Tag Archives: FIFA

Warring consoles

There are a few wars to look at, but the setting for the consoles is one that is shifty as hell. I have been outspoken against a certain brand whose name starts with ‘M‘ and ends with ‘icrosoft‘ for a few reasons, but that is not what it is about. It starts with the Sato. A writer for Siliconera giving us the sales of consoles for last week. The systems that matter for the week of 10th to the 16th of September in this are Nintendo Switch that sold 38,738 consoles, down from 43,513 last week. The PS4 12,057 down from 12,281 last week, the Xbox One 58, up from 19 last week, the PS4 pro 4,959 down from 7,442 and the Xbox One X 159 up from 30 last week (Japanese sales numbers). So we can go with the fact that Microsoft is the only one on the rise. We can go with the optional truth that Microsoft consoles (plural) merely represent 0.5% of the Nintendo Switch sales. I did not even consider News Nintendo DS systems in all this, the number would become laughingly small (and blow away whenever you open a window), if it has not done that already. Microsoft Xbox One systems are a mere 3% of the PlayStation 4 systems and that is not a good thing either (for Microsoft that is). Yet we must also acknowledge that Nintendo is a force of nature at present. You see, at present the Nintendo Switch might merely be at 45% of all the PS4 systems sold (normal and Pro), the fact that they did this in under 2 years is an amazing achievement and there is no stopping Nintendo. I expect that they will break additional records at both Thanksgiving and Christmas this year (as well as the Saint Nicholas festivities in one or two places).

It goes even further when we see the Nintendo games exploding on the screens when it comes to the revenue. This year alone, the revenue for Nintendo went up by a cool 100% to a net value of almost 10 billion dollars, that is a massive achievement in gaming and their growth is still enduring. With online play being free and Fortnite still on the rise and with 30 titles still arriving before the end of the year. It seems to me that Nintendo figured something out and Microsoft is paying a high price for the wisdom gained (Sony gets hurt too but much less).

So whilst Xbox UK is still hiding behind what I would clearly define as ‘deceptive conduct’, they might think that it is ‘innovative thinking’ we are merely confronted with a once growing game maker that is now becoming obsolete in its thinking.

So why deceptive conduct?

You see, the people were confronted with a tweet a mere three days ago. The tweet: “Play 500+ Classic Xbox & Xbox 360 titles on your Xbox One today… totally for free“, yet when we read down the tweets, we see the hitch. We see: “If you already own them – no need to buy again! Just download or put the disc in, and away you go“, news that is 2 years old and we are still confronted with a digital department that just does not get it. They did not tell us “We have upgraded our backwards compatibility program to 500+ games“, no that would be too honest. No we get: “Play 500+ Classic Xbox & Xbox 360 titles on your Xbox One today… totally for free“, it is not merely deceptive conduct, it is what I would personally call an open blatant lie. You see: “totally for free” would have been the setting if pre-owning the game was not a requirement, so some purchase was required, giving the setting one that is a an outright lie, as I personally see it.

Getting back to the sales I mentioned earlier, we need to realise that this is not global. The numbers come from merely a Japanese source, sales in Japan. Yet the setting is still clear (to some degree), Nintendo is here to stay and it is growing its influence on a global scale and when we see the mere achievement of 58 Xbox One systems over a week in a nation that is around 130 million people, whilst some sources give us that 50% of them are into gaming. We do not have a comprehensive data file that gives us a more complete picture. Yet we see that there are around 700 million online gamers, which is well over 40% of the online population, when you consider that, we see that the numbers and the setting is massively important. Venturebeat gave us in the past that spend per person is Japan (#1) with $120 per person, the US (#3) with $62 the UK and Australia in 4th and 5th, whilst they are on equal footing with $62 and $55 per person. So at that point do you still think that all this misrepresented loot box mess is merely about gambling? So when we were given: ‘Australian Senate inquiry extended after study calls loot boxes ‘psychologically akin to gambling’‘ merely three days ago as well as both “The Australian Senate inquiry into micro-transactions is taking into consideration a large-scale study that claims “loot boxes” are psychologically akin to gambling“, as well as “The paper is the result of a paid online survey among 7422 gamers. Curiously, over 6000 responses to the survey were discarded because the answers were either not serious or incomplete“, which is interesting because I never saw that link in any place and I have been a gamer since 1984, long before the word ‘gamer’ was cool. The article is actually good and gives us one part that I can stand behind: “recommends adjustments to the current game classification system advising “parental advisories for games that feature loot boxes” as well as “a descriptor outlining that the game itself features gambling content”“. I would be willing to take it one step further. I would demand that there are two additional parts. The first is that there needs to a clear path where we can earn loot boxes for free (not unlike the Mass Effect 3 setting), in addition we need to see a clear sticker on the front of the box stating that ‘no loot boxes are required to play or complete the game‘ Several games have clearly stated that in the past, yet adding this on the front of the cover is not the worst idea.

I still disagree that it is gambling, yet having a clear mention that loot boxes are set to chance and optionally the chances of getting a certain rarity is not the worst idea either. And in all this, the console war is now setting to a much larger stage, even as they all (partially correctly) point their finger at EA Games. Ubisoft has unlockable content (at a price as well, yet they ALWAYS clearly stated ‘this item can be unlocked through regular gameplay‘ as well. So it is not immoral that they offer it as an initial unlock for $5, it merely shows us that that person is not really a gamer, merely a player.

In this there is more to Ubisoft; it is clearly seen in their Assassins Creed games. Going back to Assassins Creed 2, they had the Ubiclub. You can buy things there. Unlocking premiums and extra’s (skins, backgrounds, outfits and weapons), to buy them you play the games and when you get to a stage, like completing a set of conditions, making it to a certain point in the game you get points, these points re kept in you profile and you can unlock them for any Ubisoft game you have, giving you more and more by merely playing. It opens up the need to complete, the drive to achieve and the option to get cool things. Here I clearly state: ‘Well done Ubisoft!‘ and this is still an ongoing stage with badges and cool stuff with every additional game that they release. So as I state that loot boxes are not gambling, I am for the most not against the setting: ‘Study urges games with Loot Boxes to be Restricted to Players old enough to Gamble‘, which is not the same. The question is not merely on how to check it; the issue will soon be that abuse is harder to check. Even if they cannot be merely bought online, even when the loot box cash needs to be bought in the store, we will see the irresponsible act of the parent giving in to ‘junior’ buying more and more loot boxes. It is important to raise the issue as more and more consoles are confronted with games that depend on loot boxes, and that is not nearly the beginning. We see part of this in Eurogamer (at https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2018-07-23-fifa-player-uses-gdpr-to-find-out-everything-ea-has-on-him-realises-hes-spent-over-usd10-000-in-two-years-on-ultimate-team), when we are given “Michael was sent a data dump by EA via two PDF files each over 100 pages long. This amounted to a huge number of files, which include engagement data, FIFA 18 stats, device information and more than 10 audio files (these are recordings of his calls to EA support). It also included details of every player Michael bought and sold over the past two years in FUT“, so beyond the setting of “EA also provided data relating to how much real world money (in dollars) Michael had spent on FIFA Points, and he told Eurogamer he was “gobsmacked” to discover he’d spent over $10,000 in just two years“. Apart from the fact that you are losing your screws, the mere fact that you are not aware wasting cash to such a degree is one part, yet in this, the part that everyone ignores is “30 days later, Michael was sent a data dump by EA via two PDF files each over 100 pages long. This amounted to a huge number of files, which include engagement data“. I never played FIFA, yet when Microsoft remained in denial that 5 GB in 10 days was uploaded without my consent or knowledge into the Azure cloud, they merely pointed at the internet provider and stated that this is their responsibility (whilst I had not played any multiplayer games), and now we see what EA collects, in all this, the collected data is not an issue in any of this?

And the console wars are not done, not by a close margin. This goes beyond which system is popular, with system has loot boxes. This is about data and with all these systems being online and optionally ending up collecting personal data, there is a larger for not merely gamers and players. It is about classifying people and the setting of how bankable have we become? We saw this a few months ago with ‘Esports streamers and gamers are among the most bankable influencers, pitching to a new generation of consumers that don’t track traditional‘, it is about finding money people, those who propel the brand and when we realise that we seem to have a few additional problems and the fact that no attention is given to that part in the equation is equally a problem.

 

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A short sighted Senate?

This was always going to happen. Whenever there is a political setting, it will always be about the money. In this, I will be trying to have a field day. So, a paper will be drawn, demanding that the Australian psychiatrists and researchers will have to sign; they will not get a choice in the matter. They do not deserve a choice in the matter. It will be fun for them to openly condemn Telstra, Apple, Amazon, JB Hi-fi, David Jones and a few other places, because in the end they are all linked in this, even though they do not even realise that yet. It is as I see it, the consequence of a biased setting and we need to make sure that these people will not merely get the limelight, they will, in this setting be responsible for the economic fallout. That is as I personally see it the consequence of greed driven bias.

You see, it is clear that this is about money. The fact that we see the flock gather around a person, who is so stupid that I equally demand that this British person, who is clearly too stupid for his own thoughts must be barred from credit cards for life! If he cannot control himself to that degree, we must protect him from being that stupid ever again.

