Tag Archives: Der Spiegel

Democracy is dead

If there is one thing that the UK situation showed is the mere fact that not only is democracy dead, the question becomes has it even existed in the last 10 years? The fact that bullying and harassment are now the core uses of the media in facilitation towards power players (not even the political players) is at the heart of it all.

What started as an actual discussion became a trodden lane of smear campaigns and misstated innuendo. In the end a golden cage is still a prison, no matter how you slice it and even as the UK is all over the place, I do hope that they realise that they are about to become part of an additional 3 trillion in debt. The part that the media has refused to look into for the longest of times, the mindless spending by Mario Draghi and now a mere two hours ago we are confronted with “some economists argue that rapid technological development keeps a lid on prices, forcing central banks to exhaust their firepower fighting an economic paradigm shift, and leaving them with few tools for the next downturn“.

How does that relate?

Part of an issue I mentioned yesterday was (source: CNN) “Europe’s third biggest economy has suffered years of anaemic growth, high unemployment and budget deficits, while neighbours such as Germany and the U.K. have enjoyed a stronger recovery from the global financial crisis” at present the forecast is that the economy will rise by 0.2% less, giving a setting that is close to stagnant. In addition, even with the news from yesterday, we also now see: “Italian Economy Minister Giovanni Tria is pushing the parties in the governing coalition to keep next year’s budget deficit below 2 percent of output, sources close to the dossier said on Monday, lower than the party leaders have indicated so far“, as well as the part I mentioned last week as the article (at https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-europe-view-friday/daily-briefing-italian-debt-yields-get-stretched-idUKKCN1LG0T2) was giving me “Fitch is due to provide the latest evaluation of Italy’s creditworthiness with national debt standing at 130 percent of GDP. The Italian-German bond yield spread is already at its highest since 2013 – a downgrade will widen it further and make Italy’s borrowing even more expensive“, there was an overall loss of faith, yet we are now treated to ““The actual rating wasn’t lowered, and anyone who follows Italy closely will know that a lowered outlook for the future should be taken with a grain of salt because so much of the political situation can change so quickly,” Alessandro Polli, an economic statistics researcher with Rome’s La Sapienza University” and when we add Bloomberg (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-09-03/italian-bonds-get-a-respite-as-fitch-affirms-credit-rating) with: “Basically the politician with the greatest clout is saying Italy will remain within the 3 percent deficit band“, which is not only 1% deficit more, it is also an initial indication (indication mind you) that the 2% deficit marker is now more and more likely not the be a feasible one. But in all this, it would all rely on Germany and now we see the play, the EU and ECB are desperate to thwart UK democracy, because without it there is no euro, no Eurozone and no options remain and big business is willing to betray 65 million people to keep their cushy 7-8 figure income jobs, they are willing to do that at the drop of a hat, any hat.

The political players let the media be the facilitator for big business, first the banks, then tech companies and now the car industry. One by one fear mongering until the people got too scared and according to the Independent, 2.6 million people jumped ship and decided the swim to remain. So the new UK lyrics become ‘Ruled Brittannia, Brittania is the bitch! We shall never never ever trust in Fitch‘.

We get that to the setting of ‘Fitch ratings review gives reprieve to Italian govt bond yields‘ (source: Reuters). It is seen with: “Italian bond yields edged lower on Monday after Fitch left its credit rating unchanged at BBB, revising only its outlook to negative, though mixed news flow from senior ministers and manufacturing PMI data due later this morning could mean the rally is short-lived, analysts said” where we need to focus on ‘manufacturing PMI data due later this morning‘ which gives me that the rating was done ‘just in time‘ to avoid having to lower it, which implies to me that it was not a reprieve, merely the application of time management to force an upped rating. In that regards, when we see that and the UK realise that the EU barge cannot be stable, not with only one solid anchor, we get to see the equation where the UK becomes the force anchor to keep the EU dinghy from sinking on the spot. So as the industry will see ‘assurances’ of their value protection from the ECB. You see when we look at Section 9.4.5 of Part II of the AnaCredit Reporting Manual (this is about to become a massive leap of speculation on my side), we get to see:

If the appraisal aims to estimate the spot value taking into consideration market conditions, then “market value” is reported; on the other hand if the appraisal aims to estimate the market value ignoring cyclical factors, then “long-term sustainable value” is reported

Now consider that the UK is in Brexit and the Italian economy is rated down, when we now consider “APP holdings, Purchases of marketable debt instruments increase the Euro system holdings of such instruments and inject liquidity into the banking system“, we would see that under those conditions the entire ‘expanded asset purchase programme‘ would have to stop as per immediately and that is what the members of the ECB do not want to do, no matter how useless their exercise is and still seems to be regarded as (by critical outside minds). As I personally see it, the reported net acquisition of €24 billion a month, will need to stop before the current held holdings of €2.51 trillion might end up being regarded as dumped value, the setting of a ‘bad mortgage’ write-off. And do you think that this bad ‘mortgage’ is suddenly whisked away? Nope the outstanding amount becomes a taxpayer’s debt to deal with and without the UK the other players get a nightmare amount to deal with and that is what none of the 27 members want.

Now in all this I will be accused of comparing apples to oranges and that would be correct, yet what those people are (intentionally) forget to mention of illuminate that the ECB is a fruit vendor in all this. They are not the apple sales person or the banana (republic) sales vendor. In all this the ECB does not get to compartmentalise any of it. They bought 3,000,000,000 barrels of fruit at €1,000 each, so when some of these barrels contains rotten fruit, it becomes their loss, not the salesperson who they bought it from and as the barrels were unattended for the longest of times, more barrels and larger portions of every barrel become infected increasing loss over time to amounts too large to even contemplate. So, when the Italian shipper and the French shipper state: You bought it, it’s yours now; they will have no defence. In this it is the British supermarket that they need to buy some of these worthless goods or they go belly up and that is what they deserved in all this.

They should have sold the stock a year ago and stop purchasing those barrels of fruit and they are still buying junk fruit. And when we were treated to the earlier mentioned ‘manufacturing PMI data‘, when we see that it was reported down from 51.50 to 50.10, in the setting where highest was 59.00 and lowest was 48.00. So when we see the Trading Economics report and when we focus on that part and see the statement: “The reading pointed to the weakest pace of expansion in the manufacturing sector since a contraction in August 2016, as new orders fell for the first time in two years and output posted the first decline in over three years. In addition, employment growth was the weakest recorded in nearly two years and expectations slumped to the lowest since May 2013 amid concerns over future global trading conditions, particularly in relation to the US” is there any doubt on orchestration? This was done to stretch the game, not truly act on the reported value, if that was done the setting of ‘BBB’ could not have been maintained, it should have been dropped to ‘BBB-‘ (my speculated view). So whilst we think we are being told the truth, in my personal opinion, we are sold a bag of goods, because that is how the game is players and we are all being duped, just like in 2008, I would have thought that those players had learned their lesson, but apparently they did not and I truly believe that the UK needs to get out before that tidal wave hits them. When it does and they were still in that boat, they get to lose it, to drown just like the other players. So if all else fails, I hope that those players grow a set of gills, because they will need them and right quick at that point.

All this wheeling and dealing gives me the impression that the people are merely offer the choice between poor and destitute, I wonder if any of them can tell the difference from this point onwards. Oh, and if you think that I am kidding there, consider Greece that is under all that oversight. And only 12 hours ago, the Greeks decided to strand all the tourists on a strike. so as we see “Members of the union are reportedly seeking a 5 per cent increase for ferry crews, a request which they claim is long overdue as pay has remained static for eight years“, which now has two impacts. The first is that “affect around 180,000 people who have booked travel to and from some of Greece’s most popular tourist destinations“, who will optionally infect another 600,000 tourists not to consider Greece in 2019. In addition the fact that those people are demanding an additional 5%, because ‘pay has remained static for eight years‘, then those Greeks better wake up, because static incomes will be the cornerstone of their life for perhaps another 15 years. that is the long term effect of austerity, that is the impact of that massive a debt, so tax breaks are basically a thing of the past for them and the UK is still steering to a similar setting, that €3 trillion will make of that very clearly and it will over time affect all 27 member states to some degree, likely to Germany the most. In this, the Politician and environmentalist Nikos Chrysogelos has even more to deal with. the man is correct on all counts, yet until the Greeks are willing to strangle these dangers by installing Singaporean like methods (like a €500 fine for any environmental transgression) the tourists (and to some degree the people) will not change and the Greek islands will transform into an open sewer soon enough.

These are all issues that will impact the citizens of other member nations in some form or another; the impact of long term austerity and short term thinking. It will be about “some sustainable model of tourism” soon enough, but that also implies one thing. It implies that people will still be able to afford a vacation, because that group is actually shrinking and the economic upset that Europeans are currently facing makes that issue a non-option to at least some degree. That evidence was seen earlier with ‘forcing central banks to exhaust their firepower‘, so when that stagnation shifts to downturn the economic hurt will be on all over Western Europe and the ECB will have 1-2 options reserved for themselves and their ‘friends’; and the people in Europe? Well, who cared about them anyway?

So in all it is not merely the economy for the now in all this. The setting is also the backwash from the consequences we see in Saudi Arabia. Canada, Sweden and Germany are all losing business in Saudi Arabia. Let’s be honest, we see that Iran is their enemy; we see that there is more and more evidence that Iran is facilitating missiles for Yemen, who are then fired on Riyadh. All this whilst the EC nations are bending over backwards to keep a nuclear deal alive that is quite honestly not worth the paper it was printed on and they expect to rake in billions in Saudi Arabia as well, whilst criticising Saudi Arabia at almost every turn. So as I am contemplated (read fantasising) on “an $11 billion arms deal between Saudi Arabia and Canada may be scrapped“; and how I could optionally sell that deal to a few alternative players (for a 1% commission). Whilst at the same time we see the quote “To German news outlet Der Spiegel, an unidentified businessman said, “For Germans, the doors in Riyadh have suddenly been closed” here I see a few non-European options as well (the 1% commission still applies) and when I see “Saudi Arabia is Sweden’s fourth largest recipient of arms outside the EU with sale totals in 2014 reaching approximately $39 million“, I see an opportunity to consider talks to get that shifted to perhaps a ‘Northrop Grumman X-47A Pegasus‘ consideration and perhaps even more, once the abilities are confirmed. Of course for all the extra work I will be taking an additional 1% on top of the 1%, so in all this, the European Hypocrisy works well for me, providing that Wesley G. Bush is still taking my calls, or I will have to postpone that deal and start wining and dining Kathy Warden (at her expense, it is an emancipated world after all) and she might be hungry for the setting of an additional 200 million, especially as the doors to Sweden and Germany are closed. All economic settings that are clear to all and clearly visible to all, so in all that, how are we not seeing that there is an increasing realisation that economic stagnation is closer to mere millimetres away from an actual economic downturn.

All elements that will hit the UK one way or another, because if it took this little to get the economy down with the smallest of efforts on two EU nations by up to 1%, how unstable do you think that the EU economy was in the first place? You see, the ECB ‘forcing central banks to exhaust their firepower‘ is one without firepower and options, making it merely a logistic system administrating €3 trillion of debt. So how desperate do they need the UK and how dim sum is the view that being a ‘remain’ member will make their lives easier? When everyone around you says: ‘Stay with us, or else‘, how much does who need who in the end?

Consider the truth there, if it was such a bad deal for the UK and a good one for Europe, do you think that the bullying and harassment would have been this severe? Until the EU and the ECB stops facilitating for the large corporations, you need to realise that those ‘facilitating’ are merely ‘tools’ trying to get a ticket on the next gravy train and those rides always cost the taxpayer and most often way more than acceptable.

 

1 Comment

Filed under Finance, Media, Politics

The German mirror that does not show

Ever since the event took place, the news, the gossip and the untold stories that are set without direction have been all over the internet. Der Spiegel (at http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/germany-knew-terrorist-was-dangerous-but-failed-to-stop-him-a-1128423.html) start their version with ‘Why Did Germany Fail to Stop Terrorist?‘ with the by-line ‘authorities identified Anis Amri as a potential terrorist threat months ago‘. This sounds nice and plenty accusing yet on what premise? Der Spiegel gives a timeline. Wanted in Tunisia for stealing a truck (2011), convicted for battery and arson. Yet at this point Der Spiegel ads the threat he gave ‘I’ll cut your head off. That is pretty much all they have on him. He had changed his identity to Ahmad Zaghoul. The German view is after this shown to be flawed as some substitute papers ID papers came without a photo. Still, none of this screams terrorist, because the amount of teenagers shouting similar words go into the 7 figure numbers, especially on Friday night. There was too much superficial information, so when we see: “Germany’s interior ministry is seeking to overhaul the country’s security apparatus“, I am very willing to state: “an overhaul when there is no clear evidence that it could have been prevented, whilst the intelligence players know the issues with lone wolves and with mere loons is a matter of greater concern than the German interior ministry realises“, I wonder if Thomas de Maizière, the minister mentioned in the Guardian has other motives in this, because he has been around long enough to know this. It is not the question Der Spiegel posed in the headline, it is the fact that they knew that the entire matter is staged in a ludicrous notion. So when we look at the quote: “chain of errors led to the deaths of 12 innocent people in Berlin shortly before Christmas” seems to have been inserted for dramatic reference. Yet the opposite comes to light. You see even with my limited knowledge could have acted and caused a lot more casualties than 12 death and 48 wounded. This brings out the issue that is in play, as I personally see it Der Spiegel is leaving its readers with a story, a fairy tale, a scary one, like the Grimm brothers would tell it. The second part is given by the Financial times with ‘De Maizière calls for German security overhaul to counter terrorism‘ (at https://www.ft.com/content/2c03bed2-d1ad-11e6-9341-7393bb2e1b51). The Financial Times are not the ones trying to bring you anything deceptive, yet the quotes: “an overhaul of the country’s security apparatus, centralising more powers in a contentious response to last month’s Berlin terrorist attack“, “The reforms put forward by Thomas de Maizière would take power from the regions, replacing their domestic intelligence services with a single national agency” and “But Mr de Maizière’s plans follow renewed concern that Germany’s security network is too fragmented and allows potential terrorists to avoid surveillance, including possibly the chief suspect in the Berlin assault“. So in this day and age, a system that actually works in Germany is now overhauled because of one incident? This reads like the resetting of limelight positions. I personally believe that the 16 fragments had a good view on what was happening in their region. Now Germany would need centralisation, data systems that are centralised meaning that cyber security would be a rather large issue and the 16 fragments would not get the access they had in the past, if so there are additional cyber concerns. All these amounting issues because of one case and the clear evidence is given in the shape of ‘ISIL released a video of Amri pledging allegiance to the terror group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi‘, the fact that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant had the video gives rise to Anis Amri being a terrorist, yet with the fact that there were only 12 fatalities, was this a failed attack? Consider another fact. The one part that makes sense is the question Der Spiegel gives “How he became radicalized under the eyes of German security officials“. The question becomes, did he become radicalised, or was he self-radicalised? A failed person, a small time criminal (car thief) who seems to have grown on the lower edge of the crime scale. After all that hopping around a mere 11 casualties. The amount of travelling he did to get into Milan is equally a question. Now, I started by giving rise to the question whether he was a terrorist. I had to get through the motions with you. I needed to create some doubt. That doubt is still there, yet another part of this is not in question. For this we need to take a look at what Sky News got from the German police. The quote “A police official says German authorities knew of 14 different identities used by Berlin Christmas market attacker Anis Amri” (at http://www.skynews.com.au/news/world/europe/2017/01/06/police-say-berlin-attacker-used-14-identities.html). The question here is whether he went by 14 different names, like some teenagers do so that they can bed more women from the same college (or a fence dealing with different clients)? Did he have papers for these 14 separate identities? The second one is now the issue, you see, this now implies that there is a support structure in place. Not unlike the video on Heavy.COM, which I discussed in my blog ‘Homerun by UKIP‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2016/05/01/homerun-by-ukip/) where we see ‘a music video directed to recruit ISIS’ Turkish sympathizers‘.

