Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Adventures with the CIA in Turkey

Adventures with the CIA in Turkey: Interview with Philip Giraldi

7/30/2006 (Balkanalysis.com)

In the following exclusive interview, Balkanalysis.com Director Christopher Deliso speaks with Philip Giraldi, a former CIA deputy chief of base in Turkey. Through the interview, readers get a first-hand introduction to the cloak-and-dagger reality of undercover work in one of the world’s most important strategic areas. Iranian assassinations, Turkish eavesdropping and other eye-opening stories allow the reader an intimate inside look into the shadowy, high-stakes game of international espionage.


CD: Let’s speak for a moment regarding the case of former FBI translator and whistleblower Sibel Edmonds. Your summary of the case in the American Conservative was rated the best such one so far by Sibel herself. How much of what she has disclosed can be verified independently?

PG: I have not attempted to corroborate Sibel’s story as I have no resources to do so. And it would appear that the government gag order she is under precludes the type of confirmation that would be desirable.

CD: Can you elaborate at all on the role of neocon and other actors mentioned in your article, who were allegedly involved with illegal arms sales and more, such as Doug Feith, Richard Perle, Eric Edelman, Steven Solarz and Marc Grossman?

PG: As my article stated, the preoccupation with Turkey of the key neocons named is curious indeed. It is plausibly explained by their interest in Israel and their connections to the weapons industry in the US, Turkey, and in Israel.

I can recall Solarz showing up in Turkey in 1986 after he left Congress, and the connection with Perle and Feith in particular is well documented. I don’t know if the illicit arms sales are still going on, but I would suspect they are. Weapons dealing is big business and there are many players in it.

CD: You also mention Turkey and false end user certificates in association with illegal proliferation to dangerous states. Was this something you were involved with monitoring when in the CIA? What about special teams like the Brewster Jennings outfit? Did they operate or have a predecessor working with you at the time?

PG: I have no inside information on CIA or US government monitoring of arms sales to third parties a la the work of Brewster Jennings. When I was in Turkey, I was not aware of any US government interest in such matters and there was no non-proliferation staff at headquarters.


CD: What can you say about how the current Israeli war in Lebanon will affect the traditional Israeli-Turkish alliance?

PG: Well, concerning the impact of [what is happening now in] Lebanon, you must be aware of the fact that the so-called “friendly” relationship between the two countries is very narrowly focused. It is largely the Turkish Army’s General Staff that keeps the relationship going, because it provides access to US military assistance and weapons that would otherwise be embargoed.

The Turkish public and the government, on the other hand, are rather ambivalent, if not hostile, to the relationship. And they are now very angry about the attacks on fellow Muslims in Lebanon.

great job, Chris.
(thanks to those who sent this in)


Anonymous said...

My experience with Turkish intelligence..

Once in Istanbul I and my fellow traveller and guide were checked out by an agent of an intelligence service (American trained para-military Ozel Tim commando who later also fought the Taliban in Kandahar). I don't know what triggered their attention or how long or to what extend we were followed or monitored. It could have been the tour-guide, who was a Tunesian immigrant to Turkey, who I had some fierce discussions with that attracted attention. Or me asking an apparently sensitive question in a Kurdish restaurant that after a wave of whisper silenced the whole restaurant. Or that we used an apartment in the non-touristic suburb of Yeni Bosna and we travelled to areas not often visited by tourists which could have been close to military installations. I did see one hidden base when we went to a small beach normally only visited by locals. I can only guess, although from what I read on the internet Ozel Tim is commonly used against Kurds in South-East Turkey.

Still unknown to me at that moment but a military intelligence agent started a conversation while we were traveling on a bus. After seemingly gaining his confidence in our good intentions as tourists he changed his name and openly used a miniature radio device to communicate. Still unknowingly about his background and a little bit flabbergasted by his name change we asked about the radio. He said he was a radio-amateur and electronics specialist by profession. Later I remembered he communicated to two other people outside the bus and then all three entered the bus but our guy suddenly acted like he didn't know the other two. Also when he used his radio he got immediate reply, although in Turkish it didn't sound anything like a typical amateur radio conversation with a stranger.

We exchanged e-mail addresses and he send me some Turkish hip-hop music. In December of 2002, after he knew I found out about his background he openly communicated about some issues like the imminent war with Iraq and the operations already going on at that time in northern Iraq. At that time I didn't believe the war was imminent. How wrong I turned out to be.. A couple of times he told me about losing his 'friends' from his commando team in combat. I never heard from him again and wonder whether he met the same fate as his friends.

lukery said...

thnx Anon for sharing that. very interesting.

I hope that your friend is safe.