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  • Writer's pictureNikko Norte

Whiskey in rehab …

The phosphorescent hands of my watch point upward. The second of March just started. My birthday, I realize, numb with cold as I stare into the night. My radio scanner, on the deck of the combat vehicle out of which I stand, is silent, which is disturbing. Nevertheless, the cold despite, I don’t want to be anywhere but in this Afghan desert, its faint aroma, its subcutaneous threat.

Sooner than I had expected, the Dutch intelligence service surprised me with that radio scanner after I submitted a request for it. The last ten months, the device and I have been inseparable. It finds the frequencies on which the local population uses its walkie-talkies, and feeling embarrassed at times, I eavesdrop on conversations twenty-four hours a day. Family, harvest, water, and weather. People’s tone of voice usually betrays the innocence of what is being discussed. When in doubt, I confer with an interpreter. Most of our interpreters I selected myself in Kandahar, where I occasionally travel for that purpose. I trust their translations, insights, and advice.

No cell phone network in this part of Afghanistan. People make do with their walkie-talkies. Some owners of a walkie-talkie occasionally lose sight of it long enough for their rebellious sons to try to give us a scare.

‘Abdul, this is Mohammed. I’ll advance from the valley with fifty fighters. On my signal, we attack.’

No fighter would ever air such a message, and the waggish nature of those messages often reminds me of the fun I had with a rotary phone and a phone book, seven years of age. ‘Hallo mevrouw Naaktgeboren,’ hello miss Bornnaked, ‘dit is meneer Blootindewei,’ this is mister Nakedinthemeadow. ‘Heeft u het ook zo koud?’ Are you cold too?

‘Mohammed, this is Abdul. We see the Americani, and we are with many.’

Nothing ever happens. Still, those messages worry me because a specialized Dutch unit also intercepts them. Members of that unit serve only four months in Afghanistan, and they never leave the Dutch compounds, where their equipment is set up. From those safe and cozy compounds, they honor the principle better safe than sorry, for which the local population pays a hefty price. After all, the few Dutch soldiers that do occasionally leave their compounds – nineteen years old, no experience in conflict areas, four months in Afghanistan max – are via their own radios continuously being warned by that specialized unit for imminent attacks, which causes those soldiers to react with disproportionate violence to everything they observe but cannot directly identify as innocent. In addition to that, mortars and howitzer grenades regularly arch from the Dutch compounds in the direction of the local population because intercepted walkie-talkie traffic appears threatening. For months on end now, I try to put things into perspective, but I piss into the wind, the violence we impose on the local population increasing …

Now, my radio scanner is silent at a time it is normally red-hot, which ís disturbing, for the only indication of pending trouble we can extract from intercepted walkie-talkie traffic is no walkie-talkie traffic.

Stiff with cold, I lower myself into the combat vehicle. Gently, I wake my relief, who is sleeping under me on the vehicle’s floor. Then, on all fours, I move past sleeping soldiers, equipment, and boxes with MREs and ammo to the passenger seat. I radio our sniper team, whose members have the best sighting equipment.

‘Sierra ...’


‘No Icom chatter.’



Through the back door, I crawl out of the vehicle, and with my hand against its side, I shuffle forward until my knee hits my cot. I take off my boots and some of my clothes, worm into my sleeping bag, feel myself getting warm, try to stay awake to enjoy the Afghan night, and wake up with a jolt. Our company commander and a few buddies have gathered around my cot. They push a mug of coffee into my hands and sing a birthday song. I put on my boots, we chat and laugh, water boils for more coffee, an RPG whistles over our heads, and … man, that was fifteen years ago, and the phosphorescent hands of my watch point downward not upward. Half past five in the morning. It is raining softly, and the cold wind finds no obstacle in the coat I wear as I stroll through a forest in the Netherlands with Moos the German shepherd. But it is the second of March, my birthday.

On the run for the disproportionate vaccination violence in Austria, where Heidi and I until recently lived, I suggested Israel, where people, so it seems, wake up from their corona psychosis to realize that vaccines against corona do not save us from corona – if ever there was a need to be saved from it – but mark the onset of a catastrophe. Heidi suggested England, and thus, tomorrow, we will set sail for England. Fine with me. To be on the run is an adventure, and adventure is what I live for, I decide as my mind wanders back to Afghanistan, where a handful of Afghans once contributed to an unforgettable birthday.

From the green zone, the populated area, a kilometer east of our position in the desert, we were shelled that morning with RPGs and shot at with Kalashnikovs and DShKs, likely the RPGs, Kalashnikovs, and DShKs with which, a few days earlier, we armed a group of Afghans whose leader claimed to command a civilian militia. An interpreter, during that handover of weaponry, had looked at me and had shaken his head in astonishment. In equal astonishment, I had shrugged my shoulders. And yes, every RPG and every bullet fired in our direction could have made a victim. As long as we hid behind our vehicles, we had little to fear.

With our company commander, who had joined our platoon as a rifleman, not on official duty, I ran from post to post to keep the members of our platoon from returning fire. No target was offered – a kilometer is a long distance, and the people shooting at us moved invisibly through the green zone – and to return fire guaranteed unnecessary victims. But I had forgotten the fire support officer who accompanied us. He had radioed for artillery and helicopter support, and a relatively harmless shooting turned into a scene no Hollywood director could have staged. Howitzer grenades, fired from a Dutch compound, exploded around us, Apache helicopters, suddenly there, fired hellfire and hydra missiles, and ... Moos pushes her head against my leg.

‘Back to Heidi?’ I suggest. With a strange but joyful leap, the animal turns around, and bent into our fur and coat, we walk to the campsite where our home-made caravan promises shelter from the elements.

Heidi used the elements as an excuse to stay behind in our caravan – and to prepare me an unforgettable birthday, I am sure. How she managed to hide my presents the last few days is a mystery, and thinking about unwrapping those presents, I experience the same guilt I experienced in Afghanistan at times, listening in to people’s conversations. A week ago, Nato and the EU left Putin little choice but to invade Ukraine. Many Ukrainians and Russians have their lives turned upside down, and I look forward to unwrapping presents …

Mainstream media report on Ukraine the way they report on corona, journalism no longer the keystone of our democracies. Corona is life-threatening, and the vaccines against it are effective and safe. Putin is bad, and Putin alone – not the failing leaders of our collapsing democracies – is responsible for the trouble we currently face in the West.

In violation of long standing agreements, Nato and the EU advanced toward Russia, speeding up that advance in recent months. That apart, and unlike most Western politicians, Putin refuses to participate in the world revolution instigated by aspiring Western oligarchs, a revolution for which corona is being misused as a catalyst. Putin knows better than any other politician how the quality of life for Joe Public devaluates once capitalism derails, which happens when an elite earns so much it is able to establish an oligarchy.

After the fall of communism and supported by the Western urge to McDonaldize Russia, a group of heavyweights successfully grabbed the big money in Russia. An oligarchy was established, and the quality of Pyotr Public’s life declined below the level it had when he still suffered under the yoke of communism. Pyotr's prospects were grim, the West excelled in indifference, and Putin intervened as he does now in Ukraine.

Over the course of last week, I still cherished the hope that Ukrainian and Russian delegations would by now be sitting around the negotiating table. Putin, after showing his teeth, I'm sure, cherished the same hope. Our hopes are being deceived, Putin’s and mine. Mainstream media refuse to provide insight into what prompted the Russian invasion of Ukraine, refuse to provide insight into the political situation in Ukraine, and refuse to report objectively on Volodymyr Zelensky, president of Ukraine and puppet of the aspiring Western oligarchs. And after Western governments distributed Ukrainian refugees over Europe, on paper and before a Russian soldier set foot on Ukrainian soil, those governments made haste to arm Ukraine, which is as idiotic as sending a bottle of whiskey to a friend in rehab. More idiotic when the governments arming Ukraine exercise the care in doing so as the Dutch government did in Afghanistan and arm, say, the Azov Regiment, a regiment that … van der Lubbe. Why do my thoughts force that name upon me?

Maybe the Dutchman Marinus van der Lubbe set fire to the Reichstag in Berlin in 1933; the conspiracy theory that Nazis did it is more plausible. Anyway, if that building had not gone up in flames, the German Nazi party would have been a footnote in history, and now, fear for corona waning, vaccines against it proving themselves to be negatively effective and unsafe, the aspiring Western oligarchs and the politicians collaborating with them invest in another source of chaos that helps them make sure their world revolution, the great reset, won’t be a footnote in history.

Corona is being misused to catalyze the great reset. Putin refuses to participate in it, but he also catalyzes it, providing the aspiring western oligarchs with an excuse to manipulate the prices of consumer goods and energy and to create scarcities. Added to that, Russia started to buy gold and refuses to accept freshly printed Western money in exchange for those export products the West still buys from Russia. The ruble is stronger than ever, the dollar weaker than ever, and as a result of the latter reality, interest rates will rise in countries indebted to the United States.

Negatively effective and unsafe vaccines against corona, fiat money, and hyperinflation. Small and medium-sized businesses no longer able to repay the financial aid they have been supplied with during the unwarranted corona crisis, refugees, skyrocketing prices of consumer goods and energy, looming scarcities, and rising interest rates. Orchestrated chaos. But we shouldn’t worry. While mainstream media draw our attention to everything our attention should not be drawn to, a new world order takes shape. The day the orchestrated chaos reaches its lowest point, earlier perhaps, the politicians collaborating with the aspiring Western oligarchs will take us by the hand to lead us into that new world order through digital, biometric passports and digital money. The first condition to validate our digital passports – many conditions will follow – is that we are regularly being vaccinated without informed consent, with which a social credit system is also being implemented. And digital money? A must-have, is it not? It would be smart, though, to realize that computers determine where, on what, and when we spend our digital money, and eh… something tells me that if we don't wake up from our corona psychosis, our lives will soon have less quality than Pyotr Public’s life had when he still suffered under the Russian oligarch’s yoke.

It is still dark, the rain now pouring down on Moos and me, fifty more meters to go. Through a window of our caravan, I see Heidi pouring water over the coffee in a filter on the rim of our Stanley thermos. Will I unwrap Penguin Classics in a minute, clothbound? The latest Astérix comic in Spanish? A black sweater from Lacoste with a V-neck? Moos, looking up at me, seems to blame me for walking her in this weather out of selfishness. Moos the woke dog, I think with a chuckle as my vaccinated friends and acquaintances elbow themselves into my thoughts. Where did I get that nonsense about a great reset? Should something like that be real – and if mainstream media don't report on it, it is not – our democracies are strong enough to withstand it. Oh man ...

Democracy! A mere fifteen years ago, the Dutch exported it to the Afghan province of Uruzgan, trying to convince the people living there of its magnificence by harassing them with more bullets, grenades, rockets, and bombs the Russians will ever make use of in Ukraine, misinterpreted walkie-talkie traffic usually enough to instigate a carnage. Our democracies collapsed when their keystones gave way, when journalists decided to not bite the hand that feeds them, decided to supply us with information the way Pravda – truth – supplied Russians with information in communist Russia. And the ruins of our democracies offer an eerie sight now that we have spinelessly and without informed consent participated in a medical experiment from which – is the sad but true truth – we had better distanced ourselves.

Spinelessness and uninformed consent, I realize as I open the door of our caravan, Moos shrugging her way in past my legs, are worthless cornerstones to rebuild a collapsed democracy on. The warmth of our diesel stove. The smell of coffee. Heidi sings a birthday song, I see that one of my presents is so big it must be the kit of the Memphis Belle I’ve wished for so long, and I think of Mikhail Bakunin, a Russian and a refugee like Heidi and I, who once remarked that even a worm turns against the foot crushing it …


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