Tag Archives: BBC

In continuation of views

Today is the third and possibly the last part in the Florida shooting articles. This part got here because of an article in the Washington Post. I reckon that those who did not read it should (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/why-school-shootings-are-so-rare-in-israel-where-guns-are-such-a-common-sight/2018/02/22/1fce546a-17e3-11e8-930c-45838ad0d77a_story.html). It gave me info that did not surprise me, but it was still nice to read. Did you know that shootings in schools in Israel are unheard of? In a place where you see guns and armed uniformed men on the streets, that this is the place where things go wrong. Yet, you would be incorrect. So when I reviewed some of the views I illustrated yesterday. It was a nice relief that some of my thoughts and speculations were proven correct. With: ““The guards are there for other reasons, mainly terrorism,” said Amos Shavit, spokesman for the Ministry of Education. He said the guards stationed at schools are under the authority of the police. In large cities, he said, the police and the local authority carry out security patrols around the educational institutions throughout the school day. There are no metal detectors or special door locks on classrooms. And, by policy, teachers are not armed“, it is all dealt with by professionals, as it should.

So as we see: “According to data from Israel’s Ministry of Internal Security, which registers all gun owners, about 260,000 Israelis, or about 3.5 percent of the population, have permits to carry firearms. Half of the permit holders are private citizens, and the others work for security firms” we see an optional clear case for better gun control, Israel is only slightly larger than New Jersey, the US being 450 times the size of Israel needs to be taken into account. Israel is close to the size of the Netherlands, another place not smitten with large space. Israel has 8.5 million people versus 325 million in the US. You think that this does not matter, but it does, especially when we consider people per square mile which is 320 people, a density 10 times higher than the US, you see people density has often been identified with crowd stresses and quick rising agitation levels. In all this, there are more factors, but these were the main ones and in that environment, school shootings are an event the Israeli children do not have to deal with. Then we see something that should wake us up. The Israeli population pretty much all get some form of military training and with “They are taught how to handle a weapon and how to respect a weapon,” Perry said. And, he said, “it is very, very hard to obtain a weapon in Israel.”” we see the part that matters. As I stated it in different ways here we see ‘how to respect a weapon‘. A weapon is for the most a tool, it serves a purpose, now some use it for shooting pieces of carton (targets), yet it is in its foundation a tool to end lives. It does not matter whether it is an animal or a person, when we use it; we are enabled to end the life of a target. A sword, a bayonet and a canon, all tools designed to kill; we need to respect that part. Now, we might use if for sport or for competition, but the foundation of the skill was to be able to end lives, in that it does not matter whether it was to stay alive, to protect your family or to protect others. We tend to walk around that part too often. We trivialise police officers at times as they carry their guns. But they were trained to kill dangers, to the lives of themselves and the lives of the civilians around them. Now, this does not mean that they shoot to kill, it merely means that they have the tool to do that, so the skill of aiming, the skill to properly use a firearm is increasingly important. They were trained with the purpose to protect lives, not to take them away. The article adds its views with “Residents of Tel Aviv, for example, are unlikely to receive gun licenses, whereas Israelis living in border areas or in the Jewish settlements in the West Bank, places where they could be targets for Palestinian militants, are more likely to be approved for gun licenses“. The final part is the bacon on the sandwich, but not part of the causes we see, or so I believe. With “her research showed that Israel ranks 81st in the world for per capita firearm ownership, with less than 1 in 10 Israelis owning firearms. The United States, with one firearm for every person, ranks first“, in this Janet Rosenbaum, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the School of Public Health at the State University of New York Downstate in Brooklyn was looking at the difference in homicide, but here we see the strain where I start to disagree. You see in social science views the USA has a flaw, a massive one and that is as I personally see the larger cause of it all. I have seen and witnessed Americans in action (and in non-action) in several walks of life. The entire problem starts in school, almost in primary school. The USA has had a forever growing stigma towards being first, being the best. Now, I am all for a competitive view and those winners are at times heralded, admired and idolised. I have no issue with that part, so as we see the movies and the news on how those ‘great’ football players get to have sex with whomever they want, whether the woman likes it of concedes to it, or not. This is seen in the Arizona Central and several other sources with: “Hamilton High School administrators knew of multiple allegations of sexual assault involving the Chandler school’s football players and repeatedly failed to notify authorities, according to information found in hundreds of pages of police documents released Thursday“. Not only does it happen, we see police reports that the authorities in school are condoning that behaviour. With the quote “Some students aware of the alleged sexual assaults did not appear to grasp the seriousness of the incidents, often using a joking tone about what they saw as a team initiation“, we see the unbelievable truth in how far the USA s failing its children. On the other side, we see those who fail to some extent those requirements of excellence, like any population will, but in the US those in the lowest 30%, especially if they are not athletes become legitimate targets, pariahs and outcasts. It does not matter how clever they are, they fail the social threshold and the athletic threshold and they become targets. This is the setting where the issue comes and it becomes even worse when these children are already receive some form of counselling or are on medication. The Columbine High School massacre, the Virginia Tech massacre, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, and the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting all fit the bill to some extent. The last one is important, because it is the one odd duck out. We are shown degrees of isolation from and/or towards the perpetrators in the other ones, within the Stoneman Douglas High School, there is evidence that people had gone out of their way to include Nikolas Jacob Cruz within their community. The second adoptive parents after he lost his adoptive parents, shows that this community was pretty strong on inclusion. That is why the setting is weird.

I am not blaming mental health or medication on issues. Even if that was the case to the larger extent, I believe that the environmental pressures of being the best, being number one are causing way more damage than we are aware of. Actually, that is not correctly phrased. I believe that the stigma against those who cannot make the top levels is a lot more damaging. Now, in the end the perpetrators are the ones to blame, they decided to take the lives of others, yet there is a part in me that wonders whether social changes in the US would enable a much lower stressful and less combustible setting. I know that other nations have much stronger gun laws, yet Norway had to deal with the acts of Anders Behring Breivik in 2011. This does not compare to the school shootings, but the setting is that if Norway can get the unfathomable acts of a lone wolf to this degree, how much danger is the US in? You see, that is a long term issue and to resolve those dangers, we cannot merely point at the police department, the FBI and other players. It is becoming more and more important to change the board of the game and allow for larger changes that can be implemented. Both the shootings and the sex romps that are occurring in US High Schools and universities show evidence of this highly need change. And if that is not enough there are football coaches who dip their feet in the sexual waters and if they do not, in at least two cases their wives did.

We see more and more events like that make it to the courtrooms, there is still from various sources the alleged and likely issue that at least three times the known amount of victims, issues and events remain unreported. I believe these issues are directly linked to this all and even as the people want stricter gun control, there is no way of telling how long that takes, or how successful it will be in the US over the longer term. There is currently enough aftermath evidence that an environment where the pressure bar is lowered, a lot more people will not be in the stressful stage where their personality literally explodes in the faces of others not unlike a shotgun, in that I am personally close to absolutely certain. You see, during my law studies, I got to see loads of footage of the Columbine shooting, the Zero Hour Massacre at Columbine High (2004) gives a lot of facts and information that supports my view, in addition, further materials on YouTube (not the most reliable source) gives additional information that pushes the idea that social changes in US schools become more and more important. In this there are two additional views (read: movies) that count towards Columbine.  The two movies are Bowling for Columbine, the anti-gun movie by Michael Moore, and weirdly enough I’m not ashamed. In both we see the expected views on gun control and in I’m not ashamed we see the confirmation of bullying (not the central point of the movie though). Yet they both show something different in support. We see how Michael Moore gets the limelight in every way imaginable, whilst even Google allowed itself to be used in blocking the trailer for no less than 11 months, which gives added view that only some views in regards to these events are ‘tolerated‘. The papers gave the movie for various reasons mixed reviews. It is of course in the eyes of the beholder how a movie is seen and in that I am fine with that. There the LA Times gives us “a refreshing lack of moralizing here, and a welcome emphasis on accepting people for who they are“, it is an interesting view, especially in the view of social changes that the US desperately needs. Forbes also had good things to say and that is nice, some negativity was seen from the Guardian with “To use the senseless death of a school shooting victim to promote one’s warped political agenda is, to use a trendy term, deplorable“, I do not disagree that it is a valid view, yet as we can see, that is the actionable life of politicians as we have seen them in pretty much EVERY school shooting, so the Guardian was catering to the obvious here. The BBC gives us (at http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20180219-toxic-perfectionism-is-on-the-rise) that the age of Perfectionism has very dangerous downsides. They rightfully state “the thing about perfectionism. It takes no prisoners“, it merely enforces 1% success and 99% failure, which is a very dangerous setting and the US schooling system (actually most schooling systems in that regard) show how dangerous it is. In this it is the footballer Cristiano Ronaldo who gives us something much better. He strives for excellence, not perfection: ‘I am not a perfectionist, but I like to feel that things are done well‘, as stated in the BBC article. They also give us: “research shows that maladaptive attributes like beating yourself up for mistakes or feeling like you can’t live up to parental expectations make you more vulnerable to depression, some other studies have shown that ‘adaptive’ aspects like striving for achievement have no effect at all or may even protect you.” that part is actually the key in this. In my view, I refer to the Lord Baden Powell setting. Apart from him being the creator of the boy scouts. He gave us a setting to work with. He gave us “Leave this world a little better than when you found it”. It is a line that has been in my inner core for all of my life. I live by it because it does not require you to fix everything; it does not require you to reach for the unreachable. It merely tells you to do something realistic and in that it opposes perfectionism as perfectionism is utterly unrealistic. In that the US Army has always had a great line. With ‘Be all you can be!’ it opens the door for you to move forward in ways you can and it challenges you to never stop moving forward. That is a great setting for anyone to be in. Learn your entire life, learn more and more skills, and create your own abilities moving forward. It pushes a person, but pushes that person in a realistic achievable way.

