FTAC: BackChannels Comments on Video, “The Greatest Revenge of All Times”


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Posted on Facebook by “Brotality” about six months ago:

The pilot’s success in becoming a pilot should have been Gabriel Pasternak’s revenge.

All else: common murder.


Fair for lookup: “maternal cameo”.

Kobrin’s a little challenging for reading, but the manner of taking others into one’s own suicide in suicide terrorism has been well documented and explored.

Everyone has complaints: perhaps the pilot in the above video should have asked himself for greater insight into his own behavioral repertoire, so as not to have alienated so many others — and then blamed them for his continuing his own unhappiness.

Of course some parts of the world grind against us, but our souls battle back with constructive ends and ideals.

While the pilot had found fault with everyone on that plane, the same passengers may have missed the pilot who could just as well have gone on to tweak his “ugly duckling” music into a beautiful swan — then too, with the money he must have been making as a pilot, imagine if he had used his new wealth to attend to more children like himself, how amazing the things they may have gone on to do.

Instead, he took himself out of the picture and drew the hate and want of revenge from all of the families and friends associated with all of the passengers on board his flight.

Regarding the pilot’s “awful music” —


“Brotality” promotes itself on facebook as an entertainment organization.

BackChannels readers are welcome to look them up and drawn their own conclusions.

The Urban Dictionary offers two or three definitions today of the term “brotality“, among them this gem — “When a real hard ass bro kills someone, mortal kombat style. ‘Bro’ being the prefix and ‘tality’ being the suffix.”




FTAC: East-West Conflict: Take the Longer Post-Cold War View


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Many conversations in the social networks rely on partisan politics for argument — Democrats this, Republicans that.  For the most part, the framing it time involves the period set by the run-up and aftermath of the Clinton v Trump election.  BackChannels suggests that the greater challenges associated with “Islamic Terrorism”, America’s political polarization, and the advent of vicious Far Left and Far Right fascism span Administrations all the way back to the last day of the Cold War (Dec. 25, 1991) and therefore beg Americans to broaden their scope accordingly.

Try to set aside partisan information and opinion and look at the present international relations in the greater frame of the post-Cold War period begun on the morning of December 26, 1991, the day after the Soviet Union dissolved. Rather than write long (e.g., “We know today through writers like David Satter and scholars like Karen Dawisha . . . .”), I’d rather share one link to what has been really taking place with “Islamic Terrorism” and the “New Nationalism” x Russia’s interest in sustaining dictatorships and much of the related political dynamics of the medieval world.


Putin | Assad | Khamenei comprise a package, as it were, from the Soviet Era: they are each in their way a part of what has been left of it.

Putin | Orban | Erdogan | add the leadership in some former satellites reengaging with anti-Semitism — should open the window wide on the medeival revanche.

I feel quite Quixote-like fighting this post-Soviet battle for liberal democracy because what Putin has done is brought back authoritarian and fascist (Turkey) or nationalist (elsewhere in EU / NATO) leaders in a way way that has damaged interstate democratic cohesion.

Russia from before the Bolshevik Revolution and to this day has had a long history as a promoter of anti-Semitic ideas and as a host, motivator, manipulator, and sponsor of terrorism. I hope the “Reflexive Control” piece will open a window for greater curiosity that may then lead to greater perception of an east-west conflict in which Israel very much represents a democratic and humanist future where other forces have kept installed medieval tyranny.

The Obama-Trump Punch and Judy gets and takes a lot of attention, but the struggle for western democracy against Moscow’s eastern sham spans American (“I looked into his eyes”) Administrations.

At the closing press conference, in response to a question about whether he could trust Putin, Bush said, “I looked the man in the eye. I found him very straightforward and trustworthy – I was able to get a sense of his soul.” Bush’s top security aide Condoleezza Rice later wrote that Bush’s phrasing had been a serious mistake. “We were never able to escape the perception that the president had naïvely trusted Putin and then been betrayed.”


In her book, No Higher HonourCondoleezza Rice would go on to say, “There was little room to convince critics that the circumstances of 2001 and the relationship with Vladimir Putin then were very different from what would come to pass.”

