Tag Archives: Art of war

When inability drives fear

It is a dangerous place to be in. We all have been there and in most cases it is as innocent as it could ever be. You see, sometimes life throws you a curveball. Gamers tend to identify it most easily. In my particular case it was a game called Magic Carpet. It was a Bullfrog game and I was testing it on the PC. It played magnificently there, and soon thereafter I also tested it on the very first PlayStation. There, because of the controller it was good, but not great. Still, it was fun to play and I tended (in those early years) to really get into a game, so when the situation blew into my face, I got a little frustrated. The next two times were worse and the last time (on that day) I went slightly angry (with myself) and I kicked the door. The issue was not the door, it was my steel tipped boot and I went straight through the door, so, I was not merely ticked off, I had a hole in the door (which would require funds to repair) and the boss in Magic Carpet was still alive. We all have had these moments. Our car, our bike, the TV, things go wobbly on you and we sometimes react wrongly to this situation and in light of that get to reflect on our own ego’s a little.

These are the images going through me when I was confronted to new information when looking at the unrealistic response by America (and Australia) to Huawei. In the case of Australia it seemed the mere application of greed and fear as politicians cater to the greed of a large telecom company, which was not seemingly the case with America. Yet that tip was raised for me less than 24 hours ago. The article (at https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/08/15/botched-cia-communications-system-helped-blow-cover-chinese-agents-intelligence/), shows how the CIA got their own systems handed to them through ego and what I would regard as stupidity. The initial headline ‘The number of informants executed in the debacle is higher than initially thought‘ is rather unsettling. It gets to be worse with “The CIA had imported the system from its Middle East operations, where the online environment was considerably less hazardous, and apparently underestimated China’s ability to penetrate it. “The attitude was that we’ve got this, we’re untouchable,” said one of the officials who, like the others, declined to be named discussing sensitive information. The former official described the attitude of those in the agency who worked on China at the time as “invincible.” Other factors played a role as well, including China’s alleged recruitment of former CIA officer Jerry Chun Shing Lee around the same time.” This is the most dangerous of settings. The wrongful setting comes straight from Sun Tsu where we learn that all war is based on deception. China is not some place that is tinkering at the side of the road, the Art of War COMES FROM CHINA! It gets to be worse when you consider that that book was written long before Americans had adopted proper reading and writing skills, close to 1200 years before that, so that was their first error.

When we see: “But the penetration of the communication system seems to account for the speed and accuracy with which Chinese authorities moved against the CIA’s China-based assets. “You could tell the Chinese weren’t guessing. The Ministry of State Security [which handles both foreign intelligence and domestic security] were always pulling in the right people,” one of the officials said. “When things started going bad, they went bad fast.”“. The entire matter seems to be exponentially wrong. The big issue is not on how it was cracked, or even if it was cracked. My issue had been (for a much longer time now) that for too long, the deciding voices, all listening to some CTO, often with multiple sides lacking wisdom that the setting was not merely that there was ‘a security risk’, there was for the longer time a much larger security flaw. For much too long a time, we got the ‘slides of wisdom’ on how data in transit tends to be safe and data at rest tended to be in danger. Even when I started my CCNA, the amount of knowledge given in the Cisco books gave the rise to the consideration that data in transit is not merely as vulnerable, it was that a lot more could be done unnoticed (not merely by the Chinese mind you). It was some time before the Sony hack that I expected a setting where the routers themselves might be used against the owner, it went further when we consider Wired in 2013 (at https://www.wired.com/2013/09/nsa-router-hacking/). The headline is not merely ‘NSA laughs at pc’s, prefers hacking routers and switches‘. It is the setting where we see: ““No one updates their routers,” he says. “If you think people are bad about patching Windows and Linux (which they are) then they are … horrible about updating their networking gear because it is too critical, and usually they don’t have redundancy to be able to do it properly.” He also notes that routers don’t have security software that can help detect a breach“. This is where I was in 2011, when I started to comprehend the working of a router and router tables, I figured out that it is not the router they can see that is the problem; it is the one they cannot see. That idea came from a presentation by Thomas Akin, CISSP, Director, Southeast Cybercrime Institute who had a presentation for the Blackhat briefings. The 2002 presentation gave me the idea. You see apart from the lack of security, the +1 hop hack allows form something truly unique. Consider [.MIL Server], that server connects to <secure router 1> and things are set into motion. Now, we cannot direct all the traffic, yet materials from that location to let’s say ‘preferred consultant one‘ will go via certain paths, yet the first router after <secure router 1> tends to be merely one or two routers (depending on traffic) to that preferred consultant. It is easy to find a router that could optionally be a link to these routers and duplicate all packages that go to that specific next step. Not only is the task easily done, the path is not hindered, the router is not intervened with and a simple reset takes away whatever evidence existed in the first place. In addition, the additional part is that the compact flash in those routers is ‘The maximum storage capacity for the CF in Slot0 and Slot1 is 4GB‘, yet the only part here is that you only needed 32 MB, which is what most of us used then, but cards that small are no longer made, so most IT people just plug in what they have. You have well over 3GB of package storage, so all packages to that one location could be stored and redirected on the ‘off’ hours as not to leave any monitored spike. Until the CFlash card is ejected from the router and investigated no one will have a clue. That was 7 years ago and the systems are even more capable now, a 3GB glitch will not register on most systems, especially when those IT people do not block Spotify and/or YouTube. By the time they figured it out, the setting is already wiped, and this path can be adjusted on a daily bases so that most IT networkers never had a clue in the first place.

