May 4, 2011

Our Man in Islamabad (and Kabul, too) ...

... is Marc Grossman, who was appointed special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan by Hillary Clinton following Richard Holbrooke's death last December.

Where have I heard the name Marc Grossman before? Oh, yeah, he's the former American ambassador to Turkey (1994-1997) who is the central subject in former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds' accusations. (Here's Philip Giraldi's interview with her in 2009 in The American Conservative. I've talked to Giraldi, an ex-CIA man who is AmCon's espionage gossip columnist. He seems like a level-headed guy.)

Very, very few people in the U.S. think about Turkey much. To us, it's either the Mexico of Europe or the Canada of the Middle East, and people who follow the news in America don't pay much attention to Mexico or Canada, much less to Turkey. Yet, it's actually a very interesting and important place -- look at a map.

And, Turkey is byzantine. It has always had connections to old school American deep staters like Scowcroft and Baker through Cold War NATO membership and the like. And it is of great interest to neocons due to the once strong Israeli alliance. Josh Klemons writes:
Israel has viewed Turkey as an ally since before it declared statehood. Turkey, along with Ethiopia and Iran (the latter of course being a much different story) made up Ben-Gurion’s Periphery Doctrine. Recognizing that in the short-term, Israel would not be able to work with its Arab neighbors, he looked to reach out to Israel’s “periphery” as a means of having allies in the region.

The neocons have been uneasy about Turkey, however, since the rise of Prime Minister Erdogan a decade ago.

I don't know whether Edmonds' accusations are true, but nobody seems to deny them very much or put forward evidence against them. Instead, they are just treated as nonexistent. It's not like there's an Official Story on the subject. There's just no story.

One interesting theory a commenter put forward was that the least disturbing explanation for all this would be that Edmonds happened to stumble upon a CIA sting operation in which Grossman was just pretending to be a corrupt secrets dealer in order to lure in the bad guys.

Did some sort of memo go out to never talk about any of this? If so, who sends it and who gets it? Or are you just supposed to know about what not to think about?

By the way, speaking of knowing what not to know, here's the May 5th list of most popular stories on WashingtonPost.com:

  1. Who shot bin Laden? Former SEALs fill in the blanks
  2. Osama bin Laden buried at sea after being killed by U.S. forces in Pakistan
  3. Why Glenn Beck lost it
  4. Pakistan did its part
  5. Obama owes thanks, and an apology, to CIA interrogators

29 comments:

Wes said...

Well I just hope you don't fall for the "official" story, Steve. Only fools fall for the official story put out by the US government. Real smarties fall for the official stories put out by Iran and Pakistan. Can someone please explain how it is smart to disbelief every last thing the US gov't says and yet believe every half-baked conspiracy theory bubbling out of AbuDhabi? Yes I'm ranting, sorry.

Anonymous said...

Can someone please explain how it is smart to disbelief every last thing the US gov't says and yet believe every half-baked conspiracy theory bubbling out of AbuDhabi?

You don't seem to understand. This isn't the 19th century where the US government was wholly comprised of Old Stock Americans whose ancestry went back to the colonial period. The government today is extremely porous to external influence and pressure. Large swathes of it are dominated and influenced by people from the Near Eastern political culture.

Wes said...

Anonymous, you are right, we're not composed of that trustworthy old stock anymore. And like I said I support discussion of things like the Trilateral Commission and the desire to bring political union between Canada, Mexico, and the US by elites... on and on. I'm not a starry eyed believer in fairy tales, believe me.

What bothers me is the rise of conspiracy theories that don't make any sense and are more of a knee-jerk reaction than a careful analysis.

And I see some of these "cranks" falling for the goofiest conspiracy theories around. It is not sophisticated to abandon the US gov't only to embrace Alex Jones, Jesse Ventura and David Ickes.

But maybe this stuff has always been around. Or maybe this is what happens in multi-ethnic societies.

Anonymous said...

"Can someone please explain how it is smart to disbelief every last thing the US gov't says and yet believe every half-baked conspiracy theory bubbling out of AbuDhabi? Yes I'm ranting, sorry."

We just figure you must work for the government so will be keeping an eye on you as you must be doing the same with us.

Which gets to my definition of Deep State vs Shallow State: the paranoid vs the obtuse.

agnostic said...

Focusing on Turkey certainly would make for more attractive television.

Anonymous said...

Why was Bin Laden living down the street from a Pakistani military base? Why do we keep getting a different version of how Osama Bin Laden was killed? Why was the body dumped at sea? What were they trying to hide?

Let's not believe the official story on anything anymore. There are too many unanswered questions.

Dennis Dale said...

The legs on that Glenn Beck story! It's like birtherism for liberals.

I have a theory explaining the co-incidence of BHO's birth certificate release and OBL's assassination:
It was deemed necessary ahead of time to make room for all the new conspiracy theories.
"She canae take any more Captain", as Scotty use to say.

Anonymous said...

What bothers me is the rise of conspiracy theories that don't make any sense and are more of a knee-jerk reaction than a careful analysis.

It's actually a very good development politically. It means centralized authority is being undermined. It's analogous to the rebellion against Catholic domination following the Gutenberg press. The internet is undermining centralized control of information. It raises the probability of devolution.

Wes said...

It's actually a very good development politically. It means centralized authority is being undermined. It's analogous to the rebellion against Catholic domination following the Gutenberg press. The internet is undermining centralized control of information. It raises the probability of devolution

This could be true. And we know that multi-ethnic nations have less public trust anyway. But I still have a queasy feeling about it. Sometimes breakdown doesn't end well. But, I guess we will ride the wave we are given.

Anonymous said...

Like most people from "has-been" countries I guess, I like it when Turkey gets some attention from the world.
That's also what I make of this Sibel Edmons affair, in a way: A has-been desperate for attention.
Other than that, there isn't much to the story,
for I know there is no evil genius Turkish intelligence service.
The first thing, those who are not familiar with Turkish intelligence need to know about it, should they chose to care,
is that it's primary busines is to spy on the embassy officials' sexcapades.
The other thing which everyone who knows something about Turkish intelligence service knows,
except for that espionage columnist Giraldi person apparently,
is that Turkish secret agents cannot stay secret for any length of time.

If you believe what Sibel Edmonds says about Grossman in the interview,
the thing you really need to worry about is that top State Dept officials
are betraying their country for a sum like $14,000; which also buys,
apart from senior US officals, half of a half-decent car.

Tommy said...

State Dept officials
are betraying their country for a sum like $14,000

According to this article, Grossman had a budget of $1.2 billion.. It would be easy for him to 'leak' some of that into his pocket.
http://dissidentvoice.org/2008/01/“we-can’t-afford-to-let-them-spill-the-beans”/


This is from Grossman's wikipedia page (I wonder how long it will stay like this):

-Controversies-

Grossman met with Mahmud Ahmed, the then head of Pakistan's ISI intelligence agency, on September 4, 2001, shortly before the September 11, 2001 attacks. An article published on September 10th states: "... the most important meeting was with Mark Grossman (sic), US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. US sources would not furnish any details beyond saying that the two discussed 'matters of mutual interests.'"

Ahmed was later dismissed from his post after it was discovered he had sent Mohamed Atta $100,000 before the 9/11 attacks. The US government has not attempted to prosecute Ahmed, and the 9/11 Commission stated that the question of who financed the terrorist attacks was "of little practical significance". Grossman later facilitated the release and deportation of several suspects.

In 2007, Grossman was one of fifteen US administration officials who were subpoenaed in a case which dealt with giving sensitive information to Israel, in association with the pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC. One of the fifteen was Richard Holbrooke, whose position he replaced as Special Envoy to Afghanistan.

Grossman was named by Sibel Edmonds as being involved in illegal activity in connection to links with the Turkish and Israeli governments. She also revealed that he was under investigation by the FBI. According to Edmonds:"(Grossman) became personally involved with operatives both from the Turkish government and from suspected criminal groups. He also had suspicious contact with a number of official and non-official Israelis. Grossman was removed from Turkey short of tour during a scandal referred to as 'Susurluk' by the media. It involved a number of high-level criminals as well as senior army and intelligence officers with whom he had been in contact ... Grossman assisted his Turkish and Israeli contacts directly, and he also facilitated access to members of Congress who might be inclined to help for reasons of their own or could be bribed into cooperation. The top person obtaining classified information was Congressman Tom Lantos. A Lantos associate, Alan Makovsky worked very closely with Dr. Sabri Sayari in Georgetown University, who is widely believed to be a Turkish spy. Lantos would give Makovsky highly classified policy-related documents obtained during defense briefings for passage to Israel because Makovsky was also working for AIPAC."

Sibel Edmonds' claim that Grossman was under investigation by the FBI was corroborated by John M. Cole, a former FBI manager.

A further claim from Edmonds is that, "Grossman arranged for Turkish and Israeli Ph.D. students to acquire security clearances to Los Alamos and other nuclear facilities; and that nuclear secrets they acquired were transmitted to Pakistan and to Abdul Qadeer Khan, the 'father of the Islamic bomb,' who in turn was selling nuclear technology to Libya and other nations."

According to journalist Gary Leupp, Grossman "seems less an ideologue driven to make the world safer for Israel than a corrupt, amoral, self-aggrandizing opportunist".

AMac said...

Steve linked an interview of Sibel Edwards by Philip Giraldi in the 11/1/09 issue of American Conservative, Who’s Afraid of Sibel Edmonds? The gagged whistleblower goes on the record.

It is a very unusual read.

Not because it's true or false--as an outsider, I'm unable to make that judgement.

Rather, it's because Edmonds and Giraldi describe specific incidents of wrongdoing and treasonous actions by dozens of prominent American politicians and appointed officials. By name.

It's a brazen invitation to a series of libel suits. Outraged denials and rebuttals, perhaps -- but mainly, libel suits.

This leads to the unstated central theme of the article: Why would two former low-level FBI employees expose themselves to the risk of years of expensive litigation?

There is one readily apparent answer: because lawsuits would garner attention to their story, and they are confident that unsealing of the cited FBI files would vindicate their claims.

As with a Le Carre spy story, there are sure to be alternative explanations of their motives. But that's the obvious one.

TGGP said...

Why hasn't Giraldi said anything about this on the AmCon blog? His last post was on a missile attack in Libya. This is really the time for an intelligence reporter, and he's nowhere to be found.

Anonymous said...

A friend in Williamsburg wrote me:

"We live near the water and Camp Peary is across the way. I noticed tons of crazy activity there recently within the last month and thought, "Something big must be going down." Like lots of helicopters and stuff. One night I was out and saw this huge low flying airplane go right over our house. Anyway, when I found out the SEAL team that took out Osama was from Virginia Beach (about an hour from here), I thought to myself the other day, "Oh damn, I wonder if they were doing training at Camp Peary." This was in today's paper:

http://www.vagazette.com/articles/2011/05/04/news/doc4dc07ae221a00809944277.txt

Drawbacks said...

Incidentally, this deep state/shallow state stuff has reminded me of a brilliant bit in Journey Into Fear where Welles's Turkish Intelligence Colonel gives Joseph Cotten's ingenuous engineer the gimlet eye and says "You were born to be murdered."

Anonymous said...

Some people wonder whether the papers stuffed in Sandy Berger's socks might have documented his, ah, "professional" working relationship with Marc Grossman.

Anonymous said...

Agnostic:"Focusing on Turkey certainly would make for more attractive television."

I don't know about that; I've run into quite a few really really ugly Turkish girls in my time.

Anonymous said...

"Yet, it's actually a very interesting and important place -- look at a map."

I'm so tired of people overestimating the importance of being strategic. Freaking Panama has a strategic location. Turkey has never not been a backwater. Even during the periods when all of the ruins that the Turks display in their tourist brochures were still standing upright, it was still a backwater to the Persians, the Greeks and the Romans.

The real strategic locations are where the brains are.

Anonymous said...

This could be true. And we know that multi-ethnic nations have less public trust anyway. But I still have a queasy feeling about it. Sometimes breakdown doesn't end well. But, I guess we will ride the wave we are given.

There's a good chance it'll be a bumpy ride down. The Protestant reformation was followed by the Thirty Years' War.

Mr. Anon said...

"Wes said...

What bothers me is the rise of conspiracy theories that don't make any sense and are more of a knee-jerk reaction than a careful analysis.

And I see some of these "cranks" falling for the goofiest conspiracy theories around. It is not sophisticated to abandon the US gov't only to embrace Alex Jones, Jesse Ventura and David Ickes."

And it must be added that conspiracy theorists marginalize themselves by embracing the most bizarre, ridiculous, and rococco explanations for everything. They don't need to be marginalized by the elites (as, for example, Ron Paul is) - they are self-marginalizing. Take Alex Jones, for example. Since he is willing to entertain just about every conspiracy theory, he discredits everything he touches - even when he may be on to something that's real.

And that certainly does play into the hands of those who want to put one over on us.

Remember: Conspiracy Theories are exactly what THEY want you to believe.

SFG said...

Turkey is byzantine.

True, and a great little piece of irony...

Wandrin said...

Interestingly, the idea (correct or otherwise) of a Turkish Deep State has it's root in the belief that when Jews were expelled from most of western europe in the middle ages a large number ended up in Turkey or what was then the Ottoman Empire.

So the islamists say, once there, to make the place more congenial for them some Jews fake-converted to Islam so they could inter-marry with the Turkish elites and over time created a more secular, multi-cultural hybrid elite that would reduce the pressure on Jews to assimilate. The evolution of Turkey into a more secularized Islamic state supposedly stems from this process.

The current Mayor of London comes from that background.

John said...

"Turkey is byzantine"

Not since 1453 it isn't!

Truth said...

"Remember: Conspiracy Theories are exactly what THEY want you to believe."

Oh, so I guess the media doesn't REALLY marginalize white men, or promote interracial relationships.

Thanks for clearing that up Anon.

Hey guys, Mr. Anon thinks that you are cranks!

none of the above said...

I think there's an interesting parallel here. Charles Murray and Steve have both pointed out that, as the society-wide consensus on the morality of sex, marriage, divorce, and family matters kind-of fell apart, not everyone was affected the same way. Smarter, higher-class, better-educated people did okay with the added freedom. Probably many did *better*--think of some guy who was just biologically predestined to be completely gay, and who now doesn't have to pretend. But at the bottom, people got royally screwed over. The stupid, the uneducated, the poor--those folks started doing the 5 kids by 6 fathers thing in a big way.

The collapse of that society-wide consensus arguably made folks at the top better off, but screwed the folks at the bottom.

We're now watching something similar happen with the society-wide consensus on the truth. Just as with sexual morality, there was a lot of BS in the old consensus, which was largely driven by what the biggest newspapers and the big three networks said was truth. To misquote Svigor, they had the megaphone, so they talked and we listened.

The net is changing all that. The ability of the MSM to determine a consensus set of things almost everyone believes is going away. This isn't just because they often lie and spin and have huge blind spots, though all those things are true. The net also just takes away their monopoly on megaphones.

My prediction is that something rather similar to what happened with sexual/family morality will happen with the collapse of this consensus. The smart, educated folks will become better off in general. (The quality of information I get on stories I'm interested in now is much higher than I got in college, mostly watching CNN and reading the WSJ.) The dumb and uneducated and poor will mostly become less well-informed. Just as with social mores, they'll have a much harder time piecing together a sensible picture of the world as coherent as what the MSM used to package up for them.

AMac said...

Very nicely stated, 'none of the above.' I hope you're wrong. Alas, my own experience and observations parallel yours.

Mr. Anon said...

Apparently "Truth" is as devoid of any sense of irony as he is of common sense.

I guess it's not easy being a cartoon.

Luke Lea said...

Sounds like CIA double and triple agents.

Mr. Anon said...

@none of the above

Interesting idea. You may well be right.