sell arms but to press on the Kurdish administration to facilitate a PKK ceasefire. Since this may help legitimize the "terorist" PKK, the Southern Kurdish leadership would only be too happy to oblige. Make no mistake: Had Ralston decided to go to the Qandil HQ of the PKK, he would have been most welcomed, with the widest open arms. Not one PKK official would have dared to ask him about his Lockheed Martin and ATC connections, and nobody -that includes you too- would have considered the PKK in the pocket of "dirty-war" profiteers.

My third complaint is more technical. I think you ought to concentrate on the yet unsigned, unpaid, unbuilt and undelivered arms deal that included 30 F-16s. The next generation F-35 project is moving fairly slowly and is still at an experimental stage. No doubt Lockheed Martin Sales Agent Joseph Ralston would have discussed both matters with his Turkish clients. But if you want to affect the Turkish participation in the F-35 project, first you must dent the recently approved F-16 deal. If this deal can be exposed as corrupt, considering Ralston's conflict of interest, other dealswill be under greater scrutiny.

Let me say again that you deserve credit and congratulations in following up this conflict of interest that Ralston has, but how you go about it is important too. If you are not careful, and if you try to twist the facts and conclusions to fit into your narrow Justin Raimondo-like "internationalist" view, then you won't be able to persuade many other Kurdish activists however serious the issue may be.

Shexmus Amed

Shexmus Amed said...

While the subject matter is important and you deserve credit in bringing to our attention these scandalous relationship between Ralston, Lockheed Martin and Turkey, you are making errors and drawing irrelevant conclusions from the material you have.

Firstly, you seem to treat the subject more like an internationalist revolutionary who is on a crusade to defeat American imperialism world wide, and less, much less, like a Kurdish activist who is fighting to free his people from the clutch of a thousand-year-old Turkish imperialism.

Why concentrate so much on the general, well known relationships between the US military/industrial complex, managed by retired soldiers, and successive US administrations (not just the G. W. Bush administration)? Shouldn't you be concentrating on the particular? On Ralston? On Turkey? On this specific arms sale? On how this may affect Ralston's judgement in carrying out his duty as the anti-PKK coordinator?

If you are going to further examine this subject you'd better stay on the ball. You ought to think, speak and write like a genuine Kurdish activist who has a genuine national cause to fight for, not like a token Kurdish trainee of Justin Raimondo's antiwar.com who would not care one iota as to what happens to Kurds and our freedom struggle, so long as there is Bush-bashing, Barzani-bashing somewhere.

Secondly, you are trying to pull this Ralston's conflict of interest issue towards an anti-southern Kurdish leaderhip direction. In other words, just because they met and engaged Ralston, you are portraying the Kurdish administration, as though they are in Turkey's and Lockheed Martin's pocket.

This is a serious factual and analytical error. Ralston did not go to Kurdistan to sell arms but to press on the Kurdish administration to facilitate a PKK ceasefire. Since this may help legitimize the "terorist" PKK, the Southern Kurdish leadership would only be too happy to oblige. Make no mistake: Had Ralston decided to go to the Qandil HQ of the PKK, he would have been most welcomed, with the widest open arms. Not one PKK official would have dared to ask him about his Lockheed Martin and ATC connections, and nobody -that includes you too- would have considered the PKK in the pocket of "dirty-war" profiteers.

Shexmus Amed said...

While the subject matter is important and you deserve credit in bringing to our attention these scandalous relationship between Ralston, Lockheed Martin and Turkey, you are making errors and drawing irrelevant conclusions from the material you have.

Firstly, you seem to treat the subject more like an internationalist revolutionary who is on a crusade to defeat American imperialism world wide, and less, much less, like a Kurdish activist who is fighting to free his people from the clutch of a thousand-year-old Turkish imperialism.

Why concentrate so much on the general, well known relationships between the US military/industrial complex, managed by retired soldiers, and successive US administrations (not just the G. W. Bush administration)? Shouldn't you be concentrating on the particular? On Ralston? On Turkey? On this specific arms sale? On how this may affect Ralston's judgement in carrying out his duty as the anti-PKK coordinator?

If you are going to further examine this subject you'd better stay on the ball. You ought to think, speak and write like a genuine Kurdish activist who has a genuine national cause to fight for, not like a token Kurdish trainee of Justin Raimondo's antiwar.com who would not care one iota as to what happens to Kurds and our freedom struggle, so long as there is Bush-bashing, Barzani-bashing somewhere.

Secondly, you are trying to pull this Ralston's conflict of interest issue towards an anti-southern Kurdish leaderhip direction. In other words, just because they met and engaged Ralston, you are portraying the Kurdish administration, as though they are in Turkey's and Lockheed Martin's pocket.

