Tag Archives: India

Warranty for non-use only

I started my Monday morning with a giggle, and that is always a good way to start the day. The Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/mar/03/pakistan-denies-indian-claims-it-used-us-f-16-jets-to-down-warplane) gives us ‘Pakistan denies Indian claims it used US F-16 jets to down warplane‘, the idea that the Indian government is crying over getting shot down Pakistani air (airspace violation), whilst India has bombing attacks in Pakistani (whether valid or not), does it matter how they got shot down? They merely were not good enough. It goes further, not one media outlet is giving us the goods on WHAT was shot down. Either they do not know, or India is extremely silent on what they lost. For the most I did not care, that is until I saw: “The US has said it is trying to find out whether Pakistan used US-built F-16 jets to down an Indian warplane, potentially in violation of trade agreements, as the standoff between the nuclear-armed Asian neighbours showed signs of easing“, so why buy a plane that you cannot use? I know that it is not that simple, we all get that. Yet when we are also treated to: “It is not clear what exactly these so-called “end-user agreements” restrict Pakistan from doing. “The US government does not comment on or confirm pending investigations of this nature,” the US embassy said.” From my point of view, they should have been aware of that before going into pending investigations. The entire setting of ‘It is not clear what exactly these so-called “end-user agreements” restrict Pakistan from doing‘, should the US embassy not have read those agreements before making any statement around an investigation? The fact that all the media hides behind ‘shot down two Indian jets‘ is equally an issue.

Now as for the entire usage of an F-16, I am surprised that Pakistan would accept such terms. It comes across like ‘warranty valid from purchase at the counter, till the exit door‘. Now, we can agree that Pakistan does not have a great track record on incidents, yet we know that there is an issue in Kashmir and India ‘started’ this by bombing a terrorist camp in Balakot Pakistan. I will not oppose that action, yet the humorous and silly statement by foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale, where he called it a “non-military pre-emptive action”, cannot be taken too seriously either. Let’s face it; the Mirage 2000 is a military vehicle, plain and simple.

Still there is a larger concern; it is the stage of conditional sales of war machines. It is not opposing their sale as it was a choice made. And most devices can be used for offense and defence. So as we set the stage where something can only be used for one purpose, we see a larger issue evolve. When a stage changes, does that invalidate the sale? That is behind it all, if the US had clear indications that their places might be used in defence on another plane, should those war machines be allowed to be sold?

We can accept that the sale is set to a governmental stage that machines are to be used for defensive abilities only, yet in the stage of provocation, when do we accept the usage to be defensive? Which parameter triggers the defence option to be valid, especially in light of disputed terrain?

The Indian Economic Times (at https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/balakot-iaf-strike-involved-over-200-hours-of-planning/articleshow/68172274.cms) gives us: “involved over 200 hours of planning that began following intelligence inputs regarding a second suicide terror strike somewhere in India“. When we accept that fact and the fact that it was aimed at terrorists, as well as an intentional incursion into Pakistan, would all the options not have changed? The stage no matter how valid it is to go after the JeM is set, you see unless anyone can give clear evidence that the JeM is in Pakistan backed by the Pakistani government, India set themselves up by proceeding on an act of war. If the camp would have been in Kashmir that entire issue would have been less complicated. It is not what is likely to be the case, it is what we can prove is the case and that is a bigger issue here and from that point of view the entire escalation as witnessed is a loaded one and my $0.02 here is that the actions of the US embassy are merely complicating matters. Whilst their claim ‘It is not clear what exactly these so-called “end-user agreements” restrict Pakistan from doing‘, is extremely sloppy to say the least. And that is apart from the US Embassy relying on the application of ‘so-called’ and ‘restrictions’; it comes across as a double negative of something not yet looked at. So investigating that before we see the howling cries of ‘US demands to know if Pakistan used F-16 jet to shoot down Indian warplane over Kashmir‘, which is still less interesting than finding out what exactly had been shot down. You see it matters, because the news that a 1983 MiG 21 lost against a Chinese-designed JF-17 fighter jet (or optionally a General Dynamics F16) is not that interesting; they lost a plane that had been taken out of production in 1985, so big deal, perhaps the Indian pilot would have made it back if he had a little more up to date equipment (like the Fulcrum or the Raptor) at that point it becomes massively interesting, especially if it would have been done using a JF-17.

So whilst we can look at it from different angles, the entire ‘end-user agreement‘ angle is just too hilarious. As I state before, we get that there is a clear need for passages like that at times, yet what will the US do after selling the F16? Not sell any more? Let’s not forget that there are a few alternatives that are not sold in America, or by Americans, those players are happy to take up the slack of the US at that point. It would be so much simpler if India had never decided to bomb Pakistani soil, which is the real complication. It might have been essential, we cannot deny that option, but it was tactically flawed in more than one way. Even as we recognise that Pakistan has its own flaws as well (the mention of ‘Pakistan immediately downplayed the airstrikes, saying no infrastructure was hit.‘) is also an issue. So either is intentionally not acting, or it is openly making statements for the JeM, either version is a larger issue for Pakistan.

Even as I might oversimplify the issue, I recognise that the entire matter is loaded on a few fronts, and we get that something had to be done, and something was done. However to set the stage where larger players are all about an ‘end-user agreement‘, all whilst the terms were as stated by themselves unclear and unknown trivialises the matter, and that is one part that should not be allowed for.

The dispute is old, and the BBC (at https://www.bbc.com/news/10537286) gives us: “before India and Pakistan won their independence from Britain in August 1947, Kashmir was hotly contested.” An issue that has been around for 72 years! Is it not time to talk to Kashmir about them becoming self-sufficient? As the BBC article gives us: “Many people in the territory do not want it to be governed by India, preferring instead either independence or union with Pakistan” is independence really that bad an idea? It seems ironic that a nation fighting to become independent from the UK (1947) is all about annexing a region that does not want to be with them.

I think that it is time that after 72 years of disputes and transitional violence from one side to the others, another solution should be found. And with the need to lower pressures, is independence of Kashmir not a valid option to consider?

We see the news in several ways by several players, yet only the BBC gives us what the locals want. They allegedly voiced: ‘independence or union with Pakistan‘, it is time to listen to the local population and educate or truly assist them in creating a long term future, mainly because all the present actions imply that there is no progress and there might never be progress. How debilitating is that for any local population?

 

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Awareness west of India

Awareness is a first need for anyone, there is no exception to this; a person looking for a job or a person seeking to sell a product, or a terrorist organisation. Without awareness they are all equally in the shadows, unknown and disregarded at the spot. So when we were alerted to yesterday’s airstrike by the Indian Air force on Jaish-e-Mohammed, most people had the response: ‘You who now?‘ The group which translates to ‘The Army of Muhammad’ is a terrorist organisation that operates out of Kashmir. Their goal is to relocate Kashmir from India into Pakistan and as such, it would cause great friction with India even under the most docile conditions. It is Al Jazeera, who less than a day ago reports ‘India foreign secretary says jets hit Jaish-e-Mohammed camp in Pakistan, but Islamabad denies casualties in air raids‘, which is now also a much larger escalation in creating a more direct conflict between Pakistan and India. We also get: “Pakistan reported the Indian airspace incursion, with military spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor saying its air force jets were scrambling to respond, forcing the Indian aircraft to “release their payload in haste while escaping“, I found the term ‘in haste while escaping’, that is no jest, even as the Pakistani air force is merely half the size of the Indian one, the insider gossip is that this Pakistani air force is more than able to deal with the IAF even as it is twice the size, so we could consider that the Indian act, whilst being optionally essential was not the tactically clever. Consider that the act was against a target that was less than 60 Km across the border finding another solution would have been a much better act. This is speculation as I have no terrain intelligence at my disposal, yet hitting a target that is optionally around 225 Km from Islamabad, where one of the more alert airports is was definitely not a great idea, so the ‘in haste whilst escaping‘ becomes pretty much the ruling for India at that point. This does not invalidate the attack on Jaish-e-Mohammed, it merely becomes tactically questionable. Of course there are other considerations, how does the Kashmir population feel about joining Pakistan, because that also impacts the tactical choices available. Any planned attack on Jaish-e-Mohammed from closer to the border whilst that population is loudly singing

Count 1 to 10 in a MIG on high

You go hide, and they come fly!

