Tag Archives: DoJ

Will the punishment fit the crime?

There are crimes out there, some are small, some are not called crimes, they are labelled as an ‘improper offense‘, these offenses are offenses, yet so small that the CPA might decide not to look into the matter.

The Guardian had an opinion piece on the Arms trade two days ago called ‘Is the government turning a deaf ear to arms deal bribes?‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/nov/18/attorney-general-geoffrey-cox-gpt-arms-deal-corruption), now this is an article on bribery, one would consider it to be an improper act, optionally a crme, yet the facts do not bear this out. The setting is not that someone enriched themselves, no, they stated that they spend less than an addition 1%, almost 30% less than one percent to secure a contract: “to win a £2bn contract to provide communications and electronic warfare equipment to the Saudi national guard“, the so called former employee of GPT “Ian Foxley. When he was about to blow the whistle, he fled Saudi Arabia overnight fearing that his life was in danger“, the fact that we overlook ‘the fact that he was merely allegedly fearing that his life was in danger‘ is the first part, the fact that the bribery was there would be an issue for the Saudi Government to pursue (one would imagine), we see in the cold light of day that someone spend 1% extra to make sure that the order was accepted, OK, by law it would be an offense, it would be an ‘Improper offense‘, it might be a crime in Saudi Arabia as well, but they are seemingly not pursuing the matter are they? When we look at the black letter law we see that there is optionally a case to go after GPT Special Project Management, a UK-based subsidiary of the European aerospace group Airbus, yet in light of the thousands of cases not touched, and the fact that there is no actual victim here, should we pursue? Don’t get me wrong, corruption is nothing less than the proverbial blight on life, yet the EU gravy train is not stopped is it? Corporations are not being pursued in light of their activities to self-enrich themselves, are they? Yet there are a lot of eyes on anything accomplished in the Middle East, in this case in Saudi Arabia, I wonder if Ian Foxley would have shown the same candour if the buyer was the US, and they have the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. And there actually have been cases on that combination. Siemens (2008), Marubeni Corporation (2012), Biomet Inc. (2012), Goodyear (2015), and there have been plenty more, yet why is this one case important?

It is not seen immediate, or not until you take a longer look at the UK Bribery Act 2010, The BA 2010 received Royal Assent on 8 April 2010 and entered into force on 1 July 2011 in the UK, a guardian article spent a little time on it in 2013 (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/10/whistleblowers-snowden-truth-sets-free) there we see: In 2010, Ian Foxley was working as the programme director for a British subsidiary of defence giant EADS on a £1.96bn contract to modernise the communications systems for the Saudi Arabian National Guard. When he came across evidence of corruption and bribery he fled the country and reported it to British officials“. There is an overlap, the UK Bribery Act 2010 was not part of law at that point. The act was not entered into law until 1st July 2011 in the UK, this does not make the act of Bribery all right, it merely states that an act that is privy to the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906, and there we will learn that he agent might optionally be held to the dock, but it will not apply as the one bribed was allegedly part of Saudi Arabia, hence not part of England and Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland. It is the little things that make life satisfying, and the Guardian hiding behind “The delay in making a decision speaks to a deep malaise: suggesting that Britain is simply unwilling to prosecute major companies that are accused of paying bribes to foreign politicians and officials” is both unfair and incorrect, an alleged event took place in the time when the law was being adjusted, is it not interesting on how this one case, a case that should be in the hands of Saudi Arabia to consider prosecution (for the most) seems to get such attention, it seems that Anti-Muslim issues are rearing its ugly head, you see that statement is also alleged, yet I see no such news prosecution regarding Smith & Nephew paid US$22.2 million to the DOJ and SEC in 2012 regarding a deferred prosecution agreement. The idea of “possible improper payments to government-employed doctors” seems to hit people in general, but there is no real overwhelming amount of news there, is it? It seems to me that we are in a larger caser of ignorance when it comes to non-Muslim considerations, oh and that was in the US, how many prosecutions and investigations did Stephen and Nephew face in the UK? I am not telling, I am asking, the news does not seem to make mention of that.

