Tag Archives: Europe

Two sides of currency

There was more news yesterday. The article that gave me the previous view has been updated with a new one (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/feb/16/shamima-begum-isis-extremism-expert-criticises-sajid-javid). At the foundation of it is the view of Hanif Qadir, CEO of the Active Change Foundation. I disagree with him on a few levels. Now before I begin, we need to look at his ‘resume’, this is important in this case. As such we see: “Hanif once joined Al Qaeda members in Afghanistan, but was deterred by the crimes he saw being committed against civilians and turned his back on them. Upon his return to the UK, he vowed to safeguard young men and women from similar experiences, losing their lives and harming their communities. Having a unique understanding and hard-won experience of the modus operandi of Al Qaeda / ISIS inspired groups and individuals, he is now recognized as arguably the best violent extremist and de-radicalization expert in Europe“, the important part is that he knows the game, he knows what is at stake, yet I still disagree.

When we see: “Hanif Qadir said Sajid Javid’s reaction to the teenager’s predicament fed the narrative of Isis. On Friday Javid said he “would not hesitate” to prevent the return of UK Isis recruits, an approach at odds with Begum’s family in Bethnal Green, east London, who want the 19-year-old to return home “as a matter of urgency”“, I am with Javid on this. In addition there is: “Javid is fuelling the [Isis] narrative and giving wind to the sails of other extremists. If we continue with this trajectory we’ll be sowing the narrative for them to reap and use against us“, it is a fair enough view to have, but that is the setting when all was ‘well’ with ISIS, ISIL, Al Qaeda and such. This is no longer the case. They are not defeated, that much is certain, yet the world is very aware on how desperate they have become. The next part we see is: “If the government doesn’t change their approach to this, we potentially have a second wave of Isis coming, the connecting up and reloading of Isis, fence-sitters who are more sympathetic to another kind of narrative” and finally we get: “Baroness Sal Brinton, president of the Lib Dems, who described Begum’s radicalisation as a form of grooming. “We know that in that particular school three girls went [to join Islamic State], but probably more were approached. Surely our child protection laws have to kick in. As she returns we should look at what happens, as she was 15, and what happened out there“. I think that the cure is much simpler. It is called targeted killing, it is a simple path; if Shamima Begum wants back she has to earn this. As the Baroness points out (a little clumsy) we understand that there was grooming, we know that there was a stage, the fact that 15 year old girls got to fly to Turkey, had access to her passport, got to travel via smugglers, into Syria implies that they have optional intelligence value. It is the price for life, plain and simple. The message needs to be clear and without any level of reservation. Those who embrace terrorism will be hunted down and put to death. The European governments have a clear responsibility to its citizens. And here we see a clear field where we do not negotiate with terrorists. There cannot be a stage of some level of ‘biased’ mercy. People like Shamima Begum will optionally open options for ISIS and become the second wave. It is almost damned if they do and damned if they don’t, in this case the setting of not allowing them back, or merely long term imprisoned might be the safest route in all this.

And again we see the failing of the EU. when we see: “In Brussels the focus has been on trying to raise standards in the swift sharing of information among EU member states, and its dissemination to border databases should there be an uncontrolled wave of returnees“, we think that we are seeing something novel, yet the dangers had been shown since 2012. One year after the Syrian war there was a massive drive of refugees. In December 2012 the number of refugee’s trying to find alternative living had surpassed 500,000. At that point there was the already growing concern that if only 0.1% was ISIS minded, there would be a massive security concern in Europe, the fact that we now see ‘the focus has been on trying to raise standards in the swift sharing of information‘ is evidence that the EU has been sitting on their hands for too long a time, whilst those sitting on their hands remained to be well paid, and you still think Brexit is a bad idea? The intelligence failing in Europe had taken monumental proportions in 2014 as the Greek-Turkish events took a larger stage. Merely 4 years and as it seemingly shows, not actual quality improvement. That is the danger that the UK faces as an Island and ISIS is too large a problem to ignore, whether they get defeated or not, the timeline shows that splinter groups will form and they will take a slow silent step hoping that governments will fall asleep again, people like Shamima Begum will assist in making that happen. So when I see: “Although Begum is likely to be traumatised, Qadir said that if she received the right mentoring, counselling and passed through the necessary security protocols, she could be successfully rehabilitated“, I see a failing in the making. At this point I completely disagree with Hanif Qadir. Only the ego driven and their need for justification will give us the story that they can rehabilitate her. There are too many pressure points for Shamima Begum. At some point some radicalised person will find a way to blame the Europeans and Americans for the loss of her two children and the cloud of terror will be on route to disaster. In addition, she will need to be monitored 24:7 for years to come, if her family failed her once, it will do so again. She will play nice the first 18 months, yet at some point, she will be ‘woken up’ and that is when the problem starts. It is amazing how people cannot learn that lesson. They seem to focus on 9/11, focus on Syria and forget about the sarin attacks (in Syria), they focus on events that the media exploded on mental health cases like Sydney Martin Place, and forget the Charlie Hebdo shooting of January 2015 to a much larger degree. Two people, Saïd and Chérif Kouachi were able to kill 12 and injure 11. What is the damage when 6-8 start having fun with a Belgium FN MAG? Consider that I could with decent ammo, set the stage for a (800 m – 1,200 m) slaughter spree in London, and consider what would not be in range on that distance? It is a direct option for hundreds of deaths in the shortest time. Now consider the impact on tourism and economy if 6-8 did that. I used this example as it is relatively easy to get a hold of one in India, Egypt, and China. Consider that ISIS still has a logistic system in place and until it is utterly destroyed weapons like that can make it into Europe a lot easier than you think. Now consider that one attack will impact a little yet 3-4 events will massively upset all lives. If you doubt that, consider how long France needed to keep its soldiers in the street, merely to make the people feel safer. Consider that impact in London, Amsterdam, Manchester and Birmingham. It will end up doing a lot more than merely spook Europeans.

If a tiger gets out of the zoo, you would like to catch it, when 3 run amok you either consider the death of the visitors, or shoot to kill as soon as you can. We would all like to hide behind the tranquiliser gun, but when there is more than one, the danger of mass carnage becomes a little too large for comfort. You can do this exercise yourself. When you are in a zoo (any zoo that has a tiger), consider three tigers to get out, how much time will you get to get yourself and optionally your children safe, actually safe? How many will not make it? Try doing it on a summer day when the zoo is filled with children on school excursions. How many do you expect to die?

That is the actual situation, yet the area is not a zoo, it is a city filled with people and the members of ISIS are in their stage of ‘doing the will of Allah‘ in the end being nothing more than rabid animals. They will kill indiscriminately. We sometimes look back to videos like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LItKd2VE-NE, yet these are seemingly the most humane ones. Sources filter the video’s away as soon as they can (which we understand completely) and as such we have no reference just how inhumane the actions of these terrorists are, and as the spoof video’s come (like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Momc2e1wHG8) we end up merely persuading ourselves that it is all a joke, yet it is not. The problem is when it happens, the moment you get the real deal the first thing you will do is blame someone else, it was their fault. It is not, you will be just as much to blame as anyone else. So when we consider: “Ferdinand Grapperhaus, recently braved the critics by revealing that the government was cooperating with local authorities in Syria for the return of women accused of Isis membership and their children, and if this woman is shown to be involved with ISIS in any capacity, at that point will you blame Ferdinand Grapperhaus for allowing this to happen, or will you blame yourself for getting him elected? The problem is that until something happens there is no issue, it is the hidden trap. In my personal opinion, anyone who sided with ISIS remains a danger, to others and optionally to themselves as well. Normally we have systems in place, when someone is a mental health problem we have procedures, we have support systems in place. When they actively engage with ISIS, ISIL and Al Qaeda in the attack on others, either directly on the front lines or in support functions behind the lines, we have nothing and weirdly enough, it is the ISIS support people that become the larger problem down the line, they can really rack up the damage in whatever nation they end up living in.

That is the currency we all forget, that is the danger we allow others to be confronted with and that is why I am in opposition of Hanif Qadir and Baroness Sal Brinton.

Have a great Sunday

 

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Hezbollah Plus

As we look at the things we think are wrong (like UK housing), the things we know are wrong (Hezbollah in Yemen) and the things we claim are wrong, we are confronted with the things that are not making any headlines in the international news. We see a larger absence of Houthi transgressions and events that do get covering in the Middle East and in some local news procrastinators, but on the larger scale, there is an absence, I would almost as far as going with an orchestrated absence.

From my point of view, I see the ugly head of facilitation rearing the news on several levels. Now, to be fair, there is a larger issue, there is a lot of innuendo and no evidence, yet that did not stop the press pushing non-stop circulation over the innuendo regarding the cadaver of Jamal Khashoggi, did it?

