Tag Archives: North-Korea

A Christmas Carroll

 

This is one of those stories that don’t begin with ‘Once upon a time’; it is nowhere near starting with that. The reality is that such a beginning would make the actual events unreal, it would be like setting the editorial of the Times in the same place as the Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum as stating that there was no longer a difference. The reality of the matter is actually a little different, you see the reality is “Sanity was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of the loss and funeral of sanity was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. The March Hare signed it: and the bunnies name was good upon ’Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. The Mad Hatter was as dead as a door-nail“.

It is the slightly paraphrased beginning of A Christmas Carol, in this story the lead is played by Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un. Yet at present we cannot tell who is who, so is the bunny Korean, or is that person just mad as a hatter? I cannot tell and I feel certain others cannot tell either. In all this, we might think that the Yanking matter is not crazy or in the sane mindset. We have seen enough from Donald to regard him as a Disney character of another kind. Now plenty of people will regard President Trump to be the sane version, to be the one on the moral high ground. And in regards to any ruling party in North Korea, he certainly is. Yet the event that are unfolding are uncertain, there are ghosts in play, just like Marley was the ghost to reckon with the soul of one close to utter deprivation of goodness, there is a play, it is fuelled in ways that should offend nearly every reader on the planet. News dot com dot au ‘hides’ behind “A FORMER ambassador to South Korea reveals how war could start in North Korea”. They are not alone, so as we hear doom say and nae say we are getting nervous, but the actual issue is subjugated by one word. The use of former gives rise that this person is only up to scrap to some degree, unlikely to the complete degree. So, even as a former ambassador has information to contribute, we need to put a question mark with every statement and the makers of that article did not do that.

One paper made mention of a clever play (by North Korea), others make mention of the time it takes for North Korea to lose. The issue is that as soon as even one nuclear missile makes it to ‘inflight: Warhead activated‘ everyone else loses. Japan and South Korea are the initial worst victims, but the fallout will affect the Pacific Ocean in a few ways. It took decades for the ocean to heal from Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Let’s revisit the response by General Grover in a special Senate hearing. His response was “I am not a doctor. But I will answer it anyway. The radioactive casualty can be of several classes. He can have enough that he will be killed instantly. He can have a smaller amount which will cause him to die rather soon, and as I understand it from the doctors, without undue suffering. In fact, they say it is a very pleasant way to die“. Shall we try that on him? Actually, No! I would not want to try that on anyone. Unless you are at ground zero, vaporised in the moment, you will enter an age of suffering until the moment you die. Over the decades we learned much more and we know that there was ignorance in those days. This time around that ignorance will not be acceptable or be regarded with kind words. After WW2, Japan would grow a new class of people, the Hibakusha, more than 400,000 in fact. They were not illuminated as a result of the events, they were ostracised in Japanese culture, in Japanese life and by themselves.

Another fact often buried in several ways was “Two months after the explosion, the city’s total incidence of miscarriages, abortions, and premature births was 27% as compared with a normal rate of 6%.“, whatever will be fired now will be 1,000%-27,000% stronger than the two bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. So when North Korea fires a live nuke, the devastation might not be one that any mind set in reality will be able to face.

When the bomber Captain Lewis of the Enola Gay was asked regarding his experience, the quote we now get was Well, Mr Edwards, just before 8.15am Tokyo time, Tom Ferribee — a very able bombardier — carefully aimed at his target, which was the Second Imperial Japanese Army headquarters. At 8.15 promptly, the bomb dropped. We turned fast to get out the way of the deadly radiation and bomb effects … Shortly after we turned back to what had happened. And there, in front of our eyes, the city of Hiroshima disappeared“, this was added by “I wrote down later: ‘My God, what have we done?’“. This was a person believing in ending a war, yet not knowing anything sincere about the bomb. Like many others who served in the 80’s, I have seen test firing of actual Atomic bombs (the movie the military made in the pacific) and I saw a replay of some of that in ‘the Day after‘ (1983). Yet, in a cinema, as part of a movie, our mind pushes away the issue of reality, the reality is however even more unsettling than any nightmare on Elm Street.

Now, North Korea has been playing a very dangerous game for slightly too long and we cannot fault the reactions by America, because there is a clear and present danger that stretches a lot further than we can comprehend, but is there a way to stop this?

This is where we see the impact of the lack of sanity, because no way how we characterise Kim Jong-un. The danger is too large. So, even as I refer to the statement from 1500 which gave us “Then they begin to swerve and to stare, and be as brainless as a March hare“, we state “Then he began to swear and stare, and be as brainless as a March hare. Such we see the man that is Jong-un“. In the other view we see “Working each day with mercury-soaked felt turned hat makers crazy“, so as the hatter was mad, we became mad because of the hat, all due to the lack of comprehension of how dangerous Mercury was. Now, we know better and all who know it should never play with the fire of fission.

Now the news escalates with every minute. The UK, Japan, China, the USA. They are all in a phase of planning, presenting statements and seeking advice. Yet the vulgar part is that as long as North Korea has placed nuclear solutions on the table, no one is safe and too much is at stake. In an age of cascading statistics only one fault gets us to watch a house of cards fall over and any card could hit a button under it making the events fire a blaze of radiation onto too large an area. The repercussions cannot be measured or correctly anticipated, because when one fires at least one other will fire. The question will there be two parties firing or will all others fire on the firing party, no matter what happens, the ecology around the events will change for decades, perhaps even forever. The bigger issue is not the USA or North Korea, it is Japan. They went through it once before, the reasons were very different, but the fear of what happened remains with the Japanese people, so when the missile goes live, Japan will face its ultimate fear for the second time and this time they were merely caught in the middle, and as for President Trump? His statement that ‘talks are not the answer’ is not wrong, yet it puts him on near equal footing with Kim Jong-un, one as the March Hare, the other as the Mad Hatter. Yet who is who?

The assignment on the person is not depending on the Tim Burton version of the movie. We need to move back to the age of Lewis Carroll and see why these two characters exist, some show the terms to be much older and it is in that comprehension that we see the wisdom of both characters. More important, when we see the external forces we might see that the actions of North Korea make sense in the most insane of ways. For decades that nation has been cut off from all levels of luxury. All levels of resources and when we consider the Human Rights Watch we saw in 2006 that North Korea was in a stage towards famine and in utter poverty (at https://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/northkorea0506webwcover.pdf). Al Jazeera gives us in 2014 (at http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/03/n-korea-myth-starvation-2014319124439924471.html) no famine, yet a massive inequality. The quote that matters is: “It brings growth, but it also brings a large amount of income inequality and social tensions with it too. In spite of North Korea’s Stalinist rhetoric, North Korea is now a country in which there are rich and poor – and the gap between these two groups, already large, is widening quickly”. I believe that there is still a famine issue, but it is underground, or very much away from prying eyes. When we see that there was an average 800K Tonne of food shortage. Add drought and natural disasters and we see a curve that is not realistic. The question is how large a population died since then, now we get to the good stuff, you need to be insane to comprehend this. I believe that Kim Jong-un is steering towards a failed war; he wants to lose and move towards a luxurious exile, whilst the rest of North Korea collapses and they will all blame America and not their leader.

How wrong am I?

I am on the fence I hope in near equal measure that I am both right and wrong. If I am right, this entire stage we have seen lately was a last sabre rattling exercise, if I am wrong than we have a mad man with the finger on the button ready to die with whomever he can bring along for the ride of his nuclear missile. In this case I desperately want to be right, if only to avoid the idea of the enhanced dangers to the Sea of Japan, Japan and the Pacific Ocean. The simplest of reasons is that our ecology might not survive a megaton blast irradiating water and sea life. It would change our ecology forever and that is actually slightly too scary to me.

