Putin the Pirate


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Well, he stole Robert Kraft’s Sacred Superbowl Ring, so what wouldn’t he steal?

Kraft’s ring now appears on display in the Kremlin’s library, quite a trophy brought home to Moscow by Russia’s Boss of Bosses.

From CNN:

The 4.94-carat ring is in the Kremlin’s library, where all official state gifts are kept, he said. It is worth more than $25,000, according to multiple reports from 2005.

A Kraft spokesman said Sunday the story is a humorous anecdote that Kraft “retells for laughs.”

“He loves that the ring is at the Kremlin and, as he stated back in 2005, he continues to have great respect for Russia and the leadership of President Putin,” said Stacey James, a spokesman for The Kraft Group.

Eshchenko, Alla and Faith Karimi. “Russian president: I did not steal Super Bowl ring.” CNN, June 17, 2013.

No. Putin didn’t steal it. It was a gift!



Will Ukraine be a gift too?


Putin the Pirate has done a few things under the table upside-down and sideways over decades to weaken western political coherence, cohesion, and resolve. Start with the KGB’s handling of Zawahiri over the winter of 1996/7. In connect-the-dots fashion, I believe that stay led to the attack by jet hijacking Islamists on 9/11 that in turn goosed the pride of western states in their Christian and independent political cultures and led to what has been referred to as the “New Nationalism”.

When bees sting and flesh swells, the response has not been called “proud flesh” for nothing.

The popular western response in enmity and fear regarding Islam has not been misplaced in relation to Islamic Extremism and related Islamist Terror, but the same has given rise to blood-and-soil nationalism, authoritarianism, and actual autocracy in some EU/NATO states. Hungary, Italy, Poland, Turkey, and the United States (one nation under Trump for a while) have each seen their open democracies challenged by demagoguery or political perversion.

We may also take note of the “01s” in dates: 1991-dissolve of the Soviet Union in bankruptcy following American intercession opposite the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan (from which Russia was forced to retreat in 1989); 2001-the September 11 attacks took place on Felix Dzerzhinsky’s birthday, quite a gift for a Moscow bent on revenge for its losses in Afghanistan-and, no, Putin didn’t do it–it was obviously radical Muslims assembled and deployed by Ayman al-Zawahiri and Osama Bin Laden; 2011-The Horror taking off in Syria that would send millions of refugees into NATO (Turkey, which today hosts about 3.68 million Syrian refugees), the European Union (0.7 million-Germany), and Scandinavia (0.3 million), another goad for the defense of the rightly ethnolinguistic state cultures settled and enjoying the benefits of, well, being themselves, the only problem being a concomitant drift toward the same feudal-medieval worldviews and fascination with authority held by Bashar al-Assad, Ali Khamenei, and Vladimir Putin; 2021-Russia’s repeated threats by military feint against Ukraine, a young democratic state seeking NATO accession, and, by extension, NATO itself, but not quite as Ukraine remains without accession.

So hey, Bob (Kraft), George and George, Jr. (Bush), where are you today with Putin (the thief)?


Where and when are dictatorships to be stopped?

Is it when one or another has engaged in political repression and breathtaking plunder at home?

Should it be when the security service agents and agent provocateur show up within the borders of one’s democratic state?

Should it be when the tanks roll into a neighboring state struggling for its own sovereignty against barbaric force and the possibility of a return to corrupt, kleptocratic, and tyrannical governance?


Amante, Angelo and Crispian Balmer. “Analysis: Italy’s Salvini struggles as rightist ally grows stronger.” Reuters, May 10, 2021.

Bertrand, Natasha and Devan Cole. “Blinken says ‘a single additional Russian force’ entering Ukraine would trigger US response.” CNN, January 23, 2022.

Christophersen, Erik. “These 10 countries receive the most refugees.” Norwegian Refugee Council.

Cummings, William. “‘I am a nationalist’: Trump’s embrace of controversial label sparks uproar.” USA Today, October 24, 2018.

Duffin, Erin. “Nationalism in the U.S. – Statistics & Facts.” Statista, March 11, 2021.

Ellyatt, Holly. “If war is coming, the West must decide how far it will go to defend Ukraine against Russia.” CNBC, January 24, 2022.

Fearnow, Benjamin. “Donald Trump Urges Americans to Bring ‘Nationalism’ Back Into the Mainstream.” Newsweek, November 19, 2019.

Gross, Terry. “Manafort’s Guilty Plea Details His Entanglement with Russian-Backed Oligarchs.” NPR, September 19, 2018.

