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KoKo's Journal
December 5, 2015

Killer Drone News Blackout Continues As Mainstream Media Ignore 4 Whistleblowers

Killer Drone News Blackout Continues As Mainstream Media Ignore 4 Whistleblowers

John Hanrahan
Friday, 04 December 2015 06:51

http://therealnews.com/t2/component/content/article/402-john-hanrahan/2576-killer-drone-news-blackout-continues-as-mainstream-media-ignore-4-whistleblowers

By John Hanrahan. This article was first published on Expose Facts.


Drone whistleblowers from left: Cian Westmoreland, Michael Haas, Brandon Bryant and Stephen Lewis. Photograph: Simon Leigh for the Guardian

The polls show it and commentators of all political stripes often cite the figures: Killer drone attacks by the U.S. military and the CIA in the Greater Middle East and Africa have strong U.S. public support. According to the Pew Research Center’s most recent poll in May, 58 percent — up slightly from 56 percent in February 2013 — approve of “missile strikes from drones to target extremists in such countries as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.” The numbers of Americans disapproving of drone attacks actually increased from 26 percent to 35 percent over that two-year period — a hopeful sign, but still very much a minority view.

But how well informed can U.S. citizens be on this subject when the major news media time and again ignore or under-report drone-strike stories — as we have discussed here and here in recent weeks? Stories — such as The Intercept’s October series based on a trove of classified materials provided by a national security whistleblower — that would likely raise serious questions about the drone program in many more Americans’ minds if they were actually given the information?

And now, in the latest example of journalistic negligence, The New York Times, Washington Post and other mainstream news organizations in late November continued their apparent policy of no-bad-news-reporting-about-drones.


This time, the major media chose to ignore four former Air Force drone-war personnel who went public with an open letter to President Obama. The letter urged the President to reconsider a program that killed “innocent civilians,” and which “only fueled the feelings of hatred that ignited terrorism and groups like ISIS, while also serving as a fundamental recruiting tool [for extremists] similar to Guantanamo Bay.”

In strong, dramatic language, the four men — in the letter and subsequent press appearances — challenged the official Obama White House/Pentagon/CIA public view that civilians are rarely killed by drones, and that drones make Americans safer and are helping defeat terrorists. Rather, they said that the U.S. drone war plays right into the hands of ISIS and other extremist groups by terrorizing local populations and killing innocent civilians, resulting in heightened anti-U.S. feeling and more recruits for ISIS.

Now it’s not every day that four former drone operators go public with their anguish-filled stories of the drone program killing innocent people and creating blowback against the United States.

In fact, there has not been any day like that. Until now, that has never happened. You would think that this would meet some textbook definition of news — something new, uncommon, dramatic and consequential. When President Obama or a proven liar about the drone program, CIA Director John Brennan, propagandize about drones and how wonderful and precise and well-nigh infallible they are in crushing extremists, not killing civilians and making us safe — that is what the mainstream media dutifully reports as news. But when four drone whistleblowers — who sat at the very heart of the system guiding Hellfire missiles from Predator drones to human targets in Afghanistan and Iraq — come forward to undermine that tidy little story, those same news outlets turn their collective back.

Voicing such sharp criticism of a top-secret program with which they were all involved is an especially risky move given that the Obama administration has shown itself to be the most anti-whistleblower administration ever. Obama’s Justice Department has prosecuted more than twice as many whistleblowers under the Espionage Act as all previous presidents combined since the passage of the law in 1917.

The letter to Obama, also addressed to Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter and CIA Director Brennan, said that the Bush and Obama administrations “have built a drone program that is one of the most devastating driving forces for terrorism and destabilization around the world.” They expressed guilt, and are experiencing PTSD, as a result of “our roles in facilitating this systematic loss of innocent life.”

In a pointed reference to the Obama administration’s statements in support of the drone program, the letter stated: “We witnessed gross waste, mismanagement, abuses of power, and our country’s leaders lying publicly about the effectiveness of the drone program.”

And, drawing a link between the recent Paris attacks and drone killings creating more terrorists and blowback, the whistleblowers added: “We cannot sit silently by and witness tragedies like the attacks in Paris, knowing the devastating effects the drone program has overseas and at home. Such silence would violate the very oaths we took to support and defend the Constitution.”

These former Air Force personnel — three former Predator sensor operators (Staff Sergeant Brandon Bryant, Senior Airman Stephen Lewis and Senior Airman Michael Haas), and one former drone program infrastructure technician (Senior Airman Cian Westmoreland) — had a combined 20-plus years of remotely operating drone strikes in Afghanistan and Iraq from Creech Air Force Base, Nevada. All had Afghanistan drone experience, and all but Westmoreland also had Iraq experience. This gave them special, first-hand insight into a program whose operators, in Haas’s words, viewed targeted human beings as “ants…just black blobs on a screen” and considered children who came into view on their screens as “fun-sized terrorists.”

