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What happened. Turkey claims the Russian plane crossed into Turkish airspace and failed to respond to repeated warnings. Russia claims it can prove its plane was over Syria the whole time. We will see if one version or the other will be generally accepted or whether a contentious muddle will continue indefinitely (cf. MH-17). However, even if the Turkish version prevails, the Russian plane at most would have been over Turkey for a well under a minute and presented no threat to anything or anyone inside Turkey. As stated by Valeriy Burkov, a Russian military pilot and recipient of the Hero of Russia medal: “It’s clear that this was a premeditated action, they were prepared and just waited for a Russian plane to show up. It wasn’t downed because of pilot error, or because he was trigger-happy or whatever. This is preplanned, premeditated action.” That assessment is likely true even if the aircraft passed momentarily into Turkey.

Motives: While the facts of the incident are murky, the motives on the part of Turkey – and specifically, of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – are not. They include:

Derailing any possibility of Russia-West accord on Syria and common action against ISIS: This is Erdogan’s top goal. Since the Paris attacks, there has been a huge growth in Western opinion favoring cooperation with Russia on crushing a common enemy: ISIS. While the fate of Assad remains a sticking point, public opinion, media, and even officials of western governments, especially in Europe, increasingly see the need to worry about ISIS first, Assad later – if at all.


Nov 24 – News that Turkey, a NATO member, has attacked and shot down a Russian fighter attacking ISIS positions in Syria has placed Russia and NATO on a footing as tense as at anytime during the Cold War. Turkey claims that Russia violated its airspace, but even if true according to Turkish radar it would not have been for more than 12 seconds. That means the Turks were ready to fire on the Russians. What does this mean? What will Russia do? Is there any way to avoid this escalating situation? Today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report looks at the troubling developments:

Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity.

FBI file reveals story that won’t fit Trump’s narrative

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump set off a firestorm when he claimed that “thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down.” Trump was referring to the World Trade Center attacks on September 11, 2001. Debunkers subsequently swept in, such as Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post, quoting Trump “doubling down” and insisting that“There were people over in New Jersey that were watching it, a heavy Arab population, that were cheering as the buildings came down. Not good.”

No, not good, if it were the product of a real memory. But Trump’s recollection does not appear to be a real memory, though it contained a germ of truth.

In a series of updates to his “debunking” story Kessler then referred to reporting of “FBI probes in northern New Jersey after the attacks, saying in the 15th paragraph that ‘law enforcement authorities detained and questioned a number of people who were allegedly seen celebrating the attacks and holding tailgate-style parties on rooftops while they watched the devastation on the other side of the river.’” Kessler avers that “The reporters who wrote the story do not recall whether the allegations were ever confirmed.”

No need for their memories either. The story the Washington Post and others left behind did not die. It was confirmed. According to FBI files released in 2013 in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, not only were five individuals arrested for their suspiciously “joyous celebration” of the 9/11 twin towers attack, they indeed did so from a perfect vantage point in New Jersey. In subsequent FBI interviews and polygraphs, the detained individuals, many who overstayed visas after entering the U.S., “showed deception” when asked about whether they were involved in undercover operations or intelligence gathering. They were ultimately released back to their country of origin.

However, none of these FBI files or the uncomfortable questions they raise is of any use to Trump, the mainstream media “debunkers” or the growing post-Paris movement dedicated to casting suspicions on Arabs or Muslims as possible terrorist conspirators. That is because the highly documented five celebrants – later joined by two more from the same company apprehended after giving false information to law enforcement – were not Arab or Muslim.

The celebrants were – as noted here – all Israelis.


A Turkish fighter plane shot down a Russian bomber near the Syria-Turkey border early this morning. Turkey claims the Russian aircraft violated its airspace, while Russia claims it was flying over Syria. Oddly enough, both claims could conceivably be simultaneously true in a sense, but only because Turkey has infringed on Syrian sovereignty by extending its airspace five miles over Syrian territory.

The pilots were able to eject and begin parachuting down, but they were executed in mid-air by gunfire from fighters on the ground. The fighters were insurgents who have been battling the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad in a war that has been raging since 2011. A video has emergedshowing insurgents standing over one of the dead Russian pilots.

A Russian helicopter searching for the downed pilots was also shot down, possibly with a U.S.-supplied anti-tank missile.

Turkey is a member of NATO, which means if it enters a war with Russia, it can drag the United States and most of Europe along with it. Such a war could rapidly go nuclear. In October, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stollenberg vowed military support if Turkey went to war with Russia.

Turkey is part of a U.S.-led coalition that has been training, financing, and arming the insurgents trying to overthrow Assad. Syrian regime change is official U.S.policy. That coalition also includes the U.K., France, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and others. Israel has bombed the Syrian military directly. The insurgency those powers are supporting is dominated by radical Islamist mujahideen militias, including ISIS, Al Nusra (the Syrian branch of Al Qaeda), and others.


What happens when a young person joins the US military out of patriotism to defend the country, but finds himself or herself being sent back time and time again to immoral, illegal, and undeclared conflicts that have nothing to do with our national security? Some of them decide they must quit. They cannot continue their military service when they feel the government has violated its end of the contract by going to war in an unconstitutional manner. Though it may bring back memories of the 1960s and the Vietnam war, the fact is there are many who have a change of heart upon seeing the wars the US empire has become engaged in. Today’s Liberty Report is joined by special guest Justin Pavoni, formerly a USAF fighter pilot who came to realize that he could not continue to fight the empire’s wars.

Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity.