Tag Archives: Carlo Collodi

Losing values towards insanity

Even as we see more and more anti NRA actions and other actions that are indeed positive geared towards making schools ‘safer’, there are now also people who are trying to cash in quick, school safety is an exploding business and some should be ashamed of that. Yet it is not about that, it is not about the schools. It is about the children. So tell me, how come that these 17 American children, are seen as more important as the 101,500 civilians killed in Syria. The total amount of civilians killed is close to 1/3rd of all casualties. In one week, we see 13 children and 10 women all killed. Not much noise there, is it? So when we see that the UN Security Council failed to agree after a second day of intensive talks on a proposed 30-day ceasefire across Syria to allow for emergency humanitarian deliveries and medical evacuations. How much as a failure should we regard ourselves? How we pat our backs by stopping Hertz discount to NRA members, not the people at the NRA, merely the members of the NRA. The utter ridicule that people are setting themselves up to be for hating people who like guns, for going after targets for the mere pleasure of ones ego, that whilst the UN is failing hundreds of thousands of people. So as we see “The talks at the UN headquarters in New York followed an appeal by French and German leaders to Vladimir Putin, asking for Russia to stop blocking the measure’s passage, pointing to the dire situation of the trapped civilian population in the rebel enclave of eastern Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus” (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/23/macron-merkel-urge-putin-back-ceasefire-syria-eastern-ghouta), the infuriating part is that I gave rise to this on October 17th 2016, so 16 months later after I wrote: “I reckon all the players know that, yet, having long conversations with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, whose only concern is to stall so that the population can be made extinct before the resolution passes, reads a lot more like the Friends edition of Pinocchio, than the original by Carlo Collodi” (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2016/10/17/a-new-disney/), so here I present the first piece of evidence that the United Nations is no longer a functional apparatus. Because the evidence as given by the UN themselves (at http://www.un.org/en/sections/un-charter/chapter-i/index.html), in its first article stating the purposes of the United Nations. Here we see in the first paragraph: “To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace“, I think that we can state for the record that the United Nations has failed the Syrian people in the most amazing way. that failure and the repeated stalling by one of its members (in both cases Russia) most people seem to merely turn a blind eye, look at the populist activities that will lead nowhere, merely harass and abuse people. Go after 5 million members who never fired their guns in any school or at any child. Think yourself clever and pat yourself on the backs because your non-actions will get another 50 children killed before the end of the month.

So as Al-Jazeera gave us ‘the meeting, however, has already been delayed multiple times as negotiations continue over the wording of the draft resolution‘ , we see that whilst people are trying to be clever about events more people will get killed. So yesterday (according to the AP) “Syrian government warplanes carried out a sixth day of airstrikes Friday in the rebel-held suburbs east of Damascus, killing 32 people, activists said, as the death toll from a week of bombardment soared over 400“, how many will it be today? The fact that according to several sources (Washington Post amongst them) we get: “the situation was complicated further by reports that Russian mercenaries had taken part in the attack and were among the dead“. You see, no one might cry about these mercenaries, but as they are basically not part of any army, they will kill first and consider asking questions later. More important, the mercenary firm Wagner, allegedly owned by Yevgeniy Prigozhin is reaching out in other directions too. He is linked to the Internet Research Agency (IRA) in St. Petersburg. He has been indicted (at https://www.justice.gov/file/1035477/download) for his part towards violating criminal laws with the intent to interfere “with U.S. elections and political processes“, according to the Justice Department. Some state (not too reliable sources) that they are now growing in making botnets, not to spread issues, but to collect data. So, even as he is connected, he is growing data, knowledge and opportunity on almost a daily basis.

How does that connect to Syria?

Apart from the money he makes on the mercenaries and their actions, he is now in a position where he can set the foundation to get access to all the Syrian national data on almost all levels, whilst having a comfortable place to start collecting data on everything on all the nations bordering Syria too. This is not some cake walk or just fun. When we consider the WP on this, we see: “Wagner first gained attention for its operations in 2014 in Ukraine, where mercenaries with the group — mostly military veterans and ultranationalists — were reported to be fighting alongside Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country. The group was believed to have been led by Dmitry Utkin, who until 2013 had served in Russia’s foreign military intelligence agency, the GRU“, do you think that billionaires, especially Russian ones are in it for the ego? No, he wants to grow, grow fast and in every direction. At least two other sources give us “A former lieutenant colonel and brigade commander of the Spetsnaz GRU detachment. The 700th Independent Spetsnaz Detachment of the 2nd Independent Brigade of Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate (Части и подразделения специального назначения (спецназ) Главного управления Генерального штаба Вооружённых сил Российской Федерации). These are not kids playing on the side of the road, these people tend to have very serious plans and when they are not connected to an official army they tend to get selfishly lucrative really fast.

That does matter, because professionals like that are not in it to kill civilians, yet they will kill whatever gets in their way or in the way of them completing their mission, so in this it matters what their mission is in all this.

There is a second part in all this and be aware that this is all pure speculation from my side. When we consider the Washington Post quote “Russian mercenaries had taken part in the attack and were among the dead — making it the deadliest U.S.-Russia clash since the Cold War“, so what if that is exactly what they want? What is a new cold war is their intent? As people are shouting and arranging all kinds of partially useless actions regarding 17 kids, in a nation that is basically beyond bankrupt, how much will it take to flame a new cold war, one where the US and NATO are on the roes due to lack of brainpower and resources. The technical advantage that the US and NATO had during the previous one is no longer there. You might remember stories of Russian men in ridiculous rain coats, having almost no knowledge of electronics. That time has passed and the US no longer has the options it used to have, whilst in addition they tied their own hands in several ways. At this point a cold war could end up being devastating to the west. In addition, when we are treated to both “The USS Michael Monsoor, the second and latest Zumwalt-class stealth destroyer, suffered an equipment failure that prevented the ship from conducting sea trials” as well as “It’s been more than a year since the Navy decided to cancel procurement of an expensive new ammunition for its Zumwalt-class destroyers, but the service is still pondering how to best replace the munition, a Navy official said Wednesday. In 2016, the Navy decided to stop buying the Long Range Land-Attack Projectile, or LRLAP, after discovering that its price had spiked to $800,000 per round. LRLAP was the only ammo developed specifically for the ship’s Advanced Gun System“. So not only are these ships dodgy (for now), they can’t afford the ammunition, it seems to me that (even though we know that the US navy is a lot larger) that we should see the developing issues as a worry. You see this all links back to Syria. Do you think that Russia is going to play ball when there is no need? A paper tiger is only scary for the time you do not know that it is merely a paper one. After that all bets are off and it is entirely possible that this is the gamble that resident Putin is currently making. If proven correct we will see all kinds of developments, not merely in Syria, but the Kurds will get more tank slamming by Turkey and the dangers of Iran v Saudi Arabia would become a likelihood too.

So back to Syria, as the WP gave us on Yevgeniy Prigozhin: ‘He now has a reputation as a man willing to do Russian President Vladimir Putin’s dirty work‘. I think that this is the cost of doing business. I think that there had been a clear plan in place, even as I do not agree with Alexey Khlebnikov, a political risk consultant and a Middle East expert at the Russian International Affairs Council. He calls this a “double-edged sword”. The risk is almost negligible for Russia, even as we see the quote “details have trickled out in embarrassing ways“, getting captured is not an embarrassment it is merely an inconvenience. It seems that Yevgeniy Prigozhin is the creative side, when you take a High value target like Dmitry Utkin you get something else, on his level a person does not get to walk away, there is a tactic in play and whilst we stare at certain parts we all forget that a man like that over 25 years has created its own network of people and skills. It could be that Wagner will grow faster because of opportunities, but in which direction? That is a part we can see when we realise that smiley face Dmitry is also CEO of Concord Management and Consulting. With these two gentleman owning 50% (actually more than that) into LLC Megaline, with Megaline receiving a large chunk of the capital construction contracts for the Russian military we see that link. When the dust settles, Assad will need to rebuild, and they will be the front player and possibly only consideration on a nation needing to be reconstructed. So now how weird are their actions? Both Yevgeniy Prigozhin and Dmitry Utkin are now perfectly placed to rake in billions and in that regard we get back to the options for the dying in Syria; they don’t get to have any. Whilst everyone is settling around clever text on how to word the phrase ‘cease-fire‘ in that timespan Damascus could be adequately be made devoid of life bringing the optional closure of the Syrian war with President Bashar Hafez al-Assad remaining in power. If only the US and NATO had actually acted in 2012, the picture might have been a lot different. Yet for now, up to yesterday 150 children, were killed in Ghouta, yes the loud actions on behalf of 17 school dead children from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland, Florida makes a lot of sense in a global perspective, especially as we see the shouting and actions that are partially senseless and baseless, all emotional outrage whilst none of them are on the failings of the ATF (not due to their own accord) and its legislation.

Just like Federica Mogherini, the EU foreign policy chief as well as the letter Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel sent to Putin on Friday said the continuing attacks on civilian populations represented “clear violations of international humanitarian law”, all actions that look nice when covered by the media, yet in the light of the U.N. Security Council delayed a vote on a resolution demanding a 30-day humanitarian cease-fire across Syria until Saturday in hopes of closing a gap over the timing for a halt to fighting, that whilst we hear that “after six hours of negotiations, Kuwait’s U.N. Ambassador Mansour Al-Otaiba, the current council president, told reporters Friday evening that members ‘are so close’ to agreement, and negotiations are continuing“, so there will be more killing and more bombing and more actions for at least 12 more hours. So how many children will die in the next 12 hours and how ridiculous does the man with the yellow card look with the text “NRA stop killing our kids”, an act they never did, an act they would never approve of or support, are you starting to comprehend the insanity of it all?

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A New Disney

There was an Italian, who has been famous for over 125 years, he is not the first or the only famous Italian. There was this guy who came up with Pizza, There was this other Italian who thought fast Ford cars were a joke and he created Ferrari, then there was this other Italian, who made tractors, disagreed with the previous Italian and created Lamborghini. It is actually none of those. It is Carlo Lorenzini who was born 190 years ago. You might not know the name, perhaps his alternative name? Carlo Collodi! If you are still in the dark, than remember the story of a wooden boy who wanted to become a real live boy. Steven Spielberg used the notion in AI, but the original remains the best, namely Pinocchio!

Yes, the story of a wooden boy going into the world, yet as a wooden boy he was not alone, there was a little Cricket accompanying him and he would be a lot more important than your average Cricket, Jiminy was his name. Today the story is even more relevant, you see, the name Yemini Cricket might be ringing bells, but the truth of the wooden boy is there. The question becomes, who is the wooden boy?

So when I read ‘US, Britain and UN demand Yemen ceasefire within days‘ (at http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2016/10/16/us-britain-and-un-demand-yemen-ceasefire-within-days),

Yet when I read “The United Nations envoy, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, said: “We are here to call for an immediate cessation of hostilities, which will be declared in the next few hours.” Cheikh Ahmed said he had been in contact with the rebel Huthi militia’s lead negotiator and with Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi’s government“, my recollection does not go towards the classical story, it goes to a reference a little closer to the present (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFZrKOCdHFs), the laughter applies to both the sketch and reality. Aleppo is a great example, how 5 years and 400,000-450,000 fatalities later, no solution is there, but they are still flying to places like Switzerland to talk. I wonder when we add up all the costs, how much did the taxpayer pay for this play?

A number of civilian casualties that have now surpassed the total US Military casualties, of those who died during WW2. Doesn’t that look like a clear message that massive change was required a few years ago? I reckon all the players know that, yet, having long conversations with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, whose only concern is to stall so that the population can be made extinct before the resolution passes, reads a lot more like the Friends edition of Pinocchio, than the original by Carlo Collodi, where we see the conscience that is Jiminy Cricket.

So as we see the beginning of the same slow train in Yemen, I have to wonder if creating a new version of Pinocchio with Yemini Cricket is the way to go. It educates politicians as well as bring some hard needed cash towards Hollywood (or Bollywood).

So why is this different?

To one degree it is not, towards the other degree it is very much so. The problem is that both Syria and Yemen could be on the same page, no degrees of separation. In this case there are two at least. You see, Yemen has limited ties to Russia, making it less complicated, what is the issue is that the Houthi’s are actively shooting missiles at the US Navy complicating matters a lot more. It only takes one direct hit, and Yemen would technically be in a state of war with the US. Now, normally, a bankrupt nation is not that much a bother, but Yemen is not an economic or military superpower, so going against America sounds like a PR approach to get them ‘involved’. What is an issue is that Yemen, the neighbour of Saudi Arabia could get lucky at some point, what happens after the hit will be an issue, because Americans tend to get cranky when you successfully blow up something American. Interesting is that there are now multiple sources claiming that Iran is now moving towards the Red sea. An interesting story as the Red sea is on the other side of the Persian Gulf and Iranian war ships have no actual business there (which could also apply to the Americans). The question becomes how is Saudi placed into all this? Here there are issues too. There is no stating if there is even any link but the changes and the Attention that members of the Saudi government are drawing attention to themselves become a factor (speculation from my side).

One part is from the Australian Financial Review (at http://www.afr.com/news/world/middle-east/saudi-prince-mohammed-bin-salmans-shatters-decades-of-tradition-20161017-gs3yt5), where we see the title ‘Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s shatters decades of tradition‘, is not giving us the ‘goods’. The first quote is “He has slashed the state budget, frozen government contracts and reduced the pay of civil employees, all part of drastic austerity measures as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is buffeted by low oil prices“, which would be quite acceptable in one view, at least it appears that one government in this world is dealing with its budget issues, although not in the most ‘desirable’ way, when a nation is so dependent on oil, there might not be too many options. The second quote is “While vacationing in the south of France, Prince Mohammed spotted a 134-metre yacht. He dispatched an aide to buy the ship, the Serene, then owned by Russian vodka tycoon Yuri Shefler. The deal was done within hours, at a price of approximately €500 million (roughly $720 million today)“, which implies the opposite. The question is not the cut-backs or spending spree, the issue is neither quote, it is the quote I will give now “Many young Saudis admire him as an energetic representative of their generation who has addressed some of the country’s problems with uncommon bluntness. The kingdom’s media have built his image as a hardworking, businesslike leader less concerned than his predecessors with the trappings of royalty” as well as “Others see him as a power-hungry upstart who is risking instability by changing too much, too fast“. So is the prince a go-getter or power-hungry? I cannot tell as this is all based on third degree of information, what matters is how the view and the actions will reflect the counteractions of the US and Iran in regard to Yemen. The moment the conflict results in a direct attack on Saudi grounds, what then? Iranian warships in the Red Sea would only complicate that, making a harsh response from the Saudi Military even more destabilising.

In my view there are two sides within Saudi Arabia, yet how they should be seen is another matter. I do not claim to have a proper view. I have questions. You see Mecca is an Islamic Holy city (the most important one) and it is part of Saudi Arabia, so as Saudi Arabia is the caretaker of this holy site, the involvement if Iran is more than just a small issue. Whatever they decide to escalate could have large repercussions all over the Middle East. The Sovereign State of Saudi Arabia has every right to defend it in every way possible, so Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman is also Minister of Defence and the youngest one in the world, which as a stat sounds nice, yet it also means that in light of other decisions, he is ready to do that what the US has been unable to do, declare war on its enemy by actually acting against them! Not that the US needed to declare war, but in light of Syria, doing anything actively would have been nice, an absence of resolution that His Royal Highness Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud is less likely to show.

What is a problem is the fact that the complications are more and more likely as days go by and that is the one spark that this powder keg does not need. Iran cannot be denied access to international waters, which will not lessen the impact. One of the elements in all this is seen in the second quote regarding the ‘power hungry’ side of it. You see, the AFR article is also mentioning “Mohammed bin Nayef, the interior minister and longtime counter-terrorism czar“, which is now an element in all this. You see, whatever happens next is all surrounding the need for intelligence. So whatever issues there are between His Royal Highness Muhammad bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and His Royal Highness Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud gives wake to the Disney sequel, a tale of two princes. A new approach to the classic Dickens story where the plight of two members of the Royal family of Al Saud are protecting the Sovereign state of Saudi Arabia as well as the safety and security of all Muslims that are in and nearby Mecca. Even as the papers are expecting a ceasefire, the issue is that stalling is equally a tactic here. There is no way of telling why Iran is involving its warships in that region, other than trying to complicate matters and demanding a seat at the table of decision, which would only change the time table in the worst of ways. What the Deutsche Welle did give was the quote “the Saudi-led coalition has blamed an airstrike that killed over 140 people at a funeral ceremony in Yemen on “erroneous information” received from a “party” affiliated with the country’s embattled government“, it matters, because it gives light to the essential issue that the two princes need to rely on quality intelligence, sources that can be scrutinised. And in this matter, mentioning the yacht was to iterate that spending that money on a satellite over the area might not have been the worst personal idea I am having. And let’s face it, any prince that can claim that he has his own satellite wins the discussion with any other prince relying on yacht and status. So many have a yacht, but how many of these rich individuals (very wealthy people in general) would own their own satellite? Especially if it becomes a source of intelligence.

Of course there is a lot more to owning one’s own satellite, but I hope we can all agree that intelligence will be key in whatever escalates over the next week. My issue is that too many players have their own agenda, yet would those agenda’s be truly 100% be focussed on whatever is best for Yemen and/or Saudi Arabia? You see, oil prices are down now, but why and for how long? What happens when prices go through the roof again? What happens then? Suddenly all these political issues are all linked to the price of Oil and the profit it brings?

I do not claim to have these answers, but the fact that too many sources are not asking the questions that require asking is troubling, yet the AFR article gives us a lot more, even more than I bargained for, which is comforting to say the least. What becomes a matter of discussion is the one quote that shows the elements “People who have met Mohammed bin Salman said he insisted that Saudi Arabia must be more assertive in shaping events in the Middle East and confronting Iran’s influence in the region – whether in Yemen, Syria, Iraq or Lebanon“, giving the links that require addressing and the prince is not afraid to do just that, however it take two to dance rings around Iran and taking away its influence in the Middle East. As I see it, Riyadh will have to make changes to some degree. Counter-Intelligence will be key in dealing with Iran and the impression I get when I see a quote like “has deep ties to Washington and the support of many of the older royals” shows the speculative possibility of the older ‘let us see how this plays out‘ against the younger ‘let us get this party started through action‘. It is not about the balance, but about what works best. In that regard both princes might have to make changes a lot faster than they are comfortable with, because if the news is correct, the Iranian ships and submarines will soon be active in the Red Sea, but active to what extent is something that remains speculative, whatever they do, the fact that it includes Iranian submarine presence (as reported but not confirmed), will also raise tensions with Israel.

As I see it, the biggest issue is Iran and what they are trying to get out of it. Putting themselves in the middle of a conflict where they are now trying to imply that it is all about them (especially as they are in the Red Sea), yet is their presence less valid than that of the US? It seems to me that we are creating a new Vietnam, just not with the Russians involved (like Syria). So there are two solutions to consider. One is that the US is replaced by for example the Commonwealth, or France, which takes away the Iranian-US issues. That is, if Saudi Arabia would be willing to consider that move. No matter what, the navy that does that, could find themselves in an armed conflict with Iran, so it better be a competent and modern Navy which leaves not that many options. The Netherlands, the UK, France, South Korea and India. Giving the option to either South Korea or India would benefit, as Iran cannot spin some NATO link story. In addition Iran cannot afford to piss of too many additional nations as either could make short work of the ego of Iran as these navies decide to sink Iranian war vessels like rubber dinghies, because they pushed one button too many.

No matter what happens, Saudi Arabia must do what it can to keep safe and the Yemeni issue is one that tests many sides of those who see and witness it, because there is a dilemma in conscience. A revolution that got out of hand, a set government overthrown with its own agenda. When we see the Houthi’s slogan “God is great, death to the US, death to Israel, curse the Jews, and victory for Islam“, can we really show any kind of support or sympathy?

The most important part to realise is that we need to set aside our version of what is acceptable, we have seen the US and Europe at large impose their version of ‘civility’, whilst bending over, grabbing their ankles and let the financial industry quite literally get away with murder in many ways. We impose rules and expectations, whilst having no clue how to manage a budget or how to stem greed to the point of strangulation. In all this, we have given up the high ground in several fronts, so we are no lecturer with any level of confidence. It is my opinion, that the Middle East can only be decently governed by someone in the Middle East. I personally believe that Saudi Arabia should be at the centre of it, there is no doubt that it would beneficial that a coalition that would include Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, but I am not knowledgeable enough to see whether it is just them, or that other players should be seriously considered. What does matter is that both General Intelligence Directorate (GID, aka Mukhabarat) and Jordanian General Intelligence Directorate would be important in ascertaining Iran’s hostile actions and if need be counter them. From my academic point of view is the challenge that the SIGNT of the three would pose to get one coherent reporting and analytical solution on Iranian intelligence. One that would definitely benefit all three nations. Yet perhaps that will evolve into a third Disney project, which could be the next big thing. It’s all just a thought, but think it over for yourself and ask yourself the question you did not hear voiced, this is important, because this stage could get ugly in a hurry and possibly before Christmas this year.

 

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