Review (Guest): The Open Source Everything Manifesto at Spirituality Today

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The Open-Source Everything Manifesto by Robert David Steele

The Open-Source Everything Manifesto is a distillation of author, strategist, analyst, and reformer Robert David Steele life’s work: the transition from top-down secret command and control to a world of bottom-up, consensual, collective decision-making as a means to solve the major crises facing our world today.

The book is intended to be a catalyst for citizen dialog and deliberation, and for inspiring the continued evolution of a nation in which all citizens realize our shared aspiration of direct democracy—informed participatory democracy. Open-Source Everything is a cultural and philosophical concept that is essential to creating a prosperous world at peace, a world that works for one hundred percent of humanity.

The future of intelligence is not secret, not federal, and not expensive. It is about transparency, truth, and trust among our local to global collective. Only “open” is scalable.

As we strive to recover from the closed world corruption and secrecy that has enabled massive fraud within governments, banks, corporations, and even non-profits and universities, this timely book is a manifesto for liberation—not just open technology, but open everything.

Our Review

The term Open Source refers to universal access to a product or services core design or primary features. Without Open Source there would be no Internet in the way that we currently enjoy it for it is in digital publishing and information sharing that Open Source has been such a powerful force for change.

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Apr 28

Review (Guest): Intelligence for Earth – Clarity, Diversity, Integrity & Sustainability

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5.0 out of 5.0 Stars One visionary’s way out of the Corporate Feudalism/International Conflict trap

By Herbert L Calhoun on April 1, 2014

In this book, the author, drawing extensively on his intelligence and military background, has cleanly written an easy to follow book, that outlines a careful course of action for developing a new kind of global information sharing infrastructure. To be headquartered at the UN, this new infrastructure would make it possible for every organization (and through them, everyone) on the globe to share open-source intelligence equally as a free public resource. If it is successful, this new global brain could transform our world from its current insecurity-driven and corrupt corporate dominated lose-lose, economic and conflict trap, into a much revived win-win strategy for bottom-up collective survival in a peaceful and sustainable world economy.

At least that is the theoretical hope and vision. On paper, and in principle, it is a stunningly sexy and attractive vision, one that, should it prove operationally testable and feasible, could indeed have the important side benefit and advantage of creating new bottom-up wealth, energizing the world economy and easing world tensions by reducing mistrust and fear back down to the noise level.

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Apr 21

Worth a Look: Real-Life Fiction, Spying Outside the Wire and Beyond CIA’s Capabilities

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Who is fighting the war in Afghanistan? Did you know that 52% of people fighting in Afghanistan are contracted to do so? Contractors operate far beyond the borders of Afghanistan, they operate globally. Real people. Real missions. Real wars.  After the United States was attacked and the President vowed to search and destroy the enemy, the government formed a secret unit comprised of civilians. Paid civilians. Contracted civilians. Many of these people left their jobs, families, and friends to voluntarily serve alongside their military brethren. They did it out of love, passion, and deep patriotism. Declan Collins is one of those men. Just another patriot you have never heard of working to keep America safe. A former member of the US Armed Forces trying to make it in the civilian world as a newlywed, Declan quickly found himself working for one of America’s most secretive organizations. He fit the role of what they needed perfectly. This novel is about what happened after Declan received a mysterious phone call, was paid and given two weeks to get into Afghanistan all the while placing his life on hold to preserve and protect America. Find out about the fighting force rarely ever spoken of, those who were Contracted–America’s Secret Warriors. Inspired by true events.

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Contracted: America’s Terror Trackers takes readers into the very real world of covert and clandestine operations. These operations aren’t always conducted abroad; oftentimes they occur deep inside the United States. Those who conduct these missions are not always government employees. In fact, most of America’s government fails to recognize these patriotic warriors willing to sacrifice everything for this nation. They are contractors. Like Contracted: America’s Secret Warriors, the first of the Contracted trilogy, this novel was inspired by true events, real people, and real operations. It takes readers on a journey with contractor, Declan Collins, who recently returned from operating as an unconventional human intelligence collector in Afghanistan. A severely injured Collins, who refuses to allow his injuries to stop him from protecting America, accepts a challenge to hunt the world’s most ruthless terrorist organization–Hezbollah. With Hezbollah’s global footprint, Declan Collins travels throughout the United States and several locations abroad ranging from Jordan, Jamaica, Mexico, and of course Lebanon as he collects intelligence with hopes to take down the world’s number one evil. What he uncovers through his journey is overly alarming and makes him begin to dig deeper into his own faith as a modern day Christian Crusader.

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Feb 26

Berto Jongman: Gray Work – Confessions of an American Paramilitary Spy

Berto Jongman

Berto Jongman

Can be ordered now, releases on 27 May 2014.

Jamie Smith.  Gray Work: Confessions of an American Paramilitary Spy (William Morrow, 2014)

Book Description:

An unprecedented, raw, first-hand look into the life of America’s private paramilitary warriors and their highly secretive work around the world. Jamie Smith, a contractor with more than two decades under his belt, has planned and executed hundreds of missions on behalf of government agencies and private industry in some of the world’s most dangerous hot spots.

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They are elite warriors who run highly dangerous missions deep inside foreign countries on the brink of war. Jamie Smith knows these men well. Not only is he one of them, but he cofounded one of the most successful private contracting multinational firms in the world. For the first time, he breaks his silence, detailing the ultimate danger and risk of paramilitary operations—both officially government-sanctioned and not. Pulling back the curtain of secrecy, he reveals in very intimate terms exactly what private soldiers do when the government cannot act or take public responsibility.

