Tag Archives: ISIS

London Bridge had fallen

This is not some event involving Mike Banning as the never failing US Secret Agent, it is also not a movie involving Gerard Butler in command of a Nuclear Submarine (Cool movie though). No this is reality!

In 2017, on June 3rd an attack took place, the inquest is still going on 2 years later. 3 people ramming pedestrians and after that ran into the public in the Borough Market area and decided to stab a whole lot more people. They were wearing fake explosives, carrying knives. That pretty much sums it up. In the end 8 died and 48 were wounded, the three ‘terrorists’ were killed in the process.

According to all sources these three were ‘inspired’ by ISIS.

I took notice of it initially, but it was not high on my radar, it got my attention again last week, but i was looking into the Strait of Hormuz issue. It kept at the back of my mind. So let’s start with last week: ‘MI5 admin errors meant attackers link ‘was missed’‘, it got to me as MI-5 does a whole lot of things, errors are actually quite rare and anyone stating that there should not be any errors is an idiot. Anything involving intelligence gathering is prone to issues. The right stage, the right interpretation, the right connections and the right actions. These are all matters that influence the stage. You can check this for yourself, go to any recruiter and apply for a job, what are the chances that he/she places you wrong or gives you less useful advice, considers you not to be the ‘right’ person for the job? That chance is rather high.

So when I see the BBC article (at https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-48626134) giving me: “Youssef Zaghba was stopped at Bologna airport in 2016 after telling staff he was going to Turkey to be a terrorist“, so in the clear setting of a first, a terrorist does not tell anyone he/she is one. The more verbose version is: “Asked why he was going to Turkey, he said to be “a terrorist” before quickly changing his answer to “tourist”, the court heard“, o now we get a person who is basically an idiot and customs has to deal with hundreds if not thousands on a daily basis. This part is already numb and done for. So at best we have a video game wannabe, at worst we have a person with mental health issues. At present neither two score high on the list, at most a police chat would have been warranted.

Regarding Zaghba we also see (at https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-40169985) In 2016, Zaghba was stopped at Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport by Italian officers who found ISIS-related materials on his mobile phone. So what materials were they? He apparently was placed on a watch list, which is shared with many countries including the UK, as such is he merely watched when he travelled or 24:7? There is a difference and one does not warrant the other.

Yet now there is a clarity of optional failure that is increased with: “Witness L, who is head of policy, strategy and capability for MI5’s international counter-terrorism branch, told the court MI6 did not translate the Italian request for two months – and then sent it to the wrong person in MI5“, not only is my question:

  1. How could this be send to the wrong person and why was there no return/response on wrongful send information?
  2. Then we get: ‘The optional escalation had 1 year to find corrections and optional change in surveillance. Why was this not done?
  3. How often is the shared list vetted and checked for additional information whether the watch list is still accurate and more important useful?

Three direct questions that now put MI-5 on the radar for a few failings. In addition we also need to enlarge the scope, if SIGINT is GCHQ, how was this optionally missed twice over?

There are also serious questions regarding the Lawyer of the 6 victims. When we see that he had: ‘previously told the court there had been missed opportunities to prevent the attack.‘ It is important to see this part. In another story we get: “Gareth Patterson, the lawyer representing several victims’ families, said there was evidence the attackers had been in contact since January 2017“, here I disagree to some degree, and with ““any reasonably competent investigation” had the chance to detect the planning that was going on between the three men” I disagree even further.

You see, when we look at the elements. The fake explosives means that it could have been made in any way, for the most stuff from a toy store might have sufficed, at most a stroll through B&Q or Wickes would have sufficed. Then there is the stage of interpreting the Zaghba part, a terrorist claiming to be one is not one. I would have been able to do all the needed parts without setting off any flags or alarms. The biggest risk I run is getting a lorry, they did not get one either for mere payment issues that one element also shows that they commenced a terrorist act, but were not terrorists (or almost the worst prepared one). The absence of planning, the absence of dotting the ‘i‘ and crossing the ‘t‘ is what sets them apart. Merely three men with water bottles, pretending that to be explosives, knives that one can buy at IKEA and when we learn that the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jun/10/worse-terror-attack-on-london-bridge-foiled-by-chance-police-say) that the van had “13 wine bottles containing flammable liquid with rags stuffed in them, essentially Molotov cocktails” that were either forgotten, or just ignored by these three, we see a wannabe terrorist who forgot that they had options to increase the death count by a lot. These are all elements that count, because MI-5 is there for serious threats and these three were seemingly ignoring all their options even during the event. Going back to the lorry, that one might be easy when I stalk the right bars and mickey the right person, with him tied up in the back of the van I could start my spree, no flag raised at all. In my case I would have been able to get the stuff that goes boom; I merely needed to change perspective on the how. All issues that would never raise a flag; that is what MI-5 has to deal with and they have the one additional benefit that they are on an island.

We agree that steps were missed on Zaghba, but none of this is still evident that it would have prevented the attack. The higher part is Khuram Shazad Butt, he has enough flags that warrant consideration, his presence is a real issue, yet how much flags did he raise before the attack? We seem to blame after the effect, yet in the UK we see more whingers and whiners on freedom and privacy than in most other places in the world, well, congratulations! If MI-5 had that data this might have been prevented, they did not. You wanted the Data Protection Act 2018, you got it, you wanted General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and it was handed to you, you also face additional dangers because of it, so stop crying!

Back to the attack! I see Rachid Redouane as the actual fuse here. An illegal immigrant, a failed asylum seeker and he remained under the radar, also implying he could get a lot of stuff done whilst not being noticed, not getting noticed and working as a pastry chef, so how did he get that job? He was the part that Butt needed, and as such MI-5 had optionally even less to work with.

You see, when we look after the event, we might see issues to blame MI-5 (optionally GCHQ) with, but there are a lot more markers making at least 1 out of the three a dud from the start. And in all this, no one seems to realise that a failed Asylum seeker was hopping back and forth between the UK and Ireland, there is a larger failing in all this, yet I am stating that MI-5 was not it.

Yesterday

The Guardian yesterday (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/jun/17/communication-issues-left-london-bridge-attack-casualties-without-first-aid) gives us the larger failing, but not in regards to the attack. When we see: ‘police waited for help that wasn’t coming‘ we feel anger and frustration, yet in which direction?