Harding, Luke. “Former Trump aide approved ‘black ops’ to help Ukraine president.” The Guardian, April 5, 2018.

Hemon, Aleksandar. “Trump’s Nationalism Advances on a Predictable Trajectory to Violence. His Supporters Will Kill When They’re Told To.” The Intercept, May 2, 2020.

Kajta, Justyna. “From street to state: How radical nationalists gained power in Poland.” Open Democracy, April 1, 2021.

Musharbash, Yassin. “The Globalization of Far-Right Extremism: An Investigative Report.” CTC Sentinel, Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, 14:6, July/August 2021.

Oppenheim, James S. “Syria: The Horror: 2011.” BackChannels, December 29, 2017.

Oppenheim, James S. “Trump’s America in Retrospect: Russian Real Estate Entanglements.” BackChannels, October 9, 2021.

Oppenheim, James S. “Ukraine: A Reminder.” BackChannels, December 7, 2021.

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

Schindler, John. “Exploring Al Qaeda’s Murky Connection to Russian Intelligence.” Business Insider, June 10, 2014.

Schuster, Simon. “How Paul Manafort Helped Elect Russia’s Man in Ukraine.” Time, October 31, 2017.

Smith, Deyscha. “New details shed light on the Robert Kraft-Vladimir Putin Super Bowl ring controversy.” Boston, September 10, 2020.

Statista. “Ranking of the largest Syria refugee-hosting countries in 2020”.

Stewart, Katherine. “Christian Nationalism Is One of Trump’s Most Powerful Weapons.” The New York Times, January 6, 2022.

The New York Times. “Gerald L. K. Smith Dead; Anti-Communist Crusader.” April 16, 1976.

Troaianovski, Anton and David E. Sanger. “Russia Issues Subtle Threats More Far-Reaching Than a Ukraine Invasion.” The New York Times, January 16, 2022.

Turner, Lauren. “Ukraine: Boris Johnson warns Russian invasion would be disastrous.” BBC, January 24, 2022.

UNHCR. “Syria Refugee Crisis–Globally, in Europe and in Cyprus.” March 18, 2021.

VOA. “Russia Threatens to Deploy Tactical Nuclear Weapons.” December 14, 2021.

Wikipedia. “America First Party (1943)”.

Wikipedia. “Ayman al-Zawahiri”.

Wikipedia. “Felix Dzerzhinsky”.

Wikipedia. “Gerald L. K. Smith”.

Wikipedia. “Osama bin Laden”.

Wikipedia. “Putin’s Kleptocracy”.

Wikipedia. “Russo-Ukrainian War”.

Posted to YouTube by WGN News, January 24, 2022.


An America Compromised, Corrupt, Infiltrated


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Miami Herald journalist Julie Brown noted the presence of countless unanswered questions in association with her research into Jeffrey Epstein’s Lolita industry. The full accounting of who, what, where, and why would today seem largely absent and sealed by Epstein’s own hanging, but perhaps there’s one aspect that bears further attention in this most distracted age: Epstein’s Russian interests. The powerful personal brands associated with the Epstein vortex range from Alan Dershowitz to Prince Andrew — so how deep and how wide the damage done?

State secret?

Anything’s possible.

Former American President Donald Trump has had his allegiance questioned quite famously in relation to the Steele Dossier, but what of his noted and more accessible financial entanglements with Russian money?

Whether by way of fear of being found out or found guilty of one crime or another, when have the business and political leaders of a nation been compromised enough to accept bridling by the state’s foremost enemy?


Should you pick up American Kleptocracy by Casey Michel, you will learn (here cribbing direct from the book’s title) “How the U.S. CREATED the WORLD’S GREATEST MONEY LAUNDERING SCHEME in HISTORY”. Forget expensive cars and real estate, at least until one has established sufficient anonymous businesses- as-persons courtesy of Delaware, South Dakota, Wyoming, for a start.


Before Maria Butina, the “illegal”, got caught, American Administrations, including Trump’s, had given the boot to Moscow’s spies-under-diplomatic-cover. The question to which only the state, actually the CIA and FBI, might respond would be “How many more Maria’s might there be?” Doing what? How? And where?


With respect to East-West Rivalry and Moscow-Washington Relations, just how bad might compromise, corruption, and infiltration serving Russia’s defense and promotion of political absolutism and kleptocracy be here in the United States?

We know of at least one former American President having been up to his eyeballs in Russian money related to real estate (and few will ever forget or forgive his “Helsinki Moment“).

