Thursday, October 12, 2006


In a democratic society, you're supposed to be an activist; that is, you participate. It could be a letter written to an editor.
~ Studs Terkel.

The International Herald Tribune has an article on Joe Ralston's arrival in Turkey for more talks with Turkish officials on "coordinating" the Kurdish freedom movement.

The article notes that the PKK called a unilateral ceasefire that went into effect on 1 October, but that the Turkish government has ignored the ceasefire. The American government has ignored the ceasefire also.

The fact is, the Turkish army continues its operations as if there had been no change in the status of hostilities.

The IHT article also notes former Turkish General Edip Baser's comments on Turkish NTV:

In an interview with NTV television late Tuesday, Baser would not elaborate on measures he would discuss with Ralston but said the steps would not be "immediately visible" and urged patience. Baser said there were several ways to combat terrorism, including cutting off all political, financial and logistical support.

Perhaps old Edip didn't want to elaborate because he and Joe will be discussing something besides ways to counter PKK . . . It might be far more lucrative for both the American and Turkish PKK coordinators to discuss ways to sweeten the purchase of a new fleet of Lockheed Martin F-35 JSF's.

Nowhere in the article is there any hint of the conflict of interest that the appointment of Joe Raslton as the American PKK coordinator creates. There is no mention of Joe Ralston as a member of the Board of Directors of Lockheed Martin, of his vice-chairmanship with a private lobby firm, The Cohen Group (to which Lockheed Martin paid $550,000 in 2005 for services rendered), nor is there any mention of Joe Ralston's position on the 2006 Board of Advisors for the American Turkish Council (ATC).

Remember, the ATC is Turkey's premier lobby group in the US and has previously been the subject of FBI counter-intelligence investigations.

The good thing about this article is that it gives us the opportunity to provide the IHT with feedback, and enlighten the editors about the conflict of interest that Joseph Ralston's appointment as PKK coordinator creates. This conflict of interest makes it impossible to believe that either the US or Turkey is sincere in ending the 22-year-old conflict against the Kurdish people.

Whoever has time, please send an email to the editors of IHT at, and let them know about the conflict of interest. In fact, even if you think you don't have time, make the time. This is your opportunity to help us get this news into the mainstream media.

Like I always say: Shit happens, but not unless we make it happen.

Gelek sipas û Serkeftin!


madtom said...

I'm not sure I understand what Lockheed has to do with the Kurdish issues?

I am happy to hear that the PKK has issued a ceasefire, that's always a start. Do you think that events or pressure from Iraqi Kurdistan have anything to do with that?
You think that someone might have made a deal over Kirkuk?

Mizgîn said...

Madtom, this is the PKK's fifth unilateral ceasefire. Both Turkey and the US have ignored it, and America's ally continues its operations against the gerîlas. These are the warmongers, but only because it's good for business, not because any of them really believe in anything but their own bank accounts.

Lockheed Martin has everything to do with the Turkish oppression of the Kurdish people. For 50 years, it's been selling to Turkey many of the weapons Turkey uses to murder Kurdish civilians (I mean, you don't think the recent 40,000 dead are all gerîlas, right?).

Now the Americans have appointed a member of the Board of Directors of Lockheed Martin to be the PKK coordinator to Turkey--Joseph Ralston. He's also a vice-chairman of The Cohen Group--a private lobbying firm for the defense industry--and he's on the 2006 Board of Advisors of the ATC.

This is how these people earn their living--by killing Kurds. Same old story.

Anonymous said...

Gen. Joseph Ralston addressed a group here in Anchorage, Alaska today. He clearly was uncomfortable addressing the conflict as a member of the Lockheed Martin board of directors. We did not even address the issue of his status as a registered lobbyist for Lockheed Martin as part of the Cohen Group.

Gen. Ralston may indeed bring a positive force to the whole PKK issue...which appears at first blush to be a lose-lose situation. But the Lockheed connections really cloud the issue.

Here sits Gen. Ralston: Presidential Envoy; registered lobbyist for both the American Turkish Council and Lockheed Martin.

Hmmm. The f-16 deal is a done deal. Next on the dock is a $10 billion purchase of the new Lockheed Martin F-35 JSF aircraft.


Mizgîn said...

Anonymous, what exactly did Ralston say in answer to the question? Paraphrasing will do.