Shiva Ayyadurai suing TechDirt over Stories Saying He Didn’t

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Re: Shiva Ayyadurai suing TechDirt over Stories Saying He Di

Postby admin » Mon Feb 27, 2017 7:49 am

Obama, tech execs talk surveillance
by Tony Romm



President Barack Obama hosted Apple CEO Tim Cook, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, Google computer scientist Vint Cerf and other tech executives and civil liberties leaders on Thursday for a closed-door meeting about government surveillance, sources tell POLITICO.

The session, which Obama attended himself, followed a similar gathering earlier this week between top administration officials, tech-industry lobbyists and leading privacy hawks, the sources said. Those earlier, off-the-record discussions centered on the controversy surrounding the NSA as well as commercial privacy issues such as online tracking of consumers.

The White House has declined to provide any details about its new outreach since the beginning of the week. A spokesman didn’t comment Thursday about the high-level meeting with the president — and the companies and groups invited also kept quiet when contacted by POLITICO.

Obama has promised more public debate about the country’s counterterrorism policies and privacy safeguards amid a deluge of criticism about the NSA’s controversial surveillance programs. As the steady stream of revelations continues, however, the White House has chosen to meet quietly with tech executives and consumer groups behind closed doors.

The administration’s outreach began Tuesday, when chief of staff Denis McDonough and general counsel Kathy Ruemmler convened a privacy-focused huddle in the Roosevelt Room. Joining them were representatives from the Information Technology Industry Council, TechNet and TechAmerica, which together represent a diverse swath of the tech industry — from major defense contractors to companies like Facebook, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Privacy Information Center were also present, sources said.

While the White House at the time declined to comment, one administration aide, speaking to POLITICO ahead of the Tuesday session, portrayed it as part of a larger campaign.

( WATCH: Obama defends NSA surveillance)

“This is one of a number of discussions the administration is having with experts and stakeholders in response to the president’s directive to have a national dialogue about how to best protect privacy in a digital era, including how to respect privacy while defending our national security,” the official said.

The second meeting Thursday, however, was organized with greater secrecy.

Those invited were mostly senior executives, including Cook, Stephenson and Cerf, as well as representatives of groups like the Center for Democracy and Technology and Gigi Sohn, the leader of Public Knowledge, according to three sources familiar with the meeting. Each declined comment for this story.

As the White House consulted with industry, though, some members of Congress continued their push for legislation adding new checks to federal surveillance programs.

“Trust and credibility depend on the appearance of fairness and accountability. My fear is that some of those agencies and institutions are in peril of losing it,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) during a speech Thursday at Harvard Law School.

The senator is sponsoring a bill that would create a new, adversarial public-interest defender before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which approves government requests to companies for user data. And Blumenthal also seeks to redo the FISC judge selection process to get more diverse voices on its bench.

“The purpose of the debate is to make sure we have both liberty and security,” he said.

Michelle Quinn contributed to this report.
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Re: Shiva Ayyadurai suing TechDirt over Stories Saying He Di

Postby admin » Mon Feb 27, 2017 8:12 am

Bringing New Tools to the White House: Rethinking the President’s Daily Intelligence Brief
by C. Lawrence Meador and Vinton G. Cerf
Studies in Intelligence Vol. 57, No. 4
(Extracts, December 2013)



The expanded use of [tablet-like, visualization, and other new] technologies has dramatic implications for those who create, deliver, and use the PDB, with exciting possibilities for the establishment of even more intimate and effective IC engagement with top-level leaders.”


A primary function of the Intelligence Community (IC) is to support the president, the National Security Council, and other top government leaders. The most well-known example of this support is the President’s Daily Briefing (PDB). The PDB—as reflected in actual printed products and the person-to-person interactions between PDB recipients and intelligence briefers—has evolved over the decades into an exquisitely choreographed effort. The recent limited and experimental use for this purpose of an electronic tablet and the potential to leverage advances in visualization and other powerful hardware and software applications presents a potential new chapter for the PDB. [1] The expanded use of these technologies has dramatic implications for those who create, deliver, and use the PDB, with exciting possibilities for the establishment of even more intimate and effective IC engagement with top-level leaders.

A small panel of interested professionals that we were part of explored the implications of the use of new technologies in order to inform discussion of adaptations to the PDB, both as a product and a process. Of particular interest to those of us on the panel were

•possible changes in the interaction of information providers and recipients;

•changes in the kinds of information provided and its display using the new technologies;

•specialized software capabilities to yield the highest levels of satisfaction; and

•complementarities with other media of information exchange and interaction.

Additionally, the panel was interested in other forms of visual display or information transmission and collaboration that are on the horizon, and how all these changes may affect the IC’s operating model.

We took a four-pronged approach to our task:

•We observed the current PDB process, to include how the tablet is used.

•We considered the insights of practitioners and the literature on decision support and executive information systems.

•We interviewed or received briefings from more than 90 individuals in government, private industry and in nonprofit and academic sectors.

•A panel of senior external experts also advised us and reviewed our findings and recommendations.

While we make several observations about the current PDB process, the focus of this article is on a future environment in which tablets and other platforms are the principal mechanisms for presenting and visualizing intelligence to senior leaders. And while this article mainly treats the PDB, the experience with the PDB promises to set standards and conventions for IC support to other senior leaders as well.

We will not advocate here the targeting of the PDB to a larger audience—we think it should continue to be disseminated as the president desires and that briefers continue personally to deliver the PDB to presidentially approved recipients. We will suggest that using currently available technology to improve dissemination of intelligence information to other US leaders (especially in the IC) is an idea worth discussing.

Here we will outline how the PDB, when considered as a decision-support and executive-information system, can be tailored to the relatively unstructured problem environment that top government leaders often face and expect the IC to help address.

We concluded that the PDB should evolve around five design principles. It should be

•focused squarely on policymakers’ problems;

•adaptable to a variety of needs and styles;

•capable of providing increasingly “curatorial” versus strictly editorial functions;

•able to embrace a risk-management approach to security concerns; and

•extensible to a leader’s broader information and communications ecosystem.

The visualization, data-manipulation, and data-exploitation capabilities inherent in a tablet computer and similar platforms provide opportunities to reshape the structure and dynamics of top-level support.

We recommend the inclusion of several capabilities in the following areas:


•annotation and feedback mechanisms




•the PDB as a full-featured information support device.

Advancements in these areas are technically feasible and can be delivered with effective security. Used together, improvements could form the basis for dramatic shifts in current IC processes. They could

•support greater access to amplifying sources, visuals, and multi-media;

•provide continuously updated information and analysis—accessible 24/7—instead of a single 15–30 minute briefing session;

•make possible connectivity to other communications capabilities, e.g., e-mail;

•simplify the PDB recipient’s day.

The largest challenges to implementing such shifts will be making adjustments to the PDB process and the culture that now governs the relationship between intelligence officials and senior leaders. In making these changes, the IC has the potential to move from a model of providing primarily finished analytic products—in relatively staged, controlled interactions—to a new model of engaging in dynamic relationships between policymaker and intelligence officer, a model in which sources are referred to, key insights continuously updated, and feedback provided more comprehensively. Such a transformation in the PDB would also be likely to require alteration of many processes across the Intelligence Community as a whole.

The Evolving PDB

The provision of current intelligence to presidents has a deep tradition, dating to 1946, but it has never been a static effort. The appearance, content, and delivery approaches have evolved to reflect the attitudes of presidents toward intelligence; their varied cognitive styles and preferred means of receiving information—through a national security advisor, a mid-ranking or senior intelligence officer, or from the head of the Intelligence Community; and advances in technological capabilities.

The daily face-to-face briefings of presidents, which began in the mid-1970s, revolutionized the PDB, even if not all presidents since received such briefings. In that time, the PDB has been seen as a means for the IC and its leaders to earn the confidence of presidents and their administrations and to offer a mechanism for presidents to provide feedback and tasking. As a result, the experience that the PDB creates is of central importance to the president and the IC. [2]

The president has always had the last word on how his version of the PDB is crafted in content and format and the way it is delivered. However, at least in recent years, designated principals and other presidentially approved recipients of the PDB have in many cases put their own fingerprints on content, format and delivery, thus tailoring the PDB to their own unique needs.

Enter Tablet Computing

Advances in information technology during recent years are on the cusp of radically altering the PDB both as a published product and as a personally delivered briefing. High-powered computing, advanced encryption and security, broadband, wireless and global Internet connectivity, along with the proliferation of fixed and mobile platforms, are creating new opportunities for delivering intelligence support as well as receiving feedback and tasking from recipients. The recent limited and experimental introduction of the tablet computer to convey the PDB reflects this shift.

Like all technological innovations, the tablet offers new capabilities, but it also has the potential to affect the relationships and experiences of the individuals and organizations involved in its use. When combined with other information and communications technologies, the tablet foretells a different user experience, marked by, among other things, dramatically increased demands for all sorts of information by “power users,” greater expectations for intelligence responsiveness, and the desire to reach the frontline intelligence officer directly—in some cases without the filter of a briefer or PDB production team.

The prevalence of a connected-information environment in professional and personal lives, coupled with changes the IC is making in product development, display, and access, is producing an expectation of greater insights, more compelling visualizations, and almost instant updates on the most important and critical matters. IT devices are verging on being “tethered minds” that provide continuous analytical support. A more radical future vision is thus eminently plausible: a shift in the PDB from a once-a-day production-and-brief-engagement model, to continuous, near real-time, virtual support, punctuated by periodic physical interactions, some regularly scheduled and some when called for by urgent situations.

The use of tablets also implies important shifts in process, style, and influence in the relationship between PDB recipients and intelligence officers who provide the PDB. For example, a tablet could offer more direct access to detailed information, a shift that could affect a briefer’s role as intermediary. Or, a tablet device could give intelligence officers greater access and influence because of the ubiquity of these devices in the lives of today’s and future leaders.

Tablet devices thus have the potential to create new levels of intimacy between leader and intelligence officer. In addition, the production cycle for the PDB might assume a higher tempo (and thus consume greater resources or require a fundamentally different process), with greater emphasis on providing incremental insights.

In our judgment, these challenges have kept leaders and intelligence officers who would provide the new technology from universally and immediately embracing it. “Early adopters” see wide adoption of the tablet as inevitable because of the opportunities it will afford and they will tolerate (or embrace) shifts in interaction styles as part and parcel of innovation.

A “wait-and-see” group finds the tablet appealing and potentially valuable, but its members are frustrated by limitations in the functionality of current tablets, anticipate security concerns that will limit the tablet’s effectiveness, and generally embrace incrementalism to avoid major changes in current relationships.

“Late adopters” believe the tablet may not displace the intangible dynamic of the combined book and oral briefing and find the more arm’s-length relationship useful for maintaining institutional independence. But the introduction of new technological capabilities does not have to be forced on any reluctant principals. It should be voluntary and if it is done well, the early adopters will serve as models for emulation by others. But principals who want to continue with the hard copy version of the PDB should not be prevented from having it.

The pace and form by which the tablet is incorporated into the president’s daily intelligence effort will reflect how the concerns of these three groups are addressed throughout the PDB life cycle. This paper principally deals with the PDB as a presidential document and briefing interaction. But the experience with the PDB promises to set standards and conventions for how the IC supports other policymaker sets and its own leaders.

PDB as a Decision-Support and Executive-Information System

During our inquiry, we came to think of the PDB process in terms of a decision-support and executive-information system. Such systems first emerged to assist top corporate executives carry out strategic and tactical planning, acquire competitive and market intelligence, and conduct operations and finance functions. Thinking about such systems has since come to the medical, civilian government, military, and—increasingly—intelligence professions.

These applications are sometimes referred to as “executive support systems” or “dashboards.” Their development and increased sophistication have been propelled by ever-increasing processor performance, memory capacity, high-resolution visualization, and wireless connectivity. (See table for a list of representative entities in corporate, medical, and government domains.)

Successful decision-support and executive-information systems are tailored to their problem environments; the cognitive, communications, leadership, and interaction styles of users; and the larger information ecosystem in which they operate. Problem environments facing senior leaders can be generally placed into a range of structured and unstructured environments. Structured environments typically are well known and well understood, with clear methodologies (and in some cases algorithms) for assessing data (or the absence of it). These environments generally invoke preprogrammed decision processes.

Representative Users of Decision-Support Systems

Abbott Laboratories, American Airlines, American Express, Cigna, Citibank, DuPont, IBM, Johnson Controls, Motorola, Nationwide Insurance Company, Pfizer, Sprint Nextel, Transamerica, United Airlines, Verizon, and Walmart.

Medical institutions
Aetna Health Care, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Geisinger Health System, Harvard Medical School, Kaiser Permanente, Mayo Clinic, MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, Stanford Medical School, United Healthcare, and Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

US government
Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food & Agriculture, Department of Defense (Defense Knowledge Online), Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of State, Census Bureau, Federal Aviation Administration, NASA, National Library of Medicine, National Science Foundation, Small Business Administration, Smithsonian Institution, USAID, US General Services Administration, US Navy, US Army (Army Knowledge Online), US Air Force, US Marines, and US Coast Guard. There are many more. [5]

In contrast, unstructured environments have highly variable parameters: data can be ambiguous, misleading, or even deceptive and come in many forms and dimensions. For such environments, decision processes are nonprogrammed, i.e., subject to interpretation, debate, and ultimately individual judgment. It is in addressing these unstructured problems that senior leaders most often look to intelligence for help.

In unstructured problem environments, decisionmakers tend to generalize problems into more broadly understood categories and they seek more data. An effective decision-support and executive-information system provides an alternative, first by helping leaders identify narrower sub-problems and then by organizing, sorting, culling, utilizing, and making sense of existing data more effectively. In short, these systems provide context for officials to face complex policy and operational choices with greater understanding and confidence.
From this perspective, the tablet and other technologies provide opportunities to use the PDB to provide better and more relevant information to senior officials.

In today’s corporate world, decision-support systems reflect a few common principles:

•Sharing of corporate knowledge and data with and among other senior leaders within the enterprise is a given.

•Good decision-support systems will be constructed so that they can easily deliver information displays constructed to the specfic needs of an organization’s diverse senior leaders.

•Corporate systems acknowledging the variety of cognitive and communications styles within their leadership teams tailor their system to individuals as much as possible.

•The best decision-support and executive-information systems reflect communication and feedback within their communities.

Future PDB Design Principles

The unique characteristics of the PDB as a decision-support and executive-information system should be reflected in a number of implicit and explicit White House user requirements:

•The tablet should be problem-focused, guiding leaders toward issues and questions they can address by acquiring context and a clearer understanding of implications (the “so-whats”). Flooding PDB users with analyses of complex and inexplicable (or incomprehensible) phenomena will distract them and overwhelm their decisionmaking capacity.

•It must be adaptive and tailored to differing substantive needs and personal styles of its recipients. This adaptability includes choices in preferred platform (the tablet, or perhaps something else), periodicity of updates, affinity for certain visualization methods, and forms of interaction.

•The model should expand from an editorial function—in which intelligence officers determine which insights are most salient—to a more curatorial function—whereby recipients enter a structured interaction to generate insight and knowledge.

•The system should leverage all available data and information—continuously updated in near real-time, across security levels—assembled into usable composites through active engagement with PDB recipients.

•The system should rest on a risk-management framework to address legitimate security concerns. Rigorous identity and access-management protocols will be needed to ensure proper dissemination of intelligence.

•The support system must be extensible to multiple functions. If the system provides only for briefer-principal interactions, recipients may well lose faith (or interest) in it. We should avoid a scenario in which senior leaders are driven to carry multiple tablets.

•The PDB tablet should support ancillary communication functions. It should enable feedback and tasking back to the IC and connectivity to e-mail. It could—potentially, even should—be a platform through which other information feeds from intelligence leaders, commanding generals, diplomats, and others are delivered. The tablet could even feature an “alert” function so that critical intelligence could be rapidly disseminated when appropriate. Cloud computing concepts may provide some of this indispensable flexibility in an exceptionally high security environment.

