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January 15, 2008

Lawrence Of Cyberia On Sibel Edmonds

I haven't followed the Sibel Edmonds case at all, but Lawrence of Cyberia has some informed speculation that there's less there than meets the eye. I'd be very very interested to hear other opinions. On the one hand, I'd trust Ms. Lawrence's judgment in just about anything. On the other, as she says, she herself hasn't followed the case and is just extrapolating from her own experience as a super-sekret translator.

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at January 15, 2008 04:17 PM

What LoC doesn't mention, and to me is the most interesting part of the story, is the deafening silence from the US media and Congress and the unprecedented gag order placed on Edmonds. Until that is explained (don't hold your breath), I see no reason to give any credence to alternative explanations, including LoC's.

Posted by: Dick Durata at January 15, 2008 05:32 PM

Why not go on

a whole website about Sibel Edmonds to get a sense of who she might be.

Posted by: donescobar at January 15, 2008 06:35 PM

My opinion is uninformed, but my first thought was exactly that of Dick Durata above.

The government investigates any number of things. Why the reluctance in this case? Why the gag order?

Here are a few links, though I'd guess you're already familiar with them:

OT - Jonathan Schell has an interesting essay on nuclear policy in the Notebook section of the Jan issue of Harper's (not online unfortunately).

Posted by: Bruce F at January 15, 2008 07:56 PM

Until the material is translated, how would they know what needs to be compartmentalized?

That's a major problem with material in languages foreign to the reader: you don't know if what is inside them is too sensitive to trust to the translator.

And I speak as a translator, here.

It is entirely plausible that Ms. Edmonds was exposed to material that was very sensitive, tried to alert superiors, and was rebuffed - that's pretty much her story.

And anything that is named "in defense of Israel" should be scrutinized for hidden agendas, especially considering the fact that Israel considers American citizens to be their private financiers (how many billion dollars a year do we give them, again?)

Posted by: Shunra at January 15, 2008 09:01 PM

The benefit of MY doubts go to Sibel as I personally believe these CORRUPT BASTARDS would commit ANY crime.
OT: (or not) Call Pelosi @1-202-225-0100 and SAY SOMETHING.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at January 15, 2008 09:30 PM

I would recommend keeping in mind that Sibel Edmonds is the founder of the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition. So, I would say that likely either means that she is credible or that she is a very convincing storyteller, take your pick. But I do think it is a bit irresponsible for people who haven't researched Sibel Edmonds' story to attempt to discredit or dismiss what she has to say. All I can say is- do your homework first, if you want to have some credibility in terms of dismissing what she has to say.

Posted by: WeCanChangeTheWorld at January 16, 2008 12:26 AM

I had much the same reaction as most others here. The post in question is shot through with speculation and presumption extrapolated, Lawrence herself admits, from her experience with a different agency translating a different language and thus in, I think we can safely assume, a very different atmosphere.

Her argument comes down to the claim that Edmonds could not have had the security clearance and/or the seniority to have access to the materials to establish her (i.e., Edmonds') claims. But that ignores that fact that Edmonds was hired in the immediate wake of 9/11, when the FBI was desperate for more Arabic translators. So, contrary to Lawrence, it is not unreasonable to think that the FBI both fast-tracked her security clearance (without the system going "belly up") and gave her more access than would have happened under calmer circumstances.

This is not to say Edmonds' claims are accurate; I don't believe she is lying but yes, she could be mistaken. Still, the bottom line here is that Lawrence has not made a credible case against her.

Posted by: LarryE at January 16, 2008 02:50 AM

She's rather hot.

I'd listen to her all day for that alone, pal.

Posted by: En Ming Hee at January 16, 2008 08:11 AM

I agree with the majority of the previous posters. It seems clear to me that Lawrence of Cyberia is effectively a participant, possibly unintentionally, in the dysinformation campaign against Edmonds.