 

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Egotistic Uselessness

Yup, the news has been out for a little while, apart from North Korean rockets flying over Japan and breaking up in three parts, we have another issue to worry the people in Europe. There are now two additional issues. The first one is shown in the Express (at http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/846776/Brexit-news-latest-EU-Michael-Barnier-UK-security-Brussels-talks-negotiations-Theresa-May), yet there it is hidden as a statement of reference. With “Many Eurosceptic have interpreted the proposals as a call to create an EU Army” we see a reference to “The Eurocrat also backed a proposal from the European Commission to gradually combine EU national defences by 2025“, so the largest expense in most national budgets now comes with an added iteration of logistics on a European level. So, how was that EVER going to be a good idea? Is it another snipe at those following Brexit that their defence would suffer if they jump this shark (or is that these sharks)? The Independent (at http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/brexit-eu-military-planning-its-own-army-a7916371.html) gives us “the European Defence Action Plan has a goal of reversing around a decade of defence spending cuts by EU states“, so the EU is now setting a course to reverse defence spending cuts, and who is going to pay for all that? Where is THAT money coming from? Because I can tell you now that the nations are getting a hefty bill for whatever comes next, whilst we see a large increase in logistical needs, the overall efficiency of these defence ‘needs‘ will not be getting any better, they will get worse. With defence at present, they tend to be free of communication issues for the most. So, in this new setting, watching a conversation between Dutch General Middendorp, French Colonel Alexis de Roffignac and Italian Naval Admiral Valter Girardelli would become interesting to say the least. I could get rich selling popcorn at that event. It is not merely the language (we hope all three are fluent in one language and some of them will hope that the common language is not German). There is an issue with standards and setting of common ground, which has always existed to some degree between army and navy. No, the issue goes beyond soft skills, the diversity of the armed forces has hardware considerations as well, beyond the hardware (or lack thereof) we see that infrastructure is also a page never properly tackled within the armed forces in any one nation, so overhauling that will be costly on several fronts, which does not merely undo the cutbacks, it forces these defence structures to switch the ways the setting were, making the changes even more expensive. This means that we get a fake growth of economy from some providers, whilst removing provisions from exiting providers, skewing economy numbers and national costs even further, which would force nations in deeper debt. It is totally opposite of what nations should be achieving. So as we see the news from the express (at http://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/840804/Brexit-news-ex-Macron-defence-advisor-EU-army-Britain), with the first mention of “‘Now the Brits are gone’ Ex-Macron defence advisor predicts Brexit to pave way for EU ARMY“, which makes Francois Heisbourg nothing short of a raving ‘loon’ in my personal view, the next quote gives us “The EDA, which is a tiny agency headquartered in Brussels, is headed up by EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini and is tasked with fostering military cooperation within the bloc. It has a minuscule budget of just £28 million, which has been frozen at that level as a result of British opposition to any expansion of its operations which could lead to the creation of a euro force“, the sheer idiocy here with ‘minuscule budget‘ is at the core. So how long until (with the removal of the UK) that number would be forced towards £28 billion? The need to rise this a thousand fold, and that is merely the overhaul of European defence logistics and initial alignment of communication hardware, software, encryption and skill sets. Oh and that gives us almost immediately the need for billions more and the alignment and shortage of skills would make these defence players the direct target of cyber criminals from the ‘playful education‘ (read teenagers), the ‘academic probing‘ (read Tech-Uni students) and ‘technological entrepreneurs‘ (read organised crime). The option of keeping data and Intel safe at that point could go straight out of the window. You see, there are a few levels of issues and I reckon the moment this starts happening is about the same time when we can download and admire the new ELF encryption system which is (are rumoured) some kind of block chain encryption method (connected to the new Barracuda submarine). It is a clever way to use SmartTags as the setting for the message; making it pretty much uncrackable as well as almost uninterceptable. Because no matter how you slice it, the present settings on defence communication makes it only interesting to try and hack all of it by some governments with the funds to afford such an approach (Russia, USA, China, UK, France and India), when these European players start uniting their solutions, the entire playground becomes a much more appealing field for a lot more players and this is not about merely the intel, when the interception starts, they would start to get access of third party players and where jobs are awarded. Other players would be aware of the decision of billion dollar jobs almost before the market had a clue and that is where speculators would gain a larger advantage, the sale of that knowledge will be rewarded with high bonuses. It is an entrepreneurial heaven for those with a lower setting to the ethical button.

The weird part is that people like Francois Heisbourg should be aware of that as he is also the chairman of the foundation council of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy. This now implies that he is very aware of the need for stability and security, two elements that would actually diminish to some degree. Keeping that up beyond a certain level would require a lot more than £28 billion. Consider the smaller European players, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Estonia and Latvia. They would be required to adhere to stringent communication rules and equipment, and that is only the communication part. When we go towards supply and the need to adhere to some European standard, the reshuffle becomes truly a nightmare. So as we are ‘lulled to sleep‘ with the fact that I am (according to some sources) overreacting, we will see politicians making new speeches (read: rewriting prognosis of requirement) around 2022-2024, stating that to grow the efficiency of European defence, new changes must be introduced and that is where the list will become a lot larger than I am showing you now. I am merely showing the small places that have had their settled way of dealing with their defence. When the list becomes complete a few players will rake in the billions, billions none of the governments have and none of these governments have certain levels of skills at present. At present they have nothing (read: very little) to fear as they are just a small fish in the data world, when the national defences align they all become a target for data acquisition, far beyond they have ever been before. It will be a game changer on several levels and at present no one has the ability to counter what attacks them. You only need to look at the Sony, who again merely a week ago got hacked again. A company where digital security is their essential bread and butter, we see: “On Sunday evening, hackers claimed to have breached PSN and stolen database information. The group, named “OurMine,” was able to overtake Sony’s official PlayStation-branded Twitter accounts to announce the alleged hack“, so in how much danger will less enabled players be? The entire system of ‘open to a certain degree‘ engineering is the spinal cord of cyber dangers, it becomes a spinal tap of information and there would be a decreasing chance of stopping it, with additional chances of merely endangering its own systems, making the concept of a ‘Spinal Tap Hack‘ a lot more realistic in describing the danger it represents.

There is one upside, when it all collapses, these governments might make a deal with Alphabet to arrange for Google Cyber Security on all European nations (speculative sense of humour in action). So not only could we all have the same security, it might for once, for a short time all remain secure. Did I oversimplify the problem here?

Consider that part. What data has been secure so far and why was it secure?

Now consider what supplies have ever been safe? When we consider that in Portugal merely two months ago we see “Defence officials in Portugal say they are compiling a list of weapons and ammunition stolen from the national armoury in a brazen daytime raid“, so consider that Portugal has its own procedures, which implies to some degree that the perpetrators would have gotten some inside information, now consider that the EU nations will comply with certain procedures. How long until this stops being an isolated case and becomes a little more common place? You see, when we see “Defense Minister Azeredo Lopes described the robbery Wednesday at Tancos Air Base, 100 kilometres (60 miles) north of Lisbon, as a “very professional” job and a “serious” breach of security“, so when we consider the truth of it (and I accept it to be true), what information would these professionals have been given? There needed to have been some leak, because you usually cannot just enter an airbase and go snooping until you get lucky. The issue would escalate when certain security procedures become harder as there will be more compliance to certain standards. Of course there is still security, but as intelligence on certain matters become more ‘readily’ available, security becomes much harder and more essential, so any hole in any ‘fence’ would result in loss of goods. Now, when it is cabbages no one cares too much, yet when it becomes stingers, grenades, ammunition and weapons, will people stay indifferent?

There are the two largest issues and the fact that the ‘blasé‘ response from Francois Heisbourg with ‘Now the Brits are gone‘ is largely beyond short-sighted. A politician with Euro signs instead of pupils is the most dangerous greed driven threat to security that any nation could face. I hope that the EU-army players in this upcoming game wake up before it is too late and too much is spend on something that is as I personally see as largely counterproductive for any nations defence. That is merely my personal view and the current situation makes me regard the European Union as a collective of Egotistic Uselessness.

 

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How to pay for it?

Yesterday’s news is not new. We have all heard the options, the opposition and the recrimination. Yet the article (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/23/uk-arms-sales-to-saudis-continued-after-airstrike-on-yemen-funeral) gives out more to ask of those who are on the moral ethical high ground and as such we need to make considerations, from within ourselves and towards others choosing for us.

You see, I am not stating that they are wrong, or that there isn’t an issue. We need to ask ourselves whether we should take blame of responsibility of the actions of other governments. So consider the £283m. When we consider the 2017 spring budget, that one sale takes care of the Education and health bill for spring 2017 and potentially leaves us with enough to pay the Debt interest for that quarter. So, what will these campaigners do when they are opted for one (the deal) or the other which would be no health or education money? I always love campaigners who in a downed economy make demands and have no clue or no solution on how to pay for it all. It is a really lovely group of non-deciders in most of the events.