As for Iran getting less and less visibility as it funds Hezbollah, that might be the impact of America attacking Iran at every turn and that would stop the media from paying attention as well, yet there is a larger danger in play and we need to take a minute to realise the danger in play. In my case it is slightly easier as I am fluent in half a dozen languages, so I can compare the different sources in its native shape, and seeing that there is a growing issue and the media remains unaware, whether that is intentional or not cannot be proven.

That image gets a new level, a colourful 3d version when we take a tour via these publications. For this exercise we start at the Jewish News Syndicate (hardly the most unbiased source I grant you), yet when we start here (at https://www.jns.org/the-terror-threat-of-iran-and-hezbollah-in-europe/), we might see “Iran uses a wide network of the IRGC’s: al-Qods Force, the Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) and proxies like Hezbollah. Iran has an organized terrorist network established in Europe and the people who were arrested in connection with the terror plots lived and worked in Germany, Austria, Belgium, France, Norway and Denmark“, in addition we see “Despite the many terrorist attacks carried out by Hezbollah around the world and on European soil, so far most of the European Union countries have not put Hezbollah on its list of terrorist organizations“, these are mere printed facts, they are not that interesting to most media, it does not have the sexy flair of some Kardashian article, but not remaining aware is actually dangerous. You see, that list had two missing elements. The elements are Sweden and the Netherlands. The second one is immensely important as it has several options that lead directly to the UK, and from the Netherlands most of the western European nations are just hours away.

There have been issues in a few ways over time and in Sweden that seems to be limited to the Akalla region (outer suburb of Stockholm) where we see a dangerous mix of refugees and immigrants. This is no longer contained to Akalla, they are now growing in Kista, Sundbyberg and Solna, covering a larger part of Northwest Stockholm, a stage where optional and aspiring Shia extremists can move around reasonably safe and secure and there is every indication that there are numerous Hezbollah sympathisers there too. I remain with the word ‘sympathisers’, as there is no clear evidence that these are either lone wolves or actual active extremists. What is optionally an issue is that Stockholm has an amazing internet infrastructure; the people there tend to have better internet then the people in a Microsoft building. To illustrate that, in 2001, I had a home consumer internet connection in Kista with 100Mb lines, whilst most businesses in Europe could hardly get 10Mb, this gives these people a much larger advantage to spread the digital image of their groups and that is exactly what we have seen in the last 5-10 years. This does not prove that it is happening from Sweden, even as some sources give us: “In fact, not only is Hezbollah already engaged in plots in Europe, it dispatches dual Lebanese-European citizens (from Sweden, France, etc.) to carry them out. And yet, recent actions against Hezbollah by the United States, the Arab League, the Gulf Cooperation Council, and the Organization for the Islamic Conference have not led to increased Hezbollah plots against the countries involved. As for UN peacekeepers, the U.S. State Department has documented at least two instances where Hezbollah has already targeted European peacekeepers in Lebanon. Those lines have been crossed, the question now is what—if anything—will be done about it?” (at https://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/debating-the-hezbollah-problem) we see compelling, yet not completely convincing evidence in play. It gets to be a little more interesting when we slice and dice darkweb data and add the bitcoin events that can be traced (to some degree), there is a larger stage in play, but we are up against a clever opponent (claiming that they are not is exceedingly stupid) and it seems that there is growing support from Germany, especially in conjunction with anti-Semitic events.

It goes further than the information that sources like Matthew Levitt, Fromer-Wexler Fellow and director of the Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence at The Washington Institute. It becomes a really useable filter on events when we dig into the Dutch parts that involve Nasr el Damanhoury. You see, we might all react in outrage and there is plenty of indication, yet there is no evidence, not one part that has valued and valid use. The Dutch Newspaper ‘Algemeen Dagblad’ gave us (at https://www.ad.nl/rotterdam/bewijs-dan-eens-dat-wij-oproepen-tot-de-jihad~ab1cf89d/) gives us: “The Former School bought for €1.7 milllion, was bought on behalf of a German foundation with funds coming from Qatar“. There are all the flags, all the indication, yet not one bit of real intelligence, evidence or reason to act. And in this both the Dutch AIVD and German BND are able, well-educated and driven towards success and so far they have gone tits up in all this (for now). The Dutch situation is even more frustrating as everything points towards a very temperate environment, what some would call an optional tactic that is pure long term, and as such finding evidence of wrongdoing seems to be a foregone conclusion towards failure, of course this also optionally indicates that Nasr el Damanhoury could be completely innocent, at the most, the indication is limited to the fact that he might only be guilty of association with people of interest in all this. Yet the September 2018 event in the Netherlands, where we get “The suspects came from Arnhem, Rotterdam, and villages close to those two cities“, we get an optional link to certain events in the Rotterdam area of ‘Katendrecht’ where there are numerous of refugees and Middle Eastern immigrants, allowing optional or aspiring members of Hezbollah vanish into the background. There are a lot of indications, yet there is no actual or factual evidence to a prosecutable degree. Yet there have been a large amount of indicators that should not be ignored and with ‘Bolstered by Iran, Hezbollah ‘capable of destruction on a whole new scale’‘ (at https://www.france24.com/en/20181219-iran-israel-hezbollah-tunnels-missiles-lebanon-syria-nasrallah) we see: “A key element behind this is the fact that “Hezbollah is now way better equipped, so it has the capabilities to create destruction on a completely different scale from what we saw in 2006,” added Yossi Mekelberg, a Middle East specialist at Chatham House think-tank and Regent’s University London, in an interview with FRANCE 24“, we are merely introduced to the concept of optional danger, which is nowhere near the stage of ‘panic now, we ran out of coffee‘. Yet when we consider “The Lebanese armed group has also played a major role in keeping Tehran’s ally, President Bashar al-Assad, in power over the course of the Syrian conflict, participating in decisive victories over rebel groups, such as the 2013 Al-Qusayr offensive and the two 2016 Aleppo offensives” and we add “this increase in capability has taken place because of Hezbollah’s role in the Syrian conflict, where the Iran-backed group has its largest deployment outside of Lebanon (between 7,000 to 10,000 fighters) and is fighting alongside pro-Assad forces. According to the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Hezbollah has increased its weapons reserves, better trained its members and improved its tactical and operational skills during the conflict” (source: Al Arabiya) we are now left with the state as Syria changes and as such there is an increase pool of Hezbollah members moving towards refugee centres, staying off the grid and preparing for activities in Europe. With the anti-Semitic support they get from Germans (read: Neo Nazi’s) there is an increased pressure on intelligence gathering and data comprehension required to make sense of all the information available. I am not talking about what the media gives us; it is a different stage of darkweb and crypto currency events. Over the last year we have seen “The Cyber-Desk of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) located a website named “isiscoins.com” on which these coins are sold. The site is presented as an official site of the Islamic State’s Ministry of Finance containing the coins minted by the Islamic State, in accordance with the specifications described in the film, “Return of the Gold Dinar”. Sets of seven coins are offered for sale on the site: two gold coins, three silver coins and two copper coins, at a cost of $950 per set, to be paid for using Bitcoin virtual currency“. This is not some sympathiser phase; this is recruiting and amassing funds for something much larger. The setup is set to remain invisible for a much longer time, and the methods of identification are close to useless at present. So when we see: “In summary, sporadic evidence of terrorists’ use of digital currency has been in existence since 2012 and there is no doubt that in recent months this trend has been growing and taking shape and now holds a prominent presence online. From the cases reviewed above, it is clear that the use of virtual currency is prevalent among activists at various levels, including the organization itself (the Islamic State), support groups and propaganda (Haq Web site, Akhbar al-Mulsilimin website, Jahezona group) and individuals (Bahrun Naim and Zoobia Shahnazi)” we cannot hide behind the statement ‘one is not the other‘ and in equal measure we can no longer rely on trivialisation of ‘six of one and half a dozen of the other‘, the truth of the second statement is that we have 12 angry men, deciding to become jury and executioners for whatever their cause is in Europe and that stage is growing not merely towards the UK, they are starting to be active all over Europe, there is enough indication that this is happening, yet finding the evidence who are the real extremists and who are merely advocating for Islam is not an easy task, as the Extremists are becoming more adapt in wearing sheep’s clothing, the task of finding the evidence merely becomes harder and harder.

