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FBI whistle-blower Sibel Edmonds was described as “the most gagged person in the history of the United States” by the American Civil Liberties Union. Was the Sunday Times pressured to drop its investigation into her revelations?

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A whistleblower has revealed extraordinary information on the U.S. government’s support for international terrorist networks and organised crime. The government has denied the allegations yet gone to extraordinary lengths to silence her. Her critics have derided her as a fabulist and fabricator. But now comes word that some of her most serious allegations were confirmed by a major European newspaper only to be squashed at the request of the U.S. government.

 

In a recent  book Classified Woman, Sibel Edmonds, a former translator for the FBI, describes how the Pentagon, CIA and State Department maintained intimate ties to al-Qaeda militants as late as 2001. Her memoir, Classified Woman: The Sibel Edmonds Story, published last year, charged senior government officials with negligence, corruption and collaboration with al Qaeda in illegal arms smuggling and drugs trafficking in Central Asia.

 

In interviews with this author in early March, Edmonds claimed that Ayman al-Zawahiri, current head of al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden’s deputy at the time, had innumerable, regular meetings at the U.S. embassy in Baku, Azerbaijan, with U.S. military and intelligence officials between 1997 and 2001, as part of an operation known as ‘Gladio B’. Al-Zawahiri, she charged, as well as various members of the bin Laden family and other mujahideen, were transported on NATO planes to various parts of Central Asia and the Balkans to participate in Pentagon-backed destabilisation operations.

 

According to two Sunday Times journalists speaking on condition of anonymity, this and related revelations had been confirmed by senior Pentagon and MI6 officials as part of a four-part investigative series that were supposed to run in 2008. The Sunday Times journalists described how the story was inexplicably dropped under the pressure of undisclosed “interest groups”, which, they suggest, were associated with the U.S. State Department.

 

Shooting the Messenger

Described by the American Civil Liberties Union as the “most gagged person in the history of the United States of America,” Edmonds studied criminal justice, psychology and public policy at  George Washington and George Mason universities. Two weeks after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, her fluency in Turkish, Farsi and Azerbaijani earned her an FBI contract at the Washington DC field office. She was tasked with translating highly classified intelligence from operations against terrorism suspects in and outside the U.S..

 

In the course of her work, Edmonds became privy to evidence that U.S. military and intelligence agencies were collaborating with Islamist militants affiliated with al-Qaeda, the very forces blamed for the 9/11 attacks – and that officials in the FBI were covering up the evidence. When Edmonds complained to her superiors, her family was threatened by one of the subjects of her complaint, and she was fired. Her accusations of espionage against her FBI colleagues were eventually investigated by the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General, which did not give details about the allegations as they remained classified.

 

Although no final conclusions about the espionage allegations were reached, the Justice Department concluded that many of Edmonds’ accusations “were supported, that the FBI did not take them seriously enough and that her allegations were, in fact, the most significant factor in the FBI’s decision to terminate her services.”

 

When she attempted to go public with her story in 2002, and again in 2004, the U.S. government silenced Edmonds by invoking a legal precedent known as “state secrets privilege” – a near limitless power to quash a lawsuit based solely on the government’s claim that evidence or testimony could divulge information that might undermine “national security.” Under this doctrine, the government sought to retroactively classify basic information concerning Edmonds’s case already in the public record, including, according to the New York Times, “what languages Ms. Edmonds translated, what types of cases she handled, and what employees she worked with, officials said. Even routine and widely disseminated information — like where she worked — is now classified.”

 

Although certainly not the first invocation of “state secrets privilege”, since the Edmonds case the precedent has been used repeatedly in the post-9/11 era under both the Bush and Obama administrations to shield the U.S. government from court scrutiny of rendition, torture, warrantless wiretapping, as well as the President’s claimed war powers.

