Russia Counts 12,000 Turkey-Bound Oil Trucks from Iraq & Syria

Requests U.S. Assistance to Bomb Them; U.S. Again Says No.

How the Public Get Suckered by ‘News’ Media Ignoring Reality

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at

According to Russian Television on December 25th, Russian intelligence has counted “up to 12,000” tanker trucks filled with oil “on the Turkish-Iraqi border,” and “the final destination remains to be Turkey.” In addition, some of those trucks are still heading into Turkey from Syria, but their number is “decreased” because Russia’s Syrian bombing campaign, which started on September 30th, has, ever since they began bombing the oil trucks on November 18th, destroyed “up to 2,000” of those trucks, that were in Syria heading into Turkey.

According to the news report, Russia is requesting help from the U.S. coalition to bomb the “up to 12,000” trucks that are in Iraq carrying ISIS oil into Turkey. ISIS drives them there so that ISIS can become self-sustaining by the oil-sales. ISIS, which had long been supported by America’s allies the Arab oil potentates – all of whom are fundamentalist Sunnis – aims to be self-sustaining now on the sales of this stolen oil through Turkey, which is operating the black market in ISIS’s stolen oil. That’s why Russia wants to stamp out this market. “However, so far, Washington says that it is not ready for such a move,” the report says.

Whereas Russia had begun on November 18th to bomb those trucks en-route into Turkey, and eliminated around 500 of them at that time, the U.S. coalition hadn’t bombed any such trucks until later that day, November 18th, in order to pretend to be competitive with what Russia had been doing since it started on 30 September 2015, to bomb in Syria. Before the U.S. bombed the 116 trucks it destroyed, it warned the drivers 45 minutes in advance.

Here was the shocking admission that was made by the U.S. Defense Department’s press-spokesman at his 18 November 2015 presentation, in which he voluntarily acknowledged that, throughout all of the 14 months during which the U.S. had been bombing in Syria and in Iraq, the U.S. hadn’t previously destroyed any of the tens of thousands of oil tank-trucks that had been transporting ISIS’s stolen oil out from Iraq and from Syria – the stolen-oil sales that bring $2B per year into ISIS coffers – and that the U.S. had warned 45-minutes in advance:

This is our first strike against tanker trucks, and to minimize risks to civilians, we conducted a leaflet drop prior to the strike. We did a show of force, by – we had aircraft essentially buzz the trucks at low altitude.

So, I do have copy of the leaflet, and I have got some videos, so why don’t you pull the leaflet up. Let me take a look at it so I can talk about it.

As you can see, it’s a fairly simple leaflet, it says, “Get out of your trucks now, and run away from them.” A very simple message.

And then, also, “Warning: airstrikes are coming. Oil trucks will be destroyed. Get away from your oil trucks immediately. Do not risk your life.”

And so, these are the leaflets that we dropped – about 45 minutes before the airstrikes actually began. Again, we combine these leaflet drops with very low altitude passes of some of our attack aviation, which sends a very powerful message.

So: not only had the U.S. previously avoided destroying ISIS’s main current source of income (besides the multimillion-dollar donations made by members of the royal families of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, and Kuwait – all of whom are protected by the U.S.) (and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had urged all of them on 30 December 2009 please to stop funding their terrorists), but, when the U.S. now started to bomb those tank-trucks filled with stolen oil, the U.S. warned in advance the drivers, who were also assets to the jihadist cause the U.S. pretended to oppose, and thus were enemies of the public (and were participants in the evils of ISIS). The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) wanted to protect them – not to kill them. That was done “to minimize risks to civilians.” Wow!! After the U.S. history of slaughtering millions of civilians in wars, and torturing many, including complete innocents in Iraq and elsewhere, we’re now protecting ISIS’s drivers? Can any hypocrisy exceed this? If the United States were a democracy, its press would have been focusing on this issue for a week. The U.S. protecting ISIS’s financial base, and assets, has mind-boggling implications. On what side are ‘we’ – and who are “we,” and who are “them”? We are not the aristocracy. The aristocracy are them. It includes the top stockholders in firms such as Lockheed Martin. Warren Buffett said in 2006 “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.” That’s shocking honesty.

Did any of the major U.S. news media, all of which have reporters attending those press conferences, report the U.S. Government’s open admission there, that the U.S. Government had protected ISIS all along, not bombed any of ISIS’s oil tank-trucks (until Russia did)? Those trucks providing $2B per year to ISIS terrorists? None of them reported it. None of them conveyed to their audience this astounding information – essentially, that the U.S. was protecting the money-flow to the jihadists in Syria, and was even protecting their truckers, and its ‘press’ were protecting them.