Haas and other whistleblowers expanded on the points in their letter in an interview with Guardian reporters, which resulted in two eye-opening articles by Ed Pilkington and Ewen MacAskill. This was followed by a lengthy appearance on Democracy Now! and a news conference in connection with the premiere in New York of a new documentary, “Drone,” in which two of the whistleblowers (Bryant and Haas) make appearances. Agence France-Presse (AFP), Reuters and Newsweek all carried stories, as did The Intercept, Shadowproof and other online news sites.

Did you read about any of that whistleblower criticism in The New York Times or The Washington Post, or see a segment about it on television news? No, you did not. If you know about it at all, it’s probably because of The Guardian, Democracy Now!, and online political and progressive blogs and websites.

This marked the second time in just the last two months that mainstream news outlets have given a thumbs-down to a significant drone story. In October, The Washington Post ignored it and The New York Times ran two paragraphs at the end of a 25-paragraph piece about a series of significant drone articles posted in The Intercept. The articles were derived from documents, referred to as the “Drone Papers,” that were provided to The Intercept by an anonymous intelligence whistleblower. (We wrote about that here.)

As ExposeFacts has previously noted, mainstream news organizations make only occasional forays once or twice a year into reporting that is critical of the drone program (for example, this New York Times article from 2012 and one earlier this year).

What many Americans see or hear most of the time from the self-censoring mainstream media is superficial reporting on the latest drone strike that killed a certain number of what are almost always described in sketchy news stories as militants of one type or another. They also get frequent doses of propaganda and soothing assurances from the President and other Obama administration officials that the program of drones and other aerial bombardments is precise, takes special precaution not to kill civilians, but most importantly is making America safer by killing militants while keeping U.S. troops out of harm’s way.

Typical was Obama’s speech in May 2013 at the National Defense University, where he said this: “And before any [drone] strike is taken, there must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured – the highest standard we can set.” He said civilian deaths constituted “a risk that exists in all wars.” But as Commander-in-Chief, he went on, “I must weigh these heartbreaking tragedies against the alternatives. To do nothing in the face of terrorist networks would invite far more civilian casualties – not just in our cities at home and facilities abroad, but also in the very places – like Sana’a and Kabul and Mogadishu – where terrorists seek a foothold.”

And who, if they were paying attention at the time, can ever forget major-league truth abuser John Brennan, when he was Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser, saying in June 2011 that for almost a year, “there hasn’t been a single collateral death because of the exceptional proficiency, precision of the capabilities we’ve been able to develop.” In reporting that whopper, The New York Times in August 2011 further reported this: “Other officials say that [Brennan’s] extraordinary claim still holds: since May 2010, C.I.A. officers believe, the drones have killed more than 600 militants – including at least 20 in a strike reported Wednesday – and not a single noncombatant.”

Given the Obama administration’s control of the drone narrative and the paucity of mainstream press coverage, the 35 percent opposition figure shown in the Pew Research Center’s poll in May is a bit surprising for being as high as it is. Especially given that so many Americans buy into the notion that the nation is in a war against terrorism, that drones make us safe, and that killing remotely by drones is preferable to sending U.S. soldiers into combat areas and risking their lives.

Curiously, that same Pew Research Center poll, in addition to showing 35 percent opposition, found that 48 percent said “they are very concerned that U.S. drone strikes endanger the lives of innocent civilians.” This higher figure suggests that even some Americans currently favoring drone attacks have doubts about how well civilians are protected — and thus might be open to opposing drone use if the mainstream media would let them know what the four whistleblowers said.

Or if the mainstream press would let them know what was contained in The Intercept’s “Drone Papers” articles — such as the revelation that during one five-month period of Operation Haymaker in northeastern Afghanistan, “nearly 90 percent of the people killed in airstrikes were not the intended targets. In Yemen and Somalia where the U.S. has far more limited intelligence capabilities to confirm the people killed are the intended targets, the equivalent ratios may well be much worse.”

It’s worth noting that The Guardian, AFP and Reuters — outlets that did cover the four drone whistleblowers — are all headquartered outside the United States and are not part of the inside-the-Beltway media crowd that influence what is and isn’t news at the national and U.S. governmental level.

Also, because those news outlets all have high levels of newspaper and Internet-based circulation in numerous countries, what they report can make citizens of other countries better informed than Americans about certain aspects of U.S. life. This meant, for example, that Singapore readers of The Straits Times and the Dublin, Ireland readers of TheJournal.ie got to read about the four whistleblowers via an AFP article online. Meanwhile, sadly and ironically, readers of The New York Times and Washington Post were left in the dark.

Across the waters in the drone-deploying United Kingdom, public opinion on drone use appears to be the direct opposite of the United States. A Pew Research Center poll in July 2014 found that the U.K. public opposed the use of drones by a 59-33 percent margin.

