Afghanistan’s Violence-Stalling Peace-Encouraging Doha Agreement

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Left: Diplomat Zalmay Khalilzad, Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, U.S. Department of State; right: Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, Chief of Taliban’s Diplomatic Office, Doha, Qatar. Screen capture, February 29, 2020.

Where it may have begun —

Schindler, John. “Exploring Al Qaeda’s Murky Connection to Russian Intelligence.” Business Insider, June 10, 2014.

How it may have been sustained —

Gibbons-Neff, Thomas. “Russia is sending weapons to Taliban, top U.S. general confirms.” The Washington Post, April 24, 2017.

Where it may have ended this day —

George, Susannah and Dan Lamothe. “U.S. signs peace deal with Taliban, a turning point in the 18-year war in Afghanistan. The Washington Post, February 29, 2020.

Related on BackChannels

Civilizational Narcissism

Related Online

Bellis, Charlotte. “US-Taliban talks: Who is Mullah Baradar? Taliban Cofounder turned political chief, Abdul Ghani Baradar has wored in the shadows his entire life.” Al Jazeera, May 2, 2019.

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Threat Assessments Unthinkable, But They Are Here — and Sometimes Actionable

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Two articles have caught my attention from the damnably nasty regions of Biological and Chemical Warfare:

Bob, Yonah Jeremy, Neville Teller. “Ex-CIA official warns of Iran, ISIS drones armed with chemical weapons.” The Jerusalem Post, February 10, 2020.

Kania, Elsa B. and Wilson Vorndick. “Weaponizing Biotech: How China’s Military is Preparing for a ‘New Domain of Warfare’.” Defense Once, August 14, 2019.

COVID-19?

It may be a taste of poison on the sophisticated tips of the arrows developing in radically different kinds of quivers.

One bullet point from the list included in the Defense One article:

In 2015, then-president of the Academy of Military Medical Sciences He Fuchu (贺福初) argued that biotechnology will become the new “strategic commanding heights” of national defense, from biomaterials to “brain control” weapons. Maj. Gen. He has since become the vice president of the Academy of Military Sciences, which leads China’s military science enterprise. 

What New Demons are these of formerly great Dynasties?

Totalitarian genius cannot be but evil.

Drone Bomb Swarms?

From The Jerusalem Post piece:

The greatest threat confronting the US and Israel may be swarms of drones armed with chemical weapons released by Iran or ISIS, an ex-CIA official has told The Jerusalem Post.The warning takes on greater meaning following a call on January 28 by ISIS’s new leader, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Quraishi, to direct greater attention to attacking Israel and Jews, including using chemical weapons.

In relation to the latter piece, attack have been already thwarted but with the details withheld by the CIA.

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FTAC: A Speculation Involving Bernie Sanders and Felix Adler

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America’s “Far White Right” Republicans, who haven’t had much to do with reality either these days, have scraped up the mud mixture to attempt to splatter the Democrats thoroughly in the old Soviet zeitgeist and call their opposition “Un-American!”


Times of Israel blogger Fred Maroun asked on his Facebook page, “Is Netanyahu racist, as Sanders claims?”

After taking care of the Netanyahu question — not racist! — Maroun went on to defame Sanders. Here’s what he said:

Sanders, on the other hand, is an antisemite. He’s using the antisemitism of many on the left to gain support, and he has no problem associating with virulent antisemites like Linda Sarsour. He’s never apologized for any of it, on the contrary, he only gets worse. His accusation against Netanyahu is part of his game to attract those people. If he wants to criticize Netanyahu on the settlements, fine, but he knows that wouldn’t distinguish him from other Democrats, so he accuses the leader of the Jewish state of being a racist, code word for Jews being racist. His antisemitic base loves it. He uses exactly the same tactics to attract antisemites that Trump uses to attract right-wing racists.

Those who support Sanders are engaging in the the exact same moral acrobatics as those who support Trump. Shame on them.

Bernie Sanders may or may not be far from the habits known to the most religious of synagogue goers — the form of his personal ablutions are an I-Don’t-Know for me (and I don’t want to know!) — but one may recognize in Sanders the crossing point where Judaism became a Jewish Humanism so oriented toward people — and not so obsessed with God — that the rabbi who chose his conclusions over his upbringing (Felix Adler) would go on to establish a new American religious society represented by the term “Ethical Movement”.

From the Awesome Conversation

My response to the accusation: Sanders — anti-Semite!

Sanders has the frameworks of the New Old Now Old Far Out and Lost Left — a term I used to use as I arrived here a conservative, and, sigh, the Left of my youth seemed to have drifted toward Noam Chomsky and Chris Hedges on the barricades. That could have been just the way I arrived and “channeled” into Facebook.