The first is seen with: “police and members of the public being left to treat victims of the London Bridge terror attacks and not knowing why paramedics were not coming to their aid“, as well as “when paramedics were told to evacuate the area, the officers in the courtyard were left treating the casualties on their own awaiting help that did not arrive” we get the first gist of it. You cannot send paramedics in a dangerous situation, we get it we understand it and we accept it. I believe that an alteration to the armed response unit is required. I believe that any armed response unit requires a trained medic to give first aid like in a metropolitan war zone. Yes, it would be great to send in the paramedics, but let’s be honest how would you feel when a police officer tells you: “Look, there are three terrorists over there somewhere, can you go into that place ad see if you can treat some of the wounded people?” I get it, plenty of them medics would, but it is optionally super reckless and highly irresponsible. The fact that the police was not properly warned on the spot could have been for several reasons, all unintentional. This is a situation that is not merely fluid, it involves a lot of people thinking on their feet, whilst running trying to scope the size of the issue in absence of reliable information. These are not mistakes made, they are to some extent coming from experience and actual successful attacks have been really rare, besides that at some point you cannot just call for boy scouts (SAS) at any point, time is a factor. So when I see: “Five people died in or around the courtyard, one of whom, Sebastian Belanger, 36, a French chef, could possibly have been saved if he had received swifter, higher-quality medical attention“, I accept the stage and I accept the premise, but the score on getting ‘higher-quality medical attention‘ is optionally not a realistic one, not in a location of armed conflict and so there we see the stage of time versus location versus available intelligence. We can jump high and low, but reality is a factor and I feel that the after the fact Monday morning quarterbacks are now feeding an inquest of what ‘might have been done’, and I accept I am in this view a Monday morning quarterback as well.

For the larger view we need to go to the actual inquest and I noticed something in day 20 (at https://londonbridgeinquests.independent.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/LBI-Day-20.pdf). The transcript gives us a side that was not part of the actual attack, yet it does involve Khuram Butt, it is actually a lot more important than you think for two reasons on opposite sides of the scale. The transcript gives us:

Witness M, you will appreciate that the investigation that you are here to help us with lasted for something in the region of two years, so I ’ ve got a fair amount to cover but I ’ ll try to be as concise as I can be.

You were asked questions by Mr Hough about the Transport for London employment and you told us that there came a time when you and your team learnt about this job that Khuram Butt obtained working at Westminster underground station.

A: That is correct , yes.

Q: So can I be clear : you learnt about this after he had begun working at that station ?

A: I cannot recall at what stage we learnt about him either seeking out employment or having that employment.

Q: Was that something that you – –

A: But we were aware of the fact that he was working at London Underground.

Q: So it wasn’t something that you learned at the application stage before the decision had been made as to whether they should give him the job?

A: I cannot answer that.

Q: Were arrangements in place at the time for the counter terrorism police to be notified by Transport for London of the names of people applying to be employed by Transport for London in vulnerable locations ?

A: I ’m not aware of any such arrangement. That’s not to say it doesn’t exist , but it ’ s not something I’m aware of .

Q: So to this day can Transport for London receive applications by people who might be terrorist suspects, the subject of ongoing investigations , and then a decision made to employ them without you or your partner agency being notified ?

A: So, again, I can’ t categorically say whether that process exists . That sounds to me that it’s something, if it did exist , would be more in the ”protect” side of our business.

It is important, and let us look at both sides of this equation. On the one hand if there was stronger vetting there was a chance that Khuram Butt might have been stronger on the radar, yet the attack would not have been prevented as the London Underground was not a stage and was not used to set the stage, more importantly there was a chance to set off alarms within Khuram Butt making him a lot more cautious, optionally resorting to a different style of attack. On the other hand, we see that this path would have given MI-5 up to 1500% more work, so a lot less resources to deal with optional more serious threats.

We see more in Day 20 (on page 4, paragraph 9, 10). Here we see the flags issue I raised earlier and the questioning party who is seemingly not all up to date on intelligence, more on finding a part to blame. When we see:

Q: In September 2016 the categorisation was downgraded to P2M, so the risk is now a medium risk, you told us?

A: That is correct. Yes, it was categorised down to a P2M.

Q: And when you dealt with this in your report at paragraph 5.9, you linked this decision to the fact that there had been no indications of actual steps to plan an attack.

A: That’s correct, that is in my report.

Q: But as you’ve accepted a number of times, from the very start, this is somebody who had, throughout, exhibited a degree of operational security.

A: We see that across the entire range of individuals we investigate.

Q: Yes. But an ordinary member of the public with nothing to hide is unlikely to be taking steps to avoid surveillance or to hide their activities; would you agree?

A: He’s not an ordinary member — he was not an ordinary member of the public; he was under investigation.

Q: But that of itself rings alarm bells, doesn’t it , if he is positively taking steps to disguise what his activities are?

A: It’s concerning, but it becomes more concerning when it is attached to other intelligence around other activity. And that will elevate the risk and elevate our posture and our response.

Q: After that decision to recategorise as medium risk, he then re-engaged, you told us, with ALM in the autumn of 2016.

A: So that – – that’s correct, that was the assessment at the time that he started to re-engage with other ALM individuals.

Q: He was also identified as having an inflammatory presence around other extremists, wasn’t he?

A: How do we know that?

Q: Well, you confirmed yesterday that you were aware of that and that’s information that reached you via MI5. We see it in the report of Witness L at paragraph 116.

A: Okay. So I can’t say with any certainty I was aware of that before that time, but just the mere presence — the mere fact that he was associating with other ALM individuals or becoming further engaged is of concern

I see this as an issue. The issue is not the interview, the issue is the available resources and the questioning party seems to live in la la land as there is the consideration that at any time all resources are available, that one clear failure makes the inquest a problem to some extent and that is merely looking at one day, merely Day 20. The focus on Khuram Butt being an ‘inflammatory presence‘, we could argue that this is a good thing, we could argue that pushing other extremists before they are ready is one clear sign to botch attacks (MI-5 will be pleased), the two parts in the transcript give rise to a larger failing, in part the inquest is set to a stage it does not comprehend, it does not facilitate a stage of comprehension where it concerns lone wolves and wannabe’s. In the second degree we see the push regarding re-engagement and the consideration of a medium risk person. Even as there is no valid intelligence giving us that direct action was called for (implied at least). So when I see ‘there had been no indications of actual steps to plan an attack‘, my less diplomatic view towards the barrister would be ‘move the fuck onwards barrister‘, if there is no indication of actual steps, there is no indication for acceleration of increasing profile surveillance, the resources are just not there.

