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Amazon Review :
In The Tao of Spycraft, for the first time anywhere Ralph Sawyer unfolds the long and venerable tradition of spycraft and intelligence work in traditional China, revealing a vast array of theoretical materials and astounding historical developments.
Encompassing extensive translations of relevant portions of theoretical military manuals previously unknown in the West (such as the T'ai-pai Yin-ching, Hu-ling Ching, and Ping-fa Pai-yen), the book spans centuries to trace the development and expansion of agent concepts, insertion and control methods, recruitment, and covert practices such as assassination, subversion, and sexual entrapment and exploitation, going on to explore counter-intelligence and all aspects of military intelligence, including objectives, analysis and interpretation.
But The Tao of Spycraft is more than an examination of military tactics, it also provides a thorough overview of the history of spies in China, emphasizing their early development, ruthless employment, and dramatic success in subverting famous generals, dooming states to extinction, and facilitating the rise of the first imperial dynasty known as the Ch'in.
The cases discussed-particularly those exploiting women and sex-not only became part of China's general mindset over the ages, but coupled with the theoretical writings remain the basis for the study and teaching of contemporary spycraft methods and practices as the PRC trains and aggressively deploys thousands of agents throughout the world, including the United States.
Quote from : Wikipedia : National Security
National security is the requirement to maintain the survival of the nation-state through the use of economic, military and political power and the exercise of diplomacy.
The concept developed mostly in the United States of America after World War II. Iinitially focusing on military might, it now encompasses a broad range of facets, all of which impinge on the military or economic security of the nation and the values espoused by the national society.
Accordingly, in order to possess national security, a nation needs to possess economic security, energy security, environmental security, etc.
Security threats involve not only conventional foes such as nation-states but also non-state actors such as terrorist organizations, narcotic cartels and multi-national organisations; some authorities including natural disasters and events causing severe environmental damage in this category.
Measures taken to ensure national security include:
using diplomacy to rally allies and isolate threats
marshalling economic power to facilitate or compel cooperation
maintaining effective armed forces
implementing civil defense and emergency preparedness measures (including anti-terrorism legislation)
ensuring the resilience and redundancy of critical infrastructure
using intelligence services to detect and defeat or avoid threats and espionage, and to protect classified information
using counterintelligence services or secret police to protect the nation from internal threats
Quote from : Wikipedia : Golden Crescent
The Golden Crescent is the name given to one of Asia's two principal areas of illicit opium production, located at the crossroads of Central, South, and Western Asia.
This space overlaps three nations, Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan, whose mountainous peripheries define the crescent, though only Afghanistan and Pakistan produce opium, with Iran being a consumer and trans-shipment route for the smuggled opiates.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) heroin production estimates for the past 10 years show significant changes in the primary source areas.
Heroin production in Southeast Asia declined dramatically, while heroin production in Southwest Asia expanded.
In 1991, Afghanistan became the world's primary opium producer, with a yield of 1,782 metric tons (U.S. State Department estimates), surpassing Myanmar, formerly the world leader in opium production.
The decrease in heroin production from Myanmar is the result of several years of unfavorable growing conditions and new government policies of forced eradication.
Afghan heroin production increased during the same time frame, with a notable decrease in 2001 allegedly as a result of the Taliban's fatwa against heroin production.
Afghanistan now produces over 90% of the world's opium.
In addition to opiates, Afghanistan is also the world's largest producer of hashish.
Amazon Review :
Was IBM, "The Solutions Company," partly responsible for the Final Solution?
That's the question raised by Edwin Black's IBM and the Holocaust, the most controversial book on the subject since Daniel Jonah Goldhagen's Hitler's Willing Executioners.
Black, a son of Holocaust survivors, is less tendentiously simplistic than Goldhagen, but his thesis is no less provocative: he argues that IBM founder Thomas Watson deserved the Merit Cross (Germany's second-highest honor) awarded him by Hitler, his second-biggest customer on earth.
"IBM, primarily through its German subsidiary, made Hitler's program of Jewish destruction a technologic mission the company pursued with chilling success," writes Black.
"IBM had almost single-handedly brought modern warfare into the information age [and] virtually put the 'blitz' in the krieg."
The crucial technology was a precursor to the computer, the IBM Hollerith punch card machine, which Black glimpsed on exhibit at the U.S. Holocaust Museum, inspiring his five-year, top-secret book project.
The Hollerith was used to tabulate and alphabetize census data.
Black says the Hollerith and its punch card data ("hole 3 signified homosexual ... hole 8 designated a Jew") was indispensable in rounding up prisoners, keeping the trains fully packed and on time, tallying the deaths, and organizing the entire war effort.
Hitler's regime was fantastically, suicidally chaotic; could IBM have been the cause of its sole competence: mass-murdering civilians?
Better scholars than I must sift through and appraise Black's mountainous evidence, but clearly the assessment is overdue.
The moral argument turns on one question: How much did IBM New York know about IBM Germany's work, and when?
Black documents a scary game of brinksmanship orchestrated by IBM chief Watson, who walked a fine line between enraging U.S. officials and infuriating Hitler.
He shamefully delayed returning the Nazi medal until forced to--and when he did return it, the Nazis almost kicked IBM and its crucial machines out of Germany.
(Hitler was prone to self-defeating decisions, as demonstrated in How Hitler Could Have Won World War II.)
Black has created a must-read work of history.
But it's also a fascinating business book examining the colliding influences of personality, morality, and cold strategic calculation. --Tim Appelo
Quote from : Wikipedia : I.B.M. and the Holocaust : Company Response
While not directly contradicting Black's evidence, IBM has questioned Black's research methodology and conclusions.
IBM indicates it does not have much information about this period or the operations of Dehomag, as most documents were destroyed or lost during the war.
IBM also claimed that a lawsuit, which was dismissed, was filed to coincide with the book launch.
In 2002, IBM disputed Edwin Black's claim that IBM is withholding materials regarding this era in its archives.
Nevertheless, IBM subsequently turned over a substantial portion of it corporate records of the period to academic archives in New York and Stuttgart, for review by independent scholars.
Nevertheless, Edwin Black in his article published in George Mason University's History News Network openly accused IBM advocates in a systematic elimination of references to IBM's role in the Holocaust in the Wikipedia article History of IBM.
“We are on the verge of a Global transformation. All we need is the right major crisis and the nations will accept the New World Order.” – David Rockefeller to the United Nations Business Council on September 23, 1994
“For more than a century, ideological extremists at either end of the political spectrum have seized upon well-publicized incidents to attack the Rockefeller family for the inordinate influence they claim we wield over American political and economic institutions. Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as ‘internationalists’ and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure – one world, if you will. If that’s the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.” – David Rockefeller, Memoirs, 2002
When Assange was eight, Claire left her husband and began seeing a musician, with whom she had another child, a boy. The relationship was tempestuous; the musician became abusive, she says, and they separated. A fight ensued over the custody of Assange’s half brother, and Claire felt threatened, fearing that the musician would take away her son. Assange recalled her saying, “Now we need to disappear,” and he lived on the run with her from the age of eleven to sixteen. When I asked him about the experience, he told me that there was evidence that the man belonged to a powerful cult called the Family—its motto was “Unseen, Unknown, and Unheard.” Some members were doctors who persuaded mothers to give up their newborn children to the cult’s leader, Anne Hamilton-Byrne. The cult had moles in government, Assange suspected, who provided the musician with leads on Claire’s whereabouts. In fact, Claire often told friends where she had gone, or hid in places where she had lived before.