Tag Archives: Bruce Riedel

The incompetent view

I’ll admit, there are other things to write about, yet this is a larger issue than anyone thinks it is. The previous writers did not ponder the questions that were adamant, and Stephanie Kirchgaessner follows suit (at https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jan/27/nsa-faces-questions-over-security-of-trump-officials-after-alleged-bezos-hack) when we consider that the focus here is the NSA in ‘NSA faces questions over security of Trump officials after alleged Bezos hack‘. You see, it is not merely the fact that they got the stage wrong, it is the fact that everyone is looking at the stage, whilst the orchestra is missing, so how about that part of the equation and that leads to very uncomfortable question towards WHY the US is tailing on 5G and why it is trying to tailgate into the 5G room. They forgot what real innovation is and Saudi Arabia is seemingly passing them by, a nation that has forever been seen as a technological third world is surpassing the US and it is upsetting more and more people.

The US National Security Agency is facing questions about the security of top Trump administration officials’ communications following last week’s allegations that the Saudi crown prince may have had a hand in the alleged hack of Jeff Bezos“, with this the article opens and basically nothing wrong is stated here, yet when seen in the light of the byline which was “Democratic lawmaker asks agency if it is confident the Saudi government has not sought to hack US officials“, as such it becomes an issue. first off, the question is not wrong, because the US administration has a duty to seek the safety of communications for its coworkers (senators and such), yet in all this, it does become a little more clear when we see “Ron Wyden, a senior Democratic lawmaker, asked the director of the NSA whether he was confident that the Saudi government had not also sought to hack senior US government officials“. You see in the first, Saudi intentional involvement was NEVER established, moreover, the report (I looked at that last week) has several hiatus of a rather large kind, as such the formulation by this 70 year old person is quite the other issue. 

It is my personal conviction that a Fortune 100 company should consider the danger they open themselves up to when letting cyber issues be investigated by FTI Consulting. The entire matter of how infection was obtained (if it was infection), and that the entire matter was instigated by any third party who had gained access to the phone of Jeff Bezos, and in all this enough doubt was raised who got access and more importantly that there was no evidence that this was ANY Saudi official, as such the short sighted “whether he was confident that the Saudi government had not also sought to hack senior US government officials” by a 70 year old who shows issues of lack of critical thinking, no matter what which school he went to when he was half a century younger.

And again we see the reference towards “The senator from Oregon is separately seeking to force the Trump administration to officially release the intelligence it collected on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the Washington Post journalist who was killed in a state-sponsored murder in October 2018“, which is another flaw as there was never any clear evidence that anyone in Turkey was “killed in a state-sponsored murder in October 2018“, more importantly, the French UN Essay writer who was seemingly involved in both reports is showing a lack of critical thinking all by herself.

All this whilst Paul Nakasone (director NSA) is confronted with “was believed to have been the victim of a hack that was instigated after he allegedly received a WhatsApp message from the account of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman“, the problem is twofold, in the first I personally see the report by FTI Consulting as a hack job, not a job on a hack. There are several sides that give doubt on infection source and moreover there is additional lack of evidence that the source was a Saudi one. More importantly other sources gave away issues on WhatsApp some time overlapping the event, exploits that made it into the press from all sides giving the weakness that any unnamed party could have played to be a Saudi delivery whilst the file was not from that delivery point. Issues that were out in the open and the report gives that FTI Consulting ignored them. It could read that a certain French Essay writer stated ‘I Have a Saudi official and an American phone, find me a link, any link‘, I am not stating that this happened, but it feels like that was the FTI Consulting case. When was the last time you saw an intentional perversion of justice and truth?

And when we see: “The issue is now the subject of an investigation by two independent UN investigators“, we see an almost completed path. When we see all this lets take a step back and consider. 

  1. An American Civilian had his mobile allegedly (and optionally proven) hacked.
  2. The hacker is not found, the one accused cannot be proven (at present) to be the hacker.
  3. This ends up with the UN?

And I am not alone here. Three days ago (after my initial findings) I see (at https://edition.cnn.com/2020/01/24/tech/bezos-hacking-report-analysts/index.html) the headline ‘Bezos hacking report leaves cybersecurity experts with doubts‘, there we see “independent security experts, some of whom say the evidence isn’t strong enough to reach a firm conclusion” as well as “several high-profile and respected researchers, highlights the limits of a report produced by FTI Consulting, the company Bezos hired to investigate the matter“, so basically, the hair lacking CEO, who owns the Washington Post (where Khashoggi used to work) is allegedly hacked, he seemingly hires FTI Consulting on what I personally believe to be a hack job on hacking phones and the UN is using that biased piece of work to slam Saudi Arabia? Did I miss anything?

Yes, I did, the quote “The report suggested the incident bore hallmarks of sophisticated hacking software“, the problem here is that there is no way to see WHERE IT CAME FROM. Yet other sources give out several pieces on WhatsApp and how other sources could have a free go at infesting people. All whilst we also see “the paper revealed a lack of sophistication that could have been addressed by specialized mobile forensics experts, or law enforcement officials with access to premium tools“, all this whilst the entire setting went around the existence of cyber divisions. There is a link Jeff Bezos – Amazon – FTI Consulting – United Nations. At no point in this do we see any police department, or the FBI, why is that?

As such when we see “A key shortcoming of the analysis, Edwards said, was that it relied on a restricted set of content obtained from Bezos’s iTunes backup. A deeper analysis, she said, would have collected detailed records from the iPhone’s underlying operating and file systems. Other security experts characterized the evidence in the report as inconclusive“, I would state that this is merely the beginning.

Rob Graham (CEO Errata security) gives us “It contains much that says ‘anomalies we don’t understand,’ but lack of explanations point to incomplete forensics, not malicious APT actors” and Alex Stamos, the former chief information security officer at Facebook and a Stanford University professor gives us “Lots of odd circumstantial evidence, for sure, but no smoking gun“, in all this the extreme geriatric Ron Wyden (Oregon) is asking questions from the NSA with the text “asked the director of the NSA whether he was confident that the Saudi government had not also sought to hack senior US government officials” with the emphasis on ‘also‘, a stage that is not proven, and more importantly is almost redundant in the hack job we got to read about. As such I am not surprised to see “FTI Consulting declined to comment“, I wonder why?

It is even more fun to see the CNN article have the stage where we see “a research group at the University of Toronto, offered a suggestion that could allow investigators to gain access to encrypted information that FTI said it could not unlock“, as such we see that there are skill levels missing in FTI, for the simple reason that this report was allowed to leave the hands of FTI Consulting, a Firm that is proudly advertising that they have 49 of the Global 100 companies that are clients. If I had anything to say about it, those 49 companies might have more issues down the road than they are ready for, especially as they have over 530 senior managing directors and none of them stopeed that flimsy report making it to the outside world. I would personally set a question mark to the claim of them being advisor to 96 of the world’s top 100 law firms. I would not be surprised if I could punch holes in more cases that FTI Consulting set advice to, in light of the Bezos report, it might not be too hard a stage to do.

CNN also has a few critical points that cannot be ignored. With “The report’s limited results are a reminder that it can be extremely challenging to reconstruct the activities of a determined, well-resourced hacker, said Kenneth White, a security engineer and former adviser to the Defense Department and Department of Homeland Security“, I do not disagree with that, but the stage where WhatsApp had a much larger problem, is a given, and the report does not bring that up for one moment, that report was all about painting one party whilst the reality of the stage was that there was an open floor on how it was done, yet the report silenced all avenues there. In addition, Chris Vickery (Director UpGuard) gives us “other evidence provided by FTI increased his confidence that Bezos was being digitally surveilled“. that is not in question, core information directs that way, yet the fact that it was a Saudi event cannot be proven, not whilst Jeff Bezos is around hundreds of people in most moments of the day, that part is the larger setting and FTI Consulting knowingly skated around the subject, almost as it was instructed to do so.

One expert who wanted to remain anonymous gave us all “There’s an absurd amount of Monday morning quarterbacking going on” as well as “This isn’t a movie — things don’t proceed in a perfect, clean way. It’s messy, and decisions are made the way they’re made“, that expert is not wrong, and he/she has a point, yet the foundation of the report shows a massive lack in critical thinking whilst the report relies in its text on footnotes (as one would) yet on page 3, the text is “Al Qahtani eventually purchased 20 percent ownership in Hacking Team, apparantly acquired on behalf of the Saudi government. 8

all whilst footnote 8 gives us “https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/8xvzyp/hacking-team-investor-saudi-arabia” so not only does the FTI Consulting Job rely on ‘apparantly‘, the article gives in the first paragraph “Hacking Team was thoroughly owned, with its once-secret list of customers, internal emails, and spyware source code leaked online for anyone to see” as such we see ‘spyware source code leaked online for anyone to see‘, how did FTI Consulting miss this? That and the WhatsApp issue in that same year opens up the optional pool of transgressors to all non state hackers with considerable knowledge, as such the amount of transgressors ups to thousands of hackers (globally speaking). 

FTI Consulting missed that! and it missed a lot more. The article also sets a link to David Vincenzetti and for some reason he is not even looked at, there is no stage in the FTI report that his input was sought out, which in light of all this is equally puzzling. He might not have had anything to report, or perhaps he had enough to report taking the focal point away from Saudi players, we will never know, the joke (read: report) is out in the open in all its glory on limitation. 

In light of all this, did the question by Ron Wyden to the NSA make sense? As far as I can see, I see several points of incompetance and that has nothing to do with the one expert stating that this is a messy, the entire setting was optionally incompetent and for certain massively incomplete. 

More importantly, the last paragraphs has more funny parts than a two hour show by Jimmy Carr. The quote is “Anyone who has had communication with either MBS or his brother Khaled should assume their phone is hacked. Congress needs to get answers from NSA on what it knew about the hack of Bezos phone, when it knew it, and what it has done to stop Saudi criminal hacking behavior” and it comes from CIA analyst Bruce Riedel. Now, the quote is fine, but the hilarious part is how it was phrased (expertly done). Lets go over it in my (super subtle) way: “Anyone who has had communication with either MBS or his brother Khaled should assume their phone is hacked by Saudi, US or Iranian officials. Congress needs to get answers from NSA for a change on a matter that they were never consulted on whilst the report ended up with the UN on what it knew about the hack of Bezos phone, a person who has a few billion and a lack of hair but beyond that has no meaning to the US economy, he keeps all his gotten gains, when it knew when the phone of a civilian was allegedly hacked and, and what it has done to stop Saudi criminal hacking behavior which is not proven at present other than by people who have something to gain from seeing the Saudi’s as the bad party (like Iran), all in a report that is lacking all levels of clarity and proper investigation“, this is an important setting here. Just like the disappearance of a Saudi columnist writing for the Washington Post (another Jeff Bezos affiliate), we do not proclaim Saudi Arabia being innocent, merely that the lack of evidence does not make them guilty, in the present the hacking issue does not make Saudi Arabia guilty, the irresponsible version of the FTI Consulting report shows a massive lack of evidence that makes any Saudi Arabian party more likely than not innocent of all this and as both reports have one UN Female French Essay writer in common, it is more and more like a smear campaign than an actual event to find out what actually happened. Who signed up for that? I wonder if the NSA did, I feel decently certain that until they get all the actual evidence that they do not want to get involved with political painting, their left foot is busy keeping them standing up in a world of hunkered and crouched idiots.

Yet that is just my simple personal view on the matter.

 

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The Commanding Conquest

The NY Times gave us a view, some are laughing, some are looking forward, some are grasping at the past, but you and me? What will we do? What are our thoughts?

That is the view I am having when I see ‘A Glimpse of a Crown Prince’s Dream? Saudi Arabia Invades Iran in CGI‘ (at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/20/world/middleeast/saudi-arabia-iran-invasion-video.html). The video shown is not new, the article revealed that the movie was uploaded last December and has had 1.2 million views. That’s around 400,000 a month. We see the application of CGI and Command & Conquer intro movie style towards the games that Iran has been playing. So as we see “In scene after scene, he orders a succession of superior weapons systems to pulverize the enemy“, we see a setting, one that is changing. It is what I would optionally call the sabre rattling by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who according some of the sources is stated to be behind this all. I cannot tell, I do not know. But it is clear that Iran is also realising that everyone is looking at them now and none of the voices are telling Saudi Arabia to stop. Those voices will come too late and at that point, with the EU not willing to give an inch towards Iran, Iran will stand alone. Even Russia who has been their trade buddy for the longest of times is backing off a little, as they would endanger the foothold that they are growing in the Middle East via Syria. In addition, if there is a side, than Israel will never choose it will be the side of Iran, that ship has sailed and was burned down the moment it left the harbour of Jaffa.

One view given was “a Princeton professor who recently published a column explaining the challenges Prince Mohammed faces in the kingdom, suggested in an email that the Iranians themselves might have made the cartoon “to make the Saudis look silly”“, it is certainly one view, but when we consider Command & Conquer, is it as simple as Saudi Arabia v Iran, or is there a third player in town? The view that former CIA employee Bruce Riedel has differs as well. He of course has just published a new book based on 3 decades of experience and his view is “This represents how he sees himself, or what he would like to be, It suggests that at least some part of Mohammed bin Salman lives in a fantasy world, and if he really believes these things then we are on a course that could be extremely destructive“. It is not a view that I could state was incorrect due to lack of data, but if the Crown Prince has set this all in motion, is it in the end anything else than a creative presentation? Lets not forget, if we plough through the presentations of historical CIA, most of their directors would have ended up in prison, as would some members of congress and at least two former Presidents of the United States. So the view given here is not one that seems to be the pressure here. I actually like a later view in the article in the NY Times where we see “Other scholars suggested that one of the prince’s courtiers might have commissioned the video to flatter him“, that is one part that appeals, it would even be better if it was made by the courtiers son who has the dream of becoming the coolest game designer in Saudi Arabia, which is not a bad dream to pursue to begin with.

No matter who or what it is regarded to be. When we consider it from the distance, it is merely a presentation, one that took effort. My view on the third player is shown (in my humble opinion) by “The video was released almost simultaneously in Arabic and English, with subtitles in Farsi, Hebrew, Mandarin, Russian, Turkish and other languages, so its animators probably also had the help of a team of linguists“, you see no matter how they feel about Israel, Saudi Arabia would have been unlikely to have taken the effort, even when relying on Google Translate and even as we know that Israel will never be a friend of Iran, it is my personal view that Saudi Arabia would not have taken the effort to get the ‘Hebrew’ edition out there, giving rise to the third party. I would need to see the full list of subtitle editions, to learn how precise my prediction is, but I think that the players adding the Hebrew edition shot themselves in the foot.

Yet it does also give light to “Prince Mohammed is a long-time fan of animation and video games. His personal foundation set up a venture, Manga Productions, to produce Japanese-style animation about Saudi Arabia and its culture“. Did you know this? Many have been curious about Saudi Culture; many wonder just how warped the press had made certain settings of Saudi Culture. Now I know that it is not the culture, with all the options that Western Europe had, but that is their history, learning more about it will only make things better for both sides. So when we see “Japanese animation productions major Toei Animation is teaming up with Saudi Arabia’s Manga Productions to produce animation titles and films to be released in both countries. The new tie-up was unveiled Nov. 16. Manga Productions, which is affiliated with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s MiSK Foundation, focuses on producing animations and developing video games with creative and positive content targeting different local and international social groups. Bukhari Isam, CEO of Manga Productions, said that his company will do pre-production or prepare designing content to be produced in Japan. The productions will be internationally targeted”. Most forms of information that is linked to Japanese excellence tend to be very well received on a global scale. So in all this we would need to realise that the media has been keeping information from us all. Now, there is no way that everyone will suddenly become a ‘Saudi’s best buddy’, but the setting that we see almost no exposure to this and that in the age of learning and comprehension that is one view that we are filtered from is equally dangerous. There is no other way to see it other than that the Muslim way of life has a global impact on nearly all, even if it is often not visible. Is it so bad to learn more on something that has no Christian foundation? Are we so afraid for the switching of atheists and agnostics to state: “This sounds like a much better way“, is the often hidden setting that Christians filter what must not be seen that has been a hindrance for decades! Should you oppose that (which is perfectly fine), than take a look at Spotlight, a 2015 movie on an unfrocked priest accused of molesting more than 80 boys. This was based on the 2001 event where editor Marty Baron of The Boston Globe assigns a team of journalists to investigate allegations against John Geoghan, the fore mentioned unfrocked priest. The article became proof of the cover-up of sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Church. An issue that still impacts people today. Less than a day ago we see ‘Cardinal George Pell could face fresh charges after new witness statement emerges‘. This is merely one of many issues that had been pushed to the hidden shadows of society. These events are still being shown to be an issue 15 years after the initial article got out, so we can state that there has never ever been an events where filtering based on religion gave us wisdom, the media is only finding this out because it ups the circulation of their papers. There is a hard lesson to be learned there.

So, as we take a look at the Crown Prince, and the video game intro movie? Perhaps we will learn the truth of whoever was really behind it and what the purpose was. Perhaps it will be as simple as a member of the Saudi royal family telling Iran that they need to stop playing their games, because some mind games tend to become realities with fatalities and in this a video game is merely the presentation of artistic design. We all need to realise that only in a videogame foundation can a 1.68m tall model wearing nothing but cargo pants and a tank top take out dozens properly clothed mercenaries armed to the teeth with a bow, a knife and an ice axe, because that is where our minds in video games tend to end. So will the intro movie become a reason for war? I very much doubt it, whilst we are looking at these events, most are now forgetting that both Iran and Turkey are isolating themselves more and more, Iran for fuelling the events in Yemen and Turkey for the actions in pretty much all the Kurdish regions. In the end they can merely depend on one another, which would be a clear ending to whatever economy they thought they had. As Iran is dealing with 25% youth unemployment and Turkey with 24.1%, they both have other immediate needs. So in the end, even as the Command and Conquer, Saudi edition looked cool, a mere presentation of how opening trade and growing other economic options is a solution to youth unemployment, it seems that both Iran and Turkey are far far away from learning that lesson for now.

So as we end with two more parts from the NY Times. The first being: “The video appears to show an accurate reflection of the vast Saudi arsenal, with two exceptions. The tanks labelled in the video as Abrams M1s, the most advanced American model, look more like the outdated Patton M60s. And Saudi Arabia does not have the ships needed to transport them to Iran, said Douglas Barrie, a senior fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London“, which might be perfectly fine, so when we see the second part we see: ““The Saudis have a very limited amphibious capability,” Mr. Barrie said. “They do not have the platforms for a large-scale amphibious operation.”“, we might all agree, but these high paid people have taken the time to analyse a video game intro, so as the optional third player makes another movie, will they look at it again? When it comes in a box with image below, will we hear from these people about the substandard weapons that the French are using? #JustSaying

 

 

 

 

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