It is the largest failing, not merely the fact that there is no SIGINT working on data that could have been worked on, the stretch on resources, what is available, its definition and the stage of recognising on how to use resources are in the wind and that failing matters, because that recognition is essential to stop attacks by an actual terrorist, a lone wolf or a wannabe, and as long as that part is not clearly in play, there will be more successful attacks and here I regard the premise of a successful attack any attack where more than 5 lives were lost.

We need to accept that choices have impact, we need to see that the attacks will continue and until we find a better way to register dangers this is how it will be and we need to see that the failing was larger, but there is no one to actually blame.

Consider blaming customs for allowing a failed asylum seeker (Rachid Redouane) going back and forth between the UK and Ireland, getting other places to live, is that landlord to blame? There are cogs that are not working for numerous reasons and when we realise that ‘the machine‘ is off its mark by a decent amount, we do not get to blame MI-5 (or GCHQ for that matter). When we consider that Youssef Zaghba might have made a claim and if GCHQ had a right at that point to capture all data regarding that person, there might have been a chance that together with the Khuram Butt data there was a decent chance that this could have been stopped (in theory), but that was not an option was it? Here the Data Protection Act 2018, as well as the application of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) stopped GCHQ from getting essential results to report to MI-5, you wanted this so from my point of view you have to accept the dead people too. You cannot get it both ways, it is just not on.

There is, as I personally see it a larger failure in play, it is not MI-5, it is not GCHQ, it is not the police, it is us and the bullshit setting of privacy whilst we hand over all of our private lives to Facebook and mobile game data collectors, we are doing this too, we ourselves. We can optionally argue that there needs to be a better direct action armed response unit with a trained medic in these teams, but that is an optional investigation for another day, one that is far far away.

 

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The Persian Gulf match

We are on the edge of what we know, mostly of what we are infromed about and it seems that it is n the interest of the US to focus on Saudi Arabia. Al Jazeera starts with ‘US senators seek to block Trump arms sales to Saudi Arabia‘ (at https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/06/senators-seek-block-trump-arms-sales-saudi-arabia-190605154958283.html). The sub line gives us “Senators to try to pass 22 resolutions that’d halt Trump’s plan to bypass Congress to complete arms sales to Saudi, UAE“, it seems that with the effort of getting 22 resolutions passed, there is cause for concern, not merely for the one side where the US is seemingly a lesser ally than they are claiming to be. The problem is that there is actual sense in play. when we see the quote by Senator Todd Young giving us: “Congress has an essential oversight role in the decision to sell weapons and we must ensure proper procedures are in place in any weapons transfer“, I would counter that with the notion that proper procedures should have been in place for decades, in addition, the fact that Saudi Arabia has never been the enemy of the United states (as far as I know), makes it weirder. It is at that point where Senator Todd Young goes from simplistic to stupid bordering on moronic. With: “In light of the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Yemen, we have an obligation to ensure the adequate guardrails are in place and that weapons transfers to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates do not exacerbate the conflict“, so how about taking Hezbollah and Iran out of the equation? Had the Senator for Pennsylvania considered that part? The issues around Senator Young do not improve when his lack into Yemen is shown. With: “Selling more bombs to the Saudis simply means that the famine and cholera outbreak in Yemen will get worse, Iran will get stronger, and al-Qaeda and ISIS will continue to flourish amidst the chaos of the civil war” he shows just how little he is aware, the fact that there is no mention of Hezbollah is one part, the additional stage given to us less than 24 hours ago (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-yemen-security-wfp/yemens-houthis-and-wfp-dispute-aid-control-as-millions-starve-idUSKCN1T51YO) with ‘Yemen’s Houthis and WFP dispute aid control as millions starve‘ is not because there is no resolution, it is because the Houthi forces do not want a resolution, they are awaiting Iranian hardware and Hezbollah troops. So as we see: “the U.N. agency, which feeds more than 10 million people a month across the Arabian Peninsula’s poorest nation, said last month it is considering suspending deliveries due to fighting, insecurity and interference in its work“, we see just how dumbfound the status of Saudi Arabia is in the US Congress. The issue of the international press going out of their way not reporting on Hezbollah activities in Yemen is just a little too weird, and seemingly no one takes notice.

Saudi Arabia will have to consider other options soon enough (more to follow at the end).

In the second part of one side we see the report from CNN (at https://edition.cnn.com/2019/06/05/politics/us-intelligence-saudi-arabia-ballistic-missile-china/index.html) the headline: ‘US intel shows Saudi Arabia escalated its missile program with help from China‘, we need to realise two elements, the first is that Saudi Arabia is a monarchy, a sovereign nation with the rights to defend itself. It has been in a proxy war with Iran for years and Saudi Arabia must prepare any way it can, apparently the United States is not there for the nation they call an ally, and as such China would easily step in to facilitate (Russia seems to have lost out on it). With Saudi Arabia in a stage of 5G thanks to Huawei, the Chinese government is (according to CNN) in the article. Even as we are given: “While the Saudis’ ultimate goal has not been conclusively assessed by US intelligence, the sources said, the missile advancement could mark another step in potential Saudi efforts to one day deliver a nuclear warhead were it ever to obtain one” implying that they actually do not know, the vague ‘were it ever to obtain one‘ should be seen as an article presently dipped in speculation. And as the one truth is given through “the Saudis have consistently taken the position that they need to match Iran’s missile capability and have at times sought help on the side from other countries, including China, which is not a signatory to the pact“, so the actual issue is that Saudi Arabia is in a stage where they will not accept being under defended when Iran is on a clear path to increase its ballistic missile setting. A clear setting that has been known for years and no one does anything valid or actual about Iran, that part is not set in the lime light is it. In all this I found the premise of Tom Udall senator from New Mexico the most hilarious one. With “citing the Washington Post report on the satellite images, asked what the US was doing to prevent foreign sales of ballistic missile technology to Saudi Arabia“, the direct and not too diplomatic answer would be: ‘It is none of your bloody business what Saudi Arabia buys from whomever they want to‘ (there is some diplomacy as I avoided using the F*** word). The truth is that they no longer matter; US Congress seems to be forgetting that they are no longer a superpower. 21 trillion dollar debt did that to them. Their utter inactivity in Syria and Yemen shows that they no longer really matter and the actions by both Turkey and Iran shows that they no longer have the balls to actually interfere and act. Their actions are now limited to economic sanctions and that tactic is becoming less and less efficient.

The additional fact that this is still connected to a dead journalist no one cares about is further evidence still. You see if it was actually about that than the US government and Global media would have illuminated the actions of Turkey and its incarcerated and murdered journalists every single day and that has not been happening at all, again more evidence that this is all about posturing and imagery but nothing on creating actual lasting results.

In all this I am happy that Democrat Senator Bob Menendez from New Jersey gave us: “Failing that, I am prepared to move forward with any and all options to nullify the licenses at issue for both Saudi Arabia and [the] UAE and eliminate any ability for the administration to bypass Congress in future arms sales“, I will use that shortly, thank you.

On the other side

The other side of the Persian Gulf has other issues. Less than 14 hours ago, the Japan News (and several others) gave us: “Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Tuesday that Tehran would not be “deceived” by U.S. President Donald Trump’s offer of negotiations and would not give up its missile program” the entire stage of peace, or some way of moving forward was dependent on that part, the fact that it was never adhered to and the only part we get is US saber rattling gives light that the US has no actual solution here. Even as some Senators made the claim that any war with Iran would be a short one can no longer be proven, the engineering joke that is now known as USS Zumwalt is one part, the fact that Congress never approved a budget for its cannons to be fully armed is a second part and the failings that is this $21 billion project and is showing to be close to disastrous is further evidence that the US has no real modern navy to fight Iran with, it is at best at par with Iran and in an actual war setting without the ability to ‘hide’ within Saudi waters gives rise to the fact that a direct war (which Iran would lose) will not be a quick one and the casualty list would be massive. A nation that is basically bankrupt is now limited to saber rattling, it is sad.

A similar quote was seen in TV7 Israel News where we get: “Ali Khamenei said: “We can see that today, in the defense and military arena, we have reached a point of being able to deter our enemies. And the fact that you see they insist on (curtailing) our missile program, is because of this (deterrence). And they want to deprive us of this capability. And of course, they will never succeed.”” the stage is accepted but the premise is not. The Iranian missile program has never been one of defence, it is an offense stage with possible nuclear ramifications and there are indicators that there is more, one unconfirmed source (reliability unknown, language implied it to be American) gives us: “Iran in mid-May presented the IAEA with a comprehensive report on all aspects of its nuclear program, which comprised over one thousand pages. The D-T procurement was not mentioned in the. “comprehensive” report. It is not alone in this regard: since June, a large number of Iranian nuclear activities not admitted to by Tehran, have been reported, notably the attempts to sanitize a suspected nuclear facility in the neighborhood of Tehran” another dark web source gave mention of deuterium-tritium gas earlier this year crossing into Iran at Bājgirān. I partially took notice but ignored it as I had no real idea what it was used for (I am not a chemist), in light of the two it is not an indicator or any actual evidence where Iran is at, but it does give reason for Saudi Arabia to increase its capabilities regarding ballistic missiles. The fact that Iran has the muscle to move options here implies that it has access to funds it should not have, for the mere reason that whoever is doing it will not be doing it for anything less than an 8 figure number. I am decently certain that Russia (and most other nuclear players) would never be willing to give a Trump card like that into the hands of Iran, not when they have other needs to milk Iran for as long as they can. That is merely my personal view on the matter.

Iran does have other options, as Janes reported yesterday: “Iran launched a Khorramshahr medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) in December 2018, the Israeli representative to the UN told the Security Council in a letter released on 5 June“. My issue is not Jane, they are established as a reliable and accepted military source of information, the fact that this issue has been known for 6 months and the fact that at present there is no real exposure of the Khorramshahr with its range of 2,000 km with a 1,800 kg warhead, we see that no part of Saudi Arabia cannot be reached, giving a much larger pressure on Saudi Arabia and that is before you realise that the news included: “Iran has transferred technological knowledge to enable Iraq’s Technical Directorate for Military Production (TDMP) to produce the Mohajem-92 unmanned aerial vehicle“, that so called UAV is one of the drones that have been deployed against U.S. and coalition targets (Source: Al Jazeera June 21st).

These drones are optionally also in the hands of Hezbollah, a terrorist organisation, as such the pressure is on in several ways and there is more than one indicator that the US remains where it is, sitting on its hands merely because it seemingly ran out of budget.

Image of a Paper Tiger

In conclusion: I believe that the media and the US government have been hiding behind excuses and counter acting actions as it cannot afford to be in anything for any price. It has no ability to enforce any actual rules and when we see the egocentric call: ‘what the US was doing to prevent foreign sales of ballistic missile technology to Saudi Arabia‘, we see what was once a superpower is now optionally nothing more than a Paper Tiger.

If I have to give any official advice to the House of Saud then it would be:

Your Royal Highness and members of the royal family,

I believe that it is now more and more important to seek unity and actual commerce with providers that will enable you to properly defend yourself against the unacceptable danger that Iran has become. I believe that trade with the United Kingdom, France, Germany and China should replace your American portfolio. Each of these four have technologies and military solutions that would equal the solutions that America has offered. I believe that there is no one solution, by gaining the hardware from all three (each their own field) it would be optionally quicker to get the essential defence materials that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia needs to keep its nation safe. The American position after the attacks by Hezbollah through Houthi forces give rise to the additional dangers that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia faces by not seeking a more powerful defence. The actions of the American US Congress have shown that what they regard as being an ally is not what an ally is; it is not even what a wannabe ally would consider to be.

As such apart from your advancement in technology and infrastructure a much larger foundation for your national defence is seemingly essential in the immediate future. The shown delays that the European Union have shown to be regarding Iran, Turkey and terrorist organisations like Hezbollah give rise to the essential need of China to become part of that solution.

With highest regards,

Lawrence van Rijn

Finale

I believe that the inaction’s have gone on for way too long, even as some state that there are diplomatic options, the realisation that Iran hid themselves through the terrorist organisation Hezbollah and the fact that this has been known in intelligence circles for years is clear evidence that there is no push for a solution, merely a need for a standstill, or stalemate at best. It never resolves anything, it merely decimates the Yemeni population through Houthi blockades a small issue killing thousands and Reuters gave us that news, but no, plenty of media ignore that fact and keep on pointing the finger at Saudi Arabia and shouting ‘Jamal Khashoggi’ whilst no one cared about him to begin with (exception of Washington Post people noted).

The idea of politics through inaction an stalemate has created more damage than anyone realises and the inaction on matters has the dangers of creating cogs of war that will ruffle both sides of the Persian gulf to the largest degree is now too dangerous. The inaction on Hezbollah, the inaction by the US and Europe now have a lasting impact on the Middle East. When this comes to blow, there is no doubt that Iran will lose, and anyone pushing for stalemate tactics will be recognised and removed from consideration for what could be the largest impulse to a global economy in history, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar are part of that economic pulse and those not part of that will end up going through 2-3 iterations of recession lasting 20+ years. The others will find themselves on an improving economy track and enable themselves on a larger economic scale than before. There is now ample view on the matter to consider that America is steering away from that option for no good reason. When that happens, those who get to be enabled will end up being in a much stronger position. I personally prefer the United Kingdom to be part of that, yet in the end that is a decision they will need to make for themselves.

 

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The aid package

People on a global scale, no matter what religion they preach, they have an inherent need for humanitarian action. It shows that people remain people, they have feelings and emotion. Especially now, in the Muslim month of Ramadan, which according to the Britannica is “a time for Muslims to practice self-restraint, in keeping with ṣawm (Arabic: “to refrain”), one of the pillars of Islam (the five basic tenets of the Muslim religion). Although ṣawm is most commonly understood as the obligation to fast during Ramadan, it is more broadly interpreted as the obligation to refrain between dawn and dusk from food, drink, sexual activity, and all forms of immoral behaviour, including impure or unkind thoughts.” Yet Time.com (as well as other sources give us: “Muslims believe that following these practices during Ramadan will lead to self-purification, self-control and bring them closer to Allah. Many Muslims also attend special prayer services, read verses of the Quran and engage in charity“, these are words I read before in other places. Yet it is here that we see the questions rise. First is Qatar with ‘Qatar to send $480m to help Palestinians in West Bank and Gaza‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/may/07/qatar-send-480m-help-palestinians-west-bank-gaza-israel-ceasefire), this sounds all on the up and up, and I have no reason to give doubt here, and with “Qatar’s foreign ministry said $300m would go towards supporting health and education programmes of the Palestinian Authority, while $180m would go toward urgent humanitarian relief, UN programmes and providing electricity” we see this reinforced. Yet the article also gives us: “Although Qatar does not give money directly to Hamas, its support since 2012, totalling $755m, has been a vital lifeline for the cash-strapped group, relieving it from having to fund civilian and infrastructure projects“, which now brings to bare the issue of other funding as Hamas was able to afford missile barrage after missile barrage. I am not placing blame on Qatar, or other Islamic charities, but I am left with the thought. If you give any junkie money for food, and he then uses his other funds to buy drugs because the junkie knows that he will get the charity for food, are we as a people inflicting harm and additional hardship on the junkie? It makes me reflect on the act through ‘refrain from all forms of immoral behaviour, including impure or unkind thoughts‘. It also gives rise to the BBC article (at https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-48147066) where we see: ‘Taliban rejects calls for Ramadan truce in Afghanistan‘, and as we are given: “President Ashraf Ghani agreed to a truce provided it was not “one-sided”. But the Taliban rejected the call and accused members of being government allies.” does the month of Ramadan allow for this? If not, does that make them bad Muslims? I am not stating it, I am asking this.

Why is this so important?

To comprehend certain parts of Islam we need to dive deeper in what we do not know and even if there is no direct requirement to know what the Taliban does (most of us do not care), the news has been giving us other versions. The Express (at https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1122649/isis-news-latest-terror-france-jihadist-police-elysee-palace) gives us that the French stopped an ISIS attack. With ‘ISIS planned ‘violent’ attack on French palace say police‘ we see “According to AFP, the suspects had several targets, the unnamed source said, but their overall objective was to launch an attack on security forces, namely those “standing guard outside the Elysée Palace”. The men, arrested last Friday on suspicion of acquiring weapons “with a view to committing a terrorist act” are currently in provisional detention and awaiting trial. The would-be terrorists, who had been under police surveillance since early February, were spotted outside the Elysée Palace in central Paris on a reconnaissance mission shortly before their arrest“, whilst the Malayan version of the Daily Express (at http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/news/134811/no-hate-speech-during-ramadan-mosques-told/) gives us ‘No hate speech during Ramadan, mosques told‘, as well as “We will act firmly the actions of labelling a person as deviant and calling others infidels because mosques must be free from political party ideologies. “We must guard our mouths from uttering slander during Ramadan because it can create numerous problems which can break up families,’’ he told a media conference after launching a Let’s Celebrate Ramadan programme in the compound of the Kerian district mosque, here, Saturday.” An American might trivialise it as seeing someone from ISIS as a fake Muslim, I merely wonder on the application to Islam and Muslim faith in this case.

It is also increased pressure on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We read (at http://www.arabnews.com/node/1494481/saudi-arabia) ‘Saudi Civil Defense announces Ramadan security measures‘, these people under the guidance of Brig. Abdullah Al-Qurashi, director of Civil Defence in Makkah are prepared through 38 fixed civil defence centres, supported by 24 seasonal centres, in addition to 27 intervention points and 30 civil defence posts stationed in The Grand Mosque in Makkah to provide aid and assistance to pilgrims. And when you think that this is a lot, consider that the mataf area would accommodate more than 107,000 people per hour, there will be 500,000 headsets for worshippers getting access to 10 languages of the 679 lessons and lectures that are to be delivered during Ramadan. I have seen a few Christian places, I have been to Lourdes, yet I have a problem trying to comprehend the concept of 100,000 people an hour. It amounts to the entire population of Adelaide (Australia), Birmingham (UK), Dallas (US) or Calgary (CA) EVERY day for a month. For the pilgrims this has not gone unnoticed, as there was high praise for the king, government and local authorities from pilgrims from as far away as Indonesia, Pakistan and Sudan, with many thousands of Muslims traveling from across the world to Saudi Arabia to attend prayers at the mosque during Ramadan. Yet a lot of this is merely seen in the Arab News and Gulf News, even as plenty of respectable papers give light to this, we see a movement as the number of respectable papers is winding down, so is the amount of information given to non-Muslims. The Sydney Morning Herald also gives us: “just as Christian holy seasons such as Christmas and Easter have become commercialised, Ramadan is increasingly associated with night-time festivities and binge eating. While, traditionally, the fasting day ends with a feast, in modern times people often attend Ramadan events at hotels and restaurants and, combined with the lower activity of fasting days, can even find themselves gaining weight during the holy month“, which is fair enough and not to be seen in a negative light, I found the images from the Four Seasons hotel lightly overwhelming, almost like a Victorian Christmas diner setup. For me, the entire issue is not an issue, although I see (read: expect additional) danger of not drinking water during the day a health issue (from my non-medical view), the Sydney Morning Herald reinforced that with: “In the Gulf states, a spike in attendances at hospitals has been reported, with problems ranging from dehydration to uncontrolled diabetes, as well as injuries from traffic accidents attributed to drowsiness“.

