Category Archives: General Interest

Another Russian ramble

Here’s a timely link to a NATO Defense College publication: Handbook of Russian Information Warfare,  which I saw in a tweet yesterday.  In America, a great deal of  fear mongering substitutes for actual understanding of the Russian information warfare strategies and how the Russians view information warfare in their overall military strategic operations.

The Russian approach to information warfare seems to both terrify and mystify many American policymakers and journalists.  The key, I think, relies on wrapping your mind around the Russian’s reliance on reflexive control, which this handbook explains in easy to understand terms.

Here’s a quick explanation of  reflexive control from a Small Wars Journal article written by Ronald Sprang:

“The second modern Russian theoretical concept is reflexive control. Reflexive control is applied as a means to interfere and manipulate an opponent’s decision-making cycle. It can target human decision making and organizational decision-making systems and processes. Reflexive control can also be applied through automated systems and digital mission command architecture. Reflexive control is “a means of conveying to a partner or an opponent specially prepared information to incline him to voluntarily make the predetermined decision desired by the initiator of the action.”[x] One of the goals of reflexive control is the temporary slowdown of the adversary’s tempo and operational level decision making process.[xi] This adjustment in tempo creates windows of opportunity for Russian exploitation of changes in tempo and potential opponent decisions that shape the operational level forces into the overall Russian operational design and approach.”

http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/russian-operational-art-new-type-warfare-and-reflexive-control

To explain how the Russians approach to information warfare developed requires going back further in Russian history than the Soviet era, I think.  The Russian state secret police dates back to 1565, when Ivan the Terrible formed the Oprichnina.

Recently, I began watching the Amazon Prime Russian TV series, Ekaterina, about the life of Catherine the Great,  which originally aired on Russia 1 TV, a few years ago.   My Russian vocabulary consists of only a dozen or so words these days, having forgotten most of what I learned in two years of high school Russian class, but thankfully this series has English subtitles.  The series emphasizes the endless palace intrigue, the imperial scheming of Empress Elizabeth of Russia and especially the machinations of the secret police.  Elizabeth had seized the crown in a coup d’etat, having the infant heir to the throne, Ivan VI,  imprisoned for his entire life.

This long history of Russian state secret police and the Russian people being culturally indoctrinated to the supreme power of the state to control their lives, to invade their privacy at will, and to basically monitor all of their activities has been the norm since medieval times.  I’ve written about this before on my blog, in a 2016 blog post, The War of Words (Part 2):

I have been thinking a great deal about what I consider cultural DNA, with how peoples the world over develop patterns of behavior ( culture) that endure, despite the changes in government.  In fact, the people’s behavior determines how long and how much control they will tolerate from their government, to maintain the status quo and social order.

wp-1469293980388.jpg

Above: My copy of “Letters from Russia.  To the right is a folk-art wooden container my son brought back from Russia, painted in a Russian folk art style called Khohkloma.

Thinking about what to write in this Part 2 post, I ordered a book, which I had read about a long while back, that explains the Russian cultural DNA, a few years after Alexis de Tocqueville traveled to America.  That cultural DNA still persists in Russia today.  The book is “Letters from Russia” and like de Tocqueville’s, “Democracy in America”, the book on Russia was written by another French nobleman, Astolphe de Custine.  Although his trip to Russia in 1839 was only three months long,  he captured life in Russia under the despot, Czar Nicholas I, in such prescient, stark detail, that historians still study his letters.  His book was banned by both, Czar Nicholas I and the Bolsheviks, who didn’t much like Custine’s letters.  I can relate, heck, my posts on the Excite message boards in 1998 evoked quite a response too and there I was fighting hordes of new posters who showed up to take over the boards with the Clinton talking points……… hummm, I likened them to being like Genghis Khan.

In their own words these two French nobleman present their opinions on the cultural DNA differences between a people who accept rulers and a people who don’t.  In 1996, renowned journalist, Steven Erlanger, wrote a NY Times piece on Custine’s book, that gives you Custine in his own words.  Here’s a short excerpt:

“In Russia, everything you notice, and everything that happens around you, has a terrifying uniformity; and the first thought that comes into the traveler’s mind, as he contemplates this symmetry, is that such entire consistency and regularity, so contrary to the natural inclination of mankind, cannot have been achieved and could not survive without violence. . . . Officially, such brutal tyranny is called respect for unity and love of order; and this bitter fruit of despotism appears so precious to the methodical mind that you are told it cannot be purchased at too high a price.

