Ellsberg: Hastert got suitcases of Al Qaeda heroin cash, should be in jail
Over at DU, Randy mentioned an ' untranscribed interview between Ellsberg and Kris Welch of KPFA from Sept. '05'' - I actually hadn't heard it before (dammit!) - so I found it, and it is no longer 'untranscribed' (at least the Sibel related bits.)
Daniel Ellsberg said that Dennis Hastert received suitcases of cash at his home from Turkish heroin money and that Hastert should be in jail, along with his friends.
He also says that people in the State Department, and in nuclear labs, are paid in 'cold cash' for secrets that are sold on the nuclear black market.
He also says that a Dem Congress "could be pressed into holding genuine investigations of the torture, of the corruption, getting rid of Hastert, and starting impeachment proceedings."
All errors are mine, some snippage, usual disclaimers, etc.
Kris Welch: I know you just met with Sibel Edmonds - what's the key thing about Sibel Edmonds' case?
Daniel Ellsberg: For several years, Sibel has been really hoping to get her case into a court, or into a hearing room in Congress. That's pretty well impossible with Republicans in charge of hearings - they won't hold any. She has told her story on a classified basis to several congressional venues, plus the 911 Commission - none of whom have done anything with it so far - it's too hot for them, essentially. You get a pretty good clue as to why the congressional people haven't pressed it in the article about her in the current Vanity Fair issue. Sibel is not yet in a position to tell all, but has been telling more and more.
Let me suggest two interviews with her that have come out since the VF article that go a good deal further than VF chose to print. VF did print ten pages and they got a lot but there was a lot that the reporter had, David Rose, that didn't get into the article, and a lot of that is in these two other interviews - both at antiwar.com, Chris Deliso and Scott Horton. In those interviews she finally reveals more of what she wished that VF had put out. Namely, if I can summarize it quickly, Al Qaeda, she's been saying to congress, according to these interviews, is financed 95% by drug money - drug traffic to which the US government shows a blind eye, has been ignoring, because it very heavily involves allies and assets of ours - such as Turkey, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Afghanistan - all the 'Stans - in a drug traffic where the opium originates in Afghanistan, is processed in Turkey, and delivered to Europe where it furnishes 96% of Europe's heroin, by Albanians, either in Albania or Kosovo - Albanian Muslims in Kosovo - basically the KLA, the Kosovo Liberation Army which we backed heavily in that episode at the end of the century.
It was known at the time that the KLA consisted largely of drug-dealers, and they still do. They're dominating the politics, pretty much, of Kosovo right now. Now, all of these people are, for various reasons, allies, or clients, of the US - and the fact that they get a large amount of their income from the heroin trade is something the US just regards as the price of doing business with them. That means that not only is the heroin coming into our markets where it furnishes, according to Sibel based on her FBI experience, some 14% of our heroin - up from 4% before the invasion of Afghanistan.
The major effect of that is that terrorist gangs are taking a cut of this, including Al Qaeda, which essentially taxes this traffic as it goes through the various lands where each 'band' pays a percentage as they hand it off. In other words, the US is in effect, endorsing - well, 'endorsing' is too strong a word - 'permitting', definitely permitting, or 'not acting against,' a heroin trade - which not only corrupts our cities and our city politics, AND our congress, as Sibel makes very specific - but is financing the terrorist organization that constitutes a genuine threat to us. And this seems to be a fact that is accepted by our top leaders, according to Sibel, for various geopolitical reasons, and for corrupt reasons as well. Sometimes things are simpler than they might appear - and they involve envelopes of cash. Sibel says that suitcases of cash have been delivered to the Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, at his home, near Chicago, from Turkish sources, knowing that a lot of that is drug money.
Now these are pretty inflammatory allegations, let's say, and it's note-worthy that they haven't even been picked up by the mainstream press. The Vanity Fair article made that plain, though not in as much detail as the antiwar.com interviews - but not one major newspaper I don't think has picked up her allegations against Hastert which are very specific, and one would think very important.
Kris Welch: Dennis Hastert's name is mentioned in the Vanity Fair article issue...
Daniel Ellsberg: Yes - but in another connection - namely that he sold a legislative move of removing from a vote a resolution that he had earlier backed, raising the price, of course, of removing it - condemning Turkish genocide of Armenians.
And for the first time, a legislative leader (Hastert) had backed such a resolution which meant that it went through the committee for the first time, and was headed for a vote - in order to help a Republican in Glendale, near Los Angeles, James Rogan, who had a large Armenian constituency. So all things were moving ahead, at last, after many years of them trying to do this, and at the last moment, Hastert removed it from the vote, removed it from the calendar - and according to the information claimed by Sibel, Turkish sources were claiming to have achieved this for a price of half a million dollars - paid to Hastert. Again, this would seem a story that... certainly the Armenians are picking it up, as they should.
Kris Welch: Well, and the Turks in Turkey are now attacking Sibel Edmonds
Daniel Ellsberg: Sibel is an 'enemy of Turkey' - she was a Turkish citizen, now an American, but she has some family in Turkey who are now threatened by this exposure. Her picture was on the front-page of every Turkish newspaper - denouncing her as a 'whore,' as a 'traitor' and a turncoat of various kinds and she's had many threatening letters, including death threats. So it's a very serious situation for her, and the contrast between the news in Turkey, and the silence in America about allegations about Dennis Hastert, the Speaker of the House, is quite a contrast.
Kris Welch: And, of course, she complains in the antiwar.com interviews that the VF article chose to focus on this Armenian story - which is not the story - and that's her problem. She says when the media does do anything about her story, they focus on 'oh - here's this poor whistleblower' instead of focusing on what the facts of her whistleblowing might be.
