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Interview Audio: Hugh Hewitt, & Talk Show Host

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Listen to the Interview with Hugh Hewitt, & Talk Show Host (Length: 12:42)

More interviews from the Personal Democracy Conference.

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Transcript Coming Soon...
May 16th, 2005

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Interviews from an Open Source Intelligence Conference

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I attended a conference on Open Source Intelligence and collected over 3 hours of interviews from the 10 of the presenters. My citizen journalism coverage was looking through the following two lenses:

* What types of insights could intelligence analysis provide to journalism?
* How can information and communications technologies be used to help avoid and prevent armed conflict?

UPDATE:Here is a 90-second video introduction to these interviews

Music: On The Moon (Trip Hop mix) by disharmonic

FYI:You can use this feed to download all of the interview audio.

More information below...

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Community Audio: Micah Sifry, Open Source Politics

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A discussion about Open Source Politics with Micah Sifry, who was the eCampaign director of the Andrew Rasiej Campaign for Public Advocate and is the executive editor of

Sifry wrote up a lengthy post-mortem on their attempts at conducting a network-centric political campaign, and I responded to it here. I had pitched their campaign with an idea to remix one of my video blog posts about balancing top-down control with bottom-up participation, but they didn't have the time to carry it through.

But I wanted to follow up with Sifry to find out how open source, collaborative media could interact with open source politics. This was one of the important insights from our conversation:

I think campaigns may be the last place where the innovations are going to start. Because the pressure of doing a campaign is so intense and there really are so many conventional ingredients that people feel that they have to do. And the innovations are going to come -- in the political arena -- they're going to come from the edges, and they're also going to come from, I believe, from ongoing issues. Organizations that work on issues or new organizations that are being create to work on issues because they have a longer life span. And they can be incubators for new ways for doing things that in some cases campaigns, you just don't have the time -- or at best, you have time to try one or two new things and then keep going.

So in a traditional politial campaign, by the time you've gathered together the professional instincts from the fundraising team, scheduler, field team, communications team, web team, campaign manager and pollsters, then there really isn't a lot of room left for thinking outside of the box.

Most of the radical innovations for network centric advocacy will probably come from long-term, issue-based campaigns and from organizations who are able to bring together existing networks to collectively scratch the same itch at the same time.

I hope that The Echo Chamber Project can provide some new ways for collaborating and communicating with rich media.

Sifry is also interested in having someone explain why Drupal is such an interesting platform, and to explain the practical needs of the developer community to the larger audience of the political technology community at Personal Democracy.

(70:55 / 22.6 MB / Subscribe to Community & Technology Audio)

Click here to listen to the MP3

(Photo Credit: Culture Kitchen)

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Community Audio: Chris Messina, Applying Open Source Strategies

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A broad discussion about how open source principles could be applied to media, politics and national security with open source advocate Chris Messina. I also give an brief update with where I'm at with The Echo Chamber Project.

Messina and I met in Portland, Maine over Thanksgiving break, and we recorded 80 minutes of our conversation.

Chris and I also previously had a 50-minute Skype discussion a few weeks ago, but there were some audio issues that I believe stemmed from Messina's microphone.

Messina has been involved with, Flock, CivicSpace, Drupal and the Barcamp conference modeled after open space.

(78:55 / 22.6 MB / Subscribe to Community & Technology Audio)

Click here to listen to the MP3

(Photo Credit: dmc500hats)

Also, I had an earlier conversation with Chris, but be warned that the audio is a bit low due.

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Can Open Source Intelligence Be a Non-Violent Alternative to War?

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Chris Messina and I were talking about how open source principles could be applied to national security and defense issues, and I mentioned that there was an effort for Open Source Intelligence.

I also speculated that eventually information could be used as a non-violent alternative for war. At the time, I was basing this prediction on my own observations for how information could be used for non-violent conflict resolution. I hadn't really come across a strong intellectual argument for how this new media revolution & advances in communications technologies could actually help bring peace and security to the planet.

