Tag Archives: OPEC

The Iranian funds play

Today is all about Iran, the Washington Post and many others are giving the world the information that the previous president misled congress. Yet the Washington Post phrases it as ‘Obama administration misled Congress on possible Iranian access to U.S. financial system‘, they also mention that it is a Republican investigation. There are two issues, right off the bat, even before you read the article, the question becomes, where were the FBI and the CIA in this?

So when we get the first lines with “The Obama administration went out of its way in early 2016 to help Iran recoup previously sanctioned oil revenue stranded in an overseas account after the nuclear deal went into effect and actively misled Congress regarding those efforts, according to the results of a nearly two-year Republican investigation released early Wednesday“, we need to realise that the setting is wrong from the very start.

Before I go there, let’s follow the trail of crumbs that we get offered. next there is “Iran wanted to convert the money into U.S. dollars and then euros, but top U.S. officials had repeatedly promised Congress that Iran would never gain access to America’s financial system“, which is followed by “the Obama administration secretly issued a license to let Iran sidestep U.S. sanctions for the brief moment required to convert the funds through an American bank, an investigation by Senate Republicans released Wednesday showed. The plan failed when two U.S. banks refused to participate” and finally we get: “the revelation is re-igniting the bitter debate over the nuclear deal and whether former President Barack Obama was too eager to grant concessions to Tehran“. The full story (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/federal_government/obama-era-license-aimed-to-let-iran-convert-money-in-dollars/2018/06/06/60be6d36-6971-11e8-a335-c4503d041eaf_story.html) gives us a lot more, but initially, we get ‘The plan failed‘. So this was seemingly (according to a previous Obama official) about the Iranian money held overseas. The issue seems seen with “No one involved seems certain whether Iran has yet received all of its $5.7 billion“, yet as I see it, that does not seem to be the case. When you think this through, $5.7 billion amounts to 11.2 million barrels based on the average oil price, this amounts to funds equal to 26 hours of oil production in Saudi Arabia, 26 hours! Now we are not debating whether Iran is allowed access to the funds, the fact that we see that this much oil (or so little in Saudi Arabia), whilst in Iranian production it amounts to 4 days of oil production is a Joke. Oil still goes to Asia, so all this fanfare for 4 days of oil production? This is about something else entirely, or it is about a very different amount of money. I let you mull that part over, so when we look at the second article (also Washington Post), we see in the article called ‘Secret Obama-era permit let Iran convert funds to dollars’ where we are ‘treated’ to “Iran had been promised access to its long-frozen overseas reserves, including $5.7 billion stuck in an Omani bank“, which we knew to some extent, yet the full economic value is not given, which is also an issue, you see that stuff makes interest, so at that point who gets that money? Is it locked in the Iranian account, or was it the balancing act to the seesaw that is going up and down on €11 trillion in essential European and American debt guarantees? The second article has pretty much what the first one had, but we also see (slightly more clearly) “And when questioned by lawmakers about the possibility of granting Iran any kind of access to the U.S. financial system, Obama-era officials never volunteered that the specific license for Bank Muscat in Oman had been issued two months earlier. According to the report, Iran is believed to have found other ways to access its money, possibly by exchanging it in smaller quantities through another currency“, this now gives us the part (when going back to the first article: “Lew, according to documents reproduced in the report, had been given Treasury talking points explaining the Omani conundrum, he chose not to mention it in a House hearing in late March“, this reference to former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, where we wonder that if this is about the question, was the question correctly phrased, or perhaps the better setting is, was he breaking any laws not mentioning the ‘Omani Conundrum’?

I cannot state without the full text and even if we agree that there is an issue, we now get back to the very core of the matter. If it involves US Banks and when we reconsider ‘the plan failed when two U.S. banks refused to participate‘, two out of exactly how many banks? That part is also not revealed here. So now we get to the part where it becomes either the US treasury AND the FBI who seemingly did not act here, the Omani Conundrum implies that the CIA turf was trodden on and the communications (in several levels) give us that the NSA ignored it. So what is going on? Did anything actually happen? Because that question is becomes valid when we reconsider ‘the plan failed‘. If that is true, then why is the Washington Post, one of the most revered newspapers in the USA not giving the correct light on this? In addition, the outstanding questions that we get from the mere substance given becomes an issue when we see the words of President Trump “this disastrous deal gave this [Iranian] regime — and it’s a regime of great terror — many billions of dollars, some of it in actual cash — a great embarrassment to me as a citizen and to all citizens of the United States,”. Yet how much money was actually released, through the deal and from 2015 onwards? None of that data is available through the articles. So what exactly is US congress playing with now, because this all looks like a really loud smokescreen, all emotion and no contributable facts on the matter. How many banks were part of it (and their names), which two banks refused (double plus points for them two) and in light of merely one $5.7 billion source we need to see the scope of the money, especially in light of the setting that Iran is even now shipping oil to Asia. Are those not valid questions? In all this, where were the FBI and CIA when this was going down and more importantly why is there no mention of their part in all this, or were they not part of any of it? That is equally an issue, because if there is evidence that they were in different states of activity and actionable requirements regarding Iran during the two presidencies, the people have an equal right to know, do they not? You see, in the larger scope that matters, because the Yemeni issue is covering two presidencies, so if (a very clear if) the CIA was less vigilant during the previous presidency, it might also explain a few things on how missiles are getting shipped from Iran to Yemen, if the manifest states 1013 barrels of oil for humanitarian aid, it might explain a little more than we bargained for. Now the last part was speculative and knowingly incorrect, yet the question remains valid. This was not some article from the enquirer, or the Canton Cherokee Tribune, it is the Washington Post. In many (global) cases that newspaper is seen as gospel right next to the Financial Times, so when two articles give us so many questions in all this, I need to wrap my head around the option that Martin Baron is either on vacation or perhaps down with the flu. The man who inspired Tom McCarthy to make Spotlight should have a better grasp on the entire Iranian fund issue and how it should be made visible in my Hummer opinion.

Because behind all this is not merely the oil, or the Iranian uranium enrichment plans. It in equal measure gives another light that we get from “The draft involved a general license, a blanket go-ahead that allows all transactions of a certain type, rather than a specific license like the one given to Oman’s Bank Muscat, which only covers specific transactions and institutions“, you see, if that is in play and when we remember the G30 bankers group, the one that got some limelight, for ONE DAY. After that all the media dropped the issues when the people were given the sight of Mario Draghi being a member of this insiders only club, a club that he had to give up and no one (except for me that is) followed up on that. All the media left it alone. So when we see that part from April 18th 2018, where Reuters and the Financial Times give us that he would remain a member, the ECB and others never acted on it and silently wait it to go away, now we see the Omani Conundrum issue and I have to wonder, as bankers will do trade with anyone, what licenses are out there that no one knows about, more important, whoever the owner of the funds are that they get to play with ahead of all other banks, with close to €3 trillion in extra printed money for the game of bonds, in all this, what else are we not seeing and as this optionally directly reflects on Iran’s and all the billions we are left unaware of, how is it that the Washington Post seems to not care (or rather stated, believingly unimportant issues that are therefor not investigated) are out there with two pages set to issues in a setting of ‘the plan failed‘ and ‘at the end of the day, nothing worked‘. Which makes me wonder if any transgression was committed and what it was all about. Time will tell whether we see more revelations tomorrow and more important if it leads to anything actionable, because that will be come the heart of the matter soon enough.



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The G30 court

There is an issue, an issue that we are all missing, more for the reason that after January 17th the media is steering clear of this with all the might and options they had. I reckon that they will spin this in a setting that it is ‘uninteresting‘, but when was it ever uninteresting to look at a group of 30 that has the alleged advantage of getting their fingers into a pool that has 0% risk worth billions?

The more important part is that there was one mention, or at least only one that was found, on July 7th 2017 and November 3rd 2017, both come from Reuters, the media has become that much of a bean flicking, pole pulling grape flocked bunch of pussies as I personally see it. Yet, the fact is that even as the impact is speculated, the setting given is that a group of 30 had an optional exclusive insight in the 3 trillion dollar ECB spending. Consider that each of these 30 got a 1% portfolio, where 75% of it was set at 0% whilst the remaining 25% might have op to 3% risk, in this setting the underwritten $31 billion for each member would set a speculated sanctified security of a multiple factors of $31 billion each. An elite group of 30 all having the top of the financial services cream at zero risk with the optional massive returns none of us ever had insight to. Now I can see that a mere 0.01% of that 1% would set me up for life, and that is merely the one source, the ‘in-crowd’, now would that be the incestuous insider towards untapped ‘considerations of investment‘ and they would all be bringing their own portfolios and economic insight on how to maximise that? Adding the man (read: Mario Draghi) spending Europe’s $3.1 trillion would happily be allowed into their midst, it is merely the setting that this rigs the game towards 30 participants whilst giving a weighted disadvantage to all other bankers is still an issue not covered by anyone.

So as we saw last November ‘ECB says not its call to publish content of Draghi’s meetings with financiers‘ (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ecb-banks-ethics/ecb-says-not-its-call-to-publish-content-of-draghis-meetings-with-financiers-idUSKBN1D327U) whilst we also see “At issue is Draghi’s membership of the so-called Group of 30, where policymakers meet bankers, fund managers and academics behind closed doors to discuss economic issues. He sits alongside former and current central bankers, such as Bank of England Governor Mark Carney and the Bank of Japan’s Haruhiko Kuroda, as well as Nobel laureate Paul Krugman

Yet even as we see “Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly had asked whether the ECB would “consider proactively informing the public of the content of these meetings” in response to “a complaint by activist group Corporate Europe Observatory, which said in January it was concerned about proximity at the G30 of ECB officials and bankers they are meant to supervise“, I cannot help but wonder what both Emily O’Reilly and Corporate Europe Observatory left unmentioned. It was also mentioned by the Dutch Volkskrant where the Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) member Olivier Hoedeman added comment.

I tried to find more, so even as we have found Mario Draghi, Mark Carney, Haruhiko Kuroda and Paul Krugman as confirmed names (from the media), I initially believed that Groupe Credit Agricole (most likely Dominique Lefebvre) would be a member, I am also speculating that Peter Smith (as director of N M Rothschild & Sons) might have been a member of that group. There are a few other players, but it becomes increasingly less certain even from a speculated point of view. What does matter is that this is not merely some ‘secretive’ babble group. Even as we see last July “In a letter to Draghi that was published on Friday, European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly said the meetings of the Group of Thirty, where central bankers, economists and financiers talk behind closed doors, are “not transparent” and questioned the ECB president’s membership of the club” as well as “Draghi has until September to reply to the letter in writing“, in that, the media and so called journalism stayed clear of this for the largest extent and the ECB did respond in October 2017 in the attached part. In my view, it all sounds nice but a select group of 30 with a pool of a number in excess of 6 trillion, where 30 people get first dibs on a risk bonus that goes beyond the comprehension of many and the media buries it on page 62 is a much larger issue, especially when the response on page 9 gives us “Moreover, Article 130 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union safeguards the independence of the ECB and of the members of its decision-making bodies” whilst we all know that a mere fraction of $6 trillion has been a case for shifted morals and readjusted (read: weighted morals) in many regards, there are countless hours on C-SPAN that saw those liquid morals and settings in regards to the 2008 events, so the idea of ’30’ members ending up with golden parachute the size of Australia is not that much of a leap, speculated or not. So when we look back to the 2008 events and we see in January 2017, nine years later “The credit rating agency Moody’s has agreed to pay nearly $864m to settle with US federal and state authorities over its ratings of risky mortgage securities in the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis, the department of justice said on Friday“, whilst the damage from the 2008 crash was set to top $22 trillion, we should ask the US Justice department on where the remaining 21.991 trillion is and who was supposed to pay for that. So in all this the fact that the media is steering clear from the G30 and asking, or actually not asking anything past the Reuters articles seen should give alarm bells on many sides, not merely the media.

The EU Parliament magazine (at https://www.theparliamentmagazine.eu/articles/news/mario-draghi-under-fire-g30-membership), also gives us “CEO’s monetary and financial policy researcher Kenneth Haar said, “The Ombudsman’s decision is timely and very positive. Draghi’s involvement with the G30 was ill-advised from the start. Since 2016, when the ECB’s mandate for banking supervision was extended, the close ties between the president and the bankers’ group has become absolutely unacceptable“, or is that gave, because it is past tense and so far the media has remained silent since January 17. It seems to me (extremely speculative) that these 30 members are either connected or involved with the shareholders, stakeholders or advertisers in the media, because the media seems to be at all times protective of these three groups, whilst merely informing on those three groups in a filtered way, or to the smallest degree unless it was already out there in the field. The fact that this group has such a global hold is an issue and I might have been a lot less speculated on this, but the lack of transparency as well as the fact that we see “Tyga Gives Kim Kardashian A Hilarious Spelling Lesson On Social Media” and other Kim Kardashian on a daily basis, whilst the media remains silent on the speculated distributors of no risk trillions is a weird setting, especially when those sources have their fingers in thousands of billions. So when we see the BBC with: ‘Is it time we all unfollowed Kim Kardashian?‘, we might wonder whether it is yea or nea, yet there is a speculated 99.9999% likelihood that the G30 members will not make the cut towards monitored inclusion on following, I am certain that the first one that acts on that is has a boss who is likely (again speculated) to get a quick phone call from a shareholder, stakeholder or large advertiser to wonder if they have any grasp on their staff members and whether they want to manage or become managed.

