Also in Media: Speckhard on Torture


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Just as the authors identify the factors that are predictive of those individuals and situations that are most likely to give rise to torture, they also identify the psychosocial sequelae of engaging in torture. These include dissociative personality splinters, social isolation, avoidance of reminders, self-condemnation with guilt and shame, intrusive thoughts and flashbacks, nightmares and sleep disturbances, high arousal states with the inability to concentrate or sleep well, and drug and alcohol abuse to forget and painful emotional states upon remembering. Lastly, the authors identify the practices that can be put in place to protect individuals from crossing the line into perpetrating abuse, atrocities, and torture upon those placed in their custody. Torture, as noted by Article 1 of the United Nations Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatments (United Nations, 1984; 1987):

Any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.

Speckhard, Anne and Charles Figley and Ardian Shajkovci.  “Psychosocial Drivers, Prevention and Sequelae of Engaging in Torture.”  International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism, April 17, 2017.

. . . the thoughtful individual needs to examine some core questions—the first being—does torture in any of it’s forms, including “torture lite” work? The answer appears to be a resounding no. Torture for the most part fails as a tactic because it does not leads to credible information, is problematic later for anyone we wish to prosecute, and may actually contribute far more to terrorism recruitment rather than to curbing terrorism. When dealing with al Qaeda for instance we must understand that most hardened terrorists who have blood on their hands have committed themselves to the idea of “martyrdom” and may be adept at misleading us when we believe they have cracked under torture. And when we resort to anything that is morally bankrupt they will later use it against us to show their constituents and potential recruits our “true colors”.

By contrast, interrogation that relies on rapport building has shown itself to yield positive results . . . .

Speckhard, Anne.  “Zero Dark Thirty — And the Real World of Torture, Enhanced Interrogation, Rendition and Prolonged Detention.”  Anne Speckhard, Ph.D, March 4, 2013.

Among other topics expertly engaged, Dr. Anne Speckhard has been working the issues on the subject of torture for many years.

If the repercussions are so bad and the results so thin, why do we persist with the same in practice?

BackChannels may suggest that engagement in torture represents the power of ownership of another experienced by the malign narcissist and is in the end, always, an expression of unbridled absolute power, i.e., the power to inflict suffering on others with impunity.

In his classic Russia Under the Old Regime, scholar Richard Pipes remarks on the meaning of sovereignty in the recession of Mongol power and subsequent princely Russian attitude toward property and persons as being alike — the power to destroy either the demonstration of sovereign ownership (approximate pages 70-80).

Note: between age, interests, and sedentary lifestyle at the desktop, your BackChannels editor is tiring and has two choice regarding loose scholarship: read less and slowly with pen, foolscap, and note cards at hand; continue remembering generally; or move off to a different kind of writing.  As regards Pipes, he’s masterful with analysis, complexity, and detail, and he will take the reader into the locking mechanisms between political exigency, political evolution in language, and the projection of political power.

For the purposes of this blog, the editor believe Moscow has deeply narcissistic issues supporting “absolute power” and all of the horror rightly associated with the demonstration of the complete absence of conscience in relation to the suffering of others.

On a more near historic note, author Anna Funder relays the testimony of a former Stasi prisoner arrested first for seditious leafleting and then again — having been motivated by the former imprisonment — for having attempted a crossing into then West Germany.  The form of torture during the second stay was sleep deprivation.  Here’s how that went down:

On the eleventh night, Miriam gave them what they wanted.  ‘I thought, “You people want an underground escape organisation?”  Well, I’ll give you one then.”

Fleischer had won.

‘There,’ he said, ‘that wasn’t so bad now, was it?  Why didn’t you tell us earlier and save yourself all this trouble?’  They let her sleep for a fortnight, and gave her one book each week.  She read it in a day, then started memorising the pages, walking up and down in the cell with the book to her chest.

‘In retrospect it’s funny,’ Miriam says, ‘but at the time it was pure, unalloyed frustration.  I cooked them up a story I would not have believed myself, even then.  It was utterly absurd.”

‘Miriam’ was on the far side of sixteen at the time she “cooked them up a story” in exchange for a little sleep.

Additional Reference

Funder, Anna.  Stasiland: Stories From Behind the Berlin Wall.  U.S. Edition, paperback.  New York: HarperCollins, 2002.