Faced with the pervasiveness of the secret police and the immensity of the bureaucracy, Custine at first is shocked. He sees the dead weight that these hordes of state employees place on Russia, and their own dehumanization.

Among Russian officials, attention to detail is quite compatible with disorganization. They go to a great deal of trouble to achieve some petty end, never satisfed that they have done enough to demonstrate their zeal. Consequently, in this rivalry between employees, one formality does not guarantee the foreigner against another. It is like a pillaging army: because the traveler has passed through the hands of one regiment, this does not prevent him from meeting another, or a third, and each of these bands spaced out along his route vies with the last in harassing him.”

http://www.nytimes.com/1996/06/16/weekinreview/word-for-word-marquis-de-custine-long-ago-look-russia-so-what-else-new.html?pagewanted=all

Interestingly, in the introduction to “Letters from Russia”, editor, Anka Muhlstein,  presents the bulls-eye de Tocqueville quote on the difference between America and Russia:

“There are on earth today two great peoples who, having started from different points, seem to be advancing towards the same end: they are the Russians and the Anglo-Americans.  They both grew up in darkness and whilst Europeans were busy elsewhere, they suddenly placed themselves in the forefront of nations, and the world learned at almost the same time of their births and their greatness

All other nations seem, more or less, to have reached the limits nature has assigned to them and within which they now need only to remain, but those two are still growing…. America is struggling against obstacles of nature,; Russia against men…. The principal means of action for the one is liberty, for the other servitude.”

Letters from Russia, by Astolphe de Custine, edited and with an introduction by Anka Muhlstein, page ix of the introduction.

America is the only place on earth that broke that mold completely and set up a government meant for the people to have control over the government and for the individual’s rights to be paramount.

We are a nation built by free-thinking and free-acting citizens.

The Russian/American “cultural DNA” dichotomy precludes many American analysts from easily grasping the Russian’s dependence on “reflexive control”,  but looking at it from another angle helps.  The Russians don’t have the military might to rely predominantly on military force to achieve their geopolitical aspirations, but they have centuries of experience developing vast spy networks, compiling massive information operations and for engaging in using psychological operations to exert control over factions inside Russia and in their foreign policy.

Americans, on the other hand, understand military force as the way America fights its enemies.  Although we have the most sophisticated technological means to gather information; we just don’t seem to be very adept at developing a comprehensive strategy to utilize information for information warfare operations.

However, America’s partisans, colluding with sympathetic media, have been waging sophisticated SPIN information warfare against each other and against the American people since the early 90s.  Perhaps our military and intel information experts might at some point realize that the Russians are working to fuel the extreme American partisanship, by fanning the flames of our own domestic scorched earth SPIN information war.

Ending the American scorched earth SPIN information war would be a giant blow to the Russians’ info war operations in America.

2 Comments

Filed under General Interest, Information War, Military, Politics

Another IG report

Here’s another IG report just released:

Report of Investigation:Recovery of Text Messages From Certain FBI Mobile Devices

 

2 Comments

Filed under General Interest, Politics, Public Corruption, Uncategorized

Crafting and Politics Combo

I’m tired of reading transcripts and reports looking for tidbits of information that might have been overlooked, or as JK would phrase it, The Crow Method.  I’m tired of being a news junkie too, so I’m trying to spend more time on my crafts.  This is going to be a combined politics and crafting post, because I’m too lazy to write two separate blog posts today.

First up, here’s the crafting portion of this post. Among the crafting peeps on youtube and facebook, there are lots of groups and people posting “challenges”, swaps, and assorted group crafting activities.  I decided to attempt the December Daily challenge, just for myself.  I constructed a junk journal for this project using all paper, stickers, ribbon and trim that I already have.  The cover is constructed from a food package box, covered with old scrapbook paper and some old Christmas ephemera.  The pages in this journal are all old Christmas cards that I sewed into the spine of the book.  I covered the spine with Christmas ribbon that’s been sitting here many years.  My personal challenge was to use only stuff I already have.  Here are a few photos:

Now, onto the politics.