You see, you think that it is an emotional part, but it is not. Even as I accept “Video games have generally been considered games of skill rather than games of chance and thus are unregulated under most gambling laws, but researchers from New Zealand and Australia, writing in Nature Human Behaviour, concluded that “loot boxes are psychologically akin to gambling”“, a setting that I do not agree with (explanation to follow), the quote coming from Aaron Drummond and James D Sauer, which was published in ‘Nature human behaviour‘, I feel uncertain to comment on, or oppose that part as I lack the proper psychological education in this.

Why is it not gambling?

That is the important part. Yes, there is a setting of luck, but ever loot box has a similar setting. We see one rare element, 2-3 uncommon elements and the rest will be common elements. So how did this come to be? For that we need to look at the father of loot boxes, the game Magic the gathering. Consider that on a piece of paper (size A0) cards are printed. An A0 page (841 x 1189 mm) will fit 12 cards per row, and 12 rows. The cards (usually 63 x 88 mm) get 144 cards on one page. In this setting we work with 288 cards, and if printed on 4 pages, we get 576 cards. So here we see the initial setting where we see that on these pages, the rare cards would be printed once, for example, two columns of 12 per page, in total 96 cards, the uncommon would be there twice, which gets us 192 cards and the remaining cards three times getting us the 576 cards, a set of 288 cards. So we always know that we get a certain combination, but we merely cannot tell which one. So this Australian government that allegedly is ruled through law, sets the stage (at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-02/crown-casino-pokies-maker-aristocrat-court-decision/9387168), where pokies are not deceptive, whilst loot boxes are?

Am I digressing?

No, you see, in the CCG we see that there is a physical part to all the cards, with the virtual loot box it is not entirely the same setting. So even when we consider the ABC Quote “It argued the Dolphin Treasure machine, which is manufactured by Aristocrat and available to players at Crown, had been deceptively designed to give players the impression they had won, when they had in fact lost money“, yet in that same light, we see that a loot box, always gives a price, yet is it the price the buyer wanted? In this case I revert to the previous setting, now we add what is called a booster box. In a box are 35 packs (can be 30-36 depending on the CCG game), so we could argue that when we buy 3 boxes, we should have the complete set, yet with the 105 packs, we do get 105 rare items, but in that same setting, over the 96 rare items needed, if only 10% is double, we no longer get the complete set and we will have to swap with others. With physical cards that is an option, with virtual items that is not always possible. This is indeed the trap, yet is that gambling? When we know that we get a rare item, yet we cannot guarantee that item is that gambling? That is the question, yet in the case of the Crown Casino, the judges stated that that there was no deceptive conduct, and neither is there in this case. With Loot boxes you are ALWAYS a winner, but is winning and winning the price you want enough difference to warrant it gambling?

The economic setting

That is also part of this, because some power players are all about facilitating towards casino’s (go to Barangaroo if you doubt me), and we are also treated to “This is a win for 140,000 Australians who have jobs because of poker machines,“, as well as “Every year Victorians lose more than $2.6 billion on the state’s 27,000 poker machines that operate outside of Crown Casino“. This hypocritical setting is about money, plain and simple. This is a setting where the loot boxes are funds that go directly to the makers of those games and they are not in Australia. Unlike the other setting where we see “The State Government receives more than $1 billion in tax revenue from pokies every year“, yes all things are definitely not equal!

Are there issues?

Well, the quote “Games with loot box mechanics have long proven controversial” is actually true. There are two settings. Loot boxes you can earn and those you can buy. We will forever hear the argument of the game Mass Effect 3, for all, the golden standard. They could be bought, or won, the same loot box. Earn enough points in the game in multiplayer mode and you had the option to buy a golden box with earned points, instead of purchased credits. That was the best of all settings. Now we have these boxes that can be bought only, yet the foundation is that the game can be played and completed WITHOUT EVER buying a loot box, so those people are merely buying the boxes to get the insane chance of getting an over the top powerful item, which is weird in some ways. In support of some we must also acknowledge that EA Games as one of the players in all this decided to cut themselves in the finger and that is all on them. End Gadget gives u that (at https://www.engadget.com/2018/06/13/electronic-arts-loot-box-mea-culpa-e3/), so when we see ‘How EA talks about loot boxes depends on who’s listening‘, which might be good business practice, but it is really really stupid. You see, with “EA wants you to know that it has changed; that it isn’t the same company that put pay-to-win progression systems and loot boxes in two of its biggest games last fall. “We are always trying to learn and listen, and are striving to be better,” CEO Andrew Wilson said before closing out the keynote address“, we see one side, and with: “He thanked the investor for his question, saying that EA was working with “all the industry associations globally” and talking with regulators in territories where loot boxes had been deemed gambling, without naming any specific regions. He said that his company and the regulatory bodies concluded that Ultimate Team wasn’t gambling. Since players know they’ll get a certain amount of cards in each pack, and that the distribution of each pack is the same (i.e. one rare footballer, three uncommon, two common in each) it doesn’t break any laws“, here we see the part that I partially agree with, but it also shows that EA Games is all about the money and the ‘FIFA Ultimate Team‘ part of all this represents billions, billions that they do not want to lose.

There are two big parts in all of this, that is aside for that one person who could optionally be the most stupid person in the United Kingdom, especially when he ‘discovers’ he’s spent £7,500+ on FUT Ultimate Team cards (source: Daily Star 29th July 2018). The first is that FIFA is a game played by non-adults, so they will desire to optionally spend on these cards. The fact that there is no limit set is optionally an issue, if EA Games has set the stage where per month no more than £25 would be spend, that is close to half the cost of the full game, so it might need to be lowered. The second is the chance to swap any double won, so the fact that you are missing a Beckham, but have two Pele’s, you can seek someone who had the opposite setting. That could have saved a lot of issues, possibly all issues and EA Games merely made it harder by (as I personally see it) being stupid. That evidence is seen (at https://www.fifauteam.com/best-packs-fifa-18-ultimate-team/), Yet is also gives us that EA Games has free packs and they also give us “FREE PACKS. Not available to purchase on the store. They are assigned to you in the beginning of the game, as daily gifts and as draft, SBC, FUT Champions, objectives and seasons rewards“, so if free packs can be won, why is the entire matter still an issue? We also are given “Jumbo Premium Gold pack and Silver Upgrade pack both cost 15,000 coins but the first one may be purchased with 300 FIFA Points while for the second we only need 50 FIFA Points. Players should also pay attention to this aspect“, Yet I am also given “You can earn FUT Coins by playing FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT) and trading within the Transfer Market, but you can’t buy them. Buying coins from a third party, promoting coin buying, or coin distribution is against our rules“, so we can transfer? Then again, why is there an issue, when there are so many factors that are not funds driven?

There is an interesting video on this (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=25&v=Igs5Ca9Nw4M), the man talks too fast for his own good, but it is very informative, giving us a clear view that there is a clear way to get items and players making it weird on how someone would have paid £7,500+ on FUT Ultimate Team cards. I do not doubt that this was done, yet it asks a few additional serious questions on the mental status of some video gamers. In all this I see several issues on both sides, but for the most, the entire setting is gambling and with the options for free packs and transfers, there is less and less a setting of gambling, merely the oversized need of greed by a government wanting non-taxable parts to stop. Yet at the bottom of the FIFA team page is also a comments section and we see the most interesting part that was also on the video.

Q: You say that we can buy coins directly?

A (Admin): My main suggestion is to trade. Buying low and selling higher is easier than most of the people think.

All given actions based on common sense, a part that someone paying £7,500+ for these cards is the setting of a person lacking common sense in spades, diamond and in clubs, basically the buyer was seemingly without hearts and common sense. Reverting to overspending and hiding behind gambling statements when there are trades and free options is overly unbalanced.

Yet I agree that this is all mostly based on FIFA, so how does that fare in other parts? With Overwatch (at http://overwatch.wikia.com/wiki/Loot_Box), we see that they are bought, yet they are also awarded.

  • One Loot Box is earned every time a player levels up.
  • One seasonal Loot Box is earned for the first time accessing the game in a seasonal event.
  • One Loot Box is earned for the first time winning some game modes in the Arcade, for example 1v1 Mystery Duel or 3v3 Elimination.
  • One Loot Box is earned for the 3rd, 6th, and 9th winning by playing Arcade game modes within the time between 2 resets. This cycle resets every week whether or not you win 9 games.

So these are options that do not require funds (yet can also be bought). It merely requires you to be a decent player. A decent player will have the option to three boxes a week by winning enough times, in all this, we see skill based progression.

This is the setting that we are faced with, and in this I wonder how thoroughly is the issue investigated, or will this merely be a senate exercise on lost (read: non-taxable) revenue?

In the end, when we move back to the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/games/2018/aug/17/video-game-loot-boxes-addictive-and-a-form-of-simulated-gambling-senate-inquiry-told) and we see no mention whatsoever that loot boxes could be earned, or are optional (under the right setting free), what other parts is the writer Patrick Lum not informing us on? In addition, when I see “Australian psychiatrists and researchers have called for greater regulation of video games that encourage players to purchase chance-based items“, whilst there is no mention on the earning option, or the initial free options that pretty much every game seems to have offered. When that part is equally missing, how fair will this inquiry be?

