Tag Archives: MI-5

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 target is killing me

The BBC gave the news 4 hours ago. We are treated to ‘Men planned ‘driverless car’ attack‘ (at https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-south-yorkshire-45409925). In the article we are also given “She said both men supported terrorist organisation, the so-called Islamic State (IS). The two had decided that improvised explosive devices (IEDs) could be made and used in the UK in a way which would spare their own lives but harm others they considered “infidels”, she said.” At this point three red flags went up. Then we see “In November he is said to have shared a propaganda video showing warfare and beheadings “to inspire supporters of IS [and] frighten those who do not support IS”“, which is red flag number 4.

Finally we are treated to “When the pair were arrested in the early hours of 19 December police seized three air rifles, two Samurai swords, a wine bottle of sulphuric acid, homemade fireworks, and “a variety of improvised homemade fuses” at Mr Star’s flat“. These are not Jihadists. They are losers in the first degree and they are playing the decoy in the second degree. When you see ‘My only attempt is to find a way to carry out martyrdom operation with cars without driver, everything is perfect only the programme is left‘ do you not get that?

The problem is not that they were caught; the issue is that they are draining essential resources. You see, from the early view (optionally not the correct one) we see the clash of ‘martyrdom operation‘ against ‘spare their own lives’; you see martyrdom opposes sparing one’s life. It is nice to see that Islamic State people are implied to be this stupid, because that is a war we can easily win, yet the reality is far from this. Some IS people are actually really intelligent and resourceful and lowering our guards will be the one fatal mistake we cannot walk away from. So the makers of ‘were trying to make an explosive device’ whilst the police went home with ‘three air rifles, two Samurai swords, a wine bottle of sulphuric acid, improvised homemade fuses‘, yes those people are indeed all kinds of dangerous, are they not? Even as this case is in the trial stage, we need to realise that the danger is still out there. Those people are not the ones in the dock. Al Bawaba gives us ‘ISIS militants in Afghanistan are still posing a potential threat to carry out attacks in the U.K. and Western Europe as they are in communication with cells there, British government warned Monday‘. That news less than 6 hours old is a more directly drastic given in this. The article gives (to the smallest degree mind you), the indication that British Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson and Andrew Parker, director general of the MI5 are not entirely up to speed on the levels of danger. Now, coming from an outsider that is quite the accusation and it is not meant to be as such. When we see: “intelligence work had thwarted 20 plots in the last four years“, I would sincerely hope that the two earlier mentioned losers are not part of that equation. You see, I look at issues in a different way and something that I was ‘accidentally’ made aware of, merely because I am from that area and I speak the local language, and it gave rise to another thought. The article (at https://www.ad.nl/rotterdam/containers-in-water-door-menselijke-fout~a8e56404/) gives us “Forty sea containers fell from an inland vessel into the water on the Second Maasvlakte. Employees of the Port Authority pushed the containers out of the navigation channel“, let’s be fair here, mistakes will be made at any given day of the week, yet the math does not add up, not even if there is a human entry error. This was not merely one or two containers; it was a bunch of them (40 to be more exact). They were empty and when we see “The seaport police is researching the matter“, I have full faith that this is being done. Yet, will they find something? You see, these were 40 empty containers, what if the weight system had been intentionally ‘offset’ to give an additional 200 Kg to the empty weight of the container and the transgressor had forgotten to properly reset the system after they were done. Take that by 40 and we now get an 8 tonnes error; now we have a setting of a game; now we have the foundation of the problem. You see, I kind of remember (I am pleading the fifth here children) that the transport options for the people engaged in discrete entry and removal operations tended to have really good options if they could only get the goods to the UK and for the most, the police would concentrate on the Belgium and German borders. UK Customs tend not to dig too deep into any container and the weight would have been the trigger in those cases. Now we know that container weight and cargo weight makes for the total weight. We know the trailer weight, we know the cargo weight and the rest is computer calculated in an instant when the truck goes over the scales. So as the offset of 200 Kg was achieved there will be no alert. When you consider that a full 40 ft. container can be anywhere between 18 and 23 tonnes, the mindset will be set on only the ones raising flags and then more often than not only when the provider is an unknown one. So ever since the 90’s there has been a setting of partial containers (a container with 2 or more users), and adding a pallet of flat screen TV’s is an easy thing, and 50 displays per container leave no mark and when packed on a pallet and foiled all around leave no mark at all, an easy 25K, adding a bag of the white stuff (more risky) allows that profit to go to 2.5M, yup that is the easy money and now that we see that Some ISIS and IS supporters are willing to dish out serious cash, we see that an almost empty display with 1Kg of C4 is at present almost as rewarding as the white stuff and cannot be detected in similar ways. Add one container in the entire bunch set to setting off the alarms and not offsetting that container means that the basic defences seemingly work, everyone feels like a champion and 4 containers with C4 got through. That is an actual danger and many of the playing parties are still a bit in the dark whilst too many people focus on Andy Star and Farhad Salah. So whilst these individuals are stating that they supported ‘the so-called Islamic State‘, whilst in fact they are all about singing the song:

I love the limelight
I want to nooky
whilst I’m creaming the ground, oh yea.

Yes it is a whole new day for those wannabe’s; they too could get lucky at some point. Yet the dangers remain and I am slightly more worried that the statistics are changing as we underestimate the actual IS threat because of people like these two.

Oh, and before you think that they had any brain cells, consider the earlier mentioned part with ‘he is said to have shared a propaganda video showing warfare and beheadings “to inspire supporters of IS [and] frighten those who do not support IS”‘, so as they wanted to have that Sci-Fi solution in place, they give visibility to themselves by sharing a video that screams ‘We are here!’, yes like that would be the best course on any given day. The fact that it took up to 5 weeks after the shared video to arrest them is an equal worry on a few levels, but let’s not go there for now, because in equal measure it took weeks to consider that the ‘three air rifles‘ might have been considered Weapons of Optional Destruction, which is a new acronym in all this and intelligence logistics would have been required to validate the WOD acronym is currently assigned to ‘Workout of the Day‘ confusing MI-5 to optionally walk into the wrong Gym during an operation.

