Active Measures — The collection of Russian Agitation, Disinformation, and Propaganda Methods made evident through covert or subtle Influence Campaigns applied to wrecking the political coherence and cohesion of EU/NATO for the purpose of reestablishing Political Absolutism in the same and then using the most thuggish of feudal and medieval methods to leverage loyalty and wealth from them for contribution to the Greater Imperial Glory of Moscow, the Russian “mafia state” it has come to represent, and the immense enrichment of its oligarchy.
Indeed the west, the melange of classically liberal democratic open societies built and structured around fair dealing, freedom, and integrity and related humanist and liberal ethics, principles, and values has been unprepared for covert agent provocateur, e.g., covert agitators Far Right and Far Left, disingenuous publications, false front organizations, trolls, etc.
I’ve chosen to demur from producing “long copy” and a lengthy reference section for this post. Awareness of “Active Measures” — the kernel of Russia’s covert campaign to degrade and ruin the democracies of the west — should suffice for both the interested and the unwittingly vulnerable.
Through the Cold War Era and now with Putin leading the Russian Federation, the purpose of Soviet / post-Soviet “Active Measures” has been to fragment EU/NATO for the purpose of Russian expansion and its feudal practices. A video like this one — the same as above on this page — will help a little bit with understanding the greater east-west politics and the tension between the worlds of “Absolute Power” and the open democracies of the west.
Active Measures” represents an international (RF v EU/NATO) dispute over the future, not only an American one.
If we are at one the other’s throat, Moscow will have succeeded in exploiting our natural political arguments and issues by heightening them and undermining our national political cohesion and coherence, thereby weakening our state and degrading our democracy.
Regarding “Far Out Left” and equally distant Far Right tendencies, the related foreign and disingenuous domestic manipulations of political perception targets us all.
Generally speaking, I believe that excessive and malignant narcissistic process takes off with damage early in life, and there’s a term for that: “Narcissistic Mortification”. The humiliation of the child, negative response to what is good, etc., will do it, and if it’s really bad, the personality will cover the damage (hiding the shame) and split an heroic image for self-concept that may be built with boasts, brags, lies, and the deep and tireless manipulation of others around himself.
Pause: narcissism is natural — most of us take pride in our internal motivations, our appearance, the things we do, and some of the things we acquire. Narcissism is not a bad thing but part of a healthy life. Moreover, not all narcissists are evil; many are reparative — we’re natural do-gooders, lovers, husbands, wives, shepherds, and stewards of what comes into our separate domains. We care, and goodness, integrity, and truth matter.
The malignant — the despotic — put on a show.
The fireman sets the fire, so he may show up to put it out and obtain admiration for his heroism.
Related look-up: “Moscow Apartment Bombings”.
“Gas lighting” goes with a malign narcissism as may “messianic delusions of grandeur” — also loss of those boundaries and limits that account for respectful privacy and natural and normal legal and social tendencies. The malignant lose a good part of their humanity on their way to “greatness” — and their greatness is in their heroic image.
After all these years, I don’t know who else has been mining this seam in relation to political psychology.
We may today know more about dictators — how they tick — than we do their followers, but some of the mechanics are known too, and much of the existence of each distills to force, leverage, and money that provides for measures of bribery, induction of dependency, intimidation, and patronage. The inner circles and close followers of dictators would seem generally in on the game with the greater public bought off, fooled, impressed, mollified, and patronized.
Most hated by the dictator: a free press that more accurately conveys his reflection and does so broadly, publicly, universally.
Erdoğan says his demand for a safe zone in Syria is rooted in Turkey’s war against terrorism. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Erdoğan says, is as much a threat as the Islamic State. That is of course nonsense . . . .
While those both enamored and fearful of power have always played “both sides of the street”, Turkey’s drift from a freely speaking, open, and vibrant democracy to one far from NATO ethics, interests, and values should be clear to the free world. Through the power of President Erdogan’s feudal imagination and thuggery, Turkey has been transformed into a politically absolute polity driven by the narcissism of its leader
Worse for the Turks and even his fans: President Erdogan’s toadying before Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Erdogan may appear strong standing up to the west, which today cannot levy enough sanctions on his project (probably hurting the Turks more than the Turkish President), but how may he appear doing Putin’s bidding while his equally enamored — or captive to Moscow — neighbor, Bashar al-Assad AKA “Bashar the Butcher”, continues destroying and strangling Syria — in Turkey’s direction too — under cover of destroying Sunni Islamists?
