Tag Archives: Evening Standard

Making fun of the shallow

Yup, it is time to have fun and the Guardian got me here. They gave us 8 hours ago (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/02/uk-must-do-more-to-end-yemen-conflict). And that set in motion my need to make fun of people like Ruth Tanner and optionally Winnie Byanyima as well.

The laughter starts at the headline ‘UK must do more to end Yemen conflict’; you see it implies that the UK had done any they have not. Now, in defence here I state that it would have been hard to accomplish anything, and the stage of “it’s time for the government to respect the ruling of the appeal court earlier this year and immediately halt all arms sales to Saudi“, and as we see this letter from Ruth Tanner, Head of humanitarian campaigns, Oxfam we now see Oxfam as the joke they might need to be regarded as.

The issue is a large one, in the first, there is no mention of Iran in any of this, Iran has been arming the Houthi forces, they have been directly involved in actions into and against Saudi Arabia. In the second, we have seen humanitarian aid being stopped as Houthi forces took control of food and aid for their fighters in earlier months. All elements not mentioned in this shallow 224 word essay (an essay at best) by the head of humanitarian campaigns Ruth Tanner.

It gets to be a lot less entertaining (not for me though) when we see in other sources that Yemen foreign minister Mohammed Abdullah al-Hadhrami blames Iran for war, whilst he also blames the UAE for their choices in this escalating location, I will try to steer clear of that small part as it does impact, but not to the degree that allows us to make fun of Oxfam. The fact that Oxfam sails away from the fact that Houthi forces had stopped and interfered with humanitarian aid and relief is just too funny to ignore, especially as Ruth Tanner makes no mention of that part. It’s like hearing Jimmy Carr say: “I sometimes get love sick, well they call it Chlamydia“, and as we see that ‘wisdom’ styled by Ruth Tanner: “Let’s end the Yemeni conflict, let’s call it: ‘stop sending arms to Saudi Arabia’

The fact that Iran is still sending missiles, drones and other goods to Yemeni Houthi will only lengthen the entire matter and it will get additional thousands killed. If there was more consistent support for Saudi Arabia this entire matter would have ended 2 years ago. Yes, TWO YEARS AGO! As such we could make the case that Oxfam (and several other parties and players) are directly linked to the increase suffering in Yemen. We could have a go at Ruth Tanner with the additional question “Was it that time of the month for you to rely on ‘to push for a nationwide ceasefire’ whilst ignoring 50% of the involved parties here?” We have clearly seen that you have a lacking grasp of the entire matter, but you were clear enough to show your lack of the matter in a 224 word letter whilst the entire matter is a lot more complex than that. In addition we can ask Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam why she did not reign in Ruth Tanner when she could have, or better as she SHOULD have done a much better job in informing the audience, which in light of the focal point of Oxfam “alleviation of global poverty” beckons the question why global poverty is a focal point in a war torn nation when there are focal points that Oxfam (according to their mission statement) should focus on; in this case Madagascar, Comoros, South Sudan, Liberia, Mozambique, Niger, Malawi, Congo, Central African Republic and Burundi come to mind, no, we see nothing of them, just a shallow completely unacceptable piece on Yemen comes to print. In this, the Google search gives us: ‘”Ruth Tanner” Oxfam’ with as a result the hatched in the Guardian and after that a mention in the Evening Standard (July 19th), the Telegraph with one small paragraph (June 19th), a few quoted and requoted issues the day before and then the Independent on April 6th. I reckon with that lack of visibility she has a larger problem to deal with, adding what some might regard as a ‘load of bollocks’ will not (and should not) help her.

All whilst last Sunday evening we got “Houthi rebels used civilian infrastructure to launch a ballistic missile at Saudi Arabia on Sunday” (at present unconfirmed), in the stage where the Houthi forces had stated that they would no longer fire into Saudi Arabia in the week before, a promise that was hollow at best. Yet in all this and in all these escalations Oxfam was all about ‘stopping arms sales to Saudi Arabia’, as I personally see it they need to get a clue to comprehend or merely look at the well-being of cows in Applegarth, Aughton, Bilton and Calderdale. They might be able to stop the plight of cows (if there are any).

I agree that it is relatively easy to make fun of any charity, and for the most I never do this, yet to see a letter this short sighted getting attention in the Guardian made me want to step up my game (to deal with my own irritation and frustration). The fact that the clearly established involvement by Iran in all this was not part of the consideration and neither was the Houthi attacks on humanitarian aid in the past made it essential, again a Jimmy Carr comes to mind: “I told my best friend that I fucked his wife and got her pregnant. That cured his hiccups!” Yup, the total absence of subtlety tends to give light to the need of what cures a person (hiccups being the obvious issue here).

