This is a transcript from my interview from yesterday with Scott Horton about Sibel Edmonds.
I gave this interview as a backgrounder for those wanting to get up to speed on Sibel’s case. We have some important news coming regarding her case in the next week – and we’ll need your help. There will be a new push to get public, open hearings into Sibel’s case – and we’ll need some public pressure put on the relevant congressional offices. I’ll provide the details next week.
Scott Horton: For AntiWar.com, and KAOS Radio 95.9 fm in Austin Texas, I’m Scott Horton, and this is AntiWar Radio. When you have an empire, you get wars without enemies, and criminals in charge of enforcing the law – that’s just the way it works.
It’s really an amazing story, this poor lady was in the wrong place at the wrong time. After September 11, she was a patriotic American citizen, an immigrant who decided she’d get a job at the FBI helping them translate foreign languages in their counter-terrorism section – and she just so happened to stumble across something near the core of the crime syndicate that controls the USA. Of course, her name is Sibel Edmonds, and she’s got a gag order, and she can say some things that have already been revealed one way or other – she can reiterate them, but she has never really been able to tell her full story in public. The story has always been of interest to me, but it’s so complicated and convoluted that I always have a hard time keeping up and making sense of the story – so I always turn to my friend Luke Ryland. He writes the great blog wotisitgood4 and he’s basically my walking crib-sheet for cheating on the Sibel Edmonds test and keeping track of this story. Welcome to the show, Luke.
Lukery: Thanks Scott – good to be here.
SH: It’s good to talk to you my friend. Let’s start with the basics of the Sibel Edmonds story – as I said, she’s an immigrant, an American citizen, who after 911 decided to be a patriot and would go to the FBI and be a translator. She speaks Farsi, Azerbaijani and Turkish and a few other languages and she went to go be a patriotic American citizen and do her duty and as a result her whole world got turned upside down. Luke, what happened?
LR: That’s right, Scott. She started working at the FBI the week after 911. She actually had an application in to work in a different department for them that she’d applied for two years earlier, and they’d lost her application. After 911 they must have run a new check and they found that they had Sibel’s application there and it had three languages on it – Turkish, Azerbaijani and Farsi and they thought she’d be pretty helpful in the translation unit in Washington to help them sort through the backlog of stuff that they had built up over the time. She started there and before long she realized that there was a whole bunch of shenanigans going on in the translation department including mistranslations and translations that were intentionally being falsified to coverup a whole bunch of different criminal activity. It was long before that, in early December, when one of her fellow translators and her husband knocked on Sibel’s door one Sunday morning and tried to recruit her basically to be a spy for a certain criminal network.
SH: And this was the infamous Melek Can Dickerson, right? Who was this lady?
LR: She was married to Major Doug Dickerson – actually he’s had a promotion since then, whatever his title is today, he’s an airforce Major who’d been involved in weapons procurement in Turkey going back a decade. So, the two of them turned up to Sibel’s house and tried to recruit Sibel. Sibel’s husband was there, and they were all having a friendly chat when Major Doug Dickerson said ‘Why don’t you come and join this organization – the American Turkish Council?’ And he basically said, ‘If you work for these guys, we’ll be able to get you in there, and you’ll never have to work again.’ He was basically trying to recruit Sibel to either mistranslate documents that were incriminating, or steal other documents that were in the building and feed them out to targets of the investigation so that the targets would know where the investigation was going.
SH: Now this lady, Melek Can Dickerson was really giving Sibel problems in the translation unit – is that correct?
LR: I don’t know that specifically – I’m not sure if that was true before the recruitment attempt, or only after the attempted recruiting had failed. Sibel rebuffed the espionage recruiting attempt and then reported it to her boss a day or two later.
SH: Who’s her boss that she reported it to?
LR: Sibel’s boss was a guy called Mike Feghali – he was in charge at that time of the Turkey desk. Dickerson was also Turkish – she actually joined the FBI after Sibel did. Sibel was actually the first and only Turkish translator in the FBI translation unit when she first joined. They didn’t have anyone else there.
SH: They didn’t have anyone??
