Saturday, June 10, 2006

turkish military

* chris deliso has a good piece up at regarding turkey - including this:
"When a Turkish government such as the present one is popularly identified with Islamic interests, suspicion among the military grows, leading to displays of muscle meant to show who is really in charge. And when a government such as the present one takes measures to rein in the military through the courts, the latter's shows of strength intensify. And so we have "incidents" like the bookstore bombing, the military over-flights in Greece, resurgent arguments over rocks jutting out of undefined territorial waters, and a hardening of attitudes on Cyprus – another problem the EU deferred for the future when it allowed the southern, Greek part of the island to join without having first reached a settlement with Turkey over the northern sector of Cyprus it has occupied since the 1974 invasion."

* speaking of deliso, last august he wrote:
"Perhaps the worst thing of all about the behavior of the nefarious lobbyists is that they abuse the public trust. Sometimes they manifest as the type of organization generally considered as being above-board, in the economic and cultural sphere, in order to disguise criminal intent. In an interview last summer, FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds gave a hypothetical example of how such "semi-legitimate organizations" operate:

"…say, an Uzbek folklore society based in Germany. The stated purpose would be to hold folklore-related activities – and they might even do that – but the real activities taking place behind the scenes are criminal."

The "real activities" of such organizations, says Edmonds, can include arms and drug smuggling in the area of hundreds of millions of dollars.

The close connection between lobbying and "semi-legitimate" activities was driven home for me the other week when I met in Skopje with an American "consultant" representing a businessman in a certain Balkan country. Apparently, the businessman was eager to do business in America, but did not have the right connections. How could he go about getting his foot in the door, he asked? According to the consultant,

"…we advised him to set up a foundation dealing with one of the usual Balkan issues, arms smuggling, human trafficking, ethnic rights, etc. Then we could see to it that this topic would come up in a congressional committee or sub-committee meeting. So he would have a chance to introduce himself, in his capacity as foundation chair, not as a businessman. And after the presentation, what if somehow they decide to talk business? Well, I wouldn't know about that, would I?""
dodgy - and DC is full of these 'foundations' which have access to congress hither & tither.

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