U.S. Supplies ISIS through Turkey

Eric Zuesse

On Friday, March 4th, the leading opposition newspaper in Turkey, Zaman, was taken over by the Government; and, today, March 5th, one of the other opposition newspapers, Cumhuriyet, reported that Zaman’s separate news-service to other news-media, Cihan News Agency, has now also been disabled on the Internet. (Anyone who goes to the site obtains an error-message.)

The Turkish Government is trying to prevent the Turkish public from knowing that Turkey has been serving as the transit-route by which the U.S. government and its allied Arab oil monarchies (especially Saudi Arabia and Qatar) have been supplying foreign jihadists and weapons (largely U.S. but paid for with Saudi funds) into Syria to oust Bashar al-Assad from power.

Zaman’s editor has been imprisoned for publishing such prohibited truths, but somehow his newspaper continued reporting on a court case in which Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdoğan is accused of breaking Turkish law by aiding terrorists. That continued resistance by the newspaper might be a reason why the Turkish Government has now (as of Friday March 4th) shut it down.

On March 1st, Cumhuriyet, headlined, “Former Justice Minister of Turkey: Erdoğan Will Stand Trial,” and reported that, “Former Justice Minister Hikmet Sami Turk, said that Erdoğan’s actions ‘do not comply with the decision of the Constitutional Court.’ He criticized [Erdoğan] by saying … ‘One day this matter must be settled by the judiciary’.” 

Russian Television had first reported on the case, in English, back on 26 November 2015, headlining, “Turkish newspaper editor in court for ‘espionage’ after revealing weapon convoy to Syrian militants.” This news-report said that:

In May, the outlet [Cumhuriyet] published photos of weapons it said were then transferred to Syria by Turkey’s intelligence agency. … The articles, published on Cumhuriyet’s front page in May, claimed that Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) is smuggling weapons in trucks into Syria and was caught doing so twice in 2014. The trucks were allegedly stopped and searched by police, with photos and videos of their contents obtained by Cumhuriyet.

According to the paper, the trucks were carrying six steel containers, with 1,000 artillery shells, 50,000 machine gun rounds, 30,000 heavy machine gun rounds and 1,000 mortar shells. The arms were reportedly delivered to extremist groups fighting against the Syrian government of President Bashar Assad, whom Ankara wants ousted from power.

The Erdoğan government alleged the weapons were “aid to Syrian ethnic Turkmen tribespeople and labeled their interception by local police an act of ‘treason’ and ‘espionage’.”

Turkey is a NATO member, and the famous investigative reporter Seymour Hersh had revealed in the 6 April 2014 London Review of Books, that on 20 June 2013 — just a few months prior to the sarin gas attack that Obama blamed on Assad and used as his excuse to invade Syria — the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency reported that America’s allies in overthrowing Bashar al-Assad were engaged in “the most advanced sarin plot since al-Qaida’s pre-9/11 effort,” but the U.S. Director of National Intelligence denied that it was true. One U.S. ally there was Al Qaeda in Syria, known in Syria as Al Nusra, (Nusra and Erdoğan wanted this gas-attack to provide the excuse that Obama had set as his “red line” to overthrow Assad — a chemical-weapons attack in Syria.) However, Hersh reported, “Last May, more than ten members of the al-Nusra Front were arrested in southern Turkey with what local police told the press were two kilograms of sarin.” All of that had occurred prior to the 21 August 2013 sarin gas attack.

Hersh went on:

The officer ultimately responsible for the planning and execution of the attack [U.S. bombing of Syria] was General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the joint chiefs. From the beginning of the crisis, the former intelligence official said, the joint chiefs had been sceptical of the administration’s argument that it had the facts to back up its belief in Assad’s guilt. They pressed the DIA and other agencies for more substantial evidence. ‘There was no way they thought Syria would use nerve gas at that stage, because Assad was winning the war,’ the former intelligence official said. Dempsey had irritated many in the Obama administration by repeatedly warning Congress over the summer of the danger of American military involvement in Syria.

