Yeah, so Vlad Putin is ‘mobilizing’ 300,000 Russian men to serve in his ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine. In fact, he’s probably ordered a much larger conscription; some estimate as many as a million Russian men, mostly from the more rural ethnic regions of Russia.
The vast majority of these conscripts will receive little (or no) training before being deployed. This is a feature of the Russian Army, not a design flaw. The lack of training is a deliberate aspect of Russian military strategy in Ukraine.
You may be thinking, “Greg, old sock, that doesn’t make a lick of sense.” And you’d be right (aside from calling me ‘old sock’ and I don’t know WHY you insist on calling me that) IF we were thinking about any conventional Western military strategy. But the current Russian military approach is built around what they call a Battalion Tactical Group (BTG).
The BTG approach involves a cadre of highly skilled soldiers around which poor quality infantry units can be attached. Different types of unskilled units will be attached to a BTG depending upon the nature of the mission or the condition under which they’re fighting. The unskilled or untrained units serve as a literal meat shield to protect the core of the BTG.
This is how it works. Say you’re a Russian officer and you want to know if there’s an ambush ahead, or if there are tanks in that village. You send the meat shield forward to draw their fire. That exposes the location of the enemy units, allowing the BTG’s artillery to target those positions. It works the same way on defense; station the meat shield in between the advancing Ukrainians and the core BTG; when the conscripts get attacked, the BTG artillery can target Ukrainian attackers more effectively.
It’s hard on the meat shield, to be sure, but it keeps the core of skilled professional troops more or less intact. Since the conscripts require little or no training and, for the most part, aren’t given decent weaponry, the meat shield is easily replaced. Just conscript a few thousand more ethnic peasants, and hey bingo, you’re back in business.
It’s a mistake to think of the effectiveness of the Russian Army in terms of casualties. It’s designed to have high casualty rates. Lots of dead and wounded conscripts are acceptable, so long as they achieve the strategic and tactical goals, and keep the core BTG units relatively secure.
The mobilization of a 300,000 body meat shield will help the Russian Army defend the territory they’ve stolen — for a period of time. Maybe it’ll be enough to get them through the winter, which will give them time to train and reinforce the BTGs. And that will prolong the war.
This, of course, is assuming Putin doesn’t contract ‘high building syndrome’ because of his unpopular war policies. It’s looking more and more like he’s losing control of the nation.
I used to read everything. For years, I always had two books going–a novel and some work of nonfiction. The novels were almost always literary fiction (with the occasional dip into genre fiction); the nonfiction could be anything at all. Plate tectonics, a biography of Isadora Duncan, a history of clocks, the Boer war, a book on beekeeping. Seriously, I’d read anything and I read all the time–two or three books a week. I was basically a book slut.
Over the years, my reading habits have changed. That’s due partly to technology. In 2011, I was given a Nook–the ebook reader developed by Barnes & Noble. I didn’t ask for it and didn’t really want it. I was of the opinion that reading on an electronic device couldn’t be truly satisfying. I believed there was a feel and a scent that belongs to a physical book and it contributes to the reading experience.
Maybe it does. But it doesn’t contribute that much–at least for me. I’ll never go back to reading physical books.
The best thing about e-books is also the worst thing: the ease with which you can buy a book. I absolutely love hearing somebody talk about a book, and being able to buy it and have it in my collection 90 seconds later. I love having all my books with me and easily accessible at any time, wherever I go. I still have a Nook (which, by the way, is terrible tech, but it’s good enough to keep by the bed for late night/early morning reading), but most of my reading is done on a tablet.
Most of my nonfiction reading is now comprised of the weird, interesting, esoteric stuff I can access in online magazines or blogs or websites. The biggest change in my reading habits has been a shift from literary fiction to genre fiction.
This is partly because buying e-books has freed me from the tyranny of cover art. I used to have very strict cover art rules (mostly applied to genre fiction). For example, I would not buy a book with a cover featuring a woman warrior in ‘sexy’ armor. Or a detective in a trench coat. Or a skeleton. Or a goddamn dragon. In fact, I refused to buy a book if it had the word ‘dragon’ in the title.
That changed when a friend whose literary taste I respected, suggested a novel called His Majesty’s Dragon, by Naomi Novik. The title was bad enough, but it also had a dragon on the cover. It was described to me as ‘Jane Austen, but with witty dragons.’ Witty dragons, for fuck’s sake. But buying it online meant I didn’t have to hand the book and my credit card to an actual person, who’d look at me like I was the sort of person who’d buy a book with a dragon on the cover.