There's a proverb - "More harm is accidentally done by well-intentioned fools than intentionally done by the wicked" - it may or may not be true, but if Jonathan thinks that Lawrence of Cyberia is well-intentioned, he may be correct. There are, however, layers of good intentions. As it is sometimes necessary to slaughter whole henhouses in order to serve delicious fried chicken to the multitudes, acts that might be construed as crimes in a literal sense can be understood by their authors as yellow bricks paving the Road to Utopia when seen as part of the Big Picture (metaphorically speaking).

If there were fair trials for treason and war crimes, many well-known officials whom I do not name here would face severe consequences. And yet they may believe that what they did was for a Greater Good.

From my own cramped perspective, I am convinced that the mind-blowing size of the 9/11 crime is clearly pointed to by just a couple of the facts that are in plain sight:

1)An investigative commission was opposed by the Cheney Administration for months.

2)When they could no longer prevent this, their first choice for chairman was Henry Kissinger.

3)The final report, when it came out, reminds one of the Warren Report on JFK's assassination in terms of comprehensiveness, insightfulness, and responsiveness to the concerns of determined independent investigators.

'Nuff said.

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. at January 16, 2008 10:03 AM

It's possible she stumbled on an existing intel-counterintel operation, and started making noise, drawing attention to it that was unwanted.

I seriously doubt that she was summarily disregarded in her findings. Otherwise we'd have to assume that the trilaterals run the country, and we know that they don't. The people run this country. Yeah baby, democracy rulez! :-)

I agree that she probably ran into something, but misinterpreted it, lacking full picture.

Posted by: Ted at January 16, 2008 10:11 AM

Larisa Alexandrovna has been investigating this and has parallel sources for much of what Edmonds knows (though since she's pretty much forbidden from discussing this it's much like feeling one's way around a dark room).

However, over the years there have been plenty of books on the subject of spreading nuclear technology, etc., through the Middle East. The recent book PRELUDE TO TERROR goes into it.

Posted by: Bob In Pacifica at January 16, 2008 11:58 AM

speaking of being well-intentioned, it seems to me that cracks is SE's story may just as likely be attributable to her having been fed disinformation, so that she might become regarded as a chicken little, just another conspiratorially-minded figure, part of the background noise of society.

Ummm, chicken. I love delicious chicken. one of my weaknesses. Guess I agree with mister charley and mister hee.

Posted by: grimby thinglerucks at January 16, 2008 02:22 PM

My problem with Ms. Edmonds is that she keeps saying she will 'blow the lid' off of all this but only under certain conditions. Those include airtime rules, "I'm only going to do it once ..", stuff like that.

So while I have a ton of desire to beleive her, It's hard to beleive that she really means well if she hasn't spilled everything to someone, somewhere. A good lawyer will have told her by now that classification cannot be used to cover up a crime.

She claims to have evidence of a very serious international crime and she is sitting on it until a major network picks it up?

Posted by: Dilapidus at January 17, 2008 02:49 PM


How can we know if there are cracks in Edmonds' story? She's not allowed to tell her story. We've only seen bits and pieces of it.

Posted by: Bob In Pacifica at January 17, 2008 05:34 PM


How can we know if there are cracks in Edmonds' story? She's not allowed to tell her story. We've only seen bits and pieces of it.

Posted by: Bob In Pacifica at January 17, 2008 05:34 PM

"A good lawyer will have told her by now that classification cannot be used to cover up a crime."

The point with this case is that she can't even get into court to argue her case because of the State Secrets gag order (fun fact: even her date of birth is officially a state secret). The last time she went to court, she was unceremoniously dismissed without explanation. So where is this 'good lawyer' going to take her case as things stand? Classification CAN cover up a crime because classification can prevent a crime from being investigated or brought to court. Her only real option at the moment is to have a congressional hearing on her case which would have the authority to open the wiretap transcripts she claims to have read. And this is the focus of her campaign.

I won't speculate on the reasons why people are so eager to dismiss Sibel Edmonds as unreliable before she is allowed to tell her story properly, but the fact that it is done in complete ignorance of the facts of the case is becoming tiresome.

Posted by: kenoma at January 17, 2008 11:58 PM