Tag Archives: NSA

Wrong way intersection?

We all look at times, we look in the direction that we are going we look at where we want to be, in this we are all alike and for the most, we stop to look where we were, what we passed and where we came from. These are natural moments. So what is natural on focussing on Huawei, especially the accusations by Finite State, a Matt Wyckhouse undertaking. I have a few issues here. You see, when a person hides behind statements like: “‘The Finite State report was highly critical of Huawei, claiming that the Chinese company’s “devices quantitatively pose a high risk to their users. In virtually all categories we examined, Huawei devices were found to be less secure than those from other vendors making similar devices.” According to Finite State, this included potential backdoors. “Out of all the firmware images analyzed, 55% had at least one potential backdoor,” Finite State reported. “These backdoor access vulnerabilities allow an attacker with knowledge of the firmware and/or with a corresponding cryptographic key to log into the device.”“, when the bla bla is surrounding “Out of all the firmware images analyzed, 55% had at least one potential backdoor“, a percentage with ‘potential backdoor‘, you should optionally be regarded as a hack giving a hatchet job, plain and simple. A real cyber security firm will give us: “These are the clear backdoors found“, there is no percentage, and it will be presented as evidence plain and simple. That is how this works; let’s face it, Columbus Ohio is not really Silicon Valley, is it? (there is a plot twist, read on please)

And when TechRadar gives us: ‘Huawei’s telecom equipment is more likely to have flaws than rivals’ claims report‘, my question becomes based on what evidence? When it is linked to: “when compared to similar equipment manufactured by its rivals Juniper and Arista“, why are they dependable? Or perhaps only the NSA has those backdoors? There is a disgusting amount of bias coming out of the mouths from those who should stay absolutely neutral, and it gets to be worse.

Twenty four

It is like a real time drama with Kiefer Sutherland, less than 24 hours ago, Cisco gave us: “Cisco issued three “critical” security warnings for its DNA Center users – two having a Common Vulnerability Scoring System rating of 9.8 out of 10“, which is really really bad and the rest of the media ignores it completely. So when we get: “In one advisory Cisco said a vulnerability in the web-based management interface of DCNM could let an attacker obtain a valid session cookie without knowing the administrative user password by sending a specially crafted HTTP request to a specific web servlet that is available on affected devices. The vulnerability is due to improper session management on affected DCNM software” there is a much larger story, especially as Cisco is working to remove a few severe failings in its own system, which are unlikely to be removed for a few more months, all leading to larger issues, but the media is seemingly more interested in spouting anti-Huawei materials and not interested in warning optional victims, how does that go over to you?

TechRadar also gives us: “Finite State makes big claims in its report but until it is publicly released, we won’t know for sure if its findings are accurate. However, now that the news is out, further investigation into its legitimacy will likely be carried out by the media, world governments and of course by Huawei itself“, a relatively unknown company in the middle of nowhere; that is how it reads to me and I will happily have my serve of humble pie when they are proven to be correct, yet that public release is likely to find delays to maximise on fear, all whilst Cisco is evading the limelight by media friends. This is not entirely correct from my side, Cisco has been warning all kinds of parties since they were found and that is a noble thing, yet the media does not hand out that reality to the larger media does it? (They had not responsibility to do so)

I have a second issue, this is supposed to be a ‘for profit‘ venture and that is fine, they have been around for 2 years, yet we now see: “the security report was done pro-bono as the company believed making this information public was the best way to inform policy makers of the security issues in Huawei’s equipment“, so this report requiring a massive amount of hours and testing if we go by: ‘all the firmware images analysed‘, the (initial) absence of numbers is also debatable here, so in all this time and resources required, this report was done pro-bono? Is (like it goes in deceptive conduct) merely a pro-bono report, or are they servicing Juniper and/or Arista? Is that not a valid question?

I find the setting debatable from the mere TechRadar point of view. From my point of view, well known cyber experts have looked at Huawei and none of them have given any clear indication that there was a clear and present danger with anything that Huawei has, they had shown previous issues and they had been dealt with, so unless Finite State gives the golden bullet with clear evidence, than the future of Finite State might not be that bright. Can we expect anything form a cyber-firm that facilitates for others? Well, yes but those are not known as Cyber Experts, they are merely digital marketing firms and the method used implies that they are not very good at what they do.

So I can jump in there and show them how to do it, as long as it comes with 300 W Spring St #1904 as a stating bonus (we all have our price), it is 2 blocks from the Ohio FBI office, as well as a nice view of the Scioto River (good for enjoying coffee in the morning). Would I compromise? Optionally, but do you want to have faith in someone who compromises, or someone telling you how it is at a price? I get it, at times there is a tactical reason to do things pro-bono, sometimes it brings in the larger fish, yet in this case, when the floor falls from under them, in the way it was presented, do you have faith in them looking towards keeping you safe? Is that really the security you want to bank on?

Cisco has issue, yet they came forward (almost) immediately telling us how it is, the fact that the media is treating them darling and keeping them out of the media to the largest degree is not a crime, it places merely question marks on the integrity of the media, and how much credibility do they really have?

There is a larger concern and it is a serious one, the media has set the stage that less and less information is trusted, especially in fields where trust is essential. It changes the game, but how is not to be told, we cannot tell, yet there is every concern that Europe, Asia and India are less and less likely willing to trust US equipment. There has been clear indicators that 5G evolution did not give rise to trust, the fact that so called pro-bono work is working out is also not a given, until there are clear trustworthy sources showing all that Finite State had indeed the silver bullet, things can only go worse for many over the long term and that has been proven in several ways offer the last decade. It is not that I want.

Let’s not start kidding around here, the report is damning, there is no doubt. When we look past the TechRadar hype created and take a serious look at the paper (at the end), we get 55 pages of tech heaven, all jetlagged turbo text, with all the hypes that any techie get off on.

When a firm gives us: “Across the firmware tested, there were 8,826 observations of vulnerabilities with a CVSS score of 10.0, the maximum severity level, indicating serious flaws in the systems“, it better come with backing, and the source of the data, as well as the firmware better be verifiable, from my point of view, any discrepancy shown and Finite State becomes liable. Even when we see: “Our automated system analyzed more than 1.5 million files embedded within 9,936 firmware images supporting 558 different products within Huawei’s enterprise networking product lines“, the sources are not given to us (as far as I saw). The appendix does give us the hardware list and it is a huge list, so now that the die is cast we will have to see what happens next, not merely to Huawei and Finite State, large names have stated on the record that no issues had been found, they will be in equal measure get judged if the scrutiny on the Final State paper holds up, no matter how this goes, there is a shit storm coming and it will impact at least one party, yet how large it will be cannot be stated at present, the claims are too loud and if the scrutiny breaks the paper it might be the end of Finite State and its board of directors before they got decently started, should they make it, the opposition is a lot larger and it gets to be a lot uglier for many players involved.

The paper also gives clear premises, for one there is: “It is common for embedded devices to ship with a default password enabled for the primary account, “root” in this case, as long as the password can be changed and is documented as part of the standard operating procedure of the device.” OK, that is fair enough, but there is a second part, how many consumer get told on how to change that? And how does that compare to issues found with Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon as documented parts that show users how to do that. Is that not equally important? In the end I can debate all the parts until I look like a failed auto asphyxiation attempt, yet the scrutiny from me has little to no value, it is the response of Huawei and the other players that now becomes the part, because these expert making 1000% or more of what I make will not be allowed the ‘Oops!’ or ‘That was not part of our investigation’ excuse, in that way whatever comes next will get ugly fast and in light of my initial exposure of anti-Huawei goons, I have an equal responsibility to take this to the next level, no matter how it goes, because that too is part of accountability. No matter how we slice it, Finite State has given us something serious to look at (one of the very first to do so), so now we look at the boffins at MiT and Stanford on what they make of it, and if the technical dudes at DARPA decide to wake up for this one, that would be nice too.

I look forward to round two, because it will be a beauty to watch on hundreds of channels all over the planet, this would make for great TV (and optionally ten times better than anything the Kardashians can show) so I’ll get the popcorn for this one.

https://finitestate.io/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Finite-State-SCA1-Final.pdf

Finite-State-SCA1-Final

 

Leave a comment

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

Blackadder to the rescue

Yes, now for something completely different. Today only partially continues yesterday’s conversation. The article ‘Iranian puppets‘ gives us (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2019/06/14/iranian-puppets/) where I mention: “I will never proclaim myself towards Iran“, I also made mention of the 15 bitches and a serve of coffee (between the lines), yet I will always proclaim towards evidence. Evidence is everything and even whilst Iran is the most likely guilty party, I tend to follow the evidence. The evidence puts us with Houthi forces, optionally there is enough circumstantial evidence involving Hezbollah, however, this seemingly changes today as more than one now give us: ‘UK joins US in accusing Iran of tanker attacks as crew held‘, here I remain cautious. You see, the US had graphics in the Iraq WMD part and that got us in different waters, even as much better questions should have been asked with that clusterfuck in the making. The UN secretary general António Guterres called for an independent investigation, a part I very much support.

