FTAC – Social Networks – Social Change

The complaint fit the format, “people are dumb and don’t listen” — but when one approaches a “people problem” with numbers in the hundreds of million and with the heaviest percentage cash poor and illiterate, the wisdom of culture and evolution working together to contain the energies of that humanity comes to the fore.  The modern world must have long patience with the cultivation and transformation of lawless, feudal, and medieval space, which in fact may be the larger world.

The passage responds to a fellow and frustrated expatriate Pakistani moral entrepreneur.

1. Network algorithms favor more favored contacts, so our circles and readership may become smaller with the weight of interest given to select others — they 4,000 are not ignoring you but, more likely, missing you;

2. Time is the New Space. In addition to what the computers may be doing to add a layer of programming to defining or reducing our own social chaos (now we have too many friends! :) ), we are all fully booked, or have that option, for computer-borne intellectual and social activity. The machinery runs 24/7/365, has no consciousness itself — or conscience — and is as large as the universe of data-containing disks that support it. We have just one mind each with limited memory and time.  No comparison.

3. The conflict I’ve noted in our world is greater than the “Islamic Small Wars”, with which all are too familiar by way of the news: instead, it is the world of the concentration of power in singular personalities — absolute, feudal, and medieval — vs the world of more broadly distributed power, which I call “modern”. That is what makes a team of Putin and Khamenei — different talks: same walk. The same has made billionaires of Khaled Mashaal and Ismail Haniyeh. The same represent the rule of the lawless vs the rule of the lawful.

4. Finally, cultures may be also our containers: what would we do with time if we were not individually integrated with them? I think the “modern” a big step up from the “medieval” (as discussed above), but individually and culture-wide, we work with conditions as given. Presented with dictators and associated barbaric and piratical forces, we defend our other interests and battle back as best we may. Some struggle involves military, police, and political initiative, but most of such a struggle involves mind — “intellectual battlespace”.

The Haggadah with which I grew up contains among other fine thoughts an interesting assertion: “With every generation a little more freedom is won”. That’s a good thing for a child’s ears. As adults: what more noble a cause?

Our religions — there are about 40 major of the class (and about 7,000 living languages worldwide, each seeing the world a little differently) — are part of our own containment and also multifaceted. It’s good to have them, and all that survive also evolve (or my people would still be trembling before smokey altars).

May the earth have long patience. :)

good thing for a child’s ears. As adults: what more noble a cause?

Our religions — there are about 40 major of the class (and about 7,000 living languages worldwide, each seeing the world a little differently) — are part of our own containment and also multifaceted. It’s good to have them, and all that survive also evolve (or my people would still be trembling before smokey altars).

May the earth have long patience. :)

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Ted Cruz! Code Pink! Ayatollah Khamenei!

Posted to YouTube July 23, 2015.

Note: the “CWA” logo prominent in the clip belongs to Concerned Women for America.

Posted to YouTube July 20. 2015.

Note: BackChannels believes “Putin-Assad-Khamenei” have created Daesh to bleed the west, produce the political theater that is “Assad vs The Terrorists”, and then serve Khamenei’s Shiite regime as a foil and as part of a program to keep preserved the Sunni vs Shiite animosity that in turn underwrites theocratic political power in various of the Islamic-majority states, Iran foremost among those with interest exploiting the division for piratical long-term gain.

Posted to YouTube July 21, 2015.

Related: Al-Aribya transcript of the above video.

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Gaza – Four Little Boys on a Beach | Hamas – Family Business


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Inside the pressure cooker, the battle between the clans and Hamas ebbed and flowed according to the fortunes and political needs of the Islamist group. One of the first clans targeted by Hamas was the al-Bakr family, which controls much of the strip’s fishing fleet. Known as Fatah loyalists, they came under attack during the clashes between Hamas and Fatah in June last year; after suffering heavy casualties, more than 200 al-Bakr gunmen surrendered to the Hamas fighters.

Buck, Tobias.  “The clans of Gaza take on the men of Hamas.”  FT Magazine, November 22, 2008.

From threaded chat correspondence with independent forensic media analyst Thomas Edward Wictor (July 21, 2015):

The problem is that reporters don’t bother to educate themselves, and words are losing their meaning. I have idiots arguing with me that shrapnel now means any fragment of a projectile. Fine, but the four victims had round holes in them, and not a single IDF munition uses round metals balls, whether you call them shrapnel or potato chips.

The IDF MAG Corps report says that the IDF fired two missiles. I can find physical evidence of only one missile being fired. The second missile left no trace evidence. No crater and no debris.

There’s video evidence of three separate explosions. One was the IED below the terrace of the Adam Hotel, one was the IDF missile hitting the shipping container, and one was the IED going off in the rubbish bin behind the Avenue Restaurant and Coffee Shop.

