The appeal court's decision on the Sibel Edmonds
case is out: case dismissed, no opinion cited, no reason provided. The court's
decision of Friday, May 6, has generated a string of obituaries; "another
major blow, maybe the last one, to Sibel Edmonds, a woman who has faced an unprecedented
level of government secrecy, gag orders, and classification." Well, dear
friends and supporters, Sibel Edmonds may be gagged, but she's not dead.
On Oct. 18, 2002; three months after I filed my suit against the Department
of Justice for the unlawful termination of my employment caused by my reporting
criminal activities committed by government officials and employees, John Ashcroft,
then attorney general, claimed the rarely invoked state secrets privilege. According
to Ashcroft, everything involving my case and my allegations was considered
a state secret, and whether or not I was right in my allegations, the United
States District Court had to dismiss my entire case without any questions, hearings,
or oral argument, period. According to Ashcroft, the court had to grant his
order and dismiss the entire case with no hearings solely because he said so.
After all, our government knew best. That day, my case was gagged, but I continued
In April 2004, after attorneys for a large group of 9/11 family members subpoenaed
my deposition, Ashcroft made his next move: He invoked the state secrets privilege
for the second time, and this time, he designated my place of birth, date of
birth, my mother tongue, my father tongue, my university background, and my
previous employment all state secrets, classified, and matters of highest-level
national security. Based on this new ruling and designation by our ironically
named Justice Department, my passport would be considered a top secret document
since it contains my place of birth. My Virginia driving license would be considered
a top secret document, since it contains my date of birth. Heck, even my resume
would be considered top secret since it contains my linguistic credentials and
my degrees. That day, I officially became a gagged whistleblower, but I continued
In May 2004, two years after two ranking senators (bipartisan) had, in public
records and documents, announced me credible and my case and allegations confirmed
and supported, an emboldened Ashcroft struck again. This time, he decided to
gag the entire Congress on anything that had to with my case. He ordered two
ranking senators to take everything referring to me off their Web sites; he
ordered them to consider all documents and letters related to my case top secret;
and he commanded that members of Congress shut their mouths on any issue that
in any way referred or related to me. Our senators obliged, disregarding the
principles of the separation of powers, dishonoring the United States Constitution,
and disrespecting their own prestige and status. That day, the United States
Congress was gagged about my case, but I continued on.
In June 2004, the United States District Court bowed to His Highness John Ashcroft
and announced its decision to no longer honor the Constitution's guarantee of
due process: it dismissed the case and excused itself from providing any real
explanation, on the grounds that any possible explanation, or lack thereof,
might be classified state secrets. Our court system, too, was unwilling to stand
up for its authority and its separation from the executive branch. In other
words, the District Court allowed itself to be gagged, but I continued on.
In July 2004, after two years of unexplained foot-dragging, the Department
of Justice's Office of Inspector General announced that its long overdue investigation
of my case complete and issued its report. The further empowered and emboldened
attorney general stepped in on that same day and gagged his own inspector general's
findings and report by classifying it. The supposedly independent inspector
general's office wrapped and duct-taped its report, bowed, and left the scene,
but I continued on.
On April 21, 2005, for the first time in these three gagged years, my attorneys
and I finally had, or thought we had, our day in court. Just hours before our
hearing, the appellate court judges issued an unexpected ruling barring all
reporters and the public from the courtroom. Numerous media entities tried to
flex their weakened muscles by filing a motion to oppose this ruling. The judges
denied their motion without citing a reason; when asked, they responded that
they didn't have to provide any reason. Everyone was kicked out of the courtroom
except for me, my attorneys, and the large corps of attorneys from the Department
of Justice. All the doors to the courtroom were locked, and guards were placed
in front of each door to watch out for eavesdroppers. Then came the next shock:
after bypassing our brief, asking a couple of puzzling and irrelevant questions,
and allowing my attorneys 10 minutes or so of response, the appellate judges
asked my attorneys and me, the plaintiff, to leave the courtroom so that the
government attorneys could secretly answer questions and make their argument.
The guards escorted us out, locked the doors, and stood there in front of the
courtroom and watched us for about 15 minutes. So much for finally having my
day in court: here I was standing outside the courtroom, guarded, while in there,
three judges were having a mingling cozily with government attorneys. Then,
it was over; that was it; we were told to leave. My attorneys and I were barred
from being present at our own hearing, but I continued on.
On May 6, two weeks after this Kafkaesque proceeding, my attorneys and I were
given the verdict: The lower court's decision was upheld, meaning my entire
case, whether or not we had an inspector general's report that confirmed my
allegations, whether or not we had several congressional letters confirming
my case and my allegations, was prevented from going forward because of some
unspecified state secrets that were so secret even the judges could not hear
or see them. In fact, the appellate judges in my case did not cite any opinion
because the opinion itself would have been considered secret. Doesn't this mean
that the appellate court and these three judges were in effect gagged? It appears
so, but I will continue on.
In the past three years, I have been threatened, I have been gagged several
times, I have been prevented from pursuing my due process, all reports and investigations
looking into my case have been classified, and every investigative authority
dealing with my case has been shut up. According to legal experts familiar with
my case, the level of secrecy and classification is unprecedented in the entire
history of U.S. courts. According to other experts, I am one of the most, if
not the most, gagged woman they have ever heard of. Why?
Those of you who still think my case is about covering up some administrative
blunder or bureaucratic mismanagement, please think again.
Those of you who still think that the unprecedented secrecy is justified, please
Those of you who still think that our leaders may be investigating the criminals
involved in my complaints, please think again.
The inspector general's report confirms my core allegations. What were those
core allegations, and whos did they involve? Not just some low-level terrorist
or terrorist organization; not just some possibly critical foreign entities.
No, trust me: they would not go to this length to protect some nobody.
It is way past time for a little bit of critical thinking. The attorney general
cites two reasons to justify the unconstitutional, panic-driven assault on me.
Reason one: to protect certain diplomatic relations – not named since our officials
are obviously ashamed to admit to these relations. Reason two: to protect certain
U.S. business interests. Let's take each one and dissect it (I have given up
on our mass media to do that for us!). Since when is the Department of Justice
in the business of protecting U.S. diplomatic relations? They appear to be acting
as a mouthpiece for the State Department. Now that's one entity that has strong
reasons to cover up what will end up being considered a mammoth blunder. It
is the American people and their outrage they must be worried about; they wouldn't
want to have a few of their top officials held criminally liable; would they?
As for reason two, I can assure you that the U.S. foreign business relations
they may be referring to are not among those that benefit the majority of the
American people. But the American people's security and best interests are being
sacrificed for a handful of military-industrial entities and their lobbying
arms. And since when are nuclear black market activities considered legitimate
business, one may wonder? If you want the answers to these questions, please
ask your representatives for hearings – not behind closed doors, but open, public
hearings where these questions can be asked and answered.
And lastly, for those of you who think that since I have been gagged and stopped
by almost all available official channels, I must be ready to vaporize into
thin air, please think again. I am gagged, but I am not dead. Not yet.