It is education tempered through realism, some will go further than others, yet that is the reality of life. The dangers of perfectionism go way beyond normal standards and they are seen even more clearly in Japan where going back to school makes suicide statistics spike, there we see the dangers of perfectionism. Not doing your exam well and bullying when they perform poorly gives another view, not those lashing out decapitating students and teachers. No, they see it as a failure of self and a shame to their family and end their own lives. Some studies show that the suicide of those between 10-19 years is on the rise and the suicide rate in Japan is 60% higher than the global average, with one source stating 70 suicides a day. That gives additional rise to the dire need of changes, both the US and Japan shows the need for a different approach to education. Pressures and social needs are in the wrong segment of importance, whilst the need to score better and better is set unrealistically high in both nations and they are not alone. In the UK it seems that unrealistically high pass grades are needed to get into the better universities and the better faculties like Law and Medicine. The question becomes more pressing as getting to these places is almost too unrealistic on a young age, how can the youth ever be better prepared for a realistic contributing life if they are written off as not good enough long before the brain is at peak performance? To some extent we can see that athletic abilities can be seen earlier, yet the focus to train is gained often much later in life. Now, that does not mean that you can start to get into shape to become a quarterback at 25, whilst entering the NFL at 34. Yet oddly enough the brain has the ability to do just that for more than merely academic fields. In addition, this only happens in a positive environment, both elements are increasingly rarely seen in both Japanese and US schools, making the issue a growing one.

It is in those setting that it is equally important to dim the stresses that we see in schools and universities, especially as it is seen in the US. I am absolutely convinced that at least two of the four mentioned school massacres could have been prevented in a different social setting. I absolutely refuse to give any of the perpetrators a ‘free pass’ on what they did, they are accountable for their choices, but I do believe that an optional other path open to them could have resulted in a non-fatalities path. In equal measure the information as I have been able to read it gives little to no faith that more could have been done in the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, too much ‘evidence’ had been shown from several sources that this would have happened no matter what, making the dropping of the ball squarely in the FBI corner (to some extent).

In the end there is one additional need to look at the NY Times. you see (at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/22/us/politics/trump-atf-nra.html) we see ‘In describing its own shortages, the A.T.F. says it remains unable to fulfil even basic regulatory responsibilities, including inspections of firearms dealers’, so apart from the loophole that I discussed yesterday, none of the administrations (the last four at the very least) have done ANYTHING AT ALL to give the ATF the teeth they needed to do something. So as all the media is crying like little bitches on how we need gun control, the German source yesterday and today the NY Times are the only ones giving us the spotlight that the ATF needs a budget twice the size it has now to start getting things done. So as an official at the Justice Department said “the administration was interviewing potential A.T.F. directors but did not know when that might result in a nomination”, which is nice to hear next to the additional fact that the ATF has been without permanent leadership 8 of the last 12 years. So when you see that, how hollow were the promises by former President Barack Obama? You do realise that ATF stands for Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. At present we might just call it the AT (Apsens Temperatio), formerly ATF. So even as they are, as stated by themselves under the jurisdiction of the Gun Control Act, National Firearms Act, Arms Export Control Act, Organized Crime Control Act of 1970 and other Federal firearms and explosives laws and regulations, they don’t have the resources to actually do that. Perhaps I should apply for a job there, you never know, with the shortages they have, I might just replace Byron Todd Jones as Director of the ATF by the time he retires in 2022.

Weirder things have happened!

 

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SW2, not WW2

Is there a Syrian War 2 brewing? That was the initial thought I had when I got exposed to the ridiculous claims from Turkey this morning. There are two parts. the first comes from the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/19/turkey-warns-assad-not-intervene-kurdish-enclave-afrin), the quote is “Turkey warned the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad that it risked a military confrontation with Ankara if it intervened in an ongoing war in the Kurdish enclave of Afrin, in a further escalation of tensions that hint at the possible widening of an already complex conflict“, now, just to make sure you get this. Turkey invaded Syria for the alleged reason of coming to aid towards Assad, or perhaps merely to ‘fight ISIS‘ in a presentation attempt to silently start the second genocide, the genocide of the Kurdish people. So Turkey goes invades Syria and now states: “Turkey warned the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad that it risked a military confrontation with Ankara if it intervened“, so how is optionally opposing an invader ‘intervening‘?

The second part comes from the BBC (at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-43107013), where we see basically the same with ‘Afrin offensive: Turkey warns Syria against helping Kurds‘. So when we read “Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said Turkey’s operations were going ahead as planned and it would be a “disaster” if Syrian troops were to intervene“, should we deduce that a failed introduction to genocide is a ‘disaster‘?

Even as we see the similarities, we see that the issue is larger than merely a scuffle between the Turks and the Kurds, the way we see the quotes and the way that they are reported give rise to the fact that there are other issues below the waterline. It is not merely semantics, it is the interaction that Turkey has been having with several nations gives that rise and the optional viewing of that should make plenty of people worried at the very least and decently nervous in the nominal setting of international relationships.

The BBC article ends with “President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Russia’s Vladimir Putin that Damascus would face “consequences” if it struck a deal with the Kurds, CNN Turk reported on Monday“. So, Erdogan, President of Turkey, a person with not much diplomatic skills or powers outside of Turkey for that matter, is telling Putin….? Oh, sorry, I nearly lost my breakfast laughing myself into several layers of bellyaches. It is almost as impactful and powerful as me calling Alexander Bortnikov, telling him to give me access to all his data, or he is going to hear ‘stuff he will not like‘ (most likely me calling him a pussy). Yes, people like the President of the Russian Federation, or the director of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (Федеральная служба безопасности Российской Федерации (ФСБ)) getting told by the likes of President Erdogan (or me for that matter) is something they should take extremely serious (sorry, second laughing attack, I will be back shortly). So, after I had my second laughing attack that lasted close to 611 seconds, I got back into my seat and decided to take another gander at a few parts. You see, the nice part of such short sighted actions is that it alienates the players Turkey actually desperately needs. Which in turn is making Iran more and more nervous, which is good news for several countries in the Middle East. The interesting part in all this that he BBC reported “During the course of the Syrian war, pro-government forces have largely avoided direct conflict with the YPG, but they have had sporadic clashes“, which now gives the optional food for thought that Syria might actually set some resources that way with the optional thought that they will not be targeting the YPG, because if we agree that direct conflict was never a real necessity, the Turkish forces changing that by sticking their short stick in a hornets nest, that part would be the greater threat to Syria, which now gets them into hot water is a few places and on several ways. In addition, it will also change the conversation that is going to happen in Kazakhstan in two weeks, giving more questions if there is still going to be a summit in Istanbul on Syria. The changing pressures are by no means a way to get things talked about and smoothed over. Even as Reuters gives us: “The three countries are working together to try to push the troubled Syrian peace process forward“, we need to also consider the mandate that Tehran gave to Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as the outbursts from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is pushing its own agenda whilst at the same time causing chaos towards the plans that Iran seemed to be having in all this, his self-serving hatred of Kurdistan is making the creation of coalitions next to impossible. With the Netherlands adding fuel to the fire of Turkish non-diplomacy, as they have now voted to recognise the Armenian genocide of 1915, pressures are growing there too, at a time when Turkey needed every European nation to be on his side regarding the non-realistic approach to becoming an EU nation, we see that the gap is increasing beyond the chance of that ever becoming a reality. The Turkish parties kicking every hornets nest in the Middle East is not very useful. On the other hand, Turkey could decide after Kicking both the US and Russia, to see if this level of craziness is useful in Beijing, which it is unlikely to be unless they open up all kinds of open trade paths which might actually be a lot less interesting to Turkey, especially at a time when Turkey is trying to get increased Cherry exports to China in time for the next harvest, the need to grow their export which according to some is in excess of 80,000 tons, they are now in a stage where they can no longer afford to get on anyone else’s wrong side, which must be a novel experience for the Turkish Diplomatic Corps.

All this whilst the issues in Greece and Cyprus are at present still unresolved, with the Ekathimerini making a connection between the report published on March 28, 1897 in Empros newspaper where we get: “referred to a foreign diplomat who described Greeks’ behaviour in relation to Turkey as that of a dog that barks, but does not bite. We all know what followed, but we still tend to forget how bad it is in international affairs when you bark, but no one really feels any threat“, and the escalations on gas resources at present, that whilst there is a certain logic to make the statement, especially when we consider Europe, NATO and the UN is seen in relation to: “where tensions broke out between Greece and Turkey, these organizations never really offered anything more than carefully worded statements“, that is the situation when we rely on the paper tiger to get things done. So when we read: “Athens must be very careful in weighing its next moves. It’s a balance of terror. If it shows compliancy, one can’t be certain where the other side will stop“, whilst we all know perfectly well that Ankara will not stop until forcefully halted. As the article ends with the absence of emotion in the Turkish-Greek debates, the issue is that the theatre is getting prepared to get very emotional from more than one side. Turkey almost has no options left after kicking all the wrong shins. In my view, when Syria escalates and escalates in one wrong direction we will get a flood of orchestrated news (whilst journalists have been sentenced to life in prison) and from there onwards it becomes a long winded marketing campaign, because Turkey seems to be realising that the US, the UN and Europe are all about statements and statements alone. Which is a dangerous game as it could press towards a second Syrian war where the Syrian Kurdish area could get annexed into Turkey and its population would optionally somehow mysteriously vanish.

