The plethora and pace of the development of these one-off “solutions”
is killing me ….the collective defense and intelligence community
apparently can’t keep up with themselves in order to prove who is more
irrelevant…. we continue to throw good money after bad.
Will this ever end?
WIRED, 21 July 2011
The Pentagon’s top researchers have rushed a classified and controversial intelligence program into Afghanistan. Known as “Nexus 7,” and previously undisclosed as a war-zone surveillance effort, it ties together everything from spy radars to fruit prices in order to glean clues about Afghan instability.
The program has been pushed hard by the leadership of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. They see Nexus 7 as both a breakthrough data-analysis tool and an opportunity to move beyond its traditional, long-range research role and into a more active wartime mission.
But those efforts are drawing fire from some frontline intel operators who see Nexus 7 as little more than a glorified grad-school project, wasting tens of millions on duplicative technology that has nothing to do with stopping the Taliban.
“There are no models and there are no algorithms,” says one person familiar with the program, echoing numerous others who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the program publicly. Just “200 lines of buggy Python code to do what imagery analysts do every day.”
Phi Beta Iota: The mind boggles at the idiocy of “reality mining” where the only reality that can be “computed” is digital, and actual reality is a 15th century pre-analog illiterate society. The comments at the end of the article are earthy and on target. The US Government in the aggregate has lost both its intelligence and its integrity.
First, the paragraph:
“The enterprise has proved to be a model of how not to go about such things, breaking all the rules of grand strategy: getting in without having any idea of how to get out; almost wilful misdiagnosis of the challenges; changing objectives, and no coherent or consistent plan; mission creep on an heroic scale; disunity of political and military command, also on an heroic scale; diversion of attention and resources [to Iraq] at a critical stage in the adventure; poor choice of local allies, who rapidly became more of a problem than a solution; unwillingness to co-opt the neighbours into the project, and thus address the mission-critical problem of external sanctuary and support; military advice, long on institutional self-interest, but woefully short on serious objective analysis of the problems of pacifying a broken country with largely non-existent institutions of government and security; weak political leadership, notably in subjecting to proper scrutiny militarily heavy approaches, and in explaining to the increasingly, and now decisively, sceptical domestic press and public the benefits of expending so much treasure and blood.”
Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles
British ambassador in Kabul and as special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan
By Lionel Barber, Financial Times, 22/07/11
Phi Beta Iota: A full reading of “The Afghan misadventure” by Lionel Barber is highly recommended. The ends with several lessons not understood in Washington, and a marvelous description of NATO as a “tethered goat.” He also recommends these three books:
Cables From Kabul: The Inside Story of the West’s Afghanistan Campaign, by Sherard Cowper-Coles, Harper Press, 352 pages
The Wars of Afghanistan: Messianic Terrorism, Tribal Conflicts and the Failures of Great Powers, by Peter Tomsen, PublicAffairs, 912 pages
Dead Men Risen: The Welsh Guards and the Real Story of Britain’s War in Afghanistan, by Toby Harnden, Quercus, 640 pages
Anyone who believes we are winning the War on Terror doesn’t understand the goals of AQ. They wanted us to be afraid and to spend our money, both of which the government is doing in spades…..one really has to ask, then, who is winning?
By Richard Engel, NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent
NEW YORK – As a foreign correspondent for NBC News, I haven’t spent much time in the United States during the last decade. I return only occasionally to check in with colleagues, visit family, or, this last time, to research a documentary for MSNBC.
The documentary, still in the works, is about the Global War on Terrorism, and what it has done to our military, economy and American society in general. Perhaps because the subject was on my mind, I found a recent travel experience especially meaningful.
Through my work I travel to some of the busiest airports in high-risk areas. Just this year I have been in Egypt, Tunisia, Iran, Bahrain, Libya, France, Italy and many other countries. But I have yet to feel so angry, so embarrassed or so scrutinized as I did going through airport security for a flight from Los Angeles International Airport to New York’s JFK while visiting home.
. . . . .
I’ve watched American troops fight, and sometimes die, to drive the Taliban and al-Qaida from Afghanistan, and to secure free elections in Iraq. They have been fighting for other people to be free. I was horrified to see that despite their sacrifices we’d let ourselves become a nation that appears to be driven by fear.
. . . . .
But at the airport, watching a 7-year-old girl go through a full body scan in public – just so she could fly out of the city of Los Angeles – made me wonder how much we have lost.
Phi Beta Iota: The Founding Fathers do not approve….
Thomas Jefferson: A Nation’s best defense is an educated citizenry.
Thomas Jefferson: Educate and inform the whole mass of the people… They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.
James Madison: Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.
This op-ed was written by one of my closest friends, who happens to be an old fashioned Republican in the best sense of the term.
By Mike Lofgren
June 26, 2011
. . . . . . .
We are not broke.
Taxing the super-rich will not kill the economy.
Most patriotic thing we can do is NOT taking down the US Government.
All three of those are big lies.