 

Other intelligence experts agree that Edmonds had stumbled upon a criminal conspiracy at the heart of the American judicial system. In her memoirs, she recounts that FBI Special Agent Gilbert Graham, who also worked in the Washington field office on counter-intelligence operations, told her over a coffee how he “ran background checks on federal judges” in the “early nineties for the bureau… If we came up with shit – skeletons in their closets – the Justice Department kept it in their pantry to be used against them in the future or to get them to do what they want in certain cases – cases like yours.”A redacted version of Graham’s classified protected disclosure to the Justice Department regarding these allegations, released in 2007, refers to the FBI’s “abuse of authority” by conducting illegal wiretapping to obtain information on U.S. public officials.

 

Incubating Terror

Five years ago, Edmonds revealed to the Sunday Times that an unidentified senior U.S. State Department official was on the payroll of Turkish agents in Washington, passing on nuclear and military secrets. “He was aiding foreign operatives against U.S. interests by passing them highly classified information, not only from the State Department but also from the Pentagon, in exchange for money, position and political objectives”, Edmonds told the paper. She reported coming across this information when listening to suppressed phone calls recorded by FBI surveillance, marked by her colleague Melek Can Dickerson as “not pertinent”.

 

In the Sunday Times exposé, Edmonds described a parallel organisation in Israel cooperating with the Turks on illegal weapons sales and technology transfers. Between them, Israel and Turkey operated a range of front companies incorporated in the U.S. with active “moles in sensitive military and nuclear institutions”, supported by U.S. officials, in order to sell secrets to the highest bidder. One of the  buyers was Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) – which often used its Turkish allies, according to the Times, “as a conduit… because they were less likely to attract suspicion.”

 

The Pakistani operation was, the paper reported,  “led by General Mahmoud Ahmad, then the ISI chief” from 1999 to 2001, when the agency helped train, supply and coordinate the Afghan Taliban and gave sanctuary to their Arab allies brought together in the coalition named al-Qaeda. Ahmad, as the Times noted, “was accused [by the FBI] of sanctioning a $100,000 wire payment to Mohammed Atta, one of the 9/11 hijackers, immediately before the attacks.”

 

According to Indian intelligence officials, they had assisted the FBI in “tracing and establishing” the financial trail between the General and the chief hijacker. The discovery was, they allege, the real reason behind the General’s sudden retirement in October 2001. The Pakistani daily, The News, reported on 10th September 2001 that the ISI chief held several “mysterious meetings at the Pentagon and National Security Council” that week, including with CIA director George Tenet.

 

In an interview with this author in March, Edmonds raised the question of whether U.S. officials’ liaisons with an espionage network overseen by Ahmad, and the FBI’s suppression of related intelligence, played a role in facilitating the attacks.

 

“Following 9/11, a number of the foreign operatives were taken in for questioning by the FBI on suspicion that they knew about or somehow aided the attacks”, reported the Sunday Times. The paper related that according to Edmonds, the senior State Department official received a call from a foreign agent under FBI surveillance asking for help to “get them out of the U.S. because we can’t afford for them to spill the beans.” The official promised “he would ‘take care of it’.”

 

Edmonds told this author that high-level corruption compromised the ability of the U.S. intelligence community to pursue ongoing investigations of those planning the 9/11 attacks. “It was precisely those militants that were incubated by some of America’s key allies”, she said. Corruption helped  guarantee Congressional silence when that incubation strategy backfired in the form of 9/11. “Both Republican and Democratic representatives in the House and Senate came up in FBI counterintelligence investigations for taking bribes from foreign agents”, she said.

 

Al-Qaeda: Enemy or Asset?

In her interview, Edmonds  insisted that after its initial exposé, the Times‘ investigation had gone beyond such previous revelations, and was preparing to disclose her most startling accusations. Among these, Edmonds described how the CIA and the Pentagon had been running a series of covert operations supporting Islamist militant networks linked to Osama bin Laden right up to 9/11, in Central Asia, the Balkans and the Caucasus.

 

While it is widely recognised that the CIA sponsored bin Laden’s networks in Afghanistan during the Cold War, U.S. government officials deny any such ties existed. Others claim these ties were real, but were severed after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1989.