Whatever Washington’s true state of affairs might be with Russia — and a kleptocratic Russia unrelenting in its will to confuse and degrade EU/NATO cohesion and coherence — one may hope the open democracies of the west and their allies will renew their vows (for Americans, see “Basic Training” on this blog) and rediscover and reaffirm their commitments to American and modern civility, ethics, principles, rights, and values without compromise and, always, with compassion, humanism, and reason.

CBS News. “Russian spies livinig among us: Inside the FBI’s “Operation Ghost Stories.” October 13, 2020.

CBS SF Bay Area. “Alleged Russian Spies Told to Leave SF Include Consulate’s Chef.” December 30, 2016.

Cenziper, Debbie and Will Fitzgibbon. “Rogue Americans Stashed Assets Offshore, Eluding Victims and Impeding Investigators.” The Washington Post, October 4, 2021.

Cenziper, Debbi and Will Fitzgibbon. “The ‘Cowboy Cocktail’: How Wyoming Became One of the World’s Top Tax Havens.” The Washington Post, December 20, 2021.

Epstein, Adam. “The stranger-than-fiction story of the real Russian spies who inspired “The Americans”. Quartz, March 7, 2017; updated November 21, 2019.

FBI. “Operation Ghost Stories: Inside the Russian Spy Case.” October 31, 2011.

France 24. “US expels 35 Russian diplomats over election hacking.” December 29-30, 2016.

Mazzetti, Mark and Michael S. Schmidt. “Two Russian Compounds, Caught Up in History’s Echoes.” The New York Times, December 29, 2016.

Michel, Casey. American Kleptocracy. New York: Macmillan, 2021.

Michel, Casey. “A Ukrainian Oligarch Bought a Midwestern Factory and Let it Rot. What Was Really Going On?” Politico, October 17, 2021.

Michel, Casey. “How Delaware Became the World’s Biggest Offshore Haven.” Foreign Policy, November 19, 2021.

Michel, Casey. “It’s Put Up or Shut Up Time in the Fight Against Global Corruption.” The New Republic, December 27, 2021.

Michel, Casey. “Thanks, Paul Manafort–for showing that the U.S. needs to crack down on dirty money.” The Washington Post, August 16, 2018.

Michel, Casey. “The United States of Anonymity.” Hudson Institute, November 3, 2017. Separate PDF Report, 44 pages.

Michel, Casey. “The United States of Dirty Money: How landlocked South Dakota became one of the world’s hottest destinations for offshore funds.” The Atlantic, October 5, 2021.

Neftin, Danielle. “‘Russian Spy’ Maria Butina is Living the American Dream–In Russia.” The Daily Beast, November 29, 2021.

Northam, Jackie. “Obama Expels 35 Diplomats, Imposes Retaliatory Sanctions Against Russia for Hacking.” NPR, December 29, 2016.

Oppenheim, James S. “Basic Training.” BackChannels, February 2, 2017.

Oppenheim, James S. “Trump’s America in Retrospect: Russian Real Estate Entanglements.” BackChannels, October 9, 2021.

Patterson, Thom. “The Russian spies living next door.” CNN, July 19, 2017.

Pegg, David and Dominic Rushe. “Pandora papers reveal South Dakota’s role as $367bn tax haven.” The Guardian, October 4, 2021.

Pierce, Charles P. “Wyoming Is the Onshore-Offshore Tax Haven of Oligarch Dreams.” Esquire, December 21, 2021.

Ponniah, Kevin. “Yuri Drozdov: The man who turned Soviet spies into Americans.” BBC News, June 23, 2017.

Savage, Charlie. “Why the Discredited Dossier Does Not Undercut the Russia Investigation.” The New York Times, December 1, 2021.

U.S. Department of Justice. “Individual Arrested for Acting Within the U.S. on Behalf of the Russian Government Without Notifying the Attorney General.” (POI: Hector Alejandro Cabrera Fuentes Press Release, February 18, 2020.

Wikipedia. “Illegals Program”.

Wikipedia. “Russian espionage in the United States”.

In the Air — Corruption, Dirty Money, Greed, and Kleptocracy: America’s Latest Dark Night


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Talmud 7:16 as Quoted by Rishon Rishon in 2004
Qohelet Raba, 7:16

אכזרי סוף שנעשה אכזרי במקום רחמן

Kol mi shena`asa rahaman bimqom akhzari Sof shena`asa akhzari bimqom rahaman

All who are made to be compassionate in the place of the cruel In the end are made to be cruel in the place of the compassionate.

More colloquially translated: “Those who are kind to the cruel, in the end will be made to be cruel to the kind.”