The article has two additional issues. the first is seen with: “The Office of the eSafety Commissioner estimated that 34% of young people made in-game purchases in the 12 months before June 2017, while the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia cited research finding that around 20% of simulated gambling players moved on to online commercial gambling and 5% of young Australians would develop gambling problems before they were 25 years old“. When we see ‘estimated‘, it should be made clear that this is not factual evidence, more important, what was the estimation based on? We are unlikely to get clearly informed on that part. In addition, the part ‘the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia cited research finding that around 20% of simulated gambling players moved on to online commercial gambling‘, is under scrutiny, because in that regard, I would want those so called ‘Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia‘ to produce the evidence and the raw data on how the ”around 20%” was obtained.

The second issue is seen with “Dr Marcus Carter, a former president of the Digital Games Research Association of Australia, argued that “predatory” practices were “pervasive”, citing potential variable odds manipulation, push notifications about limited-time offers and other player retention mechanics“, although I find his setting a much better one, there are still issues with the use of ‘potential’ in that, without evidence it is merely highly speculative and even as I would accept the danger of ‘variable odds manipulation‘, that part can be addressed clearly enough. The requirement is that there needs to be evidence that this is happening and a pre-emptive setting of making the optional issue of ‘variable odds manipulation‘ unacceptable in legislation is not wrong, yet requires proof. In addition, the entire setting of ‘push notifications about limited-time offers and other player retention mechanics‘ is equally valid, but can be stopped by an opt-in setting, in addition if that is addressed, we need to accept that all ‘limited-time offers’ in advertisement on media and TV are to be equally banned, because we could optionally get a ‘buy a new pair of shoes’ addiction (for a limited time that is). If that is to be accepted (cheating small time businesses out of advertising as well as taxable advertisement funds go right ahead, Or perhaps make it illegal to have ‘limited-time mobile offers‘, and we leave Dr Marcus Carter to explain that change to mobile providers, who will be crying over lost revenue. You see, when all players are equal there is no setting of fair play at all, merely the setting of expedited needs, in this case the government. All that when it was made aware of lines like “EA earns $1.68 billion in micro transactions in FY2017“, that whilst Australia’s biggest super villain (read: Taxman) never got a cent of any of that.

That is the actual setting and that got all those trying to set this all to gambling. Including the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and now Australia, they are all about getting a slice of that micro transaction pie, all that could have been prevented 15-20 years ago by them using their brains. Yet at that time ego and greed got the better of them and they were unwilling to kick Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and all other e-store players where it would have hurt, they were in my personal view mere cowards letting actual physical shops fend for themselves, as their business was pushed online and away from them. Now we see patch upon patch, all players trying to get as much of the cream as possible whilst trying to hide the fact that they had no backbone in the first place, all merely equipped with paper backs ready for recycling.

The mere setting of ‘All online items are GST set and paid for in the country of the purchasing consume by that nations legal setting‘ would have sorted 98% of all this, but the politicians in those global nations were, in the end merely as ‘solid’ and morally strong as wet tissue paper.

So in all this there is a huge issue with the loot box and gambling setting, merely from the point of view that I have that this is not about gambling, it is about non-taxable income, a very different issue to say the least.

 

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Oman’s neighbour

You might remember the state of Oman, capital Muscat. There are several reasons to remember Oman, the fact that they got into the news last March with: “The Central Bank of Iran has allowed lenders to issue guarantees for Iranian businesses planning to invest in Oman or those who seek to take out loans from Omani banks” is merely one reason. The fact that they are next to Yemen is the actual reason to mention them. You see, when you look at Amnesty International, you see (at https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2015/09/yemen-the-forgotten-war/) the quote “On 25 March 2015, an international coalition led by Saudi Arabia launched air strikes against the Huthi armed group in Yemen sparking a full-blown armed conflict. Over the following three years, the conflict in Yemen is showing no real signs of abating. Horrific human rights abuses, as well as war crimes, are being committed throughout the country by all parties to the conflict, causing unbearable suffering for civilians” is the issue. Now, let’s be clear, Amnesty International is not lying to you, but the setting that led to it is equally important. The missing part is: “Houthi forces controlling the capital Sana’a and allied with forces loyal to the former president Ali Abdullah Saleh have clashed with forces loyal to the government of Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, based in Aden“, the setting is ‘former president Ali Abdullah Saleh‘ versus ‘deposed president Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi‘, deposed by the Houthi’s who had instigated a Coup d’état. I will admit that it is more complex than that (or better stated there are additional unmentioned facts here), yet the forced deposing of the then president Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi is still an issue; he went for help towards his allies.

That part is an important part that is missing. After that things went from bad to worse with on the frontlines Iran using Hezbollah enabling the deniable launching of missiles on Saudi Arabia, that is a clear setting and this escalation has no sign of letting up or slowing down.

Now we get the setting that Bloomberg is giving us. the setting (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-07-26/yemen-rebels-say-they-attacked-abu-dhabi-airport-with-drones), with the headline ‘Yemen Rebels Say They Attacked Abu Dhabi Airport With Drones‘, the issue is not merely that they have access to drones, the setting of the Iranian missiles and the fact that the Houthi’s are attacking both Saudi Arabia and the UAE (which is denied by the UAE) gives rise to other parts. with the quote “The source confirmed that the drone, Sammad 3, begun its operations by targeting Abu Dhabi International Airport with several raids, in response to the UAE crimes against Yemen” gives rise to the setting that this is no longer merely a Houthi versus the world setting, the entire premise that not only was there a new Drone developed, the Sammad 3 is also actively attacking the UAE, the question becomes is this done via Saudi Arabia, or via Oman, not merely transgressing on their sovereign land, but is it done whilst some in either government was aware? The direct path via Saudi Arabia makes more sense as there is a whole lot of nothing in that region. The second question becomes: why strategically deploy in this way? We might accept that whatever the Yemeni have is nowhere near what the US has, so it will be less than $12M per drone, but how much less is it?

In addition, what is the operational ability of the Sammad 3 (the speculated drone in question)? When you look into the timeline that one announcement comes after the announcement of the Sammad 2, whilst increasing the operational support 10 fold is also suspicious on a few levels. You see, every system increases as becomes better, but 1000% increase is a little much by any standard. Even as we accept that some strategies are better than others, Middle East Eye gives us: “Since the Saudi-led coalition launched its war in Yemen in March 2015, the UAE has been a key player. Yet, while Riyadh’s goal has been to restore President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi to power and crush the Houthi uprising, Abu Dhabi has focused more on the south, training security forces to secure its own geopolitical ambitions“, in this we might question some actions, and they are to some extent, yet the overbearing issue is that there is an Iranian finger in this pie. Only 14 weeks ago we were treated to: “The Yemeni government says that Iran supplied the Houthi rebels with drones used to attack Saudi Arabia. On Wednesday, Riyadh said it shot down two drones in the south of the country and intercepted ballistic missiles launched by the Houthi forces in Yemen. The drones are “made in Iran”, said Yemen’s internationally-recognised government on Saturday. It added that the country’s military did not possess such aircraft and it was “impossible to manufacture them locally””, this not directly contradicts the Bloomberg news by Mohammed Hatem. You cannot erect a drone solution in this short a time span, not even if you had all the Viagra in the world, so the tool erected setting of Iran trying new tools in the political and escalating statement arena regarding ‘drone strikes’ is more than an issue. When we see the news given from Almasirah Media Network with ‘Air Force Unveils New Drone, Sammad 3‘, are they the tool or, was the statement by The National who by their own words are ‘committed to serving the local UAE community‘ misled and they are misleading the UAE community? You see one of the two is true, not both. No matter which path is the real one, it is my personal opinion that none of this existed without Iran, they are in the middle of this and the other media sources are trying to steer clear as some are trying to ‘save’ an illusionary deal with Iran that was never a real prospect to begin with. No matter which one is true, the Yemeni population remains in the middle of it all. there is a second side to this, the events in the red Sea where a tanker was hit is now stopping transfer of oil via the Bab el-Mandeb strait, potentially upping oil prices. It is a clear intentional push for the US to get involved, especially after we were told “A huge tanker with a shipment of oil from Saudi Arabia bound for Egypt was damaged by a missile attack from the northern Bab el-Mandeb strait in the Red Sea. The Houthi rebels in Yemen, armed and financed by Iran, were responsible for the attack. It happened in the wake of the renewed exchange of threats between the United States and Iran, which could also hurt the oil market” (source: Haaretz), in addition we got “Iran’s Quds force chief Qassem Soleimani said on Thursday that the Red Sea was not secure with the presence of American troops in the area”, so there is a much louder setting that Iran is willing to escalate towards direct outspoken war. I reckon that as Europe is becoming meaningless, the direct involvement of Iran will turn defeat to victory. That is not only not given, there is every chance that the UAE and Saudi Arabia will make a united front, in addition, the naval actions could be bad times for Egypt, so there would be additional support for Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The questions will soon become, where does Qatar stand in all this and what are their options. They have their own worries as accusations more and more ridiculous are hitting the media. It seems that the Sydney Morning Herald is becoming the joke of independent journalism, whilst merely parroting that idiot Martin Ivens (as I personally see him in all this) on “In article published by The Sunday Times alleges the Qatar bid team used a PR agency and former CIA operatives to disseminate fake propaganda about its main competitors, the United States and Australia“, whilst the Sunday Times still has not given the people the millions of documents he stated he had with the previous accusations, so we can all optionally agree that Nine Networks is now wearing the pants in the new merger. That matters, because some are not merely tailoring to the needs of places like (censored name of sponsor), they are setting the stage for unsolicited change and through these events they are adding needlessly to pressures in the Middle East.

Pressures that need avoidance because the expression ‘If you have to fight, fight like a cornered cat‘ is a role that Qatar could be pushed into. I actually prefer the Dutch version of that expression which is ‘A cornered cat can move very unpredictable‘, that is more worrying, because the unsubstantiated accusation are an actual issue on a few levels now. so when we see “the alleged smear campaign included paying a professor $US 9,000 to write a damning report on the economic cost of a US World Cup, recruiting journalists and bloggers to promote negative stories in the US, Australian and international media, and organising grassroots protests at rugby matches in Australia“, we demand to see that report, as well as all other evidence; we need to be shown clearly where the lies in that report were as well as the other evidence. Is that not simple? Show us the ACTUAL evidence!

All these settings are important. We can vocally set the stage against Iran (like I am doing with both evidence as well as a comic look at the two images earlier), and I can look at the presented and i am using the published details available to me with all the settings that are open to the audience at large. I never proclaim to have all the wisdom in the world, yet hiding behind ‘unnamed sources’ and ‘unpublished evidence’ like the Sunday Times, whilst I regard them because of that as nothing more than a mere courtesan to sponsors, that is how I see their actions, when the need to investigate FIFA was there, these media buffs were all about the hooker in the bookcase, the entire setting of the media had become questionable. The setting of the Garcia report, whilst the newspapers and media failed to hammer down on Hans-Joachim Eckert, so when we got the ‘refused to publish on various legal grounds‘, who went after Hans-Joachim Eckert? the entire matter also involved the Qatar 2022 cup bids, so as it stands, we need to make sure that places like the Sunday Times and the SMH are now also optionally the spreaders of Fake News, but that is apparently not the case when they have their unnamed sources.

Even as I spoke out in the end against Qatar 2022, it is only because of the stage that Qatar found itself in. It is not up to me who got them there, some was all their own doing, but a larger part was the act of smear campaigns that we see now. Almost four years of smear campaigns. If we are to actually do something about it, then EVERY newspaper is to offer the 350-page report of Michael J. Garcia from September 2014 on their website with a full page 3 summary of the report. That is the first moment that we can start taking journalists serious again (possibly with the Sun as the one exception). It is my view that anyone who was part of misleading regarding Qatar, or in the other direction supporting in falsehood the Qatar bid should be barred for life from every official sport event. It is the only way and that is merely the one side-track that the Yemen situation now calls for. With Iran upping the stakes in Yemen and with alleged drone strikes on UAE and actual attacks on Saudi Arabia, how long until one of them sees a reason to lash out against Qatar? You see, the plot is also thickening when we see the Iran increasing non-oil trade with Oman by 136% in the last quarter alone. That is half a billion in value, now we can agree that every nation has and needs trade, so I would be the last one to state against it, yet there is every indication that Iran is trying to set the mood fir additional change. Some will remember the setting last year when we were offered “Bank Melli Iran and Bank Saderat Iran will resume their operations in the Omani capital Muscat which had halted during the sanctions that cut off Iran from the international financial network“, this is now seen against the news from March when we saw ‘Iran, Oman resolute to grow banking relations’ with the additional quote “Drafting an operational and practical program with opening joint accounts based on the national currencies of Iran and Oman, independent from foreign currencies, should be considered as one of the requirements of developing banking relations“, so what happens, when the setting of the national currencies becomes the foundation of a credit swap where oil is the determined value? It is merely one step away and the US crying for cheap oil is that one element that could make it happen. The US not acting against Oman, whilst knowingly allowing for the swapping of Iranian originated oil based CDO’s is not that far stretched, is it?

Now we have billions in funds, an operational drone team and additional Hezbollah populists trying to set the stage in Yemen. there is support for that view (to the smallest extent), Arab News two weeks ago gave us: “Yemen’s foreign minister has called on Lebanon’s caretaker government to “rein in” Hezbollah and its aggressive tactics in support of the Iranian-backed Houthi militia“, whilst in addition, whilst the National gave us last week: “The UAE Embassy in Beirut has denied claims made by Lebanon’s pro-Hezbollah Al Akhbar newspaper regarding an “Emirates Leaks” report that says Abu Dhabi is applying pressure on Muscat over the Qatar crisis. The embassy has called the leaked diplomatic correspondence from the UAE Embassy in Muscat “false” and said that it was aimed at creating tension with Oman“. We need to realise that the two are unrelated articles are merely that. One has apples, the other pears and the fact that they both represent pieces of fruit is no evidence, changing one of them into oranges does not behold additional truth that should be clear. Yet the stage where Iran decided to increase trade by 136% is a shown fact and Iran has been doing something similar with Turkey which has not given Turkey an additional amount close to $5 billion in the last 6 months alone. Iran is setting a trade stage where in the end, in light of their devaluation and monetary value can soon (or already) only be honoured with oil, how quaint!

It is not merely the plans in place, it is the funding that these projects require, that is where it seems to make sense, but it is not a given that those are the only paths that are being trodden. You see, there is still the Uranium enrichment program that is worked on. With those in the works, we see the need for serious amounts of cash, skills and equipment, all that from a setting where the infrastructure was no longer able to meet the financial needs and the commitment from Iran towards Yemen by the Iranian commander in chief shows that the next step is not that far away, they will need resources and there is now at least a partial setting in place where the facilitation is close to complete. From my point of view, lowering the pressures on Qatar allows Qatar to walk away from Iran as far as possible limiting the options that Iran has, and that is an essential requirement at present.

Even as we see several sources give us lines like: ‘Oman and Kuwait has taken a neutral position in the dispute involving Qatar‘, I am actually less and less convinced that Oman is completely neutral in all this. Is the trade merely growing sympathy in Oman, or is news from places like Sarfayt and Dhalkut changing the sentiment that the people in Oman have? I actually do not know, but something seems to be stirring in Oman, perhaps it is not a pro-Iran feeling, merely a lessened anti-Iran sentiment, they are not the same. What does matter is that all this is escalating giving Iran more options in Yemen, to counter that outside of a full scale event in Yemen is to take away the available fuel that Iran has and I think that removing pressure from Qatar is a first step in all this. Should this be successful, we might see a setting where Oman feels less comfortable having strong ties with Iran, which seems to serve everyone’s purpose (except Iran of course).

 

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The Qatarian debacle

There is no denying it, we sometimes take the most stupid steps, even though it was for the best intentions. Yet when we are confronted with the reality, it becomes a different thing, especially when corruption and corporations intervene. First we were confronted with the prospect of Qatar 2022, I was actually pretty happy about it. To bring the enthousiasm of Soccer into the Middle East is a good thing, it opens all kinds of dialogues between Middle Eastern nations and as Europe has one universal event in common, soccer could have become the bridge between the nations in Europe and the Middle East. That’s how I naively saw it. But it took merely a week or two until suddenly the accusations of corruption came out of the woodwork. More and more news outlets have become the ‘whores’ of shareholders and stake holders, all in fear because it wasn’t merely about Qatar, it was the fact that it would be held in winter overlapping the normal soccer season, leaving us with the clear set that clubs could not play with their stars representing the national teams. With all that advertisement opportunity gone, they are all screaming like bitches. The biggest of them (Martin Ivens) is part of this (at https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/plot-to-buy-the-world-cup-lvxdg2v7l7w), and when we see “revealed for the first time this weekend in a bombshell cache of millions of documents leaked to The Sunday Times“, the editorial has a clear duty to inform the public showing the evidence. The fact that ‘millions of documents‘ were parsed is close to impossible, but that’s going to be another story. Yet since June 1st 2014, we keep in getting more and more speculations, yet no evidence was presented. In the end, the FIFA corruption was merely parsed aside, no clear imprisonment, merely ‘a six-year ban from participating in FIFA activities‘, the corruption and the facilitation to the stake holders and shareholders have gone that far, yet no one presented clear evidence at any level to the public, partially my setting for demanding Martin Ivens that he gets the hell out of journalism.

In all this, Qatar has remained the battered victim (in this instance) and I thought it was good for those shareholders and stakeholders to feel the consequences of diminished value for a change. Yet that is not happening. Still, we see is some olive branch towards soccer by setting the news as we saw it in the Washington Post with ‘FIFA could expand World Cup to 48 teams in 2022, ahead of schedule‘, either it is a 50% bigger strain for Qatar to keep up with the changes or it collapses and the torch quickly gets handed over to another soccer nation pleasing all stake holders involved.

Yet the issue is now escalating and not in a good way, it is also not on the soccer side that things are becoming a mess. In this case it is not about the article (at https://www.thenational.ae/world/britain-warned-over-qatar-s-london-intelligence-network-1.749819), where we see the quote “A group of Arab countries demanded action from the British government to restrict an expansion of Qatar’s intelligence activities in London, including surveillance operations as well as political and propaganda activity“, I am not sure if this is actually happening, but it is one part that increases the pressures going on. The actual dangers are coming from two siders, the first is seen in Haaretz (at https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/how-qatar-is-warming-ties-with-both-trump-and-iran-at-the-same-time-1.6247714), where we get ‘How Qatar Is Warming Ties with Both Trump and Iran – at the Same Time‘, it is the Iran side that is a worry. We might take notice of an old fact given in “Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed ties with Qatar in June 2017, accusing it of fomenting regional unrest, supporting terrorism and getting too close to Iran, all of which Doha denies“, yet that is not the danger (at present). In addition we see the actions (the clever actions) from Qatar with “A review on Monday of Foreign Agent Registration Act records show that since May 31, six U.S. companies or individuals have registered new Qatari lobbying contracts with the Department of Justice. That number includes the major firms Ogilvy (which is being paid $10,000 per month) and Portland PR ($20,000 per month)“, in addition, Ogilvy gives them full access to the Commonwealth, so London (as mentioned earlier), Canada and Australia are part of the setting to change public opinion, a task Ogilvy is very good at. The second part is different, when we look (at https://en.mehrnews.com/news/135396/Iran-1st-quarter-export-to-Qatar-quadrupled-year-on-year), we see something that seems harmless enough, yet the fact that “In the first quarter of the current year of 1397 (March 21, 2018- June 21, 2018), 74 million and 61 thousand dollars of goods were shipped from Iran to Qatar, which has increased by 214 percent year-on-year“, seems innocent enough, yet it also gives us that with over $300 million of trade goods before the end of the year, a large amount of people go back and forth, which also optionally offers military advisors as well as people of the Hezbollah persuasion opportunities and now it becomes a very different game, now we have a setting that allows for the settling of units and their sole reason for playing possum the next three years is to go out with a bang in November 2022. Consider this setting against the Washington Post of April (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/hacked-messages-show-qatar-appearing-to-pay-hundreds-of-millions-to-free-hostages/2018/04/27/46759ce2-3f41-11e8-974f-aacd97698cef_story.html) where we see ‘Hacked messages show Qatar appearing to pay hundreds of millions to free hostages’, the operative word is ‘appearing’. When we see both: “with a half-dozen militias and foreign governments jostling to squeeze cash from the wealthy Persian Gulf state. “The Syrians, Hezbollah-Lebanon, Kata’ib Hezbollah, Iraq — all want money, and this is their chance,” Zayed bin Saeed al-Khayareen, Qatar’s ambassador to Iraq and chief negotiator in the hostage affair, wrote in the message. “All of them are thieves.” And yet, the Qataris were willing to pay, and pay they did, confidential documents confirm“, as well as “they appear to consent to payments totalling at least $275 million to free nine members of the royal family and 16 other Qatari nationals kidnapped during a hunting trip in southern Iraq“, there are issues that do not add up. Now consider that such a large group of dignitaries was too unprotected as well as the fact that this event did not become world news on every level!

Now we have a series of players like Kata’ib Hezbollah and Hezbollah-Lebanon ready for the next event. This they will play really clever, with $150 million ready, they have the time to prepare and truly make the beginning of Qatar 2022 go badaboom (big badaboom); Qatar gets to play the wounded victim and whatever happens will be in the news for years to come after that. The fact that this threat is actually growing and no longer unrealistic is also part of the issue now for considering the relocation of Qatar 2022 to somewhere else. That setting was not there in 2014, or not as far as I would be able to tell. What is now a given is that not only is there an actual danger here, the fact that this setting exists, is an additional threat to Saudi Arabia, if they will be able to attack the stadium as well as fire missiles on Riyadh, the stage changes as Riyadh is now a mere 449.23 Km, very much within range of several missile solutions. Tactically speaking they would come into Qatar into parts, like as spare parts for engineering equipment, most could be hidden in several ways and with $300 million in goods, the chance of finding even one part is close to impossible. They will have 3 years to assemble it all. Saudi Arabia is not alone, as this situation unfolds, we need to realise that the UAE and Abu Dhabi is a mere 200 Km away, an equally appealing target for Iran. You might think that it is not an option, yet the ‘goodwill’ that Iran bought with missiles for Hezbollah is exactly why it is an optional reality to face; it is the cost of doing business.

So, as we consider the cost of doing business we can only hope for the places like Ogilvy that if this happens that they have all the right paperwork ready for their presentations on what they facilitated for. It’s not like it might actually impact its parent company WPP plc, is it? We can only watch (and smile) from the sidelines when its £55.56 billion value starts fading like snowflakes in the summer sunshine. Should you think that I am kidding and my view is far-fetched? Consider what happens when 200 countries filled with an estimated 3.5 billion devoted soccer fans go berserk. I will be selling tickets and popcorn to that event and make a killing (figuratively speaking).

The Qatarian debacle was poorly set from the very start, it was a non-issue and whilst people filled their pockets we saw close to no concise actions against FIFA for decades. Now that the world stage, especially in the Middle East is polarising and escalating on several fields, we see that the allowed setting is becoming more than merely ‘optionally hazardous‘. The actions on several sides give a clear danger that no matter how you slice it Qatar 2022 is a clear tactical target, not only for the players, but the amount of dignitaries attending are now are set in a stage where the tiger gets offered a pound of flesh and everyone on the sidelines is considering that the tiger might be a vegetarian whilst it all gets aired in prime-time to every part of the world, you tell me who the short sighted player in that stage is.

 

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The play of the Sponsor

I have had my issues with sport and the enormous setting of corruption on several settings; we merely have to look at FIFA to see just how bad it can get in any setting. In equal measure I have had several issues against Iran; the corruption does not even come up to high as we see the interactions with Hezbollah and the shipping of missiles to Yemen.

Yet, when I see the news in the Washington Post (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2018/06/09/nike-will-not-outfit-iranian-world-cup-team-due-to-sanctions), it is my personal belief that certain political parties have gone overboard. When I see ‘Nike will not outfit Iranian World Cup team due to sanctions’, it’s gone too far. We have always accepted that sports needs to remain outside of all political scopes. If the spirit of the Olympics was: ‘During the celebration of the games, an Olympic Truce was enacted so that athletes could travel from their cities to the games in safety‘, so that one moment was a time when there was no war, no discord and those players had the freedom to travel uninterrupted. To suddenly get them in a setting without an outfit has all other kinds of interactive issues and touching on that is the beginning of the end. I personally consider it a really bad call on nearly every level to set the stage that the providers of such an event would be prohibited from supplying one of the teams. Politicians have the options to shout out to exclude sports and official events of inhibiting any international support. I personally never gave a hoot about football, but the option to open any level of dialogue at a sporting event could be the beginning of options that are usually not a given. I have always believed in keeping channels of communications open, even if it would be a mere ‘Oops! I apologise for sinking your fleet!‘, or perhaps something less drastic, yet the option to have it is still important and the Washington Post  gives us that Nike, by its own actions or not has closed that door. It becomes a little less nice when we see: “Some teams allow players to select their own cleats, including which brand, for competition. Some players, for example, may have sponsorship with Nike. Those deals, according to CNBC, will not be affected. Other teams are sponsored by a particular brand — the main players in the international soccer scene are Nike, Adidas and Puma — and require players to wear a certain shoe“, so when I see ‘sponsorship with Nike. Those deals, according to CNBC, will not be affected‘, so if people are paid for, they can still be supplied? It feels like an uneven game and makes football and other games merely settings for exploitation, how does that help in keeping any level of corruption out of sport? OK, that is a different topic, but the setting that we see with “We call on the U.S. Government to take immediate steps to address this shameful situation and that Nike actively seeks a resolution. FIFA should also take necessary steps to address this issue and ensure that none of the teams in the World Cup are subject to double standards“. In this I actually side with Jamal Abdi, the vice president for policy of the National Iranian American Council. It is important for politicians to take the politics and these economic settings away from the sporting events like the Olympics, world cups and official international games. If equality is the only way to finding common ground, and should Nike to shy away, I hope that the Germans with Puma and Adidas to pick up the baton, so that sport events like the world cup will keep on having a level playing field, so that it remains about the game and not about the sponsored players and the politics.

 

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Seeing correctly and that view’s danger

The title makes no sense to some, if you see something correctly, why is there danger? You see at present we have what some call a fluidic situation in regards to Iran, Israel, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. They are all connected and as such, certain parts I stated yesterday have been proven correctly. Now, the longer game cannot be predicted, because when they are moves and countermoves in a setting that changes, we cannot always predict certain moves, they are based on intelligence out there and internal intelligence available. For example, in the gaming industry, we see ‘leaked’ information from both Microsoft and Nintendo, yet is it actually leaked as we see it, or did their marketing/corporate department leak information to get the feelers out, to test the audience, in the month preceding the biggest gaming event of the year in the world, it does matter, there are 200 million gamers up for grab and Microsoft felt directly how negative that can get in 2013; what it feels like to piss all them gamers off; it took 3 years to stop the damage, now consider that this is not a video game, but a political arena where it is about billions, about lives and about setting the world stage, the stakes get to be higher. So as I said “the connection between Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the Iranian military is closer and stronger than either of them ever had for President Rouhani, that is the setting and even as both ‘tolerated’ the elected president, they have been ready to go it alone” (on May 7th in ‘Stopping Slumber, Halting Hesitation‘). Reuters gave less than a day ago (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-nuclear-rouhani/irans-rouhani-seen-as-lame-duck-after-trump-ditches-deal-idUSKBN1IA287), where we see ““Khamenei prefers a weak president. Rouhani will serve his term, but as a lame duck,” the diplomat said“, so not only am I correct, the dangers of a hardliner replacement like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is not just likely, it is now almost a given that whoever comes next is not a puppet, it is a person completely in line with the hard-line position of Ali Khamenei. Now we don’t get to have a ballgame, now we have a hard-line setting that will impact the entire Middle East. Reuters got this from ‘an Iranian diplomat, who declined to be named‘, just like Nintendo and Microsoft, Iran is now testing the waters on who stands where. Iran’s larger issue is not on how it attacks Saudi Arabia, it is on how the others react and at present it seems like there will be forceful defence of Saudi Arabia and Israel, their position and what they feel is justified. The US and Europe are in their corners. That is the issue Iran is dealing with, because there is a clear support against Iran, whilst at the same time we see ‘Putin Is Giving Israel a Free Hand against Iran in Syria. But He May Soon Have to Pick a Side‘ (source: Haaretz), as well as ‘Russia seeks to take mediator role between Israel and Iran‘ (at http://www.arabnews.com/node/1300286/world), this is more important; as we see “Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday that “all issues should be solved through dialogue.”“. There is the crux of the matter where we see that Russia will most certainly not back Iran, but will at times come to their supportive aid (at a price of course), especially when they can have a go at the USA. That last part is speculative from my side, but we have seen enough evidence over the last year to see that be a partial gospel truth, or we could water it down with: ‘it is the crutch of the matter as Israel ends up having Iran by the balls at present

