Author Archives: mpmoon

The Russian Thing

Author Unknown

On a political cartoon site, one otherwise liberal cartoonist made the mistake of expressing doubt about the Russian connection to Donald Trump, to which a poster (handle “Radish”) provided the following response:

‘I don’t know – it’s hard for me to see any U.S. ties to Russia…

except for the Flynn thing…

and the Manafort thing…

and the Tillerson thing
and the Sessions thing
and the Kushner thing
and the Carter Page thing
and the Roger Stone thing
and the Felix Sater thing
and the Boris Ephsteyn thing
and the Rosneft thing
and the Gazprom thing
and the Sergey Gorkov banker thing
and the Azerbajain thing
and the “I love Putin” thing
and the Donald Trump, Jr. thing
and the Sergey Kislyak thing
and the Russian Affiliated Interests thing
and the Russian Business Interests thing
and the Emoluments Clause thing
and the Alex Schnaider thing
and the hack of the DNC thing
and the Guccifer 2.0 thing
and the Mike Pence “I don’t know anything” thing
and the Russians mysteriously dying thing
and Trump’s public request to Russia to hack Hillary’s email thing
and the Trump house sale for $100 million at the bottom of the housing bust to the Russian fertilizer king thing
and the Russian fertilizer king’s plane showing up in Concord, NC during Trump rally campaign thing
and the Nunes sudden flight to the White House in the night thing
and the Nunes personal investments in the Russian winery thing
and the Cyprus bank thing
and Trump not releasing his tax returns thing
and the Republican Party’s rejection of an amendment to require Trump to show his taxes thing
and the election hacking thing
and the GOP platform change to the Ukraine thing
and the Steele Dossier thing
and the Leninist Bannon thing
and the Sally Yates can’t testify thing
and the intelligence community’s investigative reports thing
and Trump’s reassurance that the Russian connection is all “fake news” thing
and Spicer’s Russian Dressing “nothing’s wrong” thing
so there’s probably nothing there
since the swamp has been drained, these people would never lie
probably why Nunes cancels the investigation meetings
all of this must be normal
just a bunch of separate dots with no connection.

International Anti-Corruption Day

December 9th is “International Anti-Corruption Day”.

The UN website provides resources, messages, social media materials and other information related to promoting awareness of this all too prevalent issue.

If you can, please  help raise awareness about corruption, its impact, and how people can engage in minimizing its presence.

(link)  International Anti-Corruption Day


Funded Research Opportunity

Humanitarian Innovation Fund – call for funded research proposals

by Humanitarian Innovation Fund

The Humanitarian Innovation Fund is looking to fund up to two research projects that address the gap in evidence that links sanitation and gender based violence (GBV) with lighting in emergency humanitarian camps.

Funding of up to £200,000 is available for the strongest proposal(s) for a study comprising of desk based and field research.

For more information see: 

A call for papers


Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism, Birkbeck, University of London



This timely conference will examine the interaction between Zionism and antisemitism as it has developed from the late nineteenth century through to the present day. We are interested in exploring this interaction as it developed among Zionists and antisemites, and among Jews and non-Jews more broadly. We welcome proposals that consider this theme as it has developed in theory, in practice, and in the manifold domains of cultural representation.

Call for Papers: we seek contributions from across the range of disciplines including history, political science, literary and cultural studies, anthropology, sociology and theology. The conference is open to scholars at any stage of their career, from PhD students to established scholars. Proposals from independent scholars are also welcome.

Speakers will be provided with accommodation in London as well as support towards their travel costs.


Deadline for paper proposals: Monday 14 November 2016.

A paper proposal of 200-300 words, together with a brief CV or biography, (of no more than one page) should be sent to Elaine Hudson by 14 November 2016.


Full information on the conference is  available on the Pears Institute website.


 Please circulate to others who may be interested.

Best wishes


Dr Jan Davison

Head of Communications and Institute Manager

Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism

School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy

Birkbeck, University of London

26 Russell Square

London WC1B 5DQ

020 7631 6613



It is time for the International Community to involve itself in American politics

This video gives 176 fact-based reasons why Donald Trump is not suitable for the Presidency of the United States.

Olberman presents 17 minutes of Trump’s transgressions and leaves little doubt as to why Trump should be discounted from consideration.

Accordingly, I share this video as a way to ask the International Community  to both speak up and out against the potential horror of a mentally unfit Commander in Chief in charge of the strongest military the world has ever seen, a highly penetrative intelligence service spanning the globe, and direct leverage over highly militarized police forces.

The potential for latent threat to morph into existential threat is all too real; the polls are tightening and Trump’s qualified opponent may not prevail.

Politely leaving Americans to make their own decisions might be respectful, and indeed the political norm, but in this instance it is also dangerous to world stability.

