In the medieval mode, power lies and makes it truth; in the modern world, power had better tell the truth given the world’s yet free legions of high-integrity academics, consultants, judges, lawyers, researchers, and scholars. Lie to us, and we will find you out and bring about your humiliation in the minds of future generations. So here we know the lie told to the Palestinian refugees of 1948: “The Jews stole your land, and God wants you to win it back” — and it seems an old portion of Arab power has given the Palestinians that lie as something against which to bang their heads for decades.
From the Awesome Conversation
What mobs hear, believe, and repeat is different from what lawyers, judges, and scholars examine and come to know with overwhelming validity.
The civilized way of attenuating findings certain to make one side or another unhappy is to cooperate in a relocation chosen by those moving out and as good or better than present circumstance and altogether agreed permanent according to the will of those so relocated. No death, outrage, vandalism, or violence — just a disruptive but civil adjustment undertaken in a mutually respectful even if reluctant atmosphere.
You would rather create a sore, salt it, and drive a mob against both historical and inherited realities and superior — proven, experienced — defense and security forces.
Given the bent, about all Palestinian “advocates” can guaranty is greater and more widespread Palestinian anger and related harm.
So the Power That Lies–what is it to tell its people when the game’s up?
The answer is Copernican: “We were wrong. We could not see nought but ourselves and God, the universe, and the world before us fully admiring, approving, validating no matter what we did to ourselves, those taught to trust us most, and those we regarded as our enemies.”
I would not regard my fellow Jews as occupying the Center of the Universe either, but one may respect or at least value the co-evolutionary presence of the world’s diminishing pool of ethnolinguistic cultures, and then perhaps respect Arabs and Israelis and others most of all for overcoming themselves and broadening the reach of those principles most peaceful, pleasant, responsible, and, ultimately, universal.
Only two words really matter with information — empiricism and integrity. Where we dismiss the former, people will entertain anything; where the latter goes missing, people will tell others anything — and they’ll do it for greed and lust expressed as money and power.
We know the characteristics of good information.
There is the reporter’s standard, “clear, accurate, and complete”.
The empiricist may want to know what is cogent, valid, and reliable — and in what precise measure against chance (probability).
Most of the time we want to know “how things work”, and we want answers we may rely on for making decisions, but in difficult times — or just with troubled machinery — we may want to know as well why things don’t work.
Agitation, disinformation, and propaganda fail always the two-part test: is it true? Is it honest?
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.
According to rough Central Intelligence Agency estimates presented in US congressional hearings in 1980 and 1982, Moscow spends some $4 billion a year on overt and covert propaganda, with some $3 billion of this going to Pravda, Tass, and other overt activities and the residual $1 billion presumably going into covert disinformation. Georgetown University Prof. Roy Godson, coauthor with Richard H. Shultz of the book “Dezinformatsia” says the Soviets employ 15,000 in “active measures.”
“Active measures” — the term came into use in the Soviet Union in the 1950s — include international front organizations, agent-of-influence operations, and forgeries. Front organizations straddle overt and covert measures, Godson and Shultz explain. The International Department of the Soviet Communist Party “coordinates the activities of these organizations,” but “the fronts actively attempt to maintain an image of independence.”
The flagship of these fronts is the World Peace Council.
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.
Addendum – Miscellaneous Quotations and Reference Having to Do with Disinformation
The deceit being dispensed by Trump & Company is hardly universal, but it is extensive, which is why defeating Trump was essential if we’re going to move away from perspectivism as the interpretive theory in our politics. But objective reality as a concept—truth as something that exists independent of affect, independent of subjective narratives, independent of whatever a partisan information silo claims is true—has been badly damaged. Among the most urgent tasks facing America, then, is to strengthen our regard for what Plato called episteme over doxa, true knowledge over opinion, reality over fantasy.