So, how should we see the optional threat of a second Syrian war? that is hard to see, with too many high level meetings, with the latest addition being one with the Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to meet in April in Turkey, there is no telling what it will actually be about. Even as we have seen from enough sources that it will be about Syria, there is in my personal view absolutely no way that it will just be about Syria, especially as the meetings are going to be behind closed doors. That view is made stronger when we consider the news merely a few days ago when Kirill Dmitriev, the chief executive of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), told CNBC “We’re at the breaking point in positive territory of this relationship … We really embarked on an amazing positive journey“, that in light of Iranian issues and the fact that President Putin’s face is on the homepage of the RFID gives enough indication that nothing happens there without the explicit approval from more than one key member of the Kremlin and there lies the complication, The meeting around Syria is set in a stage where all three have separate agenda’s. Turkey has the Kurdistan region, Russia has a truckload of billions it can win with Saudi Arabia and Iran is extremely opposing anything pro-Saudi Arabia, as well as having a few additional issues regarding Yemen, who would really like Russia to become a mediator here, so the Syrian talks will come with close to half a dozen unscheduled stress points. So, when we see these issues in the lights that can be confirmed, will Syria see more or less stability?

Less stability is not a given, but the premise of it happening is actually more realistic than I would have foreseen less than a year ago.

 

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Racing to last place

Even though it is less than 24 hours since my last story that involved the CPS, it is equally less than 6 hours since the Guardian gave us ‘Police outsource digital forensic work to unaccredited labs‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/feb/12/police-outsource-digital-forensic-work-to-unaccredited-labs). It is here that Hannah Devlin informs us of the issues that might plague the courts over the next 2 years. She decides to start strong with the subtitle ‘Market for data analysis called a ‘race to the bottom’, with trials failing because of evidence issues‘ and that is not all. Her article gets stronger paragraph by paragraph. I raised some of these issues yesterday, but that was in general before I even touched on the outsourcing issues. She removes all brakes with the quote: “Gillian Tully, the government’s forensic science regulator, said there is “no excuse” for police forces to continue to use unaccredited providers. “It’s clearly of concern when contracts are being placed with providers that are not compliant,” she said“. Hannah is right, there is a lot wrong at this particular moment in time. And with “The Met outsources digital forensics provision to a defence technology company, called Mass, which subcontracts casework to other private companies, some of which are unaccredited. City of London Police uses six external providers, three of which are not accredited” we see two additional issues. The first is that when a contractor decides to subcontract, they will only do that whilst there is still a profit, so the costing of this endeavour will, once highlighted make matters worse for the CPS. As it is crying on resources, we see outsourcing of outsourced materials. The second issue is that the chain of evidence is now all over the place, which could endanger the privacy of the accused, the victim and possible give additional cause for concern that the course of justice could be in theory end up being perverted in more than one way. This must be the ultimate wet dream for Rupert Murdoch, all that optional information without having to hack mobile phones. The call for an immediate public inquiry in this matter seems almost unavoidable. I think that even without a ‘digital forensic degree‘ the fact that I saw a failing within 5 minutes of reading certain matters in R v Allan is only juicing the frenzy for hard draconian actions in all this. Hannah is completely correct when she states: “In the past decade, digital forensics has evolved from a niche capability to a central element in the investigation of almost every serious crime. The electronic footprint left by suspects can help rapidly establish alibis, identify accomplices and expose spurious claims“, setting is fuelled further that it was not only on disclosure, the joint review gave me clear thought on the lack of actual investigation into the basic connections. That part took me LESS than 300 seconds; or alternatively less than 5 minutes for those less interested in precision. So when we see the BBC article (at http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-42417553) which gives us: “A computer disk containing 40,000 messages revealed the alleged victim had pestered him for ‘casual sex’“, we need to realise that checking text messages is done by using the most simple of computer find actions through <CTRL>-F and enter the place of transmission (phone number or identity) would have given the investigation the clue that something was amiss and that is something any IT technician or entry level helpdesk support representative could have done in under a minute, so when Hannah Devlin is implying that something is wrong she is not kidding, she is basically being slightly too diplomatic (a flaw I am fortunately not gifted with). This situation is almost like 30 people walking in on a man sledgehammering another person to death in full view of an audience of 30, and one of them states: “You might require legal representation“. Yup! That would be regarded as the quote of the year!

The article also shows an issue with the view of criminal barrister Andrew Keogh, who gives us: ““You’d be led to believe that there’s some magic in this accreditation and that if you’re not accredited you’re not good,” said Andrew Keogh, a criminal barrister based in Wigan and a visiting fellow at the University of Northumbria. “That’s not true at all.”“, actually, my learnered friend would be wrong in more than one way. You see that unaccredited office is simply ‘not good enough‘, because being ‘good enough’ is ascertained by the accreditation. Feel free to check with the Rt Hon the Baroness Tessa Blackstone on accreditation by the Bar Standards Board and ask whether there is any validity of hiring any legal counsel to represent you in a criminal matter who is not accredited by the Bar Standards Board.

So his view of ‘if you’re not accredited you’re not good’ might sound true, but it is not about being ‘good’, it is about being ‘good enough‘. The commercial sector has all kinds of accreditation, some are as one might think, a ‘load of bollocks‘, and some are essential for keeping afloat. It might merely be my personal view, but being accredited before being allowed anywhere near a life changing situation seems really important to me. Would you trust the first passer-by to use a non-automated defibrillator on you? I reckon that the situation that puts you in prison for life (or merely 8-15 years) requires to be handled by a person who has been checked for having the right qualifications and knowledge of how to deal with evidence. Call me old-fashioned that way, that just how I roll.

So basically I am in line with Norman Lamb who gives us: “The whole fragility of the market and what happens to samples that are suddenly in insolvency, we can’t mess around with this, it goes to the heart of people’s rights as citizens“, so the chair of the science and technology select committee (the person sitting on it) states that there is a flaw in the current tendering and it is leaving the sector vulnerable. I think that it in equal measure endangers the people accused and also the optional victims in all this. So when we consider that there is now evidence that Liam Allan (now 22) has been on bail for almost 2 years will have suing nature with the Metropolitan Police. Can we blame him? In addition, as we might feel for the woman connected to this, the stigma will haunt both. The messages shows him to be allegedly innocent (I am stating alleged, because I never saw the actual messages) and on the other hand we have a case on non-repudiation, because is there evidence that she actually send those messages? That part I can understand as I have had a few messages (from an unmentioned non linked source) where I was offered to ‘fuck her‘ whilst I know she had never had any interest in me in that way (or any other way for that matter). It took less than 5 seconds to realise that someone used her mobile trying to be ‘funny’. The entire forensic screw up gives, again, a wrong light to parties and it could have been prevented, a 2 year mess that could have been largely diffused in less than 2 hours. It now gives both the stigma that could have been avoided as well, and as we read that this work is done by unaccredited companies and people makes it an infuriating one because there are hundreds of people who are hoping to get justice through their day in court and they will be waiting for an additional longer time to get there.

And that is not all, the CPS mad it even worse with the statement: “it was decided that there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction“, which in some measure implies that he was the man ‘who got away with it‘ and that is optionally a separate level of failure. That too came from the BBC in December 2017. So, even as we were given the ‘casual sex requests’ part on one side that does not prove that the woman in question was giving consent when they met. Because digital forensics failed, the stigma will remain and in addition they are empowering events where victims grow less and less certain that they will receive justice or get the protection that these victims are entitled to. That is a failing beyond merely the forensic side and that makes the entire mess even a lot larger than merely the academic view of accreditation.

Yet beyond Andrew Keogh, there is another view. With “Others dispute whether the accreditation system, widely used to assess DNA and toxicology labs, is readily applicable to digital work” we need to realise that this is a bigger basket of worms. One field of science is not the other one and the digital science part has been and will remain in motion for years to come, which also gives more considerations to the digital forensics field. Even as we can agree that there are basic needs, the fact that mobile technologies alone are in transit and in an in-usage evolution spiral, which means that the technology is evolving whilst the technology is used, so there are more issues even below the surface. You have to merely look at the Android and IOS updates a user goes through on a weekly basis to see that there are constant changes. The dangers are that these changes have two sides, the parts we see and the parts we do not see. The second one includes data streams and as these streams optionally change (or have additional digital parameters), there are moments when data is wrong, or better stated wrongly set. To view this I will give you two quotes. The first was: “Google is adding a real-time location sharing function to Google Maps that can be very useful. It can also be restrictive and annoying or, in a worst-case scenario, potentially abusive and controlling“, the second one is: “When we bought our house in 2011, Google maps placed it 1.5 miles south of the actual location“. So important that these are two different quotes, not related to one another. But the essence is that the mobile could have optionally given information that a mail was send from ‘another’ location given the perpetrator a ‘false’ alibi. That error could be the vital part in a defence setting a perpetrator wrongfully free. So in that one instance we see that accreditation is essential and in the second part that there is a supporting side that the DNA and toxicology accreditation might not be (completely) correct for digital accreditation. Without knowing more it is hard to completely agree with the given dispute, but it is clear that here is a possible agreement on that side.

