Sunday, May 25, 2014

The FBI And The Gulen Movement In Chicago

*Before I start this post, let me record for the record that Dupage County Sheriff John Zaruba's email person has responded to me, and I quote:

                                              The answer is no. He has not. 

That was in response to the question: "Has Sheriff Zaruba ever traveled to Turkey as part of a group activity in coordination with the Niagara Foundation and/or the Chicago Turkish American Chamber of Commerce? If so, during what years?"  

That's a much clearer answer than ISBE's Gery Chico's office provided, I'll say that. Nevertheless, the Gulen Movement is clearly reaching out to Sheriff Zaruba; he'll certainly be getting an award or a junket offer sometime soon. He was already a judge at the talent show, along with the Consuls of Venezuela and Pakistan. 

Which brings us to this. I've posted many, many times about my concern about the connection between a large network of US public charter schools and the Gulen Movement, a 5-million member transnational social/political/religious movement currently based in Pennsylvania but entirely Turkish in its history and emphasis.

 I've also posted about my observations that the Gulen Movement's political behavior in the States seems like the "baby steps" of its mature political behavior in Turkey, where it is widely agreed that they quietly co-opted the judicial system to a large degree. Whatever the precise history inside Turkey is, it is clear to me that it isn't entirely clean, it isn't dialogue-ish.

If you've been paying attention, it should come as no surprise that the local branch of the Movement, the Niagara Foundation, has invited Bob Holley, the FBI Agent In Charge of Chicago, to a little private talk. The outreach effort toward the American judiciary system is part of a pattern we've seen before, in Turkey.

I'm not sure what "a select group of our members and staff" means, but I will say that that it's probably easier to get in a room with the FBI Agent In Charge by being a member of a Turkish transnational religious movement than it is by being, you know, an ordinary citizen or even a member of the secular Turkish expat communities.

The FBI has a long, long history of being on the receiving end of Gulenist outreach inside the United States. They're either trying to build up what they perceive to be a non-fundamentalist branch of Islam, or they're simply unable to say "no" to invitations that seem benign but are actually part of the foreign policy of a group operating inside a nation (Turkey) on behalf of an agenda that very few people fully understand. It seems improbable to me that the local FBI branch is very much concerned about the charter school connection. It also seems improbable to me that the FBI could have predicted the divorce between Edogan and Gulen. Who knows what the end-game is now? They probably don't even know.

The FBI's participation in Niagara's forum goes back at least to 2007,  when then-Agent In Charge Robert Grant appeared at Niagara to give a talk. Incidentally, this was the event where we learned that Niagara had sent at least 30 people from Elmhurst College to Turkey.

Kemal Oksuz, the Executive Director of Niagara Foundation declared the event open and thanked Elmhurst College representatives for the flowers kindly sent to Niagara Foundation as Niagara Foundation sent 30 professors and personnel from Elmhurst College to Turkey for friendship and intercultural dialogue purposes. Beautiful flowers showed the thankfulness and gratitude of Americans to Turkish hospitability in Turkey. Later on, Mr. Oksuz presented a short biography of Robert Grant and introduced him to the audience and left the podium for the speaker.
I'll later do a search for any scholarship even remotely critical of the Gulen Movement coming out of Elmhurst but something tells me I'm not going to find any.  Incidentally, the list of Illinois luminaries junketed to Turkey is clearly much larger than the Sun Times list. For example, in this video, John Cullerton says he's gone twice. (Interesting video, by the way. The Turkish Consul was still at that time making public appearances with this group.) I don't know what goes on during these trips, but it seems likely that the recipients are steered away from 60% of the Turkish population.

There was majority negative sentiment towards Gulen and his movement, whose supporters claim to number millions worldwide 
Some 60 percent of those polled describe their overall view of Gulen's movement as negative and 57 percent believe it to have established what Erdogan has described as a "parallel state" within the state bureaucracy.
Mr. Oksuz, from the 2007 FBI appearance mentioned above,  later went on to spearhead to the Movement's efforts in Texas, and is referred to in this 2011 NYT article.  There's a goldmine in Texas charter school construction, let's just say that.

Sharon Higgins, who was once told by a Chicago-connected Gulenist operating under the Twitter handle "Gitano Bandolero" to "keep your hands off your keyboard," has compiled the beginnings of a list of known FBI appearances at Gulen-linked events. It's a pretty long history.

