Monday, January 02, 2006

SIbel interview

i spoke to sibel edmonds - see here for background as to how this came about. the summary version is this from an email from her:
Now that I've discovered your site, I can send people (reporters) to your site. That's why I want to know a bit more about you, and how you ended up on the right track.
we didnt really discuss how i ended up on the 'right track' (see here for my summary of the sibel story so far) - but the answer is that Sibel has already laid out much of the story for anyone to see. scott horton and christopher deliso have interviewed her repeatedly and provided all of the details, except the grossman thing (which i think came from this post from xymphora).

i think that a main source of her frustration is that she thinks that she is providing many of the relevant dots, but she cant find anyone to connect them all. nearly everyone else, she says, wanders "off on a totally irrelevant road." it must drive her batty.

we had a great chat. 90 minutes (i think, i couldnt believe my clock!). she is charming and funny and friendly, and kinda normal.

she asked me about my background - i think she thought i was some kind of journo or something. she was flattering to the work that ive done on this story, not that ive done much more than repeat her own words. i guess she has been exasperated by journos who have been getting the story wrong for so long.

here are my notes:

sibel's team have launched another case under Federal Tort Claims Act - basically she is suing the FBI. the reason she is doing it is so that they can keep a case open, and subpoena people (eg the ATC). there is more detail than ever in the court filing which is available here (pdf)

sibel noted that Plame & Wilson met at the ATC, and that plame had travelled to turkey at least 5 times for BrewsterJennings.

Sibel shares my suspicion that Plame was outed in order to expose Brewster Jennings - rather than some attack on Wilson - and she noted that Grossman had ordered up the memo on Plame, which i've noted before.

sibel has previously 'un-exonerated' Brent Scowcroft (after the VF article) from being involved in the criminal networks that she describes. Given Scowcroft's role in the events leading up to plame's outing, I asked sibel about the possibility that Scowcroft deliberately orchestrated the outing of BJ, and if so, whether plame and wilson were witting or unwitting participants. Her answer was something along the lines that she doesnt know if Scowcroft is involved in the darkside of the ATC, and she didnt really have any opinion whether the Wilsons were complicit, but i got the sense that she probably thinks they are innocent.

I asked her if Zbigniew Brzezinski's outfit - American Committee for Peace in Chechnya - was similar to the ATC - but she didnt know anything about that. the ACPC is *full* of neocon types.

apparently there's some deal with the judge on her case - reggie walton. he is an ex-drug czar under Bush1. apparently walton's financial records are 100% redacted - although the records are due to be unredacted on jan1, 2006, but the expectation is that the judge will appeal. more about that here

Sibel said that she first took her story to bob woodward - he spent a few hours with her, taking copius notes, and then decided to pass on the story. he was writing Plan of Attack at the time and for some reason eventually handled over the story to James Grimaldi, who did a story in July 02.

She said that when she did her 60 minutes piece Oct27 2002, she laid out many elements of her story on film for 2 hours. the final piece was only 15 minutes long - and they left out most of her explosive charges, and focussed on the mundane issues - bureaucracy and whatnot. i wonder if there's anything new in that footage and if she has (or can get) a video of those 2 hours, or a transcript?

Sibel said she was a fan/friend of brad at bradblog - and they are going to launch a new campaign together soon. she also said that she was a fan of Paul Thompson at - ive never read him but i guess he writes about her story.

Sibel also talked about Giza Technologies (link)- they are the NJ company exposed in the 2004 LATimes article as a trafficker in nuclear switches and what have you. Sibel made the point that everything about Giza is turkish - including all the employees - and she says they are involved in "illegal weapons procurement" - and are active in Turkey, Israel Spain, Dubai, Pakistan...

I asked her whether she points to that LATimes Giza article as an example of how the crime network operates, or whether she was pointing to Giza specifically. her answer basically was that Giza is one example, but there arent many examples around - i.e. Giza is still a big player in this stuff and we should continue to looking at it. Sibel noted that Karni (from giza) was arrested, then released on $75k bail - he is the "South Africa-based Israeli linked to a Pakistani importer in Islamabad continues to mire Pakistan in another nuclear scandal." (link).
Karni later plead guilty and got 36 months, although he had "faced a sentencing range of 87 to 108 months under the United States Sentencing Guidelines" (link)

sibel then said that Humayun Khan (giza's/Karni's client) plays the same role as AQ Khan.

(i'll assume that the NSA were spying on the phonecall - guys, if you are reading this blog now, can you pls send me a copy of the tape? my notes arent great - thanks.)

She also said something about the Nuclear Black Market article - and it sounds like think she pulls her hair out in frustration at the fact that the banks in cyprus, malta, dubai and other similar places dont get investigated...

my notes then say "General Schmitz - IG DOD. Resigned. Pogo" - im not exactly sure what that means - but pogo will have the details. here's his .mil bio . apparently he was in trouble for some reason, (the boeing scandal?) and then went to work for blackwater. actually, perhaps he was the guy who did the 'investigation' into the dickersons?
(he's a Federalist, and a member of the "Sovereign Military Order of Malta", fwiw )

Sibel then (kinda) mentioned that she was quite 'aware' of BrewsterJennings from her time at the FBI (although she used some odd phrasiology, apparently to satisfy the gag-order). This is probably the most significant piece of news (to me).
if we make a bunch of assumptions, we can assume that sibel overheard people at the ATC and the ATA talking about the fact that BJ is involved in counterproliferation of WMD. 2 questions: a) how would these people know that? b) what were they discussing/plotting? (plame wasnt outed till 15 months after sibel left the fbi)

I asked her whether she thought that the total absence of turkish translators at the FBI pre-911 was by design. she didnt really have an opinion on that (surprisingly) - but she did say that the FBI occasionally borrowed translators from the DoD - therefore it wasnt entirely accurate to state that there was no turkish translations at all. she mentioned one woman - Ebru someoneorother - from the DoD who had previously done some translation work at the FBI.
i cant really remember the story about her, other than she left and ended up at an AF Base in Germany; where Dickersons were based at the time

Sibel mentioned the mafia nature of the Turkish business establisment - in particular she mentioned Celebi as one of the key players - apparently they are involved in an arms trading cartel, and they ship narcotics in the cargo of their planes as they zoom around.

