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Two streams, one view

As I see the news pass by, events shown on separate media, I notice myself wondering if my life had any meaning at all. I was young and I went to the Middle East in 1982, I would return in 83 and 84 only to learn that there was change. Terrorists like Hezbollah and Hamas were only small and Hamas rose as I would see in 1984, yet I thought that change would be inevitable. I saw Hezbollah as nothing more than pesky small minded terrorists, a tool to be used by Iran and Syria. Yet even as Lebanon was trying to move forward, there were signs in media and some places that the US needed Syria too much, in their case dealing with Saddam Hussein and as such many of us thinking we would fight for peace, we only fought for the borderlines that the US decided needed to be in place. It must have been the late 80’s, I was not longer in the Middle East and not all clued in towards the events of the day there. You see DARPA had not rolled out the internet at that point; ARPANET was not available for the audience at large. So today I see that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Now we see another push against Hezbollah. You see Saudi Arabia has had enough of those terrorists and is pushing back hard, it is also willing to push against Iran. I see two issues. One is that this issue will be bloody and even as we hope for the victory of Saudi Arabia there, there are more than just a few markers showing us that the three largest players (US, Russia and UK) are not completely in agreement whether the Middle East should have one clear dominant party. The issues in Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Libya and Kuwait that have been going on for half a century should show that. If that had not been the case Hezbollah and Hamas would have been little more than an inconvenience and they would have been dealt with a long time ago. So even as I see certain steps being taken I need to wonder if Saudi Arabia is pushing for a resolution, what will the larger picture show as it shifts. As that unfolds where will the US and Russia stand? What actions, or inactions will they use to leave the Status Quo in the middle east in a place called ‘as is’? The evidence for the longest time has shown that they pronounce whatever allies they have, but in the end, they only care for their needs and options. Now, this is not wrong or immoral, it is merely the way any nation plays its game. It is not a new game, it goes back even before Nicola Machiavelli thought it was a god idea to write down certain options for politicians to be.

As per Friday morning, we see: ““Due to the circumstances in the Lebanese Republic, the kingdom asks its citizens who are visiting or residing there to leave immediately,” a Foreign Ministry source quoted by the news agency said, adding that Saudis were advised not to travel to Lebanon from any country“, so even as we can merely speculate on what comes next, the onus is now pushed on Iran and what it is going to do with its terrorist ally Hezbollah. There is one opposing side which was shown by Reuters (at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-yemen-security-saudi-insight/deep-in-yemen-war-saudi-fight-against-iran-falters-idUSKBN1D91UR). With: “The dysfunction is a reminder to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that his campaign to counter arch-enemy Iran in the Middle East, including threats against Tehran’s ally Hezbollah, may be hard to implement” we acknowledge that Iran has resources and skills and they are driven, both sides clearly are. In my mind, is the additional theatre (read: change of scenery) a workable factor? It does put larger pressures on Iran to get the logistics and goods underway, which will be their weakness to some extent. It is equally an issue how Russia will react. They might not openly act in this placement, yet the clear support to Hezbollah and as the times of Israel states: “the truth is that since Russia began its open military activities in Syria, Hezbollah fighters are also learning Russian methods of war, becoming familiar with advanced Russian weaponry, coming to understand the latest Russian technologies, and in some cases, actually fighting alongside Russian special forces“, we might comprehend the skills and training of the Spetsnaz Malcheks, or the ‘Войска специального назначения’ as they call themselves. In one part Avi Issacharoff omitted or decided not to implement one view in his story. In the end when the Spads are not holding their hands, Hezbollah remains what they were trained enthusiastic terrorists, they are only an army in the smallest sense of the total concept, this also means that as logistics falters, as support dwindles the armed Saudi forces will be more than a match and should gain the upper hand. Now, this can only play out if there is a stalemate between Russia and USA, because if the USA backs down and Hezbollah gets open on the ground Russian support, it becomes an entirely different slice of cake and all bets are off at that point. Only the Russians could push Hezbollah in way that the Iranians could never do. You see, if Iran enters the theatre the game changes as they become a clear and present danger to the state of Israel, their vocal insinuations made that so, so as Iran is trying to get a foothold whilst Israel has a few ways to counter them, we will see a more underground event of escalations where Iran is unable to counter a war they never have faced. You see their words (Iran that is) might look good on the news and on PowerPoint presentations, yet in the true data parks there is no setting, because in the end, this generation of Iranians have never faced anyone like Israel before and their faith in their own internal governmental presentations will make them even less prepared. So at that point it is merely a scuffle between Hezbollah and Saudi armed forces and in that equation there is no option of even a remote stalemate for Hezbollah. Is that the goal? I believe that Russia saw Hezbollah as a tool for what they needed, the US has always been hostile and Europe requires high earnings, so the ECB is very much not in favour of any outspoken hostilities against anything that can downgrade their earnings, so they are seemingly steering away from these events as much as they can, yet I will admit that is just me speculating on European events in this case. Even as London is more and more outspoken anti-Hezbollah. Amsterdam and Stockholm are not taking that path. In my mind it is the liberal multicultural flag that they embrace, in that atmosphere a group like Hezbollah can easily hide under this ‘veil’ whilst hating multicultural events as much as possible.

