Lunev’s Little Book – Two Excerpts


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Lunev, Stanislav and Ira Winkler. Through the Eyes of the Enemy: Russia’s highest ranking military defector reveals why Russia is more dangerous than ever. Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing, Inc., 1998.

What will be a surprise to the American people is that the GRU and KGB had a larger budget for antiwar propaganda in the United States than it did for economic and military support of the Vietnamese.  The antiwar propaganda cost the GRU more than $1 billion, but as history shows, it was a hugely successful campaign and well worth the cost.  The antiwar sentiment created an incredible momentum that greatly weakened the U.S. military.

But our instructors kept stressing that just because the Americans lost did not mean they were in total decline.  America, they sad, was becoming much more aggressive and a danger to civilization because it would have to reassert itself as a world power and avenge its defeat.  For this reason, no matter who or what our targets, we were always to prioritize America. 


There was also the GRU Special Center for the training of terrorists at GRU headquarters.  The KGB provided financial and communications support to terrorists, but the operational training and support was reserved for the GRU.  The GRU has trained terrorists from almost every country in the world, including Iraq, Libya, Iran, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Italy, Germany, Spain, Turkey, and Latin America.  Where no terrorist groups existed in countries inimical to the USSR, the GRU would help to form them, and then provide them the necessary training, funding, and organizational support.  So, for example, while the terrorists involved in the World Trade Center bombing may never have attended the GRU training, the GRU was responsible for the formation of the terrorist group that they belonged to.

p. 81

Wherever one finds oneself as regards the “Open Source Intelligence” (OSI) community and, here on BackChannels, “Political Spychology“, the reading with a jaundiced eye, an appropriate skepticism, serves generally to strengthen claims when it comes to Russia’s Soviet Era intelligence history, its outlook, and its political operations.  For example, elements out of “The Russian Section” of the in-house library keep showing up across volumes compiled independently and over time by numerous authors.

Lunev’s book has a bit of Bondish fun in it, as when he claims to have hitched a ride on the undercarriage of a train across a river to meet a Chinese source (China, for Moscow, had been at the time Enemy Number Two for intelligence trawling) — and never mind his beating up the thieves who greeted him when he rolled off on the opposite bank.

Related Reference

Kuzio, Taras.  “Is Russia a State Sponsor of Terrorism?”  New Eastern Europe, January 22, 2015.

Motyl, Alexander J. “Putin’s Russia as a State Sponsor of Terrorism.”  World Affairs, April 14, 2014.

Orton, Kyle.  “How Russia Manipulates Islamic Terrorism.”  The Syrian Intifada, September 8, 2015.

Schindler, John R.  “Putin’s Support for Europe’s Far-Right Just Turned Lethal.”  Observer, October 27, 2016.


Also in Media – Ynetnews News – “The KGB’s Middle East Files: The fight against Zionism and world Jewry” – December 1, 2016


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A man who worked in an executive role in the WJC in Paris during those years, and who I recently met there, told me: “It was clear to us that someone was meddling in our affairs. Suddenly, we began receiving feedback from numerous supporters, friends, and donors demanding answers, some using harsh words. They wanted to know what had happened to their donations. We realized we were subject to a serious campaign of disinformation. The rumors, the accusations, the stories about theft – all caused us great harm. There was a sharp drop in donations alongside an atmosphere of suspicion. Some suspected the French intelligence, while others suspected the Russians, but the majority really thought it was a competing organization trying to take our place. Those were very unpleasant days.”

Source: Ynetnews News – The KGB’s Middle East Files: The fight against Zionism and world Jewry – 12/1/2016.

Bana Alabed – One Video – One Tweet


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Posted to YouTube by TRT World, November 28, 2016.

Posted 19 hours ago.

Excerpted from Human Rights Watch Report, “Russia/Syria: War Crimes in Month of Bombing Aleppo – UN General Assembly Should Organize Emergency Special Session” December 1, 2016:

(New York) – The RussianSyrian coalition committed war crimes during a month-long aerial bombing campaign of opposition-controlled territory in Aleppo in September and October 2016.

Ruins of a residential house that was struck in an aerial attack, killing at least 24 civilians, on September 27, 2016.

Ruins of a residential house that was struck in an aerial attack, killing at least 24 civilians, on September 27, 2016. © 2016 Syria Civil Defense

The Violations Documentation Center, a Syrian civil monitoring organization, documented that the bombing campaign killed more than 440 civilians, including more than 90 children. Airstrikes often appeared to be recklessly indiscriminate, deliberately targeted at least one medical facility, and included the use of indiscriminate weaponssuch as cluster munitions and incendiary weapons. Satellite imagery that Human Rights Watch analyzed shows more than 950 new distinct impact sites consistent with the detonation of large high explosive bombs across the area during the month.