Better prepare, make a stinger rage in flight

(Source: adapted nursery rhyme)

At that point, we can agree that there are not that many options, especially in remote areas. Yet there is another side, and that is on Pakistan at present. After we have seen that they sheltered Osama Bin Laden only two miles from their military academy, they need to lash out stronger against terrorist organisation operating from their territory. We can agree that Pakistan is too large to keep properly in check with military against extremists, but this escalation could have larger repercussions and in this day and age as Pakistan’s economy is in dire needs of international investment. That setting alone will not go anywhere when operations like Jaish-e-Mohammed pretty much have the lay of the land. Now, be aware that is me not speaking out in favour or against the need of Kashmir that is for the people of Kashmir. I am however of the mind that it is not up to Jaish-e-Mohammed to decide either. The anti-feelings between India and Pakistan have been around long before the Mahatma accepted the separation, it is a setting that might never be resolved, yet in all this a much larger issue plays and I am painfully aware I do not have the wisdom on how to feel (as well as a massive lack of data intelligence on the area and the subject matter), yet the escalation as the IAF pushed for is up for debate. Even now we see ‘It was a non-military, pre-empted action targeted at terrorist activity‘, yet how exactly was that place bombed? So when we are also given: “In an early morning attack on Tuesday, the Indian Air Force Mirage 2000 jets crossed 50 miles undetected into Pakistan and hit Balakot“, my question towards Indian Foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale would be: “Who were the civilians flying the borrowed Mirage 2000 Jets and can I please borrow one? I have always wanted to get my flight wings on that fabulous French jet!” Perhaps the foreign secretary could limit the BS regarding a ‘non-military’ action when it requires the high end Mirage to get there, clearly a non-civilian form of transportation (a crazy assumption from my side). We all agree that actions against terrorists are essential, we all know that rules will be broken under these conditions, yet the essential need and then reflect on the term ‘non-military’ is too much of a stretch.

In addition, when less than 10 hours ago, the news (at https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/government-economy/eu-urges-maximum-restraint-from-india-pakistan-after-air-strike) give us: ‘EU urges ‘maximum restraint’ from India, Pakistan after air strike‘, it needs to be stated that the EU needs to grow a spine and stop being a paperback, a bad one at that. We either accept actions against terrorist organisations, even if they operate from deep within Pakistan. When I see the bloated “exercise “maximum restraint” after Indian warplanes attacked a militant camp in Pakistan, sending tensions soaring between the nuclear-armed arch-rivals” in light of the fact that it was an attack on a terrorist group, and in the second when Pakistan claims “insisting there was no damage or casualties” we see that both sides are to some degree in denial and the comments from limelight seeker Maja Kocijancic are just a little to hypocrite. We understand that the EU is in denial of terrorist activities all over the board and keeps on facilitating for Turkey and Iran for too many reasons, most merely for those trying to instigate another gravy train in the EU, others to keep their desolate economy from completely collapsing, in that day and age as we see the actions of Iran facilitating for the Houthi and Hezbollah forces, the entire matter as well as the call by Maja Kocijancic becomes increasingly distasteful.

That being said, Pakistan is not without blame, finding a common ground with India to take Jaish-e-Mohammed out of their jurisprudential domain seems to be an essential first. It is not a solution that JeM is likely to go for, yet at that point enabling the IAF in these actions would set a much larger stage of trust for foreign investors to take Pakistan more and more serious for serious investments, it will enable Pakistan more and better than Jaish-e-Mohammed ever could. You see the more immediate issue is neither, the more immediate issue is the question on where the people of Kashmir want to be. I actually do not know, mainly because the media has kept many in the dark in that regard, or merely quote some politician seeking the limelight (read: Maja Kocijancic) on a call of restraint from ‘nuclear enabled nations‘ (India and Pakistan).

The first issue for Kashmir is to get awareness, it might not give us information that we like, that we accept or information we hope for, but awareness is a first need. For now the awareness is merely limited to terrorist groups acting from within Pakistan and the fact that Indian civilians have access to military jets for hot rodding and cruising through the mountains of Kashmir and Pakistan. Perhaps it is a great day to upgrade Grand Theft Auto 5, to become Grand Theft Jet 6, hot wiring a Mikoyan MiG-35 at Shatalovo airbase and take it for a nice cruise and land it at Stockholm Arlanda (undamaged), would that make for a fun game or what? And it was Indian Foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale who gave us the idea with his ‘non-military, pre-empted action‘, some half-truths really should not be used ever, it complicates matters as we make light and fun of the situation.

So why make fun?

That is the issue when we give light to NDTV who (at https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/15-years-ago-us-took-note-of-jaish-e-mohammeds-terror-training-camp-in-balakot-1999829) gives us “15 Years Ago, US Took Note Of Jaish’s Terror Training Camp In Balakot“. If this can be confirmed, we see the setting where Pakistan allowed a terror training camp was allowed to go on for more than a decade, unopposed and unchallenged. It is one of the reasons why foreign investors will not consider serious investments in Pakistan. We accept that Pakistan is too large to police to the degree it needs to be, but 15 years is just too unacceptable. The quote “The memorandum talks about a Pakistani national Hafez K. Rahman, a Guantanamo Detainee, who was 20 years old and born in Gujrar, Pakistan, who turned out to be a jehadi” is very much at the heart of the matter here. In addition, the quote: “Rahman has admitted to volunteering to fight jihad against the US and its allies, remaining after the events of September 1lth to continue to fight, and receiving training from the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM). The JEM espouses Jihad against the US and is directly supported by Al-Qaida, General Miller wrote“, in this light we need to ask a lot more questions form a lot more people, as this is not limited to some Kashmir disagreement, any place that caters and facilitates towards terrorism to a much larger degree is a direct threat to the continuation of Pakistan. Pakistan might seek out to remain in seclusion form world trade, yet they are already learning that Pakistan cannot continue to survive in that way. Pakistan must select a path that gives Pakistan forward momentum and it is clear that JeM training camps cannot cater to that future.

In the end it is up to Pakistan to find a solution that they can live with, the question ultimately becomes, what caters to the continuation of the Muslim State of Pakistan?

If we take three publications, the first being the Business Standard (at https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/pakistan-s-hamstrung-economy-can-t-weather-a-conflict-with-india-119022700052_1.html), where we see: ‘Pakistan’s hamstrung economy can’t weather a conflict with India‘ with the quote “The country has been facing an ever-rising fiscal deficit, increasing debt and high inflation“, is more than a truth and a half, in addition, the dependence and reliance of the IMF will at some point end, there are multiple sources giving indication that the support to Pakistan must stop, at that point what will be left for Pakistan? The second supports the views. It comes from the Nikkei Asian Review (at https://asia.nikkei.com/Opinion/Pakistan-must-end-damaging-dependency-on-IMF) giving us: ‘After 21 assistance programs in 60 years, time to create sustainable economic growth‘, as well as “the new government is slowly persuading the public that Pakistan will need another International Monetary Fund bailout. At the same time, it has stepped up diplomatic efforts to secure short-term financial support from friendly countries. This approach appears to be bearing fruit. The government recently received $4 billion from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and is expecting a further $2.5 billion loan from China. Such bilateral support may allow Pakistan to seek a much smaller IMF package than expected“, yet behind the partial truth is that the Pakistani government has no way to pay these loans back in the immediate future, whichever path they take, repaying the loans and interest via a road that is twice as long as projected and merely gets settled with new loans under less optimal conditions is all that the Pakistani people have to look forward to. All this whilst the Indian Business Today (at https://www.businesstoday.in/current/economy-politics/pakistan-trying-to-hide-dead-body-of-terrorists-in-balakot-tries-to-debunk-india-claims-source/story/322532.html) gives us: “The Pakistan Army has cordoned off the entire area of Balakot and are clearing away evidence such as dead bodies so that they can deny India’s claims of the latest IAF strike wiping 300 militants in the area, a source has told India Today“, in my legal view, i would change “are clearing away evidence” into “are seemingly clearing away evidence“, for the mere reason that most Indian publications would more likely than not be too biased in this matter. Yet the given accusation, as well as intelligence from multiple sources give rise to the decent reliability of the Indian claim. Yet the article has a gem at the end. With “A sound relationship and cooperation between the two serves the interests of both the countries and peace and stability in South Asia” we see a much larger truth. Both nations could flourish to a much larger degree if they can find a common not to move forward on and both their economies would benefit in finding in such agreements. If only to learn that several players outside these two are too much interested in those two to lack stability to a much larger degree, when they realise that, and look for stable forward momentum would cater to both economies to a much larger degree and that is never a bad setting.

