Tag Archives: France

The Sun shines regardless

There is a setting that we forge, the setting we do not see. It is the setting we experience by becoming a politically correct hive of sleepy minds. We are in a setting where yesterday is forgotten and tomorrow needs to be planned for. After spending time in the Middle East, and after seeing things you cannot fathom in nightmares, we are confronted on the edge of what we call civilisation bolstered by the reality of events. The guardian gives us (at https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/may/15/vomitive-pathetic-lars-von-trier-film-prompts-mass-walkouts-at-cannes), the view of perhaps one of the most controversial Danes in history. I got introduced to his films in 2002 or 2003; it was Dancer in the Dark. The movie had such an impact on me that I ended up being depressed for over a week. Never before had a movie impacted me to such a degree. Bjork and David Morse were diamonds in a foul soaked universe of corruption and perceived presentations of what people want others to be like, an awesome experience. There would be another movie that would shake me to the core. Gaspar Noé would ‘grace’ us in 2002 with Irreversible. It was interesting in just one part, apart from the overly jumping between time frames, it was stated as “a movie so violent and cruel that most people will find it unwatchable“, yet it was not unwatchable, because when I grew up, this is what my father did to my mother and in the end it would quite literally be the death of him, but not before he caused her death 25 years earlier. The Dutch courts were unable to protect her until it was much too late. It sets the stage of a growing essential need towards the exposure of these ‘softies’ and their inactivity and denial towards domestic violence. To throw some facts at you, 25% of ALL women in the UK will experience domestic violence that means that 8 million women will be gotten at. That is a frightening number and that is only the UK, it is actually much worse, this is gotten from Professor Sylvia Walby as we get: “Whilst this number is shocking, we also know it is grossly underestimated. The cap on the number of violent crimes published, set at five per victim, means that even if a woman experienced 100 incidents of domestic violence, only five would make it into the official data“. The entire setting of ‘capping’ of victim events makes it even worse. It shows a nation in denial, too fixed on not acting, and it goes a lot further than the UK, in this it is a global issue and globally governments are not actually doing anything, merely painting the rooms red so that the blood is not noticed when guests arrive, so in that we see our own denial.

This year, as the Guardian shows us, we might see Lars von Trier shine again, because if a movie can make a man like me truly depressed on watching an event, it means that he is getting his point across, a point that we deny ourselves from grasping. In all this he does not work with beginners or amateurs. In the movie we see Matt Dillon and Uma Thurman. The trailer alone shows that this might be not just the highlight for Matt Dillon; it might end up being one of the most challenging roles in his life. So when we see some of the feedbacks, other thoughts go through my mind. You see, when I see “Al Jazeera’s Charlie Angela also left the screening early” with the response “seeing children being shot and killed is not art or entertainment“, it becomes an issue of debate, you see, from that point Kramer versus Kramer is not art either, neither is the Deer hunter. Yet I am willing to take Charlie Angela on a small tour into Yemen, I can take her for a small walk through Taiz, where we can look at the dozens of children cadavers, we can also look at women and men all shot dead, the reality of war, it is not art or entertainment, we can agree on that, yet it is the reality of life, a reality millions shy away from on a daily basis. The deaths in US schools, not by the NRA, but by really confused people, the mere impact of mental health issues where the government is in denial of the events, all caught in political correctness and inaction. Perhaps it is really good for people to get direct exposure to such things. So for all those people running out of that cinema, I would state: ‘Welcome to real life!‘, in a bus full of people, when you travel on it, realise that each week, one of 10-12 trips, you would have shared a bus with a person just like Jack, so when you look around in that bus, knowing that one of these men is just such a Jack, would you still travel per bus? Instead of making domestic violence and spousal abuse an element of the Human Rights Act article 3, where we would optionally see: “In prosecution spousal abuse and domestic violence will be seen as a transgression of Article 3 of the Human Rights Act as a form of torture, torture of body and mind“, so when that transgressor (mostly men) are prosecuted for beating up his partner merely because he got a little crazy as his football team lost, just how much better will the safety of any woman suddenly become when he goes to prison 5-15 years, when he loses his house, access to his children and no further future? I reckon that the unemployment numbers will suddenly drop to zero. The evidence shown by the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jun/08/police-fear-rise-domestic-violence-world-cup), where we see: “The most detailed research into the links between the football World Cup and domestic abuse rates has revealed that in one force area in England and Wales, violent incidents increased by 38% when England lost – but also rose by 26% when they won“, so when we know that this evidence has been there for 5 years and still we see no change, is it not strange that inaction prevails?

One review (one of many) gave us: “Nicolas Barber gave the film four stars out of five and said “Undoubtedly a bold and stimulating film which no one but Denmark’s notorious provocateur-auteur could have made”” Nicholas Barber of the BBC is right.

If there is one part clear in me is that the movie has the ability of waking up the people drowning in political correctness. They need to be woken up because there is too much data showing that inaction has not worked for decades and we need to step away from it, if only to push change and t push those acting in unacceptable ways to be pushed into the limelight and then out of visibility. If those ‘Christian souls‘ are suddenly visibly forced to embrace people wearing sweaters with the term ‘Domestic abusers’, will they still be Christians? Will they act of keep silent, because the wearer is a boss, their boss or someone really wealthy? There is supporting evidence for that. In that regard we can look at Jeffrey Epstein. When we realise that the evidence which included “the FBI received accounts from about 40 girls whose allegations of molestation by Epstein included overlapping details“, when we see “In May 2006, Palm Beach police filed a probable cause affidavit saying that Epstein should be charged with four counts of unlawful sex with minors and one molestation count“, did we expect what was coming? When we see “escaped a prosecution that could have seen him jailed for the rest of his life“, now consider that the conviction: “he was sentenced to 18 months in prison. He served 13 months before being released” and no one seems surprised, is there anyone still surprised?

So when we see the dialogue of Jack in the movie, where we hear (it is in the trailer) “When I think about all the things I’ve done in my life, without it in any way resulting in punishment“, we need to realise the nightmare scenario. What happens if every domestic abusing man becomes another Jeffrey Epstein, and if caught merely needs to wait 13 months to do again what his dark soul demands of him, when we realise that our inactions are the cause of our undoing, our politically correctness gives us the setting of something so incorrect that it can no longer be corrected for. What then will you do? When we realise that it was not the gun that killed, as is the truth, but our sense of righteousness send us targeting the people and the evil that they do. What will the life of the US attorney general be like when he wakes up in some future and that morning he learns that 10 Wall street executives were shot in the head, a one clip 10 rounds magazine, one bullet per executive? Will his motivation be that these Wall Street executives had rights, that there was the onus of presented evidence against the 175,000 people they made homeless or the optionally missed taxable $293 million in revenue that the state of New York is now missing out on. What would drive him (or her) that day you think?

The House that Jack built is a very different wake up call, reality expressed through art. to some it is a very valid thought that it is not entertainment, yet now look back at Kramer versus Kramer and wonder who comprehended even in the slightest the plight of the child in Kramer versus Kramer? Now ask yourself, what else have we missed out on? What did we sleep through in our politically correct driven universe and think of 8 million women in the UK alone, battered and bruised? How would you like to wake up like that at least one day a month, after month, after month? Most people including me will not consider the House that Jack built entertainment, yet, just like the Deer hunter, can we avoid seeing it, can we turn our backs on levels of reality we are unable to deal with? Consider Wolf Creek and the reality of what happened, so when we see: “criticizing it for its realistic and unrelenting depictions of violence” and now consider “the July 2001 abduction of British tourist Peter Falconio and the assault of his girlfriend Joanne Lees by Bradley John Murdoch“, who got a life sentence for the murder of Peter Falconio. When you were unaware of the reality of it and the impact that some people made on the reality of life of their victims, we need to remain aware that at some stage we must take notice and realise that the legal system to a much larger degree is flawed, perhaps even permanently broken. I reckon I can get no less than 8 million witnesses of that fact. In addition when we see that the victim Joanne Rachael Lees was willing to do an interview as: ‘she felt the public profile of the case had diminished‘, that took merely 4 years, 4 years for people to forget what a couple had to go through in a rich world setting like Australia, not Myanmar, not Thailand or Yemen, Australia! It is a setting that is unsettling and perhaps it requires Lars von Trier to make sure that we forever remember that the reality of some settings exist through political correctness and inactions. Even as some defence goes up as the culprit in Australia was caught, take a look at this short advertisement (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9DQgai4-C0) and wonder how many did not get caught and how many events are we turning our backs on so that we need not take notice of our inaction on all of it?