This again has speculative sides, but it is based on solid data and events. You might think that it does not matter, but it does. As more and more nations in their liberal mindset hold off on an actual war on terror, being it for economic or philosophical reasons. Not being part of it is equally a problem down the track. So as we move back towards Lebanon and Hezbollah, we need to realise that not only will this become ugly to a larger degree, there is every chance that unless certain actions are taken the issues seen in Aleppo will be seen in Aleppo too, there is just no way to tell to what extent. In this we can look at Survival Analyses (or listen to the song ‘as time goes by’), where the point in time and the prolongation of all this is the setting on just how much Beirut will look like Aleppo in the end, time is the only factor required here and the people in Europe know this. So as we see the news prepare on how there should be talks and there should be armistices, they all better remember that it was their need for status quo that is pushing the consideration for a terrorist organisation.

Who in Europe would have ever thought that support of a terrorist organisation would be the cool thing to do on September 12th 2001? So consider that and now wonder why Europe is, for now, again sitting on their hands or even contemplating siding to the larger extent with Hexbollah? Yet there is also good news because with the actions by JP Morgan to push into large chunks of the Middle East and more notably the push towards the Kingdom Holding Company. You might think it is not related, but it is. It gives the view that JP Morgan is a facilitator for setting maximised profits and these profits are not to go towards France. There has been a thought that the US is not commitment, but as there is profit in war, the clear fallout of any war is opportunity. It seems to me that the US wants to get as much profit out of that as possible, so as the dominoes are pushed into place, we see a situation where the media proclaims JP Morgan to be a mere financial advisor. I believe that to be incorrect. Even as Reuters reported “JPMorgan is in early talks with Saudi Arabian companies about overseas listings“, that might be true, but JP Morgan has been pushing itself and its ‘friends’ into powerful places where lucrative revenues are not set in millions, but in billions. I cannot answer whether Credit Agricole did the right or wrong thing, they are pretty clever all by themselves. I think that the Saudi issues in play now are pushing for polarising fields of options and opportunity on a global scale. In this case my view will be proven over the next 2 years as we follow the money. They question is where the source will be set and who gets to fill their bucket list from that well. when the options are returned in billions there will be plenty of players, although in this instance I believe that the outside opportunities (non-Saudi based companies) are offered to the friends of JP Morgan and them only, which is again a speculation. Whether I am right or wrong will be initially shown in the next 20 weeks.

