All Articles Individually Below the Line
Loch Johnson (editor)
4 out of 5 stars In Thirds: Interesting, Politically Correct, Pap
WARNING NOTICE: This is not a current book. It is a reprint of the 2010 publication that was out of date across many chapters when it was originally printed. The Routledge book, Routledge Companion to Intelligence Studies is the far better book if you want something that is both current and moderately innovative.
I’ve given up on this book. I got through the first fifteen entries, and had a paragraph on each, but finally concluded that on the one hand, the book consists largely of old contributions that have been recycled into a new (2010) collection, and on the other hand, the publisher and editor tried to cram so many contributions into one book that they are all shallow. The average grade across the first fifteen is a C, with two A’s and one D. On balance I am increasingly dismayed by the incestuous circle of self-citing “scholars” and a handful of practitioner-authors who are all on the same party line and largely ignorant of everyone else. There are too many errors of omission of both fact and of alternative authoritative references from outside the incest circle.
If you have an interest in my many other summary reviews of books on the craft of intelligence (decision-support), seek out free online Worth a Look: Book Reviews on Intelligence (Most). All of my reviews always lead back to their respective Amazon pages.
Best wishes to all,
Robert David STEELE Vivas
ON INTELLIGENCE: Spies and Secrecy in an Open World
Every dying Empire has its truth telling prophet and America had its own with Chalmers Johnson. Johnson correctly compared the decay of the American empire, with its well over 600 overseas military bases, with the fall of the Roman Empire whereas the Senate becomes a wealthy corporate club and irrelevant compared to the ruling Military Industrial Congressional Complex
Chalmers Johnson was a truth teller and prophet in a political environment where few would stand up to the interests and secrecy of the Pentagon and the intelligence community ~ and since his passing in November of 2010, many of his prophetic fears have been realized in the Obama administration.
Johnson, author of Blowback, Sorrows of Empire and Nemesis,The Last Days of the American Republic, talks in this video interview about the similarities in the decline of the Roman and Soviet empires and the signs that the U.S. empire is exhibiting the very same symptoms ~ overextension, corruption and the inability to reform. (Watch at least the first 20 minutes and also the very end where he predicts an economic collapse)
Johnson’ s main points were; The United States is treading the same three steps as the former Soviet Union;
- Inability to deal with corporate corruption.
- Imperial over-stretch is leading to fiscal insolvency ( 600 plus bases throughout the world )
- Inability to reform, thus accelerating the inevitable fall.
5.0 out of 5 stars Much Less Complicated Than Expected, a Great Workbook,April 16, 2012
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I bought this back in December 2011 when I was scrounging around for books on panarchy (see for instance, Panarchy: Understanding Transformations in Human and Natural Systems. It stayed in my pile as other books moved because my first impression was that it was more complicated than I cared to deal with and might – shudder — even include mathematical formulas. I was wrong.
This is a very straight forward book that I recommend as a read-ahead or work book for any group seeking to radically evolve their internal decision making processes away from the current standard of “I talk, you listen; I decide, you obey.” It has clear charts, the right amount of white space, and I put it down thinking very well of the book.
Panarchy is an evolution of the whole systems approach to anything, with the clarity and integrity of FEEDBACK LOOPS among the elements being the core of any successful system. If everyone does not talk; if everyone does not listen; if everyone does not decide; if everyone does not act in harmonization with all others, system failure is inevitable.
Interesting to me, because Harrison Owen is a friend and mentor, this book is a restatement, in panarchic terms, of his path-finding work, Open Space Technology: A User’s Guide–I also recommend his more recent Wave Rider: Leadership for High Performance in a Self-Organizing World.
5.0 out of 5 stars Gift Book, Gift Idea, Gift Economy, Get a Grip,February 18, 2012
I received a copy of this book as a gift, and gladly so since the top review at this time is unfairly dismissive while also confessing that the reviewer only read the first third of the book (but evidently not the preface (first page) that states plainly (first sentence, actually), “The things we know about food have a lot to teach us about how to have a healthy relationship with information.”
Having just reviewed The Telescreen: An Empirical Study of the Destruction and Despiritualization of Consciousness, and so many other books here at Amazon, I easily connect the point in last night’s reading: that food, medicine, education, and the media are all “co-conspirators” in dumbing down a human population whose brains started out as enormous pools of potential creativity, to this book. The information — and the food and the medicine and the tabloid garbage we are ingesting — is killing us.
What the first reviewer completely misses is that this is the first manifesto, beyond The Age of Missing Information, to actually focus on how out of control our relationship is to the world of information. As a lifetime professional in these matters I can state clearly that not only are governments substituting ideology for intelligence and corruption for integrity, but so are all the other communities of information (academia, civil society, commerce, government, law enforcement, media, military, and non-government / non-profit. We live in a totally corrupt world where — right now — banking families (Rothschild et al) own the banks and the banks own the two-party tyrannies (or the outright dictators) that own government, and they own the the corporations, with the 99% being expendable fodder for 1% theft from the commonwealth. This book is a cry from the heart, and an eloquent one at that.
Phi Beta Iota: Mr. Johnson is the author of Integrity at Scale, free online, whose many ideas are being integrated into the vision for a Smart Nation Act and the hub of the Smart Nation, an Open Source Agency and global Multinational, Multiagency, Multidisciplinary, Multidomain Information-Sharing and Sense-Making (M4IS2) network of networks. He is a party to the on-going push to establish the Open Source Agency and create a more competent and ethical America.
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As I look at the Open Source idea, I find myself experiencing a fair amount of dissonance between a methodological vision of open source intelligence, at one level, and at a very different level, an aspirational vision that sees it as a way of disinfecting a misguided and corrupt set of bureaucracies.
One mission is potentially endorsable by the powers-that-be. The second mission is not. Ask people to endorse both and it isn’t likely that either will move forward. If corruption prevention is to be the mission, the open source agency will have to find a home outside of government. If transparency of intelligence is the mission, then perhaps it can find a home inside government.
My second source of dissonance has to do with design and scale. Open source intelligence is potentially as vast as all the server farms Google will ever own. How does a relatively modest site, squeezed in between State and Watergate, ever acquire the heft to handle the challenge? The scope of the mission and the scope of the agency seem out of sync with the scope of the real estate footprint.