LR: Nope. They recruited Sibel, and then Dickerson, and then another guy, Kevin Taskasen. It turns out that Dickerson was a spy, and Taskasen could speak neither Turkish nor English – so the FBI translation unit in Washington was just a disaster.
SH: And what is this American Turkish Council that they tried to recruit Sibel Edmonds to join?
LR: The ATC is basically a mini-AIPAC (ref) – in fact it was established using the AIPAC model, I believe. It had the same people on the board, common members etc. It is basically the Turkish version of AIPAC, the Israeli lobby group. The ATC is basically, as Sibel says (ref) “an association in name and in charter, the reality is that it and other affiliated associations are the U.S. government, lobbyists, foreign agents, and MIC.” So the members include people like the CEO of Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, Northrup Grumman, and Boeing, I presume (I’m not sure). So it’s basically a lobbying group for the military industrial complex.
SH: I see – and there are a lot of common interests there – I guess you have the Iron Triangle, the Revolving Door, where the politicians get jobs working at the firms and the regulators and the lobbyists and they all go back and forth in these little circles, and also internationally, you keep bringing up Turkey here, and the American Turkish Council, it makes sense when you think of the fact that America has been a NATO ally with Turkey since World War Two and has armed them and supplied them all along, that the American contractors – I guess what you’re saying is that this is their forum to make sure that Turkey buys American planes with American dollars, specifically from these corporations. It’s that kind of networking, right?
LR: Exactly. And there’s obviously a Turkish component there as well in terms of the membership of the ATC.
SH: Yeah – but what’s criminal about that Luke? This is the American way, buddy.
LR: There’s nothing criminal about that, per se. Although, there was an article in Vanity Fair by David Rose last year – a 10 page article about Sibel’s story – where the ATC is described as “a front for criminal activity.” So it’s not so much the ostensibly appropriate activities that go on at the ATC – but there are also a bunch of illegal activities that are operating under the guise of the ATC according to Vanity Fair and a few other articles that we can point to.
SH: And what kind of illegal activities are we talking about then?
LR: Well – it’s important to have a good understanding of Turkey so that we can understand what’s going on at the ATC. Turkey is ruled by, let me call it a ‘governing elite’, that is known as Deep State in Turkey – which is basically a collection of drug dealers, the Turkish military, Turkish police, and the politicians. The reason that we know about the Turkish Deep State is because there was a car crash in 1996 at a place called Susurluk. This crash exposed the Deep State for everyone to see. It happened in the middle of the night at Susurluk, and ‘Susurluk’ has now become shorthand for the Deep State.
SH: Oh – I remember something about this – all the different people in the car shouldn’t have been in the car together, right?
LR: Exactly. They refer to it as Turkey’s Watergate. There was an MP, a police chief, a beauty queen who was also an assassin and her lover, a top Turkish gangster and hitman called Abdullah Catli.
SH: I think I’ve seen that movie!
LR: Right! It sounds like a joke. In the car they found these machine guns and whatnot – plus false diplomatic passports for the terrorist drug traffickers types and it was a real mess. Someone gave an American analogy: “Imagine a car accident at, say, a hotel in WVA. Several people are killed, among them Jeff Gannon, Douglas Feith, Warren Christopher, and Osama bin Laden.” That’s sort of the equivalent. I told Sibel that one, she thought it was hysterical.
SH: So basically what you’re saying is that the regime in Turkey is no less corrupt than the regime in the US – and that basically military thugs run the place, dope dealers run the place, right? And not the good kind of dope – we’re talking heroin here.
LR: Right – Turkey is the major transit point for Afghan heroin. Five tons per week (Ed: correction – that should be ‘per month’)
SH: Now, I remember, Luke, in the 1990s Bill Clinton took the side of the Kosovo Liberation Army which were nothing but basically Osama Bin Laden type narco-terrorists in Kosovo – is that right?
LR: That is correct.
SH: And this is the same pipeline for drugs that they talked about then, right? The Golden Crescent – where it’s grown in Afghanistan and ships across Central Asia into southern and central Europe and up through Bosnia to the rest of Western Europe and the US right?
LR: Umm – correct – except you left out Turkey! (ed: so did the recent World Bank report that I documented here) 90% of it goes through Turkey
SH: That’s the bridge between Central Europe and Central Asia there
LR: Right – Turkey is either blessed or cursed by geography. That’s for sure.
