The event may be wrapping up, but it should persist on YouTube and remain here in the BackChannels’ record of witness.
New Threats – New Powers and Criminal States
The Illusion of Nationalism
BackChannels has been fighting the New Nationalism from the moment it detected its origins in the stimulus produced by Islamic Terrorism as manipulated by Moscow and Tehran worldwide.
The blog has also associated America’s deep and frequently extreme political polarization with “Active Measures” and related “hybrid” and “information” warfare designed by the dictatorships running Moscow and Tehran against the will of their people. It seems surreal that a French President would now stand before the American Congress and underscore those points while a populist American President stands some to the side and between as regards accommodating, so far, aggression in Ukraine and an unspeakable horror show for humanity in Syria, which has been strengthened also for Iranian and Russian forces as well as their proxies and “little white men” (same as those “little green” ones who literally walked into Crimea).
Best Solution – Digital Data and Artificial Intelligence
BackChannels heartily endorses fair and free trade, global cooperation that is constructive for all — no zero-sum games or negotiations — and, of course, due attention to the psychological and social ramifications of exchange involving Big Data and. God bless Sophia and her engineers, the revolutions to come in artificial intelligence.
There Is No Planet B
I was drawn away from the desktop during this morning’s speech, but am very glad here to have returned to a recording of it (thank you Fox 10 Phoenix for fair use and fine editing) and spent the afternoon with it.
I think it safe to say that America LOVES French President Macron. At the end of this clip, I seen no one sitting in protest. I don’t know if that’s a rare occasion (another remark made about this event and one best left unremarked), but I’m going to be feeling it — feeling its goodness — for a while).
I don’t know how far back in modern history the penchant for exploiting or killing journalists go, but as much has been a part of the peril for the intrepid since I signed on here in 2006/7. The evildoers haven’t the innocence required to boast their programs with authentic faith; instead, they manipulate their programs — the Communism, the Islamism, possibly the Capitalism as well, and all other such — to assault their enemies while corralling their believers. Power has become a deeply cynical game beloved of dictators. They will say anything to direct, focus, and incite their mobs. It’s into that environment that it seems modern “war reporters” now walk. They are no longer “telling the other side of the story” — they’re either helping the other side produce their “optics” — or they’re getting whacked.
What the west may do in conflict is adhere convincingly through doctrine to their own arguably superior ethical and moral codes.
Would only that there were that “Hail Dorothy” moment when the Wicked Witch has melted and the army subjected to the poor bitch is found to have no complaints.
BackChannels trope regarding dictatorships —
“Different Talks — Same Walk!“
absolute power, Absolutely Powerless, Cold War, Cold War history, dictatorship, KGB, medieval v modern, Oyub Titiev, Political Evil, Political Medievalism, punitive psychiatry, Soviet / post-Soviet politics, totalitarianism, USSR, Vladimir Putin, Yuri Dmitriev
The BackChannels editor has to wear “readers” too, but to spare some squinting here’s the most critical pull from the small print in the above image:
Dissenters, as a rule, have enough legal grounding so as not to make mistakes during their investigation and trial, but when confronted by a qualified psychiatrist with a directive from above to have them declared non-responsible, they have found themselves absolutely powerless.
Kafka comes to mind.
So does Milan Kundera’s famous statement: “The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.”
President Vladimir Putin’s dictatorship has chosen for Russians the erasure of their memory and gone after the culturally healing human rights organization Memorial.
While Yuri Dimitriev’s dark adventure into Putin’s Hell gains traction in the western human rights community, another Memorial notable has been apparently framed (here relayed in shortest form):
https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2018/01/russia-rights-defender-arbitrarily-arrested-in-chechnya/ – 1/11/2018
https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2018/01/276951.htm – 1/11/2018
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jan/10/chechnya-under-fire-after-human-rights-activist-held-for-drugs-possession – 1/10/2018
BackChannels wishes not to dilute the singular and stunning insult to the world that is the “Dmitriev Affair”, but it’s evident the Phantom of the Soviet has in mind the planting and rooting of Old Totalitarian Poison even with the world’s entire New Intelligentsia taking notice.
Expressed as a personal trope: “Absolute Power” becomes inevitably the power to visit suffering on others with impunity.
Expressed as a personal trope: according to Richard Pipes (and now I shall have to relocate the reference), as the power of the Mongols receded, Russian princes had nonetheless internalized the idea that property and person could be (and should be) treated as the same thing, and proof of sovereignty was to be found in the permit to destroy either at will and without consequence.
For the malignant among narcissists, it would seem the suffering of another should have no consequence other than to affirm the power of the narcissist’s own blind will. All the techniques of theater — for controlling family, if small; for controlling nations, if large — may apply to the artifice of presenting “reality” with the intention of framing and creating popular — and a neither too bright nor curious nor politically empowered — perception.
Some of Russia’s leading cultural figures say Mr Dmitriev was framed because his focus on Stalin’s crimes — he found a mass grave with up to 9,000 bodies dating from the Soviet dictator’s Great Terror in the 1930s — conflicts with the latter-day Kremlin narrative that Russia must not be ashamed of its past.
The narrative has taken on added importance ahead of a March presidential election, with polls showing incumbent Vladimir Putin, who uses his country’s World War II victory when Stalin was in charge to bolster national pride, is on track to win.
Mr Putin asserted last year that what he called an “excessive demonisation of Stalin” was being used to undermine Russia.
In general, the situation in Karelia is complex. On one hand, Karelia is a region where many exiles are left, the whole region was filled with camps and exiles, and the memory of this is alive at the personal level. And the authorities of Karelia have, for a rather long time, supported the activities of “Memorial” and various structures for perpetuating memory. When Dmitriev discovered the Sandarmokh burial site, the Karelian authorities cooperated and held a contest to landscape this place. But at the same time, there were efforts to conceal and obstruct the receipt of information on the side of the secret services. They also tried to pressure Dmitriev six years ago. On one side the authorities helped, but on the other side, some power structures interfered. And in the past couple years, pressure on Dmitriev has intensified, as an independent historian.
A small clearing in a dense northwestern Russian forest marks the site where, 20 years ago, Yuri Dmitriev discovered a group of mass graves containing victims of Josef Stalin’s Great Terror.
Using detailed documents uncovered in KGB archives, Dmitriev was able to piece together the location where Stalin’s execution squads killed and buried more than 9,500 people from 1937 to 1938. The documents contained the dates and names of those killed, as well as the executioners’ names. During the next two decades, Dmitriev worked meticulously to document every victim’s story.
“For our government to become … accountable, we need to educate the people,” Dmitriyev said of his efforts to uncover details of Soviet repression.
But not everyone wants to remember this forgotten history, especially amid Russia’s current patriotic fervour. The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, said in June that “excessive demonisation” of Stalin has been a “means of attacking the Soviet Union and Russia”, and several branches of Memorial have been declared “foreign agents” in recent years.
The U.S. Mission to Russia is concerned by what appear to be politically-motivated criminal charges against prominent human rights activist and historian Yury Dmitriev. Mr. Dmitriev is a respected historian whose work has been instrumental in uncovering mass burial sites and founding the Sandarmokh Memorial Complex in Karelia. We call on Russia to transparently uphold the rule of law and respect human rights and fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We also call on Russia to respect its international human rights obligations, including those related to the prohibition on arbitrary arrest or detention and respect for fair trial guarantees.
A previous psychiatric evaluation declared him to be of sound mind and a court-sanctioned expert group found no pornographic content in nine photographs of his daughter that are at the center of the case against him, overturning the earlier findings of other experts commissioned by prosecutors.
What always struck me about Dmitriev was his enthusiasm, which materialized less in the help he gave me and more in his attitude to history, to events that had occurred many years ago. For example, in the same cemetery where I shot the film, he found the remains of a POW. None of the local authorities was in a hurry to bury the exhumed “youth,” as Dmitriev called him. So Dmitriev put the bones in his garage. A while later, he secured a spot in Peski Cemetery, found a sponsor to help him buy a gravestone, and asked the philologist Valentina Dvinskaya to translate the phrase “To the victims of war, disappeared but not forgotten” into German so that it could be engraved on the headstone. He did all this for an unknown man who had been killed over sixty years ago.
It was only later I realized that Yuri Dmitriev was the same Yuri Dmitriev who had founded the Sandarmokh Memorial Cemetery, who was involved in investigating the Krasny Bor Forest NKVD execution site in Karelia, who had catalogued over 13,000 names of victims of the Great Terror of 1937–1938 in Karelia and published them in The Book of Remembrance, which runs to thousands of pages.
