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18 May 2015

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oofda

Colonel,
An excellent post. I believe Vallely retired as a Major-General- he also had several combat commands in addition to being in Psy-Ops. He has espoused a number of theories, in addition to those in "Mind War" that are in tin-foil territory. When he goes on Fox, his crackpot theories, in addition to his association with Aquino should be remembered.

turcopolier

oofda

Just goes to show you that not all the brothers are sane. He made BG when his reserve POG was called up for the first gulf war. pl

C Webb

"Aquino was later notorious as the High Priest of the Temple of Set, a Satanist cult in California" -> An organisation whose purpose according to Aquino was to wind up the religious orthodoxy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Men_Who_Stare_at_Goats

I wonder if all the kookyness/tin-foil hattery might be a smokescreen to hide the underlying functional/practical elements of Information Operations?

Imagine

CNN Crossfire Bill Press's 2001 book "Spin This!" describes how Washington culture became a Hollywood of appearances over substance. It's an outstanding meta / analysis of the phenomenon of BS: how it works, why it is now pandemic, how it is done; how it has gradually become part of the very culture of the Beltway bubble.

"Meg Greenfield discovered that people inside the Beltway had developed a language of their own, speaking on two levels at once: 'The two-track conversation is as close as the capitol comes to having its own language,' she notes in her memoir 'Washington'...Greenfield also discovered that people didn't just talk in two tracks, they also lived in those same two tracks. They pretended to be someone who, in fact, they were not, and they pretended so successfully that they soon forgot which persona was the real one and which was the phony. 'It is as if everyone who came to the place were put into the witness protection program,' Greenfield explained, 'furnished with a complete new public identity, and left with much untended anxiety about the vestiges of the old one. We are, most of us, much of the time, in disguise. We present ourselves as we think we are meant to be.'"

Add this to the narcissistic need to control the situation, plus the perception that the common people are beyond ignorant as to the nuances of proper decisions, plus the drive to stay in office and maintain power for as long as possible; subtract from this the quaint notion that politicians derive career meaning&purpose from serving the people & their good; mix in the complexities of modern life plus the shortened sub-second attention span of the MTV population; and you have the evolution path of the current situation.

The Twisted Genius

Damn. Just read a little on Vallely, all his nutcase connections and his "Mindwar." I never realized how deep and broad that craziness was. Mindwar goes way beyond PSYOPS or any IO I dealt with. It's defined as "the deliberate aggressive convincing of all participants in a war that we will win that war.... it states a whole truth that, if it does not now exist, will be forced into existence by the will of the United States....the MindWar operative must know that he speaks the truth, and he must be personally committed to it." That sounds amazingly similar to Karl Rove's 2004 statement. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

Here's an interesting story about Vallely and some others in the mindwar cabal (and cabal is a very accurate term in this case.) Keep in mind this is from LaRouche's "Executive Intelligence Review" so you can expect rumors, gossip, loony tunes and an occasional fact as Arnaud de Borchgrave said of the publication. I can vouch for the "Jedi Warrior Program" and some of the remote viewing stuff.

http://www.larouchepub.com/other/2005/3233spoonbenders.html

Mark Logan

Claud,

Thanks for pointing that piece out. I've recently finished an old book from the 70's by the long time Russian-based Russian correspondent Hendrick Smith of the NYT, "The Russians", in which he struggles to explain Russians to Westerners by means of about a thousand anecdotes gathered from decades of living in Soviet Russia.

One part is about understanding how the Russians dealt, accepted, even approved of their government's lying, both to world and amazingly (to Westerners) themselves. It was cynicism wrapped in cynicism. They came to believe everybody (nations, politicians, "the world") lies so lies are justified. They seemed oblivious to how that practice was poisoning their own perception of the world whether they wished it or not. Repeating ones own BS is hazardous even when you know it's BS because it obscures the truth. Obscures it even to the degree that, after awhile, you wouldn't know the truth if it bit ya on the nuts. People are funny critters...

Something like that may be at work with that Marine and John Kerry. At a certain point people lose track of the truth, assuming they are still capable of perceiving it.

VietnamVet

TTG,

Patrick Bahzad’s quote of Colonel Wilkerson’s about the neo-cons who had turned overnight from “The crazies in the basement” to the “Gestapo on the Third Floor” is the best one besides Karl Rove’s describing Washington DC’s divorce from reality. I believe this came about due to the end of the draft and the outsourcing jobs to fight inflation. The middle class had to be pacified and diverted while being whittled down and burdened with excessive debt. The elite’s counter coup is carefully hidden from view. Except, reality bites back and the wheels are falling off with the USA fighting unwinnable wars from Ukraine to Somalia and the infrastructure is falling apart.