Hersh subsequently reported that, rather than go ahead with an operation that the Joint Chiefs considered fraudulent, they sabotaged Obama’s policy. On 2 January 2016, Hersh headlined in the London Review of Books, “Military to Military,” and he explained how and why they had done this:

The Joint Chiefs felt that a direct challenge to Obama’s policy would have ‘had a zero chance of success.’ So in the autumn of 2013 they decided to take steps against the extremists without going through political channels, by providing US intelligence to the militaries of other nations, on the understanding that it would be passed on to the Syrian army and used against the common enemy, Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic State. … General Dempsey and his colleagues on the Joint Chiefs of Staff kept their dissent out of bureaucratic channels, and survived in office. General Michael Flynn did not. ‘Flynn incurred the wrath of the White House by insisting on telling the truth about Syria,’ said Patrick Lang, a retired army colonel who served for nearly a decade as the chief Middle East civilian intelligence officer for the DIA. ‘He thought truth was the best thing and they shoved him out. He wouldn’t shut up.’

Obama couldn’t be swayed that the enemy were Al Qaeda and other jihadists instead of Assad — that overthrowing him was his top priority. However, Hersh said in his 6 April 2014 article, that Obama had to backtrack at the last moment anyway, because British intelligence reported to David Cameron that the sarin used in the attack didn’t come from Syria — that it had been imported; this implied that it was a set-up job in order to ‘justify’ invading. Cameron didn’t want to be just another Tony Blair. Obama couldn’t get his necessary-for-appearances’-sake public cover for an invasion, Britain, as his predecessor had done regarding Iraq. Hersh went on, in that 2014 article:

Obama’s move for congressional approval quickly became a dead end. ‘Congress was not going to let this go by,’ the former intelligence official said. ‘Congress made it known that, unlike the authorisation for the Iraq war, there would be substantive hearings.’ At this point, there was a sense of desperation in the White House, the former intelligence official said.

Obama, in other words, was now trapped. He couldn’t fire all of his Joint Chiefs — at least not right away; it would be embarrassing, how could he explain it? And the Republicans were eager to expose his Administration’s disarray on the matter. So: the story was passed around that Secretary of State John Kerry got Russia to get Assad to eliminate his sarin stocks. Russia’s leader Vladimir Putin was happy to help Obama avoid invading his Syrian ally. That was how the ‘news’ organizations reported the backtrack — as a rare instance of U.S.-Russian cooperation: good news for everybody. But for Obama, it was actually the way out of a desperately embarrassing situation. And he never gave up his goal of switching Syria from the secular Assad to a failed state whose crucial oil-pipeline routes would be in ‘friendly’ (to Saudi Arabia and Qatar) jihadist Sunni-ruled areas of Syria, so that ‘our’ Arab ‘allies’ (the jihadist-financiing nations, as even Kerry’s predecessor Hillary Clinton had known them to be) can grab the world’s largest energy-market, Europe, away from Russia.

Hersh, in his 2014 article, continued:

The full extent of US co-operation with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar in assisting the rebel opposition in Syria has yet to come to light. The Obama administration has never publicly admitted to its role in creating what the CIA calls a ‘rat line’, a back channel highway into Syria. The rat line, authorised in early 2012, was used to funnel weapons and ammunition from Libya via southern Turkey and across the Syrian border to the opposition. Many of those in Syria who ultimately received the weapons were jihadists, some of them affiliated with al-Qaida. (The DNI spokesperson said: ‘The idea that the United States was providing weapons from Libya to anyone is false.’)

He closed:

Barring a major change in policy by Obama, Turkey’s meddling in the Syrian civil war is likely to go on. ‘I asked my colleagues if there was any way to stop Erdoğan’s continued support for the rebels, especially now that it’s going so wrong,’ the former intelligence official told me. ‘The answer was: “We’re screwed.” We could go public if it was somebody other than Erdoğan, but Turkey is a special case. They’re a Nato ally.’ 

