Tag Archives: Chili

Shrine of the Tooth Fairy

It has been almost three months since I wrote ‘One to the hospital, one to the morgue‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/12/17/one-to-the-hospital-one-to-the-morgue/), it was all about Interserve and new we see that not only did I see matters correctly. One of my finest diplomatic moments was seen with: “we see the mention of “limiting the cost issue by 1.8%, whilst adding debt reduction by 5% in two years’ time is exactly the message in a stage how we should read it, A Joke!”, oh and that is all whilst in those 7 months £300 million was added to the debt, is anyone waking up yet?“. The Guardian gives us less than 5 hours ago (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/mar/14/interserve-shareholders-vote-restructuring-plan-emergency-meeting) ‘Interserve could enter administration as it fights for restructuring‘, we see that options are considered at the shareholders meeting on Friday, that whilst the actions see now could have been done three months ago. Inaction comes at a price but not for the decision makers who got paid for every day of inaction, and a lot more than the sum of most incomes of those about to lose a job (OK that was an exaggeration). And when we see: “their verdict at an emergency meeting on Friday on a proposal put forward by banks and hedge funds, which have offered to forego £485m of the company’s £631m debt in return for most of its equity, leaving existing investors with just 5% of the shares” I am actually more worried, not less. In the first what happens to the outstanding £146 million of debt? That remains apart from a loss of 95% on the shares for the ‘investors’. We should acknowledge “The US hedge fund Coltrane, the largest shareholder with a stake of nearly 28%, has been holding out for a better offer and may command enough support to derail the plan.” Yet when I also consider ‘on a proposal put forward by banks and hedge funds‘, we need to consider that Coltrane already put a safety net in place, they have not been sitting still for three months. That safety net is shown at the very end of the article with: “The US hedge fund is understood to have indicated that it would be happy to allow the company to go into administration and would seek to negotiate with EY to cherry-pick parts of the business to buy“, a non-solution for Coltrane will be a stage where they get all the cream of the herd and owning 28% of that non loss driving mess, we cannot really blame them can we?

In the article one other part stood out. When we see: “maintaining military bases in the Falklands” I wonder whether this is part of a much larger military contract, and if not, what were they thinking? I am not against military contracts, far from that, but to add one in the middle of nowhere, where their only lifeline are charters from Santiago Chili, as well as a military flights twice a week from Brize Norton (apart from some cruise boats every now and then). When you consider that the closest land is 800 Km away, and the flight from Santiago is 2200 Km, which equate to a flight from London to Libya, we see that this one project alone requires us to look into the depth of decision making. It connects to the larger whole. If we consider that the military contracts were lucrative, isolating them and making them a foundation would have made perfect sense. the fact that the military contract(s) are up for grab in an age when we see all the noise on Huawei and non-proven dangers, all while Interserve is screwing over military security through their decision cloud of non-clarity gives rise to a lot more questions on a several fronts, don’t you think?

And the fun does not end; when we see another source giving us both ‘Interserve calls for ‘positive thoughts’ ahead of crunch vote‘, as well as ‘Employees urged to use social media to say contractor is a ‘great place to work’‘, we see another path that is ignored. The source was the Financial Times (at https://www.ft.com/content/0be957a6-4663-11e9-a965-23d669740bfb), yet the missing part is that the board of Interserve put themselves too thin on the board whilst there were plenty of indications that they were risking too much. Like players in three card poker, betting too much, too often and not having the money to cover the bets. Unless you are the house with all the capital you cannot win that equation. Winning the lottery has better odds at that point. So when we see: “The power point presentation — seen by the Financial Times — suggests that employees share on Facebook or tweet “what a great place Interserve is to work and why,” or how we “continue to win bids and contracts and deliver an excellent service to our customers”” I see a different version. I see the board all paying at the shrine of the tooth fairy for pain relief 297 seconds before the root canal starts and the surgeon is all out of Triazolam. Optional the dentist has Flunitrazepam (read: Rohypnol), yet the patient could end up getting screwed in the process and live with a gap in their memory on whether it happened or not. It sounds harsh, but that is the setting.

The matter gets clear when we consider the quote in the FT: ““Value is being lost every day in Interserve,” said one person close to the board. “If we go through a pre-pack there is more noise around the business and it could take months for suppliers to understand.”“. A part I already clearly saw three months ago. There was no other path there. the view was clear (to me at least) when you looked into the projects that have been up for media presentation, whilst the bulk of all other matters would have been above 0, that would have been the strength of negotiation for Interserve, but it was not to be. Even as the government was steady and willing to award more projects, there should have been a clear path showing the last 12 projects and the gains made in those projects. It was not done, was it? On December 17th the Financial Times made a similar observation (at https://www.ft.com/content/a15ed306-ffaf-11e8-aebf-99e208d3e521), yet there they employed that awkward concept called diplomacy. They gave us: ““The government refused to bail out the company despite the number of contracts involved,” said Tom Sasse, senior researcher at the Institute of Government. “This exploded the idea that the government would always bail out the sector.” Austerity, initially the sector’s friend, has also been its undoing“, I personally believe that part of the board of Interserve were still in the delusional stage that ‘too big to fail‘ could optionally apply to them. The finicky part where the UK government is close to two trillion in debt (£1,900,000,000,000) seems to have been forgotten by everyone. It limits actions for all involved, and next to that the business model of Interserve was less supportive than a soaked tea towel, so go figure!

Next to that we also see: “Some contractors — such as Interserve — had been drawn into services through private finance initiative projects, which packaged up the construction with the service delivery” and that is where the Falklands come back into the limelight, the model of services without construction is a very different part in all that and only if there are long term settings in place, the Falklands does not fit that bill. Now, I can understand perfectly that Defence stated: ‘You can do that, if you also do this!‘ It makes perfect sense, yet that is not really shown in the larger picture and if the other projects are below zero whilst the service elements are still part of the costing, we see a shifted picture, implying that they are hiding behind the ‘recycling’ part, yet the overall image was not as rosy, it was flawed on a much larger scale. This is how I personally see it, and so far my view has been shown to be correct. So if the nightmare continues Coltrane gets all the cream (or the bulk of it) and they can continue, the rest is screwed in a massive way and there will be no Rohypnol available when the tooth fairy comes by stating: ‘Wide open please!

The news does not end there

Just hours ago, the Financial Times gives us (at https://www.ft.com/content/79f20d9a-463d-11e9-a965-23d669740bfb) ‘UK outsourcer Capita posts big fall in profits‘. It is not nearly a sign of the times, it is crunch time, and the service required from certain parties can no longer be afforded. So when we see: “outsourcer faced a decline in work from local authorities, underscoring the challenge of overhauling the business“, that was never ever a secret, the cash is close to gone. Other solutions need to be sought out and that was a given before Brexit started. Brexit will allow the UK to get back up stronger, but it will be after a nasty negative wave, there was never any doubt on that. I informed my readers of that clear danger for years. So this is not news, I never gave consideration to the impact on outsourcers (not my call of duty), but those who work in that field should clearly have been equally aware, that part can be proven without the shadow of a doubt. In all this, from my personal point of view, when we see a 5% drop in revenue, whilst we also get “pre-tax profits fell 26 per cent to £282.1m last year“, we see a more dangerous path in that. It means that the setting of service versus construction (or better the stage of basic profit) has not been correctly set by these players and it merely shows the dangerous path that Interserve has been on for the longest of times. This could have been clearly predicted on a few data mining pathways.

I am now making a speculative view on a speculative stage based on a data stage that might not even exist. I will pose questions to the data board of Interserve:

  1. Show all projects that yielded above £2 million profit
  2. Link to these all directly linked service projects
  3. Link to that all indirectly linked service projects.
  4. Now show final profits for these data trees.
  5. Add to this the elements staff required and cost of staff
  6. Set a separate tree for the Falklands with items 1 through 3, show that final financial result with staff cost continued over time.
  7. Show the other projects with cost, staff cost and total negative profit.

These seven questions will reveal a nightmare tree, the one Bonsai tree that will break your neck when you fall from it. That is the setting we need to have been mindful of. That is optionally the stage that could show the failing of Interserve and other outsources to a much larger degree; the overall mention of so much more revenue, whilst the entire profit part is back benched for too much and for far too long.