Even as we accept “Russia has become a major player in the Middle East since intervening in the Syrian war on the side of the Damascus regime in September 2015. Analysts also highlight its role as mediator in other conflicts in the area“, as a lot of it is true, depending on the coloured lenses you wear in your glasses, but the foundation has a setting. In this Russian analyst Fyodor Lukyanov is correct. Alexander Krylov, a foreign policy expert at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations gives us “The role of Russia as a mediator is strongly appreciated in the region. This role will be reinforced if the crisis between Israel and Iran worsens,” that too is true, because bluntly stated at present America has no real credibility left outside of the actual support given to Saudi Arabia and Israel. The Middle East is a lot larger than merely Saudi Arabia, even as they are not seen as large players, the still pack a punch and as such the UAE and Qatar will have a voice. The setting at present does not give the UAE a pro Saudi view (speculative) but in equal measure they will not side with Iran as I see it, not on this scale. Even as there is a link between Qatar and Iran, it will not hold, when hostilities grow, Qatar will isolate themselves away from both parties because the largest fear for Qatar is that they become the beachhead for Iran or the entrenchment for Saudi Arabia. When either of the two happens, do you think that after that Doha will look like this?

Just google: ‘Images of Ghouta‘, that is how Doha ends up looking like with a FIFA event merely 3 years away, so that would be instantly cancelled at that point, oh,. FIFA is already on that, not merely because it is Qatar, the anti-Qatar slurs of the media has been long and lasting, a (let’s just be blunt) fucked up situation caused by stupid greedy people who have been taking the longest gravy train ride. When we are all treated to “The British press continues to be hostile towards Qatar because the tournament will be held during winter, to avoid the searing heat in the Gulf“, because they want a 100% exploitative coverage, and Qatar with its weather got in the way of that and large sponsoring corporations like Coca Cola and every other FIFA sponsor now get a 40% reduced bang for their exploitative buck, now they are suddenly willing to go all out, and it links to all this, it matters!

In that setting we are treated to half-truths, especially by the media who willingly looked the other way on all allegations regarding Sepp Blatter, or is that ‘step bladder’ as he was pissing all over everyone for the longest time? When was the last time when you looked at all the work from BBC reporter Andrew Jennings? He was ignored and partially shunned as I see it, and as we saw the escalations regarding all this with “In 2012 the Sunday Times revelations sparked a genuinely independent inquiry by a former US attorney general, Michael Garcia. This report was delivered to Blatter, but he has refused to publish it in full“, the full report was never shown (at that time), merely an example of evidence on how large corporation are in charge and the law is just a nasty side effect that can be ignored when certain people call the shots. So when we see ESPN give us “While the mystery of what details are contained in the full 430-page dossier has been revealed, it does not contain any additional proof of major acts of corruption. However, Garcia said some bidders tested rules of conduct to the limit“, that is ESPN, a sports channel, not the Times, the Guardian or any other newspaper that should have taken it to the front page. The article started with “FIFA released the full contents of the Garcia report that examined alleged corruption in 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding on Tuesday, one day after it was leaked to German newspaper Bild“, so there is clarity, FIFA only released it when they learned someone else had it already. That is the game played by the press who are ALL afraid for another Leveson inquiry for them to be held to account. In this we see people like James Quincey (CEO of Coca Cola) get to tell the media and others what to do, we see that politicians are no longer in charge, they are merely caretakers, janitors of the high and mighty and the press remains around as mere facilitators of the lot. In this there is another matter that I can feel happy about to message towards Martin Ivens, editor of The Sunday Times to get the fuck out of his office and never return to media (period)! Remember the claim of “obtained millions of secret documents – emails, letters and bank transfers – which it alleges are proof that the disgraced Qatari football official Mohamed Bin Hammam made payments totalling US$5m (£3m) to football officials in return for their support for the Qatar bid“. In all this he is allowed one defence, by publishing all the evidence he claimed to have had. But that will not happen will it?

How is this related?

The entire setting of the Middle East is set for our eyes in misrepresentation by newspapers all over the world. They tell the stories that they are told to tell. I call it at times, writing with blinders, like a horse so they do not get scared by all the events around them. it is one thing to not inform us of everything, another to give us a pack of lies, to stack the deck against us and in all this the media is still at it, facilitating for all the Satya Narayana Nadella’s and James Quincey’s in the world, they are not alone and there are a few. In this these two named people are not evil; they are merely representing the best interest of their shareholders, which is their function is it not?

That is what is in play, Qatar will soon be optionally in the thick of it and their only safe move is not to play the game, to isolate them from their opposition (Saudi Arabia) and their non-friend Iran, they basically have no moves available and that is fine, but we need to make sure that the people realise and understand that no matter how they got to a certain stage, they need to remove themselves from the game, no longer be the pawn in this, the Iranian setting has shown to be adversarial and committed to a long term game to become an active enemy, delusional imagining themselves as conqueror of Saudi Arabia and the exterminator of the state of Israel, but not at the same time, that was never going to work, this is why it is my personal view on the matter that Iran resorted to ‘puppets’. Turkey and Hezbollah are the main ones, they were trying to be as thick as thieves with Russia, but they are no fools and they took the middle path at the earliest setting of them getting into warmer waters. Now the other players see certain matters evolve and whilst Mossad was kind enough to give the people something to read about, it was not enough, yet when we aggregate 15 months of news cycles, we see a path that shows a long term commitment of Iran taking a different path, the path I feared when people were trying to get cosy to President Rouhani to alleviate Middle Eastern tensions (in perfectly valid ways), the truth (as I personally see it) was that Iran had no one to replace Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a committed hardliner, a politician that does the bidding of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Major general Mohammad Bagheri. They needed one that accepted both and I expect that one is in the works, but President Rouhani (the lame duck as voiced by one Iranian diplomat) is not that person and the other two are too powerful for President Rouhani, there will be no moderation in Iran. They are set to destroy their opponents no matter what, their one view is the only one that counts and as such, we might prefer to not be part of it at all, especially as non-Muslims, but they have given us no option, none that are diplomatic that is, we have to side with Saudi Arabia in that setting. Qatar is standing in a shallow spot with too many requiring water, and as solutions dry up, there is every option that Saudi diplomats, together with the GIP (Ri’āsat Al-Istikhbārāt Al-‘Āmah) can change that setting. I personally believe that Iran overplayed its hand a little too soon; perhaps they thought that the timing was right? It remains speculative yet the setting is now that the Iranian Qatar links can be (permanently) broken, in addition to all that the setting offers an option to ‘rekindle’ certain connections with the UAE which now puts the entire Yemen/Houthi situation in play where with the removal of Iran things could be resolved and actual humanitarian aid could commence, which would be a relief for millions of people all over the world. In both matters Iran ends up holding the wrong cards and an additional crack in the Iran/Hezbollah veneer could be created, in this setting, no one will care about the survival of the terrorist organisation Hezbollah and their only path is to hide in the deepest hole, hoping that some of them might survive at best.

I am certain that the matters are seen correctly, we are in an almost hostile setting where we limited options by misrepresenting nations and their views for the need of corporate greed (Qatar), we have been facilitating through all kinds of means to get a fictive deal in place, one that is shown more and more to never have been realistic (Iran), we have alienated other nations by demanding that they adjust to our way of thinking (Saudi Arabia) and in all this we went out of our ways to not hold others accountable because of other needs that the EU had for their personal little deals (Turkey), it is in all this that we should be creating a solution path, yet some have limited moves through previous acts and now that there is a time limit in place to prevent serious escalations, we suddenly see that we are in a place where Russia of all players ends up being the best placed for mediation in this, which will of course delay the second cold war for a fair bit, so we have that to look forward to as well.

