ROCKWELL: Well, good morning. This is the Lew Rockwell Show. And how great to have as our guest this morning Ms. Sibel Edmonds. Sibel is an extraordinary person. First of all, I want to mention she's got a wonderful new book out called Classified Woman, appropriately enough, because she probably is the most classified person ever in this country. It's quite extraordinary what was done to her after she revealed to the FBI – she was the only qualified Turkish translator I guess, certainly in Washington, and discovered all kinds of security cover-ups, corruptions, leaks, all kinds of problems going on in the wonderful security apparatus. She reported on those and, of course, as typically happens to anyone in government who tells the truth, she was fired. But untypically, what happened after that was she was gagged. I mean, she was forbidden from talking to Congress. She was hindered in her court suits. She was not allowed to write under the government's assertion of the state secret privilege, that they can keep anything privileged they want and the heck with you, the individual citizen.
Also, I want to mention her wonderful web site, Boiling Frogs. Of course, we'll link to that. We'll link to your YouTube channel. We'll link to everything about you and, of course, to this book.
First of all, tell us what the heck happened to you.
EDMONDS: Oh, what didn't happen to me? I never planned to become a language specialist, translator. However, three days after 9/11 in 2001, the FBI's headquarters contacted me and they said they were desperate for my linguistic skills because I speak several languages, Turkish, Farsi, and other Turkish dialects that are spoken, these languages, in Central Asia and Caucasus. And even though at the time I was working full time, I was going to school, pursuing my Master's Degree, I said, well, this is my chance to serve my country, so I joined the FBI. I was granted top-secret clearance and I started working as a language specialist as a contractor there with the FBI.
And within the first few weeks, I started witnessing just mind-boggling, incredible things. And then, I say "things," some of these were, of course, as to be expected, incompetence, competence-related, bureaucratic bunglings. But there were other very, very serious, in some cases, criminal cases that were being covered up by the government and not only by the FBI and the Justice Department but mainly by the State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency, CIA.
And so initially, I – I was really naïve. Look, I was pursuing public policy as Master's Degree, and I had bought into all the stuff that they teach you in the academia, all this great system that we have that is supposed to be working, you know, separation of powers, both at the state level, the state and federal government, but also the three branches. So I followed those steps, those things that everyday-Americans hear that that's how our government works, our country is operated under, what I was being taught everyday in school, and so I followed those procedures.
And as a result, I came under retaliation. First, before they fired me, they came to my house – this is the FBI – and they confiscated my home computer. They confiscated my husband's business computer and he had his clients' information there. Then they hooked me up on this polygraph machine for three hours. And, of course, after all these things, they fired me. And I said, OK, well, this is a great country, I'm going to go to my Congress. I'm going to go to all these appropriate committees within the Senate and in the House. And of course, the government came – this is during the Bush administration – John Ashcroft, attorney general, who invoked this arcane thing called state secrets privilege. Then they issued a separate gag order on Congress; retroactively classified anything that they had done, investigation in my case. And, of course, they stopped all the court process. And in the one case, they actually closed the court to the public and the reporters. They kicked out the reporters. They said, you know, they can't be inside this courtroom because everything about me and my case was secret. And, in fact, after my attorneys, they argued my case, the judges there – this is the appellate court – they ordered me and my attorneys to leave the court so the government could argue its case.
So we couldn't even hear the counter argument provided to the court by the defendants. So it was just mockery.
And, as you know, then they said that I can't publish a single word in a book. Again, just to prove the point, I followed the process. I submitted my manuscript to the FBI a year and a half, two years ago, and we gave them an opportunity to go over it and say, well, what is classified, what is not. They said the entire book is classified. They sent threatening letters to my attorneys. They sent threatening letters to me. They said you are forbidden to publish a single word; we refuse to clear this manuscript, the entire manuscript.
