Puppet Masters

Bad Guys

One dead as Russian Mi-8 helicopter attacked during pilot rescue mission in Syria

© Sputnik/ Dmitriy Vinogradov
A Russian Mi-8 helicopter came under attack while conducting a search and rescue operation, searching for the crew of the downed Su-24 in Syria. One naval infantry soldier was reported killed, the helicopter destroyed by mortar fire.

The Russian General Staff said that two Mi-8s were involved in the operation to save the crew of the downed Su-24.

One helicopter was been shot down, its crew evacuated to the Russian base at Hmeymim.

"A search and rescue operation involving two Mi-8 helicopters was carried out, charged with evacuating the pilots from the landing site. During the operation, as a result of small-arms fire, one of the helicopters was damaged, and forced to make a landing on neutral territory. One naval infantry soldier was killed," Lieutenant-General Sergei Rudskoi, the head of the Main Operations Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, told reporters on Tuesday.


Erdogan's mafia racket exposed: Russian airstrikes obliterate 1,000 ISIS tankers smuggling stolen Syrian oil to Turkey

Comment: This report published by RT yesterday takes on new significance in light of the Turkish military today shooting down a Russian plane involved in the (real) war on terrorism in Syria. Most of the oil in this 'ratline' is smuggled out of Syria into Turkey...

© Russian Defence Ministry / AFP
Explosions after airstrikes carried out by Russian Air Force on an Islamic State training camp in the Syrian province of Idlib.
Russian airstrikes have torched more than 1,000 tankers taking stolen crude oil to Islamic State refineries. This blow against the jihadists comes as the Russian Air Force has hit 472 terrorist targets in two days in Syria, making 141 sorties. All Russian aircraft have successfully returned to the Khmeimim airbase near Latakia, Major General Igor Konashenkov, spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, said in a daily briefing. In the last two days, Russian warplanes have been conducting active supplemental reconnaissance, inflicting pinpoint airstrikes on newly exposed targets, he added.

"Russian bombers taking off from the Khmeimim airbase flew on combat missions to destroy tanker convoys and oil refineries in the areas of oilfields in the north and east of Syria," Konashenkov said. "A major oil depot was destroyed 15 kilometers southwest of the city of Raqqa." Russian airplanes have destroyed over 1,000 ISIS tankers with crude oil in the last five days, Konashenkov added. Sukhoi Su-34 bombers also hit a terrorist-controlled oil refinery some 50 kilometers south of Raqqa, the unrecognized capital of the Islamic State terrorists.

Russia began counterterrorist operation in Syria on September 30, after Moscow received an official request from Syrian President Bashar Assad. Initially, the military operation was conducted by a task force of more than 50 aircraft and helicopters, including the Sukhoi Su-34 and Su-24M bombers, Su-25 attack aircraft, Su-30SM fighters and Mil Mi-8 and Mi-24 helicopters.Last week, a decision was made to bolster the strike group with 37 new planes, including long-range aircraft carrying out sorties from Russian airfields.

Comment: The U.S. recently claimed to have hit Islamic State oil tankers in Syria... a claim they backed up by claiming RUSSIAN footage of tankers being destroyed as their own.

Meanwhile, Kuwait just arrested a gang that was smuggling weapons from the Ukraine to the Islamic State.

Also, new research reveals extensive cooperation between NATO member and U.S. ally Turkey and the Islamic State: the U.S. is asking for more cooperation with Turkey to shuffle more weapons into the Syria conflict and thereby, inevitably, also to the Islamic State. Some other U.S. allies are likewise deeply involved in financing and equipping ISIS.


Stephen Lendman: 'Inconceivable that Turkey acted independently - Washington complicit in downing Russian jet?'


Turkish-NATO military shoots down a Russian Su-24 jet inside Syria, 24 November 2015
Both countries are NATO allies, united against Assad, wanting him toppled, actively complicit in supporting and using ISIS, as well as other terrorist groups as proxy foot soldiers in the war Obama launched in March 2011.

It's inconceivable Turkey acted on its own, independent of US-dominated NATO. Its action is a major geopolitical incident - a premeditated act of war against Russia in Syrian airspace.

Ankara claiming the aircraft entered Turkish airspace, ignoring multiple warnings, has the distinct aroma of a bald-faced lie to cover up a hostile act.

Erdogan's recklessness has ruptured Turkish/Russian relations, at least for the time being. Sergey Lavrov cancelled his scheduled Wednesday trip to Istanbul, saying "(a) decision has been made to cancel the meeting at the level of Russian and Turkish foreign ministers..."