There is also the case CAS-Global Ltd. and the Private Nigerian Coast Guard Fleet (at https://sites.tufts.edu/corruptarmsdeals/cas-global-ltd-and-the-private-nigerian-coast-guard-fleet/), the Independent was seemingly the only paper taking a look at that (at https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/two-british-businessmen-arrested-on-suspicion-of-involvement-in-sale-of-naval-vessels-to-nigerian-9991217.html), as I see it, the Guardian might not be guilty, it does have a few explanations to hand out, it will seemingly lash out at Saudi Arabia, but not much beyond that, Nigeria is loving it, I wonder how Saudi Arabia feels about being singled out and let’s face it, I personally perceive the GPT issue what could be set as an ‘Improper Offense‘, so I leave it up to the powers that be to decide, that was Jeremy Wright, trying it again and having Geoffrey Cox decide on it is a little childish, but OK, such are the rules, yet no one is asking questions too loudly on the Nigerian private security company setting up some similar form of payment for services whilst this involved selling 6 Norwegian former naval vessels to a privately owned security firm? And why does it matter, because like me two British business subjects thought it would be lucrative to enter the arms dealer world. It is a whole different level is it not? Robe Evans and David Pegg did write a good piece, and it is an opinion piece and we are and should be asking questions, yet I wonder if the writer intended the questions that are on the mind are the ones he wanted us to have on the mind.

The fact that in this day and age, whilst the UK STILL has not figured out its tax laws on properly taxing corporations filling its pockets in the UK whilst paying so little tax, it should be regard as an insult, are given all the space they need and the laws we see enable them and seemingly set the stage where other cases are not ignored for a decade, all whilst that one case had no real UK victims. OK, I admit that this is the wrong direction to go, but there are cases with an abundance of UK victims that seemingly do not get the attention or the jurisprudence it deserves, should that not be a first for the UK?

It is just one part in all this that we should consider before we consider anything else. And when we compare the Norwegian Navel issue towards private companies and one deal going towards the Saudi Government, where was our focus? That is before we see the elements in the Smith & Nephew deal, so they paid for it in the US, yet how much investigations was done regarding their actions in the UK?

 

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Bells of Duty and Death

We have all heard it before, the clarion call, the bells are ringing and of course in 1983 the bells of St Mark were all ringing for Sheila E. So what happens, when you make that one mistake where your moment of non-concentration gets people killed, optionally a lot of people! That is what the Washington Post gives us (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2019/03/06/hundreds-immigrant-recruits-risk-death-sentence-after-army-bungles-sensitive-data/?utm_term=.d381e6f9d0ff)

The starter “Army officials inadvertently disclosed sensitive information about hundreds of immigrant recruits from nations such as China and Russia, in a breach that could aid hostile governments in persecuting them or their families, a lawmaker and former U.S. officials said.” is not a soft one. What the never explainable bloody hell is going on? When I see: “A spreadsheet intended for internal coordination among recruiters was accidentally emailed to recruits and contained names, Social Security numbers and enlistment dates. The list was sent out inadvertently at least three times between July 2017 and January 2018.” So over a period of 6 months, we see an optional 50% failure. I can see at least 4 solutions that could have prevented that. The issue of mailing spreadsheets with names is just a joke. If it is sensitive data, we can argue that it might be in a spreadsheet, yet the mailing of sensitive data has always required the need of vetting before pressing send. It is the one time when the military looks more evolved (‘used’ to being the operative term) than the leaking baboons of Wall Street.

So when we see: “more than 900 Chinese Mandarin speakers and dozens of Russian speakers are on the spreadsheet, according to a copy obtained by The Post.” We need to realise that some people are highly overdue for the loss of rank and even worse. It goes a lot further when we consider the quote: “Abhishek Bakshi, an Indian recruit, said he received the list by accident in July 2017 from an Army recruiter in Wisconsin who asked whether he wanted to schedule a security interview. The spreadsheet was disturbing, said Bakshi, whose name is on the list“, this sets the stage where people can be coerced and even blackmailed in several ways. When we also vet “received the list in December 2017, among other documents related to enlistment, after it was forwarded among a chain of recruiting officials“, we see a larger danger when we consider ‘a chain of recruiting officials‘, where we consider not only the validity of the people, the fact that it was a list of people, we need to worry on who they shared their list with. A chain implies the setting of multiple links, each and every one of them weaker than the preceding link.

The dangers actually exceed what the Post gives us. In case of Russian, Pakistani and Chinese setting, it is not out of the question that the acquired names and Social Security numbers can be used to create a trigger database to change the parameters of having a valid life. When those numbers are used to track locations (housing), assets (cars) and even financial gains (educational scholarships) the future of these people could be undone within a year creating all kinds of security hazards, not to mention a financial mess that the victim is unable to undo for months, even years.