With The Guardian and others providing more critical coverage of drones than U.S. mainstream media, and with the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism regularly pumping out information that challenges U.S. government claims about limited civilian drone-strike deaths, it’s a good bet that U.K. citizens are more exposed to criticisms of the drone programs than are their U.S. counterparts.

Additionally, many members of Parliament are much more critical of Britain’s drone policies than are members of Congress critical of U.S. policies, and they are often in the news with their criticisms and concerns. Not so in the United States where, with no serious congressional oversight or debate about drones, there is seldom any anti-drone news generated in the House or Senate — which means citizens hear nothing from the legislative branch to counter the White House views.

As long as major U.S. news organizations continue to ignore, downplay or under-report drone stories, much of the American public will remain under-informed or ill-informed about what our drone strikes are doing to the citizens of many other countries, while at the same time turning ever more people against the United States.

It’s worth noting that The Guardian, AFP and Reuters — outlets that did cover the four drone whistleblowers — are all headquartered outside the United States and are not part of the inside-the-Beltway media crowd that influence what is and isn’t news at the national and U.S. governmental level.

Also, because those news outlets all have high levels of newspaper and Internet-based circulation in numerous countries, what they report can make citizens of other countries better informed than Americans about certain aspects of U.S. life. This meant, for example, that Singapore readers of The Straits Times and the Dublin, Ireland readers of TheJournal.ie got to read about the four whistleblowers via an AFP article online. Meanwhile, sadly and ironically, readers of The New York Times and Washington Post were left in the dark.

Across the waters in the drone-deploying United Kingdom, public opinion on drone use appears to be the direct opposite of the United States. A Pew Research Center poll in July 2014 found that the U.K. public opposed the use of drones by a 59-33 percent margin.

With The Guardian and others providing more critical coverage of drones than U.S. mainstream media, and with the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism regularly pumping out information that challenges U.S. government claims about limited civilian drone-strike deaths, it’s a good bet that U.K. citizens are more exposed to criticisms of the drone programs than are their U.S. counterparts.

Additionally, many members of Parliament are much more critical of Britain’s drone policies than are members of Congress critical of U.S. policies, and they are often in the news with their criticisms and concerns. Not so in the United States where, with no serious congressional oversight or debate about drones, there is seldom any anti-drone news generated in the House or Senate — which means citizens hear nothing from the legislative branch to counter the White House views.

As long as major U.S. news organizations continue to ignore, downplay or under-report drone stories, much of the American public will remain under-informed or ill-informed about what our drone strikes are doing to the citizens of many other countries, while at the same time turning ever more people against the United States.

(Disclosure: The four drone whistleblowers are represented by attorney Jesselyn Radack, who is national security and human rights director of the ExposeFacts WHISPeR program.)
About John Hanrahan

[ib]John Hanrahan, currently on the editorial board of ExposeFacts, is a former executive director of The Fund for Investigative Journalism and reporter for The Washington Post,  The Washington Star, UPI and other news organizations. He also has extensive experience as a legal investigator. Hanrahan is the author of Government by Contract and co-author of Lost Frontier: The Marketing of Alaska. He wrote extensively for NiemanWatchdog.org, a project of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University.
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(Disclosure: The four drone whistleblowers are represented by attorney Jesselyn Radack, who is national security and human rights director of the ExposeFacts WHISPeR program.)
Tagged With: Barack Obama, drones, whistleblowers
About John Hanrahan

John Hanrahan, currently on the editorial board of ExposeFacts, is a former executive director of The Fund for Investigative Journalism and reporter for The Washington Post,  The Washington Star, UPI and other news organizations. He also has extensive experience as a legal investigator. Hanrahan is the author of Government by Contract and co-author of Lost Frontier: The Marketing of Alaska. He wrote extensively for NiemanWatchdog.org, a project of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University.
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http://therealnews.com/t2/component/content/article/402-john-hanrahan/2576-killer-drone-news-blackout-continues-as-mainstream-media-ignore-4-whistleblowers
December 5, 2015

Protests in the Ivies: Whatever Happened to Irreverence and Thick Skins?

Protests in the Ivies: Whatever Happened to Irreverence and Thick Skins?

Andrew Levine
Friday, 04 December 2015 10:18

By Andrew Levine. This article was first published on Counterpunch.



If I recall correctly, there was an Emily Post parody – the subject was etiquette for leftists — that appeared in The National Lampoon early in the 1970s. The National Lampoon was one of several American equivalents, more or less, of France’s Le Canard Enchaîné, the ancestor of the recently famous (in America) Charlie Hebdo.

Memories fade but I do remember that readers were advised that it was proper and even commendable to fart in public, though not in the presence of Black Panthers.

That little gem captured the attitude of leftwing students at the time; and indeed of many leftists from time immemorial.

There have always been dour, later-day “friends of the people” for whom “political correctness” avant la lettre came naturally. This was, in part, a class phenomenon; puritanical self-righteousness is an affliction of the petite bourgeoisie. Truly downtrodden people are seldom thin skinned enough to care.

Proletarians seldom speak decorously to one another, except, of course, in the presence of persons owed special respect. Seemingly offensive speech – what high- minded academics call “words that hurt” – delivered in a comradely manner to persons in similar situations more often foster feelings of solidarity than difference.

This is one reason why African Americans sometimes use the word that no one else dares utter, the dreaded “n-word,” among themselves.

Left-leaning students in the United States in the late sixties and early seventies were an irreverent lot, regardless of their class position. Sardonic humor was in; conventional manners were out — except, of course, in the presence of Black Panthers and similarly iconic heroes. Students were no more proletarian then than they are today, but proletarian-like attitudes were the order of the day.

Hence the advice on farting.

Women and homosexuals were disparaged too, as per the spirit of the times. But that was a different, less innocent, phenomenon.

First and second wave feminism arose out of the Left; the gay liberation movement did too. There was surely more support for sexual equality, and more tolerance of homosexuality, on the left than in the general population. But the fact remains that the patriarchal and homophobic attitudes of the larger society were pervasive across the entire political and class spectrum.

No good came of it. In ways both overt and subtle, offensive forms of expression, directed at women and gays, helped buttress patriarchal and homophobic attitudes and institutions.

The remedy, though, was not censorship or self-censorship; it was consciousness raising – for perpetrators and victims alike. Because consciousness was raised, leading women and gays to fight back, the situation now is much improved, though there is still a long way to go.

The spirit behind these developments spilled over into wider social and political circles, breathing new life into political movements organized around notions of ascribed or chosen identities. The decline of the historical Left facilitated this phenomenon. Something had to fill the void.

Identity politics partly accounts for the triumph of the dour in contemporary leftwing culture. This is one reason why the Emily Post ethos is back; why the dominant view now is that everybody, regardless of race, religion, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation and so on, must be shown respect in the way that The National Lampoon reserved for Black Panthers.

It has been this way for a long time. There are still irreverent spirits around; but, to survive, even they have had to tread lightly.

For the most part, the irreverent still situate themselves to the left of the dead center; this is their natural home. But, in the broader left, such as it is, irreverence is no longer esteemed. The virtues liberals prize, decorum and civility, have taken its place.

Resurgent religiosity is culpable too. For the readers and writers of the old National Lampoon, God was dead. It turned out, though, that reports of His (or was it Her?) demise were exaggerated. Now God is back with a vengeance, and it can be dangerous to satirize what the godly revere.

It is different in a few parts of Africa and elsewhere, but, in North America, Christian terrorists threaten only abortion providers and other defenders of women’s autonomy and reproductive rights. They are a murderous lot, but they have not made the general public feel unsafe.

There are occasional flare-ups of terrorist violence carried out by skinheads, survivalists, white supremacists, gun fanatics and the like. The perpetrators sometimes identify as Christians; however, their motivations are seldom religious in the conventional sense.

Jewish terrorists focus on the ethnic cleansing of Palestine to the exclusion of everything else; all they do outside the Promised Land is raise money. Therefore the only fear they instill half a world away is the fear of being called an anti-Semite or a self-hating Jew.

These taunts are losing their sting – as the fatuity of the thinking behind them becomes apparent to more and more people, and as news of what Israel does, and has done, to Palestinians has become more widely known.

Islamist terrorists are another matter. Reasonably or not, everybody now is a little afraid on their account. For the existence of Islamist terrorism, we have mainly the United States and other Western powers to thank. America’s – and France’s and Britain’s — wars on the historically Muslim world set the plague in motion, and keep it alive; as do their alliances with the principal backers of Islamist terrorism, Saudi Arabia and the other, petroleum rich Salafist monarchies of the Gulf region.

All this has made for a chilling effect that afflicts even the most irreverent, free spirited souls among us. It has also done a number on the broader, formerly irreverent, Left. The watchword in leftish precincts now is: niceness for all.

Students, especially at elite colleges and universities, are the worst offenders. Blame the rise of identity politics for the fact that the young have become so prissy – perhaps not in general, but in politics and in cultural matters that bear on politics. There have been signs, recently, that the pendulum is swinging back, but it still has a long way to go.

For years now, people have understood this, adjusting their actions and expectations accordingly.

More, Continued at:

http://therealnews.com/t2/component/content/article/379-andrew-levine/2578-protests-in-the-ivies-whatever-happened-to-irreverence-and-thick-skins

December 5, 2015

How will British airstrikes affect the Syrian conflict? The Plot Dangerously Thickens...Sound Cloud

The Second Half of Show gets into the Specifics of an interesting Discussion over Syria Interventions:
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How will British airstrikes affect the Syrian conflict? Crosstalk

The plot dangerously thickens – with the UK voting to officially join the Syrian conflict, the battlefield and airspace are now precariously crowded. And since the U.S. and its allies are unwilling to cooperate with the Syrian-led coalition, do one and all sides risk miscalculation? Maybe this is what Washington wants?

