Monday, 2 January 2017

Toomas Karmo: Troll Farms (55 Savushkina Ulitsa?) and Mainstream Media

Quality assessment:

On the 5-point scale current in Estonia, and surely in nearby nations, and familiar to observers of the academic arrangements of the late, unlamented, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (applying the easy and lax standards Kmo deploys in his grubby imaginary "Aleksandr Stepanovitsh Popovi nimeline sangarliku raadio instituut" (the "Alexandr Stepanovitch Popov Institute of Heroic Radio") and his grubby imaginary "Nikolai Ivanovitsh Lobatshevski nimeline sotsalitsliku matemaatika instituut" (the "Nicolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky Institute of Socialist Mathematics") - where, on the lax and easy grading philosophy of the twin Institutes, 1/5 is "epic fail", 2/5 is "failure not so disastrous as to be epic", 3'5 is "mediocre pass", 4.5 is "good", and 5/5 is "excellent"): 4/5. Justification: Kmo had time to do a reasonably complete and (within the framework of the version 3.0.1, 3.0.2, 3.0.3,  .. process) reasonably polished job.







Revision history:
  • 20160105T0506Z/version 4.0.0: Kmo added details on the troll-farm collection of cartoons, and on Mr John Michael Greer's assessment (in a private exchange of e-mails) of propornot.com, and on the life of a portyanka, and on the possible scheduling arrangements of a junior officer in the Moscow-timezone organs of state security. He reserved the right to upload nonsubstantive, purely cosmetic, tweaks as here-undocumented versions 4.0.1, 4.0.2, 4.0.3, ..., over the coming 48 hours. 
  • 20170103T0347Z/version 3.0.0: Kmo rectified a bad omission, now remembering to put in his actual list of 203 Putin-line sserver URLs, with his various annotations, as an "APPENDIX". He reserved the right to upload nonsubstantive, purely cosmetic, tweaks as here-undocumented versions 3.0.1, 3.0.2, 3.0.3, ...,  over the coming 48 hours. 
  • 20170103T0340Z/version 2.0.0: Kmo finished a long series of uploads which converted his point-form outline into coherent prose. He therefore felt ready to settle down to a process of mere polishing. He reserved the right to upload nonsubstantive, purely cosmetic, tweaks as here-undocumented versions 2.0.1, 2.0.2, 2.0.3, ..., over the coming 48 hours. 
  • 20170103T0001Z/version 1.0.0: Kmo had time only to upload a point-form outline. He hoped to convert this outline to coherent prose in multiple successive uploads, finishing this process at some point in the coming four hours. 

[CAUTION: A bug in the blogger server-side software has in some past weeks shown a propensity to insert inappropriate whitespace at some points in some of my posted essays. If a screen seems to end in empty space, keep scrolling down. The end of the posting is not reached until the usual blogger "Posted by Toomas (Tom) Karmo at" appears. - The blogger software has also shown a propensity to generate HTML that is formatted in different ways on different client-side browsers, perhaps with some browsers not correctly reading in the entirety of the "Cascading Style Sheets" which on many Web servers control the browser placement of margins, sidebars, and the like. If you suspect "Cascading Style Sheets" problems in your particular browser, be patient: it is probable that while some content has been shoved into some odd place (for instance, down to the bottom of your browser, where it ought to appear in the right-hand margin), all the server content has been pushed down into your browser in some place or other. - Anyone inclined to help with trouble-shooting, or to offer other kinds of technical advice, is welcome to write me via Toomas.Karmo@gmail.com.]




With the holy Yuletide past, normal blogging resumes, with main uploads in the Universal Coordinated Time  early-on-Tuesday four-hour windows 0001Z/0401Z. 

****

Last week, a friend's e-mail alerted me to a worrying list of news servers which disseminate, whether knowingly or unwittingly, Putin-slanted news. Yesterday, taking my friend's alert seriously, I worked through the latest available list version. I copied it as "v0.0.7" from http://www.propornot.com/p/the-list.html. I reformatted its 203 entries as one single column. Finally, I added notes on such investigations as I could make in the time I could spare. The results of this work I put into an Appendix, at the bottom of tonight's posting.

As far as I can make out, http://www.propornot.com/ is acting correctly - not countering Putin slant with anti-Putin slant, but compiling a bare list, ready for the independent analysis of ordinary citizen readers.

I also venture on the subjective guess that this team of investigators is writing the truth when, at http://www.propornot.com/p/frequently-asked-questions.html, it disclaims any formal connection with USA three-letter agencies:

We are an independent team of concerned American citizens with a wide range of backgrounds and expertise, including professional experience in computer science, statistics, public policy, and national security affairs. We are currently volunteering our time and skills to identify propaganda - particularly Russian propaganda - targeting a U.S. audience. We collect public-record information connecting propaganda outlets to each other and their coordinators abroad, analyze what we find, act as a central repository and point of reference for related information, and organize efforts to oppose it.

Some of our members have been aware of Russian influence operations in a professional context for quite some time, but others have become increasingly aware of existing research on the subject in light of recent events in Ukraine, Western Europe Europe, and the Middle East. We formed PropOrNot as an effort to prevent propaganda from distorting U.S. political and policy discussions. We hope to strengthen our cultural immune systems against hostile influence and improve public discourse generally.

We are completely independent, because we not funded by anyone, and we have no formal institutional affiliations. We are nonpartisan, in that our team includes all major political persuasions except the pro-Russian kind. We are anonymous for now, because we are civilian Davids taking on a state-backed adversary Goliath, and we take things like the international Russian intimidation of journalists, "Pizzagate"-style mob harassment, and the assassination of Jo Cox very seriously, but we can in some cases provide background information about ourselves on a confidential basis to professional journalists. We do not publicly describe all of our sources and methods, although we describe most of them, and again, we can in some cases provide much more detail to journalists and other researchers in order to contextualize their reporting.

We are American, and our team has more than 30 members, including Ukrainian-American, Iraqi-American, and quite a few other varieties of folks. We are united in our overall objectives: to identify, help counter, and eventually deter Russian propaganda.


I do not call the 203-entry list worrying because it discloses Kremlin efforts to sway public opinion in ways that exceed the moderate slacknesses to be expected, and courteously deplored, in the world of the BBC and WaPo and NYT (a rather polite, well-heeled, Western world, in which your career suffers if you start writing from a tabloid angle).  That much is a Given.

In breaking news: Grass is green!

And this just in: Occasionally reliable sources are allegedly reported as claiming that 7 and 5 make 12! 

And there's more: Kremlin plays hard ball!  

Rather, I call it worrying because it raises the possibility that I have myself been influenced, at second hand, through my uncritical reading of two Internet authors who themselves might be uncritically reading from some of the 203 listed servers.

First, there is an author on only the fringes of respectability, active in the Ontario "prepper" community. I found yesterday, to my unease, that in his weekly newsletters (I analyzed five or so, from my archive), some hefty percentage of his clickable links - perhaps even 50 percent, though by no means 100 percent - lead to servers in that list of 203. A few such links are to be expected, and even required. The newsletter author, however, is in his innocence doing a dramatic amount for the Putin side.

I do write here, thoughtfully, "in his innocence": having spent significant face-to-face time with the author and his wife, and even one or two others in his village out in Melancthon Township, I know he intends no harm.

Second is one single, and yet in my little world weighty, item from http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/ blogger John Michael Greer.

As I have remarked once or twice before on this present blog, Mr Greer is the sole blogger I read as a matter of unvarying weekly routine. I find myself having to take his various political assessments seriously even on our relatively few occasions of disagreement.

At the moment, our most important point of political disagreement concerns Mr Donald Trump. Here Mr Greer seems relatively unworried, cheerily asserting in an online reply to my own online http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/ comment that Mr Trump was at any rate a good choice when voters were at last forced to choose, in the final stage of the protracted campaigning process, between the dreadful Mr Trump and the dreadful Mrs Clinton.

I, for my part, want to put my own worry on record, once again today.