In all this we see another reflective part towards this situation and the entire unacceptable mess within FIFA. With ‘Swiss prosecutor appeals for cooperation on FIFA case file‘, we see: “Switzerland’s attorney general has a message for his foreign counterparts as his office pores over reams of seized documents and dozens of criminal cases linked to FIFA: “Come to us.” Michael Lauber said Friday the investigations require both quick action and patience, and noted “good developments” like how growing cooperation has led to 45 requests for legal assistance from Switzerland with regard to soccer“, as well as “One of the complexities, Lauber said, is that Swiss law has no clause for cases of private corruption, meaning that his team has to find creative ways of going after suspected wrongdoing at times — as with the disloyal management allegations against Blatter“. This is interesting as most of the media left us in the dark, but moreover, we see that this was given to us on April 20th 2018. The question becomes regarding FIFA, what other options were never looked at or actively engaged in, and if this escalates and explodes, do we have any recourse left?

Are we in a place where corporate corruption in facilitating towards media and big business in all this is tolerated, what is left for us? If the sports can no longer be trusted, can we merely claw back to the old days that there are no licenses and sports can be freely covered by any media, remove all exclusivity whilst banning advertisements on EVERY sport event. So how many heart attacks could I cause in these higher corporate echelons by demanding this move to be made by the UN on a global scale?  #IDoHaveASenseOfHumour

When you see the media outrage on freedom of the press and the right to know, should that not include coverage of events? In that regard, when the media screams at that point, who will they be representing, the shareholders, the stakeholders, the advertisers or those watching the event, the actual audience? Now take that view towards the Middle East and the escalations and limitations we see, and especially the innuendo not backed by facts or evidence. The Middle East situation is indeed more complex, yet in part we made it that way, so when we see Amnesty International (at https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/campaigns/2017/02/free-turkey-media/) with ‘Turkey: Journalism Is Not A Crime‘, and we realise the quote “Since the failed coup attempt in July 2016, academics, journalists and writers who criticise the government risk criminal investigation and prosecution, intimidation, harassment and censorship. Coupled with the closure of at least 180 media outlets by executive decree under the state of emergency, the message – and the resulting effect on press freedom – is clear and disturbing. The severity of the Turkish government’s repression of the media is such that it has been described by some as the “death of journalism”“, so when we see this and also realise that this is not the leading story in EVERY newspaper in the free world, why is that? Now consider last January we got: “Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was in Paris for talks with Macron, part of efforts to improve his government’s strained relationship with Europe. Macron confirmed that Turkey’s wait for EU membership was far from over and suggested a partnership instead in the meantime“, the use of ‘meantime‘, an implied setting of facilitation and the fact that Europe is bending over backwards allowing Turkey to get the sweet spots and not being held accountable for not one, but optionally two genocides (Armenia and Kurds). Can anyone explain where the press is in all this, because it remained ambiguous for the longest of time!

So in the end, how should we see that endangered view, is it merely projection versus perception? I do not belief that this is the case, but that might be merely my view on the matter.

And he game is not over, the issues we will see next week will be impacting on several issues at present and not only for the nations separately, some of the links will be influenced by several events and high end meetings, so next week I might end up looking entirely wrong, as we see some state it in a certain way, like for example: “it was in everyone’s best interest to make certain changes to the agreement as it was currently set”. That is the mere reality of the matter. Yet they will not change the answer, they will end up changing the question so that it matches the answer, which in the end is not the same.

 

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Stupid after the fact

We have always heralded stupidity, some in their work sphere, and some in the private sphere. It happens. Yet, when we are lucky we get to see the rarest of events, ‘greedy and stupid’ in one neatly wrapped package. That is the view we need to take when we see the Associated Press give us the events of ‘Carlos Nuzman, president of the Brazilian Olympic committee‘. So as we are treated with “In total, 11 detention warrants were issued for people in both Brazil and France in what police dubbed “Operation Unfair Play.”” we need to wonder how this came about. Now, there is the non-existing reality of ‘honour amongst thieves’, yet when it comes to the corrupt that rule will never exist. Most of these people are merely one skip away from being a target themselves. So when we see that the associated press gives us not a lot to go on (most merely circumstantial facts). The NY Times (at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/08/sports/olympics/whistle-blower-says-he-told-of-rio-olympics-corruption-years-ago.html), has a lot more. With “Mr. Maleson, an outspoken critic of Mr. Nuzman, made accusations about Olympic projects and asked the I.O.C. why it had not prevented Mr. Nuzman, 75, from occupying the dual roles of leader of the Rio 2016 organizing committee and chief of Brazil’s national Olympic committee. “This is a clear conflict of interests, and the I.O.C. should never have allowed this to happen,” Mr. Maleson wrote in a Sept. 6, 2014, email to the I.O.C.’s president, Thomas Bach, and the organization’s judicial body. He contacted the I.O.C. in 2012 to accuse Mr. Nuzman of corruption and election fraud“, here we see systematic failures of organisations that grew beyond their means of comprehension. Consider the time-line. When we consider the Oxford Olympics Study 2016, with: “the outturn cost of the Sydney 2000 Summer Olympics at USD 5 billion in 2015-dollars and cost overrun at 90% in real terms. This includes sports-related costs only, that is, (i) operational costs incurred by the organizing committee for the purpose of staging the Games, e.g., expenditures for technology, transportation, workforce, administration, security, catering, ceremonies, and medical services, and (ii) direct capital costs incurred by the host city and country or private investors to build, e.g., the competition venues, the Olympic village, international broadcast center, and media and press center, which are required to host the Games. Indirect capital costs are not included, such as for road, rail, or airport infrastructure, or for hotel upgrades or other business investment incurred in preparation for the Games but not directly related to staging the Games“, The paper by Bent Flyvbjerg, Allison Stewart and Alexander Budzier (The Oxford Olympics Study 2016) shows levels of failure. The mere realisation of cost overruns that goes into multiple editions of 100% makes it a multi-billion dollar cash cow and there are too many players eager to dip their private (or is that privacy) parts into the golden troth of exploitation. Now, this does not state that Carlos Nuzman is corrupt; it merely gives us the setting. With the NY Times, we see that there is a much larger issue. The fact that there are clear records that there were issues and oppositions, whilst we now see that nothing was done, shows larger levels of failure that seem to be more about not rocking the boat, than to stop hurting the utterly broken image of the Olympics. When we consider the person linked to this, we see that Eric Leme Walther Maleson is the founder and former president of the Brazilian Ice Sports Federation has a long lasting life in sports and winner of three bronze medals in the sport, so we have a winner. This man seems to have been devoted to sports for most of his life. So it is a voice the Olympic committee should not have ignored. You see, the broken image of the Olympics, an image that went from excellence in sports towards the need for big business to promote their products under the guise of media exploitation is utterly void of spirit. Coca Cola, Dow, Intel, Samsung and Visa have changed that landscape. Agreeing to a situation that shows a growing curve of getting it all (namely the infrastructure) in place. You see, the earlier mentioned paper is important, even as we see “cost per athlete has been increasing for both the Summer Games and Winter Games, driven mainly by London 2012 and Sochi 2014. Overall, however, the changes over time are statistically non-significant for both Summer Games“, it is important as we know, or should know that the Olympics are set in three parts: ‘The event, the players and the cost of the location’. If the increase of cost per athlete had been significant, we would have had a less to go on, so with them out of the equation (and take the massive cost for Sochi 2014 away) we now have two elements: ‘The event’, which gives rise to internal corruption of stakeholders and sponsors; with the internal corruption of sponsors not in the mix (at present). We are left with the location and the stakeholders. Now, we all agree that the cost of everything goes up, but consider “15 of 19 Games (79 percent) have cost overruns above 50 percent and 9 of 19 Games (47 percent) have cost overruns above 100 percent“, now we can accept that such events will always come with the cost of business, we need to consider that ‘cost overrun‘ is merely a motto for political downplay of elements in their moment of national pride. I personally see it as an optional place where you can soften opposition with parked billions!

