Noting that the FBI was focusing on madame-figure Ghislaine Maxwell in its investigation into Jeffrey Epstein – and noting the many parallels in the cases of Epstein and Anthony Bourdain as they relate to the ‘weaponized suicide’ conspiracy theory paradigm – I looked a bit into Maxwell and was very surprised how easy it was to link her family to Russian intelligence. In addition, as an update I’ll note defector John Mark Dougan’s role in the Epstein case which makes me close to completely certain the conspiracy theories tied to it can only logically be the artifacts of a Russian information operation.
Ghislaine Maxwell’s father was the shady businessman Robert Maxwell, who operated a publishing empire which he’d embezzled hundreds of millions of British pounds from before his 1991 death (a death also surrounded by conspiracy theories). In life, he was rumored to be an asset of intelligence agencies like MI6, Mossad, and even the KGB. It doesn’t seem contested he had high level connections in Britain, the US, Israel, and Russia which he maintained.
Over the past few months the story has grown, with the Russians presently focused on the presumed anti-Semitism of the Polish ambassador to Nazi Germany as being the actual cause of WWII. This seems a game of rhetorical ‘whataboutism’. Russia’s position is essentially an illogical argument that Poland itself started WWII – by amplifying a potentially insignificant apocryphal story and ignoring all the other factual evidence to the contrary.
It should be obvious that Poland is in a very difficult position as Russia’s neighbor. Historically, I think this seems to be because like Russia, Poland is ethnically a ‘Slavic’ nation; however, as opposed to the Orthodoxy which is practiced by most Slavs (and has been the basis for many Russian civilizational and geopolitical ideas even during communism) Poland is predominately Catholic.
I immediately had the feeling in my gut that I was being suckered after being bombarded with online images of the so-called “Baby Yoda” from the new Disney+ streaming service anchor show, The Mandalorian. I am pretty sure I know why (because I had a dog).
The concept of ‘neoteny’ is related to evolutionary physiological adaptations which promote more juvenile features in mature animals. This is an oversimplification, but in a psychological sense, humans seem to like dogs and babies in large part because of this phenomenon. (It is also apparently related to human sexual selection.)
So not to entirely lump Disney in with the likes of Russia and Michael Avenatti for its practice of the dark arts of psychosocial influence – but in a way, I think I can make an argument that despite its cuteness, the Baby Yoda is clearly a marketing ‘active measure’ from the Dark Side to sell Disney+ subscriptions in line with Disney’s MO for character design.
I have to admit that my work on beloved skeptic James Randi is probably my most “cuckoo”. I don’t think the theory is entirely wrong, but I have some new information which changes my perspective somewhat and might tie him to more of a Chinese Communist agenda in information war than a specifically Russian one. That is not to say those groups are mutually exclusive, but there may be more evidence at least for his historical employ by China and in China’s interest.
To recap my findings on James Randi (born James Hamilton Zwinge in 1928 in Canada), he is a professional magician and pseudoscientific debunker of spiritual beliefs. His style of skepticism hearkens back to the legacy of Harry Houdini and Orson Welles who were both magicians (and who also at times apparently supported Russian secret police services). Randi frequently calls himself a “conjurer” which by Latin definition means “conspirator”.
There seems to be good evidence that pro-Russian conspiracy theorists often utilize what I call “weaponized suicide”. As I think of it in ‘information warfare’, it is not like someone who walks into a crowded market with a bomb vest and detonates it. It is rather how actual suicides of controversial figures associated with sex crimes can be turned into populist conspiracy narratives which undermine the political establishment (in this case, the US government).
I think these kinds of conspiracies have interesting features to discuss because the ones I’ve observed affect both ‘left’ and ‘right’ political conspiracism. This is the kind of ‘divide and conquer’ or ‘schizowarfare‘ approach to conspiracy I often observe with Russia and their useful idiots.
Although I suppose this theoretical tactic of weaponized suicide would not be limited to an association with sex crimes (such as the case of Vince Foster, which would be more associated with financial conspiracy), perhaps in a Freudian sense in the modern day, the sex-linked conspiracies have better potential for mainstream virality and mass-appeal.
Here, I’ll touch on three examples, two of which I have previously written on. 1.) The case of Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the so-called DC Madame, 2.) the case of Anthony Bourdain, and 3.) the case of Jeffrey Epstein.