Pipes, Richard. Russia Under the Old Regime: The History of Civilization. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1974.

Additional Reading Online

Bukovsky, Vladimir.  “Torture’s Long Shadow.”  The Washington Post, December 18, 2005:

One nasty morning Comrade Stalin discovered that his favorite pipe was missing. Naturally, he called in his henchman, Lavrenti Beria, and instructed him to find the pipe. A few hours later, Stalin found it in his desk and called off the search. “But, Comrade Stalin,” stammered Beria, “five suspects have already confessed to stealing it.”

This joke, whispered among those who trusted each other when I was a kid in Moscow in the 1950s, is perhaps the best contribution I can make to the current argument in Washington about legislation banning torture and inhumane treatment of suspected terrorists captured abroad. Now that President Bush has made a public show of endorsing Sen. John McCain’s amendment, it would seem that the debate is ending. But that the debate occurred at all, and that prominent figures are willing to entertain the idea, is perplexing and alarming to me. I have seen what happens to a society that becomes enamored of such methods in its quest for greater security; it takes more than words and political compromise to beat back the impulse.

Fair for Look-Up

“Abu Ghraib”

“Evin Prison”

“Saydnaya Prison”

Through torture, it would seem the torturer learns most of all about himself, if he learns anything, and when it’s over, he may be treated to the sight of himself in media as ever deranged, infantile, sadistic, and tyrannical.




War | East-West | Abomination | Syria | Bombing Hospitals


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At first, it looked like an ordinary dictator’s response to a little criticism and a comparatively polite people’s request for a little consideration and power, but in 2011, what looked like a civil war masked the deeper, more prolonged, and vicious desire to sustain medieval absolute power — the power of the tyrant — against the entire Christian, humanist, and liberal experience and political philosophy of the western world.


Are there to be no differences between property and persons?

Are such malign narcissistic personalities, uniquely limited in conscience and that mysterious thing we call heart, to be given free reign to assert themselves as powerful primarily with false flag theater (e.g, “Moscow Apartment Bombings“, “Assad v The Terrorists”) followed by an expressed cruelty and sadism in power that encounters neither boundaries nor limits?

Know thy tyrants.


This east-west conflict between thieving barbarians and the just nobility of western civilization has been brewing in the post-WWII region in time, and the world that won’t massacre refugees is being drawn into the vortex.

This morning, Americans were vilifying a policeman who stood outside a school in Florida while a mass killing was taking place within.

Should he not have acted?

Perhaps we should now ask about the nations watching from similar sidelines the horror on continuous display in Syria: where has been their courage, humanity, and resolve as Russian and Syrian air power directly bombed nearly two dozen hospitals and other medical facilities in the vicinity of East Ghouta, Syria?


Alsaafin, Linah and Zouhir Al Shimale.  “‘Survive or die together’: More than 400 killed in Eastern Ghouta.” Al Jazeera, February 7, 2018.

Chulov, Martin.  “Medical crisis in east Ghouta as hospitals ‘systematically targeted'”.  The Guardian, February 23, 2018.

Khadder, Kareem.  “Ghouta residents now face being burned out of their destroyed homes.”  CNN, February 23, 2018.

Williams, Sara Elizabeth.  “UN poised to vote on ceasefire to end deadly bombing in Syria’s Ghouta.”  The Telegraph, February 24, 2018.


Syria: The Horror: Around 2012


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Bashar al-Assad By, CC BY 4.0, | Vladimir Putiin By, CC BY 4.0, | Ali Khameini By Tasnim News Agency, CC BY 4.0,

Houla, 2012

Posted to YouTube June 27, 2012.


Ryskulova, Nargiza and agencies.  “Syria: war crimes committed by regime in Houla, UN finds.”  The Telegraph, August 15, 2012.

“The commission found reasonable grounds to believe that government forces and the Shabbiha had committed the crimes against humanity of murder and of torture, war crimes and gross violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, including unlawful killing, torture, arbitrary arrest and detention, sexual violence, indiscriminate attack, pillaging and destruction of property,” said the 102-page report by the independent investigators led by Paulo Pinheiro.


Human Rights Watch.  “Torture Archipelago”.  July 3, 2012.

