Then their anger was diverted to the statue of Felix Dzerzhinsky, the KGB’s founding father. A couple of men climbed up and slipped a rope round his neck. Then he was yanked up by a crane. Watching “Iron Felix” sway in mid-air, Mr Kondaurov, who had served in the KGB since 1972, felt betrayed “by Gorbachev, by Yeltsin, by the impotent coup leaders”. He remembers thinking, “I will prove to you that your victory will be short-lived.”
Those feelings of betrayal and humiliation were shared by 500,000 KGB operatives across Russia and beyond, including Vladimir Putin, whose resignation as a lieutenant-colonel in the service had been accepted only the day before. Eight years later, though, the KGB men seemed poised for revenge. Just before he became president, Mr Putin told his ex-colleagues at the Federal Security Service (FSB), the KGB’s successor, “A group of FSB operatives, dispatched under cover to work in the government of the Russian federation, is successfully fulfilling its task.” He was only half joking.
It is a great honour for me to give the first Tom Lantos Rule of Law Lecture. I would like to thank Annette Lantos, Katrina Lantos, and their whole large family for all their support over these 10 long years.
Today, the outside world is seeing Russia more and more as an aggressive country with an outmoded economy…
Against the background of the latest scandals about interference in elections, military adventurism in Syria and the Donbass, and the seizure of territories in Crimea, my country is more and more often being mentioned in the same breath as places like Iran and North Korea.
Of course, I don’t agree with this, but I cannot help but notice that we are regularly starting out from the position of an aggressor. Of a country that disrupts the world order, an exporter of tension and corruption. And the fact that we are not the only country like this gives me no comfort whatsoever.
I can’t help but notice that my country’s ambition to be a world leader is not supported by the viability of its economic system and the results it produces.These are becoming ever more dismal as the country has stalled its way into stagnation.
Source and Recommended Reading
“Listen: we engage in foreign policy the way we engage in war, with every means, every weapon, every drop of blood. But like in war, we depend on both the strategy of the general in the High Command, and the bravery and initiative of the soldier in the trench.”
Russian former diplomat, 2017
Russia sees ‘active measures’ (aktivnye meropriyatiya) – from supporting populist parties through disinformation and espionage campaigns, all the way to incidents such as the attempted coup in Montenegro – as an essential part of its efforts to influence Europe. Along with the usual instruments of foreign influence, such as diplomacy and economic levers, Russia is especially active in using covert and non-traditional means, from intelligence operations to military pressure and even organised crime, all of which have been the foci of recent policy briefs for ECFR.3 This final publication in an informal series seeks instead to consider the extent to which these campaigns are carefully planned and coordinated – and, if so, by whom.
Approximate date of publication: September 2017.
False-Flag Fire Starter:
Brutalizing of Chechnyan noncombatant villagers:
Backgrounder, published yesterday, on the persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar:
The monks, too?
There’s one famous Buddhist monk who was on the cover of Time magazine a couple of years ago, and he’s described as a “Buddhist Bin Laden.” His name is Ashin Wirathu. He’s a very strange character because he wears the Buddhist garb, which is worn to demonstrate your withdrawal from the world. At the same time, he has diamond-studded watches; he flies on a private jet. It’s completely contradictory. He’s one of the main instigators of the violence. Buddhists believe in reincarnation, and Wirathu and followers of his Buddhist nationalist 969 movement believe that the Rohingya minority have all reincarnated from snakes and insects. So when you actually kill them, you’re not actually killing people, you’re actually just killing snakes and insects. That laid the foundation for the current situation that we’re in.
Who would know the beauty of a malignantly narcissistic kleptocracy better than Moscow?
And I will add, though it may be irrelevant, what hypocritical kleptocratic and medieval entity would know how to infiltrate and support terrorists worldwide better than Tehran?
Give the transitive formula a moment to sink in:
Chechnya : Myanmar
Ingush : Rohingya
The world has been once again drawn into global warfare, Moscow’s way.
By way of wholesale abuse and slaughter, the innocent of war have been pushed in both regions into flight and defensive conflict while being branded as “The Terrorists” — perhaps not unrelated to the process that has burned through Syria but the very facsimile of it.
Given how Moscow / Moscow-Tehran work, the world gets “The Terrorists” — and, oh, they’re real in an of themselves, they’re channeled with their ranks filled out by the efforts of manipulating “leaders” greater than themselves.
Related in the News
There is an urgent need for de-escalation in levels of violence in Rakhine State as there is a strong possibility of other displaced Rohingyas being radicalised by Sunni fundamentalist groups including the Bangladesh chapter of the Islamic State to take to arms. The Rohingya displacement is a matter of serious concern but the root cause of increased animosity among the Burmans and other ethnic groups against the minority community should also not be glossed over. The international community has questioned Myanmar for the crisis but has forgotten the bloody contribution of Pakistan-based jihadist groups to this catastrophe.
Dictators, terrorists, and totalitarian ideologues, almost by definition, cannot tolerate being laughed at. Nor can anyone with an inflated ego and thin skin. Ridicule is their Achilles’ heel. And, humor is a robust underground phenomenon in any society. The Soviet leadership was so fearful of humor that the KGB had what Russian comedian Yakov Smirnov called a “Department of Jokes.” That was not the real name of the department, which had a more anodyne designation as a subunit of the KGB’s political enforcement section, the Fifth Chief Directorate, but Smirnov’s nickname for it made the KGB look all the more weak and bizarre (although all jokes still had to be KGB approved).6
Source: Waller-Weaponizing Ridicule
“Dawa is to the Islamists of today what the ‘long march through the institutions’ was to twentieth-century Marxists,” writes Ayaan Hirsi Ali in her latest monograph, The Challenge of Dawa: Political Islam as Ideology and Movement and How to Counter It. In it the Somali-born political activist accurately analyzes the threat of, and necessary response to, Islam’s faith-based political ideology, yet the feasibility of her desire to reform this “Islamism” out of Islam is questionable.
Analyzing dawa’s call to Islam, Ali calls for a “paradigm shift that recognizes how violent jihad is intertwined with the ideological infrastructure of dawa,” the “subversive, indoctrinating precursor to jihad.” Reflecting a commonplace myopic focus on jihadists, President George W. Bush “often referred to a ‘war on terror,’ but terror is a tactic that can be used for a variety of ideological objectives.” Accordingly, “nonviolent and violent Islamists differ only on tactics; they share the same goal, which is to establish an unfree society ruled by strict sharia law.”
Now, as an American citizen living in San Francisco, I can write about my experiences and perspectives in ways that many in Gaza cannot, fearing only that my parents, siblings and other family members who remain there are not held responsible for my opinions. My folks are sometimes jealous of my ability to speak my mind and remind me frequently to consider the implications for them of what I say.
While Israel continues to play a significant role in Gaza’s affairs, the grim anniversary of the Hamas takeover warrants focusing less on Israel than the role that Palestinian political organizations have played in worsening the misery for Gaza’s more than 2 million residents. And that has led me to conclude that the United Nations, for all its problems and the hate it incurs by Israelis, is perhaps Gazans’ best hope for progress.
Read the Whole Thing: How to save Gaza: Palestinian American says it’s time to stop blaming Israel – 7/12/2017.
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