According to Karen Dawisha, recently deceased, the Soviet as administered by the Party Nomenklatura had in place in the mid-1980s a contingency plan for its own dissolution (just in case) — source: Putin’s Kleptocracy — so when the state dissolved (Dec. 25, 1991), the assets it had controlled were released to the “privileged of the The Party”. While the state transitioned into its federated form, the state was essentially lawless and without power to impose order on the chaos that ensued. (Aside: the power of the sovereign to police Russia has been always weak in terms of recognized police assets x area x population — the space has been historically underserved in that regard). The “Vory” coming out of the Gulag would present an especially egregious challenge to the new state and, so BackChannels believes, would be incorporated into the “mafia state“, effectively centralizing organized crime in the shadows beneath Vladimir Putin’s full sweep of power.
Now take in Craig Unger’s observations and blend with Russia’s Soviet / post-Soviet obligations and relationships involving all but support for Communism, which ideology was effectively neutralized by the official disempowerment of “The Party” at the end of the Cold War: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria | PLFP, PLO, Hezbollah, et al. | other former Communist Party alignments and former Loyalist (White Russian) extensions from the Imperial Period.
Russia’s mafia state, narcoterrorism, integration with big “transnational crime organizations (TCOs)” . . . — Oh! Add a few other states with their active criminal and terrorist funding portions and then imagine the money sloshing about in the pockets of the middlemen — the facilitators, the smugglers — who can’t spend all that dirty loot without cleaning it up some.
NOW, good civic minded citizen (who knows not to ask too many questions), imagine receiving it clean.
What would you do with it?
What if it stopped arriving?
In recent years and now weeks, money laundering scandals have surfaced in various ways: “Panama Papers”; HSBC; Danske Bank; Norde Bank.
The gum shoes and journos do their investigative things; we get the information and the infotainment; and we cluck: “How awful!
Wait a minute — that cash, indecipherable from other cash — is in someone’s economy serving as capital or reserves or as loose dough attractive to business, charity, labor . . . everyone for everything.
Is there a price? A benefit?
One generation does the crime — and behold: Las Vegas.
And the next: good educations; good businesses; good jobs; decent enough rule of law.
Delivered every which way: America’s Addicted: 2.5 million souls.
In the pipeline and driven by corporeal and financial insecurity associated with corruption, crime, and related impoverishment and violence: Central and South American mass migration.
While the Democrats have some post-Soviet issues on the Far Left — and the Republicans seem to draw the White Far Right — I believe Americans are perceiving a deeply paranoid, aggressive, and vindictive Administration freighted with shady figures (like Manafort) on the ride in and packed with sycophants (like Stephan Moore, the latest nomination for the Fed), today.
It was just one book (by a liberal) and may be let go, but since its publication, there have been many others, each researched and defended by its author, most with impeccable credentials. Now even the Mueller Report is being redacted — whatever the “eyes only”, the public isn’t getting the whole story, so there has to be something of value in the volume worth keeping from the public.
Whatever this report says, here’s what I know: when I was at Cambridge Analytica, the company hired known Russian agents, had data researchers in St Petersburg, tested US voter opinion on Putin’s leadership, and hired hackers from Russia – all while Bannon was in charge.
Christopher Wylie in the below displayed tweet.
In the way of communists and fascists alike, Bannon, the “populist”, has decamped himself into an Italian monastery befitting his own self-concept.
Such impressions add up, albeit among those who follow the news and query the Internet. The image of the President and his helper has not been authentically “populist”.
With Donald Trump, his once-trusted lawyer, his once-esteemed campaign manager, his brag, “I just you all a lot richer”, his Miami real estate, one of the world’s dirtiest / most glamorous markets, the story’s just not going to wash away, not matter how loud he may be about vindication.
I own it, haven’t read it, but it’s the kind of thing that pops up on Amazon with the search string, “Trump, Collusion” — there are also Trump collusion dismissals, but in that category, Roger Stone places high — I’d rather read (and trust) Guardian veteran Luke Harding.
BackChannels cited a BackChannels post on Craig Unger’s book. Here’s the direct link to the book on Amazon:
Many of them have fled from town to town to town under bombing. They have seen the most terrible things in war. And yet they are true believers. It’s going to take a lot to get them to change their minds.
US-supported forces besieging Islamic State holdouts in the Syrian village of Baghouz cannot cope with the more than 43,000 men, women and children who fled the battlefield and are currently being held in an internment camp and prisons in the north. Among those who fled are 500 foreign jihadi wives and children. The women, who are held in a separate compound from other escapees, say their husbands are fighting, are fugitives, are dead or are in prison.
The Pentagon rerouted millions of dollars’ worth of weapons and vehicles from Iraq to Syria in the second half of 2018, Al-Monitor has learned, as US-backed forces cornered the last remnants of the Islamic State (IS). In a series of notifications to Congress reviewed by Al-Monitor, the Defense Department said it had determined that a bevy of supplies purchased by the Pentagon for the Iraqi military would instead go to the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The Pentagon sent lawmakers its last reprogramming notification for 2018 on Dec. 31, 12 days after President Donald Trump announced his decision to withdraw US troops from Syria.
While much of the U.S. presence in Syria has been diminished, the transfer of war equipment and materiel to SDF forces tells Damascus (Moscow and Tehran) that nothing’s over as regards their intents to sustain medieval absolutism (and its characteristic sadism, power in that mode being the power to inflict suffering on others with impunity).
While some idiots view east-west conflict in the region as being all about oil, the cynicism conveniently overlooks the more compelling of ethical and moral arguments for the defense of some goodness still in the world.
