Tag Archives: Guardian

Is there a difference?

That is the question that overcame me. I was considering a new IP on gaming and it is actually going well, but about that soon. Leave it to me to create a Blizzard contender but now as public domain (for Sony and Amazon). And I do need a hobby so it might as well be sawing the chair-legs away from the Microsoft board of directors. Anyway, as I was contemplating a new path in IP, the Guardian gives us (at https://www.theguardian.com/society/2022/jan/20/tower-twice-grenfell-height-planned-single-staircase-urw) with the title ‘Tower twice Grenfell’s height planned nearby with single staircase’, so the initial example on June 14th 2017 was not enough, construction and architectural companies in the UK as vying for the title of who can kill the surplus population the fastest. A few small details, the Grenfell tower was 67 metres high and became a coffin for 72 people. Now we see that the mistake is overtaken by to buildings, one of 130 metres, one 174 metres and again the singular stairs. I reckon that cladding will not be a problem either, there are always ways to avoid cost overruns. So when we are given “A planning application for a 51-storey residential tower in Docklands with one fire escape has been paused after a safety outcry”, my initial thought was “At what point will Mayor of London Sadiq Khan wake the fuck up?”. Not only was once not enough, we now see two plans, one in Docklands and one close to Grenfell, so the people will not see this nightmare, once, they optionally (if they are lucky) see it twice, what a joy greed makes!

So when the guardian treats us to “Grenfell United, a group representing the survivors and bereaved, said: “After half a decade of campaigning for safer homes, it’s shocking to hear that a new tower block, a stone’s throw from Grenfell, rigged with a fire safety defect before it’s even been built, is being planned.” It considers a single staircase inadequate for use by residents and firefighters if an evacuation is needed, even though it is allowable under building regulations.” I am left with the cornerstones.

  1. Why is this still allowed under building regulations?
  2. Why did the Guardian and Grenfell United need to bring this to the people attention?
  3. What on earth is the Mayor of London doing by allowing this targeted killing of London citizens under his watch?

You think that point 3 is overreaching? Consider the Guardian, yes I have had disagreements with them, yet they are giving us a while places like the BBC people (and others too) seemingly have nothing. So at what point will the BBC wake up, when will the larger news take this up and asks loudly the serious questions that should be asked? 

I know, only 72 died, London has roughly 9,000,000 people, so it is nothing. If this upsets you excellent! You see, we saw all the trial shenanigans. Now consider the video (from a firefighter) that some might have seen (at https://youtu.be/QM4RJE81fh4) and now consider and wonder how these two plans were set in motion, moreover we get to hear “a 51-storey residential tower in Docklands with one fire escape has been paused after a safety outcry” at what point will you consider ‘has been paused after a safety outcry’. This required an outcry? This was not stopped from the moment the plans were submitted? It would have been long before the people and in particular Grenfell United would have been aware. 

So when we see the video with the response from a firefighter ‘How is that even possible?” and now the Guardian informs us that two more apartment buildings, buildings that are even higher are planned, I reckon that a lot of people want to know who is at the helm of these folly pieces and a list of civil servants that are seemingly asleep at the wheel of city governance, because as I personally see it heads will roll on this one. So we might be drawn by “as some safety experts call current staircase rules ‘madness’”, I would be much more interested on the setting that someone signed off on this, because we see “has been paused”, this implies that someone gave the signal to go ahead on this, or not?

So when the Guardian gives us “as part of a complex of 1,760 new homes being planned by the owner of the Westfield shopping centre in west London.” I merely wonder if that Westfield complex has an undertaker on the spot, because for them business will be booming with up to 3,500-4,000 new customers soon enough. You think I am too blunt? Consider that being soft seemingly did nothing and the fact that someone was optionally willing to repeat the 72 deaths with up to 4,000 souls for bartering in a second attempt. I believe we need a sledgehammer, not the subtlety of tweezers. We did that in 2017 and it seemingly led nowhere. So as the Guardian gives us “but it will rely on the same “stay put” strategy that failed on 14 June 2017 contributing to deaths, according to planning documents.” I feel anger, but mostly because there is some logic in the ‘stay put’ setting, yet it cannot be denied that is failed completely in Grenfell, so why were ALL London building plans not stopped to investigate the logical sanity of that procedure? And moreover, why is that setting as well as the conclusions of that not in EVERY newspaper in the Commonwealth? 

I will let you ponder on this whilst I continue on the idea that gives Blizzard a run for their money, mostly it is me having a go at Microsoft for buying an ice-cream cone for $37,000,000,000 whilst the supermarket 253.4 meters away sells them by the bucket for $50,000,000. It is only a mere factor of 740, and if I get a decent result on my first attempt Microsoft stock would go straight to the basement, and that is before they get a clue on the other issues that Activision might give them, which makes my attempt a lot easier. Ah well, I hope to give you the news soon. 

When a hobby give that much satisfaction, it is almost criminal to be on an income (I would still take it), and the better case for laughter is that one in 740 implies that statistics would fall towards me no matter how it goes. Consider a dartboard. How many darts will it take for you to throw 180? Microsoft can only win if I fail 740 times any success hit sooner becomes a massive cost for them. And there is the rub, only if I fail more than 740 times will Microsoft win, now you try on a dartboard and see how many times it took you to get 180. That is the folly Microsoft started and I am about to rain the size of a blizzard on their parade. Life can be fun and rewarding at times, unless you live in an apartment building in London.

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Getting a mute to lead the blind

Confused? Good! It has been going on for a little while, but Al Jazeera heads the setting of others with ‘Is the US crackdown on spyware firms just getting started?’, the article (at https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2021/12/22/is-the-us-crackdown-on-spyware-firms-just-getting-started) gives us “The Biden administration blacklisted Israeli spyware firm NSO in November, but experts say more needs to be done.” Well, that might b e nice, yet the absence of evidence means that they take to the streets with the stupid and flammable people. It becomes even worse with “a collaboration by Amnesty International and a coalition of media outlets – revealed that NSO’s software was sold to authoritarian governments that used it to spy on political leaders, journalists, executives and human rights activists, including people close to murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.” As I personally see it, it was a collection of wannabe’s and fakes. They are that because evidence was not ever presented. And now the plot thickens, you think it does not? Well hold on, we are about to really up the throttle on this.

You see Bloomberg hands over the evidence I claimed all along. I wrote in several articles that if that list of 10,000 numbers was real the NSO Group would have a $400,000,000 piggy bank. But Bloomberg gives us ‘Pegasus Spyware Maker NSO Group Throws Cash at New Ventures to Survive’, where we are treated to “Israeli spyware firm NSO Group burned through most of its cash this year in a desperate bid to move past the scandal surrounding its phone-hacking tool Pegasus, according to a person with knowledge of the matter and private financial documents seen by Bloomberg News”, this could be seen as implied evidence that the money was never there, as such the list has to be (to a larger) part fake. Something I saw in less than 5 minutes, but all these wannabe essay writers You know, the one the Guardian has in Washington DC, as well as a wannabe essay writer at the United Nations with an outspoken hatred of Saudi Arabia. All going on flames and friends, but not a lot of evidence. Last Week at Wired we also get ‘Google Warns That NSO Hacking Is On Par With Elite Nation-State Spies’, but I will get back to that. You see the Bloomberg article (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-12-21/nso-group-burned-up-most-of-its-cash-to-shift-away-from-pegasus) also gives us “Two American funds have expressed interest in NSO’s Eclipse technology — which can detect, commandeer and land drones — and in its new big-data analytics platform, for which the company signed its first contract this quarter, the person said. Pegasus would either be shut down or brought under the same umbrella as the other businesses in a bet that U.S. ownership would improve its standing, according to the same person.” In this I personally think that these American Funds can go and get fucked (apologies for the language), you see if the NSO is on a blacklist, the Americans can go try and make it run on a kite. 