The last distinctively controversial President, Mr George W. Bush, destroyed normal civil society in Iraq, triggering among other things Iraqi-on-Iraqi religious hostilities, in a country where nobody used to be very interested in a neighbour's religion. (The realities of this were documented week upon week, by an evident on-the-ground writer called "Riverbend", with whose family or associates I had even some slight phone contact, e-mail, or papermail. "Riverbend" was emphatic that nobody used to care who was Sunni and who was Shia.)

Mr Bush additionally laid the groundwork for today's ISIS.

The death toll from Mr Bush's military adventure is not widely discussed in the West, despite everyone's solemn 11 November repetition, amid some disagreeable military trappings, of Kipling's phrase "Lest we forget". - Let us indeed, say I, not forget: at https://www.iraqbodycount.org/, as viewed at UTC=20170102T191845Z, Iraqi "Total violent deaths including combatants" are stated as a staggering 264,000. (And Kipling's three words are duly quoted there - though I for one would add that first that the full context of the words is "Judge of the Nations, spare us yet/ Lest we forget - lest we forget!" and second that the 1897 poem from which it is taken foresees the demise of the British Empire.)

Now we have an incoming President who looks as equally as strange,  or still stranger, in ways I have documented in my blog postings of 2016-11-07 (or 2016-11-08) and 2016-11-14 (or 2016-11-15). Mr Greer professes himself rather cheerful. Well, say I, we shall wait,  and we shall see.

While respectfully disagreeing with Mr Greer about Mr Trump, I have allowed myself to agree with him, I now think too easily, on one single, and yet in my own little world (I reiterate) weighty, item. What were the military and diplomatic implications of candidate Clinton's proposed Syrian "no-fly" zone? I believe that it was this, above all, that led Mr Greer to denounce Mrs Clinton as the potential instigator of a potential USA-Russia war. But on 2017-01-01 I stumbled to my alarm upon an article from a server on the List of Two Hundred Three, analyzing the "no-fly" zone in exactly Mr Greer's substance, and as far as I recall using even the same turn of rhetoric.

Mr Greer did not mention having read this particular server, or any server like it (such as "RT"). Since he cited no analyst, he had indeed left me with the impression that the assessment of the "No-Fly Zone" proposal was his own, as so many of his (astutely independent) assessments are.

It could of course be that Mr Greer reached his conclusion in true independence.

It could also be that the analysis as presented on the List of Two Hundred Three-cited server, whether Mr Greer was swayed by it or not, is correct.

But then it could, on the other hand, also be that the analysis is tendentious.

To get at the probable military and diplomatic truth (as I realize with special clarity now, having let a day or more pass since my first encounter with the worrying matter) is beyond my capabilities. Getting at it would require a background in military science and diplomacy that I do not possess, and that might prove beyond even most desk specialists in Global Affairs Canada and  Tallinn's Foreign Ministry:
  • How is the "Zone" to be patrolled - with how many flights daily, operating on what kind of schedule? 
  • How far do Uncle Sam's relevant ground-based and airborne radars see?
  • What intercept-and-escort capabilities do Uncle Sam's fliers have, short of pressing the fire button on an aeroplane gun console? 
  • What relevant diplomatic "No-Fly" precedents exist, and how well does Mr Lavrov's Moscow diplomatic team, in that big riverside tower, know them?
All I dare say now is that I no longer feel fully safe in reading http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com. I feel unsafe even though this has been for me a Blog of Last Resort, with so much else in the blogosphere looking undisciplined and ill-informed. 

Just a day or two after 2017-01-01 (as reported all versions of this essay up to version 3.0.0, 3.0.1, 3.0.2, ...) , I alerted Mr Greer, via private e-mail, to my worries, respectfully inviting him to consider commenting here, in the usual blogger-server online-comment formalism (stating in his comment, as I require in my 2016 April blogging guidelines for all commenters, his name, a verifiable current e-mail address, and his municipality-and-country of residence - even though I privately know all these things). I indicated that should he choose to comment, he could indicate whether, in what I have here written about him, I have in any way breached the journalistic norms of completeness and objectivity. I additionally indicated that if he elected not to write, I would perhaps be mildly relieved, but would probably be pretty happy with whatever decision he may turn out to take.

Now, as I embark on versions 4.0.0 and its revisions (from UTC=20170105T0400Z onward), I am happy to report a fully constructive and friendly exchange of e-mails with Mr Greer. Mr Greer does not recall being directly influenced by any servers in the List of 203. We both now feel that he was at some past point reading something not on the list, which nevertheless itself happened to be approaching the No-Fly question in the terms I myself discovered from a server on the List during my worried reading of 2017-01-01.

On the question who is actually behind propotnot.com, I have reiterated for Mr Greer, in my private e-mail, my hunch that the propornot.com disclaimer of formal links with USA three-letter agencies is truthful. To this reiteration Mr Greer replies to me that he likewise does not fear three-letter-agency fronting.

But he also tells me that he is himself thinking the funding ("if any", he carefully writes) to come from one of the big media corporations.  His reasoning is that the List of 203 puts its spotlight onto servers that compete with the established big media (such as Fox, or NYT, or WaPo, or the BBC), and that the big media might be interested in using propornot.com to discredit such competition.  If, Mr Greer points out to me, readers forsake the big media outlets, advertising revenues may dwindle.

While I find Mr Greer's reasoning intriguing, I am not convinced by it. Why are the big media corporations then not using propornot.com as a vehicle for also listing, and trying to also discredit, the many competitors for their readership which refrain from promoting Mr Putin - for instance, the various Catholic blogs, or even the heavily read John Michael Greer blog? Why the specific propornot.com interest in Mr Putin, if the real propornot.com agenda is so sweeping - in other words, if the agenda is so concerned with that broad, all-encompassing thing, advertiser revenue? 

****

I now add what little background information I have on the kind of troll farming that underlies the List of Two Hundred Three. 

I start with with you-know-what, even while aware that articles in you-know-what can be adjusted from essentially any place on Earth - even from you-know-where. The you-know-what is generally a helpful place to start research, and does prove surprisingly helpful on at least some technical, politics-free, topics. Recently, for instance, you-know-what straightened me out on the concept of a limit point in topology, where my eminent textbook author, James Munkres, had been a little too terse. 

At you-know-what, then, we find at least two pertinent articles, not to my naive eye in any obvious way adjusted by the FSB/GRU/SVR organs of state security: 

And from the respectable metropolitcan dailies, I have in a rather quick search found the following:
To help others who have more time than I, I remark here also that Wikipedia mentions Finland's Jessika Aro (I know nothing of her beyond this) as a journalistic authority on troll farming.

A rather clear, and at least internally consistent, picture emerges from the relatively few materials I have had time to inspect. 55 Savushkina Ulitsa in the Olgino district of St Peterburg has recently been, and perhaps still is, a centre of activity. Olgino-type entry-level positions are rather modestly paid. They involve posting only in Russian, to servers targeting readerships inside Russia.

The above-cited Guardian article has a helpful link to an actual troll-farm resource, a big library of political cartoons reachable even from my own desk as http://xn--80acbo6d9a.xn--p1ai/. I believe that if you work in a troll-farm cubicle, you are supposed to slip one or two selected items from this big library into your postings, from time to time, to lighten up your journalistic tone.

