Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Israel-Turkey & Neocon nuclear agenda: KTM director interview - part 4

This is part 4 of my interview with Mathieu Verboud, co-director of the film about Sibel Edmonds, Kill the Messenger.
(see Part One, Part Two and Part Three)

I'll cross-post at DU and DKOS - and hopefully get Sibel ('statesecrets') to join in the comments

The Israel-Turkey connection…

Mathieu Verboud: Turkey is interesting also because of its alliance with Israel. The Turkish military is highly connected to Israel military and Israeli weapons corporations. In the film, Giraldi explains the reasons for Israel and Turkey rapprochement back in the 80s. It is an alliance of major military and strategic importance for both countries. They signed a higly secret military agreement in 1996. When the Islamists came to power in Turkey in 1996, they could do anything but compromise the Israeli alliance. Each time they said that they wanted to do it in, Turkish Generals would go public the day afterward saying " Israel is a key ally - and we're going to continue the relationship". At the end of the 90s, all the Turkish top brass had traveled at least once to Israel and vice-versa. This is a very strong relationship. Turkey opened its airspace to the Israeli Air Force, and in particular the border zone with Syria, Iraq and Iran. In 1996 Perle, Feith and others, stressed Turkey’s strategic importance to Israel in their Clean Break paper, the infamous policy document they co-authored in favor of Israeli Prime Minister Neatanyahu, calling for all out war in the Middle east to save Israel.

From a Turkish perspective, There are lots of reasons for a rapprochement with Israel. It meant that Israel’s friends in the U.S, at the Pentagon, at the State Department or up on the Hill would then do anything for Turkey, including supplying weapons that could quench Ankara’s unsatiable thirst for weapons. To make things even ‘easier’, they used the services of know friends of Israel in the U.S : Stephen Solarz, Douglas Feith, Richard Perle.

And it worked! In the 1990s, Turkish generals received dozens of billions of dollars of free military assistance from the U.S. At the time, indifferent to the fact that Turkey’s brutal repression in Kurdistan had become a growing concern for the American public, major Jewish groups in the U.S lobbied ostensibly for the Turkish cause, basically claiming that "Turkey was a victim of terrorism, like Israel." Turkish generals were delighted.

What that tells you is that Turkey has an agenda and a real one. Turkey wants to be seen as a big player in the Greater Middle-East. Several countries in the region (Israel, Pakistan, Russia) have nuclear power or want to have nuclear power (Iran), and Turkey wants to be perceived as a possible candidate for the bomb as well.

Turkey has succeeded in doing something incredible. It is the only country in the world to have been offered a nuclear alliance by two supposedly ‘enemy countries’ - Pakistan and Israel. In 1998, when Pakistan detonated its first nuclear bomb, Pakistani officials called their Turkish counteparts and offered them to be under Pakistan's nuclear umbrella - which is no small matter. The Turks said 'well - thanks for the proposal'. A few years before that, perhaps around 1995, the Israelis had extended the same proposal to Turkey. Again, Turkish generals were delighted.

Turkey has played this pivotal role for a long time and those who know Turkey will tell you that this country is thriving with excellent strategists and diplomats. Getting close to Israel to get closer to the Pentagon was a smart and well-executed move. In Turkey, things are very often based on corruption and crime, but that's another story. Turkey always featured advantageously in spy stories. There was a James Bond film with a Turkish backdrop : From Russia with Love. Ankara has always been a hotbed of spies, for example during the Second World War… There was this 1952 film, 'Five Fingers', an American film classic by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, featuring Goering’s agents spying on the U.K thanks to a traitor at the British embassy. And all those spies met each other in Ankara’s cocktail parties - it was amazing!

Luke Ryland: Ok. And Turkey already has a nuclear program, correct?

MV: To my understanding, Turkey has a civil nuclear program today – but clearly has no intention (no serious intention, according to what I read on the web anyway) to have a nuclear weapon. But diplomacy is not about having, or not having, a nuclear weapon - diplomacy is about postures, strategic moves and attitudes. Turkey wants to be seen as a country that could decide to have the bomb if they wanted to.

In diplomatic terms, this is major, because having the bomb means your status changes. Besides harbouring jihadists, Pakistan has a nuclear bomb, and that’s status! Geopolitical perceptions of Pakistan are forever changed now because of that combination: the bomb + Bin Laden. It's not the same country as it was in the 1970s, when nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan had not yet imagined he could become the father of the Pakistani bomb. Turkey knows what status is. So Turkey’s message is ‘ We too can play rough. and we can go for the bomb too'.