This is a serious factual and analytical error. Ralston did not go to Kurdistan to sell arms but to press on the Kurdish administration to facilitate a PKK ceasefire. Since this may help legitimize the "terorist" PKK, the Southern Kurdish leadership would only be too happy to oblige. Make no mistake: Had Ralston decided to go to the Qandil HQ of the PKK, he would have been most welcomed, with the widest open arms. Not one PKK official would have dared to ask him about his Lockheed Martin and ATC connections, and nobody -that includes you too- would have considered the PKK in the pocket of "dirty-war" profiteers.

My third complaint is more technical. I think you ought to concentrate on the yet unsigned, unpaid, unbuilt and undelivered arms deal that included 30 F-16s. The next generation F-35 project is moving fairly slowly and is still at an experimental stage. No doubt Lockheed Martin Sales Agent Joseph Ralston would have discussed both matters with his Turkish clients. But if you want to affect the Turkish participation in the F-35 project, first you must dent the recently approved F-16 deal. If this deal can be exposed as corrupt, considering Ralston's conflict of interest, other dealswill be under greater scrutiny.

Let me say again that you deserve credit and congratulations in following up this conflict of interest that Ralston has, but how you go about it is important too. If you are not careful, and if you try to twist the facts and conclusions to fit into your narrow Justin Raimondo-like "internationalist" view, then you won't be able to persuade many other Kurdish activists however serious the issue may be.

Shexmus Amed

sHx said...

Three almost identical comments:). I think I got it all technically right on the third try.

cheers
sHx

Mizgîn said...

Thank you for your comments Shexmus, even though predicated with backhanded compliments.

Let's see, where have I mentioned Barzani's name in connection with any of this, to bash or do otherwise?

I made a reply to you in a previous post:

What will Baghdad get out of this deal, as part of the trilateral "PKK coordinating committee?" What did Talabani get out of it? What exactly are KDP and PUK doing in DC? With whom are they lobbying? For what are they lobbying? Whose interests do they serve?

If all of Ralston's connections are so "well-known," as you mention, then why haven't the KDP or PUK, located in Washington DC, reported anything about them? You were the one in that same post to comment about what a shameful neglect this was on the part of Kurdish media. If you believe it is so, then isn't it also shameful neglect on the part of those Kurdish parties who have offices in Washington? Or perhaps Ralston's connections aren't "well-known," as I suggested. Or perhaps the F-16 deal was kept tightly under wraps until it did reach Congress, which would have been in both Lockheed Martin's and Turkey's interest.

You are the one to bring Barzani's name into this. You are the one to mention that Ralston went to the Barzani's fortress in Salahaddin. Why is that you are suddenly on the defensive about something I never mentioned?

But as you say, the fact is that Ralston DID go to Salahaddin and not to Qendîl. To make the speculation that you make about PKK's possible response to a Ralston visit is to engage in a serious factual and analytical error, since we know that the US has sent officials to Qendîl several times since March, 2003, and nothing has come of these visits.

Ralston did not have to go to Salahaddin to "sell arms," and your comment to that effect indicates that you do not understand the nature of The Cohen Group's business. On the other hand, perhaps you do understand it . . . too well.

Naturally you will provide a source from the two articles published elsewhere that I portrayed the "Kurdish administration as though they are in Turkey's and Lockheed Martin's pocket."

I have labeled Ralston's appointment as a conflict of interest. Does that not suggest to you that I believe his connections will affect his judgement on matters concerning Turkish-occupied Kurdistan? That brings up another question: What exactly are Ralston's duties with regard to his appointment as "PKK coordinator?" The White House has not sent me a memo outlining Ralston's specific duties yet, but if and when the White House does that, I'll make sure to publish it.

The F-16 deal is a done deal. The fact that the request was sent to Congress is merely a meaningless formality. The F-35 deal has the potential to reach far into the future and that is why the focus needs to be shifted to the F-35. Both articles on these deals, published on other sites, were documented with footnotes providing my sources. If you wish to use those to prove that I am "twisting" facts, please do so.

I care neither about credit nor congratulations. I want the information about this conflict of interest, in general, to be brought to the attention of the public, and that is what I work for, in my limited free time, without pay.

If none of that is "genuine" enough for you, then please, ignore me.

Shexmus Amed said...

My friend Mizgin, neither of us are professionals. We are both ordinary grassroots commentators. Amateurs, looking up to professionals. That is always a good thing when it comes from the grassroots.

But it is much better when we strive to maintain the same standards to our culture of debate.

Take this, for example, from your reply:

"If all of Ralston's connections are so "well-known," as you mention, then why haven't the KDP or PUK, located in Washington DC, reported anything about them?"