They sometimes state that the rain falls on the just and unjust alike, as well as the sun shines regardless of good and evil, yet will it truly do that in the long run? Whether through politically correctness, or inactions, we are slowly turning our world into a place that is less and less liveable, perhaps it is required to give it a rude awakening every now and then, and the movie the House that Jack built is merely (a lot more than merely) a reminder to wake up every now and then.

This is reflected in other news too. When we consider the Jerusalem Post we see the words of Haim Tomer, words I actually disagree with. Haim Tomer, formerly a top official at Mossad believes that the situation is that Israel, the US and Saudi Arabia can secretly help advance Iranian regime change. I believe his thoughts are folly. They are wishful and not very realistic. The play we see ongoing as Mahmout Ahmadinejad was not re-elected is not an elected official (President Rouhani), but a person that the Clerical and military side of Iran allowed to elected in accordance to their needs, the inactions that the President showed to have as Iran military provided (speculatively with the blessing of Iranian Clerics), is that Hezbollah is provided for, in Yemen Houthi’s are provided with missiles and in all likelihood training from Iranian military advisors. The rest of the world did not intervene in any way as we saw actions in Yemen and merely the outbursts against Saudi Arabia and merely soft whispers for any Iranian missile fired from Yemen aimed at civilian populations in Riyadh. Our inactions, the inactions of elected governments; governments that sat on their hands for years whilst the slaughter in Syria continued, all inactions that have long term impacts, we merely ignore them.

So when I kill 12 people, I am a serial killer, as Hezbollah kills hundreds as quoted through “In Syria, Iran’s special forces and its mercenary recruits — Hezbollah militiamen from Lebanon and Shiite hired guns from Central Asia — have helped President Bashar al-Assad perpetrate a ruthless genocide against Syrian Sunnis, including the use of poison gas, in order to maintain a pro-Shiite, pro-Iranian dictatorship in Damascus” (source: NY Times), they are now referred to as ‘militiamen‘, not terrorists, not mass murderers, no: ‘militiamen‘. Is this merely political correctness, or a way to set the stage for inaction? How much actions against events must happen for things to truly change from bad to worse?

I think that when you coldly look at the House that Jack built, when you realise that these inhuman acts are actually happening on a near daily basis and we do nothing, we are stopped to talk about it via political correctness and the politicians and elected governments, elected by people like yourself are setting stages of inactions, will the movie not be the wakeup call that you need to make a first change?

In all this EU governments are setting the stage to keep a nuclear deal going, a nuclear deal with a nation that has visibly shown that it will act out in inhumane ways towards civilians, through the Hezbollah puppet that they fund. In the end, consider that your inaction left no trace on your soul, you still sleep like a baby because the issues in Syria did not matter and they still do not matter for the thousands dead in Yemen, so when you consider that the House that Jack built was too revolting for words, consider that your inactions have made that setting an optional reality, because in the end, those who do survive Syria and Yemen grow up, do you think that they end up being balanced people? Do you think that the watched atrocities by children in Yemen and Syria will create happy people? In the end the real difference between a soldier, a mass murderer and a serial killer is merely the willingness to wear a uniform and the willingness to end the life of another person. Two elements driven by a lack of empathy and morality, merely two elements that has seen flaws as it is impacted by political correctness on the outside of the issue and forgotten as well as ignored by those who faced the issue; in that light it became flawed, some revert to stating that political correctness is merely ‘Moral Decency‘, yet that decency is set by the masses and they are too often very willing to remain in a state of inaction (Chemical attacks in Syria is clear evidence), so in that light, how was decency served?

I wonder how long it will take for religious speakers to get to the street and force inaction to give way to ‘social radicalism‘, when that happens, do not cry, you wanted that all along, that is what we see through the inaction of too many. When those political principles make waves and hit the limelight, make no mistake, social media like Facebook will drive it to very different levels of hypes and there is no way to block it, so when you hear that there is no social radicalism, you are in error. It is already happening in the UK, in Australia, in the Netherlands, in Sweden and Germany, France has it as well as Italy and Spain; it is pretty much everywhere. The Odyssey (not the book) gives us “freedom of speech allows us to speak openly about whatever our interests may be. I feel that many people take this to the extreme, spouting bigotry and ignorance without reason“, there is also “Many people are not willing to postpone particular standpoints in order to evaluate what stands outside their own perceptive bubbles“, which I personally believe to be the driving bubble in all this. The media at large uses this to their ‘circulation advantage‘ by focussing on the emotional drive in this, like the bulk of Murdoch media has done for the longest time (not just them though, it is a globally large community that is just like Murdoch, or envisions to become like them). They focus on getting emotionally driven hypes and in absence of filtering and non-emotional evaluation, we get a collective of angry people speaking out, normally it is a good thing, yet there are globally more and more angry people and that drives another wave of chaos, fuelled by inactions we see more and more people willing to become extreme in one way or another and in that we see social behaviour in decline, empathy falls as angry people tend to not consider or allow empathy and that is where we create a larger mess.

Perhaps angry or not, sitting down and taking serious notice of a movie like the House that Jack built is essential to create a wave of opposition, a wave that shocks us to a degree where we consider our perspective on what we consider to be real and actionable and when we consider the bettered woman and consider that this was once our mother, how can we not become protective of the victim we see?

In finality, when you consider that the FBI defines mass murder as murdering four or more persons during an event with no “cooling-off period” between the murders, now consider the amount of angry people, people pushed onto the edges for various reasons, some very valid and consider that they merely need to reach the point where they are willing to take a human life. Now realise that this was not the NRA, or its members promoting this, guns do not kill people. People kill people! We allowed the setting for so many to become and remain so angry often due to inaction. We are our own worst enemy and until that situation changes, we ourselves are the driving force to create more and more victims.

The sun will shine regardless we do this actively, or whilst we remain inert and inactive to the events around us, and politicians love to mention that the sun is shining, they don’t even have to actively achieve anything for that.

This setting gets a larger exposure when we see (at https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/may/14/margaret-river-shooting-murder-suicide-could-not-be-predicted-wa-premier-says) “The murder-suicide of seven people at a rural property in Western Australia could never have been predicted and the cause may never be known, the state’s premier has said”. I do not believe that to be true. When we see: “Peter Miles, 61, his 58-year-old wife Cynda, their daughter Katrina, 35, and her four children – daughter Taye, 13, and sons Rylan, 12, Arye, 10 and Kadyn, eight – were found dead at Forever Dreaming Farm in Osmington on Friday”, we see the loss of 7 lives, something like that does not merely happen. When I see ‘embroiled in a bitter dispute with Katrina about access to the children’, I see it is not that simple, but it is still, to some part a larger issue that involves frustration and anger, the smallest of settings for what we now see evolve (compared to Syria and Yemen). In light of what I wrote earlier, I believe that anger and frustration in light of ‘political correctness’ become unwanted emotions, we turn away from them, filter them away. I believe that this is merely one additional factor in all of this, we turn away from the realistic cold light of day from what displeases us and as such we miss the dangers that grow within our very communities, it is a global issue and it is growing. Yet in the northern hemisphere, it is May, it is spring and the sun shines, it will shine regardless in too many places and what we see will happen again, on several levels. When you watch the trailer of the House that Jack built in the Guardian article (or at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eA0pI_k-Dmo), now consider the one scene at 1:35, where we see merely a flash, in addition consider Lukas Moodysson’s Lilya4ever. I lived in an apartment building like that, it happens for real to people around us under our very noses and we no longer see it happen. The movie Lilya4ever was loosely based on the true case of Danguolė Rasalaitė, and examines the issue of human trafficking and sexual slavery. I think that the House that Jack built is more important than we realise, if only to realise on how we react to it and when we realise that there is reality on several levels shown, consider how much in denial we all really are, regardless whether the sun shines or not.

