Tag Archives: FSB

From Qatar to the United Kingdom

The last few days have been all about the issues of elections and the gratifications some see with the Labour party. I am impressed on just how gullible people can be. It’s like the need for common sense has gone straight out of the window. The last time the Labour party pushed the UK into deep debt, now because of Austerity the people think that the Labour party will change this. So what do you think will happen when another trillion in debt is added? Its like politicians have gone crazy. Spending without accountability. When will it end? And if you think that the UK is so much better than Greece, than it is important for you to wake up fast, because the debt of the UK is well over 700% of Greece. For now, the UK is above the curve because of manufacturing, tourism, service related profits, but when that curve falls down it goes south in a hurry. Where will you be then? Most will think that it is for someone else to fix, but those short sighted people will be around when the cost of living is up by 20% whilst your income has a mere 3% correction. that is the reality of what is to come. On the other side, Theresa May has mace mistakes, she bungled the balls a few times and that is a flaw that did cost her a majority. Yet, the end is not yet in sight. If the Conservatives can set a correct dialogue with the Lib Dems, then Tim Farron will have 4 years to show he is a leader, to show that the Lib Dems matter. In 4 years whilst we get a clueless Jeremy Corbyn stating how he promises thousands of jobs whilst the treasury has no way to pay for it. Until the tax system will get a true overhaul and take care of the 0.1% tax bracket for the large corporations, there is no chance that anything will be fixed. It is a mere reality all those in the UK face. And Scotland, well they went foolish on a second referendum and 35% of Scotland decided to find another party. Yet there is also the other visibility, the game that should have never been played against the foolish move. Yes, the majority is gone, but 13 seats against the non stop media heist of the truth and playing whatever story would erupt in the most readers and emotions. That game could have given a much larger cost to the Tories by the end of the year. That is merely my view, I have no way of proving my view, which in equal measure means that I could be wrong.

So what is left? Time will tell, but the next events of the Brexit is about to be due. As we see places like the NY Times give us “It enhanced the possibility that a chastened government led by Mrs. May would now strike a less confrontational approach with Europe while seeking a way to keep Britain within the bloc’s large single marketplace“, we have to wonder who is facilitating who? With the additional quote “The European authorities have consistently emphasized that Britain’s continued inclusion in the single market requires that it abide by the bloc’s rules — not least, a provision that people be allowed to move freely within its confines“, this is part of the problem, because it is showing to be unrealistic and the other players, none of them want certain people. They are so happy that all those travellers believe that the UK is the golden dream. When those people end up somewhere else, we are confronted with over half a dozen members who see their own infrastructure collapse. There is Austria with new anti-migrant measures, with ‘protective zones‘ and a whole lot of other issues. The less said about Greece the better, what is a given is that they are under such stress that their reactions make sense, yet most of those illegals don’t even want to be in Greece, they are just passing through. The Albanians being one of the larger illegal immigrant groups is giving the impression that Albania is empty. Bulgaria is setting up barbed wired fences. Those people all howling for free movement are all trying to get rid of the problem. The open borders have failed, only for large corporations needing zero hour workers, they prosper. And those in ‘charge’ in the European Union play their game, their defiance in support of the gravy train. And then we see a new quote, one that gives rise to certain media playing the game they are. “In short, the election has complicated the assumption that Britain is headed irretrievably toward the exits, producing a moment in which seemingly everything may be up for reconsideration“, this was the game all along. those behind the screens, those deciding on the flow of trillions, they need their 34% profit annually, without the UK where it is now, that is no longer an option and the voice of Italy is still not a given at present. So when you read: “Those who have favoured Britain remaining within Europe, or at least softening the terms of its exit, now have “an expectation, or at least a hope, that cooler heads will prevail,” said Jeremy Cook, chief economist at World First, a company based in London that manages foreign exchange transactions.” Is it cooler heads, or greedy heads? There is cause for consideration that a hard Brexit was never a good idea, but as the EU cannot muzzle or chastise Mario Draghi, the EU is becoming too dangerous a place to remain in. It gives additional cause for concern as the deep web has a speaker who has been advocating the need for targeted killing of certain finance officials. I am not sure that this is a good idea, but prosecuting politicians who cannot maintain a neutral budget is not a bad first step. the problem is that Strasbourg is more about protecting terrorists and their rights than it is to protect victims of exploitation, because extremists hiding behind laws is often easier than doing the right thing for the victims they create.

The dark web has a good thing, it lets me see some elements completely unfiltered, yet you get it all, all the hypes, the rages, the ragers and the emotions, you need to learn to filter the values. Which is at times a lot harder than you think. So when you dig beyond grams and the easy access to drugs and weapons, you could find a few places that offer an option to those willing to be tools for a little while. the payoff is extremely large, yet that also beckons what the facilitators get. You see, getting a 7 figure number buys silence, yet in that view, what will the payer get, what is worth facilitating a 7 figure reward for? Some of these offers are getting louder and more frequent. This implies (highly speculative) that there is a hole in the net and certain entrepreneurial players are going whilst the going is good. Several addresses offered even more since the elections, implying that as there is a hung UK government the going is better. I am speculating that there is a finance hole that can be exploited for now, it is speculation, but it is all I have for now. These people are so paranoid that it makes Alexander Bortnikov a mere naive and trusting teenager, an interesting version of the director of the FSB, don’t you think?

We need large changes and throwing money at it will not yield the people anything, merely deeper debt. It is for that reason why I refuse to trust Jeremy Corbyn. Yet these issues are on one side, the other side is equally an issue and equally a problem, also for the UK. Qatar is now in a different place. It started yesterday with ”There is no trust’: Gulf states give up hope on Qatar’  (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/09/qatar-united-arab-emirates-diplomacy). This is not that unexpected, but that we see actions by UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt gives rise to more extreme measures. Qatar is now surrounded by people who have had enough of them. As we realise that the quote “Omar Saif Ghobas, the United Arab Emirates’ ambassador to Russia, one of the most eloquent exponents of UAE thinking, insisted the new anti-Qatar alliance was not planning a military invasion or externally enforced regime change. Instead, he said Qatar had a history of internal regime change, implying the UAE would welcome the removal of the emir” with in addition “It is Turkey that is militarising the position“, we now see a first move where Turkey has become a much stronger problem for Europe. And some of the EU players were so adamant in getting Turkey added, even as there were several cases clearly shown that Turkey should not have been allowed into the EU or NATO. So where are those advocating to add Turkey now? They should be placed into the limelight and be held publicly to account. The two key supporters were Poland and the UK. So here we see the issue with Boris Johnson. How could he have been so stupid to get on that unreliable horse? As we see Turkey go off base more and more, the higher the need for Boris Johnson to seek another job and get a haircut. Is that a fair assessment?

Qatar has been a problem for a while now and when you see 4 nations who at present prefer to do business with Israel instead of Qatar, we can honestly state that there is an escalating issue in the region and Turkey is making it worse. Now, wee look at the news we got 6 hours after the initial news (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/09/qatar-crisis-grows-as-arab-nations-draw-up-terror-sanctions-list), where we now see: ‘Qatar crisis grows as Arab nations draw up terror sanctions list‘, it starts with “Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies have sanctioned a dozen organisations and 59 people it accuses of links to Islamist militancy – a number of them Qataris or with links to Qatar – escalating the diplomatic crisis in the region“, which is a mere way to appease the neutrality of our palette. You see, the news is not just on “increased military cooperation with Qatar, including the potential deployment of Turkish troops“, I think that the ‘support’ has been going on a little longer than we think. It is my speculative believe that someone in Qatar has been facilitating Kurd intelligence to Turkey in some way. For a price Turkey got information and this has been a facilitating event. I cannot prove in any way the idea that the counts that Turkey offers is highly overstated and in fact, their attacks are not as successful. It is the way that we see some of these events reported, that is why I questions some of the numbers. Here I could easily be wrong, so don’t take my word on that.
The reason to mention it is because Turkey is following another pattern, Qatar is so out of the way, it makes no sense to get on the wrong side of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt, at present I cannot state whether the Turkish military are going insane or that there is another play in action. What is a given is that this will escalate further and it will impact Europe as well! To what degree remains an unknown for now.

So, as we go into a theatre mode, let’s go with ‘Pigs in Space’, we have to narrate towards the next episode with: ‘Tune in next week when we see Boris Johnson getting a haircut, and as the man behind health states, would you like to be in charge, does he have the £350m a week entrance fee? And when the head nurse needs some elevation, will The Lord Newby, also known as Baron Newby et a Saudi Nurse? That and more is answered next week in Piiiiiiiiigs in Spaaaace’ Yes, that was mildly entertaining, but it gives reference to a part many might have missed in the Guardian last week. The article ‘The Qatar spat exposes Britain’s game of thrones in the Gulf’ (at https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/05/qatar-spat-exposes-britains-game-of-thrones-gulf-paul-mason). It has more information than you bargained for. We can all hide behind “Britain cannot solve the diplomatic crisis in the Gulf. But it can stop making it worse”. You see, it all sounds good and gravy, but over the decades’ nations made alliances, they made choices and some those are long term. In addition, is the UK better off staying out of it, or try to get a result that fits the needs of the United Kingdom? That is the question is it not? We either align or we let others dictate future global events. Saudi Arabia is a global player, Qatar is not. Some choices are hard and in this Labour is very valid in making a different choice, that cannot be held against them, what can be held against them is them thinking that there will not be long term consequences. That is just utter stupidity on a podium. That is the play, that is the game, so as we align with some and align wrongly with some, we cannot just move towards the others stating, lets play a game. We either commit or state openly that Turkey is a clear and present danger to Europe and the European way of life and let the chips fall where they may. I wonder how quickly some politicians (read Jeremy Corby) spin that in any direction away from them at the drop of a hat. So is one view hypocrite, the other view, or are we considering that electing hypocrites into office comes at a price we all have to pay for?

Just sit down and consider that one. That is after you contemplate the meaning of Mario Draghi’s ‘policy normalisation’ and what it is about to cost you. So have a lovely weekend and enjoy a nice slice of cake on Monday!

Long live the Queen!



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Creating a dangerous joke

There is a lot going on. At first I wanted to take you into the world of fake news, it is a problem and it is a global one, but the elements in play, so many of them will confuse the hell out of anyone. It is not a simple story, it is an issue that will take many pages and there are plenty of people that cannot be bothered to read that much, I most certainly get that.

So why three issues?

They are only casually linked, but the events as they are taking places all at the same time makes me wonder if, and to what extent they will intersect.

The first one is regarding everyone’s favourite ‘democracy’, North Korea! They decided to fire a missile for 500 Km to make a show of force. So millions were spend to make a show of strength that their missile will make it for 4% of the journey. This whilst we need to realise that the bulk of the 44,000 that became homeless in the floods 5 months ago are still for the most homeless. This event is making South Korea very nervous as the missile can reach them, the USA will make a show out of it all, even as there is no evidence that the missile could ever successfully make the other 96% and hit something substantial after that. As stated, there is no evidence, that in light of the military command setting the pass with Dell desktop computers that most gamers would not even touch in sheer desperation just so that they could play a game.




The second issue is another part all together. There has been a flaming row between Piers Morgan and JK Rowling. In this, I need to try and get through to people who seem to have a massive hatred for the Trump presidency. The video (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MrbXk5xOOM) gives us part of that. We usually do not get the full story as more than one media outlet, or opponent does not like him to complete his train of thought. He makes a few points that need to be considered. It goes far beyond mere freedom of speech, I will never be against it, yet in all this the papers need to be accountable for what they do. The situation is similar that the UK has with Brexit. So when we see the Rowling v Morgan event (at http://honey.nine.com.au/2017/02/13/07/54/jk-rowling-piers-morgan-twitter-spat), which has been going on for a few days now. The nine event shows a short part where Piers gets splattered as he was not allowed to finish his words. The quote “President Trump’s travel ban because the British TV presenter won’t call it a Muslim ban. Trump has tried to stop citizens of seven predominately Muslim countries, including Iran and Syria, from entering the US“, which is what he actually said. The part where Piers is correct is that his assessment is correct. You see the 7 nations are: Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Libya, Sudan and Somalia. Some of the Muslim nations that are not on the list and not banned are: Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, Muslim nations are not on that list. In addition, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Nigeria, United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Egypt. Yes, it is correct that the 7 nations are predominantly Muslim, yet until that list at least doubles, it is not a Muslim ban.

It was ‘nice’ and original that Jim Jefferies reflected on how Adolf Hitler grew into his role whilst singing a lullaby to 6 million Jews, but the reality is not the same here. So in a comedian like atmosphere he can tell Piers to Eff You Kay off, but he is deceiving you. In that regard the quote from JK Rowling ““Yes”, she tweeted.” Watching Piers Morgan being told to f–k off on live TV is *exactly* as satisfying as I’d always imagined“, might be valid from a celebrity like her as she has seen the darker less acceptable side of journo’s on a global level, but in all , the facts were not correctly given. And the press seems to be heralding to a larger extent, for too long to give the microphone to any person willing to loudly speak out against the current US president. This situation is more important than you think, you see, President Trump is doing almost exactly what he promised to do, yet if we consider that 100% of his voters are 50% of the nation, is he doing the right thing for America? It is a serious question and the answer is less easy to give, because the losing side is trying to create flame after flame via emotional broadcasts. The left has grown its media domain to such an extent that part of the US is unlikely to ever get the full facts. The Piers Morgan video gives us that. They give the realm where we hear on how CNN is implied to have some sort of buddy system with the previous administration. That is actually more alarming than you might think, because in such a setting, have we heard any reliable news from CNN over the last 3 years? Did you consider that part of the equation?

erdoganmemeTurkey is the last part in this equation. As we see thousands of people getting fired, arrested and prosecuted in what most call a massive aversion of the course of justice, we see that the list has grown. The BBC recapped the last 7 months as an event “following the failed coup attempt, nearly 100,000 civil servants have been removed from their posts. That includes teachers, police officers, soldiers, academics and lawyers“, where it should be clear that several of these groups would not be caught alive talking to one another, we must wonder how this shift, how this automation towards a totalitarian political shift is not the disastrous move that Germany found itself in on 30th January 1933. With the death of Paul von Hindenburg on 2nd August 1934, the shift of Adolf’s rise to power was complete. In this the danger we see Turkey in due to the acts of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan are a lot higher than we get from President Trump, more important, as we see a massive political ‘Erdogan’ shift, what does that spell for the rest of Turkey? Will we become witness to the rise of a dictatorship, not unlike the one from Saddam Hussein? The changes he started in the 70’s, which led to the executions (read: purges), which would kill well over 250,000 Iraqis? More important, how will Europe interact at that point, or would Europe even allow itself to any interaction with Turkey?


These three are interacting because the Turkish population all over Europe will react to what happens in Turkey, more important, as Turkey becomes more ‘driven’ and President Erdogan finds the European doors close on him, we will get a new intelligence issue. As the Millî İstihbarat Teşkilatı (MİT) will be given the similar tasks, but now if finds itself more and more collecting international security intelligence, which changes the game as the allegiance with the USA will shift. The one with the FSB does not change that much as the FSB never really shares intelligence unless they know there are two other sources able to offer the information. As the open EU borders shut down to their original state, we will suddenly see that those outside of certain discussions will now become absent of being informed. It is the natural consequence of ending an open border environment. So as we see the Cold War escalate, there is at least the smallest chance that they will try to leave the hints of gullibility with the MİT. There is no evidence, but the Russian Intelligence side of things (before they started to call themselves FSB) has plenty of examples and lets not forget that they are still sore regarding a certain fighter plane that was shot down for transgressing Turkish borders for no more than 14 seconds.

This now gets another turn of complications as the two parts that we see escalating in the Washington Post with “White House national security adviser Michael Flynn is under increasing political pressure and risks losing the confidence of some colleagues following reports that he misled senior administration officials about his discussion of sanctions with a Russian envoy shortly before President Trump took office“, as well as “Former acting attorney general Sally Q. Yates warned the White House that national security adviser General Michael Flynn may be vulnerable to Russian blackmail, the Washington Post reported on Monday“, so as we ponder this, just a mere 1800 seconds ago we get “Flynn has acknowledged he might have discussed sanctions with the Russians but could not remember with 100 percent certainty, which officials said had upset Pence, who felt he had been misled“. ‘Is this the geriatric division of the Intelligence community?‘ I might drop a nickel every now and then, but I am not the national security adviser and neither is I having to be a General! Two very visible places where an event where things like ‘sanctions‘ and ‘could not remember with 100 percent certainty‘ what factors were having an impact on the sanctions. That part should have been clearly documented as filed so that the alphabet group knows what’s coming (those in charge that is). You see, as we all face the news of escalations (especially Turkey and Russia), the Russian issues with America (and vice versa) implies that we are on the forefront of an optional new cold war.

This is not just me, several sources are raising the threat of the new cold war (or Cyber cold war) as some call it. In this we will face several fronts, because there is currently an issue with the top positions and I feel that I can claim with a decent certainty that Breitbart News will be massively out of its depth when it misplaces, misrepresents or misquotes any element in such an affair. In addition, the General Flynn issue gives rise to the issue that this optional war is one that America will not be ‘in like Flynn‘, which gives away some of its lack of preparedness at that point.

So as North Korea might soon be making a few more boasts whilst we get incriminations addressed towards America and South Korea by China, we will see more speeches, considerations and not so carefully worded denials. In the end, we are skating towards a diminishing field of options. Well, actually, the question becomes what will happen, as we now see the resignation letter of the National Security Advisor (which might have been the only move left), the USA is now forced to get another person confirmed for the role. In a time when getting proper advice is pretty stellar important, selecting the right advisor would have been pretty important. All this in the first 100 days is not the best way for the new president to make any headway. Attached to this is the press, who have been on a massive Trump bash. The left who has been enjoying a lefty point of politics and getting enabled at every corner is now facing a vindictive administration, which is counterproductive on both sides, because any escalation down the Cold War front means that proper informing the people on what is actually happening is going to be much more important. In that regard, perhaps it is starting to be more and more important to label the tabloids with a brand that it is not truly presenting the news, I would prefer that they also lose the 0% VAT option, the idea that intentional misinforming the people comes with a tax break! Does that not bother you?

You see, these elements as stated are linked, not directly on the events, but how we react to them, this can have an increasing negative consequence, especially as we use social media to gain favour and laughs. Yet the other side tends to be less recipient. Some will take the moral offended side of the matter. So as we heard Jim Jefferies Hitler reference, some reacted, some did not and most reactions were against Piers Morgan. Now, I am no fan of him. I think that he plays a dangerous game, trying to side with the emotional side of people, as do Journo’s like Lisa Wilkinson, yet in some lights she tends to be a lot more level headed here. In contrast, when we see the Morgan quote: “To all the ignorant, bigoted transgender community members continuing to abuse me re @janetmock – I’m bored of you now, go away. Thanks.

Piers need to equally realise that if he does not consider thinking things through before making his case knowing very well that there will be open outrage, he needs to realise sooner rather than later that he is not part of any solution, he remains part of the problem.

This story will get a sequel as certain events are currently still evolving.


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In speculated anticipation

This is on a matter that is slippery like a promiscuous nymphomaniac lady contemplating monogamy. In a world where any person next to you could be a pimp, a whore or merely psychotic. Welcome to the cold war! Merely a few hours ago, the Guardian gave us ‘Obama orders sanctions on Russia after campaign hacking during US election’ (at https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/dec/29/barack-obama-sanctions-russia-election-hack). Now, we have known the CIA and other parties to be blatantly incorrect when it came to Sony and North Korea. Yet, here in this case, there are a few elements in play where it is indeed more likely than not that if there was real interference that Russia would have been guilty, involved or at the very least privy to the events. In this China is a lot less likely, because as business deals go, they are a lot better of with the Ignorance of former State Secretary Hillary Clinton, than they will ever be with President elect Donald Trump, so as the calling of garden grooming spades, the one turning the soil is overly likely to be the Russian side.

There was an earlier article referred to in this one, where we see: “He dodged whether Putin personally directed the operations but pointedly noted “not much happens in Russia without Vladimir Putin”“, which is actually incorrect. You see, and President Barack Obama know this to be an absolute truth is that deniability is essential in some operations. Yet, in this even as President Vladimir Putin would have been kept in the dark (likely by his own request), it is less likely that Sergey Kuzhugetovich Shoygu is involved, yet if the GRU was involved than Igor Korobov would know for sure. You see, the FSB is the second option, yet for those who have seen some of the reports that Darknet has regarding investigative journalist Andrei Soldatov gives at some parts the inclination that the FSB funding on more advanced cyber actions was lacking making the GRU the opponent of choice. This comes with the assumption from my side that less advanced equipment would have given US cyber sides a lot more data to show earlier that Russia was intervening with the elections. The reports of a group called Fancy Bear gives way to the technology they get access to and the places they can access them at. There is another piece that I have not been able to confirm, it is speculative and even as it gives base to giggles of all matters, it remains a speculation. It is said that Fancy Bear operatives have been able to work from North Stockholm, if so, they might have accessed the IBM backbone there, which has a massive amount of data pushing power. Giving way that the US gave powers to enable hacking of the US election system, live is just too cynical at times.

Another quote is also linked to this, but not from the cyber point of view. “Obama repeatedly weighed in on what he saw as increased polarization in the United States. “Over a third of Republican voters approve of Vladimir Putin, the former head of the KGB. Ronald Reagan would roll over in his grave. How did that happen?”“, in that my response would be ‘Well Mr President, if you had gotten of your ass and actually do things instead of politicising things. If you would have actually kept a budget and not push the US into 20 trillion of national debt people might be less on the fence for the other side, right?‘ There will be no reply because not only as this administration been close to useless, the actions of the last few days where the new electorate gets an agenda pushed down its throat where a clear cooperation with terrorist organisations is seen is plenty of food for thought, yet that rave needs to seize as it does not completely apply to the case at hand!

There are however other matters for concern “In a conference call with reporters, senior White House officials said its actions were a necessary response to “very disturbing Russian threats to US national security”“, which beckons three things:

1. Why was it a conference call and not on every video or a live presentation?
2. Wow long has this been actually known?
3. Where is the actual evidence?

Like Sony, like other parts, the press wants to see evidence and NONE has been presented. No station, as far as I have been able to tell has shown any schematic on how the election could have been tampered with evidence. There are hundreds of anti-Clinton and anti-Trump conspiracy theorist videos, yet none form any reputable news channel. Which also now gives voice to the thought whether the US intelligence branch in this administration has been the biggest joke ever (North Korean accusations et al).

Still in all this, the US is pushing for a cold war, which might not be the worst thing, yet as the US is to be regarded as bankrupt, the upgrades that will involve a data centre and 4-6 billion in equipment and resources is something there will be no room for any day soon.

So what is this about? Is this about the Democrats being really sore losers? I am not sure what to think, yet the entire approach via conference calls, no presentation of evidence, there are a few too many issues here. In addition, if there was evidence, do you not think that President Obama would present it, to show at least that he is capable of publicly smiting President Putin? Let’s face it, he does need to brownie points. Yet, in light of some evidence not shown, the actions at the 11th hour, are they a sign that the Democratic Party will be relying on act that some could regard as Malfeasance in office? Of course these people will not need to give a second thought as they will be removed from office in a few weeks, yet to leave open the next public officials to added pressures to clean up not just their last 8 years of action, but in addition acts of impeding elected officials could have long term consequences. Let’s not forget that the Republican Party starts with both a Republican Senate and Congress, as well as their guy in the White House, so if the Democratic Party wants anything to happen, being nice is pretty much their only option.

In addition, when we look at the US recount (at https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/dec/28/election-recount-hacking-voting-machines), we see first off ‘US recounts find no evidence of hacking in Trump win but reveal vulnerabilities‘, in addition we see “In Wisconsin, the only state where the recount was finished, Trump’s victory increased by 131 votes, while in Michigan, where 22 of 83 counties had a full or partial recount, incomplete data suggests was a net change of 1,651 votes, “but no evidence of an attack”“, which is not amounting to evidence in total, we do see that two places were not intervened with, still the system is setting the pace that there are future concerns. The message ““We didn’t conclude that hacking didn’t happen,” he told the Guardian, but “based on the little evidence we have, it is less likely that hacking influenced the outcome of the election” does clearly state that hacking did not happen, it is given with some clarity that any hacking if it happened, that the outcome was not influenced by hacking. This now gives rising concerns to James Comey and what is happening on his watch. More important, the responses that the Guardian had (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/dec/29/fbi-dhs-russian-hacking-report) where we see “The report was criticized by security experts, who said it lacked depth and came too late” as well as “Jonathan Zdziarski, a highly regarded security researcher, compared the joint action report to a child’s activity center“, which is not the first time we see it. More important is the quote “Tom Killalea, former vice-president of security at Amazon and a Capital One board member, wrote: “Russian attack on DNC similar to so many other attacks in past 15yrs. Big question: Why such poor incident response?”” is exactly the issue I had in the initial minute of the information being read by me and that is not the only part of it. The fact that the involved parties seem to be lacking more and more in advising actions as well as a clear cyber security pathway (the Clinton private mail server issues) that is correctly enforced and checked upon. The utter lack of proper ‘Common Cyber Sense‘ as seen for close to a decade at present all over official and governmental US is cause for a large amount of problems, yet the amount of evidence produced that there actually was Russian Cyber actions into changing the election results have not been brought and was brought was done in a very unconvincing way, in a way that top people had deniability of involvement in fingering the Russians. The PDF reads like something less serious in a few ways. You see, the techniques described are not wrong, but it leaves it open to who was the participating party. It could have been mere private hackers, the Russian Mafia is also a cyber-player. The fact that alleged actions from summer 2015 are only now coming into the light.  Is that not equally strange? By the way, the fact that Russian intelligence would try to ‘visit’ the files of the US Democratic Party is not that weird. Is there any indication that NSA, GCHQ and ANSSI would not have been accessing (or trying to) the United Russian party servers for intelligence is equally silly! Neither shows intent to influence an election. Let’s face it, Benghazi was a large enough mess to sway the vote in the first place and US insiders were all too happy to leak information, the Russian merely had to sit back, laugh and drink Vodka. In addition, the fact that malware was on the systems in not in question, it happens too often in too many places, yet clear evidence that APT28 or APT29 were the culprits implies router information, router data and clear information on when EXACTLY is happened (summer 2015 is a little too wide). More important, this also implies that proper malware defence was NEVER in place, so how shallow do these people want to get?

From page 8 we start seeing the true ability of the intelligence to envelope themselves into the realm of comedy. Items like ‘Update and patch production servers regularly‘ and ‘Use and configure available firewalls to block attacks‘ as well as ‘Perform regular audits of transaction logs for suspicious activity‘, these events should have been taking place for a long time, the fact that registered events from 2015 and now show that these mitigation elements are mentioned imply the fact that IT reorganisation has been essential is a larger issue and heavy on comedy if that has been absent for 2+ years. I think negligence becomes a topic of discussion at that point. The least stated on ‘Permissions, Privileges, and Access Controls‘ the better, especially if they haven’t been in place. So in retrospect, not having any ‘evidence’ published might have been better for the Democratic Party and especially for James B. Comey and Jeh Johnson. The main reason is that these events will have a longer term implications and certain parties will start asking questions, if they don’t, those people might end up have to answer a few questions as well.

In that regard the Guardian quote “The question hasn’t even been asked: ‘Did you take basic measures to protect the data that was on there?’“, a question that seems basic and was basically voiced by Sean Spicer on CNN. The fact that according to 17 intelligence agencies agree (as quoted by CNN), brings worry to those agreeing and the laughable bad quality PDF that was released. Consider that we are seeing the reaction of unanimous agreed intelligence without any clear presented evidence, actual evidence, so what are they agreeing on? As stated by Sean Spicer in the CNN interview, the burden of proof is on the intelligence community. Especially as there is an implied lack of due diligence of the Democratic National Committee to secure their IT systems. The fact that the implied lack of diligence should give view to the fact that there are plenty of American citizens that are anti democrats in the US alone to give worry on WHO have been jogging through the DNC servers.

A view that seems to have been overlooked by plenty of people as well.

In the act of anticipated speculation we should speculate that proper presentation of the evidence will be forthcoming. The presentation on a level that will give a positive response from security experts will be a lot to ask for, yet in all this, you should be asking yourself the one question that does matter, it is possible that the FBI got it wrong three times in a row? If so, in how much trouble is Cyber America?


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A Syrian Reality

Another day, another mention of Aleppo, Syria and events. Hilary Benn speaks of the shame we all should feel. Yet, here we have an issue. Not with his sentiment, but with the clarity of who or what is in charge. Now that the UN has another meeting, labelled as ’emergency’, it is time for people to realise that labels are no longer things to see You see, CNN states ‘descent into hell‘, I say ‘the reality of choice‘. As we now see that Assad, with Russian aid secures the news like ‘Syrian Government Forces Are Close to Full Liberation of Aleppo City’ and ‘Syrian army gaining control of Aleppo eastern quarters’ we need to realise that America is no longer the leader of the free world, that it is too bankrupt to be calling any shots other than commercial deals (read: trade agreements) to feed its own greed. The fact that Libya has now asked Russia to intervene on its behalf. As General Khalifa Haftar is meeting with Russian minister to seek help, we now all need to realise that we are chasing the consent from an empty bag names America. Only now, well over a year too late are pundits all over the media field considering a change. Those who some consider to be half baked evangelical procrastinators of social sciences are now considering that Frexit ‘might’ happen. The data was clearly there for well over 26 weeks. Just like they were trying to stay buddies with those running the gravy trains, Brexit was ignored for too long and Frexit is very nearly a given next. When you consider the quote two weeks ago in the Guardian “Kenny’s administration in Dublin to strongly back any French attempt to gain more concessions from Brussels to prevent a possible ‘Frexit’“, we can now start quoting South Park (Oh my god, they killed Kenny) whilst Ireland is considering the dangers it is manoeuvring itself in.

What about Syria?

Yes, that is the question, because for the most, no one gives a dams about Syria! This is a harsh reality. When you look at the cold reality for Syria, you will consider that the natural resources of Syria include iron ore, crude oil, phosphate rock, manganese ore, asphalt, marble, rock salt, and gypsum. Most can be gotten in many places, whilst oil value is in the basement and iron ore is in an even worse place. The large corporations do not care for any of these substances, so as such The American Congress is speaking a lot, not saying much and acting even less. The evidence is all around you. This outgoing Democratic failure has done next to nothing substantial. We see mention of weapon support. It is less than it should be and likely done to write off old equipment or get some parties a tax breaks (personal assumption), it never amounted to anything serious. The same could be stated for the United Kingdom, who with the US was involved with Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve, because the growth of ISIL is scary for both of them. In my view, if there is any hero to be laureled in this mess than it would be the doctors who despite this level of ignoring are still trying to aspire the best the medical profession has to offer, in my view, most of these doctors are worth of any recognition that equals the Victorian Cross (American equivalent: Medal of Honor).

