The highly-contentious diplomatic relationship between Armenia and Turkey is set to warm up a bit today --- maybe --- as the long-quarreling countries are scheduled to sign an agreement opening up both diplomatic relations and their shared border.
To the surprise of probably nobody, the signing ceremony has hit a few last minute snags, as U.S. Sec. of State Hilary Clinton, present for the occasion, has been attempting to broker peace between the two sides as disagreements about what would be said at the signing has momentarily derailed finalization of the historic accord.
We point out all of this today as the dispute over a long-sought resolution in the U.S. Congress --- declaring the deaths of some 1.5 million Armenians by Turkey during WWI to be a "genocide" --- has been at the heart of many of the disclosures made by FBI translator-turned-whistleblower Sibel Edmonds that we've been covering here at The BRAD BLOG for some time.
Edmonds contends that FBI counterintelligence wiretaps from 1996 to 2002 document the Turkish lobby/government's extraordinary efforts to compromise members of the U.S. Congress, through both blackmail and bribery, in order to derail the passage of such a resolution. Though the resolution has garnered a great deal of support in Congress over the years, it has been derailed, sometimes at the very last minute, every time it has been raised over the last decade or two.
You can read about those Congressmembers said to have been bribed/blackmailed here in our article covering that aspect of Edmonds' recent sworn deposition in an Ohio Election Commission case related to a dispute between Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH-2) and her 2008/10 opponent David Krikorian concerning the very same issue.
In addition to the Armenian Genocide dispute, Edmonds' disclosures also name high-ranking U.S. State and Defense Department officials as participating in espionage efforts said to include the theft of nuclear secrets from secure military bases, and their sale on the foreign black market. In a recent interview, 18-year FBI executive John M. Cole, a Counterintelligence and Counterespionage Manager, corroborated key elements of Edmonds' disclosures, including a "decade-long investigation" of Marc Grossman, our former Ambassador to Turkey, before he became the third-highest ranking official in the Bush State Department .
Cole, who says that Edmonds has been "one hundred percent right on the money, on the mark" in her disclosures, explained that the FBI's espionage probe "ultimately was buried and covered-up." Last week he called for a Special Counsel to investigate those named by Edmonds, so they may finally "be held accountable for their actions --- and prosecuted if they've done wrong."
UPDATE 12:31pm: Accord signed after Clinton's intervention, and the agreement that no statments would be made by either side.
''It was pulled back from the brink,'' said a senior U.S. official
The Turkish and Armenian foreign ministers signed the agreement in the Swiss city of Zurich after a dispute over the final statements they would make. In the end, the signing took place about three hours later and there were no spoken statements.
Officials say Clinton and mediators from Switzerland intervened to help broker a solution.