Former American President Trump’s tenure proved the nation’s distraction from all but itself with the exception of China for Trumpian finger pointing over the “Wuhan Flu”. Now the state’s perhaps a little startled to find itself again a part of the free and do-good world of the Atlantic Alliance. With concern for Russia’s now baldfaced aggression in Ukraine, President Biden will have to pick up on Russia’s crude squatting there and degrading and subverting industrial and other Ukrainian assets in the process of its imposing its largely unwelcome presence and will.
Method #1: detect and amplify any present national, racial, or religious suspicion into self-righteous anger and resentment — and crank it up;
Method #2: develop and deploy appropriate agitprop and agent provocateur — and for the Devil’s sake, don’t worry about anything having to do with ethics, ideals, principles, or values: in fact, dispense with the possession of conscience altogether and reduce all complexities — also, all cultural richness and intercultural relations to two essential dimensions: will and survival.
Method #3: Prepare the violence to come: arm convinced militia and move the same toward perceiving slights or promoting provocations, for either will serve the dual purposes necessary for the inhabiting of a renewed medieval world governed by feudal arrangements in support of “absolute power” (to be shared between political criminals and similar life forms).
Method #4: In hybrid, highbrow, and lowest manner, infiltrate target organizations and states for purpose of abetting their destabilization, perpetuating disinformation, and for ultimately exploiting legitimate business and labor for gain leveraged by bribery or extortion / reward for cooperation and threat for independence in either thought or action.
Centrist leaders across Europe hope the fallout from the “Ibiza scandal” will be felt beyond Austria in the European parliament elections this week, in which populist, nationalist and far-right parties have been forecast to make gains.
Strache’s apparent eagerness to embrace corruption is in stark contrast to the “drain the swamp” rhetoric populists routinely deploy in their attempts to portray politics as a battle by decent ordinary people against a venal elite. The FPÖ is a key member of an alliance of European nationalist parties led by Matteo Salvini of Italy’s League.
BackChannels has embedded with many posts the key word or phrase, “medieval v modern”, and that has worked for the editor, but what has emerged in Russia, Turkey, Hungary, and elsewhere also could be called a “Reactionary Conservatism” that fits with the anti-democratic and piratical renewal of feudal absolute power. Where such has succeeded, so far, the same has devolved into patently criminal cronyism.
Once inured to suffering associated with Russian arms and will, the liberal democracies of the west risk watching the heat rise — or the surroundings change — while being lazed into unconscious acceptance.
Ukraine’s five-year-old “frozen conflict” has not been forgotten by EU / NATO, which methodically if slowly has focused on containing the irritating Bear now pummeling Mariupol and targets north by northwest along a line of embattled territory on the western edge of Donetsk Oblast. In addition to a vigorous round of military exercises conducted by NATO in 2018, typified perhaps by the 31+ nation Trident Juncture 18, the United States has continued training-related deployments to Ukraine in a “train-the-trainers ” effort to improve Ukraine’s defense against greater incursion by Russian forces.
Not to flack the rah-rah: Ukraine has been made to pay a near daily — or daily — price in injury and death for having become a Russian test bed (no different than Syria) for Moscow’s defense technologies and “hybrid warfare”.
The Russian propaganda mill plies a familiar routine with web videos: the most recent shelling appears to come from Ukrainian forces without cause (I’ll leave the look-up on such as “Donetsk, fighting” to the reader). However, as displayed on any given LiveUAmap, Russia’s military-integrated activity should seem clear enough.
“Together with two other S-300 air defense batteries nearby, Russian land-based air defenses in the region could simultaneously launch as many as 192 surface-to-air missiles. Interestingly, their crews have been training to counter not only hostile aircraft, but also sea-launched cruise missiles, seemingly in preparation for a NATO intervention. Whatever the case, the airspace above Crimea and Donbas has quickly become among the most well-defended in the world.
For cruising through related offerings on YouTube and elsewhere on the web, the open source seems short of up-to-the-minute Ukrainian war reportage but for the Live UA Map, a conflict pin board, and reporting by Michael MacKay via Twitter and through his column in Radio Lemberg.
BackChannels has been seeing the numbers, finding Russian-side videos (in which the fire always comes from Ukraine, not the Russian-backed separatists that provoke it), and finding videos from when the conflict was all bloody new, shocking, and hot. Now it’s still bloody and plenty hot, but it has become a part of the daily fare in the world’s conflict-related horror show.
Perhaps a warning should be issued: once inured to suffering associated with Russian arms and will, the liberal democracies of the west risk watching the heat rise — or the surroundings change — while being lazed into unconscious acceptance.
MacKay’s tweet, much in line with thinking by America’s Democrats and possibly some Republican moderates, begs a few questions about Ukraine’s “frozen conflict” among others: how much “patience” has the west? How much destruction and how many lives lost is acceptable before jawing about Russian barbarism and kleptocracy and posturing about western defense support and strength lose their charm?
Russia has recently claimed victory in Syria. This is what that looks like:
With the winter-is-coming cloud of nuclear warfare hanging over east-west confrontation — and with the incredible billions of dollars laundered out of transnational criminal enterprise spiked into the bloodstreams of states — the way forward for the democratic attenuation of political power and the promotion of faith in rule of law may be difficult to see. While one may hope for hope in that regard, locking related conflicts into one place without limit seems itself dispiriting and on the side of evil.
For how long may Ukraine be expected to endure a Moscow-engineered “status quo”?
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.
. . . . used by the military to triangulate radio signals for radio navigation, intelligence gathering and search and rescue. Because its huge circular reflecting screen looks like a circular fence, the antenna has been colloquially referred to as the elephant cage. The term wullenwever was the World War II German cover term used to identify their secret CDAA research and development program; its name is unrelated to any person involved in the program.
Regarding the deployment of Russian fighter jets to its base in Sevastopal:
Of late, Russia has been playing up what appears to BackChannels as a false-flag operation — or perhaps just disinformation promoting an unsavory image — accusing Ukraine of chemical weapons preparation. While Moscow’s disinformation / propaganda campaign moves along on Twitter, here’s background on the matter from UNIAN:
Moscow’s persistence in claiming that Ukraine is plotting a chemical attack in the occupied Donbas raises serious concerns, says Ukrainian MP Dmytro Tymchuk, who is also a coordinator of the Information Resistance OSINT group. Even more worrying is the timing of Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Maria Zakharova revisiting the issue on the eve of the two major events that will take place in December this year – the holding of the Unification Council for the creation of the United Local Orthodox Church in Ukraine and consideration by the UN General Assembly of the draft resolution on militarization of the occupied Crimea and Sevastopol, as well as parts of the Black and Azov Seas, Tymchuk wrote on Facebook.
From RFERL as cited in caption earlier, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko lists the following Russian Federation assets in the region of the so-far annexed Crimea:
1,400 artillery and multiple rocket launch systems
2,300 armored combat vehicles
Hundreds of aircraft
The news may be warmed over but none can miss the portent: having invaded and annexed Crimea, Ukraine, Russia has moved to tighten its grip on its prize while preparing for “expansion” through intimidation and force. As is — and as visiting the liveuamap service tells, there have been no ceasefires in Ukraine: shelling, injury, and death have become part of daily life in what must be for Ukraine’s military a grinding lottery of evil.
For Russia, Crimea, Ukraine must also serve to leverage the west in the middle east, for what happens between Israel and the forces sponsored or supported by Moscow and Tehran may insult a degraded EU / NATO about to be pinched between the two fronts. By “degraded”, BackChannels refers to the following: a Germany dependent on Russia for energy supply; a Hungary that becomes more each week the feudal estate of the Orban family; a France too easily given to the “Active Measures” encouragement of Right Wing Populism; and a Turkey that has become for all intents an anti-democratic and illiberal sultanate whose highest purpose would seem to be the cultural annihilation of the Kurdish Community and the eventual destruction of Israel — the “leadership” in Ankara has more in common with Moscow and Tehran (specifically, the penchant for feudal political absolutism laced with anti-Semitism) than with London, Paris, and Washington. It both loves Moscow’s power and political prowess, and it fears it. It’s continued NATO status and (the latest Patriot Missile deal) has more to do with the latter than any set of heartily defended liberal ethics, principles, and values.
According to civil rights groups, however, the Kremlin’s account of anti-Russian persecution is a dark fairytale – “entirely fictional”, as one put it. It is, they say, a made-up scenario scripted in Moscow for state TV, and now played out on the ground by pro-Russian activists and bussed-in professionals. Russian propaganda has been extremely effective, they add. Many trust Russian state TV rather than what they see on the streets, which are strikingly bereft of fascists.
“There’s no discrimination against Russian-speakers actually,” Yevgeny Zakharov, from Kharkiv’s human rights protection group, said earlier this week. Zakharov said support for the idea of Kharkiv following Crimea and joining Russia was low – 15% according to the latest survey. He believes last week’s bloody shoot-out was deliberately provoked. “This [Kremlin] campaign is being conducted very aggressively. The idea is to give the false impression that Russians are being humiliated and Kharkiv wants union with Russia,” he said.
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.
Eugene Delacroix, “Le 28 Juillet. La Liberté guidant le peuple.” Source: Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives via artsy.net
The prompt: opprobrium for much of President Trump’s other actions and utterances with glowing exception for announcing the moving of the American Embassy to Jerusalem.
Trump has to respond to internal personal as well as external political pressures. He has to make decisions with those two universes somewhat in balance.
The “Jerusalem Declaration” sense a message to (you know what I’m going to say — fill it in), and the timing is right as Israel is somewhat surrounded by PLO, Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria, and Russia (which has military stationed about eight miles from the Golan).
The West has symbolically re-planted its flag at the Israeli bridgehead with what used to be more predictable despotic “eastern” dictatorships or “politically absolute” governments (some of them, of course, plainly hideous).
Russo-Iranian imperial aggression in the middle east has pushed the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia westward, and the same has focused the remaining liberal states of EU / NATO (so perhaps not Turkey or Hungary or Poland) on resistance to extremist and tyrannous politics). The President’s move in Jerusalem nudges the other side to back off or up its game. We hope that Moscow axis will “hold” where it is and reconsider its ambitions and the means now applied — including election meddling and real fake news — toward achieving them.