The grim reality of life set to value is that the morality of the things that President Assad was accused of. Perhaps some people remember how a little over 5 years ago, the unrest of the 2011 Arab Spring escalated to armed conflict after President Bashar al-Assad’s government violently repressed protests calling for his removal. Soon thereafter we had the issue that the government of a sovereign nation retaliated against those who were seeking to overthrow that government. This is the issue, you see, many of these nations had to deal with massive gaps in quality and quantity of life. There was a great deal of dissatisfaction that led to opposition and uprising against these governments and as such things escalated. There have been widely distributed claims that the US government’s support of the uprisings fuelled actions, funded largely by the National Endowment for Democracy (www.ned.org). This in an age where people in non-governmental places seem to think that whatever they do the US government had its back. Yet the outgoing Democratic Party had no money left, even worse, the total national debt is expected to hit 20 trillion just when President-elect Donald Trump gets into office. He gets a building to temporary live in and a debt that will take more than 3 generations to remove. Whatever happens, their choice will be American based, American focussed and there will be no space for any military action of any kind unless it is due to a direct attack on America. In all of this Syria is not mentioned, because for the players at large, it has no value, not the living, the dead or the national resources. For the next 8 years at least there is every indication that Russia will get a near cart blanch to grow its influence and after this December 2016 there is plenty of evidence that this will come with full Syrian backing, and likely Libyan backing too.

So this now ups the ante for Israel and in addition, it will require the allies and friends of Israel to up their game by a lot, because this game implies that the next cold war comes with one player short, an empty intelligence coffer and a much wider supported Russia. I reckon that Alexander Bortnikov will be having some very comfortable lunches with Sergey Lavrov. I can only assume that black bread and borscht will not be on the menu, Pancake! (Internal FSB translation joke).

These events are very much at the core because the US security council has the US and Russia in opposition, so that part is not expected to get into action, the only benefit here is that China could side with US, not because of any Syrian humanitarian need, but if the US gets committed here, the US economic prospects go down further, which would suit China just fine. In my view, if there is anything to be salvaged, than it needs to be Jordan, not Syria. If we actually have any regard for lives, than the support for Jordan, for its infrastructure and resources is essential as it has been trying to give support to 1.4 million refugees (Syrians and officially registered refugees).

Let this sink in readers, we are bickering all over the world on how many refugees we should take and Jordan has added 25% of its entire population from refugees and Syrians. That whilst Jordan has always had a shortage of water and a few other resources. In my view, the actions of King Abdullah II of Jordan seem to me to be more worthy of a Nobel Peace prize a lot more than the one given to President Barack Obama ever was. I am not ignoring the issues at the Jordanian border, the given fact by Al Jazeera et al that there tens of thousands of refugees stuck in no man’s land. Yet Jordan already has 1.4 million, 25% of its entire population, they have done more than most nations have considered. That part, will be opposed and countered by nearly every nation, but that is the grim reality. I feel certain that Jordan was not working with open arms, yet when we see the few thousand that are in Greece (OK, a little over 10% of those in Jordan), the fact that Syrians (as reported by Ekathimerini) have been quoted that compared to life as a refugee in Greece, they would have preferred to have stayed in Syria. Tell me, when a person prefers to take their chances and live in an active war zone, how bad are you as a nation? Now, we can agree that Greece was in a really bad place before the Syrian refugees arrived, so that did not help the Greeks any, also their lack of any infrastructure to deal with these amount of refugees must also be accepted.

In all these matters discussed, big business have remained silent, inert and lacking actual action that make a difference. In addition, as Donald Trump is stated to make a policy change that it will be ‘America First’, which under their economic climate is fair enough, when the dust settles and President Bashar Hafez al-Assad sits on his ‘throne’ as victor, how many nations will move forward trying to do ‘business’ with Syria? How many will enter the quote ‘moving forward’ in their speeches and statements? You see, the reality of any nation has forever been that those with empty coffers do not govern, the US is figuring that out the hard way, because its actions and messages on a global scale are ignored by too many players for it not to be the case. In the end, these trade deals have a one sided benefit for American companies. They would still get to sue other governments, whilst the President-elect is moving towards the tactic of: “Instead, we will negotiate fair, bilateral trade deals that bring jobs and industry back onto American shores“, and here I will be honest, it is pretty much the only option that the US has and no one can fault America for that, just realise that those who would have enacted the TTIP/TPP would have learned the hard way that American corporations would have sued governments for the mere profit of it. That too would bring money to America, and their board of directors. In all this, in light of Brexit/Frexit and now these trade deals, we see a massive lack of national legal protection in these ‘deals’, this whilst these corporations have only consented to continue certain factories when the tax breaks are juicy enough. When that falls away, those claimed economic national benefits fall away too and even today, certain taxations that wold have been seen as fair as those places took away billions, now that the economic weather changes, nations at large need to consider where to move to next. It is that weather that made me evangelize stronger bonds with the Indian pharmaceutical industry. Most nations have a growing need for generic medication and places like Syria, Jordan and Greece even more. Yet the people who should have realised this seem to be pushing for any pharmaceutical deal with America, whilst the players all know that there will be no local benefit, none at all, so again we see now that the Trump thinks like a business man, which is what the social left is not getting (read: comprehending), whilst they ignored the tax reform essentials, they keep on giving money from empty coffers, that party is over and those not adjusting their view will be in the cold soon enough. This also means that certain values change. This is the grim reality for Syrians, their value is none and have been so for some time. Not on a humanitarian scale, but the nations at large have no funds there, so we see that we turn our backs on a situation we cannot change and we cannot influence, in my personal view, mainly because some lawmakers were asleep at the wheel in setting up trade deals and certain tax loop holes (read: these loopholes were purely incidental and coincidental, not in any way orchestrated). Now we have to choose between economic hardship and humanitarian ‘sound’ suicide, how is that a choice?

So here we are, seeing another iteration of ‘boo hoo hoo’ Syria, we all know it, we all agree and we cannot do anything, mainly because those who could, gave away the keys to the castle and the executive washroom. Those who are now in charge are setting the pace and none of them want a war where they get nothing out of. This is the mere reality of an economic driven political society of elected officials. No monarchy would ever abide by that. Should you see that the Libyan and Syrian deal have no influence, when you hear someone preach just that, and how America will get on top soon enough, also feel free to investigate the connections that are now happening between Egypt and Russia. A new air base on the Mediterranean close to the Libyan border, so as America moved out, Europe is getting surrounded by Russian bases, if we include the now permanent Russian Naval base in Syria. This is why Israel needs to change its game, because it is not outside of the realm of issues that Mossad now needs to refocus their attentions to foreign operations and data gathering. A field that the Russian have been decently good at. They do have one advantage, Sergey Yevgenyevich Naryshkin might be highly intelligent; he lacks experience and is relatively new to the job. If he ends up relying on the heads of Political Intelligence and Illegal Intelligence, the game changes, because those two are not the newbies we would want them to be and the Middle East desk will be the new hot potato for Intelligence Officers with a scent for promotion for at least 5 years (read: Mossad will have to deal with Intelligence ego’s from all over Europe). My weird sense of humour would try to push those two into the marching path of General-Lieutenant Igor Valentinovich Korobov, a proud man and as per 2016 the new head of the GRU, pride is something that often be used against that very same person.

Why mention these matters, what is their impact on Syrian refugees?

No matter what happens in the coming 3 weeks, when the dust settles, most nations would want these refugees to return to Syria, many Syrians want to return to Syria, but that place is in rubble and those people have nothing left. Syria will be a construction heaven for Russian entrepreneurs for decades to come, also meaning that the economic times will change and the Middle East picture we had of it will have changed more than many understand or want to take for granted. The Arab spring will soon be seen as a temporary thing that was not the success people wanted and proclaimed it to be. Some in those fields will object and counter with all kinds of manipulated data, in addition the press will give a few more articles on how the Arab spring was the only way and it was a good way, yet when we see that Russian influence is rising all over the Mediterranean, and now with Morocco raising the tourist numbers for China and Russia, it could be interpreted that a first signal is given to Sergey Lavrov that a conversation of interest is soon to be an option. In my personal view, one of two corridors of travel for ISIS ends up being in Russian hands. If not correctly countered we will see a radically shifted view of northern Africa with America no longer being any form of player there. This also reflects on Syria, because these nations will allow Russia to set up an empty trade house where they are merely the middle man in commerce between Syrians and Northern African partners, so suddenly there will be large economic growth (moving from zero that will always be the case) and it will push a shift in other ways too. It is the Grim reality we face, because the actual culprit was greed and we have seen how both America and the European Economic Community was unwilling and unable to act against it, which is why we will only see a stronger push for Frexit and Brexit. A move that scares the US, because the Euro and the Dollar are too closely tied and this dissolving action will be seen as the nightmare scenario by the IMF and Wall Street, where the question now becomes: who is speaking for whom?


