Closing Thought–05Jan18

This is 2018….and the year of the spy…..we have investigations going on about the Russian intel project that may have influenced an election or at least had some willing Americans working for them during the election.

The US just busted some Russian spies about 5 years ago…they were normal individuals with jobs, families and spy craft… does Russia go about recruiting people to work with them……

Good question with a pretty good answer…..

Are you of Russian descent?

The Senate committee probing alleged Russian interference in the U.S. political system has deemed anyone “of Russian nationality or Russian descent” relevant to its investigation, according to a document obtained by TYT.

In an email dated December 19, 2017, April Doss—who serves as senior minority counsel on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI)—defined the scope of the committee’s inquiry as anyone a subject “knows or has reason to believe [is] of Russian nationality or descent.” The senior majority counsel for the SSCI, Vanessa Le, was cc’d on the emails.

The babbling Right has said the Congressional investigations is a witch hunt….after reading this story I have to agree….that is if the story is accurate…..

Sorry I digress….back to the meat of the post….how does Russia recruit their operatives?

This is the first of a three-part series based on never-before-published training manuals for the KGB, the Soviet intelligence organization that Vladimir Putin served as an operative, and that shaped his view of the world. Its veterans still make up an important part of now-Russian President Vladimir Putin’s power base. All were trained in the same dark arts, and these primers in tradecraft are essential to an understanding of the way they think and the way they operate.

U.S. intelligence operatives understand this only too well. Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told CNN earlier this month Putin is “a great case officer,” suggesting he “knows how to handle an asset, and that’s what he’s doing with the president”—that is, the president of the United States.

Recruiting spies is an art form……and the Russians have become artist in its execution…..

A new year and we are off to the races…..shall we enjoy the time together…..TTFN…..chuq


Rasputin, The Mad Monk

Today is the last day of December and as usual I have some history to impart to my readers…..I cannot let the month and the year go without one last shot at educating the reader.

How many Americans know of the monk Rasputin?  The Mad Monk of Moscow…….

Grigori Rasputin was born into a peasant family in Siberia, Russia, around 1869. After failing to become a monk, Rasputin became a wanderer and eventually entered the court of Czar Nicholas II because of his alleged healing abilities. Known for his prophetic powers, he became a favorite of the Nicholas’s wife, Alexandra Feodorovna, but his political influence was minor. Rasputin became swept up in the events of the Russian Revolution and met a brutal death at the hands of assassins in 1916.

The story goes that he had so muck influence over the tsarina that some military types took it upon themselves to rid the monarchy of this influence.

The story goes that he was poison, shot, clubbed and drowned before he actually died…..

The end of December marked the 100th anniversary of the death of Rasputin, the “mad monk of Russia”, or “lover of the Russian queen” if you believe the Boney M song, though you probably shouldn’t. While the song is undoubtedly a floor-filler, unsurprisingly it is not exactly a reliable historical account of Rasputin’s life.

Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin, a mystic and spiritual healer born in Pokrovskoe in Siberia, wielded huge influence over the Russian royal family, particularly Alexandra, the Tsarina, who looked to the spiritual healer to cure her haemophiliac son, Alexei. The life of Rasputin was certainly pretty strange but it is the stories surrounding his death that are the strangest of all.

What is known is that one evening Rasputin went to the Yusupov Palace in St Petersburg at the invitation of Prince Felix Yusupov. Rasputin’s dead body was recovered from the frozen Neva River days later. No one is completely sure what happened in between these two events.

This is a fascinating story…..and a mystery for the ages…..this is your last history lesson of the year, 2017….but the new year will bring even more….my gift to my readers….you are welcome.

Putin This, Russia That

On 26 December 1991 the USSR cease to exist and enter the Russian Republic(?).

Russia was experimenting with democracy  that brought Boris Yeltsin to power as head of the new Republic…….they had a few elections and tried to make democracy work…..but things did not go as planned……and out of the ashes of a budding democracy rose the specter that is Putin.

How Russia’s democratic hopes gave way to repressive nationalism.

In 1997, Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, the Clinton administration’s lead official on all matters Russia, gave a speech at Stanford University on American policy toward Moscow. He admitted, in not so many words, that persuading the erratic President Boris Yeltsin to keep on course with economic reform and progress toward democracy was a daunting task. But Talbott declared himself optimistic nonetheless. His main reason, he said, was “generational,”

or to be even more blunt, biological. The dynamic of what is happening in Russia today is not just Westernizers versus Slavophiles; it is also young versus old—and the young have a certain advantage in at least that dimension of the larger struggle.

Source: Why Democracy Didn’t Work in Russia | New Republic

How did Putin take control and just what is Putinism?

An excellent piece in the Journal Of Democracy….here on pdf…….

What is Putinism?
M. Steven Fish is professor of political science at the University of
California–Berkeley. His works include
Are Muslims Distinctive?
A Look at the Evidence
(2011) and
Democracy Derailed in Russia: The
Failure of Open Politics
A quarter-century after the demise of the Soviet regime, Russia again
presents a powerful challenge to global liberalism and to the Western
democratic community. Ambitious military modernization, aggres-
sion in the post-Soviet neighborhood, intervention in the Middle East,
the construction of a global propaganda network, support for despots
abroad, and brazen interference in …..(.read more)
To deal with Putin we must know Putin……make speeches and slogans about what a super guy he is it is better to know the real person and not some stylized character.


Russia Before 1917

A hundred years ago this month lost of stuff is happening….World War One is still raging….the US has  committed troops to the fight against the “Hun”….and one of the most important aspects of history was taking place….the Russian Revolution……..

With financial help from Germany the group lead by Lenin was about to assume power and oust the royals and set up the new Soviet Union.

If you are interested in history then the book is a good place to start if you are remotely interested in Russia and what it became.

Since Russia seems to be in the headlines almost daily maybe a little knowledge on what is what and who became who…..

An excerpt from ”October: The Story of the Russian Revolution.”

In the final years of the nineteenth century, the state pours resources into its infrastructure and industry, including an immense program of railway building. Great crews drag iron rails across the country, hammering them down, stitching the limits of the empire together. The Trans-Siberian Railway. “Since the Great Wall of China the world has seen no one material undertaking of equal magnitude,” breathes Sir Henry Norman, a British observer. For Nicholas [II, tsar of Russia], the building of this transit route between Europe and East Asia is a “sacred duty.”

Russia’s urban population soars. Foreign capital flows in. Huge industries arise around St Petersburg, Moscow, the Donbass region in Ukraine. As thousands of new workers struggle to eke out livings in cavernous plants under desperate conditions, subject to the contemptuous paternalism of their bosses, the labor movement takes unsteady steps forward. In 1882, the young Grigory Plekhanov, later to be Russia’s leading socialist theorist, joins the legendary Vera Zasulich herself, the failed assassin of Trepov, to found Osvobozhdenie truda, Liberation of Labor — the first Russian Marxist group.

Source: Russia Before 1917: Imperial Schemes, Doomed Royals and Young Marxists

After 1917 the world would be changed forever……just as WW1 changed the world……so did the  birth of the USSR.

Moon Base Echo!

Together Into The unknown!

These days there is a lot of push back against Russia…..did they interfere in our elections?  Did they turn any Americans into spies?

So when I read this story I found it interesting that the US and Russia have a joint operation for the Moon…..

Two words: Moon base. AFP reports the US and Russia will work together on a NASA program to build the Deep Space Gateway, a space station in orbit around the moon. NASA and Russia’s Roscosmos signed an agreement to cooperate on the station, which will be “an invaluable pit stop for human and robotic exploration of the lunar surface” and “a staging point for deep space missions” to Mars and Venus, on Wednesday at the 68th International Astronautical Congress in Australia, according to Motherboard. While the Deep Space Gateway program is being led by NASA, Roscosmos will contribute docking ports and life support systems, and Russian rockets will be used to help with construction, Engadget reports.

NASA wants to start work on the Deep Space Gateway, which will be crewed by four astronauts, in the mid-2020s. It’s one step toward its goal of sending humans to Mars by the 2030s. In statements, Roscosmos and NASA say they share a “common vision for human exploration.” The Deep Space Gateway agreement is important for a number of reasons. It clarifies NASA’s goals and how it will achieve them after years of funding issues. It also makes it less likely Congress will put the kibosh on the Deep Space Gateway at some point. Finally, the agreement will be one more thing keeping the US and Russia from—as Engadget puts it—descending “into outright hostilities.” Space is so far one of the few places where tensions between the two countries haven’t risen recently.

Could this be a new beginning for cooperative work between thew US and Russia?

I do not see this coming to a reality any time soon….too much animosity towards each other right now.

Storm approaches…..

Anti-Russian Bias

Oh My God!  It is Monday morn and I awoke to check the news and the breaking news at this hour is….OJ is a free man!

Seriously?  Basically….who gives a f*ck?

Got that off my chest…..

Have you noticed that there are some out there that feel like there is a Russia Bias in our media?  That they do stories that only make Russia look bad on the tiny screens every night.