Keep in mind these words from Seymour Hersh in his book 'The Samson Option: Israel's Nuclear Arsenal and American Foreign Policy': "the size and sophistication of Israel's nuclear arsenal allows men such as Ariel Sharon to dream of redrawing the map of the Middle East aided by the implicit threat of nuclear force."

LR: Ok - so which other American power brokers were helping AQ Khan?

MV: That is a key question and the little we know is already very disturbing. Many in the Reagan and the George HW Bush administration ‘protected’ the Pakistani nuclear connection!

Watch the film Atomwaffen für Al-Qaeda (Nuclear weapons for Al-Qaeda) by German director Egmond Koch. Everything is documented…

The Neocon nuclear agenda

MV: Koch tells CIA whistle-blower Richard Barlow's story and Pakistani nuclear scientist AQ Khan's story. Barlow was a brilliant CIA officer who knew almost everything about Pakistan’s nuclear program. For that reason, he was deposed by Congress in the mid–80s and, just like Sibel, the Republican administration crushed him because he told the truth during the hearings: he told Congress that Pakistan had the bomb and the U.S had never done anything really to stop it...

In 1989, and I am quoting Seymour Hersh here : "Barlow was forced to resign, under threat of firing, in what he alleges was retaliation for his persistent investigations into nuclear smuggling and his heated objections to yet another misleading congressional briefing on Pakistan."

Koch’s film confirms that. Every year, despite CIA reports highlighting Pakistan‘s progress towards the bomb, President Reagan used to sign a false waiver certifying that 'Pakistan doesn’t have the bomb.' Reagan lied for legal reasons (international law imposes tight import-export control on countries engaging in nuclear proliferation) and also for geopolitical reasons (public exposure of Pakistan’s efforts and U.S knowledge of it would have had dire consequences on U.S Congress funding for the CIA’s secret war against the Soviets in Afghanistan).

So Ronald Reagan was lying, and of course, everyone in charge knew that. At the time, one official was highly instrumental in making sure that the U.S complacency towards the Pakistani nuclear effort would never be exposed, and that man was Stephen Hadley. Hadley is the paramount example of the incestuous relations between the military industrial complex and the Executive Branch. Look at what you can read about him on his profile at Right Web that documents, with utter precision I have to say, the profile of prominent Neocons.

Quote : "Starting as a policy analyst for the DOD in 1972 during the first Nixon administration, Hadley has steadily moved up the ladder in the national security community. On the corporate side of the military-industrial complex, Hadley was a partner in a major DC law firm representing major defense contractors such as Lockheed Martin and Boeing." In passing, these two companies are board members of the American-Turkish Council.

Continuation of quote : "Also, outside government, he became affiliated with two policy institutes advocating hawkish positions in U.S. policy and international relations. Before becoming Rice’s top assistant, Hadley has held a variety of positions in the Defense Department and National Security Council. During the administration of George H.W. Bush, Hadley served under DOD Secretary as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy with responsibility for security policy toward NATO and Western Europe, on nuclear weapons and ballistic missile defense, and arms control."

It didn’t take long for Barlow to discover that Hadley had called the shots in his case. He decided to depose Hadley in his court case, but it was eventually in vain. Almost 20 years later, we learn that Hadley is a key part of the Valerie Plame leak. How surprising is this?

Today Hadley is National Security Advisor, Valerie Plame has lost her job and Barlow lives in a van driving the roads of West America…

LR: Moving on. I know that you interviewed Marc Grossman and that you cut it out of the film - can you talk about the interview at all?

MV: Knowing the players in the game, and knowing the business that they engage in, and this being a small world, and Grossman having served long years in Turkey and Pakistan, having served for NATO, having also met with ISI chief (Pakistani intelligence service) on a much-hyped but still mysterious meeting in the morning of September 11, at the time of the attacks, Grossman being a pillar of the ATC, so on and so forth, one could assume that this man would not be far away from those dealings - legal or illegal, it doesn’t matter!

Some observers presume he was on Sibel’s wiretaps, possibly tipping off Turkish friends about… let’s say… the risk posed to them by Brewster Jennings, the company CIA officer Valerie Plame used as a cover.

dailykos thread
DU thread

NEXT UP : Valerie Plame and Sibel Edmonds … wednesday or thursday

update: see Part One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six

"Some observers presume he was on Sibel’s wiretaps, possibly tipping off Turkish friends about… let’s say… the risk posed to them by Brewster Jennings, the company CIA officer Valerie Plame used as a cover."

Seems Mathieu knows more than he let on here. Someone TOLD him that's exactly what Sibel heard, but he worded it more carefully. My best guess would be David Rose.

Ya can't fool 'ol Miguel.
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