Online Source: http://www.rishon-rishon.com/archives/044412.php

Biological Warfare I Covid-19

Official trailer for Unlocked, a 2017 British and American release from Lionsgate.

“Wuhan Flu” or planned Pfizer windfall?

I and thee may never know that answer.

While China had been slow to accede to the multilateral Biological Weapons Convention and expressed interest in biological warfare competition, the world has not committed to the Wuhan Level 4 Biological Laboratory narrative regarding Chinese state culpability. There above (viewable on Amazon Prime Video) is the trailer from a counterintelligence thriller directed by the British auteur Michael Apted and released to the viewing public in 2017, about three years before the natural/unnatural dissemination of the COVID-19 strand and its effects.

So we may not know how Covid-19 got started, but we well know what it has done to our species’ natural biological and social existence, and we know who and what the disease has decimated financially or enriched beyond estimation.

Biological Warfare II Narcotics

Posted to YouTube by AML Films, October 26, 2021. Related on BackChannels: “A Glimpse of America’s Deepest Undertow”, September 23, 2021; “An American Report Card”, October 4, 2019.

While narcotics are money makers for burgeoning Transnational Crime Organizations as well as stimulus for police and paramilitary counter-narcotics budgets worldwide, the same represent also a form of biological warfare (snorted, swallowed, poked, and smoked into human frames with myriad rationales) that effectively deflects and degrades the energies and lives of untold millions worldwide while facilitating as well cultural and social chaos, decay, and despair. However made, narcotics money percolates upward — or across if sufficiently funded for the experience (Robin Williams: “Cocaine is God’s way of telling you that you are making too much money”) — and the $1 billion slurried up from Kensington Avenue becomes one Big Billion Dollar Infusion for spending in and around Philadelphia or anywhere else it may care to go.

As biological weapons go, narcotics, not always deadly but nefariously life altering and frequently enslaving, work. Of course, drugs do kill and quite well too — about 100,000 Americans annually.

Corruption I

Posted by Funny Clips from TV & Movies, August 19, 2015 from the 2004 film Layer Cake.

One cannot underestimate the propensity for ruthless threat and violence on the part of the world’s smugglers nor ignore the impact of the kind of money involved in smuggling — arms, drugs, humans for labor and for sex — all are money (really, just business) to the cartels, freelancers, and gangs involved in inveigling the world in vice and looting it by force. It has gotten so bad that cocaine and funding for terrorism has become a negotiated commodity between statesmen as well as a major headache for intelligence and law enforcement authorities.

Add, perhaps, what goes on behind the curtains.

So what happens to all that dirty money?

As suggested about Philadelphia’s infamous Kensington Avenue narcotics market, what the dealers scrape off the streets moves around and upward into cars and real estate or onward to other criminal or terrorist enterprises (and backwards: no new products, no sales). With bulk purchases (e.g., cars rounded up for export and sales overseas) or luxurious ones, the very next sale cleans the money and into town it goes.

Corruption II Business Private and Slick

Business and politics in feudal systems structured around Absolute Power, whether of corporation or state, may have features resembling corruption–bribes become incentives, kickbacks rewards, the receiving of less noble hooch and nookie pleasant encouragement for sealing a less private, more notable and admirable business deal. The details may disappear in the vapors of hangovers and lost memories, and that’s the end of the story. Take it a little further, however, and an act of indiscretion, pleasantly offered, may become leverage for blackmail and coercion. Jeffrey Epstein socialized among and with the powerful of the world, and he had his relationship with Putin too: was what he was doing really about an old perv with his own treasury?

Are America’s wealthy in some ways destroying their own national culture for a little bit of business or, perhaps, doing so out of naivete?

You tell me.


What happens in El Norte moves into and may add to the chaos and misery known to Latin America in the sway of local and regional “narconomies”.

I have a Twitter trope that I’ll restate here without counting the letters:

North American arms–>south to Latin American gangs and cartels; LA migrants–>North; NA cash–>south; LA illicit everything–>north.

America’s black market arms (see Gaynor and Grillo in reference) are not the only ones reaching Latin America, but that the system has been large and persistent and with much related activity eating away at the country’s ethical, financial, moral, and social integrity, one wonders if it isn’t time for the “authorities” to get smarter and the “bad guys” — or the desperate — to have better options with perhaps a little less ambition before “what goes around” really does return in karmic fashion.

Brown, Julie K. Perversion of Justice: The Jeffrey Epstein Story. New York: Harper Collins, 2021.

Hill, Fiona. There is Nothing for You Here: Finding Opportunity in the Twenty-First Century. Boston: Mariner Books, 2021.

