Venezuela and the Liberal Progressive Stance


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Dickey, Christopher. “How Cuba Helped Make Venezuela a Mafia State.” Daily Beast, June 2, 2019.

InSight Crime. “Venezuela: A Mafia State?” Seven-part series, May 16, 2018 to May 25, 2018. Full report: InSight Crime. “Venezuela: A Mafia State?” Report (PDF): 1) “7 Reasons for Describing Venezuela as a ‘Mafia State'”, Mary 16, 2018; 2) “Drug Trafficking Within the Venezuelan Regime: The ‘Cartel of the Suns'”, May 17, 2018; 3) “The Devolution of State Power: The ‘Colectivos'”, May 18, 2018; 4) “The Devolution of State Power: ‘The Pranes’,” May 20, 2018; 5) “Colombia and Venezuela: Criminal Siamese Twins,” May 21, 2018; 6) “Honduras and Venezuela: Coup and Cocaine Air Bridge,” May 23, 2018; 7) “Dominican Republic and Venezuela: Cocaine Across the Caribbean,” May 24, 2018; 8) “Venezuela and El Salvador: Exporting Aid and Corruption,” May 25, 2018.

North American Continental Appetite for Narcotics
–> Cash –> Central / South America
–> Cartel –> Gangs –> Related Violence
–> Corruption of Authorities
–> General Insecurity
–> Displacement of Population | Northern Mass Migration

If you’re on the Soviet / post-Soviet flavored Left / Far Left Progressive Movement, the same that might obtain its image of the world from, say, 927+ or Mint Press, at least consider reading Christopher Dickey’s report on the Cuba-Venezuelan connection and the InSight Crime series on narcotics trafficking and the accumulation of wealth by nominally “communist” and “socialist” so-called “leaders” in captive Central and South American states.

Related Online:
Related Online: (November 2018). Other states have poppy fields, of course, but the expansion of cultivation in Mexico for the production of heroin in North America should be perhaps more widely acknowledged.

Breaking: Montoya-Galvez, Camilo. “Senators Introduce bill to send $400 million in aid to Venezuela, strengthen sanctions.” CBS News, April 3, 2019.

In familiar Orwellian fashion, the New Old Now Old Far Out and Lost Left simply ignores the sustained Soviet / post-Soviet investment in the underworld and what it does to societies everywhere it travels.

For decades Venezuela treated its oil reserves — as has Russia — as plunder for The People, which it was, while all the while failing to diversify its internal and trade economies. Who cared? There was money for everything — until oil prices fell.

And then there was nothing.

Or what was left were the sideshows: the selling off of gold reserves; the cocaine trade; sex-related human trafficking; and, nearer to this miserable late date, displacement and the bartering of everything.

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Rep. Schiff: “You Might Think It’s Okay” – Excerpt from Address to Congress on the Issue of Collusion


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Screen capture April 1, 2019.

Related: – 8/16/2018. Craig Unger: “Trump says he has no contacts with Russia. I found 59 people who were intermediaries between Trump and Russia, and I traced them over the years and found not just hundreds of millions, perhaps, but billions of dollars in money laundering from the Russian mafia using Trump properties. But you had criminals living in Trump Towers, and the FBI was chasing mobsters and found they weren’t living in Brooklyn. They were living in Trump Tower.”

Also related: – Craig Unger, 7/13/2017.

Take one big step back to get the larger picture.

According to Karen Dawisha, recently deceased, the Soviet as administered by the Party Nomenklatura had in place in the mid-1980s a contingency plan for its own dissolution (just in case) — source: Putin’s Kleptocracy — so when the state dissolved (Dec. 25, 1991), the assets it had controlled were released to the “privileged of the The Party”. While the state transitioned into its federated form, the state was essentially lawless and without power to impose order on the chaos that ensued. (Aside: the power of the sovereign to police Russia has been always weak in terms of recognized police assets x area x population — the space has been historically underserved in that regard). The “Vory” coming out of the Gulag would present an especially egregious challenge to the new state and, so BackChannels believes, would be incorporated into the “mafia state“, effectively centralizing organized crime in the shadows beneath Vladimir Putin’s full sweep of power.

Now take in Craig Unger’s observations and blend with Russia’s Soviet / post-Soviet obligations and relationships involving all but support for Communism, which ideology was effectively neutralized by the official disempowerment of “The Party” at the end of the Cold War: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria | PLFP, PLO, Hezbollah, et al. | other former Communist Party alignments and former Loyalist (White Russian) extensions from the Imperial Period.

Add, perhaps, al Qaeda: | John Schinder – “Exploring Al Qaeda’s Murky Connection To Russian Intelligence” – 6-10/2014

Russia’s mafia state, narcoterrorism, integration with big “transnational crime organizations (TCOs)” . . . — Oh! Add a few other states with their active criminal and terrorist funding portions and then imagine the money sloshing about in the pockets of the middlemen — the facilitators, the smugglers — who can’t spend all that dirty loot without cleaning it up some.

NOW, good civic minded citizen (who knows not to ask too many questions), imagine receiving it clean.

What would you do with it?

What if it stopped arriving?

In recent years and now weeks, money laundering scandals have surfaced in various ways: “Panama Papers”; HSBC; Danske Bank; Norde Bank.

The gum shoes and journos do their investigative things; we get the information and the infotainment; and we cluck: “How awful!

Wait a minute — that cash, indecipherable from other cash — is in someone’s economy serving as capital or reserves or as loose dough attractive to business, charity, labor . . . everyone for everything.

Is there a price? A benefit?

One generation does the crime — and behold: Las Vegas.

And the next: good educations; good businesses; good jobs; decent enough rule of law.

Good people.

Delivered every which way: America’s Addicted: 2.5 million souls.

In the pipeline and driven by corporeal and financial insecurity associated with corruption, crime, and related impoverishment and violence: Central and South American mass migration.

Reference for Adam Schiff’s (D-CA) diatribe: (13:07)

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Hey, NATO! Happy Anniversary.


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NATO stepped up its game in Russia’s “Near Abroad” in response to the post-Soviet (and cynical) near destruction and depopulating of Syria; Russia’s invasion and annexation of the Crimea (and installation of another Moscow-sustained “Frozen Conflict”), and the dictatorship’s continued support for terrorism (for Afghanistan’s Taliban challengers to state authority; for Hezbollah, the global transnational crime operation); and for its “Active Measures” meddling in EU/NATO territory.

Generally speaking, The Bear has been a bullying, cowardly, and disingenuous force on the world’s stage, persistently authoritarian, underhanded, and totalitarian, and NATO has made itself popular to states wishing to be not so broadly . . . played.

Welcome to Cyprus

Fifteen years ago, NATO welcomed seven new members into the Alliance, expanding its borders eastward from the Baltic to Black Seas. As NATO reaches its seventieth birthday, it could now be time to look toward adding a new member: this time in the Eastern Mediterranean. – 3/31/2019

The end of the Cold War (Dec. 25, 1991) failed to sustain western-leaning government in Moscow. Yes, the Cold War was over; the habits of Russian paternal authoritarianism were not. With the ascent of Vladimir Putin to power, Moscow continued to act as a beacon of hope to dictatorships intent on remaining unfettered in their brutality, corruption, and criminality in relation to the ginning of their wealth.

NATO has stood fast against Putin’s rush to sink the world in a renewed feudal morass informed by vanity and absent of conscience, such being the nature of his own malignant narcissism.

Cyprus, of course, lists among the world’s frozen conflicts.

In Damon Wilson’s analysis for the Atlantic Council, the time seems ripe for unification: “Cyprus remains the only European Union member who is not even a member of the Alliance’s Partnership for Peace program, due entirely to the outstanding reunification problem. Immediate NATO membership for a reunified island, however, would automatically embed, and therefore replace, a joint Greek-Turkish-British security guarantee within an Alliance commitment to the entire island without any need for alternative mechanisms.”

Yes, but . . . .

