by Luke Ryland
Luke’s blog post
Let Sibel Edmonds Speak
July 15, 2008
In my article last week, Court Documents Shed Light on CIA Illegal Operations in Central Asia Using Islam & Madrassas, we saw how the CIA, along with Saudi Arabia and Turkey, have been financing the promotion of radical Islam in Central Asia in a decade-long illegal covert operation.
The operation includes propaganda and indoctrination in the form of financing, building and operating madrassas, control of media outlets and publishing houses, financing of terrorist groups, and heroin trafficking, as well as facilitating the requisite money-laundering apparatus. It is this operation that is at the heart of the gagging of former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds, and many of the names on Sibel’s State Secrets Privilege Gallery are associated with this operation.
This modus operandi is not new, of course. A recent New York Times article noted that “Saudi and American money” financed schools in Pakistan which “spread Islamic radicalism” dating back to the 1980s. Students from these schools went on to fight the Russians in Afghanistan alongside other CIA creations such as Osama Bin Laden.
The US government has also previously used Islamic fighters, including Al-Qaeda, in the Chechen and Balkan wars. In these cases, and with the Central Asian operation, we see the same elements – Islamic terrorist groups, drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, and money laundering – converging with the ‘foreign policy’ objectives of a small group of US officials, and US energy companies. In each case, the activities of the Islamic groups have been facilitated by puppet states of the US; Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Turkey. (IS ALL THIS TRUE?)
Kosovo and Albania
In 1999, Washington Times reported that:
“Some members of the Kosovo Liberation Army, which has financed its war effort through the sale of heroin, were trained in terrorist camps run by international fugitive Osama bin Laden…
The KLA members, embraced by the Clinton administration in NATO’s 41-day bombing campaign… were trained in secret camps in Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina and elsewhere, according to newly obtained intelligence reports.
The reports also show that the KLA has enlisted Islamic terrorists — members of the Mujahideen –as soldiers in its ongoing conflict against Serbia…
The reports said bin Laden’s organization, known as al-Qaeda, has both trained and financially supported the KLA.
The KLA’s involvement in drug smuggling as a means of raising funds for weapons is long-standing. Intelligence documents show it has aligned itself with an extensive organized crime network in Albania that smuggles heroin to buyers throughout Western Europe and the United States.
Drug agents in five countries believe the cartel is one of the most powerful heroin smuggling organizations in the world.”
Similarly, the Wall Street Journal, Europe reported in 2001:
“For the past 10 years, the most senior leaders of al Qaeda have visited the Balkans, including bin Laden himself on three occasions between 1994 and 1996. The Egyptian surgeon turned terrorist leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri has operated terrorist training camps, weapons of mass destruction factories and money-laundering and drug-trading networks throughout Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Turkey and Bosnia. This has gone on for a decade. Many recruits to the Balkan wars came originally from Chechnya, a jihad in which Al Qaeda has also played a part.”
Ayman Al-Zawahiri, of course, is reported to have been the brains behind the September Eleven terrorist attack in the United States. His brother, Muhammad al-Zawahiri, is the head of the Albanian network, according to Yossef Bodansky, director of the House Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare.
In short, at a minimum, the United States, with NATO, were supporting the Kosovo Liberation Army alongside Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda.
In Chechnya we see the same pattern of certain US policy elites and al-Qaeda working on the same team.
According to a front page article in the Washington Post in 2003:
“Russian intelligence officials assert that Osama bin Laden donated at least $25 million and dispatched numerous fighters to Chechnya, including Ibn Khattab, a Saudi who led one of the best-trained contingents. The United States now agrees that Khattab had al Qaeda ties, and cited those links when it added three Chechen rebel units to its list of terrorist organizations earlier this year.
American officials said that several hundred Chechen fighters were trained at al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan and that bin Laden sent “substantial amounts of money” to equip Chechen rebels in 1999.”
In fact, a 1998 DIA report (pdf), exposed by the conservative group Judicial Watch in 2004 via a FOIA request in 2000, noted that Khattab was a “personal friend” of bin Laden, and that bin Laden sent Khattab to Chechnya in 1995 to “organize training camps for international terrorists.” Three camps were established, and graduations were held every two months.
US support for the Chechens has been well documented. In a September 2004 article in the Guardian, subtitled “The Washington neocons’ commitment to the war on terror evaporates in Chechnya, whose cause they have made their own,” a group called the American Committee for Peace in Chechnya (ACPC) is put under the spotlight. It’s members include Richard Perle, Elliott Abrams, Kenneth Adelman, Frank Gaffney, Michael Ledeen, James Woolsey, Stephen Solarz and Morton Abramowitz.
