Climate Emails Stoke Debate Scientists' Leaked Correspondence Illustrates Bitter Feud over Global Warming
KEITH JOHNSON, 23 November 2009
In the emails, which date to 1996, researchers in the U.S. and the U.K. repeatedly take issue with climate research at odds with their own findings. In some cases, they discuss ways to rebut what they call “disinformation” using new articles in scientific journals or popular Web sites.
The emails include discussions of apparent efforts to make sure that reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations group that monitors climate science, include their own views and exclude others. In addition, emails show that climate scientists declined to make their data available to scientists whose views they disagreed with.
Updated Improved Version, But Dropped Some Good Stuff,
April 21, 2005
Karl F. Inderfurth
Edit of 20 Dec 07 to add links.
This is an updated and improved version of the 1988 version, “Decisions of the Highest Order: Perspectives on the National Security Council,” a book that remains, in its original form, a gold standard in the field.
The new improved version is both that–new and improved, with updated perspectives all the way into the first Bush Administration, recognizing the end of the Cold War and the new Global War on Terror, and I venture to say there is no finer book available for orienting both undergraduate and graduate students–as well as mid-career adult students–with respect to the vital role that the National Security Council plays in orchestrating Americas foreign and national security policies.
I have just two modest criticisms, both easily addressed through the use of other readings, but which would take this excellent book to a full five stars if the next edition integrated more material:
1) The original had some really excellent pieces Disorders and on Remedies, and the new version, while more timely and current, has left some useful historical perspectives on the cutting room floor. I would have preferred that the editors add as they have, but with less deletion from the past.
2) The book still has the flavor of the Cold War in that the NSC is looked upon as a largely military “big stick” get our way in the national security arena book, and it does not orient its readers to the full range of national capabilities, all of the instruments of national power including the economic, cultural, and religious. It does not fully reflect the growing role of non-state actors and the emerging appreciation for national security as a multi-cultural arena in which non-governmental organizations such as Doctors without Borders, and Chambers of Commerce, have at least as much to contribute to stabilization and reconstruction as do the U.S. Armed Forces.
In my view, this book is the standard, but I would like to see a third edition that addresses these last two points.
The publisher should be spanked for failing to provide Amazon with proper information (e.g. the Table of Contents and copy of the cover) for this book, which is an instant best reference on intelligence for the English-speaking audience.This anthology brings together 36 world-class authorities on their respective domains to discuss in nine parts: Introduction to US Intelligence; Intelligence Collection; Intelligence Analysis; The Danger of Intelligence Politicization; Intelligence and the Policymaker; Covert Action; Counterintelligence; Accountability and Civil Liberties; and Intelligence in Other Lands.
The book is very strong on historical overviews of US intelligence, and is easily the single best collection of US-oriented materials available to the professional or students of intelligence. Absolutely recommended as a readings book for all university classes, both graduate and undergraduate, focusing on intelligence.
I was pleasantly surprised to see one of my very old articles on open source intelligence (from about 1995) in the book. It was sufficient for the book's purposes, but suffered from not having been sent to me for review–for example, on page 115 the practical example that was attributed to a Marine Corps wargame on Somalia is a repeat of an editorial error at the International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence. This performance was actually for the Aspin-Brown Commission, where 6 telephone calls, on an overnight basis, produced vastly more than the US Intelligence Community was able to find with its billions of dollars in capability. I hope and suspect that the other chapters do not have the same problem as OSINT is the most vibrant and newest aspect of intelligence, and the other articles and authors have a richer past and more stable story. To update on OSINT, Google for <Open Source Intelligence OSINT> without quotes or the brackets.
The book is weak in failing to properly criticize the US clandestine service, in failing to examine the complete lack of multi-disciplinary processing and lack of analytic toolkits and trade-craft (Jack Davis should have been in this book, Google for “analytic tradecraft”), and in failing to both examine other nations such as China and Israel and The Netherlands, as well as other intelligence tribes and the prospects for collaboration among national, military, law enforcement, business, academic, NGO-media, and citizen-labor-religious intelligence.
The book would have benefited from a tenth section focusing on intelligence challenges of the future, including special chapters on peacekeeping intelligence, medical intelligence, environmental intelligence, corporate and common crime intelligence, and religious or cultural intelligence.
The bibliography is weak and appears to have been thrown together, failing to list most of the top 25 books on intelligence that I have listed as essential reading for Amazon (see more about me should really say see my other reviews and lists–follow it for the lists on information society, intelligence, emerging threats, strategy & force structure, etc.).
The publisher should immediately correct the deficiencies in this book's listing here at Amazon, because this is a superb book that merits the respect of every professional and every professor teaching intelligence. It should be a standard reference in the military and law enforcement schoolhouses. However, the publisher should immediately begin planning a second edition with an improved bibliography, an index of relevant web sites, and the new Part X suggested above.
