Archive for Turkish lobby

FRIDAY NOTES

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on October 24, 2009 by Mizgîn
“One joy shatters a hundred griefs.”
~ Chinese proverb.

Let me catch up with some things that I have wanted to post here this week but have not had the chance to do.

Firstly, thanks very much to the heval who pointed out to me that there is a series of twenty-one videos of the Peace and Democracy Groups in Diyarbakır on Youtube which were taken from Roj TV. When you watch these videos you will notice the celebratory mood of the people, something that has received intense criticism in Turkish media.

With that in mind, one should ask why these people are celebrating. Is it because this is a victory for PKK? In a way it is, but that’s not the primary motivation for the celebration. Do the people celebrate because they are finally reunited with guerrilla family members that they never thought they’d see again? For some of these people, that is certainly the reason. They are seeing fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, and uncles that they never dreamed they’d see again. Every guerrilla goes to the mountains with the realization that they will not be coming back. Either they will die in the mountains or they will live out the rest of their lives there.

But the reunification of eight guerrillas with their families does not explain why ten thousand people descended on Silopi in joy, or why one hundred thousand showed up to greet the peace groups in Diyarbakır. So this cannot be the primary motivation for celebration either.

The primary motivation for the rejoicing we have witnessed in the last few days is that all of these people believe they can see the faint light that heralds the end of the long, dark tunnel of war. If there are tears being shed during these celebrations, they are not the tears of victory; they are tears of joy at the prospect of peace.

This is something that is not even remotely fathomed in Western Turkey because the people there–with rare exception–have no idea what has happened in The Southeast for the last twenty-five years. They have no inkling of the level of destruction that has taken place, whether that destruction has been physical or psychological. They have no idea of the level of poverty that still exists. They have no idea of the numbers of the missing, or the tortured, or the displaced. They have no idea . . .

Anyway . . . enough of that for now because I hate crying.

Next, Military.com ran a feature earlier this week on Sibel Edmonds and her claims of espionage at the Department of Defense. What’s unique about this piece is that the author managed to get statements from some of the worst vermin that Sibel has named. Here’s something from the Prince of Darkness himself:

“This woman is a nutcase. Certifiable,” [Neocon extraordinaire Richard] Perle said. “She makes wild accusations. She was fired from her job, and has been on a vendetta against … imagined demons ever since.”

There’s also something from the guy General Tommy Franks called “the dumbest fucking guy on the planet”:

[Doug] Feith, in an email to Military.com, said: “What I’ve read on the Internet about Ms. Edmonds’s claims about me is wildly false and bizarre.”

The only one who couldn’t–or wouldn’t–speak for himself was Mr. Susurluk, Marc Grossman:

Robert S. Tyrer, co-president of The Cohen Group, a Washington lobbying firm where Grossman is now a vice chairman, told Military.com in an email that Edmonds’ allegations against the former ambassador “are completely untrue and ludicrous.”

Okay. If these three little roaches think that Sibel Edmonds’ claims are “completely untrue”, “wildly false and bizarre”, or that she “makes wild accusations”, why don’t they bring suit for defamation? Why don’t they bring suit against all the publications who’ve printed Sibel’s story or against those media that have interviewed her for television or radio? And that seems to be the general argument in the comments to The Brad Blog’s report on Military.com’s piece.

Thirdly, Luke Rosiak, who’s been documenting the Turkish lobby for the Sunlight Foundation, notes that Robert Wexler (D-FL) has suddenly decided to abandon his seat in Congress to take a job at a little-known pro-Israeli think-tank. What’s interesting about Rosiak’s piece is that he discusses the sad state of Wexler’s financial affairs. What links Wexler to the Turkish lobby is the fact that he was a founder and co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on US-Turkish Relations. One year from now we should definitely expect to see Wexler take a nice job working for the Government of Turkey as a lobbyist and–POOF!!–watch his financial woes disappear forever!

