Tag Archives: AIVD

About that glass of water

As we see Brexit make the cover pages again, the Guardian gives us ‘UK caves in to EU demand to agree divorce bill before trade talks‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/jun/19/uk-caves-in-to-eu-demand-to-agree-divorce-bill-before-trade-talks). There are a few issues here and it is not on what is decided on. You see “capitulated to key European demands for a phased approach to Brexit talks, agreeing to park discussions on free trade until they have thrashed out the cost of the multibillion-euro UK divorce settlement” is fair enough. It can be debated in several ways, yet in honesty, as we see the issues that the ECB have pushed upon the UK and the payments the UK have made, it can be clearly stated that the 60,000,000,000 Euro a month that Mario Draghi has been dishing out every month will go to the Euro nations MINUS the United Kingdom. If there is a divorce settlement, the impossibility of the ECB petulant child is a spending tantrum the United Kingdom should be set away from, for the mere reason that it is up to the other parents to contain the credit spending spree engaging youngster.

So as the article makes reference to that half-filled glass, let’s take another look at the options.

The optimist is stating that Brexit will only have used 50% of the opportunities. This is debated as we see that not just governments, but banks and financial institutions are all about keeping the EU inclusive and forever growing so that it can be milked more efficiently.

To support this view, from last year (Nov 2016) we got this part: “Rome has argued that the tight fiscal measures are stifling some economies and should be loosened to allow EU members to invest more money in order to boost growth. This stance has set Italy, Greece and other southern European countries on a collision course with Germany and other northern European member states, who have warned that increasing public spending and subsequently, public debt, is a risky proposition for a bloc still suffering the effects of the 2008 global financial crisis“, so as we have seen, these investments have for the most not made any impact. Italy showed a deficit of 2.4% ($45B), France -3.4% ($84B), Spain -4.5% ($55B), Poland -2.4% ($11B), Belgium -2.6% ($12B), Denmark -.9% ($2B), these are merely the annual 2016 numbers. The list goes on and apart form 1-2 none can keep a correct budget, and they have not been able to do so for well over a decade. In addition there is the 60 billion a month EU spending spree. It seems that the opportunities will be limited to banks.

The pessimist states that Brexit comes with 50% additional fees. Part of that was raised by little old me through the overspending of Mario Draghi. The EU has a debt that is now surpassing 12 trillion Euro, which is including the 1.7 trillion of the UK at present, so the UK, one of the 4 large EU economies is merely 14% of that. The other three (Germany, France and Italy) each have a debt almost 50% larger than the UK. These 4 represent 80% of the EU debt. There is no containing this level of irresponsibility, and getting out was from my point of view the best option. The benefit is that the UK could end its austerity in 5-10 years if proper steps are taken. The EU will be in deep debt for a very long time after that and the smaller nations are realising this and that is why they were complaining so loudly (as I personally see it).

The opportunist drank the Brexit cocktail. This is seen in the growing partnerships, the Netherlands has kicked it off by sharing ‘UK and Netherlands sign defence cooperation agreement‘, it increases defence and security when we consider the Ferry services between the two nations, in addition, the countries will also share personnel and work towards a UK-Netherlands Amphibious Force. This should also bring additional opportunities to the Dutch as the have the most modern navy in the world, a military branch an Island like the UK could benefit from. In addition, the overall high levels of technology in the Netherlands would give additional benefits to cyber security operations. GCHQ has skills that the Dutch AIVD would love to get a better grip on, an option that should become available in this defence cooperation (source: http://www.army-technology.com).

The practical politician does not see that Brexit is half good or half bad, he or she puts them together and both are true. Yes, that is one way of looking at it. The issue is not the political view, it is that the view that they offer is on a sliding scale of change, and it always change towards the need of the politician, which is at times nowhere near the recorded metrics. Sean Whelan, the economics correspondent for RTE gives us “The good news is that almost a third of Irish exports to the UK would face no tariff whatsoever. The bad news is those products (and this report is all about products) are almost entirely produced by the foreign multinational sector – in particular, the pharmaceutical industry“, leave that situation to politicians to evolve into personal ‘opportunity’, is in not interesting that we haven’t seen this element before? All the scaremongering and the ‘one benefit’ will be for the large corporations. Is it not weird that only they seem to have a leg up on the benefit range?

