I don't think George Friedman is losing any sleep over my opinion, but a sense of fair play forces me to say this. I was laughing about the "but everyone here knows this" quality of the leaked e-mail messages until I came across one titled Gülen Movement: Turkey's Third Power.
In one sense, yes, everyone here knows this. However, I've been struggling to write a piece for City Journal about this very subject, and I failed completely to present this kind of clear summary in my first draft. Brian Anderson rightly sent it back saying he couldn't make heads or tails of it. I just couldn't do what Reva Bhalla succeeded in doing. She figured out what the most important parts of the story were and presented them in a cogent way.
Why wasn't I able to do that? I'm asking myself. Partly it's information overload: I know far too much about this, and an e-mail like this doesn't do justice to a subject that deserves a book (and about which many have been written). Partly it's because I became a bit overwhelmed with a sense of responsibility; on the one hand, the movement has some exceptionally sinister aspects, on the other, there are a lot of very decent people in it, and I didn't want to write anything that would cause them as a group to be maligned, either here or in the United States. Her objective was obviously different from mine, in that she didn't intend for this e-mail to be published, so she didn't have to weigh that consideration. Partly, I'm just too close to the subject--I have a sensitivity about "arrested journalists," as most journalist do. That's probably why Brian found my tone strangely paranoid and hostile.
I can't corroborate every word of the e-mail (no one can, which is part of the problem), but I think it's the best summary I've seen so far. You'll definitely learn something if you read it through. George Friedman was right to pay her to do this and not me. Chapeau, Reva Bhalla, and my sincere apologies.
Gülen denies the report and plans to sue the Turkish newspaper that reported it, Taraf. That's delicious in all kinds of ways, given that around here we call Taraf the "Center for Excellence in Plot Reporting."
(Brian, that's pretty much what I was trying to say. Maybe I could just smooth out the prose in some places, claim I wrote it? What's Stratfor going to do? They're committed to a policy of neither confirming nor denying that these things are theirs, right?)