Center for Strategic Communication

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a “zen“]

Top Billing! Karen Peterson -Peterson: Soldier on trial because reporter kept digging 

People often ask where reporters get their story ideas.

 Carl Prine, investigative reporter for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, learned of a story four years ago in a roundabout way. It turned into a blockbuster — and last week it led to a story in The News Tribune. Rather than having a byline on the TNT story, however, Prine was a subject, a witness testifying at the Joint Base Lewis-McChord preliminary hearing of Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael Barbera. Barbera is accused of killing two unarmed boys during a reconnaissance mission in Iraq in 2007.

If not for Prine’s digging, Barbera would not have been sitting in a JBLM courtroom. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has the stories about it posted on its website at

 They tell how Prine was working on another national story in 2010 about the care of wounded soldiers when he met Ken Katter. Katter had recently left the Army, and his wife had posted online comments about the quality of his care. Prine read them and drove to Michigan to interview Katter. The fact that Prine was a former Marine, who also spent a year in Iraq with the Pennsylvania National Guard, gave Katter reason to trust him.

 It was past midnight, after the reporter had stopped asking questions and turned off his tape recorder, when Katter opened up about something else. An incident in Iraq continued to haunt him. He told Prine that one of his fellow soldiers on patrol had killed two unarmed Iraqi boys who were out simply herding their cattle. It was later reported that the boys were deaf and mute.

Prine would spend almost two years getting to the bottom of Katter’s story. He learned that the Army had investigated the shootings, and that Barbera had falsely reported he shot insurgents that day, not children. Investigators recommended charges. Instead, commanders gave Barbera a reprimand and a promotion. Driven to learn more, Prine criss-crossed the country to interview four other members of the Fort Bragg unit who witnessed the shootings….. 

Carl Prine is what journalists once were before they became courtiers. His Line of Departure blog was one of my regular reads.

Global Guerrillas – “White Privilege” as the Neutron Bomb of Moral Warfare 

The growing popularity of “check your privilege” and “white privilege” at Universities and in political debates is interesting.  

Why is it interesting? It’s not a force for progress or positive change, it’s a form of moral warfare.   That means it’s not a constructive remark that improves the debate, rather, it’s an attack that does damage the target.  However, it doesn’t damage the target directly.  Instead, the damage is done by weakening or breaking the moral bonds that allow the target to function in a social context.  

In other words, the attack disconnects the target from the moral support of others.  You can see that disconnection at work in how groups within the target group “white privilege” are fleeing from it, rather than rejecting the concept outright.  For example, I’ve seen “white male privilege” as a form of attack now.  I’ve also seen “white straight male privilege” being used.  This divisibility of the attack makes it the neutron bomb of moral warfare.  The kind of attack that’s meant to surgically remove a specific target group from the debate without doing damage to your own group.  [….]

Edward Luttwak – Weaken Putin with a Russian Brain Drain 

With Russia already suffering from capital flight amid economic sanctions and rising tensions over the Ukraine conflict, the U.S. has another option for ratcheting up financial pressure on the Putin regime: Start a brain drain too.

Call it an “anti-sanctions” approach. Blacklisting individuals and companies closely tied to Vladimir Putin is fine, but let’s also open America’s doors to Russia’s best and brightest. The instruments to do so are a pair of special U.S. visas that already exist—the O-1A and the EB-5.

But President Obama, who is not averse to using executive orders to shape legal matters more to his liking, could simply issue an executive order declaring that in the case of citizens of the Russian Federation, an advanced degree—a doctorate or its equivalent—would suffice for an O-1A visa. If O-1A visas were available to Russians on a large scale, the present outflow of talent from the country, already in the thousands, would likely become a flood. President Putin can ill afford the loss of talent, and the U.S. economy would benefit. If America presented such a visa offer, it would also neatly expose the false depiction of the U.S. as hostile to the Russian people—a theme of Mr. Putin’s recent speeches and of the entire Kremlin propaganda apparatus.

Daniel Hannan –Supposing him to be the gardener: Sam Gamgee, the Battle of the Somme and my Great Uncle Bill 

….There ought to be a special name for novels about the First World War in which the First World War doesn’t feature. I mean novels such as Evelyn Waugh’s Vile Bodies, Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Risesand (except for two glancing references) F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Novels, in other words, in which the trenches are a constant, brooding, unacknowledged presence.

Tolkien was very clear that his books were not allegories. Still, his experiences as a lieutenant on the Western Front could hardly fail to suffuse them. The Dead Marshes, desolate, poisoned and filled with rotting corpses, “owe something to Northern France after the Battle of the Somme,” he later wrote. As for Mordor, pocked with holes resembling shell-craters, choked with foul vapours, void of every living thing except the columns and sentries of the enemy, no war diary contains a bleaker description of No Man’s Land:

Nothing lived, not even the leprous growths that feed on rottenness. The gasping pools were choked with ash and crawling muds, sickly white and grey, as if the mountains had vomited the filth of their entrails on the lands about.

The Bridge – (Rich Ganske) A Modern Airpower Theorist and (Crispin Burke) Resilience: the Obstacle is the Way 

Slightly East of New – Quantum entanglement, the arrow of time, and John Boyd?

Medical Express –Research shows strategic thinking strengthens intellectual capacity – (Matt Cavanaugh) Mission Command is Not Enough

Foreign AffairsPutin’s Brain 

I was watching reactionary crackpot Alexander Dugin long before it was cool. “National Bolshevism” also enjoyed a brief  1920′s  heyday after the Russian Civil War among White officers attempting to make peace with the Red victors and Russian intellectuals exiled to cafes in Berlin and Paris. It all came to a very bad end. This will as well.

Duck of Minerva (Charli Carpenter) – “Norm Anti-preneurship” and Russian Use of Autonomous Weapons

AFJ Book excerpt: FIRE: How Fast, Inexpensive, Restrained, and Elegant Methods Ignite Innovation’ 

Aeon Magazine – The Unforgiven

David Brooks – Saving the System

Steve Sailer – Occam’s Butter Knife 

That’s it.