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Owls and roosters, wolves and warnings

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — too quiet, too loud, two versions ]

rooster and owlm fine cuisine
This isn’t the rooster and owl conjunction I refer to in this post, but it’s popping up in the DC area


I’m sure I first heard of the problem of the little boy who cried “Wolf” back in the mists of childhood, but it wasn’t until today, when reading up on retires CIA counterterrorist analyst and current novelist Susan Hasler that I first saw it applied to the issue of analysts alerting decision-makers of terrorism risks..

DQ hasler landes

Reading Hasler’s words, I was immediately reminded of Richard Landes‘ distinction between “end times” roosters and owls, which has been a salient analytic heuristic for me since the mid-nineties, when I was invited to join Landes in Boston University’s Center for Millennial Studies.

Both quotes revolve around warning noises, and each features both “loud” and “soft” variants — but the differences between Hasler’s wolves and warnings and Landes’ owls and roosters are subtler than the similarities between them.

Setting them up as poles for paired contemplation energizes my thought processes — and even if I don’t arrive at any specific and immediate conclusions, let alone any actionable intelligence — it preps me with yet another pattern to watch for in my daily trawling of the highways and byways of the arts, sciences and OSINT on the [wild & wonderful] web.

Susan Hasler on Trump & Cruz, Yeats on 1916

Monday, March 28th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — the self-examining word ]

DQ Hasler Yeats

Hasler‘s Getting the response to terrorism completely wrong — which goes after Trump and Cruz by name — was published tomorrow — it’s 11.58pm Sunday here in California.

Yeats‘ poem remembers the Easter of 1916, a hundred years ago today.

Perils of Biblical literalism

Sunday, March 27th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — okay, i’m sure this was unintentional ]

DQ CIA vs DOD Syria

Hey, fellas — this is really taking the literal interpretation of scripture a bit too literally..



  • King James Version, Matthew 6.3
  • Chicago Tribune, CIA-armed militias are shooting at Pentagon-armed ones in Syria
  • Two serpent-eats-tail views of the Brennan email hack

    Sunday, October 25th, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — spy vs spy as delicate moral balance ]

    spy vs spy

    There are two sentences in When The Hackers Become The Hacked: Why Reading John Brennan’s Emails Feels Wrong, Ali Watkins‘ HuffPo piece a couple of days ago, that feature a neat sense of paradox, and what’s most interesting about them is that they show us two different sides of the coin.

    The first [upper panel, below] has a bit of an “ooh, look” feel to it, finding its turning point in the fact that the keeper of secrets has had his own secrets exposed:

    SPEC Brennan

    while the second [lower panel, above] centers on how it feels “from the inside“.


    All of which reminds me of the Talmudic distinction between the Israelites’ view, watching as their enemies the Egyptians perish in the Red Sea, and God’s view, seeing the Egyptian plight from the inside as it were, encapsulated in R Johanan‘s phrase:

    My creatures are drowning in the sea, and you want to sing songs!

    Kudos to Ali Watkins.

    Squaring the circle, with a side of nostaligia?

    Thursday, June 25th, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — CIA, Osama, gaming, and I ]

    What I have in my collection, somewhere:


    and what CIA has in theirs:



    In search of our respective lost childhoods? À la recherche du temps perdu?

    To be honest, I think the gameplay in mine’s a bit more visceral.

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