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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Sibel Edmons - Classified Woman

Sibel Edmons is the author of the book Classified Woman.  In it she exposes corruption at the highest levels and deep breaches of National Security in the USA.  Let me give you a brief summary of her life.

She was brought up in Turkey and in Iran where her father was a doctor and a freedom fighter.  She is fluent in Turkish and very competent in Farsi.  She immigrated by herself to America and did her degree at an American University.  She is very competent in English.  At one point, after 9/11 she was approached by the FBI to join their translation department.  She did and was soon in great demand by field agents.  Because of her deep knowledge of her homeland, she could not only translate verbal and written material but could give the agents the likely background of the people that were being targeted.

On joining the FBI she at first thought that translating would be a mundane sort of a job with very little responsibility.  She soon discovered otherwise.  Since only the translator could give an initial evaluation of the material that they were reading or listening to, it was at their discretion to mark a document as not worth translating, worthy of a brief summary or of great importance and to be translated verbatum.

At first she found only the usual abuses that occur in a typical bureaucracy.  There was empire building to the detrement of the core function of the translation department, great wastes of money, extremely sloppy security, in-house wars between translators on opposite sides of the fence in their home countries (Israelie vs Arab translators, for instance) and in short, what you would probably find in any Washington government office.  When she first started, she was told to look at a few past translations to get an idea of how the job was done.  She soon discovered highly incompetent translations and even cover ups by translators that should have been brought to the attention of the agents in charge of various operations.  The files in question were quickly taken from her by other translators and 'dissapeared'.

Following 9/11, the FBI was going over past translation to see if in hindsight, any clues were overlooked that 9/11 was about to happen.  There were but Sibel found out that hindsight was not even necessary.  Briefings had been sent up the chain before 9/11 and should have reached the periodic briefing to the president on terrorism.  Of course, at her level, she had no idea if someone above her had thought that the intelligence was of no importance and hence hadn't sent it on, if the intelligence had reached the highest level and they had thought it of no importance or if there was a cover up and high officials knowingly let 9/11 happen.

Then she  was approached by one of the other translators at her home who tried to recruit her to falsify translations for money.  She worked out that the translator in question was actually on the payroll of an organization that the FBI was targeting.  In addition she found threads that seemed to lead to extremely serious corruption amongst government officials, both elected and civil servants including the selling of nuclear technology to the highest bidder.  So what did she do. Did she do as Snowdon and Bradley did and publicly  expose the rot.  Not on your nelly.

She did what any civil servant should do and went to her immediate boss.  She was stonewalled and lectured on internal solidarity and loyalty to her division.  She finally went to the agent in charge of the division and on up the chain until after a hard fight she reached the head of the FBI.  At some levels she received help and a sympathetic ear.  At most levels she was stonewalled, threatened and ignored.  People in the chain of command that tried to help her get the message across were similarly treated.  Eventually she was fired.  She didn't give up the fight but managed, through lawyers, to get a hearing at seniour government oversight comittees.  She was likewise stonewalled.  Finally she wrote the book, Classified Woman.  I would highly recommend it.

Oh! by the way, the reason for the title of the bookis that at the highest level she was classified as top secret.  I don't mean that she had a top secret clearance for viewing documents.  I mean, she herself was classified as top secret.  It is considered a crime in the land of the free to say anything about her.  You mustn't reveal where she was born, what university she studied at, what degree she got, what languages she speaks and so forth.  Remember, this is in America.  Her book is available at Amazon in hard copy and for your Kindle. I'd get it quickly before they manage to remove it.

Some further reading you might find interesting

A Peoples History of the United States by Howard Zinn

Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, Hoodwinked and The American Empire by John Perkins

Legacy of Ashes by Tim Weiner

The price of Inequality by Joseph E Stiglitz  

Just an afterthought.  We have recently had a series of American officials, up to and including president Obama, bemoaning the effect on National Security of the leaks by Snowdon and Bradley.  If their concern is National Security, then Sibel should be their darling, their heroine.  Investigating and dealing with what she discovered would do far more for national security than all the electronic spying that is occurring.  You have to ask yourself, why a person that has exposed such serious breaches of National security has been treated the way she has been.  The answer is pretty obvious.

By the by, you can access Sibel's web site here.

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