Tag Archives: Nigeria

Those we needlessly fear

All others pay cash! Yes, that was direct, was it not? We have seen millions of articles fly by, all given the very same announcement: ‘Fear Saudi Arabia‘, as well as ‘MBS is a monster‘. Yet, what evidence was given? What actual evidence did we get?

Turkey played its innuendo game, we can also accept that the US is playing a protective game for Saudi Arabia and that too should be highlighted, yet NO ONE has taken an academic look at those so called tapes as have given the audience the rundown, what was there, what was proven. Is there even enough evidence that Jamal Khashoggi is on the tapes? Journalists are in their own corrupt little world of satisfying the shareholders, the stake holders and the advertisers and they all want Saudi Arabia to look like they are all guilty, all to the very top. In addition we see the G20 Argentina game that France played with their ‘confrontation’, conveniently enough staged to be caught on CNN. He was not that amateur like when he had to have a few words with someone high up at Crédit Agricole, was he? Where have they got that leaked conversation?

I see it as a simple operational premise to counter the fear that they have. It gets worse, at present the vultures are circling and we get to see more fallout. News dot com dot au are giving us (at https://www.news.com.au/world/middle-east/saudi-friend-of-jamal-khashoggi-sues-israeli-surveillance-firm/news-story/b0bf9d501332df9ad31bede7de904b6c) ‘Saudi friend of Jamal Khashoggi sues Israeli surveillance firm‘ gives us ‘A Saudi dissident‘, as well as ‘Omar Abdulaziz, said he was friends with Khashoggi‘. Now people make all kinds of claims, I can make the claim that I am the lover of Scarlett Johansson; she just does not know it yet. Anyone in the media can contact frukan Johansson and verify that fact (or prove it to be wrong), we can’t in the case of Khashoggi, can we? Was there corroborating evidence that they were actual friends? If so, why was that not added? The news site makes no real effort to substantiate that friendship and that is not what this is about. You see, it is the claim ‘a lawsuit against an Israeli surveillance company, claiming its sophisticated spyware targeted him and helped lead to the killing of his friend‘. We have two problems here. In the first, is there any evidence to back that up? In the second, Jamal Khashoggi was an unknown person to 93% of the planet, yet he was a journalist for the Washington Post, and as such he was a lot more visible than most others. Also, the entire filing matter in Istanbul gave rise that plenty of people knew where he was, so the spyware seems redundant. If there was quality spyware in place he could have been killed anywhere and leave the optional involvement of Saudi Arabia almost completely out of it. Does that not make sense?

The last paragraph is the killer here: “citing news reports and other sources claiming that NSO Group sold Saudi Arabia the technology in 2017 for $US55 million ($A75 million)“. The first thing here is to look at those news reports; I wonder how much innuendo is in there. Then we get the stage that technology worth $55 million was bought when JK was very much alone, giving rise to the reason of purchase, last by not least is the investigation on the NSO group and their software and that is what I believe was the foundation, it does not matter where and how the NSO group software was used. I believe that Omar Abdulaziz got wind of a 2016 article not unlike those on Vice (at https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/3da5qj/government-hackers-iphone-hacking-jailbreak-nso-group), and saw ‘Government Hackers Caught Using Unprecedented iPhone Spy Tool‘. so when we see (or saw) “Ahmed Mansoor, a 46-year-old human rights activist from the United Arab Emirates, received a strange text message from a number he did not recognize on his iPhone“, the brain of Omar Abdulaziz  optionally went ‘ka-chink‘ and his pupils turned to dollar signs, It was optionally his opportunity of a lifetime.

So who is right?

I am telling you right now that all I am writing from my opposition is pure speculation, yet is it less of more believable? Is the NSO group real? Yes they are and they have something that every nation on the planet with a decent technology level requires. Any government have people they want to keep tabs on, and that is what this solution optionally provides for. It is not a killing tool, and at $55 million it is not some tool you use for simply ending someone’s life, there are more convenient and more elegant ways to facilitate to punch out someone time clock of life. When you stage a $55 million solution when $50K in an account does it, that solution does not make sense.

Still, we cannot ignore the NSO group software and it might have been used to keep tabs on JK, that is optionally a reality we face, yet we all face that optional for a number of reasons and there we have the crux, knowing where a person is does not mean that their life has to be ended, the fact that we have tools, does not imply that we have to use other tools. The audience factor is trying to give us that idea, an emotional driven premise of events to set the stage of intentional international execution. There has been, and unlikely will be any evidence showing that. Not by some eager frog (an unnamed France governmental executive) stating to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ‘I am really worried!‘ worried about what? Conversations eagerly and ‘unintentionally’ leaked right in full view of the CNN camera, are people truly stupid enough to go for that bait?

Then we get claims in papers like the Sydney Morning Herald trying to up their game, yet at present I am not certain if the Saudi government would lose if a defamation case was brought to court and that is me merely contemplating two of the JK articles that I have read in the last two days.

In addition, the article has the claim ‘and helped lead to the killing of his friend‘, which is actually very clever as in this way stated we have a problem, or do we? Is there any evidence that the solution was or was not used? If there is a way to check the usage of that software then Omar Abdulaziz opened an interesting door. You see at that point, under the US freedom of information act, close to two dozen claims can be made regarding the NSA (the San Antonio location) on how they have been keeping tabs on people. In the January case of Sherretta Shaunte Washington, her attorney might optionally (with properly applied intelligence) be able to overturn any given sentence against her. There has been the rumour that the NSA assisted in keeping tabs on a dozen burner phones. You see, it is not the sim card; it is the mobile imei number on EVERY phone that is the issue. The NSO group seemingly figured out the algorithm to take this to the races and that advantage is worth well over $55 million. That is exactly why the Mexicans wanted the solution too. Most Mexicans are still believing that without the sim it is nothing, yet one call gave away the imei number and that number is a lot more useful than most consider.

And in the end it is Forbes who gives us the missing diamond going all the way back to August 2016. Here we are treated to: “looking at the domains registered by NSO, they determined Pegasus could have been used across Turkey, Israel, Thailand, Qatar, Kenya, Uzbekistan, Mozambique, Morocco, Yemen, Hungary, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, and Bahrain, though there was no clear evidence“, in all this the one logical step, the one thought that no one has been willing to voice for a number of reasons. Turkey is on that list. So what if this was Turkey all along from beginning to end? Turkey, who had the solution to keep tabs on thousands of journalists, reporters and bloggers, and jailing hundreds of journalists, do you actually think that they are beyond killing a journalist? I mentioned a few yesterday, so you there is evidence all over the field and so far no actual and factual evidence has been given on any involvement of the Saudi Royal family, yet everyone is playing that card as often as possible.

