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Wikileaks weak on graphics

Sunday, August 7th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — interested in close, not far-fetched, analogies ]

A while back in 2011, Aaron Zelin picked up on a tweet by Aaron Weisburd and retweeted:

the cover of Inspire 5 is remarkably similar to a wikileaks logo, e.g. http://goo.gl/2wibr coincidence I’m sure…

I posted about it here on Zenpundit, and to me eye the match does have something to be said for it:

wikileaks inspire


But c’mon, baby.

I was reading through today’s pretty harsh Intercept piece, What Julian Assange’s War on Hillary Clinton Says About WikiLeaks — amazing, considering the origins of the Intercept in the work of Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras — and came across another purported similarity, this one claimed by Assange himself.

Only this one really just doesn’t work at all:

wikileaks clinton


Did Assange invent arrows?

I’m sorry, but that’s just ridiculous.

In any case, Hilary got it from Netflix, where they’re airing the Glenn Close series Damages, with John Goodman playing Howard T Erickson, the boss of High Star, a private security firm..

clinton damages

Case closed.

Strategy, Winston Churchill, and the power of positive thinking

Monday, October 7th, 2013

[by Lynn C. Rees]

Winston Churchill had terrible parents.

Randolph Churchill was a Tory meteor who shot brightly across British politics only to die of syphilitic inanity by age 45. The elder Churchill’s attitude towards his firstborn was cold and dismissive: while he may never have said anything as chilly as Arthur Wellesley’s mother (“my ugly boy Arthur was food for powder and nothing more”), Randolph Churchill agreed with Ann Wesley’s sentiments enough to pack young Winston off to Sandhurst to become cannon fodder.

Randolph Churchill

Randolph Churchill

Jennie Jerome was an American heiress who spent most of her time pursuing (and being pursued by) high London society. Winning Mum of the Year was item 113 on her 100 item todo list. When his mother finally allowed him to develop a personal relationship with her deep into his twenties, Churchill described their relationship as more brother-sister than mother-son.

Jennie Jerome Churchill

Jennie Jerome Churchill

Churchill reacted to his parental deep freeze by idealizing mum and dad. If the beacon of maternal love in Churchill’s memoirs will never be mistaken for the real Jennie Jerome Churchill, Churchill ignored the incongruity. If the romanticized father he worshipped bore only a slight resemblance to the real Randolph Churchill, Churchill’s desire for the approval of this shade conjured by his own vast imagination was enough to spur him to great deeds. Asked later in life what his greatest regret was, Churchill surprised one interviewer by wistfully wishing that Randolph Churchill had lived to see his son’s career success. Churchill even had a dream starring Randolph Churchill in 1947, 50 years after his father’s died. His father’s ghost appeared and interrogated Churchill about happenings in the world since his death. Churchill got to most of early 20th century history but, tellingly, he didn’t have enough time to tell his father of his key own role in those events before the dream ended.

Churchill’s eager over-imaginings not only gave him wonderful parents but other equally sustaining fictions. Churchill believed in (and almost willed into existence) a United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland that was as strong and vital in the early 20th century as it was under Pitt or Temple. In reality, the Britain of Churchill’s time was a run-down and dispirited shadow of glory, more fixated on bread and butter at home than dash and destiny abroad. In Churchill’s imagination, the Britain of 1940 was a Tyrannosaur among sheep. In reality, it was a dodo among eagles and bears.

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland

Lawrence Freedman has argued that Churchill’s strategy in 1940-1941 is vastly different from the strategy contemporary strategic studies holds up as an ideal. His strategy was the triumph of hope over experience, one of the great fantasy spectaculars of the 20th century. His soldiers were tired, his people were dispirited, his aircraft carriers carried biplanes, his generals were mulish, and his empire was restive. The only anchors in reality for Churchill’s strategy were the inability of Nazis to march over or part the English Channel and American reluctance to see faltering Britain replaced by revanchist Germany. All else was theater.



Churchill won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1953. This is revealing: Churchill was a better writer than orthodox strategist. His delusions were as larger than life as his correct notions were. But Churchill’s resort to grand narrative was far more successful than strategic orthodoxy can capture or comprehend. More often than not, the strength of conviction behind a strategy’s more tenuous elements wins more in war than its tenuous connection to reality warrants.

Churchill’s strategy in childhood consisted of holding on to a series of deluded and contradictory beliefs about his parents in the hope that something good would turn up. Churchill’s strategy in World War II consisted of holding on to a series of deluded and contradictory beliefs about the British Empire in the hope that something would turn up. Self-appointed strategic professionals often diagnose a possible strategic outcome as impossible only to be confounded when someone clings to impossibility until the possible turns up. Mere clinging has a long and distinguished record of unmasking the impossible as only the improbable under the wrong circumstances and the all too probable under the right circumstances.

Blackwater — cute or scary?

Friday, December 17th, 2010

[ by Charles Cameron ]


This DoubleQuote was prompted by Spencer Ackerman, writing on Danger Room today: Will Blackwater Go Vegan After Sale to Hippy Firm?

Google’s DARPA of Foreign Policy Cometh?

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

Interesting. I suggested something like this years ago.

