Short URL: http://tinyurl.com/Steele-Midnight
ROBERT STEELE, or for Latinos, Robert David STEELE Vivas, is the embodiment of Truth in our time. A former spy and the founder of the Open Source Intelligence movement in the 1980's, he has morphed into the leading proponent for Open Source Everything Engineering (OSEE), the focus of our show today. His motto is “the truth at any cost lowers all other costs.” Among the truths we will explore today are the facts that the two-party tyranny disenfranchises six other accredited parties and all Independents — over 60% of the eligible voters — and that every industrial era domain from agriculture to energy to health to housing to the military to water is 50% — at the same time that We the People have allowed the 1% to fence and loot the commons and leave us all destitute. Alvin Toffler wrote a chapter about him, and Bruce Sterling says he is 100 times smarter and 10,000 more dangerous than any hacker, for he is hacking the US Government and the Earth for all of us — and just might win!
01 You've been a spy, you are the most published intelligence reformer in the English language. Where has the spy world gone wrong, and what do you recommend we citizens demand from the spy world?
Jim Clapper and other past leaders going back to George Tenet have substituted spending on secret technical collection — inputs — and an obsession for focusing on China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea — for everything else. They are incompetent at Global Coverage, provide “at best” 4% of what the President or a major commander needs, and nothing for everyone else. We need to radically enhance education and research, not just intelligence, I believe we need to have a Secretary-General for Education, Intelligence, and Research able to cut the 50% waste and eliminate all the corruption so prevalent today — particularly in agriculture, energy, and health — and begin producing intelligence — decision-support — helpful to full employment at home and a foreign policy of commerce and peace abroad. We have become a stupid nation of sheep and while I have huge faith in the average American, particularly the blue collar master class, I am ashamed of what we have become at home and abroad.
Anyone who says “terrorism” is the top threat to humanity is either an idiot or a crook. We are the top threat to humanity because we are ignoring eight of the ten high-level threats to humanity that LtGen Dr. Brent Scowcroft, USAF (Ret) and the other members of the UN High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges, and Change identified in their 2004 report, A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility. As long as we ignore poverty, infectious disease, and environmental degradation — and as long as the intelligence community refuses to be serious about holistic analytics, true cost economics, and open source everything engineering — they are in persistent betrayal of the public trust. Below are two graphics, the first is a basic model showing what the IC does versus what it should do, and the second is my evaluation graphic, failing them.
My publications on intelligence reform are easily viewed in full text online via my personal website, http://robertdavidsteele.com, while the views of many others I have sponsored over the years can be viewed at http://phibetaiota.net.
02 Everyone is demonizing Russia today. You are on record as demonizing the neo-conservative neo-fascist coup that General Wesley Clark denounced on YouTube. Walk us through this.
I am simply appalled by the lies the Administration and media are presenting to the public. Let's start with the fact that Allen Dulles, as director of the CIA, was a traitor. I recommend the book The Devil's Chessboard as well as Gold Warriors. Dulles personally stabbed Eisenhower and Kennedy in the back and single-handedly rescued many of the Nazi leaders and their ill-gotten treasure, and moved them to the US if they were scientists and to Argentina if they were not, creating the post-war Nazi hydra. He then used the gold captured by MacArthur in the Philippines to create the Black Lily covert operations fund, and that was used to fund the restoration of fascist political leaders in Germany, Italy, and Japan, and to support dictators all over the world who paid lip-service to anti-communism. We started the Cold War, with provocative mock long-range bombing missions over the pole just to see how far we could get. During the Wars of National Liberation the Soviets were the good guys, not the US. We are still, today, “best pals” with over 40 dictators who abuse their women and murder their men with impunity. So at root the public needs to understand that the neo-cons are fascists, and the war between Hitler and Russia is now a war between the neo-cons and Russia with the hapless ignorant American public letting it happen.