 

 

 

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Two sides of currency

There was more news yesterday. The article that gave me the previous view has been updated with a new one (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/feb/16/shamima-begum-isis-extremism-expert-criticises-sajid-javid). At the foundation of it is the view of Hanif Qadir, CEO of the Active Change Foundation. I disagree with him on a few levels. Now before I begin, we need to look at his ‘resume’, this is important in this case. As such we see: “Hanif once joined Al Qaeda members in Afghanistan, but was deterred by the crimes he saw being committed against civilians and turned his back on them. Upon his return to the UK, he vowed to safeguard young men and women from similar experiences, losing their lives and harming their communities. Having a unique understanding and hard-won experience of the modus operandi of Al Qaeda / ISIS inspired groups and individuals, he is now recognized as arguably the best violent extremist and de-radicalization expert in Europe“, the important part is that he knows the game, he knows what is at stake, yet I still disagree.

When we see: “Hanif Qadir said Sajid Javid’s reaction to the teenager’s predicament fed the narrative of Isis. On Friday Javid said he “would not hesitate” to prevent the return of UK Isis recruits, an approach at odds with Begum’s family in Bethnal Green, east London, who want the 19-year-old to return home “as a matter of urgency”“, I am with Javid on this. In addition there is: “Javid is fuelling the [Isis] narrative and giving wind to the sails of other extremists. If we continue with this trajectory we’ll be sowing the narrative for them to reap and use against us“, it is a fair enough view to have, but that is the setting when all was ‘well’ with ISIS, ISIL, Al Qaeda and such. This is no longer the case. They are not defeated, that much is certain, yet the world is very aware on how desperate they have become. The next part we see is: “If the government doesn’t change their approach to this, we potentially have a second wave of Isis coming, the connecting up and reloading of Isis, fence-sitters who are more sympathetic to another kind of narrative” and finally we get: “Baroness Sal Brinton, president of the Lib Dems, who described Begum’s radicalisation as a form of grooming. “We know that in that particular school three girls went [to join Islamic State], but probably more were approached. Surely our child protection laws have to kick in. As she returns we should look at what happens, as she was 15, and what happened out there“. I think that the cure is much simpler. It is called targeted killing, it is a simple path; if Shamima Begum wants back she has to earn this. As the Baroness points out (a little clumsy) we understand that there was grooming, we know that there was a stage, the fact that 15 year old girls got to fly to Turkey, had access to her passport, got to travel via smugglers, into Syria implies that they have optional intelligence value. It is the price for life, plain and simple. The message needs to be clear and without any level of reservation. Those who embrace terrorism will be hunted down and put to death. The European governments have a clear responsibility to its citizens. And here we see a clear field where we do not negotiate with terrorists. There cannot be a stage of some level of ‘biased’ mercy. People like Shamima Begum will optionally open options for ISIS and become the second wave. It is almost damned if they do and damned if they don’t, in this case the setting of not allowing them back, or merely long term imprisoned might be the safest route in all this.

And again we see the failing of the EU. when we see: “In Brussels the focus has been on trying to raise standards in the swift sharing of information among EU member states, and its dissemination to border databases should there be an uncontrolled wave of returnees“, we think that we are seeing something novel, yet the dangers had been shown since 2012. One year after the Syrian war there was a massive drive of refugees. In December 2012 the number of refugee’s trying to find alternative living had surpassed 500,000. At that point there was the already growing concern that if only 0.1% was ISIS minded, there would be a massive security concern in Europe, the fact that we now see ‘the focus has been on trying to raise standards in the swift sharing of information‘ is evidence that the EU has been sitting on their hands for too long a time, whilst those sitting on their hands remained to be well paid, and you still think Brexit is a bad idea? The intelligence failing in Europe had taken monumental proportions in 2014 as the Greek-Turkish events took a larger stage. Merely 4 years and as it seemingly shows, not actual quality improvement. That is the danger that the UK faces as an Island and ISIS is too large a problem to ignore, whether they get defeated or not, the timeline shows that splinter groups will form and they will take a slow silent step hoping that governments will fall asleep again, people like Shamima Begum will assist in making that happen. So when I see: “Although Begum is likely to be traumatised, Qadir said that if she received the right mentoring, counselling and passed through the necessary security protocols, she could be successfully rehabilitated“, I see a failing in the making. At this point I completely disagree with Hanif Qadir. Only the ego driven and their need for justification will give us the story that they can rehabilitate her. There are too many pressure points for Shamima Begum. At some point some radicalised person will find a way to blame the Europeans and Americans for the loss of her two children and the cloud of terror will be on route to disaster. In addition, she will need to be monitored 24:7 for years to come, if her family failed her once, it will do so again. She will play nice the first 18 months, yet at some point, she will be ‘woken up’ and that is when the problem starts. It is amazing how people cannot learn that lesson. They seem to focus on 9/11, focus on Syria and forget about the sarin attacks (in Syria), they focus on events that the media exploded on mental health cases like Sydney Martin Place, and forget the Charlie Hebdo shooting of January 2015 to a much larger degree. Two people, Saïd and Chérif Kouachi were able to kill 12 and injure 11. What is the damage when 6-8 start having fun with a Belgium FN MAG? Consider that I could with decent ammo, set the stage for a (800 m – 1,200 m) slaughter spree in London, and consider what would not be in range on that distance? It is a direct option for hundreds of deaths in the shortest time. Now consider the impact on tourism and economy if 6-8 did that. I used this example as it is relatively easy to get a hold of one in India, Egypt, and China. Consider that ISIS still has a logistic system in place and until it is utterly destroyed weapons like that can make it into Europe a lot easier than you think. Now consider that one attack will impact a little yet 3-4 events will massively upset all lives. If you doubt that, consider how long France needed to keep its soldiers in the street, merely to make the people feel safer. Consider that impact in London, Amsterdam, Manchester and Birmingham. It will end up doing a lot more than merely spook Europeans.

If a tiger gets out of the zoo, you would like to catch it, when 3 run amok you either consider the death of the visitors, or shoot to kill as soon as you can. We would all like to hide behind the tranquiliser gun, but when there is more than one, the danger of mass carnage becomes a little too large for comfort. You can do this exercise yourself. When you are in a zoo (any zoo that has a tiger), consider three tigers to get out, how much time will you get to get yourself and optionally your children safe, actually safe? How many will not make it? Try doing it on a summer day when the zoo is filled with children on school excursions. How many do you expect to die?

That is the actual situation, yet the area is not a zoo, it is a city filled with people and the members of ISIS are in their stage of ‘doing the will of Allah‘ in the end being nothing more than rabid animals. They will kill indiscriminately. We sometimes look back to videos like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LItKd2VE-NE, yet these are seemingly the most humane ones. Sources filter the video’s away as soon as they can (which we understand completely) and as such we have no reference just how inhumane the actions of these terrorists are, and as the spoof video’s come (like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Momc2e1wHG8) we end up merely persuading ourselves that it is all a joke, yet it is not. The problem is when it happens, the moment you get the real deal the first thing you will do is blame someone else, it was their fault. It is not, you will be just as much to blame as anyone else. So when we consider: “Ferdinand Grapperhaus, recently braved the critics by revealing that the government was cooperating with local authorities in Syria for the return of women accused of Isis membership and their children, and if this woman is shown to be involved with ISIS in any capacity, at that point will you blame Ferdinand Grapperhaus for allowing this to happen, or will you blame yourself for getting him elected? The problem is that until something happens there is no issue, it is the hidden trap. In my personal opinion, anyone who sided with ISIS remains a danger, to others and optionally to themselves as well. Normally we have systems in place, when someone is a mental health problem we have procedures, we have support systems in place. When they actively engage with ISIS, ISIL and Al Qaeda in the attack on others, either directly on the front lines or in support functions behind the lines, we have nothing and weirdly enough, it is the ISIS support people that become the larger problem down the line, they can really rack up the damage in whatever nation they end up living in.

That is the currency we all forget, that is the danger we allow others to be confronted with and that is why I am in opposition of Hanif Qadir and Baroness Sal Brinton.

Have a great Sunday

 

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Two Issues in play

There is a larger issue in all this, part of it is Wall Street, the gig is up (to some extent) yet no calls are being made to investigate the Analyst game by aspiring new Wall Street kings, and moreover no one is asking questions.

We start with the impact that Apple has had and the Financial Post is giving us (at https://business.financialpost.com/investing/us-stocks-wall-st-pulled-lower-by-apple-trade-worries) “Shares of Apple Inc fell 3.5 per cent after the Wall Street Journal reported the company had cut production orders in recent weeks for all three iPhone models launched in September“, as well as “Other market leaders — including the ‘FANG’ stocks — also fell sharply, underscoring the view that their leadership was on shaky ground. Shares of Facebook were down 5.1 per cent, Amazon.com was down 4.3 per cent, Netflix was down 4.9 per cent and Alphabet (Google) fell 3.4 per cent“. Now, we can go two ways in this, yet I am concentrating on the mere logical view. It is not the part of loss that is concerning me, it is as I said in ‘Annual medical bill $864,685‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/11/17/annual-medical-bill-864685/) “Consider the $2365, whilst their opponent is offering a decently close solution for $1499 (Google) and $1599 (Huawei) all top end phones and the next model is 33% cheaper, in an economy where most people are turning around pennies (just look at Debenhams). It was a really bad market moment; one could argue that Apple believed their marketing whilst it was nowhere near realistic“, when we consider this part, which is the basis application of common sense in a day and age of hardly being able to get by and we see such drops in stock levels, is that because there is underperformance, or a more clear image of overestimation by certain analysts clearing an optional path of short selling? When we consider the definition of short selling as: “The trader sells to open the position and expects to buy it back later at a lower price and will keep the difference as a gain“, is my speculation on a market set to implode that far from the actual truth? Has the entire FAANG group resorted to hiring mentally challenged Business Intelligence enabled accountants, or is someone spiking the Wall Street environment?  Is my thought on this that far out or synch with reality? When we see SBS reporting with ‘Nissan chairman arrested in Japan for financial misconduct‘, and we are given: “Besides being chairman of Nissan, the 64-year-old is also CEO of Renault and leads the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi alliance“, “Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa expressed “despair,” but also suggested that Ghosn had accrued too much power and eluded proper oversight“, as well as “Saikawa gave few details about the nature of the improprieties, including refusing to confirm reports that Ghosn under-reported his income by 5 billion yen, or around $60 million (AUD), over five years from 2011. He said an ongoing investigation limited what details could be shared, and refused to be drawn on whether other people were involved, saying only: “These two gentlemen are the masterminds, that is definite.”“. As we consider the impact of Representative Director Greg Kelly and Carlos Ghosn, we might think that the entire matter is contained, yet is it? The fact that Automotive is a clear element on Wall Street, when we see this and we do not see another part, how wrong have the analysts been getting it? The fact that numbers on Wall Street would not fluctuate to the degree needed as the numbers were spiked by a major players is interesting to consider yesterday’s news (at https://www.zdnet.com/article/nuance-spins-off-automotive-segment-into-new-publicly-traded-company/). You see, just like I found the issue in the Harbour or Rotterdam two decades ago, I looked into another direction. When we consider “Other automotive brands such as Honda, Volkswagen, Ford, Hyundai, Audi, Porsche, Nissan, Kia, Chevrolet, Harley Davidson, Ferrari are ranked by their brand value among the top 100 brands in the world!“, so if we see the SBS part with: “years of financial misconduct including under-reporting of income and inappropriate personal use of company assets“, which looks weird as this is merely an internal part (criminal or not), is there a decent chance that the entire matter is larger and as such, would a provider like Nuance not be hit as they are a component in the Nissan (and Renault, and Mitsubishi)?

In all this, when we consider The actions of one, and the impact on another, yet we see that expectations were ‘firmly’ in the wrong place, at what point will we start asking the damaging questions to analysts who were ‘overly’ positive? So when we see: “Wall Street was looking for earnings of 32 cents a share on revenue of $525 million. Shares of Nuance were down slightly after hours“, were we shown a realistic stage? This gets us to the Sydney Morning Herald, where we see: “Since the FANG outperformance run peaked on August 30, the group has underperformed the S&P 500 by 16.25 per cent. That is their worst underperformance since the first half of 2014 when they underperformed by around 20 per cent“, is it truly an underperformance, or is it set towards unrealistic overestimation and as such, is the foundation of short selling not done on the word of analyts? So in that light, would it not become more and more prudent to ask the analysts certain questions? The fact that certain Nissan events were not on their radar, what else did they not see and as such, would that not have impacted the numbers at Nuance in a similar, yet there unfairly?

What else is there?

Well, that can be seen in one way as these players all need power to be available and energy is becoming an issue in the US. What happens when we put the (big) mouth of Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to the test? As he was ‘kind’ enough to use Bloomberg to state that the current crown prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was “unstable and unreliable”, would it be an idea to ask his royal highness to kindly consider that Oil is a sellers’ market and that it is important to consider the long term future of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as such, it is important to consider the value of oil and I personally believe that it should be raised to $73 per barrel, in light of this cutting oil production by 12% would be essential.

So when Lindsey gets the news that his lack of diplomacy is cutting oil and raising prices, at what point will he ever feel safe again as the American people will react to the mere stage of commerce, it is a sellers’ market plain and simple. It is a sellers’ market because the buyer is always open to get it somewhere else, and in all that there is merely Iran left. How does it all flow now? Let’s not forget that these are not my rules, they are the consequences of Wall Street. At what point will people wake up?

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a monarchy, it is one where the monarch of that nation makes decisions that decide what would be the best track for the people of THEIR nation (which is Saudi Arabia). In a time where the life of a journalist does not matter, Turkey showed that and both the EU and America remained largely quiet, so let’s face it, we do not care about Jamal Khashoggi, yet that person has received more pushed and powered visibility than for example Matteo Messina Denaro (I chose him as I grew up being a huge Diabolik comic fan), so when we see his actions and his absence from the press for the longest time, why would we care about Jamal Khashoggi? Because a knave speaking for Iran direted others to do so? We keep on getting the news, the media, the mention of tapes, yet how clearly has the evidence been investigated? The media stays silent, mostly playing on innuendo as much as possible.

You see, it the Crown Prince succeeds in getting the stage of Neom Started, Saudi Arabia will have started and aspired to something never seen before in the history of this world, all the things that America claimed to have done will be seen active in Saudi Arabia, it is optionally the biggest blow to American ego and optionally their economy too and they are finally scared, like the UK was when the 70’s peace accords had a chance, they pushed Egypt in another direction. Now we see the stage where there is so much anti-Saudi news, that it is sickening to me, especially as the acts of Turkey and Iran are smothered. How much news have you see on the 214 journalist jailed in Turkey? most of them all convicted, the last one a week ago, we were given “A court sentenced Turkish journalist Ali Unal to 19 years in jail on Wednesday on a charge of being a leader in the network accused of carrying out a failed coup in July 2016“, Jamal Khashoggi got 60 million hits in Google Search this morning, it is that far whacked out of balance and the industrial next generation all technological marvel that could be Neom, including the Bridge that links the Sinai (Sharm-El-Sheik) to Saudi Arabia, opening even more options to commerce and growth for Egypt and the Sudan? A mere 2.8 million, a project that is well over $500 billion in investments for technological and financial opportunities; that got less than 3 million hits. I reckon that Saudi Arabia also needs additional PR and digital PR on a much larger scale.

