Monday, October 23, 2006

Given the interest in my "Daniel Ellsberg: Hastert got suitcases of Al Qaeda heroin cash, should be in jail" post (orange version) over the weekend, I thought it might be a good idea to detail the specific, multiple, separate claims of bribery against Dennis Hastert.

These claims were reported in Vanity Fair, and expanded on elsewhere by Daniel Ellsberg, Sibel Edmonds and others. The 'claims' are documented via wiretaps etc at the FBI - they are well known to people at the FBI, and the State Department, and the Justice Department, and have been reported to Congress, to the 911 Commission, and (in part) to most of the major media outlets who refuse to touch the story (see the action item downstairs.)

The quick version: Hastert took the following bribes: 1) 'suitcases of cash' - delivered to his home - from Turkish heroin dealers 2) $500,000 for blocking a bill recognizing Turkey's genocide of Armenians 3) illegal campaign contributions from foreign interests.

Sibel has put out a challenge:
"Put out those tapes. Put out those wiretaps. Put out those documents. Put out the truth. The truth is going to hurt them. The truth is going to set me free."
see you below the fold.

(I apologize if this post is a bit 'clunky' - I kinda rushed it out)

In David Rose's blockbuster (but whitewashed) article in Vanity Fair, there are three separate bribery claims:
a) Hastert received tens of thousands of dollars in illegal campaign contributions

b) Hastert received tens of thousands of dollars in surreptitious payments in exchange for political favors and information. These bribes were apparently delivered in cash, in suitcases. We don't know specifically what these payments were for.

c) Hastert is believed to have accepted another $500,000. Reportedly in return for pulling a Congressional resolution acknowledging the Armenian genocide.
Got that? At least three different bribes that we know about.

We aren't exactly sure who was doing the actual bribing, or whether there are more than one group that 'owns' Hastert. There are three groups suspected of bribing Hastert, and there is probably significant overlap between the groups.

The first group is a criminal element of the Military Industrial Complex, represented primarily by Richard Perle, Doug Feith and Marc Grossman among others - generally using AIPAC and the American Turkish Council as front organizations.

The second group suspected of bribing Hastert is the 'mafia-like' Turkish 'Deep State', probably a mix of Turkish military, heroin producers and drug-runners. It is suspected that these funds are laundered through 'lobbyists' - originally Perle & Feith's company International Advisors Inc, and later (and currently) through Bob Livingston's company The Livingston Group.

The third group is a bit more hazy, but it is suspected that it is a group of Turkish heroin 'baba' (mafia) operating in the US, probably headquarted in Chicago. This group appears to use front organisations such as the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (A.T.A.A.) and the Turkish American Cultural Alliance (T.A.C.A.)

The following is from my interview with Mathieu Verboud, co-director of the new movie, Kill The Messenger:
Mathieu: In our cast, David Rose (the author of the Vanity Fair article) had the crucial role of the guy who makes the first important revelations. He was the man for the job. He has a great vision of the whole thing, he's a great story teller, but at the same time carefully sticking to what he knows. He is the only one who has spoken to people who know what’s on the (FBI's) tapes. He met with the sources, and as he says in the film, ‘these sources were very nervous about the tapes’. His testimony helps strengthening the pillars of the story - yes, the tapes involved Turkish officials, some of them working for the embassy in the Washington, and others in the consulate in Chicago. Money in exchange secrets, basically what we could read in Vanity Fair… When that was done, he described how he found out about Hastert, and then alluded to what we expose in the last segment of the film: the Neocons connection.
And from another interview, here's Sibel:
“…what happened was, FBI had this information since 1997. In 1999, the Clinton Administration actually asked the Department of Justice to appoint a Special Prosecutor to investigate Hastert, and certain other elected officials that were not named in this (Vanity Fair) article, to be investigated formally. And the Department of Justice actually went about appointing this prosecutor, but after the Administration changed they quashed that investigation and they closed it despite the fact they had all sorts of evidence, again I’m talking about wiretaps, documents- paper documents- that was highly explosive and could have been easily used to indict the Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert. That investigation was closed in 2001, and this was around the time I started reporting my cases to the Congress.”
And then there's this from my interview with Larisa Alexandrovna which clouds things a little:
Luke: And the American Turkish Council and the Speaker of the House?

Larisa: Yes, the Vanity Fair piece of course. Now my understanding from the sources used by the writer (David Rose) that they had provided a great deal more on this account, but legal folks got involved and wanted certain things left out. I think that it is absolutely fair to believe this account to be true. First of all, the Speaker has yet to go on the record to fully deny these charges - apart from a glib reference. Secondly, the key witness/ whistleblower in this case, that is Sibel, is gagged under a rarely used gag, the states secret gag, so she cannot present her argument in court. The evidence also, from what I understand of the case does support her claims. So it is fair to say that there is reason to believe the Speaker Hastert is indeed taking money from foreign nationals, that is bribes, in exchange for something. In fact, the evidence was such that the FBI took this to the DOJ and an investigation was being assembled when the new administration came into office and Ashcroft, the then new Attorney General shut it down. Clearly shutting down an FBI/DOJ investigation instead of allowing it to move forward would also support the allegations against Hastert, but he is not alone in these allegations by any measure.

Luke: Well there were two allegations in the article. One was the ongoing bribery, and the other was the $500,000 for pulling the Armenian Genocide bill.

LA: No - well - sort of, but not really. The point is that there are only a couple of people who know, and obviously I can't report it and the key person who knows is gagged. So that leaves no room to fully and openly explore this. One would hope that in a democracy a citizen would have her right in court and the politically appointed AG would not shut down an FBI sting operation that had been going on for several years. One would hope that foreign nationals would not be bribing members of Congress and I don’t believe, at least from what I have seen, that these bribes have anything to do with a bill that Hastert may or may not have taken to the floor. Remember, this is about “making cookies” and those factions that we alluded to earlier. But if you really want to understand why Sibel is gagged, you need to focus on what happened with Hastert - not Hastert himself, but what happened with Hastert - because THAT is the holy grail to understanding why she is gagged - and also to some extent understanding Brewster Jennings. Not Plame - but Brewster Jennings...

Luke: Wow. That's interesting. Sibel described the way they quashed that investigation into Hastert in an interview recently - she said that it happened at the same time that she started reporting to Congress....

LA: You are right. If Hastert is not being bribed, if these are false allegations, then he should stand up and go to court and address the accusers in court and say 'no I didnt do this' - or even in public. He should allow himself to be questioned and prove his innocence. But to have somebody gagged and to ignore the issue as though that should somehow indicate innocence is not very convincing. So until he corrects the record, and because Sibel is gagged - which gives her more credibility than him - I would say that it's quite probably true that he is being bribed. But I cannot emphasize enough that Hastert is not alone in this or even his “faction” as it were, rather, this is rampant abuse should these allegations be true.

Phil Giraldi's blockbuster article about Sibel's case doesnt even mention Hastert - so I don't think that he is 'central' to Sibel's allegations. However, I strongly suspect that if we knew who was bribing Hastert, and why, then we'd be able to unravel large chunks of the story - and I strongly presume that it is mostly centered on certain neocons profiting from sales of military hardware and secrets, and I suspect that there's a side-business involving heroin manufacture and distribution.

Now - let's switch back to the Ellsberg interview.

Daniel Ellsberg reiterates Sibel Edmonds' specific claim that Dennis Hastert received suitcases of cash at his home from Turkish heroin money and that Hastert should be in jail, along with his friends.
Kris Welch: I know you just met with Sibel Edmonds - what's the key thing about Sibel Edmonds' case?

Daniel Ellsberg: For several years, Sibel has been really hoping to get her case into a court, or into a hearing room in Congress. That's pretty well impossible with Republicans in charge of hearings - they won't hold any. She has told her story on a classified basis to several congressional venues, plus the 911 Commission - none of whom have done anything with it so far - it's too hot for them, essentially. You get a pretty good clue as to why the congressional people haven't pressed it in the article about her in the current Vanity Fair issue. Sibel is not yet in a position to tell all, but has been telling more and more.

Let me suggest two interviews with her that have come out since the VF article that go a good deal further than VF chose to print. VF did print ten pages and they got a lot but there was a lot that the reporter had, David Rose, that didn't get into the article, and a lot of that is in these two other interviews - both at, Chris Deliso and Scott Horton. In those interviews she finally reveals more of what she wished that VF had put out. Namely, if I can summarize it quickly, Al Qaeda, she's been saying to congress, according to these interviews, is financed 95% by drug money - drug traffic to which the US government shows a blind eye, has been ignoring, because it very heavily involves allies and assets of ours - such as Turkey, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Afghanistan - all the 'Stans - in a drug traffic where the opium originates in Afghanistan, is processed in Turkey, and delivered to Europe where it furnishes 96% of Europe's heroin, by Albanians, either in Albania or Kosovo - Albanian Muslims in Kosovo - basically the KLA, the Kosovo Liberation Army which we backed heavily in that episode at the end of the century.

It was known at the time that the KLA consisted largely of drug-dealers, and they still do... Now, all of these people are, for various reasons, allies, or clients, of the US - and the fact that they get a large amount of their income from the heroin trade is something the US just regards as the price of doing business with them. That means that not only is the heroin coming into our markets where it furnishes, according to Sibel based on her FBI experience, some 14% of our heroin - up from 4% before the invasion of Afghanistan.

The major effect of that is that terrorist gangs are taking a cut of this, including Al Qaeda, which essentially taxes this traffic as it goes through the various lands where each 'band' pays a percentage as they hand it off. In other words, the US is in effect, endorsing - well, 'endorsing' is too strong a word - 'permitting', definitely permitting, or 'not acting against,' a heroin trade - which not only corrupts our cities and our city politics, AND our congress, as Sibel makes very specific - but is financing the terrorist organization that constitutes a genuine threat to us. And this seems to be a fact that is accepted by our top leaders, according to Sibel, for various geopolitical reasons, and for corrupt reasons as well. Sometimes things are simpler than they might appear - and they involve envelopes of cash. Sibel says that suitcases of cash have been delivered to the Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, at his home, near Chicago, from Turkish sources, knowing that a lot of that is drug money.

Now these are pretty inflammatory allegations, let's say, and it's note-worthy that they haven't even been picked up by the mainstream press. The Vanity Fair article made that plain, though not in as much detail as the interviews - but not one major newspaper I don't think has picked up her allegations against Hastert which are very specific, and one would think very important.

Kris Welch: Dennis Hastert's name is mentioned in the Vanity Fair article issue...

Daniel Ellsberg: Yes - but in another connection - namely that he sold a legislative move of removing from a vote a resolution that he had earlier backed, raising the price, of course, of removing it - condemning Turkish genocide of Armenians.

And for the first time, a legislative leader (Hastert) had backed such a resolution which meant that it went through the committee for the first time, and was headed for a vote - in order to help a Republican in Glendale, near Los Angeles, James Rogan, who had a large Armenian constituency. So all things were moving ahead, at last, after many years of them trying to do this, and at the last moment, Hastert removed it from the vote, removed it from the calendar - and according to the information claimed by Sibel, Turkish sources were claiming to have achieved this for a price of half a million dollars - paid to Hastert. Again, this would seem a story that... certainly the Armenians are picking it up, as they should.

Kris Welch: Well, and the Turks in Turkey are now attacking Sibel Edmonds

Daniel Ellsberg: Sibel is an 'enemy of Turkey' - she was a Turkish citizen, now an American, but she has some family in Turkey who are now threatened by this exposure. Her picture was on the front-page of every Turkish newspaper - denouncing her as a 'whore,' as a 'traitor' and a turncoat of various kinds and she's had many threatening letters, including death threats. So it's a very serious situation for her, and the contrast between the news in Turkey, and the silence in America about allegations about Dennis Hastert, the Speaker of the House, is quite a contrast.


Kris Welch: And these wiretaps that she translated went back to 1997... so she heard all these conversations, people bragging that they'd given this money

Daniel Ellsberg: Yes - these were people from the American Turkish Council - which is a quote 'lobbying group' - or as she has described it up till now, as a 'semi-legitimate organization'


Daniel Ellsberg: ...Now, since she's a person who has been checked out a good deal by some of the senators she's talked to - Senator Leahy, Senator Grassley, Republican, they have always said, repeatedly, that she's extremely credible. The FBI agents we've talked to have, in every respect that was raised, have confirmed her story - that she's a very credible witness. Representative Waxman, to whose staff she's spoken has said the same. So she is very credible. That's a fact. So when she says things like this, they do deserve to get picked up and followed up, and they are not being.

Kris Welch: Well, and her credibility might have something to do with the fact that she has been completely silenced, she says the most gagged person in history, by this very little used States Secrets privilege


Daniel Ellsberg: I think the stuff that Sibel Edmonds is talking about - it's absolutely appropriate to get rid of Dennis Hastert, the Speaker of the House and put him in jail, actually, and to lose him his job, and some other people.

If people will press their congress representatives - and I suppose Armenian people are already doing this, because they were directly stabbed by Hastert on this point - but the whole country, of course, needs to be concerned about Dennis Hastert. I will believe Sibel on this - that he is guilty - well, let me put it this way, he's innocent till proven guilty. I believe he has earned the right to a fair trial - probably several fair trials! And I hope he really gets them...


In 2006, we really do need to get Democrats... I think they're partisan enough to follow the voters and do what the voters want - and voters would say either 'Fire these guys, like Hastert, and the President, or we fire you' - and that, as they say on Capitol Hill, they may not see the light, but they'll feel the heat.
(For the record, yes, Ellsberg is only 'reporting' what Sibel says - he doesn't have direct knowledge of the events - but in this interview and elsewhere, he repeatedly says that he respects her, admires her, believes what she says, and calls her his hero)

And here we have Sibel and David Rose on Democracy Now:
SIBEL EDMONDS: The Vanity Fair article points out to Turkic -- countries. And it's very interesting. To this date, we are not hearing anything about targeting, you know, certain Central Asian countries. They are not speaking about the link between the narcotics and al Qaeda. Yes, we are hearing about them coming down on some charities as the real funds behind al Qaeda, but most of al Qaeda's funding is not through these charity organizations. It's through narcotics. And have you heard anything to this date, anything about these issues which we have had information since 1997? And as I would again emphasize, we are talking about countries. And they are blocking this information, and also the fact that certain officials in this country are engaged in treason against the United States and its interests and its national security, be it the Department of State or certain elected officials.