And also the publishing industry, they said they would not touch it without FBI's blessing and the blessing would be in writing, FBI saying that, yes, I am allowed to publish this book. And the other thing that the publishers didn't want to have anything to do with was non-partisan book. In fact, couple of the big ones, they said pretty bluntly, they said my last two or three chapters on the Obama administration, they said, why don't you leave Obama out of this. I mean, this is a memoir. This is a book of facts and they wanted me to take out particular facts and not involve one administration and involve another administration. That itself was a learning experience for me.
So that was a long answer to your question, Lew.
ROCKWELL: Wow. And it's the real America. I mean, it doesn't seem like America but it certainly is what America has become since 9/11. I always think of that as the government's celebratory holiday because the government has just blossomed and bloomed and gotten more rotten and corrupt and richer and more powerful ever since then at the expense, of course, of the people.
You've self-published your book?
EDMONDS: I've self-published my book. In fact, you know, I wanted to do it right. And as you know, these publishing big ones, they're disappearing because –
EDMONDS: – today people have this alternative. And they had been laying off this fantastic talented editor, so I actually worked with a couple of very good editors to basically clean up this book and come up with a professional – and basically did everything that a publishing house would do, and did it directly myself without anything. I mean, I don't have a distributor. I don't have a third party. And, you know, it's doing good (sic). And just the fact that it's out, that's challenging the government, but also the fact that it's out is challenging these big corporations, saying, you know what, today we have this opportunity. Whether it's through the Internet or through other independent-publishing approaches, we can do that. And everybody should use that opportunity to exercise at least these opportunities that we have currently.
Now, we may not have it. Tomorrow, the government may have the same kind of influence with Amazon CreateSpace and say, you have to black out this book; you can't let this woman publish this book. And that's possible. You know, the way things are going, I wouldn't be surprised at all. But at least right now we have this window of opportunity. And I hope other people – because I know some really good independent journalists who have been, you know, declined. They have been refused by the publishing houses and they get discouraged and they go away. I tell them, get it out, just put it out there. Do it yourself, because you can do it today. Today, that's a possibility. So that itself is, for me, a statement. It's also exercising this – you know, how can we challenge this system? This is one way to challenge the system.
ROCKWELL: Is your book available on Kindle, too?
EDMONDS: Correct. It's available on Kindle; it's available on Nuke; and also through Amazon for a hard copy. And, again, today, we don't know. My attorneys, they are still receiving these letters every few weeks from the government saying I have violated their rules, which I have not, both on their Constitution, and also on their Department of Justice's own pre-publications rules, I fulfilled my obligation.
Now, I know in 99.9 percent of cases with this blocking, they get away with it. People, they get scared. You know, I have family; what if they jail me? You see what they're doing to all of these government whistleblowers, what they titleize (sic) leakers. So if 99.9 percent, they abide by these fascistic practices, then the government is just going to increase these things. They're going to keep doing it. But more and more people, if they say, you know what, I know my constitutional rights, OK, and I'm going to do it, and if we have hundreds or thousands of former or current government employees doing something like this, then you're going to see that, OK, the system is not going to work. Their system of police state is not going to work. It will work as long as people abide by these rules. As long as they comply with it, it's going to work and it's going to increase because it has been increasing, as we know, Lew.
ROCKWELL: Sibel, it's also a reminder of what government security procedures and classification is all about. It's about keeping things secret from the American people.
ROCKWELL: It's about keeping the government from being embarrassed by its crimes and failures.
ROCKWELL: It has nothing to do with keeping things out of the hands of the Russians or the Chinese or –
ROCKWELL: – the Iranians or whoever is the enemy of the moment.
EDMONDS: And, Lew, I wrote this book and I knew, you know, within my own conscience, what would be really considered damaging to the security of our country. For example, I didn't need to put a name of an informant, for example, or the snitch, because, well, that may even jeopardize that person's life. So I did not include anything that I knew truly would be justified as classified. And I didn't have many of those things. My entire case and everything that they classified, none of them should have been classified because it didn't have anything to do with the methods of intelligence gathering or identity of informants, et cetera. These had to do with government wrongdoing, government fraud, government abuse, of government criminal operations, a lot of despicable foreign-policy operations that the Americans don't know about. And the reason they don't want the Americans to know about it is because they know that it's wrong. It's criminal. It's not for the benefit of this country, what we have been doing since 1990s in Central Asia and Caucuses, working directly with what we say are terrorists, what we specify as terrorists; arming them, funding them, in fact, directing their operation and their terror activities. This is our foreign policy. This has been our foreign policy. They say that's classified. Why? Because we don't want our people to know about it. We want our people to think that we are this great nation who want to do good and export democracy. We don't want our people to know that we are the number-one terrorists and the most powerful terrorists around the world.