SH: And part of the result of that geography, I guess, is that the Turks are in a way kind of Western. As previously mentioned they’re members of the NATO alliance, they’re extremely friendly with the Israeli government and even though they are a Muslim country, they’re kind of the bridge, figuratively between East and West, right?
SH: So no matter who you are – if you’re the Arab powers, or Israel, or the US, or the European Union, or Afghanistan drug lords, it’s all about Turkey, really.
LR: It’s all about Turkey – and the Turkish military, and the MIT, which is the intelligence agency there, pretty much know exactly what is going on. I’m not sure it would be correct to call it a police state but when you’re moving that amount of heroin through the country, they’re basically aware of, and in control of, and “actively participating in” (ref) the distribution of heroin through the country.
SH: Didn’t you tell me that the Turkish Generals are even in control of the drug trade all the way back to Afghanistan? It’s not like they’re just receiving it in Turkey – they’re basically in charge of the whole operation from the poppy field on?
LR: Well – not from the farmers directly, but one or two levels above the small aggregators that run around and connect the stuff from the farm gate.
SH: But on the ground, in Afghanistan?
LR: As I understand it. And then it either goes through Iran and Pakistan to Turkey, or it goes up through Uzbekistan and Tajikistan etc and around that way into Turkey – and that’s where all the wholesaling is done, and the manufacturing of the product, and the packaging and warehousing – all of it is done in Turkey (ref). Turkey supplies something like 80% of all European heroin, and 15% of American heroin.
SH: How much money are we talking about every year?
LR: That’s $40 billion worth, more or less, every year, at street prices. So there’s a fair margin in there for the people involved – and as we were saying, this is the Turkish Deep State that is controlling this business.
SH: How close is the tie, then, between these Turkish heroin-dealing Generals and say the American Turkish Council back here in the States?
LR: Well – if we consider that the Turkish folks at the ATC in the US are basically the Generals, the people dealing with the military-industrial players like Lockheed Martin etc – in other words, they’re basically the “same people” (ref). The ATC is basically a front organization that is basically running this heroin operation as well. And they’re also being played by the military contractors. You know, Phil Giraldi is an ex-CIA agent – he used to work in Turkey, he used to be based in Ankara – he wrote a terrific article recently in the American Conservative magazine.
SH: I actually interviewed Phil – in part about Sibel’s case.
LR: I’m not familiar with that interview… In any case, he wrote an article about Sibel’s case, perhaps 6 months ago, Sibel said it “sums up the case very well… this one nails it 100%” and Giraldi describes how Sibel’s case provides “a major insight into how neoconservatives distort US foreign policy and enrich themselves at the same time.” He also talks about how the military industrial complex, and the neocons, get together at places like the ATC and deal with the Turkish General staff.
SH: Right – and when I interviewed Sibel Edmonds before, she told me that she thought that the AIPAC scandal and the Scooter Libby/Valerie Plame story were all basically just one onion and we’ve just got to peel off the layers and figure out what is going on.
LR: Right – and I think the reason that she said that is because, as Giraldi mentions in his article, Richard Perle and Doug Feith are literally agents of Turkey, they were registered lobbyists for them for five or so years. Larry Franklin of course worked directly under Douglas Feith – so I think that’s perhaps how she connects that particular AIPAC case. (Ed note: actually, I was bullshitting here – I have no idea how Sibel connects the two cases. I presume that Sibel has more reason to believe that the two cases are related beyond the fact that Franklin worked for Feith.) Similarly, she effectively suggests that AIPAC and the ATC are essentially are the same organization, or at least have the same roles, with the same people, so I think that’s part of the analogy that she’s drawing there.
SH: Now which powerful Americans from the Bush administration, people whose names we’d recognize, are members of this ATC, Luke?
LR: Ummmm. Members from the Bush administration? Actually, there are a bunch of people there that cover generations – Brent Scowcroft is the chairman there. I can’t really name them off the top of my head – it’s basically all of them (ed: what a dumb response. I kinda blanked a bit. The list is here)
SH: Now Perle and Feith and Grossman are all members, right?
