Tag Archives: Eu

Price of freedom

What is exactly the price of freedom? We hear it all the time. Certain things must be done so that we can remain free. You can hear it in the US, the UK, France, the Netherlands, Australia even in New Zealand it can be heard (not just from the sheep). No, it is that currency, freedom that is the question. You see, what exactly is that price and what does every nation have to pay, so that they can be free. When was the last time you considered that part?

When was the last time you got a clear instruction on how to launch a missile so that it lands EXACTLY in what the Houthi’s call “Two ballistic missiles were fired on Saturday evening from Yemen into Saudi Arabia, allegedly targeting Khamis Mushait, a city in the south-west of the country, the coalition forces announced“, whilst in the Saudi Gazette we see: “the other failed to target any populated areas of the city after landing in a desert area“. Now consider the claims we have seen in the past weeks on how they were targeting specific places in Riyadh, which is several times the distance that we saw approached now and the Houthi’s cannot get that right 50% of the time. So when we see “Missile launched at Saudi capital, Houthis claim responsibility“, what are they actually targeting, are they targeting anything? I believe that there are two kind of teams working in Yemen, an Iranian and a Houthi; the better shots were clearly Iranian and with the quote ““This hostile act carried out by the Iranian Houthi militia proves that the Iranian regime is still providing the terrorist Houthi armed militia with qualitative capabilities…with the main objective of threatening the Saudi Arabian, regional and international security,” Al-Malki stressed in the statement.”, the statement is not wrong, but it is not correct either a I personally see it. I think that the Iranians are actively training Houthi troops, so when we realise that they are intentionally firing into dense populated civilian areas. Why is there not a much stronger response from Europe? It was only yesterday that the independent reported (at https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/iran-nuclear-deal-latest-eu-donald-trump-sanctions-miguel-arias-canete-a8359126.html), that ‘it remains committed to accord despite Trump’s withdrawal‘, so that is the price of freedom, a nuclear deal with a nation committed to act in terrorist ways via puppets. The question becomes, what is this so called freedom worth to you, because when you are called on the accountability of what your politicians are doing, are you ready to pay that bill?

In this regard, the Conversation (at http://theconversation.com/trumps-high-stakes-gamble-on-the-iran-nuclear-deal-could-work-96449), offered an interesting thought. With “Though Israel provided a great deal of proof that Iran had lied about its nuclear program in the past, no evidence was offered that Iran was continuing the past record of deceit. The vast majority of experts agree that there is a greater likelihood of an arms race in the Middle East without the agreement than with it“. The statement is more important than you think. You see in the first we get ‘Iran had lied in the past‘, we also get ‘with a nuclear deal there is a smaller chance of nuclear arms acceleration‘ and ‘there is currently no evidence that Iran is currently acting in falsehood‘. They are important because if they lied then, what is stopping them from lying now? There is evidence of Iran acting in falsehood when we look at Yemen, now we have a ballgame, because any evidence of any level of nuclear advancement is a signal for Saudi Arabia to do the same thing, they clearly stated that. The conversation is in the belief that a nuclear deal is better, yet they call this not on the setting it is in, they are now about: ‘There is a chance the re-imposition of sanctions could work. However, it is a high-risk gamble‘, it is set as ‘a possible defence of withdrawal’, it was not about the withdrawal, it is about the nuclear setting where Iran will do what it pleases as it has done so in the past, allowing Uranium into Iran, whilst all players agree that monitoring precise Uranium numbers is not an actual reality, and with both Saudi Arabia and Israel on the firing line, it is not a high stakes gamble that they are willing to make. And leaving the decision of such a gamble with people who are not on the firing line is folly, because they pretty much have nothing to lose, in the worst case, their ego’s get to take on for the team. Explain to me how that was ever going to be a good idea? It gets even worse when we consider that President Rouhani is only in charge as long as the clergy and military agree on his actions, how exactly is that called being in charge? We get this from the NY Times on May 9th, where we see “Iran’s supreme leader on Wednesday hinted that his country might step up its nuclear program, signalling a possible escalation in an already volatile relationship with Washington after President Trump announced he was pulling the United States out of the 2015 nuclear deal”. So that is an outcome that the clergy decided on (apart from their advanced degrees on nuclear physics)? The stated issue by Ayatollah Khamenei is a dangerous one, in light of other materials, there is an increased issue that this deal was not a good idea from the very start.

I still believe that removing the Iranian navy is a first move, not only does it hurt their morale, it sets the Iranian clergy directly in opposition against the military, merely because the clergy thought their side to be invulnerable, there is nothing as uncommunicating as a clergy that knows that they are a direct target. They become the axial in a blame game, a good place for Iran to be in internally (for us). The biggest Issue I saw was not on some Iranians, merely on that a future president could end up being another Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and as such the escalations begin again, yet now that person has nuclear options not a thought you would ever be willing to give any extreme Iranian president.

The issue is not merely the nuclear deal, it is Europe as a whole. When we see “Miguel Arias Canete, the European commissioner for energy and climate, said the 28-nation bloc, once the biggest importer of Iranian oil, also hoped to boost trade with Tehran“, they are ‘hoping‘ to boost trade. This is merely an economic necessity, the European economy is reported to be good, but now consider, it is 1941 and you are willing to deal with Nazi Germany, just to look economically better. Make sure you see the 1941 reference; this is no reflection on today’s Germany. Boosting trade with Iran comes at a price. Now consider that this has been going on for a year and now Iran states: “I would love to do this another three years, yet my good friend Turkey should be allowed in the EU“, now what will happen? A nation that should by the EU’s own standard never be admitted is now optionally a new EU nation. In that part when we consider the quote: “Mr Salehi said Iran had several options, including resuming its 20 per cent uranium enrichment if the European countries failed to keep the pact alive. He said the EU had only a few weeks to deliver on their promises“, this alone is an issue, because it is feasible that Russia has been delivering the hardware needed to an undisclosed location, now setting a different stage. In all this the EU is so willing to set the price of freedom in the basement, whilst knowingly endangering both Saudi Arabia and Israel.

The nightmare scenario

The nightmare scenario is not that Iran becomes nuclear; no it is the same issue when we look back to the era of Nazi Germany. I still personally believe that the State If Israel got created in an effort to get the blood rage that would have haunted Europe for decades off the streets, that danger was very real in 1945-1948. The Dutch NSB members, the Germans in general, we also get the quote “This was a time of often enthusiastic collaboration with the Third Reich, as French police and paramilitary organisations were among the many who rounded up ‘enemies of the state’ and sent them to Germany for extermination.” (I think that this was merely part of occupied France), or what we get from historian Jan Grabowski “‘Orgy of Murder’: The Poles Who ‘Hunted’ Jews and Turned Them Over to the Nazis“, at this point we have 4 countries where a people in utter rage could have persecuted Europeans for decades, that ugly reality alone and not even considering Belgium, Denmark, Italy and a few other places, on how long restorations would have additionally lasted. I am close to 100% certain that it would still be going on by the time I was born, so that image is part of all this.

The reason is that once this goes wrong, when we are optionally going to be a witness to a lynching unlike we have seen for 350 years. When this goes pear shaped and it is close to a certainty that it will go wrong, those who politicised this to happen, might in person feel what it was to be like Cornelis and Johan de Witt, who both got lynched and mutilated by the angry mob on August 20th 1672. These politicians will hide behind complications and mere uncertainties, but so did those who opposed the house of Orange, it did not end well for them.

When that happens, Europe will fall into anarchy, it will happen not because it is destined to do so, but because too many politicians have been trying to sell a bill of goods and there will be escalating levels of mistrust and anger. In this it will not matter whether Saudi Arabia or Israel will get hit, the hit will be enough to make every European politician a valid target for hunting and lynching. Their entire approach to keep every deal going whilst there is too much overwhelming evidence of the unacceptable acts by both Turkey and Iran will be the fuelling cause for it all.

After that I have no way to make any predictions, some politicians will take a long vacation in a nation without extradition the moment things go massively wrong, or try refugee status in America, but those who do not get out in time, will not have any options, they will, due to their own stupidity get hunted down.

Why?

That question is actually a lot more important than you might think. There has been an interaction of politics and media, that has never been a secret, yet in the past there was a level of balance, now, in the age where it is all about commerce and circulation, we see a different setting, the media at large are for the lack of a better term no more than a concubine, who splits her attention between the advertiser, the shareholder and the stakeholder. None of those three are the reader by the way; they merely get introduced to what we now call ‘stories of eventuality‘, which is different from actual news. Most papers merely use what Reuters offer and work with that foundation in any way that they can. This is not a national issue; it is a global one, so when something is not actually nationally set (apart from big events), we do not get the news we get some paraphrased context. Now consider that we have had that for 3-4 days and suddenly there is a nuclear explosion in Riyadh, Jeddah, Tel Aviv or Eilat. When that happens, do you think that the people will remain calm? No, they will be scared out of their minds and all the pretty stories that the news gave, and all the politicians who hid behind ‘we do not expect this to happen’ or ‘it could be so good for us all if it works out’ will not stop a group of people who will add up to many millions, their fear will catch on and they will hunt down anyone related to the Iran Nuclear deal and the messages that they handed out. Like Johan de Witt, they will be trying to get away, but an enraged crowd of that many people cannot be avoided, the only issue is, can those who signed it see that danger in time?

