Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 20, 2015

PBS NewsHour Uses Russian Airstrike Footage While Claiming U.S. Airstrike Successes

U.S. media can no agree with itself if Russia is giving ISIS an airforce or if Russia pounds ISIS with the biggest bomber raid in decades. Such confusion occurs when propaganda fantasies collide with the observable reality.

To bridge such divide requires some fudging.

So when the U.S. claims to act against the finances of the Islamic State while not doing much, the U.S Public Broadcasting Service has to use footage of Russian airstrikes against the Islamic State while reporting claimed U.S. airstrike successes.

The U.S. military recently claimed to have hit Islamic State oil tankers in Syria. This only after Putin embarrassed Obama at the G-20 meeting in Turkey. Putin showed satellite pictures of ridiculous long tanker lines waiting for days and weeks to load oil from the Islamic State without any U.S. interference.

The U.S. then claimed to have hit 116 oil tankers while the Russian air force claims to have hit 500. But there is an important difference between these claims. The Russians provided videos showing how their airstrikes hit at least two different very large oil tanker assemblies with hundreds of tankers in each. They also provided video of several hits on oil storage sites and refinery infrastructure.

I have found no video of U.S. hits on Islamic State oil tanker assemblies.

The U.S. PBS NewsHour did not find any either.

In their TV report yesterday about Islamic State financing and the claimed U.S. hits on oil trucks they used the videos Russia provided without revealing the source. You can see the Russian videos played within an interview with a U.S. military spokesperson at 2:22 min.

The U.S. military spokesperson speaks on camera about U.S. airforce hits against the Islamic State. The video cuts to footage taken by Russian airplanes hitting oil tanks and then trucks. The voice-over while showing the Russian video with the Russians blowing up trucks says: "For the first time the U.S. is attacking oil delivery trucks." The video then cuts back to the U.S. military spokesperson.

At no point is the Russian campaign mentioned or the source of the footage revealed.

Any average viewer of the PBS report will assume that the black and white explosions of oil trucks and tanks are from of U.S. airstrikes filmed by U.S. air force planes.

The U.S. military itself admitted that its strikes on IS oil infrastructure over the last year were "minimally effective". One wonders then how effective the claimed strike against 116 trucks really was. But unless we have U.S. video of such strikes and not copies of Russian strike video fraudulently passed off as U.S. strikes we will not know if those strikes happened at all.

Propaganda and reality also collide in the larger U.S. policy on Syria. President Obama claims that the "overwhelming majority of people in Syria" want the Syrian President Assad to leave. But independent British polling in Syria found (pdf) that a strong plurality of Syrians prefers him as president over any of the available alternatives.

And while 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 the Islamic State.

But Kuwait just arrested a gang that was smuggling weapons from the new U.S. client state Ukraine to the Islamic State. Iraqi military and Shia militia find huge bundles of cash (vid) which were to be smuggled to the Islamic State. How does it come that the otherwise all-seeing (including your emails) U.S. secret services are unable to uncover Islamic State financing and smuggling when smaller states with much less resources can do so?

Does all this sound like the U.S. is really campaigning against the Islamic State? Or is this whole campaign just as fraudulent as the PBS video and Obama's proclamations? Why is the U.S. so deeply lost on the ‘Dark Side’ in Syria?


Posted by b on November 20, 2015 at 13:29 UTC | Permalink

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Maybe will pick up on b's lead. I dropped 'em a line. Russian Insider is not the only operation that might benefit from b's sharp eyes an ears.

Posted by: jfl | Nov 22 2015 0:57 utc | 101

I just left the link to this posting at Media Matters.

Any guesses on whether they will follow up?

Posted by: psychohistorian | Nov 22 2015 1:32 utc | 102

11/7/15 Al-Nusra front in Hama decided to ally w IS, and to change their emblem and flags
to Ahrar al-Sham movement, classified as 'moderate.' Since then, 5 other groups have joined
Ahrar al-Sham, in hopes of being seen as moderate ,to receive TOW missiles.. The movement
Ahrar al-Sham is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, established in Turkey according to the
doctrine and principles of the Islamic Emirate.

