FTAC: Brief Comment: Optics on Frenemies Moscow and Washington


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” . . . they are making a show to other countries . . . “

True. The action taken to forestall additional Chemical Weapons (CW) attacks was conducted as a deliberate and open demonstration of capability (imho) and not as one blow among others launched without warning in the chaos and fury of combat.

Russo-American cooperation in “optics” has been a theme in the Syrian Tragedy from the beginning and in current form dates back at least to the end of the Cold War in which Moscow and Washington in a presumptive peace were to work on terrorism and transnational crime together.

It is uncertain that that is not taking place!


How would one know?

In that Moscow sustains numerous “frozen conflicts”, operates its war machinery against noncombatants in Syria and Ukraine, and that it has long cherished (by not reforming itself much) the title, “Mafia State”, I may suggest the west had been snookered by old political criminals or a mentality in Moscow befitting the same.

Related Reference

In the too-fast press associated with blogging, there may be a little bit of post-first-read-later taking place here. ¬†Even if so, the main point is to look into what happened between Moscow and Washington in their respective thematic characters — paternal authoritarian for one; liberal democratic for the other — in the nearest shadows of the Cold War.

PDFs cited go straight to the BackChannels Kindle and may be read on that platform soon afterward.

Elliott, Dorinda. ¬†“Lifestyles of Russia’s Filthy New Rich.” ¬†Newsweek, ¬†December 18, 1994:

Where did all the money come from? Most of the new robber barons — an estimated 61 percent of Russia’s richest people, according to one study — simply turned the socialist empires they managed into their own private companies. Others built their fortunes on the roots of criminal trading they were doing secretly during Soviet times. The result is a pervasive sense of unfairness — particularly since Russia still has no real middle class. But Russian society for centuries has been driven by envy.

Finckenauer, James O. and Yuri A. Voronin. ¬†“The Threat of Russian Organized Crime.” ¬†PDF. ¬†Issues in International Crime, National Institute of Justice, June 2001.

Hockstader, Lee. ¬†“Russia’s Criminal Condition.” ¬†The Washington Post, February 26, 1995.

“In Western Europe and the United States . . . organized crime controls only criminal activities such as prostitution, drug trafficking and gambling,” wrote Pyotr Filippov, a former adviser to President Boris Yeltsin, in a report to the president last year. “In our country, it controls all types of activities.”

In the former Soviet republic of Georgia, an alleged criminal leader with a long prison record and a private militia loyal to him is the right-hand man to the country’s leader, former Soviet foreign minister Eduard Shevardnadze. In Russia’s Far Eastern city of Khabarovsk, an ex-convict named Vladimir “The Poodle” Podiatev, who spent 17 years in prison, is said by police to be the city’s foremost power broker, allegedly controlling his own television station and much commerce in the city.

Mirsky, Wendy L. ¬†“The Link Between Russian Organized Crime and Nuclear-Weapons Proliferation: Fighting Crime and Ensuring International Security.” ¬†Comment. ¬†University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Business and Law, 16:4, 749-781.

Orttung, Robert and Christopher Walker. ¬†“Putin’s Frozen Conflicts: Each of Russia’s reform-minded neighbors is plagued by separatism. ¬†It’s no coincidence.” ¬†Foreign Policy, February 13, 2015:

Russia’s attempt to subvert Ukraine cannot, however, be seen in isolation.Russia’s attempt to subvert Ukraine cannot, however, be seen in isolation. Its tactics are part of a wider pattern in which the Kremlin uses separatist conflicts as engines for corruption and criminality, and as Trojan horses to block progress in reform-minded countries on Russia’s periphery.

Shelley, Louise I. ¬†“Post-Soviet Organized Crime: Implications for the Development of the Soviet Successor States and Foreign Countries.” ¬†The National Council for Soviet and East European Research.” ¬†Title VIII Program, The National Council for Soviet and East European Research. ¬†February 8, 1994:

Organized crime has penetrated most of the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union at all governmental levels, and is assuming an important role in the political , economic and social evolution of these states, with consequences already being felt in Europe , the United States and parts of Asia . The collapse of communism may not lead to democratization and the transition to a competitive capitalist economy. ¬†Instead, the pervasiveness of organized crime may lead to an alternative form of development — political clientelism and controlled markets. Domination by the Communist Party may be replaced b y the controls of organized crime.