So you would rightfully be left with the question, how anyone in this entire chain of organisations decided to make the call to just outsource it all and how those not passing any quality testing would have been allowed near the evidence in the first place. The implied issues as we see the articles from the BBC, the Guardian and the Independent give a rise to concerns all over the field, not in the least with the victims related to this. You see in light of the transgressor and the victims, the person being the victim in the end is not a given and raises the issue even further. If I can add a reasonable doubt to these cases, how far could I get, without the accreditation to add reasonable doubt to any murder case that relies on digital evidence? In the R v Allan case, I merely needed two minutes and knowledge on how to use an ASCII editor, what happens when a murder case gives me the digital data and optional setting of time and location? The ‘opportunity’ to add reasonable doubt because a lot of this data has no non-repudiation will add to the mountain of reasonable doubt that would add to a long list of acquittals, that is before any barrister can raise the lack of accreditation of the people processing the digital evidence in the first case. And these are all matters that happen before someone wants a proper list of decisions regarding the rules of outsourcing whilst looking at the documentations from the Metropolitan Police, the CPS and the DPP. It is pure speculation on my side, but I reckon that the list of issues would grow even beyond the scope I can see at present. You see, part of this is seen in the BBC article (at http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-derbyshire-42453405). Here we read: “Judges heard police asked the woman to retrieve Facebook messages that they had exchanged. Three pages of messages had been printed and the woman, who cannot be identified, told jurors she had deleted some to free up storage space“. I have an issue with that part, because of the setting. In the first how many messages were deleted? What space was freed? I find the entire matter very debatable, especially as something that I noticed almost immediately, that part took the CPS and parties 4.5 year to figure out? OK, it happened 4.5 year earlier which is not the same thing, but the issue stands. How many cases have been bungled like that and what happens when the courts start to overturn murder cases because there is an issue with the digital evidence? Even if the digital evidence was not key; the chance of additional cause and effects could potentially be seen when there are retrials and they could give issues to a lot more damage. Consider the partial quote “jurors at the trial had been given an “edited and misleading” picture“, in a murder case that will have far reaching consequences.

I feel certain that the end of these events have not been reached and I reckon it will take the CPS several months to realise the full impact of all of this, which would be another worry altogether, because all this could potentially lead to a case load that is a lot higher than ever before and the claimed damages that the government faces could add up to a lot more than most could ever imagine. The latter part is speculation, but in light of claims already underway, I am unlikely to be incorrect on that matter.

It is not without concern that I wonder what other matters Hannah Devlin can raise in subsequent articles on this matter, because I am certain that in the near future we will see more, not less of these ‘evidence failure’ events.

 

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Vision or imagination

The Guardian brought an interesting article, one with far reaching consequences. At https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jan/13/great-barrier-reef-tourism-spokesman-attacks-scientist-over-slump-in-visitors, we see a few things and it is time that some people are put in front of a hearing committee where they get to answer very direct questions. Fail even one answer and we will confiscate whatever they own and they get to do hard labour for double digit years. Initially, my mind was even less nice. I mistook his first name Col for Colonel, so I was ready to put him in front of a firing squad without a sense of hesitation.

Well, there was hesitation, because I always want evidence, evidence is crucial here, and as the persons have been speaking out, they have the right to a defence, I do believe that any person has the right to defend themselves.

So what gives?

The by-line is actually the one that gives the immediate goods. With “Col McKenzie calls on government to stop funding work of Terry Hughes, saying tourists ‘won’t do long-haul trips when they think the reef is dead’“, to which my initial response is ‘are you fucking kidding me?‘ You see, we have seen the news from several sources and the reef is in serious danger. The quote from Terry Hughes giving “In April 2016 Hughes made international headlines after releasing his final report on extensive aerial and underwater surveys, which showed that of the surveyed reefs (911 individual reefs), only 7% had escaped coral bleaching.” it gives that 93% of these reefs has coral bleaching. So when I read “McKenzie said that gave the impression the reef was “dead”. “All driven off the back of the negative comments made by a researcher paid entirely by commonwealth funds“, my initial thought is to curse at McKenzie like a sailor for an hour after which I can add that 93% of the reef might not be clinically dead, but it is on life support, whilst there is no medical aid given to the reef. And let there be no mistake, the moment the reef is showing to be dead, incomes will stop to a much larger degree than those exploiters think it will.

The second quote by Hughes gives us: “His Science paper, published on 5 January, found that coral bleaching events were now happening too regularly to allow the reef to adequately recover” that gives evidence that Canberra has let this happen. By listening to Dick McKenzie (eh sorry, I meant Col), they have again and again given preference to corporate exploitation above the environmental needs.

Is that actually true?

Well, that is also under debate, you see with “tourism representatives and operators like McKenzie should stop blaming scientists for reporting what was happening to the reef and start targeting major polluters to ensure change” as well as “his most recent peer-reviewed articles in Science and Nature, which deal with the increased incidence of coral bleaching as a result of rising sea temperatures“. So the issue is clearly larger. The question comes how are the temperatures rising? Is it merely polluters or is there a larger issue. You see, at some point we had ‘The 2,300km-long ecosystem comprises thousands of reefs and hundreds of islands made of over 600 types of hard and soft coral‘, I am talking in the past tense, because are there still over 600 types of hard and soft coral? More important, how is such a large space affected to the degree of 93%?

There is evidence that damage is being done, and some of it by Australians. I think it is time for some laws to change. That was seen in the Cairns Post yesterday (at http://www.cairnspost.com.au/lifestyle/boating-and-fishing/two-fishermen-banned-from-fishing-on-the-great-barrier-reef-after-multiple-offences/news-story/7e187e89b4eeaca194e45fa060ad6d84) we see: “During a recent patrol blitz during the Christmas-New Year period, GBRMPA and partner agencies detected 41 instances of people fishing in the wrong zones, including no-take areas“, I suggest that we change a few laws, like setting the minimum fishing ban of 5 years when caught in a ‘no-take‘ zone and if Col McKenzie is serious about keeping the reef viable and healthy than he will move for this law change, or he can shut up and take a long walk on a short peer. You see people like Col McKenzie are what I consider to be ‘greed driven‘. Now, this might seem harsh, but let me explain. The Courier Mail gave us part with “The Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators, which represents 110 operators, said it was concerned about back-to-back mass bleaching but more worried about “doomsday scientists’’“, so is Prof Hughes a doomsday scientist? When you show that only 7% of the 911 reefs have escaped bleaching, there is a massive issue, if these numbers can be verified it should count as evidence. It in addition shows Col McKenzie to be an utter idiot, him hiding behind ‘his’ AMPTO, where 110 exploiters are trying to get in the last pennies for as long as they can, because it is their livelihood. In addition serious questions should be asked at the office of the GBRMPA and their chief scientist David Wachenfeld. He is now in my view accountable. He must now show, with scientific certainty where his ‘more optimistic‘ is founded on. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority should now be held responsible for their actions and give evidence on how the reef will restore, and as the article (at http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/great-barrier-reef-row-heats-up-as-coral-bleaching-puts-natural-wonder-under-pressure/news-story/be89af3077ec6d14bf913fce750f2196) gives us “Whatever we do locally, this is a global issue“, I see it as a political cowardly backdoor stating that the damage came from outside Australia. Now, yes, there are global ramifications and there is no denying that, yet how was this part affected, by what factors? The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority is unlikely to have clear scientific data, merely political excuses and speculations. Now for the most that is not wrong or out of line, but when I see “more worried about “doomsday scientists’’“, they can now either clearly show that the work of Professor Hughes is flawed and in error, or the GBRMPA will be demanded to get a new chief scientist replacing David Wachenfeld by April 1st, which will be a nice joke for all around.

Don’t get me wrong, I am fine if Wachenfeld is able to show clearly that the work of Hughes is flawed, yet as the technical journals are peer reviewed, I think that he knows that this is not the case. In addition, as the work is published, there can be clear publications on where the work was wrong and that the results would be overly negative. If he fails, then it is bye bye David, and do feel free to take Col with you on the way out. And with “He said reports 93 per cent of the reef was bleached and dead in 2016” as well as “It turned out to be totally inaccurate. We’ve seen positive signs of healthy recovery and vibrant corals along the length of the reef.” we see the lie that he is hiding behind. I used the same path to show one thing; this is why I used it in the earlier part. You see, the EXACT quote was: “the surveyed reefs (911 individual reefs), only 7% had escaped coral bleaching“, which is in the centre of it. You see, he states that 7% escaped bleaching, ONLY 7% escaped it. The 93% has therefor bleaching to various degrees I imagine. So he does not state that 93% is dead, but that 7% is not bleached and that is clearly a very dangerous situation, especially as sea temperatures are allegedly still rising. The guardian had it right; the Courier Mail quoting Tom McKenzie has been trying to flim flam the people around him. I see it because he currently has skin in the game.