He urged Russian citizens to avoid visiting Turkey, leaving themselves vulnerable to terrorism, adding:
"It's necessary to emphasize that the terror threats with their roots in Turkey have been aggravated. And that's true even if we don't take into account what happened today. We estimate the threats to be no less than in Egypt."
Russia's state tourism agency Rostourism recommended suspending tour package sales to Turkey. Moscow-based Natalie tours already did so.

Putin minced no words blasting Erdogan, saying:
"(t)his incident stands out against the usual fight against terrorism.Our troops are fighting heroically against terrorists, risking their lives. But the loss we suffered today came from a stab in the back delivered by accomplices of the terrorists."
He also warned of grave consequences for Russian-Turkish relations.

Comment: The fallout from this insane act could well have far-reaching consequences for the Empire. If the Washington elite thinks this will magically provide it with leverage at the Vienna talks on Syria's future, or help it eke out a piece of northern Syria in which to provide a 'safe zone' for its head-choppers and heart-eaters, it's very much mistaken.

Russia, in the meantime, is nothing if not cautious. It can absorb this asymmetrical attack - albeit one that was done through conventional means of warfare - and essentially continue its mission in Syria as before. The writing is still on the wall for ISIS and the 'moderate head-choppers' in Syria.

In the meantime, Turkey has completely exposed itself as a funder and facilitator of 'Islamic' terrorism, and a dire fate awaits that double-dealing war criminal, the 'neo-Ottoman Sultan', Recep Erdogan.


New hostage situation reported in N. France, several suffer 'gunshot wounds'

A hostage situation has been reported in the northern French town of Roubaix. Several people have sustained gunshot wounds, Reuters reported citing medical sources.

The area has been cordoned off by police, RTL reported, adding that gunfire can be heard.

La Voix du Nord newspaper says the hostage takers are armed with Kalashnikovs. Witnesses told the daily that the incident occurred at around 7:00pm local time at a gas station.


Dubai Deputy Police Chief: Mossad likely behind Sinai crash

Lt Gen Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, Chief of Dubai Police.
Deputy Chief of Dubai's Police Force Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan said Israeli spy agency, Mossad, has most likely been behind the downing of the Russian passenger plane that crashed in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula earlier in October. "There is a strong possibility that Israel's intelligence has been involved in the terrorist bombing which brought down the Russian Airbus A321 in Egypt in October," Khalfan wrote on his Twitter account on Sunday.

He pointed to the close cooperation between Egypt and Russia, and said Israel cannot undermine the ties between Moscow and Cairo through such actions. "The Russian and Egyptian presidents have agreed on the construction of a nuclear power plant by Russia in Egypt."

Snakes in Suits

Loose cannon: Erdogan's desperation to bring the focus in Syria back to Assad part of the reason for shooting down Russian jet fighter

© EPA/Haberturk TV Channel
A still image from video footage shown on Turkish TV shows the plane with a burning trail.
Turkey is getting desperate. Under President Recep Tayip Erdogan and his party, the Justice and Development Party (AKP), its policies toward the conflict in Syria over the past four years have been misguided and costly. When conflict broke out in 2011, Ankara mistakenly under-estimated the strength of the Assad regime and supported hardline Islamist groups seeking its downfall. In the process, Turkey also marginalised the Kurds and alienated regional powers like Iran.

Four years on, Assad looks set to hold onto power and his regime will be a central part of a transition plan, one that foreign powers were negotiating last weekend. Turkey's regional rival, Iran, is a key player which can no longer be ignored by the West. Not only does the pro-Assad alliance now have Russian support firmly on its side, but the international community is no longer focused on defeating the regime - instead, it is concerned with defeating jihadist groups like Isis.

The shift in focus is a significant drawback for Erdogan. Years of support for, and investment in, Islamic fundamentalist groups like Jabhat al-Nusra (Al-Qaeda's affiliate in Syria) and Ahrar al-Sham are about to go to waste. Ankara has played a significant role in allowing Isis and other jihadists to flourish in Syria and the region. Turkey has acquiesced to jihadist groups entering Syria via Turkey as well as their use of Turkey as a transit point for smuggling arms and funds into Syria.


