5.0 out of 5 starsTitle Short-Changes Value — This is One of the Most Important Books of Our Time, July 12, 2014
I’m not thrilled with the title because it implies to the browser that the book is about the 935 now-documented lies that led to the war in Iraq, and that is not the case — those lies are simply one of many evidentiary cases spanned a much broader spectrum. As the author himself outlines early on, the book is about a retrospective review of the struggle for truth from the lies that led to Viet-Nam to date (less 9/11); a concurrent review of the corruption and diminuition of commercial journalism; and finally, the future of the truth.
The future of Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) is Multinational, Multifunctional, Multidisciplinary, Multidomain Information-Sharing & Sense-Making (M4IS2).
The following, subject to the approval of Executive and Congressional leadership, are suggested hueristics (rules of thumb):
Rule 1: All Open Source Information (OSIF) goes directly to the high side (multinational top secret) the instant it is received at any level by any civilian or military element responsive to global OSINT grid. This includes all of the contextual agency and mission specific information from the civilian elements previously stove-piped or disgarded, not only within the US, but ultimately within all 90+ participating nations.
Rule 2: In return for Rule 1, the US IC agrees that the Department of State (and within DoD, Civil Affairs) is the proponent outside the wire, and the sharing of all OSIF originating outside the US IC is at the discretion of State/Civil Affairs without secret world caveat or constraint. OSIF collected by US IC elements is NOT included in this warrant.
I never understood nor really liked baseball. I bought the book mostly to read about the inspired use of statistics, and the creative thinking that went into looking for the real keys to victory. I can safely say that while I may not have fallen in love with baseball, I will never find it boring again. If you have someone you want to turn into a fan, this book a superb gift option. The amount of detail in this book–for example, just the description of the strike zone and what different pitches and batters do to narrow the zone, what can be known about specific individual propensities and vulnerabilities associated with that little box, are truly inspirational.
This is a really excellent book. If we managed the national security budget the way Billy Bean managed the Oakland A’s, we’d have faster better cheaper military hardware, and a lot more plowshares. I was also impressed by the way in which Billy Bean built a team, in which players who might not have been individual stars excelled at setting up others in a true team effort where the group as a whole is stronger than the sum of the parts. Others have written better reviews from a baseball fans point of view–as a non-baseball fan, I can attest to this book’s being an “aha” experience.
United Nations, Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR)
IOP ’06. Under the leadership of Dr. Patricia Lewis, and in pursuit of the basic mission of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR), the development of “ideas for peace and security,” this organization has demonstrated sustained excellence in the exploitation of open sources of information, and in the development of new forms of internal information management and external information sharing, that suggest it is a potential catalyst for a surge in United Nations capabilities to leverage information to deter and resolve conflict, to reduce weapons of mass destruction as well as small arms and other contributing capabilities to genocide and instability, and to increase the prospects for peace across the many regions beset by complex emergencies that reduce human security.
Along with Lakhdar Brahimi (AF), Louise Frechette (CA), and Patrick Cammaert (NL), Dr. Patricia Lewis was among a tiny handful of United Nations (UN) professionals who understood in the 1990’s that the UN, like the World Bank and other organizations that seek to create a prosperous world at peace, is in the information business, and that Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) was both the common language and the coin of the realm.
Below are her remarks to OSS ’03, still the best overview available from any UN official.
5.0 out of 5 stars One hand, one million dollars, no tears.
July 15, 2003
john purcell “johneric99” (Purcellville, VA USA)
In the 1980’s, Michael Lewis was a neophyte bond salesman for Salomon Brothers in New York and London for four years. Liar’s Poker is a high-stakes game the traders, salesmen, and executives play each afternoon, but it is also a metaphor for the Salomon culture of extreme risk-taking with immediate payoffs and clear winners and losers.
This is the story of how Lewis survived the training program, inept but mean-spirited management, an aborted take-over even featuring a white knight, layoffs and the 1987 market crash before quitting to find his real calling as a business journalist. While Lewis’s career did not take off quickly, he eventually became a highly paid producer, although not in the league of the true top dogs.
Lewis tells the real story of Wall Street in both go-go and crash days with self-deprecating humor enlivened with his ecletic wit. Colorful and well-known Wall Street characters appear such as Michael Milken, Lazlo Birini, Warren Buffett, Bill Simon, Sr. and John Guetfruend. All business students need to read this as even those with advanced degrees in finance such as myself, will learn how things really work. The story of how the junk bond and collateralized mortgage backed security markets emerge is told to fill in a chapter in financial history. Perhaps most interesting is some of the political machinations, rampant at Salomon, which lead for example for Salomon to ignore the junk bond market, allowing others to flourish and eventually attempt to take-over Salomon using junk bonds.
Lewis also describes for all investors the conflicts of interest and lack of governance on Wall Street long before Eliot Spitzer and Arthur Levitt became the champions of the little guy. My next step is to read Lewis’s later books.
The essence of this book that captured my attention was not the impact of the West on the Middle East, but rather the divergent manner in which the West separated religion from business and government, while the Middle East generally did not. I would point readers toward two other books: Seyyed Vali Reza Nasr, in Islamic Leviathan: Islam and the Making of State Power, has done a fine job of looking at the differing manner in which Malaysia on the one hand, and Pakistan on the other, utilized Islam as a means of legitimizing the state. In the end, both states had to control their fanatics.The other book, by Howard Bloom, Global Brain: the Evolution of Mass Mind from the Big Bang to the 21st Century, adds value to the very educated efforts of Bernard Lewis in this volume, because it points out that culturate training kills half the brain by the time one is an adult. This is serious stuff, to wit: if religion and culture can embed in an entire region the makings for a sustained collapse of social and economic measures needed to achieve stability and a minimalist quality of life for the population, is it safe for us to stand back? Are we to leave them to their own devices? What must we do to ensure that we *share* some common brain concepts and what will it take for both their educational system and ours to “build for peace” from grade one?
These are complex issues, even more challenging that the more tangible issues of intervention in the face of epidemics, gang wars, genocide, and so on. Certainly we cannot intervene with force nor confront our Islamic brothers, but we must ask ourselves: at what point should we consider substantial investments in both Islamic studies and socio-economic, even ideo-cultural and techno-demographic assistance, to the nations of Islam?
Are they our brother, or not? If we are to respect the universal declaration of human rights, and acknowledge that human suffering is justification for intervention, ideally peaceful intervention, then at what point do we create a national capability for responding to these needs in a manner that is both appropriate to the tangible challenge and consistent with the religious challenge?
In my view, this book is most valuable for outlining the depths of the challenge of modernization in a deeply religious region, and rather than ending on a note of “on your own heads be it,” I wonder if we might not better ask, “what do we need to do differently to find a middle road toward modernization, one that can be accepted within the strictures of Islam?”