 

But according to Edmonds, this narrative is false. “Not just bin Laden, but several senior ‘bin Ladens’ were transported by U.S. intelligence back and forth to the region in the late 1990s through to 2001″, she told this author, “including Ayman al-Zawahiri” – Osama bin Laden’s right-hand-man who has taken over as al-Qaeda’s top leader.

 

“In the late 1990s, all the way up to 9/11, al-Zawahiri and other mujahideen operatives were meeting regularly with senior U.S. officials in the U.S. embassy in Baku to plan the Pentagon’s Balkan operations with the mujahideen,” said Edmonds. “We had support for these operations from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, but the U.S. oversaw and directed them. They were being run from a secret section of the Pentagon with its own office”.

 

Edmonds clarified, “the FBI counterintelligence investigation which was tracking these targets, along with their links to U.S. officials, was known as ‘Gladio B’, and was kickstarted in 1997. It so happens that Major Douglas Dickerson” – the husband of her FBI co-worker Melek whom she accused of espionage – “specifically directed the Pentagon’s ‘Gladio’ operations in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan at this time.”

 

In testimony under oath, Edmonds has previously confirmed that Major Doug Dickerson worked for the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) under the weapons procurement logistics division on Turkey and Central Asia, and with the Office of Special Plans (OSP) overseeing policy in Central Asia.

 

Gladio B

Edmonds said that the Pentagon operations with Islamists were an “extension” of an original ‘Gladio’ programme uncovered in the 1970s in Italy, part of an EU-wide NATO covert operation that began as early as the 1940s. As Swiss historian Dr. Daniele Ganser records in his seminal book, NATO’s Secret Armies, an official Italian parliamentary inquiry confirmed that British MI6 and the CIA had established a network of secret “stay-behind” paramilitary armies, staffed by fascist and Nazi collaborators. The covert armies carried out terrorist attacks throughout Western Europe, officially blamed on Communists in what Italian military intelligence called the ‘strategy of tension’.

 

“You had to attack civilians, the people, women, children, innocent people, unknown people far removed from any political game” explained Gladio operative Vincenzo Vinciguerra during his  trial in 1984. “The reason was quite simple. They were supposed to force these people… to turn to the State to ask for greater security.”

 

While the reality of Gladio’s existence in Europe is a matter of historical record, Edmonds contended the same strategy was adopted by the Pentagon in the 1990s in a new theatre of operations, namely, Asia. “Instead of using neo-Nazis, they used mujahideen working under various bin Ladens, as well as al-Zawahiri”, she said.

 

The last publicly known Gladio meeting occurred in NATO’s Allied Clandestine Committee (ACC) in Brussels in 1990. While Italy was a focal point for the older European operations, Edmonds said that Turkey and Azerbaijan served as the main conduits for a completely new, different set of operations in Asia using veterans of the anti-Soviet campaign in Afghanistan, the so-called “Afghan Arabs” that had been trained by al-Qaeda.

 

These new Pentagon-led operations were codenamed ‘Gladio B’ by FBI counterintelligence: “In 1997, NATO asked [Egyptian President] Hosni Mubarak to release from prison Islamist militants affiliated to Ayman al-Zawahiri [whose role in the assassination of Anwar Sadat led to Mubarak’s ascension]. They were flown under U.S. orders to Turkey for [training and use in] operations by the Pentagon”, she said.

 

Edmonds’ allegations find some independent corroboration in the public record. The Wall Street Journal refers to a nebulous agreement between Mubarak and “the operational wing of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, which was then headed by Ayman al-Zawahiri…  Many of that group’s fighters embraced a cease-fire with the government of former President Hosni Mubarak in 1997.”

 

Youssef Bodansky, former Director of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, cited U.S. intelligence sources in an article for Defense and Foreign Affairs: Strategic Policy, confirming “discussions between the Egyptian terrorist leader Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri and an Arab-American known to have been both an emissary of the CIA and the U.S. Government.” He referred to an “offer” made to al-Zawahiri in November 1997 on behalf of U.S. intelligence, granting his Islamists a free hand in Egypt as long as they lent support to U.S. forces in the Balkans. In 1998, Al Zawahiri’s brother, Muhammed, led an elite unit of the Kosovo Liberation Army against Serbs during the Kosovo conflict – he reportedly had direct contact with NATO leadership.