Implications of Current and Evolving Technology Developments

IT advances offer profound opportunities to fuse, visualize, animate, and interact with information and data. Such methods were once possible only through high-end workstations after significant effort and time and technical assistance. Now, they are readily available by simply importing commercially available technology; applying a few basic Cloud-computing concepts to efficiently and securely deploy substantial computing power, large memory, and significant storage; and adopting certain World Wide Web protocols and mechanisms (e.g., HTML5, data tagging, CSS formatting language, JavaScript). The result will be superior intelligence that has greater impact and breeds more robust engagement.

At least three (not necessarily mutually exclusive) categories of visualization hold particular value for the IC to help show the existence and meaning of relationships, correlate disparate information to shed insight, and provide deeper context by referencing time and space.

The first includes charts and graphics, which show relationships among complex data and statistics. Examples include annotated trend or event lines (the classic being Charles Joseph Minard’s rendering of losses suffered by Napoleon’s army in the Russian campaign of 1812), “bubble” or “spider” charts, and social network analyses.

The second category includes tools that augment reality by layering many types of relevant information including data and unstructured text or graphics onto an organizing reference plane such as a map or a globe. Such tools enable the fusion of items such as imagery, video, sound tracks, statistics, charts, and map representations in a single view. Many use electronic maps or other geospatial representations to display geoindexed data on a singular spatio-temporal plane to highlight geographic coincidence of people, objects, and events and desired layers can be turned on or off as needed.

The third category is animation, which rolls across datasets to show change with graphic precision. These tools are particularly useful for yielding insights on time-series data (weather, people movements, etc.), where changes in quantity or location can be tracked and analyzed (GapMinder’s application is one example).

Software applications that employ these visualization techniques have proliferated. Social media, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, provide methods to gauge roles and strengths in relationships within people’s networks. Data and economics firms, such as Bloomberg and Hoover’s, use elaborate data displays to inform investment, business, and trading opportunities. The security, emergency management, and public health sectors use mobile applications to help identify, track, and respond to incidents of public hazard. The transportation sector monitors the movement of a significant amount of cargo and people to ensure safe and efficient passage over land and sea and through the air. Marketing firms and major retailers use social networking applications to identify customer attitudes and anticipate (or influence) future trends. The IC is using similar applications, and many would be powerful on a PDB tablet.



The maps above are taken from an integrated geospatial platform (ArcGIS) that allows user to interact with maps and investigate the underlying analytic methods and supporting data. They also permit the display of data in different time periods. In these ways, a map can serve as a powerful foundation for analysis and decisionmaking. The map of Africa (top) communicates the results of statistical clustering analysis to identify African political entities with similar vulnerability characteristics. This Web map illustrates Internet users as a share of country populations in 2001. Map symbols are dynamically derived from open-source tabular data served by the World Bank, illustrating the use of federated Web services. Users can also interrogate underlying data and retrieve thousands of other datasets. (Used with permission.)

Innovations in interactive user interfaces have greatly enhanced the impact of these visualization techniques and software applications, permitting far more direct and intimate interaction with users. These interfaces take advantage of Cloud technologies to reveal novel insights about large sets of current and historical data. For example, GapMinder software illustrates and animates up to five pieces of multidimensional, time-series information simultaneously. Tools such as Google Maps and Google Earth collate independent sources of geographically indexed information to create strong context-building environments. Interactive zoom and pan interfaces expose different levels of detail to provide the context and orientation that different users may require. Other interfaces mine and illustrate dynamics of social networks to expose otherwise unappreciated facets of relationships among key actors.

Palantir offers a suite of software applications for integrating, visualizing and analyzing many kinds of data, including structured, unstructured, relational, temporal and geospatial, in a collaborative environment. It has shown value in disparate domains, from intelligence to defense to law enforcement to financial services. TouchTable has developed a hardware and software platform for collaboration in small group environments that allows users to seamlessly share on-screen visualizations and interactions over a distributed network in a common workspace. It structures discussion geospatially and can be deployed to remote locations, including forward operating bases, command centers, and mobile field units.

The tablet is not the only device to exploit these capabilities, but for the next few years, its mobility, size, and wireless capabilities will offer more unique attributes for PDB recipients. Tablets are likely to retain value in at least two areas. One is in providing a first-order review of graphically intensive materials, leaving subsequent, more detailed review to experts using more powerful computing platforms. A second area is in readily establishing connectivity through text-messaging, e-mail, or video communications to pass along information quickly. In this way, the tablet can serve as a medium for passing along sufficient data to provide early warning.

Over the next decade, however, a tablet-sized platform may encroach on the role of larger and smaller platforms. Industry is investing billions of dollars in research and industrial solid-state manufacturing capabilities to generate a hybrid platform with a tablet’s size but with capabilities even more powerful than today’s conventional desktop computers.

Another promising area of development lies in secure communications. Commercially available, though not yet in wide use, quantum key distribution (QKD), a subset of quantum cryptography, uses quantum communications to securely exchange a key between two or more parties or devices in which there is a known risk of eavesdropping. Because quantum mechanics guarantees that measuring quantum data disturbs the data, QKD can establish a shared key between two parties without a third party surreptitiously learning anything about the key being exchanged. Therefore, if a third party attempts to learn the bits that make up the key, it will disturb the quantum data that makes up the key and be detectable, allowing the communicating parties to retry or resort to alternative means.

Findings and Recommendations

The design principles and technology developments noted above led the group to recommendations regarding the PDB tablet’s general architecture, ability to store or access materials, search features and visualization capabilities, note-taking features, and security.

The chosen architecture should enable flexibility, commonality, and reliability.

Wired and wireless devices and networks. Key elements of the PDB should be accessible and deliverable on a range of platforms (smart phones, tablets, desktops, etc.), whether connected via Ethernet cable or a secure and encrypted wireless network.

Synchronizing. PDB content should be synchronized across platforms to ensure version control, even if certain principals may see a different view as a result of their respective roles. The current version should note wherever possible how it may deviate significantly from previous reports.

Remote display. Content should display uniformly across various platforms, e.g., from a handheld to a wall-mounted display.

Paired relationship. To facilitate a shared experience, the software underlying the PDB should allow either the principal or the briefer to “drive” the interaction, maintaining one screen view for both (and any other authorized attendees as well).

Private Cloud and metadata tagging. The PDB’s primary content should be housed on a private Cloud network that allows the production staff and principals to use a single repository. All PDB items should have extensive metadata tagging to facilitate use as well as control access. This Cloud should be connected to most intelligence sources via one-way tunnels or pipes.

Government-owned software. The underlying software should be government owned but constructed with as much functionality as possible from commercial or open sources. It should allow for continuous and seamless upgrades.

24/7 Ownership. Principals should “own” and store their own PDB device where practicable, rather than have it bestowed on them by the IC for a short time.

Annotation and Feedback. The PDB device should be more than just a stuffed briefcase; it is a vehicle for engagement.

Notetaking. Briefers should be able to conveniently make electronic notes in real time, noting where principals pause, make comments, or otherwise react.

Feedback. Principals should be able to provide direct electronic feedback and receive direct responses in return.

Follow-on action. Principals should be able to make notes to themselves and share an article or piece of information (and their reactions) with authorized staff or fellow senior officials.

Tasking. Principals should be able to task the IC—or even a specific IC element—directly and immediately.

Access. The PDB device should have access to a broad range of materials to support and provide context for finished analysis.

PDF Tablet Wish List

The PDB should be loaded up with referential material including CIA’s The World Factbook, the WIRe, MEDIA highlights, NCTC Terrorism Situation Report, maps, imagery, SIGINT, GEOINT, HUMINT, OSINT, key historical Intelligence, and more.—Several current PDB recipients

The PDB needs a search capability.—Several current PDB recipients

To summarize the critical success factors for the PDB [electronic tablet]—it must be authoritative, useful, complete, and easy to use. —Senior Leader, PDB staff

Wireless access is key to our success. —Senior Leader, PDB Staff

I think we need to mesh e-mail, 24 hour updates, PDB and all other classified information electronically. —Senior White House official

Open source is often highly relevant and it should be in the PDB device for access during the briefing and for later reference but it may not be the entire picture and it is often biased one way or another (e.g., the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal). —Current PDB recipient

Why can’t the PDB device have a secure docking station at the recipient’s location so that it can be charged with intelligence each morning before the briefer arrives and then updated for later reference during the day? —Senior White House official

Access to original source Intelligence is the most frequently asked question by principals who receive the PDB. —Senior Leader, PDB staff

The interactive displays and simulations are a great way to communicate effectively and quickly. —Senior White House official

Human factors and individual differences in cognitive style and interaction style need to be considered to achieve the flexibility, adaptability and agility needed for a suitable PDB technical platform. —Senior White House official

It would be neat to have a variety of [video] news feeds on subjects you are interested in so that you could multitask in the office during the day—to include potentially the TED series, summaries, key facts, depending on the interests of the specific principal. —Current PDB recipient

Classified/sensitive sources. The PDB should allow principals to link to as much standard finished intelligence information as possible and to include biographical information on individuals cited; empirical data on organizations and states; and economic and financial data. It should tailor access to more specific resources, e.g., recent NIEs or relevant collection reports. Where a PDB piece relies on finished analysis or formal collection reports, hotlinks should be available. Providing principals and other designated leaders with access to raw collection data should be avoided in most cases as the potential hazards will often far outweigh benefits. [3] Also, there is value to giving the PDB Staff the ability to customize answers to questions that come back from principals about daily PDB issues.

Open sources. The PDB device should have robust access to open sources so that principals and briefers can share common contexts. Sources should range from major media to other open-source (and Open Source Center) products, again potentially positioning the tablet as the IT device of choice for senior officials. But the PDB should not become an alternative portal to open-source information that is easily available from other channels such as television, newspapers or magazines.

Previous PDB briefs. Briefers and principals should be able to pull up previous briefs to see what has changed or remained constant on an issue, or how it might relate to other issues.

IC experts. Briefers and principals should be able to connect with a relevant IC officer to pose more specific questions and engage more deeply, especially in time-critical circumstances.

Search. The PDB software should provide robust discovery capabilities that let users make additional connections and generate further insights.

Full-text. The PDB software should allow full-text searches on key terms or phrases to allow recipients to readily find items of interest.

Commercial algorithm-based. The PDB software should make use of commercial search algorithms on sources cited to indicate popularity, e.g., “People who consulted this item, also consulted, a, b, and c.”

Limited natural language query. PDB software should allow natural language queries typical in commercial search engines so that relevant data are discoverable.

Security. The PDB system must adopt a more robust security apparatus that can work in a portable, wireless, multi-security-level environment.

Biometrics. Access to a PDB device should be granted through biometric signatures or mobile device tokens, not just physical handling and passwords (if feasible among this challenging user community).

Access control and authorization. PDB users accessing online content should have rigorous authentication procedures to verify their credentials. This is especially important when the tablet is used to share or engage on tablet content with others.

Encryption. All communication via a PDB platform should be encrypted to TOP SECRET standards but without unnecessary user distraction or inconvenience.

Multilevel access. The PDB network should be able to readily and securely “stare down” into networks of lower classification and securely bring content up to networks of higher classification. It should also be cognizant of compartmented programs—even if security may prevent accessing the information on the tablet—so that recipients can see that content of interest exists and may be available using other means.

Discretionary access control. PDB items should have the equivalent of “tear-lines” so that principals can benefit from certain content, even if classification constraints do not permit access to further details or sources.

Kill/self-destruct feature. PDB devices should have software that allows certain information to be wiped from the device upon principal or briefer direction or have a device to self-destruct if it is thought to be compromised or in danger of capture. If extreme acceleration is detected by the tablet or platform’s accelerometers, for instance in the event of a car crash, the self-destruct feature should automatically activate.

Updating Securely. The PDB must be in a highly secure location whenever PDB contents are being displayed or updated. Further it must be connected to the PDB updating network (or Cloud) through a special hardwired, photonic, or RF mechanism to assure secure operations for the update.

PDB Tablet as a Full Featured Information Support Device. The device should evolve from a single-purposed platform usable only for a short window of the day (as it is for the current PDB experiment) to an information-support device that principals incorporate into the range of their daily routines.

E-mail. The PDB tablet should have government e-mail functionality (potentially unclassified as well as classified) so that principals can send messages based on insights from the intelligence support they receive. But outgoing PDB content should not be allowed unless there is a guarantee that the recipient has authorized PDB information access (as in a principal to principal communication).

Calendar. Principals should have access to their calendars and to those of others, along with reminder and note-taking functions.

Web. Principals should be able to access Internet services (potentially unclassified as well as classified). Access to Intelink would be of tremendous value.

Live Connection. Principals should be able to achieve secure connection with peers by video or live-chat.

Impact on Process and Culture

The combination of the tablet, visualization techniques, robust and accessible knowledge bases, and sophisticated applications makes possible dramatic change in the relationships between PDB recipients and the intelligence officers who produce and deliver intelligence. Such a shift would lead to major changes in IC processes and culture.

A major shift would be movement from the provision of “finished” analytic products in relatively staged, controlled interactions to the creation of more dynamic relationships between producer and recipient of intelligence. With fully capable tablets, PDB recipients could have access to numerous amplifying sources, visuals, and multimedia; receive continuous updates; provide feedback more readily and comprehensively; and extend their reach via other communication capabilities almost immediately.

The impact on process would also be palpable. The daily rhythm of intelligence analysis and production would no longer resemble old-fashioned newsrooms that surge before “print” time. Instead, there would be a continuous drumbeat of activity around creating material in various media: hard copy, mp3, video, web, etc. The 24/7-level of required staffing for such an operation would certainly increase demand for resources.

Using a visually intensive technology requires significant changes to the analytic process. The technology would place a premium on the creation of substantive visualizations, especially in the early development of analytic products, and multimedia manipulation. The IT infrastructure will have to support queries for both analytic products and collection reports. Quality control methods must morph to allow continuous, 24/7 improvement to reflect ongoing streams of reporting.

In the course of our research, we observed that the PDB process and content vary considerably from one recipient to another (we interviewed 15 of the current 30 or so PDB recipients—principals and other senior leaders), and the amount of time principals spend on the PDB on a given day will vary based on the interest in the topics of the day, and how busy they feel.

CEOs who use decision-support capabilities in the private sector typically want all or most of their senior leadership (direct reports and sometimes the next layer) to be well informed on issues the CEOs care about so that the next level or two can actively participate in an informed way if the CEO invites a discussion or debate. We have never seen a situation where the CEO is the only user of their corporate decision-support capability. It seems to us that the same logic should very well apply to the president and to his or her senior leadership team as well as to the PDB.

The cultural transformation is equally significant. The PDB is among the most tightly controlled processes in the US national security establishment. The tablet and other related visualization technologies challenge this premise by allowing PDB recipients and IC officers to engage more directly and more frequently in more interactive and dynamic partnerships. An important task for the IC will be to keep the content lively and fresh.

Regardless, the DNI and the briefers should retain regular face-to-face interaction with PDB recipients to ensure the IC is duly supporting senior leaders and to avoid the loss of the valuable and critical human element provided by the interaction of briefers and principals.

The Future of the Briefer

A panel of past and present PDB briefers was asked to discuss the future of briefers in the decision-support environment. In general, panelists were confident that fears of radical changes in the personal interaction between PDB recipients were unfounded and that the relationship would endure. They also felt there would be no change in the core features of today’s PDB briefer. Mutual trust, knowledge of subjects, ability to anticipate needs and questions, and ability to quickly get answers to questions would remain bedrocks of the relationship.

The panelists also dismissed concerns that failed past efforts to introduce similar technological shifts would be a factor today. Indeed, most panelists felt the recipients of the today’s PDB are ready for radical changes. They also dismissed concerns that briefers would become obsolete because of technological developments.