So when we talk about the Brexit glass, we get more and more views and more and more pointed news that gives us a scary story. The reality is that in all this, I stumbled on 2 positive developments, directions I pleaded for as early as late 2015. So as we now see the evolution of nations working together, we might get additional proof on the economy.

That part was initially given by City AM, where we see “UK economy will grow by 1.7 per cent this year, faster than the previously forecast expansion of 1.6 per cent, according to the Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICAEW)“, which sounds good, yet the UK is not out of the fire. When we also read “Michael Izza, ICAEW chief executive, said: “I would like to see the new government put business and the economy at the top of its agenda, doing more to create a climate of optimism and certainty which will help build confidence“. This is more of the banter we have seen too often, that is given by me in such a statement as the UK has no coffers to invest with. This has been the issue all along, as the previous labour government went all out on spending, we are in a stage of culling these debts, so as we see ‘need for investment’, we better realise that Labour wasted £11.2 billion that went straight down the drain. It will take some time to overcome this in addition to the deficit and the debts. It’s not rocket science and relying on the forecasts as they have been wrong by too much all over Europe, we need to consider which sources to trust. A mere reality of what came before and also a reality as Brexit will have an impact; there was never any denying that. It is just that from my point of view, the UK recovery would be faster outside of, than within the EU. That part has already been shown to some degree, to some mind you, not to the full extent. We can only speculate on that part until Brexit is final.

So no matter how we relate this to a glass, how it is seen. The glass merely is. It is the consequence of long term European injustice. Their convoluted presentation, where big business gets a free pass again and again, not tax accountability of any kind. By allowing the EC gravy trains to be running smooth they also sunk their own options of long term survival.

Yet, the gravy train is ignored. So when I refer to the Times (at https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/kinnocks-on-the-brussels-gravy-train-xcxbdkx6r) with reference to June 2016, here we see: “The former Labour leader was responsible for transport and then became a vice-president with responsibility for administrative reform. By the time he left in 2004 Lord Kinnock was earning £163,453 a year alongside a housing allowance and an entertainment budget. He received a payment of nearly £273,000 on leaving office. He has an EU pension thought to be worth more than £60,000 per year alongside the pension he receives for…” and we have not looked at the other 750 members! Still think that I lost my marbles, or are you seeing a spending spree above the 60 billion Euro a month that is too ludicrous to consider?

By trivializing this I am not making it any better, talking about glasses and water, but it aids you to consider that within the European community, the consideration of water can be whatever they want it to be, which means that transparency is pretty much gone. Is that not the first requirement of the European Community? Is Brexit still such a bad idea? This is supported by the Financial Times as they published in May 2017 (at https://www.ft.com/content/7d1eea08-3be8-11e7-ac89-b01cc67cfeec), the article ‘Call for transparency on ECB corporate bond buying‘, now it is important to consider that nothing wrong was done (as far as we can tell), yet when we see ‘MEPs want to dispel any concerns of benefits to small group of favoured companies‘, the question becomes, why was this not done from day 1? The quote “So far, about €75bn of corporate bonds has been bought as part of QE, a small part of the €1.8tn that the ECB has spent overall. Most is spent on bonds issued by Eurozone governments” gives view that it is not a massive amount compared to the complete spending spree, yet €75B is massive, 0.001% of that could secure my financial future, settle my bills have a decent house to live in, so it adds up to a lot, fast! Still the article shows a concern and that is why I went there. The quote “While the actual amounts are not disclosed, the ECB has explained that it buys proportionally to outstanding issues, and market capitalisation provides a weighting.“, yet weighting depends on factors, which factors and how are they applied? Invariable, weighting is done to either ‘regress to the centre’, as a means to present it as an accepted part (by whom is still the question), or to obscure the view of the amount of outliers in the balance of the matter, neither of these is a good thing. In addition, the request “disclose greater detail on this programme’s operating guidelines, in order to explain to citizens how the corporate bonds are being selected“, is a worry as there could be a unbalanced support to corporations with bonds and in addition, the mention “Another request from the MEPs is that other central banks follow the lead of Germany’s Bundesbank in publishing the names of companies with bonds, rather than just the ISIN number, a code used to identify them on the financial markets” gives out that hiding behind an ISIN number gives weight to other issues too. Part of this is in the attached PDF ‘a proceeding under Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and Article 54 of the EEA Agreementattached here, where several issues are shown, the quote ‘by requiring European financial firms and data vendors to pay licensing fees for their use‘. So not only is the EC hiding behind these numbers, but there is an additional fee? Well, apparently that was negated to some extent and that agreement ended in 2016, so are there fee’s now, all issues of non-transparency. All these issues chipping away the assumed ‘premise’ towards the ‘validity of existence’ of the EC and even the ECB.

So when we talk about the glass it is not just the size, not about the water that is in it, but the fact that the glass is too opaque in many instances, the fact that some members have known the lack of transparency and in this we see a system that seems to have been intentionally hiding behind non-transparency. If there is one part that proves it, than it is the existence of Grexit and Brexit and more over the time it took for these politicians to give clarity on how proceedings were supposed to go and how the media left the people in the dark on the actual issues. All that, with the confusion we see as the EC seems to be in the dark on how to deal with an exiting nation gives more worries than confidence, because the actions and threats shown is not that of some economic alliance, it is the foundation of some tyranny where the freedom of choice becomes the burden of blackmail, threats and intentional miscommunication.

I’ll let you decide on how much you enjoy being blackmailed and threatened and where the freedom of choice remains in all of that.

Commission decision COMP39.592

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How to see ‘facts’

Brexit is one of the shiniest examples on how information is twisted and turned into many ways, especially ways to either scare people or just knowingly and willingly misrepresent the facts (as I see it). In the first degree there is the press. I think that they are on a large scale doing the deeds that those who support them are requesting them to do.

This sounds ‘misleading’, so let me explain. When the press goes on quoting sources and not investigating sources, we need to start questioning the ‘facts’ that they represent and quote. I think that the press is not doing their utmost to inform their readers and the public at large. I am not talking about the Daily Mail, the Mirror or some Murdoch media outlet. No, I am referring to places like the Guardian, the Independent and even the Times, although in the last case, I have never read it (because only subscribers get access to their website articles (the ones that matter at least). We can wonder how far the press needs to go, yet the answer as I see it should be ‘A lot further than they are currently going‘.

It is up to you to decide whether my subjective version is accurate or not (never take anyone’s word for granted!)

1. The Guardian, ‘French minister: Brexit would threaten Calais border arrangement‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/mar/03/david-cameron-calais-refugee-crisis-francois-holland).

Background: Regional president Xavier Bertrand, member of the Republicans, headed by Nicolas Sarkozy. This is important because Nicolas Sarkozy is against segregation from the EU and also very much against Brexit. When was the last time anyone going against party ruling would have been allowed to continue? Now that Sarkozy is not in power, they are all about getting elected!

The quote: “Xavier Bertrand, the recently re-elected president of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie region, has repeatedly said the Le Touquet agreement would be torn up if Britain left the EU. He said: “If Britain leaves Europe, right away the border will leave Calais and go to Dover. We will not continue to guard the border for Britain if it’s no longer in the European Union”“. The part that is so ludicrous is the issue that if this falls away, everyone will get checked before leaving the train, meaning that the train could stop halfway and until every person is checked, there will not be any continuation, in the second, if illegals are boarding the train, it would mean that France already has a problem, which means that this rash statement will make matters worse for France when Frexit becomes a fact because It would need to deal with a non-existing Le Touquet agreement, meaning that Belgium in equal measure will not be performing checks. This means that the flow from the Netherlands and Belgium towards France could possibly triple, especially in Lille. Consider that Lille has well over 20,000 industry/services. Do you have any idea what level of pressure would fall upon Lille? And that is just the registered part.

The Quote: “France’s economy minister, Emmanuel Macron, told the Financial Times that the Le Touquet agreement – a bilateral relationship between the UK and France – would be threatened by a British withdrawal from the EU“, which is partially a repetition from the first quote, but by Emmanuel Macron, the current Minister of the Economy, Finance and Industry in France. He states ‘threatened‘ not ‘withdrawn‘. So when in office you need to be ‘diplomatic’. Yet in all this, there is actually no reason to get there. You see, this is an agreement between nations, in all this it can remain an agreement within nations. Let’s not forget that the checks remain the same and the United Kingdom was never a part of Schengen. There is off course an impact for EU citizens, yet in all this, the United Kingdom would soon be forced to create an almost identical situation that Australia currently has. There would be every reason for the UK to adopt the Australian 457 visa situation. As its own infrastructure would soon after Brexit be massively damaged by the lack of skilled persons. This would include most of the western European nations (France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Spain and Italy).

