Tag Archives: Cheltenham

Investigating Self

I have always held myself to the highest degrees, I have always doubted myself. This has nothing to do with ego, or with the fact that I am better than others. This is about the setting that I am not perfect and I too make mistakes. I have never had doubt there. You see, the people claiming that they do not make mistakes are liars, plain and simple. It is not, or has it ever been about making mistakes or guilt. It has forever been about the ability to repair or adjust actions taken. I have forever stood by my words, whether wrong or right, and when wrong I have never opposed being corrected or adjust the view that I had. That is the responsible steps for any person to take.

And in the past I have given a very clear setting of the entire Novichok debacle and now, actually 6 daus later, I am taking a look at the US papers, you see, there are clear screw ups there. Yet there is also news that was never spread by the media to the degree that had to be given, was that not strange too?

So let’s take a look at the UN event (at https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/you-dont-recruit-an-arsonist-to-put-out-a-fire-you-especially-dont-do-that-when-the-fire-is-one-they-caused).

On Sunday, 4 March, Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious on a bench in the city centre after being poisoned by a Novichok nerve agent. Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey, a Wiltshire police officer, was also seriously ill after having been exposed to a nerve agent. Following this attack, the United Kingdom notified the OPCW, invited them to confirm the identity of the substance involved, and we briefed members of the Security Council. The OPCW’s independent, expert laboratories confirmed the UK’s identification of the Novichok nerve agent.

Here in the first part we see that there is already one part (when you nitpick) it. The setting ‘the Novichok nerve agent‘ might be partially correct, we see that the BBC gives us two parts. The first: “The name means “newcomer” in Russian, and applies to a group of advanced nerve agents developed in secret by the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s” and the second part is “One variant was reportedly approved for use by the Russian military as a chemical weapon“. When we see that Novichok is a group, which specific one was it? Some will say that this is merely Semantics, yet the UN and the UNSC are ALL about semantics, the specifics are very important here, because it allows for ambiguity, and that is not a good thing. In addition, when we consider ‘One variant‘, was that the one that was found? A lack of details is already seen from the very beginning from a whole host of media deliverers and that is not a good thing.

The second part is even worse. With: “On 4 September, the OPCW’s independent, expert laboratories have again confirmed the UK’s identification of the Novichok nerve agent with a very high level of purity and to remind Council members, the very high level of purity means that it will have been made by a state“, we are now treated to ‘with a very high level of purity‘, as well as ‘made by a state‘. These two parts are important, the first one was not mentioned in the initial attack, the emphasis on the purity is important, because all parties hit by the initial attack survived, the third victim, the police officer was seemingly indirectly exposed, implying that his exposure was even less and we do get that he was lucky and that the indirect exposure gave him a much better chance, yet the ‘purity’ now gives the question on how the first two survived in the first place. and if we see the reference to ‘the use of such agents on door handles‘ later in their statement, was there evidence of that, merely an example and if it was the door handle, one would be exposed for certain, the second one would have more likely than not evaded exposure for longer, optionally exposed to a much lesser degree (an assumption on my side).

Yet the second part ‘made by a state‘ remains the issue. You see, in ‘Does it taste like chicken‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/07/05/does-it-taste-like-chicken/) we see: “The additional information that was published in 2016: ‘Iranian chemists identify Russian chemical warfare agents‘, which we got from http://www.spectroscopynow.com/details/ezine/1591ca249b2/Iranian-chemists-identify-Russian-chemical-warfare-agents.html. You see, the problem was already clear in the previous attack“, the fact that Iranian academics created the substance for detection with: “The authors succeeded in synthesising and obtaining detailed mass spectral data on a series of unusual nerve agents. The data have been added to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons’ Central Analytical Database (OCAD)” we are given the prove that the evidence shows that this is not limited to state actors, hiding behind the term ‘purity level’ is just folly in several levels. The fact that this was done in 2016 also shows that the formulas had been out for a while, the Leonard Rink case is further evidence still, all elements ignored by too many players.

Let’s be clear, there it is not in question that there is more likely than not a Russian involvement, yet the evidence that it was Russian state remains debatable, that part has always been the case. In addition when we are confronted with “testing of the hotel the pair stayed in in London revealed the presence of traces of the Novichok substance in their hotel room” is clear evidence of the two persons being involved in all that, yet in opposition, the entire matter of  “Looking around in the security business, I have been confronted with quotes like “their lack of covert tradecraft seems kind of bizarre“, “The shitty tradecraft, not just with clothes but by traveling together, and by leaving a noticeable trail“, as well as “Arriving together??? Staying together??? Leaving together?” is a first instance in all this” is equally important. Open sources all over the place by people in the security industry are giving us the question on why these two remained so visible, so outspokenly noticed. Even as a non-Trade-craft person I would be more likely than not be able to avoid clear detection and identification for around 50% of that time, that setting in all this matters, because we are confronted with a government knowingly targeting the wrong player, more likely than not the wrong Russian player.

This now evolves into something more when the statement “The GRU has time and again been responsible for Russian interference in other countries’ affairs, and most recently, we saw US indictments of GRU individuals in relation to the 2016 Democratic National Committee PAC“, not merely connecting two events, we are given ‘we saw US indictments of GRU individuals‘, yet when we look deeper we see in Forbes (at https://www.forbes.com/sites/kateoflahertyuk/2018/08/23/midterm-election-hacking-who-is-fancy-bear) “The group (Fancy Bear) – also known as APT28 and Strontium – is allegedly affiliated with Russian military intelligence agency the GRU. Fancy Bear’s aims centre around geopolitical disruption through cyber influence“, it is not merely the ‘allegedly’ part it is also the ‘affiliated’ part. What officially connects these two? What evidence is there that in the first they are officially connected, and in the second part where is the evidence? The Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service has them too in their papers, and I am not debating their existence, yet the clarity of evidence is missing.

For example, we do not question the SVR, the GRU or the FSB. We know who they are and what they do, that was never in debate. Yet when it comes to hacktivists and cyber criminals, the line gets to be blurry, more important, either of them can be both and at that point, is it them, or are they doing what their government tells them, or even a third party? Now we see Ambassador Karen Pierce having her moment of folly connecting the two together, making matters worse, or perhaps better started ‘more impossible to prove‘. That was always the case, proving that it was all state driven. It was never on the Russian part, that part was easy enough (almost too easy), it is the state driven part that is the case and when we get to rely on that some parts were ‘almost too easy‘, you better believe that it is anything but that. It still gives me the stronger conviction that this is organised crime, most likely Russian organised crime. At that point the equation changes by a lot and that is where we are stuck. Even as we accept (with the evidence of trace), how come that Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov were not infected? Why would anyone be this casual in the usage of the material, but allowing for trace toxin in their room? That question also remains at present. So when we are given ‘we have clear evidence of Russian state involvement‘, we see the speech, but what evidence was handed over showing that evidence? Merely two names and two passports? If that is the evidence then it is evidence that is slimmer than a silk thread, no weight can be applied to it with any confidence, no matter how strong silk is regarded to be.

Yet there is other news too, interestingly not from a government source. We see (at https://www.chemistryworld.com/news/key-suspects-identified-in-novichok-nerve-agent-poisonings-/3009475.article), the acceptable parts come in two stages: “Consequently, the agency was not able to conclude from its chemical analysis that both poisonings were definitely caused by the nerve agent discovered in the counterfeit perfume bottle“, as well as “Impurities in the nerve agent samples taken from the Skripals’ and the unknown storage conditions of the bottle have made it difficult for the OPCW to conclude whether the two nerve agents originated from the same batch” elements I brought out before these articles were released. Now, we must also critically challenge these statements, because ‘impurities’ implies more. It could merely be the humidity it got exposed to, which is not strictly an impurity, merely a lessened impact. So the precision of ‘impurity’ could also spell as evidence that it is optionally not the Russian state, merely a Russian player and my much earlier opinionated assumption that it was not smuggled into the UK, but optionally made in the UK is more visible with ‘whether the two nerve agents originated from the same batch‘, or the UK would have to admit that it is lacks and allowed for Biological agents to get smuggled into the UK twice over, hurting everyone’s ego.