CrossTalking with Ammar Waqqaf, Akin Unver, and Daniel Lazare.

https://soundcloud.com/rttv/complicated-battlefield

December 5, 2015

Putin Wants Russia to Become World's Organic Food Superpower--First, Hopes to Clip Turkey's Wings


Bryan MacDonald
Published time: 4 Dec, 2015 15:51

The Danger of a Unipolar World


Tons and tons of newspaper articles, intelligence reports, academic texts and journals are published each year in the US focused on what Putin wants. There’s a cottage industry online which debates it hourly, let alone daily or weekly. Dozens of academics and journalists have made a living out of ‘Putinology’. However, it’s pretty clear from the man’s words what he wants and has wanted for at least eight years. Putin is pushing for a multipolar world. One where the United Nations, rather than Washington, dictates the rules of the game.

Speaking Thursday, Putin called again for a “broad coalition” to fight ISIS. Of course, while France appears to favor this idea, Washington has furiously worked to derail it. Such an outcome would diminish the total control America has enjoyed over Europe for the past 25 years. Hence, it’s unfathomable to the White House, unless they are forced to acquiesce.

Food Revolution

On the domestic front, Putin delivered a business and reform-orientated speech. He conceded that an “army of inspectors” (a post-Soviet hangover) interferes with business in Russia and promised change. He also highlighted Russia’s improving demographic situation. “More people are now having second and third children. This means they believe in the future of Russia,” he said. Given the shocking state of the Russian birth-rate in the 1990’s, this recovery is a very big deal. Government policy has been successful in that area and Putin extended current financial and social incentives for a further two years.

However, for this writer, the most notable element of Putin’s speech was when he turned his attention to agriculture. Readers who have flown over Russia will have noticed the almost complete absence of intensive farming when compared with Europe or North America. The only real exception here is the southern Krasnodar region which benefits from a very benign climate. There is little doubt that if Russian got its act together in this regard, it could probably feed the whole planet.

Problems in Russian agriculture have festered throughout history. Most infamously, former Soviet ruler Nikita Khrushchev, born to a farming family, fancied himself as something of an agricultural expert, but his disastrous ‘reforms’, allied to a terrible drought, almost led to a famine as recently as 1963. The ‘Virgin Lands’ campaign of the 1950’s was also spectacularly unsuccessful.

In the 21st century, Russian food production has improved. Now, Putin is proposing a major focus on the area. “By 2020, Russia must provide itself with all food,” he implored. "We need to cultivate the millions of acres now idle.” The President suggested confiscating unused farmland and its sale to new owners willing to till it.


An Organic Dawn

As the Kremlin has rejected the idea of GMO food production, now a mainstay of American agriculture, Russia could become the world’s principal supplier of high-quality organic food. Meaning there is potential to dominate the “high-end” market in both the West and in other wealthy countries - like China and the Middle Eastern states.

"We are not only able to feed ourselves taking into account our lands, water resources – Russia is able to become the largest world supplier of healthy, ecologically clean and high-quality food which the Western producers have long lost, especially given the fact that demand for such products in the world market is steadily growing," said Putin. Of course, a major problem here is insufficient labor. However, with some European and Asian countries creaking economically, it mightn’t be so difficult to attract agriculture workers.

The Presidents annual address is always pivotal in the Russian political calendar. This year’s was somewhat overshadowed by tensions with Turkey and Moscow’s anti-ISIS campaign. Thus, the crucial emphasis on farming seems to have been ignored by the world’s media. With gas and oil prices choked, Russia needs to diversify its economy. Agriculture is a logical trump card. At this stage, Russia has everything to gain.
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https://www.rt.com/op-edge/324761-russia-putin-parliamentary-address-turkey/
December 4, 2015

"ISIS Oil" --Vjay Prshad

December 3, 2015
ISIS Oil

by Vijay Prashad (director of International Studies at Trinity College)

On December 2, Russia’s Deputy Minister of Defense Anatoly Antonov made a strong statement about Turkish complicity with ISIS. The charge sheet is long and detailed. It mentions many aspects, but the most incendiary is the accusation about “ISIS oil.”

ISIS controls Iraqi oil fields near Mosul. They have been making millions of dollars each day by selling oil from these fields. How does ISIS get the oil from the fields in Mosul to the market?

What ISIS has done is to use the old networks that have smuggled oil from the Kurdish Regional Government without any consideration given to Baghdad’s sovereignty over that oil. This had been a point of contention for decades, since the Kurdish region began to exercise autonomous control of the north. Kurdish oil was sold to smugglers who would cart them in tankers across the border into Turkey. In Turkey the trucks would run the length of the country to the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan. From Ceyhan, which is a port run by the Turkish government, the oil is purchased by transporters whose ships go to Malta, where the oil is transshipped to destinations such as Ashdod (Israel). This has long been a bone of contention between the Iraqi government, the Kurdish Regional Government and the Turkish government. It was documented by Tolga Tanış in his book Potus ve Beyefendi (2015). Tanis accuses Berat Albayrak, son-in-law of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, of involvement in this illegal scheme. ISIS has merely replaced the Kurdish Regional Government in the new arrangement.