But then I discovered a draft of Robert Davis Steele's book that will be titled "INFORMATION OPERATIONS: All Information, All Languages, All the Time" when I was checking up on the latest news from Steele's Open Source Solutions website.

This book was written by Steele, who is a former Marine Corps and CIA intelligence official -- and someone who has been advocating for Open Source Intelligence for the last 17 years. Steele writes, "information-sharing, exploiting all sources in all languages all the time, is the central tenet of defense in the age of information."

Steele argues that the United States is at a strategic dead-end with funding Cold War era war machinery...

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Blogosphere Reporting on Forged Niger Docs: Will this be the Left's Rathergate?

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The liberal blogosphere has been way out in front of investigating the origin of the forged Niger documents that may have been deliberately used to help sell the war in Iraq. I've come across a lot of insights from investigative bloggers who have been connecting the dots using information from the public record -- as well as doing some original reporting.

These forged Niger documents were publicly discredited as being "not authentic" by Mohamed ElBaradei on March 7th, 2003 before the war began 12 days later, but it has always been a bit of a mystery as to who forged them -- as well as how they ended up being used by the Bush Administration to help create the impression that Saddam Hussein was actively seeking to reconstitute his nuclear weapons program.

The cultural right has their takedown of Dan Rather under their belts, and if it turns out that the forged documents originated from the United States and can be tied to the Bush Administration, then that would certainly not bode well for Republicans in the next election cycle and could ultimately result in impeachment hearings with a Democrat majority in Congress.

The liberal blogosphere would certainly take this as an unprecedented victory if this plays out to how Steve Soto describes it:

Get some more popcorn folks. Once you tie Chalabi and people like Ledeen into the forgeries, you tie Cheney’s office into this crap as well. And if that connection is made, it is game, set, and match.

The Patrick Fitzgerald investigation, the FBI investigation into the forgeries, Congressional action, and the mainstream media would inevitably put the final nails into the coffin, but there has been a lot of work by liberal and anti-war bloggers in aggregating what has been already reported on this story overseas -- as well as pushing the story forward.

For example, it looks as though blogger Josh Marshall may have had a role in shining a spotlight to the fact that the FBI may have never even interviewed one of the couriers of the forged documents.

At least until late in 2004 the FBI had never interviewed the man who tried to sell the documents, Rocco Martino -- despite the fact that he came to the United States twice in the summer of 2004.

The FBI now says it concluded its investigation in July of this year. So did the FBI interview Martino before making its determination?

This may have caused the Senate Intelligence Committee to ask the FBI to reopen it's case.

Those findings concerned some members of the Senate Intelligence Committee after published reports that the FBI had not interviewed a former Italian spy named Rocco Martino, who was identified as the original source of the documents. The committee had requested the initial investigation.

It appears as if the FBI tried to whitewash the investigation, but they were called out by Marshall -- and potentially others in the media -- to give the Senate the ammunition they needed in order to call their bluff. So it's good news that the press can still play a watchdog function, and this LA Times report could help open up the floodgates for other news organizations to start digging into material that some liberal bloggers have already been exploring:

After talking with committee members, FBI officials decided to pursue "additional work" on the case, likely exploring the origins of the forgeries and whether the documents had been created specifically to help make the case for ousting Saddam Hussein...

Federal officials familiar with the case say investigators could examine whether the forgeries were instigated by U.S. citizens who advocated an invasion of Iraq or by members of the Iraqi National Congress -- the group led by Ahmad Chalabi that worked closely with Bush administration officials in the buildup to the war.

There is quite a bit of detailed information on this already from the blogosphere, and I'd thought I'd do a quick brain dump of what's passed through my radar screen in the following sections below:

Investigative Blogging from Marshall and eriposte on Niger Docs
State withheld forged Niger Doc from IAEA
John Bolton involved in withholding documents from IAEA?
La Repubblica: Niger forgeries -- New Revelations by top French Spymaster
Clarridge, Wolf & Ledeen implicated by Italian Parliament for Forged Documents

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Interview Audio, Richard Sambrook, BBC Global News Director

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Here is an interview with Richard Sambrook, Director of BBC Global News from October 5, 2005 at the We Media Conference. Sambrook talks about the future of journalism and the latest experiments with citizen journalism by BBC. He also discusses UK press coverage during the build-up to the war in Iraq, and some differences between the US and UK press.