You think that I am alone in this, that I am this clever? No, I am not! There are plenty of IT Networkers running circles around me and that is now set into the stage of ‘we’re untouchable‘. The CIA was never that, they never needed to be touched, the opponent merely needed a clear line of sight to the router that is one skip from the secure router that they needed to get to. We see more in the Foreign Policy article with the quotes “Information about sources is so highly compartmentalized that Lee would not have known their identities. That fact and others reinforced the theory that China had managed to eavesdrop on the communications between agents and their CIA handlers” and “an encrypted digital program, allows for remote communication between an intelligence officer and a source, but it is also separated from the main communications system used with vetted sources, reducing the risk if an asset goes bad“. Now we merely add “But the CIA’s interim system contained a technical error: It connected back architecturally to the CIA’s main covert communications platform. When the compromise was suspected, the FBI and NSA both ran “penetration tests” to determine the security of the interim system. They found that cyber experts with access to the interim system could also access the broader covert communications system the agency was using to interact with its vetted sources, according to the former officials“. I believe it goes further than that. If we see the entire layer process and consider that in the end, certain systems merely replicate a process. Cisco (at https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/support/docs/lan-switching/8021q/17056-741-4.html) gives us: “A device can determine which VLAN the traffic belongs to by its VLAN identifier. The VLAN identifier is a tag that is encapsulated with the data. ISL and 802.1Q are two types of encapsulation that are used to carry data from multiple VLANs over trunk links”, as well as “The DA field of the ISL packet is a 40-bit destination address. This address is a multicast address and is set at “0x01-00-0C-00-00” or “0x03-00-0c-00-00”. The first 40 bits of the DA field signal the receiver that the packet is in ISL format“, so as the destination was known, the people needing this could search very specifically. When we consider ‘It connected back architecturally to the CIA’s main covert communications platform‘, the connection back would enable those seeking to find the needed value of the DA field. That does not merely impede the CIA, it stands to reason that to some degree the NSA would be just as vulnerable.

The main course

In my case, I tend to go for the Bambi burger, ideally I watch Bambi whilst having that lovely slice of venison. You see when we get to “As part of China’s Great Firewall, internet traffic there is watched closely, and unusual patterns are flagged. Even in 2010, online anonymity of any kind was proving increasingly difficult. Once Chinese intelligence obtained access to the interim communications system,­ penetrating the main system would have been relatively straightforward, according to the former intelligence officials. The window between the two systems may have only been open for a few months before the gap was closed, but the Chinese broke in during this period of vulnerability“, I believe the setting is worse than that. These players still require their consultants. It does not matter whether you call them construction workers, members of Blackwater, Xe Services, or Academi. It is those places as well as Booz Allan Hamilton and other providers that still require to be informed, and that is where the interception could start. The setting is not ‘the Chinese broke in during this period of vulnerability‘, it is the long term flags that they were able to test at this point and that is the fear we see with their setting of Huawei and partners. Not that Huawei is the danger, but the fact that Chinese intelligence is just as able to get into nearly all systems, it merely can get into Chinese systems faster (for now). This is where it gets a little more complicated, because it is not about the now, it is about tomorrow and the tomorrows that are coming. The only ones who have a chance of getting things done are players like the Constellis Group and Palantir when they unite abilities. It is going to be about data and about the ability to forecast how traffic goes. Thomas Akin was teaching this wisdom 16 years ago. We see this when we are made to realise

  • Live system data is the most valuable.
  • Immediate shutdown destroys all of this data.
  • Investigators must recover live data for analysis.

And the loss is merely a reset away, in most cases if there is an automatic reset; the only data available is the last transgression at best. With the coming of 5G live real-time capturing data streams is what is more likely to set the stage of finding out what happened, in this the entire setting of ‘China’s Great Firewall‘, we are already looking at outdated Chinese technology and I do believe that those behind the article, as well as some DARPA people are aware of that. America and Europe are behind in ways that we cannot even perceive, because the players that need to move forward are doing so iteratively, that whilst the time of reengineering is now merely 10% of what the development time was. We see this with “Call this the IBM problem, which faced an existential threat as soon as Asian groups started churning out cheap PCs in the 1990s. But here IBM also provides a few tips to the future, with its pivot to software and solutions. By the time of IBM’s iconic “solutions for a small planet” ad campaign in 1996, the company was trumpeting voice recognition and ecommerce — producing the sort of digital enterprise backbone that ended up helping develop the internet economy” (source: Australian Financial Review). In the first instance the Asian market required 10-15 years to catch up, the second time around it took 2-3 years and now with Google and Apple working globally, it takes months. IBM (others too) took iterative steps to maximise the economic footprint, instead of truly leaping forward whenever possible, they lost the advantage and are now trailing the markets. Huawei is one clear example where the American market was surpassed. Samsung showed its supremacy by having 5G home routers ahead of everyone else and the advantage in Asia is only growing. It is seen with “Alternatively, authorities might have identified the system through a pattern analysis of suspicious online activities. China was so determined to crack the system that it had set up a special task force composed of members of the Ministry of State Security and the Chinese military’s signals directorate (roughly equivalent to the NSA), one former official said“. I do not read this part in the same way. I believe that with ‘set up a special task force composed of members of the Ministry of State Security‘, was not about cracking. I personally believe that the Cisco books were so illuminating that they decided to change the setting in their own game. I believe that the Chinese now have a more advanced system. They have done what players like Cisco should have done before 2014 and they did not. I believe that when we see a partnership between Constellis and Palantir, their findings will bear that out with in addition an optional link that shows part of the accusation that China let Russia in on certain findings (and the Russian evolution of certain networking devices). This and the next part is largely speculative, but it is supported to some extent. We see this in: “Once one person was identified as a CIA asset, Chinese intelligence could then track the agent’s meetings with handlers and unravel the entire network. (Some CIA assets whose identities became known to the Ministry of State Security were not active users of the communications system, the sources said.)“. I believe that he part given in ‘not active users of the communications system‘ gives us the third part. I believe that the system was not merely invaded. There is every chance that certain systems when activated also leave tags behind and that is where the intrusion would have paid off. You see, in the Cisco setting (as an example), the data frame has an optional 60 bytes of extension headers, yet is that always empty? More important, when were these data packages truly thoroughly checked? In this speculative setting I take you to the movie Die Hard 2. In that movie we see on how someone decided to get clever and uses the outer marker beacon to warn the planes that were in danger. The beacon can be used in other ways than merely give a beep. I believe that Cisco data packages have other optional parts than can be ‘reused’ to do something different, like the optional headers. They are to most merely empty pre-set ‘spaces’, but they could have more. That is the setting that America faces and the fact that they could get overwhelmed by Chinese intelligence because they did not rely on iterative parts. Huawei had been leaping forward, for example now offering a 128GB Android 8.1 phone (the Huawei nova 3i 128GB Handset), for 50% less than its competitors. A system that is just as advanced as anything Apple and Samsung offer; at merely half the price whilst Chinese Intelligence has been digging into that device for months, unlike the NSA that needs to queue up with all the other users to get to look at the Pixel 3 and the iPhone 8 on launch day. That is the setting we seem to be seeing and America is indeed and rightfully worried, not because Huawei has backdoors (which I never really believed) but because the players here had been held backwards through iterative technology. Apple is actually staged by Forbes that way with the quote ‘a minor point update for the iOS 11.1 iteration‘, even Forbes speaks about iterative changes. That is the setting that they are up against and they have been surpassed for years and with Huawei leading the 5G stage on a global setting the US authorities are merely getting more and more afraid that not only are they no longer the leading players, they are now sidelined by not being able to keep up with what will be presented ‘tomorrow’.