Let’s rebuild the dream.
In the coming weeks, people all across the country will come together for American Dream house meetings. Let’s talk about what a new American Dream looks like and commit to stand together to make it happen.
Find an American Dream house meeting near you. We want YOU to be part of this movement, from the very beginning.
The CIA base in the Persian Gulf came up in several conversations over the week-end, along with the “nominal” subordination or transfer of JSOG to the CIA.
This is clearly an Executive move to sidestep the War Powers Act.
This means that the military-industrial complex is in charge of our “national security” apparatus and policy, we now have four wars, and we are certain to have seven in the near term, adding Somalia, Yemen, and Iran as well as Syria while scuttling out of Afghanistan.
Phi Beta Iota: Dr. Robert Gates spent the week-end telling obvious lies and strong mischaracterizations about every topic he addressed. The US Executive is out of control and detrimental to the Constitutional health of the Republic. Impeachment is called for now–and could explain the timing of Gates/ departure.
Is there a new anti-intellectualism? I mean one that is advocated by Internet geeks and some of the digerati. I think so: more and more mavens of the Internet are coming out firmly against academic knowledge in all its forms. This might sound outrageous to say, but it is sadly true.
Robert David STEELE Vivas: Digerati are not geeks. They are adept at social media, a process, rather than the substance of any discipline. Their scorn for the mandarins of knowledge would not be possible if academia had not lost its soul, sanctioned massive intellectual corruption, and fragmented itself to the point of irrelevance. The serious educational literature (not something the digerati read) is clear: inspiration and innovation
emerge faster, better, and cheaper from minds that are prepared, to include a foundation of memorization and a deep familiarity with the thinking of those who have come before. The digerati point of view half-right and is embodied in Smart Mobs, Wisdom of the Crowd, Everything is Miscellaneous, and Maria Popova’s latest thought, that “information curation is the new authorship.” The digerati approach splits the roles of originator of an idea and connector of an idea down, and assumes that “the collective” can replicate and even surpass the individual human brain, without recognizing that the whole is only as good as the sum of the part foundation plus whatever the collective adds. My own finding re Wikipedia is that the mob destroys intellectuals. My own efforts to enhance the Open Source Intelligence page there were destroyed by idiots that “assumed” that because I pointed to oss.net so much (to many of the 800 people whose work is there including the 144 that received Golden Candle Awards) I was “self-promoting.” The digerati are fragile and very shallow, and by Larry Sanger’s very interesting account, a new form of neo-Luddite. The academy is corrupt and fragmented–we are in an era where all forms of organization have lost their soul and whatever semblance of philosophical context they may once have possessed. We are suffering from the Paradigms of Failure that I discussed in the pre-amble to ELECTION 2008: Lipstick on the Pig (EIN, 2008). There is only one option leading to stabilization & reconstruction: INTEGRITY. The digerati aren’t–as a general rule–very appreciative of holistic thinking or in-depth expertise–they are a spoiled generation badly in need of some personal suffering and exposure to global reality–IMHO.
Phi Beta Iota: Below is circulating among the Gold Warriors in Asia. We anticipate the nationalization not only of mines, but of land, followed by a rejection of most foreign debt, foreign seed, and foreign vaccines and medications. We continue to believe 2012 will be a year of awakening and bring a major correction to how power is exercised in the public interest. Public intelligence will play a huge rule, and will have a marketable value based on transparency, truth, and trust. We reassert our commitment to non-violent truth & reconciliation. There is money to be made in healing humanity and Earth, unleashing the power of the three billion brains now largely idle for lack of connectivity and back-office exploitation.
This is the email that is going around:
US and its allies assist will be using neoliberal economic policies to make sure new Arab governments stay in line.
Al Jazerra, 08 Jun 2011
But as US action around the world aimed at eliminating the recently won right to self-determination for the peoples of Asia and Africa under the guise of “Western democracy” fighting “totalitarian communism”, which left a trail of millions murdered by the US and its allies (starting with Korea and moving to the Congo, to Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, and from Guatemala to Brazil to Argentina, Uruguay, El Salvador, and Chile, to Southern Africa and the Middle East), the cruel US invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan in the last decade have hardly changed this anti-democratic trend. Yet two important victories are always touted by supporters of US foreign policy on the democratic front: namely, the fall of the Soviet Union and the ensuing “democratisation” of Eastern Europe, and the end of Apartheid in South Africa. The US hopes that its policies in both places will guide it to achieve similar ends for those uprisings of the Arab world that it cannot crush.
Joseph Massad is Associate Professor for Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History at Columbia University in New York.
Here are a few of the BIG lies used to support the status quo. What we need, rather urgently, is a counter-narrative
LIE 1. The earth is an open system with infinite supplies and sinks;
POSSIBLE TRUTH: Earth is a closed system, changes that used to take 10,000 years now take three, humanity is “peaking” the entire system.
LIE 2. Everything must be monetized;
POSSIBLE TRUTH: Money is an exchange unit and an information unit; in the absence of holistic analytics and “true cost” transparency, mony is actually a toxic means of concentrating wealth and depriving communities of their own resources (e.g. land).
LIE 3. The extreme unregulated free market is the only option for a modern economy;
POSSIBLE TRUTH: Information asymmetries and “rule by secrecy” have been clearly documented–the free market is neither free nor fair. A modern economy needs to be transparent, resilient, and hence rooted in the local.
I think the best description of Robert Gates is that he is a very smart bureaucrat who exemplifies the concept of go along to get along. He demonstrated this admirably in his farewell ‘warning’ as reported in the Wall Street Journal. This was a “guns or butter” speech designed to reassure the defense industrial complex that the safety of the U.S. will depend on the continued acquisition of pointless complex and expensive weapons systems.
Rather interestingly in this speech Gates ignored two pieces of information that might have caused him to reconsider his advocacy of super weapons systems.
Robert M. Gates is one of those people the Beltway Consensus refers to as a “serious adult”: not overtly partisan, measured in his pronouncements, possessed of actual knowledge about the job he has been charged to do. The adulation he has received is certainly understandable if we grade on a curve; his predecessor, Donald Rumsfeld, established an Olympic record for petty vanity, nasty abrasiveness, and disastrous professional judgment. Such a collective sigh of relief greeted Rumsfeld’s departure that his successor was bound to shine in comparison.
But what of Gates’s record on his own merits? He is given to making such comments as, “In my opinion, any future defense secretary who advises the President to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should ‘have his head examined,’ as General MacArthur so delicately put it.” A normal person would infer that he is opposed to the types of military intervention that have contributed significantly to a near-bankruptcy of the country. Yet in practice he has taken concrete measures to protract the very problem he professes to deplore.
Missing is the lack of integrity of the US Government…..
Jeff Cox, 12 May 2011, CNBC
LAS VEGAS—The era of US economic dominance is rapidly coming to an end as an “American Gothic” age sets in and China becomes the new global leader, economic historian Niall Ferguson said.
. . . . . .
01 The “mother of all Keynsian fiscal binges” in which the government spent nearly $1 trillion on stimulus from which there will be a “hangover” with only the timing at question.
02 A “massive monetary binge” in which the Federal Reserve ultimately will print money to the tune of nearly $3 trillion.
03 An ensuing spike in commodity prices, a process that has gone on virtually unabated since the beginning of Fed intervention and for which there has been a recent pullback.
04 China “is not the Soviet Union,” meaning the nation doesn’t have the same destabilizing economic conditions that brought down the former Communist republic.
Phi Beta Iota: Mr. Ferguson is correct on his four factors, but leaves out much more. The loss of integrity across not just the US Government but across every major “tribe” comprising the US nation-state (see our “Paradigms of Failure” and also “Legitimate Grievances“) is the root problem Within that is the collapse of education, the ruthless export of jobs that could have been kept in the USA if infrastructure had been developed properly, the looming private debt collapse (defaults of credit cards and everything else), and the deep social challenge of dealing with several hundred thousand returning veterans who are mentally and physically ill, facing unemployment, and rapidly discovering that their pain and suffering was for nothing.
The Tehran Peace Conference started on 14 May and ended today, 15 May, (63rd Anniversary of Palestine’s Nakbah ) with me chairing the 7:30 am panel entitled, “Terrorism: Concepts and Contexts.” Members of the Clergy from Brazil, Greece, and the U.S. made presentations as well as international lawyers, academicians, and peace activists from Australia, Canada, Ecuador, Venezuela, Spain, Ghana, and Bolivia. My assignment is to write up my report of each of the presentations and submit the recommendations from the panel to the Conference Secretariat.
On Day One of the Opening Plenary with journalist Jim Lobe seated on my right and Rabbis Weiss and Rosenberg sitting in front of me, I was surprised when my name was called to make a presentation at the opening plenary of the Tehran Peace Tribune. I immediately set about writing my remarks and here is what I said:
International Conference on Global Alliance Against Terrorism for a Just Peace
15 May 2011
How wonderful to be at a Conference where the word “love” is used; we are here because we love humankind. We are here from all corners of the earth; we are against terrorism; we want peace.
However, we must clarify peace. What kind of peace do we want?
President John F. Kennedy answered his question by saying: “. . . not a Pax Americana” imposed on the world by weapons of war. He went on to say that the kind of peace we want is the kind of peace that makes life worth living–peace for all men and women for all time.
No Justice, No Peace. No Truth, No Justice!
But, today, U.S. policy is rooted in lies, injustice, and war. And at home, the people of the U.S. suffer. Racism is acute, despite and maybe because of President Obama; hatred is rampant with hatred of Muslims, incarceration of Palestinians, targeting of immigrants, the lynchings of Blacks, disappearances of Latinos, and the pauperization of the people. People inside the U.S. are under attack in the realm of policy: