As the United States continues its shrouded assault on the Syrian government, new targets for the U.S. airstrikes have emerged. This time, it is not oil refineries, but grain silos.
In an airstrike campaign that took place Sunday night, “coalition” aircraft struck “mills and grain storage facilities in Manbij,” a town in Northern Syria which was controlled by Western-backed death squads.
Manbij is located slightly northeast of Aleppo, the largest city in Syria which is itself the scene of fierce fighting between the NATO-directed ISIS forces and the Syrian government. The SAA began focusing on Aleppo intently in the last few months.
The attack on grain facilities by NATO/GCC forces is yet one more example of how the bombing of Syria is not aimed at destroying the West’s ISIS proxy army but at crippling and destroying the Assad government.Just like the bombing of Syrian oil refineries, the effect of bombing Syrian grain silos is to prevent the Assad regime from retaking much needed resources to provide for its citizens or its military after long fought battles with ISIS.
The elimination of the grain silos would, of course, do nothing to stop ISIS but it will go quite some distance in adding to the burdens of an already oppressed and hungry people barely surviving under the rule of the so-called “moderate rebels” also known as ISIS.
Interestingly enough, when Bashar al-Assad’s forces have blockaded ISIS controlled areas in the past, no matter how lenient the blockade may have been in terms of food shipments, the West has responded with claims that he was “starving his own people.” Yet, when death squads banned food and baby products from being shipped in to areas that they themselves controlled, the West ignored and silenced the reports. When the West directly bombs food storage, it is presented as bombing for democracy and freeing the people from ISIS.
“NATO is not affiliated with them,” said an official spokesman for the alliance, which was addressed by the agency on it.
In the U.S. air attack on positions of the terror group “Islamic State” (IS) in Syria on Tuesday morning several dozen IS-combatants were killed, according to Reuters, citing a monitoring group.
During the attack, the United States were supported by several Arab countries it said.Target of the attack were IS-positions in space of the city of Al-Rakka.
According to a senior spokesman for the U.S. Administration, the government troops in Syria did not interfere in the situation.
A statement by the Syrian Foreign Ministry, according to the United States were informed of the planned strikes against the IS-positions in advance, reports AFP.
This article originally appeared in The Corbett Report Subscriber newsletter on September 13, 2014. To subscribe to the newsletter and become a member of The Corbett Report website, please sign up for a monthly or annual membership here.
This week the Scots will go to the polls to answer a deceptively simple question:
“Should Scotland be an independent country?”
The question’s simplicity belies the enormity of what is being asked. In centuries past, such a sovereignty proclamation would only have been delivered at the end of a sword after the spilling of much blood. Today the fates of nations are decided by referendum…sort of.
You see, the question is extremely simple, and, in the words of at least one Canadian commentator who finds its precision refreshing after the convoluted tangle of Quebec’s sovereignty referendum questions, “crystal clear.” But is it really? After all, what does it mean to be an “independent country?” Does that mean passport sharing with the UK? Military association? An independent currency? EU membership? NATO membership? Will Scotland keep an allegiance to the crown? Will it become a commonwealth nation? There are no answers to these questions because none of those details have been worked out yet. For now, nationalist politicians are content to leave voters to fill in the blanks.
But these are not trivial questions to be asking. In fact, they go to the very heart of what is meant by “sovereignty” and “independence.” What’s more, Scotland, insofar as it is fast becoming the envy (and the role model) for independence movements around the globe, could potentially be setting precedents for future events in Catalonia or Veneto or elsewhere. In effect, they are setting down the definition of freedom for others to strive toward, so their answer to this string of questions might make the difference between true independence and what could very easily be just another form of dependence.
To see how this is the case, let’s examine some of these questions.
This month on the Geneva Business Insider, James and David preview next week’s Scottish independence vote and the various political forces that are clashing as the Scottish people go to the polls. We discuss the push for NATO membership, EU membership and a central bank for “free” Scotland and how it undermines the entire push for independence. We also examine the latest on the ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine and the specter of a cyber-hacking bank bailout.