In the Cold War, the Communist Party defined the USSR’s information strategy from the top down. Today, Russian information warfare is waged by a variety of groups that have different interests, domestically and internationally, and different connections to the outside world. Modern Russia is a loose, networked state with multiple actors allowed to conduct domestic and foreign policy, usually to benefit corrupt political groups around (and including) Putin. These different groups influence state strategy both directly and indirectly;some have their own areas of interest, such the oil company Rosneft’s interests in Africa and Latin America.
As a result, Russian information warfare is not consistent and strategic; its fundamental quality is tactical opportunism, which of course leads to inconsistency. This inconsistency makes attribution difficult or even misleading. We still cannot be certain, for example, which particular vested interest was behind the hack of the Democratic National Committee in the US. It is possible that business groups under sanction in the US organized the hack because they believed that a President Trump would lift the sanctions; it is equally possible that the FSB organized the hack with the idea of undermining Hillary Clinton, for geopolitical reasons. Either way, it is likely that the actual hackers were criminals, hired for this particular purpose, and not state employees.The Kremlin, in other words,is just one of myriad actors pumping out disinformation, alongside domestic media as well as the teenagers in Macedonia who produced anti-Clinton fake news for personal profit.
State of Affairs: Palestinian leaders needs must treat the Palestinian main base as captives to be kept from free and open discourse and research in relation to their own history.
For BackChannels, “The Palestinians” exist, but the idea of the “The People” may exist differently than presumed by the dictatorships and kleptocrats that have chosen to exploit as weapons “the refugees of 1948”, i.e., the many Christians and Muslims abandoned between armies as Arab forces abandoned their mission to annihilate the Jews of Israel.
Genuine peace may have something to do with shared integrity, not my-side-your-side and the wheedled detente that is ever a ceasefire, never a peace.
My argument for the Palestinian People: after 70+ years of comparative isolation associated with Arab Apartheid, the cohort defined by the Arab refugees of 1948 have indeed become a People, but they have been also deeply intellectually poisoned. The big lie as a thought left unaddressed to fester . . . to whip resentment into boiling anger: “The Jews stole your land and God wants to you to seize it back (and annihilate the Jews)”. Never mind the Turkish land registries, the land purchases that began long before WWII, the agricultural industry that drew Arab labor into its economy, or the continuous presence of Jews in Roman-named “Palestine” across millennia.
The myth: Israel was an invasion.
The truth: Israel has been an investment legitimately obtained.
The cruelties to which the Palestinians, in some radicalized part, remain subject: Hitler’s license for the harboring of genocidal ambitions now supported by Hamas, at least; Uncle Joe’s and Father (I guess) Andropov’s reliance on “Information Warfare” and political repression in the ordering of their own delusional worlds.
Today we know what happens to Palestinian dissidents.
Haven’t The Palestinians an inherent right to question their leadership — it has been a long time since the last casting of ballots for them — or to read and discuss, I don’t know, say, Benny Morris, Efraim Karsh, or to engage with Israels as each may see fit without fear?
The Soviet / post-Soviet seduced Left / Far Left — the Corbynites, the Cult BDSWaters of the world — are not for the Palestinians but for those who have enriched themselves championing their misery in service to the corruption of those who most purport to represent them.
Might Russia’s animus with the Jews go all the way back to the Viking encounter with the Khazar Kingdom that received tribute from east-west trade?
That’s possible. The Khazar, representing a Turkic Khaganate, had converted en masse to a Karaite form of Judaism and would have been regarded as Jews by those whose eastern trade they had taxed. The ever expanding-contracting-expanding range of Nordic / Russian power overtook the Kingdom has it would Kiev as well as half of Britain: the Vikings were to hold sway in what is today thought of as “The West”, or one might say the European tribes north of the Roman Empire.
Has anti-Semitic hate traveled forward from that far in the past?
That too is possible, the calendar of the Hebrews dating back 5,779 years this year.
How primary in the life of polities are fundamental beliefs and accompanying attitudes?