What would I do?

I would happily go to Riyadh with my new BAE business card and sell them whatever systems they need to keep their nation safe. You see, it is the right of any nation to defend their nation. The application of the weapons purchased is up to them. Guns do not kill people, people kill people, it is basic and as I see it the correct dimensionality of a situation.

So when I read “the UK trade secretary, Liam Fox, delayed signing a set of export licences and his officials prepared for sales to Saudi Arabia to be suspended. However, documents obtained by the Guardian revealed that the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, advised him that the sales should continue, as he judged there was no clear risk that British weapons would be used for serious breaches of international humanitarian law“, like Boris Johnson, I see no real issue. The fact that he added: ‘serious breaches of international humanitarian law‘ as a condition was politically fair enough and perhaps a definite essential condition. It seems a little cowardly, but at what point would there be a serious consideration there? Even Iran might not fall into that category, leaving us with only North Korea, Al-Qaeda and ISIS as actual risk factors and we do not deal with these three anyway.

When someone states that I am wrong and there is a clear risk with Saudi Arabia transgressing there, my question would be: ‘Show me that evidence‘. After which I get a lot of speculative mumbo jumbo and no evidence at all. In this day and age we need to consider the choices to select which is fair enough, yet to give rise to campaigners on speculative events whilst they are willing to give silence in the case of Javier Martin-Artajo, Julien Grout and Bruno Iksil, willing to shrug the shoulders and walk away without anger or indignation. Such persons are all about feigned morality because there was no blood. So how many people lost their quality of life for a long time whilst JP Morgan Chase & Co lost £4.7 billion? You think that this was merely printed money, people lost all levels of hard worked gains, pensions, savings and other losses were endured. So as we read in that case “the Department of Justice said it “no longer believes that it can rely on the testimony” of Bruno Iksil, the trader dubbed the London Whale, based on recent statements and writings he made that hurt the case” (source: the Guardian), I feel like this was an orchestrated event. First get the accusations out, make a final thrust for your own acquittal and then write a little more making it all unreliable? Consider not what he lost (stated at 80%), but that he got to keep 20% of some $6m a year (paid more than one year), in addition, whatever the DoJ agreed to in 2013, which might be his house and a few other things. So he got to keep an amount that is exceedingly more than whatever I have made or will make for my entire life, a mere 2 years of his. So as we see about extradition issues, we now see that all three walk away.

This relates to the arms deal as the consequences of that part are merely speculative and it pays for a chunk of the government budget, so I will take a job there willingly any day of the week, presenting the technological marvels of the F-35 JSF missile which can be set to the bulk of the Saudi Arabian fighters. I will gladly take the reduced 1% commission and sell 5,000-10,000 missiles, after which I fly to Egypt and sell a few more. If that gets education and health funded in the UK for the entire year, so much the better! I will sleep like a baby knowing that education and health care are safe and set in stone to be funded. My presentations would be the best stellar presentations of them all. So F.U. (sorry for this instance of Post Enhousiastic Sales Drama) to both Raytheon and Northrop Grumman!

As we can imagine at times we need to take heed (read: listen to) campaigners, when the going was good (20 years ago) and we had several options to take a high moral stance, yet at present with a collapsing NHS, with politicians showing less and less backbone against large corporations on taxation issues, the United Kingdom has a responsibility towards its citizens, not just to keep them safe, but to offer some level of any future. Those campaigners seem to think that money grows on trees and have no idea on how to get things funded; in the UK the UK Labour party is perhaps the most striking evidence of all. As Jeremy Corbyn is now in denial on student debt issues, as he was intentionally vague during the election race. Of course apart from not winning (thank god for that), the realisation that he has no options, no methods and no way to get any level of budget done without raising the current debt by at least 50% and initially projected at 80%, the question becomes, how it would have ever been paid for as people like this, and campaigners against certain paths (read: perhaps for the right ideological reasons) have no way to deal with the national issues. Leaving people with much harsher debts, increased taxation and less social security as it can no longer be paid for.

I am not against ideology, I do not believe that dedicated pacifism is a cowardly stance; it is often quite a brave stance. Yet, it is equally often not a realistic one. We can all go to Hacksaw Ridge and be amazed of the events Andrew Garfield’s character went through, showing us some of what the real Desmond Doss went through, and we can admire his stance and his courage. Yet in the end, without the thousands armed forces in the 77th Infantry division, the battle would have been lost. It does not diminish the actions of this one highly decorated person, I am merely stating that the 77th held its ground and was victorious in the end, yet we should never forget that it is still regarded as the bloodiest battle in the history of WW2, with 50,000 allied lives lost and well over 100,000 Japanese casualties.

We make choices in war and in peace. I believe that every sovereign nation has its rights for defence, we cannot vouch for the articles of war in offense and that is not our responsibility. It is not for the salesperson of equipment to say and even the campaigner for peace needs to realise that there is a stance to take, even if it is a valid choice to oppose offensive actions, we must realise that any self-governing nation can deal with its enemies in the way they seem fit, when it becomes too unacceptable we need to accept that places like the United Nations will take the appropriate actions.

So how is this different?

It should not be, but it is. Ask yourself how you would act. We can always act holier than thou when we can afford it, yet when we are confronted with being hungry or to some degree making a questionable deal that is not criminal, and it is perfectly legal, but we cannot foresee the consequence. Is it still wrong to do it? Consider that we cannot predict the future and this is not merely a legal ‘more likely than not‘. It is about legally acting correct and morally acting optionally questionable, because that is where the stance is. Should we interfere with the right of Saudi Arabia to defend itself and act, or become judging and act towards denying them that right? This is the view I think that the campaigners are not taking correctly, too hastily and in judgement of ‘some’ moral principle. Now, I am not stating that they cannot do that, it is their right and their expression of free will, but in all this, they must also than accept the setting that they will have to voice: ‘We have decided to stop all NHS healthcare and education for the upcoming Autumn 2017, as we stopped the revenue that would have guaranteed it‘, that must then be in equal measure their acceptance in this. I wonder how the doctors, nurses and teachers feel at that point.

In this we now see another part grow. Even as we agree to some extent with the quote of “The terrible funeral bombing should have been a time for reflection and for the UK to reconsider its uncritical political and military support for Saudi Arabia“, we accept that ideologically Andrew Smith, spokesman for Campaign Against Arms Trade has a right and perhaps even a valid point, yet does he?

When we see “‘Incorrect information’ meant hall in Sana’a was mistaken for military target, leading to 140 deaths, says US-backed mission” (source: the Guardian) we need to know a lot more, the actual Intel, the raw data and the decision tree. When we also see “The air operation centre in Yemen, it added, directed a “close air support mission” to target the site without approval from the coalition’s command“, we can argue and question a few issue, yet in all, who authorised the action? How was the coalition command set up? If there was an approval at any level it takes the pilot out of the equation (read: likely he was never a consideration in the first place), so even as we see questions on the actions, even when we read “Dozens of citizens fell as martyrs or were wounded in this attack by planes of the Saudi-American aggression“, whilst the actions of the Houthi rebels are left in silence by too many, including the indiscriminate shelling of places. Any war is a place where it took two to tango, which does not absolve any side of considerations, yet in all I see often a complete lack of complete information, or better stated more precise and more complete information to the extent that was possible. Even now as Yemen is using ballistic missiles attacking a Saudi Oil refinery, as Mines are killing Saudi Soldiers, we see that Yemen remains active, shooting missiles close to 600 miles into Saudi Arabia, so as such, I think that the time of recriminations are over, they have been over for some time. Even now, merely 5 hours ago, we see that Nayef al-Qaysi, governor of the central province of al-Bayda was removed from office because of his ties with Al-Qaeda. Now, the source here is the Miami Herald, and others are voicing pretty much the same article. I cannot state one or the other, yet when we see these events unfold, giving rise to one or the other without proper visible intelligence is not a given. Yet in all this, when we take the original title and make this: ‘UK approved £283m of arms sales to Saudis to fight Al-Qaeda‘ (read: personal merging of different timed facts), at that point how many campaigners would we hear? Can we agree that if Nayef al-Qaysi has ties to Al-Qaeda, they would have been there for some time?

