© REUTERS/ Stringer
"Thanks for all the stuff, America!"
Lieutenant General Nikolai Pushkarev is a retired member of the Russian Armed Forces' Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU). He recently spoke with Russian wire service RIA Novosti on MH17 and the role of ISIS in covert geopolitics. There's no doubt Russia's intelligence agencies know a lot more about what really goes on in the world of covert operations, but when and how they choose to release such information is often hard to know.

For example, it's widely assumed Russian intel is responsible for leaking Victoria Nu-speak-land's infamous "Fuck the EU" conversation. And President Putin has made numerous statements hinting that he is aware of the dodgy antics of his Western colleagues. For just one instance of this, in his much-vilified speech at the annual Valdai conference last month, he said this:
Of late, we have increasing evidence too that outright blackmail has been used with regard to a number of leaders. It is not for nothing that 'big brother' is spending billions of dollars on keeping the whole world, including its own closest allies, under surveillance. has been saying this for years. Sure, it's obvious (the FBI has been doing it since its inception), but the mainstream media ignores it, and Putin is the first person of his stature to just come out and say it.

So it's interesting to hear what an "ex-GRU" man has to say about two of the hottest topics of this year as a possible clue as to what Russian intelligence really knows, and what they're willing to share to combat the information war currently being waged against them by Western powers.

On the topic of MH17, Pushkarev had this to say:
"The Western intelligence and the Americans are very well aware of all the details: who shot [flight MH17] down, why and what for, but manipulate this information and this incident for their own benefit. This provocation was organized to lay [the blame] on Russia and force it into sending troops to Ukraine, officially, but the Russian government did not succumb to this provocation." ... Pushkarev added that the United States is interested in a "direct military conflict between Russia and Ukraine."
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Nothing new there that can't be figured out by anyone paying attention, but it's good to see this reach a wider audience than usual. The take-home message is this: everything the U.S. has been saying and doing in Ukraine has been for the express purpose of baiting Russia into appearing as the aggressor. It's little different than the school bully who lies, taunts, and provokes his victim, who then punches the bully in the face, only to be put in detention for starting a fight when the bully sheds crocodile tears and runs to the teacher. But Russia isn't so naive.

So, when the bully can't provoke his victim into playing the part, what can he do? Enter ISIS. Pushkarev notes:
"There are threats. The extremists use Islam for political destabilization of a number of states. These events will not lead to a good outcome. They have stated that they will attack America" ... However, there are also "reasons to believe that US and British intelligence agencies may support the Islamic extremists to threaten the territorial integrity of Russia."

"The top of these movements may be under influence by NATO agents. As for Russia's involvement in these events, there should not be a direct intervention. Since there are many Muslims living in Russia, direct intervention may lead to undesirable consequences," Pushkarev stated.
Contrast this with Putin's recent statements on the topic:
They [the U.S.] once sponsored Islamic extremist movements to fight the Soviet Union. Those groups got their battle experience in Afghanistan and later gave birth to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. The West if not supported, at least closed its eyes, and, I would say, gave information, political and financial support to international terrorists' invasion of Russia (we have not forgotten this) and the Central Asian region's countries. ...

Only the current Egyptian leadership's determination and wisdom saved this key Arab country from chaos and having extremists run rampant. In Syria, as in the past, the United States and its allies started directly financing and arming rebels and allowing them to fill their ranks with mercenaries from various countries. Let me ask where do these rebels get their money, arms and military specialists? Where does all this come from? How did the notorious ISIL manage to become such a powerful group, essentially a real armed force?

As for financing sources, today, the money is coming not just from drugs, production of which has increased not just by a few percentage points but many-fold, since the international coalition forces have been present in Afghanistan. You are aware of this. The terrorists are getting money from selling oil too. Oil is produced in territory controlled by the terrorists, who sell it at dumping prices, produce it and transport it. But someone buys this oil, resells it, and makes a profit from it, not thinking about the fact that they are thus financing terrorists who could come sooner or later to their own soil and sow destruction in their own countries.
In other words, Russia knows the game. They're fully aware of the U.S.'s true motivations, and when push comes to shove, they have the ability to reveal the West for the den of bloodthirsty criminals it really is. When it comes to Putin, it's unlikely the U.S. has anything near the kind of 'leverage' (e.g., compromising photographs) they hold over the heads of EU leaders. So the question becomes: have they finally met their match? And are they willing to assist in their own destruction by continuing their stubborn, arrogant, mendacious crusade, all in a last-ditch effort to hang on to their fast-dying empire?