BackChannels submits that Putin was perceived differently in the White House by KGB design in those years and was not all different from the soul of the Soviet Union that had collapsed ten years earlier.  For reference to the Soviet transition plan developed in the 1980s for the event of dissolving, I would recommend reading Karen Dawisha’s Putin’s Kleptocracy.

For an overview of Russian history and related authoritarian paternalism, BackChannels recommends from the Russian Section of its library the two volumes by Richard Pipes.

Pipes, Richard. Russia Under the Old Regime: The History of Civilization. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1974.

Pipes, Richard. The Russian Revolution. New York: Alfred A. Knop, 1990.

Also in Media

Posen, Barry R.  “The Rise of Illiberal Hegemony.”  Foreign Affairs, March/April 2018.

America as led by President Trump appears to be winning its battles but altogether losing its war against a potential tyranny in the making that has come in the form of a “New Nationalism”, i.e., a populist president who is himself autocratic and seemingly enthrall to and reliant on feudal aggrandizement, cunning, and dumb strength in both personal and public realms.  As quoted from the Awesome Conversation and worth inserting here, the BackChannels piece on “Reflexive Control” and the rule of the manipulative and wealthy (like Medvedev) applies as regards the greater torque exerted by Russia, principally, and China as representing each their own politically unassailable business and leadership elites.

If Moscow believes it has taken the world forward by turning history’s clock backward, what has Washington done to freeze that totalitarian regress — and is it doing enough to keep from sliding into its own Orwellian (“Fake News!”) hell?

The American President — but not America’s governments in their totality — appears enmeshed in what ails most authoritarian regimes: questionable policies serving elites more than constituents, a host of political scandals, especially that “kompromat” thing that has come to associate the Trump brand with money laundering  (for more, web search, say, “Trump, Felix Sater”) and philandering.




Ours is a competitive world but also one bound by our human awareness of self and related facets of conscience, empathy, ethics, and morality.  We’re aware of what we do and, perhaps, at the same time fearful of what we are capable of doing.

BackChannels believes that the Russian experience of the Mongol Invasion and related administration left their marks within Russian princes who would fear what any show of weakness might invite from the world around them while in the subjugated inspiring a festering crude anger and resentment.  The vaunted “realpolitik” would then seem to have evolved from doing what works, and if criminality and main force and leverage appear to have worked, then then those devices may remain installed but deeply redolent of despair and disaffection and far opposite the inspiriting benefits of higher-integrity and rule-of-law democracy.


FTAC: Putin, Terrorism, Autocracy, and the New Nationalism


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When Russian jets first overflew Turkish airspace in 2015, Erdogan stood fast in his refusal of apology.


Six months later, he did what Netanyahu had done in relation to the Mavi Marmara: he apologized.


Setting aside the Israeli story a moment, points of leverage may have involved the “Turkish Stream” energy project, a piece of “realpolitik”, and an appeal to the narcissistic concept of cultural leadership and state in which the “Great Leader” is the embodiment of the living state concept _and entitled_ to aggrandizement and glory without limit (or, clinically, “unlimited narcissistic supply). Putin’s vision appears to me to be that of the medieval world sustained with raw power put in place of democracy.

The look of the mode — big palaces, nepotism on a royal scale, confusion in relation to the boundaries of person and state (and the state’s treasury) — marks the medieval mind and related revanche.

Men like Putin, Assad, Khamenei, Erdogan, Orban may consider true popular democratic government as impeding their own authority, sovereignty, and will. While the term “autocrat” sounds quite bureaucratic, similar concepts — caliph, emperor, king, sultan — fit these guys.

Because we know of the “Moscow Apartment Bombings” and that Russia has been arming the Taliban in Afghanistan — and there’s more back there with Zawahiri and others — it may not be too far fetched to suggest that Moscow has manipulated terrorism to induce in struck targets a predictable patriotic new nationalism and that “the terrorists” — ISIS or PKK — now provide a platform for conflict, all against all, and without end. Where Putin has held sway, he has turned back history’s clock.

Our President Trump has had no issues bearing and wearing the mantle of authority, but it would be facile to say he hasn’t had some issues with the “Estates” of a matured democracy.  In that regard, he may fit the world to which Putin has wished to return the world.

Inspiration for the above note:


Guest Post by Mitchell Gray: Reflection on _L’Etranger_, by Albert Camus


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Every US military leader ought to study the Algerian War of Independence from 1954 to 1962. The problems in Indo-China and Southwest Asia could have been reduced. Here was insurgency, terrorism, asymmetric warfare and the “eastern” method of warfare.

This novel was published in 1942 and is set in Algeria, a French colony since the 1830’s. France encouraged French citizens to colonize in Algeria and France also brought Algerians to France.

Camus won a Nobel Prize for literature for The Stranger in 1957 during the uprisings.

The end of WWI in 1918 ushered in a wave of anti-colonialism and this included Algeria. Independence was craved.

The novel focuses on the “antihero” Mersault who is a simple man who impulsively shoots and kills a nameless Arab on a beach on a blinding day. He is tried for murder.
After WWII France was very weak and began to lose contested colonies such as in Southeast Asia. The Front de Liberación Nationale (FLN) in Algeria spearheaded the fight and brutalities occurred on both sides as the French resisted independence.

The “absurdity” (Camus rejected that he was an Existentialist) of the trial was that Meurault was depicted by the prosecutor as “uncaring” or indifferent towards his dying mother. The outrage was not that he murdered an Arab but that he was not an appropriate son. That was his real crime.

Finally, in 1962 Algeria achieved independence and hundreds of thousands had been butchered. The fighting was extreme violence and cruelty. Hatreds fueled the inhumanity.
Critics point out the Arab victim was never named nor developed by Camus. This was seen as the French snobbery towards the native Arabs.

Algeria suffered an extremely brutal and cruel civil war in the 1990’s with ISIS like brutality. The Islamic party won elections in 1991 but the government canceled them.

Blood flowed. Heads fell. Flesh burned. Fear ruled.

Algeria is a major natural gas supplier. France still has great influence and al Qaeda has large cells there. Terror attacked still occur.

Europe battles problems with its Muslim populations especially from Algeria and neighboring Morocco. For decades the Algerians were marginalized and they claim treated as inferiors by France. Many joined ISIS.

We must learn from history and this includes novels that capture popular moods. We must learn better ways to live among ourselves and realize every human life is equal.
Meursault was a murderer. His crime was not being a bad son. But in this novel, much is learned about French attitudes towards their colonial possessions. We still deal with these attitudes today.

Mitchell Gray is the author of I Heard You Were Going on Jihad: How a Minnesota FBI agent may have prevented a second wave of attacks before 9/11 and exposed the Oklahoma terror network (Minneapolis: Mill City Press, 2015).  An Iraq War veteran, he previously provided valuable information to counter-intelligence agencies after 9/11, had practiced as an attorney, and taught as an adjunct professor on matters having to do with the oil and gas industries.


Above: cover of and Amazon link to the graphic novel adaptation.

Camus, Albert.  The Stranger.  New York: Vintage Books, 1946.

Related Online

Film trailer: The Battle of Algiers (film with subtitles), released September 1967 in the United States (IMDB).


Statement Regarding a “Military Parade”


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 American holidays and strong community interaction with the military honor the military. Related concerts and parades are today legend for binding the nation into a coherent and cohesive entity worth defense and worthy of respect all around.

There are ancillaries in air shows and show components, e.g., Blue Angels, in other events.

The parading of missiles and tanks has been for most who produce that spectacle a boast and a threat associated with lesser power, not greater.

The Vietnam generation of military cannot be compensated nor, perhaps, repaired adequately, but all have been permanently honored, memorialized, remembered on the Mall and beyond that in America’s communities. If and where long-term disservice has been done, perhaps that conversation is the one that should be led by an American President.

“A Needle in the Rain”

(c)1996 J. S. Oppenheim & DRB Productions

Brief History Lesson Regarding the Vietnam Era and the Present


Hey, old college kids, remember the fatigue jackets, the grass, the Mobilization on the Mall, and the whole trippy deep ecology and far out peace thing?

