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Sibel Edmonds' Deposition: Video and Transcript Released
Long-gagged FBI whistleblower's full under-oath testimony from Ohio election case, details Congressional blackmail, bribery, espionage, infiltration, more...
By Brad Friedman | Brad Blog
Just over two weeks ago, FBI translator-turned-whistleblower Sibel Edmonds was finally allowed to speak about much of what the Bush Administration spent years trying to keep her from discussing publicly on the record. Twice gagged by the Bush Dept. of Justice's invocation of the so-called "State Secrets Privilege," Edmonds has been attempting to tell her story, about the crimes she became aware of while working for the FBI, for years.
Thanks to a subpoena issued by the campaign of Ohio's 2nd District Democratic U.S. Congressional candidate David Krikorian, her remarkable allegations of blackmail, bribery, espionage, infiltration, and criminal conspiracy by current and former members of the U.S. Congress, high-ranking State and Defense Department officials, and agents of the government of Turkey are seen and heard here, in full, for the first time, in her under-oath deposition. Both the complete video tape and transcript of the deposition follow below.
Though there was much concern, prior to her testimony, that the Obama Dept. of Justice might re-invoke the "State Secrets Privilege" to keep her from speaking, they did not do so. Nor did they choose to be present at the Washington D.C. deposition. Read more, view videos.
WARNING: GRAPHIC LANGUAGE - and if you've watched George Carlin (RIP) I shouldn't have to mention that; you'd know.
"In a little time [there will be] no middling sort. We shall have a few, and but a very few Lords, and all the rest beggars." R.L. Bushman
"Rapidly you are dividing into two classes--extreme rich and extreme poor." "Brutus"
Americans think that they have "freedom and democracy" and that politicians are held accountable by elections. The fact of the matter is that the US is ruled by powerful interest groups who control politicians with campaign contributions. Our real rulers are an oligarchy of financial and military/security interests and AIPAC, which influences US foreign policy for the benefit of Israel.
Have a look at economic policy. It is being run for the benefit of large financial concerns, such as Goldman Sachs.
It was the banks, not the millions of Americans who have lost homes, jobs, health insurance, and pensions, that received $700 billion in TARP funds. The banks used this gift of capital to make more profits. In the middle of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, Goldman Sachs announced record second quarter profits and large six-figure bonuses for every employee.
The Federal Reserve's low interest rate policy is another gift to the banks. It lowers their cost of funds and increases their profits. With the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999, banks became high-risk investment houses that trade financial instruments such as interest rate derivatives and mortgage backed securities. With abundant funds supplied virtually free by the Federal Reserve, banks are paying depositors virtually nothing on their savings.
Despite the Federal Reserve's low interest rate policy, beginning October 1 banks are raising the annual percentage rate (APR) on credit card purchases and cash advances and on balances that have a penalty rate because of late payment. Banks are also raising the late fee. In the midst of the worst economy since the 1930s, heavily indebted Americans, who are losing their jobs and their homes, are to be bled into bankruptcy by the very banks that are being subsidized with TARP funds and low interest rates. Read more.
The Obstacles to Real Health Care Reform: Private Insurers and Big PhRMA
By Stephen Lendman
In almost the same breath on August 17, the White House effectively dropped a real public option (that likely never existed) while Obama was telling the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) that the Pentagon will escalate the Afghanistan/Pakistan war into a long-term conflict that will assure "more difficult days ahead." He did so in defiance of international and Constitutional law, the lives and welfare of American forces, millions in both target countries, and lied at the same time saying: "This is not a war of choice. This is a war of necessity" in plain contradiction of the fact that in October 2001, US forces launched a long-planned premeditated attack against a non-belligerent country posing no threat to America.
When does the willful blindness in terms of bank fraud taking place daily in the so-called "marks" on housing-related loans stop?
The Mortgage Bankers Association released its latest update:
The non-seasonally adjusted delinquency rate increased 64 basis points from 8.22 percent in the first quarter of 2009 to 8.86 percent this quarter.
The delinquency rate includes loans that are at least one payment past due but does not include loans somewhere in the process of foreclosure. The percentage of loans in the foreclosure process at the end of the second quarter was 4.30 percent, an increase of 45 basis points from the first quarter of 2009 and 155 basis points from one year ago. The combined percentage of loans in foreclosure and at least one payment past due was 13.16 percent on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, the highest ever recorded in the MBA delinquency survey.
That's right folks. That means that of all mortgage loans 13.16% are not in "accrual" status - that is, they're not performing in that interest and principal are not being paid. This is no longer about "subprime" - it is now all about prime loans; the claim that this was going to be "contained' is now proved false.
