Monday, 21 September 2009

The Sibel Edmonds Case and Its Implications for Europe

The Sibel Edmonds case is an American scandal that has been bubbling away quietly for years. Few people have heard of it and no mainstream American news organisation has been willing to go near it. It repays close attention, however, as it is hightly suggestive of the kind of covert activities the Turkish government may be undertaking in Europe in support of its bid to join the European Union.

In summary form, the story is this: Sibel Edmonds was a Turkish woman who had emigrated to the United States and taken US citizenship. In the immediate aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks, she was recruited by the FBI as a translator (translating Turkish, Farsi and Armenian). After a few months she was approached by another Turkish translator working for the FBI who was also a Turk (Melek Can Dickerson). Dickerson was married to a high-ranking US military officer. Edmonds became aware that Dickerson had worked for some organisations which were the subject of FBI investigations (like the American Turkish Council) and had lied on her CV. Dickerson, along with her husband, came to Edmonds' home and had a conversation with her. Edmonds interpreted this as an attempt to recruit her into the Turkish spying network. She immediately reported this attempt to her superiors. The matter went up the chain and culminated in Edmonds having her employment terminated.

Since then she has been trying to speak out about what she discovered in the course of doing her job. She is subject to tight legal restrictions in what she can say in public. The US government invoked the State Secrets Privilege to suppress her free speech in various cases. Those who have investigated her claims, including official investigations, have found them highly credible.

Last month, she testified at a court hearing and spoke more openly about what she knows than she has done hitherto. There are MP3 highlights of her testimony here. In essence what she says is that the Turks, through various front organisations such as the American Turkish Council, were running a vast, covert influencing operation in the United States. This operation primarily targeted politicians, including some very powerful and high-profile ones, such as Denny Hastert, former speaker of the House and now a Turkish lobbyist; Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz and various other influential neocons. Edmonds says that the Turks used bribery and blackmail to pursue their goals. These goals were the acquisition of US military secrets, including nuclear secrets, and the circulation of this information to countries including Libya and Saudi Arabia; suppressing any discussion or recognition of the Armenian genocide; and general support for Turkish foreign policy.

One anecdote that she tells is of a Democratic congresswoman who was married with children but was also bisexual. The Turks arranged for a female Turkish agent to seduce her and film the whole thing. This film would then have been used for blackmail purposes.

OK, all very interesting, but how does it relate to Europe? First of all, the revelation that the Turks have been seeking nuclear secrets and sharing them with countries like Libya and Saudi Arabia shows us where Turkey's heart really lies. It is a typical Middle Eastern Muslim country, not some secular, quasi-European state as its supporters maintain.

More importantly, however, it suggests the kind of influencing operations the Turks may be running in Europe, too, in support of their accession bid. Joining the European Union has been Turkey's major strategic objective for decades. If they are willing to engage in bribery and blackmail just to suppress discussion of the Armenian genocide in America, what wouldn't they be willing to do to support their EU accession bid?

Certainly, it is difficult to understand the enthusiasm of so many European politicians, like the disgraceful Emma Bonino, for Turkish accession, given how overwhelmingly opposed their own people are to the idea. Is it possible that bribery and blackmail are taking place on a mass scale to support Turkey's application? I find the idea plausible.

1 comment:

  1. 'Jihadwatch'

    "Fitzgerald: Turkey -not EU membership, but

    support and understanding for Turkish