Today is the final day of our Let Sibel Edmonds Speak campaign where we have been asking people to call Henry Waxman's office (202-225-3976, Capitol switchboard 800-828-0498) to demand *public* hearings into the case of former FBI translator and whistleblower, Sibel Edmonds.
Sibel guarantees that if we have public hearings, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Marc Grossman, and Dennis Hastert will go to prison for a long time. If any of that appeals to you, for any reason, call Waxman today. Please.
If you want some more background on the case, please see lukery.dailykos.com - particularly "What the heck is Sibel Edmonds' Case about? And why should I care?"
We've been getting positive feedback from Waxman's office, and we just need to drive the final nail into the coffin today.
Today's fresh content is an interview that Sibel and I did with Peter B Collins on Monday evening. (audio)
Here's the interview, I appear to have missed the start.
Peter: ... Your voice has been ruthlessly suppressed at a time when we really need to hear the truth about what you know and how you were treated when you attempted to blow the whistle at the FBI.
Sibel: Peter, as you know, the ACLU declared me as the most gagged American citizen in the US history. They invoked the State Secrets Privilege twice in my case, they have issued various gag orders, they even ordered a gag order in May 2004 on Congress - this is the Department of Justice, first under then-Attorney General Ashcroft, and then later by Alberto Gonzales. Basically, these gag orders and the State Secrets Privilege, deprive you of your 1st amendment right, your 4th amendment right, and your 5th amendment right - and they aren't doing this to some suspected terrorist, or what they call foreign terrorists, they're doing it to an American citizen who reported serious, confirmed wrongdoing through the appropriate channels, by the way. As you know the DoJ's IG's office issued a report 18 months ago that vindicated my report, and they basically said that my allegations were confirmed by other witnesses, evidence and documents, etc. Also, we had two senators, bi-partisan, Senators Grassley and Leahy who publicly confirmed my case and my report, and this was the statement by Senator Grassley, who said: 'Even the FBI management confirmed her report.' So you're not looking, as I said, with these phony, quasi cases that they usually refer to as 'We only do this to suspects, terrorists, etc' - this is what they're doing inside our country, this is what they're doing to an American citizen, and this is what they are getting away with - both in court, and up to this point, in Congress. I have been fighting to reverse this, because what they're doing is not constitutional, it's against the Bill of Rights - plus, covering up these reports absolutely damages our national security. So, 30-plus organizations came together, including the ACLU, POGO, GAP, National Coalition Against Censorship, Liberty Coalition, its transpartisan, you have 30-plus organizations involving civil liberties issues and whistleblower issues and privacy issues, and they put together this joint petition that they served Chairman Waxman of the House government Reform Committee two weeks ago. This petition says 'Chairman Waxman, it's been five years, and there are other witnesses, other FBI witnesses who want to testify in this case, because this case involves some criminal activities by certain people in our own government! We are not only talking about terrorist activities here and we want you to have open public hearings on this case' So we served the committee, we served Chairman Waxman, and all these organizations put out press releases saying 'this is what we did' - and we have had 15-20 thousand American citizens who have signed the petition, we've had thousands of people who have called, and we're still asking them to call - basically urging the committee and as the name of the committee suggests - this is the government Reform Committee - and these wrongdoings have occurred within our government agencies, by our government officials, and they have the power - Chairman Waxman has been great, before they became the majority, they actually, the committee and Chairman Waxman promised me, before he was Chairman, saying 'we want to have a hearing, and the only reason that we're not have hearings is because the Republicans are blocking us from having this hearing' - now that obstacle has been removed.
Peter: Yes it has!
Sibel: Ok! SO now we are saying 'please fulfil your promise, please do what you told us you were going to do' Granted, this is not a glitzy case in the media - as you know Peter, the mainstream media has been absolutely awful with these cases - so it's not a glitzy case, and it's not really a partisan case either. it involves certain corrupt individuals, and some of these people have been in the government agencies in various positions since 1989 - so it's not a really partisan issue, although a lot of it falls within this administration, and the gag orders have been issued by this administration, so we are saying 'Chairman Waxman, do what you are supposed to be doing' and we are waiting to hear back, and I’m hopeful. We have given them until the end of this week to come out and publicly commit to having these public, let me emphasize 'public,' hearings. I have testified behind closed doors, several times, I have testified inside these SCIFs - Secure Facilities - where you can talk about classified stuff. So we're talking about public hearings, and we have a list of several veteran FBI agents and managers who want to testify and tell the truth. They want to present their case, related to my case, and present congress and the American public with documents.