Yet, the issue of the Le Touquet agreement will be an issue, just not the one that Xavier Bertrand states for the mere reason that France would lose a lot more soon thereafter.

2. The Independent, ‘Brexit would only bring ‘low’ cost to British national security, says former head of MI6‘ (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-would-only-bring-low-cost-to-british-national-security-says-former-head-of-mi6-a6948841.html)

Background: Sir Richard Dearlove, former El Jefe of MI6 (from August 1999 until May 2004), he was replaced by John Scarlett, who endorsed the government’s dossier on Iraqi weapons, including the controversial claim that some weapons could be deployed within 45 minutes (Source: CNN). Any rumour about Iraq ending his career seems far-fetched as Sir Richard Dearlove completed a 5 year tour, like several before him and all those who followed him. We can only argue (well, actually I can) that the Directors seat at £169,999 seems rather underpaid when you consider that you have to clean up the mess Labour made in its ignorance. The Chilcot Inquiry being the evidence here. So it was a little bit about Iraq! More important, the inquiry that ran from 24th November 2009 until 2nd February 2011, is currently being completed as parts were not to be published for several reasons. Its publication is expected to happen on April 16th 2016.

The quote: “Brexit would bring two potentially important security gains: the ability to dump the European Convention on Human Rights—remember the difficulty of extraditing the extremist Abu Hamza of the Finsbury Park Mosque—and, more importantly, greater control over immigration from the EU

The Quote: “Britain is Europe’s leader in intelligence and security matters and gives much more than it gets in return… If a security source in Germany learns that a terrorist attack is being planned in London, Germany’s domestic intelligence service is certainly not going to withhold the intelligence from MI5 simply because the UK is not an EU member“.

There are a few items here that matter. Even though the HRA could fall over, there are additional facts that would hinder extradition of a person like Abu Hamza. For one there was the case of cleric Abu Qatada, which took forever. I mentioned him in an earlier blog. I discussed this in March 2013 (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2013/03/10/humanitarian-law-v-national-security/) ‘Humanitarian Law v National security‘, you see on 16th December 2004 the Law Lords ruled that Section 23 of the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 was an issue, which is now replaced by the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005, which is currently repealed. So, my issue here is that, as far as I can tell, the issue will remain to some extent. Yes, I agree with Sir Richard that immigration will gain control, yet at present there are a few loopholes that might not result in solving new issues from becoming a political hot potato (also known as ‘an issue not resolved’) that will give rise to new cases. In the second quote, I feel a few levels of doubt regarding the statement ‘Britain is Europe’s leader in intelligence and security matters‘. Yes the UK might give more than it receives, yet overall certain intelligence matters will dwindle as the data hub that matter is not the UK (they are in third position), it is number 2 (Netherlands) and the current leader (Germany) that are the data titans in Europe, with additional growth due to a Google data centre currently in development somewhere north or northwest of Amsterdam (latest info is that its completion is in 2017). Which would grow the Dutch data stream even further, which could grow to a speculated estimation of 6.5Tb/sec. Sir Richard knows that it is not about the amount of data, but it is about the quality of data. Yet in all this, there might be a consequence of Brexit. It is possible that access to certain data streams might not be forthcoming. Meaning that GCHQ would need to develop other algorithms to counter the lack of data (read: incomplete data). Sir Richard is correct that information would not be withheld, but the exchange of data would be less smooth and time would be lost, all parties seem to agree on that. Yet in all this, Dutch paper NRC gave us in 2013 “Achter de schermen werkt Bertholee hard aan de invulling van de bezuiniging uit het regeerakkoord: 70 miljoen tot en met 2016. Daar is kort daarna nog eens 11 miljoen bijgekomen” {paraphrased: behind the screens director Bertholee (AIVD, the Dutch version of MI5), is working hard to work out on how to implement the agreed cutbacks of 70 million through to 2016, which was shortly thereafter raised by 11 million}. So as the Dutch intelligence needs to cut back on 81 million, Dutch internet nodes will soon thereafter give passage to 40% more data. Even if the bulk of it is ‘Softly Pasting Additional Marketing‘, the intelligence ramification will be larger than expected, there is no way of telling the impact of Brexit, yet the response of Sir Richard, which was “Leaving the EU would bring only a “low” cost to Britain in terms of national security“, is not exactly a given, there is, in his defence, too many unknown factors at present.