There are however facts available to see that there is a direction in place. Reuters show on part (at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-jpmorgan-saudi/jpmorgan-sees-more-saudi-firms-looking-at-overseas-listings-after-aramco-idUSKBN1D7107), some might think that “He said listings in New York, London, Hong Kong or Singapore might help increase the liquidity of these companies and make them attractive for international investors, he said” is the part that gives the goods, yet it is the part not seen and more interestingly not implied that gives power to it all. The implied part is seen with “Commenting on the anti-corruption drive, Pinto said: “If it is done in the right way and for the right reasons it is good to do for the future of the kingdom.”” It is however only the first part. The news given with ‘Saudi Arabia detains 201 princes, businessmen in $100 billion corruption probe’ (at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-11-10/saudi-anti-corruption-probe-finds-$100-billion-embezzled/9136608). This was not a sudden part, this had been in play for some time. It was not merely the fact that at present 201 people are now in custody. Even as we see mention of Iran and the Lebanon pressures, we see that there is a larger play. His Royal Highness King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud have been on a path to get the nation reformed and moved away from oil dependency. In this the pool of plenty does not last too long when 100 billion get lost one handshake at a time as more and more people are connected to unlimited resources and wealth. As the press seems to be focussing on the crown prince and the ‘wild ride’ he created, there is a larger issue that is not too much in focus. No matter what the sceptics state, There is a clarity that Saudi Arabia is seriously considering that the age of oil is dwindling, as this happens they need to be able to push into other directions and they do have the wealth to create vested interests in pharmaceuticals, consumer goods, consultancy services and educational advantages. Forbes has had its share of articles on the matter, and whilst some look at ‘Saudi Arabia Looks To The Private Sector To Meet Growing Healthcare Demands’ it seems to me that 5G facilitation has much larger and more profitable sides as other providers are considering what to do, Saudi Arabia has the option to facilitate to the largest 4 cities and exceed in opportunity what Sweden has for its entire nation. When there is such a population (9.5 million) in 4 cities, there is an option to grow and grow fast. Now we know that there is a lively market already, but the idea that other services could be added grows the Saudi options to add markets and manufacturing opportunities through investment. I all this JP Morgan is potentially the spider in the centre of the web, growing in value and wealth from all sides at the same time. There is no way to state why Crédit Agricole walked away from those opportunities, but I feel certain that they did not walk away, the merely moved to a place around the corner. Even as the Financial Times (at https://www.ft.com/content/0e629bab-494c-34d0-8fe0-f71c8b089118) show mixed results, yet I believe that this French bank is moving into different fields, acquiring other banks and setting new goals. I have no way to tell on the why of it but I feel that moving away was only one as the clever people in this bank have agreed on a strategy that allows to grow faster and on larger fields. How?

We will learn this over the next 20 weeks. Yet no matter what is done and how the banks react is not a given, the direct dangers on how things escalate in Lebanon and with Iran seems to be crucial in all of this and I reckon that we will see the shifts quite soon. These shifts will not be through armed conflict, but will rely on the pressures and stresses that exist at present. In this Europe seems to take a ‘diplomatic’ stance (at http://www.ecfr.eu/article/commentary_destabilising_lebanon_will_only_strengthen_hezbollah_7235), yet with “Europeans should veer the other way, taking measures that aim to preserve Lebanon’s stability and governance structures, and to prevent wider conflagration. Iran is clearly a key source of regional instability, and Hezbollah has become increasingly assertive in Lebanon” it seems to advocate a path of inaction, 3 decades of inaction have shown that there is no solution on that path, a stream of casualties, of non-actions and broken promises. Saudi Arabia (and the USA) both had enough, and as Iran seems to be an annoying thorn in the side of Saudi Arabia, they have seemingly decided to take Hezbollah out of the equation. This will be interesting, because the moment Hamas and Iran realise that the gig is finally up, I wonder how must tearful pleads of ‘negotiations’ will be shown on nearly every soft hearted news channel on the planet. Perhaps a recollection of March 2016 is needed. With: “Hamas on Sunday sent a delegation to Egypt in an effort to beseech Egyptian security officials to stop destroying its tunnels out of Gaza. These terror tunnels, employed by the terrorist group for nearly a decade, are used to store weapons, smuggle supplies, and infiltrate enemy territory – Israel – as well as carry out surprise attacks in which people are killed and soldiers abducted.” (source: Breaking Israel News). It reads like “please let us be terrorists a little longer, we need the tunnels to do naughty things”. There is every chance that this falls on deaf ears, because as Israel is optionally no longer pressured in possible two front wars, they can fully focus on Hamas whilst Saudi Arabia will only have to deal with Iran after that. It will truly change the Balance of Power in the Middle East with Saudi Arabia as the only true power in that region, all because to a larger extent, Europe decided to remain in a self-imposed state of inaction. After three decades they still haven’t learned that inaction against terrorists will never ever lead to any solution.

Yes, there are a few elements of speculation from my side, but it is based on gathered facts and it I do not believe it is less likely on the balance of probabilities, it is merely one optional setting in a larger game that has been played for much too long.