How does ISIS do it? ISIS sells the oil to smugglers who cart it to Ceyhan. But now the story gets interesting. Who is involved inside Turkey with the oil? The Russians have accused the BMZ Group of being a major agent for the transport of the oil. It turns out that one of the owners of BMZ is Bilal Erdoğan, son of the president. BMZ Group has – according to the Financial Times – purchased two new tankers this last month. Its volume of oil has increased. Is this ISIS oil? What the Russians allege would need to be investigated further. In the UK parliament, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said, “We need to know which banks and countries are in on ISIS oil smuggling.” This is the most important question. It is being ignored.

Much of this is well-known in Turkey, where journalists have been bravely writing about the Turkish government’s role along the porous Turkish-Syrian border. That is why the government of Erdoğan has so ruthlessly gone after the media. The arrest of Cumhuriyet editor Can Dündar and Ankara bureau chief Erdem Gül is only one part of this crackdown. Dündar and Gül had the temerity to publish pictures that showed Turkish resupplying of extremists in Syria. Erdoğan went after the New York Times’ Ceylan Yeginsu when she reported on ISIS recruitment centers in Turkey. There is zero tolerance for press freedom on these issues. If one names these names – Bilal Erdoğan, Berat Albayrak, Ahmet Çalık – there is danger of prosecution. Çalık holds the keys to the kingdom at the Cehyan refinery – through which, it is alleged, ISIS oil travels. Will there be an impartial investigation of this? Unlikely. Too much is at stake. Erdoğan has said that he would resign if any such link were proven. It is likely no such link will be demonstrated.

That the Russians have made these allegations will only increase tensions between Ankara and Moscow. Indeed, on December 3, Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested that retaliation for the downed jet has not yet come. The tempo of threats has risen.

Continued At............

http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/12/03/isis-oil/

December 3, 2015

Coalition or Cold War with Russia?--Stephen Cohen and Katrina vanden Heuvel

Coalition or Cold War with Russia?

American policy-makers and presidential candidates must now make a fateful decision—join Moscow in an alliance against ISIS, or persist in treating the Kremlin as an enemy.

By Stephen F. Cohen and Katrina vanden Heuvel

December 02, 2015 "Information Clearing House" - "The Nation" - The 130 people murdered in Paris on November 13 and the 224 Russians aboard a jetliner on October 31 confront America’s current and would-be policy-makers, Democratic and Republicans alike, with a fateful decision: whether to join Moscow in a military, political, diplomatic, and economic coalition against the Islamic State and other terrorist movements, especially in and around Syria, or to persist in treating “Putin’s Russia” as an enemy and unworthy partner.

If the goal is defending US and international security, and human life, there is no alternative to such a coalition. The Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL, or Daesh) and its only “moderately” less extremist fellow jihadists are the most dangerous and malignant threat in the world today, having slaughtered or enslaved an ever-growing number of innocents from the Middle East and Africa to Europe, Russia, and the United States (is Boston forgotten?) and now declared war on the entire West.

Today’s international terrorists are no longer mere “nonstate actors.” ISIS alone is an emerging state controlling large territories, formidable fighting forces, an ample budget, and with an organizing ideology, dedicated envoys of terror in more countries than are known, and a demonstrated capacity to recruit new citizens from others. Nor is the immediate threat limited to certain regions of the world. The refugee crisis in Europe, to take a looming example, is eroding the foundations of the European Union and thus of NATO, as is the fear generated by Paris since November 13.

This spreading threat cannot be contained, diminished, or, still less, eradicated without Russia. Its long experience as a significantly Muslim country, its advanced military capabilities, its special intelligence and political ties in the Middle East, and its general resources are essential. Having lost more lives to terrorism than any other Western nation in recent years, Russia demands—and it deserves—a leading role in the necessary coalition. If denied that role, Moscow, with its alliance with Iran and China and growing political support elsewhere in the world, will assert it, as demonstrated by Russia’s mounting air war in Syria, whose advanced technology and efficacy against terrorist forces are being under-reported in the US media.

France and much of Europe quickly made their decision. Following the tragic events of November 13, French President François Hollande called for “a grand coalition,” specifically including Russia, against the Islamic State. Still more, on November 17, his unprecedented appeal to the European Union—not US-led NATO—to activate its own “mutual assistance” provision was unanimously approved, implicitly endorsing his proposed alliance with Russia. Hollande, rising to lead Europe, then departed to meet with President Obama and Russian President Putin.
A few clear-sighted American political figures across the spectrum have echoed Hollande’s call for a coalition with Russia, among them former secretary of defense Chuck Hagel, Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, and, most importantly, Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders. Overwhelmingly, however, the American political-media establishment—crucially, the Obama administration and Congress—has taken the recklessly myopic editorial position of The Washington Post: “An alliance with Russia would be a dangerous false step for the United States.” Columnists and reporters of the policy establishment’s other two leading newspapers, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, similarly, to quote Rohrabacher, “continue to denigrate Russians as if they were still the Soviet Union and Putin, not Islamic terrorists, our most vicious enemy.”