That our banks are not being forced to take the marks associated with these delinquencies is an outrage. It is the cause of the FDIC's losses, it is the cause of our credit system remaining locked up, and it is the cause of our continued moribund economy, as without a functioning credit system there can be no actual economic recovery.
These institutions are being protected by our Congress and the willful, intentional blindness of The Federal Reserve, FDIC, OTS and OCC.
These agencies and persons have the same data that is being released to the market. The stock market continues to rally not based on improving economics but based on the federal government and The Federal Reserve continuing to allow institutions to LIE about their financial condition and the expectation that the LIES will be permitted to continue! Read more.
In April 2002, the CIA paid Blackwater more than $5 million to deploy a small team of men inside Afghanistan during the early stages of US operations in the country. A month later, Erik Prince, the company's owner and a former Navy SEAL, flew to Afghanistan as part of the original twenty-man Blackwater contingent. Blackwater worked for the CIA at its station in Kabul as well as in Shkin, along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, where they operated out of a mud fortress known as the Alamo. It was the beginning of a long relationship between Blackwater, Prince and the CIA.
Now the New York Times is reporting that in 2004 the CIA hired Blackwater "as part of a secret program to locate and assassinate top operatives of Al Qaeda." According to the Times, "it is unclear whether the CIA had planned to use the contractors to capture or kill Qaeda operatives, or just to help with training and surveillance."
The Times reports that "the CIA did not have a formal contract with Blackwater for this program but instead had individual agreements with top company officials, including the founder, Erik D. Prince, a politically connected former member of the Navy Seals and the heir to a family fortune." A retired intelligence officer "intimately familiar with the assassination program" told the Washington Post, "Outsourcing gave the agency more protection in case something went wrong." The Post reported that Blackwater "was given operational responsibility for targeting terrorist commanders and was awarded millions of dollars for training and weaponry, but the program was canceled before any missions were conducted." Read more.
By Dave Lindorff
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and Federal District Court Judge Fernando Gaitan of the Missouri Western District Court have at least two things in common: they are both appointees of President Ronald Reagan, and they both think it’s just fine for the US to execute innocent people. The same can be said for Judge C. Arlen Beam of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.
In a recent dissent in a 5-4 Supreme Court ruling ordering a habeas hearing in federal court for South Carolina death row inmate Troy Anthony Davis, a man slated to die after being convicted for the murder of an off-duty Savannah police officer, Scalia wrote, “This court has never held that the constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant who has had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a habeas court that he is `actually’ innocent.”
By David Swanson
You gotta keep 'em separated. My colleagues over at Velvet Revolution noticed a striking resemblance between certain Republican senators here at home and certain theocrats over yonder in Iran. You can't necessarily spot it by looking at them. You have to pay attention to what they say.
The Iranians say that prosecuting torturers within the Iranian government would endanger Iran:
"Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union," by David Swanson is due in stores September 1st, but the publisher has it now and you can get it straight from Seven Stories Press.
I've done a lot of writing about HOAs and the egregious plague they are for whoever is unfortunate enough to find themselves subjugated to their tyranny, but now there is a more pressing problem that has its origins from the same misguided, nefarious source. That, of course, would be healthcare.
In 1889, the Supreme Court decided a case, Minneapolis & St. Louis Railroad v.Beckwith, which declared that a corporation is a "person", with regard to due process and equal protection under the Constitution. That is, you, and a stack of contracts, a "paper man" if you will, attained equal standing under the law. What a disaster. This decision set this country on the path that is responsible for the deplorable situation we now find ourselves in.
In effect, we are now a nation of "corporate citizens", who have the power and resources to shape the society in ways that would have been met with skepticism even a generation ago. We are governed by an increasingly isolated and incestuous group of figureheads, who prostitute themselves willingly for even the slightest chance of licking up the crumbs left for them by the corporations. It's "Rollerball" for real.
Obama, who managed to instill a sense of hope the likes of which hadn't been seen for fifty years, turned out to be nothing more than a great orator with almost no capacity for true leadership. Lacking the will to really fight for the things he supposedly believes in, he parades around speaking platitudes about "special interests" and "bipartisan solutions". On closer inspection however it turns out he has surrounded himself with the same cast of corrupt characters, shills for corporate America, who have no real desire to do anything that would truly "... promote the general welfare ...", as stated in the Constitution, for "We The People". To paraphrase Hollywood, in this case "The Best Man", Obama has "no sense of right or wrong, no sense of responsibility to anyone or anything, only to what works. That is a tragedy in a man and a disaster in a president". Read more.