Although, there is every chance that China, Russia and optionally Saudi Arabia might want these technologies. So as we consider Wired giving us “The exploit mounts a zero-click, or interaction-less, attack, meaning that victims don’t need to click a link or grant a permission for the hack to move forward. Project Zero found that ForcedEntry used a series of shrewd tactics to target Apple’s iMessage platform, bypass protections the company added in recent years to make such attacks more difficult, and adroitly take over devices to install NSO’s flagship spyware implant Pegasus.” You see what Google (Apple too) isn’t telling you is that the transgression was possible to begin with. This is not some nerd in his mothers basement. This is the kind of person that can equal if not surpass both the NSA and GCHQ. More importantly both Google and Apple were not prepared, so just how many gaps are there in mobile phones? You want to complain about Huawei and their security dangers? Google and Apple are doing that all by themselves, just like Cisco did, but you probably missed those articles. Credit to Cisco of alerting everyone to this, but the media was eager to ignore it, much sexier to accuse Huawei without evidence.

So whilst the White House idiot gave the people a blacklisting, we get:  “NSO issued a statement at the time saying it was “dismayed” by the Biden administration’s decision and that its technologies “support US national security interests and policies by preventing terrorism and crime”” So now the parts are here, we get to my use of ‘White House Idiot’, fair enough! You see, as the finances show that members of the media have been lying (optionally by not vetting information). We also see that the members of the NSO Group might sell to anyone BUT the Americans. A stage that will cost America greatly, especially if China acquires this technology. So after they squandered weapons sales to Saudi Arabia (I am still hoping for my 3.75% bonus on sales to China), the setting is now that one of the most sophisticated pieces of intrusion software might end up where no one wanted it to go, it reminds me of the old saying regarding ‘A cornered cat’, and it serves the mother goose brigade as I personally see it and you can see it too, you merely need to look at the actual claims and the fact that we see words like ‘alleged’, we see ‘might be infected’ and we see no clear number system. No dashboard that gives optional validity to the claims by wannabe essay writers. 

You know what? I am slightly too angry. First the yanks go all out on Huawei whilst evidence was never presented, now we see that the 5G networks are AT BEST a mere 50% of what Saudi Arabia has and in case of the US it is a mere 1.4% of 1%, it is THAT slow. Now we see the same exercise and it will be anyones guess who ends up with the NSO group software. It will be up to the NSO group to decide, yet I feel strongly that it should never end up in American hands. A person should not be allowed to be THIS stupid and being given a slice of cake, if it does happen, it better be valued at several billions. If you are THIS stupid, you cannot be much of a software maker, so pay you will, optionally Google could buy it to make their hardware more secure. It is a stretch and it is a steep price, but it could mean that the Apple supremacy ends and that might be worth a bag of coins to Google. 

Yet the best moment was when I saw that the media nailed their own coffin (the finance bit), so whilst Wired and the Washington Post did the right thing, the others can take a long walk of a short pier as far as I see it. Oh yes, the Wired article was at https://www.wired.com/story/nso-group-forcedentry-pegasus-spyware-analysis/ 

One day until Christmas, I reckon it is that time of the year when we take a little more time to see what weapon systems are out for sale. I need a new hobby!

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The blank stage

There is a stage, it remains blank. It is not a real stage, it is a stage in our minds. We all have one, there is no exclusion. Yet there is also a stage that we fill with assumptions, with presumptions and with unspoken accusations. We all do it, I do, and you do too. This all started during the night. I dreamt a new story, a dark one, for my doing a really dark one. It is set around the corrupt, a smitten hard burning love at first sight and the rage that follows. My mind is currently naming it ‘Wrath’, it is not merely the wrath of a person, it becomes an escalation when the people had enough, when they are pushed into a corner too hard, not unlike the main character and their response will be ‘interesting’. I need to do a little more research, but the law cases I saw in Australia seem to cover a lot, I reckon that if I look harder in the US I will have all the legal settings ready for the story (if I get around to it). I am still filling in the blanks in ‘Keno Diastima’ and I only have the smallest of basic foundations of ‘Vita Exhauriunt’. Most of ‘How to assassinate a politician’ is complete, but there I feel that more needs to be done, I need to add a cog, a need to add a few more parts. This is hardly a one hour story. But then, I never published an actual script before. Yet I reckon that ‘Wrath’ might open the doors to two of these solutions. So as I started to surf the internet to see if something could wake up my mind, I saw something else. Something I wrote about, something the media at large seems to ignore. So when we get to the story two days ago by the ICIJ ‘Pandora Papers journalists face government backlash for investigating financial secrecy’ (at https://www.icij.org/investigations/pandora-papers/pandora-papers-journalists-face-government-backlash-for-investigating-financial-secrecy/) something stirred in me. It was the quote “The Pandora Papers is a global investigation led by ICIJ, published earlier this month, that included more than 600 journalists representing 150 partner media organisations from 117 countries and territories. Based on a leak of 11.9 million documents of 14 offshore services providers, the trove revealed the secret holdings of more than 330 politicians and high-level public officials in more than 90 countries and territories, including 35 country leaders. Ambassadors, mayors and ministers,  presidential advisers, generals and a central bank governor appear in the files”, I almost had forgotten about it. The station that this was a leak, it was not. When we see “14 offshore services providers” all whilst at least two of them have above average protection, this has not a leak. This was a hack, a hack by a government player (most likely the USA) the tax issue is setting the wrong steps, there was a delay, but that delay runs out in 8 weeks and in 6 weeks the ‘tax the rich’ BS starts all over again. In all this time the ICIJ NEVER gave anyone a top line summary. Things like nations involved, like nations with the amount of politicians involved. Not names, a mere tally. So far the ICIJ sounds as useless as the stories they give us and when it comes to stories, I am seemingly better then they could ever hope to be. 600 journalists and no one in all that time create a dashboard for the people to see the impact. We see accusations against Tony Blair, yet they also hid inside the story that he did not break any laws, so how useless is that. Apart from the screaming need to overhaul tax laws, something I have been advocating for well over a decade and the NSA hack (the most likely player) was not required. And the agreement, or better stated the quoted agreement that the ICIJ would not go after the source is even more lame. How stupid do 600 journalists need to get? In the end there is a chance that some of them will move ALL their wealth to Nassau, Dubai, or Riyadh giving the other nations ever more to worry about. There are options for Guernsey, Jersey and Monaco. The US and a few more places would lose out, Wall Street would suffer greatly (not the worst idea) and that is merely thee beginning, the EU would also suffer to a much larger degree, all because a few players would not clean their rooms when they were supposed to do that (2009-2011), it has been playing for well over a decade and as people are flim-flammed into looking at environmental issues, we see that the media still has not taken a hard look at the European Environmental Agency report that has been out now for almost a year. Why is that? Is a hard look into the mirror not sexy enough?

Now, we might all think of giving the ICIJ and their 600 journalists time, but they’ve had months, and so far the setting of a dashboard that gives us the stage of no laws broken (especially the billionaires that have pushed through legally available  means their fortune in zero tax havens) should cover well over 60% of these documents (a fictive number). The simplest setting that you all can see is the missing tally, the guardian gave us a tally of what to look through, but they had the 330 politicians, so that part could have been clearly given and a dashboard does not show criminal sides, it is merely that a tally, but I reckon that the tally shows that most of these people are in places the bulk of us do not give a hoot about, just like the billionaires. How many are people of royalty from some Arabian nation? Then we get to the remaining billionaires and we will see that they broke no laws, when you get to that point you get to the stage how useless the ICIJ was from day one and how they blow their own horn whilst these 600 people might be obsolete. I cannot guarantee that, but the assumption might not be far off. 

The blank stage is filled, and as assumption and presumption shake hands the stage goes from black and white to a malleable version of grey where we cannot see the difference between the black and the white. It was that from the very beginning, I pretty much predicted that in the first hour. 

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Stupidity is key

I was almost ready to go to sleep, it is 1:45, so that makes sense. I have been enjoying the devastation of Japanese armed forces (playing Aragami 2) whilst enjoying Philip Glass in the background (Satyagraha), it was a lovely evening. So as I was about to put my head on my pillow whilst imitating a sawmill (I am exceedingly expert at that) the BBC messed it all up by giving us ‘Saudi crown prince suggested killing King Abdullah, ex-official says’ (at https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-59032931) and I was wide awake to take notice of this. Now I accept that they are merely reporting the news (according to the needs of their stakeholders). Yet there is a lot missing. So when we see “In an interview with CBS, Saad al-Jabri said Mohammed bin Salman told his cousin in 2014 that he wanted to do so to clear the throne for his father.” So what is up? 

To give you that, we need to give you a small history lesson, I covered it in the past, but to do so again is now essential. 

In the first, we need to take notice of the small fact that he has been living in exile in Canada since May 2017. So why do we get this almost 5 years later? If it was a real thing there would have been a debriefing when he exiled to Canada, Canadian intelligence (CSIS) and CIA would both have debriefed him from A to Z. There is the civil suit of an alleged issue, yet that case was filed in the US. A case of an event in Canada filed in the US? That is weird, in addition we see the Middle East eye giving us “Bruce Riedel, a former CIA analyst and director of the Brookings Intelligence Project, explained why Al Jabri kept a low profile after arriving in Canada: “I think he’s scared. Wouldn’t you be?”” Which is fair enough, but I reckon that his coins are dwindling down and there is a decent chance that Al-Jabri is playing the get rich a little more game. 

Then there is a part that is speculative from my side, but hear me out. The Guardian and Al Jazeera give us in July 2020 “Senators Patrick Leahy, Tim Kaine, Chris Van Hollen and Marco Rubio wrote to President Donald Trump urging him to press for the release of Al Jabri’s children. Calling him a “highly valued partner” they said: “the US has a moral obligation to do what it can to assist in securing his children’s freedom”. The Department of State noted that it had “repeatedly” requested that Saudi officials “clarify the status” of Al Jabri’s children, and undertook to: “continue to engage Saudi counterparts to resolve this situation in a manner that honours Dr Aljabri’s service to our country.” In this the following points come to bare (or is that bear)?

  1. How is he a valued partner three years after events? I am not saying it is not the case, but the man was out of the game for over three years. 
  2. If this was so important, why is he in Canada and not in the US? Also, no one was able to smuggle his family out in three years?

These two parts are not a given, but should call for all kinds of questions. I get it Canada is beautiful and has better quality hockey, but is that enough for a person like Saad bin Khalid Al Jabry? 

In all this we also see “Mr Jabri warned that Crown Prince Mohammed – Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler and the son of King Salman – was a “psychopath, killer, in the Middle East with infinite resources, who poses threat to his people, to the Americans and to the planet”” this shows that he is out for something else and it is driving his needy ego ‘who poses threat to his people, to the Americans and to the planet’. Perhaps the Americans feel threatened, but that is not the drive, Saudi Arabia has been happy to order billions from the US, so the statement is already flaky. Of course if the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia takes my lead and order the billions in planes from China (and pretty please give me my 3.75% commission) America will feel threatened, but that is in the first on loss of revenue and a few other matters. The planet? That is ridiculous, this is an ego drive and it is to satisfy the need of stakeholders (names unknown at present). The second part is given to us with “he added that the meeting was secretly filmed and that he knew where two copies of the video recording were”, in the first he plays the statistical game with ‘two copies’ in the second he is keeping that until he gets a lot of $$$$$, it is the game he plays and it is decently played, because the moment the CSIS and the CIA know he is fake they will drop him like a bad habit and that is what he fears. Without the protection of the US and Canada he is done for and the interview was to appease certain stakeholders (my personal view).

So whilst you consider that, also consider “He denies stealing any government money, saying his former employers rewarded him generously” Really? How much? Consider that he is a former major-general, consider that his wealth is allegedly creeping towards billion. Which he has been accused to embezzle. So how much did the CIA, FBI, CSIS, RCMP find? And if it is more than 20 million, how could a general in a non-dictatorship get that much? Last time I checked generals made a nice bundle, but not the side of a container full of dollars. All elements that the BBC could have added by vetting the data they had and the data they could investigate. OK, I admit that the BBC did nothing wrong, but there is a larger picture and they are not giving you that one either. As such I am left with all kinds of questions. 

It is OK to think that I am the stupid one, yet in this the facts have been all around us for years, so why didn’t anyone act? In this I actually wonder how valid and how much quality is in his intelligence. Well, it is easily checked, perhaps the ICIJ after they are done with their tall tales on Pandora (and her box), Hesiod already covered that a long time ago. 

So as we see more bashing of Saudi Arabia, I wonder how long it will take Stephanie Kirchgaessner to…. No, I spoke too soon, she is already on it (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/oct/25/saudi-crown-prince-a-psychopath-says-exiled-intelligence-officer) and when you consider this all, also consider the quote at the end. It comes from former CIA director Mike Morell “I don’t know if Dr Saad was corrupt in any way. I wouldn’t be surprised if he wasn’t because he’s such an honourable man. But I also wouldn’t be surprised if he was. Because everybody to some extent had their hand in the kitty. And King Abdullah allowed it, permitted it” Yet the third side is not (allegedly) contemplated and from my side it is mere speculation. The idea that Al Jabry placed the explosives to create a way out it seemingly not investigated. So in all this, how much did he exile with? When I am told to exile it will be with no more than $54.55, but then, I am not a General. So how did he get away with what he did? When you have to run you are either prepared or you set preparations in motion and when was the last time you left with an 8 figure number? The stage is set, the orchestrators are playing and we are the ones dancing. That is how the stakeholders like it, but in this the stakes are a little too high. If Saudi Arabia turns the taps off in Europe and the US, that oil will go to China. Consider the mess you have at that point in the US and optionally Europe too. I find it interesting that the name of Stephanie Kirchgaessner is used in conjunction with anti-Saudi sentiments a little too often, I personally feel that this is about something else. It is speculative and I could very well be wrong. I will let you dig into the events and see where your intellect takes you. That is all I can do, show you the doors and the windows and let you decide for yourself. 

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From horse to course

Yes, there is a horse, it is not Mr. Ed, there is no kind conversation. This one has wings, and there are a few versions, including the off-spring of Lord Poseidon. Whether we believe Hesiod or not, it does not matter. Pegasus became a part of our oldest mythological stories. Yet today, Pegasus is something else, a figment from the imaginations of the NSO group and it was made real. It has been out for some time and last week we got the media and their overemotional response that it had a connection to 50,000 people, with 0.36% of these people journalists.

