Worth a Look: Between the Bars: Human stories from prison

betweenthebars.org

Between the Bars is a weblog platform for prisoners, through which the 1% of Americans who are in prison can tell their stories. Leave a comment – we’ll pass it on.

In part with the help of MIT Civic Media.

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Oct 11

Video Interview with Chris Hedges at Occupy Wall Street

Author and former war correspondent for the New York Times, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist interviewed at Liberty Plaza/Occupy Wall Street (Sept 26)

Also see:

Video: Chris Hedges Public Lecture on his experiences in war zones

Video: “Death of the Liberal Class” at The Sanctuary for Independent Media

Review: Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle

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Oct 6

Penguin: State Department Implodes Over Book

Who, Me?

Sounds like somebody I know. Maybe he got to Hillary in the end?

How the State Department Came After Me

For telling the truth about what I saw in Iraq.

Peter Van Buren

Foreign Policy, 29 September 2011

I never intended to create this much trouble.

Two years ago I served 12 months in Iraq as a Foreign Service Officer, leading a Provincial Reconstruction Team. I had been with the State Department for some 21 years at that point, serving mostly in Asia, but after what I saw in the desert — the waste, the lack of guidance, the failure to really do anything positive for the country we had invaded in 2003 — I started writing a book. One year ago I followed the required procedures with State for preclearance (no classified documents, that sort of thing), received clearance, and found a publisher. Six months ago the publisher asked me to start a blog to support the book.

And then, toward the end of the summer, the wrath of Mesopotamia fell on me.

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Sep 29

Event: Sept 29 NYC, Open Society, Who Controls the Message? Producing and Distributing Media Content in the Digital Age

source page

Drawing on the Open Society Foundations’ research into the worldwide impact of new and digital media, this forum will discuss the role that these evolving forms of media can play in the development and strengthening of democratic societies.

The discussion will consider questions such as:

  • Who owns today’s media? Is ownership concentration harmful to diversity—or essential for creativity in a globalized marketplace?
  • How can digital media help or harm public interest journalism?
  • Is editorial independence being strengthened or undermined?
  • Is the freedom of online media undermined by new gatekeepers?
  • How are citizens responding? Is digital media increasing activism and participation? Or is it overwhelming and numbing people with a cascade of ever-more information?
  • What is the overall impact of these changes and issues on democracy?

With panelists from Morocco, Spain, and the United States, this event promises international insights into a global issue.

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Sep 28

Chuck Spinney: Richard Falk on USG Learning Disability

Chuck Spinney

Reasoning by analogy is powerful, but dangerous for of thinking.  Einstein, for example, showed how reasoning by analogy can unleash stunning insights , but only when properly tempered by critical observation, testing, and systematic analysis, can analogical insights lead to brilliant syntheses that literally change our view of reality.

But that benefit comes with a heavy price, because this kind of reasoning is also a very dangerous way to think.  Analogies can capture the imagination and thereby bias  the Orientation of less disciplined thinkers and decision makers to distort and twist their Observations into a vision of reality the Observer/Decision Maker wants to see.  In so doing, the distorted Orientation takes decision maker off the cliff by disconnecting his Actions from the real world.  And … for every Einstein with a highly disciplined Observation – Orientation – Decision Action loop, there are thousands of crackpots, nutcases, and charlatans trying to sell their visions of “what is” to sell their pre-concieved views of appropriate decisions and actions of action.

In the below essay, Richard Falk offers a good example of reasoning by analogy done properly.  He carefully crafts and explains a limited set of parallels between the January 1968 Tet Offensive in Viet Nam to Obama’s dilemma in Afghanistan.  CS

The Tet Offensive’s parallels to Afghanistan

The United States should learn from mistakes it made during the Vietnam War and withdraw from Afghanistan.

EXTRACTS:

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Aug 25

Koko: US Government Changes It Story — BearGate

Koko

29 July Koko: US Government Suspends Scientist For Integrity Inquiry – Who Suspends the USG?

2 August  Scientist suspension is about project’s management

The government’s new new story:

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The U.S. government suspended an Arctic biologist over how he awarded a polar bear research project to the University of Alberta and its management, not for his earlier scientific work detailing drowned polar bears, a watchdog group said Monday.

