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Rodrik: Is the CIA Behind Imam Gulen?
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Or is this all just another example of immigration laxity?

Harvard economist Dani Rodrik, whose Kemalist general father-in-law was locked up by Turkish supremo Erdogan after a show trial using evidence forged by Gulen Cultist policemen, has a new post on what’s the deal with the Shadowy Imam of the Poconos?

JULY 30, 2016

Is the U.S. behind Fethullah Gulen?

Whenever I talk with another Turk about the Gulen movement, a question invariably props up: is the CIA behind Gulen? In fact for most Turks this is a rather rhetorical question, with an incontrovertible answer. The belief that Gulen and his activities are orchestrated by the U.S. is as strongly held as it is widespread among Turks of all political coloration – secular or Islamist.

This is my attempt at providing a reasoned answer to the question. My conclusion in brief: I don’t think Gulen is a tool of the U.S. or has received support from the U.S. for its clandestine operations. But it is possible that some elements within the U.S. national security apparatus think Gulen furthers their agenda, is worth protecting on U.S. soil, and have so far prevailed on other voices in the establishment with different views. Regardless, the U.S. needs to seriously reconsider its attitude towards Gulen and his movement.

Direct support?

Those who believe the U.S. is behind Gulen typically make two arguments. First, they point to how Gulen got his green card in the first place. The long list of individuals who wrote letters of recommendations on Gulen’s behalf includes two long-time CIA employees (George Fidas and Graham Fuller)

Fuller, the CIA station chief in Kabul in the mid-1970s, was for several years the great uncle-in-law of the Tsarnaev Bomb Brothers.

and a former U.S. ambassador to Turkey (Morton Abramowitz). These individuals write in their individual capacities and their advocacy was based both on Gulen’s persecution by the then-secularist Turkish judiciary and on Gulen’s apparent promotion of a moderate brand of Islam.

… However, the more important point about his green card -– and one that is overlooked in Turkey — is that the U.S. administration [George W. Bush’s] was in fact opposed to giving Gulen a green card. It rejected Gulen’s application, and then strenuously objected when Gulen’s lawyers appealed. Lawyers for the Department of Homeland Security were scathing about Gulen’s qualifications and argued there was no evidence he was an individual of exceptional ability in the field of education: “far from being an academic, plaintiff seeks to cloak himself with academic status by commissioning academics to write about him and paying for conferences at which his work is studied.”

Gulen owes his residency not to the U.S. executive branch (and whichever intelligence agency may be hiding behind it), but to a federal judge with scant interest in foreign policy or intelligence matters who somehow nonetheless ruled in his favor. The judge’s argument was that the Administration had construed the relevant field of “education” too narrowly, and should have considered Gulen’s contributions to other areas such as “theology, political science, and Islamic studies.”

The second argument is that Gulen and his followers would not have been so successful in spreading their empire and influence without active U.S. support. I think this severely underestimates the movement’s own capabilities. Gulen has long stressed education, organization, and secrecy. His movement has invested in raising a “golden generation” of smart, well-trained individuals. Lack of resources has never been a constraint, thanks to the contributions of an army of devout businessmen. As the AKP found out to its own chagrin, its most capable and competent public servants turned out to be serving a different master in Pennsylvania. And in any case, this argument exaggerates U.S.’ own capabilities in my view: given the CIA’s history of blunders, there is in fact much that it could learn from the Gulen movement on cloak-and-dagger operations.

The critical question here is whether there is anything the movement has done that it could not have done without active U.S. backing. Did it really need the help of some U.S. intelligence agency to expand its charter-school network, to stage the Sledgehammer trial, or to infiltrate and organize within the Turkish military? I don’t think so.

My vague impression is that Imam Gulen doesn’t talk on the phone much, so it would have been hard for U.S. authorities to wiretap him directly. Instead, his followers drive up to Poconos and chat with him.

Tacit support?

The U.S. government may not have had a direct hand in Gulen’s activities, but it is more difficult to dismiss the argument that it provided tacit support – or that some parts of the U.S. administration prevailed on other parts who were less keen on Gulen.

Judging by Wikileaks cables, U.S. diplomats in Turkey were exceptionally knowledgeable about Gulenist activities. …

Perhaps of more direct interest to the U.S., foreign service officers have long been aware that many Turks have been obtaining visas under false pretenses, with the ultimate aim of ending up as teachers in Gulen’s charter schools. Yet apparently nothing was ever done to stop this flow, nor to hold the movement to account. A ridiculous number of H-1B visas — which require demonstration that no qualified U.S. workers are available — have been issued to Turkish teachers in these schools. One naturally wonders why the U.S. administration never clamped down on the Gulen movement for apparent visa fraud.

Immigration fraud? What kind of racist Administration would pay any attention to that?

