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» The Ornery American Forum » World Watch » Thanks Orson, for Your Letter. (Page 2)

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Author Topic: Thanks Orson, for Your Letter.
Baldar
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Wrong again. Most satallite photography is owned by international corporations, not the US government. Please review the following story,
quote:
The Cold War practice of satellite surveillance has moved into the private sector. Now, for a few hundred dollars, anyone may soon be able practice armchair espionage, spying on objects as small as 3 meters in diameter anywhere on the earth.


You cannot have both, too much information and information buried. Unless you mean so much free information is out there that useless information buries it. However, I believe that is not the case. There are very many people who spend a great deal of time, not of the US government sifting through the informaion.

Also information is leaked for various reasons in many ways, which include congress, loose lips (it still happens a great), and accidentally releasing top secret documents, on top of the possibilities you have mentioned. Clinton's administration, for example was a sieve of information for many reasons and some we have not even gone over. Information, like life (to borrow a phrase from Jusrassic Park) finds a way.

We also have news groups that have expanded their knowledge with former analysts (equal in analytical ability to the government). Most of the information gleaned by our intelligence agencies isn't even really secret, its public and it is analyzed. No, secrecy is a small part of intelligence work that is passed on to policy makers. Most of it is simply strong analysis. And since its almost all public, we have a plethora of information to grind and sift to get to the real heart of the matter. All we have to do is watch it.

The reality is, its out there and a number of organizations that are non governmental are spending a great deal of money and time sifting through it.


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LetterRip
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Baldur,

Regarding satellite data, just being able to take the photos is not enough. You need to have a good idea of where to look and have an idea of what you are looking for. Thus while the private sector may provide satellite data of equivalent quality to that of the government, that is not particularly useful.

Also, the information which is needed to make a determination of whether Iraq has WMDs is not easily derivable from satellite photos. It is human and signals intelligence that are needed to make that determination, most of which is not publically available.

3m resolution is 1 pixel = 3 meter diameter object. The best spy satellites can get 5cm resolution from space, and likely can't get better due to atmospheric attenuation, which is (one of) the reason(s) we require aircraft reconnisance. (Yes the satellites zooming in and clearly showing people as in MI2 is total fiction...)
http://hypertextbook.com/facts/2001/JeannelleLouis.shtml

LetterRip


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Baldar
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Satellite photography is freely available, and you can purchase almost anything. If you have an idea or suspicion its very easy to move those satellites in place (if you have the money). I don't know why you want to be so contrary on this regard because basically it seems you are being less than reasonable on this.

The fact is with all the private analysts out there you pretty much can concentrate on certain areas if you wish. You seem to be ignoring the whole private sector of intelligence.

quote:
Also, the information which is needed to make a determination of whether Iraq has WMDs is not easily derivable from satellite photos. It is human and signals intelligence that are needed to make that determination, most of which is not publically available.

I disagree partially, satellites can pick up the imagery quite clearly, and the private sector I dare say has better intel in Iraq than the US government does, given the press is often invited in but inspectors are not.

My point is, and still stands that information is much more available now than in the past, and the majority of that information is available to the public. I don't need the internet to tell me that, its actually been that way for quite a few decades. Analysts spend most of their time perusing newspapers in other languages, not decoding "secret messages".


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LetterRip
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Baldur,

you said

quote:
Satellite photography is freely available, and you can purchase almost anything. If you have an idea or suspicion its very easy to move those satellites in place (if you have the money).

I never claimed otherwise, however, only 1 meter or lower resolution is comercially available (at least that I've heard of and I do pay attention to such things...).

quote:
I don't know why you want to be so contrary on this regard because basically it seems you are being less than reasonable on this.

Hmm... I think you might have been refering to Dan Allen, I just now threw my two bits in...

quote:
The fact is with all the private analysts out there you pretty much can concentrate on certain areas if you wish. You seem to be ignoring the whole private sector of intelligence.

No, I'm not, I do follow some of the information provided by private analysts - such as the Federation of American Scientists, Janes, Carnegie Endowment etc. The consensus appears to be that they probably have chemical and possibly biological WMD in limited quatities. For nuclear, they do not, and likely will not in the near future.
http://www.ceip.org/files/Publications/Iraq's%20WMD%20Arsenal.asp http://www.ceip.org/deadly http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=15&ItemID=2353 http://cns.miis.edu/research/wtc01/target.htm http://www.tompaine.com/feature.cfm/ID/6464

They have done some rebuilding of facilities that were destroyed, but it is not clear to what purpose the rebuilt facilities are being put.
http://www.globalsecurity.org/org/news/2002/020813-iraq4.htm

quote:
I disagree partially, satellites can pick up the imagery quite clearly, and the private sector I dare say has better intel in Iraq than the US government does, given the press is often invited in but inspectors are not.

I disagree, the intel needed is achieved by bribes and blackmail, behaviour which our government can afford, but which is outside the scope of most private analysts. Private analysts can usually only suspect, whereas the government should be capable of having fairly hard evidence. Also, I'm unaware that media personel have been freely allowed near suspected WMD facilities.

quote:
My point is, and still stands that information is much more available now than in the past, and the majority of that information is available to the public. I don't need the internet to tell me that, its actually been that way for quite a few decades. Analysts spend most of their time perusing newspapers in other languages, not decoding "secret messages".

Never claimed otherwise. However, hard evidence, of behavior that a foreign government is trying to keep hidden, does often require espionage, and not only analysis of publically available information.

LetterRip


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Baldar
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Then you are not listening to what I am saying. Reread what I wrote.

quote:
My point is, and still stands that information is much more available now than in the past, and the majority of that information is available to the public. I don't need the internet to tell me that, its actually been that way for quite a few decades. Analysts spend most of their time perusing newspapers in other languages, not decoding "secret messages".



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Baldar
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Also try reading the link I had set up.
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Grant Morgan
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Ken--

"Rather than hurting feelings or getting our feelings hurt, I would hope some thought would go into the fact that this forum is visited by some very influential folks, especially here in America. They most likely will never post...or at least not under their own names, and most likely they will be asking questions rather than giving answers."

Just out of curiosity, who do you think is visiting this forum? And what leads you to think so?


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Dan Allen
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quote:
My point is, and still stands that information is much more available now than in the past, and the majority of that information is available to the public. I don't need the internet to tell me that, its actually been that way for quite a few decades. Analysts spend most of their time perusing newspapers in other languages, not decoding "secret messages".

And I’m not really arguing with this since it doesn’t disprove my point. So while some analysts dig through the newspapers and television reports, others work from sources only the government has access to.

From your article:

quote:
Corona, the world's first spy satellite, was capable of about 2-meter spatial resolution, a benchmark today's commercial imaging satellites have yet to reach.

And

In 1994, President Clinton signed Presidential Directive 23, permitting the Commerce Department to issue the newest round of 1-meter and sub-meter licenses.

And

If all else fails, the United States maintains the ability to turn off the cameras outright--a provision known as "shutter control." If the secretary of state or the secretary of defense tells the secretary of commerce that operating these satellites poses a threat to national security or even the foreign policy interests of the United States, they can order the cameras shut off or remove their license to operate.



Note that while the Commerce Department has the authority to issue licenses to operate high-resolution satellite cameras none were active at the time the article was written, http://www.spaceimaging.com/products/imagery.htm# now offers .9m resolution. This is great and all, but if Mr. Pike’s suspicions are correct, the government is operating satellite cameras with .1m resolution or better. You can resolve gender and race with that, whereas 1m would still be limited to detecting whether a person is there or not. Another option, which the article does not spell out, is that the Secretary of Commerce could order all photographs taken by a specific satellite be classified and handed directly to DoD never going through the public domain. There is also the reconnaissance aircraft photos that LetterRip mentions. Those are clearly not in the public sector, and will remain so until they are no longer useful.
quote:
Well, in order for a satellite image to have any realistic military application, it must have adequate resolution and it must be timely. A three-week-old image in wartime is really no more useful to a military commander than a gas station road map.
Theoretically, a company such as EarthWatch and others like it could provide images precise and fast enough to be an asset on the battlefield. But it would take a lot of photos.

The key here is both positioning and time delay. The commercial satellites don’t have a lot of maneuverability built in, and likely wouldn’t be able to take all of the sequences that intelligence and military planners want (multiple IR, and possibly other wavelengths.) There will be delays both in transmitting the request to the company, and receiving the pictures back. The commercial satellites are great for making maps, but not so great for assessing strike damage, or other items of military value (is that just a mob, or is it a infantry company?)

Baldar, I wasn’t trying to totally disagree with you, but was pointing out that those within the government making policy decisions and military plans are using additional information that is not in the public sector, and will not be until after it is either acted on militarily or is no longer important. The fact that the government is using more information derived from the public sector doesn’t eliminate that fact that there are still a lot of assets directly under their control that the public sector has no access to.

quote:
Unless you mean so much free information is out there that useless information buries it. However, I believe that is not the case. There are very many people who spend a great deal of time, not of the US government sifting through the informaion.

