Tag Archives: Afghanistan

Speculative reasoning

It is a stage we all entertain, OK, entertaining not the greatest word here, yet the stage is smitten with ‘What if’, ‘How could’ and ‘Who is’, it is an approach to critical thinking, postulating and no matter how academic we tend to make it, it remains speculation. So as CNBC gives us (at https://www.cnbc.com/2021/08/30/weapons-proliferation-risk-in-afghanistan-very-worrying-saudi-prince-turki.html) the article ‘Saudi Arabia’s former intel chief calls weapons proliferation risk in Afghanistan very worrying as terror threat grows’ the engine starts rolling. The first thing I did was take another look at the map. No matter how that corridor runs, it takes Iran to make it work. Yes, there is a one party of Pakistan, yet Pakistan fear to be taken out of nearly every international equation and siding with the Taliban sets them up to that stage. They’ll possibly still help in other ways, but Pakistan needs Saudi Arabia a lot more than the Taliban and the Taliban does not have any financial means to make it work. So we are speculatively set to the stage of Iran. So even as we accept “sparking fear in Saudi Arabia about the enduring threat of ISIS and Al Qaeda and where and with whom the equipment might end up”, ISIS and Al Qaeda still need a stage to operate on and the fear is not wrong, but it does require a path to Saudi Arabian borders and I see this as as a setting that requires Iran. 

We might take ‘solace’ from “The President also vowed to issue another retaliatory strike against the terrorists responsible for Thursday’s suicide bombing that killed 13 U.S. service members and more than 110 Afghans.” Yet in this the larger element is missed. You see the Taliban took over Afghanistan in less than 10 days, they got billions in hardware against an army that was well over 500% larger. In all this Al Qaeda could not operate unseen and there is a larger stage where someone is feeding Al Qaeda information and my speculative view is that the Taliban and Al Qaeda are in bed together, to what degree remains to be seen, but there is no way that Al Qaeda can avoid all parties by themselves. 

The larger problem is “NATO has been clear that it expected the Taliban to keep its “commitment” that it will not allow Afghanistan to become a haven for terrorists, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told CNBC in a recent interview, but it’s still unclear if the Taliban is capable of managing the possible contagion, or if the most recent attack in Kabul could embolden individuals or terror groups around the wider region” This implies that NATO is either dumb or clueless, optionally both. The Taliban will only keep commitments that serves them and that gives both ISIS and Al Qaeda a lot of manoeuvring space. And the leeway we see with ‘it’s still unclear if the Taliban is capable of managing the possible contagion’ I do not believe that is the right approach. The Taliban had a little over 10 years to set up their own network and I personally believe that it is in place and they now have an arms division that makes it more powerful than several middle easters nations, they could overrun Bahrain in a day and Oman within 4 days and that is a larger problem. Yes, I suddenly made an ‘error’ and mentioned the Taliban and not Al Qaeda, but I wonder how far they are in bed together, more importantly India Today told us yesterday ‘A pledge binds al-Qaeda to Taliban. Why is it a worry for Pakistan?’ I believe it to be more than a pledge. It is a personal view, but I think that the Taliban made long term arrangements and that is a problem, it is time for NATO and the media to wake up.

It speculatively puts the pressure in Saudi Arabia in too large a stage and that suits Iran just fine. So as I see it Iran is happy to help whomever goes for Saudi Arabia and that is the danger we all face, because if this escalates oil goes back to $120 a barrel, oil deliveries from the middle east will trickle down to a mere 7% and that is merely the starter in all this and all NATO players know this to be true. 

There is one part I disagree with. We see “Nevertheless, while global confidence in American leadership may have been shaken, Al-Faisal said the episode didn’t necessarily mean the end of American supremacy globally: “I think it’s still too early to judge whether America is in a watershed moment””, we all know that American supremacy is past the end, Afghanistan and how the US army tucked tail and ran is merely a symptom. Their failure in diversity, polarisation of its population, greed driven players that take chunks out of the US economy and the list goes on, one element could be fought, they face at least half a dozen of them and a few of them at the same time. Their weapon sales, even those to legitimate governments are stopped and pretty much handed to China (some to Russia as well), a stage that diminishes their revenue and they are not replacing it, they are merely handing it over. So for the most I share the fears that Prince Turki Al-Faisal is voicing here and the fact that other players are not anywhere near this is funny on a few levels. As I personally (and speculatively) see it, whomever (read: stakeholders) is mulling the view that Saudi Arabia is under attack, they are doing an excellent job, but the fallout will hit us all and then we need to ask the media, each of them, who stopped a story of a direct attack on Saudi Arabia (Houthi attacks) that included civilian targets. For TV the excuse of ‘no time’ can hold water, on the internet where the space is, where there is an abundance of space. Time and people, there it does not hold water. I think that there is one side that Prince Turki Al-Faisal was not contemplating (or he is and he isn’t talking about it). Saudi Arabia has a lot more enemies than they are aware of and they are all enabling Iran which is a concern, especially if any evidence is found that Iran is enabling a larger scenario that includes Al Qaeda. So even if you do not care about Saudi Arabia, which is understandable when you do not live there. Where do you think Al Qaeda goes next? You are all so against fossil fuels, which is fine, but when it falls away and the cost of living goes up by 75%, how will you feel then? Did you think that far ahead?

I accept and understand that my thinking is speculative, things could evolve differently but in chess we see moves ahead, we might not be able to set the string of moves made, but in the end one of the pieces will move exactly as predicted and the more moves are correctly seen the better the strategy. In all this it is time to stop beating about the bush and as the expression goes, call a spade a spade. Oh and if that is not possible (which might be true) it shows that the US is failing in yet another stage and in that one they are dragging NATO down with them.

Enjoy the weekend and consider that some time soon when fuel goes from $3.181 to $5.566 how will you afford any kind of lifestyle? And that is before the heating bill arrives and mst to the US (Canada and the UK too) will move into Winter, so consider that part too.

Have a great weekend.

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You call that an army?

I was in disbelieve yesterday, I saw information and memo after memo and I was lost, I really was. The media to a larger extent reported on it, the Times had impressive graphics, the BBC used something similar (or a cut version of it) and others followed on these starts (as far as I could tell), yet the larger stage was left behind the writing and that is not an accusation. They reported on a lot. I liked Forbes most, the cold numbers appealed to me. The article (at https://www.forbes.com/sites/adamandrzejewski/2021/08/23/staggering-costs–us-military-equipment-left-behind-in-afghanistan) called ‘Staggering Costs – U.S. Military Equipment Left Behind In Afghanistan’ gives us a lot. The stage is that the Afghan army was better equiped that several NATO nations, the total cost as some sources gave me EXCEEDS $84,000,000,000. This path implies that a small group of people received OVER $4,000,000,000 in bonuses and commissions. Afghanistan was big business and several made a bundle. Now consider that the Afghan army was 5 times the size of the Taliban, with all this hardware and the Taliban ran them over in a week. As I personally see it, a core in the Afghan forces and politicians (with optional exclusion of the former and running like a jackrabbit president of that place) wanted the Taliban back. Consider that me, my lonesome self could do well over twice the damage any Afghan pilot did. 

source: Forbes

I would opt for the Huey (with Gatlings), I know the Blackhawk is better but it is less manoeuvrable than a Huey and it has about 200 more options on the instrument panel and with my limited flying skills, less is definitely a lot more. And it gets to be a more questionable setting when you see 

source: Forbes

And you consider how many Taliban would not make it with up to 300,000 rifles and 25,000 grenade launchers as well as 2,000 mortars. And the dent in the Taliban was close to non existent and all these weapons are now in Taliban hands, they can now put a serious dent in their opponents. They are now armed to the teeth and no one is asking the harder questions, where the  Eff You See Kay was the CIA? The Taliban ‘inherited’ over 700,000 pieces of equipment and the Afghan army did close to nothing, even as they outnumbered their ‘enemy’ five to one. 

Forbes also gives us “The U.S. provided an estimated $83 billion worth of training and equipment to Afghan security forces since 2001. This year, alone, the U.S. military aid to Afghan forces was $3 billion” and in all this there is a stage for much harder questions and that falls on the politicians, not the military, they were handed a set of orders that should never have been allowed and the media is not asking those questions, are they? Yet Forbes also gives us “Not helping transparency, the Biden Administration is now hiding key audits on Afghan military equipment. This week, our auditors at OpenTheBooks.com reposted two key reports on the U.S. war chest of military gear in Afghanistan that had disappeared from federal websites”, I am not willing to push the blame on the Biden administration without knowing all the players. A small group made billions, they have access to lobbyists and there is an unnamed DoD link in all this, hiding information in plain sight is what they are good at and hiding a link (at https://www.gao.gov/) can be done by any number of people, evidence is key and there is none, as such (even as I am Republican in mind) blaming an administration with that lack this early in their administration seems pointless. The GAO-17-667R Afghanistan Security report that Forbes also had gives light to a few items, but there is a lot that is missing and I wonder if the CIA will hide behind national security for handing over 700,000 pieces of military hardware to the Taliban. And make sure that you take notice of a small footnote. We are given “All equipment described in encs. I-VI is fully U.S. funded, with the exception of communications equipment in fiscal years 2003 and 2004”, so I reckon that the Taliban will not be merely killing US forces, it will killing them using US funded hardware. Are you awake now?

