was once a brave KGB man in service to the Soviet while in East
Germany. He stood off a maddened crowd with a bluff and bought time for
the further destruction of KGB records in that Soviet satellite. He
may be admired for his extraordinary bravado, courage, and wiles.
he moved Russia off the pro-democracy track, he inherited an
effectively lawless state, one that had transferred the wealth of the
Soviet to the Soviet nomenklatura in a fire sale of state assets.
Opposition like Khoderkovsky came out of that transfer that had been
planned in the mid-1980s (reference: Karen Dawisha, RIP). In effect,
Putin inherited the challenges posed by the Vory and assorted
gangsterism on a scale unknown to the west (and western naivette about
that helped waste billions (I think) in capital that would never be
recovered. The mafia state was born.
The Capo de
capos, the Boss of bosses, has now to look inward and consider the
future of the now old Viking state that he has looted. He could retire
to Spain, where he has a house, and watch the cocaine traffic moving up
from Africa — just look out his window and know the ships and smile —
or he could turn around — this would be a good time — and address
Russia’s under-development outside of the Agricultural, Defense, and
Energy sectors. He could revert to rule-of-law in Ukraine and
apologize, at least, for the bombing of so many hospitals –he’s leveled
him — in Syria.
Judging from his behavior, he
appears to believe his mission has been to revive the glories of the
medieval world and the idolatry associated with political absolutism,
i.e., unquestionable authority.
I, not alone, believe he should reconsider that mission.
He has produce what he has promised the world: a “New Nobility”.
he should look around at what now lies at the feet of that circle:
atrocity, mayhem, murder, and the self-inflicted wounding of the image
and global acceptance of Mother Russia.
A change of course would be more helpful to him than his staying with old habits past their expiry.
Has one party or personality or other to always play the “bag guy”? The Bond villain? The head of the worst of the worst?
Vladimir Putin has children who will one day and in the natural course of living will look back on their father with an accuracy and perception beyond the public’s ken and the best of the world’s intelligence agencies. When he’s gone, whatever he was, they will know in ways beyond knowing.
For a glimpse at what his state has done at his behest: Idlib today. Here is some recent background involving Russian participation — missile strikes (got to about 7:15 on that)– in Assad’s scorched earth pursuits.
Aside: what the Assad Regime did to the Yarmouk Palestinian Camp —
Barrel Bombs, Chemical Weapons, “Red Lines” — The United States chose to sponsor pro-democracy forces against the Assad regime while repeatedly failing to apply force itself to ending the atrocities and injustices meted by that regime through the long course of now eight years of continuous destruction, depopulation, and horror.
Perhaps the west has become inured to mindless sadism after experiencing so many images and so much footage recording Assad the Tyrant’s infinite obscenities. Either way, and whatever our reasoning or weaknesses otherwise, it appears evil has prevailed in Syria.
Talmud 7:16 as Quoted by Rishon Rishon in 2004 Qohelet Raba, 7:16 אכזרי סוף שנעשה אכזרי במקום רחמן
Kol mi shena`asa rahaman bimqom akhzari Sof shena`asa akhzari bimqom rahaman
All who are made to be compassionate in the place of the cruel In the end are made to be cruel in the place of the compassionate.
More colloquially translated: “Those who are kind to the cruel, in the end will be cruel to the kind.”
Rule by the Rich — Trump’s Tax Cut Legislation Largest Contributor to $4.1 Trillion Added to the National Debt
The biggest contributor to the $4.1 trillion that will be added to the national debt through 2029 is the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. This signature tax cut legislation signed by Trump in 2017 single-handedly increased the debt by $1.8 trillion, according to CRFB.
Is our governance — the governance of the United States of America — modern?
Is it representative, responsive, responsible?