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In light of non-brilliance

I just ended reading an article that has the hairs of the back of my neck stand up straight. I have seen my share of bungles and botches, but the article ‘Solicitor mistakenly sent girl’s address to father who murdered her‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/sep/12/safe-house-address-of-may-shipstone-murdered-by-father-accidentally-sent-to-him) kind of takes the cake!

The subtitle ‘Case review concludes there is no evidence Yasser Alromisse located daughter’s safe house via accidental disclosures‘, in that regard I wonder what evidence and how thorough things were looked at. We all know that mistakes are made at times. Yet the level of errors, when they are nothing short of reckless endangerment to the life of a child is quite the achievement.

It’s almost like giving a 5 year old an active hedge trimmer asking it to throw it in the air and catch it again. I wonder if the sitting Judge will consider leniency whether the current to that trimmer had been switched on inadvertently. The quote “reported to police that her solicitor had inadvertently disclosed their new address to Alromisse in legal papers” seems to be part of all this. In addition we see “previous addresses or identities were inadvertently given to 46-year-old Alromisse by other bodies, including a bank and the Child Support Agency“, which is one clear reason why I do not bank online. You see, it is not just about this case specifically. The fact that I have been contacted on more than one occasion, whilst the marketeers were clearly selling me things (as marketeers do), based upon information my previous telecom provider had released to them.

Another gasser is the quote “the serious case review concluded that no one could have predicted or prevented the killing, which took place in Northiam, near Rye, East Sussex, on 11th September 2014“, in that regard, the joker in that part of the game should consider “five months earlier Lyndsey Shipstone, who had fled with her daughter to escape domestic abuse and violence“. The fact that this lady needed a safe house might be indicative of the fact that not just her, others too clearly perceived a danger to her life. You see a safe house is not just a place where you hide defected members of the FSB or MOIS, it is also where you could hide a person who prefers not to be beaten to death. #Justsaying

You see, it is not the act that is the issue. The quote “After a thorough independent review, the LSCB concluded, as did the investigating police officers, that the father planned and carried out the killing in a secretive way, using the internet and a range of covert methods to trace the family and obtain the means to carry out the murder“, so there was an online path that lead to the victims. Now, I will accept that if the mother had posted selfies with geotracking on Facebook with texts like ‘Here we now safely are‘, there is a clear case of the mother losing the plot, but that is not it, is it? Apart from legal papers that could have inadvertently contained information (which is still very wrong), it is more the issue that, as stated ‘including a bank and the Child Support Agency‘, I have to ask the question, is this an institutional failure? In addition, when I see the quote “It called for assurances from agencies that systems were in place surrounding information about vulnerable people that should not be revealed”

Which agencies and what systems? Did anyone consider not logging information on something this volatile and currently implied to be non-protective? There is one other part in the article that I find debatable. The quote “there is no evidence this information did actually allow him to track them down. In fact, it was a period of some six months after details had been disclosed to him before the mother raised concern, and in that time there is evidence the father had still been using the internet to try to trace them“.

You see if that is all true then an IT expert could have given loads of Intel on how the address was sought and how it was found. Perhaps after 2 hours of seeking an not finding anything, he might have read the legal paper stating;

Victim A, currently residing at 68 shoot her dead lane, [insert postcode] Northiam. Yes, that made it hard, did it not? And as for the time lag, how many non-law students/professionals do you know that read legal papers to the degree they should? So whilst I see the part at the end where it reads “what we want all agencies to be mindful of, is that social media and powerful internet search engines make it increasingly difficult for families fleeing violence to rely on their whereabouts remaining secret. This needs to be considered as part of safety planning and guidance given to those at risk“, there has been no mention of not entering certain data online and keeping that info off-line in a folder that is in a locked cabinet, with perhaps only a reference number. Is it me or have I oversimplified the issue?

This is what is at the centre of all this, the consideration to remain off-line. You see, when it is offline, the average person cannot accidently reveal that information, and in addition the requesting party would be required to talk to the person that has access to the paper, the person, not some code for access. It is an issue that will be evolving in the near future for many reasons. No matter what excuse Apple used (valid or otherwise), the fact that the breach was a result of vulnerabilities in Apple’s password security system, enabling persistent hackers to guess the passwords and security questions of select users. So what were these ‘persistent’ hackers? How persistent makes for how many guesses? These parts were not given, my guess is, is that it has been likely more than three times. I have seen similar issues with Skype passwords. This goes further than just quality control. It is of course part of it, but the evolution of systems shows now more than ever the need for better security control on applications and more important, on data. The idea that Child services endangered the child is more likely the stuff of nightmares for those working there, but how was it revealed? Without better insight in how things happened, there is no way to tell but the fact that the wrong person got access and accidently revealed it to the wrong person is now more likely than not.

A linked issue could be seen in the Sydney Morning Herald (at http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/consumer-security/massively-negligent-childrens-photos-audio-recordings-released-after-toymaker-vtech-breach-20151201-glc7ps.html), where ‘children’s photos, audio recordings released after toymaker VTech breach‘. The article being useful in more than one way I might add. The quote “A breach of almost 4,854,209 parents and 6,368,509 kids’ online accounts” should scare any parent senseless. The article which was published on December 1st 2015 gives way to more parts. In one instance is the April 20th article (at http://www.smh.com.au/business/banking-and-finance/banks-fret-data-breach-law-will-stir-fear-about-digital-economy-20160419-goai8n.html), which is about the quote “Banks have warned the federal government that a proposed law requiring mandatory notification of serious data breaches risks stirring up fear about the nation’s transition towards a digital economy“, which starts the story, with mentions that there are issues with the situation as a whole. The banks make various valid cases, yet when we get to “the proposed law as being convoluted and warns it could dampen public confidence in the digital economy that the government wants to encourage“, you should consider that there are various online issues and the banks are currently losing the cyberwar, not winning it. Now, there might not be direct threat to life in this case, yet the fact that criminals are getting better at getting to your money and there is too much unclear regarding issues like the responsibility of the users regarding safeguarding passwords. There are issues all over the board and the fact that more and more applications are using shared libraries on desktop and mobile, which does not guarantee added security, far from it. One flaw is all that is needed to get multiple access to data sets. And as you might have noticed, there have been way too many flaws in IOS, Android and Windows (although I personally believe that the amount of windows flaws have grown exponential to the sum of both IOS and Android flaws. There is an additional problem, as there is a time lag between finding the flaw and fixing it. When the development teams find them it is one thing, when they act reactively because a third party had found them it becomes another matter. Now, the reality is, is that not all flaws are about personal details or data matters, but some are!

So was this mere an institutional failure through personal actions, or was it a cyber and IT issue? The issue would be easier if the report was available, but let’s take a look.

You see, The East Sussex LSCB is at http://www.eastsussexlscb.org.uk/, which looks ok, but when you take a simple deeper look (at http://www.eastsussexlscb.org.uk/index.html), we see the Parallels Plesk Panel, with the text “To log in to your Parallels Plesk Panel, visit https://www.eastsussexlscb.org.uk:8443“, now this does not give away the farm, but it raises questions, on why the page is there in the first place. Ah, but the plot thickens!

You see (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTpmZvcIZIM), there is a video on how to exploit the zero day exploit, and the video was published on 5th Sep 2014, 6 days before the murder! It shows precisely how to get into the system and how to get the information out of such a system. Now we have ourselves a ballgame, don’t we?

No matter when it was fixed, this video gives the goods to get access to the system, meaning that other children could have been and even might be in danger. So what does the report (at http://www.eastsussexlscb.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/SCR-Child-P-Overview-Report-Published-March-.16.pdf) say?