Now fast-forward to today. 9/11 was controlled by Dick Cheney. Thirteen countries warned us in advance, Dick Cheney took it over and made it happen to include controlled demolitions in New York and a missile in Washington. The 9/11 Commission was at best a clown show and at worst an active cover-up since they did not interview all the key people they should have. I credit the Families of 9/11 for blowing the whistle on this, followed by the Firefighters, and of course Richard Gage and Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth. On the basis of 935 now-documented lies — lies that George Tenet and Colin Powell both supported in betrayal of the public trust — we have created a swath of destruction from Afghanistan through Libya to Syria and down to Somalia and Niger. We have 1,000 military bases all over the world — 44 of them around Iran — Russia has perhaps two bases. We also broke our promise to Russia, to not expand NATO into Eastern Europe. We broke that promise because NATO is a shill for the US arms industry, and has nothing to do with stabilization and peace-keeping. I have worked for an admire NATO, but I consider it to be out of control right now.
Here is the swath of destruction graphic.
03 The Republicans — Donald Trump in particular — are talking about making the US military stronger, giving the US military more money. You've said Trump is an idiot without a clue. Explain
Trump is a blow-hard. I think he was abused at military school, perhaps worse, and has been making up for being bullied by being a bully his whole life. He's not a stupid man but he is a liar who willfully misrepresents what he knows to be true. The US military today is hollow and dishonest — it is a pork pie for the military-industrial complex that gives the two-party tyranny in Congress a 5% standard kick-back. It is also consuming 61% of the disposable budget (55.2% Military and 5.6 Veterans Benefits) and 16% of the total budget — as much as the next eight nations including China, Russia, and Iran combined — AND it is know to be between 45% waste in weapons acquisition and 75% waste in Afghanistan. Giving more money to the military in this state is like pouring gasoline on a fire. I have published a critique of our national military strategy that consists of dishonest platitudes and I would cite General Bob Scales, USA (Ret) who has pointed out that the infantry, 4% of the force that takes 80% of the casualties, gets 1% of the budget. Everything else is pork, with the Air Force being almost all pork and the Navy a close second. I support the President's demand for a 30% cut in the Pentagon budget, and I have published my own plan for how I could — even with this cut — create a 450 ship Navy up from 280 or so ships — we have more Admirals than we have ships right now — a long-haul Air Force, and an air-mobile Army.
Here is a snapshot of the actual 2015 disposable budget and the military's obscene share of that budget.
I know more than most about this because I led the creation of the Marine Corps Intelligence Activity and designed the model used to produce the Overview of Planning and Programming Factors for Expeditionary Operations in the Third World — we need to close all of our bases overseas for huge savings, turn our heavy equipment over to the host countries and tell them we will not defend them if they cannot budget 5% of the Gross National Product for defense — and then we need to create a distributed small ship Navy, an honest Air Force than can move an Army division anywhere in one week, and an Army in which no single piece of gear weighs more than 20 tons, which is the hot and humid lift off load weight for a C-130, which along with the A-10 is one of the greatest aircraft ever made. I would strip the Air Force of its responsibility for Close Air Support (CAS) and satellite management, it is criminally irresponsible in both areas. I suppose it is worth mention that the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) has proven largely worthless as a source of intelligence in support of strategy, policy, acquisition, and operations — as I wrote in CounterPunch, Seven Strikes.
04 Cyber-vulnerabilities are a hot topic today, with everything seemingly wide open to include baby cams now being hacked by voyeurs. Jim Clapper has said he plans to use the Internet of Things to spy on people. You were one of the first to sound the alarm on cyber-security, embracing the work of Winn Schwartau in the US, Bill Caelli in Australia, and James Anderson then at NSA. What happened?
I credit Winn Schwartau, author of Terminal Compromise and Information Warfare, with being the real genius who saw the future and warned that we were creating a communications and computing industry that was full of security holes. He testified to Congress in 1990-1991, he is the person who coined the term “electronic Pearl Harbor,”and he was ignored. In 1994 I wrote a letter to the White House with three co-signers, Winn, Bill, and Jim, Jim being anonymous back then. The White House gave the mission to NSA which was a huge mistake because NSA chose to make its own job harder, but instead to make it easier for Chinese and Russian hackers unaware of more sophisticated hacking methods, to find the infantile back doors that NSA put into our computers and communications systems with the active complicity of the CEOs of Dell, HP, and IBM, among others. I still cannot get over how CEOs chose to deliberately undermine the security of their own products for the convenience of NSA and against the best interests of their companies and their clients.
