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05 March 2008

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linda

the nyt had a piece on the aipac trial the other day; that i suspect not many who don't read the dead tree version saw, as it was buried on the nyt site. i do love how the nyt describes it innocuously as 'information trading'.

this could provide some entertainment:


Unless the government suddenly backs down, the courtroom will become the stage for an extraordinary parade of top officials being forced to testify about some of the unseen ways American foreign policy is made.

Over the strong objections of the Justice Department, the judge in the case ruled that the defense may call as witnesses Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state; Stephen J. Hadley, the White House national security adviser; Elliot Abrams, a deputy national security adviser; Richard L. Armitage, former deputy secretary of state; Paul D. Wolfowitz, former deputy defense secretary; and a dozen other Bush administration foreign policy officials.

The defense’s goal is to demonstrate that the kind of conversations in the indictment are an accepted, if not routine, way that American policy on Israel and the Middle East has been formulated for years.

Mr. Rosen’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, said the case raised “strange and troubling issues, notably the decision to target Aipac for common and proper behavior that goes on in Washington every day.”

Mr. Lowell and John Nassikas III, who represents Mr. Weissman, plan to confront Ms. Rice and the other witnesses with explicit examples of exchanges in which they provided similar sensitive information to Aipac staff members as part of the regular back-channel world of diplomacy.


http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/03/washington/03aipac.html?scp=2&sq=aipac&st=nyt

arbogast

If this breaks during the campaign, it could certainly influence the outcome, both of the primary cycle and the general election...if I read between the lines accurately.

What has changed?

bourbon

Col. Lang-
Phil Giraldi has an excellent look into the case, published in The American Conservative. It adds much needed depth to the Sunday Times articles, and names-names as well.

Found in Translation: FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds spills her secrets, by Philip Giraldi. The American Conservative, January 28, 2008.

http://www.amconmag.com/2008/2008_01_28/article1.html

JohnS

Justin Raimondo has done quite a bit of writing on the subject of Sibel and Franklin. This is interesting from him: "The Pentagon department in which Franklin worked was the operational epicenter of the neoconservative faction in the administration, with the high command over at the office of the vice president. It was in Feith's shop that the Office of Special Plans – the locus of so much of the phony "intelligence" that fueled the drive to war with Iraq – was conceived and staffed. Led by one Abram Shulsky, a scholarly authority on the works of the philosopher Leo Strauss – and longtime protégé of uber-neocon Richard Perle, the operation was presided over by William Luti, a disciple of neoconservative arms guru Albert Wohlstetter and a former aide to Newt Gingrich.

The Israeli connection to the Special Plans group was reported by Julian Borger in the Guardian, and former Pentagon analyst Karen Kwiatkowski (ret.), who worked in the same policy shop as Franklin. Colonel Kwiatkowski reports that Israeli military and other officials had the run of the place and were exempted from signing in as required of all other guests.

The traitor Franklin was a small cog in a very extensive underground machinery, one that pumped top-secret documents and other intelligence out of the U.S. government apparatus while it pumped a continuous stream of propaganda and fabricated "intelligence" in."

http://www.antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=5857

Here's more from another article:
"The plea bargain struck by former Pentagon analyst Lawrence A. Franklin – charged with five counts of handing over classified information to officials of a pro-Israel lobbying group, who passed it on to Israeli diplomatic personnel – has delivered a body blow to the defense of the two remaining accused spies. Steve Rosen, who for 20 years was the chief lobbyist over at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and Keith Weissman, AIPAC's top foreign policy analyst...

Now the man they portrayed as being a persecuted victim is admitting that, yes, he spied for Israel, and, furthermore, the clear implication of this apparent plea bargain is that he is prepared to expose the spy ring that Israel was – and perhaps still is – running inside AIPAC, one of the most powerful lobbying groups in Washington. "

http://www.antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=7454

JohnS

More from Sibel Edmonds in an interview with Christopher DeLiso:

"CD: When you were at the FBI, did you have any colleagues who were working on this case, investigating the Israelis?

SE: Look, I think that that [the AIPAC investigation] ultimately involves more than just Israelis – I am talking about countries, not a single country here. Because despite however it may appear, this is not just a simple matter of state espionage. If Fitzgerald and his team keep pulling, really pulling, they are going to reel in much more than just a few guys spying for Israel.

CD: A monster, 600-pound catfish, huh? So the Turkish and Israeli investigations had some overlap?

SE: Essentially, there is only one investigation – a very big one, an all-inclusive one. Completely by chance, I, a lowly translator, stumbled over one piece of it.

