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17 March 2007

Noam Chomsky: A Life of Dissent

An electronic edition of the book, from MIT Press.

16 March 2007

"The Easiest Targets": Women's Testmony on Israeli Border "Security"

Part 1:

Part 2:

Don't worry: it's all propaganda.

Was I a good American in the time of George Bush? | Guardian daily comment | Guardian Unlimited


AIPAC backed removal of Iran war provision

No kidding? So, let me get this straight: the power of a foreign lobby -- one that has already been proven to have practiced espionage against the US -- prevented the tepid insistence on a Congressional role in expanding an already illegal war?

This is your "opposition party."

15 March 2007

An Interview with Sibel Edmonds

This is worth copying from ICH...incredible. Which is to say, all too credible:

What if the FBI Hired Someone Honest to Look into 9-11?

By David Swanson

03/14/07 --
ICH -- Edmonds discusses what she knows, whom it implicates, and what she's been through and what hope there is in the new Congress to start an investigation.

Here's the audio.

Swanson: This is David Swanson with Sibel Edmonds. It's great to talk with you, thanks for being here.

Edmonds: Thanks for asking me for this interview, David.

Swanson: So I should ask, I guess, before I start, are you under any gag order? Are there things that you can and cannot talk about?

Edmonds: Well - that's a very interesting question, David, because when the government invoked the State Secrets Privilege, it was specifically for the court procedures, so there won't be any court hearings, and as far as the courts are concerned, my case is gagged and classified.

Separately, they invoked the retroactive classification order on Congress and this was for the Senate Judiciary committee in May 2004 - and the way the imposed this gag order - and I have to emphasize that this gag order was illegal, because in order for them to retroactively classify congressional investigations, the Attorney General for the Justice Department had to meet three criteria and he did not. But even though the gag order was illegal, at that time in May 2004, the Senate Judiciary committee complied with it, they complied with an illegal gag order.

But I've never had a gag order placed on me as far as the public statements, or any other investigative procedures are concerned, but as you know they have declared everything in my case, including my languages, and what I did for the FBI, classified. Now the question is whether this classification that they're using is even legal, or justified. As you know the executive branch has complete control over the classification.

Swanson: So you are not allowed to discuss what languages you speak? You're forbidden to say that?

Edmonds: Well - that's what they have ordered, and that's what the court has actually ruled in their favor - but the interesting this is if you were to go and just google my name, you will see everywhere that my language skills are all listed there - because it's public information. I mean, take a look at the implications of this, based on this classification, I can't even have my resume out there because when you put your resume, and you put your language skills, that would be violating classification. But my resume has been out there, and the government has not come to me and told me to pull my resume.

They have been playing this game because they can get away with it in court, and Congress - but as you can see, this information is readily available - it's public. The same thing is true with my university degrees - the government specifically declared my Masters degrees, my undergraduate degrees, and the topics of those studies as classified! This is the Kafkaesque thing that I have been trying to point out to people, and we haven't had much media attention on this - when they can go, in this ridiculous way, in this ludicrous way, to invoke 'privilege' and classification - even on information that is readily available in public.

Swanson: For those who still don't know what your story is, and what you did, and why the government would be taking these sorts of actions, why don't we start at the beginning and just go very briefly, but maybe if I say a couple of things, tell me if I’m wrong...

You were hired by the FBI just after September 11 when they decided that it would be a good idea to hire translators who knew foreign languages - and the foreign languages that you were hired to work on were Turkish, Farsi, and Azerbaijani. And your background is one of having lived in Iran, Turkey and the US - and having had struggles in those previous countries with repressive governments and censorship and corruption and having thought, somewhat hopefully, about the US when you came here as being a country of freedom and transparent government. Am I on the right track?

Edmonds: Absolutely. I was a believer and I took my citizenship oath in 1995, I really took that oath, as you take any oath, seriously, and I was so proud to become a citizen of this country and have the constitution, and all the principles, and the bill of rights applying to me. As you know, those rights are non-existent in countries such as Turkey and Azerbaijan and Iran - in most places in the world, people are not even allowed to write about those rights, forget about even demanding them.

Swanson: What made you inclined to take a job with the FBI as a translator?

Edmonds: There needs to be a brief explanation - three years before I took that job, I was doing my studies in forensic science and criminal justice, and I had applied for an internship position with the FBI, not a full time or permanent job position, and at that point they were interested in my language skills, but they basically messed it up. I sent them the application, I took the polygraph test for that internship position for their language department, and somehow in 1999 they lost all that information - not only mine, but from 150 other applicants they had for language specialist positions. These documents, these files were lost within the FBI - or at least that's the explanation they gave to these applicants.