You also have a very strong Israeli spying element active in the USA since the 1980's, I credit the Israeli's with being electronic geniuses far ahead of everyone else, using Robert Maxwell and a software called PROMIS they were able to infiltrate most government information systems, and then went on to dominate the entire technical collection domain including state and local telephone intercepts, such that Israel more of less gets a copy of any collection done in the USA or by NSA world-wide.
Cyber-security will never be achieved as long as we allow proprietary technologies and mediocre government regulation to prevail. Only an open source everything approach will assure both security, and the related rights of anonymity, identity, and privacy. We need to take the security mission away from NSA — they are totally untrustworthy and a money pig to boot — and put this responsibility into a new agency that I have proposed to Vice President Biden, an Open Source (Technologies) Agency.
Let me also point out that we are retarded when it comes to information-sharing and sense-making tools, and to processing power as well as geospatial mapping of all information. Mary Meeker pointed out in her 2015 Internet Trends report that we process less than 1% of our Big Data. NSA is on record as saying it processes less than 1% of all that it collects. Storage is cheap, processing is expensive. We are decades away from being able to process 100% of what we have now, and if you add the Internet of Things — a double order of magnitude increase in data — we are centuries away from being able to process all this UNLESS we move aggressively toward a distributed blockchain solution that puts the traditional IT companies into bankruptcy. Below are two graphics from my recent Foreword to a book on CyberOSINT, they show what we do not have today.
05 In 2011 you briefed Occupy in New York City on electoral reform, in a video that went viral, making the front page of Reddit, and in 2012 you ran for President, accepted by the Reform Party as a candidate for their nomination. Today you are the foremost proponent of Open Power and a 12 point Electoral Reform Act of 2016. What have you learned? Walk us through the 12 points.
The first thing I learned was humility — how little I actually knew. With all my education and life experience, I had to run for President to understand that we really do live in a two-party tyranny, and that there are EIGHT accredited national parties qualified for matching federal funding — the six that are BLOCKED from ballot access are the Constitution, Green, Libertarian, Natural Law, Reform, and Socialist parties, as well as two emerging parties, the Justice party in the west and the Working Families party in the east. I learned that the MAJORITY of our eligible voters are now either Independents or No Party Preference (NPP) and they all hate the two-party tyranny so much that half the eligible voters did not vote in 2012 because they understood their vote would not count when they had no legitimate choices. I published an article on what I learned at Reality Sandwich, How I Tested the Boundaries of the Two-Party Tyranny.
Now the really cool thing about running for President, even if you have no hope of being considered, is that people reach out to you and you can reach out broadly. I touched every organization thinking about electoral reform, tapped into the prior work of thousands of people, and ultimately created an Electoral Reform Act that achieves the twelve different fixes needed to achieve true democracy in the USA or anywhere else. Here it is below.
What many do not understand is that over-turning CITIZENS UNITED and getting money out of politics is the least of our problems. As long as Governors can control electronic voting and achieve undetected electronic fraud, we will not have honest primaries — Bernie Sanders will “lose” primaries he actually won just like Ron Paul “lost” primaries in 2012 that he actually won. And then you have all the other bits and pieces — universal registration, tightly-drawn districts, and so on.
What the public should be asking of Bernie Sanders is this: why did he blow me off when I appealed to him and his staff six times over the past three years, to introduce the Electoral Reform Act on the Hill? I have to conclude that Sanders is a placeholder for Hillary Clinton — he has said clearly he will not run as an Independent, I think he is playing a theatrical role and that he will tearfully but with malice aforethought concede to Hillary Clinton before Independence Day. [See Jesse Gordon's appraisal, Sanders gone by April].
06 Tom Friedman of the New York Times has published a blistering Op-Ed in which he finds all the current candidates for president wanting — “None of the Above” was the title — and now Michael Bloomberg is saying the public deserves better and is actively discussing an Independent candidacy that his ignorant staff has allowed others to call a “third party” candidacy. Handicap the race for us.