It is also worth noting that there is a chart in the report that shows that the Afghan police got well over 50% of most hardware that the Afghan army received. A stage we need to be aware of. A stage where the army was not alone in this failure and it is a massive failure when you have all this hardware and well over 500% the personnel that you get taken over by a group of insurrectionists. The media (not placing blame here) is not asking the right questions, they aren’t asking that much. The few that did (BBC, the Guardian, the Times, Forbes) are not asking on who got commissions and that is the $4 billion question, I also reckon that the CIA in that area, who got a huge increase in funds and budget dropped the ball, I am actually wondering if they know what a ball looks like, so I am including it at the bottom.

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Thames based tears

To be honest, I needed a few moments. It happens to us all, we all get overwhelmed by anger and frustrations at times and I am no different. This all started a few hours back when the Guardian gave us ‘Revealed: Foreign Office ignored frantic pleas to help Afghans’, now this happens, and I get it, the Afghans are optionally worried about things, it is the second part “Thousands of urgent messages from MPs and charities had not been read by the end of the UK evacuation from Afghanistan” as well as “including cases flagged by government ministers”, in this my first personal response was “Are you out of your fucking mind?” Let’s be clear, the entire Taliban debacle started in 2001, 20 years ago. And instead of eradicating the Taliban, a sit on your hands tactic was deployed. 

Consider the quote “The Taliban are a revolutionary movement, deeply opposed to the Afghan tribal system and focused on the rebuilding of the Islamic Emirate. Their propaganda and intelligence are efficient, and the local autonomy of their commanders in the field allow them both flexibility and cohesion. They have made clever use of ethnic tensions, the rejection of foreign forces by the Afghan people, and the lack of local administration to gain support in the population.” We get this from the Carnegie endowment for international peace, the author is Gilles Dorronsoro and it was published well over a DECADE ago, in 2008 (at https://carnegieendowment.org/files/taliban_winning_strategy.pdf). As such the US and UK had a decade to respond and to alter their tactics. So if people get angry over “Thousands of urgent messages from MPs” it will be mostly acceptable. In addition, can we get a list of those ‘thousands’ of whiners? (Charities are permitted to whine) Afghanistan was a joke from start to finish, a joke that came with a multi billion dollar invoice. Instead of eradicating, the US and others started to pussyfoot there and it merely ended up being the foundation of their casualty list. 

And in all this, Afghanistan is almost three times the size of the United Kingdom and the Taliban took it bak in less than a week, and no one is asking questions? The Afghan army got overrun like nothing you have ever seen, whilst they were 5 times the size of the Taliban and it remains to be seen how many of those Afghan troops changed sides. So whilst we start crying “Oh, what a poor people” there is a much larger concern and it has not been dealt with, not for almost two decades. And whilst the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/aug/28/revealed-foreign-office-ignored-pleas-help-afghans-mps-evacuation) gives us “However, amid accusations of government incompetence over elements of the evacuation effort, the Observer has seen evidence that an official email address used to collate potential Afghan cases from MPs and others regularly contained 5,000 unread emails throughout the week”, we get additional questions on who monitors that email address and can we get a tally of who mailed it, how often and whether they were MP, Charity or other? And more interesting is a fact not shown here, and that is why I want the names of those MP’s. You see this was going to happen, and it was clear that this was going to happen in 2020, early 2020. So whilst we tend to know that MP’s leave a lot until the 11th hour, starting certain steps like evacuating translators would have been prudent almost 26 weeks ago,  so how many were evacuated? And this in on the UK, the US has a much larger mess to deal with. So as we start considering a number of events, consider that the list of Monday morning quarterbacks (another name-tag for some mp’s) needs to be set next to a list of ACTUAL actions they started to get people out of harms way. That is all before we start digging into the reach of ISIS-K and how in that mess they got a person loaded with explosives into Kabul and right towards the airport. In all this when we see the mess on several fronts too many issues are outstanding and not considered, a side the Guardian and the Observer are seemingly void on. I use seemingly because it implies that I read everything these two are bringing and I never did that part. 

So whilst you consider that poor poor tactic, take time and make a list of all actual and factual actions over the last 20 years and how Afghanistan got overrun again in a week by the Taliban, the allied forces never had that option, so why not? For those who oppose me in this (an always valid side), go cry me a river and when it comes to the size of the Thames, let’s compare notes, you might not like the result but if that wakes you up, it is fine by me. 

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Sliding media values

I got a little angry as I took notice of ‘Lily Cole: Model apologises for posing in a burka on Instagram’ (at https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-58245304). Here we see the BBC in an alleged new attempt to create click bitches. You see, why would the legally allowed acts of a writer (Lilly Cole) require her to publicly apologise for something that is in the first not illegal and not even immoral. In the second, I hereby request a list of ALL the critics that we see in “Critics said posing in the garment, worn by some Muslim women, did not help diversity and was ill-advised given the current unrest in Afghanistan”, so I want that list of critics (and stakeholders too). Diversity is not seen through fashion, to be clear it is my view and when I see “Cole said she understood why the image upset people and wanted to “sincerely apologise for any offence caused”. She agreed it was “ill-timed” and said she “hadn’t read the news at the time”.” I personally wonder who is pushing this anti islamic bullshit. Now, I am not muslim, I do not are whether a person (disregarding religion) decides to wear a Burka, a Niqab, a Hijab, or a Chador. Is that not the freedom we signed up for? 

That same BBC is very motivated to push any link to Martin Bashir out of the news (or as far to the back as possible). So I am understandably angry. I do not know what the motivation, or the choice was of Lily Cole to give rise to diversity. And when I see the utterly slim connection of “Cole, 33, posted the pictures as Afghanistan was being taken over by the Taliban, who forced women to wear the burka when they were last in control there in the 1990s” is beyond belief. First these idiots (oops, sorry critics) will optionally be found to have been super silent in cases of Syria and Yemen as well as the inactions by America in Afghanistan, the latter part is getting all kinds of exposure. In the second, the global Islamic population is almost 2 billion, making it 25% of the world population, the Taliban is an estimated mere 230,000 making it a 0.015% of the Islamic population and a 0.00294% of the global population, so why the overreaction? I am speculating and willing to bet that this is due to anti-islamic sentiments and the BBC is reporting this, whilst allegedly ignoring all kinds of issues for their stakeholders? 

Does anyone get the drift that the BBC needs to overhaul their editorial staff? I need to be honest, the BBC has done its share in exposing anti-Islamophobia, that should not be ignored, but this piece could have been done a hell of a lot better. So when we look at some of the quotes and we see “The Times columnist Janice Turner accused Cole of “putting Instagram posturing before universal human rights”.” In this I am willing to call Janice Turner a bit of a raving loon. Why? This is about a book, Lily Cole’s book and if she thinks that she is doing the best to produce and promote her product then it is her choice. I have nothing against JT messaging Lily Cole stating that she is not taking the right route, no, the BBC made it all public and no matter how you slice it, she did it on HER instagram account. When I search for Instagram+Scandal I get 85,000,000 hits on Google. In this day and age when ACTUAL journalism is sliding, was there any value in giving Lily Cole visibility in this way? Then we see “Anjum Peerbacos, co-founder of the Hijabi Half-Hour podcast, said the pictures were “disrespectful””, which is a separate and different issue. I cannot comment on that (not Islam and lacking knowledge) and what the BBC did not give us is that she is also a member of AVOW- Advancing Voices of Women against Islamaphobia. OK, this view has merit, but the BBC did not take that path, the path was all accusing on Lily Cole and with the exception of Anjum Peerbacos it was the wrong route to take. 

We all make mistakes, there is no denying that. Yet to hammer an activist who just wrote a book it is unacceptable to take such an approach. I believe that islamic people have a decent stance to talk about dress-up, yet her answer “If you are serious about it and you’re passionate about it and you want to see diversity normalised, you bring women forward that are from that diverse background and you platform them”, is a decent intelligent one. A view that almost falls into the background, too far into the background. 

So why is it making me angry?
The BBC was ignoring several cases of houthi missile attacks on Saudi civilian targets, the BBC has been adamant on giving the highlights on many causes and that should not be forgotten. Yet in this case it could have taken a very different route, whether this is good or bad for Lily Cole is something that I cannot predict, but I wish her the best. Advocating diversity is a good cause and perhaps Anjum Peerbaco could set up a special in the Middle East Eye (a paper she writes for), or perhaps via AVOW. Let’s not forget that we all make mistakes and teaching us the why can almost never be a bad thing. It might help Lily Cole, I do not know, I am merely fishing here.

Yet I believe that the BBC with that article made a larger mistake and they should repair the damage they do, I truly believe that. And in the end, is fighting against islamophobia and for diversity to some extent not an overlapping interest area?

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The stupidity of catering

Catering is a double sided coin, there is a plus side and there is a negative side. In this there are to problems with that equation, in the first these are not sides of the same coin, they are two coins, one is larger than the other and as such we see the reflective setting change. Consider two coins, like a dime and a dollar, or a pence and a pound. Now consider that they both have heads and tails, you can choice one or the other and you think that the biggest one is your gain, but that would be wrong, it is the smaller one and the other side of the larger coin is the headway and losses you make and they tend to be larger. It is the price of catering. Like the stupid manager with dollar shaped pupils, they see revenue, but they do not recognise cost, it is part of another branch of their company, so they sell and dump all the support to the services side, in some cases (what I personally witnessed) selling things that will not work. It was their revenue and their bonus. After which they will suddenly become helpful and let their services department solve it all, making sure that delays are set in motion so that the 90 day threshold is passed and then whatever is paid back will not affect their bonus. The stupidity of catering is always one sided. Even me, I cater to me, I admit that and I have no issues with catering to me, but I will remain fair. I will not sell what will not work, I will not cater to the impossible. And that is the setting we see today, catering to the impossible.

The news (at https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2021/8/16/the-us-the-taliban-and-the-stunning-defeat-in) gives us “The Taliban victory is a major humiliation for the US”, it is not a weird consideration and there have been like mind voices in the past. I myself voiced issues with inactivity as early as 2013 and 2014, yet the Americans made noise that they knew better and now we see another stage. A stage that the media is ignoring. Yes they give their ‘click bitch’ emotional setting, but the larger stage that Al Jazeera hints at with “It was expected, yes, but not so rapidly, so victoriously, so humiliatingly”. The issues is troops and material, as I voiced the Comanche approach (an American approach no less) well over half a decade ago, the Americans catered to stakeholders and set on a perch. They should have taken a page out of the book of Quanah Parker who gave them hell in the late 1800’s (around 1870), that would have been a way to deal with the Taliban, but they decided to sit on a perch and halt any action and now we see the other side of that coin, the Taliban overran nearly all of Afghanistan in less than a week, they had the troops, they had the hardware and no one had a clue.

Now as we see Kabul being overrun, we suddenly get ‘Afghan President Ashraf Ghani flees Kabul to ‘prevent bloodshed’’ (I personally think he ran for his life caring only for self, but that might be merely my thought). There is also ‘Afghans Need a Humanitarian Intervention Right Now’, yet if you believe that this will happen you are quite crazy. I find the call by Micheál Martin calling ‘calls on Taliban to respect humanitarian law’ and this is politics? The loser in a war does not get to make demands, that has been a set result long before the Americans held that clambake from 19 Apr 1775 to 3 Sept 1783. The Dutch had a picnic opposing the Spanish in the years from 1566 to 1609, as such, I have no idea what will happen in Afghanistan, but it will not be pretty, that much I feel certain about. You see ABC news gave the people 8 hours ago ‘Who are the Taliban and what do they want?’, the did not go into any part of the folly that allowed Afghanistan to be overrun so fast. And the people in the media are not asking that question, not the Democrats, not the Republicans, and as I personally see it both sides catered to stakeholders and the maximisation of war revenue which to the largest degree gave the victory to the Taliban. When you consider the projects that USAID finished in Afghanistan, when you consider the costs and who got paid? How were they paid? A group that can overthrow a nation in a week and we need to consider “USAID completed the construction of three generation plants in 2009, 2016, and 2019 and is constructing three solar power plants and a wind farm that will add 110 megawatts of power to the national power grid” and those are merely the highlights. 

So what will happen next?
That is actually the question that is harder to answer, because it depends on the Taliban and not on the politicians that make claims that there are options and that they are working on this. Because that will be something that is so far from the truth it will become laughable. And it gets to be worse than this, you see the ‘allied’ forces abandoned their translators, the world is seeing that so any encounter where translators are needed it will be on the US forces to find them and secure them beforehand, a much larger tactical advantage then they are considering. 

A stage that might seem to be evolving, but that would be wrong, the larger stage is not that they merely lost, it is that the intelligence services in that region had seemingly no clear insight into their opponents and their resolve, their size and the materials available to them. Afghanistan is 270% of the UK and it got overrun in a week, is anyone waking up to these numbers? The afghan military was useless and their weapons pointless, the same might be said for the departing allies the Afghan army had, as such we see defeat in three ways and the media is not picking up on that, how weird?

The Guardian gives us “The Taliban have 80,000 troops in comparison with a nominal 300,699 serving the Afghan government”, this now implies that the Taliban went up against an army almost 400% their size and still overtook Afghanistan in a week, a cause for alarm and a cause for concern, so when we see ‘The world must not look away as the Taliban sexually enslaves women and girls’ we see that they too forget that to the victor go the spoils, all the spoils. England learned that lesson the hard way, The Dutch taught the Spanish and the Indonesians taught the Dutch, it was an easy lesson and history is filled with examples and the biggest lesson? These winners did not sit on a perch, it never ever works. 

As such the largest station of lessons is about to unleash and it will be worse, because now the Taliban will cry for their right to vaccines, so which nation will ingratiate themselves by providing vaccines? I reckon we will know a lot more when we get to the next weekend when we can sit on our own perches again, preparing for that Monday morning game as a quarterback.

And the Afghan people? It seems to me that the stakeholders will not care, it is not part of their spreadsheet.

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Intent or not?

This is a question that has been forming in my mind for some time now, and today the question rose again. The article that started it all is “Oil tanker off Saudi Arabian port hit by explosion caused by ‘external source’ (source: the Guardian). The setting is not new, we have seen it a few times in the last year. We all want to point fingers and blame people left right and center, but the truth of it is that the problem goes deeper and the west is largely in denial or refuses to acknowledge the events. Less than a decade ago, an attack on Saudi Arabia was for the most unthinkable. Even as we see the crying blame game, this is not a Houthi issue. You see, the Houthi’s are firing drones and missiles on Saudi Arabia, but everyone is in denial and refusing to look at Iran. There is no Yemeni infrastructure to create and optionally test drones and missiles, there is no quality control, there is no technology available in Yemen for any of this and that has been shown by different sources over the last 2 years. Even as the New York Times gives us an opinion piece that gives us “Saudi Arabia is not entitled to U.S. military or diplomatic support. It’s not a treaty ally like Japan. Its importance to U.S. security has dwindled as the United States seeks to reorient its foreign policy away from the Middle East. And if Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s tutelage is any indication, the kingdom is proving to be a wildly destabilising force in the region”, Saudi Arabia, for the most has been the stability the Middle East (outside of Israel) needs, feel free to give it to Iran, but in this, the next time they elect another Ahmadinejad, all the linked nations will target Israel AND the United States AND Europe, is that what you want?

So whilst the New York Times is slamming Saudi Arabia, or seemingly so, it is actually proving the opposite. Saudi Arabia is entitled and worthy of support. It’s events into Yemen was done by the elected government of Yemen, and that is also ignored most of the time, just like the setting that Houthi forces are getting direct support from Iran, the Houthis are getting Iranian hardware, missiles and drones. They seemingly smuggle it by all naval intelligence operations. It is almost like the EU and the US are keeping the Middle East destabilised. That is at least what it looks like, you see, for the last two years someone is feeding the Houthi forces drones and missiles and that needs to stop. I would venture that the involved parties like the price of oil to go up, up by a lot. 

In this I will tell you right now that this is my speculative view, I cannot prove the latter part (other than the Iranian support which has been proven by several parties), yet the media is silent on that part, why is that?

My mind has been busy considering an anti drone option, but as I see it, the larger part of Saudi Arabia is an empty sandbox, so how to go about it (without creating ecological and environmental devastation), a setting that needs thought, because the cure cannot be worst than the disease. The Brookings institute (at https://www.brookings.edu/blog/techtank/2016/03/16/six-ways-to-disable-a-drone/) give us 6 methods, but to deploy them in any rural situation (which is the bulk of Saudi Arabia) is not a good thing, yet it did give me an optional idea, not a great one mind you, but one that might work. 

They had Radio waves (3) and Hacking (4), This gave me an optional idea. What if we create a wifi network, one that actively pushes. Consider 4 jeeps, each jeep is a network node, and as you can see, moving the second jeep to another location sets a larger and a different curtain. Now, consider that the latest Iranian drones can fly up to 250KM/H, now the Houthis will not get those (and they lack monumental amounts of skill to operate them), but the older ones are slower, as the jeeps get a lock on a danger, the remote operator uses the created network to disrupt drone operations. I reckon that a setting of 8 jeeps might be a good start, but how to deploy them? I see the need to create 3-5 clusters of up to 4-8 jeeps, it gives the remote operator a decent amount of time to crash the drones far away and safely, optionally (and harder) is to land them so that the evidence can be collected. A secondary option is to fry the electronics, so that the drones would return to the point of liftoff, giving Saudi Intelligence a place to work from. This is the drones, not sure yet how to stop (in a cheap way) Iranian missiles, but I reckon Raytheon has something they eagerly want to sell. I merely want it to cost Iran the farm, not Saudi Arabia, like in Charlie Wilson’s War, there Charlie Wilson provided the Afghans with stringers to stop the Russians, Stinger $38,000, Russian Hind (Mil Mi-24) $36,000,000, so almost 1000:1, those are numbers to work with and that stage needs to be found to top Iran as well. So as I was looking into the Shahab-1, Shahab-2, Shahab-3, can the same network be used to create a false image, or a setting to fool the missile?