As we end this go at Oxfam, I wonder if they wizen up and have a realistic look at the events out there. Especially in light of the situation that was reported one month ago: ‘The UN fund for Yemen has received only a third of the funds needed; most vaccination programmes have already stopped as a result‘, and even as Al Jazeera gives us: “Abu Dhabi and Riyadh pledged $500m each but have so far failed to pay up as humanitarian disaster worsens” the underlying issue is not with these two players, the entire setting of “the UN and humanitarian partners were promised $2.6 billion to meet the urgent needs of more than 20 million Yemenis. To date, less than half of this amount has been received” gives view of a much larger failing, more important, as CNN gave us ‘CNN exposes systematic abuse of aid in Yemen‘ with the added “according to UN reports and CNN reporting on the ground, some of that food is being stolen by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, on a scale far greater than has been reported before“, as well as “humanitarian and local sources said that aid was now being held up because local tribal leaders associated with the Houthi government were blocking its work” (at https://edition.cnn.com/2019/05/20/middleeast/yemen-houthi-aid-investigation-kiley/index.html). In all this there has been a massive failing on several levels and Oxfam merely whips it off with a ‘Let’s end the Yemeni conflict, let’s call it: ‘stop sending arms to Saudi Arabia’‘, which makes Oxfam come across as a joke and I have no issues whatsoever to have a go at Oxfam, especially when the stage of the matter is a lot larger, as we see in the quote: “Last year the World Food Programme publicly complained that about 1,200 metric tons of food was “diverted” — diplomatic speak for “stolen

The WFP said, asserting there had been fraud. As well as falsified records, the WFP said it discovered unauthorized people were given food and other supplies were being sold in markets in the city. In all this when we see the stage we see David Beasley, executive Director of the World Food Programme is in as we take notice of: “Beasley wrote to the leadership of the Houthis, threatening to stop collaboration with the Houthi government-linked charity blamed for the problems, and to cut off aid altogether. “WFP has a zero-tolerance policy on fraud and corruption, and we cannot allow any interference from any person or entity … including from your officials,” the letter states. The immediate problem was addressed when the Houthis and WFP agreed on a new system of registration and biometric verification to stop abuses. But that’s not yet working.

I feel completely validated in using Oxfam as a punching bag. Even as you hide it in some letter to get secondary exposure through the Guardian (and optionally other sources too), there is a line that describes a stage of stupidity and hypocrisy that as I personally see it Ruth Tanner is in and as I personally see it should force Winnie Byanyima into action as fast as possible.

So have fun and make sure you get all the information when you feel hurt or angry, because this event clearly voices the face that Oxfam is eagerly willing to keep you uninformed as you react in emotion on events that are seemingly reportedly taking place.

 

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When it is the typeface

There is an expression that we all use; I used it as well, twice most recently. The expression ‘the writing is on the wall‘, which implies that “there are clear signs that a situation is going to become very difficult or unpleasant“, the stage to a specific warning. Yet I believe that the expression is further than that, I also see it was an approach of something inevitable, yet always in a negative connotation. So when I saw the article (at https://www.theguardian.com/media/2019/aug/16/independent-evening-standard-links-to-saudi-arabia-inquiry-blocked), where we are treated to ‘Court blocks inquiry into Independent and Standard’s links to Saudi Arabia‘, I saw something that has been given exposure before, yet I looked in another direction. And that direction is shown at the very end. The quote: “Since the investment was made the Independent has launched a range of foreign-language websites run by a Saudi publisher that uses its name, raising concerns about editorial oversight given the Middle Eastern kingdom’s poor record on press freedom“, it is here where I see that Jeremy Wright has another agenda. As former Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport of the United Kingdom he knows what is in play, but he is not telling us that, is he? I believe that the expression ‘the writing is on the wall‘ is one that is set in two places and they impact one another. Even when we get back to the origin of the expression, we see a shortening of ‘mene mene tekel upharsin‘, which is of Aramaic origin. Yet how was that staged? We see that some give us: “The point of the moral tale was that Belshazzar couldn’t see the warning that was apparent to others because he was engrossed with his sinning ways“. The subtlety of the biblical wordplay is now somewhat lost on those of us who don’t speak ancient Aramaic, yet a Daniel in a stage set to war could have translated it into its actual meaning: “Mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy, a kid’ll eat ivy too, wouldn’t you?

The problem is that the writer is assumed to be on a stage, and in that stage we see writing, we see the text, but we forget that text is more. It is a font, it is a size and collected we see a typeface. We are so used to take the newspapers and merely gobble up the text like it is an ASCII phrase, we forget that the stories are presented, the typeface presents this and newspapers have done so for well over a century. They have been in a stage where they represent themselves as neutral and authoritative, and this style of type has come to represent those attributes. Yet they have not been that for the longest of times, they have had an agenda for decades, WW2 started it and progressed through wars as they maintained facts under the air of neutrality, an air and stage they forsake long ago. In the end, the entire stage of ‘concerns about editorial oversight given the Middle Eastern kingdom’s poor record on press freedom‘ was never an issue. You see, the simplicity here is that people can always change papers. It is when that freedom is not trodden on; it is there that the old owners see the dangers. It is not about what is not presented, it is what is presented and how it is presented. The Russian Evgeny Lebedev, figured that out long ago and now he has arranged that Saudi Arabia and optionally more Middle Eastern players get a seat at that specific table.

The media silenced the truth of a lot of issues in Saudi Arabia and Yemen, now we get the stage where the people will get informed on a lot more of it that is the fear. When we hold a large candle to the media, we see the greed driven faulty and now we optionally see a new player informing all others and that rattled people like Jeremy Wright. We see the events in Yemen, we see a civil war within a civil war and the media is blaming Saudi Arabia to the larger extent, yet we are told half a story at best. Now we will face the stage where Saudi Arabia has a larger voice and it will be heard. The Independent and Evening Standard are too large to ignore and that voice will carry on an international level. And the court case gives us: “The judges ruled that while it was legitimate for the government to have issued an intention to intervene, the final referral should have been made by 1 July“, if there was a true danger the government would have acted sooner, they did not. Now they must face the events that two papers will get a lot more information and the previous times where the media initially disregarded missile strikes in Saudi Arabia will be ignored no mare. We can also question whether the media has failed its readers to a much larger degree, but that would be on the papers that are not the Evening Standard and not the Independent. The accusation is almost ludicrous, the UK has well over 14 larger daily newspapers, if there is real diminished freedom of the press, the other 12 take over and the value of these two papers fall to zero, after which a new owner will come and take over. As I personally see it, the entire oversight is a bogus issue, the fact that Saudi Arabia would now have a typeface that allows them to be heard is another matter, is it not?

So if the writing is actually on the wall, we need to look at the typeface used and who would place the text on the wall in the first place. And that is before we look at: “It was claimed in court that the companies were ultimately part-owned by a Saudi bank with close ties to the government” we can argue that the bulk of the newspapers are owned by banks with close ties to governments on a global scale, to me it all reads and reeks of a stage where the larger players are just too uncomfortable with Saudi Arabia getting a seat at the table, which is a whole new issue on discriminating elements. It is also the slow question that comes to the surface here. As we see: “A spokesperson for the news outlets said they were delighted by the outcome and that the intervention had been “disproportionate to the facts, unfair and a waste of public money“, as such, if we openly demand to see the costs involved for this case, will we be given the actual costs involved? If the UK had only 3 newspapers the stage would have made sense and more important, the chance that Evgeny Lebedev owned any part of it would be out of the question, but that is not the case. There are dozens of papers all over the UK, losing two would not be a huge impact and if Saudi Arabia intervenes with press freedom, a dozen of others take over on the spot diminishing the value of two newspapers, a temporary small market shift at best. A simple fact not given at all, so when we look at the typeface of it, what was this really about? Is it really about Freedom of the press, or is it about stopping Saudi Arabia from getting a larger international voice that is clearly heard all over the UK?

It seems to me that several players are not happy about that last option; we can now hold those players to account for news that was never given to us before.

 

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This stupid Neanderthal

Yes, you read it right, as the worst possible grammar allows for we see the needed expression: ‘Me is havening to be the stupid man today‘ statement. It all started in the middle of the night when the Guardian brought us: ‘Saudi state part-owns Evening Standard and Independent, court told‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/media/2019/jul/23/evening-standard-and-independent-unable-to-rebut-concerns-over-saudi-ownership). It gets to be worse (and the actual trigger) with: “Government lawyer tells court part-sale of news outlets has ‘national security implications’“, the naive Neanderthal in me is wondering what kind of drugs David Scannell is on and if I could get some of those (it never hurts to ask). The media (specifically the newspapers) are about the truth and about giving us actual information. The fact that the government has never ever been able to get a handle on whatever Rupert Murdoch does, in that same air the issues with Paul Dacre (specifically on a missing airplane), makes me wonder how the implied gossip that several newspapers spread are national security.

We could go with the premise that with a part owned Saudi Newspapers, the readers will actually get exposed to the acts or Iran, and the facts that many newspapers decided not to give visibility on that (like the proxy war Iran is waging via Yemen). That is beside the point that David Scannell is claiming national security issues against a Russian citizen, is that not laughable too (a Paul Hogan comedy kind of humour)?