That part can be supported through the CIA with analyses reports (at https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/csi-studies/studies/vol49no3/html_files/Collection_Analysis_Iraq_5.htm), in here we see that Richard Kerr, Thomas Wolfe, Rebecca Donegan, and Aris Pappas give us (in a different context): “The analysis on this issue by the Intelligence Community clearly was wide of the mark. That analysis relied heavily on old information acquired largely before late 1998 and was strongly influenced by untested, long-held assumptions. Moreover, the analytic judgments rested almost solely on technical analysis, which has a natural tendency to put bits and pieces together as evidence of coherent programs and to equate programs to capabilities. As a result the analysis, although understandable and explainable, arrived at conclusions that were seriously flawed, misleading, and even wrong“. It is important to realise that this was on the WMD setting, so in a different context and on a different setting. Yet the information systems were all designed to upholster that flaw to an ‘evolved’ placement, the systems in their entirety are nowhere near ready, now even for the previous setting. The movement from a lot of staff to more fruitful consultant settings is now paying off in a negative way for the CIA (and the NSA too). This is where it gets interesting. You see, the previous setting that I gave should partially have been dealt with through the flashlight program that DARPA has. Raytheon BBN is working on that with Professor Richard Guidorizzi from George Mason University Fairfax. I think that the system is not entirely ready here, not if the packages can be duplicated via the router and as long as the original is not touched, that system will not get the alert lights ringing.

To get you on board on how far all the NATO partners are behind, let me give you two settings. The first is a DARPA Project called ‘Probabilistic Programming for Advancing Machine Learning (PPAML)‘, the man in charge is Dr. Suresh Jagannathan, yet the bigger brain might be MIT graduate Dr. Jennifer Roberts. The given setting is “Probabilistic programming is a new programming paradigm for managing uncertain information. Using probabilistic programming languages, PPAML seeks to greatly increase the number of people who can successfully build machine learning applications and make machine learning experts radically more effective“, whilst we also see the goods in the DARPA article by Dr Roberts with “If successful, PPAML could help revolutionize machine learning capabilities in fields from Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) to predictive analytics and cybersecurity“, this is certainly leaping forward, but it is still based on a system. I believe that the Chinese decided to turn the funnel upside down. To illustrate this I need to get you to an app called Inke. The article (at https://thenextweb.com/contributors/2018/02/09/hidden-world-chinese-livestreaming-app-inke/), gives us ‘The hidden world of Chinese livestreaming app Inke‘, this is not a few people; this is a craze that has already infected millions upon millions. So with “he was actually doing a livestream, an extremely popular hobby for young people in China. China is way ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to embracing livestreams.” you are missing out and missing out by a lot. These streams are real-time and often geo-tagged. I believe that the Chinese have changed the setting, they are optionally collecting Terabytes of daily data and they are converting that to actionable intelligence. Facial recognitions in phones, geo-tagged and all uploaded and streamed, all converted on the spot, like the SETI screensaver, millions of affordable mobiles (this is where the Huawei nova 3i 128GB Handset and all other new handsets come in), parsing all that data into uploaded files and Chinese intelligence gets global information close to real time, whilst their learning machines are about efficiencies of collected data, it is not about the better application by making them more effective, it is about the massive amounts of data offered to get the systems to upgrade the efficiency of parsing data, because parsing data is where the bottleneck will be in 5G and they already have a larger advantage.

In the meantime, on any given day thousands of Inke users are filming life around them in malls and famous places looking awesome doing it. Yet, if you look at the CCTV settings, how many users would have passed 935 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC, or at London SE1 9EL, UK walking towards London Bridge? How many people were merely assuming that they were tourists face timing with mom and dad? Are you getting that picture now? and also realise that Inke is merely one of more than 300 live streaming companies, all capturing that data all those tags that a smartphone allows it to capture and at the top of all this, Facebook and YouTube are eagerly pushing people to gain following by doing just that. So how long until the user realises that uploading the same stream to 2-3 providers gets them to gain a lot more following and optionally cash? Yes, the intelligence community is that far behind at present. So when we are worrying on “The system was not designed to withstand the scrutiny of a place like China, where the CIA faced a highly sophisticated intelligence service and a completely different online environment“, we need to consider that China is already ahead of the game and the CIA systems might be merely an option to scrutinise their own data, because that remains the Chinese bottleneck, the data will require verification and that is the one field where their opposition could gain the advantage if they set their minds to a different algorithm, one on reliability, not on likelihood. It is a setting where all the players involved have a second tier of consideration. They embrace a ‘not now, but soon‘ thought, when ‘I needed this yesterday‘ is the proper setting as I personally see it, because data without proper vetting is merely used space on any given storage device.

That final part can be considered when we look at the linked article that NBC had from last January. There we see: “When agents searched Lee’s hotel rooms in 2012, they found notebooks with the names of covert CIA sources, according to court documents. But not all of the agent arrests and deaths could be linked to information possessed by Lee, who left the CIA in 2007“, an issue I mentioned in an earlier blog. We get there when we consider his actions and ‘found notebooks with the names of covert CIA sources‘, do you think that anyone, especially in this setting would be that stupid? It’s like keeping the condom as a trophy after having intercourse, its useless and stupid. I believe that either it is not the ‘covcom’ system, or not merely the ‘covcom’ system. I believe that (if it is all correct) that Chinese intelligence got in further and deeper into acquiring the data required and the notebook is the proverbial red herring in all this, especially as Jerry Chun Shing Lee left the CIA in 2007. You do not hold on to that level of information 11 years after you might have had some level of valid reasons to have it in the first place. That is the part many overlooked, or looked away from.

In the end, I do believe that it is not merely the inability that drove the anti-Huawei waves, it is the fact that those decision makers have no idea where to navigate towards next is what drives their fears almost exponentially.

 

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When a joke is too pathetic

This is the first thought that came to mind when I saw the ‘headline’ ‘IMF has ‘criminal responsibility’ for Greek crisis‘, which was in the Guardian Live part. So, is Alexis Tsipras just too stupid to be allowed as a politician? Let’s face it, after 6 months he achieved absolutely nothing, so is my question that far out of bounds? He created decline in diplomatic bonds by accusing everyone, except the ones really responsible, which were the Greeks themselves!

Let’s take a look at some of this, for this I am taking a larger step back, back in time. You see, after the Olympics of 2004, we should have seen an influx and a positive result for Greece, which it did, but only to the smallest extent. Compared to other nations that influx was not as strong as many expected it to be. When we look at the data the OECD (at http://www.oecd.org/) has, we see that the investment in Gross fixed capital formation (GFCF) was up in the year before the Olympics (that makes sense), then collapsed, only to go up steeply in 2006 and 2007, after that it goes down a lot, far below the average, guess what, after it hit a low (-26%) in 2012, suddenly there was a spike in investments, to minus 9.5% in 2013 and plus 2.7 percent in 2014. Yet, investments by whom? If we look at investment on % of GFCF by government we see that they represent 23.3% in 2013 and 20.7% in 2012. All this whilst corporate invested 34.9% in 2012 and 38.3% in 2013, households are in the basement, so the picture does not make sense (to me), when we compare this next to let’s say, the Netherlands, the picture looks even more distorted. Greece spiked its general government investment as % of GFCF far beyond the Netherlands, especially in 2009 and 2013. Greece has nowhere near that funding. Now, we see that it is just ‘% of GFCF’, yet spiking’s of 7% difference makes a lot more sense for the Netherlands than for Greece (the Dutch have dikes, harbours and plenty of assets to worry about). The Greek spending under former PM George A. Papandreou as well as spending by former PM Antonis Samaras, or should I say spending whilst they were in charge? Spending on transport equipment, other buildings and cultivated assets went up consistently, especially since 2012, whilst investment for dwellings went down from 2011 to 8% in 2014. These investment parts cannot be denied to some extent, yet the spiking implies that it is done at a moment’s notice, on the whim of emotion, lacking long term insight and stability. You only need to compare Greece to nations like the Netherlands and Sweden to see that the ‘spikes’ reflect what I would call: lacking vision and insight.

The questions only increase when you consider that Greece’s net trade never comes close to -20, -25.2 is the best they were able to achieve from 2003 onwards, and this is in billions of dollars, so as we see a decade of minus 20 billion or worse, it was -64 billion in 2008, questions should be asked, especially from the Greeks. A nation in trade deficit for ever a decade adds up to questions on WHY they were allowed onto the bond market in 2014, no one clearly asked those questions. In that light I need to add a blog (at http://yanisvaroufakis.eu/2014/05/11/how-the-greek-banks-secured-an-additional-hidden-e41-billion-bailout-from-european-taxpayers/), the article called ‘How the Greek Banks Secured an Additional, Hidden €41 billion Bailout from European taxpayers’, so how come that these matters are not on the front page? So as I see it, these massive indicators are shown that when it comes to ‘criminal responsibility’, Alexis Tsipras should also knock on the doors of previous PM’s and Greek political bigwigs (if they actually have any). For the simple reason that massive austerity would have been needed in 2006 onwards, how much was cut? How was this achieved? You see 2005 was already a clear indication that overhaul of property taxation, tax collection and tax evasion was a clear given, especially when you come up short by THAT much. Yet in over a decade no achievements were made and neither was anything truly done in the last 6 months.

In addition, we see the dangers of the title ‘Athens threatens to miss IMF payment‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/16/eurozone-greek-exit-athens-imf-grexit-tsipras), whatever the Eurozone braces for is an unknown to me, considering the large players downplayed the event. The quote ‘threatens to miss IMF payment‘ is also slightly misrepresented. As I see it. As I see it, Greece no longer has that much money at their disposal, I reckon the shift by using the IMF emergency funds was a clear given. There is also a ghostly silence when it comes to the bank run. No clear indication how strong that pull is, or are the banks perhaps already empty? That is not a speculation, it is the question, especially as political parties and banks are debating ‘Grexit’. The problems will only intensify when the bank runs are complete. Actually, I expect that escalations will occur a lot faster when people can no longer withdraw. There is presently no indication when it will happen, but as payments are missed, the dangers of banks no longer handing out cash (emphasis on ‘being able to’) after June 23rd is not out of the question, if the bank run continues, that date might be even before that date. It will be a new low in humanitarian economics, as retirees will no longer receive payments, how will they be able to pay, when the Greek government allowed in March for the dipping into pension funds. Depending on how many Greek bonds these pensions ended up with, when money is not coming, which is extremely realistic, the pension funds themselves will not be able to flood the monthly retirement pay out, which is due in less than 2 weeks, at that point, how will the population react?

I expect to stay away from Greece until that dust cloud settles as it will be a harsh reality for Greeks to watch tourists walk around whilst they can no longer afford to feed themselves. The escalation with refugees all over Greece (Kos being the most visible one) is not helping any. The fact that posters are appearing with texts like “I am an immigrant, I’m here to rape your children” is not helping any. You might think that they are separate issues, but they are not. You see, this fuel of hatred is hitting Greeks every day, the unrest is growing amongst both sides. The entire debt mess is hitting the Greeks, who now see that what is left would be lost to the refugees. We are all about humanitarian aid, but how many will give them your last sandwich? How many will give food to the refugees when it means that your children will not eat? You might think that this is an exaggeration, but after next week, that might not be the case. When the announcement of a default meeting is given, the banks will get overrun, people will take all their money out, they might already be starting that today, when THAT is gone, how exactly will groceries be paid for? All this, because the two players Alexis Tsipras and Yanis Vardoulakis have basically been sitting on their hands for 6 months. It is nice to see the headlines ‘No new reform proposals for Eurogroup‘ and ‘Varoufakis rules out ‘Grexit’, deal possible if Merkel takes part‘. Well, as we are seeing now, it is no longer up to Varoufakis and Tsipras. as they pushed away reforms, accused the IMF and as we see ‘Europe Struggles Toward Solution as Tsipras Rips Into Creditors‘, we have to wonder, the Greeks made these deals, a I see it, the acts of THIS administration is now killing their own options, burning the bridges behind them. At this point, as I see it. Greece can no longer state “Grexit not a possibility“, at this point, we have arrived at the stage that Greece gets notified that Greece will be ejected from the Euro, perhaps even the Eurozone. The latter part is not that likely, but in sight of the Greek acts, no longer an impossibility. Now, only 2 hours ago we see “US urges compromise after Greek PM attacks IMF” (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/live/2015/jun/16/greek-crisis-negotiations-deadlocked-as-time-runs-short-live-updates). Now we see “US Treasury secretary Jack Lew has telephoned Alexis Tsipras to urge him to reach a realistic compromise, urgently. In a statement, the Treasury revealed that Lew told Tsipras that the Greek people, and the global economy, would suffer if Athens can’t reach a deal with creditors

My cold war view (I miss those old days) is: “Jack, buddy boy! Did you miss certain facts? Did you consider that this is exactly what Alexis Tsipras wants all along? He is a communist! This scenario will have a massive impact on America, he is meeting Putin on Friday. Perhaps they will walk through the Hermitage on Saturday, a family outing, special tour and as they turn around the corner he gets his new golden future, if he can push Greece over the edge, massively hurting the US (please do not deny that it will not hurt the US), than he will have a nice future, he might even get the Star of Lenin on May 1st 2016. Instead of meeting with European parties, he is having another meeting with Putin. This guy met with Putin more often than the bulk of the Europeans together

This might look like my shallow view, but consider the past of Syriza, their foundations, is my view so far-fetched? He has done absolutely nothing to propel the debt situation in any positive way. Is all war not based on deception? (Source: Art of War). Look at all the photo’s the papers have, all posing moments and all presentations of the moment (which politicians tend to do), has Alexis Tsipras been anything but a petulant child? As he went on and on in the style of: ‘Just give me my cookie now!‘ (Reference to the 7.2 billion bailout). In 6 months no clear reforms, no clear mention in any direction that could have eased any kind of resolution. The icing on the cake would be if the US would now take on some of these debts too. It would be a total victory for Tsipras, he can tell the Greek population has been dealt with and he’ll be living next to the Kremlin for daily Caviar and Vodka, the new Russian superstar!

This is just my view, it is a view and there is no reliability on my view, but oddly enough, my view matches all the facts we see, so is it less or more likely? Consider yourself, when you are in deep water with your bank, would you not try to get a dialogue and understanding? Would you not plead ‘there is no money now, but as soon as some comes in, we start paying!’ of course, the bank cuts you off, but the bank realises that waiting is better than losing, especially when the client has sincere intentions. So pissing of your bank, accusing them of ‘criminal responsibilities’ and letting them pay for it all, how does that help?

When the fence between you and the tiger is gone, posturing seems pointless, even if it is the only thing left to you. So, are the Greek politicians in charge now the joke that is too pathetic?

From accusations to ‘trying to make up’ as Helena Smith of the Guardian reports, “Over in Athens the government’s spokesman has just released a statement attempting to douse tensions with EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker“. Is this part of the play, or have the members of Syriza lost direction and focus? This is the question for many, you see, accusations followed by carefully phrased corrections is about emotion, limelight and posturing, as I see it an almost empty gesture to keep a non-conversation going. In here, I mean non-conversation as a means to continue a dialogue that allows for non-actions to continue too. Will this go on for 30 hours until the upcoming near-fatal meeting to be? That will be a question to consider, because tomorrow might be the last chance before certain members meet separately to put Grexit to the vote. That last part is again just my view, but it is a distinct possibility, because the reality of Grexit has now been voiced, and the change from ‘if’ to ‘when’ Grexit commences needs a start date, Germany, France and Italy would want to keep control of that moment, just to make sure that they will not be terminally affected because of it, a consequence that is still an option!

As I see it, the game will change massively for France when Grexit happens, as such, France would want to champion that meeting for valid reasons of cost impact.

 

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Chapter 13

I have been aware of the story for almost a day now. To be honest, it took a little while to let things sink in. Also, my approach here is completely different from my other stories. This all is not a clear cut thing and I might be barking up all the wrong trees. The story ‘Argentinian government moves to dissolve domestic intelligence agency‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/27/argentina-government-domestic-intelligence-agency-alberto-nisman) should be a wake-up call to many people. What you are about to read is not based on evidence, evidence that we see as quality facts that can be used to speculate on what actually happened. I am stating that none of the evidence is of any calibre at all, I am however using the events that I am aware of and as such, I see a different escalation, one that could be utterly wrong. I leave it up to the reader, I am just warning the reader at this point, to scrutinise my thoughts, as I do and do not accept the speculation on face value alone.

You see, for the most a population has little to no clue what their levels of protection are, until they are removed. Consider that we in Australia need to remain safe whilst someone decided that Australia will be a lot safer if the ASIO is disbanded. I can tell you now that this would be the worst idea in a long line of really bad ideas. If we go by the oldest book on this (the art of war), then at some point, the reader gets to chapter 13, which is all about espionage.

Today, we have a host of issues with spooks, but the one we ignore is that they are here to prevent issues. Yet now consider that these are used against us. However, be aware that spies can be used in any matter of ways, in addition, these groups do not just represent governments, at times large corporations employ them for similar reasons.

So as we look at the initial text, I will add the conversion to modern and technological approach

From the view of the Art of war, we get the following:

  • We employ the use of spies, of whom there are five classes:
    • Local spies;
    • inward spies;
    • converted spies;
    • doomed spies;
    • Surviving spies.

There is a book; it is called ‘Broker, Trader, Lawyer, Spy: The Secret World of Corporate Espionage’ by Eamon Javers. It is not a bad read, more important, this current world has an evolved use of former intelligence officers (from many countries), some come from the redacted world of cutbacks in the US and some who privatised themselves. They use their spy craft to aid corporations in distinguishing weaker targets, preparing for cases and litigation in several legal areas and to aid in final trading decisions, as well as change the premise of trade agreements (or to destabilise them by interfering with costs and profit margins. For these options, they might choose to employ Local Spies and/or Inward spies.

In modern days, we will actually see the converted spy in several ways, whether this person is an informer through IT, a trader, or merchant. In the household form, see this person as one of your distributors, however, as he is getting his bonus from another source, he will tip the revenue scales in a minor way, you that you almost got the job, but almost getting the job is not the same as getting the job and you lose out on revenue. I can go on and give you examples of the last two types, but you get the picture!

So why is this event an issue at present?

Consider that Argentina, as it is in such a dire situation, that it needs to get its economy in a much better place. Now we look at the first quote “Argentina’s president announced a major shakeup of her country’s intelligence network on Monday in her most combative step yet to address the fallout from the death of prosecutor Alberto Nisman“. This sounds all fair and good, but is dissolving the intelligence agency a step that should be considered? Let’s not forget that Argentina has two enemies, the first one is big business. Big Business will always be an enemy of ANY government that prefers to give a fair deal to the people of its nations; the second is X, which is not the United Kingdom or the Commonwealth. Yes, there has been and there will remain a clear difference of opinion there, but that is a disagreement, not a statement for hostile acts.

When we look at what drove all this (at http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/20/world/americas/alberto-nisman-found-dead-argentina-amia.html), we see the title, which gives us a first clue ‘Puzzling Death of a Prosecutor Grips Argentina‘. “From the moment 10 years ago when he was assigned to investigate the 1994 suicide bombing of a Jewish centre here that left 85 people dead, Mr Nisman, an even-keeled lawyer, became entangled in a labyrinthine plot that he traced to Iran and its militant Lebanese ally, Hezbollah“, in addition we get “explosive accusations that top Argentine officials, including President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, had conspired with Iran to cover up responsibility for the bombing as part of a deal that would supply Iranian oil to Argentina“. You see, Argentina has a few issues all over the place, in addition, there is no denying that the people have never forgotten what happened in 1994, yet, and my deepest apologies to those who had lost loved ones, friends and people they knew, this event is not the highest priority for Argentina in their current dilemma, so why is there suddenly a revelation?

I am not entirely sure that any of these facts are true (pure speculation), when looking at the timeline, the events are off. Is it not convenient that Alberto Nisman ends up dead just after he accuses certain people from a case that is two decades old? Did he actually find evidence? Perhaps something was given, or left for him to find. Consider the implied involvement of Iran and its oil delivery, why would that now get distorted, just when oil is massively on the way down in price. So as we read: “He accused Hezbollah of having carried out the bombing and senior Iranian officials of having planned and financed it“, based on what evidence? This is not a case that has had nonstop attention; it was a specific case, a 20 year old one. How hard would it have been to insert scraps leaving to fictive evidence? In addition, Hezbollah has eagerly taken credit for their actions in the past, so why deny it now? I am not stating that they are innocent, but the fact that Hezbollah has a fading course of visibility, this claim would give them the ‘image’ they wanted to have.

The next part hits back to all the parts mentioned before. The person implied in this, now suddenly disbands one intelligence branch and creates a new one. Is this just a shifting label, or are the people getting replaced. I reckon in Argentine’s current predicament, to remove their intelligence branch for someone else is tactically bad (guess where all these officers would go to) and if it is just a sanitation of bad apples, the branch would not needed to be disband in one instance and created in a reformatted version the next.

All these elements are not adding up. Now, let us be fair, why would it make sense to me? I am not in Argentina, I have no clue what the reasoning is and why certain political steps are taken. So, consider this quote from the guardian “Cristina Fernández de Kirchner said she would support a bill to dissolve the existing structure – which employs more than 2,000 people – and replace it with a new federal intelligence agency“. When we add the following part “It follows a protracted struggle with the intelligence agency that has come to light after the suspicious death of Nisman, which the president blames on rogue spies who are trying to undermine her“, as well as ““We must start to work on a project to reform the Argentine intelligence system, in order to clear up a system that has not served national interests,” Fernández said“, so as we see the known facts, the president, who will be leaving  office after two terms is now, 9 months until elections, shoveling over a massive anthill called the ‘Intelligence branch’? So, as we see the accusation of ‘rogue spies’, instead of cleaning house, they are resetting the entire branch? That does not seem like the best idea. Regardless whether there are rogue elements, it is likely that other connections remain hidden as it all goes into another form, which means that it could easily start again. The question on how Alberto Nisman died is still not settled with clarity, so if it was murder, than shuffling the intelligence branch seems an even less good idea.

I can also state with some certainty that doing all this, whilst Argentina is still in treacherous economic waters, having a reliable intelligence branch is pretty essential. Yet, this gives us the part, is it reliable? Latin American nations have been accused more often implied accused seen as a harsh, possibly corrupt group of power brokers. If that is the case, cleaning the intelligence foundations make a lot more sense than ‘just’ relabeling it. If we accept the last quote “her tussle with the spy agency has so far led to increased surveillance powers for the army“, we must consider more than one path. Was this step deliberate, or was it orchestrated? You would think that both answers are the same, but they are not. In the first case we see the consequence of shifting powers, which grows the military oversight, in the other situation it was always about setting military oversight and this was being orchestrated by reshaping the intelligence branch into a Federal Intelligence Agency. The question then becomes, if this is a step towards the ‘FIA’, why was it done in this way? Consider the espionage part in the beginning. Venezuela is in a very bad state and until the hedge funds issues are completely resolved, having an active intelligence branch at your disposal seems pretty essential as well. Let’s not forget the reference to the book in the beginning, under these conditions, there could be profit for both Uruguay and Paraguay, Chili is also a player in this case. As the intelligence branch falters, it also means that economic and corporate advantages could be gained at the expense of Argentinian margins, that whilst the hedge funds vulture issue remains unresolved. All this leads to the question what has actually been happening, it seems decently clear (in my personal view) that the reference to the Jewish centre was not a cause for accusation, but likely a diversion. So, why were certain allegations made, more important, why is the accused president not receiving a lot more opposition and vocal complaints?

We won’t know what is actually in lay, perhaps for some time, but when this article gets more space, at that point, I will follow up on this story, hopefully all loaded with verified facts.

 

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Double standards, no resolve (part 2)

Part two is not about Greece or the Greeks, it is about what has been behind several parts for a long time now. Yet, the visibility of certain events is now forcing another large change to the surface. First let us look at the events as we see them in the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/jan/25/wikileaks-google-staff-emails-us-government).

The title ‘WikiLeaks demands answers after Google hands staff emails to US government‘ calls for a few thoughts, but I think you should consider a few quotes and then reconsider how you feel. The first one is “Google revealed to WikiLeaks on Christmas Eve – a traditionally quiet news period – that it had responded to a Justice Department order to hand over a catch-all dragnet of digital data including all emails and IP addresses relating to the three staffers“. The second one is “Harrison, who also heads the Courage Foundation, told the Guardian she was distressed by the thought of government officials gaining access to her private emails” and then we get “The investigation followed WikiLeaks’ publication, initially in participation with international news organisations including the Guardian, of hundreds of thousands of US secrets that had been passed to the organisation by the army private Chelsea Manning“. So this was specific! Let us not forget that this person (Manning) should be regarded as guilty of treason! This is nothing less than an intelligence analyst going beyond rogue! Manning was a simple E-1 private with no comprehension of the complexity of wars, especially the war the US found itself in, a theatre that is hard to grasp for some of the brightest generals (you know these highly educated, passed their middle age point individuals with a few decades of military experience, in the US seen wearing stars on their shoulders). No, Manning decided on the safety of hundreds if not thousands of lives. In addition US diplomatic efforts were thrown out of the window, setting economic options back for up to a decade, if not longer.

So when we see the response by investigative editor Sarah Harrison “Knowing that the FBI read the words I wrote to console my mother over a death in the family makes me feel sick“, seems a little hollow. For one the FBI does not care about her mommy, two, what did you expect to happen when you access unauthorised data to the size, scope and extent as Manning had transmitted?

I think Harrison is overreacting, if we accept chapter 13 in the Art of war, both the spy and the receiver of information should have been put to death. Is it not a good thing that it was merely investigated by the FBI?

Yet, there is a side that many are ignoring; many do so in an unintentional way, mainly because it tends to not hit us in any way. For that we need to take a step back to Forbes 2013 (at http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertwood/2013/08/06/excuse-me-apple-google-starbucks-h-p-irs-wants-to-tax-stateless-income/), here we see the following parts: “U.S. companies are said to have more than $1.5 trillion sitting offshore. Most claim that they must keep the money there to avoid the taxes they would face by bringing it back to the U.S.“, “the money at stake is enormous. Plus, the companies involved have treasure troves of cash for many war chests. Big and protracted battles seem inevitable. Still, some big companies may be in for battles that are even larger than they think. They may even need to think different” and “The OECD plan claims that companies like Apple and Google avoid billions in taxes. The G20 is made up of 19 leading world economies plus the European Union. It too has voiced support for a fundamental reassessment of the rules on taxing multinationals“. These thoughts all sound nice, but there is an additional element to all this. You see, as I stated more than once, currency is slowly on the way out (loosely approached). The nations that are left with manageable debt are now slowly but surely diminishing to zero. Greece may be the first one, but at minus 18 trillion, the US is the clearest one to end up with nothing, especially as those large US firms have become stateless. You see, now we get to the good part, the new currency will be IP, but here is the kicker, most (including me) seemed to forget that IP is more than Patents and Trade Marks, it includes data! Now we get to the nice stuff, you see, Google adhered to a situation, Twitter and a few others did not, or at least in a delayed way, but the new currency will include massive amounts of data and many players are now catching on that data is at the core a stateless, virtual and duplicable currency. No matter how Sony called its hack attack, does it now look a little clearer that those having a copy of that data are preparing for more than just a data dump? This is what McKinsey & Company had to say in August 2014 “Indeed, the analytics performed by actuaries are critically important to an insurer’s continued existence and profitability“, as well as “While the impetus to invest in analytics has never been greater for insurance companies, the challenges of capturing business value should not be underestimated. Technology, as everyone knows, changes much faster than people. The key for insurers is to motivate their highly skilled experts to adopt the newest tools and use them with creativity, confidence, and consistency” and finally there is “The proliferation of third-party data sources is reducing insurers’ dependence on internal data. Digital “data exhaust” from social media and multimedia, smartphones, computers, and other consumer and industrial devices—used within privacy guidelines and assuring anonymity—has become a rich source for behavioural insights for insurance companies, as it has for virtually all businesses. Recently, the release of previously unavailable or inaccessible public-sector data has greatly expanded potential sources of third-party data“. Yes, it sounds nice that there is public-sector data, but the one part no mentioned is how the analytics is not driven by those, but ascertained through private-sector data fields. You see the data that Sony had on its employees and on the actions of 70 million customers is a lot more insightful when you link it to medical records. Consider how much profit a company gets if it could ascertain more precisely the risk 7 million of its own customers are. If the connection of medical (obesity) and the gamer data of one person results in a $12 per month surcharge, what happens when we see the US having an obesity rating of around 32%? Now we have 70 million accounts and their gaming behaviour. So if we do the following math 32% of 70 million (falsely assuming that they were all American gamers), then we now get the number of people confronted with a $144 a year additive. So in one swoop, this data set gives way to an additional $3.2 billion for insurance fees. Data is going to be that simply applied sooner than you think. With the cloud being forever virtual (as one would think), people forget that a personal space is linked to a real location (wherever that drive is), but what when the data set is beyond massively huge? What if it is spread over several locations? How do we think then? You see Stateless data is not a new concept, but until recently it was never a realistic concept. It is interesting how tax dodging makes engineers a lot more creative.

At the foundation of all this is not the Wikileaks part, that part just illuminates the nutty side of data. Consider the amounts you as the reader had shared in the last 72 hours via Facebook, LinkedIn, SnapChat, Instagram and such. You freely distributed that, you gave up your privacy rights for whatever you openly published. Now consider that whatever you shared got collected. Several people were on vacation (so someone knows that their house is empty and possible unguarded), some revealed that they were sick (health data) and some revealed other details like parties attended and such.

Now the empty house is the most direct one, but not the most important one. Consider the times you updated your status that you were at home with the flu, or something else. Under normal conditions you just had a sickie, or perhaps another way. Now consider that someone now automatically collects the times you were sick, how does that affect your premium? How will your health cycle be analysed if you are shown to have attended 15-30, or even 50-100 parties a year? How long until this shows as detrimental on your health chart? Weirdly enough not having that does not lower your premium, but there is every evidence that doing it will increase your premium.

Do you think that this is over the top?

Then see the following (at http://www.qbe.com.au/Personal/Home/Managing-Your-Risk/Insurance.html). Here we see “Importantly, reducing the likelihood of making a claim helps protect your No Claim Bonus, helping to keep the cost of your insurance premium down“, which has been a truth for a long time. Yet when we consider the mention ‘Don’t alert people you are going away (including on social networking sites)‘. How long until someone combines the two? At reputation.com we see the following “Life insurance companies are increasingly turning to the Internet to determine a potential customer’s risk“, so if you like extreme sports, you might pay for that passion in other ways too. In addition, the one most disturbing was “Donating to charitable causes is a noble gesture, but if you show too great an interest in any particular medical-focused cause, say breast cancer research or prostate cancer awareness, it might indicate to insurance companies that you’re at a higher risk for certain illnesses“, that gives a possible (implied, but not proven), connection that your social responsibility comes at an insurance price. Did you consider that? And this is not starting this year, or next year. Some of these events started no later than 2010.

This all was nothing but to pave the way for that what comes next. You see, there are several sides to Google and Facebook. They are all about bandwidth and several nations are now seeing that even though Facebook is too large, there is a clear path that data is currency, so how long until we see a growth of radicalisation through localisation? This is not radicalisation in the violent way, but in the opposite way. You should see radicalisation of data, attained by washing all the data markers in local server environments. You can’t wash all the markers, but you can make access to it a lot less available. This is the fear Google (possibly Facebook too) has had for some time. As these privacy acts, that data acts and data collection rights of the US grew in a need for compliance, people become falsely fearful of what is dangerous and what is not. The US government ascertaining whether you are a terrorist is not a danger. An insurance company upping your fees by $150 through collected data is a direct danger (to your cost of living). Now we see the link as it gets us to the first story that included Greece.

There will soon be a higher need for localised connected providers. Localised forms of Hushmail (www.hushmail.com), where the people get encrypted mail accounts that can be accessed online, through the web. How long until mobile users will select encrypted android apps, that do not connect to Google, but to local Hushmail providers. We still have the internet, but it will now go through national portals. The fact that Sony happened was only a matter of time. The fact that people now want that there data comes with actual privacy is a growing wave. The Wikileaks issue was the most visible and the most harmless one (for us citizens at least). The world is changing a lot faster than last year and many are now getting clued in that the things of value have not been guarded in the right way.

We will soon see new options on cheaper internet, cheaper mobiles and on package deals, this is what was skated around when this so called IP hearing was going on. Yet, when we look at an earlier statement by Mr Turnbull, in regards to IP, who said at the time. “It is very, very, very difficult if not impossible for someone that is just selling connectivity, just providing bandwidth to then be monitoring what people are doing“.

This is at the heart of the problem, they live of bandwidth, because bandwidth implies data, and the more used, the more data collected, which leads to the better their lives are. This is why they do not want monitoring. I am fairly certain that as their bandwidth falls away, as people move to localised solutions, which remain at the core local, these providers will ‘suddenly’ opt in a ‘possible’ solution. Only at the end of the tether will an industrial give in. Oddly enough, with fear of privacy and the dangers of insurance exploitation on the rise that tether will end up a sudden two inches shorter and now those providers will have to share that what they never had to share before.

Greece has changed the way they play the game; now perhaps we can change the game that is played and make a first monumental change for all!

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