 

“This is why”, Edmonds continued in her interview, “even though the FBI routinely monitored the communications of the diplomatic arms of all countries, only four countries were exempt from this protocol – the UK, Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Belgium – the seat of NATO. No other country – not even allies like Israel or Saudi Arabia, were exempt. This is because these four countries were integral to the Pentagon’s so-called Gladio B operations.”

 

Edmonds did not speculate on the objectives of the Pentagon’s ‘Gladio B’ operations, but highlighted the following possibilities: projecting U.S. power in the former Soviet sphere of influence to access previously untapped strategic energy and mineral reserves for U.S. and European companies; pushing back Russian and Chinese power; and expanding the scope of lucrative criminal activities, particularly illegal arms and drugs trafficking.

 

Terrorism finance expert Loretta Napoleoni estimates the total value of this criminal economy to be about $1.5 trillion annually, the bulk of which “flows into Western economies, where it gets recycled in the U.S. and in Europe” as a “vital element of the cash flow of these economies.”

 

It is no coincidence then that the opium trade, Edmonds told this author, has grown rapidly under the tutelage of NATO in Afghanistan: “I know for a fact that NATO planes routinely shipped heroin to Belgium, where they then made their way into Europe and to the UK. They also shipped heroin to distribution centres in Chicago and New Jersey. FBI counterintelligence and DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) operations had acquired evidence of this drug trafficking in its surveillance of a wide range of targets, including senior officials in the Pentagon, CIA and State Department. As part of this surveillance, the role of the Dickersons – with the support of these senior U.S. officials – in facilitating drug-trafficking, came up. It was clear from this evidence that the whole funnel of drugs, money and terror in Central Asia was directed by these officials.”

 

The evidence for this funnel, according to Edmonds, remains classified in the form of FBI counterintelligence surveillance records she was asked to translate. Although this alleged evidence has never made it to court due to the U.S. government’s exertion of ‘state secret privilege’, she was able to testify in detail concerning her allegations, including naming names, in 2009.

 

Censorship

In recent interviews, two Sunday Times journalists confirmed to this author that the newspaper’s investigation based on Sibel Edmonds’ revelations was to break much of the details into the open.

 

“We’d spoken to several current and active Pentagon officials confirming the existence of U.S. operations sponsoring mujahideen networks in Central Asia from the 1990s to 2001,” said one Sunday Times source. “Those mujahideen networks were intertwined with a whole range of criminal enterprises, including drugs and guns. The Pentagon officials corroborated Edmonds’ allegations against specific U.S. officials, and I’d also interviewed an MI6 officer who confirmed that the U.S. was running these operations sponsoring mujahideen in that period.”

 

But according to Edmonds, citing the investigative team at the paper, the last two articles in the series were spiked under U.S. State Department pressure. She recalled being told at the time by journalists leading the Sunday Times investigation that the newspaper’s editor had decided to squash the story after receiving calls from officials at the U.S. embassy in London.

 

A journalist with the Sunday Times‘ investigative unit told this author he had interviewed former Special Agent in Charge, Dennis Saccher, who had moved to the FBI’s Colorado office. Saccher reportedly confirmed the veracity of Edmonds’ allegations of espionage, telling him that Edmonds’ story “should have been front page news” because it was “a scandal bigger than Watergate.” The same journalist confirmed that after interviewing Saccher at his home, the newspaper was contacted by the U.S. State Department. “The U.S. embassy in London called the editor and tried to ward him off. We were told that we weren’t permitted to approach Saccher or any other active FBI agents directly, but could only go through the FBI’s press office – that if we tried to speak to Saccher or anyone else employed by the FBI directly, that would be illegal. Of course, it isn’t, but that’s what we were told. I think this was a veiled threat.”

 

Saccher’s comments to the journalist never made it to press.

