The Human Factor: The Phenomenon of Espionage

by W. Patrick Lang

­­June 2022 — The just released second edition of Col. Lang’s classic work on the art of human intelligence is now available to order from Amazon or iUniverse. 
Publisher’s Weekly’s Booklife calls The Human Factor, “A vital, succinct primer for anyone interested in understanding the art of human intelligence gathering and espionage. 

Click here to order:


From the Publisher’s Weekly Review:
“Lang’s revised and updated debut examines the art of espionage and human intelligence gathering. Lang — a retired colonel who has since authored many other books, including a memoir on his time in the military  and a trilogy of historical fiction novels based during the American Civil war — offers a succinct guide on all facets of modern intelligence gathering, laying out the history of  intelligence  gathering through  the  stories of spies and heroes,  explaining the  systems and institutions that have traditionally emerged in modern nations to facilitate espionage work, and illuminating the delicate art and practice of gathering human intelligence today and in the future.”

More Books by Col. W. Patrick Lang

Tattoo — A Memoir of Becoming

June 2022 – Released in January 2021, Tattoo continues to excite both interest and praise as an altogether unique memoir of a soldier, scholar and spy. Readers call it, “a riveting, century-spanning soldier’s epic.”

Order here from:

“Brilliant prose and exceptional history of the wars of the late 20th century.”                                              –Amazon Reader Review

A close-up history of the U.S. military’s global engagements in the fractious second half to the 20th century… overflows with revealing–sometimes harrowing–stories of military life.         –Publisher’s Weekly

With a scrupulous eye for detail, Tattoo illuminates every international conflict Lang saw and offers a fascinating portrait of what soldiering means.                                                –Booklife Magazine

Lang recounts a memorable career in the Army—as eventful as it was accomplished.                                            –Kirkus Review

Posted in History, Intelligence, My books | Tagged , , , | 13 Comments

The Matt Taibi dump on Twitter thus far

We pretty much all knew that there was collusion in suppression of information on the various information meat markets, but now Musk has released internal Twitter correspondence that confirms. Taibi has a mass od Twitter documents and will release them serially on Twitter with Musk’s blessing. Taibi is hardly a conservative.

Now, the 1st Amendment like all of the Bill of Rights limits the actions of the governments, both federal and state. It does not limit the actions of private officials or corporations UNLESS the private entity acts at the bidding of a government.

Well, pilgrims the FBI was pressing Twitter to act against the “Laptop from Hell” while Trump was still president. IMO this means that the FBI was acting in a mutinous rebellion against the president who is in fact their superior in the Executive Branch of the federal government.

More later. pl

Posted in government | Leave a comment

The voyage of the Sarimanok – TTG

In 1985, a seacraft named the ‘Sarimanok’, a 20-meter long double outrigger canoe adzed from a single tree in the Southern Philippines, was constructed to re-enact the migration from Indonesia of human settlers on Madagascar (based on archaeological evidence) some 2,500 years ago. The canoe sailed from Bali in June, with eight crew and arrived safely on Madagascar seven weeks later. No modern materials were used in the canoe’s construction or sailing rig and the crew survived on what food was available at the time. It was this voyage which inspired the founding of The First Mariners.

Comment: I’m a sucker for a good sea yarn and this is a good one, no matter how old it is. I came upon it through the WaterTribe Facebook page. No surprise there.

If you liked the adventures of Kon-Tiki and Hokule’a, you’ll enjoy this film of the voyage of Sarimanok. It is well told and well filmed. It’s also very human… avery special type of human. I have great respect for the one young woman in the crew who signed on as a nutritionist to ensure the crew remained healthy while consuming a diet from two millenniums ago. She ended up preparing all meals under primitive conditions for the two month voyage. Woe betide any crew member who spoke ill of a meal. If I was the captain, I’d slap their mouth dry right then and there.