 

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Iranian decisions

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

That alone should scare us beyond measure!

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

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

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

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

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

 

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The truth that kills you

It started in a setting that I observed and wrote about for the last few years, every now and then the NHS rears its ugly head. My look into this started when the Labour party has created a £11.2 billion fiasco that involved IT. When it comes to governmental IT issues, the UK does not score that high. In addition, when you drain a resource in one path, the other path tends to fade away and there were always politicians who claim they could do better, yet experience for over 20 years have shown me that they tend to remain clueless on the matters at hand. The moment they accept it, they go have lunch with friends who all see opportunities and before he/she knows it, the required scope has grown by 250% and soon thereafter it becomes too large to manage. From there onward it goes from bad to worse and that is how the NHS got sliced and diced (just one of many issues plaguing it).

So when I saw ‘Shock figures from top think-tank reveal extent of NHS crisis‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/may/05/nhs-lowest-level-doctors-nurses-beds-western-world) I was not convinced that the Guardian had even ruffled the top layer of feathers here. So I took a look. Now, the article is linked to the King’s Fund that has the numbers (at https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/spending-and-availability-health-care-resources). The work by Deborah Ward and Linda Chijiko is actually really insightful, and an amazing read. So let’s take a look and they do not disappoint, the start gives us “Although it can be difficult to find data on health care resources on a comparable basis across countries, international comparisons can still provide useful context for the debate about how much funding the NHS might need in future. There is also precedent for this approach – for example, when Tony Blair famously pledged on the ‘Breakfast with Frost’ programme in 2000 to get health spending up to the European Union average“, I have to consider the value of adding flair of Blair, but it is fair enough (or was that flair enough). Yet, data is everything and proper data rules the setting, this paper recognises that and that is a massive victory.

It is important to add (pasted) the following, because it shows the value to a much larger degree.

Alongside the UK, we have chosen to look at a selection of 20 European or English-speaking countries drawn from across the OECD. For some analyses, data was available for only a subset of these countries. For some indicators, data was only available for services delivered by the NHS and did not include resources in the private or voluntary sectors.

List of UK comparator countries in this report

Australia Czech Republic Germany New Zealand Slovak Republic
Austria Denmark Ireland Norway Spain
Belgium Finland Italy Poland Sweden
Canada France the Netherlands Portugal Switzerland

Unweighted averages and medians have been used throughout this report to summarise data for the collection of countries as a whole. The amount of people who relied on weighted data cannot be underestimated on stupidity to some degree, as we get raw numbers we see that weighting would look better, yet less accurate. In this we do recognise the danger we see with ‘each country is given equal importance regardless of the size of its population‘, especially when we consider that non-rural Denmark tends to me limited to Copenhagen, and rural Netherlands (if there is any rural part left) tends to reflect Birmingham population numbers on average, so when we also take into consideration the truth of ‘The median and unweighted average are often very similar across these analyses, though the median will be less affected by extremely low or high values‘, we know that we are looking at something serious, but in the micromanaged parts (bordering rural/non-rural), there will be the sliding of values at times, not on a national scale, but where we consider certain parts per nation do not properly reflect internationally (the Netherlands vs France or Canada vs Germany).

Now we take a look at certain segments. The first one is “Under the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)’s new definition of health spending, the UK spends 9.7 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) on health care. This in line with the average among the countries we looked at but is significantly less than countries such as Germany, France and Sweden, which spend at least 11 per cent of their GDP on health care“, Sweden stands out as it has a much more refined social based system, so there is a shift there, yet as Sweden has 3 cities (Stockholm, Goteborg and Malmo), whilst the rest are basically villages some no larger than 1600 people (2 of them), the rest are between 2,500 and 140,000 in size, so in that regards, the population spread required an approach that differs from several nations, especially when you consider a place like Skellefteå and Lulea in the north. To give a little more reflection Skellefteå has 33,000 people over 8.39 square miles another 40,000 live outside of the ‘city’ limits. So it is 3,900 persons per square mile that in comparison against Birmingham that has 10,391 Ashton Villa fans per square mile. Different solutions are needed, and more often it the hardware (ambulance/helicopter) is very different especially in the winter season (in Sweden) where they actually have a white Christmas and often a white Easter as well.

Now we get to what initially was considered an issue by me, but that was because Denis Campbell Health Policy Editor of the Observer messed up a little (likely unintentionally). You see the article in the Guardian gives us “They reveal that only Poland has fewer doctors and nurses than the UK, while only Canada, Denmark and Sweden have fewer hospital beds, and that Britain also falls short when it comes to scanners“, now what is stated here is true, yet by stating “Britain falls short in several ways, especially when we compare ourselves to the Unweighted average. When we do that when it comes to nurses, only Spain, Italy and Poland have a less fortunate situation“, the Unweighted average gives a proper light per 1,000 population and that is where we need to look at the start and the King’s Fund research is doing that splendidly and shows that ‘spendingly’, the UK falls behind. It falls behind more and more is still speculative, yet if the coming 3 Financial years do not show a massive increase (read: change to the NHS approach) that will become a worsening situation for the population requiring nurses, doctors and equipment.

In the reports, I find one thing missing, that is, it would be a good idea to have that, you see, in the part Medical Technology, the CT Scanner part is partially flawed, Australia scores massively high, which is nice as I am on that island, but I also recognise the part missing there, even as there is a proper notice given with ‘Data for the UK only includes MRI and CT units in the public sector, so these comparisons should be treated with particular caution‘, the missing element is not the numbers, but the distance. As Australia is an ‘island’ nearly the size of Europe, it has its own problem, most of Queensland is rural territory and when you consider that Australia is twice the size of India, the amount of technology they have is often a burden on the size of that nation and the mere fact that the 5 large villages (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth) merely represent 65% of the population, the rest is rural.

Yet the more I read on this report, the more I respect it, it clearly shows issues that the NHS UK has, partially due to its own flaws (the report does not show that). It shows at the end that there is space for jobs “There are approximately 100,000 vacancies for clinical staff in the English NHS, and nearly half (49 per cent) of nurses do not think there are sufficient staff to let them do their job effectively“, but it does not show the ‘elitist’ approach the UK has had for decades into allowing transference of other nurses (from other nations) to become part of this workforce, yet the impossible standards that the UK have used to stop that falls short of the shortages and lack of services now thrust upon the people in need of medical services. The second part is seen (at https://improvement.nhs.uk/documents/2471/Performance_of_the_NHS_provider_sector_for_the_month_ended_31_December.pdf), here we see: “Providers have not met ambitious cost improvement targets and it is critical that these plans are recovered before year-end

Providers set out plans to deliver a total of £3.7 billion savings this financial year. The sector has outperformed the wider economy by delivering an implied 1.8% productivity improvement. This was supported by cost improvements of 3.3% – equivalent to £2,139 million of improvements in the first nine months of the year, £97 million higher than the same period in 2016/17“, so how to read that? They need to show better for the same amount, they were unable to deliver and they still got paid? Is that how it reflects, because that is merely the setting of a disastrous business model, in that the elitist overkill hire approach of nurses will never be in a proper setting in that way, or solved which would be nice too.

So when we see: “By Q3 the sector had achieved 65% of the forecast efficiency savings for the year – to meet the forecast outturn, providers will need to significantly step up the delivery of CIPs in the final quarter. However, the same pattern was seen in 2016/17, so there is evidence to support the increased delivery in the final quarter“, which sounds nice, but they would still come short by no less than 20%, so even as we complement them by getting better in the home stretch, they still did not make the delivery they promised and no matter how ‘ambitious‘ the goal is, a goal not met remains a failure. So when we do address the shortages on all levels and the setting on how ‘some top think-tank‘ gives us ‘shock figures‘, it still revolved around a much larger mess that has not been addressed for the longest of times and is still nowhere near up to scrap.

