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Oh La L’argent

Reuters is giving us the news yesterday that there is trouble brewing in France. The article titled ‘France’s Macron says defense chief has no choice but to agree with him: JDD‘ (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-france-defence-idUSKBN1A00TE). The best way to trivialise this is by going on the fact that the world’s 6th most spending nation on defence is cutting the defence of France back by almost a billion. Now, for the number one and two spenders in this field, that is a laughable amount. In the national terms it is a little below 2% of that total budget. In light of the UK NHS and other players needing to trim the fat and handover a pound of beef that amount is equally laughably low, yet for France? The article gives us in addition ““If something opposes the military chief of staff and the president, the military chief of staff goes,” Macron, who as president is also the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, told Le Journal du Dimanche (JDD)“, we can see this as hard talk and a kind warning to any opposition, or we can accept that this former financial advisor is setting up the board. He is placing certain pieces in reflection of the events coming in 2018. I wonder if it is merely about defence spending. Even as we see the other quote “General Pierre de Villiers reportedly told a parliament committee he would not let the government ‘fuck with’ him on spending cuts“, the questions are rising on two fronts, fronts that are not them by the way. You see, when we see another source (at http://www.iiss.org/en/militarybalanceblog/blogsections/2017-edcc/july-c5e6/franco-german-cooperation-1efd), we see ‘Can Franco-German cooperation deliver a new European defence?‘, yet the question is not merely the side that matters, it is the quote “German Chancellor Angela Merkel has committed her government to meeting the symbolic 2% defence-spending threshold” as well as “Germany remains far off the 2% spending mark – it is projected to spend 1.2% of GDP on defence in 2017 – and the Chancellor’s main opponent in this September’s federal election, Martin Schulz, has poured cold water on Germany’s commitment to that goal“, this is where the cookie starts to crumble. Is there a consideration that France is cutting costs, to remain on par with Germany, mainly because that would simplify a European Army where the ‘pound’ of all power is based on France and Germany? It works for President Macron, because at that point he could spend it somewhere else, in some form of local Quantative Easing (read: funding economy projects) as well as highly needed infrastructure overhauls. Although, 1 billion will not get this too far, but overall one or two larger issues could be resolved to a better degree, depending on whether he goes for roads or waterworks as a first priority. In all this there is a second issue, which is the combined design of a new 5th generation fighter jet, which will impact both German and France’s defence spending a lot more than anything else.

So as General Pierre de Villiers is contemplating the impact of 2% less, whilst a new jet is on the design table and 2018 will become the year of whatever EU army is up for initial presentation, the amounting costs of that infrastructure change, the General is confronted not with a president, but with a former investment banker that relies on Excel and predictive analytics to set the possible options of a virtual reality against a person who deals in real time events, idle time strategy impacts and an need towards an affirmation of hierarchy whilst having a complete operational army. In all this there is no telling when France gets attacked next and for that the DGSE will need 5 high powered computers with access to a cloud system. With a new encryption that surpasses the current 1024-bit RSA encryption that is used. So yes, that is also going to cost a bundle.

This is not just ‘all about the money’, you see, the IISS article seems to give rise to the Nuclear planning part, but that is not the actual issue that will play. As in any war and any intelligence operation, it will be about the data and intelligence that is acted on, and whilst there is data going back to 2007, that the growing issues becomes a shifting one. With: “Arjen Lenstra, a cryptology professor at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland, says the distributed computation project, conducted over 11 months, achieved the equivalent in difficulty of cracking a 700-bit RSA encryption key, so it doesn’t mean transactions are at risk — yet“, the growing deadline was set to roughly 5 years, with the growth of Ransomware and other criminal cyber solutions, we have gone passed the deadline of 2012 and as such, the is now a growing need for matters a lot more secure. when we consider the added quote: “the University of Bonn and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone in Japan, researchers factored a 307-digit number into two prime numbers“, this might be a breakthrough in some ways, yet it still took 11 months to get to the solution, with other solutions like distributed calculating (example the famous Seti@Home program) and the cloud, as well as the fact that the bulk of PC users leave their computers on and way too unsecured, we are facing a combination that could spell cyber disaster. Just consider all those kids working their DDOS attack games. What happens when the computer is not aware because it is no longer attacking places (that can actually register these events), but just silently mulling over data? The person is asleep or at work, now we get that shared options gives us for example 50,000 calculators, changing an 11 month gig into a mere 10 minute job. Now, there is no precedence for this, yet the amount of people that have an infuriating lack of common cyber sense is still way too high (well over 75% too high), so getting to 50,000 computers silently is not the greatest task. It had been made easier by the Microsoft security flaws all over the place and the users not being adamant in upgrading their system when needed, as well as the need from Microsoft to keep on pushing some version of blue (read: Azure), my speculation is not that far away, moreover, it could actually already slowly being used in one way or another (read: extremely speculative suggestion).

Yet, the gist must be clear, the governments, pretty much all over Europe are due a large overhaul of data collectors and data storage systems. Even as we see on how Russia and the US are so called collaborating on quantum computing, those who comprehend the technology will know that whomever has that technology would be able to gain access to any data, it like you using a PC XT, whilst others are all about the Pentium 2, the difference will be that severe.

Yet, this was about France (read: actually it is not). The issue is not just the small disagreement that was going on between two important players within a Western European nation; the fact that it was on a subject and amount that is not that drastic, but Reuters is going with it on the front of its pages. In all this France is also getting the forefront of visibility trying to become the facilitator for the Qatar, which comes with the added danger that France will become more of a target for extremists because of it. Not a given, but it is more likely than not that there is a danger that this will happen.

On the coming year, we see that it will be all about the money, that has always been a given, so it is just telling people that there is water coming out of a water tap, yet it will be growing in the coming year as several nations have overly neglected infrastructures and there is a decent prediction that some part will have to give in, which will require additional budgets. France and Belgium are taking the top ratings on the need to improve their roads and as some roads have been neglected for too long, the road repairs bill could become exceedingly large for those two players. As such, the total debt of France will take a rising hit (one part that France cannot really afford at present) and Belgium would be in a similar predicament. These are the additional elements that President Macron will need to deal with.

Does that not make defence cuts more important?

Well, that is one way to look at it, which is a valid one, yet the rising projects and the growing chance of a European Army start would give rise to either more spending needs in the French defence budget or the French Ministry of Defence could end up having to deal with additional pressure points soon thereafter, in this other nations (including the UK have similar complexities to deal with)

Why the reference to France?

Well, that will become a little more obvious in about a moment, yet it was important to show that the cost cutting on Defence in France is a first mistake (read: blunder) by President Macron.

The article ‘Government offers £2m for scientific research into counter-terrorism‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jul/17/government-offers-2m-for-scientific-research-into-counter-terrorism), is showing us a first step in regards to solve possible extremist behavioural issues. In my personal view it is a competition that Israel could win hands down as they have been employing certain parts of that with success at Ben Gurion Airport and other places for close to a decade. Yet, doing it in some automated way through data gathering is a new side to that and here is where all the hardware and DGSE comes into play, or in the UK terms, this is where GCHQ could be starting to earn the big bucks (read: £). The quote “The threat from terror does not stand still, so neither will we, which is why we are calling on the best and the brightest from the science and technology sector to come forward with their ideas and proposals to support our ongoing work to keep people safe” is the one that matter, yet overall, even beyond the £2M price, the costs will be decently staggering. You see, this is no longer about intelligence dissemination; it will become the field of real time parsing, gathering and analysing. Yes, the sequence is correct! You see, it requires the analyses of gathered information, parsing new data and overlaying the results, all that in real time. So as I stated earlier by relating this to Paris (and the attacks), it is the applied use of General Pierre de Villiers with the added parsed intelligence in real time. For the non-military trained people. It is like watching a Command and Conquer videogame, yet now seeing the entire map and knowing how the opposition is moving next, whilst in reality you are not seeing the map at all. Look at it as a version of blind chess, Hi-Octane style. Now consider that this is happening in real time at this very moment in London, with all the information of CCTV, facial recognition and back tracking the first attack and then back tracking the faces where it happened, seeing where they came from and seeing how the next event would likely happen and how soon. The computational power would be close to unimaginative large. So when you see ““In light of the horrific attacks in London and Manchester, the government has committed to review its counter-terror strategy,” Wallace will say. “Further to this I am announcing today that we are making up to £2m available to fund research into cutting-edge technology and behavioural science projects designed to keep people safe in crowds.”” we need to consider not just doing that, yet as I stated encryption, it will also require the collected data to remain safe, because the first one to have the manpower and the skill to hit not just in extremist ways with weapons, yet to hit their opponent with a cyber-assault to corrupt the initial data, will not merely have the advantage, it could cripple that forecasting system, implying that crowds will suddenly no longer be safe when an actual attack occurred.

So when we consider “Counter-terror agencies are running 500 investigations involving 3,000 individuals at any one time as they confront an unprecedented threat“, we aren’t being told the entire story. You see, it is not just that, in a crowd event, there would be the need to be able to scan 50,000 people and be able to flag as many and as fast as possible those who are not a threat. To teach a system where to look is one way, where not to look and what to overlook is equally a required skill. To do this in real time, requires loads of data and might not be entirely feasible until quantum computing is a realistic option. When someone tells you that 50,000 people can be easily scanned, we could concur, yet when every person needs to be checked against 200 sources? Consider the lone wolf (or wannabe extremist). Having an initial harmless person in the crowd is one thing, having one that came all the way from Grantham, whilst there is no data that this person has ever attended such an event becomes an issue, now correlate that against the event (like a concert, a humanitarian event or a political rally), how often has this person attended? It might be the first time, which does not make that person a worry, merely a flag that it is out of character. So how many people would have a similar flag setting? Now you get to see the need of exiting gathered data, which gives a rise to knowing those who are merely vested interest people, and optional worries. When you consider that it could require 100 additional flags that give rise to danger, you will now see the need for the computing power required. So how has Israel been successful? Well, they have observers, people who see people walk by, their stance, and their actions, how they look around, levels of nervousness, the way they walk, the luggage they have. The human brain is the most powerful computer there is, the eyes are camera’s that can see more detailed in 3D than nearly any given camera on the market and those persons can read the people walking by. I believe that there is a future where devices can do similar things because they can look different (read: infra-red), not better.

I think that the approach by Ben Wallace, the security minister, is brilliant. He is opening the doors towards out of the box thinking and perhaps set a new stage of technology. There will always be people outside the government who are more brilliant that those within, he is merely inviting them to cast the stone of innovation, I reckon that in light of the technology changes we will see in the next 2 years, the timing is great, time will tell us whether the solutions were real ones too. At least the ball has started to roll and in light of the cut backs by France, the United Kingdom could have a technological advantage that might be a long term solution all others want, which is great too for several reasons of economic growth, which keeps the commercial solution providers interested.



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The reality of danger

The entire Palestinian UN issue or as some call it Resolution 2334, certain players decided to make certain moves. There will be long term consequences, yet what they are can only be speculated on. The Washington Post gave news last year (4 days ago, at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/12/29/trumps-plan-to-move-the-u-s-embassy-to-jerusalem-could-help-the-peace-process/) that is another issue that will play. There is a choice at times to place anything governmental, yet where to place it has been less of an issue. You see the initial quote: ‘move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem could help the peace process‘ is a loaded one. Like in the Netherlands, Israel is one of the few places where the embassies are not in the capital of that nation. Tel Aviv is the most important city in Israel and the central hub for all business. There is a reasonable speculation that Ben-Gurion airport is a driving reason in that. Yet Tel Aviv is only half the size of Jerusalem, which does not make the move wise or foolish. What is a given that moving the embassies to Jerusalem will spark massive response. What is interesting in the Washington Post article is the reference to the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995.

In this we see:

(1) Jerusalem should remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected.
(2) Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel; and
(3) the United States Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem no later than May 31, 1999.

We can see that this act was either ignored or basically not taken too serious. The quote “However, a built-in waiver provision intended as a temporary measure has allowed every president since then to delay the move at routine six-month intervals” gives voice to that. So in case of the Israeli case as a solid ally, the US would state ‘not this time around‘ twice a year. Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, 10 years of delays, 20 delays. Now, we see that the new president will push forward. Still at this point there are a few considerations to keep in mind. It is the quote “But a reversal of the long time U.S. diplomatic boycott of Jerusalem could bode well for Israeli-Palestinian peace prospects. Sending a strong message that the new administration stands with the Israeli government on a major symbolic issue with high potential costs could push the Palestinian leadership to a greater sense of urgency in negotiations” that I have an issue with. You see, Mahmoud Abbas is on his last options, quotes like: “Mahmoud Abbas, Re-elected as Fatah Leader, Moves to Solidify Power” is one side the other is “Hamas delegates find welcome at Fatah conference, but not trust“. The ties between Abbas and Hamas are strained and the Jerusalem move could implode the connections. This comes from a 2007 statement by Mussa Abu Marzuk ‘the failure of any political process to solve the Israeli–Palestinian conflict will lead to ultimate victory and the destruction of Israel reflects the Logic of Implosion of the Resistance Network‘, This resistance network is not that visible. Unlike some claimants to be ‘all for Palestine‘ they tend to brag on social media using photo ops for visibility. There are connections we see regarding Mussa Abu Marzuk, yet there is clearly another side. The conspiracy theories regarding Assad’s mercenaries are as unreliable as it gets, yet there are seemingly links in Beirut that do require scrutiny (an open blog is not the place to do this), the reason for these mentions are the reality that the move to Jerusalem will spark actions by Hamas and anyone with anti-Israel sentiments. Jerusalem could become a powder keg in more than one way. When we look at the same quote again ‘move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem could help the peace process’, I have to conclude that this is not likely to be. The so called burning bridges tactic could become the fire that lights dozens of fuses. Even as Iran had seized funding to the larger degree (implied that this was done), it could be a move that will reopen acts of support from antagonists like Iran, I very much doubt that Iran will be the only one. You see, the embassies not in Jerusalem gave some parties the idea that certain topics could be reopened. This move, when it happens takes that off the table and several parties will not like that at all. Yet it is not all doom and gloom. The reality is that Palestine has a massive benefit when the Embassy moves go through. Consider the benefits that Jerusalem traffic towards a place like Bethlehem brings, which is on the Palestine side.

Yet, this is not about tourism. It is about the rationale of moving the US Embassy. There have been a few voices that the US Embassy would not be safer in Tel Aviv, yet my issue is that there will be more opportunities for extremists to attack it in Jerusalem. Perhaps I will be proven wrong, time will tell. It was last year, just before Christmas, when the Washington Post stated “The United States recognized the 1949 Israeli-Jordanian armistice lines as the new borders of Israel outside Jerusalem, but as for Jerusalem the U.S. position was to support the provision of the 1947 U.N. Partition Resolution, which called for Jerusalem to be a “corpus separatum under a special international regime . . . administered by the United Nations” (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-the-us-embassy-is-in-tel-aviv-not-jerusalem/2016/12/23/89b5b5a8-c703-11e6-acda-59924caa2450_story.html). As well as “By 1953, the United Nations had shelved plans for a “corpus separatum,” and West Jerusalem was de facto understood to be part of Israel. Keeping the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv had no relationship to the status of East Jerusalem. Not moving the U.S. Embassy to West Jerusalem in 1953 or thereafter was essentially a bureaucratic decision, devoid of any legal justification“. What is now an actual issue is that less than a day ago we see ‘State Department ‘not aware’ of efforts to move US embassy to Jerusalem‘ (source: Times of Israel), where we see “We’re not privy to any moves, any decisions or active efforts to go ahead and move the embassy,” Kirby told CNN“, which reads like a load of ….. (you know the missing word). This is because on November 10th we get “Adviser says Trump tsunami will shift U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem“, making John Kirby an actual idiot. His additional clue word ‘privy’ like it was a secret makes this even more ridiculous. The president Elect has spoken on the intention of this happening. Now the DNC might not like this, yet intentional misinforming the public to this degree in the last 3 weeks of office is just stupid. How can we see John Kirby in any serious continuation when he is racking up disaster statements like this?

So we have ourselves a ballgame, because we now see: “intended ambassador to Israel David Friedman said last month that he looked forward to working “from the US embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem.” Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said subsequently that the PLO would revoke its recognition of Israel if the US moved the embassy“, here we now get the direct consequence of dealing in any non-lethal way with terrorists. The mere ‘revoke its recognition of Israel‘ is a clear sign that Palestine cannot now, or ever be trusted. In that regard, when we see the Fatah–Hamas Gaza Agreement of April 2014, with an indefinite delay on election, we should see in that light the situation of Palestine. With president Mahmoud Abbas in lock-down whilst we see people speaking, clearly with the old man in charge, making him either a puppet or unreliable, likely both. This is the group that the UN wants to do business with. This is the group, which via Egypt started Resolution 2334. In that regard, regardless of the dangers. The option that the US and possibly even Australia are moving their Embassies to Jerusalem. A stronger message needs to be given, either we stand with Israel, or we let it all burn and in this day and age, and from my point of view burning it all is a waste of resources.

We have seen for more than a decade that the Palestine high command is not in charge. That same organisation that tried marketing in the form of “It sought to convince a sufficient core of leftists that the PLO wasn’t really committed to its goal of eradicating Israel. It actually was a peace movement in terrorist disguise”, how has that been working out? The Haaretz quote “Lemon asked Ashrawi to explain what steps the Palestinians have taken for peace with the Israelis, to which Ashrawi answered, “I think we are trying our best to make peace in every possible way” sounds deceptive to say the least, although we must take into consideration that Haaretz will always be pro-Israel, so we can’t really hope for fair and balanced in this equation and I am trying to take this into consideration. My evidence are the loads of Hamas Rockets, a Palestine leadership that plays turncoat depending on ammunition reserves and a so called nation that has decided to delay elections. All these elements are in play when we consider the Israeli issues. A side that we see repeated when we look at the US State Department (at https://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2016/12/266119.htm). The quote “Both sides committed to a plan to transition much of the West Bank and Gaza to Palestinian control during permanent status negotiations that would put an end to their conflict. Unfortunately, neither the transition nor the final agreement came about, and both sides bear responsibility for that“, which is true, yet in 1995 onwards, we see bombings and suicide bombings in bus stations like Ashkelon and Jerusalem in addition to markets and streets. With an explosion of events in 2001 and 2002. Now that there is more and more evidence that Iran is backing away with their funds (likely because of oil prices in the basement), now we see there is so much need for a solution, for a suddenly giving in to Palestine. Perhaps the US wants to remember how they dealt with Benedict Arnold. How he was given land and prestige in the US? This question comes to the frame of mind when we see the Times of Israel (not the only source) state “Transcript claims to show US worked with Palestinians on UN resolution” with in addition “An Egyptian paper published what it claims are the transcripts of meetings between top US and Palestinian officials that, if true, would corroborate Israeli accusations that the Obama administration was behind last week’s UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements“, even as it has been denied by the White House, the actions and the statements from several sides give way to acts of desperation, trying to flush a result that is beneficial to the image of those proclaiming a deal, yet negligent on the State of Israel as it has remained under attack  non-stop until 2011. Is it possible for President Obama to remember what happened on September 11th 2001, perhaps he can also remember how there were no UN resolutions to chastise the Taliban with subsequent acts of diplomacy? Perhaps he remembers them, perhaps he was too busy politicising things. In all this the act of Resolution 2334 seems to be more and more a rash act. Without it, the move of the US embassy might not have been on the table, now to patch things and state that the US is an actual friend of Israel the move seems to have been pushed, with that the additional instigation of questions and requests in Canberra to move the Australian Embassy as well, which in light of Operation Paladin with 12 man could have beneficial logistical options. Operation Paladin is part of the UN Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO).

There is still the issue of the actions that led the UK to push for this as well as unconfirmed rumours that New Zealand had received Phone Calls from London regarding the matter. There have been protests on all levels, yet the one in London remains for now a mystery. In light of the upcoming Brexit, this resolution was a bad idea for the UK, having the UK and New Zealand abstain at the very least, although opposing it might have been a better idea. In light of the changes that Iran is showing gives several lights, not all of them good or positive. The implied changes towards Hamas and other players give light that Iran is changing priorities on several levels. It is the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center who gives the best quality info in this matter. The quote “A member of the Majlis (Iranian parliament) committee for national security and foreign policy told the reformist newspaper Ghanoon that unless Hamas changed its strategy towards Syria and stopped supporting the Syrian opposition, Iran would be forced to establish new ties with other Palestinian groups“, gives way to this (at http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/en/article/21125), it is almost like reading the alternative play ‘One man’s folly is another man’s fiend‘, a not so gentle or secure way to play this game, yet it  does give the additional view to the changes in Iran, a shifting of borders, lines of acceptance without diplomacy. A view we see reinforced with “Hossein Salami added that the United States, the Europeans and the Zionists were planning to contain Hezbollah’s activity, but that Hezbollah had become a significant regional force. If Hezbollah could operate in the unlit ditches and winding alleys of Aleppo, without a doubt it could fight even better in the streets of Haifa and Tel Aviv, he claimed (Tasnim and Sepah News, December 25, 2016)“. Is this merely the wishful thinking of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, the presentation inviting Hezbollah, a combination of these or something else altogether. It is up to Mossad to see where there actual enemies are, yet with Resolution 2334 their game has changed, because the clarity of friends lost means another strategy, one that the west hasn’t had for some time, because in all this, until there is clear crystallisation of who is an actual friend, certain parties will no longer receive any indirect intelligence from either Mossad or Shin Bet on anything NATO intelligence parties would need to know. As this part will get politicised very quickly, the next attack that gets missed will be a clear first indication on the not so clever act of Resolution 2334.

There is a reality of danger in all we see do and act on, yet imposing it and inviting it whilst certain parties have again and again refrained from being anything but unreliable is cause for concern. The map of the Middle East is being redrawn and the rash acts shown so far have had no positive effect at all, which should be a decent wake up call for a collection of foreign offices all around the world. Whether they do is up to them and good luck to those who get to clean up that mess.


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