Excerpt from “The One Chart That Russia’s Military Should Be Very Afraid Of” –  The National Interest, November 26, 2016, on Russia’s economic performance and related defense sales:

The good news for Moscow is that Russian operations in Syria have provided effective advertising for Russian military hardware. Back in March, Vladimir Putin boasted that Russian arms sales in 2015 had exceeded US$14 billion, and prospective foreign orders had reached US$56 billion. (As a caution, SIPRI’s arms transfer database, which measures the value of delivered goods, lists a 2015 exports figure of less than US$10 billion).

Everyday online, BackChannels swims through a kaleidoscopic assortment of news-related e-mails, Facebook posts, tweets, reports, articles, and opinions — actually, the day begins with reading out of an old fashioned hardcover book (the latest – an autobiography by Stanislav Lunev) — and over time, the particles of reality sort themselves into sensibility.

The sensibility here today: Assad incubated ISIL; Assad, unable to blackmail or goad the west through “Assad vs The Terrorists“, has long chosen to follow his own dictate: “Assad, Or We Burn It“;  Putin, intent on both a KGB and Imperial Era revanche — the best of both his worlds, perhaps — has with Assad and Khamenei pursued that path that would defend and display “medieval  (and totalitarian) political absolutism” and reintroduce the democratic open societies to barbarism while destabilizing the same through the encouragement of extremist (Far Right and Far Left) political discord.

On the receiving end of that murderous ambition: a mother and her seven-year-old daughter using Twitter to reach out to the world.

Additional Fast Links – 10/2/2015.

Update – December 4, 2016

BackChannels often returns to check on its posts to see if new information has changed the message.  In this instance, the “AlabedBana” account appears to have been suspended.  Hypotheses: al-Assad’s Syrian State closed the account; Bana Alabed and her mother are gone; Twitter, for security, suspended the account.  Off the field and unable to either investigate or get an honest answer from Damascus — Moscow, Damascus, and Tehran speak with twisted tongues at best — there are no answer, only a melancholy and blank mystery in the Twitterverse.


Also in Media: “Priest Examines France’s Modern Antisemitism” – Juicy Ecumenism – December 1, 2016


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Yet when discussing continuities and discontinuities between antisemitism past and present, Desbois distinguishes that the leading force behind antisemitism in France today is not native French, but rather immigrant Muslim communities. Contrary to common comparisons of modern antisemitism with Nazism’s rise in the 1930s, he states that the “story does not repeat itself. We are in a new situation.”  While Adolf Hitler is dead, jihadist groups like ISIS have “new ideologies that say not only is it good, but it is something good in front of God, to kill Jews.”

Desbois stated that the “problem unfortunately is all from radical Islam, the violence. It is not publicly polite to say that but it is true…only the extreme right speaks about that.” “If you go into Paris you will not find an old, Catholic lady kicking you in the streets,” he noted, a message underlined by his slides citing jihadist killings of Jews in Toulouse (2012), Brussels (2014), and Paris (2015).

Source: Priest Examines France’s Modern Antisemitism – Juicy Ecumenism

Also in Media: Window on Eurasia — New Series: “Putin’s Language Doesn’t Threaten Russia’s Neighbors but Does Threaten Russia, Shchetkina Says” — December 1, 2016


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  Unfortunately for Russians, what Putin is doing puts them and their culture under threat. “For Russia, the fate of their language is a question of life or death” because the language is in many ways a metaphor for Russia itself. “The Russian language, Russian culture and Russian literature are … what Russia is.”

Indeed, Shchetkina argues, Russia doesn’t exist anywhere beyond these things; and that explains why Putin has said that Russia has no borders because Russia is a “virtual” reality rather than a geographic one.  And in this is a problem: “this culture and language does not belong undividedly to a country which is now called the Russian Federation.”

Source: Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin’s Language Doesn’t Threaten Russia’s Neighbors but Does Threaten Russia, Shchetkina Says – 12/1/2016.

Putin’s World – Not So Excellent . . . .


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Posted to YouTube by The National, April 18, 2016.

