Journal: Sun Tzu is with the Taliban in Afghanistan

02 Diplomacy, 03 Economy, 07 Other Atrocities, 08 Wild Cards, 10 Security, 11 Society, Budgets & Funding, Civil Society, Commerce, Corruption, Cultural Intelligence, Military, Non-Governmental, Officers Call, Peace Intelligence
Chuck Spinney Sounds Off....

December 14, 2010

Memo From Sun Tzu to President Obama

Who is the Wise General in Afghanistan?


In the first treatise written on the art of war, sometime around 450 BC [1], Sun Tzu explained why “the wise general sees to it that his troops feed on the enemy,”

EXTRACT:  The militarization of development aid is a central pillar of General Petaeus’s counterinsurgency strategy to buy the hearts and minds of the Afghan people, ninety per cent of whom are spread out in remote rural areas. So it should not be surprising that the military is controlling the bulk of the billions of dollars in aid money flowing into (and being smuggled out of) Afghanistan.

In the very important CounterPunch report on 13 December, Patrick Cockburn, certainly one of the most informed observers of insurgencies in the Middle East and Central Asia, described how the militarization of development aid in Afghanistan is riven with corruption.

Read full article….

Journal: The Wall Street Pentagon Papers–Biggest Scam In World History Exposed–Are The Federal Reserve’s Crimes Too Big To Comprehend?

03 Economy, 07 Other Atrocities, 09 Justice, 11 Society, Commerce, Commercial Intelligence, Corruption, Cultural Intelligence, Government

The Wall Street Pentagon Papers: Biggest Scam In World History Exposed: Are The Federal Reserve’s Crimes Too Big To Comprehend?

By David DeGraw
The Public Record
Dec 10th, 2010

What if the greatest scam ever perpetrated was blatantly exposed, and the US media didn’t cover it? Does that mean the scam could keep going? That’s what we are about to find out.

. . . . . . .

The Fed doled out $12.3 trillion in near-zero interest loans, using the American people as collateral, demanding nothing in return, other than a bunch of toxic assets in some cases. They only gave this money to a select group of insiders, at a time when very few had any money because all these same insiders and speculators crashed the system.Do you get that? The very people most responsible for crashing the system, were then rewarded with trillions of our dollars. This gave that select group of insiders unlimited power to seize control of assets and have unprecedented leverage over almost everything within their economies – crony capitalism on steroids.

Read full blast….

Reference: Lying is Not Patriotic–Ron Paul

02 Diplomacy, 03 Economy, 07 Other Atrocities, 10 Security, 11 Society, Civil Society, Corruption, Counter-Oppression/Counter-Dictatorship Practices, Government, Hill Letters & Testimony, Journalism/Free-Press/Censorship, Media, Military, Misinformation & Propaganda, Movies, Officers Call, Peace Intelligence, Secrecy & Politics of Secrecy, Videos/Movies/Documentaries, YouTube
Chuck Spinney Recommends....

Several truths, nine questions.

Ron Paul on YouTube

Phi Beta Iota: Here are the questions as asked:

01  Do the American people deserve to know the truth regarding the on-going war in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen?

02  Could a larger questions be how can an Army private gain access to so much secret information?

03  Why is the hostility mostly directed at Assange the publisher and not  our government’s failure to protect classified information?

04  Are we getting our money’s worth from the $80 billion dollars per year we are spending on intelligence gathering?

05  Which has resulted in the greatest number of deaths?  Lying us into war, or WikiLeaks revelations or the release of the Pentagon Papers?

06  If Assange can be convicted of a crime for information that he did not steal, what does this say about the future of the First Amendment and the independence of the Internet?

07  Could it be that the real reason for the near universal attacks on Wikileaks is more about secretly maintaining a seriously flawed foreign policy of empire than it is about national security?

08  Is there not a huge difference between releasing secret information to help the enemy in a time of declared war, which is treason, and the releasing of information to expose our government lies that promote secret wars, death, and corruption?