The intelligence suckers tend to be driven by EGO and whoever their Commander in Chief is and that tends to be needlessly politically driven and there the not guilty tends to be a target, this is not the same as the innocent, but you see the impact I am referring to. In the UK the Foreign Office is giving us: “It is almost certain that a branch of the Iranian military – the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps – attacked the two tankers on 13 June. No other state or non-state actor could plausibly have been responsible“, I am willing to agree with this, however we have seen decently clear evidence that in more than one case Iranian flag officers acted on their extreme self, not with the official support from the actual government. It is the consequence of the Iranian clerics having direct access to Iranian generals and acting on what they proclaim is the will of Allah. Those who do not grasp that part are out in the cold, pointing at the wrong party and creating escalations.

So whilst the world goes with: “Iran did do it. You know they did it because you saw the boat. I guess one of the mines didn’t explode and it’s probably got essentially Iran written all over it … You saw the boat at night, successfully trying to take the mine off – and that was exposed” that is one view to have and it might be the correct view, yet we already have two parts here. The fact that the mine did not work implies that Iranian hardware has additional issues (or optionally a non-trained individual had access to that hardware and did not set it up correctly, which is actually more likely). The second part is that the act was about deniability, giving more need to point at a state actor, but was it one with clearance or one deciding that they had to make their government look good? The issue around deniability is set not in stone, but it seems to be on a tablet where someone else has the erase function active. And in this the US and the UK have played similar games over the last 10 years. So let’s set this in a speculative example.

The Iranian Ministry of Roads and Transportation is run by Ali Nikzad. He decided that the boats were transgressing on Iranian sovereign waters and ships are transport, so Ali Nikzad decided to give these transgressors a lesson, he gets a hold of officers who are eager for promotion and he plays the ‘I need to test our equipment for transportation of dangerous goods’, he gets mines (plural) and he tests the mines with an engineer who is not really qualified to operate mines. The attack works, but one mine was not set properly. Now he has a problem, because even as he got the equipment, he was not allowed to operate in the way he did as that was a military action, and he is merely a lowly Minister of Roads, commercial shipping lanes and Transportation, he now has to resolve the issue before it taints him and he gets someone to remove it (most likely the engineer who wrongly set the mine).

In addition to this, when we see how Belgium defused a mine situation according to the Dutch, will we see more or less reliability? Was it the image that made for the change?

All this a speculation, but the play is not that speculative, several players have engages in similar games, optionally the IRGC knew of the operation, and they did not act because their fingers were not in the cookie jar; they all have a scapegoat and there is no physical evidence to support any story that anyone tells.

This is one of the intelligence games that are out there and now we have a state actor and everyone (led by the US) are now pointing at the wrong state actor and the evidence is out there proving some right as the involved person is seemingly Iranian, but wrong as this is a bogus action in the first place. Now we see Hamid Baeidinejad (Iranian ambassador to the UK) all huffy and puffy because he is doing what Tehran told him to do and the game he plays looks good, because he truly believes that he is playing the proper game as instructed by Tehran and let’s face it, the US does not have a great track record when it comes to Intelligence data and parsing intelligence data to create actual verifiable data, do they. When in doubt, call the NSA at +1-301-688-6311, ask for Deputy Director Barnes (General Nakasone is often too busy according to his personal aide).

In all this, there is a surprising realisation, you see, the opposite is also an option and I wonder why it is not actively investigated, there is an opposing solution that takes Iran out of the equation and it is a solid solution that stretches 74,967 meters in length and could change the game, in addition to that it could hinder Iran to the larger degree, basically to the degree where Bandar Abbas would financially be decimated, its economy would plummet to below basement levels.

I wonder how willing the UAE would be to change the game to benefit their economy. Oman could optionally benefit as well, so there is a solution that could propel two nations, whilst freezing the Iranian economy twice over. You see, as I look at the state of play, a proxy war can go in two directions; you can be in denial as there is no proof, or you can go into proclamation to set the stage of something that is legally allowed, people look at the first and then ignore number two. I let you work out the puzzle and let you figure out what some never considered.

A Monty Python solution presented by Blackadder gives us the second option in two ways (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZzXhLp2wLQo) we see the approach to a literal following of orders then (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBhN28eTuP8) we see the application of intelligence: “I beg leave to commence a private prosecution the accused for wasting the courts time“, and in all this, the stage is set and optionally correctly set, yet there is a range of issues that have not been addressed.

Some will go with the smoke and fire part and that is all good and fine, yet when did we get a proper investigation before pointing the finger (optionally through the slipping them the bird)? To let this sink in, let’s take a look at American accusations: “By labelling some of the high-level waste as low level, the US would save $40bn in cleanup costs across the nation’s entire nuclear weapons complex. The waste which has been stored in South Carolina, Washington and Idaho would be taken to low-level disposal facilities in Utah or Texas“, whilst the clear danger of radioactive waste has been out in the open for decades we are confronted with: “This administration is proposing a responsible, results-driven solution that will finally open potential avenues for the safe treatment and removal of the lower level waste. DOE is going to analyze each waste stream and manage it in accordance with Nuclear Regulatory Commission standards, with the goal of getting the lower-level waste out of these states without sacrificing public safety“. In this application of rules, we are not merely rephrasing the stage of what is regarded as ‘safe treatment‘, it changes the face of danger by diminishing risks on the need for cutting 40 billion. Now we can agree that 40 billion is serious cash, yet after it passed the facilities in Utah and Texas, what damage will be left behind because standards and definitions were changed by people who desperately need things to get cheaper? And when this backfires, how will the US afford the reparations that will be in excess of a trillion dollars easily? saving $40 with a decent certainty that it will cost you $1,000 around the corner is not clever, it does not save anyone anything and it decimates the quality and value of living in Utah and Texas, so how good is that step once the proper denials are in place?

The same can be said in the UK and their approach of Fracking, shale gas options. In a stage where the Netherlands has had: “A total of 127 damage reports were received after a fracking earthquake in Groningen on Sunday morning“, in addition “the TCMG receives around 200 damage reports per week. Over the past two weeks, the committee received at least 200 reports per day“. Also before I forget, when I was young and living in the Netherlands, Groningen was plenty of things, there was even a rare occurrence of an earthquake (once ever whilst I was in primary school), the entire stage of living in Groningen changed after Fracking, a clear change in values and cost of living as properties have diminished and the entire area is now a minefield of accusations and litigations, how much will that cost the government in addition to the claims they get? There is a second danger, if any of those chemicals ever make it into the groundwater; the Netherlands has some options, whilst the UK as an island does not. Dangers that we see give the rise towards people and politicians seem to regard the element of denial, a dangerous stage on two fronts, in the UK the danger for living expenses as it goes up by 1500% when UK tap water is no longer safe to drink; in the US where radiation contamination when found too late will have new long lasting disastrous effects.

Merely two elements that have the same stage; the stage of denial can be a very dangerous one and in Iran we see a stage where we cannot afford to give in to that danger. We need to be certain, an actual war, one that Iran will lose regardless will still impact and optionally disrupt crude oil paths for decades, consider the next decade when oil returns to prices like $163/barrel. The restoration of any economy becomes close to nil, unless you make money from the oil industry. That is why I want to make sure that Iran is properly dealt with and in all this, my plan B remains valid and an optional alternative path to increase pressure on Iran.

Nobody is saying, stating or implying that Iran is not involved, the issue is WHO placed the mine and there is where we get the issue. The US and the UK clearly know this. In case of the US we have Timothy James McVeigh. Now consider what would have happened if that attack was post 9/11? I am not stating that anything wrong was done by the FBI, I am however decently certain that the entire investigation would have had a dozen other turns and double turns. There is absolutely no guarantee that the same result would have been presented. I am not stating that the FBI did anything wrong, I am not stating that anything else happened.

To look at this setting we need to consider a quote by Counterpuch.org. Here we see: “The FBI suffered another debacle last Friday when an Orlando jury returned a not guilty verdict for the widow of Omar Mateen, who killed 49 people and wounded 53 in his attack on Orlando’s Pulse nightclub in June 2016. The biggest terrorism case of the year collapsed largely thanks to FBI misconduct and deceit” there are more sources. NPR Radio gives us: “the prosecution had withheld crucial information for the development of their argument. It was not until after the prosecution had rested its case, nearly two weeks after the trial opened, that prosecutors disclosed the information in an email last Saturday“, as well as “federal authorities had also opened an investigation of Seddique Mateen after the shooting, basing the probe on a series of money transfers he made to Turkey and Afghanistan not long before the massacre. The defense argued that without those details, the defense had been unfairly hamstrung — an assertion that Byron rejected. He denied the motion earlier this week and allowed the trial to proceed” denial of facts as well as denial access to facts, denial of due process in light of whatever reasoning was given and as denial of circumstances. At this point the widow of Omar Mateen was regarded as not guilty and there is no way of knowing whether this was just, correct or merely the consequence of stacking the deck knowingly and willingly.

