Tag Archives: LA Times

When wrong is right

There is now too little doubt, I got it wrong, and I will happily and freely admit to it. You see, the entire Salisbury and Novichok was a shamble from the beginning. There was little doubt in my view, as I have been around the world twice, as I saw things on several levels, there was a massive issue with the entire Skripal case, as such I had a massive lack of faith in the reports all over the news. Not merely the setting where we see from the early setting that GRU players were mentioned, the fact that the hit was unsuccessful and the setting that I still see as an event framed in stupidity. A setting with a whole host of issues that could go wrong from the very beginning, how could anyone support it?

And I decided not to do it without clear evidence.

So I was in a stage of impressing denial, plain and simple. Apart from the setting that was brought by the media, there were issue with the evidence as Vil Mirzayanov gave clear evidence that was countered from day one with publications in all kinds of magazines, even the documents in the OPCW gave rise to doubt, but the media all ate it like flame baked chocolate chip cookies. The Guardian brought its version of doubt and also gave us valid questions and in all this the media machines continued with a mix of facts and speculations (as media would have done).

Yet we have seen that and in the stage of all this, the LA Times now gives us ‘Spate of fumbled spycraft may be laughing matter for ordinary Russians, but not for President Putin‘, now that we see that there is a chance that the FSB has messed up to this degree cannot be ignored. So as we are treated to both “Like Russian President Vladimir Putin, the GRU — the country’s military intelligence agency — is more accustomed to being feared than being mocked. But a recently exposed run of bumbling spycraft — think Austin Powers, not James Bond — has made the spy agency the subject of biting humor, at which Russians happen to excel“, as well as “the Kremlin is worried about its “brand, image and reputation as a great power.” And Putin, a former KGB officer whose approval ratings have been slipping, is doubtless “unhappy with the image of Russia as being incompetent, and the potential public perception of themselves as fools,”” Finally we get “Putin-watchers saw peril for the head of the GRU, Igor Korobov. Unconfirmed reports in the Russian press said that after the U.S. indictments of seven military intelligence officers, the Russian president summoned Korobov for an official dressing-down” It is the final part that makes for the entertainment as I wrote yesterday: “How badly are these ladies trained (me stating the need for a well-paid job and replacing Colonel general Igor Valentinovich Korobov), I mean, I could hardly do any worse, could I? Let’s face it, in Australia a general’s pay starts at $235,595 with 0 years of experience in that rank. I’d accept that as a starting wage (LOL), even if it turns out to be merely for a year“. I wrote it in ‘Consideration for dinner‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/10/15/consideration-for-dinner/). So now we see that in the end, I would have been a better director of Russian Military Intelligence than Russian General Igor Valentinovich Korobov, who would have thunk it? Yes, I stated that expression and in light of history it would be quite apt.

So as we have been treated to all kinds of sources far, wide and speculative, I have tried to maintain to the facts as much as possible. A few years ago, the open setting of who were GRU officers, who would rely on an operation using unstable elements, the lack of investigating a certain laboratory. Yet, now looking back, there is additional implied evidence that there was a much larger issue and it is not with the UK, it is with Russia. We see this in the writing of Mark Galeotti. We see: “If Putin is showing his anger, it is not because they are spying and hacking and killing, but because they are not doing it well enough“, a statement from a senior fellow at the Institute of International Relations Prague. He is correct. It is nice to see that there is an implied failure on the Russian side and it sets the GRU back to the age of the early cold war where they would walk in the US wearing a weird trench coat, thinking that everyone in the US looked and dressed like Humphrey Bogart. It makes counter intelligence exceedingly easy for the FBI and MI-5, so they should be relieved, but they are unlikely to be that. All these issues are pointing towards a larger game and falling asleep now is perhaps the largest of all failings to embrace. Part of this was tipped on in February by the BBC (at https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-42636245). Here we see the mention ‘Just weeks before Litvinenko died, Russia passed a law giving the FSB authority to act against “extremists” and “terrorists” abroad‘, yet the issue is not the statement, it is the Russian definition of what THEY consider to be a terrorist and an extremist. You see an extremist is someone who holds extreme political or religious views, yet in case or Russia is that a political view that is not their political view? Then we get the part of terrorist. Here we see that this is a person who uses unlawful violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims. Yet is the word ‘violence’ mandatory? We have e-terrorism, which is still terrorism, is it not?

So as we were going into the entire Salisbury debacle, we were treated to two people allegedly called Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov and they were giving us: “insisting they were sports nutritionists on a holiday jaunt to Britain — and that with all the iconic tourist sites available to them in London, what they really, really wanted to see was the cathedral in a provincial city“. I was in disbelief! Someone was going to be this stupid about it? Now, I have heard and seen the folly of underestimating an opponent, yet until this week I had never considered that overestimating an opponent could be so equally deadly. It is like watching that old series The Top Secret Life of Edgar Briggs, where I am thwarted by Briggs, in this case played by Igor Valentinovich Korobov, it feels that unsettling, to face an opponent you rigorously overestimate.

It got to be even worse when they were caught ‘red’ handed, trying to hack into the computers of the OPCW, which in light of the fact that I got most their memo’s merely Google searching them. OK, they wanted the Skripal case documents, which were likely slightly more secure, yet in all that, when we are faced with such bungling, how can we lose sleep over any operation the GRU does when we can read it on page two of The Sun staring at the ‘lung’ section of a page three girl. It seems that the job (for now) for MI-5 is exceedingly simple. So as we are treated to the operandis modi of the Kremlin (according to the LA Times, where we see: ““Step No. 1 is deny; Step No. 2 is to undermine whoever made the allegations,” said Polyakova. “And usually Step No. 3 is to spin multiple versions of the story, to try to confuse the public narrative about what is the truth, and what is not.”” so, if we give a view to Alina Polyakova and her view in this, we need to compare that to the political field, the US political field might be the most apt one. So, the deny part, how did that work out for former president Bill Clinton? Then we see the undermining part, how did that work out for former (being the operative word) FBI Agent Peter Strzok, and the third and final part, the spin part? Well, the spin part is actually decently effective (usually it is), partially as most people can no longer tell the difference between journalistic news sources and morning TV shows that cast some version of the news on a malleable turntable. So that one the Kremlin is seemingly getting right (at least partially), although having a much better trained GRU might not be the worst idea in all this.

If we can keep a sense of humour in all this, we should take notice of Grigorii Golosov, a political scientist who stated: “thanks to the efforts of the two (Russian agents), the word “Novichok” was now better known to non-Russian speakers than “Sputnik.”” Yes, that is certainly true. The LA Times also re-staged the setting of: “the Kremlin not only vehemently denied involvement, but demanded definitive proof of the suspects’ guilt, which seemed at the time like a tall order“. That is where several insiders were, as well as myself, as we saw the train and CCTV footage and saw such a large lack of tradecraft that is seemed a joke to consider it at all, yet the egg is on out faces, I admit that! The fact that my skills surpass these so called Special Forces people at the GRU is just blowing my mind (quite literally). It gets to be even worse (or more hilarious depending on your placing on the table of intelligence) when we consider “seeing the cathedral in a provincial city“. So with the options ranging from Aldershot to Wrexham, they went to Salisbury? How could this be sold in any believable way?

There is one additional consideration and yet it is also a danger. As we are laughing at what the GRU is unable to do, we need to be weary that the SVR has not made these levels of blunders (a speculative statement, I know). In this, we need to recollect the words of Foreign Intelligence Service chief Sergei Naryshkin: “Russia couldn’t have been behind the operation because it was done so unprofessionally“, me and several others agree on that, so if that is the setting of the stage then we need to consider that the SVR might be poised to take over that part and properly train those people, giving us optionally new waves to deal with. Now, in all honesty, one would think that this is never going to happen, yet Vladimir Putin is an SVR alumni, so the thought is not that crazy and being placed in a setting of such embarrassment might make him jump and demand success stories, just as Saudi Arabia has its own optional folly to deal with, getting on board selling non ethical solutions is not beyond any opponent of those relying on overly ethically accepting solutions.

