BREAKING NEWS


Testimony Subpoenaed in Turkish Lobby & Congressional Campaign Case

Last week I received a request to provide my sworn deposition and affidavit testimony in a case pending before the Ohio Elections Commission; Schmidt v. Krikorian.

Here are a few excerpts by politico on the case:

    “Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio), a two-term congresswoman, has filed a formal complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission contending that David Krikorian, who ran against her in 2008 as an independent but is challenging her again in 2010 as a Democrat, slandered her in the closing weeks of last year’s campaign. At issue is a hard-hitting flier Krikorian distributed, accusing Schmidt of taking campaign cash — “blood money,” as he declared in the leaflet — from Turkish interests in exchange for her opposition to recognizing the World War I-era deaths of 1.5 million Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman government in Turkey.”

    ”Schmidt, for her part, has become something of a hero to the Turkish-American community. The co-chairwoman of the Congressional Turkish Caucus, Schmidt has taken more than $10,000 from the Turkish Coalition USA Political Action Committee over the past several years — making it one of her top campaign contributors. The Turkish Coalition of America, an organization that opposes genocide recognition, sponsored a Schmidt trip to Turkey over the Memorial Day recess which cost more than $10,000, according to LegiStorm, a congressional watchdog website.”

    ”Krikorian — who has regularly blasted Schmidt on a host of other issues — argues that with that stream of funding, Schmidt has become beholden to a Turkish lobby that now views Schmidt as one of its top champions in Congress. “It looks like Turkish interests have focused in on a particular representative,” said Krikorian. “They’ve found a taker in Rep. Schmidt.””

On Monday, August 3, I submitted my sealed unsigned declaration to the Attorney General’s Office at the Department of Justice. The government was given until the end of the day to respond, however, we received no response. My attorneys then gave the government another chance to respond, requesting their response in writing by noon today. Again, we received no official response. Later, DOJ attorneys asserted that the Attorney General’s Office at the Justice Department had either lost or could not locate the confidential sealed affidavit and the accompanying letter!!!

After the second deadline expired I provided my signed declaration to the attorneys for Mr. Krikorian. They are also subpoenaing my deposition, which is scheduled to take place on Saturday, August 8, at 10:30 a.m., in Washington DC.

My sworn declaration includes information in the following areas:

    How certain Turkish entities had illegally infiltrated and influenced various U.S. government agencies and officials, including but not limited to the Department of State, the Department of Defense and individual members of the United States Congress.

    How certain Turkish American cultural and business lobby groups conduct their illegal operations with direct and indirect support from the foreign governments.

Here is the press release by my attorneys’, Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEAugust 4, 20094:08 PM
CONTACT: National Whistleblowers Center [1]Stephen M. Kohn (202) 342-6980Lindsey M. Williams (202) 342-1903

    Sibel Edmonds Requests Attorney General Review the Invocation of State Secrets Privilege

    Edmonds to Testify in Ohio Case Unless Attorney General Re-Invokes the Privilege

WASHINGTON - August 4 - Attorneys for FBI whistleblower Sibel D. Edmonds have requested that Attorney General Holder review the state secrets privilege invoked in her case and reverse the decision made under former President Bush. A copy of the letter can be found here
[2].
Ms. Edmonds was illegally fired from the FBI due to her protected disclosures. An independent investigation by the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General confirmed the serious misconduct committed by the FBI and the illegality of her termination. On or about October 18, 2002 the previous administration invoked the state secrets privilege in order to have Ms. Edmonds's whistleblower/First Amendment claims dismissed and to protect the government from embarrassment.

Ms. Edmonds has now been requested to provide sworn deposition and affidavit testimony in a case pending before the Ohio Elections Commission in the Schmidt v. Krikorian [3] case. This case raises nationally significant issues of electoral fraud and violation of law. The state secrets privilege has stifled Ms. Edmonds for the past seven years, and this deposition will be the first time that she will put her knowledge on the record.