Combining the thrilling narrative of a riveting international spy thriller with boots-on-the-ground realism, Gray Work follows Smith through his CIA training and career as an operative, his co-founding of and eventual exit from Blackwater, and his creation and direction of his own company. Espionage and assassinations, rescues and renditions, the turbulence of the Arab Spring, the fall of Qadhaffi, the grit and gristle are all here in covert black ops from Syria to Libya, Iran, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and beyond.

As the founder and director of Blackwater, Smith’s initial vision has undeniably shaped and transformed a decade of war. He argues that this gray area—and the warriors who occupy the controversial space between public and private—has become an integral element of modern warfare.

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Jan 30

Review: Intelligence Collection – How to Plan and Execute Intelligence Collection in Complex Environments

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Wayne Michael Hall, Gary Citrenbaum

4.0 out of 5 stars Utterly Brilliant, Eye-Glazing, 505 Pages of Straight Text, 10 Micro-Slides, December 2, 2013

You could read this book a hundred times and learn something new every time. I have taken off one star because the book is too dense by far, with a tiny handful of graphics (no more than 10) all eye glazers that should have been simplified and printed to a full page — 550 pages, pure text. What needs to happen, plain and simple, is a complete do-over — this book needs to go to 620 pages at least, with 60 added graphics, tables, or lists.

What I love most about this book, and its companion, Intelligence Analysis: How to Think in Complex Environments (Praeger Security International) are the following two attributes:

01: Among all the books I have read on intelligence, these two books are among the most detailed, structured, critical, and relevant I have read. Both books share the same flaws, flaws that superior editing and a graphics team could easily fix for a second edition, which I would strongly recommend. BEFORE the books go to paperback, they need to be redone. As they are now, the books are too overwhelming for 98% of those who might otherwise benefit.

02 Buried within each chapter are absolute gems of blood-letting romping stomping criticism of the US Intelligence Community at every level (tactical to strategic) across every mission area. This book is startling in its depth and breadth of understanding. The authors are articulate but dense, and I dearly hope they will redo both books to make them more accessible to the vastly larger audience that needs this level of detail, but served up as a quiver of “open” chapters instead of one really dense baseball bat that clubs you to death with compounded words.

Although I am troubled by the book’s emphasis on unilateral and largely military-oriented collection (as opposed to making full use of full-spectrum human and open source intelligence (fifteen slices) across the eight tribes and mulitnationally, I whole-heartedly recommend this book for every library on intelligence (decision-support), and I sincerely hope the authors will re-do both books to open them up — more graphics, more white space.

Below, for this particular book, I list the collection contradictions from chapter 4:

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Dec 2

Review: Intelligence Analysis – How to Think in Complex Environments

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Wayne Michael Hall and Gary Citrenbaum

4.0 out of 5 stars Utterly Brilliant, Mind-Glazing, 440 Pages of Straight Text, December 2, 2013

You could read this book a hundred times and learn something new every time. I have taken off one star because the book is too dense by far, with not a single graphic, table, or highlighted anything. 441 pages, pure text. What needs to happen, plain and simple, is a complete do-over — this book needs to go to 500 pages at least, with 60 added graphics, tables, or lists.

What I love most about this book, and its companion, Intelligence Collection: How to Plan and Execute Intelligence Collection in Complex Environments (Praeger Security International) are the following two attributes:

01: Among all the books I have read on intelligence, these two books are among the most detailed, structured, critical, and relevant I have read. Both books share the same flaws, flaws that superior editing and a graphics team could easily fix for a second edition, which I would strongly recommend. BEFORE the books go to paperback, they need to be redone. As they are now, the books are too overwhelming for 98% of those who might otherwise benefit.

02 Buried within each chapter are absolute gems of blood-letting romping stomping criticism of the US Intelligence Community at every level (tactical to strategic) across every mission area. This book is startling in its depth and breadth of understanding. The authors are articulate but dense, and I dearly hope they will redo both books to make them more accessible to the vastly larger audience that needs this level of detail, but served up as a quiver of “open” chapters instead of one really dense baseball bat that clubs you to death with compounded words.

Although I am troubled by the book’s lack of a holistic analytic model, its lack of any reference to true cost economics, and its general avoidance of any discussion of the complexity of the customers for intelligence in the aggregate (the focuses on individual commanders and their needs, not on Whole of Government or Multinational or Eight Tribe collection and analytics), I whole-heartedly recommend this book for every library on intelligence (decision-support), and I sincerely hope the authors will re-do both books to open them up — more graphics, more white space.

Below, for this particular book, I list the chapter headings that are a Master’s course in advanced analytics:

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Dec 2

Review: On Complexity

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Edgar Morin

5.0 out of 5 stars 6 Star Foundation Work for Everything Else, August 19, 2013

This is a remarkably coherent book about the most important topic for all of us, the matter of complexity and more to the point, thinking about complexity. I certainly recommend it most strongly, along with two other books by the same author that I have reviewed:

Homeland Earth : A Manifesto for the New Millennium (Advances in Systems Theory, Complexity and the Human Sciences)
Seven Complex Lessons in Education for the Future (Education on the Move)

The Foreword by Alfonso Montuori is easily the equal of the main body by Edgar Morin, and I am totally awed by the mastery demonstrated in Montuori’s synthesis and framing of Morin’s work. I venture to say that I would not have gotten as much from the main body without the structure of the Foreword.

Montuori, always drawing on Morin, emphasizes a number of core concepts that I note down:

01 We must abandon the architectural or machine metaphor that assumes a foundation or base for what is actually a complex complete whole that can be viewed from any point.

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Aug 19