There and Back Again - Your Trip Through the American Empire

October 10, 2015 (Tony Cartalucci - LD)  The October 8, 2015 US Senate Committee on Armed Services hearing titled, "Russian Strategy and Military Operations," gave viewers an instructive snapshot at the current state of America's dwindling power.

Image: Western governments have their populations cowering in fear over "refugees" invading and destroying their "Western culture," successfully distracting them from true cross-border invaders - multinational corporations whose unwarranted power and influence has done more to destabilize, destroy, steal, plunder, and ruin global populations than any boatload of refugees could hope to accomplish. 
Enter the American Empire

The hearing is one of many interfaces between corporate-financier funded policy think tanks and the politicians who will ultimately rubber stamp their schemes and designs into law. It consists of a panel of bought-off, self-serving senators, listening to think-tank academics with no practical experience along with retired generals drawing paychecks by keeping big-defense, big-oil, big-ag, big-finance, and others well fed.

This particular hearing included Heather Conley of the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) (donors here),  Stephen Sestanovich of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) (donors here), General James Jones (USMC ret.) now of the Brent Scowcroft Center On International Security of the Atlantic Council (donors here), and Generael John Keane (US Army, ret.) of the Institute For The Study Of War (ISW) (donors here).

Image: This Tomahawk cruise missile was brought to Libya by, Raytheon - a corporate sponsor of the Atlantic Council, CSIS, and CFR - all of whom helped engineer, sell, and execute the war in the first place. 

Each witness providing testimony is a member of a corporate-financier funded and directed policy think tank. Looking through their donors and boards of directors, one sees several common denominators - big-oil, big-defense, big-agriculture, big-pharma, big-finance, and other big-businesses forming the foundation of Wall Street and Washington's current power structure.

Considering that the issues being discussed before the US Senate Committee on Armed Services revolve around the application of military force throughout the world toward achieving not the territorial defense of the United States, but defending what are called US "interests" abroad - including the encirclement, containment, and eventual overthrow of geopolitical and socioeconomic competitors - immense conflicts of interest are obvious. In fact, it is clear that these corporate-financier interests are the primary force driving US foreign policy and military planning.

The Mystery of ISIS' Toyota Army Solved

October 9, 2015 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - The US Treasury has recently opened an inquiry about the so-called "Islamic State's" (ISIS/ISIL) use of large numbers of brand-new Toyota trucks. The issue has arisen in the wake of Russia's air operations over Syria and growing global suspicion that the US itself has played a key role in arming, funding, and intentionally perpetuating the terrorist army across Syria and Iraq.

ABC News in their article, "US Officials Ask How ISIS Got So Many Toyota Trucks," reports:
U.S. counter-terror officials have asked Toyota, the world’s second largest auto maker, to help them determine how ISIS has managed to acquire the large number of Toyota pick-up trucks and SUVs seen prominently in the terror group’s propaganda videos in Iraq, Syria and Libya, ABC News has learned. 

Toyota says it does not know how ISIS obtained the vehicles and is “supporting” the inquiry led by the Terror Financing unit of the Treasury Department -- part of a broad U.S. effort to prevent Western-made goods from ending up in the hands of the terror group.
The report went on to cite Iraqi Ambassador to the US, Lukman Faily:
“This is a question we’ve been asking our neighbors,” Faily said. “How could these brand new trucks... these four wheel drives, hundreds of them -- where are they coming from?” 
Not surprisingly, it appears the US Treasury is asking the wrong party. Instead of Toyota, the US Treasury's inquiry should have started next door at the US State Department.

Mystery Solved 

Just last year it was reported that the US State Department had been sending in fleets of specifically Toyota-brand trucks into Syria to whom they claimed was the "Free Syrian Army."

US foundation-funded Public Radio International (PRI) reported in a 2014 article titled, "This one Toyota pickup truck is at the top of the shopping list for the Free Syrian Army — and the Taliban," that:
Recently, when the US State Department resumed sending non-lethal aid to Syrian rebels, the delivery list included 43 Toyota trucks.

Hiluxes were on the Free Syrian Army's wish list. Oubai Shahbander, a Washington-based advisor to the Syrian National Coalition, is a fan of the truck. 
"Specific equipment like the Toyota Hiluxes are what we refer to as force enablers for the moderate opposition forces on the ground," he adds. Shahbander says the US-supplied pickups will be delivering troops and supplies into battle. Some of the fleet will even become battlefield weapons..
The British government has also admittedly supplied a number of vehicles to terrorists fighting inside of Syria. The British Independent's 2013 article titled, "Revealed: What the West has given Syria's rebels," reported that (emphasis added):

So far the UK has sent around £8m of “non-lethal” aid, according to official papers seen by The Independent, comprising five 4x4 vehicles with ballistic protection; 20 sets of body armour; four trucks (three 25 tonne, one 20 tonne); six 4x4 SUVs; five non-armoured pick-ups; one recovery vehicle; four fork-lifts; three advanced “resilience kits” for region hubs, designed to rescue people in emergencies; 130 solar powered batteries; around 400 radios; water purification and rubbish collection kits; laptops; VSATs (small satellite systems for data communications) and printers.
It's fair to say that whatever pipeline the US State Department and the British government used to supply terrorists in Syria with these trucks was likely used to send additional vehicles before and after these reports were made public.