Another major revelation at this same press conference was that “we right now have no plans to conduct coordinated operations with the Russians” in Syria. And this was reconfirmed on December 25th from the Russian side, as being still the U.S. policy. In other words: the U.S. President is so hostile toward Russia, that, even months after Russia’s request to Washington on September 30th to cooperate in killing all jihadists in Syria, Obama still refuses to work together with Russia, or even just to “coordinate operations with the Russians,” to kill the jihadists. (And, in the Democratic debate on 19 December 2015, Hillary Clinton insisted that eliminating the jihadists in Syria mustn’t have higher priority than, nor occur before, Bashar al-Assad is permanently removed from Syria’s leadership. Her position is at least as anti-Russian as Obama’s.)

The jihadists had flocked into Syria to oust the non-sectarian leader of that country, Assad, and to replace him with an Islamist leader, a Sharia-law Sunni, whom the U.S. Government, and the royal families of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, and Kuwait, approve of as being better than the non-sectarian Assad (who is personally a Shiite, but runs a decidedly unsectarian, secular, government). The jihadists work for the American alliance.

Russia’s position on the matter is that no foreign power possesses the right to determine whom the President of Syria will or won’t be; only the Syrian people do, in an election. Russia insists that it be determined in internationally monitored and overseen elections. However, polls taken by Western polling firms indicate that Assad would overwhelmingly win any such election; so, U.S. President Barack Obama has rejected democracy for Syria. And yet, the U.S. accuses Putin of being dictatorial, and claims itself to be ‘democratic.’ And the U.S. President demands that Syria’s legal President be removed from power and excluded from any possibility of ever again becoming that nation’s President. This is America’s version of ‘democracy’ in Syria.

The DOD spokesperson, Steve Warren, spoke contemptuously of Russia. He said that in Russia’s war against jihadists in Syria, “the Russians are using dumb bombs. Their history has been both reckless and irresponsible.” This statement was being made by a military spokesman for the same Government that in the most “reckless and irresponsible” manner had invaded and destroyed Iraq in 2003. However, his statement here was also, itself, simply false. Russia’s bombings have been with both precision-guided weapons and unguided munitions that are under no control after being fired.

Warren there was reaffirming a reporter’s question which had asserted: “Getting back to Raqqa, as we all know, the Russians are not using precision munitions. Any sense of any increased civilian casualties in Raqqa as a result of that?” So, Warren was here reaffirming a reporter’s (or actually, a press-appointed government stenographer’s) falsehood – reaffirming an assertion that was either unprofessionally ignorant, or else a knowing lie. On September 30th, when Russia had started its air strikes, the U.S. had said that they were “doomed to failure.” That, too, seems increasingly likely to have been false (that it was “doomed to failure”). (And any such pretended foresight is also a lie when it comes from an official source such as a government. It was mere propaganda.)

Instead of the mainstream U.S. press reporting that the U.S. Government lied there (and this Government does it routinely, because the ‘press’ never report that a lie by the President is a lie), only a small number of only non-mainstream sites, all online-only, picked up anything from this stunning press conference, regarding any of the important and much-discussed issues that it addressed; and the first such site to do so was a fundamentalist Christian one, which is obsessively pro-Israel, and generally hard-rightwing Republican. Bridget Johnson at PJ Media headlined, on the same day as the press conference (the only site to report at all upon it that day, November 18th), “ISIS Oil Tankers Hit for First Time — With 45-Minute Warning.” This was an admirable reporting coup (though it wasn’t really “for First Time,” since Russian bombers had already done it), because it covered all of the main points, including the shocking admissions by Mr. Warren. Her news coup had over 1,400 reader-comments.

Paul Joseph Watson, at the generally conservative Republican site InfoWars, bannered on November 23rd, “WHITE HOUSE GAVE ISIS 45 MINUTE WARNING BEFORE BOMBING OIL TANKERS,” and he placed these matters honestly into their geostrategic context, of the Obama Administration’s placing a higher priority upon defeating Russia than defeating jihadism. As is so often the case with the terrific journalist Watson, he penetrated deeply into these matters, and was not at all shy to acknowledge, for example, the following stark contrast, which U.S. ‘news’ media hide:

Compare the Obama White House’s approach to fighting ISIS to that of Russia.

While it took the U.S. fifteen months to even begin targeting ISIS’ oil refineries and tankers, air strikes by Moscow destroyed more than 1,000 tankers in a period of just five days.

In comparison, Col. Steve Warren said that the U.S. had taken out only 116 tanker trucks, the “first strike” to target ISIS’ lucrative black market oil business, which funds over 50 per cent of the terror group’s activities.