Our policy elite’s disregard for America’s national security is a result of the new US-Russian Cold War under way at least since the Ukrainian crisis erupted two years ago. We have argued repeatedly that Washington policy-makers bear more than their reasonable share of responsibility for this exceedingly dangerous and unnecessary development. Now is not the time to recapitulate those arguments but instead to rethink political attitudes toward Putin’s “pariah” Russia in order to join Moscow in Hollande’s proposed coalition.

Continued at.....

http://www.thenation.com/article/coalition-or-cold-war-with-russia-2/

December 3, 2015

Russia presents proof of Turkey’s role in ISIS oil trade--(Their View)

(Who Knows? We USA Viewers watch our own Generals, Security Experts, etc. all presenting about info they have found on our Corporate Owned MSM that we find informing...Maybe its worth a listen for the Maps...etc. I have no idea, but like to look at Info from other views. Even if they are considered the State's View.)

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Russia presents proof of Turkey’s role in ISIS oil trade
Published time: 2 Dec, 2015 12:26
Edited time: 2 Dec, 2015 21:56
Get short URL
Streamed live on Dec 2, 2015

Russian Defense Ministry holds news briefing on new findings related to counter-terror activities - READ MORE http://on.rt.com/6y70



Map, images from Russian military show main routes of ISIS oil smuggling to Turkey
Published time: 2 Dec, 2015 15:01Edited time: 2 Dec, 2015 17:58
Russia’s Defense Ministry published images and a map it says reveal a chain of oil smuggling to Turkey from Islamic State – from extraction to refining facilities. At least three ISIS oil supply routes were located, all leading to Turkey.

“The General Staff of the Russian Federation Armed Forces has irrefutable evidence of Turkey’s involvement based on aerial and space reconnaissance data,” Lieutenant-General Sergey Rudskoy said during the Defense Ministry briefing on Wednesday.



According to Rudskoy, Russia has identified “three main oil transportation routes from ISIS-controlled Syrian and Iraqi territories into Turkey.”

“The western route leads to the Mediterranean ports, the northern route leads to the Batman oil refinery on the Turkish territory and the eastern one leads to a large transfer base in Cizre [Turkey].”

The documents published by the ministry show “the entire chain of oil supply into Turkey - from extraction to refining facilities.”



“In total, in their illegal oil smuggling business, terrorists are using at least 8,500 trucks to transport up to 200,000 barrels of oil every day.”

He added that the vehicles with illegal oil that are crossing Turkey are not checked at the border.

“The presented photos, which were taken this August, demonstrate hundreds of oil trucks and heavy vehicles moving both to and from the Turkish border.”

Rudskoy concluded that most of the oil is being transferred from eastern Syria to a large oil refinery plant in Batman, 100km from the Syrian border.

The 200,000 barrels of oil that Russia says is smuggled by IS every day is roughly equivalent to the average daily oil export of Gabon in 2014 or Australia in 2013, according to an OPEC annual statistical bulletin.

It is also only slightly less than the average daily oil export of pre-war Syria in the second half of the 2000s, which amounted to 247,000-250,000 barrels per day.

https://www.rt.com/news/324303-isis-oil-routes-turkey/

December 2, 2015

How an ugly, brutally effective warplane won the battle for its future--Saving the Warthog

The Great Debate
How an ugly, brutally effective warplane won the battle for its future
By David Axe
November 24, 2015




U.S.-backed Syrian rebels launched an attack late last month on Islamic State militants near the town of Hawl in northern Syria. They regained control of roughly 100 square miles of territory, according to the U.S. Defense Department.

“It was a fairly straightforward, conventional offensive operation,” Army Colonel Steve Warren told reporters via video conference from Baghdad, “where we estimated … several hundred enemy [fighters] were located in that vicinity.”

Warren continued his description. “There was a substantial friendly force — well over 1,000 participated in the offensive part of this operation. And they were able to very deliberately execute the plan that they had made themselves.”

Two types of U.S. warplanes, both optimized for precision attacks in close coordination with ground troops, were critical to the Syrian rebels’ success, Warren revealed. “We were able to bring both A-10s and a Spectre gunship to bear,” he said, “… It can only be described as devastating …. it killed nearly 80 enemy fighters and wounded many more.”

Video shot by a correspondent from the Kurdish Hawar News Agency showed A-10s wheeling over the battlefield as rebel fighters advanced.

