Wednesday, January 09, 2008

What does Sibel Edmonds know?

It's a fair question. No one will let her tell us in any detail. State Secrets laws don't permit her to talk to a judge about it, much less a television reporter, and much of the media has avoided looking too intensely at the matter. Apparently, she knows that several high-placed American officials put US nuclear materials on the black market, some of which were going to Pakistani secret police individuals with connections to 'Al Qaeda'. She has put some faces out in the public - people like Doug Feith, the huckster Richard Perle, Congressman Dennis Hastert and, well, check them out for yourself - without explaining the specific allegations. She claims that several arms of the state are protecting individuals who have participated in the sale of such secrets and aided foreign intelligence moles who helped transmit such materials, frustrating FBI efforts at investigation.

It's hardly unknown for the state to become a conduit for entrepreneurial criminal activity, particularly the secret state. Drug smuggling, money laundering, arms transfers, all the usual business of empire can - because of its necessarily illicit nature - become the basis for making a lot of money individually, corrupting departments, and so on. And the illicit tracking of nuclear materials, particularly low grade radioactive materials, probably involves state actors from a variety of countries. Why, you might think, should the US be different? It is one of the many excellent arguments against nuclear weapons that, like all weapons, the technology is by no means guaranteed to remain the preserve of states (which is life-threatening enough already). But knowingly transferring nuclear materials in such a way that they could end up in the hands of 'Al Qaeda' would ordinarily be considered 'treasonous'. After all, thousands of inviduals often with no proven record of posing any threat are being locked up in America's global gulag on the putative off-chance that they might be. Is it too much to wonder whether the faces put out by Edmonds should be in orange jumpsuits? Of course it is. No one is going to go around embarrassing American officials, much less the intelligence agencies of two key US allies in the Middle East. The ISI is totally off-limits. Edmonds is never going to be legally permitted to say whatever she has to say. Oh, but you're gonna get an investigation. Right.

Justin Raimondo and Dave Lindorff have some additional commentary.