Yet the setting is not merely eerie, we see in several ways that this is still going on in a lucrative scale. Even as the Dutch police was able to capture a corrupt harbour worker with 363 Kg of Cocaine, I remain in the setting that he only got caught as Greed became his middle name and at that point, the chance of exposure grows exponentially with every shipment. It is the patient one, the one with a setting of small portions, that is the one who does not get captured and let’s not forget, after the container makes it into the UK, after that, on route the seal can be broken and at that point, finding the culprit becomes the stuff of nightmares (aka not the one you will find). Now we get the good stuff, because if it is not the large option, we see that the additional danger is not the drugs, but the 4 displays having 1Kg of one of the 2 Novichok parts, so 4Kg of processed Novichok, that is the actual danger and even as we are treated now to the news that Charlie Rowley has lost hope and doesn’t have long left to live, we must equally realise that we still do not know the transgressors. I refuse to believe (without any actual proper evidence) that this was the Russian State, not whilst the Russian Mafia is ten times more likely and above them is the true optional culprit Islamic State, or Islamic State sympathisers (funding the facilitators mind you), willing to become the martyr, an ‘actual’ martyr, not one interested in the setting to ‘spare their own lives‘, that is the growing danger and in all this the proper solution is yet to be found. If there is one given at present is that the optional trial runs should have been considered a success from their point of view. The fact that something as fast acting as a Novichok is seemingly still instilling death 2 months later. So even as we have an issue with News.com.au giving us ‘Novichok victim Charlie Rowley ‘close to death’ in the UK‘, as well as ‘This article originally appeared in The Sun and is republished here with permission‘ a mere 5 hours ago (at https://www.news.com.au/world/europe/novichok-victim-charlie-rowley-close-to-death-in-the-uk/news-story/549fb81c17db8ff0400cedf488b33abd), whilst (at https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/novichok-poisoning-salisbury-attack-russia-charlie-rowley-meningitis-loss-eyesight-a8522991.html), we see ‘Novichok poisoning victim Charlie Rowley treated for meningitis and loss of eyesight‘, as well as ‘45-year-old hopes to be discharged ‘in next two or three weeks’‘ one hour ago. So if the media cannot get their fucking act together, how can we ever resolve the dangers to our nation when greed and circulation decides on what is true? In the end it is not whether Al-Qaeda and ISIS are trying to kill us, it is whether the media is enabling to do just that for them is becoming a much more important question. I personally have a lot more faith in the Independent than the other providers, but in all this someone needs to take a serious look at the news released and the factual setting o the stage, because being pointed at the wrong target is just as dangerous as ignoring that the target and method exists.

I will let you decide on where the danger is, but make sure that you choose wisely because in the end you might only get one shot at the factual danger, so make it count.

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Run Michael Run!

 

Our David met Goliath, ehh, I meant Brexit and took a dive. He did not slay the Brexit, but that in itself was no real reason to quit. Let’s face it, the people are losing more and more hope regarding the validity of a united Europe. The one issue that requires addressing is wholeheartedly ignored all over Europe. Now, we see all over Europe messages like “the spectre of a “Frexit” now hangs over France” (at http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/europe/frexit-to-be-major-issue-in-french-2017-presidential-campaign-1.2703237). Which is not even the most important part. Nexit seems to have been avoided when we see “A narrow majority of 53 percent of Dutch voters are against holding a referendum on whether or not the Netherlands should stay in the European Union” (at http://www.nltimes.nl/2016/06/27/dutch-narrowly-nexit-70-low-educated-favor/), which is only marginally good for Europe. You see, the issue that drives these exits are not being dealt with. Frexit remains an issue as the majority in Fr4nace is now in Favour of a referendum, that majority is surpassing the 60% line. Nexit remains an issue as the far right party PVV is steering the same course as UKIP. Yet there is one difference here. The PVV is currently the largest party, it is actually larger than Dutch Labour (PvdA) and Dutch ‘conservatives’ (CDA) combined. The only part is that what might be regarded as ‘Dutch Liberal Democrats’ (VVD) is in second place and they can unite with either PvdA or CDA to stop the PVV party led by Geert Wilders. So when it comes to Nexit, there is a larger danger as PVV is all in favour and there is a lot of support within the constituency of the other parties too. Even as the media is ‘hiding’ it behind the fact that low educated people are in favour of leaving the EU, the truth is that most politicians are too cowardly to speak out against the gross overspending of Mario Draghi in addition to most of these governments remaining unable to get their budgets in order. I personally regard this as the number one fear that people have. The next generation is handed a debt of too many trillions of Euros. Grexit is in no way the main reason, the wrong actions that have ruled a non-Grexit is the other reason people want out of the EU, but they do not seem to blame the Greeks, only the non-acts by all parties that should have decided to push Greece out of the EU and find a way outside of it to support growth and stabilisation. Now, that path is no longer realistic and the masses are all upset of non-actions.

These elements will all affect the UK. Even now as we see “Deutsche Bank AG is the riskiest financial institution in the world as a potential source of external shocks to the financial system, according to the International Monetary Fund” (at http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/financial-services/deutsche-riskiest-bank-in-the-world-imf/news-story/4ed1043ffdf76cb26324b531dd0f3171), certain events that have not been properly dealt with will all hit the UK one way or another. Now that the German economy is getting a downgrade, which the IMF states is due to Brexit, but that is not entirely correct!

You see the quote “Britain is an important trade partner for Germany, and significant changes in the economic relationship between the two countries will have repercussions for Germany” is one we could have expected, yet the falsehood of it is also a given. You see Germany has every option to broker an immediate deal with the UK. But the banking powers are now all about ‘procedures‘ and ‘leaving the EU‘, which sounds correct, but let’s not forget that these parties have looked at an optional Grexit for 3 years, is it not weird that any EU exit is not properly addressed? When you consider that, then consider why we suddenly get these new Grexit fears, fears that are considering the voluntary need of an exit would be unfounded.

In this primordial mess we see Michael Gove moving towards the leadership!

This is where I am in favour of Michael Gove taking leadership. We can see in the first part that Boris Johnson has his own agenda, which could be fair enough, but it is important to unite all the conservatives for whatever comes next, it is my personal view that Boris Johnson will not be the man to get that done. In another light we could conclude that Theresa May would not be the right choice either. Her dealing in the Abu Qatada case is one. I raised a few issues in my article ‘Humanitarian Law v National security‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2013/03/10/humanitarian-law-v-national-security/), in addition I will be the first one to state that this is not all on Theresa May and that the office of Dame Stella Rimington (MI-5) needs to take a truckload of the errors involved, his entry on a forged passport happened on her watch. For me the strongest issues were shown in 2014 (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/sep/02/theresa-may-political-correctness-rotherham-abuse), the Rotherham scandal left its mark, the entire matter as blamed on  “institutionalised political correctness” leaves us with a nasty aftertaste, the fact that too many sides that are non-prosecuted will stain (illogically and wrongfully) the coat of Theresa May and as such, she would not have the gravitas she would need to be a successful leader of the Conservative party.

Michael Gove gave himself a boost with the letter that the Independent printed. His 1500 word essay (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/eu-referendum-michael-goves-full-statement-on-why-he-is-backing-brexit-a6886221.html) gave the people something to think about. I reckon that the well thought actions of Michael Gove, with the added distinction of Mark Carney could be what the UK needs to move forward faster. I believe that the indecisiveness of the other players outside of the UK will only give more strength to these two power players. The UK must move forward and the Conservatives are still governing. This is unlikely to change as Jeremy Corbyn is now contested as leader as we see Angela Eagle picking up the momentum to remove Jeremy Corbyn. As a conservative I will not mind, you see, whomever ends up in charge of Labour, the Conservatives will end up being in a better position either way, the division that these two players bring to the Labour party will be equally a blessing for Tim Farron, the Lib Dems could profit of this infighting in no small way. Tim Farron has in my view a few other issues to deal with, but those would shrink if he can grow his party fast enough.

This gets us back to my Conservative party, likely under leadership of Michael Gove. Unity is for all parties a need and there is a mess with Brexit to deal with, which is exactly why I think that Tim Farron’s call to undo Brexit is a lot more dangerous, especially as 3 nations are now considering and aiming to secede from the EU at present. Michael Gove is in my view the strongest runner for the conservatives at present. Yet, we must accept that there are a few flaws in that case. Even if we ignore the popularised expression ‘50 shades of Gove‘, we should not ignore the Financial Times (at http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/ca079702-392d-11e6-9a05-82a9b15a8ee7.html#axzz4D3Y8IePA), where we see “a slogan without substance is a flimsy platform for future success“, which is true when it is just a slogan, a 1500 word essay is another matter. From that point of view, Michael Gove is pretty much the only contender left standing. The quote the FT has at the start “One thing has become clear over the course of the UK’s referendum campaign, and even clearer since the Brexit vote: no matter how you define leadership, this isn’t it” is equally matter for debate. It could apply to the callously shabby way Boris Johnson took it, yet in all that Michael Gove gave clear reasoning. The part that is equally interesting is the fact that the Financial Times did not dig into the real pain the UK people had, by not leading that part, we got to the place we are now. The FT also states “Plenty of companies are now scrambling to adjust their plans because of the unexpected outcome. They are guilty of a lack of foresight“, which is true, but it is equally the arrogant consequence of anticipated outcome through the bullying of some of the players. One example was Citibank and how they would ‘move’ operations if Brexit became a reality (at http://www.cnbc.com/2016/06/09/citigroup-warns-staff-of-brexit-risk-to-uk-operations-report.html), in my view I state: ‘Well James Bardrick, you got you’re Brexit, so would you kindly fuck off towards Germany, France or the Netherlands!‘ and please do so by the end of next week!

You know, I reckon that they will remeasure their actions, because Frexit is still a possibility Nexit is not definitely averted and the Deutsche Bank as well as the German economy would impact whatever you shift towards Germany. In addition, the changes in India and certain shifts all over Asia Pacific requires a stability foundation, which means that Citibank definitely requires to remain strong in the UK. If not for what is, than certainly for what might be. If I am correct (4 out of 4 would be nice), than there is a strong chance that the M&M team (Michael Gove and Mark Carney) could propel the UK positive ahead of schedule, meaning that Citibank would cut itself in the fingers in more than one way. In addition, and pardon my French, Citibank could end up being the bitch of Natixis in France, a very French way of banking I might add. Giving rise in more than one way that Citibank could lose momentum when it leaves UK operations, letting other banks move in and making the Citibank lose additional market share, which seems like such an ego based error to make.

All in all we can go for the slogan ‘Run Michael Run‘, looking towards better times, not immediate mind you, but possibly faster than we thought possible, the IMF papers regarding France give weight to that, providing the UK, more specifically if the Rt Hon Hugo Swire can get a few trade irons ready for agreement with France, the Netherlands and Germany. If he pulls this of, the UK is on a first leg towards true economic restoration, with the absence of Mario Draghi’s overspending nature.

