Tag Archives: Cognac

Just like TV

There will be a discussion soon enough whether TV gave the idea to fund extremism and terrorism. I am referring to Blacklist, an episode from season 3 called “Arioch Cain“. In this episode someone decides to use crowdsourcing to get the main character Elizabeth Keen assassinated and soon enough, through crowdsourcing a price of over $700,000 is on her head. That amount tends to attract all kinds of enthusiasts, especially as hardware relying on ammunition in the US is dirt cheap.

This gets us to two articles in the independent ‘British far-right extremists being funded by international networks, report reveals‘ less than an hour ago (at https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/far-right-extremism-terrorism-tommy-robinson-funding-international-a8937116.html), as well as ‘How crowd funding helps far-right extremism spread round the world‘ also less than an hour ago, but the same writer no less (at https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/far-right-extremism-crowdfunding-tommy-robinson-a8937311.html). The entire setting is not unexpected. I foresaw this to some extent in 2013 when I reported a certain stage where Facebook games had their own chat rooms and some chat rooms started to change languages. Now, I have no idea what was discussed, or even that anything nefarious was discussed, but the fact that some of these chat groups were private and the fact that they were close to 99% certain not monitored would give certain kind of people options, the fact that one could fund another through pay pal was a second stage in all this. The consideration that the episode was aired almost 4 years ago is also a factor, in 4 years people try alternatives and both the extremist as well as the terrorist population are always willing to try something that cannot really be monitored, so there.

The first article gives us: “Analysts at the Royal United Services Institute (Rusi) found that despite an increase in extreme right-wing attacks, efforts to disrupt terrorist financing were still focused on Islamists.

A report said a lack of work to find the source of money flows and stop them had allowed prolific extremists and groups to build huge platforms in the UK, US and Europe” as well as “the funds gathered allowed fringe groups to expand their reach with potentially deadly effect” cannot be ignored, and here we have the intersection. although let’s be clear I was looking at one source for very different reasons, I am now quoting: “I have had to clean up the mess of others for well over a decade and now it is time to give those people the exposure they deserve (my findings regarding Credit Agricole will have to wait for a few more days)“, Which I wrote in ‘The Scott Pilgrim of Technology‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2019/05/23/the-scott-pilgrim-of-technology/), it is indirectly linked as Rusi (at https://rusi.org/sites/default/files/201606_whr_3_16_countering_proliferation_finance_v2_0.pdf) gives us “Several other banks have faced smaller fines by US regulators for similar offences, ranging in the hundreds of millions of dollars; they include HSBC, Deutsche Bank, Standard Chartered, Barclays and Crédit Agricole.

I was looking deeper into Omani credit notes which were handed to Iran for goods, but at the current oil prices (the price then) the numbers were not adding up, it was like looking at 10 tankers being paid forward, or someone sold oil at $230 a barrel, which seems even less likely and at trade prices there is no tanker large enough to facilitate the oil. As I was aware and familiar with bills of lading, parts did not add up and I decided to dig deeper, only to find that I had forgotten to save the links and that virtual location was suddenly gone the next morning (that will teach ME being stupid). Somehow one of the links seemingly implied Credit Agricole (a non verifiable number) and that is where I was last week, now I see the Rusi paper and I wonder what their servers could teach me. It was by the way not a new issue for me, I looked into parts of this in June 2018 when I wrote: ‘The Iranian funds play‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/06/07/the-iranian-funds-play/).

The paper also gives us on page 13: “Financial institutions rely on governments to be explicit about their expectations and to provide guidance on how best to meet these expectations“, which is not really realistic when they rely on ambiguity, but the setting is fair and as such we also see the failed setting to deal with extreme right players. I personally believe that when we consider: “FIs are thus faced with a dilemma, in that many wish to meet US expectations in order to avoid penalties, but do not enjoy advice or assistance from their home governments to enable them to direct their efforts appropriately. Most are largely left to determine on their own how to address risks associated with CPF or related sanctions, other than simply screening against UN sanctions lists“, I believe that some of the players considered the benefit of using players like Oman to set the stage of both deniability and facilitation via a fourth person (as the bank was the third piggie in the middle), they get none of the heat and all of the bonus that way. I believed that some French players found an optional resolution to keep their vineyards safe and well-funded. It works for me; I would love to retire in the Cognac area making my own grape juice ambrosia (aka: Jus de raisin maison). The fact that this is all about billions in the other setting, my 1% slice would look super dandy. In case of the Lizzie Dearden articles, we see that the anonymity allows those who shun the limelight to make an ‘effort’ to keep imbalance through extremism, or what some call the Tommy Robinson political resolution, The article gives us: “white nationalists Generation Identity and neo-Nazi terrorist group National Action among the British actors profiting from “international connectivity”“, do you really think that it is limited to that group? All those white collar board members who cannot be seen with their fingers in the cookie jar have no qualms about buying a bakery, so that they can have the jar at any given moment. At that point yesterday’s article also gets another dimension, when big players need to rely on consultants with a given for fear mongering, how did the media ignore that? Examples are abound, for example articles that rely on ‘should’ 9 times and “The primary danger is the repeat of the fears that many investors had to face in 2018” and the entire paragraph is in the article twice. It is ways like that fear is brought and reinforced, when this is done, there is no trail, no conversation and in the end the crowdsourcing methods are the best to keep it all anonymous. It matters, because the intelligent extreme right player works not through shouting, but through reinforcement of the argument, they aren’t all stupid!

When Rusi looks at Tommy Robinson (Stephen Yaxley-Lennon) we get that: “he had profited from both significant support from foreign donors and crowdfunding from individual donors around the world” this does not come through shouting, it comes from enforcing fears and give examples that are current, does that sound familiar?

Do you think that a Philadelphia-based think tank spends £48,000 on silly shouters? Do you think that the quote: “Robinson was also a beneficiary of a “fellowship” from US tech billionaire Robert Shillman that bolstered his salary from Canadian website Rebel Media, where he worked from early 2017 until February last year” is unique? People like Robert Shillman are rich enough not to care, they are too rich and their view is often accepted because they are super wealthy, so they are regarded as successful, but there are dozens who still fear the limelight and crowdsourcing is a solution to fund many others (far right or far left) with an optional handle on extremism, Lizzie Dearden gives a good view on it. There is one part I do not agree with, even as nothing Keatinge writes is wrong. When I see: “crowdfunding allows extremists to build international platforms that spread hate to wider audiences“. I can tell that he is not wrong, but overlooks the optional larger issue. It is not spreading hate, it is illuminating through half-baked examples that the current solutions are not working. It is not the hate part, but the ‘your kid does not have a job, because an immigrant was overly happy to accept that job at minimum pay‘ that is what sells the larger imbalance. Ignoring the truth that every boss tries to cut costs any way they can, as they are misaligning the cost of doing business, we see that an entire generation is pushed to minimum income, even those with good degrees, add to that age discrimination and we suddenly see a shift that is much larger, it is not promoting hate, but caressing the frustrations of the working class that is much stronger and a larger growth concern. Most do not react to hate, but we will respond to the frustrations that they are hit with every day, that is the part Rusi missed (or so it seems).

There is also an issue with: “Crowdfunding is a vulnerability in the system, it’s a way the internet presents funding opportunities that have not previously been conceived” the issue is not that it is an option, it is that this ‘solution’ has been around for 20 years and no one took a hard look at the options that crowdfunding offered until it was too late. Even as we all seem to focus on Star Citizen (2015) that raised $77 million, the fact that the idea goes back to Auguste Comte (1850) gives rise to more issues. The internet might have made the idea global, but there was a larger issue for the longest of time and the fact that we see a project 4 years ago amass $77 million gives rise to larger concerns. Especially in light of lone wolf dangers that have been around a decade earlier. so even as we see the recognition through: “Senior law enforcement practitioners have suggested that non-violent extremism is often the first step in a process of radicalisation that ends in terrorism, which is why financial analysis into nonviolent extremism should not be overlooked“, the very notion of the text in the Rusi paper on page 17: “The only indicator that appears to be specific to proliferation financing risks relates to whether shipped goods are incompatible with the technical capabilities of the destination country. This highlights a third problem, which is that in order to be able to gain this understanding, an FI would need to: understand the precise technical nature of the item and its potential applications (information that may not be available with sufficient specificity); assess the industrial state of the destination country, including its possible nearterm expansion“, you might recognise two problems. The first is that ‘shipped goods‘ becomes a larger issue when they are spare parts. Consider that some caterpillar crane parts are strong and massive enough to create a stable multi scud launcher, more so when assembly and disassembly could be achieved in under an hour. What is Israel going to do? Bomb a crane? When you realise that the issue grows tenfold with electronics, some might see on how far crowdsourcing could finance a network in Europe and as this danger has been largely accepted since as early as 2012, the entire lack of activity in this realm of non-monitoring makes even less sense. The second part is ‘potential application‘, how many people look at a Caterpillar of Hitachi Crawler crane and considers the spare parts to be the foundation of an optional Scud launching solution? Let’s face it there is no flag that would be raised regarding a construction firm receiving spare parts for their crane.

Now we understand that Rusi made a paper that focusses on the issue, and there is nothing wrong with the paper, it is actually excellent. My issue remains and on page 20 we get the good stuff: “All FIs interviewed for this study said their institutions employed sanctions-screening software to check incoming and outgoing transactions against UN-designated entities, and all were doing so prior to the advent of FATF Recommendation 7.” when we get the ‘UN-designated entities‘ and not the check of facilitators, we see a large delay (in case issues are found), and we get a problem when the situation is not the designations, but the fact that both sides have a middleman and these people talk to the match makers, so we now have a party of five with a Chinese wall in place and the stage where more likely than not, the three in the middle are not on any list, especially the matchmaker, who uses a range of ‘middle man’ for each idea with each transaction, when the transactions become fragmented the chance of not revealed becomes a lot more likely than not and crowdsourcing enables this to a much larger degree, add to this the dark web and bitcoin and we get a mess we cannot decipher. If the facilitators go to the tax office and give them ‘I had a one off consultancy job for a year‘ and pay their taxation on time, it all goes into the IT revenue taxed and not one pig will be squealing, not even as it gets roasted whilst the ‘consultant’ brought home the bacon.

They merely need to consider the office location so that it aligns with: ‘due to the lack of legislation in some jurisdictions to allow an institution to support an asset freeze‘ and the solution is there. And that is when the amount is large enough, when it is smaller, almost never ever true action will be taken, the extremists, political or other can use that system any way it jingles to the beat they needed to hear.

It is a case of musical chairs where the rewards for some really stack up, just like on TV.



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Insights or Assumptions?

