The Machiavellian “behind the curtains” has been supplanted by “in the shadows” and into the shadows may be where mainstream media fears to tread.

Both the Bond movies and Le Carre novels, and I’ve enjoyed both in series, have reflected in fiction the issues (as well as atmosphere) of their day, each work of art in essence packaging up the look and spirit of a part of a decade using the secret world as its window. For the writers, intuitive exploration may turn out more secure than looking into essentially powerful secret societies.  In fact, the possession of private power and wealth may be inseparable today from the control of political influence and movement in the mirrors of criminal and lawful worlds and the feudal and democratic ones in which the bad guys work in secrecy and the good guys do as well but, perhaps, differently.


In real life, someone leads an organization that kidnaps an Israeli Olympic team at the event — and someone else leads another organization that quietly hunts down the miscreants.

Must the journalists know all? And when?  As history?  As now?

Many stories emerge over time.

I haven’t yet watched _Kill the Messenger_ but from description it appears that it will fit with a stack of nonfiction histories about the security services of states. Whatever happened may be done, but the processes may not be done, and that’s where the public becomes curious in its own interest. However, journalism has also a politics of discretion belied by the terms of art “on the record” and “off the record” and the public may never know what has been imparted “off the record”, much less what has been sealed in the minds of agents and the vaults of the KGB/FSB and others.

I’m more inclined to trust The Washington Post than, say, Alex Jones 🙂 , but one may suspect that the Post must also keeps secrets.

With conventional warfare somewhat nulled by the immense firepower developed by would-be adversaries, the twists that are “low-intensity conflict”, “hybrid warfare”, “war by proxy” and so on depend on mafia-type arrangements and relationships to produce activity (or perhaps as much has been always the way of the street in which conflicts are conceived and worked into reality).

Posted to YouTube 12/1/2014.

In books available through Amazon and in videos on YouTube, there’s a surfeit of material covering the history of spying, from The Bible, no less, and forward.  One has only to look.  Of historic interest and, perhaps, contemporary curiosity, may be the depth of control and integration a state has with its people along this axis.  From the 20th Century experience, the mere mention of “Gestapo”, “STASI”, and “KGB” summon the vision of totalitarian police states operated by political elites with security forces sufficiently populated to reach down through their societies to the extent that even children are made into informants.

The prompt for this post was Diane Weber Bederman’s recent piece in the Canadian Press, “Media dereliction of duty to the citizenry” (August 6, 2015) about the film Kill The Messenger (which I have not yet seen, but I like IMDB’s quotation of the tag line: “Can you keep a national secret?”).

When Mr. Putin and company set out to preserve the privileges of the Soviet without the Soviet (reference: Karen Dawisha’s book, Putin’s Kleptocracy), the drive appears to have been developed precisely for interest already established within the KGB and Party to preserve power and wealth and the ability to distribute the same to similar favored elites.  As a king to knights and lords, so has Putin been to his “new nobility” (another title in the Russian Section of this blog’s library).

Do the services of western powers mirror the security systems that maintain Russia’s neo-feudal governance (yes/no?) and, if so, democracy by democracy, how?  What’s similar? What’s different?

I’d rather imagine the answers and work in fiction — and may, for this lonesome blogger is not The Washington Post or The New York Times, and even the “best and brightest” in those companies may choose — or have long chosen — to exercise discretion.

Who’s to know?

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