But I can tell you there are a lot of people involved, a lot of ranking officials, and a lot of illegal activities that include multi-billion-dollar drug-smuggling operations, black-market nuclear sales to terrorists and unsavory regimes, you name it. And of course a lot of people from abroad are involved. It's massive. So to do this investigation, to really do it, they will have to look into everything."

http://www.antiwar.com/deliso/?articleid=6934

JohnS

This is also very interesting. I just stumbled onto this from the TimesOnline: dated Jan. 27, 2008:

"AN investigation into the illicit sale of American nuclear secrets was compromised by a senior official in the State Department, a former FBI employee has claimed.

The official is said to have tipped off a foreign contact about a bogus CIA company used to investigate the sale of nuclear secrets.

The firm, Brewster Jennings & Associates, was a front for Valerie Plame, the former CIA agent. Her public outing two years later in 2003 by White House officials became a cause célèbre.

The claims that a State Department official blew the investigation into a nuclear smuggling ring have been made by Sibel Edmonds, 38, a former Turkish language translator in the FBI’s Washington field office..."

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article3257725.ece

jonst

This all will be buried so deep that you would not find evidence of, never mind the real thing, with one of those tactical nukes the Pentagon had in mind for use against Iranian installations.

arbogast

If one is going to posit an Israeli connection in the promiscuous rush to war with Iraq, I think one has to look under Alan Greenspan's fingernails.

The American economy has been destroyed by Alan Greenspan. He is a congenital liar. Just as a single example, he recommended ARM's at a time when he knew that the mortgage industry was going to collapse on account of his policies.

Why?

To finance the Iraq war.

Joseph Stiglitz is a Nobel-laureate who points out that the current financial implosion was caused by Greenspan.

What he does not point out is Greenspan's motivation: pay for the Iraq war to further the Israeli cause at the expense of the US.

Is this incorrect?

arbogast

I suppose one could ask whether Greenspan enabled the war in Iraq from the opposite direction.

Would the Iraq war have gotten anywhere near as far as it did without artificially low interest rates and the illusion of wealth they produced?

That question is being answered right now.

The economy is imploding, and the first national expense that is going to be thrown overboard is the war in Iraq. We will withdraw. Not because the Army is overextended. But because we simply cannot afford it.

condfusedponderer

Iirc the man who Edmonds suggests outed Brewster Jennings to the Turks who then tipped off their partners is Marc Grossman (sp?). That's pretty high up. Franklin is small fish compared to that.

Mad Dogs

And for a wee bit more info on Marc Grossman, see this Wiki link.

Larisa Alexandrovna has been all over this as well.

zot23

Humorous, to think that there might be some sort of trial over this. Congress can't get Condi to appear under threat of contempt, you think Bush will give them up to a court case? Pure fantasy, and a liberal (conservative?) use of pardons when the tin Cowboy leaves office will make sure this never goes anywhere.

Without the press, how can we ever hope to get to the bottom of this? And the press, well, they have other priorities (like Hillary's sex life, or John McCain fab-o BBQ skills, or the whirlwind of terror we'll suffer if the telecos don't get 100% iron clad immunity.)

I'm sorry, color me a cynic on this ever truly seeing the light of day.

Andy

There was a discussion by some of us on Sibel in a comment thread here a few weeks back. I theorized there that Sibel possibly stumbled upon one or more sting operations.

Ultimately though, who knows? There's no evidence either way so we are left with mere speculation on the matter.

jon

I saw this when Edmonds went public in the British papers and passed it on to Larry Johnson. He was aware of it and replied that he thought there were a few missing pieces to the story - that Edmonds may have tripped over some counter intelligence activities and that there might have been good reasons no tot peel the lid off the whole thing when she discovered it.

Apparently Valerie Plame is not so pleased that her identity and Brewster Jennings might have been traded off, whatever the reason. The Turkish connection opens a lot of vectors for the information to be dispersed through.

Franklin's legal team is engaging in 'greymail'. Their strategy will be to put 'name' administration officials with top security, compartmented clearances on the stand, under oath and start asking detailed, wide ranging and embarrassing questions about their conduct and conversations with other officials and foreign persons and diplomats. Should be fascinating. No government wants to find themselves in this position. Generally, the cases get settled before the testimony ever happens in open court.

But this is a situation that's been screaming for some sunlight. Foreign persons don't get classified materials. Seems like a fairly simple matter. The whole problem boils down to who was involved and what was passed along.

arthurdecco

Col. Lang said: "I missed this when it was in the press."