The same question arises with respect to the widespread pattern of financial improprieties that has been uncovered in Gulen’s charter schools. A whistleblower has provided evidence that Turkish teachers are required to kick back a portion of their salary to the movement. The FBI has seized documents revealing preferential awarding of contracts to Turkish-connected businesses. Such improprieties are apparently still under investigation. But the slow pace at which the government has moved does make one suspect that there is no overwhelming desire to bring Gulen to justice.

Gulen typically defends himself against such charges by saying that the schools are run by sympathizers and are not directly under his control. Yet the fact is that he took direct credit for the schools in his green card application, saying he had overseen their establishment. …

So what the hell is going on here?

In light of the confusing signals that come out of the U.S., and the apparent desire of many people in or close to the administration to defend Gulen, it’s not difficult to empathize with those in Turkey who believe the U.S. must be behind Gulen (and, yes, even the coup attempt). I think it is too farfetched to think that the U.S. knew of beforehand or supported the coup. There were far too many risks and too few benefits for the U.S. to be involved. And contrary to what many people in Turkey believe, U.S. intelligence is far from omniscient – so yes, the coup likely did happen without U.S. knowledge.

But it is not farfetched to think that there are some groups in the administration – perhaps in the intelligence branches – who have been protecting Gulen because they think he is useful to U.S. foreign policy interests. This could be because Gulen’s brand/mask of moderate Islam is a rare thing in that part of the world. It could be because taking Gulen down would only benefit groups in Turkey they consider more inimical to U.S. interests – Erdogan’s AKP and the arch-secularists. It is even possible that the movement has occasionally performed services for U.S. intel operations. (Some of Gulen’s schools in Central Asia were used to “shelter” American spies according to a former Turkish intelligence chief.) That kind of thing would not be beneath either the CIA or the Gulen movement.

Perhaps these groups have so far have had the better of the argument and have held the upper hand in the administration against those in State or elsewhere who know full well what the Gulen movement is up to and would rather see him go.

Speaking of the State Department, Chuck Ross of the Daily Caller has tracked down a number of moderate-sized donations from Gulenists to the Clinton Foundation.

In the aftermath of the coup, perhaps this balance will change in favor of the latter. Perhaps not. Whether it does or not, I think the Gulen issue will ultimately explode in somebody’s face in the U.S. The only questions are whose, and when.

I would be the first to admit that this is just a hypothesis. But if there is a better story that explains the U.S. reaction I’d love to hear it.

Extradition?

It is very unlikely that Gulen would receive a fair trial in Turkey. So the U.S. has a legitimate ground for not extraditing him. But the U.S. foreign policy establishment would be making a very big mistake if they simply dismissed the calls from Turkey about Gulen’s complicity. It is easy for the U.S. to hide behind Erdogan’s clampdown and the ill treatment of the putschists. But the U.S. has considerable explaining to do too.

As I’ve said before, it would be unconscionable to turn Erdogan’s arch-enemy over to Erdogan at this point. But, Gulen deserves to be tried in a U.S. court for immigration fraud, embezzlement of school district funds, and other crimes against the American people.

 
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  1. why does trump have pale white skin in this Simpson’s clip? Why is Hillary yellow and not he? You can’t say it’s because he’s old because hillary is just as old (if not older, from memory).

    • Replies: @anonymouse
    You must have not watched the whole clip. He's white so his servants can spray his face yellow for a public appearance.
    , @Almost Missouri
    Aaaaand that's why I don't watch the Simpsons anymore.

    More agitprop dress up as entertainment: Hillary apparently respectable, Trump no right to speak.

    Actually, the 3AM call already came and Hillary failed it spectacularly. It was called Benghazi. Then she came back to kick the corpses of her failure. She belongs in prison or on a gallows, not in office.
    , @27 year old
    Worst episode ever.

    But it was interesting how they worked the male/female divide angle at the end. Homer basically says he's voting for Hillary because Marge is withholding sex due to him liking Trump.
  2. H-1B visas — which require demonstration that no qualified U.S. workers are available

    Yeah, sure — no H-1B visa is ever issued before this is ‘demonstrated’ — what total bullshit.

  3. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Assigning responsibility for the attempted coup to Gulen and his followers makes it seem as if no one outside of this group are dissatisfied with the Erdogan regime which seems unlikely. There are probably many within Turkey who are disgruntled and who would like to see regime change, not just the Gulenists. If there is indeed a US connection to this affair then that could be counted as a huge disastrous move by the US administration, something that’ll reverberate for years to come. This Graham Fuller increasingly seems like an incompetent person blinded by his ideas. Anyone who names his own daughter ‘Ankara’ has lost objectivity.

  4. Depends on your definition of behind.

  5. As I’ve said before, it would be unconscionable to turn Erdogan’s arch-enemy over to Erdogan at this point. But, Gulen deserves to be tried in a U.S. court for immigration fraud, embezzlement of school district funds, and other crimes against the American people.

    Steve, thank you for all the effort unpeeling the Gulen onion, layer by layer.

    I’m still slightly sympathetic to the deep state/diplomatic argument. Gulen and the military are Erdogan’s two major headaches (aside from the Kurds).

