Russian Tactical Redux by Archangel Intelligence

Russian Tactical Redux by Archangel Intelligence

Long before I had any formal intelligence training I was studying Russian Martial Arts under a Vietnam veteran who had studied under a former member of Soviet Spetsnaz, sort of the Russian equivalent of a Green Beret. He was the kind of veteran who never really left it behind. Military history and memorabilia was his only hobby. His only real friends were former soldiers from various backgrounds. Teaching and studying hand-to-hand combat was his only source of income. His Russian martial arts classes were his least popular.


This is probably due to the combination of the grueling (and often unsafe) nature of how he taught it and partially due to the odd environment he created. He was an eccentric (to put it politely) older gentleman of Eastern European descent who was fascinated by the tactics of Russia. He would often play Russian folk music as we practiced throws, locks, strikes, and defended ourselves against rubberized knives and clubs. He would often “graduate” his students to actual knives and wooden indian clubs when he believed they were ready. The dropout rate of this class was very nearly 100%.


I stuck it out for a few years longer than most, which was rewarded with almost undivided attention. Not only would he teach the martial arts, but would tell stories of military operations that the Russians had undertaken. They were both brutal and methodical. The tactics were different than I had seen in the news, watched on the movie screen, and read about in the history books. The Russian way was patient and methodical. More tolerant of sacrificing human life. Russians would move at a slower pace, encircle their enemy, and destroy all hope of resistance. They may even lose some battles, but this would be seen as a natural part of winning the war.


I left that class just before war broke out between Russia and Georgia. Like many people in young adults, I could care less what was happening in some country that was half a world away. However, what I had learned about Russian tactics had fascinated me. More than a decade later, I would be paying attention while those tactics were being deployed in Ukraine.


The Russian way of thinking is different. Western media either doesn't care to understand it or refuses to. From many accounts, Ukraine has done much better at defending against the Russian invaders than would have been thought possible. Russia has been slow to progress, and they have failed to consider the supply line problems that they would be facing. Ukrainian civilians have been standing up against the Russian military in a way Vladimir Putin would never have anticipated. The American media is marveling at the David and Goliath story unfolding before our eyes. It's like the Miracle on Ice or Rocky.


However, there’s a reason David defeating Goliath is considered a biblical miracle. Underdogs actually triumphing is a historical anomaly. The Miracle on Ice was turned into a movie because it was a rare event in history. Chuck Wepner, who inspired the movie Rocky, almost lasted fifteen rounds against Muhammad Ali, but he did eventually get knocked out. Muhammad Ali may be the best known name in boxing history, but most people have never heard of Chuck Wepner. We love to see the little guy win, but it hardly ever happens. It's very unlikely to happen in Ukraine. You don't need to be a military tactician to understand history. Hitler committed suicide in a bunker because the Russian military had encircled Berlin. It's a tactic that Russia uses again and again. Whether it be in another country or law enforcement activity inside Russia, the tactic is the same. Encirclement. Like an anaconda, after the Russian forces have wrapped themselves around the opposition, they slowly begin squeezing. The squeeze is consistent and unstoppable. Eventually all the air is forced out of the lungs of anyone caught in the trap.


That's the most likely scenario in Ukraine. Encirclement and destruction. When the squeeze is released, the Zelensky government will be dead. Russia doesn't have the forces to occupy Ukraine, especially if the Ukrainian people continue to resist. Russia has been a historically successful conqueror, but they haven't typically favored well when dealing with a local insurgent population. In fact, most nations don't fair well against homegrown insurgency. Even if Russia could occupy Ukraine, Western intelligence agencies would likely support local insurgence and the occupation would quickly prove too costly for Putin. He would most likely face embarrassment that his regime would never recover from. Moscow will likely look to install a client state in Ukraine rather than occupy it outright.


Vladimir Putin is under pressure to look strong, not only to the world, but also to those inside his own government. Russia's security service, the FSB, has been full of Putin loyalists left over from the time that he served as the agency’s head. The FSB has enjoyed immense power within Putin’s Russia but has recently come under fire for providing bad intelligence on Ukraine. Russia’s Federal Protection Service, who are responsible for Putin's personal security recently conducted a raid on the FSB 5th Directorate, in charge of foreign intelligence. Documents recovered include four letters critical of Putin and a psychological profile detailing Putin’s narcissism and secrecy. Vladimir Putin must now save face within the ranks of his own inner circle and demonstrate his strength as a leader. He may be more aggressive than he would have been otherwise.


The best outcome for the current Ukrainian government is one in which concessions can be made that will secure peace. However, Putin has recently shown that he is unwilling to accept concessions and demands complete surrender from Kyiv.


