Tag Archives: CIA

The Iranian funds play

Today is all about Iran, the Washington Post and many others are giving the world the information that the previous president misled congress. Yet the Washington Post phrases it as ‘Obama administration misled Congress on possible Iranian access to U.S. financial system‘, they also mention that it is a Republican investigation. There are two issues, right off the bat, even before you read the article, the question becomes, where were the FBI and the CIA in this?

So when we get the first lines with “The Obama administration went out of its way in early 2016 to help Iran recoup previously sanctioned oil revenue stranded in an overseas account after the nuclear deal went into effect and actively misled Congress regarding those efforts, according to the results of a nearly two-year Republican investigation released early Wednesday“, we need to realise that the setting is wrong from the very start.

Before I go there, let’s follow the trail of crumbs that we get offered. next there is “Iran wanted to convert the money into U.S. dollars and then euros, but top U.S. officials had repeatedly promised Congress that Iran would never gain access to America’s financial system“, which is followed by “the Obama administration secretly issued a license to let Iran sidestep U.S. sanctions for the brief moment required to convert the funds through an American bank, an investigation by Senate Republicans released Wednesday showed. The plan failed when two U.S. banks refused to participate” and finally we get: “the revelation is re-igniting the bitter debate over the nuclear deal and whether former President Barack Obama was too eager to grant concessions to Tehran“. The full story (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/federal_government/obama-era-license-aimed-to-let-iran-convert-money-in-dollars/2018/06/06/60be6d36-6971-11e8-a335-c4503d041eaf_story.html) gives us a lot more, but initially, we get ‘The plan failed‘. So this was seemingly (according to a previous Obama official) about the Iranian money held overseas. The issue seems seen with “No one involved seems certain whether Iran has yet received all of its $5.7 billion“, yet as I see it, that does not seem to be the case. When you think this through, $5.7 billion amounts to 11.2 million barrels based on the average oil price, this amounts to funds equal to 26 hours of oil production in Saudi Arabia, 26 hours! Now we are not debating whether Iran is allowed access to the funds, the fact that we see that this much oil (or so little in Saudi Arabia), whilst in Iranian production it amounts to 4 days of oil production is a Joke. Oil still goes to Asia, so all this fanfare for 4 days of oil production? This is about something else entirely, or it is about a very different amount of money. I let you mull that part over, so when we look at the second article (also Washington Post), we see in the article called ‘Secret Obama-era permit let Iran convert funds to dollars’ where we are ‘treated’ to “Iran had been promised access to its long-frozen overseas reserves, including $5.7 billion stuck in an Omani bank“, which we knew to some extent, yet the full economic value is not given, which is also an issue, you see that stuff makes interest, so at that point who gets that money? Is it locked in the Iranian account, or was it the balancing act to the seesaw that is going up and down on €11 trillion in essential European and American debt guarantees? The second article has pretty much what the first one had, but we also see (slightly more clearly) “And when questioned by lawmakers about the possibility of granting Iran any kind of access to the U.S. financial system, Obama-era officials never volunteered that the specific license for Bank Muscat in Oman had been issued two months earlier. According to the report, Iran is believed to have found other ways to access its money, possibly by exchanging it in smaller quantities through another currency“, this now gives us the part (when going back to the first article: “Lew, according to documents reproduced in the report, had been given Treasury talking points explaining the Omani conundrum, he chose not to mention it in a House hearing in late March“, this reference to former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, where we wonder that if this is about the question, was the question correctly phrased, or perhaps the better setting is, was he breaking any laws not mentioning the ‘Omani Conundrum’?

I cannot state without the full text and even if we agree that there is an issue, we now get back to the very core of the matter. If it involves US Banks and when we reconsider ‘the plan failed when two U.S. banks refused to participate‘, two out of exactly how many banks? That part is also not revealed here. So now we get to the part where it becomes either the US treasury AND the FBI who seemingly did not act here, the Omani Conundrum implies that the CIA turf was trodden on and the communications (in several levels) give us that the NSA ignored it. So what is going on? Did anything actually happen? Because that question is becomes valid when we reconsider ‘the plan failed‘. If that is true, then why is the Washington Post, one of the most revered newspapers in the USA not giving the correct light on this? In addition, the outstanding questions that we get from the mere substance given becomes an issue when we see the words of President Trump “this disastrous deal gave this [Iranian] regime — and it’s a regime of great terror — many billions of dollars, some of it in actual cash — a great embarrassment to me as a citizen and to all citizens of the United States,”. Yet how much money was actually released, through the deal and from 2015 onwards? None of that data is available through the articles. So what exactly is US congress playing with now, because this all looks like a really loud smokescreen, all emotion and no contributable facts on the matter. How many banks were part of it (and their names), which two banks refused (double plus points for them two) and in light of merely one $5.7 billion source we need to see the scope of the money, especially in light of the setting that Iran is even now shipping oil to Asia. Are those not valid questions? In all this, where were the FBI and CIA when this was going down and more importantly why is there no mention of their part in all this, or were they not part of any of it? That is equally an issue, because if there is evidence that they were in different states of activity and actionable requirements regarding Iran during the two presidencies, the people have an equal right to know, do they not? You see, in the larger scope that matters, because the Yemeni issue is covering two presidencies, so if (a very clear if) the CIA was less vigilant during the previous presidency, it might also explain a few things on how missiles are getting shipped from Iran to Yemen, if the manifest states 1013 barrels of oil for humanitarian aid, it might explain a little more than we bargained for. Now the last part was speculative and knowingly incorrect, yet the question remains valid. This was not some article from the enquirer, or the Canton Cherokee Tribune, it is the Washington Post. In many (global) cases that newspaper is seen as gospel right next to the Financial Times, so when two articles give us so many questions in all this, I need to wrap my head around the option that Martin Baron is either on vacation or perhaps down with the flu. The man who inspired Tom McCarthy to make Spotlight should have a better grasp on the entire Iranian fund issue and how it should be made visible in my Hummer opinion.