Yesterday’s article in the Washington Post (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/global-opinions/wp/2018/01/22/the-rise-of-saudi-arabias-crown-prince-reveals-a-harsh-truth) is an interesting one. In this article Professor Bernard Haykel gives a view on the issues we are optionally likely to see in Saudi Arabia. I am not sure I can agree. You see, he might be the professor of the ‘Near Eastern Studies and the director of the Institute for Transregional Study of the Contemporary Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia’ at a prestigious place like Princeton, but my pupils tend to shape like question marks when someone’s title requires 13 words to be merely one part. We see in the article “depict him as power-hungry and corrupt, and cite these two impulses for his behavior and policies. When King Salman designated MBS as his heir in June 2017, MBS effectively became the most powerful man in the kingdom. And despite ill-advised purchases (including a yacht and a French chateau, which have cemented the impression of the crown prince’s greed)“, so how does that work? You see Prince Mohammed bin Salman is wealthy, his family is very wealthy, and as such is a yacht a splurge? It would depend on the price. Second there is the mention on a French Chateau. Well, I have taken a look and I fell in love with a house in France too, in Cognac (my favourite drink). The house (at http://www.rightmove.co.uk/overseas-property/property-58209296.html), has 7 bedrooms, is amazing in looks and in a nice village. The amount comes down to a little over a million dollars (money I obviously do not have), but consider that the same amount will only get you a decent 2 bedroom apartment in the outskirts of Sydney, within some suburbs and in the city, those prices will go up from 250%-1500%, depending on how outlandish your view needs to be, in a measly 2-3 bedroom apartment. So how does that make the Crown Prince greedy? Now his choice is a chateau 50 times that price and a family that owns billions can splurge a little. His place is west of Paris. And let’s face it, as some economies are going, having your money in something substantial is not the worst idea. His second splurge, linking him to greed and power hunger is a yacht. So how does that leap rhyme? I have no idea and I find the professors view slightly too speculative. Yet, the man is not done. He then gives us: “MBS is trying to deal with a harsh truth about Saudi Arabia: The kingdom is economically and politically unsustainable, and is headed toward a disaster“. There is a truth in that. As Saudi Arabia is dependent on oil, there will be a lull in their lives, as the need for oil exists, with prices going down, there is no real prospect of fixing it, but wait that is exactly what the crown prince is doing. He is setting forth his 2030 view, a growing move away from oil dependency, which is actually a really good thing to do. It does not make him greedy, merely a visionary that technological evolution is essential to the continuing future of Saudi Arabia. We then get two quotes that matter. The first I already gave light on with “a sclerotic state with limited administrative capacity and an economy that is largely reliant on declining oil revenues“, yet sclerotic? That means “losing the ability to adapt“, which is exactly what the crown prince is trying to achieve, adapt the nation to other options and new ways. The second is a lot harsher, but requires additional focus. With: “a venal elite comprised of thousands of royals and hangers-on who operate with impunity and are a huge drain on the economy. It is saddled with a bloated public sector which employs 70 percent of working Saudis, and its military is incapable of defending the homeland despite billions spent on armaments“, so we can argue on the wisdom of ‘employs 70 percent of working Saudis‘, I am not stating that it is true, but when we see Walmart in the US, who employs 1% of Americans pumping billions of profit into that one Walton family, we should wonder how wrong the Saudi actions are. So we might not see corporate greed like in the US, but is one method better than the other? I am not sure that this is the case. The other part I need to comment on is: “its military is incapable of defending the homeland“, what evidence is there (it is not in the article at all)? Let’s not forget that Iran has been a warmongering nation for DECADES! How many wars did Saudi Arabia get into? There was the Saudi -Yemeni war of 1934, The Gulf War, where Saudi Arabia was a member of the allied forces, the Saudi intervention in Yemen and the current upcoming conflict with Iran. So, regarding the inability to defend the homeland? Is that perhaps merely gesture towards the incoming missiles from Yemen? Well, we can bomb the bejezus out of Yemen, but it would imply thousands of civilian casualties as these people are hiding in the civilian masses. Something they learned from groups like Hamas and Hezbollah I would reckon, but that this is merely an assumption from my side. I found the restraint that Saudi Arabia has shown so far quite refreshing.

I am not stating that Saudi Arabia is holier than thou. Like any nation, it makes mistakes; it has views and a set infrastructure. It is moving at a pace that they want, not the pace Wall Street wants, which is equally refreshing.

The article gives us truths, but from a polarised setting as I see it. Yes, there is acknowledgement on the achievements too, in both the directions of the USA and Russia, and we can agree that just like 86% of all other nations (including the USA) that the economy is a weak point. So how is America dealing with a 20 trillion in debt? From my point of view, the USA has not done anything in that direction for over a decade. Instead of lowering the corporate tax to the degree it did, it could have left it 5% higher and let that part be reserved of paying of the debt and interest, oh right, the 5% will not even take care of the interest at present, so as such the USA is in a much worse place at present, which is not what the article is about, but we should take that into consideration, and the end of the article? With “Ultimately, MBS wants to base his family’s legitimacy on the economic transformation of the country and its prosperity. He is not a political liberal. Rather, he is an authoritarian, and one who sees his consolidation of power as a necessary condition for the changes he wants to make in Saudi Arabia“, is that true? The facts are likely true and when you employ 70% of a nation, economic transformations are the legitimacy of that nation. There is the one side Americans never understood. In the end, Saudi Arabia is a monarchy; their duty is the welfare of that nation. So it does not make him authoritarian (even as he might be seen as much), he is the upcoming new monarch of Saudi Arabia, a simple truth. Within any monarchy there is one voice, the King/Queen of that nation. So it is in theory consolidation of power, in actuality it is a monarch who wants all voices and looks to be towards an area of focus, what that is, the future will tell, but in the end, until the Iran-Saudi Arabia issue is solved, there will be plenty of space for chaos.