Those are the only explosions I know for sure took place.

If there’s a difference between the “Rule of Law” and the feudal alternative that is the “Rule of the Lawless”, it lies in final obedience to dispassionate courts working the representative will of a free people — free to speak; free to argue law in creation, theory, and fact; free to seek and hold office; free to submit themselves to their own best common and deeply argued and informed wisdom.

Wictor’s forensic investigations engage assertions and incidents that could do with such courts.

In relation to the murders of Mohammed Bakr, Ahed Bakr, Zakaria Bakr, and Ismail Bakr on July 16, 2014, Wictor has assembled raw video footage, media footage, research (as above) on Gaza’s true underlying political history and sociology, and both meticulously and repeatedly queried the same.

While Wictor may not represent a court of the lawful either — not more than anyone else — he represents a different kind of public defender and prosecutor: a global citizen fighting — in relation to this incident — the defamation of the Jewish People, which is equally a struggle for what is truthful and possessed of integrity regardless of the interests of men: good principal, good law, honest research — “clear, accurate, and complete” remains the journalist’s standard — and discerning, reasoned, and responsible judgment.

And if Wictor’s collection of conclusions remains doubtful?

Examination by a court of the lawful would begin with “discovery” in the presence of the prosecutor and the accused.

Here is a smattering of Wictor blogs on this piece.

“Timeline of the Hamas Gaza Beach Operation.” October 6, 2014.

“Hamas used three IEDs in the Gaza beach operation.”  October 16, 2014.

“Why did Hamas threaten journalists in Gaza?” October 18, 2014.

“Reader questions, Hamas beach operation.”  October 25, 2014.

“Gaza beach operation: the four decoys.”  December 27, 2014.

“Journalist confirms Gaza beach deception operation.” April 10, 2015.

“The IDF conclusion on the Bakr boys.”  June 11, 2015.

In the last article listed, Wictor says of himself, “What I’ve become—without either knowing it or planning for it—is an investigative reporter. I use what are known as open sources, meaning everything that I study is available on the Internet. This is something anyone can do. All it takes is patience.”

Do others see what Wictor sees?

The answer is unimportant, for it should be understood that the findings of one investigator remain subjective, however clinical and objective the undertaking: the presenter of so many reports — and ruminations — would appear to know that he is neither also judge nor jury nor even colleague or professional rival.  Still, there is only one true story about what happened on July 16, 2014, and Wictor has done more to look it over twice, three times, and more in the public venue that is his blog and the “Hamas Operation on Gaza Beach” portion of it.

Related Reference

Hamas, which promotes political Islam, has mounted occasional crackdowns on more radical groups that chafe at its engagement with Abbas and truces with Israel. Such groups support the broader struggle led by Islamic State and al Qaeda.

Al-Mughrabi, Nidal.  “Palestinian gov’t condemns Hamas for killing Islamic rival in Gaza.”  Reuters, June 2, 2015.

Jewish Virtual Library.  “Fact Sheets: The Hamas War on Palestinian Rivals.”  Updated May 2015.

Hamas has attempted to crack down, often through violent means, against opposition displays in Gaza. In May, the Palestinian entity demolished a mosque that was allegedly a recruiting ground for ISIS jihadis. At the time, a tweet from a Gazan ISIS-aligned group said, “Armed men from Hamas came to Deir Al-Balah and destroyed the mosque, acting in a way that even the Jewish occupiers and the Americans have not acted.” Also in May, a group that claimed to be affiliated with ISIS claimed responsibility for the bombing of Hamas headquarters.

Schachtel, Jordan.  “ISIS Threatens to Take Gaza From Rival Terror Group Hamas.” Breitbart, July 1, 2015.

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Originally posted on The Last English Prince:


In December of 2004 I received an article from a strident Islamist from Pakistan. The article was released by an Islamist group and had 812 “reads” at the point it entered my e mail box. The article is copied below:

32 US Marines Killed in ‘Special Falluja Attack’

“In an attack which is deemed the first of its kind, 32 US marines were killed when 3 Iraqi Resistance Fighters commandeered a US tank and used its guns to open fire on US forces in the area.

The Resistance Fighters, belonging to the 1st army of Mohammed, were able to attack and kill the 6 occupants of the US tank which was located at the main street near the veterinary hospital in Falluja.