Now we have the new situation, as the video could be made with a simple smartphone, forwarded to a place where the minions of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi could download it and show it if such a wannabe or lone wolf makes a successful run. Mass marketing on an explosive ‘no cure, no acknowledgement’ foundation; the new methodology! In all this we need to recognise that Der Spiegel was all about the emotion and in some cases some of the information was made visible after the article was published, still plenty of facts have been missing and some statements are questionable. Were the speculated trips he took via Nijmegen and Lyon planned? Were they desperation or were they guided? In fact that part is extremely important, especially if it turns out that people like him have a support system that stays far behind the screens. The speculation becomes a lot more reliable if Anis Amri had papers for some of those 14 identities. Too many unknowns and more important, there is absolutely no evidence that the overhaul of German security and Intelligence will get any better with centralisation and there is plenty of experience around to see that the data quality take a massive dive as data systems get merged.

As I see it, the German political objective is getting in the way of the requirements of an efficient system and even if we accept that some level of centralisation is needed, until there is a clear path of how to resolve the refugee issues, align the logistics of a million refugees all over the place, making larger changes does not seem to be any solution. That is a given certainty. with Thomas de Maizière giving his ‘desires‘ to the Deutsche Welle we see the following: “more responsibilities for Germany’s federal police force“, “central tracking and investigation responsibilities“, “supplementary enforcement jurisdiction for residency termination” as well as “capable of truly recording all movement across the external borders“. There are a few more but let’s look at those another day. The first one makes perfect sense, as does the third one. It is the second one that seems to be not the greatest idea when we consider the issues involved, the path of changes and as stated the data. The fourth one makes sense to some degree, yet there are too many issues with that one, and I am not taking that one apart here.

In all this the German mirror (Der Spiegel) is not showing us all the parts and more important the reflection they bring is very incomplete, some parts make sense, but not all the missing parts, with all the ‘honest’ revelations we saw Der Spiegel bring regarding Edward Snowden and Julian Assange, they seem to be off their game a fair bit this time. I wonder why!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, IT, Media, Military

Rerumphobia

Somewhere between merry old England and joie de vivre France are islands, there are a few there and some actually have a population that exceeds the number of sheep (so you know it is not New Zealand we are talking about). The island has roughly 66,000 people, making it smaller than the total size of the Australian Defence Force and less people than Boston, Lincolnshire, meaning that merry old England has 304 cities larger than the population of this island.

Now that you have this collection of conversation starters, let’s get to the gritty of it all. The place I am referring to is Guernsey, a beautiful location that is caught between the island where you can order tripe with mint sauce and the main land that serves Steak Tartar. I was starting my browser to get a daily view of the Guardian and this is what got my initial attention ‘Guernsey chief minister defends anti-racism comments‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/feb/09/guernsey-jonathan-le-tocq-defends-anti-racism-comments-islamophobia).

Jonathan Le Tocq, Chief Minister of Guernsey stated, according to ITV “they could meet many of the necessary UN requirements, such as education provision, they would not be able to guarantee the security of refugees if they came to the Bailiwick“. The paraphrase is not incorrect Jonathan stated: “…not be targeted or excluded, we’re not there and sadly that’s not possible”, this is a direct pragmatic statement.

In my view, a few players have missed the boat by a lot, let me explain. We have seen news, from nearly all sides. The quote “The protracted plight of these refugees has become an international security issue as terrorist groups have recruited from refugee camps“, which comes from Jill Goldenziel, a Harvard PHD, her article ‘Refugees and International Security‘ starts on page 3 of the attachment at the end of the article. She follows that quote with “These crises thus highlight the limits of the international refugee management system” So not only do they not know who has been going all over Europe, there is absolutely no way to know how many ISIS martyrs will be entering any given nation. That is not a scare issue, it is not an attempt to create fear; it is a visible established fact, a fact that has resonated all over the world and not just by the intelligence community. So in this case, it is Jonathan Le Tocq who brings the valid concerns here. He is more than just a man who will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of his 27th birthday next month (March 4th if you want to send him a birthday card at: Sir Charles Frossard House,  La Charroterie,  St Peter Port,  Guernsey,  GY1 1FH,  Channel Islands). He is chief Minister of an Island that is on the 305th place within the UK for population size, if we see The Right Honourable Jonathan as the Minister Chef of the Commonwealth Island of Guernsey he is not in the 305th position, he would slide down the list in a massive way.

So, can anyone show me a list of cities higher on the UK population list, with next to that name the number of refugees they have taken in? You see, Guernsey, Jersey and a few other islands have a massive problem. When things escalate, by the time help arrives, the population of that island could be decimated. When you consider the thought that this is just paranoia, consider the two attacks in Paris, a city with massive police power was left near powerless for too long a time, so how will an island with 146 policing  members deal with a threat like that? More protection? With what money?

Let’s not forget that we tend to trivialise the police at times, whilst laughing at ‘the Thin Blue Line’, we all know that the police is a lot more than Det. Insp. Derek Grim trying to defuse the threat of ‘dratsuc’, yet people deny the direct deadliness of extremism as people looked away when a French Muslim policeman Ahmed Merabet got gunned down in cold blood by extremists, because he was protecting the French people and their freedom of speech. In equal measure there is the internal fear that a wave of panic could hit the population, lashing out unjustly. None of these facts point towards racism. Fear is a strange bedfellow, causing no good wherever it is, but in all this there is the reality of that what is, so can we see the list of the 304 larger places in the UK, with the number of refugees they have taken in?

Let’s also acknowledge that 99.999% of these refugees are real refugees seeking a way out of hell, a way towards decent sleep and decent food, but over 60,000 refugees that this means that there are 60 potential terrorists. The two attacks in France only required 11 assailants, as 34,000 police agents (over 15 districts) were too late in all the points of attack. So where does the Guernsey police stand? No matter how well Patrick Rice has his ducks in a row, with a force of 134 there is a risk and it was the responsibility of Jonathan Le Tocq to voice this.

So when we see many sources that there is “Islamophobia” on Guernsey they are not correctly voicing all of the facts. For any Christian place to state there is no “Islamophobia”, in my view that state is clearly lying, we all, have forever feared the unknown. To voice this, let me ask you a question (providing you are over 33), ‘Give me three differences between Shia Islam and Sunni Islam‘, if you know that, then ask yourself, did you know this on September 10th 2001? This comes from the award winning TV series ‘the Newsroom’, but the truth is clear, non-Islam earth for the most did not have a clue regarding Islam before that fateful day. Since that moment religious extremism (not just Islamic) has been on the rise on a global scale. In my view, the political failing to make the hard calls that need to be made are still a worry today. The humanitarian tsunami has shown that an open Europe brought massive problems and the dislodgement of millions of people is draining resources and stopping actual solutions to be implemented. This means that the fear of the unknown will hit many places and isolated easier and more intense. It does not make the people of Guernsey phobic, it does make the media at large hypocritical as it played the fear card for spinning, exploitation and scaremongering for too long, in all this the readers got caught in the middle. An example is shown (at http://www.smh.com.au/comment/terror-scaremongering-threatens-our-democracy-20140919-10jcxq.html), here we see that the 2014 rehashing of all the events show that the 2005 events were massively out of focus. The quote “The evidence in the lengthy court proceedings that culminated in a Supreme Court trial in 2008 showed nothing of the sort. The reference to the Westgate Bridge had been taken out of context and was completely innocent. There was simply no evidence of a plot to blow up Flinders Street station, and the reference to the MCG was in the context of a vague conversation between two of the accused“, in addition we see “The case against these men was put by the prosecution on the basis that they did not have a terrorist target and that they had no plan in place to commit a terrorist act. Christine Nixon’s phrase, “imminent terrorist attack”, was simply wrong“, in itself this might not be seen as evidence, but the clarity is still overwhelming. We fear what we do not understand, and not many comprehend Islam, which impacts all around. So the issue from Guernsey is still there, there is still a need to address the fear, which will not happen overnight. Yet as the press gives us that Guernsey is shown as an isolated case, would Steven Morris be so kind to give us a list of the 304 larger cities and the amount of refugees they are taking in? I did like the video that Steven Morris did put online with the view of the local populous, ‘the majority are not‘, which is very true, but a tinderbox can start with as little as two people and on 78 square kilometres, 135 people (one police commissioner and his blue minions) won’t have too many options soon thereafter, no matter in what direction the escalation went.

Let’s be clear here, I expect the chance to be so extremely low that it is not funny, but can any of the officials on Guernsey take that chance?

That is the one element people forget, you see Australia might be an ‘island’, but with 132,000 km of possible beachfront property, that little ‘island’ has a circumference equalling three times the earth. Unless you actually lived on an island (the size of Guernsey), the issue of island safety tends to elude us all. A side not clearly shown in the article, or by a massive amount of sources for that matter.

In the end, the clear refugee registration failure is part of all this. The nations of entry have missed the ball on a Titanic scale here which, under the sheer amount of refugees is not that much of a surprise, but it does give the UK now its own set of problems. Which gets us to one of the other reasons we get from being an island. ‘A lack of infrastructure and support services to help them‘, is not just a valid issue, it is a massively large one.

So as we await the list of 304, lets contemplate the wisdom of places a clearly limited group in the one place where they end up getting isolated from the other refugees (the 99.99999% that will not be placed on Guernsey), does that step make any sense at all? to end all this, lets shine a little light on a Guardian article from November 19th 2015 (at http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/nov/19/syrian-refugees-in-america-fact-from-fiction-congress), there at the end we see “Since 2012, the US has accepted 2,174 Syrian refugees – roughly 0.0007% of America’s total population“, the article does show that the UK is staying behind in all this, which is not a good thing, but the UK is an Island, it comes with a setback, yet compare this now with the mainland (the graphic at the end of the article is very illuminating). Nations like France, Norway and Poland might not have done a lot, but they are on par with the ENTIRE United States of America, the fact that a nation like the Netherlands has taken 260% of what the USA has accepted makes the Guernsey debate a joke! That flaming, below sea-level, clog wearing nation called the Netherlands, a nation that is roughly 65% the size of the state of West Virginia, so shall we ignore the issue that is exaggerated regarding Guernsey and look at the issues why this is a global problem (apart from the valid reason of registration)?

So for those moving to Guernsey enjoy the fact that the weather at St. Peter Port will be a high between 5 and 14 degrees Celsius, so those people will face a few more shocks, not just cultural ones. Rerumphobia, ‘the fear of facts’. The final part to consider is the price tag. This costs, which no one ignores. That is a good thing, yet of all the options Jonathan, the words we could go broke was not one of them. So when you look at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-guernsey-35546424, consider that these numbers have been known for a little while now. So as tourism goes down, business visitors down by 39%, what do you think will happen next to those missing out? What will happen to the Guernsey business on that scale? In addition Tourism is set to be down by 7.8%, how will that impact retail? All elements that are a reality, when we see ‘Der Spiegel’ reporting “Some mayors have cancelled the contracts of tenants in publicly owned apartments in order to house refugees“, which is not the whole story, but a reported fact, we realise that Germany is in a decent economical position, with plenty of space, yet the pressure that 500K refugees are pressing on a population of 80 million, gives us that 0.00625%. So here we are, not confronted by “Islamophobia”, but with the underlying issues, of resources and needs, which will pressurise any situation.

As I said, let’s see how many refugees the larger 304 locations of the UK are taking on, before we start accusing smaller places by taking text out of context.

 

goldenziel_refugees_and_international_security__2010

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Media, Politics, Religion

Let’s dance (part 2)

I promised to get back to the game of Finance, to some it is called 50 shades of Greece, to some it is called the work of Atë, yet I see it as the result of a cloud of Stupidity, Inactions and Desolation. Without massive changes Greece will end up without any future left.

This is not some prediction, because the nation is bankrupt, or in default or even in a bad place. You see, whatever ‘promise’ that comes from any of the banks, power players or politicians, throwing money at something that is inert and unproductive is just waisted money. The Juncker speech of three days ago (at http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_SPEECH-15-5274_en.htm), gives us all those politically correct words, with the quote “And a deal could also have ensured that we, the Commission, could go ahead with a package for a ‘new start for jobs and growth’ package of 35 billion euro to help the Greek economy get back on track“, so that sounds nice, but that is not even close to the factual issue as I see it. If we include the overdue payments (yes, plural), we see that before the end of the year, Greece faces 2 payments of the ECB at 6.7 billion Euro. The IMF has coming 4 times 300 million Euro, plus 2 sets of 600 million Euro and 2 sets of 500 million Euro, in addition, there is the 1.5 billion Euro overdue and the 750 million Euro shifted payment, which Greece paid for using the IMF emergency funds. You all forgot about that last one did you not? Which makes for 5.65 billion, so these two players are due 12.35 billion Euro before the end of the year alone. In addition there are 10 treasury bills maturing with a total of 15.1 billion, the last one is an issue, you see if Greece is very very very lucky, those owners would be ‘willing’ to roll them over, if not, the max damage will be 27.5 billion in before the end of 2015. That is just expenses with NOTHING paid for and the interest due on the loans has not been taken into account either. The important part is, is the fact that over 50% of that debt is an unknown, because who exactly owns these Greek bonds? To whom is payment due? These are the events that Greece already has and I have mentioned them before, so why mention them again. Well, these facts are important to consider, because what Juncker calls ‘new start for jobs and growth’ is nice, but what will the politicians use is for? This fund covers 80% of the outstanding payments and ZERO towards reducing debt.

So how will the Greek economy get back on track? That is the killer question, because there is no given path. Greece has very little to export, it has relied on services for too long and there is no real resolution there. I personally will not trust rock star Varoufakis (a valid feeling as he has not propelled Greece forward in 6 months). A man of all smiles and no substance. His blog (at http://yanisvaroufakis.eu/2015/07/01/why-we-recommend-a-no-in-the-referendum-in-6-short-bullet-points/) gives us 6 short bullet points, yet as a professor of economy from the University of Athens, he gives us plenty of disturbing afterthoughts.

1a. refused to reduce our un-payable public debt
1b. insisted that it should be repaid ‘parametrically’ by the weakest members of our society, their children and their grandchildren.

My view?

1a. Why? Even though previous elected officials spend it, you still get to pay for it. You accepted the responsibility of office, which include a maximised credit card.
1b. Nope! It just needed to be paid in some way, again, as a result from previous elected officials.

So point one, being 2 points can be seen as a failure because Syriza did not do the following:

  1. Immediately start the investigation on prosecution of previous officials (which might be a farce trial, but it would have given the proper presentation that Greece is truly making a change, his smiley smiley rock star presentation missed the mark by a lot, with the added danger that Jean-Claude Juncker might not have any sense of rhythm or blues, making the act a double miss.
  2. Instigate a serious overhaul of the Greek tax system, mainly taxability and tax collection. Even if it was still underway today, if started in February it would have given a clear signal to those holding onto 7 billion plus, that this elected Greek government was a Greek government that wanted to create a true future for the Greek people. The stress of the last week would never have happened.
  3. Instigate prosecution of tax evaders, not just a sham trial of a man named Leonidas Bobolas (which is actually a cool name to have), that 1.9 million euro bill did not last long did it? How about placing Kostas Vaxevanis in the limelight and giving the clear message that tax evasion is now a thing of the past. Greece could have started to annex these back taxes, many nations would be on the side of Greece here (France and Italy most enthusiastically), in addition, giving the tax evaders an option to pay back tax +20% within a week, or back tax +150% when accounts needed to get frozen, misreporting would come at an additional 200% of misreported outstanding taxation. At this point Syriza would become the most popular band ever. In a group of 11 million, these 2045 people do not add statistically to number of Greeks and after the culling of outstanding taxation the debt might be a smidge lower, showing again that Syriza wanted a better Greece.