Those of us who proposed the impeachment of Vice President Dick Cheney for violating his oath of office and engaging in a Nixon-on-steroids spree of high crimes and misdemeanors began to recognize the abusive nature of the previous administration when Cheney refused to release details of the industry insiders with whom he met to craft energy policies.
The refusal of the Bush-Cheney administration to permit public review of White House visitor logs detailing who was meeting with the vice president's energy task force during the very first weeks of their tenure was a deliberate decision made to cloak dirty dealing by officials who were determined to serve corporate rather than public interests.
It also provided an early indicator that darker and dirtier deeds would eventually be done by Cheney and his compatriots. And they were. Read more.
Gagged Former FBI Translator Claims U.S. Rep Bribe Evidence
By Andrew Kreig | Huffington Post
Seeking to overcome years of gag restraints, former FBI contract translator Sibel Edmonds reportedly claimed in an Aug. 8 deposition that several leaders in Congress and other high-level U.S. officials were suspected early this decade of being bribed by Turkey's government.
Edmonds, who had been silenced by a gag order obtained by the U.S. Justice Department from a federal judge under a "state secrets" doctrine after the FBI fired her in 2002, reportedly said in her deposition that her FBI work made her aware of high-level officials and lobbyists from both parties discussed as potential bribe-takers.
This account of her testimony was by Wayne Madsen, one of a handful of alternative media journalists talking to participants of the deposition held at the National Whistleblowers Legal Defense & Education Fund headquarters in Washington, DC. His subscription-only website cited sources who identified the suspected officials, including one in Congress allegedly trapped by a sex-sting using a prostitute. Read more.
Recently, I went to the Veterans For Peace convention in Maryland and attended some very interesting workshops. The workshop that has angered and resonated the most with me was the Military Sexual Trauma workshop. I am angry that this workshop has to be held. I am angry that 1 in 3 women are raped by their brother in arms. I am angry that many female soldiers have died and will die during the Iraq and Afghanistan conflict of dehydration because they refuse to drink enough water so they will not have to go to the bathroom during the night and be ganged raped by American soldiers.
I am angry because three very strong, capable women lost their careers as soldiers for speaking out. Three survivors told their story of rape, ostraciziation, falsified documents, reputation smearing and other atrocities that would make you scream. Sadly, though, 1 of the 3 told of being raped more than one time. Read more.
Update: Ombudsman to review email exchanges
When a scandal involving the Bush administration’s firing of US Attorneys broke in early 2007, initial coverage by the Washington Post supported the idea that the firings had been politically motivated. That approach, however, quickly changed to one that was far more friendly to the White House.
The House Judiciary Committee has now released over 5400 pages of Bush administration and Republican Party emails (pdf) related to the firings. Several of these emails suggest coordination between Post reporter John Solomon and Bush administration officials on how to manage the Post’s coverage of the widening scandal.
In one email to a Department of Justice spokesperson, Solomon even appears to be suggesting what spin to apply in order to minimize damage from the revelations.
“Thanks for any help you can give on this,” Solomon wrote to Brian Roehrkasse on the morning of March 2, 2007. “I think some tick tock along these lines will bring some perspective to how the process occurred. Of course, the White House counsel’s office had to sign off. Of course an administration in its last two years looks for some fresh blood to inject into jobs. Of course, DOJ’s analysis of prosecutors goes beyond performance evaluations to achievements or failures on policy issues like immigration. I think we can get this just right with your help.”
Solomon, who had gone to work for the Post just a few months earlier, in December 2006, left that paper to become executive editor of the conservative-leaning Washington Times in January 2008. Read more.
By Dave Lindorff
Bill Clinton was the worst thing to happen to the Democratic Party and to progressives since that racist warmonger Woodrow Wilson won the presidency and dragged the US into the utterly pointless and incredibly bloody First World War.
Clinton, by posing as a progressive, confused and undermined, and ultimately betrayed the liberal/progressive wing of the party, shattering what was left of the New Deal coalition and leaving the American left adrift and riven by the conflict between those who thought the Democratic Party was the only viable vehicle for progressive reform and those who thought it was hopelessly in the grip of corporate interests.
Barack Obama offers the hope of bringing that era of debilitating confusion to an end.
Just days before two former Blackwater employees alleged in sworn statements filed in federal court that the company's owner, Erik Prince, "views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe," the Obama administration extended a contract with Blackwater for more than $20 million for "security services" in Iraq, according to federal contract data obtained by The Nation. The State Department contract is scheduled to run through September 3. In May, the State Department announced it was not renewing Blackwater's Iraq contract, and the Iraqi government has refused to issue the company an operating license.
"They are still there, but we are transitioning them out," a State Department official told The Nation. According to the State Department, the $20 million represents an increase on an aviation contract that predates the Obama administration.