I am not in denial, I am not stating that they are innocent, I am merely looking and hoping to see real evidence, and so far the absence of that investigation has been astounding. There is enough evidence on the involvement of Saudi’s in all this, yet the proper vetting of Turkish evidence by the media has seemingly been lacking. The press (and the media as a whole) merely pushed that same button again and again and it makes me wonder on the premise in which other ways we are (seemingly) being deceived. That is the clear consequence of orchestration, it makes us all doubt all the other evidence, and in light of the USA playing their silver briefcase WMD game in regards to Iraq, that has made us distrust a lot of other evidence, evidence that might have been valid, but we are in a stage where we no longer trust the messengers in all that and as the media and newspapers lose more and more credibility, we have started to treat most news as fake news.

That is the price of orchestration and the players remain in denial that it is happening. That is the part we see form a source called Foreign Policy dot com. The article (at https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/12/03/how-an-internet-impostor-exposed-the-underbelly-of-the-czech-media/), gives us: ‘How an Internet Impostor Exposed the Underbelly of the Czech Media. When politicians own the press, trolls have the last laugh‘, the article by Tim Gosling gives us: “Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis—and expose just how easily disinformation can slip into the mainstream press, especially when politicians control it.” It is a mere introduction to: “In September, the Czech broadsheet Lidove Noviny published an op-ed by Horakova expressing support for Babis’s refusal to offer asylum to 50 Syrian orphans, as was proposed by an opposition member of parliament. Playing up to his populist pledge not to allow “a single refugee” into the Czech Republic, the prime minister said the country had its own orphans to care for“. It merely gives us parts to ponder, the amount of pondering increases with: “In tapes released by unknown sources onto the internet last year, for instance, he was heard discussing stories damaging to his political rivals with a reporter from Mlada fronta Dnes, which alongside Lidove Noviny is controlled by Agrofert—the agrochemicals conglomerate that is the centerpiece of Babis’s business empire.

I have written again and again against the media facilitation for the shareholders, the stakeholders and the advertisers, here we see the impact when the media and the shareholder are one and the same. That article from a freelance reporter who seemingly contributed to Foreign Policy, The Telegraph, Politico Europe, Deutsche Welle, World Politics et al. He shows that there is a much larger issue and that the difference between those bringing the news and fake news bringers is almost indistinguishable. We might give passage to the LA Times, the Washington Post, New York Times, the Times, the Guardian and several others, yet after that the mess becomes no longer trusted, mostly because the source is too unknown to us. The media did this to themselves through facilitation and until that changes fake news will have too many options to gain traction with the people influencing a populist political nation on a near global scale.

It is one of the reasons why I refuse to merely accept the view of people blaming Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for it all. There are too many intelligence gaps, too many parts of merely insinuated conjecture whilst the intelligence was not properly vetted and it happened for the most in Turkey (the consulate is Saudi ground). We might never ever get the answer of what truly happened, and to a very large extent it is because of the games that the media played from the very beginning. A game staged in innuendo, unnamed sources and people talking on the promise of anonymity. It is not the fact that these elements exist, it is because to a much larger extent too many of them were used at the same time, pressing the same directional button, most of it not scrutinised to the degree that was essential, and when contra dictionary evidence was found, those issues were ignored by the largest extent by all the media, that too is the foundation of fake news, we merely chose to ignore it, it is our emotional side and that is the bigger issue. People are no longer adhering to innocent until guilty, the media has become a ‘guilty until proven innocent machine‘ and that drives the populist agenda more than anything else, so I oppose them all by stating: ‘The Saudi government is one we needlessly fear, until we have conclusive evidence of their action that is the only way we should be‘. We have become puppets in a world where tyrants (Robert Mugabe), alleged mass murderers (Slobodan Milošević), criminals (shooters who were granted indemnity from prosecution) and paedophiles (Catholic clergy) get more consideration than any Muslim ever had, how sad has our world become?

 

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The non-knowing speak loudest

There is an old saying that goes back to the original circus, the days of Sir Alec Guiness, John Le Carre and the circus (MI6). Those who do not know speak and those who do will not. There is however a valid issue with that mindset. When it is merely intelligence and what some regard as spyshit, we tend to not care. It is their world and they tend to live by other rules even as they have the same lack of common cyber sense as some US generals, it is their choice to make. Yet when we see labour people like Michael Danby need to present evidence in regards to “an opposition Labor party MP, called on the Liberal-National coalition to block Huawei and fellow Chinese telecoms company ZTE from supplying equipment for the 5G network. “Both Huawei and ZTE must report to the Communist party cell at the top of their organisations,” he told parliament. “Let me issue a clarion call to this parliament: Australia’s 5G network must not be sold to these telcos.”” I am actually in the mindset that his seat should be put up for auction if he does not disclose a proper setting and give evidence as to the reasoning of all this. It becomes more pressing when we see “Mr Lord, a former rear admiral in the Royal Australian Navy, told Australia’s state broadcaster on Monday that these claims were “wrong”, adding that Huawei was not owned by any committee of government and posed no risk to Australia’s security“. It is not just because Mr Lord is a former rear admiral, more that the average naval midshipman tends to be more reliable than any politician. We get this from the Financial Times (at https://www.ft.com/content/1a2d19ba-67b1-11e8-8cf3-0c230fa67aec). In addition, when we get politicians start the scare tactics of ‘critical infrastructure pose a risk to national security’, there is a clear need for both Duncan Lewis and Paul Symon AO to get hauled in a chair in Canberra and ask them to openly answer the questions regarding any evidence that Huawei is a security threat. To blatantly accept the US on their ‘china fears’ is all well and good for Telstra, yet the setting is not a given and the fact that Telstra is nowhere near the technological levels of Huawei is not something that we blame them from, but they basically lost the 5G war before it started through their own actions and inactions.

Now if there is an actual national security concern, we should be open about that and when that happens, and evidence is presented, at that point we can all relax and state to Huawei that we feel sorry for the inconvenience caused, but such concerns are just too big to ignore. I think we have had quite enough of these presentations that reek of Colin Powell and his silver suitcase with evidence that no one ever saw in 2001. We cannot go in that direction ever again. We will not be the play toy of greedy telecom companies and their internal needs for stupidity and inactions; we can no longer afford such a nepotism environment.

That same issue can be said regarding Nationals MP George Christensen. Apart from him trying to undo a business deal of a 99 year lease, no matter how silly that deal was, Australia cannot be perceived as a nation that cannot be trusted at the business table. My second issue is why a maroon (Queenslander) is involving himself with NT politics. In that regard, why do we not see the responses form Vicki O’Halloran is she has any, is she not the appointed administrator? In this, the game is not over. The Australian Financial Review gives us: “Huawei faces the likelihood that Cabinet’s national security committee will veto it supplying equipment for the 5G network, based on the recommendations of security agencies, over concerns about the potential for cyber espionage at the behest of China’s leaders“. In this the question becomes, is there an actual security concern, or is it that the national concern is the devaluation of Telstra? In additional support we need to see the Sydney Morning Herald two weeks ago when they gave us (at https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/how-a-huawei-5g-ban-is-about-more-than-espionage-20180614-p4zlhf.html): “The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age reported in March that there were serious concerns within the Turnbull government about Huawei’s potential role in 5G – a new wireless standard that could be up to 10 times as powerful as existing mobile services, and used to power internet connections for a range of consumer devices beyond phones“, as well as “the decision will have an impact on Australia’s $40 billion a year telecoms market – potentially hurting Telstra’s rivals“. the first part is something I wrote about for well over a year, the second one is important as we see ‘potentially hurting Telstra’s rivals‘, from my personal point of view it reads like the one lobotomised idiot in telecom country gets to decide through arm-twisting on how we need to remain backwards as they set the standard that they could not deliver for the longest of times (a little sarcasm regarding Telstra’s 2011 3.7G), I wrote about that recently.

ABC gave us yesterday: “it continues to be the target of criticism over its connections to the Chinese Government, including allegations it is involved in state-sponsored espionage“, yet the people have never been shown actual evidence, so where is that at? There might have been doubts to some degree for a while, but the Powell stunt is too clear in our minds and the USA does not have the credibility (or credit rating for that matter) it once had. The fact that the opposing former rear admiral of the Australian navy trumps two half bit politicians seeking the limelight any day of the week and some stay silent, the reason for that is only speculation, but we might not need to seek far and a few words ion Google Search might help find that answer (like ‘Telstra’ and ‘8000’). When we see some giving us: ‘Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX:TLS) is betting it all on 5G‘ and we see the Telstra strategy briefing (at https://www.telstra.com.au/content/dam/tcom/about-us/investors/pdf-e/2018-Strategy-Update.pdf), we see on page 6, Leading with 5G, that would never be an option with Huawei in play as they are ahead by a lot, so the presentation given a week ago, whilst we realise that the presentation was prepared way before that is giving the setting that Huawei is no longer considered to be competition, that is what we now face! What some might call a backward organisation proclaiming to be leading whilst 8000 men will be missing through inaction. That page is even more fun when you consider the quote ‘new technologies like IoT‘, which is funny when you consider that the Internet of Things (IoT) is a system of interrelated computing devices. It is not a technology; it is a network that enables technology. In addition, when you start nit-picking in that 34 page event, we see all the bells and whistles we need to see, yet when you consider consumers and small business (the millions of people that Telstra charges) starts at page 9 and gives us 5 slides. We see ‘cutting edge 5G capability’ (by whose standards?), we see location devices (with the image of a dog), Access to rewards an tickets, a fully-digital relationship with Telstra (an implied no more personal interaction after the sales, merely a chatbot) and value added services, yet the value of a service like customer service and customer care are absent in that part of the equation, so how does this push the people forward, because I doubt that it actually will achieve anything in the long run and one flaw will anger the actual consumers without limits.

You see, personally I believe in the IoT, I believe in 5G, they are tools to enhance experiences and interactions, not make them obsolete and that is what  feel when I saw the Telstra strategy update. These two elements can enhance customer care, customer service and customer support, not replace them with ‘AI’ enhanced chatbots. So the moment we get a 2.0 version of ‘Telstra’s new chatbot, Codi, is making so many mistakes customers are furious’ (at https://www.businessinsider.com.au/telstra-codi-bot-backlash-2018-3), chatbots can be a great asset to get the information and channel the call to the right person, yet that again is merely enhancing and that can work fine. The presentation implies the loss of actual customer values and ignoring their need for interactions. That in an aging population might be the least intelligent stance to make ever.

Yet this does not give way to the issue on Telstra versus Huawei, as the Sydney Morning Herald states “Telstra has refused to exclude Huawei from its 5G tender, but that is seen more as a way of keeping its existing supplier Ericsson on its toes“, as well as “In other words, a ban could be bad news for TPG, Vodafone and Optus. Whether it is necessarily good news for Telstra – which has its own issues at the moment – is less clear“. In finality we get “Intelligence agencies tend to get their way on matters like these“, this beckons the question what are they actually after? The US seems to be in bed with Samsung and their 5G routers, so it makes sense that this will be the path that Telstra walks as well, time will tell how it ends.

So why is this such a big deal?

We are currently in danger of actually falling behind Saudi Arabia, yes, that place in a large sandbox is about to surpass us in 5G and other technologies. They had the audacity to reserve half a trillion dollars toward Vision 2030 and Neom. So when we got “Al-Khobar in the Eastern Province, of Saudi Arabia, has become the first city in the region to benefit from the fifth-generation wireless network or 5G network, according to a press statement issued by the Center of International Communication“, last month. There was not a surprise in my bone. You see, this will drive their Vision 2030 plans even further. So as Saudi Arabia is now the new pond to grow speciality in 5G, app designers can promote, test and deliver on knowledge that will be available whilst Telstra is trying to figure out how to get 5G installed. with “All the necessary national 5G policies and supporting administrative provisions are planned to be in place before the end of 2019, along with the award of initial batches of the spectrum to support the full commercial deployment of 5G technologies“, we see that Saudi Arabia had been taking this serious for a much longer time. This goes a little further when we see ‘the Middle East and Africa 5G Technology market (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Nigeria, and South Africa)‘, so at this point, Saudi Arabia has a head start to not just push Saudi Arabia forward, they have quite literally first dibs on gaining a chunk of the 98 million Egyptians. Not all can afford 5G, we get that, but those who do are confronted with only Saudi Arabia as a Muslim player, you did not actually believe that they would run to Vodafone, did you?

So back to the 5G local ‘market’! For this we need to take a look at the Australian Financial review 2 weeks ago. Here we see (at https://www.afr.com/opinion/columnists/the-technical-reasons-why-huawei-too-great-a-5g-risk-20180614-h11e3o), with the title ‘The technical reasons why Huawei is too great a 5G risk‘, the start is good, this is what we wanted. Yet we are treated to paragraphs of emotion and alleged settings. So when we see: “Huawei presents unique additional risk beyond the “normal” risk of buying complex equipment. China has demonstrated a long-standing intent to conduct cyber-espionage“, so is ‘intent’ shown in evidence? How did the CIA and NSA acquire our data or Cambridge Analytica for that matter? ‘China is thought to be behind data breaches‘ is merely a statement ‘thought‘ is speculation, not evidence. Then we get: “The US Trade Representative’s Section 301 report from March this year details the very close cooperation between the Third Department of China’s People’s Liberation Army (3PLA is a military hacking unit, also known as Unit 61398) and Chinese enterprises“, I have to get back to this. We are treated to ‘At one extreme, Huawei could be asked‘, is a case of fear mongering and not evidence. In addition we get ‘it is certainly a possibility‘ which came after ‘Vulnerabilities may already exist. This may not be the most likely possibility‘ as well as ‘very likely‘ all emotional responses, none of them evidence in any way, so the article with included in the title ‘The technical reasons’, has pretty much zero technology and close to 90% ‘allegedly’, speculations and emotional twists, whilst we cannot deny the optional existence of vulnerabilities, yet these are found regularly in Cisco hardware and Microsoft software, so have those two been banned in Australia?

Now to get back to the Section 301 report (at https://ustr.gov/sites/default/files/Section%20301%20FINAL.PDF). It is 215 pages and I did not read that complete political US marketing behemoth. There is one that actually carries weight. On page 153 we see: “evidence from U.S. law enforcement and private sources indicates that the Chinese government has used cyber intrusions to serve its strategic economic objectives. Documented incidents of China’s cyber intrusions against U.S. commercial entities align closely with China’s industrial policy objectives. As the global economy has increased its dependence on information systems in recent years, cyber theft became one of China’s preferred methods of collecting commercial information because of its logistical advantages and plausible deniability“, which is basically good application of intelligence gathering. Please do not take my word for it, feel free to call the NSA (at +1-301-6886311, all their calls are recorded for training and quality purposes). Oh, and before I forget, the text came with footnote 970, which gave us “A number of public submissions provided to USTR state that the Chinese government has no reason to conduct cyber intrusions or commit cyber theft for commercial purposes, see CHINA GENERAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE [hereinafter “CGCC”], Submission, Section 301 Hearing 16 (Sept. 28, 2017); that the US has not provided evidence of such actions by China, that China is also a target of cyber-attacks, and that the two countries should work together“, there is that to deal with and is that not a rare instance where we are treated to ‘the US has not provided evidence of such actions‘, how many times have we seen claims like that since 2001? Would that number be a 4 or 5 digit number?

The point is not whether it can or could happen, the question becomes did it happen here? let’s not forget that in most settings the section 301 report is about US interests and their technological advancement (which they lost by becoming iteratively stupid). Here we have a different setting. In the setting we face Huawei has a technological advance over all we have in Australia and most of Europe as well. Huawei was one of the first to realise the power of data and 5G and they are close to a market leader, the US is basically relying on Samsung to get them there. BT (British Telecom) is on the ball, but still not on par. They are in bed with Finland “BT has teamed with Nokia to collaborate on the creation of 5G proof of concept trials, the development of emerging technology standards and equipment, and potential 5G use cases“, so this sets the larger players in a field where Nokia and Huawei are now active. The SAMENA Telecom Leaders Summit 2018 and Saudi Telecom Company (STC) announced today that it is working with Nokia to launch a 5G network in 2018 within Saudi Arabia, yet the technology agreements show that it does include Huawei and Cisco, so they aren’t already active, the setting for the initial bumps in the road that Cisco, Nokia and Huawei will surely overcome is knowledge that we will not have in Australia long after someone was able to connect the 5G router to a power point (very presentable, yet the online green light seems to be broken).

So whilst politicians are considering who to be buddies with, Saudi Arabia joins the US and they will be the first 5G providers, which means that the UK and Australia are lagging behind and optionally not for the short term either.

So am I not knowing or am I all knowing? I actually prefer the first, because it is more relaxing; yet the need to speak out loud is becoming increasingly important even if it was only to place the loud mouth limelight seeking politicians like Michael Danby and George Christensen in their slightly too arrogant place. They are of course welcome to present ACTUAL evidence proving me wrong. #WishingForAMiracleHere

 

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Is it merely a need to know?

It is more than just an opinion piece, when we saw the week begin with a piece from George Clooney (yes, that one) and John Prendergast, both responsible for the start of the NGO ‘Not On Our Watch‘, the people might took notice (at https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/feb/20/dirty-money-africa-atrocities-uk-banks), the title ‘British banks are go-betweens in global conflict. This can be stopped‘ was even more alluring, but then we see the quote “It is time to act against the kind of corruption that enables governments and armed groups especially in east and central Africa – the deadliest interlinked zone of conflict in the world – to prosecute wars and carry out mass atrocities“, everyone decided to take another nap. Actually, I cannot blame them. It sounds so intense and essential, but if there is one part the population at large does not care about, than it is another corruption article from a place the bulk of the people never cared about it in the first place. Now, this is the plain reality that the people seem to have. Can I blame them? Is it a valid point of view?

This becomes part of the centre that we lose when we see that implied levels of corruption are impeding our quality of life in Europe. I discussed part of it in ‘When a Newspaper gets it wrong‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2017/02/16/when-a-newspaper-gets-it-wrong/). The article linked here implies a lot, especially when you realise that we are faced with British Champagne stories in an age where any member of the EU mentioning it should not even be allowed to be a member of the EU parliament. Then we get “The National Crime Agency judges that billions of pounds of suspected proceeds of corruption are laundered through the UK each year“, which might be true, might not be true, but most important, when we realise that there is also the quote “the international community has failed to fully deploy the anti-money laundering measures“, I would like to see a comparison on a national level, you see, comparing the UK numbers (where possible) with the numbers of Europe’s largest Transit harbour on the planet (read: Rotterdam) and as such the container laundering schemes where it goes on for more iterations of laundering as the bitcoin is used. So how can we see how much is laundered per nation? Is the UK the big player here? How does the UK compare to the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France, Spain, Italy and Poland? Can we see those numbers please? You see, as we read “These kinds of financial-pressure measures can help save lives“, the bulk of the readers seem to ignore, or remain ignorant on how the pharmaceutical industry funnels billions, all perfectly legal and as such taxation is avoided. Yes, it makes perfect sense to focus on millions and not address the billions missed. Oh, and perhaps can we see the expected, or predicted time table from the quote “Our team is gathering the evidence needed“, now, let’s be honest, that such a given is next to impossible, but a few changes fought for at present might restore the essential need of legal overhauls, a side that does not seem to make the press that often and more important, the more Clooney stories we get, the less gets overhauled or clearly illuminated that an overhaul is essential. Now the quote we see at the end “a real difference can be made in ending wars in Africa and the mass atrocities that accompany them if we target those that are benefiting financially from the mayhem and suffering“, we can only agree with the principle need. I will not oppose that as such. Yet, it has only been a month since the article at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/jan/26/nigerian-oil-pollution-shell-uk-corporations  and as such, when we hear ‘Nigerian oil pollution claims against Shell cannot be heard in UK, court rules‘ and the issues of pollution against the Royal Dutch Shell, we need to take a moment to consider whether the futility that team Clooney and Prendergast (Team CP) is bringing to the media. The given subtitle ‘Campaigners hoped case would pave way for lawsuits to be brought against corporations for actions abroad‘ is another part in that the issues cannot be properly examined. This we see in “Shell has denied liability and argued last November that the challenge involves “fundamentally Nigerian issues” that should be heard in a Nigerian court“, now it is important to know that I did not study the court notes. So, if we can accept that the court did do a proper hearing and accepted the relevant issues, than no matter what Team CP brings us, the simple truth is that the dangers of any Nigerian court would properly stop the issues correctly seemingly would become almost pointless (if we accept the corruption part that team CP claims. In addition, when we read the accusation ‘A man collecting polluted water at an illegal oil refinery site‘ gives us even more, especially when we concentrate on the word ‘illegal‘, so is Royal Dutch Shell connected to the illegal refinery site? What evidence is there? So now we get the case that team CP is concentrating on a few numbskulls with the limited possibility to stop millions, whilst the players they need to go for is walking away with billions. In that regard their actions are implied to be ‘doomed to fail’ and that is in the most likely positive version, a more negative version is that massive amounts of times are wasted and nothing gets to be achieved. It is in addition likely that the Royal Dutch Shell would assist team CP with other meaningless cases whilst the Royal Dutch Shell remains out of reach. So how is that for justice?

This we see confirmed in the quote “Joe Westby, campaigner on business and human rights at Amnesty International, said: “This ruling could mean that the communities will never receive meaningful compensation, and that the oil spills will be not be properly cleaned up”“, which supports the view I am having and I got to the conclusion as fast as I was reading the article, only to see that other experts agree with me. The final quote “The company says the Bille and Ogale communities’ problems with oil spills are due to sabotage, theft from pipelines, and illegal refining“, which if proven shows the innocence of Shell to some degree, and it shows to the larger degree that team CP have very little chance of success to the degree they need it as change in Nigerian environmental legislation would be essential to force initial change. Apart from that view, there is still the illegal refining, that takes equipment, which beckons the question how much has the Nigerian government confiscated? How many people got prosecuted in all this? There is no clear answer of success and there likely will not ever be one as illegal refiners are in the same category as illegal poachers, as the need or ivory continues, the number of elephants will decrease in Africa until the animal is extinct, then what?

Unless the Nigerian government starts hunting down these transgressors with success and extreme prejudice, they end up not having any level of success. Greed is the ultimate equaliser, the need of the one outweigh the ability of many. A reality that has continued on a near global scale since the early 1900’s. Change is too slow and without harsh levels of success, the opinion piece on and from team CP is not going anywhere but into the circular storage and archiving solution (read: trashcan).

In this Shell has no consideration to assist, the government has no place to start and as the wrong parties are more and more likely blamed we get a situation that until the proper papers are filed, the people involved have no option left to move in any direction, which works great for the facilitators of these events. Someone is making a bundle and as these parties cannot be correctly and accurately identified, the actions against them remain empty, unresolved and hollow.

 

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Creating a dangerous joke

There is a lot going on. At first I wanted to take you into the world of fake news, it is a problem and it is a global one, but the elements in play, so many of them will confuse the hell out of anyone. It is not a simple story, it is an issue that will take many pages and there are plenty of people that cannot be bothered to read that much, I most certainly get that.

So why three issues?

They are only casually linked, but the events as they are taking places all at the same time makes me wonder if, and to what extent they will intersect.

north-korea-disk-jpg
The first one is regarding everyone’s favourite ‘democracy’, North Korea! They decided to fire a missile for 500 Km to make a show of force. So millions were spend to make a show of strength that their missile will make it for 4% of the journey. This whilst we need to realise that the bulk of the 44,000 that became homeless in the floods 5 months ago are still for the most homeless. This event is making South Korea very nervous as the missile can reach them, the USA will make a show out of it all, even as there is no evidence that the missile could ever successfully make the other 96% and hit something substantial after that. As stated, there is no evidence, that in light of the military command setting the pass with Dell desktop computers that most gamers would not even touch in sheer desperation just so that they could play a game.

 

 

 

The second issue is another part all together. There has been a flaming row between Piers Morgan and JK Rowling. In this, I need to try and get through to people who seem to have a massive hatred for the Trump presidency. The video (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MrbXk5xOOM) gives us part of that. We usually do not get the full story as more than one media outlet, or opponent does not like him to complete his train of thought. He makes a few points that need to be considered. It goes far beyond mere freedom of speech, I will never be against it, yet in all this the papers need to be accountable for what they do. The situation is similar that the UK has with Brexit. So when we see the Rowling v Morgan event (at http://honey.nine.com.au/2017/02/13/07/54/jk-rowling-piers-morgan-twitter-spat), which has been going on for a few days now. The nine event shows a short part where Piers gets splattered as he was not allowed to finish his words. The quote “President Trump’s travel ban because the British TV presenter won’t call it a Muslim ban. Trump has tried to stop citizens of seven predominately Muslim countries, including Iran and Syria, from entering the US“, which is what he actually said. The part where Piers is correct is that his assessment is correct. You see the 7 nations are: Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Libya, Sudan and Somalia. Some of the Muslim nations that are not on the list and not banned are: Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, Muslim nations are not on that list. In addition, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Nigeria, United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Egypt. Yes, it is correct that the 7 nations are predominantly Muslim, yet until that list at least doubles, it is not a Muslim ban.

adolf-hitler-world-tour-t-shirt-web
It was ‘nice’ and original that Jim Jefferies reflected on how Adolf Hitler grew into his role whilst singing a lullaby to 6 million Jews, but the reality is not the same here. So in a comedian like atmosphere he can tell Piers to Eff You Kay off, but he is deceiving you. In that regard the quote from JK Rowling ““Yes”, she tweeted.” Watching Piers Morgan being told to f–k off on live TV is *exactly* as satisfying as I’d always imagined“, might be valid from a celebrity like her as she has seen the darker less acceptable side of journo’s on a global level, but in all , the facts were not correctly given. And the press seems to be heralding to a larger extent, for too long to give the microphone to any person willing to loudly speak out against the current US president. This situation is more important than you think, you see, President Trump is doing almost exactly what he promised to do, yet if we consider that 100% of his voters are 50% of the nation, is he doing the right thing for America? It is a serious question and the answer is less easy to give, because the losing side is trying to create flame after flame via emotional broadcasts. The left has grown its media domain to such an extent that part of the US is unlikely to ever get the full facts. The Piers Morgan video gives us that. They give the realm where we hear on how CNN is implied to have some sort of buddy system with the previous administration. That is actually more alarming than you might think, because in such a setting, have we heard any reliable news from CNN over the last 3 years? Did you consider that part of the equation?

erdoganmemeTurkey is the last part in this equation. As we see thousands of people getting fired, arrested and prosecuted in what most call a massive aversion of the course of justice, we see that the list has grown. The BBC recapped the last 7 months as an event “following the failed coup attempt, nearly 100,000 civil servants have been removed from their posts. That includes teachers, police officers, soldiers, academics and lawyers“, where it should be clear that several of these groups would not be caught alive talking to one another, we must wonder how this shift, how this automation towards a totalitarian political shift is not the disastrous move that Germany found itself in on 30th January 1933. With the death of Paul von Hindenburg on 2nd August 1934, the shift of Adolf’s rise to power was complete. In this the danger we see Turkey in due to the acts of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan are a lot higher than we get from President Trump, more important, as we see a massive political ‘Erdogan’ shift, what does that spell for the rest of Turkey? Will we become witness to the rise of a dictatorship, not unlike the one from Saddam Hussein? The changes he started in the 70’s, which led to the executions (read: purges), which would kill well over 250,000 Iraqis? More important, how will Europe interact at that point, or would Europe even allow itself to any interaction with Turkey?

