Using OSINT to understand an emerging situation in Haiti

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This is a podcast episode titled, Using OSINT to understand an emerging situation in Haiti. The summary for this episode is: <p>In this episode Janes analysts Matthew Henman and Lewis Galvin discuss how open source intelligence can provide good indicators and warnings for predictive intelligence.&nbsp;They also discuss how they use Janes open source data to produce a broad intelligence picture of an evolving situation such as that in Haiti.</p>
Using OSINT to understand an emerging situation in Haiti - clip
04:00 MIN

Speaker 7: Welcome to the World of Intelligence, a podcast for you to discover the latest analysis of global military and security trends within the open source defense intelligence community. Now onto the episode with your host, Harry Kemsley.

Harry Kemsley: Hello and welcome to this edition of Janes World of Intelligence. I'm your host, Harry Kemsley as usual, and as usual, I have my co- host, Sean Corbett. Hello, Sean.

Sean Corbett: Hello, Harry.

Harry Kemsley: Good to see you as always. So in recent times, Sean, we've looked at a range of different topics, both to do with how open source can be used. We've had conversations with people who are practitioners, not least of course, the chief at the Open Source Intelligence Center in the CIA. One of the things that came out of that conversation you might remember, Sean, is how commercial providers should or could be stepping into the intelligence community and how we might be able to help them focus on some of the flanks. Whilst they're dealing with high priority things, we could be doing things in the commercial sector on some of those lower priority items, perhaps, as well as potentially finding good indicators and warnings from predictive intelligence that might help the intelligence community as well. It's with that in mind that I recently had a brief from a couple of Janes analysts who I'm delighted to say are with me, more of those in just a second, on a situation in Haiti which I wasn't aware of, which is exactly the kind of thing that I think Randy was talking about in terms of the power potential of open source. So with that in mind, I'm delighted to introduce the listener to two colleagues of mine at Janes, Matthew Henman. Hello, Matt.

Matthew Henman: Hi Harry. Hi Sean. Great to be here.

Harry Kemsley: Good to see you And Lewis Galvin. Hello, Lewis.

Lewis Galvin: Hello both.

Harry Kemsley: Good to see you. I'll just give the audience a quick introduction to who you are. Matthew Henman is the head of the America's Regional Desk in Janes Country Intelligence Department and oversees cross- regional working groups on terrorism, insurgency, and serious and organized crime. Matthew's worked for Janes for 15 years, and prior to his country intelligence role was the head of the Janes Terrorism and Insurgency Center. Matthew has a BA in War Studies from Kings College, London, and an MA in Intelligence and International Security from the same institution. Louis Galvin joined Janes as a research analyst in April 2022, becoming part of the America's Desk within the Country Intelligence Team. He predominantly covers countries in South America and the Caribbean, and is the lead for Haiti. Lewis previously worked for the civil service as an international engagement officer. Before that, he was a security operations consultant responsible for conducting bespoke risk assessments for clients operating in conflict zones. He holds an undergraduate degree in History and a master's degree in International Relations. Welcome to you both. So with those introductions, it's clear that you both have a good background to help us understand how Haiti's coming to view for you. Lewis, perhaps I could start with you. Could you give me, Sean, the listener, a quick overview of what's happening in Haiti? Why are we having this conversation today? Lewis?

Lewis Galvin: Yeah, so starting to get into more international as Haiti, so you might've seen little bits cropping up in mainstream media due to the significant deterioration in the security environment. It's important to frame this contextually where this has come from and how violence is being driven in the country. We have to go back to July 2021, which I think is the significant escalation point in the situation. When the former President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated by a group of Haitian Americans and Colombian mercenaries. Moïse's assassination then essentially opened up a power vacuum in the country in which there have been approximately 200 gangs nationally have proliferated according to the most recent estimates. 200 indeed, yes, across the country, approximately 100 of which are active in the capital in Port- au- Prince. And again, important to frame this in the context. Gangs have had quite a prominent position in Haitian society for 20 to 30 years. After the military was disbanded in 1995, gangs were essentially used as a political tool by politicians to gain their own way, essentially, in and around elections, and to project a lot of influence and power from senior Haitian elites. As a consequence of this gang proliferation, and in the absence of an effective security force, like I mentioned, there's no military in Haiti. Or it's very small scale, around 500 personnel after being remobilized in 2017. They essentially rely on the Haitian National Police, which the UN estimates only has around 13, 000 staff, only 9, 000 of which are doing policing duties or carrying out policing duties for a population of, in the West Department, it's several million. As you can see, these gangs have had an opportunity or been exposed to an opportunity to really take control for themselves. As a result, we found some of the latest figures in the first quarter of 2023, there've been around 1, 600 violent incidents recorded. That's from the Haitian National Police and the UN. That encompasses homicides, kidnappings, sexual assaults, et cetera, which is a significant increase even from the first quarter in 2022 where there was around just under 700 incidents. So you can see the security situation is deteriorating and quite rapidly. Over the space of two years, things have escalated significantly, and this has largely been driven by two major gang coalitions. So although we have these 100 gangs in West Department, which is where the capital of Port- au- Prince is located, most of them are small scale, low level street gangs affiliated to the coalitions G9 and G- PEP. And again, recent estimates are that G9 and G- PEP control around 80% of Port- au- Prince at the moment. As a result, the United Nations, as I mentioned, it's starting to gain a lot of international attention. The United Nations have on several occasions now called for intervention from an international force. The UN does seem reluctant to make that a blue helmeted force, and so they're looking for partners, countries to take the lead on that. At the moment, no country has stepped forward and committed to leading that mission. It's still an ongoing dialogue. There's a lot of interested parties, but again, nobody has yet stepped forward to take control of the situation essentially.

Harry Kemsley: Sean, I'd love to see the intelligence estimate to map out 200 gangs roaming around and driving the situation in Haiti. In my experience of multifaceted environments like that, it's almost impossible, Sean, to get a really clear fix on what's happening on the ground, certainly from the traditional intelligence processes that I've seen in the past. Sean, your thoughts on that?

Sean Corbett: Yeah, hopefully we'll get onto this a little bit later, but you are talking about human terrain analysis here. You're talking about some really detailed tactical stuff, which makes a really good point that someone has to be looking at this full- time. You can't just go, " All right, look over there now," and then start from scratch. You just can't do it when you're looking at something. You've got to get into the details, you've got to do the network analysis and all the rest of it. Just while I'm on, just to address the macro element of your question, why on earth would we be looking at Haiti in the first place? There's two reasons really, and the first one is reason of stability. Because it's lower priority doesn't mean to say this won't have, my favorite word, contagion. It was the first ever independent Caribbean state, former French colony, and the potential for instability if it goes into chaos, somebody's going to have to do something about it. There is an economic angle to it as well, actually. It's a major exporter of bananas, cocoa, mangoes. It's got a lot of sugar refining in it. It's also the world's capital in producing a thing called vetiver oil, which actually is really important in the production of perfumes. So not that you would think that would be important, but it is actually an economic angle to that. It is in the global community's interest to keep a lid on it. The last thing you need is to be distracted by something like that in that region when there's so much else going on.

Harry Kemsley: There's a really interesting point you just made there, Sean, which I'm just going to underscore for now before I come to you, Matt, for a slightly broader view across some of the topics that's just been introduced by Lewis. That is that you don't walk into an environment in a country like Haiti with 200 gangs and all the chaos that could be creating in terms of trying to understand the situation, and overnight pick up an intelligence picture that's understandable. You just don't get to do that, right? So I think that's a really important point. Going back to where we started in this podcast about why you might work with a commercial partner that can have that long- term enduring look at something like Janes does, and have a view that you could pick up to prime the pump, get you started, a foundational understanding of what's happening on the ground. Matt, I know you wanted to come in there. I'll stop and let you come in at that point.

Matthew Henman: Sure. Thanks, Harry. I think exactly as you say, Lewis and I have been working hard over the past few months helping build this broader intelligence picture of the situation on the ground in Haiti. As Lewis mentioned, huge number of gangs and really trying to follow things on a micro level down to mapping out areas of control, area of operations where gangs are competing for control of key critical national infrastructure, et cetera, and the risk that that then poses to, there's already a substantial international community contingent still on the ground in Haiti. There is a major humanitarian angle to the situation there as well. I mean, already the situation in Haiti hasn't been good for the past several decades, but the last couple of years, as Lewis mentioned, has really been a steep decline in terms of the humanitarian situation, particularly in and around the capital itself. And amid that really kind of complex security situation with this proliferation of all these different gang actors, in the past couple of months the security situation has taken an additional turn. We had an emergence, almost overnight really, of a citizen vigilante movement that started fighting back against the gangs, some really hideous scenes of gang members being butchered in the streets by gangs armed with petrol and machetes. So an already volatile and highly unstable situation becoming much worse. Really underscoring the inability of the Haitian national police to project any kind of stability and security on the capital city, and the local population feeling compelled to take the security matters into their own hands, which I think has dampened the gang situation temporarily, but it's only going to cause pushback and additional insecurity down the line.

