2004 21st Century Intelligence: A History from the Future

Briefings & Lectures

Robert David STEELE Vivas 4 Jun 04 Keynote to International Intelligence History Association (Graz, Austria) FINAL 1.6 dated 30 May 2004 RTF 9 Pages: Steele IIHA Keynote 21st Century Intelligence FINAL RTF

21st Century Intelligence: A History from the Future

Robert David STEELE Vivas

Let me begin by paying tribute to two historians, five realists, and one futurist.

Will & Ariel Durant, in The Lessons of History, provide an executive summary of their life’s work, and I will begin by summing up their lessons.  

o   Geography matters.

o   Inequality is natural.

o   Famine, pestilence, and war are Nature's way of balancing the population.

o   Birth control (or not) has *strategic* implications (e.g. see Catholic strategy versus US and Russian neglect of replenishment among the higher social and economic classes).

o   History is color-blind. Morality is strength. This is worth saying again: morality is strength.  Immoral capitalism and immoral US policy are threats to US survival.

John Lewis Gaddis, in The Landscape of History, is bluntly critical of the political science and social science communities, branding them with an inability to engage in methodical research or articulation. 

He tells us that history is a “denied area” when we combine our current lack of appreciation of history across all the disciplines, with our long track record of disdain for religion and culture as fundamental aspects of the total intelligence picture. I agree with him, and believe that we must recognize that we have created many “virtual denied areas” for ourselves, Islam being but one of many. 

He provides us with a historian’s handbook for analytic tradecraft, addressing his methods

  • in detecting larger patterns of the period being studied;
  • distinguishing between the larger reality being studied and the representations of reality actually available to the student;
  • the art of distillation and emphasis; the many trade-offs that must be made in depicting reality;
  • the manipulation of time and space with the advantage of being able to see distant places simultaneously but the disadvantage of having fragmentary and conflicting depictions to work with;
  • the craft of historical selectivity and shifting of scale to paint a picture as much as to document with scientific rigor;
  • the use of abstraction as a relative truth, accepting that with all the objectivity possible, there is no such thing as absolute truth;
  • how to create a theory of relationships among people, places, things, and events; and–skipping over many other points of tradecraft—
  • how at the end of it all, the historian must be compelling in their presentation of the information.

He ends by defining the value of history: “to interpret the past for the purposes of the present with a view to managing the future.”  History is the foundation for teaching; for balance in society and between societies; and the foundation for wisdom and maturity.

Now for a quick look at five realists whose work defines what I think of as “lost history.”  I refer to the failure of most historians to calculate the actual social and economic costs of unintelligent foreign and security policies.  The Cold War, the oil and economic coups d’etat managed by the CIA, the Central American misadventures, and most recently, 9-11 and Iraq.  We have little time, so I refer you to my extended reviews at Amazon, and here honor each of these realists with a short summary.

Derek Leebaert, in Fifty-Year Wound: The Price of America’s Cold War Victory, teaches us that the Cold War glorified certain types of institutions, personalities, and attitudes, and points out that we paid a very heavy cost–much as General and President Eisenhower tried to warn us–in permitting our society to be bound by weaponry, ideology, and secrecy.

Chalmers Johnson, in Sorrows of EMPIRE: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic, examines the cost of American militarism and unilateralism.  Absent a radical reverse, he tells us, four really bad things will happen to America: 1) it will be in a state of perpetual war, inspiring more terrorism than it can defeat in passing; 2) there will be a loss of democracy and constitutional rights; 3) truthfulness in public discourse will be replaced by propaganda and disinformation; and 4) we will be bankrupt.

Donald Vandergriff et al., in Spirit, Blood and Treasure: The American Cost of Battle in the 21st Century, tell us that the U.S. military machine, consuming today over $500 billion a year of our hard-earned dollars, is not connected to reality and has no strategy.  The books are crooked, and the enormous “black” or secret parts of the budget lack accountability, increase costs, and encourage unethical behavior.

Robert Parry, author of LOST HISTORY: Contras, Cocaine, The Press & Project Truth, deserves to be credited with the term “lost history.”  I served on the Central American Task Force of which he writes, and was myself completely unaware, from the inside, of the degree to which the contras were characterized by drug-running, money-laundering, corruption, rape, torture, routine murders, and perhaps worst of all, total incompetence and ineffectiveness.

