The Abduction of Satan

Satan’s deceptive approach to claiming human souls is akin to authoritarian disinformation campaigns which target hearts and minds in the cognitive domain. In both contexts, there is a war going on outside and inside of the self which no human is safe from. You can run but you cannot hide forever from these threats. Combatting Satan and disinformation requires keeping it real by embracing the truth. In both cases, the long term consequences for the individual soul and collective humanity hang in the balance.

The biblical portrayal of Satan offers a profound understanding of the motivations and tactics driving disinformation campaigns, particularly when considering the historical and ongoing presence of anti-Semitism. Satan emerges throughout scripture as a figure of deception, division, and a relentless pursuit of power, exhibiting a particular hatred towards God’s chosen people, the Jews, and towards Jesus Christ, who is the embodiment of God’s divine truth and love for Christians.

Christ and Antichrist – Ilya Glazunov (Russian nationalist) – 1999

In the Old Testament, Satan’s adversarial role is evident in his temptation of Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3), leading to humanity’s fall from grace and separation from God. This act of deception sets the stage for a long history of conflict and distrust between humanity and the divine. Further examples of Satan’s influence include his role in Job’s suffering (Job 1-2) and his attempts to thwart God’s plans for the Israelites (Zechariah 3).

The New Testament further emphasizes Satan’s hatred for Jesus and his mission to bring salvation to humanity. The temptation of Christ in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11) illustrates Satan’s attempt to corrupt Jesus and lure him away from his divine purpose by offering worldly power and dominion. This act reflects Satan’s desire to usurp God’s authority and establish his own reign of darkness and deceit. Additionally, Satan’s influence is seen throughout the Gospels in the actions of those who oppose Jesus, culminating in his crucifixion.

Further, the New Testament portrayal of Satan provides more compelling understanding of the motivations and tactics employed in disinformation campaigns. Most notably, Revelation 12:9 depicts Satan as the “deceiver of the whole world,” underscoring his rebellion’s ability to manipulate and mislead us on a global scale.

Across various Christian scriptures, Satan continues to be portrayed as a complex figure whose strategies to mislead humanity are characterized by deceit, division, and a lust for power. In John 8:44, he is identified as a “murderer from the beginning” and the “father of lies,” highlighting his association with violence and deception. Mark 3:23-27 further emphasizes Satan’s role as a divider, seeking to sow discord and break apart nations and communities, and separate people from the truth and God.

To this extent, 1 Peter 5 reminds the faithful to be “self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”

The psychological implications of the Satanic archetype as a disinformation paradigm are multifaceted. He represents the shadow self, embodying the darker aspects of human nature that we often repress or deny, including envy, hatred, the desire for power and control, and the willingness to transgress moral boundaries. Disinformation campaigns exploit these vulnerabilities, appealing to our fears, biases, and prejudices to manipulate our beliefs and behaviors. Succumbing to disinformation in this context is akin to giving into the temptation to sin through the Devil’s deception.

In this regard, 1 Peter reminds us of the value of information literacy and self-awareness when assessing the validity of information in a globally-conscious context. He also reminds us that resisting giving in to temptation despite the suffering in the world is something which unifies “God-believers”.

Furthermore, the recurring theme of anti-Semitism throughout history can be viewed as a manifestation of the Satanic archetype converging with disinformation. Satan’s hatred for the Jews, as God’s chosen people, fuels a narrative of “othering” and scapegoating, blaming Jews for societal problems and portraying them as a threat to national identity and security. This aligns with Satan’s role as a divider, sowing discord and conflict between groups.

The identification of Jews as Jesus’ crucifiers negates Jesus’ command to “forgive them for they know not what they do” in alignment with his clear message and mission (Luke 23:34-38). As a result, anti-Semitism based in the perception of Jews as the murderers of Jesus defies his commandment to forgive those who judged him wrongly; and is as a result an anti-Christian practice by definition.

Disinformation campaigns often utilize these anti-Semitic tropes and conspiracy theories to manipulate public opinion and justify discriminatory policies.

Satan means “adversary” and specifically in context the adversary of God. His name is self referential to his role. In this adversarial arrangement where Satan challenges God, it seems evident that because they were the people chosen by God to bring his message to mankind, Satan hates Jews. As God’s only son who he was also unable to lead astray, Satan clearly hates Jesus; and it results in his efforts to tempt Christians into anti-Christian behavior through the seduction of sin as represented in the temptation to embrace anti-Semitism.