The Fighters than used the tank’s machine gun and shells to attack a cluster of US marines located about 300 meters away who were holed up…

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Nadiya Savchenko – Signal of 21st Century Neo-Feudalism



Authorized Ukrainian TV channel «Inter» Youtube stream

Authorized Ukrainian TV channel «Inter» Youtube stream; channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/InterTVua; License: Creative Commons; Image: brightness adjusted; Web Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nadiya_Savchenko#/media/File:Nadiya_Savchenko.jpg; Article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nadiya_Savchenko

Nadiya Savchenko – Fast Reference

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nadiya_Savchenko: “Russia’s Investigative Committee insists she crossed the border voluntarily, without documents and in the guise of a refugee.[20] Russia’s pro-Kremlin TV channel NTV, however, reported on June 20 that Savchenko had been captured by “rebels” and then handed over to the Russian authorities.[21] Ukrainian officials said she had been illegally taken to Russia by Russian intelligence services in collaboration with pro-Russian rebels.”

http://khpg.org/index.php?id=1437143184 – 7/18/2015 – “New attempt to keep Nadiya Savchenko trial secret” — “Russia is insisting on holding the trial of captured ex-pilot Nadiya Savchenko in a Russian city bordering the area of Ukraine under Kremlin-backed militant control. There are no legitimate grounds for this move which will seriously hinder access to the trial, and could, Savchenko believes, put her mother and sister in danger. Her formal appeal* to Russia’s Prosecutor General to move the trial to Moscow where all investigative activities and assessments were carried out has effectively already been rejected. One of her lawyers announced late on Friday afternoon that Savchenko has already been moved from the remand prison in Moscow and is on her way to the Rostov oblast.”

http://khpg.org/index.php?id=1435707020 – 7/2/2015 – “Savchenko material shows how Russia concocted ‘case’ and what it can’t conceal” – ” The key problem in the investigators’ case is Savchenko’s irrefutable alibi however there are also a number of other obvious flaws in their version which do not go away despite being assiduously ignored..”

Posted to YouTube 7/7/2015

This patriot, made a Hero of Ukraine by President Poroshenko on March 2, this Joan of Arc detained in spite of the diplomatic immunity to which she has been entitled since her election to the Rada and as Ukraine’s representative to the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe, has become simultaneously the symbol of Putin’s arbitrary exercise of power and of Ukrainian resistance.

As Russia celebrated with great pomp and ceremony the seventieth anniversary of the defeat of Nazism, one might have hoped that Putin would make a gesture.

He did not.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bernardhenri-levy/free-nadyia-savchenko_b_7255318.html – 5/11/2015

Here in Moscow she has been charged as an accessory to murder, linked to the death of two Russian journalists covering the conflict in eastern Ukraine between the rebels and government troops.

But the BBC has seen mobile phone data from the day they died, that her lawyers argue proves her innocence.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-31760381 – “Nadiya Savchenko: Ukraine resistance symbol in Russia.”  – 3/6/2015.

Imprisoning a Ukrainian officer, who disappeared while on duty last month in the battleground region of Luhansk, will make it hard for Russia to maintain its claim that it is not in league with the separatist rebels. According to the Ukrainian government, the rebels captured Savchenko in June and illegally smuggled her across the border into Russia, where authorities not only arrested her but took her hundreds of miles to the city of Voronezh, a provincial capital in the heartland of western Russia. Diplomats and top officials in Ukraine, as well as their U.S. allies, have already cited the case as among the clearest pieces of evidence so far that Russian security services are working in concert with the rebel fighters. That means the case is sure to bolster the Western argument for another round of sanctions against Russia this month.

http://time.com/2976146/the-strange-case-of-vladimir-putin-and-the-ukrainian-pilot/ – 7/11/2014.

Russia agreed to immediately free all hostages and illegally held persons. Yet Russia and the separatists it backs continue to hold at least 500 hostages. They include Savchenko, as well as Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov, both of whom were captured by separatists on Ukrainian soil and illegally transported against their will to Russia.

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/response/response-we-people-petition-nadiya-savchenko – 11/21/2014.

We continue our publication of the prison writings delivered to us by Nadiya Savchenko, the Ukrainian pilot who was abducted by pro-Russian separatists on June 18, 2014, and who has been in prison ever since. La Règle du Jeu, in partnership with Kyiv Post, Ukraina Pravda, The Huffington Post/WorldPost, and other magazines and newspapers, is launching a double appeal: Do not forget Nadiya, and do everything you can–everything–to obtain her release.–Bernard-Henri Lévy

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bernardhenri-levy/nadiya-savchenkos-letters_b_7264172.html – 5/12/2015.

When it comes to the perception of brute force in power, the language play in the invention of the term “21st Century Neo-Feudalism” proves more convenient than earnest and popular political science on the matter, so suggests a cursory glance at related Google search results, which frequently lists this blog as the term’s proponent. Nonetheless, as witness through Internet-borne media to Nadiya Savchenko’s abduction and imprisonment in relation to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “hybrid warfare” (by proxy thugs) in Ukraine, the term would seem well applied.

Typing here from the sidelines, the lawlessness of the feudal world — in effect, the caprice of the senior mafia running the show — concentrates power in a titular head, who may actually have it, and a surrounding bulwark of favored and patronized nobility.  Against that model, the lawful of the democratic world — also argumentative, bureaucratic, responsible, responsive — tend to distribute power across a magnificent quilt of private and public and local to international interests.  Adventurous and bright, the very tough Nadiya Savchenko appears to have managed to become selected for being trapped between the two worlds.

Putin’s message: I have captured and caged the brave Ukrainian bird; come and get her.

That’s absolute power.

I have long suggested here and elsewhere that that kind of power becomes the power to make others suffer with impunity — and Putin, among others, have demonstrably got it.

What power have the democracies against “political absolutism”?

The power of international law as invested in western institutions?

Talk, talk, talk.

The ogre keeps the stolen bird caged.

Old tweet: “Putin, Assad, Khamenei — together they are defending absolute power.”

Posted to YouTube 7/15/2015

Why shouldn’t Bashar al-Assad continue slaughtering or displacing all Syrians who disagree with his ownership — absolute control — of Syria and dominion over the lives and property of all who inhabit his realm?

Nothing has diminished his power where he may still project it, and, in fact, the political theater produced by “Putin-Assad-Khamenei” and to which I refer as “Assad vs The Terrorists” has positively contributed to his power.  Assad appears to have forked Obama’s policy on Syria (whatever it might have been), for the American has had to have his military fly sorties against Daesh, everyone’s enemy, but also — and mostly so — Assad’s enemy.

Assad didn’t always have “The Terrorists”, but through sufficient selective bombing and fighting, he achieved the incubation of the “Al-Qaeda Typicals”, and now he has them, and he has got Washington bombing them at Washington’s expense!

Oh, the glory.

Posted to YouTube 7/18/2015

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei too has gathered power unto himself without limit, and he too appears to have going “hybrid warfare” and “war-by-proxy” in several districts, from Yemen today to the Gaza Strip, and these too continue with just enough impedance to hold them in place.  If Tehran keeps its part of the “nuclear deal”, it will find itself with tens of billions of new or recovered dollars to earmark for throwing its weight around the region.

Why not?

Khamenei has met no lasting opposition within Iran — the world knows how that works — and within the region, whether manipulating the Al-Qaeda Typicals or the Hezbollah Virulence, sending Revolutionary Guard to battle Daesh with Iraq’s Shiite militia or cheering the Houthis as they bring wreckage and ruin to Yemen, none have yet curtailed his influence or meddling.

No “off button”; no “reset”; no brakes: that’s theocratic dictatorship — and that’s been Khamenei’s thing for a while now, and it’s working.

It would appear that “absolute power” needs no ethical, humanist, moral, or religion defense, for whether practiced by Putin, Assad, or Khamenei — different talks: same walk — all that is needed is unyielding relentless assertion.

What does Putin say?

I have got your most ambitious, darling, and high flying bird in my cage.

What does Assad say:

I have committed crimes beyond imagination and destroyed children’s educations, their homes, and their parents’ lives by the millions — but I am still here, President of Syria.

What does Khamenei say:

Khamenei doesn’t say anything, for Khamenei laughs.

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Link — A Real Corker! – National Review


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Of course, you may have been under the impression – perhaps from reading our quaint Constitution from those dark pre-Fundamental Transformation days – that We the People are sovereign, that our government must take its marching orders from us. To the contrary, President Obama is claiming in his Iran deal that he – unilaterally and without congressional advice, consent, or legislation – may huddle with Russian strongman Vladimir Putin, the Chinese Communist government, some European leaders, and our Iranian enemies to devise enforceable law. We and our elected representatives are expected meekly to submit.

We must not submit.


H.R.1191 – Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015

Charen, Mona.  “Obama: Witting or Witless?”  National Review, July 17, 2015.

Smith-Spark, Laura.  “Iran’s Supreme Leader vows no change in relations with ‘arrogant’ United States.”  CNN, July 19, 2015.

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ISIS Claims Responsibility for Rocket Attack on Egyptian Navy Ship

Originally posted on TIME:

The Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) has claimed its first naval attack on an Egyptian frigate in the Mediterranean, according to reports Thursday from SITE Intel Group. The Sinai branch of ISIS said they destroyed the naval ship with a guided missile.

The Egyptian military said in an early statement that a navy vessel had caught fire just off the coast of Sinai following a clash with militants. In a Facebook post, military spokesman Brig. Gen. Mohammed Samir said there were no fatalities among the vessel’s crew in the shootout with “terrorists.”

However, photos posted by ISIS on Twitter appear to show the frigate being hit by a rocket.

According to AP, security officials said the vessel routinely patrols…

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