I believe that the paper has cornered certain Olympic elements and it cannot prove it, yet by exposing other parts as non-factorial we now see that the Olympics are a much large mess than the media is making it out to be. Even as we are focused on Carlos Nuzman, we are ignoring the elements that are part of the machine behind it. So when we see USA Today “French and Brazilian authorities said Nuzman brought together businessman Arthur Cesar de Menezes Soares Filho, and Lamine Diack, the former head of track and field’s governing body who at the time was an IOC voting member. Soares Filho’s company, Matlock Capital Group, allegedly paid Diack $2 million into a Caribbean account held by his son, Papa Massata Diack. Authorities said Lamine Diack, an influential African member from Senegal, was instrumental in organizing the African bloc of votes. The widening case implicated four-time Olympic medallist Frank Fredericks. The former sprinter from Namibia has said a near-$300,000 payment he received via Diack’s son on the day Rio won the vote was for legitimate consultancy work. Still, Fredericks lost his place leading an IOC inspection team to visit Paris and Los Angeles” these all seem legitimate elements in all this and it is not part or regarding ‘Frank Fredericks‘, I wonder how and what work he did to get the $300,000. I and many others have never been offered $300K for a consultancy job, so what does ‘legitimate’ entail? The element in this is ‘an IOC inspection team to visit Paris and Los Angeles’, you see, what would they have been privy to and exposed to? The USA today gives us that in the very last line. With “dozens of top politicians implicated in a sweeping judicial corruption investigation in which construction giant Odebrecht illegally paid billions to help win contracts” we are exposed to the cost of doing business. Paying 2 billion to gain 11 billion in contracts is merely good business and the locations still need to be constructed, the untold part in all this. Odebrecht is present in South America, Central America, North America, the Caribbean, Africa, Europe and the Middle East. They have been stepping on large toes and as such certain French players are eager to see it stop. Construction is the largest unmonitored Wild West industry remaining on the planet. Odebrecht with a value now approaching 42 billion is an issue for many players. Even as we are confronted in the US with “Howard Archer, chief economic advisor to the EY ITEM Club, reckoned Friday’s economic data indicated UK GDP growth may likely be limited to just 0.3% for the third quarter, he also acknowledged the disappointment in trade and construction output“, which might not be anything worth mentioning, unless you see it next to Odebrecht and the currently unsubstantiated channels towards a multiple billions (read: expected 2.08 billion) to get 11 billion in extra jobs, now it becomes something the American players (as well as the European ones) are getting huffy and puffy about, because if Odebrecht is getting it, they are not and that is where investigative parties get creative. So when we see “They emerged with suitcases, documents and a computer“, we need to wonder. Was the taken away party actually that stupid, or are we witnessing a new Flim Flam visitation of: watch ‘here’ whilst out of view certain deals are brokered. In all this the sponsors are still part and equally guilty. You see the sponsors let cost overruns of over 100% go and not give proper light to EVERY element in this. Merely that the local political engines were sorting it out for them (and those political players get to live with the consequences), the sponsors merely move on. As I personally see it, these sponsors are supposed to be intelligent, so this is happening with their silent approval, only when they fail to meet the targets that is set towards the costs, only then will we hear them loudly. This is exactly why Qatar 2022 remains in the news, again and again. The media is already kicking up stinks because they aren’t getting anything out of it, they are merely in a place to either accept it or move out. The Daily Mail is giving us more and more allegations and even as some smile because Qatar did not qualify for the world cup 2022, we see “Qatar’s elimination will be enjoyed by its many critics in the West who claim the emirate should never have been given the chance to host the World Cup, pointing to a lack of footballing pedigree as well as corruption and labour abuse claims“, how about these critics in the west shut up as continue to suck the tits of corruption they are currently sucking on? I am more lenient towards Christopher Davidson, who with ““Having never qualified for a World Cup before, I don’t think Qatar should have ever made the claim that it was a genuine footballing nation,” Christopher Davidson, a Middle East expert at Britain’s Durham University, told AFP” we might accept their words, yet when we consider the Jamaica bobsled team, ending up ahead of United States, Russia, Australia and France. Should we take bobsleighing away from the USA or France? We have heard 2 years of utter bullshit of these critics with supposedly showing all air and no evidence? In that same light, should we dissolve the Sunday Times this coming Monday? Remember the claim of “obtained millions of secret documents – emails, letters and bank transfers – which it alleges are proof that the disgraced Qatari football official Mohamed Bin Hammam made payments totalling US$5m (£3m) to football officials in return for their support for the Qatar bid“, so if they do not go public with all the evidence, can we force closure of the Sunday Times? Personally I find the existence of Rupert Murdoch and Martin Ivens offensive. They represent what is wrong with media today, so if they are gone, I will feel happiness. They are going with alleged and proclaimed, whilst the construction levels of corruption are happening at their front door and at that point they remain really really silent. In light of FIFA, we have seen levels of failing where the press was eagerly not rocking any boats at all, merely when big business saw it was losing out, at that point everyone screamed murder and mayhem.

These players have been stupid after the fact for much too long and as such we need to consider whether we need to overhaul the Olympics in ways never conceived before. Perhaps it will downgrade those events for the much larger extent. It will no longer be about drugging, about substance abuse or about the next mobile phone that works better when you drink Coca Cola. It will be about athletes competing for the title of who is actually the best, no sponsors, no advertisements and no billboards.

This is all still ongoing, with Qatar finishing Hamad port, we will see more and more issues rise, but as the stream for completing the WC 2022 event going straight into Qatar, we see that some players will take other venues to see what stink they can kick up. We can see the validity of France trying to aid in resolving the issue. An opportunity Turkey let fly by is now in the hands of Bertrand Besancenot, diplomatic adviser to the government. As France has close ties with Egypt and the UAE while also being a major arms supplier to Qatar and a key ally of Saudi Arabia, we see a player that is eager to find a solution for all as they greatly benefit any solution. If there is one issue, then it is the one that the UAE edition of the National brings us. With “Despite its claims of being ‘under blockade’, Qatar has also expanded shipping routes to India, Oman, Turkey and Pakistan and announced plans to raise its liquefied natural gas (LNG) output by 30 per cent in an effort to weather the boycott“, we see a dangerous turn as there is an actual danger in pushing to raise output towards 30%, as I see it, it requires certain players to circumvent larger safety settings, which could be the start of a very different disaster in Qatar. In addition, who in Al Jazeera will be part of the committee in charge for building and setting up the media centre during WC2022? It could potentially become a new Al Jazeera building merely months after the event and as such, it is an opportunity for Al Jazeera to set the bar for their competitors in the Middle East even higher. There is nothing like raising the output of your own station by 300% to truly get more visibility. In that view, as we will soon hear on how Qatar has optionally additional satellites available for all reporting parties, has anyone considered the impact of government fuelled competition? So when we are stupid behind the fact, were we not looking on what is additionally provided for? So when we are watching Tokyo bring live every match and event in hi-res to our G5 phone free of charge, has anyone considered the fact that we spend an additional $400 to get that phone ahead of schedule? So with 3-5 players getting an additional share of $20 billion for 5G on the initial launch, what is the part we were not looking at? Until the moment is there, we can understand that players like Apple, Google, Huawei and Samsung are quiet as a mouse, but all that ‘bedazzling entertainment‘ represent additional construction billions, additional satellites and longer terms benefits not charged or taxed, all under the guise of: ‘sports’. If it is true that we see the first pilots go live during Pyeongchang, and we will all readily accept that this will be the shining moment of Samsung (the local player there) as it shows what more we can expect from becoming the mobile entrepreneur, what do you think that Tokyo (2020), Qatar (2022), Beijing (2022) and Paris (2024) will bring? These 4 will have a growing infrastructure need which means that construction will grow even further. Four events that can only be done and almost literally set in stone by the strongest and largest players in construction, the instant moment to make several billions merely by being at the right place. That is what others fear Odebrecht could do. Larger players that are at present not ready to the extent that they needed to be for the upcoming considerations. Even as we see the South American headlines regarding Odebrecht, we need to realise that Odebrecht is everywhere. In that, it is: ‘who’s who in Legal’ that brings the ending gem to all this. With “Big-ticket cases involving the likes of Rolls-Royce, Petrobras, Odebrecht and Barclays remain at the forefront of the international corporate crime market, encompassing both corporate and individual defence and therefore keeping a vast number of lawyers across the world exceptionally busy. It is a trend that the majority of lawyers canvassed during our research see no sign of abating, as the fight for transparency and the activities of enforcement agencies intensify” we are shown to the cost of doing business and Odebrecht is not alone and it is not evil, the world changed yet the players on other sides remains stoic and unmoving, now that they are no longer regarded as people who matter, they now shout foul and demand action. So as we see the greedy idiots trying one more tantrum to get the WC away from Qatar, we need to see that the foundation of sports have become rotten and corrupt, the foundations are falling because the structure were never adhering to the reality of doing business. Merely a presentation from an outdated PowerPoint shows that what we saw and what we believe was never a reality. So as the media hides behind claims and allegations stating that the entire system is corrupt and sick, we might argue that the media has labelled themselves as healers seeing what is wrong whilst they are merely the hypochondriacs in this game; seeing and reporting on sickness whilst they have no medical degree or knowledge of the symptoms, or claiming to have the results but are unwilling to make them public. Hiding behind documents that never see the light of day, they proclaim exist, whilst not presenting the evidence, all whilst they herald politicians who in the same air and at that same moment present the acceptance of the ‘invoice of buildings’ that ended up being 100% more expensive as it was for the good of sports. Only after the fact, when the dust settles will some ask questions and do we see that people like Carlos Nuzman, guilty or not being towed away, that whilst questions were asked years before the event. With 5 large events coming up, with close to a trillion at stake, sponsors and stakeholders will not ask questions until targets are not met, or are close to being a risk of not making it. The media will remain on the foreground silent ‘awaiting‘ evidence, merely speculating at times, whilst shouting on behalf of others when those ‘friends’ (read: advertisers) have too much to lose. Greed driven media, this is exactly why people like Rupert Murdoch and Martin Ivens should be discontinued. In the end they are merely in it for the circulation at best and personal greed at worst.

We can all be stupid after the fact, which includes me. Yet when I am I will be in a state of ‘Wow, I so did not see that coming!‘ and I will to improve the way I see things, whilst the others are playing another iteration of ‘the next wave’ to fill their pockets. It sets me apart as I want improvements to a system that could be good and they merely want continuation of their luxurious way of life.

I still believe that certain players will push for the change of Qatar 2022. Yet after that, after it happens, when evidence lacked, we should demand their mandatory retirement from income and public life, and those sponsors should be barred from global sport sponsoring events forever. I wonder how many politicians will turn out to be a mere representation of cowardice at that point in time, trying to find some compromise that their way of life finds acceptable?

 

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