Because behind all this is not merely the oil, or the Iranian uranium enrichment plans. It in equal measure gives another light that we get from “The draft involved a general license, a blanket go-ahead that allows all transactions of a certain type, rather than a specific license like the one given to Oman’s Bank Muscat, which only covers specific transactions and institutions“, you see, if that is in play and when we remember the G30 bankers group, the one that got some limelight, for ONE DAY. After that all the media dropped the issues when the people were given the sight of Mario Draghi being a member of this insiders only club, a club that he had to give up and no one (except for me that is) followed up on that. All the media left it alone. So when we see that part from April 18th 2018, where Reuters and the Financial Times give us that he would remain a member, the ECB and others never acted on it and silently wait it to go away, now we see the Omani Conundrum issue and I have to wonder, as bankers will do trade with anyone, what licenses are out there that no one knows about, more important, whoever the owner of the funds are that they get to play with ahead of all other banks, with close to €3 trillion in extra printed money for the game of bonds, in all this, what else are we not seeing and as this optionally directly reflects on Iran’s and all the billions we are left unaware of, how is it that the Washington Post seems to not care (or rather stated, believingly unimportant issues that are therefor not investigated) are out there with two pages set to issues in a setting of ‘the plan failed‘ and ‘at the end of the day, nothing worked‘. Which makes me wonder if any transgression was committed and what it was all about. Time will tell whether we see more revelations tomorrow and more important if it leads to anything actionable, because that will be come the heart of the matter soon enough.

 

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Holding pattern

It feels like the world is in a holding pattern, it is awaiting events and there is no news on a few fronts. The first is on gaming; a little over two weeks remain until the E3 starts, which is when the actual (official) news is given. Part of me is sad, because there have been so many leaks that I fear we already know what is coming to the larger extent. In this I got confronted with more issues surrounding the Xbox One, and even as they proclaim it is going good, I am of the mind that good just is not it, it will not even be close to it. If the Business Insider is to be believed, there will be a lot more bad news coming to the Xbox One owners, the article (at https://www.businessinsider.com.au/playstation-4-vs-xbox-one-e3-2018-5) gives us “‘Crackdown 3’ is an exclusive Xbox One game, meaning it will work on the One X and One S“, implying that this is the first game that no longer supports the Xbox One. Pushing people into upgrading to new hardware? I see that as one more nail in the coffin called Xbox. The information (at https://www.xbox.com/en-AU/games/crackdown) is equally sketchy, yet that game cover does not have the HDR part, implying that there might be two editions, one for the Xbox One X and one for the normal Xbox, which would be very acceptable, implying that they are soft pushing people to upgrade their console which is a fair and acceptable business practice. I wanted to be certain and no misinform you, so far there is no real mention on it, yet there seems to be a version on HDR (implying Xbox One S and Xbox One X only), in addition one source had another box art, yet Amazon did not, neither did a few other shops, so this could become a very large issue close to Christmas as the latest (unconfirmed) issue is that release is planned for later this year.

The PlayStation has similar holding patters, we know the four larger titles and that is it on the exclusive front, implying that both will be a little more dependent on the makers like Bethesda, Ubisoft and EA to hold the candles for unexpected news. I am particularly interested in what Ubisoft brings. I think it was 2 years ago, when they truly hit a home run at the E3, in that time we all got overwhelmed by Ubisoft that had cleaned up its act. AC Origin exceeded everyone’s expectations (including mine) and playing on a much higher level the second time around had been fulfilling in a way I never expected. In addition, even as I kept a distance from Far Cry 5, it shows, that for those who wanted more of the same, it did satisfy, in addition its first actual setting towards open gameplay was a true evolution, so those who wanted ‘more of the same‘ got a lot more than they bargained for and that is a good thing. So we have no real idea what Ubisoft is bringing and that is good, knowing all the things that matter beforehand is not good, it takes away the WOW factor in announcements and I think the French know that. In that same setting we also look forward to Bethesda, who apart from last year tends to make homeruns, they focused on the VR setting last year and when you are not into that you tend to feel left out a little. So here’s hoping for this year. Most are hoping for a new Elder Scrolls (non-online) game announcement, which is a stretch and unlikely. I am still proud of having made an initial setting for Elder Scrolls VI: Restoration, but it seems that Bethesda had other ideas. Fair enough, it is their IP. Yet we recognise that Skyrim was 7 years ago from initial launch, we should give the cautious setting that it is time to WOW us with a new one, especially after 7 years. Fallout 4 is getting towards its 3rd anniversary, yet with the season pass giving us so much, we still feel decently satisfied for now. I personally feel that a Fallout 5 is at least 2 years away from a clear announcement and for those overwhelmed Fallout shelter can keep your blood flowing on mobile and a few other devices, the fact that it is free and no real purchase is needed just makes it an amazing extra. And that is all for the games section at present.

Rocket Men

There is a man, a Rocket Man, it is not the man in the song, not the quote from the movie; no, as we see (at https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm0392), we are given the US Treasury setting: “the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated five Iranian individuals who have provided ballistic missile-related technical expertise to Yemen’s Huthis, and who have transferred weapons not seen in Yemen prior to the current conflict“, the issue I have voiced for a while, again I have been proven correct, and even as the media at large was all about calling Saudi Arabia names and just blindly staring at the victims (which is not entirely wrong), we are treated to “Treasury is targeting five Iranian officials who are associated with the IRGC-QF and Iran’s ballistic missile programs. Their actions have enabled the Huthis to launch missiles at Saudi cities and oil infrastructure. They have also disrupted humanitarian aid efforts in Yemen, and threatened freedom of navigation in key regional waterways“. I agree to some extent with Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin, I do not think that he is entirely correct. To give understanding to my statement, we need to look at the 5 names.