Feudal Absolutism v Modern Democracy: Turkey’s Islamist Leader

Our minarets are our bayonets
Our domes are our helmets
Our mosques are our barracks

We will put a final end to ethnic segregation.  No one can ever intimidate us.

If the skies and the ground were to open against us
If floods and volcanoes were to burst
We will not turn from our mission.

My reference is Islam.

If I am not able to speak of this
What is the use of living?

Secondary source for the above quoted portion of Erdogan’s 1997 speech delivered in Siirt: (the primary source seems at the moment inconveniently lost somewhere in the web and beyond the editor’s patience for hunting).

Cyprus would be more easily unified if the Turkish President were an authentic NATO leader. However, in BackChannel’s humble opinion, by apologizing for the downing of two Russian jets overflying Turkish airspace, Erdogan made himself part of Putin’s new feudal estate — the estate of post-Soviet dictatorships responding to Moscow.

Not so noble that New Nobility.

While pressure has been applied — okay, infant terrible, Russian S-400 Surface-to-Air missile defense or American F-35s — from whose jets do you intend defense of, say, your Islamic principles. . . or of Turkish Stream? — results, so far, appear indefinite.

Ah well, every family has a conflicted, selfish, and troubled member.

In lieu of kicking Turkey out of the house, so to speak, this has been the kind of headline NATO has had to tolerate in relation to Erdogan’s family business: “Erdogan: NATO gives arms to ‘terrorists’ but not to Turkey: President accuses NATO allies of supporting ‘terrorism’ with thousands of truckloads of weapons, but none for Turkey” (Al Jazeera, February 18, 2019).

Perhaps the baggage is only getting in the way of the journey, for the Turkish government speaks in glowing terms of the state’s relationship with NATO: “Ever since our NATO membership in 1952, the North Atlantic Alliance has played a central role in Turkey’s security and contributed to its integration with the Euro-Atlantic community. Turkey, in return, has successfully assumed its responsibilities in defending the common values of the Alliance.”

Has it?

Is it?

There would seem to be some discrepancy between Turkish idealpolitik and its president’s realpolitik.

Another Neo-NATO President: Hungary’s Viktor Orban

Written into existence by James Kirchik:

Most of the international criticism directed at Hungary over the past nine years has focused on domestic indicators such as the rule of law, separation of powers and press freedom. Prime Minister Viktor Orban has been remarkably blunt about his designs for Hungary, citing China, Russia and Turkey as models. After an election in April widely deemed free but not fair, he sounded a triumphal note, declaring that “the era of liberal democracy is over.” – 1/3/2019

Is Hungary becoming rogue?

Read Hungarian Spectrum and mouse back a few years.

The indicators of reversion to the feudal mode and its medieval blood-and-soil worldviews, including the idolatry associated with the “Great Leader” may be the same across afflicted states: the boast of a gloriously romantic history; contempt for and manipulation of the press, previously free and independent; renewal of anti-Semitic tropes accompanied by tolerance for Far White Right extremism (in Hungary, that would be Jobbik); transfer of powers to family and with it the growth of associated business alliances (open nepotism and cronyism); xenophobia; fear of George Soros 🙂 : the democratic state succumbs to the will of the President (for Life!) who then treats the assets of the same as if they were of his very own feudal estate — and so they become exactly that.

In every way, Orban’s illiberal Hungary — or the illiberal Orban’s captive state — fits with the renewal of — or renewed drowning in — feudalism in more than one or two NATO states..

BREXIT, Poland, others . . . BackChannels blames Moscow (and the obscure method of manipulation knows as “Reflexive Control” (on this blog: ) for a part of what has happened. In Turkey and Hungary, resurgent old habits have had their effects.

NATO: Next

Russia may not have need for plowing tanks into EU/NATO targets where “Active Measures” and the leveraging and seduction of deeply narcissistic state leaders may suffice for the perversion of NATO values — those supporting the democratic and liberal humanism that have been the hard fought and won treasures of western civilization — in targeted space. No sane child of the post-WWII west would think continuous conflict, political absolutism, and the wars of all against all the natural fate of western states, but that’s what has drawn near.

