Puppet Masters


Sniveling little message boy - Did Washington just tell Erdogan to 'man up'?

© Umit Bektas/Reuters
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.
In the space of a few hours, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan went from running scared to defiant belligerence over the shooting down of the Russian fighter jet. It would appear that someone had a stiff word in his ear.

Tough-talking Turkish President? No. More like somebody's message boy.

When the news first broke on Tuesday that Turkish F-16s had downed a Russian Su-24 bomber near the Syrian border, the Erdogan government in Ankara immediately called for an emergency NATO summit.

Ankara rushed to explain that it was the party that had incurred an act of aggression from Russia. Erdogan was running scared because the facts were such that it was the Turks who had actually carried out an act of aggression against Russia, not the other way around.

And they knew it.

Suspiciously, Ankara did not contact Moscow about the incident, which would have seemed a normal thing to do in the aftermath of a serious incident in which a Russian aircrew was forced to eject and one of the pilots was subsequently killed.

Recall that Turkey claimed that it did not know the identity of the Russian warplane as it allegedly approached Turkish airspace. So if, as it turned out, the Turks shot down a Russian jet in a rapid encounter of uncertainty about its "national security", then why didn't Ankara make subsequent attempts to resolve the matter with the Russians as an urgent matter when the circumstances soon became clear? That would have been the expected behavior if the incident was simply an unfortunate, unforeseen confrontation.

Again, the inference is that Ankara knew full well that it was committing a sinister deed.


Crisis point: Turkey suspends Syria flights, unclear channels of information

© sputniknews.com
Ankara suspends Air Force flights over Syria after attack on Su-24.
'We use only one channel in Syria. Contact us through this channel to send your warnings to avoid problems.' Despite the agreement with Russia and the monitoring of two Turkish commanders, the fact that the warplanes did not communicate through this channel...

The Turkish army has suspended flights over Syria
as part of an ongoing joint military campaign with the United States against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) after it shot down a Russian jet fighter, sparking an unprecedented crisis between Ankara and Moscow.
The decision was taken following the eruption of the crisis with Russia in which a Turkish F-16 downed a Russian warplane early Nov. 24 after it allegedly violated Turkish airspace, according to diplomatic sources.
Sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, stressed that the suspension of the Turkish jet fighters' participation in the U.S.-led military operations against ISIL was in fact a mutual decision taken with Russia, which also halted its aerial campaigns near the Turkish border. Both parties will continue to be as careful as possible in a bid to avoid a repetition of such incidents until they re-establish dialogue channels to reduce the tension.

Comment: If you have to phone home, please use the right number...unless, of course, you need a convenient excuse to have crossed the line. No matter the "set-up" and "execution," a line was crossed with deadly consequences.

Wall Street

HSBC whistleblower Falciani sentenced to five years in prison for exposing corruption

© Reuters/Denis Balibouse
Former HSBC employee Herve Falciani poses for photographs before a news conference in Divonne-les-Bains, France October 28, 2015.
Herve Falciani, an ex-employee of HSBC's Geneva private bank who leaked information on clients and their tax situation, has been sentenced to five years in prison for aggravated industrial espionage, the bank said on Friday.

HSBC said it welcomed the ruling on Falciani, a 43-year old French citizen who had been on trial in Switzerland.

HSBC's Swiss unit has been in the spotlight since 2008, when Falciani, a former IT employee there, fled Geneva with files that were leaked to the media and were alleged to show evidence of tax evasion by clients. French newspaper Le Monde has said it identified more than 106,000 clients.

Falciani, who is based in France, did not attend his trial and stayed out of Switzerland while it was going on.

He may not serve any time in a Swiss prison since France typically does not extradite its own citizens, and there are no legal proceedings against him in France.

Falciani's lawyer -- Marc Henzelin -- did not immediately respond to a request for a comment.

Comment: So HSBC gets no criminal charges and spends a trifling 40 million Swiss Francs in fines, while the man that exposes the corruption within the bank gets sentenced to 5 years in prison. How's that for 'blind justice'?


Why the West wants Turkey out

© politicalpistachio.blogspot.com
Is this just a "Turkey shoot" or much more?
The downing of Russia's Su-24 bomber by the Turkish Air Force is "one of the nightmare scenarios that military planners had envisaged as a result of Moscow's decision to enter the conflict," reports The Financial Times.

In turn, The Washington Post believes that "NATO faced being thrust into a new Middle Eastern crisis... The incident marked a serious escalation in the Syrian conflict that is likely to further strain relations between Russia and the NATO alliance."

The Guardian argues that we've witnessed "a nerve-jangling event, that raised the spectre of a direct confrontation between two large powers: one a NATO member, the other nuclear-armed".

While it's clear that neither Russia nor NATO wants to go to war against each other, each side is trying to deal with the situation and identify the reasons that provoked the recent crisis and, what's even more important, to establish who's at fault.

Comment: The commentary and excuses of rats leaving the ship are piled high and deep as NATO/the West wiggles out of blame. It is evident, in this article anyway, that the some of the news sources cannot distinguish "church" from "state." How does one get a political and military alliance of NATO members against "Islamism?" ...not even Islam, but 'Islamism!"