A piece of intelligence that I and perhaps many others would not have had last October, so should I not have sold these weapons to Saudi Arabia? I do not think that I had any valid opposition to not sell and whenever we campaign (even for the best and most valid of reasons) is always a loaded gun and that loaded gun is always aimed at the victims of these actions. In my presented case it would have been the people in need of NHS treatments and students. Any person proclaiming that they have the whole picture is usually lying to you, apart from the General of the Saudi armed forces there would be almost no other person in possessions of all the facts and even then we can state with a certain level of certainty that this person did not have ALL the facts. This is what makes the opposition to any debatable act a dangerous path. We can at best hope for acting in a non-illegal manner and that is exactly what happened in this case. It was a legal transaction, one that was essential for the coffers of the United Kingdom.

We need to learn how to compartmentalise. It is in our best interest to do what is correct and to do what our bosses want of us. When we try to grow beyond that cubicle we tend to speculate on what is best and even if we agree that thinking things through is never a bad thing, unless it is our responsibility we have to act according to our better angels, which means no in opposition of law. Is it not interesting that when that happens, more often than not these actions were greed based and those transgressors should be prosecuted by law, which in the case of hedge funds traders is almost 0%, so if we want ideology, it should be on the evolution of legislation to stop economic exploitation. Yet at that point, how many campaigners remain? I reckon that list slims down a lot, because economic transgressions are not sexy enough, or it is like a happy lottery ticket that nearly everyone wants and in case of Bruno Iksil when it amounts to 20% of many millions, I would love to get that lottery ticket as well, I saw a nice place in Cognac, where I would happily retire to. A mere €850K, which would leave me well over €100K a year to live off for the rest of my life, whilst the house (read: villa) had been paid for. I admit it is a lifestyle I would embrace if it was limited to one questionable, non-illegal act. It will not make me a criminal, merely a person not hiding behind some hypocrite high moral code of conduct.

Until campaigners get in the stage of life on how to pay for their daily meal and proceed on that moral high ground, that is the first step in filtering the actual ideologists from the hypocrites, an essential first step, yet in the end, they too need to accept that some sides of life need to get paid for and they cannot vote to make thousands abstain from essential needs. It is not fair and not pretty but that is the place that deep debts have pushed us all into, the mere acceptance of our to the smallest degree of changed options in upholding any quality of life.

 

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The hard-line path

Over the last days we have seen an increased voice of extremist call by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran. The question now becomes, how will the internal struggle change the game for Hassan Rouhani, President of Iran. The NY Times gives us (at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/20/world/middleeast/iran-election-hassan-rouhani.html) the issues that play. “He badly needs to demonstrate progress on overhauling the moribund economy”, which is just one of several quotes. Yet the danger is not in the achievements, the issue now is that someone else will get the seat to the presidency in less than 4 years. The optimism could go straight out of the window sooner than we think. The hard-line of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is seen everywhere and even as President Rouhani is on his last term, the ayatollah is not. The news we see now, the beats and shouting of ‘Saudi Arabia’s rulers faced “certain downfall” for aligning themselves with the US‘, as well as ‘Saudi Arabia is a ‘cow being milked’ by US, says Iran’s supreme leader‘ is now getting a louder view and voice, whilst they are positioning Saudi Arabia as the oppressor of Islamic faith, whilst he throws Bahrain and Yemen into the mix. As we see the news, the issue that President Trump remains in opposition of Iran, causes additional worries. Unless the US is willing to go into a direct war with Iran, the only thing their diplomatic corps is achieving is to set the population against the US, in this what was regarded as a moderate, President Rouhani is now on the edge of finding a moderate continuation through a successor, whilst the Ayatollah is finding new ways to instil conservative values, undoing what President Rouhani has achieved. In all this the ‘progressive’ approach of Europe, with their nuclear program for Iran, lifting all sanctions and other ‘path improvements’ are soon to be a new cause for concern. I made that point 2 years ago in my blog when I mentioned the need for caution as the world was still getting past the idea of a post-Ahmadinejad era. I was clear in my warning that no matter how moderate the new president is, the hardliners might get another Ahmadinejad into play, that would change the status by a lot.

In addition, Forbes gave us the following a mere 4 days ago.

  • Sent over 3,000 to the gallows and escalated domestic crackdown,
  • Increased its export of terrorism through Shiite proxies across the Middle East,
  • Boosted the Levant dictator Bashar Assad in his massacring and displacing millions of innocent Syrians,
  • Supported the IRGC in test launching a significant number of ballistic missiles in violation of UN Security Council resolutions and harassing US Navy vessels in international waters,
  • Increasing Tehran’s support for the Afghan Taliban, according to the The Washington Post,
  • Made having dual nationality a threat, as experienced by too many hostages

In addition, we get “For hard-liners and their affiliates — including the office of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the Basij, the judiciary and the Intelligence Ministry — Rouhani is more helpful in achieving their major objectives“, which is given by Dr. Majid Rafizadeh, a leading expert on Iran and US foreign policy and president of the International American Council.

The question becomes, on how Iran sees facilitation and how they consider it is used by Iran in Europe, because the limitations that hindered serious facilitation by Iran in the past are all but gone. The overly optimistic people (called politicians with a personal agenda), have paved a very dangerous path. They will be in denial, yet the parts that are clearly showing is that President Rouhani has been more and more outspoken in certain regards, which as the president of Iran he should be allowed to do, yet it is an extremely outspoken anti-Saudi Arabia view. This is happening whilst the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has now finished a third underground missile production factory. And whilst I note upfront that I have no ballistic experience, which means that I am not an Aussie electrician (jab at: ‘Aussie electrician charged with helping IS develop missile capabilities’), yet what some sources have not mentioned is that the commander Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, is the very same person who boasted rocket aid to Hezbollah as well as the mention that the Iranian missiles can reach Israel. In addition, we have the threat: “Hajizadeh explained that if the Zionist regime attacks Iran, it will be destroyed. He said, “If those people make a move, it will hand us a justification to wipe them off the face of the earth“, this part actually needs additional footnotes. The link is at https://www.juancole.com/2012/07/hajizadeh-if-israel-attacks-iran-it-will-be-destroyed.html, and it is good to read as it addresses a few issues. In all this Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh gives a clear address to a reaction, with the reinforced ‘when Israel attacks’, so the General states to only act in retaliation, he states he would not act in a first strike. I can accept that, although my rusty Arabic is set at 0%, so if the original text was a recipe to make spicy lamb, I would not be able to tell the difference. Yet in all this, the subterfuge will be missed. Even as we accept that the General is a devoted Muslim with a love for his country and a devotion to live to highest standards, how many hard-line Iranians would it take to create the wrong intelligence and the missiles would get fired towards Tel Aviv anyway? Do not even consider that this cannot happen, with a closed system and with Iranians that have the mental drive that Ahmadinejad had, how many would it take to set the system to give the decision makers the wrong intel? America has had its share of miss-presentations. Perhaps some of you remember Colin Powell and his suitcase with evidence of weapons of mass destruction in 2003. How did that go over? The reality is that Iran has an environment where the hardliners get to be in power again and again. Whenever that is not the case, there is enough time to debunk and diminish the work that moderate minded Iranians achieve. As there is a military power core, a religious power core and a political power core, it requires only two hardliners too grab the power via elections. We already know that the Ayatollah is a devout hardliner, which means that they are one step away from another hard-line elected rule. This is the reality that was and Europe has opened up additional paths for that future to return in the future, intentional or not does not matter.

This all matters in a second phase too. Even as we see news by tabloids and not by actual newspapers, the news given is that Jeremy Corbyn, the man who wants to be in charge of Labour UK and is electable, that person attended a ceremony honouring terrorists, the wreath was laid at the grave of one of the PLO terrorists that killed the 11 Israeli Olympic athletes, all killed during the 1972 Olympics at Munich. The fact that it is in several tabloids is why i am mentioning it. The issue in addition is why the actual newspapers have no mention of it. The sun gives us ‘FRIENDS LIKE THESE Jeremy Corbyn called banned terror group Hamas ‘serious and hard-working’ after admitting attending wreath-laying ceremony for Palestinian killer‘, so as I am in some confusion on why anyone wants to be that stupid, the fact that multiple sources are making mention on it, the larger danger becomes on why anyone would allow Jeremy Corbyn to get elected, especially as he gives ‘value‘ to a terrorist organisation, so as we now wonder who is briefing him and who would be this stupid. I am trying to make very sure that I am not facilitating fake news. There is additional evidence as he the Telegraph gives additional links to Channel 4 news (2015 event). Whenever I try to go deeper, they seem to refer to the 2015 event. This now calls to question on how Corbyn got to be in charge of the Labour in the first place. It should make the party feel really happy. The fact that it now reaches the limelight again seems to be political gaming, yet the worry is real, do you want someone in charge who gives voice to a group that is regarded as a terrorist group in several nations. Even as MI5 is looking into the events before the Manchester bombing and what signals are missed, the UK is now contemplating setting the person who put a wreath at the grave of one of the Munich murderers at the helm of Britannia. it is like making Alex DeLarge minister of Justice (Clockwork Orange reference). It seems like really not the best way to go about making Britain stronger. Yet in all this, there is an underlying pressure. You see, these elements unite as there is a push to find a way to make the UK-Iran link a stronger one. As the UK peers urge to make these policies stronger and better, the report gives within the title ‘Time for New Realism‘, in this as additional ties to Palestine are called for, the UK is setting the unique part in distancing itself more from the US in an anti-Trumpism move, yet in addition, it will create a wall between the UK and Israel. The report has loads of wisdoms, and even propagates my own view in different words. As they state: “We have a new and uncertain American policy in the region…We can no longer assume America will set the tone for the West’s relationship with the Middle East“, which was voiced by me differently as I stated in the past: “The United States is no longer a superpower, with the national debt (now at $20 trillion) setting the stage of labelling the United States as a bankrupt nation“. Its inability to set a proper economic stage has left the United States with a lack of options. there is little cause to take notice on what the United States administration shouts as it cannot afford any actions, this is also what North Korea seems to realise as it commences missile test after test, with test missiles entering Japanese territorial waters (Sea of Japan). As Japan urges China to act, which we could consider to be an act by a nation as bankrupt as the United states are, we need to also realise that China is an actual superpower and Japan is not. As Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed actions, we will need to see what actions the Japanese will actually take, the 3rd US nuclear aircraft carrier now entering North Korean waters, we also see that the US is opting for sanctions and diplomatic pressures. We can assume that this is the best way to go about it and the question is for how much longer, the second speculated reason is that the US has no other options available. With the Syrian escalations still in place, getting into any war on multiple fronts is something only Napoleon succeeded in. Oh wait, no he did not, it was the end of Napoleon, having a theatre of war on multiple shores is a really bad idea, so that is also a thought to consider, but that realisation comes with the premise that unless China acts, North Korea can do whatever it wants (for now). So as we see several nations play what we call the hard line, the UK is setting the stage but is wisely playing a cautious game until after the elections, in addition, the UK peers are giving out a report that requires a shift in actions and thinking. We can oppose this, but as this report comes from the 0.1% most intelligent persons of the UK, ignoring that report is a really bad idea (read: utterly stupid path to follow), so as we get to know that report better and better, my initial thought is on how to create a really strong bridge with Israel, because if pro-Palestinian dialogues begin, there will be the need of diplomatic handholding (not in a romantic way). It is not merely because this world is not as small as we sometimes think it is. So as we see that the Brexit path is opening new terrain and in addition new paths to grow economies, we are left with the notion that as some think that the hard-line is the best path, we must realise that it is not the only path and there is much work that could be achieved, it remains a question how far it gets us all, but that is usually the notion of another path, it could open new terrain for all and in addition, there is an upside as the EU is following the US path for however long they can the others can look and evolve new options never before offered. I am still hesitant to consider any connection to Iran, yet the letting that fear stopping me from seeing where that could get us all is equally stupid. the power of fear is for many just too overwhelming. The problem then becomes, especially in light of Manchester, is the move a wise one?

Time will tell! Sometimes it is just that simple!

 

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In light of the evidence

We tend to accept facts and given situations whenever we have a reliable source and a decent level of evidence. The interesting side is that howling to the moon like a group of sheep hoping the lone wolf will not hear them is an equally weird revelation. The question becomes at that point, who is the lone wolf and who are the sheep, because neither position nor identity is a given. Now, for the first art, we have the Guardian article (at https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/may/27/eu-theresa-may-combat-terror-brexit-europol), with the expected title ‘We need deal with the EU to combat terror, experts tell Theresa May‘, which of course gets them the DGSE, yet the usefulness of the rest becomes a bit of an issue. For this part we need to look somewhere else, and we will do that after the given quote in the mentioned article “Although our partnership with the US for intelligence sharing is extremely important, the fact is that the current terrorist threat is very much a European dimension issue. The Schengen database and knowing about who has moved where are all intimately dependent on European systems and we have got to try to remain in them“. This could be a valid and valued statement, yet is that truly the case? For this we need to take a little gander to another place of intelligence and Intel interest. The Cyber monkeys, or is that the cyber-mercenaries? The difference is merely a moment when you WannaCry 1.4. You will have heard, or perhaps read regarding the NHS as it was struck, here again we see: “However, it instead appears to be down to organisations and individuals failing to run keep Windows up to date“, which was actually voiced by NHS Digital, the failure of policies as they were not adhered to by IT staff, or at least those responsible for keeping those PC’s up to date with patches. The second quote given much earlier in the IT article is ““To be abundantly clear, the recent speculation concerning WannaCry attributes the malware to the Lazarus Group, not to North Korea, and even those connections are premature and not wholly convincing,” wrote James Scott, a senior fellow at the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology (ICIT)“, which is where I have been all along. The one nation that has less computer and internet innovation than a Nintendo GameCube sets this level of hardship? It is just too whack for thought. It is the quote “At best, WannaCry either borrowed heavily from outdated Lazarus code and failed to change elements, such as calls to C2 servers, or WannaCry was a side campaign of a minuscule subcontractor or group within the massive cybercriminal Lazarus APT” that changes the game. In addition we see: “The publication referred to “digital crumbs” that the cyber security firm had traced to previous attacks widely attributed to North Korea, like the Sony Pictures hack in late 2014″, we will exclude the quote “Shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth has said Labour would invest an extra £5 billion into new IT infrastructure for the NHS, after hospitals and services were affected by the widespread Ransomware attack on Friday“, especially as Labour had in the previous government wasted £11.2 billion on an IT system that never worked, so keeping them away from it all seems to be an essential first.

The issue is now in several phases. Who got hit (those not updating their systems). It affected according to some sources thousands of systems, yet when it comes to backtracking to a point of origin, the Cyber Intelligence groups remain unclear. The IT article (at http://www.itpro.co.uk/security/28648/nhs-ransomware-north-korea-may-not-be-behind-wannacry), gives us a few things, yet the clear reference to the Guardians of Peace, the identity the hackers had given themselves in the Sony event gives a few additional worries. Either this is clearly a mercenary group without identity, or we have a common new issue on identity when it comes to Cyber criminals. You see, as we see more and more proclaiming the links between the Lazarus group and North Korea, we do not get to see a clear link of evidence. Many sources give us ‘could be linked‘, or ‘highly likely‘, which is an issue. It makes the evidence too shallow and circumstantial. The NY Times gives us (at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/22/technology/north-korea-ransomware-attack.html) yet they are basically stating what Symantec game us and mention that. My issue here is “But the hackers left behind a trail of digital crumbs that Mr Chien and his colleagues had traced to previous attacks by the Lazarus Group“, what if the crumbs were an intentional side? You see, the quote “another group of hackers that call themselves the Shadow Brokers published the details of National Security Agency hacking tools that the WannaCry hackers were able to use to add muscle to their attacks” give a different light. The fact that there is a team reengineering tools and flaws to get somewhere fast is one. We have seen the lack of actual cyberpower of North Korea in the past, the fact that they are regarded on the same level as Chinese Cyber forces is a bit silly. You see, any country has its own level of savants, yet the fact that North Korea, a nation as isolated as it is, gets to be on par with China, an actual superpower that has Cyber infrastructures, experts at the University of Shanghai (the white paper on cracking AES-256, 2001), as well as a growing IT technology base is just a little too whack.