Know that the Soviet Union invested $1 billion in the environmental and peace movements of the day (perhaps labor was already under way), and it got its money’s worth in the sabotaging of domestic will for that war.  It would also come to lose influence with the hip when it demonstrated its true methods in “realpolitik” as it drove tanks into the Soviet satellite states that it had completely demoralized with its own narcissistic claptrap and thuggery.

I was young at the time — the last of the babies of the baby boomers — and on the draft rolls only briefly before our troops were brought home.

The “Active Measures” part of the Vietnam War is active today on Moscow’s part: disinformation, election meddling, war by proxy in support of kleptocratic dictatorships.  If you approve of such methods and ends — much including the ownership of other humans as mere property and as well demonstrated by Moscow-aligned Bashar al-Assad and Iranian Grand Ayatollah Ali (“Hang ‘Em High”) Khamenei — do nothing, say nothing.  If that’s not the world in which you wish the next generations to live, look back, get caught up on Orwell — or Hitchens on Orwell — for a start — and look forward to engaging in this now really different kind of war.

BackChannels reminds: Putin appears to have bombed Moscow apartments with interest in blaming Chechen rebels for the deeds (“false-flag operations”) and then gone on to brutalize Chechen villages into pushing their men into the ranks of experienced and ready Chechen rebels.

Big Deal

The Soviet Union dissolved in bankruptcy with official finality on December 25, 1991.

The moment had a backstory, one well worth the reading.

The west may have been too quick to believe Russia would then evolve into a capitalist democracy, free and vibrant.  Instead, and much as scholar Karen Dawisha has unearthed, it became by design an elitist’s kleptocracy and one that now apparently revolves around its own “Vertical of Power”.

BackChannels believes the strong have cause to celebrate through national holidays and shared American events, but it is the weak that needs must put their muscle on display in parades.

The strong?

End Note

When one works a few ideas around to a compressed or distilled state, one hates to lose them in cascades of commentary published through the social networks.  Blogging helps preserve such thoughts and keep them available via keyword searches.  This passage comes from an earlier take on the same theme:

With President Trump, the American public faces three deep challenges:

1) how do deal with disinformation in the long term — “Active Measures” from Russia’s machinery, deflection and related strategies involving information and (“Fake News!”) rhetoric;

2) how to resist our own deepening divisions to return to quintessential American ideals, principles, and values, starting with the valuing of integrity in business and government and consequent distaste for corruption; 

3) how to address enemies that have found ways to blend and practice war indirectly, not only by proxy but with “frozen conflicts” aiding the movement of arms and narcotics worldwide and ability to deeply manipulate terrorism (e.g., see “Moscow Apartment Bombings”; read Anna Politkovskaya’s observations on the brutalizing of Chechen villages).

We may be in a little bit of trouble because the Cold War didn’t end quite where we thought it had and not much has prepared EU / NATO constituencies for its apparent phantoms and their still medieval political ambitions and views.


Set: “Palestinian KGB” and Other BackChannel’s Observations Related to the Middle East Conflict


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As BackChannels interests developed, it became possible to plug-and-play appropriate material into Facebook and Twitter feeds with the hope that the same would pass through the western choirs, as they may be, and into the Palestinian’s own debilitating, degrading, faked-up “orientalist” gang counseling resistance with one hand and thieving (via corruption and other methods) from the same with the other.









Those genuinely interested in peace but making their careers, for now, on the spine of the conflict may today ask themselves how much they need to sustain the conflict as a conveniently evil institution.

As a dictatorship or sham democracy, one may expect today’s Moscow and company in similarly absolute power to want to keep another generation of refugees or Gaza and West Bank residents trapped in time and kept exactly as they are.  The business that made Arafat and Abbas multimillionaires and Haniyeh and Mashaal billionaires has been pretty good for cash and the related power that comes with dispensing the same as patronage.  Why stop now?  Or ten years from now?  Or twenty . . . or seventy-plus?