I think that America (as well as the European Union) needs to wake up and smell the coffee and they need to do it fast. As they whinge like little children, they are optionally giving additional fields of economy to India, China and Russia to move into a market where the oil revenues will be pressed for a different directions, so as these people are merely trying to bait infighting within the Saudi Royal family, they should start to realise that one of them wakes up and decides to close the tap by 20% and merely adjust the vision towards 2035, at that point whatever comes next will no longer have any America and even less Wall Street, at what point will the American administration have to forfeit on 21 trillion of debts they can no longer pay? Let’s not forget that the entire FAANG group can vacate and move anywhere globally, at what point will we see the news: ‘NASDAQ shuts down!‘  leaves us with the question: ‘is my speculation so outlandish?’ You see, the needs for the next technology is no longer in America and the difference between global and global minus America is not that big, at that point the politicians of the European Union will fold like little bitches and accept whatever deal will keep them employed and on their gravy train; they are that predictable.

The nice part is that there is every chance that I will be around when that happens, getting to tell the economic and financial editors of all the major newspapers: ‘I told you so!‘ and the blatant attacks, the media toolkit against the current crown prince of Saudi Arabia makes my speculation more and more likely. You see, it was merely a week ago, when CNBC gave us (at https://www.cnbc.com/2018/11/15/trump-duped-saudis-into-tanking-oil-prices-analysts-say.html) ‘Oil analysts say Trump fooled Saudis into tanking crude prices‘, with the quote: “Oil market analysts say it now appears that Trump hoodwinked Saudi Arabia, fooling the U.S. ally into pushing the oil market into oversupply and sparking a roughly 25 percent drop in crude prices. That accomplished Trump’s goal of driving down energy costs for Americans“, it is optionally a decent tactic, but at present it can backfire, the KSA can take a step back and let it all fall to pieces as the Saudi government can survive a few years in the up scaled oil prices, yet the US and European economies will start to collapse as they have no infrastructure left, so when we see Bloomberg giving us ‘The Oil Price Is Now Controlled By Just Three Men‘, whilst we know that America has pissed of the other two to the largest degree; if truly three man control the price, the names are given to us as Presidents Donald Trump, President Vladimir Putin and Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. That whilst America needs to import to survive making them actually pretty weak. So at what point do the people in Wall Street wake up and realise that the oil morning special is served at $91+, whilst there are 3-4 months of extreme cold ahead? At what point will they realise that oil is a sellers’ market, not a buyers one and the oil companies can wait, they can watch it all collapse and pick up cheap labour for a mere apple and an egg (quite literally so).

In the end, America can start making a deal with Iran and Russia for oil, yet at what cost will that come? Which concession will the American people have to agree to? I am pretty sure that this moment will become the nightmare scenario for Israel as well as the others get to cater to Iran, and the oil setting makes that an optional reality; the amount of concessions Turkey will get will give the EU something to cry about to a much larger extent; apart from the nightmare that the Italian budget is becoming at present.

There were a few games on everyone’s desk and at least three of them have been handled so badly that the impact needs to be felt in the US, even if it was for the mere reason to get them to wake up and smell the coffee that they spilled and the cost of living that they helped raise soon enough.

Oh, and when the Italian economy stops stagnating and turns to recession again, the mere impact of a 5% oil price rise would be enough to stop Italian traffic in its track, how much will be possible there when that happens? Consider that Italy has the highest fuel prices costing €1.65 per litre. When that goes up by 10%, how many people would be able to afford a car? More importantly, the Italian economy has misjudged this super high price for taxation, so when that falls away, how much of the Italian infrastructure is also likely to collapse?

It is a mere side thought, because France and Spain will be in similar distress on a few stages there too, not to mention the impact in Greece. It would decimate the Mediterranean economy to a much larger degree, yet Wall Street will trivialise it and when there is no more trivialisation left, who will they blame?

Saudi Arabia, President Trump or themselves?

I will let you figure that part out.

 

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That crazy thought

Crazy thoughts, we all have them at times, we all think them, we all wonder the ‘What if’ question whether it is valid or not. So when the news hit, among them the line ‘The $6 trillion wipeout in Asian stocks is getting deeper‘ (source: Sydney Morning Herald). I was not contemplating the quote: “Just like that, the region’s equity benchmark erased weekly gains and is now heading for a sixth slide in seven weeks, only worsening the wipeout that already erased $US4.3 trillion ($5.95 trillion) of market value this year“. So there I was looking at that quote, as well as the quote “One thing that might be worth keeping an eye on is data around China’s consumption — car sales fell for a fifth month and and Ctrip.com International joined the likes of Baidu and Alibaba Group Holding in being unable to avoid the economic slowdown. Also throwing cold water on the recovery is the US dollar, which resumed its appreciation as the Federal Reserve signaled it’s still ready to increase rates in December. The strong greenback has been a key concern for investors in the region, as its weakened local currencies and triggered massive outflows from emerging-market assets“. You see, I believe that none of this matters, the excuses like ‘consumer prices steadied amid sluggish demand‘. I went into the ‘What if this was always meant to happen?‘ mode. It is my personal belief that we have been sitting still whilst analysts have been inflating prognoses of economy, whilst they were all humming; it is a bright and sunny day, whilst it was not. We get excited when USA Today gave us ‘Economy adds robust 250,000 jobs in October in last employment report before election‘ on November 2nd. Yet this is news that was merely overdue and way too late. The world has been at a stand still for the longest of times. Millions of US citizens are still overcoming a decade of hardship, many of them lost the bulk of their retirement funds and it will take half a decade of really good news to turn this around. Too many have felt the pain and it is the same all over Asia. We might see news last month with ‘India adds 7,300 new millionaires’ thinking that hard times are over, yet this merely shows the stage where 7,300 clever Indians are getting other Indians doing their bidding, the millions behind those 7,300 people are not in a much better place, they have not been for the longest of times. Those 7,300 will be the foundation of a dozen or perhaps two dozen billionaire over time, yet like in any pyramid scheme, the profits go upwards, the foundation of that pyramid will not see a dime of that and we forget about that unbalanced setting. So as we are all in a stage of happy happy joy joy, the market is relentless in too much upbeat procrastinated prognoses and the market will seek equilibrium. No matter what excuse we see, what term we give to oil, what term we give to car users. The foundation is that every sold car is linked to a person buying it and from the current stage less than 25,000 were able to afford a new car, because the normal monthly expenses remain the same or go up, they never go down. So when we see ‘car sales fell for a fifth month‘, it makes perfect sense, you can up production all you like, yet when the people cannot afford to buy one, making more really makes no sense. That stage is clearly seen in Asia and Europe, in addition, the people in the US don’t have that much extra to spend, even with the new job, their living expenses had been through the roof for 2-3 years and they build either a buffer or go hungry and become homeless.

It all gets to have a hilarious side when you consider the Wall Street Journal (at https://www.wsj.com/articles/peter-navarro-blasts-china-and-wall-street-globalists-1541787254). We see “President Trump’s senior trade adviser, Peter Navarro, excoriated China and attacked Goldman Sachs and Wall Street as Beijing’s “unpaid foreign agents” who are weakening the U.S. leader before his meeting this month with China’s president“. It seems to me that Peter Navarro does not comprehend Goldman Sachs or Wall Street, so as an Australian I feel it is my duty (my entertaining duty mind you) to explain that part in a plain manner. ‘Mr Navarro, these two players Wall Street and Goldman Sachs do not give a fuck about you or your president, they never did! They only care about their bottom line, the annual growth, the profits they do make and their bonuses. It is that plain, and simple enough the board of directors in these two places care exponentially more about their bonus, nothing else matters!‘ I do hope that Peter Navarro comprehends that part, because it has never been different. The American people were sold down the drain in an instant in 2004 and 2008 and those people will do that again and again. It is not rocket science; it is transparent and extremely predictable. So when I see “As a summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping looms at the Group of 20 meeting in Buenos Aires, the economic council is coordinating what kind of trade deal the U.S. might accept from China. It is focusing on intellectual property, agricultural tariffs, forced technology transfer and requirements that U.S. firms form joint ventures to operate in China“, I see no mystery, I see no questions. It is merely the execution of the operational merit that profit brings to these 20 players that is on the table and the US is weaker than it has been ever before. A lot of the IP is not in American hands, the ones that matter are in the hands of IBM, Google and Intel and the US administrations have been able to piss all three off in more than one way, so good luck there. In addition, if the US exercises some ownership need, we will see both IBM and Google moving their IP all over the place making matters for the US worse.

