by Tom Burghardt

Revelations in The Sunday Times by former FBI translator and whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, that a covert network of nuclear proliferators and U.S. officials in league with "disgraced" Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan, the American Turkish Council (ATC) and neoconservative hawks embedded within the Pentagon and State Department, have been shunned by the American media.
Ms. Edmonds' intriguing tale of reckless criminality exposed a daisy-chain of corruption linking American militarists, corporate lobbyists and influence-peddlers to what Turks call derin devlet, the deep state, a confluence of ultranationalist generals, businessmen, heroin kingpins, violent neofascists and state-connected Islamist terror gangs, some of whom may have been involved in planning the 9/11 attacks.
On January 22, according to the Brussels-based information clearing house, Info-Turk, 33 members of the ultra-right Ergenekon syndicate, including two retired generals, were taken into custody. The suspects were charged with organizing a clandestine group preparing to launch a violent campaign they hoped would precipitate a coup d'etat against the center-right government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Ergenekon, a shadowy nationalist front with ideological ties to the Nazi-inspired National Action Party (MHP) and drug trafficking Grey Wolves, are opposed to European Union-linked neoliberal "reforms" and the AKP's tentative Islamist social policies.

Prosecutors alleged that the organization planned a bombing campaign and series of attacks aimed at assassinating prominent writers, journalists and Kurdish dissidents. The 2007 assassination of Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, the murder of two Italian priests, and three Protestant missionaries have already been sourced to Ergenekon. By the time the conspirators were run to ground the next phase of the plot was in motion: a wave of strategic violence meant to sow chaos and terror.

Cold War Origins

Turks who experienced first hand rightist attacks and massacres during the 1970s are well-aware such brutal assaults, in concert with Turkish army crackdowns aided and abetted by CIA "technical assistance," often paved the way for military takeovers such as those in 1971 and 1980.

Yet most Americans are oblivious to the fact that the origins of Turkey's deep state have their roots in U.S. Cold War policies. Once the Third Reich was crushed, the victorious allies "rehabilitated" extreme nationalists, racists and outright Nazis for use as intelligence assets and ideological shock troops for America's shadow war against the Soviet Union. The forerunners of Turkey's violence-prone rightist gangs and murder squads can be situated, precisely, within the milieu of Operation Gladio, a European-wide network of CIA-trained paramilitary groups licensed to block the left, at whatever cost, from coming to power.

In Turkey, CIA-trained militants known as "counter-guerrillas" were drawn almost exclusively from a viper's nest of ultranationalist political parties, most notably the National Action Party (MHP) of Alpaslan Turkes, an admirer of Adolph Hitler. Viewed by Washington as a bulwark against the "communist menace," Turkes' MHP and the Grey Wolves formed the core of NATO's "stay behind" army.

Repression-Fueled Drug Trade

The Turkish military has been a veritable cash cow for U.S. multinational defense firms. According to the Federation of American Scientists arms sales to the Turkish Republic have amounted to more than $10 billion dollars.

While sums like this buy a lot of "juice" in Washington, the Pentagon's substantial aid for Turkey's murderous generals has meant that the amelioration of desperate economic and social conditions borne by Turkish working people is gridlocked, though it significantly contributed to the growth of the international narcotics trade.
As Peter Dale Scott notes,

Within the US governmental bureaucracy itself, intelligence agencies and special warfare elements have recurringly exploited, trained and even protected drug traffickers and their corrupt political allies to facilitate these [Gladio] types of anti-Communist and anti-subversive operations. ("Washington and the Politics of Drugs," Variant, Issue 11, Summer 2000)

Writing in Le monde diplomatique, on the havoc these policies wrecked in Turkey, Kendal Nezan observes:

In a report published on 28 January 1997, the Turkish government's chief inspector described how, in the juridical no-man's land of Kurdish south-eastern Turkey, the army's "special war" units were not just killing with impunity, but had also become involved in protection rackets, blackmail, rape and drug trafficking. The report also describes how the Turkish government handed over the security of a huge area — around the towns of Siverek and Hilvan — to the private army of tribal chief Sedat Bucak, a member of parliament close to the former prime minister, Tansu Çiller, who thus acquired the power of life and death over the area's inhabitants.

