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”

Ivan the Terrible Husband

Russian Orthodox nationalist ideologists close to the Izborsky Club such as Andrei Fursov, Metropolitan Tikhon (Shevkunov), and Vladimir Medinsky (among several others) have been responsible for creating a neo-Stalinist perspective on Ivan the Terrible which recognizes him as the victim of Western information warfare.

Although I think they are wrong, I will gladly indulge their perceptions of this Western tradition by presenting the argument here that Tsar Ivan likely intentionally poisoned his first three wives in order to achieve contemporary political objectives.

Ivan the Terrible and Dracula: The DNA of Cobra’s poisonous Emperor

Continue reading “Ivan the Terrible Husband”

Don’t Buy the ‘Chinese Meat’ of Chekist Disinformation

The position of my blog has generally been oriented towards viewing Russia as a rogue and China as a peer – such that they respectively merit foreign relations approaches weighted towards war and diplomacy. Despite this, the informational evidence shows that the idea of an inevitable “Thucydides Trap” between China and the US has been exacerbated by Russian disinformation and active measures. Now it seems many very fine people on both sides are eating a similar tainted “Chinese meat” of disinformation sourced from Russian intelligence which will lead to Chinese-US hostility if carried to a logical conclusion.

A long time to go and a fallacy from far away (Approved for Chinese and US audiences)

Continue reading “Don’t Buy the ‘Chinese Meat’ of Chekist Disinformation”

Interview with Matt Makowski about Nostradamus Disinformation

Maciej “Matt” Makowski is a veteran of An Garda Siochana (Ireland’s National Police and Security Service), where he specialized in intelligence and cyber-crime. He was the first foreign national to be admitted to the highly selective police service and worked there over a decade. After retiring early in 2019, he currently is employed in the private sector in the information security industry. Matt operates the very interesting OSINT ME (osintme.com) blog which has a focus on open source intelligence methods (I’ve even found the site useful for my day job).

Recently I reached out to Matt noting that he had written in February about the utilization of the novel coronavirus in the context of nation state (dis)information warfare . Of specific interest to me, he traced using open source web data how a false Nostradamus prophecy was utilized by the misleadingly-named pro-Kremlin website Ukrainia.ru, which is actually based in Russia. This kind of insight on Nostradamus in disinformation lines up very closely with my observations from prior research.

In order to promote continued awareness about Nostradamus’ use in Russian information warfare, I reached out to Matt to share some of my papers. A question and answer session over email ensued about my perspectives on the subject. I found this an enjoyable experience and hope you will visit Matt’s blog to check it out. You may also learn a lot about open source intelligence in the process.

Nostradamus Prophecies and their Links to Russia @ OSINT ME

The Twin Peaks (of) Conspiracy: Surrealism and Theosophy

As parcel to my 30 day trial of Netflix (to watch ‘Tiger King’ of course, so I could compare it with ‘Cat Dancers’), I also thought to catch up on Surrealist director David Lynch’s seminal series from April 1990-June 1991: ‘Twin Peaks’. I also watched his 2020 short film ‘What Did Jack Do?’ which seems to be a Netflix exclusive.

A common theme at this blog has been studying the cultural movements of Communism, Theosophy, and Surrealism as they may relate to the currents of Russian information operations. I am not sure you could find many television shows which embodied all these concepts if you looked – but Twin Peaks would absolutely be one of them. (It also has a memorably eerie and yet hopeful soundtrack. To paraphrase the series’ dialogue, I am not sure if it represents a nightmare or a beautiful dream.) 

Continue reading “The Twin Peaks (of) Conspiracy: Surrealism and Theosophy”

The Priory of Sion Hoax as a Surrealist Conspiracy and Provocation

I had noted that there is a database of debunked claims about COVID-19 at Carnegie Mellon University, which includes reference to the idea of the virus as some kind of Russian bioweapon. As I was unaware of any example of disinformation on this matter (with the exception of hoping the reference didn’t somehow come from this site), I did find a reference to such a claim at a site generally associated with Russian disinformation targeted at the US Military: Veteran’s Today.

The story is posed in a geopolitical and Christian-apocalyptic context. It closes with a comment on the supposed relation of Jesus Christ to the Merovingian dynasty of France. The idea of a Merovingian dynasty is primarily associated with ideas of Pierre Plantard, and the so-called Priory of Sion, which influenced author Dan Brown’s novels most notably, ‘The Da Vinci Code’. 

Most charitably, the matter of the Priory of Sion has the appearance of being a French attempt at creating a Holy Grail mythology for France similar to that for example of King Arthur in Britain; on the other hand, this hoax also seems to have many hallmarks of fascistic propaganda linked to historical Russian influence. 

The interesting thing about the cultural background of the milieu of prophecy related to COVID-19 in the Veteran’s Today article is not only its ‘Duginesque’ apocalypticism, but the idea that Plantard’s purposeful efforts to create the Priory of Sion hoax were largely based on his work with espionage-linked occultists and Surrealists. His efforts seem intended to prove that he himself was heir to the Merovingian bloodline – predicted by none other than Nostradamus – and therefore himself a descendant of Jesus by the logic of the false prophecy.

Not to praise myself, but there are many examples of Nostradamus conspiracy now being discussed in the context of disinformation and information warfare around COVID-19 (1, 2, 3). I see this as a replication of my prior efforts to some extent. (Once again, the Nostradamus piece of this conspiracy is only a facet of the total disinformation.) 

I’ve been sitting on most of the below analysis for a while, but I think it is complete enough to post in light of the use of such ideas in COVID-19 disinformation.

The Priory of Sion and the Quest for the Holy Grail, or Lincoln's ...
Pierre Plantard: con man

Continue reading “The Priory of Sion Hoax as a Surrealist Conspiracy and Provocation”

Notre Dame Fire Conspiracism as Reflective of Russian Ideological Competition with the West?

Attached is my most recent peer reviewed paper which was accepted for publication in the proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Cyber Warfare and Security (ICCWS) to be held on 12-13 March 2020 at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. The paper is based on an analysis of the online conspiracy theories which surrounded the 15 April 2019 fire at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France.  (While the paper was published I am not attending the conference for personal reasons.)

Included in the milieu of conspiracy theories circulated online were fake Nostradamus prophecies evoking a kind of conspiracism known as ‘popular eschatology’. The sharing of such conspiracies drove a large global increase in Nostradamus interest, as revealed by Google Trends.

The overall mix of the Notre Dame fire conspiracy theories – to include notions of false flags, Islamophobic sentiments, and Nostradamus prophecies – seem to be similar to 9/11 conspiracies, and may share commonality in their links to Russian influence.

A model of Russian information warfare based on ‘katechonic’ Russian Orthodox and nationalist ideology

In a related sense, conspiratorial Nostradamus prophecies attributable to Russian proxies are associated with the visit of Pope Francis to North Macedonia in early May 2019, causing a massive spike in Nostradamus interest there (leading it to be the second highest region in the world for Nostradamus interest, and having no apparent relation to the Notre Dame fire except in terms of influence on Catholic and Western Christian culture).  Such conspiracies about Popes involving Nostradamus as reflected in Google Trends have been similarly observed during times of Papal transitions such as in 2005 and 2013, and seem similar to other instances where Nostradamus interest spiked in association with probable Russian ‘active measures’.

The new paper argues that Nostradamus prophecies can be seen as similar in how they promote Islamophobia and anti-Catholicism as to how the Russian secret police concoction ‘The Protocols of Zion’ may have been useful in promoting anti-Semitism in furtherance of fin de siè·cle Russian influence campaigns.  It dives deep into a cultural examination of Russia’s apparent sense of hostility to Catholicism based on its historical legacy as a Russian Orthodox country, and it attempts to frame the described 2019 ‘anti-Catholic conspiracies’ within a framework of Russian disinformation sympathetic to such nationalistic ideas.

Since the time I wrote this paper, the most notable development in Nostradamus propaganda is the broader acceptance that Russia uses figures like Nostradamus or Baba Vanga in spreading coronavirus conspiracies. I’m very happy to see that disinformation researchers are beginning to accept the idea of Nostradamus (and similar ‘prophets’) as a kind of information warfare and are educating the public about it.

Here is the new paper: Notre Dame Fire Conspiracism as Reflective of Russian Ideological Competition with the West (2020)

If you are interested in my prior peer reviewed works on Nostradamus, please see:

  1. Russian Active Measures and September 11, 2001: Nostradamus Themed Disinformation (2017) – International Journal of Cyber Warfare and Terrorism (IJCWT)
  2. Nostradamus Prophecy as a Russian Information Warfare Concept (2017) – Proceedings of the European Conference on Cyber Warfare and Security (ECCWS)
  3. Nostradamus Ratios: Why is Russia an Outlier? (2018) – Proceedings of the International Conference on Cyber Warfare and Security (ICCWS)
  4. Russian Information Warfare and 9/11 Conspiracism: When Fake News Meets False Prophecy? (2019) – Developments in Information Security and Cybernetic Wars (chapter in edited book)

Roman Polanski in ‘Confession[s] of a Blue Movie Star’

In working to build a case that Roman Polanski was involved in an anti-American  influence scheme involving communism, surrealism/satanism, and murder – evoking Orson Welles’ potential involvement in the murder of Elizabeth Short (a.k.a. ‘The Black Dahlia’); I purchased  my first VHS tape in maybe 20 years: ‘Confession[s] of a Blue Movie Star‘ (also known as ‘The Evolution of Snuff‘ (1978)).