Judaism’s Orthodox–>Conservative–>Reform Spectrum has had a last note pinned to it in the figure of Felix Adler.

— In 1876, Adler at age 26 was invited to give a lecture expanding upon his themes first presented in the sermon at Temple Emanu-El. On May 15, 1876 he reiterated the need for a religion, without the trappings of ritual or creed, that united all of humankind in moral social action.[7] To do away with theology and to unite theists, atheists, agnostics and deists, all in the same religious cause, was a revolutionary idea at the time. A few weeks after the sermon, Adler started a series of weekly Sunday lectures. In February 1877, aided by Joseph Seligman, president of Temple Emanu-El, Adler incorporated the Society for Ethical Culture. —

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Felix_Adler_(professor)

One might imagine, easily, that those promoting and living a strongly behavioral view of Judaism and Jewish Law bound into Jewish Obedience to the Commandments and related codes (“613 Commandments”) were not too happy with Professor Adler.

Sanders may have that ethical-humanist strain of ultimately Jewish thought in him, but he must also know as a Jew that he is not part of Russo-Soviet complex on the left that spread the “Protocols” throughout Russia and conveyed the same through White Russian emigre into Germany. America’s “Far White Right” Republicans, who haven’t had much to do with reality either these days, have scraped up the mud mixture to attempt to splatter the Democrats thoroughly in the old Soviet zeitgeist and call their opposition “Un-American!”

Bernie’s a liberal Jew. (I’ve been part of Reform Judaism — and Ethical Society much, much earlier — but am tired now “of all that” and prefer a quiet supper in a good restaurant on the Sabbath). Regarding Sanders’ political and social views, I would bet his position similar to Adler’s and what I without study would refer to as “Jewish Humanism”.


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FTAC: Jews Beware Conservative Agitprop

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The Facebook post directed to a publication that screamed, “Report: Chief Dem Staffer Says Office Doesn’t Care About Anti-Semitism.”

So there!

The poster had claimed that not one of the Democratic Party candidates for President had condemned anti-Semitism within the party.

That might be so — and here the modern propaganda challenge weighs in: how much TIME has one to check the assertion?

And how cogent is the issue, really?

And can anything be done about it?

Always check the dateline, sez I!

January 19, 2018 – and fairly balanced by journalist Aaron Bandler, who at least sought to verify the alleged quote by an “unidentified staffer” (to Sen Patty Murray, D-WA) that began this way: “We don’t care about anti-Semitism in this office. We care about transgenders, we care about blacks. We care about Hispanics, we care about lesbians . . . .” Bandler checked, and Murray’s office disputed the accusation, suggesting, at the least, that a responsible Democratic senator would not endorse such a claims if it had been made!

Before coffee, right?

“Not one Democratic Party candidate condemns anti-Semitism within the Party!”

And there’s the proof of an article right there — expect it dates back more than year, so it had to be dredge from that past, and then it doesn’t really pan out, but, hey, the damage, presumably, would have been done.

Who else (but yours truly) would take a second look?

Instead, heads will nod!

This answered the “What is to be done” part of the puzzle earlier this morning.

Editor here — and Indie Influencer, perhaps — chose to tweet Seema Nanda, CEO of the Democratic Party with this:

Another “Seema Nanda” is a mathematician, and I tweeted in a hurry.

😦

A mistake was made, and I will apologize here for my confusion — and what might have been a stunning opener but may be still no less true for being a little less custom than supposed. So let it fly — the American Democratic Party will have to grapple with devious Republican agitprop — near disinformation and innuendo — as the opining season heats up many fold for the November contest.


Related on BackChannels

Active Measures

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FTAC: Middle East Conflict (MEC): The Peace at Hand

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Think Peace.

It’s already at hand.

The energies and numbers of Israelis and Palestinians engaged in cross-cultural activities (like this one with Mohammed S. Dajani Daoudi), in trade, even in commiseration, have been stable and strong for years.

Do the extremists the west calls “terrorists” authentically represent Islam?

Do yesterday’s rockets from Gaza represent today’s Palestinians?


The PLO/PA and Hamas have ways of making the news look bad.

TOI Staff. “As PA seethes at Trump plan, top officials say all of Israel is Palestine.” The Times of Israel, February 25, 2020.

i24 News. “Liveblog: Barrage of rockets launched into Israel from Gaza as violence in south escalates.” February 24, 2020.


Other Palestinians, however, have ways of getting things done despite the efforts of the Phantoms of the Soviet to repeat their declarations — year after year for 72 years — while handily lifting some money from Palestinian pockets and skimming more from UNCHR revenues intended for Palestinian development. While the war that exists in the minds of Palestinian “Leaders” — and ticks off the IDF most of all — goes on and on and on and on, Palestinians have long been working.