Inexplicably, there is no password protection on the xn--80acbo6d9a.xn--p1ai server. The mysterious-seeming .xn--p1ai top-level domain does, on the other hand, make sense, being merely the ASCII Domain Name Service rendition of Cyrillic err eff, for "Russian Federation" (more formally, Российская Федерация). Upon executing /usr/bin/traceroute at UTC=20170103T013737Z under Linux, I find the 14- or 15-hop router chain from my desk to the putative troll-farm resource documented as follows (I block out sensitive routing information with "xx", to secure myself slightly):


 1  mymodem (xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx)  4.228 ms  4.213 ms  4.204 ms
 2  xx.xxx.xxx.xxx (xx.xxx.xxx.xxx)  13.613 ms  15.583 ms  17.639 ms
 3  xxxxxxxx.net.bell.ca (xx.xxx.xxx.xx)  17.631 ms  19.541 ms  19.534 ms
 4  core4-toronto12_xe0-0-4-0_core.net.bell.ca (xx.xxx.xxx.xxx)  43.256 ms core3-toronto12_xe0-0-4-0_core.net.bell.ca (x.xxx.xxx.xxx)  37.902 ms core4-toronto12_xe0-0-4-0_core.net.bell.ca (64.xxx.xxx.xxx)  39.151 ms
 5  tcore4-chicagocp_hundredgige0-4-0-0.net.bell.ca (64.230.xx.xxx)  43.228 ms tcore3-chicagocp_hundredgige0-4-0-0.net.bell.ca (64.230.xx.xxx  45.310 ms  45.305 ms
 6  bx6-chicagodt_0-6-0-0.net.bell.ca (64.230.xx.xx)  45.277 ms bx6-chicagodt_0-7-0-0.net.bell.ca (64.230.xx.xx)  27.608 ms  27.600 ms
 7  10gigabitethernet4-1.core1.chi1.he.NET (206.223.119.37)  25.681 ms  25.538 ms  27.573 ms
 8  100ge5-2.core1.chi1.he.net (184.105.81.98)  27.568 ms  27.568 ms  37.405 ms
 9  100ge3-2.core1.nyc4.he.net (184.105.223.162)  39.476 ms  41.447 ms  41.442 ms
10  100ge4-1.core1.par2.he.net (184.105.81.78)  112.290 ms  112.305 ms  112.290 ms
11  100ge5-2.core1.fra1.he.net (72.52.92.14)  124.014 ms  124.019 ms  128.145 ms
12  rostelecom-as-as12389.100gigabitethernet12-2.core1.fra1.he.net (216.66.89.226)  133.918 ms  135.760 ms  123.457 ms
13  213.59.211.63 (213.59.211.63)  158.948 ms  162.889 ms 213.59.211.255 (213.59.211.255)  160.881 ms
14  81.177.108.86 (81.177.108.86)  158.932 ms  160.865 ms  151.898 ms
15  btyetyrttt.com (194.67.209.184)  151.865 ms  154.081 ms  155.838 ms


The type of thing in the cartoons (my Russian is poor almost to the point of nonexistence, but I do sometimes decode a few little items): Mr Obama's household is gathered around the telly, or some similar device; everyone is urged to be quiet, since "the President" (meaning not Mr Obama, but Vovan Vovanich) is about to come onto the air.

As a second example, we may take the cartoon which shows a piece of statuary from classical Greek antiquity, juxtaposed with a photo of the Statue of Liberty, and tells readers (I had to get a bit of help with this one): "Look carefully and don't get confused. Greek goddess of the gates to Hades, versus Statue of Liberty."

As a third example, we may take a cartoon juxtaposing two New Year's trees- a sumptuous fir in Red Square, with the polychromatic onion domes of St Basil's in the background, and in the other half of the panel a pathetic, thinly decorated tree, outside someone's garage door. The caption explains that this is the difference between New Year's in Moscow and New Year's in Ukraine.

In the bits of the cartooning which I have had time to investigate, and have been able to decipher either on my own or with a bit of help, what humour appears strikes me as heavy-handed. It is not at all like that happy touch once achieved by the advert (I perhaps saw it on the Canadian or the British telly) for Russian lessons in the old USSR: enroll yourself in our residential language courses, for we have ways to make you talk.

At the top of the page are mildly instructive headings. "ВCE" is "ALL" (for people who need to see all the cartoons in the resource, in one long scroll-for-quite-a-while page); "ДЕМОТИВАТОРЫ" really is what it looks like (I had to get some help here), namely "de-motivators", or "downers", or "opposition-criticizing stuff";  and the remaining three, namely МЕМЫ, КОМИКСЫ, and   ПОПУЛЯРНОЕ are (obviously) "memes", "comics", and "popular".

As a supplement to this Wikipedia and metropolitan-daily picture, I offer a few further points, for which I likewise got a bit of help.

So much can be done with the telephone these days. So useful are local and long-distance calls, with or without that so-cheap means of distant calling, the five-dollar "Gold Card", and with or without that Estonian innovation, Skype:

  • Entry-level troll-farm cubicle recruits find themselves in a group of four or so, under the rubric portyanka, under the supervision of a brigadir.  Portyanka is a rather new idiom, meaning literally "puttee", and I would say corresponding exactly to the rather new American military-become-business idiom "grunt". As recently as the USSR Afghanistan operations, and in fact up until perhaps the mid-1990s, some lowly personnel in the Red Army actually did have to wear bad-smelling, unprotective puttees,or portyankaya, in the manner of poorly equipped junior troops in the ancient British Empire.  Although this deplorable, unsanitary, useless item of kit is now gone, a folk memory of it lingers in the idiom - now applied to anyone in an entry-level role, in the way "grunt" is applied in America both to the humble military private and to the exploited cubicle worker.  
  • Later, if one's work is judged to be good, one can oneself become a brigadir, thereby supervising four (or so) cubicle underlings. 
  • One may aspire eventually to leave the troll-farm cubicles behind, being now allowed to work from home. 
  • A still higher rung on the promotion ladder is attained when one is granted control of one's own Web domain. 
  • Specially highly paid workers in the overall Internet operation not only have control of their own Web domains, but live in the West. 
One point on which I would like illumination - does someone want to create a one-off e-mail account, concealing actual numerical IP address via via Tor, on mail.com, say as I.B.Whistleblower@mail.com, and e-mail an anonymous tip to Toomas.Karmo@gmail.com, for eventual publication here? - is how the workload in the List of Two Hundred Three gets split between own-domain controllers working in English from inside Russia and own-domain controllers working in English from outside Russia. 

****

Last week's worry, triggered by the List of Two Hundred Three, deepens when I examine monthly traffic statistics for toomaskarmo.blogspot.com. As at UTC=20170102T195605Z, I find the following download counts:
  • Russia 390
  • Canada 144
  • USA 115
  • France 21
  • Ukraine 9
  • United Kingdom 4
  • Hungary 4
  • India 4
  • Italy 4
  • Australia 3
These tallies may not be accurate. What, for instance, happened to Ghana, which I think visited me over the past month? And surely there were one or two or so Estonias last month? Further, were there not a few other Europes? Additionally, the "Canada" count is inflated by my own repeated visits, from here in Canada, to toomaskarmo.blogspot.com

But whatever else may be unreliable, something untoward is at any rate rather reliably indicated to be happening in Russia. I cannot be attracting a significant cohort, outnumbering those earnest Energizer Bunnies who are our American cousins, of earnestly energetic Russian thinkers. I am unlikely to have a vast bevy of Russian readers, all sincerely sharing my passions for radiotelegraphy, Latin, topology, foundations-of-geometry, the 1979 Zimbabwe Catholic martyr John Bradburne, Dunlap Observatory and Park heritage conservation, British wartime Woolton pie, and other such recondite topics. A few of the Russian downloads might be from sincere private citizens. The rest are unlikely to be.  

Here is my own best guess at what is happening. I offer it at a mere 68-percent confidence level:

  • Surveillance files have been correctly archived, whether in Moscow Centre or in some cognate bureau, on my 1985-through-1991 activities with the Stockholm-based Eesti Vangistatud Vabadusvõitlejate Abistamiskeskus (EVVA), or Relief Centre for Estonian Prisoners of Conscience. Those old files correctly record my eventual EVVA position as North American liaison, and my successful raising of the Mart Niklus case at UNESCO in Paris (my sole Cold War success - admittedly, in pan-European terms, of no deep importance). Toward the end of the old files is a record of my entry into the Union by sea, via Helsinki ferry to the Port of Tallinn in the daylight hours of the Wednesday which was 1990-08-29. The files also record my departure from the Union by ferry from the Port of Tallinn, for Helsinki, in the daylight hours of the Saturday which was 1990-09-08. The files likely omit all other relevant stuff - none of it, however, rising above the level of Boy Scouts, and therefore none of it any great loss to the organs. Likely omitted is a 1980s papermail alert to the Cardinal Agostino Casaroli team (Segreteria di Stato, Santa Sede) regarding dissident Mart Niklus (then imprisoned in Permskaya Oblast), dissident Dr Jüri Kukk (believed by some to have died in the course of a force-feeding, when in intra-archipelago transit), or similar dissident casework. Likely omitted is my disbursement of a sum in today's currency equivalent to perhaps 600 USD or 800 USD, in convenient (Finnish) 5-markka notes, from my own slender resources, in a 1990 face-to-face meeting with the Estonian National Independence Party. Likely omitted is my small adventure with the State Department, in connection with Tallinn events surrounding the crucial Wednesday which was 1988-02-24, as chronicled on this blog in a posting of 2016-05-16 or 2016-05-17 ("Islands in a Time of Civilizational Decline", "Part B").
  • One or more of the current organs of state security (SVR, FSB, GRU, or similar agencies) have inherited those old 1985-through-1991 files. 
  • The current organs are devoting some (surely small) portion of their (surely large) resources to the Estonian diaspora. I am accordingly flagged in their database work with some alphabetic or numeric or alphanumeric code. But unless something has gone hideously wrong, that code can only indicate that I am of minor, indeed of vanishingly small, interest.
  • The low level of my flag notwithstanding, the current organs do eventually get round to re-analyzing even my lightweight dossier, now correctly zeroing in on this present blog. They act diligently, primarily searching for three things: (a) dirt on family affairs in the Hitler war; (b) dirt on my own current affairs; (c) dirt on Canadian affairs, in so far as I am connected with such affairs. (This third goal involves directing the spooklight chiefly onto the Ontario Municipal Board and the Town of Richmond Hill, in the context of the David Dunlap Observatory and Park heritage-conservation case.) - The search requires on the order of five or ten hours' close reading, with a checking of every sentence in every blog posting, no matter how unrelated the sentence may at first seem to the three primary search topics. 
It is suggestive that I when I have, just once or twice, managed to catch my Russian reader in the blogger statistics-of-the-current-hour display, the time in Moscow is something like 3:00 am. A senior officer would hardly be working on the "Toomac Kapmo" file at 3:00 am. A junior person, having to meet a surveillance quota, and allowed to work from home, and inclined to leave his or her most boring jobs for the dull hours that come after socializing - leading, in other words,  a lifestyle similar in its scheduling to the life of a pub-crawling undergraduate - might indeed open up "Toomac Kapmo" as the very last piece of business of the day, with laptop computer now on blanket on bed.  

I state here, as one might state for one's student the solution to a maths problem, the conclusions my presumed youthful case officer in the organs ought to have reached this past month, if working with sufficient diligence. I thereby assist my presumed officer's supervisor in the mission-critical task of quality assurance: my own presumed officer's promotion or demotion may hang on her or his ability to pick out details, and I do not want her or him either to enjoy an undeserved promotion or to suffer an undeserved demotion. 

(a) There is nothing interesting in the Hitler war. - I suggest this to the organs as the correct answer because, in particular, there is so far as I know no family connection to Nazi concentration-camp officer Karl Linnas. I for my part am no closer to Linnas than anyone else, and my own connection is merely that I know 30 or so people who themselves knew Linnas in the 1950s, 1960s, or 1970s. - I do herewith add for the record, lest someone outside the organs challenge me, that I have received it in writing from a respected diaspora member, the late XYZ, that XYZ did actually see Linnas at the Tartu concentration camp, in a uniform, during Estonia's three-year Nazi occupation.

(b) My episodes of depression do comprise potentially interesting dirt, in so far as factoids for a low-flagged individual can ever get interesting. Most of what is organs-relevant gets spelled out in what according to blogger server logs is my all-time most popular posting, the 2016-04-25 or 2016-04-26 "Essay on Sorrow - Its Anatomy and Its Remedies". Also of mild interest to the organs is my 2014 legal casework with a supporter of the projected 32-hectare, approximately 520-home "Observatory Hill" subdivision at the David Dunlap Observatory and Park bulldozer-moonscape, Town Councillor Karen Cilevitz. This casework is documented not at toomaskarmo.blogspot.com but at http://www.karen-vs-toomas-blog.ca/ and http://www.karen-vs-toomas-legaldocs.ca/.

I have yet to find the time for writing up on this blog some events of interest to the organs in their heading-(b) search, namely my various experiences over the years with the Bracelets (or, in the language of Holmes and Lestrade, the "Derbies"). However, the general tenor of the (rather amusing) things I shall in due course have to write can be divined from the 2008-07-26 YouTube vid entitled "Moving Day at David Dunlap Observatory", chronicling a spirited exchange with the University constabulary. (The best part is where I conjecture that the law is on my side, not on the side of the University Police, and where I accordingly embark on a robust line of questioning:  "Is your specific threat that you will confiscate my camera? You're not answering the question! Is your specific threat that you will confiscate my camera?") In my corner of the Internet, the vid is reachable as https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JsUQARA9kNY. But of course a different URL may be needed when working from Europe.

My only other personal dirt pertains to ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay. On this topic, the organs will have to get most of what they need not from this present blog but from my older, and now rather inactive, site http://www.metascientia.com/. To fill things in a little for the organs, I do add today, although reluctantly, and with a grimace and wince of distaste, that my particular flavour of Offenbach can be guessed from googling on "Tom of Finland".

I also remark, again to fill the distasteful topic of ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay, that while one can stay easily enough steer clear of face-to-face mischief, it is (alas) only too easy to drift into online noticeboards or online chats. These sometimes prove dangerously amusing - as when, some years ago, I read material from an American military officer, evidently in a high pay grade. He wrote  - I hope truthfully; and I have to paraphrase his account of impulse shopping merely from memory - "When I walked into the dealership, I saw my new Harley, and so I hauled out the Amex Platinum Card, and I said, Do it too it."

(c) For Canadian public affairs, the big picture, prescinding from a vast mass of mind-numbing and FSB/GRU/SVR-irrelevant detail, can be had easily, from the already-mentioned "Sorrow" essay, plus the already-mentioned 2016-11-07 or 2016-11-08 essay (in the latter item, especially in the context surrounding the phrase a small group, drawn partly from the ranks of the would-be developer).

But even in its big-picture aspect, this Canadian public dirt is too minor, and too specialized, to be of interest to the organs. In place of such small municipal things, the organs need something NATO-connected, like that el-cheapo Dollarama walk-in, Jeffrey Paul Delisle of HMCS Trinity. Or else they need something which will help - as (I think) eventual "Observatory Hill" subdivision house-flipping will not help - with that perennial Operational Requirement, the opaque transfer of funds from Europe to Canada.

Or else they need significant, face-to-face, ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay, involving officials. Here I can do nothing. I do not think our local Natasha-Tanya-Katya at all fits their bill. For what little it is worth - although the organs will probably have their own file on her, they will have probably put it into a slumber mode, as being useless - I do hear that one of our local, York Region, ladies made some high York Region official person(s) thoroughly happy, a few years ago, in face-to-face conferences. The word is that our local lady then retired to the general area of the Black and Caspian Seas, as an investor. My guess is that few or none of her various ministrations involved officials from the Town of Richmond Hill, and that none of those various ministrations even broke the law. York Region, folks, is a dull upper-tier municipality. 

****

How to survive, in the face of this unpleasant List of Two Hundred Three, and of these unpleasant concomitant suspicions regarding current organs?

John Michael Greer himself has indicated at http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/ that he favours reading both the mainstream (as represented by the BBC, the big metropolitan dailies, and the like) and, as a counterweight, the evident Russian authors. From the latter camp, he particularly mentions RT.

Although his method seems naive - if Clocks A and B are incorrectly set, an average of Clocks A and B will not necessarily prove helpful - it is hard for the ordinary citizen, lacking field assets, to improve on it. Of course we do need to imitate Mr Greer in forcing ourselves to read RT, or similar outlets, as our time may allow.