And then the 911 terrorist event took place and I'd turn on the TV and kept hearing the Director of the FBI pleading for language specialists - especially for the languages that I speak - because they were desperate for language specialists. And at that point it was a duty to go and say "Look - I have these skills, you need these skills for the nation, and I'm offering it to you." So I took this position as a contract language specialist for those languages and my top secret clearance was issued and I started working five days after 911.

Swanson: And they were in pretty bad shape, right? How many skilled translators of Turkish materials did they have at that point?

Edmonds: At that point they had no Turkish language specialists... In fact, they had an unofficial division for years, and they had people coming, on and off, from DOD, or the State Department on loan, and working on certain projects, but they did not even have a formal division for Turkish. They had a small division for Arabic language, and they also had a large division for Farsi - the language spoken in Iran.

As you know, because of the Cold War, most of the emphasis was placed on Russian languages - so they had a very large division for the Russian language. Since 1991, the need was not as great for those languages, and they never fortified the other divisions - so they had a lot of Russian translators, and a lot of Chinese translators, very few Arabic language specialists, and a mid-size Farsi department.

And more than the size, and this is quantity-vs.-quality, the department was not even managed, because the solid good working people (at the FBI) are mainly agents, but the language division is not managed by the agents - that division, for all these languages, is managed by administrative people. These people are former language specialists who have been promoted to supervisory positions who oversee the language division, and you have no direct involvement from the agents - so you have this layer of administrative people blocking the interaction between the agents and the language specialists. The second reason is that the language division is considered the most classified and sensitive unit in the entire FBI - so the clearance we had, and the access we had, was far more sensitive than the agents'. So even when an agent wanted to come to the division and work for a few minutes with a particular language specialist, that agent had to be escorted to the division, and watched, because everything is managed on a 'need-to-know' basis, and let's say an agent is coming to that division to talk with a Turkish language specialist, he may be exposed to some other information from, let's say, the Chinese counter-intelligence, or Arabic, for let's say Saudi Arabia. And they didn't want that to take place, so there was this great separation between the agents and the language specialists - and that itself brought a lot of problems with it - because you had these bureaucratic layers in the middle and the agents were very frustrated because they wanted to work directly with the language specialists.

You know, a lot of people consider the language specialists as like a clerical job, but you need to realize, when the information comes and you’re looking at all sorts of intelligence, whether it's counter-intelligence or criminal, related to all these different languages and countries, the first people exposed to it are the language specialists. Before that information gets transferred to agents or analysts, the first person who sees it is the language specialist in charge of that particular language - and that language specialist is in a position to decide whether or not, this particular piece of information, whether it's a wiretap or document, is important enough to be translated, whether or not it should be translated verbatim - in detail, or just a summary translation. So by the time that information goes to an analyst or an agent, it has already gone through this filter of the language specialist. So not only do they need to have language skills, linguistic skills, the translators also need to have training and enough information and knowledge to be able to make that decision in terms of what is important, and not, what is urgent, and not urgent.

Swanson: There's a saying in Italian "Traduttore traditore" which means "The translator is a traitor" - which is something that poets and authors think - and this gives new meaning to that phrase. If you have someone in that position who is not doing their job, who has other interests and loyalties, they're in a position of enormous power because no-one else has seen, or can understand the information that has come in.

So you took this job 5 days after 911 and you were not translating newspapers and public materials, so we can hope that someone at the State Department was doing that - you were translating wiretapped calls, transcripts and so forth, and by March of 2002 you were fired. Why were you fired? What happened in between?

Edmonds: Well - I'll try to answer that briefly, because so much information is already available on the net, in various publications that have come out that basically summarize the issues that I reported

Swanson: Ok - what's the best place for people to go?

Edmonds: They can go to my website - www.justacitizen.com - and there are plenty of documents there, both official documents and various interviews etc summarizing the case and there are court documents there.

But if I were to summarize the 3 or 4 general areas that I reported in terms of the serious problems... One had to do with, and this took place almost within the first two months I was there, that had to do with information related to counter-terrorism division dealing mainly with the 911 terror attacks - and in order to deal with it, not only did it deal with information available after 911, but the agents and the divisions went and actually retrieved a lot of documents and wiretap conversations - some of them dating back to 1999/2000 - on various suspects, or people they believed maybe were suspects.

So they wanted to review a lot of things that took place even before 911. So you were not only dealing, after 911, with information that started coming in, or being obtained after the terrorist attack, but a lot of information that either was translated - verbatim or in many cases summary translations - or things that were maybe overlooked that were retrieved, again from the archives, and this was a decision made by the higher-ups, and for some of those materials to be reviewed again to see what was missed, or what was not translated correctly etc.