Mahmud Bagheri Kazemabad and Mohammad Agha Ja’fari who were acting for or on behalf of the IRGC Aerospace Forces Al- Ghadir Missile Command. Javad Bordbar Shir Amin and Mehdi Azarpisheh who are members of a special forces unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards responsible for their extraterritorial operations, they report directly to the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei. In addition there is Sayyed Mohammad Ali Haddadnezhad Tehrani, who is allegedly providing, financial, material, technological or other support for, or goods or services in support of, the IRGC Research and Self-Sufficiency Jehad Organization. I use allegedly because without the clearance levels I cannot vet the final part of data there. I believe that Sayyed Mohammad Ali Haddadnezhad Tehrani has at least partially and most likely fully deployed Chinese walls to isolate him away from that, yet there are at least three names missing, these people are part of the training and deployment side of the missiles. It is my personal opinion that Javad Bordbar Shir Amin and Mehdi Azarpisheh could not have arranged that by themselves, they are without doubt involved, but on that level they had higher level help, not merely the smuggling of the missiles, the deployment, training and smuggling of the missiles is specific knowledge, it is very specialist knowledge and in that (at least) three names are missing. That mess is actually growing. It is seem in the first part in Bloomberg (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-05-23/doubts-emerge-at-eu-steps-to-counter-u-s-iran-sanctions-threat), in all this we see at the end “The commission is also looking at creating special purpose vehicles to allow transactions with Iran, the people said. The effectiveness may also depend on whether the U.S. treats them as a circumventing tool, one of the people said. “If in the end jobs will be lost in Germany, one has to ask whether this is the right thing to do,” German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said in a TV interview last week“, it is an issue! It is an issue, because mere open source intelligence and common sense gave me the inside view that have been proven correctly, the entire Iranian mess as we see now, whilst the people in the Bloomberg article are all about acting or is that not acting) because jobs are lost, whilst the entire missiles on the attacks on the Saudi civilian population is just ignored as well as the plight to the Yemeni civilian population because of the acting of Iran, the EU has a much bigger problem and it is time that the people start thinking this through. From my (an admitted optional flawed view) is that the Iranian mess started with Sayyid Ruhollah Mūsavi Khomeini and never stopped being an issue, which amounts to January 1st 1980 being the setting for the mess we are in now. I am willing to admit that if the US and UK had left Iran alone in the actions of 1953, we might not be in this mess, but that is too much water under the bridge, what is the setting is that the BBC (at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-44230983) gives us Ayatollah Khamenei’s main conditions.

  • European powers should protect Iranian oil sales from the US sanctions and continue buying Iranian crude.
  • European banks should safeguard trade with Iran.
  • The UK, France and Germany should pledge not to seek negotiations on Iran’s ballistic missile programme and regional activities, both demanded by Washington.

The supreme leader said that if the three counties were unable to meet these demands, Iran would resume its enrichment of uranium. this translates to ‘do not interfere in Yemen‘, which is a regional activity, the fact that EU politics seems to be very willing to do that makes for more concern, in addition, when we look at the newspapers in the EU, we are left in the dark on several issues, which is also a concern. They are all focused on the Saudi attacks, the Yemen events, but not on the Iranian support setting for firing missiles into Saudi Arabia, that seems to be off limits and that is a massive issue as I personally see it.

So here to is the beginning of a holding pattern, an issue that is stretched over time, allowing for non-activity to rule the setting. Now, there is a twofold part, one is positive, because there is a partial setting where waiting the next move makes perfect sense, yet the numbers give us that thousands are getting exposed to Cholera and famine, not a combination you want to see, because at that stage, even with medical hep, the chances for surviving are not that great to begin with. Even as the people on Facebook are hiding behind “Stop the Saudi-led war on Yemen that kills civilians and destroys the country infrastructure“, the bulk of everyone remains in denial of Iran’s part in all this and the fact that Yemen is used as a stage to attack Saudi Arabia whilst Iran relies on ‘I know nothing‘ is a setting that is much worse because those are the people who the EU are trying to keep their business alive within a nuclear setting, whilst there have been clear indication that Uranium enrichment is an event that will be happening in Iran. Yes, that makes all the sense in the world (implies sarcasm).

The holding patterns cannot be fought, because acting is not always the best thing to do, yet the entire Yemeni situation started in March 2015, well over three years ago, so I think it is time for the EU to actually actively respond to the actions of Iran, they have had enough time and intelligence to act. Their non-actions at present should be regarded as beyond cowardice, cowardice to facilitate to those who need a deal, who need financial blessing (read: greed). To illustrate this, WikiLeaks gave us in 2007,

In any case, France is prepared to “go beyond” multilateral Iran sanctions. A/S O’Brien suggested that the GOF make public statements about the risks of doing business with Iran and the recent decisions of major European financial institutions to cut off Iranian business. France is currently developing new legislation to criminalize arms proliferation and proliferation finance, above and beyond its criminal penalties for violations of UNSCR 1737 and 1747. O’Brien passed GOF officials two Treasury non-papers on Iranian state-owned Bank Melli’s proliferation-related activities and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and IRGC-Qods Force’s extensive use of the Iranian state-owned banking network. Regarding private sector outreach, A/S O’Brien met with senior officials at Paris-based Banque Natixis to discuss the risks of doing business with Iran“, for the forgetful, that was when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was in office, so there had been a massive drive to get more ‘revenue’ for the Natixis board of directors. I guarantee you that it goes downhill from there, the settings we see are not great, it never was, yet the need for the EU to do something and not as a 27 nation block keep on sitting on their ignoranus was not what the people were signing up for. That evidence is seen at the UN (at https://www.un.org/press/en/2018/sc13225.doc.htm), in here we see “attacks against civilian targets in Saudi Arabia were unacceptable and raised concern over the Panel’s findings that Iran had provided short‑range missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles, in breach of paragraph 14 of resolution 2216 (2015).  Urging the Council to stand firm against such violations, he said that while the United Kingdom had sought to ensure a balanced and impartial text, it also had not shied away from calling out those who had violated international agreements“, in that, Russia hid behind “The Russian Federation’s representative, also speaking before the votes, said he could not support the United Kingdom‑sponsored draft, as he did not agree with its inclusion of unverified information. Assessing the Panel of Experts’ work in the manner mentioned in that draft was misguided“, so whenever a Russian firm approaches Saudi Arabia for a Neom or Vision 2030 project, we should make sure that the Saudi officials are reminded of the SC/13225 meeting on 26th February 2018. I should see if I can get an opportunity there too, my bank balance is really really low at present. So in the end we all act on economic needs, the only difference is that I am doing it upfront (making it no longer a reality), but if I can stay honest, why not the elected officials that make well over 3000% of what I end up with?