That part was proven in January 2018 when the ICT (International Institute for Counter-Terrorism) could no longer test the Hezbollah CoinGate link. The result of the tests was that “the link no longer directs to CoinGate. Instead, the link redirects to an internal page on the site that was created on December 7, 2017 and every click on the site provides a different Bitcoin address“, it is speculative, yet there are enough indicators that Russian Organised Crime (or optionally Russian entrepreneurial criminal wannabe’s), as well as German Neo-Nazi’s are getting their 30 coins of silver facilitating for Hezbollah and their presented acts against the State of Israel and Jews wherever possible. I merely think that they are ways to push forward the Hezbollah agenda in every conceivable direction and until we get a better way to track these money trails most progress is hopelessly overestimated. You see, this is not new, this is not starting now. There are Bitcoin receipts going back to August 2016 and it is a clean method to disperse $100 million dollar via Iranian support all over Europe, and there are clear indications that a chunk is going in these directions.

As a final part (a badly translated text) gives us: “The campaign to collect donations in Bitquin: Below the title of the article is written (marked with orange): “Click to contribute to the site In Bitquin – no donation from the Zakat funds “(Akhbar al-Muslimin, November 27, 2017)“, their digital presence is growing, even in the streets and for now there is no clear plan of attack, for the mere reason that there is no visibility on how to attack Hezbollah in Europe. You see, ISIS, IS, Hezbollah and Hamas are all using similar tactics, they are teaching each other capabilities on the Darkweb, that if not for a lot more is what we learn from Canadian Journalist Martin Himmel. He gives us: “if authorities clamp down on Bitcoin, terror groups and criminal gangs move on to other crypto currencies, like Zcash and Monero. “It’s a constant catch up game,”” and the local authorities are unable to catch up, the resources are not there, so as players like Hezbollah are increasing their footprint all over Europe, we see that the danger is not merely that they are active and extreme, they are now outmatching the Europeans in cash and resources to a much larger degree making the dangers in Europe more and more evident. My views are not merely supported by Aisha Ahmad, a scholar from the University of Toronto. With “a strange mix of ideologues and hyper-materialists coming together for mutual interest” we see the reality where those needing cash for whatever they want are facilitating for the needs of these extremists. The Neo Nazi’s might be the clearest example, and they are not the only one, not even close.

So as Europe will at some point this year face at least one event involving Hezbollah Plus, we will see the impact and we will also be confronted with a system that is not ready, not educated and largely unable to counter such events. The technology is not up to speed and the technological knowledge of the opposition to Hezbollah is barely keeping up, not to mention laughingly understaffed.

This is soon no longer the stage of ‘bringing a knife to a gunfight’, it is staging the Neanderthal against a Gatling gun at 400 passes and it is not Hezbollah at that point who is the Neanderthal in all this. The difference is getting towards being that extreme.

So, when was the last time that Extremists had a technological advantage over governments? If there is even one example, how did that end?

 

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Way of the Dodo

Tariffs are nothing new, these things have existed for the longest time. I grew up where that was a given, so in my youth, only the rich bought a Harley, a Chrysler or a Chevy. I still remember walking to the shop in Rotterdam and look at all those awesome vehicles through the windows (I was too young to drive in those days), many grew their passion that way. It seems odd that living next to the country that made Volkswagen and Mercedes, we wanted a Blazer, a Harley or another American car. Nowadays, the petrol guzzlers they used to be wouldn’t make it today in Europe. So when we see: ‘EU tariffs force Harley-Davidson to move some production out of US‘, I merely see a stage setting to the old ways. The Guardian gives us loads of information as the market slides, as the shift of production and the changing of the US stock market. That is the direct visible impact of the Trade wars. Australia had this setting a few years earlier as the car industry packed up and left Australia for more exploitative settings in Asia. In the booming market that is stated to exist, we see ‘Harley: EU tariffs will cost $100m/year in short term‘ (source: the Guardian). this is a war the US president started and he forgot that companies, especially US ones, have one focus, short term ROI and a trade war changes the hats of many corporations overnight. This is seen to some degree as Bloomberg treated us to ‘Bigger Booby Trap for U.S. Economy‘. We get introduced to “Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said on June 20 that officials are beginning to hear that companies are postponing investment and hiring due to uncertainty about what comes next” (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-06-24/trump-s-trade-war-sets-bigger-booby-trap-for-strong-u-s-economy). It is what is sometimes referred to as the corporate mindset, the consideration that tomorrow is not going to be any better for now. In all this the US hides behind “tax cuts power both consumer and company spending. That would be the strongest in almost four years and twice as fast as the first quarter’s annualized advance of 2.2 percent“, yet the US seems to forget that tax cuts also means that infrastructures are falling apart, the US has a debt it cannot seem to pay and the debt keeps on rising. This in a nation where the national debt has surpassed $21 trillion (103% of GDP), whilst in addition the statistics show that the US faces a setting where the debt per taxpayers is $175K opposing a revenue per taxpayer is merely $27K, a $148K per taxpayer shortfall, that is not the moment when tax cuts have any clear momentum, because the moment the infrastructures start failing, at that point their momentum seizes. Even as Nariman Behravesh the IHS Markit’s Macroeconomic Adviser give us “If they keep down this path, all the positive effects of the tax cut will be gone“, it is worse than that. This gives the indirect implication that unemployment rates will go up giving additional ‘attack’ against the US infrastructure. All this seems to become a direct result of the tug of war between tariffs and protectionism. The BBC gives the best light (at https://www.bbc.com/news/world-43512098), when we consider ‘Five reasons why trade wars aren’t easy to win‘. In this we see (not all five added):

  1. Tariffs may not actually boost steel and aluminium jobs much. The question becomes, how much of a boost would be possible, and is this proven or still merely speculation?
  2. Tariffs are likely to raise costs in the US, so the cost of the product will be increased as these CEO’s do not want to take it out of their margins, so it will be bookkept in another place, the consumer has to pay for all these charges in the end.
  3. Tariffs could hurt allies and prompt retaliation, which is already the case and when you consider that the two largest deliverers of steel are Canada and the EU, the move does not make that much sense. So we see a tariff war that will be about exemptions. In that regard, the tariff war is a bust where the companies hit will be facing a rock and a hard stand on tariffs, this is shown by a few clever people to move part of their operation to Europe, and Harley Davidson is merely the first of several to make that move.
  4. China has options, this is the big one. The US blames China for flooding the market with cheap steel and aluminium and has already stepped up protective measures against Chinese steel products. In opposition, US businesses, including those in the car, tech and agriculture industries, are eager to get into the Chinese market, giving leaders there some leverage. So in the end, the tariff war is not strangling US businesses to fan out to the Chinese market, as exemptions are gained here, the tariff war becomes close to pointless and it merely drove down the economy. This last part is not a given and cannot be proven until 2019, which could null and void any chance of President Trump getting a second term, in addition, if this is not going to be a slam dunk win for the Democrats, the Republicans better have a strong case, because 2020 is the one election where the chances for winning by Jeb Bush (Florida) and Ann Coulter (Florida) seems to be a better option than re-electing the current president. Who would have thought that in 2016? It becomes hilarious when you consider that 2020 is the year that Marco Rubio declined to run, only to give the presidency to Ann Coulter. My sense of humour needs to point that out, whether it becomes reality or not.

The previous part is important to consider, not for the matter of who becomes president, but the setting that the economy is in such a state where we all see the proclamation ““Anyone who thinks the economy is being wrecked doesn’t know what they’re talking about,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a June 21 Bloomberg Television interview“. We accept the fact that he states that, yet everyone seems to overlook that the debt also gives an annual interest that is close to $100 per taxpayer, now consider that 80% of the population is in the 15% or 10% bracket. So from their taxation we see a maximum of $755 where 13% goes straight to the paying of the interest, when you are in the higher bracket 3% is lost. So before anything else is done up to 16% is lost and that accounts for 80% of the population, merely because no budgets were properly kept, the US infrastructure lost up to 16% straight from the start, that is the undermining of an infrastructure that also fuels the economy which it can no longer do. You see behind this is the IP, or as the US calls it the IP theft by China. I am uncertain if we can agree. I am not stating that it does not happen, I merely look at the Dutch examples from Buma/Stemra in the 90’s and their numbers were flawed, perhaps even cooked. They never made sense and after that we have seen ‘political weighting‘ of numbers that were debatable from the start.

