Sunday, January 08, 2006

vanity fair sibel

i just re-read sibel's VF article and a couple of things jumped out at me, or i'd forgotten, or they have new relevance or some such (which happens just about every time i re-read an interview or article about her story - hopefully the story is becoming more apparent).

here are the interesting bits:
Melek’s husband, Douglas, a U.S. Air Force major who had spent several years as a military attaché in the Turkish capital of Ankara, did most of the talking, Matthew recalls. “He was pretty outspoken, pretty outgoing about meeting his wife in Turkey, and about his job. He was in weapons procurement.”
i'm not sure i remembered that he was in ankara in the weapons biz. are weapons procurers ever corrupt?
Sibel also recalled hearing wiretaps indicating that Turkish Embassy targets frequently spoke to staff members at the A.T.C.... But the wiretaps suggested to her that the Washington office of the A.T.C. was being used as a front for criminal activity.

One counter-intelligence official familiar with Edmonds’s case has told Vanity Fair that the F.B.I. opened an investigation into covert activities by Turkish nationals in the late 1990’s. That inquiry found evidence, mainly via wiretaps, of attempts to corrupt senior American politicians in at least two major cities—Washington and Chicago. Toward the end of 2001, Edmonds was asked to translate some of the thousands of calls that had been recorded by this operation, some dating back to 1997.
i've never really understood the chicago connection. i know hastert is based there - but is that all?

also, there are many sibel-doubters out there who wonder how a part-time newbie could have possibly uncovered all of this nefarious behaviour. we have to remember that a lot of the translating she was doing was from the archives, and she was being directed by an ongoing investigation. that is, she wasnt listening to random phone calls in real-time, she was being told by her FBI field officer 'hey - we think this guy is a criminal, please translate these conversations from the archive' - and apparently the agent's hunches were correct. it's not that Sibel 'uncovered' anything per se - she's no different from really from, say, a junior auditor on the Enron account who is asked to take a detailed look into the transactions of a suspicious caymans company by her manager who already suspected there was something amiss there.

(the recorded coversation) was explosive; what sounded like attempts to bribe elected members of Congress, both Democrat and Republican. “There was pressure within the bureau for a special prosecutor to be appointed and take the case on, “the official says. Instead, his colleagues were told to alter the thrust of their investigation – away from elected politicians and toward appointed officials. “This is the reason why Ashcroft reacted to Sibel in such an extreme fashion,” he says “It was to keep this from coming out.”
wow - i'd never noticed that one. this is interesting because sibel has specifically noted that there were some elected and some career people involved over a long time - which probably led to Grossman's outing. interestingly, she's only started mentioning Grossman in the past few months - why did she withhold that till now? part of the answer, i think, is that she told me that the vagaries of her gag order allowed her to point to certain information once it was out in public. her outing of grossman to deliso came shortly after xymphora's post speculating that Grossman was involved. I wonder if that was the trigger for her. probably not - but something triggered her.

In her secure testimony, Edmonds disclosed some of what she recalled hearing. In all, says a source who was present, she managed to listen to more than 40 of the Chicago recordings supplied by (Agent) Robertz. Many involved an F.B.I. target at the city’s large Turkish Consulate, as well as members of the American-Turkish Consulate, as well as members of the American-Turkish Council and the Assembly of Turkish American Associates.
Some of the calls reportedly contained what sounded like references to large scale drug shipments and other crimes.
again, it's not that Sibel stumbled across all this stuff inadvertently (as per my enron example above), the agent rightly suspected that some turkish speaking people were involved in certain crimes, so he asked the fbi's only turkish translator to translate the conversations. As it turns out, the agent was correct in his suspicions, and there was necessarily a turkish translator in the loop. it happened to be sibel.

(btw - thanks to everyone who has emailed in the last couple of days. keep it coming. i might be slow in responding. sorry)

15 comments:

Miguel said...

Lukery,
Sibel has not officially outed Grossman. She just made the statement that he is "very important". But you and I, being good translators, can say that "very important" means "corrupt as hell" in whistleblower-speak.

I've also wondered about the Chicago connection. But didn't you solve that with your interview? In any case, there was another important terrorism case in Chicago around the same time uncovered by FBI whistleblower Robert Wright involving the Saudi Yassin al-Qadi. Are the two connected? It also curious to note that the Congressman next door to Hastert in Illinois at the time, John Porter, was a leading advocate for the Armenian cause.

Or maybe Chicago is just a great place to import heroin...

Miguel said...

Doug Dickerson was procuring weapons for countries like Uzbekistan. And his specialty was nuclear weapons, I think.

I will try to bring more posters on your site so we can keep the conversation going. You don't mind so many intruders do you?

lukery said...

thanks mike.

sure, the more the merrier. it would be great if we could organise our research efforts - i still havent looked into many of the issues that arose during my communication with her. The TACA/Celebi connection that you reminded me of is one (of many) that needs a closer look.

thnx for the info re Dickerson. i wish i knew more about him...

i wasnt even aware of the Robert Wright story. stupid media.

lukery

Miguel said...

I hope I am not bombarding you with all these posts, but something occurred to me: the year 1997 seems to be key. It was:
-the year Wilson met Plame at the ATC.
-Marc Grossman left the Ambassadorship to Turkey.
-the FBI Turkish counterintelligence investigation began in D.C. and Chicago.
-the government of Turkey was overthrown in a military coup.

-the year Feith and Perle set up International Advisors? (I think I heard that on the Goyette show).