 

A lead reporter on the series at the Sunday Times told this author that the investigation based on Edmonds’ information was supposed to have four parts, but was inexplicably dropped. “The story was pulled half-way, suddenly, without any warning”, the journalist said. “I wasn’t party to the editorial decision to drop the story, but there was a belief in the office amongst several journalists who were part of the Insight investigative unit that the decision was made under pressure from the U.S. State Department, because the story might cause a diplomatic incident.”

 

Although the journalist was unaware of where this belief came from – and was not informed of the U.S. embassy’s contact with the paper’s editor which the other journalist was privy to – he acknowledged that self-censorship influenced by unspecified “interest groups” was a possible explanation. “The way the story was dropped was unusual, but the belief amongst my colleagues this happened under political pressure is plausible.” He cryptically described an “editorial mechanism, linked to the paper but not formally part of it, which could however exert control on stories when necessary, linked to certain interests.” When asked which interests, the journalist said, “I can’t say. I can’t talk about that.”

 

Edmonds described how, due to the U.S. government’s efforts to silence her, she had no option left except to write her story down. The resultant book, Classified Woman, had to be submitted to an FBI panel for review. By law, the bureau was required to make a decision on what could be disclosed  or redacted within 30 days.

 

Instead, about a year later, Edmonds’ lawyer received a letter from the FBI informing them that the agency was still reviewing the book, and prohibiting her from publishing it: “The matters Ms. Edmonds writes about involve many equities, some of which may implicate information that is classified… Approval of the manuscripts by the FBI will include incorporation of all changes required by the FBI. Until then, Ms. Edmonds does not have approval to publish her manuscripts which includes showing them to editors, literary agents, publishers, reviewers, or anyone else. At this point, Ms. Edmonds remains obligated not to disclose or publish the manuscript in any manner.”

 

..against Palestinians! Against #Gaza! July 2014

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Emblem of the League of Arab States

Image via Wikipedia

The audacity of the so-called Arab League.. run by dictators, for dictators.

As the Arab League “discusses” Syria sanctions and the finance ministers meet in Cairo after Syria failed to sign a protocol allowing rights monitors into the country, one could only wonder about the facts on the ground.

No, I am not pro-Assad or his Alawite mercenaries.

However, whenever the United States suddenly cares about the ill-treatment of Arabs somewhere in the Arab world, take notice: U.S. interests are the only interests that will be served; not the Arabs’ regardless of where they may be. Whatever protects the largest state of terrorism in the world, Israel, this is where the current U.S. policy and interests lie.

 

 

We're often told "protests" are against Assad... and this says what?

Back to the Arab League.

There’s a move to convince the international community to move forward and impose sanctions coupled with a military intervention in Syria. The first step to make this happen and easily accepted by the world, is to sell the idea that the Arabs themselves imposed sanctions against Syria, which failed and therefore, the Arab League sought help from the United Nations (the cover name for U.S. intervention). Thus, a military action against Syria will ensure – so the U.S. and Israel think – that the following is within their ultimate goals:

  1. Bombing Syria and sending it the stone-age as was done with Iraq.
  2. Eliminating Syria’s support to Hizbollah – the only freedom-fighting group that humiliated Israel at least twice!
  3. Bomb Iran – once in Syrian air-space, the despicable Arab dictators support to this U.S. intervention will provide bases and launching points to accomplish this act.

Interestingly, the United Nations says more than 3,500 people have been killed since the start of the uprising in March. Maybe so. But what about the Palestinians who are killed daily and openly in Palestinian territories? Over 6,000 Palestinians have been killed by the terrorist state of Israel since 2000, while a little over 1,000 Israelis have been killed in the same period. Did the U.N. ever cry foul or expressed concern?

  1. Where was the Arab League when Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982?
  2. Where was the Arab League when Israel attempted to invade south Lebanon again in 2006?
  3. Where was the Arab League when Israel launched its terror offensive against Gaza?
  4. Where IS the Arab League when on a daily basis Palestinians are evicted from their homes, their homes are confiscated, their women and children jailed indefinitely and so on?
  5. Where was the Arab League when the Israeli terrorists committed another Massacre on the Marmara?
  6. Where was the Arab League when Israel imposed the illegal blockade and thus creating an Auschwitz-like “open camp” against Palestinians in Gaza?
  7. Where is the Arab League NOW as Israel blatantly steals Lebanese water along the Mediterranean and steal natural gas resources from the Lebanese?