Daniel Ellsberg: Well, I think it's true that - as my friend and mentor Peter Dale Scott has said to me over the last 20 years or more - the American media maintain an almost unbroken silence on the connection between US policy and the drug trade, specifically the CIA and the drug trade. The silence is broken, typically, only to dismiss it, only to say 'No - there's nothing to this.' The 911 Commission, for instance, as Peter pointed out to me, went out of it's way simply to say that there was no connection between 911 and drug connections at all. Now, according to Sibel, that's absolutely wrong - that the connections through Turkey, in various ways, are very important.
Kris Welch: OK - and Sibel got this information because she applied for this after 911, wanting to do something real for her American patriotism - this is what she says she was motivated by...
Daniel Ellsberg: She is very patriotic...
Kris Welch: And these wiretaps that she translated went back to 1997... so she heard all these conversations, people bragging that they'd given this money
Daniel Ellsberg: Yes - these were people from the American Turkish Council - which is a quote 'lobbying group' - or as she has described it up till now, as a 'semi-legitimate organization'
Kris Welch: And Brent Scowcroft is on the board of directors?
Daniel Ellsberg: Yes. Brent Scowcroft is the head of board of directors - every member of the military industrial complex - Lockheed, Raytheon - everybody who does business with Turkey is a member of this group. That doesn't necessarily mean that they know... well, there's a great deal of arms trading...
Kris Welch: and that's where a lot of this money comes from too..
Daniel Ellsberg: and a lot of that is as legitimate as arms trading ever is - as merchants of death - but it's a legal trade, perhaps unfortunately - but aside from that, there's a great deal of dealing of information in illicit arms trades including, she says, nuclear information, from our nuclear weapons labs - for which cold cash is paid - to people in the labs, and to people, she says, to people in the State Department - who have essentially given 'OKs' for various trades, or have turned a blind eye - deliberately - to it. So there are messages in these wiretaps about people getting thousands of dollars - this is small potatoes - but in the State Department they come cheap apparently!
Kris Welch: As Sibel says, the State Department is the most corrupt element of our government
Daniel Ellsberg: Yes - and that's an amazing statement (laughs) when you consider the competition. I myself was amazed to hear that, and I told her that, because my sense of foreign service officers, and the State Department in general, was that they had many flaws, and many limitations, but I would have said that corruption was not part of that...
Kris Welch: And relatively speaking, they're "the good guys" with the recent foreign policy
Daniel Ellsberg: Well, it depends who's in charge. Under Powell, to a degree, they were sidelined, they had essentially no influence. But when they're 'good'...
Kris Welch: ...They're impotent
Daniel Ellsberg: Good children are meant to be seen not heard!
But Sibel said, very flatly, and she's extremely credible to me, she said 'That's just flatly wrong. People in the State Department take cash.' Now, since she's a person who has been checked out a good deal by some of the senators she's talked to - Senator Leahy, Senator Grassley, Republican, they have always said, repeatedly, that she's extremely credible. The FBI agents we've talked to have, in every respect that was raised, have confirmed her story - that she's a very credible witness. Representative Waxman, to whose staff she's spoken has said the same. So she is very credible. That's a fact. So when she says things like this, they do deserve to get picked up and followed up, and they are not being.
Kris Welch: Well, and her credibility might have something to do with the fact that she has been completely silenced, she says the most gagged person in history, by this very little used States Secrets privilege
[SNIP - for 20 minutes Ellsberg discusses martial law & the shredding of the constitution, 'the next 911, the Reichstag fire')
Daniel Ellsberg: It's very important to get the Republicans out before the next 911 - there's one process for doing that. I think the stuff that Sibel Edmonds is talking about - it's absolutely appropriate to get rid of Dennis Hastert, the Speaker of the House and put him in jail, actually, and to lose him his job, and some other people.
If people will press their congress representatives - and I suppose Armenian people are already doing this, because they were directly stabbed by Hastert on this point - but the whole country, of course, needs to be concerned about Dennis Hastert. I will believe Sibel on this - that he is guilty - well, let me put it this way, he's innocent till proven guilty. I believe he has earned the right to a fair trial - probably several fair trials! And I hope he really gets them - along with Rove - he's another person who seems to have earned the right to a fair trial, as have Scooter Libby and others.
That will hamstring the administration, but not get us out of Iraq. I would hope that the scandal the Republicans have earned in this, if it can be pursued, would get us what otherwise seemed impossible, a Democratic congress, a Democratic House which can impeach. The only way to impeach Bush is to get a Democratic House in 2006 - and just putting Democrats alone in, of course, doesn't get us out of Iraq. Putting John Kerry in, I don't think, would have got us out of Iraq. We definitely need a new bunch of Democrats in there - and new leaders. I'm very pleased to see Feingold, the one senator who had the guts to vote against the PATRIOT Act - just as Barbara Lee was the one person in congress to vote against the original delegation of power to the president after 911. One person in each case, like Cindy Sheehan, one person can start something - Feingold is my candidate right now to lead on this. But that's looking forward to 2008.
In 2006, we really do need to get Democrats because venal, and cowardly, and lazy, as they may be, they are people who could be pressed into holding genuine investigations of the torture, of the corruption, getting rid of Hastert, and starting impeachment proceedings. I think they're partisan enough to follow the voters and do what the voters want - and voters would say either 'Fire these guys, like Hastert, and the President, or we fire you' - and that, as they say on Capitol Hill, they may not see the light, but they'll feel the heat.