On the left, Bernie Sanders is leveraging the all-white Iowa and New Hampshire primaries and the love of young people with college degrees and no jobs, but he is without a clue and without support among people of color, Latinos, or veterans. I expect him to collapse for that reason and because he has refused six times to challenge the two-party tyranny by introducing the Electoral Reform Act of 2016. On the left, even if Hillary Clinton is indicted, the fix is in and even Michael Bloomberg won't challenge her although he should.
On the right I have never seen such a spectacle. The bluster and outright fraud by Donald Trump has to be seen to be believed. He is tapping into a Republican base that was created over decades by a Republican leadership that set out to be the gold standard for harnessing ignorant people who could be turned against big government while failing to see that big business was eating their seed corn. Senator Cruz has his good points but he has alienated everyone outside of Texas so I don”t see him going anywhere. Marco Rubio has been outed by Wayne Madsen as a very active gay — with photos no less — who is lying to the the Christian conservatives about his commitment to “family” values. This story should appear in the tabloids this week, I believe Rubio is history. One day he could re-emerge as a bi-sexual “new new family values” candidate, but not this year. John Kasich is in my view the only adult running who is capable of governing with integrity — although I support Michael Bloomberg as a candidate in principle — but both Kasich and Bloomberg are too comfortable with the two-party tyranny and not willing to fight for restoring integrity to how we elect our Congress. If we cannot change the rules to allow for 20-30 Greens, Libertarians, and Independents to get into Congress in 2017, then no matter who is elected president, we will have four more years of two-party grid-lock and treason on Washington DC and that is a crime against all of us. Will we see violence at the Democratic convention and Ailes owning Kasich into stepping aside for Bush? Will Biden-Warren emerge as the “compromise” theater? I've never seen our political system this corrupt and this confused.
07 Let's turn to your role — your obsessive hobby perhaps — as a top Amazon reviewer if not the top Amazon reviewer for non-fiction, reading in 98 categories. From your over 2,000 reviews, what have you drawn and how can our listeners tap into all of your reviews?
The biggest lesson for me has been the sharp contrast between the knowledge available in non-fiction books — and the summary reviews of non-fiction books — and the absolute garbage being published by the mainstream media and the progressive press. The press in the USA is a national disgrace, in part because that is exactly how the five corporate owners of the press want it to be. What has surprised me though is how TruthOut, Rolling Stone, Mother Jones, Slate, The Atlantic — all staffed by very intelligent people — have rolled over and played dead. Not a single one of them has the balls to take on the electoral reform story and challenge all the candidates now running on this simple point.
I was the capstone speaker at the Amazon developers conference in 2007 and gave them a number of suggestions for converting Amazon into the hub for the World Brain — the movie of my presentation is free online — but Amazon is not good at listening and Jeff Bezos, for all his genius, thinks books are packages to be sold, he has zero appreciation for the craft of intelligence and why we need a world brain that connects all minds to all information all the time.
At the reviews page at Phi Beta Iota listeners can find essay on leadership, democracy, and education, a number of book review meta-lists, and then all 98 of my categories so they can browse all of my reviews in any given category, for example, Democracy, or Economics, or Information Society.
08 You are now the champion for Open Source Everything. Your book The Open Source Everything Manifesto was not well marketed when it came out in 2012, but after The Guardian profiled you, with a stunning 68,000 Facebook “shares” piling up, it seems to be taking off. Explain what you mean by Open Source Everything and that does this mean for the future of humanity?
I'll give the history first. Spying is the ultimate CLOSED source. My eyes were opened on the fraud inherent in spying when I created the Marine Corps Intelligence Activity, and after spending $20M to give my analysts full access to all secrets, found them lining up for a single PC connected to the Internet, which back then was largely a sort of database called “The Source.” I created the Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) discipline, personally recruiting 750 speakers and personally training 7,500 mid-career officers from across 66+ countries. Then I discovered open source software and open source hardware, and then open access open data and open government. In 2007 I was invited to be the opening speaker for Gnomedex, and created the first graphic suggesting an Open Everything approach going far beyond the information technology industry. In 2012 I briefed the Washington Academy of Sciences on the concept and published the book The Open Source Everything Manifesto, in 2014 it was noticed, and in 2015 I collaborated with Michel Bauwens of the Peer to Peer Foundation and Marcin Jakubowski of Open Source Ecology and the Global Village Construction Set to organize all the opens into nine major sub-categories with three priority project areas for each. That is shown below.
