Research and teaching interests are centered in the following areas: Cognitive and linguistic anthropology, ethnobiology, environmental decision making, categorization and reasoning, evolutionary psychology, anthropology of science (history and philosophy of natural history and natural philosophy); Middle East ethnography and political economy; natural history of Lowland Maya, cognitive and commitment theories of religion, terrorism and foreign affairs.
Need the link for a new book. Review in a few days. Certain to be very favorable, this is precisely the kind of synthesis we need more of. Contrasts with the nine pillars of peace used within the UN which are more functional, will compare and contrast shortly.
True Story, Part of the “Made in USA” Atrocities r’ US
December 26, 2009
Sterling and Peggy Seagrave
I first met the authors after reviewing Gold Warriors: America’s Secret Recovery of Yamashita’s Gold and then traveling to Europe to interview them–they are in self-imposed exile–for a DVD that was shown at one of my earlier international conferences. [My rendition of this review at Phi Beta Iota, the Public Intelligence Blog, has live links Amazon does not allow here.]
This is a great read. I attended boarding school and later served as a Marine Corps infantry officer passing in and out of the Philippines; I have been inside Japanese tunnels and have a great regard for the Filipino people. Because the US has been so asidious in writing (and fabricating) the history of the Cold War, few know that the Huks were originally a loyal resistance to the Japanese occupiers–the US, despite its tolerance for out of control atrocity mongers like Landsdale, has managed to “occupy” with a softer touch, but one no less detrimental.
As a former spy–a recovering spy–for the Central Intelligence Agency I would certify that 90% of the CIA is good people trapped in a bad system with no blood on their hands. Our problem is the 10% that does renditions, tortures, helps train and arm those who would do genocide and atrocities (including the Israelis, who now teach us rather than learn from us).
RED SKY has no endnotes, but is based on solid evidence. [I provide others supporting references at Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog, as live links within this review there.] I consider Gold Warriors (with its CD containing 60,000 pages of maps and supporting documentation) to be the better book, but for some readers, this book will be much more fun and memorable. Here are the highlights from this most truthful account
+ Landsdale was never in combat–he spent WWII in San Francisco writing propaganda for the OSS.
+ When Truman closed down the OSS (he later regretted every starting the CIA) OSS people were scattered around to hide them, Lansdale was sent to Manile to work a desk for Army G-2.
+ Landsdale’s bright shining moment came when he recognized the value of a captured driver (Major Kojima Kashi) to General Yamashita, and bribed him to reveal treasure locations. That treasure became the basis for the USA’s covert post-war Black Eagle and Golden Lily slush funds used to restore Nazis in Germany and fascists in Italy and Japan, and to do those things Congress would never agree to pay for.
+ Santa Romana, a Vatican agent and member of Opus Dei, was Landsdale’s co-conspirator (fast forward to the Opus Dei penetration of the US Government today, every bit as good as the Mossad’s sayonim and the Mormon network).
+ Landsale–whom all the books I’ve seen describe as an opportunist and con artist at heart–saw that anti-communism was the wave of the future in Washington circles (even then CIA was busy importing 100 Nazis a year), and he came up with the idea of demonizing the Huk’s, who were freedom fighters, as part of the “Communist Menace.”
+ The book also covers the Chinese diaspora that the US Government has never understood and never taken seriously. The Chinese “High Cabal” is easily as powerful as the European “High Cabal,” they just work more discreetly and make better use of local fronts.
+ Landsdale needed to invent evidence of Russian support for the Huks, so he focused on Russian exiles living in Manila or enroute through the Philippines to other locations including the US.
+ The heart of the story is how Landsale personally destroyed one innocent person and their family, ultimately making the person disappear after five years of surveillance, prison, and torture were brought to an end by a crusading attorney. Some sources have suggested that Landsdale ordered the murder of his trumped up Russian spy, who is believed to have been thrown from a helicopter into the South China Sea.
+ The book ends with Landsdale being rewarded by being sent to Viet-Nam to support Diem (a Catholic mandarin hated by the Buddhists, with a sister that makes Idi Amin look like a wimp) and I have seen other reports that suggest that Landsdale led an effort to plant bombs in the 1950’s and early 1960’s to achieve the US end of creating a local civil war that would demand US intervention.
There is also a happy ending, despite all the ills that befall the patsy, the source of much of the information in this book escapes and lived happily every after.
I still believe in America the Beautiful and the righteousness of The Average American: The Extraordinary Search for the Nation’s Most Ordinary Citizen but I am disgusted and alienated by all that has been done “in our name” over the years, ultimately impoverishing the many to benefit the few. I earnestly believe that the public is a populist power that cannot be suppressed, and that information and communications technologies have changed the balance of power to favor the possibility of creating a prosperous world at peace.