So: this, too, like Bridget Johnson’s report, was honest and first-rate news-reporting, from another non-mainstream Republican site. (Note, however, that the mainstream Republican news-sites, such as Fox News, Wall Street Journal, and Rush Limbaugh, were no more forthcoming on this matter than all of the Democratic Party sites were.)

The aristocracy’s control over all the mainstream ‘news’ is ironclad – and this includes the political magazines, such as National Review, and The Nation; as well as ‘intellectual’ magazines, such as Harpers and The Atlantic. American ‘news’ media stifle democracy in America; they’re not part of democracy, in America. They’re like poison that’s presented as being ‘medicine’ instead. Suckers don’t just swallow it; they come back for more of that propaganda.

The next day, November 23rd, “Tyler Durden,” the pseudonymous genius behind his own Zero Hedge blog, headlined “‘Get Out Of Your Trucks And Run Away’: US Gives ISIS 45 Minute Warning On Oil Tanker Strikes,” and he reported using some of the same sources as the others, but supplementing it with additional good sources. He had around 400 reader-comments.

In addition, there were some trashy news-reports at far-right Republican sites, such as one, on November 19th, crediting Bridget Johnson’s news report the day before as its source, “The Obamization of the military, pt. 243.” This was by J.R. Dunn, at the fundamentalist Republican, American Thinker, blog. He pretended that Obama was being bad here because Obama was too concerned to avoid bloodshed: “You see, the important thing isn’t hurting ISIS. No — the important thing is not hurting civilians.” Picking up from the standard Republican meme that torture should be used against ‘bad people’ in order for ‘good people’ to be kept safe, and that civilians in ‘enemy’ nations are okay to be victims of American military attacks, Dunn took Bridget Johnson’s news-report merely as confirmation of his own bigotries and hatreds. He had about 150 reader-comments. Typical was this one: “The Left in America has known that in order to succeed with their agenda the US military had to be infiltrated, compromised, and weakened.” For such suckers, the ‘source’ of America’s problems wasn’t America’s aristocracy; it was America’s Democrats.

On November 24th, Michael Morell, Obama’s CIA Director during 2011-2013, said on the trashy PBS Charlie Rose show (hosted by Mr. Rose, who is such an incompetent interviewer that he’s beloved by aristocrats for his reliably softball interviews), “We didn’t go after oil wells, actually hitting oil wells that ISIS controls, because we didn’t want to do environmental damage, and we didn’t want to destroy that infrastructure.” Of course, Mr. Rose avoided drilling down there to find out why the U.S. Government treats jihadists as being such a minor matter – especially after all of the environmental damage the U.S. routinely does in its invasions, such as the depleted uranium that contaminates today’s Iraq, from the U.S. attacks. And, of course, almost all of the news-media that picked up on that stunning admission from Obama’s former CIA Director, were Republican sites, such as Daily Caller, Washington Times, Breitbart, Real Clear Politics, and American Thinker. In addition, there were a few high quality journalistic sites reporting it, such as Zero Hedge, The Hill, The Economic Collapse, and Moon of Alabama. In other words: only very few Americans came to know about this jaw-dropping stunning admission from an Obama official – and most who did were people who hate Obama for his being such things as ‘against torture’ (in other words: Republican stooges of the aristocracy). 

Basically, in America, only marginal, and mainly right-wing, audiences were being informed even badly, regarding the sensational things that were revealed – and in some instances proudly revealed – at the November 18th DOD press conference, and also in the November 24th TV interview of Morell. What is traditionally viewed as being America’s “news media” were entirely absent from their job of reporting even one of these two important statements by U.S. Government officials. And none of the news-reports on that astounding DOD press conference, and of that Morell interview, reached Democratic Party voters at all. Republicans hate Obama because he’s a communist Islamic Kenyan, while Democrats love Obama because the wacko Republican Party lies about him constantly and because Obama is to the left of those blithering wackos.

A press like this makes it impossible for there to be intelligent, informed, rather than misinformed and/or stupid, voting in national political elections in the United States.

Perhaps the biggest scandal in America is its rigid aristocratically controlled ‘press,’ which is really nothing more than a whored propaganda-operation that’s run by and for the nation’s aristocracy. The owners of America’s ‘news’ media know that the way for the press to make money in this type of dictatorship is to sell to the aristocrats’ corporations access to the public, and to ‘report’ only ‘news’ that the corporate sponsors don’t mind the public’s knowing about.

So: this is how the public get suckered, in America.

It wouldn’t be so bad if the American Government didn’t hypocritically claim to be a ‘democracy.’ That’s just piling it on, with a shovel.


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.