Swanson: But you clearly came upon things that the FBI did not want to see made public - would have found embarrassing. Things that you made public to the extent that you were able, that things were poorly translated, things were missed, things were done wrong, and you reported to higher-ups that you had colleagues who were not doing their work properly.

Edmonds: Correct - and, again, there were two categories involved. In some cases it was either intentional or unintentional, unintentional due to incompetence - certain information that was not translated before 911 or they were translated inaccurately. And I also emphasize intentional cases that I reported.

The second category (of things that I reported) was other information that was available and there were significant issues, significant cases, that were not pursued because of 'certain diplomatic relations' and this is something that a lot of people have a hard time understanding, and that is, selective selection of information. That is, let's say certain information came from, let me give you a hypothetical example, let's say it came from Iraq, or certain Iraqi individuals, you can bet that would be processed because of the Axis of Evil Doctrine by our President

Swanson: Whereas Saudi Arabia is 'less evil', for example?

Edmonds: Absolutely! Or you would have in certain cases, there were certain cases that you had several individuals or entities from different nations, let's say, Pakistan, or Turkey, or Israel - and that information, due to pressure by the State Department, they were not transferring that information from counter-intelligence (they were obtained under counter-intelligence, ok) - to the counter-terrorism division - even though they were relevant, extremely relevant, directly relevant.

So the agents were very frustrated because, another thing your listeners hopefully will grasp here, when we say 'the FBI' it's not the entire FBI. All the agents that I worked with, they were great individuals, they were patriotic, they were as frustrated as I was - and they were outraged that these layers from the Pentagon, and the State Department, that they were interfering with their investigations - because automatically they had the right, the obligation, to transfer that information that they obtained from counter-intelligence, let's say, involving money laundering tied to some terrorist activities, by let's say, Turkish individuals, or some Pakistani individuals, or entities here in the US (whether official governmental related entities, or others) - to counter-terrorism to be pursued because they considered the relationship with Pakistan and Turkey too sensitive and they didn't want to mess it up.

Swanson: And so when you ran up against these issues - facts that you thought important that were being covered over, you went higher and higher up, correct? And so you spoke with people like Deputy Assistant Attorney General, or the Director of the FBI - did you ever get anywhere? And how high did the problem go?

Edmonds: You are right on target, because again, there's this misconception out there. People think 'OK, a whistleblower sees some wrongdoing and they just jump out there and go to the media and leak the information.' I spent 3.5-4 months - first I went to my supervisors, but they were a part of the problem. Then I went above them, I went to the division chief, then I went to the FBI headquarters, I went all the way up to the Director - Director Mueller. And I filed these issues, and when I filed them, I filed them with the supporting documents. - it was not me saying 'This is what I think is happening.' Because it was within the FBI, I was presenting them - let's say there were certain forms, certain documents - to the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility - OPR - and the amazing thing that took place was, immediately I started seeing this reaction to it towards me.

First, the FBI management accused me of having gone to congress, and disclosing this information to congress, and I had not done so at that point. I didn't believe that I needed to go to Congress at that point. They did not believe me - they said 'we are suspicious that you have been communicating with congress on these classified issues and doing this via email communication' - so I had agents coming to my house and removing my home computer - my husbands computer - without a warrant! They took it, and then took it to pieces, and they didn’t find anything - and so I said 'OK - maybe it was a misunderstanding.' Two weeks later they issued an order for me to take a polygraph test, and the polygraph test was to determine whether I had gone to Congress. Their fear was not the classification, the fear was whether this was going outside the FBI - and I passed the polygraph because I had not gone to congress at that point. Then they started removing my jobs, and as you know, finally I was terminated, and during these 3-4 months, I presented them with these 3 or 4 different categories of very important issues.

The other important case (that I reported on), had to do with certain public officials, corruption cases, that the FBI had obtained - and again, this was the operation that was taking place between 1997 and 2002 - and I’m talking about solid evidence. And these officials are high-profile public officials.

Swanson: People as high as say Congressman Denny Hastert?

Edmonds: Well, that information has been public, with the Vanity Fair article, and he was only one of the people, at least from the elected officials side - one of several. And they had at least 2 or 3 people in the Pentagon, and they had at least one person in the State Department - and they had this documented information, evidence, on these people actually not serving the interests of the United States - and giving out extremely sensitive information to other...

Swanson: To Turkey.

Edmonds: Well, when you say "Turkey" - not necessarily the government of Turkey that we consider an ally, but to entities that who are driven by certain interests - many of them financial interests that have to do with the military industrial complex - and they had this information, and those same individuals - not the ones from Congress necessarily, but the ones from the State Dept and Pentagon.