This book is one of the many nails in the coffin of Cold War “irrational exhuberance” that has clearly been repeated in the failure to keep capitalism moral and the failure to keep government honest at home and abroad. We can do better.
Rather than provide links here, see the 98 categories of Reviews at Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog.
The authors provided us with the following additional supporting reference:
James Gibney, one of my most respected sources for common- sense and integrity, posted a review of this book on 15 January 2006 in the New York Times. At Phi Beta Iota, the Public Intelligence Blog, I have posted that three-page review along with some other original references on “Colonel” Landsdale, a journalism drop-out from UCLA and former advertising person, that document the role he played in making genocide and atrocities part of the “Made in USA” Cold War tool-kit.
At Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog it is possible to access all of my reviews via any of 98 categories 9e.g. Intelligence, Secret; or Pathology of Power; or Empire, etcetera, something Amazon has refused to make possible since I began suggesting it years ago.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars INTEGRITY: easy to lose, hard to restore
February 4, 2008
He was a Navy officer serving on the USS Yorktown by the age of 22, in law school at 26, a staff assistant to the counsel to the president at 29, and Undersecretary of Transportation at 33. At 34, he was in jail. How could this happen to a man raised in a highly moral family, with an excellent education, with Christian Middle American values and a strong sense of patriotism? Yet here was Egil “Bud” Krogh at 33, starting a prison sentence for violating the civil rights of Dr. Lewis Fielding, a California psychiatrist. Bud says the principal cause was the collapse of integrity of those members of the White House’s Special Investigative Unit (SIU) who conspired, ordered and carried the break-in of the doctor who had been consulted by Dr. Daniel Ellsburg, the “leaker” of the Pentagon Papers” to the New York Times in early 1971.
The author has achieved extraordinary synthesis and summation, with gifted straight-forward language.This book is not only a capstone reference, but demonstrates why we need to LISTEN–none of us could learn–in a lifetime–all that this author has in his head. That’s why multinational engagement is a non-negotiable first step toward the future.
Key notes and quotes:
+ Bush Senior should not have left Saddam Hussein off the hook in Gulf I, should have finished off the regime while we had enough troops on the ground to make the peace.
+ US blew Gulf II from the moment of victory onward. “Incoherent” is a word the author uses frequently in describing virtually every aspect of US operations in Iraq. The one element that gets high marks from him is the U.S. Agency for International Development (AID) but the fact that the bulk of the “reconstruction” money was mis-managed by the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) makes AID’s excellent a footnote in this sorry tale.
+ Book covers 2003-2006; the author was Minister of Defense and then Minister of Finance during the reconstruction period.
+ “Too few Americans actually cared.” Fred Smith (parent agency not clear) gets high marks from the author for caring and competence as the CPA-appointed advisor to the Ministry of Defense in the 2004 timeframe.
EDIT of 21 Feb 2010: A colleague in COINSOC has pointed out that I missed one key aspect of this book and I hasten to add it: “Moyar’s point that we are applying peacetime personnel policies by putting people in place based on factors other than their leadership ability and continuing to allow poor leaders even after their capabilities are apparent is a good one though. It’s kind of like we are the Titanic and the inertia is too much.” It is an important point. It takes two years to weed out the unfit leaders in a real war, but first you have to admit you are in a real war, and the USA has still not gotten to that point so we are damned on both sides: not taking the fight seriously, and leaving the home front wide open to attack (see my review of Charles Faddis’s two books, one on CIA and one on DHS).
I first encountered the author when I read and reviewed Triumph Forsaken: The Vietnam War, 1954-1965, but in ordering this book, took no notice of who the author was, I rarely do, and thus was surprised to discover this is the second work by the author, now at the Marine Corps University where I served as Adjunct Faculty once upon a time.
This book is brilliant and unique in its chosen focus, but I have to leave it at four stars because it simplifies in a manner that is almost neo-conservative in its sharpness.
The single most important insight is that the single most important intelligence quesiton as we get into any insurgency or counter-insurgency is this: who are the elites on either side of the confrontation, how good are they, do they have the special character (that this book helps define), and what does this mean to us?