When Turkish air power rightly downed two Russian MIGs overflying Turkey’s airspace while refusing communications with Turkish air defense, Erdogan refused apology. And what for? He and his military had done everything right for the purposes of Turkish Defense.
The Su-24 shootdown took place on November 24, 2015.
Eight months later, widely reported on June 27, 2016, Erdogan apologized to Putin.
That has turned out a fair demonstration of Russian “realpolitik” and maddening absolute power.
For those watching — and those who knew the facts — “Sultan Erdogan” may just as well have knelt before “Emperor Putin”.
Perhaps President Erdogan has had some household bills yet to pay, and, beside, has needed a certain supply of energy to heat the house.
I hope the excerpts and videos that follow prove helpful as windows into the love fest developed between Ankara and Moscow.
The first direct gas pipeline between Russia and Turkey was the Blue Stream, commissioned in 2005. In 2009, Putin proposed a Blue Stream II line parallel to Blue Stream under the Black Sea. The Blue Stream II project did not carry through and the South Stream project took the lead, until it was abandoned in 2014. The TurkStream (then named Turkish Stream) project was announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin on 1 December 2014, during his state visit to Turkey.
The Russia Defence Ministry denied the aircraft ever left Syrian airspace, counter-claiming that their satellite data showed that the Sukhoi was about 1,000 metres (1,100 yd) inside Syrian airspace when it was shot down. The U.S. State Department said that the U.S. independently confirmed that the aircraft’s flight path violated Turkish territory, and that the Turks gave multiple warnings to the pilot, to which they received no response and released audio recordings of the warnings they had broadcast.
MOSCOW — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan apologized Monday for the downing of a Russian warplane in November and called for Russia and Turkey to mend a bilateral relationship that has become openly hostile over the incident.
Gazprom has started to fill the first branch of the offshore section of the Turkish Stream pipeline with natural gas. This is the final stage of testing the pipeline before putting it into operation later this year . . . .
. . . The first line is intended for the supply of Russian gas to Turkish consumers, the second – for gas supply to the countries of southern and southeast Europe.
Erdoğan says his demand for a safe zone in Syria is rooted in Turkey’s war against terrorism. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Erdoğan says, is as much a threat as the Islamic State. That is of course nonsense: The SDF formed to fight Al Qaeda affiliates and the Islamic State at a time when Turkey was passively if not actively supporting them. Nor can Turkish officials credibly point to terrorist attacks from Kurdish-governed portions of Syria. Groups that evolved from the PKK are not monoliths: The SDF is progressive and moderate; any visit to the region makes clear that the group does not embrace the PKK’s Cold War-era Marxism. The PKK itself has long sought peace and does not attack civilians. The Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK) splinter group continues to engage in terrorism, but they are based nowhere near Syria nor do they have any links to the SDF.
In a recent article in Foreign Policy, my colleague Steven A. Cook argued that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was playing Washington like a fiddle. With a combination of bluffs, threats, and bluster, Erdogan managed to convince the United States to come up with an arrangement in northeastern Syria to prevent a Turkish invasion—an arrangement that comes at the expense of the Kurds, who have carried the brunt of the fighting against the Islamic State. Whatever one thinks of the Kurds, their determination and sacrifice should be treated as an international public good; they have stopped and destroyed one of the most dangerous and homicidal groups the modern world has known. The Turks by contrast have contributed nothing to this endeavor.
If Erdogan has succeeded in manipulating Washington, however, Russian President Vladimir Putin, in turn, has played him to the hilt.
As BackChannels may use the term “Covering / Splitting”, the reference is to masking over the defective, humiliated, or impotent self — it’s not uncommon for children to suffer — and suffer deeply — at the hands of a powerful and sadistic other in such a way as to demand a coping and defensive route in behavior in response. The “splitting” then may refer to the development of the heroic or heroic-appearing self and the daring exploration and development of congruent behaviors. Not all who would experience “narcissistic mortification” become malign in their response — some may be reparative in response — but some do wish to get the better of their tormentor in one-up mirror fashion.
“Narcissistic Manipulation” –> “Gaslighting” and “Perceptual Control” — in the linguistic or Orwellian sense, control of the target’s information, imagination, organizing (Gestalt functions) and perception plus predictions or prognostics.
Had history not had “grandiose and messianic” personalities, there would perhaps be very little of human history at all.
Be that as it may, many ages — feudal, medieval, Renaissance, Elizabethan, lol (whatever works) — have passed into a modernity in which knowledge and reason prevail in the fashioning and support of modern democratic, humanist, and secular law and policy. Reflecting that sea change in humanity, Europe has come up with a dozen “constitutional monarchies” bound up in a reasonably coordinated, cooperative, and peaceful “European Union” that should be, so BC opines, quite sensitive about states marching themselves backward into the bloody illusions of the past.
Putin’s way has brought out the dictator in some EU / NATO politicians (Erdogan, Orban, Le Pen, Trump), not all completely successful in their quest to be as if feudal lords in command of their tribes x (criminality), language, race, religion, perhaps wealth, but in someways successful enough. Ironically, and while working opposite the direction of the Russian collusion “witch hunt”, the Trump Administration has taken many measures along the crime- and dictatorship-fighting axis to dull the expansion of nefarious post-Soviet enterprise (on BackChannels, have a look at Venezuela).
BackChannels’ trope regarding dictatorships: “Different Talks — Same Walk!”
So back to Omar al-Bashir who cannot tolerate that Sudanese should get the world’s news coming out about his regime worldwide.
The news, however, does get out, making the dictator’s image increasingly indelible and negative in global conscience and memory.
Since coming into power in 1989, al-Bashir worked to systemically consolidate power by banning political parties, dissolving parliament and actively muzzling political dissent, through arrests, torture and executions, as recent events demonstrate. His government also worked to systematically ban trade unions, which played a key role in two successful popular uprisings in Sudan — one in 1964 and another in 1985.
Africa News. “Sudan protest hub: Student rallies ramp up pressure on govt”. February 19, 2019.
Journalists – local and international, have been caught in the middle of the protests. Foreign reporters have been deported or ordered out over their coverage whiles local journalists have been arrested and allegedly tortured. Rolls of daily and weekly newspapers have also been confiscated. A number of varsity professors in the capital Khartoum were recently arrested for attempting to stage a protest.
These systematic arrests have targeted not only reporters covering protests in almost all parts of the country but also journalists who themselves dared to protest against the regime’s policy of censorship and arrests of journalists with the aim of restricting coverage of the protests.
When I started my journey around the world Online (In English), I had never even heard of “Partition”.
While I forget much or what I read, I’ve had the wisdom to keep my reading — my books — close by and may rapidly access what I’ve read.
I have 2,000+ close by reading options and could do my own in-house “Great Books” education, languages included, but I have to match age and mission sense with available resources. ??
As a species, our issues on Earth are profound, and that includes not only our search of political reconciliation and the diminishing of war, God willing, but the greater taking up of the stewardship of our planet, so that we may enjoy the image of our survival much farther into the future than the end of, say, Epoch of Oil.
We can and should open our eyes more widely than we do today:
Do you believe in the existence of conscience? Empathy?
God also may be described as an “inter-consciousness” between man and nature across the universe.
Thomas Berry has promoted “earth consciousness” with our species as stewards.
I’d go the extra light year and may — or not as Internet publishing appears to promoted promote abbreviation and compression of thought.
Many years ago, I played with Heinrich Böll’s “Murk’s Collected Silences“, a short story about revisionism involving a radio host and his indecision about the invocation of that singular and most Proper Noun, “God”. At the end of his career and interested in shaping the memory of himself, he decided to hedge, and instead of the recorded invocations of “God”, he had his technician cut out the world and replace it with “thou higher being whom we revere”. Murk, the technician, then cut even the resulting moments of silence for splicing together.
Here on BackChannels, this editor has been using as a trope, similarly hedging but advancing a concept at the same time, “God, Nature, and the Universe”.
It may be that we humans merely process chemicals faster than rocks, and that is all that differentiates our species and all else that lives from stardust.
Indeed, one may see pools of blood where spilled become flakes the color of rust (for the same reason) and drops of it diminish to powder dissolving in air.
This ugly truth about us explains what has happened to Brett Kavanaugh. Initially he was hated for being a Republican nominee for the Supreme Court, but it is still not universally acceptable to abominate someone only for being an originalist judge.
