May 27, 2009
Announcement at 123 Real Change by Sibel Edmonds
We all have been tirelessly screaming about issues related to Congressional leaders abdicating their main responsibility of ‘oversight.’ We have been outraged for way too long at seeing ‘no’ accountability whatsoever in many known cases of extreme wrongdoing. I, and many of you, believe that the biggest reason for this was, and still is, the lack of true journalism and media coverage — which acts as the necessary pressure and catalyst for those spineless politicians on the Hill and in the Executive branch. Or, at least it’s supposed to. So, in our book, the MSM has been the main culprit.
Well, here is a chance to turn the tables.
At my new blog, 123 Real Change, I’m happy to present an experimental project, Project Expose MSM, created to provide readers with specific mainstream media blackout and/or misinformation cases based on the documented and credible first-hand experiences of legitimate sources and whistleblowers. 123 Real Change is inviting all members of the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC), other active (covert or overt) government whistleblowers, and even reporters themselves, to publish their experiences in regard to their own first-hand dealings with the media, where their legit disclosures were either intentionally censored, blacked out or tainted.
Yes, we will be naming names — myself included.
We will even do so below, in one real-case example, intended to help illustrate how the project will work. In the absence of the real investigative journalism and unbiased independent media we need, this is one way to set the record straight…
Not only that, we also know there are many potential whistleblowers out there who are seeking ‘trust-worthy’ reporters and/or publications in order to inform the public. At the same time, many of us in the whistleblower community have learned the hard way that there are many reporters and publications who should be avoided. It is our responsibility to offer those whistleblowers guidance, based on our own knowledge and experience, and maybe save them from some of the traps we ourselves fell into.
Project Expose MSM will select and publicize legitimate, credible, and documented/witnessed stories. It will provide a forum for those with first-hand experience to share their stories with the public. It will raise awareness and allow people to discuss these cases openly. And hopefully it will help to foster improvements to the current, sorry state of our MSM by bringing the wrongs to light.
Here is an important point to remember: Things are never purely black or white. I have emphasized, for example, during my own case and other NSWBC activities, that by pointing criticism generally at the FBI, the good agents get unfairly lumped together with those whom the criticism is actually being leveled at. So to avoid that as much as possible we always try to be both specific and fair. Same is true for this project. There are some good solid reporters who work in the MSM and try to do their best, and in some cases they do, and are ‘allowed’ to do so. Let me give you an example. I have given specific New York Times related examples in several analyses posted in my series on the MSM at 123 Real Change, such as the delay in publishing the NSA Illegal Wiretap story. I was very specific in questioning motives, reasons, or excuses in that particular case.
On the other hand, if I were to give a few examples of who I consider to be solid, trustworthy, professional, and dependable reporters, my fairly short list would certainly include Eric Lichtblau and James Risen, both of whom work for the same New York Times. I hope I make this point clear. This new project will certainly acknowledge and credit positives, whenever possible, along its course. We will also offer the opportunity for anybody whose names are named to reply in response.
I encourage those of you with direct knowledge and experience to join this project by sharing your experiences. Please E-mail me with your report, and carefully follow the format provided below which includes an example of the first, of hopefully many, real-case stories to come:
1) Your name, title, and/or background:
Name: Mike Levine
Title: Retired Supervisory Special Agent/Covert Operations Specialist, DEA
Background: Michael Levine, one of DEA’s most decorated international undercover officers, is a veteran of 25 years of service. As an international undercover operative he witnessed the intentional destruction of undercover investigations targeting major international heroin and cocaine trafficking organizations who also happened to be CIA assets. Among the actions reported was blowing the cover of an undercover operation-Operation Trifecta- that had penetrated the top of a corrupt Mexican government, by Edwin Meese the then US Attorney General. When Michael’s attempts at alerting his superiors via in-house memorandums, and then mainstream media, were “buried,” and Michael himself placed under investigation, he went directly to the public in his books, the New York Times best-seller Deep Cover and the national best-seller The Big White Lie.