The lumbering Spectre gunship, basically a cargo plane with side-firing guns, is one of the Air Force’s favorite aircraft. It’s the beneficiary of billions of dollars in new funding to buy new models and upgrade older ones.

But the twin-jet A-10, an ungainly-looking, single-pilot plane with thick, straight wings and a massive, nose-mounted cannon, is out of favor with Air Force leaders — despite being vitally important to the U.S.-led campaign against Islamic State. The flying branch’s top generals and civilian officials have fought for years to get rid of all 300 A-10s and divert their operators and budget to other initiatives. Meanwhile, a grass-roots effort led by current and former U.S. ground troops and bolstered by key lawmakers has protected the A-10, also known by its nickname “Warthog.”

Why the Warthog fell out of favor, and how the plane endures despite the Air Force’s eagerness to retire it, reveals deep schisms within the U.S. military as it continues its war against Islamic extremists while also retooling to deter high-tech Russian forces.

The A-10 is one plane that’s clearly helping Syrian fighters retake their homes from Islamic State. Yet it’s also a uniquely evocative symbol of strife inside the Pentagon.

World War II origins

Continued....a Good Read at....

http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2015/11/24/how-an-ugly-brutally-effective-warplane-won-the-battle-for-its-future/

December 2, 2015

What Foreign Policy “Debate” Means on “Face the Nation” --Glenn Greenwald

What Foreign Policy “Debate” Means on “Face the Nation”
Glenn Greenwald

Nov. 29 2015, 10:46 a.m.

CBS’ Face the Nation is the most-watched Sunday morning news television show in the U.S., attracting roughly 3 million viewers each week. On this Sunday morning, the show is focused on foreign policy, as it interviews Ben Carson, Jeb Bush and Lindsey Graham on the issues of ISIS and refugees. As it always does, the program has assembled a panel of “experts” to discuss those matters; one of them, Jeffrey Goldberg, proudly announced its composition this morning:

In addition to host John Dickerson and Goldberg himself, the rest of the panel is composed of former Bush 43 speechwriter and current Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, and former Bush 41 speechwriter and current Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan.

Aside from the glaring demographic homogeneity — all middle-aged-or-older white people who have spent their careers in corporatized Washington establishments — there is a suffocating ideological and viewpoint homogeneity on this panel as well, particularly when it comes to foreign policy. All of the panelists, for instance, were vocal, aggressive advocates of the invasion of Iraq (as were all three GOP presidential candidates featured on this morning’s show).

Goldberg, in a 2006 profile of Gerson, wrote that “Gerson, like Bush, has never wavered. ‘The people of the Middle East are not exceptions to this great trend of history, and, by standing up for these things, we are on the right side of history,’ he said.” Ignatius repeatedly used his Post platform to argue for the war: Eight months after the invasion, he wrote a gushing profile of Paul Wolfowitz (“a rare animal in Washington — a genuine intellectual in a top policymaking job”) and decreed, “This may be the most idealistic war fought in modern times”; in 2004, he proclaimed, “I don’t regret my support for toppling Hussein.” Noonan, in February 2003, told Slate: “I have come to the conclusion that we must move. I do not imagine an invasion will be swift and produce minimal losses. But I believe not stepping in is, at this point, more dangerous than stepping in.”

Other than Tom Friedman, Goldberg himself was probably the journalist most responsible for tricking Americans into supporting the war by circulating blatant falsehoods under the guise of “reporting,” using his New Yorker perch to legitimize claims of the non-existent Saddam/al Qaeda alliance (which he continued to tout as late as 2010) and the Iraqi nuclear program. The Face the Nation host, John Dickerson, was a reporter for Time magazine at the time and therefore pretended not to express opinions about Iraq, but he disseminated “objective” reporting like this:



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Many have observed that no American journalists or pundits (let alone political officials) other than Judy Miller paid any career price whatsoever for their dissemination of falsehoods about Iraq and the use of their platforms to vocally cheer for one of the worst, most destructive crimes of their generation. That’s true, but it’s worse than that.

Continued at:

https://theintercept.com/2015/11/29/what-debate-means-on-face-the-nation/

December 2, 2015

Financial Market View from London about ISIS, Cameron, GB Politics, Max Keiser Reports

Edited:

Amusing, but from a Business View...Interesting.


In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert discuss MOAR war as stock prices soar for defense contractors and the CIA gets involved in environmental activism as we sacrifice our freedoms so that nobody has reason to hate us while we play naked Twister. In the second half, Max interviews journalist and author Nick Kochan about ISIS - the most well financed terrorist organization ever. They look at the cash and dowry from Saddam’s treasury which sustains the terrorist group.


Episode 843
Published time: 1 Dec, 2015 09:32 --It will Buffer at the Beginning...but, try to hang in there Depending on Your Band Width...it's truly a Humorous Watch and Worth It!

http://www.maxkeiser.com/

Or...try this Link:

https://www.rt.com/shows/keiser-report/324089-episode-max-keiser-843/



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