Peter: And where can we go if we want to sign this petition online, and also if you have Chairman Waxman's phone number, let's give that out.
Sibel: Well, you're going to have a guest, Luke Ryland, he has been leading that action campaign that is sponsored by 30+ organizations, and he's going to give out all that information. I don't have it right now in front of me. But we have already delivered the petition, so at this stage, we just want people to keep calling - keep calling Chairman Waxman, and Chairman Conyers, and say 'Please come out publicly and commit publicly that you are going to have this hearing, because they have already said 'Yes, there needs to be a hearing' - so now we want them to confirm this publicly. So it has come to a point where we just basically need to bombard them with calls, and emails, and tell them 'Do the right thing, and do it now.'
Peter: Very good. We need to take a break. Luke Ryland will be joining us from Australia after the break... (Break) We're talking to Sibel Edmonds about her case, and you've just heard, she speaks very articulately, but there are a lot of things that she can't say, because of the gag order issued under this murky State Secrets Privilege, which has been asserted under the Bush administration more times in the last 5 years than it was in the entire century or so that it existed prior to that. And I want to give out the phone number here, if you wanted to call Chairman Waxman's Washington office, it's 202-225-3976 - and his LA office is 323 -651-1040. Sibel Edmonds remains with us, and we're joined by Luke Ryland from Australia, he's an investigative journalist. Luke, welcome to the Peter B Collins show.
Luke: Hi Peter, thanks for having me on.
Peter: My pleasure, and if you're an advocate for Sibel Edmonds, I already like you, Luke.
Luke: Oh - that's very good! Unfortunately I missed the first segment of the show, so I'm not exactly sure what you've already spoken about
Peter: Well we gave a little background for people who might not have been familiar with Sibel’s case - I've talked with her many times over the last 3 years or so, and I always like to recap for people who may not know the background - so that's pretty much what we've covered. Luke, I wanted to ask you first for the website so people can add their names to the petition.
Luke: It's called Let Sibel Edmonds Speak at letsibeledmondsspeak.blogspot.com - in fact, we're not asking people to sign the petition any more. Sibel may have mentioned that we're asking people to call those offices this afternoon and tomorrow when we'll have the final push, trying to swamp those offices so that we can have open hearings into Sibel’s case.
Peter: And based on what you've been able to ferret out, what would occur if Sibel was permitted to testify, in public, under oath.
Luke: Well, firstly, we'd see a lot of senior American politicians and statesmen go to prison, for a long time. You'll be familiar with some of the names, particularly the neocons - Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Marc Grossman who was the number 3 guy at the State Department under Richard Armitage, and, of course, members of Congress, most notably Dennis Hastert.
Peter: The former Speaker. From what I've been able to read online, there was a great post at DailyKos on Friday , there are some linked, subgroups that most members of the public aren't aware of that link some of the factions that are influential in the government of the nation of Turkey, with people who are clearly very powerful in our government in the US
Luke: That's right. There’s an organization called The American Turkish Council (ATC) which is the prime body involved that has been investigated by the FBI and the CIA for years, going back to 1996. In the Vanity Fair article about Sibel's case, she says that the ATC is a front for criminal activity - so the ATC is the main one, there are a couple of other subsidiary, Turkish-related organizations, but Sibel’s case also touches very heavily on AIPAC, the Israeli lobby.
Peter: Yes, we talk about them quite a bit - the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee
Luke: That's right. Sibel intimates that AIPAC and the American Turkish Council are both essentially front groups for a larger criminal network that deals with illegal arms trafficking and other illegal activities. So, it's going to be an explosive case if we can get the hearings - Sibel has probably mentioned that she's had hearings in congress before but they've all been behind closed doors, and nothing ever happens, so hopefully if we get public hearings, we'll see Richard Perle and Doug Feith in orange jumpsuits before long.