    He already has the military problem well in hand, and if we prosecute and convict Gulen, we will have removed all domestic constraints on a hard-to-read—and possibly unreliable—head of a NATO state who seems to be going his own way. Any goodwill and leverage with Erdogan, I suspect, will be short-lived rather than permanent. His flip-flop with the Russians is indicative of his style. The thought is that we should not make life too easy for him, just in case.

    But on balance, I agree the principle of upholding the law within our own borders is paramount, so the best thing to do is probably to prosecute and let the foreign policy chips fall where they may. We have tolerated this kind of unsavory trade-off in decisions in the executive branch for too long, and it does corrupt our system of government.

    As an aside, I’m not at all a legal expert but I was under the impression that in our system of jurisprudence there are crimes against the person, crimes against the state, and crimes against humanity. While “the people” may prosecute a case in court on behalf of any of these parties , I have the foggy impression that “crimes against the people” was a notion found in the Soviet Union and revolutionary societies in turmoil. Perhaps I’m wrong?

  6. Interesting to me that we have not yet heard who was responsible for the coup. If Gulen you really have to question his competence. Or that he is too detached from Turkey. And if US intelligence services know then why are they not telling the American public?

  7. @anon
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLSy8Tl2bjs

    why does trump have pale white skin in this Simpson's clip? Why is Hillary yellow and not he? You can't say it's because he's old because hillary is just as old (if not older, from memory).

    You must have not watched the whole clip. He’s white so his servants can spray his face yellow for a public appearance.

  8. Gulen owes his residency not to the U.S. executive branch… but to a federal judge with scant interest in foreign policy or intelligence matters who somehow nonetheless ruled in his favor.

    Hmmm,”somehow.” I’m no expert, but it seems to me that “somehow” screams “bag of cash.”

  9. A very cursory Google suggests that Gulen’s charter schools are nonprofit. Nonprofits can hire as many H1-Bs as they want – no cap. Not sure whether the prevailing wage and adverse impact rules apply.

    • Replies: @CJ
    People, even the sophisticates of this site, think that H1B visas are all related to tech, but in fact LOTS of them are for nebulous corruption-ridden crap like this.
  10. @anon
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLSy8Tl2bjs

    why does trump have pale white skin in this Simpson's clip? Why is Hillary yellow and not he? You can't say it's because he's old because hillary is just as old (if not older, from memory).

    Aaaaand that’s why I don’t watch the Simpsons anymore.

    More agitprop dress up as entertainment: Hillary apparently respectable, Trump no right to speak.

    Actually, the 3AM call already came and Hillary failed it spectacularly. It was called Benghazi. Then she came back to kick the corpses of her failure. She belongs in prison or on a gallows, not in office.

    • Replies: @BenKenobi
    I used to view the new episodes now and then.

    Then I watched "Stealing First Base" (ep15 s21). In it Lisa gushes to Michelle Obama that she is "the most elegant and beautiful woman in the world." They also shoehorned some blacks into the Simpson family tree, excoriating Grandpa for hiding the fact due to his racism.

    Never again.
  11. Who let Joeseph Bonaparte into the country? And why was he allowed to stay here after conspiring to become emperor of Mexico. I believe tbe conapiracy reaches right up to the office of Pres. Monroe.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Bonaparte

    embezzlement of school district funds – once you start investigating any school district, who knows where it will end. I doubt scams Gulen does are unique to him.

  12. I don’t think Gulen is a tool of the U.S. or has received support from the U.S. for its clandestine operations. But it is possible that some elements within the U.S. national security apparatus think Gulen furthers their agenda, is worth protecting on U.S. soil, and have so far prevailed on other voices in the establishment with different views.

    This is an awfully fine distinction. The US doesn’t support Gulen and protect Gulen, it just lets him live in the US, prey on US taxpayers, import members of his network at will, and refuses to extradite him. And it does this because “elements” of the deep state think Gulen’s network serves their interest.

    OK, but, like, how is that not “Gulen receiving support from the US?”

    What Rodrik seems to be saying is that Gulen doesn’t get briefcases full of money and guns from the CIA. And that he doesn’t get signals intel from NSA. And that he doesn’t get logistic support from State. And how, exactly, does Rodrik know that these things don’t happen?

    This idea that our default assumption should be that intelligence agencies and diplomatic corps do absolutely nothing is bizarre. These organizations exist for the exact purpose of carrying out secret conspiracies.

  13. Why would it be “unconscionable” to turn him over? He is not an American or even trying to be one. He is deeply involved in meddling in his own country. He is a scam artist in America. He is a fellow traveler if not a tool of the most retrograde agents in the US National security apparatus.

    We have every reason to kick him out and no reason to let him stay.

    • Agree: peterike
    • Replies: @Lot
    You are right, however he may have rendered some secret services to the USA that you do not know about. Otherwise, sure, turn him over, but get something out of Turkey first in exchange.

