Wednesday, March 26, 2008

"Debts That They Need to Pay Back"

I begin with the first part of an article that appeared in Congressional Quarterly in January, 2007, entitled National Security Whistle Blowers: The 'Undead'? by Jeff Stein, CQ National Security Editor

You'd think a guy who helped bring down a corrupt congressman would get the thanks of a grateful government.

But you, of course, would be wrong.

Like so many other disillusioned ex-CIA, FBI and other erstwhile spooks, Haig Melkessetian's career was derailed for telling the truth.

Today, he's another casualty of Iraq, one of the growing number of national security "undead" in Washington's intelligence demimonde, "entities that are deceased yet behave as if alive," according to Wikipedia's take on the horror flick creatures -- "animated corpses," bureaucratically speaking.

Melkessetian, a former security aide and Arabic translator to Jerry Bremer, the first American proconsul in Iraq, now works in a far lesser job for a U.S. government contractor in the Virginia suburbs.

His first sin: Telling Pentagon officials how screwed up things were in Iraq.

A Beirut-raised former Special Forces operative, Melkessetian told Pentagon officials early in the war that the contractor he worked for had sent unqualified personnel to Baghdad. It was typical of the war's mismanagement, he said.

Half the linguists he worked with did not speak fluent Arabic, he reported. One was a Russian linguist who spoke no Arabic at all.

That contractor he was working for was the now-notorious MZM, whose president, Mitchell Wade, had an unusually close relationship with then-Rep. Randall "Duke" Cunningham, R-Calif., a member of the House Intelligence Committee, and other high-level politicians with national security connections.

When Wade tried to involve Melkessetian in an MZM scheme to put together a congressional delegation to Saudi Arabia, led by Cunningham, to brush up the kingdom's post-9/11 image, the former soldier balked: There were too many Saudi connections to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Eventually, of course, Cunningham went to jail for steering contracts to MZM in exchange for $2.4 million.

Wade, too, will almost certainly go to jail, after he finishes telling federal investigators about every palm he greased on Capitol Hill, the Pentagon, and perhaps the CIA, as part of his plea agreement.

Meanwhile, a federal prosecutor in San Diego has given the House Appropriations, Armed Services and Intelligence committees a Jan. 31 deadline for turning over records related to Cunningham and contractor earmarks.

Sibel Edmonds

Melkessetian's story is all too typical.

Take John M. Cole, a veteran FBI counterintelligence agent whose 18-year career took a nosedive when he came to the rescue of Sibel Edmonds.

Edmonds is the former FBI language specialist who surfaced in June 2002 with a strange tale of how she had been fired by the Bureau after telling supervisors that a foreign intelligence ring had penetrated the translators' unit where she worked, among other sensitive issues.

Now why would they do that?

You can't find out much, because then-Attorney General John D. Ashcroft invoked a "state secrets privilege" to stop her suit against the FBI for wrongful dismissal.

A gag order prevents her from adding details to another of her sensational charges, that government eavesdroppers had intercepted the Sept. 11 hijackers plans.

Edmonds, born in Iran of Turkish origins, also claims she discovered unsavory links between U.S. defense and intelligence officials, weapons makers, Israel, and Ankara.

"I wanted to meet her because I wanted to help her," says Cole, who resigned from the FBI after years of writing unanswered reports about lax security and mismanagement of the translations unit, which handles electronic intercepts of foreign spies, among other materials.

"I thought that I could be of some assistance to her," Cole says in "Kill the Messenger," a new documentary film about her case, "because I knew she was doing the right thing. I knew because she was right."

Cole tells how he had "talked to people who had read her file, who had read the investigative report, and they were telling me a totally different story" than FBI officials, who had only perfunctorily investigated her allegations.

"They were telling me that Sibel Edmonds was a 100 percent accurate, that management knew that she was correct."

But they buried it.

In 2004, after months of harassment by superiors for his defense of Edmonds, Cole resigned.

A year later, the Justice Department's Inspector General concluded: "the evidence clearly corroborated Edmonds' allegations."

To put this into context, let's review excerpts of an article that appeared on Yahoo News today entitled Big money in politics - sign of excess? by Deborah Charles:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - With eight months to go before the U.S. presidential election, the candidates have raised almost $1 billion to fund their campaigns -- more than the size of the economies of several African countries.

The unusually long race for the White House -- which began in earnest more than a year ago -- has been a cash bonanza, especially for Democrats who are breaking all records.

Republicans lag behind but still rake in tens of millions and have time to make up ground in the money game between now and the November 4 national election.

Between January 2007 and February, the candidates raised a record $814 million. By the end of this month, analysts expect the total taken in and spent by the candidates and interest groups will reach $1 billion.

"America's really taking a big step forward in terms of spending on their elections," said Steve Weissman of the Campaign Finance Institute, a research organization affiliated with George Washington University.

Weissman said the three main presidential candidates -- Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and Republican John McCain -- are pulling in a combined total of at least $100 million a month. Figures show the candidates are spending up to 93 percent of what they have raised.


"Yes it's a lot of money. But really -- it's less about the overall amount of money than where that money is coming from and who is supplying it," said [Gary] Klaman [of watchdog group U.S. PIRG].

Massie Ritsch of the Center for Responsive Politics said even with the Internet contributions, only about 4 percent of Americans make a contribution to a federal politician.

"The bulk of the money is coming from a tiny group of largely wealthy Americans who are having a great impact disproportionate to their numbers on something that should be important to everybody," he said.

Klaman agreed.

"That is what should frighten Americans -- when these guys get elected are they looking primarily out for the good of the people or are there debts that they need to pay back," he said.

Except for the last two paragraphs from the above article, which are repeated near the bottom of this post, the following snips were collected in Smuggler's Blues, Part 2:



The caption accompanying the above photo says McCain was in New York doing some fundraising, and it is fair to ask: how much money did he get from the Albanian lobby? As the great "reform" candidate who denounces the influence of "special interests" and the power of money in politics, McCain had better tell us exactly how much the Albanian lobby has thrown his way – and to what effect. Of all the lobbyists in Washington, it is the "special interests" represented by the agents of foreign powers that pose the greatest threat to the integrity of the Presidency.



There they are, the two of them, DioGuardi and McCain, side by side: one who would carve an Albanian empire in the midst of the blood-soaked Balkans, and the other who would be President of the United States. It is a disturbing juxtaposition, to say the very least.

The Turkish Lobby, Obstruction of Justice and Henry Waxman, 2008

While we're at it, notice who took a great deal of money from the Turkish lobby for her Presidential bid.

The Candidates on Kosova ... and perhaps beyond, 2008

(D) Senator Hillary Clinton who insisted that her husband initiate the NATO Bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999 has repeatedly declared that the bombing of Serbia was "a success". She has been the honored guest to of many Albanian fundraisers and is hailed as someone that would continue her husband’s legacy as a friend and defender of Albanians. Hillary receives 63% of her campaign donations from individuals who donate $2300 or more and 37% from those who donate the maximum $4,600; in short, she is a "big money" candidate. Hillary Clinton is a socially liberal and aggressively interventionist.

Repeating the end of Big money in politics - sign of excess?

Klaman agreed.

"That is what should frighten Americans -- when these guys get elected are they looking primarily out for the good of the people or are there debts that they need to pay back," he said.

John McCain armed Kosovo Islamic terrorists, 2008


Aurora said...

Yankee, yes the government punishes whistleblowers. That is very clear. I have no doubt that every government we have (almost) is rotten to the core, but unfortunately we have no other choices. You mention McCain here, but Hillary is at least as bad as him and Obama as well. There are quite simply no good choices. We are coming to the point where we are going to have to look beyond politics to help us and think more about survival. Big Brother is already upon us.

Yankee Doodle said...

To get around the campaign finance rules, they have to filter the money in to the campaigns, so instead of AAPAC or TC-USA PAC giving lots of cash to a politician, you have their associated organizations setting up a fundraiser where a bunch of people each gives a reportable contribution -- it still shows up on the reports, but it's not obvious. Then there are the non-reportable contributions. Then, there are the brown paper bags full of cash.

I mention Hillary -- the lobby that fronts for Turkish organized crime claims credit for fundraising for her, and the Albanian community claims credit for funding her, as well.

Please note that this is certainly not intended to implicate every person of Turkish or Albanian ethnicity who contributes to a political campaign; rather, organized crime figures are mixed in with the group, and make sure Clinton and McCain get the help they need.

It is interesting to look at what campaigns get money from the Military Industrial Complex -- that ties in with the Sibel Edmonds case. It is also interesting just to browse the campaign finance reports. There are other donors, not tied in with terrorists and heroin and treason, but very dirty nonetheless. All this money they are raising comes from somewhere.

You're right -- we need to look beyond what the MSM, which is feeding at the same trough, is offering us as our choices.