When you consider that personal ego made these leaps of consideration, and we see the impact, the need for higher intelligence usage and the better investigation of what is happening in Iran and by which person becomes a lot more essential. When we see three players all in a stage to wage war on Iran (an idea that I do not oppose) lets at least do it for the right reasons. Doing the right thing based on flawed and incorrect intelligence corrupts the act and over time degrades the reasoning of the act. It is important to see that difference, and whilst there are optional paths to making the Iranian economy tanking it to the bottom of the Strait of Hormuz, I will remain in favour of doing that. You need to have seen war in all its majesty of cadavers and victims to appreciate alternative parts, only those who played call of duty might like a direct war, which will only last until you actually get to wash the blood out of your hands, that sweet smell of blood will follow your nose until the day you die.

Iran might be going into a wrong direction, yet we do not have to follow them like stupid lemmings, as I stated, I am not against setting a war against Iran, I merely want alternatives that gets us the same result. A proxy war goes both ways, we merely have to alter the signs on the entrance door; it is our door, so we get to do that.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Law, Media, Military, Politics

Iranian puppets

Saudi Arabia has been under attack for a while, yet the latest one has been the hardest hit for now. 26 people were injured in a drone attack on Abha Airport. The fact that it is 107 Km away from the border gives rise that this is not the end. Even as we see: “a late-night cruise missile attack by Houthi rebel fighters”, I wonder if they were really Houthi or members of Hezbollah calling themselves Houthi. In addition, when we see: “the missile directed at the airport had been supplied by Iran, even claiming Iranian experts were present at the missile’s launch” as the Saudi government stated this, I am not 100% convinced. The supply yes, the presence is another matter. There is pretty hard evidence that Iran has been supplying drone technology to Lebanon and they have been training Hezbollah forces. I think this is a first of several operations where we see Hezbollah paying the invoice from Iran by being operationally active as a proxy for Iran. It does not make Iran innocence, it does change the picture. the claim by Washington “Iran is directing the increasingly sophisticated Houthi attacks deep into Saudi territory” is more accurate as I see it. It changes the premise as well as the actions required. From my point of view, we merely need to be able to strike at one team, if anyone is found to be Lebanese, Saudi Arabia can change the premise by using Hezbollah goods and strike Beirut – Rafic Hariri International Airport with alternative hardware. Lebanon stops being the least volatile country in the Middle East and it would stop commerce and a few other options at the same time. I wonder how much support they get from Iran at that point. I believe in the old operational premise to victory

Segregation, isolation, and assassination, the tactical premise in three parts that is nice and all solving; It can be directed at a person, a location, or even an infrastructure, the premise matters. It is time to stop Hezbollah, that part is essential as it does more than merely slow down Houthi rebels, it pushes for Iran to go all in whilst being the visible transgressor, or it forces them to back off completely; that is how I personally see it.

So as we see the Pentagon rally behind diplomatic forces, I cannot help but wonder how it is possible for 15 dicks to be pussies? For the non-insiders, it is comprised of the 7 joint chiefs of staff, the septet of intelligence (Army, Navy, Air force, Marine, FBI, CIA and NSA) and of course the National Security Advisor. It is time to change the premise, it really is. It is also a must to proclaim ourselves to either the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, or Iran and I will never proclaim myself towards Iran (a man must keep some principles).

We can be all angry find a solution to erase them. As I see it, my version is more productive in the end. They are targeting close to the border as much as possible, this implies that their hardware has limitations. Even so to merely rely on anti-drone and some version of an Aveillant system is economically not too viable, it will merely make some places (like airports more secure). When we look around we see that there are 6 ways to take care of drones.

  1. Guns, which requires precision and manpower
  2. Nets, same as the first, yet a net covers an area better chance of results and a chance to get the drone decently unharmed, or retrieve enough evidence to consider a counter offensive
  3. Jammer, a two pronged option, as the connection fails most drones go back to their point of origin giving the option of finding out who was behind it.
  4. Hacking, a drone can be used for hacking, but the other way is also an option if the drone lacks certain security measures, optionally getting access to logs and other information
  5. Birds of Prey (Eagle, Falcon), A Dutch solution to use a bird of prey to hunt a drone, an Eagle will be 10 times more deadly than a drone, Eagles are a lot more agile and remaining as fast all the time.
  6. Drones, Fighting drones with drones is not the most viable one, however these drones have paint guns which would hinder rotor function and speed, forcing gravity and drag to be the main issues for the drone.

The issue is not merely how to do it, but the specifics of the drone become a larger issue. An Eagle and most solutions will not work against the MQ-9 Reaper drone (to name but an example), yet Hezbollah and Iran rely on the Qods Mohajer (optionally the Raad 85), which when considering the range is the more likely suspect. What is important to know is that these devices requires a certain skill level, hence there is no way that a Houthi forces could have done this by themselves. It required Hezbollah/Iranian supervision. There the option of jamming and drones with a paint gun would work, if a jammer gets shot onto the drone, it will give them a way to follow, paint can have the same effect whilst at the same time limit its capabilities. If the drone is loaded with explosives and set for a one way trip there is a lot less to do, yet the paint could still impact its ability if there is enough space left, if the paint is loaded with metal it could light it up making it a much better target. All options that have been considered in the last few years in anti-drone activities, the question is how to proceed now.

I believe that inaction will no longer get us anywhere, especially when Hezbollah is involved. That is the one speculative part. There is no way that Houthi rebel forces have the skills; I believe that Iran is too focussed on having some level of deniability, hence the Hezbollah part. It is entirely probable that Iranian forces are involved, yet that would be the pilot and with the range, that pilot would have been really close to the Yemeni border making Abha airport a target, yet unlikely that more inland another target would be available to them.

Knowing that gives more options, but also makes it harder to proceed, the earlier five methods mentioned are direct, there is one other option, but I am not discussing it here at present as it optionally involves DoD classified materials (and involves DARPA’s project on Machine learning applied intelligence to the radio spectrum) and lets not put that part out in the open. It is actually a clever program conceived by Paul Tilghman, a graduate from RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology), an excellent school that is slightly below MIT and on par with UTS (my creative stomping grounds).

It is a roadmap that needs to be followed, I am all for bombing Hezbollah sites, unlike the earlier mentioned group of 15, I prefer my level of evidence to be a little higher as such the Tilghman solution is called for, after that, when we get that we can address the viability of Beirut and Tripoli with 2500 lbs hardware donations, depending on the evidence found mind you, we can make adjustments, as some materials would have needed to be shipped to Yemen either directly or via Lebanon and in all honesty, I am of the mind that Iran would not have done this directly. Proxy wars require a higher level of deniability to remain proxy wars; as such we need the hardware as evidence.

And even as we see: “Mohamed Abdel Salam, said the attack was in response to Saudi Arabia’s “continued aggression and blockade on Yemen”. Earlier in the week, he said attacks on Saudi airports were “the best way to break the blockade”” (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jun/12/yemen-houthi-rebel-missile-attack-injures-26-saudi-airport) we need to realise that this is growing and potentially a lot larger than before. Even as we acknowledge that the forces have withdrawn from the harbour, we have no insight on where they went, there is no indication that they have stopped fighting, merely that they are at the moment inactive, a status that can change at any given moment.

Add to that the threat (or is that the promise) by Tehran who decided to “threaten to resume enriching uranium towards weapons-grade level on 7 July if US sanctions are not lifted or its European allies fail to offer new terms for the nuclear deal“, here my answer is ‘What deal?‘, there is enough indication that enriching never stopped, but was merely scaled down to 95% of previous effort, as such there is no need to offer more incentives that will only be broken. As such my strategy to seek out Houthi (and optionally Hezbollah forces) to take away the proxy options of Iran, they must either commit 100% or back down, at present their fear is having to commit fully to this and change the stage of proxy war to actual war, and as such my strategy makes sense. They have no hope of winning as too many government would be willing to align with Saudi Arabia (that might make them surprised and happy as well), and a united front against Iran is what Iran fears, because Turkey would have no option but to cut ties out of fear what happens when we are done with the other Iranian puppets.