Cee

All,

Robert Baer said that Iraq has been destroyed. That was always the plan of the people who lied us into this war. The only candidate on the right who is saying that is Rand Paul. Bernie Sanders is the other on the left. Hope for a new Fusion Party.

Cee

Twisted Genius,

I have to disagree. I was being taught to not trust the bad Russians while watching Rockie and Bullwinkle


LeaNder

Highly interesting, Alexander.

not least since I am not so sure concerning Khodorkovsky. I wasn't aware of Bowder or Chandler.

But yes, the Jackson society. Didn't it surface in GB after the PNAC, is that the correct acronym closed its doors. Or web presence.

TG

I liked the original version:

Resistance is Irrelevant!

LeaNder

Interesting, did you read it to the end? You think it is so easy to wipe that away? Personally I found it interesting that the Jackson Society is still active. Remember PNAC?

I know the two main objectives that would keep me from giving much thought to the larger context.
Could you give me yours?

It's no doubt an interesting story.

Full discovery: at one point in my life I was absolving a training as PR consultant. The academic I would have had as master--apparently there was some palace revolt, or maybe the prof that led the course before asked for too much money resulting in my course being led by a female former teacher with limited knowledge beyond some curious marketing exam took over--this is how the expert, who I unfortunately never met defined PR:
its about shaping people's perception of reality according to your own advantage.

Joe100

Maybe there are a few honest voices left - apparently Dempsy provided a more sober public assessment of the Ramadi situation yesterday.

ex-PFC Chuck

Off Topic, re Ukraine
According to independent Moscow reporter John Helmer, Merkel and Nuland were pushed aside in the recent negotiations at Sochi, and Kerry and Lavrov/Putin were the main players at the table.
http://johnhelmer.net/?p=13387

John

"Locutas:
a dude who is fucking awesome at fps and is not welsh" from Urban dictionary.

We are left discussing space operas and video games on which we have squandered $4Trillion while the Chinese are building railways all over the world.

For the leaders of your children's crusade, it was never more than that, just a video game.

Guess who's winning the "COIN"?

Origin

If resistance is irrelevant, to which side is it irrelevant?

Who will arrive firstis with the mostis?

The US Troops have already evacuated Habbaniyah Airbase.

http://reliefweb.int/report/iraq/ocha-flash-update-iraq-crisis-ramadi-displacement-no-3-19-may-2015

Porkchop Express

Reminds me of a grea line from Harry Frankfurt's "On Bullshit":

'...bullshit either can be true or can be false; hence, the bullshitter is someone whose principal aim — when uttering or publishing bullshit — is to impress the listener and the reader with words that communicate an impression that something is being or has been done, words that are neither true nor false, and so obscure the facts of the matter being discussed.'

It would certainly be hard to pin down at what precise moment in US history did the move toward internal IO occur. The cognitive dissonance between (idealized) American values and (perceived) American interests have always proved to illustrate a stark dichotomy. At some point, the mental stresses must have proved either a) too great a burden to bear, b) completely irreconcilable or c) coupled with the advent of communication tech, a completely opportunistic wager on the part of the few. Or perhaps a combination of all three. If I had to wager, perhaps a shot in the dark, I'd say right around the time of the Spanish - American war and the yellow journalism era.

mike

The Borg voice comes from LtGen Terry. He is the commander of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, not Weidley who was speaking officially his commander.

As for DoS, Kerry got his scoop from DoD, who got it from Terry.

Why blame the messengers?

kao_hsien_chih

BM,

If you mean Sunni exterminating Shia, rather than Shia exterminating Sunni, that may be so. But I am just generalizing about how "genocides" in the name of varied grand causes are becoming the norm in the minds of even the Western elites, who seem to salivate for the "right" kinds of exterminations.

turcopolier

Mike

I am quite willing to blame Terry but that does not absolve Weidly. He is an adult. This Borgian BS is flowing both up and downhill within the collective. pl

Claud_Alexander

Mark, Leander:
In case you're interested in further background on Surkov, the guy that's being presented as Putin's postmodern Goebbels, do take a look at this long-ish post by Adam Curtis,

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/adamcurtis/entries/20c22534-f722-3d7a-b7ba-0506fcc00063

While it *is* very suggestive, I always wonder whether Anglo-Saxons don't read too much into the formal thinking of this kind of character. To put it very glibly: in the same way that Germans tend to document everything, Russians tend to create overarching theoretical constructs for what they do. While these might make for far better reading than what would come out if you asked a Western PR person to write out an equivalent, I'm not sure the praxis would be all that different.