The mystery of how hundreds of identical, brand-new ISIS-owned Toyota trucks have made it into Syria is solved. Not only has the US and British government admitted in the past to supplying them, their military forces and intelligence agencies ply the borders of Turkey, Jordan, and even Iraq where these fleets of trucks must have surely passed on their way to Syria - even if other regional actors supplied them. While previous admissions to supplying the vehicles implicates the West directly, that nothing resembling interdiction operations have been set up along any of these borders implicates the West as complicit with other parties also supplying vehicles to terrorists inside of Syria.

What Mystery? 
Of course, much of this is not new information. So the question remains - why is the US Treasury just now carrying on with this transparent charade? Perhaps those in Washington believe that if the US government is the one asking this obvious question of how ISIS has managed to field such an impressive mechanized army in the middle of the Syrian desert, no one will suspect they had a role in it.

Of course, the trucks didn't materialize in Syria. They originated outside of Syria and were brought in, and in great numbers, with the explicit knowledge and/or direct complicity of the US and its regional allies. Asking Toyota where the US State Department's own trucks came from is another indication of just how lost US foreign policy, legitimacy, and credibility has become.

Russia's intervention, and what should become a widely supported anti-terror coalition must keep in mind the criminality of the US and its partners when choosing its own partners in efforts to restore security and order across the Middle East and North Africa.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazineNew Eastern Outlook”.   

Fear and Loathing in Turkish Airspace

October 8, 2015 (Ulson Gunnar - NEO) - There have been now several alleged "violations" of Turkish airspace by Russian warplanes operating from within and across Syrian territory. Conflicting reports have come out regarding how these alleged violations are actually being interpreted and responded to by Turkey itself, with the United States and its well-oiled media machine claiming armed confrontation between the NATO member and Russia is imminent, while other sources claim Turkey and Russia are in close communication and apparent violations have been excused by Ankara.

Depending on whose point of view the ongoing alleged violations are seen from, an array of interests present themselves compelling different players to either play them down or exploit them to widen what is already a volatile regional conflict.

From Ankara 

Russian warplanes are obviously not operating in the region with the intention of threatening Turkey, its people or its military forces. Russian proximity to Turkey's border is born out of necessity to counter terrorist forces long-operating near it and even across it. Turkey is no stranger to crossing borders in pursuit of what it calls terrorists, and thus one would expect Turkey to appreciate Russia's current rules of engagement in the region.

Even if Russian warplanes are crossing the border accidentally or in hot pursuit of terrorist forces, belligerence from Turkey would be widely interpreted now as unreasonable. The legitimacy of claims that terrorist forces in Syria, backed by a wide axis of regional players orchestrated by Washington, are 'moderates' has withered in the eyes of the general public. Russia's anti-terror coalition in Syria is steadily expanding both in operational dimensions and in terms of political support from around the world. While Washington's scorn is to be expected, attempts by Turkey to disrupt ongoing anti-terror operations undertaken by Russia in coordination with the Syrian government would be perceived globally as an act of unwarranted aggression and spite in defense of terrorists, not its own territory or people.

Iran, Iraq, Syria and various forces within Lebanon have already openly joined the effort with China signaling interest. Unified and focused, this Russian-led effort stands a good chance of suceeding. Turkey as a nation may still emerge out of the other side of this conflict with its legitimacy and influence in the region intact, though the same may not be said for the current ruling factions that have collaborated with Washington in regards to destabilizing the region in the first place.

Turkey's understanding, even cooperation with securing its border and eliminating terrorist forces operating along it, be they labeled the Islamic State or Al Qaeda or 'moderates,' could be the first step toward divesting from Washington's losing proposition and investing in Turkey's future among the new regional order being formed before our eyes.

What Does Russia Want in Syria?

October 6, 2015 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - The Western media has portrayed Russia's recent joint anti-terror security operations with the Syrian government as a means of expanding its influence beyond its borders. CNN in its article, "Petraeus accuses Putin of trying to re-establish Russian Empire," would go as far as claiming:
One of America's top former generals compared the situation in Syria Tuesday to a historic nuclear disaster, implicitly criticizing the U.S. for allowing it to worsen, and accused Russia's President of trying to re-establish an empire.
CNN would also report:
Russian moves in Syria are designed to bolster and hold on to their naval base and airstrip along the Mediterranean coast of Syria, and shore up the al-Assad regime in order to preserve Russian influence in the Middle East, Petraeus said.

