Posts Tagged ‘Russia’

A Plause That Refreshes

February 20, 2018

On its face, which proposition is inherently less credible/plausible:

Not really a tough call.  Not that it really matters.  Not even to Comrade Bear.

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Not A Dot

January 29, 2018

Offhand, I can think of three scenarios in which a dot is not a dot:

  1. when it has somehow been elongated into a dash;
  2. when it “exists” in a zero-dimensional universe under a special case of string theory;
  3. when it has not been linked to another node by a visible network edge (i.e., an unconnected dot).

Of these three, it is the last which appears to apply to recent events in the Netherlands.  If I’m not looking at the forest and don’t hear the thudding tree, can it really be said to have fallen?  Probably.

26 Jan 2018

According to the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant and the Nieuwsuur TV news program, Dutch intelligence services (AIVD) successfully hacked the Russian cyber attack group known as Cozy Bear beginning in 2014, and for several years monitored the group’s computer network [operations center] in a university building near Moscow’s Red Square.  Dutch agents also gained access to security cameras surveilling the room.  Thus, in 2015 AIVD watched as Russian hackers harassed and penetrated accounts belonging to officials of the [U.S.] Democratic Party, downloading thousands of emails and internal documents.  AIVD alerted its US counterparts.

29 Jan 2018

The national tax office in the Netherlands said its website briefly went offline on Monday due to a DDoS cyberattack, a day after the country’s largest banks were targeted by hackers. ABN Amro and ING said they were both targeted by hackers over the weekend, temporarily disrupting online and mobile banking services. “During the DDoS attack ING’s internet site was blasted with data traffic causing our servers to overload and which put pressure on the availability of online banking,” ING said, adding services had been restored.

Rabobank also experienced a cyberattack on Monday. “We have been targeted by a DDoS attack since 9.10 am (0810 GMT) this morning (Monday) and our clients have little to no access to online banking,” Rabobank spokeswoman Margo van Wijgerden said.

 

Surely these are not dots … because I have been shown no connection.

 

May-lay-day

January 25, 2018

One of the world’s medium-term mysteries is about to be solved.  As you may recall, Malaysian Airways flight MH370 disappeared from the skies –and the face of the earth– in March 2014.  A two-year search of the Southern Ocean floor (in all the wrong places) found no traces of the missing Boeing 777 aircraft or the 239 people on board.  Malaysia and Australia called off the hunt, citing the multi-million (US) dollar cost and relying on questionable scientific predictions of the aircraft’s “likely” position on the seabed.  China wasn’t happy, since most of the passengers were Chinese.  Behind the scenes, the Chinese government has been “encouraging” Malaysia to undertake (yeah, a grim pun) a new recovery mission in waters to the north of the original 46,000-square-mile search zone.

In October 2017, a face-saving solution was found: a private seabed survey company will carry out the renewed search at its own expense, in return for a contingency fee of USD$70 million if they find the aircraft.

Ocean Infinity, a Houston-based company that specializes in geophysical seabed data mapping, [will be using Canadian] high resolution synthetic aperture sonar onboard eight robot submarines that operate down to depths of 6,000 meters. [The submarines will be launched from] Ocean Infinity’s search vessel, Seabed Constructor, which is equipped with a 250-ton crane and 1,300 square meters of free deck space. The ship is in the second year of a six-year lease from Swire Pacific Offshore.

Based on my personal idiosyncratic reading of the feng-shui auguries for Year of the Dog, I’m gonna predict that Ocean Infinity will annnounce discovery of MH370 wreckage during the Dragon Month (mid-April to mid-May).  How so?  Let me count the whys:

  1. The year’s Stem and Branch —Wù 戊 over Xū 戌— are two spears thrusting into the earth.  Those who can envision the purely aural will recognize the unseen image of synthetic aperture sonar pulses jabbing into the ocean floor.
  2. The #6 Heaven Star is in the Southwest, bringing good luck and expert assistance when it’s most needed. The new search zone is to the southwest of China, Malaysia and Australia.
  3. The Dragon Month this year is characterized by Yang Fire over Yang Earth. It’s the first time that a Yang Earth month occurs in the Yang Earth year, so although the Dragon is a foe of the Dog, the month is supporting the year because Fire creates Earth. The image of Fire over Earth also evokes the final hours of MH370’s long flight toward flameout and oblivion.
  4. Ocean Infinity’s contract with Malaysia allows for a ninety-day window of operations (basically, the remaining Southern Hemisphere summer season). Those ninety days will have elapsed just about when the Dragon Month begins.