The Guardian notes:
“The ACPC heavily promotes the idea that the Chechen rebellion shows the undemocratic nature of Putin’s Russia, and cultivates support for the Chechen cause by emphasising the seriousness of human rights violations in the tiny Caucasian republic. It compares the Chechen crisis to those other fashionable “Muslim” causes, Bosnia and Kosovo – implying that only international intervention in the Caucasus can stabilise the situation there. In August, the ACPC welcomed the award of political asylum in the US, and a US-government funded grant, to Ilyas Akhmadov, foreign minister in the opposition Chechen government, and a man Moscow describes as a terrorist. Coming from both political parties, the ACPC members represent the backbone of the US foreign policy establishment, and their views are indeed those of the US administration.
Allegations are even being made in Russia that the west itself is somehow behind the Chechen rebellion, and that the purpose of such support is to weaken Russia, and to drive her out of the Caucasus. “
The aforementioned Judicial Watch account of the DIA report notes that:
“A good deal of information concerning OBL’s and al Qaeda’s efforts in Chechnya, the Caucuses, Crimea, and the Central Asian Republics is covered in the (report). The confirmed existence of a [secure, reliable, terrorist-sponsored] “direct route to Chechnya from Pakistan and Afghanistan through Turkey and Azerbaijan” is a stunning “information point” within this (report) – especially in light of the date of the information, 1998.”
A 2008 article in the UK Times, “Al-Qaeda kingpin: I trained 9/11 hijackers,” about Louai al-Sakka confirms the existence of the terrorist pipeline through Turkey to Chechnya.
(Sakka’s) story is also one of a globetrotting terrorist in an organisation that is truly multinational.
The Chechens needed trained fighters. Sakka was telephoned by Ibn al-Khattab, the late militia leader controlling the foreign fighters against the Russians. Khattab requested that Sakka’s trainees should be sent on to Afghanistan for military training because “conditions are tough”.
One of Sakka’s chief roles was to organise passports and visas for the volunteers to make their way to Afghanistan through Pakistan. His ability to keep providing high-quality forged papers made Turkey a main hub for Al-Qaeda movements, his lawyer says. The young men came to Turkey pretending to be on holiday and Sakka’s false papers allowed them to “disappear” overseas.
Turkish intelligence were aware of unusual militant Islamic activity in the Yalova mountains, where Sakka had set up his camps.
Some of Sakka’s account is corroborated by the US government’s 9/11 Commission. It found evidence that four of the hijackers – whom Sakka says he trained – had initially intended to go to Chechnya from Turkey but the border into Georgia was closed.
Sakka’s lawyer said: “Just like there is money laundering, there is also terrorist laundering and Turkey was the centre of this.”
In fact, apprehended terrorists often hold Turkish passports – reportedly both fake and real. A quick google search, for example, demonstrates Turkish passports on terrorists captured in New York, Chechnya, Chechnya again and again, Pakistan training camps, and Georgia, Russia, and Kyrgyzstan. Many of the ‘detainees’ at Guantanamo also hold Turkish passports.
Now we come full circle to the current operations in Central Asia which are at the core of the gagging of Sibel Edmonds. As outlined in my recent article, “Court Documents Shed Light on CIA Illegal Operations in Central Asia Using Islam & Madrassas,” the CIA has been funding an illegal covert operation to ‘Islamicize’ the Central Asian region in order to wrest control away from Russia and secure the vast energy resources of the region. The US has been using Turkey as a proxy to carry out this operation, for reasons that Sibel explained:
Given the history, and the distrust of the West, the US realized that it couldn’t get direct control, and therefore would need to use a proxy to gain control quickly and effectively. Turkey was the perfect proxy; a NATO ally and a puppet regime. Turkey shares the same heritage/race as the entire population of Central Asia, the same language (Turkic), the same religion (Sunni Islam), and of course, the strategic location and proximity.
This started more than a decade-long illegal, covert operation in Central Asia by a small group in the US intent on furthering the oil industry and the Military Industrial Complex, using Turkish operatives, Saudi partners and Pakistani allies, furthering this objective in the name of Islam.
This is why I have been saying repeatedly that these illegal covert operations by the Turks and certain US persons dates back to 1996, and involves terrorist activities, narcotics, weapons smuggling and money laundering, converging around the same operations and involving the same actors.
And I want to emphasize that this is “illegal” because most, if not all, of the funding for these operations is not congressionally approved funding, but it comes from illegal activities.
And one last thing, take a look at the people in the State Secrets Privilege Gallery on my website and you will see how these individuals can be traced to the following; Turkey, Central Asia, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia – and the activities involving these countries.
As part of this operation, Turkish organizations such as the Gulen ‘movement,’ a $25 billion economic powerhouse, reportedly financed by the CIA, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, has been establishing madrassas and mosques across Central Asia – including Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan – for the past decade.