I found an interesting tidbit of information reading the latest Comey transcript of his December 7, 2018 testimony to the Joint House Judiciary & Oversight Committees .  On page 125, Republican Congressman John Ratcliffe, former U. S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas asked Comey the following:

Mr. Ratcliffe. So I want to relate to you some of the
testimony that we’ve already received. FBI Deputy Director Andy
McCabe testified before Congress that the FBI could provide no
points of verification to verify the Steele information other
than the fact that Carter Page had traveled to Russia in July
of 2016. Were you aware of that when you signed the application
on October 21st of 2016?

Mr. Comey. I don’t remember any of that right now.

Mr. Ratcliffe. Bill Priestap who — what does Bill
Priestap do at the FBI?

Mr. Comey. I think he’s still the Assistant Director in
charge of the Counterintelligence Division.

Mr. Ratcliffe. Okay. He testified that corroboration of
the Steele dossier was in its, quote/unquote, infancy, at the
time of the application that you signed on October 21st, 2016.
Did you know that?

Mr. Comey. I don’t remember hearing that, but that makes
sense to me, if my recollection is correct, that we got it in
September or maybe October. It would, by definition, be in its
infancy in October.

Oddly enough, James Comey, James Clapper and John Brennan all do media spin efforts to give the impressions that the “salacious information” hasn’t been verified, but other parts of the Steele dossier are verified.  For instance here is a May 2018 blaring headline from Newsweek:

JAMES CLAPPER SAYS ‘MORE AND MORE’ OF STEELE DOSSIER HAS TURNED OUT TO BE TRUE

In this article, Clapper is quoted as saying: ” “The salacious parts, no. That’s never been corroborated. It would appear to me that as time has gone on more and more of it has been corroborated, but I can’t actually give you a percentage,” Clapper said.”

It appears, to me at least, that Clapper is deliberately spreading false information wrapped in weasely language.

This entire Steele dossier is a fraud.  From other testimony, like Bruce Ohr, from the Obama DOJ, it seems like no one in the Obama DOJ or Comey FBI even know who on earth Steele’s, supposedly Russian sources, with access high-up in the Kremlin, even are.

Trump isn’t the only big liar when it comes to  2016 campaign efforts to acquire Russian op dirt.  The problem is that Trump screams “But Hillary” to deflect attention from his shady actions, like Don Jr. meeting that Russian lawyer hoping to acquire dirt on Hillary.

However, both campaigns’  2016 corruption needs to be exposed and dealt with.  It’s not an either or proposition.

This Steele dossier was deliberately fed to the Obama DOJ by people connected to the Clinton campaign/DNC.  This information was fed to the highest levels in the FBI, as intelligence from a reliable former British spy and a former British ambassador to Moscow, Andrew Wood, was involved in selling the Steele dossier too.  Wood fed the dossier to the late U.S. senator, John McCain and McCain hand-delivered it to James Comey.  Every effort was made to present this Steele dossier as coming from reliable sources.

Here we are, two years later and it sure looks like “more and more” of the Steele dossier has not been verified and it looks like there was a BRITISH effort to interfere in our election.

And we still have no clue who Steele’s Russian sources are???

Comey can prance around like he’s leading the charge to “save our democracy”, but from what I see, it looks like he was massively duped by Steele and Sir Andrew Wood.

Trump might turn out to be a lying crook too, so his “But Hillary” deflections fall on deaf ears with me.  In light of Cohen’s corruption, if we find out Trump is guilty of tax evasion and/or money-laundering, I would not be at all surprised.  However, the Clinton corruption is already smacking us in the face, with the Steele dossier deceptions, Hillary merging her State Dept emails on to Bill’s personal Clinton Foundation server, the tens of thousands of destroyed emails on that server, and the shady Loretta Lynch/Bill Clinton tarmac meeting. And even worse than all that, the Clinton corruption appears to have corrupted the Obama DOJ and the FBI, at the highest levels.

The IG report on the Clinton email investigation ended up with Michael Horowitz believing Comey and disbelieving Deputy Director, Andrew McCabe.  In light of Comey’s selective amnesia now, perhaps McCabe was telling the truth, that James Comey knew about McCabe authorizing media leaks to silence the leaks about the Weiner laptop and Clinton Foundation criminal investigations the FBI had underway.  With Comey’s quickie Weiner laptop spin effort, Comey buried the Clinton Foundation investigations. Immediately following Trump’s surprise win, Comey teamed up with James Clapper and John Brennan to gin up the “Trump/Russian collusion” spin hysteria.

Assuredly, there will be plenty more transcripts and reports to sift through before our 2016 nightmare ends.

No rest for weary old crows searching for the golden nuggets of information… or trying to find more time to craft.

Leave a comment

Filed under General Interest, Hillary's Email Scandal, Politics, Public Corruption

Still burning bright

It’s hard to believe we are approaching the close of 2018… and America is still stuck on 2016 campaign corruption.  There are plenty of facts, pointing to corruption, with both candidates.  However, “facts” hold little sway in this neverending 2016 scorched earth spin information war.  Yet, it still burns on.

Americans have heard both sides repeating their version of “The Truth” so many times, that for many of us, our minds drift off into a zombie-like trance as soon as 2016 rehashing begins.  However, for the politically active and engaged Americans, it still looks like they haven’t been burned out by this relentless 2016 scorched earth spin war yet.

Last Friday, James Comey, former FBI director, testified in a closed-door hearing before the combined Judiciary & Oversight committees in the House.  The transcript of that hearing was released over the weekend.  The Republicans grilled Comey, looking for answers on the FBI’s handling of Clinton & Trump related matters during 2016.  The Democrats did another Comey flip, this time they love James Comey and sang his praises, although in 2016 many of them were berating him, demanding his handling of the Weiner laptop probe should be investigated and that he should be fired.  Pelosi and Cummings, both railed that the FBI had “Trump fanboys” who needed to be investigated.  Many of the same Dems, who railed against Comey’s 2016 actions, now act like Comey cheerleaders.

The Republicans, who organized this hearing, are still asking many of the same questions of James Comey, they’ve been asking since 2016, and they’re still hitting an “I don’t remember” Comey brick wall.  Over 200 times Comey could not remember, suffering from what appears to be a severe case of selective amnesia.

Despite Comey’s memory issues, he has now found his new public voice as a “Hillary fanboy”…  The entire spectacle of James Comey trying to become a media gadfly to trash Trump, praise Hillary and act as the defender of truth, justice and the American way only casts more doubt on Comey as a nonpartisan director of the FBI.

James Comey sacrificed his credibility and compromised his integrity in his ruthless quest to take down Donald Trump. However, before that, it sure looks like Comey gradually sacrificed it by going along with the Loretta Lynch/Clinton efforts to bury the FBI criminal investigations of the Clintons. Comey appears to have completely bought into the Dem’s Trump/Russian collusion op dirt, without ever verifying who paid for the Steele dossier or even verifying the information. Even now, he doesn’t want to be questioned about the Steele dossier or what parts of it were ever verified. That Steele dossier information was used in FISA warrant applications.

JK posted a link in a comment for the U.S District Court for District of Columbia’s memorandum opinion by Judge Royce C. Lamberth.  This Dec. 6th opinion relates to questions still unanswered about the State Department’s responses to inquiries of its efforts to respond to FOIA requests for Hillary’s officials Secretary of State emails.  This FOIA request matter goes back to 2014 and still the State Department hasn’t satisfied the court that it made a good faith effort to locate the requested information.  It’s quite amazing to read this opinion from a federal judge, who put into writing that he still doesn’t have answers as to whether Hillary set up running her State Department emails through Bill’s personal Clinton Foundation server to “intentionally flout FOIA”.  While Comey may engage in spin games, complaining about House Republicans still asking questions about Hillary’s emails, it seems a federal judge has plenty more questions about Hillary’s emails too.