 

 

 

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Mere consideration

An article was given today in the Guardian. We can argue in many ways, there is no ‘Yay’ or ‘Nea’, there is no setting that gives rise to anything wrongfully reported (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/27/cassie-sainsbury-to-serve-six-years-in-colombian-jail-after-judge-accepts-plea-deal). The question that formed in my mind was all about the previous part, all about the part ignored. The Daily Telegraph (at http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/cassie-sainsbury-worked-as-a-prostitute-former-colleague-says-shes-a-compulsive-liar/news-story/e3897bc910b3c4d5d7f97d6b8eb406bc) states “the 22-year-old was a former sex worker who spent months working in a Western Sydney brothel in the lead up to her ill-fated ­Colombian trip“, another source gives us that she worked for Club 220. It does not make an impact, what does give us the goods is that this 22 year old went to Columbia of all places. I have nothing against Columbia, I worked with the Colombian presidential guards in 1982, all dedicated to their nation, a little fanatic, but all believing in what they did. Yet as a tourist, Colombia would never be on my list. Rio might (not too likely), yet Buenos Aires definitely would be on my list. Still from Australia that is not the most affordable trip. The cheapest was $2400 return whilst Buenos Aires is offered at $1750, all this whilst Jakarta is merely $270 away. Now, she might not like Indonesia, that’s fair. Yet in all this, Colombia is not the actual most desired place to go to. Some, especially those with connections would feel different and that is fair too. In all this there has been very little reporting on the reasoning of the 22 year old and her choice of travel. So as the Sydney Morning Herald reports “The plea bargain was then explained: if the deal was accepted by the prosecutor, the defence and the judge, Ms Sainsbury would be sentenced to 6 years of prison instead of the potential 30 year sentence if she was found guilty” sounds nice, yet in all this, the deciding players behind this, the elements do not add up. How long until we get scores flying to Bogota, because the coffee is just so much fresher in the place where the beans are plucked. We need not wonder on the validity of choice, merely accept the freedom to choose. It is a point of view we can agree with to some extent, yet questions still rise.

Even as we seem to focus on: “the judge asked Ms Sainsbury if she had been coerced into taking the plea deal“, I wonder how a plea deal is coerced, is a plea deal not the best option she could have hoped for? Was the option to stay in prison for 6 years, or be forced into 30 years? It would be the other way round and as such, how much arm twisting would be required? When we see “Ms Sainsbury was caught at Bogota’s international airport in April, trying to smuggle 5.8 kilograms of cocaine inside 18 separate packages of headphones“, so how was this any good idea? To become an exporter of headphones, whilst JB-Hifi sells quality Sony headsets for $34 (and JBL for $50)? How was any of this a good idea? We know that according to urban folk tales that criminals tend to be not too intelligent, but this dim? Nope, I am not buying it! In addition adding 330 grams to a headset package; something like that gets noticed and real fast too!

In all this, the Daily Telegraph now becomes in addition a worry for Cassie Sainsbury in other ways too. We see this in the two quotes “a former colleague of Sainsbury, who told Nine News she worked with her at brothel Club 220 near Penrith, has accused her of being a compulsive liar who once pretended her mother had died from MS” and “The former colleague said she had donated money to Sainsbury to cover her mother’s funeral costs and was horrified to see images of her mother alive and well on television“. Another claim given is “According to the colleague, Sainsbury went under the name of “Claudia” and listed herself online as “19 years old … classy, fun and ready to please”“, which get us to the situation that if the reliability of the accused is found to be non-existing, there is the chance that the judge throws out the option of plea bargain as the defence of the accused was “she was “threatened” into becoming a mule by an international drugs syndicate“, if there was no threat, she becomes the instigator of smuggling for large profits and that sets her on that 30 year train ride to nowhere.

I found the quote “Sainsbury’s fiancé Scott Broadbridge maintained his partner was innocent during an interview with Seven’s Sunday Night program. He said she was employed by a mystery couple who paid her $1800 a week to travel the world to work for their cleaning business“, it is interesting as it is a better income than most people at ASIS get, and they get into a lot more hot water, being in better shape and having a near Olympian constitution and well above decent looks too, which applies to both the boys and the girls working there. All elements Cassie lacked (as well as other shortcomings in education and degrees), so which cleaning business is hiring people at almost $10K a month?