So when we look back to 2017, we see the NY Times giving us: “Intellectual-property theft covers a wide spectrum: counterfeiting American fashion designs, pirating movies and video games, patent infringement and stealing proprietary technology and software“, yet I have seen these accusations in Europe and the numbers never added up. So when we see: “Central to Chinese cybersecurity law is the “secure and controllable” standard, which, in the name of protecting software and data, forces companies operating in China to disclose critical intellectual property to the government and requires that they store data locally. Even before this Chinese legislation, some three-quarters of Chinese imported software was pirated. Now, despite the law, American companies may be even more vulnerable“. It will happen, yet to what degree does it happen? What evidence is there? Consider the setting when we think of students. Students tend to have one of the harshest budgets to live on. Let’s take 100 students and they all decided to duplicate (read: borrow) the latest album from Taylor Swift ‘Reputation’ (it is easier to imagine it when the victim is a beautiful blonde who only recently stopped being a teenager). Now, basically she lost $2390 in revenue, yet is that true? How many would have actually bought the album? Let’s say 10% of all students are real fans and they would have bought the album (when not confronted with the choice of food versus entertainment), so the actual loss is $239. Now, this is still a loss and she is entitled to take action here. Yet the people making a living in the facilitation industry will demand the loss be set to $2390 that is where the numbers do not add up! There is the setting of eagerness to hear an album versus the need to have the album. We are all driven with the need to hear the album and some will buy it. This opposes several views and whilst the implied copied work allegedly is done so in the hundreds of thousands, the evidence is not there to support it. That is where weighted forecasts are the setting and it is an inaccurate one. So in all this, from the IP point of view, do we have 23,675,129 C# programmers, or merely 24 million people who wanted to take a look at C# only to install it and never use it because they could not figure out what they were looking at?

Now we get to 2018, where we see (at http://money.cnn.com/2018/03/23/technology/china-us-trump-tariffs-ip-theft/index.html) the projected issues with “The United States Trade Representative, which led the seven-month investigation into China’s intellectual property theft and made recommendations to the Trump administration, found that “Chinese theft of American IP currently costs between $225 billion and $600 billion annually“, I wonder what numbers they are set on. Now we can agree that the likelihood of “”China has sought to acquire US technology by any means, licit or illicit,” James Andrew Lewis, senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, wrote in a blog post Thursday” being true in regard to defence projects would be high. Yet in all this, where is the data supporting these views? Without proper data we are faced with US companies setting expected revenue that is many millions too high and that part remains unanswered on many fronts. Now in defence, we get it! That is the game, so as we consider the news last year from breaking defense with the news that: “compassion for the Army, which is trying to standardize its computer systems across more than 400 units in the next 28 months. The objective is a “single software baseline,” where every unit has the same set of information technologies. Such standardization should simplify everything from training, maintenance, operations and future upgrades“, this is fun to read as I had to set up something like that for a company much smaller. There we learned that Dell was kind enough to have within two shipments the same model computer yet both had different patches because one chip had been changed. Now consider that this ‘unsettling dream of standardisation‘ was for a company with hardware usage merely a rough 0.13% of what the US Army has. So, that is something that will bite them soon enough. This doesn’t make the setting smaller, but a lot larger, the wrong patches tend to open up networks for all kinds of flaws not correctly set. So the cyber intrusion setting would be an optional 300% larger, giving a much larger success rate, all people willing to sell data to the Chinese (or the Chinese merely enticing the American people to embrace marketing capitalism for their own gains).

To explain the previous part in its proper light we need to realise. It is not merely about IP theft and rights; it is also about common cyber sense. In both the military and corporate setting there is a need for levels of standardisation, whilst IP that tends to rely on standardisation to be more successful, the IP theft setting is actually opposite to that. The Conversation (at http://theconversation.com/three-reasons-why-pacemakers-are-vulnerable-to-hacking-83362) gives us when they look at the medical dangers. As they give us Power versus security as well as Convenience versus security we see the first dangers. So consider the following. First there is “according to Carnegie Mellon researchers, can increase the energy consumption of some mobile phones by up to 30% because of the loss of proxies“, then we get “Most embedded medical devices don’t currently have the memory, processing power or battery life to support proper cryptographic security, encryption or access control“, giving us that hacking into someone’s pacemaker is actually not as hard as one might think. Now consider that encryption, or a lack thereof can be found on a large variety of IoT devices, and any army has their own devices that need to be more accessible at all times. In the second consideration we get “The prospect of having to keep usernames, passwords and encryption keys handy and safe is contrary to how they plan to use them“, as well as “When your pacemaker fails and the ambulance arrives, however, will you really have the time (or ability) to find the device serial number and authentication details to give to the paramedics“, it is the age old setting of convenience for the safety of all. So as we realise this, how much IP theft was already available before anyone realised its need? It is almost like the gun laws in the US, everyone wants gun laws whilst there are millions available for unmonitored purchasing defeating the purpose altogether. In that same setting we ignore common Cyber Sense too often allowing for IP theft on a much larger scale. The issue is that it does not mean that this is actually happening, or that others have interest to steal that particular IP. So we can optionally agree that the Chinese government that they definitely want all the IP on that front, even as some sources state that there is still a problem. So when we consider to an example, we need to look at that part of the information came from a research report by LtCol B. L. Ream, USAF, which gives us “There are two types of guidance systems available, the AGM-65A/B is optical guided and the AGM-65D model Is Infrared guided“, as well as “Once launched, the missile maintains a lock on to the target and guides autonomously, providing a standoff launch and leave capability. The aircraft can then egress the target area or set up to fire again in a target rich environment“, yet the other undisclosed source gives us that a programming issue on the locking when it is set through a buddy system. The: “data link control of the weapon can be provided from two different sources. Either the launch aircraft can guide the weapon or a buddy aircraft can control the weapon after launch. In either case, data link line of sight must be maintained between the data link aircraft and the weapon. Thus, on a standoff control scenario, the further away from the target the control aircraft is the higher altitude it must maintain. Even though this may not appear to be tactically sound, the standoff range is impressive“, so the undisclosed source that gives that the Data Link has a match issue and there is a chance that the speculated offset of 35 metres is ‘accidently implemented on targeting‘, will there be an issue of IP theft? When materials are openly available on the internet, as I was able to read the report on the Defense Technical Information Center site. When is there a case of IP theft? In this I love the reference that WIPO uses. Here we see: “Copyright protection extends only to expressions, and not to ideas, procedures, methods of operation or mathematical concepts as such“, considering that ballistic software is 90% math (read: the application of mathematical concepts), copyright as an option goes straight out of the window, in addition, the data link adjustment makes it in theory a new product that was not covered in the first place. So standardisation makes it easier to get to the lollies, and by adjusting the wrapper it ends up not being IP theft, as long as no trademarks reside on the wrapper (a ‘it is more alike than not‘ issue in IP law).

And now for the main meal

This is seen in the CNN article I raised earlier. The headline ‘President Donald Trump has slapped tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods, taking aim at China’s theft of US intellectual property‘. It was and has always been about IP protectionism. Business Insider gives us “Two former senior Defence Department officials said Chinese intellectual property theft cost the US as much as $US600 billion a year, calling it possibly the “greatest transfer of wealth in history.”“, the Financial Times (at https://www.ft.com/content/995063be-1e0a-11e8-956a-43db76e69936) gives us: “as Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s foreign minister, suggests: “It is entirely inappropriate to view any trade with Canada as a national security threat to the United States.” Yet once this loophole is used so irresponsibly by the US, of all countries, where might it stop?” The Financial Times takes it a lot further giving raise to the question how did it in the end serve IP? Where we saw more than once the terms ‘as much as $US600 billion a year‘, yet no evidence is presented. There is no setting that ‘Two former senior Defence Department officials‘ can present a list adding the numbers up and with $600 billion in the balance (as opposed to the commercial industry) we see that if proper evidence was presented a better case could have been made. Where we see in opposition to China: a lucrative market in designer knockoff goods in places like Amsterdam and London. London getting its share of 17 million tourists, all happy to get the latest Gucci bag for a special discount price of £19.95 as well as in Amsterdam where the 14 million visitors can get them for a mere €25. So did Gucci report a €812 million in IP theft losses? What about the other brands? I was the proud owner of an Australian Polo for $12, I merely needed a polo shirt (many years ago) as some drunk blonde thought it was perfectly normal to dance in high heels in the middle of the road holding a glass of red wine, so as she jumped to get away from a car (who had an actual reason to be on the road), I ended up with her wine on my shirt. So I got to the first place that sold a polo shirt and got a new one so I would not arrive at a diner red stained before it even began. Did I initiate IP theft? I had no idea what ‘Australian’ was in those days. There is the setting, what we know, what was real damage and how it is presented by those needing inflated IP theft numbers?