This post is intended as a round-up of available information on MH17 from various sources around the web. Corbett Report members are encouraged to debate and discuss the situation in the commments thread below, ask questions, suggest links, and otherwise contribute to this investigation. The article will be updated with information as the investigation continues. [Not a Corbett Report member? Sign up today.]
“A Boeing 777-200 passenger plane, operating Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, crashed in the Ukraine, east of Donetsk. All 298 on board were killed. Flight MH17 departed the gate at Amsterdam-Schiphol Airport, the Netherlands at 12:14 hours local time, bound for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It was airborne at 12:30 (10:30 UTC) from runway 36C and reached a cruising altitude of FL310 at 12:53 (10:53 UTC). Ninety minutes into the flight, at 12:01 UTC and just prior to entering Ukrainian airspace, the flight climbed to FL330. This altitude was maintained until last contact by ADS-B receivers of flight tracking websites, about 13:21 UTC.
“At the point of last contact it was flying 1000 feet above airspace that had been restricted as a result of ongoing fighting in the area. Malaysia Airlines reported that MH17 filed a flight plan requesting FL350 throughout Ukrainian airspace. However, the flight was instructed by Ukrainian air traffic control to fly at FL330.”
Perhaps the best visualization of what the issue is, comes from Vagelis Karmiros who has collated all the recent MH-17 flight paths as tracked by Flightaware and shows that while all ten most recent paths pass safely well south of the Donetsk region, and cross the zone above the Sea of Azov, it was only today’s tragic flight that passed straight overhead Donetsk.
A survey of flights to Asia from Europe in the last week found that some airlines had been flying over eastern Ukraine and some had been avoiding the area. Source: Flight path data from flightradar24.com
RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE CRASH:
ITAR-TASS reported in June that Donetsk defense forces seized BUK missile defence systems from an army unit operating in the region, a point repeated and echoed by NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe General Philip Breedlove in a Pentagon press briefing on June 30. However, this was directly contradicted on July 18th by Ukrainian Prosecutor-General Vitaly Yarema, who told Ukrainian Pravda that militias do not have access to BUK delivery systems or S-300s.
Ukraine also claims that a post appeared on the social media account of rebel commander Igor Strelkov exactly 35 minutes after the crash appearing to take credit for the downing. Subsequent reporting, however, pointed out that the post was ambiguously worded and the social media account in question may not be run by Strelkov at all.
The Ukraine security service also published a video on July 18th purporting to show the actual BUK missile launcher used to bring down the plane being shuttled back across the border from Ukraine to Russia. Despite the fact that there is no confirmation from any source when, where or how this video was taken, or whether it in fact shows a BUK system on a Russian transport vehicle, it has been uncritically reported on in much of the western press.
In a statement issued late in the day on July 17th, Russian President Putin said: “I want to note that this tragedy would not have happened if there were peace on this land, if the military actions had not been renewed in southeast Ukraine. And, certainly, the state over whose territory this occurred bears responsibility for this awful tragedy.”
A report originally posted to RT.com shortly after the downing suggested that the real target of the missile might have been President Putin’s plane, which was said to have been scheduled to fly over the exact same airspace as MH17 less than an hour after it was shot down. This claim has since been retracted and RT has noted that Putin has been avoiding Ukrainian airspace altogether since the recent coup took place in Kiev.
According to a report circulating widely in the alternative media, a Spanish air traffic controller working in the Ukraine on the 17th tweeted a series of messages indicating that the Ukrainian military shot down the flight and that “Kiev authorities” and “foreigners” subsequently took over the civilian air traffic control center overseeing the disputed airspace in an apparent cover-up. The twitter account (@spainbuca) of the alleged air traffic controller, “Carlos,” was then reportedly removed. [UPDATE: RT has conducted interviews with Carlos, who has been deported from Ukraine.]