Since the beginning of anti-government protests in March 2011, Syrian authorities have subjected tens of thousands of people to arbitrary arrests, unlawful detentions, enforced disappearances, ill-treatment, and torture using an extensive network of detention facilities, an archipelago of torture centers, scattered throughout Syria.

Hell of a title —

Bond, Anthony.  “We took their fingernails out with pliers and we made them eat them. We made them suck their own blood off the floor’: Grisly accounts from inside Syria’s ’27 torture centres'”.  Daily Mail, July 3, 2012.


Posted to YouTube May 16, 2013.

18+ torture video — “Syrian Police Torture Protester” — posted to YouTube September 1, 2011

BackChannels experience suggests that if it’s called what it is — “war p___n” — it will attract a lot of viewers, such are the low desires of the world when it comes to deliberately seeking artless depictions of sex and violence.  the above URL links to a video of a young man who wears a tire around his chest while receiving a beating.


Black, Ian.  “Bashar al-Assad implicated in Syria war crimes, says UN.”  The Guardian, December 2, 2013.

A UN inquiry has found “massive evidence” that the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, is implicated in war crimes as the latest reported death toll in the country’s civil war reached 126,000.

Navi Pillay, the UN’s human rights chief, said a commission of inquiry into human rights violations in Syria “has produced massive evidence … [of] very serious crimes, war crimes, crimes against humanity” and that “the evidence indicates responsibility at the highest level of government, including the head of state.”

Posted to YouTube Dec. 2, 2013.

Cumming-Bruce, Nick and Rick Gladstone.  “U.N. Says Execution Video from Syria Shows Apparent War Crime.”  The New York Times, November 2, 2012.


FTAC: BackChannels Comments on Video, “The Greatest Revenge of All Times”


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Posted on Facebook by “Brotality” about six months ago:

The pilot’s success in becoming a pilot should have been Gabriel Pasternak’s revenge.

All else: common murder.

Fair for lookup: “maternal cameo”.

Kobrin’s a little challenging for reading, but the manner of taking others into one’s own suicide in suicide terrorism has been well documented and explored.

Everyone has complaints: perhaps the pilot in the above video should have asked himself for greater insight into his own behavioral repertoire, so as not to have alienated so many others — and then blamed them for his continuing his own unhappiness.

Of course some parts of the world grind against us, but our souls battle back with constructive ends and ideals.

While the pilot had found fault with everyone on that plane, the same passengers may have missed the pilot who could just as well have gone on to tweak his “ugly duckling” music into a beautiful swan — then too, with the money he must have been making as a pilot, imagine if he had used his new wealth to attend to more children like himself, how amazing the things they may have gone on to do.

Instead, he took himself out of the picture and drew the hate and want of revenge from all of the families and friends associated with all of the passengers on board his flight.

Regarding the pilot’s “awful music” —

“Brotality” promotes itself on facebook as an entertainment organization.

BackChannels readers are welcome to look them up and drawn their own conclusions.

The Urban Dictionary offers two or three definitions today of the term “brotality“, among them this gem — “When a real hard ass bro kills someone, mortal kombat style. ‘Bro’ being the prefix and ‘tality’ being the suffix.”




FTAC: East-West Conflict: Take the Longer Post-Cold War View


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Many conversations in the social networks rely on partisan politics for argument — Democrats this, Republicans that.  For the most part, the framing it time involves the period set by the run-up and aftermath of the Clinton v Trump election.  BackChannels suggests that the greater challenges associated with “Islamic Terrorism”, America’s political polarization, and the advent of vicious Far Left and Far Right fascism span Administrations all the way back to the last day of the Cold War (Dec. 25, 1991) and therefore beg Americans to broaden their scope accordingly.

Try to set aside partisan information and opinion and look at the present international relations in the greater frame of the post-Cold War period begun on the morning of December 26, 1991, the day after the Soviet Union dissolved. Rather than write long (e.g., “We know today through writers like David Satter and scholars like Karen Dawisha . . . .”), I’d rather share one link to what has been really taking place with “Islamic Terrorism” and the “New Nationalism” x Russia’s interest in sustaining dictatorships and much of the related political dynamics of the medieval world.…/reflexive-control…/

Putin | Assad | Khamenei comprise a package, as it were, from the Soviet Era: they are each in their way a part of what has been left of it.