So what gives?
It is important to look at a few sources. The first is the BBC (at https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-57922543) who gives us ‘Princess Latifa and Princess Haya numbers ‘among leaks’’, perhaps yes, perhaps no, who cares? We do get “The discovery of the princesses’ phone numbers on the list – and those of some acquaintances – has raised questions about whether they could have been the possible target of a government client of the group.” And here the questions start and the BBC is not asking them. Just like it is steering clear of alleged man-slaughterer Martin Bashir. So when we see ‘could have been the possible target of a government client of the group’ could is here the operative word. You see, no one is doubting that list, no one has given us a clear rundown of the names, a dashboard if you like, with the option to drill per nation and per class of person. This could all be a ruse of anti-Israeli groups, optionally the ruse of a competitor. And when we see “NSO has denied any wrongdoing. It says the software is intended for use against criminals and terrorists, and is made available only to military, law enforcement and intelligence agencies with good human rights records”, so which government leaked the list and how did THAT government leak what is implied to be a complete list? Then we get to the option that the leak came from within the NSO Group, which might be the most ludicrous thought, but I tend to look at all angles, so it is an angle that is most unlikely, but the chance is not zero. The article is all about Princess Latifa, not much about the NSO Group, it is an emotional lamentation to steer clear of massive screw ups like Jimmy Savile, Lord McAlpine, Sir Cliff Richard, and Lady Diana Spencer. As some say, the credibility of the BBC has never been lower. 

The second article is also from the BBC (at https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-57922664) less than a day ago gives us ‘Pegasus spyware seller: Blame our customers, not us, for hacking’. Here we are given “Investigations have begun as the list, of 50,000 phone numbers, contained a small number of hacked phones”, silly me for thinking that when we see ‘Investigations have begun’, we also get ‘a small number of hacked phones’, as such there is a much larger stage, and the BBC gives us “Pegasus infects iPhones and Android devices, allowing operators to extract messages, photos and emails, record calls and secretly activate microphones and cameras”, so if there are only a small number of hacked phones, how does that part matter? And when we get “a consortium of news organisations, led by French media outlet Forbidden Stories, has published dozens of stories based around the list, including allegations French President Emmanuel Macron’s number was on it and may have been targeted.” We get the real deal, a consortium of news organisations, led by Forbidden Stories hide behind ‘allegations’ and ‘may have been targeted’. Is anyone catching on? The media want to create emotional waves, yet does not want to be held accountable for their actions. The stakeholders are key here. A ‘consortium’ implies shareholders and stakeholders. It implies also that their issue is not that the NSO Group might do something outside of governments, it might show that the media does a lot more to anger the audience it desperately needs. 

And then the media does one more jab towards a currently missing journalist no one cares about with “including those close to murdered Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi”, this is the emotional stage handed to us. It is “67 agreed to give Forbidden Stories their phones for forensic analysis. And this research, by Amnesty International Security Labs, reportedly found evidence of potential targeting by Pegasus on 37 of those”, so out of 50,000 we see that 67 are investigated and potentially we see 37 are targets, but there is no evidence that the NSO Group did this, these 37 might have been targets of the NSA or even the DGSE. 

And at this point there is one interesting flaw. If it was me, the first think I did was set up a dashboard that allows us to see where these 50,000 names are part of, where they are and how they were hacked. They have had a week and the stretch of media that gives us emotion after emotion is a much larger stage of stakeholders that need a negative view to be pushed onto the NSO Group. I admit that my view is equally speculative, but is it a wrong view? 

Finally there is the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/news/2021/jul/22/israel-examine-spyware-export-rules-should-be-tightened-nso-group-pegasus) where we see ‘Israel to examine whether spyware export rules should be tightened’. Here we are treated to “An Israeli commission reviewing allegations that NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware was misused by its customers to target journalists and human rights activists will examine whether rules on Israel’s export of cyber weapons such as Pegasus should be tightened”, I can accept that view, but that also means that governments are largely to blame for this mess, if the list is real that is. There is every chance that this was a ruse to make the NSO Group less large, less of a challenge to a competitor and this is exactly what stakeholders tend to do, and using the media as their bitch is not out of the question.

My view is reinforced by “NSO has said Macron was not a “target” of any of its customers, meaning the company denies he was selected for surveillance using its spyware, saying in multiple statements that it requires its government clients to use its powerful spying tools only for legitimate investigations into terrorism or crime”, so as Macron was never a target, the BBC articles are less than accurate and that leaves the media open to all kinds of attacks. Yes, I will admit that it is a he said she said setting (she being the media), but that also means and implies that the NSO Group is not out of the woods at present. And let’s be honest, who needs a tool like this to keep track of the Dalai Lama? The man is out there in nowhere land and when he is travelling we see 50-150 reporters surrounding him, all ways to keep track, no NSO Group required.

As we see the horse Pegasus go on a course towards the government destinations, I see less of an issue with the NSO Group and a hell of a lot more with the Stakeholders who do not have the ideas, the innovations, but they really like the money attached to it. Do you still think I am on the wrong horse track?

There is always the time will tell part, but consider that if the media has not released a dashboard of these 50,000 numbers, I believe that my case is rather clear, I would personally consider that list is nothing more than the fabrication of a stakeholder who needs the revenue that the NSO Group currently has.

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Government driven destabilisation

That is a term you are not familiar with, is it? Yet it is more now than most other things, even as some are all about ‘donations for Beirut’ all whilst the larger groups ignore corruption there as well as the stage that Hezbollah is not in the clear for storage of explosives in the Beirut harbour.

Last month Houthi forces fired on Saudi Arabia, now there is an issue. First of all, the target was military (King Khalid Air Base) making it in my eyes a valid target, yet the western press for the most ignored it completely. The Jerusalem Post gives us “Saudi Arabia said it intercepted ballistic missiles fired from Yemen overnight between Sunday and Monday. Four missiles and seven drones were launched by the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen”, the fact that the Iranian part in all this remains largely unreported in the EU and the Commonwealth is still a massive issue, I have little faith that the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) starts being of use in any way (other then prolonging the war in Yemen), yet the larger issue is not the attacks, the issue as I see is that as I personally see it, governments feel happy to set a stage of destabilisation in the Middle East, so that they can feel safe, at least from their Ego driven point of view. The paper also gives us “The military of Yemen’s Houthi group said it attacked and hit a large oil facility in an industrial zone in the southern Saudi city of Jizan” and in all this the amount of goods that is required coming from Iran is still not being investigated, and the dangers that they bring can be wielded in a few directions. My personal issue in this is why we are not getting a full constant update from the Middle East, why are the papers ignoring the actions from the Iranian side and Houthi atrocities in 

Yemen? We might give rise to the article (at https://english.aawsat.com/home/article/2402186/yemeni-speaker-complains-un-over-houthi-violations), yet the western media steered clear of ‘Yemeni Speaker Complains to UN over Houthi Violations’, so when we consider this, who was aware of “Yemen’s National Alliance of Political Parties (NAPP), a group of parties loyal to the internationally recognized government, had also called on the UN and its envoy to condemn the ongoing Houthi attacks against Yemeni pro-government leaders”, how many Commonwealth and EU newspapers took notice? And when we take notice of “The parties added that the militias insist on continuing the series of their crimes against the Yemeni people, rejecting all international efforts to reach peace in the country. “Such behavior is reflected in their decision issued last March to sentence 35 Yemeni pro-government deputies to death,” after charging them with cooperating with the Saudi-led Arab coalition, the statement added”, how many newspapers took the trouble to see what the humanitarian impact is of Houthi decisions here? 

We can argue all week on what is right and what is wrong, yet consider that we cannot argue on matters that most newspapers do not publish, so when we see ‘Huawei-supplied stc wins 5G contract for Saudi mega-city’ (at https://www.capacitymedia.com/articles/3826056/huawei-supplied-stc-wins-5g-contract-for-saudi-mega-city) in here we see “NEOM’s infrastructure will utilise AI, robotics, and human-machine fusion to deliver greater predictive intelligence and enable faster decision making across all NEOM sectors. The procurement and deployment of a future-proof wireless network is a critical first for NEOM in realising our goal of driving innovation in the future digital economy”. Considering that I wrote about that part in ‘There is more beneath the sand’ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2019/11/15/there-is-more-beneath-the-sand/) almost 9 months ago, and on some matters even before than, two weeks earlier I raised ‘Change is coming’ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2019/09/01/change-is-coming/), all matters on Neom City and 5G that the western press left unattended, so what else did we not get to see?

Issues in Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Iran all remain unreported. And I admit, there is a reach from unreported to Government driven destabilisation, I will admit to that part, in all this there is a larger stake, when we consider that papers are run by people adhering to the needs of Shareholders, stakeholders and advertisers, we get the first part in this, and yes it is subjective and there is space for debate and disagreement, I do not deny this. But when did you (if ever) wonder on matters not published in Western media? OK, in this, I admit that this is still a far stretch towards destabilisation, and that is a fair call, and I would be wrong if it was 1-2 items, but when we add the numbers Houthi attacks on civilian Saudi targets in 2018 and 2019, Iranian intervention in Yemen 2015-2020, with ‘US Navy intercepts ‘Iranian weapons’ bound for Houthis’ (at https://www.thenational.ae/world/mena/us-navy-intercepts-iranian-weapons-bound-for-houthis-1.978874), we get a larger stage, how many newspapers reported on this in the EU or the Commonwealth? I also have https://news.usni.org/2020/02/13/video-uss-normandy-seizes-cache-of-iranian-made-weapons-in-arabian-sea and a few more newspapers (like the Adelaide Now), yet over three pages of links, no BBC, No Guardian, no Washington Post, No Dutch, Swedish, or German Newspapers. There were Middle Eastern newspapers and the Jerusalem Post. Did you consider that part of the equation? When we see the redaction of Iran smuggling drones and weapons to Houthi forces in Yemen, what other matters are you not aware of?

#JustAsking

 

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The second lap

We always seem to have a problem with the second lap, the first lap is OK, it is new, we just started, it is the second lap that is the problem, it is that stage where you are tired from the previous lap and the second wind has not started, mainly because the second lap is not the moment where the body adjusts for prolonged exercise.

That is how some see the EU at present (mainly the Observer). The setting of ‘the EU’s weakness on the world stage‘ is however no laughing matter. As we are introduced to “Ursula von der Leyen believes Europe should take a leading “geopolitical” role in international affairs, reflecting the EU’s status as the world’s largest trade bloc. But turning words into deeds is proving problematic“, and it is “We must use our diplomatic and economic strength to support global stability and prosperity… and be better able to export our values and standards” that is part of the problem, in the first, the EU is su up to the gills in debt through the idiotic scheme by Mario draghi that the EU has no economic strength. The IMF gives the EU in GDP growth 2.8% (2017), 2.2% (2018), 1.5% (2019), and 1.6% (2020). This seems like an improvement, yet 0.1% increase is not really an increase and when we consider that the devaluation of the currency gives the EU debt that is currently around € 10,593,000,000,000 a much larger issue to battle, at present only the German debt is decreasing slowly, but the debt in Spain, Italy, and France (all in the trillions) is still increasing, so where does the EU think it has economic strength? And all this whilst the Financial Times informed us yesterday on ‘Europe braces for new fiscal battles‘, here we see Paolo Gentiloni trying to shake things up (no idea why he was referring to shaking up). The issue is larger than anyone can see, because the stage of “widely disliked given their impenetrable and convoluted nature“, the game where you adjust the rules in the middle of the game with 27 players, the entire stage goes awry in this game where the option of “On the Italian social democrat’s reform wish list will be changes making the rules more symmetrical — allowing for countries to be pushed to boost their economies via fiscal policy in downturns, rather than just reining in deficits and debt” (at https://www.ft.com/content/a062fb2e-3b24-11ea-a01a-bae547046735), and it is the debt these never elected officials are trying to be in deny with. Yet there is also an upside in this (as I see it) if this play goes on, the German population will not tolerate the EU to continue. None will address their debt and Germany (as one of the big four) is the only one who got the debt below 72% of GDP, the rest is in a bismal state and whilst we get that the Italians (French and Spain also) are all about ‘new investments’ they are doing it on a maxed out credit card. And whilst we all see this, we also see “One idea is to give countries extra scope to borrow to fund green investment“, yet the basic issue is that this is yet another idea to IGNORE outstanding debts and the people will have to pay for that. So as we see “has already run up against opposition from conservative northern European states“, we see that the Italian factor (Genitoli) is hiding behind “the urgency of the green agenda could improve its chances“. So whilst we now see “Some will want to use any reform opportunity to loosen the regime. Others will wish to use the greater clarity to make the deficit rules even tighter“, we see a basic fight between the spenders and the none spenders and the non spenders have had enough of it all, it founded the Brexit and there are others who do not want to be caught with the consequences of another nation in a stage with their pants down, as such all the other players will have to grab their ankles (you get the idea). 

So while we go back to the Observer view (at https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jan/19/the-observer-view-on-the-eus-weakness-on-world-stage ) we might see “Trump’s illegal, and unilateral, action effectively blew up the most prized achievement of Borrell’s predecessors, Federica Mogherini and Cathy Ashton – the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, which was already on life-support because of US sanctions“, it seems that the EU is in some kind of a delusional stage where they take the filtered media view on Iran. Iran had been in a proxy war with Saudi Arabia, it has repeatedly threatened the state of Israel and whilst we are given “the US then insisted that the EU3 (Britain, France and Germany) trigger the deal’s dispute mechanism“, whilst the violations by Iran on the Nuclear pact are completely ignored. All in a stage where the delusional parties are setting the stage where Joseph Borell is in a stage to ‘talk’ with IOran whilst Iran has been refusing to do so and littered transgression upon transgression and the EU remains in denial and seemingly gives the EU press the stage that they are not to report on it for all kinds of unknown reasons. And when we look at the media, they are all so against war that it scares them (which it does), I merely wonder if the US and the UK press would have written ‘The Wrong Track for Confronting Germany‘ in 1943, as we see the New York Times write up the Iranian stage 12 hours ago. In addition, Al Jazeera reported 5 hours ago ‘Iran’s new Quds leader vows ‘manly’ revenge for Soleimani killing‘, which is fine, but this escapes the entire stage as they already had their missile go, yet their ego is not satisfied, so as we are treated to ‘Iran warns of ‘repercussions’ for IAEA after European moves over nuclear deal‘, as well as ‘Iran says it still respects 2015 nuclear deal, rejects ‘unfounded’ EU claims‘ (yesterday, source: CNA), all whilst there are dozens of reports as well as public statements that Iran had transgressed on set limits, so exactly HOW they are ‘respecting’ the Nuclear deal? 

In all this the lack of strength in response from the EU has been frightening. And in regards to the responses, we see on the 20th of January “Mr Mousavi said: “Tehran still remains in the deal. The European powers’ claims about Iran violating the deal are unfounded“, all whilst the news on January 5th was ‘Iran will no longer abide by uranium enrichment limits under 2015 nuclear deal‘, as well as the fact that Iran on state television, on January 5th responded that they pulled out of the Nuclear deal agreement (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsQ-NBaOUMw), as such we can all speculate on what Mr Mousavi is smoking, but more importantly, in light of all this, the utter lack of diplomatic power by the EU, as such the EU statement “We must use our diplomatic and economic strength to support global stability and prosperity“, Ursula von der Leyen sounds nice, but she cannot deliver on any of that. The EU is in the second lap, out of energy from the first lap and their second wind is nowhere near kicking in. Iran might be the strongest example, but it is not the only one, the lack of action in Syria, the lack of action in Yemen and the opposing support against Saudi Arabia, whilst ignoring the actions of Iran in a proxy war, in a speculated stage of a nuclear pact that was not sustainable in any degree and several parties are in denial of all this whilst there is enough optional evidence that the creation of the amounts of enriched Uranium that is now at the core of it all could not be produced by the amount of centrifuges allowed, there are more factors to consider, yet the supporting evidence is at present too thin (a lack of exact numbers is in play too).

In the end, the EU is an organisation that is on its final steps of becoming irrelevant, the debt made them so and these so called elected officials never stepped in when they were supposed to step in as debt levels were pushed to excessive levels as even now, people like Paolo Gentiloni (not just him mind you) are trying to find ways of getting around the debt for spending purposes.

And the matter will get worse soon enough, as the EU nations are in shambles on the EU budget, especially as Brexit is nearing completion, the members are all in a desperate setting of non-union, as we see news like “a French minister has warned nations they will have to pay more“, which is slightly weird as this was always going to be the setting, I warned of that almost 3 years ago. The stage at present is that Germany (at present) pays 20.78% of that budget and France is up for 15.58%, those are the big two and they are looking at an additional 3%-4% after brexit, which now implies that the long term budget up to 2027 will get a massive slam into a wall, it is in that setting, where nations are now feeling the pinch are confronted with a Paolo Gentiloni who wants to spend more and as such all nations have to pay more. Even as the big three are confronted with the impact on their loans from that change, the smaller nations are still in shambles as they were eager to overspend in their first option and they too will have to pay more, so now we optionally get to see an EU gravy train where none of the members agree on anything, as such that expensive train will keep costs high and not produce results, merley delays. 

So when we look at the stage of the EU and the setting of Ursula von der leyen with her “We must use our diplomatic and economic strength to support global stability and prosperity“, all whilst there is no economic power left in the EU and its diplomatic strength (which is linked to their economic power) dwindles basically as fast as their economy does, I wonder what Ursula von der Leyen is looking at, because the outlook from this side is really grim for the EU.

The second lap is the killer for a runner, as the runner gets better he can run longer, yet the reality of crossing that startline the first time and realising that you have less energy whilst you are at the beginning is the realising factor, yet there is a difference, a runner tends to be realistic about where he is and where he is going, as I personally see it, the EU is seemingly a lot less focussed on the reality of the matter as I personally see it. You merely have to read enough media and focus on the quotes to see that part of the equation.

 

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Choices we make under pressure

It is an odd day, one day we predict and await, the next day we see how issues are just settled out of media. Now, at times I am all for keeping the media out. Not to put too delicate a point on it, but some members of a group we at times laughingly refer to as ‘people with journalistic integrity’ seems to have a moral view that is only slightly worse than a crack user in Camden. So as I saw that Chuka Umunna was going for the Labour leadership, I took a look at him. I saw just one interview he had just after the elections and I was not impressed. That is not a measurement of anything. You see, when Ed Miliband abdicated, which is a shame in one way, but understandable in another, I expected to see a person equal to the presenting task. Mr Umunna was not it. Now, that is just a first impression. I have no idea about his family, his extended family or anything else, I do not care about them (not meant in a bad way). In my view, it is about the man/woman and his/her political ability. The rest does not matter to me. Doesn’t it seem strange that a person who fights to get on top of things, who works hard to get anywhere, that person should not be measured by anything else but him/her! If I was to be measured by my abusive alcoholic father, I would be a lot better of going to the top of the closest by high building and enjoy the view on the way down (and I do not mean via the stairs or elevator). I am my own man, I fought to get where I got and I did it mostly myself. That is how I would measure Chuka Umunna!

So when it was revealed that he pulled out, I became curious (at https://www.politicshome.com/party-politics/articles/waugh-room/why-chuka-pulled-out). It is this quote “But the 48 hours crystallised his view that he just didn’t want the level of private scrutiny that being a Labour leadership contender, let alone Labour leader or Prime Minister, could entail“, which is fair enough! Or is it?

You see people in high places always had scrutiny, they accept that, but nowadays, the press has taken all of this into a realm that is no longer acceptable. So when you see this quote: “It’s also true that his girlfriend’s elderly grandmother was contacted by the media” in that article, we should consider what level of harassment any person in public office should get, and to what degree their family members are allowed to be shielded from. Remember, this is not the media around the election, this is day 5 after the elections and the pressure is already on. The fact that Chuka is shielding his family from all this for the coming 5 years is understandable but still regrettable.

This reflects back to the beginning. Was my view right? For now, I reckon so! For now he is the starter, the newbie, likely to be prone to all kinds of beginner’s mistakes, but that is what happens in year 0 (as any faction leader would face). Yet, should we accept this? Even as a conservative, I wonder whether the press is now engaging in acts that deprives the British people from proper representation. Is Chuka Umunna the best representation Labour would get? Well, now it seems that the Labour party will never find out, the press seems to have put a stop on that. Let me be frank, as a public figure, Mr Umunna can expect all kinds of exposure, to a limited degree the immediate family too, but the pressure to the extent some people get now it is a lot less acceptable. We get back to the press and how the press is actually abusing its freedom.

Lord Tebbit, former conservative MP for Epping and Chingford once stated: “It’s better to risk the press abusing its freedom than to risk the authorities abusing an unfree press“. In my own way I would add to that, that this might have been true in the days when his lordship was young and innocent, but in today’s society we must truly consider whether the press remains such a force of consideration. The term ‘risk regarding the press abusing its freedom‘ is now with some certainty the issue of ‘the press abusing the rights and freedoms of the people for the need of innuendo and circulation‘. This goes far beyond the old Hacked off issues. From the moment that was settled we saw some articles grovelling, then hyping on how freedom is such a good thing and how the press can regulate itself and that entire matter was not even a month old we got ‘MH370 suicide flight‘, were we ever shown any actual evidence to that? Now it is likely to get worse and many of my readers from the UK have not signed up for their possible political representation to be scrutinised to such a harassing degree. Here I must oppose Ben Bradshaw, MP for Exeter. In the interview in the Guardian, where after only 8 seconds he goes on with ‘but we have a great range of talent out there still hoping to run‘, so the person the conservatives feared the most (me thinks not) is replaced after 8 seconds for the next person. There is something wrong here too. If Chuka Umunna is such a great person, why not fight for him. You see, either Chuka is not that great a politician (fair enough) or this is about the worry on how much limelight labour will get from the press regarding the ‘wrong’ person. That is an immediate threat to the democratic freedom of all. So this is not about NOT looking into a politician, this is about the decent level of privacy the not immediate family is entitled to.

In the Guardian we also see Mary Creagh who was quoted from BBC Radio 4 “Modern politicians with social media, Facebook and emails face pressures even 15 or 20 years ago they did not face … We are expected to be some how superhuman”, is that true, or is there an increasingly skewed action by the press to overexpose whatever is not perfectly spotless and in that manner undo whatever good a politician is trying to do.