The novel turned out to be smart, funny, well-written, full of adventure, completely charming, and the dragon…well, she was witty. Even before I finished reading the novel, I bought the second book in the series (which also had a dragon on the cover).
That novel sort of broke the genre dam. I’ve discovered that the large ideas that drive what I used to think of as ‘serious’ literary fiction also exist in genre fiction–and often in a more accessible form. For example, Novik’s dragon series intelligently examines gender norms, as well as civil rights and liberties–both for women and for dragons. This may sound stupid, but it works.
For the last five years or so, I’ve been reading mostly genre fiction. Now the vast majority of my reading is divided between a metric buttload of genres. Cozy mysteries, hard scifi, detective fiction, mannerpunk, historical fiction, a smattering of fantasy, police procedurals, some urban fantasy, speculative fiction, military scifi, slipstream, almost anything.
But there are exceptions. I’m still reluctant to buy a novel that features elves or dwarves. I’m still skeptical of any novel that deals with magic or the supernatural, unless the writer provides some sort of internally consistent ‘rules’ for how the supernatural stuff works. I’ve written about this before, and I’ll repeat something I said then:
If a writer is only using the supernatural as a convenient way to move the story forward, that writer is not respecting the reader. As far as that goes, the writer isn’t respecting the craft of writing. As goofy as it sounds, ghosts (and the readers of supernatural stories) are better served when the ghosts have rules. It’s really that simple. And by the way, that’s also true for witches, and necromancers, and kitchen boys who inherit magic rings, and vampire librarians, and half-demon private detectives, and travel journalists who find a djinn in an antique bottle, and and and.
I’ve strayed a bit from my point (if you can call it a point–and really, who would be surprised by me straying from it?), which is that e-books have changed what I read. It essentially liberated genre fiction for me; it allowed me to see the great beauty of its flexibility, of its capacity blending ideas and concepts and approaches from different genre forms.
The only problem with e-books is the problem of impulse control. I buy a LOT more books on impulse, which is sometimes a bad idea. I have bought some truly awful novels on impulse. On the other hand, I once bought a novel based entirely on a nine-word blurb (Lesbian necromancers explore a haunted gothic palace in space) and it became one of my favorite books. The cover art was dramatic, but doesn’t do justice to the brilliant and charming complexity of the novel. When I was halfway through Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the Ninth, I wanted to recommend it to a friend. So I did a google search for reviews to help me describe it. The review on NPR said the novel “…is too funny to be horror, too gooey to be science fiction, has too many spaceships and autodoors to be fantasy, and has far more bloody dismemberings than your average parlor romance.” That review leaves out the humor, the fencing, and the love story.
I have friends who continue to limit their reading to serious mainstream literary fiction. I actually feel sort of sorry for them. They’ll never get to meet clever dragons during the Napoleonic wars or lesbian necromancers in space, and their world will be the poorer for it.
Recently Comrade Trump had a radio interview with one of his media flunkies, Hugh Hewitt, during which he commented on his possibleprobable inevitable indictment. He seemed to be balanced between denial that it will happen and making blustery threats about what to expect when it happens. He said,
“I don’t think the people are going to stand for it. […] But I think if it happened, I think you’d have problems in this country the likes of which perhaps we’ve never seen before. I don’t think the people of the United States would stand for it. […] I think they’d have big problems, big problems. I just don’t think they’d stand for it. They will not, they will not sit still and stand for this ultimate of hoaxes.”
I suspect Trump is fantasizing his indictment will spark massive demonstrations across the nation, demonstrations that will turn violent. He’s probably imagining hundreds of mini-1/6 insurrections, in which his fans will rise up and terrorize the government into returning him to power. Fantasies of young, virile white guys wearing polo shirts carrying torches through the streets at night, chanting his name; white folks in camo with ALICE packs they bought on Amazon, holding Trump flags and storming the local city hall.
That, I suspect, is his fantasy. His actual hopes are probably smaller — like keeping enough power to bully GOP politicians and being able to continue scamming yobbos, gits, and idjits out of large chunks of their Social Security checks.
That said, Trump is probably sorta kinda right. There will be problems when he gets indicted. Because many of his fans are fucking QAnon lunatics. Sure, there’ll be protests and marches, but when Trump gets indicted, there’ll probably also be some incidents of stochastic terrorism. Some may be well-planned and organized, but most will likely be slipshod and stupid — like that already-forgotten fuckwit who decided to storm the FBI office in Cincinnati.
