“The organized lying practiced by totalitarian states is not, as is sometimes claimed, a temporary expedient of the same nature as military deception. It is something integral to totalitarianism, something that would still continue even if concentration camps and secret police forces had ceased to be necessary…From the totalitarian point of view history is something to be created rather than learned.” - George Orwell
“I can only live in two different forms: as a mind in the service of lying or as a body in service of murder.”
- Albrecht Haushofer
“Caution isn’t always a virtue. Not if you’re serious about doing your duty.”
- General Michael V. Hayden
“…assuredly we have lost faith in common honesty, and in the working power of it.” – John Ruskin
On a cold winter’s day in Mandan last month, I watched from my kitchen window as two Siberian huskies sauntered up the hill of my backyard, from whence other strange creatures have emerged over the years.
As I soon learned, they were refugees from the Russian side of the Arctic Circle, both from effects of climate change on their habitat, as well as from a stifling regime there that was beginning to make even a dog’s life miserable.
As is well known, all living creatures in that part of the former Soviet Union now known as Russia are trained as secret agents, and these huskies were no exception.
One of them called himself “Putin,” no relation to the current President of Russia. The other was named “Rasputin,” no relation to the madman who advised the former Russian head of state (Tsar Nicholas II), just before the coming of the Communists.
As is also well known, tracking down Communists, real and imagined, has been a specialty of the American FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation), since the days of J. Edgar Hoover, shortly after the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 (see Tim Weiner, “Enemies, A History of the FBI”).
In the 1919 “Palmer Raids” methods were crude, but Hoover’s FBI didn’t have to worry about such pesky groups as the ACLU, Congressmen, and even Presidents, who took seriously Bill of Rights freedoms, all too often taken for granted by their fellow Americans.
Not anymore. Today’s FBI, like their fellow spooks and trackers in the NSA (National Security Agency) and the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) are painfully aware of the need to balance our needs for freedom as well as security (see Michael V. Hayden, “Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror”). The distinctions are not always clear to the agents and agencies themselves, much less to Americans in general.
Americans can and do forget that only three entities in the former Soviet Union ever worked efficiently: the military, the secret police and their mafia. The same is true in today’s Russia, except that the mafia, not the Communists, are in control of the secret police and the military. These developments have NOT been forgotten by the FBI and its current head, James Comey.
As allegations continue to spill forth from the news media about the extent to which the current President of the United States, Donald Trump, may or may not be in the control of these Russians of ill repute, I listened with interest to the discussion of “Putin” and “Rasputin” concerning this very topic.
Putin: “Boy, that Jim Comey is really slick. He has Trump just where he wants him, twisting in the wind.”
Rasputin: “Yep. Once ‘The Donald’ took the oath of office, he was dead meat. The hard part was figuring out how Hillary Clinton really could blow this election enough for Comey to make the difference, rather than Vladimir Putin’s goons in Trump Tower and Wikileaks. The same sources of information that were available to the FBI Director about Russian criminal activity in the U.S. also let him know what Trump operatives were doing to exploit Hillary’s moves and mistakes.”
Putin: “If Hillary had listened to Bernie Sanders and all of her other advisers telling her to go to Erie, Pennsylvania, hard-hit Obama voters in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ohio, she wouldn’t have made herself vulnerable, and the chance to nab Trump with the Russian connection would have had to wait. I’m surprised my namesake couldn’t figure that out.”
Rasputin: “In dictatorship, a secret police mentality only needs to be one or two steps ahead of its target. In democracy, a tracker has to be five or ten steps ahead of his quarry. When even ordinary American citizens can be protected, a billionaire and his Russian buddies could easily hide from justice in a Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders Presidency. This way, not only Trump is exposed, but Russian enemies of the American democracy have been outed. Comey is a genius!”
Putin: “Besides, Vladimir Putin doesn’t care about Trump. He just wants to lift the sanctions long enough to let Rex Tillerson and Exxon ‘drill baby drill’ in the Arctic. If oil drilling were as easy as spying and suppressing people, Russia would already be sending oil through the Crimea onto the world market to compete with Bakken sweet crude and Saudi Arabia.”
Rasputin: “And bringing us that much closer to the methane bubble which did in the dinosaurs back in the day when all the sweet crude and coal was formed.”
Putin: “It would serve human beings right. Maybe their extinction would allow for smaller creatures, like, say, Siberian huskies, to survive, since we know how to find cold places, and will have all kinds of carcasses to feed on for generations to come until the planet cools down.”
Rasputin: “And then we could learn to walk on our hind legs, just like Orwell’s pigs in ‘Animal Farm.’”
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