Court won't let public hear what FBI whistleblower has to say

  1. http://www.villagevoice.com/news/051...1,63324,6.html

    The Silencing of Sibel Edmonds
    Court won't let public hear what FBI whistleblower has to say

    April 21st, 2005
    WASHINGTON, D.C.--The unsettling story of whistleblower Sibel Edmonds took another twist on Thursday, as the government continued its seemingly endless machinations to shut her up. The U.S. Court of Appeals here denied pleas to open the former FBI translator's First Amendment case to the public, a day after taking the extraordinary step of ordering a secret hearing.

    Edmonds was hired after 9-11 to help the woefully staffed FBI's translation department with documents and wiretaps in such languages as Farsi and Turkish. She soon cried foul, saying the agency's was far from acceptable and perhaps even dangerous to national security. She was fired in 2002.
    Ever since, the government has been trying to silence her, even classifying an interview she did with 60 Minutes.

    Edmonds, an American citizen, was born in Iran and grew up in Turkey. She speaks Farsi, Turkish, and other languages of central Asia. She was hired by the FBI in the hectic aftermath of 9-11 to translate various top-secret materials collected by the bureau from wire taps, surveillance reports, interviews with agents, etc.

    In that capacity she began observing the bureau's bizarre, even surreal practices, including such things as sending people to Guantanamo to translate statements by prisoners who spoke Farsi. Only trouble was the translators weren't speakers of Farsi, but were instead Kurds speaking a Turkish dialect. She stumbled across various mistranslations and interpreters who were not able to make accurate translations. Then she discovered someone was signing her initials to approve translations she never made. And she observed translations being doctored or blocked by the actions by one translator or another. She discovered one translator whose relative was working for an embassy which the FBI had under surveillance.

    When Edmonds protested to her supervisors, she has said, the ignored her or told her off, at one point calling her "a whore." Eventually she was fired by a supervisor who told Edmonds he'd look forward to meeting her again--in jail.
    Taking her protests to Congress, she won support from the leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who exchanged letters with the Justice Department's Inspector General's office, which said it was making an investigation. In the midst of all this, then attorney general John Ashcroft stepped in and threw down a gag order by invoking the arcane states secrets privilege, under which the government can classify whatever materials it wishes in the interests of national security. Last year, the Edmonds case was dismissed by a federal district court judge. The government had never even bothered to file an answer to her complaint.

    The case that was argued this morning concerned a complaint by Edmonds that the government was denying her First Amendment rights. Only after she was fired did Edmonds go to the Congress. She is saying she played by the rules and was squashed by the government without cause or explanation. And when she went outside the official channel to reveal what was going on within the bureau, the government responded by classifying her previous attempts to speak out, including press accounts written before the classification came down. One of them was a 60 Minutes segment.

    "The federal government is routinely retaliating against government employees who uncover weaknesses in our ability to prevent terrorist attacks or protect public safety," said Ann Beeson, associate legal director of the ACLU. "From firing whistleblowers to using special privileges to cover up mistakes, the government is taking extreme steps to shield itself from political embarrassment while gambling with our safety."
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  2. 5 Comments

  3. by   fab4fan
    Completely unsurprising, isn't it?
  4. by   Ted
    I'm disgusted. . . again.

    Our country really is going through its "Dark Ages" now. . .
  5. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Spacenurse, thank you for these "sentinel articles".....it's amazing what these slime are pulling right under our noses, isn't it?
  6. by   pickledpepperRN
    I went to six AM mass to 'get it over with' (family joke our pious Gramma used to say that). Now almost late for breaking bread, singing hymns, and praying across from the governors church and feeding my ALLNURSES addiction.
    Yes I am amazed that we have become used to the most horrible abuses of power.
    Here is one mans STRONG opinion:
    http://www.truthout.org/docs_2005/042305G.shtml

    Bush Lies, America Cries
    By Mark Morford
    The San Francisco Chronicle
    Friday 22 April 2005

    This just in: Global terrorism rates are higher than any time since 1985. Thanks, Dubya!
    Oh my God I feel so much safer. Don't you?

    I mean, don't you feel so much more secure in your all-American gun-totin' oil-happy lifestyle now that we have wasted upward of $300 billion worth of your child's future education budget, along with 1,600 disposable young American lives and over 20,000 innocent Iraqi lives and about 10,000 severed American limbs and untold wads of our spiritual and moral currency, all to protect America from terrorism that is, by every account, only getting worse? Nastier? More nebulous? More anti-American?

    Here's something funny, in a rip-your-patriotic-heart-out-and-spit-on-it sort of way: Just last week, BushCo's State Department decided to kill the publication of an annual report on international terrorism. Why? Well, because the government's top terrorism center concluded that there were more terrorist attacks in 2004 than in any year since 1985. Isn't that hilarious? Isn't that heartwarming? Your tax dollars at work, sweetheart.