But yeah, there’ll be some violence. And yeah, some folks will get hurt. Some people may die. Which will give Comrade Trump a momentary jolt of dopamine, because he enjoys cruelty and loves the notion that there are people who’ll commit violence in his name. It may make him feel worthy for a short time. But it won’t change anything.
I’m confident Trump will be indicted eventually. I have no idea if he’ll ever face trial. If he faces trial, I’m not confident he’ll get an impartial jury. But if he does, I’m pretty certain an impartial jury would probably convict him. Even if he’s tried and convicted, it seems unlikely he’ll do any time. Not just because he’s former POTUS, but because he’s rich and old and in shitty health.
Among the many awful things Trump has done, is this: he’s made us all a bit more cruel too. Not just his fans and followers, who may be prone to cruelty anyway, but those of us who generally aren’t cruel by nature. Many ordinarily decent people will take perverse pleasure in Trump’s disgrace and humiliation.
I know I will. I’m not happy about that. I’m actually ashamed of it. But there it is.
Comrade Trump predicts/threatens big problems when he’s indicted? We already have big problems. He’s the source of many of them.
This happened last night at Comrade Trump’s rally in Ohio. I’m hearing it’s either some sort of QAnon salute (you know, that whole ‘where we go one, we go all’ bullshit) or some sort of obscure but not recent Nazi thing. Whatever it is, it’s fucking weird and more than a little unnerving. In any event, it seems pretty obvious that Trump is priming the pump so that when he’s indicted (and yeah, I said when, not if) this crowd will respond with unfocused stochastic violence. A cult that believes Trump is the central figure in a secret war against an international Satanic cabal of pedophiles is capable of just about anything so long as it doesn’t require focus or logic.
Second, I generally have a low cuteness tolerance. But for some reason I’m ridiculously fond of public gardens that have — and this is difficult for me to admit — little pixies scattered around in the shrubbery. Not a LOT of pixies, on account of that would be cuteness overload, but just a few quietly concealed among the plants and pathways. I mean, a person should be able to walk through the garden and not see any of the wee creatures at all, but knowing that there may be a few of them there, lurking cutely, waiting to be spotted — well, that’s probably a good thing.
This ornament is about the size of my thumb (which, I assume, is an average sized thumb). I don’t know if these are actually pixies or fairies or some other mini-supernatural being. I’m sure there’s a taxonomy for these things, and there’s bound to be some internet database detailing the differences between pixies and fairies, but I can’t research it because, as I said, I have a low tolerance for cuteness.
Third, I keep getting credited by friends for the phrase Jesus suffering fuck. I wish I could take credit for it, but I first heard it used by Billy Connolly, the Scottish actor/comedian. He said he’d first heard the phrase in Glasgow. So my guess is it’s likely something somebody uttered in a pub when confronted with something impossibly, ruinously stupid.
As an expression, it’s close to perfect. It just rolls well off the tongue. Jesus suffering fuck. There’s a purity to it, a unity; a complete protein comprised of equal parts of the poetic and the profane. I try to use it deliberately but sparingly. I mean, you don’t want to bring your Amati to a hoedown, but you still need to use it regularly to maintain the harmonics.
Fourth, I was thinking about the hateful and profoundly idiotic stunt in which the governor of Florida thought it would be clever to spend state funds to hire a plane to fly Venezuelan immigrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, but then I let myself get distracted by a less obvious question: who in the hell was Martha?
She was either the mother-in-law or (more likely) the deceased daughter of Bartholomew Gosnold. This guy, I declare. He was born in Suffolk, England in born in 1571, graduated from the University of Cambridge, studied law, but decided he’d rather go sailing. In 1602, he took a 39-foot bark crewed by 32 men and sailed to the coast of Maine where, and I am NOT making this up, he was met on the beach by a native wearing imported European shoes and pants. That’s 1602, and Europeans had already begun fucking up the local culture.
In any event, Gosnold and his crew worked their way south, spent some time fishing (they were the folks who decided on the name Cape Cod because of…well, the cod they caught) and stayed for a couple of days on an island where they ate strawberries. Gosnold named the island after his mother-in-law/deceased daughter (pick one, they were both named Martha), then moved on. After about six weeks in the area, during which they loaded up their ship’s hold with furs, cedar wood, and sassafras (which was exceedingly profitable because it was thought to be a cure for syphilis), they sailed home. Eighteen years later, the Mayflower followed Gosnold’s route to Massachusetts, thereby establishing the conditions for four centuries of Europeans fucking over the natives.
I doubt any of the Venezuelan immigrants know that story. If they heard it, I’d like to think they’d look at each other and say, “Jesus suffering fuck.” Only, you know, in Spanish.
— So, did you see where Trump tweeted that the Queen had knighted him in secret and he didn’t tell anybody? — Fake. — Well, yeah, of course it is. Wait, hold on… — What? — Are you saying it’s fake that Trump was knighted in secret? Or that the tweet itself is fake? — See, this is what Trump has done. He’s fucked with the entire notion of capital T Truth. Now we can’t even have a conversation because we have to stop and do reality checks on stuff that ought to be obvious, but isn’t anymore. Because everything is nuts. — Well, yeah, but…wait, what? — The tweet is…and, I mean it’s not even a ‘tweet’ is it, since the fucker got himself kicked off Twitter. — Yeah, but calling it a ‘Truth’ is so fuckin’ stupid that I can’t bring myself to do it. — Agreed, so okay, we’ll call it a tweet even though it’s not. — Okay, good. Where were we? — We were at ‘what’s fake’. — Right. Continue.
— The tweet itself is fake. And the fake tweet’s claim is fake as well. — It’s a lie in a lie, yeah. But it’s also the sort of boneheaded stupid lie that Trump might actually make in the hope that somebody might think it’s true. I mean, it’s possible to believe it would be true for Trump to make that sort of lie. — Yes. Maybe? I think you’re right, if I understood what you said. — I’m saying ‘The Queen made me a knight in secret and I didn’t tell anybody’ is sort of believable as a lie that Trump would tell. — … — Right? — I’m still working through that. — … — Yeah, okay. Yes. I’m pretty sure I agree with that. What was the original question? — Fuck if I can remember. — You wanted to know if I saw that Tweet? — Did you? — I did. Why? — … — … — I don’t remember. I think I was trying to make a point. About…something. — Fuckin’ Trump… — … — You want to talk about the new Game of Throne thing? — … — I haven’t seen it. — Nor have I. — Maybe we should just sit here and drink quietly for a bit. — There’s a new Lord of the Rings thing too. — … — … — Didn’t we used to have actual conversations about, you know…stuff? — … — … — Fuckin’ Trump. The very mention of his name has the power to kill conversation.
Most etymologists agree that ‘fan’ is a shortening of fanatic. But ‘fanatic’ comes from the Latin fanaticus, meaning “mad, inspired by a god.” This, in turn, is derived from fanum, meaning “a temple, shrine, or consecrated place.” In the 1880s, when the newly-invented game of baseball began to catch on, the term fan became associated with sports. It now applies to any form of entertainment. Fans are basically crazy people.
Here’s the important distinction between being a fan and being a supporter: fandom is about passion based on faith and group identity; support is grounded in agreement. Supporters encourage and promote a person (or a group or a cause) because they share the views of what that person is doing, with what that group believes, with that cause. Fans support a person (or a group or a cause) because of who they believe that person (or group or cause) is.
For example, nobody supports the Chicago Cubs because they agree with the team, or because they share the team’s beliefs, or because they agree with the Cubbie’s cause. The team (as opposed to individual players) doesn’t have a cause. The Cubs exist to play baseball–that’s it. Cubs fans love the Cubs because they’re the Cubs. Maybe it has to do with the city of Chicago, or because of the team’s history, or because of a specific player (who doesn’t love Ernie Banks?), or even because of the friendly confines their iconic stadium. The reason for fandom isn’t as important as the fact of fandom.
Back in the 1990s, a researcher named Daniel Wann created a Sport Spectator Identification Scale–a series of questions to determine how deeply sports fans are invested in a team. He found strong correlations between identification with a team and a fan’s 1) self-esteem, 2) belief in the trustworthiness of others, 3) belief that the depth of one’s support can influence the outcome of a game, 4) consumptive behavior (the willingness to spend money, wait in line, consume media related to the team), 5) willingness to anonymously injure an opposing team player/coach, and 6) willingness to anonymously cheat to help one’s team.
Here’s a True Thing: Comrade Trump has few actual supporters; but he’s got a very large fan base. Trump fans aren’t all that different from sports fans. True fans (as opposed to weekend fans) will frequently change their lives to accommodate their fandom. They feel a powerful need to publicly demonstrate their membership in the fan base. They join clubs with other fans, they prefer to associate with other fans. They attend events (rallies, speeches, conventions, games). They wear hats and jerseys and scarfs to identify themselves as fans. They adorn their vehicles with fan stickers. Some will even fly flags showing their allegiance. They’re often loud and obnoxious in their support; they’re often louder and more obnoxious in their opposition to competing figures/teams.
Trump fans aren’t supporters of Trump’s beliefs (if he has any) or his political or religious ideology (if he has any) or his policies (if he has any); they’re fans of Trump his ownself. They want Trump to win, of course, but the thing about fan loyalty is that it doesn’t require winning. True fans (as opposed to fair weather fans) will continue to support a losing team; they’ll rationalize the losses (the referees are incompetent or corrupt, the home office is failing the team, the other teams cheat). Fans will even defend their team if/when it’s accused of cheating–even when there’s undeniable evidence of cheating. At the very least, they’ll justify the cheating.
When reporters ask people who attend Trump rallies, “How can you continue to support Trump when he has (fill in the blank with something awful and inexcusable)?” the answer lies in fandom, not reason or logic. And that’s a really big problem. Why? Because it’s almost impossible for a Cubs fan to stop being fans of the Chicago Cubs. That’s also true for Trump fans.
Remember this: groups of passionate sports fans can turn violent. Hell, the most common form of group violence among white men is the sports riot. This is true whether their team wins or loses. After the Detroit Tigers beat the San Diego Padres in the 1984 World Series, Detroit fans celebrated by a riot that left one person dead, eighty injured, and millions of dollars in property damage (the eight rapes that took place are often overlooked, because capitalism and misogyny place more value on property). The same thing happened in Chicago when the Chicago Bulls basketball team won the NBA final in 1991 (and again in 1992, and also in 1993, not to mention 1996 and 1997). We’ve seen similar sports riots in every nation with a passion for sports.
When asked why they rioted, sports fans usually claim they just got caught up in the moment. Which is also the most common excuse given by the January 6th insurrectionists.
That sort of unreasoned, passionate fan loyalty (and subsequent willingness to get ‘caught up in the moment’) applies to Trump fans. That’s scary in itself. It’s even more scary considering a LOT of Trump’s true fans are also true fans of the Second Amendment. The only thing worse than than a rabid fan is a rabid fan with a gun.
In yet another episode in the continuing saga of Whiny-ass Complaints of Butt-hurt MAGA Fuckwits we learn there are people who are offended by the notion that elves aren’t necessarily White People. Seriously. This idiotic fuss is about the new Lord of the Rings prequel that has apparently just been released (see Editorial Note at the end).
“Casting a non-White actor to play an elf makes it more difficult for audiences to maintain their willing suspension of belief.”
No, it doesn’t. Casting a non-white actor to play an elf makes it more difficult for racist assholes to maintain their willing suspension of disbelief. The quote above was, according to CNN, from Louis Markos, who is apparently the author of From A to Z to Middle Earth with J.R.R. Tolkien.
This Markos guy gets at least three things wrong. First, of course, is he misquotes Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s phrase– the willing suspension of disbelief. Back in 1817, Coleridge suggested that if a writer introduced “‘human interest and a semblance of truth’ into a fantastic tale, the reader would suspend judgement concerning the implausibility of the narrative.” This is why television viewers were willing to watch 12 seasons of Murder, She Wrote–they were willing to suspend their disbelief that Jessica Fletcher encountered more than 250 murders in the small Maine village of Cabot Cove. All fiction depends to some degree on the reader/viewer’s willing suspension of disbelief.
Second, Markos says casting actors of color as elves threatens the story’s ‘believability’ because Tolkien described elves as “fair-faced.” The term fair comes from the Old English term fæger, which when applied to living things meant “pleasing to the eye, attractive” and when applied to weather meant “clear, bright, pleasant”. Tolkien, remember, was an academic who studied Old English and Anglo-Saxon literature, and had at one time worked for the Old English Dictionary as an expert in etymology. He knew what ‘fair’ meant and how it applied to faces. Markos clearly doesn’t. Or–and I suppose this is a real possibility–he simply doesn’t believe non-White folks can be pleasing to the eye. It’s fucked up either way.
Third, Markos claims casting actors of color “…is not something organic that’s coming out of Middle-earth. This is really an agenda that is being imposed upon it.” He’s almost got a point here. Almost. Tolkien’s Middle-earth is based on the Norse Miðgarðr, which they broadly described as the world “inhabited by and known to humans.” In the literature, Miðgarðr actually referred to the defensive wall around the world constructed by the gods from the eyebrows of the giant Ymir (which, by the way, requires some serious fucking suspension of disbelief). But Tolkien used Middle-earth to describe an imaginary period of the Earth’s past when peoples other than Men (elves, dwarves, trolls, hobbits, orcs, ents, etc.) still inhabited the planet, although in dwindling numbers. His Middle-earth did sort of correspond to western Europe in terms of geography.
But to my knowledge, there’s nothing Tolkien wrote to suggest peoples other than Men (and Tolkien used ‘Men’ to refer to all humankind) were necessarily White. I mean, we’re talking about elves here. If you can’t deal with Black or Asian or Indonesian or pick-a-race elves, then the problem isn’t your capacity to suspend disbelief. The problem is you’re a racist asshole.
EDITORIAL NOTE: I haven’t seen the show I’m talking about, which ordinarily would be a problem. But in this instance, the show itself is less important than the books on which the story is based and the credentials of the person who wrote them. I haven’t been inclined to watch the show, mainly because I had the misfortune of watching the first of Peter Jackson’s wretched interpretation of The Hobbit. That was enough to eradicate any desire to see any new visualization of Tolkien’s work.
But I’m actually hearing good things about this show from people who were as skeptical about it as I was. So at some point I’ll probably watch it.
Also? I usually like to include an image in these blog posts, and I did a quick image search for Rings of Power and saw some images of POC in costume, but since I couldn’t see their ears I’ve no idea if they were meant to be elves or something else. I didn’t want to just drop in some random image of a Black actor who may or may not be an elf, so…no image.
EDITORIAL NOTE 2: Thanks to Mark Alexander, we now have an imbedded image to demonstrate…well, I’m not exactly sure what it demonstrates. That actors of color can play non-human roles in fantasy stories? We already knew that. I guess it demonstrates just how fucking idiotic it is for racists to get frantic about Black actors getting gigs as elves.
Here’s a true thing: back in 2019, a Chinese ‘businesswoman’ named Yujing Zhang was caught wandering around Mar-a-Lago carrying some unidentified electronic equipment and two different passports. She was eventually stopped by a random receptionist.
Another true thing: a woman calling herself Anna de Rothschild showed up at Mar-a-Lago driving a $170,000 Mercedes. She visited the resort often, attended several ‘functions’, and was photographed larking about with both Sen. Lindsey Graham and Comrade Trump his ownself. We now know her name is Inna Yashchyshyn; a Russian-speaking Ukrainian immigrant.
These women almost certainly weren’t spies. They were probably just grifters. But the fact that they were able to infiltrate and roam around Mar-a-Lago shows how shoddy the security was. And probably still is. I’m talking about the security of the facility itself. The security of the former president is handled by the Secret Service; their only concern about the resort is how it affects Trump’s physical safety. They’re bodyguards, not counter intelligence operatives.
Here’s another true thing: we only learn about the incompetent spies, or the spies who are unlucky. We only hear about the spies who get caught. There are undoubtedly agents and assets of hostile (and friendly) foreign nations noodling around Mar-a-Lago. They’d be foolish NOT to be.
One more true thing: in October of last year–eight months after Comrade Trump moved to Mar-a-Lago–the CIA sent a cable to every single CIA station warning there had been a sudden a rash of CIA informants and assets in hostile countries (particularly China, Russia, Iran, and Pakistan) who’d been compromised, captured, arrested, or killed. It also warned that some informants and assets may have been turned, and may now be double agents. These informants and assets were vanishing in different adversarial countries at the same time, rather than a single geographical area. That suggests it wasn’t simply a local breach in security; it suggests somebody with access to high level worldwide internal CIA operations had exposed those assets and informants. The British Security Services apparently suspected there may be a ‘super mole’ in the CIA.
And still another true thing: among the many classified documents seized at Mar-a-Lago were some labeled HSC-P and HSC-O. HSC refers to HUMINT Control System. Human intelligence. That’s spy stuff. HSC-P refers to the product of an intelligence operation–the stuff the spies learned. HSC-O refers to the operation itself. What the spies did (and possibly still are doing) to obtain the product.
Just to be clear, I’m NOT saying that CIA informants and assets were compromised and killed in hostile nations because 1) Mar-a-Lago is an attractive soft target for spies from hostile nations and 2) because Trump’s ignorance of and lack of concern about security issues made spying easier there, and 3) because highly classified documents pertaining to human intelligence operations were left in non-secure venues of Mar-a-Lago. Those things may NOT be linked at all.