Is there real danger?

That is the part no one, especially me can predict. There is too much not known and even more at times misrepresented, so it is not likely but that merely is set to the foundation of facts, and we are often not given facts, merely speculations (even I am to some degree speculating), I am trying to stay as real as possible, but in light of what I just gave, based on the founding facts that we all have been able to see around us for a few years now. When the fears of nuclear events become reality, which person will not go into fear driven panic? All that, because the politicians of today are set in a battle arena where it is all about the economy and anything that can contribute to that economy must be embraced no matter how the political setting is. That is the setting and even as there is no real stability in that setting, as we see pressure on more than one currency, we will also see the need for intense economic growth and some will give representation that Turkey give options in this, that is the first moment where failure will translate to pressure, when that happens all bets are off and in light of those sliding values, should Iran (yes, I stated ‘should’) do one stupid move in any nuclear setting we will see a different kind of fallout, we will see the kind where the bulk of 740 million Europeans will all pretty much lose it on the spot, that is the moment where we will see on how ‘speech making’ will be a hangable offense to those people, no courts, no judges, millions of hysterically enraged (enraged through fear) who will seek people to hold accountable (the blame game), that is the wrong day to be a politicians, let me tell you that much.

Now, I do not think the danger is that big, although it is directly linked to the acts of Iran, so it is not zero. The real danger is grown with the moral setting of both Iran and Turkey, the fact that some want to keep the discussion going, whilst it should have been discontinued a long time ago will also count. We are heading into murky shallow waters and the end game cannot be predicted, merely because of the amount of players and they all have their own needs. Yet the one part that I do not fathom is that some are willing to add the ‘price of freedom‘ as a currency to calm both political and economic waters with people who have no regard for either element in that setting, a dangerous precedent I think, but that might merely be me.

 

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It is done!

There are a few issues today and the first one is not really an issue, unless you are a movie producer and you are up against Infinity war. I just learned that it smashed the Chinese box office on Friday with an additional $76 million, which makes it surpass both Black Panther and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows part 2. It is now the 8th most successful movie on the planet in the All Time Box Office and that is before the global Saturday revenues are known. I expect it to crush the first Avengers Movie and settle (during the week) on the 5th position. It is the fastest ascension of any movie ever. That is big news, so as per ‘today’ 40% of the top 10 movies ever worldwide are Marvel Productions. I think that the Legacy of Stan Lee is very safe for all time; in addition, I reckon that the Russo brothers will be walking around with that feeling of pride and accomplishment for some time to come. This will not be some DC Marvel comparing; this is a comic book victory that spans 3 generations, and perhaps the setting of an old truth that a dreamer with only $0.25 can conquer the world (small reference to Walt Disney there).

We watched for all kinds of reasons and none of us were disappointed, not even those who went to see it with the silent promise that they could see that Chris Hemsworth is merely slightly less than half the size of Peter Dinklage. We are not even at the halfway point yet! The pressure on part 2 will be overwhelming with every weekend we get towards that point of release, especially those who recognised the message in the teaser at the very end.

But our worlds do not merely revolve on Marvel Production (some need chocolates too), and if it was only so good, it is not, The independent gives us mere hours ago (updated) that in Iran the Clerics are shown to be as simple as one could expect. With the quote “Iranian senior cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said during Friday prayers that Western pressure will backfire, threatening that Israel will pay the price.” The holy system of Islamic Republic will step up its missile capabilities day by day so that Israel, this occupying regime, will become sleepless and the nightmare will constantly haunt it that if it does anything foolish, we will raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground,” the hard-line cleric said. The warshippers chanted: “Death to America,” and “Death to Israel“.”, it is their invitation to War, they thought they were clever with their ‘Syrian‘ missile attack, but they now have the impeding wrath of the State of Israel, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia who has had their fill of the Yemeni Issues, as well as Iran’s commitment to terrorism and Hezbollah and now that both parties know that the rest of the world is willing to united behind Saudi Arabia and Israel, now they need to cry and scream like little children. It is in that setting that I see the mention of “Antonio Guterres, the UN secretary-general, asked for the halt to avoid “a new conflagration” in the region following the most extensive military exchange between Israel and Iran“, Iran did not listen for the longest of times, during the entire Syrian slaughter the UN was merely a lame duck, an expensive voice that was not listened to at all. So why should anyone listen now? So when we see “we will raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground,” the hard-line cleric said. The worshippers chanted: “Death to America,” and “Death to Israel”“, we see a part that they are still in denial of the Houthi situation. Yet now, after the years of their chants, many are sick of the Iranian debacle, option upon option were given, but the two players in charge of Iran, the clerics and the military are soon to be called to put their money where their mouths are and now, the game changes for them, because as far as I see it, they cannot deliver. The fact that I saw the flaw that ends their navy, they will be on an unbalanced setting, they still have plenty of air force and army, but that too falls against the naval settings of what non-Iranians remains in the Persian Gulf and in that setting they have a much larger disadvantage. Iran must rely on the puppets and tools they had and these players are no longer sure of Iran at all. Iran overplayed their hand!

Sinem Cengiz the Turkish political analyst in Arab News gives us: “Turkey will not be taking sides in the crisis as it is already dealing with the effects of the turbulence affecting its other neighbors, Syria and Iraq. So a third neighbor under sanctions will not serve Turkish interests in the region. A nuclear-armed Iran is not in the interest of Turkey either as it would challenge Ankara’s own regional-power position in the Middle East“, she is not wrong, but I personally do not completely agree. You see, Turkey moved itself into a much higher echelon for its own reasons on Kurds and Kurdistan and the setting in Syria remains provocative. Russia wants the middle mediation spot and Iran thinks that they could still push some for certain agreements. Turkey’s actions could push itself into either directly opposing Iran as it wants to soften the setting with European players, or try approach, which was to make Europe more lenient. I do not think either will work, yet with the US in play, they could be pushed into denying certain settings with Iran. Turkey might not want to take sides and for the short term (4-8 weeks) that could be possible, yet both US and the EU want commitments from the Turkish government, but one that is set against Iran (or at least withdraw completely form that setting), it might be one of the few paths remaining to avoid a direct war and in all that, the others want commitments. The path could be delayed when open hostilities against Hezbollah are chosen, because at this point, such actions need to go without any Iranian support, and in that Turkey would be willing to sacrifice Hezbollah for their own needs. Iran will at some point use them as martyrs, which is fine for some as martyrs can no longer hold guns that is the reality of war!

In this we see support from the Courier Mail, who makes mention of ‘Russia reeling in Iran’, which might prevent worse, which is partially true. The issue is not any of the outside players; the issue is that the Iranian clergy and military have been prepping for the longest time. Now they want to move in and look good, yet the starting signal was not given at the right time, so now their entire strategy is falling upon the floor with no one wanting the visibility of picking that trash up. In this CNBC has its own view (at https://www.cnbc.com/2018/05/09/trump-iran-sanctions-give-saudi-arabia-and-russia-more-clout.html). With “Saudi Arabia said it will help meet world oil demand if President Donald Trump’s Iran sanctions create shortfalls, but analysts say it will do so only in conjunction with Russia, and the world may have to get used to higher prices as a result” they are correct, that is indeed the midterm play that we all face, increasing oil prices and the energy companies will try to cash in on this as soon as possible, even as they have been enjoying cheap oil for years. This strategy works for both Saudi Arabia and Russia on several fronts, there will be no opposing party ready or able to pick up that slack. Their only way to prevent worse is the action offered by Israel, If the Syrian president tells Iran to go home, it would relieve tensions. The question becomes if Syria willing to do just that? There are still scores of Russians there and perhaps Turkey has an option to show willingness to increase troops, which works for them on all but one front, Iran will see this as an act of desertion against the Iranian settings. Iran’s actions or responses cannot be predicted as present. Even a Syria has had issues with the Turkish ties towards the Muslim Brotherhood and as such, it might be the best option, but not one President Assad is willing to consider (personal speculation). It is a Gordian knot of complications at best, cutting it might be the best, but that too might not be seen as a solution for any of those players.

So where is the option to remove the pressures? I am not certain if there are any left, the issue is the pressures are coming from Iran and they are not willing to change for the time being.