This is what I meant, and taking 9/11 as an example, there was a lot of information pointing to that attack that did not make it to the right people until afterwards. And some of in only in the form of leaks attempting to embarrass the administration. The Phoenix FBI letter is the best example I can think of. That memo would never had made it into the public domain if it had been acted on first.
Again Baldar, the government has many assets that they continue to use for decision making purposes that the public domain does not have access to in a timely fashion, the large “public” intelligence industry notwithstanding.



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LetterRip
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Baldur,

here is what you stated

quote:
Quite often the "people" are more aware of what is going on than the government. Note that in the last Iraq/US war, our leaders were watching CNN for as much information as we are.

I was disagreeing with your 'Quite Often' statement, and was giving specific reasons for that disagreement. There are certainly leaks, but not nearly as often or as significant as you seem to imply. We do have much of the same publically available knowledge and the analysis of that knowledge can be done by competent non goverment analysts. However, for the type of knowledge that is of interest for making decisions regarding whether Iraq has WMD we have little of the knowledge that the government presumably has.

LetterRip

[edit, corrected name mispelling]

[This message has been edited by LetterRip (edited October 26, 2002).]


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Baldar
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You are wrong. You would be surprised how much information is passed through the news room and analyzed but not printed because there are not enough "additional" sources to confirm it. I think Tom would back me up on that one.

I don't think you are as up on the intelligence community as you might think either. Most of their work and analysis is done on public levels, very little work is"covert" or "spy stuff" as some have suggested. This is especially true in places like Iraq where we have very few intelligence sources (if any), most come from dissidents that have left Iraq.

The fact that you named so many non-governmental sources for intelltigence actually bolsters my point.


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Baldar
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Finally, do you purposely misspell my name to show your lack of respect or is it some quirk in your personality that does not allow you to spell Baldar?
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Baldar
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If the act is too difficult, perhaps you can just place a "B" to address me. That would suffice. It's the least you can do since I do try to spell yours correctly and I am an atrocious speller by confession.

[This message has been edited by Baldar (edited October 25, 2002).]


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LetterRip
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Baldar,

first on the spelling - I'm a 'classic dyslexic', so my apologies upon the occassional letter switching. No insult or disrespect meant.

quote:
You are wrong. You would be surprised how much information is passed through the news room and analyzed but not printed because there are not enough "additional" sources to confirm it. I think Tom would back me up on that one.

I probably wouldn't be surprised. <grin> How exactly was I 'wrong' though? Regarding intel. - perhaps you are right, and our intelligence agencies are more poorly informed as to the specifics of knowledge of foreign 'state secrets', however, you've given no support to suggest that you are correct in that respect. Whereas I gave very specific support in regards to sattelite data and gave specific reasons for why I believe that our goverment (or other intelligence community) might have very specific information as regards state secrets whereas I also gave reasoning as to why I would not expect such from the public sector intelligence efforts.

quote:
Most of their work and analysis is done on public levels, very little work is"covert" or "spy stuff" as some have suggested.

Agreed, I've never suggested otherwise.

quote:
The fact that you named so many non-governmental sources for intelltigence actually bolsters my point.

I was showing numerous non-governmental intelligence sources. The analysis given were based upon reports dissemenated by government intelligence agencies on behest of their governments. Ie the UN, a report issued by the British Goverment that was derived from British Intelligence sources, etc.

They had access to such information becuase the goverments released the information to them.

Your claim was that non-government sources had superior information to that of government sources. The intelligence sources I've read were developed from government released information. Ergo my linking would appear to be contrary to your claim.

LetterRip


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Alizee
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Quote from elm : "Well, as I said the very reason why I posted is because I was partly surprised, and partly hurt because of Mr. Card's essay. I know it was childish of me to expect a good writer to have any personal quality besides writing well, but people are emotional beings and I couldn't help it."

Well, this is exactly the reason why I posted my first mail on this forum. It's hard to believe that the writer of Enders game can be so blind when it comes to real geopolitics matter as to write such essays.

I did apreciate elms posts because they show calm and reflexion. No hate, no judgement. No big optimism either, but how can you be optimistic when you watch the world and read what people post on forums ?

Then, here and there, you find generous people trying to share another point of view, different from the mainstream ideas, and they do so with good and clear argumentation.

So I'd say "thanks elm, for your letter".

[This message has been edited by Alizee (edited November 25, 2002).]


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Baldar
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No judgement, hence nothing in my book. We judge all things to a certain extent including the actions of others. I could not in good conscience say that Card's view has no geopolitical understanding when in fact it shows more understanding than most. I might be of a mind that most Europeans have been born within the ensconsed safety net where a rich country simply buys the aquiesence of poorer countries (as the US tried to do with Korea and the UN with Iraqi embargoe's), generally to no avail.
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