They were not only doing it with one country - because that operation was the sister operation of another investigation that dealt with Israel, but the FBI was not translating these from counter-intelligence to investigation units, and they were supposed to do that. They were supposed to transfer and let the counter-espionage unit in the FBI, and the criminal division handle it. But they were not (transferring these cases). So this was another case that I reported internally - and I never got anywhere with it as far as the FBI was concerned - and later, of course, when Ashcroft came out and invoked the State Secrets Privilege, Ashcroft himself inadvertently explained it! There is a sentence there saying "The State Secrets Privilege is being invoked in order to protect certain sensitive diplomatic relations and business relations of the US" - this is an exact quote from Ashcroft, explaining why the State Secrets Privilege was invoked.

Swanson: Right! 'Business relations' as though the US is a business... It's amazing to me that you put one honest person in the FBI for a few months and they end up reporting a number of different scandals and failures, and it makes you wonder what goes on the rest of the time.

And the story of what happened, you sued, and they got it thrown out on grounds of 'State Secrets' - from what I've read there have been threats to your family, a suspect colleague of yours has left the country effectively with the result that they can't be called to testify, and I guess at least some of the allegations that you've made have been confirmed, if not made public, by the Inspector General at the Justice Dept who said that you were basically fired in retaliation - is that right?

Edmonds: Absolutely, and the most amazing aspect of it is, let's say you have a Justice Dept and the FBI who is willy-nilly invoking this privilege to cover-up criminal wrongdoings, but then you have these judges in the Federal Court, due to this fear of 'Oh, I'm going to be violating some classification and helping the terrorists' or for whatever reasons, going along with it, and this happened in the lower court, it happened in the appellate court.

I don't know if you remember this, but during the appellate court hearings, these three judges closed the court to the public and the media, and after we argued our case, when the ACLU was representing my case before the appellate court, and then it was the government's attorneys turn to argue their case, they asked us, the plaintiffs - my attorneys and I - to step out of the courtroom because we couldn’t even hear what argument the government had! I mean, how can you argue in court against something that you don't even know what it is? So this is the Kafkaesque aspect of it, and what our country has come down to.

Swanson: And you're not a prisoner in Guantanamo - you're an employee of the FBI! Not that they shouldn’t have these rights either. This is the throwing out of the right to stand and hear the evidence against you that's been part of American and British justice for hundreds of years.

Edmonds: It's more than that, David. They are doing it to an American citizen. What made me really outraged was the fact that nobody in the media really reported on this. Here is an American citizen, not a terrorism suspect - and yes, they are misusing that big time, and it's against all sorts of human-rights principles that we are supposed to have here - but the fact that they are doing it to an American citizen, not someone who is a suspect in a criminal case, or terrorism case, this is an American citizen who is being deprived of her due process and her Fourth Amendment, and nobody in the media picked it up. The implications of this, now they are doing it successfully, unfortunately, to American citizens. What does it say about where we are today as a nation? And the disregard they have to the Bill of Rights, and our constitution?

Swanson: And information that the FBI made public, or gave to Congress, they classified that retroactively right? They went back and decided we should make this stuff classified after it was out there! Is there any possible respectable explanation for that kind of secrecy?

Edmonds: Absolutely not. In fact, later on in court, and this is the Project on Government Oversight - POGO - they sued the Justice Dept and they said "No. This information was available for two years. More than 30,000 websites have already downloaded it. How could you classify something that has been out there for two years?" Later, the FBI conceded and they didn't go through the lawsuit, they said 'Fine - you can publicize it.'

Despite that fact, the Senate Judiciary Committee, the congress, still didn't put those documents back online, they are still afraid to put it out there. That is the part that is so mind-boggling - which brings us to another important point. I went to Congress, I went to the appropriate committees, the Senate Judiciary committee and later I went to Congressman Waxman's committee - that's the Government Reform Committee - and I observed the classification rules, I went inside the SCIFs - these are the secured facilities they have where they can receive classified information where you can present them with documents, and details, and file numbers etc. Initially, we had Senator Grassley and Senator Leahy, a Democrat and a Republican - this was in the summer of 2002. These two senators, together, came out publicly and they said 'We started investigating this case, we have already interviewed the FBI officials, they confirmed all her allegations to us, and she's 100% credible. We need to turn the FBI upside down' - and this comment that 'We need to turn the FBI upside down' was made by Senator Grassley on CBS 60 Minutes, with 5+ million people watching.

Swanson: And what was the follow through?

Edmonds: Nothing. Initially, they promised that there would be this major public hearing, they were going to bring these witnesses - because I'm not the only witness. Some of these people's names are not public because they haven't come out to blow the whistle publicly, but they have to congress and the Justice Dept Inspector General's office filing exactly the same reports that I filed. They started doing this in 2002 in April, May.