GOT systems
It is one of two systems, and any Go-Onto-Target missile has three subsystems (or so I am told), they are :

Target tracker
We are told that the target tracker is also placed on the launching platform, yet is that so with the Iranian version? If that is true, then we need to find a way to infect both, or find a way to disrupt the link.

Missile tracker
This is where it is, I asked the missile, but it had no sound system installed, hence, I watched a USAF training tape and I learned “The missile guidance computer scenario works as follows. Because a variation has modified some of the information the missile has obtained, it is not sure just where it is. However, it is sure where it isn’t, within reason, and it knows where it was. It now subtracts where it should be from where it wasn’t, or vice-versa, and by differentiating this from the algebraic sum of where it shouldn’t be, and where it was, it is able to obtain the deviation and its variation, which is called error”, this seems effective and simple, I merely wonder what if we could find an automated way to mess with the error so it will assume wrongly where it was, and if this accumulative, it will crash ahead of schedule, optionally in a place where there is only sand.

Guidance computer
Guidance computers are in the missile and in the target tracker, it has the same setting as the Target Tracker, we cannot intervene in time, but what happens if we flood the missile with both disrupting and false information? (At the same time mind you)

This is where I found myself, my only reference to missile technology is pointing my own missile at a biological silo (me, as a once proud teenager), I just had to go there to make this story not too serious. Yet there was corroborating materials (not on the Silo though), it is seen in Northrop Grumman’s Patent US4589610A, the Guided missile subsystem. Here I see a little more, but it also gave me a thought. The patent gives us “The IMU driven Kalmanised radar track loop accommodates the use of a high performance radar, like a synthetic aperture radar, for example, which operates to measure radar data at a low rate on the order of 1 Hz, to generate estimates of relative target and missile kinematics to drive the control loop at rates compatible with high performance missile kinematics”, I believe that Iranian missiles are not that advanced, but the groundwork matters. The idea that we have “operates to measure radar data at a low rate”, so it reads signals to differentiate, what is we mess with that instance to create a different error in the Shabab missile? Radar is basically a radio signal, a specific one and specific signals are more easily messed with, yet can it be done efficiently and not expensive, or can we create a setting where on system can impact the next 200 missiles fired? 

The second system is a GOLIS systems (go-onto-location-in-space), it is autonomous and created for targets that do not move (for example the IRS building at 300 N. Los Angeles St.), I would presume a building almost everyone hates, especially in Hollywood. I will not go into all the details, but it had one option I recognised, it was the Hyperbolic navigation, DECCA. Maritime uses (or used) it. It requires 3 stations to operate and if that is so, that is something we can use. We can actually guid a missile when we alter the signal of any two out of three elements. The nice part, as it is obsolete, there is a decent chance the Iranians are till using it, the DECCA system was pretty decent as a concept and for maritime navigation (before we had satellite navigation) was the most precise way to find ourselves in the ocean, it was precise up to 7M2, when you are 2432 KM from shore, that is pretty awesome. So as we see “Hyperbolic navigation is a class of obsolete radio navigation systems in which a navigation receiver instrument on a ship or aircraft is used to determine location based on the difference in timing of radio waves received from fixed land-based radio navigation beacon transmitters”, that is one principle, there is every chance that if we can intercept and relay 2 of the signals, we can create a different error and as such the missile becomes a lot less reliable.

These are merely a few thoughts and they should be seriously considered (except targeting the IRS building, these people have lives too), if we can change the game for Iran we can support Saudi Arabia in creating more stability, less stability is to adhere to Iran, I wonder if the New York Times considered that part that they are voicing, whether it is opinion or not.

OK, I knew about DECCA from my days at the. Merchant Naval Academy, so that might not be completely fair, but this is me thinking out of the box (and out of bed), which implies that this was another day, another dollar, and all done in less than 2 hours. I wonder what more Iranian stuff I can screw up this week, we all need a hobby at times.

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Slapping the New York Times

This is a weird day, I for one had never expected to have a go at places like the Washington Post, or the New York Times; they are supposed to be journalistic bastions. Now, for the most I avoid slapping the Washington Post, Jamal Khashoggi was one of theirs, I get it, tensions and emotions run high. The New York Times does not get that excuse.

So when I saw ‘Saudi Arabia Is Running Out of Friends‘ I got a little hot under the collar. First off, this is an opinion piece and that makes it not really a New York Times part, or does it? They decided to publish it. The article (at https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/27/opinion/saudi-arms-sales-britain.html) raises a lot of questions, not on Saudi Arabia, but on the people and their comprehension of the issues that are involved. And it goes further than that. The start gives us: “a United Nations expert released a report calling for an investigation into the role of Mohammed bin Salman, crown prince of Saudi Arabia, in the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The next day in Washington, the Senate voted to block arms sales worth billions of dollars, the latest in a string of congressional efforts to halt American support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen“.

  1. The full UN report (added later down).
  2. The Saudi-wed war in Yemen.

The first will be dealt with further down; the ‘Saudi-led war in Yemen‘ is a disruptive boast that has zero validity. First of all, the Yemen issue comes from the ‘Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen‘, which came from the call for help by the internationally recognized President of Yemen Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi for military support, which was as far as I can tell, his right to do so, it was a response to attacks by the Houthi movement. In the entire article the following words are not found: ‘Houthi‘, ‘Hezbollah‘, and ‘Iran‘ they are all participating players on the side attacking ousted President of Yemen Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi. And for the more comprehensive part, what is regarded as Saudi led, which is not a lie also involves the United Arab Emirates, Behrain, Kuwait, Qatar (only initially), Egypt, Jordan, Marocco (until recently), Senegal, and Sudan. They all seemingly agree that the Houthi forces are the evil bringers here, and that is before we all realise that there is a mountain of evidence linking Iran to all that, and the press has done its massive share to not inform the public on those parts.

So as we get to: “As the chorus of condemnation grows louder, defending the arms supplies that have always been a core feature of the West’s ties to Riyadh has become a near impossible task“, well sell them to me, I will happily and proudly offer these goods to the Saudi government, any cowardly and weasel likened politician (mostly Americans) want to be in denial, I will step in. My commission and bonus comes from their share, some things come at a cost, as it should.

Then we get to the ugly part: “They want the sources of the present crisis to be resolved, not left to fester, which means a swift conclusion to the Yemen war and a satisfactory accounting for the murder of Mr. Khashoggi“, in this we will get to that journalist later, the entire ‘swift conclusion to the Yemen war‘ required the world to do something about the Houthi support system. This includes terrorist organisation Hezbollah and its hosting nation Lebanon, as well as Iran. The US as well as the European Union failed at least 5 times, mostly because Europe has this delusional thought that the nuclear pact could be saved somehow, in addition Iran has been facilitated to by Turkey who had a larger role to play and we will get to that soon enough. It failed by blocking arms and intelligence when it mattered most, it failed by not giving proper light to the activities of Hezbollah training, as well as optionally (still unproven) firing missiles directly into Saudi Arabia, in all this it might be unproven, yet the hardware used in conjunction with the skill that Houthi forces could not have, gives us a clear light that the operators of these missiles were optionally Iranian, or Hezbollah (Lebanese), the press steered clear of that part to the largest degree.

Then we get the empty threat: “If the world finally gets serious about tackling the climate emergency, a large proportion of existing oil reserves will have to remain in the ground, leaving the Saudis sitting on stranded assets“, so how about the reality that hits the US when 100% of Saudi Oil only goes towards Europe, India and Asia? When that flow to America stops, fuel prices (based on Chicago) will go from $3.62 per gallon, to $5.99-$7.51 per gallon within weeks. Good luck trying to have an economy in America at that point. In New York (where that paper comes from) the taxi costs will soon go up by 50% or more, what happened the last time that New York was completely dependent on public transport? And for those driving their own cars? That will be for the wealthy only, so let’s keep a real sense of reality, shall we?

Now we get to the hard part. There is an issue with: And in London — on the same day — a court ruled that Britain had acted unlawfully in approving arms exports to Saudi Arabia“, there is the optional stage where the arms deal is merely delayed. We see that in the BBC part: “Judges said licences should be reviewed but would not be immediately suspended“, which was a week ago. It comes from “Under UK export policy, military equipment licences should not be granted if there is a “clear risk” that weapons might be used in a “serious violation of international humanitarian law”“, this is an issue, but not the one you think it is. Yes, there is a chance that these weapons are used in Yemen, yet as I stated earlier, the entire Yemen war is misrepresented by ignoring three warring parties, the Houthi, Hezbollah and Iran. In addition Houthi forces have resorted to terrorist tactics by placing weapons and troops directly behind civilians, basically using them as a shield. In addition, Houthi forces have done whatever they could to stop humanitarian aid and claiming whatever they could for their own military forces, they are the catalyst to the Yemeni humanitarian nightmare and the media remains largely silent on it. We get additional evidence from Gulf News only 11 hours ago with: “Yemeni government forces had repulsed fierce attacks by Iran-allied Al Houthi militants that had targeted residential areas inside the coastal city of Hodeidah and outskirts, military forces said on Thursday“, this is still happening right now, but the media remains silent, why is that?