In the end these are elements that matter, but strongest of all is to address the people who feel that they have been left out in the cold by Europe. National pride is only a first step, momentum will be gained by achieving results, in that Mark Carney remains correct, these steps come with a large risk, whether it is too large is for all players actually remains an unknown for now.

 

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What’s the matter?

That is the question I asked myself. Greece is in worsening shape, we see certain news as it happens and I noticed how certain ‘facts’ are now missing in the news articles I have been reading. In other news we have the UK election as it is going towards the final day before the people in the UK will decide on who they trust to give them a better life and now we get news that Isis decided to mess with Texas. So here on the day when the Dutch celebrate that the Germans were defeated and the Netherlands became a free nations once again, we see these issues come to blow more and more.

Miss Representation

Yes, she has image, she is the vision we desire and we all stare at her cleavage, complete with two boobies, one named ‘slush fund milk’, the other one we name ‘the party’s choice’, both giving ‘as implied’ the consumer the honey of equality. Now we get the real deal, if we bring the breast to our mouth, will we taste honey? Or will we perhaps the taste be more of the same, more of what is bland, non-nourishing and will never satisfy.

The first issue is Greece and the representation it is receiving. The first part we see in the article ‘Greece vows to pay debts as it awaits handout from international creditors‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/may/04/eurozone-enjoys-production-boost-but-greece-and-france-dip). In here we see the following quote: “Greece has vowed to honour heavy debt repayments over the coming weeks but says it is counting on international creditors to release billions of euros in rescue funds before the end of the month“. Now, let’s be frank, no lie is told here, but the direct fact is not that payment is due, but that the first payment was due May 1st and is due to the fact that it was a public day, payment was rescheduled to be due May 6th, the first payment of 200 million will be due in 24 hours. So why is that not clearly voiced? Before the end of the month another 760 million will be due, making the total slightly south of 1 billion. The second article ‘Greek debts: what does it owe? When will the money run out?‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/apr/24/greek-debts-what-does-it-owe-when-will-the-money-run-out), states almost the same. Yet this one shows a little more, even more than I bargained for.

You see, there we see May 1st an IMF interest loan payment (now due May 6th) and May 12th we see the part that 760 million is due. The part that was unknown to me is also the part that is not loudly voiced to EEC nations, because this knowledge will influence the voters (as I personally see it). You see, the missing part that is not voiced in many sources is the small fact that two T-bill batches mature, the first one on May 8th and the second one on May 15th, each worth 1.4 billion.

Now we get the part I voiced over and over in the past, that the consequences of bonds are high and the Greek people are about to learn this the hard way. You see, when a T-bill matures, it becomes a nice piece of paper, one that has value. You see, at the beginning, you are offered a paper that offers a percentage, so you buy it for $918.10 and when the bond matures a year later (if you got one for 1 year), you get $1000. A nice 10%. So, before the end of May, Greece will have to make two payments, one for 960 million, and one for 2.8 billion. Greece is out of options, out of money and the quick 5 billion they sold in 2014 to get a quick cash option is now starting to come back. Billions are needed and the Greek treasuries are about to learn that not only could it never afford to play the Syriza game via Alexis Tsipras, the assurances we see in the papers left right and centre is now showing to be hollow and not realistic. Greece is about to seek another deal and one more and then likely some more. Greece is awaiting 7.6 billion in aid, yet where will it go? Before the end of May Greece needs 4.7 billion and in addition before the end of June, Greece needs to come up with an additional 6.8 billion, the 7.6 billion will not even cover the bills. Greece is about to make a call that will hit the financial district and small investors alike, the Greeks are facing a hel we do not wish on anyone and for the most, as I see it, the only people who are allowed any consideration are the wealthy power players that depend on continuation of the status quo. How can this ever go to a better place?

Here you see why I whacked Syriza again and again. The rock star game we saw by Yanis Varoufakis is the killer here. Alexis Tsipras did not act when he should have done this and the non-austerity approach was a non-solution from day one. Why do I feel that I am the only one seeing this, or at least the only one clearly voicing this, because the UK elections, when the voters learn that Greece is about to desire up to 30 billion before the end of the year, so that it can pay the outstanding bills. It is status quo, but in the end, there is the direct risk that almost none of these funds will help, aid or support the Greek people, who I genuinely feel for, does Syriza? My issue still remains what it was from day one, the Greek had the freedom to choose, but I believe that they chose poorly. Now you have no reason to take my word on this, but Antonis Samaras has a degree in economics and an additional MBA from Harvard, which gives him a financial view that I lack, even though my numbers gave a clear view as an analyst regarding the dangers Greece had, I saw this in 2013, it was already clear that the dangerous waters for Greece were icy cold and deadly deep.

My article ‘Are we getting played?‘ from May 18th 2014 shows my view that allowing the Greek bonds back on the market was a really bad idea, now we see that this view was a decent reality. Here we are, looking at a game that is being played with Greece and the Greek people in the middle, austerity is not the great idea, but it is the only solution. It should be clear that there is no short term solution, austerity will remain around for close to two generations, the debt will take no less than 4 generations to become manageable, but only with a restructured Greece, it is not a nice picture to watch, it will be an entirely different Greece, there should be no doubt here.

This now links to the UK and its elections too. You see, the news as is, is that the voters need to realise that it needs to support an EEC nation that will need another 30 billion, with no guarantee that this is the end of that. The economy is in a slump and too many nations are feeling the slowness of the economy that is unlikely to return to the ‘old’ days.