LR: Grossman’s a member. In Giraldi’s article, he talks about neocon friends of Turkey – I’m not sure how many of them are literally ‘members’ of the ATC, but they all give speeches there, for example. Giraldi points to Perle, Feith and Grossman as you’ve mentioned. Grossman was the former number 3 at the State Dept under Richard Armitage, Eric Edelman is there, he now has Feith’s old job as Undersecretary of Defence for Policy. Edelman was previously the ambassador in Turkey, a role that Grossman also used to have in the past.
SH: Now this guy Doug Dickerson who tried to recruit Sibel – wasn’t Grossman his boss for a long period of time?
LR: Yeah – in Ankara in fact, when Grossman was the ambassador in Turkey, Dickerson worked under him. Dickerson worked in weapons procurement. Dickerson in fact was suspected of being corrupt back in those days as well. There was an investigation into him – but it didn’t go anywhere for one reason or other. And Dickerson went on to get promoted again and again – the same thing that seems to happen to a lot of these people. Giraldi mentions a couple of others in his article – Paul Wolfowitz who is now at the World Bank, and former congressman Steven Solarz – he’s a lobbyist for Turkey as well.
SH: Luke – do you think that these people, Grossman, Feith, Perle, that they’re involved in dealing heroin and such?
LR: Let me put it this way, the broad outline of Sibel’s case which she has repeated again and again is that her case involves illegal arms trafficking, heroin smuggling, money laundering, and terrorist activity. And she says that you can’t look at those elements separately – it’s basically the same group of people involved in each of those different elements once you get high enough up the food chain. So if we take that as gospel, then guys like Feith and Perle are involved in the heroin smuggling business at one level or other.
SH: I’m imagining something like, maybe, they’re doing some arms dealing, and then the money is being laundered at the same place with a lot of drug money and then a lot of that money is ending up in the hands of terrorists… is it more direct than that?
LR: Well – I’m sure that they know how to keep their hands clean, generally, yeah. But as Sibel says, it’s the “same people” who are involved in each of those activities – and they all seem to be at the core of her case. Exactly which tasks they personally have, I don’t really know. But we know in Turkey, for example, it’s all the same people. It’s the Turkish Deep State that is running the shop. (Ed: why would we be surprised that it’s any different in the US?)
SH: One thing we know, too, even though we haven’t heard all that Sibel Edmonds has to say, we do know that the Dept of Justice Inspector General’s office says that she’s telling the truth, and I believe there are senators that are on the record as saying they’ve heard what she has to say in private, during secret session, and they believe every word of it!
LR: Yep. Exactly. And the reason they believe it, they say, is because everyone at the FBI tells them that it’s true. And because it’s all documented, and they’ve seen the documents to back up exactly what she says. (Ed note: as Sibel says in the movie: “Put out those tapes. Put out those wiretaps. Put out those documents. Put out the truth. The truth is going to hurt them. The truth is going to set me free.”)
SH: Right – so this is all corroborated even though we don’t have our hands on it, by hearsay, we are to understand that it’s corroborated, I guess.
LR: Right. Exactly. I have a separate blog to the one you mentioned earlier at sibeledmonds.blogspot.com – one of my buddies, Miguel, wrote a post there recently, it’s almost at the top of the blog at the moment, called “The Incredibly, Credible Sibel” – and he lists in that post all of the reasons why we should believe what Sibel says – including quotes from the two senators who she’s dealt with the most, Senator Charles Grassley, a Republican, and Senator Pat Leahy as well, have verified her story. She’s told her story to the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Intelligence Committee, and also of course the 911 Commission, all behind closed doors – and as you say, there’s also the Inspector General’s report, and a bunch of other places. There’s a new movie about Sibel’s case – particularly the nuclear black market side of it called Kill The Messenger, and in the movie they talk to former veteran FBI counter-intelligence agent called John Cole who was in charge of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran (ed note – that should be ‘India’, not Iran) – and he tells the story that he heard about Sibel’s case, and he investigated internally in the FBI and he says in the movie that was Sibel was claiming is “a 100 percent accurate” – so that’s just another point of validation from him.