“Happy days are here again . . . “

Finally, from a friend in Diyarbakir, the DTP’s Union of Southeast Anatolian Municipalities has produced a tourist book for North Kurdistan which you can view at their website. If you click on the main photos for each city, you will be able to download a .pdf file which contains lots of photos of the cities and their surrounding areas as well as the history and culture of each region. The books are available in both Turkish and English and if you’re going to the region, you should definitely read through the available files. I mean, there are tons more information about The Southeast in this book than in any generic travel book of Turkey that I’ve seen.

I have also posted a link to the book in the right margin under “Kurdish Cities”.

Advertisements

BARGAINING OVER THE OCCUPATION OF SOUTH KURDISTAN

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on September 25, 2009 by Mizgîn
“In this, our age of infamy
Man’s choice is but to be

A tyrant, traitor, prisoner:

No other choice has he.”

~ Aleksandr Pushkin.

There was something very interesting in Phil Giraldi’s interview with Sibel Edmonds regarding South Kurdistan. Here is Sibel speaking, with my emphasis:

The monitoring of the Turks [by the FBI] picked up contacts with Feith, Wolfowitz, and Perle in the summer of 2001, four months before 9/11. They were discussing with the Turkish ambassador in Washington an arrangement whereby the U.S. would invade Iraq and divide the country. The UK would take the south, the rest would go to the U.S. They were negotiating what Turkey required in exchange for allowing an attack from Turkish soil. The Turks were very supportive, but wanted a three-part division of Iraq to include their own occupation of the Kurdish region. The three Defense Department officials said that would be more than they could agree to, but they continued daily communications to the ambassador and his defense attaché in an attempt to convince them to help.

Meanwhile Scowcroft, who was also the chairman of the American Turkish Council, Baker, Richard Armitage, and Grossman began negotiating separately for a possible Turkish protectorate. Nothing was decided, and then 9/11 took place.

Scowcroft was all for invading Iraq in 2001 and even wrote a paper for the Pentagon explaining why the Turkish northern front would be essential. I know Scowcroft came off as a hero to some for saying he was against the war, but he was very much for it until his client’s conditions were not met by the Bush administration.

What is happening here is that the neo-conservatives were discussing a Turkish occupation of South Kurdistan but it looks like they weren’t able to swing the deal in the end. Brent Scowcroft, as the chairman of the American Turkish Council, was definitely working for Turkish interests during the period Sibel is talking about.

But when Turkey didn’t get what it saw as it’s portion of Iraq–the Kurdish region–Scowcroft opposed the war because his client opposed it.

Now, picture this: If there had been an American deployment from Turkey into the north of Iraq, the Americans would have kept moving toward the south while Turkish forces could have just walked in behind the Americans and parked themselves permanently in the autonomous Kurdish region.

Does that sound far-fetched? Read Sibel’s words again. Sibel’s words also tell me that the TBMM voted against a US deployment from Turkey and denied an American northern front not because it opposed the invasion or occupation or even the carving-up of Iraq, but the TBMM opposed an American deployment from Turkish soil because it was not going to be allowed to occupy South Kurdistan.

If Turkey had, in fact, ended up as occupiers of South Kurdistan, would it then consider Kerkuk to be a part of South Kurdistan? Would it then insist that Kerkuk be added to the Kurdish region?

Sibel also mentions that some of the individuals that the FBI knew to be spying for the Turks and the Israelis were working at the RAND Corporation, too. That brings up something else that was in the news recently:

“Under pressure from the military and nationalists, the government of Prime Minister Erdoğan might launch a large-scale, cross-border incursion into northern Iraq designed not only to weaken the PKK, the Kurdish insurgent group that has attacked Turkish forces, but also to hold and occupy KRG (Kurdistan Regional Government) territory to put pressure on the KRG government to crack down on the PKK or to forestall a KRG annexation of Kirkuk.”