It is in this setting that we need to see the stage for reported IP theft. We agree that the smallest fraction is indeed set to the covert acquisition of military IP, yet the bulk (well over 95%) is all about a misrepresenting economy, the brands want their losses to seem as large as possible, the US is setting that stage to prospective economic health, yet that evidence cannot be validated and the tariff war is likely to become a much more detrimental factor in the US economy that is currently presented as a revenue bubble that will impact sooner rather than later. The independent gave us last December (at https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/economy-signs-interest-rates-donald-trump-market-bubble-burst-next-year-a8102356.html) that ‘Five economic signs that can tell us if the bubble will burst next year‘. Here we see “The good news is that the world is at last experiencing a coordinated expansion, with all major regions growing reasonably swiftly“, as well as “the policies that have led to this expansion, especially ultra-easy money conditions, have created a boom in asset prices that at some stage will come to an end“. There are a few views in all direction, yet the one that no one seems to focus on is the quality of life. Earlier this year USA Today reported that “California has the worst quality of life in America“, the sunny state is where people can no longer afford to live to any decent degree. That part is forgotten, the QoL in New York is in 25th position, not a great place to be. The Quality of Life in the US has decreased to the degree where it is the lowest in the developed world. That and the fact that the US is at minus 21 trillion does not help. It is shown in the US Social Progress Index where none of the five largest state economies (California, New York, Illinois, Florida and Texas) are in the top ten states on social progress. This is important and reflects back to the student example I gave earlier. So as these people will all ‘borrow’ the latest Taylor Swift album and none of those will buy it, because they cannot afford to do so. That part becomes even more visible when you consider the Wired setting on pre-owned games in 2016. At some point Microsoft made the terminal choice as given by Wired through “You may remember that Microsoft attempted to do away with “used games” with the launch of the Xbox One. (Yeah, they made some hand-wavy claims of players being able to trade games at “participating retailers,” but the DRM scheme meant you couldn’t borrow, lend, sell them on eBay“, that setting is merely exploding in an economy that is not moving forward. That with 80% of the people on merely a 15% tax bracket or lower and the cost of living there is still going up. Even as Microsoft is pushing to “buy at the Microsoft store“, a digital copy cannot be handed out to friends, so there is little push for that move when you can only afford 4 games a year. However, Microsoft is in equal measure pushing for the Game Pass which balances one for the other. EA is making a similar move and it is actually an intelligent move to make. The few that would buy the latest NHL version no matter what gives is nothing compared to the overwhelming group that will happily buy the previous year version when it is part of a package deal at $40 a year. So I might wield the latest NHL version, at $40 a year getting the previous season of FIFA, NBA and NFL is just smart thinking. Yet these people are equally part of the claimants of IP theft. The question becomes (even as we accept that it will happen), how large is the actual IP theft? So when the US adds a 10% tariff on video games, does that merely make the download 10% more expensive? I do not think that from $40 to $44 for EA games is an increase we lose sleep about, yet the ‘cost’ of downloading remains as well, and in the flawed Microsoft design, how does the tariff apply over time, on DLC and other elements in gaming? All these changes and increases, where the consumer sees no upside, all based on projected and presented numbers without its proper representation and scrutiny.

This is how an economy goes the way of the Dodo, so when you think (source: Sydney Morning Herald) that the start of ‘US plans to curb Chinese tech investments, citing security‘ is a good idea and it is waxed with “the White House would use one of the most significant legal measures available to declare China’s investment in US companies involved in technologies such as new-energy vehicles, robotics and aerospace a threat to economic and national security, according to eight people familiar with the plans“, we need to see in equal setting the fact that 750 million Europeans might find the escalation of events important and threatening enough to take a 180 degree position on tech operators like Huawei when we are treated to “Huawei, China’s biggest maker of handsets and networking equipment, which has been flagged numerous times by US lawmakers as a possible security threat to Americans. Upon the New York Times’ publication of a piece (paywall) highlighting Facebook’s data sharing with Huawei, as well as with three other Chinese companies, the social network told the paper it would wind down (paywall) its partnership with the Shenzhen-based phone brand“. One side tries to stop and filter, whilst the other side turned open the tap and let the room flood. Even now, after a congressional hearing and the Cambridge Analytica events, we see alleged transgressions and the sharing of data on a stage where we see only growth. With “Due to the importance of highlighting the natural and heritage landmarks in the Kingdom, “Huawei Saudi” joined together with Qumra’s community of photographers to organize a workshop around “photography through smartphones” by using the latest “Huawei P20 Pro” phone” and the setting that offers the latest in mobile technology far below the prices that Google, Apple and Samsung have. It does not matter on how the tariff war is to become a disaster, it is the mere realisation that it fails because those implementing changes do not seem to comprehend that the economy consists of well over a billion consumers and they cannot afford the 10% more or the 28% more expensive mobile phone alternatives. In all this the people confronted with the dilemma merely went directly to the consumers, as such Harley Davidson is moving to Europe to circumvent a few barricades, a tariff war that was short sighted to a lot of people more intelligent than me and the country that considers naked short selling to not be illegal seems to be doing just that to its own economy, how is that the setting of morality of capitalism?

We consider the way of the Dodo and realise that in the end it merely tasted like chicken.

#HowSmartWereWe or is that #HowSmartHuawei

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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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That’s entertainment

Today is a weird day, it is globally weird. You see, today billions will focus on who is getting an Academy Award, some are hoping to see the idol of their life, like Chris Hemsworth or Scarlett Johansson. Some hope that Stan Lee will be asked to hand out an Oscar and others (many ladies) are hoping to see the extravagant post fashion styles that the ladies will cloth themselves in. Among them millions of movie fans that get to see if it is the movie that they liked will win the Oscar. Now with Saudi Arabia opening cinemas in Saudi Arabia, will the MBC Group be there this year or will they start broadcasting the event next year? Another optional group of 34 million viewers in a group that currently is set to billions.

So whilst we wonder which one will become the best movie, my vote is on the Shape of Water, yet I believe the statue is likely to go to Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. No matter who will win, we see that in Syria ‘forces loyal to the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, have captured six villages and towns bordering the besieged rebel-held enclave of eastern Ghouta, as hopes that a long-planned humanitarian convoy might enter the area were dashed again‘, so as we learn that the death toll of 103 since Saturday highlighted the paralysis of an international community that had demanded the ceasefire and the delivery of humanitarian aid, we need to realise that the UN and the UNSC has become nothing more than a paper tiger that has the ability to roar towards the media, but without claws and teeth, it can no longer be the legislation that bites, or the shield that scratches. Just like the Wonder Woman 1:1 figurine (at https://www.cbr.com/life-size-wonder-woman-statue/), that is for sale for $1990, pretty, nice, but basically something you can walk around and unless you have real space in your apartment space that remains wasted but for the true Wonder Woman fan. It is a shame that the once mighty organisation has lost its impact on the world, well that is how the 475,000 fatalities in Syria feel about it. Oh, no, they do not. They are dead, they no longer feel anything.

So whilst we look back on the Oscars, wondering who best actor and actress will be, I have to admit that I am clueless. I had not seen Margot Robbie, or Saoirse Ronan, but both Francess McDormand and Meryl Streep did shine in their parts, my money will this time be on the 3 billboards main character, but it is anyone’s guess, I can’t even be sure if the experts in acting can figure out who will win that one. So as we are in that part, we need to realise that Danny Danon is quoted by the Jerusalem Post (at http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/UN-Ambassador-Danny-Danon-decries-UN-inaction-on-Iran-at-AIPAC-544188) to do something about Iran. Now, this is not the first time that Israel has issues with Iran. So when we see “While speaking at the AIPAC Committee Policy Conference in Washington on Sunday, Danon said it was crucial that the international community recognizes the threat Iran poses to regional stability. “It is vital that the UN focus on the real problems of the world, like Iran,” the ambassador said. “We all know just how dangerous this threat is, but the UN is wasting time and energy on votes and reports against Israel.”” we see nothing new, yet in the opposition, we see (at https://www.cnbc.com/2018/03/03/iran-calls-on-us-europe-to-scrap-nuclear-arms-missiles.html), that Iran has a warped sense of needs. With “Iran will not negotiate over its ballistic missiles until the United States and Europe dismantle their nuclear weapons, a top Iranian military official said on Saturday“, so not China, or Russia, or India. Merely that the US and Europe dismantle is. From my point of view, the ‘top Iranian military official‘ was born stupid and the man stopped evolving after birth. Naive and stupid in one efficiently compact package, could we get it any better? So when we see “Iran says its nuclear program is defensive because of its deterrent nature“, should we consider its delivery to Yemen as a defensive posture? And what happens when the Iranians ‘accidently‘ (due to their lack of intelligence) send the wrong missile to Yemen? Will we get to see the UN representative go ‘oops!‘? I am merely asking because of the short-sighted situation here and in all this the stage of the theatres in politics and the theatres of war seem to overlap, none of them worthy of an Oscar in this particular setting, but we thank the nominees for playing their part. So whilst we saw the Paper Tiger called ‘United Nations’ in other settings, we see that the acts by the “UN Human Rights Council’s “blacklist” of Israeli and international companies operating in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights” is setting the premise in a different light. So whilst we see “a US delegation visiting the West Bank had to be rescued by Palestinian Authority policemen on Thursday after being attacked“, we see that Palestine is still demanding to be recognised by the UN, whilst still sending rockets into Israel. Some things will never change I reckon, but it is a sad state of affairs across the decades.