So how did we look at facts? How about the speculations we read (in the second case). Well, they are not speculations. I added sources (all except one) and I extrapolated information for half a dozen sources. I have the advantage of languages, something plenty of journalists are lacking. My issue is less with the Independent and only slightly more with the Guardian. I believe that they should have dug deeper. They did mention the facts but the fact that Regional president Xavier Bertrand is not an elected official, he was Mayor of Saint-Quentin (was being the operative word), yet as the recently re-elected president of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie region, which was in 2010 and he is about to be replaced by Marine Le Pen (extremely likely), whilst as Mayor he was replaced by Frédérique Macarez in January 2016. So he can claim whatever he wants. Free bowls at the wicket and no official fact to be questioned. Clean given facts that were known before the article came to print. So why were these influential facts not given?

There are more articles in pretty much most papers (excluding the Times at present), which gives us the issue, because the papers should have informed us slightly better. I personally see it as cause and effect. Why a person makes that statement is one, but the position he/she is in is equally important. I have stated before again and again, never go from one source; not even me as a source. Use the information you get and form an opinion, because when the vote is due, whatever you select is on yourself, not on others. Being the non-winner is one thing, ‘I should have voted for the others’ when ‘your choice’ makes it would qualify you the voter as an idiot. Make sure you know what you select and why you make the selection.

 

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The hungry Journalist games

Another day and another article on Sky News!

This all started a long time ago, but it seems that this article (at http://news.sky.com/story/1293651/internet-firms-take-legal-action-against-gchq), opens up new avenues to explore, aqs it already had taken the cake as one might say. There are issues for certain, they are on both sides, but what is this about?

The seven countries involved are the UK, the US, Germany, the Netherlands, South Korea and Zimbabwe. Let’s start by stating that this is an interesting group of nations to begin with. It was an article in Der Spiegel that set them off. Most sources seem to have copied and pasted the same message (Reuters Journalism as I tend to call it), one source also had this: “Their complaint follows in the wake of articles about mass surveillance published in the Guardian based on material released by Snowden“.

So again this could be a ‘Snowden’ story, but I want to take a look at another side and the quote by Eric King spokesperson (deputy director) of Privacy International who stated “It completely cripples our confidence in the internet economy and threatens the rights of all those who use it. These unlawful activities, run jointly by GCHQ and the NSA, must come to an end immediately

Is that the truth, or should the correct quote be “It completely undermines our support of optional criminal activities and threatens the opportunity of economic abuse for all who desire it. Their unlawful activities, run jointly by GCHQ and the NSA, must come to an end immediately, so that we may again focus on possibly deniable illicit profit

That is quite the change, isn’t it? Consider the following two issues. First the prices, for example ‘Greenhost’ offers the following:

Webhosting 120 GB storage and 1.2 TB data traffic for 132.75 euro’s a month and virtual data servers containing 50 GB storage and 1 TB bandwidth a month for 215 euro’s a month. Basically, just one account would fit the web space for most the ENTIRE Forbes top 50, not just one or two.

So, in light of recent events, I thought I had something here, the Dutch provider fits the bill, but then I got to Riseup, which no longer seemed to be active and the Chaos Computer Club (CCC) which seemed highly ideologically to me. More important, it did not fit the bill either. So am I barking up the wrong tree? (I have been wrong before you know!)

I still believe that the ISP’s are all about not complying as it is not about freedom, but about bandwidth (which directly translates into revenue), which seemed to fit the first part, but the others are not about that, which makes me wonder what is in play. Do you actually think that the NSA and GCHQ are about wasting time? So, is the Chaos Computer Club a waste of time? No, as far as I can tell, they are not. Are they a threat? Well, that remains the issue. They are hackers after all. Is it that farfetched that some people would want to keep track of some of these members? Let’s not forget that someone is feeding organised crime the knowledge that they need to avoid prosecution, when considering the power that both the Triades and the Russian Mafia have in the digital age area, looking into the CCC to some extent seems to be a given. However, knowing their skills, doing it in the way it is implied to have been done seems a little over the top as most of these hackers are pretty proud of themselves and they are for the most not in hiding. Let us not forget, they voice themselves to be about the freedom of the German people and the utter privilege of their data remaining private.