However, another source opines: "Turkey's action, using US-supplied F-16 planes, was taken with the full knowledge and advance support of the US. In fact, given Turkey's vassal status as a member of US-dominated NATO, it could well be that Ankara was put up to this act of brinksmanship by the US."

By virtue of the West's alliance, should Russia retaliate against Turkey, NATO would be obliged to come to Turkey's defense. Kudos to Putin's restraint, and, unlike the US/NATO, to operating within the boundaries of international law.

Light Sabers

Pepe Escobar - Putin and Hollande teaming up to bust Erdogan's oil racket

© Alexander Zemlianichenko / Reuters
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) and his French counterpart Francois Hollande speak after a news conference at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, November 26, 2015
It all started with French President Francois Hollande, after the Paris attacks, having the temerity to advance the idea of France working together with Russia in the same coalition against ISIS/ISIL/Daesh in Syria.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip "no excuse" Erdogan thought NATO and Russia by this time would be at each other's - Cold War 2.0 - nuclear throats, while Washington had brushed off Hollande's idea with a cascade of platitudes and distortions.

And in less than 17 seconds, Prime Minister Ahmet "I ordered it myself" Davutoglu had authorized Turkey to shoot down a Russian Su-24 - only a few hours before Hollande met with President Obama.

So everything seemed to be falling into place. No chance of a new détente between the Atlanticist powers and NATO. On the contrary. Erdogan was sure he had sabotaged for good the Hollande-Putin face-to-face meeting in Moscow.

Not so fast, Sultan.

Comment: Erdogan seems to have made the miscalculation of a lifetime.


The Struggle for Hearts and Minds: Putin Continues to Call NATO's Bluff

© Kremlin.ru
France and Russia have agreed to cooperate in the fight against the Daeshbags. The news comes after Hollande and Putin met in Moscow yesterday, where they agreed to share intelligence, intensify and coordinate airstrikes together, and jointly make sure their airstrikes concentrate on "terrorist" groups, including Daesh. Putin clarified:
... we will exchange information with France about the areas that are being held by healthy opposition, not terrorists, and will refrain from delivering air strikes at them. We will also exchange information, when we - France and Russia - know for sure that certain areas are captured by terrorist organisations, and we will coordinate our efforts with regard to those areas.
It looks like France really is allying with Russia, to the extent it is able -- something the U.S. has refused to do. Putin said he and Hollande "are looking at this kind of cooperation as concrete and practical input towards forming a broad anti-terrorist coalition, a broad anti-terrorist front under the auspices of the United Nations. I will note that the number of nations sharing this initiative is growing." He also said that both parties "agreed to continue working together very actively within the framework of the International Syria Support Group and promote the fulfilment of all agreements reached within this group, first and foremost with regard to the deadlines and parameters for holding intra-Syrian talks."


Was terror in Mali an attack on China and Russia?

Coming on the heels of the terrorist attack in Paris, the mass shooting and siege at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako, the capital of the African nation of Mali, is still further evidence of the escalation of terrorism throughout the world. While there has already been much written about the incident in both western and non-western media, one critical angle on this story has been entirely ignored: the motive.

For although it is true that most people think of terrorism as entirely ideologically driven, with motives being religious or cultural, it is equally true that much of what gets defined as "terrorism" is in fact politically motivated violence that is intended to send a message to the targeted group or nation. So it seems that the attack in Mali could very well have been just such an action as news of the victims has raised very serious questions about just what the motive for this heinous crime might have been.


South Front International Military Review: Russia bombs crash location, Syria retakes major highway

International Military Review: Syria (Nov. 27)

Comment: And just for fun...


Turkey transports cargo of 847 shotguns without transportation permits, seized by Italian police on route to Belgium

© Pupia Crime / YouTube
A large cargo of shotguns without transportation permits has been seized by the Italian police at the Port of Trieste. The 847 Turkish-made Winchester shotguns worth about €500,000 were on their way to Belgium.

The weapons were declared along with other cargoes destined for Germany and the Netherlands on a Dutch-registered truck driven by a Turkish citizen. Gun shipments from Turkey are nothing new in Trieste, but this time the shipment was missing a key document: authorization for transportation in the EU.

The shipment consisted of 847 pump-action Winchester shotguns: 781 SXP 12-51 and 66 SXP 12-47 models, La Stampa reports.


Bombshell: Putin says US knew the flight plan of the Russian jet

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) speaks during a press conference following talks with French President Francois Hollande (L) in the Kremlin, Moscow, Russia, 26 November 2015.
President Vladimir Putin said that Russia had given prior information to the United States of the flight path of the Su-24 downed by the Turkish Air Force on the Syrian border. The US leads the anti-Daesh coalition, in which Turkey is member.

"The American side, which leads the coalition that Turkey belongs to, knew about the location and time of our planes' flights, and we were hit exactly there and at that time," Putin said at a joint press conference with French counterpart Francois Hollande in the Kremlin. "Why did we give this information to the Americans if they did not pass it along to the rest of the coalition?"

Moreover, Putin dismissed as "rubbish" Turkey's claim that it didn't know the nationality of the plane when the Turkish Air Force hit it. "They (Russian military jets) have identification signs and these are well visible," Putin said and added. "If it was an American aircraft, would they have struck an American?...What we hear instead is they have nothing to apologize for."

Comment: For more analysis on the Russian jet shoot-down: