The Secret War: Gladio and the Battle for Eurasia
by James Corbett
But all careers, no matter how remarkable, come to an end, and the end of Abdullah Catli’s career was, perhaps fittingly, as spectacular as his career itself.
At approximately 7:25 PM on the evening of November 3, 1996, a Mercedes 600 SEL crashed into a truck near the Northwestern Turkish town of Susurluk, killing three of the four passengers. But this was no ordinary car crash. Among the dead: a senior police chief, a former beauty queen, and Abdullah Catli. The survivor: a Turkish MP who came away with a fractured skull and a broken leg.
A 1998 L.A. Times report on the crash described the scene this way:
“Strewn amid the roadside wreckage was evidence of Catli’s collusion with the Turkish secret service. Along with several handguns, silencers, a cache of narcotics and a government-approved weapons permit, Catli was carrying six photo ID cards, each with a different name, and special diplomatic credentials issued by Turkish authorities.”
The importance of this crash to the course of Turkish politics is difficult to overstate. For many, it conclusively confirmed the “deep state” connections between terrorists like Catli and the upper reaches of governmental power that many had long believed existed.
The whistleblower in question is Sibel Edmonds, hired by the FBI to work as a translator in the Washington field office in the wake of 9/11. She worked with agents around the United States helping to translate intercepted communications in a number of counterintelligence cases, including Agent Joel Roberts in the Chicago field office whose targets included Abdullah Catli and some of his Gladio associates.
Edmonds paints the story of the FBI’s counterintelligence operations against a Gladio network that had contacts and operatives in the United States but protection from powerful Washington players like some of those on the board of the US-Azerbaijani Chamber of Commerce and similar organizations. After the turning point at Susurluk, these operations started to focus on Islamic terrorists and radicals, who presumably could equally well be used to maintain a strategy of tension and help accomplish foreign policy goals in Central Asia and the Caucasus.
Again, it is important to look at the careers of some of those who have been identified as being part of this “Gladio B” operation. However, we have to note that unlike in the case of Abdullah Catli, we have no official, independent confirmations of the existence of this Gladio B network or its various operatives. Here we are relying on information in the public record which corroborates Edmonds claims and paints a vivid picture of the intersection between Muslim extremists, drug runners, terrorists and money launderers with the upper levels of the US State Department, Pentagon and NATO.
One such person is Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish Imam who fled political prosecution in Turkey for advocating that an Islamic state replace the existing Turkish government. Interestingly, he fled to the United States, eventually settling in Pennsylvania. He then set up an educational foundation, the “Gulen Movement” and within four years had opened up 350 madrasas in the Central Asia-Caucasus region. His network would go on to include Islamic schools in over 140 countries, with an estimated net worth of over $20 billion.
In January 2001 a Turkish prosecutor, citing an Ankara University report whose author was subsequently assassinated, claimed that “there is a link between Gulen and the CIA” which included agency help in securing passports for the school’s English teachers in the Central Asia-Caucasus region. This claim was bolstered by former Turkish Intelligence Chief Osman Nuri Gundes, whose memoirs revealed that 130 of these “English teachers” in Kygyzstan and Uzbekistan alone were actually CIA operatives, issued special diplomatic passports under a program codenamed “Friendship Bridge.”
Interestingly, the Washington Post attempted to deny the allegations by seeking comment from Graham Fuller, who you might remember as the author of the “Central Asia: The New Geopolitics” report we referred to earlier. Fuller was a former CIA station chief in Kabul who claimed that the idea of a Gulen-CIA connection was “improbable” despite admitting he has “absolutely no concrete personal knowledge whatsoever about this.” Even more interestingly, Fuller himself wrote a letter of reference for Gulen that was used in Gulen’s ongoing legal battle over his immigration status in the US.
The remarkable rise of this Imam with no particular background or accomplishments to become the head of a multi-billion dollar Islamic school network operated from a secret compound in Pennsylvania that appears to be working with the CIA in the highly sensitive Central Asia-Caucasus region appears to fit in line with what we know about the “deep state” actors in the covert battle for influence in this highly prized square of the chessboard.
Another extremely interesting figure is Yasin Al-Qadi. He was an alleged financier of Islamic terror that was the subject of an intensive investigation by FBI Agent Robert Wright. Wright’s investigation, codenamed “Vulgar Betrayal,” discovered evidence that implicated Al-Qadi in a terrorist finance ring centered in Chicago that linked to the 1998 African embassy bombings, but when he proposed a criminal investigation, his supervisor flew into a rage, yelling “You will not open criminal investigations.
I forbid any of you. You will not open criminal investigations against any of these intelligence subjects.”
At the same time, Al-Qadi was also a key investor in a company called Ptech, which marketed “enterprise architecture software” designed to provide complete god’s eye views of an organization’s structure, from transactions, systems and processes to inventory, transactions and personnel. Ptech’s client list included some of the most sensitive databases in the country, including those of DARPA, the FBI, the Secret Service, the White House, the Navy, the Air Force, the FAA, and NATO.
Despite being watchlisted by both the UN Security Council and the US Treasury Department, Al-Qadi continued to operate internationally, with an Albanian passport and spending time in Turkey. He has since been revealed to have engaged in numerous meetings with then-Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Turkish Intelligence Chief. Earlier this year the ex-Istanbul police chief revealed that Erdogan had helped Al-Qadi to enter the country several times despite being banned by the Cabinet.
Another figure of importance whose name comes up in connection with this investigation is Ayman Al-Zawahiri, formerly Bin Laden’s right hand man and the current nominal leader of the Al-Qaeda organization. According to Edmonds he appeared as a figure in several FBI counterterrorism investigations in the 1990s, turning up in Turkey, Albania, Kosovo and Azerbaijan.
Other tantalizing connections present themselves in figures like Hüseyin Baybaşin, known as “Europe’s Pablo Escobar” for his heroin operations smuggling heroin to the UK. After his imprisonment here in the Netherlands for drug smuggling he contacted Edmonds with details about Turkish NATO involvement in the drug smuggling operations he had been a part of.
There are numerous such leads, connections and clues in this investigation that point to a deep NATO/US involvement in covert operations that tie back to this important area of the globe. But what does it all mean.