In this his path is clear and that is the part the professor did illuminate too. With: “MBS is trying to appeal to young Saudis, who form the majority of the population. His message is one of authoritarian nationalism, mixed with populism that seeks to displace a traditional Islamic hyper-conservatism — which the crown prince believes has choked the country and sapped its people of all dynamism and creativity“, it is his need to create a population that is nationalistic, that sees Saudi Arabia as a place of pride, which is not a bad thing. In a setting where the end of hyper-conservatism, as it can no longer reflect any nation in a global economy, is an essential path. He is merely conservative in not handing out all those large benefits and multi-billion dollar revenue in the hands of opportunists who are eager to take those billions over the border, out of Saudi Arabia at the drop of a hat, any hat. That will drag down the Arabian economy with absolute certainty. A dynamic and creative nation, especially fuelled by youth and enthusiasm could spell several wells of innovation and profit that could benefit Saudi Arabia. I think that the path from hyper-conservatism towards where it needs to be in 2023 is so far well played. He is not there yet, but the path is starting and that is in the end a good thing. The only thing that the US needs to fear now is that the creative and innovation path that Saudi Arabia is on, could spell long term problems for a nation that has been fixated on a iterative technology path where the US is no longer the front runner, they were surpassed by Asia some time ago, the US merely has Apple and Google. Oh no, they do not, because those are proclaimed global corporations. So where does that leave the US?

So as we see Bloomberg (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-22/imf-sees-global-growth-picking-up-as-u-s-tax-cuts-gain-traction) gives us ‘IMF Says Global Growth Picking Up as U.S. Tax Cuts Take Hold‘, which is a number I find overly optimistic, Global growth is set to 3.9%, yet the bad news cycle has not started yet, so I reckon that if the global economy ends at 2.45% it would not be a bad achievement. In that light I find the mention “The IMF also predicted that the tax plan will reduce U.S. growth after 2022, offsetting earlier gains, as some of the individual cuts expire and the U.S. tries to curb its budget deficit“. I believe that the US economy takes a hard hit no later than 2020 and the idea of ‘curb its budget deficit‘ is equally amusing, they have not been able to do that for 15 years and as there is at present every chance that President Trump is a one term president only, the Democrats are now likely to win by large margin and the entire budget curbing would be immediately off the table, because spending is the one thing the democrats have proven to be utter experts in, they merely leave the invoices for others to deal with, which is equally unhealthy for any economy.

And in that article we see exactly the fears that are mounting towards Saudi Arabia too. With “the IMF flagged protectionism, geopolitical tensions and extreme weather as risks to the global economy” we see a new frontal attack starting on protectionism. Mentions like “A reduction of Germany’s surplus would help reduce global imbalances” and it is not one source, hundreds of articles over the last 16 hours alone, all hammering the protectionism word in a bad light. It is now becoming all about trade protectionism, even under the terms of Brexit, we saw on how people were stating that it was a disadvantage, the single market falls away and as such the UK cannot benefit. Now that Brexit is still pushing forward, the IMF is changing their tune and it is now on protectionism and trade protectionism. Another way to state that tariffs and import fees are now a problem, it is the final straw in giving large corporation the push for benefit they need and many are in the States (IBM, Microsoft, 3M and so on), they would benefit and even as I mention Brexit, it also affects Saudi Arabia. As we saw last July: “Being a WTO member, Saudi Arabia is expected to bind its tariffs on over three-fourths of U.S. exports of industrial goods at an average rate of 3.2 percent, while tariffs on over 90 percent of agricultural products will be set at 15 percent or lower“, so the IMF is not merely voicing the fear of the US, it is equally scared that the stimulus backlash is about to his impeding presented global growth, the protectionism and trade protectionism are set to plead for open doors, I wonder if that also means that patent protectionism would have to end. I doubt that because pharmacy is what keeps the US afloat in more than one way, and is not a subject that is allowed to be tinkered in.

So were these insights or speculations?

I believe both the professor and myself were doing both, I admit to that upfront, whilst the professor set it in a text that is acceptable yet should have been raising a few more questions that the Washington Post is bargaining for. We can argue that this is a good thing, but it is my personal belief that even as it was a good and insightful article, in the end all the mention of power hungry and corrupt, in the end he showed no real evidence that this was a move of a power hungry person, especially as the person in question (Prince Mohammed bin Salman) is set to be the future king of Saudi Arabia, the crown prince is at the tip of the pyramid, so he needs not be power hungry. That can only be shown if he starts expansion wars with his neighbours. In addition no evidence is shown of corruption, I do not state that this is not the case, but if you accuse a person of being corrupt it would be nice to add actual evidence of that, which is merely my point of view.

In the end, through insight and speculation, I hope that you got some insights of that and feel free to google ‘IMF protectionism‘ and see how many articles were added in the last week alone. It is clear that Davos is about removing limitations, not actually growing a true economy. Which implies from my point of view is that Davos is about big business and what they need, not what the people desperately require. Consider that when you read about the ‘World Economic Forum Annual Meeting’ and when you see who is present. My mind wonders on how many informal meetings there will be and how Theresa May is likely to get hammered on Brexit issues as Emmanuel Macron, Jean-Claude Juncker, Angela Merkel and perhaps even Donald Trump unite against Brexit. It is an assumption from my side, but at the end of the week, will I be proven wrong?



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How to pay for it?

Yesterday’s news is not new. We have all heard the options, the opposition and the recrimination. Yet the article (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/23/uk-arms-sales-to-saudis-continued-after-airstrike-on-yemen-funeral) gives out more to ask of those who are on the moral ethical high ground and as such we need to make considerations, from within ourselves and towards others choosing for us.

You see, I am not stating that they are wrong, or that there isn’t an issue. We need to ask ourselves whether we should take blame of responsibility of the actions of other governments. So consider the £283m. When we consider the 2017 spring budget, that one sale takes care of the Education and health bill for spring 2017 and potentially leaves us with enough to pay the Debt interest for that quarter. So, what will these campaigners do when they are opted for one (the deal) or the other which would be no health or education money? I always love campaigners who in a downed economy make demands and have no clue or no solution on how to pay for it all. It is a really lovely group of non-deciders in most of the events.

What would I do?

I would happily go to Riyadh with my new BAE business card and sell them whatever systems they need to keep their nation safe. You see, it is the right of any nation to defend their nation. The application of the weapons purchased is up to them. Guns do not kill people, people kill people, it is basic and as I see it the correct dimensionality of a situation.

So when I read “the UK trade secretary, Liam Fox, delayed signing a set of export licences and his officials prepared for sales to Saudi Arabia to be suspended. However, documents obtained by the Guardian revealed that the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, advised him that the sales should continue, as he judged there was no clear risk that British weapons would be used for serious breaches of international humanitarian law“, like Boris Johnson, I see no real issue. The fact that he added: ‘serious breaches of international humanitarian law‘ as a condition was politically fair enough and perhaps a definite essential condition. It seems a little cowardly, but at what point would there be a serious consideration there? Even Iran might not fall into that category, leaving us with only North Korea, Al-Qaeda and ISIS as actual risk factors and we do not deal with these three anyway.

When someone states that I am wrong and there is a clear risk with Saudi Arabia transgressing there, my question would be: ‘Show me that evidence‘. After which I get a lot of speculative mumbo jumbo and no evidence at all. In this day and age we need to consider the choices to select which is fair enough, yet to give rise to campaigners on speculative events whilst they are willing to give silence in the case of Javier Martin-Artajo, Julien Grout and Bruno Iksil, willing to shrug the shoulders and walk away without anger or indignation. Such persons are all about feigned morality because there was no blood. So how many people lost their quality of life for a long time whilst JP Morgan Chase & Co lost £4.7 billion? You think that this was merely printed money, people lost all levels of hard worked gains, pensions, savings and other losses were endured. So as we read in that case “the Department of Justice said it “no longer believes that it can rely on the testimony” of Bruno Iksil, the trader dubbed the London Whale, based on recent statements and writings he made that hurt the case” (source: the Guardian), I feel like this was an orchestrated event. First get the accusations out, make a final thrust for your own acquittal and then write a little more making it all unreliable? Consider not what he lost (stated at 80%), but that he got to keep 20% of some $6m a year (paid more than one year), in addition, whatever the DoJ agreed to in 2013, which might be his house and a few other things. So he got to keep an amount that is exceedingly more than whatever I have made or will make for my entire life, a mere 2 years of his. So as we see about extradition issues, we now see that all three walk away.

This relates to the arms deal as the consequences of that part are merely speculative and it pays for a chunk of the government budget, so I will take a job there willingly any day of the week, presenting the technological marvels of the F-35 JSF missile which can be set to the bulk of the Saudi Arabian fighters. I will gladly take the reduced 1% commission and sell 5,000-10,000 missiles, after which I fly to Egypt and sell a few more. If that gets education and health funded in the UK for the entire year, so much the better! I will sleep like a baby knowing that education and health care are safe and set in stone to be funded. My presentations would be the best stellar presentations of them all. So F.U. (sorry for this instance of Post Enhousiastic Sales Drama) to both Raytheon and Northrop Grumman!

As we can imagine at times we need to take heed (read: listen to) campaigners, when the going was good (20 years ago) and we had several options to take a high moral stance, yet at present with a collapsing NHS, with politicians showing less and less backbone against large corporations on taxation issues, the United Kingdom has a responsibility towards its citizens, not just to keep them safe, but to offer some level of any future. Those campaigners seem to think that money grows on trees and have no idea on how to get things funded; in the UK the UK Labour party is perhaps the most striking evidence of all. As Jeremy Corbyn is now in denial on student debt issues, as he was intentionally vague during the election race. Of course apart from not winning (thank god for that), the realisation that he has no options, no methods and no way to get any level of budget done without raising the current debt by at least 50% and initially projected at 80%, the question becomes, how it would have ever been paid for as people like this, and campaigners against certain paths (read: perhaps for the right ideological reasons) have no way to deal with the national issues. Leaving people with much harsher debts, increased taxation and less social security as it can no longer be paid for.