Finally, the panelists did concede that briefers would have to develop some new skills to work in the environment. These are mainly in the area of learning to work more effectively with visualizations and other graphics and multimedia products. (See table below for a selection of comments.)

Next Steps

To follow up on these findings, we recommend the IC leadership consider six actions.

Establish a point of contact, supported by a small IC-wide working group, to mine emergent visualization capabilities and their utility for PDB and other IC applications.

Mobile Production Facilities for Biological Agents

The reason I went to the U.N. is because we needed now to put the case before the entire international community in a powerful way, and that’s what I did that day.

Of course walking into that room is always a daunting experience, but I had been there before. And we had projectors and all sorts of technology to help us make the case. And that’s what I did. I made the case with the director of central intelligence sitting behind me. He and his team had vouched for everything in it. We didn’t make up anything. We threw out a lot of stuff that was not double- and triple-sourced, because I knew the importance of this.

When I was through, I felt pretty good about it. I thought we had made the case, and there was pretty good reaction to it for a few weeks. And then suddenly, the CIA started to let us know that the case was falling apart — parts of the case were falling apart. It was deeply disturbing to me and to the president, to all of us, and to the Congress, because they had voted on the basis of that information. And 16 intelligence agencies had agreed to it, with footnotes. None of the footnotes took away their agreement.

So it was deeply troubling, and I think that it was a great intelligence failure on our part, because the problems that existed in that NIE should have been recognized and caught earlier by the intelligence community.

-- Colin Powell: U.N. Speech “Was a Great Intelligence Failure”, by Jason M. Breslow

External experts such as those interviewed for this project would be ideal sources of insights about current practices, hardware and software developments, and cutting-edge R&D initiatives. This working group should also assess the impact of visualization techniques on the production process in each IC element and the IC as a whole. This POC would be responsible for the next three actions.

PDB Briefers: Success Factors Unique to Tablet Environment

Skills Likely to be Needed

• The ability to think in words and pictures and explain issues using graphics and visualization tools
• Ability to recognize and plan effective visualizations for upcoming briefings
• Storyboarding skills using words, pictures, video and other multi-media tools
• Ability to locate and store reference and source material of potential interest
• Ability to work with technical experts in producing and displaying multi-media
• Ability to think of self as curator of vast quantities of relevant intelligence knowledge and information
• Skill in helping principals become more proficient in their use of the tablet

Downside Fears:

• Principals will make flawed decisions based on non-authoritative or inadequately vetted information available on a tablet.
• Principals will become frustrated, overloaded or overwhelmed by too much data.
• The tablet would negatively affect the quality of the briefer/principal relationship.
• Previous attempts to introduce similar technologies portend another failure.
• Briefers will become obsolete.

Develop a high-level strategic roadmap and implementation plan. These recommended changes in the PDB are complex and interdependent. They require an integrated approach and leadership commitment to ensure technologies are inserted and accompanied by appropriate changes in processes. (In contrast, the operational planning, control, and rollout process is expected to be an evolutionary learning and prototyping approach that would exploit insights from the experimentation and working group activities and over time from the R&D program mentioned below).

Conduct a series of experiments to test emergent capabilities and their implications for the user experience, the production model, and IC culture.

The experiments should be conducted in the context of a rapid evolutionary prototyping lab using the best available commercial-quality software and hardware test beds so that capabilities can be properly tested, evaluated, and red-teamed. IARPA, CIA’s Directorate of Science and Technology, and/or NSA’s Technology and Research Directorates may be well suited to assist in these experiments.

Develop technology insertion tactical plans for each major phase or cycle of new capability development. These plans should be vetted by the IC working group described above. They should describe in detail how to accomplish needed improvements and estimated implementation costs. These project-level plans will be derived in part from ongoing learning processes.

Establish and develop an R&D program of record. Given the dynamic nature of computing, communication, analytic, and visualization technologies, the DNI should create an IC-wide R&D effort that continuously plumbs emergent ideas that would benefit the PDB and perhaps many other potential user sets in IC leadership positions. This need not be a large effort, but it should draw from across the IC.

Consider extending the findings of the above efforts to other senior users of intelligence. The ideas generated in this paper have applicability beyond the PDB and deserve attention for how they can enhance intelligence support to other officials across the US government.


Implementing these recommendations will not be easy or free and should not be underestimated, but in our judgment conversion of the current PDB system into one that more closely resembles an advanced decision-support and executive-information system will provide opportunities to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the production process itself, opportunities that should not be passed up.

The ethos of the PDB rests in its heritage as a compilation of largely finished analysis for a dedicated senior reader, delivered on a schedule, by a skilled intelligence briefer, who serves as the gateway to the rest of the IC. An elaborate production process and supporting analytic cadre have institutionalized that model and the culture in which it is produced. It has fostered a highly regulated production scheme for producing serial, fixed outputs controlled by the IC.

The use of electronic tablet technologies used to their fullest capabilities portends a process of shared discovery between the principal and the broader IC, a model that is nothing short of a paradigm shift, a shift likely to meet considerable resistance.

To reduce potential resistance, it is critical that new capabilities not invade the “personal space” of PDB recipients and that the option to retain a paper product remains. In addition past efforts to introduce new technology to the process of informing policymakers should be examined to draw applicable lessons from those experiences.

If the PDB is to evolve in this direction, it must be done systematically and deliberately, with fierce intent and courageous patience to overcome challenges from those unsettled by the changes and the complexity of the technology and the service it is intended to perform.

A strategic plan will be necessary to identify how desired functions will be introduced and how challenges will be met. The changes, however, do not have to be implemented all at once and can be phased in over time, and there is time to adapt approaches to many potential PDB users.

Failure to begin the journey outlined in this paper in a timely way—with some noticeable degree of urgency and focus—may jeopardize the progress made so far with the current PDB tablet experiment, which we judge to be successfully providing insights into what will be needed in the future. PDB recipients (especially principals) appear to want more than they are currently getting, and they may revolt against the tablet and other forms of new technology if they perceive that they are not reaping the technology’s potential benefits. The lost momentum could cause the PDB to retreat to the “business as usual” status of the last 40 years. Such a development would represent a significant missed opportunity.



1. Nothing in this paper should be interpreted to suggest that we believe a tablet is the only relevant computer-based device that has a role to play in providing access to and use of intelligence information for the PDB or any other purpose.

2. For detailed discussion of the approaches presidents up to 2004 have had toward the PDB, see John L. Helgerson, Getting to Know the President: Intelligence Briefings of Presidentitial Candidates, 1952–2004 (CIA, Center for the Study of Intelligence, 2012). An free audio version is available at ... ePresident

3. Hazards include principals lacking the context to properly interpret the data; principals getting consumed or frustrated in perusing voluminous traffic; principals not understanding how to request the right data; and the ever present risks of security and handling violations.

All statements of fact, opinion, or analysis expressed in this article are those of the authors. Nothing in the article should be construed as asserting or implying US government endorsement of its factual statements and interpretations.
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Re: Shiva Ayyadurai suing TechDirt over Stories Saying He Di

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Herman Kahn
by Wikipedia



Herman Kahn
Interview with Herman Kahn, author of On Escalation, May 11, 1965.jpg
Kahn on May 11, 1965
Born February 15, 1922
Bayonne, New Jersey, US
Died July 7, 1983 (aged 61)
Chappaqua, New York, US
Alma mater University of California, Los Angeles (B.S., Physics)
California Institute of Technology (M.S.)
Military strategist
Systems theorist
Known for On Thermonuclear War

Herman Kahn (February 15, 1922 – July 7, 1983) was a founder of the Hudson Institute and one of the preeminent futurists of the latter part of the twentieth century. He originally came to prominence as a military strategist and systems theorist while employed at the RAND Corporation. He became known for analyzing the likely consequences of nuclear war and recommending ways to improve survivability, making him one of three historical inspirations for the title character of Stanley Kubrick's classic black comedy film satire Dr. Strangelove.[1]

His theories contributed heavily to the development of the nuclear strategy of the United States.


Kahn was born in Bayonne, New Jersey, the son of Yetta (née Koslowsky) and Abraham Kahn, a tailor.[2] His parents were Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. He was raised in the Bronx, then in Los Angeles following his parents' divorce.[3] Raised Jewish, he later became an atheist.[4] He attended the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), majoring in physics. During World War II, he was stationed by the Army as a telephone linesman in Burma. After the war, he completed his BS degree at UCLA and embarked on a doctorate at Caltech. He dropped out for financial reasons, but did receive an MSc. Following a brief stint in real estate, he joined the RAND Corporation via his friend Samuel Cohen, the inventor of the neutron bomb. He became involved with the development of the hydrogen bomb, commuting to the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory in northern California to work closely with Edward Teller, John von Neumann, Hans Bethe, and Albert Wohlstetter.

Cold War theories

Kahn's major contributions were the several strategies he developed during the Cold War to contemplate "the unthinkable" – namely, nuclear warfare – by using applications of game theory. Kahn is often cited (with Pierre Wack) as a father of scenario planning.[5] During the mid-1950s, the Eisenhower administration's prevailing nuclear strategy had been one of "massive retaliation", enunciated by Secretary of State John Foster Dulles. According to this theory, dubbed the "New Look", the Soviet Army was considerably larger than that of the United States and therefore presented a potential security threat in too many locations for the Americans to counter effectively at once. Consequently, the United States had no choice but to proclaim that its response to any Soviet aggression anywhere would be a nuclear attack.

Kahn considered this theory untenable because it was crude and potentially destabilizing. He argued that New-Look theory invited nuclear attack by providing the Soviet Union with an incentive to precede any conventional localized military action somewhere in the world with a nuclear attack on U.S. bomber bases, thereby eliminating the Americans' nuclear threat immediately and forcing the United States into the land war it sought to avoid.

In 1960, as Cold War tensions were near their peak following the Sputnik crisis and amidst talk of a widening "missile gap" between the United States and the Soviet Union, Kahn published On Thermonuclear War, the title of which clearly alluded to On War, the classic 19th-century treatise by the German military strategist Carl von Clausewitz.

Kahn rested his theory upon two premises, one obvious, one highly controversial. First, nuclear war was obviously feasible, since the United States and the Soviet Union currently had massive nuclear arsenals aimed at each other. Second, like any other war, it was winnable.

Whether hundreds of millions died or "merely" a few major cities were destroyed, Kahn argued, life would go on – as it had, for instance, after the Black Death in Europe during the 14th century, or in Japan after the limited nuclear attack in 1945 – contrary to the conventional, prevailing doomsday scenarios. Various outcomes might be far more horrible than anything hitherto witnessed or imagined, but some of them nonetheless could be far worse than others. No matter how calamitous the devastation, Kahn argued that the survivors ultimately would not "envy the dead" and to believe otherwise would mean that deterrence was unnecessary in the first place. If Americans were unwilling to accept the consequences, no matter how horrifying, of a nuclear exchange, then they certainly had no business proclaiming their willingness to attack. Without an unfettered, unambivalent willingness to "push the button", the entire array of preparations and military deployments was merely an elaborate bluff.

The bases of his work were systems theory and game theory as applied to economics and military strategy. Kahn argued that for deterrence to succeed, the Soviet Union had to be convinced that the United States had second-strike capability in order to leave the Politburo in no doubt that even a perfectly coordinated massive attack would guarantee a measure of retaliation that would leave them devastated as well:

At the minimum, an adequate deterrent for the United States must provide an objective basis for a Soviet calculation that would persuade them that, no matter how skillful or ingenious they were, an attack on the United States would lead to a very high risk if not certainty of large-scale destruction to Soviet civil society and military forces.

Superficially, this reasoning resembles the older doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) due to John von Neumann, although Kahn was one of its vocal critics. Strong conventional forces were also a key element in Kahn's strategic thinking, for he argued that the tension generated by relatively minor flashpoints worldwide could be dissipated without resort to the nuclear option.

"The unthinkable"

Due to his willingness to articulate the most brutal possibilities, Kahn came to be disliked by some, although he was known as amiable in private, especially around children. Unlike most strategists, he was entirely willing to posit the form a post-nuclear world might assume. Fallout, for example, would simply be another one of life's many unpleasantnesses and inconveniences, while the "much-ballyhooed" rise in birth defects would not doom mankind to extinction because a majority of survivors would remain unaffected by them. Contaminated food could be designated for consumption by the elderly, who would presumably die before the delayed onset of cancers caused by radioactivity. A degree of even modest preparation – namely, the fallout shelters, evacuation scenarios and civil defense drills now seen as emblematic of the "Cold War" – would give the population both the incentive and the encouragement to rebuild. He even recommended the government offer homeowners insurance against nuclear-bomb damage. Kahn felt that having a strong civil-defense program in place would serve as an additional deterrent, because it would hamper the other side's potential to inflict destruction and thus lessen the attraction of the nuclear option. A willingness to tolerate such possibilities, Kahn argued, might be worth sparing Europe the massive nuclear exchange more likely to occur under the pre-MAD doctrine.

A number of pacifists, including A.J. Muste and Bertrand Russell, admired and praised Kahn's work because they felt it presented a strong case for full disarmament by suggesting that nuclear war was all but unavoidable. Others criticized Kahn vehemently, claiming that his postulating the notion of a "winnable" nuclear war made such a war – whether judged subsequently as "won", "lost", or neither – more likely.

Hudson Institute and Vietnam War

In 1961, Kahn, Max Singer and Oscar Ruebhausen founded the Hudson Institute,[6] a policy research organization initially located in Croton-on-Hudson, New York, where Kahn was living at the time. Luminaries such as sociologist Daniel Bell, political philosopher Raymond Aron and novelist Ralph Ellison (author of the 1952 classic Invisible Man) were recruited.

Stung by the vociferousness of his critics, Kahn somewhat softened his tone and responded to their points in Thinking About the Unthinkable (1962) and On Escalation (1965). Between 1966 and 1968, during the peak of the Vietnam War, Kahn served as a consultant to the Department of Defense and opposed the growing pressure to negotiate directly with North Vietnam, arguing that the only military solution was sharp escalation. Failing that, he said, the U.S. government needed an exit strategy. He claimed credit for introducing the term "Vietnamization".

Kahn and the Hudson Institute advised against starting a counterinsurgency war in Vietnam, but, once it had begun, they gave advice on how to wage it. In an interview, he said that he and the Institute preferred not to give advice to (for example) the Secretary of Defense, because disagreement at such a high level might be regarded as treason, whereas disagreement with, say, the Deputy Undersecretary was regarded as no more than technical. As regards a plan, British advisers, with experience from the Commonwealth's successful counterinsurgency war in Malaya, were consulted. Kahn and the Institute, however, judged that a crucial difference between the Vietnemese and Malayan situations was the British rural constabulary in Malaya. An Institute study of the major counterinsurgency wars in recent history found a 100% correlation between successful wars and effective police forces. Kahn said "...the purpose of an army is to protect your police force. We had an army in Vietnam without a purpose."

The Year 2000

In 1967, Herman Kahn and Anthony J. Wiener published The Year 2000: A Framework for Speculation on the Next Thirty-Three Years, which included contributions from staff members of the Hudson Institute and an introduction by Daniel Bell. Table XVIII in the document[7] contains a list called "One Hundred Technical Innovations Very Likely in the Last Third of the Twentieth Century". The first ten predictions were:

1. Multiple applications of lasers.
2. Extreme high-strength structural materials.
3. New or improved superperformance fabrics.
4. New or improved materials for equipment and appliances.
5. New airborne vehicles (ground-effect vehicles, giant or supersonic jets, VTOL, STOL).
6. Extensive commercial applications of shaped-charge explosives.
7. More reliable and longer-range weather forecasting.
8. Extensive and/or intensive expansion of tropical agriculture and forestry.
9. New sources of power for fixed installations.
10. New sources of power for ground transportation.