Given prior statements of Roman Polanski on the Dick Cavett show that he was a suspect of a criminal profiler in the murder of his wife – and good evidence he was a cruel husband – some of the quotes I’d seen referenced to Confessions of a Blue Movie Star seemed compelling and concerning in the potential context of both ‘murder as a fine art’ as well as information warfare. Having watched the film, it makes me think that snuff itself is likely a propaganda scheme designed to create a mass hysteria, yet around the usual kernel of truth (in these cases, murders or deaths linked to potential communists). In this sense, snuff as a genre and meme seems quite similar to – and derivative of – the satanism hysteria which followed the murder of Polanski’s wife and friends by the Charles Manson group.

“Yeah I do think a camera can be as dangerous in the hands of a ‘filmmaker’, in quotes, as a bazooka.” – Roman Polanski

Cover of the version of the movie I received. It apparently has several variations. In movie, the title seems to actually be ‘Confessions of a Blue Movie Star’, but you’ll most popularly find it cited as ‘Evolution of Snuff’. (VHSCollector.com)

Continue reading “Roman Polanski in ‘Confession[s] of a Blue Movie Star’”

Conspiracism and Death: Kenneth Anger’s Multiple Rumors of Snuff Films

Kenneth Anger (born Kenneth Anglemyer in 1927) seems to be a central figure in a network which connects Surrealist directors to the Black Dahlia and Tate-LaBianca murder cases. Active as a Hollywood artist since 1947 (the same year as Elizabeth Short, the Black Dahlia was murdered) he was later instrumental in building public interest in the case by posting graphic crime scene photos in his ‘Hollywood Babylon II’ book. Anger is very close in network to John Gilmore who was well-known for his writing on the case as well.

It is interesting that Anger too was close to the Surrealist school of art which is considered as a possible factor in the psychological profile of the Black Dahlia murderer. Anger’s film making was inspired by the Surrealist artist Maya Deren, and his 1947 film ‘Fireworks’ led to his romantic involvement with older French artist Jean Cocteau, whom he lived with in France . (Much of the Surrealist school – including Deren – can be placed close to Communism, and Anger also seems to have boycotted Hollywood in the HUAC era, despite Anger’s precedence of using Nazi images in his films.)

This technically places Anger in a contemporary network close to the Surrealist figures whom have been associated with the network of George Hodel — and the supposed influence of Man Ray’s ‘Minotaur’ on the secondary staging of Elizabeth Short’s body. Interestingly. the aesthetics of Short’s murder have also been compared in at least one essay to the opening scenes from Maya Deren’s ‘Meshes of the Afternoon’ (1943).

Anger was also a lifelong friend of John Gilmore’s lifelong friend Curtis Harrington – a famous filmmaker associated with the occult scene in Hollywood. In addition he was connected to at least 3 of the Manson Family murderers. In this sense, Anger straddles both the Surrealist network hypothetically associated with the Black Dahlia case and the ‘satanist-cultist’ network which might be associated with the Tate-LaBianca murders.

Kenneth Anger (via IMDB)

Continue reading “Conspiracism and Death: Kenneth Anger’s Multiple Rumors of Snuff Films”

Jack Parsons: Soviet Spy? (Guest Blog by Dr. Richard Spence)

A first at n01r today is a guest blog from Dr. Richard Spence, Professor in the History Department at the University of Idaho. Dr. Spence  has one of the coolest sets of courses I’ve seen which complements a lot of the things I investigate at the site; such as the intersection of the occult, strategic disinformation, and espionage (like Theosophy).

Dr. Spence has done some great work linking Aleister Crowley to espionage networks, and was kind enough to offer a draft article of a circumstantial connection linking Jack Parsons to Soviet intelligence as well.  He makes a great argument for how Parsons might have been manipulated by a skilled handler based on his (apparently narcissistic) psychology.

Such a background seems highly pertinent to my investigation linking the Black Dahlia and Tate-LaBianca murders to a communist plot via the art movement Surrealism and/or the occultist movement of Crowleyan ‘Satanism’. (Suffice to say, I am confident that the good doctor has not read my entire site and you should not construe that his views represent my views or vice versa.)

Jack Parsons and Marjorie Cameron in 1946

Continue reading “Jack Parsons: Soviet Spy? (Guest Blog by Dr. Richard Spence)”