How do you feel about it?

The U.S. mainstream media (MSM} presents itself as the arbiter of truth-telling and journalistic professionalism – the global gold standard – but its deep-seated biases, especially on Russia, belie that self-image.

The anti-Russian/anti-Soviet bias in the American media appears to have no limit. You would think that they would have enough self-awareness and enough journalistic integrity -– just enough -– to be concerned about their image. But it keeps on coming, piled higher and deeper.

One of the latest cases in point is a review of a new biography of Mikhail Gorbachev in the New York Times Book Review (September 10). The review says that Gorbachev “was no hero to his own people” because he was “the destroyer of their empire.”

This is how the New York Times avoids having to say anything positive about life in the Soviet Union or about socialism. They would have readers believe that it was the loss of the likes of Czechoslovakia or Hungary et al. that upset the Russian people, not the loss, under Gorbachev’s perestroika, of a decent standard of living for all, a loss affecting people’s rent, employment, vacations, medical care, education, and many other aspects of the Soviet welfare state.

Source: The MSM’s Anti-Russia Bias – Consortiumnews

There are times when I think the the MSM is just too fixated on the Russia thing…..times when I feel that a step back would be beneficial……a time out until more info is learned and passed on….

Does the MSM have a anti-Russia bias?

Let’s say some of the accusations are true….where does that lead us?

For lone the amount of “think tanks” has increased sharply….everyone looking for the “study” or “research” that will

Some of their so-called “findings” has added to the hysteria that engulfs the country….well at least in the bubble of DC….put them on the map.

As the U.S. government doles out tens of millions of dollars to “combat Russian propaganda,” one result is a slew of new “studies” by “scholars” and “researchers” auditioning for the loot,

And, if you think the pillars of the U.S. mainstream media – The Washington Post, The New York Times, CNN and others – will apply some quality controls, you haven’t been paying attention for the past year or so. The MSM is just as unethical as the NGOs are.

Source: The Slimy Business of Russia-gate – Consortiumnews

I have been writing that I think that there is something to all this Russia stuff….however we need to step back and let the investigations proceed until the answers are uncovered.  Hourly speculation is doing nothing to move the search for knowledge forward.

A Mexican Stand-Off

In case you do not read the whole post….this has nothing to do with Mexico or some damn silly wall…nope this is more about the stare down between the US and Russia.

-Just the noble American eagle is in a stare down with the aggressive Russian bear……mostly in Eastern Europe….at least for now…..

Both sides an trying to impress the other by throwing all their latest technology and war toys at each other.

Current tensions between Russia and NATO are leading many to carefully assess this question and examine the current state of weaponry and technological sophistication of the Russian military — with a mind to better understanding the extent of the kinds of threats they may pose.

Naturally, Russia’s military maneuvers and annexation of the Crimean peninsula have many Pentagon analysts likely wondering about and assessing the pace of Russia’s current military modernization and the relative condition of the former Cold War military giant’s forces, platforms and weaponry.

Source: Weapons & War Analysis: Russian Military vs US & NATO

With all the back and forth…..of course there will be a wealth of things to do to confront Russia without it becoming messy……the hawks want more confrontation…..doves want us to talk and negotiate…..and there is always someone with a better idea……

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis visited Ukraine last week in a show of support for the besieged Eastern European nation. And he issued a stern warning: “Despite Russia’s denials, we know they are seeking to redraw international borders by force, undermining the sovereign and free nations of Europe.”

Renewed Pentagon efforts to shore up Ukraine’s military and stepped up involvement in military exercises in the region are stark reminders that relations between Russia and NATO continue on a downward spiral.

Source: A Solution to Russia’s Standoff With the West? | RealClearDefense

Eastern Europe keeps getting more complicated….Ukraine, the Baltics and Belarus will be used by the Russians in their latest confrontation scheme…..

For the week beginning September 14, the Russian military will conduct its quadrennial military exercise called “Zapad,” the Russian word for “west.” Earlier Zapad exercises have caused great apprehension among the NATO nations, and this one will be no exception.

Zapad 2017 will be held in western Russia and into Belarus, a former Soviet satellite state that borders three NATO-member nations, Estonia, Latvia and Poland. The Russians say that their forces participating in Zapad 2017 will number only about 15,000 troops but NATO reportedly expects that they will number more than 100,000 along with their vehicles, armor and air assets.

Source: Vladimir Putin threatens Belarus – Washington Times

All in all this situation is a war of words and troop movements… will require scrutiny so things do not spiral.