It is even worse when we consider the quote: “In 2018 under the Trump administration, the Army began discharging soldiers who had enlisted under the MAVNI program. Most were reportedly not given notice of why they were being discharged, but their citizenship status was jeopardized as a result. Many of them had served honorably in Afghanistan, Iraq and other locations around the world” showing that the United States has no intention of honouring its commitments, as such, when the next escalation comes, how will the US Military solve it? They are unlikely to be ever trusted again. Not only are hundreds in danger of being ‘chased’ out of the US, many of them with a honourable military roll call. the fact that these veterans are shipped out will set a most dangerous precedent down the line, and it does not stop there.

The homeless soldier

The issue that is rearing its ugly head is not new, there is more news now, but this has been going on for a long time, getting a lot of limelight in 2018. As we see (at https://www.military.com/daily-news/2019/03/07/senator-involve-doj-military-housing-scandal.html), we see a dangerous stage with: “The U.S. armed services should consult with the U.S. Department of Justice regarding the conduct of private companies hired to manage military housing“, I see absolutely no issue if the DoJ would start annexing these properties and making them part of the DoJ asset database. When we are confronted with “The contractors, he said, provided substandard, unhealthy and inadequate housing and ignored pleas to repair or service the homes“, I see a stage where it has become the responsibility of Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn to move towards confiscation of property if a 100% adjustment has not been achieved within 60 days. So when I see: “in February, a survey of more than 14,500 residents of base housing found that 56 percent said they had “negative or very negative experiences” with their houses on military installations. Now we all have issues with housing at times, yet when that impression gets to be a zero positive view for 56% a much larger issue is in play and changes are essential. These soldiers are often underpaid, under-acknowledged and now even below substandard housed, we see the clear need to clean that mess up, annexing housing and removing ownership from these owners has become an essential first. So when we accept: ‘a baby who lived in the home developed pneumonia and later had a stroke‘ we see a clear case of reckless endangerment of life and that can never be accepted, I do agree that the establishment of guilt, as well as the need to ascertain whether the tenants had taken serious steps to diminish risk. In addition to all that these landlords need to be put into a database, the people have a right to know when soldiers get housing that a dog on a junkyard would not accept on a rainy winter day. The final straw is seen with ‘other concerns raised by senators was the relationship between base housing offices and the private management companies‘, in my view it does not matter whether it is a case of corruption or nepotism, it is the direct stage where the fighting force is disabled through greed driven facilitation and that cannot be allowed to exist in any way, shape or form. So when we see Sen. Martha McSally, R-Arizona giving us: ‘the two parties appear to be “in cahoots.”‘ we see an optional prosecutable form of what could be regarded as corruption. It is not always stated to be money that funds the prosecution corruption, enabling economic benefits, facilitation towards non accountability of services and quality are all issues that can be translated into monetary value, making it a larger issue for prosecution and in that case anyone found guilty will (read: should) be stripped of the land titles, the housing and the deeds to these places and placed directly with the Defence department at that stage. In that context there is one part I do not agree with. It is found at the end of the article where we see: “Air Force Chief of Staff David Goldfein said he has lived in base housing for more than 50 years, including his childhood, and he wanted airmen to have safe communities where they don’t have to worry about their children’s health or about retaliation if they complain about the condition of their housing“, from my personal point of view, his actions are well over a decade late (even as we accept that he might not have been in an operational place to act earlier on, his predecessor clearly was).

In this day and age when the military needs to catch up on several fields, the last thing they should ever have to concern themselves with is the fact that their details are spread like wildfire by someone who has no clear regard for proper email and cyber security issues, besides that being in reliable housing is the clear responsibility of their CEO (aka the general of defense housing). It is not important whether your house is Air force blue, Army green or Naval grey, there will be a General, Air Marshall or Admiral in charge of that division and ringing their bell should at this point be the right of every enlisted man that is part of the US defense forces, however I might have oversimplified the matter.

We will have to see what extent Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut is willing to take the baton, if he does not make it to the final stretch, we can consider that the next senatorial elections are in 2020, so either he has a following of a million+ in 2020, or he could optionally consider his next job to be with Uber (yes, I do have a flaky sense of humour).