Robert Mueller may have solid evidence that President Trump committed crimes, but with Comey’s public halo polishing antics, Comey’s credibility and judgment make him an angel trying to fly with a permanently tarnished halo and even worse, no wings.  The costume store must have been fresh out of extra-tall Superman costumes to fit his 6’8″ frame, but never let it be said, when it comes to  self-righteous media spectacles, James Comey, sans halo or cape, will still keep sanctimoniously preening on and on and on.  The one thing publicly tangling to drag Trump or the Clintons to justice seems to do is destroy the reputations of those trying to fight their corruption, while Trump, just like the Clintons remains unscathed.  Trump and the Clintons, at this point, seem to be above the law.  Comey’s smarmy interviews, trying to sound full of righteousness and then coupling that with calling on Americans to support Democrats, speaks to a man who has lost not only his moral compass, he’s lost any vestige of credibility on anything related to Trump or Hillary.  He’s reduced himself to sounding like a political hack.

If Mueller has a case against Trump and he’s banking any of it on James Comey as a witness, it seems likely to be a total PR disaster for Mueller.  The crimes that smack you in the face with Trump are his witness tampering and obstruction of justice antics, played off by Trump mouthpieces, as just Trump letting off steam tweeting.  Just like Bill Clinton, Trump benefits from the protection of the presidential shield and unlimited access to media willing to sell his “victim of a partisan witch hunt” spin for as long as it takes.

If past is prologue, for 20 years, the mainstream media still run the “Hillary victim of a vast, right-wing conspiracy” spin. Trump may not read much, but he’s memorized the Clinton Scandal Survival Playbook.  Impeachment proceedings loom more menacingly for Trump, as House Dems plot their “destroy Trump” investigative schedule, but their two long years of unhinged and undisciplined media attacks on Trump have done as much, possibly more, to destroy their own credibility than Trump’s.  Trump still benefits from the Dem #Resist media hysterics.  Whether that will save him from impeachment remains to be seen.

America remains still aflame in 2016 scorched earth spin…

So much winning… for America’s enemies.

1 Comment

Filed under Corrupt Media Collusion, General Interest, Hillary's Email Scandal, Information War, Politics, Public Corruption

The American “can do spirit”

In our media culture, often the worst things become the main story and the good things pass without notice.  In the past days, the life of President George HW Bush has been remembered, analyzed and as is our present crazy political climate, both his public and private life have been constantly compared to President Donald J. Trump.

After the media canonization earlier this year of  Saint John McCain, that was really more a shallow demonization of Trump media attack, which even McCain’s daughter participated in, it’s worth noting the Bush family, following the example of HW, kept to the higher ground. The entire family treaded this important state occasion of a presidential funeral with grace, dignity and with total respect for our country.

As I thought about President George HW Bush’s presidency, I remembered that we were living in Germany, where my husband was stationed in the Army, during all but the last months of his presidency.  His steady leadership reached us and kept our spirits high through Desert Storm, which affected our family directly.  My husband deployed with 3rd Armored Division to Desert Storm.

We had complete confidence in his presidential leadership and his ability to lead as CINC.  That mattered, not only to the troops and military families; it mattered to all of America.  Despite our family being in a foreign country, far from home, I never felt unsure about his steadfast leadership and commitment to the American military.

Amidst the media’s HW feeding frenzy, much of it phony and little more than flimsy cover for attacks on Trump, I think it’s important to look higher.

Political lip service is cheap and plentiful, but the real deal of deep faith, honesty  loyalty and dedication to serve to others is rare.  HW lived this every day of his life.  Many of his own family work to follow his example of public service, but I think all of us can work to embrace his example too.

As this American president goes to his final resting place today, perhaps his life should be remembered most for how he treated other people.

All of us, no matter how rich or poor, no matter our political beliefs, no matter our sex or race or religion, can strive to follow HW’s exemplary example of treating others with respect, putting serving others ahead of ourselves, and most of all facing each day, with a look to the skies, a determined smile resolutely on our face, as we step, confidently ahead with good cheer.

We should all remember that  20 year-old, WWII fighter pilot, bravely going off to fight in the Pacific.  He was a part of an American generation confident in American values.

He flew high in his personal accomplishments, but through it all he remained happily grounded by his true faith and allegiance to his family and country.