When it comes to the supporting acts in the Oscars, my hopes are for Sam Rockwell and Octavia Spencer, that whilst the others would be equally deserving, especially Richard Jenkins, yet in the end, we can only cast out votes once and that is how I would have voted. In that same light as the United Nations Security Council cast its vote a week ago on a Russian sponsored resolution regarding Yemen, we see that the Toronto Star reported that 55 people dies in the clash in Yemen, so whilst we see (at https://www.defensenews.com/congress/2018/03/01/us-senators-want-vote-to-end-support-for-saudi-arabia-in-yemen-war/), that we see ‘US senators want vote to end support for Saudi Arabia in Yemen war‘, that whilst the rightful ruler asked for the help of Saudi Arabia, in all this, where was America? Oh and where is America in regards to the Syrian war? Perhaps some will remember the attack on 21st of August 2013, so when the UN inspection got there and they confirmed “clear and convincing evidence” of the use of Sarin delivered by surface-to-surface rockets; in addition a 2014 report by the UN Human Rights Council found that “significant quantities of sarin were used in a well-planned indiscriminate attack targeting civilian-inhabited areas, causing mass casualties. The evidence available concerning the nature, quality and quantity of the agents used on 21 August indicated that the perpetrators likely had access to the chemical weapons stockpile of the Syrian military, as well as the expertise and equipment necessary to safely manipulate large amount of chemical agents“. Yet the American satellites were useless, even as they got the IMAX view with stereo sound of the speculated 1600 bodies, who all screamed a horrible death as they died, the American saw nothing, or so they say. Perhaps it is like Turkey and the Armenian genocide. They were just too worried to kick the wrong political pile, or as the NY Times stated it “A bill to that effect nearly passed in the fall of 2007, gaining a majority of co-sponsors and passing a committee vote. But the Bush administration, noting that Turkey is a critical ally — more than 70 per cent of the military air supplies for Iraq go through the Incirlik airbase there — pressed for the bill to be withdrawn, and it was” (at http://www.nytimes.com/ref/timestopics/topics_armeniangenocide.html) and Bush was not alone The Obama administration did the same with “Ben Rhodes and Samantha Power, key foreign policy advisers to Obama, say his administration was too worried about offending Turkey” (at https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/19/armenian-genocide-ben-rhodes-samantha-power-obama-349973), pussies, the whole bloody lot of them on both sides of the isle. So as we get “As a presidential candidate in 2008, Obama promised that he would formally recognize an Armenian genocide as historical fact. But as president, he passed up multiple chances to do so, including in 2015, when Armenians marked the 100th anniversary of the atrocities“, we need to recognise that recognition is no way to commerce and cash is king, especially in a bankrupt America, or so say the rulers from Wall Street. So in light of the inactions, will Hollywood make it up by making ‘Last Men in Aleppo‘ documentary of the year? I cannot tell because I did not see any of the documentaries, I do believe that Inside Job in 2010 was the last documentary I saw and that one actually gives more rise to the rumours that Wall Street is the actual ruler of America. The fact that Kim Kardashian, yes Kim Kardashian of all people who ended up bitch slapping the Wall Street Journal for denying the Armenian genocide must be the highlight for the WSJ to set in stone, sometimes the people you ignore because they are outside of ones scope of entertainment are the ones surprising you beyond belief. So as we are getting close to the start of the Oscars, as we wonder if there is going to be the crossing of dictionaries between Jimmy Kimmel and Matt Damon, we wonder if Jimmy is going to get a few jabs in against Mrs Damon’s favourite Martian.

As we wonder whether the UN has any values left by targeting Israel whilst ignoring Iran, whilst their actions regarding Syria are unanswered and unnoticed by Syria and Russia, we also see the accusations via Haaretz (at https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/allegation-kushner-punished-qatar-resurfaces-in-mueller-probe-1.5869124), that ‘Kushner Punished Qatar for Not Investing in Real-estate Deal Resurfaces in Mueller Probe‘, where we see “Special Counsel Robert Mueller has asked witnesses about Kushner’s attempts to secure financing for his family’s real estate ventures, focusing specifically on his talks with people from Qatar and Turkey, as well as Russia, China and the United Arab Emirates, NBC News said“, so even as it is about Qatar, the smallest part with ‘talks with people from Qatar and Turkey‘, so even here we see actions that involve Turkey somehow. The question becomes what did Turkey get out of it, because going back to 2001, we have seen that Turkey only acts when it (largely) benefits Turkey, a stance that cannot be faulted, but we can wonder if the other side has any business trying to do business with Turkey in the first place. so when we look at the Global Magnitsky Act (at https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/09/13/us-global-magnitsky-act), where we see: “In an important step for global accountability, Congress built on the original Russia-focused Magnitsky law in 2016 and enacted the Global Magnitsky Act, which allows the executive branch to impose visa bans and targeted sanctions on individuals anywhere in the world responsible for committing human rights violations or acts of significant corruption. The act received widespread bipartisan support. Senator Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat, introduced a version of the bill, and five Republican senators and five Democratic senators signed on as co-sponsors. President Barack Obama signed the law on December 23, 2016“, yet as far as I have been able to find, there are no Turkish Parties in any of this, is that not odd. When we see the acts in Syria, or even closer to Turkey, the 6 journalists that have been ‘praised’ with life imprisonment, how humane has Turkey shown itself to be?

Yet in the end, we can see all this as a mere form of entertainment, there are the Oscars, we have the Raspberries where (unsurprisingly) this year the Emoji movie took a near clean sweep of all possible wins, we could get the Golden Bazooka, or the golden Rack (that device that adds 6 inches to your length in 5 minutes), is there any doubt who would win those trophies? I wonder if people would stay at home for that. Eating popcorn, watching the atrocities and voting who was the worst of the worst. It entertainment, that is how our lives are minimised and scrutinised to, because actually improving the overall state of the world might no longer be an option, in that we can see that the financial sector on a global scale removed all available funds for that endeavour.

That’s life, that’s entertainment and it is the way we now choose to live!

Through acts of inaction, shame on us!

 

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SW2, not WW2

Is there a Syrian War 2 brewing? That was the initial thought I had when I got exposed to the ridiculous claims from Turkey this morning. There are two parts. the first comes from the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/19/turkey-warns-assad-not-intervene-kurdish-enclave-afrin), the quote is “Turkey warned the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad that it risked a military confrontation with Ankara if it intervened in an ongoing war in the Kurdish enclave of Afrin, in a further escalation of tensions that hint at the possible widening of an already complex conflict“, now, just to make sure you get this. Turkey invaded Syria for the alleged reason of coming to aid towards Assad, or perhaps merely to ‘fight ISIS‘ in a presentation attempt to silently start the second genocide, the genocide of the Kurdish people. So Turkey goes invades Syria and now states: “Turkey warned the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad that it risked a military confrontation with Ankara if it intervened“, so how is optionally opposing an invader ‘intervening‘?

The second part comes from the BBC (at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-43107013), where we see basically the same with ‘Afrin offensive: Turkey warns Syria against helping Kurds‘. So when we read “Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said Turkey’s operations were going ahead as planned and it would be a “disaster” if Syrian troops were to intervene“, should we deduce that a failed introduction to genocide is a ‘disaster‘?

Even as we see the similarities, we see that the issue is larger than merely a scuffle between the Turks and the Kurds, the way we see the quotes and the way that they are reported give rise to the fact that there are other issues below the waterline. It is not merely semantics, it is the interaction that Turkey has been having with several nations gives that rise and the optional viewing of that should make plenty of people worried at the very least and decently nervous in the nominal setting of international relationships.

