Review: Intelligence in an Insecure World

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Amazon Page

Amazon Page

Peter Gill and Mark Phythian

4.0 out of 5 stars Best in Class Strongly Recommended, January 6, 2013

I am a huge fan of Peter Gill’s work, and if you are looking for the best possible to reflect on intelligence as it is generally defined today (the province of governments and to a lesser extent the corporate world), this is both the most recent and the best book to get. I also recommend Mark Lowenthal’s Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy, 5th Edition.

Use Look Inside feature above to get a feel for the book. Of all the books I have reviewed, this is the one that comes closest to my own concept for a book I am working on now, and I very much like the manner in which the authors have organized the work, to include their section on “Why Does Intelligence Fail,” which happens to be what I have been focusing on since 1988.

Where the book fails, as do all books in this genre, is in not acknowledging that intelligence is decision support defined by its outputs, not its inputs. This is a book that is still state-centric, assumes secrecy is a dominant force, and that policy is the intended beneficiary. It does at least make a stab at acknowledging corporate intelligence, but see my list of recommended readings below. More properly understood, decision-support is a craft that can be applied by all eight “tribes” of intelligence (academic, civil society, government, law enforcement, media, military, and non-governmental/non-profit), and our greatest challenge today is the need to move beyond the government-secret-policy view of intelligence, and instead advance toward M4IS2 (see the graphic above with the book cover), Multinational, Multiagency, Multidisciplinary, Multidomain Information-Sharing and Sense-Making.

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Jan 6

USA: Thirteen Big Lies — Needed Counter-Narrative

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Jock Gill

Here are a few of the BIG lies used to support the status quo.  What we need, rather urgently, is a counter-narrative

LIE 1. The earth is an open system with infinite supplies and sinks;

POSSIBLE TRUTH:  Earth is a closed system, changes that used to take 10,000 years now take three, humanity is “peaking” the entire system.

LIE 2. Everything must be monetized;

POSSIBLE TRUTH:  Money is an exchange unit and an information unit; in the absence of holistic analytics and “true cost” transparency, mony is actually a toxic means of concentrating wealth and depriving communities of their own resources (e.g. land).

LIE 3. The extreme unregulated free market is the only option for a modern economy;

POSSIBLE TRUTH:  Information asymmetries and “rule by secrecy” have been clearly documented–the free market is neither free nor fair.  A modern economy needs to be transparent, resilient, and hence rooted in the local.

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May 31

Journal: ONE Party–the Wall Street Party–“Owns” USA

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Jock Gill

The documentary film “Inside Job” makes it perfectly clear that there is only one party in DC:  The Wall Street Party.  With five Wall Street minders for every elected official in DC, why are we surprised?  There are of course a few exceptions, but their legislative record suggest they are essentially ineffective.

The Wall Street Party has constructed a circular tautology that incorporates 1] Wall Street; 2] Government; 3] Academia, and 4] The Press — the American Gang of Four.

It is no surprise that the Wall Street Party has a principle goal of privatizing wealth via tax cuts for themselves, while socializing the pain and suffering by slashing public spending for security in employment, health and education.

Tautologies, such as the ones that prop up the Wall Street Party, are constructed for the sole purpose of being unarguably true and are by design incapable of disproof.  A prime example of the Wall Street Party’s abuse of reality is their hijacking and distortion of the works of Adam Smith.

Of course tautologies are false reality distortion bubbles.  They can only paper over the diversion from reality just so long. Then they fail in a big way.  A prime example of this would be the former USSR.

The best way to deal with this is most likely an open source refutation [refudiation?] of the claims of the Wall Street Party.

Phi Beta Iota: Reprinted from Facebook with permission of the author.

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Dec 1