AMY GOODMAN: And David Rose, the issue of the Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, and conversations overheard that link his office with improper dealings with Turkish nationals, can you talk about particular legislation?

DAVID ROSE: Well, there was – there were two things, I understand, which those who were wiretapped, whose conversations were recorded and translated, referred to. One was the controversial deal to sell helicopters, attack helicopters, to Turkey, which was an issue of great controversy in the late 1990s. At that point, Turkey was fighting a pretty hot civil war with the Kurdish separatists in the east of the country. There were allegations of human rights abuses and so forth, and some in America thought it was wrong that Turkey should be sold several billion dollars worth of attack helicopters in those circumstances. So some of the calls allegedly referred to the hope that the Congress would approve that very large weapons sale.

But the second occasion or second event which is allegedly referred to in these wiretaps is the Armenian genocide resolution which came before the House in 2000. Now, the Armenian lobby has made attempts with some support -- I mean, Senator Bob Dole was a very great supporter of this back in the 1980s. The Armenians have tried to get the Congress to pass a genocide resolution so that – which would basically state that the mass murder of Armenians in Turkey that was carried out after 1915 was a genocide, and some countries have indeed passed such resolutions. Some states have in America. This resolution never really got anywhere until in 2000, Dennis Hastert, as House Speaker, announced he would support it.

Now, at the time, analysts noted that there was a tight congressional race in California, in which the Armenian community might just swing it in favor of the Republican incumbent. But what is significant, the resolution had passed the Human Rights Subcommittee of the House. It passed the International Relations Committee, but on the eve of the House vote, the full House vote, Dennis Hastert withdrew the resolution...

Well, whether or not these allegations have substance is not something that I am able to state with any knowledge, but it is said that in the wiretaps that were translated by Sibel Edmonds, reference was made to this very controversial question of the House vote. One of the Turkish targets of these wiretaps claimed that the price for getting Dennis Hastert to withdraw the resolution would be $500,000. Now, I do emphasize there's no evidence at all that he received such a payment, but that is what is said to have been recorded in one of the wiretaps.
David Rose is a key source for the movie, Kill The Messenger, because he is the only one who has spoken to people who know what’s on the FBI tapes about Hastert being bribed - this is what Rose is referring to in the trailer when he says: "The people that I've talked to about these tapes are extremely nervous"

Now - some of you have said that these are extraordinary allegations, and therefore they demand extraordinary proof - I agree, with a few twists:
  1. There are people at the Dept of Justice who already know all of these details. The Dept. of State, too. And the FBI.
  2. Sibel says that her claims are all backed up by wiretaps and documents and so forth. I presume that she knows the case numbers or some other way to identify them. She says: "Put out those tapes. Put out those wiretaps. Put out those documents. Put out the truth. The truth is going to hurt them. The truth is going to set me free.""
  3. If we lift the State Secrets gag, then the 'innocent' can clear their names. If not, then either Sibel is free to 'slander' whoever she likes, or we can presume that her claims have merit.
Now - here's where I need your help. Sibel has given all this information - via the appropriate channels - to the FBI, to Congress, to the 911 Commission, and all the way to the Supreme Court - without any luck. A year ago, she also gave it to Newsweek, Time Magazine, New York Times & Washington Post, again, without any luck. For one reason or other, there's a blackout on the story.

She currently has at least two veteran FBI agents, with first hand information, who are willing to go on the record and confirm the entire story (Hastert, ATC, ATAA, Livingston Group...).

All we need is one reporter. They can contact Sibel here. Here's where you all come in - I'm not sure if you are familiar with the SpotlightProject - basically it's a way that you can send a blog-post to a bunch of reporters and ask them to follow up on a story. There are only a select few bloggers in the project so far - but thankfully, one of them - Susie Madrak - has written a post about this story in the last couple of days. So here's what I want you to do:
  1. go here
  2. select the journos who you think should write about this story
  3. click 'Add' (at the top)
  4. click 'Next'
  5. write a brief note about why you think this story is important (you can direct them back to this post if you desire)
Go on. Do it. We are inches away from taking both the Senate and the House - and the journos have been sitting on this information for a year - they are aware of all of the background info, and they are ready to shiv Hastert given the Foley shenanigans. Democrat control of two Houses depends on you)

Go to it!

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