Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Information vs Intelligence

My daughter asked me today, how do you know we can trust our government's information about war? Or about news, or is there even an actual war going on? The only people she has talked to that were over there, said they were on patrols but nothing ever happened.

This goes back to reading books like 1984 where the theory is that you always need a War to keep people busy so you can abuse your citizenry as you please; you need to revamp history on an ongoing basis; you need to keep people off balance so they don't notice you are running things poorly; and you really don't even have to have an actual war going on, people just have to believe a war is going on, "over there" somewhere. What if, everything you know, is wrong?

It's your typical conspiracy theory, paranoid delusional, fear mongering type rumor and propaganda issue. You have to accept that you know something to be true. The problem is in knowing what is true, and what is false, but not just that; also, what is misinformation, disinformation, mistaken information, and just outright lies. But it's a valid concern, as silly as it may seem on the surface.

One should consider the absurd as truth sometimes as sometimes, it is truth, the key is to just not waste too much time on it. You have to acquire disparate information, filter it appropriately, triangulate or multi dimensionally triangulate it with other sources, then apply thought, inference and deduction and only then, you have what they call, "Intelligence", or "Intel". Then you have something useful. But how do you get to that point? I'll get to that.

I'm sure people know people who were over there "in the Sh*t" as they used to say. Fighting in the Middle East. After all, we are seeing handicapped soldiers, families who are grieving, and so on. Is it just people who know people who have been there, or do we know people who have been there, or have we been there ourselves? That is partly the key there. So yes, we have a war on, we have had a war (or wars) going on.

We went around about it, my daughter and I, until finally, I pointed out that following her train of thought at that moment, I could start asking the same questions about her and her own perceptions. How does she know what she conceives of from her perceptions of information that she has received, in the room we were in right then, is real? Where does the true objective world begin and our confused conception of it leave off? How do you tell from the news you can access, that what is being said is true; that what they tell you actually has happened; that anything we hear from authorities is real? Or that anything we hear, is real?

Aside from the Phenomenological or Psychological aspects of this, this goes back for me to the days of the Cold War. It also delves into the search in the Universe for Black Holes. Basically, how you tell what to believe, what to piece together as true, and how to see what may not be there, but is? The Soviets used to be experts in this kind of thing in an outpouring to the West called, "Disinformation" (as well as to their own people which spawned such stories as "1984" and "The Gulag Archipelago)". The British learned it from them, and we learned it from the Brits.

I used to listen to the BBC to hear things that rang a bit more true about the US, or from Canada, or Japan. Anyone, but American media, or foreign media with too much of an attachment to America. You have to be careful because you don't want antiAmerican media, or ProAmerica, but Neutral American. But now, I can't even trust those news agencies completely. Maybe Canada. However now, our media is so screwed up from this cancer we call corporations. But that is another topic for another time.

China? No, not really, not yet, but maybe someday. Al Jezeera, possibly. And there are other countries. Australia, India, Pakistan, even. But Pakistan? Tends to be a bit too emotional, slighted, for my tastes. But even those who are too Pro, or too Anti, can give useful and accurate information.

That is what our Intelligence Agencies are all about; people who are training to understand this kind of thing, and apply the correct intel to the correct, situation. But it's hard, it's difficult. And when they are wrong, everyone clamors how stupid they are, or how conspiratorial what they have done is. Sometimes, that may be true, but from what I can tell, it is mostly those who have little knowledge of intel, who cry the loudest, mostly out of fear and ignorance.

Consider that it is like Movie Critics. You can hate one. But you can use them. Generally speaking, if you know they always like what you hate, you know that if they hate something, maybe you will like it.

But enough of the news for now. Let me just say that you have to listen carefully, from many disparate news AND information agencies, NGO's (Non-Government Organizations), individuals who have traveled, and so on; and then you piece it all together. But always, consider their bias. Is it intentional, unintentional, or others?

Now about the Cold War.

Years ago, I started reading and piecing together what was, what had happened in the world since 1900 by reading books and news reports, reading and listening or watching interviews. You see, you can't just start reading at 1947 or some random point, you need to go back before you need to be there. Then you can understand and trace situations, world positions, individuals even and plots, pogroms (usually not difficult there), etc. But this is from a professional point of view.

You also have to consider who is doing the talking, why, at what point are they doing that talking, in what relationship to any one or multiple situations or person, do they have that relationship, if any? You have to read books by CIA agents, and other US Government individuals who wrote books; defectors from the USSR and see what they said; did they remain in the US, or go back? Also, those KGB Officers and Officials who remained, but retired and with the fall, wrote books, or perhaps left the country, remained loyal to the homeland, but told their story. Because even that information can pay off.

And at some point, you will end up reading about a situation from both sides of the coin.

After a while, you will begin to "see" the Truth.

The Truth as best it could ever be understood unless you were there. You will see what is reasonable and how one's description doesn't exactly fit another's. And you will begin to see what is there from what is not there, and vice versa; and from that, you can start to see a picture, possibly only a two dimensional one, but that is more accurate than any news report or single person's report. To others, this can seem like magic, or voodoo. But to someone doing it, at some point, it becomes simply, reasonable.

It is much like searching the skies for a black hole. You can NEVER see it, it's black after all! So you look for what isn't there, you look for bent light, in the case of a black hole. Sometimes, the lack of information IS information. And information has "weight" too, it also bends things by it's being there. Or not being there. You can see why Russians came up with this (if you don't get that, simply read some Russian literature).

And from all that you can form, as I said, a picture of what has happened. Sometimes even more accurate than those who were actually there or involved with it. It's kind of like statistics. Now those ignorant of them will have a shaded attitude, but I had a year of Experimental Statistics of Psychology and it was hard. But I learned you could perform magic.

"Crunch" some numbers and you get accuracy beyond belief. But it has to be the right numbers, crunched in the right way. And yes, I also learned how to make stats do whatever you like, to use them to prove whatever you want. But that is the other side of it, and what people tend to focus on. But still, stats done properly, can give you miracles. I used it after college in my work life and found incredible accuracy, leading me to at one point, become the top media buyer in the world for a certain International Media Company.

One other important element in the case of conspiracies. Some of the conspiracies I've heard of, are simply impossible to maintain for any length of time. In my experience, the government is simply too big, too loose, too incompetent in many instances, to keep any kind of major secret for any severe length of time. Of course, we've seen some secrets well kept for a year, or five or more, but beyond that you find leaks starting. And once a leak starts, many times it turns into a flood. The only real way is to dedicate an agency to it, then to kill any leaks (yes, people) that crop up. A scary scenario. Sounds a bit like the old Soviet Union, or Stalin.

So, are we having a war, or not. I'd have to say, yes from the intel I've seen and heard. But that isn't really the question. The question is, where does that leave us? Where are we heading? What should we do about it? And, who is the one or many, that should be doing, the doing?

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