Finally, I cannot end this brief tour without reference to the most decorated Marine Corps officer in history, General Smedley Butler, whose book, WAR IS A RACKET, makes the point that the U.S. military—regardless of how decent and honorable its individual members are—is  largely in the service of immoral capitalists.  I offer this quote from the past, and suggest you connect it to the present in Iraq:

“I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914.  I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in.  I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street.  The record of racketeering is long.  I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912.  I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916.  In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.”  [p. 10]

Stewart Brand, in contrast, is a futurist.  The Clock of the Long Now: Time and Responsibility: The Ideas Behind the World's Slowest Computer, is about reframing the way people–the entire population of the Earth–think, moving them from the big now toward the Long Here, taking responsibility for acting as it every behavior will impact on the 10,000 year long timeframe.

This book is in the best traditions of our Native American forebears (as well as other cultures with a long view), always promoting a feedback-decision loop that carefully consideres the impact on the “seventh generation.” That's 235 years or so, or more.

The author has done a superb job, drawing on the thinking of others, in considering the deep deep implications for mankind of thinking in time (a title popularized, brilliantly, by Ernest May and Richard Neustadt of Harvard), while adding his own integrative and expanding ideas.

He joins Lee Kuan Yew, brilliant and decades-long grand-father of Asian prosperity and cohesiveness, in focusing on culture and the long-term importance of culture as the glue for patience and sound long-term decision-making. His focus on the key principles of longevity, maintainability, transparency, evolvability, and scalability harken back to his early days as the editor of the Whole Earth Review (and Catalog) and one comes away from this book feeling that Stewart Brand is indeed the “first pilot” of Spaceship Earth.

It is not possible and would be inappropriate to try to summarize all the brilliant insights in this work. From the ideas of others to his own, from the “Responsibility Record” to using history as a foundation for dealing with rapid change, to the ideas for a millennium library to the experienced comments on how to use scenarios to reach consensus among conflicted parties as to mutual interests in the longer-term future, this is–the word cannot be overused in this case–an extraordinary book from an extraordinary mind.

This book is essential reading for every citizen-voter-taxpayer, and ends with an idea for holding politicians accountable for the impact of their decisions on the future.

This is the book that sets the stage for the history of the future.   There are many other books I have reviewed, books about the costs of secrecy, books about the immorality of capitalism and the costs of the corporate system that lacks accountability, books about the urgency of adopting ecological economics and respecting the social costs of producing certain goods, books about emerging threats, why people hate Americans, and what we should do about it.  I would be glad if you had time to read my 450+ reviews at Amazon.

I end my introduction with the observation that we will never be wise until we can do two things with history: first, reveal the secret history—in the US, the official diplomatic history is officially “incomplete” because CIA refuses to declassify very old documents essential to understanding the 1960’s and 1970’s—and second, integrate and compare histories from different cultural perspectives. 

At least 80% if not 90% of what can be known to arrive at multi-cultural historical reviews, for example of the competing Chinese, Vietnamese, Philippine, and American points of view with respect to the Spratley Islands, is not digital and in some cases is not openly available.  Most of our history, however, is not secret as much as it is neglected, unharvested, and thus unavailable for examination with our wondrous new tools. 

History is the foundation for modern intelligence, and I begin by paying tribute to each of you, historians that you are.

First, the Chronology from 2004 to 2020

2004    Nov Bush wins as Kerry and Nader split vote, one third of Americans do not vote

2005    Jan   Bush announces universal draft, Americans begin fleeting to Canada

            Feb  Bush announces a blockade of Syria and Iran

            Mar  Soviet Spetznatz nuclear suitcase bomb detonated in Australia

            Apr  Northern Malaysia/Southern Thailand explode, Indonesia in revolution again

            May Central Asia: three “secret” US SOF bases overrun, every American killed

            Jun   Pakistan “loses” Agosta 90B sub, nuclear missile destroys US  HQ Bahrain

            Jul    Bush declares total war on everyone, Joe & Jane Sixpack begin to worry

            Aug Massive exodus from US of both foreign nationals and college age students

            Sep  US Colleges see 40% fewer students, students arrested at borders & jailed

            Oct  Bush begins to act erratically, is no longer seen in public

            Nov Cheney declares martial law, orders tax increases, stock market tumbles

            Dec  Europe declares all Americans persona non grata, followed by Asia

2006    Economic depression descends on America, impacts on Europe & Asia

            Riots in the streets, with burning of several Federal buildings across America

            Cheney suspends Congressional elections, extends incumbents to keep majority

            FBI closes MoveOn, MeetUp, and other sites as “comforting the enemy”