For desert

The end of this should be something light and frothy, there is nothing lighter and frothy than a good game and in light of the upcoming war, is that such a bad deal? We have seen all kinds of allegations and leaks. Now that we see a few announcements, and now that we have seen a few things that Sony will be bringing, I am now at a loss how Microsoft will get anywhere with the uphill battle they face this year. It seems to me that the upcoming Book of the dead is doing to PS4 what the initial the Last of Us did to the PS3. It was overwhelming. In addition when we see the Last of Us 2, Ghost of Tsushima, Spiderman, Death Stranding and Book of the dead, realising that at least three of these titles will be released in 2018, one is extremely unlikely to come before 2019 (Death Stranding) and one remains an unknown at present, and that is merely the exclusives. Sony has remastered the Spyro trilogy which will entice a new generation and satisfy the ones who played it on the original PlayStation. There are loads more coming, but this is at present what Nintendo and Microsoft are up against, which in light of the results of God of War is not a good thing to be up against. Now that the Sony gamers have heard that the release of Subnautica on PS4 is more and more imminent; an unknown title (to many) that is merely one of the best survival adventures I ever played and original from beginning to end. So in that view, we see that the other brand has a diminishing level of unique games left and that was never a good thing for any console. In my personal view, there is now only one reason why I still have the Xbox One. It is the one game, the game that I revered ever since I got my fingers on the demo that was added to the PC Format disc, al little over 20 years ago. Take a look at the update of the remastered and remade System Shock (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKfnTnZuC5E) where you can see the game in progress and even as it is announced to come to PS4, it is for the time being a lot earlier on Xbox One and PC.

The advantage Microsoft once had is now pretty much gone.

Even as some are all about the gifting a game hype, from my personal experience most people have never given me anything correct when it comes to gaming. Now, in some cases it is indeed nice, but most people prefer to go to shop and get a physical copy of the game. We acknowledge that backward compatibility is a nice setting; there is no denying that, yet over the next year do you want to replay a few good games, or play amazing new games? Backward compatibility is nice to have and an asset, no one denies that, yet the setting of no amazing new games is not something you want to rely on. The Verge actually almost nails it with “The Xbox One is the best console if you don’t care about exclusive new games“, I do agree with the setting, but those exclusives that Sony has is just beyond amazing and Microsoft has nothing to counter that, that is the setting that does matter. Nintendo upped the setting even more with the leak of Pokémon Switch coming this year; this will get millions of 3DS players now update to Switch much faster than initially expected. It gets to be interesting when you consider that Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon sold in excess of 7 million copies. With Pokken on Switch (originally a WiiU title) already out and now the new Pokémon’s coming (I expect at least two), we see that Nintendo is upping the score and the pressure on both Microsoft and Sony.

So even as Verge was almost correct, they missed it that the gamers love exclusive titles and the fact that the Sony players are getting the Switch on the side matters as well, apart from them not getting the XB1 on the side. With 26 titles announced by August 2018, the games list is also impacting the other two. Bethesda is giving Wolfenstein 2 a ‘switch’ over in 7 weeks, The Crash Bandicoot fans get to do it all over again on Switch as well and Capcom is breathing life to Streetfighter with a 30th anniversary edition this month on Switch, yes, my prediction that I made a mere two weeks ago is coming to pass, the worst nightmare for Microsoft is coming, Nintendo and Sony have upped their game and as it is less likely that Microsoft can equal that during the E3; by no more than late August will we see the setting whether the total Nintendo Switch sales will surpass Xbox One total sales by Christmas 2018, it is now becoming increasingly likely that Microsoft Xbox One will grace third position in the console race before December 31st 2018. Microsoft will have to produce a miracle by the end of the year and it better be a lot better than there marketing department hiding behind “All Xbox One games and Microsoft Store PC games are now eligible for digital gifting“, because when I look at AC Origin Gold (AU$145) and Shadow of War Gold (AU$158), I wonder if the people know that these games are around 40Gb to download and a 100% larger if you have 4K capabilities. So not only is it a massive download, the fact that these XB1 consoles have no more than 1TB is also a consideration. Nothing on any of this is a ‘pro’ gamer setting, merely a maximum exploitation setting from Microsoft. And that is even before you realise that a new Shadow of War Gold edition (with Steelbook) is a mere AU$99.95 at EB Games, so, do you still think I am kidding when it comes to Microsoft dropping the ball three times over? Are you kidding with downloading a game at a price that is 50% higher than a physical version in the shops?

Like Iran, Microsoft overplayed their hand way too soon and they are also in the venue of not being able to counter what comes. A setting that they should have avoided, in that light we can compare the Microsoft marketeers with the Iranian clerics, they shout from the highest peaks, but without the support of actual product you end up merely irritating people, which is how I personally see this all.

A desert that was a little less light on the bowels, but in all this we see that some games over the next month will be shown to be not up to the fight against reality and consumerism. Because both rely on smooth sailing and those who have never been hit by internet congestion have for the most never ever used the full setting of it. Until very recently, Sydney NBN users had 4 hours a week of congestion, now consider having to fetch your Sex in the city, the latest movie, download games, watch reality (kitchen) TV and focus on the big footy games. So how welcome was that digital download game to the internet welfare of the family in the end?

 

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Iranian decisions

At 00:10 Tel Aviv Time, roughly 07:10 here, the time of waiting was over, Iran has fired its missiles on Israel making the outstanding option of an impending war a lot more realistic. In this the Guardian gives us (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/09/iran-fires-20-rockets-syria-golan-heights-israel) “Iranian forces stationed in Syria fired approximately 20 projectiles at Israeli military positions in the Golan Heights just after midnight on Thursday, Israel’s defence forces (IDF) said“, in addition we see “Several but not all rockets were intercepted by Israeli air defences, an IDF spokesman, Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, told reporters“, whatever happens, will happen soon, because if sch a barrage cannot completely be stopped, we can deduce that it will not take long for Iran to take a more targeted notion, yes, my version is speculative, yet the warmongering words from the last weeks gives rise to take it all a lot more serious than it has been taken in the past. So when we see ““The IDF views this Iranian attack very severely,” Conricus said. “This event is not over”“, we better believe that more is to come. There is an additional setting, this attack could only have been done with the approval of President Bashar al-Assad, so he is feeling secure enough with Iran and Russia backing him, so the picture changes on a few fronts, this is no longer merely settling whatever Iran thought it was settling, this could have much larger repercussions. Turkey is already voicing support for Iran and siding with Russia (they are playing their hand cautiously, yet Turkey is all in with their anti-Israel views. It gets to be worse, because as the US pulled out of the nuclear Iran accord, we now see ‘EU rushes to arrange crisis meeting with Iran over nuclear deal‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/09/eu-moves-to-protect-european-firms-from-us-sanctions-on-iran), so even as we know that there are several things wrong, even as Iran meddled in other business and now is responsible for direct missile attacks on Israel, we see that Europe is still trying to make some level of a deal with Iran. It goes even further when we see “Work on the package being coordinated by the European Union is at an early stage, but the EU is being urged to warn the US it will impose countersanctions if the US attempts unjustifiably to cripple EU firms trading with Iran“, yet the foundation is that there has been more and more overwhelming evidence that Iran has not been dealing in good faith. When we consider the earlier settings that I mentioned 3 days ago in ‘Stopping Slumber, Halting Hesitation‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/05/07/stopping-slumber-halting-hesitation/), we can just quickly decide that they were prepping for all this, which would be incorrect, yet the fact that 20 missiles got there so quickly to be fired on the Golan heights also indicates that there was Iranian willingness to go that distance in several political branches and on pretty much all military levels, which is equally unsettling. The issue is that the EU remains a lot quieter when it comes to the involvement of Turkey. It is a personal view of mine, yet I believe that there will be diminished needs soon enough and there is a Turkey EU membership play coming. The beginning of ‘compliance delay messages‘ is merely an indicator, I believe that the fear mongering will get worse and too many parties are playing that game, that whilst the denial of Turkey into the EU should have been clearly made well over a year ago.  So when we are treated to “The European Union is scrambling to arrange a crisis meeting with Iran after Donald Trump pulled out of the nuclear agreement, as the Iranian president Hassan Rouhani said Europe had a “very limited opportunity” to save the deal“, we also need to keep in mind that terms like ‘could’ connected to ‘shut down UK’ on EU laws, this level of fear mongering is just beyond acceptable and we might all be better off in a direct war and whomever survives will suddenly demand near draconian treatment of the media, even as Leveson 2 is (for now) off the rails, the next crises will not go that smooth for whomever is demanding greater accountability of the media. That is not the only part, the entire Turkish economy and the S&P decision to regard Turkey. As it junkified its currency rating from ‘BB/B’ to ‘BB-/B’, we see a larger impact and when we consider that the Turkish lira (TRY) has fallen 7.4% this year and in that setting, including the corporate debt problems that Turkey is facing, the entire blow hard whilst they are not producing any music is more than merely wind in the air, as Turkish economic growth has been fueled by cheap international credit, we still see the need to pay for all that and now as we see (actually it was last month) with “Yildiz Holding—owner of the brands Godiva chocolate and McVitie’s biscuits requires a complete restructure of $6.5bn of its total $8.5bn of debt by the end of this week“, a cookie factory having an eight billion dollar debt? What else is in such disrepair? That shows just how desperate Turkey is at present to get into bed with almost anyone, that is what we are allowing in our midst and there is no level of fear that seems to be reflecting off the sides of EU Brussels and Strasbourg, which is also unsettling, now as they are optional diplomats in a really bad case of reconsideration by merely the EU to get the nuclear deal going, now we see the rise of mentions and soft press tapping on Turkish doors.