Despite its scandal-plagued track record, Blackwater (which has rebranded itself as Xe) continues to have a presence in Iraq, trains Afghan forces on US contracts and provides government-funded training for military and law enforcement inside the United States. The company is also actively bidding on other government contracts, including in Afghanistan, where the number of private contractors is swelling. According to federal contracting records reviewed by The Nation, since President Barack Obama took office in January the State Department has contracted with Blackwater for more than $174 million in "security services" alone in Iraq and Afghanistan and tens of millions more in "aviation services." Much of this money stems from existing contracts from the Bush era that have been continued by the Obama administration. While Obama certainly inherited a mess when it came to Blackwater's entrenchment in Iraq and Afghanistan, he has continued the widespread use of armed private contractors in both countries. Blackwater's role may be slowly shrinking, but its work is continuing through companies such as DynCorp and Triple Canopy. Read more.
Selling children into prostitution - Christian "Blackwater" values...
By Larisa Alexandrovna | at Largely
The latest horror show from the Blackwater saga illustrates how absolutely dangerous white supremacy is when empowered with federal dollars and the power to kill.
Instead of being run out of all civilized society, Erik Prince's huge donations to the GOP earned him massive federal contracts and the backing of the US government as his employees raped children under the banner of an American flag.
White power politics is not a matter of free speech when used by the state as a tool of war. It is a war crime. Erik Prince is a war criminal. The fact that he and his black-booters are part of a private entity does not exempt their crimes under the Geneva Conventions. Why? Because Prince and his black-booters were employed by and empowered by the US government. The actions of Prince and the black-booters are carried out under the banner of the American flag. Their crimes are our crimes, especially since we - the tax- payer - paid for them. So, have a stiff drink and read the latest horror of this warped version of the so called Christian army: Read more.
IRAQ: Shi’a Unity Deal Explodes U.S. Proxy War Myth
Analysis by Gareth Porter | IPS News
The agreement announced Monday between Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and a Shi’a resistance group called the "League of the Righteous" (Asa'ib al-Haq) formally ended the group’s armed opposition to the regime in return for the release of its leader and eight other Shi’a detainees. This deals a final blow to the U.S. military’s narrative of an Iranian "proxy war" in Iraq.
The U.S. command in Iraq has long argued that Iran was using "special groups" of Shi’a insurgents who had broken away from cleric Moqtada al- Sadr’s Mahdi Army to destabilise the U.S.-supported Iraqi regime - but pro- Iranian groups were weakened by U.S. military pressures throughout 2007 and defeated by the al-Maliki regime in 2008.
The history of the new agreement confirms what was evident from existing evidence: the "League of the Righteous" was actually the underground wing of the Mahdi Army all along, and the Sadrist insurgents were secretly working closely with the al-Maliki regime against the Americans and the British - even as it was at war with armed elements within the regime.
The contradictory nature of the relationship between al-Maliki and the Sadrists reflects the tensions between pro-Sadrist elements within the regime - including al-Maliki’s Da’wa Party - and the anti-Sadrist elements led by the Supreme Council of Islamic Revolution in Iraq.
The relationship between al-Maliki and the U.S. was also marked by contradictions. Even through he was ostensibly cooperating with the U.S. against the Sadrists in 2007 and 2008, the al-Maliki regime was also cooperating secretly with the Sadrist forces against the Americans. And al- Maliki - with the encouragement of Iran - was working on a strategy for achieving the complete withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq through diplomatic means, which he did not reveal to the Americans until summer 2008. Read more.
The manager of an Afghan firm with lucrative construction contracts with the U.S. government builds in a minimum of 20 percent for the Taliban in his cost estimates. The manager, who will not speak openly, has told friends privately that he makes in the neighborhood of $1 million per month. Out of this, $200,000 is siphoned off for the insurgents.
If negotiations fall through, the project will come to harm — road workers may be attacked or killed, bridges may be blown up, engineers may be assassinated.
It is the open secret no one wants to talk about, the unwelcome truth that most prefer to hide. In Afghanistan, one of the richest sources of Taliban funding is the foreign assistance coming into the country.
Virtually every major project includes a healthy cut for the insurgents. Call it protection money, call it extortion, or, as the Taliban themselves prefer to term it, “spoils of war,” the fact remains that international donors, primarily the United States, are to a large extent financing their own enemy.
“Everyone knows this is going on,” said one U.S. Embassy official, speaking privately.
It is almost impossible to determine how much the insurgents are spending, making it difficult to pinpoint the sources of the funds.