Given the pendency of this case and the request for her testimony, the National Whistleblowers Legal Defense and Education Fund requested that the Attorney General immediately and independently review the basis upon which that privilege was initially invoked, and formally and in writing withdraw that privilege. At the time of this release, two separate deadlines for the Department of Justice to respond to the attorney's letter had passed, and consequently the deposition has been scheduled for Saturday. Although a request was hand delivered to the Department of Justice, the Attorney General's office informed counsel that they were having difficulty locating it. According to Stephen M. Kohn, the Executive Director of the National Whistleblowers Center and one of Ms. Edmonds's attorneys, "The Obama administration must take a fresh look at how the state secrets privilege was improperly used to hide government misconduct from the public view. The Edmonds case was the first case the 'privilege' was invoked, and it must be the first case the 'privilege' is revoked. The government's misguided attempt to cover up wrongdoing by abusing the state secrets privilege to bully a whistleblower must end. Ms. Edmonds has been requested to provide testimony in court. She will do so unless the government again invokes the privilege to quash her First Amendment rights."

Ms. Edmonds's deposition is scheduled for Saturday, August 8, 2009, at 10:30am. It will be held at the National Whistleblowers Center at 3238 P. St. NW, Washington, DC. The event is open to the press.
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Comments

  1. Katabasis says:

    Good luck Sibel.

  2. Kingfisher says:

    "The long-standing controversy surrounding the congressional Armenian genocide resolution has found a unique and unlikely new battleground: a Cincinnati-area district that is home to almost no Armenians or Turks."

    Cincinnati does have a very large Jewish population though; I'll go out on a limb and guess they is a large Israel lobby there too. This is part of the story that Politico has left out.

  3. Go, Sibel, you GO, girl friend!

  4. Go, go Sibel! Time for the new administration to show their real intent. It would seem you have them between the proverbial rock and hard place. Safe journey!

    Dennis

  5. Anonymous says:

    Go Sibel!

  6. Good luck to you, Ms. Edmonds. I just posted your press release in the comments section of the Politico.com article. I'm wondering what sort of comments we'll see now.

  7. Metemneurosis says:

    Sibel I'm going to assume this only releases you from state's secrets with regard to your testimony in this case and not altogether. I'd think if it was altogether there would have been more panic and a definite response. Am I wrong here? Either way congrats; a small victory. I hope it's the first of many.

  8. Anonymous says:

    CQ Jeff Stein just published the following on the case:
    http://blogs.cqpolitics.com/spytalk/2009/08/exfbi-translator-tests-justice.html

  9. this sounds like a small version of the strangle hold that the israeli lobby has on most of congress. never a negative word against israel's genocide against palestinians. we find proof of white phosphorous being used in dense civilian population centers. we have israeli soldiers confessing to using them as human shields. shooting old women without cause. i wish we had a sybel to break open all of these eggs.

  10. Kingfisher says:

    @Shelley,

    The Israel lobby is connected to this issue in its link to the Turkish lobby, and its lobbying against the Armenian Genocide Resolutions. Turkey and Israel are strategic partners and the Turkish lobby is modeled after Israel's.

    That said, I'm against the Genocide Resolution in that it is strategically bad for, and counter to the national interest. Further, I believe that the US should not be meddling in such matters.

  11. Edit_Mommies says:

    dang.

  12. Metemneurosis says:

    I have to disagree Kingfisher. I think the benefits of saying things that are true are sorely and routinely underestimated in the context of foreign policy. The fetish of being 'realistic' tempts everyone into thinking they know better than to be moral. But in general being moral is exactly about learning to live together, which is a good thing in foreign policy. And the kind of realism needed is the kind that realizes that sacrificing a bit of your pride (in this case Turkey's) can be in your best interest in the long run.

  13. Well, doing a search on: Mean Jean Wulsin AIDS (because Schmidt had slandered her democratic opponent in the same race with accusations of conducting perverse AIDS experiments), I came across this item that might be pertinent to the case at hand…

    Mean Jean Took More $$ From Hastert than Any Other House Member

    …considering that Hastert is in your State Secrets Privilege Gallery & he currently works for the Turkish lobby!

  14. Sibel Edmonds says:

    Quick Note: As far as we know we are still scheduled for the deposition this Saturday morning…I'll update you.