So when we get David Scannell stating: “What is of concern to Her Majesty’s government is that a foreign state could be acquiring a substantial stake in Lebedev Holdings [owner of the Evening Standard] and the Independent simultaneously“, whilst her majesties government is seemingly forgetting that the current owner is Russian (born 8 May 1980, In Moscow Russia). Perhaps David Scannell would prefer to consider journalistic integrity and hold the UK newspapers to a much higher standard? He (his bosses more precisely) could have done that a decade ago by removing 0% VAT rights from these glossy ‘news’ bringers, a solution that would fit the UK citizen and resident to the largest degree, but just like the facilitation to the FAANG group (and their less than 2% tax), big corporations are facilitated to the largest degree and a clever Saudi investor thought that this was a good return for their investment. Then there is the other part.

When we see: “The heavily lossmaking free London newspaper is edited by the former Conservative chancellor, George Osborne“, we could consider that this is about changing the hearts of readers, yet if the government legal team is so worried about ‘poor record on press freedom‘, has that legal team not considered that in the end, when the papers becomes even more loss making that the current owners back out and the government could take over at £0.01 per share? In addition, if there is enough evidence in the statement of: “Both the Independent and Evening Standard insist concerns about editorial independence are unfounded and they are not influenced by financial backers” then what is this actually about? It seems that there is a reduced to zero chance that there are actual national security implications, the fact that national security events were always embargoed and as such these two papers must adhere to this, foreign owned or not and in the end, in addition, the fact that we saw last May the quote “There is nothing new about concern over the impact the company, which controls 70% of the country’s newspaper circulation, might have on democratic debate” (source: the Guardian), that keeping more papers out of the fingers of Murdoch might be a Humanitarian good, is that not important too? In addition, there is a second consideration, if the digital worlds that these two newspapers have, setting a stage that this evolution is passed on to places like the Dallah al Baraka Group, Al Arabiya, Al Saudiya and Al Ekhbariya could set a long term prosperity to both Saudi Arabia as well as their European affiliation. This is a long term slow plan and when we consider that Neom City is still happening, having a city well over 20 times the size of New York, also implies that overall the media will grow as well; digital marketing as well as 5G information streams will evolve, and evolve faster. Part of my IP was designed to do just that, whilst promoting commerce on several levels. We see that the evolution cannot begin in Saudi Arabia, but over time evolving those and new stations will be in the interest of Saudi Arabia who is eager not to lose it all to the UAE (Dubai Media Incorporated) or Qatar (Al Jazeera) changing the game and the way they do business is an essential must in the long term and in the short term evolution is more and more pressing.

Homo sapiens

Evolution has stepped in and as the Homo sapiens we are now, life is not that simple, the interaction of the media is larger and more complex. Yet I still find the approach through David Scannell laughable. We want to muster muzzles and bits to state who is allowed to go where, yet the unbridled freedoms pushes through by places like Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google remain unhindered. Even in a stage where these groups pay less than 2% taxation in the end, the monster we know is still less acceptable than any optional new monster we do not know. The policymakers have been unable and unwilling to adjust laws ad legislation for almost two decades, the premise of iteration and Status Quo are found everywhere but were given on how the new owner (partial new owner) is setting the stage of national security. When we look at the fines we see in the direction of Facebook and Equifax are partial evidence that this ship has sailed years ago, the latest data breaches show that there is no stopping the flow of data and whilst we look towards North Korea who does not have the storage abilities, skills and bandwidth to do 10% of the issues that they are accused of, we see that the foundation of the current batch of National Security monitoring teams are seemingly in a stage that they have no clue where to look and what data to sift through (a common shortcoming).

So in all this we have larger issues and whilst we forgot about July 2015 ““source close to the family” (MH370 disaster)” with the additional “what is also important is that we saw an issue in 2014 the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) decided to investigate a case whilst using only 1 of 83 plaintiffs” (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/07/31/that-joke-called-the-first-amendment/), it would be my personal recommendation that the government (as well as David Scannell have bigger fish to fry. We could start a new Leveson investigation and force harsher settings, but all kinds of chief editors will burst into tears in the House of Lords and as we know that those gentlemen are really unwilling to slap crying girls around, so we get nowhere ever and the option to remove the 0% VAT from some of these newspapers is not regarded as an option, so we are at a stalemate with no solution. But the call via National Security seemingly remains.

In the complete evolved view we see that there is political power into the ability to reach an entire nation through the newspapers and the media, yet in that light when we accept Gay Alcorn (the Guardian) who gave us: “There is nothing new about attacks on News Corp’s influence on policy and politics in Australia. There is nothing new about claims that Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers are not just right wing, but distort and manufacture news“, does it actually matter whether news is manufactured by NewsCorp (Australia) or the Independent (partial Saudi)? Is pushing this path not a race towards discrimination lacking all diplomacy and subtlety?

I am merely asking, because even as i really do not care who the owners are becoming, and the fact that the previous owner is Russian, is it not just all water under the bridge. To be slightly more precise a bridge called Facebook transporting terabytes of data per minute?

In the end, the legal battle is seemingly set to “The legal challenge was only against the decision to refer the Saudi investment to the Competition Commission on merger grounds“, whether valid or not (that is a legislation issue), the fact that the entire article has only one mention of the word ‘merger‘ in that entire article. Informing the public on the exact nature of the issue on the merger, would that not have been an essential first? If that is the case, how does National Security actually fit would be my question, but we really don’t see a clear answer on that either, do we?

 

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Living with choices made

We do that at times, we also endure the bitter fruits that we gained from choices. I made some myself, in two cases I trusted the wrong person and it costed me dearly, an invoice payable over decades. I get that, it was my choice, I was an adult and therefor I accept to live with the choice made. It is partially the reason I go out and expose bullshit artists’ because of the dangers that they represent, as well as their friends who knowingly stand by them. So when I saw ‘UK will not put officials at risk to rescue Isis Britons, says minister‘, the article (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/feb/14/uk-isis-britons-officials-risk-syria-schoolgirl-shamima-begum) gives us “I’m not putting at risk British people’s lives to go looking for terrorists or former terrorists in a failed state,” I personally believe that this makes perfect sense. Some might have a bleeding heart when they see: “it was revealed Shamima Begum, one of three pupils from Bethnal Green, east London, who left to join Isis four years ago, told the Times she wanted to return to the UK“, yet there is no way to tell how radicalised she has become. In addition, even as we accept that “Wallace said that as a British citizen, Begum had a right to return home, but anyone who joined Isis should expect to be investigated, interviewed and “at the very least prosecuted” on their return“, we also need to accept that would need to be under scrutiny for some time to come, she is optionally a direct threat to the Britons around her and as such her return also means putting pressure on the budgets of GCHQ and MI5, so there is that to consider. Now, I am not stating that is a reason to keep her out, yet when people state that they are so adult, so well informed and go to places like ISIS Syria, getting married to a Muslim she did not know, have three children with two of them dead is the lifestyle she chose. In addition there is another matter that I had not considered. Even if she is not radicalised, Sir Peter Fahy (former chief constable of Greater Manchester police) gives us: “The biggest challenge if she did come back will be how the police will keep her safe and how she wouldn’t be some sort of lightning rod for both Islamic and far-right extremists“, as an optional catalyst she becomes a new threat on other levels too, as stated, that was something I had not considered and it is important to see that as a matter that could lead its own life. In all the papers and media events we focussed on radicalisation and we forgot that the threat of being a catalyst is actually a larger issue to consider.

And the news is now pouring in from all sides regarding Amira Abase, Shamima Begum and Kadiza Sultana. As all focus on Begum, we know that Kadiza Sultana is dead, the other two were alive in August 2018, and the present status of Amira Abase will be looked at in the near future. My reasons for having the position that I am showing to have is that all need to be held accountable for their actions, not merely governments and large corporations, individuals as well. So when we see “Aqsa Mahmood, a former Scottish university student, has been put under international sanctions for her role as an online recruiter, with other female jihadists including Khadijah Dare and Sally-Anne Jones have called for terror attacks on social media and called on other women to follow them to Syria” (source: the Independent), we need to realise that a governments job is to keep its citizens safe, with the danger of radicalisation and being a catalyst becoming too large a danger, there is everything to be said to leave these people to their fate, so they either become a danger or they die. It seems a simple equation. Yet, we know it is not. The move by more and more Muslim girls (and women) from the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands to step onto the ISIS platform is a given stage for dangers, more than we see at first light. You might think of Robert Ben Lobban Wallace being a softy, think again, he is Sandhurst trained, and a Scots Guard commander with 24 years of intelligence experience. He knows what he is in for and he is more aware of most on the dangers that former ISIS women present. That needs to be taken into consideration before we give rise to: ‘Let Shamima Begum come back, say Bethnal Green residents‘ (the Guardian), ‘British schoolgirl who fled London to join IS pleads to come home to have her baby‘ (News.com.au) and ‘UK schoolgirl Shamima Begum who fled to join Islamic State ‘wants to return home to England’‘ (ABC). you see, the moment she is back and some misguided catalyst event explodes (optionally very literally), we will get all the accusations and all the pointing fingers of a failed police force, yet from my point of view, the people of Bethnal Green will not be allowed to complain. It will be the direct consequence of ‘let her come back‘ and the family members of those victims can ask those people for reparations and grief counselling. So as we see the impact of Shamima Begum (19) mother of three with optionally only one child left alive is seeing the impact of what she thought would be a fairy tale in ISIS. The people who stayed awake have been aware of the danger that ISIS is more than half a decade before she left, she merely listened to the wrong people and it got her family and optionally soon enough her killed. That is the impact of terrorism.