Additionally,  I would assert that  Americans require feedback from outside their own border.  I believe this as American news agencies are, by and large held in the hands of right wing interests. Neutral, fact-based reporting is rare.  Discussions are rare. And arguments are all too common.

If anyone deems it politically inconvenient to meddle in America’s affairs I can only ask you this – how much opportunity for effective diplomacy and honoured partnership will you have if Trump prevails? If you say any, I am willing to bet you didn’t watch the video.

Peace for now,


Why Trump Shouldn’t be President  (<<<CLICK HERE)



Atlas Corporation Seeks Emerging Civil Society Leaders

The following opportunity is open to candidates of all countries:

The U.S. Department of State is pleased to announce a special opportunity for emerging civil society leaders to participate in a 6- to 18-month professional fellowship in the United States.
All Fellows will be placed at a leading social change organization in the United States.

Individuals in the nonprofit/NGO sectors with 2 to 10 years of experience, a college degree, and English proficiency are encouraged to apply.

Atlas Corps has supported more than 450 emerging leaders from over 75 different countries and seeks candidates to apply as soon as possible for their next class of Fellows.   The priority deadline to be considered for a Fellowship beginning in January 2017 is July 15, but applications are accepted year-round.

To apply and to find out more information, please visit

America’s Unacknowledged Insurgency: Addressing Street Gangs as Threats to National Security

The link below  directs readers to a recent article from the  Small Wars Journal. 

While the subject matter falls outside the discipline of post-conflict studies, it nevertheless provides an opportunity for widening understanding on conflict prevention as it intersects with organised crime,  street gang insurgency, transnational threats, proxy actors, and the infiltration and undermining of law enforcement, military, and criminal justice systems. The article also provides a window for examining the dynamics of globalisation and the New Wars paradigm as they potentially threaten  ‘first world’ realities.

America’s Unacknowledged Insurgency: Addressing Street Gangs as Threats to National Security

Quantitative Analysis in Human Rights Reporting

The following link provides an excellent resource for anyone working through Module Three or seeking a refresher course on Quantitative Analysis in relation to Human Rights reporting.

The presentation is led by Patrick Ball, Executive Director of the Human Rights Data Analysis Group.  The program becomes increasingly engaging as it marches through various issues and opportunities to advance Quantitative Analysis as an accurate and viable tool in relation to Human Rights activities (and therefore Security, Conflict, and International Development projects and policy formation).

The link will provide an audio version as well as a transcript version  – both of which can be downloaded for permanent reference.

The entire presentation is 1:46:17 long, but the first 30 minutes should suffice for assisting with Module Three understanding. The remaining minutes will serve to reinforce academic expectations and enhance understanding of the emerging standards within the field of Human Rights reporting.

Digital Echoes: Understanding Patterns of Mass Violence with Data and Statistics



A Picture’s Worth…

The attached photo captures the scale of the Syrian displacement of persons to Jordan. There are four main camps in Jordan; together they comprise 20% of the displaced population which has relocated to the country.

This is a single camp, and represents a fraction of the .6 million people who are cobbling together new lives in the absence of true opportunity.

2 million more people have fled to Turkey, and an additional 1m to Lebanon.

Syrian Refugee Camp

Is the IMF obsolete? Or more necessary than ever?

Departing from the ‘textbook history and rationale’ behind the IMF, this 30 minute panel discussion (link below) exposes the controversies, complexities, and utility underlying the IMF today. Needless to say, all of these topics hold relevance regarding conflict prevention, resolution and post-conflict stability.

Trigger warning: Neither Dr Evil nor Keyboard Cat appear in the discussion. Nevertheless, other A-List celebrities were found.  These include:

     David Lipton: IMF First Deputy Managing Director

     Ngaire Woods: Dean of Blavatnik School of Government and Professor of Global Economic       Governance, Oxford

     Professor Kenneth Rogoff: Professor of Economics at Harvard University and former Chief              Economist at the IMF

Global Anti-corruption Blog

Guided by  Richard Messick,  former Chief Counsel of the (US) Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and Matthew C Stephenson, Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, the Global Anticorruption Blog offers insights into the topic of corruption.

Given the importance of corruption in regards to each pillar of the SCID programme, and in relation to emerging transnational security concerns, I thought I would share the link with you. 

PS the Resources Page of the Blog is extremely handy!

Free UN Certifications

Whatever one’s position on the UN actually is, fluency in the UN’s standards can be dead handy when making an argument as to the successes and failures of the institution.

Such fluency can also be useful when examining the gaps between rhetoric and operations for the wider international community as well.

Accordingly, I thought I would share that POTI (the United Nations Peace Operations Training Institute) is providing free training and certification in the following:

Gender Awareness Training 

  1. Implementation of the UN Security Council Resolutions on the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda in South Africa
  2. Implementation of the UN Security Council Resolutions on the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda in Asia and the Pacific
  3. Implementation of the UN Security Council Resolutions on the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda in Latin America and the Caribbean

“Common Core” Courses

  1. Principles and Guidelines for UN Peacekeeping Operations
  2. Core Pre-deployment Training Materials

Each course appears to be approximately 300 pages of reading and comprehension, and comes with free online practice exams.

Successful completion of each course provides a POTI Certificate – which might look quite nifty on one’s CV (but nowhere near as spiffy as the uber-nifty, magical and deep-level understanding of a SCID MSc credential!!!)

Each course is designed to be completed via distance learning and is readily portable (The PDFs can be downloaded onto your iPad)

The fact POTI is providing Gender Awareness Training free of charge indicates a certain level of commitment to changing the global paradigm, and (I suspect) the credential would be reviewed with additional favour for anyone seeking to slip into the future stream of UN endeavours. Of course, what one section of the UN is thinking might very well be different from another.

Here is the link for all interested parties…

Post-Conflict Berlin Video

In light of VE Day this week I humbly share a chilling 7-minute video shot in May 1945.

I was left contemplating three questions:

  • Was post-conflict Berlin less chaotic than today’s post-conflict theatres?
  • If so, is the difference cultural in its derivation or simply based on the sheer exhaustion of the survivors?
  • What, if anything, can we take from the success of Europe’s reconstruction and apply to other nations emerging from ruined infrastructure and profound lack of resources? Syria? Iraq? Afghanistan?

While the footage below was shot with sound, the absence of narration creates a warranted philosophical space in which to form and internalise personal views.I found the final minute especially worthy of contemplation.

April Survey Results!

In light of UN Envoy Staffan de Mistura’s efforts in Geneva this month, I thought now would be an appropriate time to share the results of April’s SCID survey.

Beyond the April results (table below), I thought I would reinforce the severity of the situation as generally understood today:

  • 7.6 million people have fled their homes
  • 4 million people have fled the country (1.5 million since peace talks commenced in February 2014)
  • 220,000 people have been killed since the civil war broke out (VOA News / Middle East as cited in the Embassy of the United State London Weekly Update, 7 May, 2015

These facts, combined with the future activities associated with the conflict, will most likely translate into even more exceptionally complex and dire conditions for post-conflict peacekeeping than is already the norm.  I, for one, would be especially interested in learning just how much forethought, planning, and staging has already been executed for when the conflict finally ceases. If any.

As for the survey results, I have formed the opinion that dinner conversations among the respondents could be especially lively and worthy of ethnographic observation. 🙂


Do you believe the momentum of ISIS is derived more from Sunni grievance at the hands of prior Shia control or more from deeply held religious ideology?
Answer Choices Responses
More from grievance 25%
More from deeply held religious ideology 37.5%
Equal amounts grievance and ideology 37.5%
Neither are primary drivers (numpty) 0%


Do you believe the areas affected by ISIS reveal the disintegration of traditional nation states or the formation of new nation states?  
Answer Choices Responses
Disintegration of states 50%
Formation of new nation states 50%
Do I look like I have a crystal ball? 0%


Do you believe weakening ISIS via military intervention will weaken Jihadist movements as a whole or beget their consolidation?  
Answer Choices Responses
Weaken Jihadist movements as a whole 50%
Beget their consolidation of Jihadist movements 50%
Only kittens can melt those cold, hard, hearts 0%


Do you believe the more we succeed in hard power tactics the more ISIS will gain in soft power?  
Answer Choices Responses
Yes – I believe hard power will strengthen ISIS soft power 12.5%
No – I believe hard power will weaken ISIS’s soft power 62.5%
Depends on external dynamics and whether groups consolidate 25%

Screening: Burden of Peace + Q&A Event

The Frontline Club in London is hosting a screening and Q&A session for the award winning documentary “Burden of Peace” on April 16th.

Cost to participate is £10, booking to be made online in advance.

This screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Joey Boink.

Burden of Peace tells the impressive story of Claudia Paz Y Paz, the first woman to lead the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Guatemala. Ravaged for years by a devastating civil war, in which nearly 200,000 Mayan Indians were systematically massacred, the country today is one of the most crime-ridden in the world. Paz Y Paz starts a frontal attack against corruption, drug gangs and impunity and does what everyone had hitherto held to be impossible: she arrests former dictator Efraín Rios Montt on charges of genocide against the Mayan Indians.

Each year, nearly 6,000 people are murdered in Guatemala, and the individuals responsible almost always avoid prosecution. When Claudia Paz Y Paz took office in 2010, senior political officials openly criticised her soft spoken demeanour and questioned her ability to combat issues of crime and corruption, claiming that the position of Attorney General is not suited to a human rights lawyer.

The Middle East Made Easy…

I attach a link to an interactive chart detailing the matrix of relationships in the Middle East. Click on the image below, then click on a smiley face and it will give you high-level detail on the particular relationship it references. And, please, never say I haven’t given you anything… The Middle East Friendship Chart…