There is a level of befuddlement within me as parts of all these given items are accepted by media, the courts and apparently the gullible audience. In all this, the Sydney Morning Herald gives one additional Gem that the AAP seems to have missed. When we consider “Given that any amount over 5 kilos is considered “aggravated circumstances” and draws a higher penalty, Ms Sainsbury could be facing 30 years in Colombian prison“, so no matter who was involved, the issue of this element which could have been diminished by trying to smuggle 4.9 Kg instead of the 5.8Kg is showing to be an element, especially as the 18 headsets were already a joke, the difference of 50 grams per headset would still have been noticed, but overall, on the two elements (apart from the mindlessness of trying to personally export 18 headsets whilst you are competing against players you have no chance against), we see that there is an element of stupid greed coming in. When drug tourism relied on the elements of stupid and gullible (added with two tits and a vagina to make the package even more appealing), whomever was linked in all this, going for the lower threshold of staying below 5000 grams might have had another (read: better) impact.

This is not merely the limitations of a system, this is a different circus. The Australian Daily Telegraph is also giving us “Bogota hotel manager describes man whom accused drug mule says tricked her into smuggling cocaine“, in addition; the quotes given give additional light on the less factually given job with $1800 a week. The quote “Ms Hernandez saying she stood out at her hotel because she arrived without a reservation and paid for her accommodation only two days at a time“, would a ‘business‘ trip not be prearranged? How would the ‘cleaning business‘ continue without a clear itinerary as well as clear invoices? In addition to that, the quote which is seen in news.com.au “Earlier it was revealed the US Drug Enforcement Agency reportedly alerted Colombian authorities to their suspicions about Ms Sainsbury. “We found her because of an alert from the DEA [Drug Enforcement Agency],” Bogota airport’s narcotics chief, Commander Rodrigo Soler, told News Corp Australia” the entire mess gets another image entirely. If the given is true, not only is the entire mess as I personally speculate it to be a farce, there is every consideration that she was a 5.8Kg decoy for other parties to get out without a hitch. Consider the facts. She got into the hotel on April 3rd, left April 12th and got arrested on the airport. So in 9 days, she got approached, likely after a few days the ‘coercion‘ was made so in less than 7 days, a infiltrated drug ring got data to the DEA, the name and details forwarded to other parties so she could be arrested. So someone gave up $20,650 in goods (Colombian value of Cocaine), which in Australia would be $1.74 million. Is that what really happened, or was the actual catch to send two additional models (or a couple) each with 2,450 grams of cocaine (total value $1.45 million), whilst the total venture costed $35.5K and three plane tickets. It could just be me, yet when we hear screaming of a high profile drug dealer being caught on boarding the flight those getting of the plane in Sydney might have a lot more smooth sailing.

In the end, there is a chance that she was merely the patsy in this endeavour, whether it was a willing one or a coerced one is hard to tell, however the evidence is not in her favour at present. In light of all this, when we go back to Chapelle Corby who had a bag and a boogie board and decided to add more than the weight of a boogie board in Marijuana in a place that hates drugs with a passion, now we see equally less intelligent acts by a person nicknamed in the papers as ‘Ccocaine Cassie‘, yes, if all hedge funds managers were only that stupid the economy would have been in a much better place.

In my view, we cannot oppose the fact that the bulk of papers are merely reporting on what the AAP is giving them (read: reporting should be copy and paste), yet the ‘articles’ left me with merely common sense issues on nearly every level. In all this I wonder if the court and prosecutor had done their due diligence in addition to all this. Should we have expected more from the Australian Associated Press? They report themselves to be the “AAP is the media company that businesses turn to for news, information and publishing solutions. With breaking news firmly at our core, our vast range of products and services help clients connect with and engage their audiences. AAP is your integrated, simple solution“, yet the AAP made no mention of the 5Kg threshold and what is the verdict on both sides of that isle. In addition, something that was not on the list is the question on how many trips Cassie had been on since she turned 18? I would love to know how she got to decide on Bogota without knowing where else she had been, as that stands to the character of the accused. In addition, considering that the weight of a headset is around 200 grams, replacing that with in excess of 150% weight in cocaine seems even less intelligent. When we get an overdose of details on the lingerie of Kim Kardashian and a lack of facts and evidence in a reported drug hearing, the lack of questions asked all over the place is a little too deafening to my liking.

In all that, the valid words of immigration minister, Peter Dutton as we hear “People need to abide by the laws of that country. If not, they will face serious consequences,” might be well, but it falls on the ears of those stating ‘who the fuck cares?