The remaining ninety predictions included:

26. Widespread use of nuclear reactors for power.
38. New techniques for cheap and reliable birth control.
41. Improved capability to change sex of children and/or adults.
57. Automated universal (real-time) credit, audit and banking systems.
67. Commercial extraction of oil from shale.
68. Recoverable boosters for economic space launching.
74. Pervasive business use of computers.
81. Personal pagers (perhaps even pocket phones).
84. Home computers to "run" households and communicate with the outside world.

Later years

With the easing of nuclear tensions during the détente years of the 1970s, Kahn continued his work on futurism and speculations about the potential for Armageddon. He and the Hudson Institute sought to refute popular essays such as Paul Ehrlich's "The Population Bomb" (1968), Garrett Hardin's similarly reasoned "The Tragedy of the Commons" (also 1968) and the Club of Rome's "Limits to Growth" (1972). In Kahn's view, capitalism and technology held nearly boundless potential for progress, while the colonization of space lay in the near, not the distant, future.[8] Kahn's 1976 book The Next 200 Years, written with William Brown and Leon Martel, presented an optimistic scenario of economic conditions in the year 2176. He also wrote a number of books extrapolating the future of the American, Japanese and Australian economies and several works on systems theory, including the well-received 1956 monograph Techniques of System Analysis.[9]

During the mid-1970s, when South Korea's GDP per capita was one of the lowest in the world, Kahn predicted that the country would become one of the top 10 most powerful countries in the world by the year 2000.[10]

In his last year, 1983, Kahn wrote approvingly of Ronald Reagan's political agenda in The Coming Boom: Economic, Political, and Social and bluntly derided Jonathan Schell's claims about the long-term effects of nuclear war. On July 7 that year, he died of a stroke, aged 61.

Cultural influence

Along with John von Neumann, Edward Teller and Wernher von Braun, Kahn was, reportedly, an inspiration for the character "Dr. Strangelove" in the eponymous film by Stanley Kubrick released in 1964.[1] It was also said that Kubrick immersed himself in Kahn's book On Thermonuclear War.[11] In the film, Dr. Strangelove refers to a report on the Doomsday Machine by the "BLAND Corporation". Kahn met Kubrick and gave him the idea for the "Doomsday Machine", a device which would immediately cause the destruction of the entire planet in the event of a nuclear attack. Both the name and the concept of the weapon are drawn from the text of On Thermonuclear War.[12] Louis Menand observes, "In Kahn’s book, the Doomsday Machine is an example of the sort of deterrent that appeals to the military mind but that is dangerously destabilizing. Since nations are not suicidal, its only use is to threaten."[13]

Walter Matthau's maverick character "Professor Groeteschele" in the film Fail-Safe, also released in 1964, is also based on Kahn. (In this film, the U.S. President tries to prevent a nuclear holocaust when a mechanical malfunction sends nuclear weapons toward Moscow.)

In The Politics of Ecstasy,[14] Timothy Leary suggests that Kahn had taken LSD.


Outside physics and statistics, works written by Kahn include:
1960. On Thermonuclear War. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-313-20060-2
1962. Thinking about the unthinkable. Horizon Press.
1965 On escalation: metaphors and scenarios. Praeger. [1]
1967. The Year 2000: a framework for speculation on the next thirty-three years. MacMillan. ISBN 0-02-560440-6. With Anthony Wiener.
1968 Can we win in Viet Nam?. Praeger. Kahn with four other authors: Gastil, Raymond D.; Pfaff, William; Stillman, Edmund; Armbruster, Frank E.
1970. The Emerging Japanese Superstate: challenge and response. Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-274670-0
1971. The Japanese challenge: The success and failure of economic success. Morrow; Andre Deutsch. ISBN 0-688-08710-8
1972. Things to come: thinking about the seventies and eighties. MacMillan. ISBN 0-02-560470-8. With B. Bruce-Briggs.
1973. Herman Kahnsciousness: the megaton ideas of the one-man think tank. New American Library. Selected and edited by Jerome Agel.
1974. The future of the corporation. Mason & Lipscomb. ISBN 0-88405-009-2
1976. The next 200 Years: a scenario for America and the world. Morrow. ISBN 0-688-08029-4
1979. World economic development: 1979 and beyond. William Morrow; Croom Helm. ISBN 0-688-03479-9. With Hollender, Jeffrey, and Hollender, John A.
1981. Will she be right? The future of Australia. University of Queensland Press. ISBN 0-7022-1569-4. With Thomas Pepper.
1983. The Coming Boom: economic, political, and social. Simon & Schuster; Hutchinson. ISBN 0-671-49265-9
1984 Thinking about the unthinkable in the 1980s. New York: Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0-671-47544-4 [2]
The nature and feasibility of war, deterrence, and arms control (Central nuclear war monograph series), (Hudson Institute)
A slightly optimistic world context for 1975–2000 (Hudson Institute. HI)
Social limits to growth: "creeping stagnation" vs. "natural and inevitable" (HPS paper)
A new kind of class struggle in the United States? (Corporate Environment Program. Research memorandum)

Works published by the RAND Corporation involving Kahn:

The nature and feasibility of war and deterrence, RAND Corporation paper P-1888-RC, 1960
Some specific suggestions for achieving early non-military defense capabilities and initiating long-range programs, RAND Corporation research memorandum RM-2206-RC, 1958
(team led by Herman Kahn) Report on a study of Non-Military Defense, RAND Corporation report R-322-RC, 1958
Herman Kahn and Irwin Mann, War Gaming, RAND Corporation paper P-1167, 1957
Herman Kahn and Irwin Mann, Ten common pitfalls, RAND research memorandum RM-1937-PR, 1957
Herman Kahn, Stochastic (Monte Carlo) attenuation analysis, Santa, Monica, Calif., Rand Corp., 1949

Further reading

Barry Bruce-Briggs, Supergenius: The mega-worlds of Herman Kahn, North American Policy Press
Sharon Ghamari-Tabrizi, The Worlds of Herman Kahn: The Intuitive Science of Thermonuclear War, Harvard University Press, ISBN 0-674-01714-5 [reviewed by Christopher Coker in the Times Literary Supplement], nº 5332, 10 June 2005, p. 19.
Fred Kaplan, The Wizards of Armageddon, Stanford Nuclear Age Series, ISBN 0-8047-1884-9
Kate Lenkowsky, The Herman Kahn Center of the Hudson Institute, Hudson Institute
Susan Lindee, "Science as Comic Metaphysics", Science 309: 383–4, 2005.
Herbert I. London, forward by Herman Kahn, Why Are They Lying to Our Children (Against the doomsayer futurists), ISBN 0-9673514-2-1
Louis Menand, "Fat Man: Herman Kahn and the Nuclear Age", The New Yorker, June 27, 2005.
Claus Pias, "Hermann Kahn – Szenarien für den Kalten Krieg", Zurich: Diaphanes 2009, ISBN 978-3-935300-90-2

See also

Nuclear triad


Paul Boyer, 'Dr. Strangelove' in Mark C. Carnes (ed.), Past Imperfect: History According to the Movies, New York, 1996.
Google Books
Frankel, Benjamin; Hoops, Townsend (1992). The Cold War, 1945–1991: Leaders and Other Important Figures in the United States and Western Europe. Gale Research. p. 248. ISBN 0-8103-8927-4.
"LIFE - 6 Dec 1968". Life: 121–123. 1968. Herman Kahn is an atheist who still likes rabbis, and a liberal who likes cops.
Schwartz, Peter, The Art of the Long View: Planning for the Future in an Uncertain World, New York: Currency Doubleday, 1991, p. 7
"Hudson Institute > About Hudson > History". 2004-06-01. Retrieved 2012-02-21.
"The Year 2000", Herman Kahn, Anthony J. Wiener, Macmillan, 1961, pp. 51–55.
"The Next 200 Years", Herman Kahn, Morrow, 1976.
Herman, Kahn,; Irwin, Mann, (1956-01-01). "Techniques of Systems Analysis".
"[월간조선] 朴正熙와 46년 전에 만나 "한국 10大 강대국 된다"고 했던 美미래학자, 그는...". Retrieved 2016-10-04.
"Nation: NEW MAN FOR THE SITUATION ROOM". Time. 1968-12-13. ISSN 0040-781X. Retrieved 2016-10-04.
"Fat Man – Herman Kahn and the Nuclear Age", Louis Menand, The New Yorker, June 27, 2005
"Fat Man – Herman Kahn and the Nuclear Age", Louis Menand, The New Yorker, June 27, 2005
Leary, Timothy (1980). The Politics of Ecstasy. Ronin Publishing; 4th edition. Berkley, California. ISBN 1-57951-031-0
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Re: Shiva Ayyadurai suing TechDirt over Stories Saying He Di

Postby admin » Sat Mar 11, 2017 2:05 am

Fat Man: Herman Kahn and the nuclear age.
by Louis Menand
June 27, 2005



Herman Kahn was the heavyweight of the Megadeath Intellectuals, the men who, in the early years of the Cold War, made it their business to think about the unthinkable, and to design the game plan for nuclear war—how to prevent it, or, if it could not be prevented, how to win it, or, if it could not be won, how to survive it. The collective combat experience of these men was close to nil; their diplomatic experience was smaller. Their training was in physics, engineering, political science, mathematics, and logic, and they worked with the latest in assessment technologies: operational research, computer science, systems analysis, and game theory. The type of war they contemplated was, of course, never waged, but whether this was because of their work or in spite of it has always been a matter of dispute. Exhibit A in the case against them is a book by Kahn, published in 1960, “On Thermonuclear War.”

Kahn was a creature of the Rand Corporation, and Rand was a creature of the Air Force. In 1945, when the United States dropped atomic bombs nicknamed Little Boy and Fat Man on Japan, the Air Force was still a branch of the Army. The bomb changed that. An independent Department of the Air Force was created in 1947; the nation’s nuclear arsenal was put under its command; and the Air Force displaced the Army as the prima donna of national defense. Whatever it wanted, it mostly got. One of the things it wanted was a research arm, and Rand was the result. (Rand stands for Research ANd Development.) Rand was a line item in the Air Force budget; its offices were on a beach in Santa Monica. Kahn joined in 1947.

In his day, Kahn was the subject of many magazine stories, and most of them found it important to mention his girth—he was built, one journalist recorded, “like a prize-winning pear”—and his volubility. He was a marathon spielmeister, whose preferred format was the twelve-hour lecture, split into three parts over two days, with no text but with plenty of charts and slides. He was a jocular, gregarious giant who chattered on about fallout shelters, megaton bombs, and the incineration of millions. Observers were charmed or repelled, sometimes charmed and repelled. Reporters referred to him as “a roly-poly, second-strike Santa Claus” and “a thermonuclear Zero Mostel.” He is supposed to have had the highest I.Q. on record.

Sharon Ghamari-Tabrizi’s “The Worlds of Herman Kahn” (Harvard; $26.95) is an attempt to look at Kahn as a cultural phenomenon. (Kahn is the subject of a full-length biography with a similar title, “Supergenius: The Mega-Worlds of Herman Kahn,” by a former colleague, Barry Bruce-Briggs, which, though partisan, is thorough and informed, and which Ghamari-Tabrizi, strangely, never mentions.) She is not the first to treat Kahn as more an artist than a scientist. In 1968, when Kahn was at the height of his celebrity, Richard Kostelanetz wrote a profile of him for the Times Magazine in which he suggested that Kahn had “a thoroughly avant-garde sensibility.” He meant that Kahn was uninhibited by conventional ways of thinking, alert to abandon positions that were starting to seem obsolete, continually trying to find new ways to see around the next corner. As Ghamari-Tabrizi points out, this was the mode of Rand itself. The atmosphere there was one part Southern California nonconformity and two parts University of Chicago rigor. People at Rand imagined themselves to be well out on the curve. They read widely and held salons, where they talked futurology; some had arty décor in their offices and took up gourmet cooking. They were eggheads in a world of meatheads, and they regarded the uniformed military man in the same way that the baseball statistician Bill James regards Don Zimmer: as a relic of the pre-scientific dark ages, when the wisdom of experience passed for strategic thought. The wisdom of experience was useless in the atomic era, because no one had ever participated in a nuclear exchange. The variables of nuclear strategy were too complex to be pondered without the aid of advanced quantitative methods and a high-speed computer. One of the earliest of the atomic-age defense intellectuals, Bernard Brodie, had made his reputation with a book called “A Guide to Naval Strategy,” published in 1942. When he wrote it, Brodie had not only never been on a ship; he had never seen an ocean. He carried this spirit into his work on the bomb.

Ghamari-Tabrizi thinks that if nuclear strategy is a science it is, at best, an “intuitive science,” more imaginative than empirical, and she relies a lot on the vocabulary of literary criticism to interpret it: the grotesque, the fantastic, the uncanny, the hardboiled, “the aesthetic of spontaneity,” “serious play.” She does not withhold judgment about the merits of Kahn’s work, but she is interested mainly in the feel of the moment, the moods and tastes of a time when the Cold War, and the anxious talk that swirled around it, had many Americans scared almost to death. It is an adventurous approach, and rewarding when it works. That it does not always work was implicit in the gambit.

Kahn was born in Bayonne, New Jersey, in 1922, and grew up in the Bronx and, after his parents divorced, in Los Angeles. He went to U.C.L.A. and majored in physics. During the war, he served in the Pacific theatre in a non-combat position, then finished his B.S. and entered a Ph.D. program at Cal Tech. He failed to graduate—family financial problems interfered—and, after a halfhearted attempt to enter the real-estate business, went to work at Rand. He became involved in the development of the hydrogen bomb, and commuted to the Livermore Laboratory, near Berkeley, where he worked with Edward Teller, John von Neumann, and Hans Bethe. He also entered the circle of Albert Wohlstetter, a mathematician who had produced an influential critique of nuclear preparedness, and who was the most mandarin of the Rand intellectuals. And he became obsessed with the riddles of deterrence.

The defense policy of the Eisenhower Administration, announced by Secretary of State John Foster Dulles in an address to the Council on Foreign Relations in 1954, was the doctrine of “massive retaliation.” Dulles explained that the United States could not afford to be prepared to meet Soviet aggression piecemeal—to have soldiers ready to fight in every place threatened by Communist expansion. The Soviets had a bigger army, and they threatened in too many places. The solution was to make it clear that the American response to Soviet aggression anywhere would be a nuclear attack, at a time and place of America’s choosing. It was a first-strike policy: if provoked, the United States would be the first to use the bomb. An overwhelming nuclear arsenal therefore acted as a deterrent on Soviet aggression. Eisenhower called the policy the New Look.

The New Look was good for the Air Force, because it made the nuclear arsenal, and its delivery system of bombers and, later on, missiles, the country’s principal strategic resource. But the analysts at Rand considered massive retaliation a pathetically crude idea, an atomic-age version of Roosevelt’s big stick. They thought that it was practically an invitation to the Soviets to precede any local aggression by a preëmptive first strike on American bomber bases, eliminating the nuclear threat on the ground and forcing the United States into the land war it was unprepared to fight. There was also a major credibility problem. How aggressive did the Soviets need to be to trigger a thermonuclear response? Was the United States willing to kill millions of Russians, and to put millions of Americans at risk of dying in a counterattack, in order to prevent, say, South Korea from going Communist? Or West Berlin? There had to be some options available between disapproval and annihilation. The doctrine of massive retaliation was a deterrent—a way to prevent war—but it was inherently destabilizing. National defense policy required something more nuanced, and figuring out what, since Eisenhower was uninterested, fell to the people at Rand.

Kahn began working on the problem not long after Dulles’s speech. In 1959, he spent a semester at the Center for International Studies, at Princeton, and then toured the country delivering lectures on deterrence theory. In 1960, Princeton University Press published a version of the lectures (with much added material) as “On Thermonuclear War.” Kahn was not really a writer, and his book—six hundred and fifty-one pages—is shaggy, overstuffed, almost free-associational, with a colorful use of capitalization and italics, long excurses on the strategic lessons of the First and Second World Wars, and the sorts of proto-PowerPoint charts and tables that Kahn used in his lectures.