Harry Kemsley: I mean, you can imagine, can't you? I do remember the riots in the UK some years ago when the streets felt like they were becoming unsafe. People started to organize their own street defenses, their own street security to look after their homes and their families. You can imagine the average Haitian family worried about the security of their children, their livelihoods, their homes, wanting to do the same. Sean, I know you wanted to come in there, but just before you do, Sean, Lewis, what I'd be really keen to understand after Sean's input is, okay, great, that's an interesting and somewhat worrying perspective you've given us about the path from'21 to the current day. What I'm curious to know after Sean's input is, how do we do that? How do you do that from open sources? But we'll come back to you in just a second, Lewis, with that question. Sean, over to you.

Sean Corbett: I just wanted to reflect what Matt said about the humanitarian angle, which is really important. Certainly for countries like the UK and the US of course, having that baseline understanding before you do something like a non- combatant evacuation operation, which I've spoken about before, is really, really important. I remember when I was at our joint forces headquarters, which is our rapid deployable headquarters, we had to go to Montserrat to evacuate people there. We didn't even know where it was on the map, let alone what the security situation was like. I mean, fortunately it was pretty benign, fairly benign, but this is exactly the sort of thing we need to know for something, and Haiti is a great example. Are we going to be opposed getting in there? Where are the areas of high threat? Who are the entitled people? Can we expect the support from the infrastructure and the governance in the country? All that sort of stuff is incredibly important.

Harry Kemsley: Yeah, really, really complicated. Lewis, let me pivot us back then to one of the central themes that we've often talked about in these podcast episodes, which is how do we do it? How do we use the open source environment? How have you gone through a process over the recent months that Matt mentioned earlier to generate this picture and understand that there are 200 gangs involved, for example? How have you done that?

Lewis Galvin: We have a couple of different strands that I use primarily for the sourcing aspect, and they all contribute differently to allow me to paint the bigger picture as the analyst sort of leading on this. So we have the Janes event database is a really useful starting point for us where our central events team collate events relating to gang activity in Port- au- Prince, and that helps to give me an indication of what's happening and where it's happening in the country.

Harry Kemsley: So just to be clear, that's like a foundational level of just knowing what's been going on generally speaking, in this country in this case?

Lewis Galvin: Yes, that's correct. Yeah. They locate the events, they source the events, and then we pick it up and proceed to do the analysis with that. But the events database works best when operating alongside a lot of the local media outlets. I find with open source intelligence in Haiti, your local media outlets are your best friend. And I think you can draw parallels with most countries. The more granular information comes through local outlets. International media isn't going to report on smaller scale incidents in Haiti. But it's really important for me to be able to use these local media outlets because I get these smaller incidents and that helps me to paint the bigger picture of what's going on. So I can see a couple of small scale gang clashes on this street, in this commune, and in this area, and ultimately that helps me assess the trends and what's going on. But that also, again, is supplemented by a lot of NGOs have an active interest in Haiti because of the human rights issues that we've addressed, and then the food insecurity, et cetera. There's a lot of interest from non- government organizations. A lot of these organizations will do publications over periods, so be it quarters or monthly or however they choose to do it. That, again, helped to paint the bigger picture, particularly in terms of these statistics. So I get a lot of the statistics, the homicide data, et cetera, and I'm able to compare between different periods. And again, it helps me to paint the bigger picture of, okay, things are escalating or deescalating, and ultimately who the perpetrators are. And then lastly, the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti as well; also, of course, very active in Haiti. They produce a lot of information from their sort of on the ground local sources that, again, supplements the three strands that I just mentioned, ultimately allows me to then do some trend analysis and assessment.

Harry Kemsley: Thank you. Go Lewis. Coming from that specific example case, Matt, around Haiti, where Lewis has outlined a series of different sources, triangulating as he goes, building detailed pictures in certain areas that fill in the blanks from the high level context he's got from elsewhere, that sounds like a fairly orthodox methodology. That's consistent, I take it, with other things that we do in the same sort of genre and same sort of intelligence analysis. But is there anything about Haiti that stands out? So first question is, is that consistent with the other methodology? And then secondly, is there anything unusual about Haiti that you would want to underscore in terms of why open source has been particularly useful or particularly challenging for this particular case?