Posted in TTG, Whatever | 2 Comments

“Official says over 10,000 Ukrainian troops killed in war”

first aid station

“A top adviser to Ukraine’s president has cited military chiefs as saying 10,000 to 13,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in the country’s nine-month struggle against Russia’s invasion, a rare comment on such figures and far below estimates of Ukrainian casualties from Western leaders.

Russian forces kept up rocket attacks on infrastructure and airstrikes against Ukrainian troop positions along the contact line, the Ukrainian general staff said Friday, adding that Moscow’s military push has focused on a dozen towns including Bakhmut and Avdiivka — key targets for Russia in the embattled east.

Late Thursday, Mykhailo Podolyak, a top adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, relayed new figures about Ukrainian soldiers killed in battle, while noting that the number of injured troops was higher and civilian casualty counts were “significant.”

“We have official figures from the general staff, we have official figures from the top command, and they amount to between 10,000 and 12,500-13,000 killed,” Podolyak told Channel 24.

The Ukrainian military has not confirmed such figures and it was a rare instance of a Ukrainian official providing such a count. The last dates back to late August, when the head of the armed forces said that nearly 9,000 military personnel had been killed. In June, Podolyak said that up to 200 soldiers were dying each day, in some of the most intense fighting and bloodshed this year.”

Comment: This would make more sense to me than the 100k figure that has been spread around. Is the Ukrainian general staff encouraging the circulation of the larger number as some sort of ruse de guerre? Could be. pl

Official says over 10,000 Ukrainian troops killed in war | AP News

Posted in The Military Art, Ukraine Crisis | 9 Comments

“Russia stops deploying battalion tactical groups due to their ineffectiveness, says UK intelligence” – TTG

It is highly likely that Russia has completely stopped deploying its typical military formations, called “Battalion Tactical Groups” (BTGs), in the past three months, the United Kingdom Defence Intelligence reported on its update on the situation in Ukraine as of Nov. 29.

The BTG concept has been an important part of Russian military doctrine for the past 10 years or so. The BTGs were integrated with a wide range of sub-units, such as tank, reconnaissance and artillery units, that greatly differs from western military practices. However, during the large scale and high intensity war in Ukraine, several intrinsic weaknesses of the BTG were discovered, UK intelligence believes. Also, the number of the deployed BTGs were often insufficient for a successful assault. “Decentralized distribution of artillery has not allowed Russia to fully leverage its advantage in numbers of guns; and few BTG commanders have been empowered to flexibly exploit opportunities in the way the BTG model was designed to promote,” the intelligence report reads.

Comment: This is not surprising at all. The BTG seemed like a good idea. It was the equivalent of our battalion task forces formed by an armored battalion and a mech infantry battalion exchanging one or two companies to form two combined arms task forces. This task organization was in vogue when I was in C&GSC.

On paper, the BTG was supposed to have more artillery firepower than our battalion task forces. I thought it looked promising. It was talked about as the core of the Russian way of war back in February and March. Both of these combined arms units depend on one thing… skilled troops and leaders capable of thinking and acting on the move. The BTGs didn’t survive enemy contact at the beginning of this war. Now with largely untrained mobiks and a worse than decimated junior officer corps, not to mention a nonexistent NCO corps, the BTG is dead. In its place we have the zerg rush, as the gamer kids call it.

I think it will take the Russians years to correct all that’s wrong with their forces and forge the BTG into an effective war fighting unit. They got a hell of a lot of lessons to learn at all levels. It certainly won’t happen by next spring.


Posted in The Military Art, TTG, Ukraine Crisis | 28 Comments

“NATO meets to talk Ukraine at scene of one of its most controversial decisions”

“NATO meets on Tuesday to drum up much-needed support for Ukraine. 

Foreign ministers from countries in the western military alliance will gather in Romania to discuss how they can assist Ukraine after Russian strikes on its power networks ahead of winter.

But the meet-up location — Bucharest — is hugely significant given Russia’s war in Ukraine. 

It was here in April 2008 that former US President George W. Bush persuaded NATO allies that Ukraine and Georgia would one day join the military alliance. 