    Metemneurosis: Correct. I will be answering their questions, under oath. DOJ may have an attorney present during the deposition in order to object….We'll see how it goes. The session will be open to reporters…

  15. Go Sibel! Fingers crossed, as always. Wish I could be there.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Good Luck Sibel and thank you for your perserverance. You are a true hero and patriot.

  17. Sibel Edmonds says:
  18. Kingfisher says:

    @Metemneurosis,

    A shrewd diplomatic operator from South Asia once told me “everything I’ve learned about diplomacy and international relations my ex-girlfriends have taught me.” The lesson being that interpersonal relationship dynamics parallel international relations. The Armenian Genocide Resolution is akin to answering ‘Yes’ to when your girlfriend asks “Does this dress make me look fat?”

    Personally, I hold a big premium on the truth, and often tactlessly will point out inconvenient truths. I would be remiss if were to say that in the past this has not had a detrimental effect on relationships with family, at work, and in my personal life.

    For years I held that that telling the naked truth was the morally right thing to do, until I found that it was alienating and isolating me from friends, family and co-workers. What I was doing was not conductive to learning to live together; it was my self-righteousness running roughshod over the sensibilities of others.

    Turkey is a tribal society where pride and honor are put at a premium, beyond anything most Americans can fathom. Such a flagrant stick in the eye as the Genocide Resolution is neither diplomatic nor conductive to learning to live with each other.

    Best,
    KF

  19. Kingfisher says:

    @Sibel,
    So absent any DOJ action the affidavit will be released Saturday? Can you have the defense provide a transcript of the deposition?

  20. @Kingfisher: The denial of genocide is not conductive to living with each other either.

    And the issue in the Krikorian case is not so much the denial of genocide as it is the purchase of Congress vermin by the Ankara regime.

  21. Kingfisher says:

    @Mizgin:
    I’ll be honest, “learning to live together” is not a principle concern for me, it was more an appeal to Metemneurosis’ values. Unfortunately we are a tribal species. The Armenian Genocide Resolution is a case of two tribes squabbling; it has less to do with addressing any historical grievance then with one tribe trying stick the other in the eye. My tribe (USA) should try to stay away from foreign eye-sticking fights as much as possible, and the best way to do this is seeking to align the interests of both tribes with ours.

    The Krikorian case has very much to do with genocide denial. The Turks purchase these Congress in part because of these emotional eye-sticking fights, and so do the Armenians. Why is Krikorian making this such an issue? There are no Armenians in Cincinnati. Do you think your average worker in Ohio who has had his job shipped overseas gives a crap about the Armenian Genocide?

  22. Metemneurosis says:

    @Kingfisher
    As much as I'd prefer not to admit this I had a couple of drinks last night before I wrote that last comment and as a result it sounds a bit more high-minded and preachy than I'd prefer.

    It's not so much that I disagree with it as it is that it's just worded badly and misleadingly so I'd have to make long pretentious digressions to explain what I meant to say. So let's pretend I didn't say that.

    Mainly I just think that it's somewhat well known, even in Turkey, that many of our senators have taken bribes to deny the Armenian genocide and it would just be better if we went ahead and acknowledged that it happened now. I don't really care so much about the official genocide resolution.

    I'm sure it would piss the Turks off, but I think they'd get over it. They got over us freeing up the Kurdish north of Iraq and I'd think that was a bigger thumb in the eye.

  23. Kingfisher says:

    @Metemneurosis,
    You mean acknowledge that people in government took bribes or acknowledge the genocide via the resolution?

    I agree if someone personally took bribes it should be exposed and they should be charged. But I still don’t support the resolution.

    If someone is a shill for a foreign lobby but everything is legal within current laws, I won’t like it but it’s something I’ll deal with; more a grey area.

    If Schmidt is legally a shill for the Turkish lobby, Krikorian should market his attack on her as her being a puppet of foreign interests, rather then dragging his own special interest into it (the Armenian Genocide). The foreign interest argument is not going to go over well in his district though.

    "They got over us freeing up the Kurdish north of Iraq and I'd think that was a bigger thumb in the eye."