That alone should scare us beyond measure!

There is no case against it all and whilst Turkey is at a stage what some call ‘Hostage Diplomacy‘ whilst they are now upgrading their arsenal with the Russian S-400, the game switches and none of this will end up having a happy ending. For now we can leave Russia out of this as its focus is merely the US, or intermittent board hugging to make the US look bad via the EU, yet overall the setting here is not too negative (for now), the issue merely becomes hoe friendly it needs to remain with Iran in the mix, because there is the game on a different level. From my point of view there is a certain level of polarisation, even as Europe should stand next to Israel, it seems intent on standing ‘diplomatically‘ alone so that they need not stand opposing Turkey, that is merely one view, yet in light of its financial hardships and Turkish needs to be seen positive towards becoming an EU nation is not a good combination. So when we see the EU with “As long as Iran continues to implement its nuclear related commitments, as it has been doing so far and has been confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency in 10 consecutive reports, the EU will remain committed to the continued full and effective implementation of the nuclear deal“, which all might be very true, yet Iran has shown different colours in Syria and against Israel, so that stance is not merely wrong it promotes polarisation. On the one hand, the EU is not doing anything wrong from that one treaty point of view, yet in light of what we have seen in Syria, there are a lot more issues in play, not all are on Iran, some are allegedly issues for Iran to answer, but I wish to not use that in the examples, merely because they are allegedly part of anything, meaning they are part of nothing until confirmed and when we consider the utter uselessness on the last chemical attack reports, certain Syrian issues cannot be labelled to anyone but Syria itself. So as things in Syria escalates and as Iran is escalating them, or at least actively part of the escalation, the EU will need to take a stance sooner rather than later, they prefer later, yet when they are forced onto a corner and they select Turkey and Iran over Israel, the game will quickly change and not only is Europe feeling that drain, the impact that will happen in the middle East, is one that Europe will suffer for a much longer time than they bargained for and there is no quick solution for the wrong decision. That will be evident pretty soon at this stage.

So as we see one side evolve, we see in similar news from the Wall Street Journal (at https://www.wsj.com/articles/missiles-fired-at-saudi-arabia-signal-support-for-iran-by-its-proxies-1525886469) the mention “Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen fired a barrage of missiles into Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, an early indication that Iran’s allies in the Middle East are likely to flex their muscles in a show of support for their patron—risking a wider conflict“, I think that these events which were apart by merely a few hours had some levels of coordination. So when we see “Yemeni army forces, supported by allied fighters from Popular Committees, have fired a salvo of domestically-designed and -developed ballistic missiles at “economic targets” in the Saudi capital city of Riyadh in retaliation to the Al Saud’s devastating military aggression against their impoverished country“, we need to keep a clear mind. The missiles are said to be Yemeni (Borkan H-2 missiles), yet the information on the H2 is that it is said to be a short range ballistic missile with normally a range of about 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) or less. Even as we see it is almost capable of making the 1,036 km to Riyadh, the setting that we see with ‘economic targets‘, whilst at the maximum distance, the chance of actually hitting what is aimed for at the maximum range is a lot less likely or possible, not without and ace rocket and ballistic expert at the missile site; the Houthi’s are a little short on both, so we have, in my personal opinion, either Houthi’s that want to hit any part (mainly civilian parts) of Riyadh and they merely claim to be aiming for a bank, or the optional more likely setting is that Iran has been directly involved in training the Houthi’s or firing the missiles themselves. Now, we can opt for option one, yet the training curve would be a little devastating on all minds involved (even if you use targeting computers and software, yet they have had the time to train the Houthi’s for months, so it is possible, yet I personally see it as less likely (again merely speculation from my side), so when we consider that Iran is waging war on two fronts, so far (as far as I can recall) only Napoleon and Adolf Hitler were that stupid and how did it end for them? There is an optional thought that Iran will be hiding behind European coat tails in the end, but that is still speculation without evidence (at present), perhaps that is why Turkey is in a desperate state to become part of the EU?

I am merely asking, because the Iranian decisions we are seeing over the last 24 hours give rise not to the US, but to other players hoping to wage ‘extreme’ solutions to make things go forward for them, whilst the opposing player has no intention of playing nice, the US can’t start another war and Iran might be hoping that the EU is too unwilling to see its economic setting dissolved through armed conflict. It would be a decent tactic to play, but for now it merely remains a setting of speculation. Yet, in all this, there is more than just saber rattling. When we look at Reuters we see “Turkey will continue its trade with Iran as much as possible and will not be answerable to anyone else, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said on Tuesday, as U.S. President Donald Trump said the United States was withdrawing from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal“, so we see Turkey with an utter lack of accepting accountability for the economic paths that they are trying to get on (aka the EU gravy train). How can anyone expect Turkey to have any level of civility in the setting of economic partnerships? Because in the EU setting, we have seen more than one play where such acts would not have been allowed, yet Turkey is setting the pace to do just that. It is an important setting as it gives Iran a green light they should not have had, it is merely the outspoken voice to set the colour of options, and that colour is the one of explosive red. That is shown by others as the setting that is not to be allowed. Even as we understand that there is a setting that Italy, Germany and France do not want these sanctions to happen, we see that their voice gives “Patrick Pouyanné, the chief executive of the French energy firm Total, has already called for the EU to pass a blocking statute“, which makes perfect sense, and it is likely to happen, yet when we see the Turkish response with “Turkey will continue its trade with Iran as much as possible and will not be answerable to anyone else“, it merely shows that they are nowhere near ready to be allowed into the EU as a member state, because when they do something like this after they are admitted, the game changes by a lot and from that moment onward Turkey becomes merely the liability of the EU, not a member of the EU and there is a large distinct difference, even as we see them in the current setting for now, there is absolutely no guarantee that they will not continue on the undermining path that they are on, we have seen too many instances of Turkey acting that way that way in the last few years.

When we return to Iran we seem to be in deep water, not healthy waters by the way, the Riyadh/Golan actions are debatable at the very least and the fact that they are being mixed gives light to the dangers that are upcoming. Can they be avoided is the larger question, I am unsure of an answer, the fact that Yemen and Syria happened at almost the same time is a larger issue to contemplate and I have no factual useful response. Waiting for now is pretty much all we can do. I don’t think that we have to wait for too long as Israel has already announced retaliatory strikes a mere 15 minutes ago (source: Haaretz). So this cookie will not merely escalate, it is certainly the setting where other cookies get crumbled as well, the mere question is: “What are our options as per tomorrow, or the day after?

I do not know, when it comes to Yemen, we all (mainly the EU, NATO and USA) sat on our hands for far too long and they have made it part of the package deal. So the first act (at present) might just depend on how much Saudi Arabia feels threatened.

 

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Physical vs Virtual (part2)

In part 2 we look at the virtual aspect in all this and for that we need to take a look at the other part of the equation, and see where the interaction ended up, because that is also a matter that truly counts.

Virtually

It started way before now, but the now gives us ‘Facebook moves 1.5bn users out of reach of new European privacy law‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/apr/19/facebook-moves-15bn-users-out-of-reach-of-new-european-privacy-law). You see the law is one thing, yet in all this, when we see “Facebook has moved more than 1.5 billion users out of reach of European privacy law, despite a promise from Mark Zuckerberg to apply the “spirit” of the legislation globally“, was anything illegal done? When we see: “when asked whether his company would promise GDPR protections to its users worldwide, Zuckerberg demurred. “We’re still nailing down details on this, but it should directionally be, in spirit, the whole thing,” he said“, did he lie?

Those are the immediate questions. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the EU in this gives us “replaces the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC and was designed to harmonize data privacy laws across Europe, to protect and empower all EU citizens data privacy and to reshape the way organizations across the region approach data privacy“, so the people created their account long before these privacy issues were there. They never cared for the longest time, as long as the US government didn’t get any data and when we respond to pornographic images and videos on social media, oh no, that was not us, that was merely Gavin Barwell (see part 1), in a time when his mind should have been all other kinds of matters. Ah well, we all have an itch now and then. Yes, it is that itch, because we are all on social media for some reason, to share, to look, to listen and to judge. Some of them actually communicate, and that has also been proven so communication on social media is not a fab. So when we see the EU site on the GDPR: “the biggest change to the regulatory landscape of data privacy comes with the extended jurisdiction of the GDPR, as it applies to all companies processing the personal data of data subjects residing in the Union, regardless of the company’s location. Previously, territorial applicability of the directive was ambiguous and referred to data process ‘in context of an establishment’. This topic has arisen in a number of high profile court cases. GPDR makes its applicability very clear – it will apply to the processing of personal data by controllers and processors in the EU, regardless of whether the processing takes place in the EU or not“, the first thing we see is that social media has no business having offices or processing data in the EU, that basically is the signal for Facebook to vacate using the ASAP protocol and they did just that. And Mark Zuckerberg did it all in the spirit of it all, it is just not what was expected and the Senate hearing just gave themselves (allegedly) access to de data to nearly all the European users. the second part gives us “The GDPR will also apply to the processing of personal data of data subjects in the EU by a controller or processor not established in the EU, where the activities relate to: offering goods or services to EU citizens (irrespective of whether payment is required) and the monitoring of behaviour that takes place within the EU. Non-Eu businesses processing the data of EU citizens will also have to appoint a representative in the EU“, so with ‘monitoring of behaviour that takes place within the EU‘, is a much larger issue and Alex Hern makes no mention of this anywhere in the article (that is not an accusation), merely that Facebook has moved the data and that the people in the EU have less rights under US law. Was that not always the case? Was that not the initial setting when Facebook started? So when we read “This is a major and unprecedented change in the data privacy landscape. The change will amount to the reduction of privacy guarantees and the rights of users, with a number of ramifications, notably for consent requirements“, which we get from Privacy researcher Lukasz Olejnik, we actually do not get anything new, because the GDPR would not have been enforced until next month, so there! (OK, not an entirely justified outcry, but I am feeling batty)

In all this the missed issue of monitoring is actually a lot larger for some and those boasting on what they bought on the dark net (some people remain simple on every level) will have a few repercussions, yet in all this when it regards Cambridge Analytica, we see all kinds of media exploitations, rumours, alleged actions, yet no arrests, no one in the dock and still the entire mess is merely focussed on Facebook. We have seen news on a massive amount of apps collecting data, smart toys, and with the upcoming 5G, the RFID and mobile tag as well as device tags will be an exponentially growing data market with the entire Fortune 500 chomping at the bits to get their fingers on that data, yet at present the legislation has been faulty at best and nominally missing completely. All that because the people give it all away willingly, that is what the next fridge with a £250 discount will warrant, as did the 2016 Sony Smart TV as just about all following models. that is not a joke, you agreed to this when you bought the TV,

it is in the end users license agreement and they are not alone, it is a massive list of corporation that are doing this and the media was, yet they were largely silent about it and the Sony issue in 2012, where the media is what I would personally label as: ‘whoring for advertisement options‘ instead of informing 30 million consumers on the change and its impact, is what still has my nostrils flaring 6 years later and I am an actual Sony fan.

So as we see how we are singularly focussed on where our personal data is and not what we allowed it to be used for, especially as it came with the free use of Facebook, we all need to accept that nothing is for free and the corporation requires its return of investment, well in the case of Facebook merely 60 billion. Where did you think that value came from? Watching advertisement? In that Facebook and google are largely alike. So in these issues in the physical and virtual side, we are short on memory, too large on emotions and unclear on how to make the houses of Lords and Commons more accountable for the matters at hand. Even as they cannot prevent you from staying with Facebook, we all have been failed by legislation that was too slow and MP’s that are showing to be lacking the necessary skills to do something successfully. It would be so lovely if Sir Martin Moore-Bick would be kind enough to show both matters, because it would have a much larger impact. Even as we see, (what I would personally call) the failed false promises of Jeremy Corbyn regarding housing, with: “One million new “genuinely affordable homes” over a decade, mostly for social rent. That’s not quite 1m new council houses – a chunk of these would be delivered by housing associations – but it gets very close” is also a Porky Pie of the largest order. You merely have to look at google Maps to see that there is no place for even 30% of that in London, so will they mostly be in Wales, Penzance, Brighton and Scarborough? In addition, none of the sides of the houses
(Lords or Commons) have successfully done anything to make a change, regarding leasehold which will drive the entire social housing matter further and 1,000,000 houses will not nearly be enough. So, back to the Virtual part, because that is still central in this. In that part I have to thank the realtor Harcourts for bringing the juice.

You see, with: “NPP1 – Collection of Information; Agencies are prohibited from collecting personal information unless it is necessary for one or more of its functions. Personal data should only be collected in a lawful, fair, and not unreasonably obtrusive way. The agency must disclose certain information at the point of collection“, yet in all this the terms: ‘unless it is necessary for one or more of its functions‘ gives a much wider scope, does it not? In addition, with ‘only be collected in a lawful, fair, and not unreasonably obtrusive way‘. So when they (the real estate in general) offer a £199 rebate for registering you as the leasehold owner, how many people do you think that will consider it necessary and not unreasonable? It merely needs to satisfy one function and the deed is covered with the mantle of opportunity. In addition we see “Personal and sometimes sensitive information may be collected and stored on standard real estate industry forms, such as tenancy applications, listing forms, etc. These need to be secured and available for inspection by customers“, so when did you look at what some call the RP Database? In Australia there is a firm CoreLogic and it has a product called RP Data Professional. In all this we see: “RP Data Professional is the leading property data solution used by property professionals in Australia. Prepare reports for prospects and clients, generate value estimates, verify information and conduct valuable research and highly targeted marketing. Packages starting from $150 / month“. It is widely used by debt collecting agencies as well as realtors. You would be surprised to see all that data and what every address offers. Do you think that they are the only ones? Data is gold, it is the printer that allows you to print your own money and for the most it is massively unchecked. Now, I know that RP Data is merely a facilitator in all this, all perfectly valid, and nothing illegal. Yet when we consider ABC in 2016 with “The Reserve Bank has taken the highly unusual step of switching its preferred home value data, arguing that CoreLogic’s figures overstated price growth in April and May due to a methodology change“, so as you see the data goes a lot further and for the most the people, the tenants and Real Estate seekers are totally unaware of such parts and in all this do you think that the UK does not have its own options. In all this, with the explosive cladding issues, did you not think that the clad dealers were not tailoring to ‘property value increase at minimum costs’? This goes a lot wider in several lanes and the sudden much larger issue of cladding is almost not looked at (I did say almost).

So when we see “CoreLogic’s head of research Tim Lawless acknowledged that the changes to the index may have temporarily bumped up the figures for a couple of months. However, he said other data indicate that those two months were still relatively strong for Sydney and Melbourne housing sales” we forget to look at the aligned indications and what else is setting the pass in all this. Even as the last parts were the Australian side of this, CoreLogic is also active in the UK. In this no one seems to have talked to CoreLogic to see if the cladding industry has been given (through subscription) access to the UK RP Database. Is that not interesting too? You see, when we accept the January setting of “Just three tower blocks out of almost 300 with the same “dangerous” and “flammable” cladding as Grenfell Tower have had panels taken down and replaced“, how come the number of buildings is so high? Are all cladding providers so very bad, or was there a very intelligent salesperson selling cladding to the right people, when the timing was just right? I am fairly certain that this part of the conversations has not been showing up anywhere.

The virtual side to the Grenfell disaster was not seen, perhaps that part was immaterial at that time, yet when we see 297 tower blocks in a serious setting of harm, with the initial setting of finding the proper candidates, have we considered that corporate social media (like LinkedIn) could be used to get the goods (in alleged Cambridge Analytica style) to create fear in other ways? A lack of value versus a larger valuation set against a minimal investment. You show me a person who turns that down and I will introduce you to a person who is very aware of the concept of dishonesty.

You see, we have seen for the better part of 5 years the notion of taking fear from the workplace, usually in the style of ‘Corporate Leaders Must Remove Fear Factor from the Workplace‘, which we get from the Huffington Post (at https://www.huffingtonpost.com/mary-prefontaine/corporate-leaders-must-re_1_b_1437445.html) as early as 2012, so when we see “As reported in the Harvard Business Review, employees faced with incivility are likely to narrow their focus to avoid risks, and lose opportunities to learn in the process. Obviously this impacts their level of personal success and the success of the organization“, yet in equal measure, those actors never considered to take the fear factor out of the boardrooms, which are forever ruled by the bottom line and in that respect there is very little difference between a corporate boardroom, or places like the Kensington and Chelsea TMO, which has one bottom line, which is the value of housing and the rise of values of upcoming new housing. So now, the entire Metro section we saw in part one with ‘Cladding added to Grenfell Tower to ‘improve view for nearby luxury flats‘ it makes a whole lot more sense does it not? It is my personal view and opinion, yet in all that data was at the very Core and Logic of it all (pun intended). So when you think the Facebook data is an issue, guess again. The issue is a lot bigger, wider and more exploitable at the expense of yourself of course) than you would have thought.

