Personal and academic blog. Explores the borderlands between rhetoric, politics and intelligence.


King's College and the next phase of terrorism

One of the most cited experts during the recent bombings in London has been Michael Clarke, Professor Defence Studies and Director of the International Policy Institute at King's.

The day before yesterday he held a press briefing on the next phase of terrorism.



'Wiki' is supposedly the hawaiian word for 'quick' and is the craze on the internet in the form of user-built databases, such as Wikipedia or Wikinews.

How about making wiki-intelligence? That would be the first step toward the citizen-intelligence envisioned by the american writer Robert Steele. Imagine a homepage where you could put up a request for information about a subject, more or less specific, fx about who enters and leaves a house, what is stirring in extremist circles in Sheffield or the specifications of a airplane. People with relevant information could then help you out, others could try to oppose and disinform you - just like ordinary intelligence - and the ones you target would be able to know. Its not really intelligence in the way we know it, but it is interesting.

A good example of Wiki-intelligence is here - where an internet scammer is scammed by a cooperative effort across the Atlantic.


Israeli strategic depth

Now the bliss of summer is over and the grim realities smile with asphalt teeth. But I have had the fortune of getting some briefs on the Israeli strategic situation and thinking.

One of the defining things are the lack of strategic depth - with only around 20 Km from the borderlines to the sea at places. This has led to to a doctrine of pre-emption and disruption - one that was derailed in 1967 when there was suddenly a large space to manouver on and the defence (at least against Egypt and Syria) had turned to static defence. This of course led to the 1973 strategic surprise and a following disengagement from the Sinai desert (but not the Golan Heights).

The good people at Stratfor has outlined three conditions for Israeli survival doctrine:

1. The Arabs must never unite into a single, effective force.
2. Israel must choose the time, place and sequence of any war.
3. Israel must never face both a war and an internal uprising of Arabs simultaneously.

The disengagement from the Gaza strip reduces strategic depth once again and it is interesting to see what will happen to Israeli military thinking as a consequence.


Seven things to do in Denmark when you've got a tan

* Kissing a girl in a summer dress.

* Eating pickled herrings on fresh rye bread, with curry condiment, raw onions and warm, boiled eggs.

* Drinking cold beers in the sun.

* Proof-read and frown at flies and spiders and crawling caterpillars.

* Taking a dip in the Baltic sea - from a sand beach or a dock in the harbour.

* Nod to nu-jazz and minimalist electronica chilling on the lawns of the local Uni.

* Eating fresh plums before going to sleep far too late.


Deadlines are strange creatures

My elaborate plans have been turned over a time or two recently because a pint in the evening turned out to trip my work-effort the next morning. But it still came about exactly as planned:

39 minutes over the deadline at 2400 i slammed it digitally into my desktop: a 15.085 word rough draft of my dissertation.

Have faith - humanity is not lost after all! And pints aren't that bad, it seems.


The Dispute over Hans Island/Hans Ø

The arctic area is heating up with a conflict between Canada and Denmark over the tiny island Hans Ø/Island.

The Canadian American Strategic Review has posted a long article with the rather bombastic name: Threats to Canada's Arctic Sovereignty - Denmark's Claims in the Arctic - Strategic Resources in the Arctic

It takes quite the realist view and analyses that Denmark is beefing up claims because it senses that Canada is weak in protecting its arctic areas. They have quite a comprehensive description of the Danish forces in the area - right down to what kind of small arms and calibers they use.

"Canada must take decisive actions now in order to build an unassailable claim to the islands and the waterways of the Arctic Archipelago. Many ministries ? including the Department of National Defence ? will need to work together to weave an airtight case for Canadian claims to the High Arctic."

Well, it might be unpatriotic but I am rather more amused about the prospects of the 'Radio Free Hans Island' than who has got the biggest arctic muscle.

What if...

... another cover was made - say a souly, feely version taking the edge out of the Door's 'Light my fire', or a Eurodance 120-bpm reendition of an old rock n' roll hit - and nobody bought it to play for unsuspecting Gym-goers?

Robin Cook dies

...and the world is bereft an unusually principled politician, in my humble view. BBC NEWS: Former minister Robin Cook dies


What is hardest on the Danish ear?...

...'Reeducation camps' or 'Support for religious militas'? Explanation follows below.

I just fell over an older story in the New York Times by the recently killed american journalist Steven Vincent, writing from Basrah.

Apparently the British reconstitution of the Police-force is going really well here, in the City often thought to be the most 'under control' in Iraq.

But Vincent pointed out that as much as 75% of the force might be backers of the shiite cleric and troublemaker Moqtadr al-Sadr. That means that the Brits (and the Danes as far as I know) are right now training a crack force of potentially political (religious) militia. And the problem, according to Vincent, is that the police is not instructed in democracy - they are not told that they should be politically neutral when on work, tear down posters of religious or political content in their canteen and not moonlight for the militias.

A local Iraqi observes:

"The British know what's happening but they are asleep, pretending they can simply establish security and leave behind democracy."

Free the people, and the rest will follow. Security = democracy. Of course we can see it is wrong when put up like that. But on the other hand, nobody wants to be an empire and 'reeducate' the new democratic subjects. Vincent apparently paid for his observation with his life.

Enter Denmark?
In recent research some have expressed to me that Denmark might have a role as an 'untainted' military power. I didn't really go for it initially, but I must admit that the above problems actually set it in perspective for me.

In the Danish Government's Iraq analysis they stress a number of things:

* The Police Project is extended to the end of 2005. The need for a strengthened Danish contribution to Iraqisation of the police will be investigated. Denmark contributes to EU's rule of law and police programme, EUJUST LEX as well.

Okay. So we are perhaps helping in training the militias.

* Development assistance will focus on human rights, rule of law and police, democratisation, infrastructure, agriculture and humanitarian assistance. Agriculture because it produces food and creates employment.

Okay. So we are actually doing some 'reeducation'. But note how it is not backed by an explanation, , unlike the agriculture bit. Now, is that a good sign or a bad sign?


New Al Qaeda video

Al Jazeera has aired a video with Al-Zawahri, Al Qaeda's second in command. He states that Blair had brought the London bombings upon the country.

If Al Zawahri and Bin Laden are hiding out together it is a very interesting question why it is Zawahri is on the video, not bin Laden. Is bin Laden sick? Is he perfecting his image - preserving the shock effect of seeing videos with him?


Open source satellites

Following on to some of the open source tracking thingies I have featured on these pages, I now grant thee NASA J-Track 3D, a fun little java satellite tracker thing that let me experience the stellar meeting of British UO-11 and Soviet Cosmos 1812 high above the heath of western Jutland.

I don't think this will show any spy-satellites, though. Not American anyway. But fun never the less.