Errors in thinking

The first thing I accept is that I am looking at Muslim matters with a Christian eye, that is my background and I know that if I wonder about things plenty of others got at that point long before me, it is the educational part that remains lagging for me, I am not a Muslim, yet at the same moment, the image and message from one, whilst we see issues handed to us in opposition. One such view was given to me from Kuwait by Al Waqyan, in a nation that is 99% Muslim. There I was given ‘Kuwaiti journalist criticizes ban on ‘public eating’ during Ramadan‘. Now, from a Christian point I would agree, yet knowing that 99% of that nation is either fasting or trying to fast, would his view not allow for a larger pressure on those fasting? Perhaps the old movie example where a prisoner in the age of the crusades are watching the jailer just outside of reach have a large feast whilst the prisoners are begging for food. Would it not be cruel and unusual punishment to be faced with a large meal when a person should be fasting? I understand that there are conditions when a person cannot fast, yet is it too much to ask for that person to do it in private or not in view of other people?

I found the fact that there is a level of polarisation interesting, not because of what I believe, but the fact that it is in a stage where all the contestants are seemingly Muslim. I would personally be on the side of: “some believe it’s appropriate to apply it in Muslim majority countries“, there are plenty of moments when no one can see anything and having a quick sip of water then would be acceptable. It is perhaps the only part that I see happen, there is absolutely no situation where a person should be able to eat in public view anywhere, not when a person could be at home to have a bite to eat.

The opportunity

This is where we see the opportunity, when we are given ‘Saudi Arabia’s Hajj Ministry launches new interactive portal‘, we see the place that gives us (at present) “The new portal will provide more than 30 services for pilgrims, available in Arabic, English and French, with an average of 55 pages per language. Four more languages will be added in the near future.” Most people, especially 100% of the pilgrims will see this as an excellent idea and it is. What it allows for is a much larger option; it could become a start for non-Muslims to learn more about Islam, to learn more on what is unknown. When we consider that optionally in western languages there are ‘the 679 lessons and lectures‘ that shows the spirit of Islam in the stage where it is all about the season of inner reflection, forgiveness and spiritual renewal. As such the sacred month of Ramadan might open a moment to introduce to those unaware of Islam the resources that allow us to oppose Islamophobia as well as diminish the options that anti Islamist groups like pagida and others are growing all over Western Europe, the US and the Commonwealth nations. I personally believe that education is a first step in diminishing the powers that they have. It does not requires us to become Muslim, it does not require us to agree, but at least we will be properly educated and informed and history has shown that this is a first step in slowing down and stopping the haters, and that is never ever a bad thing. Knowledge can be an exemplary aid package, it is time we all used that option to the fullest.

 

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The next wave

We have seen the waves; we have seen the mention and the messages. According to President Trump ISIS has been defeated, the easiest counter is: ‘Really? How?‘ In these theatres of war the setting of defeat is not easily established. In my personal view the stage for defeat when they are all dead. ISIS does not adhere to government policy, it does not accept established articles of war and these people go on until they draw breath no more. It gets to be worse than this. According to one (not the most reliable source) we get: ‘ISIS terrorists flee with $200 million in cash‘, the issue is not merely the money; it is what it enabled to be done. We know that the ISIS fighters scrammed like a load of roaches into every direction they could. Now consider that even after 36 years, I could cripple infrastructures in the Netherlands, the UK, Belgium, France, Germany, Denmark and Sweden with less than 10% of these funds, so how much damage could lone wolves do in these nations when that money get cryptoed (a crypto currency tip toe event) and softly spread over these lone wolves? How much damage does Europe have to look forward to? How much funding for attacks on Israel comes next? With optional weapons via Ukraine, explosives via Germany and Sweden, as well as drugs and chemicals? The war with ISIS is far from over, yet now that the US is pulling back, now that gaps are appearing all over the place, how long until that money is spread all over the map inciting attacks in too many places to properly police?