One of the Celebi family members is chairmen in the Turkish American Cultural Association (TACA) in Illinois. (Sibel has often pointed to both chicago, and also to 'cultural exchanges').

Sibel often talks about semi-legit organisations - i asked her whether that includes government agencies like DEA and USAID and the NED - she said that she didnt know of their involvement. when she mentions 'semi-legit organisations', she usually means:
a) lobbying groups (like AIPAC, and the ATC and the ATA etc)
b) 'cultural associations' - presumably TACA is included on her list.
c) companies (Giza, EKA)

she doesnt have any knowledge of bolton's involvement - she said 'i read your post on bolton, and I have No DIRECT info about that.' i think she was talking about this post. she did suggest that he was probably involved ('look at who he hangs out with').

I asked her about Edelman, and she thinks he is deeply involved - in fact, she included him in the list of 4 - Grossman, Edelman, Perle & Feith.

I asked Sibel whether Grossman was still actively involved in his new role at his current employer, the Cohen Group (yes, that cohen), and she answered that Cohen is a Platinum Sponsor at the Sponsor of the ATC. this is also quite interesting - although i always assumed that these people never actually retire from their 'businesses'.

I asked her about Charlie Black, and she doesnt know anything about him.

I asked her about other turkish ambassadors Parris (post-grossman) and Wilson (incoming) and she didnt know about them either.

so there you go. that was our phone call. are we any closer to the truth? We certainly have lots of new leads, and direction. I'll try to put some more of the pieces together in the next little while. stay tuned.

(sibel read this before i posted it, and made some minor corrections)


Miguel said...

I am glad I found this blog. I have also watched the Edmonds case with much interest and have been quite shocked that the mainstream media has dropped the ball. I know a few other people on the Net who have followed the case with interest and I intend to direct them to your blog.

I have written a couple of articles on Online Journal about the case, but I'm probably one of those people who can't completely connect the dots. It is extremely complex, and requires a lot of work. Thankfully, Ms. Edmonds has pioneered the art of dancing around a gag art form I hope future whistleblowers can emulate.

As for Wilson, I have to admit I am highly suspicious of him. He is an ex-State Dept. hand, and served on the Defense Subcommittee of the ATC. My guess is Brewster, Jennings was monitoring...but making no effort to STOP the proliferation of U.S. nuclear secrets.

Anonymous said...

hi mike. thanks.

can you link to the articles you wrote pls? thnx.

yeah - sibel is great at providing hints. i'm surprised that others can't manage the same.

i'm not sure about Wilson - my tendency is to assume that he is a good guy - although it's a close call. curiously, he graduated UCSB the same year that Grossman did.


lukery said...

(oops - that post was from me)

Miguel said...

Here are links to the last two articles I wrote:

Nothing necessarily groundbreaking in these. My purpose has been to try and prod the liberal/antiwar bloggers to pick up the ball on this story. It's easy to criticize the corporate media- and I believe that is something we should continue to do- but The Nation, Talking Points Memo, American Prospect and other influential alternative media have also ignored Sibel Edmonds.

As for Joe Wilson, another possibility exists. Could he have been passing info about the ATC's activities to his wife Valerie? Just a thought.

Hey, great blog you have by the way.

lukery said...

cheers. they are both good articles.

you are correct, it would be great to see some people in the media asking some questions.

again - im a bit murky about the causality and direction of the wilson/plame/atc connection. its very possible that they arent innocent. for pure literary value, i'd love it if the Wilson's orchestrated her 'outing' because they were getting kickbacks that they wanted to protect. pure machiavellian genius.

Anonymous said...

Interesting speculation. The Daily Kos comments get annoying when people start whining about not having smoking gun documents and sworn confessions.

Tenet: IMO, the guy was complicit in everything Bush Co. was doing. If you read Risen's book, it makes it clear that Tenet was a very bad guy. So one thing that hasn't been made clear is how Tenet got left out of the Plame loop. IOW, if the official narrative is true then wouldn't it have made more sense for Tenet to intervene and get somebody loyal to go check out the Niger claims instead of Wilson.

The Wilson/Plame vs. Bush Co. frame reminded me of the Richard Clarke vs. Condoleezza Rice frame during the 9/11 commission hearings. IOW, there seemed to be a deliberate effort by the mainstream media to frame the debate as good guys vs. bad believed everything Clarke/Wilson said and vice versa for Republicans in relation to Rice/Bush.

One odd thing that Wilson has never explained very well is why he would ever agree with the decision for Plame to be photographed. When she was in Vanity Fair, he said it was an attempt at being ironic. Sorry. Doesn't make sense. I don't know why Plame has agreed to being photographed but one possibility is that Plame/Wilson were mocking their supporters in an underhanded way.