The report gives some of the goods at 3.5, where we see: “Child P’s address and important details of her mother’s circumstances were inadvertently disclosed by a number of public and private bodies during the period covered by the review, though there is no evidence that this is what enabled her father to locate her“, the intended outcome is “Agencies have in place good systems which identify information about vulnerable service users that should not be disclosed. Staff in all agencies are trained to use the agencies system and to understand the significance of this issue“, which sounds decent, but the zero day exploit their own web system has shown a flaw meaning that these systems are not to be trusted. If even one person has shared login and passwords, the security in there is pretty much null and void.

There is an important element in [100], here we see “It is also now believed that the father had accessed information about Child P and her mother from Facebook. This may have included information that the mother had a new partner and that Child P had been baptised in her local village church“, which is beyond belief! So, you need a safe house, but casually place your actions on Facebook? I am shaking my head in disbelief! Still, the point was added, yet when did these events take place? Is there any evidence that the father accessed those records? In addition, the fact that the flaws of the IT system did not make it into the report, especially in light that the video shows a step by step guide on how to get into such a system is equally a failure on the investigating body of the LSCB. I will agree that this was not the most likely intrusion, especially in light of given information on Facebook. Yet, especially in regards to items 22 and 23 on page 63 gave realisation of the fear of finding out, which places some issues with item [100] aforementioned and who placed what information exactly and on which Facebook account?

What does seem to be the case is that the death of Child P is a slightly bigger mess than either the Guardian or the BBC give vision to. I think that the failure was larger and due to the missing IT part more of an institutional failure than most realise, the fact that no clear guidance of non-social media actions might be in play as supportive evidence to that view.

As I see it, it was a preventable loss and the ‘defence’ “Although the review is clear that professionals could not have prevented this death“, is one I personally cannot agree with.


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United we classify others

Two articles hit me a few days ago. One of them was an article describing a survey by the Reputation Institute. The news article titled ‘Tel Aviv ranked among least reputable cities‘. The article was found at http://www.timesofisrael.com/tel-aviv-ranked-among-least-reputable-cities/. This was an issue for me, because I have been to Tel Aviv. Why would it not be reputable, or at least one of the more reputable cities. In all that I wonder, because the top 600 cities (by population) are larger than Tel Aviv with its 425,000 people. So coming in at 92 whilst 600 are larger is still a good achievement. What puzzles me in all this is the part ‘least reputable cities‘. What makes a city reputable? I did not see the research or the questionnaire, but when we see “the Reputation Institute, asked 19,000 residents of France, Germany, Italy, the UK, Japan, the US, Canada and Russia to rank the world’s top 101 cities based on their levels of trust, esteem, admiration and respect“.

Trust, “In a social context, trust has several connotations“, which is nice yet did the interviewees realise that? The paper (at http://misrc.umn.edu/workingpapers/fullpapers/1996/9604_040100.pdf) gives a nice view on how trust is not an easy thing to tackle. at Page 43 we read “one can develop a good relationship with another person by gradually increasing Trusting behaviour, while at the same time decreasing any minor control measures directed at the other person. Decreasing controls includes less ‘checking up’ on the other person. It also includes moving from a formal relationship to a more personal, informal relationship

Which is nice when we consider that Russia, land of GRU and FSB gives way to ‘decreasing any minor control measures directed at the other person’, so do the interviewees from Russia consider trust the way a person from Sweden, the Netherlands or even Uruguay does? I can go on for the other nations, but in all, many have a feeling towards Israel, their view is biased from day one. Plenty with an anti-Israeli view, some with an anti-Jewish view, the probability of a mean will not apply here.

Then we get ‘esteem’, are they looking upon Tel Aviv in a particular way? Are they confusing esteem with ‘self-esteem’? All questions that go through my mind. We could state that Bagdad in last position is validly there, but over what level of reasoning? Because it is in a warzone?

Yet, do my thoughts invalidate the results? The paper as shown does give a solid foundation, the methodology sounds sound. In that I state ‘sounding sound’ is not entirely on the ball. You see, the heart of the respondent, how does that come in? The study overview states “G8 general public (only people who were ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ familiar)” Yet what makes you somewhat or very familiar? How many Non-Jewish people who have been to Tel Aviv answered this? How many know this place. I was there, and I felt safer there than in Budapest (and Budapest is a decent and safe city). Tel Aviv scored less than Johannesburg, Hanoi, even Cape Town, known for its high crime ended up with a score better than Tel Aviv.

So what gives value to this report? This is not the setting of my view, it is a question. The question exists in my mind because if we give reputation and value to a place we must know and agree to the standards given here. That is the question that should be on your mind too. Now, you might not care about Tel Aviv for many reasons. The bulk of us will never visit the city, visit the country or end up anywhere near it. So how do we give value to a place, even when we are somewhat familiar? Yet there is more than just the result as given in the Times of Israel. Slide 22 when you get the 2015 reputation report (at http://www.reputationinstitute.com/), shows a very interesting part. Familiarity versus Reputation. So how about the places with low familiarity? How come their reputation is so high? Is it the media, because there again we see that Tel Aviv gets in the news when there are rocket attacks and terrorist issues towards Israel, so how can we consider reliability in this report? Beware my words, I am not stating that the methodology is in question, I am wondering how the validity of vision from the interviewee is correct. In a similar way, we can understand that Baghdad is graded poorly, but why is Tehran graded so bad, it is because of our impression of Iran? In that same context we might understand why Sydney, Stockholm and Melbourne are graded so high, yet in all this, what makes Zurich more reputable than Amsterdam or Oslo, perhaps because FIFA is placed there? With the FIFA news Zurich got a lot of visibility, but is that visibility correctly graded in the mind of the beholder? The issue here is the colouring by the media, that influence cannot be countered, which is why I think that Tel Aviv got placed so badly (in this 101 list). Behind all this is a bigger issue. It is the one reason why I object to some of these studies.

In my personal view this list caters to presentations and to some who need to see a national interest, it also places my own view in debate (as it should), not because my view is too shallow, but as we go through the iterations of reasoning behind this as we see in slide 24. The Advanced Economy gives view to the question ‘why is an advanced economy part of reputation or familiarity?‘ This connect on more than one level, which got me to ‘The Economics of Developing Countries‘, what makes for an Advanced Economy? In that view Peru, Chile and Uruguay are not amongst them, so with close to 1/3 of the measurement absent, in that case, how come Montevideo scored so high in that list? If it is the state of peace, we see something a lot more linking, Tel Aviv, Karachi and Abu Dhabi together, a pattern seems to emerge. In that view we must wonder as Tel Aviv is not in war, but under near constant attack. Now when we add Rio to all this, we see another pattern emerge, those not relying on ‘stability of peace’ we see the need for positive reinforced publications, Rio is certainly getting that. In all this we do not question the reputation institute or their methodology, it is all about the people giving their vote. It is that view which gives voice to my worry. Slide 24 is descriptive in all this. ‘Appealing environment’ is one, which give the view to ‘non war torn places’, Effective government is the second one. Yet, why is ‘effective’ government part of all this? You see, in my view, the most effective government is a corrupt one, a humane based government (like Norway and Sweden) tends to be expensive and not that effective. Perhaps effective government and humane government are terms that are interchangeable? I am just asking. In all this we see the four earlier words at the core of this. ‘Trust’, ‘Admire’, ‘Esteem’ and ‘Feeling’, so how does this all link?

Slide 25 gives us ‘Social, Economic & Environmental Policies’ in regard to ‘Effective Government’, are they for real? Environmental policies can be made more effective, but they do not, I say again absolutely not make for an effective government. In addition when an Advanced Economy relies on ‘Financially Stable & Future Growth’ we can state that Wall Street took care of that not happening in the last decade and in addition not for many more years to come, so when we acknowledge that the elements of attributes are an issue, does that not add question marks to the stated foundation of this report? In all this the summary from page 28 onwards makes sense. I do not disagree, I do not oppose it, but in all this, it is a view brought to us on the premise of a flawed view, the influenced view of the interviewee, that part is missing, which gives the question mark within me. This gets me to slide 34, a good reputation might influx tourism, yet in all this, the tainting influence of media becomes a colouring issue, discriminatory and revoking as we ignore or forget that perception is tainting and the press factor seems to be uncorrected for. So how is that not an issue in all this, or at least a non-correcting influence? This all gets me to the final part “living or working in the city, or deciding to invest in the city” might be deciding factors for anyone when the reputation is an issue, but on what foundation? Still overall the report remains an interesting piece of work, the supportive behaviour slide gives fuel to that.