The news is given in the article ‘Ignore the Tories: the figures show the recovery is veering off course‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/may/03/ignore-the-tories-figures-show-recovery-veering-off-course) but in a way that gives me pause. The quote “Economists are divided about the causes of this so-called “productivity puzzle”. It’s unclear whether it’s caused by a lack of investment, poor education and training, or the fact that our labour market is so flexible that it’s cheaper for firms to ramp up output by hiring short-term, low-skilled staff than to buy in new technologies and equipment” is at the heart of all of this. You see, these economists are not just setting a bad example, they seem to leave out several elements, they know to also be at the heart of all of this and the picture that follows is incomplete.

You the reader will know some of the elements, you live these elements and some economists getting the fat checks have not been at the heart of it all. Consider the following, when did you buy anything else than food lately? Anything else than the weekly needs? When did you buy a TV, when did you buy a car or any luxury items that are produced in the UK? The UK is better off than most other European nations, I see where the people in the Netherlands and Belgium have a little cash, but most people are lowering their debt, all over Europe people do the same thing, they are not buying to the extent they were, they replace only the essentials and they buy cheap. This is why Aldi and Lidl are so successful. The evidence is all over the place, yet we see “Confidence is certainly higher than it was five years ago, but aside from notable successes such as the car industry, there is little sign of a radical shift in the shape of the economy. Manufacturing output has been growing, but remains below its pre-crisis peak“, which makes perfect sense. The view of these economists is: “But deficit reduction is not the only purpose of economic policy: they also set themselves the aim of building a more sustainable model for growth. Here too, they have largely failed“, is that so?

You see, to grow an economy, people must buy, they are not buying and they carefully consider each purchase. This is the ignored part, in addition other nations ‘might’ seem to push forward, but consider one final part, when you buy your equine burgers, is that what it states on the packaging? Perhaps you were hoping for cow?

This is at the heart of those making sales in places. Quality is at the heart and the quality of life has been under attack for some time now, an issue many economists ignore too. Should you wonder about that then take a gander towards Texas! The only hilarious part there is that ISIS attacked the one state where the population is better armed then the police, the defence department and the military reserves. How does this reflect on the other elements? Believe it or not but there are real economic consequences to terrorism, especially when it is done on US grounds. As the US economy is already slumping, this could add negatively to it all. Yet it must be stated here the one line that has direct bearing “No evidence Islamic State had actual hand in attack in which two men opened fired outside centre exhibiting Muhammad cartoons“. So, I am not doubting the statement. It is not that far-fetched that those acting out for personal reasons are very willing to get linked to a larger group, for both defence and to propagate their own ego. This all matters, if you do not believe it to be true, you should decide to watch Kung Fu Hustle. A movie well worth watching (it is hilarious). So is it a good idea to relate ISIS to a comedy? Well, when you start acting out in Texas, that call is not the wildest one to make. You see, there is a dark side here. When we consider the words from Tim Clemente, who stated “Former FBI agent Tim Clemente said the gunmen may have plotted the attack without direction from ISIS“, the danger becomes, if that is true, who else has gone the loopy tunes? Is it not weird that a place, dedicated to freedom of speech, is giving a way to the freedom of speech to people who are dedicated to remove freedom of speech? This is not at the heart of it all, what is the heart of the matter is that if this is happening in the United States, is the danger of lone wolf (sympathiser) actions in the United Kingdom so far out of realm of possibilities? Now consider the statement by British Labour “A Labour government will control immigration with fair rules“, now consider that Italy received over 200,000 refugees with no way to get it all processed. How many will arrive into the UK?

Be cautious here, I am NOT stating that these people are terrorists, yet the danger that a terrorist would try to enter Europe this way is not that far a stretch. Statistically speaking, if only 0.1% came in, than we will see that Italy, after that, the EEC and the UK will have to deal with 200 extremists, 200 people inflating actions. Now the truth is that there is no evidence that 0.1% is extremist, but today’s life of dangers and consequence is a numbers game and the numbers are against us all. Even though I could advise Andrew Parke (the man that the people at MI-5 call ‘Big Boss’) on how to clean his ship, I must also add that Andrew is very up to date on how to do that, he does not need me. Yet the political elements ignoring the intelligence issues are all positioned to blow it all on spending’s towards an economy, they ignored the elements that could drive an economy even further down.

Three elements all linked towards a change that impacts the UK economy and the British way of life, yet none of them were linked to the UK on their own. Here is what’s at play! Too many events are too intertwined and too misrepresented to ignore, yet those who trivialise the elements are not the ones paying the bills when their ‘prognoses’ goes pear shaped, it is a game we can no longer afford to be played.

 

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Is SIGINT a joke?

The news has been rampant on several levels these last few days. Whether it is revelation 16 (roughly) by the traitor Snowden, whether it is the historic event that the top three in British intelligence were in one line, as requested by British parliament, or the fact of revelations we read in the press, whilst (former) press members find themselves prosecuted for blatant and indiscriminate invasion of privacy. The list goes on and on and on.

There is a lot more, but let us confine ourselves to these three events.

For the Commonwealth the event in Parliament was likely the ‘important’ one. Was it truly about the events there? Some might want to question the questions, the answers and what follows. I, with my sense of perspective wondered about the choice of the green tie that Sir John Sawers was wearing. Does it matter? It is all as trivial as choosing pancakes for breakfast!

Yes, we all think we know it, we all think we have an inkling of an idea. I did have an idea, but that was almost 29 years ago. Now, I still have an idea from my specialised view of data, data technologies as well as data collection techniques and none of that falls with MI-6 (only a small part of it). The gem of the event was with Sir Iain Lobban, director of GCHQ, which gave us the part we need to care about. You see, as the press was so willing to give out the details as the people had a right to know, as we have allowed our wrists to get cut because the press is all about advertising profits, gang bang sensation and visibility, it was willing to sacrifice safety and progress for PR and visibility. To go deep and give both criminals and terrorists the information on how to avoid certain paths of detection we see the limits of their use. These same reporters that are part of a group listening in on voice mails to get the scoop, who will sanctimoniously proclaim freedom of the press, will not hesitate to sell their neighbour down the drain for the commission of another column of text, paid per letter.