Is that not an interesting question too?

Have a great day!

 

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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.

 

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The Commanding Conquest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

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Something for the Silver Screen?

There is an issue in Europe, well, there are plenty of issues in Europe, but until now, I steered clear of one of them. Something does not add up and it is now more of an issue than ever before.

This trip started in the Washington Post, after I saw several articles in the Guardian. You see, with one article it has become something else and that is very much an issue. So (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/russia-to-respond-very-soon-to-british-decision-to-expel-its-diplomats/2018/03/15/89e27b4a-2839-11e8-b79d-f3d931db7f68_story.html), we see ‘U.S., France and Germany join Britain in saying Russia likely responsible for chemical attack against former spy‘, the mere title. Now, I am not saying that this is not what happened, not even implying that it is some figment. Yet, why would we see ‘U.S., France and Germany join Britain‘? This is a simple murder, perhaps an assassination, or liquidation. Whatever word you use for the event, it does not matter to the person who got iced, he definitely no longer cares. But we, we should care, for us this entire situation matters. So when we see in the very beginning “formally backed Britain’s claims that Russia likely was responsible for a chemical toxin attack against a former spy living in England“, I personally am not convinced. There would have been any number of actions that would have resulted in the demise of that person. To get a gun is usually not hard if you know the people. There was a person in the 90’s that one could meet near Ilford, would be able to get a whole range of guns, no silencers though. Still for £350-£500 (in those days) you could get something not too fancy and it would clean the clock of whoever needed to be done. Just make sure you do not do it in the wrong place and upset the local family guy, because that tends not to work. Still, consider the ease of a mere gun against the dangers, the risks and the trouble of getting VX into the country, than getting it to the location. You only need to see the movie ‘The Rock‘ to know that it requires several things, a lot of it dodgy and that stuff is not that stable to begin with. Now, as we see that there was a nerve agent in play, so I am not opposing that. I am merely stating that this kind of work is odd to begin with. That is beside the point of any SVR RF, FSB or GRU member freaking out having to take that shit with them. It is not merely overkill; it tends to leave you without options if you fail at first. And ask any Murphy that your shit goes wrong the first opportunity nature gets their hands on you. It is a fact of life. So in that regard it seems to me that Novichok is a weird choice to use. This is also me stating that I have no evidence that it was NOT used. So when I take a little lesson in Novichok, I learned the following:

  1. At https://www.opcw.org/fileadmin/OPCW/CSP/RC-3/en/rc3wp01_e_.pdf, we see “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”” which they state on page 3 in paragraph 8. Now this is 2013 and this is 5 years later. Yet, as some sources give us that it was developed in the 70’s up to the early 90’s, it seems interesting that there was nothing on the matter 20 years later.
  2. Yet that same OPCW gave us in April 2011, two years earlier the two following parts on page 7 at 11.1 and 11.2. With: “This has been attracting increasing attention in recent years, particularly among non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Although very little information has appeared in the public domain, there have been claims that a new class of nerve agents, known as “Novichoks”, has been developed. In December 2008, a former defence scientist published a book, which included information on structures reported to be those of the new agents. Some of these structures meet the criteria for Schedule 2 B4 (S2 B4); however, all others are non-scheduled chemicals. The author claimed that the toxicity of certain “Novichok” agents may exceed that of VX“, something that should have woken up the CIA instantly, something deadlier than VX and no defence? There is no way that they wouldn’t have been chasing that, even if it was merely to find a defence against it.

So now we have the play to some extent in view. The BBC gave first view (at http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-43377856) with “Former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned by a military-grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia“, yet it is the innuendo of News.com.au that takes the limelight. With “Investigators believe the nerve agent that poisoned former Russian agent Sergei Skripal was planted in his daughter’s suitcase before she left Moscow, The Telegraph newspaper reported, citing unidentified sources. Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, were found slumped unconscious on a bench outside a shopping centre in the genteel southern English city of Salisbury on March 4“, so not only did they go the whole nine yards to get to both, the entire issue is that both could have been removed simple enough in Salisbury. The entire matter does not add up. Another source, The Jamestown Foundation gives us “Sergei Skripal (66), a former Russian military intelligence (GRU) colonel, was arrested in Moscow in 2004 for allegedly being an agent of the United Kingdom’s MI6 intelligence service. Skripal was convicted, in 2006, to serve 13 years in prison for treason. In 2010, he was pardoned, released and sent to the UK in a major spy exchange involving a big group of “sleeper” spies who had been arrested in the United States, promptly convicted and deported to Russia“, so if we accept these facts, than we see that he was shipped to the UK 8 years ago. So now we see such an overkill event? It does not add up!