From despotic leaders like the Pharaoh, to Nebuchadnezzar, Herod, and the “many antichrists” (1 John 2:18) observed by Christians throughout history, a common thread between Jews and Christians has been their opposition to wicked and tyrannical rule as a core aspect of the culture of monotheism, and a narrative of rising above worldly oppression. In this sense, the disinformation apparatuses of modern authoritarian regimes also suggest an inherent connection to the Satanic archetype, and an opposition to the core values of Judeo-Christian societies. Like the leaders of authoritarian countries, Satan is symbolic of the tyrannical autocrat who tempts us to partake in beliefs and behaviors which are contrary to our individual and social best interests.

By understanding the biblical foundation and psychological implications of the Satanic archetype, we can better recognize and deconstruct the tactics employed in disinformation campaigns and their connection to historical and ongoing anti-Semitism; as well as their relationship to the concept of sin in general. The emphasis on deception, division, and the pursuit of power serves as a stark reminder of the dangers of succumbing to the shadows of human nature and the importance of upholding truth, unity, and compassion in the face of manipulation and hatred.

(Context and Disclosure of AI Tool Use: The above text was constructed using a forensic semiotic approach to narrative and analysis of disinformation. The title draws inspiration from Charles Peirce’s concept of “Abduction”, and specifically in the forensic semiotic context as articulated by Marcel Danesi. The title is thus a play on words, with multiple meanings relating to the context and analytical method. This narrative was constructed using a large language model based on training by Michael Hotchkiss using content themes from n01r.com and applying computational forensic semiotics methods in Gemini Pro 1.5. It represents the author’s true feelings, beliefs, and expertise in disinformation research.)

Narrating the Wagner Uprising as a Nuclear Hybrid Threat

Introduction: From Nuclear Terrorism to Nuclear Hybrid Threats (and Nuclear Hybrid Warfare)

The geopolitical threat posed by the charismatic leader of a private military corporation (PMC) in possession of a stolen nuclear weapon and set against the backdrop of conspiracy theories involving Russia are themes central to the narrative of Konami’s “Metal Gear” series of videogames.

From June 23-24 2023, Yevgeny Prigozhin, the ‘Big Boss’ of PMC Wagner led his troops in an unprecedented uprising against Vladimir Putin. This week, Ukrainian intelligence spread narratives that the Wagner mercenaries had attempted to steal “backpack nukes” from a military base in Russia during their march on Moscow [1]; and so it was that life imitated the art of Metal Gear.

Meme with Yevgeny Prigozhin depicted as Metal Gear Solid’s Big Boss (credit: https://knowyourmeme.com/photos/2611049-wagner-group-yevgeny-prigozhin; Original: https://twitter.com/AetiusRF/status/1672382455234306048)

Such scenarios as explored in Metal Gear and many other works of art might most often be classified academically under the keyphrase of “nuclear terrorism”. “Nuclear terrorism” (in quotes) seems a well-documented research area, which returned 22,300 hits today on Google Scholar for example.

However, for over a week before the narrative about Wagner raiding the nuclear base circulated, I had already been wondering if the Wagner uprising had been connected in any way to the tactical nuclear weapons which Russia had publicly placed in Belarus. I wondered if that may better explain Alexander Lukashenko’s strange role in the story as well.

In discussing my scenarios of using Wagner as a proxy for a deniable nuclear attack with hybrid warfare and disinformation expert Chris Kremidas-Courtney  (Senior Fellow, Defense and Security, Friends of Europe), he told me I was describing a “nuclear hybrid threat.

Kremidas-Courtney deserves credit for coining this term in an academic context from what I can tell based on a quick literature review.  “Nuclear hybrid threat” does not occur on Google Scholar, and at least one of the two results for “nuclear hybrid warfare” appears to be a false positive.

Defining the PMC Wagner revolt more specifically in the scenario of a nuclear hybrid threat rather than as nuclear terrorism seems to have significant value from a modern academic information warfare perspective.

Hybrid threats have been defined by NATO as: “combin[ing] military and non-military as well as covert and overt means, including disinformation, cyber attacks, economic pressure, deployment of irregular armed groups and use of regular forces. Hybrid methods are used to blur the lines between war and peace, and attempt to sow doubt in the minds of target populations.” [2]

A nuclear hybrid threat could be defined as those nation-state hybrid threats which are related specifically to nuclear materials or weapons; and yet do not rise to the level of an actual nuclear war.