ABC News also gives us: “Independent of this, Home Secretary Sajid Javid is expected to weigh in on whether Ms Begum should have the right to return to the UK, along with intelligence agencies MI5 and MI6 and counterterrorism police, who are anticipated to conduct further investigations into potential dangers Ms Begum could pose to the UK“, the issue is not merely that, the words of Sir Peter Fahy are important too, it is not merely what she does, it is what triggers others to do because of her that counts too and that is where the problem begins. This is not merely come algorithm, it is the dimensional impact that others will trigger at her presence, merely via news, or by seeing her. The part that is not about whether she was ISIS, but the part where others see her as a member of ISIS until she is dead, that is the larger issue and there is no way to set that stage in a dependable way. It is like fishing for sharks in the North Sea. You can go to places where they are most likely to be found, yet throwing out bait and a fishing line does not give rise to catching a shark, you could end up with another fish entirely.

It is in that light that I oppose the view of Amina Mohamed, 52, a housewife, who gave us in the guardian: “She was a baby, she didn’t know what was going on there. People played a game with her and brainwashed her. She was a child“, she made a very clear choice, she decided not to listen to her parents, and it is actually that simple. I do not have much on the parents of Shamima Begum, yet the Evening Standard gave us: ‘after deceiving their parents‘, so in all that, it seems to me that a choice was made and as such, they will have to live with the consequences that they created at the age of 15.

The BBC (at https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-47240100) if the sides in all this as even as there are sides that give rise to the responsibility of the British government, the question that we cannot answer is how radicalised has she become? The fact that we see: “She and two friends – Amira Abase and Kadiza Sultana – flew from Gatwick Airport to Turkey after lying to their parents about their plans for the day. Their aim was to join another friend, Sharmeena Begum“, there is a part that is seemingly ignored by a few people. Not only did was she able to get to Turkey (so they had passports and they tend to take a while, and apart from the fact that an unsupervised minor got one), the fact that the BBC gives us: “The trio were picked up by smugglers working for the IS group and taken across the border into the group’s territory in northern Syria” that there was a logistical support system in place that set the stage for minors to get to Syria from Turkey, the costs that is involved (three times £175 plus additional expenses), the fact that Gatwick raised no questions on unaccompanied minors, the smugglers they willingly followed (so waiting at the airport), there is a larger support system in place for this. There was a recruitment drive and there is a financial stage in all this. There are clear reasons that no one on the ISIS side wants her to be able to talk to MI5, so the issue is not that clear and it is a lot more hazardous for those around any of the optional two still alive that make it back to the UK, so from where I stand, I see that Sir Peter Fahy is correct in several ways.

Investigating these elements should be high on the priority list and they might be, yet the coverage I have seen so far does not ask any of those questions, do they?

I do realise that the entire matter is more complex that this, yet the fact that dissemination of information is lacking levels of scrutiny is a larger issue that needs to be addressed. To see this, we need to consider to parts, first a local one. In Australia Jenny McAllister has voted very strongly against more scrutiny of intelligence services & police on several occasions. Now, that is her right and partially it is her duty to vote one way or the other. Then there is the Financial Times two weeks ago who gave us: ‘Foreign Office criticised over scrutiny of UK spy agencies‘ (at https://www.ft.com/content/4a1cc4e6-2619-11e9-b329-c7e6ceb5ffdf) and we see: “The two agencies use section seven of the 1994 Intelligence Services Act, often referred to as the “James Bond clause”, to authorise activities overseas that might otherwise lead to criminal and civil liability under UK law“, yet in the same trend we see a lack of questions when it can be established that 15 year old girls are recruited in the UK, there is a logistical support system to get them to Syria and the media seems to remain oblivious to a much larger degree (it is the people need not know approach) to something much more pressing in all that. I must have forgotten the lessons on common law regarding the recruitment of children for criminal purpose, how did that go again?

So when I see: “Such missions could include MI6 agents breaking into properties in foreign countries to obtain documents or GCHQ infiltrating computers and networks in ways that might otherwise fall foul of UK laws“, which is a larger implication when a 19 year old is having her third child and it raises no questions, especially as the marriage might be seen as illegal?

At that point my question towards Dan Dolan, deputy director at Reprieve, who is so about doing the right ‘thing’, will be about: What should we do? How far are we allowed to go to prevent recruitment and radicalisation of minors straight out of primary school? How far are we allowed to go to keep British children safe? I think that plenty of intelligence operators lost the plot in the Huawei events (which the Financial Times endorses with a photograph), yet when it comes to threats like ISIS the intelligence industry hasn’t even seen the outer limits lights at present, I am not entirely sure if they are able to tell the colour of those lights when asked. the larger issue is that the intelligence operators are not merely walking a tightrope, they are walking one that is covered in razor blades and at any time there is not merely the risk that it cuts into the feet, it is also a risk that it cuts the rope they are walking on, giving rise to additional hazards, Shamima Begum is merely one of several risks at present and it is important to realise that a Queensberry Rules approach is not merely making us human and humane, it is getting us killed with 99% certainty, the opposition does not warrant, endorse of accepts any kind of rules. I do hope that the recruitment of 15 year old girls will suffice as evidence at present.

 

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Pinata whacking Couper

There is a little mean streak in me, you see, it started with Tesco, and it actually started a little earlier. But the gist is that when it concerns PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) I tend to take a swing at them whenever possible, I just roll that way. So there I was looking at ‘PwC charges more than £20m for first eight weeks of Carillion collapse‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/mar/21/pwc-charges-20m-eight-weeks-carillion-collapse-final-bill) when I realised that when I wack those boys I usually have good reason and supporting documentations to test my latest sledgehammer on a member of their board of Directors. In this article, when I saw “MPs have accused the accountancy firm tasked with salvaging money from Carillion on behalf of its creditors and pensioners of charging “superhuman” fees, after it racked up a bill for £20.4m in eight weeks” it took a mere 3.2 seconds from spitting in my hands and getting ready to swing that hammer at Kevin Ellis (yes all the way from Sydney, my arms are that long). I held off and went ‘wait a minute!

You see, I always had as I saw it good cause, but who are these MP’s thinking that they have good cause? The first is Rachel Reeves, the Labour MP in charge of the business select committee. So she mentioned that ‘superhuman’ part. What does she know? The Wiki claim states that she is an economist. So how much does one charge for 112 consultants? You see at £199 an hour we get £891K for these people working a mere 40 hours a week. As it is the UK, they are more likely to work 60 hours which gets us at flat rate £1.3 million a week which leaves PwC with an overhead of a mere £100K whilst I have not taking into account any additional expenses and they tend to get high. I reckon that these people are likely to make a lot more than 60 hours a week, that is the result of “£2bn to its 30,000 suppliers” and as the article states “a week to employ 112 staff to keep the company running and to honour government contracts” we do not see the inclusion of any additional staff that was not hired and that is still assigned via PwC. So that took a mere 6 seconds to realise that I was not getting to whack Kevin Ellis. Leave it to a Labour MP to spoil a perfectly lovely Friday morning feeling. Now, let’s also realise that my calculations could be way off, there are so little actual facts in the article (I am not blaming the article here) that there are hidden traps all over the place. I think that Rachel should have gotten up from the right side of the vibrator that morning, as we need to realise what an amazing mess Carillion is. The oversight had fallen short on so many sides, with the mention of pensions and a shortfall that is close to a £1,000,000,000 should be a much larger issue and the fact that this had fallen short implies a level of what I regard to be criminal negligence that is unheard of. We merely need to look at ‘Carillion’s pension crisis defies magic legal cure‘ (at https://www.ft.com/content/5041d10e-1a1c-11e8-aaca-4574d7dabfb6). So when we see “Yet in the seven years before its collapse, Carillion made contributions to the fund of just £280m while paying out dividends worth more than £500m“, my first idea is to look at the auditors and the accountancy firm. So how much overview did Rachel Reeves give regarding KPMG? We get part of this when we see ‘Why didn’t anyone working with Carillion say it was going to fail?‘ (at https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/carillion-kpmg-auditors-audit-hbos-financial-crisis-self-regulation-deloitte-a8185356.html). Here we see: “In March 2017, the giant audit firm KPMG signed off on the annual accounts of the construction giant-cum-outsourced services provider Carillion, saying they gave a “true and fair view” of the state of the company’s affairs. For this work, KPMG received a fee of £1.4m. This followed £1.4m of fees recouped the year before. In fact, KPMG had been Carillion’s auditor every year since it was founded in 1999. You don’t need to be an accountant to work out that that adds up to a very lucrative client relationship” that whilst we get the news that a mere four months later “its contracts to provide services were worth a remarkable £845m less than they had previously been valued on its books” that is an amount that exceeds whatever Richard Branson has in his wallet on his best days, so how was this overlooked? So as Rachel Reeves was kind enough that the value of KPMG is not good enough to audit the contents of her fridge, she should also be aware that this entire audit is not merely the outstanding invoices, there is a decent concern that the audit of KPMG has been unable to correctly assess issues for 17 years. So there is a real need to set up the correct framework to be able to take a long term look to the matters as well as the ability to set the right data dimensionality so that the data does not need to migrate over and over as more is found. I would think that an MP who part of the ‘the business select committee’, as well as a graduated economist would know that. You see as an experienced IT worker and a data analyst, I saw that coming a mile away.