Swanson: Are some of them still employed?

Edmonds: Some of them are retired - and you're looking at veteran FBI agents who were in charge of these operations. They want to testify under oath, they want to testify publicly, and they have filed these reports. So we got the promise from Congress that there will be a hearing, these agents will testify, they will bring in the bad guys from the FBI and have them testify under oath - and then, nothing. A deafening silence.

Swanson: A lot of Americans expected that of the Republican Congress. We've now had 2.5 months of a Democratic Congress, with Senator Leahy now the Chairman. Now Senator Leahy can do more than just write letters and complain about Senator Grassley - what has the difference been? What change have you seen?

Edmonds: Well, we are hoping to see the change. Let me first do the distinction between the Senate and the House. With the Senate, even though we have had Democrats gaining the Majority, we haven't had almost any support from almost any Senate offices. Unfortunately, somebody like Senator Feingold, who I respect tremendously, he's not on the appropriate committee - but you're looking at Senator Leahy, you're looking at Senator Akaka, they are still acting as though they are being repressed there - and they don't want to touch these issues. And of course, you know, people like Senator Clinton - and there are so many of them, and again, it's mind-boggling how these people, after getting the voters who said 'We need change,' they're not doing what they were asked to do - the reason they got re-elected, or some of them who got elected.

In the House we have a little bit more positive situation because we have some great individuals, people who I respect tremendously, Chairman Conyers, and Chairman Waxman, who have already started fairly well, and again it remains to be seen with some of the issues. I'm still hoping that they will do more, but at least we have had some positive response. We’ve got a hearing for whistleblowers through congressman Waxman's office and congressman Waxman's committee - the Government Reform Committee - introduced one of the best, I would say the only good legislation to protect whistleblowers which will include national security whistleblowers - from the agencies like the FBI, NSA, CIA etc. We are so thankful for that - but when it comes to my case, because it is so controversial, because it is so packed with damning information, they have not been willing - and this is specifically congressman Waxman's office - the Government Reform Committee - to come out publicly and commit to this hearing.

And there is nothing, David, nothing that stops them - they have subpoena power, they don't even need to use it a lot because there are so many agents, and I have their names, and they are willing to go and testify under oath. We have been asking congressman Waxman to come out publicly and say 'We are going to hold this public hearing' - and I’m going to emphasize the word 'public' - I have had closed hearings which act like these black holes - you go there and you give the information and nothing happens. This information belongs to the American public and until that happens we won't find out about some unbelievable criminal activities that are taking place within our government agencies.

So last week we started this public action campaign that you're aware of, and I'm very thankful to your website because you published that and you have been one of the supporters and you have signed on to this petition. We have 30 organizations - and this is transpartisan, David. We have the ACLU, OMB Watch, Project on Government Oversight, GAP (Government Accountability Project), National Coalition against Censorship, OpenTheGovernment.org - we have people from the right, we have libertarian organizations like Liberty Coalition, we have People For the American Way, your organization. Thirty major organizations have come together and put together this petition, serving congressman Waxman and his committee - and this happened last week - saying 'We want you to have open, public hearings on this case' - not about the whistleblower being fired - about what were the issues that were being covered up, and are still covered up, and (calling) other agents and other witnesses to testify so we can take this information to the American public and we'll see some accountability.

And so far we have received no response, David. We have 15000 citizens who have signed this petition, we have 30 major organizations, we have had hundreds if not thousands of people calling in the past few days, and we are still waiting to hear from Chairman Waxman's office to publicly say that 'Yes, we are going to hold these public hearings,' and have these witnesses, these veteran agents, these high level FBI people who are willing to testify, to testify. We want to introduce these documents that have no information that is 'state secrets' or that will hurt our national security - but information that will let the public know that here we have appointed officials and elected officials who are out there engaged in treason!

Now, some people may consider the way I'm characterizing this as maybe outrageous, or an exaggeration, but I don't know what else to call it, David. When you have people, for greed, for money, selling out information, covering up cases, giving out our true State Secrets information to entities - whether or not they're allies, Israel or Turkey or Pakistan - these people are engaged in treason.

And these cases are documented, the files, the wiretaps, go back to 1997, 1998. They are documented, there are documents, there are witnesses and we need to expose these people and we need to see criminal indictments against these people - and it will (happen). All we need is for this hearing to take place, for people to testify, and for the documents to be introduced, then you're going to see criminal indictments against these people.

Swanson: That's extremely well said, and I think it's exactly right. This is the purpose that Congress serves - to hold public hearings, not to issue reports quietly from friendly witnesses, but to use the power of the subpoena, and putting people under oath, and in front of cameras - and this congress has not done this on the fraud that took us into this war, and has not done it on the mis-steps that allowed 911 to occur, and this is what we put a Democratic majority in the there for in hope of, and we have yet to see it.