Moscow invaded Georgia four months later. 

Some experts describe the decision in Bucharest as a massive error that left Russia feeling cornered by a seemingly ever-expanding NATO. 

NATO counters that it doesn’t pressgang countries into joining and that some requested membership to seek protection from Russia — as Finland and Sweden are doing now.”

Comment: The decision, largely influenced by the US neocons and the US military to drive NATO’s borders as far to the east as they could has proven to be the disaster that I thought it would be. Russia was pushed by that decision into adopting a self-defensive crouch which deteriorated over the years into a decision to invade and destroy Ukraine as a state. Foolishness, but now we must deal with the situation as it is, and NOT by abandoning the Ukrainians. pl

NATO meets to talk Ukraine at scene of one of its most controversial decisions | Euronews

Posted in Russia, Ukraine Crisis | 9 Comments

 “… Russian troops struggle with friendly fire and Ukrainian tricks”

“Due to a lack of communication, it is believed that Russian artillery has targeted its own troops.

Air defences have also engaged friendly aircraft as the Khibniy system of electronic countermeasures that is supposed to protect Russian pilots has interfered with their own planes.

The authors of the report argue that the issue of friendly fire and the way that Moscow’s troops have easily been deceived by Kyiv are major issues.

They said: “Fratricide has been a widespread problem for the Russian forces during their invasion of Ukraine.”

Comment: Because of the widespread evidence of the incompetence of Russian officers and, indeed, of the system itself, it would be easy to fall into an attitude of complacency.

As for the Russian soldiers – Poor bastards. pl

Putin humiliated as Russian troops struggle with friendly fire and Ukrainian tricks (

Posted in Russia, Ukraine Crisis | 13 Comments

” … How the U.S. Totally Misjudged the War in Ukraine”

Mechanized Infantry

The war in Ukraine isn’t going the way Russian President Vladimir Putin expected. And he’s certainly not the only one who was caught by surprise—the U.S. expected a rapid Russian success, with the Kremlin’s tanks inside Kyiv within days.

Many U.S. officials from the CIA, the Pentagon, and the White House believed Russia would quickly conquer Ukraine when it invaded last February. But Ukraine mounted an effective defense, and the Russian forces have retreated in some areas after ferocious counter-attacks. The outcome of the war hangs by a thread, and the U.S. was simply not expecting to find itself involved in a major international conflict that could go on for years.

Former military officials and intel insiders have told The Daily Beast that reviews are underway after failures in human intelligence and “lethargic” analysis led to warped predictions.

The misjudgment in Washington, D.C., was near-total. The U.S. did accurately warn that Putin’s threat of invasion was real, while some intel agencies—including those in Kyiv—sought to play down the likelihood of all-out war, but after that the biggest land conflict in Europe since World War II has confounded the world’s most extensive and costly intelligence agencies right here in the U.S.”

Comment: Well, pilgrims, we got it right here. The problem with the big intel agencies; CIA, NSA, DIA, etc. is that they are “mature bureaucracies” filled with careerist place seekers who have no real talent for analysis and merely seek security in IC wide groupthink. The agencies themselves are fiefdoms in which the senior bureaucrats are “swords around the throne,” who see themselves as protectors of the agency head against “dangerous” analysts who wish to challenge IC wide consensus. I wrote about thus many years ago in an essay entitled “Artists vs Bureaucrats” which will appear again in my new book “The Portable Pat Lang.” pl

This Is How the U.S. Totally Misjudged the War in Ukraine (

Posted in Intelligence, My books, Russia, The Military Art, Ukraine Crisis | 27 Comments

“Hakuto-R M1 & Lunar Flashlight” launch

Hakuto RM-1

First mission of the Hakuto-R commercial lunar lander developed by private Japanese company ispace. Rideshare includes Lunar Flashlight, NASA’s cubesat that will search for water ice at the Moon’s South Pole

Space Rider – Wikipedia

Lunar Flashlight – Wikipedia

Posted in Space | Leave a comment

“Whole Foods decision to pull lobster divides enviros, pols”

Watch your fingers!