Michel, Casey. American Kleptocracy: How the U.S. Created the World’s Greatest Money Laundering Scheme in History. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2021.

Applebaum, Anne. “The Kleptocrats Next Door: The United States has a dirty-money problem.” The Atlantic, December 8, 2021.

Aviles, Constanza Sanchez. “Corruption and illegal drugs: Reconstructing links, reversing the causes.” Global Americans, July 29, 2019.

CDC. “Drug Overdose Deaths in the U.S. Top 100,000 Annually.” Press release, November 17, 2021.

Cenziper, Debbie, Will Fitzgibbon, and Salwan Georges. “Foreign Money Secretly Floods U.S. Tax Havens. Some of it is Tainted.” The Washington Post, October 4, 2021.

Executive Office of the President. “The Biden-Harris Administration’s Statement of Drug Policy Priorities for Year One.” Office of National Drug Control Policy, . PDF. Office of National Drug Control Policy, 2021.

Fact Coalition. “FACT Coalition Welcomes Treasury Move to Implement Corporate Transparency Act.” December 7, 2021.

FBI. “Counterintelligence”.

FBI. “Public Corruption”.

Felbab-Brown, Vanda. “The nexus between the illicit narcotics trade and corruption.” Brookings, November 17, 2021.

Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). “FinCEN Issues Proposed Rule for Beneficial Ownership Reporting to Counter Illicit Finance and Increase Transparency.” December 7, 2021.

Gaynor, Tim. “‘Iron river of guns’ flows from U.S. to Mexico.” Reuters, July 13, 2007.

Grillo, Loan. “Slow the Iron River of Guns to Mexico.” The New York Times, February 20, 2021.

Hudson Institute Kleptocracy Initiative.

Kaiser, Charles. “American Kompromat review: Trump, Russia, Epstein … and a lot we just don’t know.” The Guardian, February 7, 2021.

Kania, Elsa B. and Wilson Vorndick. “Weaponizing Biotech: How China’s Military is Preparing for a ‘New Domain of Warfare’.” Defense One, August 14, 2019.

Levinson-King, Robin. “How gangs used Vancouver’s real estate market to launder $5bn.” BBC News, May 11, 2019.

Mackinnon, Amy. “The U.S. Is a Haven for Money Laundering. That Might Be About to Change.” Foreign Policy, July 31, 2020.

Meyer, Josh. “The secret backstory of how Obama let Hezbollah off the hook.” Politico. 2017.

Michel, Case and Paul Massaro. “The U.S. Midwest is Foreign Oligarchs’ New Playground: Forget Manhattan or Monaco; it’s cities like Cleveland that are now attracting ill-gotten money from abroad.” Foreign Policy, June 3, 2021.

National Security Council. “Transnational Organized Crime: A Growing Threat to National and International Security.” Obama Administration, July 25, 2011.

Newall, Mike. “A near billion-dollar enterprise and endless bloodshed.” Philadelphia Inquirer, May 21, 2021.

Sibley, Nate and Ben Judah. “Countering Global Kleptocracy: A New US Strategy for Fighting Authoritarian Corruption.” Hudson Institute, January 8, 2021.

Tiplady-Bishop, Lottie. “Jeffrey Epstein boasted about ‘flying to Moscow to visit Vladimir Putin’ as secrets behind his millions are revealed.” The Sun, July 19, 2020.

Wikipedia. “Financial intelligence”.

Wikipedia. “Money Laundering Control Act”.

Wikipedia. “Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication”.

Wikipedia. “Terrorist Finance Tracking Program”.

Williams, Robin. “Cocaine”. The Met, 1986.

Tiplady-Bishop, Lottie. “Jeffrey Epstein boasted about ‘flying to Moscow to visit Vladimir Putin’ as secrets behind his millions are revealed.” The Sun, July 19, 2020.

Transparency International. “Corruption Perceptions Index.” 2020.

Kleptocracy, or “rule by thieves,” has for too long been disregarded from mainstream foreign policy discussions. It is often overlooked as a peripheral economic development issue: A problem for tax justice advocates and foreign aid workers. Yet it has been shaping international politics and the global security environment for decades. The Biden-Harris administration will have an unprecedented opportunity—and a unique responsibility—to confront this pervasive threat with decisive action.