….What the USG desperately needs is a national security equivalent to DARPA that can both engage in deep thinking and have the freedom to run pilot programs to enhance America’s strategic influence that can later be expanded by our traditional power bureaucracies. This would be far more than a just a federally funded think tank – RAND, Brookings, Hoover , Heritage, AEI, CATO, CFR, Carnegie, CSIS and others all do a fine job of policy analysis. They also give statesmen a productive place to hang their hat as an alternative to whoring themselves out as corporate or ideological lobbyists. Another one of those is not what the times require.

What I’m proposing is a lot closer to a cross between a soft-power version of the Institute for Advanced Studies and a clandestine service – one with the objective of developing innovative programs to maximize the influence of American values and promote “Connectivity ” in nations mired in the endemic, isolated, misery of the “Gap”. This is not what the USG normally does. The bias of State and Defense, State in particular, when dealing with foreign policy questions tend to be orientated toward day to day, tactical, crisis management….

Google appears to be trodding down that very path:

Google Grabs State Dept. Star Jared Cohen for Foreign Policy “Think/Do Tank”

Jared Cohen joined Google last week as the director of its newly created Google Ideas “think/do tank”-an entity whose objective is to dream up and try out ideas that address the challenges of counterterrorism, counterradicalism, and nonproliferation, as well as innovations for development and citizen empowerment. He has also landed a side gig as an adjunct fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, focusing on innovation, technology, and statecraft.

Google has now hired Cohen to set up Google Ideas, which will look for innovative approaches to some of the stickiest international issues of the day. Out of his New York office, Cohen will, he told Foreign Policy, seek to “[build] teams of stakeholders with different resources and perspectives to troubleshoot challenges.” As for why he decided to give this a shot in the private sector, rather than in the public sphere, to which these issues have traditionally belonged, Cohen says there are “things the private sector can do that the U.S. government can’t do.”

The big thing is the resources and the capabilities. There are not a couple hundred [computer] engineers in the State Department that can build things; that’s just not what government does. You don’t necessarily have some of the financial resources to put behind these things. It’s really hard to bring talented young people in; there are not a lot mechanisms to do it. [And] on some topics, it’s very sensitive for government to be the one doing this.

During the Cold War, DARPA was a great success, as government bureaucracies go, partly because secrecy freed it from the normal political and bean counting constraints. The other reason was that DARPA’s focus was primarily upon engineering types of problems. Technically difficult, innovative and exploratory problems to be certain, but generally not the sort of socially constructed or influenced “wicked problems“. Or “intractable ones” ( DARPA delved into technical problems that were, due to the technological level of that earlier era, also intractable, but that is still a different kettle of fish from socioeconomic, perceptually intractable, problems). It would seem that Google Ideas will be tackling the harder set of problems to solve.

Google Ideas is an entity to watch but all the observation will be detrimental to the accomplishment of it’s mission, as the nature of social wicked problems carry with them vested interests determined to defend the dysfunctional status quo from which they derive benefits. In some scenarios, with extreme violence. In others, with political pressure. There’s a reason these problems in the human realm go unsolved – sweet reason and pilot program rational incentives might not appeal to leaders of La Familia or Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Google might also need a formidible Google PMC.

Hat tip to Larry Dunbar.

Eeben Barlow’s Military & Security Blog

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

The founder of the famous but now defunct PMC Executive OutcomesEeben Barlow has a blog and it will be interesting to most readers here ( major hat tip to Lexington Green but more to Adam Elkus). The link and some samples from Barlow’s posts:

Eeben Barlow’s Military and Security Blog

Putting an End to Piracy – The Only Way

…Surely, someone somewhere must have realised by now that using political correctness as a method of countering piracy has failed – and can never succeed. Water cannons and bean bags have never been a real deterrent – except maybe to ill-prepared rioters. Sending naval task forces into the pirate-infested areas is likewise a hollow threat. Yet, the taxpayers have to fund these navies in order to protect the shipping companies who don’t repay the costs of the naval task forces. In short, it is a great business deal for the shipping companies.Whereas many PMCs and individuals – myself included – have written concepts, plans, proposals and more on how to counter this menace, no one has yet had the courage to implement these plans for fear of international condemnation. International law is in this instance also a prohibiting factor as there is great uncertainty as regards the legalities of having weapons on-board a ship, something that is in reality very simple. But, it seems, no one likes a simple plan. The more complicated it is, the more people like it.

…Even more astonishing is that everyone is keen to give an excuse why the pirates are operating – from the failed-state theory to great poverty. That is, in a sense, much like condoning a bank robber and then making excuses for his criminal behaviour. As long as no one gets seriously hurt, it must be okay…

International Law activists attempting to enforce international law (more of a slippery concept than the MSM presents) are much like the drunkard looking for his car keys under the lamp post. It’s not terrorists, pirates, warlords, genocidaires or dictators or other dangerous and lawless men with guns who consume the attention, time and energy of these generally left-wing intellectuals but instead Western armies, intelligence agents and police who might try to fight stateless brigands. The light is better there, you see.

Fighting Organized Crime

….In South Africa, those that are supposed to police crime are very seldom keen to do their duty. Many of them are, indeed, part of the problem and not part of the solution. Whereas there are police officers trying to make an impact on crime, they are few and far between. Sadly though, success is not something that is evident in these counter-crime actions. Public regard for crime scene investigators and detectives is reaching an all-time low. Their lack of interest in attending to crime scenes is well documented with excuses as feeble as “we don’t have a vehicle…” Visible policing is seen by many to simply be a reconnaissance operation by men in police uniforms before they strike

A worthy add to your RSS feeder or blogroll.

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