 “Environmental groups are once again at odds with politicians and fishermen in New England in the wake of a decision by high-end retail giant Whole Foods to stop selling Maine lobster.

Whole Foods recently said that it will stop selling lobster from the Gulf of Maine at hundreds of its stores around the country. The company cited decisions by a pair of sustainability organizations to take away their endorsements of the U.S. lobster fishing industry.

The organizations, Marine Stewardship Council and Seafood Watch, both cited concerns about risks to rare North Atlantic right whales from fishing gear. Entanglement in gear is one of the biggest threats to the whales.

The decision by Whole Foods was an “important action to protect the highly endangered” whale, said Virginia Carter, an associate with the Save America’s Wildlife Campaign at Environment America Research & Policy Center.

“With fewer than 340 North Atlantic right whales in existence, the species is swimming toward extinction unless things turn around,” Carter said.”

Comment: This is really stupid! I worked on a lobsterman part time when I was a teen. 35 feet long out of Kennebunkport, Maine, we pulled emptied and re-baited 40 “pots” twice a day. A “pot consists of a wooden or composite cage with netting funnels in it that allow a lobster to climb to its doom inside this device to get to the rotten fish used for bait. This cage is weighted and sits on the bottom. A rope connects the trap to the surface where a colored float identifies the ownership of the trap. Get the idea, trap sitting on the bottom connected to the surface by a single line with a foot tall wooden marker float on the surface. Does this seem like a whale killer to you? The lobster fishery is a significant part of Maine’s economy in the coastal zone. State law governs this fishery carefully to make sure it is sustainable. If captains are putting their pots too close together in some places, the state can make them space them out more

Whole Foods decision to pull lobster divides enviros, pols | AP News

Posted in The economy | 35 Comments

A county in Arizona wanted to count all midterm election ballots by hand. The Secretary of State’s office said doing that would be illegal!

By Robert Willmann

Cochise County, Arizona has a population estimated by the U.S. Census to be 126,050. In order to do its part to support democracy and have an honest election, it wanted to hand count the ballots in the county for all of the races in the 2022 midterm election. When the Arizona Secretary of State’s office heard about the audacity of Cochise County, that office sent a revealing letter dated 19 October 2022 which said: “a hand count of all votes cast … would be unlawful”.

This letter is a public admission of how laws can be passed in a state to create a voting structure that makes voting fraud easier and any realistic audit impossible. And the letter is directed at only one part of the election process, the possibility of hand counting ballots. The language in the letter excoriating a full hand count is shameless in its dishonesty. But the key is recognizing that Arizona law was deliberately written to prevent a hand count of ballots, as well as to prevent a hand count audit and recount.

Early voting in Arizona apparently starts about a month before election day, since the letter says: “Early voting for the 2022 General Election began over a week ago [before 19 October], and counties are already permitted by law to begin processing and tabulating ballots”. This sounds as if they can start counting votes before election day! Lyndon Johnson would be green with envy and could only wish he had such an easy voting structure to deal with when he stole the 1948 Democratic primary election in Texas for the U.S. Senate.

Reading this letter more than once is useful, and will help one to understand how Arizona law has been poisoned. Furthermore, the language used reveals what the attitude of the Secretary of State’s office is–

Katie Hobbs is the Arizona Secretary of State, and she is running against Kari Lake for governor. It is my understanding that a meeting of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors is scheduled for Monday, 28 November 2022, at which the election and perhaps the official canvass — or “certification” — of the votes will be discussed. Maricopa County is estimated to have a population of 4,496,588. Problems with the machines and other aspects of the election there were extensive and disgraceful.

I think that in a raw political move — regardless of what reality might be — the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors is going to say the election there is certified and that Katie Hobbs got more votes than Kari Lake.

Posted in Current Affairs, government, Politics | Tagged , , , , | 17 Comments