No, Col. Lang, you didn't miss the Sybil Edmonds story when it was in the press because it wasn't much in the press. Sybil Edmonds' travails have been an almost-exclusive on-line story. I'm glad it's caught your attention.

The ramifications of this malodorous conspiracy are dead serious for the privileged if this issue ever captures the popular attention of the American public.

Now you can ask yourself the question, "Why wasn't it in the press?"

10 points for every correct answer.

J.T. Davis

Pat,

A touch OT but I wondered if you've seen this Vanity Fair for April yet?


The Gaza Bombshell

http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2008/04/gaza200804

Cieran

My thanks to Colonel Lang for bringing this up...

The Sibel Edmonds case is one of the most bizarre episodes of our increasingly-strange national story. Either she's lying (which would be trivial to prove, but no one seems to have done so), or she's telling the truth (in which case this is one of the most important stories of our age, as it implies that we are the source for the nuclear technology that has been proliferated through networks like AQ Khan's).

Some have suggested that Edmonds ran across a CIA sting operation during her FBI translation work, but the congressional inquiries ruled our that possibility before they ever held any hearings, so that's apparently a red herring that's being used to conceal the real story (whatever that is). Caveat emptor!

Some of the people she's implicated (e.g., Marc Grossman) are well-connected to both the Clinton and Bush political camps, and her story also implies a nefarious connection between Turkish money and Israeli espionage resources. If politics makes for strange bedfellows, then this is even stranger than politics.

And some of the people she has implicated (e.g., Richard Perle) have shown a propensity to file libel lawsuits at the drop of a hat, but no one is filing anything like that on this case, which adds an ass-backwards form of validation to the mix.

And the U.S. corporate media simply won't touch the story, but Rupert Murdoch's London newspapers will.

I've been following this story since it broke years ago (worrying about rogue nuclear weapons technology used to be part of my day job), and no matter how much attention I've paid to it, almost nothing here makes any sense...

Except for the possibility that Ms. Edmonds is telling the truth, in which case perhaps the gravest threat our republic has ever faced is already well-established in our government, and on both sides of the political aisle, too.

So who needs a drink?

J

Colonel,

on another subject, the press are saying that bush may fire centcom cc adm. fallon, and replace him with a cc that will be more 'pliable' to wage war on iran. who will bush put in fallon's place?

see:
http://www.esquire.com/features/fox-fallon

arbogast

And the irony of ironies?

At the very moment that the US has thrown itself on the barricades for Israel, Israel has proven to be a paper tiger.

The IDF can't get the job done.

If your philosophy is never to shlep, you better have good shleppers.

Of course, the logical conclusion to all this is the end of humanity. When AIPAC (read the US government) and Israel see that there's no way out, they will go nuclear.

And what will happen then? Simple. Pakistan will go nuclear next.

robt willmann

The Sibel Edmonds matter is most intriguing--literally.

A website devoted to her situation is here--

http://www.justacitizen.com

And she put up a little tongue-in-cheek "state secrets privilege gallery" here: not naming any names, just posting a little gallery of photos--

http://www.justacitizen.com/images/Gallery Draft2 for Web.htm

The AIPAC espionage trial with defendants Rosen and Weissman has been reset a number of times. The word was early on that the FBI wanted to arrest Rosen and Weissman on a warrant supported by an affidavit before an indictment was sought from a grand jury, but the Justice Department blocked it, and turned the matter over to a U.S. Attorney's office for more "investigation".

It is important for the public to understand that in the U.S. legal system in criminal cases, the prosecuting authority, which is your local District Attorney for State crimes and the U.S. Justice Department and the various U.S. Attorneys for federal crimes, does not have to prosecute even an airtight, perfect criminal case. There is no legal requirement for the prosecutor to file a criminal charge, or seek one by an indictment where required, for every violation of the criminal law that becomes known. This is called "prosecutorial discretion". Down here in Texas, when it is used to "tube" a case, we say, "the fix is in".

However, in a note of pride, I must say that in my State of Texas, which still clings to a few tiny remnants of its once wonderful, frontier-styled criminal law, the prosecutor does not completely control the grand jury, as the federal prosecutor does. In Texas, the grand jury can throw the prosecutor out of the room, issue its own subpoenas, conduct its own investigation, and hand down indictments against people, all on its own. I have seen it happen twice. This is always quite amusing, since it smears a lot of egg on the face of the District Attorney, who must run for election every four years.