There is simply too much evidence proving that Erdoğan is supporting ISIS and other terrorist groups in Syria. This is the reality of NATO: conquering Russia, first by switching its allies (such as Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine, etc.), is the assignment, regardless of the public’s safety. Even if the U.S. weren’t backing jihadists directly (which we are), we’re backing them by having jihadist governments such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia and Qatar as allies — instead of as enemies. ‘Our’ oil companies and mega-banks are in bed with them, and their top stockholders and executives, and their lobbyists, control the people who control the U.S. Government. The U.S. Constitution’s “We, the People …” has become only  those “People.” The rest are now just for extras in crowd-scenes, at political campaign events — and their mass-mind-control is done by their media, ‘our’ ‘free press’ (who don’t report this reality), in ‘our’ ‘democracy’.

Erdoğan is profoundly angry at the unsteady support he has been receiving from the U.S. government in their joint efforts to eliminate Bashar al-Assad. However, apparently, Obama doesn’t feel that the U.S. is yet ready for a nuclear war to be sparked between NATO and Russia — Obama thinks that doing it now would be premature. ‘Color revolutions’ and ‘Arab Spring’ and ‘Maidan demonstrations’, and other populist covers for coups (taking advantage of the local political opposition, which exists in any country), are a far safer way to gradually strip Russia of its allies and turn them into yet-more enemies of Russia — and, only then, can the rip-cord finally be pulled, and Russia be forced to either submit or else die (even if the rest of the world might die also). The U.S. has been doing this boil-the-frog-slowly routine ever since U.S. President George Herbert Walker Bush laid the foundation for it in 1990.

As John Kerry recently said, when responding to aid workers at a donor conference for anti-Assad forces, “What do you want me to do? Go to war with Russia? Is that what you want?” Clearly, Erdoğan is lots more eager for that than Obama is. Perhaps Erdoğan thinks that Putin would just back down. American Presidents, however, aren’t so desperate that they feel they need to do it during their own Administration; they can afford to wait until the time is right, even if the plaudits will then go to some future President. Their paymasters will be duly appreciative of the contributions that each one of them has made toward the final ‘U.S.’ victory. (Victory for the paymasters, of course.)

So, the American government’s charade goes on. But already an MIT analysis — the Lloyd-Postal report — on the sarin attack that occurred 21 August 2013, stated unequivocally that the Obama Administration was lying through its teeth about the matter. They provided excruciating detail showing why “the US Government’s interpretation of the technical intelligence it gathered prior to and after the August 21 attack CANNOT POSSIBLY BE CORRECT.” (That’s a tactful, yet passionate, way of saying: “Obama and his Administration were trying to lie this country into invading Syria.”) Yet, Western news-media still simply ignore the evidence (they can do that in this dictatorship), and report that Assad’s forces were behind the sarin attack. It’s still the official reason why  we’re at war against Assad. Was even George W. Bush worse than this?

Seymour Hersh had tried to get his news-reports on these matters published by what had been his regular publisher, the New Yorker, which turned them down; and he tried other U.S. outlets as well, but wasn’t successful in finding any that would pay his regular charges — and he had already spent much in order to research these matters. Finally, he obtained a suitable outlet, in the LRB. This is why his recent reports are being published abroad.

Anyone who wishes to know more about what motivates the U.S. government regarding Syria should read the astoundingly brilliant article by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., published on an obscure environmental website, February 25th, “Syria: Another Pipeline War.” He tells so much suppressed history there, it’s flabbergasting to see it all brought together into one flowing historical narrative — and my checking of the few sources that I hadn’t previously known of indicates that his standards for quality-of-evidence that he builds his narrative on are as rigorous and high as mine are — which is rare. I very much respect that. Every high school student should read his article in order to understand how corrupt the U.S. is at its highest levels. The article is a masterpiece of historical writing. But even a masterpiece can have a flaw: his article plays down the role that leading Democrats after Reagan have been playing in GHW Bush’s long war to conquer Russia. We’re still in the post-Reagan era, just as, between FDR and Reagan, we had been in the post-FDR era. Obama is as rabid a Russia-hater as practically anyone except John McCain would be. If a piece of historical writing is going to be partisan (as almost all are), at least this one is partisan on the less-unacceptable side.