 

One More Thing …

While I’m on the topic of maritime mysteries, let’s all share a ration of grog while we ponder the ongoing saga of the M/V LTW Express, formerly known as M/V Arctic Sea. Why is this vessel …

  • registered under a Tanzanian flag of convenience?
  • formerly moored in the Black Sea port of Constanta? (one-time berth of the Battleship Potemkin)
  • currently anchored in the Danube River on the Romania/Ukraine border?
  • ostensibly en route from Galati (Romania) to Diliskelesi (near Istanbul Turkey)?

 

Bradley Tanks

October 11, 2017

“The reality is that it was all there for us and we have nobody to blame but ourselves.”
US captain Michael Bradley

Speak for yourself, Cap’n America.  As far as I’m concerned, Team USA’s elimination from 2018 World Cup qualification is cosmic payback for Bradley’s role in sabotaging former coach Jurgen Klinsmann during the 2016 Copa De Oro and last year’s early World Cup qualification stages.  Anyone who watched those matches without rose-colored glasses would have seen that Bradley did his best to give those games away, and succeeded.  Was he –is he– trying to win back the head coach’s job for daddy Bob Bradley?

Can Team USA hope to win when its “leader” is working for the other side to feather his own nest?  In case you’re wondering, that’s a metaphorical question.

And Quiet Flaws the Don

July 17, 2017

“… don’t you think there’s something in this business deal that doesn’t quite conform to the code of civil law and the future prosperity of Russia?”
Gospodin Manilov

 

Mea Culpa

February 3, 2017

Waking The Dragon sincerely apologizes for the unprecedented accuracy of its feng-shui predictions (thus far) in the Year of the Fowl.  As always, the key to “successful” feng-shui prognostication is the preemptive construction of vague, broad, wide-ranging and sweeping statements about possible future events in every corner of the globe.  That way, at least a few “predictions” are almost certain to “come true,” permitting the soothsayer to take credit for being correct.  But still: this is way, way outta control.  Let’s review:

Fowl “Self-Penalty”

Wife’s TV clip poses new problems for France’s Fillon

 

Rabbits in clash with the Fowl

 

The East Under Tai Sui’s Glowering Gaze

 

Discredit Where It’s Due

Back in the day (a half-decade ago), I jokingly claimed that Waking the Dragon had somehow become “an uncompensated, unacknowledged strategic brand advisor to the Russian Federation.”  I made that quip after (at least) two instances in which my blogposts were followed by the eerie echoes of subsequent events in the wild, weird world of neo-Soviet Russia.  Somewhat more recently, I indulged in extended musing on the ways in which literary narrative can shape adversary intent … and how intelligence agencies can thus gain greater insight into the minds of their foes.  Little did I realize that an unintended audience was paying more attention than the intended one, and that –in some ways– I may have been ghostwriting a few chapters of the game plan for a truly improbable presidential campaign.  Truly ironic, given the theme of that post.

Therefore, although I’m continuing to organize and refine my thoughts concerning the cultural implications of narrative form and its uses in shaping mass opinion, the Neighbors are going to have to work quite a bit harder to learn my conclusions.  It won’t be handed to them on an earthenware platter labelled “Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread.

Out.

 

Tigers & You-Freightees

January 31, 2017

Just a few indicators that we’re now into the month of the Tiger during the Year of the Fowl:

Korean tigers return to Baekdu-daegan mountain range

The [South] Korea Forest Service announced that it has transported a pair of male Korean tigers named Duman and Geumgang to the tiger forest at the Baekdu-daegan National Arboretum in Seobyeok, North Gyeongsang Province. The Forest Service has set up a system of barriers around the forest to allow visitors to observe the tigers in safety.

“Mt. Baekdu tigers are a protected species designated as Level 1 endangered wild fauna,” said Park Jong-ho, director of the Forest Service’s forest usage bureau.

 

Bobcat escapes from National Zoo in Washington

A female bobcat, believed to be about 7 years old, was found to be missing Monday morning from its enclosure at the National Zoo when it didn’t show up for breakfast.

“We know that she is absolutely capable of surviving, even thriving, in this area,” said Brandie Smith, the zoo’s associate director of animal care. “If she doesn’t return, she would likely survive on a diet of birds, small rodents, house cats or small dogs that are left alone outside,” Smith added.