I personally think that making quick cash at the expense of servicemen needs to be looked at in much harsher ways and it is our duty to expose those who would want to exploit this group for personal gains to a much larger degree than has been done until now. It does not matter what country you are in, we do not merely have a decent responsibility to thank them for their service; we all have a partial a duty of care that they do not have to deal with this kind of shit in any way shape or form ever.

 

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A train without rails

We have seen the actions in America, the actions by Americans and the Guardian treated us last Thursday to: ‘China accuses US of suppressing its high-tech companies‘. When we consider the actions against Huawei, that would certainly make sense, yet is it true? If we consider: “China has accused the US of trying to suppress its tech companies, as US prosecutors reportedly investigate allegations that Huawei stole trade secrets from US businesses. Adding to pressure on the Chinese telecoms firm, US lawmakers have proposed a ban on selling US chips or components to the company.” We could optionally accept the given, yet where is the evidence? Huawei has been more advanced on several sides in both 4G and 5G for well over 3 years. In opposition we need to entertain: “The Chinese state-run Global Times called the latest pressure on Huawei a form of “technological McCarthyism” aimed at politicising and blocking Chinese businesses.” I personally feel that the Chinese Global Times has a case, yet why is this?

We can from the initial fact that America became fat, lazy, iterative and non-innovative and they are broke, any combination of two or more of the previous markers apply. In support of all this there is 5G Evolution (AT&T), in addition the entire US government shutdown mess will impact 5G rollout and there are some indication that most 5G will be delayed, or not be finalised until one quarter later at present. This indicates that if the US shutdown is not resolved within 55 days, there are a few indicators that give us the reality that 5G in America will not be up to scrap until 2020, that is one huge defeat for the America’s with or without the Corona wall in Southern Texas.

As we see the impact of technology, we see that there is an economic barrier stronger and higher than any immigrant wall and it is around everyone who wants 5G. So in all this Huawei already has a huge advantage, they have several additional options to play in Europe and they can give a direct light to Europe as well as the Middle East steaming on full throttle on 5G, whilst the US would not be ready to even implement basic 5G in several places. Even outside the infrastructure of the UK, Huawei could still be the largest player in the UK; time will tell how that goes.

This does not mean that the allegation “According to the Wall Street Journal, which cited anonymous sources, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) is in the advanced stages of a criminal inquiry that could result in an indictment of Huawei. The newspaper said the DoJ was looking into allegations of theft of trade secrets from Huawei’s US business partners, including a T-Mobile robotic device used to test smartphones. Huawei and the DoJ declined to comment directly on the report” should not be treated seriously, but there is still the stage where ‘allegations of theft of trade secrets from Huawei’s US business partners, including a T-Mobile robotic device used to test smartphones‘ needs to be tested on evidence, and until that part has been sufficiently satisfied, the entire allegations mess, is merely a mess. In opposition, the Guardian also gave us: “Huawei and T-Mobile settled their disputes in 2017 following a US jury verdict finding neither damage, unjust enrichment nor willful and malicious conduct by Huawei in T-Mobile’s trade secret claim“, if that is true then why is it part of the allegation in the first place? It is optionally that short sighted act that leaves us with more and more diminished consideration on acts by America, that do show clear signs of a McCarthy enterprise of unqualified allegations. We need to consider that America is playing a dangerous game. It is important that ‘consider’ is the operative word, mainly because of the connected: ‘only months ago, Canada and China were eagerly discussing the prospects of a free trade deal‘. You see from my point of view, this looks more and more like America is poisoning the well, there could be another side, but the allegations are not properly documented (and have not been so for the longest of times) and as such, in light of all the lost credibility that America has, the entire mess is less and less a Chinese issue and more an American issue. Of course, that could change overnight when we see a proper documentation of evidence and proper allegations, based on verifiable data, which until the trial is not really realistic and we get that, we do. Yet the entire McCarthian mess is too overly visible to give a well balanced view, it does not bode well for America until that is changed. That part is important, because the current administration never made any secrets of the approach towards ‘get more manufacturing on US soil‘. That is the Republican agenda and that is their rights, yet when you do that to a technological field where he US now has fallen behind to a much larger degree (the AT&T part is evidence of that), there will be repercussions of such a change. the fact that when we realise that there was an issue last month that there are still no FCC rules to remote 5G router rules, that implies that the administration has a much larger backdrop than we considered they had. It is in that light that we should also hold the views of Senator Chris Van Hollen to scrutiny. When we are treated to: “Huawei and ZTE are two sides of the same coin. Both companies have repeatedly violated US laws, represent a significant risk to American national security interests and need to be held accountable“. you see, when we consider the statement where ‘a significant risk to American national security interests‘ is nothing more than the fact that these two players are Chinese and not American, that part is satisfied to American National Security considerations, but overall that is not holding water to the reality of technology, the debate changes. In addition, we see no actual list that addresses ‘Both companies have repeatedly violated US laws‘. You see, if laws were actually violated than we should see arrests, are we seeing any actual arrests apart from the fact that one person is under house arrest optionally merely due to the fact that there is a link with Iran? So, in that light, how many Americans linked to the EU Nuclear deal are currently under arrest (and being investigated)? Perhaps people on Capitol Hill could explain all the actions going on against Ellie Geranmayeh? Likely there are no actions at all, so in all that how high does Huawei rate in all that and is the attempted arrest not a clear statement of discrimination against China? Let a White House West Wing senior associate please explain to me when and how such actions ever worked out positively for any administration? I cannot think of any example.

It is about to get a lot worse, especially in California. You might not think that the issue regarding The Pacific Gas and Electric Company is not linked here but it is. You see, when you consider that Forbes gave us: “PG&E will likely file for bankruptcy in the next two weeks. The utility announced on Monday that they are indeed exploring filing for bankruptcy protection (after much speculation), and their stock quickly tumbled by over 50%. While in the best of cases bankruptcy should be providing protection for as many parties possible, in this case it unfortunately may have the worst impact on the most vulnerable — fire survivors, workers, and in general the 16 million people PG&E serves“. We need to see the connection that could have been there. Any government linked progress on 5G could have been a way to keep PG&E afloat. Not because they need to, but as the infrastructures support one another, the utility could have connected in more than one way, giving an additional service gaining a 15%-25% overhead coverage on the exact same dime, not merely lowering risk, there could have been a protection for the workers and in addition create an additional workforce giving a dent in unemployment numbers lowering them even further. This was done in the Netherlands in the 90’s and in that same decade it started in most Scandinavian nations. Even as there were still three entities (power, cable and internet) the overall substructure was fed via the same infrastructure giving a host of additional options without the cost and pushing forward connections. that path is now pretty much a non-option, so in all this Huawei could have fuelled progress in California, even as we accept the American need for different stages of national security, having something there and then upgrading it all to American required standards would have been easier and better than trying to place something that was not there in the first place, setting the US back for up to 2 years and in addition being unable to safe the US treasury 3-7 billion dollars, an amount that adds up faster than we think.

The PG&E mess is a lot larger when we consider the legal folly that victims face, in addition, the workers would be hit just as hard, the non-hardship part will only be felt by the executives who can do a Woody Allen (take the money and run). In a stage where the shareholders and even the environmentalists will be to be slapped around, the 5G implementation plans using Huawei could have negated part of these hardships, whilst the three are connected in upgrading the current stations and adding more stations, so anything upgraded would also include placing 5G capabilities, in all this Sprint and Verizon would come up short and not merely technological, so there are a few reasons to keep on good footing with Huawei, all this is no longer a real possibility. By the way, when you consider that part and when it falls over, I reckon that places like the pacific LA region, via Malibu all the way to Oxnard could have benefitted from all this, optionally stirring towards a carbon neutral point through renewable energy implementation. What would be more efficient than having the windmill fuel the energy as well as the 5G and cable needs of that entire region? It required a large overhaul that could be done and keep the value of housing high there, that idea is also pretty gone. So when that hits and California needs to downgrade the value of housing in that region by 20%, how will the State itself fare?

All because the anti-Huawei acts that were clearly off the rails even before the actions started. It get to be worse the moment the media must acknowledge that California is no longer considered state of the art, even when we agree that America, New Zealand and Australia are all part of the Five Eyes intelligence network, the fact that we now see the optional chance that America ends in 3rd of even 4th place after Australia and New Zealand would at that point become the most hilarious news cycle in the history of digital media and that is not an unrealistic consideration, all this whilst a few options remains for Huawei to show the world this year that they were the most secure and the most advanced option. That is the reality we need to fess up to when we are made aware merely last night that Commons science and technology committee chairman Norman Lamb gave City A.M. (at http://www.cityam.com/271916/government-under-pressure-ban-huawei-5g-upgrade-) he quote “These are vitally important security issues. We need to establish whether there is a threat“, after all this time, at present as quoted there still is no established threat, so in that light we see the active McCarthian debacle on 5G technology, and all this will be biting the state of California over the next few months in several ways. Even now as Germany is paddling backwards on the openness of 5G and trying to remove Huawei, we see the folly of actions. The quote from Norman Lamb is first actual evidence of this folly. When it comes to National security any nation needs to do what is best, and I am fine with that. Alex Younger (head of UK boy scout division 6) was correct in his response and it makes sense that a Chinese device should not be part of a national infrastructure, that same applies to any other nation, yet the others accused Huawei of being a national threat when it clearly wasn’t one (or at least proven to be one). Alex Younger told us that we should never depend on Chinese technology and that is fine, that same would apply to America. Alex did not accuse Huawei and that is the difference. Even in that light, having something in place and then upgrading it to national standards is preferable to jerking around in the dark hoping you hit someone in a moment of ecstasy through alleged empty words, which seems to be happening now.

This hollow status is dragging he US down, it will hit the other too to a lesser effect because the they have less infrastructure to deal with and the UK has the additional benefit that they have a well-developed system (aka British Telecom), the Dutch have KPN, Australia has Telstra and so on, the Americans have an intertwined mess of Verizon, Sprint and a few other players giving them a lot more hardship, the fact that cities are taking the FCC to court at present is merely making the mess larger, and increasing delays all over the place, that is the reality that the US faces and the entire mess is not some train that came off the rails, it is a merely the train, they all forgot about the rails required, that is the sad part in all this and that is why the US is in for multiple levels of hardship having to watch several nations passing them by on the technological fields in ways they never imagined, because those implementers left their imagination next to their porn stack in the cupboards where their wives do not look ever (or so they think).

All elements I saw a year ago, all elements I took into consideration. Whatever element I forgot or overlooked are merely small dents in an adjusted path that I got right to the largest degree. And as we consider the last news part in all this, we need to recognise that whilst the FCC is dunking around, Saudi Arabia finalised an agreement with the UN 4 days ago. The news gave us: “An agreement has been signed between the Saudi Communication and Information Technology Commission (CITC) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to strengthen cooperation and partnership between the two organizations“, and this now leads to “to adopt new technologies, such as 5G phone networks, have made the Kingdom one of the most developed regulators of the ICT sector in the world, according to the ITU’s rankings” gives rise to why I have been keeping my eyes on Saudi Arabia. They are almost literally sprinting ahead in the 5G environment and as we are given “Gov. Dr. Abdul Aziz Al-Ruwais and Doreen Bogdan-Martin, director of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), sign deal to boost technology cooperation. (SPA)“, we see that Saudi Arabia (as well as a few other Middle Eastern nations) has been taking 5G extremely serious. From my personal point of view, the US has been sitting still (or on their hands) for close to 2 years too long and it will cost them dearly.

Having a train and forgetting about placing the rails tends to do that, and it is a rather silly nation when infrastructure and transportation are important to you, that evidence is shown in several places and the American folly makes no sense unless they are even more bankrupt that they are willing to admit to. Having to collect the taxes of this month to pay for the energy bill of next month is the last straw an administration has and it seems that America is getting ever closer to that stage now, but that is pure speculation from my side in all this.

 

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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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Within the realm of privacy

We all have an inherent need for privacy, we want things to be at our leisure of contemplated sharing. Yet, what is privacy? On one side we want privacy, but the next moment ladies will share whether their carpet is a landing strip or a martini glass, I for one do not care. If they want to share certain parts that’s fine with me. I am not too much about sharing. On the other side, apart from a few MP3 files, there is nothing interesting on my mobile. I reckon that my mobile is one of the dullest ones around.

So when I initially heard about the FBI wanting to access the iPhone of Syed Farook, I shrugged my shoulders and went ‘whatever!’ meaning that I was not opposed and I did not care. It was the techdirt site that has an interesting fact from the court case.