This warlord politician was, incidentally, the sole survivor of a road accident in November 1996 near Susurluk on the road from Izmir to Istanbul. He had been travelling together with a chief of police and a well-known far-right Turkish mafia boss, Abdullah Çatli, who had been implicated in the attempted assassination of the Pope, was sought by Interpol for drug trafficking, and was wanted by the Turkish state for the murder of seven left-wing militants. ("Turkey's Pivotal Role in the International Drug Trade," Le monde diplomatique, July 1998)

Çatli, a notorious member of the Grey Wolves and a close associate of the Italian fascist gangster, Stefano Delle Chiaie, Gladio's reputed operational chief in Italy, had deep connections to Turkish heroin smuggling networks and their godfather, Huseyin Baybasin. These are not mere "historical" anecdotes. Writing in The Guardian, Ian Cobain reveals,

Huseyin Baybasin never made any secret of the sort of man he was, nor about the way he made his fortune. He would chat happily to criminologists about his control over the river of opium which flows from Afghanistan, crossing his extended family's lands around the small town of Lice in south-east Turkey before being processed as heroin for markets in the west. It is one of the least-developed areas of Turkey and the Baybasin clan is enormous, straddling several international borders, and feared: many of its male members have long criminal records. ("Feared Clan who Made Themselves at Home in Britain, The Guardian, March 26, 2006)

Despite a long record as a major heroin kingpin, or perhaps because of it, Baybasin and his clan were allowed to settle in Britain where they continued running their trafficking empire while serving as informants for both MI5 and Customs & Excise, the British government branch investigating A.Q. Khan's illicit nuclear black market. With active deep state connections, Baybasin told The Guardian,

...he had received the assistance of Turkish embassies and consulates while moving huge consignments of drugs around Europe, and that Turkish army officers serving with Nato in Belgium were also involved. "The government kept all doors open for us," he said. "We could do as we pleased."

And Sibel Edmonds, describing the symbiotic relationship among terrorist groups, mafia gangs and international drug trafficking syndicates writes:

For al-Qaeda's network, Turkey is a haven for its sources of funding. Turkish networks, along with Russia's, are the main players in these fields; they purchase the opium from Afghanistan and transport it through several Turkic speaking Central Asian states into Turkey, where the raw opium is processed into popular byproducts; then the network transports the final product into Western European and American markets via their partner networks in Albania. The networks' banking arrangements in Turkey, Cyprus and Dubai are used to launder and recycle the proceeds, and various Turkish companies in Turkey and Central Asia are used to make this possible and seem legitimate. The al-Qaeda network also uses Turkey to obtain and transfer arms to its Central Asian bases, including Chechnya. ... The Turkish government, MIT and the Turkish military, not only sanctions, but also actively participates in and oversees the narcotics activities and networks. ("The Hijacking of a Nation," Part 2, November 29, 2006)

Given the endemic levels of corruption intrinsic to the narcotics trade, and the multi-tiered, one might say byzantine, relationships amongst transnational mafia structures stretching across the Balkans, through South-Central Asia and the Middle East, it is reasonable to assume that Khan's nuclear smuggling ring made liberal use of these old-boy networks. With historic roots in the criminal Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), with documented linkages to Pakistan's nuclear program, atomic espionage, as with drug trafficking provides proof positive that crime pays. Nowhere is this more apparent than among procurement specialists at the Pentagon.

Spies Like Us
Melek Can Dickerson, a Turkish national employed by the FBI in its translation division, is married to U.S. Air Force Major Douglas Dickerson, formerly a military attaché in the Turkish capital of Ankara. As a weapons procurement specialist, Dickerson purchased arms for various Central Asian and Middle Eastern governments, including Turkey.
Melek Dickerson has been accused by Edmonds of mistranslating conversations relating to an FBI counterintelligence operation targeting members of the American Turkish Council, as well as corrupt Defense and State Department officials. Melek Can's translation work, as revealed by The Sunday Times, was a centerpiece of the Bureau's probe of the Turkish branch of the Khan nuclear black market, al-Qaeda and related drug trafficking syndicates.
Melek Can, a former ATC intern, maintained an on-going relationship with at least two of the surveillance targets; a fact she failed to disclose to Bureau superiors. Instead, she marked translations as "not pertinent" despite their significance to the FBI's nuclear espionage investigation. According to Vanity Fair the Dickersons' attempted to recruit Edmonds and her husband, Matthew, into the network:

Douglas asked if she and Matthew were involved with the local Turkish community, and whether they were members of two of its organized groups—the American-Turkish Council (ATC) and the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA). 'He said the ATC was a good organization to belong to,' Matthew says. 'It could help to ensure that we could retire early and live well, which was just what he and his wife planned to do. I said I was aware of the organization, but I thought you had to be in a relevant business in order to join. ... 'Then he pointed at Sibel and said, "All you have to do is tell them who you work for and what you do and you will get in very quickly".' (David Rose, "An Inconvenient Patriot," Vanity Fair, September 2005)

While Sibel Edmonds was fired by the Bureau for uncovering a serious security breech at the agency, the Dickersons were allowed to quietly leave the country. According to security analyst John Stanton,

In 2002, Dickerson and his spouse Melek Can left the country for Belgium and a quiet post with NATO after Edmonds' exposed them as Turkish operatives or, perhaps, US counterintelligence operatives. Dickerson and his wife's activities remain a mystery. According to various reports, they were once stationed in Ankara, Turkey in the 1990s, and had contact with Douglas Feith and Marc Grossman. ("Sibel Edmonds Vindicated? FBI Reveals Investigation Continues,", 24 October 2006)

And according to The Sunday Times, we now know that Marc Grossman may very well have been the State Department official who blew Valerie Plame's cover while taking down CIA front-company Brewster Jennings Associates during the CIA's parallel investigation of the Khan network.

Which brings us to the American Turkish Council's locus within the deep state.

Like AIPAC ... only on Steroids

The American Turkish Council was created in 1994 as the U.S. counterpart of the Turkish-U.S. Business Council (DEIK), described as a "bilateral business council" that aims to foster commercial relations between the United States and Turkey. Modeled after the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), ATC initially grew out of the "consolidation of the Turkish desk of the U.S. Chamber [of Commerce] with the American Friends of Turkey."

According to the ATC's website, the group describes itself as,

...dedicated to effectively strengthening U.S.-Turkish relations through the promotion of commercial, defense, technology, and cultural relations. Its diverse membership includes Fortune 500, U.S. and Turkish companies, multinationals, nonprofit organizations, and individuals with an interest in U.S.-Turkish relations. Guided by member interests, ATC strives to enhance the growing ties between the United States and Turkey by initiating and facilitating efforts to increase investment and trade between the two countries.

Quite an understatement to say the least!

According to its 2007 annual report, ATC board members include retired USAF Lt. General Brent Scowcroft, the board chairman and former national security adviser for George H. W. Bush; Executive Vice Chairman, George Perlman of Lockheed Martin; retired Ambassador John H. Holmes, ATC's President & CEO; John T. McAndrew of The Boeing Company; John R. Miller of Raytheon; Alan Colegrove of Northrop-Grumman Corporation; Richard K. Douglas of General Electric; retired U.S. Army M. General Elmer D. Pendleton, ATC's Senior Military Advisor; retired Turkish Vice Admiral Biren of Alarko Holding; Gregory Sauders of BP; Diana Sedney, Chevron; Ozer Baysal of Pfizer; Mitchell Haddad of Sikorsky Aircraft; and Selig A. Taubenblatt of Bechtel.

In other words, ATC's board is a veritable who's-who of the military-industrial-security complex!

"Juice" in Washington of course, isn't free and the American Turkish Council is no exception. The organization subdivides levels of influence according to a tried-and-true American method: cold hard cash: Golden Horn Members ($11,000 per year); Bosphorus Members ($4,000 per year); Marmara Members ($1,500 per year); Aegean Members (no fee listed).

But there's another side to ATC, one you won't find on their website. Retired USAF General Joseph W. Ralston, a member of both ATC's Advisory Board and the high-powered Washington lobbying firm, The Cohen Group, leveraged his position to obtain appointment as a Special Envoy countering "PKK terrorism." According to UK researcher Desmond Fernandes,

It seems reasonable to conclude that a new intensified phase of joint US-Turkey psychological warfare operations is under way. The US Embassy in Ankara, for instance, recently confirmed that General Joseph W Ralston (USAF, retired) had been appointed as Special Envoy for Countering the PKK with responsibility for coordinating US engagement with the governments of Turkey and Iraq to eliminate the PKK and other terrorist groups operating in northern Iraq and across the Turkey-Iraq border. "This appointment underscores the commitment of the United States to work with Turkey and Iraq to eliminate terrorism in all its forms"."¨"¨

If, as we are now informed, the Bush administration, in its wisdom, is committed to destroying the PKK additional questions arise. Will there be, as many Kurdish and human rights analysts contend, a resurgence of false flag operations? Will initiatives that seek to resolve the Kurdish question through military/paramilitary means, rather than through peaceful dialogue, be intensified? Will there be a resurgence of anti-terrorist abductions, disappearances, massacres, and torture sessions for Kurdish civilians, intellectuals, schoolchildren, students, journalists, politicians, lawyers and other perceived pro-Kurdish supporters in Turkey and northern Iraq? ("Turkey's US-backed War on Terror: A Cause for Concern?", Variant, Issue 27, Winter 2006)

We now have answers to Fernandes' rhetorical questions as January's take-down of Ergenekon coup plotters demonstrate. The appointment of ATC-linked General Ralston followed on the heels of Pentagon increasing "assistance" to the Turkish military via the U.S. International Military Training (IMET) courses conducted in 2001-2006. Congress has continued to approve IMET funding to the present day. Additionally, the Bush regime has approved Turkey as a recipient of the U.S. Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program in 2005, with current funding levels continuing apace.

One might reasonably ask: what role do ATC's high-powered advisors, coming from a host of U.S. multinational defense and security firms play in Washington's procurement largess, not to mention their role in squashing Sibel Edmonds' explosive revelations?

But we better move fast if answers are to be had. The Bush administration is seeking to legalize the secretive nuclear trade with Turkey. Perhaps because of on-going disclosures in The Sunday Times, Bush cronies would be handed retroactive immunity for their role in trading nuclear secrets for profit. January 22, ironically the same day the Ergenekon bust went down, the Bush Administration quietly announced that the president wants Congress to approve the sale of nuclear technology to Turkey.

According to the January 22 White House press release,

The Agreement was signed on July 26, 2000, and President Clinton approved and authorized execution and made the determinations required by section 123 b. of the Act (Presidential Determination 2000 26, 65 FR 44403 (July 18, 2000)). However, immediately after signature, U.S. agencies received information that called into question the conclusions that had been drawn in the required NPAS and the original classified annex, specifically, information implicating Turkish private entities in certain activities directly relating to nuclear proliferation. [emphasis added]

This, after all, is what lies at the heart of Sibel Edmonds' revelations that "private entities" were planting moles at U.S. nuclear installations, stealing deadly atomic secrets and then selling them to A.Q. Khan's proliferation network with hefty profits all around. Edmonds further avers that "several arms of the government were shielding what was going on" to protect neocon war criminals and Bush-Cheney corporate bag-men. After all is said and done, are these the debauched "state secrets" Sibel Edmonds is constrained from disclosing under threat of a prison term by the iniquitous Bush gang?

It seems clear, in order to get to the bottom of this black hole of corporate malfeasance and criminal complicity with Turkey's repressive generals and neofascist gangsters, the U.S. Congress needs to launch an investigation with subpoenas liberally delivered to all parties concerned, beginning with Brent Scowcroft and Marc Grossman.

But as in Ankara, Washington's derin devlet masters are impervious to quaint notions of public accountability.

RLCC Comment:

That was the entire post. I thought it important for people to read the whole thing. So many people just don't follow important links (not realizing what they're missing). They've been fed so much pablum and disinformation, how could they?

I've just started reading Tom Burghardt, so I don't yet know critical aspects about his political/religious views. Is he a militant? Is he an atheist? Does he pooh-pooh Jesus?

From what I've seen so far though, he sure can turn out well-linked articles in short order. This one struck me as particularly probing and revealing concerning the duplicity of the elites.

Frankly, morals haven't advance since the robber barons. They just had children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the much the same spirit. Many aren't even trying to hide it, obviously.

So much for so-called modernity.

Link to source-webpage, obtained via: Antifascist Calling..., February 13, 2008, 6:05pm

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  • Tom Usher

    About Tom Usher

    Employment: 2008 - present, website developer and writer. 2015 - present, insurance broker. Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration. Volunteerism: 2007 - present, president of the Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project.
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