The reality check:

Documents provided by the watchdog group showed questioning by investigators earlier this year focused on the polar bear observations that Monnett and researcher Jeffrey Gleason made in 2004.

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Aug 2

2011 Peace from Above: Future of Intelligence & Air Power

Click on Image to Enlarge

Short URL: http://tinyurl.com/UNODIN

NEW: Chapter Draft 1.2

The chapter more fully integrates the DNI spiral between modern mature intelligence (M4IS2) and modern mature Air Power.

Abstract 3.1

Briefing 3.3 (29 Slides With Notes As Presented 40 KB pptx)

Event: 15-17 June Ontario UN Aerospace Power

See Also:

2012 Robert Steele: Practical Reflections on UN Intelligence + UN RECAP

UN Intelligence @ Phi Beta Iota

Worth a Look: Wings for Peace – First Book on Air Power in UN Operations

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Aug 1

In “borderless” cyberspace, nation states struggle — M4IS2 Anyone?

Click on Image to Enlarge

Analysis: In “borderless” cyberspace, nation states struggle

By Peter Apps, Political Risk Correspondent

Reuters LONDON | Thu Jun 9, 2011

EXTRACT:

“The nature of cyberspace is borderless and anonymous,” R. Chandrasekhara, secretary of India’s telecommunications department, told a cyber security conference in London last week organised by a U.S.-based think tank, the EastWest Institute. “Governments, countries and law — all are linked to territory. There is a fundamental contradiction.”

Read full article….

Tip of the Hat to Chris Pallaris at LinkedIn.

Phi Beta Iota: The national secret intelligence communities mean well, but they are cognitively and culturally incapacitated  in relation to both the global threats and the global infomation sharing and sense-making possibilities.  It may just be that the solution has to come from a private sector service of common concern that can provide the integrity now lacking in governments and most corporation.  Scary thought.  M4IS2 is inevitable….delay is costing trillions.

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Jun 11

ACDU O-6: Mendacity [on AF] is Egregious–Sickening UPDATED with Comment from In-Country O-5

Chuck Spinney Recommends...

UPDATED with Comment from O-5 (at end).

This email is from an active duty colonel who travels all over Afghanistan. He actually goes on foot patrols with troops to see things for himself. Here is his latest report.  His message is bad Ju Ju, I am afraid.

Chuck Spinney
La Ciotat, France

To All,

The mendacity is getting so egregious that I am fast losing the ability to remain quiet; these yarns of “significant progress” are being covered up by the blood and limbs of hundreds – HUNDREDS – of American uniformed service members each and every month, and you know that the rest of this summer is going to see the peak of that bloodshed.

The article by Michael O’Hanlon last week (i.e. Success worth paying for in Afghanistan) and the one in today’s WSJ by Kagan and Kagan (i.e., We Have the Momentum in Afghanistan) made me sick to my stomach – especially the latter.  Have you seen it yet?  It is the most breathless piece of yellow journalism I’ve seen in the entire OIF-OEF generation.

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Jun 7

Link TV Educating Americans About Real World

John Steiner

Dear Friends far and wide:

Link TV in San Francisco is a precious resource for the progressive/transpartisan communities, and we¹re asking you to join us in making a gift to Link.

In December 1999, our good friend and colleague, Kim Spencer,
http://www.linktv.org/whoweare/staff launched Link TV, the first nationwide television network dedicated to providing Americans with global perspectives on news, events and culture. In the wake of media consolidation. Americans have little access to diverse perspectives on critical global issues, and Link challenges this trend.  Today, Link is now broadcast into 35 million homes across the US (largely through DISH, DIRECT TV and with some cable outlets), has 6.7 million regular viewers (many across the political and cultural divides), and provides coverage not found anywhere else in the US.

Link is the only US provider of Al Jazeera English, broadcasts Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now! daily, and has won a Peabody Award for its Middle East news program, Mosaic.

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Jun 5