The facts are disturbing. Especially when the enemies of Humanity, the terrorist state of Israel claims openly that Assad’s fall is good for Israel!

No one knows what will replace the brutal Assad regime: A Jihadist junta, a drawn out civil war or, or even the eventual rise of a freedom loving society. But it is certain that breaking the Syria-Iran axis will benefit Israel and the world also stands to gain through any weakening of the ambitious Iranian war machine.

Iranian war machine? Talk about the pot calling the kettle black! We see what Israel is doing to those it occupies: with tanks, F-16’s and Apache helicopters! All courtesy of over $4 billion of annual U.S. aid to support terrorism and Israel!

 

My love and admiration for Egypt grows daily!

Egyptians are the real Arab heroes. They toppled the biggest CIA agent and dictator and forced him behind bars… just like a monkey, adding to the humiliation this degenerate and his family will receive in this life. Where are “his” partners now to save him?

And on the day of judgment he will be asked again to bring forth those partners he so believed in, and see if they could save him from eternal Hell and damnation.


And now our heroes are back in action: they want to topple the Israeli’s terrorist so-called embassy!

Egyptians must continue applying the pressure and demand the eviction of these heathens from the pure and holy Arab lands. If only other Arab countries and men/women were as courageous. Maybe the Egyptians have already ignited the fuse for the rest!

The Israeli terrorists have no place in the Middle East.  Their embassies should be immediately closed and all their people evicted from Arab lands. It’s outrageous for Arabs to accept these heathens on their lands while the NaZionists continue annexing and build the so-called settlements – they’re actually building terrorist camps!

Then there’s the pro-terrorist-Israeli-media! Have you noticed their “headlines?” “Muslims storm Israeli Embassy..” and such garbage. Speaking of “spinning the facts/ truth and history” – something Israelis are excellent and experienced in!

Get out of my land: my Arab and Holy Land!

 

An Egyptian protester spray-paints the words "Egyptians want the fall of the wall" on a wall of the Israeli Embassy in Cairo

The despicable UN report that Israel did not violate international law by imposing the illegal siege of Gaza…

Or the report that Israel simply used “excessive force” in its attack on the Mavi Marmara (Flotilla) and executing at least 9 civilians in cold blodd…

Or the UN’s call for freedom of South Sudan yet remains silent on Palestinians quest for freedom and independence…

 

These and more – prove that the United Nations is simply a puppet in the hands of Super Powers to be manipulated at will! Those seeking freedom will only get their freedom if the Superpowers “approve” their application!!!

If a “terrorist” supporting government like Sudan is in question, we go in full force to demand and support the liberation of the South – seeking its freedom and Independence. People like Clooney and other despicable opportunists run to “inform” the world of the severity of the Southern Sudanese…

Yet as Israel continues its Apartheid practice, ethnic cleansing policies, building more illegal settlements on Palestinian lands, torturing Palestinian prisoners of all ages, Clooney and the U.N. choose silence!

And the terrorist state of Israel and its actions against Palestinians, more horrific than the Holocaust itself, are simply “regrettable” actions…or excusable or whatever terminology that spins the ugly truth into something less negative-sounding!

 

And when Palestinians seek a vote to support their independence from the terrorist regime of the Israeli NaZionists, we – the USA – threaten such a freedom-seeking action with Veto, halting all aid to Palestinians (of which they see none – it goes into the pockets of the puppets played by the US government – as was the case in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and many more) and publicly demanding that such a request by Palestinian is hasty, illogical and produces mistrust with the Israelis…

In other words, Palestinians must be disbanded more and reduced to tribes like the Indian “nations” that remain in the U.S.

So when will the UN ever find Israel guilty of any crime?