So as we finish part one of the hatchet job that the New York Times allowed to be published in their papers, it becomes time to raise part 2, the full UN report [UN Khashoggi Report June 2019].

There are several issues with the report but let’s start with the ruling premise that they place in item 37 “This human rights inquiry into the killing of Mr. Khashoggi raised many challenges. By the time the inquiry was initiated, much had already been reported about the killing and the likely responsibilities of various individuals. The risks of confirmation bias (the tendency to bolster a hypothesis by seeking evidence consistent with it while disregarding inconsistent evidence) were particularly high.

There are two parts, the first is ‘the killing of Mr. Khashoggi‘, now I personally believe he is dead, through methods unknown, and there is credibility in that statement, but there is no evidence whatsoever. If we are nations of laws, than we must adhere to these laws. We must also accept that the law is not always our friend, and here we see Turkey facilitating towards Iran to the largest degree. They had set a stage in motion by relying on here-say, using things like ‘might’ and adding evidence that is none of anything. When we see the rumour mill giving us millions upon millions of articles all based on hearsay and unverified anonymous sources, we see an engine that was designed to halt whatever positive actions Saudi Arabia were trying to do on an international stage. Turkey succeeded in being the puppet read: bitch) of Iran to a degree never seen before and let’s not forget, Turkey holds the current record of having the most incarcerated journalists in the world at present.

And the most damning part starts at the very beginning, but not in the direction you would like it to see. Here we see: “Mr. Khashoggi’s killing constituted an extrajudicial killing for which the State of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is responsible. His attempted kidnapping would also constitute a violation under international human rights law. From the perspective of international human rights law, State responsibility is not a question of, for example, which of the State officials ordered Mr. Khashoggi’s death; whether one or more ordered a kidnapping that was botched and then became an accidental killing; or whether the officers acted on their own initiative or ultra vires“, as I stated: ‘We can assume that Jamal Khashoggi is dead‘, yet where is his body? There is no evidence in any direction and it happened in a nation that is facilitating to a nation that is actively hostile and in a proxy war with Saudi Arabia, a fact no one seemed to acknowledge, that Turkey has currently imprisoned 68 journalists and is regarded to have killed dozens more.

Now we get to point 11 (page 5): “She also found that Turkey’s fear over an escalation of the situation and retribution meant that the consular residences or consular cars were also not searched without permission even though they are not protected by the VCCR“, Was it really ‘fear’ or ‘orchestration’? Turkey has scathed all laws for numerous reasons, broken promises and not adhered to issues, and now they are ‘suddenly’ afraid? I acknowledge that this is speculation from my side, yet aren’t all parties speculating here?

when we seek the word evidence in the report we see ‘no independently verified evidence‘ and all kinds of fusions with other words, yet not with ‘evidence found‘, is that not weird that the UN spend all this time on a report and there was no ‘clear evidence found‘?

You can check for yourself, the report has been added. The special rapporteur (or is that reporter) gives us: “The Special Rapporteur reviewed four potentially credible hypotheses related to the unlawful death of Mr. Khashoggi“, it merely turns paper A/HRC/41/CRP.1 into an essay, a very expensive essay I might add (OK, I am exaggerating here).

And now we get to the paper and the recommendations that start at page 95. Here we see: “Initiate a follow-up criminal investigation into the killing of Mr. Khashoggi to build-up strong files on each of the alleged perpetrators and identify mechanisms for formal accountability, such as an ad hoc or hybrid tribunal” Yes? How?

There is no evidence and most evidence was tainted by Turkish authorities by mismanagement and by allowing so called government officials make statement that had no bearing and touched no evidentiary surface. It became a 70 million article joke with references to burned remains and all kinds of photographs that show nothing at all.

In this I find item 480 even more hilarious. For the most (it seems) there is a lack of knowing what accountability means, you merely have to look at several issues in the UN with a special reference to the UN and UN security council sides in Egypt (1981) Assassination of Anwar Sadat, there has been several moments where it was uttered that certain paths were not fully investigated, does it matter? So when I see: “Accountability demands that the Saudi Arabia government accept State responsibility for the execution” whilst that evidence is not in existence. There is a case for rogue activities, if that constitutes evidence, than the UN should take a hard look at Viktoria Marinova, optionally investigating the mere accepted fact by the media that the ‘they did not believe the killing of Marinova was connected to her work, suggesting it was a “spontaneous” attack‘, or there are the unanswered questions regarding Abdul Samad Rohani. What is most striking is that the Taliban was never shy of admitting their acts, so why was his death closed when the Taliban was very apt in denying this one? It is important when we consider this unidentified government spokesman in light of the fact that this happened in a place where there is a flourishing opium trade, so as some gave clearly: “Rohani was killed for his reporting on drug trafficking and its possible ties to government officials“, yes because that has always been a reason to keep a journalist alive, has it? So Agnes Callamard, where are those essays?

It is in that light that I want to illuminate another item that was in the document: ‘Turkey failed to meet international standards regarding the investigation into unlawful deaths‘ (Page 4, Item 5). So why was that? There are always truckloads of excuses to find, yet who was responsible to keep international standards? Why were these standards not met? That term was used in several ways, yet the mention and clarification of Turkish ‘international standards‘ and more important which person, or perhaps more correctly stated which Turkish office was responsible for that is also missing in this Agnes Callamard document, is that not equally part of the investigation in all this? Why is that part missing in this document?

In the end the entire matter of Khashoggi smells and the Washington Post in this one instance can hide behind rumours and speculations all they want, the New York Times does not! In the end there are too much questions, but the participating player (Turkey) has its hands in too many Iranian issues and there is clear evidence (actual evidence) that the entire Khashoggi investigation got tainted and no longer an option to investigate. Yet that too is seemingly missing from the essay of Agnes Callamard (I remain cautious as I might have missed a piece in that 99 page essay.

I will leave it to you good folks to draw your own conclusion and the issues I reported, feel free to Google Search it, feel free to text search it in the document. the opinion piece did not mention the other parts making it unfair, unbalanced and as I personally see it completely unworthy of the New York Times, as such I do place blame, but from my point of view the buck stops at Dean Baquet, it is on his watch that this happened, we accept that everyone is allowed their opinion, but in a paper like the New York Times, it should not be this unbalanced ever, not for a global paper like the New York Times

UN Khashoggi Report June 2019

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The aid package

People on a global scale, no matter what religion they preach, they have an inherent need for humanitarian action. It shows that people remain people, they have feelings and emotion. Especially now, in the Muslim month of Ramadan, which according to the Britannica is “a time for Muslims to practice self-restraint, in keeping with ṣawm (Arabic: “to refrain”), one of the pillars of Islam (the five basic tenets of the Muslim religion). Although ṣawm is most commonly understood as the obligation to fast during Ramadan, it is more broadly interpreted as the obligation to refrain between dawn and dusk from food, drink, sexual activity, and all forms of immoral behaviour, including impure or unkind thoughts.” Yet Time.com (as well as other sources give us: “Muslims believe that following these practices during Ramadan will lead to self-purification, self-control and bring them closer to Allah. Many Muslims also attend special prayer services, read verses of the Quran and engage in charity“, these are words I read before in other places. Yet it is here that we see the questions rise. First is Qatar with ‘Qatar to send $480m to help Palestinians in West Bank and Gaza‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/may/07/qatar-send-480m-help-palestinians-west-bank-gaza-israel-ceasefire), this sounds all on the up and up, and I have no reason to give doubt here, and with “Qatar’s foreign ministry said $300m would go towards supporting health and education programmes of the Palestinian Authority, while $180m would go toward urgent humanitarian relief, UN programmes and providing electricity” we see this reinforced. Yet the article also gives us: “Although Qatar does not give money directly to Hamas, its support since 2012, totalling $755m, has been a vital lifeline for the cash-strapped group, relieving it from having to fund civilian and infrastructure projects“, which now brings to bare the issue of other funding as Hamas was able to afford missile barrage after missile barrage. I am not placing blame on Qatar, or other Islamic charities, but I am left with the thought. If you give any junkie money for food, and he then uses his other funds to buy drugs because the junkie knows that he will get the charity for food, are we as a people inflicting harm and additional hardship on the junkie? It makes me reflect on the act through ‘refrain from all forms of immoral behaviour, including impure or unkind thoughts‘. It also gives rise to the BBC article (at https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-48147066) where we see: ‘Taliban rejects calls for Ramadan truce in Afghanistan‘, and as we are given: “President Ashraf Ghani agreed to a truce provided it was not “one-sided”. But the Taliban rejected the call and accused members of being government allies.” does the month of Ramadan allow for this? If not, does that make them bad Muslims? I am not stating it, I am asking this.