In this blog, I will seek to unpack the idea of 2023’s nuclear hybrid threats as generated by Russia in their war in Ukraine, especially as they relate to similar narratives of theoretical nuclear terrorism from Russia in the 1990’s involving “suitcase atomic bombs”, “briefcase nukes”, etc.

Perhaps this all ends up looking like a “nuclear cardboard box“…

Continue reading “Narrating the Wagner Uprising as a Nuclear Hybrid Threat”

The Schizowar is Interested in You (Forever)

Some of Alexander Dugin’s recent writings referenced the concept of “Schizowars” (Шизовойны) [1] which was a term I coined in English in December 2018 and defined as “The use of psychoanalytic/psychographic approaches to exacerbate divisions in organizations and societies by inducing a state of conflict and paranoia, often through the use of strategically architected and deployed disinformation.” [2]

Certainly it was curious for me to wonder if Dugin may have been reading my work, as much as I have been reading Dugin. I was reminded of several quotes. The first was FBI profiler Robert Ressler’s mantra borrowed from Nietzche: “He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.

I was also reminded of the familiar phrase “You may not be interested in [the] war, but [the] war is interested in you”; which is a saying popularly attributed to Leon Trotsky. Interestingly, a study of history in relation to this quote however reveals that it is instead likely a paraphrase of several statements about the dialectic, which may be primarily attributed to a synthesis of a 1940 debate between New York University Professor James Burnham and Trotsky.

Burnham had said “I do not recognize dialectics, but, as you say, dialectics recognizes me” to which Trotsky had (in part) replied “Burnham doesn’t recognize dialectics but dialectics does not permit him to escape from its net. He is caught as a fly in a web.”

Ultimately, it seems that the popular version of the quote referencing war comes from a careless reading of the 1977 book “Just and Unjust Wars: A Moral Argument with Historical Illustrations” by Harvard Professor Michael Walzer which included the statement: “War is most often a form of tyranny. It is best described by paraphrasing Trotsky’s aphorism about the dialectic: “You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.”” [3]

Perhaps it is poetic that the popularly understood, and yet misattributed statement about “war” seems to emerge from the synthetic result of a dialectical process between Trotsky and Burnham.

If this is not simply a case of convergent evolution in etymology, I suppose that now in the discussion of schizowar, I may be in a dialectic of sorts with Dugin which may result in synthetic meanings of this concept.

While I have posited this war in observations of an aggressive Russian nationalist political competition which divides us politically in America, Dugin seems to similarly posit a war architected on the inherent chaos between extremes, but conducted by Western democracies and directed at Russia. While I have posited that Russian ideologists seem to me to be antichristian in their behavior, they claim the West is Satanic, and they must ‘desatanize’ Ukraine.

If Russia is my monster, am I representative of theirs? The abyss gazes back… 

Continue reading “The Schizowar is Interested in You (Forever)”

The Cultural Front: Russia’s ‘general HQ on the fronts of the information war’

On November 21, 2022; it was announced that a “Cultural Front of Russia” (Культурный фронт России) had been created. US-Sanctioned State Duma deputy and artist Nikolai Burlyaev was named chairman of the organization. Burlyaev claimed that the primary purpose of the group is to “mobilize and rally cultural and art workers” for the war effort in support of the presidential decree on “State Cultural Policy”.

Nikolai Burlyaev (Nikolai Burlyayev)

According to TASS, the meeting was attended by 227 people, including various influential members of the Duma [1].

Of particular interest to me was that there was prominent participation from individuals who I have discussed on the blog in an “information warfare” and ideological context in the past. This includes ideologist Alexander Dugin, milblogger Semen Pegov, and “Putin’s confessor” Metropolitan Tikhon (Shevkunov) (who appeared by video message) [2]. Continue reading “The Cultural Front: Russia’s ‘general HQ on the fronts of the information war’”

“Ideology of Victory” and the Death of Daria Dugina

Daria Dugina (Darya Dugina), daughter of Alexander Dugin, was reported to have died on August 20, 2022 in a car bombing in the Moscow suburbs. Russian political authorities, federal police, and propagandists have consistently portrayed it as an act of Ukrainian terrorism and pointed to Ukrainian suspects.