You see as several sources are now all heralding “Saudi Arabia is preparing to acknowledge the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi happened as the result of a botched interrogation” into the media (CNN et al), I need to accept that I was wrong twice, considering that generals have a much better handle on things, so me getting proven wrong twice (so close together) is not the craziest theory to embrace at present. The fact that there is no reliability on the sources at present makes me a little cautious. As CNN gives us: “The Saudis are preparing a report that will conclude Jamal Khashoggi’s death was the result of an interrogation that went wrong, one that was intended to lead to his abduction from Turkey, according to two sources“, there is not just the lack of who the two sources are, there is a larger setting that is still weird, so after we were informed on “Turkish authorities have an audio recording which indicates that missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed“, we see Reuters give us: “A team of around 10 Turkish police investigators had already left after a nine-hour search“, so why not just publicly play the audio? It would have given Turkey huge bonus points with Iran, yet that part we do not see (or hear) do we? We get to hear no evidence for now, which is another matter of concern. As Turkey will not play the audio, they would if the audio is not openly played that they are merely showing that their claims cannot be trusted (here is me hoping that I am not played a fool a third time in a row).

And all the sources, the Sun being the weirdest one give us: Audio and video recordings which emerged yesterday proved Khashoggi, 59, was tortured and murdered inside a Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, by a 15-strong hit team yesterday“, so where is that evidence? And a hit team of 15? This is part of the entire fake news matter and the UK newspapers (if you call the Sun a newspaper) is part of the problem, is it not?

So I might have been wrong, but in the setting where even the news is optionally fake news, I still think that I walked the right path in the end, even as I overestimated the abilities of the GRU to an almost unfathomable distance, I feel that I was bringing the news better, more complete and with the right questions, questions that some parties have never and will optionally never ever be able to answer. So, London School of Economics, I will happily and with a slight case of humility accept my master in Business Intelligence and Master of Journalism.

Thank you very much!

Elvis has left the building, until tomorrow that is!

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Media, Military, Politics

Rocking the bullshit

There has been a massive issue with Huawei, the accusations by the US is the largest one, one of its sheep (aka Australia) has been on the same post on how Huawei is such a large danger to the safety and security of a nation. It gets ‘worse’ when we see ‘The DNC tells Democrats not to buy Huawei or ZTE devices ever’, (at https://www.theverge.com/2018/8/3/17649920/dnc-democrats-huawei-zte-devices-ban-china-hacking-threat). Here we see the quote “people shouldn’t be using devices from either Chinese company for work or personal use. The words echo what federal officials have already said about Huawei and ZTE posing possible security threats to the US. In February, CIA, NSA, and FBI chiefs testified in front of a Senate committee that the two companies were beholden to the Chinese government and the devices could become tools for undetected espionage“, my issue has always been: ‘show me the evidence!’ Basically EVERY phone can be used as a spying device, that is one clear thing we got out of the Cambridge Analytica part, in addition, the Fitness tracking app Strava was a great way to find CIA black ops bases, so even as Strava merely mapped ‘a regular jogging route’, using Google or Apple maps, you would be able to map out the base, the supply routes and so on, the Apple Fitbit would be there for the Russian government knowing where these specialists were and when the were there. So in all that, and all the security transgressions seen here, not of the were Huawei or ZTE, yet, how much noise have you heard from the CIA, NSA, or FBI on Apple? Even now, they are that one Trillion dollar company, are they too big to mention?

I wonder why?

Yet, Huawei is not out of the hot water yet, they are actually in deeper hot waters now but this time it is allegedly by their own actions. Reuters is giving u mere hours ago: ‘Huawei in British spotlight over use of U.S. firm’s software’, the news (at https://www.reuters.com/article/huawei-security-britain-usa/huawei-in-british-spotlight-over-use-of-us-firms-software-idUSL5N1US343) gives us: “One of those is due to Huawei’s use of the VxWorks operating system, which is made by California-based Wind River Systems, said three people with knowledge of the matter, all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity when discussing details which were not made public in the report“, which now leads me to the setting that the American accusations are set on the premise of American Software used? How dopey is that?

Then we get: “the version of VxWorks being used by Huawei will stop receiving security patches and updates from Wind River in 2020, even though some of the products it is embedded in will still be in service“. In all this, the fact that it is still serviced for another 2 years, how are we now in the stage of: “potentially leaving British telecoms networks vulnerable to attack“? Is that not equally a questioning setting? Do we not have enough issues out there with Microsoft which has been nearly forever a security concerns, at this point, 2 years early we get the security warning on Huawei, yet not on Microsoft or Apple for that matter, in all this Google is equally a place of patches, and in all this, Huawei is the one getting unbalanced and unfairly burned at the stake like a Catholic at an Elisabeth I barbecue gathering.

Yet the good stuff is “All three sources said there was no indication that the VxWorks mismatch was deliberate. There is also no suggestion that the software itself represents a security risk“, this now leads us to two parts. The first is if it is true that ‘no suggestion that the software itself represents a security risk‘, does this mean that Huawei never had a security risk and if that is incorrect, why not present that evidence so that every Huawei Owner can test for this transgressions ending whatever future Huawei had in the first place.

In the second part, if there is no proven security flaw in the Huawei on hardware, is the security flaw a software one, or better stated an American software one, and if so, why are these people only going after Huawei and not after a dozen American firms?

The one part that we see in Channel News Asia is “Consultant Edward Amoroso, a former chief security officer at AT&T, said Huawei’s experience in Britain showed the challenges of securing international supply chains. Although no one should dismiss Huawei as a supplier solely because of its geographical location, reliance on software that is going out of support is a legitimate concern, Amoroso said“, the news (at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/business/huawei-in-british-spotlight-over-use-of-us-firm-s-software-10590268) gives the part that does matter, in this Edward Amoroso is right, software at the end of its reign is often the true safety concern, not merely because of the time frame, but in extent the time required to properly update the software on all the devices, which is not always a smooth path and tends to open up additional security gaps. In that part of the equation Huawei does have a legitimate problem to address. The second part to all that is “In addition to the issue with VxWorks, this year’s report also cited technical issues which limited security researchers’ ability to check internal product code“, I believe it to be a minor part and the proper investigators could seek or test for the issues, not merely that, the limitations also remove whatever options there are for zero day breaches, which has a much larger legal frame to address. So even as we agree that the US setting of accusation without evidence (proper presented evidence is merely the stuff that makes the grass grow in Texas). We also get that the US is giving us: “In the United States, the Pentagon is working on a “do not buy” list to block vendors who use software code originating from Russia and China“, there is an actual thing called national security and as such, it is their right to implement that part, I do believe that in the end it might be somewhat counterproductive, but it is still within their rights to be in such a setting nor no other reasons.

In the end there are a few issues in the field and some are out there, but with a lack of technical details, some cannot be proven, yet the fact of what some have done in the past might give the setting of ‘is it more likely than not that some do not really have 5G‘ is a true setting, yet I prefer to have the actual evidence, that some are trying to keep buried, and the media is part of that chase, which is odd to say the least. Huawei is bouncing back and forth and their hold to grow fast via the UK will be there, but from my point of view, they will need to fix the VxWorks part a lot faster than they think they need. From my estimation a new software solution should be well beyond the Beta stage in Q1 2019 if they want to have any chance of keeping their lucrative growth contracts in place. In equal measure we need to look at Canada and Australia, as they are currently set to be nothing more than US tools in all this. In all respects no actual and factual evidence was thrown out in the open. If that was done Huawei would have lost pretty much every non-Chinese contract, the fact that the BS is spread even larger with absence of evidence gives more reliability that there is no real security danger and it is more a tool for some to get the slice of 5G pie, probably at the expense of a monthly data dump, nicely mailed via UPS to: N 11600 W, Saratoga Springs, UT 84045, USA. That alone should give us the goods on who to trust and who to be cautious of. In all this, no evidence has been presented to the public (and their right to know) on how Huawei is a threat to our security. The fact that I believe that this is all bogus in one thing, the issues seems to be blown up as everyone takes a queue from John Bolton, that whilst the setting “Five Eyes is an alliance between Canada, New Zealand, the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom that facilitates collaboration in intelligence activities” gives us that there are three in the dark, the UK might be around with the knowledge and the rest merely takes a queue form the US, which has seemingly been whispering like they did in the WMD in Iraq phase, you do remember that in the end, they were never found and it was merely bad intel. So in that setting whilst Corporate America, Canada and Australia are all in fear of their gap against leading Huawei, in that setting we are supposed to have faith on the American gospel on what constitutes a danger from Huawei? And now that we are made aware that the software solution used is an American one?

Yup, we have all kinds of problems and some are valid issues of concern as Edward Amoroso phrases it. Yet between a setting of concern and an actual concern is a mile long gap and whilst we acknowledge that Huawei has some fixing to do, until actual evidence is shown that there is a security breach, the only thing that the US can do is to offer a $229 instant price match for the Apple, or an $100 instant price match for the Google Pixel 2, or a $400 instant price match for the Samsung 9, why would anyone in this day and age pay more for the same, actually, with the enhanced batteries of Huawei you will still miss out, but that might be the smallest cross to bear. All this because some players just didn’t get the pricing right, too many fingers on the margin pie, that alone seems to unbalance the entire equation, because all these players will miss out when Huawei is given free reign there. In this the equation is no longer about security, it will be merely about greed and those enabling for it. Is that not equally important an element to consider?

I’ll be honest, I am still happy with my Huawei P7, it was really affordable against anyone offering anything and after 3 years working 24:7, where would you think I would look first? The one who had proven himself, or the one overpricing its brand (OK, with the Pixel at a mere $100 more, that is still an awesome deal).

When we decide on pricing it is one, when unreliable players in the game force us away from the affordable option it becomes a different stage and so far, the US has proven to lose reliability again and again when it comes to their version of security. To emphasize on that, check on all the printing regarding the Landmines in Yemen placed by the Houthi and the amount of articles that we see in the NY Times, the LA Times and the Washington Post. Now consider the impact of mines and why Americans seem to be eager not to inform you. By the way, that setting was almost certain a setting that Iran enabled, if you questions that (which is fair) then answer the simple question, where did the Houthi forces get 1,000,000 mines from?

We are kept in the dark on the wrong topics and it is time to set the limelight on those people keeping us knowingly in the dark.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, IT, Law, Media, Politics, Science

ULE can kill any e-firm

Yes, there is an issue, yet is it a real one? The LA Times (at http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-snap-earns-20170810-htmlstory.html) gives us ‘Snap shares plummet after Los Angeles tech company misses expectations‘. Now, there has in my view always been an issue with “frustrated financial analysts and investors by adding new features for advertisers too slowly“. You see, there are two issues right there. In my personal view, I have always sided with the ‘premium‘ edition of pretty much any app when the price is right, to avoid advertisements and I will dump any app the moment that there is a replacement app offering such an option. So with ‘new features for advertisersI will instantly snap to another app at the drop of a hat, any hat. You only need to Google: ‘Snapchat’ to see the impact, anger and frustration the users offer (loudly). So when I see “Snap hasn’t delivered promising results in its first two earnings reports” I am not at all surprised. In my view what was a great idea was suddenly bombastic and radioactive. So when the option “and Snap [at 173 million daily active users] can’t add 8 to 10 million” it is not a surprise, it is not even a mystery. With the response “That is why the shares are down — and they should be!” from Laura Martin, managing director of equity research at Needham & Co, I merely have the thought that this lady does not comprehend user base needs and desires. In this for Snap to offer a +$5 option and not have any kind of pop up, ideas and advertisements, any of them disabled separately would have been a much better option. For the record, the app by Jack Underwood named ‘Today Calender Pro‘ at $5.99 took 8 minutes to contemplate. So as hatred of advertisement goes, I am surprised that the equity research firms are not more up to date as to the needs and desires of the users. In addition, we can argue all kinds of directions, yet when we consider the Wiki statement “the idea was to create a selfie app (application) which allowed users to share images that were explicitly short-lived and self-deleting“, in an age where trust of stored images is at an all-time low, there will be debates and there is more than one user with the thought ‘what if’. In addition, there is the consideration on the need (read: reasoning) to short term viewing and deletion of images to some degree. So as we see Snapchat as a possible opponent to Instagram, where would you put your money? Now that Instagram is linked to Facebook, we need to reconsider where we put our efforts as a user. We might want to go with: ‘there is an app need for everyone‘, yet when the novelty warez off (pun intended), we need to consider the users that go with ‘One size fits all‘, that is where the first issue of Snap now lies, as the people are reconsidering their place in photo sharing. Some people who go with short term deleted options are optionally not part of a social sharing media type. They will also need ‘their’ solution, there is no denying it, but overall that need will diminish faster soon enough. In addition there is the need for the user to be ‘entertained‘, which means other options, more options and diversity. In this Snap might be seen as too much of a niche.

Does that inhibit the drop in value?

Partially yes, but in this the response “surprised that Snap added only 7 million users during the second quarter” is actually a lot less surprising. As we now see places that are setting the stage for increasing ‘engagement’ (at https://thenextweb.com/contributors/2017/08/10/7-tips-increase-engagement-instagram/#.tnw_DmOvDLuY), we see the evolving side of Instagram, whilst Snap strays and is getting left behind. In this, 3 of those engagement ideas are actually right up the alley of Snapchat and as such the evolving need of Snap and their app needs to be reckoned with. In addition, the numbers in the LA Times article shows that there are other situations, in all the loss of expected gains, which is actually not the largest issue, it is the actual loss and that it is off by $76 million which is a much larger issue. So as I personally see it, the need to adhere to ‘new features for advertisers‘ dwarves to the need to ‘switch off advertisement features for users‘ If that opts the setting of $5 for a potential 150 million users getting to a ‘plus’ or ‘pro’ edition would be an awesome alternative, because every day that this is not considered implies that Snap Inc. Is giving the market to whoever is giving the users some Snapchat++ option. The market is there for the person stepping in and as far as the news goes, Snap is doing something, but not stepping in and as such is losing the market and whatever market share they had, in addition, the aggressive growth of Instagram does not help Snap that much either.