If people want to get involved and help push for this to happen with your case, how can they do that?

Edmonds: The best thing they can do, and the time to do it is right now because we just released this petition, they were just served last week with this petition signed by 15,000 people and signed by 30 organizations, is for all your listeners to call Congressman Waxman's office, both the committee's office and his personal office, and demand - send letters, call, because calling is effective, send letters and emails, and say 'We want you to come out publicly and commit to his hearing, and have this public hearing take place' because they listen.

Unfortunately we don't have a good, independent mainstream media - otherwise we wouldn't be in this position in the first place, David. You mentioned Iraq, and the illegal war - with all these cases, unfortunately, our mainstream media acted as enablers. They sit in the middle there and they didn’t do what they were supposed to do, they're still not doing it, and they're leaving the public in the dark. So because we don't have the mainstream media we have people like you. We have websites like yours, we have some of these great organizations who are doing it on behalf of the public.

Swanson: And we have some very talented film-makers, I haven’t seen it yet, but who have made a documentary of your story, right?

Edmonds: Yes David - and it's ironic, because here it took these French producers, coming from France, on behalf of this Channel2 French network to put together for a year and a half, these directors and the producers worked on this case to document it. And they also did a lot of investigative work - but they had to come from France to put it in place here on a case, on an issue that implicates US officials, and has implications for the American public. And the Vanity Fair article that you mentioned, that was done by this great reporter, David Rose, who is British, he lives in England - he had to come and do a one year investigation to that piece out, and I don't know what our mainstream media reporters are doing, but we are depending on foreign nations, and other countries, to do what our own mainstream media should be doing here.

And again, as I said, that's why it's up to these organizations, activists like you and your listeners to take that two minutes, maybe less than two minutes, and call Chairman Waxman, and remind him that he's the Chairman, there's no obstacle.

This case is not allegation, it's not a case that needs to be investigated, that has already been done. Even the Dept of Justice's own Inspector General's Office has put out a report vindicating the case. We have had bipartisan congressional statements saying that this is credible, and absolutely confirming it. So this is not taking something that is unknown. He's the Chairman, he has the power, there's nothing that stands in his way, this is a confirmed case, let's see some justice and accountability.

I don't want anything my job, about why I was fired, about why they did these wrongdoings - yes, they did it to me, that is me personally being affected, and it also sends a chilling message to other whistleblowers - but that is secondary. The most important thing is there are individuals who are engaged in acts of treason, okay. People from the State Dept, people from the Pentagon - some of these individuals are already under some quasi-investigations. I mean, we hear things about Douglas Feith, we are hearing things about Richard Perle, but trust me, they are not putting everything that there is out there. Because when you are looking at organizations like the American Turkish Council here, and you see the sister organization is AIPAC. AIPAC helped form the American Turkish Council - look at the board members, look at the people. You will see the same people involved in both fronts, because it is the same operation. And you come across the same individuals over and over again. You know, I don't understand how the case only ended up stopping with Larry Franklin - and I still can't believe that the evidence that they had from the parallel investigation didn't get its way into the court. You need to look at individuals like Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Marc Grossman, Dennis Hastert, and others. And documented evidence they have collected on these people. What are they doing with this information?

Swanson: It's an excellent question. All of those people and more need to be subpoenaed and put under oath, and on camera, and we need to get some information to the public, without which we're not going to have a democracy. So I would encourage everyone to take your suggestion, and call Congressman Henry Waxman, and ask for open, public hearings on this issue. And go to where? The National Security Whistleblowers Coalition website?

Edmonds: If you could publish the information - Luke Ryland has put together an action campaign page with all of that information with Congressman Waxman's office phone number, fax information, email etc. It's a very good website done by Luke Ryland, and I would appreciate it if you would add that information so your listeners can go to that website and also the phone numbers for Chairman Waxman so that they can call and contact, that would be great (see contact details below).

Swanson: We will do that, no question. Thank you very much for taking this time to open some eyes to what still needs to be looked into.

Edmonds: Thank you David, and thank you for everything you have been doing, because as I said, our only basically is you people, us, and those of us who are saying 'Let's defend our country against all enemies - not foreign,, but also domestic' - and that's what you have been doing so we are thankful for everything you have been doing. Thank you.