Some researchers suggest that the timing of the disaster, coming as it does right after Putin heralded the beginning of the long-awaitedBRICS Development Bank is more than coincidental. This theory posits that the crash was staged by the US/EU/NATO or other powers as part of a proxy war taking place in the “new cold war” between Russia (one of the key players in an organization that is seen as a key rival to the so-called “Washington Consensus” institutions, the IMF and the World Bank) and the US.
Some have suggested that the takedown of MH17 was also related to the six passengers on board who were heading to an AIDS conference in Melbourne hosted by the International AIDS society. The theory holds that the researchers were going to question the origins of AIDS and were taken out in a similar manner to Dr. Jonathan Mann.
Yet others point to the numerology of MH17, noting “Flight MH17, a Boeing 777, first flew on 7-17-97 and crashed 17 years later, on 7-17-14.” It has also been linked to a bizarre video of a speech IMF President Christine Lagarde gave at the National Press Club in Washington on January 15, 2014 in which she repeatedly told the audience to pay attention to the “magic number 7″ and made numerological connections to WWI and other events.
With an ethnic Chechen Omar Shishani coming to the spotlight in ISIS’s activities in Iraq, analysts say Chechen war was an attempt by the Western countries to destabilize Russia through the Caucasus.
With his trademark red-beard and frequent appearances on Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) promotional videos, Omar Shishani colorfully spotlights the many Chechen fighters to have answered jihad’s call in Syria and Iraq.
“The Chechen war was a classic attempt by the US and Britain to destabilize Russia through the Caucasus. It was fomented from the outside by NATO. In Ukraine, we saw some of the Kiev fascists were the same as those who went to Chechnya to fight Russia,” Webster Tarpley, a historian and author of “Obama: The Postmodern Coup” told RIA Novosti.
Shishani, whose real name is Tarkhan Batirashvili, is an ethnic Chechen from Georgia who reportedly fought against Russia in the 2007-08 Georgia-Russia war and whose military career took him to an al-Qaeda-linked Sunni militia in Syria.
Chechen fighters probably established links with Western spy agencies during the conflicts with Russia and are now advancing Western interests in the Middle East, Tarpley claimed.
Image: ISIS clearly did not materialize spontaneously within Iraq, it has clearly redeployed from its NATO-sponsored destruction of Syria to northern Iraq, perhaps in an attempt to justify a NATO incursion and the creation of a buffer zone straddling Syrian, Iraqi, and even possibly Iranian territory with the goal of targeting Iran directly with ISIS.
June 13, 2014 (Tony Cartalucci – LD) – Heavily armed, well funded, and organized as a professional, standing army, the forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) swept southward into Iraq from Turkey and northeastern Syria, taking the cities of Mosul and Tikrit, and now threaten the Iraqi capital city of Baghdad itself. The United States was sure to prop up two unfounded narratives – the first being that US intelligence agencies, despite assets in Iraq and above it in the form of surveillance drones, failed to give warning of the invasion, and that ISIS is some sort of self-sustaining terror organization carving out a “state” by “robbing banks” and collecting “donations” on Twitter.
The quickly unfolding drama prompted a White House meeting Wednesday of top policy makers and military leaders who were caught off guard by the swift collapse of Iraqi security forces, officials acknowledged.
A senior U.S. official said the intelligence collected under the small [secret US drone] program was shared with Iraqi forces, but added: “It’s not like it did any good.” The rapid territorial gains by the Islamist forces loyal to Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS, an al Qaeda offshoot, caught the U.S. by surprise, the officials said.
Image: ISIS has convoys of brand new matching Toyota’s the same
vehicles seen among admittedly NATO-armed terrorists operating
everywhere from Libya to Syria, and now Iraq. It is a synthetic, state-
sponsored regional mercenary expeditionary force.
Despite drone flights collecting intelligence, and a 3-year ongoing CIA program (here, here, and here) all along the Turkish-Syrian border to “monitor” and “arm” “moderate” militants fighting the Syrian government, the US claims it was caught “by surprise.” If drones and CIA operatives operating in ISIS territory weren’t enough to detect the impending invasion, perhaps the CIA should have just picked up a newspaper.
Indeed, the Lebanon Daily Start in March 2014 reported that ISIS openly withdrew its forces from Latakia and Idlib provinces in western Syria, and redeployed them in Syria’s east – along the Syrian-Iraqi border. The article titled, “Al-Qaeda splinter group in Syria leaves two provinces: activists,” stated explicitly that:
On Friday, ISIS – which alienated many rebels by seizing territory and killing rival commanders – finished withdrawing from the Idlib and Latakia provinces and moved its forces toward the eastern Raqqa province and the eastern outskirts of the northern city of Aleppo, activists said.
The question remains, if a Lebanese newspaper knew ISIS was on the move eastward, why didn’t the CIA? The obvious answer is the CIA did know, and is simply feigning ignorance at the expense of their reputation to bait its enemies into suspecting the agency of incompetency rather than complicity in the horrific terroristic swath ISIS is now carving through northern Iraq.
Described extensively in the full New Eastern Outlook Journal (NEO) report, “NATO’s Terror Hordes in Iraq a Pretext for Syria Invasion,” the United States, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, have funded and armed terrorists operating in Syria for the past 3 years to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars – coincidentally the same amount that ISIS would require to gain primacy among militant groups fighting in Syria and to mobilize forces capable of crossing into Iraq and overwhelming Baghdad’s national defenses.
Image: The most prominent routes into Syria for foreign fighters is depicted, with the inset graph describing the most widely used routes by foreign fighters on their way to Iraq, as determined by West Point’s 2007 Combating Terrorism Center report “Al-Qa’ida’s Foreign Fighters in Iraq” (page 20). These same networks were then used to invade and attempt to overthrow the Syrian government itself in 2011, with the addition of a more prominent role for Turkey, and today in 2014, to re-invade Iraq once again.
What’s ISIS Doing in Iraq? The NEO report would also post Seymour Hersh’s 2007 article, “The Redirection,” documenting over the course of 9 pages US, Saudi, and Israeli intentions to create and deploy sectarian extremists region-wide to confront Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Hersh would note that these “sectarian extremists” were either tied to Al Qaeda, or Al Qaeda itself. The ISIS army moving toward Baghdad is the final manifestation of this conspiracy, a standing army operating with impunity, threatening to topple the Syrian government, purge pro-Iranian forces in Iraq, and even threatening Iran itself by building a bridge from Al Qaeda’s NATO safe havens in Turkey, across northern Iraq, and up to Iran’s borders directly. Labeled “terrorists” by the West, grants the West plausible deniability in its creation, deployment, and across the broad spectrum of atrocities it is now carrying out.
Image: ISIS’s alleged territory spans across both Iraqi and Syrian
territory. If it is able to establish a NATO-backed buffer zone, it will be
able to launch attacks with impunity into Syria, Iraq, and Iran – in a
region-wide sectarian war the West has been engineering for years.
It is a defacto re-invasion of Iraq by Western interests – but this time without Western forces directly participating – rather a proxy force the West is desperately attempting to disavow any knowledge of or any connection to. However, no other explanation can account for the size and prowess of ISIS beyond state sponsorship. And since ISIS is the clear benefactor of state sponsorship, the question is, which states are sponsoring it? With Iraq, Syria, and Iran along with Lebanese-based Hezbollah locked in armed struggle with ISIS and other Al Qaeda franchises across the region, the only blocs left are NATO and the GCC (Saudi Arabia and Qatar in particular).
With the West declaring ISIS fully villainous in an attempt to intervene more directly in northern Iraq and eastern Syria, creating a long desired “buffer zone” within which to harbor, arm, and fund an even larger terrorist expeditionary force, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and others are offered an opportunity to preempt Western involvement and to crush the ISIS – cornering and eliminating NATO-GCC’s expeditionary force while scoring geopolitical points of vanquishing Washington’s latest “villain.” Joint Iraq-Iranian operations in the north and south of ISIS’s locations, and just along Turkey’s borders could envelop and trap ISIS to then be whittled down and destroyed – just as Syria has been doing to NATO’s proxy terrorist forces within its own borders.