There is additional information in the LA Times, when we consider “Of the daily users Snap gained during the April-through-June period, 4 million came from North America, 2 million from Europe and the rest from elsewhere in the world. Snapchat had 148 million users this time last year“, It is when we start looking at Omnicore, is when we get some interesting results (at https://www.omnicoreagency.com/snapchat-statistics/), the two that caught my attention are ‘71% of Snapchat users are under 34 years old‘ and ‘Roughly 70% of Snapchat users are female‘ that is an impressive part, so when you toss away the advertisements, how can you cater to these two groups? The mere fact that you have 100 million users in either part is a lot more interesting; it is the market share worth enabling and growing upon. With ‘More than 25% of UK Smartphone users are on Snapchat, in Norway the number goes up to 50%‘ we see an even more interesting part. A part that could (if investigated properly), could see the need of the reference to the three engagement parts I hinted at earlier. So when you consider the options, is Snap even aware to the better part of their numbers of the needs of their users? That is seen even in more optional ways when you consider two of the fun facts given in this article, which was from January 2017. the first being ‘More than 400 million Snapchat stories are created per day‘ which means that there is a huge following and in equal measure more than one story a day per user is created. The second is ‘It would take you 10 years to view all the photos shared on Snapchat in the last hour‘, so there is a given one sided engagement, the question is can this be evolved to a much stronger engagement number that is two sided or more? The answer to that is basically a lot more appealing that the ‘optional’ requested growth of those 2 million users. It is the answer to making Snap the stellar grower Snap would like it to be. In all this the fact that close to 50% of the users is younger than 35 should be a clear path into engagement and facilitation. It is merely up to Snap to pick up the pieces and see where growth can be found, once they are there the ‘anticipation‘ of these analysts might get crushed in favour of Snap in more ways than one.

So where should Snap begin?

I always go with comprehension, know your user base and see what they need, no matter how that impacts other predictions or needs. If growth is the key need, than adhering to the users is the only way to exceed expectations of whoever seems to be wielding the stick of the analysts’ predictions. As I see it, they need to get there before Instagram and Snapchat++ give light to make Snapchat a mere memory, because there is no coming back from that, no matter how stellar the improvement becomes, for that places the User Level Expectations where it is not desired, with the other application that listened or offered the gimmick of the week.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, IT, Media, Science

Hospitality starts with hospital

There is no way around it, United Airlines has found a new way to get mentioned on every social media at the same time. The article (at http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/united-airlines-passenger-beaten-flight-chicago-airport-apologise-newunitedairlinesmottos-trump-a7678296.html) gives us a first view on how the people are perceiving United Airlines. The headline ‘United Airlines hasn’t even bothered apologising to the passenger beaten on its flight‘ gives us the goods. The article goes into a few elements, although I am not entirely in agreement with: “this blood-soaked guy who simply wanted to go home and get to work the next day could have been any one of us“, I will at least admit that it is not entirely incorrect.

My issue is not initially with the act as such, it is with the utter stupidity of removing someone who had boarded without a proper reason. Consider that people check into flights, they get their luggage through, get past all the check and end up with a boarding pass. At that precise moment, that seat is taken! So basically up to an hour before the flight, this issue could and should have been clear, and this level of stupidity has consequences. Market watch reported ‘United’s stock falls 1.1%, wipes out $255 million off the airline’s market cap‘, which seems a little much so that one additional staff member could get on that flight. The quote “If you’ve flown anywhere in the last 10 years, you’ve definitely been on an overbooked plane. You might have even been offered a few hundred quid to skip your flight in order to make room for travelling airline staff” gives a fair view of what happens at time. In my case it was a first class passenger who had to get on the flight I was one and we were offered 600 euro’s and a free upgrade to get the next flight. I was not in the market, but someone took this offer. That is the easy option for the airline. In this case there was no option and someone got dragged off. As I would see it, a logistical screw up that gave a market dive of $255 million and that is not all. There is a solid chance that this doctor can sue the airline and the security detail that dragged him off costing the airline several million more. You see this is not a case of wrongful acting by the passenger. The passenger had checked in, went through all the screenings that happen and passed all the requirements. The passenger was given a boarding pass and was allowed to board the plane, it is at this point that the airline is screwed (as I personally see it). At this point it becomes an institutional failure of an airline to properly conduct its business. The excuse of a press conference where we see CEO Oscar Munoz calling the incident a ‘system failure’ and says staff could have solved it with ‘common sense’ is not a clear answer. The additional statement “proper tools, policies, procedures that allow them to use common sense” sounds like a joke to me. Common sense should be on the forefront of all this. The mere logistical part that the boarding procedure was not tattooed on the supervisors’ brainstem is not a medical requirement, but it might have saved them a quarter of a billion write down. I will give him that he took the blame towards himself, but in the end this failure went past the head of the hospitality crew, the pilot and captain of the flight and the security detail. Three levels that did not ask the questions that should have been asked before this disaster took shape. The fact that this was because of a needed seat for a staff member makes the disaster complete and a lot bigger too.

Now, there was also a mention that ‘aviation experts have said the company acted legally‘, is that so? You see, the contract of carriage of United Airlines: “If a flight is oversold, no one may be denied boarding against his/her will until UA or other carrier personnel first ask for volunteers who will give up their reservations willingly in exchange for compensation as determined by UA. If there are not enough volunteers, other Passengers may be denied boarding involuntarily in accordance with UA’s boarding priority“, here is the kicker: ‘may be denied boarding involuntarily‘, this was not the case, the man had already boarded and had boarded validly with a valid boarding pass. This is the part that will get United Airlines in hot water!

The other part that I do not get is the issue for one steward(ess), what was the beef here? There are close to 50 flights a day going from Chicago to St. Louis, so unless it was about a directly connecting flight, or better stated, even then, there would have been logistical solutions available. All this (I admit speculated) seems to reflect the opposite of what Oscar Munoz claims, mainly that the bulk of staff and support groups in Chicago airport were pretty much all devoid of common sense. So, from that point of view, no policy or protocol would have saved United Airlines the disaster it was heading to at full speed.

The part I disagree with in the article is that this is not about a Trump America, this is not about “This sort of stuff is becoming so commonplace that it’s difficult to feign surprise or disgust anymore. It’s become completely entangled in America’s psyche, and no one seems to care“, this was a collective act of utter stupidity, not a common sensing brain cell around to stop this from escalating. I would argue that this is linked to “A profit-driven airline company wanted to make room for employees, and so private security staff were more or less given the green light to beat somebody up to make it happen“, yet in this I am not sure if the second part on the private security side would be correct, yet as they dragged the valid passenger off the plane, questions will need to be asked with their superiors and the clarity of what had transpired will need to be scrutinised, because they too will feel the blows of what happened, I feel certain that the United Airlines legal team will be looking under every pebble to see where the costs, losses and blame could be placed.

The interesting side is that this is not the first time, the same week saw an issue with the president of an investment firm flying back from Hawaii, as well as an issue with two teenage female passengers wearing leggings, yet in that case there are a few issues that give optional valid defence of United Airlines as these were ‘pass travellers‘, where the passengers have to comply with company policy as they are in fact free staff flights.

There is no denying that the United Airlines will suffer a while longer as the social media is pushing and pulling the quotes in all directions to let viral reign continue, which is equally not fair on United Airlines, yet that is the world we live in nowadays. The fact that we now see surging stories of UA overbooked flights, with people getting send-off going all the way back to 2015. Then it was Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Shiller who lost his seat. These stories seem a waste of time and I would agree immediately, yet the effect is that for the next few months, people will initially book with whomever has a flight not named United Airlines, which stops the overbooking danger, yet in equal measure it will drive forecasting down by a fair bit, so this disaster could cost United Airlines a lot more than the quarter of a billion cap loss. How much is not clear and I reckon no speculation will be on the mark, no matter how good you know this industry. Whenever social media goes viral on several paths, all bets are off, United Airlines is experiencing this effect in person.