    Too early to tell.

  24. My dear Sibel, I have followed your story so closely that I feel I know you. This is a happy turn of events for you and all of us. I will keep my fingers crossed and pray to the courtroom gods. Goodonya Sibel and right on.

  25. Edit_Mommies says:

    I asked my ex?…history teacher "If now that genocide has completed, if it is a suitable bargaining chip for future hegemonic threat?"

    …and his reply was "No".

  26. Metemneurosis says:

    @Kingfisher

    I meant that should acknowledge the genocide. But I also agree that anyone who took bribes should be exposed. I don't particularly care if they pass the genocide resolution I just think we should acknowledge that it happened. If not by the resolution then just by some officials using the term genocide when they have reason to refer to it in some context. Simple as that.

    Just out of curiosity though when you say it's too early to tell with Turkey what, if anything, do you think we should fear the Turks might do if we piss them off?

    Oh, by the way the name Krikorian sounds Armenian to me so maybe it's a personal issue for him.

  27. Kingfisher says:

    "Just out of curiosity though when you say it's too early to tell with Turkey what, if anything, do you think we should fear the Turks might do if we piss them off?"

    Worst case scenario is the strategic alignment of Turkey with Russia; which was the godfather of Geopolitics Sir Halford Mackinder's worst nightmare.

  28. Metemneurosis says:

    I guess I was thinking things like Gulen's schools and the fact that other terrorists in Ingushetia and Dagastan probably have ties in Turkey would be a problem there. But now that I think about it why should they be? If it's ultimately in Turkey's interest they can either change the mission or just abandon them to their fate as we arguably did with a lot of our pawns in Afghanistan.

  29. Roger Thorpe says:

    Kingfisher –

    The Armenian Genocide resolution, H. Res. 252, has nothing to do with modern day Turkey. If you read the text of the resolution, you will see that it clearly lays out the historical facts of how the Ottoman Empire massacred 1.5 million Armenians between 1915 and 1923. It doesn't ask Turkey to do anything – no land, no money, no apology – it doesn't even MENTION Turkey in the resolution. That's why I am shocked that Turks think "it's a stab in the back" of that country. READ THE RESOLUTION.

    Why can't Turkey just admit it and get over it? Germany openly acknowledges that it was Nazi Germany that committed the Holocaust. Turkey should do the same by admitting that it was the Ottoman Empire that committed the genocide.

    The resolution merely states the facts of the genocide and discusses the American response to it. Up until that time, it was the largest humanitarian effort undertaken by the United States anywhere in the world. Over 115 million dollars was raised through the Near East Relief – the equivalent of billions today – from average Americans who wanted to help the "starving Armenians" and refugees who were able to flee.

    This resolution should not be controversial. The House of Representatives passes similar resolutions about other atrocities all the time. It's time for our government to mark this tragic event for what it was – genocide.

  30. Kingfisher says:

    @RT,
    Why can’t the Turks get over it? I don’t know, probably because they see it as an eye-sticking fight. Maybe the resolution shouldn’t be controversial, but the fact remains it is. I’m not dealing in how it should be, just how it is.

    Best,
    KF

  31. Anonymous says:

    @Kingfisher:

    Collusion in Ankara's genocide denial strengthens the very people who are trying to silence Sibel.

    And not only Sibel. Think of journalists like Hrant Dink, scholars like Taner Akcam, writers like Orhan Pamuk, all of them on Ergenekon's hit list. Dink was assassinated in 2007.

    Ergenekon, the Turkish "deep state," is today's version of the party that committed the genocide. Yesterday the Armenians, today the Kurds.

    And not only in Turkey. Just recently the ATAA attempted to force Armenian Genocide denial into the Massachusetts public school curriculum. Today the Armenian Genocide, tomorrow the Holocaust.

    Perhaps none of this matters to you. But that's how it is.