Whatever the regional outcome may be, the fact is the West has re-invaded Iraq, with a force as brutal, if not worse than the “shock and awe” doctrine of 2003. Iraq faces another difficult occupation if it cannot summon a response from within, and among its allies abroad, to counter and crush this threat with utmost expediency.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Michel Chossudovsky with the Center for Research on Globalization, about a statement by Vladimir Putin that the US-led world order has failed.
The following is an approximate transcript of the interview.
Press TV: What do you think about what Vladimir Putin has said? Is that a sign that the US has now not reached its goals on a variety of issues and topics around the world and therefore making the Russian president come out with the statement?
Chossudovsky: Of course this statement by the Russian President is a very timely statement because it is made prior to the holding of elections in Ukraine. But I think what we should understand is that the United States and its NATO allies are involved in acts of destabilization simultaneously in several regions of the world.
The strategy is similar. It consists in covert support to extremist groups. In some cases, it’s al-Qaeda as in Syria, in Nigeria it’s Boko Haram which is also … affiliated to al-Qaeda and known to have, to be supported by Western intelligence.
In Ukraine there is support which goes back in fact to the late 40s under the Truman administration to the neo-Nazi groups and paramilitary which are followers of Stepan Bandera and quite deliberately they are self-proclaimed Nazis and they integrate the government.
Then, the question we have to ask ourselves is it possible under those circumstances with an illegal government which came to power in a coup, in a violent coup, is it possible to organize elections when in fact the east and southeast of the country have in fact refused and said no to the coup leaders in Kiev.
Press TV: Quickly if you can, Michel Chossudovsky, one of the things that came out of this conference that was held over in China was this alliance that the Chinese President came out, a security alliance which he mentioned China, Russia and Iran. Are we seeing therefore that this is going to decrease the power and dominance of the US and some as you mentioned NATO allies in the world?
Chossudovsky: This alliance between China, Russia and Iran is nothing new. It’s part of the Shanghai Cooperation Agreement. Although Iran is not a formal member but it is an observer. But the alliance between Russia and China has an old history to it. It certainly is a response to the US-NATO agenda of expansion. It also is characterized as we’ve seen recently in the signing of a major agreement to supply China with natural gas.
That I should say, you either, but it has been formalized, and I think it’s a message to the West that there are other alternatives as far as the new world order is concerned and that a unipolar world dominated by the United States militarily and economically is not necessarily an avenue for everybody in the world, and of course it is a derogation of sovereignty and this new world order is being as I mentioned is being imposed not only through military means and covert operations, but also through economic warfare namely financial destabilization, speculation, institutionalized speculation against national currencies, sanctions regime.
But even that response on the part of the West implies certain contradictions because we now see that one of major victims of the sanctions regime on the Russian Federation is in fact the European Union which relies heavily on the supply of Russian gas, also as part of agreements signed between the European Union and the Russian Federation.
In this in-depth interview on Elijah Johnson’s Finance and Liberty, James Corbett details the process by which Russia, China, Iran and other so-called “resistance bloc” nations are being driven into each other’s arms by the increasingly aggressive US-led NATO/IMF community. James explains how this is analagous to similar periods from recent history where an enemy was consciously and deliberately created by Western corporate and financial interests in order to justify the further spending in an ever-escalating takeover of global economic and political systems.
In this edition of the BFP Roundtable, Peter B. Collins, Guillermo Jimenez, James Corbett and Sibel Edmonds discuss the latest moves in the formation of a so-called “new cold war” between NATO and Russia. We also tackle Seymour Hersh and his recent article in the London Review of Books examining Turkish involvement in the Syrian chemical weapons attack in Ghouta last year.