Matthew Henman: It's a tricky one. As Lewis mentioned, I think a lot of the information that is going into these reports is open source, it's local news sources. It's the kind of thing that someone with a search engine could find. But I think what we're able to do is to take a lot of those reports collectively, put it together, and then build up that broader intelligence picture. That's a lot harder to do if you are starting from scratch. So Lewis will take in new reports every day and adds those to the intelligence picture that he's already put together. So there'll be a report of two gangs fighting in this area, or a new gang having taken control of a particular area of a neighborhood. We will be able to compare that to the intelligence material that we already have, and we can track that as a change, as a development. It's taking it beyond that just pure information and building that into actual actual intelligence in terms of this is a change we have recorded in terms of this gang now operating in this new area, or this gang is now controlling this area, or this gang is using new operational methods, et cetera; all of which we're then able to piece together into monthly reports that we're putting together for clients to underscore those key security developments, et cetera, and trend changes in the country. But as you mentioned, just to carry on, it is a standardized intelligence collection process that we use across Janes and particularly across the Country Intelligence Department that Lewis and I both work in. We have established a very standardized intelligence collection and preparation methodology in terms of how we approach this to ensure that there is that consistency of approach and methodology to all of the foundational and threat intelligence that we're producing.

Harry Kemsley: I guess the big challenge with Haiti though, going back to this 200 gangs, is just the complexity of what you're seeing. I mean, the intelligence picture that you've got being updated at the micro level by neighborhood and corners of particular streets where fights might be happening must, Lewis, become a very, very complicated picture very quickly. So keeping that picture clear enough to then transmit to somebody else must be a big part of the challenge that's particular to Haiti, I would've thought.

Lewis Galvin: Definitely, yeah. I think it highlights some of the difficulties that we can be faced with when primarily using open source intelligence. And as you say, Haiti is a good example. So one area of the capital we're currently monitoring is generally considered the most violent commune in the city, but there's very rarely information coming out about homicides and kidnappings, et cetera, in this area because nobody's willing to go there. The local media aren't willing to go there, NGOs, it's an absolute red zone. And ultimately if there's no information coming out, it can be fairly difficult to assess the situation. But I think equally in some cases, the lack of information is all the information you need. So I can sit here and confidently tell you this is one of, if not the most, violent area of the capital, despite not having all of these statistics et cetera, coming out of the place. Again, it helps with the sort of trend analysis. We see this area, it's called Cité Soleil, this neighborhood in Haiti, when it is reported on, it's usually huge clashes. It's the stuff that will make international media. It's 150 fatalities, 100 fatalities. It's really large clashes. I think that just underscores where the media puts its attention. This place, it's so common in Cité Soleil, the violent incidents, that it's only now reported on when it's really significant, relatively speaking. So yeah, it does definitely highlight some of the difficulties that you are faced with.

Harry Kemsley: Thank you, Lewis. Sean, I will come to you in just a second. I know you wanted to come in there. Matt, what did you want to say? Sorry.

Matthew Henman: Just to say that that kind of complexity of the situation and the granularity, it highlights another challenge that we then have to address, and that's how we're able to present this information, this intelligence to clients in a way that is actually understandable and actionable. Because it's all very well being able to say, " This is an incredibly granular situation. It's very complex." But if you can't convey that in a way that is understood by the people you're trying to provide this intelligence to, then it's useless. If you present this information just as huge blocks of text, you're going to get nowhere. We are very lucky in that we've been able to translate a lot of the intelligence picture that Lewis has been compiling into detailed maps, showing areas of control where gangs are competing, where not just gang violence but vigilante violence is being conducted, mapping out changing areas of control as well to try and visualize this information in a way that's a lot easier to actually then take on board. Okay, I can understand in a much more intuitive way, this is the security situation on the ground. These are the key areas of critical national infrastructure. Here are key government buildings, et cetera. But also then, here are the gangs that are operating around those. Here are the ones that are in control of these areas. Here are the gangs that are challenging for control of those areas. These are the hotspots, and this is how it's been changing then on a month by month basis. So yeah, it's a challenge, but I think one that Lewis and I have taken on eagerly, being able to try and represent complex informational or intelligence situations in a way that is intuitive and easy to understand for clients.

Harry Kemsley: Yeah. Sean, I'll come to you in just a second, and as I do so, just to sort of forewarn you, I think where we should go next though is how do we start to use this information to drive future areas of concern? How do we start to look for indicators that might warn us of impending concerns? But before I get to that, Sean, I know you wanted to come in there, but I certainly think you should pick up on that point about had you received the brief from these guys about Haiti in your previous life, what would it have needed to have covered to help you get the planning done?

Sean Corbett: I think that Lewis and Matt have both referred to, and it leads to your question as well, the need for good methodology. So a robust repeatable process that is auditable, but also you can demonstrate to your audience, whoever they are, " Look, we know what we're talking about here because we followed a robust process. It's trade craft," that word again. But to do so, you need to understand what you're looking at. Lewis was talking about some of the databases he uses. And because he's looking at it in so much detail, he will know if there's any changes to that. And the example, I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but in Afghanistan, you might say, " Why on earth are you referring to Afghanistan now?" There was a NATO system called the Afghan Mission Network. And what it did at the tactical level, it recorded what we call sig- ac, significant activity basically. It was like when there was a Taliban attack, et cetera, when there was a contact. Now at some stage, the definition of what a sig- ac was got changed. And so the inputs into the database changed dramatically. So for a period of about three months it appeared that the Taliban was spiking in terms of what they were doing. Everyone was going, " Well, all right, there's the usual summer offense of et cetera, et cetera." Now those who knew particularly out there went, " No, no, no, no, it's just the methodology." Well, A, you don't change methodology halfway through because you can't compare light with light. But B, you need to understand the statistics and what is being reported on in order to do the so what. And I think Lewis and Matt have both brought that out quite strongly.

Harry Kemsley: Yeah, for sure. All right then, let's move to the next part of this conversation as I forewarned a second ago, Lewis and Matt. One of the things I said in my introduction is that the fact that the commercial sector can be looking at some of these flanks, some of these arguably lower priority areas where the world's focusing so much on what's happening in Ukraine, for example, us looking at Haiti to bring people's attention to it at the appropriate time. But the appropriate time is a bit I want to just to focus in on, indicators and warnings. Haiti is now becoming a territorial, potentially regional issue that the UN's involved in. So that may be one of those things that the commercial sector could actually start to offer as a service to its colleagues and partners in the intelligence and national security arena. You need to start bringing your eyes to Haiti. Let's talk about how we do that, particularly around how we judge stability and what indicators we might use in that realm to drive the conversation to actually bring the attention of people to the area, in this case, of Haiti. How do we build an understanding of indicators and warnings? And then how do we do that in a systemized way? Maybe I can start with you, Lewis, in terms of how you think about stability. Then maybe I can move that question to you, Matt, in terms of how do we then construct that into a formal indicator that we can use for discussions and briefings. So Lewis, maybe you can start us off in terms of what you use to get that sense of stability, and then Matt, to you, in terms of how we structure that. Lewis?

Lewis Galvin: As a little bit of insight into how we reach the assessment that we do is a lot of it is based off trend analysis. I think Sean touched on it just before. The fact that I'm looking at this in so much detail on a daily basis means even the smaller details I pick up on over the period of a couple of weeks, and I can see changes in things like gang activity, escalation and violence, areas of control. And again, as Matt touched on earlier, we are mapping that at the moment, and each report is very different based on changing activity. That all comes from trend analysis. A lot of it's comparing previous periods of activity to current periods of activity and identifying the changes, and then also trying to assess why these changes are occurring. So being on the America's Desk, a lot of the work that we do is focused around serious and organized crime. You'll find there are a lot of similarities in the end goal for serious and organized crime groups. In this case in Haiti, it's the gangs, and that is be it territorial control, economic control, et cetera. So it's trying to ascertain what motivates gangs beyond just being self- sufficient. What is driving the proliferation? Worth highlighting in the second half of last year, there was a big push by several gangs to occupy a lot of critical national infrastructure in Haiti. The Supreme Court was occupied, the largest flower mill in the country was occupied, and the largest oil distribution terminal in the country. That was one of the major turning points where gangs went from just expanding which streets they have control of to try to identify the end goal, and clearly there's an economic element here as well as a territorial element. So a little bit of it comes from the expertise and my knowledge of the region as a whole, and then just applying that to Haiti as its own.