Two unlikely scenarios are ones that see Putin's regime replaced in Russia or a military defeat for Russia in Ukraine. Putin has surrounded himself with a massive security apparatus that makes him virtually impossible to topple. As far as military defeat goes, recent events have shown that when Putin is in a position of weakness, he will react with nuclear threats. A military embarrassment may be the catalyst for Putin to fall back on his nuclear arsenal. As unlikely as this is, it can not be completely ruled out. In the meantime, Russia wraps itself around Kyiv, and the squeeze is coming.

by PJ Agness of @ArchangelIntelligence

Graphic provided by UnderstandingWar.com


Questions in the death of Terrance Franklin

The following is an article from the plaintiffs investigator R. Steven Rogers regarding the facts in the death of Terrance Franklin. Steve worked a civil suit on behalf of the family with Attorney Mike Padden author of The Minneapolis Police Department:  Blue Code of Silence: The True Story of the Terrance Franklin Murder

County attorney Mike Freeman has written to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and has formerly requested their involvement in a new independent investigation.


Kowala Media has acquired the permission of the author in this articles publication.

I was recently featured in the Time magazine article ‘“Minneapolis Police Were Cleared in the 2013 Killing of Terrance Franklin. A Video Complicates the Story-and Now the Case May be Reopened”.  This feature highlights the work of Attorney Mike Padden and myself on the civil suit that Mr. Padden filed on behalf of the Franklin family after the death of their son, Terrance Franklin, at the hands of the Minneapolis Police on May 10, 2013.

In the days following the publication by Time of the article and documentary video, several questions have arisen in my mind based on my knowledge of the case.

The Time article was the first public mention of the letter by Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman’s office to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension requesting an independent examination of the case. Freeman stated that “A key piece of evidence brought by the Plaintiffs in the civil suit is a recording by Jimmy Gaines.” This is correct to a degree, as the Minneapolis Police appear to have had the video within a week of the shooting. Our team did, however, obtain the full quality original from Mr. Gaines and submitted that into evidence later.

Notably, the file from the Minneapolis Police we received in the discovery process presumably was downloaded from YouTube, as the police never contacted Mr. Gaines who took the video, the file size matches the known compression ratio that is used when uploading to YouTube, and it was not known to be anywhere else at that time. (I compared the file obtained from the Minneapolis Police to the file gathered by our team from Mr. Gaines’ device that originally recorded it and the file size was about 7% of the original.)

Freeman also mentions in his letter that Mr. Gaines posted the video on YouTube and that the MPD never interviewed him about the video. When he became aware of this is unknown but is certainly relevant.

Freeman also told Minneapolis Public Radio that they had reviewed new evidence “that was not available to us at the time we took the case to the Grand Jury.” This statement is compelling to me and raises some serious questions.

The only way I can see that it is possible, with the information available, that the video was not available to the Grand Jury  is if one or more of the following is true :

1 : The MPD did not provide it to Freeman with the other evidence when Freeman decided to convene the Grand Jury. It is a reasonable assumption that the MPD would turn over all evidence to the County Attorney’s office when the decision to convene a Grand Jury was reached. I am not sure on the requirements here, but it’s possible there are some; or,

2 : For some reason due diligence was not done by the County Attorney’s office in looking at what evidence to provide the Grand Jury; or,

3 : The County Attorney’s office for some reason chose not to include the video in the evidence given to the Grand Jury (noting, of course, that they do have complete discretion as to what evidence is given to the Grand Jury.)

Of the first two, this would also raise the question if this case was on the radar at the County Attorney’s office at the time of the press conference on May 30, 2013. It certainly was on the radar at the MPD, as The Chief of Police issued this statement to WCCO that day (which was read aloud at the press conference), “If you have video of events from the scene, I request that you turn it over to me as it is evidence in an active investigation.”  At that press conference, Mr. Padden even remarked that, for all he knew, the MPD may have enhanced the sound already.

Here’s the timeline:

Now, as Mr. Gaines was never contacted by the County Attorney to testify before the Grand Jury, we know the video could not have been used by the Grand Jury, as Mr. Gaines would have needed to testify to lay foundation, which in non-lawyerese means they could not use it without him attesting that he took the video, and where and when it was taken.

While many media outlets are reporting that this is new evidence, I believe the information presented here in this article shows that it is not. Ironically, Fred Bruno, an attorney for Lucas Peterson came out today in a statement saying “The Gaines video was well known to and vetted by Freeman’s office long before the Grand Jury ruled in September 2013,” and “There is no new evidence, only newly procured opinions and shifting politics.”

The problem I have with this is no evidence was presented to support this statement, and at no time during this case, nor in my searches after for this article and other media interviews, have I found a single indicator that Mr. Freeman was aware of or in possession of this key piece of evidence.

Working backwards on the timeline, as we know the Grand Jury was not aware of this recording, we must ask where the system failed. Clearly it failed not only Terrance Franklin, but all of us.


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