This chance comes not come a moment too soon. Since the end of the Cold War, corruption has metastasized beyond national borders into a problem of almost unimaginable scale. The United Nations has estimated that $1 trillion are paid in bribes and a further $2.3 trillion otherwise stolen annually.1 Global Financial Integrity, a Washington-based think tank, cites corruption as a key factor in $8.7 trillion that vanished from official records of trade between 135 developing countries and 36 advanced economies from 2008-2017.2

Sibley, Nate and Ben Judah. “Countering Global Kleptocracy: A New US Strategy for Fighting Authoritarian Corruption.” Hudson Institute, January 8, 2021.


FTAC: Moscow’s Poor Manners, 9/11 to the Present


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As “Russia v Ukraine” heats up for the West’s Christmas Holiday — the significance of historical dates plays high in Moscow’s planning, for the Soviet Union dissolved on December 25, 1991 and you may bet that Vladimir Putin has never forgotten it (nor, for that matter, Felix Dzerzhinsky’s birthday on September 11, 1877)

Pakistani ISI and some portion of Islam as well appears to walk down both sides of the street. Arms and materiel supplied to the Taliban were in any case of Russian origin — https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2017/04/24/russia-is-sending-weapons-to-taliban-top-u-s-general-confirms/ (there are other confirming reports online) — and when Kabul fell, the Taliban were quick to guard the Russian Embassy (https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/world-news-russia-says-taliban-guarantees-security-to-its-afghanistan-embassy/391802). Moscow was then just as quick to seal defense sales with Afghanistan’s neighbors who would themselves fear Taliban power: https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/russia-says-boosts-arms-supplies-central-asia-amid-afghan-conflict-2021-08-05/ .


Around the world, Putin’s Russia engages in a spectrum of unpleasant activities designed to destabilize its targets, foremost EU/NATO (for its businesses, democracy, humanism, and rule of law), and control and produce power in its own interests. Also, Russia has been long a state about appearances — military and political theater — and the longest looks backward will fine the Viking, Varangians, Slavs, and Rus, and all perhaps have come together in Putin’s mind and the related diplomacy, leadership, strategies, and tactics devised to perpetuate what he may be believe to be Russia’s essential soul.

Recommended for the curious: Kings & Generals on YouTube (“Russian History”); for the politically inclined, “Atlantic Council, Russia”, e.g., https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/ukrainealert/russia-is-the-worlds-leading-exporter-of-instability/ (10/19/2021).

Regarding my characterization of Putin’s perspective and the related destabilization of EU/NATO: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/08/world/europe/unit-29155-russia-gru.html 11/16/2020 | https://www.justsecurity.org/64327/countering-russias-malign-influence-operations/ 5/29/2019 | https://www.csis.org/blogs/post-soviet-post/countering-russian-disinformation 9/23/2020 .

Regarding our own rightfully proud nationalism, that too may be traced to 9/11 and the strongly intimated sojourn of mastermind Ayman al-Zwahari in Russia during the winter of 1996 to 1997 (https://www.businessinsider.com/exploring-al-qaedas-murky-connection-to-russian-intelligence-2014-6). He would leave for the Afghanistan-Pakistan tribal region to produce the compact with Osama Bin Laden that would then culminate with the attack by hijacked jets on the symbols of American and western power.

The American Public, imho, gets the news toward which it gravitates, Fringe Left, Far Left, Left, Center, Right, Far Right, Fringe Right. As we are now familiar with terms like “social media algorithms” and “echo chambers”, we — and others in other nations — may have also an obligation to ask more questions and test and corroborate what we find, so that we ourselves are not digging our own cultural, political, or social holes but rather finding the essential histories and narratives that prove inerrently reliable however criticized or scrutinized.

My own quest as regards perspective: Next Century Post-Modern.

Of course, I hope there is a “Next Century” (not that I’ll be around to care) and that the generations arrive at it with tidily packed away medieval baggage and altogether more appropriate intellectual and language tools as well as integrity (most of all) for addressing the challenges of that day to come as found.

J. S. Oppenheim

Posted to YouTube by HistoryPod, December 25, 2015.


FTAC: About the Haunt of Ukrainian Anti-Semitism–It’s Now a Russian Canard Deployed to Damage Western Resolve in Ukraine


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Herewith the response to a lengthy chatyped lecture on FB involving Russia’s disingenuous “justification” for further brutalizing and dominating Ukraine, her businesses, and her people.

The haunt of Ukrainian anti-Semitism has been a Russian canard used for propaganda, e.g., https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/news/articles/jews-in-maidan , 2/25/2014 & https://forward.com/culture/202181/my-hunt-for-the-cossacks-in-ukraine/ 7/19/2014 & https://www.algemeiner.com/2014/03/01/ex-idf-soldier-leads-kiev-street-fighting-unit/ 3/1/2014.