This level of overkill implies (mind you I am saying ‘implies’) personal orchestration, this is a message, but for who the message is for (or ‘from’ for that matter) is not clear. There is enough evidence that the toxin was used, but there is a long road here. Even as we accept the Jamestown Foundation giving us “Other officials insist Novichok was never officially defined as a chemical weapon and was not destroyed, because it never officially existed (Interfax, March 14). Mirzayanov, who is apparently the main whistle-blower on Novichok, is being actively discredited by the pro-Kremlin press (Komsomolskaya Pravda, March 15). Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov categorically denied there ever was a secret nerve agent program named “Novichok in Russia or in the USSR,” while Russia has stopped all work on developing new chemical weapons and has completed the destruction of existing stockpiles. Ryabkov referred to Mirzayanov as a “defector,” who was not trustworthy (Militarynews, March 15)“. This now gets us to the crux of the matter. The whistle-blower Vil Mirzayanov is now living in the US. Now we get to the good stuff, which is given by The Guardian, the article (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/mar/16/russian-spy-poisoning-attack-novichok-chemist) gives us ‘chemist says non-state actor couldn’t carry out attack‘, that is a notion I can very well agree with. In addition, as I stated earlier “the chemical was too dangerous for anyone but a “high-level senior scientist” to handle and that even he – who worked for 30 years inside the secret military installation where novichok was developed and gained extensive personal experience in handling the agent – would not know how to weaponize it“. If this stuff has been weaponised it would be a novel usage and also a very novel situation. The fact that the luggage went from Moscow without setting off any alarms, the fact that it survived the trip (you know how luggage carriers tend to be), as well as the setting that it went off at the time it did gives rise to all kinds of technological options. Still we have the setting of who would have done it. Mirzayanov supports this with ““You need a very high-qualified professional scientist,” he continued. “Because it is dangerous stuff. Extremely dangerous. You can kill yourself. First of all you have to have a very good shield, a very particular container. And after that to weaponize it – weaponize it is impossible without high technical equipment. It’s impossible to imagine.”” and let’s not forget the target, a former GRU agent who had been in prison for 4 years and then exchanged. It seems to me that it is not impossible that Russia was behind it, but I feel that the entire approach was too personal. I speculate that this was likely a Russian with a personal axe to grind, moreover this was a test-run (a mere speculation) and the person decided to go after the one person he had hatred for and in that regard going after the daughter made perfect sense, even more so as it would hurt the person he wanted to get to even more. So was this the case?

Now the last part is all speculative but it adds up, the effort shown for stuff that is still material for denial from the original whistle-blower giving us ‘would not know how to weaponize it‘, and that is from the person who actually handled the stuff. It is the very last part that also matters; with “Mirzayanov thinks the Salisbury attack was performed with a binary version of the agent brought through customs and automatically mixed at the time of the attack“, so two elements, mixing and distributing, such a device was not seen when the luggage got to the UK?

There are too many issues and even as I agree wholeheartedly on the message that Vil Mirzayanov brought to us, I am not convinced that this was some elaborate scheme from the Russian government. Sending any officer of the SVR RF, FSB, GRU or even the Voyska Spetsialnogo Naznacheniya to go shopping in London with the message “Oh, and before you fly back, would you kindly put a bullet in the back of the head of both Sergei and Yulia Skripal?“, a simple mandate avoiding well over half a dozen of cogs that could be clogged with mere sand at any given time.

That is why it does not add up. In hindsight there is one additional part. Is it true that ONLY Russia has that stuff? The entire matter when we see some papers where the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, was to some extent in the dark 5 years ago. In light of Vil Mirzayanov moving to New Jersey in 1996, so 15 years later the OPCW is still in the dark? That path makes even less sense. In addition, the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) seemed to have been equally in the dark. From those parts alone, whilst one of the handlers was in the US for the last 22 years, the entire setting is a stretch. It does make sense that the US would have been part of the conversation, yet how do France and Germany fit in? Some presented unity on standing up against Russia?

There is little question on the timeline. So when we see the BBC (at http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-43297638), they are found by a doctor and nurse at 16:15, both unconscious. So they had made it to the Malting’s shopping centre (or so the information implies). So when we learn “A police officer who was the first to attend the scene is now in a serious condition in hospital, Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said“, which we get form the article (at http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-43323847) we should be able to tell more. But we cannot, the News is too chaotic, BBC, SBS and other reliable sources give us the snippets, but not an actual slice of the cake. The timeline implies that they were poisoned on the spot, the fact that Nick Bailey, a police officer who became unwell after taking part in the early response to the attack gives additional rise to the use of a toxin, but that implies that it was done there, on the spot. Even if the toxin was moved through touch, the speed at which Nick Bailey got it implies (speculative from my side) that the toxin worked fast, unless the location was less than a 4 minute walk from their house, that option would be taken away as the toxin would be pushed through the body via the bloodstream. In addition any longer would make the Novichok useless, nerve agents are that because they are close to lightning fast, even as we expect that the police officer was lucky and too little got to him.