And I would for my part add that we need to keep an eye on a high-quality specialist in national security, Dr John Schindler at https://20committee.com/. In Dr Schindler's case, I would admittedly apply a couple of caveats, of a not-very-scary character:
  • Dr Schindler's not fully happy NSA background can be had - from a source (or sources) which, of course, might itself (or themselves) prove agenda-driven - through the usual googling. 
  • Dr Schindler, while delivering what seem to me in my confessed ignorance to be outstanding analyses of World War 1, does not seem to have yet tackled Operation Barbarossa from the Hitler war. Or, more accurately, he seems not to have tackled it yet with full success. (I even once sent him an e-mail on the topic.) We do need Dr Schindler to pronounce on this some day, since his verdict would shed pertinent light on the contemporary Kremlin. In particularly, we need him to analyze, whether unfavourably or favourably, "Viktor Suvorov". (You-know-what has an article, at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viktor_Suvorov. The defector's central question: was Hitler, in boldly sending troops eastward in 1941 June without so much as sheepskin coats for that soon-to-arrive cold weather, acting in mere desperation - merely trying to pre-empt, in other words, an anticipated July-or-thereabouts breakout westward by Stalin? In the context of analyzing personnel dispositions, such as Stalin's puzzling deployment of paratroops, "Suvorov" gives even the file locator for relevant Soviet papers, challenging the authorities in his homeland to now go public. I would add here, with "Suvorov", that generals preparing for a defensive operation are unlikely to want paratroops.)  
I am also now starting to keep a bit of an eye, especially in Brexit and civil-liberties contexts, on a UK legal blogger, "Jack of Kent" (http://jackofkent.com/; in real life, the blogger is David Allen Green, formerly the legal correspondent of the New Statesman).

We have to be at all times alert to the possibility of other bloggers of the quality of Mr Greer, Dr Schindler, and Mr or Dr Green, coming into view. Two things will be required of such an emerging blogger: (1) a full disclosure of personal identity (the otherwise interesting List-of-Two-Hundred-Three "Saker" fails this test), and (2) either an insider track (as with Dr Schindler and Mr or Dr Green, and I think with the otherwise-disqulified "Saker") or else some compensatory wide reading.

It is the compensatory wide reading that redeems Mr Greer. The German authors in which he is versed include Spengler. Further, I have the impression that he - unlike me, for instance - reads his German rapidly, confidently, and accurately.

I would also add to Mr Greer's prescription that we have to keep checking the new-and-hot shelves in our local bookstore. A general rule in the book trade seems to be that if anything significant happens - A.S.Politovskaya is assassinated, or B.Y.Nemtsov is assassinated, or Katrina floods New Orleans, or Pope Benedict resigns - somebody is in the next twelve months going to bring out a book that at least touches on the event, and supplies at least some of the relevant context, and communicates at least some background research.

As a guide to books, I myself find it helpful not only to visit bookstore promo tables, but also to scan the reviews of a well-read software engineer, John Walker, at http://www.fourmilab.ch/fourmilog/. A couple of days ago, Mr or Dr Walker uploaded to his server a best-of-2016 list, which he introduces in the following appetizing terms (the emphases are his):

Here are my picks for the best books of 2016, fiction and nonfiction. These aren't the best books published this year, but rather the best I've read in the last twelvemonth. The winner in both categories is barely distinguished from the pack, and the runners up are all worthy of reading. Runners up appear in alphabetical order by their author's surname. Each title is linked to my review of the book.

Finally, and most importantly, we must as a counter to the twin pulls of Web and bookstore put some of our emphasis onto mainstream journalism. 

The "Mainstream Media" are much disparaged, often by the same people as scoff at "Liberals" and "Social Justice Warriors" and the like, and who gloat over the present unhappiness of the majority (said at Time Magazine, quoting the "Cook Political Report", to lead by 2,864,974) of the American voters who voted for Mrs Clinton. A holier-than-thou attitude to the Mainstream Media is, however, unwarranted - especially given the glaring abuses we find at various points, for instance, in the List of Two Hundred Three.

Although my main concern tonight is with Russia, I do now remark that surely there is nothing uniquely and distinctively Russian here. We are liable to find tendentious writing in all kinds of places outside the mainstream. In particular, I have seen things in the out-of-mainstream, blogosphere, Catholic press that would turn any sane reader's stomach.

Admittedly, things even in the Mainstream are far from perfect.

At the community-newspaper level, I have had a few times to call out our own local, the Richmond Hill advertiser-supported, free-delivery  Liberal, for unbalanced coverage of the David Dunlap Observatory and Park heritage-conservation case. Fortunately, complaints can easily be made on an online notice board. Fortunately again, I do not recall any of my postings being suppressed.  - And I do always take care to state my name, doing what I can to combat the pervasive curse of Internet anonymity.

Further, I fortunately know, as perhaps does the Liberal editor, that in case of a massive failure in balance, I would be complaining stridently in at least three different places. I would alert the publisher of the big regional family to which our community newspaper belongs. I would publish an alert on this present blog. And I would alert at least one appropriate media watchdog, perhaps a Press Council.

At the national-broadcasting level, I have had one specifically Canadian experience which serves as a warning:

It is the early spring of 2003.

Much of Toronto marches, again and again, to protest the American invasion of Iraq. I am in yet another march, I think this time on a Sunday. So many thousands are marching that the main arteries of downtown Toronto are given over to pedestrians, with vehicular traffic impossible - Queen Street, Bloor, and the four or so lanes of University Avenue have each, perhaps each in its turn, filled with crowds, from sidewalk to sidewalk.

After things subside, perhaps from street rally to the point of a mere indoor rally, I return to my lodging, checking the CBC Web site or the sound radio for event coverage.

But the CBC is odd. It looks as though someone is trying less to report Toronto opinion than to steer it. For the screen reads, or the loudspeaker sounds, as follows [here I have to paraphrase, from memory]: "Anti-war demonstrations were held in major Canadian cities today. In Vancouver, there was /.../ . In Montreal, there was /.../ . And in Toronto, a street was closed."

I guess you could not get a conviction for this one at the Nüremberg Trials.  "A street was closed" is indeed true, and no lie, if those words get taken in their strict and literal sense.

At the BBC, my limited experience is happier:

The date is within a few days of the key Wednesday which is 1988-02-24 (the 70th anniversary of our Declaration of Independence). I alert the BBC in London, via telephone from Indiana, to the recent Tallinn anti-occupation demo. I mention that on some report or reports there were as many as 12,000 in the crowd.

[Folks, I will add here, although perhaps nobody managed  to tell it to the BBC: The Party had loudspeaker trucks, and its own orator or orators. At one point, the Party said, trying to recall the horrors of pre-1940 capitalism by referring to a still-notorious factory, "Do you want to go back to working at Krull?" To this the crowd roared in response, so very helpfully, "YES".]

A little later, I check the BBC World Service shortwave bulletin on my modest RadioShack/Tandy Realistic DX-300. In the headphones, or in the loudspeaker cone, the urbane Bush House voice suggests a crowd of 2000 or so.

Why is this a happy story? It is happy because it shows the BBC acting cautiously, taking the correctly prudent decision under uncertainty. I suspect my crowd estimate-report was right. But how could the BBC trust me, a member of the Estonian diaspora phoning in from the wrong part of the world? Better to go with the official (even if wonky) Soviet-occupation crowd estimate than to accept something from an unknown, and putatively still wonkier, source.

In the world of the metropolitan dailies, I have also to report happy impressions of the Toronto Globe and Mail, even while conceding that this earnest broadsheet has been termed, by one or more Canadian text-edit professionals of my sometime acquaintance, the "Grope and Flail".

It was eminently forgivable of the Globe to editorialize, a couple of days before Kim Campbell destroyed the then Progressive Conservative Party through her epic 1993-10-25 coast-to-coast electoral defeat, that it had become the solemn public duty of Canadians to vote Progressive Conservative.

It was eminently forgivable of the Globe to editorialize, on the eve of the Royal Canadian Mint's two-dollar-coin 1996 rollout, that the new coin should in graceful deference to First Nations be called something like the "Igluktituq". - Since Anglo-Canadians were already calling the one-dollar coin the "Loonie", as a salute to the emblematic wetland loon stamped on the side opposite HM the Q, it was inevitable that they would name their new coin the "Toonie".