To finish this off, we also see another side of social media. It is Fox News who reports (at http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2017/04/12/twitter-accused-deleting-tweets-slamming-united-airlines.html) the issue that allegedly, Twitter has been deleting tweets on United. The quote: “One user, @Jay_Beecher, says that a number of his United-related tweets were deleted, including one poking fun at the airline over the now-notorious incident. “Within seconds of tweeting I noticed that my tweet had disappeared,” he told Fox News. “After rewriting the same tweet numerous more times, I began to suspect that Twitter was censoring/automatically deleting any slightly critical tweets which contained an @United tag.”” gives us that at times Twitter seems to be doing whatever seems to please those with a vested interest. This is now also becoming an issue on cases where Twitter did not intervene, giving additional strength that Twitter has certain options, yet refuses to use them. This is not even close to the end for Unites Airlines as we see: “The airline kicked off the #UnitedJourney campaign last week in an attempt to get passengers to share their travel photos. Instead, the hashtag is being used to slam the airline and share memes related to Sunday’s now-notorious incident.

There is currently no end to this viral motion as we still see the News act on events nearly a week old, with the latest news merely three hours ago, as such it seems clear that Mr Munoz has his work cut out for him. The rehashed news regarding “United customer Geoff Fearns, who told Los Angeles Times columnist David Lazarus on Tuesday that United threatened to put him in handcuffs last week if he didn’t surrender his first-class seat to a “higher priority” passenger” gives rise on more issues, the most prominent being the one where United Airlines needs to seriously redefine what a high priority passenger is, especially when such a person makes ‘demands‘ on his last minute booking, whilst seemingly not being able to time manage his travel needs. It is my personal view that any company that facilitates to the arrogant and possibly loud mouthed will see their value decrease in ways that was not even close to the value of the ticket sold. It is a lesson they might learn from, but as this situation is created in America, I highly doubt it.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Media

Omphalos and its syndrome

This syndrome comes from the references of Delphi and the ‘navel of the world’, which is what Delphi was regarded as. Nowadays, we see Omphalos syndrome as the misguided belief that a place of geopolitical power and currency is the most important place in the world.

I believe that to be no longer correct, I believe that it has been ‘converted’ into something slightly more generic. I believe that it should be seen as ‘the misguided believe that its choice of management and achievement of profit are the most important in the world’. Let’s take a look at a few examples.

 

A is for Apple

‘Apple apologises over Error 53 and issues fix for bricked iPhones’ (at http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/feb/19/error-53-apple-issues-fix-bricked-iphones) shows the first example. The entire error53 mess is a direct example. It goes on to the core that we now see “Apple has released a fix for users affected by “Error 53”, a software issue that rendered useless iPhones that had had their home buttons replaced by third parties“, The initial response “At the time Apple said that Error 53 was a security feature to protect customers” reads like a joke. The mere alternative that was open was that any non-Apple certified method meant the wiping of data would have been enough. It took me 5 minutes to come up with that solution. A mere auto wipe of all data. No we have to read quotes like “Apple has apologised for Error 53 and said customers who paid for an out-of-warranty replacement for their phone should contact AppleCare about reimbursement” as well as “Solving Error 53 does not re-enable Touch ID, as a third-party replacement of the home button could potentially allow unauthorised access to a locked phone by modifying the fingerprint sensor“. It would have been the simplest of solutions to go through the re-enabling system again. All these simple solutions, all because apple wanted to enforce the repairs of their phones to what they consider to be THEIR allowed service repair shops. An application of greed, to maximise profits, not the openness of what was once the Apple OS X through a Unix open source system, but the mere stranglehold of a greed driven corporation. It was brought to light by several articles in the Guardian and an initial customer service based solution comes “after widespread publicity and the Californian tech giant being served with a class action lawsuit over in the US and attention from a competition watchdog in Australia“, I wonder how many IOS people will start considering Android now.

 

E is for Eisai

This event is taking us back a fair bit, around 2000 Eisai came with its Alzheimer’s drug Aricept (donepezil). The fact that profits grow by 100% might not be the biggest thing on the planet. Yes when the LA Times (at http://articles.latimes.com/2012/mar/22/health/la-he-aricept-fda-20120323) reported “FDA officials should not have allowed it, the authors said, because the clinical studies Eisai offered in support of its application did not meet standards the agency itself had laid out“, in addition we see “it failed to yield the improvements that the FDA had set as a condition of approval“, in all this a clear investigation did not take place. It is still allowed, mainly because it is FDA approved. We see in other sources the claims like “Further, the higher dose was not superior on either of the pre-specified secondary outcome measures, which, as the FDA medical reviewer pointed out, argues that the cognitive difference was not meaningful“, which we get from the FDA Center for Drug Evauation and Research. Application number 022568: medical review. Aricept 23 mg tablets. (at www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/nda/2010/022568Orig1s000MedR.pdf), when we consider the source http://www.nhs.uk/news/2015/10October/Pages/Cheap-Alzheimers-drug-may-help-keep-people-out-of-care-homes.aspx, where we get the quote “a year’s worth of donepezil costs around £21 a year, compared with a year’s worth of care home costs – estimated to be between £30,732 and £34,424 a year. If the results of the study were replicated at a population level, this could save the NHS a considerable sum of money“.

This is where we see another version of Omphalos syndrome, “the misguided believe that my version of cost cutting is the best in the world“, at this point, we should investigate the players and consider whether a case for criminal endangerment exists. The fact that sources have shown ‘evidence’ as per 2007 gives rise to a failed system, not just the NHS, but the leeway for pharmaceuticals as, from the given reports failed to yield the improvements that the FDA had set as a condition of approval, making the question why on earth was it approved at all and why are certain diseases used for marketing a cash cow, more important why is the NHS not loudly and outspoken dealing with this? Especially as www.NHS.UK is involved in promoting articles in favour of Aricept (donepezil).

 

I is for Insight Enterprises

This is a side that rests with Omphalos, yet in all this it is in equal measure a situation we must accept. Insight Enterprises did nothing wrong, it made a choice, it’s governing body stated ‘this is the best path, this is the golden solution’, we must accept that any governing body, being it corporate or governmental will be ‘smitten’ with Omphalos Syndrome. So as Microsoft changed the partner program in 2014, Insight Enterprises saw the filling of its corporate coffers trickle down to zero. (at http://www.crn.com/news/channel-programs/300079674/insight-enterprises-absorbs-another-hit-after-microsoft-partner-program-changes.htm). We can debate the mess Insight Enterprises received, the near simple answer is that Microsoft had to change programs, any large corporations will do that. Any program they offer and device tends to be ‘fluidic’ over time. Yet when we see the quote “The changes also affected Microsoft’s Licensing Solution Providers, like Tempe, Ariz.-based Insight, which are the only partners Microsoft allows to sell licensing agreements to large corporations“, which is now showing another side. Does this make Microsoft narcissistically selfish or just plain sociopathic? You see all narcissists are selfish, but not all selfish corporations are narcissistically in nature (which is proven as greed we put the greedy in front of a mirrors), yet in all this, is this a sociopathic side in Microsoft? Well, that is a debate for another day as the entire Omphalos topic would soon get too murky.

 

O is for Omphalos

As shown in the last example, we tend to see Omphalos in a bad light. Which is not all correct either. On the other side we can take Bill Gates and his Omphalosian approach to IT. This got us DOS and later Windows. On the far side of the scale of limiting, there is the view of the truly visionary, but that view needs a start. Here the Omphalos syndrome works in another way. As I see it, we can accuse Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Larry Ellison on that list. Yet, we only did that AFTER they became successful, the not so successful are usually never heard of again.