The goods we need we see on page 51, with the setting of ‘Nursing vacancy position‘ we see how most other failures are shown to fail merely due to shortages, the fact that the NHS has 35,000 vacancies also shows on how timelines cannot be met, when we see that in regard to the shortages nurses to the job of 1.4 nurses, there will be more burnout and more delays on every field. Throwing money at it will not really solve the issue, because this is the one field where we see the direct impact of service levels versus the impossible demand of nurses. So when we accept that the nurses program requires a larger overhaul in setting the stage we see that this is te first field where the military are actually becoming part of the solution.

How speculative can we get?

Here is a warning that matters, because the changing of settings is essential to shaping the future. Consider two places the first (at https://www.army.mod.uk/who-we-are/corps-regiments-and-units/army-medical-services/queen-alexandras-royal-army-nursing-corps/) where we are introduced to Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps (QARANC), as well as the recruitment (at https://apply.army.mod.uk/roles/army-medical-service/army-nurse). Now consider that the army is charged with the setting of training all applicant nurses to serve the NHS. So immigrants and optionally their children get a short access path to serve the UK on medical terms and it comes with complete processed nationality (after initial screening is passed). So families get the option to become British and part of the society they moved to. Now, this will not always work, yet if you see a 35,000 shortage and you get to lower that by 1,000 each year? Let’s not forget that the shortage is not going away any day soon, so any approach we can take we should consider. Now this is not for everyone, and more importantly an army nurse is still a military function, yet in this setting, there will be training in English, UK values, medical training, language and more importantly the years to come will show whether they have what it takes, in the end we use a structured system to infuse the NHS in operational ways, in addition, as the there is a growing need at the NHS, we see other parts where such reflections would grow the power of the NHS indirectly.

Both logistical and engineering sides of the Military could spell equal options to grow the NHS, or at least grow the ability of taking care of itself sooner rather than later. When we consider that the cost of agency nurses are close to astronomical (at http://www.kentonline.co.uk/medway/news/trust-spends-11m-on-temporary-nurses-180427/) gave us “Medway NHS Foundation Trust spent more than £11m on temporary nursing staff last year, a Freedom of Information request has revealed“, so when we consider that, is calling the army to aid in setting the boundaries back by a fair amount that much of a farfetched call? When we also see “There is a shortfall of 40,000 nurses across the UK, which has been driven by a lack of nursing training places in recent times“, is my call to call in the army and its instructors that much of a leap? Now we can all agree that it does not work on all fronts, but we can either stare at the missing beaches we have now, or start creating our own beachheads and see if we can see how new solutions could be implemented. There is no certainty, only the certainty that at the present course there will never be a solution that is what needs to be addressed. We need to accept that the current approach towards solving the NHS issues is not realistically set. When we look at merely one source (at https://www.nurseuncut.com.au/how-australians-can-get-nursing-jobs-in-the-uk/), we see the language that is given even after you get the NMC (the Nursing and Midwifery Council), you passed the tests, you have shown that you are who you are, your medical knowledge has been assessed, we then see “The hard work isn’t over after this point though, as you will obviously still need to find an actual job within the NHS. Fortunately, there are places designed to help – such as agencies like Nursing Personnel, where you can find a range of jobs across different disciplines and in different UK cities“, so we see that the agencies are set as a buffer, filling their pockets, so they never ever want to see that changed. In addition there is “Following this, you must apply for and then receive a valid work visa to ensure you can legally work in the UK. Finally, when all the pieces are in place, you can begin your new nursing role. Good luck!“, So even after that path is taken, after you get your NMC pin, there are still two iterations to get through, even as the Army, or even directly via QARAN, we could see that the entire path, towards the NMC, especially by those who have a nursing degree. That was never an option? Not even as I discussed such a path almost 4 years ago? When we see the shortage and the non-actions in this, can we even have faith that those around the NHS want anything fixed? It seems that they get ‘rewarded’ no matter what, especially the agencies, so when we see the money in that, why would they want to fix it? I say start by fixing this for the nurses first, which will get delays down and will give additional rise to finding as the agencies get less work, it also states that the invoices form them disappear meaning that millions become available. More staff and alternatively also more equipment could be the beginning to solving two issues to a larger degree. After that we can start looking into addressing the shortages on doctors, yet I also feel that once the nurse shortage is addressed, the doctor shortage might partially take care of itself. Even as the Financial Times reported last year that almost 400 GP’s a month quitted the NHS, addressing the nurses shortage will lower that number and when there are enough nurses we will see that it might lower to almost zero (speculative), yet as one fixes two other issues, we will suddenly see that when nurses reach above the unweighted number of 10, other numbers are guaranteed to shift too, because as agencies make millions less, those millions will shift to optional beds, medication and technology. Suddenly the UK will not look so bad overall. Now, let’s be clear this is a path that would take no less than 3 years to see certain parts turnaround, but it is a realistic path with a realistic curve of improvement. So even as we get served “Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust has 9,264 4 hour breaches (25.5%)“, we can also see from the other numbers that a larger extent is due to a shortage of nurses, so when we accept that they could climb to 85%-90%, we see that the entire setting suddenly looks less grim, so even as we need to realise that there is a setting (based on location) that the overall need of 95% performance is ideal, the question becomes is it a realistic setting, when all matters are equal it might be, yet at present all things are not equal and that is the part that requires attention, it is not the top 5% made that sets the standard, it is the acceptance of those in the 90%-95% range that requires merely some scrutiny, the question becomes, which one alteration might get those in the 90%-95% range there? I believe that nurses are merely one part, technology is the second part and as we deal with nurse shortages, there is a setting that technology gets fixed to some degree in the process. This paper (Spending on and availability of health care resources: how does the UK compare to other countries?) does not answer it, but gives light to the path that requires attention, the paper gives a path to investigate and that is equally massively important, so when we consider figure 2, can the change between New Zealand (10.3 nurses) versus he Netherlands (10.5) above the unweighted average of 10.4 show that difference of attaining the ‘revered’ 95% score or higher? Because of ‘irregularities’ that national needs tend to have, it is a cautious approach, yet the idea that it solves it is one thing, yet the one part not shown here (hence I took these two reports) is that even a we accept that they cannot be used in comparison, the setting of getting the 95% mark is still an essential statistic (by some) and if so, we accept that we go by the Unweighted average as a mere indicator, is that the right indicator to use (read: rely on), or is there a number missing? Is there a ‘Nominal Coverage‘ missing that is an indicatory number that aids us towards the A&E 4-hour standard setting and the attainment of the 95% score? Now it remains indicatory as there will always be a shift towards nominal nurses and actual nurses, but we need to start somewhere and if additional nurses are the first requirement to start turning this around, these numbers will become a lot more important, that part is not addressed (which was never the setting for Deborah Ward and Linda Chijiko), yet it is an issue for the NHS and the writing and results by these two ladies, might be a first step in actually getting there. When we look at the simplicity of it, was it really that far-fetched? I am merely asking, because my flair for oversimplification can be overwhelming for a lot of ‘experienced analysts’.

Yet, my mere focus has always been, how can we fix/improve the current NHS?

It is the path to solution that we need to care for, how it can be fixed, if it can be fixed. I have forever opposed the Jeremy Corbyn approach to throw money at it, because in the current setting the only one getting a better deal are the agencies and they are already cats that are way too fat. Hence I look at the directions where training and education sets the pace and in that pace we need to find opportunities for the NHS to pick the fruits form the yard, it is merely a different set of spectacles, the spectacle is not merely about the presentation, it is about setting the right focus, because focus shows us where the flaw is and where we can initially start the focal point of repairing the situation.

The weird part is that Canada, the UK and Australia have similar issues, so there is a foundation of repair missing which is equally a worry. In all this someone is getting rich, is it so hard to look at those getting rich and why that is? The fix could have been underway as early as 2014, the fact that it is nowhere there is worthy of many more questions, yet the bulk of those who could ask them, do not seem to ask them visible enough for all people to wonder how certain matters could be fixed and when one is fixed how much the other problems diminish, an equally important question. Even if it is merely for the reason that not finding these answers could kill you, either in an ambulance, or in a corner of a hospital awaiting a nurse to get you to the proper place for treatment, would that not be nice too?