In the Daily Mail (I apologise for using a lowly regarded source of information) we see two quotes “Chuka Umunna is the articulate politician who had hoped to make the Labour Party electable again after the humiliations suffered under Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband. But many party workers were worried that this 36-year-old, 6ft-tall, well-dressed former lawyer may be just a little too smooth. The grandson of a British prosecutor at the Nuremberg war trials, Chuka was educated at a private boys’ school, and was a chorister at Southwark Cathedral. His voice can be heard singing the theme tune to the Rowan Atkinson comedy Mr Bean. Mr Umunna thinks nothing of spending £1,200 on bespoke suits from Alexandra Wood, an exclusive Saville Row tailor“.

So why would this be an issue? The terms ‘well-dressed‘ and ‘too smooth‘? The fact that he is the grandson of a former War Crimes prosecutor! That counts! Then there is the Saville Row reference, so this is not about skill, this is about the image that he inherited, the choices he made. Yet this person also decided to give his time to Labour, to champion the workers. He did not become a conservative as rich people seem to be seen as. In addition we get the quote “He was forced to apologise two years ago after it was revealed that he had once commented on a website that London’s nightclubs were ‘full of trash and C-list wannabes’“, so now people must apologise for speaking the truth? Have you seen the trash that comes out of some of these clubs? Smashed, drunk as a skunk and regularly we see how some of these places will have people leaving on all kinds of chemical trips. This is a consequence of binge drinking and slipping 1-2 pills with the white wine. This whilst many of them ladies complain on how they were entitled to VIP treatments in clubs so much better than the one they just crawled out of on all four. So perhaps Chuka Umunna is more than just a little right. Perhaps the press was worried on not having a hold on a person like this and they prefer a person slightly more ‘colourful’ (pardon the pun).

So where will Labour stand? Time will tell. Bren Bradshaw was right in one regard. The Labour party has loads of talent, no one denies that, but they’ve already forgotten that Ed Miliband was plenty talented and to some extent even visionary (in the wrong time as I saw it). So as the second talented member gets pushed off stage, are we seeing the effects of internal power plays and if so, should the press not be held to account for being the tool in all this?

I will let you, the reader mull over those facts and you should come to your own conclusions.

 

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For free or for naught?

It is less than a day after I wrote the previous blog ‘The danger ahead’, now I read in the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/27/nsa-gchq-smartphone-app-angry-birds-personal-data) that the quote I made in yesterday’s blog “Speed and disregard of proper development has allowed for open access to many computers and devices, which allows for almost complete collection and stored and such storage can only be done by just a few. This open level of availability allows the NSA and GCHQ (amongst others) to collect open source intelligence, hoping to gain the upper hand in the war on terror.“, which is close to what the Guardian reported, as well as what is currently shown on Sky News!

At this point, I am looking at a few issues and the more I look at the data that the press is stating, the more I see that Edward Snowden is more than just a traitor. He claims being a victim in a German TV interview (at http://www.dw.de/wanted-dead-by-us-officials-snowden-tells-german-tv/a-17388431), where he speaks the fear that he is being targeted for long term sleep therapy (aka ‘terminal sleep’).

The ‘problem’ is that the issue is not just Snowden. The more I look into the breaches, the more I look into a possible functional approach on the way the NSA server parks (plural) are set up, the more I am convinced that not only was Edward Snowden not alone in this all, I feel some level of certainty that this person might still be in the NSA, endangering both NSA and GCHQ as well as other allied monitoring agencies.

The humongous amount of ‘revelations’ that are claimed in the name of Snowden do two things. First of all it turns Benedict Arnold in a stumbling saint (I just had to wash my mouth with soap for making such a claim). Linked to this is the fact that the many dozens of operations as his ‘revelations’ seem to touch on would have been on at least a dozen of servers (as projects are spread around). The fact that NSA uses an upgraded edition of SE-LINUX means that a system with logs and mandatory access control cannot get transferred to such a degree. The fact that IT and security monitors it all, as well that he was civilian contractor means that his name should have popped up a dozen times. Even if he used other accounts, the logs should have triggered alerts all over the field when they were scanned through solutions not unlike a program like Palantir Government.

The claims I am making are growing in reliability with every ‘revelation’ that is being made. There is however another side that is now the consequence of all these whingers and whiners about ‘their privacy‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/27/tech-giants-white-house-deal-surveillance-customer-data). We now enter a field where it is important to realise that the new situation could be regarded as a danger.

It is linked to a previous newscast where President Obama was considering moving telephony data out of government hands (at http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2014/01/23/government-privacy-board-members-say-shifting-nsa-data-to-third-parties-is-a-bad-idea/)

As stated before, this is a really bad idea. Consider that criminals, if enough money is in play, can use places like HSBC to launder their money (I am not talking about forgetting your wallet whilst washing your jeans), but the idea that commercial enterprises can get away with these events for just a 5 week fee (at http://www.forbes.com/sites/afontevecchia/2012/07/16/hsbc-helped-terrorists-iran-mexican-drug-cartels-launder-money-senate-report-says/, as well as http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/01/23/uk-standardbank-fine-idUKBREA0M0LF20140123) is a lot more dangerous than many realise. Handing data storage out of government hands is just too dangerous. I am steering away from the issue whether the monitoring program should go on or stop. The intelligence community needs to do what it needs to do. Leaving that data with third parties is just not an option. The worst case scenario would see the US government paying out billions if any data leading to a registered IP ends up in ‘other’ hands. Once that evidence is ever given, the US would lose whatever credibility they ever thought they had.

At this point the title can be used as a joke. What is the difference between for free and for naught? Someone got rich for free, the US got rich for naught! That would end up being the reality of a project that was meant to map levels of global terrorism. This joke only gets stronger when we see another ‘view of shock’, but now from Google CLO David Drummond (at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-25911266). It is hard to state against his view, or the premise of the company. These carefully pronounced statements from legal eagles are to be expected from many firms for some time to come. There is however a commercial positive view (at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-25914731). Here we see how entrepreneurs in makeup and clothing are showing options to avoid detection. In more than one instance it is stated to be metal based, so standing next to airport detectors should be fun soon enough. I wonder how much more would get checked when the boxers or briefs are also metal based.

So whether we get entertainment for free or fashion for naught will be discussed by many soon enough, the main fact remains. If we want to remain safe, then data needs to be collected. It is not for free, or for naught. It is for the simple reason that the world is filled with bad people; some will go any distance to hurt as many as they can. Our governments have a duty to keep us safe, it is only fair that they are given the tools, the methods and the opportunity to do so.

This does get us to the final part (or final side) to these events. This morning, the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/28/microsoft-rules-out-back-door-access-to-mps-electronic-communications) reported on backdoor access allegations. The quote “Both Ludlam and South Australian independent senator Nick Xenophon have been concerned about the security of Australian parliamentary communications since the Prism surveillance program was first revealed by National Security Agency contractor-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden.” gives the information that was the part of all this. So again we see more resources squandered in regards to Snowden. Do not get me wrong, the question by both Ludlam and Xenophon is fair enough and as such it should be looked at. Whoever wants access to certain information, which might always be the case, could consider Intruding a system, which, unless you are a real expert is getting harder and harder, as it should be.

Yet, capturing and copying frames sent over a router system makes a lot more sense. You just capture it all and decrypt it later. Now, most people will not have the ability to do this, but consider the amount of elements to get this all from user1 to user2 via server X. If you think that this is highly encrypted hard to achieve effort, then think again. The more common the method used, the easier it is to read into it. So, there is a level of entertainment as we see leagues of technicians concentrate on the door of the bank vault, whilst in reality one of the walls is missing.  To give you another example, we take a look at a paper by Daehyun Strobel, Benedikt Driessen, Timo Kasper et al (at https://eprint.iacr.org/2013/598.pdf). As we look at the quote “Despite the fact that nowadays strong and well-analyzed cryptographic primitives are available for a large variety of applications, very weak cryptographic algorithms are still widely deployed in real products all over the world.” This relates to the IT issue as, we might have secure servers and powerful password rules, but files are send from one computer to another via the ‘internet’, which goes via a router system (no matter how you twist or turn it). So, as someone gets to any router on the track and wireshark’s the traffic, the stream can be rebuilt. From there the hacker still faces a few obstacles, but you better believe that above a certain skill level, this data can be retrieved. So what exactly are we all crying about?

 

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Cooking the books?

Sky News is bringing us another update on how good the economy seems to be. The reporters are so happy and so full of joy to voice the information on strong the economy is growing. It is a worrying turn of events. So, after the IMF had voiced on how George Osborne is playing with fire, now his vision will be bringing the UK a 2.4% improvement sending the UK back on par with the pre-crash numbers (at http://news.sky.com/story/1197837/imf-upgrades-uk-growth-forecast-above-rivals). The one part I do accept is that it is growing faster than its rivals, although, I do wonder how fast the German Economy would grow. Now personally I do believe that the status of the UK has always been correct (the fact that their economy was growing). My non-economic view had been in the area of 1%-1.5%, which would have been a pretty good result considering the mess most European nations were in.

In ‘A noun of non-profit‘ on May 15th 2013 I wrote “I personally join the group “Oh ye of little faith” on that one and if they are able to get the economy up to 0.2% positive in 2014 than they would have achieved quite the small miracle.” This was my view of the Dutch economy at that time. So far I am still to be proven wrong (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2013/05/15/a-noun-of-non-profit/).

The second quote in this regard is “It is the latest boost to the fortunes of the Chancellor, coming barely 24 hours after the Ernst & Young ITEM Club also increased its projection for UK economic growth this year. Although the Fund’s forecast for growth this year will be shy of the 2.7% predicted by the ITEM Club, the scale of the upgrade underlines how quickly sentiment about Britain’s economy has turned in recent months.

I believe that we are being played! Let me be clear, the UK economy is getting back, it is stronger than most others and I think that this is a good thing. It is that 2.7% that I have a problem with. The number is way too high. I am not stating that the number is impossible, but it is extremely unlikely. (Feel free not to believe this non-economist blogger on this).

Why is this the view I have?

As I quoted in my blog ‘Cretan Independance‘ (on January 10th) “a senior policymaker in Brussels said: ‘The worst of the crisis is over. So the pressure to take tough measures is off. We’ve had enough of discipline, enough of sanctions, we’re sufficiently unpopular already. The worst is over, so let’s stop now.’

This view seems to hold up, but when we consider the total of debts, whilst we consider the other debt issues I mentioned, we should consider that we are not out of the woods. The UK numbers seem too inflated to me. Even though there is general optimism (at http://news.sky.com/story/1198691/osborne-hails-new-imf-growth-forecast-for-uk), there is also too relaxed a view on the damage we are all still facing. The quote “The IMF forecasts that the world economy will grow by 3.7% in 2014, up from 3.6% in its last forecast.” is one of the most interesting ones.

There are two sides. The one side might mean that the economy is going up, which could be good. Yet, the negative side is the side of government overspending all over the place. Add to that the fact that big business still has way too many loopholes to fly through (avoiding the taxation the governments are already spending), which means that no matter how good the economy, government overspending means that you and me will end up with the combined tax invoice. As balance is lost in these matters, the economy looking up, does not mean that life will get any better for you and me for 16-24 months and even though BusinessWeek had ‘good’ numbers to mention in their article (at http://www.businessweek.com/news/2014-01-22/u-dot-k-dot-unemployment-drops-to-7-dot-1-percent-in-lurch-toward-boe-threshold). If we consider this quote “Unemployment measured by International Labour Organization methods declined to 7.1 percent in the three months through November from 7.4 percent in the quarter through October, the Office for National Statistics said in London today.” we could consider this as good news, yet, until the February numbers are known, any party-hat shown is for now one too many.

Do not get me wrong, I would love to be wrong in this instance. Yet, I have seen several outlets blasting away the good news left right and centre, and 2-3 months after that some unfortunate bad news is thrown our way. Some message like ‘we had expected slightly better news, yet it seems that the numbers for the immediate future will stagnate‘. At that point, you better believe that you are watching a bad news management routine. The UK is on the right track and that is really good, but to weaken resolve anywhere in 2014 is in my view a really bad idea. I prefer to see the UK coming out on top at the end of 2014. George Osborne has shown that his vision was right; I reckon that the UK will be a lot stronger at the end of 2014. There is additional supporting news in my favour in regards to the picture we are getting painted (at http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-01-09/investors-are-getting-hungry-for-pigs-debt-again).

It seems that the 4 biggest indebted nations are at it again. The quote “Europe’s having a bond rally and the PIGS are playing host. Portugal, Ireland, Spain—and even Greece, where Europe’s debt crisis began—are heading back to the bond markets and enjoying their lowest borrowing costs in years, as investors appear reassured that the region’s sickest economies are on the mend.” is a little colourful, but it seems to fit with the picture we are offered. First we see messages of the ‘sudden’ light at the end of the tunnel as well as the mention of easing from a senior policymaker in Brussels. I think it is all about the next wave. If these bonds fall through, who will bail others out? This is in my view the fear we should have and as such it is also the fear UKIP is playing on, which is why May 2014 could change the game for all concerned, because the Eurozone will see the shape of an entirely new nightmare, one that will haunt us all for a long time to come.

The Bloomberg article does bear a nice quote “The reduction in the risk perception, and this sort of market euphoria, is leading to a rerating of sectors and countries most penalized during the sovereign debt crisis.” This reads in two directions. The first is that it implies that perhaps the most penalized nations should not have been so and the reduction of risk perception. That is in my view the real fear. It is not just about the reduction that is implied, but the extra shifting of debts. But when payment is due, which will happen and payment needs to come from new debts, what will be left?

This is the one side no one wanted to deal with. Just move on! It just doesn’t work this way, because in the end the taxpayer gets that bill and as such we must make sure that the people realise that these games on the gambling green will cost us all. Politicians and corporations will not have to pay a dime of the debt they all happily bestow onto us, what will happen then?

The entire story becomes even more fun when we consider todays mention in the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/jan/21/imf-world-economic-recovery-outlook-weo). The second quote is “Blanchard confirmed the IMF had raised its UK growth forecast to 2.4% for this year, from a previous forecast of 1.9%. It was Blanchard, who last year warned Osborne has was playing with fire with his austerity drive, but the forecast for the UK is well ahead of Europe’s largest economy, Germany, where growth is forecast at 1.6%. France’s economy would grow by a much weaker 0.9% given ‘policy uncertainty is weighing on growth’, Blanchard said.” I stepped over the first quote on purpose. The events are not as they seem to me. The first quote was interesting “The global economic recovery will pick up pace this year but remains ‘weak and uneven’, the International Monetary Fund’s top economist has said.

This is at the centre of my reasoning. The economy is weak, it is uneven and it will remain that way as long as nations keep their credit cards maxed out. That is at the centre of the issue. Those maxed out credit cards are great for the banks and great for the IMF, but you and me are only hurt by it as our utilities, our monthly costs will gain a rising momentum whilst our income rise remains nearly frozen.

Good for all except for us, the simple taxpayer! This is why I am so against the game that is getting played.

 

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