Do you think that this is a stretch?

From my personal point of view I would give to you Sony (2012) issues, in regards to the change to the Terms of Service. The media ignored it, even as it would impact a group of 30 million consumers. Most of those players merely just trivialised it via ‘there is a memo‘ on it. The rest did even less; some even ignored it all together. With Microsoft (2017/2018) we see even more (at https://www.computerworld.com/article/3257225/microsoft-windows/intel-releases-more-meltdownspectre-firmware-fixes-microsoft-feints-an-sp3-patch.html)

You’d have to be incredibly trusting — of both Microsoft and Intel — to manually install any Surface firmware patch at this point. Particularly when you realize that not one single Meltdown or Spectre-related exploit is in the wild. Not one“, the amount of visibility (apart from marketed Microsoft Central views) is close to null, a system with no more than 17 million users is marketed and advertised to the gills, so the media seems to steer clear, merely two examples in a field that is loaded with examples.

Back to the group

So as I gave the speculated view earlier on the ‘whom’, we can see the full list (at http://group30.org/members), these members are according to the website:

  • Jacob A. Frenkel, Chairman, JPMorgan Chase International
  • Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister, Singapore
  • Guillermo Ortiz, Chairman, BTG Pactual Latin America ex-Brazil
  • Paul A. Volcker, Former Chairman, Federal Reserve System
  • Jean-Claude Trichet, Former President, European Central Bank
  • Leszek Balcerowicz, Former Governor, National Bank of Poland
  • Ben Bernanke, Former Chairman, Federal Reserve System
  • Mark Carney, Governor, Bank of England
  • Agustín Carstens, Former Governor, Banco de México
  • Jaime Caruana, Former Governor, Banco de Espana
  • Domingo Cavallo, Former Minister of Economy, Argentina
  • Mario Draghi, President, European Central Bank
  • William C. Dudley, President, Federal Reserve Bank of New York
  • Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., President and CEO, TIAA
  • Arminio Fraga, Founding Partner, Gavea Investimentos
  • Timothy Geithner, President, Warburg Pincus
  • Gerd Häusler, Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Bayerische Landesbank
  • Philipp Hildebrand, Vice Chairman, BlackRock
  • Gail Kelly, Global Board of Advisors, US Council on Foreign Relations
  • Mervyn King, Member, House of Lords
  • Paul Krugman, Distinguished Professor, Graduate Center, CUNY
  • Christian Noyer, Honorary Governor, Banque de France
  • Raghuram G. Rajan, Distinguished Service Professor of Finance
  • Maria Ramos, Chief Executive Officer, Barclays Africa Group
  • Kenneth Rogoff, Professor of Economics, Harvard University
  • Masaaki Shirakawa, Former Governor, Bank of Japan
  • Lawrence Summers, Charles W. Eliot University Professor at Harvard University
  • Tidjane Thiam, CEO, Credit Suisse
  • Adair Turner, Former Chairman, Financial Services Authority
  • Kevin Warsh, Lecturer, Stanford University Graduate School of Business
  • Axel A. Weber, Former President, Deutsche Bundesbank
  • Ernesto Zedillo, Former President of Mexico
  • Zhou Xiaochuan, Governor, People’s Bank of China

They also have senior members, which is interesting as they are younger than at least one of the current members, as well as the fact that most of the members in the current, senior and emeritus group have multiple titles.

  • Stanley Fischer, Former Governor of the Bank of Israel
  • Haruhiko Kuroda, Governor, Bank of Japan
  • Janet Yellen, Former Chair, Federal Reserve System

And the Emeritus members:

  • Abdlatif Al-Hamad, Former Minister of Finance and Planning, Kuwait
  • Geoffrey L. Bell, President, Geoffrey Bell and Associates
  • Gerald Corrigan, Managing Director, Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.
  • Guillermo de la Dehesa, Chairman, Aviva Grupo Corporativo
  • Jacques de Larosière, Former Director, IMF
  • Richard A. Debs, Former President, Morgan Stanley International
  • Martin Feldstein, Professor of Economics, Harvard University
  • Gerhard Fels, Former Member, UN Committee for Development Planning
  • Toyoo Gyohten, Former Chairman, Bank of Tokyo
  • John Heimann, Senior Advisor, Financial Stability Institute
  • Sylvia Ostry, Former Ambassador for Trade Negotiations, Canada
  • William R. Rhodes, President and CEO, William R. Rhodes Global Advisors
  • Ernest Stern, Former Managing Director; The World Bank
  • David Walker, Former Chairman, Barclays
  • Marina v N. Whitman, Professor; University of Michigan
  • Yutaka Yamaguchi, Former Deputy Governor, Bank of Japan