Conversely, Ukraine has officially denied these allegations. Rather than taking the event at face value as it has been portrayed in Russian media, many Western reports have questioned whether it was an act of “false flag” terrorism.

In this scenario, the killing of Dugina would be intended to bolster public support for the war in Ukraine by reinforcing the idea of Ukraine as a fascist, terrorist state. It would be analogous to a widespread theory that the FSB had carried out a series of apartment bombings in September 1999 in order to bolster public support for a second war in Chechnya.

When Alexander Dugin first released a public statement about the assassination, he did so through Konstantin Malofeev on Malofeev’s Telegram channel [1]. Malofeev, like Dugin has not only been sanctioned for his actions related to Ukraine, but is a member of the ultra-conservative Izborsky Club; a philosophical group which was co-founded by Alexander Prokhanov and Vitali Averyanov, and includes many prominent Russians, some close to Putin [2].

This long-read report demonstrates that regardless of whom may be responsible for the crime, the death of Daria Dugina has been consciously manipulated by figures like Alexander Dugin, Alexander Prokhanov, and Konstantin Malofeev in order to frame the murder as a kind of symbol of martyrdom which supports the neo-imperialist “Ideology of Victory” that was formally articulated by the Izborskists in October 2021, prior to the Ukraine invasion.

The death of Daria Dugina provokes enduring symbols of Russian ideology

This observation in and of itself does not mean the Izborskists have complicity in the murder. But it does seek to prove objectively that the death has been used consciously from the start as an ideological and political instrument of Russian imperial power. Continue reading ““Ideology of Victory” and the Death of Daria Dugina”

Plant “Stirol” as Potential Site of Russian Chemical Weapons Provocation

Last week I blogged on how Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu had claimed that Russia was the victim in a global information war, and how that narrative had many parallels to previous Russian denials of chemical weapons attacks for which Russia bears clear responsibility. Additionally, Shoigu’s remarks on information war had come just weeks after he foretold chemical weapons provocations by American agents in Ukraine in a context which evoked prior disinformation narratives about the White Helmets in Syria [1].

It was reported yesterday that US officials have claimed that Russian operatives may be planning a “false flag” attack in the Donbas as a provocation to justify a broader invasion of Ukraine [2].

This morning, Ukrainian intelligence sources warned:

According to the military intelligence of Ukraine, on January 14, tanks with ammonia were delivered to Gorlovka [Horlivka], occupied by Russian troops, at Concern Stirol PJSC, from which, due to a leak, toxic substances are leaking into the atmosphere.  The man-made disaster caused by the actions of the Russian invaders can be used to accuse Ukraine of using toxic chemicals and as a pretext for expanding armed aggression against our state.” [3]

Continue reading “Plant “Stirol” as Potential Site of Russian Chemical Weapons Provocation”

The ROC’s Pro-Vaccination Conspiracy Theories

In American conservative media, there has been a recent push encouraging vaccine adoption. Notable examples of figures making public statements advocating for vaccines over the past week include Mitch McConnell, Steve Scalise, and Sean Hannity. Such gestures have been welcomed by semi-puzzled liberals, who have come to associate conservative politics during much of the pandemic with skepticism of vaccines and an embrace of conspiracy theories [1].

In the past month, a similar push for the acceptance of vaccines has been furthered in Russia. This seems to have been kicked off on June 30 with Vladimir Putin’s annual call-in show where he said he had received the Sputnik V vaccine. This added additional detail to quieter earlier disclosures that the Russian president had received a second shot in March. While promoting the safety of domestic Russian vaccines, Putin continued to stoke fears in Western vaccines, saying: “thank God we haven’t had tragic situations after vaccinations like after the use of AstraZeneca or Pfizer.”  [2]

Putin’s patriotic vaccine statements seemed to form a cue for senior clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) to come out publicly in favor of vaccination with domestic vaccines, using many of the tropes of conservative conspiracy theory. This vaccine promotion is interesting because these figures have themselves often been associated with national ideology, conspiracy theories, and disinformation – and even rumors of involvement with the FSB.  Their approach may offer some constructive lessons in how conspiratorial language can be repurposed to promote vaccine adoption. But it also raises more questions about the state of disinformation in Russia and its effects abroad.

Holy men Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev), Vladimir Putin, and Metropolitan Tikhon (Shevkunov)

Continue reading “The ROC’s Pro-Vaccination Conspiracy Theories”

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” helped a 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” helped a Russian information strategy”

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)”