Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Social Network Analysis

Listened to Valdis Krebs pres to CCK08 this AM. Interesting concepts but it left me with more questions and a distinct creepy feeling that somebody was pushing an agenda. This guy supposedly did some analysis after Saudi nationals guided commercial airplanes into the World trade center buildings in NY in 2001.

In his presentation today he showed two networks maps and asked us to identify the terrorist network. I correctly identified the map on the right. The other map was as IBM project work group and he was trying make the point ( I think) that it is impossible to distinguish terrorist networks from any other kind of network and that you had to identify specific nodes as having at least some remote link to somebody who knows somebody who may know a terrorist. By the description of degrees of separation in networks offered earlier in the presentation, that would be everybody. He went so far as to talk about those who actively support terrorists and those who passively support terrorism by not reporting suspicious activity. Not much information on what qualified as links between nodes, the directions or strengths of the linkages. If you ever looked a middle eastern news source did you ring the gong?

The guy struck me as a bit of a fear mongering cold warrior operative working out a plausible case for greater scrutiny of networks. There is lots of bucks in fear especially for network analysts that can say just about anything.

Someone suggested that the recent Wall street situation be subjected to Krebs network analysis and the whiff of something started to arise for me. The clench, spidy senses started tingling.

The collapse of Wall St was the result of evildoers and terrorists infiltrating US commerce and bringing the economy to collapse thus furthering the terrorist aim.... Ergo the US is justified in spending $700 billion without oversight or scrutiny to "oppose the evildoers" and "make the world safe for freedom and democracy". It is the American public's sacred duty to shut up, bend over and make the world safe for truth, democracy and the American way.

There maybe evildoers at work but it is an inside job and you can bet they are scrambling their little rat like claws to get out of accepting responsibility for a major hurt that they have inflicted and are trying everything they can to shift blame and get a bailout.

Too blatant an manipulation?

Then of course what do I know.

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