            American underground emerges, using Napster, steganographics, other means

            Federal representatives begin to be assassinated across America

            10 million man march begins against Washington—hundreds killed/jailed enroute

            US troops overseas mutiny, commit suicide, or go into slow motion disobedience

            UN declares US to be a failed state, moves headquarters to Geneva

2007   The People’s Government of the United States convenes in New Zealand

            Europe sponsors The Voice of Europe and places it at disposal of PGUS

            US airlines and US shipping industry collapse, ports and airports close

            Democratic Senators and Congressmen are jailed by Republicans or are fugitives

            Africa comes to its senses—Libya, Nigeria, South Africa lead a renaissance

            In Asia, Malaysia leads a Pacific Muslim Confederation that chooses peace

            Russia invades Central Asia with help from China and India

            India invades Pakistan, with help from Iran and China

            From Los Angeles to Las Vegas, water stops flowing, aquifers dry up, cities die

2008    Cheney attempts to suspend Presidential elections, is locked up by Secret Service

            Head of the Secret Service assumes temporary control of US Government

            PGUS is offered control of airwaves, sends small delegation to DC

            All US media are nationalized and begin operating under people’s committees

            Peaceful election of delegates to a Constitutional Convention is held quickly

            Constitutional Convention, with all media broadcasting, and Internet votes, held

            Interim coalition government with all parties in Cabinet is formed

            Peaceful election of new Congressional representatives is held

2009  Europe terminates NATO, UN invited to reconstitute NATO as UNForceComHQ

          UN invites PGUS to a global summit chaired by J.F. Rischard of the World Bank

          PGUS agrees to reduce defense spending by $250B/year, redirect to world peace

          World Bank agrees to become the World Knowledge Bank, activates Seven Tribes

          Plague wipes out half the population in Arabia, Central Africa, and South America

          Forest fires in Amazonia and US mountain region replicate Indonesian fires

          Millions of Americans march into Canada and Mexico, or sail to Cuba

          Global state of emergency is declared—all non-essential production stopped

2010  Religious summit is held in Kuala Lumpur, hosted by moderate Muslims

          RULE ONE:  Golden Rule is reaffirmed as the basis for civilized society

          RULE TWO: public interests require public intelligence

          RULE THREE: public interests come before private interests

          RULE FOUR:   corporations will no longer have personalities, are liable for actions

          RULE FIVE: Governments will serve the people and destroy the gangs

          RULE SIX: Only legitimate governments may receive trade and aid

          Religious summit is followed immediately by Global Government Summit

o   44 dictators are invited, subject to accepting a five year plan to retire

o   Internet is confirmed as the primary vehicle for all official communications

o   Open spectrum, open source software, open source intelligence are triad

o   Seven issues are selected for immediate global action at every level

o   For each issue, all known information is digitized and publicly available

o   Virtual budgets are created for each issue

2011  Peace reigns around the world.  Outlaws and terrorists are turned in daily.

2012  The Internet is available to every person on the planet, with free education

2013  Every person is part of local, provincial, national, regional, & global governance

2014  Corruption is eliminated through open banking & transactional transparency

2015  35 dictators transfer power peacefully, the other 9 are arrested by their own people

2016  Religion and the humanities are reaffirmed as essential to science & governance

2017  Universal public health care, preventive medicine, and fair labor laws are the norm

2018  Moral capitalism and faith-based diplomacy and consensus conferencing rule all

2019  Deserts begin to recede, forests re-emerge, cities disperse, cultures blossom

2020  Mohammed and Jesus return to Earth in a global vision that touches every person.

Second, an overview of the seven tribes, seven standards, seven issues

So, how is it that we had this history?  There are several key ingredients.

God, and there is a God, knew that the greatest threat to world peace was apathy.

Visionaries and alarmists were not succeeding at establishing common sense action.

George Bush the Second was right—God did speak to him—but God was using him.

The anti-Christ was not Saddam Hussein, but George Bush the Second.

Only an out-of-control America could frighten the entire world into common sense.

However, a scary dangerous America was not enough.  The Internet was not enough.  What was needed to break through the religious, national, cultural, economic, and other obstacles to HUMANITAS was a framework within which people of diverse backgrounds could come together for their mutual benefit.

I call this framework the “seven tribes, seven standards, seven issues.”  I will not discuss them, only list them, with the hope that each of you will be inspired to return home and begin a local monthly meeting of the seven tribes using www.osint.meetup.com.  You can be a host, announce your interest, or be an anonymous observer.

The seven tribes are these:

  • National
  • Military
  • Law Enforcement
  • Business
  • Academic
  • NGO-Media—what I call the Ground Truth Tribe
  • Citizens—including labor unions, religions, and civil societies not acting at NGOs

I have created lapel pins for each of these seven tribes, but given journalists their own orange color instead of the NGO color so as not to dilute the value of neutral NGOs.

The seven standards where we must devise generic sources and methods of equal value to all seven tribes, and in this way enable all seven tribes to share the cost, knowledge, and time burden of monitoring all open sources around the world, in all languages, all the time are these:

  • Collection or global data capture in all languages and all mediums
  • Processing or data mining but with geospatial as well as time reference attributes
  • Analytic tool-kits that require breaking the back of Microsoft to get open APIs
  • Analytic tradecraft including multi-cultural and historical methods of analysis
  • Defensive security & counterintelligence including online security for everyone
  • Overt action metrics and methods for coordinating volunteer and funded labor
  • Mind-set standards to establish good leadership, training, & organizational culture

The seven issues, and here I credit J. F. Rischard but also Tom Atlee, Paul Ray, E. O. Wilson, Herman Daly, and many others I review at Amazon.com, are these:

  • First, a commitment to co-intelligence—creating the world brain in action
  • Second, a commitment to democracy through faith and consensus
  • Third, an absolute commitment to a global Digital Marshall Plan—Access for All
  • Fourth, a commitment to ecological economics—pricing goods to the value of life
  • Fifth, a commitment to equal education for all, in both humanities & science
  • Sixth, a commitment to public health and preventive medicine
  • Seventh, a commitment to moral rules of the road—an end to corruption

I did not emphasize these points in my retrospective history of global disorder and the global renaissance, but the renaissance would not have been possible without the seven tribes using the seven standards and focusing on the seven issues—initially, at least in the United States, being forced to operate in a quasi-clandestine fashion because of federal government efforts to put revolutionary thought leaders in jail, and the deliberate denial by the US corporate media of all funded advertising and information that ran counter to the criminal nexus among the White House, Wall Street, and selected multinational corporations that in the aggregate, make the North Korean and Saudi Arabian criminal government networks look like minor-league shop-lifting.  The Americans—and here I refer only to the criminal elite, not to the tens of millions of good-hearted but naïve Americans—are not just stealing a few items from the store, they are stealing the store and the ground it is built upon as well as the gold beneath the ground.

This is my vision.

In five years’ time it will be fashionable for each of you to see yourself as a member of one of the seven tribes, and to wear a pin such as I am wearing, a pin that instantly connects you to strangers who share our vision, our values, our commitment to saving the future by learning from history and making history through intelligence in action.  We cannot have sound public policy without sound public intelligence, and it is to this that I dedicate the remainder of my life in your service.

In seven years’ time, with the Internet as the backbone for global connectivity, including the necessary tools for protecting privacy as well as confidences, these tribes will be well-established at the local, state or province, national, and regional levels.  Governments will be important partners, but citizens and civil societies will do the leading.

In ten years’ time, every issue and every location of common concern to our “intelligence minutemen” will have an Internet “hub” that is well-structured and replete with validated information.  Such a hub will have eight functional offerings, and be maintained by volunteers around the world who are proven and trusted just as the developers of LINUX are proven and trusted.

Eight Points of the World Brain Node on Anything of Public Interest

These eight offerings will be, in increasing order of importance:

o   Weekly Report—early warning, change detection, cost implications

o   Virtual Library—all that can be known, easily visualized and accessed

o   Distance Learning—self-study on every aspect at all levels of complexity

o   Calendar—of conferences and events, all monitored by local minds

o   Directory—of interested and qualified parties, self-validating

o   Active Map—of the time, space, costs, benefits, and imminent dangers

o   Expert Forum—certified, well-behaved, public, wisdom on the fly

o   Virtual Budget—what is being spent, easily redirected by consensus

Third, and last, the emergence of a new intelligence order

I will end with a preview of some remarks that I have been developing for discussion with those governments that are prepared to listen to me.  I believe that Europe has the most to offer and the most to gain from devising the first continental approach to the new intelligence order.  Here are some high points, remembering that my focus is not on governments against governments, but rather on all governments against all gangs, including corrupt politicians and corrupt corporate managers.

First, Europe must suggest, and ideally persuade the Americans to fund and the indigenous countries to support, Regional Intelligence Centers that are multi-national in nature and focused predominantly on collecting, processing, translating, and exploiting all relevant open sources in all languages and all mediums, from within each region.  Thus must include competency at both the main languages that the Americans do not do well at—such as Arabic, of which there are 2000 current dialects—or critical local languages such as Berber and Aramaic, not to mention Dari, Farsi, and Urdu, as well as the thousands of local dialects.  Imagine such centers as primarily UNCLASSIFIED, but with possibilities for hosting coalition clandestine and technical operations that are secret or top secret.  Such centers will serve as both a intra-regional network for intelligence sharing at the basic level of open sources of information, and as a service of common concern for providing essential local information to all nations.

Second, each nation must harness the distributed intelligence of its seven tribes through SECRET national intelligence centers where the very best and the very brightest of each of the seven tribes come together, bound by their oaths of loyalty to their country, and work together to optimize what can be collected, processed, and analyzed by members of all seven tribes, all over the world, working toward agreed-upon mutual interests.  Most of the information will be unclassified, but governments must overcome their reluctance to share secret and top secret information with non-government parties, at least within the confines of these individual national centers.  Every citizen is an intelligence minuteman, but they must be trained, organized, and equipped with the necessary knowledge to be useful in legal and ethical ways.

Third, within governments, we must break new ground in creating TOP SECRET intelligence centers that bring together the spies, the military intelligence professionals, the law enforcement intelligence professionals, and the government professionals responsible for political, economic, cultural, energy, water, and other topics where spying is sometimes the only means of protecting one’s national interests.  The existing concept of “liaison officers” is insufficient.  We need to integrate people, money, and data with appropriate information security and audit and privacy procedures, because the next 9-11, like the last one, will happen not because we did not know, but because we did not share.

I end now, looking back from 2020 toward 2004, when the American dream turned to shit, and I realize that shit is a good fertilizer.  We have, as J.F. Rischard has pointed out, 20 years to solve our problems, or we will die as a species.  We have, as E. O. Wilson has pointed out, plenty of money with which to address the common problems of water scarcity, energy, small arms, trade in women and children, corporate crime, political corruption, and ideological hate crimes leading to genocide, among our many challenges.

What we lack is intelligence—public intelligence.  I have found over the course of the past thirty years that secret intelligence is too easily manipulated at the policy level, but it is also too easily protected from just accusations of incompetence.

We have a bright future.  Of this I am certain.  George Bush the Second is God’s gift to America, for he is certain to shake us out of our apathy and to bring home to every American—every big-hearted, good-hearted, decent human being in America—that we are connected to the world and that we ignore the common good at our peril.  We do, however, need your help.  The French saved us from the British long ago.  Now we need your help to save us from ourselves.  Create the European Intelligence Network, create the Voice of Europe broadcasting uncensored truths to America, and be the first region to truly harness the distributed intelligence of your populations.

God Bless every intelligence professional, in every tribe; they are our hope for the future.

E Veritate Potens.  From Truth, Power.  I thank you for your kind attention. 

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