Note: https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/04/24/how-a-jew-won-over-the-land-of-the-cossacks-volodymyr-zelensky-ukraine-election-jewish/ 4/24/2019.

Conveniently left out of the history presented: http://holodomorct.org/

A reminder about Euromaidan: https://conflict-backchannels.com/2021/12/07/ukraine-a-reminder/

Inspired by what I believe to have been a Moscow-manipulated 9/11 (https://www.businessinsider.com/exploring-al-qaedas-murky-connection-to-russian-intelligence-2014-6 6/10/2014) as revenge for the bankrupting of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan (1989 withdrawal; official disbandment of the Soviet on December 25, 1991), the New Nationalists in EU/NATO have at times gotten on board with Putin’s feudal blood-and-soil theatrical (Russia is deeply multicultural but projected with a revived Russian Orthodox Church and an active undefeated military and related defense and defense-marketing industry) and endorsed the specter of a broadly anti-Semitic Ukraine, an image belied by Ukraine’s own election of a Jewish President (see Higgins, Andrew. “Ukraine’s Newly Elected President Is Jewish. So Is Its Prime Minister. No All Jews There Are Pleased.” The New York Times, April 24, 2019).


For the Defense of British Dignity, Justice, Freedom


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Published December 7, 2021.


1) three-way “superpower” hypersonic missile race between China (Totalitarian), Russia (Autocratic Mafia State), and the United States (Democracy in Disarray);

2) serious East-West Rivalry for global influence and control of other states, whether criminal, elitist, and thuggish or rooted in democratically distributed power and reliably humanist, lawful, open, and secular;

3) Ukraine invaded and now threatened again by blunt Russian force and related brutish and corrupt business and political practices;

4) A test of the strength of the the West’s civilizational commitment to democratic, egalitarian, secular ethics, principles, and values against corruption and dictatorship, whether communist, fascist, nationalist, or socialist.

The post-WWII order has been weakened by decades of nefarious effort on Moscow’s part to destabilize EU/NATO with every disingenuous and, frankly, evil method at its disposal, Active Measures (agitprop; cyberwarfare; disinformation; infiltrations of spies online and off; etc.) and broadest spectrum Hybrid Warfare (starting with False Flag Operations and Little Green Men) but moving also to dominance in Energy and political leverage through it, control of a North Pole air base and related potential threat projection. Moscow’s presence in Africa, Eastern Europe, and Latin America and its innumerable “Frozen Conflicts” plus its relations with Iran and Syria and terrorist enterprises (see “Mikhail Bogdanov, Hamas” or “Russian arms, Taliban”) tell of the kind of world Moscow runs already and would love to sustain with Western complicity.

Well, score one for the British breakthrough and deployment in the Hypersonic Missile arena — and for Great Britain’s possession of a still strong spine.

“The U.K. is very clear: any military incursion by Russia into Ukraine would be a strategic mistake,” she said. “The Russian government should expect significant strategic consequences. The cost of an invasion would be catastrophically high.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson last night held a video call with U.S. President Joe Biden, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi as Western fears grow.

The videoconference sought to present a “united front” among NATO leaders before Biden holds a call with Putin later Tuesday in which he will warn him against starting another war in Eastern Europe.

Gallardo, Cristina. “UK to Russia: Invading Ukraine would have ‘catastrophically high’ consequences.” Politico, December 7, 2021.

AP. “Russian Navy test-fires hypersonic missile in the White Sea.” Defense News. November 29, 2021.

“British Army’s Royal Artillery receives Sky Sabre air defence system.” Army Technology, December 7, 2021.

Gramer, Robbie and Jack Detsch. “Russia Goes Hypersonic: The Russian navy is getting hypersonic missiles in 2022 in a bid to outpace Washington in the next missile race.” Foreign Policy, November 4, 2021.

Madhani, Aamer and Dasha Litvinova. “Biden, Putin square off as tension grows on Ukraine border.” AP, December 8, 2021.

Wikipedia. “3M22 Zircon”.


Ukraine: A Reminder


, , , ,

November 12, 2014.

Crowley, Michael. “U.S. Intelligence Sees Russian Plan for Possible Ukraine Invasion.” The New York Times, December 4, 2021.

Samorukov, Maxim. “Tuning Out Putin on Ukraine is Easy – and Self-Defeating.” Carnegie Moscow Center, December 6, 2021.

Troianovski, Anton. “What’s Driving Putin’s Ukraine Brinksmanship?” The New York Times, December 5, 2021.