The problem I have with this book is that it dismisses legitimacy and morality, does not recognize the futility of being on the wrong side of the conflict (as we were in Viet-Nam and have been on hundreds of occasions) or on having ideological traitors or blatantly corrupt self-serving partisan hacks in the White House making decisions that are grounds for impeachment if our flag officers had more character and could remember they swore an oath to uphold the Constitution against all enemies domestic and foreign, not an oath to be blindly loyal to the craven and the corrupt. Continue reading “Review: A Question of Command: Counterinsurgency from the Civil War to Iraq (Yale Library of Military History) (Hardcover)”
Utterly Brilliant Synthesis, Vital First Step–US Violates Every Single Principle
December 18, 2009
United States Institute of Peace
This book is a six-star special and will be so rated at Phi Beta Iota, the Public Intelligence Blog, where I cluster like non-fictions books in 98 categories, one of which is Stabilization & Reconstruction.
At its most fundamental this is without question the most extraordinary sensible and useful synthesis of all possible documents devoted to the subject, offering up a truly remarkable–just an amazing–framework for study and for planning.
The publisher failed to make full use of the Amazon tools for showing the Table of Contents at a minimum, and this error should be corrected immediately. Inside the Book is also recommended. I would normally reduce the book to four stars for its failure include all those outside the “traditional” national security community; for its lack of an index, and for its ignorance of most relevant books outside the narrow circle of stabilization & reconstruction groupies. However, this is such an incredibly gifted, intelligent, and meticulous presentation of vitally important information that I leave it at six star special, beyond five stars.
Still, to not be able to see in an index every page for key words like “water” or “intelligence” is infuriating.
First, an overview of the contents, vastly more simple than the complex array of information presented in sub-sets of conditions, guidance, approach, and then elements.
+ Strategic Framework for Stabilization and Reconstruction
+ Cross-Cutting Principles
+ High-Level Trade-Offs, Gaps, and Challenges
+ Fundamentals of a Comprehensive Approach
+ End States
—Safe and Secure Environment
—Rule of Law
A. Resources List
B. Participants in Review Process
C. Summary of Strategic Frameworks Surveyed
D. Snapshot of COmpoments from Overarching Resources
E. Acronyms and Glossary of Selected Key Terms (incomplete, another annoyance that needs to be corrected)
Extraordinary Collection, Unique, Timely, No Notes
December 16, 2009
Dacher Keltner, Jason March, Jeremy Adam Smith
This is a truly extraordinary collection of essays from the magazine Greater Good, a magazine I had no idea existed. The editors have done a tremendous job in selecting 35 essays (click on the cover above to see the Table of Contents and over all I am hugely impressed.
Multiple literatures are in convergences, from the consciousness side to the global brain side to the waging peace side. I arrived at this book from the “beyond genes to culture” side, and list ten other recommended books spanning those literatures at the end of this review.
+ 33 authors, 35 essays, drawn from the 2004-2009 timeframe as published in Greater Good, a magazine
+ Herb Alpert Foundation helped make this book possible
+ Three parts to the book: scientific roots; cultivating local goodness; cultivating goodness in society and politics
+ Science stories include evolutionary studies on peacemaking; neuroscientific experiments; and research into hormones like oxytocin that promote trust and generosity, meaning that kindness really is its own reward and that it is contagious
March 18, 2007 is when I bought this book here at Amazon, and I would have reviewed it within the week. Amazon appears to have destroyed my original review, one more in a long line of errors by Amazon that finally forced me to mirror all of my reviews at Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog. Amazon has BLOWN IT in terms of really being useful to the Earth, while I was invited to speak to their Developer’s Conference 2007, and had a standing room only audience, Jeff Bezos is a geek, not a thinker, and could never wrap his mind around a World Brain as digital contents remixable at the paragraph level.
This particular book was my introduction to Francis Lappe Moore, and along with Barbara Marx Hubbard and Barbara Ehrenreich, whose books I link to below, I consider her one of the most sensible, intelligent, good-hearted citizen leaders in America, and certainly equal to many non-American emergent leaders I do not know.
The growth of livestock on land (and also in the sea) is poisoning the earth and accelerating the migration of animal diseases to humans. There is now evidence that Alzheimer’s Disease is in fact Mad Cow disease badly diagnosed all these years.
I strongly recommend this book for a simple grounding in basic Earth common-sense, and as a gift to others. This is a timeless work.
Although I tend to shy away from sequels, I broke down and bought this at Giant to pass time away while completing a tediuous task. It was GREAT.
There is zero babe factor in this movie, which was a disappointment, it could have been scripted much more engagingly, but three things really blew me away throughout:
1) The staging or the access to ostensible Vatican inside and underground areas–presumably not actually within the Vatican, this was all done superbly
2) The twists and turns and the ending were great. I actually had tears of surprise at the end and will not spoil it.
3) Finally, Tom Hanks and the historical allusions still fascinate me. It would be great if history could be taught so ably, but more deeply and more thoroughly.