“On Thermonuclear War” (Bruce-Briggs suggests that the title, an allusion to Clausewitz’s “On War,” was devised by the publisher) is based on two assertions. The first is that nuclear war is possible; the second is that it is winnable. Most of the book is a consideration, in the light of these assumptions, of possible nuclear-war scenarios. In some, hundreds of millions die, and portions of the planet are uninhabitable for millennia. In others, a few major cities are annihilated and only ten or twenty million people are killed. Just because both outcomes would be bad on a scale unknown in the history of warfare does not mean, Kahn insists, that one is not less bad than the other. “A thermonuclear war is quite likely to be an unprecedented catastrophe for the defender,” as he puts it. “But an ‘unprecedented’ catastrophe can be a far cry from an ‘unlimited’ one.” The opening chapter contains a table titled “Tragic but Distinguishable Postwar States.” It has two columns: one showing the number of dead, from two million up to a hundred and sixty million, the other showing the time required for economic recuperation, from one year up to a hundred years. At the bottom of the table, there is a question: “Will the survivors envy the dead?”

Kahn believed—and this belief is foundational for every argument in his book—that the answer is no. He explains that “despite a widespread belief to the contrary, objective studies indicate that even though the amount of human tragedy would be greatly increased in the postwar world, the increase would not preclude normal and happy lives for the majority of survivors and their descendants.” For many readers, this has seemed pathologically insensitive. But these readers are missing Kahn’s point. His point is that unless Americans really do believe that nuclear war is survivable, and survivable under conditions that, although hardly desirable, are acceptable and manageable, then deterrence has no meaning. You can’t advertise your readiness to initiate a nuclear exchange if you are unwilling to accept the consequences. If the enemy believes that you will not tolerate the deaths of, say, twenty million of your own citizens, then he has called your bluff. It’s the difference between saying, “You get one scratch on that car and I’ll kill you,” and saying, “You get one scratch on that car and you’re grounded for a week.” “Massive retaliation” sounds tough, but unless a President can bring himself to pull the nuclear trigger, it’s just talk.

In “On Thermonuclear War,” Kahn argues that deterrence is not insured by the policy of massive retaliation, which he calls the theory of the “Splendid” First Strike. Deterrence is insured by a credible second-strike capability—by what the United States can do after a Soviet nuclear attack. He writes, “At the minimum, an adequate deterrent for the United States must provide an objective basis for a Soviet calculation that would persuade them that, no matter how skillful or ingenious they were, an attack on the United States would lead to a very high risk if not certainty of large-scale destruction to Soviet civil society and military forces.” He also argues for the development of a Limited War Capability—that is, the ability to counter Soviet aggression with conventional forces. That capability, too, is a deterrent, since it solves the “Scratch that car and I’ll kill you” problem. Again, the threat of apocalypse is not proof against a minor infraction.

The most infamous pages in “On Thermonuclear War” concern survivability. What makes nuclear war different, Kahn points out, is not the number of dead; it’s a new element—the problem of the postwar environment. In Kahn’s view, the dangers of radioactivity are exaggerated. Fallout will make life less pleasant and cause inconvenience, but there is plenty of unpleasantness and inconvenience in the world already. “War is a terrible thing; but so is peace,” he says. More babies might have birth defects after a nuclear war, but four per cent of babies have birth defects anyway. Whether we can tolerate a slightly higher percentage of defective children is a question of trade-offs. “It might well turn out,” Kahn suggests, “that U.S. decision makers would be willing, among other things, to accept the high risk of an additional one percent of our children being born deformed if that meant not giving up Europe to Soviet Russia.”

The book proposes a system for labelling contaminated food so that older people will eat the food that is more radioactive, on the theory that “most of these people would die of other causes before they got cancer.” It advocates providing citizens with hand-held radium dosimeters, which will allow them to measure the radioactivity their own bodies have absorbed. One symptom of radioactive poisoning is nausea, Kahn explains, and, when one person vomits, people around him will start to vomit, convinced that they are dying. If the dosimeter indicates that no one has received more than an acceptable dose of radiation, everyone can stop throwing up and get back to work reconstructing the economy. Kahn dismisses the notion that a society that has just suffered the obliteration of its cities, the contamination of its soil and water, and the massacre of a large portion of its population might lack the civic virtue and moral fibre necessary to rebuild. “It is my belief that if the government has made at least moderate prewar preparations, so that most people whose lives have been saved will give some credit to the government’s foresight, then people will probably rally round,” he writes. “It would not surprise me if the overwhelming majority of the survivors devoted themselves with a somewhat fanatic intensity to the task of rebuilding what was destroyed.” The message of the book seemed to be that thermonuclear war will be terrible but we’ll get over it.

“Kahn’s specialty was to express the Rand conventional wisdom in the most provocative and outrageous fashion imaginable,” Fred Kaplan says in his excellent history of the Cold War defense intellectuals, “The Wizards of Armageddon” (1983). This is true, except that, unlike most of the defense establishment in the nineteen-fifties, Kahn was an early advocate of civil defense. He was the champion salesman of the fallout shelter, and was especially excited by the potential of mineshafts as evacuation centers. He produced plans for building shelters in the rock below Manhattan, estimating that “very high-quality” shelter spaces could be constructed there for between five hundred and nine hundred dollars apiece. But—and this is the strange logic of deterrence—the essential purpose of investing billions in civil defense was not to save lives but to enhance the credibility of America’s nuclear threat. “Any power that can evacuate a high percentage of its urban population to protection is in a much better position to bargain than one which cannot do this,” Kahn explains in “On Thermonuclear War.” He contemplated the possiblity of several mass evacuations every decade in order to bolster American credibility. Having more shelters than the Soviets is like having more missiles: it is another way of saying, Go ahead, make our day. We can take your nuclear hit and come right back at you. The United States could not afford a mineshaft gap.

Rand was leery of civil defense for client-relations reasons: money spent on fallout shelters and dosimeters was less money for the Air Force. Eisenhower, too, opposed civil-defense programs, in part because he didn’t think that nuclear war was survivable, and in part because he was a cheapskate. Facilities for the evacuation of millions cost too much to construct. In the nineteen-fifties, the people who were enthusiastic about fallout shelters and evacuation drills, the now derided emblems of Cold War domestic culture, were liberals. All of the hundred million black-and-yellow fallout-shelter signs that appeared in the United States during the Cold War were put up by the Kennedy Administration—which also made Kahn happy by distributing two million dosimeters.

In its first three months, “On Thermonuclear War” sold more than fourteen thousand copies. The book received praise from a few prominent disarmament advocates and pacifists: A. J. Muste, Bertrand Russell, and the historian and senatorial candidate H. Stuart Hughes, who called it “one of the great works of our time.” They thought that, by making nuclear exchange seem not only possible but nearly unavoidable, Kahn had, intentionally or not, presented a case for disarmament. Not only pacifists believed this. “If I wanted to convince a skeptic that there is no security in the balance of terror which American policy is committed to maintaining, I would send him to the works of Herman Kahn far sooner than to the writings of the unilateralists and the nuclear pacifists,” Norman Podhoretz later wrote.

Other reactions were more predictable. The National Review thought that the book was not hard enough on Communism. New Statesman called it “pornography for officers.” The Daily Worker called it “useful.” In Scientific American, James R. Newman, the editor of the popular anthology “The World of Mathematics,” said that it was “a moral tract on mass murder: how to plan it, how to commit it, how to get away with it, how to justify it.” Though Kahn’s book is an assault on the overwhelming-force mentality of Dulles and the generals at the Strategic Air Command (who, Kahn once told them, dreamed of a “wargasm”), it is also an attack on the anti-nuclear movement and the belief that nuclear war means the end of life as we know it. Most anti-nuclear advocates thought that arguing that a nuclear war was winnable only made one more likely. An official of the American Friends Service Committee compared Kahn to Adolf Eichmann, and he became one of the movement’s favorite monsters. His house was picketed.

The best-known response to “On Thermonuclear War” was a movie. Stanley Kubrick began reading intensively on nuclear strategy soon after he finished directing “Lolita,” in 1962. His original plan was to make a realistic thriller. One of his working titles was taken from an article by Wohlstetter in Foreign Affairs, in 1959: “The Delicate Balance of Terror” (an article that anticipated many of Kahn’s arguments in “On Thermonuclear War”). But Kubrick could not invent a plausible story in which a nuclear war is started by accident, so he ended up making a comedy, adapted from a novel, by a former R.A.F. officer, called “Red Alert.”

“The movie could very easily have been written by Herman Kahn himself,” Midge Decter wrote in Commentary when “Dr. Strangelove” came out, in 1964. This was truer than she may have known. Kubrick was steeped in “On Thermonuclear War”; he made his producer read it when they were planning the movie. Kubrick and Kahn met several times to discuss nuclear strategy, and it was from “On Thermonuclear War” that Kubrick got the term “Doomsday Machine.” The Doomsday Machine—a device that automatically decimates the planet once a nuclear attack is made—was one of Kahn’s heuristic fictions. (The name was his own, but he got the idea from “Red Alert,” which he, too, had admired.) In Kahn’s book, the Doomsday Machine is an example of the sort of deterrent that appeals to the military mind but that is dangerously destabilizing. Since nations are not suicidal, its only use is to threaten. “The whole point of the Doomsday Machine is lost if you keep it a secret!” as Strangelove complains to the Soviet Ambassador.

There were a number of possible models for the character of Strangelove (who at one point tells the President about a report on Doomsday Machines prepared by the Bland Corporation): Wernher von Braun, Teller, even Henry Kissinger, who was an admirer of “On Thermonuclear War,” and whose book “Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy” (1957) pondered the possibility of tactical nuclear wars. Peter Sellers picked up the accent from the photographer Arthur Fellig, known as Weegee, when he was visiting the studio to advise Kubrick on cinematographic matters. But one source was Kahn. Strangelove’s rhapsodic monologue about preserving specimens of the race in deep mineshafts is an only slightly parodic version of Kahn. There were so many lines from “On Thermonuclear War” in the movie, in fact, that Kahn complained that he should get royalties. (“It doesn’t work that way,” Kubrick told him.) Kahn received something more lasting than money, of course. He got himself pinned in people’s minds to the figure of Dr. Strangelove, and he bore the mark of that association forever.

Kubrick’s plan to make a comedy about nuclear war didn’t bother Kahn. He thought that humor was a good way to get people thinking about a subject too frightening to contemplate otherwise, and although his colleagues rebuked him for it—“Levity is never legitimate,” Brodie told him—he used jokes in his lectures. Mordancy was his usual mode; Ghamari-Tabrizi compares him at one point to Charles Addams. “One way not to make a reputation is to find a hole in the air-defense system,” he would tell audiences. “It’s all holes.” Explaining the assumptions he made about people when he discussed the prospects for postwar recovery: “We assumed that they are the same kind of slobs postwar that they were prewar.” On what everyone will eat in the fallout shelters: “I personally intend to live with the chef at Lindy’s who really understands sour cream herring and other quite storable delicacies.”

Ghamari-Tabrizi has some enterprising pages comparing this sort of ob-la-di, ob-la-da banter with the satire of contemporaries like Mort Sahl and Jules Feiffer, and with the sick humor of Lenny Bruce and Mad. This is one of the places, though, where she seems to be reaching. (She doesn’t mention it, but Kahn was a target of one of Sahl’s routines: “He is a fascist . . . a genocide who goes home at night and plays with his kids and asks them, ‘What are you going to be if you grow up?’ “) Kahn was the opposite of a satirist. He was a believer. Questioning military policy was his business; questioning the policies that military policy is designed to protect and enable was not. For all the avant-gardism, all the high-powered analytic techniques and “thinking outside the box,” Kahn’s work was fundamentally in the service of preserving the system, and without cynicism. In this, he was like most of the Cold War defense intellectuals. The attitude was: We are trained scientists. We’ve studied the situation with detachment and disinterestedness; we have taken nothing for granted, given no hostages to sentiment. And we conclude that the world as it is—in this case, a global rivalry between two nuclear powers in an escalating arms race—is acceptable (provided that the policy changes we recommend are adopted).

“On Thermonuclear War” is a preposterous monument to this way of thinking. Complications and qualifications are swatted away like flies. “I will tend to ignore, or at least underemphasize, what many people might consider the most important result of a war—the overall suffering induced by ten thousand years of postwar environment,” Kahn writes at one point. He addresses anxieties about the effects of fallout by analyzing three radioactive isotopes, noting, almost incidentally, that there are about two hundred other isotopes in fallout, which he does not discuss. His margins of error can be staggering. Sentences like this are not uncommon (in a discussion of defective genes): “Given the uncertainties, the problem could conceivably be five times better or worse.”

A good deal of Kahn’s speculation about nuclear scenarios was based on information from Air Force intelligence, which is the only classified intelligence Rand had access to, and which, not surprisingly, habitually overestimated Soviet strength. The widespread panic about a missile gap was an artifact of this bias. In 1958, Rand estimated that the Soviets had three hundred intercontinental ballistic missiles; in fact, even in 1961, the year John Kennedy became President, after a campaign accusing Eisenhower of letting the United States fall behind in the arms race, the Soviet Union had only four missiles in its arsenal. But Kahn didn’t know this. It’s not clear, really, how much he did know and how much was speculation and hortatory display. Ghamari-Tabrizi interviewed a number of Kahn’s associates, and she includes a telling comment about what it was like to work with him. “Nothing was ever finished,” Irwin Mann, a mathematician, told her. “It was terribly sloppy. It was an enormous myth that anything was studied. Nothing was studied. Not really. He didn’t study anything. He was enormously smart.”

Critics like Newman complained that what is missing from Kahn’s work is a moral sense. Kahn had a reply to this objection, which was that the insistence that nuclear war is immoral will never prevent nuclear war. What is missing from his analysis is not morality; it’s reality. The reason his scenarios are fantastic to the point, almost, of risibility is that they deliberately ignore all the elements—beliefs, customs, ideas, politics—that actual wars are fought about, and that operate as a drag on decision-making at every point. Kahn was writing during the Khrushchev period, after Sputnik and during the Berlin crisis, when levels of Soviet bellicosity were high. But even if Soviet behavior had been more pacific his analysis would have been the same, for his methodology, the Rand methodology, required him to posit an eternally and implacably hostile enemy. In strategic thinking, you have to assume the worst of your opponent, and to assume that your opponent assumes the worst of you. To believe less is to make yourself vulnerable to bluffing. In Kahn’s world, the adversary is always, as he put it, “bright, knowledgeable, and malevolent.”

This is what the historian Peter Galison has called the Cold War “ontology of the enemy”—the image of the adversary as a “cold-blooded, machinelike opponent . . . a mechanized Enemy Other.” The machine does not have ideals or values, issues on which it might compromise or goals that might encompass something other than its own aggrandizement. It wants only to win, and every move it makes is a move in that game. It’s a short step from this abstraction to the domino theory, the belief that Communist expansion is an inexorable and practically mindless force. One of the ironies of the Cold War is that the Rand intellectuals, highbrow hardliners who enjoyed relatively little influence when Eisenhower was President, got their reward when Kennedy came into office. Robert McNamara welcomed them into the Defense Department, where, the best and the brightest, they applied their methods to the interesting problem of Vietnam. One of them was Daniel Ellsberg.

