Bashar al-Assad recently gave a speech where he denied the Holocaust as well as promoted the idea that Jewish people in Israel are “Khazars”. Widely also reported was Assad’s claim that the US had enabled the Nazis.
Western editorial reactions to the speech primarily focused on Assad’s Holocaust denialism, and the denialism of the ethnicity of Israeli Jews via the Khazar conspiracy theory — and therefore a denial of the Israeli people’s Biblical right to Israel.
However, my primary reactions to the speech were to note Assad’s clear invocation of Russia’s cult of WW2 and ideology of victory as well as continued parrotting of Russian nationalist ideas within a ‘narrative warfare’ context in general.
Another strong takeaway I had was that despite his argumentation that his narrative was the truth, Assad seems to feel that this war for “truth” does not necessarily correspond to the true and the false. In this sense, that is much like the historical antisemitism which is represented by people who believe in forgeries like The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion despite all evidence they are inauthentic documents.
I imagined how funny it must have sounded when he said it:
“….whoever winth the truth… Of courthe, the truth, regardleth of whether it is real or falthe, ith the one who winth the war and the battle.” – Bashar al-Assad (sloppy lisp emphasis added by the author)
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”.
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.
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?
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 fewvideos 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.
“The name Satan is derived from the Hebrew שָׂטָן Satan which means “adversary, opponent…accuser, opposing party…[or] the one who hinders a purpose” The Greek Σατανᾶς Satanas carries the same meaning and is used “in a very special sense of the enemy of God and all of those who belong to God.” Other names for Satan include the shining one, or Lucifer (Isa 14:12), the evil one (1 John 5:19), the tempter (1 Thess 3:5), the devil (Matt 4:1), the god of this world (2 Cor 4:4), the accuser of the brethren (Rev 12:10), the prince of the power of the air (Eph 2:2), the serpent (Rev 12:9), and the great red dragon (Rev 12:3). Further, Satan is a murderer and liar (John 8:44), is compared to a lion that prowls about, looking for someone to devour (1 Pet 5:8), and one who disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Cor 11:14).”
I’m quite sure that James Randi would approve of Putin’s “honest liar” statement about his goals for AI and world domination.
I think Vladimir would be a great name for the Antichrist, LOL. Protip: Keep it in mind Satan, when choosing a baby names. (I also recommend Donald in case of twins, there are many antichrists afterall.)
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.
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.
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.
Given the unprecedented nature of both the true public health risk and accompanying informational hysteria associated with ‘coronavirus’ (a.k.a. COVID-19 / nCoV2019), I have some hesitancy to blog this because I think it is potentially irresponsible given the current public anxieties. In the worst case, it could be wrong and amplify conspiracy thinking about the crisis, which is certainly not my intent. That said, based on my research, this crisis reminds me of Russian information warfare associated with the AIDS epidemic as well as 9/11 conspiracism; and the informational profiles of modern warfare campaigns in Syria and Ukraine as well. Despite the potential for contributing to conspiracy thinking with this analysis, I think talking about things like this openly is important to improve our informational (and apparently public health) security posture.
It is inarguable that Russia is spreading disinformation about the coronavirus in multiple sources, accusing both China and the United States of releasing it as a bioweapon. Resultingly, there seems to be evidence that public officials in China and the US have accused the other respective nation of strategically orchestrating this crisis for warfare purposes. Allegorically, conspiracy theories about the virus as a bioweapon seem popular online, and I’ve heard them in personal conversations as well.
To give this unprecedented crisis the unique definition it deserves, I think it is clear that the Russian activity around coronavirus may classify the outbreak as a ‘hybrid biothreat’ – a mashup of the terms ‘hybrid threat’ and ‘biothreat’.
A hybrid threat has been described by NATO as: “Hybrid threats combine 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.”
