Ten days after he was taken from a plane diverted to Minsk by autocrat Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus, 26-year-old opposition journalist Roman Protasevich appeared on state television. Visibly injured, Protasevich praised Lukashenko and parroted his government’s story that protests are backed by the West. He disavowed his past opposition and confessed to organizing “mass unrest.”
... “[w]hen you lose an election, you’re supposed to leave. Netanyahu’s not leaving.”
Anyone else see a parallel here?
Thank you, Heather.
“In my book it’s pretty simple. If you work hard to PREVENT people from voting, you pretty much admit that your ideas aren’t popular and you fear the verdict of the people.” Dan Rather
Here in Maricopa County Arizona we call it a “fraudit”.
Roman Protasevich. As a parent, my heart breaks for his family.
So much news today but this one piece is so sad.
As for 45, it continues to astonish and perplex me how such a mentally ill, morally bankrupt and inhumane organism has so many loyal dedicated (gullible?) followers who seem to believe all his lies... just astounding and frustrating.
I just got a new batch of postcards from Postcards To Voters today and will continue to do my small part towards preserving our democracy.
Thank you, Dr. Heather, for keeping us informed. I refer others to you, and to Gabe at Wake Up to Politics. Individually we may be tiny voices but together en masse we can make a difference.
Whew - the political gamesmanship here and around the world this week! We all watch like an enrapt audience at a championship chess match. It also demonstrates that an autocrat’s will is much stronger than his mind.
Oh - in PA, there is no legal mechanism to do what they are doing in AZ. Any recount must be brought to court the way Trump’s team did, and AFTER finding fault in the process, petitions must be signed in EACH AND EVERY VOTING PRECINCT to be recounted. It is an extremely arduous and expensive process that cannot originate from the same government that already certified the election results. Plus, they don’t have support from the governor or the courts.
If you take Trump at his word, which is always a tricky proposition, it sounds like his is advocating for a Coup.
As Noa Laundau of Haaretz puts it, “fasten your seatbelts, this is going to get ugly now.”
Not just in Israel. Those of our readership who thought they were going to get to sleep peacefully from now on after January 20 look to have "another think coming."
Like Saul Alinsky (who was NEVER the "radical" the right made him out as - trust me, I met him and had one hell of an argument with him over his support of Johnson and Vietnam - some "radical") once said - and it's something everyone involved in politics should tattoo on their frontal lobes:
"The *real* fight starts AFTER you win the election!"
Dr Richardson, Does the commitment to fight corruption address the current laws allowing for foreign real estate investment trusts and LLCs to blindy purchase real estate property in the US? Does today’s news address these gaps in our country’s complicity in money laundering through real estate trading?
If Trump has convinced himself he will be reinstated, it's out of desperation born of knowledge of his guilt in the crimes for which he is being investigated. Or maybe Q has promised to save him.
IMHO: trumpublicans are victims of “Grooming”, and Jan 6 is not a one off. Over many years/months, small lies have been repeated so often that they are soon accepted as fact by the targets of the grooming. That sets the stage for not only the Big Lie, but other big lies as well (eg:trump will be reinstated in August).
They were groomed for the insurrection of Jan 6 with many seemingly innocuous statements like: Pence can change the outcome, come to Washington it will be wild, fight like hell to save democracy and many more. Each one relatively harmless but, when added together, resulted in the Jan 6 violence.
Now, they are continuing to groom for the next insurrection. The victims of the grooming are hearing that trump will be reinstated in August, audits will find widespread voter fraud, the 2nd amendment guarantees the right to bear arms against the government, we should have a coup just like Myanmar, along with many more.
Those who are being groomed will absolutely feel justified when they rise up and save their country.
I don’t see any other possible outcome.
Belarus violated international laws by ordering the EU flight to land in Minsk to abduct Protasevich. What would have happened if the EU had not allowed a Belarus plane to leave an EU airport until Belarus released the abductees? Would this have been a proper way to make Belarus conform to international law?
SHORT VERSION OF MY REPORT
Please understand I have spent at least a week in intense and protracted engagement with the members of the Russian government here. I have learned many things which I have not shared with all of you. Now if you want to question my mental health, go right ahead, one of my close friends has done precisely that. However let me point out that I have been accused of many things in my life, but being called a fool or being called stupid doesn’t show up very often. On the contrary.
We have received the attention of the Kremlin. Believe me, don’t believe me, but wisdom suggests keeping an open mind.
We are no longer just having a friendly debate among ourselves.
New people are showing up. They are steering the conversation in a particular direction. They are free to do that. There is no rule that says “no government officials allowed“ or “no intelligence agents allowed“ or even “no deputies of world leaders allowed.“ Nor does it say “Kremlin not permitted here“ or “Mossad (CIA, State Dept, et al) not permitted here.“
Unless you know the person you are speaking with, from long experience on this forum, it would be a mistake to assume you know anything about them or who they are.
Just a word to the wise.