It was even forgivable for the Globe to explain how very, very convenient it is to own your own aeroplane, so that you do not have to stand in line at the Air Canada check-in counter. (If I recall accurately, part of the perceived problem was that you would be standing in line with people you did not know.) That remarkable story appeared under "Facts and Arguments". In general, a paper can write any foolish thing, no matter how offensive its folly might prove to the poor, so long as the thing gets parked under "Arguments", or under some similar mere-Opinion rubric.

When it comes to news, on the other hand, one applauds the Globe's policy on corrections. If you see anything questionable at all, even a wrong sports score, you are encouraged to alert publiceditor@globeandmail.com, and to look in due course for an update in a corrections column.

It has been said that a free press is the bulwark of our liberties. Within that bulwark, the main girder is still, and will perhaps always be, the conventional - even if in recent days unfairly disparaged - mainstream periodical.




APPENDIX: The List, Comprising 203 Server URLs as at UTC=20170101T1920Z




__following is from http://www.propornot.com/p/the-list.html, 
  Russian-viewpoints sitelist version 0.0.7, 
  as downloaded within a few minutes of 
  UTC=20170101T1920Z 
__203 sites listed 
......................................................................
......................................................................
* 4thmedia.org
  __overview:
    + "Just Another Voice"
    + imitates BBC format 
  __languages: 
    + English 
  __highest-up result on searching under string
    ((QUOTE)) 
      Pope Francis
    ((/QUOTE)) in Ontario evening of 2017-01-01: 
    + 2015-09-27, headline
      ((QUOTE)) 
        "Washington's Pope"? Who is Pope Francis? 
      ((/QUOTE))    
      __a hasty skin of body of article
        finds following:
        - ((QUOTE)) 
            While highlighting his
            commitment to peace
            and social justice,
            the Western media fail
            to mention that Jorge
            Mario Bergoglio (Pope
            Francis I) has been a
            staunch supporter of
            US imperial interests
            in Latin America for
            more than 30 years.
          ((/QUOTE))  
* 4threvolutionarywar.wordpress.com
  __overview:
   + "A Chronicle of the Global Revolutionary Wars
     of the Eurasian Alliance" 
   + top-of-page graphic: bearded bazooka operator, 
     with text 
     ((QUOTE))  
       Sooner or later the endless spectacle is over. 
       Then we will take revenge. 
       MERCILESSLY
           Alexandr Dugin
     ((/QUOTE))  
   " top-of-page links include "nuclear war" and "trumpocalypse" 
  __languages: 
    + menu of over 100 languages, incl Estonian
      __the Estonian is bad to the point of unreadability
      __looks like a machine translation 
  __highest-up result on searching under string
    ((QUOTE)) 
      Pope Francis
    ((/QUOTE)) in Ontario evening of 2017-01-01:
    - an article with headline 
      "The problem with the EU is That It Has Discredited Europe" 
...................................................................... 
* abeldanger.net
  __overview:
    * top-of-page links include "Lawsuits" and "Transcripts"
    * top two stories:
      + 2016-12-31 
        ((QUOTE)) 
          #2873: Can Trump Expose Serco's 8(a) Auctions 
          Of Red Switch Privilege With A Qui Tam 9/11?
        ((/QUOTE))  
      + 2016-12-30
        ((QUOTE)) 
          #2872: Can Trump Link Serco Lies And Russian 
          Spies To Qui Tam Red-Switch Clinton Bridge?
        ((/QUOTE))  
  __languages: 
    + English 
  __highest-up result on searching under string
    ((QUOTE)) 
      Pope Francis
    ((/QUOTE)) in Ontario evening of 2017-01-01  
    is something that does not make much sense 
    ("#2460: Carly Onion-Router
    Killers  Mabus 8(a) Women
    in Marine Corps Middle
    Hotel Serco's Death-Pool
    Pope")
    __but further down in the search results  
      is 2016-05-23 vid with headline
      ((QUOTE)) 
        War waged against Pope in the heart of the Vatican - whistleblower 
      ((/QUOTE))  
* activistpost.com
  __overview:
    * top-of-page banner:
      ((QUOTE)) 
        ACTIVIST POST
        INTERRUPT YOUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED PROGRAM  
      ((/QUOTE))  
    * top-of-page links include
      "economy", "liberty", "war", "activism" 
    * top two stories:
      + 2017-01-01
        ((QUOTE)) 
          U.S., MSM Claims of Russian Hacking Lack One
          Important Ingredient ... Evidence 
        ((/QUOTE))  
      + 2017-01-01
        ((QUOTE)) 
          Former Actor And Reality TV Star Dissect The
          Staged Assassination of Russian Ambassador
        ((/QUOTE))  
  __languages: 
    * English 
  __highest-up result on searching under string
    ((QUOTE)) 
      Pope Francis
    ((/QUOTE)) in Ontario evening of 2017-01-01  
    is audio story dated 2016-12-10, 
    with text headline "Pope Francis Potty Mouth", and with
    promo text
    ((QUOTE)) 
      In this episode of The
      Realist News podcast,
      Joe covers how the Pope is
      calling fake news a "sin"
      and said anyone looking at
      it are "crap eaters".
    ((/QUOTE)) 
* ahtribune.com
  __overview:
   + top-of-page banner, in a gothic font: 
     "American Herald Tribune" 
     __some people might confuse this with
       the _International New York Times_, called
       _International Herald Tribune_ from 1967 to 2013
       (_I knew the paper-printed International Herald Trib
         well when I lived in Singapore in 1985-1986) 
    + top-of-page links include "U.S.", "world", "religion",
      "human rights"
    + top two entries in most-read-stories list as at 
      20170101T194547Z are
      - ((QUOTE)) 
         Taliban Beheads Woman for Shopping without
         Husband in Northern Af...
        ((/QUOTE))  
      - ((QUOTE))  
          Tunisian Terrorist Spills Out in Interview:
          We Burned Mosques in ...
        ((/QUOTE))  
  __languages: 
    * English 
* allnewspipeline.com  
  __overview:
    + top-of-page banner 
      ((QUOTE)) 
        "The Best Mix Of Hard-Hitting REAL News & 
        Cutting-Edge Alternative News On The Web"
        Scroll down for Hot News... Around The Web - Updated frequently
      ((/QUOTE))  
    + top story as at 
      20170101T194927Z in "News" listing is
      ((QUOTE)) 
        The Worst Is Yet To Come' - How Far
        Will Obama Go To 'Punish' Americans
        - The Chaotic Countdown Has Begun
      ((/QUOTE))  
    + top story as at 
      20170101T194927Z in "Alternative News" listing is
      ((QUOTE)) 
        Insider Warns: 'We Could Have Some
        Serious Problems' - Is 'Grizzly
        Steppe' The 'Grisly Step' The
        Globalists Need To Complete Their
        'Takedown Of America'? POWER GRID
        FALSE FLAG WARNING!
      ((/QUOTE))  
  __languages: 
    + English     
* americanlookout.com
  __overview:
    + promo banner at foot of homepage:
      ((QUOTE)) 
        American Lookout
        Looking Out for America! 
      ((/QUOTE))  
    + "Popular Stories" sidebar has as its top two entries, at
       20170101T195139Z:
       - ((QUOTE)) 
           REPORT: Trump's Red State Wave Could Eventually Flood MINNESOTA
         ((/QUOTE))  
       - ((QUOTE)) 
           LIBERAL HUFFPO WRITER: Obama
           Has Overseen Destruction of
           Democratic Party (VIDEO)
         ((/QUOTE))  
    + tone seems on quick inspection to be more
      like tabloid journalism than bigsheet-metropolitan-daily journalism 
    + on quick inspection, homepage is seen to use "liberal"
      in singular or plural, in some possibly pejorative way, 
      at least 4 times 
  __languages: 
    + English 
* americasfreedomfighters.com
  __overview:
    + top-of-page links include "2A Rights", "Religion" 
    + near top of page as at 
      20170101T195651Z: 
      - ((QUOTE)) 
          BREAKING: Obama Just Let America Know
          What He's Doing After Jan. 20...This Is NOT GOOD
        ((/QUOTE))  
      - ((QUOTE))
          BREAKING: 23 Dear, 17 Missing in Fiery EXPLOSION....
          Here's What We Know
        ((/QUOTE))  
  __languages: 
    + English 
* amren.com
  __overview:
    + top-of-page banner shows Ionian column (temple-pillar)
      head, with text
      ((QUOTE)) 
        American Renaissance
        There is not a truth existing which I fear or would
        wish unknown to the whole world. - Thomas Jefferson 
      ((/QUOTE))  
    + seems to seek same reader demographic
      as would be sought in paper-and-ink publishing by 
      _New Yorker_ and _Atlantic_ and _Harper's_ 
  __languages: 
    + Enlgish 
* amtvmedia.com