Contact Information
Congressman Henry Waxman (contact page)

In Washington, D.C.
2204 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
(202) 225-3976 (phone)
(202) 225-4099 (fax)
Ask for Michelle Ash ( Michelle.Ash@mail.house.gov ) & David Rapallo ( David.Rapallo@mail.house.gov )

In Los Angeles
8436 West Third Street, Suite 600
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(323) 651-1040 (phone)
(818) 878-7400 (phone)
(310) 652-3095 (phone)
(323) 655-0502 (fax)

House Government Reform Committee ( contact page)

By Mail or Phone:
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
U.S. House of Representatives
2157 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
(202) 225-5051

Please also contact Congressman John Conyers, asking him to support hearings by Chairman Waxman.

Email: John.Conyers@mail.house.gov

Washington, DC
2426 Rayburn Building
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-5126
(202) 225-0072 Fax
Ask for Elliot Mintzberg.

14 March 2007

TomPaine.com - Damn Right, We're Angry


The broken links in the article can be fixed by getting rid of the first URL (http://www.tompaine.com/articles/2007/03/14/%E2%80%9D) that is mucking up the links. In some cases, the page is still not findable (changed URL; taken down). Oh, well -- the point stands.

"Bloggers vs. the Lobby," By Scott McConnell

From The American Conservative, 12/12/07. Right on. Except the part about "the Chomskyan left" -- the "American Prospect left" is just catching up -- and catching on -- on not nearly enough of it.

Program on International Policy Attitudes...Compare:

1. Studies of US Opinion

2. Studies of World Opinion


On Rumsfeld, Alexander Cockburn's new book.

A note from Znet:

If you pass this comment along to others -- periodically but not repeatedly -- please explain that Commentaries are a premium sent to Sustainer Donors of Z/ZNet and that to learn more folks can consult ZNet at http://www.zmag.org
ZNet Commentary
By John Pilger

In Andrew Cockburn's new book, Rumsfeld, the gap between rampant power and its faraway victims is closed. Donald Rumsfeld, US secretary of defence until last year and a designer of the Iraq bloodbath, is revealed as personally directing from his office in the Pentagon the torture of fellow human beings, exploiting "individual phobias, such as fear of dogs, to induce stress" and use of "a wet towel and dripping water to induce the misperception of suffocation". Cockburn's documented evidence shows that other Bush mafiosi, such as Paul Wolfowitz, now president of the World Bank, "had already agreed that Rumsfeld should approve all but the most severe options, such as the wet towel, without restriction".

In Washington, I asked Ray McGovern, formerly a senior CIA officer, what he made of Norman Mailer's remark that America had entered a pre-fascist state. "I hope he's right," he replied, "because there are others saying we are already in a fascist mode. When you see who is controlling the means of production here, when you see who is controlling the newspapers and periodicals, and the TV stations, from which most Americans take their news, and when you see how the so-called war on terror is being conducted, you begin to understand where we are headed ... It's quite something that the nuclear threat today should be seen first and foremost as coming from the United States of America and Great Britain."

McGovern was the author of the president's daily CIA intelligence brief. I interviewed him more than three years ago, and his prescient words are as striking today as Cockburn's revelation of Rumsfeld's secret life is illuminating. His description of fascism within a nominally free society recalls George Orwell's warning that totalitarianism does not require a totalitarian state.

The lies that have caused this extremely dangerous time are understood and rejected by the majority of humanity. This was illustrated vividly on 15-16 February 2003 when some 30 million people took to the streets of cities around the world, including the greatest demonstration in British history. It was illustrated again the other day in Latin America, which George W Bush on tour sought to reclaim for America's lost "backyard". "The distinguished visitor," noted one commentator in Caracas, "was received with fear and loathing."

There are many connections in Latin America to the suffering in the Middle East. The crushing of popular, reformist governments by the US and the setting up of torture regimes, from Guatemala to Chile, have echoes from Iran to Afghanistan. The current attacks on the Chavez government in Venezuela by the media, which Ray McGovern describes as being "domesticated by their wish to serve", are essential in disclaiming the right of the poor to find another way.

Elected last December with a record landslide of votes cast by three-quarters of the eligible population - his 11th major election victory - Hugo Chavez expresses the kind of genuine exuberant democracy long ago abandoned in Britain, where the political class offers instead the arthritic pirouetting of Tony Blair, a criminal, and treasurer Gordon Brown, the paymaster of imperial adventures fought by 18-year-old soldiers who, on their return home, are so ill treated that there is no one to change their colostomy bag.

Chavez, having all but got rid of the deadly IMF from Latin America, dares to use the wealth from Venezuela's oil to unite the Latin peoples and to expel a foreign economic system that calls itself liberal and is the source of historic suffering. He is supported by governments and by millions across South America from whom he derives his mandate. You would not know this on either side of the Atlantic unless you studied carefully.

