Now, things have changed radically, even though Turkey is still on the verge. But the verge, this time, encompasses terrorism, fanaticism, and repression–not to mention delusions of grandeur, all thanks to its President, Recep Ergdoğan.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan is turning into the King Lear of the Near East. In his 1,000-room White Palace he rants against his enemies while his realm, living through Lear’s “dark and comfortless times”, tears itself apart with war, strife and recrimination. Easy to forget that five years ago Barack Obama described Mr. Erdogan’s Turkey as “a great Islamic democracy” and later viewed it as a model for countries struggling to emerge from the Arab Spring. (Roger Boyes, The Times (of London); “Sick man of Europe could infect the West”; October 14, 2015.)
But, Erdoğan seems centered on becoming a regional partner of the United States and its President, Barack Obama. His goal is rebuilding the former Ottoman empire through murder, war crimes, and human rights violations, not to mention brinkmanship threatening general war. In the past:
The “sick man of Europe” is still sick, especially internally.
According to Cultural Survival (https://www.culturalsurvival.org/publications/cultural-survival-quarterly/turkey/kurdish-repression-turkey), “Since World War I, Kurds in Turkey have been the victims of persistent assaults on their ethnic, cultural, religious identity and economic and political status by successive Turkish governments. Nowhere is their future more threatened than in Turkey where Kurds are one quarter of the population.”
Yet, when Turks seek to redress this repression, the highly-undemocratic government strikes back. This is especially true of Recep Erdoğan’s authoritarianism. As the Gatestone Institute noted February 14, 2016:
On January 11, 2016, a group of academics and researchers from Turkey and abroad called “Academics for Peace” signed and issued a declaration entitled, “We will not be a party to this crime.” In it, they criticized the Turkish government for its recent curfews and massacres in Kurdish districts, and demanded an end to violence against Kurds and a return to peace talks.
“We declare that we will not be a party to this massacre by remaining silent and demand an immediate end to the violence perpetrated by the state,” the declaration said.
In total, 2212 academics and researchers from Turkey, and 2279 from abroad, signed their names onto the declaration.
Unfortunately, those fake intellectuals say that the state is carrying out a massacre. Hey you, fake intellectuals! You are dark people. You are not enlightened. You are dark and ignorant to the point that you do not even know where the southeastern or eastern regions are [in Turkey].
Today we are faced with the treason of the so-called intellectuals, most of whom get their salaries from the state and carry the ID card of this state in their pockets.
You are either by the side of the nation and the state or by the side of the terrorist organization. We will not get permission from those so-called academics. They should know their place.
· The Turkish state authorities have made it clear that calling for an end to state violence in Turkey’s Kurdish regions is “treason.” This means that in Turkey, requesting peace and political equality between Kurds and Turks is illegal.
· The 1128 original signatories of the “Academics for Peace” declaration have been subjected to sustained attacks and threats from the Turkish government and nationalist groups. In the week after the publication of the declaration, at least 33 academics were detained by police. Some have lost their jobs. Associate Professor Battal Odabasi from Istanbul Aydin University, for instance, was fired for supporting the petition. At least 29 academics have been suspended from their jobs at universities.
Let’s hope that Erdoğan’s efforts to repress its large Kurdish population, attack Syria, and threaten war with Russia fail miserably. However, at the moment, the truncated Ottoman empire is working hard on a comeback, the same way it originally established its hegemony in the Middle East—by force.
In the past, Turkey had worked with the United States to destabilize Yugoslavia, and is now laboring hand in glove with America to support ISIL, sponsoring sectarian violence in Iraq while contributing thousands of fighters to the ongoing conflict there. It provided a locale for American officials to meet with Syrian and Libyan terrorists seeking the destruction of Bashar al-Assad’s government in the Syrian Arab Republic. Simultaneously, Turkey aided the movement of surface-to-air missiles and other offensive weapons out of Libya and into Syria. Besides assisting arms transfers from Croatia to Syria, Turkey also helped coordinate support for the extremists who sought to overthrow Moammar Gaddafi in Libya. On June 15, 2013, SANA (Syrian Arab News Agency) reported Bulent Esinoglu, Deputy Chairman of Turkey’s Labor Party, as saying that the CIA had recruited six thousand Arabs, Afghans, and Turks to commit terrorist acts in Syria. (Cf. J. Michael Springmann, Visas for Al Qaeda: CIA Handouts That Rocked The World, Washington, D.C.: Daena Publications LLC, 2014, passim).
The Turks seem to rely on their membership in NATO (since October 1951) for outrageous military actions. These have included shooting down a Russian warplane, shelling Syrian army positions, attacking Kurds in Syria and Iraq, violating Greek airspace 2,000 times in 2014, and invading Cyprus in 1974. Erdoğan and his fundamentalist government apparently believe that Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which obligates its signatories to regard an attack on one member as an attack on all, shields them from any response to any Anatolian act of aggression.
They have support for this fantasy. According to PRESSTV December 1, 2015: US President Barack Obama says everyone should know that Turkey is a member of the NATO military alliance, after Ankara shot down a Russian jet in Syria.
But in summer of 2013, Erdogan revealed that he was abandoning appeals to pluralism. The AKP [the ruling “Justice and Development Party”] Istanbul and Ankara provincial branches cracked down hard on the youth protests over plans to turn Gezi Park into a Muslim mall. The government clearly intimidated the Turkish press into not covering the protests or only covering them negatively. The “democracy” being built by the AKP was revealed to be an elective dictatorship…
After the AKP’s losing seats in an election in June 2015, Cole continued
Erdogan responded to this relative defeat with his old divide and rule policy. But this time he did not engage in a positive, inclusive divide and rule strategy. He went negative. He started back up a hot conflict with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a guerrilla group with separatist leanings that had established safe havens on the Iraq side of the border…
Erdogan’s negative divide and rule has brought Turkey to the brink of chaos. A hot war with the PKK is ongoing. HDP offices have been bombed. The Syria proxy war, supporting hard line fundamentalists allied with al-Qaeda versus Russian-backed forces, is ongoing. Press freedom, always precarious, has evaporated. A Russian economic boycott is being imposed…
Yet, the situation under Erdoğan is closing in on regional war.
According to February 12, 2016’s 4thMedia.org, Moscow warned Thursday [the 11th] that any move by Gulf nations to send in troops to support the rebels in Syria would risk a “new world war.”
This produced the desired result in Europe: total chaos. The natives hated the invaders, denouncing them as Muslim zealots and sex-crazed fanatics. The migrants hated the Europeans as being narrow-minded xenophobes and Islamomisiasts. Europe had excluded Turkey from the EU for years. Now, it was Turkey’s chance for revenge. The obviously intended result? Repression. As I said in FEAR FURCHT VREES PEUR (Hausfrauleaks.com, January 1, 2016):
…one astute analyst of the European scene noted:
Immigration and integration politics, and confrontations with Muslim conservatives over education, women’s rights, and the relationship between the state and religion are likely to strengthen right-of-center political organizations and splinter the left-of-center political coalitions that were instrumental in building it.
And what will this lead to? As that observer sagely added:
Germany’s national security is on the verge of collapse… [Expect] militarization of Germany in domestic and international domains as a result of this crisis and respective changes in German and anticipated EU changes in laws… [Look for] restriction of freedom of speech and hate speech laws, No-Go Zones, strictly enforced protest zones…. Europe moves to the political right in fear and attempted public self-defense, uncomfortably far to the right……[As the result of] the groups, individuals and motives behind the entire manufactured mass migration crisis…
COMMENT: There are several obvious solutions, all of which take resolution, the ability to make unpopular choices, and the will to fight real terrorists.
1. Throw Turkey out of NATO so that it can’t call on its Big Brother, Uncle Sam, to fight the enemies it provokes.
2. Withdraw all U.S. and German forces from Turkey, leaving the Anatolians to their own devices.
3. Establish a no-fly zone over the eastern third of Turkey, preventing the new Ottomans from inviting other repressive governments to use Anatolian airfields to attack Syria and other countries.
4. Impose a UN peacekeeping force on Turkey to establish control of the country, taking it out of the hands of the AKP’s fanatics.
5. Require Ankara to cede the eastern third of the country to the Kurds for their homeland.
A longer term goal would be to abolish NATO entirely. Originally set up to counter the Warsaw Pact forces, it now has no reason to exist. The Warsaw Pact and its sponsor, the USSR, have dissolved.
Whether the United States and the Europeans have the gumption to implement these solutions, does not appear in my crystal ball.
N.B. The author wishes to gratefully acknowledge the assistance of the American Kurdish Information Network for background on Turkey and the Kurds.
And, regrettably, a front story as well.
What Is Past Is Prologue
For the past four years, American efforts to illegally remove Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, have failed. Even with aid from France, the Gulf States, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, the only accomplishment to date has been to dehouse, deculturalize, destabilize, and destroy Syria. Clearly, the pressure was growing to get outsiders more deeply involved in “regime change” there.
Apparently, the goal was to add Paris, and, by extension, France, to the wreckage. The rest of Europe, particularly Germany and Britain, came next. The U.S.-sponsored Migration of Peoples seems to be the means of choice. It’s built on years of recruiting and supporting terrorists in the Middle East.
The U.S. government had previously backed terrorists in South and Southwest Asia on an ad hoc basis. But then, following its use of the mujahideen to fight the U.S.S.R. in Afghanistan, America transformed them into a cadre of extremists, the Arab-Afghan Legion, ready to subvert or overthrow governments anywhere, anytime, so long as those governments were “enemies” of the U.S. (Or, in Europe’s case, capable of being dragged into the Forever War.) In recruiting the “muj”, the U.S. had help: Saudi Arabia for its money and Pakistan for its espionage organization, Inter-Services Intelligence. Later, the Israelis got involved, especially in Iraq and Syria. [For details, see J. Michael Springmann, Visas for Al Qaeda: CIA Handouts That Rocked The World (Washington , D.C., Daena Publications LLC, 2014)].
The nightmare in Paris was likely an outgrowth of all this, with special help from German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Turks, and Israel.
The New Weapon Against Syria
Beginning early in 2015, the Americans (and their Zionist allies) evidently recognized that their Syria policy was not producing desired results–Assad was still alive and still in office. Consequently, they adopted a new tack: flood Europe with Arab and Muslim “migrants”. With sufficient mutual hatred and distrust generated, Europe would end its timorous questioning of Israeli repression and move towards a more active role in the war against Syria.
That policy has been successful.
While there had been a steady stream of migrants from North Africa, it wasn’t until early in 2015 that they moved in the hundreds of thousands to Europe–through Turkey, a NATO member. The cause was straightforward: the new Ottomans, failing to unseat Assad with weapons transfers from Libya along with cross-border raids by agents provocateurs, worked with the United States and its repressive allies in the region to fill Anatolia with Syrians, Iraqis, Afghans, and many others. It then opened the floodgates. A simple stream became a deluge, one that even Noah and his Ark couldn’t handle. This flood came in waves, some Syrian, some from many other nationalities and ethnic groups. The rising tide began to cascade into the Balkans (which the U.S. and NATO had destroyed in the 1990s), then into Austria, and then into Germany. Turkey being Turkey, no Kurds were part of this river.
German Help and Propaganda
German Chancellor Merkel and her advisors (who had supported the 2003 American war against Iraq) worked assiduously in making the process run smoothly, sending railroad trains to the Austrian frontier to bring the migrants into the Federal Republic. From there, if the asylum-seekers so desired, they could move into the other nations on the Continent
Propaganda helped. Pushing the concept in Germany of the Good Man (Gutmensch), it was made clear that only selfish, xenophobic people could oppose the new arrivals. Indoctrination also targeted children. Bright cartoons with catchy music pushed the concept that “No Animal Is Illegal”. However, not a word was uttered about why Egypt, the Gulf States, Israel, and Saudi Arabia were not housing the rush of migrants.
This appears well planned. It transports Arabs and Muslims out of countries neighboring Israel, weakening them and providing Israel with the opportunity to expand. Israelis already control large parts of northern Iraq and a good-sized piece of Syria (the Golan Heights).With the tide of Arabs and Muslims washing all over Europe, there were to be and now are three results: mutual hatred and distrust, a growing split between the haves and have-nots, and, consequently, a weaker Europe. We’ve seen the articles about defecation in the streets and schools warning parents not to let their daughters dress provocatively (in hard-core Muslim eyes). There have been fights between religious Muslims and beered-up Germans at the Oktoberfest in Munich. The events in Paris were another side of this. On the 13th, the France24 Facebook page was full of posts such as “send them home”, “they are bringing their quarrels with them”, etc.
According to a knowledgeable source, S. Germek, this “army of invaders” will likely be 1 million strong by the end of 2015. She noted that EU politicians and human rights NGOs insist on describing them as “Syrian war refugees”. European mainstream media, she observed, goes out of its way to present photogenic Syrian children in tragic scenes to sell an unspecified and unexplained agenda to the public. It is clear, our interlocutor added, that true Syrian refugees are in a minority while mostly young, male economic migrants as well as radical Islamists from many countries make up a large portion of the migrant tsunami. Furthermore, most do not qualify for political asylum by EU laws, she continued. Yet, many are wealthy, each paying traffickers US$7,000 to US$15,000, some of which supposedly comes from American government pockets, she remarked.
Our source opined that not all bother to register as asylees. There are reports, she said, that migrants vanish by the thousands once inside Germany. She mentioned that many are drawn into Salafist networks busy recruiting the newcomers, particularly the countless unaccompanied minors among them.
Benefits? Cui Bono?
Merkel sees this, some think, as a way to do what the American news media have long been urging: bring more immigrants into the country. This will generate more taxes to support social benefits for an aging population. Also, it’s a golden opportunity to either keep wages from rising or force them down since so many are willing to work for a pittance. That’s something that’s worked quite well in the U.S. for years.
What these people don’t realize is that, in the end, it undermines Europe as a competitor for the U.S. Countries riven by ethnic and religious hatred can’t produce high quality goods. Low wage workers don’t care about making superior items. (Remember the East German Trabi?)
Also, by inflaming relations between the migrants and Europe, manipulators can force the Continent more deeply into the Middle East conflict, getting France, Britain, Germany, and other NATO members to send soldiers, warplanes, weapons, and money to fight “terrorists”. These are the low-lifes the U.S. and its repressive allies in the area, the Gulf States, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey have been recruiting, training, and supporting.
What Hath Been Wrought?
The French are now deeply engaged in fighting Syria. The British and Germans are becoming embroiled also.
On December 3, 2015, the U.K. began airstrikes against Syria, just hours after Parliament, despite strong opposition, authorized military action. Earlier, on November 26, 2015, Germany had sent a frigate, the FGS (Federal German Ship) Augsburg to join Teutonic support vessels already with the European force in the Mediterranean. Another frigate, the Karlsruhe, will escort the French nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. The de Gaulle’s deployment to the eastern Mediterranean was allegedly planned before the November 13 attacks in Paris. The carrier is now sailing to the Persian Gulf for further attacks on Syria and Iraq.
On November 4, the German Parliament voted to send 1200 men against ISIL. Included are six Tornado warplanes for “reconnaissance”. Additionally, Germany is sending ground forces to Mali (208) to hunt “terrorists” and to Iraq (100). That Mali force will increase to 650 men by June 2016. Germans soldiers in Iraq will increase to 150 by January 2016. (Excluded from this tally are Federal Republic fighting men already in Turkey staffing Patriot missile batteries and AWACS scouting flights.) German taxpayers will shell out €134 million (approximately US$146 million) for this.
Still, many people contested this. Not from the Left, whose thought processes apparently were stultified, calcified, and frozen in amber, but from the Right. Journalists asked, is it true that there are at least 4,000 ISIL terrorists mixed in with the hundreds of thousands of migrants, economic and otherwise? Our answer was probably not, but, then, you can’t rule out the possibility that at least some trouble-makers are swimming in the stream of Middle Easterners and others.
Paris Showed That This Was True.
On Friday, November 13, 2015, allegedly unknown people, allegedly out of nowhere, attacked a concert hall, a sports stadium, a restaurant, and other locations, killing 130 and wounding an unspecified number. French government officials identified the attackers as Arabs, some from Europe, some from the Migration of Peoples.
But, the officials never clarified some really essential and very basic information. In tightly-controlled France, how did the terrorists get their AK-47 rifles? In tightly-controlled France, how did the terrorists get their explosives? They apparently had help from “the usual suspects”.
According to Radio Free Europe, a CIA-linked sender, the AKs, produced by Serbia’s Zastava works, were weapons stolen from the former Yugoslav military (likely by Croatians, Bosnians, and Kosovo Albanians). They then passed the firearms on from long-held stocks to German weapons traffickers. These sent them on to Paris. BUT, the Croats are old-time helpers to CIA gunrunners and Albanians are suppliers for Germany. All likely have ties to NATO, also historically notorious weapons brokers.
And how did France’s General Directorate for External Security, and the Central Directorate of Interior Intelligence, fail to deal with the attackers whom they knew had jihadi backgrounds? (At least five of them had traveled to Syria to fight Bashar al-Assad’s forces and then returned to France or Belgium.) The best “gover-up” answer? A tactical mistake.
Worse, from what’s been on TV, there might be some outside planning involved in this. How reasonable is it that some random fanatic is going to bring his counterfeit passport, a SYRIAN one, with him while blowing things up? Naturally, this helps demonstrate that Syrians are dangerous and need to be bombed back into the Stone Age–which the French and British are doing now.
Was Any of This Really a Surprise? Was Any of This Really News?
As previously noted, Visas for Al Qaeda: CIA Handouts That Rocked The World set out the basics of American foreign policy in the Middle East and South Asia: recruit, train, and support radicals. With the financial backing of Saudi Arabia (suspected to figure in the still-classified 28 pages missing from the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on 9/11 failures) along with Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, the U.S. used them to fight the Soviet Union in the 1980s. In the 1990s, the U.S. and its NATO allies, including Germany, exploited them to destroy Yugoslavia. These trained terrorists then moved at the behest of America into Iraq, wrecking that country following the U.S. invasion of 2003. In 2011, America’s extremists, working in concert with NATO forces and U.S. and European intelligence services, obliterated Libya. By the end of that year, weapons and fighters were moving into Syria, with the big push occurring in 2012.
But Darkness Is Coming.
France helped create the jigsaw puzzle that is today’s Middle East. In May 1916, in the infamous Sykes-Picot Agreement, it arranged with Britain to divide the Arab world, taking what are now Lebanon and Syria into the French Empire. It then pursued a policy of divide and rule, splitting its new lands along the lines of religion, region, and ethnicity. Since then, la belle France has profited from massive arms sales to the region, ranking third after the United States and Russia. It has built close ties with the reactionary Gulf Cooperation Council. Moreover, France accepts and supports Egyptian Dictator Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s policies. The French Republic is suspected of directly or indirectly supplying radical forces, such as Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic Front, opposing the Assad government in Syria.
Now, after two years of hectoring the world about the need to unlawfully depose the president of Syria, France began surveillance flights over Bashar al-Assad’s country on September 8, 2015. On September 27, the Armée de l’Air began bombing what was left of Syria.
On November 13, 2015, shadowy but somehow known figures shot up and blew up various sites in Paris.
In response, François Hollande, French President, declared a state of emergency, putting 5,000 soldiers onto the streets of Paris. Additionally, he announced the hiring of thousands more policemen as well as plans to cancel the French citizenship of dual nationals thought to engage in suspicious activity. Hollande also planned to increase domestic surveillance. He instituted numerous, broad dragnets combined with wide-ranging searches without probable cause. The President also banned large public protests and gatherings, seemingly abandoning Liberté and Egalité in the name of Securité.
Government officials both in Europe and the U.S. (particularly John Brennan, CIA Director) are now demanding the end of any kind of encryption that citizens can use. Claiming that it thwarts official surveillance and supposedly aids “fanatics”, various spokesmen assert that this attack on civil liberties will aid in preventing “terrorism”. There are now calls to “check” travelers at airports. (To date, most “terrorism” has been government sponsored, with America’s drone attacks and Arab-Afghan Legion being in the forefront.)
It’s past time to ask some hard questions. Who’s planning this? Why? Was the proposed attack on the Hannover football stadium, November 17, a real event or was it another, carefully calculated undertaking to keep the fear alive and justify more assaults on peoples’ rights? While this was happening, we had a running online commentary from a German friend watching this unfold in real time. She repeatedly noted that genuine information and hard facts were few and far between. In another email, our contact stated that Germany is now panicking, with every misplaced suitcase being a security risk. Police sirens are now part of the sound of city life, she said.
Moreover, on Sunday, November 22, the Washington Post reported the previous day’s shut down of Brussels, capital of Belgium and the EU and the site of NATO headquarters. After the government announced a “serious and imminent” threat against the capital, the subway closed, department stores and restaurants were shuttered, and concerts canceled. According to a Belgian contact, Brussels was almost a ghost town. The populace stayed indoors, and the streets were full of soldiers, regular police, and a federal counterterrorism unit, she said. Additionally, she told us that these forces had increased three times and the country was at its highest state of alert, Level 4. As a result, the people don’t know what to do. It’s as if the country were at war, she added. She also noted that many Belgians are referring to this as “their” 9/11.
Coincidence? The journalist Sarah McClendon claimed such things don’t exist.
The concept of terrorists everywhere has already taken root in the United States. Are the Paris attacks, the Hannover story, and the Brussels closure an effort to spread this concept among the far more realistic and skeptical Europeans?
Regrettably, it seems so.
The original source of this article is Global Research
Copyright © J. Michael Springmann, Global Research, 2015
What The Los Angeles Times did not report was what I had told their Washington, D.C. bureau after reading the story: (1) that the Jeddah onsulate was not a State Department post but an intelligence services operation; (2) that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) routinely demanded (and got) visas for sleazy characters with no ties to either their home country or Saudi Arabia; (3) that these vile people were terrorists recruited by U.S. intelligence officers along with Osama bin Laden, then a CIA asset.
With the help of non-State Department officials, i.e., Consul General, Jay Philip Freres (retired and living in Clearwater, Fla.), the head of the Political/Economic Section, Eric L. Qualkenbush (retired and living in Findlay, Ohio), the Political Officer, Henry Ensher (currently assigned to D.C. and living in McLean, Va.), a “Commercial Officer”, Paul Arvid Tveit (retired and also living in McLean, Va.), the Chief of the Consular Section, Justice (given name) Stevens (whereabouts unknown), and a “part-time” Consular officer, Andy Weber (last seen on the PBS program “Bio-Terror”), they were sent to America for training in blowing things up and shooting things down. Afterwards, they were sent on to Afghanistan to murder Soviet soldiers.
It seems pretty clear that they and people that they had trained are now pursuing their own goals (and most likely U.S. foreign policy interests) in helping destabilize Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Their next target may be Iran.
Having been Commercial Attaché at the American Embassy in New Delhi, India (a post with a goodly number of CIA and National Security Agency, NSA, staff) and twice in Stuttgart, Germany, a Consulate with successive Consuls General sent out by the intelligence services, Douglas Jones and Day Olin Mount (both now retired, whereabouts unknown), I was still flabbergasted at the blatant disregard (and wholehearted contempt) for the Immigration and Nationality Act and the Foreign Affairs Manual (the State Department’s Holy Book governing, inter alia, visa issuance). And it wasn’t until I was fired for questioning these spurious visa practices that I learned what was really going on and how the system worked–to America’s detriment.
Despite being given ample notice, I still did not, in fact, could not, see the coming disaster–because I trusted my government. Consider:
My predecessor at Jeddah (Greta C. Holtz, now assigned to Washington) simply did not answer my letters asking about the situation at the Consulate, later telling me that she was “too upset” to respond. (Once there, I learned that she had been repeatedly threatened with losing her job over visa refusals, but, later, was apparently “wised-up” about the situation since she then stopped her complaining.)
The then-American Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Walter Cutler (who went on to head the Meridian International Center in Washington, D.C. for 17 years, promoting U.S. ties with Iran), spent 45 minutes with me before I left the U.S. In the meeting, he told me about all the problems my predecessor had caused him in refusing visas to unqualified people. When I asked the State Department Desk Officer for Saudi Arabia
about this, he replied that he didn’t know, “Cutler was just a queer duck”.
Again, while still in D.C., I had a chance conversation with a staff member (Ellen Goff) at the Executive Office of the-then Bureau for Near East/South Asia, learning that there were serious but unspecified problems connected with visa issuances at Jeddah.
Upon my arrival, I was fêted for being a distinct change from my predecessor (who still has her job and is a high-ranking Foreign Service officer). Not long afterwards, things swiftly reversed themselves, and I was constantly browbeaten by the Consul General, Jay Freres, about refusing visas to unqualified applicants.
It was not unusual for expediters carrying visa applications to the Consulate for their employers to tell me I could issue the visa then and there or, if I refused, later on, after the Consul General ordered me to.
I was told by a contact outside the Consulate (Nestor Martin, whereabouts unknown), whom I now believe worked for the CIA, that if I spoke one word about the nefarious visa activities to a team inspecting the Consulate’s operations, I would lose my job. One of the Inspectors (Joseph P. O’Neil, later retired, but afterwards assigned to various posts in Central Asia) came to me, questioned me in detail, while insisting I had to answer and that he would protect me. I did and I later lost my job.
The Counselor for Consular Affairs in Riyadh, Stephanie Smith, (now retired and living in Florida) told me that things in Jeddah were very serious and that, on my way to my next assignment, I should speak about the disconcerting situation with the Bureau for Consular Affairs–which then professed absolutely no interest when I did so.
After being notified that the State Department intended to pitch me out, I contacted that agency’s Inspector General and the Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS). DS agents, including Travis A. Moran, told me that I simply had had a “personality conflict” with the Consul General (who, astonishingly enough, had had a visa signature plate made and had sat at the visa window interviewing applicants, a function far below his
At the time (before I spoke with the journalist Joe Trento, a retired government official, and a man connected to a D.C. university (not named for their safety) and learned what was really going on), I had thought the whole problem was visa fraud, i.e., someone was paying good money for a chance to come to the U.S. Fraud like this is every consular officer’s nightmare and is anathema at State. According to the Bureau of Diplomatic Security’s website: “[V]isa fraud is a federal offense punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. If the offense is connected…to international terrorism [the sentence is increased to 20 years].”
But, when I said “fraud” to people charge with investigating it, I was told I had a personality conflict. And I became unemployed.
There you have it. The United States of America, whose diplomatic posts are too often outposts of the CIA and NSA, was running (and, from what I can see) is likely still running a visas for terrorists program, while blaming the rest of the world for causing disasters of its own making. According to a former CIA Station Chief and a member of State’s Inspector General’s office, both of whom I wish to protect, at least one-third of the people who claim to work for the Department of State in reality work for one of the many U.S. intelligence agencies. In my limited experience, I would be inclined to raise that proportion which, I am inclined to believe, is increasing (In Jeddah, all but three of the 20 or so U.S. staff worked for intelligence offices).
Despite my best efforts, no other agency of the United States government ever wanted to deal with this matter. My Freedom of Information Act lawsuit about the reasons for my dismissal was sealed (and shut down) as a threat to national security. The Government Accountability Office took no interest in what I told them about the issue. The FBI ignored my calls, even the ones after September 11, 2001. Congress then and later also took an ostrich’s view of my charges with a staffer on the House Foreign Affairs Committee once telling me that we needed the CIA.
Over the years, I wrote ever more pointed letters to Congressmen dealing with the intelligence services: to John D. Rockefeller IV, then Vice Chairman, U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence; to Jane Harman, then Ranking Member, U.S. House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence; and to Nancy Pelosi, then Democratic Leader of the House of Representatives. I also wrote to Tom Davis, now Ranking Republican on the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, U.S. House of Representatives, who was opposing legislation to protect national security whistle-blowers.
In those missives, I named the intelligence officers who ran the Visas for Terrorists Program and instructed the Congressmen on how to contact them. But, no action was ever taken, no question was ever raised, giving rise to my view that they knew all about the matter. And chose to ignore it.
Additionally, in the hopes of getting some action, I published several articles on the Visas for Terrorists Program, “The Hand That Rules The Visa Machine Rocks The World” in a now-defunct magazine during the Winter of 2001, and “The Visas for Terrorists Program” in Global Outlook (Triple Issue No. 11, Spring/Summer 2006). While the concept was picked up by Project Censored (25 Runners Up) 2002, and my interviews are still on the Internet, no uproar has yet been generated and no governmental action has resulted.
Why not? Any investigation would mean indictments. It would mean jail sentences. It would mean political accountability. And, as we can see from the illegal and unconstitutional wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and, soon, Iran, no one, whether voter or politician or official, wants to deal with an uncomfortable and rather dangerous reality. It would reflect on their judgment (or lack of it) and, if faced squarely, would cause them to believe that their lives have been a lie.
J. Michael Springmann is a DC-area attorney. He previously spent 20 years in the federal government, most recently as chief of the visa section at the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.