Monday, April 23, 2007

Sibel Edmonds movie Panel discussion: James Bamford, Robert Parry, film directors (plus Waxman news)

While we wait for word from Henry Waxman's office about whether he will hold the hearings that he has promised into FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds' case, I've got some footage of the panel discussion that was conducted after the US premiere screening in February. Panel members include James Bamford and Robert Parry, with an introduction by Sibel. Footage and some selected quotes downstairs.

I always try to look for new ways of recruiting people to the Sibel cause. One line from the panel that got a hearty applause was when director Mathieu Verboud said that the people who tried to recruit Sibel to spy for them at the FBI (ed: essentially Richard Perle and Douglas Feith) "are the (same) people who set up the war effort in Iraq - by falsifying intelligence information to make this country go to war." In other words, if you are against the Iraq war, then you might consider lending your support to Sibel so that we can punish the people involved.

(I've also got a brief update regarding the proposed hearings downstairs.)

On February 3, Kill The Messenger, a documentary about FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds' case, was shown in DC - followed by a panel discussing "the current state of the U.S. Main media, unconstitutional government secrecy, and national security whistleblowers."

Panel members were James Bamford, Robert Parry, Mathieu Verboud, Ben Wizner (ACLU), Stephen Kohn, (Chairman, National Whistleblower Center), Kristina Borjesson (journalist). All bios available here.

I finally have video footage of the event - presented here in two clips. Firstly, a nine minute introduction by Sibel and the directors, and a 9 minute video of selected snips from the panel. I've included some of the quotes below in text form (all errors are mine)

Introductory clip:

Selected quotes:

Sibel Edmonds:
I'm a US citizen, I did not commit any crime, and they issued all these gag orders and they said I don't have my First Amendment right, I don't have my Fourth Amendment right, Fifth Amendment right. They had the Federal court here in DC going along with it... I went to Congress, they didn't do anything. I went to the Mainstream Media, they couldn't care less, really. Sure, it was a 'sensational' story - a whistleblower was fired and gagged, but nobody within the Mainstream Media ever asked 'Why the State Secrets Privilege? You know, she was a language specialist, it's not as if she was an undercover agent, or an informant... Why would they go to such an length to gag her?'

Not a single person within the US Mainstream Media ever asked this question. They didn't want to know. It was all about the firing aspect of it - and even that died down. So, we have a fantastic panel here to talk about that aspect of it...

Jean Viallet (Co-director) :
One brief thing, to tell you the truth - because this film is about the truth - Why did French people do this film? Because nobody in America did it.' (applause)

Mathieu Verboud (Co-director):
The lesson that we draw from Sibel Edmonds' story is that Washington power is for sale, and has been for sale for a long time. The people in positions of power in this country really sell their influence, to the highest bidder.

In this respect, it's no surprise that foreign agents were able to sneak into this country and do the dirty operations that they did. These people are living proof to the notion of conflict of interest - because these people work for governments, but they are also highly connected to the military-industrial-conflict, they draft, and implement, national security policies, and at the same time they work for foreign governments, as agents of influence for foreign governments.

And Sibel, those who I consider to be your enemies in this case are people who have been opposing for years and years, all arms-reduction treaties - be it bacteriological, chemical, nuclear, conventional - for years. Douglas Feith is the only guy, as I understand, in the annals of foreign policy in the US who, on a personal basis, always opposes any kind of arms reduction. You know, this guy should work for the Iranian government, but no, he works for the US government.

These people, as we have said in the film, have been passing secret information to Israel for the last 30 years. These people have been on the Turkish payroll. And the very people who wanted to sign Sibel are the people who set up the war effort in Iraq - by falsifying intelligence information to make this country go to war. (applause)

Panel Clip

Selected quotes:

Mathieu Verboud (Co-director):
In Sibel's case, and in many other cases, we know the crime, we know the rational for the crime. Qui bono? We can also answer this question. We know the bad guys, and yet, the rest of the story is... nothing.

Robert Parry:
It's a great documentary, it's the kind of thing we should see a lot more of, and it shouldn't always have to be done by people outside of the United States.

Stephen Kohn (Attorney):
Sibel is the perfect example - they tried every single trick in the book to silence her - and yes they defeated her legal claims, but that's a minimum defeat. Is Sibel Edmonds silenced?

Robert Parry:
In the 1980s we saw this idea that became more and more popular, and it was really brought to us by the people we now call the neoconservatives, and it was called 'Perception Management.' They understood that if they could control how the American public perceived events around the world, they could control the American people, and all the power and money that goes through that.