 

Man Mauled by Tiger, Killed at Eastern China Resort

A man named Zhang who climbed a fence at Dongqian Lake Resort in Zhejiang province to avoid paying the entry fee was attacked and killed by tigers when he into ventured into their enclosure.  The attack occurred on Saturday [New Year’s Day] at the Tiger Hill enclosure in Ningbo Youngor Zoo.  One tiger was shot dead by local police, and three others nearby were dispersed using firecrackers.

 

Precautionary measures in the Fire Fowl Year

Russia grounds Proton-M rocket for 3½ months

Russia’s workhorse Proton-M rockets will be out of service for three and a half months because of engine problems.  Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said some employees at the Voronezh factory had been involved in faking documentation linked to the rocket and would be “harshly punished.”  The director of the factory resigned last week after Russian officials concluded that the crash of a Progress [space] cargo ship in December was the result of a malfunction by engines built at the plant.

 

Almost Heaven, West Slovenia

July 29, 2016

Near-term prospects may be improving for Danilo Turk –at least one potential veto voter seems to be hinting at a possible okey-doke:

Russian President Vladimir Putin will be visiting European Union and NATO-member Slovenia this weekend, signaling a bid to maintain ties amid simmering tensions between the Kremlin and the two Western-led blocs.  While in Slovenia –his only third visit to an EU-member country this year– Putin will attend a commemoration of the centenary of a chapel at Kranjska Gora, which was erected in the memory of dozens of Russian World War I prisoners of war who died in an avalanche while building a [road through a] mountain pass in the Julian Alps for the Austrian army.

Kranjska Gora_0

Putin will also unveil a memorial to Russian soldiers who died in World War II at the main cemetery in Ljubljana, and meet Slovenian officials. The memorial is made up of eight pillars symbolizing the eight-year duration of both world wars.  There is a crane atop each of the pillars and the names of 3,000 soldiers are embossed in marble. The memorial has been made by Russian sculptors and financed by Russia.

Russia is Slovenia’s top non-EU trading partner, but the trade between the two has dropped by nearly 30 percent since EU sanctions were imposed [following Russia’s 2014 Ukraine incursion].  Some media reports suggest that the United States had advised Slovenia against inviting Putin given the enduring tensions between Russia and NATO. [However,] Slovenian authorities have been emphasizing the ceremonial nature of Putin’s visit and the absence of formal talks.  Slovenia has supported EU and NATO policies with regard to Russia while also striving to push aside obstacles to relations, which are underpinned not only by trade but in particular by shared Slavic culture.

St_Cyril_chapel

It’s pretty clear that Putin is (and has been) making a blatantly obvious point about the numerous Russian soldiers who have died on European soil during the past 100 years.  This is probably considered diplomatic subtlety by Russian standards of international relations, and people who “share Slavic culture” probably understand the message all too well.

So what might this mean for the Moldovan candidate?  I don’t know.  What does Auntie Sam have to say on this topic?

 

Pika-Chu

July 19, 2016

Once again, “evidence” that Comrade Bear heeds the message of this blog (in some respects, at least):

The (Chabad Hasidic) Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia said in a statement Tuesday that it does not mind people playing “Pokemon Go” near synagogues and other cultural buildings …  as long as it is not disturbing the congregation.  Pokemon has prompted a mixed reaction [in Russian society].  While Russian airports and banks have endorsed the game, the Russian Orthodox Church and some Duma deputies have angrily complained that the Western-developed app [sic] has harmed Russia.

Those Russian nationalists would benefit from a basic geography lesson and a refresher course in late Imperial history:  Nintendo => Japan => East, not West.  Of course, their confused disorientation is entirely understandable … because everyone in Russia is a bit on edge, what with centenary “celebrations” of the October Revolution looming on the horizon.

There’s no actual cause for concern, however, because the next major nation to undergo a genuine social revolution (rather than a mere sham regime change) will have the opportunity to guide the course of world affairs for at least a century.  So rather than fear civic instability, true patriots (of whatever nationality) should embrace the possibility of dramatic change –in the interest of human survival and sustainable ecology.

Pikachu

Mixed Bag

March 15, 2016

First, the good news: Russia troops and warplanes are (allegedly) leaving Syria.

Sukhoi-34_Latakia

Now, the bad news: they’re headed toward Kaliningrad Poland.

Lech_Kaczynski