Would Great Britain be “British” without the anti-Semitic depictions of Shakespeare’s Shylock and Dickens’ Fagin, both far predating the encouragement of Russia’s Okhrana and later Bolshevik KGB?
Add the thought to conjecture.
Whatever history may tell the scholars, today’s hatred of the Jews, i.e., contemporary anti-Semitic ideation and obsession, seems a part of the medieval world and its views, not the modern one of integrity, reason, and study.
For The Palestinians, living as subject to the capricious and unquestionable power of Fatah (via the PLO / PA) and Hamas (thanks to its financial supporters), their dignity, freedom, and human rights will remain in the hands of their true captors, and that is the present Palestinian “leaders” who have led them into the most absurd and dark of dead ends.
There’s a great deal of material “related online” — and in the libraries — but this happened to cross my desk while the post was still a week or so new, and I though I would recommend its reading:
Ford claimed that, thirty-six years ago, Kavanaugh held her down on a bed against her will, groped her, and covered her mouth when she tried to scream. Ford made the allegation anonymously in a letter to her congresswoman, Anna Eshoo, and Senator Dianne Feinstein, who originally declined to share the letter and later referred the matter to the F.B.I. for investigation. Ford has since come forward publicly; her lawyer has stated that she and her family have received threats since her name became public. Kavanaugh has responded with a categorical denial, saying in a statement, “I have never done anything like what the accuser describes—to her or to anyone. . . . I had no idea who was making this accusation until she identified herself.”
Loyalty to President Trump and possible-to-probable interference in judicial processes have been thematic from the start of President Trump’s Administration.
While charges remain “alleged”, BackChannels believes Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser Christine Blasey Ford utterly authentic.
IF public and Senate opinion comes to the same conclusion, then what will matter most will not be whether as a 17-year-old boy Kavanaugh had assaulted Ford but how he handled the accusation. He has by his blanket denial effective removed claim to the defense of juvenile behavior and will have been caught lying — and in a breathtaking abuse of power libeling his accuser — as a fully fledged adult.
What malign narcissism brought these politics to the once ever believing, confident, and idealistic United States of America?
Screen capture from hearing, September 27, 2018.
While Kavanaugh brags about his carefully kept calendars / calendar-journals, his voice breaks. Of course, had he committed an assault with great ambitions in mind, the calendar or the journal would have been the place to write the incident out of the record by not including it.
In one passage, beginning on Page 92, Judge describes his time working at a grocery store in the context of his drinking problem. Emphasis added.
It was the summer before senior year, and by now, even though I wasn’t drinking every day, I was completely hooked. Going a week without getting drunk was unthinkable. I was spending between four and seven nights with the gang, either at a party or at O’Rourke’s.
Elsewhere in the book, Judge describes one of his acquaintances at the time, someone named “Bart O’Kavanaugh,” who vomited in a car after a party.
“Truth does not become more true if the whole world were to accept it; nor does it become less true if the whole world were to reject it.”
“The risk of a wrong decision is preferable to the terror of indecision.”
September 28, 2018 (and live at posting here).
“The basic principles that underscore the Senate’s constitutional duty of advice and consent on federal judicial nominees require nothing less than a careful examination of the accusations and facts by the FBI,” said Robert Carlson, president of the organization, in a Thursday night letter addressed to Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley and ranking Democrat Dianne Feinstein.
“Each appointment to our nation’s Highest Court (as with all others) is simply too important to rush to a vote,” Carlson wrote. “Deciding to proceed without conducting additional investigation would not only have a lasting impact on the Senate’s reputation, but it will also negatively affect the great trust necessary for the American people to have in the Supreme Court.”
I got the polygraph test Dr. Ford took showing truthfulness about her account in the record. To quote a judge: “law enforcement agencies use polygraphs to test the credibility of witnesses” & the tests “serve law enforcement purposes.” That judge was Brett Kavanaugh in 2016 case.
“The Supreme Court,” he said, “must never be viewed as a partisan institution.”