I am not against ideology, I do not believe that dedicated pacifism is a cowardly stance; it is often quite a brave stance. Yet, it is equally often not a realistic one. We can all go to Hacksaw Ridge and be amazed of the events Andrew Garfield’s character went through, showing us some of what the real Desmond Doss went through, and we can admire his stance and his courage. Yet in the end, without the thousands armed forces in the 77th Infantry division, the battle would have been lost. It does not diminish the actions of this one highly decorated person, I am merely stating that the 77th held its ground and was victorious in the end, yet we should never forget that it is still regarded as the bloodiest battle in the history of WW2, with 50,000 allied lives lost and well over 100,000 Japanese casualties.

We make choices in war and in peace. I believe that every sovereign nation has its rights for defence, we cannot vouch for the articles of war in offense and that is not our responsibility. It is not for the salesperson of equipment to say and even the campaigner for peace needs to realise that there is a stance to take, even if it is a valid choice to oppose offensive actions, we must realise that any self-governing nation can deal with its enemies in the way they seem fit, when it becomes too unacceptable we need to accept that places like the United Nations will take the appropriate actions.

So how is this different?

It should not be, but it is. Ask yourself how you would act. We can always act holier than thou when we can afford it, yet when we are confronted with being hungry or to some degree making a questionable deal that is not criminal, and it is perfectly legal, but we cannot foresee the consequence. Is it still wrong to do it? Consider that we cannot predict the future and this is not merely a legal ‘more likely than not‘. It is about legally acting correct and morally acting optionally questionable, because that is where the stance is. Should we interfere with the right of Saudi Arabia to defend itself and act, or become judging and act towards denying them that right? This is the view I think that the campaigners are not taking correctly, too hastily and in judgement of ‘some’ moral principle. Now, I am not stating that they cannot do that, it is their right and their expression of free will, but in all this, they must also than accept the setting that they will have to voice: ‘We have decided to stop all NHS healthcare and education for the upcoming Autumn 2017, as we stopped the revenue that would have guaranteed it‘, that must then be in equal measure their acceptance in this. I wonder how the doctors, nurses and teachers feel at that point.

In this we now see another part grow. Even as we agree to some extent with the quote of “The terrible funeral bombing should have been a time for reflection and for the UK to reconsider its uncritical political and military support for Saudi Arabia“, we accept that ideologically Andrew Smith, spokesman for Campaign Against Arms Trade has a right and perhaps even a valid point, yet does he?

When we see “‘Incorrect information’ meant hall in Sana’a was mistaken for military target, leading to 140 deaths, says US-backed mission” (source: the Guardian) we need to know a lot more, the actual Intel, the raw data and the decision tree. When we also see “The air operation centre in Yemen, it added, directed a “close air support mission” to target the site without approval from the coalition’s command“, we can argue and question a few issue, yet in all, who authorised the action? How was the coalition command set up? If there was an approval at any level it takes the pilot out of the equation (read: likely he was never a consideration in the first place), so even as we see questions on the actions, even when we read “Dozens of citizens fell as martyrs or were wounded in this attack by planes of the Saudi-American aggression“, whilst the actions of the Houthi rebels are left in silence by too many, including the indiscriminate shelling of places. Any war is a place where it took two to tango, which does not absolve any side of considerations, yet in all I see often a complete lack of complete information, or better stated more precise and more complete information to the extent that was possible. Even now as Yemen is using ballistic missiles attacking a Saudi Oil refinery, as Mines are killing Saudi Soldiers, we see that Yemen remains active, shooting missiles close to 600 miles into Saudi Arabia, so as such, I think that the time of recriminations are over, they have been over for some time. Even now, merely 5 hours ago, we see that Nayef al-Qaysi, governor of the central province of al-Bayda was removed from office because of his ties with Al-Qaeda. Now, the source here is the Miami Herald, and others are voicing pretty much the same article. I cannot state one or the other, yet when we see these events unfold, giving rise to one or the other without proper visible intelligence is not a given. Yet in all this, when we take the original title and make this: ‘UK approved £283m of arms sales to Saudis to fight Al-Qaeda‘ (read: personal merging of different timed facts), at that point how many campaigners would we hear? Can we agree that if Nayef al-Qaysi has ties to Al-Qaeda, they would have been there for some time?

A piece of intelligence that I and perhaps many others would not have had last October, so should I not have sold these weapons to Saudi Arabia? I do not think that I had any valid opposition to not sell and whenever we campaign (even for the best and most valid of reasons) is always a loaded gun and that loaded gun is always aimed at the victims of these actions. In my presented case it would have been the people in need of NHS treatments and students. Any person proclaiming that they have the whole picture is usually lying to you, apart from the General of the Saudi armed forces there would be almost no other person in possessions of all the facts and even then we can state with a certain level of certainty that this person did not have ALL the facts. This is what makes the opposition to any debatable act a dangerous path. We can at best hope for acting in a non-illegal manner and that is exactly what happened in this case. It was a legal transaction, one that was essential for the coffers of the United Kingdom.

We need to learn how to compartmentalise. It is in our best interest to do what is correct and to do what our bosses want of us. When we try to grow beyond that cubicle we tend to speculate on what is best and even if we agree that thinking things through is never a bad thing, unless it is our responsibility we have to act according to our better angels, which means no in opposition of law. Is it not interesting that when that happens, more often than not these actions were greed based and those transgressors should be prosecuted by law, which in the case of hedge funds traders is almost 0%, so if we want ideology, it should be on the evolution of legislation to stop economic exploitation. Yet at that point, how many campaigners remain? I reckon that list slims down a lot, because economic transgressions are not sexy enough, or it is like a happy lottery ticket that nearly everyone wants and in case of Bruno Iksil when it amounts to 20% of many millions, I would love to get that lottery ticket as well, I saw a nice place in Cognac, where I would happily retire to. A mere €850K, which would leave me well over €100K a year to live off for the rest of my life, whilst the house (read: villa) had been paid for. I admit it is a lifestyle I would embrace if it was limited to one questionable, non-illegal act. It will not make me a criminal, merely a person not hiding behind some hypocrite high moral code of conduct.

Until campaigners get in the stage of life on how to pay for their daily meal and proceed on that moral high ground, that is the first step in filtering the actual ideologists from the hypocrites, an essential first step, yet in the end, they too need to accept that some sides of life need to get paid for and they cannot vote to make thousands abstain from essential needs. It is not fair and not pretty but that is the place that deep debts have pushed us all into, the mere acceptance of our to the smallest degree of changed options in upholding any quality of life.


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Despite the missing facts

The UK is in all kinds of shambles, some could have been prevented, some remains unclear and some are just due to the whims of media. So when I saw ‘Britain is leaving the EU – just as Europe is on the up‘ I decided to take a look, because it is ‘on the up‘ that is an issue. Former editor of Le Monde (high quality French newspaper) Natalie Nougayrède gives her views (at https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/18/brexit-europe-eu-golden-decade-merkel-macron) with illustration and all. Yes, it is the image that shows how far away the UK is. Of course the article starts with Helmut Kohl, there is nothing like the death of a politician to milk the issue as much as you can. Yet it is the quote “Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron are, as Britain prepares to leave, readying their ambitions and vision for the continent“. Is that so? Leave it to a former investment banker to shed his skin like a serpent on the change of any wind. Didn’t he promise certain hard changes? We can tell you now that this is a change he did not keep, which is not that much of a surprise. You see, the people who would not give him the light of day are now talking the talk he comprehends. Credit Agricole Group, BNP Paribas, Society Generale, Natixis. Yes ,as president of France these people will now call on him, woe him and explain on the need of the gravy train. Yes, Emmanuel Macron will definitely show a few more changes before the year is out. It is the next quote that should scare the French and not by a little bit. with “The thinking goes like this: in the next two to three years, as France carries out structural economic reforms to boost its credibility, Germany will step up much-needed European financial solidarity and investment mechanisms, and embrace a new role on foreign policy, security and defence.” With ‘boost its credibility‘ can be pushed in deeper debt. So as France is currently well over 2.2 trillion euro in debt, that debt could be even greater, which is good for the earlier mentioned banks, but for the freedom of the French people it is not that great a move. and why do we see: ‘embrace a new role on security and defence‘? France has a clear need to embrace more security and safety for France and the French, yet the need of adaptation of a new role implies a consolidated European army which is not just counterproductive, it could spell a dangerous waste of trillions of euro’s all over Europe. The biggest issue is however “Europe’s economic situation has improved. Unemployment in the Eurozone is at its lowest since 2009 (but still at 9.5%). Growth has returned. Mario Draghi, the head of the European Central Bank, speaks of “a solid and broad recovery”“, which is an issue on more than one front. First by his own view, Mario Draghi gives us: “inflation in the currency area sank to 1.4 per cent, which is below the bank’s target, although Mr Draghi said “deflation risks have definitely gone away”“, which is part of the story, the Swedish Nyhetsbanken gives us: ““The ECB is essentially in a holding pattern”, said Patrick O’Donnell, a fund manager with Aberdeen Asset Management in London“, which also giving us the goods with: “We expect the European Central Bank to announce in September, when new forecasts will be available, that tapering will begin in January as deflation risks have vanished“. This is all nice, yet it is all linked to Mario Draghi increasing the debt to Europe by 60 billion Euro’s every month, the total should increase the total debt by close to 2 trillion Euro over the two waves of ‘easing’, so when you see ‘economic situation has improved’, the question is for who did the situation improve? The European quality of life is far below what it was in 2008 for roughly 99.999456% of the people of Europe.

Interesting how Natalie Nougayrède skates around that part and with the German-France union. So, should we see this as perhaps a Union of the Somme, or perhaps the Merger of Artois? We can agree that ‘Europe’ would like to continue without the UK and they would want to steer in a direction that gives them the best options. Yet the clarity of denial, that claims are made whilst none of the governments in the EU can keep a decent budget, whilst they are all in deficit and France in truly deep debt. Whilst Greece is still bleeding all over the place, and on top of that Mario Draghi is printing 60,000,000,000 euro’s every month with no value against it. In all this we see more denial of events. So when I see the quote “But in recent discussions with European experts and officials, I heard the following comment: “A golden decade may be dawning for Europe.” A new narrative is in the air“, a golden dawn for whom? The banks, the exploiters? I would like to see the names of those officials and politicians. I am certain that those names will remain absent. It will be from people who are already wealthy beyond normal and this gravy train is fuelling their golden future day after day, whilst the serious reality is that for those retiring in the next 20 years, they will not have anything left, they are more than not in danger of having to work until their dying day.