To browse all 86 of the DVDs that I recommend, visit Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog, each links back to their respective Amazon page but only there can you see JUST my DVD reviews. [Use Reviews (DVD Only) (86)]
Thom Hartmann is one of a handful of individuals that I consider to be true guides for the rest of us, and I consider two of his earlier books, Cracking the Code and SCREWED, to have been instrumental in my own transformation from recovering spy to intelligence officer to the public.
While encouraging from a multinational point of view, this offering is so disconnected from the twenty one years of effort by thousands of other multinational pioneers, and so terribly over-priced (84 pages for $54? Get real) that we must caution potential purchasers.For a review of Multinational Multiagency Multidisciplinary Multidomain Information-Sharing and Sense-Making (M4IS2) offerings from 1992-2006 visit Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog.
Major Contribution to Loyal Dissent & True Patriotism
December 10, 2009
The book comes in three parts, the first two by the author, the third a collection of well-chosen pieces by others.
I am totally engaged by the idea that liberty is a state of mind, that America the Beautiful is a state of mind, not to be confused with the Wall Street greed and two-party tyranny that is killing the Republic.
The author has done a moderately good job of reviewing the history, and that which she shares is most valuable. I especially like her quoting Robert F. Kennedy on how each generation must win its own struggle to be free, and later in the book, she cites one of the thousands across the country as observing that we have abdicated our citizenship.
The state of mind theme is carried on in a discussion of the difference between a free society and a fear society, and throughout parts I and II we see documented evidence of how America has become a fear society and how the Global War on Terror (GWOT) has been a virtual seizure of power by quasi-fascist mind-sets who may have the best of intentions but in fact have executed a “paper coup” or as the author also puts it, following a long (LONG) summary of restrictions on everything from permits for free speech to travel to voting rules and regulations, “civic death by a thousand cuts.”
Forget Survival of the Fittest: It Is Kindness That Counts
A psychologist probes how altruism, Darwinism and neurobiology mean that we can succeed by not being cutthroat.
Dacher Keltner, director of the Berkeley Social Interaction Laboratory, investigates these questions from multiple angles, and often generates results that are both surprising and challenging. In his new book, Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life, Keltner weaves together scientific findings with personal narrative to uncover the innate power of human emotion to connect people with each other, which he argues is the path to living the good life. Keltner was kind enough to take some time out to discuss altruism, Darwinism, neurobiology and practical applications of his findings with David DiSalvo.
Born to Be Good is something less than the subtitle (The Science of a Meaningful Life) suggests. More accurately, it covers the science of certain selected emotions and, more narrowly still, primarily the research of certain psychologists, bolstered by a bit of neuroscience. Most specifically, it focuses in large part (although not exclusively) on the work of Paul Ekman (the author’s mentor) and the research of Keltner himself (along with his students).
Darwin himself observed that sympathetic communities are more likely to produce healthier offspring than cruel ones. Human history shows that compassion always pulls through in times of war. And new studies of our body’s physiology show that caretaking emotions are wired within our nervous systems.
Emotion has often been downplayed, restrained, indeed even belittled, in comparison to intellect. We must suppress emotion and let intellect roam free if we are to discover new things, solve life’s riddles, and survive in an increasingly competitive and academic business world. Excitement, it is said, kills. Although true and essential when, say, doing a heart bypass, maneuvering a crippled jetliner into safe landing, or simply driving down the highway, we should not forget that — as the book so plainly states — had it not been for our emotions, we as a species might not be here today.
Robert Altman, James Baker, Bill Bradley, Harold Brown, Hodding Carter, William Coleman, Walter Cronkite, Barabara Ehrenreich, Vartan Gregorian, Robert Hackney, Doug Henwood, Mike Dedavoy, Joseph Nye, Samuel Peabody, John Perkins, Pete Seeger, Lawrence Summers, Arthur Sulzberger, William Taft, Kurt Vonnegut, Howard Zinn
This DVD is superb and also subversive. I doubt that the “stars” in this movie, particularly James Baker, Bill Bradley, Howard Brown, and Larry Summers, really knew what they were getting into, since their words–and their bland denials–ring so false in this context.
I put the film in while trying to deal with Microsoft’s latest “update” that cost me half the morning, and I recommend it very strongly as a Christmas present or for classrooms and book clubs.
+ A Peabody, whose ancestors came on “the boat” and also founded Groton, laments that whereas all the leaders used to pass through Groton, now there is no real “source.” I am reminded of Lee Iacocca’s Where Have All the Leaders Gone?.
+ Hedge fund visits basically boils all ownership in America down to four banks, and later in the film we learn that six multinational control almost all “content.”