Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

The open source revolution is coming and it will conquer the 1% – ex CIA spy

with 4 comments

Extremely interesting article by Nafeez Ahmed in The Guardian:

Robert David Steele, former Marine, CIA case officer, and US co-founder of the US Marine Corps intelligence activity, is a man on a mission. But it’s a mission that frightens the US intelligence establishment to its core.
With 18 years experience working across the US intelligence community, followed by 20 more years in commercial intelligence and training, Steele’s exemplary career has spanned almost all areas of both the clandestine world.

Steele started off as a Marine Corps infantry and intelligence officer. After four years on active duty, he joined the CIA for about a decade before co-founding the Marine Corps Intelligence Activity, where he was deputy director. Widely recognised as the leader of the Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) paradigm, Steele went on to write the handbooks on OSINT for NATO, the US Defense Intelligence Agency and the U.S. Special Operations Forces. In passing, he personally trained 7,500 officers from over 66 countries.

In 1992, despite opposition from the CIA, he obtained Marine Corps permission to organise a landmark international conference on open source intelligence – the paradigm of deriving information to support policy decisions not through secret activities, but from open public sources available to all. The conference was such a success it brought in over 620 attendees from the intelligence world.

But the CIA wasn’t happy, and ensured that Steele was prohibited from running a second conference. The clash prompted him to resign from his position as second-ranking civilian in Marine Corps intelligence, and pursue the open source paradigm elsewhere. He went on to found and head up the Open Source Solutions Network Inc. and later the non-profit Earth Intelligence Network which runs the Public Intelligence Blog.

I first came across Steele when I discovered his Amazon review of my third book, The War on Truth: 9/11, Disinformation and the Anatomy of Terrorism. A voracious reader, Steele is the number 1 Amazon reviewer for non-fiction across 98 categories. He also reviewed my latest book, A User’s Guide to the Crisis of Civilization, but told me I’d overlooked an important early work – ‘A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility, Report of the UN High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges, and Change‘ (PDF).

Last month, Steele presented a startling paper at the Libtech conference in New York, sponsored by the Internet Society and Reclaim. Drawing on principles set out in his latest book, The Open-Source Everything Manifesto: Transparency, Truth and Trust, he told the audience that all the major preconditions for revolution – set out in his 1976 graduate thesis – were now present in the United States and Britain.

Steele’s book is a must-read, a powerful yet still pragmatic roadmap to a new civilisational paradigm that simultaneously offers a trenchant, unrelenting critique of the prevailing global order. His interdisciplinary ‘whole systems’ approach dramatically connects up the increasing corruption, inefficiency and unaccountability of the intelligence system and its political and financial masters with escalating inequalities and environmental crises. But he also offers a comprehensive vision of hope that activist networks like Reclaim are implementing today.

“We are at the end of a five-thousand-year-plus historical process during which human society grew in scale while it abandoned the early indigenous wisdom councils and communal decision-making,” he writes in The Open Source Everything Manifesto. “Power was centralised in the hands of increasingly specialised ‘elites’ and ‘experts’ who not only failed to achieve all they promised but used secrecy and the control of information to deceive the public into allowing them to retain power over community resources that they ultimately looted.”

Today’s capitalism, he argues, is inherently predatory and destructive: . . .

Continue reading.

This is pretty strongly connected to the previous post, how how explicit efforts to maintain secrecy and supported by big business and the government.

From the article at the link, the preconditions for revolution:



And later in the article, Steele comments:

 “The west has pursued an industrialisation path that allows for the privatisation of wealth from the commons, along with the criminalisation of commons rights of the public, as well as the externalisation of all true costs. Never mind that fracking produces earthquakes and poisons aquifers – corrupt politicians at local, state or province, and national levels are all too happy to take money for looking the other way. Our entire commercial, diplomatic, and informational systems are now cancerous. When trade treaties have secret sections – or are entirely secret – one can be certain the public is being screwed and the secrecy is an attempt to avoid accountability. Secrecy enables corruption. So also does an inattentive public enable corruption.”

UPDATE—And highly relevant: An article in the NY Times today—and read the comments at the link:

Unblinking Eyes Track Employees
Workplace Surveillance Sees Good and Bad

Here are a couple of the comments:

John, Amherst, MA
The degree to which employees are increasingly seen not as human beings but as cogs in a machine that constantly needs tweaked to increase efficiency at the expense of privacy is disconcerting. The speed with which this process is accelerating is downright alarming. The prospects for where this is headed in the near future is nightmarish. David Egger’s “The Circle” is rapidly transitioning from prescient fiction to banal documentary. The concepts of “private life” and autonomy seem on the verge of extinction, eradicated in the service of efficiency, marketing and security.

Gwbear, Florida
I am literally taking a break at this very moment from a series of advanced certification classes at Stanford for leadership and managing complex projects, and thought leading material on creating an effective workplace. These classes are taught by, and include, the ideas of the best leaders in their fields.

All of what they teach flies in the face of this as a way to get the best out of employees. You could not choose a more toxic method if you tried. Clearly, places like Stanford are teaching – but industry is not listening.

And then people wonder why modern employees are so stressed and have such low morale in the US. If the answers got any bigger and obvious, they would smack industry upside the head! Sadly, all training like this tells senior contributors is how pathetic their employers are, even all the so called Fortune 50 industry leaders…


Joseph Huben, Upstate NY
Let all be monitored by all! The CEO, Chairman of the Board, The Board, Major stock holders should all be monitored in the execution of their duties. Equity demands that everyone is monitored or no one. Successes and failures should be evaluated and published using transparent observations and a capacity to review all activities equally. Management meetings should also be monitored and shared with all workers. Wages and other remuneration should all be public.

Many more good comments at the link. People quite understand that this initiative is to treat workers as a commodity.

UPDATE AGAIN (a hot topic): Also note this NY Times article, which describes a study that found NOT subjecting factory workers to surveillance improved productivity (and morale, no doubt).

Written by LeisureGuy

22 June 2014 at 10:30 am

4 Responses

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  1. This is the ONLY re-posting of the original that focuses on my favorite graphic, the preconditions of revolution. I would be very glad to interact with readers on that topic or anything else. Thank you for seeing the value in what Nafeez did, he worked very hard on it over several weeks, distilling down from a much larger first pass.


    27 June 2014 at 4:59 am

  2. Thank you for commenting. I just now enlarged the chart to make it more readable. It’s a pretty hot topic, and I’m sure it’s on the minds of many, particularly those with a strong and active interest in preserving the status quo. (See also this post on the development of private corporations authorized to use lethal force within the US, posse comitatus be damned. The US is establishing a domestic military force.)

    I did immediately buy a copy of your book.


    27 June 2014 at 5:51 am

  3. Tried to read the link you provided, got an error message. I recommend Matt Taibbi’s new book, The Divide, about two legal systems, one for the 1% (impunity and immunity) and one for the rest of us (everything criminalized). The jury system, all the safeguards, have been neutralized. The loss of the Supreme Court to the campaign led by Justice Powell and the US Chamber of Commerce is the final disgrace.


    27 June 2014 at 6:01 am

  4. Sorry about the link. If I click it, I am taken directly to the post. It’s this one:

    Not only are our courts not working well, corporations are demanding that their employees/customers/clients/serfs explicitly agree not to go to court in disputes but to submit to binding arbitration, with arbitrators selected and paid by the corporations (which immediately blacklist arbitrators who find against the corporation).

    The US is rapidly swirling the drain. And I agree that SCOTUS is very much a part of the problem, as are the antigovernment zealots in Congress.


    27 June 2014 at 6:17 am

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