Brief Wake-Up and Read



Anne Applebaum on Democracy and those who mean to destroy it –>

All of us have in our minds a cartoon image of what an autocratic state looks like: There is a bad man at the top. He controls the police. The police threaten the people with violence. There are evil collaborators, and maybe some brave dissidents.

But in the 21st century, that cartoon bears little resemblance to reality. Nowadays, autocracies are run not by one bad guy but by networks composed of kleptocratic financial structures, security services, and professional propagandists. The members of these networks are connected not only within a given country but among many countries. The corrupt, state-controlled companies in one dictatorship do business with their counterparts in another. The police forces in one country can arm, equip, and train the police forces in another. The propagandists share resources—the troll farms that promote one dictator’s propaganda can also be used to promote the propaganda of another—and themes, pounding home the same messages about the weakness of democracy and the evil of America.

Applebaum, Anne. “The Bad Guys Are Winning”. The Atlantic, November 15, 2021.

Bandits and Fulani Land Pirates amuck in Kaduna State and assorted communities in Nigeria –>

“Bandits, herdsmen kill 22 in Kaduna State, Taraba, Vanguard, November 11, 2021.

Sudanese dictatorship takes a big bite out of Ethiopia –>

Since the Sudanese military was willing to lose millions in aid and support from the United States by knocking out prospects for a transitional civilian government, they are unlikely to be phased by the White House’s call for peace and stability. If anything, Sudan’s military may be more emboldened to deepen its foothold over al-Fashaga as they no longer have U.S. monetary support on the line. If the conflict worsens, Egypt, Eritrea, and other African nations are likely to pick sides, squandering the chances for stability in the Horn of Africa.

Carlin, Maya. “How Sudan Exploited Ethiopia’s Tigray Conflict.” National Interest, November 15, 2021.

Having won Afghanistan by force of arms, the Taliban now find themselves embattled and lost –>

If the widespread impression was that the Taliban was a radical Islamic group, (which it is) it is being challenged by an even more extreme group, the Islamic State of Khorasan (ISK). Sporadic attacks, claimed by the ISK, has claimed lives and kept the ruling dispensation on the tenterhooks.

Within the Taliban itself, there appears to be a tussle between hardliners (aligned to Pakistan) like Sirajuddin Haqqani and moderates like Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who don’t have a problem having a relationship with India and Russia. The differences within the ruling government have prevented the Taliban from coming out with a clear vision on its way ahead other than reiterating that its interpretation of the Islamic Sharia will be the basis for the rule of law, social behaviour, and governance in the country.

Murthy, KS Dakshina, “Afghanistan under Taliban in danger of slipping into ‘black hole’.” The Federal, November 16, 2021.

Coalition appeals for aid in the interest of saving Afghan lives from Taliban targeting –>

WASHINGTON (AP) — A coalition of organizations working to evacuate people who could be targeted by the Taliban rulers in Afghanistan appealed Monday for more assistance from the U.S. government and other nations as conditions deteriorate in the country. / Members of the AfghanEvac Coalition met in a video call with Secretary of State Antony Blinken to press the case for additional resources to help tens of thousands of people get out of Afghanistan, now faced with a deepening economic and humanitarian crisis in addition to a precarious security situation following the U.S. withdrawal.

Fox, Ben. “US urged to help more people escape Taliban-led Afghanistan.” AP News, November 14, 2021.

Well, there above is a bit of morning curiosity over coffee. Anne Applebaum fighting for democracy against autocratic and feudal power worldwide; Nigeria riven with bandits and “land pirates” as it fails to rise tot he defense of its people as horrors take place; a Taliban leadership struggling to “win the peace” having bulled its way into power with violence . . . — good morning!

I maintain a “reading page” on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BackChannels .

I awoke one day not too long ago in a medieval version of the United States of America with a Medieval Internet Commons, passionate mobs Far Out Left and Far White or Strident Right, and loaded with the zealots of Olde Institutions, generally religious or, well, Far Out, man.

And I awoke one day to . . . Kidults, preening and self-indulgent, bent on profit or glorious decadence and dissolution, and then I got to read about Medieval Absolute Power (the Russian Way) and Modern Democracy (see “Rumor Control,” CISA,Gov) and realized the would-be “MODERN” — culturally inclusive, modern, middle-of-the-aisle but also the avant garde “politicos” of a 21st Century — or a 22nd Century “Newest World” — compassionate, loving, and prudent and responsible had a fight for the future on their hands. Well, there’s no need to erase the past or start over if I / you / we choose to stand on the shoulders of giants for a good look ahead.