This now reflects back to the European need of Schengen. The UK needs quality intelligence and with the US breaches of Manchester, the fact that no high quality evidence was ever given regarding the Sony Hack, the growing source of all kinds of hacker names and no validity or confirmable way to identify these groups leaves us with a mess that pretty much anyone could have done this. In light of the NSA flaw finders, there is now more evidence in the open giving the speculative hacker as one with skills that equal and surpass people graduating with high honours at MIT, than anything North Korea could produce. It does not put North Korea in the clear (well the fact that the generals there had no comprehension of a smartphone should be regarded as such), and as we see the entire Bitcoin go forward, we need to take more critical looks at the given evidence and who is giving that evidence. We all agree that places like Symantec and Kaspersky should be highly regarded, yet I get the feeling that their own interns know more about hacking then the sum of the population of all North Koreans do, which is saying a lot. We see supportive evidence in the Business Insider (at http://www.businessinsider.com/wannacry-ransomware-attack-oddities-2017-5). Here we see IBM with “IBM Security’s Caleb Barlow, researchers are still unsure exactly how the malware spread in the first place. Most cybersecurity companies have blamed phishing emails — messages containing malicious attachments or links to files — that download the ransomware. That’s how most ransomware finds its way onto victims’ computers. The problem in the WannaCry case is that despite digging through the company’s database of more than 1 billion emails dating back to March 1, Barlow’s team could find none linked to the attack“, one billion emails! That is what we call actual evidence and here IBM is claiming that the issue of HOW the malware spread remains a mystery. Now, can you see that the entire North Korean issue is out of touch with the reality of Common Cyber Sense and Actual Cyber Security? Two elements, both are essential in all this. It is the lack of actual evidence that seems to be the issue, giving us the question, who wants the North Korea issue propagated? Any answer here is more likely to be political than anything else, which now gives us additional questions on where for Pete’s sake the need of European Intelligence remains as they fall short of providing answers. In light of the Schengen database. Why would that not be shared? If the US has access as a non-European, non-EC nation, why would the UK, a clear European nation be barred from access? With all the flawed acts by the US, having actual professionals look at Schengen data, seems to be an elemental first, would you not agree?

An additional question would be on how these Bitcoins would be cashed, it is not like an isolated nation like North Korea ever had a flying business in Bitcoins in the first place. It is actually (yes, I am shocked too), that quality information comes from PwC. In this case Marin Ivezic, a cyber-security partner. He gives us “EternalBlue (the hacking tool) has now demonstrated the ROI (return on investment) of the right sort of worm and this will become the focus of research for cybercriminals“, which would be a clear focus for veteran cyber criminals, yet the entire re-engineering foundation gives another slice of circumstantial evidence that moves us actually away from North Korea. So in this we have two elements. As the FBI and CIA have been all about pointing towards North Korea, the question becomes, where do they not want us to look and whatever else do they not have a handle on? These points are essential because we are shown an elemental flaw in Intelligence. When the source is no longer reliable, why would they be around in the first place? We can agree that governments do not have the goods on Cyber criminals, because getting anything of decent value, tends to require inside knowledge, which is the hardest to get in any case, especially with a group as paranoid as cyber criminals. The second side is that China and Russia were on the list as one of the few abled parties to get through Sony, yet Russia has fallen of the map completely in the last case, that whilst they are actually strengthening ties with North Korea. That does not make them guilty, yet on the sale required Russia was one of the few with such levels of Cyber skills. The fact that we see in the NY Times that it is too early to blame North Korea is equally some evidence, it gives vision to the fact that there are too many unknowns and when IBM cannot give view of any mail that propagated the worm, gives additional consideration that there are other places who cannot claim or show correctly how the worm got started, which is now an additional concern for anyone altering the work for additional harm. As the point of infection is not known, stopping the infection becomes increasingly difficult, any GP can tell you that side of the virus. There is one more side I would like to raise. This comes from a source (at http://securityaffairs.co/wordpress/59458/breaking-news/wannacry-linguistic-analysis.html), it is not a journalistic source, or a verified source, so please take consideration that this news could be correct. It is however compelling. The quote ““The text uses certain terms that further narrow down a geographic location. One term, “礼拜” for “week,” is more common in South China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, or Singapore. The other “杀毒软件” for “anti-virus” is more common in the Chinese mainland.” Continues the analysis “Perhaps most compelling, the Chinese note contains substantial content not present in any other version of the note, is lengthier, and differs slightly in format.” The English note of the ransomware appears well written, but it contains a major grammar mistake that suggests its author is either not a native speaker or possibly someone poorly educated“, that would make sense, yet how was that source acquired?

The second quote: ““Given these facts, it is possible that Chinese is the author(s)’ native tongue, though other languages cannot be ruled out,” Flashpoint concluded. “It is also possible that the malware author(s)’ intentionally used a machine translation of their native tongue to mask their identity. It is worth noting that characteristics marking the Chinese note as authentic are subtle. It is thus possible, though unlikely, that they were intentionally included to mislead.” The Flashpoint analysis suggests attackers may have used the Lazarus code as a false flag to deceive investigators, a second scenario sees North Korean APT recruiting freelance Chinese hackers to conduct the campaign” gives us a few elements, the element of misdirection, which I had noted on from other sources and the element that North Korea is still a consideration, yet only if this comes from a freelance hacker, or someone trying to get into the good graces of Pyongyang, both options are not out of the question as the lack of Cyber skills in North Korea is a little too well set from all kinds of sources. The writer Pierluigi Paganini is a Cyber professional. Now even as Symantec’s Eric Chien is from California, did they not have access to this part and did no one else correctly pick up on this? As I stated, I cannot vouch for the original source, but as I had questions before, I have a few additional questions now. So, exactly how needed is European Intelligence for the UK? I think that data should be shared within reason. The question becomes, how is Schengen data not shared between governments? The Guardian gives us “After the Manchester attack, which killed 22 people and left dozens of others grievously injured, it was revealed that suicide bomber Salman Abedi had travelled back to England from Libya via Turkey and Dusseldorf four days before the attack“, so how reliable is Turkish intelligence in the first place? How could he have prepared the bomb and get the ingredients in 4 days? There is an additional view on ISIS support active in the UK, yet as we now see that this drew attention to him, why on earth was the trip made? Also, was Libya or Mecca the starting point (source: claim from the father in earlier Guardian article)? How would sharing have resolved this?

Now look at this in light of the US leaks and the Cyber Intelligence of a dubious nature. There is a growing concern that the larger players NSA, DGSE, GCHQ have flaws of their own to deal with. As they are relying more and more on industry experts, whilst there is a lack of clear communication and reliable intelligence from such sources, the thoughts now become that the foundation of fighting terror is created by having a quality intelligence system that recognises the need for Cyber expertise is becoming an increasing issue for the intelligence branch. Should you wonder than, then reconsider the quote: ‘demonstrated the ROI (return on investment) of the right sort of worm and this will become the focus of research for cybercriminals‘, if you think that cyber jihadists are not considering the chaos that they could create with this, then think again.  They will use any tool to create chaos and to inflict financial and structural damage. They might not have the skills, yet if there is any reliable truth to the fact that the Lazarus group is in fact a mercenary outfit, there would be enough critical danger that they will seek each other out, that is providing that ISIS could bring cash to that table. I have no way of telling how reliable or how certain such a union could be. What is a known is that Sir Hugh Orde is not answering questions, he is creating them, as I personally see it. The quote “UK membership of EU bodies such as Europol and Eurojust, which brokers judicial co-operation in criminal cases, not only allowed access to huge amounts of vital data, but also meant UK police could set up joint inquiries with German police or those from other national forces without delay“. You see, the UK remains part of Europe and Interpol existed before the EC, so as we now see the virtual creation of red tape, the question becomes why the EU has changed rules and regulations to the degree that the UK would fall out of the boat. Is it not weird that the EU is now showing to be an organisation of exclusion? Even if we laugh on the ridiculous promises that Corbyn is making, just to be counted shows that there is a larger problem in place. Why is there suddenly a need for 1,000 more intelligence staff? Can we not see that the current situation is causing more issues then resolve them? As such, is throwing money and staff on a non-viable situation nothing less than creating additional worries?

