Sunday, August 23, 2020

Melania kills The Rose Garden


Thursday, July 30, 2020

Trump forever? Hell, No!

Trump needs to be removed from office, right now.  He knows damn well he cannot be re-elected.  So, he thinks he'll just stay there for life.  The leader of a death cult wants immortal power.  

Saturday, July 25, 2020

As I suspected

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Patrick Kennedy's wife, Amy Kennedy is running for congress in New Jersey.

And she's been doing quite well so far.  She will be running against Jeff Van Drew who proudly proclaims, "I'm Donald Trump's guy."  So, she should win in a landslide. 

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Fair Play Back Issues

 The internet archive has some of John Kelin's Fair Play issues saved.

I'm pretty sure the 20th, 23rd, and 24th were saved.  I just haven't been able to guess the correct URLs for them. For example, gets you issue #25, but doesn't get you issue #24.  

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Turn Texas Blue

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Public Interest Declassification Board to hold virtual public meeting on June 5th at 11:00 a.m.


How can the national security classification and declassification system be fixed?

That depends on how one defines the problem that needs fixing. To the authors of a new report from the Public Interest Declassification Board (PIDB), the outstanding problem is the difficulty of managing the expanding volume of classified information and declassifying a growing backlog of records.

"There is widespread, bipartisan recognition that the Government classifies too much information and keeps it classified for too long, all at an exorbitant and unacceptable cost to taxpayers," said the PIDB, a presidential advisory board. Meanwhile, "Inadequate declassification contributes to an overall lack of transparency and diminished confidence in the entire security classification system."

The solution to this problem is to employ technology to improve the efficiency of the classification and declassification processes, the PIDB said.

"The time is ripe for envisioning a new approach to classification and declassification, before the accelerating influx of classified electronic information across the Government becomes completely unmanageable," the report said. "The Government needs a paradigm shift, one centered on the adoption of technologies and policies to support an enterprise-level, system-of-systems approach."

See A Vision for the Digital Age: Modernization of the U.S. National Security Classification and Declassification System, Public Interest Declassification Board, May 2020.

The report's diagnosis is not new and neither is its call for employing new technology to improve classification and declassification. The PIDB itself made similar recommendations in a 2007 report.

Recognizing the persistent lack of progress to date, the new report therefore calls for the appointment of an Executive Agent who would have the authority and responsibility for designing and implementing a newly transformed classification system. (The Director of National Intelligence, who is already Security Executive Agent for security clearance policy, would be a likely choice.)

Those who care enough about these issues to read the PIDB report will find lots of interesting commentary along with plenty to doubt or disagree with. For example, in my opinion:

*    The useful idea of appointing an Executive Agent is diminished by making him or her part of an Executive Committee of agency leaders. The whole point of creating a "czar"-like Executive Agent is to reduce the friction of collective decision making and to break through the interagency impasse. An Executive Committee would make that more difficult.

*    The PIDB report would oddly elevate the Archivist of the United States, who is not even an Original Classification Authority, into a central role "in modernizing the systems used across agencies for the management of classified records." That doesn't make much sense. (An official said the intended purpose here was merely to advance the mission of the Archives in preserving historical records.)

*    The report equivocates on the pivotal question of whether or not (or for how long) agencies should retain "equity" in, or ownership of, the records they produce.

*    The report does not address resource issues in a concrete way. How much money should be invested today to develop the recommended technologies in order to reap savings five and ten years from now? It doesn't say. Who should supply the classified connectivity among classifying agencies that the report says is needed? Exactly which agency should request the required funding in next year's budget request? That is not discussed, and so in all likelihood it is not going to happen.

But the hardest, most stubborn problem in classification policy has nothing to do with efficiency or productivity. What needs updating and correcting, rather, are the criteria for determining what is properly classified and what must be disclosed. And since there is disagreement inside and outside government about many specific classification actions — e.g., should the number of US troops in Afghanistan be revealed or not? — a new mechanism is needed to adjudicate such disputes. This fundamental issue is beyond the scope of the PIDB report.

The Public Interest Declassification Board will hold a virtual public meeting on June 5 at 11 am.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

What Kerry said...