His performance on Thursday, responding to accusations of sexual misconduct at a hearing of the same Senate committee, sent a different message. Judge Kavanaugh was angry and emotional, embracing the language of slashing partisanship. His demeanor raised questions about his neutrality and temperament and whether the already fragile reputation of the Supreme Court as an institution devoted to law rather than politics would be threatened if he is confirmed.
Political independence may be America’s greatest prize for free thinkers. BackChannels’ editor left the Democratic Party about nine years ago and has not registered with the Republican Party since then.
Regarding Shamus Khan’s piece, one may suggest the following, which has been copied from the editor’s portion of The Awesome Conversation online:
What would be tyrannous would be to allow the privileged to mask away crime and impose their will on others without criticism or notice and with impunity. The combination of humanism (all the way back to Cyrus and his cylinder), British empiricism, and American ideals beg for and rely on the thorough examination of criminal acts and, at times, libelous claims.
The FBI has now an additional week to explore the validity of both Kavanaugh’s and Blase Ford’s testimony, and we will see — or hear — how evidence acquired adds up.
It’s not enough to be angry or partisan in such a matter: it’s important to reject assumptions and beliefs in favor of examination taken with the highest integrity.
This morning saw a follow-up:
The survival of a democratic state depends on the confidence of its constituents. Toward that end, the Senate delayed its vote in favor of a one week extension for supplemental FBI investigation.
Finger pointing serves no democratic ends.
Most tyrannies know well “reflection in the mirror”, i.e., accusing targets of harboring the aggressive plans that are the speaker’s own.
Considering the term Supreme Court justices enjoy . . . what’s another week?
I think it’s good to see “checks and balances” in action.
President Donald J. Trump at Rally, Evansville, Indiana, August 30, 2018.
President Trump’s own behavior x actions x associations x utterance speaks for him, and the so-called “biased media” is only turning up what may be associated with his real estate enterprises and his name.
Perhaps some Americans demand to see a memorandum of understanding between Putin and Trump that doesn’t exist, but the Trump associates going to jail, plea bargaining their way down, or hiding behind some convoluted national security screen (Felix Sater) very much exist (ask their kids) and the impression of collusion (much like the appearance of conflict of interest that executives should seek to avoid) only worsens.
If the east-west conflict game of choice is chess, then perhaps Americans have been forked between the obligation to defend the Constitution of the United States and continued loyalty — when it matters — to a President suspect, at least, of eliding the law for his business interests and treating issues concerning himself as if he were the unquestionable leader of a feudal estate.
Visitor’s Center, Antietam National Battlefield Park, Sharpsburg, Maryland, June 1, 2017.
For visitors from other lands, the small patch of Maryland countryside on which the center has been planted represents the beginning of the end of slavery as an institution in the United States of America. In one horrific days of battle, General McClennan’s forces pushed General Lee’s Confederate army from the field but left it also to retreat west across the Potomac River and thence to fight a long war that would end about where it began but with the moral vision and structure of the country forever changed in favor of equality under the law and “liberty and justice for all”.
It takes a long time to change men — and to change their attitudes and beliefs about money and about one another. My America remains a work in progress, but as long as the work hews to the liberal view of man and the earnest distribution of political power through democracy accompanied by integrity, I think we Americans — and everyone else — will continue getting better in the building or forming of greater societies.
Where we have let people down, I’m sure we are going to be made to remember it. Where we have helped people up, one may hope we’ll be remembered for that too.
In the New Age of Active Measures, the countermeasure is the conveyance of truth — not “alternative truth” or multiple possibilities derived from promoted fantasia — supported by great curiosity and integrity as married to equally great journalism and scholarship.
A friend promoted the Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty project as focused against deceptive and disingenuous political cant designed to whip up extremist emotion and stupidity in Asia as well as in its older domains.
In regard to information and integrity in speech online, BackChannels has published a few related posts that may convey an image about Potemkinism in political speech: there are those who project through language the way they might wish their followers would see the world and themselves.