"I think that what Vladimir Putin would like to do is resurrect the Russian empire," he said.
Ironically, the United States maintains over 800 military bases around the world while occupying Afghanistan since 2001 and carrying out armed operations everywhere from Somalia, Yemen, Iraq, and Syria to the borders of Pakistan. Russia's only overseas base is in fact the naval facility mentioned by Petraeus. Petraeus never elaborates on how despite such obvious disparity between Russia and America regarding foreign policy, why Russia is suspected of pursuing "empire" while the US is not then completely guilty of already establishing and fighting desperately to maintain an immense one.

Image: Russians at their one and only overseas military complex in Syria - and they are there upon the invitation of the long-standing, legitimate government of Syria. 
While undoubtedly Russia's cooperation with the Syrian government indicates Moscow's ability to project power beyond its borders, it has done so only at the request of the legitimate government of Syria, and only after all other possible options have been exhausted.

And despite many having depicted Syria's ongoing crisis as a "civil war," it is abundantly clear that it is nothing of the sort, with terrorists receiving the summation of their material support, and many of their fighters even from over Syria's borders, not from within them.

Stopping Global Blitzkrieg 

In 2011, when the United States and its collaborators in NATO and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) set out to destroy the North African nation-state of Libya, it was portrayed as an isolated intervention based upon the geopolitical doctrine of "responsibility to protect" - or in other words - an alleged humanitarian intervention.

US Upstaged at UN General Assembly - Who's to Blame?

October 2, 2015 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - The UN General Assembly this year celebrated its 70th anniversary which is why more leaders than usual attended and participated. While the speeches were typical and mostly irrelevant for people already well-informed about world events, there was one particular point to note that made this gathering more telling than most.

It wasn't a point that could be discerned by simply watching the speeches play out on the floor of the General Assembly hall, but rather revealed itself in the reaction to the speeches by American policymakers online.

While they predictably railed against the speech presented by Russian President Vladimir Putin, they also derided US President Barack Obama for being upstaged by his Russian counterpart. But it wasn't President Obama's shortcomings nor that of his speechwriters that led to this apparent humiliation. It was American policy itself, owed to the very policymakers being derisive.

Contrary to popular belief, American policy is not created by politicians either in the Oval Office or in Congress. Instead, doctrine, war plans, domestic and foreign economic policy, and geopolitical and strategic plans laid out for years to come, originate in corporate-financier funded think tanks and among the army of academics, industry leaders, and other lobbyists of special interests employed by them. These think tanks and the policymakers that work within them are unelected, transcending political party lines, and political administrations. 

The fact that a Democratic US president expanded the wars of his Republican predecessor, and provoked those this Republican opponents failed to implement during their term, illustrates perfectly the continuity of agenda prevalent in Western politics. Like the US often accuses its competitors around the world, the United States itself is ruled by an oligarchy of special interests who simply dress up their singular agenda as partisan politics to maintain the illusion of representative governance.

Their wars which in reality serve the singular purpose of achieving and maintaining global geopolitical socioeconomic hegemony are dressed up as "defending the homeland" under Republicans, and "humanitarian interventions" under Democrats. In following the unwarranted wealth and influence wrought from such wars, it can be seen clearly for what purpose they are truly waged. 

Thus, the criticism from across American foreign policy circles in the wake of the UN General Assembly, reveals precisely where America's true problems lie. It was their policy that President Obama was attempting to present to the world at the UN General Assembly. President Obama wasn't upstaged because he is a poor orator or because he depends on incompetent speechwriters, but because nothing the United States is truly doing around the world could be honestly presented to the public, leaving only the same tired rhetoric and boundless hypocrisy that even the least observant among us are beginning to notice.

This can best be illustrated in Syria, where the United States claims to be committed to defeating terrorism, all while it transparently supports terrorist militants in its goal to overthrow the government in Damascus. Thus, President Obama's talking points during the UN General Assembly regarding Syria rang particularly hollow. Conversely, when Russia stated that it planned to defeat terrorism in Syria, the world could already see clearly that it has been Russia supporting the only force within Syria's borders confronting terrorism - the government in Damascus.

American policymakers don't appear to realize or at least be willing to accept that it is they and the special interests they serve that are responsible for America's decline, its unpopularity, and the rise of competitors able to upstage the US in front of the UN General Assembly, and upon the stage of geopolitics.

These policymakers responsible for America's current course will never admit that they are not as smart as they believe themselves to be, or that their poor judgement, petty ambitions, egos, and plain incompetence has led to this irreparable decline in American legitimacy and influence.

And because they can never admit it, they can do nothing to resolve it. But maybe that is for the better.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazineNew Eastern Outlook”.