Monday, August 18, 2008


"And when I say the entire system being rotten, I mean Congress that is enthralled to corporate backers, and approving their aggressive foreign policy that enriches themselves, and does nothing to secure the American people or the interests of most American people."
~ Joe Lauria.

Here's the latest from Luke Ryland on the Sibel Edmonds case. The main theme of this work is the utter worthlessness of the American media, particularly with regard to Sibel's case, but the theme can be applied to many other cases as well, including that of the Kurds:


Last week, Scott Horton interviewed (audio) investigative journalist Joe Lauria. Lauria was one of the co-authors of the three-part (1, 2, 3) series on the case of former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds for the UK's Sunday Times.

In the interview Lauria discusses the Sibel Edmonds case, the state of the US media, and the Military Industrial Complex in the context of his new book with presidential candidate Mike Gravel: "A Political Odyssey: The Rise of American Militarism and One Mans Fight to Stop It".

In the interview, Lauria says that he spoke at length to the three FBI agents who were Sibel's immediate bosses at the FBI and that they "corroborated in general terms, that this story is true."

Lauria describes how he recently interviewed one of the FBI agents at his home for 90 minutes, and met another of Sibel's former bosses several times outside his house. The agents are unwilling to provide detailed corroboration on a lot of the details in the case because they fear being sent to prison, but their willingness to speak to Lauria about the case, and their supportive statements that "She's not crazy," provide generalized corroboration on the case.

The FBI itself is not happy that Lauria and the Sunday Times are still looking into the Edmonds case and they made a "formal complaint" with the Sunday Times (a British media outlet!) that Lauria stay away from the agents.

David Rose, author of the Vanity Fair article on Sibel's case, and the only other journalist who has been able to speak to some of the first-hand sources - from the FBI, Dept of Justice, and Congress - in Sibel's case, also reported how fearful his sources are:

"The people that I talked to about these tapes are extremely nervous. There is a climate in America now which is punitive towards people who are suspected of disclosing information without authorization to journalists. The approach of the Bush administration is to punish people who come forward."

The good news is that Joe Lauria and the Times have a lot more information about the case that they haven't yet published, and are still actively investigating - 8 months after their first article was published, and 6 years since Sibel first went to Congress. It is no wonder that the FBI is nervous and issuing formal complaints.

Case Background

Lauria gave a good summary of the nuclear black market element of Sibel's case:

"What Sibel revealed to us, and has been revealing little by little since January, is that she has heard that there was a nuclear procurement ring operating inside the US to procure nuclear designs and parts for the AQ Khan network, and it was done not through Pakistani intelligence directly, but through the Turkish embassy.

"Turkish businessmen who got the information and gave it to Turkish military attaches, who then turned it over to the ISI, and from there went on to the nuclear black market. To procure these parts and designs, high government US officials helped facilitate Turkish-Israeli PhD students to get into nuclear facilities in the US, they worked with the RAND corporation as well, some moles with RAND to help get this information. There was at least one American company, Giza Technologies, that was helping with parts, probably there were others, and this thing went on from 1995 at least until 2002, and it could still be going on - when this operation was shut down by the Dept of Defense and the State Dept.

"Now, Sibel tells us that high government officials inside those two departments - Defense and State - were involved in this ring. She has named them on her website - at least, she has not named them, she has photographs of people - other bloggers have named them."

US Media

Lauria excoriates the US media in the interview:

"Centrism is the philosophy of the American media - and that essentially backs the status quo, when you're a centrist, and this game of objectivity that they play is really limited by parameters that you're allowed to ask questions and to investigate and in a sense then you're transmitting these assumptions, and reinforcing every day that the US is really a functioning democracy


"The mindset of the American mainstream press does not allow certain ideas to easily filter through: the idea that high-ranking US officials might actually be facilitating this... It's entertainment all the time, the presidential campaign is entertainment, and do you actually think that these guys would actually go in there and make changes, whoever wins, when behind this wall of entertainment put forward by news media and the entertainment industry is a murky world of terrorism, nuclear procurement ring, of CIA, of the FBI working - and this rarely breaks through to the mainstream press...

"They rarely look at the entire system being rotten, not just one official here or there being rotten, and they pat themselves on the back. And when I say the entire system being rotten, I mean Congress that is enthralled to corporate backers, and approving their aggressive foreign policy that enriches themselves, and does nothing to secure the American people or the interests of most American people. That is not even in the discussion in the mainstream press, so this Boston Globe reporter was unable to conceive easily that a government official could have been nvolved."

Sibel's Comments

I asked Sibel for a comment about the interview, she replied:

"Again and again you see journalists in this country who think that their job consists of nothing more than phoning the FBI press office to ask for a comment. Only two journalists have spoken to actual first-hand sources about my case; David Rose who is British, and Joe Lauria working for a British newspaper. Why is it that only these two reporters were able to speak to sources at the Dept of Justice, at the FBI, and in Congress who are familiar with the details of my case?

"The agents that Joe Lauria spoke with are very familiar with all the details of the case because I worked directly with them. Yes, it is true that these sources are very nervous about speaking out because they fear the legal repercussions, however they shouldn't have anything to fear, because they know that it is illegal for the government to classify anything for the purpose of hiding criminality. As I've been saying from the beginning, Congress needs to hold hearings and put us all under oath where we are protected so long as we tell the truth."

It is time for hearings. All it takes is one congressman to hold hearings, or to read the classified information into the public record. Who will stand up?


A full transcript of Scott Horton's interview of Joe Lauria is at Luke's blog, Against All Enemies. Luke's recent work can be viewed at Let Sibel Edmonds Speak and, with comments, at DailyKos. In the interview transcript, there is much more on Sibel's case, The Times investigation into her case from the nuclear blackmarketing and proliferation angle, and how truly pathetic the bullshit American media really is.

In other news, it shouldn't be surprising to learn that a regime which already has two genocides under its belt is now hosting Sudan's war criminal, Omar al-Beshir during an Africa conference in Istanbul. The conference is being held because Turkey's campaigning for its first chance at one of the non-permanent UN Security Council seats in 2009/2010.

In another vain attempt to knock a sense of morality into the Ankara regime, Human Rights Watch issued a call for Turkey to do the right thing.

Some people never learn.

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