    I'd say let's send Graham Fuller over there too, but he knows way too much.
    , @Anonymous
    Assuming that he has indeed cooperated and collaborated with the US government in ways which have benefited the US government and endangered his life, it certainly would be unconscionable for the US government to betray him like that.
  14. Gulen typically defends himself against such charges [of improprieties] by saying that the schools are run by sympathizers and are not directly under his control. Yet the fact is that he took direct credit for the schools in his green card application, saying he had overseen their establishment.

    This is not evidence of some conspiracy, just typical lawyer shenanigans. At his immigration hearings, it was to his advantage to play UP his supervisory role, so the lawyers did just that, in corruption investigations, the advantage lays in playing it DOWN. Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.

    Hillary does the same kind of thing ten times a day – when it came to killing Bin Laden she all but personally went on the raid and fired the gun, but when it came to Benghazi, she knew NOTHING. So she either was or was not in charge of the State Dept., depending on whether it is to her advantage.

    Speaking of Hillary:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/02/us/politics/hillary-clinton-white-male-voters.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=b-lede-package-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

    “Hillary Clinton Hunts an Elusive Prey: White Male Voters”

    First of all, this is the ONLY kind of hunting that Hillary will ever do.

    Second, isn’t it a war crime to use hunting metaphors? When the Republicans TARGETED Gabby Giffords’s district, this was proof that they wanted to murder her.

    Factually, the article highlights an enormous gap that has opened up in our society – see also

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/26/upshot/the-one-demographic-that-is-hurting-hillary-clinton.html

    The difference between non-college white men and non-whites is HUGE – literally black and white.

    But the reporter remains clueless. Flegenheimer is a 2011 U. of Penn grad (Erdely’s alma mater), former sports writer for college paper – for some reason sportswriters tend to be particularly leftist.

    He finally finds a non-college white male for Hillary:

    Some marveled at their own uncommon voter profile, wondering aloud how they had not become Trump voters. “I’m a white non-college!” said Michael Gitt, 55, waiting for Mrs. Clinton to arrive in Harrisburg.

    There you go – Clinton has won Pennsylvania already. But then:

    “I’m not straight, so that helps.”

    Oops.

    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
    Matt Flegenheimer " is a 2011 U. of Penn grad ( Erdely's alma mater ), former sports writer for college paper - for some reason sportswriters tend to be particularly leftist "
    You seem to want to tell us something, Mr D, but can't blurt it out.
    Sports writers are not particularly leftist. In my experience they tend to be decidedly conservative or Conservative in view. Indeed, we are commentating on the website of one such, Mr Steve Sailer.
    Then you mention that Flegenheimer graduated from the same university as the discredited Jewish journalist Sabrina Rubin Erdely.
    BINGO! Mr Flegenheimer's views are nothing to do with his alma mater or sports writing. They are all too typical of many American Jews.
    For God's sake, man, call a spade a spade. This is what the website was designed for. Adults talking about adult matters in an honest way.
  15. Given that Erdogan has just taken a US airbase and numerous H bombs hostage, how much of a choice does the US have about handing Gulen over?

  16. > As I’ve said before, it would be unconscionable to turn Erdogan’s arch-enemy over to Erdogan at this point. But, Gulen deserves to be tried in a U.S. court for immigration fraud, embezzlement of school district funds, and other crimes against the American people.

    Why is that unconscionable? Isn’t it the perfect solution? We don’t have to waste time and money on prosecution and we still get rid of the scumbag. Why does a foreigner “deserve” a trial in a US court? We owe him nothing, he owes us hundreds of millions of dollars and counting.

    If steve were saying Realpolitik we can’t extradite him because CIA that would be one thing but making it a moral issue? Come on…

    • Replies: @Peter Lund
    Because guys like Erdoǧan need enemies. It would be unethical not to let him have some.
    , @Anonymous
    >Why is that unconscionable?
    Basic decency. You can argue why one should behave decently, from Kantian arguments, to long term reputation effects and what not, but the reality is some people want to do the decent thing because they are decent.
    , @Divine Right
    "Why is that unconscionable? Isn’t it the perfect solution?"

    We should watch to see if the US hands him over, especially if the Turks are able to prove Gulen was involved. A US refusal in that case might implicate the US in the attempted coup: Gulen would surely be tortured into revealing his American connections if he returns to Turkey.
  17. @27 year old
    > As I’ve said before, it would be unconscionable to turn Erdogan’s arch-enemy over to Erdogan at this point. But, Gulen deserves to be tried in a U.S. court for immigration fraud, embezzlement of school district funds, and other crimes against the American people.

    Why is that unconscionable? Isn't it the perfect solution? We don't have to waste time and money on prosecution and we still get rid of the scumbag. Why does a foreigner "deserve" a trial in a US court? We owe him nothing, he owes us hundreds of millions of dollars and counting.

    If steve were saying Realpolitik we can't extradite him because CIA that would be one thing but making it a moral issue? Come on...