“Originalist judge” may not well explain what the nation saw transpire last week.
Here is this blog’s editor’s take on that.
BackChannels believed Ford, and that he (Kavanaugh) lied because he had the power to deny everything negative about himself. As much may be part of an “ambitious” or malign narcissism, and as much fits with the personality and associates of the man who nominated him.
With Red or Blue Right / Left Flag navigation, political identity may force arguments rather than reason, and that emotion drives the demonizing of the other camp as well as the concept familiar to conflicts worldwide: “accusation in a mirror”. “Witch hunt!
The Left has no need to apologize for defending Blase Ford.
The Right has no need to wonder why professional advisement — all those lawyers! — against the confirmation were ignored and the process will be remembers as forced by the Republicans or blocked by the Democrats: for an answer, the power of identity and loyalty will do.
Different talks — same walk! When it comes to dictators, all are malignant narcissists.
Many want to keep repeating old arguments, especially, yawn, “communism v capitalism” but the truth is more like “sweet words — foul deeds”.
Add incitement, the role played by anti-Semitic cant and libel by despots through the ages.
In the eastern tradition too — I have in mind the Golden Horde — there appears to have been no difference in treatment between persons and property, and, in fact, for some (reference Richard Pipes books on Russian history) proof of sovereignty might be made to lie in the senseless destruction of either with impunity. And I would cite as another characteristic of the “authoritarian” breed the ability to visit suffering on others at will and with impunity.
On the street, they’re bullies; in office, presidents for life.
Possibly: when the Soviet Union dissolved Dec. 25, 1991 and then presumably ended the Cold War, it’s possible (possibly) that American and Russian security elements thought to cooperate on issues confronting both states, Islamic Terrorism high on the list of possibilities conveniently at hand for that.
For the United States, one presumes that cooperation would have been intended to reduce the power and presence of dictatorship in the world and (in domino effect) remove the vestiges of the defunct Soviet Union in global foreign affairs. In the way of political “optics” — how things look — the American and other EU / NATO constituencies would have perceived some great measure of peace and trade taking place between the former superpower antagonists, so when Clinton and others signed off on “Uranium One”, it may have been in that context that the deal went down.
East and West had taken the great leap forward toward peace in 1992 and by 2010 business involving uranium, a strategic asset, appeared to have been conducted in overall calm, bureaucratic, and peaceful conditions.
While other business and political mixers were proceeding, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and Muammar Qaddafi’s Libya were also transformed (in 2003 and 2011, respectively), at least as regards the deposing of each dictator — and let none remember them fondly: they were both monsters in each their own demonic way.
Then in 2011: Syria.
When offered the choice, Putin refused the liberal western path and reverted to the KGB past. At that moment, possibly(!), Team Security USA, in some part, discovered that it had been duped
(Note: intervention in Libya preceded the perceived (Wikipedia) start date of the Syrian Civil War — on BackChannels, the “Syrian Tragedy” — by five days).
Moscow had intended to refuse the adoption of democratic liberalism all along.
What the United States and EU / NATO had done for peace between 1992 and 2011?
I don’t know.
However, one may imagine the possibilities.
However, the old news cross my desktop a few minutes ago, and it seems to add its little bit to the BackChannels perspective on Cold War / post-Cold War / Phantom of the Soviet history.
If you haven’t hit the link, the “old news” was this:
The report – titled “Globalizing Torture” – said President Bashar al-Assad’s regime was one of the “most common destinations for rendered suspects,” indicating an established security relationship between Syrian intelligence and Western agencies.
The story — and not written for conservative Americans — traces its thesis back to at least 2003.
Apparently, Moscow and Washington had been fighting terrorism together in the double-0’s of the new century.
Welcome Moscow’s post-Cold War totalitarian design and the west’s apparent partial cooperation with it, possibly, up to the Syrian gambit of spring 2011 when Obama tested Putin’s navigational tendencies.
In Russia’s persistent feudal mode, states serve power, and power need see no difference between property and persons, sovereignty in the politically absolute mode implying the right — more: even the obligation and demonstration — to destroy either with impunity and without explanation. A little foolery with political perception and CIA “rendition” programs (to fight al-Qaeda and others) would be one thing, but to travel further with Moscow and Damascus in their tyrannous journey appears to have been something Washington could not bring itself to do.