This directly relates to the lack of visibility we see given to the defence lawyer of Cassie, in this as I see it, only the International Business Times gave any level of visibility to Orlando Herran. Here we see what was given to 60 minutes. With “someone on Craigslist offering a loan and a trip to London, she jumped at the opportunity. However, the itinerary was allegedly changed to Hong Kong, Los Angeles and Bogota“, how was that missed and changed to merely ‘a global cleaning service‘? Does this impede the reliability of the statements of the accused even further? That would be for the court to decide, but overall there has been a level of skipping that is just way too weird. In this the evidence also not reported on was who paid for the flight? Was it in cash (where was it paid) or credit card? All evidence not shown to the audience by the media either.

In the mere consideration here I see a failing on several sides and in all this there would be the required additional forensic digital investigation regarding the Craigslist as well, as it could be useful evidence. This entire event has too many holes and several unlooked places, especially when you consider that the DEA had its own role to play in all this.

 

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When movies fall short

There is nothing as intensely satisfying as when we are confronted with a reality that is a lot more entertaining than a movie would be. Those are moments you live for, that is unless you are a part of Sony and it is your system getting hacked. Life tends to suck just a little at that point.

This is not the latest story to look at, but in light of the elements that have been visibly resolved, it is the best one around. Some will state that the Hostage story in Martin’s Place, Sydney is the big issue, but that is an event that is getting milked for every second possible by the media, I checked! The price of chocolate remains unaffected, so let’s move on to Sony!

The first part is seen in the article ‘Sony hack would have challenged government defences – FBI’ (at http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/dec/12/sony-hack-government-defences-fbi), those who think it is new news seem to have forgotten the issues people had in May 2011 (at http://uk.playstation.com/psn/news/articles/detail/item369506/PSN-Qriocity-Service-Update/). “As the result of a criminal cyber-attack on the company’s data centre located in San Diego, California, USA, SNEI shut down the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services on 20 April 2011, in order for the company to undergo an investigation and make enhancements to the overall security of the network infrastructure” 77 million accounts were compromised and the perpetrators got away with a truckload of data.

So when we see the quote “The cyber-attack that crippled Sony Pictures, led to theft of confidential data and leak of movies on the internet would have challenged almost any cyber security measures, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has said“, we should consider the expression once bitten twice shy and not, when bitten use antiseptic, go into denial and let it be done to your network again.

The fact that this revolves around another branch of Sony is just ludicrous, it’s like listening to a prostitute stating that the sick man used the other entrance this time, so we need not worry! If you think that this is an over the top graphical expression, consider that twice in a row that the personal details of millions in the form of data ‘leaked’ to somewhere.

The second quote will not make you feel any safer ““In speaking with Sony and separately, the Mandiant security provider, the malware that was used would have slipped or probably got past 90% of internet defences that are out there today in private industry and [would have] challenged even state government,” Joseph Demarest, assistant director of the FBI’s cyber division told a US Senate hearing“, as we know that governments tend to be sloppy with their technology as they do not have the budgets the bulk of commercial enterprises get, we can look at the quote and regard the statement to be a less serious expression of ‘do we care’, which is nothing compared to the ignored need to keep personal data safe.

You see, commercial enterprises have gotten sloppy. getting newly graduates to look into a system where you need seasoned veterans and you need a knowledge base and a good setup, all factors that seem to be in ‘denial’ with a truckload of companies the size of Sony, as they are all cutting corners so that they can project revenue and contributions in line with the ‘market expectations’.

The quote that becomes interesting is “A link between Gop and North Korea has been muted over Pyongyang’s reaction to the Sony Pictures film The Interview, which depicts an assassination attempt on Kim Jong-un“, so is this group calling itself Guardians of Peace (Gop), the ‘simpleton’ group they are trivialised to be, or is there more. You see, we see a growing abundance of data collections that seem to go nowhere, but is this truly the case? You see, data is money, it is a currency that can be re-used several times, the question becomes, finding someone willing to buy it. If we regard the 2 billion Microsoft paid for Minecraft to be more than just the IP of the sandbox game, then what is it? Which part of that 2 billion is seen as value for the 120 million registered users on PC? Do you now see the currency we are confronted with?