The fact is that this is an implied mess involving 7 countries, the next valid question becomes: ‘are they linked (beyond the accusation), or are they just a collection of elements?’

That question bares scrutiny, but should also indicate the view I have had of Snowden from the very beginning. I believe him to be a joke (and a bad one at that). Now, most of you will not believe this, but let us take a look at the EVIDENCE. I am not talking about some claim, but actual evidence partially on the common sense you and me hopefully tend to have.

1. The claims that he has made involves massive levels of access. Not the access a hacker will ever have, but the information from top level sources in the CIA, NSA and GCHQ. So were talking hacking into over dozens of top level secured servers, servers which are monitored 24/7. He, some hacker no one had ever heard from, did all that. These people behind the screens do NOT EVER give out passwords, do not give access, yet he had all the information and walked out of one of the most secure buildings in the world with all THAT data? This is a quote found in sources like ‘the Verge’ and ‘Wired’. I think we can agree that wired is a reputable source in regards to technology (at http://www.wired.com/2013/06/snowden-thumb-drive/) “‘There are people who need to use a thumb drive and they have special permission,’ an unnamed, ex-NSA official told the LA Times. ‘But when you use one, people always look at you funny.’” This is not unlike the view I have had for a year now. Let’s not forget, the NSA is the place where SELinux was developed, it was designed to keep close tabs on access control, specifically, who, where, how and with what. So ‘some’ technician, with the USB drive in the most secure server space on the planet is just not going to fly. The question I had from the very beginning is not how he did it, but what was actually at play here? The next part is assumption! Was it to give Booz Allan Hamilton more profit? That was my alleged first thought. If data was going to get ported to non-government institutions, this small caper could give BAH and whoever was getting oversight an easy and clean billion a year in revenue. That tactic, still ethically wrong, would have made perfect sense to me.

Here is how I see it and this is PURE assumption (I will get back to evidence in a minute for my next issue), consider the Microsoft disappointment with data collection plans for the Xbox One. We see some of the changes (at http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/23/us/politics/house-votes-to-limit-nsas-collection-of-phone-data.html). The following quotes are essential here. The first one was from Jim Sensenbrenner, Republican of Wisconsin, “The N.S.A. might still be watching us, he added, but now we can be watching them“. It is a bold statement, but is it true; moreover, should they be watched? Yes, any intelligence operation needs oversight, which is fair enough in a democratic way of life, but how many should overlook this? Are the people in oversight not granted well above average powers and is it fair to any opposition party that they should have it?

2. What lies beneath this access is the amount of involvement. Prism is one of the named projects with supported links to Australia, the UK and the Netherlands, with Microsoft as a commercial partner. Really? One nation, known for clogs, cheeses, Hans Brinker and soccer is placed next to the NSA and the Commonwealth? It is a technological hub, no doubt about that, but it is the size of Maryland. So, this is just the first of several projects, involving secrecies that would be limited to the very top, most of it would not be written down and Snowden had it (as in having in past tense, details follow). The mention of projects like XKeyscore, Tempora, Project 6, Stateroom, Lustre and Muscular. They are not only different projects, but they are a scope of projects that would not ever be in one location to begin with. So, what is implied as ‘the top’ of data gathering and one IT person has it all? Is no one asking the questions the PRESS should have asked and openly doubted from the very beginning to begin with (a part that is not voiced in any way).

The funny part is that stateroom seems to be no more than the legal collection of information as EVERY government tends to collect diplomatic data and in his claim he made them ALL bitches to the NSA, they just do not know it. There is also a reference to Echelon, there are several references, but the one that matters is not named. A covert niche within the NSA and the name of the source is: Tom Clancy!

Is anyone starting to wake up now?

