This blog is actually about process, not results. The predictions made here are to pique your interest in the techniques, which many readers can pick up. The game is largely defined by the IARPA/CIA experiments in crowd-sourcing open source intelligence, in which people without expert qualifications, some working as teams, others as individuals, beat the experts.
A typical Reuters or CNN opinion piece mushes info, hope, faith, aspiration, more info, aspiration, faith, and hope, into a calzone-like object, decorated with stock photos vaguely related to the subject. These are confections, not intelligence. Open source intelligence is partly a salvage operation, because you do not have a free plane ticket to Tehran or Baghdad to get your own “ground knowledge”. Opinion pieces often have useful information. Simply discard the opinions.
My experience with the “Forecasting World Events” project was very positive. Reading the opinion pieces always gave me a dull feeling, but a gift of the FWE project was license to feel that I could do better. No longer did I feel hostage to the opinion pieces. My analysis could be more incisive without being fallacious.
If you are content to be a follower, this is not for you. If you are an ideologue, or an emphatically political animal, this is not for you. If you are genuinely curious about open source intelligence, pick an intelligence problem, and post about it here. We’ll both learn something.