Oh and this was all before we see the current US president in a stage where we see: “France on Saturday attempted to defuse a row sparked by President Emmanuel Macron’s comments about a European army which angered US President Donald Trump“, we can consider that passing of the few allies left is not really a good thing, is it? Especially in light where Marine Le Pen is currently more popular than Emmanuel Macron is the upcoming EU elections. The advantage is only one percent, yet we also see: “Far-right parties, including those supporting a French exit from the EU, secured a combined 30 percent of support“, that is way more than most EU nations are currently willing to be comfortable with. The fact that President Macron has agreed with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte to a union of En Marche, Dutch Liberals and Democrats is optionally one that could backfire in France to some degree and if Le Pen gets to the 40% mark a stage of Wall Street panic would be the consequence making the markets slip even further getting the overall losses to surpass eight trillion before the year ends. This stage becomes an even larger US nightmare as Matteo Salvini enters the stage, and he is siding largely with Marine Le Pen in all this, most likely purely for his own interests as would be expected in Lego Politics, but the impact is still there. This all impacts to a much larger degree as Italy has stated less than a day ago that they will not adjust the Italian budget which now puts the ECB and the EU in a much darker light, this budget could optionally impact the stage in a few European ways and the other nations will be reminded of the Greek tragedy when it overstated what they did not have, whilst we now see Italy not acknowledging the things they do not have, with a similar impact to several EU nations, the consequences could propel out of control and that too will impact greed driven Wall Street. This means that President Trump is going into a G20 meeting with three sets of balls and chains on their ankles, whilst China gets to point out these six balls and chains and remind him that this is partially all his doing (whether that is true or not).

So in the end, he sits in a meeting with little to use, nothing to go by and all merely because the previous 4 administrations all left control of the wealth reigns with Wall Street themselves, how was that ever going to work?

So that crazy thought is now going into the direction: ‘What if we remove the reigns of wall Street?‘ Would that be the craziest idea? In the end it is not going to happen, yet a first step is not the weirdest idea. It is time to take a very close look at those Wall Street analysts and their exectations, even if they ever correctly solve their rounding problem, the people still end up being confronted with a (what I personally would speculatively call) a 1.13% offset from any norm and that made all the differences for well over 12% of the companies ‘underperforming’ in the eyes of Wall Street. When we consider going back in time to 1874 when French economist Léon Walras decided to give ‘Elements of Pure Economics‘, he failed (as these settings did not exist) to give two elements a much larger consideration. The first is ‘behaviour of supply and demand‘, whilst not realising that governments have a required supply and demand and the corporations have a forecasted supply for the expected demand of an international community, which is weighted and rounded upwards sinking the notion of science towards anticipated presentations. So there we see three sets of numbers, all weighted and only after the fact shown as ‘due to unexpected factors‘ graded downwards after the fact giving us a few headaches all at the same time.

So as we see ‘adjusted’, ‘evolved’ and ‘expert driven’ algorithms towards forecasting the fact that there was something wrong with the formula’s in the first p[lace is not set into the stage of punitive prosecution ever. Meaning that these wipe-outs will happen again and again and the next time it hits a group of people that will revolt violently for being presented the invoice that others should have paid for, a stage that is unseen as many are in denial and often merely wiping the consideration away as non-relevant and unimportant. And the idea is not unique, my thoughts, my very own thoughts were proven correctly in 2013 by former Wall Street analyst Yves Smith in her book ‘ECONned‘ and she is not the only one, yet in the 5 years that followed, after all the evidence shown in several ways, the US Administration decided not to act, decided not to take control of the situation, even largely diffusing the danger was beyond them and now we see the stage where we see ‘weakening the U.S. leader before his meeting this month‘, in my personal view Peter Navarro needs to wake up and smell the coffee. He comes from an environment that did nothing for too long.

How crazy was that thought?

 

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FI01, becoming offensive

I will leave the entire Novichok alone for now, there is rustling in the weeds and it is important to look at it, but only when more actual quality information is available. It is time to take a look at the FI protocols. It is time for FI01.

This might not be the article for many of my readers, I will not shun hash words and I will not shun those wading in hypocrisy. Yet to do that, we need to look at certain definitions too and that is the part we get to after we look at the Guardian article (at https://www.theguardian.com/media/2018/sep/13/social-media-firms-could-face-huge-fines-over-terrorist-content). The article ‘Remove terror content quickly or be fined, EU tells social media firms‘. the setting given is “Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter will be forced to take terrorist content off their sites within an hour or face multimillion-pound fines under EU proposals“, is probably the biggest part, but let’s look on; when we see some of the parts given by Julian King, the British security commissioner in Brussels. We are given a few truths that matter. “We have got a problem with content; it is not an entirely new problem, we are not starting from scratch, we have agreed to do some voluntary stuff, and we got some good progress – but not enough” is the first part and I will get back to that, yet the more important part is “Every attack over the last 18 months or two years or so has got an online dimension. Either inciting or in some cases instructing, providing instruction, or glorifying“. I get it, something needs to be done. In the first we need to see the list and the proper setting of evidence. I get it that this is not offered online for several reasons. Yet there needs to be a lot more scrutiny. As we see the utter screw up regarding Novichoks, the lack of evidence and linked statements without evidence. We also need to state clearly that the press (to a larger extent) is part of the problem, not part of the solution. Julian King needs to realise that if his peers are dragging their heels on one side, he cannot be part of anything acceptable stating the utter impossibility of: ‘take terrorist content off their sites within an hour‘.

From my point of view, this is about something else; this is about giving governments’ direct access to social media to filter ALL content (at their leisure). To get anything done within the hour is just not realistic and they know it. It is also very clear that when 5G is here, it will be too late and that is what they fear even more, and being stupid about it is just not a solution in any place.

It becomes an even more laughable setting with: “Parties could be fined up to 5% of their annual budgets for breaching data protection rules in order to deliberately influence the outcome of the European elections, including those for the European parliament in May 2019“. So instead of making it illegal and rejecting that party from elected consideration, they get a fine? Allowing for big business to sacrifice via some small institution to cop a few million whilst still getting what they want. So when we see Julian King state: “given the track record, there has to be a chance, and we have to up our game and be more resilient“. How about setting the stage that the use of social media for elections is just out of bounds? Limit it to TV, Newspapers and magazines?

We see the problem a lot clearer when we consider the ‘High-Level Commission Expert Group on Radicalisation (HLCEG-R)‘ report from May 18th 2018. Where exactly is the definition of ‘terrorist content’? You see, the EC is all about definitions all the time. Yet here we see an interaction and a level of interchangeability of ‘terrorist content‘ and ‘illegal content‘. It is found to some extent in the report referred to in footnote 19 where we see the report ‘COMMISSION RECOMMENDATION of 1.3.2018 on measures to effectively tackle illegal content online’. So is all ‘illegal content’ ‘terrorist content’? It seems to me that this sudden trivialisation is about something else entirely (at least to some degree).

When we look at the second report, we see: “At the collective level, important progress has been made through voluntary arrangements of various kinds, including the EU Internet Forum on terrorist content online, the Code of Conduct on Countering Illegal Hate Speech Online and the Memorandum of Understanding on the Sale of Counterfeit Goods. However, notwithstanding this commitment and progress, illegal content online remains a serious problem within the Union

This is reference to Article 292. Yet now we see Illegal Hate Speech Online, the Sale of Counterfeit Goods as well as terrorist content online. So is this about a Nina Ricci bottle or a Prada backpack, because the devil is not in the details, the devil wears Prada plain and simple. We see to some extent the ‘aggregation’ of stupidity (as I personally see it) in item 32, where we are treated to: “In light of the particularities related to tackling terrorist content online, the recommendations relating to tackling illegal content generally should be complemented by certain recommendations which specifically relate to tackling terrorist content online, building on and consolidating efforts undertaken in the framework of the EU Internet Forum“, so when illegal content is online, we now see the implicated setting that these people could be regarded as terrorist. With ‘be complemented by certain recommendations‘, which now becomes a rather weird setting. You see ‘political opinion’ cannot be seen as illegal speech, so not getting to barrier one, also avoids barrier two. In this setting, any political drive must be proven to give the reading of proven the need that the speech instils the drive to act illegally. Until a clear act is connected, there will be no success.

This now gets us to paragraph 33, where we see: “Considering the particularly grave risks associated with terrorist content and hosting service providers’ central role in the dissemination of such content, hosting service providers should take all reasonable measures so that they do not allow terrorist content and if possible prevent hosting it“. So at this point what exactly is ‘terrorist content‘? And the reference to that paragraph refers to ‘without prejudice to Article 14 of Directive 2000/31/EC’, are you effing kidding me? That is the privacy part on a section in ‘legal aspects of information society services, in particular electronic commerce, in the Internal Market‘.

So we get this mess presented?

In that regard when we see: ‘Commission proposes new rules to get terrorist content off the web‘ It is my personal agitated view in the matter that protocol FI01 is set to President Jean-Claude Juncker, he is the Eff…ing Idiot number 1.

When we again look at the headline: “Terrorist content is most harmful in the first hours after it appears online because of the speed at which it spreads. This is why the Commission is proposing a legally binding one-hour deadline for content to be removed following a removal order from national competent authorities“, a one hour deadline? Really? Most EC parts have not been able to clean their act in years, so now social media gets sliced and cut? Is Europe so broke that they want the millions from the three social media providers because they cannot clean their own stables?

Consider the Statistics, Facebook has 2 billion active users a month, and this is not static. We see from sources that Five new profiles are created every second, there is a registered amount of photo uploads approaching 300 million per day as well as the setting that every minute on Facebook: 510,000 comments are posted, 293,000 statuses are updated, and 136,000 photos are uploaded and that is ignoring languages and expressions. The entire setting of removal in an hour is so unrealistic it is close to hilarious. When we are confronted with that, whilst ‘the Conservative’ (not the greatest source, I admit) gives us: “The structural defects of the European Commission are plentiful: an insurmountable democratic deficit; not a hint of accountability; and an opaque process of legislative formulation to name but a few“, that whilst labelled individual FI01 is also connected to: “The president of the European Commission is embroiled in a new criminal investigation into claims that “tampered” evidence misled an inquiry into phone-tapping. Jean-Claude Juncker faces accusations that his officials presented inaccurate information under oath in a case involving an alleged illegal wiretap more than ten years ago when he was prime minister of Luxembourg” (source: The Times, December 13th 2017), that is the person giving social media providers an ultimatum of an hour? You have got to be kidding me. The Telegraph gave us in addition: “The new evidence, which led to the postponing of a trial of three senior formers members of Luxembourg’s SREL intelligence service, according to The Times, showed that a key telephone transcript had apparently been doctored

That’s the person who is part of throwing ‘illegal content’ and ‘terrorist content’ on one pile?

Good to know!

So now we get to the fact sheet!

Here we see (at https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/soteu2018-factsheet-terrorist-content_en_0.pdf) the setting of ‘How does the new procedure for removing terrorist content work?‘ We now see the following

  1. National authority detects and makes assessment
  2. If considered terrorist content, removal order issued to host
  3. Host must remove content within one hour

That seems almost harmless, does it not?

Yet we also see:

  • Right to challenge: Hosting service or content provider may appeal the removal order. If the appeal is successful, the content is restored; if the appeal is rejected or the deadline lapses, the removal order stands and the content must be permanently removed.
  • Obligation to report: If issued with a removal order, the host must report on proactive measures taken to address terrorist content online three months after receiving the removal order.

I am missing any level of accountability, too much ambiguity. So from my point of view, anyone abusing the ‘terrorist content’ for mere filtering and censoring on behalf of anyone else needs to be held criminally liable. I reckon that after 2-3 cases there will be suddenly a large need for postponed trials.

When we investigate the member states part in all this, we see no fine for the state when wrongful removal was done, we see a pressure on removing (or else), yet there is a shallow point when it comes the other way around. In addition, we see “coordinate with other Member States and Europol to ensure that evidence of online terrorist content is flagged, and that duplication and interference in national investigations is avoided“, yet there is no registration on who ordered the removal, also, there is no registration per removal id and in that stage set penalties for those having set the stage for recurring unjustified removals giving ample voice to the earlier: “not a hint of accountability“, if this is about terrorist content, is that part not equally important?

I am all for getting all terrorist content removed, yet the systems cannot get it all, that is too unrealistic and pushing a one hour timestamp whilst the other side has no accountability at all is just a discriminating joke in the making. It is also still interesting to see that they claim to fight terrorism and terrorist online activities, whilst Iran state sponsor of terrorism in still a welcome debate and trade partner in the EU. In addition, the entire matter of Iranian diplomat Asadollah Assadi and terrorist was given light a week before the EU approved plans for the European Investment Bank to do business with Iran. So you want to stop social media, whilst still doing business with these people? How unacceptable is that part in all this? If the EU cannot clean its stables, it has no business enforcing anything on social media that is how I personally see it. Yes, we can agree that terrorist content must be removed ASAP, yet what is that? One hour? 24 Hours? 72 hours? The fact that the EU does business as usual with a terrorist funding government implies that they are clueless on several grounds and the fact that we see an increasing amount of evidence growing on the matter of Iranian Missiles fired into Saudi Arabia is further evidence still that the EU is merely the pot calling the kettle black. It is in that setting that we should conclude that they have no business ‘fine giving’ any social media, especially in light of such a massive funding failure.

You see, what angers me so is the mere filtering of politicians and that needs to stop too! In this I present two elements. The first part comes from Bloomberg last year. We are given (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-29/facebook-says-99-of-is-al-qaeda-content-spotted-by-ai) where we are treated to: “Today, 99 percent of Islamic State and Al Qaeda-related content Facebook removes is detected by the company’s AI before any user flags it, Monika Bickert, Facebook’s head of global policy management, and Brian Fishman, head of counter-terrorism policy, said Wednesday. They said in some cases the software was able to block the content from ever being posted in the first place“. Yet the other part that the Guardian gives us is: “We have got a problem with content; it is not an entirely new problem, we are not starting from scratch, we have agreed to do some voluntary stuff, and we got some good progress – but not enough“. Now we get to the good part, what EXACTLY is ‘not enough’? From my point of view Either Bloomberg lied to us, or Julian King is what some might consider as: ‘an unacceptable piece of trash’. If he wants 100%, he better give us clearly add a few elements of EC accountability and holding them criminally liable when they abuse their power. Also is any abuse of that ‘filtering content’ is found, he is to be dishonourably discharged and shamed in the entire EU, with a clear banning from ALL official positions in the EU and the Commonwealth.

Why the overreaction?

We have been fed two versions again and again and we see a lack of accountability on the EU side too often; for example the elitist banking group of 30 with Mario Draghi as a member. When the Financial Times gave us: “the close links between central bankers and the private sector have aroused public suspicion since the global financial crisis triggered a series of bank bailouts” we see suspected levels of nepotism that raises more issues than 50 successful Islamic State attacks. The article (at https://www.ft.com/content/dc64b6e2-8060-11e8-bc55-50daf11b720d) also gives us “The Ombudsman has also attacked the ECB’s argument that it was standard practice for top central bankers to join the club. The central bank chiefs of Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Poland, India, Brazil, Russia, Canada, and Australia are not members and Janet Yellen suspended her membership during her time at the helm of the US Federal Reserve”, showing that the European Commission has a truckload of issues, it is my personal view that it has no business acting in the way it does.

Yet, defence of the actions instigated by Julian King can be seen in Forbes. The article (at https://www.forbes.com/sites/kalevleetaru/2018/05/15/the-problem-with-using-ai-to-fight-terrorism-on-social-media), an Article from last May gives us: “the general public would be forgiven for believing that Facebook’s algorithms are vastly more effective. The New York Times summarized the statement above as “Facebook’s A.I. found 99.5 percent of terrorist content on the site, leading to the removal of roughly 1.9 million pieces of content in the first quarter,” while the BBC offered “the firm said its tools spotted 99.5% of detected propaganda posted in support of Islamic State, Al-Qaeda and other affiliated groups, leaving only 0.5% to the public.” In fact, this is not at all what the company has claimed. When asked about similar previous media characterizations of its counter-terrorism efforts, a company spokesperson clarified that such statements are incorrect, that the 99% figure refers exclusively to the percent of terrorist content deleted by the company that had been flagged by AI.

This could be easily tested and as such I decided to do so and with ‘ISIS images’ I got hundreds and hundreds of images, videos and other matters in my browser and I got even more with the search term ‘Jihad Islamic state’. The video (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzCAPJDAnQA) shows actions of Islamic State, with sounds, vision and comments. It is News from Vice News, a video from 2014, still online today. At some point you need to as just how ludicrous and useless actions are. We get it that there are actions, we see that numbers become debatable. Yet in all this the mere reported numbers are already an issue, and if I added Vice News articles to me Facebook news feed, would that constitute ‘Terrorist Content’? This small part alone shows us that this is about something else and as such we better take a real hard look at the Actions of the EC, demanding that the censoring side should be held equally liable and prosecutable for their overreaction and inaction. Yet that is never ever going to happen, is it? This is making the EC actions (in my personal opinion) a lot more questionable in all this. It was the overreaction and the emphasis of ‘One Hour’ that set the tone of mistrust, I wonder what else we will see over the coming week.

 

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As the car industry dies

Yes, today is the nicest day of the week. After the weekend, after all done, it is again Monday morning. So, happy, happy, joy, joy!

I am waking up with the news ‘Shaken-up Aston Martin hopes to stir investors with a public offering‘. When it comes to cars, the Aston Martin is about the coolest car in existence. I would favour it over the Jaguar XF, the Infiniti Q60, the Tesla Roadster (2020) and the Lexus LC500, yet to be honest, I cannot afford any of them.

Now, I have nothing against cars, by themselves they killed each other. It was too much about ego, all about status and too few about what mattered, to get safely from A to B. So even as I have nothing against cars, the setting of those behind them? Yes, that matters a great deal, and most of them fuelling each other, most of them pushing for more models, more options and all financed in a try before the debt phase. Just like the PC industry. Makers having a dozen models every year, the market just could not sustain it and it collapsed. The same is happening here now in a few ways. We will always have a few exotic members (like Aston Martin), or a brand that is unique because of the niche they choose (like Morris Mini Cooper). For some of them, there will always be a market, they are established. The Japanese market made a mess of close to everything and now we see an entirely different kind of fallout. So even as we are treated to the ‘threat’: “Japan’s ambassador has warned Japanese companies will quit the country if a botched Brexit hits profits“, it is not a vague threat, but overall that does not matter and it has absolutely nothing to do with Brexit. You see, I discussed this in February 2014 when the Australians got confronted with ‘The last Australian car‘. Here we see: “The world’s largest car maker announced it would stop building cars in Australia by the end of 2017 and would operate in this country only as a sales and distribution company. One additional factor needs to be told, which will have bearing down the road. Namely “Toyota is Australia’s biggest vehicle exporter with around 70,000 of the 100,000-plus cars it builds here being sold in foreign markets”“. What is even more upsetting is the part that Business Insider gave with it and my response to it in the article (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2014/02/12/the-last-australian-car/) “The car industry is estimated to have received a total of $12 billion in direct subsidies and protections over the past 20 years, including $1.8 billion to Holden in the 11 years to 2012.” is at the heart of this. So basically, 4 car makers have enjoyed an annual $600 million in subsidies a year. This is so off the wall it is not even funny!” In addition, the Australian, via Judith Sloan gave us the overall view: “Australia has subsidised almost $1900 per vehicle produced. If we take that and we add the initial quote I mentioned “Toyota is Australia’s biggest vehicle exporter with around 70,000 of the 100,000-plus cars it builds here being sold in foreign markets” leaves me with the question whether we have been sponsoring that part too“. So here is the crux. This is not about mere profits; this is about subsidies and what I personally see as legalised slave labour. This is about maximised potential without accountability or taxation. In all this, let them move away, let other nations subsidise it all and when their coffers are empty, we will see another ‘Cars from Japan’ setting soon enough. From my point of view, let them move out and lose 65 million potential consumers. When those wells dry up, when they see that the free ride is over, they will suddenly offer some price package, or is that prize package?

The nice part is when those brands fall away; we will see a revitalisation of other brands, those who will grow inside the UK. It might be a harsh reality, but it is a reality none the less. Will consumers miss out? I do not know, their ego’s might, but in the end, if a decent affordable car gets you from A to B, does it matter? This goes beyond the British car brands and who owns then nowadays, Morgan is seemingly the only one still in British hands, but again a niche market. So if the Japanese walk away and Daewoo and Kia walk in, would that be such a hard thing? Then there is China and India. They might actually like having a much better spot in the UK car industry. Many brands left life over time, all killed by the subsidised markets and drowned by subsidised cheap options. Who even remembers the Dutch brand DAF, or the German brand NSU? We have options, there are opportunities and the bottom dollar that japan wants needs to be barred. In all that, the only acceptable conflicts were the ones that Honda and BMW offered, which are about customs delays. I believe that to be the valid part and for the most, it is not merely about custom deals. It is about the EU trying to pressure into a another vote, trying to get Brexit killed, because Europe has no actual solution for the debt now moving towards 3 trillion Euro that Mario Draghi created. Now with the Italian economy is an approaching freefall, unsurmountable debts, Greece still in a bad spot, Europe cannot survive without the UK, now that France is also lowering expectations via: “The French government has revised its growth forecast for 2019 downwards to 1.7 percent from 1.9 percent, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe told the Journal du Dimanche” also implies that the Economy is not really moving forward, creating a setting that the debts of Europe are becoming a much larger issue. All those interests, when they come due there will be no infrastructure. That is the setting and the 1500 voices in charge of all that money are seemingly now scaring 15,000 politicians into pressuring others, because their life of well-being is about to end and someone must pay for their way of life.

That is the setting that is behind the cars, not merely the cars, but when you realise that your taxes were funding cheaper build cars, please show me where you signed up for that part of the equation. You cannot, can you?

I do agree with Dr Paul Nieuwenhuis of Cardiff University. He is correct Aston Martin is making a move at the right time, and when the economy truly picks up, their fortune is set for close to two generations. They are in a niche, but one with a good margin and with the growing of millionaires all over the place, they are also creating demand, because getting seen in the 007 choice of wheels does count (as your ego is able to foot that bill) even as the car looks supercool regardless. And when you consider the quote: “Issues such as Brexit are quite different for Aston compared with mainstream manufacturers because it is not as reliant on the EU for sales as the volume producers“, when you consider transport and other elements, why were they in the UK anyway? With these brands margins were always the case, for well over a decade, so in all that, why were they here? Is the reason merely because there were 65 million optional consumers in the UK or because the EU was all about big business, and a lot less about the people living there? Well, that was a rhetorical question, because Reuters in 2016 gave us:  “Compensating carmakers in Britain for any post-Brexit tariffs on exports to Europe could see the government hand the companies more money than they need to pay the salaries of all their British workers, a Reuters analysis of corporate filings shows“, that was exactly the image that we saw in Australia and there is the crux, what is the use of having a company in the UK, when we see that the UK government is paying for the wages? Where was that ever a solution? A flawed presented image on the presentation of great industrial UK revenue whilst hiding some of the costs?

So many questions and in the end, merely a drain on the coffers, so let them leave, let them move to Germany (Mercedes & BMW will love that), or France (at the loving side of Citroen, Peugeot and Renault). So when the subsidies are demanded, will those local brands even accept that? I wonder how long until they move back east and let the reality of the cost of manufacturing hit these players full on. I wonder how many brands will still be around in 5-10 years. A lot less that seems almost certain, but that is pure speculation on my side.

 

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