This is not about anything but the warped imagination that is not even close to a reality. Consider that every government has embassies and consulates, the Dutch have them, the Australians have them, so do the Brits and the Germans, not to mention the French and they have them too. Consulates and Embassies represent their governments. Consulates tend to be specific for people and companies, so that they have backups. Like getting home when your passport is stolen, or to help a company with a list of people they should talk to for starting to do business. Trade will always remain important anywhere. Embassies are more about ‘governing’ opportunities as I see them. The Dutch want to get first dibs on building a reliable bridge, so their ambassador talks the great talk. People skills is what it is all about and talking to the right people. There are other sides too, they try to resolve issues, like a Dutchman committing a crime in Melbourne (for example) and the Embassy tries to ‘help’ the Dutch person to get home again, or to assist local government with their investigation if need be. These people do work that they sometimes like and sometimes hate, it is a job that needs to be done. To get the best results some things need to remain confidential and secret and as such whether through encrypted ways or through other ways messages go back and front between a government and its local representatives and that needs a little more security. Some is as simple as a message of a first insight as to build a bridge; to keep the advantage this goes encrypted. It is the cost of business, plain and simple. There is no hidden agenda (other than national pride in trying to score the job). So, they do they do their job and they are not the NSA bitch in the process.

It is simple approach and the lie hidden within a truth was stated as “They are covert, and their true mission is not known by the majority of the diplomatic staff at the facility where they are assigned” Part of the truth is that the encryption specialist is usually not known, it is not a secret either, he used to be the person, who had one extra book with cyphers, he opened each page and set the encryption box and transmitted the information, often a NCO of communication (often has NATO duty reference A00x0). That person had two extra tasks and most in the diplomatic staff might not know, or better stated, they absolutely do not care.

When we saw the statements by certain key people in Australia or the UK they spoke the absolute truth. The small explanation I gave is done by all, the DSD (AUS), GCHQ (UK) and as I said it the Dutch have it too. It is a simple legally valid and required job that needs to be done, nothing secret about it, it is the cost of doing business and sometimes, to keep a lead profitable it sometimes gets handed over more secured, just like they do it at Microsoft (they just get heaps better equipment).

Another issue is the XKeyscore reference. Does such a thing exist, most likely! Now consider the implications of the following, there are mentions of 700 servers in 150 locations. The fact that it needs to intercept without visibility and analyse at the same time as a person does many things at the same time. Even if the best of the best was used (which likely is the case), then we are looking at a very select group trying to get a handle on perhaps no more than the most dangerous 2000 people on the planet. Does anyone believe that a system like this remains a secret if 4 Australian bases are involved? The next part can also be taken as a fact. Can anyone even guess the amount of bandwidth this takes? Most routers nearby the monitored person will truly get a beating, so whatever this is, it will show up. It is the scope that is claimed that makes no sense. Some in the NSA might find it nice if it was true, but the weak link in all this is the actual internet.

The last part of this is the kicker in this joke. If his life depends on it all, do you actually think he would ever part with the information? This came from the NY Times from October 2013 (at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/18/world/snowden-says-he-took-no-secret-files-to-russia.html) “Mr Snowden said he gave all of the classified documents he had obtained to journalists he met in Hong Kong, before flying to Moscow, and did not keep any copies for himself“, so his life depends on a journalist, who now has the thousands of documents?

Perhaps we should look at a much more likely explanation, the man has no value, the press is stretching the value of events, as they would and Snowden has played his part, I still think that the Chinese saw in him what I saw from the very beginning, a simple joke! They walked away and he had to flee to Russia who is keeping him around for entertainment and to piss of the Yanks (which they also regard as good entertainment). My issue is not him, but the fact that I see more wasted time and energy on laughable cases that keep us all away from actually moving forward. In this economy, as we are so stretched thin, rebuilding an economy is a first need, not waste time on some feigned attack on the ‘confidence in the internet economy‘ as Eric King puts it.

And for the love of whomever, let’s not compare Snowden and Assange, I completely oppose Assange and his view, but at least he seemed to believe in that what he did was a just cause and acted accordingly.

In the end this is just my view, but no one seems to be asking the questions the press are supposed to be asking. The Guardian and Der Spiegel seem to get a ‘free’ hand in boasting tons of data and a simple stamp ‘Snowden said it was so’ seems enough for people to just accept it.

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Diplomatic Disbelief

Even though the economy is about to take a weird leap, which will be discussed in the next blog, the events as they unfolded on last night’s news by the NOS is taking a weird step to say the least.

