In recent interviews, former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds suggested that all channels were apparently closed in her particular case because it appeared that she had exhausted her options within the Judiciary (and both Congress and the Corporate Media refused to offer her a forum to disclose what she knows about malfeasance at the Pentagon and State Department)
That all changed today, as Sibel outlines in a ‘BREAKING NEWS‘ item at her blog. Because of an unlikely set of circumstances, Sibel’s sworn deposition and affidavit testimony was requested in a case involving the Ohio Election Commission involving Ohio Congresswoman Jean Schmidt. Schmidt has been accused by her electoral opponent of being on the payroll of Turkish interests, and her opponent, David Krikorian, sought Sibel’s testimony about:
How certain Turkish entities had illegally infiltrated and influenced various U.S. government agencies and officials, including but not limited to the Department of State, the Department of Defense and individual members of the United States Congress.How certain Turkish American cultural and business lobby groups conduct their illegal operations with direct and indirect support from the foreign governments.
Sibel’s lawyers challenge AG Holder to do the right thing:
“The state secrets privilege has stifled Ms. Edmonds for the past seven years, and this deposition will be the first time that she will put her knowledge on the record.
Given the pendency of this case and the request for her testimony, the National Whistleblowers Legal Defense and Education Fund requested that the Attorney General immediately and independently review the basis upon which that privilege was initially invoked, and formally and in writing withdraw that privilege.”
It appears that there is currently a standoff/ultimatum: unless AG Holder specifically re-invokes the State Secrets Privilege in this case, Sibel will fulfill her duties and respond to the deposition as she is legally required to do.
Sibel’s deposition is:
scheduled for Saturday, August 8, 2009, at 10:30am. It will be held at the National Whistleblowers Center at 3238 P. St. NW, Washington, DC. The event is open to the press.
I suggest that the press corp might serve themselves well by attending.
Relatedly, Sibel recently said in an interview that:
“I’ve been trying to go to the criminal court, and they are not taking me there…”
Sibel notes that there is an Executive Order which forbids the use of classification and secrecy of illegal activity.
Stand by: Saturday, 10.30am
Who amongst us is so brave?
Sibel Edmonds interviews NSA’s Russ Tice
Sibel Edmonds: (38min) …And of course, what we have been seeing with the Congress, and I agree with you on the blackmail angle, because as you know yourself, the FBI has been doing this for a long, long time.
I know of several, 8, 9 congressional people that we were maintaining files on, files that were obtained under FISA on foreign entities.
And under the FISA laws, when you get information on US persons you have two options – you either pursue them criminally by going to the Justice Department and asking for warrants – separate warrants than FISA – to go and legally collect evidence on those Congressional people, any US persons, or you destroy those files.
Well, I’ll tell you this, they didn’t go after them criminally, and they never destroyed those files, and those were pretty thick files – whether it was a certain congresswoman who is currently serving, and has a lesbian relationship even though she has a husband and two grown up children, and how that is being used against her. I can’t name names, but of course the State Secrets Privilege comes into work.
Peter B Collins: (48 mins) Now, I do understand the compartmentalization of secure organizations, but we also have to allow for human beings and for constitutional rights, and when you took your pledge of secrecy to work in these various agencies. Russ, did you give up any constitutional rights?
Russ Tice: Now here’s the thing, when you say ‘pledge,’ pledge is something that is spoken. The pledge that I take is the standard pledge in government to support and defend the constitution of the US. That was my pledge.
Now, when you are read into these programs, and I’ve been read into so many ‘black’ programs – 219 black world programs in my career, which is astounding for one person.
So when you read into these programs, you read it through and you sign something that says that you will not divulge the information that you’ve learnt in this program, so your pledge is to support and defend, and you’re signing individual programs and your general clearance at a TS/SCI level – Special Compartmented Information – at that level you also sign something that says that you’re not going to give up classified information.
But ultimately, when a program violates the law and the constitution, under Executive Order, that program classification is ultimately null and void, because the constitution trumps any illegal and unconstitutional classification stamped on any program.
Sibel Edmonds: Well that brings us to this whole issue of obliging with this secrecy, and I signed those papers too, OK.