Yet it was only a few hours ago that the Guardian is giving us a timeline (aren’t they just the best). So the article (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/mar/16/skripals-poisoning-what-we-know-so-far) gives us a decent timeline. I particularly liked “most likely in powder form and the means of delivery could have been as simple as a letter“, so perhaps it might be: “most likely in powder form and the means of delivery could have been as simple as the restaurant bill“, you see the hour at Zizzi as well as the fact that they were found 40 minutes later. A nerve agent will work fast, really fast so the 40 minutes would have been a stretch no matter what, yet the fact when they were found and when they were overcome is not a given, so they could have been smouldering there for over 20 minutes. It equally gives rise that the longer they were there the less impact it would have had on Constable Nick Bailey, his luck I might add. The Guardian is now showing the issues I had and that is good (for me), so as I finalise reading that article, I see a number of issues and even as I had seen most issues, the one part that they aren’t giving us (as It was not part of the timeline) was seen in the in depth of the Independent (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/uk-russia-nerve-agent-attack-spy-poisoning-sergei-skripal-salisbury-accusations-evidence-explanation-a8258911.html). Here we see: “Some analysts have claimed that Novichoks could have been smuggled out of chemical weapons and storage sites after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when facilities were abandoned by unpaid staff and security was low“, “if the precursor ingredients were smuggled out in the 1990s, stored in proper conditions and mixed recently, they could still be deadly in a small-scale attack according to some experts” as well as “In 1995, a Russian banking magnate called Ivan Kivelidi and his secretary died from organ failure after being poisoned with a military grade toxin found on an office telephone. A closed trial found that his business partner had obtained the substance via intermediaries from an employee of a state chemical research institute known as GosNIIOKhT, which was involved in the development of Novichoks” give us a few things. In the first that the experts are kind of clueless, we might be blaming Russia on all this and it might be true, yet the latter part that involves Ivan Kivelidi takes away the ‘beyond all reasonable doubt’. The fact that this stuff is out in the open to some degree is a much larger issue and when we see “Leonard Rink, told police he had been storing poisons in his garage and selling them to pay off debts“, we see part that takes the Russian government optionally out of the equation and gives us the part I came with earlier “the entire approach was too personal. I speculate that this was likely a Russian with a personal axe to grind“, it fits the bill of the restaurant one might state, that is, if the timeline of the events and the timeline of the toxin can be proven, because both are the axial in the issue.

No matter how this plays out, this could become one hell of a movie and when we see it on the silver screen, will Matt Damon play the person with the grudge, or the scientist who initially played a role in developing it? However we should reserve the role of Skripal for John Larroquette, it will be nice to see him again on the big screen.

 

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Time Magazine as a comedian

There are days when things go pear shaped, we all have them. Some go pear shaped in the best of ways, others less so. Now, I am not a big fan of Time magazine. I have nothing against them and the pictures tend to be pretty awesome. Yet, until today I had no idea that they had an interesting sense of humour. So, let’s take a look at ‘This Is What the U.S. Can Do to Help End It‘ in regards to the Syrian war (at http://time.com/5195442/eastern-ghouta-syria-civil-war-anniversary/).

It starts with “as it stands today, the U.S. is essentially a bystander. The Trump Administration has on cruise control the same ISIS-centric policies of the Obama Administration. The small contingent of U.S. troops present in eastern Syria only marginally stabilize territory liberated from the Islamic State while preventing Iranian and Syrian government forces from seizing the region. The Trump Administration has ended the CIA’s arm-and-equip program for the Syrian moderate opposition, a program which was created under President Obama, which was never sustainable or substantial“, which is true, there is nothing in opposition of that and in that regard we remain serious. That is, until we see: “Find a way to deliver aid. The U.S. must work with the international community to find an effective means of getting resources to the region. The stream of videos coming out of Ghouta shows a population subjected to the worst conditions imaginable. We should take the lead in enforcing United Nations demands for a real cease-fire to alleviate this brutal suffering. We can save lives now.” Is that so? Perhaps some can remember the ceasefire that was unanimously set in motion at the UN around the 1st of March. So, how did that pan out? Knowing that Russia and Syria hold the US in even less regard than the UN, the chances of the first part becoming reality is not that much of a reality to begin with and re-iterating that point 12 days later is a little bit of a joke at the very least. In eastern Ghouta, according to SBS, the death toll has passed the ‘thousand mark’, implying that the Ghouta region gets depopulated by close to one hundred cadavers every day. One could argue that until the culling stops, it will be too late for humanitarian aid. If the players had only acted 6 years ago, instead of waiting, sitting on ones hands and hoping for diplomatic resolution, or accept the reality that Syrian lives have no counterbalance in oil and let them pass away (it is not humane, but the reality we see here will never ever be near humane). Wasn’t it Friedrich Nietzsche who said: ‘To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering‘? So how much meaning can we find in Syria at present?

But that was merely their opening act. Getting to the main event we get “Repair relations with Turkey. In the end, U.S. policy in Syria rests on the U.S. and Turkey working together. Turkey is currently engaged in Operation Olive Branch against Syrian Kurds in the northern Syrian city of Afrin, to stabilize its own southern border and to prevent the establishment of a Kurdish state“. So, how delusional is that? Turkey only cares about Turkey, which in itself is nothing they can be blamed for, that stance is fair enough. So, how will the US continue in regards to the Armenian genocide? Let’s not forget that we might soon have the situation that Turkey could be blamed for two genocides, at that instance Turkey would in theory surpass Nazi Germany. The entire PKK issue is one that hangs around the necks of both the US and NATO. The headline ‘Kurds threatened with beheading by Turkey’s allies if they don’t convert to extremism‘, which we see in the Independent (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/syria-civil-war-assad-regime-turkey-afrin-kurds-eastern-ghouta-us-allies-militia-a8252456.html) also shows “Mr Abdulrahman, who is the leading human rights monitor in Syria with a network of informants throughout the country, says he is worried that international attention is entirely focused on the Syrian army assault on Eastern Ghouta and “nobody is talking about” the potential slaughter of the Kurds and other minorities in Afrin“, with in addition: “as many as one million Kurds may be threatened and adds that it is becoming extremely difficult for them to escape from Afrin because Syrian government checkpoints on the only road leading south to Aleppo “are demanding bribes of up to $4,000 per family to let people through.” Mr Abdulrahman points to growing evidence drawn from videos taken by themselves of militiamen claiming to be members of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) that the units advancing ahead of regular Turkish troops are extreme jihadis“, the reasoning there is “Isis recruits had been instructed by Turkish trainers not to use their traditional tactics, such as the of extensive use of car bombs, because this would identify them as terrorists. He suspected that Isis fighters would be used as cannon fodder in Turkey’s war against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and then discarded“.