It is perhaps the only side where I disagree with James Jeffrey (US special representative for Syria engagement), I do not believe that it is a “hegemonic quest to dominate the Middle East“, I believe that Iran knows that this is no longer an option, yet bolstering foundations of a growing alliance is the best that they hope for and here Iran merely facilitates in the urge to state to Syria (the government and its current president) in the voice of ‘You owe us, we helped you‘, it is slightly pathetic and merely the voice of a used car salesman at present. As more of the proxy war becomes open and proven Iran is backed into a corner, it makes Iran more dangerous, but it also forces them to act, not through proxy and I am decently certain that Iran has too much to lose as present, especially as Russia denied them the S-400 solution.

Even as Gevorg Mirzayan (an expert in Middle East and a leading analyst at the agency Foreign Policy) is getting headlines with ‘‘Dumping’ Iran Would Be Mistaken, Since Russia Doesn’t Know What The US Will Offer In Return‘, we see that the stage is a valid question, but there we also see the answer. the direct (and somewhat less diplomatic) answer is “Never set a stage where a rabid dog can call the shots“, the more diplomatic answer (by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov) was “Russia has not received any requests from Iran for delivering its S-400 air defense systems” is nice, and it puts Iran in a space where they need to admit to needing this kind of hardware, yet on the other side, Russia realises that Iran is driven to flame the middle East and down the track if its alliance is too strong, takes Saudi Arabia out of consideration for several lucrative Russian ventures and they know it.

All these elements are in play and in place, so segregating and isolating Hezbollah limits the options of Iran, making it an essential step to pursue. Interesting is that these steps were firmly visible as early as last year August, and that group of 15 did little to bolster solutions towards truly isolating Iran, that Miaow division was optionally seeking milk and cream and finding not that much of either.

So the time is now essential moving to critical to take the options away from Iran, we let Lebanon decide whether they want to get caught in a room painted in a corner with no directions remaining, at that point they become a real easy target.

That was not hard was it?

Happy Friday and remember, it will be Monday morning in 60 hours, so make the most of it.

 

1 Comment

Filed under IT, Military, Politics, Science

The political blame

I love the Guardian for the most. They have a good grasp of things and we might not see eye to eye on certain matters at times, their opinion is still valued as it enables me to critically reassess my own view. It is the opposing part that got to me this morning as I read an article a mere 4 hours old. The title alone woke me up. With ‘Despite Hammond’s threat, the Tories cannot be trusted to end austerity‘ Richard Partington makes a dangerous statement. Does he imply that the Conservatives love austerity too much (not entirely false), is he making the statement that Labor (the Jeremy Corbyn facade) is likely to end it immediately placing the UK in even more danger? There are several ways to see this. The article with “Chancellor hints that a no-deal Brexit will mean an unwanted extension to austerity“, which is absolutely true in a few ways, still that extension of 2-3 years will be better than the ECB push to set the stage for 15 years of additional austerity. And when we are treated to “The chancellor is likely to argue that money has been set aside for a no-deal Brexit, but should it be avoided, he can use these funds to end austerity. The thinly veiled threat – coming on the day of the crucial vote on whether to leave without a deal“. From my point of view, whatever is in reserve is essential to reduce debt as soon as possible. You see £2.1 trillion in debt is a killer. The interest alone will be well over £210 billion each year. So every month £17.5 billion is required to be set aside (all speculated on interest being a mere 1%), lowering that requirement as soon as possible is the only way to survive whatever comes next. Germany did massively push austerity around 2010 and the debt (as well as the interest) went down. We acknowledge that Germany was in a much better place (export wise), yet the truth in undeniable, the debt is killing the people of England and it needs to stop. Irresponsible acts by Labour in the past got us into this mess and Labor is just too stupid to see the danger that they are exposing their citizens to, it must stop and that was for me the largest reason to embrace Brexit, even now when we see: “For the most part the Conservatives have recycled savings from austerity into tax breaks for the better off” we should get angry, not because of the falsehood, but because of the presentation. You see, any austerity will affect the better off a lot less than the others, there is no denying it. If only Labor had not gone overboard spending the way they did (apart from the £11.2 billion NHS IT fiasco), they had no clue what they were doing and gave us this death through poverty sentence. The banks are all on the side of Labor as they are making bankers rich whilst these bankers do not have to do anything at all, the long term commitment to £17.5 a month does that for them.

Then we get even more fuel with: “Analysis from the New Economics Foundation this week shows that raising the tax-free personal allowance to £12,500 and higher-rate income tax threshold to £50,000 will cost as much as £30bn. The financial benefit of the increases have benefited higher-income households most and further stoked inequality“. In the first, no one, not even the rich oppose the £12,500 part, the part that predicts the cost to be £30 billion is misrepresented as that also includes the losses by those who went from £11,850 to £12,500, and this is the largest part. These so called ‘rich’, an interestingly small number basically gaining a mere £3,650 to be taxed lower earning them £700 over a year, whilst the even wealthier group did not gain the additional benefits as their tax bracket remained the same. As for the numbers in 2017 only an estimated 364,000 (out of 68 million) made over £150,000 a year. An additional 4.2 million got to the £50,000 range. those people are not gaining £30 billion, the benefit is mostly there for the lowest range being the largest group by far and Richard should be ashamed of himself trying to push buttons in that way.

Inequality has been there for a while and it is not due to the tax regulations as such, it is due to Labor (and Conservatives) being cowards and not adjusting the tax machine to make large corporations making pay their due. When we see Google, Amazon and others paying a mere 1%, we need to hang those policy makers in Piccadilly square. That is the real culprit, but it is likely too uncomfortable for Richard Partington to point that out, he likely has well paid friends in large corporations. We can agree that “The deficit is still expected to remain as high as £19.8bn in 2022-23 according to the Office for Budget Responsibility, the government’s own tax and spending watchdog“, and guess what, properly taxing large corporations would have taken care of that and optionally reduced austerity as well, yet policy makers are unwilling to try that as they fear large corporations walk out. So what? Let them go and forsake a 68 million consumer base, they will learn soon enough when that move goes tits up for them.

It is not all him though, Richard is allowed his view (even the ones I very much disagree with), and the issue goes beyond certain people. Consider just a year ago when we were ‘informed’ on Apple at Battersea Power Station, a luxurious setting of hundreds of millions, of course they do not have to pay for it, as the tax payers gets to pay for all the taxation that they do not have to pay at that point. It gets even worse when we see the quotes in the Apple Insider. It is developer Simon Murphy that literally gives those readers with the prospect of them moving to plan B: “We’ll give [Apple] that building at the end of 2021. That’s what everyone is very confident about at this stage“, so not only did they short social housing by 40%, they also give away a place to large corporations? No one is asking questions on every level of government at this point (at https://appleinsider.com/articles/18/09/22/construction-delays-leave-apples-iconic-london-battersea-offices-in-doubt)? It seems that the way we do business has to change quite a lot and it is time to slash freebees to zero for the largest corporations. It is not only the Guardian though; we see a changed stage when we go to the Financial Times. They start (at https://www.ft.com/content/b2225c56-419c-11e9-b896-fe36ec32aece) with: “With economic risks again mounting, the EU needs new instruments” and that is merely the beginning. In addition to all the massive blunders they had by fictively keeping an economy running, by pumping 3 trillion into it, we now see: “reviving part of its stimulus programme after two years of weaning the eurozone off easy money — took markets by surprise. It should not have done. Signs of eurozone weakening, especially in Germany, and in key partners such as China, had been evident for months. Once the US Federal Reserve signalled a pause before lifting rates again, the ECB became likely to follow suit. In his final months in the role, ECB president Mario Draghi is clearly trying to get ahead of events“, form my personal point of view, Mario Draghi (and the ECB) are merely trying to keep the gravy train rolling and pushing the EU citizens into deeper debt with no option to get out, Brexit is the only way to cut that anchor. The ECB has become that irresponsible. It becomes an even larger problem with “By promising a new round of cheap long-term loans to banks willing to expand lending, moreover, the ECB will enable Spanish, Italian and other banks to roll over funding they have already received, some of which is set to mature“, so not only is it failing, the stage that the new debts are there to cover old debts is even more ludicrous and it should be to every person who read that. That is the push we see and we need to get out of it, these debts do not make governments better, they do not set the stage for an actual economy, it merely deposes nations to be ruled by banks, when any population is set to the stage where they are contributing to any economy by being a consumer against those who are not and regarded as a burden, at that point do we see that people are truly no longer equal, we are merely facilitating to the need of the balance of corporations and bankers are placed above the law and above any consideration. So at what point did we see elections that place banks and bankers above the law? And this is merely the beginning; we see part of this shift when we consider the words at CNBC by Invesco’s Kristina Hooper at a deeper level. She starts with: “I don’t think the slowdown is going to be that bad as we sit here today, and certainly that’s not what we got from the ECB [European Central Bank] in terms of their downgrade of growth forecasts“, yet when we see: “Now that we have the European Central Bank piling on, that raises questions about what’s going on. What are central banks worried about that is causing them to make rather dramatic pivots?“, that was actually simple, the ECB is dead scared of the ‘R’ word, it is ‘recession’ that scares them. Recession is on the horizon and basically the large four are all hit by it, or are optionally hitting it next quarter (France, Germany, Italy and UK), and for the ECB that is a problem, it would truly show that their policy was a failure, no matter how you dashboard the results into a precisely sliced and diced result that shows only positivity, the cost of living and the quality of life are impacting all and austerity is not a merely a dirty word, it is at this point a cause of suicidal depression for the many confronted with it. If only large corporations had been truly decently taxed, we could have avoided so much pain. We see even more in the end when we are treated to: ““China is employing a lot of stimulus both monetary and fiscal,” said Hooper. “We could actually see signs of some improvement in economic data in China.”” She is only partially right. China is not impaired with 26 anchors all trying to keep the EU boat on their needy little turf; in addition China has taken the lead in IP and Patents making a huge difference, in this America and the EU have fallen far behind. I have seen them ignore billions in IP merely because iteration is the prospect of long term management for large corporations nowadays in an age when these people are left without ideas, we see them surpassed by players like Huawei and Google leaping ahead and now we see the terms like ‘protectionism’ and how bad it is. On the other hand there is a solution against it, the Americans merely had to accuse Huawei as a national security danger and as long as they do not have to prove it can they get away with it, the moment they fail that they lose a lot more than merely an industry (in all fairness they do not really have any credibility left, so there is that too). There too we see issues; as John Bolton (the Trump geriatric solution to national security) gives us through the Sydney Morning Herald: “Bolton also offered blunt assessments on China’s island and military base building in the South China Sea and raised concerns “Manchurian” chips in Huawei technology could be activated for espionage” in this ‘could‘ is the operative word, there is no evidence, and as far as I can tell there never was. This too links to economies and economic welfare, Huawei leaped forward whilst the bulk of all economies were based on iterative progress. Why do you think that places like Google and Huawei truly leapt forward? Their rise is all about actual innovation, not iterative marketing. This makes for all the difference. And linked to all this is something truly away from the UK. With ‘STC, Huawei complete first indoor 5G trial in the Middle East‘, when we are treated to “Saudi Telecom Company (STC) and Chinese vendor Huawei confirmed they have completed what they claim to be the first trial of indoor 5G in the Middle East region. During the trial in Dammam, STC used 100 megahertz in the 3.5 GHz band on the 5G network, and achieved a peak user downlink throughput of 1.3 Gbps” with the additional “STC said it currently provides 5G coverage in more than 450 locations across Saudi Arabia” and this relates directly to the EU and the UK. To have an economy growing you need to be ahead of the curve and both are no longer doing that in several fields. Even as I personally understand and accept the statements by Alex Younger (fearless leader of MI-6); we accept his position and he is not wrong, but it is inconvenient for the economy. The others are merely supporting fear mongering absent of evidence and it is about to cost them. You see, 5G is the economy maker and even as I have well over 2 billion in IP value ready to stage to those with the proper offer, I am but one person and I am not alone. 5G will drive IP and it will push new borders in IP, specifically in trademarks, a shift we have not seen ever. In all this, we see the stage where not only will we see the technology shift where Saudi Arabia is surpassing the US technologically, they now have the stage where they can push and own a 500% growth all over the Middle East, America lost out by being stupid and complacent in an industry where free runners set the stage, not those that rely on status quo. The UK (and the EU) will either catch up, or be regarded as lost for consideration.
At some point people there will push for political blame, I do not think that this is a great idea, but that is what will happen soon enough and at that point, all those who gave rise to John Bolton and the US administration will face a massive setback, to be removed from consideration in a world where they once had mighty voices, the funny part is that every success that we now see by Huawei and Saudi Arabia will be another nail in their coffin. A coffin soon to be named ‘rented by [irrelevant person]‘. What a legacy to have in an age where political delays were the foundation of austerity through improper taxation of corporation. There is more than one setback on the location called Lake Iteration; I saw that coming a mile away. Too bad that those relying on status quo never realised that blinkers of that nature is only to stop wearer of seeing the bigger play-field through the adaptation of fictively removing fear, fear keeps us on our toes, it makes us consider what others do and why they do it; with blinkers we only see what those in charge of us want us to see and that is a large limitation, it makes us focus on what is in front of us and we seem to forget that we are not alone, by not seeing that others pass us by and we only see that whilst we watch their asses rush forward at that point will we consider picking up the pace, picking it up way too late. That too is part of any economy, it is the essential part of being ahead of the game and the ECB is seemingly all about a horse named ‘banker’ to get that advantage and it is costing us. You see, it is not about Huawei having this advantage, it is about the realisation that British Telecom is no longer in the place where Huawei now is. All whilst there is plenty of documentation that the US has been accusing Huawei since before 2012 and up to now, no evidence has ever been produced. So whilst we can go back to the quote from October 2012 with: “American companies and its government should avoid doing business with China’s two leading technology firms, Huawei and ZTE, because they pose a national security threat to the US, the House of Representatives’ intelligence committee will warn in a report to be published on Monday“, consider the options, is US Intelligence this bloody inefficient and incompetent, or was this about something else? The leaping headway approach by Huawei was visible 7 years ago and in that time nothing changed. That non change is important for the people to realise; it is the UK economy that is getting hit time and time again. If you wonder why austerity takes this long (and longer still) consider the steps that industries had not taken, investments not done and we see non-stop tax relief for those sitting still (read: sitting on their hands). the issues are directly connected and when we realise that Germany has decided not to ban Huawei (a nations decently paranoid on security), when we watch the German economy pick up sooner we all know where to point the finger, we point it at the inactive and the exploitative, when we link names to those connected there, that is when we see a first sign of carefully phrased denials and weighted mention of ‘miscommunication between parties’. At that point, will you be forgiving and accept the ‘moving forward’ excuse, or will you hold them and their tax policies to account to a much larger degree?

Stop blaming the rich, they already got there! You need to go after those facilitators, those looking for free scraps and scraps through inaction; those are the ones you want to make suffer for your delayed and optionally permanently deleted so called ‘quality of life’.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Law, Media, Politics, Science

Our BBC alarm clock

It is Thursday, I just finished a baguette with salami and I was just going over the news (as one does) and I was hit by something stated in the BBC. I was not sure on how to react, but it made me take another look at certain matters. The event was initially about Saudi Arabia and their need for a nuclear reactor, they want to diversify their energy options. The one nation where sunlight would imply the need for large Elon Musk batteries to light Riyadh at night, whilst they get charged by free sunlight during the day, that one element is seen. Yet, they want a nuclear reactor requiring a huge water source to cool the entire matter. OK, that is their choice, and I am fine with it (no one cares what I agree with, I don’t care myself either). Yet the setting changes when I am confronted with two parts. The article (at https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-47296641) gives a few elements that become debatable in more than one way. So as I am listening to golden oldies like Atom Bomb Baby by The Five Stars (my sense of humour remains in place), as well as Civilization (Bongo Bongo Bongo) by Danny Kaye, songs that matter in this case. The first quote is: “Whistleblowers told the panel it could destabilise the Middle East by boosting nuclear weapons proliferation“, so why whistle blowers? Political impact does not require whistle blowers, there is no guarantee that it would result in destabilisation (it is likely though), and WHY EXACTLY did the BBC ‘hide’ behind the Whistle-blower statement?

The second part in all this is: “Lawmakers have been critical of the plan as it would violate US laws guarding against the transfer of nuclear technology that could be used to support a weapons programme“. So how does that relate to the Iran nuclear accords? America might have left it, but they were in the centre of all this. So, exactly why is there optionally a law against it and seemingly Iran was catered to, to begin with, and is still catered to at present by Europe. At this point everyone needs to sit down and really consider what their political representatives are up to all over the globe, because things are not really adding up at present.

Finally we get: “They also believe giving Saudi Arabia access to nuclear technology would spark a dangerous arms race in the volatile region. But concerns around rival Iran developing nuclear technology are also at play, according to US media“, if that is the case why allow talks with Iran to get it in the first place? And how exactly is ‘according to US media’ a valid response? And exactly who are the players in that US media mess? Does that not worry you?

Then we get the house report, based on whistle-blowers (who exactly?) where we see: “within the US, strong private commercial interests have been pressing aggressively for the transfer of highly sensitive nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia

There is a larger play in this; the issue becomes who exactly are those ‘private commercial interests’? It seems that the media (including the BBC) is all about creating awareness whilst those writers are all about ‘not stepping on any toes’ and in light of the linked term ‘nuclear weapons proliferation‘, yet the BBC does not disappoint. We also get:

The commercial entities mentioned in the report are:

  • IP3 International, a private company led by ex-military officers and security officials that organised a group of US companies to build “dozens of nuclear power plants” in Saudi Arabia
  • ACU Strategic Partners, a nuclear power consultancy led by British-American Alex Copson
  • Colony NorthStar, Mr Barrack’s real estate investment firm
  • Flynn Intel Group, a consultancy and lobby set up by Michael Flynn.

