Who’s Your Daddy Maria Katasonova?

I was poking around in the apocalyptic milieu of Eurasianist and Orthodox nationalist conspiracy theory, and came across an interesting name: Maria Vladimirovna Katasonova. She’s been profiled as a Russian nationalist and former Duma candidate who is associated with Kremlin propaganda efforts in the French elections of 2017 and on the Ukrainian war front [1].

Photo collage entitled “A fool at the site of Nemtsov’s murder” from Katasonova’s social media. A Russian commenter says: “I would still understand if it was a joke of someone outside, but she herself posts this shit on her page, that’s the thing ..

Frequently invoking the image of a destroying Orthodox angel in her social media posts, Katasonova was described in 2015 as “low budget purveyor of fear” and “a disciple of [Alexander] Dugin and aide to presidential advisory-board member Yevgeny Fyodorov… Like her dark father who had called for genocide against the Ukrainian “cretins”, Katasonova, dressed like a white angel of death, said Russia would “destroy the whole world” if they lost the war in East Ukraine.” [2]

[nods to Solid Snake and Sviridov]

In this case, Katasonova’s “dark father” referenced in the bio is Alexander Dugin, who wrote: “We should clean up Ukraine from the idiots,”…“The genocide of these cretins is due and inevitable… I can’t believe these are Ukrainians. Ukrainians are wonderful Slavonic people. And this is a race of bastards that emerged from the sewer manholes.” [3]

While the comment here about a ‘dark father’ is rhetorical in relation to philosophical leanings (as Katasonova is not Dugin’s daughter), she operated at times in a network close to Alexander Dugin’s biological daughter (Daria Dugina aka Darya Platonova) and the political operative Andrey Kovalenko [4].  She’s also appeared in media stories close to the daughter of Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov (Elisaveta Peskova)[5].

Given that she seems influential and close to the daughters of other top ‘propagandists’ it stands to wonder, who might be her real father? The answer doesn’t seem clear, but the question is intriguing. Continue reading “Who’s Your Daddy Maria Katasonova?”

Foundations of Geopolitics by Alexander Dugin (1997)

Антихрист 1999 (Antichrist 1999)

Due to it being difficult to find an English translation of Alexander Dugin’s 1997 book “Foundations of Geopolitics” for sale in America, I ran a Russian copy through the same online translation portal which I’d used for Alexander Verkhovsky’s book on “Political Orthodoxy“.

The book has been described as mandatory reading for Russian military officers (and equally critiqued for a bad computer-translated English version which I hoped might be remedied with a more recent run through Google Translate).

Similarly to posting Verkhovsky’s book in English, my goal in posting Dugin is to promote greater understanding of the culture of Russian nationalism (especially Orthodox nationalism), and how that nationalism apparently informs the strategic culture of Russia. Followingly, it supports my thesis that the disinformation and ‘information warfare’ produced by that strategic culture is characterized by nationalistic features.  (See published works 1, 2, 3, and recent cited post 4)

I can tell the translation is far from perfect, but if you’re looking to add it to your library, it will work with search indexing and appears to be basically readable. You can cross reference the appended Russian original from p. 453 of the PDF with any broken portion of the translation, since the page numbers are consistent between the documents.

 

Political Orthodoxy : Russian Orthodox Nationalists and Fundamentalists by Alexander Verkhovsky (2003)

My analyses frequently come down to the examination of how Russian Orthodox nationalism is a major factor in Russian information warfare ideology. Alexander Verkhovsky is a Russian author on Russian Orthodox nationalist ideas who has been influential on my research and perspectives. I think he gets close to the cultural core of Russian information warfare in his research – although his focus is on political extremism, not information warfare or disinformation. His work does frequently however include the analysis of conspiracy theories.

Using online translation tools, I made an unauthorized English translation of his book: “Political Orthodoxy” which I hope will be useful for non-Russian speaking disinformation researchers (like myself) looking into figures like Metropolitan Ioann (Snychev), Ivan the Terrible, Alexander Dugin, etc.

Russian Origins of the Vaccine Microchip Conspiracy Theory

I recently read an article which suggested that the conspiracy theory that vaccines contain microchips emerged following a March 18, 2020 Reddit AMA with Bill Gates [1]. In response to the AMA, biohackers began to write positively about the potential for chip-based medical devices to combat epidemics and deliver vaccines.

Within several days of the Reddit AMA, a Baptist pastor from Jacksonville Florida named Adam Fannin – known best for his anti-Semitic conflicts with comedian Sarah Silverman in 2019 – found one of these biohacking blog posts online. Fannin then developed it into his own interpretation of apocalyptic prophecy largely based on his “deep distrust of Gates”. Fannin made a 9-minute YouTube sermon which went viral and accumulated nearly 2 million views before it was taken down.  “The pastor titled the post, “Bill Gates – Microchip Vaccine Implants to fight Coronavirus,” adding one pivotal word to the biohackers’ title: vaccine.”[1]

Looking more deeply into the origin of the vaccines and microchips story, I think it is important to observe how it may emerge from and complement Russian Orthodox nationalist geopolitics and information warfare. Continue reading “Russian Origins of the Vaccine Microchip Conspiracy Theory”

Gary Webb’s “Dark Alliance” as benefiting Russian information strategy

Last evening, I attended a virtual lecture on disinformation in which the claim was made that the Russians were responsible for the narrative that the US government created the 1990’s crack epidemic in Los Angeles.