And we are engaged in terror activities every single day. Whether it's through our Chechnyan partners, terrorist partners, or if it's in Baluchistan or if it is in Mujahadeen in Iraq or if it is, you know, the people in Libya, that's what we do. We worked with al-Qaeda all the way until 2001. And I believe we are still working. Since I left the FBI, I don't believe those operations ceased. They are still – we are – we, this government, I think they – because they don't represent us – (Laughing) – I don't say "we." But our government is still partners with the same terrorists that they are using as excuse to take away all our freedoms.
ROCKWELL: And, of course, the U.S. was allied with al-Qaeda, maybe even created al-Qaeda as a way to fight the Russians in Afghanistan.
EDMONDS: That was 1980s. And then, in 1990s, we actually funded and transported them, trained them, and we put them in all these pockets in Central Asia, in Azerbaijan and Tajikistan and Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, because this was the situation in early '90s. These countries that are very resource rich – oil rich, gas rich – are they going to align with China and Russia, or Russia, or are they going to have them? And what is our best method to get these people where they are Turkish speaking and they have Muslim groups? So we use those two things, the language and Islam.
And, of course, our terrorist partners, you know, from Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, and we said, all right, we build 326 mosques in central – and I say "we," our government funding it directly, together with Saudi Arabia. We've seen, 1993 and 2000, we built – that's how we – that's the kind of democracy we want. We built more than 300 mosques in those countries. Why are we building mosques in Central Asia? 300-plus mosques, Lew. Shouldn't people know about it? Why? The United States government is funding, building 300-plus mosques and madrassas, these religious schools. We said as long as we move them towards Islam and towards extremism and towards, you know, their heritage, with the Turkey being our NATO ally, the Turkish heritage, they will be our guys, not China's guy or Russia's. And our partner, Turkey, was the intermediary to implement these operations and these activities in these countries. So we've got Azerbaijan, OK? Now there are a couple that are a toss up. And then you have Tajikistan that is leaning the other way. So people think the Cold War was over in 1991. That's not true. In fact, it has intensified in that part of the region. That is going to be our new Middle East.
The media here, they are not covering this. You rarely see any discussion on what we have been doing, what is happening in Azerbaijan and all the "stans," and that is where the next wave of wars, internal wars that we are great in creating. And also it's both for the oil industry, but also it's the military-industrial complex. We tell these guys, look, we give you – to export democracy to support your democracy, we give you $2 billion. Let's say this is Azerbaijan that's going to become a NATO member. And what do you want to do, Azerbaijan? This is the taxpayer's money, right, $2 billion. Turn around, pocket about maybe $200 million, the kings and queens there, and then take $1 billion and $800 million, give it to our guys here, whether it's Boeing or Northup Grumman, and buy our military equipment. So, I mean, let's not do the cosmetic things. Let's just go ahead, give the taxpayers' money and give it to Boeing and Northup Grumman. You know? In this case, of course, about 10 percent goes to the pockets of these dictators there. And we're fine with that. The rest turns around and makes this big circle; goes here to our military-industrial complex. And take a look at how many billion dollars a year Azerbaijan has been spending buying weapons from us.
See, this is the reality of what our foreign policy is about. It's not about the welfare of the Americans. It's not about our security. It's about enriching our military-industrial complex, building empire, and say who has got more countries under its belt and who has got the better, best control of the resources, whether it's the oil in Iraq or the natural gas in Turkmenistan.
ROCKWELL: And today, we see Turkey involved, and, of course, al-Qaeda being orchestrated by the U.S., working to overthrow the Syrian government so as to break up that country and then, of course, go after Iran next.