Friday, April 10, 2020

The return of my ARRB Batch reviews

Hello everyone, some of you may know that I followed the activities of the Assassination Records Review Board ( ARRB ) quite closely in the 1990’s.  A lot of what I did was written up and published on John Kelin’s now defunct website called “Fair Play.”  I sent material to John Kelin and Debra Conway of JFK Lancer.  I also sent out a lot of emails.  This was back in the early days of the internet and while I was lucky enough to have a computer I did not have a scanner.  I did not know HTML or how to create and maintain a website.  I left that up to John.  One of the things I did was to go to the ARRB’s offices in Washington, D,C, and report on their open meetings.  I also followed them around the country as they held public hearings, and when they gave presentations to two professional  organizations, the Organization of American Historians and the American Historical Association. The thing people best remember and looked forward to were the reviews I did of the documents that the ARRB released.  I did these in batches as they were released.  I did 13 batches and then stopped because, well, life. It got expensive and I was trying to get a graduate degree, a decent job, and just live.  Over time John had two children and had less time to devote to a website. He wrote a pretty good book, “Praise from a future generation,” which you should check out. 

Recently, Bill Simpich asked if the batch reviews were still on the internet somewhere.  Surprisingly, they are.  A professor in Taiwan has a link to them from the Internet Archive.  Now keep in mind this was the best I could do back then.  I was a one man Mary Ferrell Foundation ( MFF ) before we had the MFF.  Now we have that great treasure and can see scanned images of the documents.  So, I never really got back to doing batches as the amount of documents became way too much to physically acquire and comment upon.  Fortunately, technology has improved and there has been a cultural change.  No one makes physical copies anymore.  People bring in their own scanners and or digital cameras then you can make your own digital copies for free.  But, you have to be in Archives II to do that and it takes time and money to do so.

So, the good news is they’re back. A professor in Taiwan, Robert Reynolds had them on his blog. Alan Dale asked if he could put them on the ARRC site.  I said sure.  Unfortunately, he’s not done this well. (No offense meant, Alan. ) Viewing them through the AARC site which is a blog site with text in the middle bordered with stuff on both sides distorts the text from how it originally appeared.  So, it’s really best to view them through the good professor’s site / link to the internet archive and then you can see them as they originally appeared. Either way, they’re back.   

Mr. Reynolds, has a blog “Rabitt’s Warren" in which he explains that he got active in the case only in 2017 as NARA released some of what they were supposed to release.  Coming at this so late and being so distant he’s ignorant of a great deal of what happened because he wasn’t involved earlier and didn’t have the ability to interact with the ARRB and the research community. So, I’m going through his posts. He has a separate blog devoted solely to JFK and the docs. I want to explain some things and I’ll probably refute some things.  I cannot go through 40 or 50 posts about how and why the collection of over 300,000 JFK Assassination documents are in the state they’re in, and why they’re not all open in full as they should be in a day.  One point is correct.  I never really did review the First Batch properly as these came out with no problem.  The ARRB gave out copies of these first 16 CIA records at their offices, and I think NARA did too.  So, at the time everyone had these when I jumped into the deep end of the pool in 1995.  These are all available from The Mary Ferrell Foundation site.

1.) 104-10007-10037

2.) 104-10007-10040

3.) 104-10007-10043

4.) 104-10007-10046

5.) 104-10007-10195

6.) 104-10008-10109

7.) 104-10015-10052

8.) 104-10015-10093

9.) 104-10015-10153

10.) 104-10015-10154

11.) 104-10015-10165

12.) 104-10015-10181

13.) 104-10050-10002

14.) 104-10050-10077

15.) 104-10054-10023

16.) 104-10054-10204

I am working on a large project to determine exactly how many RIFS there are in the entire JFK Records Collection.  I’ve been working on this for over 2 years.  I’m nearly done, then I want to go back over it a bit.  I may have made a few errors and I don’t consider this to be definitive just yet. I do think it will be the best resource so far, and with collaborative input from the community I think it can be the definitive guide.  Another X factor is that NARA in consultation with the intel agencies released material under the JFK Act that was never really announced or published in the Federal Register as the ARRB decisions were.  Malcolm Blunt and I just happened to have been there when they did this one day, and if memory serves that is what the 6th Batch really was.  So, a lot of the RIF numbers I have for which there is no specific ARRB notice may have been released in a similar manner.  I hope to present this at a JFK conference when we get through this COVID-19 pandemic.  So, don’t any of you lovely people dare get this damn thing so that we can have hugs and drinks together soon.   

As Maddow says, watch this space.