Rule by the Vicious — Trump’s Remarks Sting West Baltimore
President Trump applied to “West Baltimore” one of his favorite words for those places not up to his standards (and perhaps not likely to be helped by him either): “infestation”. He applies it in proximity to people — or how he imagines people — he doesn’t particularly like as well. In this instance, he called Rep. Elijah Cummings, Democratic head of the House Oversight Committee, a “brutal bully” — and in the words of The Wall Street Journal — “for criticizing conditions at the Southern border and declared his district—which includes a large part of Baltimore—as a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” (https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-portrays-baltimore-district-of-democratic-rep-cummings-as-rodent-infested-mess-11564248241 – July 27, 2019).
Fairly, a personal source suggested that Baltimore has become the heroin capital of America, but still the President’s vitriol was neither matched nor softened by any offer of greater Federal assistance or support in the addressing of the problems besetting Rep. Cummings’ district.
Baltimore fought back.
Off the headlines —
Dubbed the “heroin capital” by the Drug Enforcement Agency, there are estimates that put the rate of drug addicts in the city as high as 1 in 10 residents. Baltimore is now designated a High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area by the federal government so that local police receive more funding to try to combat the issue.
Despite the better and more practical relationship between “West Baltimore” and the Federal government, the impression made by the President’s belittling and contemptuous mouth for all who are not his nor his adoring base would seem to be paving the way for the ascent of the vicious (and surreal) in American politics.
Rule by the Immune?
Rep. Ken Buck (R) Colorado: Could you charge the President with a crime after he left office?
Robert Mueller: Yes.
Buck: You believe he committed . . . you could charge the President of the United States with obstruction of justice after he left office?
Who says the President has to leave office (ever)?
The true test for Americans would seem to be that of appreciating the Constitution and supporting its intents and its work in the creation and sustaining of the nation’s so far authentic and fully working democracy. Bullies, demagogues, malignant narcissists were not meant to last long in power in this nation, but where such do or may, one might suggest that the constituents themselves allowed that to happen.
Kurdish defense elements may represent an amalgam of Kurdish interests largely beneath the authoritarian semi-socialist umbrella of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK). Conceived in the Far Left zeitgeist of the 1970s, an era saturated in and partially shaped by agent provocateur, disinformation, and money pouring off of Russia’s “Active Measures” programs, the PKK appears to have followed the pattern known to other Soviet-associated “liberation fronts” in relation to ruthless consolidations of power, funding through criminal means, and the launching of violent revolutionary actions against forces impeding organizational ambitions, concepts, and ends.
In 2013, Erdogan promised to recognize Kurdish identity and language, and increase Kurdish liberties. A truce followed, but hostilities resumed in 2015. Erdogan said he was responding to PKK terrorism. The PKK claimed Erdogan destroyed the ceasefire by building dams and security stations in Kurdish regions. In either case, a war was on. Erdogan attacked with helicopter gunships, artillery and armored divisions, murdering thousands and displacing 335,000 mainly Kurdish citizens. A UN report described destroyed villages as moonscapes.
The recruitment of mixed Kurdish forces to fight ISIS necessarily involved diplomatic magic as some best trained and experienced in the business of fighting were to become those fighting Assad’s idea of “The Terrorists” — ISIS.
Here’s a section representing one starting point — the American State Department’s continuing designation of the PKK as a “Foreign Terrorist Organization” — and both the required finesse to shift popular impression plus an expression of America’s intent to defend its Kurdish allies (and front line) in the effort to defeat Islamic State —
The Department of State has reviewed and maintained the Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) designation of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), pursuant to Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as amended (8 U.S.C. § 1189). The PKK was originally designated as an FTO in 1997.
. . . .
Today’s actions notify the U.S. public and the international community that the PKK remains a terrorist organization. In addition to its continued status as an FTO, the PKK has also been designated as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under Executive Order 13224 since 2001.
BackChannels refers often to the “Phantoms of the Soviet”, a mixture of KGB-Era ideas, methods, personalities, and relationships that have for about 26 years outlived the Soviet Union. Wherever cultivated, the same have fairly suspended geopolitical space in the barbarism and political repression best associated with feudal / medieval political absolutism.