The last part is seen in “The Schengen database and knowing about who has moved where are all intimately dependent on European systems and we have got to try to remain in them“, yet this does require all players to enter the data accurately, in addition, that only applies to people entering Schengen, yet as has been shown in the past, after that getting locations on people is becoming an increasingly difficult problem. The fact that after the Paris attacks, some people of interest were found to be in Belgium is one side, the fact that these people could have met up with all kinds of contacts on the road is another entirely. The truth is that the intelligence branch has no way of keeping track in such details. In addition we have seen that the list of people of interest is growing way beyond normal means and organising such data streams and finding new ways not just to find the guilty, but to decrease the list by excluding the innocent is growing in complexity on a nearly daily basis. And that is before the cyber mess is added to the cauldron of nutrition. There is at least a small upside, as the technology stream will soon be more and more about non-repudiation, there will be additional sources of information that adds the branches by pruning the list of people of interest. The extent of pruning is not a given and time will tell how this is resolved.

It all affects the evidence that the parties hold and how it is applied, it remains a matter of time and the proper application of intelligence.

 

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Where to focus?

This is an issue on the best of days, we are overwhelmed with information, real news, fake news and of course the Direct marketing waves that hit our internet eyes nearly 24:7. The internet is no longer some child, it is a grown adult and adults tend to lack a certain sense of humour, well the adult eyes of the beholder that is. Yet, what matters to us? When we move beyond the job that feeds you, the partner that … you and the family that gives you (usually) strength. When these things are dealt with, what matters next?

The fearful will look at North Korea, on how they are a threat and when we look at the Washington Post, a very respectable paper we see (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-north-korean-nuclear-threat-is-very-real-time-to-start-treating-it-that-way/2017/05/18/d60cbeec-39a4-11e7-8854-21f359183e8c_story.html) on how the threat is real. Even as we saw two failed launches, and in addition, we have yet to see anything from North Korea to get any missile that far (reaching the US), that an opinion piece states: “Stephen Rademaker, a principal with the Podesta Group, was an assistant secretary of state responsible for arms control and nonproliferation from 2002 to 2006“, so here we see the message, yet the core truth is: “The Podesta Group is a lobbying and public affairs firm based in Washington, D.C.. It was founded in 1988 by brothers John Podesta and Tony Podesta, it can be found at 1001 G Street, NW Suite 1000 W Washington, DC 20001“. Basically it is a marketing firm working a very niche market. Don’t get me wrong. I am not ‘attacking’ them, I would accept a position in such a firm any day of the week. Whether we call them marketeers, government strategy councillors or even diplomatic assistants, they are professionals and I do love working with professionals, especially in an environment I am not fully comprehensive of. You see, when you are out of your waters, most people tend to get to be a little apprehensive. Not me, it invigorates me, whether it is working as a document carrier for Faisal bin Abdullah, or Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, doing work for google (which has been one of the most mentally intoxicating and invigorating environments ever) or merely finding new data solutions, working through data and solving the puzzle I see. So is North Korea a real threat or a perceived one? The safe bet is too see them as a real threat as they have access to Uraninite. You see, the world tends to be a little more complex than that. Having the stuff is not enough, getting the delivery method working correctly is an entirely different matter. It can be by having people from Pyongyang masked as South Koreans attending international universities in science and engineering would be a first, which is not that far a stretch. I literally (by accident) I told this Korean student “Does your family still have that bar in Pyongyang?“, he turned pale and said ‘How did you know that?‘, which was not the response I was going for, but OK, such is life, full of surprises. So as you ponder this, wonder on how China has little or no worry. If North Korea ever actually launches a missile towards America, do you think that the President of the USA would not instantly retaliate (especially the current one), what happens to places like Shenyang (in China), also consider whatever hits the water will make fishing no longer an option for decades, Japan learned that the hard way, so there you have it. In addition, we have seen the North Korea military look at systems like they were magical and those were computers the current European generation laughs at. That can be corroborated by the press as they were on a North Korean press tour a little over a year ago. The ‘minders‘ of those groups had NEVER seen a smart phone. I think that North Korea talks a lot, but for now has no real byte. Now the last part of that the Podesta group is a professional organisation. So was it merely an opinion piece or was the article their business, business they charge for? I will leave you with that thought.

The older American would look at the danger of pensions, which we also see in the Washington Post (athttps://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2017/05/18/trumps-budget-calls-for-hits-on-federal-employee-retirement-programs), the article ‘Trump’s budget calls for hits on federal employee retirement programs‘ describes on how it impacts. The article is a really good read and gives me the feeling that US retirement plans are an awful mess, with the additional danger that they seem to be running dry slightly too soon, which is what you get with a 20 trillion-dollar debt I reckon. The quote “A preliminary budget document released in March called for a domestic discretionary budget decrease of $54 billion, with an equal increase for defense, homeland security and veterans. Nineteen 19 small agencies would be eliminated, along with their workforces“, the additional “Increasing the FERS employee contribution would result in the average federal employee losing nearly $5,000 per year in take home pay, that’s per year after the phase-in is finished, he estimated. “Phasing this outrageous pension cut in over several years does not make it any more palatable. If this change is made, federal employees will no longer have a secure retirement. Period.”” is even more food for thought. The one equaliser in American business has for the longest time been that those people had a secure retirement, when this is off the table the one part of quiet governmental officials was that there was a long term benefit, with that off the table the environment in government positions will change. Now, we might think that this is not a bad thing, but it will result in chaos, and when we have seen and known that the American infrastructure has no real way to deal with chaos in its ranks, we will see different whirly waves of discontent, a few will leave marks on everyone. So when we read “The budget proposal President Trump plans to unveil Tuesday would give to federal employees with one hand, while taking away with five others” is an interesting one and I reckon that when the full paper is released this coming Tuesday, the US national papers will give it high visibility, because the United States federal civil service has a total of around 3 million people, which is 1% of the US population, making it decently important to cater to them. Perhaps those trying to sell the change might have been better off talking to the Podesta group first?

For me, the news was not in a newspaper. It was found in Digital health article. It re-iterated the issue of ‘urgent change‘ I voiced in my blog yesterday. In there I showed the NHS digital part regarding the endgadget quote “NHS digital had notified staff on patches” which would have diminished the Cyber attack gives us two sides. One, would there have been diminished damage, because that would suffice as evidence. Yet in Digital health we see: “a small team of developers is recommending the health service reduce its reliance on Microsoft“, which is overall not a bad idea, yet the NHS is too big to just make a shift in policy like that. I would be in favour of a shift towards something a lot safer like Linux, but that requires expertise. Another option is to rely on an android option where the NHS is all about apps, equally optional, but it will require massive amounts of resources on programmers, testers, upgraders and cyber monitoring. All these options require a drastic shift in IT operations. When we accept that in too many places there is no minding the NHS IT store (by not patching) the dangers will increase. As I quoted: “It is also my personal belief that in many cases the person claiming ‘urgent action is needed’ is also the person who wants the ‘victim’ to jump the shark so that they can coin in as large a way as possible“, which is what we see right here in the article. Now consider the quote: “To demonstrate that there is a licence-free alternative, GP Marcus Baw and technologist Rob Dyke have adapted the open source Linux-based Ubuntu operating system specifically for the NHS. They call it NHSbuntu“. So why not just use the foundation called Ubuntu? I cannot judge the intent (noble or not), but consider that technologist Rob Dyke has to pay for rent and so much, where is his interest? Do not get me wrong, we should not just dismiss any idea that might work, yet will it? You see any IT environment needs oversight and maintenance. The NHS is in no position to make such drastic changes as it is short on basic needs (nurses and doctors), I do agree that the IT needs to be addressed, yet two Labour governments wasted the IT budget of close to 10 years, lets leave it alone until we can actually address solutions. In this, one additional quote from Beta News. they give us “The report reveals that 12.8 percent of non-Microsoft programs were un-patched in the first quarter of this year“. If patching is so important, and it is, why give voice to 12.8% of additional risk? As stated, I am no Microsoft fan, but it does work in the current NHS environment and if we believe NHS Digital and the trusts do actually patch their stuff, the danger would have been a lot lower. As the evidence is at present, this issue would have been addressed by mere policy and replacing those not adhering to it might be the cheapest and best solution. In all this IT News gives us one more part, the fact that Microsoft is actually releasing a patch for operating systems that are no longer supported is also evidence. I do not see it as merely “to protect the company’s customer ecosystem“, which is a decent answer if you believe that. You see they could have merely told the customers to freely upgrade to Windows 10. I believe that, as they state it “to protect users against NSA-derived ransomware“. I believe that someone has evidence on a Microsoft-NSA cooperation in the beginning of the data snooping age and somehow the makers of the Ransomware (less and less likely to be North Korean) got access to the information needed. I reckon that anyone upgrading will be removing the digital evidence on their computers of that event. If you doubt me, consider the quote in that same article “Current versions of WannaCrypt use two exploits leaked by the ShadowBrokers hackers, who gained access to systems at The Equation Group, which is linked to the United States NSA, last year“, if that is true, how did North Korea get this? If they are good enough to be allegedly part of the NSA (source: Kaspersky), how come that the bulk of the cyber intelligence world has no knowledge of North Korea being such a threat against a player like that? It does not matter how it got out. Whether it was a disgruntled ex-employee. Some hacker that got sucked and suckered by a honey trap, there are enough options nowadays. The reality is that somehow the intel got out. It is being addressed and fixed. It does not make the issue go away, it merely tells us that remaining up to date and properly patched was the way to go. Urgently addressing does apply to systems being reasonable up to date, which does mean that there are costs, pushing yourself away from Microsoft (not the worst idea) comes with a cost, one that the NHS cannot afford, no matter how ambitious it seems and they got plenty of that, especially with non working systems. So, lets not make that error twice!