  __overview:
  __languages: 
* ancient-code.com
  __overview:
  __languages: 
* anonews.co
  __overview:
  __languages: 
* anonhq.com
  __overview:
  __languages: 
* antiwar.com
  __overview:
  __languages: 
* asia-pacificresearch.com
  __overview:
  __languages: 
* assassinationscience.com
  __overview:
  __languages: 
...................................................................... 
* baltimoregazette.com
  __"About Us" para on homepage reads
    ((QUOTE)) 
      Baltimore Gazette is Baltimore's
      oldest news source and one of the
      longest running daily newspapers
      published in the United States. With
      a focus on local content, the Gazette
      thrives to maintain a non-partisan
      newsroom making our content the most
      reliable source available in print
      and across the web.
    ((/QUOTE))  
  __homepage is oddly thin on content: 
    is my browser failing here? 
* barenakedislam.com
  __overview: 
    + top-of-page banner has graphic of flaming skull
      mosque (incl minarets), with text
      ((QUOTE)) 
        BARE NAKED ISLAM
        It Isn't Islamophobia
        When they really ARE trying to kill you. 
* beforeitsnews.com
  __overview: 
    __top-of-page links include
      "space", "health", "spirituality", "self-sufficiency"
* bignuggetnews.com
* bioprepper.com
* blackagendareport.com
* blacklistednews.com
...................................................................... 
* christianfightback.com
  __overview:
    + top-of-page links include "Islam", "Migrants", "EU", "Terrorism"
    + at top of page is in Cyrillic
      "Russkoye televidenie v Kanade"
      (_though otherwise site is in English) 
    + at bottom of page is militant quote from Deuteronomy 20 
  __highest-up result on searching under string
    ((QUOTE)) 
      Pope Francis
    ((/QUOTE)) in Ontario evening of 2017-01-01  
    is perhaps from 2016-08-16, and 
    has headline
    ((QUOTE)) 
     French President Hollande to Meet Pope Francis
     after Priest Murdered by Jihadists
    ((/QUOTE))  
* collective-evolution.com
* conservativedailypost.com
* consortiumnews.com
* corbettreport.com
  __overview: 
    + seems on hasty inspection to be seeking roughly the same
      readership demographic as is in paper-and-ink publishing
      sought by _Permaculture Activist_ 
* cosmicscientist.com
* countercurrents.org
* counterinformation.wordpress.com
...................................................................... 
* dailyoccupation.com
* dailystormer.com
* darkmoon.me
* darkpolitricks.com
* davidstockmanscontracorner.com
* dcclothesline.com
* dcleaks.com
* defenddemocracy.press
* dennismichaellynch.com
* disclose.tv
* disclosuremedia.net
* drudgereport.com
  __overview:
    + seems on hasty inspection to seek the same demographic
      as is in ink-and-paper publishing sought by   
      tabloid, as opposed to big-sheet-metropolitan-daily, 
      newspapers 
...................................................................... 
* educate-yourself.org
* educateinspirechange.org
* endingthefed.com
* endoftheamericandream.com
  __overview:
    + top-of-page banner reads
      ((QUOTE)) 
        End of The American Dream
        The American Dream Is Becoming A Nightmare
        And Life As We Know It Is About To Change
      ((/QUOTE))  
    + top-of-page links include
      "Gold Coins", "Preppers", and "The Rapture Verdict" 
* endtime.com
* eutimes.net
* eutopia.buzz
* ewao.com
* eyeopening.info
...................................................................... 
* fellowshipoftheminds.com
* filmsforaction.org
* floridasunpost.com
* foreignpolicyjournal.com
* fourwinds10.net
* freedomoutpost.com
...................................................................... 
* gaia.com
* galacticconnection.com
* gangstergovernment.com
* gatesofvienna.net
* geopolmonitor.com
* globalresearch.ca
* godlikeproductions.com
* govtslaves.info
* greanvillepost.com
* guccifer2.wordpress.com
...................................................................... 
* hangthebankers.com
* healthnutnews.com
* henrymakow.com
* heresyblog.net
* humansarefree.com
...................................................................... 
* ihavethetruth.com
* in5d.com
* informationclearinghouse.info
* infowars.com
* intellihub.com
* intersectionproject.eu
* intrepidreport.com
* investmentresearchdynamics.com
* investmentwatchblog.com
...................................................................... 
* jackpineradicals.com
* jamesrgrangerjr.com
* jewsnews.co.il
* journal-neo.org
...................................................................... 
* katehon.com
* kingworldnews.com
...................................................................... 
* lewrockwell.com
  __overview:
    + top-of-page banner reads
      ((QUOTE)) 
        LewRockwell.com 
       anti-state - anti-war - pro-market 
      ((QUOTE)) 
* libertyblitzkrieg.com
* libertywritersnews.com
...................................................................... 
* makeamericagreattoday.com
* memoryholeblog.com
* mintpressnews.com
* moonofalabama.org
...................................................................... 
* nakedcapitalism.com
* naturalblaze.com
* naturalnews.com
* newcoldwar.org
* newstarget.com
* newswithviews.com
* nowtheendbegins.com
* nsnbc.me
  __the ".me" domain is for Montenegro 
  __overview:
    + homepage has the format to be expected of an international
      news site
    + top-of-page links include 
      "Africa", "Northern America"
  __highest-up result on searching under string
    ((QUOTE)) 
      Pope Francis
    ((/QUOTE)) in Ontario evening of 2017-01-01 
    is from 2016-09-16, has headline
    ((QUOTE)) 
      Pope Francis Agrees to Mediate Dialogue
      in Venezuela
    ((/QUOTE))  
...................................................................... 
* off-guardian.org
* oftwominds.com
* oilgeopolitics.net
* opednews.com
* orientalreview.org
...................................................................... 
* patriotrising.com
* paulcraigroberts.org
* platosguns.com
* pravda.ru
* pravdareport.com
  __overview: 
    + top-of-page links include
      "russia", "world", "society", "business"
* prepperwebsite.com
* presstv.com
* prisonplanet.com
  __overview:
    + top-of-page banner reads 
      ((QUOTE)) 
        Alex Jones' 
        PRISONPLANET  Truth will set you free.
      ((/QUOTE))  
    + top-of-page links include "Alex Jones Radio Show" 
...................................................................... 
* rbth.com
* readynutrition.com
* redflagnews.com
* regated.com
* rense.com
  __overview:
    + hasty inspection of homepage
      suggests strident anti-Islamic line  
* righton.com
* rinf.com
* ronpaulinstitute.org
* rt.com
* rumormillnews.com
* ruptly.tv
* russia-insider.com
...................................................................... 
* sana.sy
* sentinelblog.com
* sgtreport.com
* shiftfrequency.com
* shtfplan.com
* silentmajoritypatriots.com
* silverdoctors.com
* sott.net
* southfront.org
* sputniknews.com
  __overview:
    * top-of-page links
      include "world", "politics", "cartoons"
* stormcloudsgathering.com
  __overview:
    + known to me as a purveyor of lively YouTube content
    + only a few links on homepage 
* strategic-culture.org
* superstation95.com
* survivopedia.com
...................................................................... 
* the-newspapers.com
* theantimedia.org
* thecommonsenseshow.com
* thedailybell.com
* thedailysheeple.com
* theduran.com
* theearthchild.co.za
* theeconomiccollapseblog.com
* theeventchronicle.com
* thefederalistpapers.org
* thefreethoughtproject.com
* themindunleashed.org
* thenewsdoctors.com
* therebel.media
* therussophile.org
  __overview;
    + homepage banner reads
      ((QUOTE)) 
        Russia News Now
        Latest Russian News From Non-Mainstream Sources
      ((/QUOTE)) 
* thesaker.is
  __overview:
    + top-of-page banner has eagle graphic, with text
      ((QUOTE)) 
        A bird's eye view of the Vineyard
       The Saker    Stop the Empire's war on Russia  
       Now flying in Iceland
      ((/QUOTE))  
    + bio of the purported author reads in part
      ((QUOTE)) 
        but let's just say that I used to be associated with a 'three letter outfit' whose existence was not well-known by the general public and which has since been disbanded.  In my field, I got to the proverbial 'top' pretty early on, but soon the war in Bosnia began to open my eyes to many things I had never suspected before.  Then I found out about two things which got me blacklisted in my own, putatively democratic, country

((SNIP))
       I came to the USA in 2002 with only one desire: to leave my past on the other side of the ocean and to disappear, to become an anonymous 'nobody' who would be left alone.