Harry Kemsley: Very good. So we've got the local expertise, Matt. We've got some indicators as Lewis just described, that the backend of last year may have been forewarning to things really starting to ramp up over the general context from'21, as was described much earlier in this conversation by Lewis. How do we start to structure and systemize that into a set of indicators that we can start to compare like we'd like across different countries in that territory, for example, to see where the real hotspots are? How do we do that?

Matthew Henman: One of the things that we've been working on over the past 12 months across country intelligence as a whole is the creation of what we call our country stability indicators. So what these are is creating an overall risk score for a country that details the threat of either disorderly government collapse, forceful transfer of power, or the fragmentation of state power. The way we do that is we break down that risk into three strands; social risk, political risk, and economic risk. And then within each of those risk categories, we have a series of subindicators that are analyzed. For instance, I was leading on the social risk indicator. So within that, the indicators that we're monitoring are activity by non- state armed groups, activity by serious and organized crime groups, protests and riots, et cetera. So a variety of indicators, each of which is then broken down into a smaller set of security questions and conditions to be assessed for that country. So within the non- state armed group threat indicator, for instance, it's looking at the operational methodology of groups, the level of violence, the tactics of groups, targets, what they're trying to achieve, et cetera, all of which is considered from this bottom up approach. So we consider all of these security factors for the non- state armed group risk; that gets assigned a score. That then gets combined with all the other subindicator scores within the social risk score to create an overall social risk for a country. That gets combined with the political score, which covers internal security, corruption, et cetera. It gets combined with the economic score, which is largely using external data sets around measuring economic stability within a country. Those will then get combined together to create an overall kind of score of zero to four for a country which is a measure of the country's internal stability. It's a fantastic mixture of both qualitative assessments using the subject matter expertise around this, who are real experts on individual countries; alongside a quantitative input, providing that kind of data elements, whether using our own proprietary events data or external data sets to come up with this kind of overall country stability score, which, as we said, is important. It's a standardized and repeatable kind of process and methodology, so that for each country then across the world, we have this kind of clear score, which is then reevaluated every quarter. So that we're able to really kind track changes in a country's kind of internal stability or a country's stability score. But not just how it's changing, but what elements of risk are driving that. Some countries might have a high country stability or instability score, and that might be driven primarily by political considerations. In other countries it's going to be the social score or the economic score that's driving it, or a combination. Unfortunately for some countries it's high on all counts. Some countries it's low on many counts. But we've created this standardized and very detailed methodology for measuring these indicators and calculating up from a very granular level into an overall risk score for a country.

Harry Kemsley: Thank you for that description, Matt. What I like about that, Sean, is that it's auditable, it's explainable. If I'm going to get an indicator that says, " This country appears to be heading south," There are indicators coming through now that suggest this is becoming more and more instable, what's good about that from the recipient point of view, and you've been a recipient many, many times of this kind of information, is that if you were to say, " Well, okay, I hear what you're saying. Explain that. Show me. Walk me down to the point that explains where that's coming from." It sounds to me, Sean, like that's exactly what Matt and Lewis are able to do for us, certainly from what I've heard.

Sean Corbett: Yeah, absolutely. And much as within the intelligence community itself, there is a rigorous, robust, some might say, too robust process where you show me your working, I think it's even more so or more important in the open source intelligence world, because back to the trust word, okay, if I'm going to federate, if you want to call it that, or partnership with you on something, I need to know that what you are going to give me is absolutely right. But I also need to go to know that it's going to be on time as well; so the two things. You can own back to what I've said all along, you can only do that if you are following robust methodology and looking at it constantly.

Harry Kemsley: Yeah. Well, as the clock is looming in my eye and I start to think about how much time we got left, let me ask yourself, Matt and Lewis, to think of a takeaway you'd like the audience to have from this conversation. Be that perhaps, Lewis, in your case about what next for Haiti, what should be worried about most in that particular country and situation? And Matt, from your perspective, and maybe perhaps more broadly in terms of what you want people to take away in terms of the power of open source intelligence and how that's driving this? Sean, I'm going to let you go first. Very unusual today in terms of your takeaway. Normally, by the way, for you, Matt and Lewis, he gets to go last, which means we've all eaten his sandwiches before he gets to them in the takeaway. But Sean, what's your one takeaway from today that you'd want the audience to remember?