I conceptualized a conference and created a website, http://ose-21.org, but it proved too difficult for me, one man without money, to unite the open source stovepipes. Most recently, inspired by a call for ideas from the Secretary of Defense for the D3 Innovation Summit — D3 stands for defense, diplomacy, and development, I conceptualized an Open Source (Technologies) Agency only to be told that because I was not a government employee I was ineligible to submit an idea. So I turned it into a Memorandum to Vice President Biden, whose office received it, but there is no indication the Memorandum was delivered to him. I am in the process of trying to get a couple of people with access to ask Secretary Carter to pay attention, since I humbly believe this agency would not only allow us to cut the federal government by 50% but would eliminate the 50% waste inherent in all our industries from agriculture to energy to health to housing to the military to water AND it would allow the achievement of the Sustainability Development Goals (SDG) in a fraction of the time at a fraction of the price using conventional methods — but then this would be good for the 99% not the 1%, so perhaps it is not surprising that the White House has not taken an interest.
I hold the Eco-Villages and Transition Townes in very high regard, but they will not scale. I am very excited by the possibilities of “eco-hacking” and smart cities, but only if they scale. Open Source Everything Engineering (OSEE) makes possible affordable, interoperable, SCALABLE progress for the 99%. In one instance I was able to calculate how to relocate and make very comfortable one million Somalis, at a cost per person of no more than $500, giving each person free solar energy, unlimited desalinated water, pressed-brick shelters with compost sewage, free cellular and Internet (contingent on donated satellite down-links, and an aquaponics industry (no pesticides) to feed them all and hopefully provide excess for sale.
09 Your latest work focused on Applied Collective Intelligence, on creating a World Brain Institute, a School of Future-Oriented Design, a United Nations Open Source Decision-Support Information Network. Small trivial objectives. How are you doing on all that?
The short answer is “not well” but the long answer is that the ball keeps inching forward. One of the aspects of my life that most astonishes me is how small bits lead to larger bits, there is a pattern, a mosaic, emergent. For example, I started developing these ideas in earnest after I lost my $1.7M a year business to security goons that could not comprehend 7,500 cheerfully declared foreign contacts (basically everyone I ever trained across all the NATO countries and elsewhere). Although I got my clearances back after a judge found in my favor in all instances and I got a new OPM Special Background Investigation where I was again without blemish, being unemployed allowed me the luxury of writing four more books, two of which are the foundation for these ideas — in addition to The Open Source Everything Manifesto published in 2012, I put a lot of work into Intelligence for Earth: Clarity, Diversity, Integrity, & Sustainability, published in 2010.
These led to The Guardian profile, a trip to Scotland to address a conference at the Findhorn Foundation, an invitation to write a United Nations white paper, Beyond Data Monitoring – Achieving the Sustainability Development Goals Through Intelligence (Decision-Support) Integrating Holistic Analytics, True Cost Economics, and Open Source Everything, and then out of the blue, a $5,000 flash grant and an invitation to apply for a Shuttleworth Foundation grant, which is a pretty big deal (and by no means promised). That in turn led to a LinkedIn post on Saving Civilization that received a great deal of attention, an invitation to speak in Europe and meet some very high-level people, and now perhaps, an alliance with a major $10-20B a year information corporation that would like to morph into being the hub of the World Brain.
So I have done all one man can do, the cosmic journey will play out and I am just a spec of sand, hopefully the spec of sand that irritates the oyster into creating a pearl.
10 Will Robert Steele ever find happiness? Do you have a bucket list? Other than Saving Civilization, what do you want to do for the next twenty years?
I'd like to design, build and live on a Navy '66, a more resilient and forgiving version of my favorite boat to date, the Beneteau Oceanis51; I'd like to learn to fly a helicopter and keep at it; I need to get my body back; and I would like very much to see the USA become a true democracy one day, with full employment for all, and a major player in creating a prosperous world at peace. I am certainly reconciled to passing away without achieving more — someone else will.