And I also know our rights under this law that says the Executive Branch shall not classify criminal information that it has committed, to cover it up, or embarrassing information. So that law actually takes precedence over the secrecy and all those documents that we have signed.
So if you are in that position – and Russ this is actually a question because I really don’t know the answer – and you know that the program is illegal, you know that the program is not constitutional, you know that the program is against the interests and the liberties of the nation, then do you test that and say well, they say it is classified (and that is kind of arbitrary because the executive branch is in charge of classification) yet the conduct is illegal?
Why is it that a lot of us are complying with this illegal classification which has actually been nullified based on an existing law that says ‘Thou shalt not classify criminal conduct by the executive branch, or the embarrassing information’ – so how do you explain that Russ?
Russ Tice: Well, first it is not a law, it is an Executive Order that says that, so ultimately the ability to counter that and say ‘This violates the law and the constitution and I’m going to step up and I’m going to say something about that…’ Ultimately your fate depends on the integrity of the Executive in the big White House. If the executive has no integrity, you’re probably going to find yourself in jail, and no one is going to help you.
Sibel Edmonds: No, but first you’re going to end up in court, OK. That means that you have to bring before the judge this information, and if they have brought criminal charges against you then it is going to be harder – they are still doing it, the Executive Branch today – for them to say ‘Oh, it is all classified.’
If they are bringing criminal charges to jail you, then you get your opportunity to present to the court, the jury – because it is ‘criminal’, it is not the same as the administrative lawsuits that we have dealt with – and say ‘OK. Here are these documents that shows that these operations, or what I reported, was illegal against the Constitution’ and then it becomes up to the members of the jury to decide whether or not that information was not qualified to be classified. But it goes before the court first, and it goes to the criminal court – and if it goes to the criminal court, it is not the same dog-and-pony-show that they have had with us, because then you have access to the whole jury. Not?
Russ Tice: Well I think it would be exactly the same problem that you had. You know, why wouldn’t they tell a criminal judge or jury the State Secrets Privilege thing that they did in your case?
Sibel Edmonds: Because I’ve been trying to go to the criminal court, and they are not taking me there, because that was not the criminal court, that was the Federal Court under ‘Employment’, and the First Amendment.
And actually that lawsuit was brought by me, but two years ago I declared publicly, I said “OK. The mainstream media (and under two main conditions,) I will be willing to go and tell the American people what the Department of Justice and the State Department have been hiding under the State Secrets Privilege.”
Of course, nobody is willing to do that within the mainstream media, because I was prepared to say ‘Fine, you take me to the criminal court,’ OK, because I have never been to the criminal court, then they can’t really use the State Secrets Privilege because if they use it they have to drop the charges, and if they don’t use (the State Secrets Privilege,) I get the chance to show the documents, to show the court, the public, the jury, documents that says ‘No, this information is not State Secrets Privilege. (They show that) it is criminal conduct by the State Department and Pentagon between the years 1996 and 2002.’ That’s a different story isn’t it?
Russ Tice: Well, in concept you could think of it that way, but in reality I have a feeling you’d end up with some sort of Kangaroo Court scenario and some sort of Kangaroo Court judge that would be hell-bent on…
Sibel Edmonds: (interrupts) Exactly, and we have problems with our courts today, you are right. You are absolutely right.
Russ Tice: So, like I said, when you have no one in the judiciary, no one in the legislature, and no one of course in the Executive that is willing to back you up, and the press themselves not doing their job, the poor guy or gal who is trying to get the word out is going to be crucified, and no one is going to shed a tear.
Sibel Edmonds may finally get a chance to speak. She has been asked to provide sworn deposition and affidavit testimony in an Ohio Election case. Her testimony will include details regarding:
How certain Turkish entities had illegally infiltrated and influenced various U.S. government agencies and officials, including but not limited to the Department of State, the Department of Defense and individual members of the United States Congress.
How certain Turkish American cultural and business lobby groups conduct their illegal operations with direct and indirect support from the foreign governments.
Sibel’s deposition is scheduled for:
Saturday, August 8, 2009, at 10:30am. It will be held at the National Whistleblowers Center at 3238 P. St. NW, Washington, DC. The event is open to the press.
Jeff Stein has a story about this matter at CQ Politics.