The Konami game company’s Metal Gear games are awesome. They’re kind of the reason I was thinking of impractical doomsday weapons the other day which Russia might create to terrorize earth. The name ‘Metal Gear’ is referential to a nuclear-powered walking battle tank which forms a core story element in the games. The games are notable for their visionary takes on the information age, weaponized genetics, and military technology; built on a foundation of great gameplay, visuals, and music. But they are also rife with crazy conspiracy theories.
By the time you complete playing a Metal Gear game, you probably: 1. feel like a badass, but 2. may be convinced that series creator Hideo Kojima is something of a mad genius. Maybe you might even go a little crazy.
After giving up on trying to integrate some Metal Gear music into the blog yesterday, this morning I coincidentally Googled ‘metal gear russia‘ and was surprised to see that the top results referenced June 2019 stories about Russian Deputy Defense Minister Andrei Kartapolov who told a Duma panel that [translation]:
“The American intelligence agencies are widely implementing projects on the Internet, such as Graphics, Metal Gear, Echo of the Runet, aimed at directly manipulating the public consciousness and above all young people… A number of programs are being implemented aimed at creating active protest activity and dissatisfaction among the authorities of the country among young people“.
This is a bit of a silly post, and I guess it would be foolish to underestimate the bounds of human poor judgement when applied to weapons system design. That being said, to me, all the Russian weapons like hypersonic nuclear cruise missiles, megabombs, pollution-causing tsunami torpedoes, and earthquake weapons seem like something a little boy in the 5th grade would dream up. So I do have it on good authority that the next major innovative weapons system chosen for development as the result of the national Russia Weapon Design Bureau Competition is the:
Great Patriotic Shark Atomic Bomb Cannon Entering Service 2028 Designed by Alexei, Age 11, Krasnoyarsk
Runners up (which may still be considered for future development) were announced as:
Giant Robot Dinosaur (with Laser)
AIDS Gas Cloud Printer
Nuclear Bomb Teleporter
Asteroid Tractor Beam
On some level I have a hard time believing this stuff even exists; and even if it does you’re better off pretending it doesn’t.
I couldn’t use the first two graphics on this page in a recent paper I completed due to space limitations. However, I think they are useful for highlighting the correspondence between Nostradamus conspiracies and Papal issues and how they may be perceived in primarily Catholic countries. Each of these was made from a 5 day average of CSV files downloaded from Google Trends. (Although there tends to be quite a good amount of variability in the reported proportions of day to day samples, the ranks don’t change so much, so I just stuck with those. )
Compare with the first 9 months of 2019. There is no ‘aftershock’ in Nostradamus interest corresponding to a second event (the naming of a new Pope in the prior 2005 and 2013 examples). Also note specifically how North Macedonia corresponded to an apparent disinformation operation directed at the Pope which may coincide with Russian Orthodox Nationalist ideas (and how that attack may have been launched from Serbia).
There may not be a connection but I think it is worth noting that the “shape” of the 2019 spike is more similar to the 2010 spike related to the Polish government crash at Smolensk than the 2005 or 2013 spikes related to the Papal issues. This may be significant to the Catholic theme in as much that Russian Nationalists may have hostile feelings towards Poland as the result of perceived historical trespasses and its status as a Catholic Slavic nation which is counter to ideas of ‘pan-Slavic’ Orthodoxy.
Steve Lazarides, my top suspect for the true identity of Banksy – who ironically has made a fortune through a capitalist commodification of a communist propaganda aesthetic (and populist political sentiment) – has been in the news again.
In the course of writing a conference paper, I accidentally found another surprising example of Nostradamus disinformation. In this case, I was reviewing 2019 Google Trends data (looking for Nostradamus interest related to the Notre Dame fire – or expecting to find that anyway) and found that North Macedonia was one of the highest areas for Nostradamus interest in 2019.
The biggest worldwide spike in Nostradamus interest since November 2016 (any guesses on Russian active measures centered on November 2016?) occurred following the Notre Dame fire on April 15, 2019. However, unlike most other regions which spiked in interest in mid-April, the North Macedonian spike occurred in early May. It seems to have been directly tied to Pope Francis’ visit to North Macedonia and Bulgaria and included an implicit assassination ‘threat’.