Peter: Let's take a call from Dave - Dave, you're on the air
Dave: ... I believe that the White House was up to their neck in bringing about 911, it served their purposes, and there’s' no place for an honest competent translator, fluent in the languages of the Middle East, to be going through all of the emails and transmissions that were taking place... and that's why they had to get rid of you, Sibel...
Peter: Sibel shouldn't comment on your question Dave, but let's turn to Luke Ryland.
Luke: I had some trouble hearing the question, I think the question was about whether you could have an honest FBI translator - there was a great interview that Sibel did last week with David Swanson called "What Would Happen if the FBI Hired an Honest Translator?" - and it goes into that exact issue. The key point that we can take away from that is that Sibel's co-worker and her boss were engaged in espionage, protecting this American Turkish Council that we mentioned earlier - that's documented, proven, signed & sealed.
Peter: That, I know, has been evaluated by Glenn Fine, the INSPECTOR GENERAL of the DoJ who evaluated Sibel Edmonds' allegations and found them highly credible.
Luke: Right, and if I can give you the kicker of the story, her boss at the time, Mike Feghali, has been promoted and promoted, and he's now in charge of the Arabic desk at the FBI translation unit. He has all 300 Arabic translators working under him - so he was corrupt back in 2001, and was probably being blackmailed, or bribed, one or the other, and he's been promoted ever since and now he's in charge of all Arabic speakers. America is obviously less safe, having a compromised person in that position.
Peter: And Luke, if you can tell us, is he the same individual who would erase the hard drive of Sibel’s work at the end of the day, and tell her to do it again because he wanted to create a backlog so that he could get a bigger budget for translation?
Luke: His argument was that he wanted a bigger budget, I have doubts about that. He was apparently in the pay of this criminal network, so arguing for a larger bureaucratic budget might be about the only thing that he could have fallen back on, but as far as I can read the case, that's complete nonsense.
Peter: (break) We have Sibel Edmonds, and Luke Ryland, who is advocating for Sibel Edmonds, because as we explained, Sibel has to be very careful because of a Federal Judge's imposition of a gag order under the so-called State Secrets Privilege - and Sibel, is there anything you'd like to add to what Luke & I discussed before we move on?
Sibel: I would like to actually go back and talk about the individuals that Luke Ryland named - for example, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Marc Grossman - another individual is Eric Edelman, because most people here already know, and they associate these guys with the neocons and also Israel, but there is another element there that ties all four individuals here. If you look at, for example, Richard Perle, & Douglas Feith, these two individuals between 1988/89 to about 1995/96, they set up a lobbying firm called International Advisors Inc, and they registered as foreign agents, representing the government of Turkey, this is Richard Perle, & Douglas Feith, and of course we know that they became top guys within the Pentagon after the Bush administration came into power. And then you look at Marc Grossman - Marc Grossman was the US ambassador to Turkey, from 1993 to 1997, and Marc Grossman became the number 3 guy in the State Department in this administration, and he resigned in 2005 and currently he is hired by one very large Turkish company that is also a front for a lot of illicit activities. Then you can look at Eric Edelman who, 2 or 3 years ago, took Douglas Feith's old position at the Pentagon, and Eric Edelman was another ambassador to Turkey until he took this position at the Pentagon, so not only do these guys have Israel in common, they have Turkey in common - and people really should be paying attention to this, and looking into it, and this is why Luke Ryland has been doing this incredible job in terms of piecing these elements together, and packaging it, because this information is public! It doesn’t matter if I’m gagged on some issues, there's so much out there and so much that can easily be pieced together that our mainstream media has failed us
Peter: Yeah, they're not interested
Sibel: They are not, and maybe there are some other reasons that we don't know about that occurs - a little bit of that we got a taste of during this Libby trial - about what happens behind closed doors with these hotshot mainstream media reporters - so these are the issues that Luke Ryland can talk about in detail and give more information on, and he's been leading this action campaign that is sponsored by 30+ organizations and he's been doing an extraordinary job in piecing the various aspects of my case.
