I haven’t been writing much here of late, and I have been wasting time every day with the following of the #RussiaUkraineWar and passing along assorted articles YouTube video to the BackChannels page on Facebook and Twitter. For the sake of a missed (mis-tracked) or insufficient education, I’ve opened (and have made it to the fifth notebook) Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations, and for old ambitions involving creative writing, have been moseying through Ian Fleming’s For Your Eyes Only (Kindle version). For brevity, in the end, I thought to share here a little bit of the daily engagement (due for diminishment in the cause of personal change and perhaps restoration) with the “awesome conversation” online.
https://conflict-backchannels.com/…/a-note-on-the…/ Russia–Russians–need a modern state, not a barbaric feudal-medieval monstrosity. Of course, Putin’s not well in the head, not rational. As a malignant narcissist, he defends his projection of a courageous heroic self as cover for the weakling he really worries about. Until that pernicious psychology is understood in Russia–I believe the psychology of dictatorship (and related aggrandizement, manipulation, and theater) is well understood in the west–the world will simply suffer through with it and wherever it leads.
Facebook, September 12, 2022. Note: Facebook, unlike Twitter, doesn’t seem to have an exact and impersonal location-sharing feature, so just trust me: I wrote the above in response to an appropriate prompt.
I have reached a point where becoming absent from “social media” feels a little bit (a lot) like death and its isolation, so small has my world become offline and so ephemeral at the desktop. Nonetheless, and with advancing age, getting on to other things–reading Aurelius, reading fiction, playing guitar and singing, housekeeping (oh, the neglect!), driving around, perhaps, or settling down to learning French, say, or just finding that place that lends itself to taking a long walk in the countryside appears to require absence (a wag would have written “Absinthe”, and that would have been fair too).
And much better than “Newspeak” (revisit Orwell): how dumb I / you / and we may be may be entirely up to ourselves!
We may wish to become aware, however, of our own “dumbing down” through allocation and curriculum priorities in general education and perhaps through our own penchant for entertainment without much critical demand on our own part except to be . . . well, entertained far more than informed or otherwise intellectually engaged.
That’s okay, of course
Allowing ourselves to be entertained is part of how we retreat from other engagements and find rest and restoration for the mind.
Still, perhaps all good citizens would do well to apprise themselves of the following concepts in greater depth as we globally ride out squawking of the discreditable, dishonest, disingenuous, despicable, and entirely disreputable (scorecard: D) among the world’s politicians and their hacks.
Active Measures: from Russia with the high-handed contempt associated with imperious narcissistic state leadership personality, think of “active measures” as the full suite of assaults on the cultural and intellectual framework of the liberal democracies of the world (and nix the “illiberal democracies”, even if members of NATO, for there ain’t no such thing as an “illiberal democracy”).
Hybrid Warfare: every form of sub-nuclear and sub-conventional warfare that might be (is) launched against a target (like Ukraine) so as not to resemble “direct engagement”. From the fielding and infiltrating of agent provocateur to mixing armed men without insignia (“Little Green Men”) in with partisan recruits to denying aggression at all . . . it’s all perfectly surreal bullying and combative bullshit that must draw a firm response from the land and people (and state) so viciously assaulted.
KGB Theater: political events, especially warfare, treated as a show one may produce and control for the delectation of military and political elites and the misguidance of the masses.
Orwellian: what happens when powerful political elites rule the world so as to forestall change, manage war as if it were a fireplace, dispense with the very idea of human dignity, and wreck forever even the hope of freedom, free will, and the possession of integrity.
Perceptual Control: political rhetoric and stagecraft produced so effectively and pervasively as to channel public perception where the politician — or, perhaps tomorrow, the “political technician” or “political technologist” — may with fair predictive capability produce effects as desired.
There is as yet no primer for “Reflexive Control” as the same has been a term of military art involving getting one’s enemy / target to behave in a desired fashion.
As now often noted on BackChannels (or on Facebook), the technique has been used to amplify or reinstall the feudal mentality and related political processes in the EU / NATO states in order to produce the kind of world in which autocratic systems — flat out or my measures — may thrive. In the KGB method as perceived by BackChannels makes short work of manipulating Islamic Terrorism to produce in targeted states a “New Nationalism” (strong reflexive patriotism) suited to the political absolutism of the medieval world.
Troll Farm: Moscow-sponsored factories for financially enslaved writers.
The actions of the long haul truckers show this, she says, and others may follow. “What did the government do in this situation?” It made concessions that had the effect of showing that its earlier actions were “unjust” and should not have been taken in the first place. Russians can see that.