In the New Age of Active Measures, the countermeasure is the conveyance of truth — not “alternative truth” or multiple possibility derived from promoted fantasia — supported by great curiosity and integrity as married to equally great journalism and scholarship.
A friend promoted the Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty project as focused against deceptive and disingenuous political cant designed to whip up extremist emotion and stupidity in Asia as well as in its older domains.
In regard to information and integrity in speech online, BackChannels has published a few related posts that may convey an image about Potemkinism in political speech: there are those who project through language the way they might wish their followers would see the world and themselves.
BackChannels really hasn’t an issue with political presentation and “show business” in general but rather than with a depth in totalitarianism in which accusation (especially “reflection in the mirror“) and conflict (and related barbarism) would seem to have no point but of the completely artificial conveyance of image.
Inspiration: an image with FEMEN topless, of course, up top and below examples of accomplished female professionals and the charge was that FEMEN were not feminists but the workers were.
I like FEMEN.
The Atlantic ran a Pro-Con set on them in 2013:
Where women enjoy security beneath the umbrella of reasonable and sound laws, it should not make a difference how one or the other choose to bring attention to political or social issues that concern them.
Free to work; free to bare the breast (at times); free to choose: free.
The hidden principle and cultural value behind this discussion is “modesty”. In civil and day-to-day life, most may agree that modesty is a virtue.
Keep your clothes on.
However, in the liberal western democracies that adjust themselves with thought and thoughtfulness, there’s been ample room for peaceful civil disobedience and protest. It’s in that context that a passionate defense of persons against wrongdoing my be interpreted. Perhaps where attention is needed — perhaps we should discuss FEMEN’s causes more than its methods — attention is gotten.
The Eugene Delacroix painting is famous and here somewhat between camps because she is “Liberty” herself leading the charge against tyranny.
Order: reverse chronological or most recently encountered material toward the top, a flexible guide.
The Guardian’s latest:
Hundreds of protesters have been detained by riot police in cities across Russia, as some of the largest anti-government protests in years swept the country.
The call to protest came from the opposition politician and anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny, who was himself detained at the Moscow demonstration. A monitoring group said at least 700 people were detained in Moscow alone, while the news agency Tass gave a figure of 500.
The post may exist only to get the Sunday reader started on the “All Russia Protests Against Corruption” (the title is BackChannel’s interpretation of the Russian billing for the event).
Note: many of today’s gatherings across Russia in protest of the Putin regime’s feudal indulgence in theft and corruption (reference: Gary Kasparov’s Winter is Coming and Karen Dawisha’s Putin’s Kleptocracy) have not been permitted by state officials, so all who have responded to the call for protest risk arrest and other methods of political repression known to those who have challenged similar regimes in the past.
Add the supporters of opposition leader Alexei Navalny now organize such actions in dozens of Russian cities. In many places, authorities have not agreed on the meetings under various pretexts, and some are already there have been reports of detentions.
Time on the recording: 20:50 Location: Field of Mars, St. Petersburg, Russia
“I have a couple of times at the meetings asked what my personal motive and whether he is. There is a personal motive, yes. The answer is:”
“Tomsk is now”
Note: “now” was 4:14 p.m. in Tomsk, Siberia.
“Ufa. Again, no one came.”
“The leading news agencies of the country (TASS, RIA, Intefaks) about the actions taking place in different regions, not a word report.”
“Before our eyes is now crumbling propaganda myth of the ‘marginal minority’ do not enjoy the support of the people.”
Who, what, where, when: above.
“The Italian Minister of the residence and you pay for it” (machine translated); posted to YouTube March 16, 2017. English subtitles available using the “cc” (caption) control.
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Nothing like waking up to an alert from Facebook! And having no idea why this time you have been blocked-from everything! Can’t post or receive messages. Can’t like or love a post. Can’t post! Totally stifled.
I tried to find out why I was blocked. I sent a request-because I thought it was a mistake. I don’t use foul language. I don’t post pornographic photos or death threats. I don’t attack people- I do attack their facts.
I received the usual response-Nothing.I was “deleted” either because of my latest post Islam on the March:Part 1 or I may have insulted some Liberals (sadly so easy to do).
Read the whole response to Big Brother Facebook: Facebook Fascism | Diane Bederman- Your Passionate Voice of Reason – 3/22/2017.