2) The Name of Publication and/or Editor and/or Reporter:
Reporters: Larry Rohter and Steven Strasser
3) Description of Disclosure/Case/Issue and its Importance:
While stationed in Argentina, the CIA’s actions in sabotaging the undercover sting operation targeting La Mafia CruzeÃ±a, resulted in the July 17, 1980 coup [Bolivia], wherein, as the State Department described it, for the first time in history, a drug trafficking organization took over a sovereign nation. It would be the beginning of what came to be known as “The Corporation,” described by Felix Milian Rodriquez — Medellin Cartel Money launderer, convicted of laundering $1 billion — as the most powerful drug smuggling organization on earth, in a secret session before the Kerry Commission.
At the time I was the DEA Country Attaché in Buenos Aires. I sent a registered letter, return receipt requested, to two Newsweek journalists, Larry Rohter and Steven Strasser-who had just written a rather long article that pretty much whitewashed the case and totally obfuscated US government involvement in aiding the traffickers to avoid prosecution and then in overthrowing the Bolivian government that had, in fact, aided DEA in conducting the sting operation that would have, in the opinion of many, crippled the traffickers. I asked them to contact me, at which time I would have given them the inside scoop of what I believe may have been the greatest act of deception and treason against the citizens we had all sworn to protect, perhaps in history, if one considers the aftermath of said revolution.
In any case, I received notification that the letter had been received by Newsweek. Two weeks later I was notified that I was under investigation by Internal Affairs, and that I was being removed from my post in Argentina. I would never hear from the two journalists.
4) The Method of Blackout or Tainted Outcome:
The story was buried-blacked out. Possibly the identity & provided information/documents were disclosed to government employer.
5) A brief personal message to any potential whistleblowers or our readers:
This information was published in my book THE BIG WHITE LIE in great detail and would be libelous as hell, were it not true. [Note from Sibel: As long as you are factual, credible, and speaking the truth, they can”t touch you for divulging their ”unreported deeds.”]
We will attempt to contact the reporter, editor or publication in question for comment before publishing any revelations like the above, from whistleblowers and other sources, in order to include any response those named may wish to offer along with the publication of your story. In the case above, Rohter and Strasser”s responses are below:
Response from Rohter and Strasser:
- Despite several requests for response, Steven Strasser did not reply.
- Larry Rohter, who now works at the New York Times replied to our first request for comment — which included the material above — as follows:
Dear Ms. Edmonds: From what I see here, you”re not actually offering me a chance to respond to a posting you intend to make. Instead, you”re asking me to comment on an an old and discredited implied accusation made against me by someone I have never met and who, contrary to what he may claim, has never at any time made the slightest attempt to contact me personally or directly. The conspiracy brigade has been feeding off this carrion for years, and I”m really not at all interested in giving it new life on the internet. But if you are in fact willing to explain what it is that makes this paranoid rant relevant to what you intend to write, it might be possible to continue this exchange in writing. Are you saying that any comments of mine would be included in their entirety as part of your post?
Or is it your intention to use any response selectively? Are you writing for the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition site, or are you writing on a personal site in connection with your individual grievances against the FBI? All of these issues are relevant and will guide me in determining whether or not I want to take this any further. Regards, Larry Rojhter
We responded to all of Mr. Rohter”s questions, explaining where we intended to post this article, and that we planned to run any response he may have in full. Though we even followed up a second time, we received no further response in return.
IMPORTANT: Please adhere to the following in any submission:
- Don”t get too wordy and too lengthy in your account and description of the case.
- Be as specific as you can.
- Be fair: Make it clear if you are not sure whether the suspect party was the ”reporter” or the ”editor” or your government employer… We don”t want to accuse ”unjustly.”
- If you wish to remain anonymous, you”ll need to directly persuade me of the legitimacy of your claim. I will keep all correspondence and your personal information confidential. As a whistleblower myself, and the founder of the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition, I understand the necessity for that in various cases.
With your help, I look forward to helping to restore the important, once-vital Fourth Estate, so necessary to this country”s very survival.
* 123 Real Change attempts to authenticate the veracity of claims made by our sources whenever possible. However, all claims made are ultimately the responsibility of the sources making them.
Response by Mike Levine: “A copy of the letter and the original return receipt are still in my possession. They were presented to lawyers during the libel reading of “The Big White Lie,” and are available for all who want to see them.”