In discussion of the topic however, the presenter did not provide the source for the claim, but related it to the well-known case of Operation Infektion or Denver, in which the KGB had created disinformation that the US had begun the AIDS epidemic as a biological warfare program targeting Black people.

While I had previously researched a hunch that the claim of CIA involvement in the crack cocaine epidemic was Russian disinformation, I was unable to find a Russian source; forcing me to leave it in the ‘unverified’ column. The best I could find was that such claims officially started with American journalist and author Gary Webb, best remembered for his “Dark Alliance” article series (1996) and book (1998).

Duped on Dope: Gary Webb (1955-2004)

Riding partly on the lingering antiwar buzz of the Iran-Contra scandal, Webb claimed that CIA involvement in the drug trade stemmed from its cooperation with Nicaraguan Contra fighters seeking to overturn the (Soviet-instilled and KGB-linked Sandinista) government of Nicaragua. (Official retrospective investigations revealed some of these resistance fighters backed by the CIA were involved in drug smuggling activities; but not at the scale which has been alleged by Webb.)

Despite my suspicions about Webb, since I hadn’t ‘cracked the crack story’ as Russian disinformation, I’ve looked into Webb on this blog only so much in the case of his close collaboration with the independent journalist Kristina Borjesson who has been responsible for building a conspiratorial case that the 1996 TWA Flight 800 disaster over Long Island Sound was the result of a missile shootdown – possibly by the US Navy – and was covered up by the FBI.

My conclusions from that research into the 1996 TWA conspiracy theories were that they were more plausibly linked to an Iranian disinformation campaign in retaliation for the 1988 US Navy shootdown of Iran Air Flight 655 in Iranian territorial waters – than that of a Russian one.

However, there was also some evidence that (much like the Nicaragua Sandinistas,) the terrorist groups implicated in previous Iranian retaliatory actions for the 1988 accident (such as the PFLP-GC) had strong linkages to the legacy of the KGB. Continue reading “Gary Webb’s “Dark Alliance” as benefiting Russian information strategy”

Does “BTK” also mean “Billy the Kid”?

Is there a cultural connection to Wichita KS which caused Dennis Rader to call himself “BTK”?

Henry McCarty, AKA William H. Bonny, AKA “Billy the Kid” was born in 1859 in New York City. In 1870, his family moved to Kansas, where his mother, Catherine McCarty signed the charter incorporating Wichita.

Catherine McCarty seems to have contracted tuberculosis over the next several years, and the family relocated to New Mexico territory. At age 14 or 15, Billy the Kid was orphaned after Catherine died of tuberculosis and his stepfather abandoned the family.

By age 21 in 1881, he’d be dead, but not before securing one of the most legendary reputations in the outlaw history of the American West. It seems that McCarty intentionally cultivated his own outlaw legend, claiming 21 murders: “one for every year of his life”; but experts seem to think the total was really 9.

Compare with Dennis Rader, AKA the “Bind Torture Kill”, or “BTK Killer”, who grew up in Wichita Kansas. Continue reading “Does “BTK” also mean “Billy the Kid”?”

(What if) Russia Hacked the Ever Given?

The massive Ever Given container ship currently blocking Egypt’s Suez Canal since March 23, 2021 has become a major disruptor to world trade. Attributed to a sandstorm, high winds, or even claims of a power blackout, the logistical nightmare has not been claimed to be an intentional act.

The ship’s movements in the time before it entered the canal and became wedged can be described as “odd”. It seems presumptuous to me to call it “innocent, but terrible luck”. 

On the other hand, with a growing body of research that Russia in particular has pioneered GPS spoofing as a form of electronic warfare, and that even several hundred dollars of off the shelf technology may be able to commandeer multi-million dollar ships using GPS hacking techniques – isn’t it worth asking – like asking about the collisions of Navy ships in the South China Sea – if some kind of GPS hacking could be involved here? And specifically the sort which might be in the interest of Russia or another authoritarian state? It’s a responsible, and informed question.

It does not give me good feelings that Russia (specifically Rosatom, Russia’s state nuclear agency) is taking advantage of the blocked canal to build awareness of the Northern Sea Route which is now navigable due to global warming and Russia’s fleet of ice breakers.

It has been just over a month since the first winter experimental transit of the Northern Sea Route by a container ship accompanied by a nuclear ice breaker.

Vladimir Putin has apparently been promoting the Northern Sea Route for a long time as an alternative to the Suez canal. It seems clear by a read of the history that the Northern Sea Route factors into strategic plans to disrupt the American-led global economic order.

In order to be sure this was all an accident, I really need to know more about the captain of the Ever Given. Were they as reckless as the GPS path of the ship suggests? I tend to think this would be a role given to a mature captain not given over to juvenile demonstrations.

Or perhaps, was the ship under control by hackers and the GPS cock(a)doodle was their “signature”?

Or was someone on the inside even paid off in something like Bitcoin to do it?

Knowing more about the captain and crew of the Ever Given could shed a lot of light on this situation. Writing this off as innocent given the immediate consequences is far too presumptuous. Even the Russians are asking if Moscow benefits from the crisis.

As of now, I am left with just one main suspect for possessing the theoretical crime signature.

Edit 4/12/2021:  I’ve watched a few videos of ship captains talking about the GPS track image which has made me less confident that the image created was purposeful. The path was created over a relatively long time period of several hours, which doesn’t seem to be a likely scenario if it was purposeful.

Instead, the pattern may be caused by the boat drifting and returning to the designated point where it would have picked up the local captains for the Suez transit. 

However, I’ve also just learned that Russian Navy vessels conducting training were in the area. According to Wikipedia, these were “Steregushchiy-class corvette Stoikiy and Altay-class oiler Kola“. I think this is interesting as far as being a consistent linkage to Russian military in this theory.

It might also be worth asking if the explosion in QAnon conspiracies about the ship blocking the canal being due to hacking are also an inorganic byproduct of influence operations.  

With that said, there needs to be a lot more evidence to call this a hacking, though I still think it is plausible and likely attributable to a Russian, or Russian-Chinese strategy if so. Both countries have focused on weakening the ‘West’ and exploiting the melting Arctic for trade purposes. 

Ivan the Terrible as Pivotal Figure in the Ideology of Information Warfare

While working on a criminology and forensic science-oriented investigation into the seven tragic marriages of Tsar Ivan IV of Russia (aka Ivan Vasilyevich, Ivan Grozny, Ivan the Terrible,  etc.), I specifically began to note that there was a strong dimension of “information warfare” in the Russian narratives surrounding Russia’s first tsar. Enough so, that it deserved its own paper.

Here is the peer reviewed work presented this week to the virtual 2021 International Conference on Cyber Warfare and Security (ICCWS): 2021 Ivan the Terrible as Pivotal Figure in the Ideology of Information Warfare

Read below the break for more thoughts on expanding this research.

Continue reading “Ivan the Terrible as Pivotal Figure in the Ideology of Information Warfare”

Martin Luther King Jr. Day: Acknowledging the KGB’s Enemy #1

While promoting his new book “The Sword and the Shield : The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB” on the Charlie Rose show on September 28, 1999, the eminent Cold War historian Christopher Andrew said of the KGB that:

“they really hated J. Edgar Hoover, but the man they hated above all others was Martin Luther King. And the reason they hated him above all others is that their plan for the United States – they were really looking forward to it – was that the ‘long, and hot summers’ of the mid and late 1960’s would lead to race war in the United States. And the reason they hated Martin Luther King like they hated no other American, was that they feared he might put an end to the long, hot summers. So, when he dies in 1968, it’s a terrible thing to say – but it was a great day for the people at KGB Headquarters.”

Friends. Jimmy Hoffa, James Del Rio, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Professor Andrew’s televised comments on Dr. King came just 12 days after the end of the so-called campaign of terror known as the “Russian apartment bombings” which was a decisive moment that catapulted former KGB agent and then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to the Presidency of Russia.

Not even Professor Andrew could have realized at that time how KGB active measures would live on and remain much the same under Putin as they had in the time of the Cold War.

In the wake of 2020’s racial tensions which seem to have been exacerbated by Russia’s online information warfare activities on both the political far left and far right; it is time for us to awake to Dr. King’s “Dream” and the power it has to unite rather than divide us as a society in the face of Russian disinformation and active measures. Continue reading “Martin Luther King Jr. Day: Acknowledging the KGB’s Enemy #1”

Coronavirus as Hybrid Total War (Correlation is not Causation)

From the start of this pandemic, it has been likened to a war – especially to our generation’s equivalent experience of a world war.

Although this war seems to primarily affect civilians, as of today (January 3, 2021), the US has experienced more than 350,000 deaths due to COVID-19; this is more than the  approximately 53,000 U.S. combat deaths in World War I, and it seems likely that within months casualties will eclipse US WWII combat death totals of 416,600.

Graph demonstrating that there is some moderate correlation between US military alliance and COVID-19 death rate (Source: Statista.com)

Of course, a comparison with the global influenza epidemic of 1918 may be more apt in this case. The influenza infected almost 25% of the planet. It killed nearly 45,000 American soldiers – almost equivalent to the overlapping US combat deaths in World War I – and caused 675,000 deaths among American civilians.

It seems reasonable to state at this point in history, that the current pandemic is taking on some features which give it some feature similarity to prior world wars and pandemics from the perspective of the public experience.

With that said, we are objectively in a pandemic – but are we objectively in a war? Continue reading “Coronavirus as Hybrid Total War (Correlation is not Causation)”