09  Was it not once considered patriotic to stand up to our government when it is wrong?

See Also:

Journal: Politics & Intelligence–Partners Only When Integrity is Central to Both

Reference (2): Income Inequality in the USA

03 Economy, 07 Other Atrocities, 11 Society, Commerce, Commercial Intelligence, Corruption, Cultural Intelligence, Government
Chuck Spinney Sounds Off

It is becoming increasingly clear that the United States passed through some kind of fork in the economic road in the aftermath of the Vietnam War and has now landed on onto an evolutionary pathway toward some kind of decline.  The questions of what interplay of chance and necessity created the turning movement in the pathway of socio-economic evolution, how enduring that new pathway is, or where it is leading no one can answer; but with the advantage of hindsight, it is becoming empirically clear that most of the adverse economic trends of de-industrialization, deregulation, increasing debt, a collapsing trade balance, the stagnation of real wages, rising income inequality, etc., took a systemic turn for the worse during the five years between 1977 and 1982.

Attached are two reports (in pdf format) on one aspect of anatomy of decline: rising income inequality.  They build on the seminal research (which can be downloaded here and here) of Professors Emanuel Saez’s (Univ. of Calif. Berkeley) and Thomas Piketty (Paris School of Economics), which quantified and analyzed the size, nature, and effects of rising income inequality in the United States.

The first report has been  prepared by the democratic majority staff of the Joint Economic Committee in Congress and therefore may be discounted by some as partisan — to those readers inclined to dismiss this report, I suggest that they compare its results of the Saez-Piketty analyses before jumping to any conclusions.

The second report is a non partisan analysis produced by Frank Levy and Peter Temlin of Industrial Performance Center of MIT.

Reference A: The Senate Report (2010)

Reference B:  The MIT Report (2007)

See Also:

Journal: Financial Crime versus Financial Sense

Journal: Simpson-Bowles Deficit Reduction All Lies?

Journal: Rug Mechants & Tax Traps

Reference: Wall Street Does NOT Produce Value

Journal: Deficit Reduction Plan Hoses Everyone BUT the 10% at the Top

Reference: Inside Job–The Movie

Corruption, Worth A Look
Official Site with Movie Trailer

7 December 2010

Paul Krugman Reviews the Movie (NYT)

8 October 2010

Inside Job: The Antidote to the TARP Celebrations

By Dean Baker – October 8, 2010, 8:08PM

Charles Ferguson’s new movie, Inside Job, is a fast-moving and fascinating account of the process and the people who wrecked the economy with their blind ambition and unfettered greed. The timing could not have been better, coming amidst the Wall Street establishment’s celebration of the second anniversary of the TARP.

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Review (DVD): The Most Dangerous Man in America–Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers

07 Other Atrocities, 09 Justice, 10 Security, 11 Society, 6 Star Special, Censorship & Denial of Access, Civil Society, Congress (Failure, Reform), Consciousness & Social IQ, Corruption, Corruption, Crime (Government), Cultural Intelligence, Culture, Research, Democracy, Empire, Sorrows, Hubris, Blowback, Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Government, History, Impeachment & Treason, Justice (Failure, Reform), Media, Methods & Process, Military, Military & Pentagon Power, Secrecy & Politics of Secrecy, Threats (Emerging & Perennial), Truth & Reconciliation, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars Stunningly Relevant Today and Always

December 7, 2010

I completely missed the release of this film in July, and stumbled on it while picking movies for a sick son.

It opens with Henry Kissinger, since demonstrated to be a war criminal, calling Daniel Elsberg the most dangerous man in America, and lamenting the release of secret documents (that ultimately proved government perfidy). Fast forward to WikiLeaks as a sequel to the 935 documented lies led by Dick Cheney.