  • ALABAMA: “FBI Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Patrick J. Maley announced that the Peace Valley Foundation (PVF), Huntsville Chapter is the recipient of the 2010 FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award (DCLA). SAC Maley made the announcement and presented a certificate to Satilimis Budak, President of PVF’s Huntsville Chapter...” FBI press release, 12/13/2010,
  • COLORADO: “... [Multicultural Mosaic Foundation] hosted FBI Supervisory Special Agent (SSA) Bradley Swim as the speaker for its Dinner with Speaker series.” 3/23/2012,
  • INDIANA: “speakers... Michael Welch, Special agent in Charge, FBI...” Niagara Foundation Dialogue And Friendship Dinner 2009,
  • LOUISIANA: “The center also has had guest speakers, including... David Welker, special agent in charge of the FBI’s New Orleans division.” Turkish Cultural Center in Metairie, 5/11/2011,
  • MASSACHUSETTS: "FBI Agents visited Hampden Charter School of Science." ~2012, photo gallery:
  • MISSOURI: “... then, guest speaker Special Agent Mr. Robert Herndon from FBI Kansas City Field Office gave a presentation on Identity Theft.” Raindrop Foundation, 2/28/2009, “... and Tom Jones, Senior Special Agent of FBI, gave remarks of the night. Hosts offered authentic Turkish Baklava and Turkish coffee to their valuable guests.” Rosegarden Turkish-American Cultural Center, 2/22/2012,
  • NEW JERSEY: Edison EnergySmart Charter School: Aaron Ford, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Newark office, visited the school with the county sheriff, the mayor, and four township council members. “The guests were given a tour of the school and had lunch with students and teachers.”
  • NEW MEXICO: “Keynote Speaker: Carol K.O. Lee, SAC, FBI Albuquerque.” 3rd Annual Dialog and Friendship Dinner & Awards Ceremony, 11/27/2012,
  • NEW YORK: “Other recipients of awards were Ray Kelly, Commissioner of the NYC Police Department and Mark Mershon, Assistant Director in Charge of the NY field office of the FBI.” [date unknown], Turkish Cultural Center Friendship Dinner,
  • NEW YORK: “Speaker: Donald Chu, FBI Special Agent.” Turkish Cultural Center Albany, 2/16/2013,!topic/crmoroccans/we-xZ-CsxvE
  • NEW YORK: “FBI - Assistant Director in Charge, Janice Fedarcyk at Turkish Cultural Center Friendship Dinner.” Turkish Cultural Center New York, 3/24/2011,
  • NEW YORK: “Turkish Cultural Center in collaboration with FBI has organized a seminar on Identity Theft, Internet Safety and Counterterrorism Programs.” Turkish Cultural Center Long Island, [date unknown],
  • TENNESSEE: “The Knoxville Turkish Cultural Center invited the FBI Knoxville Citizens Academy Alumni Association to dinner. I took pictures of the delicious food but I don’t know what any of it is called.” 5/30/2013,
  • WASHINGTON: “We invited local FBI agents to our cultural center and discussed how we can work together.” Acacia Foundation, 5/16/2012,

  • The Illinois interactions aren't even on the above list yet: the FBI Agent In Charge visited Niagara in 2007, as I've mentioned, and then again in 2011. A Special Agent visited last year.  Take on an individual basis, each visit seems within the realm of what an FBI agent might do in the course of his/her public relations duties, but looked at as a whole, it seems like the massaging of a relationship. The awards are weird. I don't think law enforcement people should receive private awards, in general. Not when there are hidden relationships to business before the state.

    Who knows what's going on here? Certainly not me. Maybe there's some profit in the FBI stirring up the Gulen-Erdogan rivalry. Maybe it destabilizes Russia somehow.  It's not for mortals like me to know.  Maybe the FBI just isn't looking at it at all. 

    What I do know is that it isn't wise to involve schools. This Movement runs schools, not Arby's franchises, and if they weren't public schools, I wouldn't be writing about this topic. As CASILIPS has said, 

    On a related note, did you hear about the CIA announcing it wouldn't do fake vaccine programs any more? What happened there was that the CIA did a fake vaccine program in the effort to find Osama bin Laden, and it backfired. Accounts vary, but this one is really disturbing.  

    In my mind, vaccines are good, and so are public schools. It wasn't wise to mix vaccination programs with an intelligence agenda, and it isn't wise to mix public education with a foreign policy agenda. All the rest of this business, I don't much care about. We should just be more judicious about doling out these charters.

    This current Agent-in-Charge is also on my short-list for likely Niagara award-recipients. Time will tell.

    New to the topic? Please see some of my previous posts.

    Dispatch From The Parallel State


    1. Kemal Oskuz is the reason behind the FBI Raid in Louisana. Kemal's careless donation to the RNC of LA to kill the foreign management of Charters bill. It came from Turquoise Council as well. The Niagara Foundation about 2 years ago delivered "Noahs Pudding" to the FBI field office, I heard they all got the shits from it.

    2. On a related note, here in Georgia, the head of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has similar connections. The GBI director, by all accounts an admirable fellow, is apparently on the advisory board of the Istanbul Center.