Obviously, because she is gagged, and because we’ve had to put the pieces together a little bit piecemeal, when you get my version of the story, it might not be exactly the same as her version of it because I have to fill in some of the gaps a little bit, so I can’t tell you that what I’m telling you is 100% accurate, but everyone says that what she says is 100% accurate.
SH: I’m glad that you brought that up because this is the USA and around here the government is supposed to recognize that all individuals are naturally born with the right to say whatever the hell they want to, and the fact that the courts have invoked the ‘State Secrets Privilege’ that exists nowhere in law, that is directly contrary to the first amendment of the constitution, that’s why you and I are sitting here sounding like conspiracy kooks connecting a bunch of disparate dots is because we can’t just ask her to tell us the story – they won’t let her, they’ll put her in prison if she does. They’ll put her in prison for talking.
LR: That’s right. There have been a couple of good articles that have come out recently that do shed a lot of light on her case. One is the Phil Giraldi article that I mentioned earlier – she says it “nails her case 100%” – and the other is a two part article called “Highjacking of a Nation” (part one, part two) – I recommend that people go read that, particularly part two, which really lays out a lot of the things I’ve been talking about in terms of the heroin dealing in Turkey and she basically lays out as much of her case as she can – so go to NSWBC.org and read them.
SH: OK – and what am I going to have to do to see a copy of “Kill The Messenger”? When is it playing?
LR: You’ll have to be patient on that one – I get that same question every day. Unfortunately I don’t really have a time frame for that. I have a copy of it – it’s terrific.
SH: Has it been shown here at all?
LR: It played a couple of weeks ago in DC – Sibel had a private screening of 100 people or so – with whistleblower organizations (and the media) – they had a panel afterwards with James Bamford, the directors of the movie, Robert Parry, and a couple of others talking about how tragic it is that Sibel is gagged, and also discussing the appalling US media, which has been completely absent from her case, and completely doesn’t understand it, as well (ed: I presume)
SH: Right – which is part of the reason why they haven’t paid any attention because they haven’t the slightest idea what it means – they don’t know what to do with it.
LR: I’m not exactly sure of the reason. It might be similar to the fact that it’s difficult to criticize, for example, Israel in the US press. Similarly, it’s difficult to criticize Turkey. The good news is that the US media is soon going to get a chance to prove itself again on this case. There’s likely to be some new information that’s related to Sibel’s case that will be released next week, as I understand it. Sibel tells me that it’s ‘newsworthy’ so hopefully your famous media agrees and we’ll actually see some articles about it – although, heavens knows, given the way her story has been covered up so far, I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t read anything about it.
SH: Do you have any indication about what this news is about?
LR: No. But as I said, she says it’s going to be newsworthy and, you talked about her being gagged, she’s going to use any momentum from the news next week to announce a new call, a new petition, calling for her case to be re-opened. She wants to have public, open hearings, in the Senate (ed: actually, it’ll probably be the House). That call will go out in the next week or two, I believe. She has a lot of supporters who all agree that her case should be brought out in the open.
SH: You can see how that would be problematic, Luke, if her story is that the US is run by a bunch of terrorist-financing heroin dealers.
LR: That is a problem! But the truth is the truth, isn’t it? As we’ve discussed, Sibel has already told a number of Senators and committees, including the 911 Commission, and they all know exactly what is going on – so we either have all of Congress knowing all this and doing nothing, or we have open hearings and force some change.
SH: That’s kind of the way it happens with some of these stories – they’re too big, because if you ever got into it, you’d have to tear down the government of the US and start all over again.
LR: Maybe that wouldn’t be a bad thing, Scott.
SH: You’ll get no argument from me, pal. I know I’m not supposed to agree with foreigners on stuff like that… but what the hell!
LR: Well – Sibel’s not a foreigner, and she calls it “treason” as you know. I think she called it treason on your show, and if that’s what’s going on at the highest level, if nothing’s done about it, then the whole National Security is at risk, right?
SH: Absolutely – and that’s a good segue to the Valerie Plame, Joe Wilson connection – what the hell do they have to do with all this and the ATC?
