Review: Flawed Diplomacy–The United Nations & the War on Terrorism

4 Star, Politics, Public Administration, Terrorism & Jihad, United Nations & NGOs
Amazon Page

Victor C. Comras

4.0 out of 5 stars Not for the General Reader, VERY Focused on Bureaucracy

December 1, 2010

The price is excellent. You cannot get a better deal than $20 for a book of this substance. HOWEVER, this is not a book for the general reader. It would be excellent as a paperback for a senior or graduate course, akin to The Army Gets an Air Force: Tactics of Insurgent Bureaucratic Politics, but as a negative case study.

Going through the book I recognized several issues that could be corrected or could be addressed by other readings. For what it sets out to do, document the agonizing inertia and general lack of savoir faire of the United Nations bureaucracy and its political protocols, it is as good as anything I have seen.

It desperately needs some charts, timelines, anything to spice up the dry text. Even photographs. I would have liked more comparative information, such as side by side depictions of where different elements came down or different countries came down, on specifics.

The author strives to provide some historical background but gets it wrong on more than one occasion, to be expected when someone is not steeped in history or reading very deeply across the literature. Below I list some books that have helped me appreciate the larger context of terrorism as a symptom, not a threat. Terrorism is directly correlated with US occupation of foreign lands and US support for dictators….this is straight forward and absolutely shut out by those who love war for its selfish power to enrich the few over the many.

Web of Deceit: The History of Western Complicity in Iraq, from Churchill to Kennedy to George W. Bush
The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 (Vintage)
The Fifty-Year Wound: How America’s Cold War Victory Shapes Our World
The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic (The American Empire Project)
Breaking the Real Axis of Evil: How to Oust the World’s Last Dictators by 2025
Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism
Wars of Blood and Faith: The Conflicts That Will Shape the Twenty-First Century
While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within
American Jihad: The Terrorists Living Among Us

There are many more. See my many books lists, most captured in the two top lists, one positive, one negative, visible at REVIEWS at Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog.

This book is fairly priced, well put together, based on deep real experience, and if you want minutia about how screwed up the UN system is on this particular topic (and generally incoherent on all topics), this is the book.

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Worth a Look: The Transpartisan Upwising

Worth A Look

Transpartisan Website

Phi Beta Iota: This is a website, an effort to further a movement that has not been successful to date, and a very intelligent article by a very experienced agitator for change (and former Army Ranger who has also been homeless on multiple occasions, each time rising like a Phoenix).

Transpartisan Moment

by Steve Bhaerman on November 30th, 2010

Click on title above to read about the movement.
Now that its clear to all the “political system is broken”, please be discerning about the expert “solutions” you hear being put forth. Knowing what I know about the “game controllers” — having been a junior league game controller myself — bipartisanship (with a third party “outsider coalition” similar to the British system) will be the professional solution offered to our current crisis. Already you see nostaligc images of the truce between Gingrich and Clinton and other “party fathers” who were adult enough to “put aside their differences.”

Balance of the essay in full below the line.

Reference: Crash Course on Reality

07 Other Atrocities, Blog Wisdom, Briefings (Core), Budgets & Funding, Collective Intelligence, Commercial Intelligence, Communities of Practice, info-graphics/data-visualization, InfoOps (IO), IO Mapping, IO Sense-Making, Money, Banks & Concentrated Wealth, Movies, Officers Call, Policies, Power Behind-the-Scenes/Special Interests, Reform, Strategy, True Cost
Chris Martenson Home

Chris Martenson not only paid attention to all of the early warning signals, but acted upon them, leaving a Fortune 50 job, selling his Connecticut home, getting out of the stock market, and buying gold and silver.  Now he has produced the single best, down-to-earth, detailed free video (38 minutes), inexpensive video (208 minutes), forthcoming book, and a 50 hour week-end course for concerned citizens.  This is essential education for all–it also demonstrates the fraud, waste, and abuse inherent in the continued support by the two-party tyranny of Wall Street.  Wall Street STILL OWES twice the capital it actually has–the bail-out was a flim-flam to perpetuate the short-term bonuses and positions of the criminals who have looted America and the rest of the world.

Short Free Video

Amazon Page
  • Crash Course by Chris Martenson – 38 minute condensed version
  • DVD Release Date: March 5, 2009
  • Run Time: 203 minutes
Amazon Page
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (March 22, 2011)

Phi Beta Iota: In a perfect demonstration of the Hacker Principle that for every piece of information you share, you get back 100 pieces of which 10 are priceless (10:1 noise to signal and 10:1 return on investment), the below was brought to our attention by Dr. James C. Spohrer, Director, IBM University Programs World-Wide (IBM UP), IBM Almaden Research Center, San Jose, CA 95120 USA.  We like IBM, we like it even more after seeing that this kind of thinking is well-understood by IBM.  Bottom line: a number of others have sounded the alarm, Chris Martenson does it better than everyone else, in the most concise non-partisan manner possible.  He is the Paul Revere of the Republic, the Commonwealth.