Continue reading “Review (DVD): The Most Dangerous Man in America–Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers”

Journal: Financial Crime versus Financial Sense

03 Economy, 07 Other Atrocities, 11 Society, Analysis, Budgets & Funding, Civil Society, Collective Intelligence, Commerce, Commercial Intelligence, Corporations, Corruption, Ethics, Government, Methods & Process, Misinformation & Propaganda, Money, Banks & Concentrated Wealth, Policy, Power Behind-the-Scenes/Special Interests, Reform, Strategy
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Financial Crime

December 7, 2010

From the Deficit Panic to the TARP Financial Collapse

Tales of Economic Apocalypse

By DEAN BAKER, Counterpunch

In short, the horror story collapses as soon as anyone gives it any serious thought. The Wall Street gang can hardly be faulted for trying cheap scare tactics for pushing its agenda; after all it worked so brilliantly with the TARP two years ago. At the time the plot line was that unless we immediately gave all our money to the Wall Street banks, with no questions asked, then the whole economy would collapse.

Dean Baker is the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR). He is the author of Plunder and Blunder: The Rise and Fall of the Bubble Economy and False Profits: Recoverying From the Bubble Economy.

Read entire analysis.

Financial Sense

Joseph Stiglitz outlines a very sensible approach for placing the United States on a pathway toward correcting the problems paralyzing our political economy.  Of course, his ideas will never be seriously considered by the let-them-eat-cake oligarchs now running Versailles on the Potomac, because to put this plan into action, someone must smash the Hall of Mirrors that is distorting what passes for reality in our collective OODA Loops.  CS<

This Budget Would Never Pass

A five-part plan to cut the deficit, narrow inequality, and strengthen the economy—and why special interests would block it.

By Joseph E. Stiglitz, Slate, Monday, Dec. 6, 2010

Technically, reducing a deficit is a straightforward matter: One must either cut expenditures or raise taxes. It is already clear, however, that the deficit-reduction agenda, at least in the United States, goes further: It is an attempt to weaken social protections, reduce the progressivity of the tax system, and shrink the role and size of government— all while leaving established interests, like the military-industrial complex, as little-affected as possible.

Precis:  history includes massive increase in defense expenditures, growth in inequality, underinvestment in public sector including infrastructure, and growth in corporate welfare.  Remediation demands increased spending on high-return public investments, cut in military expenditures “not just funding for the fruitless wars, but also for the weapons that don’t work against enemies that don’t exist;” eliminate corporate welfare; create a fairer and more efficient tax system; 5% increase in taxes actually paod (focus on top 1%).

This article comes from Project Syndicate

Joseph E. Stiglitz, a Nobel laureate in economics, is University Professor at Columbia University. The paperback version of his latest book, Freefall: Free Markets and the Sinking of the Global Economy, with a new afterword, was published in October.

Read entire analysis.

Phi Beta Iota: The Deficit Commission has not produced any supporting documentation.  The public intelligence available, of which the above is a small sample, is overwhelming in suggesting that the deficit commission is a criminal fraud being perpetuated on the American public.  Wall Street and the two-party tyranny appear to believe that the public is both stupid and permanently inert, and that they can get away with this.  Time will tell.  We condemn it–and note that Joseph Stiglitz was appointed Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in the Virtual Cabinet at Huffington Post.  We trust him.

See Also:

Journal: Simpson-Bowles Deficit Reduction All Lies?

Journal: Rug Mechants & Tax Traps

Journal: Navy Sinks, Congress Throws Money

Journal: Smoke, Mirrors, and Hades Burning on the Hill

Reference: Wall Street Does NOT Produce Value

NIGHTWATCH Extract: Sudan Denounces NGOs

08 Wild Cards, Civil Society, Corporations, Corruption, Cultural Intelligence, Gift Intelligence, Government, InfoOps (IO), Intelligence (government), International Aid, IO Mapping, Methods & Process, Misinformation & Propaganda, Money, Banks & Concentrated Wealth, Non-Governmental, Power Behind-the-Scenes/Special Interests, Reform, Strategy

Sudan: Sudanese media broadcast the following decree on Monday.

Marshal Umer Hassan Al-Bashir the President of the Republic, the president of the National Congress Party has authorized the state governors to expel NGOs and persons that do not respect the country’s sovereignty, work guidelines within 24 hours. He added we respect the NGOs that come to assist us and we reject whoever intends to control us. He indicated that some NGOs have spread rumors that they work in Sudan without the need of the government approvals. He directed the governors to expel the NGOs that do not adhere to their authorities on the same day.