Peter: So Luke, tell us a little more about the US-Turkey connection, because one of the things that surfaces that appears to, not contradict but to mitigate against this relationship, is that the US tried very hard to get Turkey to permit us to use Turkish bases to stage our attack on Iraq four years ago this week. And during the run-up, we kept increasing our bribery to $5-6 billion was offered to Turkey to permit us to do that, and in the end they said 'No' and that struck me as unusual independence from Turkey to the US.
Luke: That was an odd decision, and I think the Turkish government had to listen to the people, I think that 90-something percent of the population was against allowing the US to use Turkey as a staging ground. One of the issues that Sibel talks about is that there's an underlying governing elite in Turkey which includes the military and drug dealers and certain politicians that basically control what happens there, but for one reason or other, the current Prime Minister was able to withstand the pressure and block US access to Turkey - apart from that I can't really answer the question, Peter.
Peter: Understood. What do you know about these various relationships including Perle and Feith who I'm very interested in, not only because of their neocon status, but also they were very active in the Project For the New American Century, which many of us who are critical of the Bush administration is the blueprint for this imperial march which they have tried to lead us on. So what more can you tell us in terms of those connections and how they act against the interest of the American public.
Luke: Well, both Perle & Feith were also involved in writing the "Clean Break" document for Israel so Perle & Feith were both agents for Turkey as Sibel described, but they're also agents for Israel.
Peter: Well - they worked for the campaign for Bibi Netanyahu, didn't they?
Luke: Correct, and they wrote this document, A Clean Break, which outlined a lot of the military activity that they hoped to achieve, including invading Iraq. I think that document dates back to 1996. So they are agents of both Turkey and Israel - and they also have strong connections to defence companies - particularly Israeli defence companies - and they make a lot of money, there as well. Ex-CIA agent Phil Giraldi wrote a terrific article about 6 months ago that Sibel says describes her case "100%" - and in the article Giraldi describes how these neocons, Feith and Perle and others involved with Turkey, 'enrich themselves and distort foreign policy at the same time.' Now, a lot of what he is talking about is the military industrial complex, and having the neocons taking some cream off the top of each transaction that goes through - selling technology to both Israel and Turkey. And it appears that the ATC is one of the organizations that they use to bribe congress to make sure that these military sales go through.
Peter: Now, referencing Congress here Luke, the information that I’m familiar with indicates that when Hastert was Speaker, he received an unusual number of political campaign contributions to I think his Leadership PAC, that were in the amount of $199 - which is one dollar below the threshold that requires detailed reporting on who the donor is, as required by our Federal laws. Has anybody further investigated those bundled contributions from alleged Turkish groups that were funnelled into those campaigns?
Luke: We haven't got to the bottom of that. CREW - Citizens for Responsibility & Ethics in Washington - filed an appeal for an investigation that didn't go very far. But to clarify what you were saying, those alleged crimes go back to 1996, long before Hastert was Speaker, and that's one of the reasons why we need hearings into Sibel's case - because when you have this criminal activity, it cascades and snowballs, so even though Hastert was known to have been bribed, not only with these campaign contributions, but also a lot of other cash bribes delivered in suitcases and brown paper bags. This goes back to 97 and 98, and in 1999, Clinton tried to appoint a Special Prosecutor to investigate and charge Hastert, and others, for these crimes, but the investigation got shut down, and Hastert subsequently ascended to the Speakership. So you see this situation happen again and again in Sibel's case, the people who are known criminals keep getting promoted to higher and higher positions which gets us to the situation we have today where we get wars for no reason and that sort of thing.
Peter: Luke, as you look at this, some of the information that Sibel would probably provide in a public hearing if Henry Waxman follows through on his commitment, would challenge the official stories about what occurred in the attacks of September 11, 2001. And this gets into a whole difficult area, it is truly a Pandora’s box, just last night over dinner, talking with some very well-informed friends, I was trying to make the case about the serious questions about Building 7 at the WTC - which of course, came down well after the other two, late in the afternoon of Sep11 and we know have this stunning video from the BBC of a real-time report, at the point when WTC7 did come down, approximately 5.25pm. The problem we have is the BBC report precedes the event that it's reporting on by about 23 minutes, and there's a stunning shot of a reporter who is doing a 'stand-up,' as they call it, appears to be several miles away from the WTC site, but WTC7 is still clearly visible over her shoulder, in the background of this framed picture, as she is describing in the past tense, that WTC7 has come down! And there are many Americans who simply cannot process this, because it leads to questions about government complicity, advanced knowledge, of what occurred on 911.