The PKK’s role in potential Turkish-Russian escalation should be viewed through the lens of Moscow’s deep historic ties with the group — and with Damascus. In the 1970s, the PKK was established with Soviet support in the Beqa Valley of Syrian-occupied Lebanon. As one of two NATO countries boasting a land border with the Soviet Union, Turkey was considered Moscow’s soft underbelly during the Cold War, providing Washington with numerous assets such as listening bases capable of intercepting communications across the Black Sea. The Russians saw the PKK as a means of undercutting a key U.S. ally.
The PKK also enjoyed support from Bashar al-Assad’s father, Hafiz, who cast his regime as the champion of Turkish Kurds despite oppressing Syria’s own Kurdish community. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan lived in Damascus while his group ran training camps in Lebanon and used Syrian territory to attack Turkey.
Moscow’s support for the PKK eventually dissipated with the end of the Cold War and the emergence of pressing political and economic problems at home. Syria ended its own support in 1998, after Ankara threatened Damascus with war for supporting what had become a terribly destructive PKK campaign throughout Turkey. As part of this abrupt shift, Hafiz al-Assad expelled Ocalan.
The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) emerged from the radical ferment that swept the Western world in the 1960s. It was founded in 1978 as a Marxist-Leninist organisation infused with Kurdish nationalism and a cult of personality around its leader, Abdullah Ocalan. The PKK spent much of this period attacking other Kurdish and left-wing groups, and its own dissidents – hundreds of whom would be killed over the years – in an attempt to monopolise the support base for its ideas.
While BackChannels happily and humbly defers to The Henry Jackson Society’s wizard of political science, Kyle Orton, it recognizes inherent value in the Kurdish community as singular among the world’s ethnic and tribal cohorts and with that equally inherent rights to autonomous self-determination and dignity — in defense terms: freedom from cultural and religious persecution.
BackChannels, being neither international organization or potent state, however may best demur to an analyst closer to the issues and altogether more experienced — in this instance, Michael Rubin of The American Enterprise Institute:
More importantly, PKK tactics have changed: There remains low-level military insurgency, but gone are the days when the PKK targets Turkish civilians (alas, the reverse is not true with regard to Turkish forces and Kurdish civilians, as the residents of Cizre, Nusaybin, and Sur can attest). Certainly, breakaway factions of the PKK such as the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK) have claimed attacks, but such factionalism is common when former terrorists come in from the cold. That was the case with the “ Real IRA ” which emerged after the IRA entered into a peace process in Northern Ireland.
A little more than six months ago, BackChannels published “Moscow as Medusa with All the Snakes Attached” (January 2, 2019), and what it had had in mind was Russian President Vladimir Putin’s leveraging of arrangements involving leadership in several EU / NATO states fit for the flattering of an emperor. He had President Erdogan apologizing to him for shooting down two MIGs overflying Turkish air space (and, lo and behold, the “Turkish Stream” energy project got back on its feet) and, later (about now), purchasing Russian air defense technology suited to knocking NATO air power out of the sky . . . .
So here with the above in mind is reference to “east-west” and “medieval v modern” conflict that continues to validate the idea of the presence of the “Phantoms of the Soviet” and their generally impeding progress toward modern governance in the near and middle east:
The Kurds have historically played an important role in Russian efforts to exert its influence in the Middle East. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union used the Kurds to bypass America’s containment strategy in the region.
Shortly after World War II, Moscow supported the creation of the Kurdish Republic of Mahabad in Iranian Kurdistan to increase its influence in the region. After the Iranian army crushed the Kurdish forces, the fighters led by Mustafa Barzani took refuge in the Soviet Union.
Political analyst Gonul Tol appears in the third video featured in the next section, which presents another set of impressions having to do with the Kurdish struggle for Kurdish autonomy and unification.
In the way of professional journalism, much condensed and simplified, every editor and reporter must ask about his story: “Is it clear? Is it accurate? Is it complete?”
All authoritarian / autocratic / dictatorial governments diminish the power of the press because . . . they are keeping secrets and intend not to share the reality of their political space with their subjugated populations.
He can’t share anything having to do with his circles of criminal enterprise. Instead, he has to tell the people fairy tales in a loud voice.