 

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Milestones

We all hope to make certain milestones, some through fantasy, some through luck and some through anticipation. Your first threesome, the moment you joined the mile high club and for governments they have their own achievements, for example when they join the 100% debt club. So when we realise that Japan has well over 200% of GDP in debt, the US has passed the 100% marker and it joins those they looked down on for the longest of times. Italy, Iceland, Granada, Eritrea, Greece, Jamaica and Lebanon, all members of that 100% debt club, so when we see the Arabian Business (at http://www.arabianbusiness.com/politics-economics/395741-100-debt-club-set-to-get-new-member-from-oil-rich-gulf), treat us to the facts that Bahrain will soon join Libya and the Sudan as their debt exceeds their 100% GDP. We see more and more messages at present and even the IMF is setting a different atmosphere. We see part of that in equities.com. There we see “IMF (Page 10): Against a backdrop of mounting vulnerabilities, risky asset valuations appear overstretched, albeit to varying degrees across markets, ranging from global equities and credit markets, including leveraged loans, to rapidly expanding crypto assets.
MY TRANSLATION: In the last two major bubbles, the problems were mostly contained to dot-com stocks and housing. That is 100% not the case now. Almost every single asset on the planet – from stocks to bonds to loans and more – is wildly overpriced. There is zero room for error with prices at such dizzying heights
“. This is merely one setting; the field is expanding on a larger field and in all this, the nations that are passing the debt bar. France is set at 99%, so if they cannot contain the debt growth they will pass it this following financial year, leaving only Germany as one of the four large economies that is in a containable situation and there is where we get a partial ‘I told you so!‘ You see I wrote on part of this 5 years ago. (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2013/05/15/a-noun-of-non-profit/), I made a reference in regards to Brexit, but the setting of it all was a lot larger than merely Brexit. So as you get to contemplate “Consider a large (really large) barge, that barge was kept in place by 4 strong anchors. UK, France, Germany and Italy. Yes, we to do know that most are in shabby state, yet, overall these nations are large, stable and democratic (that matters). They keep the Barge EU afloat in a stable place on the whimsy stormy sea called economy. If the UK walks away, then we have a new situation. None of the other nations have the size and strength of the anchor required and the EU now becomes a less stable place where the barge shifts. This will have consequences, but at present, the actual damage cannot be easily foreseen. Any claim that there is no consequence and they predict no issues, remember this moment! The Barge (as is), will lose stability and the smaller members thinking they are on a big boat are now thrown left to right then left again as the storm rages on. The smaller nations will get damaged and in addition, the weaker ones (Cyprus and Greece) could still collapse, especially if the UK takes a non EU gander“, this was predominantly regarding Brexit. Yet the implications are larger as I stated. The UK is taking on Brexit and now we see that the German anchor it the only anchor giving some stability, the UK is taken away, Italy has lost its footing as it surpassed the 100% debt and now France is pushing that boundary as well. All because it was easier to play the popular fool than taking a hard stance on their debts, France is not alone, Italy and the UK are all there, the smaller ones have no options to give strength to the large 4 and as the UK figured out that going it alone is much better for the economy, we see a dangerous setting.

Even now, when we merely consider Spain in all this (not the smallest economy), we see (at https://www.southeusummit.com/europe/spain/spanish-economy-returns-grade/) that Standard & Poor’s is still playing (what I personally see) as ‘their little game’. Perhaps you remember ‘S&P reaches $1.5 billion deal with U.S., states over crisis-era ratings‘ (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-s-p-settlement-idUSKBN0L71C120150203) the one quote (one of many) needs to be considered “S&P parent McGraw Hill Financial Inc MHFI.N said it will pay $687.5 million to the U.S. Department of Justice, and $687.5 million to 19 states and the District of Columbia, which had filed similar lawsuits over the ratings“. So when I see “S&P notes that Spain’s overall economic and budgetary performance has not been hampered by political tensions in Catalonia, as many had feared. The country’s GDP increased by 3.1% in 2017 and last week the Bank of Spain raised its economic forecast for this year to 2.7%, up from a December forecast of 2.4%“, you see, the numbers are not really in question, yet when we see the image below (source: Trading Economics).

When we realise that none of the EU nations has a grasp on their debts, in addition, the GDP for Spain went down whilst it is still below the numbers of 2016 and before, there is actually no reason to see the credit rating for Spain go up. I am personally speculating that the EU will be so much more hardship when France hits the 100% debt marker. It matters, because this will soon become the academic exercise that the question: ‘What is the difference between cooking the books and creating a false positive wave through inflated credit scores?‘ I actually do not have the answer here, but I guarantee you that the quality of life in Europe is not moving forward any day soon, not until some issues are seriously reconsidered. In addition, the US-China trade war isn’t helping anyone, not even the Europeans so that will also become a factor of debate soon enough. It partially relates to “We have revised upwards our GDP forecasts, with an intense rate of employment creation and an economic model based on the external competitiveness of our companies. With this scenario, we will achieve our objective for 20 million employed people by 2020“, the issue is that it is misrepresentation, you cannot rely on the unemployment figures and then state we will have 20 million employed, because on a population of 46 million, he might be implying that the unemployment numbers will skyrocket from 17.4% in 2017 to 56%, that would be crazy, yet that is what we are told, is it not? The best lies (read: miscommunications) are done through statistics, so that the feather matches the bird one would say. Still, back to my speculation, I believe that Spain is not the only nation in this setting; I think that some numbers in pretty much every EU nation are beefed, weighted and set to make Europe (or basically themselves in the European setting) look much better, so when the UK leaves they will not look as weak and feeble as they have actually become. It is a setting that is way too dangerous. There is no way that Mario Draghi is not part of this, so when we look at the Financial Times of last week we see ‘Mario Draghi acknowledges ‘moderation’ in Eurozone growth‘ (at https://www.ft.com/content/3e20b49e-4939-11e8-8ee8-cae73aab7ccb). So with “Analysts said that Mr Draghi’s guarded language suggested that the ECB may wait until July — a month later than previously expected — to provide the markets with updated “forward guidance” on its plans to phase out the crisis-era stimulus“. I am a little less optimistic in regards to the quotes, and when we see ““Better safe than sorry was the motto of the day,” said Dirk Schumacher, economist at Natixis“. I personally tend to see that as:

Better safe than sorry
It allows for another day without worry
As we pile the worries and woes
To a stack we can blame on crows
Those at the London Tower are best
Because when they leave the EU we can make them the jest
And when our barge is no longer secure
We move to Wall Street where we can endure

You might think that I am merely making light of all this. The issue is that people in Europe seem to ignore that over €2,000,000,000,000 was printed without the validation of treasuries or consent of the people whose funds got devaluated even further. Do you think that printing money has no cost? It is money that the EU never had, so why did you think it came without consequence?

