WASHINGTON, D.C.—It’s the book “every American taxpayer should read,” says international lawyer Robert “Bob” Amsterdam about his newly-released publication Empire of Deceit: An Investigation of the Gülen Charter School Network.
In an exclusive, sit-down interview with Breitbart News, Amsterdam laid out details about his first-of-its-kind book. It is part of a forthcoming series of lengthy exposés detailing how a controversial Islamic Imam living in seclusion in Pennsylvania, Fethullah Gülen—through the Gülen Organization and charter schools—has created an extensive, shadowy and corrupt cult that misuses American taxpayer dollars to indoctrinate young, impressionable minds with H-1B visas.
“Gülen’s secretive Turkish cult has undermined the systems of accountability that were designed to protect Americans,” Amsterdam said, referring to over 200 schools, 81,000 students and nearly $1 billion in state and federal funding that is allegedly being poured into a network replete with human trafficking and indentured servitude, widespread manipulation of state-mandated testing, grades and attendance figures, and lobbying politicians and officials through publicly-funded trips to Turkey.
According to the book, there are nearly 81,000 students enrolled at Gülen schools across 27 states, including in the District of Columbia.
“We’ve tabulated the fraud to be about $243 million easily verifiable scams,” Amsterdam told Breitbart News. He continued:
And I think one of the things that highlights it for me is here is an organization—allegedly, a religious organization—dedicated to STEM education. And the only thing I can see them studying is how to scam the American taxpayer. I mean, from school uniforms to management fees, to sweetheart deals, to related-party transactions, to making money for the special-ed kids and not using it on special-ed kids, to a massive H-1B visa fraud, to charging charter schools triple or quadruple rents and draining their budgets so that the money goes to related Gülen real estate entities, to discriminating among the teachers, to setting up separate Turkish organizations inside the schools which essentially control the schools and report to the imam in Pennsylvania, to having secret prayer rooms, to taking the passports away from some of the Turkish teachers.
In Pakistan, madrasas are openly used as centers for Islamic recruitment. Amsterdam told Breitbart News, “Unlike the madrasas, which are honest about what they’re doing, he’s dishonest about what he’s doing. Because, while he [claims] he’s not teaching Islam, he is, and we demonstrate in the book he is recruiting followers in the United States. And those followers can be something of a secret army.”
Gülen’s schools take this to a new level, according to the book.
“His H1B visas, they are unqualified,” Amsterdam said. He noted that “everybody knows” the H-1B visas that Gülen has acquired “come in on a completely fraudulent pretense, everybody knows it. And it still goes on.” He added:
I know in one year he took more [H1B visas] than Google. And I know he’s charged the Charter School Network $20 million solely for bringing his followers over. And then those followers have turned into whistle blowers and I have to interview them, I sometimes need a translator because their English is so bad. And these people are teaching our children science, math, and you can’t even make out what they’re saying.
Empire of Deceit notes that Guülen’s charter schools used over 6,500 H-1B visas to import unqualified Turkish teachers, costing American teachers nearly $26 million in lost jobs. Last year, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services granted 85,000 H-1B visas through a lottery process. According to the State Department, China and India received 82 percent of all H-1B visas issued in 2016.
Dozens of whistleblower testimonials in the book detail Gülen’s network. One noted, “Turkish teachers always got paid more than the American teachers, and the turnover for the Turkish teachers was always really high.”
An excerpt from Empire of Deceit reads:
The charter school serves secondarily as an immigration pipeline by providing valuable H-1B visa sponsorships and employment to Turkish Gülenists who wish to immigrate into the U.S. With no meaningful oversight from an impartial governing board, the charter school appears to exploit the H-1B program by hiring untrained Turkish nationals for teaching and staff positions that are crucial to maintaining Gülenist control over the school. These positions include principal, business manager, human resources officer, budget analyst, financial officer, and counselor. According to whistleblower testimony, these H-1B employees are more than just willing participants to the Gülen Organization’s system—they are also forced to kick back as much as 15-40% of their own salaries back into the Gülen Organization. Just like the Gülenist vendors, the H-1B hires are legitimized recipients of the charter school’s funding, which the Gülen Organization then takes from.
Amsterdam also noted that several high-ranking Democratic politicians knew very well what Gülen was doing. “The abuses seem to be never-ending. And, he’s doing it with many politicians, taking donations and essentially closing their eyes. Major, major politicians like Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, key figures in 27 of the states are involved in taking these massive sums of money and essentially selling out our kids to this imam who in plain sight is stealing from the most vulnerable of our children,” he said.
“You have to wonder that if they didn’t know exactly what they were getting into. And, of course, the argument is until 2011 or 2012 Gülen was close to the Turkish government. Well, the answer that I would put them is, irrespective of what his relationship was like with Turkey, they had an obligation to figure out what he was doing in the United States. And if he was ripping off the American taxpayer to the extent he was, there was an obligation to investigate it,” said Amsterdam.
Gülen and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan were close allies until several years ago. Many see both men as being cut from the same cloth.
Erdogan has requested Gülen be extradited to Turkey and blamed him for organizing the failed coup that left 250 dead and thousands injured. However, for Amsterdam, who is Erdogan’s attorney, “The more I’ve researched the charter network, the less interested—to be frank—I’ve become in extradition and the more interested I am in seeing these people brought to justice in the United Staes for what they’ve done here.”
He added, “It’s the position of my client that they want to see him extradited. … The extradition piece was really Turkey, the government.”
“This is an extraordinary risk. He’s targeting military bases. I’ve written about the fact he’s targeting military bases. What is the U.S. government doing? And that’s why, sadly, sometimes you have to ask yourself whether there’s some form of complicity here,” he said.
“I’m really of the view that we have to root out these people from the bottom-up in the United States,” Amsterdam advised.
The book also demonstrates the scope and depth of Gülen’s reach in infiltrating America’s charter school system by detailing his close cultural ties with two powerful organizations, through his Chicago, Illinois-based Niagara Foundation and California-based Pacifica Institute.
Amsterdam is conducting a global investigation which includes, but is not limited to, Gülen’s reach in Europe and Africa. The second of several books will be coming out in January. “Gülen is connected to a lot of really shady shit in Africa. … He was in Russia and he was banned and he has been for years because they saw him as a subversive organization,” he said.
The book took 18 months to complete and used American experts. “We had no direction from the Turks,” Amsterdam said. “It was absolutely on trust and faith and a belief that we would do the right thing,” he told Breitbart News.
During an interview with France 24 in July, Gülen stated that he had said “for decades” that “education is the best way to address societal problems.”
During that same interview, Gülen said, “I don’t like myself. I don’t like people who like me,” when asked if he is the leader of a cult.
“I consider myself a terrible person,” he said, adding “If I can be rescued, I can be rescued by the mercy of God.” However, he added, “This movement is anchored in love” and said, it “will continue.”
Empire of Deceit is available online and can be downloaded here gratuitously.