The issue of Interserve et al and their stage of what constitutes ‘sound business’ whilst the dangers of what is around the next corner is ignored by way too many shows a multitude of failures and the inaction from too many people gives rise to other levels of dangers that should not have been ignored, although at that time we cannot fault Interserve et al for ignoring those dangers to some degree, yet with the dangers already on their table ignoring them was not a good idea to maintain, or even a great notion to begin with, not with the livelihood of well over 45,000 people at stake.

 

 

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Chapter 13

I have been aware of the story for almost a day now. To be honest, it took a little while to let things sink in. Also, my approach here is completely different from my other stories. This all is not a clear cut thing and I might be barking up all the wrong trees. The story ‘Argentinian government moves to dissolve domestic intelligence agency‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/27/argentina-government-domestic-intelligence-agency-alberto-nisman) should be a wake-up call to many people. What you are about to read is not based on evidence, evidence that we see as quality facts that can be used to speculate on what actually happened. I am stating that none of the evidence is of any calibre at all, I am however using the events that I am aware of and as such, I see a different escalation, one that could be utterly wrong. I leave it up to the reader, I am just warning the reader at this point, to scrutinise my thoughts, as I do and do not accept the speculation on face value alone.

You see, for the most a population has little to no clue what their levels of protection are, until they are removed. Consider that we in Australia need to remain safe whilst someone decided that Australia will be a lot safer if the ASIO is disbanded. I can tell you now that this would be the worst idea in a long line of really bad ideas. If we go by the oldest book on this (the art of war), then at some point, the reader gets to chapter 13, which is all about espionage.

Today, we have a host of issues with spooks, but the one we ignore is that they are here to prevent issues. Yet now consider that these are used against us. However, be aware that spies can be used in any matter of ways, in addition, these groups do not just represent governments, at times large corporations employ them for similar reasons.

So as we look at the initial text, I will add the conversion to modern and technological approach

From the view of the Art of war, we get the following:

  • We employ the use of spies, of whom there are five classes:
    • Local spies;
    • inward spies;
    • converted spies;
    • doomed spies;
    • Surviving spies.

There is a book; it is called ‘Broker, Trader, Lawyer, Spy: The Secret World of Corporate Espionage’ by Eamon Javers. It is not a bad read, more important, this current world has an evolved use of former intelligence officers (from many countries), some come from the redacted world of cutbacks in the US and some who privatised themselves. They use their spy craft to aid corporations in distinguishing weaker targets, preparing for cases and litigation in several legal areas and to aid in final trading decisions, as well as change the premise of trade agreements (or to destabilise them by interfering with costs and profit margins. For these options, they might choose to employ Local Spies and/or Inward spies.

In modern days, we will actually see the converted spy in several ways, whether this person is an informer through IT, a trader, or merchant. In the household form, see this person as one of your distributors, however, as he is getting his bonus from another source, he will tip the revenue scales in a minor way, you that you almost got the job, but almost getting the job is not the same as getting the job and you lose out on revenue. I can go on and give you examples of the last two types, but you get the picture!

So why is this event an issue at present?

Consider that Argentina, as it is in such a dire situation, that it needs to get its economy in a much better place. Now we look at the first quote “Argentina’s president announced a major shakeup of her country’s intelligence network on Monday in her most combative step yet to address the fallout from the death of prosecutor Alberto Nisman“. This sounds all fair and good, but is dissolving the intelligence agency a step that should be considered? Let’s not forget that Argentina has two enemies, the first one is big business. Big Business will always be an enemy of ANY government that prefers to give a fair deal to the people of its nations; the second is X, which is not the United Kingdom or the Commonwealth. Yes, there has been and there will remain a clear difference of opinion there, but that is a disagreement, not a statement for hostile acts.

When we look at what drove all this (at http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/20/world/americas/alberto-nisman-found-dead-argentina-amia.html), we see the title, which gives us a first clue ‘Puzzling Death of a Prosecutor Grips Argentina‘. “From the moment 10 years ago when he was assigned to investigate the 1994 suicide bombing of a Jewish centre here that left 85 people dead, Mr Nisman, an even-keeled lawyer, became entangled in a labyrinthine plot that he traced to Iran and its militant Lebanese ally, Hezbollah“, in addition we get “explosive accusations that top Argentine officials, including President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, had conspired with Iran to cover up responsibility for the bombing as part of a deal that would supply Iranian oil to Argentina“. You see, Argentina has a few issues all over the place, in addition, there is no denying that the people have never forgotten what happened in 1994, yet, and my deepest apologies to those who had lost loved ones, friends and people they knew, this event is not the highest priority for Argentina in their current dilemma, so why is there suddenly a revelation?