EDMONDS: Absolutely. Look, we broke this story in November 2011, because I have contacts in Turkey and I also have people here. They are not known whistleblowers from the military. And I published two articles, breaking news, of how, since May 2011, in Incirlik – this is where we have the base, U.S., American Air Force base in Turkey. We have been training these rebels in Syria since May 2011. That's 15 months ago. And there were no disputes coming this way.
The mainstream media, you know, they completely ignored this breaking news. And I had the sources. I had the location. This is November. And some of the quasi-alternatives, they starting saying, why am I defending some dictator like Assad. It has nothing to do with defending or supporting Assad. I said, since May, we have been plotting and planning this. And these people are not only Syrian rebels. They are people from Afghanistan. They are people from Chechnya. And if you look at some of the true alternative news, you would see that some of these rebels that are being killed, they are foreign nationals. They are coming from Libya. They are coming from Pakistan. They are coming from Turkey. But, again, you won't see this in the mainstream media, or the quasi-alternatives because those quasi-alternatives, they are funded by the same people. And a lot of these NGOs, when you look at them, see who funds these people, well, you see what they're all about. So they have this label of alternative while there's nothing alternative about it.
I mean, there are about 10 or 15 sites – yours is one of them, Lew – that I follow regularly, every day. And there are many that I've always questioned, how are they funded. Look at that. And once you look at how these institutions, quasi-so-called-alternative institutions, are funded, you would find out that they are not alternative in any way.
ROCKWELL: Doug Valentine, the CIA expert, points out that the CIA is not involved in funding and trying to control right wing groups because they're already hewing to the CIA line as it is, of their own volition. But they always try to subvert and take over left wing groups. And we learned that I think in the Church hearings in the 1970s –
ROCKWELL: – and since then. So, yes, all these so-called alternative or quasi-alternative groups that would take the position that, well, really it's OK to go in –
EDMONDS: Or the big-name journalists.
ROCKWELL: – OK, to go in there and overthrow the last secular Arab regime and it's somehow the U.S.'s business as to who is doing what in Syria. They're all –
EDMONDS: I would like –
ROCKWELL: They're all funding and controlled by the CIA.
EDMONDS: Absolutely. And I want to give you one example.
ROCKWELL: So are the big publishing houses, by the way. We learned that again with –
ROCKWELL: That's why the big publishing houses won't touch a book like yours. And they're, of course, all dying, which is a great thing. But just as the CIA infiltrated the big media and the A.P. and TV network news and so forth, they infiltrated all the big publishing companies. So that's why books like yours, great books, books that people need to read cannot be published by the big publishing houses. But thank goodness, as you say, we've got Amazon, we've got Kindle and so forth to circumvent them.
EDMONDS: And may I give one example because this is so related, because I wrote a piece on this about nine months ago and I came under attack by a lot of, you know, the people on the left. And they were saying how preposterous it was. I gave an example. And this is from someone that I have dined with, I know as a friend, and that is Seymour Hersh. I said, look, Seymour Hersh, during the first three years of the Bush administration and all these black ops, you know, these operations and the torture, he wrote 16 articles exposing it. Since the Obama administration came to power – and this is a great, award-winning journalist, someone I have been with several times, get together as a person. Since the Obama administration, during the same period of time, three years and nine months, Seymour Hersh has written only two articles and neither one of them has anything to do with President Obama. And nothing about all our black ops, nothing about these drones, nothing about our secret wars in Africa, as if there's nothing left to expose because Obama's administration does – is not engaged in any operations. So New Yorker, they put a stop. They said, OK, New Yorker, everybody take a vacation, including you, Sy. Go and take a vacation because we are not going to write these huge exposes'. That's what we were doing for Bush. We are not going to do that, even though this guy had been doing 10 times worse, especially what we have been doing in Africa. Nothing!
People say, oh, because he's busy writing a book. I said, during the same period of time, same period, he wrote one book, too, while he was writing 16-article exposes'. He wrote his 500-plus page book, which came out at end of 2002, and he went through all these interviews. So, no. If he's writing a book, that is not the reason because he wrote the same number of pages during the Bush administration. To me, that is not journalism. When you get New Yorker saying everybody go on vacation for the next four years because you have nothing to expose, we are not going to embarrass the Obama administration, that is not journalism. You may get Pulitzer Prize; you may be a great person, you know, as a human being; you may be my friend, but I have to say I am ashamed of this because I had more respect. And to me, this was just – it was heartbreaking in a way. What happened? We ran out of things to expose. That's what happened – (Laughing) – according to the New Yorker and all those journalists who were busy exposing these secrets operations, because now we are not engaged in any, obviously, and we don't have all these drone operations. That's one example.
And guess what? Those people, they go and get their $1.5 million from publishing houses. And you get journalists like Pepe Escobar or Doug Valentine, and guess what, they won't even get $5,000 to sit down and write a book. That's the difference. And that's how you can distinguish between those with agenda, who write propaganda towards one side, either this side or that side – it doesn't make a difference – versus real journalists.
ROCKWELL: Even I was astounded at how the Progressives turned out to be not anti-war at all –
ROCKWELL: – with a handful of exceptions.
ROCKWELL: They all tend to actually turn out to be blood-thirsty warmongers just as bad as Cheney or Rumsfeld or any of the Republicans.
EDMONDS: Absolutely. And –
ROCKWELL: Just like the Republicans, of course, are not actually for cutting the government, even though they talk about it when Obama's in power. And if Romney's elected, he's going to expand the government. So both of these sides lie.
EDMONDS: You're right.
ROCKWELL: So there are relatively few people we can trust. Of course, you're one of them.
EDMONDS: Thank you. And you're absolutely right. During the Bush administration, for my journey and all the whistleblowing, I mean, I was hearing all this hooray from all these so-called Progressive sites, you know, Daily Kos. I was not into blogging back then. But the administration changed and I started this web site. I started writing about – I wrote this article. That was my first article, called Two Sides of the Same Coin, meaning, there is really no difference, whether you – basically, this is the American democracy, OK? The establishment, they give you two of their choices. They pick. All those choices serve them, the establishment, OK? And they tell you, you get to pick one. No matter who you pick, we're going to win, OK? It doesn't make a difference who you pick. And we go like these little sheep and we vote and come and say, I love my democracy; I exercised my democratic rights; I went and I voted because my vote matters. Then they give you those two choices. And both of them, theirs; and both of them heads or both of them tails. And you go there and you vote, you haven't done anything.
So I wrote this piece and, since that time, I have been banned from Daily Kos. I was booed by these blogs like Democratic Underground and those people who were constantly cheering because I was coming out during the Bush administration. So now I'm banned. That's fine, right? You know, the ones all the way on the right, they had banned me, long time ago. OK, that's fine, too. But that leaves the more Libertarian-leaning, people who haven't given up critical thinking. People who are not sucked into this game they have set up for us called partisanship. I mean, you know, divide and rule, that has been the game. That has been the approach for hundreds if not thousands of years. And we are still falling for it? And this is why we are where we are. That is exactly why they have us where they want us. Get one to go against another and they win no matter what.
ROCKWELL: Even during the Byzantine Empire, one of the ways that the emperor and court kept control was they got people cheering one of two chariot teams, I mean, either the Blues or the Greens. And the people were passionate about which team, and there were riots, and nobody was paying attention to politics; they were so constantly absorbed in sports, maybe a constant Olympics or whatever. (Laughing) They're not paying any attention to what the government is doing. So this is what governments have always done.
And, of course, that's right. They don't care whether it's Obama or Romney. They're essentially the same people, and the same interests backing them. Of course, there are, as with, let's say, a fight within the Mafia, the Bonannos and the Gambinos want to fight each other, but they genuinely fight each other because they're concerned about the spoils, but they're certainly agreed on ripping the rest of us off. So, the same with the Republicans and the Democrats.
And, of course, also, it's politically incorrect to oppose the Obama administration, to expose him as actually worse than Bush. As Professor Roger Garrison says, "Sooner or later, every American president makes you nostalgic for his predecessor."
