Sibel Edmonds Case: the untellable story of AIPAC
Last week, former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds, announced that she was willing to tell everything that she knows if any of the major networks are willing to give her airtime, without airbrushing the essence of her case. Bradblog will have an update on the progress, or lack of it, next week.
Of course, Sibel would prefer to testify under oath in congress, but apparently our Democratic Congresscritters (I’m looking at you, Waxman) don’t care about the treason, bribery, and corruption that has hijacked US foreign policy.
Meanwhile, last week we learnt that the judge in the AIPAC case has allowed subpoenas to be issued to 15 current and former high-level officials. Many of us are excited about the prospect of the trial – but Sibel assures us that the case, as it stands, is just the tip of the iceberg.
‘AIPAC’ is at the core of Sibel’s case, and Sibel’s story needs to be heard – either in Congress, or in the media.
As it happens, the ATC is a creation of AIPAC (and other Israeli lobbying interests) – and there is significant overlap in the membership, goals and activities of both AIPAC and the ATC. This is perhaps not surprising given the long-standing tri-lateral military (and military ‘defense’ spending) relationship between the three countries. In fact, Sibel refers to AIPAC and the ATC as ‘sister organizations.’
Not only were the ATC and AIPAC ‘sister organizations,’ they also had something else in common: there have been ‘sister investigations’ into both organizations. And of course, both investigations uncovered serious criminality at the highest levels of the US administration – Congress, the Pentagon and the State Department.
Sibel described the overlap in this interview with Antiwar’s Chris Deliso in 2005:
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 (Patrick) 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.
CD: But you can start from anywhere –
SE: That’s the beauty of it. You can start from the AIPAC angle. You can start from the Plame case. You can start from my case. They all end up going to the same place, and they revolve around the same nucleus of people. There may be a lot of them, but it is one group. And they are very dangerous for all of us.
In 2004, Knight Ridder’s Warren Strobel and Jonathon Landay confirmed that the ‘AIPAC case’ was much more serious than anything that has seen the light of day so far:
“Several U.S. officials and law-enforcement sources said yesterday that the scope of the FBI probe of Pentagon intelligence activities appeared to go well beyond the Franklin matter.
FBI agents have briefed top White House, Pentagon and State Department officials on the probe. Based on those briefings, officials said, the bureau appears to be looking into other controversies that have roiled the Bush administration, some of which also touch Feith’s office.
They include how the Iraqi National Congress, a former exile group backed by the Pentagon, allegedly received highly classified U.S. intelligence on Iran; the leaking of the name of CIA officer Valerie Plame to reporters; and the production of bogus documents suggesting that Iraq tried to buy uranium for nuclear weapons from the African country of Niger. Bush repeated the Niger claim in making the case for war against Iraq.
“The whole ball of wax” was how one U.S. official privy to the briefings described the inquiry.”
Keep in mind that the FBI operation against AIPAC et al goes back to at least 1999 – so they were watching all of the relevant characters throughout this period. In fact, you’ll note that Strobel refers to “the FBI probe of Pentagon intelligence activities” – apparently the Pentagon, particularly Doug Feith’s Office of Special Plans, was itself the ‘target’ of the investigation.
Investigations shut down.
What happened to that Pentagon investigation? Why aren’t Doug Feith, Richard Perle and others in prison? I can only presume that this particular investigation was shut down, just like so many other investigations into these criminals.
In a recent interview Sibel described some cases that were shut down. The case referred to in this excerpt is apparently an Israeli counter-intelligence case:
“There are other cases we are not hearing about that I’m aware of that have to do with similar cases, maybe having to do with other countries. For example, again this is another relevant case, an outside case, the Larry Franklin case, with the espionage case that they pursued with AIPAC. And what the American public doesn’t know is the fact that there were other counter-intelligence operations within the FBI that obtained far more information not only limited to Mr. Franklin, that were similarly shut down in 2000 and 2001 because they ended up going to higher levels and involving maybe way too many people, US persons. I’m talking about individuals who are breaking the law, misusing the trust and abusing their power, and in some cases I would even say engaging in treason.”
And here Sibel describes the same thing taking place within Turkish counter-intelligence:
Now the same thing was about to take place with Turkish counter-intelligence. In the main portion of the documented — wiretapped or paper — operations that I translated verbatim (not only for the Washington Field Office but also for the Chicago and New Jersey offices), they were obtained before 2001. If we were to put a date on it you’re looking at end of 1996 to 2001. Now, in 1998 and 1999, there were so many pieces of evidence of U.S. individuals’ involvement. We’re talking about people with official positions, whether they were in the State Department or the Pentagon or the U.S. Congress that forced the Justice Dept, and the good agents who did the right thing, they started a parallel investigation that targeted these individuals who were possibly committing acts of treason.
However, as I was told by first-source agents I was working with, this was put on hold in 1999 because President Clinton was then going through the Lewinsky scandal. After the current administration came into power and after I was working there, the agents were told to shut down.