A biothreat has been described in military academia as: “Biological threat agents or, more colloquially, biothreats or bioagents are pathogens and/or their toxic products that pose a substantial threat to human health. They are a diverse group that includes viruses, bacteria, and toxins from biological sources, and indeed that diversity is reflected in the extraordinary range of transmissibility, infectivity, and lethality that they exhibit. Bioagents encompass both naturally occurring and engineered pathogens and the threat they pose originates from natural outbreaks as well as from their intentional release.”
Thus, a ‘hybrid biothreat’ could be seen as such a biothreat which supports a hybrid threat kind of warfare campaign, but which does not rise to the level of perceived threat which is likely to result in a direct military confrontation.
The question is whether Russia is simply exploiting an impromptu opportunity to sow international discord – or whether the disinformation is supporting actual biowarfare as a component of a higher-order hybrid warfare campaign. There’s no hard evidence that the novel coronavirus is a Russian bioweapon, but perhaps I can persuade you circumstantially that the Russians have masterfully exploited the crisis to the benefit of their broader ‘portfolio’ of operations. Maybe it is common sense.
So just to note, there is a clear precedence in this idea of blending disinformation with a public concern about a viral biothreat as an ‘active measure’ – accusing the U.S. military of criminally bioengineering the disease as a weapon – and it is a tactic historically attributable to Russian influence.
According to ZeroHedge [highlighted as disinformation]: “The theory is that the virus, which was developed by infectious disease experts may have originated in the Wuhan-based lab of Dr. Peng Zhou, China’s preeminent researcher of bat immune systems, specifically in how their immune systems adapt to the presence of viruses like coronavirus and other destructive viruses. Somehow, the virus escaped from the lab, and the Hunan fish market where the virus supposedly originated is merely a ruse.
Now, a respected epidemiologist who recently caught flack for claiming in a twitter threat that the virus appeared to be much more contagious than initially believed is pointing out irregularities in the virus’s genome that suggests it might have been genetically engineered for the purposes of a weapon, and not just any weapon but the deadliest one of all.
In “Uncanny similarity of unique inserts in the 2019-nCoV spike protein to HIV-1 gp120 and Gag”, Indian researchers are baffled by segments of the virus’s RNA that have no relation to other coronaviruses like SARS, and instead appear to be closer to HIV. The virus even responds to treatment by HIV medications.”
So certainly, from the standpoint of information warfare, synergy with existing campaigns in Ukraine and Syria, and potentially economic warfare as well, there may be a lot of good evidence to tie Russia to aspects of the coronavirus hysteria. It certainly seems to fit the definition of a hybrid threat.
And for the record, it is actually not crazy to ask if the coronavirus had emerged from a lab.
As Scientific American reported on March 11, the Chinese bat coronavirus expert expert Dr. Shi Zhegli – who had discovered the origins of many former coronaviruses (including the previous Chinese SARS outbreak of 2002-2003) “had never expected this kind of thing to happen in Wuhan, in central China”, and remembered thinking “could [the coronavirus] have come from our lab?”. ‘Her studies had shown that the southern, subtropical areas of Guangdong, Guangxi and Yunnan have the greatest risk of coronaviruses jumping to humans from animals—particularly bats, a known reservoir for many viruses.’
It seems conceivable to me that a large-scale hybrid warfare campaign most likely linked to Russia (but possibly including some collusive involvement from China, North Korea, and/or Iran) is being waged around coronavirus.
It is interesting to wonder if the virus was actually engineered and released by Russia’s allegedly mature bioweapons program in order to achieve some kind of advanced synergistic hybrid warfare agenda. Russia’s accusations of both Chinese and American bioweapons activity are interesting in light of Russia’s purportedly more mature capabilities in biowarfare; not to mention past notoriety for its AIDS disinformation campaign.
I’d assume the very idea of discussing coronavirus as a bioweapon has become a taboo subject for most intellectuals because of the sheer face value stupidity of the Russian disinformation and its consumers. Followingly, I assume the ‘fog of falsehood‘ around the virus has made the idea of discussing it being a Russian bioweapon forbidden too.
