It’s the most exciting thing to happen in central Ohio since Indians discovered Columbus. Incumbent Republican Congress-entity Jean Schmidt will face Democratic challenger David Krikorian, not at the polls, but in a legal hearing room. The issue: genocide denial and "blood money." The defense attorney: Mark Geragos of celebrity representation and late-night TV talk show fame. Star witness for the defense: Sibel Edmonds, the FBI whistleblower and recent DKOS sensation.
All appearing at a hearing of the Ohio Elections Commission on August 13 in Columbus, but Edmonds’s appearance is contingent on Eric Holder lifting the State-Secrets gag order that DOJ has imposed on her.
No snark. No disco. No foolin around.
Some details are reported here: http://www.asbarez.com/...
It’s like some secret film fantasy where Jane Fonda as Barbarella teams with Warren Beatty as Bullworth to battle the Wicked Witch from the Wizard of Oz and her flying monkeys, all on the set of Judgment at Nuremberg.
But I digress. Details below the fold.
I’ll lay this out in chronological fashion to make it seem more like non-fiction, which it is.
In the 2008 congressional election in OH-02, which hugs the Ohio River between Portsmouth and Cincinnati, money and media attention focused on the high-profile rematch between the Wicked Schmidt of the West and a fair-haired Dorothy-esque Democrat, Dr. Victoria Wulsin.
But David Krikorian, a dynamic young businessman, entered the race as an Independent, cleaned both ladies’ clocks in the televised debate, and swung 18% of the vote district-wide, an astounding performance.
Krikorian’s strong showing owed much to voter rejection of both party machines, machines that have long tyrannized OH-02, where the political culture vaguely resembles that of Turkmenistan. Krikorian has that mavericky thing going on, but he also has the policy and political meat. Running in 2010 as a Democrat, Krikorian will unite Democrats and Independents across the district.
During the 2008 campaign, there was a move in the House to recognize Turkey’s genocide against Armenians in the years following 1915. After taking more than $30,000 in contributions from the individuals and organizations linked to the Turkish lobby, Schmidt became one of the most vocal opponents of that resolution, helping to stop it from reaching the House floor for a vote. This earned her the deseved label of a genocide-denier.
Krikorian, who is of Armenian heritage, took special umbrage and understandably so. He put out a campaign flier accusing Schmidt of taking "blood money" from the Turkish lobby.
Thereupon, Jean Schmidt did one of the stupidest things she has ever done, which is saying an awful lot. She filed a complaint against Krikorian with the Ohio Elections Commission. The complaint charges Krikorian with false statements and libel in his choice of words. All libel cases involve a turning of tables between plaintiff and defendant – truth is a defense.
Is Jean Schmidt a genocide denier and did she take blood money from the Turkish lobby? That is the question to be heard before the Commission in Columbus on August 13. If tickets were required, I’d be scalping them like gangbusters.
Krikorian has a way with connections. He’s hired Mark Geragos as his defense counsel – Geragos is also Armenian, his name was originally Geragosian.
Krikorian’s star witness will be Sibel Edmonds, the Turkish woman who formerly worked for the FBI as a Turkish and Farsi interpreter. http://en.wikipedia.org/... Edmonds has come to symbolize the modern whistleblower as a result of her exposes of recent American government links to Turkish, Pakistani, Iranian, and Al Qaeda elements in Central Asia. That story was the subject of a Recommended Diary by lukery on DKOS here: http://www.dailykos.com/... Fired from and squelched by the FBI, Edmonds founded the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition in 2004 http://www.nswbc.org/
Edmonds has been prevented from speaking under the medieval State-Secrets doctrine imposed on her by the Bush Administration. She has applied to Attorney General Eric Holder to lift the ban, specifically so that she can testify in the Schmidt v. Krikorian case. http://www.commondreams.org/...
The crucial topic of her testimony in this case will be the power of the Turkish lobby in Washington, and its dirty campaign to suppress recognition of the Armenian genocide. Edmonds blew the whistle on Dennis Hastert, who suppressed any genocide resolution during his tenure as House Speaker,then worked as a lobbyist for the same Turkish groups that have supported Jean Schmidt.
If DOJ grants the permission as expected, Edmonds will first testify in deposition in Washington this Saturday, August 8. Her testimony is expected to support the truth of the contention that Jean Schmidt did take "blood money" through her associations with Turkish lobbying groups.
Add that to your resume, Jean. It certainly rings more true than the second bachelor’s degree you fictitiously claimed.
And they call us provincial down in southern Ohio. Ha!
Support the Krikorian campaign through ActBlue at https://secure.actblue.com/... And if you plan on attending the hearing on August 13, I suggest you get there early, but please make an effort to arrive no earlier than me.
I’ll be covering the trial, where juicy facts are sure to emerge. I’ll also cover the OH-02 campaign regularly, as I did in 2008. The official motto of our tourism bureau: Ya can’t make this stuff up!
Allow me to anticipate some nastier types of comments and address them preemptively:
- Krikorian was not responsible for Wulsin’s loss in 2008; he actually hurt Schmidt more. A breakdown in the Wulsin campaign was most evident in the crucial swing counties of Pike and Scioto, where Wulsin did so poorly in 2008 that even if she had captured all the Krikorian votes, she still would have done worse than she had in 2006. I strongly backed Wulsin in 2006 and 2008.
- I am not going to spend time debating the historical fact of the genocide committed against Armenians by the Ottoman Turks between 1915 and 1921. Historians have settled the matter by overwhelming consensus. Google it if you need more information; refer especially to the verdict rendered by Elie Wiesel and the Simon Wiesenthal Center regarding the linkage between Holocaust denial and Armenian genocide denial.
- I have no bias against Turks. On the contrary, I have done work in Central Asia in support of indigenous Turkic populations. On DKOS, I have defended the rights of Uyghurs in East Turkestan (Xinjiang). Long ago I served on the editorial board of Turkestan News until I was removed because of my refusal to deny the Armenian genocide. Not that it matters, but I am not Armenian.
- The views expressed here are my own and not those of the Krikorian campaign.
- There were honorable people who thought the Armenian genocide resolution was a strategically bad idea. That’s not the issue. The issue is whether Schmidt’s associations with the Turkish lobby, combined with her outspokenness in opposition to the resolution, left her open to legitimate attack from an opponent who happens to be Armenian. It was Jean Schmidt who brought charges against David Krikorian, not vice versa.
UPDATE: According to a new press release from the Krikorian campaign:
Ms. Edmonds is prepared to testify this Saturday in an open to the media deposition in Washington DC that during the time she was employed by the FBI she obtained evidence that:
- The Government of Turkey had illegally infiltrated and influenced various U.S. government institutions and officials, including the Department of State, the Department of Defense and individual members of the United States Congress
- The Government of Turkey had engaged in practices and policies that were inimical to American interests and had in fact resulted in both the direct and indirect loss of American lives
- Turkish American cultural and business groups conduct operations with direct and indirect support from the Government of Turkey