Thursday, December 25, 2014

Islamic State Shoots Down Coalition Plane, Captures Pilot

The real firestorm will begin with the discovery and revelation that the weapon used in the shoot-down was made in the good 'ol USA

By Omar Akour And Bassem Mroue


Islamic State group militants on Wednesday captured a Jordanian pilot after his warplane crashed in Syria while conducting airstrikes, and a Jordanian official said it was believed to have been shot down by the extremists. If so, it would be the first downing of an aircraft from the international coalition waging an air campaign against the group.

U.S. made Stinger anti-aircraft missile system in 
the hands of CIA/FSA merc
The pilot's capture underscored the risks for the United States and the multiple Arab and European countries whose warplanes are participating in bombing campaign aimed at pushing back the jihadis' control across much of Syria and Iraq. 

It also posed Jordan with a nightmare scenario, though officials vowed the country would not back down in the fight against the group.

The Islamic State group is known to have stocks of Russian-made Igla anti-aircraft missiles. 

The shoulder-fired weapon has long been in the Syrian and Iraqi government arsenals — it was used during the 1991 Gulf War by Iraqi forces to down a British Tornado jet, for example. More recently, militants in Chechnya have used them to down Russian helicopters.

Jordanian Information Minister Mohammad Momani told The Associated Press that the plane was believed to have been shot down.

“It is our expectation that the plane went down because of fire from the ground, but it is difficult to confirm that, with the little information we have,” he said.

Activists monitoring the conflict said Islamic State group fighters shot down the warplane near the northern Syrian city of Raqqa, the group's de facto capital.

The CIA has supplied hundreds of Stingers to "jihadist" 
The Raqqa Media Center published a photograph said to be of the pilot — in a white shirt, naked from the waist down and sopping wet — being pulled by gunmen out of what appeared to be a lake. Another picture shows him surrounded by more than a dozen fighters, some of them masked. 

The centre said IS fighters are scouring the area in case there is a second pilot.

The United States and several Arab allies have been striking the Islamic State group in Syria since Sept. 23, and U.S. and other international warplanes have been waging an air campaign against the extremists in Iraq for even longer. The campaign aims to push back the jihadi organization after it took over much of Iraq and Syria and declared a “caliphate.”

Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates are participating in the Syria strikes, with Qatari logistical support.

The pilot's capture raises a nightmare scenario for Jordan, which has been sharply criticized by militant sympathizers for its participation. IS in the past has beheaded dozens of Syrian soldiers it captured in operations around the country. The group has also beheaded three Americans and two Britons.

Moman, the informational minister, vowed that “the war on terrorism will continue,” saying, the fight with the extremists was “to defend the Islamic religion.”

Jordan's military said in a statement that the aircraft crashed as the air force was carrying out a military mission against the Islamic State group Wednesday morning. “The pilot was taken hostage by the Daesh terrorist organization,” it added, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group.

It said IS and “those who support it” will be responsible for the safety of the pilot. It did not give the cause of the crash or identify the type of aircraft.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it had confirmation from activists on the ground that the aircraft was shot down, either by a Russian-made anti-aircraft missile or by heavy machinegun fire. The Raqqa Media Center, an agency of activists that operates openly in IS-ruled areas with permission of the group, said the plane was downed near the village of Hamra Ghannam outside Raqqa. 

It posted photos of militants posing with shards of wreckage. It also posted a photo of the pilot's military identification card, identifying him as Mu'ath Safi Yousef al-Kaseasbeh. The group later showed the plane's glass canopy that was taken to a Raqqa main square where it was placed on the pavement for people to watch.

In Jordan, the pilot's cousin Marwan al-Kaseasbeh confirmed by telephone with The Associated Press that the photos are of his cousin.

Momani, the information minister, identified al-Kaseasbeh by name saying “he is a symbol of heroism and sacrifice.”

Activists say the Islamic State group is widely known to have Igla missile systems, either captured or bought from rival Syrian rebels, who were provided them by international patrons or bought them on the international market. 

State arsenals in both Iraq and Syria have been looted, so that could also be a source of Iglas circulating among rebels. Kanjo, an activist based in the northwestern province of Idlib, said IS is believed to have acquired the Igla missiles by buying them from mainstream rebel commanders or after some opposition fighters defected and joined the jihadi group.

In Washington, a Pentagon official said they are aware of the claims being made over social media that a pilot has been shot down, but they could not confirm the report at this time. 

He spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the reports by name.

Also Wednesday, a suicide bomber infiltrated a group of pro-government Sunni militiamen at a military base south of Baghdad as they gathered to get their paychecks. The bomber detonated his explosives, killing at least 24 militiamen and soldiers and wounding 55 others, police said.

The Sunni militias, known as Sahwa or Awakening Councils, were formed at the height of Iraq's sectarian fighting in 2006 and 2007, and allied with U.S. troops against Al Qaeda in Iraq, a precursor to the Islamic State extremist group. They are viewed as traitors by Sunni extremists fighting to overthrow the Shiite-led government.

In another attack, four civilians were killed and seven wounded when a bomb tore through an outdoor market in the town of Youssifiyah, 20 kilometres south of Baghdad. Both bombings bore the hallmarks of the Islamic State group.

This news bureau contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

Obama’s Popularity Among Troops Sinks

Obama and his lapdog Hagel have betrayed their oaths of office, the United States Military and America

By Robert Bridge

U.S. foreign policy continues its bold global juggernaut, but support for Obama among the rank-and-file has sunk to just 15 percent. At the same time, just 12 percent of the troops say America’s two-party political system is working for them.

If Barack Obama was aiming to please American soldiers by transforming the intensely conservative institution of the military along loose liberal lines he was seriously misguided. A whopping 55 percent of troops said they disapprove of Obama's performance, according to the results of a survey of some 2,300 “soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines” by Military Times (‘America’s Military: A conservative institution's uneasy Cultural Revolution.’)

While the survey addresses many of the issues plaguing the military, it gives no indication as to why Obama sought a military “cultural revolution” when the Pentagon already had its plate full with overseas entanglements.

Obama strives to destroy morale of military
personnel by inducting deviants into ranks
Obama’s repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” rule, for example, which attempted to shut the closet door on the issue of homosexuality among recruits, together with his decision to lift the ban on women in combat roles, shook the military institution to its very core.

Some critics have suggested that the Pentagon wanted to reverse the ruling on barring openly gay, lesbian, or bisexual persons from military service because it needed every man, women and transsexual it could get its hands on. With the new ruling, no service member could avoid a foreign conflict based on his or her sexual preferences.

The survey speculated that the Democratic leader’s “heavy-handed social engineering” – which probably caused General George S. Patton to roll over in his grave - could eventually “undermine good order and discipline.”

Military veterans interviewed for the survey admitted that the changes introduced by Obama could be “jarring.” That seems to be putting the matter a bit mildly.

"It's a very different Army than the one I came in to," said Sgt. 1st Class Eric Rexilius, a helicopter repairman who served in the US military for 21 years.

"For most of my peers," Rexilius said, "[the institutional changes enacted by Obama] makes them uncomfortable because it's not what they are used to."

However, the survey suggested that homosexuality in the military has generally been accepted by the rank-and-file. 

In 2009, 49 percent of troops believed homosexuals and bisexuals should be barred from military service. In 2014, disapproval dropped to just 19 percent.

Still, it remains to be seen what kind of legal repercussions this sort of colorful gay parade will have on the conservative institution. 

For example, will military leaders get bogged down in more mundane matters related to lawsuits filed by disgruntled servicemen who may feel their personal lifestyle - gay, straight or otherwise - caused them to miss a promotion? 

Ultimately the question boils down to whether the military is really the place for such liberal-minded transparency.

At the same time, acceptance of females into full combat roles remains a delicate subject among troops, but for some rather unexpected reasons.

Obama's mindless, illiterate war whores Psaki and Harf shill for their master and his illegal wars, CIA coups and incursions

The survey cited the comments from an Army captain who said he saw morale problems during his last tour to Iraq when female soldiers embedded in his infantry unit. According to the captain, females pose a problem on a different sort of battlefield – the battlefield back home where anxious housewives are wondering what happened to their weekend warriors.

"Another problem is the wives," he said. "Everybody's OK with an all-male unit until the wives see there's a fit, ambitious young lady, and you're going to go overseas with 15 dudes, and I'm supposed to trust that situation?"

"Another problem is the wives," he said. "Everybody's OK with an all-male unit until the wives see there's a fit, ambitious young lady, and you're going to go overseas with 15 dudes, and I'm supposed to trust that situation?" The poll also revealed another surprising trend among the traditionally conservative-leaning institution: an increasing disillusionment with America’s dysfunctional duopoly. 

But given the US public’s increasing dissatisfaction with America’s two-party system that poorly masquerades as democracy, it should come as no surprise that the troops are also getting suspicious as to what really motivates military conflicts abroad.

The Pentagon will have to rationalize its hyperactive behavior abroad better than by simply saying it is ‘planting the seeds of democracy,’ especially when much of the planting is being done at an altitude of 35,000 feet, courtesy of drone missile launches.

Obama's message to U.S. military personnel, Veterans
It speaks volumes about the deterioration of morale in the US military that just 12 percent of the military rank-and-file believe the dual-party political system in America has "the armed forces' best interests at heart.”

At the same time, more than one-third of the military service members polled said that neither Democrats nor Republicans have been a “strong advocate for the military,” while 44 percent say both parties have become less supportive of military issues. 

In fact, the survey reveals that military service members are “more likely to describe themselves as Libertarian (7 percent) or independent (28 percent).”

Such political views suggest that members of the US military are growing weary of non-stop globetrotting, and are searching for a new form of political leadership to finally “bring the troops home,” as Libertarian politician Ron Paul regularly advised.

"I just feel like all politics goes back to money," said Army Sgt. 1st Class Gregory Pettigrew, 32. "It seems like all the [congressional] debate now is completely disconnected from reality. They don't really seem to care about how their decisions impact us." The survey puts the hawks in Washington in a tricky predicament: While their appetite for death and destruction appears to intensify with every new conquest, the rank-and-file are showing wear and tear from the global ride. 

Perhaps America has given undue attention to the technological side of its military adventures while neglecting the most important asset of any fighting machine.

As far as his efforts for military reform, the US leader ignored the timely advice that commands: ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’

Instead of concentrating on military reform, Obama missed his historic chance to launch aggressive reforms of the financial industry, which certainly needed it much more than any other sector of American life.

Robert Bridge is the author of the book, Midnight in the American Empire, which examines the consequences of extreme corporate power in the United States.

This news bureau contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.



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