All within the considerate view of those not looking at any of this, and you think I went deep here? I merely touched the surface and I will be very surprised if the public inquiry touches on any of those matters, not because they do not want to, but because the legal scope is unlikely to be there, as it would have been in the emotional seeking justice side. I guess that it is one of the questions that certain councils do not want to answer, so making sure that the question is not asked will be a first priority for all of them, because if it does get to the table, those who want to stiff Leaseholders with a £40,000 bill might optionally end up being not so successful and there is every indication that a fair chunk of those 297 tower blocks are currently facing a similar dilemma.

That is just my thought on the matter, and in all this, when you start realising the issues at hand and the time that this has taken, in addition that I saw some in minutes a few more in hours and one or two through my decades of data experience, are you not surprised that the elected officials remained in the dark? I know I am one of the better ones on the planet, but I know close to a dozen equal or better than me, many living in London. Do you actually think that some were in the dark or are they allegedly keeping themselves ignorant? In that case, if more happens, how many lives was the price of that ignorance? Can we afford to find out?

I’ll leave you with those questions, have a great Friday and do try to enjoy the weekend!

 

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Chickie Chickie Bang Bang

Jason Burke is bringing the Guardian goods (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/18/arms-race-criminal-gangs-helping-terrorists-get-weapons-report-warns). You see, I am a gun lover. I loved ‘using’ guns since 1978. I love the design; I most definitely admire and love the tradecraft that the maker had which allows a mere metal object to be placed with 9mm precision over a range of 600 meters. The need and the skill for any person to get the bullet placed EXACTLY there where it needs to be, allowing your brain to correct all needed parameters, like for example wind to make sure that you aim for that point that allows the bullet to hit the bulls-eye dead centre. It is almost a fluidic interaction of skill and art, a balance between the machine, the environment and the shooter. Once you realise that part in this, the admiration for the skill that you get to hone, that passion will stay with you, probably for a lifetime. It was never about looking like the main player in Call of Duty, when I started my passion for guns, there was merely the Atari 2600, and there was no shooting game at that point, there was Pong, there was Pac-Man and there were the Space Invaders.

Even in those days, guns were expensive, so I was limited to the gun that the club had and my granny would not tolerate guns in the house and I personally had no issues with that. In addition to not having the dough to own a rifle, I also never had the initial drive to own one, so that was all fine to me, I just wanted to be on the range and shoot (and hit the mark dead centre). Of course I was a little bit blessed; the club had Feinwerkbau rifles as well as a few .22 LR’s, as well as a collection of pistols so we had all the good goods. It would be another two years until I got introduced to the 7.62 FN FAL, the UZI, the 9mm pistol and another two years until my first Remington.

So when I saw ‘Military grade firearms increasingly available to terrorists in Europe – report‘, I was not at all surprised. It is not merely the ““arms race” between criminal groups in Europe risks making it easier for terrorists to obtain high-powered, military grade firearms“, the fact remains that the image shows the Kalashnikov and the mention ‘Part of a haul of £100,000 worth of eastern European guns smuggled into the UK‘, we are missing that even those with a legal permit are willing to get their fingers on a genuine Kalashnikov. They are willing and eager to part with well over £850, making that part an easy £8500, so not only is it about the ‘arms race‘ it is a very lucrative business as well. If the movie ‘Lord of War‘ is true to some extent and the ‘entrepreneurial’ spirit can buy it per kilo, with a discount per container, making the profit even sweeter. The decently low risk and the huge returns are only going to make it worse for the foreseeable future in Europe. The stream of refugees and the Schengen open borders policies allow for transport from ‘who-gives-a-damn‘ somewhere near the Russian border to the shoreline of the Pass de Calais. That alone should be the nightmare of France (Germany has its own HK market). Even as I admit that I would still love to get my fingers on a full stock AK-47 with silencer as well as the Druganov SVD with its optional noise reduction system. We see that this market is for the collectors that have the cash (and the storage) as well as the criminal elements, so there is a larger stream of customers available. This changes the plot by a large amount. Even as one side will never be a threat to human life, it remains a larger issue. I for one would not have them in an unprotected setting, so the fact that someone (read: trigger happy doped up junk) steals it from my house is a larger worry for me than I care for, so I do not have either of them. Weirdly enough, that issue had been on my mind a lot more lately, because every shooter (or at least all I know) always had a reverence for the Remington. The fact that they went belly up means that if I would not be able to get one soon, the era of the Remington passes me by and that makes me sad, as it would any dedicated range shooter.

There is a part of debate with “The survey says long-standing barriers to obtaining firearms have broken down in recent years owing to the emergence of the internet, cross-border smuggling of military-grade assault rifles into the EU, the conversion of large numbers of blank-firing guns and the widespread reactivation of weapons previously rendered unusable to be sold to collectors“, in the first, the internet was never an issue, the darknet is a much larger issue as people can actively seek out what they need, a window shopping experience with almost complete anonymity. Smuggling operations are indeed an issue, but that is what the open border policy brought, if the government officials are in denial, they should never have been elected in the first place, so the entire matter is not new, it has been there since 1985, it was not until the 1998 Russian financial crisis that the Russian situation ‘exploded’ with container loads of Russian goods (read: military hardware) becoming readily available. So in that, this entire situation has been around for almost 2 decades, OK, 15 years is a lot more accurate. So when we see ‘a criminal gang in 2016‘, we seem to forget that these are either new player, or that the authorities remained in denial for well over 5 years. They aren’t but they seem to be. That evidence is also shown by the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/oct/05/steven-greenoe-gun-smuggling-trial). Here even the American entrepreneurs try to participate by getting a few slices of profit cake. So as the clever minded amateur goes with “Steven Greenoe, 37, bought weapons from American gun shops, broke them down to their component parts, and smuggled them into the UK in his luggage, Liverpool crown court heard on Wednesday“, I reckon that he needed to inflate his US Marine pension, it is not valued the way it ever was. You see the lesser amateur gets them ‘attached’ to the inside of the fuel tank of a truck. The Diesel nicely lubes and cleans the weapon whilst the trucker drives his trip and up to 4 AK-47’s giving him an easy £1,000 on the side per trip, a little more if the driver takes a double load of Makarov’s. What a luxury those open borders make, don’t they?

Yet the important part is that there is an issue. It is not merely the terrorists. These people become the go to guys for the Lone Wolves in the UK. With the danger rising of the dealers out for cash and not knowing who their clientele is, making it an almost ironic sense of justice for them to deal to a lone wolf only to come home and learn that the wife and kiddies were gunned down by a crazed extremists who hated all those who did not take him/her seriously, it ended up being all in a day’s work.

The previous part is more important than you think; you see the lone wolf is often in emotional turmoil. Unlike the actual terrorist who has a clear agenda, this person merely needs fame (read: infamy) and recognition, as such, emotion takes over and he/she is most likely to fail, yet not before they kill the innocent bystanders that were never part of any equation. That is what worries the intelligence community the most because there is no defence that would work and that is the ball game at present. You see the article ends with “arms races between criminal groups across the EU“, that is not the scary part. It is for ‘government officials‘ but those criminal elements remain all about exploitation and profit, so in the end they either slaughter each other (not the biggest issue of any week) or keep each other at bay, in most cases the innocent bystanders are less and less likely to get hit, merely because it makes for bad business (remember their profit based mindset). Yet another article partially opposes it with “Converted and reactivated weapons in Europe are seen as having posed an acute problem in recent years. Amedy Coulibaly, who carried out shootings in Paris in January 2015, used two reactivated automatic rifles and six handguns. The firearms had been sold in Slovakia before being reactivated and eventually smuggled into Coulibaly’s hands” which is merely one part in a setting of several. So the weapon smuggle is not merely the one part, you see the ‘reactivated‘ weapons are seemingly a much larger problem in the scheme of things and here we see the larger flaw. There is a legion of articles and papers that talk about reactivated weapons, meaning that the deactivation was improper, incomplete and actually not very inactive. The fact that the NABIS (National Ballistics Intelligence Service) gives us “The process of reactivation in respect of certain types of weapons may not require a sophisticated workshop and can be done with tools available from a DIY store. In one case, for example, reactivation was carried out in the kitchen of a one bedroom sheltered housing bedsit” (see attached) gives additional evidence that the entire ‘deactivation process‘ is as flawed as it is likely ever to get and fixing that one part will make the issue smaller, but will not make it go away. In this we have evidence for almost 7 years and the fact that they European commission is all about reports and as far as I can tell not about actual action makes the EU again merely a gravy train of income opportunity and not a resolving entity of any degree.