Mullah Abdul Salaam Zaeef, former Taliban minister to Pakistan, was perhaps more than a bit disingenuous when he told GlobalPost that the militants were operating mostly on air. Read more.
Global Depression and Regional Wars - Reviewing James Petras' New Book: Part I
By Stephen Lendman
James Petras is Binghamton University, New York Professor Emeritus of Sociology. Besides his long and distinguished academic career, he's a noted figure on the left, a well-respected Latin American expert, and a longtime chronicler of the region' popular struggles. He's also a prolific author of hundreds of articles and dozens of books, most recently his new one titled, "Global Depression and Regional Wars" addressing America, Latin America and the Middle East.
Part I - Global Depression
Variety's famous October 30, 1929 headline is again relevant: "Wall Street Lays an Egg," or as economist Rick Wolff puts it: "Capitalism hit the fan" following a familiar pattern of boom and bust cycles punctuated by bubbles that always burst. Petras explains it this way:
"All the idols of capitalism over the past three decades have crashed. The assumptions and presumptions, paradigms and prognosis of indefinite progress under liberal free market capitalism have been tested and have failed. We are living the end of an entire epoch (and bearing witness to) the collapse of the US and world financial system."
Grim prospects are ahead:
- a world depression with one-fourth of the labor force unemployed;
- global trade in free fall;
- a proliferation of bankruptcies with General Motors a metaphor for a decaying system;
- free-market capitalism in disrepute; and
- "planning, public ownership, nationalization(s and other) socialist alternatives have become almost respectable" because most sacred cow "truisms" and solutions have failed.
By Dave Lindorff
Some critics have written, in response to my article calling for extension of the single-payer plan called Medicare to all Americans, that actually Medicare is a badly flawed program that leaves America's elderly without coverage for many important health services, and which requires them to pay for supplemental insurance, or to go on Medicaid, too.
Newly released emails from the Bush administration indicate that senior White House aides may have been directly involved in the firing of a U.S. attorney for apparently political reasons.
The documents released today by the House Judiciary Committee suggest that the White House was angry at then New Mexico U.S. Attorney David Iglesias because he was not aggressively pursuing the prosecution of a Democratic congressional candidate.
Iglesias was one of eight U.S. attorneys fired by the Justice Department during Bush's second term, when Alberto Gonzales was still attorney general. Fallout from the firings, seven of which came on one day, eventually led Gonzales and eight other top Justice Department officials to resign.
As early as 2005 it was clear the White House was very focused on removing Iglesias. Read more.
House Judiciary Committee Releases Rove and Miers Interview Transcripts and Over 5,400 Pages of Bush White House Documents
House Judiciary Committee Releases Rove and Miers Interview Transcripts and Over 5,400 Pages of Bush White House Documents - Press Release
Conyers: White House "Driving Force" Behind US Attorney Firings
House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) today released over 700 pages of on-the-record interview transcripts of Karl Rove and Harriet Miers on the U.S. attorney firings and the Bush administration’s politicization of the Department of Justice. Conyers also released over 5,400 pages of Bush White House and Republican National Committee e-mails on these subjects.
The released materials reveal that White House officials were deeply involved in the U.S. attorney firings and the administration made a concerted effort to hide that fact from the American people. "After all the delay and despite all the obfuscation, lies, and spin," Conyers said, "this basic truth can no longer be denied: Karl Rove and his cohorts at the Bush White House were the driving force behind several of these firings, which were done for improper reasons. Under the Bush regime, honest and well-performing U.S. attorneys were fired for petty patronage, political horsetrading and, in the most egregious case of political abuse of the U.S. attorney corps – that of U.S. Attorney Iglesias – because he refused to use his office to help Republicans win elections. When Mr. Iglesias said his firing was a ‘political fragging,’ he was right."
By Dave Lindorff
Many progressives are getting all bent out of shape over the "brown shirt" rabble organized by health industry PR firms to disrupt the so-called "town meetings" being organized all over the country by Democratic members of Congress.
What they are conveniently forgetting is that these are not really "town meetings" at all, at least in the sense of the town meetings I grew up with, and started out covering as a young journalist in Connecticut--that is, meetings called and run democratically, with leaders elected from the floor, open to all residents of a community.
By Dave Lindorff
OMG! Those protesters showing up at Democratic “town meetings” to promote the president’s health care “reform” program are being bused in from out of town?
Scandal! Que horrible! (Gasp)
But wait! That’s exactly what we on the left always did when we held demonstrations—at least if we could. Who in the trade union movement hasn’t called on fellow workers in other unions to join them in rallies during struggles with an employer, or asked them to join sparse picket-lines? Who hasn’t pulled out the stops trying to get people from other cities to attend a local protest?