NONE of these actions had been taken by Greece in any visible way. So, Ο καθηγητής Βαρουφάκης missed the boat in point one already.

I am skipping point two!

  1. The Euro group had previously (November 2012) conceded that the debt ought to be restructured but is refusing to commit to a debt restructure.

My view? It could have been a fair point if Greece would have shown any economic evolution as mentioned in the three points (by me earlier), restructuring is pointless if the machine is not getting the overhaul it requires. I have stated before and now that in all this previous administrations have been key in the failure of the Greek economy. Not just because the Greek economy collapsed, but what was done to repair it all? What concrete actions were made between 2010 and 2015 to restart the economy? This is a much harder question to pose, because it intersects on what could have done and what should have done. Which is directly coupled to Junckers 35 billion Euro carrot, you see, dumping money somewhere, but how and where will the economy be revived? You see, no money and no plan is destitution, a plan and no money is a future, money without a plan is a spending spree and a plan with money is a solution. It is actually THAT simple. Greece has had enough spending sprees, it is in a state of destitution, so it needs to get a future and move towards a solution. This is a simple path, but 3 Greek administrations have not pulled that one off, so they are in the state they are in.

I am not proclaiming to have the solution, yet no one else have any either. With the Greying European community retirement villages are an option. How many does Greece have? Consider that the nations with a retired population over 16% is Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Austria. All nations where the life style has been good. Now add to this the people who will start their retirement in the next 5 years. Thousands of people in relatively expensive cold places, they can in some cases sub-rent their property and retire in warm, sunny Greece. The food is good, the people nice and they move from a life with 4 months of summer to a life of 7 months of summer and the removal of cold winters (compared to their home turf that is). It is not a solution, but it is a start. Greece needs to become innovative and change the game all together. It is extremely likely that these solutions have been looked at, yet, how deep. Too many people look at solutions to fill their pockets, how many looked at it with the intent to fill the treasury coffers? Greece has a second option, is to use the church. Instead of making a short sale of places that came for sale, how about ‘nationalising’ them as tourist accommodation, managed through the church? Move hotels from foreign investors to local hands! Just an idea to start growing the foundation of taxable income.

In all this, the ideas by me should be regarded as laughable. Yet, how many options have been inspected? You see the problem does not go away by throwing a few billion at it, buying all the fish leaves you with a double debt, learning how to fish and get the pond to yourself will leave you with a future. Greece has limited products to work with, so it either adds products or it adds services, services is a first, products is often longer term, unless it is the service that becomes the product.

In all this I still have to address one part I talked about earlier. I stated “they have left, what should be regarded as criminal activities open to reactivation“, there is some of it (at http://www.globalresearch.ca/goldman-sachs-doesnt-have-clean-hands-in-greece-crisis/5459498), more in the annals of history. the article gives us: “According to investigative reports that appeared in Der Spiegel, the New York Times, BBC, and Bloomberg News from 2010 through 2012, Blankfein, now Goldman Sachs CEO, Cohn, now President and COO, and Loudiadis, a Managing Director, all played a role in structuring complex derivative deals with Greece which accomplished two things: they allowed Greece to hide the true extent of its debt and they ended up almost doubling the amount of debt Greece owed under the dubious derivative deals“, no matter where all this is going, consider the Greek bonds. I massively objected in the past against Greece being allowed anywhere near the bond market in April 2014. Consider the total value of Greek bonds out there, are they covered? Consider that Greece is completely bust, the fact that from multiple sources that Greek cannot repay its debt (amongst them the Finance Minister of Greece). Consider that Yanis Varoufakis stated on March 10th 2015 “Varoufakis Says Greece Was Never Going To Repay Its Debts” (source Forbes). So how come that at THAT point certain steps were not made to use the reserve funds Greece had at that time to settle the bonds. When you consider my opposition to bonds in April 2014 comes into view with the consideration ‘The terms on which a government can sell bonds depend on how creditworthy the market considers it to be‘, so as some power players had (as I see it) inflated the Greek credit rating, the question becomes, is the Greek bond market a continuation of the ‘Greekman Sachs’ protocols as played to hide debt, as such, should there be a more serious level of criminal investigation? Moreover, who are the involved parties and why are other parties not truly digging here?

In the end, let’s be clear, there is absolutely no indication that any laws have been broken regarding the bonds, is that not the interesting part? The one part that could have limited the issues now playing (like adjusting laws) is the one action 10 years of government had not adjusted. That seems to have worked out very well for Addy Loudiadis, Chief Executive and Director, Rothesay Life Limited and Managing Director of Goldman Sachs and a few others (Addy was just the most visible one), in all this we see that Greece needs changes, the law most likely first.

So can the Greeks dance? Unless their parliament wakes up, it is only one of many skills a Greek will need to add to his/her skill set to get by after the ATM’s stop working.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Law, Politics

S&M or S&H?

That is the question that should be on the minds of people everywhere! You see Self-interest and Misinformation is every bit a tool of application in the Sade-Masochistic approach that politicians use, or if we use names it would be the dialogue between Alexis Tsipras and Jean-Claude Juncker where Tsipras voices: “You wash my back, I wash yours real hard!” So as we see in the Guardian the call for ‘Sanity and Humanity‘ we must ask the clear ‘why?’ part. You see, we are now getting ‘misinformed’ by laureates and by people in the industry of high economics. They most likely want their cushy job to continue. If Greece falters that is no longer an option, because the repercussions go a lot further than Greece, even the US is now getting involved because the fallout from Greece leaving is a lot more than the people are told.

First Premise: If my thoughts were wrong, then why not let Greece out of the Euro, let it float its Drachma and slowly get back on the horse? Because virtual or not, the fallout of half a trillion whilst Italy and France are so deep in debt is a massive problem!

The names calling for this are: Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz, star French economist Thomas Piketty, former Italian PM Massimo D’Alema, and America’s Jamie Galbraith. The list has more names, but you’ll have to get to the Financial Times for that.

You see, the premise of Humanity is nice (and I am all for Humanity), but when the person involved REFUSES to take decent steps towards the solution, the sanity part is to just cut them lose, but as I stated in my first premise, that is not an option, the negative consequences are scaring too many ‘profiteers’ as I see them!

The first untruth by these writers (bleeding hearts seem to be the most apt title). We see the quote: “Six months on, we are dismayed that austerity is undermining Syriza’s key reforms, on which EU leaders should surely have been collaborating with the Greek government: most notably to overcome tax evasion and corruption“. I would call this a lie of the first order! Why am I calling it that loud?

The Greek government has done close to nothing to overcome tax evasion and corruption! Which politicians from former administrations have been arrested and are investigated for squandering government funds? We saw one case of tax evasion for 1.2 million, which is 0.000028436% of the debt, it does not even cover the smallest part of the interest bill.

The next statement is: “Austerity drastically reduces revenue from tax reform, and restricts the space for change to make public administration accountable and socially efficient” the second expression of laughter! Greece has next to nothing in revenue from taxation, let alone revenue from tax reforms, in addition public administration is not holding anyone accountable, the Greek public administration is a joke no one wants to touch (let alone the Greeks), so the claim made here is nothing more than an empty sentence.