In my book the Sony exercise is a display of the expression ‘a fool and his money are soon parted‘. In light of the 2011 issue, the fact that security was increased to the extent that it could be done again makes for entertainment on a new level, in addition, like a bad infomercial it does not stop here, no! For $9.95 you get so much more then you see now. That we see in the article that was published two days before that (at http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/dec/10/fbi-doubts-north-korea-link-sony-pictures-hack). The part that should make you howl like a hyena is seen here “The security firm hired by Sony to investigate the attack, FireEye, described the attack as an “unparalleled and well-planned crime, carried out by an organised group, for which neither SPE nor other companies could have been fully prepared” in a leaked report“, So did you notice ‘unparalleled and well-planned crime‘ and ‘leaked report‘, oh sarcasm, thy name be Miss Snigger Cackle!

The leaked report, which was from the 7th of December (at http://recode.net/2014/12/07/sony-describes-hack-attack-as-unprecedented/) gives us “demanding that organizations which have obtained the leaked information avoid publishing any more material from the hackers, and destroy existing copies. Boies called it “stolen information.”“, you see, the issue here is that if we consider the quote “This attack is unprecedented in nature. The malware was undetectable by industry standard antivirus software and was damaging and unique enough to cause the FBI to release a flash alert to warn other organizations of this critical threat“, so even after the malware, info was still going past the firewall, or was this just ‘leaked’ by an internal source? It takes a little twist when we look at the quote in the December 10th article “The malware had been signed and authorised by Sony Pictures, allowing it to bypass certain security checks“, in my mind this reads as follows: ‘Some idiot gave a pass to malware to roam free on the system‘, so is it that, or was this an internal operation all along? If the second part is true, then who was the beneficiary of all that private data? Who is it means for? You see, many forget that our information is not always for stealing from our credit cards, sometimes it is used to profile us, as a customer, as marketing or as leverage. Why the word leverage? Consider healthcare, consider usage, what happens when an insurance company gets to profile 20 million couch potatoes, what if your healthcare premium suddenly goes up by 15%, do you have any idea how much money that is? So as insurance companies keep the leveraged margins of charge, whilst overcharging risks in addition, we see a growing margin of profit for these insurance companies, whilst getting them to pay for what you are insured for has not gotten any easier has it?

So is this simply a cinematography from Sony Pictures film, called The Interview, which depicts an assassination attempt on Kim Jong-un, or was that the smoke screen? The FBI seems to have ruled out North Korea, as far as I have been able to tell, the only fans of North Korea are the North Koreans and Dennis Rodman (who has no fame in any IT endeavour), so is there enough doubt regarding the reality of what happened and why it happened? Yes, as I see it there is, the question becomes, when there is this much smoke, where are we not looking? That part is to some extent seen in another Guardian Article (at http://www.theguardian.com/film/2014/dec/12/hackers-attack-film-studios-sony-pictures-leak-cybersecurity-warning). We see this quote “Sean Sullivan, senior adviser and researcher at the security company F-Secure, said that he believes the purpose of the Sony hack was extortion. “If it was just hacktivists, they’d have released everything all at once,” he said. “But these releases, it’s like they’re shooting hostages. One thing one day, another the next. This is a really different tactic from what we usually see.”“, this is certainly plausible, but is that it? Why ransom of data and sell it back with the FBI and others on your tail, when you can sell it in Hong Kong, Bangkok, Riyadh and a host of other locations. A simple transaction for an external encrypted drive, a deal you can offer to ALL parties for amount X, the more you offer, the higher X is.

Whilst our data is sold on and on, we run additional risks of getting invoiced for our lives choices and extorted by other financial firms because our privacy is no longer a given in the age of data and it is directly linked to corporations that cannot clean up their act. In the mean time we see leaked report on impossible hack successes, whilst it took only one executive to ‘accidently’ sign and authorise a mere trinket of malware.

So yes, the movies are falling short; reality can be scary and entertaining all at the same time. The question becomes, will there be a change to our invoice of life because of corporate considerations, or lack there off?

 

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The Hunchback of the NSA

We have been hearing information in this regard for some time now. I added my thoughts in my last blog, and as this is such a growing story, let me see if I can add some details to this by looking at a few issues from another side. (Source: www.NOS.nl , www.Guardian.co.uk , et al).

Edward Snowden, His view is that it is up to the people to decide what is to be done. Is it?