Footnote 7, on page 18 details four possible ways that Apple and the FBI had previously discussed accessing the content on the device without having to undermine the basic security system of the iPhone, and one of them only failed because Farook’s employers reset the password after the attacks, in an attempt to get into the device“, so the boss went into ‘auto-moronic’ mode and did not check? He acted without knowing? So when we see “The ‘owner’ of course, being the San Bernardino Health Department, who employed Farook and gave him the phone. Basically, what this is saying is that if the password hadn’t been reset, it would have been possible to try to connect the phone to a ‘trusted’ network, and force an automatic backup to iCloud — which (as has been previously noted) was available to the FBI. But by ‘changing’ the password, apparently that option went away“, should we consider that his boss was stupid, or that his boss was scared he had done something wrong and this was his/her way of covering the mess up? (at https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20160219/17463033656/footnote-reveals-that-san-bernardino-health-dept-reset-syed-farooks-password-which-is-why-were-now-this-mess.shtml).

For the record, that was clear speculation on my side!

What happened was that Apple, the firm that initially ‘screwed over’ its customer base with error 53. A few days ago, the Guardian reported ‘Apple ordered to decrypt iPhone of San Bernardino shooter for FBI‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/feb/17/apple-ordered-to-hack-iphone-of-san-bernardino-shooter-for-fbi). In there we see the important quote: “In 2014, Apple began making iPhones with additional encryption software that they said they could not unlock, even if faced with a court order. Apple said this was done in the name of consumer privacy and cybersecurity, but the company has been locked in a public feud with the FBI since“. I understand that there is a need for privacy. My issue is why THIS level of privacy is needed. One could speculate that this is to keep the financial adviser’s customer base happy. I reckon that those people look for other means the moment their actions could be monitored, or investigated afterwards. Again, speculation from my side.

You see, I do not comprehend why law abiding citizens are so in fear, of what the government finds out. Most people can’t stop selfie themselves, their fashion and body parts to social media on a global scale. They tend to Facebook all details, especially when they are far away from home to ‘all’ their friends, so that the department of discreet entry and removal operations can empty their homestead in the meantime. With so much sharing, what privacy do you think you still have?

So back to the Granny Smith of automation, the next article (again the Guardian) gives us ‘FBI escalates war with Apple: ‘marketing’ bigger concern than terror‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/feb/19/fbi-apple-san-bernardino-shooter-court-order-iphone), here we see the subtitle ‘Court filing from Department of Justice says Apple is more concerned with ‘its marketing strategy’ than helping FBI unlock San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone‘, which is fair enough when we consider that a failed marketing equals an alleged death in those houses. The quote “Cook called for public debate and has been backed in his fight by some of tech’s biggest names, including Google’s chief executive Sundar Pichai, WhatsApp and whistle-blower Edward Snowden“. I think that this is less about Americans and more about the 7 billion non-Americans that have this false fear of the CIA and the NSA. Yet in all this, the only true group to fear this is the 0.0001% of the population, I do not even register and in that regard most do not even register. Like the previous mass surveillance marketing ploy, simple fear mongering.

Now, let it be said that I have nothing against a person’s privacy and there is nothing wrong with wanting privacy, yet when we consider the 1.5 billion on Facebook, the 100 million on Instagram, the 307 million on Twitter and over 100 million users on Pinterest, we have well over 80% of the iPhone users on social media all sharing from mere events attended up to the grooming of the most private of parts, Which makes the shout for privacy a little too hilarious.

So how does this fit legally?

Well first there is the part that the DoJ is now relying on. It is the All Writs Act of 1789, which states “The Supreme Court and all courts established by Act of Congress may issue all writs necessary or appropriate in aid of their respective jurisdictions and agreeable to the usages and principles of law“, which sounds rather nice,

Yet the fact that the DoJ needs to rely on an act that has, according to several press sources, only been used thrice is a little too novel.

When we consider that the ‘self-destruct’ was enable by Farook’s boss (making the device useless to thieves), only leaves the DoJ without options. What is interesting is when the last cloud backup has happened, had it happened at all? Too many question that are all in the realm of speculation and none of it gives way to legislation. The question becomes should it be? I am not opposing the FBI, CIA or NSA. Yet these alphabet groups do know that they are fishing in murky waters. You cannot expect a corporation to set a product meant for 1,000 million to have options for the internally build exemption of 5,000-7,000 users. The math just does not add up!

I was talking about the legality, so let’s continue there.