Perhaps we should also remember the part that Time Magazine did not give us. “The Turkish military responded with a ferocious counterinsurgency campaign that led to the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, most of them Turkish Kurdish civilians, and the displacement of more than three million Kurds from south eastern Turkey“, which is seen in The Middle East by Ellen Lust. My knowledge of the PKK goes back to the days when we saw Öcalan pleading for an independent Kurdistan. I am not stating that the PKK was innocent, there are questions on both sides, yet as the Americans are so actively ignoring the Armenian issues as well as trying to please Turkey, a nation that has never proven to be a true ally, will the US and NATO remain in denial in regards to the 40,000 dead Kurdish civilians? That would be wrong on a whole new level. In that regard there is one additional part. The claim that ‘the PKK had been accusing Turkey of supporting ISIS at the time when the PKK was part of several offensives against ISIS in Iraq and Syria‘, an issue reported by Al Jazeera in 2015. Was that ever proven or disproven? You see, allowing an ISIS supporter in our midst is one part that should offend everyone, yet that too does not make it to the radar of Time magazine.

And it does not end there, the comedy gets to be better with “Only Turkey has the credibility, resources and geopolitical heft to steward U.S. interests in Northern Syria“, it is Saturday Night Life (SNL) in magazine form. Turkey has not had any credibility for close to a decade; perhaps some Americans remember how Turkey wanted all their debts wiped to allow US planes over Turkey. This happened shortly after 9/11, so when you remember that part, how dicey is their allegiance? And the only resources it clearly has are the ones they have and others pay for. That is seen with “Turkey’s continued membership in NATO means that American taxpayers subsidize the Turkish state in the form of guarantees of military defense in case of military conflict with non-NATO nations”, which implies that at least in part, the US is paying for the conflicts that Turkey is currently in. When was that going to be exposed and in that light, what resources does Turkey actually have, bought and paid for with non US supported funds? I do not know, I am merely asking.

So after the main event we get a small collection of one-liners like “Threaten additional, immediate sanctions of Russia. Putin is directly responsible for the Syrian government’s actions. Options at the U.N. have been exhausted. Accountability mechanisms are non-existent — even investigative mechanisms like the U.N. probe into chemical attacks in Syria have been undermined and curtailed by Russian veto“, sanctions have never worked (so far), Syria will never listen to Russia but will knock on their door for aid (linked to clear profitable agreements that is) and the UN options were never exhausted, in fact none were actually used in the end as none had any chance of working.

It is like me stating that my sex life with Scarlett Johansson is exhausted! That part is absolutely true, yet I never have been with her in the first place and as I never have had any Dangerous Liaisons with the youthful young lady (read: 33 years, 3 months and 21 days at present) and I am merely looking at optional non-existing future endeavours, so for that part I am completely honest (and equally unrealistic), just like the United Nations.

So as the article ends with the truth in the shape of “There will be no winners in the Syrian Civil War, and the reconstruction costs of returning the country to even a minimal level of functioning will be enormous. Neither Russia nor Iran alone can afford to support it, and the Syrians will bear the costs of this debacle for decades to come“, we all agree that this will be the case. So as the EU and US are preparing to make some good will gesture in the shape of 3-4 billion, I wonder how much of that will in the end make it to the people. I personally see it as a path that will invigorate corruption and self-indulgence of the administrations that receive such funds. UN oversight will be close to pointless and in the end a fair bit of that will go towards paying the Russian constructions firms like LLC Priceline, who had the connections to end the war by culling the opposition of President Bashar al-Assad. So in the end it is like watching the UN feeling better about themselves because they added some relief funds. When we set the entire spectre of events into a classical frame, we could be watching the reality of the Divine Comedy. When you consider that in the end well over 500,000 soul ended in eternal torment, the setting of reality is worse than the one Dante Alighieri envisioned, but then the Syrian war was no Time Magazine Comedy, or a classic Italian Poem, which is at present 700 years old. Syria will end up being the damnation of us all, we will end up being damned through our inaction to get anything done because in the end none of us got anything positive done towards the Syrians, not those in Syria and not the millions of refugees, we ended up disappointing them all close to completely.

Yet with the end of the Divine Comedy we got ‘My guide and I did enter, to return To the fair world‘ making it a fairy tale compared to the Syrian reality, the reality of the world we helped create, merely the darkness of caves and the evil we harbour in our midst. I feel certain that is how the refugees feel for generations to come, the eternal curse of inaction and those watching those remain absent of action towards their survival.

 

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On the first day

On Friday Jonathan Freedland published an article on the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/sep/01/disaster-texas-america-britain-yemen), the article is excellent. He is speaking his mind and rightly so. All the facts are correct and he is not playing some word game. Like other stuff he wrote top notch. Yet, I oppose him. Why?

Well, we can go from “it surely represents the most fundamental form of discrimination one can imagine: deeming the lives of one group of people to be worth less than those of another – worth less coverage, less attention, less sympathy, less sorrow“, he is right and it would be easy to just blame the media, like I have done on several occasions in the past. Yet the quote “The scale of the suffering in the Arab world’s poorest country is clear. Since it became the site of a proxy war in March 2015, 10,000 people have been killed, with 7 million made homeless. The UN is especially anxious about cholera, which has already killed 2,000 people and infected more than 540,000. It threatens to become an epidemic. That’s no surprise, given that sewage plants have been among the infrastructure bombed from the sky“. This is followed by “On the contrary, the Saudi government is armed to the hilt with weapons supplied by the UK and the US: £3.3bn worth of British firepower in the first year of this vicious war alone. And yet Yemen has barely registered in the western consciousness, let alone stirred the western conscience“. These two matters are merely the top of the iceberg. When we go back to 1957, we get the attempted assassination by MI6 and what was then laughingly known as the CIA. They fail. All British and French assets are nationalised. The UK intervention in early peace processes between Israel and Egypt. Iran 1953, we might see two sides in the story, one side is that US interventions caused the creation of the Islamic revolution and the blood baths that came afterwards. Is this the correct version? There are too many events involved, but it is a given certain that the events followed. It is merely a factor in a sea of events. Sudan 1998, here the Clinton Administration justified the attack by falsely claiming that it was a chemical weapons factory controlled by Osama bin Laden. Though the United States blocked the United Nations from investigating, independent reports leave little doubt that the plant was solely used for civilian medical items and there was no connection with the exiled Saudi terrorist. All speculations go out of the window; I find it interesting how it was the US that stopped the investigation. Equally the Obama administration refused to properly investigate the chemical attacks in Syria, willing to accept half-baked excuses, unwilling to get to the bottom of it all. This all is now starting to give us a pattern that related to the story.