However, maybe the idea of rejecting it as a bioweapon at the academic level is just what Russia wants, because then nobody who cares about how they look in the scholarly community asks if Russia is responsible. If nobody asks the question, then it is possible we could never be prepared for the scenario. So I think it is important to ask, especially of the ‘guy’ with a behavioral pattern of being guilty of the crime before – but who is currently pointing the finger at everyone else.
Certainly it is more parsimonious that the virus came from the outdoor market, or was a curated sample leaked from the Chinese lab, than it came from a Russian source. But based on Russia’s lies about the United States in the past on similar matters, and Russia’s strategic capitalization of the current matter to augment its warfare campaigns in Ukraine and Syria – or to ignite an oil price war simultaneous to the stock market drop on coronavirus – and I would say it is much more likely that Russia is responsible than America is, if it is a bioweapon afterall. Who benefits?
Neither China nor America clearly benefits, but I think Russia seems to be attempting to. It seems a masterful move to divide China and the U.S., along the contours of previously observed patterns associated with Russian strategy. Perhaps the location of the initial outbreak was perfect for both finger pointing and plausible deniability by Russia.
By these measures, I think even if the novel coronavirus is not bioengineered or a bioweapon, the simple fact of Russia’s weaponization of information, migration, and economics around the epidemic highlights the similar weaponization of the virus itself – placing it in the category of what I’d call a ‘hybrid biothreat’.
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).
I was delighted to hear Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declare loud and clear that the US is building a “New Liberal World Order“. This is an important diplomatic step that America should take in order to reinforce the post-WW2 peace and in order to counter authoritarian interests. However, as previously blogged here, our domestic American culture is increasingly polarized by conspiratorial elements who are traceable to the influence operations of Russia and other authoritarian cultures. As a result, post-Soviet US politics has become increasingly divided along extremist lines, and American bipartisanship and ‘liberalism’ (in a “John Locke” sense) has all but disappeared.
Until we address our political mess at home and forthrightly take on some tough questions about how to curtail such influence without damaging constitutional protections for free speech, I don’t see how this theoretically noble and necessary effort to re-entrench liberal power abroad can be credible or successful. Politically and mathematically, it seems to me that one of the best ways to ‘hack back’ against Russian political influence and force rational bipartisanship (without resorting to some kind of centrist authoritarianism in a three party system) would be to abandon the two party system in favor of a four party system which leads to the forced ‘gerrymandering of centrism’. (Maybe this is why the UK has gone this route.)
Stormy Daniels and Michael Avenatti are now feuding, and it seems this might very well be the end of their relationship. This seems related to Daniels’ complaint to the Daily Beast that Avenatti filed the Donald Trump defamation lawsuit without her consent (which she lost and was obligated to pay hefty legal fees on).
While all of this is leaving the question up in the air of whether Daniels and Avenatti have turned on one another, and if his advocacy of her is done for good, it also has me asking if Michael Avenatti’s use of the Twitter platform to preempt a series of incendiary cultural/political debates about sex and race — not to mention his use of it for potential financial malfeasance – might be sufficient grounds for him to be banned there.
I had recently done a quick year-to-date Google Trends analysis of Michael Avenatti, which was unrelated to the Twitter question. Surprisingly however, it shows just how correlated public interest is in him with Twitter. I think this objectively demonstrates how essential the platform is to the enablement of his campaign of apparent lies, hate, and division.
It seems that similar mischief is afoot in the case of the ‘poorly disappeared’ Saudi expat journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The apparent murder and cover up is not something we should be proud of or advocate, but we should stand by Saudi Arabia as our ally and the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman since this controversy’s amplified status may bear the fingerprints of Russian information operations and have implications for our mutual security. Continue reading “All you useful idiots should stop wringing your hands about Jamal Khashoggi”