How about the Irish terrier?

Well, at the end I will add his paper(s), in the first one we see “We focus here on reefs that have lost their capacity to remain in or return to a coral-dominated state“, which we see in the paper ‘Rising to the challenge of sustaining coral reef resilience‘. So when we look at the future research of such reefs we see the mention: “An improved understanding of the processes and mechanisms that build or erode resilience is urgently required, in order to predict and avoid undesirable phase-shifts (or to regain a coral-dominated phase). Building the empirical evidence for feedbacks, thresholds and hysteresis needs to be a key focus. Reducing fast and slow drivers of change, where feasible, is a major research and policy challenge“, he clearly tells us that he does not have all the answers on how to fix it (if it could be fixed), but understanding the elements in play is a first requirement. He also shows us two pictures (on page 634) with the caption: “A phase shift from a coral-dominated seascape to a sediment-laden system dominated by macroalgae. Both photographs are from the same site on the inner central Great Barrier Reef, indicated by the hilly backdrop.“, so how many would go to any of the 110 operators to go diving to admire algae? You can just get a fishbowl and watch it grow in your own bedroom. No trip to the Great Barrier Reef required. Next to the pictures he shows on how coral dominance reverts to algae dominance, he here mentions elements like Overfishing (which validates my fishing ban of 5 years), nutrients as well as climate change. Well, we all agree that climate change is a global player, so we can, not now, or ever give a marker on that solution, but we can on over fishing and nutrients. You see, if there is less fish, they (the algae) will have more to eat, or will be unable to keep the waters algae clean, so algae can grow to more and grow there much faster. So perhaps I am really light by giving the fishers in the no-take zone a mere 5 year ban. We might consider confiscating their boat and goods. You see, if a ship’s captain cannot tell where he is, he has not mastered navigation and he should not have a boat, or better stated be its captain in the first place. If a captain is intentionally fishing in a no-take zone, because the fish is much better there, then he is endangering the environment. In this case, the environment that over 110 operators relies upon, so they are also endangering economic circumstances in Queensland, so again we can take his boat and leave him with the debt to work off as an Uber driver. That should set the other captains right overnight. And as it benefits 110 operators, Col McKenzie should request that change to be pushed into law. Should he back down then we have additional evidence that he is merely in it for his own petty needs.

On page 635 the Irish terrier educates us on coral health. With “To date, most overviews and meta-analyses of coral reef status have focused on death of corals, rather than why they have lost their capacity to recover from recurrent shocks. In a demographic context, mortality is only one side of the coin. Changes in fecundity, fertilization success, larval dispersal, and recruitment have played a major role in promoting shifts in abundances and species composition, but replenishment processes have been virtually ignored in comparison to the attention lavished on death and destruction“, which is an interesting part because in that earlier statement Col hid behind the 93% dead (hiding is what I would call it). Hughes tells us that 7% is alive and well, which is not the same and here the important part is seen, because if it is about the health of the reef, it should be about the replenishment processes and the cycle to return to a Coral dominated state, preferably mostly free of algae. Yet there is also critical views to be had (by yours truly, or ‘me’). You see, in my uneducated marine biology mind, I see a flaw on page 636. Here we see: “Bruno et al. [20] proposed that 50% cover by macroalgae represents a reasonable indicator of a phase-shift to dominance by macroalgae. Using this cutoff, they conclude that phase-shifts to macroalgae have occurred infrequently across the world’s coral reefs, because the mean cover of macroalgae (pooled across all sampled sites, habitats, reefs and all years between 1996 and 2006) is typically less than 50%“, now from my point of view this is specific to the Caribbean’s. There are larger environmental differences with the Great Barrier Reef, so even as we agree that as a point of reference it should be valued, can we agree that the elements remain the same? So if we agree that the Caribbean and Florida Keys have other elements, the Great Barrier Reef itself has optional additional indicators and elements that we have not considered? In light of the uniqueness of the Great Barrier Reef it is highly unlikely that it is hindered by fewer indicators.

So when we look at the figure on page 636, we see the three areas and the setting of algae and coral. So people like Col McKenzie will see that as an indicator that the corals are healthy in the reef, yet the part he forgets is that the other two have been exploited and brought damage upon by the events that gave the VOC (Dutch East India Company) growth, Dutch traders went into those regions to grow their wealth as well and as such a massive wave of exploitation became fact. The VOC would in comparison be the largest corporation in history. Its value in today’s coin would be in excess of $7.25 trillion, which is larger than Apple, Google, Rothschild’s wealth and Amazon together. There is no way that they would not have a disastrous impact on the local corals and its health. Consider thousands of foreign treasure seekers, moving there within a short time span, impacting its environment in a mere decade, all needing food, nearly all of them plundering Corals and local flora and fauna to make into trinkets, consumer goods and sell whatever they can. The problem here is that there are no records. There is no paper stating how many thousands of coral necklaces were made as polished coral looked like Gemstones and sold as much in Europe. Now this is partially speculation from my side. But is there any evidence that the Coral part of the Caribbean’s was not 15%, but a lot higher before 1600? So if that would be true, how is the interaction of algae now versus then? Would it be fair to state that there might have been additional options to push the algae domination to revert back to corals?

On page 637 we see not merely the flaw of Australian government but the carelessness that they have shown. With “Systematic monitoring of the Great Barrier Reef by the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) began in 1992, decades after two major outbreaks of the crown-of-thorns starfish and the earlier degradation of near-shore reefs due to increased runoff of sediment and nutrients in the 19th and 20th centuries“, showing clearly that the Australian elected governments were at least two decades late to the party. That callous disregard for the health of this reef is now resulting in a near death experience for the same said reef.

The professor also takes a look at the Diadema antillarum, or sea urchin. These little blighters have lovely spines and they are well known devourers or algae, which is good for the algae. On page 638 we see how the population of these critters took a massive dive in 1984, from well over 15 per M2, they have sunk to below 5 per M2, so that also impacts Algae as it can grow much more freely and impact Corals to a much larger degree. So as the ecology is pushed out of its balance we see the impact on a few levels and the last part was based on nearly 3500 records from 74 published sources.

The entire report is 25 pages and shows massively more parts that should scare the 100 operators to near death. In addition it shows not only the invalidity of the words of Col McKenzie, it shows that his actions against this research shows that he is merely an exploiter of the reef and as such he should not be given any regards (as I personally see it). That is, unless he can give us clear scientific data that opposes Professor Hughes and his work. Yet this work refers to 112 other academic works, so unless there is clear scientific evidence coming from David Wachenfeld (who might want to remain employed past April 1st), we need to really realise that the reef is in a serious dangerously unhealthy place and much harder actions are required.

From my point of view, based on the published parts, I am appalled that people like Col McKenzie are playing politics with a reef that is in mortal danger to a growing degree, the fact that David Wachenfeld is much more optimistic might be fine, but only if he comes on the record on the clear evidence driven reasoning of that. It should be peer reviewed, for the mere reason that the GBRMPA (Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority) should be about the reef and keeping it safe, not cater to its exploiters (loosely stated). Now we understand that these operators (not just the 110 on the side of Col) want a healthy reef, it is their bread and butter. Yet the reality is that there is clear evidence that there is an issue and it needs to be addressed. In equal measure the work of Terry Hughes must be critically examined by his peers. Last there is the doomsday part. We need to see who those doomsday speakers are, because the media is not beyond a misquoted reference or two. In some cases it happens unintentional in some cases less so. Playing politics with the Great Barrier Reef should not be allowed, there should be a law against it. It is perhaps one of the few rare times where I want the environmental parties to be in charge.

The paper I am adding has a lot more interesting sides, it is linked to a BBC story (at http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20140916-the-corals-that-come-back-from-the-dead), with “Mumby concurs. “It makes us realise that some corals have a number of strategies to cope with stress that we don’t understand very well,” he says. “That is good news and we now need to understand exactly how they do it.”“. I am willing to accept that the life and death cycle of Corals is perhaps a lot larger and when we consider that we all accept that there are unknown parts, we should equally consider that there is still a question mark residing with the work of Terry Hughes. Is there a chance that there a much more complex interaction of life and death for corals? Perhaps that is true and that might be on the mind of Professor Hughes as well, yet can we take that chance? If we are wrong, we lose the reef and perhaps one of the largest and one of the most unique biome on the planet. Would you want to be the politician who signed off on taking risks with its existence?

So if we accept that 93% shows bleaching to some extent, can we remain to be callous if we are clearly shown that there are dangers and the only way to give guarantee that the Great Barrier Reef truly survives is to limit the risk factors that it is currently exposed to

That’s not doom saying, that is playing it safe for the generations of people that follow us.

Hughes et al 2010

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Into the fire we walk ourselves

Are we in a state where we cannot tell what actually matters? That is the question that I wonder upon. Now, we all have different states of focus, that has always been a given. Some are linked to what we desire, some to what we fear. The issue goes beyond that as the media fuels one or the other, yet they seem to do so for the direct intent of making us look where they want us to look. In Australia there are the morning shows with Channel 7 and 9. In the UK there is the breakfast show and other nations have similar views. It is when we see BBC News, the Dutch NOS, Swedish RTL as well as ABC in Australia. They tend to focus on actual news, yet often very national as one could accept. On a larger scale there is BBC World News, Al Jazeera (to some extent), whilst Fox News and CNN are no longer quality players. So where are we getting the news from, the news that matters? It seems that either we start looking for it or we lose out.

Should I care?

It is the question many might ask themselves, which is fair enough. For many we all have national needs, we have national questions and as those are satisfied we do not look further than that. Many have this setting. Some don’t even have the national curiosity and that is fine, it is whatever you choose. Yet, I have travelled for too long, to too many places. So I tend to look further. I still miss the life I had in Sweden, which like Australia is an amazing place to be in (the weather is less warm though). So when I got confronted with some news, I wondered how others saw it. What is interesting is that none of them gave any clear levels of attention to it.

The news, (at http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2018/01/11/Saudi-Arabia-intercepts-a-ballistic-missile-launched-by-Houthis-at-Najran.html) gives part of what does require attention. Al Jazeera covered it, so did Reuters and BBC as well as Australia’s ABC looked at it, yet the rest? You see, the issue is larger than you think. In Yemen, in the Najran area a ballistic missile was intercepted. Now this is not that big a story, but the missile might have been ready to be fired on Riyadh, like the missile fired a month ago. Is this coming into focus? Missiles that are fired on the civilian population of the capital of Saudi Arabia! This is a threshold that should have been regarded as unacceptable; it is globally ignored by others. In that same setting we see the mention from Al Arabia that Houthi leader Saleh al-Samad is also threatening to threaten international navigation in the Red Sea, which will impact the Suez Canal, which in turn changes the profit margins for all cargo bound to Europe for the most from Asia. So is it now more important? That is the dangerous question but not the most important one. You see, as the Houthi militias have gained access to the Qaher M2 missile, the game is no longer the same. These cuddly little toys pack a punch and have the ability to reap plenty of souls in Riyadh if it hits the right structure. A tactic that has been old and condemned for the longest of times, yet for the most, the west tends to focus on Yemen and cholera (which is really bad too). Over the last year 50,000 children died of disease and starvation, which is of course its own atrocity, no one denies that, yet what was the foundation? President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi was trying to get some level of union in Yemen between factions (which is an achievement) in a landscape that was under threat by Houthi militias and AQAP (Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula). Things went from bad to worse and soon thereafter the deposed Yemen leader started to undo what happened from Saudi Arabia.

Now, I have skipped a few iterations, mainly because it is not part of the issue. The issue is the missiles. Now I am not stating that the Saudi’s are beyond some blame. Civilians have been hit in Yemen; yet is that from intentional events? Are they (as stated by the Saudi government) ‘technical mistakes‘? The fact is that there is a civil war going on and EVERY civil war in history came with civilian casualties, more often than not from human or technical error. The Houthi events are different as they are intentionally targeting a civilian population in Riyadh and are also intentionally targeting all commercial options that use the Red Sea as a route to get to where they have always been travelling. The Houthi’s are in a desperate setting, one that they themselves created and in this regard, we see very little coverage, too little in fact, mainly because this is a powder keg waiting to go wrong. If even one missile hits Saudi Arabia, the lives of every Yemeni could be regarded as forfeit. The Saudi population would demand reprisals unlike any we have seen for decades and in this the Saudi pride will not be content with mere diplomatic discussions, at that point serious skin is in the game and if the world is lucky only 100,000 will die of starvation and disease in 2018. The Syrian war has led to 400,000 casualties in 2012-2016, this Houthi insurrection could spell a lot more and the dangers are that the extremists tend to get profit out of such situations. In fact here is no evidence that they are not already dipping their toes in the Yemeni armouries and as such there would be a dangerous escalation if some of these weapons get transported to other extremist zones. Now, I am trying to steer clear of the Iranian-Houthi rebel links. The issue is that I did not read or inspect the evidence. Also, we should consider that the US has had tainted glasses for the longest of times regarding Iran and they have lost massive credibility ever since the Saddam Hussein WMD presentation. In this U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell with his silver briefcase destroyed credibility for decades to come. In this Colonel Turki al-Maliki has a much easier job. The evidence that the Houthi rebels are firing missiles on the Saudi civilian population has been clearly established on an international level.

So into the fire we might go!

You see, this keg needs one missile to hit target and the flames start. If any other nation can verify that Iran was involved, Iran will have no options left because at that point it is not impossible that Israel will get the keys to the German and French Squadrons to use those planes for bombing Iran as well, at that point WW3 will be a factual situation. The Saudi air force will not only get the blessing of the Arabian league nations to stop Iran, it will get its ammunition at cost price from several sides. At that point, Hamas and Hezbollah will go into hiding so deep that we will forget that they exist, but Israel will not. Perhaps it might be a good thing, as the extremist groups are dealt with, those who think that extremism is a good thing will decide to hide and wait for the fires to stop. Only at that point will they realise that as Hamas, Hezbollah, ISIS and AQAP are gone that all eyes will move on them. You see these people feel good as extremists because no one is taking notice, when they become the limelight, they will ‘suddenly’ prefer a diplomatic path, one where they have no valid claims and no standing whatsoever.

It is an optional resolution to a bad situation for all other players.

And there is a second side to all this that I have not seen any publications on. The Burkan-2 which was fired at Riyadh airport is also an issue in another direction. It is related to the Scud, it comes from Yemen. So when we consider that the first recorded launch was on 22nd July 2017, how did the Houthi’s get this knowledge? This is not something you put in a clip. You need a mobile launch platform, aiming skills, ballistic knowledge that does not come with a bottle of mineral water. These skills are taught and trained. Someone gave them access and I feel strongly that these skills were not all in Yemen. There is a taskmaster, a coach in that equation and it seems to me that this is also the Houthi militants Achilles heel, because if these skilled are dealt with (the people who have them), that this weapon gets to be diminished to an ugly truck with a couple of steel cigars on top.

 

 

 

 

So when we see militia rebels, we do not think ‘academics’, we tend to think that they are more likely to be members of the ‘dyslexic-R-us‘ foundation (عسر القراءة، هي، لنا), not the qualified electronic user experts that they need to be, so someone is getting them trained. The fact that these missiles were completed after the insurrection began is equally a worry. With the economy in the basement as the one in Yemen is supposed to be, someone is fuelling funds and knowledge to these militants and when did you see any reliable news on that level?

So we are thrust into the fire in some method where we are left unaware on how large some issues have become and for anyone thinking it is not on their turf.

 

 

Think again!

Because those elements with those level of skills will go where ever the money is taking them. In WW2 Russia and the US saw that and took the scientists as quickly as possible. Now we seem to skip that part and as we see extremist move from theatre to theatre there will be a shift of activity as the skill levels are placed in other places where the going was slow, they become catalysts of additional escalations. We can argue whether Iran is playing that card or not, but there is a longer term danger and the people are left unaware of those events. I think that this is the second danger that both Saudi Arabia and Israel face. Not on who is attacking them, but on the realisation that it is happening whilst these extremists have been given additional skill levels, some they would never have had. That evidence can be seen when we consider the Hamas rockets, or as it goes the ISIS players who replaced Hamas in Gaza. When the missile hit rate goes from 0.2% to 2%, there will be a much larger escalation, as well as the additional danger that the people in the state of Israel will face. As the knowledge gets deeper into Syria, what will happen after that? Will Iran be shown to be the player behind the screen or will Saudi Arabia merely face 3-4 additional factions, who when much better trained become a much larger issue for Saudi Arabia. There is a much larger game in play and the fact that the people are left in the dark to a much larger degree is a much bigger issue than you (and I) think it is. It is still the beginning of 2018 and already we see: “Thirteen attack drones were launched against the Khmeimim air base and a naval facility in the city of Tartus on Syria’s western coast, the Russian defence ministry said“, so who was behind that? “the ballistic missile attack by Houthi militia on the city of Najran” is one we looked at as well as “The Syrian Arab Army has discovered another massive Islamic State weapons stockpile that was abandoned by the terrorist group“, the last mention was merely shoulder based rocket launchers (M72 LAW, RPG). Now the learning curve of that one is low. The instructions are on the launcher and as it is used by the US infantry, it should be regarded as close to idiot proof, yet we also see the alleged M72 Dragon in Syria as well as the FGM-148 Javelin, which was in ISIS hands in late 2017. Now we do not know how those were acquired, but the M47 Dragon and the Javelin are a lot more sophisticated and not for anyone to easily wield. The Javelin requires a launch unit and training. This is not something you get included in a ten step leaflet with a package of butter.

So we step into the fire unknowing that someone is fuelling the fire by keeping too many of us uninformed. Now from an intelligence point of view I have no issues with that part. It happens, but the fact that the media is not asking certain questions is a much bigger issue. The fact that most nations are loudly condemning the missile attack on Riyadh makes sense, yet the fact on how the skill levels were handed to the Houthi’s remains unanswered.

I wonder if the most interested party in this (Al Arabiya) will soon be asking this question out loud, more important. If the Saudi Defence Forces are successful in taking out the coaching element, would that suddenly largely cripple Houthi elements and if they were supported by Iran, would that push them into the limelight?

All questions, all speculation!

The question that becomes evident is how within these extremist elements their balance of power is maintained? You see, extremists have logistical needs that part is clearly seen in Yemen. Yet, who provides their needs and what is in it for them? The usual culprit is money, lots and lots of money. Yet it also gives power to the one providing the victor. That part is not seen too often. Most often we think of those are mere weapon merchants, dealers of the tools of death, but the fact that the cost of billions in 2 years, that is without the UN relief needs close to a billion is not taken into consideration. If we have learned anything than it is that plenty will forsake loads for a few million, so what are they willing to do for a few billion? Can you even imagine that, or the fact that the pool of those who gets access to that pool of funds is actually quite small and the media remains in the mindset of not informing any of us!

Should they?

That is a good question, because if the media is about the news, should we limit to the amount of news that we should be exposed to? For the most people in Sweden, the Netherlands and Australia might not be too eager to learn about it, but the impact that we are currently facing hits these places too, was not informing us the right thing to do?

Consider that we are impacted by the red sea and that the cost of living would increase by 20% if the Suez Canal becomes unavailable, does it matter then? Suddenly the preface changes and suddenly the Houthi actions are more important than we considered. At this point the media might change its position on the air time and what to focus on, perhaps not.

Time will tell!

Yet I feel that there are other sides and we are all kept in the dark, so where are these journalists? Well, if we can believe the Sun, they were all mesmerised by the tits of Kim Kardashian, the same day Houthi Missiles were fired. Which of the two ‘news’ articles do you remember of that day?

 

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A hanging matter

In light of all the news we see, from North Korea who is gracing the planet with tectonic shocks to HSBC who now heralds “the deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) entered into with the Department of Justice (DoJ) had expired – lifting the threat of further penalties“, yes these are the parties you simply care about. But the fact is that the issues seen should be regarded as trivial, even as most board members of HSBC should be hung from a lamp post by the neck, mainly because the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/may/05/hsbc-chairman-douglas-flint-interview-profile-profit-growth-scandal) states that the bank that is ‘too big to manage, too big to fail and too big to jail’, could be instantly solved by 19 pieces of rope each around 15 feet in length (about $175 in total). Yes, some solutions are actually that simple. Yet in all this, how does this go over for those who survived Grenfell? That is the actual issue. Jeremy Corbyn might take advantage on the matter with “failure to rehouse Grenfell Tower survivors a disgrace“, yet if his party had done a lot more between 1990-2010, the disaster might have been less. In this the conservatives have been equally guilty, because after the Iron lady (Thatcher 1979-1990) the housing matter had been going downhill. We see the news on all these over the top events of buildings, investors and places that are impossible to afford, the people end up not having any kind of housing option and that is where the people of Grenfell are. In nowhere land, with nothing to look forward to and no one is picking up the axe to chop down whatever is set against them. Yet HSBC with its $4.6 billion pre-tax profit is up and surging to surpass its $13 billion annual profit and they no longer have to fear further penalties. Yes, the jurisprudential engine is failing the people to the largest degree at present.

So when we look back to September 14th (at http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-41262914), did we get answers? As the investigation did split we get “Sir Martin said the inquiry would be split into two phases – with the first examining how the blaze developed and the second looking at how the building became so exposed to the risk of a major fire.

The fact that the report is still well over three months away does not help. Even as the media focusses on what is happening now (makes perfect sense), the Guardian gives us (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/dec/11/homeless-because-of-a-tragedy-struggle-to-rehouse-grenfell-survivors-continues), ‘‘Homeless because of a tragedy’: struggle to rehouse Grenfell survivors continues‘, this is truly an issue in these days as we go towards the festive season and there is no real solution for this. The politicians that short changed the need of the people from 1990 onwards is showing to be a centre piece in all this. Yet at http://newlondondevelopment.com/ we see that 1318 projects are in play with the quote “New London Development showcases significant commercial and residential development across London“, yet how much of that falls in the affordable living category? So consider the Battersea Power Station. In May the amount of affordable houses as stated under the initial deal got cut by 40%, there is a larger issues and as councils rubber stamp options for developers as they cry to the song ‘losses in my life!‘, the larger issue is that this might be the most visible one, it is not the only one. In all we do know that a lot of the 1318 projects are commercial and corporate projects, plenty of them are housing and how many others have been slicing affordable houses on the list? In all this the quote “However, the project headed by a Malaysian-led consortium is on course to make profits of £1.8bn” and that is the larger problem, Lord Mayors past and present had done too little to stop councils from proceeding the way they did in regards to the Battersea Power Station. We see this in the quote ““If these numbers are accurate, they seem to suggest that the council have had the wool pulled over their eyes – allowing themselves to be hoodwinked into cutting affordable housing while the developer’s profits remain strong,” Khan told the Observer.” As I personally see it, they treated their ego as it was their penis and played for it slightly too long, instead of getting the guidance they needed. They weren’t hoodwinked, they were merely ego driven and they got played as stupid people tend to get played. That latter part is seen in the quote “the council failed to provide us with this information before deciding to send the application to planning committee for decision“, in my view it shows intent, it shows that they valued their ego above all else and as such they should not be allowed to be in the position that they are in. The fact that they have no short-list of houses for people like those facing the Grenfell issue is further evidence still. This is not new information, these are details that have been known for 5 months, in all this, the Grenfell people are in hotels, or better stated close to 80% of the survivors are. In this the papers give us “from Theresa May’s unachievable commitment, made in the immediate aftermath of the disaster, to get them into new homes within three weeks, to the current promise that everyone will be rehoused within a year“, which might have been realistic, yet with councils catering to developers profit, there is a decent indication that housing them all within a year might not be achievable at all. Yet it could have been worse. Grenfell could have been without victims and 71 additional houses would be needed. Can you imaging the coldness of this statement? This is seen in “There’s something about the language that feels transactional, that feels like the local people are consumers” and that is just the larger issue. The councils have become mere spread sheet users where the budget is the bottom line. From cladding savings to developer catering, the bottom line is profit and the ‘mishap’ called Grenfell towers is not an acceptable situation for any of them, yet for them it is not about the victims, or the aftermath, it is about the spread sheet needing to adjust for houses that are not there, not foreseen and not anticipated. In all this to help these people councils should be less emotional and in that regard the transactional pose might apply or be acceptable to some, yet the hardship cannot be set in some value, it is set in the heart of the matter and that heart is bleeding. Now that we see ‘Human rights commission to launch its own Grenfell fire inquiry‘, we need to ask different questions. You see, I get it, it needs to be done, yet when there are two enquiries and as one is published a lot sooner, will they hinder one another, or more important, will the official investigation get hindered in all this, because that could enrage the population in the UK at large.

Part is seen in the independent (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/grenfell-tower-fire-latest-updates-police-manslaughter-misconduct-charges-criminal-hearing-deaths-a8103346.html) where we see a mere 17 hour ago: “Police considering manslaughter, corporate manslaughter and misconduct charges“, which is interesting as I voiced in agreement the term ‘corporate manslaughter‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2017/06/27/betrayed-by-government/) like the Labour Tottenham MP, David Lammy. Yet I went a step further. Is there enough evidence to consider murder? If the evidence shows ‘cutting costs at any expense‘, does that show reckless intent? Can we go from Manslaughter to full scale murder? Would that constitute a larger scale of targeted killings and as such there would be no defence for the accused?

In the end we will see what was and what should have been, yet in all this, the HSBC link should be clear to all ‘too big to manage‘, London housing is beyond normal managing and the 1318 projects in London are further evidence still that a massive overhaul is needed to get a much better view of all of the building and overhaul projects. The coffers are empty and such an overhaul as would be required might be wishful thinking from the current Lord Mayor, the direct simplification of reality is that such changes will take too long and will be too dramatic to be allowed to happen as such. ‘too big to fail‘ shows us that the status quo will be partially maintained and the influx of investors is crucially important and as such proper change is even less likely to happen. Finally there is ‘too big to jail’, in this there is a need to get it done, but in the end will there be enough evidence to allow for serious prison time? That will soon be the matter at hand and as the most senior QC’s in the business will oppose one another in the fine print of the law, we need to realise that this would in the end amount to an institutional failure and as such the likelihood of any of these senior players going to jail is less and less likely. It is within the law and we need to adhere to the law. The played ones become the players to not go to jail. I have no idea if it happens, whether they escape the noose or escape the ridicule, what is a clear given that it could have been settled with one piece of rope per neck. Should we do so, than we would be breaking the law, which is something we do not want to do, but in the end, the most likely outcome is a fine, just like with HSBC, it would be a large one, so the council would try to get some kind of deferred prosecution agreement (DPA), which would be the delay they need to get some kind of expiry date after which no one is held liable or accountable for the entire mess. In the end, whatever fine is paid, is paid from the empty coffers of government. Implying that the next wage freeze for nurses and Emergency Staff, the staff of the London Fire Brigade and the London Metropolitan Police will in the end pay for the stupidity of the local council and Grenfell building management.

I wonder how correct I will be in the end. If I end up being 100% correct, I feel sorry for whomever will have to deal with the rage of the public, because this could still get really ugly over the next 4-5 months.

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Consideration in 3 parts

There are several things playing and I think it is only fair that I jump a little this time around. In the first jump I will take us into the realm of technology. First the hardware where Keith Stuart gives us ‘is it worth a £100 upgrade?‘ This is a valid question, yet in all the issue is not merely the £100, it is more so “Microsoft has always marketed Xbox One X as an elite product for true enthusiasts and that’s exactly what it is“, which is something I cannot agree with. You see, Microsoft has refused to listen to the gamers, the actual gamers for the longest of times and with the Xbox One X, I expect (read: I hope) that they will get the pounding they have so deserved for the longest of times. The article (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/nov/03/xbox-one-x-review-4k-console-gaming-upgrade) gives you some of the goods, but not all of the goods. You see, the £450 with a 1TB drive is a joke, it always has been. The article names a few games and there a few sources re stating that Destiny 2 is 50GB WITHOUT the 4K assets. There is no clear way for me to find a reliable number there, but with the OS also taking a chunk of the hard-drive, which will be 300Mb at least, we are looking at a console where one game takes well over 5% of that drive. Forza 7 will take well over 10% of that system, now with all the reserved spaces and mind you not ALL these games are that big, you are looking at a dozen games at the most and that is in many cases not including the extra space that the 4K libraries need, so when I stated even before the Xbox One came out (the first one) that Microsoft was not giving consideration to their gamers, I was not kidding. With the Sony PS4 (both old and pro) we have the option to switch the drive at our own expense to a 2TB drive and these things are a mere $105, so one extra cost has kept me safe and hassle free for well over 3 years. Microsoft never allowed their gamers that option, which could be seen as another indicator that Microsoft is actually not giving true consideration to the ‘true enthusiasts‘ as they label them. There are additional flaws in the OS that give less consideration that the Xbox 360 did, so there is that to consider too. A console that might be seen as overpriced, overvalued and overdue a real upgrade. There are more issues, but they are for another day, for now we await the over-hyped release in 2 days.

The second part is one where I have to show fairness (which I have always done). The second part is Assassins Creed Origins. Now, it is on my list to get as I was not trusting Ubisoft after all the things they have done in the past, with the additional embargo of any publications of the game until the day before launch, their approach was shoddy and shady at best. In this case it worked against them. I have watched well over a dozen videos with Eurogamer and IGN showing the best sides, but also leaving us with questions. Yet I had a few questions of my own and i think they need to be put into the limelight. You see, I have slammed Guillemot and Ubisoft for the longest time for not doing their job (or better stated, the job they were capable of). For relying on average scripted events and what I still label as ‘bad programming’. This is not the case in ACO (Assassins Creed Origin). Now when we pull away from the 4K events (which are close to breathtaking), we see a game that has been through quite the change and as such should get some praise, praise on several levels.

First are the reviews, they are like mine all opinions, and even though I was relentless to AC ratings in the past, from all that is clearly shown these ratings are lower than expected. I see the game somewhere between 88%-92% rated (the non PC versions), yet most remain below it and Gamespot gives it a 70% rating which I personally believe to be equally unfair. Now, we can be hard on Guillemot on a few levels, but they did get this game decent. We can argue all we like, but the team that made Black Flag made this game in a good way and I believe that this game might not be regarded as a real AC game. Origin is the start of it all and that makes it fair game, but the clarity is that there are elements that we relate to Witcher 3, Far Fry Primal and Destiny. The reality is that elements in this game have been seen before going all the way back to Ultima7 Serpents Isle, so there is no real identity linking it to a certain game. Now, I do see the elements of Witcher 3 and that is not a bad thing, whilst we need to acknowledge that this game is not some Witcher 3 game, it is truly an Assassins Creed game (whether the player is an actual assassin or not). The wildlife is more dangerous and relentless and a lot less forgiving, which is a good thing (more realistic), and it seems that as far as I can observe, the locations are as any AC game has almost always been. Graphically sublime, even if you have no 4K solution at present. Even as I have been reluctant to see this last AC as a great game, it seems that should this be the last AC game, than Ubisoft goes out on a high note, and that should be heralded by nearly all gamers.

The final part is not a game. I am also getting less convinced that this is merely a leak. We could have accepted to the smallest degree that the Panama Papers were a leak, yet the amount of data that was leaked leaves us with the larger question on how stupid a financial adviser needs to be to endanger billions of dollars in revenue. I have gone back into time checking on a dozen corporations only to find that there was a healthy dose of paranoia in each and every one of them. Some were paranoid from the start, some were pushed by IT as they wanted the latest of the latest and pressing the ‘leak’ button seems to have worked each and every time. So whilst we have been in the sunshine with newspapers giving us Panama Papers on a daily basis, I found it particularly interesting to see the revelation of the Paradise Papers. So when I read “the complex and seemingly artificial ways the wealthiest corporations can legally protect their wealth”, I am not surprised. I have written about the failing of legislation on a global level for long before the Panama Papers and the Tesco affair. As we are told ‘obtained by the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung‘ we are not asking the right questions. Obtained how? Who gave them? You see, earlier this year we saw some mention of certain players, yet again and again the media have seemingly steered clear of certain parts of the evidence and it is time to mention it. In March we saw a few papers mention on how Barclays, RBS and Crédit Agricole had a sort of Tax Haven set-up where they had to pay a mere 2% in taxation. I think that this opened a door to some players. I think that the Paradise papers is not a leak, I personally believe it to be an attack on these three players as well as an attack on a few others too. The BBC is giving us part (at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-41876939), with the mention of the SIBUR shareholders, we see that there is an issue as the corporations are facing US sanctions, but the individuals Leonid Mikhelson and Gennady Timchenko are not. They represent a wealth that is roughly 50% of what is Microsoft nowadays. It is making a few people more and more nervous. I personally believe that the Paradise Papers is not a leak it is an American corporate ploy, possibly even with the assistance of Rothschild wealth management (a speculation from my side) to push changes that are a lot more interesting to America. Can I prove this?

That is partially the issue. You see, without the clear data on the leak it might never be proven. it is merely too weird that this happened three times in a row (yes three times, I will let you look deeper into certain places to find the first instance). You see the most interesting part is casually shown at the end of the BBC article. With “a huge batch of leaked documents mostly from offshore law firm Appleby, along with corporate registries in 19 tax jurisdictions, which reveal the financial dealings of politicians, celebrities, corporate giants and business leaders“, this is showing not to be a leak, this is a data gathering by a select few and the combination of large data sets. You see, multiple sources which is clearly seen through the use of ‘mostly‘, and added the ‘19 tax registries‘, shows this to be an event that is precise, it is an act of data gathering and filtering. As such, I see this as a precise strike, more likely than not from financial players who have seen certain bank (Credit Agricole being the most visible one) to grow beyond certain measures and that was not the acceptable mindset of the players who want a different shedding of wealth. This is one of the reasons that I have been keeping tabs on Credit Agricole and that is why they have been in my blog several times. Yet, in all this I did not see the Paradise Papers coming and the clarity we see now, is one where we need to consider who is playing us all, and the media most of all. The Guardian gives us more and more mentions of ‘Tax Avoidance’ and as I mentioned a few days ago. It is not illegal, it is perfectly legal. Most papers will hide behind ’emotional’ parts to cry outrage, but in the end they too are not outspoken on pushing to adapt legislation to change this and to push for clear corporate taxation needs, whilst we see that they are all on the second largest data drain set at 1.4TB. So after the Panama Papers, do you think that banks, especially banks of these kinds, banks that rely on such paths to ensure themselves of a good income. Do you think they would hesitate to invest a few millions into hardware that keeps it secure? No, we see more and more technology, more and more Cloud solutions failing to keep data safe. The BBC gave us in April 2016: “In other words, your data could get lost, wiped, corrupted or stolen“. It seems that not enough people are really listening, happy to embrace the marketing of Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud, whilst there is a real concern on safety (for now). Yet, is that how the data was acquired? It is all good and fine to blame a party whilst the data was somewhere else. You see, those IT people (at Appleby’s) would know better, yet when we see the Irish Times (at https://www.irishtimes.com/business/appleby-the-offshore-law-firm-with-a-record-of-compliance-failures-1.3280860), we see “Appleby has transformed itself into a global institution with more than 700 employees across nearly every major tax haven from the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean, to the Isle of Man in Europe, Mauritius in Africa and Hong Kong in Asia“, in that there is no doubt in my mind that IT would have had (or needed) a much higher visibility on their security profile. I wonder, if I got to investigate their non-repudiation systems and logs, what failings would I find. I can personally guarantee you that with every passing check-mark in place, we get to see more and more clearly that this was not a leak, I would regard this as a precision strike to shift billions from one place to the other, because just like we saw with he Panama Papers, when the super-rich get nervous, a lot of them can be manipulated a lot easier than ever before and in my mind there is no doubt, in this Rothschild is likely to be the one true victor and the one party who had the most to win.

I can only speculate on a few matters, but in the light of the global financial industry, Bermuda, Nassau, Riyadh and Nevada are the larger tax havens. The two papers are giving loads of limelight to three of them, so where will those people go to next?

The financial industry is correlating more and more to a video game, it is all about the hardware and scripted events. When we know that hardware is not the initial flaw one remains, making the case stronger and stronger that this was not a leak, it was a scripted event, whether made specifically for certain hardware remains to be seen . I wonder if the media will ever truly look deeper into how the data was acquired, I doubt it, because that does not make for a sexy story, making them in my personal view less of a player and more of a tool, the question that remains is: ‘the tool for who?

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