Puppet Masters

Red Flag

US-Turkey racing up to Syrian border

US demands Turkey to "seal" notorious 100 km border region with Syria, but may be pretext to invade and establish long-sought after "safe haven" for terrorists in Syria.

In the most open admission yet that NATO-member Turkey has been allowing a torrent of supplies, weapons, fighters, and equipment to flow across its borders with impunity and into the hands of the self-proclaimed "Islamic State" (ISIS), the US has urged Ankara to seal the remaining 100 km border region yet to be closed by Syrian and Kurdish forces.


Putin makes an example of Turkey's back-stabbing: Why the US and West should pay close attention


Don't make me angry - You wouldn't like me when I'm angry
First the facts: the toll is settled. Two Russians are dead, and a Su-24 fighter-bomber and Russian helicopter that arrived in relief are down. A marine from that effort died, as did the pilot of the jet. The second pilot of the jet was rescued, evidently in a joint effort by Russian, Hezbollah and Syrian forces . When they bailed, the pilots were shot at by the rebel militants. It is not clear whether the Russian pilot was killed in the air or once he hit the ground but either way, "our moderates" committed war crimes. In the gruesome video, someone is reported saying, "We should have burned him before he died." The Russians have followed the downing with massive aerial bombardments of the rebel positions, and the Syrian Arab Army has made further advances.

As for the war of words and images: As my first two posts on this indicate, there was confusion about the path of the Russian jet. The Turkish version emerged first, and this was picked up by al-Jazeera, the Qatari voice of the Western alliance. We may remember that when the Russian passenger jet exploded over Sinai, "ambivalent alliance" bosses Cameron and Obama were practically sure within hours 'whodunnit' and how. The Russians took their time and looked at the evidence — which they have not revealed, it should be remembered. Similarly, when the Russian radar video came out, it fairly convincingly belied that of Turkey. Others have commented that for Turkey's story to be correct the planes had to be flying at stall speed. Turkish reports that 10 warnings in 5 minutes preceded the takedown are refuted point blank by the surviving Russian pilot who said they were flying at 6000 feet, not 15,000, on paths well within Syria he had flown many times. He said they did not even have time to make evasive maneuvers when they were hit in the tail section. Parties from several sides are calling this a planned provocation.


Iceland government websites targeted by Anonymous hackers in whaling protest

Activist hackers from the Anonymous collective have claimed responsibility for bringing down five government websites in Iceland in a protest against whale-hunting by the North Atlantic nation.

The sites, which included the prime minister's official website and that of the environment and interior ministries, went offline on Friday and remained down until about midday on Saturday.

In an anti-whaling video posted on social media, activists called for people to hack websites linked to Iceland to protest persistent commercial hunting despite an international moratorium.

On a new Twitter account devoted to the campaign, screenshots showing the sites down were published late on Friday by activists who said they belonged to the loose Anonymous collective. The government made no comment about the outage.

Arrow Down

Saudi Arabia threatens to sue Twitter users who compare it to ISIS

© Twitter
Saudi Arabia never, ever disappoints when it comes to barbarism and backwardness. The latest example is a supposed threat to sue a Twitter user for making the obvious and accurate comparison of the regime to ISIS, something I myself have done on countless occasions.

The Washington Post reports:
Authorities in Saudi Arabia have long been annoyed that everyone keeps suggesting they are anything like the Islamic State. Sure, they say, perhaps some of the laws on the books may look similar to the punishments in the extremist organization, but the Saudi kingdom is a sovereign state that abides by the rule of law and uses these punishments with discretion.

Now, reports in the Saudi press suggest that authorities have a new tactic for those who compare them to the Islamic State: taking them to court. According to a report in pro-government newspaper Al Riyadh, the Saudi justice ministry is planning to sue a Twitter user who suggested that a death sentence recently handed out to a Palestinian artist for apostasy was "ISIS-like."

"Questioning the fairness of the courts is to question the justice of the Kingdom and its judicial system based on Islamic law, which guarantees rights and ensures human dignity," a source in the justice ministry told the newspaper, according to a translation by Reuters. The ministry would not hesitate to sue "any media that slandered the religious judiciary of the Kingdom," the source added.
I suppose it's not apparent to the Saudis how the only thing this pathetic threat does is further confirm the worst suspicions of its rapidly growing population of critics from around the world. Of course, it's not the first time these authoritarian monarchs have expressed a panic attack about Twitter.


Trump's immigration 'deportation force' and the police state

© Reuters/Nancy Wiechec
If elected president, Donald Trump says he would create a "deportation force" to carry out his pledge to expel more than 11 million people from the United States merely because they lack government permission to be here. "We have no choice if we're going to run our country properly and if we're going to be a country," he said during the Republican debate Tuesday night.

Wrong on both counts.

Of course we have a choice.We can choose not to deport the 11 million individuals, the vast majority of whom have never harmed anyone. On the contrary, they've produced and purchased goods and services, not to mention enriching their communities. And the last time I looked, the presence of those peaceful folks has not kept us from being a country. (If not being a country means there's no government to bomb and deport people, then put me down for that.)

Once again, Trump's words bear no resemblance to reality. We should be used to this by now. He's the Bullshitter-in-Chief.

Fortunately, most if not all of his rivals think mass deportation is an insane idea -- not that they're any great shakes on immigration. They all support "securing the border," and I can't recall any of them condemning government sanctions for private enterprises that hire people who lack government papers (E-Verify).

Before continuing with Trump's horrendous proposal, we ought to acknowledge that Ted Cruz also distinguished himself on this issue during the debate when he said, to hearty applause:
"I understand that when the mainstream media covers immigration, it doesn't often see it as an economic issue. But, I can tell you for millions of Americans at home watching this, it is a very personal economic issue. And, I will say the politics of it will be very, very different if a bunch of lawyers or bankers were crossing the Rio Grande. Or if a bunch of people with journalism degrees were coming over and driving down the wages in the press. Then, we would see stories about the economic calamity that is befalling our nation." [Emphasis added.]

Comment: Trump is taking another page from Hitler's notebook with his blatant disdain for immigrants.


Islamic State oil trade full frontal: 'Raqqa's Rockefellers', Bilal Erdogan, KRG Crude, and the Israel connection


At an Erbil oil refinery, the Kurds stand guard.
"Effectively, we have been financially discriminated against for a long time. By early 2014, when we did not receive the budget, we decided we need to start thinking about independent oil sales" -- Ashti Hawrami, Kurdistan's minister for natural resources.
In June of 2014, the SCF Altai (an oil tanker) arrived at Ashkelon port. Hours later, the first shipment of Kurdish pipeline oil was being unloaded in Israel. "Securing the first sale of oil from its independent pipeline is crucial for the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) as it seeks greater financial independence from war-torn Iraq," Reuters noted at the time, adding that "the new export route to the Turkish port of Ceyhan, designed to bypass Baghdad's federal pipeline system, has created a bitter dispute over oil sale rights between the central government and the Kurds."

A week earlier, the SCF Altai received the Kurdish oil in a ship-to-ship transfer from the The United Emblem off the coast of Malta. The United Emblem loaded the crude at Ceyhan where a pipeline connects the Turkish port to Kurdistan.

Comment: My what a tangled web!


Protests and violence erupts in Turkey after prominent lawyer is assassinated on live TV

A day after Turkey arrested two journalists for their report exposing Erdogan's weapons deliveries to "extremist groups" in Syria, confirming that no dissent to the president's foreign policy would be allowed, today a new riot has erupted in Istanbul following the dramatic murder in broad daylight of Tahir Elci, the president of the Turkish bar association in southeastern Diyarbakir province, who was shot dead by unidentified gunmen while giving a public speech.

A campaigner for Kurdish rights, Elci had been criticized in Turkey for saying the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) was not a terrorist organization, as the government describes it. He had, however, denounced PKK violence. He was facing trial over his comments, which had infuriated state prosecutors. A Turkish prosecutor last month demanded up to seven and a half years of prison time for Elci on the grounds of "making propaganda of a terror organization" after remarks he made supporting the PKK.

Just before being gunned down, Elci called for peace and the silencing of all guns.

Comment: Turkey is starting to break up.


Scientific evidence of how Turkey exports ISIS oil to the world

Over the course of the last four or so weeks, the media has paid quite a bit of attention to Islamic State's lucrative trade in "stolen" crude.

On November 16, in a highly publicized effort, US warplanes destroyed 116 ISIS oil trucks in Syria. 45 minutes prior, leaflets were dropped advising drivers (who Washington is absolutely sure are not ISIS members themselves) to "get out of [their] trucks and run away."

The peculiar thing about the US strikes is that it took The Pentagon nearly 14 months to figure out that the most effective way to cripple Islamic State's oil trade is to bomb... the oil.


More provocation? Syrian Army fired upon by mortars from Turkish territory

© AP Photo/ Alexander Kots
Turkey fired a number of mortar bombs toward Syrian army positions, the Syrian army spokesman said Saturday.

"Last night, there was intense mortar fire on Syrian government forces' positions from the Mount Jebel Aqra area, which is on the Turkish side," Brigadier General Ali Mayhoub said during a press briefing.

"Commander-in-chief of the Syrian Arab Army [President Bashar Assad] warns of the dangers of such behavior," the spokesman added.

Damascus urges the international community to force Turkey to stop supporting terrorists, directly and indirectly, as well as to stop buying illegal oil from them, he said.

"Taking advantage of the fact the border [between Syria and Turkey] is de-facto controlled by terrorists Ankara without obstruction supplies them with weapons and other resources for their criminal activity," the spokesperson told journalists.

Comment: Is Turkey really continually trying to provoke a reaction from Syria and Russia?

Arrow Up

Putin imposes sanctions against Turkey following its downing of Su-24 bomber in Syria

© Mikhail Klimentyev / Reuters
Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree imposing a package of economic sanctions against Turkey following its downing of a Russian Su-24 bomber in Syria. The measures include banning several Turkish organizations and the import of certain goods.

A decree on "measures providing the national security of the Russian Federation and the protection of its citizens against criminal and other unlawful acts, and on imposing special economic measures in relation to Turkish Republic" was signed on Saturday, the Kremlin press service said.

Under the decree, the import of certain products originating from Turkey will be temporarily banned or restricted.

A number of Turkish organizations operating in Russia will also be restricted.