2003: Edward joins the Army to deploy to Iraq. He suffers injuries during (basic) training and cannot continue the training.

200?: Edward has been selected into the sanctum and becomes an IT specialist with the CIA, placed in Geneva. Well, that is a nice handle up from basic training isn’t it. Some people dream of opportunities like that all their life.

He gets a dose of disillusionment. (Not my words, just quoting here). The CIA methodology does not sit well with him. As a data analyst with a few decades of experience, including some not to mention data depositories, I can tell him now, that there is method to their madness. I know where he is at this point, because when it is all about data cleaning, integrity checks and verification, whatever you do feels like carrying a bucket of water towards the ocean, but hey, that is what it is. He then decides to quit. That is fair enough! Not all are meant for that lifestyle (including unappreciative bosses that we see by the container load in the commercial world), and as such we should recognise that some of these jobs have a decidedly larger chance of burning out.

2009: He joins the NSA. Really? After he left the CIA? That is an interesting step. Especially knowing that one worries you, the other would not?

Well Edward, this is what you signed up for! But fair enough, you wanted to give it a go. He then becomes NSA’s own Arnold Benedict. Oh joy! (I say in a slightly sarcastic voice) and he ends up feeding the information to the PRESS. I will add that this is slightly better than dumping all this on Wiki-leaks. I will also applaud him for going to the Guardian as I personally see these people as slightly more devoted to Ethics then anything Rupert Murdoch has at present in my humble opinion. Still, Arnold, oops, I meant Edward goes out into the limelight. Consider that his job was to make sure that the American people remained safe. Did he? Many people including terrorists knew this was likely to happen. Now they have confirmation and they might employ new methods, making it harder for the NSA to find them. So who did Edward Snowden actually service? From my point of view it was not the American people. Oh, and Hong Kong of all places? It seems to me that he preferred to be bankable to several potential donators. (But that is just my view).

The NSA has an uncomfortable job that must be done. The terrorist (or perhaps better stated the extremist) threat is real, and as such organisations like NSA, GCHQ and DSD need to look at information as it flows to keep its citizens safe. There is an ugly looking sterile approach to information. It has no emotion; it is simple collection of data. Yes, if anyone gets the wrong phone call we could be checked. Yet, the data is up to a point so complete that these organisations can easily see whether this is a fluke, or if there is more. Is that not the best solution? Most people have this illusion that we have some kind of privacy. The reality is that our information had been collected and data mined by large corporations well over a decade before governments started to collect data.

Do you think that I am kidding?

Take a day in your life. You fill up the tank at a gas station. You use your tank pass to get the 3% extra discount. You pay with either ‘their’ card, or your card. Nowadays it is rare that people pay cash. You go to work. Lunch means that you get lunch at some place. You get a snack and you get 1-2 extra items. Anything at these points that have a pass, or card is in 70% of the cases collected data. Now you go home, get dinner, use your customer loyalty card and you go home. Whenever you did not use cash (and in some cases even if you did) your details were recorded. EVERY day of your life! Whenever you use your mobile, your mobile carrier knows roughly where you are (with some smart-phones they know exactly where you are). All that data has been collected in one way or another.

Yes, even beyond what Orwell contemplated, you are a data collection point, you are marketable!

This is the ugly reality that has been happening since even before 2001. The big problem for you is that many of these companies need to survive, they need revenue, so to survive and you are for sale. Whatever you did is for sale. No matter the amount of cleaning you think they do. It takes but one linkable fact to your raw data details to know exactly who you are, where you are and where you are likely to go. People like the NSA only want to know whether you are a danger to the nation and the people around you. Are you? The others want to make money off you? Only you know how ‘dangerous’ you are, the others want you to spend cash where they like it. It is a never-ending story of greed. So who do you really need to worry about?

So when we see the news on how politicians are all about worries, all about what was done, then ask yourself, what questions have they been asking, investigating and contemplating when it came to the data handed by all to commercial facilities.

Getting back to Edward, whatever his views are. If he was TRULY for the people, and TRULY doing something to make the world better, then he would have done something about the real issues and all those e-mails from bankers and so on. That did not happen, did it? Didn’t Julian Assange ‘vanish’ to Ecuador before he could make good on that promise? So when people are driven by who hold the usage of their credit card, what do we call them then? As for bankable matters, seems that his move to Hong Kong could be all about bankability, but who is banking who?

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