So, on Tuesday evening, the NOS decided to release information on events that happened last Saturday. Now, these things happen. Whether it is just average news, or embargoed news, the fact that diplomatic grounds were transgressed upon, whilst as far as it seems with an utter lack of viable reasons is something that seldom happens. It might actually be a Dutch first, but there it is, the Dutch police thought it was to some level a good idea to enter the premises of a member of the Russian Diplomatic Corps.

Since when is that not major news?

So let us go over the facts for as much as we can.

As the NOS reported, on Saturday the Russian diplomat Dmitry Borodin was arrested in his apartment. This was due to neighbour complaints about the safety and danger to his children.

So, here

  • First, diplomatic grounds were violated.
  • Second, the diplomat was taken away, even though, according to his statement, he pointed out his diplomatic immunity.

Subtotal: this fiasco at this point involved the Dutch home office and the Dutch foreign office.

There are additional issues with the Vienna Convention on Relations and Optional Protocol on Disputes, but about that part later.

So let’s look at the time line.

This happened on Saturday evening, which means that the police commissioner should have received a phone call that scared him to death before midnight. He then wakes up the Dutch ministers Ronald Plasterk (Home office), Frans Timmermans (Foreign Office) and Ivo Opstelten (Justice). The simple reason is that when you miscommunicate from the top, you want that list to remain as short as possible. At that point, the arresting officers will get the picture that it will be a long weekend for them, as they get grilled and checked on every piece of paper they create.

The Russian side was simple; the man was released after three hours.

So at this point, it is Sunday, it is way too soon for lunch. Those four individuals are (or should be) earning their pay. However, did this happen? It seems not, as Kysia Hekster, NOS reporter investigates her story, I see none of these matters. The fact, that after the trivial matters that the NOS reported on Sunday and Monday and, this Tuesday story smells like Hamlet, (a foul stench that is coming from the news).

Important to realise that in the first, we do not know whether the policemen were morally wrong, they were definitely legally wrong to enter diplomatic premises. I wonder what their side is on all this, as I would want to hear this. The fact that Sky News did not seem to have picked this up and the Guardian picked it up only after the Netherlands did seems to indicate that several levels of embargo in place.

I have to admit that several facts do not add up. For one that only after arrival at the police station people learned that this was a diplomat. The fact that the address did not raise flags is an issue on several levels. You see, partially I am all for a new cold war. However, it would be nice if we start being clever about it on how we start this and not give away the cheese on these levels of ‘silliness’. The statement by Annemieke Vermeer-Kunzki is acceptable. She stated that ‘the Dutch are likely wrong’. She is holding out for space as she might not have all the facts. There are of course issues if the children were clearly in danger. I am not claiming that fact to be true or false, I just do not have viable data on that claim.

What is, however really clear, is that this circus, which started on Saturday, is only now getting into the visible light of newscasting. So interesting to see how this evolves, especially as news agencies, who are always claiming ‘the people have a right to know‘ seem to remain to be in the dark on these events? I reckon that at present it sucks to be a minister (one of the three mentioned that is).

There are more considerations. No matter how right or how wrong, President Putin will not take kindly to this. The Russian Diplomatic Corps is his shiny horse and officials messing with this will get the wrong side of the lime light. It will be interesting to see what Director Bartholee of the AIVD (Dutch version of MI-5) will do. No matter how morally right the policemen might have been, they might be in hot waters in more than one way. The response on NOS news by Foreign office minister Timmermans is also out of bounds (to some extent). It is nice to ‘await the report‘, however when this information is released three days after the event, then it is time to ask questions in these matters, especially with such an international event. In addition, the NOS was really not that active in asking the ministers involved the questions that needed to be asked, especially when most of the ‘news’ is about budget meetings that are not moving forward (about that part more in my next blog).

We will see this unfold, yet the lack of visibility whilst CNN reports on a couple who survives a near-fatal hike, how BBC world release information on 4 Spanish members released in Mexico. It seems to me that there was nothing on this event on any of those stations. Even Sky News seemed to have nothing, just that a ‘New Dreamliner is on its way‘. In a time when our privacies seem to be blowing in the wind, as we see a headline like ‘Regulation will be imposed on press as politicians reject self-regulation’, where the quote “Tom Harris, a former minister, warns on Wednesday that his party is undermining freedom.” and at the same time, those Journalists do not act on a story of diplomatic trespass gives more than one indication that the PRESS seems to have lost view on the things that should matter.

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