This partially (and I mean partially) is seen in different ways when we look at an article from Reuters merely two weeks earlier (at https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-ecb-policy-draghi/stock-volatility-no-big-factor-for-ecb-so-far-draghi-idUKKBN1HG1VR) ‘Stock volatility no big factor for ECB so far – Draghi‘, now I agree that volatility will come and go, so the ‘so far’ part is perfectly fine. When we see ““While we remain confident that inflation will converge towards our aim over the medium term, there are still uncertainties about the degree of slack in the economy,” Draghi said in the ECB’s annual report“, now I can agree with that. There will always be a certain amount of uncertainty, that is all good, no issues there, but it is set on a certain premise. When we see that Spain (the only visible one) suddenly in opposition of what I see as real has its credit score increased and as such we see the start of an optional bubble, when others do the same we see the forecast on unreal values, so we see the bubble is not set to the reality of the actuality, at that point, when a lot more start realising that some numbers do not make sense, the uncertainty grows and the closer the UK is to leaving the stronger that uncertainty becomes. At that point we see a run and a total collapse, when that happens, when the people realise that pensions before 78 is no longer optional, do you think that the people will remain calm? When they realise the impact of €2 trillion printed cash is impacting the 26 nations, how much value decline will they face? When that happens, how will people react in all this? Now we get to two elements, one is the mention in the Financial Times where we see: “But the weak economic data for the first quarter have triggered increasing speculation that the first interest rate rise will be delayed until later in 2019. A smaller number of analysts are expecting the bank to continue QE into the new year“, the second is that the entire stimulus was to set the economy right, which did not happen, now set that against inflated credit scores, inflated economies and the downturn that follows, that will happen, it can no longer be contained, merely delayed to some extent. When it does hit Europe would not have a penny left to balance against and it will leave the bulk of Europe destitute. There would be no defence against the next downturn and that is when disaster will truly strike. So as the story is pushing towards ‘protectionism’ and ‘patent values’, we should also consider that impact. Now, as a University graduated Master on Intellectual Property rights, I do comprehend some of the issues, yet I am not a patent attorney, so there are parts that I will ignore or not look at. Consider that a national economy is now more and more dependent on the national patents and the represented value that they hold. Now we get European Patents, the Unified Patent Court (UPC) allows for a simpler way to get it all registered and to some extent enforced. So it is a good thing overall, there was never too much fuss about that side, yet the one strong economy (Germany) is now setting the stage to oppose the UPC, we see this (at http://www.ippropatents.com/ippropatentsnews/europenewsarticle.php?article_id=5725), where we also see “Alternative für Deutschland (AFD) has called for the repeal of the convention on a Unified Patent Court (UPC). AFD “rejects the EU patent law reform”, according to the German Bundestag, which announced the motion on 7 March“, I believe that overall the UPC is a good thing, but there will always be small interests that are not perfect, no EU setting is 100% positive, yet overall, to get one filing for all EU nations, in light that even the UK agreed (and ratified) is a good thing. So when we see “It was based on three grounds, mainly how the UPC Agreement violates EU law, the majority requirements of basic law, and does not comply with the rule of law principle related to judicial impartiality. The complaint was scheduled to be heard in 2018 by the second Senate, appearing as the 11th item on its agenda. In Germany’s 2017 federal election, the AFD won 12.6 percent of the vote and received 94 seats, the first time it had won seats in the Bundestag“, there is an academic setting, yet with 12.6 of the council in hands of the AFD, a very Brexiting minded party, or is that Berlout or Deutchleave, we need to realise that the patent issue is a lot more biting in Germany and that cannot be ignored, as they give rise to uncertainties. So when we get back to the uncertainty there, as well as other uncertainties, and whilst we saw Mario Draghi accept that uncertainty results in stagnation, how much more stagnations are required for the next downturn, even a short term one, whilst the economic reserves have been already been drained.

Now we have a much larger setting, the EU was never about everyone agreeing on everything and the economic setting that requires that to happen at present is also making the dangers of waves that sinks the barge called EU. Now, that seems like an exaggeration, but when you realise that the German anchor is the only one giving stability, you can see the dangers the EU faces and more important, the dangers of no reserves and an utter lack to keep proper budgets in place, a setting now in more danger for the reasons that I gave supported by the economic views of many others. I believe some are downplaying the impact, yet when we realise that EVERY European Union government is downplaying the economic impact (as every nation always wants to look as good as possible, which is a PowerPoint setting of the human ago) we get a much more dangerous setting. We accept that the smaller nations have a negligible impact on the whole, but on a ship that can only remain truly stable with four anchors, losing three is a much bigger disaster than anyone realises, and that downplay will hurt all the players that are part of the EU, so when the downturn starts, we will see kneejerk movements from all the nations, all the big players and we can only speculate the fear mongering speculations that the IMF will treat the European audience to. I have no idea what form it will take, but when it happens I will take a deeper look. In a setting where every negative economic milestone could lay waste to whatever reserves its citizens wrongfully thought they had in the first place.

 

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Chickie Chickie Bang Bang

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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The Commanding Conquest

The NY Times gave us a view, some are laughing, some are looking forward, some are grasping at the past, but you and me? What will we do? What are our thoughts?

That is the view I am having when I see ‘A Glimpse of a Crown Prince’s Dream? Saudi Arabia Invades Iran in CGI‘ (at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/20/world/middleeast/saudi-arabia-iran-invasion-video.html). The video shown is not new, the article revealed that the movie was uploaded last December and has had 1.2 million views. That’s around 400,000 a month. We see the application of CGI and Command & Conquer intro movie style towards the games that Iran has been playing. So as we see “In scene after scene, he orders a succession of superior weapons systems to pulverize the enemy“, we see a setting, one that is changing. It is what I would optionally call the sabre rattling by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who according some of the sources is stated to be behind this all. I cannot tell, I do not know. But it is clear that Iran is also realising that everyone is looking at them now and none of the voices are telling Saudi Arabia to stop. Those voices will come too late and at that point, with the EU not willing to give an inch towards Iran, Iran will stand alone. Even Russia who has been their trade buddy for the longest of times is backing off a little, as they would endanger the foothold that they are growing in the Middle East via Syria. In addition, if there is a side, than Israel will never choose it will be the side of Iran, that ship has sailed and was burned down the moment it left the harbour of Jaffa.

One view given was “a Princeton professor who recently published a column explaining the challenges Prince Mohammed faces in the kingdom, suggested in an email that the Iranians themselves might have made the cartoon “to make the Saudis look silly”“, it is certainly one view, but when we consider Command & Conquer, is it as simple as Saudi Arabia v Iran, or is there a third player in town? The view that former CIA employee Bruce Riedel has differs as well. He of course has just published a new book based on 3 decades of experience and his view is “This represents how he sees himself, or what he would like to be, It suggests that at least some part of Mohammed bin Salman lives in a fantasy world, and if he really believes these things then we are on a course that could be extremely destructive“. It is not a view that I could state was incorrect due to lack of data, but if the Crown Prince has set this all in motion, is it in the end anything else than a creative presentation? Lets not forget, if we plough through the presentations of historical CIA, most of their directors would have ended up in prison, as would some members of congress and at least two former Presidents of the United States. So the view given here is not one that seems to be the pressure here. I actually like a later view in the article in the NY Times where we see “Other scholars suggested that one of the prince’s courtiers might have commissioned the video to flatter him“, that is one part that appeals, it would even be better if it was made by the courtiers son who has the dream of becoming the coolest game designer in Saudi Arabia, which is not a bad dream to pursue to begin with.

No matter who or what it is regarded to be. When we consider it from the distance, it is merely a presentation, one that took effort. My view on the third player is shown (in my humble opinion) by “The video was released almost simultaneously in Arabic and English, with subtitles in Farsi, Hebrew, Mandarin, Russian, Turkish and other languages, so its animators probably also had the help of a team of linguists“, you see no matter how they feel about Israel, Saudi Arabia would have been unlikely to have taken the effort, even when relying on Google Translate and even as we know that Israel will never be a friend of Iran, it is my personal view that Saudi Arabia would not have taken the effort to get the ‘Hebrew’ edition out there, giving rise to the third party. I would need to see the full list of subtitle editions, to learn how precise my prediction is, but I think that the players adding the Hebrew edition shot themselves in the foot.