Search: revolution theory preconditions


The results were surprisingly bad.  <preconditions of revolution> is a little better but still not great.  Here is the meat you were looking for plus some. The bottom line on revolution is that it results from scarcity compounded by corruption.  The USA is in a pre-revolutionary situation today, with all the preconditions present, lacking just a precipitant.

Graphic: Pre-Conditions of Revolution

1992 MCU Thinking About Revolution

1976 Thesis: Theory, Risk Assessment, and Internal War: A Framework for the Observation of Revolutionary Potential

Review: Theory, risk assessment, and internal war–A framework for the observation of revolutionary potential

Review: Revolutions and Revolutionary Movements

Search: davies j 1969 curve

Search: rm maciver the web of government summary

Search: smart nation intelligence reform electoral reform national security reform

Search: naquin washington times

The Washington Times Online Edition

CIA mines ‘rich’ content from blogs

11:01 p.m., Tuesday, April 18, 2006

President Bush and U.S. policy-makers are receiving more intelligence from open sources such as Internet blogs and foreign newspapers than they previously did, senior intelligence officials said.

The new Open Source Center (OSC) at CIA headquarters recently stepped up data collection and analysis based on bloggers worldwide and is developing new methods to gauge the reliability of the content, said OSC Director Douglas J. Naquin.

Continue reading “Search: naquin washington times”

Journal: ONE Party–the Wall Street Party–“Owns” USA

03 Economy, 07 Other Atrocities, 10 Transnational Crime, 11 Society, Civil Society, Commerce, Corporations, Corruption, Government, Money, Banks & Concentrated Wealth, Power Behind-the-Scenes/Special Interests

Jock Gill

The documentary film “Inside Job” makes it perfectly clear that there is only one party in DC:  The Wall Street Party.  With five Wall Street minders for every elected official in DC, why are we surprised?  There are of course a few exceptions, but their legislative record suggest they are essentially ineffective.

The Wall Street Party has constructed a circular tautology that incorporates 1] Wall Street; 2] Government; 3] Academia, and 4] The Press — the American Gang of Four.

It is no surprise that the Wall Street Party has a principle goal of privatizing wealth via tax cuts for themselves, while socializing the pain and suffering by slashing public spending for security in employment, health and education.

Tautologies, such as the ones that prop up the Wall Street Party, are constructed for the sole purpose of being unarguably true and are by design incapable of disproof.  A prime example of the Wall Street Party’s abuse of reality is their hijacking and distortion of the works of Adam Smith.

Of course tautologies are false reality distortion bubbles.  They can only paper over the diversion from reality just so long. Then they fail in a big way.  A prime example of this would be the former USSR.

The best way to deal with this is most likely an open source refutation [refudiation?] of the claims of the Wall Street Party.

Phi Beta Iota: Reprinted from Facebook with permission of the author.

Reference: CRS 2010 Intelligence Issues for Congress

Congressional Research Service

29 Pages Online

Tip of the Hat to Gary Price at LinkedIn.

Phi Beta Iota: This is of passing interest as an overview of what people are thinking about at the shallowest possible level in relation to the Wall Street/Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex (MICC).

STRIKE ONE: The document still does not understand that overt Human Intelligence (HUMINT) is 90% of Open Source Intelligence (OSINT), or that OSINT is a discipline in its own right as well as an interactive element of any properly-managed classified discipline (none are).

STRIKE TWO: The document fails to represent the near-total failure of the US Intelligence Community to meet the needs of all consumers below the level of President, and does not appear to recognize the sharp negative assessments of General Tony Tiny (4% “at best”) or General Mike Flynn (“irrelevant”).

STRIKE THREE: The document fails to present Congress with the deeply documented alternatives to unilateral top-down very expensive technical-collection driven secret intelligence, and it especially fails to outline the immediate possibilities of the Open Source Agency (OSA) as called for in the 9-11 Commission Report on pages 23 and 423 (but under diplomatic auspices), or the integrated elements of that agency, the Strategy Center advocated by General Tony Zinni and the Multinational Decision Support Centre proposed by comprehensive architect Robert Steele.