Luke: Right - well, as far as I know, Sibel can't talk to anything that happened with WTC7 (Ed Note: I actually said, incorrectly, "Sibel can't talk to anything that happened with 911") but a lot of the information that she has does relate to 911 - the covering up of related information both before and after 911. I'll give you an example of 'before' - in April 2001 there was an event, an interrogation, where one of the FBI's longstanding informants told them that 'Osama bin Laden is going to attack the US with planes, 4 or 5 cities, in a few months, and the hijackers are all in place' (ed note: correction: only 'some' of the hijackers were in place). I don't think that many Americans know that they had such a specific warning, and one of the reasons they don't know is because that particular piece of information didn't surface in the 911 Commission report in their "Missed Opportunities" section - which I think is outrageous. There are some other things that Sibel knows about 911 that didn't make the report, for example, some of the people that she listened to on the wiretaps, I think it was the ATC but I'm not sure, organized passports (ed note: that should be visas) for at least two of the hijackers. So this information has been available, but again, didn't make it into the report. So the big question that Sibel has, if I can put words into her mouth, is 'Why on earth are they covering up all of this information?'
Peter: Sibel, what would you like to say at this juncture, please?
Sibel: Well, actually Luke did a great job. But that's one of the things that I've been trying to convey, and that is that there are so many different pieces of 911 that have been either covered up or classified and not everyone has access to everything. And I know about certain events and certain issues and certain pieces, others have their own area - and what I tell people is 'just take a look at the picture in general' - I mean, we still have that CIA report on 911 completely classified, peter. Here we are more than 5 years after 911 and the IG, so-called 'independent' IG, after years of investigation and questioning people and reviewing documents, they issued this report on 911: what the CIA knew, what they did, and the entire report is classified, and then you have the Phoenix Memo, and Colleen Rowley's piece, and Robert Wright in Chicago that had to do with Yassin al-Qadi, and then you have what Luke Ryland just referred to which is this documented incident which was given by a credible informant, and there are these forms, 302 forms, that the agents have to file after they get information from their informants, from their undercover informants, and they filed these 302 forms, they were not destroyed, they are still there in the FBI, and these agents reported these issues, and they gave the 911 Commission these 302 forms, yet it did not make it into the report. And in another case it had to do with certain translations of information of blueprints of these skyscrapers being sent to a certain region on the border of Pakistan and Iran, and this occurred in July 2001. I don't have any information, any idea about the buildings, World Trade Centre and WTC7, because that was not my area, again, my information was limited to what I’m reading, and that is basically the same thing that you are reading, but the other information, and the other pieces that I have first hand direct knowledge of, I have already documented that, I have already given it in a public letter to the 911 Commission, after they issued their quasi-report, and before that report was issued I testified inside the SCIF, I provided them with file numbers, I provided them with the names of the agents who would corroborate this information. Not only that, I drove some of these translators and agents who are not whistleblowers, they are not known individuals, to the Commissioners - and this was with the help I received from the 911 family members, and they testified inside the SCIF, these are the veteran agents involved in the counter-terrorism division of the Washington Field Office, and the headquarters. SO the question is 'What happened to all this information? Why are they going out of their way to cover it?"
Peter: We’ve got to take a break, Luke Ryland, thankyou very much for your work, thanks for joining us from Australia today - I hope we'll talk again.
Luke: Great to speak to you. I hope everyone can call Henry Waxman's office this afternoon and tomorrow. (break)
Peter: We're back with Sibel Edmonds, learn more about her work at the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition at NSWBC.org Sibel - do you want to listen in here? I'm going to make a call to Henry Waxman's office.
Peter: Let's see what happens - see how they treat me. This is the LA office. (dials phone)
Doug (answers phone): Congressman Waxman's office.