    Because guys like Erdoǧan need enemies. It would be unethical not to let him have some.

    • Replies: @Divine Right
    "Because guys like Erdoǧan need enemies. It would be unethical not to let him have some."

    So we should turn a friend into an enemy in order to protect someone who is basically our enemy, too?
  18. OT – PM Netanyahu is ordering an investigation into French-funded organizations that he labeled anti-Israel.

    A preliminary inquiry has revealed that several European countries, including France, directly support organizations that engage in anti-Israel incitement, call to boycott the country and do not recognize Israel’s right to exist, Netanyahu said.

    I wonder if Netanyahu is beginning to feel sympathetic to us in the West who feel similarly about George Soros, the $PLC, the ACLU, the NY Times, etc.

    • Replies: @Lurker
    No!
  19. What do we know about the judge who ruled in his favor on the green card?

  20. @anon
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLSy8Tl2bjs

    why does trump have pale white skin in this Simpson's clip? Why is Hillary yellow and not he? You can't say it's because he's old because hillary is just as old (if not older, from memory).

    Worst episode ever.

    But it was interesting how they worked the male/female divide angle at the end. Homer basically says he’s voting for Hillary because Marge is withholding sex due to him liking Trump.

  21. @Jean Cocteausten
    A very cursory Google suggests that Gulen's charter schools are nonprofit. Nonprofits can hire as many H1-Bs as they want - no cap. Not sure whether the prevailing wage and adverse impact rules apply.

    People, even the sophisticates of this site, think that H1B visas are all related to tech, but in fact LOTS of them are for nebulous corruption-ridden crap like this.

  22. Reminiscent in some ways of when the French harboured Ayatollah Khomeini. Giscard and his clique were very sure of benefits flowing to the French if Khomeini replaced the Shah. The French military and foreign affairs establishment were decidedly opposed. How did that turn out, chaps ?

    • Replies: @Bill
    Dunno. Can you fill us in? Did the French benefit?
  23. @Jack D

    Gulen typically defends himself against such charges [of improprieties] by saying that the schools are run by sympathizers and are not directly under his control. Yet the fact is that he took direct credit for the schools in his green card application, saying he had overseen their establishment.
     
    This is not evidence of some conspiracy, just typical lawyer shenanigans. At his immigration hearings, it was to his advantage to play UP his supervisory role, so the lawyers did just that, in corruption investigations, the advantage lays in playing it DOWN. Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.

    Hillary does the same kind of thing ten times a day - when it came to killing Bin Laden she all but personally went on the raid and fired the gun, but when it came to Benghazi, she knew NOTHING. So she either was or was not in charge of the State Dept., depending on whether it is to her advantage.

    Speaking of Hillary:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/02/us/politics/hillary-clinton-white-male-voters.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=b-lede-package-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

    "Hillary Clinton Hunts an Elusive Prey: White Male Voters"

    First of all, this is the ONLY kind of hunting that Hillary will ever do.

    Second, isn't it a war crime to use hunting metaphors? When the Republicans TARGETED Gabby Giffords's district, this was proof that they wanted to murder her.

    Factually, the article highlights an enormous gap that has opened up in our society - see also

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/26/upshot/the-one-demographic-that-is-hurting-hillary-clinton.html

    The difference between non-college white men and non-whites is HUGE - literally black and white.

    But the reporter remains clueless. Flegenheimer is a 2011 U. of Penn grad (Erdely's alma mater), former sports writer for college paper - for some reason sportswriters tend to be particularly leftist.

    He finally finds a non-college white male for Hillary:

    Some marveled at their own uncommon voter profile, wondering aloud how they had not become Trump voters. “I’m a white non-college!” said Michael Gitt, 55, waiting for Mrs. Clinton to arrive in Harrisburg.
     
    There you go - Clinton has won Pennsylvania already. But then:

    “I’m not straight, so that helps.”
     
    Oops.

    Matt Flegenheimer ” is a 2011 U. of Penn grad ( Erdely’s alma mater ), former sports writer for college paper – for some reason sportswriters tend to be particularly leftist ”
    You seem to want to tell us something, Mr D, but can’t blurt it out.
    Sports writers are not particularly leftist. In my experience they tend to be decidedly conservative or Conservative in view. Indeed, we are commentating on the website of one such, Mr Steve Sailer.
    Then you mention that Flegenheimer graduated from the same university as the discredited Jewish journalist Sabrina Rubin Erdely.
    BINGO! Mr Flegenheimer’s views are nothing to do with his alma mater or sports writing. They are all too typical of many American Jews.
    For God’s sake, man, call a spade a spade. This is what the website was designed for. Adults talking about adult matters in an honest way.

