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Reply #6: "A plea for civility & factual argument in the Sibel Edmonds matter." [View All]

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JackRiddler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-17-10 03:20 PM
Response to Reply #1
6. "A plea for civility & factual argument in the Sibel Edmonds matter."
Edited on Wed Mar-17-10 03:21 PM by JackRiddler
G_j, you seem to think this subject is going to be a lightning rod again.

I certainly hope not. This time I hope no one reflexively attacks her, but admits the matters she raises with credibility should be investigated to clarify whether her allegations are true (and round up the perpetrators of these crimes, if she's right).

In that spirit, if I may repeat myself...

"A plea for civility & factual argument in the Sibel Edmonds matter."

Edited on Thu Sep-24-09 04:09 PM by JackRiddler

This is a plea to stay factual and calm in our arguments.

Sibel Edmonds does not claim to be the original source of her stunning allegations of treason among high government officials. She says she is a messenger. Her claims derive entirely from what she says she read in FBI files during her employment there as a translator. These files were compiled from 1997 to 2002 by investigators probing the Turkish lobby and AIPAC, Edmonds says.

According to Edmonds, the FBI gathered overwhelming evidence that these lobbies were the main clients to a network of freelance spies who in effect sold information to the highest bidder. The network included Marc Grossman, Richard Perle, Dennis Hastert and many other well-known officials. The usual bidders were Turkey, Israel and, if neither of them were interested, the Pakistani ISI.

In the course of the surveillance, Edmonds says, the FBI also happened upon involvement of this network with the very same "mujahedeen" forces under "Bin Laden" later blamed for the September 11th attacks.

For the details, please see Edmonds's deposition in Schmidt vs. Krikorian, which is available both on video and as a complete transcript at:

Sorry to say, but anyone who hasn't read or viewed the deposition shouldn't be making any claims about this case.

Back in 2002, after bringing the matter to her superiors, Edmonds says she was told to forget about it. She also claims that her associate at the FBI, Can Dickerson, attempted together with her (Dickerson's) husband to recruit Edmonds on behalf of the Turkish network. When Edmonds refused and started complaining about Dickerson to her superiors, she was fired.

Then she tried to reveal what she had learned to the public, but was gagged by a series of orders and bans from the Justice Department as upheld by federal Judge Reggie Walton. She testified in secret hearings chaired by Sen. Patrick Leahy and was interviewed by the 9/11 Commission, but neither body chose to review her allegations in public. A Justice Department Inspector General report was published in 2005. It avoided treating Edmonds's allegations, but confirmed that she was fired for her whistleblowing activites.

In the seventh year, she decided to defy the bans, risk prosecution, and go to the press. This led to the publication of articles detailing her story about the Pentagon/Turkish/Israeli spy network last year in the London Times.

That is Edmonds's story in a nutshell.

She does not say that everything in the FBI files is true, nor could she have any way of knowing it herself. She says only that she read the details in the FBI files, and that these files were closed over the objections of the investigators who had compiled them. She has specified the numbers of these files. They can be released, or subpoenaed, or given over to a new investigation. That is what progressives should be calling for, dispassionately but insistently!

Though the charges involve treason and the plotting of an aggressive war by the already well-known cabal within the Bush regime familiar to many of us as “the neocons,” until this week their revelation was greeted with silence in the US corporate media (still the case), and a resigned, muted approval among those who have followed the Edmonds story on the progressive blogosphere.

The accused persons did not issue denials, possibly because they were involved in a lot of stuff that may land them in jail, even if none of Edmonds’s specific accusations should pan out.

The one detail Edmonds omitted revealing until this last week was the name of the Democratic congresswoman alleged to have been seduced by a female Turkish agent, actually a minor detail in the overall story.

As soon as that name was dropped however, the story finally started garnering attention from thousands of Web sites, prompting denials from the office of Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL).

C. Wright Mills might say this is a triumph of the prurient over the sociological imagination.

Another dynamic at work, of course, is that the congresswoman is a Democrat. Partisans whose own words reveal they knew nothing about the Edmonds case until now rise up reflexively to defend the “D.”

And so, recent days have seen the rise of a reactionary approach to the Edmonds case.

A set of talking points, no doubt formed spontaneously, now circulates for use in summary dismissals of the Edmonds allegations. The techniques parallel the standards of Rovian politics.

It all starts with labeling. Magic thought-stopping words are supposed to instantly kill discussion, like

- "Orly Taitz!1!"

- "@!teh batshit! OMG CRAYZEE!"

- "disgruntled employee!"

(Note: These are generic examples or paraphrases of a type of comment.)

The sophistry shotgun also fires pellets that sound vaguely political, even if untrue:

- "Anti-Turkish racism!"

- "Homophobia!"

- "Right wing CTs!"

- "Somewhere on the Internet a freeper agrees - therefore it's untrue!"

Etc. etc.

The most curious treatments are those who say there must be nothing to the allegations, either because they never heard of her until now or because Edmonds has had almost no traction with the US corporate media. Yet there are many reasons why we should have all heard of Sibel Edmonds at some point in the last seven years, and not simply last week when Schakowsky's name was dropped for the first time:

- seven years of court gag orders and sanctions

- sometimes heavy coverage on progressive areas of the blogosphere during those seven years

- a report on 60 Minutes

- Edmonds's secret testimony to Leahy's committee

- the Ashcroft Justice Department's historic use of RETROACTIVE classification of already published statements; a true Orwellian high point!

- protests to the 9/11 Commission and support for Edmonds from the Family Steering Committee

- the IG report by the Justice Department and coverage of it in the NY Times

- finally, Edmonds's decision to defy the gag order and start spilling the beans in the foreign press, and, last week, to The American Conservative (a paleocon magazine).

Despite this, there is a danger that the first exposure many people will now have will not be the actual summary of the allegations given by Edmonds in her deposition and interview, but brief, dismissive caricatures, often in three words or less - or else, treatments that focus in distorted fashion on the details of greatest prurient interest, although these are not the most important.

Who gets to write the "talking points"?!

Sadly that's a question central to the exercise of rhetorical power in our attention-addled society. Here's my hope that people will avoid the mini-versions and actually learn the details of the case, before they resort to thought-stoppers.

Thank you for your attention!
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