BEIRUT — As Syria’s government consolidates control after years of civil war, President Bashar al-Assad’s army is doubling down on executions of political prisoners, with military judges accelerating the pace they issue death sentences, according to survivors of the country’s most notorious prison. In interviews, more than two dozen Syrians recently released from the Sednaya military prison in Damascus described a government campaign to clear the decks of political detainees. The former inmates said prisoners are being transferred from jails across Syria to join death-row detainees in Sednaya’s basement and then be executed in pre-dawn hangings.
God must be in the mind and a malign narcissism in the heart that produces so painful a mission as that of doing God’s will on earth by striking terror into the souls of others. Add: beheading, burning, enslavement, mass murder, rape, and torture.
God has helped the Islamic State jihadists in Baghouz lose everything but their madness.
Cohen’s hearing before the Congressional committee turned into a fine display of Republican viciousness. Cohen, convicted of earlier Trump-associated crimes, i.e., lying to Congress to protect The Boss, made a fair target for discrediting, but the barrage of indictments and innuendo launched by Representatives Jordan, Green, Comer, Hice, and Gosar, among others, either served to deflect attention from President Trump or to provide a lasting display of the kind of persons the Republican Party has seen elected to power.
Below: C-Span’s live feed of the hearing.
Showing up on Twitter during the early portion of the hearing:
Start with the cassus beli on this long journey backward to barbaric feudalism and wars founded in religious animosity and contempt.
(SRINAGAR, India) — The death toll from a car bombing on a paramilitary convoy in Indian-controlled Kashmir has climbed to 41, becoming the single deadliest attack in the divided region’s volatile history, security officials said Friday. A local Kashmiri militant rammed an explosive-laden van into the convoy along a key highway Thursday. In addition to the dead, the attack wounded nearly two dozen other soldiers, India’s paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force spokesman Sanjay Sharma said.
Official appeal on Twitter for Nigerian election incident reports —
And the election parade, as it were, from a so-far calm point of observation.
The world may be still a mystery online: where’s the action? 🙂 What’s coming off it in social media? What could do with authentication but for which the blogger’s desktop is rather out of the loop (for not being there)?
“They just burnt our votes!”
— APC Thugs With Help Of Securities Destroying Ballot Materials In PDP Strongholds.
This is how Buhari hopes to remain in power. Disenfranchisement, intimidation and burning of the Votes of thousands of voters in PDP Strongholds. – Hope For Nigeria (on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hopefornigeria/ ).
The peaceful change of power by fair and free elections marks democracies, but what are these between states that year after year as corrupt and despotic beneath a veneer of civil democratic governance?
The civilizational narcissism associated with Islam in Nigeria, mostly in the north, has an incumbent Muslim president (Buhari) who has packed the top tier of his military and police services with Muslim officers, and the Christian communities know as much. Between widespread poverty and religious animus and the prospect of Islamic tyranny, the thugs seem to come out to ensure their side remains superior in political power, and generally speaking that has been the Muslim side.
One, two, three — Ukraine, Venezuela, Sudan — each dictatorship associated with Soviet / post-Soviet political methods. Yesterday, it was the great talk of communism and socialism that yielded so much power to so despicable a kind of peacock thug among leaders — Yanukovych, Chavez and Maduro, al-Bashir, leading their states not to greatness but into dependence on themselves, at best, and state practices that may be regarded as rule of the strong by way of brutality.
Two days earlier the 29-year-old was running through his neighbourhood with a wide grin, draped in a Venezuelan flag. “Maduro get out, you son of a bitch,” he cried in the empty road outside his home in a defiant a video uploaded to social media. Then the feared Special Action Forces (FAES) police unit came knocking. “The people who killed him were wearing uniforms and had ski masks,” a family member who didn’t want to be identified out of fear of more violence told The Telegraph.
If the world is able to look back on this period . . . it will be sick with its memories. Bashar al-Assad with the support of Vladimir Putin and Ali Khamenei managed to physically destroy half of his state while running about half of its population as well. Now that the he has regained some areas, the past has come knocking for the release of prisoners.
Scanning for news, rejiggering it, “scraping” as bloggers may call it — all takes time. Of late, BackChannels has been wondering what one has gotten back — or just created — from each days sail out into the sea of web-borne news. In the spirit of philosophy, one might enjoy the consolation of having seen and relayed a very small shard of time in the world.
This post has featured web artifacts dated February 20 and 21, 2019 having to do with four conflict-hot states: Ukraine, Venezuela, Sudan, and Syria. Central to the historical narratives of each: autocratic and still medieval Russia, Imperial, Soviet, Post-Soviet. The bereft and hungry of the North established tribes in Kiev around the 9th Century and lived and ruled in the feudal manner by way of the standards of the age. Contracts, expansions, hardships exceeding in excessive suffering practically every possibility short of the Holocaust — I have in mind the Mongol Invasion — and here . . . at the end of two modern revolutions and three distinct experiments with government unable to escape a paternal (and these days criminal) paternalism, . . . well here comes perhaps a different end to empire: Moscow has invaded Ukraine and Kiev is fighting back, making the sacrifices every day it must for freedom through democracy.
Venezuela’s “mafia state” will never be able to return Moscow’s “investment” in post-Soviet support — another more responsible government is needed for that.
Sudan has only this day to lose an ageing despot whose control of his state has come down to “shadow brigades” and the muzzling of truth-telling journalists. He doesn’t like the way he looks in Sudan’s newspapers. I wonder how he’ll feel when he sees himself in history.