I might write RFK Jr.’s name onto the Presidential line of my ballot in November. There’s someone with favorable name-recognition, who clearly has the integrity and depth, and knowledge, to deal with the rot that has overtaken America, if anyone does. Maybe he could win by acclamation, if he wouldn’t be knocked-off first. But if the idea of writing in his name goes around like wildfire in the weeks before the November 8th general election, then who knows what would happen? Certainly, if Hillary is on the ballot as the ‘Democratic’ nominee, I won’t vote for her, though I’m a lifelong Democrat. And I don’t want to be forced to vote for Trump (since he’s almost totally unpredictable — which still isn’t as bad as Hillary). (Besides: Hillary should be in prison for her destruction of crucial public records — State Department emails — to hide her crimes; and The Donald should be in prison for his fake Trump ‘University’ commercial fraud. But the corrupt Obama won’t allow any such prosecutions.) And there’s such beautiful irony here: “Trump: If Elected, I’ll Prosecute Hillary.” It’s so much like Ukraine! (Cast Hillary as Tymoshenko, and Trump as Yanukovych — and I’d vote then for Trump, so as to avoid the near-certainty of disaster.)

But no intelligent American can be justified in simply not voting for President. That would be outrageously irresponsible. I won’t ever do that. Every intelligent and caring person must vote for President — not leave that responsibility to others (which would be unpatriotic — plus wrong and callous — for any well-informed voter). The “anyone but ___” non-voters are mere fools and frauds. They simply don’t care enough about the country to do their most-basic civic duty, which is to become informed and then to vote for someone on that basis (though never as a ‘protest vote’ — the nation is too important for any mere ‘protest’ — but only as a real  vote, for someone who has an authentic chance of winning  the election). Any mere throw-away ‘vote’ is like a non-vote.

That article by Kennedy should be linked to by all of his supporters: it tells more about the man than any number of campaign speeches possibly could. It proves that he’s fit for the job, if anyone is. That’s one person who doesn’t need to campaign for the job. He’s an outsider whose knowledge and understanding of the subject is probably among the best there is, and whose heart is unquestionably in the right place — which would be a refreshing and radical change, a change that’s of a kind needed now more than ever in the U.S.

But anyway: RFK Jr.’s article is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the horrendous war in Syria. My article here is just a warm-up to it — and, I hope, a totally non-partisan one.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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  • March 4th, 2016 Murder Is Washington’s Foreign Policy

    Washington has a long history of massacring people, for example, the destruction of the Plains Indians by the Union war criminals Sherman and Sherridan and the atomic bombs dropped on Japanese civilian populations, but Washington has progressed from periodic massacres to full time massacring. American presidential hopefuls are competing on the basis of who will commit the worst war crimes.


  • Jason hm

    I smell regime change. Put a fork in Erdogan because he is finished. If he is lying he is done and if telling the truth he is even more done.

    • cityspeak

      The questions is when will he be removed from power and if so will the slaughter of innocent Syrians come to an end?
      Why am I thinking that Putin is the hero of this tale and why am I looking to Russia to do the right thing?
      We were warned about staying away from foreign entanglements but some “very smart men” thought it was what we should specialize in after WWII.