The construction and operation of these madrassas and mosques appear to serve a number of purposes:
1. Indoctrination and radicalization of students
2. Providing a front for CIA and State Department-sanctioned ‘teachers’ to operate with the protection of Diplomatic passports.
3. Laundering money for a variety of purposes.
In Azerbaijan, for example, there were only 20 mosques in the late 1980s. By 2002, there were 150 foreign built mosques in the country. In 2002, 80% of “religious structures” in Azerbaijan were unregistered, resulting in an effort by the Azeri government “to bring all religious organizations in the country under its control.” In an interview, Rafiq Aliyev, head of the Azerbaijani State Committee for Work with Religious Structures said:
“You know, we are trying to ensure their transparency. People who avoid this probably have to conceal something, so they do not want to be transparent. They are reluctant to register their religious structures – medreses or religious communities.
We will find out what religious organizations really serve religion and what religious
organizations use religion as a cover. So, their activities will be seriously reconsidered.”
Later in the interview, Aliyev noted that much of the money reported to be for mosque building was apparently used for other, undetermined, purposes:
“We are worried about the difference between the money brought into the country and the cost of building those mosques. I mean, a big sum is brought into the country, but only a part of it, is spent on building mosques. We have not succeeded yet in finding where the rest of the money goes.
I will give you one example, I think it will suffice. A total of 385,000 dollars were spent on the Qaracuxur mosque in the Razin settlement [in Baku]. So, the Turkish religious committee sent to Azerbaijan 385,000 dollars. But if we calculate the cost of the Qaracuxur mosque, it does not exceed 50,000 dollars.
In fact, up to 150 mosques have been built in Azerbaijan by foreign countries. As I have said, between 200,000 and 600,000 dollars were spent on building each of them. But our reports show that the majority of those mosques do not have technical documents, they have not carried out any stocktaking. What company or who built them, what was paid to the state or was anything paid at all – we are now collecting this information, we already have enough information. In time, and we will make it public.”
If each of the 150 mosques is ‘over-budgeted’ by $300,000, then there is $45 Million of unaccounted foreign funds sloshing around Azerbaijan. To what end?
The Gulen movement itself has “has a university, eleven high schools, one primary school and nine education facilities training university applicants” in Azerbaijan, while the Turkish government itself is “sponsoring Islamic educational projects” featuring “a specifically Turkish form of Islam in this Shi‘a majority country.”
We see the same pattern of mosque building in Kazakhstan. Wikipedia states that:
“Construction of mosques and religious schools accelerated in the 1990s, with financial help from Turkey, Egypt, and, primarily, Saudi Arabia.”
And we see more of the same in Turkmenistan:
“Since 1990… More religious institutions, including religious schools and mosques, have appeared, many with the support of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Turkey.”
The same people who were involved in supporting and facilitating the use of Islamic forces in Afghanistan, the Balkans and Chechnya are also involved in the Central Asian operation, including giving support, public and otherwise, to the Gulen movement. Many of them appear in Sibel Edmonds State Secrets Privilege gallery. Sibel has said repeatedly that one of Gulen’s main companies, media conglomerate Ihlas Holdings is ‘semi-legitimate‘ and ‘alleged shady.’
This whole affair was recently exposed as a result of Gulen applying for a Green Card in the US courts. In a recent hearing, the prosecutors cited documents which argued that Gulen’s operation was a CIA front, however earlier hearings also provide some very interesting information. A May 2007 filing by Gulen, published yesterday by Rasti, indicates that the FBI to date has not produced the results of a requisite criminal background check on Gulen. The document states:
44. Upon information and belief, the FBI has failed to issue to USCIS the results of criminal background checks and/or name checks relating to the Plaintiffs in connection with the Plaintiff’s Applications and Petition.
Given the latest revelations about CIA involvement in Gulen’s affairs, it is readily apparent why the FBI wants to keep the details of its “Gulen file” secret. The details of Gulen’s finances have not been made public, the details of his activities working for the US and the puppet states have not been made public, and the activities of the other companies who are financing Gulen are also wrapped in mystery.
Meanwhile, the State Secrets Privilege is still in place in the Sibel Edmonds affair, the Islamization of Central Asia, following the same model as the mujahideen in Afghanistan and the use of Islamist militants in Kosovo/Albania, using madrassas and mosques, along with narcotics and associated criminal activities continues to this day despite the big lesson of 911.
And yet the US corporate media continues its long-term blackout on the entire region – enabling the continuance of the illegal operations of our covert foreign policy and pipeline politics.
Here is what Colin Powell told the House International Relations Committee in 2002 about the neocons wet-dream in Central Asia:
“America will have a continuing interest and presence in Central Asia of a kind that we could not have dreamed of before.”
Court Documents Shed Light on CIA Illegal Operations in Central Asia Using Islam & Madrassas