    Lest you forget, this is what they do. They trim. They edit. They censor. BushCo kills what they do not like and fudges negative data where they see fit and completely rewrites whatever the hell they want, and that includes bogus WMD reports and CIA investigations and dire environmental studies and scientific proofs about everything from evolution to abortion and pollution and clean air, right along with miserable unemployment data and all manner of research pointing up the ill health of the nation, the spirit, the world.

    In other words, if BushCo doesn't like what comes out of their own hobbled agencies and their own funded studies, they do what any good dictatorship does: They annihilate it. Now that's good gummint!

    Let's be clear: The obliteration of the National Counterterrorism Center report merely goes to prove what so many of us already know - that BushCo's brutish and borderline traitorous actions since they leveraged 9/11 to blatantly screw the nation have done exactly nothing to stem the tide of terrorism - and, in fact, have, by most every measure, apparently increased the threat of terrorism. In other words, the world is a more dangerous place because of George W. Bush. Is that clear enough?

    Let's put it another way: Under Bush, in the past five years, the US has made zero new friends. But we have made a huge number of new and increasingly venomous enemies. And no, they don't hate us because of our malls, Dubya. They don't hate us because of our freedoms. They don't hate us because of our low-cut jeans and our moronic 8 mpg Ford Expeditions or our corrupt Diebold voting system that snuck you into office.

    They hate us, George, because of our policies. Anti-Muslim. Pro-Israel. Oil-uber-alles. Anti-UN Anti-Kyoto. Anti-planet. Pro-war. Pro-insularity. Pseudo-swagger. Bogus staged "town hall" meetings stocked with prescreened monosyllabic Bush sycophants. Ego. Empire.

    But here's the truly sad part, the hideous and depressing and soul-shredding part about all those young kids in the US military right now, all those mostly undereducated, lower-middle-class kids, most of whom aren't even old enough to buy beer and many of whom have barely had sex and many who got sucked into the military vortex in an honest attempt to help pay for a college education so they could go out and not find a decent job in this miserable economy. The sad part is all those kids in the military who've been trained/brainwashed to believe they are serving in Iraq to protect America's freedom, to protect us from, well, something dark, and sinister, and deadly. When in fact, they're not. Not even close.

    The truth is, we were never under threat from Iraq. There were never any WMDs, and Bush knew it. Our military is protecting nothing so much as our access to future stores of petroleum, nothing so much as helping set up a giant police station in Iraq to ensure surrounding nations don't get all uppity about just who controls the rights to those oil fields.

    So let's get honest and just ask it outright: Is this a worthy use of the massive bloated machine that is the US military? Of the largest and most advanced fighting force in the world? To protect the flow of oil to the most gluttonous and wasteful and least accountable developed nation on the planet? Is this worth so many young American lives?

    You already know the answer. Ask any oil exec. Any government economist. Any BushCo war hawk or auto manufacturer or the leaders of any major manufacturing industry. Ask the president himself. They all say the same thing: You're ******* right it is.

    Here, then, is the warped, convoluted irony: We went to war under the lie of a Saddam-fueled terrorism threat that never existed. We are at war, instead, to protect our oil and to establish regional control, an act that, in turn, has destabilized the Middle East even further and is actually inciting much of the very terrorism we were ostensibly there to battle in the first place, thus producing a level of anti-US hatred not even a (still alive and apparently very chipper) Osama bin Laden could have wet dreamed. Isn't democracy fun?

    We are not "spreading democracy" by invading Iraq. We are not giving a gift of a more peaceable Iraq to a grateful world. That is merely insidious Republican PR spin. Right now, the US military is, in short, protecting your right to a $3 gallon of gas, which will soon be $4 and then maybe $5 and $6 as we are running out of the stuff faster than anyone thought and the fight for that which remains will only turn uglier and more violent and so I have to ask again, do you feel safer?

    Because if you say yes, you are, quite simply, lying. Or delusional. Or you have had your brain edited by BushCo. Or those are some mighty powerful drugs you are obviously taking and you might wish to consider switching to aspirin and wine and Fleshbot.com.

    They say that violence is the last refuge of a desperate nation. And violence under the guise of secrecy and outright lie such as BushCo has foisted upon the nation is the last refuge of a nation of thugs. Yes, I'm looking at you, Rummy. I'm looking at you, Cheney. I'm not looking at you, Karl Rove, because looking at you makes my colon clench and looking at you makes birds die and looking at you makes small children feel hopeless and lost, like the world is full of black venomous hate and bilious condescension that is aimed squarely at their heads, like a gun.

    It's true. We are living in a nation run by over-privileged alcoholic frat boys and power-mad thugs. This much we know. This much we need to be reminded of, over and over again, until we finally wake up.

    Ah, but there is good news. There is always good news. The good news is, they are now confiscating all cigarette lighters at the airport. In the name of safety. In the name of homeland security. In the name of America, apple pie, babies, puppies, Jesus and guns. Lighters are now forbidden on all air travel. I mean, thank God. I feel safer already.
  7. by   SmilingBluEyes
    I am not used to it, spacenurse. I am continually disgusted. I have to sometimes TURN OFF the TV, radio, etc, just to "escape" from the stuff I hear our government is up to under the "wonderful leadership" we have today.

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