I am not entirely sure that any of these facts are true (pure speculation), when looking at the timeline, the events are off. Is it not convenient that Alberto Nisman ends up dead just after he accuses certain people from a case that is two decades old? Did he actually find evidence? Perhaps something was given, or left for him to find. Consider the implied involvement of Iran and its oil delivery, why would that now get distorted, just when oil is massively on the way down in price. So as we read: “He accused Hezbollah of having carried out the bombing and senior Iranian officials of having planned and financed it“, based on what evidence? This is not a case that has had nonstop attention; it was a specific case, a 20 year old one. How hard would it have been to insert scraps leaving to fictive evidence? In addition, Hezbollah has eagerly taken credit for their actions in the past, so why deny it now? I am not stating that they are innocent, but the fact that Hezbollah has a fading course of visibility, this claim would give them the ‘image’ they wanted to have.

The next part hits back to all the parts mentioned before. The person implied in this, now suddenly disbands one intelligence branch and creates a new one. Is this just a shifting label, or are the people getting replaced. I reckon in Argentine’s current predicament, to remove their intelligence branch for someone else is tactically bad (guess where all these officers would go to) and if it is just a sanitation of bad apples, the branch would not needed to be disband in one instance and created in a reformatted version the next.

All these elements are not adding up. Now, let us be fair, why would it make sense to me? I am not in Argentina, I have no clue what the reasoning is and why certain political steps are taken. So, consider this quote from the guardian “Cristina Fernández de Kirchner said she would support a bill to dissolve the existing structure – which employs more than 2,000 people – and replace it with a new federal intelligence agency“. When we add the following part “It follows a protracted struggle with the intelligence agency that has come to light after the suspicious death of Nisman, which the president blames on rogue spies who are trying to undermine her“, as well as ““We must start to work on a project to reform the Argentine intelligence system, in order to clear up a system that has not served national interests,” Fernández said“, so as we see the known facts, the president, who will be leaving  office after two terms is now, 9 months until elections, shoveling over a massive anthill called the ‘Intelligence branch’? So, as we see the accusation of ‘rogue spies’, instead of cleaning house, they are resetting the entire branch? That does not seem like the best idea. Regardless whether there are rogue elements, it is likely that other connections remain hidden as it all goes into another form, which means that it could easily start again. The question on how Alberto Nisman died is still not settled with clarity, so if it was murder, than shuffling the intelligence branch seems an even less good idea.

I can also state with some certainty that doing all this, whilst Argentina is still in treacherous economic waters, having a reliable intelligence branch is pretty essential. Yet, this gives us the part, is it reliable? Latin American nations have been accused more often implied accused seen as a harsh, possibly corrupt group of power brokers. If that is the case, cleaning the intelligence foundations make a lot more sense than ‘just’ relabeling it. If we accept the last quote “her tussle with the spy agency has so far led to increased surveillance powers for the army“, we must consider more than one path. Was this step deliberate, or was it orchestrated? You would think that both answers are the same, but they are not. In the first case we see the consequence of shifting powers, which grows the military oversight, in the other situation it was always about setting military oversight and this was being orchestrated by reshaping the intelligence branch into a Federal Intelligence Agency. The question then becomes, if this is a step towards the ‘FIA’, why was it done in this way? Consider the espionage part in the beginning. Venezuela is in a very bad state and until the hedge funds issues are completely resolved, having an active intelligence branch at your disposal seems pretty essential as well. Let’s not forget the reference to the book in the beginning, under these conditions, there could be profit for both Uruguay and Paraguay, Chili is also a player in this case. As the intelligence branch falters, it also means that economic and corporate advantages could be gained at the expense of Argentinian margins, that whilst the hedge funds vulture issue remains unresolved. All this leads to the question what has actually been happening, it seems decently clear (in my personal view) that the reference to the Jewish centre was not a cause for accusation, but likely a diversion. So, why were certain allegations made, more important, why is the accused president not receiving a lot more opposition and vocal complaints?

We won’t know what is actually in lay, perhaps for some time, but when this article gets more space, at that point, I will follow up on this story, hopefully all loaded with verified facts.

 

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