Which leaves us with the final quote: “Consequently, the agency was not able to conclude from its chemical analysis that both poisonings were definitely caused by the nerve agent discovered in the counterfeit perfume bottle“, giving the UK a much larger problem, one I do not envy them to have. Part of me wants to examine all the CCTV footage myself (if it comes with a job). Too much in that does not make sense in the entire setting (yes I am happily paranoid). There is too much flim flam in all this. We see that with the BBC article (at https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-45362840). When we are given “A number of vehicles which were used in the response to the Salisbury Novichok poisoning have been buried at landfill. Defra said the “potentially contaminated items” were taken to a site at Bishop’s Cleeve near Cheltenham before “being disposed of safely”“, all this whilst we have been told from more than one source that water and humidity dissolves and the Independent gave us last week: “Within the environment, these agents react with water to degrade, including moisture in the air, and so in the UK they would have a very limited lifetime. This is presumably why the street in Salisbury was being hosed down as a precaution – it would effectively destroy the agent“, such an overreaction is not merely stupid, it now implies that there is more, or perhaps a lot less and no one wants to open that can of worms. If you wanted to overreact, just drive it into a swimming pool and take it out the next day, fix the car and use it again.

Even if we accept that some overreactions are merely due to fear, a healthy dose of fear mind you, then still the entire Russian State part does not make sense. In the end, two targets that are still alive and two unknowns are dead. If I was either a ‘member’ of SVR, FSB, or GRU I would have been hurt in my pride and take one of at least two dozen of lethal solutions (not of them toxins) to remedy the situation. If you doubt me ask anyone in any of the NATO related special forces this simple question: ‘Can you live with your failed operation that left the enemy alive and innocent people dead?‘, some of these people do not accept failure in any way shape or form ever, I have the weird hunch that this ego driven sentiment is also present in Russian special forces. These people are weird that way (all of them, go figure), only fortifying my belief that we are dealing with another fish altogether and figuring out what fish we are dealing with is actually a lot more important than most think. Identifying that player should be the top priority before it is too late, merely because if I am proven right, it will also show that a lot of high end spokespeople will validly receive the limelight with merely one question ‘Show us that evidence!‘ At that point we will see soon thereafter a new option in Google Search:

Which one are you looking for?

  • WMD (US) Iraq
  • WMD (UK) Salisbury/Amesbury

What a legacy for these people to leave us.

#OneStepClosertotheWeekend

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Media, Military, Politics, Science

The Red Flags

Today is a day where we are overloaded with actions on parties, yet there is little evidence shown, actual evidence that gives light to the danger. So first we see Russia, the old red with hammer and sickle. First we see ‘Expulsions of Russians are pushback against Putin’s hybrid warfare‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/26/expulsions-of-russians-are-pushback-against-putins-hybrid-warfare), as well as ‘More than 130 people could have been exposed to novichok, PM says‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/mar/26/130-people-feared-exposed-to-novichok-in-spy-attack-says-pm). These two matters are shown to us giving two lights. The first is “The expulsions of Russian diplomats on Monday reflect how widely Vladimir Putin has attempted to wage his brand of hybrid warfare and how many leaders and their intelligence agencies he has angered in the process. Even before the Salisbury poisoning, many governments had lost patience with Vladimir Putin’s grey war for domestic reasons of their own. Their response is not just an act of solidarity with the UK but a collective pushback“, I am not denying any of this. There are indicators that Putin has been waging ‘war’ for some time. There is also the larger indication that he is moving on several fronts and he is gaining field in economic options in the Middle East, whilst America has lost footing. The US needs to appease Saudi Arabia to the maximum degree to avoid the dangers of losing even more footing in the Middle East.