U.S. Department of State Archive. ¬†“United States Relations with Russia: After the Cold War: 1990-1991.


FTAC: To a Pakistani On the Image of American Warmongering


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The Grand Game for Hearts and Minds remains in play between America and Russia.

Searching up video title “Five Decades of Lies and Wars” will take you to the prompt for the following text.

Background: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Active_measures

It was the Soviet Union that poured $1 billion itself into America’s domestic Vietnam Era anti-war movement. Its cause: totalitarian perceptual control.

The SU had also funded a host of organizations within the World Peace Council with interest in the seduction and leveraging of the same. When Soviet tanks started appearing in the SU’s satellite state, many organizations withdrew from the WPC and Soviet support. They had gotten the sweet picture — the sweet words — on their way into business with the Soviet but had gotten a clear picture of how Moscow really worked as east-west politics, essentially authoritarian “political absolutism” v democratic liberalism, really worked.


The phantoms of the Soviet, which dissolved in bankruptcy and much reviled in Russia some 26 years ago, remain in the character and spirit of Russia’s political administration today, while terms like “active measures” — also “information warfare”, “hybrid warfare”, “reflexive control”, etc. — remain obscure.

When will the world wake up from the control of dictatorships?

Today’s Moscow has been arming the Taliban in Afghanistan. How that center of power feels about people is on full display in Syria, where its air force has been bombing hospitals. How the RF may regard Pakistan may be seen along the daily bloodied front line where its army sits poised to invade democratic Ukraine.

Related for background on BackChannels:


It appears that the Phantom of the Soviet — capitalized and singular, there can be only one — wishes to replay WWII and the end of the Cold War with KGB methods in political (and perceptual) control intact.

Rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat . . . .

Moscow’s direction looks a little crazy to BackChannels.

The host of self-defeating dictatorships should leave the 20th Century and move forward with liberal modernity and related responsive and responsible democratic governance.


FTAC: The Wisdom of Holocaust Remembrance


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We remember Pharaoh. We remember Haman. We should remember what Hitler did and with the greater wisdom that should come of traumatic experience. We have something today that earlier generations could not have imagined grasping and incorporating in their survival: we have ventured into the psychology attending evil; we have made ourselves deeply cognizant of the nuts and bolts associated with dictatorships and anti-Semitism (and we know how those two travel together — and are traveling together now). We are aware of dangers and done with denial. We should have greater foresight. If that’s not a blessing, I don’t what is.


America’s Broadest Interests: A Question – and Open for Debate


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Are our “national interests” more monetary than spiritual or vice versa? Or are they / we balanced or forked between our practical needs and our ideals, principles, and values?

Will we do what we do for love — or for love of money?

Polices need never be black and white, one or the other, but one may ask where we have been going in relation to our deeply autocratic and piratical “competition” in the world.

Around the world, we have seen dictators promise their people the world while stealing for themselves their unfair share.

Is that where the West is now bound?

Off the train already: Erdogan.

Stepping off: Orban.

Who else?

Who’s next?


FTAC – A Note on Ethno-Cultural Philosophy and Islam


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Are the Abayudaya Jewish?

Are the Pashtun, who are Pashtun while referring to themselves as “B’ni Israel” both a little bit Jewish and Muslim?

There are ethnic elements in the invention, uptake, and adaptation of Islam that may not be separated from “Muslim” — not “Islamic” — self-concept and volunteered description. When for tribal business, independence, security, or survival one civilization accepts the overlay of another, it becomes difficult in time to pry apart that melding. At the same time, an ethos that drives against the grain of humanity, i.e., as that possessed by the “Islamists”, needs must be ejected at least in part.

