Review: Intelligence in an Insecure World

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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USA: Thirteen Big Lies — Needed Counter-Narrative

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

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.

Journal: Death to the Big Wasteful Grid, Life Energy is LOCAL

Jock Gill

Saturday 16 Oct 2010

Concerns about Utility-Scale Wind on Vermont’s Ridgelines

Commentary by:  Jock Gill

How are we going to reduce Vermont’s carbon footprint and at the same time protect Vermont’s agricultural heritage and family farms, create local jobs, and stimulate small business formation?  Is utility-scale wind part of the solution? I would suggest the answer is no.

For a number of reasons, utility-scale turbines are not the best and most appropriate tool to reduce Vermont’s carbon footprint; while they may be effective in other states, they are a misfit for our landscape. First of all, it’s a tiny drop in a big bucket. Electrical generation in Vermont contributes less than 1 percent of Vermont’s carbon foot print; heating with fuel oil and burning transportation fuels account for the overwhelming percentage.  It would be far more effective, for instance, to increase dramatically the number of homes that heat with safe, clean, automatic biomass heat, using pellets of wood or grass grown and pelleted in Vermont.

Second, even if we wanted to focus on reducing our carbon footprint for electricity, we should look to a resource far more abundant in Vermont than wind: sun. Vermont’s wind resources are estimated to be about 1/620 of its solar resources. It would take less than 7,000 acres of Vermont’s agricultural lands to site enough solar electric generation to meet ALL of Vermont’s current power needs.  This amounts to just 0.6% of Vermont’s 1.2 million acres of open farmland.   And all of this with no bulldozing, no blasting, no noise pollution or health hazards, and no 400 foot towers strung along our mountain ridgelines.

Read entire post….

Phi Beta Iota: The following is borrowed from a colleague commenting on the full article above.  We agree.

Let the battle begin! Jock’s analysis of the problematic nature of siting industrial-scale windmills in VT raises a much larger political/philosophical question about what kind of energy future we should be investing in. The forces of the current centralized power station/gigantic distribution network system will naturally favor very large-scale sourcing for renewables, and the mainstream media are quite comfortable framing the discussion of renewables as if a simple overhaul of the sources of our electricity sources were the only issue on the table.

How many times have you read that some area of the country (usually in the south-western desert or more recently along a north-south axis in the farm belt states) could supply all of the electrical demand of the United States? This vision is very common, and assumes that we will also be building of thousands and thousands of miles of high-voltage distribution lines. And where will those lines be built? Is there any doubt that federal and state governments will eagerly put their powers of eminent domain to work in order to run these lines wherever they want them to go, with “energy security” justifying their work?

Supporters of the gigantic renewables model believe that solving our energy problems involves no changes in business-as-usual beyond changing the source of the energy used to power everything else in today’s global economy.

But if we take Jock’s arguments about the unsuitability of gigantic renewables for the state of Vermont seriously, we have to ask whether the same arguments do not carry the same weight wherever we might turn. If we believe that this argument can be generalized, then the challenge to the current system goes far beyond the question of what technologies we happen to be using to generate electricity. Gigantic renewables do not threaten the current distribution of political power; the localized model inherent in Jock’s approach is a profound threat to that same distribution of political power. Building gigantic windmills is a fairly trivial problem compared with moving to a truly localized system.

See Also:

Review: Human Scale

Review: Escaping the Matrix–How We the People can change the world

Review: The Great Turning–From Empire to Earth Community

Review (Guest): Power Hungry–The Myths of “Green” Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future

Review: Leave Us Alone–Getting the Government’s Hands Off Our Money, Our Guns, Our Lives

Worth a Look: Book Reviews on Bio-Economics