My views do come to fruition in slide 40 where we see the two quotes “Communication is required to capitalize on good reality and overcome poor perceptions” and “Change is required to alter ‘reality’ and minimize reputational risk“. In my mind, this states that opportunity and risk are influential factors that can be pressed on by the media, the media sets perception and alters reality in a hundred ways, so does this paper show true reputation, or does this show how the media is too large a factor to ignore and in all this a place like Tel Aviv got introduced to the less reputable score than they should have gotten? The question is how we see a true score on reputation and perhaps that list is not completely incorrect, but in my personal view, the idea that Bangkok is more reputable than Tel Aviv remains an issue, one of perception and I have actually been to both places.


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First Blood

It’s nice to see the Guardian this morning, first there is the news on Alan Rushbridger who stops being a teenager and starts heading the Scott Trust the power that be, behind the Guardian and several other media companies. Why Teenager? Well, as I see it, when you follow your passion you tend to avoid having to grow up (a sort of Peter Pan syndrome) and this man has lived his dream as I see it. I have written against the Guardian more than once, but it is clear Alan knows what he was doing and he was doing it quite well. Lastly, the bastard looks 15 years younger than his actual age (geriatric envy).

Anyway, now that is out of the way, let’s focus on some first blood. Some will have missed it, but with this jab, President Obama has started his feeble attempt in getting the Democratic Party re-elected in 2016. He needs to get an early start, because if the House Elections are anywhere near an indication, the democrats will lose by a landslide as I see it at present. The Republicans now have 246 seats against the democrats 188, which means that minority speaker Pelosi needs to seriously woe the republicans to get anything sorted, this also implies that President Obama needs to get used to the word ‘No’ a lot more then that he is comfortable with.

So, as we look at the continuation of a white horse, we look at the latest article called ‘White House under pressure as calls for CIA accountability grows stronger‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2014/dec/10/white-house-cia-torture-report). Now there is nothing really against the article itself, it is just a reflection for that what seems to be. But the following parts jumped out at me.

The White House is under growing pressure to hold individuals accountable for covering up the torture of terrorist suspects, with calls coming from a senator for a purge of top CIA officials and a furious row over whether the agency kept both Congress and the previous administration sufficiently informed of the program“, which senators? To give some of these people the label ‘pussy’ seems harsh but in effect that is the truth. These people are all about ‘not getting hands tainted’, ‘I still need to sleep at night’ and ‘as long as I am kept in the dark’. The real terror world outside the US is a nightmare realm, if you can stomach it, the consequences and the acts you have to live with you do not and never will belong on the hill and you belong as a part of the Langley brotherhood, likely trained or to be trained in Quantico or Lejeune. Going up against terrorists is a dirty business and it will damage your soul, whether you believe it or not. Now, I spoke out against the acts yesterday and to the major extent I believe that it was a flawed approach from the beginning. But the reality is that bringing a terrorist into the yard for a meeting with Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, having tea and a biscuit will not lead to information or determent. You must become the beast they fear. If there is one clear directive that we learned from the KGB (now the FSB) and how they dealt with the Russian Mafia, it is that a soft glove leads nowhere.

So which senator made that call? Well, the information is that it came from Senator Mark Udall from the state of Colorado, which seems to be predominantly Republican. By the way, how loud were some of these people before 2010?

The next statement: “When countries are threatened, oftentimes they act rationally in ways that in retrospect were wrong”, is one I can go along with, it is true that this happens, yet the one thing we still ignore is that the terrorist attack we saw had been so unprecedented, that any ‘rational’ response could be thrown out of the window. This compared to the Chechnyan act of parking trucks loaded with explosives next to apartment buildings and blow them (Moscow 1999), try that approach in San Francisco and watch millions go insane with rage. It is a mere and simple cause & effect. If you go into a war against such opponents you need to keep your cool and show that you are willing to do that what they could not fathom. In other words you need your own kind of monster available.

This does not change my premise that the intelligence gained from prolonged torture tends to be ineffective and mostly useless. Whatever answer in regards to state ‘we got Bin Laden this way‘ is on thin ice, regarding how many people it took to get any information on one person.

many insiders perceive as an attempt to isolate the intelligence community from Washington’s political leaders was also supported by former CIA director Michael Hayden“, which is exactly what I would consider to be a fact and the administration had some knowledge of what happened (like water boarding), yet they would never know, or want to know the details, they wanted to see results. Which calls the following to be called into question: “White House rejects claims agency misled President Bush“, which might be academically true, but ““That’s a point of some contention,” he said, when asked whether the CIA had lied to the White House. “There are some people who have said that that’s not true.”” here we see the crux, what EXACTLY was not true? You see, we get a number of ambiguous references, but did the CIA lie, or did they not reveal all facts? There is a large difference here, and as such part of this what we read becomes a deception on how ‘guilty’ the previous administration could have been. It is first blood, the Democrats seem to be pushing for a moral guilt call, in reflection on President Obama ‘stopping’ the torture procedures, yet, if we believe the Huffington Post (at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/20/obama-black-sites-rendition-torture_n_1812578.html), we see that like the technical support of their phone lines, it had been outsourced. The headline that gave us ‘Obama Administration Outsources Torture: Can U.S. Ever End Human Rights Abuses?‘ also tells us: “Despite the closure of these facilities, the administration’s use of extraordinary rendition has outsourced human rights abuse to other countries. Will we ever get rid of torture?” It gives a whole new meaning to the claim ‘it was not us!’

Black water anyone, or do we call it coffee?

What is in a name, in an act and in any non-written, non-verbal agreement is being looked at, which means it is a discussion of innuendo, whilst the politicians hide behind ‘if it is not written down, it does not exist’, knowing that they play this game, selling whatever service they condoned for their own selfish need of re-election. That is how this reads between the lines. So when we read “Director [John] Brennan and the CIA are continuing to wilfully provide inaccurate information and misrepresent the efficacy of torture. In other words, the CIA is lying,”, we should ask certain questions of Senator Udall as well, The senator, who was before that in the House of Representatives, representing the community of Boulder (where Mork from Ork used to live), representing the Judiciary and Agriculture Livestock & Natural Resources Committees, can we all agree that litigating for cattle is not really the same as discussing the finesses of intelligence?

The final part is seen with “Yet Obama’s spokesman went out of his way to defend Brennan on Wednesday, denying that he had lied about any aspect of the torture inquiry“, yes, the President would not like to get his hands tainted on fingering guilt towards Director John Brennan, yet overall this entire article reads like the Democratic administration has started regaining votes and visibility through false morality by having a Minority Democratic Senator stand up and voice thoughts that are morally right, but for the morally wrong reasons. It is almost like the initial invasion on Iraq, when you do the right thing for the wrong reasons you corrupt whatever banner you wish to hold high. In a faltered economy, virtually boosted, the losing party of the next election will feel the consequences of this depreciated position. The democrats are desperate to make sure it is not them.

There is one more quote that calls it all into question. Consider ““The lines of accountability that needed to be set up weren’t always in place and that some of these techniques that were described were not only wrong were counterproductive.”“, it is so nice that President Obama is trying to fit this into the hands of the Intelligence community, like ‘vice holds’ and ‘muzzles’, would it not be nice if he had taken that approach towards the financial industry at least three years ago? If he had done that, America might not be in the desperate economic state it is now; moreover Russia might take America serious when they discuss the Ukraine. This article is all fine, but it read like the democrats will be using this for something entirely different, I hope the people can read between the lines here, because holding certain people to account after the fact, whilst the condoning politicians remain unaccounted for is more than just a little shady.


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