From my point, if I had the option of making the killing shot ending Edward Snowden’s life I would, even if that gets me 20 years in prison, because traitors do not deserve consideration of any kind. The entire situation of laughable as an American ran to their Communist opponent and almost 50% of the American population considered it a good thing. In addition, if in light of the revealed information a child of Guardian editor in chief Alan Rusbridger would get molested, then he would blame the system on the front page of his newspaper immediately. I do not wish anything bad on him or his family ever! He is not likely to be worried as his four hundred thousand pound a year job allows for secure private schools, but what about the other children? Those children who are not that safe environment, possibly in danger to be at the mercy of predators, whom now with knowledge of longer avoidance and as such pose even more danger to innocent victims. What about them?

It is a level of what I see as utter short-sightedness. An assault on three groups that have lived in a world of ambiguity to get their work done, now that world is in turmoil, especially as some traitor comes with information that is for the most non confirmable, too much goes from the air of ‘Snowden told us, so it must be true’. Several questions are not dealt with on many levels, especially by the press. It just drains the gravy train as it sells more and more news (papers).

The second part is directly linked to all this. Two news messages:

1. Snowden persuaded other NSA workers to give up passwords (at http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSBRE9A703020131108)
2. Snowden has stolen 50,000 to 200,000 Classified Items from NSA.

The second had no verifiable source and as such there is no way to tell how correct that is, the first one is more of an issue. How stupid are Americans? That is of course if there is any truth in that part.

YOU NEVER GIVE OUT THAT INFO!

You can leave your partner/spouse/lover at some university frat party to have all the sex he/she needs, you give your credit card to your kids to buy all the toys they want, giving out login information is beyond utterly stupid. Snowden would not have needed it. As an IT person he either has rights to make changes, or he does not. If he did not, then giving out login info is the worst anyone could do. If this ever went to court then he could blame the original account holder. It is a level of non-repudiation!

So were the people at the NSA born stupid and stopped evolving after birth? That remains to be seen! The point is that the press is not that trustworthy either! The second part in regards to the classified items was from a non-disclosed, but also non verifiable source. There is no way for me to know. The question from this part is the one you do not see discussed openly on the news. How did all this info leave the building? Who was in charge? Issues that are also in play for Sir Iain Lobban! How vulnerable is GCHQ? What is in play to prevent this to happen in the UK? Even though Booz Allen Hamilton was cleared as they are the official boss of Edward Snowden, yet how was the clearing process? What are the checks in place for civilian contractors? The Washington Post published a large article questioning civilian contractor issues, from this part we wonder if it was deep enough. Even more, why were these issues not looked at more than a YEAR before the Snowden issues started?

If it was up to me (Sir Iain Lobban is likely secure in the knowledge that this is the last option that should ever happen), then I would like to make a small change at GCHQ. I would add a new inner circle, consisting of a Law Lord and two members from both MI-5 and MI-6 to watch the watchers. My only worry is that whoever oversees GCHQ internally is part of the ‘problem’ (no illegal or negative inclination implied). It does not harm for a set of cleared fresh eyes to look at the system to see if there is a danger. Something similar would need to happen at the NSA, but with their systems and such it might be a different source of people (like members of cyber command FBI and cyber command military).

There is too much info out there supporting the idea that US intelligence (and other governmental departments) seems to be oblivious to the need for Common Cyber Sense (at present with the amount of published info, it is unlikely that my thought on this is wrong).

Here is the third part, the PRESS part!

Their phone hacking was all about exploitation, revenue, profit and personal gain. The Intelligence community is about keeping people safe. There is a massive difference. If you wonder about these events, then consider the fact that because of greed and revenue, no steps have been taken on a global scale to see who buys your personal details and who has them. It could influence your insurance premium, your credit rating and your financial options. No one seems to be on par to get that properly regulated, because in America, Cash is king and the president to the United States is simply a number with a possible temporary status elevation, the rest is data cattle, sold at a moment’s notice. This risk is very real in the UK and Europe too. A consumer is nothing more than a customer number with an address and with a possible shipment of goods under way, that is their value and only for as long as they need products. To some extent the Washington Post covered this a week ago at http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/michael-chertoff-what-the-nsa-and-social-media-have-in-common/2013/10/31/b286260e-4167-11e3-8b74-d89d714ca4dd_story.html

what is less known is that they are one of the few who took a decent look at it (the Washington post), the rest remains on the Snowden gravy train, not informing anyone, they simply re-quote a Reuters line. Seems a little wrong doesn’t it? The article by Michael Chertoff sees the gem no one properly questions half way through where he wrote “there is no assurance that what is disseminated has context or news value“.

The true part, the real smart and the questionable art! The intelligence world is ALL about disseminating information and giving proper weight to the information acquired. It is about finding the bad guys, without that weight it is all media gossip used by the press and as we saw, the disciples of Rupert Murdoch have truly dented that group’s reliability, perhaps for a long time.

So is today’s SIGINT a joke? I hope not, because if so, the questions had been phrased at the wrong people. At some point parliament gets to answer the questions asked by the innocent and the victims on how parliament asked all about data and left corporations to do whatever they liked with our personal details. How many UK companies have had a backup data server in the US?

Consider this quote by Salesquest “The Siebel Customer Intelligence List consists of 265 Fortune 1000 or Global 500 companies that have deployed Siebel in their enterprise application environment. The first tab in the spread sheet lists the 265 Siebel customers, industries, corporate headquarter addresses, phone numbers, and web site addresses.” (At http://www.salesquest.com/resources/siebel-customer-list/)

How many of those are backing up their data to some server park in San Antonio? Consider those places, all their customer data, their financial data and forecast information. In some cases, the data will come from over a dozen nations. It is nice to ask where their data is, but what about the data dumps, the logs and the backups, where were they kept?

