The story also casts a chilling light on the so-called “accidental” flight of six nuclear-armed cruise missiles aboard an errant B-52 that flew last Aug. 30 from Minot AFB in North Dakota to Barksdale AFB in Shreveport, Louisiana.
The Sunday Times reports that Edmonds, whose whistleblowing efforts have been studiously ignored by what passes for the news media in American news media, approached the Rupert Murdoch-owned British paper a month ago after reading a report there that an Al-Qaeda leader had been training some of the 9-11 hijackers at a base in Turkey, a US NATO alley, under the noses of the Turkish military.
Edmonds, who was recruited by the FBI after 9-11 because of her Turkish and Farsi language skills, has long been claiming that in her FBI job of covertly monitoring conversations between Turkish, Israeli, Persian and other foreign agents and US contacts, including a backlog of untranslated tapes dating back to 1997, she had heard evidence of “money laundering, drug imports and attempts to acquire nuclear and conventional weapons technology.” But the Turkish training for 9-11 rang more alarm bells and made her decide that talking behind closed doors to Congress or the FBI was not enough. She had to go public.
Pakistan’s ISI is known to have had, and to still maintain close contacts with Al-Qaeda. Indeed, the Times notes that Pakistan’s nuclear god-father, General Mahmoud Ahmad, was accused of sanctioning a $100,000 wire payment to Mohammed Atta, one of the 9/11 hijackers, immediately before the attacks.
Edmonds claims, in the Times article, that following the 9-11 attacks, FBI investigators took a number of Turkish and Pakistani operatives into custody for questioning about foreknowledge of the attacks, but that a high-ranking US State Department official repeatedly acted to spirit them out of the country.
One of those whom Edmonds claims in the Times report was being investigated in connection with the nuclear information transfers was Pentagon analyst Lawrence Franklin. Franklin was convicted and jailed in 2006 for passing US defense information to American Israel Public Affairs Committee lobbyists and sharing classified information with an Israeli diplomat. Franklin, in 2001, was part of the Pentagon Office of Special Plans, a kind of shadow intelligence unit set up by the Bush administration inside the Pentagon whose job it was to gin up “evidence” to justify a war against Iraq. In that capacity, he (along with several other OSP members and arch neocon schemer Michael Ledeen) was also identified by Italian investigative journalists working for the newspaper La Republican, as having been at a crucial meeting in December 2001 in Rome with the Italian defense and intelligence service ministers. La Republicca reports that at that meeting a plan was hatched to fob off forged Niger embassy documents as evidence that Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein was trying to buy uranium ore from Niger.
If Edmonds’ story is correct, and Al-Qaeda, with the aid of Turkish government agents and Pakistani intelligence, with the help of US government officials, has been attempting to obtain nuclear materials and nuclear information from the U.S., it casts an even darker shadow over the mysterious and still unexplained incident last August 30, when a B-52 Stratofortress, based at the Minot strategic air base in Minot, ND, against all rules and regulations of 40 years’ standing, loaded and flew off with six unrecorded and unaccounted for nuclear-tipped cruise missiles.
That incident only came to public attention because three as yet unidentified Air Force whistleblowers contacted a reporter at the Military Times newspaper, which ran a series of stories about it, some of which were picked up by other US news organizations.
An Air Force investigation into that incident, ordered by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, claimed improbably that the whole thing had been an “accident,” but many veterans of the US Air Force and Navy with experience in handling nuclear weapons say that such an explanation is impossible, and argue that there had to have been a chain or orders from above the level of the base commander for such a flight to have occurred.
Incredibly, almost five months after that bizarre incident (which included several as yet unexplained deaths of B-52 pilots and base personnel occurring in the weeks shortly before and after the flight), in which six 150-kiloton warheads went missing for 36 hours, there has been no Congressional investigation and no FBI investigation into what happened.
Yet in view of Edmonds’ story to the London Times, alleging that there has been an ongoing, active effort for some years by both Al Qaeda and by agents of two US allies, Turkey and Pakistan, to get US nuclear weapons secrets and even weapons, and that there are treasonous moles at work within the American government and nuclear bureaucracy aiding and abetting those efforts, surely at a minimum, a major public inquiry is called for.
Meanwhile, there is enough in just this one London Times story to keep an army of investigative reporters busy for years. So why, one has to ask, is this story appearing in a highly respected British newspaper, but not anywhere in the corporate US media?
DAVE LINDORFF is a Philadelphia-based investigative journalist and columnist. His latest book, co-authored by Barbara Olshansky, is “The Case for Impeachment” (St. Martin’s Press, 2006 and now available in paperback). His work is available at www.thiscantbehappening.net