There is an argument to be had about the character of Muhammad and that of Islam with some who would put all Muslims in the al-Qaeda (or similar) box even though Muslims appears the first victims (and warriors against) that efflorescent fascism that has no place among good people.

We are born with our identities: culture and its customs and laws, our parents, and our families, our names. ¬†God (Nature and the Universe) provide us with no choice in those earliest matters. ¬†However, as we are not fixed as characters in books and much less in place and time, we as adults may confirm our cultural self-concept or change it. ¬†Over time, change is what we do because “back there” in time includes ideas and practices that become for each “new world” — a generational concept — maladapted.


FTAC: Syria: Will the West Please Stand?


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The prompts may be inferred — has Syria signaled the weakening and weakness of the west? And are we so beholden to “Big Money” — the personalities of the powerful and wealthy of the world — that we have abandoned our western political character? — for the following and linked pieces of the BackChannels Soapbox Opera.

Syria has been the demonstration project for a medieval absolutism that intentionally fails to differentiate between the value of property and that of persons. The indiscriminate killing by the Assad regime as flanked by Putin and Khamenei has reinforced that most feudal view of sovereignty — and it should be seen that way. The same “troika” has also extended the tenure of Russian totalitarianism in which centralized power has shown it may arrange all perception for everyone else. There should be no question that Assad incubated ISIS — i.e., allowed the al-Qaeda types to stream into the battlespace and form, and then encouraged their organization by choosing to battle the west first while also bombing neutral noncombatant targets. “Assad v The Terrorists” has been grand and bloody political theater from the start.

If all were so — even though much seems so — we would have disengaged from Syria and nascent “Kurdistan” completely, but I think the spirit of the west still evolving and strong. In Syria, the post-Soviet axis has been effectively destroying itself, especially as may be measured by Syria’s diminished population and controlled land space.

Russia and the “phantoms of the Soviet” in it may be fabulously wealthy, but the state has been deeply damaged financially — and not by sanctions completely but the accumulated effects of capital flight and mafia behavior for decades.

Where Iran has had its hand in driving conflict, it has poisoned land and politics both.

The west has been cautious beneath the now immovable cloud of potential nuclear exchange with its enemies, and it has perhaps (!) suffered from early post-Cold War cooperation that with “Putin’s Pivot” on Syria (2011) has become problematic.

As regards Powerful Big Money, the western investment in its own existence in ideals, principles, and values IS being tested. If the west fails to defend its hard won experience, then welcome to the New Feudalism and wars cooked up endlessly for illicit and licit trade in totalitarian fashion (black market arms –> miscreants; state arms sales –> states). Alternatively, if the west wants to exist as a liberal statement, it will have to stand to defend its integrity.


FTAC: A Possibility at the End of the Cold War — and How We Got Here from There


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Possibly: when the Soviet Union dissolved Dec. 25, 1991 and then presumably ended the Cold War, it’s possible (possibly) that American and Russian security elements thought to cooperate on issues confronting both states, Islamic Terrorism high on the list of possibilities conveniently at hand for that.

For the United States, one presumes that cooperation would have been intended to reduce the power and presence of dictatorship in the world and (in domino effect) remove the vestiges of the defunct Soviet Union in global foreign affairs. ¬†In the way of political “optics” — how things look — the American and other EU / NATO constituencies would have perceived some great measure of peace and trade taking place between the former superpower antagonists, so when Clinton and others signed off on “Uranium One”, it may have been in that context that the deal went down. ¬†

East and West had taken the great leap forward toward peace in 1992 and by 2010 business involving uranium, a strategic asset, appeared to have been conducted in overall calm, bureaucratic, and peaceful conditions.  

While other business and political mixers were proceeding,¬†Saddam¬†Hussein’s Iraq and¬†Muammar Qaddafi’s Libya were also transformed (in 2003 and 2011, respectively), at least as regards the deposing of each dictator — and let none remember them fondly: they were both monsters in each their own demonic way.

Then in 2011: Syria.