By then, Kahn had left Rand. He moved to Chappaqua, New York, and, in 1961, founded the Hudson Institute—“a high-class Rand,” he called it. Consultants included the sociologist Daniel Bell, the French political philosopher Raymond Aron, and the novelist Ralph Ellison. William Gaddis was engaged to help with the writing. Kahn liked debate, but the ad-hominem attacks on “On Thermonuclear War” had bruised him, and he softened his tone. He published a response to critics, “Thinking About the Unthinkable,” in 1962, and another book on military strategy, “On Escalation,” in 1965. He was a consultant to the Defense Department from 1966 to 1968, criticizing the government for announcing its willingness to negotiate with the North Vietnamese, and advising “a sharp, potentially uncontrollable increase in threat, which might raise anxiety about points of no return.” He couldn’t understand bombing North Vietnam unless it made life unbearable for the enemy. But he looked for an exit strategy, and he claimed to have introduced the term “Vietnamization” to the Nixon Administration, which adopted it as the path to “peace with honor.” It sounded better, Kahn later explained, than “de-Americanization.”

In the nineteen-seventies, Kahn became a dealer in the futurology business—the fascination (prevalent at a time when the present day did not bear much examination) with imaginary Armageddons and pots of gold over the rainbow. In Kahn’s case, it was all pots of gold. He devoted his institute’s resources to refuting popular apocalyptic scenarios like Paul Ehrlich’s “The Population Bomb” (1968) and the Club of Rome’s “Limits to Growth” (1972). He argued that the potential of capitalism and technology was boundless, and predicted that human beings would colonize the solar system (an unbeatable type of deterrence: you threaten us, we’ll evacuate to the moon). His politics went right. “The Coming Boom: Economic, Political, and Social” (1982) is a hymn to Reaganism. In his last book, an update of “Thinking About the Unthinkable,” he charged Jonathan Schell with exaggerating the effects of a nuclear war in his best-selling “The Fate of the Earth” (1982). Kahn died, of a massive stroke, in 1983. That was the year a group headed by Carl Sagan released a report warning that the dust and smoke generated by a thermonuclear war would create a “nuclear winter,” blocking light from the sun and wiping out most of life on the planet. Kahn’s friends were confident that he would have had a rebuttal.

Did the defense intellectuals of the nineteen-fifties, in their efforts to calculate ways of preventing nuclear war, actually push the hands of the clock closer to midnight? Part of the difficulty in answering this is that, at the time, no one really knew where midnight was. Most of the thinking and writing of the period was carried out in a haze of ignorance, misinformation, and deliberate exaggeration. The early Cold Warriors—people like Dean Acheson, Paul Nitze, and the members of the Committee on the Present Danger—were at least as worried about American attitudes as they were about Soviet intentions. Obsessed with preparedness, they sometimes did not scruple about overstating the threat for which preparation was necessary. They practiced psychological warfare on their own people. Strategists like Kahn and Wohlstetter abetted this politics not by inflating the facts but by doing what they thought it was their job to do: thinking down the road, around the next technological and geopolitical bend. They wrote about things like hardening bomber bases and missile silos long before the Soviets had any ability to land warheads on targets that small. They were not responsible for starting the arms race, but the more they speculated on the unknown terrors of the future, the faster the race was run. The bomber gap, the missile gap, the mineshaft gap: Rand flourished on gaps. So did the armed services and the weapons manufacturers. When Eisenhower, in his farewell address, warned of “the military-industrial complex,” this was the intersection of mutually reinforcing interests he had in mind.

What drove the Cold War, though, was not business or science. It was the factor that is supposedly bracketed off in systems analysis: politics—the opportunities for partisan gain made available by gesturing toward the ubiquitous shadow of an overwhelming emergency. And the manipulation was not all on one side. If the United States assigned the Soviets the role of mechanized Enemy Other, the Soviets did their best to play it. The occasional hyperbole of the Committee on the Present Danger was nothing compared with the bluster of Khrushchev and Gromyko, men who had their own domestic constituencies to worry about. It served both sides in the Cold War to take each other’s rhetoric at face value. We have yet to learn how not to do this.

Louis Menand has contributed to The New Yorker since 1991, and has been a staff writer since 2001.
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Truth Stranger Than ‘Strangelove’
by Fred Kaplan
10 Oct 2004



“Dr. Strangelove,” Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 film about nuclear war plans run amok, is widely heralded as one of the greatest satires in American political or movie history. For its 40th anniversary, Film Forum is screening a new 35 millimeter print for one week, starting on Friday, and Columbia TriStar is releasing a two-disc special-edition DVD next month. One essential point should emerge from all the hoopla: “Strangelove” is far more than a satire. In its own loopy way, the movie is a remarkably fact-based and specific guide to some of the oddest, most secretive chapters of the Cold War.

As countless histories relate, Mr. Kubrick set out to make a serious film based on a grim novel, “Red Alert,” by Peter George, a Royal Air Force officer. But the more research he did (reading more than 50 books, talking with a dozen experts), the more lunatic he found the whole subject, so he made a dark comedy instead. The result was wildly iconoclastic: released at the height of the cold war, not long after the Cuban missile crisis, before the escalation in Vietnam, “Dr. Strangelove” dared to suggest—with yucks!—that our top generals might be bonkers and that our well-designed system for preserving the peace was in fact a doomsday machine.

What few people knew, at the time and since, was just how accurate this film was. Its premise, plotline, some of the dialogue, even its wildest characters eerily resembled the policies, debates and military leaders of the day. The audience had almost no way of detecting these similiarities: Nearly everything about the bomb was shrouded in secrecy back then. There was no Freedom of Information Act and little investigative reporting on the subject. It was easy to laugh off “Dr. Strangelove” as a comic book.

But film’s weird accuracy is evident in its very first scene, in which a deranged base commander, preposterously named Gen. Jack D. Ripper (played by Sterling Hayden), orders his wing of B52 bombers—which are on routine airborne alert, circling a “failsafe point” just outside the Soviet border—to attack their targets inside the U.S.S.R. with multimegaton bombs. Once the pilots receive the order, they can’t be diverted unless they receive a coded recall message. And only General Ripper has the code.

The remarkable thing is, the failsafe system that General Ripper exploits was the real, top-secret failsafe system at the time. According to declassified Strategic Air Command histories, 12 B52’ s—fully loaded with nuclear bombs—were kept on constant airborne alert. If they received a Go code, they went to war. This alert system, known as Chrome Dome, began in 1961. It ended in 1968, after a B52 crashed in Greenland, spreading small amounts of radioactive fallout.

But until then, could some loony general have sent bombers to attack Russia without a presidential order? Yes.

In a scene in the “war room” (a room that didn’t really exist, by the way), Air Force Gen. Buck Turgidson (played by George C. Scott) explains to an incredulous President Merkin Muffley (one of three roles played by Peter Sellers) that policies—approved by the president—allowed war powers to be transferred, in case the president was killed in a surprise nuclear attack on Washington.

Historical documents indicate that such procedures did exist, and that, though tightened later, they were startlingly loose at the time.

But were there generals who might really have taken such power in their own hands? It was no secret—it would have been obvious to many viewers in 1964—that General Ripper looked a lot like Curtis LeMay, the cigar-chomping, gruff-talking general who headed the Strategic Air Command through the 1950’s and who served as the Pentagon’s Air Force Chief of Staff in the early 60’s.

In 1957 Robert Sprague, the director of a top-secret panel, warned General LeMay that the entire fleet of B52 bombers was vulnerable to attack. General LeMay was unfazed. “If I see that the Russians are amassing their planes for an attack,” he said, “I’m going to knock the [expletive] out of them before they take off the ground.”

“But General LeMay,” Mr. Sprague replied, “that’s not national policy.” “I don’t care,” General LeMay said. “It’s my policy. That’s what I’m going to do.”

Mr. Kubrick probably was unaware of this exchange. (Mr. Sprague told me about it in 1981, when I interviewed him for a book on nuclear history.) But General LeMay’s distrust of civilian authorities, including presidents, was well known among insiders, several of whom Mr. Kubrick interviewed.

The most popular guessing game about the movie is whether there a real-life counterpart
to the character of Dr. Strangelove (another Sellers part), the wheelchaired ex-Nazi who directs the Pentagon’s weapons research and proposes sheltering political leaders in well-stocked mineshafts, where they can survive the coming nuclear war and breed with beautiful women. Over the years, some have speculated that Strangelove was inspired by Edward Teller, Henry Kissinger or Werner Von Braun.

But the real model was almost certainly Herman Kahn, an eccentric, voluble nuclear strategist at the RAND Corporation, a prominent Air Force think tank. In 1960, Mr. Kahn published a 652-page tome called “On Thermonuclear War,” which sold 30,000 copies
in hardcover.

According to a special-feature documentary on the new DVD, Mr. Kubrick read “On Thermonuclear War” several times. But what the documentary doesn’t note is that the final scenes of “Dr. Strangelove” come straight out of its pages.

Toward the end of the film, officials uncover General Ripper’s code and call back the B52’s, but they notice that one bomber keeps flying toward its target. A B52 is about to attack the Russians with a few H-bombs; General Turgidson recommends that we should “catch ‘em with their pants down,” and launch an all-out, disarming first-strike.

Such a strike would destroy 90 percent of the U.S.S.R.’s nuclear arsenal. “Mr. President,” he exclaims, “I’m not saying we wouldn’t get our hair mussed, but I do say no more than 10-20 million killed, tops!” If we don’t go all-out, the general warns, the Soviets will fire back with all their nuclear weapons. The choice, he screams, is “between two admittedly regrettable but nevertheless distinguishable postwar environments—one where you get 20 million people killed and the other where you get 150 million people killed!” Mr. Kahn made precisely this point in his book, even producing a chart labeled, “Tragic but Distinguishable Postwar States.”

When Dr. Strangelove talks of sheltering people in mineshafts, President Muffley asks him, “Wouldn’t this nucleus of survivors be so grief-stricken and anguished that they’d, well, envy the dead?” Strangelove exclaims that, to the contrary, many would feel “a spirit of bold curiosity for the adventure ahead.”

Mr. Kahn’s book contains a long chapter on mineshafts. Its title: “Will the Survivors Envy the Dead?” One sentence reads: “We can imagine a renewed vigor among the population with a zealous, almost religious dedication to reconstruction.”

In 1981, two years before he died, I asked Mr. Kahn what he thought of “Dr. Strangelove.” Thinking I meant the character, he replied, with a straight face, “Strangelove wouldn’t have lasted three weeks in the Pentagon. He was too creative.”

Those in the know watched “Dr. Strangelove” amused, like everyone else, but also stunned. Daniel Ellsberg, who later leaked the Pentagon Papers, was a RAND analyst and a consultant at the Defense Department when he and a mid-level official took off work one afternoon in 1964 to see the film. Mr. Ellsberg recently recalled that as they left the theater, he turned to his colleague and said, “That was a documentary!”

Fred Kaplan is a columnist for Slate and the author of “The Wizards of Armageddon,” a history of the nuclear strategists.
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Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana
by Wikipedia



The Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana (Estonian: Maarjamaa Risti teenetemärk, sometimes translated as the Order of the Cross of St. Mary’s Land) was instituted in 1995 to honour the independence of the Estonian state by president Lennart Meri.[1] The Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana is bestowed upon the President of the Republic. Presidents of the Republic who have ceased to hold office shall keep the Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana. The Collar of the Order was used de facto as the badge of office of the President of the Republic, since the original Presidential collar, that of the Order of the National Coat of Arms was taken from Estonia to the Kremlin after the Soviet occupation of the country in 1940, where it remains to this day. However a new collar of that order was made in 2008.[2] The Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana is also given as a decoration of the highest class to foreigners who have rendered special services to the Republic of Estonia. As such it is the highest and most distinguished order granted to non-Estonian citizens.


The Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana comprises six classes:

> One special class – The Collar of the Cross of Terra Mariana;
> Five basic classes – 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th class.

The crosses and shields of all the classes of the Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana have the same design and are of the same size.

The blue colour tone of the moiré ribands belonging to the decorations of all the classes of the Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana is determined according to the international PANTONE colour-table as 300 C.

Notable recipients

Recipients of the Collar

The recipients are :[3]

Estonia Estonian presidents

> President Lennart Meri (1992–2001), 10.09.1995 (Serie 5 – n° ?)
> President Arnold Rüütel (2001–2006), 08.10.2001 (Serie 270 – n° 1138)
> President Toomas Hendrik Ilves (2006–incumbent), 09.10.2006 (Serie 692 – n° 1071)

Foreign heads of state

Country / Recipient / Date of reception / Serie number / Decision : number & date

Awarded by President Lennart Meri ( 6 October 1992 – 8 October 2001 ) [4]

Finland Pres. Martti Ahtisaari 16.05.1995 1 547
Sweden King Carl XVI Gustaf 11.09.1995 11 608
Mexico Pres. Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León 27.10.1995 22 624
Denmark Queen Margrethe II 28.11.1995 23 640
Czech Republic Pres. Václav Havel 24.02.1997 37 725 (30.05.1996)
Latvia Pres. Guntis Ulmanis 23.10.1996 39 6
Hungary Pres. Árpád Göncz 13.05.1997 49 134
Slovenia Pres. Milan Kučan 16.05.1997 50 134
Italy Pres. Oscar Luigi Scalfaro [5] 22.05.1997 51 144
Turkey Pres. Süleyman Demirel 20.05.1997 52 144
Lithuania Pres. Algirdas Brazauskas 20.08.1997 55 177
Poland Pres. Aleksander Kwaśniewski 28.04.1998 72 320
Iceland Pres. Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson 08.06.1998 73 351
Norway King Harald V 31.08.1998 75 397
Greece Pres. Konstantinos Stephanopoulos 24.05.1999 99 586
Lithuania Pres. Valdas Adamkus 24.09.1999 102 632
Latvia Pres. Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga 02.05.2000 121 780
Finland Pres. Tarja Halonen 16.05.2000 123 788
Germany Pres. Johannes Rau 07.11.2000 131 914
Hungary President Ferenc Mádl 12.12.2000 177 944
Malta President Guido de Marco 02.05.2001 233 1049
Ireland President Mary McAleese 24.05.2001 241 1057
France President Jacques Chirac 23.07.2001 243 1124

Awarded by President Arnold Rüütel ( 8 October 2001 – 9 October 2006 )

Turkey President Ahmet Necdet Sezer 18.04.2002 377 141
Luxembourg Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg 05.05.2003 416 332
Portugal President Jorge Sampaio 12.05.2003 417 408 ( 08.05.2003 )
Bulgaria President Georgi Parvanov 11.06.2003 435 414
Romania President Ion Iliescu 23.10.2003 446 451 [6]
Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos 08.01.2004 449 451
Italy President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi 20.04.2004 498 581
Slovakia President Ivan Gašparovič 12.10.2005 599 896
Hungary President László Sólyom 27.03.2006 688 994

Awarded by President Toomas Hendrik Ilves ( 9 October 2006 – incumbent )

United Kingdom Queen Elizabeth II 19.10.2006 693 2
Georgia President Mikheil Saakashvili 07.05.2007 739 148
Japan Emperor Akihito 24.05.2007 740 150
Spain King Juan Carlos I 09.07.2007 741 168
Portugal President Aníbal Cavaco Silva 24.09.2008 783 269
Netherlands Queen (now HRH Princess) Beatrix 14.05.2008 824 280
Belgium King Albert II 10.06.2008 837 290
Latvia President Valdis Zatlers 07.04.2009 872 460
Romania President Traian Băsescu 12.04.2011 968 881
Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev 20.04.2011 970 885
Malta President George Abela 31.05.2012 988 98
Latvia President Andris Bērziņš 05.06.2012 1001 99
Lithuania President Dalia Grybauskaitė 27.05.2013 1045 266
Germany President Joachim Gauck 03.07.2013 1087 305
Finland President Sauli Niinistö 09.05.2014 1150 429

Recipients of the First Class

The recipients are :[7]

Former foreign heads of state and government

These decorations are awarded for targeted reasons :

Country / Recipient / Date of reception / Serie number / Decision : number & date

Awarded by President Lennart Meri (6 October 1992 – 8 October 2001)