Worth a Look: Jumo Connections Beta

IO Mapping, IO Multinational, IO Sense-Making, Worth A Look
Home Page
We connect individuals and organizations working to change the world– Find issues and projects you care about

Follow the latest news and updates

Support their work with your time, money, and skills

Phi Beta Iota: This is worth a look because it is backed by a co-founder of Facebook who has also been an advisor to President Barack Obama on social networking; because it is a variant rip-off of WISER Earth: The Social Network for Sustainability; and because it represents the beginning of the World Brain & Global Game in which all individuals are connected to all information in all languages all the time.  It lacks a strategic analytic model and a “true cost” and policy-budget engagement tool, but it is a milestone in some ways, largely because of WHO is behind it.  When combined with the Google purchase of GroupOn for six billion dollars (which Google will screw up big-time, but that gives Eric Lefkofsky, a Chicago-based social networking entrepreneur, more money to experiment with–that is a good thing.  This is BIG PICTURE stuff that will scale rapidly.

See Also:

2010 INTELLIGENCE FOR EARTH: Clarity, Diversity, Integrity, & Sustainability

2008 COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace

2006 THE SMART NATION ACT: Public Intelligence in the Public Interest

2006 INFORMATION OPERATIONS: All Information, All Languages, All the Time

2002 THE NEW CRAFT OF INTELLIGENCE: Personal, Public, & Political

Journal: Taking a WikiLeak

Civil Society, Cultural Intelligence, Government, IO Sense-Making, Law Enforcement, Military, Peace Intelligence
Jon Lebkowsky Home

Taking a Wikileak

In my obligatory post about Wikileaks as the story du jour, I point to the great set of questions Dan Gillmor has posted in his column at Salon. These are especially lucid. I like especially Dan’s point about the character of the communications that were leaked, that many of the messages are gossip. Journalists are dutifully reporting “facts” gleaned from the leaked material without necessarily digging deeper, verifying and analyzing. Of course, they don’t have time – the information environment moves too quickly, he who hesitates is lost, accuracy be damned.

Then again, journalism is so often about facts, not truth.  Facts are always suspect, personal interpretations are often incorrect, memories are often wildly inaccurate. History is, no doubt, filled with wrong facts and bad interpretations that, regardless, are accepted as somehow “true.”

The high-minded interpretation of this and other leaks, that people need to know what is being said and done by their representatives in government, especially in a “democratic society,” is worth examining. We’re not really a democracy; government by rule or consensus of a majority of the people doesn’t scale, and it would be difficult for the average citizen to commit the time required to be conversant in depth with all the issues that a complex government must consider.

Do we benefit by sharing more facts with more people? (Dan notes that 3 million or so in government have the clearance to read most of the documents leaked – this seems like a lot of people to be keeping secrets… is the “secret” designation really all that meaningful, in this case?) But to my question – I think there’s a benefit in knowing more about government operations, but I’m less clear that this sort of leak increases knowledge vs. noise.

I’m certain about one thing: we shouldn’t assume that the leaked documents alone reveal secrets that are accurate and true. They’re just more pieces of a very complex puzzle.

See Also:

Graphic: Information Pathologies

Reference: WikiLeaks–Punishment of the Innocent by the Unwitting Begins

Articles & Chapters, Blog Wisdom

Marcus Aurelius Recommends

Memo FYI.  It is security theater that will simply end up withdrawing functionality from loyal employees who have hard jobs to do with computers.  MA

Phi Beta Iota: This may be the most meaningless document we have seen in our history.

See Also from Same Source:

Journal: DoD, WikiLeaks, JCS, Security Ad Naseum…

One Page Online

See Also:

Journal: Wikileaks Inspires Panetta, Raises Mouse Turd Count

Journal: US Intelligence versus WikiLeaks

Journal: Wikileaks, the US, the UN, & The Rule of Law

Journal: Traitor to Some, Hero to Others

Secrecy News Extract: DIA Seeks to Classify Reality

SECRECY NEWS: Over-Classification & Whistleblowers

Worth a Look: Secrecy as Fraud (2002)

Review: Report of the Commission on Protecting and Reducing Government Secrecy

Review: Nation of Secrets–The Threat to Democracy and the American Way of Life

Reference: 1996 Testimony to Moynihan Commisson

Reference: 1996 Hill Testimony on Secrecy

1993 TESTIMONY on National Security Information

NIGHTWATCH Extracts on Two WikiLeaks Items

02 China, 05 Iran, 08 Wild Cards

NIGHTWATCH Comments on two Wikileak reports in the news: The Guardian and The New York Times today highlighted one leaked report that North Korea sold Iran 19 BM-25 nuclear-capable ballistic missiles and another that alleged that Chinese officials support Korean unification and expect North Korea to collapse. Both deserve comment.The North Korean BM-25 missile is based on the Soviet SS-N-6 submarine launched ballistic missile which North Korea obtained from the Soviet Union more than 20 years ago. The SS-N-6 is one of the most reliable nuclear delivery systems ever developed.

North Korean engineers converted it into a truck launched vice submarine launched system, which was fielded in North Korea.more than five years ago. From North Korea, this missile can reach Guam.

Iran bought a battalion of these missile about five years ago according to FAS — a photo of the missile can be found on the Internet. From Iran, the missile can reach Moscow and Eastern Europe.

Experts say that from its inception this missile was designed as a nuclear warhead carrier. Iran’s possession of this missile is one of the more salient pieces of indirect evidence that support those who argue that Iran intends to develop nuclear weapons. Any other warhead on this missile underutilizes its capabilities.

The point of this comment is that the US diplomat reporting officer mentioned in the report seemed unaware that this information has been in open sources since at least 2006. Moreover, the writers for The Guardian and The New York Times failed to do due diligence searches on the BM-25 sale to Iran.

More knowledgeable observers have known for years that Iran has a reliable nuclear warhead delivery system in these missiles. That information is always important, but it is not new and no longer sensational. Five years ago it was blockbuster news.

As for the report on China supporting Korean reunification, The Guardian’s analyst overreached, at least based on the portions of the report that he quoted and missed much of the significance of the material he had at hand.

The portions of the telegram that he quoted did not support the headline that China supports Korean unification. It supported the proposition that China would not stand in the way of reunification if the US took the lead and made it happen.

The Guardian writer was not alone in interpreting Chinese ambiguous language as a green light because apparently US and South Korean officials began to make plans on reunification, according to accounts by other repositories of the leaked reports.

The story behind the story is that China only makes statements of this kind when it is seriously concerned about the survival of the Kim regime and wants to set in place plans for avoiding responsibility for the North Koreans during a political and economic implosion.

The Chinese made even more explicit suggestions during the severe famine of 1995 and 1996 when the North Korean economy devolved into a barter system that almost imploded. After the food crisis stabilized with UN and South Korean help, China denied it ever made suggestions about reunification.

The Chinese laid out a trap. If the public distribution system for food and daily necessities ceases to function, North Korea would become the world’s largest ever refugee camp, with between 20 and 23 million people requiring food, public health provisions and medical care every day.

No one is smart enough to know how to take care of a dependent population that large. Plus the North’s infrastructure is so decrepit that it has discouraged South Korea from investing in it or pursuing reunification with much vigor. That means that the roads and bridges in North Korea cannot support sustained aid convoys for long and would have to be rebuilt as part of the humanitarian aid problem. The same is true of the telecommunications system and the railroads.

The Chinese want no part of that burden or cost and would be pleased for the US and its allies to shoulder them. Consider, how do you disarm a hungry million-man army that has been raised from infancy to be hostile to Americans? The Chinese do not know the answer and would prefer to see Americans and Koreans die trying to find out, rather than Chinese soldiers.

Finally, the statements by the Chinese diplomats are not consistent with Chinese actions, aid and investments to prop up the Kim regime. That means the statements probably were made in the context of a hypothetical and imminent regime collapse, as in the mid-1990s. Today’s news treatment made it seem as if China supports reunification now, which is not accurate.

The lesson for new analysts is that a statement by a foreign official or diplomat, as reported in a diplomatic telegram, always carries spin. If it sounds too good to be true, it is too good to be true, even if it is partly true. Krauthammer said on 29 November that state department telegrams report our diplomats lying to their diplomats lying to our diplomats. That characterization is a bit harsh, but it is a useful starting point for analysis. Evaluation of diplomatic traffic requires subtlety and skill and lots of critical questioning. The meaning of the language is never self-evident.

The substantive information disclosed to date is somewhat embarrassing, but not all that newsworthy. One element of damage from the leaks not mentioned in mainstream reporting is the establishment of feedback links to the security establishments of the foreign countries.

Foreign security establishments can now develop a very good understading of what the US thinks about key issues; why it thinks that way; whether it is accurate or misguided in their view; whether US diplomats put personal spin on their reports; and whether they perceive accurately, understand the significance of what they are told and report is in verbatim and in spirit, as the host country judges such traits. With that knowledge, they can guide their own diplomats and officials more confidently.

Diplomacy and deception both require a feedback link so that the diplomat or the deceiver can fine tune the negotiations or the deception operation. In this respect, the leaks set up US ambassadors and senior officials to be manipulated because the other side knows the “real” US views on hundred of issues in hundreds of countries. That explains why national leaders can minimize and excuse the more sensational disclosures because all received an intelligence bonanza that should enhance their future engagements with US diplomats and officials.


Phi Beta Iota: Next to Jack Davis, the author of NIGHTWATCH is our favorite published analyst–this is how analysts are supposed to think.