LR: Valerie Plame worked for an organization called Brewster Jennings – which is a CIA front company that was doing due diligence, trying to work out what the hell was going on, particularly in relation to WMD. Brewster Jennings, going back to when Sibel was working at the FBI, and even years before then as I understand it – probably back to 1996 – were investigating the ATC, and Turkey. Valerie Plame went to Turkey a number of times – so the ATC was being scoped by Brewster Jennings, and I guess that’s how the FBI has all the wiretaps that Sibel translated. Sibel joined the FBI the week after 911 as we discussed, but 75% of the stuff that she translated pre-dated 911, from the archives, going back to 1996. So she had an archive of 5 years of this stuff which detailed all of these crimes that had been going on.
SH: Now, didn’t David Rose in the Vanity Fair article verify with other agents that there was this investigation that she was involved with, and yes it did go back to the mid-nineties and that investigation had been shut down for political reasons?
LR: There was an investigation through 96, 97 I think where the FBI picked up a lot of information about former Speaker of the House of Representatives Dennis Hastert – and in 1999, Sibel says the Clinton administration tried to appoint a Special Prosecutor to investigate the case, looking into Hastert and a few other people. That case was shut down by Ashcroft in 2001 when Sibel started reporting her findings to Congress. I don’t think that Clinton ever got around to appointing a Special Prosecutor because it was sort of at the time of the impeachment, as I understand it, and then George Bush was elected, or became President at least, and Ashcroft shut down the case. The Hastert element is just one small part of the story – as I mentioned earlier, the main part of Sibel’s case is the weapons trafficking which has three components, the heroin trafficking, the money laundering, and the terrorism – and where those things intersect. When you phrase it in those terms, it sounds like a pretty big puzzle for everyone to put the pieces together – but there are really three elements of the weapons trafficking – so let’s go through each of those. As we mentioned earlier in the Giraldi article, there is what we might call the quote ‘legal’ weapons trafficking – where you have organisations like the ATC lobbying Congress to provide Turkey with military funding. In fact, I think Turkey is second only to Saudi Arabia in terms of military aid – most of it comes in the form of grants from the US taxpayer – I think 80% of it comes from the US taxpayer.
SH: Doesn’t everything?
LR: Right. Now, Sibel talks a lot about the lobbying – from various former members of congress, and the lobbying that goes on at the ATC – I suspect that the way that Turkey gets a lot of this military aid is that people at the ATC are bribing congressmen, and forcing them to vote for these weapons. The second element is that both Israel and Turkey, once they get US weapons technology, they re-export it to other countries which aren’t allowed to have US technology. Giraldi describes how they do that – the Defence ministries in both of those countries simply create what he calls ‘false end user certificates’ – which are basically documents that say, yep, it’s ok to get the technology from the US and then sell it to countries like China and India and other countries that are ostensibly enemies of the US.
SH: Now, do the Americans who are selling these weapons know that’s what is going to happen to them?
LR: Ummm – I presume that they know and don’t care – I don’t really know.
SH: Ok – and the third aspect?
LR: Right – and this is the focus of the movie Kill The Messenger – and that’s the nuclear black market – and that has a couple of components. Sibel’s case ties into the AQ Khan network on a number of different fronts. There’s a company in New Jersey called Giza Technologies – which is a supplier to the AQ Khan network. Sibel apparently heard some wiretaps from these guys – from the CEO, Zeki Bilmen. He exported the stuff to South Africa, and the minute it got to South Africa, his agent over there would turn it around and immediately send it to Pakistan. So that’s one problem – and the American company, Giza Technologies, is still floating along without a hiccup – Sibel says that it appears that somebody wants to protect this guy, and enable him to continue to sell these things into the AQ Khan network. She says business is going great there – there are boatloads of stuff going every day to places like South Africa and Dubai, I think, and other places.
SH: OK – and for people who don’t know anything about the AQ Khan network, basically what we’re talking about is he is Pakistan’s heroic, “rogue”, scientist, ran this nuclear black market ring from the late 1980s through the early 1990s and it’s through him that the Iranians got a lot of their equipment and the Libyans as well, right?
LR: And North Korea.