Sean Corbett: Great, and I think there's a very, very clear takeaway from this one. Particularly I like this case study a lot because what it demonstrates is that there is definitely the need of a strong partnership, and this has come out from inaudible and from others, actually, some of our very senior XIC leaders, that there needs to be a really strong partnership between the intelligence community and the open source providers to say, " Okay, what are you going to cover for us?" I don't think that conversation is particularly mature yet, to say, " Right, if you can cover those areas which are right now less important, it will let us focus on those things that really are imperative and immediate to us now, and then we can rely on you to actually, when we go, what's happening there; something on the shelf that we know and can trust." So for me very much is that 80/ 20. And also the fact that if they're confident and understand the methodology, they will go, " Look, we are very happy that 80% of what needs to be done, or 90% even, is in the open source domain." And let's face it, the IC will be using a lot of the databases that Lewis has talked about already, but then they can add the sprinkle of gold, of magic dust that is the exquisite classified stuff over the top of it, which makes them more efficient in how they reuse their rare resources. So that's the big one for me.

Harry Kemsley: Thanks, Sean. Lewis, what should we be worried about with regard to Haiti in the foreseeable future?

Lewis Galvin: Well, I think with what we should be worried about, it's very easy to forget about the human element with things like this. From the security element, we're looking at what's driving the violence, but sometimes it can be to be difficult to remain connected to the actual impact of that and the human element. So I just think the what's next for Haiti is hopefully an improving humanitarian situation, first and foremost. That comes with a lot of different elements, looking at holding elections, perhaps international intervention, et cetera. But I think, yeah, ultimately we don't want people to forget the impact it's having on the Haitian people.

Harry Kemsley: Real people, yeah. And stand by, Lewis, for, I suspect, a call to you to provide them with the map of the 200 gangs and where they are, in which neighborhood, and what they're doing. Matt, your takeaway for the audience?

Matthew Henman: Haiti's been a great example of where we've been able to directly support client requests coming in from within the Five Eyes community for that open source complement to their existing more classified intel strands, helping to provide those intelligence assessments relating to key security trends and developments in the country. Really underlining, as both you, Harry, and Sean have highlighted, the role that we can play in supporting information and security operations at the planning and execution stage of key national security clients.

Harry Kemsley: Yeah, I completely agree with that, and I'm going to underscore that by using that foundational word again. I think I described it earlier as prime the pump. If I was working with you again, Sean, and we were asked to go into Haiti as the planners around a multinational force to create an environment where the human condition was improved, it would take us an awful lot of time, a huge amount of guesswork, probably a bunch of assumptions, and we would walk in very, very concerned that we didn't really understand the picture. If I could take a map of the area with the current and recent situation already plotted out for me, so we knew at least where the hotspots were, that would be a start. So for me, it's about that foundational understanding, lay it in with some current intelligence that we can provide from open sources, in that complement that you described, Matt, or as the partnership as Randy Nixon previously described it between the commercial and the private sector. Yeah, I agree. Haiti is an interesting example, and hopefully the lessons that we've learned from previous examples where early intervention will generate better outcomes for the human condition will be remembered by the international community. Okay, well, at that point I'll pull stumps, but not before, of course, I sincerely thank you, Matt, and you, Lewis, for both the work you're doing, but also for the time you spent with us today on the podcast. Thank you both very much.

Matthew Henman: Not at all. It's been great speaking with you both.

Harry Kemsley: Thanks, Matt. Thanks Lewis.

Lewis Galvin: Thank you for having us.

Harry Kemsley: It won't be the last time, I promise you. Sean, as always, good to see you. And for the listener, I look forward to speaking with you again. Thanks again. Bye- bye.

Speaker 7: Thanks for joining us this week on the World of Intelligence. Make sure to visit our website, Janes. com/ podcast, where you can subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Google Podcasts so you'll never miss an episode.


In this episode Janes analysts Matthew Henman and Lewis Galvin discuss how open source intelligence can provide good indicators and warnings for predictive intelligence. They also discuss how they use Janes open source data to produce a broad intelligence picture of an evolving situation such as that in Haiti.

Today's Host

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Harry Kemsley

|President of Government & National Security, Janes

Today's Guests

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Matthew Henman

|Head of Terrorism and Insurgency, Janes
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Sean Corbett

|AVM (ret’d) Sean Corbett CB MBE MA, RAF
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Lewis Galvin

|Research Analyst (Americas), Janes