It is with “In Lithuania, the government found Russian spyware on its computers. As far back as 2007, Estonia suffered a three-week wave of cyber-attacks” we do get a first issue, as well as with “US and EU expel scores of Russian diplomats over Skripal attack“. You see when governments start to react with “in a show of solidarity” you should all be aware that there is a lot more going on. This is not some form of ‘conspiracy theory’, this is merely facts that you can check. How much solidarity was shown when we all got screwed over by the meltdowns of 2004 and 2008? The economic impact was shown in several countries. Of course not as massive outside of the US, but we all felt the pinch, millions of us. So how much solidarity was shown AGAINST Wall Street? Please show me the evidence, because for the most, these people might have lost their jobs, but left so wealthy that these men could go into brothels for the rest of their lives, shopping for virgins. So when it comes to solidarity, i have merely seen that as a government sham over the last 10 years. In addition, even if we acknowledge that the Novichok is of Russian making, there is evidence that it was not uniquely in Russian hands. In addition, there are clear questions regarding Vil Mirzayanov as well as some of his statements as I showed in the earlier presented blog ‘Something for the Silver Screen?‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/03/17/something-for-the-silver-screen/) where I gave the readers “Regarding new toxic chemicals not listed in the Annex on Chemicals but which may nevertheless pose a risk to the Convention, the SAB makes reference to “Novichoks”. The name “Novichok” is used in a publication of a former Soviet scientist who reported investigating a new class of nerve agents suitable for use as binary chemical weapons. The SAB states that it has insufficient information to comment on the existence or properties of “Novichoks””. Now we need to consider that both the OPCW and the SAB are incompetent beyond belief, or that we are now getting a collection of Fish Stories. They presented the statements in 2013. Now TASS (I know, not the greatest source of non-biased journalism) gives us “As far back as 1998, we looked though a regular edition of the spectral database released by the US National Bureau of Standards, which has spectral data on about 300,000 compounds and is regularly updated, to find an agent that caught our attention as it was an organophosphorate chemical. We understood that it must have a lethal effect. Now it has turned out that, judging by the name of that agent, it was Novichok A234. It has surfaced,” Igor Rybalchenko, chief of the ministry’s chemical laboratory, said in an interview with the Voskresny Vecher news roundup on the Rossiya-1 television channel“. You see, this is something that could have been checked. Is TASS lying? If not than we get the additional of what some might regard as ‘fuck ups‘ by both MI5 and GCHQ. In that regard, the less stated involving MI6 at present the better. Now, that part could be easily verified, yet the US and the UK have not given any clear evidence, whilst several sources have clearly shown that Novichoks were out there. If any of the sources, that I mentioned on Novichoks (like Leonard Rink), are shown to be true than there is a larger issue in play. The issue is that some governments are in denial over the evidence and facts and that is a bad thing. Let’s be clear, that does not absolve the USSR (I love the old names) on many of their actions, it merely shows that painting everything with a single brush shows other levels of incompetence on several fields. Even if that was the Intelligence branch intervening for whatever reason, they went about it really bad and the wrong people end up getting scorched. It is the Guardian that gets credits here for asking the hard questions. With ‘UK’s claims questioned: doubts voiced about source of Salisbury novichok‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/mar/15/uks-claims-questioned-doubts-emerge-about-source-of-salisburys-novichok) it asks the harder questions and in there we see the conflicts that Craig Murray brings. With ““There is no evidence it was Russia. I am not ruling out that it could be Russia, though I don’t see the motive. I want to see where the evidence lies,” Murray said. “Anyone who expresses scepticism is seen as an enemy of the state.”“. I am pretty much on his side on this matter. I found issues that gave rise to the blanket accusation within 30 minutes, perhaps better stated it took an hour because the OPCW documents read as smooth as sandpaper, more boring materials and meetings will seldom be read. Besides the questions from the Guardian, not one of the newspapers dug into the overkill matter. The entire exercise too overly complicated. I could have mugged, executed the two making it look like a robbery in mere minutes (excluding preparation time), it would be done in no time and no chemical risks at all, to no one. So as we saw PM Theresa May give us “More than 130 people could have been exposed to the deadly nerve agent novichok during the Russian spy attack in Salisbury, Theresa May said on Monday“, yet no one raises that it could be a mere individual or even the Russian Mafia. Two likely considerations in all this, and not one has raised that part. No matter how we see the opposing players in Special Forces or Intelligence. To set the stage of 130 bystanders getting in the crossfires is a realistic thing in places like Syria and Yemen, where there is open warfare, in places like Chantilly, Cheltenham, St Petersburg, or Lille is not where one goes playing like that. You see killing a target, a valid target is one thing, doing it whilst setting the stage for getting +100 plus knowingly in the crossfires requires an entirely different type of psychopath and governments tend to not hire those types in the first place.

That alone merely emphasizes the part that my view has been correct all the time. In addition to that, we still have seen no clear stated evidence on how it was done. The Scotsman (at https://www.scotsman.com/news/uk/sergei-skripal-exposed-to-nerve-agent-through-car-vents-reports-1-4707852) stated “may have been exposed to a deadly nerve agent through his car’s ventilation system“, which they got from the US. You see, when we get ‘may have been‘ and ‘possibly‘, we need to realise that we are either kept in the dark, or they actually just do not know at present, which makes a case for blaming the Russian government a weird choice at best. And with every delay in this it merely shows that the entire mess is a lot larger, yet the media ignores that. I call that an actual problem.

I mentioned Lithuania earlier. Now, the following speculation does not absolve Russia, but when you realise that people like the Russian Mafia might oblige the Russian government at times, they are still in it for money, for simple profit and coin. So when we see: “In March 2016, Vladislav Reznik, a Deputy of the State Duma, has been put on the international wanted list and officially charged with membership in Tambovsko-Malyshevskie organized criminal group and money laundering in Spain. Reznik’s villa has been searched. According to the indictment, Reznik was among those controlling the gang operations and a member of Gennady Petrov’s business circle” as well as “€16 million have been received from the British Virgin Islands, Panama, Lithuania, Switzerland, Great Britain, and Russia. On the other hand, monetary funds amounting to some $8.5 million have been transferred from his accounts to Russia, Panama, Cayman Islands, and U.S.“, we see that Lithuania has larger players in the fold. If it is a vessel for transferring funds, having their cyber infrastructure under attack seems to be an effective way to keep the eyes peeled in different direction (extremely speculative), yet in support there is also “In July, Russian hackers were blamed for a similar assault on Lithuanian government Web sites. In Security Fix’s account of that attack, I posted a copy of a congratulatory letter sent to nationalist Russian hackers by Nikolai Kuryanovich, a former member of the Russian Duma. The missive is dated March 2006, and addresses the hacker group Slavic Union after the group had just completed a series of successful attacks against Israeli Web sites“, which is a first link from a ‘gov.ge‘ site. Cyberwar – Georgia

In addition there is “The wave of attacks came after a row erupted over the removal of the Bronze Soldier Soviet war memorial in Tallinn, the Estonian capital. The websites of government departments, political parties, banks and newspapers were all targeted. Analysts have immediately accused the Russian Business Network (RBN), a network of criminal hackers with close links to the Russian mafia and government, of the Georgian attacks“, now remember that Tallinn is in Estonia, not Lithuania. Yet the methods that the Russian Mafia uses are quite often duplicated (an Amway solution) and that part is not so far stretched. It is another cog that is showing us on the acts of the Russian Mafia. The Russian government is not absolved in all this, yet Theresa May did not tell us: ‘we have strong indications that a member or Russian organised crime with links to the Russian governments are behind this‘. No! She went straight for the Russian government and offered no clear evidence, that whilst the clear evidence could be largely dismissed in most courts with merely the use of the documents of the SAB, the OPCW and the testimony of Vil Mirzayanov who seemed to be interested in upping the sold copies of his 2008 publication.

There are sides to my story as well, parts I am not happy about, parts that should be scrutinised, yet in all this, the current facts and statements seem to take down the UK case at present. More importantly it shows us that the US is also playing the fear game, it is now more afraid than ever that it loses more and more turf in the Middle East, whilst Russia is moving forward. That scares them more than anything, even more than any Novichooks (yup intentional typo) in play, especially when we consider the danger that these weapons are and additional could be down the line, is that not odd either?