NIGHTWATCH Comment: The government in Khartoum remains highly suspicious of western aid organizations that it suspects of encouraging separatism in Darfur and the South. This decree is a manifestation of that suspicion because it mentions rumor mongering. A government has a right to control foreigners without further justification. Odd behavior…


Phi Beta Iota: This is the beginning of the end for predatory NGO’s including the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and of course all the religious NGOs and the corporate pseudo-NGOs.  They have lost all trust for a good reason.  On the one hand, they have been spending less than 10% of what they have collected under the various guises (Katrina, Haiti, etcetera) and on the other they are now demonstrably untrustworthy and ineffective.  The next big step forward will be hybrid arrangements in which public intelligence both validates every move, every expense, every bona fides, and harmonizes a diversity of efforts toward a common publicly-appraised and accepted purpose.

Journal: Brooks on Assange, Others on Brooks

04 Education, 07 Other Atrocities, 10 Security, 11 Society, Civil Society, Collective Intelligence, Corporations, Corruption, Counter-Oppression/Counter-Dictatorship Practices, Cultural Intelligence, Government, IO Sense-Making, Journalism/Free-Press/Censorship, Military, Misinformation & Propaganda, Money, Banks & Concentrated Wealth, Officers Call, Power Behind-the-Scenes/Special Interests, Privacy, Secrecy & Politics of Secrecy

EDIT of 5 Dec 2010 to add commentaries by various others.

David Brooks

Op-Ed Columnist

The Fragile Community


Published: November 29, 2010

Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, had moved 37 times by the time he reached his 14th birthday. His mother didn’t enroll him in the local schools because, as Raffi Khatchadourian wrote in a New Yorker profile, she feared “that formal education would inculcate an unhealthy respect for authority.”

. . . . . . .

She needn’t have worried. As a young computer hacker, he formed a group called International Subversives. As an adult, he wrote “Conspiracy as Governance,” a pseudo-intellectual online diatribe. He talks of vast “patronage networks” that constrain the human spirit.

Far from respecting authority, Assange seems to be an old-fashioned anarchist who believes that all ruling institutions are corrupt and public pronouncements are lies.

Read the rest of this revealing assessment….

Phi Beta Iota: We like David Brooks.  He’s less submissive than David Ignatius, less pretentious than Fareed Zakaria, and generally has something interesting to say.  In this piece, most revealingly, he displays his limitations to the fullest.  We are quite certain that David Brooks means well, but the depth of his naivete in this piece is nothing short of astonishing.  The below lists of lists of book reviews will suffice to demonstrate that David Brooks is not as well-read as he needs to be, not as intellectual as he pretends to be, and not at all accurate in his assessment of Julian Assange.  We share with Steven Aftergood of Federation of American Scientists (FAS) concerns about Assange’s judgment in releasing some materials that are gratuitous invasions of rightful privacy, but we also believe that Assange is finding his groove, and the recent cover story in Forbes captures that essence.  WikiLeaks is an antidote to corporate fascism and elective Empire run amok.  It meets a need.

Other Commentaries on the Same Article:

Continue reading “Journal: Brooks on Assange, Others on Brooks”

Journal: Simpson-Bowles Deficit Reduction All Lies?

03 Economy, 07 Other Atrocities, 10 Transnational Crime, 11 Society, Budgets & Funding, Collective Intelligence, Commercial Intelligence, Corruption, Cultural Intelligence, Government, Misinformation & Propaganda, Money, Banks & Concentrated Wealth, Power Behind-the-Scenes/Special Interests
Chuck Spinney Recommends....

Casting Light on “The Moment of Truth”

Where’s the evidence to back up the fear mongering? A challenge to the Fiscal Commission’s report.

James K. Galbraith

James K. Galbraith is General Editor of “Galbraith: The Affluent Society and Other Writings, 1952-1967,” just published by Library of America. He teaches at The University of Texas at Austin.