It may very well be that the occupation of South Kurdistan is still on the Turkish table but my money says that if such an invasion takes place, Turkey will insist upon the annexation of Kerkuk. After all, there are millions of brother Turkmen there to bring into Ağabey’s ever-loving arms.

THE INTERVIEW IS AVAILABLE

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on September 22, 2009 by Mizgîn
“The original targets were intelligence officers under diplomatic cover in the Turkish Embassy and the Israeli Embassy. It was those contacts that led to the American Turkish Council and the Assembly of Turkish American Associations and then to AIPAC fronting for the Israelis. It moved forward from there.”
~ Sibel Edmonds.

The Phil Giraldi interview with Sibel Edmonds is online:

Sibel Edmonds has a story to tell. She went to work as a Turkish and Farsi translator for the FBI five days after 9/11. Part of her job was to translate and transcribe recordings of conversations between suspected Turkish intelligence agents and their American contacts. She was fired from the FBI in April 2002 after she raised concerns that one of the translators in her section was a member of a Turkish organization that was under investigation for bribing senior government officials and members of Congress, drug trafficking, illegal weapons sales, money laundering, and nuclear proliferation. She appealed her termination, but was more alarmed that no effort was being made to address the corruption that she had been monitoring.

A Department of Justice inspector general’s report called Edmonds’s allegations “credible,” “serious,” and “warrant[ing] a thorough and careful review by the FBI.” Ranking Senate Judiciary Committee members Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) have backed her publicly. “60 Minutes” launched an investigation of her claims and found them believable. No one has ever disproved any of Edmonds’s revelations, which she says can be verified by FBI investigative files.

John Ashcroft’s Justice Department confirmed Edmonds’s veracity in a backhanded way by twice invoking the dubious State Secrets Privilege so she could not tell what she knows. The ACLU has called her “the most gagged person in the history of the United States of America.”

But on Aug. 8, she was finally able to testify under oath in a court case filed in Ohio and agreed to an interview with The American Conservative based on that testimony. What follows is her own account of what some consider the most incredible tale of corruption and influence peddling in recent times. As Sibel herself puts it, “If this were written up as a novel, no one would believe it.”

Read the entire interview at The American Conservative.

UPDATE: Sibel has a link to an interview with Philip Giraldi, who conducted the American Conservative interview, and Joe Lauria. This interview deals with the credibility question that certain factions have brought up with regard to Sibel’s story. I don’t have a problem with Sibel’s credibility because I know how things work in Turkey and Sibel’s story fits the pattern of behavior. In addition, Sibel’s story has been out in the public realm for some time and those who have been named as evildoers by her in the past–like Dennis Hastert and Marc Grossman–have not brought any libel or other charges against her for the issues she’s brought up. And the reason for that is that they don’t dare.

NEWSFLASH: SIBEL’S STORY FEATURED IN AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on September 19, 2009 by Mizgîn

Check your news stands and bookstores next week for this:

See Sibel’s place for information about accessing the article online.

According to Brad Friedman at The Brad Blog, the interview will be some 4,000 words, which means it will be a good-sized interview for a magazine.

The print version will be out next week and there is supposed to be an online version available sometime after that. However, if you want to do your part to encourage the media to cover stories like Sibel’s, then I’d advise you to purchase a print copy in order to “reward” the magazine for its work in presenting this story.

For those outside of the US, when an online link is available, I will provide it.

FOLLOWING THE BLOOD MONEY TRAIL

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 17, 2009 by Mizgîn
“And, yes, I refer to it as blood money because where I come from, when you take money to deny the killing of innocent women and children, that is blood money.”
~ David Krikorian.