US lifted sanctions imposed on Iran, with the proviso that she wd contribute troops in neutralizing
the Sunni IS. Obama supports Russia, or permits Russia to eradicate the destabilizing IS-- which
it doesn't wish to do itself because it's a betrayal of its Sunni allies. Valentin Vasilescu

United States and the Assad government both seem willing to allow Ahrar al-Sham into the non-extremist
tent, so long as it agrees to accept a cease-fire., says David Ignatius oin today's WaPo.

Posted by: Penelope | Nov 22 2015 2:26 utc | 103

An interesting entry describes how almost "paradisiac" life could be under ISIS for true Sunni Moslem believers: no thieves, no rape, no drinking, no smoking, no brothels, no class difference, no corruption, justice for everybody etc... Life seems so good there that the population does not regret the life they had under the 'secular' government. That people want to leave seems like a western propaganda. The Islamic state is a popular success for Sunni Moslems.

“A Trip to the ‘Caliphate’: Oppressive Justice under ISIS,” By Omar al-Wardi

Posted by: virgile | Nov 22 2015 3:05 utc | 104

@102 virgile.. thanks for that.. interesting take on isis from joshua landis... as long as one follows the fanatical and puritanical wahhabi ideology, all will be well in isis-land, or so the theory goes.. i recall seeing a video of a kids playground in downtown raqqa with cloaked women walking around kids and ak47's strapped over their shoulders.. if this is yet another sign of a blossoming culture where one can relax without the threat of violence, it sure seems as though it is based entirely on a slight break in the present power structure for those who periodically live in a power vacuum as a result of not knowing who is calling the shots.. "the devil you know if better then the devil you don't" apparently, or only until the next power structure presents itself and which one must conform to..

i also saw a video a few weeks ago of some guy in raqqa - neutral supposedly - saying he wished russia would stop the bombing.. he isn't siding with anyone, but just wishes the bombing, murder and mayhem would stop.. i am sure that is true too.. he is suffering from this power struggle for regime change, isis domination, you name it - which has turned syria into a war zone.. we can thank the west/nato countries for starting something that hopefully russia can put a stop to... we'll see how it plays out..

Posted by: james | Nov 22 2015 6:57 utc | 105

further to landis's article, just reading this now in rt.. "The streets of Raqqa are full of people, cars and functioning businesses, life seemed to be completely normal,Todenhofer said, but one should keep in mind that the Islamists had killed or driven off all the Shias and Christians, so the only people there were Sunnis."

“People know it is dangerous,” Todenhofer said, but an ordinary person there does not care, because “his life was not [much fun] before, under the control of the Shia government, which they did not like either.”

There are not too many women on the streets of Raqqa, and those few are completely covered with a veil. Only very old women do not have to wear a veil, Todenhofer recalled.

“Because if they are not nice and pretty anymore – they are allowed to show their face.”

brainwashing 101 quote -“They are told that in Islamic State they will fight a historic fight, a final fight between good and evil,” he said.

Posted by: james | Nov 22 2015 7:18 utc | 106

Posted by: jfl | Nov 21, 2015 4:53:55 PM | 91

"across" as in "across the border".

Anyway it is settled now. Our foreign minister Steinmeier - in connection with the Hanover football game that was canceled because of a threat they don't want to tell because it would frighten us - just was quoted in radio news with
"The fight of rebels against the Syrian army has to stop they should both fight against ISIS"
He would not say something like this if it was not agreed with France.
The US now have the choice to continue fighting Assad or lose Europe.
I think the Turkmen villages are an attempt not to lose Turkey. Turkey seems to have used Turkmen to fight against Assad but prevented them from fighting ISIS - when they were thrown out of their villages by ISIS and had to flee to Turkey.
ISIS backers and mercenaries will quickly change their brand. A few confused kids will get killed.

Posted by: somebody | Nov 22 2015 8:25 utc | 107

This link here describes the location best.