So here I am partially standing up for PwC (so how fucked up will my day become?), news at 23:00. So when we get back to the Financial Times article and we see “As a House of Commons report has noted, Carillion’s growing borrowings were not used to invest in the company. In fact, while the group’s debt rose 297 per cent between 2009 and 2017, the value of its long-term assets grew just 14 per cent“, can we agree that there is a side that is terribly wrong here? These matters should have been clear in the KPMG reports, which now clearly overthrows the statement “they gave a “true and fair view” of the state of the company’s affairs“, I think that we can all agree that this part has been debunked in 30 seconds flat. In addition the Independent gives us “Moreover, KPMG was not the only auditor of Carillion’s numbers. Its 2016 report relates that it had a special “internal” auditor too, in Deloitte, with which it worked even more closely than with KPMG. So why didn’t Deloitte pick up on the dodgy contract numbers?” For me that is an interesting side as I have never seen anything dodgy in Deloitte. The fact that they might be part of the mess (unlikely though) is also cause for concern. More important, as I personally see it, it will be up to PwC to get that part out in the open. What was the exact assignment of the internal auditor, what data was presented, what data was accessed and used and who was part of the entire reporting stage of this internal audit? It would show more players in all this and could optionally give a better path in seeing the navigations that the decision makers in Carillion were involved in.

That is a part that we need to realise and consider.

There is another concern that the Independent brought to light. With: “Previous probes by the FRC have produced nothing but clean bills of health for auditors. “In nearly every major financial scandal we’ve had since the financial crisis, the FRC decides none of its charges have done anything wrong,” notes Jim Armitage, city editor of the Evening Standard. Worse, these rulings come with no reports or published evidence, making a mockery of the FRC’s claims to “promote transparency”” we might think that it is merely the FRC, yet what Wall Street taught us is that the entire 2008 joke gave rise to an 8 trillion write off, whilst no actual laws were broken, or at least none that could be proven, so in that regard, if that happens again now, we can clearly look at the House of Lords, point fingers and tell them to improve laws immediately and hold any MP and minister accountable for naming and public shaming. It might work, but I doubt it. You see, until there are large and unforgiving prison sentences, whilst also remove all the rights of ownership to those involved in Carillion, nothing will change. I have seen people setting the ownership of their large estates to their wives and then deny that they had any outstanding financial responsibilities in more than one country. Until these matters are settled this game will continue because greed will always win in the end.

So when we get back to the initial article we get “Kelly, who said his personal rate was £865 an hour, said PwC’s costs would gradually fall as more parts of Carillion were sold and staff from the accounting firm stopped working on the project. He said the firm initially had 257 people working on Carillion, with a bill for about £3m for their services in the first week after its collapse“, we see where part of the costs went to, so as my calculations was based on smaller settings we see how easily these costs were attained and the end of it is not in sight. Rachel Reeves should have seen this clearly as she had access to data I still have not seen. I think it is much more interesting to look at “Finance director Richard Adam, who retired in December 2016 after nine years at Carillion received almost £1.1m in salary and bonuses in 2016“, which we get from the BBC. So if we get to see the wrongdoings of Richard Adams, this is a reasonable speculation as the entire mess goes back a lot further than 2016, will we see these same MPs demand the auctioning of the goods of Richard Adams to make up for the losses of Carillion? You see the article stated MPs, not singular. Rachel Reeves might have been the visible one, but I want to see all those names, because when we consider the BBC news (at http://www.bbc.com/news/business-42703549) as it gives us:

  • The £350m Midland Metropolitan Hospital in Sandwell: opening delayed to 2019 due to construction problems.
  • The £335m Royal Liverpool Hospital: completion date repeatedly pushed back amid reports of cracks in the building.
  • The £745m Aberdeen bypass: delayed because of slow progress in completing initial earthworks.

We need to ask questions on several MPs all over the field, all over the UK apparently. These three alone show a £1.3 billion issue are so out in the open that these three alone will constitute evidence of a much deeper required accountancy dig. Three issues shown last January and these three alone gives rise for me to think that PwC will be able to charge a lot more and in addition, the entire settling and selling could take a lot longer than some expect it to take. So these elements are the setting for additional costs, so those MPs might claim that there is a case of ‘milking the Carillion cow dry‘, but they better be ready for me to take a look at more than these three projects, because I will ask openly on their failings to get a handle on matters, because I am 99% certain that these three projects alone will lead to a dozen others all over the UK and if there are no clear memo’s from those MPs in regards to Carillion, they will be named openly to give rise to their shortcomings (perhaps also what was between their legs), because if you do not have the balls to go against the larger players, you should not be in office at all. Yet, that might be merely my warped expectation of elected officials.

Carillion is a clear mess that had been going on for a much longer time than some expect. You see, that part is seen in ‘cracks in the building‘, ‘construction problems‘ and ‘slow progress in completing initial earthworks‘ it implies optional failings going all the way back to the foundation of the works that were possibly never correctly done in the first place.

So I might still end up treating the bosses of PwC UK as piñatas, but at present there are plenty of other targets and so far (remember I say ‘so far’), in this particular case PwC seems to be in the clear (darn!).

 

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