The BBC article ends with “President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Russia’s Vladimir Putin that Damascus would face “consequences” if it struck a deal with the Kurds, CNN Turk reported on Monday“. So, Erdogan, President of Turkey, a person with not much diplomatic skills or powers outside of Turkey for that matter, is telling Putin….? Oh, sorry, I nearly lost my breakfast laughing myself into several layers of bellyaches. It is almost as impactful and powerful as me calling Alexander Bortnikov, telling him to give me access to all his data, or he is going to hear ‘stuff he will not like‘ (most likely me calling him a pussy). Yes, people like the President of the Russian Federation, or the director of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (Федеральная служба безопасности Российской Федерации (ФСБ)) getting told by the likes of President Erdogan (or me for that matter) is something they should take extremely serious (sorry, second laughing attack, I will be back shortly). So, after I had my second laughing attack that lasted close to 611 seconds, I got back into my seat and decided to take another gander at a few parts. You see, the nice part of such short sighted actions is that it alienates the players Turkey actually desperately needs. Which in turn is making Iran more and more nervous, which is good news for several countries in the Middle East. The interesting part in all this that he BBC reported “During the course of the Syrian war, pro-government forces have largely avoided direct conflict with the YPG, but they have had sporadic clashes“, which now gives the optional food for thought that Syria might actually set some resources that way with the optional thought that they will not be targeting the YPG, because if we agree that direct conflict was never a real necessity, the Turkish forces changing that by sticking their short stick in a hornets nest, that part would be the greater threat to Syria, which now gets them into hot water is a few places and on several ways. In addition, it will also change the conversation that is going to happen in Kazakhstan in two weeks, giving more questions if there is still going to be a summit in Istanbul on Syria. The changing pressures are by no means a way to get things talked about and smoothed over. Even as Reuters gives us: “The three countries are working together to try to push the troubled Syrian peace process forward“, we need to also consider the mandate that Tehran gave to Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as the outbursts from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is pushing its own agenda whilst at the same time causing chaos towards the plans that Iran seemed to be having in all this, his self-serving hatred of Kurdistan is making the creation of coalitions next to impossible. With the Netherlands adding fuel to the fire of Turkish non-diplomacy, as they have now voted to recognise the Armenian genocide of 1915, pressures are growing there too, at a time when Turkey needed every European nation to be on his side regarding the non-realistic approach to becoming an EU nation, we see that the gap is increasing beyond the chance of that ever becoming a reality. The Turkish parties kicking every hornets nest in the Middle East is not very useful. On the other hand, Turkey could decide after Kicking both the US and Russia, to see if this level of craziness is useful in Beijing, which it is unlikely to be unless they open up all kinds of open trade paths which might actually be a lot less interesting to Turkey, especially at a time when Turkey is trying to get increased Cherry exports to China in time for the next harvest, the need to grow their export which according to some is in excess of 80,000 tons, they are now in a stage where they can no longer afford to get on anyone else’s wrong side, which must be a novel experience for the Turkish Diplomatic Corps.

All this whilst the issues in Greece and Cyprus are at present still unresolved, with the Ekathimerini making a connection between the report published on March 28, 1897 in Empros newspaper where we get: “referred to a foreign diplomat who described Greeks’ behaviour in relation to Turkey as that of a dog that barks, but does not bite. We all know what followed, but we still tend to forget how bad it is in international affairs when you bark, but no one really feels any threat“, and the escalations on gas resources at present, that whilst there is a certain logic to make the statement, especially when we consider Europe, NATO and the UN is seen in relation to: “where tensions broke out between Greece and Turkey, these organizations never really offered anything more than carefully worded statements“, that is the situation when we rely on the paper tiger to get things done. So when we read: “Athens must be very careful in weighing its next moves. It’s a balance of terror. If it shows compliancy, one can’t be certain where the other side will stop“, whilst we all know perfectly well that Ankara will not stop until forcefully halted. As the article ends with the absence of emotion in the Turkish-Greek debates, the issue is that the theatre is getting prepared to get very emotional from more than one side. Turkey almost has no options left after kicking all the wrong shins. In my view, when Syria escalates and escalates in one wrong direction we will get a flood of orchestrated news (whilst journalists have been sentenced to life in prison) and from there onwards it becomes a long winded marketing campaign, because Turkey seems to be realising that the US, the UN and Europe are all about statements and statements alone. Which is a dangerous game as it could press towards a second Syrian war where the Syrian Kurdish area could get annexed into Turkey and its population would optionally somehow mysteriously vanish.

So, how should we see the optional threat of a second Syrian war? that is hard to see, with too many high level meetings, with the latest addition being one with the Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to meet in April in Turkey, there is no telling what it will actually be about. Even as we have seen from enough sources that it will be about Syria, there is in my personal view absolutely no way that it will just be about Syria, especially as the meetings are going to be behind closed doors. That view is made stronger when we consider the news merely a few days ago when Kirill Dmitriev, the chief executive of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), told CNBC “We’re at the breaking point in positive territory of this relationship … We really embarked on an amazing positive journey“, that in light of Iranian issues and the fact that President Putin’s face is on the homepage of the RFID gives enough indication that nothing happens there without the explicit approval from more than one key member of the Kremlin and there lies the complication, The meeting around Syria is set in a stage where all three have separate agenda’s. Turkey has the Kurdistan region, Russia has a truckload of billions it can win with Saudi Arabia and Iran is extremely opposing anything pro-Saudi Arabia, as well as having a few additional issues regarding Yemen, who would really like Russia to become a mediator here, so the Syrian talks will come with close to half a dozen unscheduled stress points. So, when we see these issues in the lights that can be confirmed, will Syria see more or less stability?

Less stability is not a given, but the premise of it happening is actually more realistic than I would have foreseen less than a year ago.

 

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Behind the political screen

We have seen events in the last few years that make me wonder if there is sanity in choice. Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against Catalonia, against their desire to become independent. It might make local sense, yet where is the wisdom? You see, the same was in play for Scotland, and now we are starting to see more ‘fire’ from Lombardy. A lot of these moves do not make sense. We might argue that an independent Scotland makes the most sense, yet in all this the direct issue is that they cannot afford it. If the oil was different, perhaps, yet even then there are larger questions not considered. The first being ‘How will we keep a budget?‘, this is the first issue and it sank any chance for Scotland. Even with the oil sales, they were already well over 10% short and as oil revenue dwindles down, the Scottish options melted like snowflakes in a Pizza oven. So until the Scottish political delegations attracts a larger more settled form of investors and long term players there is no independent Scotland, there never will be one as it currently sits and I agree that this is a sad thing for the Scots. Now as we consider Scotland and consider that both Catalonia and Lombardy will be in a place that is a lot worse than Scotland would be, the question now becomes, who is pushing behind the screen. You see these levels of ‘local pride’ is getting pushed, and it is always pushed by people with a greed driven agenda and that is a much larger problem than anyone is willing to admit to.