Now I really don't like starting a reply by saying that "I never said this and this" particularly when it is so manifestly obvious in my previous comments. It breaks one's spirit to engage in genuine positive dialogue, not just steal valuable time, when one has to correct a blatant mistake at the start. Talk about factual and analytical error.

But here I will say it: I never said, "as you mention", that Ralston's connections are so well-known. In fact I didn't know anything about it until I heard it from you. And I have been among the fairly few who actively spread the word. So just where do you get the idea that I claim Ralston's conflict of interest is so well-known.

Here is what I said:

"Why concentrate so much on the general, well known relationships between the US military/industrial complex, managed by retired soldiers, and successive US administrations (not just the G. W. Bush administration)? Shouldn't you be concentrating on the particular? On Ralston? On Turkey? On this specific arms sale? On how this may affect Ralston's judgement in carrying out his duty as the anti-PKK coordinator?"

As you can see I am urging you to focus on this PARTICULAR and UNKNOWN relationship between Ralston, Lockheed Martin and Turkey, instead of GENERAL and WELL-KNOWN relationship between arms manufacturers, retired soldiers and past and present US administrations.

If you fcous on Ralston's conflict of interest as a US envoy and as a Lockheed Martin sales agent, then you are being specific, seeking a specific, key outcome that will protect or benefit Kurdistan national liberation movement. This will make you a genuine Kurdish activist.

The moment you lose this focus, you are no longer an activist in touch with his own people's needs, but rather a "world activist" on an ideological crusade.

I hope this would have clarified things but let me continue.

We Kurds cannot afford to be world activists, because unlike other "world activists", we are a stateless people. We have no state that can offer us Kurds protection. We do not have our own Kurdish state that we as Kurds can own up to or rebel against as we wish.

We Kurdish activists (you and I and others) have fundamental differences shaping our political mind and hence fundamentally different agendas with "world activists". We Kurdish activists want a change of status quo in the region. World activists by and large do not want a change of status quo. I dare say they are even against a free and independent Kurdistan because, as they love saying, "Turkey would oppose/invade".

I would like to see Kurdish activists equipped with liberation values rather than unapplicable universal values.

When we have a free and independent state flying our own flag, when we can take refuge in the protection offered by a Kurdish passport, then, and only then we can afford to be anti-nationalists like all other world activists and burn our flags and passports when necessary in protest of our own Kurdish state.

So there I spent time engaging you. Clearly you are a dedicated, hard-working, intelligent fellow, but you are in need of fine tuning as a Kurdish activist. Moreover, my compliments were not backhanded. You earned them. But criticism still must be made, if there is need for one.

Oh, by the way, do you know anything about a dozen or so F-16s that were paid by and built years ago for Pakistan, the US ally in War on Terror, has not yet been delivered? A really puzzling matter, if you think everything runs on auto-pilot in Washington.

Shexmus Amed

hiwa said...

Keep commenting Shexmus, she "earned" them!

enjoyed the discussion!

Mizgîn said...

As for amateurs vs. professionals, Shexmus Amed, I have a very difficult time with authority figures so I'm not likely to "look up" to someone else simply because they are professional, especially when all power comes from the grassroots.

By the way, check the derivation of the word "amateur" to find its essence. Then compare it with the essence of the word, "professional."

I don't like having to start out a reply by saying "I never said such and such," either, but you had forced me to do that as well.

You still have not provided a source for your claim that I am a "world activist," and by implication, not a "genuine Kurdish activist." We shall leave it, therefore, as an unproven claim.

Let me think. . . .which Kurdish political party pursues the course of a free and independent Kurdistan . . . . hmmmm. . . . can't think of a single one. But I can think of a couple of Kurdish political parties who are willing to go along with the status quo by using the excuse "Turkey will oppose/invade." I guess they are "world activists" too, totally bereft of proper "liberation values." But, they probably do have a very good business sense.

I can't believe you would spend so much time opposing my "world activist" status and yet try to use that same "world activist" status to ask me about an F-16 deal with Pakistan. You should make Google one of your best friends.

The next time I write anything about F-16's, I'll make sure to focus on the particular and unknown connections between Ralston, Lockheed Martin, and Turkey, in order to suggest that there may be a serious conflict of interest because of the connections. Just give me some time to check with Google.

You really don't like the F-35 thing. I wonder why? It's too bad you couldn't simply come out and explain why, but instead had to engage in an ad hominem argument instead.

philip said...

Come on, you two, kiss and make up.

This is how promising movements fail, when dedicated activists who agree on about 98% of the issues start focusing on the remaining 2% rather than putting their heads together how to defeat The Enemy(ies).

Anonymous said...

Good post Rasti, there are a lot of people who appriciate your work :)

Mizgîn said...

Gelek sipas, heval.