[eDebate] That Stratfor 11-8 Card...

Jean-Paul Lacy lacyjp
Fri Nov 18 02:34:37 CST 2005


Mr Friedman:

Given recent events, I think we all understand the importance of credible 
intelligence.

One of my debaters sent you a question about an article published on 
Stratfor.com.

Your response is below. It amounts to "We're right...get a date, get drunk 
& rob a liquor store..." This is not the way to conduct information 
gathering, nor "intelligence" as you call it.

This is a chance to re-establish your credibility.

You should do so immediately.

If you allow the impression that your intelligence analysis is tainted by 
competitive interests in collegiate debate to continue, you are tainting 
your credibility in DC.

If you need a list of influential DC policy makers who were intercollegiate 
debaters, we can provide that. The list is numerous and powerful. All of 
them understand that bad intelligence is horrid, that cheating at debate is 
wrong, but even more that creating bad intelligence in order to cheat at 
debate puts our entire nation at risk.

Would you cause another Pearl Harbor or 9-11 to win a debate round? I hope 
not. Would you allow one of your analysts to do the same?

The article published at 
http://www.stratfor.com/products/premium/read_article.php?id=258235 
(accessible via google news with a "As China's leadership" "demonstrate 
positive actions" search) creates the impression that someone in your 
organization created "intelligence" for intercollegiate debate. Some of the 
smartest minds of our community have expressed the belief that "that 
article is too good to be true...its obviously written for the 
topic...someone must have an 'in' at Stratfor."

That said, if college debaters & their coaches do not believe what your 
analysts write, you have a major problem. Even the popular press had 
trouble buying the "Nigerian yellow cake" story. College debaters are 
better investigators & consumers of information than the popular press. 
They aren't 'kids.'

When intelligent people question the integrity of your analysis, you have 
got to provide further explanation.

Your response to a legitimate inquiry about the sources of your information 
as well as the author of you analysis does nothing to assure any consumer 
of information that your sources are credible or that your analysts have 
any integrity.

Your "Kid....get drunk and rob a liquor store" comment is an insult to all 
consumers of information & diminishes the credibility of all your 
intelligence (in every sense of the term.)

This is an opportunity to assure us that your intelligence & analysis is 
untainted by ulterior agendas.

In order to believe your assertions that this particular article was not 
tailor written for the debate topic, you need to reveal the author of the 
analysis, their associations with the debate community & their sources, or 
a *credible* explanation as to why you can not.

As it is, the article has next to no credibility to many intelligent people 
who continue to think "this sounds too much like it was written for the 
debate topic." [There have been incredible incidents of college debaters 
getting important arguments published by very credible sources: One 
involved additions to a member of congress's floor remarks published in the 
Congressional Record, another involved theft of Heritage Foundation 
stationary & the fabrication of an article that was very similar to a 
particular Heritage analysts writings (but better written for the debate 
topic.)]

The article in question at 
http://www.stratfor.com/products/premium/read_article.php?id=258235:
         Is un-attributed,
         Cites no sources other than the highly esteemed "People's Daily" 
for evidence of an internal debate in China,
         Contravenes common wisdom about Hu vs Jiang's foreign policy 
toward the US,
         Contravenes actual fact about the amount of pressure the Bush 
administration has put on the PRC recently,
         Misinterprets internal politics in China (which are more Hu vs 
Jiang than Hu vs 'hard-liners',)
         & Most importantly, is *completely unprecedented* in its analysis 
of the effect of US pressure on Hu's Five Year Plan (something that ought 
to require some attribution, rather                 than assertion.) And 
no, *nothing* credible in print has addressed the issue "for the last 
year." I challenge you to produce published articles that say anything 
similar to            yours about US pressure & the success of the Hu's 
five year plan.
         & Was conveniently published just prior to the most important 
college debate tournament of the semester. (Coincidence? Maybe...Anyone 
reasonable would need a better            explanation for the above 
coincidences than 'get a date."

These are *far* too many coincidences to be explained away by "Kid...no one 
here cares about debate...get a date, get drunk, and rob a liquor store."

So, answer two simple questions to re-establish Stratfor's credibility:

         1. Who wrote the article & what are there connections with anyone 
connected with intercollegiate debate? (You work in intelligence, you had 
*better* know their associations.)
         2. What were their sources? (Given that you are a private 
intelligence firm and all your sources are open, you should publish all of 
them as well as their contact information
                 unless you have a very good explanation why you shouldn't.)

Thank You,
JP Lacy,
Associate Debate Coach,
Wake Forest University
lacyjp at wfu.edu


At 10:57 PM 11/17/2005, Brad Hall wrote:
>The card is apparently legit, according to the founder of Stratfor (who didn't
>much like the suspicions of the community about his article...)
>
>----- Forwarded message from George Friedman <gfriedman at stratfor.com> -----
>     Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2005 21:42:30 -0600
>     From: George Friedman <gfriedman at stratfor.com>
>Reply-To: George Friedman <gfriedman at stratfor.com>
>  Subject: RE: request
>       To: 'Brad Hall' <hallbc2 at wfu.edu>
>
>Kid, believe me that no one at Stratfor pays any attention to
>intercollegiate debate. This may shock you, but we really didn't know that
>it was the big game. The strange coincidence you are talking about is not so
>strange. Everyone involved in China-U.S. relations has been discussing
>precisely the same issue of U.S. pressure and its effects on Hu. And it's
>been the main topic of conversation for a year. I know that college debaters
>are extremely knowledgeable about the world, but this issue didn't exactly
>surface in November. Everyone in another community--the Chinese Foreign
>Ministry and the State Department, has been obsessing with this for a long
>time.
>
>I think you are inflating the relevance, timeliness and significance of
>college debating. Why not get a date, get drunk, and rob a liquor store.
>Debating is clearly not good for you.
>
>George Friedman
>
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