You see, as I personally see it, a few players didn’t get their way through Spain and the UK and are now vying for another path that opens up opportunity and credit cards. Yet behind all this, once they have what they got, they move away, out of sight, out of mind and leave where ever they have been a massive financial mess that is suddenly not theirs to solve, which they then ‘sell’ on to other players. And after that, who pays the bills? Will the ECB come with funds? Will they make the nations sign new debt agreements and exchange bills for large corporations? Perhaps we will suddenly see a wave of news with all the great things the EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) can do for all the players involved. It opens up the doors they need and makes the government vassals towards the goals they have in play. One large Europe where no one gets to have a say, except for the large financier and multinational that swim in the pool that supports and supplies their needs. The fear after Brexit is growing almost exponentially within their halls of power. With ‘Since our establishment in 1991 we’ve invested over €115 billion in more than 4,500 projects‘ we all seem to think the best of the EBRD (which might not be wrong), so where do they get their profit from? Because a bank, EVERY BANK, requires return on investment to continue! With “The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is owned by 67 shareholders, 65 countries and two international organisations” that question becomes more and more important. You see, the fact that there are nations providing funds is fine. Yet when we see Canada subscribing with $1 billion a year, are they throwing money out the door, or window for that matter? In addition, what are the Governor and alternate, or more precisely The Hon Bill Morneau and Mr Ian Shugart getting out of this? Now, let me be clear. I am not stating that the EBRD is doing anything wrong, illegal or immoral! I am asking questions on where these independent seeking groups are getting their economic wisdom (or lack thereof from) the fact that these organisations ALL have boards of directors, getting an income I reckon, is food for thought, because all that money is set, stored or reserved to some extent and their local citizens should be allowed to know where that money is going to. In addition, when these groups are being invested in, the fact that they have no real viable plan to be economic independent is also a matter of concern, so whoever is setting up the funds in all this should be placed in the spotlight. The questions I ask regarding the EBRD, should give food for thought. Even as many might not remember 1993, the Independent (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/attali-runs-out-of-credit-the-ebrd-president-was-finally-forced-to-yield-to-calls-for-his-head-1494218.html) gave us: “Jacques Attali, the beleaguered president of the Bank for European Reconstruction and Development, picked up the telephone in his office in Broadgate and rang a number in Sweden. He spoke for several minutes to Anne Wibble, the Swedish finance minister and chairman of the bank’s governors, who was away from her office on Sweden’s summer solstice holiday. By the time he put down the phone, he had resigned from his post.” It sounds so summery and tranquil, yet the story is not so sweet. With “The Financial Times reported that Attali had been reimbursed twice for the same first-class air fare to Tokyo and had collected dollars 30,000 (pounds 20,000) for a speech there, even though bank staff were not supposed to be paid by anyone but the EBRD“, we see merely another section of the gravy train. First class lights, twice in his case apparently, or is that for what we used to call a ‘travel secretary‘? In addition he seemingly gets more for one day than most are hoping to ever get for an entire quarter. As for the ‘not supposed to be paid by anyone but the EBRD‘, how much was he on? As the list goes on with most notably the refurbishment of 55.5 million, I think I have illuminated enough for more questions to be asked. The article has more and more vicious material, so do read it. This now gets us to the three optional nations to be, because they will need funds and loans and other things. So whilst it is not out of the question that they would knock on all those doors, the slam back from the EBRD part is: “The EBRD’s expenditure on itself was twice as much as the bank’s actual lending in 1991 and 1992, its first two years of operation“, so running the gravy train, or is that ‘hiring executive jets‘ to fly back an forth to these three nations to be, will we see more disgraceful spending? Reuters gives us more from last June with ‘Ex-EBRD banker jailed for six years for bribery by UK court‘ (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ebrd-corruption-prison/ex-ebrd-banker-jailed-for-six-years-for-bribery-by-uk-court-idUSKBN19B37Y), with the quote “Andrey Ryjenko, 44, who has joint UK and Russian citizenship, had been found guilty of conspiring to make or accept corrupt payments between July 2008 and November 2009 while he worked at the London-based development bank“, so there are issues and I am decently convinced that in all this Andrey Ryjenko was not the only player, as it went on for well over a year, he was merely the less intelligent one as he was the only one who seemingly got caught. So as we see how Europe is not bursting at the seams for new players to create what we might see as a ‘virtual’ or ‘fictive’ growth of the economic terrain, we will see more economic players, opening new commissions, new ‘opportunities’ whilst in fact, it is merely to set up another part of the gravy train with three new optional stops. This is what is going on behind the political screen and it is happening right in front of our very eyes. So, now as the EIB s loaning Spain 600 million euro for a Basque high speed railway, we need to ask how this will be earning itself back. It might seem nice on the verge of creating jobs for a little while. The idea that something will bring 24 million in revenue a year merely to pay for the interest is just short of insane. It is a 180Km track, so the idea that people would pay 400% to gain 30-45 minutes is close to insane. Having a normal upgraded rail that would be at 30% of the cost giving us a 140-165Km per hour train versus a train that needs to slow down by the time it is a maximum speed is beyond belief (OK, that was a small exaggeration). I get that it might seem really cool for Spain to have their three Basque capitals (Vitoria, Bilbao and San Sebastian) connected, yet the way money is thrown away is just too weird for reality (at http://www.globalconstructionreview.com/news/eu-loans-spain-600m-basque-high-speed-railway/). The 600 million is merely the loan whilst the plan requires at least 400 million more and I feel certain that by 2019 the people get to learn that the calculations were off by no less than 17%. It is the final part that astounded me the most. With “More than 7 million people are expected to use these new high-speed lines in their first year of operation, said the EIB“, Yet when we look at Statista (at https://www.statista.com/statistics/457527/passenger-traffic-in-the-high-speed-train-between-madrid-and-barcelona/) we see that the biggest transport vein (Madrid-Barcelona) was getting between 2.5 million (2010) and 3.4 million (2014), so how that goes up to an astounding 300% for High Speed trains is quite beyond me, because let’s face it, not only is it the size of the place, where we see 3 million for Madrid versus 340,000 for Bilbao, we see Barcelona with 1.6 million versus San Sebastian with 186,000 and there is Vitoria with 244,000. So the population numbers do not add up, the stats compared to other high speed trains do not add up and the required economic importance of the locations do not add up, but someone sold the story that made Spain to be facilitated for a loan that is already surpassing 1.4 billion. That is the game behind the screen and in all this, there are a lot of questions and no one is asking them. The people are merely sitting down, casually seeing train carts full of loans pass by, loans that they in the end have to pay for. And I am willing to bet anyone a nice old beer that the people selling the story that sold got a nice pay check in the end too.

As I personally see it, greed will always be the main player behind nearly every political screen and the three optional nations to be, would potentially get into hot waters on year one of their existence. So how does that solve anything? It is not impossible that these steps are not the beginnings of independent places, it is merely the start of the sovereign right of a financial institution to have the terms of conditions of their needs be made into law by contractual agreement of whatever geographical indicator that they have acquired ownership of through hostile takeovers without an army and no elections required.

And all this comes at a slightly larger price than most would expect (even beyond my descriptions given), as Spain is lowering its forecast, we see the dangers that the deficit will grow way beyond the proportions expected a quarter ago, so that will dampen further positive news. In all this, whilst unemployment is still way over the top, the EU will have a dampened outlook on a few levels, as Spain is now becoming the more outspoken negative element in all this. In this too many players have been looking towards the short term gains that were seemingly in place, yet in the end, so far they still need to prove to be a positive return on investment, something the new High Speed Train is unlikely to ever become. In that setting we see player’s vying for some level of independent growth, whilst they have futuristically been set on a debt level that will merely strangle them. How is that independence or an act to create forward momentum?

We see the elements, yet the media at large steers clear of several parts in all this. At times we hear some overpaid high official in that government state: “It is a really complex matter to address, so we have sought the expertise of the leading members in that field”, we only need to look at ABC (at http://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2017-01-27/milk-company-problems-as-dairy-industry-sours/8184544) to see the events that involve the Tasmanian-based Linear Capital, we see in addition “Queensland coal miner Bill McDonald told the ABC he planned to build a 40,000-strong dairy herd and was on the hunt for 250 million litres of milk to complement his own production”, it is followed by “Within 18 months, the company announced that Mr McDonald had sold all his shares in the company and he instead planned to invest his money back in the coal industry. His departure came after the company announced its $500 million plan to produce and process its own milk had been put on hold”. So as I see it there is a structural failure, because in all this, where are the contracts? Was there any investigation? What were the findings? All this in an established nation like Australia, so when Scotland, Catalonia and Lombardy get their own version of these ‘investors’, how will it end for them? Perhaps a nice high aimed loan from places like the EIB, the EBRD, or perhaps even both? Yet when the plan starts failing and people start jumping the shark, what then? What will the damage be and how is it that these matters are not set in stronger bonds holding these investors long term accountable for the consequences of their actions.

The real question remains if such events could be prevented; you see the issue was partially addressed by me in August 2013, with ‘Political ego and their costs’ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2013/08/16/political-ego-and-their-costs/) we see the issue raised and not before 2015. In 2 articles the first (at http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2015/05/the-fyra-high-speed-train-debacle-cost-the-dutch-state-e11bn/) shows that the Dutch state losses were stated to be just over €10.8bn so far, the NOS stated that week. Also we see stated: “travellers did not get what they were promised, MP Madeleine van Toorenburg, who is heading the inquiry, told a news conference”. In the second article (at http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2015/10/the-fyra-high-speed-train-debacle-what-the-dutch-papers-say/), So when we see ‘a job half-done which has cost every household in the Netherlands €1,500’, as well as ‘The crux of the matter is the un-transparent and unclear relationship between what was a public sector company and the government’, so the people get to read parts that I had already seen coming two years earlier. Of course the largest delay was the commission, and those dragging their heels to make sure that some names were either delayed in mentioning, or merely blocked from being mentioned at all. The Netherlands and Australia have protection from multi billion Euro stupidities, the new regions will not have that benefit and as such someone gets to pay the price. In all this, the less said on the NHS blunders the better, yet it clearly shows that the entire situation cannot be maintained and still some people end up with a large bag of coins, they move on whilst the households get to pay for their overvalued income.

It is a game that I have seen starting, misreported, placed on notice of communication and written off the red ledgers as bad debt for decades, larger more draconian changes are need to hold ‘PowerPoint users’, who in the end quickly move to another challenge with bags of coins, these people need to sign waivers and be held accountable for damages and losses, yet at that point the politicians will back down, their symbiotic connection being vital to their own futures, no matter how massive a project fails.

The fact that this has been going on for too long and still is happening all over Europe is why I fear that in the end nothing gets solved, nothing is clearly improved and every cent of the overinflated budgets is still spend, often with well over 10% spent beyond of what was available. Feel free to consider your losses as you pay for a project that never worked, was never implemented and is sitting on a shelf; you merely have to release your savings, is that not fair?

So welcome to the show of what you cannot see as it happens behind the stage of the politician and it is demanding all the camera time it can get, leaving you in the dark.

 

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