When offered the choice, Putin refused the liberal western path and reverted to the KGB past.  At that moment, possibly(!), Team Security USA, in some part, discovered that it had been duped

(Note: intervention in Libya preceded the perceived (Wikipedia) start date of the Syrian Civil War — on BackChannels, the “Syrian Tragedy” — by five days). ¬†

Moscow had intended to refuse the adoption of democratic liberalism all along.

What the United States and EU / NATO had done for peace between 1992 and 2011?

I don’t know.

However, one may imagine the possibilities. 

However, the old news cross my desktop a few minutes ago, and it seems to add its little bit to the BackChannels perspective on Cold War / post-Cold War / Phantom of the Soviet history.

If you haven’t hit the link, the “old news” was this:

Albawaba. ¬†“America’s gulag: Syrian regime was a ‘common destination’ for CIA rendition.” ¬†February 5, 2013.

Syria was a key participant in the C.I.A. rendition program at a time when President George W. Bush‚Äôs administration labelled Damascus part of the ‚Äúaxis of evil,‚ÄĚ according to a report by the Open Society Justice Initiative.

¬†The report – titled ‚ÄúGlobalizing Torture‚ÄĚ – said President Bashar al-Assad‚Äôs regime was one of the “most common destinations for rendered suspects,” indicating an established security relationship between Syrian intelligence and Western agencies.

The story — and not written for conservative Americans — traces its thesis back to at least 2003.

Apparently, Moscow and Washington had been fighting terrorism together in the double-0’s of the new century.

However, that day must have been young compared to this in which the interested public knows of the false-flag operation known as the ¬†“Moscow Apartment Bombings” (September 4-16, 1999).

Also today, thanks to Anna Politkovskaya, we know also of the Russian Army’s unofficial but observed brutalizing of Chechen villages as a means certain to fill the ranks of “Chechen rebels” through the Second Chechen War (August 26, 1999 ‚Äď April 16, 2009) — for where else would Chechen boys and men go to fight back against so monstrous a force?

BackChannels stands by its argument that Assad incubated ISIS as its preferred foil in a piece of KGB-type theater one might call “Assad v The Terrorists”.

The assertion has held up over time.

A companion piece suggesting that “Islamic Terrorism –> Reflexive Feudal New Nationalism” has held up as well.

Welcome Moscow’s post-Cold War totalitarian design and the west’s apparent partial cooperation with it, possibly, up to the Syrian gambit of spring 2011 when Obama tested Putin’s navigational tendencies.

In Russia’s persistent feudal mode, states serve power, and power need see no difference between property and persons, sovereignty in the politically absolute mode implying the right — more: even the obligation and demonstration — to destroy either with impunity and without explanation. ¬†A little foolery with political perception and CIA “rendition” programs (to fight al-Qaeda and others) would be one thing, but to travel further with Moscow and Damascus in their tyrannous journey appears to have been something Washington could not bring itself to do.¬†

The “KGB Playbook” — “Active Measures”; “Perceptual Control”; “Hybrid Warfare”; playing both sides for fun and profit — listen to the BBC’s interview with Admiral Gorchkov on the instigating of the Ogaden War between Somali militia and Ethiopian defenders; the loss of boundaries and limits (that dovetails so well with the “malignant narcissism” concept) that would seem to have licensed surreptitious poisonings (in Great Britain) straight out of 007 Bond fantasia; and the complete loss of compassion, conscience, and empathy for others — has turned out a still living evil, and one that even the paternally and narcissistically ¬†authoritarian¬†Trump Administration cannot dismiss while doing its duty to defend America’s Constitution.

Additional Assorted Fast Reference Related to Russia’s Encouragement of Conflict





Posted to YouTube November 14, 2011.


FTAC: Gun Control as Political Deflection: True Proposed Countermeasures to Mass Murdering Shooters


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On the gun control issue, you are right: most to all of the mass shooters have been known to the FBI or other civic authorities and officials well in advance of their attacks. Therefore, what is needed are detention and interdiction points backed by new laws involving seditious threats to the community and those presented by the repeated behaviors of seriously troubled persons.

Related on BackChannels