The report of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, issued on December 1, 2010 by Chairmen Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, is entitled “The Moment of Truth.” The words appear in block caps on the second page, weighty and portentous. They reappear in the first paragraph of the preamble:

EXTRACT:  These sentences set the tone. The first is a bald-faced lie, as a Westerner like Senator Simpson knows perfectly well. To the contrary, we have often fallen under the sway of robber barons, water barons, oil barons, bison-killers, clear-cutters and strip-miners, hell-bent on maximum pillage in the shortest time. Only occasionally have a few heroes like Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt, Gifford Pinchot and Harold Ickes Sr. emerged to battle for the most precious physical elements of our heritage — and then only with limited success.

EXTRACT:  Noticeably missing from the Commission’s plan are measures that would fall on the “leaders” themselves. The very richest pay cash for their houses. The commission would reduce, not increase, marginal income tax rates. There is no suggestion of a financial transactions tax.

EXTRACT: “…we spent the past eight months studying the same cold, hard facts. Together, we have reached these unavoidable conclusions. The problem is real. The solution will be painful. There is no easy way out. And Washington must lead.”

The reference to “studying” is suggestive. Are there any studies? White papers? Background analyses? Normally, one might expect a commission to produce some. In this case, it did not. The Commission’s web site makes no mention of any such thing.

Read entire article.

Phi Beta Iota: The most important point in our view is that there are no studies to back up the hyperbole and the recommendations, at the same time that it is clear the deficit reductions are Of, By, and For Wall Street, not We the People.  The White House and Congress continue to offer the public theater of the most absurd kind, lacking in all substance and assuredly not in the public interest.

Reference: On WikiLeaks and Government Secrecy + RECAP on Secrecy as Fraud, Waste, & Abuse

07 Other Atrocities, Corruption, Cultural Intelligence, Government, InfoOps (IO), Intelligence (government), IO Secrets, Methods & Process, Misinformation & Propaganda, Money, Banks & Concentrated Wealth, Officers Call, Policies, Policy, Power Behind-the-Scenes/Special Interests, Secrecy & Politics of Secrecy, True Cost

People are more likely to lie, exaggerate and distort when they know they won’t be held accountable for what they said, and people like to say what their interlocutors want to hear, says Jordan Stancil.

Jordan Stancil

Jordan Stancil is a lecturer in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs of the University of Ottawa.

Phi Beta Iota: This is the single best overview of how secrecy supports corruption.  It is consistent with testimony to the Moynihan Commission on Secrecy and with Morton Halperin’s findings in Bureaucratic Politics and Foreign Policy in which one of the “rules of the game” was “Lie to the President if you can get away with it.”  Today, the “rule of the game” is “Lie to the public if you can get away with it for at least one election cycle.”  Newt Gingrich started the decline with his power and ambition, Dick Cheney peaked at 935 documented lies that Colin Powell allowed to stand unchallenged, and now Obama, with Bloomberg in the wings, are the anti-climax of secrecy as fraud Of, By, and For Wall Street.  America has become a cheating culture, an unthinking culture, far removed from the essence of a Republic.

Middle East Online

First Published: 2010-12-05

On WikiLeaks and Government Secrecy

The more I think about the WikiLeaks episode, the less I know what to say about it. Unfortunately, too much commentary, right and left, has tried to inject certitude where ambivalence should be.

It is not clear whether the WikiLeaks disclosures will damage our national interest. During the few years I spent as a Foreign Service officer, in Jerusalem and Berlin, I produced and read a fair number of classified cables, and I understand the rather obvious point that diplomats might get more — and more sensitive — information when their contacts believe that what they say will remain secret. We have heard endless appeals to “common sense” about the need for secrecy on these grounds.

But common sense also tells us that people are more likely to lie, exaggerate and distort when they know they won’t be held accountable for what they said, and that people like to say what their interlocutors want to hear. The annals of diplomatic communication, indeed of all communication, are filled with evidence of this banal insight, which many people seem to have forgotten in their rush to defend government secrecy.

This is a permanent reference.  Read the rest below the line, followed by links.

Continue reading “Reference: On WikiLeaks and Government Secrecy + RECAP on Secrecy as Fraud, Waste, & Abuse”