Kudos to Johnson and Wirtz for a job well done. The intellect and time that went into selecting each contributor is not to be underestimated. This is a magnificent effort and will be very valuable to all students in all seven tribes (all of whom are now using MeetUp to link up in cities around the world). I want the second edition, improved as noted above, out within the year.
Sobering, Makes an Important Case, Rough Around the Edges,
January 24, 2004
This double-spaced book is an indictment of American militarism and unilateralism, and it merits reading by every citizen. It loses one star to a lack of structure and sufficient references to a broader range of supporting literature, and to the author's tendency to go “a bridge too far” in blaming the CIA for everything and in assuming that our troops and their families are somehow enjoying their “luxurious” overseas deployments.It may be best to begin the review where the author ends, by agreeing with the case he makes for the potential collapse of America if the people fail to take back the power and restore integrity and participatory democracy to the Congress. Absent a radical reverse, four really bad things will happen to America: 1) it will be in a state of perpetual war, inspiring more terrorism than it can defeat in passing; 2) there will be a loss of democracy and constitutional rights; 3) truthfulness in public discourse will be replaced by propaganda and disinformation; and 4) we will be bankrupt.
It merits comment that today, as I read and reviewed the book, which documents over 725 US bases around the world, many of them secret, there is a public discussion in which the Pentagon is acknowledging only 400 or so bases to exist.
There is a considerable amount of short-hand history in the book that can be skimmed rapidly–from the roots of American militarism in the Spanish-American war, to the non-partisan efforts of both Clinton and Bush fils to establish a military base structure in Arabia and in Central Asia.
The author provides a number of worth-while commentaries on war crimes and associations with genocidal acts and repressive dictators on the part of Henry Kissinger, Wes Clark, James Baker, Dick Cheney, and other mostly Republican “wise men” associated with the oil companies of America.
On pages 100-101 he draws on a number of authoritative sources to note that the casualty rate for the first Gulf War was close to 31% (THIRTY-ONE PERCENT) due to the exposure of the 696,778 veterans serving there being exposed to depleted uranium rounds and other toxic conditions *of our own making*, with 262,586 of these consequently falling ill and being *officially* declared to be disabled by the Veteran's Administration. I have no doubt that there will be an additional 100,000 or more disabled veteran's coming out of Gulf War II. These disabilities are multi-generational. Veterans disabled in the Gulf have higher possibilities of spawning children with deformities “including missing eyes, blood infections, respiratory problems, and fused fingers.”
The author excels, I believe, in bringing together in one book the combined costs and threats to the American Republic of a military that on the one hand is creating a global empire that is very costly to the US taxpayer and very threatening to everyone else; and on the other hand, is creating anti-democratic conditions within the United States, to include frequent and expensive preparations for dealing with “civilian disorder conditions” here at home.
The author also excels in discussing both the collapse of US diplomacy (today the Pentagon manages 93% of the international relations budget, the Department of State just 7%), and the rise of private military companies that he carefully lists on page 140–Halliburton, Kellogg Brown and Root, Vinnell, Military Professional Resources, DynCorp, Science Applications Corporation, BDM (now TRW), Armor Holdings, Cubic, DFI, International Charter. There are more–they are all “out of control” in terms of not being subject to Congressional oversight, military justice and discipline, or taxpayer loyalty.
In the middle of the book the author examines the change in the roles of the military from its World War II and post-Cold War missions to five new missions that have not been cleared with the American people: 1) imperial policing; 2) global eavesdropping; 3) control of petroleum fields and channels; 4) enrichment of the military-industrial complex; and 5) comfortable maintenance of the legionnaires in subsidized compounds around the world, such that numbers could be justified that could never be maintained in garrison within the USA.
On page 164 the author notes most interestingly that China is among the greatest purchasers of fiber-optic cable in the world (thus negating much of NSA's 1970's capabilities), and on page 165 he discusses, with appropriate footnotes, how the US, UK, Canada, and Australia are circumventing the prohibitions against monitoring their own people by trading off–the Canadians monitoring British politicians for the British, the British monitoring US politicians, etcetera.
Among the strongest sections of the book is the detailed discussion of America's love affair with ruthless dictators (and Muslim dictators at that) in Central Asia, all in pursuit of cheap oil our privilege elite think they can control. Of special interest to me is the author's delicate dissection of the vulnerability of any Central Asian energy strategy, and his enumeration of all the vulnerabilities that our elite are glossing over or ignoring.
Summing it all up, the author attributes US militarism and the Bush fils “doctrine” to “oil, Israel, and domestic politics”, and he bluntly condemns it all as “irrational in terms of any cost-benefit analysis.” Quoting Stanley Hoffmann, an acclaimed international relations theorist, he condemns Bush's “strategy” (as do I) as “breathtakingly unrealistic”, as “morally reckless”, and as “eerily reminiscent of the disastrously wishful thinking of the Vietnam War.”
This is a fine book. Read widely enough, it has the potential for constructively informing the popular debate that is emerging despite all efforts by the Administration and its corporate cronies to suppress discussion [e.g. MoveOn.org's $2M in cash for a Superbowl ad has been rejected by CBS on the grounds of being too controversial]. Despite a few rough edges, I believe the author represents a body of informed scholarly and practical opinion such as I have tried to honor with my many non-fiction reviews, and I hope that everyone who reads this review decides to buy the book.
Rare and Deep Insights into Intelligence Grid-Lock,
December 19, 2000
The opening quotation from Harry Howe Ransom says it all-“Certainly nothing is more rational and logical than the idea that national security policies be based upon the fullest and most accurate information available; but the cold war spawned an intelligence Frankenstein monster that now needs to be dissected, remodeled, rationalized and made fully accountable to responsible representatives of the people.”
Professor Johnson is one of only two people(the other being Britt Snider) to have served on both the Church Commission in the 1970's and the Aspin-Brown Commission in the 1990's, and is in my view one of the most competent observer and commentator on the so-called U.S. Intelligence Community. The book is a tour d'horizon on both the deficiencies of today's highly fragmented and bureaucratized archipelago of independent fiefdoms, as well as the “new intelligence agenda” that places public health and the environment near the top of the list of topics to be covered by spies and satellites.
Highlights of this excellent work, a new standard in terms of currency and breadth, include his informed judgment that most of what is in the “base” budget of the community should be resurrected for reexamination, and that at least 20% of the budget (roughly $6 billion per year) could be done away with-and one speculates that this would be good news to an Administration actively seeking trade-offs permitting its promised tax cut program. His overviews of the various cultures within the Central Intelligence Agency, of the myths of intelligence, and of the possibilities for burden sharing all merit close review.
He does, however, go a bridge too far while simultaneously rendering a great service to the incoming Administration. He properly identifies the dramatic shortfalls in the open source information gathering and processing capabilities of the various Departments of the Federal government-notably the Department of State as well as the Department of Commerce and the various agencies associated with public health-but then he goes on to suggest that these very incapacities should give rise to an extension of the U.S. Intelligence Community's mission and mandate-that it is the U.S. Intelligence Community, including clandestine case officers in the field and even FBI special agents, who should be tasked with collecting open sources of information and with reporting on everything from disease to pollution. This will never work, but it does highlight the fact that all is not well with *both* the U.S. Intelligence Community *and* the rest of the government that is purportedly responsible for collecting and understanding open sources of information.
On balance I found this book to be a very competent, insightful, and well-documented survey of the current stresses and strains facing the U.S. national intelligence community. The conclusion that I drew from the book, one that might not be shared by the author, was that the U.S. Government as a whole has completely missed the dawn of the Information Age. From the National Security Agency, where too many people on payroll keep that organization mired in the technologies of the 1970's, to the U.S. State Department, which has lost control of its Embassies and no longer collects significant amounts of open source information, to the White House, where no one has time to read-we have completely blown it-we simply have not adapted the cheap and responsive tools of the Internet to our needs, nor have we employed the Internet to share the financial as well as the intellectual and time burdens of achieving “Global Coverage.” More profoundly, what this book does in a way I have not been able to do myself, is very pointedly call into question the entire structure of government, a government attempting to channel small streams of fragmented electronic information through a physical infrastructure of buildings and people that share no electronic connectivity what-so-ever, while abdicating its responsibility to absorb and appreciate the vast volumes of relevant information from around the globe that is not online, not in English, and not free.
It was not until I had absorbed the book's grand juxtaposition of the complementary incompetencies of both the producers of intelligence and the consumers of intelligence that I realized he has touched on what must be the core competency of government in the Information Age: how precisely do we go about collecting, analyzing, and disseminating information, and creating tailored intelligence, when we are all inter-dependent across national, legal bureaucratic, and cultural boundaries? This is not about secrecy versus openness, but rather about whether Government Operations as a whole are taking place with the sources, methods, and tools of this century, or the last. To bombs, bugs, drugs, and thugs one must add the perennial Pogo: “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”
Loch is the dean of the scholars competent to address intelligence matters, and his experience as a member of the professional staff of both the Church Committee in the 1970's and the Aspin/Brown Commission in the 1990's uniquely qualify him to discuss and evaluate U.S. intelligence. His chapters on the ethics of covert operations and on intelligence accountability set a standard for this aspect of the discussion. This is the only book I have seen that objectively and methodically discusses intelligence success and failures in relation to the Soviet Union, with a superb three-page listing decade by decade being provided on pages 180-182.