On an unrelated and more general note, I think it's exactly a century since UK prime minister Asquith made his remark about how that, "the War Office keeps three sets of figures: one to deceive the public, another to deceive the Cabinet, and the third to deceive itself."

Mark Logan

LeaNder,

Yes, it, "The Russians" ends with something very unrelated to the point we are discussing, the nature of Stalin as just another Czar. The culture did not change as fast as the Marxists had hoped. How is that relevant?

I'm not surprised something like the Jackson society still exists. I thought PNAC still does, but your comment has a past-tense implication. The link between them an PNAC seems plain but they aren't, IMO, synonymous. The "Jacksons" were obsessed with the USSR and PNAC with a post Soviet world which they imagine the US rules benevolently. Kissing cousins.

I have a feeling we may have had very different takes on that book. To me it, "The Russians", is a deep study in the cultural traits of the Russian people and I suspect you may have viewed it differently.

I did not wish to imply anything is "so easy wipe away", if I have I regret it.

William R. Cumming

Well almost 100 years on the Agreement never officially repudiated even by the League of Nations if my info correct!

David Habakkuk

Claude Alexander, Mark Logan, LeaNder:

In dealing with coverage of the former Soviet space, it is important to be clear as to where those one is reading are, as it were, 'coming from'.

As to Adam Curtis, he is a very interesting programme maker, who has displayed a consistent gift for making important programmes on critical issues. However, he has also spent his whole career, since leaving Oxford, at the BBC. And, as his Wikipedia entry brings out, he remains a certain kind of Seventies intellectual, with the curious love-hate relationship with 'individualism' common among such people.

(See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam_Curtis .)

That disillusion in the Soviet Union in the late Soviet period was pervasive is not in question. The notion that 'Soviet youth' as a whole had some kind of common response to this situation, exemplified by figures like Eduard Limonov, is, I suspect, likely to be as fatuous as the comment about Britain with which Curtis opens his post.

By contrast, Mark Ames's life has been anything but sheltered, and he is a very fine journalist indeed. However, his sympathies were quite patently with the 'punk' culture which Curtis describes – as is evident from the fact that Limonov wrote a regular column in the paper 'The Exile' which he co-edited before it was forced into closure in 2008.

Both Curtis and Ames merit being read carefully, but critically. When the former writes 'but there was another route this generation took' it appears that the Russians get some choice – you can be Limonov, the 'punk', or Surkov, the 'cynical PR man who will promote anything for anyone.'

But this is an extraordinarily narrowness of vision. In fact, there were all kinds of routes which Russians took at that time, many of them relating to pasts which had always been lurking beneath the surface – pasts of extraordinary complexity. Completely absent from the pieces by Curtis and Ames is the rather important fact that Russia had been converted to Orthodox Christianity almost a millennium before when Gorbachev came to power, and decades of communist rule had hardly extirpated religious faith.

Also, the 'White' Russia defeated in the Revolution – or rather one might perhaps say 'White Russias' – always lurked beneath the surface. That was the point of a joke which the British scholar and former Army Intelligence officer Paul Robinson made back in 2004, when he described Putin as 'a typical Soviet radish – red on the outside but white at the core.'

(See http://tinyurl.com/n5x3bsg .)

Moreover, the notion that there was a sharp separation between these different Russias was always nonsense. A formative influence for me, as for many Cold War liberals, was Arthur Koestler's novel about the Moscow Trials, 'Darkness at Noon'.

The debate between the disillusioned 'Old Bolshevik' Rubashov – partly based on Bukharin – and his 'Chekist' interrogator Ivanov, also an 'Old Bolshevik', centres on the question of whether 'the end justifies the means'. The novel is prefaced by quotations from Machiavelli and Dostoevsky, and in a crucial scene these two 'Old Bolsheviks' are discussing the novelist's polemic against this notion in 'Crime and Punishment'.

Later, another shaping influence on me was the memoirs of Nadezhda Mandelstam. She and her husband the poet Osip Mandelstam were ethnically Jewish Orthodox Christians, and in his poem on Stalin he, as it were, took on the mantle of the prophet denouncing the wicked king – which cost him his life. A fascinating element, however, was that it turned out their protector had been Bukharin.

Much later, when trying to make sense of events in the Soviet Union in the Eighties, I read Stephen F. Cohen's biography of Bukharin, and also followed his writings on contemporary politics. He recommended to readers trying to make sense of Soviet history the study 'The Origin of Russian Communism' by the emigré religious philosopher Nicholas Berdyaev.