So when you wonder where you need to focus, I am merely suggesting that when your private house is in order, consider playing a video game or watch a nice blu-ray. It seems to me that a balanced life is the most important thing you can arrange for yourself, let the circus play its game and decide not to watch every show they offer, in the end it could just be merely Direct Marketing.

Get what you actually need, not what others state you need!

 

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Age of darkness coming

An interesting article came to light today. Actually, it might not be that interesting. It is merely the consequence of a series of bad decisions by several people. The interesting part is that it was not a local thing. This is possibly one of the few times where several decisions on a global scale escalated one another into the move away from what at times now is laughingly referred to as ‘journalism’. The Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/apr/15/journalism-faces-a-crisis-worldwide-we-might-be-entering-a-new-dark-age) gives us “Australia’s two largest legacy media organisations recently announced big cuts to their journalistic staff“, up to 120 editorial positions are being wiped from the list of employment options. Apparently there was also the mention “Both announcements were accompanied by corporate spin voicing a continuing commitment to quality journalism. Nobody in the know believes it“. It is followed by the mention that this is partly thanks to Donald Trump. The truth is nowhere near Trump, the entire Trump bashing is merely putting in the spotlight what had been known for some time. There is however a side that is very much true and it is escalating into a movement that will change even further over the next 20 months. The quote “technology has torn apart the two businesses – advertising and news – that used to be bound together by the physical artefact of the newspaper. Once, those who wanted to find a house, a job or a car had to buy a newspaper to read the classifieds. Now, it is cheaper and more efficient to advertise and search online“, it will change even further and the bulk of the audience is not up to speed yet, but within a year they will be.

For me the messed up situation was visible for a long time. No matter what excuse the people of News give, whatever Fairfax claims, it does not matter. Consider the following: ‘Will you pay $2.4 for filtered news?‘ This question is a lot harder than you realise, because the definition of ‘filter’ is not a given, but it is at the heart of the matter. Let’s take a few parts to give you a little perspective.

2010, 2011, we are given all kinds of news regarding Grexit, a weird dirty dance where some players are ‘threatening’ to expel Greece from the Euro. We see the news for weeks, yet no one seems to know what they are doing and the papers are absent in mentioning a legal work that was published in December 2009 by Phoebus Athanassiou that basically inform us that expulsion is not an option, you can only voluntarily leave the EEC and the Euro. The paper (at https://lawlordtobe.files.wordpress.com/2015/07/ecblwp10.pdf) is a paper that comes from the European Central Bank, so why were the newspapers in the dark? Why were the readers not properly informed on this? All the value of a newspaper thrown into the circular filing system, value lost forever.

2011 Operation Weeting. This would be the beginning of a decline that escalated on a global scale. Most people took notice to some degree regarding the News of the World, the phone hacking scandal and the celebrities involved, yet when the world learned of the hacked phones of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, relatives of deceased British soldiers and victims of the 7 July 2005 London bombings the world did not react in kindness, those involved had crossed a line that a very large group found too unacceptable. Many went from ‘Ah well, celebrities!‘ towards ‘WTF!‘ and ‘Could this happen here?‘ two very different trains of thought, the Leveson inquiry that followed was followed by many and a lot of them not in the UK, when the conclusions were revealed we saw a group of editors shouting murder, fascism and on how the freedom of the press was in danger whilst none of them showed any level of accountability, this was one of the clearest coffin nails. There is more and part is not their fault. In this the politicians also have a blame in the matter. As the actual press (the Guardian, the Times, the Independent) were trying to continue to be the responsible ones (to the larger degree), they were placed next to tabloids, magazines proclaiming to be newspapers whilst limiting themselves to ‘Kardashian puts ample bust on display’ (Daily Mail). A lot could have been prevented by making these tabloids VAT (read GST) enabled. Giving the tabloids no longer a 0% VAT options would have levelled the bar a little (read: truly, just a little) against the actual newspapers in the UK. It could have spurred a larger European change. It would not have ended better for the newspapers, yet some of them would have had more time to change their product and business approach.

2012 Sony, this is the one that really got me mad. Two weeks before the PS4 was launched, Sony pulled a fast one. I discussed this (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2014/08/12/no-press-no-facebook/), in my article ‘No Press, No Facebook!‘, in this case the Guardian was pretty much the only newspaper that gave it any decent attention. A change that would affect 30 million gamers and the news remained absent. So where is the value of my newspaper now? It was “7.1. You must not resell either Disc-based Software or Software Downloads, unless expressly authorised by us and, if the publisher is another company, additionally by the publisher“, it was followed by a weak statement by a board member of Sony, but the papers and other media were quick to ignore it and none had the critical statement: ‘A terms of service is a legal document, a statement by a board member of Sony can be countermanded with a mere memo‘, the press remained absent! It all sizzled down the track as the TPP never came into effect, but the damage was done and now it was damage that hits the press as well as they were too busy with circulation numbers and facilitating to your advertisers, because Sony PS4 advertisement money is what all newspapers desperately needed, so compromising 30 million gamers (that’s Europe, with 5 million in the UK) was likely not a big deal to them.

These are a few of a growing list of issues where the newspapers are in a bad place, but to some extent they got themselves there. Margaret Simons gives us “Today, just about anyone with an internet connection and a social media account has the capacity to publish news and views to the world. This is new in human history” near the end. She is correct here, but she also forgets to mention that reach and quality is still and issue. I have, with my blog, a mere reach of 5-6 thousand readers, which is next to nothing. I believe that I offer a quality view, but that is in the eyes of the beholder. However, I am only a blogger. When she mentions ‘the capacity to publish news‘ is not entirely correct. Some are falling in front of the news because of location, yet these people are for the most not journalists and that is the kicker. Pieces that are truly journalistic remains pieces of value, the people are just having too many question marks. In addition, the people have lost a massive amount of quality of life, and the price of a newspaper subscription whilst news online tends to be free and the cost of living is going up is also a factor we cannot deny. Yet in equal measure I have worked in firms where they all had 2-5 newspapers on a daily base, most (read: nearly all of them) have stopped doing that, cutting costs did that to some degree.

So as we see the announced age of darkness coming into the newspaper business, we cannot fault their hardship, even though they themselves are partially to blame, yet in equal measure, it seems to me that quality journalism is becoming a nuisance in several European nations. They can hide some of the bad news in sponsored morning shows, there they can spin to some degree, but in a newspaper, and it is all about the relevant information, a side too many players are currently too uncomfortable with. Its fair enough that some journalists are trying to get around that part, but as too much actual news is given to us freely at a moment’s notice, many agree that there is too much speculation in some news, like ‘North Korea may be capable of firing a missile loaded with sarin nerve gas toward Japan‘ (source: CBC), yet in equal measure the newspapers have not been the utterly reliable source of news either and on both sides of the publications, there seems to be a growing issue with ethics to consider and that is even before we add tabloids like Daily Mail, Mail Online, and whatever Murdoch gets to publish. The newspapers became a multidimensional mess. I personally think it is because they waited too long to embrace the online community and that is before the new changes hits them over the next two years. By proclaiming themselves as non-accountable and considering themselves as too important, they marketed themselves straight into the insolvency mode. Yet, that is merely my view on all this.

 

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