 

These three are interacting because the Turkish population all over Europe will react to what happens in Turkey, more important, as Turkey becomes more ‘driven’ and President Erdogan finds the European doors close on him, we will get a new intelligence issue. As the Millî İstihbarat Teşkilatı (MİT) will be given the similar tasks, but now if finds itself more and more collecting international security intelligence, which changes the game as the allegiance with the USA will shift. The one with the FSB does not change that much as the FSB never really shares intelligence unless they know there are two other sources able to offer the information. As the open EU borders shut down to their original state, we will suddenly see that those outside of certain discussions will now become absent of being informed. It is the natural consequence of ending an open border environment. So as we see the Cold War escalate, there is at least the smallest chance that they will try to leave the hints of gullibility with the MİT. There is no evidence, but the Russian Intelligence side of things (before they started to call themselves FSB) has plenty of examples and lets not forget that they are still sore regarding a certain fighter plane that was shot down for transgressing Turkish borders for no more than 14 seconds.

This now gets another turn of complications as the two parts that we see escalating in the Washington Post with “White House national security adviser Michael Flynn is under increasing political pressure and risks losing the confidence of some colleagues following reports that he misled senior administration officials about his discussion of sanctions with a Russian envoy shortly before President Trump took office“, as well as “Former acting attorney general Sally Q. Yates warned the White House that national security adviser General Michael Flynn may be vulnerable to Russian blackmail, the Washington Post reported on Monday“, so as we ponder this, just a mere 1800 seconds ago we get “Flynn has acknowledged he might have discussed sanctions with the Russians but could not remember with 100 percent certainty, which officials said had upset Pence, who felt he had been misled“. ‘Is this the geriatric division of the Intelligence community?‘ I might drop a nickel every now and then, but I am not the national security adviser and neither is I having to be a General! Two very visible places where an event where things like ‘sanctions‘ and ‘could not remember with 100 percent certainty‘ what factors were having an impact on the sanctions. That part should have been clearly documented as filed so that the alphabet group knows what’s coming (those in charge that is). You see, as we all face the news of escalations (especially Turkey and Russia), the Russian issues with America (and vice versa) implies that we are on the forefront of an optional new cold war.

This is not just me, several sources are raising the threat of the new cold war (or Cyber cold war) as some call it. In this we will face several fronts, because there is currently an issue with the top positions and I feel that I can claim with a decent certainty that Breitbart News will be massively out of its depth when it misplaces, misrepresents or misquotes any element in such an affair. In addition, the General Flynn issue gives rise to the issue that this optional war is one that America will not be ‘in like Flynn‘, which gives away some of its lack of preparedness at that point.

So as North Korea might soon be making a few more boasts whilst we get incriminations addressed towards America and South Korea by China, we will see more speeches, considerations and not so carefully worded denials. In the end, we are skating towards a diminishing field of options. Well, actually, the question becomes what will happen, as we now see the resignation letter of the National Security Advisor (which might have been the only move left), the USA is now forced to get another person confirmed for the role. In a time when getting proper advice is pretty stellar important, selecting the right advisor would have been pretty important. All this in the first 100 days is not the best way for the new president to make any headway. Attached to this is the press, who have been on a massive Trump bash. The left who has been enjoying a lefty point of politics and getting enabled at every corner is now facing a vindictive administration, which is counterproductive on both sides, because any escalation down the Cold War front means that proper informing the people on what is actually happening is going to be much more important. In that regard, perhaps it is starting to be more and more important to label the tabloids with a brand that it is not truly presenting the news, I would prefer that they also lose the 0% VAT option, the idea that intentional misinforming the people comes with a tax break! Does that not bother you?

You see, these elements as stated are linked, not directly on the events, but how we react to them, this can have an increasing negative consequence, especially as we use social media to gain favour and laughs. Yet the other side tends to be less recipient. Some will take the moral offended side of the matter. So as we heard Jim Jefferies Hitler reference, some reacted, some did not and most reactions were against Piers Morgan. Now, I am no fan of him. I think that he plays a dangerous game, trying to side with the emotional side of people, as do Journo’s like Lisa Wilkinson, yet in some lights she tends to be a lot more level headed here. In contrast, when we see the Morgan quote: “To all the ignorant, bigoted transgender community members continuing to abuse me re @janetmock – I’m bored of you now, go away. Thanks.

Piers need to equally realise that if he does not consider thinking things through before making his case knowing very well that there will be open outrage, he needs to realise sooner rather than later that he is not part of any solution, he remains part of the problem.

This story will get a sequel as certain events are currently still evolving.

 

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Cleaning house!

This issue has been in the back of my head for some time. It was 2011 when this happened. The ruling hit the news (and the most colourful version was in the Daily Mail as per usual), where a rapist could not get deported because he was entitled to a family life. The article angered me and to some extent, I was then and I am still now on the side of the Daily Mail approach.

Why are criminals granted a lot more freedoms then their victims?

The more preposterous part is: “This is despite him not having a wife, long-term partner or children in the UK“, so what family life? He could try to get one in Nigeria for all I care.

The convention can be found here: http://www.echr.coe.int/Documents/Convention_ENG.pdf

The actual text: “ARTICLE 8 Right to respect for private and family life, 1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.
2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.”

It sounds nice enough, but it is time for some tough love, so I recommend adding the following:

3. In case of conviction of a serious crime, that nation can decide to ignore rule 1, providing a connection to a long term partner and the existence of biological off spring, born in that nation, not criminally conceived has been established.

So, we got rid of the rapist, if the mother is a pro-life woman, that will not protect him and moreover, he cannot hide behind an adoption either. Whether this is altered for the UK or it is accepted within the EEC as a whole is of course the crux. It is also time to stop tailoring from a weak point of view. Yes, at this point, a Human Rights point of view is a weak view (I accept that many disagree here)!

Let’s be clear here. I am all for human rights, but these rights also come with responsibilities and accountability, without these two rights pretty much go out of the window. It should also be clear that if a nation independently decides to not enforce paragraph 3, then this is fine too as I added “that nation can decide“, I am all for the right to choose and Like some should not judge the UK, the UK should not judge France, Germany or the Netherlands.

We are not done yet. There is still Article 12 to consider. We can’t have criminals ‘suddenly’ fall in love and get hitched and therefor avoid deportation (where applicable), hence the following would change

ARTICLE 12 Right to marry, Men and women of marriageable age have the right to marry and to found a family, according to the national laws governing the exercise of this right“.

Would change into:

ARTICLE 12 Right to marry,
1. Men and women of marriageable age have the right to marry and to found a family, according to the national laws governing the exercise of this right
2. The right to marry is temporary postponed if one or both persons have been deprived of his/her liberty by arrest or detention, until 6 months after release and was not been deported because of these events
3. Paragraph 2 will not be valid, if a court has ordered the release of the involved parties due to non-lawful detention
“.

We keep number three there, as there is always a chance a person was convicted innocently and as such; we must definitely protect their rights too, as I stated we will give all quarter to those who abided by law as we should.