Why is this so important?

To comprehend certain parts of Islam we need to dive deeper in what we do not know and even if there is no direct requirement to know what the Taliban does (most of us do not care), the news has been giving us other versions. The Express (at https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1122649/isis-news-latest-terror-france-jihadist-police-elysee-palace) gives us that the French stopped an ISIS attack. With ‘ISIS planned ‘violent’ attack on French palace say police‘ we see “According to AFP, the suspects had several targets, the unnamed source said, but their overall objective was to launch an attack on security forces, namely those “standing guard outside the Elysée Palace”. The men, arrested last Friday on suspicion of acquiring weapons “with a view to committing a terrorist act” are currently in provisional detention and awaiting trial. The would-be terrorists, who had been under police surveillance since early February, were spotted outside the Elysée Palace in central Paris on a reconnaissance mission shortly before their arrest“, whilst the Malayan version of the Daily Express (at http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/news/134811/no-hate-speech-during-ramadan-mosques-told/) gives us ‘No hate speech during Ramadan, mosques told‘, as well as “We will act firmly the actions of labelling a person as deviant and calling others infidels because mosques must be free from political party ideologies. “We must guard our mouths from uttering slander during Ramadan because it can create numerous problems which can break up families,’’ he told a media conference after launching a Let’s Celebrate Ramadan programme in the compound of the Kerian district mosque, here, Saturday.” An American might trivialise it as seeing someone from ISIS as a fake Muslim, I merely wonder on the application to Islam and Muslim faith in this case.

It is also increased pressure on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We read (at http://www.arabnews.com/node/1494481/saudi-arabia) ‘Saudi Civil Defense announces Ramadan security measures‘, these people under the guidance of Brig. Abdullah Al-Qurashi, director of Civil Defence in Makkah are prepared through 38 fixed civil defence centres, supported by 24 seasonal centres, in addition to 27 intervention points and 30 civil defence posts stationed in The Grand Mosque in Makkah to provide aid and assistance to pilgrims. And when you think that this is a lot, consider that the mataf area would accommodate more than 107,000 people per hour, there will be 500,000 headsets for worshippers getting access to 10 languages of the 679 lessons and lectures that are to be delivered during Ramadan. I have seen a few Christian places, I have been to Lourdes, yet I have a problem trying to comprehend the concept of 100,000 people an hour. It amounts to the entire population of Adelaide (Australia), Birmingham (UK), Dallas (US) or Calgary (CA) EVERY day for a month. For the pilgrims this has not gone unnoticed, as there was high praise for the king, government and local authorities from pilgrims from as far away as Indonesia, Pakistan and Sudan, with many thousands of Muslims traveling from across the world to Saudi Arabia to attend prayers at the mosque during Ramadan. Yet a lot of this is merely seen in the Arab News and Gulf News, even as plenty of respectable papers give light to this, we see a movement as the number of respectable papers is winding down, so is the amount of information given to non-Muslims. The Sydney Morning Herald also gives us: “just as Christian holy seasons such as Christmas and Easter have become commercialised, Ramadan is increasingly associated with night-time festivities and binge eating. While, traditionally, the fasting day ends with a feast, in modern times people often attend Ramadan events at hotels and restaurants and, combined with the lower activity of fasting days, can even find themselves gaining weight during the holy month“, which is fair enough and not to be seen in a negative light, I found the images from the Four Seasons hotel lightly overwhelming, almost like a Victorian Christmas diner setup. For me, the entire issue is not an issue, although I see (read: expect additional) danger of not drinking water during the day a health issue (from my non-medical view), the Sydney Morning Herald reinforced that with: “In the Gulf states, a spike in attendances at hospitals has been reported, with problems ranging from dehydration to uncontrolled diabetes, as well as injuries from traffic accidents attributed to drowsiness“.

Errors in thinking

The first thing I accept is that I am looking at Muslim matters with a Christian eye, that is my background and I know that if I wonder about things plenty of others got at that point long before me, it is the educational part that remains lagging for me, I am not a Muslim, yet at the same moment, the image and message from one, whilst we see issues handed to us in opposition. One such view was given to me from Kuwait by Al Waqyan, in a nation that is 99% Muslim. There I was given ‘Kuwaiti journalist criticizes ban on ‘public eating’ during Ramadan‘. Now, from a Christian point I would agree, yet knowing that 99% of that nation is either fasting or trying to fast, would his view not allow for a larger pressure on those fasting? Perhaps the old movie example where a prisoner in the age of the crusades are watching the jailer just outside of reach have a large feast whilst the prisoners are begging for food. Would it not be cruel and unusual punishment to be faced with a large meal when a person should be fasting? I understand that there are conditions when a person cannot fast, yet is it too much to ask for that person to do it in private or not in view of other people?

I found the fact that there is a level of polarisation interesting, not because of what I believe, but the fact that it is in a stage where all the contestants are seemingly Muslim. I would personally be on the side of: “some believe it’s appropriate to apply it in Muslim majority countries“, there are plenty of moments when no one can see anything and having a quick sip of water then would be acceptable. It is perhaps the only part that I see happen, there is absolutely no situation where a person should be able to eat in public view anywhere, not when a person could be at home to have a bite to eat.

The opportunity

This is where we see the opportunity, when we are given ‘Saudi Arabia’s Hajj Ministry launches new interactive portal‘, we see the place that gives us (at present) “The new portal will provide more than 30 services for pilgrims, available in Arabic, English and French, with an average of 55 pages per language. Four more languages will be added in the near future.” Most people, especially 100% of the pilgrims will see this as an excellent idea and it is. What it allows for is a much larger option; it could become a start for non-Muslims to learn more about Islam, to learn more on what is unknown. When we consider that optionally in western languages there are ‘the 679 lessons and lectures‘ that shows the spirit of Islam in the stage where it is all about the season of inner reflection, forgiveness and spiritual renewal. As such the sacred month of Ramadan might open a moment to introduce to those unaware of Islam the resources that allow us to oppose Islamophobia as well as diminish the options that anti Islamist groups like pagida and others are growing all over Western Europe, the US and the Commonwealth nations. I personally believe that education is a first step in diminishing the powers that they have. It does not requires us to become Muslim, it does not require us to agree, but at least we will be properly educated and informed and history has shown that this is a first step in slowing down and stopping the haters, and that is never ever a bad thing. Knowledge can be an exemplary aid package, it is time we all used that option to the fullest.

 

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How Americans lose wars

There is a clear setting of war; the Americans have their articles of war in this. Yet is that enough?

Some stare at Article 10 of this, which gives us:

Every non-commissioned officer or soldier, who shall himself in the service of the United States, shall, at the time of his so enlisting, or within six days afterward have the Articles for the government of the armies of the United States read to him, and shall, by the officer who enlisted him, or by the commanding officer of the troop or company into which he was enlisted, be taken before the next justice of the peace, or chief magistrate of any city or town corporate, not being an officer of the army or where recourse cannot be had to the civil magistrate, before the judge advocate, and in his presence shall take the following oath or affirmation: “I, A.B., do solemnly swear or affirm (as the case may be) that I will bear true allegiance to the United States of America, and that I will serve them honestly and faithfully against all their enemies or opposers whatsoever, and observe and obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to the Rules and Articles for the government of the armies of the United States.” Which justice, magistrate or judge advocate is to give to the officer a certificate, signifying that the man enlisted did take the said oath or affirmation. (* By Section 111 of Chapter 42 August 3, 1861, the oath of enlistment and re-enlistment may be administered by any commissioned officer of the army.)

Yet is that enough?

You see, this article was the first one that came to mind when I was confronted with the Washington Post who gives us (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/former-special-forces-soldier-once-lauded-as-a-hero-faces-murder-charge/2018/12/13/bb4a11ee-ff10-11e8-ad40-cdfd0e0dd65a_story.html) the headline ‘Former Special Forces soldier, once lauded as a hero, faces murder charge‘. Here we see the mention of U.S Army Capt. Mathew Golsteyn. The article gives us in several cases “the suspected bomb maker“. The question is not merely regarding that captain, it is regarding the political cloud over a theatre of war. When we are confronted with: “The suspected bomb maker was not on a list of targets that U.S. forces had been cleared to kill, according to Army documents” when we place this next to “found materials needed to make bombs like the one that had killed the Marines. Golsteyn said that they brought the suspected bomb maker back to their base“. When we see the clear state where US troops are in a stage with an enemy of their nation and forces, we get to go to the articles of war “I will bear true allegiance to the United States of America, and that I will serve them honestly and faithfully against all their enemies or opposers whatsoever“, from my point of view, a point of view shared by many, we get the condition that a bomb maker is that, we also get that this was a clear enemy, even if there is a setting of “was not on a list of targets that U.S. forces had been cleared to kill“, we have the clear setting of an enemy and when the strategical status changes where the existence of the bomb maker can upset a much larger territorial field, it is my personal belief that killing the target is not merely warranted, it had become essential. One would expect that an Army Captain has the rank to clearly set that field. We might argue that optionally that those who managed the “list of targets” could have been inadvertently asleep at the wheel.

It also makes me oppose the state of “demonstrating conduct unbecoming of an officer“, if anything he showed the balls (an element most flaccid US politicians are lacking) to do something essential. In this war, we have been confronted with a shifting of values by the enemies attacking America and as such, other considerations should be made in all this.

It becomes merely an administrative exercise when we were offered “found materials needed to make bombs like the one that had killed the Marines”, which alone would have been sufficient to take actions that might have resulted in enemy fatalities, optionally disregarding the circumstance.

When we are confronted with this stage we see the setting on why American forces might end up losing. I do not argue that there has been a clear path of transgressions by others as we are exposed to: “another officer, former 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, who was convicted of second-degree murder in 2013 for ordering his soldiers to open fire on village elders in Afghanistan who were approaching his unit while they were on patrol. Several member of Lorance’s platoon testified against him after being offered immunity.” In the case of Army Captain Mathew L. Golsteyn we see a very different stage and here we see a failing; a failing by the army, a failing by the American politicians and the quote by Rep. Duncan D. Hunter (R.-Calif.), a member of the House Armed Services Committee giving us: “Matt Golsteyn is an American hero. Matt Golsteyn does for the American people what we ask him to do, and the Army is screwing him again, and they ought to be embarrassed“, which seems to fit the bill in all this.

We also see another part; at the end of the linked article we are given: “A senior Army official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case, said a request for information on the Army’s handling of the case has been filed with the Defense Department Inspector General. Until that is resolved, the official said, the case is on hold“. I can only partially accept that. From my point of view a clear documented path should be presented to the people showing what the soldiers fighting for America have to go through. When I see “the Army’s handling of the case“, I see the need that there needs to be more clarity for these people in war time conditions and whilst in a stage where they can be part of a live fire exercise at any given moment. As I have the ability to kill anything within 800 meters (with the proper rifle), considering the damage I could do, knowing that there were plenty of people in Afghanistan imparting such damage on American troops, does the Pentagon or the political engine have any clue that any holier than though stage is not merely dangerous, it has the danger of losing an enormous amount of additional troops killed by leaving them in such a dangerous stage of uncertainty?

There is every case for the prosecution of former 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, yet is there any clear stage of transgression against then Army Captain Mathew L. Golsteyn? The fact that this entire matter has been going on for 5 years gives clear voice that some people are seeking something else; that conclusion comes to me when I see that the finding in 2014 was that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute. Yet that too leaves us with questions. Because we need to recognise the difference between ‘insufficient evidence to prosecute‘ versus ‘cleared as no wrongdoing was found‘.

We might be able to agree that the stage of Army Captain Mathew L. Golsteyn is one that required scrutiny, yet the fact that the finding of 2014 should have been accepted (even though I have an optional issue regarding the stripping of his Silver Star, however as I am unaware of the findings or the reasons on exactly why he was stripped, we need to keep that part in the air. If we consider the phrase ‘conduct unbecoming an officer’ we need to consider that “He launched an 80-man mission to hunt the shooter down, slogging through a muddy field under fire to help a wounded Afghan soldier“. One case is not another and in this the uncertainty that American troops are implied to be exposed to is also a much more dangerous setting, not merely in morale, but in the dangerous stage that until clear documented orders are given to soldiers on a battlefield, they might not act in fear of prosecution and that is deadly dangerous, which is a clear setting of defeat!

When we see in the official document: “CPT GOLSTEYN related he trusted Mr. [REDACTED]’s intelligence and had always given him credible information which saved lives and prevented attacks“, my mind would have been made up and clear. So whoever has been stretching and reactivating this investigation for 5 years needs to (in my most diplomatic posture and voice): “Fuck off and become a barber, hairdresser or taxi driver“, so there!

I admit that I might spend a day checking the validity of the report, yet it took 10 seconds to make up my mind in all this. War is war, it does not change; it does not compromise or play nice. For a lot of people the contemplation of wars changed. It was initially on the 9th of August 2001 at a place called Sbarro in Jerusalem. A month later we got two buildings in New York on September 11th (you might remember that) as well as the earlier bombings on four apartment blocks in the Russian cities of Buynaksk, Moscow and Volgodonsk between September 4th and September 16th 1999. It changed the stage of war. It was an intentional war against civilians, a war that should have been made unacceptable from day one.

From my personal point of view, the direct killing of a terrorist should be unconditional and non-prosecutable. We might argue that not all those wearing explosive vests do so of their own accord, yet at that point we need to avoid optional additional deaths a kill shot might be required. Yes, at that point we need to investigate if avoiding collateral damage can be proven to have been avoided and that is exactly what then Captain Golsteyn did.

I think that the US (as well as other nations) has ventured too much towards the facilitation of terrorists with the visible exception of France who knows just what to do with those unpleasant individuals (aka ‘fuckers’).

I also found the additional information (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2015/05/19/see-document-excerpts-in-the-armys-war-crimes-case-against-a-green-beret-war-hero/) interesting here is the additional: “In December 2011, a special agent contacted Bing West, a bestselling author who spent time with Golsteyn’s unit around the time of the alleged killing. He said he wouldn’t assist investigators unless he was subpoenaed, and had never seen them do anything inappropriate.” This too is interesting for a few reasons. There is ample evidence that the media and the news steered around the events to the largest degree, those without knowledge, voices and with degrees in journalism have millions of words on Jamal Khashoggi, even if there is no evidence, yet when it comes to the work and dedication of Golsteyn, they all remain silent, this too is a level of hypocrisy I find hard to swallow. I do not run away from the issue and my findings on what I have been able to ascertain. So when I see ‘leaked report’ I have questions, questions that those leakers will not like (like the need for their identity) and the need to hold these people to account or their actions. So when I am treated to “Golsteyn “was not remorseful as he had solid intelligence and his actions protected the safety of his fellow teammates,” it said“, I merely see it as the required consequence of war. I also feel the need to make clear to feel my urge to make the not entirely proven claim that most likely someone at the CIA leaked it, to state to Director Gina Haspel (who was not in charge at that point): “Gina clean up your house, or I will do it for you and I won’t be nice about it!

OK, that was a little over the top, yet am I wrong? We see all kinds of leaked reports left right and centre, yet when it comes to Jamal Khashoggi we get no leaked tapes, we get no leaked reports or photographs, we merely get 57,000,000 search results, most of them misinformation, repeated unsubstantiated rumours and debatable facts that are anything but confirmed facts. When we look for Matt Golsteyn, we merely see less than 190,000 results and most repeat each other and also hiding behind “suspected Taliban bomb maker” (which is not completely unacceptable) , so how much effort did Sam’s uncle show to check the validity of that part and the parts found? It seems to me that a mere confirmation of that would have resulted in a dismissal of all charges, or am I making the challenge too simple for the Pentagon (and/or) the CIA?

Before you all consider that it was a complex issue, I can give you the rough estimated 98.43356% certainty that it was not rocket science. We now see that President Trump is looking into the matter and that is a good thing, although in opposition, I personally believe that it should never have reached his desk, it should have been solved within the Pentagon walls in 2014, and it did (the outcome remaining partially debatable as I personally see it).

In the end, this is merely one case and there have been plenty, I will also admit that in many cases the US did not show to have its finest hour or that the actions of a few have been acceptable, yet in the case of then Captain Golsteyn, I would have done the same thing again, and again and again, no matter how the aftermath outcome was. The now Major Golsteyn response: “he couldn’t have lived with himself if [the suspected bomb maker] killed another Soldier or Marine“, he had the proper mindset to keep himself and his brothers in arms away from harm. So let us all hope that the House Armed Services Committee has more people like Duncan D. Hunter and less people who go ‘miaow’ day and night, because as I see it the people of a feline distinction will cower when it comes to the light of day and plead for a compromising solution with whomever achieves victory over America and in light of certain events that is not an unrealistic future that America is moving towards.

When we see people like Maria Butina having (via the NRA) sway over politicians and attempting to set an alleged Russian agenda, allegedly advocating the needs of Alexander Torshin, how much more important is it now to set the stage for a strong and committed defence force (and optional a strong intelligence force). Do you really think that the events surrounding Matt Golsteyn will get America there?

I very much doubt it!

 

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The Saint’s parcel

Today it is December 5th, in the Netherlands that means it is St Nicholas day. It is the Dutch version of Santa Claus, but with a difference. The story goes back to the Greek bishop of Myra, what is now known as Turkey (270-340 AD). Saint Nicholas is the patron Saint of children and the day preceding his birthday (6th December) it is the evening of presents and all the kids (until a certain age) will receive a present.

As you might imagine the week before all this, things can get really hectic, especially in the toy stores, on a global scale when we see Thanksgiving, St. Nicholas and Christmas, the numbers given to us by power retail ‘Cyber Monday Breaks Record, Becomes “Biggest Sales Day Ever”‘, these numbers makes sense as moments like Black Friday, Cyber Monday and other deal moments with discount sales is what people look for globally so that they can show their kids that there are happy times, even if it is just for a day or two. Variety gives us (at https://variety.com/2018/gaming/news/nintendo-switch-sales-holiday-sales-figures-1203038569/) even more. With their headline ‘Nintendo Sold $250 Million in Products from Black Friday to Cyber Monday in U.S.‘, they are showing a setting that is awesome.