However, and in defense of secrets keeping and to criticize popular democratic self-determination — or perhaps point out the limits of the same — the British governing class got a strong lesson when it allowed nationalist forces, induced by Moscow-backed Islamic Terrorism and Migration — I “read” Syria as a deliberate underhanded assault on Europe — to make an issue of integration with the European Union, which has been Great Britain’s nearest and greater market and trading partner. Some part of the voting public had had no idea about where its state really was. Instead, they were focused on the degrading of British life by jihadists and needy migrants coming out of the middle east. They chose to lower the portcullis in an attempt to insulate themselves from what they believed was happening in Europe and happening to them because of a unified Europe. They’re now on the cusp of paying for their misjudgment.
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.
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.
Assad the Tyrant, using snipers to make his statement — and arresting school children to make it clear — turned a modest popular protest into possibly the most sadistic “civil war” on earth and in history. Unrivaled in its abuses of noncombatant Syrians, he managed to destroy his state, for all intents, and have it serve as a platform for Hezbollah, the Russian Army, and sundry attempts (impeded by Israel) at the manufacturing and delivery of advanced missiles for launching in southern Lebanon.
The Soviet Union collapsed in bankruptcy 26 years ago this December 25.
It turns out that Soviet / Post-Soviet Russia has become truly the “Mafia State” — Luke Harding’s term — and not the least reformed as an aggressive and barbarous monstrosity.
Prompt: the claim that had the west stayed out of Syria, Syrians would be happily alive and domiciled.
Screen capture, LiveUAMap, December 23, 2018 at 10:30 a.m. EST.
Banks, as founder of Leave.EU, wanted Bannon’s data firm Cambridge Analytica to devise a plan in late 2015 for raising funds in the US that would support the unofficial Brexit campaign, according to the correspondence.
The emails are likely to be scrutinised in the US where Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, has interviewed Bannon a number of times.
It would seem all paths back toward the renewal of feudal political absolutism in the authentically democratic free world lead back to Moscow (and now perhaps Beijing as well).
Without Putin’s permit, Assad’s Sadnaya Prison would not exist. The memory of that obscenity will burn in history long after the “eye doctor” has succeeded in more fully destroying his own estate.
The Interpol stories involving Russia and China: which despot would wish himself to be policed?
Which despotic elite should be entrusted with the coordination policy of the world’s basic global policing element?
And how well will the west stand when it has itself been riven by the renewal of feudal governance?
The EU may impose sanctions on Hungary for adopting laws against the development of civic society, that’s according to MP Volodymyr Ariev, who is also vice-president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, chairman of the PACE Committee on Culture, Education, Science and Media.”In Hungary there are very serious problems with the European Union, with Brussels. They stem from those very anti-democratic laws that were passed by the Hungarian authorities, in particular against civic society, against the Soros University, public organizations, and not only that. Now the EU is on the path toward imposing sanctions on Hungary,” Ariev told Pryamiy TV channel.
EU / NATO has effectively lost Turkey as a partner for democracy, and it has seen democracy seriously degraded in Hungary as well. While BackChannels has thought it politic to lay off the United States in similar regard, the “Fake News!” President has made that tack similarly difficult. He has degraded the media (for many, America’s “Fourth Estate”); taken a hard run at the Department of Justice (Comey firing; effort to degrade or derail the Mueller Investigation; the out-of-order appointment of Matthew Whittaker as Acting Attorney General); and packed the court with the appointment of an at best marginally acceptable (Senate confirmation vote: 50 to 48) “old boy” of a lawyer.
Politics Medieval v Politics Modern and Democratic?
The barbaric and feudal politics of the world’s civilizational past would seem to be getting its claws into the world’s future and dragging it backward.
Steve Bannon, former political strategist for Donald Trump, said he plans to work closely with the Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban in the run-up to next year’s European Parliament elections. Mr Bannon revealed that he had visited Budapest to speak to the far-right leader and his aides in meetings not previously made public.
The political operative also suggested Hungary would make an ideal home for “The Movement” – his new campaign group aimed at electing right-wing nationalists in Europe.