United States Former President Gerald Rudolph Ford 07.01.1997 29 683 (16.02.1996 )
Sweden Carl Bildt, politician, Former Prime Minister (1991–94) 25.07.1996 36 725 (30.05.1996)
Germany Former President Roman Herzog (1994–99) 20.03.2001 104 730 (08.02.2000)

Awarded by President Arnold Rüütel (8 October 2001 – 9 October 2006)

Finland Mauno Henrik Koivisto, former president (1982–1994) 20.11.2001 271 30 ( 16.11.2001)
Finland Esko Tapani Aho, Former Prime Minister, for supporting quest of independence 23.02.2003 381 332 (03.02.2003)
Ireland Garret FitzGerald, former Prime Minister 22.05.2003 383 332 (03.02.2003)
Denmark Poul Holmskov Schlüter, Former Prime Minister, for supporting quest of independence 24.02.2003 387 332 (03.02.2003)
United States George Herbert Walker Bush, for supporting quest to independence 15.09.2005 524 775 (02.02.2005)
Germany Richard von Weizsäcker, former President (1984–94), for supporting quest to independence 09.06.2005 529 775 (02.02.2005)
United States Bill Clinton, former President (1993–2001), for supporting adhesion to NATO ? 634 976 (06.02.2006 )
Germany Helmut Kohl, Former Chancellor (1982–98), for supporting quest to independence 03.04.2006 635 976 (06.02.2006)
Poland Lech Wałęsa, former President (1990–95), for supporting quest to independence 23.02.2006 636 976 (06.02.2006)

Awarded by President Toomas Hendrik Ilves (2006–incumbent )

United States George Walker Bush, former President ? 973 48 (01.02.2012)

Consorts of foreign heads of state and royalties

Country / Recipient / Date of reception / Serie number / Decision : number & date

Awarded by President Lennart Meri ( 6 October 1992 – 8 October 2001 )
Finland Eeva Ahtisaari, née Hyvärinen, President Martti Ahtisaari's wife 16.05.1995 2 547 ( 16.05.1995 )
Sweden Queen Silvia of Sweden 11.09.1995 12 608 ( 08.09.1995 )
Sweden Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden 11.09.1995 13 608 ( 08.09.1995 )
Sweden Prince Bertil, Duke of Halland 11.09.1995 14 608 ( 08.09.1995 )
Sweden Princess Lilian, Duchess of Halland 11.09.1995 15 608 ( 08.09.1995 )
Denmark Henrik, Prince Consort of Denmark 28.11.1995 25 640 ( 20.11.1995 )
Denmark Frederick, Crown Prince of Denmark 28.11.1995 24 640 ( 20.11.1995 )
Norway Queen Sonja of Norway 31.08.1998 76 397 ( 24.08.1998 )
Latvia Imants Freibergs, President Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga's husband 02.05.2000 122 780 ( 27.04.2000 )
Finland Pentti Arajärvi, President Tarja Halonen's husband 16.05.2000 124 788 ( 04.05.2000 )
Germany Christina Rau, President Johannes Rau's wife 07.11.2000 132 914 ( 02.11.2000 )
Hungary Dalma Mádl, President Ferenc Mádl's wife 12.12.2000 178 944 ( 01.12.2000 )
Malta Violet de Marco, President Guido de Marco's wife 02.05.2001 234 1049 ( 24.04.2001 )
Ireland Martin McAleese, President Mary McAleese's husband 24.05.2001 242 1057 ( 15.05.2001 )

Awarded by President Arnold Rüütel (8 October 2001 – 9 October 2006)

Finland Taimi Tellervo Koivisto, President Mauno Henrik Koivisto's wife 20.11.2001 272 30 ( 16.11.2001 )
Poland Jolanta Kwaśniewska, President Aleksander Kwaśniewski's wife : 18.03.2002 337 121 ( 13.03.2002 )
Norway Haakon, Crown Prince of Norway 10.04.2002 356 137 ( 02.04.2002 )
Norway Mette-Marit, Crown Princess of Norway 10.04.2002 357 137 ( 02.04.2002 )
Portugal Maria José Rodrigues Ritta, President Jorge Sampaio's wife : 12.05.2003 418 408 ( 08.05.2003 )
Bulgaria Zorka Petrova Parvanova, President Georgi Parvanov's wife : 11.06.2003 436 414 ( 30.05.2003 )

Awarded by H.E. President Toomas Hendrik Ilves ( 2006–incumbent )

Spain Sofia of Spain 09.07.2007 742 168 ( 05.07.2007 )
Spain Felipe, Prince of Asturias 09.07.2007 743 168 ( 05.07.2007 )
Spain Letizia, Princess of Asturias 09.07.2007 744 168 ( 05.07.2007 )
Belgium Queen Paola of Belgium 10.06.2008 838 290 ( 05.06.2008 )
Latvia Lilita Zatlere, President Valdis Zatlers's wife : 07.04.2009 873 460 ( 02.04.2009 )
Sweden Prince Daniel, Duke of Västergötland 18.01.2011 906 807 ( 12.01.2011 )
Sweden Prince Carl Philip, Duke of Värmland 18.01.2011 907 807 ( 12.01.2011 )
Romania Maria Băsescu, President Traian Băsescu's wife 12.04.2011 969 881 ( 06.04.2011 )
Malta Margaret Abela, President George Abela's wife 31.05.2012 989 98 ( 29.05.2012 )
Latvia Dace Seisuma, President Andris Bērziņš's wife 05.06.2012 1002 99 ( 31.05.2012 )
Germany Daniela Schadt, President Joachim Gauck's partner 09.07.2013 1088 305 ( 03.07.2013 )

Presidents of Parliament, Prime Ministers, Foreign Ministers, Ambassadors and other High Officials

Country / Recipient / Date of reception / Serie number / Decision : number & date

Awarded by President Lennart Meri ( 6 October 1992 – 8 October 2001 )

Finland Raimo Tiilikainen, Market Marine Rescue commander, Commodore 16.05.1995 3 547 ( 16.05.1995 )
Germany Henning von Wistinghausen, ambassador to Estonia 09.10.1995 7 597 ( 08.08.1995 )
Norway Brit Løvseth, ambassador to Estonia 08.08.1995 6 597 ( 08.08.1995 )
United States Robert C. Frasure, ambassador to Estonia (1991–1994) 21.08.1995 8 603 ( 19.08.1995 )
Germany Boris Meissner, Professor, supporter of the independence of the Baltic States 26.11.1995 9 607 ( 01.09.1995 )
Sweden Lars Arne Grundberg, ambassador to Estonia 06.09.1995 10 607 ( 01.09.1995 )
United States Paul A. Goble, Editor in Chief, supporter of Baltic States independence 21.10.1995 20 622 ( 17.10.1995 )
United Kingdom Frederic Mackarness Bennett, Adviser to the Prime Minister 06.05.1996 26 642 ( 24.11.1995 )
Iceland Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson, Member of Parliament 04.03.1996 31 683 ( 16.02.1996 )
France Gabriel Kaspéreit, Member of Parliament 23.02.1996 32 683 ( 16.02.1996 )
United States George Frost Kennan, U.S. diplomat 27.06.1996 33 683 ( 16.02.1996 )
Germany Wolfgang von Stetten, Member of Parliament 20.02.1996 34 683 ( 16.02.1996 )
Finland Jaakko Erik Kaurinkoski, ambassador to Estonia 22.05.1996 35 721 ( 22.05.1996 )
Italy Carlo Siano, ambassador to Estonia 05.12.1996 38 5 ( 17.10.1996 )
Germany Berndt von Staden, German politician 16.07.1997 44 82 ( 18.02.1997 )
Germany Hans-Dietrich Genscher, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs 06.03.1997 40 82 ( 18.02.1997 )
Denmark Uffe Ellemann-Jensen, Denmark M.P., former Foreign Minister 20.02.1997 41 82 ( 18.02.1997 )
United Kingdom General Garry Johnson, International Baltic defense advisory group chairman 20.02.1997 42 82 ( 18.02.1997 )
Germany Otto Graf Lambsdorff, politician, Chairman of the Trilateral Commission's European Department 18.11.1997 43 82 ( 18.02.1997 )
United States Lawrence Palmer Taylor, ambassador to Estonia (1995–1997) 06.08.1997 53 175 ( 06.08.1997 )
Russia Aleksander Trofimov, ambassador to Estonia (1992–1997) 13.08.1997 54 176 ( 11.08.1997 )
France Roland Dumas, Chairman of the Constitutional Court and former Minister of Foreign Affairs 09.05.1998 57 280 ( 09.02.1998 )
Finland Retired General Adolf Erik Ehrnrooth 21.02.1998 58 280 ( 09.02.1998 )
United States George Soros, Founder of the Open Estonia Foundation 04.03.1998 59 280 ( 09.02.1998 )
United Kingdom George Howard, 13th Earl of Carlisle, secretary of the British-Estonian parliamentary group 01.03.1998 56 280 ( 09.02.1998 )
Sweden Katarina Brodin, ambassador to Estonia (1994–1998) 11.06.1998 74 352 ( 03.06.1998 )
France Jacques Faure, ambassador to Estonia (1994–1998) 24.09.1988 77 399 ( 24.09.1998 )
Italy Roberto Martini, ambassador to Estonia (1996–1999) 20.04.1999 98 577 ( 06.04.1999 )
Ukraine Juri Olenenko, ambassador to Estonia (1993–1999) 06.07.1999 100 612 ( 30.06.1999 )
Germany Bernd Mützelburg, ambassador to Estonia (1995–1999) 27.07.1999 101 620 ( 19.07.1999 )
United States Strobe Talbott, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State 24.01.2000 103 717 ( 12.01.2000 )
Sweden Margaretha af Ugglas, Former Foreign Minister (1991–1994) 23.02.2000 105 730 ( 08.02.2000 )
Denmark Svend Roed Nielsen, ambassador to Estonia (1995–2000) 15.03.2000 119 741 ( 04.03.2000 )
United Kingdom Timothy Craddock, ambassador to Estonia (1997–2000) 02.08.2000 127 884 ( 18.07.2000 )
Germany Gerhard Schröder, Chancellor (= Prime Minister) 07.11.2000 133 914 ( 02.11.2000 )
Germany Wolfgang Thierse, President of Parliament 07.11.2000 134 914 ( 02.11.2000 )
Finland Pekka Artturi Oinonen, ambassador to Estonia (1996–2001) 16.03.2001 232 1013 ( 12.03.2001 )
France Pierre Moscovici, French Foreign Ministry's European Affairs Minister 28.07.2001 244 1124 ( 23.07.2001 )
France Jean-Jacques Subrenat, ambassador to Estonia 28.07.2001 245 1124 ( 23.07.2001 )
United States Melissa Foelsch Welss, ambassador to Estonia (1998–2001) 04.09.2001 266 1128 ( 23.08.2001 )
Latvia Gints Jegermanis, ambassador to Estonia (1998–2001) 25.09.2001 267 1135 ( 20.09.2001 )
China Mingrong Zou, ambassador to Estonia (1998–2001) 02.10.2001 268 1135 ( 20.09.2001 )

Awarded by H.E. President Arnold Rüütel (8 October 2001 – 9 October 2006)

Finland Jaakko Blomberg, ambassador to Estonia 20.11.2001 273 30 ( 16.11.2001 )
Finland Paavo Lipponen, Prime Minister 20.11.2001 274 30 ( 16.11.2001 )
Finland Riitta Uosukainen, Chairman of the Parliament 20.11.2001 275 30 ( 16.11.2001 )
Italy Luchino Cortese, ambassador to Estonia (1999–2002) 28.01.2002 295 86 ( 18.01.2002 )
Poland Władysław Bartoszewski, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, for supporting adhesion to NATO 09.05.2002 296 97 ( 04.02.2002 )
United States Senator Robert C. Byrd, for withdrawal of Russia and supporting adhesion to NATO 13.03.2003 297 97 ( 04.02.2002 )
United States Senator Richard J. Durbin, for supporting adhesion to NATO 19.03.2002 298 97 ( 04.02.2002 )
Poland Bronisław Geremek, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, for supporting adhesion to NATO 20.06.2002 299 97 ( 04.02.2002 )
Latvia Anatolijs Gorbunovs, Former Speaker of the Saeima 23.02.2002 300 97 ( 04.02.2002 )
United States Senator Jesse Helms, for withdrawal of Russian troops and supporting adhesion to NATO 19.03.2002 301 97 ( 04.02.2002 )
Finland Max Jakobson, Chairman of the International Investigation Commission Against Crimes 22.05.2002 302 97 ( 04.02.2002 )
Lithuania Vytautas Landsbergis, Former Chairman of the Supreme Council 23.02.2002 303 97 ( 04.02.2002 )
United States Senator Richard G. Lugar, for withdrawal of Russian troops and supporting adhesion to NATO 19.03.2002 304 97 ( 04.02.2002 )
United States Senator John Sidney McCain III, for supporting adhesion to NATO 19.03.2002 305 97 ( 04.02.2002 )
United States Senator Gordon H. Smith, for supporting adhesion to NATO 19.03.2002 306 97 ( 04.02.2002 )
Poland Marek Borowski, Speaker of the Sejm (Parliament) 18.03.2002 336 121 ( 13.03.2002 )
Poland Leszek Miller, Prime Minister 18.03.2002 338 121 ( 13.03.2002 )
Poland Longin Pastusiak, Speaker of the Senate 18.03.2002 339 121 ( 13.03.2002 )
Norway Kjell Magne Bondevik, Prime Minister 10.04.2002 358 137 ( 02.04.2002 )
Norway Nina Frisak, Chancellor of the Prime Minister's Office 10.04.2002 359 137 ( 02.04.2002 )
Norway Bjarne Lindstrøm, Chancellor of the Foreign Ministry 10.04.2002 360 137 ( 02.04.2002 )
Norway Per Kristian Pedersen, ambassador to Estonia 10.04.2002 361 137 ( 02.04.2002 )
Norway Jan Petersen, Foreign Minister 10.04.2002 362 137 ( 02.04.2002 )
Norway Berit Tversland, Private Secretary to the King 10.04.2002 363 137 ( 02.04.2002 )
Germany Gerhard Enver Schrömbgens, ambassador to Estonia (1999–2002) 28.06.2002 378 195 ( 21.06.2002 )
Lithuania Rimantas Juozapas Tonkūnas, ambassador to Estonia (1997–2002) 03.10.2002 379 233 ( 25.09.2002 )
Hungary Béla Jávorszky, ambassador to Estonia (1999–2002) 25.10.2002 380 243 ( 10.10.2002 )
United States Thomas J. Campbell, Former member of the House of Representative, for supporting quest of independence 25.09.2003 382 332 ( 03.02.2003 )
United States Thomas Slade Gorton III, Former U.S. senator, for supporting quest of independence 25.09.2003 384 332 ( 03.02.2003 )
Denmark Hans Hækkerup, Former Minister of Defence, for supporting adhesion to NATO 03.02.2003 385 332 ( 03.02.2003 )
Finland Elisabeth Rehn, Former Defence Minister, for supporting Estonian's Defence forces 25.03.2003 386 332 ( 03.02.2003 )
Sweden Björn von Sydow, Chairman of the Parliament 14.04.2003 388 332 ( 03.02.2003 )
Portugal Filipe Augusto Ruivo Guterres, ambassador to Estonia 12.05.2003 419 408 ( 08.05.2003 )
Portugal Carlos Costa Neves, Secretary of State for European Affairs 12.05.2003 420 408 ( 08.05.2003 )
Portugal Rosário Ventura Secretary of State for trade, industry and services 12.05.2003 421 408 ( 08.05.2003 )
Sweden Elisabet Borsiin Bonnier, ambassador to Estonia (1998–2003) 25.06.2003 437 416
China Cong Jun, ambassador to Estonia (2001–2003) 23.07.2003 438 437
Malta Edward Fenech Adami, Prime Minister 01.10.2003 440 445
Malta Vincent De Gaetano, Chancellor of Justice 01.10.2003 441 445
Malta Anton Tabone, president of the Parliament 442 445
United Kingdom Sarah Squire, ambassador to Estonia (2000–2003) 28.10.2003 447 451
United States George Allen, Senator, for supporting adhesion to NATO 06.10.2005 450 532
United States Joseph Biden, Senator, for supporting adhesion to NATO 05.02.2004 451 532
Spain Ramón de Miguel Egea, State Secretary for European Affairs, for supporting adhesion to European Union 24.02.2004 452 532
United States Madeleine Korbel Albright, State Secretary, for supporting adhesion to NATO 08.09.2005 453 532
United Kingdom George Islay MacNeill Robertson, general secretary of NATO, for supporting adhesion to NATO 20.09.2004 454 532
Ireland Dick Roche, Minister of European Affairs 23.02.2004 455 532
United States Joseph Michael De Thomas, ambassador to Estonia (2001–2004) 29.06.2004 507 654
Czech Republic Vladislav Labudek, ambassador to Estonia (2000–2004) 29.06.2004 508 654
Ireland Sean Farrell, ambassador to Estonia (2001–2004) 04.08.2004 509 672
Lithuania Antanas Valionis, Foreign Minister 04.10.2004 510 693
United Kingdom Robin Finlayson Cook, Former Foreign Minister, for supporting adhesion to European Union 13.07.2005 525 775
Finland Jaakko Blomberg, ambassador to Estonia (2001–2005) 04.07.2005 591 852
Germany Karl Jürgen Dröge, ambassador to Estonia (2002–2005) 20.06.2005 592 852
Hungary László Nikicser, ambassador to Estonia (2003–2005) 04.07.2005 593 852
Denmark Jørgen Munk Rasmussen, ambassador to Estonia (2000–2005) 04.07.2005 594 852
Netherlands Joanna Maria van Vliet, ambassador to Estonia (2001–2005) 04.07.2005 595 852
Poland Wojciech Wróblewski, ambassador to Estonia (2001–2005) 04.07.2005 596 852
Latvia Edgars Skuja, ambassador to Estonia (2002–2005) 12.09.2005 597 887
Norway Per Kristian Pedersen, ambassador to Estonia (2000–2005) 12.09.2005 598 889
Turkey Ömer Altuğ, ambassador to Estonia (2001–2005) 08.11.2005 600 909
Ukraine Mykola Makarevych, ambassador to Estonia (1999–2005) 25.11.2005 601 928
Latvia Aigars Kalvītis, Prime Minister 07.12.2005 613 937
Latvia Ingrīda Ūdre, President of the Parliament 07.12.2005 614 937
China Jiuyin Hong, ambassador to Estonia (2003–2005) 02.03.2006 687 981
Lithuania Antanas Vinkus, ambassador to Estonia (2002–2006) 28.06.2006 689 1033
Russia Konstantin Provalov, ambassador to Estonia (2001–2006) 22.08.2006 690 1060
France Chantal de Ghaisne de Bourmount, ambassador to Estonia (2002–2006) 26.09.2006 691 1066