According to the updated forecast of Economic Development Ministry for 2016, the decline of Russia’s GDP will amount to 0.6%. According to the basic forecast for 2017-2019, the economy will start to grow: GDP will grow by 0.2% in 2017 by 0.9% in 2018 and by 1.2% in 2019. According to the “basic plus” forecast, that the ministry considered to be the most realistic, the economy will grow by 1.1%, 1.8% and 2.4% respectively in the next three years. – 12/1/2016

An average of 19.2 million Russians – or 13.4% of the population – were living last year on less than 9,452 roubles ($139) a month, the minimum subsistence level determined by the Russian government in the fourth quarter.

This figure represents a 20% increase year-on-year, with an average 16.1 million people living below the poverty threshold in 2014. – 3/21/2016.

Almost one in five respondents (17 percent) have had problems with delayed wage packets, while 16 percent expected delays in the coming months.

Some 18 percent said that that they relied on help from the state — a level not seen since 2008. – 9/26/2016.

New numbers may become available for popular web searching at year’s end, but nothing BackChannels has turned up suggests conditions will improve anytime soon.  However, one report (listed in this post’s reference) on Russia’s military economy linked a boost in defense sales numbers to the demonstration in Syria of Moscow’s latest war fighting technology.


Where has Russia’s wealth fled?

Over the course of years, “capital flight” from Russia has been disastrous for Moscow.

2015: $58.9 billion
2014: $151.5 billion
2013: $61 billion

The URL’s go direct to source.

BackChannels has seen President Putin encourage the return of capital to Russia’s internal economy, and, still recent in the news, perceives effort to sell Russian capability to business.

Still, there remain the black marks of “unfreedom” (reference the Freedom House listing for Russia), apparent war crimes in Syria, and obvious aggression in the invention and deployment of “hybrid warfare” — and otherwise conventional enough machinery — in Crimea, Ukraine, which is today, literally, a very tense situation.

If BackChannels were part of a multi-billion dollar enterprise, it too might wish to park some largesse in old fashioned rule-of-law London (along with other wealthy — and wise — of the world).

Posted to YouTube by Real Stories, September 13, 2016.

Additional Reference

AFP.  “Russia capital flight more than doubled in 2014 to $151 bn.”  Business Insider, January 19, 2015.

Mugg, James.  “The One Chart That Russia’s Military Should Be Very Afraid Of.”  The National Interest, November 26, 2016.

Oliphant, Roland. “Russia deploys warships near Crimea as Ukraine fires missiles in air defence drill.”  The Telegraph, December 1, 2016.

Posen, Barry R.  “How to Think About Russia.”  The National Interest, November 29, 2016.

Putin, Vladimir.  “Russia Calling!  Investment Forum.”  President of Russia, Kremlin, October 12, 2016.

Rogin, Josh.  “Putin and Assad could face justice for war crimes in Syria.”  The Washington Post, October 9, 2016.

Tanas, Olga and Andre Tartar.  “Putin Favoring Military Picks Guns Over Schools, Hospitals”.  Bloomberg, September 12, 2016.

The Moscow Times.  “Russian Capital Outflow Hit $59 Billion Last Year.”   January 18, 2016.


Also in Media – “Turkey’s New Islamic Republic” – Philos Project – November 30, 2016

“What I just heard seemed to me to like a recipe for fascism.”

So remarked Turkey scholar Gareth Jenkins during a recent lecture on Turkish politics, part of the Middle East Institute’s 2016 annual conference on Turkey. The participants soberly analyzed the dissolution of Turkey’s once superficially vaunted model of Muslim modernity.

Source: Turkey’s New Islamic Republic – Philos Project – 11/30/2016.

Arson as Terror – Haifa: Known – Gatlinburg, Tennessee – Under Investigation


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Update – December 1, 2016

God may have given man imagination for fun —  and we may have given ourselves empiricism to outwit imagination and defend ourselves from our own God-given errors.

Accused of setting the Gatlinburg fires, or at least two of them: Keith Eugene Mann, 49, of Franklin, North Carolina. – 11/30/2016 – 11/30/2016. – 11/30/2016.

Sorry, Russia; sorry, Mr. Putin — on this one, BackChannels may have been wrong . . . but this is how it may go with “hybrid warfare” and the keeping of kleptocratic fellow travelers like that Ayatollah Khamenei.  With the appearance of a mysterious and large fire in an iconic American setting, one might well be found a little bit . . . touchy.

However, the Charlotte Observer piece wraps up with this note:

Officials have said some of the wildfires in the western part of the state are believed to be the work of arsonists. Gov. Pat McCrory has posted rewards up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest of arsonists.