SH: and North Korea didn’t enrich uranium with anything they got from him, despite all the accusations to the contrary, but what you’re saying is that American companies are involved in nuclear technology to countries where the technology is, or was, getting diverted immediately into this AQ Khan black market network that ultimately American officials are in on this, bribed to look the other way and so forth, and America is putting nuclear technology in the hands of our presumed enemies, basically?
SH: And is this why Sibel Edmonds is throwing around the word ‘treason’? Is she talking about these house-hold names, these high level people in the State and Defence Departments involved in this?
LR: Again… well.. yes basically. The clients of AQ Khan, the DPRK, Iran and Libya – they’re the three that we know about – but it appears that there another 8 countries that were possibly clients – and we don’t publicly know who else has this technology.
SH: OK – and I know that you haven’t published this yet, but you have a new interview with a former CIA guy stationed in Pakistan (ed: actually, he was the CIA exert in Pakistan’s nuclear program, Richard Barlow) who’s told you that the CIA and the American Govt knew all about AQ Khan all along – is that right?
LR: Correct – they knew from 1976 when Khan first “acquired” the blueprints in Holland. It’s problematic, right – but if you look at Sibel’s case we see exactly the same thing – we have companies like Giza supplying the network, and nobody does anything. And we have also other Turkish companies who are major members of the ATC who are literally manufacturing components for AQ Khan and sending them either to Pakistan or to Dubai for repackaging so that they can skirt the import restrictions and re-export them.
SH: Ok – how do I tie these elements together, Luke? This company in New Jersey, what does it have to do with the ATC and the neocons?
LR: I don’t specifically know, other than Sibel overheard wiretaps with the CEO of Giza exporting this stuff to Pakistan to AQ Khan’s network, and the CEO is still walking free – so we have at least that information.
SH: And you’re saying that there are other companies involved with this that you can tie to the ATC – is that right?
LR: Correct – there are at least two companies. Sibel mentions them in her Hijacking of A Nation article, Part Two. One is called EKA, and I can’t remember the name of the other one – but Sibel mentions the guys, they’re actually friends of AQ Khan (ed: I’m not sure that they were friends – I should have said that they’d met repeatedly) – and they were shipping stuff to Khan, or they were shipping it straight to Libya. Some of the components were found in the Libya bust in 2003 – and again, all this has been going on for God knows how long, and the USG is doing nothing. There’s a third element in the nuclear black market story that Sibel talks about, and that is Turkish companies placing doctoral students at nuclear weapons labs, I guess Los Alamos and Sandia and wherever else – so that they can steal secrets.
SH: Really? And she knows this from overhearing this on the FBI wiretaps?
LR: I can only assume that’s where she learnt it
SH: Didn’t she only work as a contract employee for the FBI for just a few months? Did she just stumble right into the rats nest or what?
LR: It’s a hell of a story isn’t it? The answer to that – because she did uncover so much, some people are a bit sceptical that she could have possibly overheard all of that while she was there. But, as I understand it, the reason why she uncovered all of this important information is because the agents that she was dealing with knew that they had been getting shoddy translations in the past, and so they pointed Sibel to particular documents where they expected to find something significant, because of, say, the participants in the phone call, but when they got their ‘translations’ in the first instance, the translation said ‘oh – there’s nothing important here.’ As an example, let’s say there was a phone call between Osama and President Bush, and the agent got a report saying ‘There’s nothing interesting here – they were just talking about having coffee.’ And so when Sibel joined the FBI, immediately after 911, the agents were running around desperate to put the story together…
SH: Right – these aren’t the spin masters, the political agents, these are the actual cops who want to solve the case…
LR: Exactly (ed: do I use that word a lot? or is it just that Horton always knows everything?) And Sibel says that they are all terrific. So they’re trying to solve these cases, and they ask Sibel (to re-translate) and she says “wow – this is important”
LR: Exactly. In fact, this other translator, Melek Can Dickerson, even before Sibel reported the possible espionage, the field agent that she was working with, I think Dennis Saccer, had also suspected that Dickerson was involved in espionage. So – for one reason or other, he knew that the product that Dickerson was churning out was wrong. That’s why, I presume, he asked Sibel to re-translate, because he had a sense that the stuff that he was getting from Dickerson was nonsense.
SH: Ok – Now is it the case that one of the things that she overheard was a call from the ATC to American officials to have some 911 suspects safely removed from the country?
LR: A lot of people think that Sibel has the holy-grail regarding 911 – but that’s not the case, according to Sibel. She wrote a letter to the 911 Commission when their report came out and she says that basically all of the information that she knows about 911 is contained in that letter. She outlines a few things – one is the corruption in the translation unit involving Dickerson and her boss, Mike Feghali. The second thing that she mentions in the letter is that the FBI had information in April in 2001 that they had a long-term informant who used to be an Iranian intelligence agent who was in charge of Iran’s Afghan program – the FBI had been using him for at least a decade – and he told the FBI in April 2001 that Osama Bin Ladin was planning a major terrorist attack in the US, targeting four or five cities, and the attack was going to involve airplanes, that some of the individuals who were going to carry out this attack were already in place in the US, and that the attack was going to be carried out soon – in a few months. So they had all of this information and did nothing with it apparently.
SH: Now – isn’t that the case over and over again? It seems like the pile of leads leading to those hijackers was getting pretty thick by the time those planes crashed, wasn’t it, Luke?
LR: It certainly was – I do know that this information was passed up to Thomas Frields – at least to that level, immediately, after the interview with this Iranian guy took place.
SH: And who’s he?
LR: I forget his title – I think he was the counter-terrorism guy in Washington. (Ed note: correct. “Special Agent in Charge of Counterterrorism Thomas Frields at the FBI Washington Field Office”). As I mentioned before, Sibel testified to the 911 Commission and she told them all of this information, and none of it got into the report. As I understand it, the report listed a bunch of missed opportunities, but they didn’t include in that list the fact that they were told that Osama Bin Laden was about to hijack planes and use them as weapons, in 4 or 5 cities, in a few months, and that the hijackers were already place. That sounds like a “missed opportunity” right? It wasn’t included in the report. And there was other information that Sibel reported that was excluded from the report
SH: and somebody at that ATC called Marc Grossman at the State Department and said ‘hey, I need you to spring my buddies from jail’?
LR: Well – I’ll have to check the details on that. I’m not sure if it was a guy from the ATC necessarily, it may have been another target they were listening to, and it might have been a conversation between two targets saying ‘we need to call Grossman and get him to spring our buddies’ – but basically, yes, 3 of their buddies had been arrested in the post-911 sweep, and were presumably suspects for one reason or other, and because Grossman was asked, he made the relevant phone calls and freed these guys immediately.
SH: But Ashcroft rounded up all kinds of people, so is there anything that says that these guys actually knew anything or were in on any of this?
LR: Not that I know – but it’s outrageous that Grossman can do that at the drop of a hat. And let me repeat, these people that were having the conversation were apparently targets of the investigations, so we can presume that there’s at least some suspicion about them already – and if they want to call Grossman to get their friends out of jail, you know, it’s pretty dodgy.
SH: There was something about blueprints being sent overseas – is that blueprints of the WTC towers?
LR: Well, this is also from Sibel’s open letter to the 911 Commission. In, I think, June of 2001, there was an Iranian guy who was in jail on some narcotics charges – and they were concerned that he was involved with something more nefarious, so they wiretapped his phone in jail. He called one of his friends, as I understand, and asked his buddy to send blueprints, pictures, and the building composites – what the buildings were made of – for a number of different skyscrapers – and to send those blueprints to somewhere in the Middle East.
SH: Did that include the WTC towers?
LR: Ummm – I think that the description that I have from Sibel is that the buildings were “over 100 stories” tall.
SH: Ok – so there aren’t too many of those… Was she just being coy there? Does the gag order get between her and saying the name of the buildings?
LR: I presume so – but there aren’t many others – Sears Tower – but in any case, these blueprints were sent to the Mid East – but again, none of this information was included in the 911 Commission report – for one reason or other. It’s crazy.
SH: Ok – we’re running out of time here – is there anything important I’m missing here Luke?
LR: I think that’s about it, Scott – other than, as of next week, hopefully we can get everyone to support the new call for these hearings. I’ll have the details on my blog, of course, and I presume/hope you will as well. Hopefully we’ll see it on the front page of the major newspapers in your country.