More important it is their e-commerce sales of games that is partially taking the cake with the statement: “The Nintendo Switch is now the best-selling Nintendo console in U.S. history for that five-day period, surpassing even Wii system sales, the company announced Wednesday.” Even as we see “Nintendo’s overall goal for the financial year of 38 million units sold, though analysts are still predicting it will fall just short, hitting about 35 million“, yet in all that the analysts are eager to avoid the one setting that matters, in under two years the Nintendo Switch is about to equal the lifetime sales of the Xbox One, a number that is very impressive as the Xbox One had 300% of the time frame to get to this point. And overall the entire Microsoft issue is expected to hit a few more bumps in the road. Software was the key in all this and Nintendo does comprehend quality software. The curve is changing for the better for Nintendo as their demo stations are all over game shops like EB Games. Parents can see how amazing it looks and as the kids are having a go at playing kart and playing Mario Odyssey, we see (as I saw) that the parents are getting a smile on their faces. It is a family friendly system, where violence is limited to a paint gun with a colour. And as we see the greats (Diablo 3) added to the Switch, we see an amazing list of games titles we see a system that is more and more overwhelming when it comes to quality gaming. A game setting where quality is not the silly notion of high level graphics, no! Quality gaming is the level of fun you get out of it and Nintendo is turning heads around and for the first time in history Sony is starting to get worried as the setting now is that this year Switch surpassed the Sony PlayStation. Now that does not means that Sony is number two, they have well over 250% in number of consoles in the field, yet the fact that Nintendo is closing the gap slightly and surpassing Microsoft has never been seen before in the age of gaming. I loved my GameCube (I still miss Mario Sunshine even today), I loved the games I had and when I saw that the Wii was backward compatible I did not hesitate, yet the Switch is showing to be up to the challenge of equalling this in quality gaming. In this we see that Nintendo is getting it right and even as I questioned the stupidity of analysts with their ‘predicting it will fall just short‘, I believe that their entire setting is bogus. Nintendo has the goods and is showing it has equaled the challenge gaining on the larger advantage that Sony has and surpassing what was once the great Microsoft console and the most powerful console? It might be, yet when it offers a mere 25% of the family fun, I wonder what some people choose.

Now, we do not state that the Xbox cannot deliver the goods, yet we have always known that Nintendo was a family and younger player system. Now that we can be on the road, play on TV (via dock) and have access to some of the most addictive games (Diablo 3, Mario Kart, Skyrim, Minecraft, Rocket league) and so many more titles we need to wonder what the others did wrong.

Well they didn’t!

They made a choice and they continued on that path, Microsoft thought what it had to compete with Sony and they did not end up doing that, they soured their own milk from the very beginning in policy and hardware, they refused to listen to their gamers and they are still losing traction in the process. Even as some corrections and some really good ideas have been launched (Game Pass), they have too much to catch on. Nintendo remained on the family fun and family friendly path and they merely gained speed, and within a year they pushed for a speed that would surpass Sony annual sales and they seemed to have done it in 2018 (the official numbers are not out yet). However the consoles and the quarter of a billion in online store sales in under a month is now showing to become the monster truck of revenue. So as I personally sneer at “Nintendo stock hit a five year high of $58.45 a share this year, only to shed more than 40 percent of its value this month, with a year-low of $33.90“, I see clear numbers that do not support the actions and recommendations of these analysts. The titles Super Mario Odyssey, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Splatoon 2 represent 40 million copies sold. This implies that every Nintendo Switch has at least one of these games and that is an amazing result. Now set this against a company like Ubisoft (as a mere example) with Assassin’s Creed, 100 million copies over 11 titles on 3+ systems, Far Cry, 25 million copies over 6 titles on 3+ systems and Watch Dogs with 2 titles on 3 systems, 10 million copies sold. These are all decent games and when compared to four titles on one system, we start seeing the first part where the others seem to be getting it wrong. That is the comparison that some analysts do not seem to grasp. In addition, the close to flawless results against other titles on other consoles show and we have not even started with the millions of players playing Pokemon on Nintendo handheld systems.

On the day of Saint Nicholas we look at these kids and we see the overwhelming need and desire for gaming, consoles and handhelds. For the next 4 weeks it will be about that group and I predict that Nintendo will be looking at another half a billion if the previous record is anything to go by. It is likely that Boxing Day sales will add to that revenue surpassing my prediction. Clever grandparents adding an optional $30 gift card for their grand-kids to get several games cheap on boxing day sales, adding even more to the Nintendo profit coffer.

Even Forbes gave me the thumbs up (virtually that is). They had the top purchase mention with Nintendo as one of the titles and the PS4 as the most talked about, no mention on Microsoft. Even as Apple got a few mentions, the words ‘Microsoft’, ‘Surface’ and ‘Xbox’ were absent in that view (at https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbes-finds/2018/11/12/5-best-headphones-under-100/#47cb25aa5239), in addition the aggressive discount that the Nintendo gives with their Switch plus Mario Kart in the Netherlands is seeing its own fair share of mentions. If the feast of Saint Nicholas has one drawback then I would think it is the longer absence of board games. Playing a game like monopoly whilst unwrapping a present whenever one player passes go was heaps fun. There was the tension which name was drawn and as present by present was opened; whilst we played monopoly and had hot chocolate milk (it is cold in the Netherlands in December) was a level of fun I still miss.

Yet, we must not forget the hardship either, and there is a lot of that and a lot more coming; in the last year over 50,000 children died in Yemen from hardship, disease and famine. I expect that in 2019 we will see that the 2018 numbers will surpass the passing of 100,000 children. The children are too young to face what other children have to go through in other places, yet we adults cannot afford to do that. If I had to forego my optional Nintendo Switch for one child in Yemen to have a decent meal, I will end up not playing a Nintendo Switch for some time to come, even as the child still dies and I merely prevented it from dying on an empty stomach, I would do so. Even as the peace talks are being held, I fear for the lack of progress, as this is not in the interest of Iran. It is still progressing on arming Houthi; it is still facilitating via Hezbollah and the children are merely in the way there. From my point of view Europe is enabling it as they want their nuclear accord, an accord that is not likely to be the value of printed paper, the Iranian missile tests can be considered proof in this. In this part Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is actually in a very dangerous place. Even as he is with an ally, as the Saudi Ambassador to the United States, we see that the danger is twofold. As more and more US politicians are seemingly ‘bashing’ Saudi Arabia, yet they seem to ignore the danger that Hezbollah is there, we see the start of imbalance, and as this imbalance continues, so do the events in Yemen killing even more children. The hollow words like ‘Iran has praised Yemeni peace talks scheduled to take place soon‘, they want their version in charge in Yemen, not the elected one and they are willing to let millions of kids die to get that done. So whilst the US gives us “The United States has displayed pieces of what it says were Iranian weapons deployed to militants in Yemen and Afghanistan“, whilst at the same time US politicians are unbalancing their allied commitment to Saudi Arabia, we see that in the end it is a political stalemate with the lives of all the Yemeni children in the balance and there is no reasonable chance that the children there will get a better deal out of it.

So as we see the independent giving us the goods and the stage of truth last week with: ‘US struggles to find footing on Yemen, as Iran increases influence‘, we see (at https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/us-yemen-civil-war-iran-influence-saudi-arabia-bombing-trump-weapons-houthis-rebels-a8661546.html) that the US and mostly its politicians seem to have lost their perception on the larger game. the quote “The US Senate, angered in part by the White House response to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, on Wednesday voted in a surprise move to advance a bill that would cut American participation in the Yemen conflict“, the emotions towards a previously unknown journalist (and ignoring all those imprisoned and dead journalists in Turkey) is setting the stage of enabling the Iran agenda. Vetoed or not, it will up the pressure on Saudi Arabia and in all this, the populist pressure is one that historically has turned anti Saudi more often than not, increasing the larger issues towards Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in other directions as well.

In all this does America even know who their allies and enemies are? The question is more important than you think, as we see on the feast of Saint Nicholas that millions of children in Yemen are abandoned. So what did this have to do with games?

When you watch your child play some Call of Duty game and you realise that it is not Battleground 5, it is not Call of Duty, or Fortnite, but it is the game ‘Holy Defense’, created by Hezbollah to let gamers and players kill ISIS members. When we are treated to: “Hezbollah has developed a 3-D computer game to capture the minds of its youth, while showing them a good time.” When you see your children play this free downloaded game in Europe and America, how much safer was the Nintendo Switch with their family values to begin with?

I agree that this is not a fair remark for Sony and Microsoft and they are not part of this in any way, but when it comes to First Person Shooters, can parents even tell the difference anymore? And when it is getting to close to the factual truth, can they even perceive how many children are getting killed in the process whilst Yemen is facing delay after delay? Should that not be the central issue on the day of the patron saint of children?

 

 

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