James Bamford:
A lot of the things that have come out, and they didn't come out until Sibel started looking into this, but that's where a lot of the secrets are being hidden behind the State Secrets Privilege, are those enormous cooperative agreements between not only countries, but individuals and groups - between the American Turkish Council, AIPAC, groups like that. And those things are the hardest things of all to come out in this country - because you can't get anyone at all in the Mainstream Media, or even to some degree, the alternative media - to write about that - and those things are really the most important things to come out...

James Bamford:
We had Jimmy Carter come out with his book, and the Mearsheimer & Walt report come out, so there is an opening up of the questioning of our relationship, and also the questioning of how much money is going in, and how much pressure is coming out from AIPAC, and all those groups.

Robert Parry:
We've now reached a point in the US where we don't even report stories about how the very fundamental ideas of our country have been altered. What happened after 911, and the beginning of the War On Terror is that we've ultimately had a change in the whole framework of our government - we do not have inalienable rights any more.

Robert Parry:
If we wanted to honest, we'd go into the 5th grade classes and civics classes around the country and we'd take out the civics books and throw them away - because that doesn't exist any more. (applause)

Other film news:
If you haven't seen the trailer for the film yet, you can watch it here. I've also got a stirring one minute speech by Sibel from the film here.

And no, I still haven't heard any word about when the film will be available in the US. I promise you'll be the first to know - you can check in at my blog regarding the film here.

The film was recently shown here in Australia and was well received (I was chatting about the film over dinner in a restaurant the night after it was shown, and people sitting at neighboring tables had seen it and wanted to join in the conversation.)

The film was recently shown at the Chicago International Documentary Film Festival. It was described thusly:
"Possibly the festival's most radioactive entry, this 2006 documentary for French TV centers on FBI whistle-blower Sibel Edmonds, who was fired from the bureau's translation unit in March 2002 and subsequently claimed she'd seen evidence of money laundering, narcotics trafficking, and participation in the nuclear black market. "
Radioactive is right. Particularly in Chicago, home of Dennis Hastert.

The reviews from the French press are here.

Sibel's credibility:
I still read comments around the place, including here, doubting Sibel's credibility for some reason. My co-blogger Miguel recently wrote "The Incredibly, Credible Sibel" which outlined "3 solid sources that give important credence to Sibel's story." We also have some new data points.

James Bamford:
"I just want to supply my support to Sibel's effort here. I think she's been doing a fantastic job of trying to get this out there, and all the listeners out there, I hope they join in with their support."
Phil Giraldi:
Edmonds is no crackpot and is considered to be a credible witness, most of whose charges were substantiated both by former FBI officials in 2002 and by the Department of Justice in 2005.
John Cole (Veteran FBI agent, counterintelligence/counter-terrorism in DC, later head of Counter-Intelligence for Pakistan & Afghanistan) in Kill The Messenger:
I wanted to meet her cos I wanted to help her. I felt that maybe I could be of some assistance to her because I knew she was doing the right thing. I knew she was right. But I wanted to hear her side of the story.

I was talking to FBI colleagues in the administrative division who had read her file, who had read the investigative report and they were telling me a different story. They were telling me that Sibel Edmonds was a 100% accurate, that management knew that she was correct.
Cole was actually working on a case related to Sibel's - and he too has reported the details of the case to both the Dept of Justice's Inspector General and Congress.

Waxman hearings:
We still haven't heard anything from Waxman. It is very frustrating. Since we launched the campaign in early March, Waxman and his office has stopped returning calls to people from many people/organizations (ACLU, POGO, GAP, Open the Government, Liberty Coalition) who are used to getting their calls to his office returned immediately. Phil Giraldi recently outlined his take on Waxman's apparent reluctance here.

We don't know why Waxman has gone silent all of a sudden - but we have decided to give him until the end of this week to give us an answer. If we don't hear anything from him by then, then we'll be asking you to get on the phones to his office again. We'll launch that new campaign in conjunction with a few other goodies that we have up our sleeve that we'll be announcing next week.

Stay tuned.

Thanks again for your support. Please let me know if you want me to email you when I have new Sibel-related information/posts. At a minimum, it helps the information get on the 'recommended' list here which means that more people become aware of Sibel's case.


1 comment:

Enlightenment said...

Surely the reason the mainstream media didn't want to know the reason she was gagged is that her story probably contradicts the "official" myth of 9/11.