So when we see “warnings that Yemen risks becoming the next Syria: its soil soaked in blood, rendered fertile for the next generation of violent jihadists” as well as “the children of Yemen are dying cruel deaths, while the rest of the world ignores them. They are not drowning in Texas or Mumbai. They are dying under a hot desert sun, killed by our allies – and by our inattention“, Jonathan is speaking the truth, yet I oppose!

You see, when we see in addition to the previous parts: “The collapse of leftist and nationalist Lebanese forces as a result of the U.S. intervention and the U.S.-backed Israeli invasion led to a power vacuum filled by extremist Islamic groups from below and an overbearing presence of the anti-American Syrian government from above. Combined with resentment at the enormous human costs of these interventions, Lebanon has turned from a staunchly pro-Western country to a center of anti-American sentiments“. Now, we must be honest in that when a glass is half full, it is equally half empty, so we can focus on one side or the other side. Yet the overbearing knowledge from the past is that the UK and US have been in a war for control. Either they were or no one else was. This is the setting we have seen for decades. As such we need to be aware of the ‘other’ side of the equation, but in my view the interventions of decades have been nothing but a failure and soon we will see that US and UK public opinion will shift against Saudi Arabia, merely because any long term success they book now will be counterproductive to anything these two players are trying to achieve. The UN has been privy and part of it to some extent. We could focus on resolution 425, when Israel invaded Lebanon in 1978, later it did it again in 1982, I personally remember those days, I was in Israel when it happened. The interesting part was that the acts of the terrorist organisation and their movements were largely ignored by the UN and certain other officials, as well as the press. The report from Director Nahum Admoni of Mossad in 1983, who was seen as the ‘bad boy’ as the British press got a whiff of the Israeli nuclear plan, yet the fact that the Jonathan Pollard debacle where “Pollard was the only American who has received a life sentence for passing classified information to an ally of the U.S. In defense of his actions, Pollard declared that he committed espionage only because “the American intelligence establishment collectively endangered Israel’s security by withholding crucial information”. Israeli officials, American-Israeli activist groups, and some American politicians who saw his punishment as unfair lobbied continually for reduction or commutation of his sentence. The Israeli government acknowledged a portion of its role in Pollard’s espionage in 1987, and issued a formal apology to the U.S., but did not admit to paying him until 1998“, He was eventually released on Released November 20, 2015, after 28 years. Beyond that he had been denied basic rights between 19:00 and 07:00 every day since. In this we can draw two conclusions, not only that this involved a case with what the US calls ‘an ally’, it gives rise that on one side actual traitors have way more rights and that those actually in assault of the US like Bradley Manning, served less than 4 years and Edward Snowden who is still not in prison, not prosecuted or convicted. So either we can go all out and see how weird the US system is, or we can accept that the US (and UK) have been playing a very dangerous game in the middle east and anyone interfering there is locked up for life. So this is not about espionage, it is not about terrorism, it is about holding part of the power of the middle east, and so far the USA and the UK have shown just how illusionary it is to be involved in matters in the Middle East. Even if we start to consider the damage caused and inflicted, the game goes on there.

So on the first day of September Jonathan correctly shows us how little the media and all others care about Yemen, whilst in the same air partially ignores that Yemen is not even a player for the power plays on who has the right to speak at the power table of the Middle East. Both the USA and the UK want to have a permanent seat at that table and anything opposing that will be dealt with or ignored. By the way, when we look back at the 1983 Beirut barracks bombings and the optional Mossad report, who in the end had been dealt with for that? Perhaps one of them became the current Minister of Defence for Iran (Hossein Dehghani Poudeh)? Yes, when it comes to terrorism and Hezbollah, we need to make certain that we have all the facts, so as we are told how bad things are in Yemen, we concur and do not disagree, but the 241 U.S. and 58 French peacekeepers who got blown up are perhaps sitting on a cloud wondering why France, the UK and the USA are talking to the current Defence minister of Iran. In addition, why a certain report from their ally Mossad director Nahum Admoni was just as easily cast aside and forgotten a little over 33 years ago.

I am merely speculating here!

So as we see certain changes in the alliance between Iran and Qatar, we see also that the game played there is becoming slowly but certainly a more hazardous situation, not just locally there, as Qatarians (or: stake holders from Qatar) seems pushed to sign over bank stakes to China (read: Chinese investors) we see that one wave is feeding another one, in what way? That I cannot really predict, the data is presently missing to make any speculation or assumption in that direction. What is a given is that the people with a seat at the table will be part of the profits when the Saudi privatisation waves hit and that is where actual power and wealth is handed out. An event that both the USA and UK are desperate to attend as it will dwarf what happened in Russia, the hundreds of billionaires created in Russia were nothing compared what Saudi Arabia will bring and the power players in the west hopes that those hundreds are friends of the west, not those embracing a strict Islamic way of life.

Greed is the eternal opponent of opportunity, never more so than at present.

So on that first day, who do you think will be trying to advise others on where to place their privatisation bets, it won’t be in Yemen, that’s for sure!

 

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