When pigs fly!

Or when the superpowers become real democracies seeking justice for all…

Otherwise, the oppressed will continue to fight back for their freedom. And sooner or later, the oppressed and occupied win. History has just slapped the Universe with such evidence: Libya, Tunisia and Egypt have been liberated!

Kudos to Turkey and its expulsion of the Israeli diplomats terrorists from Turkey!

The demise of Israel is coming soon… the previews are almost over!!!

 

ATW

Israel ensures a continued Ass-Kissing Congress by using some of the AID the U.S. Government pays Israel ($5 billion a year – or what we, the U.S.A, declare) as a… Rebate?

And you wonder why this body of degenerate congressional individuals always veto’s any resolution condemning  Israeli atrocities and war crimes against Palestinians.

 

 

 

 

Rapid City, South Dakota (CNN) — Walid Shoebat Shoe-butt had a blunt message for the roughly 300 South Dakota police officers and sheriff’s deputies who gathered to hear him warn about the dangers of Islamic radicalism.

Terrorism and Islam are inseparable, he tells them. All U.S. mosques should be under scrutiny.

“All Islamic organizations in America should be the No. 1 enemy. All of them,” he says.

It’s a message Shoebat is selling based on his own background as a Palestinian-American convert to conservative Christianity. Born in the West Bank, the son of an American mother, he says he was a Palestinian Liberation Organization terrorist in his youth who helped firebomb an Israeli bank in Bethlehem and spent time in an Israeli jail.

That billing helps him land speaking engagements like a May event in Rapid City — a forum put on by the state Office of Homeland Security, which paid Shoebat $5,000 for the appearance. He’s a darling on the church and university lecture circuit, with his speeches, books and video sales bringing in $500,000-plus in 2009, according to tax records.

“Being an ex-terrorist myself is to understand the mindset of a terrorist,” Shoebat told CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360.”

But CNN reporters in the United States, Israel and the Palestinian territories found no evidence that would support that biography. Neither Shoebat nor his business partner provided any proof of Shoebat’s involvement in terrorism, despite repeated requests.

Back in his hometown of Beit Sahour, outside Bethlehem, relatives say they can’t understand how Shoebat could turn so roundly on his family and his faith.

“I have never heard anything about Walid being a mujahedeen or a terrorist,” said Daood Shoebat, who says he is Walid Shoebat’s fourth cousin. “He claims this for his own personal reasons.”

CNN’s Jerusalem bureau went to great lengths trying to verify Shoebat’s story. The Tel Aviv headquarters of Bank Leumi had no record of a firebombing at its now-demolished Bethlehem branch. Israeli police had no record of the bombing, and the prison where Shoebat says he was held “for a few weeks” for inciting anti-Israel demonstrations says it has no record of him being incarcerated there either.

Shoebat says he was never charged because he was a U.S. citizen.

“I was born by an American mother,” he said. “The other conspirators in the act ended up in jail. I ended up released.”

He said his own family has vouched for his prison time. But relatives CNN spoke to described him as a “regular kid” who left home at 18, eventually becoming a computer programmer in the United States.

Shoebat, now in his 50s, says he converted to Christianity in 1993 and began spreading the word about the dangers of Islam. He has been interviewed as a terrorism expert on several television programs, including a handful of appearances on CNN and its sister network, HLN, in 2006 and 2007.

Since al Qaeda’s 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, expertise on terrorism has been in high demand. The federal Department of Homeland Security has spent nearly $40 million on counterterrorism training since 2006. The department doesn’t keep track of how much goes to speakers, nor does it advise officials on the speakers hired by states and municipalities.

Shoebat spoke at a 2010 conference in South Dakota and was so well-received that he was invited back for the May event in Rapid City, according to state officials. He warned the police and first responders gathered in the hotel conference rooms that the Lebanese Shiite Muslim militia Hezbollah had operatives working in Mexico and that drug cartels were raising money with Islamic groups. He also asserted that federal agents could have prevented the 9/11 attacks by looking for a chafed spot, called “zabibah,” that sometimes forms on the foreheads of devout Muslims.