In this world today, the foundation of ‘the most important place in the world’ is less and less applicable, it becomes a world of solutions, an amalgamation of aggregated values (the European Economic Community being a nice example). Yet the foundation of how to go about it was done in a very Omphalosian way. Especially when we consider the past blogs on how only self-proclaimed departures were the option. Which is exactly where Brexit is now. As Brexit gains momentum we see that the Omphalosian solution was the most dangerous here, it took one of the smallest nations (Greece) to push their non-accountability for the entire EEC to be in turmoil, with now a decent chance of collapsing the EEC as well as the Euro as a coin. Even as the United Kingdom is not on the Euro, France is and a Brexit will soon push for an additional Frexit. In that regard, the Financial Times quoted Florian Philippot who stated “the idea of challenging greater EU integration had become “taboo” in Europe. “The more we talk about it, the more people will vote against it,” he said” (at http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/58f9cc98-ce51-11e5-92a1-c5e23ef99c77.html#axzz40fDAW3BL). This is yet another side of Omphalos, actually two sides. The foundation of Omphalos is based on one view, if that view does not evolve or alters as time goes by, that view becomes less and less actual. The view becomes an act of obstruction at best and debilitating at worst.

In the second part, we have forever seen the Omphalos syndrome in its power core on the scope of government (read: Communistic), in that view we forgot that it is corporations with their view on the ‘only’ solution that is now impacting the lives of people in several (read: many) nations. In that same view we see that the old approach to currency is no longer the same. Most values are too dependent on independent views of static organisations and their push for changed industrialisations. How come that the value of a coin is now directly impacted by places like Dow Jones index, Nasdaq, Standards and Poor, the IMF, the ECB and so on? Governments allowed themselves to be directly be valued from what is perceived to be an ‘independent’ side. This is the other part that drives Brexit and other plans to no longer be part of anything. There is a near global consensus that these sources can no longer be trusted. That their view is to some extent ‘Greed Incarnate’.

As I see it, there is no true independence anymore. When we read that Eagle Capital Management Invests $293000 and that J. W. Burns & Company Has $533000 invested in in SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (DIA). When the index itself is invested on, the expectations of improved value must be met, where does that leave us?

 

U is for You!

Even when we see the old and the new versions of the Omphalos syndrome, we need to realise that what once seen as short-sighted and limited is now not so limiting. It remains (as I personally see it) as short-sighted as it ever was (only in the rarest of occasions is it visionary), but now, the impact is no longer limited to one government, now its short-sighted impact is nearly global. It hits parties in many nations and it does not stop there. You see in a governmental approach it is ‘set’ to be what is best for its citizens and in case of the EEC it is what a group of nations see. Now consider the application from corporations that impacts governments on a global scale, offices of standards that impact the dangers to lives on a global scale as it does not enforce its own given values. How can we be aligned to a limiting view that could cost us our lives and our choice of living?

So as you consider ‘the misguided believe that its choice of management and achievement of profit are the most important in the world’ also strongly consider what it will cost you, not now, but down the track.

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, IT, Law, Media, Politics

That joke called the First Amendment

Well, the quick way is to wait on a bridge, but the reality of that approach is likely to be less successful! This all starts with an article in the LA Times today (at http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-james-woods-twitter-lawsuit-20150730-htmlstory.html). The object of trolling is James Wood, the actor. He has had many successes and in most of those moves he plays the badass opponent you don’t want to cross, not even when you have the Rock at your side. I had to take a little look at what I first saw that included him. Raid on Entebbe was the first movie, yet I did not realise it at that moment as it was a ‘Charles Bronson movie’ (the mind of a teenager tends to be super focussed). So James as the Captain with the glasses was not the focus of the viewer (me). I started to watch movies because James Woods was in them around the time ‘Best Seller’ was released. He had already drawn attention through Videodrome, Against all odds and Cat’s Eye. All this matters, because the way we perceive an actor (especially outside of America) is when we watch his work, not the gossip page, not some glossy magazine where dubious statements drenched in non-liability grammar. It is possible that the generation after me will form an opinion of him from his starring role as Hades in Hercules (you get the concept). So did he have issues? I am pretty sure that he has issues, which does not mean he dove into the narcotics, which several actors from the 80’s did. The fact that glossy magazines got away accusing people of murder ‘due to unnamed sources’ adds to the stress here. But what is the case? Actor James Woods filed a $10-million lawsuit this week against an anonymous Twitter user, alleging defamation and invasion of privacy. In my view there are two options, either that person is an American, or not. If not it basically becomes an FBI case (I will get back to this). Leila Knox, an attorney with the San Rafael-based First Amendment Coalition gives us some of the goods. As she states “You have to go straight after the individual”. Which is all fine and good, yet since its official adoption of December 15th 1791, the text: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances“, has become a bit of a joke. There is no doubt in my mind that the originators had the best intentions in mind, yet for no less than 30 years the 1st amendment can be regarded as an international joke. (I will get back to this too). The next part in the article is “The next step is to subpoena the ISP, which must alert the user that he or she is being sued and that there is a request for the user’s identity to be revealed“, not just that, but the ISP can actually start a case of defence for the troll and file for quashing the subpoena. Mark Lemley, director of Stanford Law School gives us in addition the following: ““The hardest part is proving that the statements were made with bad intent” and were not accidental, said Lemley, who spoke in general and not in reference to the Woods case. “It also depends on how careful the poster has been to cover their tracks.”” in this we see the first issue and as to answering this, I will also get back on the two previous points. You see, I am all for ‘freedom of speech’, yet in that light, this freedom also needs to show a form of accountability. When we see that there is a need ‘to cover their tracks’, whilst there is supposedly freedom of speech, you know that something is wrong. So the fact becomes, should the ISP be allowed to act in the way it can? I agree that to some extent it should be protective, but when a person is hiding behind anonymity so that this person can lash out, I have to see the situation that the victim of this lashing has a right to face his/her accuser. Is that not a direct right too? In the second, when we consider the 1st amendment in another way we get the following: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances“, let’s take this one step at a time. ‘Or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press‘ I believe in the spirit of this, but are we not allowed to know the speaker? You see in those days, freedom of speech was done in writing or in words. In words meant that the person did this in view of others. That means that this person was a known person, even if that person was a stranger and was viewed for speaking his/her mind. The aggrieved person could face the speaker and defend the presentation. When in writing it was harder but overall we would know who spoke, because the true speaker would sign their view, if this person did not, than it was either a question the writer would ask people to answer for themselves or it could be rejected all together. The press has become an even more debatable joke. The Daily Mail for example with “source close to the family” (MH370 disaster), this is not the only case, what is also important is that we saw an issue in 2014 the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) decided to investigate a case whilst using only 1 of 83 plaintiffs. These are UK cases, and they are aligned to this issue. You see, when we look at The Atlantic, we see an issue in the article ‘Why Newspapers Often Don’t Call Out Politicians for Lying’, it states that it is a complicated controversy, which on the surface it is not. You see a statement is either true or false. Now, we must allow for a view that is regarded as ‘the eye of the beholder’, which is fair enough. A Republican will see matters differently from a Democrat and if that person explains his/her view that should not matter and the truth is still told. So the issue now becomes is it the truth or is it flaccid? That issue comes to mind when we consider the quote “diminish their perceived objectivity, especially among unsophisticated news consumers“, from there we get ‘there is no truth, there is just a flaccid context because the reader could be regarded as stupid’, that would make you feel loads better wouldn’t it? So we now have a little bit of an issue, in one part the press needs to get a lot more leeway, so that it can bearing a point of view across, which is still informing the public, yet, we cannot allow for the press to continue to the extent it had for too long a time. In all this the 1st amendment is as I regard it a joke in today’s society, yet altering it is equally dangerous, because I believe in an accounted freedom of speech. In that view, the anonymous person is not a person perse, this person is a mere fabrication of nothing. Now, this is a dangerous statement from my side and I realise that. There is a clear need for anonymity, especially as there is a need to truly protect a person from prosecution, but such a person does not go out and states “James Woods is a cocaine addict”, which more than malicious. You see, as we regard a person with issues on alcohol and narcotics, the view of him is altered. In his case it will affect his ability to gain jobs. In a world where he relies on public opinion (even more than a politician), there is the need to make sure that people cannot make claims against others unless they can back this up. As far as I have been able to tell, James Woods has never been in court for any criminal transgression, and he seems to keep a decently healthy lifestyle, the fact that he has been in two relationships with women 40 years younger than him seems to vouch for that part. In all this I still have a partial issue with the quote by Leila Knox. She speaks the truth, but is she correct? The quote “One has the right to go out and speak and not be identified”, is truthful, but was it speaking? Basically James Woods fell under psychic assault, moreover, the assault can be regarded as intentional malicious assault. It is malicious as there is no evidence and no publications that James Woods has been addicted to drugs. the fact that this could be the statement of a person who does not know James Woods, making the claim malicious, an intentional act to do harm, at which point the victim (James Woods) has every right to face his accuser (Abe List), so now we get to the point how to solve this. Now for the case, there is little chance of James Woods to get a decent chance of confronting his attacker. The law seems too flaccid to do anything and in defence of the FBI, if they have to track down every defamation case they will never get to do the things they need to actually get done. You see, I am over some of these trolls, as we see how they just attack for the mere fun of it. Wouldn’t it be great if there was some anonymous hackers group that could give aid to these victims, a group that would retweet the accusation, but now with the added identity and address of that person, would that not be great? An approach that is enlightening and dangerous at the same time, because at times there are people who must be able to rely on anonymity, those people who do not attack, but speak out for their own hardship, they need protection, I do not deny it, making the first amendment a dangerous thing, because the more it protects the oppressors, the less it regards the victims, which was never the intent of the first amendment. So has the first amendment truly become a joke? The fact that people hide behind it whilst the location of the transgressor (read troll) is not a given is one side to this statement, the fact that the press can insinuate with impunity for mere profit is another part. Twitter seems to do whatever it can, to remain the ‘innocent disseminator’. When we look at this we legally get “The defence of innocent dissemination is intended to protect people such as newsagents, booksellers, librarians and internet service providers (ISP) who unwittingly publish defamatory matter without negligence on their part“, which is Australian Law, but the US has something very similar. And in all this, Twitter for the most has left interactions to almost zero, which gives strength to their ‘innocent dissemination’ even though the Troll has been removed, it is relatively easy to create a new profile, so that the troll can strike again. I think that on a case to case basis Twitter needs to re-evaluate its choices. It is not impossible that Twitter becomes another reddit through the bashing by trolls, which means that Twitter people will seek another venue at some point. For now Twitter is highly accepted in the business community. If that changes and trolls take over, the loss of accounts could spell long term hardship for Twitter, taking into account how quickly social media evolves, hanging onto the community as they have, Twitter did a fine choice in remaining the innocent disseminator. Yet the future is slightly altered. I personally believe that losing thousands of accounts due to a few trolls is a bad choice, not intensely protecting them would also send a stronger message to the people at large. So when in the speculated scenario where the people in a street learn that someone’s 15 year old kid has been trolling the hell out of some could be a revelation, especially for the troll. If a troll is nothing more than a cyber-bully, why do we give them protection? Aren’t we supposed to be united against bullies?