“Now, legislation should be very carefully considered, for numerous laws that have been adopted are putting additional burdens on business and on the population. “Unfortunately, in the government, they continue to accept laws” designed to extract more resources from the population and are imposing them to try to cope with the crisis.
The share of poor families in Russia—those with not enough income to buy food or clothing—in the past year has almost doubled from 22 percent to 39 percent, according to the All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center.
Freedom, it so happens, carries with it a great many temptations and pitfalls, and no one among Russia’s powerful and propertied today has managed to resist these temptations. Impunity has made it impossible to cure Russia’s corruption with a simple outpatient procedure.
Twenty-four years and two days ago, the Soviet Union dissolved itself, a fact of political life and history that today places Putin, the oligarchs, the Russians, and the rest of the world in the 25th year past the monumental failure of the communist experiment. Today’s apparent “experiment” in place of the last one: feudalism in the form of a medieval revanche harking back to the days of Nicholas II and his establishment of the grandaddy of Russian political police, the Okhrana.
In a possibly Orwellian turn of events, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, so pleasingly pardoned before the Winter Olympics at Sochi has been returned (by Putin’s regime) to the status of an accused enemy of the Russian state, and “arrested in absentia” (the courts and defense are starting to kick around the absurdity — although Putin denies involvement, the state’s reputation developed under his auspices undermines claims to forthright character, i.e., too much has taken place “behind the curtains”).
Those gunmen, I am almost certain, were sent from the so-called Islamic State (which we refer to as Daesh because it is neither Islamic nor a state). I am a media and civil society activist from Kafranbel, Syria, a village that has gained global attention for its witty and sarcastic protest banners. We have fought the regime, we have fought extremism and we have maintained our focus on bringing a civil democracy to Syria. The Assad regime has bombed us nonstop since August 2012, killing more than 500 civilians. The Islamic State also used to attack here, raiding our offices and assaulting our activists, but its attempt to kill me was its last gasp in Kafranbel. The people of Kafranbel rose up and kicked the group out. The Islamic State has no presence here today.
But the pleasantries were not to be and the communication was cryptic. Could I come to the family home “right now?” It was an emergency. The eldest son had been arrested for taking a hoax bomb to school the previous day. NBC News had just left. The Dallas Morning News was present. How long would it take me to arrive?
Tammy Swofford, the author of the piece, has been chatting with BackChannels’ editor for years. The surreal Ahmed Mohamed clock-in-a-box story that broke in Irving, Texas landed not so much in her lap but much on her virtual table on which she had mixed curiosity about Islam and politics, friendship with the family, and file-it-away-for-later journalism. Throughout the drama, she removed herself to the sidelines while watching in horror as the incident sped into international consciousness with President Obama’s tweet “Cool clock, Ahmed.”
What’s Happy Yemens? Happy Yemen, Arabia Felix was the name Romans gave to Yemen. The organization is called Happy Yemens, promoting the interests of South and Central Yemen, two distinct parts of Yemen fighting with the Northern North for the past 800 years that the international community has been trying to silence. The international community is trying to hide our existence, and paint it as a Saudi-Houthi war. They only use voices from Sanaa & the Northern North who have never been to South & Central Yemen, nor do robbers and occupiers understand the reality of whom they have robbed and occupied. Most journalism is “Sanaa journalism” interviewing our occupiers about us. We aim for South and Central Yemenis to speak for themselves rather than our occupiers speak for us.
We are a media collective of South and Central Yemenis around the world. We feel that South ande Central Yemenis are persecuted by the Goebbels style defamation of the “Death to Jews” shouting Houthis who have adopted a neo Nazi ideology and many of its tactics. We want to give South and Central Yemen its own voice
Moscow’s action were in line with the strategy it had used to defeat the separatist movement in Chechnya, infiltrating the insurgency, driving it into extremism, and facilitating the arrival of al-Qaeda jihadists who displaced the Chechen nationalists. In Syria, Russia’s actions accord with the strategy adopted by the regime and its Iranian masters to present Assad as the last line of defence against a terrorist takeover of Syria and a genocide against the minorities. New evidence has emerged to underline these points.
While conceding there were still some ‘fundamental differences of view’ on ‘major issues’, Hammond hailed the ‘power of diplomacy’. This doesn’t include the power to stop Iran from executing dissidents and others at the fastest rate in many years, or the power to get Iran to halt its support to the Syrian regime’s murder machine.
What the diplomacy with Iran does have the ability to do, Hammond explained, is slake the ‘huge appetite’ of UK businesses and banks to begin commerce with Iran. Indeed, impediments to doing business could be eliminated by the spring. In this cold-blooded calculation the British government is hardly alone.