Yet it does also give light to “Prince Mohammed is a long-time fan of animation and video games. His personal foundation set up a venture, Manga Productions, to produce Japanese-style animation about Saudi Arabia and its culture“. Did you know this? Many have been curious about Saudi Culture; many wonder just how warped the press had made certain settings of Saudi Culture. Now I know that it is not the culture, with all the options that Western Europe had, but that is their history, learning more about it will only make things better for both sides. So when we see “Japanese animation productions major Toei Animation is teaming up with Saudi Arabia’s Manga Productions to produce animation titles and films to be released in both countries. The new tie-up was unveiled Nov. 16. Manga Productions, which is affiliated with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s MiSK Foundation, focuses on producing animations and developing video games with creative and positive content targeting different local and international social groups. Bukhari Isam, CEO of Manga Productions, said that his company will do pre-production or prepare designing content to be produced in Japan. The productions will be internationally targeted”. Most forms of information that is linked to Japanese excellence tend to be very well received on a global scale. So in all this we would need to realise that the media has been keeping information from us all. Now, there is no way that everyone will suddenly become a ‘Saudi’s best buddy’, but the setting that we see almost no exposure to this and that in the age of learning and comprehension that is one view that we are filtered from is equally dangerous. There is no other way to see it other than that the Muslim way of life has a global impact on nearly all, even if it is often not visible. Is it so bad to learn more on something that has no Christian foundation? Are we so afraid for the switching of atheists and agnostics to state: “This sounds like a much better way“, is the often hidden setting that Christians filter what must not be seen that has been a hindrance for decades! Should you oppose that (which is perfectly fine), than take a look at Spotlight, a 2015 movie on an unfrocked priest accused of molesting more than 80 boys. This was based on the 2001 event where editor Marty Baron of The Boston Globe assigns a team of journalists to investigate allegations against John Geoghan, the fore mentioned unfrocked priest. The article became proof of the cover-up of sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Church. An issue that still impacts people today. Less than a day ago we see ‘Cardinal George Pell could face fresh charges after new witness statement emerges‘. This is merely one of many issues that had been pushed to the hidden shadows of society. These events are still being shown to be an issue 15 years after the initial article got out, so we can state that there has never ever been an events where filtering based on religion gave us wisdom, the media is only finding this out because it ups the circulation of their papers. There is a hard lesson to be learned there.

So, as we take a look at the Crown Prince, and the video game intro movie? Perhaps we will learn the truth of whoever was really behind it and what the purpose was. Perhaps it will be as simple as a member of the Saudi royal family telling Iran that they need to stop playing their games, because some mind games tend to become realities with fatalities and in this a video game is merely the presentation of artistic design. We all need to realise that only in a videogame foundation can a 1.68m tall model wearing nothing but cargo pants and a tank top take out dozens properly clothed mercenaries armed to the teeth with a bow, a knife and an ice axe, because that is where our minds in video games tend to end. So will the intro movie become a reason for war? I very much doubt it, whilst we are looking at these events, most are now forgetting that both Iran and Turkey are isolating themselves more and more, Iran for fuelling the events in Yemen and Turkey for the actions in pretty much all the Kurdish regions. In the end they can merely depend on one another, which would be a clear ending to whatever economy they thought they had. As Iran is dealing with 25% youth unemployment and Turkey with 24.1%, they both have other immediate needs. So in the end, even as the Command and Conquer, Saudi edition looked cool, a mere presentation of how opening trade and growing other economic options is a solution to youth unemployment, it seems that both Iran and Turkey are far far away from learning that lesson for now.

So as we end with two more parts from the NY Times. The first being: “The video appears to show an accurate reflection of the vast Saudi arsenal, with two exceptions. The tanks labelled in the video as Abrams M1s, the most advanced American model, look more like the outdated Patton M60s. And Saudi Arabia does not have the ships needed to transport them to Iran, said Douglas Barrie, a senior fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London“, which might be perfectly fine, so when we see the second part we see: ““The Saudis have a very limited amphibious capability,” Mr. Barrie said. “They do not have the platforms for a large-scale amphibious operation.”“, we might all agree, but these high paid people have taken the time to analyse a video game intro, so as the optional third player makes another movie, will they look at it again? When it comes in a box with image below, will we hear from these people about the substandard weapons that the French are using? #JustSaying

 

 

 

 

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Something for the Silver Screen?

There is an issue in Europe, well, there are plenty of issues in Europe, but until now, I steered clear of one of them. Something does not add up and it is now more of an issue than ever before.

This trip started in the Washington Post, after I saw several articles in the Guardian. You see, with one article it has become something else and that is very much an issue. So (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/russia-to-respond-very-soon-to-british-decision-to-expel-its-diplomats/2018/03/15/89e27b4a-2839-11e8-b79d-f3d931db7f68_story.html), we see ‘U.S., France and Germany join Britain in saying Russia likely responsible for chemical attack against former spy‘, the mere title. Now, I am not saying that this is not what happened, not even implying that it is some figment. Yet, why would we see ‘U.S., France and Germany join Britain‘? This is a simple murder, perhaps an assassination, or liquidation. Whatever word you use for the event, it does not matter to the person who got iced, he definitely no longer cares. But we, we should care, for us this entire situation matters. So when we see in the very beginning “formally backed Britain’s claims that Russia likely was responsible for a chemical toxin attack against a former spy living in England“, I personally am not convinced. There would have been any number of actions that would have resulted in the demise of that person. To get a gun is usually not hard if you know the people. There was a person in the 90’s that one could meet near Ilford, would be able to get a whole range of guns, no silencers though. Still for £350-£500 (in those days) you could get something not too fancy and it would clean the clock of whoever needed to be done. Just make sure you do not do it in the wrong place and upset the local family guy, because that tends not to work. Still, consider the ease of a mere gun against the dangers, the risks and the trouble of getting VX into the country, than getting it to the location. You only need to see the movie ‘The Rock‘ to know that it requires several things, a lot of it dodgy and that stuff is not that stable to begin with. Now, as we see that there was a nerve agent in play, so I am not opposing that. I am merely stating that this kind of work is odd to begin with. That is beside the point of any SVR RF, FSB or GRU member freaking out having to take that shit with them. It is not merely overkill; it tends to leave you without options if you fail at first. And ask any Murphy that your shit goes wrong the first opportunity nature gets their hands on you. It is a fact of life. So in that regard it seems to me that Novichok is a weird choice to use. This is also me stating that I have no evidence that it was NOT used. So when I take a little lesson in Novichok, I learned the following:

  1. At https://www.opcw.org/fileadmin/OPCW/CSP/RC-3/en/rc3wp01_e_.pdf, we see “Regarding new toxic chemicals not listed in the Annex on Chemicals but which may nevertheless pose a risk to the Convention, the SAB makes reference to “Novichoks”. The name “Novichok” is used in a publication of a former Soviet scientist who reported investigating a new class of nerve agents suitable for use as binary chemical weapons. The SAB states that it has insufficient information to comment on the existence or properties of “Novichoks”” which they state on page 3 in paragraph 8. Now this is 2013 and this is 5 years later. Yet, as some sources give us that it was developed in the 70’s up to the early 90’s, it seems interesting that there was nothing on the matter 20 years later.
  2. Yet that same OPCW gave us in April 2011, two years earlier the two following parts on page 7 at 11.1 and 11.2. With: “This has been attracting increasing attention in recent years, particularly among non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Although very little information has appeared in the public domain, there have been claims that a new class of nerve agents, known as “Novichoks”, has been developed. In December 2008, a former defence scientist published a book, which included information on structures reported to be those of the new agents. Some of these structures meet the criteria for Schedule 2 B4 (S2 B4); however, all others are non-scheduled chemicals. The author claimed that the toxicity of certain “Novichok” agents may exceed that of VX“, something that should have woken up the CIA instantly, something deadlier than VX and no defence? There is no way that they wouldn’t have been chasing that, even if it was merely to find a defence against it.

So now we have the play to some extent in view. The BBC gave first view (at http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-43377856) with “Former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned by a military-grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia“, yet it is the innuendo of News.com.au that takes the limelight. With “Investigators believe the nerve agent that poisoned former Russian agent Sergei Skripal was planted in his daughter’s suitcase before she left Moscow, The Telegraph newspaper reported, citing unidentified sources. Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, were found slumped unconscious on a bench outside a shopping centre in the genteel southern English city of Salisbury on March 4“, so not only did they go the whole nine yards to get to both, the entire issue is that both could have been removed simple enough in Salisbury. The entire matter does not add up. Another source, The Jamestown Foundation gives us “Sergei Skripal (66), a former Russian military intelligence (GRU) colonel, was arrested in Moscow in 2004 for allegedly being an agent of the United Kingdom’s MI6 intelligence service. Skripal was convicted, in 2006, to serve 13 years in prison for treason. In 2010, he was pardoned, released and sent to the UK in a major spy exchange involving a big group of “sleeper” spies who had been arrested in the United States, promptly convicted and deported to Russia“, so if we accept these facts, than we see that he was shipped to the UK 8 years ago. So now we see such an overkill event? It does not add up!