Posted by: somebody | Nov 22 2015 8:29 utc | 108

ref article on Landis' site
this is a propaganda article
"For if life were truly hellacious in this city and its surrounding towns, everyone would have migrated to Germany, Austria, or even Turkey. Yet most people have stayed put; they do not abandon their homes and land."
How would the guy know for sure? BTW this is true of many young men in Syria: the trbial/religious customs make it that whatever happens you don't abandon your mother/father/sisters. Plus these are the poorest are of Syria so the people there have no foreign currencies to get them across borders to a slum in Jordan, Lebanon or Turkey. Last but not least getting out of an ISIS area means going through other guys' checkpoints (Kurds or Syrian army) and this also mean an unknown fate (torture, conscription?)

Posted by: Mina | Nov 22 2015 9:34 utc | 109

Re 104

"The streets of Raqqa are full of people, cars and functioning businesses, life seemed to be completely normal,Todenhofer said, but one should keep in mind that the Islamists had killed or driven off all the Shias and Christians, so the only people there were Sunnis."
Todenhofer has it wrong. There never were any Shias or Christians in Raqqa, so they couldn't have been driven off. Raqqa was always a hick, back-country town, whose population was made up of Sunni Arab village people from the country around, most of whom came when the Euphrates valley was flooded by the Tabqa dam in 1974.

but an ordinary person there does not care, because “his life was not [much fun] before, under the control of the Shia government, which they did not like either.”
That seems to me a travesty. There is a lot of resentment, just not as much as in non-Sunni Arab areas (where ISIS makes no progress at all). If it were not the case, why do they prevent people from leaving? As happened to the nephew of an Iraqi I know. He was caught in the attempt, but fortunately not killed.

Posted by: Laguerre | Nov 22 2015 9:45 utc | 110

Posted by: Mina | Nov 22, 2015 4:34:47 AM | 107

It is a propaganda article all right, you could write an article on Germany under fascism along those lines - safety in the streets, no begging, justice for aryans, no unemployment because of state infrastructure projects, extremely well functioning bureaucracy, people living their lives and enjoying it, hardly any aryan leaving.

There seem to have been Christian families in Raqqa.

Posted by: somebody | Nov 22 2015 10:17 utc | 111

Posted by: Penelope | Nov 21, 2015 9:26:38 PM | 101
bad idea..trusting USA at all and ahrar al-sham...they are terrorists

Posted by: brian | Nov 22 2015 12:46 utc | 113

Posted by: virgile | Nov 21, 2015 10:05:00 PM | 102

why quote landis? hes like the 'moderate rebels' only moderately

Posted by: brian | Nov 22 2015 12:49 utc | 114

@112 so true brian.

Posted by: thirsty | Nov 22 2015 13:43 utc | 115

More on the Turkey/Syria clash....

It appears to be a 'coalition' attack on ISIS along the Kilis/Azaz road. Turkey is supporting Turkmen in Syria....nothing new there. Could be the beginning of the Safe Zone or just a trial balloon.

"American officials have expressed scepticism over the idea..."

Posted by: dh | Nov 22 2015 14:08 utc | 116

Yep the - obvious - result is this

Around 1,500 members of Syria's Turkmen minority have fled to the Turkish border to escape renewed fighting in the northwest of the country, a Turkish official said Nov. 22.

Turkey has expressed concern in recent days over Russian air raids in the area, fearing they are aimed at hitting Syrian opposition fighters and bolstering the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Meanwhile, Turkmen fighters backed by Turkey have launched their own ground operation in northern Syria to retake territory controlled by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

"As of today, around 1,500 of our Turkmen brothers and sisters have come to our border region," the governor of Turkey's Hatay region on the Syrian border Ercan Topaca was quoted as saying by Turkish news agencies.

"Of course we are ready to meet their every need, especially as winter conditions are starting," he said, adding that 575 tents had already been sent as well as blankets, food and medical supplies.

Posted by: somebody | Nov 22 2015 15:31 utc | 117

@110 laguerre.. thanks for your comments.. what you say makes sense.. a stranger visiting doesn't make as much sense.. landis article is a puff piece for isis which i have an obvious problem with...

Posted by: james | Nov 22 2015 18:23 utc | 118

reminds me of the law and order in saudi arabia where ordinary people get along well enough, so long as you don't do anything to piss off the leadership, in which case it is 'off with yer head'..