Awarded by H.E. President Toomas Hendrik Ilves (9 October 2006–incumbent )

Austria Jakub Forst-Battaglia, ambassador to Estonia (2001–2006) 13.12.2006 694 20
United States Aldona Wos, ambassador to Estonia (2004–2006) 13.12.2006 695 20
Finland Seppo Kääriäinen, Minister of Defence 14.03.2007 724 168
Finland Leena Luhtanen, Minister of Justice 14.03.2007 725 168
Finland Matti Vanhanen, Prime Minister 14.03.2007 726 168
Spain José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, Prime Minister 09.07.2007 745 168
Spain Manuel Marín Gonzàlez, Chairman of the lower house of Parliament 09.07.2007 746 168
Spain María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, Vice-Prime Minister 09.07.2007 747 168
Spain Pedro Solbes, Second Vice-Prime Minister, minister of Economy and Finances 09.07.2007 748 168
Spain Miguel Ángel Moratinos Cuyaubé, Minister of foreign Affairs and Cooperation 09.07.2007 749 168
Spain Alberto Aza Arias, Head of the House of the King of Spain 09.07.2007 750 168
Spain Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón Jiménez, Mayor of Madrid 09.07.2007 751 168
Hungary István Mohácsi, ambassador to Estonia (2005–2007) 04.09.2007 780 170
United Kingdom Nigel Robert Haywood, ambassador to Estonia (2003–2007) 31.10.2007 781 187
Spain Miguel Bauza y More, ambassador to Estonia (2004–2008) 23.01.2008 782 245
Latvia Ivars Godmanis, relation between Latvia and Estonia 784 269
Netherlands Franciscus Cornelis Gerardus Maria Timmermans, Minister for European Affairs 14.05.2008 825 280
Netherlands Henk Ary Christiaan van der Zwan, ambassador to Estonia 14.05.2008 826 280
Netherlands Marco Hennis, Queen's counsellor 14.05.2008 827 280
Netherlands Martine Louise Amélie van Loon-Labouchère, Queen's mistress of the wardrobe 14.05.2008 828 281
Netherlands Lieutenant General Andreas Joseph Gulielmus Maria Blomjous, Queen's head adjutant 14.05.2008 836 281
Belgium Olivier Chastel Secretary of State of Belgian Foreign Ministry 10.06.2008 839 290
Belgium Pierre Dubuisson, ambassador to Estonia 10.06.2008 840 290
Czech Republic Miloš Lexa, ambassador to Estonia (2004–2008) 17.06.2008 850 297
Ireland Noel Kilkenny, ambassador to Estonia (2004–2008) 23.08.2008 851 333
Sweden Dag Hartelius, ambassador to Estonia (2003–2008) 05.08.2008 852 334
Portugal Ana Paula Baptista Grade Zacarias, ambassador to Estonia (2005–2008) 27.11.2008 0? 363
United States Stanley Davis Phillips, ambassador to Estonia (2007–2009) 08.01.2009 0? 418
Denmark Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Prime Minister 24.03.2009 856 423
Turkey Fatma Şule Soysal, ambassador to Estonia (2005–2009) 26.03.2009 871 456
Latvia Imants Viesturs Lieģis, Minister of Defence 07.04.2009 874 460
Latvia Ints Dālderis, Minister of Culture 07.04.2009 875 460
Germany Julius Bobinger, ambassador to Estonia (2005–2009) 17.06.2009 885 492
Denmark Kristen Rosenvold Geelan, ambassador to Estonia (2005–2009) 28.08.2009 887 522
France Daniel Louis Labrosse, ambassador to Estonia (2006–2009) 03.09.2009 888 524
Italy Fabrizio Piaggesi, ambassador to Estonia (2005–2009) 10.09.2009 889 526
Denmark Per Stig Møller, Foreign Minister 03.02.2010 891 606
Germany Joseph Martin Fischer, Foreign Minister 03.02.2010 890 606
Ukraine Pavlo Kir´iakov, ambassador to Estonia (2006–2010) 09.06.2010 901 669
Russia Nikolay Uspenskiy, ambassador to Estonia (2006–2010) 18.06.2010 902 691
Poland Tomasz Chłoń, ambassador to Estonia (2005–2010) 07.07.2010 903 692
Finland Jaakko Kaarlo Antero Kalela, ambassador to Estonia (2005–2010) 19.08.2010 904 728
Norway Stein Vegard Hagen, ambassador to Estonia (2005–2010) 03.09.2010 905 730
Sweden Ingvar Carlsson, Former Prime Minister (1986–1991, 1994–1996) 12.01.2011 908 807
Sweden Kristine von Blixen-Finecke, First Lady of the Royal Court 18.01.2011 909 807
Sweden Lena Hjelm-Wallén, former Foreign Minister (1994–1998) 25.02.2011 910 807
Sweden Svante Lindqvist, Grand Marshal of the Court 18.01.2011 911 807
Sweden Jan Palmstierna, ambassador to Estonia 18.01.2011 912 807
Sweden Göran Persson, Prime Minister (1996–2006) 18.01.2011 913 807
Sweden Fredrik Reinfeldt, Prime Minister 18.01.2011 914 807
Sweden Sten Tolgfors, Minister of Defence 18.01.2011 915 807
Sweden Per Westerberg, President of the Parliament 18.01.2011 916 807
Sweden Lars-Hjalmar Wide, Grand Marshal of the Court, Ambassador 18.01.2011 917 807
Sweden Frank Belfrage, Foreign Minister 25.02.2011 951 810
Spain Eduardo Ibáñez López-Dóriga, ambassador to Estonia (2008–2011) 05.05.2011 971 890
Austria Angelika Saupe-Berchtold, ambassador to Estonia (2007–2011) 14.10.2011 972 932
Malta Tonio Borg, Vice-Prime Minister and Foreign Minister 31.05.2012 990 98
Latvia Solvita Āboltiņa, Mme President of Parliament 05.06.2012 1003 99
Latvia Valdis Dombrovskis, Prime Minister 05.06.2012 1004 99
United States Michael C. Polt, ambassador to Estonia (2009–2012) 27.06.2012 1029 112
Denmark Uffe Anderssøn Balslev, ambassador to Estonia (2009–2012) 06.07.2012 1030 113
Belgium Nicolaas Buyck, ambassador to Estonia (2008–2012) 02.07.2012 1031 114
Netherlands Maurits Robbert Jochems, ambassador to Estonia (2010–2012) 11.09.2012 1033 164
Japan Hideaki Hoshi, ambassador to Estonia (2010–2012) 11.09.2012 1032 165
Italy Rosa Maria Chicco Ferraro, ambassador to Estonia (2009–2012) 19.10.2012 1034 166
United States Hillary Clinton, Foreign Minister (2009–2013) 06.02.2013 1035 224
Lithuania Algirdas Butkevičius, Prime Minister 27.05.2013 1046 266
Lithuania Neilas Tankevičius, ambassador to Estonia 27.05.2013 1047 266
Germany David Gill, Cabinet Director of the Presidency 09.07.2013 1089 305
Germany Harald Braun, Foreign Minister 09.07.2013 1090 305
Germany Christian Matthias Schlaga, ambassador to Estonia 09.07.2013 1091 305
France Frédéric Billet, ambassador to Estonia (2009–2013) 02.09.2013 1102 308

High Personalities

Country / Recipient / Date of reception / Serie number / Decision : number & date

Awarded by President Lennart Meri ( 6 October 1992 – 8 October 2001 )
European Union Otto von Habsburg, Member of European Parliament 11.10.1996 30 683 ( 16.02.1996 )
European Union Mr Jacques Delors, former chairman of the European Commission 23.03.1999 78 495 ( 02.02.1999 )
Turkey His Holiness Bartholomew I Archbishop and Patriarch of Constantinople-New Rome 27.10.2000 130 444 ( 09.10.2000 )

Awarded by H.E. President Arnold Rüütel (8 October 2001 – 9 October 2006)

Russia His Holiness Alexy II of Moscow, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia 29.09.2003 439 444 ( 18.09.2003 )
Spain Juan Antonio Samaranch 29.11.2003 448 464 ( 20.11.2003 )
European Union John Kjær, Head of the Delegation of the European Union (2000–04) 23.11.2004 523 717 ( 12.11.2004 )
European Union Patrick Cox, Former President of European Parliament, for supporting adhesion to European Union 03.11.2006 526 775 ( 02.02.2005 )
European Union Christopher Patten, Former Member of the European Commission, for supporting adhesion to European Union 27.10.2005 527 775 ( 02.02.2005 )
European Union Günter Verheugen, Former Member of the European Commission, for supporting adhesion to European Union 02.05.2005 528 775 ( 02.02.2005 )

Awarded by H.E. President Toomas Hendrik Ilves ( 9 October 2006 – incumbent )

European Union José Manuel Durão Barroso, President of the European Commission 23.02.2009 855 423 (04.02.2009)
NATO Jakob Gijsbert de Hoop Scheffer 09.07.2009 886 520 (06.07.2009)
European Union Hans-Gert Pöttering ( Germany), President of the European Parliament 23.02.2013 1036 224 (6.02.2013)
United States Vinton Gray Cerf, Computer scientist 28.04.2014 1103 368 (05.02.2014)

Recipients of the Fourth Class

> Robert Fripp, 2008[8]


1. The Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana. President of the Republic of Estonia, Estonian State Decorations. Retrieved 2011-01-22
2. ... gid=109326
3. "Bearers of decorations: Maarjamaa Risti ketiklassi teenetemärk". Retrieved 2 October 2013.
4. "Bearers of decorations: Maarjamaa Risti ketiklassi teenetemärk". Retrieved 2 October 2013.
5. "Bearers of decorations: Maarjamaa Risti ketiklassi teenetemärk". Retrieved 2 October 2013.
6. "Bearers of decorations: Maarjamaa Risti ketiklassi teenetemärk". Retrieved 2 October 2013.
7. Estonian Presidency, Recipients First Class (Maarjamaa Risti I klassi teenetemärk). Retrieved 03 October 2013
8. Listing for Robert Fripp (2008)
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Re: Shiva Ayyadurai suing TechDirt over Stories Saying He Di

Postby admin » Fri Mar 17, 2017 12:16 am

Google's Vint Cerf warns of 'digital Dark Age'
By Pallab Ghosh
Science correspondent, BBC News, San Jose
13 February 2015



Vint Cerf, a "father of the internet", says he is worried that all the images and documents we have been saving on computers will eventually be lost.

Currently a Google vice-president, he believes this could occur as hardware and software become obsolete.

He fears that future generations will have little or no record of the 21st Century as we enter what he describes as a "digital Dark Age".

Mr Cerf made his comments at a large science conference in San Jose.

He arrived at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science stylishly dressed in a three-piece suit. This iconic figure, who helped define how data packets move around the net, is possibly the only Google employee who wears a tie.

I felt obliged to thank him for the internet, and he bowed graciously. "One is glad to be of service," he said humbly.
His focus now is to resolve a new problem that threatens to eradicate our history.

Our life, our memories, our most cherished family photographs increasingly exist as bits of information - on our hard drives or in "the cloud". But as technology moves on, they risk being lost in the wake of an accelerating digital revolution.

"I worry a great deal about that," Mr Cerf told me. "You and I are experiencing things like this. Old formats of documents that we've created or presentations may not be readable by the latest version of the software because backwards compatibility is not always guaranteed.

"And so what can happen over time is that even if we accumulate vast archives of digital content, we may not actually know what it is."

'Digital vellum'

Vint Cerf is promoting an idea to preserve every piece of software and hardware so that it never becomes obsolete - just like what happens in a museum - but in digital form, in servers in the cloud.

If his idea works, the memories we hold so dear could be accessible for generations to come.

"The solution is to take an X-ray snapshot of the content and the application and the operating system together, with a description of the machine that it runs on, and preserve that for long periods of time. And that digital snapshot will recreate the past in the future."


A company would have to provide the service, and I suggested to Mr Cerf that few companies have lasted for hundreds of years. So how could we guarantee that both our personal memories and all human history would be safeguarded in the long run?

Even Google might not be around in the next millennium, I said.

"Plainly not," Vint Cerf laughed. "But I think it is amusing to imagine that it is the year 3000 and you've done a Google search. The X-ray snapshot we are trying to capture should be transportable from one place to another. So, I should be able to move it from the Google cloud to some other cloud, or move it into a machine I have.

"The key here is when you move those bits from one place to another, that you still know how to unpack them to correctly interpret the different parts. That is all achievable if we standardise the descriptions.

"And that's the key issue here - how do I ensure in the distant future that the standards are still known, and I can still interpret this carefully constructed X-ray snapshot?"

The concept of what Mr Cerf refers to as "digital vellum" has been demonstrated by Mahadev Satyanarayanan at Carnegie Mellon University.

"It's not without its rough edges but the major concept has been shown to work," Mr Cerf said.
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