So when we have seen the events and the evidence, the article remains true to some point, the factual issue that works to the advantage of the police is that the real terrorist is not screaming its presence and neither is the arms dealer, so they are both in a dark room playing ‘Marco‘  (wait for it)  ‘Polo‘ hoping that the police or the intelligence workers don’t hear either of them, which works out well for the police (for now), the lone wolf is a much harder issue. that person might shout ‘I need a gun‘ and if no flags are raised on that person the police will miss the opportunity, yet the arms dealer will never miss up on a golden opportunity and will go with a go between. So the most likely part is that the wrong person ends up with the gun that is the true danger to every innocent bystander.

The availability remains, yet with open borders the goods can safely travel through Europe, making yet another case that Brexit has the option to solve issues, although in this particular instance it is not really a Brexit matter, yet the borders have been for a much longer time. Yet valid question remains: ‘Should a £12 million smuggle issue stop £200 billion in trade value‘, I think that anyone who states that it is true is absolutely loony tunes. The Brexit issue is a lot larger, and on that entire scale smuggling is almost quite literally the smallest issue of them all.

 

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Slicing the Tiramisu

Perhaps you remember the old days, the days where France was ruled by Marie-Antoinette, as well as King Louis XVI. In days of hunger she stated “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche”, or for those who did not serve in Etrangere: “Let them eat cake”. Yes those were the good days. It was 1789 (it was April if I remember correctly). It was around the day when those bloody colonials (now known as Americans) inaugurated George Washington as the first President of the United States of America. You see, nowadays we fend of hunger by wallowing in greed, to set our stepping stones towards gaining a piece of the action, any action and what I predicted (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/02/24/losing-values-towards-insanity/) in ‘Losing values towards insanity‘, is now turning into a reality. You see, when I stated on February 24th “Both Yevgeniy Prigozhin and Dmitry Utkin are now perfectly placed to rake in billions” is now as we see in the Washington Post (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/iran-russia-and-turkey-meet-over-syrias-future-as-trump-mulls-troop-withdrawal/2018/04/04/c607e27c-3770-11e8-af3c-2123715f78df_story.html) becoming a reality. With the quote “The three presidents — including Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, Iran’s Hassan Rouhani and Russia’s Vladimir Putin — gathered in the Turkish capital, Ankara, where they pledged to cooperate on reconstruction and aid” we see the present escalate for the facilitation towards President Assad, whilst they now are willing to state “The leaders called for more support from the international community and emphasized their opposition to “separatist agendas” in Syria“, you see now that they are at the table getting rich the rest of the Syrian oversight will be costly thing and now they are willing to let the US and the EU pick up the bill for those costs. It is the price of doing business with the wrong party, or basically staying out of it all.

In addition, with “It was the second time that Erdogan, Putin and Rouhani have met in recent months to discuss the conflict, underscoring those tensions and the extent to which U.S. power has waned in the region“, which is not news, it is a clear sign of making all the wrong choices and the US is about to make a few more. In regards of Syria, I do stand with President Trump. You see, the title ‘As Trump talks of leaving Syria, his top commander in the Middle East emphasizes the need to stay‘ (also the Washington Post) is deceptive, dangerous and not too bright. I do sympathise with General Joseph L. Votel, head of U.S. Central Command. His statement “A lot of very good military progress has been made over the last couple of years, but the hard part, I think, is in front of us,” is correct. Yet now that the Russians have delivered, the US is at the political mercy of the steps taken by President Rouhani, President Erdogan and President Putin. Each of these players with their own needs to play their games with the U.S. in any way they can and as much as possible. Turkey wants the EU membership, whilst knowingly endangering the EU values forever, Iran wants whatever Iran can lay their fingers on and Putin wants to screw with the Americans for all he can. So any US presence is like walking through a minefield day in day out for months, even years. In addition, there is no evidence that the rebels will ever stop, they will come back and by letting the Russians and Iranians and Turks take those reprisal blows is not the worst idea to have. The wise play is to move out of Syria altogether, the US can only lose here, it is almost the certainty of facing a ‘lose-lose’ situation whilst every blow delivered to the US will mean that the Russians and their Megaline LLC (or known as the delicious cake makers Prigozhin and Utkin).

It will rake in the massive wealth that they will most likely share with President Putin and a few of their friends on the inside. There is every chance that this is the year is the year where Yevgeniy Prigozhin becomes the second most important man in Russia for a very long time and with every contract that they score and deliver to the Syrian government means an additional ascension of his stardom. With the US gone they will actually have to deal with the matters themselves and as the EU stays out, their goose will be partially cooked with every act of retaliation the defeated rebels successfully make. The UK with the entire bungled Salisbury events are only the icing on the cake that Putin is lashing out with for all to see in the media. The fact that he is calling for the joint investigations on several levels whilst there is enough indications that his involvement might never be proven is one part that also works against the UK and the EU. There was never any doubt that Russia created and developed the Novichoks and as the world is seeing what a mess the OPCW and the SAB made of it all merely intensifies the need for other players to get their fingers on this technology and learn skills they never wanted earlier. That part was invigorated by the outspoken misses of the Porter Down and the bunny jumps by Gary Aitkenhead stating “we have provided the scientific information to the government, who have then used a number of other sources to piece together the conclusions that they have come to” only made matters worse. So the Russians are now slicing their Tiramisu which they will share (to some extent) with Iran and turkey, but the message is clear, the US lost massively here and staying behind is not a wise choice (as I personally see it). You see, I do respect the view of General Votel. Even as President Trump thinks short term (his ‘reign’) and General Votel has the right long term strategy view, It is the Trump action that is the wisest one. Syria is about to become cold war territory and the US military is not ready and even nowhere near trained to get into that field. The fallout of such strategic blunders would haunt anyone serving there for a very long time to come. In addition I think it is what the Syrians deserve, they wanted this, so let it be maintained in a ‘cleaned’ state by Russian troops. The US gearing up optionally against Iran by standing next to Saudi Arabia and gaining a better profile in that way is a much better option. It allows for a better humanitarian standing as they set their sights on Yemeni relief is a better option, it will set them against Iran, which is good, because at that point Iran will either back down against Saudi Arabia, or face the wrath of the Saudi, US and Israeli forces which would be quite the show, and I would love to test (for a fee of course) that solution I designed to sink the Iranian fleet (but that is merely my sense of humorous ego).

The second reason is that ISIS might have been dealt serious blows, but they are not out of the fight. The Sinai is merely one focal point, the fact that they are also in Yemen makes for a strategic need for the US to see if they can operate from Saudi Arabia. It would allow for other means to deal with ISIS and for the US to gain a much better foothold in the Middle East. With Saudi Arabia moving well over 500 billion towards a futuristic NOAM, the US have a lot more to gain, doing so before Russia gets options in NOAM is again the wise strategy to follow.

In the second view, it sickens me that ‘after the war‘ we are suddenly ‘allowed‘ to give what the Syrian four now regard as ‘aid’. That was a step they should have allowed 6 years ago. Let them solve it themselves now and live with the consequences of that aftermath and the costs that come with them.

They can have the cake, the crumbs and the table it stands on, that whilst we know that there are several players eager to set fire to that table whilst the 4 rulers are trying to eat the cake. Setting the US and the EU up as a decoy whilst they eat all the cake is a little too distasteful to my liking.

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Is it merely timing?