But in the federal system, the grand jury is under the thumb of the prosecutor. This is why the issue of who the Attorney General of the United States is constitutes the most important selection other than the president. You see, if the Attorney General is your buddy, or is compromised, or is a "weak sister", or can otherwise be influenced, you can commit any amount of mayhem, thievery, fraud, espionage, illegal wiretapping, and so forth, and never worry about a thing.

Sound familiar?

This is a huge weakness in the federal system. Real crimes at times are not prosecuted, and at other times people are improperly prosecuted for political reasons.

Remember the perjury, false statement, and obstruction of justice case against Irving Lewis Libby, Jr.? Deputy Attorney General (the number two position at the Justice Dept.) James Comey made his friend Patrick Fitzgerald the "special counsel" to investigate the leak of Valerie Plame's CIA status. Comey in effect gave Fitzgerald the full power of the Attorney General to conduct the investigation. Before Comey left the DOJ, he specifically transferred any supervisory authority he had over Fitzgerald to a career Justice Department prosecutor so that his replacement as Deputy AG or the AG himself could not block Fitzgerald's work and "tube" the Libby case.

Now you know why so much misconduct has not been prosecuted in days gone by. And why nothing has been done about the complaints of Sibel Edmonds.

Unfortunately, Michael Mukasey slipped through the confirmation hearing and replaced Alberto Gonzales as U.S. Attorney General.

Have you noticed a lot of "stonewalling" lately from the Justice Department, or is it just my imagination?

Keep your eye on the office of the Attorney General of the U.S.

Leila Abu-Saba

This just makes me so angry. If any Arab-American were to pass such secrets along I would hope he would be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Why are these fellows getting protected? I know I am a hyphenated American but I have made my choice - Arab is an adjective modifying American and can be dropped - I am an American, and I don't like seeing my fellow Americans betraying this country. I don't mean by criticising foreign policy or the President - that's dissent and opposition. I mean betrayal by passing on nuclear and other secrets and blowing intelligence operations.

I'm steaming. I know I should not be shocked any longer but really, I am shocked as well as angry.

Dave

Henry Waxman seemed very interested in holding hearings, up until he actually became chairman of the Oversight and Reform committee. Since then he's reported to have stopped talking about and taking calls on Sibel's case. I'm not so sure the political pressures have changed at all, unfortunately.

Also, I think it's worth remembering the administration's January request that congress legalize the nuke trade with Turkey. It might not be an actual stab at providing retroactive immunity for (alleged) treason, but given the timing re: the Guardian series and the odd wording of the announcement, it smells funny.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2008/01/20080123-6.html

arbogast

A subtlety.

What really happened when the US invaded Iraq?

A lot of AIPAC's and Israeli's gained the impression that when it came to shedding blood, they had finally found a sucker to do it for them.

Unintended side-effect:

They also, perhaps subconsciously, decided they wouldn't shed any more of their own.

So we have the incursion south of the Litani and the incursion in Gaza: neither very convincing.

Birthpangs of a new Middle East? How about deathpangs of the Israelo-American colonial project?

arthurdecco

"There was a discussion by some of us on Sibel in a comment thread here a few weeks back. I theorized there that Sibel possibly stumbled upon one or more sting operations." Posted by Andy

What a preposterous notion! (See Cieran's post above.)

JohnS

Edmonds seems to be suggesting that there is more than simple espionage going on here: But I can tell you there are a lot of people involved, a lot of ranking officials, and a lot of illegal activities that include multi-billion-dollar drug-smuggling operations, black-market nuclear sales to terrorists and unsavory regimes, you name it.

The 1999 annual Human Development Report (HDR) by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) discussed the “virulent synergy between globalisation and organised crime.” Here's from the HDR: "The illegal drug trade in 1995 was estimated at $400 billion, about 8% of world trade, more than the share of iron and steel or of motor vehicles, and roughly the same as textiles (7.5%) and gas and oil (8.6%).”

Here's more: “At the root of all this is the growing influence of organised crime, estimated to gross $1.5 trillion a year, rivalling multi-national corporations as an economic power. Global crime groups have the power to criminalize politics, business and the police, developing efficient networks, extending their reach deep and wide.” […] “All have operations extending beyond national borders, and they are now developing strategic alliances linked in a global network, reaping the benefits of globalization.”

Is this what Edmonds is alluding to? I'm putting on my tinfoil hat here. Peter Dale Scott has suggested that a highly organized global drug traffic industry would have its own political and economic objectives. One objective, of course, would be limited state control over major growing areas. That could easily be accomplished by destabilizing a region through rebellion and warfare.

I'm not quite sure what to think about all this...

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