  • artguerrilla

    “the nation is too important for any mere ‘protest’ — but only as a real vote, for someone who has an authentic chance of winning the election). Any mere throw-away ‘vote’ is like a non-vote.”

    oh, fuck you, just fuck you…
    you -annoyingly- constantly claim your own unimpeachable standards of evidence, rational thinking, blah blah blah, then come out with simplistic, authoritarian claptrap to browbeat people into voting for who YOU think they should vote for ? ? ?
    again, fuck you…
    i have voted in every election since i was eligible; the last couple, i simply write-in my -yes- protest vote (which -weirdly and hypocritically enough- is EXACTLY what YOUR proposed RFKjr scheme is ! ! !), and go on about my life knowing that EVEN IF a radical stein, mainstream warren, even weak-tea sanders was allowed in the mix, the vote fraud perpetrated by the puppetmasters would fix that…

    AND, IF some wishful thinking of a theoretical write-in campaign of winning proportions were to occur, AND it was too big to defraud, THEN one of The They’s ™ other bag of dirty tricks would be implemented, up to and including the ultimate fix of simply killing the messenger (which you allude to yourself; to our shame that is a black joke/not joke, i’m certain The They ™ would get a special thrill from murdering another kennedy)…

    no, VOTING has become the fool’s game, fool… as long as that kabuki theater is what you pin your hopes on, you/we are fucking doomed… power has fixed the game, and power does not devolve voluntarily; and the next move is… ‘vote harder !’ ? ? ?

    • cettel

      Short of violent revolution, everyone’s only path forward is to vote (especially in the primary) for the most-good least-bad candidate who has an authentic chance of winning. If the only possibility to stop Clinton will be for me to vote for Trump in the general election, I shall. If the only possibility to stop Cruz will be to vote for Clinton in the general election, I will. However, if the idea of an RFK Jr. write-in goes viral, then I’ll write-in his name. I’m a practical person. If you’re intending violent revolution, I think that, under the circumstances, you’re not a practical person — it’s not a practical way forward, under the prevailing circumstances. I won’t respond to your curse-words, but I’ve tried to respond to the rest of what you said.

      • Brockland A.T.

        Hear, hear a voice of sanity.

        American attempts at ‘regime change’ abroad have worked out so well, the very thought of Americans attempting violent regime change at home is mind-numbing.

        Proportional representation is one way of improving upon the efficiency of the democratic process so that educated Americans have more leverage and better choices, and even incentive to pursue politics at the participatory level to make the choices available.


        So many barriers of cynicism and apathy. Sitting out and not voting is not an effective act of protest. Its just another vote, albeit in the inverse, for the eventual winner. Write-in votes are a little better, but the odds are so stacked against success.

        Ultimately, becoming educated and aware of real democracy alternatives, some of which are achievable at a local level, is the only win-win route. Either the system changes in favour of democratic accountability, and collapse is averted, or, at least the survivors, so educated, can better pick up the pieces.

        • cettel

          Yes, but if the idea of a write-in-vote for RFK Jr. goes viral, it might really constitute a practical vote, no mere protest-‘vote’ (which is no real vote at all).

          • Brockland A.T.

            Um, RFK Jr.’s website does not appear to mention any desire to run for, or be written into, the Presidency.


            The movement to ‘draft’ RFK is certainly interesting,


            Its an idea worth supporting, but… hmmmm. Mr. Kennedy seems like a nice guy; why inflict the U.S. Presidency on him?

  • Brockland A.T.

    Zuesse was probably exercising dry humour when he wrote “… apparently, Obama doesn’t feel that the U.S. is yet ready for a nuclear war to be sparked between NATO and Russia — Obama thinks that doing it now would be premature.”

    Or was he? WW IV is a war needing only the right weapons to fight it; hypersonics may be the key to re-opening pandora’s box.


  • ghendrih claude

    Interesting information shedding some light on american policies in Syria, however I find it equally revealing that such a lengthy post relative to the Syrian Turkish situation does not hold any occurrence of the word Kurd or of acronyms such as PYD, YPG, PKK, or HDP. Whilst I have to agree there are obvious blind spots in American mainstream information, I’m disturbed, to say the least, by your own . Has the Kurdish plight become so inconvenient to the grand vision you wish to entertain that you expunge them out of the picture ?
    PKK are oft stamped as neostals , how do you fare in this respect ?