BackChannels would ask a different question: what do the open democracies wish to do with political systems redolent of medieval and totalitarian epochs and post-modern and politically criminal worlds?

Should Palestinians not “enjoy” another 70+ years as the political captives of their interlocutors?


Yuri Dmitriev Goes Home, But Trial Remains Open


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Dmitriev2007ByMediafond-522x-2President Vladimir Putin’s paranoid and punitive Russian state had taken Soviet Era type action against the fellow to the left, Yuri Dmitriev, in apparent retaliation for Dmitriev’s investigations of Stalin Era mass graves, the final evidence of the mass murdering that must have filled them.  The manner of action taken: “kompromat” — pictures of his undressed daughter framed by the regime as illicit for a show trial and consignment, for a while, to a psychiatric facility for evaluation.

Excerpt from the latest press release circulated by human rights advocate Elizabeth Childs:

His attorney, Victor Anufriev, says that Dmitriev is not out of danger yet. The date of the next hearing in the trial has not been announced, and it is not known if the Serbsky Institute also assessed whether nine photographs of Dmitriev’s daughter submitted in evidence should be considered pornographic in nature — a sticking point in the trial, as the prosecution has failed in several attempts to have expert analysts deem them as such. “I am sure that the prosecutor’s office will continue to pursue its goal of imprisoning Dmitriev at any cost and find some grubby organization that will give them the results they want,” Anufriev told the 7×7 news site.

Husband and Father Yuri Dmitriev at Home


Included with the Childs’ press release: Anna Artemyeva’s photo for Novaya Gazeta, January 27, 2018.

Previously in BackChannels

Dangerous History: Russia Slides Backward: A Note on Yuri Dmitriev and Moscow’s Return to Politically Directed “Punitive Psychiatry” (Jan. 11, 2018).

Additional Background and Update

Nechepurenko, Ivan.  “Gulag Historian Ordered to Undergo Psychiatric Testing in Russia.”  The New York Times, January 11, 2018:

At the end of December, an expert group found no pornographic content in the pictures, and the court, in Karelia, a region in northwestern Russia, refused to extend his detention beyond Jan. 28.

But at the same time, the court took a chapter from the Stalinist past, ordering that Mr. Dmitriev be sent to Moscow for psychiatric tests while also asking for a new review of the photographs by other experts.

Reuters.  “Russian Stalin-era Great Terror exposer freed from jail pending trial.”  January 27, 2018.

Memorial Human Rights Center (Old Web):

The Human Rights Center “Memorial” is a self-governed noncommercial civil organization, whose members are united by humanistic and moral principles and the aspiration to assist the defense of human rights and the formation of people’s civil dignity.

Foundation date: April 1st , 1993.

European Network: Remembrance and Solidarity.  “Russian society “Memorial”.  October 16, 2014.

Further Reference Ongoing

English language updates: The Dmitriev Affair 

Faceook: Free Yuri Dmitriev (English)

Twitter: @FreeYuDmitriev

MEMORIAL: An International Historical, Educational, Human Rights And Charitable Society

Related on site: “Yuri Dmitriyev Released from Detention.”  January 1, 2018.


Also in Media: FPA Blog: “How Can America Bring Iran Back to the West?” | January 11, 2018.


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The recent Russian rejection of an American initiative at the UN Security Council for the world community to express solidarity with the Iranian protesters in the face of the Islamist regime’s brutalities did not come as a surprise. In fact, given the history of Russia’s imperialistic behavior towards Iran, the rejection came as a natural move on the part of Putin. In this article I am going to make a survey of Russian imperialism in Iran and indicate what America can do to neutralize that threat and consequently bring Iran back to the West.


One more excerpt as a teaser to this reading highly recommended:

The Tudeh’s professed goal, according to Abrahamian (Iran Between Two Revolutions, 1982), was to “adapt Marxism to the local environment” so that in the end a Soviet-style Communist revolution can be brought about in Iran. In other words, as Iran was mostly a Shiite Muslim community, the Tudeh would use Shiite religious jargon and lore in order to attract the attention of the masses. This ploy would later play into the hands of the revolutionary Islamists who took over in 1979.