Let the intelligence community do what it needs to do, if not, then neither we nor the press gets to point fingers at them when things truly go very wrong.

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Classes of Classification

I was about to do that horizontal thing (sleeping, in case you wondered), where one is in a natural state and loudly snores like the local sawmill! I was actually looking forward to that event. It is almost 00:30, so I need to get up in about 5 hours. However, Sky News stopped that idea pretty quick.

The reason is that the news just showed me a part involving Edward Snowden and more information he ‘leaked’. In this case it was all about spying on the EU diplomatic mission and how that was ‘strictly confidential‘, roughly 0.0324 seconds later I was more than wide awake and started this blog.

So what are the issues? Well three come to mind, but the third one is for a little later down this story.

So the first issue is the classification. No matter, whether the documents were from the CIA, NSA or Alphabet Soup Incorporated. There are levels of classification. Confidential is a lower level. Apart from the issue that there is an issue that the diplomatic integrity of an ally was ‘transgressed’ upon, is there actually any reason why such information would not be Secret or higher? I would even think that this would be Top Secret level information and as such that information remains with a small (read extremely small) group.

Let’s take a look at this ‘Strictly confidential’. I do not have the rules that the NSA applies, but I was able to get the protocol from a World Bank document as to how this is treated. They might be kids play compared to the NSA, but you will get the idea (and I have to start somewhere).

Information and documents that are deemed to be of a highly sensitive nature or to be inadequately protected by the CONFIDENTIAL classification shall be classified as STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL and access to them shall be restricted solely to persons with a specific need to know. The staffs of the Institutions shall establish a control and tracking system for documents classified as STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL, including the maintenance of control logs. Documents classified as STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL shall be:
(i) marked with such classification on each page;
(ii) kept under lock and key or given equivalent protection when not in use;
(iii) in the case of physical documents, transmitted by an inner sealed envelope indicating the classification marking and an outer envelope indicating no classification, or, in the case of documents in electronic form, transmitted by encrypted or password-secured files.

So if we consider the digital version, and consider that most intelligence organisations use Security Enhanced Unix servers, then just accessing these documents without others knowing this is pretty much a ‘no no’. EVEN if he had access, there would be a log, and as such there is also a mention if that document was copied in any way. It is not impossible to get a hold of this, but with each document, his chance of getting caught grows quicker and quicker. He did not get caught, not for many megabytes of duplication.

So, whether these events were true or not, there is now an issue. Not with external trust, but from my point of view with internal trust. If he remained undetected, then several alphabet groups have IT issues of an unprecedented level. Could this even be remotely true?

The second issue is that like any Intelligence organisation like the GCHQ for example, most people are assigned certain areas. The fact that Edward Snowden had such a wide access is more than questionable. The fact that the press seems to just take whatever he serves up with a certain air that whatever Edward Snowden claims is true should also be looked at. In my view it does not. Especially when we consider that he is stuck in some Russian airport terminal awaiting the option to ‘escape’ to Ecuador. You see, his access raises too many flags. It does not matter whether he is the IT guy. The NSA has dozens upon dozens of them, and as such, the fact that he was able to syphon off such a wide area of information (and get it out of the building) seems to be an issue that no one is too investigative about.

What is this all about? That is the question we should be asking. All these events do not add up. This is not some FBI leak (no attack on the FBI). This is a group that was referred to for a long time as ‘No Such Agency‘. The fact that he passed all kinds of interviews befroe the job (on psychological probing levels far above most can imagine), a man who ‘just’ walked away with the kitchen sink and a USB drive loaded with tagged documents. It does not add up in my book.

Now we get to the third issue.

If some amount of this data would be rock solid, then the US has an intelligence community that is leaky as a sieve.

1. A disillusioned intelligence operator gets a job at a department even more hush hush then the CIA and the psychological interview does not raise flags considering the conditions he left the CIA?
2. That person gets access to information on several levels and from several branches and no one is the wiser. More important no flags on these secure servers are tripped?
3. This person gets the goods into Hong Kong, then casually flies into Russia and now is waiting for his flight to Ecuador, whilst at the same time US extradition groups (according to Hong Kong media) drop the ball in getting a hold of Edward Snowden?

Is no one suspicious on what is going on? I for one see reason to distrust several sources at present.

Looking back, Julian Assange got access to his documents though military channels. There have been less than positive issues with the lack of Common Cyber Sense in several military areas. The fact that those events happened outside of the US and under military field conditions where certain security measures are hard to uphold is understandable. That does not make it right, but the circumstances were pretty unique. The fact that someone walks out of places like the NSA or GCHQ with a USB filled with all levels of information is an entirely different matter.

If we accept this article by Sky News as true http://news.sky.com/story/1109739/snowden-spying-claims-us-bugged-eu-offices, then we could be in for a rough ride.

In the end, reality is that spying goes on at all times on many levels (as stated by Mr Reardon on Sky News UK). Mi-5 tries to keep an eye on what the CIA does in the UK, the FBI keeps tabs on MI-6 in the US and none of them care what happens in Australia. Works for me!

So the fact that the CIA is keeping tabs on the EU makes perfect sense, especially with all those new states getting added. However, bugging the hell out of all these buildings is not that productive overall (as there are other sources to these kinds of information). So is the reality that there were just 2-3 bugs (the German Spiegel was aware of one of them) and some document Edward Snowden had just adds loads more?
What Intel does he have that is actually reliable? Are we being run by some wannabe laying it on thick hoping for a nice fat pay check? I wonder what happens now that Russia and China both lack interest (and Ecuador is not that appealing if one lives there without money). So what of Edward Snowden? Sky had another article on that. http://news.sky.com/story/1109235/whistleblower-snowden-may-return-to-the-us. In this article the father is afraid his son is being manipulated by different parties. Even by WikiLeaks. He might return to US if certain conditions are met.