EDMONDS: Exactly. (Laughing) That's exactly what's been happening. Absolutely.
ROCKWELL: Thank goodness now you're getting out of the rotten empirical capitol in Washington.
You're moving out to America. You're working with your whistleblowers coalition. You're working with your web site. You have another book in mind. Tell us what you're going to be doing.
EDMONDS: I'm thinking of writing a fiction. It's going to depend on how successful this book will be, the current book, Classified Woman. Because there's so much truth you can have in the form of fiction, too. You know, it will be on state secrets privilege – (Laughing) – the fiction.
And the web site is going good (sic). And if people are familiar with my whistleblowers organization, the reason the web site doesn't seem as active is during my naïve state, until 2007, 2008, our organization was busy doing all these petitions to Congress. Almost futile, you know? That's basically going with their game and going – and rally Congress. And I just realized that that's totally – not only is it a waste of time. That's basically you abiding by the system. That's what they want you to do. Set up these little NGOs and you look like you're doing things. You petition something that is not legitimate, you are legitimizing, OK? If I go to my Congress and take 100,000 signatures and say, do this for me, I'm sorry, I'm saying you're legitimate in the first place.
ROCKWELL: That's right.
EDMONDS: When, you know, however you got elected, no way you are – and I do not recognize their legitimacy, these people, including the federal government.
And I want to also mention something very quickly. You got my book, Lew, before you even asked me. And the reason you got that book before anybody else, before actually it came out, the book – this is when the FBI was sending the threat letter. This was not out. I wanted to quickly send a dozen of copies to eight to 10 people – (Laughing) – OK? And I knew I wanted to pick people that, if the government goes and knocks on their door and says, have you received this and we're going to confiscate it – because, at this point, it was not out. My attorneys were in the midst of fights with the government. So I picked about eight people, and you were one of them. (Laughing)
ROCKWELL: Well, that's an honor. Thank you.
EDMONDS: So you got two copies. I said I want them to deal with Lew Rockwell – (Laughing) – when they go to get my copy back. Another person was Tom Woods.
So, in fact, if you look at them – I sent another copy to Representative Ron Paul. I sent my copies to people that I knew, if the government went and knocked on the door, even without a warrant or with their National Security Letter, saying we are here to collect either the electronic copies of this book from your computer because this is not suppose to be out there, they would go to people that at least would put up a fight, and they would not just turn around, bend over and say, here, your government (sic), Your Honor, take it, and I would zip it up afterward; I won't even mention it. So you were one of the first people to get this copy before this book came out because I wanted them to come and deal with you if they decided – (Laughing) – to come.
ROCKWELL: Well, Sibel, you're a hero. And we appreciate everything you do and everything you're going to continue to do.
I want to urge everybody to read Classified Woman. We'll link to it, to the book, the physical book, and to the Kindle version –
EDMONDS: Greatly appreciate it.
ROCKWELL: – to your web site, your YouTube site and so forth, and do everything we can to promote the work you're doing. And all I can say is keep it up because you sure are needed.
EDMONDS: Thank you very much. And same thing for you. Wonderful web site, excellent selection of editorials. And my husband is hooked on it, too. So he goes there and he reads it daily also. So, please, keep up the good work. And thank you very much for giving me this opportunity, Lew.
ROCKWELL: Thanks to you and thanks to your husband, too.
EDMONDS: Thank you.
ROCKWELL: Well, thanks so much for listening to the Lew Rockwell Show today. Take a look at all the podcasts. There have been hundreds of them. There's a link on the upper right-hand corner of the LRC front page. Thank you.
Podcast date, August 21, 2012
October 13, 2012
Sibel Edmonds is the founder and president of the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC), a nonprofit organization dedicated to aiding national security whistleblowers. She has appeared on national radio and TV as a commentator on matters related to whistleblowers, national security, and excessive secrecy & classification, and has been featured on CBS 60 Minutes, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and in the New York Times, Washington Post, Vanity Fair, The American Conservative, and others.
Copyright © 2012 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.