And that is before you realise that most nations are lacking in getting any level of result in fighting these lone wolves. Some are too badly trained and often intentionally to make sure that the intelligence arrogance remains, yet the dozen of operatives that have been working in the dark will be able to strike and with or without that boatload of cash, we need to consider other sources. We start with the Independent who gave us ‘Jim Matthews was prosecuted for fighting with a group backed by the British military‘, a person prosecuted for fighting ISIS in Syria. Now we can argue that what was done had to be done by the law and by the standard of non-combatants acting in a theatre of war (no matter what side they were on), to some degree it makes sense. Yet in that light the quote “Terror “preparation” offences have been used to prosecute foreign fighters as well as terror plotters in the UK” could be considered in another light. Whilst the law focusses on those they recognise and flag as optional targets for prosecution, there are hundreds of people that never made the limelight and as such will go undetected. For this we use the Toronto Sun, where we saw: “When Canadians heard Abu Huzaifa al-Kanadi describe how he killed and executed people on a New York Times podcast, they were outraged. Why was this man from the Toronto area not behind bars?” With the addition “Abu Huzaifa al-Kanadi was already known to police and they hadn’t charged him. Not because he had recanted what he told the Times podcast Caliphate but because like almost all of the other returning ISIS fighters, police were not able to collect the kind of evidence needed to convict in a court of law“, now we know that Canadians are only hard in the ice rink and beyond that socially a little soft, but to see this and consider that under the laws there is a lager mess all over Europe, how much anger is Europe in? These people are not beyond identity fraud and even as the Dutch have their A-game in place, the same cannot be said for scores of places like Poland, Czech Republic, Germany, Romania, Hungary and even Sweden has a few flaws in place. All nations where entry into Europe becomes an open playground, that is the ISIS setting we have to fear, a fear that is not going away and will become more and more real soon enough. Even as we see the mention of the events in France a year ago regarding Redouane Lakdim, I believe that the Independent was right (at https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/isis-europe-terror-attacks-france-shooting-uk-france-terrorist-groups-islamist-danger-a8270941.html) with “the attack in the Carcassonne region by a single gunman, said to be a Moroccan petty criminal from the area, proves very little about the strength of Isis as a continuing threat“, for the most they are right, yet the push to prosecute 800 European ISIS fighters in Europe is a debatable wisdom, the danger that another 100 arrive in Europe unnoticed and they start their ‘consideration’ using $200 million is not without risk, moreover when some of the 800 avoid prosecution, or even are prosecuted to remain under house arrest, or low level security incarceration, only to disappear a few weeks later is a larger risk than most consider. We might think that it is going towards ‘Suicide attack in Afghan capital kills at least 31 people during Persian New Year‘, an event like that in Europe would be very visible, yet that is not the danger that Europe faces. The larger dangers are the explosives that cripple energy in places like Leverkusen, Dusseldorf, Lopik, the Vattenfall energy locations, attacks that cripple European infrastructure for more than a few days. Not the 31 bodies but an infrastructure that impacts quality of life and national economies is the danger the Europeans are not ready for. Their infrastructure is not ready, their manpower is insufficient and ISIS only needs to get it right once, after that any subsequent success will impact Europeans more and more. That was forever the danger Europe faced. Even as I wrote about it on February 17th (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2019/02/17/two-sides-of-currency/) in my article ‘Two sides of currency‘, where I wrote: “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“, a failure on immigration data, the issue of well over 500,000 refugees and no verifiable data whether they are real refugees or ISIS refugees relocating to better shores. The fat that this failure is there and has been thee for over 6 years is a much larger concern and most nations are too underfunded and too shallow to do something about it, their data systems inferior, their collected data unshared and all of it with a lack of verification. That is what several EU states face and now as we are confronted that 200 million has gone walkabout with ISIS fighter, do you still think that there is little to worry about?

The fact that only last October we were faced with: “Greece is taking urgent action to tackle Islamist extremists who have infiltrated a large refugee camp on Lesbos and are alleged to be coercing migrants into joining Islamic State“, proves me right. The only matter is if one got found out, how many were not? There is actually no way to tell, but any politician claiming that there is no issue is too much of a security hazard to be taken seriously. There are a whole host of reasons on why nothing has happened yet, but the largest danger is not whether they will strike, but will we be able to stop it when they do? The danger of 6 years of inaction on almost every side is also a danger that complacency might have set in long ago, there is however no way too tell if it was already too late, with the dispersal of ISIS a new age starts and it is one where lone wolves optionally get to make a name for themselves causing all kinds of new clusters of self-proclaimed jihadists and we have no way to determine the dangers, yet what is a real danger is 200 million out in the open. The amount of goods and people that it buys, especially in this day and age is a little too much unsettling.

We can only wait and see the impact, for those not in that battle, we can only remain observant and wait when it happens. Europe is a little too large and 800 people can remain unnoticed for too long a time, especially in this day and age.

 

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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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Living with choices made

We do that at times, we also endure the bitter fruits that we gained from choices. I made some myself, in two cases I trusted the wrong person and it costed me dearly, an invoice payable over decades. I get that, it was my choice, I was an adult and therefor I accept to live with the choice made. It is partially the reason I go out and expose bullshit artists’ because of the dangers that they represent, as well as their friends who knowingly stand by them. So when I saw ‘UK will not put officials at risk to rescue Isis Britons, says minister‘, the article (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/feb/14/uk-isis-britons-officials-risk-syria-schoolgirl-shamima-begum) gives us “I’m not putting at risk British people’s lives to go looking for terrorists or former terrorists in a failed state,” I personally believe that this makes perfect sense. Some might have a bleeding heart when they see: “it was revealed Shamima Begum, one of three pupils from Bethnal Green, east London, who left to join Isis four years ago, told the Times she wanted to return to the UK“, yet there is no way to tell how radicalised she has become. In addition, even as we accept that “Wallace said that as a British citizen, Begum had a right to return home, but anyone who joined Isis should expect to be investigated, interviewed and “at the very least prosecuted” on their return“, we also need to accept that would need to be under scrutiny for some time to come, she is optionally a direct threat to the Britons around her and as such her return also means putting pressure on the budgets of GCHQ and MI5, so there is that to consider. Now, I am not stating that is a reason to keep her out, yet when people state that they are so adult, so well informed and go to places like ISIS Syria, getting married to a Muslim she did not know, have three children with two of them dead is the lifestyle she chose. In addition there is another matter that I had not considered. Even if she is not radicalised, Sir Peter Fahy (former chief constable of Greater Manchester police) gives us: “The biggest challenge if she did come back will be how the police will keep her safe and how she wouldn’t be some sort of lightning rod for both Islamic and far-right extremists“, as an optional catalyst she becomes a new threat on other levels too, as stated, that was something I had not considered and it is important to see that as a matter that could lead its own life. In all the papers and media events we focussed on radicalisation and we forgot that the threat of being a catalyst is actually a larger issue to consider.