  24. “…there are some groups in the administration – perhaps in the intelligence branches – who have been protecting Gulen because they think he is useful to U.S. foreign policy interests. This could be because Gulen’s brand/mask of moderate Islam is a rare thing in that part of the world. It could be because taking Gulen down would only benefit GROUPS IN TURKEY THEY CONSIDER MORE INIMICAL TO U.S. INTERESTS – Erdogan’s AKP and THE ARCH-SECULARISTS…”

    That is a perfect laconic description of everything that has been wrong with U.S. foreign policy towards Islam and the Middle East for the past two-thirds of a century, in a nutshell.

  25. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Turks are another vicious ingroup who shouldn’t be allowed in any western country in any number.

    Assimilation will occur very very slowly with Turks. They don’t consider crimes against a non-Turk to be serious crimes.

    These foreign networks are really looting America now with their white collar crime sprees. Asiatic, African, Levantine, Latin American etc. They are in all sorts of small towns across America now.

  26. @Big Bill
    Why would it be "unconscionable" to turn him over? He is not an American or even trying to be one. He is deeply involved in meddling in his own country. He is a scam artist in America. He is a fellow traveler if not a tool of the most retrograde agents in the US National security apparatus.

    We have every reason to kick him out and no reason to let him stay.

    You are right, however he may have rendered some secret services to the USA that you do not know about. Otherwise, sure, turn him over, but get something out of Turkey first in exchange.

    I’d say let’s send Graham Fuller over there too, but he knows way too much.

  27. Speaking of False Flags, I’ve always thought that Westboro Baptist Church and Phelps were false flags designed to drum up hatred of whites, white men, and especially white male Christians, since these groups just don’t act bad enough in reality to stir up the Coalition of the Fringes enough. ‘Ol Fred and his pals just seem a little too perfect, too antagonistic, designed to get under everyone’s skin. The fact that they’ve maintained a tight secretive group and Fred used to be a liberal civil rights lawyer just underscores the links to the left. Maybe he found a leftwing sugar-daddy like Soros, who was willing to fund the foolishness for making his enemies look bad.

    • Replies: @HA
    >"Ol Fred and his pals just seem a little too perfect..."

    On the contrary, Ol' Fred seems a little too complex and hard to pigeonhole -- in the way real people tend to be -- in order to play the role of the perfect SJW villain. According to Wikipedia, he claimed that he quit Bob Jones University because of their racism. As a lawyer, he made his money from attacking Jim Crow laws. That's not exactly the cardboard cutout of the liberal bogeyman.

  28. Dani Rodrik sure does write well to my ears. Like I was reading a Truman Capote novel. Tiny Dancer and such.

  29. @Big Bill
    Why would it be "unconscionable" to turn him over? He is not an American or even trying to be one. He is deeply involved in meddling in his own country. He is a scam artist in America. He is a fellow traveler if not a tool of the most retrograde agents in the US National security apparatus.

    We have every reason to kick him out and no reason to let him stay.

    Assuming that he has indeed cooperated and collaborated with the US government in ways which have benefited the US government and endangered his life, it certainly would be unconscionable for the US government to betray him like that.

    • Replies: @PiltdownMan
    Do we owe foreigners who have served the American interest at great risk to themselves lifelong immunity from prosecution for subsequently breaking our laws? Americans don't get that luxury.

    Gulen shouldn't be be off the hook for any scams under US law he runs out of his Poconos retreat. All we owe him is safety from Erdogan.
  30. @Anonymous
    Assuming that he has indeed cooperated and collaborated with the US government in ways which have benefited the US government and endangered his life, it certainly would be unconscionable for the US government to betray him like that.

    Do we owe foreigners who have served the American interest at great risk to themselves lifelong immunity from prosecution for subsequently breaking our laws? Americans don’t get that luxury.

    Gulen shouldn’t be be off the hook for any scams under US law he runs out of his Poconos retreat. All we owe him is safety from Erdogan.

    • Replies: @PiltdownMan
    Steve, my sincere apologies. I see I've merely re-phrased your last paragraph-which I myself quoted in an earlier post.

    I simply must not post when I feel the need for a strong cup of coffee. Must not.
    , @Divine Right
    "Gulen shouldn’t be be off the hook for any scams under US law he runs out of his Poconos retreat. All we owe him is safety from Erdogan."

    We owe him nothing. What has he done for us?
  31. @PiltdownMan
    Do we owe foreigners who have served the American interest at great risk to themselves lifelong immunity from prosecution for subsequently breaking our laws? Americans don't get that luxury.

    Gulen shouldn't be be off the hook for any scams under US law he runs out of his Poconos retreat. All we owe him is safety from Erdogan.

    Steve, my sincere apologies. I see I’ve merely re-phrased your last paragraph-which I myself quoted in an earlier post.

    I simply must not post when I feel the need for a strong cup of coffee. Must not.

  32. HA says:
    @Grandpa Jack
    Speaking of False Flags, I've always thought that Westboro Baptist Church and Phelps were false flags designed to drum up hatred of whites, white men, and especially white male Christians, since these groups just don't act bad enough in reality to stir up the Coalition of the Fringes enough. 'Ol Fred and his pals just seem a little too perfect, too antagonistic, designed to get under everyone's skin. The fact that they've maintained a tight secretive group and Fred used to be a liberal civil rights lawyer just underscores the links to the left. Maybe he found a leftwing sugar-daddy like Soros, who was willing to fund the foolishness for making his enemies look bad.