This level of overkill implies (mind you I am saying ‘implies’) personal orchestration, this is a message, but for who the message is for (or ‘from’ for that matter) is not clear. There is enough evidence that the toxin was used, but there is a long road here. Even as we accept the Jamestown Foundation giving us “Other officials insist Novichok was never officially defined as a chemical weapon and was not destroyed, because it never officially existed (Interfax, March 14). Mirzayanov, who is apparently the main whistle-blower on Novichok, is being actively discredited by the pro-Kremlin press (Komsomolskaya Pravda, March 15). Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov categorically denied there ever was a secret nerve agent program named “Novichok in Russia or in the USSR,” while Russia has stopped all work on developing new chemical weapons and has completed the destruction of existing stockpiles. Ryabkov referred to Mirzayanov as a “defector,” who was not trustworthy (Militarynews, March 15)“. This now gets us to the crux of the matter. The whistle-blower Vil Mirzayanov is now living in the US. Now we get to the good stuff, which is given by The Guardian, the article (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/mar/16/russian-spy-poisoning-attack-novichok-chemist) gives us ‘chemist says non-state actor couldn’t carry out attack‘, that is a notion I can very well agree with. In addition, as I stated earlier “the chemical was too dangerous for anyone but a “high-level senior scientist” to handle and that even he – who worked for 30 years inside the secret military installation where novichok was developed and gained extensive personal experience in handling the agent – would not know how to weaponize it“. If this stuff has been weaponised it would be a novel usage and also a very novel situation. The fact that the luggage went from Moscow without setting off any alarms, the fact that it survived the trip (you know how luggage carriers tend to be), as well as the setting that it went off at the time it did gives rise to all kinds of technological options. Still we have the setting of who would have done it. Mirzayanov supports this with ““You need a very high-qualified professional scientist,” he continued. “Because it is dangerous stuff. Extremely dangerous. You can kill yourself. First of all you have to have a very good shield, a very particular container. And after that to weaponize it – weaponize it is impossible without high technical equipment. It’s impossible to imagine.”” and let’s not forget the target, a former GRU agent who had been in prison for 4 years and then exchanged. It seems to me that it is not impossible that Russia was behind it, but I feel that the entire approach was too personal. I speculate that this was likely a Russian with a personal axe to grind, moreover this was a test-run (a mere speculation) and the person decided to go after the one person he had hatred for and in that regard going after the daughter made perfect sense, even more so as it would hurt the person he wanted to get to even more. So was this the case?

Now the last part is all speculative but it adds up, the effort shown for stuff that is still material for denial from the original whistle-blower giving us ‘would not know how to weaponize it‘, and that is from the person who actually handled the stuff. It is the very last part that also matters; with “Mirzayanov thinks the Salisbury attack was performed with a binary version of the agent brought through customs and automatically mixed at the time of the attack“, so two elements, mixing and distributing, such a device was not seen when the luggage got to the UK?

There are too many issues and even as I agree wholeheartedly on the message that Vil Mirzayanov brought to us, I am not convinced that this was some elaborate scheme from the Russian government. Sending any officer of the SVR RF, FSB, GRU or even the Voyska Spetsialnogo Naznacheniya to go shopping in London with the message “Oh, and before you fly back, would you kindly put a bullet in the back of the head of both Sergei and Yulia Skripal?“, a simple mandate avoiding well over half a dozen of cogs that could be clogged with mere sand at any given time.

That is why it does not add up. In hindsight there is one additional part. Is it true that ONLY Russia has that stuff? The entire matter when we see some papers where the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, was to some extent in the dark 5 years ago. In light of Vil Mirzayanov moving to New Jersey in 1996, so 15 years later the OPCW is still in the dark? That path makes even less sense. In addition, the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) seemed to have been equally in the dark. From those parts alone, whilst one of the handlers was in the US for the last 22 years, the entire setting is a stretch. It does make sense that the US would have been part of the conversation, yet how do France and Germany fit in? Some presented unity on standing up against Russia?

There is little question on the timeline. So when we see the BBC (at http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-43297638), they are found by a doctor and nurse at 16:15, both unconscious. So they had made it to the Malting’s shopping centre (or so the information implies). So when we learn “A police officer who was the first to attend the scene is now in a serious condition in hospital, Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said“, which we get form the article (at http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-43323847) we should be able to tell more. But we cannot, the News is too chaotic, BBC, SBS and other reliable sources give us the snippets, but not an actual slice of the cake. The timeline implies that they were poisoned on the spot, the fact that Nick Bailey, a police officer who became unwell after taking part in the early response to the attack gives additional rise to the use of a toxin, but that implies that it was done there, on the spot. Even if the toxin was moved through touch, the speed at which Nick Bailey got it implies (speculative from my side) that the toxin worked fast, unless the location was less than a 4 minute walk from their house, that option would be taken away as the toxin would be pushed through the body via the bloodstream. In addition any longer would make the Novichok useless, nerve agents are that because they are close to lightning fast, even as we expect that the police officer was lucky and too little got to him.

Yet it was only a few hours ago that the Guardian is giving us a timeline (aren’t they just the best). So the article (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/mar/16/skripals-poisoning-what-we-know-so-far) gives us a decent timeline. I particularly liked “most likely in powder form and the means of delivery could have been as simple as a letter“, so perhaps it might be: “most likely in powder form and the means of delivery could have been as simple as the restaurant bill“, you see the hour at Zizzi as well as the fact that they were found 40 minutes later. A nerve agent will work fast, really fast so the 40 minutes would have been a stretch no matter what, yet the fact when they were found and when they were overcome is not a given, so they could have been smouldering there for over 20 minutes. It equally gives rise that the longer they were there the less impact it would have had on Constable Nick Bailey, his luck I might add. The Guardian is now showing the issues I had and that is good (for me), so as I finalise reading that article, I see a number of issues and even as I had seen most issues, the one part that they aren’t giving us (as It was not part of the timeline) was seen in the in depth of the Independent (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/uk-russia-nerve-agent-attack-spy-poisoning-sergei-skripal-salisbury-accusations-evidence-explanation-a8258911.html). Here we see: “Some analysts have claimed that Novichoks could have been smuggled out of chemical weapons and storage sites after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when facilities were abandoned by unpaid staff and security was low“, “if the precursor ingredients were smuggled out in the 1990s, stored in proper conditions and mixed recently, they could still be deadly in a small-scale attack according to some experts” as well as “In 1995, a Russian banking magnate called Ivan Kivelidi and his secretary died from organ failure after being poisoned with a military grade toxin found on an office telephone. A closed trial found that his business partner had obtained the substance via intermediaries from an employee of a state chemical research institute known as GosNIIOKhT, which was involved in the development of Novichoks” give us a few things. In the first that the experts are kind of clueless, we might be blaming Russia on all this and it might be true, yet the latter part that involves Ivan Kivelidi takes away the ‘beyond all reasonable doubt’. The fact that this stuff is out in the open to some degree is a much larger issue and when we see “Leonard Rink, told police he had been storing poisons in his garage and selling them to pay off debts“, we see part that takes the Russian government optionally out of the equation and gives us the part I came with earlier “the entire approach was too personal. I speculate that this was likely a Russian with a personal axe to grind“, it fits the bill of the restaurant one might state, that is, if the timeline of the events and the timeline of the toxin can be proven, because both are the axial in the issue.

No matter how this plays out, this could become one hell of a movie and when we see it on the silver screen, will Matt Damon play the person with the grudge, or the scientist who initially played a role in developing it? However we should reserve the role of Skripal for John Larroquette, it will be nice to see him again on the big screen.

 

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