Conditions? For a traitor? And next they claim that all politicians are straight shooters too!
Well, for those who believe that, I have a bridge to sell you, GREAT view on the Tower of London!

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The Data Intelligence bill

GCHQ_StampBThe events that occurred in Woolwich have sparked more than just one debate. The new debate is involving the additional powers that Home Secretary May wants to hand to the intelligence branch. It involves a data bill that was vetoed by the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. He stated that it was too much of an invasion of privacy.

Is he correct?

Initially I would side with that part. Yet, you cannot have it both ways. There is a plain and simple need to keep England’s citizens safe from radicalised attacks. The issue of Home grown terrorism had been an issue going back to Sir Jonathan Evans reign of MI-5. He was more than just a little concerned with outside influences on the British way of life. This now falls firmly on the shoulders of both Andrew Parker, who is well aware of the issues as well as the needed response and Sir Iain Robert Lobban of GCHQ. As this is Signal intelligence and as such it falls in his lap as the data would be needed for MI-5, MI-6 and some parts of local law enforcements.

I would think that part of this bill will start with Lord Carlile. His involvement in this goes back to the Terrorism Act of 2000. Current issues are ‘tainted’ by two reports and as such they both are important. First there is the National council of Civil Liberties that drafted a response to the definition of terrorism, which seems to have been the work of Gareth Crossman and Jago Russel. You should take a look at it (source: http://www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk/pdfs/policy06/response-to-carlile-review-of-terrorism-definition.pdf). It is an interesting work, and important to read is how they see this all. Part of the weakness is the approach on page 3 where they state: “It is vital that the definition of ‘terrorism’ is drawn as tightly as possible“. It is a decent stance to have, yet in the light of fear against home grown/lone wolf terrorism it is actually counterproductive. Terrorism is a shifty acre of quicksand and the strict approach is not only going to fail, it will get the people involved stopping this drowned. Not a good thing me thinks!

I feel uncertain to the point 6 they make on page 5. Yes, they do state that it is outside of the scope of the document, and as such they only raise the comments made that Terrorism should be dealt with under Criminal law. Here is where I might be the dissenting voice. The law should cover all, I do believe in that, however, what part of law? We are dealing with a group that does not seem to be categorised as such. These people are not transgressing in a way where we approach a normal person, or even the average person. Whilst we approach these transgressors in one way or another, even when if possible their defence starts going into the Mental Health act we will see a case where the court is drawn into years of litigation and dealing with a case that as such should be seen as a non-combatant involved in hostile military actions against civilians with no allegiance to any nation and as such it becomes a mess where each case locks down the justice system more and more. Consider the American situation (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance act). This comes from a special report by their Justice department stated in June 2005.

This allowed the use of FISA information in a criminal case provided that the ‘primary purpose’ of the FISA surveillance or search was to collect foreign intelligence information rather than to conduct a criminal investigation or prosecution. The seminal court decision applying this standard to information collected in intelligence cases was issued in 1980. See United States v. Truong Dinh Hung, 629 F.2d 908 (4th Cir. 1980). In this case, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the government did not have to obtain a criminal warrant when ‘the object of the search or the surveillance is a foreign power, its agents or collaborators,’ and ‘the surveillance is conducted primarily for foreign intelligence purposes.’ Id. at 915. However, the court ruled that the government’s primary purpose in conducting an intelligence investigation could be called into question when prosecutors had begun to assemble a prosecution and had led or taken on a central role in the investigation.

This shows that the narrowness of the scope would be the obstacle we should be trying to prevent. The issue is NOT our privacy at that point; it is all about them having access to go after the right people. This requires them to blanket us with collection of data. Even though the data is all collected, it will turn out that 99.9% might never be accessed. Having it is however essential for their success of stopping terrorist attacks. So when the Sky News UK reporter Stephen Douglas mentioned “are they playing politics with fear” then he is in my humble opinion incorrect. This data bill has been needed for a long time. It can even be safely speculated that MI-5 could have intervened with the Kenyan involved in the Woolwich murder at an earlier stage as more flags would have been raised. Their interview with him would have led to other questions, confirmations of danger. That seems to not have happened at this stage.

So from the civil liberty document we move to document cm7058 from June 2007 which holds “The Government Reply to the Report by Lord Carlile of Berriew Q.C. Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation The Definition of Terrorism“. (Source: http://www.official-documents.gov.uk/document/cm70/7058/7058.pdf). My issue is with point 5 on page 5. Idiosyncratic terrorism imitators should generally be dealt with under non-terrorism criminal law. This is the point that shows the need of the data bill. Especially when we consider Lone wolf or Home grown terrorists there will be the issue whether the person was a mental health wannabe, or a more intelligent individual being allowed a second go at harming groups of people, after civil rights protected him the first time.

So even if we want to give strength to both Nick Clegg and the National council of Civil Liberties. They are there speaking out to protect your rights. Yet, in that process, they are giving strength and freedom to terrorist attacks like the one in Woolwich (not intentionally). This issue is like a seesaw. These two viewpoints are utterly opposing and as we give power to one, we remove it from the other. The interesting part is that the information we surrender will not harm us unless we support terrorism. Should that not convince you then please remember that you have already given away your privacy to most market research and financial institution data centres. They only want your money, or in a product driven way bank you. The intelligence community wants to keep you safe. In my mind, there is no debate. The data bill is likely to come and should be there, if only to prevent a second Woolwich.

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