  32. Cascadiance says:

    On the genocide resolution…

    I personally don't like to see us as a country "take sides" in a battle that really isn't our own, especially if the methodology is "which side pays me more to do what they want", which seems to be the MO of our government now, without adequate public campaign financing laws in place, as well as a corrupt media that profits from and supports this bribery structure we have. This bribery system extends to the military industrial complex that Eisenhower warned us about, which probably profits the most from the countries of Turkey and Israel, which is facilitated by the likes of Brent Scowcroft, who works in key positions in both the ATC and AIPAC lobby groups, and who as a board member of Qualcomm, got Carol Lam hired away to Qualcomm instead of returning to government to continue her efforts to prosecute the corruption cases she was working on as the U.S. Attorney in San Diego, that Rahm Emannuel and other Democrats had wanted her to do.

    With our current setup and people not trying to look at the true merits, details, and net effects of voting one way or another on such resolutions, the whole point of us trying to be a "moral leader" by doing such resolutions in effect becomes meaningless, since the process is so corrupt, that money has more to do with what is being said than any thoughtful dialogue and deliberation etc. over the details of history that is of issue there. All taking sides with the side with most money and influence does, whether they are right or wrong, just fuels the tensions more instead of trying to create some resolution that both sides can eventually accept.

    Palestinians don't have near the money behind them to counter the Israeli lobbies and issue similar genocide resolutions, which they are probably more entitled to in many respects for current day issues than the Armenians are, though I think Armenians and Kurds and other ethnic minorities all deserve to be heard and work for a future where they and other minorities aren't robbed of their freedoms and brutalized too.

    We also try hard to not ignite a bigger mess by taking sides between Pakistan and India too. The stakes are too high there as well.

    Personally I believe we should try to help being an honest broker between two conflicting parties such as these but first we need to fix our system to get the money out of it, and show the corruption where it is and get rid of it. Once we can get a big part of the corruption dealt with, perhaps our government can return to doing governance, and get back more of the respect it's lost so much over recent years. Then resolutions like the genocide resolution, or some variation of it that addresses the concerns of both sides, will be respected more as an honest third party assessment and acknowledgment of history and perhaps a broker for a better future for everyone. I believe that us prioritizing "the truth" and correcting our processes is what Sibel is about, not taking sides whether one side has a legitimate beef or not, and that's why I'm behind her 100%! I hope she's allowed to take that first step forward this weekend!

  33. Peaceful Warrior says:

    Sibel,
    Your bravery is contagious and inspiring. I live near DC. I assume you have taken adequate measures to ensure your safety. If you would like to add an extra layer, this on vacation teacher is hereby volunteering his services as pro bono bodygaurd from the moment you DRIVE into town.

    Not a lot of weapons or ju-jitsu training but would be honored to take a bullet to keep you speaking out. There are not many reasons to be optimistic lately but the multiple bombshells you hold ready to drop on the monster of corruption that has us by the jugular is one.

    Where people like Doug Feith, Richard Perle and Larry Franklin are endangered, Cheney's "secret" boy scout troop is surely close by, perhaps planning a repeat of Benazir.

    You have been my hero for 6 years. It seems like you are family. I feel very strongly about helping you stay safe.

    John O.

  34. Peaceful Warrior says:

    Now I see on Brad that it will no longer be open to the press.

    He quotes you as saying you have seen many "last minute interventions" by the DoJ to squash members of NSWBC.

    Maybe closing it to press will give Holder cover to let you proceed.

    Hope so. If your security detail is open to accepting help from volunteers, please let me know how I may contact them. John O.

  35. WildBill says:

    hang in there Mrs. Edmonds!

  36. Cap Matifou says:

    Greatest Respect

  37. Kingfisher says:

    @Anonymous,

    Your assertion that I am colluding in Ankara’s genocide denial is misguided, and a very binary view on the matter. This is not my tribe’s eye-sticking fight; it is the eye-sticking fight of two other tribes! I resent both tribes for dragging this baggage onto our shores.

    "Today the Armenian Genocide, tomorrow the Holocaust."

    This is shameless scaremongering, or Hitler-mongering…or Ahmedinejad-mongering. Besides, guess what lobby is one of the biggest forces AGAINST the Armenian genocide resolution? I’ll give you a hint: it starts with an ‘I’ and ends in a ‘srael Lobby’.