My prayers are with his family for their loss; my gratitude is that he and his generation left a flicker of American “can do spirit” burning. We should honor and strive to keep it burning brightly in our hearts .

 

3 Comments

Filed under American Character, Civility, General Interest, Politics

Charles Dickens at work

I’m not really a big Christmas movie person, but I found this 2017 movie on my amazon prime listing and watched it last night.  It probably helps that I have a fondness for 19th century writers, especially Charles Dickens, although I don’t believe that’s a prerequisite for enjoying this movie. The eccentricity of, not only Dickens, but everyone around him, including the characters living in his imagination, mingled with Dickens’ flashbacks to his own childhood kept this movie racing along.

Leave a comment

Filed under General Interest

Fears and worst fears

After two years of the mainstream media and Dems breathlessly reporting that, this time really is “the beginning of the end” of Trump’s presidency, perhaps Robert Mueller might be winding toward the end of his Russian interference in 2016 investigation.  These #Resist spin mouthpieces have set the stage for massive unrest among the #Resist loyalists, if Mueller fails to deliver the blow that fells Trump’s presidency.  Some sort of consolation prize, “he acted corruptly, but not enough to warrant a criminal prosecution”, will not satisfy their thirst for Trump to be vanquished from the public square.

With Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, striking a plea deal with Mueller’s team and recent revelations about Trump actively pursuing a Russian real estate deal for a Trump Tower Moscow, in 2016, as he was at the same time running for president, it’s clear Trump lied repeatedly, when he claimed he had no dealings with Russia.  How far up and how deep were Trump’s Russian ties remains unclear, but Trump admitted to and airily dismissed the efforts to make a real estate deal with Russia in 2016.

The revelation of the Cohen assertion about a Trump/Russia deal effort in 2016 and Trump’s response to that assertion explains everything about how Trump operates.  He follows the same spin playbook as the Clintons – deny, when lies are exposed dismiss, deflect and project back at your accusers.  Trump has mastered Hillary’s “victim of a political witch hunt” spin game and it’s still working for him with his loyal followers.

Regardless of what facts Mueller’s investigation exposes, the Trump Spin Force  will automatically dismiss, deflect and defiantly delegitimize Mueller’s report and findings as nothing more than a partisan witch hunt.

If these two sides, readying for an epic spin battle, aren’t enough, there’s also the House Republicans waging one more, last-ditch effort, to uncover the facts surrounding the Comey FBI and Obama top intelligence people embracing the Steele dossier, a Clinton & DNC funded opposition research effort, despite being unable to independently verify it.  It seems likely the House Republicans also have some questions for Comey regarding his handling of the Clinton email and Foundation pay-to-play investigations.

Finally, there are the House Dems compiling a massive investigative schedule to bury the Trump administration in subpoenas and enough negative press to completely immobilize the Trump White House.  While Mueller has remained silent and we still don’t really know what his findings are, the House Dems will be running their “investigations” in the most grandstanding way possible, with the mainstream media aiding and abetting sensationalizing every allegation, no matter how flimsy the evidence.  While Trump laments the Mueller investigation as a “witch hunt”,  the truth is Trump’s about to find out what a real political witch hunt looks like, as the House Dems wage nuclear level spin attacks on him.

While, sometime very soon the media and political pundits expect some sort of massive “shit show”, being the term tossed around frequently, with these many forces at play in this never-ending 2016 scorched earth spin battle, it seems likely to me, America will be in dire straits.   Unchecked, self-destructive, partisan information warfare will leave only smoldering ashes of our decimated political system.  As I’ve warned for years, there will be no winners in America’s epic spin information war… except for America’s enemies.

A personality like Trump, being cornered and perhaps facing “losing bigly”, well, he won’t be graciously stepping down.  As his admirers tout… “he’s a disruptor”, so how far he’ll go, to take down the whole American political system, remains an open question.  My worst fear remains that, if both the massive Trump and massive Clinton 2016 corruption ever get totally exposed, America’s worst nightmare will be Trump and the Clintons uniting to save themselves from ruin.

Sounds crazy, I know, but that’s where I worry America will end up… trapped in spin hell with Hillary and Trump colluding to silence the truth.

6 Comments

Filed under General Interest, Information War, Politics, Public Corruption