I don't normally write into chat rooms or "threads", comment spaces and the like, but I guess I feel like I have to get something off my mind. The news and the "fake news" i.e. the "blogosphere" etc. are aflame and have certainly been exacerbated since the beginning of the Trump era. I'm 70 now and having lived thru the Vietnam era as well as all the subsequent seesawing social and political upheavals and multiple military quagmires of the last three plus decades I can truthfully say I am more concerned than ever before (with the possible exception of the Watergate epoch) that our democracy is in existential danger. Sure the tensions have been there forever between the imperial presidency and the notion of leadership with constitutional limits. Now however, and as never before, we have treason openly and overtly advocated by major political figures seemingly without censure and certainly without the fear of criminal prosecution. What is happening. Have we lost our will to protect the fundamentals of democracy. I'm sorry but where is the Biden justice department? Why is no-one being prosecuted for sedition?
Why does the press keep covering this idiot? I think their constant coverage in 2016 helped him overcome election hurdles and now they’re keeping his crazies on edge. I’m so frustrated.
For 1-2 weeks or so, I have been engaged in intense and protracted dialogue with the Kremlin and with Russian government agents. Most of the dialogue has been with “Peter C. Burnett,” our Kremlin contact, but also exchanges with “Jack Leon” and one brief but memorable interaction with “Hugh Spencer.” Brief contact with “David Carroll,” equivalent to “Jack Leon” in behavior and function.
I have learned a great, great deal from these interactions about how the Russian government employees operate. I am not at liberty to share everything I know in open forum, it’s the old canard about sources and methods, in this case only the methods portion applies. All my sources are right here: I just listed them.
And there are new HCR Substack community members whose identities I suspect.
Privately I could tell you everything I know, and perhaps that would persuade.
Believe me, don’t believe me, but ignoring my words puts you at risk of being a victim to outright harassment and to subtle manipulation.
Bottom line: if it’s somebody you know from long association here, fine. If it’s a name unknown to you, look at what they say and do, and who they refer to and associate with.
Refer to HCR April 29, the report about FSB Moscow, the Russian government disinformation agency which speaks through “Jack Leon.” The HCR April 28 conversations with them provide the basis of that report.
The intense dialogue with the Kremlin diplomat, “Peter C. Burnett,“ initiated somewhere around the middle of May. May 24 is a good one, but all of that week is chock-full of eye-opening material.
A few tidbits I can share here:
(1) I have memorized the time difference between California and Moscow. On occasion, I have made allowances for Peter because he’s reading some challenging statements of mine when it’s pushing midnight in Moscow, and he’s understandably irritated or toasted.
(2) I have inadvertently terrified one of them, through no fault of my own, and had to apologize deeply. I don’t ever want somebody to be terrified on my account. Kindness first.
(3) I have had Jack Leon treat me with kid gloves.
(4) Peter, the Kremlin representative, has suggested having a conversation with me over beer or coffee. He has chided me, kindly and respectfully, for “trolling” him back on Memorial Day when I invited him to share a personal story about the battles between Russia and Germany, knowing full well he couldn’t do that without blowing his cover. It was a gentle tease, but I had him at a disadvantage, so it wasn’t fair of me.
2, 3, and 4 are in the record here. All of our exchanges are.
I trust my intuition. It is a tool of perception, like eyes or ears. It’s not infallible, but it serves me well a good portion of the time.
It’s good enough that the Kremlin gave me a grudging compliment.
In a democracy, the agency which corresponds to the FSB in the Russian autocracy is perhaps the CIA
For the GRU, it is the DIA.
The old KGB is equivalent to the Gestapo, the GEheime STaatsPOlizei, the “Secret State Police.”
The Russian govt. agents working through aliases like “Jack Leon,” at least prior to our discussions with “Peter,” would be equivalent to thugs and bullies who harass, mock, ridicule. Jeering. Sneering. Gloating. Snickering. Equivalent might be Hitler’s brown shirts, the thugs he engaged for the Sturmabteilung, the “Storm Division”. A “storm“ is a metaphor for chaos, division, mayhem, and malicious mischief.
Autocracy is self service.
Democracy is public service, service for the benefit of society.
It’s a black-and-white issue, fundamentally.
But there are shades of gray, because Putin wears many hats. He is obviously attending to all the same types of duties that Biden is, like the pandemic, the economy, and all the functions of govt.
Within the typical governmental duties, there is the autocratic system, trying to control and manipulate society, both at home and overseas like here on HCR, in order for Putin to maintain his position on top.
Everyone here already understands that.
A big part of why the Russian government is so invested in engaging social media, so invested and intent on Internet technology expertise, is the growing threat to the autocratic message from technology like TikTok which have become popular in Russia in the 20-something and 30-something generation. When you see the odd news reports about Russian concerns about corruption of children during protests, that’s the issue. The “exploitation” of children is the freedom exercised by the TikTok generation. That’s the future. Tass and state media are becoming a relic of the past.
Does anyone think that Protasevich will be alive one year from today? I certainly don't. As for Putin. He is not only light years ahead of us in cyber warfare, he has absolutely no scruples. We cannot expect private companies to develop the capabilities to thwart these attacks. Like the vaccine, government has an important role (and a vested interest) in fighting back against them. That pesky Preamble comes to mind, even if a majority of the GOP thinks it only has just one Amendment and nothing else.