  38. @Kingfisher: From what I hear, there are no Turks in Schmidt's congressional district either so what does she have to worry about if she's clean?

    That's funny, that bit about the US and "foreign eye-sticking fights". But then, the recent American military occupations in the Middle East and Central Asia aren't so much the "eye-sticking" kinds of fights, are they? Nor do they reflect a "learning to live together" set of values.

    They're more the "blow up as many civilians as you possibly can" kind of fights.

    Ah, the American way!

    But it's nice to know that you wholeheartedly support Turkish efforts to purchase your congressional whores.

  39. Kingfisher says:

    @Mizgîn:
    Where did say that I support Turkish efforts to purchase my congressional whores? Indeed, I explicitly said:

    "I agree if someone personally took bribes it should be exposed and they should be charged. But I still don’t support the resolution.

    If someone is a shill for a foreign lobby but everything is legal within current laws, I won’t like it but it’s something I’ll deal with; more a grey area."

    What part don’t you understand?

    How is your tangent about recent US military intervention in the Middle East and Central Asia related to a clash of ethnic lobbies over US Congressional Resolution? You lost me.

  40. Sibel

    Beginnings can be beautiful. I hope this works out for you and us.

  41. Good luck, Sibel.

    Many thoughts and prayers go with you.

  42. Sibel Edmonds says:

    Thank you bh…new developments this evening. Will be posted (documents) by BradBlog shortly.

  43. Oneismany says:

    I hope you are safe today!

    And I hope they do not block you!

    PS: Have your bodyguards carry phone cams with them! 🙂

  44. heisenberg says:

    BradBlog is live blogging the deposition, Saturday:

    http://www.bradblog.com/?p=7347

    See also:

    http://www.bradblog.com/?p=7345

  45. Anonymous says:

    Interestingly cnn covered the Sotomayor swearing in at 10:30am Eastern time. Then they went on to interview William Cohen!!!! I am getting this story out to persons in Maine(Cohens home state) because he was part of a group that recently purchased a Newspaper Chain there, so MSM will ignore this story. Recipients include active and retired law enforcement in Maine and Canada. Good job Sibel and kudos to Brad!

  46. Anonymous says:

    Hi Sibel,

    I have thought of you often since reading about you in Vanity Fair several years ago. I had lost track of your story until stumbling across a bradblog link yesterday.
    I started reading the deposition post and realized I have a tremendous amount of catching up to do.

    I wish you the best of luck with your story and search for justice. This is a story that every American regardless of political party should hear loudly.

    Please be safe and know you have my utter respect and confidence in you.
    Katie

  47. Hannah K. O'Luthon says:

    Thanks to Sibel and all who have made this comment thread so engrossing. The question of the Armenenian genocide, certainly a major tragedy in itself, seems directly relevant to the American electorate only insofar as it was the instance for what is very likely criminal corruption of members of the U.S. congress and executive branches. One assumes that there are many other such instances, but that we lack the analogue of Sibel's almost miraculous and damning testimony in these other cases. At bottom, what is at stake here is the question of whether something other than blackmail and bribery are truly at the heart of the American political system as it functions today. No one old enough to vote can be so naive as to expect a perfectly functioning government of, by, and for the people. Nevertheless, there are still idealists and patriots who believe that a thorough and radical reform of current practice is both possible and necessary to restore the basic funtioning of American democracy.
    The Armenian genocide resolution is "small potatoes" compared to such issues as war in Iraq and Afghanistan, health-care reform, and economic rescue packages for troubled plutocrats, all of which undoubtedly involve both the carrots of bribery and the stick of blackmail in dealing with elected officials and government regulators.
    Although terminological creativity is
    needed to avoid calling bribery and blackmail spades by their correct names, such niceties are dutifully provided by the media auxiliaries of the great corruptors.
    Thanks again to Sibel, and all those who are assisting her.

  48. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

    Margaret

    http://grantsforeducation.info

  49. Edit_Mommies says:

    Up up in Atom. The preceding from the Deposition.

  50. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

    Margaret

    http://grantsforeducation.info

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