Posted by: james | Nov 22 2015 19:09 utc | 119

it 's not a Landis article, it is an article published at Landis' website. It is a good piece to understand the delusion in which many people are living. For ex on Landis website, many posters are wealthy Syrians and Lebanese in the USA who have been supporting Qatar/KSA policy towards Syria all along
i.e. suppress education, understanding of history, and you get airheads

Posted by: Mina | Nov 22 2015 19:19 utc | 120

thanks mina.. that is very interesting.. i always appreciate your insights.

Posted by: james | Nov 22 2015 19:35 utc | 121

Russia Today noticed chpstck and my scoop

Epic bombing fail? PBS uses Russian footage to depict US airstrikes on ISIS oil fields

Posted by: b | Nov 23 2015 10:13 utc | 122

Posted by: b | Nov 23, 2015 5:13:51 AM | 122

I'm not surprised.
It's a HUGE story because, apart from the arrant dumbfuckery of such brainless short-term thinking(?), it invites anyone and everyone to draw unflattering conclusions about what the World's Second Ex-Superpower thinks it's doing in the Middle East.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 23 2015 12:46 utc | 123

@122 b.. good on you.. maybe they can pay for some of your coverage too!

Posted by: james | Nov 23 2015 17:37 utc | 124

Well the world has changed since I was in The United States Army (Semper Ra), during the Cold War. As President Kopitke, I'll restore our Military and fight wars when actually needed and not when needed by the Globalists or the 1%. Please pray for my Presidential Campaign.


Posted by: Kyle Kenly Kopitke | Nov 24 2015 8:47 utc | 125

You didn't go looking very hard and neither did PBS for that US oil tanker strike video footage.
The US footage was already there of the US oil tanker strikes from the press briefing where they took the Colonel Warren snippet from. At no point did the
US Combined Joint Task Force brief show Russian Air Force strike footage, but only their own AC-130 and A-10 strike footage against the 116 oil tankers at Abu Kamal.

The US 116 ISIL fuel trucks strike at Abu Kamal was uploaded on the 18 Nov 2015

Why didn't you find this US Strike footage. It was available 2 days before you produced this article?
The original US Combined Joint Task Force briefing video was published on the 19th November. This is where the PBS team got some of the voice overs that they used.

Posted by: Tom | Nov 27 2015 1:37 utc | 126

Good to find another site that likes to post what is actually happening in our world. I have been thinking for some time that our side ie. USA, Australia, Nato, Arab States and Turkey have been using ISIS as both an excuse to illegally enter Syria (chasing ISIS fighters over the Iraq/Syrian border) and also using ISIS and Al Qaeda as ground troops for a regime change.
A very clever tactic until Russia entered the fray and started getting rid of ISIS far too efficiently for the anti Assad forces.
Now the West is bagging Russia for bombing the SFA (Syrian Free Army) but not ISIS although this distinction between terror groups and SFA appears to not really exist as the Levant Report has shown. I note that Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has outed the patronage of ISIS and the Al Nusra Front by the CIA.

The reason the USA has claimed the credit for Russias attack on ISIS oil operations is that it fits with the big and obvious lie that Russia is pro ISIS whereas the USA is anti ISIS.
The recent claim that Assad was buying oil from ISIS is clearly ridiculous given ISIS wants to cut off his head along with those of the Alawites and Christians. It has been made because the opposite is true.

I note that Turkey after shooting down a Russian jet claimed that Russia was targetting Turkoman fighters in Syria. It appears they were hit as part of the Russian air raid on the ISIS oil facilities. This would fit with the article in Zero Hedge that noted-:
"The Russian Minister reminded his counterpart about Turkey’s involvement in the ISIS’ illegal trade in oil, which is transported via the area where the Russian plane was shot down,and about the terrorist infrastructure, arms and munitions depots and control centers that are also located there."
The article noted strong evidence that Erdogans son Bilal was buying the oil from ISIS in Syria.
The constant lies by our Western leaders is at a level I have never seen before and, at least as bad as during the Iraq war. It seems that while our governments want to know everything about we citizens they keep us not just in the dark but deceived on every level. I believe there will be no peace, justice or freedom until we are told the truth.
So keep up the good work.

Posted by: Jim | Nov 27 2015 3:10 utc | 127

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