So, it took me almost 45 minutes to get to these conclusions after going over certain papers. The question becomes why these steps had not been made before? Well, let’s take a look at the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/law/2013/dec/22/britain-european-court-human-rights). Here we see another view when we consider the following paragraph:

Grayling said last week the ECHR did not ‘make this country a better place’. David Cameron has said the court risks becoming a glorified ‘small claims court’ buried under a mountain of ‘trivial’ claims , and suggested Britain could withdraw from the convention to ‘keep our country safe’. The home secretary, Theresa May, has pledged the party’s next manifesto will promise to scrap the Human Rights Act, which makes the convention enforceable in Britain

I am not sure I can agree with the Home Secretary there. I see her point, but it took me only 45 minutes to alter the convention into something a lot less hassle, without actually changing that much. Those who come to Europe, fighting for a better life, not resorting to crime can still do that. My issue is that the rape victim, who was 13 at the time seems to have fallen of the view of the world (which might be good for her), yet in the dozens upon dozens of documents trying to protect the rapist, how much concern was given to the victim of his crime?

This is at the heart of my reasoning. Some judges talk a good talk, but then they seem to refuse to walk the walk (if it pleases the court and with all due respect). Consider the paper ‘Women in an unsecure world‘ (at http://www.unicef.org/emerg/files/women_insecure_world.pdf). A paper edited by Marie Vlachova and Lea Biason. If we are TRULY going to do anything to make their future safe, then we must begin in our own country. By making the consequence of transgression so high, that considering it will no longer be an option, that is the point where we all move forward and we can slowly start to actually eradicate the violence against women. I will not and cannot state that I have a true solution there, or that my solution will work. The issues are not overly complex, but it is a problem that is massively larger than most realise (including me), I just believe that if we send a strong signal that those transgressors will never be opted any life in any land of opportunity, we might, just might start to turn the tide a little. Is that not at the heart of Humanitarian rights too? If not, then what is Article 14 doing in the ECHR in the first place.

The only part that is laughable in the earlier mentioned PDF is the following statement “The Russian Government estimates that 14,000 women were killed by their partners or relatives in 1999, yet the country still has no law specifically addressing domestic violence“, the ‘comical‘ side there is that the UK did not have a serious option until the ‘Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004, I am not ignoring the ‘Family Law Act 1996’, yet the issue remains if we see the data (at http://www.womensaid.org.uk/domestic_violence_topic.asp?section=0001000100220041) that apparently the UK faces 1 call on domestic violence every minute. So, it is not just a Russian issue, the more data I see, the more that part should be stated as a global problem, with the Russian terminal numbers being a mere outlier in this entire debacle.

If we accept that not all women call for help, then there is a massive problem and governments all over the Commonwealth will need to make some clear, visible and drastic changes. When we start seeing newscasts on how immigrants have been evicted because of violence against women, how long until the local male population starts to realise that their number is up too?

This view is only amplified after seeing this article (at http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jun/08/police-fear-rise-domestic-violence-world-cup), is this for real? I wonder if a name and shame option would work. You know, we take his picture and place poster sized pictures close to ‘his’ watering holes. I wonder how happy such a person would feel in the local pub when they all knew what he was (apart from being an absolute wanker).

In several regards Theresa May was correct, the ECHR is a problem, but she was in my humble opinion incorrect to think that this issue was just in the UK, the Netherlands has numbers that indicate that violence against women is a lot higher there, or is it? Research seemed to indicate that Dutch women are more likely to report these crimes with the police, which makes the violence against women in the UK a lot higher than expected (at http://www.rtlnieuws.nl/nieuws/binnenland/geweld-tegen-vrouwen-nederland-een-stuk-hoger-dan-eu). Is that last part true? Without better data I cannot tell, but the chance that 4 out of 10 women are under direct threat of violence sickens me to my stomach, which makes the ECHR a larger joke then we are willing to admit to.

I think altering (best), or rejecting it (not that great an option) could be the next step, however, not doing anything should no longer be any option, not in the UK and not anywhere in the EEC, or anywhere else for that matter. Should we go after immigrants first? That is of course a valid question too. I think it is, as stated before, when these transgressors realise that crime gets you deported, a clear signal is given and not just in the UK either. I believe that once these events start, the signal is given all over Europe that a person is welcome as long as they abide by the law. There is of course the question where to add the bite we need. If too much is added to the ECHR, the bigger the chance that we create loopholes because of it and that makes any act or law bill toothless. The strongest bite is found in simplicity (as I see it). In that regard I would like to add something to Article 3 of the ECHR, changing it into:

ARTICLE 3, Prohibition of torture
1. No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
2. Domestic violence will be regarded as inhuman and degrading treatment of a person and is as such subject to local criminal law.

So, now that Domestic Violence is set on the same scope as torture. How soon until the local population realises that the ‘game’ is up and this kind of violence will get them into jail, out of house and home, an automatic granted divorce to the victim with all rights given to the victim, hence the victim gets the house, the children and what else and those who regarded domestic violence as an option would get the short end of every stick. I am willing to bet that the face of domestic violence is changed within a year after the courts start handing out these verdicts.

It would be nice to see such a change in mentality and I will (again) humbly accept my knighthood and cottage (especially as I concocted a solution after breakfast and before lunch).

I do agree that the solution is not that simple, but giving these victims additional protection with real teeth is likely a much better approach then has been attempted this far. Knowing that the other approach has not worked, is it not time to start opting for a more direct approach?

 

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Hot air for the Ukraine

That was the first thought I had when I saw the news from several angles, when we consider the responses from Chuck Hagel, John Kerry, Viktor Yanukovych and a few others. The Americans were (as expected) all about keeping an eye on what Russia does. My first question could be ‘then what?‘.

This would be a fair question as we have seen what happens when ‘the line gets crossed‘ as President Obama mentioned. Basically nothing happened in the end. There will be rattling of sabres and after that people create some diplomatic summit in a luxury place and in the end nothing really changes. If you doubt that, then ask the Syrians. In the end President Assad needed time and time he got and plenty of it. In that regard consider last week’s NY Times (at http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/23/world/middleeast/un-orders-both-sides-in-syria-to-allow-humanitarian-aid.html), so after several weeks the peace talks ended in failure. Be honest, was there ever a decent chance of a good outcome? This was all about delaying for President Assad, and as such he seems to have won. So, what will happen to the Ukraine?

The Ukraine is not like that, I know, but in the end, does that matter? The US is too weak, it has no reserves left, in addition, there is a growing pile of evidence that big business, not the politicians or the legislative branch are in charge of what happens in America. Feel free to doubt me, but consider the largest employer Wal-Mart. Consider that the owners are multi billionaires and that their staff members need food stamps and financial support just to survive. Did you hear me? This is not about the unemployed, but the workers who still need that level of support and the taxpayer gets those bills, not the employer. This is in my mind a level of clear evidence that the politicians as well as the legislative branch of the US government have failed its citizens. So, they are going to mess with Russia, just as the military has announced massive cuts and downsize plans? Who is kidding who here?