“You need ex-terrorists who can tell you what life is like and what thinking is like of potential terrorists,” Shoebat said. “But had we looked at the zabibah only, we would have deflected a suicide action of killing 3,000 Americans.”

But Shoebat also told the group there were 17 hijackers when there were 19. And perhaps more surprising from a man who bills himself as a terror expert, Shoebat said the Transportation Security Administration could have stopped them. The TSA wasn’t created until after the 9-11 attacks.

Jim Carpenter, South Dakota’s homeland security director, said Shoebat brought “a point of view that certainly is not mainstream.”

“He brings in commentary about living and being raised as a Muslim and converting over to Christianity — gives them a different aspect of breaking the mold, so to speak,” Carpenter said. But he said Shoebat’s appearance was “a small portion” of the two-and-a-half-day conference.

“It’s not like we’re talking about setting up training and a discipline we would follow, that this is the only way and that’s the particular point of view of a Muslim or somebody of the Islamic faith. That’s not the case,” Carpenter said. “That’s his point of view.”

Carpenter said there is “no fear of threat” from Islamic terrorism in South Dakota, where the last census reports showed the state’s Muslim community made up less than one-half of 1 percent of the population. According to Rapid City’s local newspaper, about two dozen Muslims live in the city.

During Shoebat’s presentation, he criticized Muslim organizations and told audience members to be leery of Muslim doctors, engineers, students and mosques.

“Now, we aren’t saying every single mosque is potential terrorist headquarters. But if you look at certain reports by the Hudson report, 80 percent of mosques they found pamphlets and education on jihad. So they’re in the mosque, the mosque in accordance to the Muslim brotherhood is the command post and center.”

The conservative Hudson Institute said it never issued such a report and has no idea why its name was invoked.

Shoebat warned that making special accommodations for Muslim beliefs was a step toward establishing Islamic religious law. And he recounted how he wore a T-shirt that read “Profile me” on a trip to the airport and approached the screeners at the security checkpoint.

“I got tapped down, I got checked, I got all these different things,” he said. “I say it’s wonderful.”

Shoebat and business partner Keith Davies run several foundations and three websites that are all linked. Shoebat said the major group, the Forum for Middle East Understanding, includes his own Walid Shoebat Foundation.

In tax records filed by Davies, the Forum for Middle East Understanding reported 2009 earnings from speaking engagements, videos and book sales of more than $560,000. The documents are thin on specifics, and so is Shoebat.

“Basically, we are in information, and we do speaking and we do also helping Christians that are being persecuted in countries like Pakistan, and we help Christians that are suffering all throughout the Middle East,” he said. Asked how they do that, he said, “None of your business” — adding that disclosing details could endanger people he was trying to help in Islamic countries that have laws against blasphemy.

Shoebat’s name doesn’t appear on any of the paperwork. As for his own salary, he said he makes “probably what a gas station makes or a garage makes.”

“Everybody thinks I’m just raking in the dough, which is absolutely incorrect,” he said. He referred details to Davies, who offered to provide a copy of the group’s tax returns — but didn’t. When asked who served on the foundation’s board of advisers, Davies gave “Anderson Cooper 360” the name of a former pilot, who didn’t return phone calls. But he could not name the high-ranking military officers he said were on the board.

Federal officials say they don’t know exactly how much money has gone to speakers like Shoebat. But in April, the bipartisan leaders of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee raised concerns about “vitriolic diatribes” being delivered by “self-appointed counterterrorism experts” at similar seminars.

Sen. Susan Collins, the committee’s Republican chairwoman, and Connecticut Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman asked the department to account for how much federal grant money went to state and local counterterrorism programs and what standards guided those grants. The request followed reports by the liberal Political Research Associates and the Washington Monthly that raised similar questions.

The Homeland Security Department told CNN that it has standards — and if training programs don’t meet them, “corrective action will be taken.”

“We have not and will not tolerate training programs — or any DHS-supported program — that rely on racial or ethnic profiling,” the agency said in a written statement.