And the news is now pouring in from all sides regarding Amira Abase, Shamima Begum and Kadiza Sultana. As all focus on Begum, we know that Kadiza Sultana is dead, the other two were alive in August 2018, and the present status of Amira Abase will be looked at in the near future. My reasons for having the position that I am showing to have is that all need to be held accountable for their actions, not merely governments and large corporations, individuals as well. So when we see “Aqsa Mahmood, a former Scottish university student, has been put under international sanctions for her role as an online recruiter, with other female jihadists including Khadijah Dare and Sally-Anne Jones have called for terror attacks on social media and called on other women to follow them to Syria” (source: the Independent), we need to realise that a governments job is to keep its citizens safe, with the danger of radicalisation and being a catalyst becoming too large a danger, there is everything to be said to leave these people to their fate, so they either become a danger or they die. It seems a simple equation. Yet, we know it is not. The move by more and more Muslim girls (and women) from the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands to step onto the ISIS platform is a given stage for dangers, more than we see at first light. You might think of Robert Ben Lobban Wallace being a softy, think again, he is Sandhurst trained, and a Scots Guard commander with 24 years of intelligence experience. He knows what he is in for and he is more aware of most on the dangers that former ISIS women present. That needs to be taken into consideration before we give rise to: ‘Let Shamima Begum come back, say Bethnal Green residents‘ (the Guardian), ‘British schoolgirl who fled London to join IS pleads to come home to have her baby‘ (News.com.au) and ‘UK schoolgirl Shamima Begum who fled to join Islamic State ‘wants to return home to England’‘ (ABC). you see, the moment she is back and some misguided catalyst event explodes (optionally very literally), we will get all the accusations and all the pointing fingers of a failed police force, yet from my point of view, the people of Bethnal Green will not be allowed to complain. It will be the direct consequence of ‘let her come back‘ and the family members of those victims can ask those people for reparations and grief counselling. So as we see the impact of Shamima Begum (19) mother of three with optionally only one child left alive is seeing the impact of what she thought would be a fairy tale in ISIS. The people who stayed awake have been aware of the danger that ISIS is more than half a decade before she left, she merely listened to the wrong people and it got her family and optionally soon enough her killed. That is the impact of terrorism.

ABC News also gives us: “Independent of this, Home Secretary Sajid Javid is expected to weigh in on whether Ms Begum should have the right to return to the UK, along with intelligence agencies MI5 and MI6 and counterterrorism police, who are anticipated to conduct further investigations into potential dangers Ms Begum could pose to the UK“, the issue is not merely that, the words of Sir Peter Fahy are important too, it is not merely what she does, it is what triggers others to do because of her that counts too and that is where the problem begins. This is not merely come algorithm, it is the dimensional impact that others will trigger at her presence, merely via news, or by seeing her. The part that is not about whether she was ISIS, but the part where others see her as a member of ISIS until she is dead, that is the larger issue and there is no way to set that stage in a dependable way. It is like fishing for sharks in the North Sea. You can go to places where they are most likely to be found, yet throwing out bait and a fishing line does not give rise to catching a shark, you could end up with another fish entirely.

It is in that light that I oppose the view of Amina Mohamed, 52, a housewife, who gave us in the guardian: “She was a baby, she didn’t know what was going on there. People played a game with her and brainwashed her. She was a child“, she made a very clear choice, she decided not to listen to her parents, and it is actually that simple. I do not have much on the parents of Shamima Begum, yet the Evening Standard gave us: ‘after deceiving their parents‘, so in all that, it seems to me that a choice was made and as such, they will have to live with the consequences that they created at the age of 15.

The BBC (at https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-47240100) if the sides in all this as even as there are sides that give rise to the responsibility of the British government, the question that we cannot answer is how radicalised has she become? The fact that we see: “She and two friends – Amira Abase and Kadiza Sultana – flew from Gatwick Airport to Turkey after lying to their parents about their plans for the day. Their aim was to join another friend, Sharmeena Begum“, there is a part that is seemingly ignored by a few people. Not only did was she able to get to Turkey (so they had passports and they tend to take a while, and apart from the fact that an unsupervised minor got one), the fact that the BBC gives us: “The trio were picked up by smugglers working for the IS group and taken across the border into the group’s territory in northern Syria” that there was a logistical support system in place that set the stage for minors to get to Syria from Turkey, the costs that is involved (three times £175 plus additional expenses), the fact that Gatwick raised no questions on unaccompanied minors, the smugglers they willingly followed (so waiting at the airport), there is a larger support system in place for this. There was a recruitment drive and there is a financial stage in all this. There are clear reasons that no one on the ISIS side wants her to be able to talk to MI5, so the issue is not that clear and it is a lot more hazardous for those around any of the optional two still alive that make it back to the UK, so from where I stand, I see that Sir Peter Fahy is correct in several ways.

Investigating these elements should be high on the priority list and they might be, yet the coverage I have seen so far does not ask any of those questions, do they?

I do realise that the entire matter is more complex that this, yet the fact that dissemination of information is lacking levels of scrutiny is a larger issue that needs to be addressed. To see this, we need to consider to parts, first a local one. In Australia Jenny McAllister has voted very strongly against more scrutiny of intelligence services & police on several occasions. Now, that is her right and partially it is her duty to vote one way or the other. Then there is the Financial Times two weeks ago who gave us: ‘Foreign Office criticised over scrutiny of UK spy agencies‘ (at https://www.ft.com/content/4a1cc4e6-2619-11e9-b329-c7e6ceb5ffdf) and we see: “The two agencies use section seven of the 1994 Intelligence Services Act, often referred to as the “James Bond clause”, to authorise activities overseas that might otherwise lead to criminal and civil liability under UK law“, yet in the same trend we see a lack of questions when it can be established that 15 year old girls are recruited in the UK, there is a logistical support system to get them to Syria and the media seems to remain oblivious to a much larger degree (it is the people need not know approach) to something much more pressing in all that. I must have forgotten the lessons on common law regarding the recruitment of children for criminal purpose, how did that go again?

So when I see: “Such missions could include MI6 agents breaking into properties in foreign countries to obtain documents or GCHQ infiltrating computers and networks in ways that might otherwise fall foul of UK laws“, which is a larger implication when a 19 year old is having her third child and it raises no questions, especially as the marriage might be seen as illegal?

At that point my question towards Dan Dolan, deputy director at Reprieve, who is so about doing the right ‘thing’, will be about: What should we do? How far are we allowed to go to prevent recruitment and radicalisation of minors straight out of primary school? How far are we allowed to go to keep British children safe? I think that plenty of intelligence operators lost the plot in the Huawei events (which the Financial Times endorses with a photograph), yet when it comes to threats like ISIS the intelligence industry hasn’t even seen the outer limits lights at present, I am not entirely sure if they are able to tell the colour of those lights when asked. the larger issue is that the intelligence operators are not merely walking a tightrope, they are walking one that is covered in razor blades and at any time there is not merely the risk that it cuts into the feet, it is also a risk that it cuts the rope they are walking on, giving rise to additional hazards, Shamima Begum is merely one of several risks at present and it is important to realise that a Queensberry Rules approach is not merely making us human and humane, it is getting us killed with 99% certainty, the opposition does not warrant, endorse of accepts any kind of rules. I do hope that the recruitment of 15 year old girls will suffice as evidence at present.

 

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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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