The propaganda that converts a lively, open democracy to an "authoritarian" dictatorship is written on the rusted crosses of Salvador Allende's comrades, of whom the same was said. It is disseminated by the embittered effete whose liberal hero was Blair, until he made an embarrassing mess, and who now claim the respectability of "the left" in order to disguise their mentoring by the likes of Wolfowitz, their promotion of Dick Cheney's ludicrous "world Islamic empire" and, above all, their passion for wars whose spilt blood is never theirs.

More Chomsky Talks from Abroad...

On "The Imperial Grand Strategy" in 2003 from Cuba. With Spanish subtitles.

On "Forgotten History" from Slovenia, 2004-ish. In English.

Chomsky at the University of Bologna on the Media

He speaks in English; translated into Italian, for you dual-language types.

Shakespeare on Larry Summers

[Spoken by a woman...]

Shall I compare me to a Summers' fray?
Frau's art's as lovely, you distemperate -- !
Rough times did shake Larry's duds of Lay,
And Summers' piece had all too short a fate.
Sometime too hot the eye of Woman shined,
And often was his golden Ego dimmed;
And every time, petard from hard declined,
A glance, and Summers' pride went thus untrimmed;
But the infernal Summers shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that to him ow'st,
For shall breath not pass before think-tank aid
Will make eternal those lines he sowest.

So long as men lust for misogyny,
So long lasts Summers, his fall nowhere be.

Halliburton Relocates: To Titan

Probe reveals seas on Saturn moon
By Paul Rincon
Science reporter, BBC News, Houston

Cassini radar image of the sea on Titan compared with image of Lake Superior (Nasa,/JPL/ GSFC )Nasa/JPL/GSFC
The Cassini radar image (left) shows one of Titan's seas is larger than Lake Superior (right)

Nasa's Cassini probe has found evidence for seas, probably filled with liquid hydrocarbons, at the high northern latitudes of Saturn's moon Titan.

The dark features, detected by Cassini's radar, are much bigger than any lakes already detected on Titan.

The largest is some 100,000 sq km (39,000 sq miles) - greater in extent than North America's Lake Superior.

It covers a greater fraction of Titan than the proportion of Earth covered by the Black Sea.

The Black Sea is the Earth's largest inland sea and covers about 0.085% of our planet's surface.

The newly observed body on Titan covers at least 0.12% of that world's surface. Cassini team members argue that this gives them reason to call it a sea.

Since Cassini's radar has caught only a portion of each of the new features, only their minimum size is known.

Methane and ethane

Titan is the second largest moon in the Solar System and is about 50% larger than Earth's Moon.

While there is no definitive proof that these seas contain liquid, their shape, their dark appearance in radar that indicates smoothness, along with other properties, point to the presence of liquids.

The liquids are probably a combination of methane and ethane, given the conditions on Titan and the abundance of methane and ethane gases and clouds in Titan's atmosphere.

"Carl Sagan [the astronomer] said that Titan must be covered with oceans, and that these replenished the atmosphere with methane," explained Charles Wood, chair of space studies at the University of North Dakota.

But that vision of hydrocarbon oceans had to be scrapped when Cassini peered through Titan's organic haze and found a chaotic, geologically active surface, but no large bodies of liquid.

Recently, the orbiter started to spot lake-like features at Titan's northerly regions.

"They are limited to about 65 degrees latitude," said Charles Wood, although he added that river-like channels seemed to be everywhere on Titan.

The discovery of these even larger bodies might hold the solution to the problem of replenishment of the atmosphere with methane.

After making these findings, Cassini team members plan to re-point the orbiter's radar instrument during a May flyby so that it can pass directly over the large dark features imaged by the cameras.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of the US space agency (Nasa), the European Space Agency (Esa) and the Italian Space Agency (Asi).


"The Goy Who Cried Wolf," Sarah Posner, American Prospect

And Pelosi was supposedly booed in front of AIPAC (check it out on video here; here's Cheney bowing to AIPAC -- oh, hell, here's the "AIPAC" reverse chronological search on C-SPAN) for insisting on an end to the Iraq War...which many (most?) Israeli defense/intel types consider a disaster.

Somehow, the language in the Supplemental that insisted upon the admin coming to the Congress for express, written permission to attack Iran just...disappeared....


Call your reps, today -- especially if they're on the Appropriations committee.

12 March 2007

"Necessary Illusions," Five Audio Lectures on Media, Noam Chomsky

Massey Lectures just after Manufacturing Consent came out...

Lecture 1:

Lecture 2:

Lecture 3:

Lecture 4:

Lecture 5:


Amy Goodman, David Goodman, and Noam Chomsky

Finkelstein at Harvard: "Is Jimmy Carter Anti-Semitic?"

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5: