Monday, July 31, 2006

fidel castro Death Watch, Take 2846

The latest joke: castro wakes up from the operation, and the doctor says, I have good news and bad news.

The good news is that the operation went fine and you'll be back on your feet in no time.

The bad news is that officially your dead.
"Local news is reporting that fidel castro has "temporarily" handed power of the communist nation over to his brother Raul. Details are sketchy at the moment, but reports are that he was suffering from "intestinal ailments."
Maybe Presidents Bush's visit to Miami today gave the bearded bastard a bad case of runs. Whatever the outcome, lets all hope castro is presently wallowing in severe pain."
Babalu Blog
Needless to say Miami is celebrating already. And why not, we deserve it, but like all drunken stupors, tomorrow we will pay the bill. But for tonight, let's party like there's no tomorrow.

I'm trying my best to find pictures of the street celebrations going on now here in Miami, but non of the local news channels have anything yet

We are getting report that there have been some unusual police activity in Santa Clara Cuba. Not sure if it's related, but we might just not get a full night of celebrations before the bill comes due.
I'll keep an eye out for anything and report back here.

Sill having no luck getting the pictures of Miami

From KillCastro:

The Grim Reaper is coming....
The news from Cuba are dark....
There's no curfew -officially- but there is an augmented police presence in certain neighbohoods. Just to prevent the people from getting into a celebratory mood, evidently...
...The latest rumor in Havana:
Dead kasstro, he is as dead as it comes.
The police is very nervous and the armed forces have been mobilized...

Thanks CB keep us informed.

The latest from KillCastro linked above:

Monday, July 31, 2006
kasstro calls it quits
The Grim Reaper is coming....
The news from Cuba are dark....
There's no curfew -officially- but there is an augmented police presence in certain neighbohoods. Just to prevent the people from getting into a celebratory mood, evidently.
The rumor mill has many stories, from colon cancer to cyrrhosis of the liver, as we have reported so many times. We also reported on the real cause of his fall, which was according to doctors in the Cira Garcia hospital a fracture of the head of the femur due to bone fragility. Also, a source in the health field in Cuba said that kasstro actually has a coleostomy bag, and that it was evident in his last travel to Argentina.
We will keep you posted, as reports from Havana keep on coming and we need to establish veracity for every single one of them.

The latest rumor in Havana:
Dead kasstro, he is as dead as it comes.
The police is very nervous and the armed forces have been mobilized....
Santa Clara, Havana, Matanzas, Cienfuegos are in a celebratory mood, let's celebrate with them, because if even kasstro is not dead yet, everything can help the moods of the Cuban people.
Abajo fidel!
Viva Cuba Libre!

Procastro elements are roaming the streets of Santiago and Havana with clubs and iron bars.
There are a few areas of Havana without telephone or electric light.
More in a few minutes.


I want to add that the US is stressing for no one to try to travel by sea to try to pick up relatives, the US coast guard is on alert and has orders to stop all vessels heading to Cuba... Story Developing

More from KillCastro:

The population is coming out to the streets in Havana, the Brigadas de Respuesta Rapida have been patrolling with the police, but in La Vibora, Centro Habana, and El Cerro the residents are out on the streets and there are screams of ABAJO FIDEL

My opinion is that the Exiled Cubans of Miami should immediately head for Cuba, anything that will float, swim if you have to but now is the time before the new regime has a chance to take full control

From Babalu Blog, linked above:

Update: Congreswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is urging all Cubans in Miami with boats to NOT attempt to go to Cuba to bring family members over or for any other purpose. All vessels will be intercepted at sea.


I say fuck that, they can't stop us all

The US Embassy in La Havana is reporting quiet, no police no tanks no nothing out of the ordinary
I think Dade county's emergency response team is being called in just in case
From Babalu Blog:

Update: Bird Road in Miami is now reportedly closed because of the impromptu celebrations. WFOR has streaming video of the celebrations in Miami here.

Thanks Val!!

More fro KillCastro:

People massing at el Malecon, coming down from Belascoain, Galiano, and other important streets in Centro Habana, there are Brigadas de Respuesta Rapida and some police presence near the American Interest Section. The police and "civilians" are trying to disperse groups of people near Parque Central and el Capitolio.
There are people in certain parks in La Vibora, as well as people in the rooftops all over the city.

No obituary yet on the New York Times.
Their report was dated at 10:56 pm, they were behind all the bloggers.
A good sign comes by omission: The Granma (official communist party newspaper in Cuba) hasn't updated its website. This is a great sign, because no pre-written statement is up to the situation.
US Embassy still deny it all

I don't think the government is appreciating my call for a boat lift to take down the new regime.

Funny dark tinted window cars are cursing my street, if I disappear, you know who's got me.

Another update:
Many people went down la Rampa from Coppelia towards el Malecon. There are police presence in the area of Coppelia and the Havana Hilton, and near other hotels in the Capital.
From Babalu:

Update: There are thousands of Cuban-Americans out on the streets of Miami right now, all of them celebrating the possible demise of fidel castro. All of them cheering and carrying Cuban flags alongside Old Glory. You can here the shouts of "Libertad! Libertad! Libertad!' in the background on the news reports. It is, indeed, a joyous occassion. But I'd like all of you to know that behind each celebratory scream, behind every smile, behind every feeling of unbridled joy and desperate happiness, there are 47 years of tears. Forty seven years of frustration. Of anger. Of pain. Of loss. Of separated families and drowned brothers and sisters. These celebrations have been paid for in blood. And they are more than well deserved.

Viva Cuba libre coño!

~~~~~~~~~~~ Val as always captures the moment and the emotion~~~~~

Apparently, this is going to be a night without turmoil in Havana.
Just some unrest, and then news will start rolling as word of mouth at the break of the day.
People talk about the incapacity of raul caligula kagasstro to lead to country and the possibility that this is the beginning of the end of the tyranny.
My prediction is that the country will stay quiet, fearing the worse, until the final announce is made. After that, nobody knows anything for sure!
Hopefully they are busy sharpening their knives.
This might be it for tonight, I will keep an eye out, and post if I see or hear anything

Thousands of anti-Castro Cuban-Americans are celebrating in the streets of the Little Havana of Miami tonight. Streaming video of the celebrations here. One step closer to Cuba Libre, baby. Via Yahoo! News:

Michelle Malkin
The cops are trying to reopen the streets all over Miami, but the party goes on. They are asking people to move to the sidewalks to allow traffic to resume.

From the pictures I'm seeing on TV the party has been going on for the last five hours and has been 100% peaceful, I have not heard of any violence or arrest.
But the streets are full of trash from the crowds, and I'm sure that the city wants to get that cleaned up before the morning traffic.

I love you Miami
Viva Cuba Libre
Well it's now 3:00 am in the morning and people are still out on the street. I even saw some fire works go up just now, people are saying that they plan to stay out till they know for sure if the fucker is dead. People are also saying that if Raul takes over that they are going to invade the island to prevent him from ruling over Cuba...we will see.
The DU as delusional as ever about Cuba.

Was The “Qana Massacre” Staged By Hezbollah?

"It was to be a perfect Hollywood ending for Hezbollah. Just as the Israeli bombing of the village of Qana in 1996 brought a premature end to Israel’s Operation "Grapes of Wrath," so too a sequel of Qana II could change, once and for all, the direction of Israel’s current summer blockbuster, "Change of Direction." Ten years ago, world condemnation of an errant Israeli shell that hit a civilian compound forced then-PM Shimon Peres to curtail the offensive against terror bases.
The setting was also perfect: Kana was again being used as a primary site for launching rockets against Israeli cities. The IDF reported that more than 150 rockets had been launched from Qana and its vicinity at Israeli civilians, wreaking destruction in Kiryat Shmona, Maalot, Nahariya and Haifa. It was only a matter of time before the Israeli Air Force would come for a visit, using pinpoint targeting of the sites used to launch rockets, Hezbollah logistical centers and weapon storage facilities."
Sweetness & Light
Warning this story ends with some disturbing pictures of dead children

Milking it?
If you don't like pictures of dead children don't read this

I wanted to add to this post by saying that the blue sucker hanging from the child is a clear prop added for effete. It's brand new and was never buried in rubble, clearly

Thanks to Anonymous from the comment pages of NIW for these links.

A Steven Vincent Blogburst

"On August 2, 2005, the independent journalist Steven Vincent was murdered in Basra. A supporter of Iraqi democratization, Vincent had been reporting from Iraq for two years. Just before his murder, he had published a piece in the New York Times noting the increasingly dangerous activities in Basra of extremist Shiite militias, and it is reasonable to believe that that piece led to his murder at the hands of the thugs he was attempting to expose.

In the days following his death, however, Vincent was smeared by Juan Cole, the bizarre Michigan academic. Cole, who knew nothing more about the circumstances of Vincent's death than were printed in the newspapers, nevertheless offered his groundless speculations about the "real" reasons for his murder. In the process, he demeaned the memory of a far braver and better-informed man than himself. "

Israel Loses the Initiative in Lebanon

"After the airstrike in the Lebanese town of Qana, which killed 57 civilians, Israel has enforced a unilateral 48 hour cessation of air strikes against targets in Lebanon. A new report indicate 28 more civilians were killed during air strikes in villages in southern Lebanon during Israeli hairstyles. The fact that Hezbollah is firing from civilian centers to provoke an Israeli response is generally ignored by the media and international community, and subsequently the tide of international pubic opinion has turned against Israel."
Counterterrorism Blog
And this little gem
"Hezbollah executed 18 "spies" in Tyre

In fact, the very well informed Kuwaiti daily Al Seyassah reported that Hezbollah shot eighteen people last week. These people were suspected of being collaborators to Israel (sounds awfully like what's been happening in the Palestinian territories in the past years). The executed were accused of helping Israeli airforce to pinpoint where Hezbollah fighters were hiding by tracing signs with phosphorescent paint. Numerous witnesses to the execution were German citizens who were being evacuated by boat through Tyre.
Funny this did not make the news, right?"
Counterterrorism Blog
Yea they were probably guilty of not allowing their families and children to spend the night in Hizbollah shelters.

B36 News - 31 July 2006

"Today's top news: I'm alive!

The first leg of the journey went pretty uneventful - which is good! Mum's the word on exactly where I am, but I'll be able to talk about it when I get back to the IZ. I'll try and get some pictures to put up from the journey so far. The Wiz has been doing a good job watching my back.

Here's a quick roundup of good news from Iraq!"

Hammra street, Beirut

"Back in 2003 a month before the War in Iraq, I traveled to Lebanon by Car, of course those days it was safe to travel through the Western Anbar province, I arrived at the Syrian Lebanese borders very late at night and because I’m an Iraqi I had to wait for an interrogation by the Lebanese Intelligence Officer, now the Reason I’m mentioning it right now is to give people who have no Idea what Lebanon is and how routes and towns, villages are so near one another the Officer asked me “can you see the American forces gathering from the hill tops of Baghdad?” my answer was “well…first of all Baghdad is totally flat, second they are gathering hundreds of kilometers away, so the answer to your question is No I can’t see them” with a smirk “Sir”"
Where Date Palms Grow

Qana's Crime=Baghdad's Amiriya Shelter Crime

"The men were crying for more help to evacuate the destroyed building. Their calls were accompanied by tears and cries but in vain. The shelter refugees have already died in one of the most brutal Israeli attacks. Qana Crime, a second one, killed at least 57 people in an Israeli attack on the village Sunday, 37 of them children, their bodies frozen in the angles that only death can bring.

The crime's TV footage and pictures posted on the internet reminded Iraqis with a similar crime happened in 1991 when the U.S. decided to punish Saddam for his invasion to Kuwait by killing his country's civilians. Amiriya Shelter crime was never forgotten. On February 13, 1991 at 4 in the morning it was hit by two American bombs, which incinerated the building, including all but ten of the 400 women and children seeking refuge inside of it. Despite severe looting to the shelter after the U.S.-led invasion, pictures of many of the victims remain, which includes several entire families who died in the slaughter. Shadows of women who died have been burned into the walls, similar to the infamous shadow of a man flash-imprinted into concrete as he was vaporized by the atomic bomb of Hiroshima."
Treasure of Baghdad

The In T View: Lebanese Bloggers on The Lebanon/Hezb'allah - Israeli Conflict: Lebanos

"n this In T View we present Lebanos, who maintains a strong presence in the Lebanese blogging community, appearing in such blogs as: Kadmous, Hamid Aouad, Sasar, Photo Lesson, Roula Awach, and ZouNazar.

MG: Why do you think Hezb'allah acted now?

Lebanos: Alan M. Dershowitz, a Jewish I presume, the Professor of Law at Harvard and the author of "Preemption" wrote today at that Israel was attacked from areas that it does not occupy. And that last sentence says a lot about the situation. Hizbullah indeed attacked inside the Israeli borders, but Israel is occupying a 40 km2 of silver land, sending it's warplanes and sea destroyers to Lebanese territories, prisoning 3 Lebanese captives from earlier operations inside Israel lead by the Palestinians, and refusing to hand out the mines maps to the UN. Those points I stated above are the reasons which Hizbullah is exploiting to keep on it's political agenda, if any."
IBC ~Mister Ghost

Back in Beirut ... For Now

BEIRUT — Sorry for the weekend silence. I meant to write yesterday, but with the events in Qana and the riot/demonstration in Beirut, as well as me running around trying to find a driver and a way to file when I’m down in Tyre, time got away from me. I also, sorry to say, had to take a little break.

Beirut is split and strange. I have no real data on this, but after a week away from Beirut, it feels like it’s whistling past the graveyard. The city is full of refugees from the south and Dahiyeh, but it’s not been hit in sevveral days. (This is before the 48-hour cease fire has gone into effect.) On my street, which is normally very quiet, by early evening, there are dozens of people I’ve never seen before hanging out on balconies, milling about in the street. Children are much more common as are women dressed in conservative hijabs. The south has come to the city, and the city has gone to the mountains. Beirut has become much more Shi’ite in the past three weeks. "
Back to Iraq


"Homecoming, Interrupted
Mosul, Tal Afar, and now the belly of the beast. It was announced this week that our unit, the 172nd Stryker Brigade, has been extended for up to four additional months in Iraq in order to bring additional force to bear on the persistent lawlessness of the capital city of Baghdad. My platoon was already in Kuwait, homeward bound, when we were first notified of this occurrence via Yahoo! News, of all sources. The media, our families, along with anyone else in America who cared knew long before we did that not only were we not returning home as planned following an already mentally and physically draining year in Iraq, but that by the time we finally do we’ll more than have qualified for in-state tuition to Baghdad University.

Of course, not a word of this possibility was breathed to us in recent weeks. Hundreds of our advance party were already home. Many more had already purchased tickets for block leave, had sent home much of their excess gear and equipment at the behest of our command (and at our own expense), and had assured our families and loved ones that the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel was finally shining upon us. And yet, like much of what passes for optimism in the Middle East, in the end it was all little more than a mirage."
American Citizen Soldier

Always Good News: Iraq's Western Border More Secure!

"Iraq’s Western Border Becoming More Secure
by Norris Jones

Al Asad, Iraq—Iraq’s western border with Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia will now be more secure thanks to a continuous line of outposts that will be completed this month.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Gulf Region Central District (GRC) was responsible for overseeing that work which included 23 border forts overlooking nearly 600 kilometers of Iraq’s remote western frontier. The final fort, Border Fort 32, located along the Saudi Arabian border, was recently completed"
Tanker Brothers
You would think someone would have thought about that before today... oh wait...

Has the "fly trap" finally closed? thank god for small miracles.

Sistani Threatens US over Israeli War on Lebanon

"The US punditocracy and ruling elite is fixated on Hizbullah as a "terrorist group" even though the organization hasn't engaged in international terror against American civilians in many years. What they forget about Hizbullah is that it is also a Shiite religious party, and that that is how it is perceived for the most part by Iraqi Shiites. Some 45 percent of Lebanese are probably Shiites.

The other thing to remember is that the United States is now a Shiite Power in part, insofar as it semi-rules a Shiite-majority country, Iraq.

The Associated Press is carrying the story that Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani has demanded an immediate ceasefire in Israel's war on Lebanon, in the wake of the Qana massacre:
' `Islamic nations will not forgive the entities that hinder a cease-fire,'' al-Sistani said in a clear reference to the United States.

``It is not possible to stand helpless in front of this Israeli aggression on Lebanon,'' he added. ``If an immediate cease-fire in this Israeli aggression is not imposed, dire consequences will befall the region.''
Sistani had earlier condemned Israeli air raids on Lebanon but had confined himself to ordering the Iraqi Shiite religious establishment to provide aid to victims of the war in Lebanon."
Juan Cole
Can I say I told you so.

More and more everyday this Hizbollah thing has an ever deeper effect on Iraq.

All I can say about this latest development is to remind you of the code red alert I gave the other day. Is there a color worse than red?

Killings at Qana

QANA, Lebanon - In the worst incident of civilian casualties in Lebanon since the beginning of Israel's offensive against Hezbollah over two weeks ago, at least 25 people were killed early Sunday, including at least 19 children, when missiles struck a house where many were huddled in the basement, according to Red Cross and Lebanese army officials at the scene.

Reports of the death toll varied, as is often the case with an event as chaotic as this. News agencies reported that more than 50 were killed, citing conflicting numbers from officials and eyewitnesses.

Amid an international outcry over the attack, Israel agreed to halt its bombing campaign in Lebanon for 48 hours pending a probe of the incident. Indeed, early Monday morning here, aside from the sound of drone aircraft, there are no sounds of jets over Lebanese skies for the first time in weeks.

Ghazi Addibi, a farmer who lives in Qana, says the bombing began around 1 a.m. Sunday and that he counted 120 explosions throughout the night, two of them hitting the house next to his where two families, the Shalhoubs and the Hashems, had taken refuge.

Many people in the village had taken to sleeping in their basements because of the aerial bombardment that has continued here almost day and night since the Israelis began their offensive.

"We heard the screams of one of the boys who was blown out of the building," says Abbas Kassab, who also lives in Qana. "He was alive but his legs were badly damaged and someone came out of the rubble with the boy's dead sister and laid her next to him. When we saw what had happened to the house we just all started digging with our hands or hoes, whatever we had, until the big machinery arrived."

Ghazi Adibbi says the two families, like many others left behind, didn't have the money to flee to safe havens in the north.

"They were just farmers and couldn't leave their fields," Adibbi says. "Besides, who has the money ... to get to Beirut?"

Qana is the legendary village in the Bible where Jesus Christ is said to have performed his first miracle, turning water into wine at a wedding party. It is five kilometers south of the city of Tyre, a way station in southern Lebanon for people fleeing to the north.

This is not the first time Qana has experienced wartime tragedy. In 1996, Israel struck a U.N. base sheltering Lebanese here, killing over 100 people. That attack sparked political fallout, as the current attack already has done. On Sunday, Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora said he canceled meetings with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, in the region for a second round of diplomacy.

Many of the bodies from the Qana attack had already been taken to the Tyre City Hospital by the time I got to Qana. Identification was removed from their clothing; they were numbered and catalogued and then wrapped in black plastic, their names written on the masking tape that binds the plastic before being placed in a refrigerated truck.

But five children are still in one of the ambulances at the scene of the attack. A Red Cross worker opens the doors to reveal the bodies of five boys aged from five to fifteen. He pulls the blankets back to show the bruised and dusty corpses.

He picks up the body of the smallest one and holds it up for a second to show us. The boy is dressed in green shorts and white sleeveless t-shirt. Aside from the white dust that covers his body, there are no signs of the blast trauma and falling concrete that likely killed him. His eyes are closed and the only evidence of his violent death seems to be the slight gritting of his teeth.

By early afternoon a contingent of United Nations soldiers from China arrives in Qana with a large backhoe and together with a bulldozer from the Lebanese Army begins digging through the piles of concrete and twisted rebar.

It is a slow process. Two stories of the three-story building have collapsed, leaving a twisted mess that is not easily pulled apart. After two hours of digging there's still no sign of any more bodies.

This house was only one of many buildings bombed in Qana overnight, with no word on casualties from other locations. But in driving to the location I could see huge swaths of destruction which included everything from residences and a supermarket to a small mosque.

Under a pile of rubble at the mosque is a small sign of Qana's life before the bombing: a note handwritten on white lined paper. My translator reads portions of it aloud. It is a letter from a woman telling a man that she doesn't love him because he has not shown her respect. The letter and emotions conveyed in it, would, in another time, seem quite important, at least to the two people involved, but here in this dust-laced and possibly irreparably broken place, it is just another thing scattered on the streets.

I ask Abbas Kassab why the Israelis would strike Qana so severely — what tactical or strategic value it might have. But he is adamant that there is none — that Hezbollah, or the resistance, as the Lebanese call it, does not operate in the village.

"There's no resistance here. Israel is lying. There are no resistance fighters here. Children are playing; there are no resistance at all," he says. "There was a mother with a seven-month-old child that was killed. Was she a resistance fighter?"

Israel argues otherwise. Israeli officials were quick to voice their regret for the loss of civilian life but placed the blame on Hezbollah, saying that Hezbollah had been using positions around Qana, including near the buildings targeted, to launch rockets at Israel. Hezbollah has launched daily rocket barrages toward Israel during the current crisis, killing 18 Israeli civilians, according to news reports. It was Hezbollah's cross border raid into Israel on July 12 that sparked the current crisis.

The contradictory claims mirror other conflict scenes I have visited in the south of Lebanon this week, with people on the street arguing strenuously that Hezbollah had no presence in the area, and Israel claiming otherwise. On Wednesday, at the scene of a bombed apartment building in Tyre, I met a man who told me that the area had nothing to do with Hezbollah, but press reports said the building was the office of Hezbollah's southern Lebanon commander, Sheik Nabil Kaouk.

I ask Abbas Kassab who he blames for the bombing and death in Qana, and the answer I receive is similar to what I have heard elsewhere on the streets of Lebanon:

"America," he says. "Only America."


"America gave the green light for Israel to do this. Israel can't shoot one bullet without America's permission. America is responsible. There are not resistance fighters here. Only kids playing. Even if there were, why would they kill civilians? Let them fight in Bint Jbail where the resistance is. Let Israel go to Bint Jbail and see what they can do."

Meanwhile, five hours of digging has turned up no new bodies and both the Lebanese Army and the U.N. contingent know they're running out of time. There's only an hour of daylight left to dig.

Now villagers in Qana tell them there are only five people that are unaccounted for, not the 25 or 30 they originally thought. The excavation teams give up the dig at about 7:30 p.m. Sunday. A beautiful soft dusk falls over the surrounding hills and valleys, a sharp contrast to the death and destruction they have been knee-deep in for more than 12 hours.

Despite what has happened here, Ghazi Adibbi says he and the others that are left will likely stay in the village. What has happened has hardened his heart about the conflict.

"We are resisting. We don't want a cease-fire anymore," he says. "We want the resistance to bomb Israel every day."

Kevin Sites in the hot zone

Follow the link for all the pictures and video

Amazing how fast the Chinese are on the scene. But anyway the guilty Jews are suspending attacks in the area to allow evidence against them to be collected. Funny way for the guilty to act.

I apologize

I apologize for the above post. It seems I have unfairly described Hezbollah's war tactics. Hezbollah never places weapons in populated civlians. Below is the proof
The Big Pharaoh

Come on BP your just making this up, Hizbollah would never put antiaircraft guns right next to a three story building, you made those pictures up. And look those Hizbollah fighters are out of uniform, how are the reporters supposed to know if there are any fighters in a civilian area if the fighters dress like civilians... you a big phat liar, we all know that Israel is just evil and the like to kill civilians, their going to target the Humane Society next, just you wait and see.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

An Inconvenient Patriot

Love of country led Sibel Edmonds to become a translator for the F.B.I. following 9/11. But everything changed when she accused a colleague of covering up alleged illicit activity involving Turkish nationals. Fired after sounding the alarm, she's now preparing a Supreme Court appeal—and threatening some very powerful people (from Vanity Fair, September 2005)

In Washington, D.C., and its suburbs, December 2, 2001, was fine but cool, the start of the slide into winter after a spell of unseasonable warmth. At 10 o'clock that morning, Sibel and Matthew Edmonds were still in their pajamas, sipping coffee in the kitchen of their waterfront town house in Alexandria, Virginia, and looking forward to a well-deserved lazy Sunday.

Since mid-September, nine days after the 9/11 attacks, Sibel had been exploiting her fluency in Turkish, Farsi, and Azerbaijani as a translator at the F.B.I. It was arduous, demanding work, and Edmonds—who had two bachelor's degrees, was about to begin studying for a master's, and had plans for a doctorate—could have been considered overqualified. But as a naturalized Turkish-American, she saw the job as her patriotic duty.

The Edmondses' thoughts were turning to brunch when Matthew answered the telephone. The caller was a woman he barely knew—Melek Can Dickerson, who worked with Sibel at the F.B.I. "I'm in the area with my husband and I'd love you to meet him," Dickerson said. "Is it O.K. if we come by?" Taken by surprise, Sibel and Matthew hurried to shower and dress. Their guests arrived 30 minutes later. Matthew, a big man with a fuzz of gray beard, who at 60 was nearly twice the age of his petite, vivacious wife, showed them into the kitchen. They sat at a round, faux-marble table while Sibel brewed tea.

Melek's husband, Douglas, a U.S. Air Force major who had spent several years as a military attaché in the Turkish capital of Ankara, did most of the talking, Matthew recalls. "He was pretty outspoken, pretty outgoing—about meeting his wife in Turkey, and about his job. He was in weapons procurement." Like Matthew, he was older than his wife, who had been born about a year before Sibel.

According to Sibel, 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 (A.T.C.) and the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (A.T.A.A.). "He said the A.T.C. 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.'" Matthew could see that his wife was far from comfortable: "She tried to change the conversation to the weather and suchlike." But the Dickersons, says Matthew, steered it back to what they called their "network of high-level friends." Some, they said, worked at the Turkish Embassy in Washington. "They said they even went shopping weekly for [one of them] at a Mediterranean market," Matthew says. "They used to take him special Turkish bread."

Before long, the Dickersons left. At the time, Matthew says, he found it "a strange conversation for the first time you meet a couple. Why would someone I'd never met say such things?"

Only Sibel knew just how strange. A large part of her work at the F.B.I. involved listening to the wiretapped conversations of people who were targets of counter-intelligence investigations. As she would later tell investigators from the Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General (O.I.G.) and the U.S. Congress, some of those targets were Turkish officials the Dickersons had described as high-level friends. In Sibel's view, the Dickersons had asked the Edmondses to befriend F.B.I. suspects. (In August 2002, Melek Can Dickerson called Sibel's allegations "preposterous, ludicrous and slanderous.")

Sibel also recalled hearing wiretaps indicating that Turkish Embassy targets frequently spoke to staff members at the A.T.C., one of the organizations the Dickersons allegedly wanted her and her husband to join. Sibel later told the O.I.G. she assumed that the A.T.C.'s board—which is chaired by Brent Scowcroft, President George H. W. Bush's national-security adviser—knew nothing of the use to which it was being put. But the wiretaps suggested to her that the Washington office of the A.T.C. was being used as a front for criminal activity.

Sibel and Matthew stood at the window of their oak-paneled hallway and watched the Dickersons leave. Sibel's Sunday had been ruined.

Immediately and in the weeks that followed, Sibel Edmonds tried to persuade her bosses to investigate the Dickersons. There was more to her suspicions than their peculiar Sunday visit. According to documents filed by Edmonds's lawyers, Sibel believed Melek Can Dickerson had leaked information to one or more targets of an F.B.I. investigation, and had tried to prevent Edmonds from listening to wiretaps of F.B.I. targets herself. But instead of carrying out a thorough investigation of her allegations, at the end of March 2002 the F.B.I. fired Edmonds.

Edmonds is not the first avowed national-security whistle-blower to suffer retaliation at the hands of a government bureaucracy that feels threatened or embarrassed. But being fired is one thing. Edmonds has also been prevented from proceeding with her court challenge or even speaking with complete freedom about the case.

On top of the usual prohibition against disclosing classified information, the Bush administration has smothered her case beneath the all-encompassing blanket of the "state-secrets privilege"—a Draconian and rarely used legal weapon that allows the government, merely by asserting a risk to national security, to prevent the lawsuits Edmonds has filed contesting her treatment from being heard in court at all. According to the Department of Justice, to allow Edmonds her day in court, even at a closed hearing attended only by personnel with full security clearance, "could reasonably be expected to cause serious damage to the foreign policy and national security of the United States."

Using the state-secrets privilege in this fashion is unusual, says Edmonds's attorney Ann Beeson, of the American Civil Liberties Union. "It also begs a question: Just what in the world is the government trying to hide?"

It may be more than another embarrassing security scandal. One counter-intelligence official familiar with Edmonds's case has told Vanity Fair that the F.B.I. opened an investigation into covert activity by Turkish nationals in the late 1990s. That inquiry found evidence, mainly via wiretaps, of attempts to corrupt senior American politicians in at least two major cities—Washington and Chicago. Toward the end of 2001, Edmonds was asked to translate some of the thousands of calls that had been recorded by this operation, some dating back to 1997.

Edmonds has given confidential testimony inside a secure Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility on several occasions: to congressional staffers, to investigators from the O.I.G., and to staff from the 9/11 commission. Sources familiar with this testimony say that, in addition to her allegations about the Dickersons, she reported hearing Turkish wiretap targets boast that they had a covert relationship with a very senior politician indeed—Dennis Hastert, Republican congressman from Illinois and Speaker of the House since 1999. The targets reportedly discussed giving Hastert tens of thousands of dollars in surreptitious payments in exchange for political favors and information. "The Dickersons," says one official familiar with the case, "are only the tip of the iceberg."

It's safe to say that Edmonds inherited her fearless obstinacy from her father, Rasim Deniz, who died in 2000. Born in the Tabriz region of northwestern Iran, many of whose natives speak Farsi (Persian), Turkish, and Azerbaijani, he was one of the Middle East's leading reconstructive surgeons, but his forthright liberal and secular opinions brought him into a series of conflicts with the local regimes. One of Sibel's earliest memories is of a search of her family's house in Tehran by members of SAVAK, the Shah's secret police, who were looking for left-wing books. Later, in 1981, came a terrifying evening after the Ayatollah Khomeini's Islamist revolution, when Sibel was 11. She was waiting in the car while her father went into a restaurant for takeout. By the time Deniz returned, his vehicle had been boxed in by government S.U.V.'s, and Sibel was surrounded by black-clad revolutionary guards, who announced they were taking her to jail because her headscarf was insufficiently modest.

"My father showed his ID and asked them, 'Do you know who I am?,'" Sibel says. "He had been doing pro bono work in the slums of south Tehran for years, and now it was the height of the Iran-Iraq war. He told them, 'I have treated so many of your brothers. If you take my daughter, next time I have one in my operating room who needs an amputation at the wrist, I will cut his arm off at the shoulder.' They let me go."

It was time to get out. As soon as he could, Deniz abandoned his property and his post as head of the burn center at one of Tehran's most prestigious hospitals, and the family fled to Turkey.

When Sibel was 17, she wrote a paper for a high-school competition. Her chosen subject was Turkey's censorship laws, and why it was wrong to ban books and jail dissident writers. Her principal was outraged, she says, and asked her father to get her to write something else. Deniz refused, but the incident caused a family crisis. "My uncle was mayor of Istanbul, and suddenly my essay was being discussed at an emergency meeting of the whole Deniz tribe. My dad was the only one who supported what I'd done. That was the last straw for me. I decided to take a break and go to the United States. I came here and fell in love with a lot of things—freedom. Now I wonder: was it just an illusion?"

Sibel enrolled at a college in Maryland, where she studied English and hotel management; later, she received bachelor's degrees at George Washington University in criminal justice and psychology, and worked with juvenile offenders. In 1992, at age 22, she had married Matthew Edmonds, a divorced retail-technology consultant who had lived in Virginia all his life.

For a long time, they lived an idyllic, carefree life. They bought their house in Alexandria, and Sibel transformed it into an airy, spacious haven, with marble floors, a library, and breathtaking views across the Potomac River to Washington. Matthew had always wanted to visit Russia, and at Sibel's suggestion they spent three months in St. Petersburg, working with a children's hospital charity run by the cellist Mstislav Rostropovich. Sibel's family visited America often, and she and Matthew spent their summers at a cottage they had bought in Bodrum, Turkey, on the Aegean coast.

"People said we wouldn't last two years," Sibel says. "And here we still are, nearly 13 years on. A lot of people who go through the kind of experiences I've had find they put a huge strain on their marriage. Matthew is my rock. I couldn't have done it without him."

In 1978, when Sibel was eight and the Islamists' violent prelude to the Iranian revolution was just beginning, a bomb went off in a movie theater next to her elementary school. "I can remember sitting in a car, seeing the rescuers pulling charred bodies and stumps out of the fire. Then, on September 11, to see this thing happening here, across the ocean—it brought it all back. They put out a call for translators, and I thought, Maybe I can help stop this from happening again."

The translation department Edmonds joined was housed in a huge, L-shaped room in the F.B.I.'s Washington field office. Some 200 to 300 translators sat in this vast, open space, listening with headphones to digitally recorded wiretaps. The job carried heavy responsibilities. "You are the front line," Edmonds says. "You are the filter for every piece of intelligence which comes in foreign languages. It's down to you to decide what's important—'pertinent,' as the F.B.I. calls it—and what's not. You decide what requires verbatim translation, what can be summarized, and what should be marked 'not pertinent' and left alone. By the time this material reaches the agents and analysts, you've already decided what they're going to get." To get this right requires a broad background of cultural and political knowledge: "If you're simply a linguist, you won't be able to discern these differences."

She was surprised to discover that until her arrival the F.B.I. had employed no Turkish-language specialists at all. In early October she was joined by a second Turkish translator, who had been hired despite his having failed language-proficiency tests.

Several weeks later, a third Turkish speaker joined the department: Melek Can Dickerson. In her application for the job, she wrote that she had not previously worked in America. In fact, however, she had spent two years as an intern at an organization that figured in many of the wiretaps—the American-Turkish Council.

Much later, after Edmonds was fired, the F.B.I. gave briefings to the House and Senate. One source who was present says bureau officials admitted that Dickerson had concealed her history with the A.T.C., not only in writing but also when interviewed as part of her background security check. In addition, the officials conceded that Dickerson began a friendship at the A.T.C. with one of the F.B.I.'s targets. "They confirmed that when she got to the bureau she was supposed to be listening to his calls," says one congressional source. "To me, that was like asking a friend of a mobster to listen to him ordering hits. She might have an allegiance problem. But they seemed not to get it.… They blew off their friendship as 'just a social thing.' They told us, 'They had been colleagues at work, after all.'"

Shortly after the house visit from the Dickersons, Sibel conveyed her version of the event to her supervisor, Mike Feghali—first orally and then in writing. The "supervisory language specialist" responsible for linguists working in several Middle Eastern languages, Feghali is a Lebanese-American who had previously been an F.B.I. Arabic translator for many years. Edmonds says he told her not to worry.

Toward the end of December, Edmonds was absorbed in a translation when Dickerson approached her desk. She swiftly got to the point.

To monitor every call on every line at a large institution such as the Turkish Embassy in Washington would not be feasible. Inevitably, the F.B.I. listens more carefully to the phones used by its targets, such as the Dickersons' purported friend. In the past, the assignment of lines to each translator had always been random: Edmonds might have found herself listening to a potentially significant conversation by a counter-intelligence target one minute and an innocuous discussion about some diplomatic party the next. Now, however, according to Edmonds, Dickerson suggested changing this system, so that each Turkish speaker would be permanently responsible for certain lines. She produced a list of names and numbers, together with her proposals for dividing them up. As Edmonds would later tell her F.B.I. bosses and congressional investigators, Dickerson had assigned the American-Turkish Council and three other "high-value" diplomatic targets, including her friend, to herself.

Edmonds found this arrangement very questionable. But she says that Dickerson spent a large part of that afternoon talking with Feghali inside his office. The next day he announced in an e-mail that he had decided to assign the Turkish wiretaps on exactly the basis recommended by Dickerson.

Like all the translators, Edmonds was effectively working with two, parallel lines of management: Feghali and the senior translation-department bosses above him, on the one hand, and, on the other, the investigators and agents who actually used the material she translated. Early in the new year, 2002, Edmonds says, she discovered that Dennis Saccher, the F.B.I.'s special agent in charge of Turkish counter-intelligence, had developed his own, quite separate concerns about Dickerson.

On the morning of January 14, Sibel says, Saccher asked Edmonds into his cramped cubicle on the fifth floor. On his desk were printouts from the F.B.I. language-department database. They showed that on numerous occasions Dickerson had marked calls involving her friend and other counter-intelligence targets as "not pertinent," or had submitted only brief summaries stating that they contained nothing of interest. Some of these calls had a duration of more than 15 minutes. Saccher asked Edmonds why she was no longer working on these targets' conversations. She explained the new division of labor, and went on to tell him about the Dickersons' visit the previous month. Saccher was appalled, Edmonds says, telling her, "It sounds like espionage to me."

Saccher asked Edmonds and a colleague, Kevin Taskasen, to go back into the F.B.I.'s digital wiretap archive and listen to some of the calls that Dickerson had marked "not pertinent," and to re-translate as many as they could. Saccher suggested that they all meet with Feghali in a conference room on Friday, February 1. First, however, Edmonds and Taskasen should go to Saccher's office for a short pre-meeting—to review their findings and to discuss how to handle Feghali.

Edmonds had time to listen to numerous calls before the Friday meeting, and some of them sounded important. According to her later secure testimony, in one conversation, recorded shortly after Dickerson reserved the targets' calls for herself, a Turkish official spoke directly to a U.S. State Department staffer. They agreed that the State Department staffer would send a representative at an appointed time to the American-Turkish Council office, at 1111 14th Street NW, where he would be given $7,000 in cash. "She told us she'd heard mention of exchanges of information, dead drops—that kind of thing," a congressional source says. "It was mostly money in exchange for secrets." (A spokesperson for the A.T.C. denies that the organization has ever been involved in espionage or illegal payments. And a spokesperson for the Assembly of Turkish American Associations said that to suggest the group was involved with espionage or illegal payments is "ridiculous.")

Another call allegedly discussed a payment to a Pentagon official, who seemed to be involved in weapons-procurement negotiations. Yet another implied that Turkish groups had been installing doctoral students at U.S. research institutions in order to acquire information about black-market nuclear weapons. In fact, much of what Edmonds reportedly heard seemed to concern not state espionage but criminal activity. There was talk, she told investigators, of laundering the profits of large-scale drug deals and of selling classified military technologies to the highest bidder.

Before entering the F.B.I. building for their Friday meeting with Saccher, Edmonds and Taskasen stood for a while on the sidewalk, smoking cigarettes. "Afterwards, we went directly to Saccher's office," Edmonds says. "We talked for a little while, and he said he'd see us downstairs for the meeting with Feghali a few minutes later, at nine a.m." They were barely out of the elevator when Feghali intercepted them. He didn't know they had just come from Saccher's office.

"Come on, we're going to start the meeting," he said. "By the way, Dennis Saccher can't be there. He's been sent out somewhere into the field." Later, Edmonds says, she called Saccher on the internal phone. "Why the hell did you cancel?" she asked. Bewildered, he told her that immediately after she and Taskasen had left his office Feghali phoned him, saying that the conference room was already in use, and that the meeting would have to be postponed.

Edmonds says Saccher also told her that he had been ordered not to touch the case by his own superiors, who called it a "can of worms." Despite his role as special agent in charge of Turkish counter-intelligence, he had even been forbidden to obtain copies of her translations. Saccher had two small children and a settled life in Washington. If he dared to complain, Edmonds says, he risked being assigned "to some fucked-up office in the land of tornadoes."

Instead, Edmonds was ushered into the windowless office of Feghali's colleague, translation-department supervisor Stephanie Bryan. Investigating possible espionage was not a task for which Bryan had been trained or equipped.

Bryan heard Edmonds out and told her to set down her allegations in a confidential memo. Edmonds says that Bryan approved of her writing it at home. Edmonds gave the document to Bryan on Monday, February 11. Early the following afternoon, the supervisor summoned Edmonds. Waiting in a nearby office were two other people, Feghali and Melek Can Dickerson. In front of them were Edmonds's translations of the wiretaps and her memo.

"Stephanie said that she'd taken my memo to the supervisory special agent, Tom Frields," Edmonds says. "He apparently wouldn't even look at it until Mike Feghali and Dickerson had seen it and been given a chance to comment. Stephanie said that, working for the government, there were certain things you didn't do, and criticizing your colleagues' work was one of them. She told me, 'Do you realize what this means? If you were right, the people who did the background checks would have to be investigated. The whole translation department could be shaken up!' Meanwhile, I was going to be investigated for a possible security breach—for putting classified information onto my home computer. I was told to go to the security department at three p.m."

Before Edmonds left, Dickerson had time to sidle over to her desk. According to Edmonds, she made what sounded like a threat: "Why are you doing this, Sibel? Why don't you just drop it? You know there could be serious consequences. Why put your family in Turkey in danger over this?"

Edmonds says that the F.B.I.'s response to her was beginning to shift from indifference to outright retaliation. On February 13, the day after her interview with the bureau security office, three agents came to her home and seized the computer she shared with her husband. "I hadn't had time to back up the data, and I told them that most of my business was on that computer," Matthew Edmonds says.

"An agent called the next morning," Matthew says. "He told me, 'Everything on your computer is destroyed, and we didn't back it up.' They were playing games. When I got the computer back, they had wiped everything. Four days later, I got a CD-ROM with it all backed up." A lifelong conservative Republican, Matthew was being shocked into changing his worldview. "I was so naïve. I mean, what do you do if you think your colleague might be a spy? You go to the F.B.I.! I thought if Sibel's supervisor wasn't fixing this problem she should go to his superior, and so on up the chain. Someone would eventually fix it. I was never a cynical person. I am now."

While the agents were examining the Edmondses' computer, Mike Feghali was writing a memo for his own managers, stating "there was no basis" for Sibel's allegations. A day earlier, an F.B.I. security officer had interviewed Dickerson. A report issued by the O.I.G. in January 2005 states, "The Security Officer did not challenge the co-worker [Dickerson] with respect to any information the co-worker provided, although that information was not consistent with F.B.I. records. In addition … he did not review other crucial F.B.I. records, which would have supported some of Edmonds' allegations." Instead, he treated her claims as "performance issues," and "seemed not to appreciate or investigate the allegation that a co-worker may have been committing espionage."

According to a congressional source, the fact that Edmonds was a mere contract linguist, rather than an agent, made her claims less palatable. "They seemed to be saying, 'We don't need someone like this making trouble,'" the source says. "Yet, to her credit, she really did go up through the chain of command: to her boss, his boss, and so on."

Edmonds reached the top of the language-section management on February 22, when she met with supervisory special agent Tom Frields, a gray-haired veteran who was approaching the end of a long bureau career. At first it seemed he was trying to set her mind at rest: "He told me, 'I just want to assure you that everything is fine, and as far as you're concerned, your work on this matter is done,'" Edmonds says. "I told him, 'No, it's not fine. My family is worried about possible threats to their safety in Turkey.' His face went through a transformation. He warned me that these issues were classified at the highest level and must not be disclosed to anyone. He started to interrogate me: Who had I told? He said if it was anyone unauthorized he could have me arrested."

Edmonds's meeting with Frields on the 22nd was probably her last chance to save her job. The inspector general's 2005 report disclosed, "Immediately after the meeting, [Frields] began to explore whether the F.B.I. had the option to cease using Edmonds as a contract linguist." Four days later the bureau's contracting unit told him, "If it was determined that [she] was unsuitable, the F.B.I. would have sufficient reason to terminate her contract."

Stymied by Frields, Edmonds tried to go still higher, and on March 7 she was granted an audience with James Caruso, the F.B.I.'s deputy assistant director for counterterrorism and counter-intelligence. Edmonds says he listened politely for more than an hour but took no notes and asked no questions. Afterward, Matthew picked her up and they drove to the Capital Grille for an early lunch. It was only 11:30 and the restaurant was still empty, but as the Edmondses began to study their menus, they saw two men in suits pull up outside in an F.B.I.-issue S.U.V. They came inside and sat down at the next table.

"They just sat and stared at Sibel," Matthew says. "They took out their cell phones, opened them, and put them on the table. They didn't eat or drink—just sat, staring at Sibel, the whole time we were there." Modified cell phones, Sibel knew, are commonly used by bureau agents as a means of making covert recordings.

That afternoon, Sibel wrote to two official bodies with powers to investigate the F.B.I.—the Justice Department's internal-affairs division, known as the Office of Professional Responsibility, and its independent watchdog, the O.I.G. She went on to send faxes to the Senate Intelligence Committee and Senators Charles Grassley, Republican from Iowa, and Patrick Leahy, Democrat from Vermont, both of whom sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee, to say that she had found evidence of possible national-security breaches.

On March 8, Sibel appeared at a dingy little office in Washington's Chinatown, where she was polygraphed. According to the 2005 inspector general's report, the purpose of this examination was to discover whether she had made unauthorized disclosures of classified information. "She was not deceptive in her answers," the O.I.G. reported.

Dickerson was polygraphed two weeks later, on March 21, and she too was deemed to have passed. But, according to an official cited in the report, the questions she was asked were vague and nonspecific: "The Polygraph Unit Chief admitted that questions directly on point could have been asked but were not." Nevertheless, then and for a long time afterward, the F.B.I. "continued to rely on the [Dickerson] polygraph as support for its position that Edmonds' allegations were unfounded."

Dickerson's polygraph test, however unsatisfactory, seems to have sealed Edmonds's fate at the F.B.I. The following afternoon, she was asked to wait in Stephanie Bryan's office. "Feghali saw me sitting there and leaned across the doorway," Edmonds says. "He tapped his watch and said, 'In less than an hour you will be fired, you whore.'" A few minutes later, she was summoned to a meeting with Frields. They were joined by Bryan and George Stukenbroeker, the chief of personnel security and the man in charge of investigating her case. Edmonds had violated every security rule in the book, Stukenbroeker said.

A hulking security guard arrived to help escort her from the building. Edmonds asked if she could return to her desk to retrieve some photos, including shots of her late father of which she had no copies. Bryan refused, saying, "You'll never set foot in the F.B.I. again." Bryan promised to forward them, says Edmonds, who never got the photos back. Edmonds looked at Frields. "You are only making your wrongdoing worse, and my case stronger. I will see you very soon," she told him. According to Edmonds, Frields replied, "Soon maybe, but it will be in jail. I'll see you in jail." (When interviewed by the O.I.G., Frields and another witness denied his making this comment.)

Matthew was waiting outside. "I'm not a crybaby," Sibel says. "But as I got into my husband's car that afternoon I was in floods, shaking."

As soon as she had returned home from the February meeting where Dickerson allegedly cautioned her not to endanger her family in Turkey, Sibel called her mother and sister in Istanbul, even though it was the middle of the night there. Sibel is the oldest of three sisters. The youngest was studying in America and living with the Edmondses in Alexandria, but the middle sister—whose name Edmonds wishes to protect—was enjoying a successful career at an international travel company based in Istanbul. The 29-year-old was also engaged to be married. Within days of receiving Sibel's call, she flew with her mother to Washington.

Early in April, Sibel and Matthew were having lunch in their favorite Thai restaurant in Old Town Alexandria—a precious chance, with their house now fully occupied by Sibel's family, to share a private moment together. "My cell phone rang," Sibel says. "It was my middle sister. She said something really bad had happened and I must come back at once."

The sister's Istanbul neighbor had just phoned, saying that two policemen had knocked on her door, asking for the sister's whereabouts. They would not disclose the reason, saying only that it was an "intelligence matter." They also left a document. Sent by Tevfik Asici of the Atakoy Branch Police Station and dated April 11, it was addressed to Sibel's sister and read, "For an important issue your deposition/interrogation is required. If you do not report to the station within 5 days, between 09:00 and 17:00, as is required by Turkish law CMK.132, you will be taken/arrested by force."

In July 2002, with a written recommendation from Senator Grassley, Sibel's sister requested political asylum in the United States. Her application statement cited the threat allegedly made by Dickerson, adding that Sibel would now be considered "a spy and a traitor to Turkey under Turkish law, and the Turkish police will use me to get at her. Turkish police are known for using cruelty and torture during interrogation; subjects are kept without advice to family members and often disappear with no trace." Estranged from Sibel, the sister remains in America, unable to go home.

Edmonds did what numerous avowed whistle-blowers had done before: she appealed to Congress, and she got a lawyer—David Colapinto of the Washington firm Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto, which advertises itself on its Web site as specializing in cases of this kind. He filed suit under the Freedom of Information Act for full disclosure of what had happened inside the bureau, and submitted a claim for damages for the violation of Edmonds's constitutional rights. By August he was ready to depose Douglas and Melek Can Dickerson. But before their scheduled deposition, the couple abruptly left the country. Douglas had been assigned to an air-force job in Belgium. Virgil Magee, a U.S. Air Force spokesman in Belgium, confirms that Dickerson remains on active duty in Europe, but refuses to say exactly where.

That fall, Attorney General John Ashcroft tried to wipe out Edmonds's legal action by invoking the state-secrets privilege. This recourse, derived from English common law, has never been the subject of any congressional vote or statute. Normally, says Ann Beeson of the A.C.L.U., it is used by the government when it wants to resist the legal "discovery" in court of a specific piece of evidence that it fears might harm national security if publicized. But in Edmonds's case Ashcroft argued that the very subject of her lawsuit was a state secret. To air her claims in front of federal judges would jeopardize national security.

This, Beeson says, had distinct advantages for the F.B.I. and the Department of Justice: it meant they did not have to contest the merits of her claims. Moreover, the substance of the arguments they used to justify this level of secrecy was and is secret itself. The full version of Ashcroft's declaration invoking the privilege, filed on October 18, 2002, was classified, and in public the case for blocking Edmonds's action rested on the mere assertion that it would be damaging to proceed. Later, in 2004, the law firm Motley Rice sought to depose her for a pending case on behalf of the families of 9/11 victims. Immediately, Ashcroft asserted the privilege again. Motley Rice submitted a list of questions it wanted to ask Edmonds, almost all of which were prohibited. Among them: "When and where were you born?," "What languages do you speak?," and "Where did you go to school?"

Edmonds still wanted to fight, and to challenge Ashcroft in court. But over the next few months, the relationship with her lawyers began to suffer. "Let's face it, taking on the D.O.J. is no joke, especially in Washington," Edmonds says.

It was the absolute low point. "I tried to find another firm," she says, "but as soon as I mentioned the state-secrets privilege, it was like, 'Turn around, go back, and by the way the clock is running at $450 an hour.' I must have been turned away by 20 firms."

The Dickersons, the Justice Department, and the F.B.I. and its relevant personnel declined to comment for this article. In August 2002, Melek Can Dickerson told the Chicago Tribune, "both the F.B.I. and the Department of Justice have conducted separate investigations of [Edmonds's] claims.… They fired her and, interestingly, they continued my contract."

In September 2002, Colonel James Worth of the Office of the Air Force Inspector General said that, in response to a letter from Edmonds, there had been a "complete and thorough review of Major [Douglas] Dickerson's relationship with the American-Turkish Council" that found "no evidence of any deviation from the scope of his duties." Edmonds says she was not interviewed by those conducting the review.

Edmonds's treatment by the F.B.I. seems to fit two baleful patterns: the first is the bureau's refusal to address potentially disastrous internal-security flaws; the second is a general tendency among national-security agencies to retaliate against whistle-blowers.

Amid the lush greenery of his parents' garden in Plattsmouth, Nebraska, former F.B.I. senior intelligence-operations specialist John Cole describes how these institutional inclinations combined to destroy his career. Now 44, Cole joined the F.B.I. in 1985. By the late 1990s, he was running undercover operations in the Washington area, focusing on counterterrorism and counter-intelligence. Later, while also playing a key role in the 9/11 investigation, he became the F.B.I.'s national counter-intelligence program manager for India, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

Early in the fall of 2001, Cole was asked to assess whether a woman who had applied to work as a translator of Urdu, Pakistan's national language, might pose a risk to security. "The personnel security officer said she thought there was something that didn't seem right," Cole says. "I went through the file and it stuck out a mile: she was the daughter of a retired Pakistani general who had been their military attaché in Washington." He adds that, to his knowledge, "Every single military attaché they've ever assigned has been a known intelligence officer."

After September 11, this association looked especially risky. The Pakistani intelligence service had trained and supported the Taliban in Afghanistan, and still contained elements who were far from happy with President Pervez Musharraf's pro-American policies. Cole gave his findings to the security officer. "Well done," she said. "You've found it."

A week later, she called Cole again, to say that the woman had started work that morning with a top-secret security clearance. F.B.I. director Robert Mueller had promised Congress that the bureau would hire lots of new Middle Eastern linguists, and normal procedures had been short-circuited as a result. As of July 2005, the woman was still a bureau translator. Sibel Edmonds says she remembers her well—as the leader of a group that pressed for separate restrooms for Muslims.

Cole says the incident was only one of several that caused him to doubt the quality and security of the F.B.I.'s counterterrorism efforts, and, like Edmonds, he says he tried to fix the problems he saw by going up the chain of command. Getting rid of an agent of his stature was a lot more difficult than firing a contract linguist. Cole says the retaliation began when, after years of glowing reports, his annual appraisal found his work in one area to be "minimally acceptable." Next, he was placed under investigation by the Office of Professional Responsibility, first on a charge that he had lied about a personal loan on a routine background check, and then, after he took his case to Congress, on the same grounds used against Edmonds—that he had disclosed classified information without authorization. Finally, he was demoted to menial roles: "They literally had me doing the xeroxing." Bitterly disillusioned, he says, he resigned in March 2004.

"According to the terms of our employment, whistle-blowing is an obligation," Cole says. "We sign a piece of paper every year saying we will report any mismanagement or evidence of a possible crime. But the management's shtick is that if you draw attention to the bureau's shortcomings you're disgracing it."

Cole is one of about 50 current and former members of the F.B.I., C.I.A., National Security Agency, and other bodies who have made contact recently with Sibel Edmonds. Another is Mike German, one of the bravest and most successful counterterrorism agents in the bureau's history, who penetrated a neo-Nazi gang in Los Angeles and a militia group in Seattle and brought them to justice.

German made his bed of nails in 2002, when he was asked to get involved in an investigation into a suspected cell of Islamist terrorists. "I came down and reviewed the case, and it was a complete mess," he says. "There were violations of F.B.I. policy and violations of the law. As someone who had been through successful terrorism prosecutions, I knew you couldn't afford to make mistakes."

Like Cole, German says he thought himself obliged to report what was going wrong, not to penalize other agents but in the hope of putting it right. "I thought the bureau would do the right thing: that the case would get back on track, and we'd get the opportunity to take action against the bad guys involved." Instead, he says, he faced the familiar litany of escalating retaliation—including an internal investigation of his own work on the terrorist-cell case. "Bear in mind that only a handful of people have ever infiltrated terrorist groups," German says. "You'd think that after 9/11 they might have been interested in that. But word came back to me that I'd never get a counterterrorist case again." He resigned from the bureau in June 2004.

As I talked to whistle-blowers, I had the impression that those treated the worst were among the brightest and best. There could be no clearer example than Russ Tice, an 18-year intelligence veteran who has worked for the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency (D.I.A.) and America's eavesdroppers, the National Security Agency. "I dealt with the super-sensitive stuff," he says. "I obviously can't talk about it, but I had operational roles in both Afghanistan and Iraq."

It was at the D.I.A. in the spring of 2001 that he wrote a report setting down his suspicions about a junior colleague, a Chinese-American who Tice says was living a lavish lifestyle beyond her apparent means. Although she was supposed to be working on a doctorate, he noticed her repeatedly in the office, late at night, reading classified material on an agency computer. "It's not like I obsessed over the issue," Tice says. "I did my job, and then 9/11 happened, and I was a very busy boy."

He moved to the N.S.A. toward the end of 2002. The trigger for his downfall the following April was the arrest of Katrina Leung, the F.B.I. informant accused of spying for China while having an affair with a bureau agent. It prompted Tice to send a classified e-mail to the D.I.A. security section, commenting that the Leung case showed that the F.B.I. was "incompetent." The implication was that the D.I.A. could prove its competence by fully investigating the junior colleague.

Tice, a big, powerful man with a forthright manner, has to pause to control his emotions when he describes what happened as a consequence. "I was sent for an emergency psychiatric evaluation. I took all the computer tests and passed them with flying colors. But then the shrink says he believes I'm unbalanced. Later he said I'm suffering from 'paranoid ideation.'" He was examined by an independent psychiatrist, who "found no evidence of mental disorder." But he had already been denied access to secure places at the N.S.A. As a result, this highly commended technical-espionage expert was put to work in the N.S.A.'s motor pool, "wiping snow off cars, vacuuming them, and driving people around. People looked at me like I had bubonic plague." (The D.I.A. did not respond to a request for comment, and an N.S.A. spokesperson said the agency does not discuss personnel matters.)

After about eight months of this purgatory, apparently an attempt to persuade him to resign, he was placed on "administrative leave." Like other whistle-blowers, he tried and failed to get his agency's leadership to redress his treatment. In August 2004, Tice wrote letters to members of the House and Senate. Six days later, the N.S.A. began the formal process which would lead to his getting fired, and to having his clearance revoked permanently. "What happened to me was total Stalin-era tactics," he says. "Everyone I know or ever worked with says I'm perfectly sane. Yet I just don't know what to do next. I've been in intelligence all my life, but without a security clearance, I can't practice my trade."

Echoing Cole and German, one of the congressional staffers who heard Edmonds's secure testimony likens the F.B.I. to a family, "and you don't take your problems outside it. They think they're the best law-enforcement agency in the world, that they're beyond criticism and beyond reproach." To an outside observer that ethos alone might explain the use of the state-secrets privilege against Edmonds. But, the staffer adds, some of the wiretaps she said she translated "mentioned government officials." Here may lie an entirely different dimension to her case.

Vanity Fair has established that around the time the Dickersons visited the Edmondses, in December 2001, Joel Robertz, an F.B.I. special agent in Chicago, contacted Sibel and asked her to review some wiretaps. Some were several years old, others more recent; all had been generated by a counter-intelligence investigation that had its start in 1997. "It began in D.C.," says an F.B.I. counter-intelligence official who is familiar with the case file. But "it became apparent that Chicago was actually the center of what was going on."

Its subject was explosive: what sounded like attempts to bribe elected members of Congress, both Democrat and Republican. "There was pressure within the bureau for a special prosecutor to be appointed and take the case on," the official says. Instead, his colleagues were told to alter the thrust of their investigation—away from elected politicians and toward appointed officials. "This is the reason why Ashcroft reacted to Sibel in such an extreme fashion," he says. "It was to keep this from coming out."

In her secure testimony, Edmonds disclosed some of what she recalled hearing. In all, says a source who was present, she managed to listen to more than 40 of the Chicago recordings supplied by Robertz. Many involved an F.B.I. target at the city's large Turkish Consulate, as well as members of the American-Turkish Council and the Assembly of Turkish American Associations.

Some of the calls reportedly contained what sounded like references to large-scale drug shipments and other crimes. To a person who knew nothing about their context, the details were confusing, and it wasn't always clear what might be significant. One name, however, apparently stood out—a man the Turkish callers often referred to by the nickname "Denny boy." It was the Republican congressman from Illinois and Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert. According to some of the wiretaps, the F.B.I.'s targets had arranged for tens of thousands of dollars to be paid to Hastert's campaign funds in small checks. Under Federal Election Commission rules, donations of less than $200 are not required to be itemized in public filings.

Hastert himself was never heard in the recordings, Edmonds told investigators, and it is possible that the claims of covert payments were hollow boasts. Nevertheless, an examination of Hastert's federal filings shows that the level of un-itemized payments his campaigns received over many years was relatively high. Between April 1996 and December 2002, un-itemized personal donations to the Hastert for Congress Committee amounted to $483,000. In contrast, un-itemized contributions in the same period to the committee run on behalf of the House majority leader, Tom DeLay, Republican of Texas, were only $99,000. An analysis of the filings of four other senior Republicans shows that only one, Clay Shaw, of Florida, declared a higher total in un-itemized donations than Hastert over the same period: $552,000. The other three declared far less. Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Joe Barton, of Texas, claimed $265,000; Armed Services Committee chairman Duncan Hunter, of California, got $212,000; and Ways and Means Committee chairman Bill Thomas, of California, recorded $110,000.

Edmonds reportedly added that the recordings also contained repeated references to Hastert's flip-flop, in the fall of 2000, over an issue which remains of intense concern to the Turkish government—the continuing campaign to have Congress designate the killings of Armenians in Turkey between 1915 and 1923 a genocide. For many years, attempts had been made to get the House to pass a genocide resolution, but they never got anywhere until August 2000, when Hastert, as Speaker, announced that he would give it his backing and see that it received a full House vote. He had a clear political reason, as analysts noted at the time: a California Republican incumbent, locked in a tight congressional race, was looking to win over his district's large Armenian community. Thanks to Hastert, the resolution, vehemently opposed by the Turks, passed the International Relations Committee by a large majority. Then, on October 19, minutes before the full House vote, Hastert withdrew it.

At the time, he explained his decision by saying that he had received a letter from President Clinton arguing that the genocide resolution, if passed, would harm U.S. interests. Again, the reported content of the Chicago wiretaps may well have been sheer bravado, and there is no evidence that any payment was ever made to Hastert or his campaign. Nevertheless, a senior official at the Turkish Consulate is said to have claimed in one recording that the price for Hastert to withdraw the resolution would have been at least $500,000.

Hastert's spokesman says the congressman withdrew the genocide resolution only because of the approach from Clinton, "and to insinuate anything else just doesn't make any sense." He adds that Hastert has no affiliation with the A.T.C. or other groups reportedly mentioned in the wiretaps: "He does not know these organizations." Hastert is "unaware of Turkish interests making donations," the spokesman says, and his staff has "not seen any pattern of donors with foreign names."

For more than two years after Edmonds was fired, the Office of the Inspector General's inquiry ground on. At last, in July 2004, its report was completed—and promptly labeled classified at the behest of the F.B.I. It took months of further pressure before a redacted, unclassified version was finally issued, in January 2005. It seemed to provide stunning vindication of Edmonds's credibility.

"Many of Edmonds' core allegations relating to the co-worker [Melek Can Dickerson] were supported by either documentary evidence or witnesses," the report said. "We believe that the F.B.I. should have investigated the allegations more thoroughly."

The F.B.I. had justified firing Edmonds on the grounds that she had a "disruptive effect," the report went on. However, "this disruption related primarily to Edmonds' aggressive pursuit of her allegations of misconduct, which the F.B.I. did not believe were supported and which it did not adequately investigate. In fact, as we described throughout our report, many of her allegations had bases in fact," the report read. "We believe … that the F.B.I. did not take them seriously enough, and that her allegations were, in fact, the most significant factor in the F.B.I.'s decision to terminate her services."

Meanwhile, Edmonds had new lawyers: the A.C.L.U.'s Ann Beeson, who is leading the challenge to the state-secrets privilege, and Mark Zaid, a private attorney who specializes in national-security issues. Zaid has filed a $10 million tort suit, citing the threats to Edmonds's family, her inability to look after her real-estate and business interests in Turkey, and a series of articles in the Turkish press that have vilified her.

In July 2004, a federal district court had ruled in favor of the government's use of the state-secrets privilege. Like Ashcroft's declaration, its opinion contained no specific facts. Next came a bizarre hearing in the D.C. appeals court in April 2005. The room was cleared of reporters while Beeson spoke for 15 minutes. Then Beeson and Edmonds were also expelled to make way for the Department of Justice's lawyers, who addressed the judges in secret. Two weeks later, the court rejected Edmonds's appeal, without expanding on the district court's opinion. At press time, she was set to file a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court. If the court agrees to take the case, the government's reasons for its actions may finally be forced into the open; legal experts say the Supreme Court has never allowed secret arguments.

A week after the April appeal hearing, Edmonds gathered more than 30 whistle-blowers from the F.B.I., C.I.A., National Security Agency, Department of Homeland Security, and other agencies to brief staffers from the House and Senate. Among the whistle-blowers were Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers to The New York Times in 1971, and Coleen Rowley, the F.B.I. agent from Minneapolis who complained that Washington ignored local agents who in August 2001 had raised concerns about a flight student named Zacarias Moussaoui, who has since admitted to being an al-Qaeda terrorist.

Many of those present had unearthed apparent breaches of national security; many said their careers had been wrecked as a result. At a press conference after the briefings, Congressman Edward Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, praised Edmonds and her colleagues as "national heroes," pledging that he would introduce a bill to make it a crime for any agency manager to retaliate against such individuals. Afterward, the whistle-blowers mingled over hors d'oeuvres and explored their common ground and experiences. By July, they were working to formalize their association as a not-for-profit campaign group, the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition. "When they took on Sibel," says Mike German, who is now the coalition's congressional liaison, "they made the wrong woman mad."

"I'm going to keep pushing this as long as I can, but I'm not going to get obsessional," Edmonds says. "There's other things I want to do with my life. But the day the Iranians tried to arrest me, my father told me, 'Sibel, you live your life once. How do you choose to live? According to your principles, or in fear?' I have never forgotten those words."

Contributing editor David Rose is the author of Guantánamo: The War on Human Rights, which grew out of his V.F. article "Guantánamo Bay on Trial."

Vanity Fair

After seeing this referenced in Rastis last post I had to read it, after reading it, I had to post.

According to what we know so far from Sibel Edmonds’ many interviews and from the groundbreaking story on her case from Vanity Fair, “An Inconvenient

"It looks like a TV documentary will be aired this fall in Europe about the possible connections between the Turkish Deep State and American lawmakers. . . connections wide-ranging enough to bring together such disparate characters as Speaker of the House of Representatives Dennis Hastert and Deep State drug lord Huseyin Baybasin?

The connections are coming to light as a result of FBI whisteblower, Sibel Edmonds, who was fired by the FBI for raising serious concerns about the possible espionage activities of another FBI Turkish-language translator, Melek Can Dickerson. A little preview on that, from "The Secrets Behind 'State Secrets'" by Mike Mejia:
According to what we know so far from Sibel Edmonds’ many interviews and from the groundbreaking story on her case from Vanity Fair, “An Inconvenient Patriot,” Edmonds found that within the U.S. a nest of Turkish spies, some working at the Turkish embassy, others affiliated with namely the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA), the American Turkish Associations (ATA) and the American Turkish Council (ATC), were involved in espionage, bribery, illegal lobbying, drug trafficking and the infiltration of U.S nuclear research labs. Separately, from a former CIA Counterterrorism official, Phillip Giraldi, who himself was once based in Turkey, we know that some arms sales meant for Turkey and Israel were actually meant for resale to countries like China and India- and perhaps even to international terrorists- using fake end-user certificates. So we have Turkish nationals at the Embassy and NGOs stealing U.S. secrets for sale to the highest bidder, re-selling arms meant for Turkey, bringing in drugs from Europe, and pouring money into bribes and lobbying activities.


"GLOBAL COUNTERINSURGENCY, PART 3....Glenn Reynolds responds here to my post on Saturday criticizing the "bomb 'em into the stone age" crowd, and says via email, "It's possible you might even agree with my suggestion." Let's find out!
But first, an aside: my comment about "casual genocide" wasn't aimed at a few random blog commenters, as Glenn suggests. I was responding primarily to John Podhoretz, who suggested pretty clearly in his New York Post column last week that we made a mistake in Iraq by not killing enough Sunni men between the ages of 15 and 35; secondarily to the Ann Coulters and Michael Ledeens of the world, who regularly imply that our only path to victory is to pulverize ever more of the Middle East; and more generally to all the conservative hawks who think the main reason we're not doing better in Iraq is because we just haven't been willing to fight a tough enough war. So that's where that came from."
Political Animal
So where is the counterinsurgency handbook?

The Doomed World....

"Cease Fire....The words...The words the whole world was waiting for...After what??? After todays massacre in Qana??? After the corpses of children being taken out from the rubble??? Israel are bombing places that Hizbollah militias are true....these kids, 4 yr olds, 6 yr olds....they are all hizbollah militias....they carried weapons...yessss Israel....You are so right!!! so right in your evaluations!!!.....

You say we want to extinguish all people do that by bombing shelters??? bombing shelters filled with handicapped children and women??? CHILDREN FOR GODS SAKE...CHILDRENNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!!!!!!! can you hear my screams????? You think by doing that you will elliminate terrorism??? What you are doing triggers more hatred...more violence...more deaths..."
Yes NIW those were children, children that Hizbollah locked in the cellar of the building, children that hizbollah did not evacuate from a war zone, children that hizbollah are using to change world opinions. Don't be fooled, hizbollah put those children in that place and then fired missiles from that place, from right behind the building. This is a tragedy and the children were innocent, but they were also guilty, Hizbollah made them guilty, made them targets, and killed them as sure as if they had personally cut their throats. Just look past the propaganda. I know it's hard when there innocent children, but Hizbollah knew your reaction to their death, if they thought you would react to puppy dogs, they would have used a kennel.

The In T View: Israeli Bloggers On The Israeli - Hezb'allah/Lebanon Conflict: Mr "Dry Bones", Yaakov Kirschen

"In this In T View we present Yaakov Kirschen aka Mr. Dry Bones, who has had a distinguished career as an Illustrator/Artist with Cracked Magazine and Playboy, the author of The Green Testament Book, and a Cartoonist, whose popular strip Dry Bones appears in the Jerusalem Post. Mr. Kirschen or "Bones" as he likes to be called, moved to Israel in 1971 and blogs at the Dry Bones Blog, winner of several awards including Best Jewish/Israeli blog.

MG: Could you tell us what sustains you during these times of crisis in Israel?

Yaakov Kirschen: I am sustained by the fact that the country is unified, divisions between left and right have disappeared and we have drawn together as we fight for our survival. This is a just and righteous action. "
IBC ~Mister Ghost


"Where's Miko? Post to the comment section if you figure out which one is yours truly.

Friday morning I, along with 34 other Marine reserve warrant officers, graduated from our two week Reserve Warrant Officer Basic Course. My butt is officially kicked as a result of the two most intense weeks of training since boot camp on Parris Island in 1975.

Regular Marine warrant officers undergo a three month course, and all second lieutenants endure a 6 month indoctrination in all things lean and green. My hat is off to them. The training takes place at The Basic School (yes, that's its offical name) aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico's Camp Barrett."
Fire and Ice

What the American Flag Symbolizes for Iraqis

Some 230 years have passed since the United States declaration of independence. But as Americans celebrated their national day this year, they certainly had the terrible experience of their Iraqi adventure in the back of their minds.

The grey years that the Americans have spent in Iraq will haunt the United States for decades to come, even though their presence in the country is ostensibly under the U.N. banner.

Almost everywhere in the world, the American flag indicates the values of a civilized society, and one that has transformed the face of the globe over the past 70 years. But that is unfortunately not the case in Iraq, where the U.S. flag carries entirely different connotations.

In Iraq, the American flag is seen as symbol of moral decadence, and has nothing to do with technology, democracy, welfare or human rights.

It is indeed ironic to watch the United States so readily dispense with the values that it so valiantly fought and struggled for when it occupied Iraq in the first place. Prior to the invasion, many Iraqis had hopes of share perhaps a sliver of the sublime values trumpeted by Washington.

But alas, the world's most powerful country doesn't appear to have the capacity to learn from its mistakes, whether in Iraq or the larger Middle East.

The United States loves creating its own enemies, by its own hand; and as a result its Middle East policies are headed into the abyss. In Iraq, the U.S. has created a vulnerable target for the covetous intentions of neighboring states, and has actually turned it into a venue for "international terror." The U.S. has turned Iraq into an example that runs contrary to America's values, beliefs and assumptions.

Why isn't there a single wise man in the world's mightiest country capable of telling the White House that America's enemies, whether in Iraq or anywhere else in the Middle East, are a result of U.S. policies? The world's only superpower gathers, nourishes and fortifies its own enemies, and as a result, U.S. policies in the region are leading toward oblivion.

And it is for these reasons that both the American flag and the American battle tank are powerless to contain Iraq's murderous militias.

In Iraqi minds, the U.S. flag is associated with surgical strikes on crowded cities such as Falluja, Tal Affar, Ramadi, Qaim and Baaquba.

The U.S. flag is associated with humiliating practices, such as ordering female university students on their campus in Mosul to take off their clothes.

The U.S. flag is connected to the sex crimes committed at the Abu Ghraib prison, which has become even more notorious than it was during the days of the former President Saddam Hussein.

The U.S. flag is related to the Marines who raped and then murdered an Iraqi virgin in the city of Mahmodiya.

These are just a few examples of the things that pop up in Iraqi minds when spotting a U.S. flag.

No wonder there isn't a trace of the flag anywhere in Iraq, apart from the Green Zone, which is encircled by huge slabs of reinforced concrete.

Watching America

USMC sniper metes out swift death in Iraq

RAMADI, Iraq - He was 5 when he first fired an M-16, his father holding him to brace against the recoil. At 17 he enlisted in the Marine Corps, spurred by the memory of 9/11. Now, 21-year-old Galen Wilson has 20 confirmed kills in four months in Iraq — and another 40 shots that probably killed insurgents. One afternoon the lance corporal downed a man hauling a grenade launcher five-and-a-half football fields away.
Here, Sunni Arab insurgents are intent on toppling the local government protected by Marines.

After two tours in Iraq, his commanders in the 3rd Battalion, 8th Regiment call him a particularly mature Marine, always collected and given to an occasional wry grin.

During a large-scale attack on Easter Sunday, Wilson says, he spotted six gunmen on a rooftop about 400 yards away. In about 8 seconds he squeezed off five rounds — hitting five gunmen in the head. The sixth man dived off a 3-story building just as Wilson got him in his sights, and counts as a probable death.

Wilson says his skill helps save American troops and Iraqi civilians.

He was raised in a desolate part of the Rocky Mountains outside Colorado Springs, "surrounded by national parks on three sides," he says. He regularly hunted before moving to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., as a teenager. His brother also serves in the military.

"My father owned a weapons dealership, so I‘ve been around exotic firearms all my life," said Wilson, who remembers practicing on pine cones and cans. "My dad would help me hold (an M-16), with the butt on his shoulder, and walk me through the steps of shooting."

Sometimes individual gunmen attack, other times dozens. Once Wilson shot an insurgent who was "turkey peeking" — Marine slang for stealing glances at U.S. positions from behind a corner. Later, the distance was measured at 514 meters — 557 yards.

The key to accuracy is composure and experience, Wilson says. "The hardest part is looking, quickly adjusting the distance (on a scope), and then getting a steady position for a shot before he gets a shot off. For me, it‘s toning everything out in my head. It‘s like hearing classical music playing in my head."

"At first you definitely double-guess telling your wife, mom, and your friends that you‘ve killed 20 people," Wilson said. "But over time you realize that if they support you ... maybe it‘ll make them feel that much safer at home."

He acknowledges that brutal acts of war linger in the mind.

"Some people, before they‘re about to kill someone, they think that — ‘Hey, I‘m about to kill someone.‘ That thought doesn‘t occur to me. It may sound cold, but they‘re just a target. Afterward, it‘s real. You think, ‘Hey, I just killed someone,‘" says Wilson.

Insurgents "have killed good Marines I‘ve served with. That‘s how I sleep at night," he says. "Though I‘ve killed over 20 people, how many lives would those 20 people have taken?"

Wilson plans to leave the Marines after his contract expires next year, and is thinking of joining a SWAT Team in Florida — possibly as a sniper.


Is everyone in Iraq either Hispanic or from Florida? I may start a special section that highlights all those that serve from here.