Putin | Orban | Erdogan | add the leadership in some former satellites reengaging with anti-Semitism — should open the window wide on the medeival revanche.

I feel quite Quixote-like fighting this post-Soviet battle for liberal democracy because what Putin has done is brought back authoritarian and fascist (Turkey) or nationalist (elsewhere in EU / NATO) leaders in a way way that has damaged interstate democratic cohesion.

Russia from before the Bolshevik Revolution and to this day has had a long history as a promoter of anti-Semitic ideas and as a host, motivator, manipulator, and sponsor of terrorism. I hope the “Reflexive Control” piece will open a window for greater curiosity that may then lead to greater perception of an east-west conflict in which Israel very much represents a democratic and humanist future where other forces have kept installed medieval tyranny.

The Obama-Trump Punch and Judy gets and takes a lot of attention, but the struggle for western democracy against Moscow’s eastern sham spans American (“I looked into his eyes”) Administrations.

At the closing press conference, in response to a question about whether he could trust Putin, Bush said, “I looked the man in the eye. I found him very straightforward and trustworthy – I was able to get a sense of his soul.” Bush’s top security aide Condoleezza Rice later wrote that Bush’s phrasing had been a serious mistake. “We were never able to escape the perception that the president had naïvely trusted Putin and then been betrayed.”

In her book, No Higher HonourCondoleezza Rice would go on to say, “There was little room to convince critics that the circumstances of 2001 and the relationship with Vladimir Putin then were very different from what would come to pass.”

BackChannels submits that Putin was perceived differently in the White House by KGB design in those years and was not all different from the soul of the Soviet Union that had collapsed ten years earlier.  For reference to the Soviet transition plan developed in the 1980s for the event of dissolving, I would recommend reading Karen Dawisha’s Putin’s Kleptocracy.

For an overview of Russian history and related authoritarian paternalism, BackChannels recommends from the Russian Section of its library the two volumes by Richard Pipes.

Pipes, Richard. Russia Under the Old Regime: The History of Civilization. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1974.

Pipes, Richard. The Russian Revolution. New York: Alfred A. Knop, 1990.

Also in Media

Posen, Barry R.  “The Rise of Illiberal Hegemony.”  Foreign Affairs, March/April 2018.

America as led by President Trump appears to be winning its battles but altogether losing its war against a potential tyranny in the making that has come in the form of a “New Nationalism”, i.e., a populist president who is himself autocratic and seemingly enthrall to and reliant on feudal aggrandizement, cunning, and dumb strength in both personal and public realms.  As quoted from the Awesome Conversation and worth inserting here, the BackChannels piece on “Reflexive Control” and the rule of the manipulative and wealthy (like Medvedev) applies as regards the greater torque exerted by Russia, principally, and China as representing each their own politically unassailable business and leadership elites.

If Moscow believes it has taken the world forward by turning history’s clock backward, what has Washington done to freeze that totalitarian regress — and is it doing enough to keep from sliding into its own Orwellian (“Fake News!”) hell?

The American President — but not America’s governments in their totality — appears enmeshed in what ails most authoritarian regimes: questionable policies serving elites more than constituents, a host of political scandals, especially that “kompromat” thing that has come to associate the Trump brand with money laundering  (for more, web search, say, “Trump, Felix Sater”) and philandering.




Ours is a competitive world but also one bound by our human awareness of self and related facets of conscience, empathy, ethics, and morality.  We’re aware of what we do and, perhaps, at the same time fearful of what we are capable of doing.

BackChannels believes that the Russian experience of the Mongol Invasion and related administration left their marks within Russian princes who would fear what any show of weakness might invite from the world around them while in the subjugated inspiring a festering crude anger and resentment.  The vaunted “realpolitik” would then seem to have evolved from doing what works, and if criminality and main force and leverage appear to have worked, then then those devices may remain installed but deeply redolent of despair and disaffection and far opposite the inspiriting benefits of higher-integrity and rule-of-law democracy.


FTAC: Putin, Terrorism, Autocracy, and the New Nationalism


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When Russian jets first overflew Turkish airspace in 2015, Erdogan stood fast in his refusal of apology.

Six months later, he did what Netanyahu had done in relation to the Mavi Marmara: he apologized.

Setting aside the Israeli story a moment, points of leverage may have involved the “Turkish Stream” energy project, a piece of “realpolitik”, and an appeal to the narcissistic concept of cultural leadership and state in which the “Great Leader” is the embodiment of the living state concept _and entitled_ to aggrandizement and glory without limit (or, clinically, “unlimited narcissistic supply). Putin’s vision appears to me to be that of the medieval world sustained with raw power put in place of democracy.

The look of the mode — big palaces, nepotism on a royal scale, confusion in relation to the boundaries of person and state (and the state’s treasury) — marks the medieval mind and related revanche.

Men like Putin, Assad, Khamenei, Erdogan, Orban may consider true popular democratic government as impeding their own authority, sovereignty, and will. While the term “autocrat” sounds quite bureaucratic, similar concepts — caliph, emperor, king, sultan — fit these guys.

Because we know of the “Moscow Apartment Bombings” and that Russia has been arming the Taliban in Afghanistan — and there’s more back there with Zawahiri and others — it may not be too far fetched to suggest that Moscow has manipulated terrorism to induce in struck targets a predictable patriotic new nationalism and that “the terrorists” — ISIS or PKK — now provide a platform for conflict, all against all, and without end. Where Putin has held sway, he has turned back history’s clock.

Our President Trump has had no issues bearing and wearing the mantle of authority, but it would be facile to say he hasn’t had some issues with the “Estates” of a matured democracy.  In that regard, he may fit the world to which Putin has wished to return the world.

Inspiration for the above note:


Guest Post by Mitchell Gray: Reflection on _L’Etranger_, by Albert Camus


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Every US military leader ought to study the Algerian War of Independence from 1954 to 1962. The problems in Indo-China and Southwest Asia could have been reduced. Here was insurgency, terrorism, asymmetric warfare and the “eastern” method of warfare.

This novel was published in 1942 and is set in Algeria, a French colony since the 1830’s. France encouraged French citizens to colonize in Algeria and France also brought Algerians to France.

Camus won a Nobel Prize for literature for The Stranger in 1957 during the uprisings.

The end of WWI in 1918 ushered in a wave of anti-colonialism and this included Algeria. Independence was craved.

The novel focuses on the “antihero” Mersault who is a simple man who impulsively shoots and kills a nameless Arab on a beach on a blinding day. He is tried for murder.
After WWII France was very weak and began to lose contested colonies such as in Southeast Asia. The Front de Liberación Nationale (FLN) in Algeria spearheaded the fight and brutalities occurred on both sides as the French resisted independence.

The “absurdity” (Camus rejected that he was an Existentialist) of the trial was that Meurault was depicted by the prosecutor as “uncaring” or indifferent towards his dying mother. The outrage was not that he murdered an Arab but that he was not an appropriate son. That was his real crime.

Finally, in 1962 Algeria achieved independence and hundreds of thousands had been butchered. The fighting was extreme violence and cruelty. Hatreds fueled the inhumanity.
Critics point out the Arab victim was never named nor developed by Camus. This was seen as the French snobbery towards the native Arabs.

Algeria suffered an extremely brutal and cruel civil war in the 1990’s with ISIS like brutality. The Islamic party won elections in 1991 but the government canceled them.

Blood flowed. Heads fell. Flesh burned. Fear ruled.

Algeria is a major natural gas supplier. France still has great influence and al Qaeda has large cells there. Terror attacked still occur.

Europe battles problems with its Muslim populations especially from Algeria and neighboring Morocco. For decades the Algerians were marginalized and they claim treated as inferiors by France. Many joined ISIS.

We must learn from history and this includes novels that capture popular moods. We must learn better ways to live among ourselves and realize every human life is equal.
Meursault was a murderer. His crime was not being a bad son. But in this novel, much is learned about French attitudes towards their colonial possessions. We still deal with these attitudes today.

Mitchell Gray is the author of I Heard You Were Going on Jihad: How a Minnesota FBI agent may have prevented a second wave of attacks before 9/11 and exposed the Oklahoma terror network (Minneapolis: Mill City Press, 2015).  An Iraq War veteran, he previously provided valuable information to counter-intelligence agencies after 9/11, had practiced as an attorney, and taught as an adjunct professor on matters having to do with the oil and gas industries.


