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?