    >“Ol Fred and his pals just seem a little too perfect…”

    On the contrary, Ol’ Fred seems a little too complex and hard to pigeonhole — in the way real people tend to be — in order to play the role of the perfect SJW villain. According to Wikipedia, he claimed that he quit Bob Jones University because of their racism. As a lawyer, he made his money from attacking Jim Crow laws. That’s not exactly the cardboard cutout of the liberal bogeyman.

  33. @iSteveFan
    OT - PM Netanyahu is ordering an investigation into French-funded organizations that he labeled anti-Israel.

    A preliminary inquiry has revealed that several European countries, including France, directly support organizations that engage in anti-Israel incitement, call to boycott the country and do not recognize Israel’s right to exist, Netanyahu said.
     
    I wonder if Netanyahu is beginning to feel sympathetic to us in the West who feel similarly about George Soros, the $PLC, the ACLU, the NY Times, etc.

    No!

  34. @27 year old
    > As I’ve said before, it would be unconscionable to turn Erdogan’s arch-enemy over to Erdogan at this point. But, Gulen deserves to be tried in a U.S. court for immigration fraud, embezzlement of school district funds, and other crimes against the American people.

    Why is that unconscionable? Isn't it the perfect solution? We don't have to waste time and money on prosecution and we still get rid of the scumbag. Why does a foreigner "deserve" a trial in a US court? We owe him nothing, he owes us hundreds of millions of dollars and counting.

    If steve were saying Realpolitik we can't extradite him because CIA that would be one thing but making it a moral issue? Come on...

    >Why is that unconscionable?
    Basic decency. You can argue why one should behave decently, from Kantian arguments, to long term reputation effects and what not, but the reality is some people want to do the decent thing because they are decent.

  35. @27 year old
    > As I’ve said before, it would be unconscionable to turn Erdogan’s arch-enemy over to Erdogan at this point. But, Gulen deserves to be tried in a U.S. court for immigration fraud, embezzlement of school district funds, and other crimes against the American people.

    Why is that unconscionable? Isn't it the perfect solution? We don't have to waste time and money on prosecution and we still get rid of the scumbag. Why does a foreigner "deserve" a trial in a US court? We owe him nothing, he owes us hundreds of millions of dollars and counting.

    If steve were saying Realpolitik we can't extradite him because CIA that would be one thing but making it a moral issue? Come on...

    “Why is that unconscionable? Isn’t it the perfect solution?”

    We should watch to see if the US hands him over, especially if the Turks are able to prove Gulen was involved. A US refusal in that case might implicate the US in the attempted coup: Gulen would surely be tortured into revealing his American connections if he returns to Turkey.

  36. @PiltdownMan
    Do we owe foreigners who have served the American interest at great risk to themselves lifelong immunity from prosecution for subsequently breaking our laws? Americans don't get that luxury.

    Gulen shouldn't be be off the hook for any scams under US law he runs out of his Poconos retreat. All we owe him is safety from Erdogan.

    “Gulen shouldn’t be be off the hook for any scams under US law he runs out of his Poconos retreat. All we owe him is safety from Erdogan.”

    We owe him nothing. What has he done for us?

    • Replies: @PiltdownMan

    We owe him nothing. What has he done for us?
     
    The assumption is that he has, in some covert fashion, done us a big favor in Turkey, and that's why he's holed up here.

    But if you assume he's done nothing for us, you are right.
  37. @Peter Lund
    Because guys like Erdoǧan need enemies. It would be unethical not to let him have some.

    “Because guys like Erdoǧan need enemies. It would be unethical not to let him have some.”

    So we should turn a friend into an enemy in order to protect someone who is basically our enemy, too?

  38. @Verymuchalive
    Reminiscent in some ways of when the French harboured Ayatollah Khomeini. Giscard and his clique were very sure of benefits flowing to the French if Khomeini replaced the Shah. The French military and foreign affairs establishment were decidedly opposed. How did that turn out, chaps ?

    Dunno. Can you fill us in? Did the French benefit?

    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
    Absolutely not. Khomeini had nothing but contempt for the depraved Kaffirs. Indeed, the Khomeini regime was assassinating Iranian Emigrees in France right into the 1990s. The most notorious case was that of former Iranian PM, Shahpur Bakhtiar. The Khomeini regime took Giscard's action as being a sign of weakness and an invitation to kill emigrees.
    It did not dare try this policy with regard to emigrees in the UK and US A because it was fearful of the reaction they would provoke.
    Whilst living in a quiet part of North Britain, I got to know a relative of Dr Bakhtiar. I asked her if she felt unsafe. She said No. Her family had tried persuading him to leave France and go, preferably, to America. As she said, he didn't seem to realise that the French Govt were willing to put up with numerous émigré murders so long as there appeared to be some benefit for the French state or business. THERE WASN'T. Khomeini's assassins kept on killing, the French got no benefits and ultimately remonstrated with the Iranians. A halt was called. But scores of innocents had been killed.
  39. @Almost Missouri
    Aaaaand that's why I don't watch the Simpsons anymore.