Of course, all this was 2 years before Hastert would ascend to the Speakership of the House. Do you remember who was originally going to be made House Speaker in 1999, but was forced to withdraw his nomination?

Miguel said...

Correction- International Advisors formed in 1989.

viget said...

Mike,

Why that would be one Robert Livingston of Louisiana.. Which is interesting as I never did buy the "I was unfaithful" excuse as why he was unfit to be speaker. Were he and Hastert thick as theives in all of this?

Interestingly enough, his lobby shop, the Livingston Group is also a lead lobbying firm for the ATC.

And don't also forget who the US atty is in Chicago...why that would be one Patrick Fitzgerald!

So here's my question, did Pat Fitzgerald stumble upon all this during his Gov. Ryan investigation and ongoing Chicago/Daley admin investigation, and that's why Comey knew he would be perfect for the Plame leak?

Also, any connections (besides Perle) between Conrad Black, Hollinger and the ATC in Chicago? I'm beginning to wonder if Hollinger wasn't a front for the ATC to launder its weapon proceeds... Oh, and with the added bonus that it employ one Robert Novak to act as its hack par excellence.

Miguel said...

viget,
You got it- it was Livingston. But he's not connected with the ATC, but directly with the Turkish government. I am not saying there is any connection between the ATC and the fact that Hastert replaced Livingston as Speaker, but it is a curious coincidence worth noting.

I don't know enough about the Conrad Black affair to comment. I need to educate myself.

One more curious piece of info...maybe it means nothing. But I went in the FEC database to find if this Celebi guy who heads the TACA in Chicago had made any declared campaign contributions. Sure enough, he has- mostly to Democrats. But he did make one contribution for $250 to the former Republican Congressman I mentioned above- John Edward Porter, in 1998.

It might not seem significant were it not for the fact that Porter was one of Turkey's leading critics in Congress. In fact, he was interviewed on 60 Minutes in 1996 to blast Turkey's War on the Kurds. It seems odd a Turkish-American, very pro-Turkey person like Celebi would have given even one dime to Porter.

but hey, it's just a thought..

PS- Celebi has also given money to Jesse L. Jackson and another Chicago area liberal, Jan Schakowski or something like that. And, of course, Robert Wexler, the ATC's leading guy on Capitol Hill.

lukery said...

my post on Livingston is here

lukery said...

my main post on IAI is here - sibel was very interested in this particular post.

re Hollinger, I'm sure Kissinger has a lot to do in the stans, if not Turkey.

lukery said...

to clarify re Livingston - Bob was a member of the ATC, but the Livingston Group's client is the Turkish govt.

lukery said...

( i assume that you know, but Fitz is also in charge of the Hollinger case)

viget said...

Lukery,

Sorry, of course, it was sort of a "in-my-mind-that's-obvious" leap that I forgot to expound upon in my comment.

That's why I think Fitzie was chosen by Comey to be special prosecutor in the Plame affair. He may have already known some of the background vis-a-vis whatever was going on in Chicago at the time with Hollinger and possibly the Ryan admin, and he might have previously stumbled upon some of the ATC dealings during his research into Al-qaeda and terrorism.

One other thing, I've seen it reported that Fitzgerald is not a Bush appointee in the conventional sense. As I understand it, the longstanding tradition wrt US attys is that the senior senator from the state, regardless of party, makes a recommendation to the White House for a US atty, and it's almost always followed through, without extensive vetting.

In this case, outgoing Republican senator Peter Fitzgerald recommended Patrick Fitzgerald (no relation) to Bush, and he was appointed and confirmed. Bet Bush wishes he could have that one back!

lukery said...

viget - np - i was just making sure everyone knew of the Hollinger connection.

yesterday's VanFair article on Fitz said: "For the next two years, he immersed himself even more deeply in the shadowy world of Middle Eastern terrorism and the culture of al-Quaeda, poring over intelligence reports and translated documents, studying Islam -- including bin Laden's twisted version of it -- interviewing witnesses and defectors, and traveling throughout the Middle East, Europe and Asia."

My guess is that he knows alllll about Sibel Edmonds and her claims.

viget said...

Lukery,

From your mouth to whatever deity you worship's ears. I don't know how Mr. Fitzgerald can sleep at night, when he realizes that the fate of this experiment we call democracy in the United States is literally on his shoulders.

Though he did warn us. He explicitly said that Congress needs to get involved too, and that there's only so much that he can do within his mandate.

I'm just praying that the Plame or Hollinger investigation will open up another Chicago front that he can pick at without having to be supervised by the DoJ.

Miguel said...

Are the Dickersons in Japan?

Sibel has repeatedly stated in interviews that the whereabouts of the Dickersons are unknown (they fled to Belgium with the Air Force, their last known location).

I just stumbled across this newsletter from an Air Force Base in Japan that quotes an Air Force Major Doug Dickerson making a comment about Bush's visit to the Pacific region. This is from the article titled "Base Airmen support U.S. president's Pacific region visit"

http://www.yokota.af.mil/BaseNews/FujiFlyer/2005/Nov%2018.pdf

Of course, Dickerson is not an uncommon a name, and there is always the possibility that there are two Air Force Majors named Doug Dickerson, but I would think there's a better than 50-50 chance that this is our guy (how many Majors deployed overseas named Doug Dickerson can the Air Force have?).

If IT IS our guy, it would show that he has been moved from weapons procurement to logistics, presumably where he can do less damage.