Now we are off to the races! You see, even as IP3 International is visible on their website (at www.ip3international.com) with: ‘A global enterprise to develop sustainable energy and security infrastructure‘, we need to realise that this is a presentation play (everyone is allowed to do that). Sustainable is often used as it more than not can be replaced with renewable energy (which is still not the same), the larger issue is that there is a sizeable debate as it is also an increasing controversy over whether nuclear energy can be considered sustainable energy.

The textbook gives us: “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs“, which is reflected in: Kutscher, C.F.; Milford, J.B.; Kreith, F. (2018). Principles of Sustainable Energy Systems, Third Edition, I believe that IP3 International is revenue driven and one tends to go to the players that can pay their bill, I would see it as an innovative thought to go to Saudi Arabia, if only (according to law) it was not illegal. Yet there is the second stump in all this, you cannot start that conversation with Iran and not optionally refuse to have it with Saudi Arabia. And now the music is still on par with the events in play, because the song at present is ‘Grandma Plays the Numbers’ by Wynonie Harris. It is not a bet and the players are not hedging their bets, the issue becomes Politico (at https://www.politico.eu/article/mohammad-javad-zarif-iran-to-eu-give-us-more-to-preserve-nuclear-deal/), which gives us “On the nuclear deal, from which Trump’s withdrew last year, Zarif said a so-called special purpose vehicle set up by the EU to allow European countries to keep trading with Iran despite U.S. sanctions fell short of what Europeans had promised. In a clear message to European powers, he said domestic support for the deal was fragile — with 51 percent of Iranians in favor, according to an opinion poll“, it is not about the deal, it is to some extent as to where 49% of Iran wants to be as the margin is too close to call an actual win. What is important is where the hardliners stand and what path they want to walk on, it makes all the difference in this.

The other party that draws attention in this is Michael Flynn and his Flynn Intel Group. Even as it is seen as a consultancy group, the issue is optionally seen with “In January 2017, National Security Council staff began to raise concerns that these plans were inappropriate and possibly illegal, and that Flynn had a potentially criminal conflict of interest“, the imperative part is ‘possibly illegal‘, it does not state ‘should be regarded as illegal‘, the difference makes for all the difference here and the fact that this is not clearly stated implies that this is a political push, optionally against Saudi Arabia, and optionally to keep nuclear energy out of the middle east completely. When we realise that the issue changes, it does not merely require Europe to stop any Iran nuclear deal, it gives different levels of rise to the political pressures in play. The fact that we see (source: Ars Technica): “Flynn had decided to adopt IP3’s plan to develop “dozens of nuclear power plants” in Saudi Arabia during the transition while he was still serving as an advisor to IP3. Harvey also said that Barrack would be made a special representative, with credentials equivalent to an ambassador, to guide the plan“, yet the entire matter of ‘there is bi-partisan concern regarding Saudi Arabia’s access to nuclear technology‘, we seem to get a little less informed that this is not about the material itself, it is about upgrading the fuel required to upgrade it to weapons grade, that is the actual turkey in the oven.

And it is at this point that Bing Crosby starts sing Pistol Packin’ Mama. You see, we seem to forget that there are a few ways to upgrade Uranium towards a less acceptable use. It’s like stone washing your jeans (a small reference to alternative ways to upgrade Uranium), when you start looking into the matter, you can find several ways to upgrade the fuel to a boom point. That is where the issue is hiding at and when we go back to the case where people re happy to in like Flynn with Saudi Arabia, we get confronted with a memo that is seemingly linking former NSA Director Keith Alexander, when we look at the sources, there is a lot alleged, implied and not a whole lot valued as evidence (which does not make it true or false). The part that matter is that this is a lot larger and there is not a whole lot of information on the legality of it all (in one way or another).

The mess goes on and even NPR gets involved. We are all treated to: “Let’s take a closer look now at what a transfer of highly sensitive nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia would mean for U.S. national security“, yet how valid is that today? The first nuclear reactor was built in 1942, it is an energy solution that has been in place for almost 77 years. There are now 31 nations that employ nuclear energy, nations that include Armenia, Argentine, Romania, Netherlands, Sweden, Slovakia, the UAE and Switzerland. So how sensitive is that technology? If the technology is up to date (which might be sensitive) does that not also include that the reactors are safer? Should safety not be the largest concern in all this?

Well that is not entirely the story and it is Ars Technical that gives us: ““We remain concerned that the Saudi Government has refused, for many years, to consider any agreement that includes so-called ‘Gold Standard’ requirements against pursuing technologies to enrich uranium and reprocess plutonium-laden spent nuclear fuel,” the senators wrote in their letter to Trump.” that was the part that the BBC did not give us, so even as part of that still needs to be vetted, yet if true, there would be a partial issue, yet in all this we still see that Europe is willing to give it to Iran and as such, should Saudi Arabia not be entitled to that choice too?

When we see the elements in play is it actual about stopping Saudi Arabia getting a nuclear reactor, or is it about stopping a handful of former admirals and generals laying their fingers on $200 billion? In the end whatever happens, the players forget that Russia is eager to serve Saudi Arabia with the 20 nuclear reactors that Saudi Arabia in committed to switch on in under 36 months. It seems to me that the United States or those reporting via the US media are all about removing the US as the larger economic power. That is how I personally would read it, the entire mess has too many angles and too many ‘possibly illegal‘ and ‘concern regarding access to nuclear technology‘, whilst the list of nations with nuclear reactors is already way out of control, and we read this, whilst we know that Russia and China are eager to put their fingers on that much revenue, when you want to buy a car that does at least 250Km, are you going to wait in front of the Ferrari door, or do you accept that Lamborghini and Aston Martin are not second choice cars, they are equally great choices in really fast cars. When we realise that part of the equation, we might consider that the Americans: General (ret.) John M. Keane, U.S. Army, General (ret.) Keith Alexander, U.S. Army, Rear Admiral (ret.) Michael Hewitt, U.S. Navy, Admiral (ret.) Kirkland H. Donald, U.S. Navy, Lieutenant General (ret.) Patrick J. O’Reilly, U.S. Army are not merely Americans, they might be the few true Americans left in that place. We catered to Wall Street for so long, we forget that innovation and had work and proper commercial deals made America great, short selling stock a lot less so, and even as we ‘acknowledge’ that these fine gentleman are still being mentored (or is that insightful advised) by Robert McFarlane, we need to realise that the entire media mess is set in motion for very different reasons. I am not pretending to know the reason, yet those so called whistle-blowers have their own alternative need, I wonder if we ever get the truth on that part of this much larger equation.

 

Leave a comment

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

Does smoke mean fire?

We have all heard the expression before: ‘Where there is smoke, there is fire‘, yet what happens when no fire is found, what happens when certain involved parties are all combined in the need for deception?

That is the question; it is not a direct accusation, as I am not aware of all the facts. I am merely in possession of a whole heap of doubt. The latest is given with: “On Thursday, communications giant Vodafone said it is pausing the deployment of new Huawei equipment in its core networks across the globe. The core networks are particularly sensitive as if they are compromised, mass spying can be conducted across them“, the operative part is ‘if they are compromised‘, there is no evidence, there is no case, it is merely Vodafone sucking the proverbial addendum of America. This comes with the addition of “the University of California at Berkeley and UC San Diego — are removing Huawei equipment and shunning its cash. They apparently don’t want to lose funding under the terms of last year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which banned federal funding recipients from using certain products and services“. The mess is increasing and the whole fiasco is all connected to the fact that there is no evidence. At least with Alex Younger (MI6), the premise was that no government should be allowed to be in an optional point of weakness through foreign technology. I do not believe that was the cleverest step to make, but we can argue that it should be seen as a valid national reason, which is fair enough.

There is of course concern in opposition and the Guardian gives is (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/jan/27/huaweis-problems-deepen-as-western-suspicions-mount) with: “Critics say Huawei’s rapid expansion is suspicious. Founded in 1987 and focused on selling telecom equipment in rural areas of China, it has grown into the world’s largest supplier of telecoms equipment and second largest smartphone maker. It operates in more than 170 countries, employing about 180,000 people“. OK, I am willing to give that thought, because there is suspicion on that level, yet there is also Facebook, it grew to a multibillion dollar behemoth in less than a decade. At least with technology there are supporting investors when they comprehend the technology and it has been clear in the last 10 years that Huawei was ahead of the curve. My initial assessment in 2014 was that Huawei would soon have at least 20% of the mobile market. I was laughed at by several people, now when I remember them of their short sightedness, they seem to react in denial with statements like ‘I don’t know what you mean‘ and ‘Well, you should have communicated it better‘. Although I did state that Huawei will soon have well over 20% of the mobile market‘ seems to have been clear enough. Now they surpass that with a comfortable distance, and they are not done growing. When I initially discussed my $2B IP idea there were only two players. Google and Huawei, now my benefit to only consider Huawei will have a few more tactical benefits as well as leaving me with a larger slice of that cake which I find appealing as well. that is beside the point of me sticking it to Microsoft and Apple to show them how stupid their path of iterative technology was, in addition, if Huawei pulls it off, it will create a very new cloud technology based growth system. they will do so because all these jokers who are hiding behind ‘security concerns‘ will soon learn that evidence is still adamant and the people are finding out that getting sold short for the benefit of specific Telecom operators come with a massive price tag.

So I found a way around it and create a second system that avoids them altogether, that also means that these players will lost on terabytes of data per day making their losses increasingly uncomfortable. I do have an issue with the quote: “Ren went on a media blitz, breaking years of silence to say the company has never engaged in espionage on behalf of Beijing. “China’s ministry of foreign affairs has officially clarified that no law in China requires any company to install mandatory back doors. Huawei and me personally have never received any request from any government to provide improper information,” he said” I have no doubt that Ren Zhengfei is speaking the truth, yet I am also aware that someone like Chen Wenqing will never knock on the door of Ren Zhengfei, he will find a way around it and get what he needs in another way. By the way that same picture applies to Gina Cheri Haspel and General Paul Nakasone and their links to Microsoft, IBM, Facebook and Apple. You better believe that they are very much on the same page when it comes to their national security, your rights be damned (when National security is discussed).

So let’s not have that pot, kettle and black conversation, shall we?

Then we get to the trade secret part of it all. Oh, and before you get any crazy idea’s. Perhaps you have heard of how in the mid 60’s Israel, through Mossad acquired (read borrowed) the blueprints from the French and when the ban for Israel was clear, they producing an uncanny identical likeness of the Mirage 5, I believe it was called the Nesher, with technical specifications for several main parts to be as perfectly identical as a fingerprint. We were not really that surprised when it happened, yet what was less known was that some documents in the mid 90’s implied that the CIA was very aware of it all before the operation was completed, which shines a light on their need of what they regard to be a trade secret.

This part is important when we realise that the accusation reads: ‘conspiring to steal trade secrets from T-Mobile US Inc.‘. The question is: ‘What Trade Secrets?‘ You see Huawei is a lot more advanced than T-Mobile. Perhaps it is what BGR Media LLC claimed with: “unscrupulous T-Mobile sales reps lie to customers and open lines on their accounts without permission, all to meet unrealistic sales goals“, which is interesting as this is not a think Huawei does, they merely sell hardware and services to companies, not to individuals. Or perhaps the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) findings with: ‘EFF Confirms: T-Mobile’s Binge on Optimization is Just Throttling, Applies Indiscriminately to All Video‘, so how is any of that interesting to Huawei? So what exactly is the formal brief for the case? You see, the media does not divulge that, they give us all the innuendo but not the facts. And when it comes to the accusation ”Huawei used a Hong Kong shell company called Skycom to sell equipment in violation of the US sanctions in Iran“, which might hold water (I actually do not know), yet if the US is unwilling to set that stage by “The U.S. has agreed to let eight countries — including Japan, India and South Korea” to let the Iran sanctions be waived, why are they so specific? Is it merely because their financial and economic setting demands it? How is that proper sanctioning? All that, whilst the media at large is not making any mention of the other 5, we need to see that the entire Iran Sanction is to be seen as a cloak of corruption, if that was not allowed, the oil price would suddenly soar and at that point the US economy would be in deep drenching goo, is that not an interesting side as well? Or perhaps a better clue on how Cisco, Sun and HP equipment makes it to Iran without any hassle, an event that has been going on since 2012, so in all this, the entire Huawei discrimination debacle reads like a joke.

to be quite honest, if there was an actual security issue, I would go after Huawei without a moment’s hesitation, I know I can best Director Igor Kostyukov (GRU), yet going after Chen Wenqing, a man who eats, dreams and lives by the Art of War and optionally one of the few people on the planet whose eyes have seen the actual original version, he would be a lovely challenge for the likes of me. I am no Steinitz, Karpov, Kasparov or Carlsen, but I could be a crazy Bobby Fischer, he’ll never see me coming! (OK, that was my ego talking for a second).

You see, I look beyond the data, beyond what people and politicians hide behind and the entire Huawei mess is a political play of nepotism and fear, because those getting momentum in 5G will set the pace and win the race, that is what America fears it was that simple all along. That truth is easily found, the orchestration (read: rigging) of what would be global 5G rules and the FCC of setting a different stage, the non-accountability of AT&T in all this and that list is growing almost on a daily basis, it gets to be more interesting now that the Democrats from the “Leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission today demanding information concerning possible coordination between FCC officials and carriers in an ongoing legal fight” (source: the Verge) and a few more like them. In the last 15 days we have seen more orchestration and the setting of the stage with specific judges, to get a more appealing situation, when we see that part, we see that the technology gap in America is a lot larger than we think and it is setting the stage of fear against an advanced players like Huawei on an almost exponential growing path. America has seemingly no other optional left. That is why I saw from the beginning that places like Saudi Arabia could fuel exponential growth in 5G and making Huawei larger by the day. It also fuels the growth path back to Europe, because the moment Huawei proves that they have the good stuff, the EU will chose profit over short sighted American policies, because those policies do not pay the bills, profit does and the EU is desperate for any profit it can get.

Consider the billions of value of those networks and the billions of revenue that these networks make in addition through information, advertisement and data collection. America is starting to lose out because they were asleep at the wheel for close to 3 years, it is enough to miss out on an entire technology generation. That is the danger that iterative technology brings. For now I merely wonder what Google can do to stay ahead of it all, because their lives depend on the technologies that Huawei has, when Google search becomes less and less at the point of the spear, merely to be laughingly called Bing v2.1, how do you think Google will react? They optionally have the path to equal Huawei in a new network facilitating stream giving them additional revenue in a new dimension. We might initially think Saudi Arabia and Neom city in the pilot stage, yet that could so one thereafter evolve towards London, Paris and other places to grow strong and fast, because in the end all these policies sound nice, but they all forget the number one clause required. It all requires users and that is the part both Google and Huawei figured out a decade before the sheep (read: IBM and Microsoft) started to get a proper clue.

Too many intelligence wannabe’s focussed on Mark Lowenthal’s Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy, which is an awesome book, and when you consider the simple: “on how the intelligence community’s history, structure, procedures, and functions affect policy decisions“, which is also an absolute truth, yet behind what you would like to have, these people all forgot about the consumers and what they demanded to be their right, that is where their gravy train became another Titanic and the greed driven path went not by one iceberg, but it steered towards one every other hour making it a wreck in the making, the entire 5G debacle in the US is no difference in that regard and I will be around to laugh at those in denial thinking and parroting ‘security concern‘ on all the media without any proper cause or evidence to show for it. Oh, and I am not the only one, a whole score of cyber experts are on that same path, so I am not alone in seeing through the media stupidity, merely seeing on how much bigger experts like me are totally ignored on several levels giving merely the rise and early expectation to someone screaming in some policy department ‘Iceberg dead ahead‘, whilst none of them are qualified or sanctioned to alter course, going straight for the natural Whiskey coolant.

Life can be exceedingly entertaining at time, but for all the tea (and Huawei mobiles) in China, I never expected them to be this hilarious. Sometimes smoke is not fire, it is the steam of a ship striking an iceberg and going down. For those on that ship do not worry, the direct path to land is only 3800 meters away (straight down).

 

Leave a comment

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

A screen made with real silver

Forbes gave us the news on Monday. Many expected it; many saw it coming and no one is really surprised. It’s ‘Netflix’s Worst Nightmare Is Coming True‘. Stephen McBride gives us: “If you’ve been reading RiskHedge, you know I’ve been warning to keep money out of stock market darling Netflix (NFLX)“, he was of course correct, yet I would not go there for different reasons, reasons he actually mentions in part. As we are treated to: “It comes down to the lifecycle of disruptive businesses. Netflix pioneered “streaming” video where you watch shows through the Internet rather than on cable TV. For years, it was the only streaming service in town. Early investors rode this first-mover advantage to 10,000% gains from 2008 to July of this year.” Many, for the most the investors rejoiced. I saw the loaded cannon in another direction. As Forbes gives us, we are treated to: “Netflix had planned to spend $8 billion on shows and series this year… now it’ll spend roughly $12 billion. It now invests more in content than any other American TV network” that is where the danger is. You see, the cold hearted calculation is: 137 million users worldwide. This gets us on average $24 billion a year, it looks good, but it is not great. You see, this only works if this goes on in the long run, whilst it requires growth, it also requires people to stay with Netflix for a long time. Now, both are an option, but they have muddied the waters in another way. First there are the loans and the interest is due, as well as the principle of the matter (aka, the loan). It is optionally not a big thing if things were great moving forward, yet they are not. I had an idea earlier this year and I thought that handing it to Netflix is a great way to gain momentum. You see, I have written 1100 articles within the last 6 years alone and as such I do have a few ideas running around in my head.

Yet Netflix has a no-unsolicited submissions policy, so until you have an agent and such, there is no option. They only accept submissions through a licensed literary agent or from a producer, attorney, manager or entertainment executive with the players that Netflix has a pre-existing relationship. This makes total sense, yet it also gives rise to a much more expensive track, and $12 billion shows part of that. From my point of view new ideas and optionally the most profitable ones are found in what some would call ‘the geek corner’, these people can often not relate, cannot present but they tell great stories, they are most often really cheap and original. It is a much harder sell, yet the entire expense track could be down by at least 10%, saving Netflix $1.2 billion on the spot. Then there is the international concept. Some TV series became great in their own way. Sweden had Pipi Longstocking and that become a much loved character on a very global stage. Another Swedish treasure was a 70’s series called the White Stone, based on the book by Gunnel Linde, Sweden had its own share of successes down the track and we realise that some might seem less interesting nowadays. The Netherlands had the legendary series ‘Kunt U mij de weg naar Hamelen vertellen meneer?‘ It was a song story by children based on the Grimm story of the ratcatcher of Hameln. The series apart from some a few episodes is lost forever, which is a shame as this was a cultural highlight for the Dutch. The French had Thierry la Fronde, La demoiselle d’Avignon and several more, all unseen by a global audience. It is an option, but is that the case?

No it is not.

Netflix has shown that their money is well spent; series like Sabrina, The Haunting of Hill House and Altered Carbon are amazing achievements. We can clearly see that billions were well spend, yet in this donuts for dollars world, the overall stage (non-advertising space mind you), the annual setting for their audience is set to a requirement of close to 365 to 700 hours of TV entertainment a year to keep them, which that adds up to Sabrina, Star Trek Discovery, Haunting of Hill house, the Good Witch, Marvel’s The Punisher, Lost In Space, The OA, Seven Seconds, The Rain, Requiem, 3%, The Innocents, Sense 8, Grace and Frankie, Godless, The Mechanism, Dark, The Crown, Marvel’s Daredevil, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Stranger Things, Lady Dynamite, Glow, Sabrina, Altered Carbon, Mindhunter and at least 20 movies. They need to pull this off each year, and that pressure with Disney+ also increases, as the chance of switching to someone else is more and more likely.

We get that there are series that will always take the cake (Game of Thrones), and in this we see that there is some space to manoeuvre, but it is not a lot. You see, if someone loses the interest for 3 days, they will wonder what Netflix is for and optionally cancel, especially in this economy. That is the clear math I saw at the very beginning. It is not the price; $15 (the medium option) is more often than not a really acceptable price to most people. Netflix got that right, they merely need to find another additional venue for materials, because the well of creation will soon dry up, not merely because there are other players on the field, it is that Free to air TV, and other medium are vying for that same pool of viewers. Netflix as the first one has an advantage, but for how long?

Stephen McBride, a professional fund manager and the chief analyst at RiskHedge makes his financial case and that adds up to the findings I have. I am not sure on what the share price needs to be, yet his financial case and my mere view of the low average viewer gives light to a Netflix in trouble, how much is a clear unknown. Netflix has shown that with Sabrina and The Haunting of Hill House a new level of creepiness can be reached. Sabrina is a new take on what was fluffy, whilst The Haunting of Hill House had most of my friends scared beyond belief, so that series hit the mark. I saw the interesting catch on Lost in Space that after the original series and a movie can capture hearts all over the place, so Netflix is bringing the good stuff, no doubt about it. However, the entire setting is still low on hours. Even if year one for the audience is great, they will want more, or at least no less in the stage of year two and that is where I see trouble for Netflix. This business model will not work pumping billion after billion in a stage that grows ever more, and the path gets worse as more and more is borrowed.

That is the business case that is lost from the very start. This is all before we all realise that the need for Internet and 4K grows, so their infrastructure will shift within the next two years as well and their cloud will need a serious amount of cash to deal with that. I speculatively reckon that by 2021 (if Netflix makes it that long) will equal the NSA data server site at Camp Williams (Utah), so please take a moment to reflect on this. Netflix will in three years require the systems to facilitate to an audience and its hardware will be bigger than the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative (CNCI), with the ability to serve optionally a little over half a billion people. That is the path that Netflix is on and people wonder why I am overly negative. Well, overly negative is a stretch. It is the old fashioned sales pitch. A man sells his soul to the devil, the devil agrees and the deal is that he needs to grow his customer base by 20%. Those who know of the value of a chess set might know that one too. That man required as payment one grain the first tile, and double one the next one and so on, until all 64 tiles were paid for. 1,2,4,8,16,32,64,128 (totaling 255 grains) and that is merely the first row, after that it goes fast and by the last row it the tile payment equalled the total grain production of Russia. In customer base you require a customer base that surpasses the total population, or in this specific case the hardware of a former super power. Also consider that over time Netflix needs to open a similar base in Europe and Asia to maximise the streaming within the time zones. How much will that cost? Oh and before you think that this is it, how much power will it take to keep that running? It is set to be $50 million a year in energy cost and 1 million gallons of water a day (per base). That is if there are no power surges and other calamities giving hardship to all this. Now we see more and more providers handing out one year of free Netflix, they will have a deal with Netflix, yet year one is not the problem, year two is the bigger issue, content makes that a challenge and as is stated in Forbes: “Netflix has three bad choices: continue borrowing billions and bury itself deeper in debt… dramatically raise its subscription prices… or cut back on making new content“, if we see the three, we wonder what impact monthly increases does, I reckon that they could go for the option of one price (HD, 4K) at the same price of $16. Basically get rid of Normal and merely have basic and premium (for $5 more), it will give a boost and most people might not worry about the $5, knowing that they could always upgrade their hardware and get better viewing. Borrowing billions is a non-starter as I see it, it merely lowers the lifespan, yet the final option ‘cut back on making new content‘, is not set in stone. What if we go by ‘making different new content‘, are they exploring that? This is where the golden oldies might bring life to the amount of materials they get at a much lesser expense. Disney is all about the family and the younger viewers. Disney rules that land, yet in the 70’s we saw that Scandinavia had its share of series appreciated by kids all over Europe and that might lower the edge that Disney has (to a small extent).

In addition, making different new content might also increase the amount of content that can be made with $12 billion. I hope Netflix pulls through, when we are confronted with The Haunting of Hill House we see that they have amazing diamonds to offer any crown viewer and I am curious what else they can come up with, especially after Sabrina.

When we consider this, how many have taken a look for the best TV series from the 70’s? I did and I reckon that this is not where we find the answers, there will be too many people remembering those, yet the international field where a local TV series makes it into the global population will be for the most real new stuff to many, there will be a risk, you see, for every remake like Three man and a baby there is the risk of having at least two mediocre versions like ‘the Birdcage’, and with an audience of 135 million moving towards 200 million diversity will be key. I am not sure how it is to be solved and the makers will have their challenge cut out for them, but the takings for them will be huge if they pull it off. In the end, the search for originality goes on and as we go for books, movies and optional video games (Alicia Vikander or Michael Fassbender anyone?) we see options. Yet how does it go when we go dark, really dark and we take a night at the museum into a very different direction? What if we push the nightwatchman into the Night watch and he has to survive the events of The Shooting Company of Frans Banning Cocq and Willem van Ruytenburch in 1640, where he has to survive the night, not get shot for optional accusation of theft of the 100 florins that each of the 16 members had brought as payment to Rembrandt van Rijn and get back out without leaving a mark. We might think it is fun to walk in on Hortense Mancini by Jacob Fredinand Voet, yet what happens when you end up in The Wayfarer by Hieronymus Bosch (1503) and you have to get back then?

We can add twists on nearly any TV series, but will it work? It is not for us to solve, it is for Netflix to find a solution and that is where the problem starts, I might phrase it wrong, the problem did not start there. We were informed last year that Netflix cancelled 21 series, it does not really matter why, number of viewers tends to be the most likely reason, it merely adds the pressure for new content to be created, remember that they need between 365 and 700 hours per viewer for them to remain decently content. And in that picture, creating new content is a lot harder than merely creating a new season, the ante is up for the creators and so is the pressure for Netflix.

At least that is how I see it, and in this, the cinema has a silver screen, Netflix will need gold to score and they have to do it 20 times over each year making the effort unfathomable and each year that they do pull it off will add to the legend that started as Netflix.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, IT, Media, movies, Science