Review: Promoting Peace with Information–Transparency as a Tool of Security Regimes

4 Star, Diplomacy, Information Operations, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, United Nations & NGOs
Peace Info
Amazon Page

4.0 out of 5 stars Valid Conclusions, Original, Missed Important Other Works

August 1, 2007

Dan Lindley

Information Peacekeeping and Peacekeeping Intelligence are topics of great importance to me, and I have been writing about them since the mid-1990’s, while also publishing several books on the topic and reading others, all easily found on Amazon and listed below. Hence I was most disappointed in the overly academic nature of the book.

I reduce it by one star because it does not focus on the transparency needed among predatory immoral corporations as well as covert operations by the United States and others that poison the well and retard possibilities for peace, and because while it is an original work and offers very valuable primary research in the form of numerous interviews, it completely missed the work done between the Brahimi Report and this book’s publication.

The book discusses four kinds of transparency:
1) Cooperative (both formal and informal)
2) Ambient
3) Coerced
4) Unilateral (intelligence, confrontational, and proferred)

The author concludes that information is power and that the United Nations continues to be reluctant or unwilling to use this power (I would add that the US military has the same problem–commanders are spending 80% of their time on intelligence & information operations (I2O) but less than one percent of the staff and budget are assigned to this vital mission).

The author identifies the following impediments to UN success in information operations:
1) Staffing not there
2) Doctrine and procedures lacking
3) Bureacratic intertia
4) Continued fear of “intelligence” as evil instead of decision support

The author concludes that United Nations operations of all kinds could benefit from and be more effective if:
1) More information was collected and analyzed, and then shared
2) Transparency operations were an advanced form of presence beyond patrols and static monitoring–a pro-active form of UN operations
3) Strategic communications (the author appears unfamiliar with the term) are mounted against hate-mongering (the first stage of genocide).

The author focuses on information transparency, but does not appear to see budget transparency as one of the most important means of validating policies and beliefs. “It’s not real until it’s in the budget” is a phrase taught to me by the former custodian of all national security funds in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and I have come to the conclusion that transparency of budgets at all levels is the non-negotiable pre-condition for restoring the trust and engagement of all people in their own governance.

The author does recognize the excellent work published previously,
Peacekeeping and Public Information: Caught in the Crossfire (Cass Series on Peacekeeping, 5)

Below are books that complement this one and that are not, as best I can tell, drawn on in this work:

Intelligence Power in Peace and War
Intelligence Services in the Information Age (Studies in Intelligence Series)
Peacekeeping Intelligence: Emerging Concepts for the Future
Information Operations: All Information, All Languages, All the Time
Peacekeeping Intelligence New Players, Extended Boundaries (Studies in Intelligence)
The New Craft of Intelligence: Personal, Public, & Political–Citizen’s Action Handbook for Fighting Terrorism, Genocide, Disease, Toxic Bombs, & Corruption

The following book, at $150, is grotesquely over-priced, but the content, should it ever be more ethically available, appears worthy:
Intelligence for Peace: The Role of Intelligence in Times of Peace (Cass Series on Peacekeeping, 5)

Readers may also wish to search online for:
VIRTUAL INTELLIGENCE: Conflict Avoidance and Resolution Through Information Peacekeeping as published by the US Institute of Peace online
Information Peacekeeping: The Purest Form of War

I also understand that the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) is moving forward with concepts and doctrine for harmonizing the many Joint Military Analysis Centers that MajGen Patrick Cammaert, NL RN inspired during his tour as Military Advisor to the Secretary General. Separately, I am advancing an effort to engage 120 nations in a discussion of Multinational Information Sharing to be institutionalized through an Office of Information Sharing Treaties and Agreements within any diplomatic service. It is slow going, but this book is another helpful stone in the road to peace through information.

Vote on Review
Vote on Review