Peter: Good afternoon - I'm Peter B Collins calling and I'm on the air on my talk-show here in San Francisco. I just called because I wanted to lend my voice, and ask you to pass the word to the congressman, that I support Sibel Edmonds, and I would like him to follow through on his promise to her to hold a public hearing where she can testify under oath and in public about what she knows.
Doug: Great - well I can certainly give him that message. We've received numerous calls today and previously regarding the same issue.
Peter: And has anyone called who is opposed to it?
Doug: Have not received one, no, not yet.
Peter: And do you have any indication that the Congressman is ready to schedule such a hearing?
Doug: We have not received any word in our district office here. That would be a matter to take up with the Washington office directly
Peter: Ok - What's your name please?
Doug: My name is Doug Merkel
Peter: Doug, thanks for taking my call, I appreciate it
Doug: We appreciate any calls, especially those related to the Oversight Committee.
Peter: Sibel, that's a pretty good reception
Sibel: It is, and I must really go on the record, and say that the committee, House government Reform committee, has been doing a great job. I don't know if you know about it or not, but last week, they finally passed this legislation in the House on the Whistleblower protection and this was the legislation that all our Whistleblowers - our organization, and other supporting organizations such as POGO and GAP have been fighting for, for 2.5-3 years, and they kept blocking it and not introducing it, and Chairman Waxman kept his promise on that issue, he really pushed it hard, and he has some really good people, staff members in the committee, and they really pushed it hard. It's not 100%, but by far it's the best legislation so far introduced and passed, as far as Whistleblower protection goes. Now it's going to the Senate, and of course it will be blocked there because we don’t have many Democrats there who are actually supporting the Whistleblowers in the Senate - it's very unfortunate. So Waxman has been good, and he promises, and so far we are optimistic, and positive, and we also believe that they need the push, they need that little last push to really do the right thing, because they have a lot of different issues, they have a lot of different cases. This has been going on for five years, and it's not a case to be investigated, that part has already been done by the Senate Judiciary Committee, by the DoJ's Inspector Generals office, so it just have to have a hearing and just put an end to it and see some oversight and accountability as a result. So, as you said, it's looking good, and I'm so hopeful, and again, if your callers would please keep calling - both the DC office and the LA office, and just lend your support and urge them to hold these hearings, I think we can get to the bottom of this, and get it done, Peter.
Peter: The LA office for Henry Waxman again is 323-651-1040. The Washington office is 202-225-3976. And Sibel, once again, I really appreciate your courage in coming forward, and for spending this time with us, and you don't only focus on your own issues at the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition, you have attracted support from what, 100 whistleblowers now?
Sibel: Correct - we have more than 100 whistleblowers from the FBI, CIA, NSA, DoD and Department of Homeland Security.
Peter: And there’s a lot of work to be done. Even if we can just roll back some of the worst efforts of the Bush administration... some of these problems precede Bush, to be fair, and there's a lot of work to pull back the curtains and bring sunshine to some of the nefarious relationships, connections, and outright criminal behaviour which has occurred inside our government, and remains unexposed in most cases.
Sibel: Thank you peter, it's always good to be on your show, and hopefully we'll have another show in the near future, announcing some success here and basically have a cheery conversation about 'Hey, sometimes you'll see a little bit of justice taking place within out government and sometimes we have representatives who are doing their jobs and representing the people.
Peter: Well, I want you to testify, and I’d really like to be there, so let me know if you get word that you'll be invited.
Sibel: I certainly will, Peter
Peter: Sibel Edmonds. A fine American, thank you for joining us today.
A fine American indeed.
Today's your last chance folks.
Call Henry Waxman's office (202-225-3976, Capitol switchboard 800-828-0498) to demand *public* hearings into Sibel Edmonds' case.
It's easy. And important.
I'll be doing one final interview for the campaign on Charles Goyette's show at 9.05aam today for 30 mins. Listen live here.
For more, see campaign HQ at Let Sibel Edmonds Speak.
We have a post over there called: "Sibel Edmonds: The most ungagged person in American History (and I helped!)" where you can let us know that you made a call and helped put Perle & Feith in prison. Is there a better way to start your Tuesday? I think not.