Now on the honourable representative players in this game called John Kerry and Chuck Hagel. I am not attacking them. They are representing their government, but are they speaking their mind and heart? They likely are and they are not happy about any of the issues currently rising, but they are unlikely able to make a true impact at present. You cannot spend money from a budget that is no longer there. Basically, as this administration was idle for over three years to tackle big business, to tackle spending habits and to hunt down tax evaders, the economic trinity at large, the US is pretty much bankrupt, which means they cannot pay for the fuel to make the war engine go forward. It will run out of fuel before it can truly engage a theatre of upcoming war. It is not a good thing, but it is what it is, so at this time it pretty much sucks to be the US Secretary of Defence!

But this is not just about America, many might ‘like’ this US bashing, but that is not what this is. Consider the words of Peter Stano “Peter Stano, Spokesperson for European Neighbourhood Policy Commissioner Stefan Fule, stated the European Commission (EC)’s ‘door remains open’ for Ukraine. The EC’s policy is very open, transparent and predictable, he said. The EC’s offer is tabled, he continued further. The EC offers highly important EU neighbours the opportunity to come closer to the EU with political association and economic integration, he explained

Consider the NY Times from January 2nd 2014 (at http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/02/business/international/the-euro-adds-latvia-but-further-growth-is-uncertain.html) “Those include achieving a deficit of 3 percent of gross domestic product and keeping debt to 60 percent of the annual gross domestic product.” This is about its newest member Latvia. You can read two parts here; one is to lower the deficit to 3%, which might be a good achievement. Yet at http://www.kase.gov.lv/uploaded_files/2010/SSD/news_release_2014-A-0109_011.pdf we see the mention “R&I believes that real GDP will continue to grow around 4% on the back of a recovery in the European economy.

Really, who is buttering who’s bread and where (more important, who owns the butter to begin with). This is a massive amount of iterated bad news management I am appalled that the PRESS is not more active in finding out the ‘real’ truth here. Consider a 2013 report from the EC (at http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/publications/european_economy/2013/pdf/ee3_en.pdf) and consider that the numbers on page 47 is up to 2011. So, the 2012 numbers are not even there for a 2013 report. This is all about marketing, all about as they state “Overall, a broad-based look at underlying factors suggests that sufficiently strong conditions are in place for Latvia to be able to maintain a robust and sustainable convergence path in the medium term“, which makes this 55 page paper a sales pitch.

How is this connected?

That is the question isn’t it! It is not about Latvia, or the Ukraine. This is about the EEC and their approach to ‘some kind of a future‘. This is all good, but these events are about setting economic prosperity for a few EEC bigwigs. As they add members, as deficits are still not met in several nations and debts keep on rising, the taxpayers will soon face a harsh reality and it is a bigger one than they bargained for. On my side, there is also a view. Am I comparing apples to pears?
Yes, to some extent I am. The issue is that the EEC is not a vendor of apples or pears, they are dealing in fruit and we all get thrown into the same trog. Russia seems adamant that the Ukraine does not enter the same trog. It prefers its own trog to the EEC one, which might looks nicer but has the same stale grub in the end.

So when we see the sabre rattling from both sides, make sure that you all realise that this is not about the Ukrainians, their choices their future. It is for the Ukrainians, but the other parties are engaging for one reason, their economies! It is about the economic futures of others. Will this all bring prosperity to the Ukraine and its people? Not until the EEC and America end up with a much better economy, which require these governments (all of them) to get their budgets in order. Until then they are showing themselves as some sort of hedge fund dealers. You might remember how that ended up in 2004 and 2008. Now, it is no longer about de-valuated pieces of paper, now it will all be about people and whoever will be the ‘last’ nation left standing. We need to get out of that rat race and real quickly too!

That part becomes more and more visible when we see the latest from Sky News “Russia is ready to help Ukraine as it seeks to stave off economic collapse, US Secretary of State John Kerry says after talking with his Russian counterpart” (at http://www.skynews.com.au/world/article.aspx?id=954470). In addition “Ukraine owes $US13 billion in state debt payments this year – a massive sum in a country where state reserves have shrunk to less than $US18 billion” gives some level of evidence to my views. Another government had been spending money they never had to begin with. When smaller economies fall over, how long until the larger ones take a tumble (especially as they add on new in deficit grown members), because if these issues do not change that will be the clear terminal result, no matter what sales pitch a hedge fund call centre operator calls you with.

In that regard there is an interesting paper at http://www.project-bridge.eu/datoteke/Actions2012/BRIDGE-ANALYSIS%20OF%20THE%20EU-UKRAINE%20RELATIONS.pdf. Denys Kuzmin and Iryna Maksymenko wrote an interesting piece in 2012. Not sure how much I can agree with (as I was never an economic), but it reads like this is all about a possible future for the Ukraine, not about keeping the EEC alive. That side is getting less and less likely, as we see the growing influence from Nigel Farage, Marie Le-Penn, Bernd Lucke and Geert Wilders in their respective governments. Whatever will happen after that will have long term consequences for all the EEC players, even though many ignore these dangers, the dangers will not go away any day soon because that is the consequence of a weak economy, the people choose and currently they are very afraid for their personal futures. So is Ukraine better off with Russia or with the EEC? I actually have no idea, but consider that Russian Commerce is currently buying up commerce all over Europe like for example the Dutch Jeweller ‘Siebel’. The chips are not just changing hands, they are now moving out of local owner’s hands into the hands of foreign corporations. I am not talking about the big boys, they have been in some international hands for a long time, we are now talking about smaller shops where all the moms and pops go.  Consider that these places are no longer held by some oil sheik (like large portions of London), or certain American multi-national groups. Now Russian companies are moving in (through legal methods) and taking control. Who would have guessed this event 10 years ago? Perhaps it is time to ignore these high boasting Wall Street analysts, it is time for actual data, not have baked forecasts to take control of budget goals and government expenditures.

For those wondering about the hot air reference in the title, this is a reference to the windy city of Chicago. The windy city was not about the fresh Canadian air, but about their politicians (filled with hot air). The escalating issue as they are shown in the Ukraine is now in my view all about politicians and spokespeople. For the last 8 years politicians sat on their hands and spokespeople did whatever they could to divert the eyes of politicians, politicians for governments, spokespeople for economic interested parties. If you doubt my words then look at Darfur, Bagdad, Nigeria and Syria, all colossal failures. The politicians failed, grabbing for some ‘sanction solution’ that has never actually worked. Now their credibility of strength is gone. Big Business has been pushing for the lowest and cheapest option for so long; it has made the rich richer, the poor with less, whilst the rich avoid taxation by the billions and after half a decade they are still not dealt with, whilst many taxation coffers are less than empty. Consider the words of Mariana Chilton, an associate professor at Drexel University’s School of Public Health: “If they wanted to address poverty and hunger in this country, then they would pay a living wage, and they would make sure that their workers had good benefits and good family leave for when families have children, etcetera” (at http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/business-solution-war-on-poverty-lyndon-johnson)

These two groups talk to all but they do not really communicate. In the end, when it all falls over they only have themselves to blame and end up blaming everyone except themselves, whilst at the same time they will leave the taxpayer with the cost of it all.

In the end, Russia can do to Ukraine (read Crimea region) whatever it likes, because the west currently has no real actionable options left.

 

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