State Secrets Privilege: The Puppets & Puppet Masters by Sibel Edmonds

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by Sibel Edmonds
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
originally published by Boiling Frogs Post
23 November 2009

It’s Time to Get the Facts Straight

I want to revisit a topic which happens to be extremely important to me, both personally and politically, and even more important to our civil liberties.

Some of you have already read my brief piece on Richard Horn & the CIA dishing out $3 million to buy silence in this narco scandal. Those of you who have not read it click here and read it – because this story also goes to the heart of a very significant and ongoing issue: The State Secrets Privilege.

My recent heads-up piece on Horn focused mainly on the CIA’s attempt to hush another narco scandal where the agency was directly and actively involved. Although I introduced Horn as ‘another recipient of the government’s State Secrets Privilege invocation’, I didn’t delve into the significance of this case on this repeatedly used and abused draconian privilege. This was partly due to wrongly assuming that the media, at least the alternative media, would have gotten all over it since lately the SSP has been a quite fashionable and talked about topic among the wanna-be progressive community. Well, I was wrong. Despite the scandalous nature of the case, and despite the massive implications to SSP, those who’ve been publicizing themselves and cashing in using SSP did not touch or mention the case.

The last time I wrote about the State Secrets Privilege and how it was being misrepresented and twisted by puppets in the media my blood was very close to reaching the boiling point. This time, with this recent Horn case and its direct SSP implications, my blood actually did reach the boiling point. In fact it is boiling now!

Here are a few excerpts from my previous piece on the State Secrets Privilege, starting with the intro:

During the past few months I have been actively following the latest activity on the state secrets privilege (SSP). First, I was pleasantly surprised to see that this issue of extreme importance to our civil liberties and constitutional rights was finally getting long-over-due and deserved attention from the media. After all, the memories of fighting SSP in the federal courts all the way up to the Supreme Court, holding press conferences together with the ACLU to bring needed media attention to this draconian abuse, making the rounds in Congress to have them address this ‘privilege’ through legislation to restrict its misuse and abuse, are still fresh and vivid for me.

Then I started detecting some troubling common trends showing up in media reports and subsequently in discussions and statements within Congress. The most suspicious of these came in the form of sanitizing major SSP abuse cases from reports put forth by both the mainstream media and some in alternative publications. The first invocation of the SSP by the Bush Administration was in my case. Back then, if you had done a Google search on ‘state secrets privilege’ you would have come up with only ‘7’ results; three of them repeats. After successfully getting away with SSP invocation in my case, the administration opened the flood gates for others. Now I invite you to search all the archived news reports on SSP in the last year or so. As you will see, in every single report in which the abuses of SSP and its history are cited, you will not find this first case; my case. Further, if you were to look for other major abuses of SSP, such as the Barlow Case, you will find none. The valid cases cited are mainly limited to:

I then went on citing the cases covered by the MSM and pseudo-alternative alike: Khalid Al-Masri, Maher Arar, Al Haramain Islamic Foundation, and Binyam Mohamed.

Finally, I decided to dig further and explore the reasons behind these significant omissions and the accompanying information spin that seems to be packaged with the intention of fulfilling Washington’s objective – seeing the related campaign and activities fail…

I found one of the puppet masters to be: The United States Congress, Bipartisan

A well seasoned congressional staff member connected to a well-known ‘Centrist’ office active in the current SSP debate, who ‘insisted’ on being granted anonymity, had the following to say:

He then went on to list several enlightening points regarding the ‘real’ factors driving the current position on SSP:

“Contrary to what they may claim in order to pacify the recent ‘Anti State Secrets Privilege’ movement, the Congress does not want to deal with this issue. And this applies to members of both parties…of course we will hold a couple of hearings and show we have investigated and reviewed cases…”

  • We are being told that the President [Obama] will veto any proposed legislation dealing with State Secrets Privilege…that and that no one in Congress really wants to touch this area. Having the press limit the information to ‘War on Terror Suspects’ [Emphasis added] helps both: the President and the reluctant Congress.
  • The cases before us are ‘selectively’ [Emphasis added] related to the War on Terror. A few Arab guys with their claims will not bring sympathy from the majority in this country. Not in Iowa, not in Utah…you catch my drift?
  • …I am talking about cases where there are no questions of ‘Criminality’ being involved or covered up. We won’t touch those cases. No one will go for that. The reasons…obvious… Being unfair or making the wrong call to determine if someone is a terrorist does not constitute ‘criminal.’ [Emphasis Added]. As for the NSA related case, well, the new legislation took care of that…
  • By the way, we don’t expect to see any cases of abuses of SSP by the Clinton Administration cited anywhere. Holder’s office in the background and the majority leaders up on the front lines are ensuring this through the media and the NGOs.

Let me recap what is being said, the reality ‘on the ground’ here:

Like any other president before him, and probably those who’ll come after him, President Obama is not going to limit his presidential powers when it comes to this draconian absolute executive power. He has made it clear to his now the majority party members and they are set to follow his guideline on this. It is a slam dunk position with a guaranteed ‘win’ since the minority in Congress also encourages and backs this position.

Somehow the Executive Branch and the Congress have managed to accomplish their objectives on SSP through the U.S. media. They want the reporting massaged and messaged in such a way that the publicity on SSP is limited to only ‘select’ cases where ‘executive criminality’ and or ‘covering up executive criminality’ will not be an issue. Those SSP cases where the executive branch used this level of secrecy to cover up criminal deeds would make the need for Congressional action on SSP far greater. After all, we even have an Executive Order that currently prohibits secrecy and classification from being used by the Executive Branch in order to conceal violations of law. Of course with the case(s) involving NSA warrantless wiretapping, as quoted by the congressional source above, they no longer have to worry, since they took care of it through retroactive legislation.

With cases involving wrongful detention and abuse of those ‘wrongfully accused’ in the government’s war on terror, it has been set up so that these cases can be written off as ‘egregious labeling, handling and treatment’ committed immediately following the September Eleven Attacks. Excuses such as ‘extraordinary’ circumstances, ‘bureaucratic bungling,’ and the previous administration’s ‘excess’ have been all lined up to be used if or when SSP makes it’s way into Congress. Further, the government also counts on bigotry to insure that there will be no major public pressure, since the involved victims are not (at least most) Americans, have Arabic names, and are of Muslim background. They believe that the majority of Americans will not be sympathetic to these plaintiffs, so there will be no problem killing any chance of restraining the long-abused SSP through meaningful legislation.

Both the mainstream media and pseudo-alternatives gone mainstream were consistent in serving the objectives cited above and the Congress determined NOT to tackle this draconian and unconstitutional privilege. In doing so, they made sure that any recent SSP cases that did not involve Arabic or Muslim names were left out of their popularized articles, analysis, and TV appearances. Here are a few of these cases omitted, blacked out, and censored:

Richard Barlow, an intelligence analyst and a former senior member of the Counter-Proliferation unit at the CIA lost his job when he objected internally to the George H.W. Bush Administration’s misleading Congress over Pakistan’s nuclear program. For more detailed background and related official documents on Barlow see here.

My case: The legal outline of SSP abuse by the Bush Administration invoked to cover up ‘criminal’ activities and subsequent cover up of these criminal activities can be found on the ACLU site.

And of course, the case of Richard Horn, where CIA got caught with its pants down, lying & cheating in court procedures:

“If Lamberth’s judicial opinions in the Horn case are allowed to remain in the court record — to be recalled and cited going forward by other lawyers, judges and academics — then untold damage could be done to the reputation of the CIA and its leadership. Those judicial opinions memorializing the CIA’s fraud on the court also would serve as a permanent reminder of the occasionally dubious credibility of the Agency’s pronouncements invoking national security and the state-secrets privilege.”

Scholars and activists have been trying to expose the main reason, in fact the only reason, for invocation of this draconian executive privilege as an attempt (so far a very successful one) to cover up illegal and criminal acts committed by the executive branch. In the Richard Barlow case, it was to cover up blatantly lying to Congress to cover up for Pakistan and AQ Khan. In my case, it was to cover up treasonous and espionage activities of US officials. And here, in Richard Horn’s case, it was to cover up the CIA’s involvement and covert activities in thwarting DEA’s anti-narcotics mission in Burma in the early 1990s. However, thanks to a judge with some degree of independence and principle, in Horn’s case the real reason for invocation of States Secrets Privilege seems to be officially, formally, and on the record, exposed and proven.

Now, I am going to ask you, my truly progressive and independent readers, to go and check out ‘Google News’ or any other news search engines you tend to rely upon, and see if you can find any mention of this case, or its implications for the State Secrets Privilege. You ain’t gonna find any. Why?

In my previous piece I reported on the congressional agenda and the media puppets serving this agenda to prevent any chances of getting the State Secrets Privilege issue before the Congress. Are there any other puppet masters involved? Probably, since Congress is usually in the position of puppet rather than puppet master. Is it the Justice Department? Is it the CIA? The Pentagon? Maybe a combination of all three? And the White House, the White House of any administration?

I would say all those possibilities seem logical and foreseeable. Now let’s talk about the puppets in the media:

As far as the MSM is concerned, who’s surprised?! As Senator Grassley puts it: ‘just the usual!’ But let’s talk about the puppet(s) in the pseudo-alternative-gone-mainstream media, since they’ve been doing the most damage by misguiding the ‘REAL PROGRESSIVES’ who believe in them and follow their propaganda.

I’m not going to throw out names and make this a pissing contest between personalities. Just go and check: who’s been making names for themselves on the State Secrets Privilege topic after it became safe to discuss (around 2007)? Who’s been cashing in on writing and speaking on SSP? Who’s been getting invited over and over on MSM run channels and publications to offer ‘misguidance’ on SSP? As we all know, the MSM ain’t in the business of inviting true progressives on real civil liberties related issues and cases.

Once you go and check, and believe me it won’t take you long to have a short list, take a little time and read their polished BS (the ingredients remain BS no matter how polished), and see whether you find Horn, Barlow, Edmonds, or any American sounding names cited in their list of SSP cases. Now you have your culprits. Next, go and actually ask them, send them a note, question them:

Why is the first and most egregious invocation of SSP, Edmonds V DOJ, missing in every single case analysis and article you’ve written?

Why is Richard Barlow’s SSP case, involving AQ Khan and the CIA-Pentagon’s misleading of Congress, absent from every single piece, article, and speech?

Why in the world is this recent explosive revelation in the Richard Horn case, where the CIA abused the SSP but was caught doing it, not showing up in your work?

Come on people, do me a favor and go after these phony puppets and grill them. This is very important because the damage caused by these lowlifes impacts all of us, all our civil liberties, greatly. Not only that, these puppets are fueling racism and hatred by singling out Arab & Muslim based names in their citation of State Secrets Privilege cases, and singling them out as the only recipients of the SSP, and as cases related to our perpetual ‘war on terror’ excuse.

These pseudo progressive puppets have successfully taken the SSP topic off the table in Congress, relieving Congress from having to do, or pretending to do, something about a very dangerous Executive Power never written into the Constitution. They have made many believe that SSP is selectively and rarely used in only ‘terror suspect’ cases with Arabic names, thus, preventing a more wide-spread expression of public outrage. They have undone much great work by civil liberties organizations such as the ACLU & EFF, by actually blending with them to garner more credibility. They have churned, twisted, and spun the facts on SSP, and unfortunately even many progressives have bought into it. So let’s expose them for who they are, and let’s help the public get the facts straight on the State Secrets Privilege.


CIA to Dish out $3 Million to buy silence in Another Narco Scandal by Sibel Edmonds

National Security Letters, the Deceitful Media & the Convergence of Interests by Sibel Edmonds

Nadler discusses the State Secret Protection Act with Glenn Greenwald

Glenn Greenwald on Afghanistan, State Secrets, Healthcare and the Media

9 thoughts on “State Secrets Privilege: The Puppets & Puppet Masters by Sibel Edmonds

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  7. I consider myself a real progressive, but I am not a lawyer.

    I suggest you contact Glenn Greenwald … he could get the message out. As a Constitutional Lawyer he has the knowledge and credentials to speak to your dilemma.

    Other contacts would be Russ Feingold and Dennis Kucinich.

    To be honest there is so much BS happening right now it is just impossible to keep up … Just the way they like it …

    The Shock Doctrine … Disaster Capitalism has come home to America … big time …

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