So as we see the end of the article with “After a decade of crisis, Europe may now be pulling out of it. More British awareness of this might help avert bad choices.“, yes there are plenty aware of what is presented, yet as nobody seems to be able to muzzle Mario Draghi, as he keeps on pushing Europe into deeper debt whilst the offset is not seen in the presentation ‘Europe’s economic situation has improved‘, many people are getting more and more weary of the issue ‘what else are we being kept in the dark about?‘ This is important because the mistrust is actually growing. The media seems to be all about aiding those who advertise, giving rise to more misinformation. Yet the clear article that shows the whole picture is missing. Even here, in my blog the article is incomplete (and I actually admit to that), because the issue has grown beyond the mere image we can see. We can go to the art-house and watch the painting, but the wood behind the painting, what keeps up the image is not shown, so as the painting is geared again and again with more wood, with more nails and with more support, the people do not see that the painting is gaining weight more and more. The cost of that reinforcement is hidden from view whilst the image it supports remains the same, losing value day after day. Whilst a work of art increases in value, the paining is merely the view from our own window, the value resides with the person looking at it. So look out of your window, it does not matter which window, now consider that the actual value of the view lowers by 0.1% every day, how long until you feel that the house you own does not offer the view you paid for? Now consider that your house has a view valued at £0, what will you lose when you try to sell it? In France houses fell in value to 25% according to some. So as your house lost that, it means that you must keep on living there, which is of course not necessarily a bad thing when you have a nice house in Cognac, yet what happens when the place is in need of repairs, with a full mortgage whilst the value decreased 25%. Can you still repair your place? That is the danger we are in as retirement approaches for millions. The part that Natalie Nougayrède ignores as she probably has a really nice place, perhaps more than one. For tens of thousands of French, living in Cognac (16100) is a dream hat will never become a reality. That whilst the debt of France only increases, and that whilst the European non elected players are increasing the total EU debt whilst maximising the national debts of its members. It is only the board members of the banks that have reasons to smile. That is France and the UK is in a place that is not dissimilar. As people in the UK are pushed towards an anger over a building on fire, as they are outraged over what happens in Finsbury Park. You see, this all matters as it is the first true extremist action from a non-Muslim to a Muslim in London. The air is definitely changing, but not for the better and Europe could be a cauldron of extreme violence from several sides. So as we see and revisit “A European Defence fund is now being discussed, notably for joint procurement efforts” as well as “embrace a new role on foreign policy, security and defence” we need to ask, with what money? As I read it, it seems that some politicians are spending certain funds three times over, implying that debt will rise three times faster. Or perhaps it will be taken out of the national defence budgets? That should go over well when the national defence equipment breaks down whilst pushing the funds into some virtual non military defence setting. It should make any nation more secure! (read: sarcasm in action). Oh as for those needed security upgrades like from Palantir and whatever Raytheon IIS seems to be cooking up at present. So where are these billion dollar plus events getting funding from? So we might think that there is an upbeat to Europe, which would be nice, how good is that view when you contemplate the missing elements and those are just the ones I mention. I am not the European gatekeeper, so there are several issues on both sides of the isle I have not even considered myself.

In the end, I feel that the people of Europe will get a very ruse awakening in January 2018 when the total ludicrous spending by Mario Draghi is set in its complete lighting. At that point will you still feel happy? So as you consider that, consider the reason I mentioned Greece earlier. When we read: “ECB needs ‘more clarity’ on debt relief to buy Greek bonds” (source: Reuters). So as the ECB is buying the Greek debt, or perhaps better stated, invest into Greece and its inability to push the economy in a positive forward momentum. Is this a good or a really really bad investment? Don’t get me wrong, I am happy to aid the Greeks to get some relief, but as the Greek government let the culprits of the debt fiasco walk free with their millions, why should non-Greeks pay for that? So when you see “The European Central Bank needs more clarity on what kind of debt relief Greece will get from its international creditors if it is to buy Greek government bonds as part of its monetary stimulus program“. What stimulus? How will the Greek economy get any level of incentive whilst the creditors are still due billions? How misguided is the action (in light of the proclaimed reason)? And of course the IMF will get involved meaning that Wall Street will start giving out ‘advice’ soon thereafter. These steps are just beyond acceptable as the laws of prosecution against the transgressors are stopped and made toothless. So as Europe ‘embraces‘ wave after wave of additional debt, do you still think that the European economy is on the up, or was not listening to the UK a really bad idea? For France it is now too late. As Emmanuel Macron embraces the limelight with Angela Merkel the French will soon see that even as Marine Le Pen was never a given good, at least she was intent of getting France away from the Financial Vultures. Whomever thought that Marine Le Pen was an unacceptable idea, might feel to be on the political moral high ground, yet when their house depletes their value, those persons will not be allowed to complain. They set up the dropped value and accepted the terms of dissolving their value. In this I could have been incorrect only when the ECB did not decide to push quantative easing into play at sixty billion per month. And that is only if clear economic upturn could be proven, yet that too is not the case, it only seems that way when taking the QE out of the balance book. At best the European economy is merely stable at 0%, which means that it is going down by 60 billion a month (plus interest). An element I only mention at the very end because that part is not a clear given and even at 0.1% that requirement grows by 60 million per month, an amount that could have clearly solved a few European issues, and as that also grown by the same amount every month, what other solutions will need to get scrapped?

It is possible that I too missed a few facts, yet did I miss any on the positive side of it all? So at best me missing elements will show the situation to be worse, far worse.

So happy Monday to you and if you feel like hanging yourself, www.cheaprope.co.uk will have what you need, just not want you want.



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