Above: cover of and Amazon link to the graphic novel adaptation.

Camus, Albert.  The Stranger.  New York: Vintage Books, 1946.

Related Online

Film trailer: The Battle of Algiers (film with subtitles), released September 1967 in the United States (IMDB).


Statement Regarding a “Military Parade”


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 American holidays and strong community interaction with the military honor the military. Related concerts and parades are today legend for binding the nation into a coherent and cohesive entity worth defense and worthy of respect all around.

There are ancillaries in air shows and show components, e.g., Blue Angels, in other events.

The parading of missiles and tanks has been for most who produce that spectacle a boast and a threat associated with lesser power, not greater.

The Vietnam generation of military cannot be compensated nor, perhaps, repaired adequately, but all have been permanently honored, memorialized, remembered on the Mall and beyond that in America’s communities. If and where long-term disservice has been done, perhaps that conversation is the one that should be led by an American President.

“A Needle in the Rain”

(c)1996 J. S. Oppenheim & DRB Productions

Brief History Lesson Regarding the Vietnam Era and the Present

Hey, old college kids, remember the fatigue jackets, the grass, the Mobilization on the Mall, and the whole trippy deep ecology and far out peace thing?

Know that the Soviet Union invested $1 billion in the environmental and peace movements of the day (perhaps labor was already under way), and it got its money’s worth in the sabotaging of domestic will for that war.  It would also come to lose influence with the hip when it demonstrated its true methods in “realpolitik” as it drove tanks into the Soviet satellite states that it had completely demoralized with its own narcissistic claptrap and thuggery.

I was young at the time — the last of the babies of the baby boomers — and on the draft rolls only briefly before our troops were brought home.

The “Active Measures” part of the Vietnam War is active today on Moscow’s part: disinformation, election meddling, war by proxy in support of kleptocratic dictatorships.  If you approve of such methods and ends — much including the ownership of other humans as mere property and as well demonstrated by Moscow-aligned Bashar al-Assad and Iranian Grand Ayatollah Ali (“Hang ‘Em High”) Khamenei — do nothing, say nothing.  If that’s not the world in which you wish the next generations to live, look back, get caught up on Orwell — or Hitchens on Orwell — for a start — and look forward to engaging in this now really different kind of war.

BackChannels reminds: Putin appears to have bombed Moscow apartments with interest in blaming Chechen rebels for the deeds (“false-flag operations”) and then gone on to brutalize Chechen villages into pushing their men into the ranks of experienced and ready Chechen rebels.

Big Deal

The Soviet Union dissolved in bankruptcy with official finality on December 25, 1991.

The moment had a backstory, one well worth the reading.

The west may have been too quick to believe Russia would then evolve into a capitalist democracy, free and vibrant.  Instead, and much as scholar Karen Dawisha has unearthed, it became by design an elitist’s kleptocracy and one that now apparently revolves around its own “Vertical of Power”.

BackChannels believes the strong have cause to celebrate through national holidays and shared American events, but it is the weak that needs must put their muscle on display in parades.

The strong?

End Note

When one works a few ideas around to a compressed or distilled state, one hates to lose them in cascades of commentary published through the social networks.  Blogging helps preserve such thoughts and keep them available via keyword searches.  This passage comes from an earlier take on the same theme:

With President Trump, the American public faces three deep challenges:

1) how do deal with disinformation in the long term — “Active Measures” from Russia’s machinery, deflection and related strategies involving information and (“Fake News!”) rhetoric;

2) how to resist our own deepening divisions to return to quintessential American ideals, principles, and values, starting with the valuing of integrity in business and government and consequent distaste for corruption; 

3) how to address enemies that have found ways to blend and practice war indirectly, not only by proxy but with “frozen conflicts” aiding the movement of arms and narcotics worldwide and ability to deeply manipulate terrorism (e.g., see “Moscow Apartment Bombings”; read Anna Politkovskaya’s observations on the brutalizing of Chechen villages).

We may be in a little bit of trouble because the Cold War didn’t end quite where we thought it had and not much has prepared EU / NATO constituencies for its apparent phantoms and their still medieval political ambitions and views.