In McCabe v British American Tobacco Australia Services Ltd,’ and the appeal, British American Tobacco Australia Services Ltd v Cowell (Representing the Estate of McCabe (deceased)), exposed some of the difficulties that plaintiffs who sue large corporations may face in litigation involving access to documentation. The Victorian Court of Appeal reversed the first instance decision which had struck out the defence of a tobacco company (‘BAT’). The basis for the first instance decision was that BAT had systematically destroyed documents that might have been relevant to the plaintiff’s case. It important to state WHO destroyed documents. You see, in case of Farook it was the boss who ‘destroyed’ the options for information retrieval. The important issue is that INTENT becomes near impossible to prove. In addition that case gives us: “The High Court declined the opportunity to clarify the law in this important area by refusing leave to appeal. The effect of this case, absent statutory reform, is that corporations may destroy potential evidence provided that their actions do not constitute an attempt to pervert the course of justice or a contempt of court. These are notoriously difficult to establish” (source: Playing for keeps? Tobacco litigation, document retention, corporate culture and legal ethics by Matthew Harvey and Suzanne Lemire. The reason for going towards this case is that the entire approach to mobile architecture and auto-backup could instigate updates where the mirror is encrypted extern from Apple. Which means that any phone would have an XML set-up and data object, but the object would be irretrievable. The ‘responsibility’ for proper password maintenance would be kept with the ‘client’ or end user. Taking Apple out of the equation leaving the DoJ with the apple pie made from the famous Granny Smith (AKA Janet Abigail Doe).

This takes the entire cyber conversation towards Spoliated Evidence, where we see “a party is faced with the fact that certain key evidence has been destroyed, altered, or simply lost“, destroyed implies intent, but proving that is next to impossible (which got us the tobacco case. Altered is basically what the DoJ faces as the boss decided to reset the password, again malicious intent becomes next to impossible to prove, whilst lost is not in play in this case but could clearly complicate the issue if that was the case, as the DoJ would have no implied evidence at all.

This entire endeavour goes even further south when we consider Federal Insurance Co. v. Allister, 622 So. 2d 1348, 1351 (Fla. 4th DCA 1993), where the Fourth District decided to set forth five factors to consider before imposing sanctions for spoliation of evidence. They were:

  • whether there is prejudice;
  • whether the prejudice can be cured;
  • the practical importance of the evidence;
  • the good faith or bad faith surrounding the loss of evidence;
  • Possible abuse if the evidence is not excluded.

As bad faith is now linked to the degree of wilfulness, we get back to intent. If mere ‘negligent loss’ does not cut the cake and the cake cannot be devoured without the essential evidence, the entire issue goes nowhere really fast. Basically, it boils down to the boss of Farook having one set of glasses on with the limiting mindset of cost if his mobile was ‘abused in usage’, leaving Apple in the clear shrugging their shoulders going ‘not my problem now’, whilst in all this we are left with no evidence linking to intent or malice. That small scope that was available will in all expectations to be diminished further. It basically solves all of Apple’s problems.

In the need for privacy we have gone from exceptionally rare to just hilariously ridiculous. The Guardian article (at http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/feb/20/apple-fbi-iphone-explainer-san-bernardino) shows in equal measure another side. Which comes from Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat from Oregon. Here we read “Some are calling for the United States to weaken Americans’ cybersecurity by undermining strong encryption with backdoors for the government,” he wrote on Medium on Friday afternoon. “But security experts have shown again and again that weakening encryption will make it easier for foreign hackers, criminals and spies to break into Americans’ bank accounts, health records and phones, without preventing terrorists from ‘going dark’“, as such correctly implying that the medication will end up being a lot worse than the disease they face. In addition to that, should Farook have relied on another path, for example receive orders and message a ‘guild’ within a Facebook RPG game, the wasted time on the iPhone becomes nothing more than an iconic episode of the Comedy Capers. With these games receiving billions of messages a day, parsing though 1 of a dozen games would take years. The fact that none of this required any encrypted android or IOS system, just a mere desktop like millions of students use makes for the case against the Alphabet teams. When looking at Extremetech, we see a quote that is important in all this, the quote: “how terrorist organization uses social media to spread its message and radicalize curious readers. GWU’s research found that while ISIS uses a wide range of services, including Facebook, Google Plus, Kik, WhatsApp, and Tumblr, Twitter is the social media site of choice. Twitter already patrols and bans the accounts of ISIS supporters“, it casually forgets the 3-4 dozen accounts that do not raise any flags, the accounts that ACTUALLY bring details of the attacks to the transgressors.

 

 

 

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