Turkey makes preposterous claim that it didn't know the SU-24 warplane it shot down belonged to Russia

© Sputnik/ Dmitriy Vinogradov
According to Turkey's letter to the United Nation's Security Council regarding its shooting down of a Russian bomber, the Turkish military did not know the nationality of the plane.
"This morning (24 November) 2 SU-24 planes, the nationality of which are unknown have approached Turkish national airspace in Yayladaga/Hatay region," the letter reads, drafted for the UN Security Council by the Turkish Ambassador.
Earlier, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan defended the military's actions as being "fully in line with Turkey's rules of engagement," and claimed "all efforts to avoid" the incident had been made.
"We did not want this situation to happen, but everybody has to respect Turkey's right to defend its borders," Erdogan said after a security meeting.
On Tuesday, Turkish F-16s shot down a Russian Su-24 Fencer which they claim had violated Turkish airspace. Russia has maintained that its aircraft never entered Turkey — a fact confirmed by Syrian air defense command — and were conducting legitimate operations over Syria, where Moscow has been targeting the self-proclaimed Islamic State terrorist group. Russian President Vladimir Putin called the incident a "stab in the back, carried out against us by accomplices of terrorists."

Comment: Yeah, right! Like there are so many countries flying Russian Su-24 warplanes that it was just so confusing for Turkey! Obama has joined in the absurdity by saying, "Turkey has the right to defend its country and its airspace." Let's get this straight: Turkey shot down a Russian jet, not the other way around!

Light Saber

Russian MOD responds: Turkey violated Syrian airspace, marine killed during rescue op, all hostile targets will be destroyed

The speech of the head of the Main operations Directorate of the General staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation Lieutenant General Sergey Rudskoy on the fact of the provocative actions of the Turkish air force:

Today at 10.24 GMT, when performing a combat mission over the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic, Turkish fighter air force F-16 shot down a front-line bomber su-24M of the Russian HQ. Presumably the failure was caused by the rocket of near radius of action with thermal homing head. There was no attempt on the part of Turkish aircraft to contact or make eye contact with our crew by means of objective control. Instead, the su-24M was hit by a missile over the territory of Syria.

The crash site is on Syrian territory, FOUR KILOMETERS from the border. The crew of the aircraft ejected. According to preliminary data, one pilot died in the air from ground fire. We have exact data of objective control, showing our plane did not cross the border with Turkey. This is confirmed by Syrian air defenses. Moreover, according to radar reconnaissance of the Hmeymim airfield, it was noted the fact of a violation of Syria's airspace by attacking aircraft from the Turkish air force.

Comment: Erdogan plans to provoke a conflict between Turkey and Russia by shooting down Russian jet

Gold Seal

The attacks in Paris have not changed much - no international coalition in Syria with Russia

© Denis Balibouse / Reuters
People gather around candles during a ceremony for the victims the day after a series of deadly attacks in the French capital of Paris, in Lausanne, Switzerland November 14, 2015. The banner reads : "No to terrorism".
The established mainstream narrative tells us "Paris changed everything". Well, not really.

Let's start with the diplomatic front. Instead of the self-defined International Syria Support Group - composed of 19 political actors - meeting regularly in Vienna to implement a peace process in Syria, the priority now is war; a remixed war on terror not against al-Qaeda, but ISIS/ISIL/Daesh.

The UN Security Council already issued a de facto declaration of war on Daesh. It calls for UN members to "take all necessary measures" to defeat Daesh. Language was appropriately vague to ensure approval. Yet, post-Libya, everyone knows how the devil - especially in vague UNSC resolutions - is in the detail.

Vienna set an arbitrary target date of January 1, 2016 for the start of negotiations between Damascus and the "respectable" Syrian opposition about a political transition - with elections and a new constitution coming within 18 months.

Light Saber

Was Turkey's downing of a Russian jet done at the behest of the US to provoke a larger war?

Erdogan's act of madness?
In considering the terrifying but also sadly predictable news of a Russian fighter jet being downed by two Turkish fighters, let's start with one almost certain assumption — an assumption that no doubt is also being made by the Russian government: 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.

What makes the downing of the Russian jet, and the reported death of at least one of its two pilots (the other was reportedly captured alive by pro-turkish Turkmen fighters on the Syrian side of the Syria-Turkish border, and will presumably be returned to Russia) so dangerous is that as a member of NATO, supposedly a "mutual assistance" treaty that binds all members to come to the defense of one that is attacked, if Russia were to retaliate by downing a Turkish military plane, NATO countries including the US would be obligated to come to Turkey's defense.

Russia knows this, and that is why so far the Russian response to the downing has been muted. Had it been a Jordanian, Saudi or Kuwaiti jet that downed the Russian SU-24, Russia's response would have been instantaneous. The guilty party would have had some of its planes shot down, or perhaps even bombed on the ground. But President Putin so far has limited himself to demanding a meeting, to warning that Russian-Turkish economic relations would be threatened, etc.

Comment: Kremlin analysts certainly accounted for this type of contingency before they began their air campaign in Syria. They will retaliate, but probably not in the way that Turkey and the U.S. are expecting or hoping for. It will come in a manner and a time of their own choosing.