Now we get to an interesting part: “It is wrong to ask Greece to commit itself to an old programme that has demonstrably failed, been rejected by Greek voters, and which large numbers of economists (including ourselves) believe was misguided from the start“. Well, if it was misguided, then the ‘friends’ you have in Goldman Sachs and other financial pool party’s should not have borrowed them the money to begin with! There is no doubt that Syriza has a bad deal, but they wanted the bad deal! They wanted to govern at the expense of everything and everyone! New Democracy under Antonis Samaras was actually trying to sort things out. In addition, the Greek voters do not get to reject this. They voted the people in that spend the money with zero foresight or consideration of the consequences, the Greek people now get to pay for it all. You see, someone spend over 400 billion, it went somewhere. That part is due and the loans made afterwards to get things ‘rolling’ was never realistic, but the top economists were all eager to get the kickbacks that they refer to as consultancy and commission! When a bank allows for events THIS STUPID to get out of proportions, in the end, I do not deny that Tsipras and Varoufakis are playing a clever game. They are willing to let the ‘other’ players collapse. It is a ‘pay our debt or else’ approach. It is not acceptable! And I reckon it should not be tolerated on this level.

What would be acceptable, if the entire debt is paid for by banks, monitored by oversight commissions to ensure that the people (their consumers) never get any additional charges! That banks would need to come up with the money from their own profits and dividends. That I would find acceptable, but guess what? The ‘friends’ of those who signed this letter will not accept that and they will reject that in a heartbeat, so here we see Joseph Stiglitz, Thomas Piketty, et al all writing about humanity, when it should be about accountability!

Now we get the half-truth in all this “Clearly a revised, longer-term agreement with the creditor institutions is necessary: otherwise default is inevitable, imposing great risks on the economies of Europe and the world, and even for the European project that the Eurozone was supposed to strengthen“, is that so?

My second premise: Yes there will be risks, but the one I see is a more total collapse when the debt is shouldered by those already in too deep. That part is not mentioned and moreover that risk has been trivialised by several players all over the Eurozone field, including by the top of the IMF and a few top players in the US too.

And I reckon that the quote “Syriza is the only hope for legitimacy in Greece” can be discarded out of hand, they actually escalated it all, in all this, as I see it, New Democracy was the true hope for Greece.

Now we get a quote that is truly a worry “Consider, on the other hand, a rapid move to a positive programme for recovery in Greece (and in the EU as a whole), using the massive financial strength of the Eurozone to promote investment, rescuing young Europeans from mass unemployment with measures that would increase employment today and growth in the future“.

My third premise: First of all, this is not the first time that approach is used, Adolf Hitler used it in 1935; how did THAT turn out? Now, let’s not go all Nazi on this and consider the issues in Spain, Italy and France? Do you have solutions for them too? How would you like to voice this in reality? That is the problem, you see, jobs come from places that have income, that have product and that is selling, that allows for hiring and paying staff! This is the entire issue, there are no jobs, because people are not buying, because after the cost of living there is not enough money to spend.

It is not a math issue that requires a Nobel price, a mere abacus, or just common sense, paper and pen could have worked that out! In addition, the prediction I made in my article ‘An Olympic steeplechase‘ on May 26th 2015 (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/05/26/an-olympic-steeplechase/), two days later Deutche Welle publishes this “‘We’ve been receiving reports of a decline in bookings, especially from Germany’, says the tourism manager to DW“. I saw the writing on THAT wall! In addition there is “Andreadis quotes the latest statistics from the German Society for Consumer Research (GfK): Bookings in Germany have declined by 2 percent based on annual figures“, two percent does not seem that much, but in an economy where the Greek GDP is making another step towards 0 and lower, 2% is a lot. The issues with refugees isn’t helping Greece either. The British media reported that Kos, a Greek tourist attractor has become a ‘disgusting hellhole’, which would push tourism down further. Influx from both Russia and Scandinavia is down too, but at present unknown by exactly how much. It basically means that tourism will not bring the bacon to the outstanding invoices for Greece, apart from collecting the taxation on it all that is.

The final misrepresentation is “Like the Marshall plan, let it be one of hope not despair“, it is a misrepresentation, because the Marshall plan did the right thing, whilst the people did their part, the governments were in better control, within the Euro at present not one government has been holding pace with the expenditure and keeping a proper budget, which gets trivialised by those administering it and the extra spending is overstretched again and again.

My fourth premise: So this is not about Mr Marshall and his amazing achievement, this is about the Greek government actually doing something. Pushing the invoice out 30 days is not a solution. In addition to that, nearly every person and toddler can see that the 7 billion that is supposed to be freed up will after paying the civil servants their 2.2 billion in outstanding parts will not even cover all the bills until the end of the year and whilst Greek taxation is not being addressed, another interest invoice of 22 billion will be due in under 10 months. Yes, 22 billion just for the interest payment!

So as we are misdirected by some people hiding behind the fact that IMF payments have been overdue before, the issue here is that Greece is now TWO payments behind, totaling a little over 1 billion, part one due in two weeks! So as the Greeks vow not to leave the Euro, the question will soon become, do they actually have a choice in this, because when payments are not forthcoming, there must be repercussions, the one part Greeks are really good at denying.

I must of course also mention that there is debt restructuring document, which is regarded as being ‘hopeful’. The view comes from Peter Spiegel of the Financial Times and the quote is “The restructuring plan is ambitious, offering ways to reduce the amount of debt held by all four of its public-sector creditors: the European Central Bank, which holds €27bn in Greek bonds purchased starting in 2010; the International Monetary Fund, which is owed about €20bn from bailout loans; individual Eurozone member states, which banded together to make €53bn bilateral loans to Athens as part of its first bailout; and the Eurozone’s bailout fund, the European Financial Stability Facility, which picks up the EU’s €144bn in the current programme“.

The fifth premise: My issue on these document is that they are ALWAYS based on too positive an outlook, which is why they usually fail. In addition, Greece will at least need another 20 billion, that is if the 7.2 billion that they are trying to get their fingers on is already in the given picture, which is not a given at present.

The quote “to get back under 60 per cent of GDP” is just insanely unrealistic. You see, to do that you need to fix expenditure by a lot, the one part the Greeks utterly refused to do, in addition, they just rehired the people they had let go, so expenses are back up too!

As Peter Spiegel (@SpiegelPeter) states: “It also involves eliminating a chunk of Greece’s bailout debt“, which is fine by me as long as the BANKS pay for that part, if it comes from Goldman Sachs’s pocket so much the better! Let’s not forget that part of this entire mess was because Goldman Sachs helped Greece mask the actual debt it had (source: Der Spiegel) on February 8th 2010! How much forward momentum did Greece achieve since then (like lowering debt)? NONE!

I will say again that this is all unfair on the Greek people, but they did elect this lot into parliament, as they elected the previous bunches, how about knocking on those doors to get at least some of those funds back (which also lowers debt)?

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Politics

Si fueris Romae, Romano vivito more

It is an old saying that still applies today. It reflects on two events, two that show that the events we see escalating have a profound impact on choices, those in the past and in the future. When we consider the events (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/nov/18/synagogue-murders-binyamin-netanyahu-despicable-murderers) of slaughter, we see two sides of the same equation, on one side can we hold a group accountable for the action of a few people. Can Palestine be held accountable for the events of two Palestinians? The UN is so eager to add Palestine and give them loads of options, yet the massive amount of events going on form 1946 gives clear way that many have been on track and remain on track to eradicate the Jewish population. There is something entirely wrong about that, yet we must accept that Palestine has genuine grievances; however these are completely ignorable towards the fact that genocide should not be condoned, the Israeli state, which seemingly became the quick solution for governments after the WW2 massacre. As I personally see it, the powers that be who were in charge in 1945 required a solution for giving the Jewish population a solution and made their dream come true of the start of the state of Israel. Was this wrong? I am not wise enough to have the answer to this, yet what is a certainty is that, if it had not happened, Europe would have been confronted with a population bend on revenge after what was done to them. Consider the danger of death squads getting even with the Dutch, German and French population for what was done to them. Even if we consider legal events (at http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/jewish-family-in-restitution-standoff-with-german-city-of-teltow-a-939659.html), ‘A German-American lawyer and his family have been fighting for over two decades to reclaim lucrative properties lost under the Nazi regime‘ is only one of millions. Consider when massive chunks of Amsterdam, Berlin, Munich, Koln, Leiden, Utrecht, Paris, Reims, and that list goes on. Creating the state of Israel was the easy way out. Even though Historically, that part would have been even larger than what it is now. Yet, the issue does not stop here.