Here are a few references that BackChannels regards as positive indicators for the region. The URL titles provide the story headers:

https://institute.global/insight/middle-east/israeli-palestinian-trade-depth-analysis – 10/17/2018.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/quietly-israeli-high-tech-companies-contract-gaza-engineers/ – 9/20/2017.

https://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Gaza-nurses-train-in-Israel-We-speak-of-health-not-politics-612887 – 1/3/2020.

https://www.jns.org/report-palestinian-economy-flourishing-despite-pa-financial-crisis/ – 8/25/2019.

https://www.thenation.com/article/palestinians-israelis-mourning-our-dead-together/ – 5/22/2019.

https://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Gaza-nurses-train-in-Israel-We-speak-of-health-not-politics-612887 – 1/3/2019.

Rawabi, Palestinian Territories

https://www.businessinsider.com/west-bank-palestine-rawabi-city-israel-news-2018-10 – 10/20/2018.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-israel-palestinians-tech/palestinian-contractors-poised-for-riches-from-israeli-tech-firms-takeover-idUSKCN1TI0QX – 6/17/2019.

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FTAC: A Note Regarding Support for Trump by the Nation’s Defenders

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Inspiration: the posting of the URL to a story about Idlib, Syria and the deflection of the same back to HIM (whose presence looms so large it no longer needs HIS name).


From the Awesome Conversation

Defenders of the Nation might be especially interested in its abuses or darker spaces. Even with 300 million souls, it’s hard to account for 490,000 missing between the ages of 12 and 21 (FBI statistics, 2017). Perhaps I’m missing the meaning of those numbers and need a briefing on their potential meaning, but even so, it’s a hefty number.

The number of homeless, about 554,000 American (or other) souls, at one point included about 60,000 American Veterans. That niche has been getting attention (along with post-service suicides at this time), which is fine, but how did these numbers develop? Behind each data entry, there is someone’s personal story.

I know you’re a good egg, but our national character, once the world’s hope for democracy as a defender and leader in relation to the human treatment of human beings — has appeared a bit challenged of late. WE don’t bomb hospitals into rubble; WE don’t even think of destroying World Heritage Sites; WE do not believe we are here to fully despoil Earth; WE don’t groom nor keep slaves; WE consistently endorse responsible and responsive governance; etc.


Related Online

Choi, David. “Former top Navy SEAL who oversaw the Osama bin Laden raid says the US is ‘under attack from the president’.” Business Insider, October 17, 2019.

Harbaugh, Ken. “The U.S. Military Is Not Ready for a Constitutional Crisis.” The Atlantic, February 11, 2020.

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Active Measures

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As BackChannels Would Define It

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.


Related Online

Linville, Darren and Patrick Warren. “That Uplifting Tweet You Just Shared? A Russian Troll Sent It.” Rolling Stone, November 25, 2019.

Lipton, Eric, David E. Sanger and Scott Shane. “The Perfect Weapon: How Russian Cyberpower Invaded the U.S.” The New York Times, December 13, 2016.

Shane, Scott. “The Fake Americans Russia Created to Influence the Election.” The New York Times, September 7, 2017.

Wikipedia. “Active Measures”.


Addendum — From the Awesome Conversation

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.

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FTAC: The American President Who Could Care Less About America’s Foundational Ideals

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Who in support of our Democracy can afford to be neutral about a President who appears to be operating on an authoritarian basis using rules of his own? It has been one thing to “let the horse run”, see how he works, and watch what he does. It’s another to turn our back on a hard-won — fought for, died for, paid for — nation devoted to fair play and integrity right beside the principles and spirit that produced our foundational documents.

Admiral McRaven knew his business and his country and what he represented every day as a four-star admiral. That’s not an Obama thing or, particularly a Democratic or Republican thing. It’s an American thing unless the Nation has forgotten why it exists as a unique and now long-lived democracy.

This President shrugs off resignations by the most competitive and experienced professionals in their fields: diplomats, investigators, intelligence executives, military executives, prosecutors. He believes everything we do happens by way of political chicanery and force — or “clevers” — and not much has to do with anything worth believing in, much less dying for.

These pieces by Harbough and McRaven tell of a different America, one more admirable, more noble, more deserving of extraordinary leadership and sacrifice.


BackChannels. “United States of America — Basic Training”. February 2, 2017.

Choi, David. “Former top Navy SEAL who oversaw the Osama bin Laden raid says the US is ‘under attack from the president’.” Business Insider, October 17, 2019.

Harbaugh, Ken. “There Should Be a Veteran Running for President.” Time, March 18, 2015.

Harbaugh, Ken. “The U.S. Military Is Not Ready for a Constitutional Crisis.” The Atlantic, February 11, 2020.

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