Luke Rosiak at The Sunlight Foundation has more information on the Turkish lobby in the US and it’s relationship to US defense contractors. Rosiak focuses on someone who’s been highlighted here at Rastî–Yalçın Ayaslı of Hittite Microwave:

Turkey’s efforts have now been augmented by a domestic effort launched by a Turkish-American entrepreneur. Yalcin Ayasli founded Hittite Microwave in 1985 as a one-man company with a grant from the U.S. Air Force, and built the electronics company into a firm worth $1.2 billion, with half of its products sold overseas, according to a company presentation. The company had $180 million in revenue in 2008, according to SEC filings.

Since 2004, Hittite Microwave has received roughly $30 million in contracts directly from the government—mostly to sponsor research and development—and has also done business with Lockheed Martin and other prime contractors, many of whom use Hittite electronics in their jets and other equipment, sold to both the U.S. military and Turkey.

In 2007, Ayasli transferred $30 million in stock to fund a new endeavor, the nonprofit Turkish Coalition of America. The organization is headquartered in a Washington suite that has also been listed as the address for the Turkish Coalition USA PAC, the lobbying firm of Lydia Borland (who has represented the Turkish government), and the law firm of Bruce Fein and Associates (Fein comprises half of the Turkish American Legal Defense Fund).

The family of Hittite founder Ayaslin contributed nearly half a million dollars to federal politics in 2007-2008, donating near the maximum amount to the House campaign committees for both parties, but largely neglecting the Senate.

Read the rest and make sure to check out the great mind map Rosiak created to illustrate the connections of this web. Toward the end of the piece, Rosiak highlights the role of major US corporations that have lobbied Congress for their own interests in Turkey.

David Krikorian was completely on target when he labeled lobby money as “blood money”, with that blood first being Armenian and then being Kurdish, and that’s something that Sibel Edmonds confirmed on the day of her deposition.

This time, there’s no need for me to ask what Sibel would think because she’s got her own opinion of Rosiak’s piece up at her place, 123 Real Change.

For more on Ayaslı, Hittite Microwave, and Schmidt v. Krikorian, see these:

Turkish Espionage Operations Target Congress

Who Is Paying the Piper?

THE SUNLIGHT FOUNDATION ON SCHMIDT V. KRIKORIAN

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on September 14, 2009 by Mizgîn
“Chase after the truth like all hell and you’ll free yourself, even though you never touch its coattails.”
~ Clarence Darrow.

It looks like The Sunlight Foundation is taking an interest in the Schmidt v. Krikorian Ohio Elections Commission hearing. From The Sunlight Foundation:

Backed by lawyers from the Turkish American Legal Defense Fund, Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Ohio, filed a false claims complaint against David Krikorian, who ran against her in 2008 as an independent and garnered 18 percent of the vote. Schmidt’s complaint stems from campaign literature in which Krikorian claimed she “has taken $30,000 in blood money from Turkish sponsored political action committees to deny the slaughter of 1.5 million Armenian men, women and children by the Ottoman Turkish government during World War I.”

Though Jean Schmidt doesn’t sit on the subcommittee responsible for the Armenian Genocide legislation, it’s clear that she’s a favorite of the Turkish community. With $18,450 in contributions from three Turkish-focused PACs since 2007, the second-term House member has received far more than even influential senior members, and nearly twice as much as the second-highest recipient, Virginia Foxx, whose son-in-law is Turkish. A list of fundraisers compiled by the Turkish Coalition USA PAC shows that the group held several events for Schmidt, raising thousands more. And four individuals who gave to Turkish PACs also donated a combined $8,700 directly to Schmidt’s campaign.

At issue before the Ohio Board of Elections is whether Krikorian’s language holds up—whether it was accurate to describe three Turkey-focused political action committees as “Turkish sponsored.” The false claims complaint against Krikorian comes after the board censured Schmidt for a “reckless disregard for truth” in her own campaign literature.

I don’t know whether this part is funny or sad:

Schmidt expressed little familiarity with the workings of her campaign as well as the complex ties between Turkish groups, including the Turkish American Legal Defense Fund, whose lawyers, she says, are being paid in campaign funds. (The latest expense reports don’t reveal the amount.)

“What is the Turkish American Legal Defense Fund?” she is asked.

“It’s a U.S. organization that has a PAC,” she answers.

“The Legal Defense Fund does?”

“I don’t know. I don’t know. I guess it doesn’t. I don’t know. I don’t know what it is.”

Ignorance is a killer.

I think truth will reign supreme soon. Very soon. For those with eyes to read, let them read this very carefully.

WHO IS PAYING THE PIPER?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on September 7, 2009 by Mizgîn
“People who contribute get the ear of the member and the ear of the staff. They have the access and access is it. Access is power. Access is clout. That’s how this thing works.”
~ Rep. Romano Mazzoli.

In mulling over the Schmidt v. Krikorian case, I’m drawn back to the activity of Hittite Microwave founder Yalçın Ayaslı and the Ayaslı in the Turkish Coalition of America (TCA), which also funds the Turkish American Legal Defense Fund (TALDF). The TALDF is the organization that has provided legal counsel to Jean Schmidt in the case.

Both the TCA and the TC-USA PAC were established in February 2007. Yalçın Ayaslı is not listed on the TCA website but is listed on the TCA’s 2007 Form 990 as the director of the organization. The TCA holds 600,000 shares of Hittite Microwave, which accounts for the vast majority of its assets. Ayaslı must have been involved with the establishment of the TCA, which is a propaganda organ of the Turkish lobby, and the next question would be if he were involved with the establishment of the TC-USA PAC. The TC-USA PAC is not a 501(c)3 so it is not restricted according to IRS exemption requirements for 501(c)3 organizations, most specifically in this case, the political restrictions:

In addition, it [a 501(c)3 organiztion] may not be an action organization, i.e., it may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities and it may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates.

This allows for the TC-USA PAC to pursue its “immediate goal”:

The immediate goal, however, is to raise money from the Turkish American community in order to make political contribubtions to the campaigns of Turkish Caucus members. TC-USA PAC, as of July, has contributed to some 25 congressional campaigns. “This is the first time that such endeavors are being made,” says McCurdy. Due to TC-USA PAC’s activities, Turkish Americans, who are regarded as a relatively new US immigrant group, have begun to make their presence felt in the political arena. As the 2008 election approaches, the role of this Turkish American political action committee becomes even more important.

Following the money, although Ayaslı and his family members gave more than $300,000 in campaign contributions in the 2006 campaign cycle and most of that was not given to local New Hampshire candidates. Moreover, $39,000 was given to the TC-USA PAC.

If we look at Yalçın Ayaslı’s campaign contributions for the 2008 campaign cycle, we find something interesting.

Going down the list, Dan Burton (R-IN) received money from Ayaslı and, lo and behold, Burton is a member of the Caucus on US Turkish Relations and Turkish Americans. Sibel Edmonds testified that Burton was involved in “”[E]xtremely illegal activities against the United States citizens who were involved in [covert] operations that were … against … foreign government[s] and foreign entities against the United States’ interests.”

Jean Schmidt (R-OH) received money from Ayaslı, even though she doesn’t remember the guy, and, what do you know?? She’s a member of the Caucus on US Turkish Relations and Turkish Americans!

Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) received money from Ayaslı and, what a coincidence! He’s a member of the Caucus on US Turkish Relations and Turkish Americans!

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) received money from Ayaslı and, imagine it! She’s also a member of the Caucus on US Turkish Relations and Turkish Americans!

Do you see a pattern developing here? These people are not from Ayaslı’s home state of New Hampshire and they’re all members of the Caucus on US Turkish Relations and Turkish Americans. Remember what the “immediate goal” was? Remember, too, that there is no significant Turkish-American constituency in Jean Schmidt’s Ohio congressional district. Instead of constituents contributing to a politician’s campaign, you have some rich guy in New Hampshire with a political agenda favorable to a foreign power helping to pay the bills.

And he who pays the piper calls the tune.