Among other things, the book recounts the history of the 1909 'Vekhi' symposium, which was a critique of the attitudes of the Russian intelligentsia, largely by intellectuals who, like Berdyaev himself, were erstwhile Marxists who had abandoned the doctrine.

For Berdyaev, as for Nadezhda Mandelstam and Koestler, Dostoevsky was a central point of reference. One reason for this is that his work is shaped by the influence of Western 'individualist' values on Russian society, and one finds in it a whole series of responses and problems which resurface repeatedly, including 'fundamentalist', and 'theocratic' responses.

For Berdyaev and Nadezhda Mandelstam alike, Dostoevsky's prescriptions were, for the most part, to be avoided. However, his analysis of how 'freedom' can easily turn into 'licence', leading to anarchy and tyranny, and how projects of social transformation requiring that 'means' be subordinated to 'ends' can become the instrument of the 'licence' of aspiring tyrants, seemed to them prescient.

As the Wikipedia entry on the 'Vekhi' symposium notes, its most controversial sentence was penned by its editor, Mikhail Gershenzohn – like the Mandelstams, an ethnic Jew. Repudiating decades of intelligentsia enthusiasms, he argued that 'so far from dreaming of union with the people we ought to fear the people and bless this government which, with its prisons and bayonets, still protects us from the people's fury.'

(See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vekhi .)

Explaining the 'White' strand in Putin in his 2004 article, Paul Robinson argued that 'probably the most fundamental tension in Russian politics is that between the concepts of gosudarstvennost' and its rival obshchestvennost' – loosely translated, 'statehood' as against 'public opinion'. And having noted that 'liberal commentators' traditionally regard the state in Russia with suspicion, he describes how the champions of 'statehood' regard 'liberal commentators':

'They see them as the self-interested representatives of the chattering classes, who, if put into positions of power, will immediately plunge Russia into a state of anarchy in which their beloved liberties will be of no use to them or anybody else. This, the Whites argued, was what the liberals of the provisional government had done in 1917, and this, many now claim, is what free-market democrats such as Yegor Gaidar did to Russia in the early 1990s.'

Seen this background, the 'Vekhi' intellectuals can be seen as wrestling with dilemmas that have not simply disappeared, in Russia as elsewhere: that of how to absorb critical 'Western' values, critical among the importance of law, and finding a means of reconciling these values with indigenous traditions. Crucial among these, in the Russian case, were those of Orthodox Christianity.

The extent to which the 'Vekhi' intellectuals believed that the Russian intelligentsia had deluded itself with ideologies 'based on a faith in the people, in the wisdom of the people and the truth of the people' comes out in an essay Berdyaev wrote immediately following the Revolution, called 'The Ruin of Russian Illusions'.

(See http://www.berdyaev.com/berdiaev/berd_lib/1917_280.html .)

The political conclusion to which this analysis led was that the 'intelligentsia' should have rallied behind those elements in the Tsarist system – figures such as Stolypin – who were trying to steer a path between reckless attempts at overnight 'Westernisation' and unthinking reaction. It is, quite patently the case that Putin's own disillusion with the communist experiment led him to identify with such people.

When last year Putin, as it were, assigned regional governors homework, a work written by Berdyaev just after the Revolution was one text – another was by Ivan Ilyin, another leading intellectual of the emigration, one of whose central concerns was how the legal consciousness required for self-government could be created in Russia.

In my view, Putin is actually an extremely complex and ambiguous figure. However, to make sense of him one needs to grasp that the 'liberals' – both in the country and in the West – were wrong in Russia in the 1990s, as they had been in 1917.

Moreover, undeterred by the scale of the chaos they have helped create, the Western 'chattering classes' have gone on creating chaos in country after country.

In Koestler's novel, the argument about ends and means is actually left unresolved – in part, in my view, because one is dealing with inherent tensions that can often only be accommodated, rather than resolved. That plenty of dubious means have been used by Putin and his associates in restoring the Russian state is not I think in question – and among these, without doubt, is opinion manipulation.

But the notion that what is at issue is simply the 'licence' of a bunch of former 'Chekists', who have utilised 'political technologists' like Surkov to pull the wool over the eyes of their own people, and increasingly, people in the West, is I think the most utter and total bunkum: and very dangerous bunkum at that.

LeaNder

Thanks, Mark, I would have wished the comment to simply dissolve into plain air. Once I reached the end, that is.

I realized I did you wrong, but for a second I was too excited to notice.

"deep study in cultural traits", well I give you the benefit of doubt. Took a look at feedbacks on Amazon though.

Take care

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