Ready Player Two

And that is not the whole story. You see in all this the other red flag has a star and a crescent moon. Yes it’s everyone’s favourite humanitarian setting (or was that lack off?), it is Turkey. So when we are again treated to the marketing of ‘Turkey needs Europe, Europe needs Turkey‘, the people in Europe need to run to the Brexit, or any EU-Exit they can find. I stated it in a previous blog with ‘This relates directly to Turkey, because it shows the desperate EU trying to open a many doors as possible‘. I did that in ‘A changing language‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/02/15/a-changing-language/) well over a month ago. Now we see “Turkey is not doing very well economically, it needs outlets” said Lamberts, “and it is very clear that bad relations with Europe are harmful to Turkey, so somewhere on the economic level Erdogan needs Europe and Europe in fairness needs Turkey“, which Euro news gave us yesterday. So we see how Philippe Lamberts, a Belgian Green MEP is willing to throw values overboard, the economy does not allow for any humanitarian values. So when I see any journalists hiding behind ‘constant attacks on transgressions of human rights‘, whilst attacking governments making any kind of economy based deals. Can they just kindly go fuck themselves? When we see the Turkish joke evolving on the EU field, no journalist gets to use the ‘Human Rights‘ card for a long time to come. If you want to do that, go visit Turkey and protest in front of those prisons that have journalists locked up for life. Until you can make that change there, do not come crying on other shores. If you need actual Human rights issues, then perhaps turn to Canada where we got “A French waiter who was fired for his “aggressive, rude and disrespectful” manner has claimed compensation, insisting that his behaviour is not unusual, but that he is simply French“, that is the story of Guillame Rey from Vancouver Canada. that is where the Human Rights have gotten us and that is a real win for the ‘15 children that were killed in an airstrike as they hid in the basement of a school in the town of Arbin‘, yes a real humanitarian win in this. So even as the financial Times reported less than 2 hours ago “The EU said it failed to win a pledge from Turkey to free journalists it has jailed and improve other rights for its citizens but that it will maintain talks with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after their first meeting in almost year“, we see no place stating that turkey will not become a member of the EU. It is another side where the gross negligence of evidence is taking the toll of our humanity. So as the President of the European Council Donald Tusk gives us “Only progress on these issues will allow us to improve EU-Turkey relations, including the accession process” (at https://www.ft.com/content/dbefa9e6-313d-11e8-b5bf-23cb17fd1498), so I am proven correct yet again, they merely need to push the EU deeper in debt, which according to Bloomberg is coming for certain through “Draghi’s call for patience and persistence in delivering stimulus, suggesting bond-buying will be extended beyond September” or set the stage where the so called Humanitarian principles are ignored, which has been the case for close to a year. It has only strengthened my view that the UK is a lot better off outside the EU, because this entire EU mess will collapse onto itself and woe to those who are left behind paying for it all. It could set back the economic markers for close to two generations in Europe, which should scare anyone in the EU.

The last red flag is North Korea (it has blue too)

I mentioned it some time ago. The entire Sony mess and blaming North Korea was never really resolved. So when I got the news from ABC stating “Secret intelligence documents and photos unilaterally collected by the U.S. military were among the stolen cache of South Korea’s classified documents by North Korean hackers, but the totality of what was stolen remains unknown“, we should be starting to get careful. you see it implies one side, but to my view it gives an entirely different issue. It implies that North Korea is a capable cyber operator. Now, we know that one can do plenty of damage with a laptop (like in the movies). Yet when you see these pics you wonder what on earth is going on, because we now get the speculated but believable view that ‘the US gave documents to an ally that does not have its basic cyber protections in place‘, that is a very different kind of cheddar, isn’t it? Now, I have seen a few pics where the computers look a little more advanced, but nothing that an actual gamer would still be using two years ago. And that is the foundation of their hacking? Let’s be clear, there are situation where you can hack with a 10 year old laptop, but you need skills, you need access to documentation and the ability to get past the firewalls and past sniffers and network monitors. They do exist, yet that requires an equal incompetency on the South Korean side, a part that we are also ignoring, the use of Common Cyber Sense.

You see, when you get “Malware contamination of the intranet server of the cyber command that occurred in September last year was confirmed by the South Korea’s Defense Ministry in May but this is the first glimpse of the scope of the damage“, there is another layer in place, one that does make sense. Some of the European, Russian and optional US hackers are selling their stuff to North Korea. That is a very possible scenario, but in that case both the FBI (if the US was involved), as well as the CIA failed in their tasks. Perhaps better stated, the CIA seems to be unable to thwart North Korea from purchasing cyber hacking software from making it to North Korea, which is equally a failure on several levels. It is unfair to blame merely the CIA. It is fair enough to add the earlier avoided MI6 to the mix as they should have been watching that danger, because if these hackers can get to South Korea, they could in theory hit the UK in equal measure, the evidence is there. Even as we agree that North Korea does not have the skills (my personal belief) to create something like Wannacry. I already went there to some degree in ‘In light of the evidence‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2017/05/28/in-light-of-the-evidence/), the evidence given was compelling that was given by ICIT. In addition we had ‘when IBM cannot give view of any mail that propagated the worm’, which also takes North Korea out of the loop, yet they could have acquired the software. So even as the largest cyber player like IBM remains in the dark, there is still evidence that it was North Korea? That view was only enforced when a Dutch media team went to North Korea a few years back. In some places their cameras were locked up because no photographs were allowed. Yet most had them anyway, because the North Korean officers had no idea what a smartphone was and that it was able to take pictures. The Dutch NOS showed it on Television, so that is the place that hacked into South Korea, the birthplace of Samsung? It is not impossible and was never denied by me, but it was so extremely unlikely that unless clearly proven with evidence considering it was utterly impossible to the common sense mind. Yet as the source is not in North Korea, hunting that source down is more important, because the next time it will not be some version like Wannacry 2.0, it could be Stuxnet 7.1 and as the UK has 15 reactors and the US has 99 reactors in 30 states, it seems to me that waking up both MI6 and the CIA to actually get to the bottom of these North Korean ‘praised’ cyber skills and find out where those skills actually were (read: came from), because not doing so is a much larger issue. I hope that the South Korean bungle of their network security constitutes as at least some level of evidence.

Three red flags, none of them are innocent, I never implied that, but as we are changing the play, the marketing vibe and the need of what is real we need to carefully weigh what the media gives us and what those giving the media are actually after. I have seen enough evidence thrown about and have been able to ask questions to the extent that gives rise to many question marks and whilst some media are playing the emotional waves, some are seeking clarity and that clarity gives us additional options and views that we did not consider before. People all over the world are told to jump to the left, whilst there is no evidence that anything form the right was going to hit us in the first place, which makes us wonder why they did not want us on the right side to begin with.

These red flags are important, because even if we had any faith on the Russians trying to attack us, we need to consider that Cambridge Analytica is an English firm and even as Fortune now reports “A non-partisan watchdog group has filed complaints with the Department of Justice and the Federal Election Commission alleging that the data firm Cambridge Analytica violated U.S. election law by having foreign nationals involved in the decisions of political committees“, we see that it was a British firm who scored that job.

So it is possible that the people in Moscow will be treated to a comedy in 22 hours, it will go something like “TASS Is Authorized to Declare that the accusations against the Russian government and its people were propagated by an English Firm“, in this I used part of the 1984 Soviet spy miniseries directed by Vladimir Fokin, because even with my weird sense of humour it seemed important to give it an Orwellian sling. Perhaps you should check out his new book. It apparently deals with life in the US after a presidential election.

 

3 Comments

Filed under Finance, IT, Media, Military, Politics, Science

My £13,000,000 invoice!

I got a ‘nice’ wakeup call just now, as I was reading an article in the guardian. It is at www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jan/14/ministry-of-defence-failed-computer-system. The title “Ministry of Defence ‘wasted millions on failed computer system’” got my attention. The UK is riddled with IT people trying to get a decent job. This article implied with quotes like “The recruitment partnering project, a £1.3bn scheme intended to enable the army to recruit online, is almost two years behind schedule and will not be fully operational until April 2015 at the earliest, the Times said.

Now, I understand that the MoD does things a little different and that this online approach takes a little time and money, but the fact that the cost of this system is more than the personnel costs of an entire regiment for 50 years (take into account that most IT solutions are usually set for a lifetime span of no more than 10 years) gives weight to the issue that it is time to go public. The additional quote “the problems are so serious that defence secretary Philip Hammond is considering spending nearly £50m on a new solution.” gives weight to my response “You pay me 10% of that and I will assist in getting the issue sorted

You see, any IT project is basically simple.

  1. What must be done and by what date?
  2. What must it cover?
  3. What are you willing to spend?
  4. Document the agreement and sign it by all parties!

The rest is usually political manoeuvring. (I apologise for oversimplifying the problem)

The fact that the article implied that the costs were a billion plus, gives the impression that the entire military network system got overhauled. This leaves us with the thought that there is a decent chance that Sir Iain Lobban of GCHQ is laughing himself to death reading about these events, so perhaps the loud honing laughter will move Defence to take a harsh look at themselves in the cold light of these events.

Do not get me wrong. I know that IT solutions tend to cost, and things get delayed, but this is about recruiting people, the price is implied to be set at thirteen hundred million pounds and it is already 2 years late. So, why was any amount paid in regards to a failed system? It is of course likely that those who delivered had a quality ironclad contract in place, yet the mentioned amount is extremely out of proportion compared to the non-working delivery.

The next quote is also one that opens debate “If the ICT hosting solution is not put in place then the MoD risks not gaining the appropriate number of recruits needed. Given recent criticism of army recruitment … and the use of reserves, this would lead to further negative media reporting and reputational damage for MoD.” So, the 2 year delay was not a clear indication of issues? I reckon that the spending of well over a billion on a non-working system is more than enough for laughter, ridicule and reputation damage for the MoD for a long time to come.

To put this all in perspective take a look at this quote from the Guardian made in August 2013 (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/interactive/2013/aug/01/gchq-spy-agency-nsa-edward-snowden). The quote is “GCHQ now has liaison officers working inside MI5, MI6 and the Soca, the serious and organised crime agency. It takes the lion’s share of the £1.9bn budget for Britain’s intelligence services” so basically, the MoD blew on a non-working recruitment option, the amount that GCHQ needs to keep it completely operational (for a year).

Seems a little out of whack, does it not?

Now for some other fun facts! Recruitment is all about creating interest. Now consider that the cost to make a multiplatform next-gen video game is £15-£25 million pound. So, the youthful player could get introduced to all kinds of positions, challenges, military functions and so on. The development is when compared to what is wasted less than 2% of those costs. More interesting, it could be sold at the newsagent for £5. The MoD could break even, or even make some money too (which would definitely be a nice change). It is a game and it might not have all of the information, but together with an information website loaded with PDF’s, application information and a registration bank should never have exceeded £80 million, from what I envision at present (including the game development). Why was this solution not hosted via GCHQ? The people at the MoD might know of the place, it is in Cheltenham and it looks like a massive donut (Yummy!). It has better security and more options for facilitation than most secure banks can dream of (GCHQ is not to be confused with the NSA, where you can copy all data to a USB stick at your own convenience).

So, do I have a case here? Actually, it was not me, but The Times, who started it, and the Guardian for giving it the visibility that goes far beyond the UK borders.

I must try to be neutral in these matters and very likely the article is missing key elements considering the amount involved, but seeing how 1 in 7 in the UK lives below poverty on one side, whilst on the other side a billion plus is wasted to this degree is extremely upsetting. I have proudly worked in IT since 1981 and seeing events like these, just do not cut it with me and it should not cut it with you, the reader either.

There is however a little more. “This leaked report points to the latest series of catastrophic failures at the Ministry of Defence on David Cameron’s watch.” is a quote I have an issue with. The fact that it is 2 years late means that this was supposed to be finished late 2011. When was the project started? Who were the people starting this, who was involved? It is of course possible that this was all on the conservative watch, yet, that must still be verified. The mention in the article of “after failing in 2011 to challenge a MoD policy” on the article gives rise to the thought that this has for a large part been an internal MoD failing. In addition “The project management team was inexperienced and under-resourced and the army failed to take charge when delays started and put in a suitable contingency plan.” gives way to my four step issue. The first two steps, as I mentioned it, also cover resources, the fact that this was not met means that the failing was on more than one level. Who at the MoD was involved? Was this person aware of the required skillset?

All questions that should have risen with any senior decision maker before the project was accepted and the checklists should have tripped several ‘alarms’ as the project was going forward. The fact that the large amount had been ‘lost’ indicates that none of these issues were factually dealt with.

The article raises a few more questions, but the horror should be clear. It will keep on costing more for now and before Labour starts ‘calling’ for botched jobs, they should take a look at the issues we saw in 2010 (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/labours-computer-blunders-cost-16326bn-1871967.html). From that part we get the clear idea that infrastructure and policies alone are not getting IT choices done. Knowledge is likely to fix that; you just need to make sure the right person is on the job.

With the amount that has been spent, I feel comfortable sending them with my 13 million pound invoice.
(Payment within 30 days for this consult would be appreciated, as I have to pay my bar bill).

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, IT, Military, Politics