Sibel isn’t the only person who claims that investigations like this have been shut down. For example, in Kill The Messenger, ex-CIA agent Phil Giraldi says:
All of these people (Richard Perle, Doug Feith) have been investigated by the FBI at one point or another for passing secret information to Israel. In no cases, were any of them convicted. The prosecutions were dropped… in my opinion because of political pressure not to get into this kind of case that involves Israel and espionage.
Similarly, Laura Rozen and Jason Vest reported in Prospect:
“Since the Pollard case, U.S. intelligence and law-enforcement sources have revealed to the Prospect that at least six sealed indictments have been issued against individuals for espionage on Israel’s behalf. It’s a testament to the unique relationship between the United States and Israel that those cases were never prosecuted; according to the same sources, both governments ultimately addressed them through diplomatic and intelligence channels rather than air the dirty laundry. A number of career Justice Department and intelligence officials who have worked on Israeli counterespionage told the Prospect of long-standing frustration among investigators and prosecutors who feel that cases that could have been made successfully against Israeli spies were never brought to trial, or that the investigations were shut down prematurely.”
Sibel often makes the same point. The FBI agents in the field are doing a great job, however:
The people who made that decision (to shut down the investigation) were not the Justice Department or the FBI, and that’s what I try to emphasize all the time — they were pressured, they were forced by higher-up forces within the Pentagon and the State Department.
That is, the guilty parties at the Pentagon and State Dept have the power to stomp on investigations into their own illegal activities. And as Sibel says, these people were involved in criminal activity, not just simple state-based espionage.
As reported in Vanity Fair:
“In fact, much of what Edmonds reportedly heard seemed to concern not state espionage but criminal activity. There was talk, she told investigators, of laundering the profits of large-scale drug deals and of selling classified military technologies to the highest bidder.”
Once we understand that simple fact, this report from Washington Post makes more sense:
“Reports on the investigation have baffled foreign policy analysts and U.S. officials because the Bush administration and the government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon already cooperate on intelligence matters and share policy views. Despite some rocky moments, the relationship has been among the United States’ closest in both policy and intelligence sharing since Israel was founded almost six decades ago.”
Current AIPAC case
As I’ve demonstrated, the current ‘AIPAC’ case involving Keith Weissman and Steve Rosen receiving information from Larry Franklin barely scratches the surface of the underlying crimes that these investigations have yielded, and even this very limited case may never see the light of day. In an apparent greymail attempt, the defense has called 15 current and former government officials to testify – including Condi Rice, Douglas Feith, Stephen Hadley, Elliott Abrams and Richard Armitage. In fact, in Judge Ellis’ opinion last week, he gave the admistration this
“The government’s refusal to comply with a subpoena in these circumstances may result in dismissal or a lesser sanction”
Surely the administration won’t refuse that
There was, however, one interesting piece of news in the judge’s ruling last week. In footnote 8, page 7, Judge Ellis wrote
“The government does not object to the issuance of subpoenas to Franklin, Satterfield, Pollack, or Makovsky.”
JTA, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, reported, without elaboration, that:
“The government did not raise objections to the four subpoenas for officials who were identified in the indictment.”
If this is correct, then one of the mysteries of the case has apparently (nearly) been solved. In the original indictment, the unindicted co-conspirators were addressed using codewords. We now know that Ken Pollack was USGO-1, David Satterfield was USGO-2 but we didn’t know the identities of two others: “DoD employee A” and “DoD employee B.”
“DoD employee A” played the trivial, and quite possibly innocent, role of telling Rosen that Larry Franklin was an expert on Iran. On the other hand, “DoD employee B” was a willing participant in at least one espionage-related meeting with Rosen, Weissman and Franklin.
Michael Makovsky, one of Larry Franklin’s co-workers at the OSP is apparently either “DoD employee A” or “DoD employee B.” If he is “DoD employee B,” why hasn’t he been indicted?
One Remaining Mystery
Given all this history, the one remaining mystery is how on earth this current ‘AIPAC’ trial has come as far as it has. Laura Rozen and Jason Vest reported:
This history (of shutting down investigations) had led to informed speculation that the FBI — fearing the Franklin probe was heading toward the same silent end — leaked the story to CBS to keep it in the public eye and give it a fighting chance.
Three and a half years later, it appears that the fight is over. Larry Franklin has pled guilty, but even if the AIPAC case goes forward, most of the underlying crimes, and most of the criminal perpetrators, will go unpunished.
One Last Chance
Sibel has evidence of the underlying crimes. She knows who the criminals are. She wants to testify under oath in Congress but the spineless Democrats, particularly Henry Waxman, want her to keep quiet about these issues.
In an act of desperation, Sibel has bravely offered to tell all, at great personal (both legal and physical) risk, if one of the major networks will air her story. Given the history, Sibel’s offer is the only chance we’ll have to hear any of these remarkable allegations.
Waxman can be contacted in DC:(202)225-3976 and LA:323 651-1040. The toll free Capitol switchboard number is 800-828-0498. See if you can shame him into doing something.
The blog We Can Change The World has put together a list (with contact details) of journalists and media outlets that have (partially) covered Sibel’s story in the past. If you contact those journalists, perhaps they’ll be willing to at least write about Sibel’s offer – which might put pressure on either Waxman or one of the networks to actually take up the offer.