Leave a comment

Filed under IT, Law, Media, Politics

Hunting facts

We can go on about Greece (which is again in crises), we can look at video games (like how the QA of Arkham Knight got effed up), but for now all interesting news has been said and there are a few British political events starting, but what some of you all forgot about was FIFA. When I look into the Guardian and seek the sports page (online) I see three times the mention of FIFA, only one has a video regarding the money-laundering inquiry. The interesting part is that the term ‘bribes’ is now replaced with ‘money laundering’. In that view the following document is rather interesting https://www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Fraud_bribery_and_money_laundering_offences_-_Definitive_guideline.pdf.

You see, Money Laundering is a rather harsher part in all this. For that we need to take a look at a few crimes acts, specifically the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (not today though).

And as I go through it with a few giggles, it seems to me that all this is not good for Jack Warner, even though he ‘threatened’ to reveal an ‘avalanche’ of secrets, he could end up looking at his luxurious stay in Hotel Sing Sing for a lot longer, than he would if convicted for bribery, in addition the accusation of him redirecting financial aid for the Haiti victims (from several newspapers) could make matters even worse for him.

This came from the Guardian with the title ‘Jack Warner fears for his life and will reveal ‘avalanche’ of secrets‘, yet so far, no revelations of any kind, or none that ended up in the hands of the press at present. This is the interesting part, if we go by the Jamaica observer who reported only 2 days ago: “but up to Thursday, the Office of the Attorney General had not received any request for Warner to be extradited to the United States, where he is wanted on wire fraud, racketeering and money laundering charges“, is that not peculiar? Technically it is not, extradition, means the start of a trial, and as such, Jack Warner is too visible, there is no place he can run to (as I see it). In addition, setting up a trial of this magnitude will take some time. However, the initial indictment that I published in ‘Condoning corruption!‘, (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/05/29/condoning-corruption/) almost a month ago, should clearly put him at the top, as the star player in all this. In addition there is (at http://www.theguardian.com/football/2015/jun/10/john-oliver-trinidad-television-mock-jack-warner-fifa), where you can see the comedian telling the same things I told , but his comical approach is one that is not to be missed!

So why the long silence?

Well, that is the interesting part. There was no silence, when we look at the Guardian in Trinidad (at http://www.guardian.co.tt/news/2015-06-23/warner-integrity-commission-has-tapes), we see the headline ‘Warner: Integrity Commission has tapes‘, yet, I have at times doubted the duty of many newspapers all over the place, especially when it is owned by a member of the Murdoch family. Still is it not extremely interesting how many large newspapers have not picked up this news? I would think that the news of audio tapes, FIFA members and bribery would be the stuff of legends for papers like the LA Times, the NY Times, or even the Washington Post, yet none of them had picked up the Breaking news, or should it be broken news? The Washington Post did however pick up the response to John Oliver from Jack Warner (at http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/early-lead/wp/2015/06/12/composer-says-jack-warner-stole-his-music-for-video-directed-at-john-oliver/), especially as Jack Warner is also under fire from the composer, whose music he used to drown out his own voice from 1:13 to 2:20. Anyway, his response to the comedian was given on the 12th of June, the Washington Post possible regarded this as light entertainment (with Greg Dombrowski who is at present the only one who is not amused). After that the Washington Post has nothing. So was it breaking or broken news? I do not know. I have not heard the tapes, yet neither had any of the other news outlets as far as I can tell, so if Jack Warner is bringing evidence out, why ignore it? A half-baked news moment on the ‘MH370 suicide mission’ gets picked up with what was called a ‘reliable source’ by those working for the Barclay Brothers, yet no one is touching the Warner Tapes.

I am quite happy to see Jack Warner Fry for all of this, but the man is entitled to a defence, when the press steers clear to this amount, who are they actually listening to? What is the audience not getting informed on and where are the FIFA puppeteers? Let’s not forget that the full report from Michael Garcia is still being kept locked away. The entire FIFA debacle has people running for the hills and there is a decent indication that the press is aiding some of them by not illuminating the issues at play.

Yet, we must also look beyond Jack Warner, which gets us to CONMEBOL. It is forced to pay 10 million out of its own funds. When we look at http://www.espnfc.com/fifa-world-cup/story/2502646/conmebol-facing-cash-flow-crisis-due-to-fifa-bribery-scandal, we get the following facts:

  • Sponsors have been asked to pay Conmebol directly
  • Datisa had only paid Conmebol 35 out of the 80 million, which means it is all short by 4,500,000,000 centavos.