When we look at the second news story we see that the US has been kind enough to leave some hardware for Isis (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/nov/18/un-report-isis-enough-weapons-carry-on-fighting-two-years). The four bullet points are:

  • Arsenal is sufficient enough to threaten region ‘even without territory’
  • Much of Isis’s weapon stocks were stolen from US-backed Iraqi military
  • Report recommends sanctions including seizing Isis oil tanker trucks
  • Foreign jihadis flocking to Iraq and Syria on ‘unprecedented scale’

The first issue shows that ISIS has enough power to be a clear threat, this leaves the indication that the initial US strategy of bombing was never a true option. I never believed it to be and several deeper into military knowledge and strategy had the same idea on this. The term ‘no boots on the ground’ was not realistic from day one. To be honest, it would be realistic if other nations had stepped up to the plate for this, which would not be a unacceptable idea, as America is both financially and economically in a state slightly lower than the average basement. It is not unrealistic to let other nations step up to the plate, but that would leave it all in the hands of politicians, which gives the reader an idea of how much is unlikely to happen.

The second issue is twofold, either the Iraqi military is strategically inapt to deal with the situation, in the second it is not impossible that part of the Iraqi military is on the side of ISIS and they military is to some extent the eyes and ears of ISIS. The last part is clear speculation by me, but overall is that such a stretch? ISIS is making massive stride all over the middle east, there is additional clear indication that ISIS has reached Gaza and moreover, Hamas is losing more and more control of the west bank. These escalating issues are now becoming a worry on several fields. West Bank, Sinai and they are gaining visibility in Jordan.

The third issue is about recommendations. It sounds nice in theory, but what will be done when they only deal with Islamic partners like Pakistan, Morocco, Tunisia, Palestine, Senegal and others, how much confiscation will there be? More important, the recommendation ignores the biggest danger. What if ISIS locks down on the oil, they got by without it easy enough, but when the lock down starts, how long until most nations go into a lock down? Consider the barricading of oil transport to US and Europe for two weeks, how long until that powder keg paralyses nations and economies? Frank Herbert wrote it about it in his book Dune: ‘He who can destroy a thing, controls a thing‘, that is a truth we ignored. The tactic (seen as ‘scorched Earth‘) has been employed by Stalin during WW2, Sherman in the American civil war, Lord Kitchener in South Africa and by the Russians against Napoleon. The tactic was to some extent banned under Article 54 of Protocol I of the 1977 Geneva Conventions, which is only nice if ISIS would respect that, but we can definitely rule out that chance.

The fourth one is the nightmare many government face, not as they go there to fight, but what happens when these people return, which allows ISIS to place lone wolf terrorists, with massive amounts of options to damage the nations that gave them a life and future in the first place. Now we get to the title!

si fueris alibi, vivito sicut ibi

If you are elsewhere, live as them there (rough translation), yet the second part is not exactly happening, yes they start like that, then they take over and others convert or die. This is at the core of the issue, and as we speak, there is intelligence out there that is confirming (actually they are not denying, which is not the same) that ISIS is growing its numbers from the refugee camps, camps with over 2 million people. If only 1% joins, they will have enough troops to change the face of the Middle East.

We can debate on legitimacy of Iraq all we want, but in the end does it truly matter? The events that changed the map are now at the centre of the moments that shape the new Middle East. The question becomes who wins? It is clear that the winner will have a foundation of support all over the Middle East, yet where will that leave Israel and America? Soon they will be forced down a path of war that none considered to the extent that anyone envisioned. It will be the first war that might have the blessing of the Arabian states, as it seems decently clear that they have enough worry from ISIS as well. If ISIS grows beyond a certain point, we will see a change in Jordan and Syria first, after that the tinderbox will truly light up, with threats to Egypt and the nations surrounding the UAE and Saudi Arabia, then what will we do? Consider ISIS not just with troops and arms, but with access to the oil wells and they decide who gets delivery. Then we end up with the nightmare scenario, just because it was left to the politicians.

So as we now consider the fullness of the text: “si fueris Romae, Romano vivito more; si fueris alibi, vivito sicut ibi“, those in charge need to consider who they are dealing with and throw out the play book they used for too long a time without ANY results, consider who these Romans are and deal with them, because if we don’t they will hand out the dealings of portions of grief none will survive, which will be extremely uncomfortable for all of us.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Law, Military, Politics

The hungry Journalist games

Another day and another article on Sky News!

This all started a long time ago, but it seems that this article (at http://news.sky.com/story/1293651/internet-firms-take-legal-action-against-gchq), opens up new avenues to explore, aqs it already had taken the cake as one might say. There are issues for certain, they are on both sides, but what is this about?

The seven countries involved are the UK, the US, Germany, the Netherlands, South Korea and Zimbabwe. Let’s start by stating that this is an interesting group of nations to begin with. It was an article in Der Spiegel that set them off. Most sources seem to have copied and pasted the same message (Reuters Journalism as I tend to call it), one source also had this: “Their complaint follows in the wake of articles about mass surveillance published in the Guardian based on material released by Snowden“.

So again this could be a ‘Snowden’ story, but I want to take a look at another side and the quote by Eric King spokesperson (deputy director) of Privacy International who stated “It completely cripples our confidence in the internet economy and threatens the rights of all those who use it. These unlawful activities, run jointly by GCHQ and the NSA, must come to an end immediately

Is that the truth, or should the correct quote be “It completely undermines our support of optional criminal activities and threatens the opportunity of economic abuse for all who desire it. Their unlawful activities, run jointly by GCHQ and the NSA, must come to an end immediately, so that we may again focus on possibly deniable illicit profit

That is quite the change, isn’t it? Consider the following two issues. First the prices, for example ‘Greenhost’ offers the following:

Webhosting 120 GB storage and 1.2 TB data traffic for 132.75 euro’s a month and virtual data servers containing 50 GB storage and 1 TB bandwidth a month for 215 euro’s a month. Basically, just one account would fit the web space for most the ENTIRE Forbes top 50, not just one or two.

So, in light of recent events, I thought I had something here, the Dutch provider fits the bill, but then I got to Riseup, which no longer seemed to be active and the Chaos Computer Club (CCC) which seemed highly ideologically to me. More important, it did not fit the bill either. So am I barking up the wrong tree? (I have been wrong before you know!)

I still believe that the ISP’s are all about not complying as it is not about freedom, but about bandwidth (which directly translates into revenue), which seemed to fit the first part, but the others are not about that, which makes me wonder what is in play. Do you actually think that the NSA and GCHQ are about wasting time? So, is the Chaos Computer Club a waste of time? No, as far as I can tell, they are not. Are they a threat? Well, that remains the issue. They are hackers after all. Is it that farfetched that some people would want to keep track of some of these members? Let’s not forget that someone is feeding organised crime the knowledge that they need to avoid prosecution, when considering the power that both the Triades and the Russian Mafia have in the digital age area, looking into the CCC to some extent seems to be a given. However, knowing their skills, doing it in the way it is implied to have been done seems a little over the top as most of these hackers are pretty proud of themselves and they are for the most not in hiding. Let us not forget, they voice themselves to be about the freedom of the German people and the utter privilege of their data remaining private.

The fact is that this is an implied mess involving 7 countries, the next valid question becomes: ‘are they linked (beyond the accusation), or are they just a collection of elements?’

That question bares scrutiny, but should also indicate the view I have had of Snowden from the very beginning. I believe him to be a joke (and a bad one at that). Now, most of you will not believe this, but let us take a look at the EVIDENCE. I am not talking about some claim, but actual evidence partially on the common sense you and me hopefully tend to have.

1. The claims that he has made involves massive levels of access. Not the access a hacker will ever have, but the information from top level sources in the CIA, NSA and GCHQ. So were talking hacking into over dozens of top level secured servers, servers which are monitored 24/7. He, some hacker no one had ever heard from, did all that. These people behind the screens do NOT EVER give out passwords, do not give access, yet he had all the information and walked out of one of the most secure buildings in the world with all THAT data? This is a quote found in sources like ‘the Verge’ and ‘Wired’. I think we can agree that wired is a reputable source in regards to technology (at http://www.wired.com/2013/06/snowden-thumb-drive/) “‘There are people who need to use a thumb drive and they have special permission,’ an unnamed, ex-NSA official told the LA Times. ‘But when you use one, people always look at you funny.’” This is not unlike the view I have had for a year now. Let’s not forget, the NSA is the place where SELinux was developed, it was designed to keep close tabs on access control, specifically, who, where, how and with what. So ‘some’ technician, with the USB drive in the most secure server space on the planet is just not going to fly. The question I had from the very beginning is not how he did it, but what was actually at play here? The next part is assumption! Was it to give Booz Allan Hamilton more profit? That was my alleged first thought. If data was going to get ported to non-government institutions, this small caper could give BAH and whoever was getting oversight an easy and clean billion a year in revenue. That tactic, still ethically wrong, would have made perfect sense to me.

Here is how I see it and this is PURE assumption (I will get back to evidence in a minute for my next issue), consider the Microsoft disappointment with data collection plans for the Xbox One. We see some of the changes (at http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/23/us/politics/house-votes-to-limit-nsas-collection-of-phone-data.html). The following quotes are essential here. The first one was from Jim Sensenbrenner, Republican of Wisconsin, “The N.S.A. might still be watching us, he added, but now we can be watching them“. It is a bold statement, but is it true; moreover, should they be watched? Yes, any intelligence operation needs oversight, which is fair enough in a democratic way of life, but how many should overlook this? Are the people in oversight not granted well above average powers and is it fair to any opposition party that they should have it?

2. What lies beneath this access is the amount of involvement. Prism is one of the named projects with supported links to Australia, the UK and the Netherlands, with Microsoft as a commercial partner. Really? One nation, known for clogs, cheeses, Hans Brinker and soccer is placed next to the NSA and the Commonwealth? It is a technological hub, no doubt about that, but it is the size of Maryland. So, this is just the first of several projects, involving secrecies that would be limited to the very top, most of it would not be written down and Snowden had it (as in having in past tense, details follow). The mention of projects like XKeyscore, Tempora, Project 6, Stateroom, Lustre and Muscular. They are not only different projects, but they are a scope of projects that would not ever be in one location to begin with. So, what is implied as ‘the top’ of data gathering and one IT person has it all? Is no one asking the questions the PRESS should have asked and openly doubted from the very beginning to begin with (a part that is not voiced in any way).

The funny part is that stateroom seems to be no more than the legal collection of information as EVERY government tends to collect diplomatic data and in his claim he made them ALL bitches to the NSA, they just do not know it. There is also a reference to Echelon, there are several references, but the one that matters is not named. A covert niche within the NSA and the name of the source is: Tom Clancy!

Is anyone starting to wake up now?

This is not about anything but the warped imagination that is not even close to a reality. Consider that every government has embassies and consulates, the Dutch have them, the Australians have them, so do the Brits and the Germans, not to mention the French and they have them too. Consulates and Embassies represent their governments. Consulates tend to be specific for people and companies, so that they have backups. Like getting home when your passport is stolen, or to help a company with a list of people they should talk to for starting to do business. Trade will always remain important anywhere. Embassies are more about ‘governing’ opportunities as I see them. The Dutch want to get first dibs on building a reliable bridge, so their ambassador talks the great talk. People skills is what it is all about and talking to the right people. There are other sides too, they try to resolve issues, like a Dutchman committing a crime in Melbourne (for example) and the Embassy tries to ‘help’ the Dutch person to get home again, or to assist local government with their investigation if need be. These people do work that they sometimes like and sometimes hate, it is a job that needs to be done. To get the best results some things need to remain confidential and secret and as such whether through encrypted ways or through other ways messages go back and front between a government and its local representatives and that needs a little more security. Some is as simple as a message of a first insight as to build a bridge; to keep the advantage this goes encrypted. It is the cost of business, plain and simple. There is no hidden agenda (other than national pride in trying to score the job). So, they do they do their job and they are not the NSA bitch in the process.

It is simple approach and the lie hidden within a truth was stated as “They are covert, and their true mission is not known by the majority of the diplomatic staff at the facility where they are assigned” Part of the truth is that the encryption specialist is usually not known, it is not a secret either, he used to be the person, who had one extra book with cyphers, he opened each page and set the encryption box and transmitted the information, often a NCO of communication (often has NATO duty reference A00x0). That person had two extra tasks and most in the diplomatic staff might not know, or better stated, they absolutely do not care.

When we saw the statements by certain key people in Australia or the UK they spoke the absolute truth. The small explanation I gave is done by all, the DSD (AUS), GCHQ (UK) and as I said it the Dutch have it too. It is a simple legally valid and required job that needs to be done, nothing secret about it, it is the cost of doing business and sometimes, to keep a lead profitable it sometimes gets handed over more secured, just like they do it at Microsoft (they just get heaps better equipment).

Another issue is the XKeyscore reference. Does such a thing exist, most likely! Now consider the implications of the following, there are mentions of 700 servers in 150 locations. The fact that it needs to intercept without visibility and analyse at the same time as a person does many things at the same time. Even if the best of the best was used (which likely is the case), then we are looking at a very select group trying to get a handle on perhaps no more than the most dangerous 2000 people on the planet. Does anyone believe that a system like this remains a secret if 4 Australian bases are involved? The next part can also be taken as a fact. Can anyone even guess the amount of bandwidth this takes? Most routers nearby the monitored person will truly get a beating, so whatever this is, it will show up. It is the scope that is claimed that makes no sense. Some in the NSA might find it nice if it was true, but the weak link in all this is the actual internet.

The last part of this is the kicker in this joke. If his life depends on it all, do you actually think he would ever part with the information? This came from the NY Times from October 2013 (at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/18/world/snowden-says-he-took-no-secret-files-to-russia.html) “Mr Snowden said he gave all of the classified documents he had obtained to journalists he met in Hong Kong, before flying to Moscow, and did not keep any copies for himself“, so his life depends on a journalist, who now has the thousands of documents?

Perhaps we should look at a much more likely explanation, the man has no value, the press is stretching the value of events, as they would and Snowden has played his part, I still think that the Chinese saw in him what I saw from the very beginning, a simple joke! They walked away and he had to flee to Russia who is keeping him around for entertainment and to piss of the Yanks (which they also regard as good entertainment). My issue is not him, but the fact that I see more wasted time and energy on laughable cases that keep us all away from actually moving forward. In this economy, as we are so stretched thin, rebuilding an economy is a first need, not waste time on some feigned attack on the ‘confidence in the internet economy‘ as Eric King puts it.

And for the love of whomever, let’s not compare Snowden and Assange, I completely oppose Assange and his view, but at least he seemed to believe in that what he did was a just cause and acted accordingly.

In the end this is just my view, but no one seems to be asking the questions the press are supposed to be asking. The Guardian and Der Spiegel seem to get a ‘free’ hand in boasting tons of data and a simple stamp ‘Snowden said it was so’ seems enough for people to just accept it.

4 Comments

Filed under IT, Law, Military, Politics