    More agitprop dress up as entertainment: Hillary apparently respectable, Trump no right to speak.

    Actually, the 3AM call already came and Hillary failed it spectacularly. It was called Benghazi. Then she came back to kick the corpses of her failure. She belongs in prison or on a gallows, not in office.

    I used to view the new episodes now and then.

    Then I watched “Stealing First Base” (ep15 s21). In it Lisa gushes to Michelle Obama that she is “the most elegant and beautiful woman in the world.” They also shoehorned some blacks into the Simpson family tree, excoriating Grandpa for hiding the fact due to his racism.

    Never again.

  40. @Bill
    Dunno. Can you fill us in? Did the French benefit?

    Absolutely not. Khomeini had nothing but contempt for the depraved Kaffirs. Indeed, the Khomeini regime was assassinating Iranian Emigrees in France right into the 1990s. The most notorious case was that of former Iranian PM, Shahpur Bakhtiar. The Khomeini regime took Giscard’s action as being a sign of weakness and an invitation to kill emigrees.
    It did not dare try this policy with regard to emigrees in the UK and US A because it was fearful of the reaction they would provoke.
    Whilst living in a quiet part of North Britain, I got to know a relative of Dr Bakhtiar. I asked her if she felt unsafe. She said No. Her family had tried persuading him to leave France and go, preferably, to America. As she said, he didn’t seem to realise that the French Govt were willing to put up with numerous émigré murders so long as there appeared to be some benefit for the French state or business. THERE WASN’T. Khomeini’s assassins kept on killing, the French got no benefits and ultimately remonstrated with the Iranians. A halt was called. But scores of innocents had been killed.

    • Replies: @PiltdownMan

    Khomeini’s assassins kept on killing, the French got no benefits and ultimately remonstrated with the Iranians. A halt was called. But scores of innocents had been killed.
     
    Since WWII, the French have always had a thing about running their foreign policy independent of the Anglo-American consensus. De Gaulle was the most famous (or notorious for this) , but it has been a constant. Their profound misread of Khomeini's supposed gratitude is one example of their getting it wrong, but they got it right when they stayed out of Iraq.
  41. @Divine Right
    "Gulen shouldn’t be be off the hook for any scams under US law he runs out of his Poconos retreat. All we owe him is safety from Erdogan."

    We owe him nothing. What has he done for us?

    We owe him nothing. What has he done for us?

    The assumption is that he has, in some covert fashion, done us a big favor in Turkey, and that’s why he’s holed up here.

    But if you assume he’s done nothing for us, you are right.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Well not us specifically, but the US government, which is technically supposed to represent us and act on our behalf, but which is not us and whose dealings with Gulen are largely opaque to us.
  42. @Verymuchalive
    Absolutely not. Khomeini had nothing but contempt for the depraved Kaffirs. Indeed, the Khomeini regime was assassinating Iranian Emigrees in France right into the 1990s. The most notorious case was that of former Iranian PM, Shahpur Bakhtiar. The Khomeini regime took Giscard's action as being a sign of weakness and an invitation to kill emigrees.
    It did not dare try this policy with regard to emigrees in the UK and US A because it was fearful of the reaction they would provoke.
    Whilst living in a quiet part of North Britain, I got to know a relative of Dr Bakhtiar. I asked her if she felt unsafe. She said No. Her family had tried persuading him to leave France and go, preferably, to America. As she said, he didn't seem to realise that the French Govt were willing to put up with numerous émigré murders so long as there appeared to be some benefit for the French state or business. THERE WASN'T. Khomeini's assassins kept on killing, the French got no benefits and ultimately remonstrated with the Iranians. A halt was called. But scores of innocents had been killed.

    Khomeini’s assassins kept on killing, the French got no benefits and ultimately remonstrated with the Iranians. A halt was called. But scores of innocents had been killed.

    Since WWII, the French have always had a thing about running their foreign policy independent of the Anglo-American consensus. De Gaulle was the most famous (or notorious for this) , but it has been a constant. Their profound misread of Khomeini’s supposed gratitude is one example of their getting it wrong, but they got it right when they stayed out of Iraq.

  43. @PiltdownMan

    We owe him nothing. What has he done for us?
     
    The assumption is that he has, in some covert fashion, done us a big favor in Turkey, and that's why he's holed up here.

    But if you assume he's done nothing for us, you are right.

    Well not us specifically, but the US government, which is technically supposed to represent us and act on our behalf, but which is not us and whose dealings with Gulen are largely opaque to us.

    • Agree: PiltdownMan

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