When I looked into some off the Mario Draghi matters two days ago, I made a reference to his little kart, a kart full of tricks or is it a kart of indiscretion? So let’s take a look at the alphabet, the alphabet of ABLV

A is for Actuality

You see, the European Central Bank publishes a list where all the supervised entities are and the list starts with “Cut-off date for significance decisions: 1 January 2018“, so as we are in March (way past January 1st) and that same attached list gives us on the 81st position the ABLV Bank, AS, with the mention of ‘Among the three largest credit institutions in the Member State‘, whilst there is also (non-supervised) the ABLV Bank Luxembourg, S.A. in Luxembourg, yet stated and linked to the ABLV, should we wonder if we are being had? In light of the news two days ago when we were treated to “Draghi did address a question on why ABLV Bank received emergency support from the Latvian central bank before the ECB declared it failing or likely to fail. He said that the Emergency Liquidity Assistance policy – under which national central banks rather than the ECB decide to provide support to troubled lenders – is a “remnant of a past time” and should be reformed” (Source: Australian Financial Review), whilst the bank was being supervised according to the ECB, the fact that they are grasping at the notion that the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing, is that not an indication on how massively useless and overpaid the members of the ECB are? Just so that we are all in clear and that we all understand what is going on, let’s look at ‘supervision’, which the dictionary calls ‘the action of supervising someone or something‘, and with ‘supervising’ we get ‘observe and direct the execution of (a task or activity)‘, it seems to me that the ECB was not doing any observing or directing, so if the ABLV did not inform the supervising entity, I have a hard time to comprehend the Bloomberg article (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-02/latvia-analyzing-rimsevics-s-role-at-ecb-as-he-returns-to-work), where we see: “Latvia is still considering the ramifications of central bank Governor Ilmars Rimsevics’s status as a suspect in a bribery probe, as he returned to work this week and weighs up how to continue his role at the European Central Bank“, in my view, either the ECB knew in advance certain matters, or we have a different puppy in our midst. Now let us be clear, one is a setting of corruption, the other is the ‘receiving of emergency support from the Latvian central bank‘, yet the fact that this all happened during the oversight of the ECB makes it twice the size of the issue. The ABLV went to the Latvian Central Bank (Governor Ilmars Rimsevics) and got emergency funds, yet what was the origin of those funds? So when we see “Both ABLV and Rimsevics deny the accusations in cases that the authorities say aren’t linked“, my response would be ‘Really? So who are exactly those authorities?’ It seems like a simple question but it is one that we will never see an honest answer to I reckon. The links are not clear, but consider the following accusations.

First we have “The U.S. Treasury Department alleges ABLV engaged in institutionalized money laundering and violated sanctions put in place to counter North Korea’s weapons program

Second we get “Rimsevics has denied any wrongdoing, and Latvia’s Defence Ministry said that the allegations were part of a “massive information operation” by an external actor.” I used them in the article (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/03/01/the-failing-mario-draghi-kart/), yet who exactly was the external actor?

It is the second one that is weird, so how did the Defence Ministry get involved in a banking issue? Did it come from the office of Minister Raimonds Bergmanis, it would be an interesting tug of war between him and me, because I have my own centre of gravity and he is a three time Olympic contender in the category of weightlifting. I did not have all the information I needed in that piece, and I was juggling a few issues, so I moved it all along to today.

B is for Bloomberg

Bloomberg ends with “there are no signs other Latvian banks are experiencing outflows after the ECB decided to close ABLV on the grounds that it was failing or likely to fail. What happened to ABLV is a signal to other banks to follow the rules, she said“. Yet is Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola giving us the goods? Why did the Defence Ministry get involved? Was it to emphasize the weapons accusation? Clearly that would have been an issue that resides with Latvian Intelligence. So as Reuters gives us “Ainars Latkovskis, the head of the national parliament’s anti-corruption committee of lawmakers, who also urged Rimsevics to step down” as well as “Latkovskis, who is authorized to listen to reports from the heads of the Latvian intelligence agencies, dismissed hints by some local officials and politicians that a Russian campaign of disinformation might be behind the case“, it seems that the Intelligence official is either trying to stay out of this or we can see this as a sign that the SVR RF (the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation) has been whispering in someone’s ear and the culprits have overplayed their hand. Now no matter what has happened in that tier of the industry, it still gives us that the ABLV made a deal for funds with the Latvian Central Bank and the news as shown by the media is giving us that the ECB was either unaware or was informed after the fact with ‘Good news, we solved the problem‘ and now we see that the banks who are on the oversight list are either not getting supervised or they are ignoring their supervisors, I wonder which scenario is worse for the ECB.

L is for Liable

If you think it does not matter, think again. We pump billions into the UN and it cannot arrange a ceasefire (Syria), we pump billions into the European Union and the ECB is casually unwilling or unable to do their job and those people are fetching a lot of money every year. Two entities who are now proving to be more and more facilitators for the wealthy as well as paper tigers with a fluidic agenda that merely spells ‘compromise to keep the engine going’. So when did wee surrender our tax funds to those ends?

So was this all done through the allowed whisper via Sergey Yevgenyevich Naryshkin? I am merely speculating here, but the parts and numbers currently do not add up. You see, as Reuters gives us “The ECB appears to have been blindsided by the ABLV case, highlighting how thinly it is spread in supervising Europe’s biggest lenders and raising questions about a system of euro zone supervision just three years old“, this is seen (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ecb-russia-vtb/ecb-drops-supervision-of-russias-vtb-arm-in-the-euro-zone-idUSKCN1GE2N8), can we say that it is that simple? It remains pure speculation from my side, yet when we see “The European Central Bank has stopped supervising the Austrian arm of Russian state bank VTB after it slimmed down its European operations, the ECB said on Friday. A spokeswoman for the ECB said VTB’s new set-up in Europe no longer warranted direct supervision, which was now in the hands of Germany’s national regulators, Bafin and the Bundesbank” I wonder if there was anything simple on this. We could argue that Sergey Yevgenyevich Naryshkin did exactly what he was supposed to do, to serve HIS country. Yet the information gives me the feeling that this looks like a line of banks with Latvia between the Latvian ECB and the Russian ‘SVCR RF‘ bank. The two outside parties agree to keep each other afloat by shaking hands and pushing at the same time the ABLV over the edge in a combined effort. What some did in primary school (the old tactics are usually the best).

Still, this is all merely speculation from my side mind you!

V is for Voter

The question that remains is how the US authorities got to that jump and where is the evidence? Apart from the fact that one accused of bribery is allowed back into his office until the dust (read: investigation) settles is also cause for concern. You see, the news (at http://www.mod.gov.lv/Aktualitates/Preses_pazinojumi/2018/02/20-01.aspx) gives a part, but when we consider it and dissect “Latvia’s security-sector personnel have raised the alarm that outside actors could be using these current financial and banking scandals against Riga. The Latvian Ministry of Defence has pointed out that the AP news agency’s reporting on Latvia’s connection to various international financial corruption schemes has been reposted with unusual frequency on numerous websites known for distributing messages supporting Russia. As such, the defence ministry has called this media blitz a possible “hybrid”-style operation within a broader information war against Latvia“, we could agree that part of this is an issue. Yet is the foundation wrong? Is the bribery a fact? If so, why the hell is Ilmars Rimsevics allowed back in his office? If we see statements that there is proof, why not give that out to the open? So who were the outside actors? You see, accusation of bribery requires evidence and it is not out of the blue that Russia would expose bribery so that their operations could profit. That is not merely Russia, American politics and Wall Street have operated on that premise for decades, so it is not altogether weird to see Russia play a similar game, if that was the case. So even if there was an ‘information war against Latvia‘, it was done under the noses of the ECB and Mario Draghi. It was not merely a “remnant of a past time that should be reformed“, it was an option where the ‘the Emergency Liquidity Assistance policy‘ was overlooked by overpaid ECB executives, especially in light of the fact that by their own reports that the ABLV was under supervision.

Bloomberg supports my views (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-02/draghi-confronts-limit-of-his-powers-as-latvian-standoff-endures), where we see ““This reveals the impressive lack of power of the ECB in such circumstances,” said Stanislas Jourdan, the director of Positive Money Europe, an advocacy group calling for more transparency and accountability on economic policy“, which on one side is just as it should be about the sovereignty of a nation, but the fact that the ECB are confronted with their own foot in mouth protocol at the expense of millions, if not billions is a larger worry, because they already pushed a $3 trillion debt on the people of Europe. I also support the view we see at: “Draghi already expressed dissatisfaction to ECB officials in the week after Rimsevics’s detention that enough details from Latvia hadn’t been forthcoming, according to people familiar with the matter, and that may still be the case. Latvian Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola said on Friday that the anti-corruption office is “in the process” of giving the ECB all relevant information“, it is not about the ECB, it is a Latvian situation and in this Mario Draghi gets to do what most EU puppeteers do so well, they can bloody well wait (whilst still getting paid high amounts of money). Yet, in part this is not merely a waiting game, the fact that the voters are taking more notice of this mess is not helping him any, but that is the way life works and it is not always working in your favour. So when the Globe and Mail gives us “Did European Central Bank boss Mario Draghi save Italy or merely set up the world’s third biggest debtor for permanent zombie status? As Italians head to the polls on Sunday, the parties, big and small, are showering voters with promises of goodies galore“, we see the deadlines that the ECB has, it has a few and even as there is unlikely to be a stable Italian government, the fact that they won’t worry the ECB like Frexit Marine Le Pen or Brexit Nigel Farage, so they are not too worried, but the overall financial issues will remain and Latvia is not helping any with the news that they are the cause of at present. In the end, the question should become, how come that a supervised bank was able to do this? Because the answer needs to be coming from the people who are seemingly overpaid for work they basically did not achieve and that is not merely Mario Draghi; that list is a lot larger and in this case it might just exclude the one man at the top.

 

 

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