The BBC is subsidized by the UK government, and therefore is a lot more free to experiment with participatory media when there isn't an explicit business model attached. As a result, the BBC is shaping up to be a worldwide leader in "We Media" innovation, and making news a more collaborative process.

(19:41 / 5.6 MB / Subscribe to Interview Audio)

Click here to listen to the MP3

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Interview Audio, Doc Searls, Doc Searls Weblog

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Here's an interview with Doc Searls of Doc Searls Weblog & senior editor of Linux Journal on May 16, 2005 talking about open source communities, and how collaborative principles apply to the future of media, politics and culture.

Since I'm working on this open source documentary about the media, then I wanted to get some insight into what makes open source communities work.

Coincidentally, the group formerly known as Pajamas Media had their launch today and are now known as Open Source Media -- and I have a little rant about OSM™'s privacy policy which seems to be in complete opposition to the values of open source (via The Talent Show).

(24:42 / 7.1 MB / Subscribe to Interview Audio)

Click here to listen to the MP3

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Interview Audio: Jeff Jarvis,

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an interview with Jeff Jarvis
of on May 16, 2005 talking about the future of media and issues surrounding the military intervention in Iraq. Also features quotes from Jonathan Landay and Warren Strobel of Knight Ridder at the end.

(12:17 / 3.7 MB / Subscribe to Interview Audio)

Click here to listen to the MP3

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Questions on The Future of New Media

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A student from University of Lincoln, England named Tom Hughes e-mailed me this morning asking me about the future of New Media.

I shared some of thoughts about some of the trends that I see, and Tom would be really curious to hear any other feedback about this in the comments.

Here's Hughes' questions and my response:

For my dissertation, I am analysing the current state of new media technologies and how the idea of 'audiences supplying their own demand', through the ease of a variety of new softwares and technologies, is becoming more widespread. I am hoping to be able to make some conclusions as to the outcome that this progression will lead to, influenced mainly by two particular examples; the optimistic outcomes of a 'Global Village' predicted by Marshall McLuhan, against the bleack, pessimistic predictions of theorists such as Paul Virilio.

What is your opnion on the future of new media...

I do believe that the passive consumption of media via television or movie screens will be phased out and eventually replaced -- supplemented -- with more interactive and digitally delivered experiences.

So instead of watching a linear narrative film -- only watching linear narrative films, then audiences will begin to also demand a non-linear self-guided experience of a highly annotated archive of multimedia segments linked by associations. Once the broadband pipeline will support the bandwidth, then people will begin to surf the Internet that's full of rich media about niche topics instead of watching the mass media. There is also a much higher probability that audiences will be able to interact directly with content producers.

UPDATE: Dumitru made a great point in the comment below, and so I rephrased my some of my original statements as indicated by the bold words.

This is my model for how the footage would be annotated with metadata by a distributed audience.

HUGHES: do you believe we should be embracing the future as a world of easy communication and creative outcome, or fearing it as a static environment where we will not need to move to communicate, anything we need can be accessed via a touch of a button, and the creative industry becoming full of talentless individuals?

I don't think that technological advances that allow people to make simple choices for the creation of media necessarily mean that creativity diminishes. In fact, I think we see just the opposite. The relatively low-cost of professional non-linear editing software and cameras has allowed independent filmmakers to work on a shoestring budget and create Oscar-nominated films such as "Super Size Me."

Not only that, but the low barrier to entry for producing and distributing media is helping evolve our culture to be much more media literate and capable of developing and nurturing talent. Talent is rewarded with social capital such as reputation and attention through incoming hypertext links and Internet traffic. Once the page views excel a certain threshold, then Internet-based advertising can support the creation of content full time. It used to be that either you were a starving artist or you'd have blockbuster success, but now the Internet is supporting micropayment and advertising-based revenue models that will be able to support a new tier of middle class artists.

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