It becomes a little weirder (possibly due to missing facts), when we consider the quote by Bloomberg: “head of international business for Brazil-based sports marketing firm Traffic Group (Jochen Loesch), one of the companies that make up Datisa. Traffic founder Jose Hawilla, 71, pleaded guilty in federal court in Brooklyn to racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy and obstruction of justice. He agreed to forfeit $151 million“, so if he forfeits THAT MUCH, what else did he stuff into ‘a’ matrass? By the way, I had a decent income for a few decades, yet summed up, over my whole working life, pre taxation, I will have made less than 1% of what Hawilla is forfeiting in this event; crime has become THAT rewarding!

Of course, we seem to focus on FIFA alone, yet, when we look at the Boston Globe, we see the indirect fallout, which makes the lashing the FIFA executives a lot more essential. When we read the article ‘FIFA scandal may affect Boston’s 2024 bid‘ (at https://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2015/06/24/fifa-scandal-grows-could-affect-boston-bid/AasXsCJZobZTayvfb06obP/story.html). My issue is not with the article in the Boston Globe, it was with a quote in the Chicago Tribune “Because next Tuesday, if the U.S. Olympic Committee has come to its senses, its board of directors will wisely choose at a regularly scheduled meeting to pull a doomed Boston bid that has been a disaster from the start“. Two parts, one is the question, why it was doomed? That is an actual question, there is no direct answer in my view. The second is that the Olympic committee could, ‘wake up’ is the incorrect term, I do not think that the Olympic Committee is asleep, I mean that they need to refocus their current vision. What could be the problem is the location of the games. You see, no matter how all this goes, the 2024 Olympics will be 2 years AFTER Qatar, actually, due to rescheduling, less than 18 months, which means that there will be all kinds of issues all over Europe (a reeling UEFA after a drenched timeline as part of the 2022 soccer competition will be all over the place is one), the second one is French politics. At this point it is still extremely likely that National Front end up in a new location, when Marine Le Pen moves to 55, Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, Paris, with the French in a massive wave moving towards European segregation, keeping the Olympics on the US side of the Atlantic river might not be the worst idea. Although, if the American administration does not clean up its tax act, it will be bankrupt making the entire exercise slightly exotic to say the least. If there is one essential part we need to consider in all this, then I would state that the Stability of the Olympics need to be assured, apart from that having them in the US after 28 years is not a bad way to go. With all the troubles Europe is still to face, especially with Greece messing up the European economy (the makers of the Olympics of all things), both Paris and Rome could end up in such a bad state that only Hamburg and Budapest remain a realistic location, considering Boston for the games of 2024 is definitely in my books at present.

So how did I get from FIFA to the Olympics?

That we do get from the Boston Globe, where we see “While longtime FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who has said he’ll resign possibly by year’s end, has not yet been indicted, he is said to be a target of the investigation. Blatter also happens to be an IOC member, which comes with the job of heading one of the planet’s biggest sports, such as track and field, swimming, basketball, and skating“, which is generic information. The second quote has the gem: “If Blatter is indicted, he’d obviously have to resign from the IOC. The question is, will the Justice Department stop with soccer or will it broaden its inquiry to other federations where payoffs likely have been made over the years? And since at least 17 present or honorary IOC members are current or former federation heads, will they have a strong incentive not to vote for Boston for the 2024 Summer Games, lest they be taken into custody upon arrival at Logan“, you see, the quote “at least 17 present or honorary IOC members are current or former federation heads” in that same article is linked to all this. Now, there is absolutely ZERO indication that these members have done anything wrong, but a massive amount of them are Europeans and this FIFA spectacle will grow and touch (read: smear) many European nations, at which point the media, will go on a rampage like hungry rats, ripping whatever they can for the prospect of ‘circulation’, getting the 2024 Olympics out of Europe that time around might be something to seriously consider. As viewers watch matches of all Olympic events, whilst games are overshadowed by all kinds of ‘speculative revelations’ by unnamed sources in newspapers, it would be good to have the Olympic games in a time zone several hours away, so that the games can remain centre in all of this. Is that such a stretch? In addition, all those close friends of Sepp Blatter in the IOC would also benefit from a time zone isolation of what will still be reeling at that point in Europe.

So, I will happily oppose Philip Hersh of the Chicago Tribune regarding “a doomed Boston bid that has been a disaster from the start“, I am not convinced, moreover, defaulting the Olympics to Boston could be the best thing. I’ll be fair, Canada might have been better, but they pulled beforehand, which gives us “Toronto’s Economic development Committee voted against bidding for the 2024 games on 20 January, citing a bid would cost the city $50 to 60 million” (Source Wiki), why does a bid cost them that much? I never really looked into that part of Olympic biddings, so the costs in that are equally disturbing, but that is for another day.

Anyway, if Toronto has an issue with 50 million (which is a truckload of cash) having them in the ground of a few billion might not be a good idea. Sydney had its Olympics in 2000, which is way too recent, from that logic I state, let Boston be the default!

Back to FIFA!

We learn today, via SBS (at http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2015/06/25/two-argentines-sought-us-fifa-scandal-put-under-house-arrest), that the extradition proceedings are happening and they seem to be accelerating. With guilty pleas in the bag from other members, the options for Hugo and Mariano Jinkis are dwindling down fast. Federal judge Claudio Bonadio rejected their release saying they presented a flight risk given their personal wealth, adding that until last week they had both been fugitives. Their bail which was set at $1.2 million for the both of them might be regarded as a laughing matter when we consider the 151 million Jose Hawilla forfeited, so how much funds do the Jinkis have? Perhaps an electronic tag is for them a mere inconvenience should they decide to move to a nation that will not extradite to either Argentina or the US; I am just phrasing a question here!

So as we hunt facts regarding the FIFA members involved, how come the news on the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian was not picked up anywhere internationally? That is the issue we started with, a question not answered and unlikely to get answered any day soon. There is one more part to consider, it is a part every FIFA executive fears, because with Football (read soccer) is such disarray from the FIFA point, why are the nations involved not inviting UEFA to ascertain in what depth of trouble their local sport is in? Any political move to ignore this can be countered in this as unofficial knowledge of bribes and corruption went unanswered for over a decade, we only need to look at the work of investigative journalist Andrew Jennings to see that the problem is truly Titanic in size. The added fact that one person walked away with $151 million is proof further still.  It should feel pretty comfortable for Michel Platini to see UEFA in a consideration to clean up Football. In all this, there needs to be transparency and visibility. Although I was never much of a soccer fan, to me it feels important that in all this both members of the IOC and soccer members like Michel Platini, Jean-Pierre Papin, Johan Cruyff, Marco van Basten, Alan Shearer, David Beckham and Jürgen Klinsmann to seriously sit down and see how FIFA can truly be cleaned up. I personally have zero trust in Sepp Blatter doing anything else than cover his hide at present, because when anyone sitting at the helm remaining THIS unaware of bribery and corruption for such a long time is on all fronts the wrong person to sanitise that system. I would like to add that such an investigation should be headed by three members of Royalty. Soccer is such too strong influence in Europe, to be handed to people loving the limelight for personal reasons. In this I would nominate Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, King Willem-Alexander of Orange from The Netherlands and Princess Anne from the United Kingdom. It will requires officials and renowned players with managerial knowledge to take a harsh look at all this, having this headed by three members who have lived a life beyond reproach is equally important.

So in the end, consider that in all this, when we look from a distance, you should be appalled on how an organisation so influential in national events on a global scale is given a level of leeway that even the most powerful organised crime organisation could never ever hope for is just too unsettling. And in all this, it is all preparation, the support acts have not started yet and the main event is some time away. It is time to make a massive change and the sooner such actions begin, the better for all those passionate about sports involved.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Gaming, Law, Media, Politics