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You don’t know you don’t know.

Landmark Education Forum – YouTube – 6/30/2012

Landmark, to which I obtained an introduction, no more than that, many years ago provides encouragement and language for “breakthrough” thinking, part of which rightly involves thinking beyond what one knows one doesn’t know (for that, we have search engines) and getting on to things of which we are not aware (we don’t know what we don’t know).

Today, a web search of the statement “You don’t know what you don’t know” brings up a raft of similar applications by other entities and for many purposes.  The jargon has become a part of the pursuit of a spacious perspicacity.


This day started with correspondence and with it the opportunity to recap some thoughts about the Obama Administration’s stance as regards al-Qaeda, domestic terrorism, and the Muslim Brotherhood, ever subjects of interest to Jihad and anti-Jihad elements alike.  The note touches on not only the relative invisibility of the American intelligence industry — what kind of industry would it be if it were all open on the table as Snowdenhood would have it? — and it’s thin but present barrier with those involved, inadvertently or deliberately, as friendly or unfriendly, in the “open source intelligence” community, i.e., the community looking things up on the Internet plus, perhaps, the community of journalists poking and prodding cultural and social reality from some stance (friendly or unfriendly) of their own.  Herewith:


The problem with speculation is that it has spectrum even, as with you, if the guesswork is as educated and informed as it may be.

When Obama took office, he was careful to minimize the scope of work as regards the Islamic Small Wars. He left the Brotherhood as a wandering cloud and pinpointed Osama and the southeast Asian Jihad as a target American and NATO troops plus our military and state security resources could manage. As you may recall, I call that stance the pursuit of the least war possible, not an imprudent position given the costs (in blood and treasure) involved in the way WE conduct war.

Blood and weapons seem cheaper by far on the other side by measure of the other side’s own behavior.

In our internal security, the flow down from the Presidential mind seems to have been to similarly restrict the scope of operations to arrest (first) and interdict (as we get better at machine sifting human signal); That’s where the system breaks down before human language-borne illusion and will. Relying on our principles, we will allow, even encourage, Muslims to do as everyone else does, including setting up mosques without restriction and proselytizing like the most ambitious bible thumpers, but we will not allow them to conspire, commit, or incite crime (not any more than we would anyone else).

That’s how we do things here.

Nonetheless, as domestic terrorism is a fact of life, and association with a large contribution from Islamic Jihad undeniable, and absurd when it is denied (Little Rock, Fort Hood, Boston, yadayada): So how to lay a trap for those who would smile to the country’s face while preparing to stab it in the back?

Watch what it does, what it says, and where it goes and try to reduce behaviors attending conspiracy, incitement, and the setting out to do violence to some package that can be policed without nulling the express rights, traditions, and privileges of other Americans, including Muslims not involved with such criminal dreaming, scheming, and planning.

What we do for one, we must do for all, for here all are equal under the law.

Missing at this level of “competition” on the domestic front: we have nothing in place — no laws — speaking to sedition or the detention of persons of interest, which might as well include you or I or any number of other Americans involved on any side of the Islamic Small Wars.

Your complaint is predicated on knowing what you know and not seeing what you know reflected elsewhere.

While you rightly ask what America is getting for its $52 billion annual combined agency and services intelligence bill, you and most others — perhaps with the exception of benighted Snowdens — cannot see the traffic moving behind the walls defined by the possession of secret clearance within a relevant agency or operation. I / you / we / and most don’t know what the secrets-keeping intelligence and security sectors of the Federal government knows.

When we guess, our personalities as much or more than empirical observation and reason, contribute to our theories.

To reduce this to “takeaway”: I think, best case, President Obama has pursued with the endorsements of Party and general election, the least war possible as regards engagement with Islamist ambition or programming and its various hidden as well as large (e.g., Russia-Syria-Iran) entities.

We know the Federal government wants to interdict Boston Marathon Bombings but seems to have some problem coordinating, investigating, or stopping that activity. The worst explanation: some idiot with a scientific mind wants the end point! A complete(d) story. The best, which is not so good: our domestic security apparatus is a gangly beast with many heads and hundreds of hands and it is incapable of rising to any occasion, like the threat of the Boston Marathon Bombing, “as one man”.


The route of a high-ranking mosque official: awful.

For the years in service at and the relationships formed and cherished by his congregation, there’s no good explanation for the fast night flight (symbolically so) out and the lack of then immediate transitional communication with the organization’s membership.

However, the Federal government has every right and imperative to treat that event as an internal matter, privileged and private, also confined to the organization, and not a matter of public concern, at least where the Federal public presence may be concerned.

In the secret life of the Federal government, all permutations of two guesses are good: it’s helping the Muslim Brotherhood in America vs. it’s investigating the Muslim Brotherhood in America.

The talk around that makes for lively but unresolvable argument.

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