((SNIP))
      A short and ill-fated contact with Antiwar.com (which ended up in disaster), gave me a few more readers but my readership was still tiny.

((SNIP))

         I was born in Zurich,
         Switzerland, from a Dutch
         father and Russian mother. My
         father left us when I was 5,
         so my mother and my Russian
         family raised me and this is
         why I took my mother's last
         name. I lived most of my life
         in Geneva, Switzerland. In
         1984 I did my military service
         in electronic warfare and I
         was later transferred to the
         military intelligence service
         (UNA) as a language specialist
         where did some work with
         the Swiss Air Force. I then
         traveled to the USA where
         I got a BA in International
         Relations from the School of
         International Service (SIS)
         at the American University
         and a MA in Strategic Studies
         from the Paul H. Nitze School
         for Advanced International
         Studies (SAIS) at the Johns
         Hopkins University. Upon
         my return to Switzerland,
         I worked as a civilian
         consultant for the Swiss
         Strategic Intelligence Service
         (SND) writing strategic
         analyses, primarily about
         the Soviet/Russian military.
         In the military, I was given
         the Major-equivalent rank
         of "Technical Officer",
         which is a fancy way of saying
         that I was an analyst. I
         also worked as an "enemy
         operations" ("Red Team"
         in US parlance) specialist
         for the operational-level
         training of the General Staff
         of Swiss armed forces. I then
         accepted a position for the
         UN Institute for Disarmament
         Research (UNIDIR) where I
         specialized in peacekeeping
         tactics and operations. This
         gave me the opportunity to
         co-author a book on Russian
         peacekeeping operations
         with the Major-General
         I. N. Vorob'ev, of the
         Russian General Staff
         Academy. My last work at
         UNIDIR was about psychological
         operations and intelligence
         in peacekeeping which can
         be downloaded here. At the
         same time, I also wrote an
         evaluation of the performance
         of the Russian military during
         the first Chechen war for the
         Journal of Slavic Military
         Studies which somebody has
         since uploaded here. The wars
         in Bosnia and Chechnia really
         opened my eyes to the real
         nature of the Empire. Since
         I thought that I was living
         in a democracy, I did voice
         my opinion on these topics
         and I soon ended up being
         viewed with suspicion by my
         former bosses. I quit the
         UN and took up a position at
         the International Committee
         of the Red Cross (ICRC) which
         was probably the worst mistake
         of my life and which I shall
         never discuss publicly. By the
         time I got out of that job,
         I was basically blacklisted
         as a "dangerous element"
         (meaning "disloyal")
         by my former bosses (my
         regular contacts with Russian
         diplomats and my efforts at
         providing aid to the Bosnian
         Serbs probably did not help).
         In total disgust, I abandoned
         my career as a military
         specialist and re-trained as a
         software engineer. When 9/11
         crashed the IT sector I was
         unemployed again and I left
         Switzerland for the USA where
         I homeschooled our 3 children
         while doing odd jobs, mostly
         as a translator (I am fluent
         in Russian, French, English,
         Spanish and German) while my
         wife worked as a veterinarian
         (now, that our kids have
         grown up, my wife and I work
         together). In 2007 I decided
         to start an anonymous blog,
         mainly as a psychotherapy
         for myself, and I called
         it "Vineyard Saker" -
         a simple machine-generated
         anagram of my full name :-)

         Finally, and just for the record, a few
         points: I never did any intelligence
         gathering for anybody, though I was
         approached by the Americans, the
         Russians and the Swiss do to exactly
         that, but I turned them all down
         (just not my cup of tea at all). While
         my maternal family are all from the
         Russian nobility, my Dutch DNA is 100%
         proletarian, and I am quite happy
         with that mix. To my great regret, I
         get no help from Russia at all - not
         money, not information (I would *love*
         to be a paid 'Putin agent' but VVP
         has not made any offers yet).  All my
         info is 100% 'open source'. My past
         experience with classified data tells
         me that it is either highly technical
         or time-critical but not otherwise
         better than open source information:
         80% of all the good info is out there,
         in the open, it is just a matter of
         putting it together correctly. I get a
         regular trickle of donations from the
         blog, but nothing major, and only 2
         private donors (thanks guys!!) provide
         most of it anyway. If making money
         was my big goal, then I assure you
         that I had plenty of much better
         opportunities.  My main objective in
         the immediate future is to (finally)
         write my thesis for the graduate degree
         in patristic theology I am working on
         now, and to set some money aside to
         visit Russia again (which I have not
         done since 1996!). Oh, and if you still
         wonder, no, I am not a Muslim nor am
         I on any Muslim (or other) payroll.
      ((/QUOTE))  
      __bio also has interesting references to Debian project
        organization (the notion of a "self-organizing" group) 
      __some content is in some sense available in 
        Italian, French, Spanish, Serbian 
* thesleuthjournal.com
* thetruenews.info
* thetruthseeker.co.uk
* theunhivedmind.com
* thirdworldtraveler.com
* toprightnews.com
* trueactivist.com
* trunews.com
* truth-out.org
  __overview:
    * top-of-page links include
      "speakout" and "progressive picks" 
* truthandaction.org
* truthdig.com
* truthfeed.com
* truthkings.com
...................................................................... 
* ufoholic.com
* undergroundworldnews.com
* unz.com
* usanewshome.com
* usapoliticsnow.com
* usasupreme.com
* usdcrisis.com
* usslibertyveterans.org
...................................................................... 
* vdare.com
* veteransnewsnow.com
* veteranstoday.com
* vigilantcitizen.com
* viralliberty.com
* voltairenet.org
...................................................................... 
* wakeupthesheep.com
* wakingtimes.com
* washingtonsblog.com
* wearechange.org
* weshapelife.org
* whatdoesitmean.com
* whatreallyhappened.com
* wikileaks.com
* wikileaks.org
  __quick glance at homepage
    suggests wikileaks.com and wikileaks.org have identical 
    HTML code 
* wikispooks.com
* worldnewspolitics.com
* worldpolitics.us
* www.fort-russ.com
...................................................................... 
* yournewswire.com
  __overview:
    + banner reads
      ((QUOTE)) 
        YourNewsWire.com
        News. Truth. Unfiltered. 
      ((/QUOTE))  
    + top-of-homepage links include
      "healt", "technology", "conspiracies" 
    + "Featured Stories" list as at 
       20170102T032817Z has as its top three items
       - ((QUOTE))
           Insider: George Michael Was 'Suicided' 
         ((/QUOTE))  
       - ((QUOTE))
           George Soros Plotting 'Financial Armageddon' 
           To Stop Trump 
         ((/QUOTE))  
       - ((QUOTE))
           Vatican Calls For 'Central World Bank'
           and 'Global Authority' 
         ((/QUOTE))  
...................................................................... 
* zerohedge.com
  __overview:
    + banner reads
      ((QUOTE)) 
        ZeroHedge
        On a long enough timelines the survival rate
        for everyone drops to zero.
      ((/QUOTE))  
    + quick glance at homepage suggests
      emphasis on finance
    + top-of-page story as at
      20170101T204505Z: 
      ((QUOTE)) 
        Washington Post Published Fake
        News Story About a Vermont Utility
        Getting Hacked by Russians
      ((/QUOTE))  





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