This note will have to be about national security and possibility in light of the “Phantoms of the Cold War” (e.g., Putin’s revival of the KGB, Russia’s behavior in Syria, and the invasion and, for the time being, annexation of Crimea) and the fact that “active measures”, “hybrid warfare”, the long Soviet relationship with terrorism and Moscow’s present inability to condemn Hamas as a terrorist organizations are real things.

Investigators (and armchair adventurers): leave no stone unturned.

Background — It Makes for Good Fiction, But It May Have Applied

Moscow Apartment Bombings

Satter, David.  “The Unsolved Mystery Behind the Act of Terror that Brought Putin to Power.”  National Review, August 17, 2016.

Two Major Fires

Haifa, Israel

Amid warnings from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Israel will consider arson an act of terrorism, Israeli police have arrested at least 13 people suspected of starting a series of wildfires that have burned around the country for four days . . . .

There is video evidence that the Haifa fire was an act of arson, a spokesman for the Haifa Fire Department told Israel’s Channel 2 Friday.

A blaze Thursday in Zichron Ya’acov, about 20 miles south of Haifa, also was caused by arsonists, Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan said Thursday.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee, USA


Google Maps, November 30, 2016.

Officials initially reported additional fire activity near the Park Headquarters area, as well as a spot fire between Elkmont and Newfound Gap Road off of the Sugarland Mountain Trail approximately 1 mile south of the Husky Gap Trail intersection. – 11/29/2016.

The fire that sparked the dozen other blazes was “human-caused,” National Park Service spokeswoman Dana Soehn said, without elaborating.

The blaze is under investigation. – 11/30/2016.

Manipulation — “gaslighting” – has long been associated with “malignant narcissism“.

In  the original sense of the word, the narcissist would rearrange his intended victim’s surroundings without the victim’s knowledge, an effort made to drive the same into madness.

For the purposes of political psychology, BackChannels applies the term to the creation of an entire “theater of the real”, i.e., and as with the “Moscow Apartment Bombings” (cited for background at the top of this post), the intent is to produce an event and spectacle designed to promote a political outcome favorable to the actor.

A near example would be that of the fireman-arsonist who sets the fire, so that he may later show up and share in the heroic glory of putting it out.

The disconnections between Moscow, the encouragement of the terrorism produced by others (or Moscow would have refused to meet with PFLP – Nov. 2014) and would have long ago designated Hamas a terrorist organizations — it has so far refused to take that step), may make the discovery of empirical linkage all but impossible — but revisit the “Moscow Apartment Bombings” and then have a look at the almost under-the-radar firebombings of Haifa and, potentially, the fires burning in the mountains in the vicinity of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, one of America’s true heartland locations, Dollywood and all.

Stockholm, Sweden

The Scandinavian country has been plagued with arsonist thugs setting vehicles alight, with hundreds of cars burning out since 2015.

In 2016 alone, more than 70 cars have been destroyed as police struggle to combat the increasing violence and criminal activity in the famously liberal country.

The latest video shows three cars in Hallunda in southern Stockholm engulfed by flames as firefighters battle to put out the blaze. – 11/30/2016.

Is the hand of Moscow behind “Islamic Terrorism” in the United States?

Is there a “meta”connection between fires set in Haifa, Gatlinburg, and Stockholm?

BackChannels invites readers to explore its references and sources and weigh for themselves the depth of the presence of the “Phantoms of the Cold War”, if any, in the recent spate of arson with the public as target.

Additional Reference

BackChannels.  “FTAC — ‘How ISIL Developed'”.  November 12, 2016.

BackChannels.  “It’s Not Islam — It’s Moscow.”  July 15, 2016.

Batchelor, Tom.  “Russian spies are influencing major EU decisions.”  Express UK, January 18, 2016.

Collinson, Stephen.  “Why the alleged Russian spy ring matters.”  CNN Politics, January 28, 2015.

McGreal, Chris.  “How Russian spies infiltrated suburban America.”  The Guardian, June 29, 2010.

Orton, Kyle.  “How Russia Manipulates Islamic Terrorism.”  The Syrian Intifada, September 8, 2015.

Staff.  “One-third of about 90 fires caused by arson, police estimate.”  The Times of Israel, November 27, 2016.

Wikipedia.  “Active Measures”.

Wikipedia.  “Illegals Program” (Russian Agents).

Wikipedia.  “Soviet espionage in the United States”.

Wikipedia.  “Spetsnaz” (Russian Sabateur and Special Forces).

Wikipedia.  “Terrorism and the Soviet Union”.

Related News – Updated – 11/30/2016/1347 (time is time first posted for the cited URL). – last updated 12/1/2016. – last updated 12/2/2016. – 11/30/2016.