While NATO may be militarily on its game and strong, the system has shown its weakness in the egotism — the malignant narcissism — of several of its leaders (add another but lesser figure in Jeremy Corbyn, a perhaps unwitting son of Soviet Era cant and today’s piper of Far Out Left — and anti-Semitic — attitudes and beliefs — and then note his xenophobic complements occupying the British Far White Right).

May God smile on them all 😉 — but it is NATO that defends them, and if the same or similar come into power, then what would it be that NATO found itself actually defending?

From the deposing of old generals to the defeat of a pro-democracy coup, Erdogan’s story has unfolded and been met by the west even more slowly — but at least, finally, met.

What of others?

Posted to YouTube by Vox, July 18, 2016

Nonetheless: Happy Birthday, NATO. May you and the full suite of pro-democracy institutions and moral entrepreneurs worldwide advocate for and defend authentic democracies, related responsive and responsible governance, and forever human dignity and freedom and the many good dream and rights given to mankind.

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FTAC: “The Media Went Easy on Obama”


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Inspiration: the idea that “the media” has a coordinated conscience.

The title of this post has been drawn from the familiar accusation that the media — the “Mainstream Media”, “MSM”, “Lamestream Media” — has been giving President Trump a bum rap.

From the Awesome Conversation

After so many years following other politics, I might be a little less surprised [by anything coming up in the daily news feed]. However, one may pull (and check) factual data from articles extant.

BC sees two worlds in the Open Source: the public’s window and perception and the journalist’s or researcher’s image of the world.

Generally speaking, the public obtains a narrowed, parochial, and under-informed worldview bounded by the constraints of interest, prior education, and time plus, and if engaged as a voter, near-term focus on candidates and issues. Journalists and researchers by profession dig into the history — events, personalities, organizations — contributing to their subject areas and related states of affairs.

When BackChannels reads — that’s what this “reading page” has been about — it accesses current and prior research effort repeatedly in a not too wide band of interests: conflict, foreign affairs, now some U.S. domestic politics.

For the record, BC believes that “the media” — mainstream and popular journals — e.g., Politico, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The Diplomat, McClatchy, The Daily Caller, The Daily Beast, The Nation, The American Interest, etc. — don’t “go easy” on any politician of interest.

The publishing industry engaged in U.S. domestic and international politics represents a competitive rather than consciously coordinated field, while the journalists also represent a similarly competitive and polyglot crowd but one generally possessed of integrity. It’s up to the reader, one at a time x millions, to evaluate the intents and veracity of articles, their authors, and their publications, as he reads through what is the mediated experience of the world.

The media could not have “gone easy on Obama”: it observed, reported, and opined with customary vigor in the familiar fashion. Obama’s parade through two terms simply gave up less daily fodder for humor and outrage than today’s incumbent.

Related on BackChannels

Related Online | Richard North Patterson. “I Used to Write Novels. Then Trump Rendered Fiction Redundant: The president is a fiction writer run amok, the hero of his own impermeable drama.” Mar 31, 2019.

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FTAC: Briefest Comment: Corbyn, Anti-Semitism, and the Soviet Era


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Inspiration: Corbyn’s intellectual connection with the Soviet Era as mentioned by Ben Cohen in a notice and review (The Tower, October 2016) of David Rich’s The Left’s Jewish Problem. My conversational partner had asked about the origins of British anti-Semitism, and while I had a sense of where the answer might be, I hadn’t much validation for it. Now that little patch of curiosity and intuition may be on the cusp of becoming known.

From the Awesome Conversation on Facebook

Of course. I’ve been right about the “Phantoms of the Soviet”. I just purchased the earlier Kindle edition of David Rich’s The Left’s Jewish Problem and hope that will fill in some gaps.

The west has made broad strides in mopping up after the Cold War; however it has succumbed to the new “syndicate”, a melange of authoritarian governments bent on the renewal of feudalism above a darker background of global crime and corruption driven by trade in narcotics and abetted by money laundering.

For Russian power, today’s “anti- anti-Semitism” and anti-Semitism are just political tools for the defense of the terminal or singular representation of the power of the state in one person. What it long ago promoted beyond its borders has been pure intellectual poison.

Updated edition published September 18, 2018.

Related Online

Bloodworth, James. “Labour’s New Anti-Semitism Has Disturbingly Old Roots.” Foreign Policy, August 21, 2018.

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FTAC: After the Mueller Report, The Tarring Will Stick



While the Democrats have some post-Soviet issues on the Far Left — and the Republicans seem to draw the White Far Right — I believe Americans are perceiving a deeply paranoid, aggressive, and vindictive Administration freighted with shady figures (like Manafort) on the ride in and packed with sycophants (like Stephan Moore, the latest nomination for the Fed), today.

It was just one book (by a liberal) and may be let go, but since its publication, there have been many others, each researched and defended by its author, most with impeccable credentials. Now even the Mueller Report is being redacted — whatever the “eyes only”, the public isn’t getting the whole story, so there has to be something of value in the volume worth keeping from the public.

Whatever this report says, here’s what I know: when I was at Cambridge Analytica, the company hired known Russian agents, had data researchers in St Petersburg, tested US voter opinion on Putin’s leadership, and hired hackers from Russia – all while Bannon was in charge.

Christopher Wylie in the below displayed tweet.

In the way of communists and fascists alike, Bannon, the “populist”, has decamped himself into an Italian monastery befitting his own self-concept.

It’s a nice place.

Such impressions add up, albeit among those who follow the news and query the Internet. The image of the President and his helper has not been authentically “populist”.

With Donald Trump, his once-trusted lawyer, his once-esteemed campaign manager, his brag, “I just you all a lot richer”, his Miami real estate, one of the world’s dirtiest / most glamorous markets, the story’s just not going to wash away, not matter how loud he may be about vindication.

Bannon has said he doesn’t remember buying the data . . . .

Also Related Online – 7/13/2017.

I own it, haven’t read it, but it’s the kind of thing that pops up on Amazon with the search string, “Trump, Collusion” — there are also Trump collusion dismissals, but in that category, Roger Stone places high — I’d rather read (and trust) Guardian veteran Luke Harding.

BackChannels cited a BackChannels post on Craig Unger’s book. Here’s the direct link to the book on Amazon: – 8/14/2018

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FTAC: Obama, State Secrets, Public Apprehension, and BREXIT


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Inspiration: Josh Meyer’s “The secret backstory of how Obama let Hezbollah off the hook” (Politico, circa January 2018) and the idea that using the article as mud pie material for the Obama Administration may be invalidated by the lifespan and volume of state secrets migrating across Administrations. This was the question: “Reporting how Obama shut down a Major Hizbullah investigation is ‘slinging mud’?”

Because . . . state secrets span Administrations.

” . . . requires a public that can access, understand, and use the information . . . ”

The problem is with “understand.

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.

How honest, for example, can Maduro be with Venezuelans when he is operating a criminal state?

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.

Related: Graff, Garrett M. “The Government Secrets Trump Is About to Discover.” Politico, January/February 2017.

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FTAC: Three Simple Questions About Freedom in the Age of Mass Observation and Measurement

Inspiration: Ma, Alexandra. “Thousands of people in Sweden are embedding microchips under their skin to replace ID cards.” Business Insider, May 14, 2018 – and one question asked of the editor: “Are you celebrating technology or taking a peek at Big Brother?”


What is Conscience? What is Freedom? What is Moral Agency?

What’s possible may be what’s coming: (January 2019)

Keywords: China, Technology, Social Credit System

“The Chinese government already knows everything about me. If I’m not committing a crime, I don’t give a shit”

@9:40 of below-posted video.
Wall Street Journal, January 18, 2018, YouTube.

While this post may be based on year-old data, it’s still cogent. Like “Socialism”, it would appear that “Technological Totalitarianism” will be a work in progress for some time to come, but perhaps not as much as most would like even if we don’t yet know it.

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