So this group of 30 is slightly larger and in the group each of these members would have the power and economic impact to tell any member of the Fortune500 what to do, or better stated and more important ‘what not to do!‘ It is in that instance that we see the first impact. A game that now looks as I personally see it rigged in several ways; so even as I was allegedly wrong about Dominique Lefebvre or a direct peer, we see Christian Noyer. So in my view, in a 2015 French article on the issue of “Who will succeed Christian Noyer as head of the Banque de France?“, we see “Mario Draghi, the president of the ECB, seems to have had the idea to see his right arm go. Benoît Coeuré would be an important ally for the Italian in the Council of the Governor“, yet in the light of the G30, it seems to me that such a discussion would have been set into a pre-emptive conclusion of who would needed to have been made king in that castle. When we see that in light of a previous article, namely ‘The Global Economic Switch‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/03/06/the-global-economic-switch/), were well over 500 billion is to be invested and grown, in addition to the fact that the SAMA has oversight to well over 2 trillion dollars, how come that they do not have a seat at the table? In the same way that the Rothschild’s are not there, but they might be ‘represented‘ through Bernanke or Frenkel, whilst it is not impossible that Mario Draghi might be giving them the low-down to some degree, yet the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with that much money on the ladle of expansion, that they are not part of it. In a world where that group is about (according to their own website) “The Group of Thirty, established in 1978, is a private, non-profit, international body composed of very senior representatives of the private and public sectors and academia. It aims to deepen understanding of international economic and financial issues, and to explore the international repercussions of decisions taken in the public and private sectors“, where the foundation of Saudi Arabia has been the power of OPEC and the power to instil the push to be a global player in many fields, in that sight in represented value that the repercussions of decisions are set at, to see the Bank of Israel yet not some link to SAMA (Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority) makes equally less sense in the line of thinking that the ‘about‘ section gives us, which makes me wonder what these members are about. they might be all about that, yet what else they are about, or what else they have a useful value in gives rise to my train of thought on where this train with less than 55 occupants is heading off to, and more so, in light of the power that these ‘30’ members have, the fact that the G30 is not the cover talk of many newspapers, especially the Financial Times is beyond me, because anyone coming to you with ‘No News’ or outdated news, or even worse that there is no real issue in play is clearly told what not to write.

It seems to me that not only is there more in play, the personal speculated view that I have in light of learning more and more about the G30 merely confirms my suspicions, as well as the insight that I am getting (a speculated one) where the media is steering clear from all this is a much larger issue. To what and in which direction is one I am not willing to go into, because I know that the ice is wafer thin at this point and skating on water is a realistic ‘no no’, yet the feeling that these members are getting a first view and optionally the option to dip their cups on plenty into a grape juice barrel of risk-less profit is one that I feel is very much in play. This G30 group is networking on an entirely new level, one that I have never seen before. This is not some kingmaker into presidency; this is a long term group where the optional billions will keep on flowing for decades to come. And this all in a setting of non-transparency, because this goes way beyond the 3 publications in 2016 and of course all those papers published before that. In the 2016 publication ‘Shadow Banking and Capital Markets: risks and opportunities‘, (at http://group30.org/images/uploads/publications/ShadowBankingCapitalMarkets_G30.pdf), we see in the conclusion on page 49: “Moreover, growing leverage across the global Economy can create important risks to macroeconomic stability even if the financial system itself is more resilient. And two developments are particularly concerning: the growth of emerging market foreign currency debt and the rapid growth of Chinese leverage accompanied by a proliferation of shadow banking activities are ominously reminiscent of precrisis developments in the advanced economies“, which is in view of the experts would be nothing new, yet resources available and the 36 exhibits and the recommendations would have been available to the G30 group much earlier than anyone else. In that light, we need to wonder not merely on the setting, in Exhibit 36 we see mortgage losses and the fact that there is the US, Canada and Europe, so in that light the fact that the fourth one is the Netherlands, is that not odd? In light of several settings, France, Germany, Italy and the UK, any of these four would have made perfect sense, so why the Netherlands? Exhibit 33 might have been a reason for this, yet in equal measure the absence of Scandinavia and Italy in this setting now adds to the questions. I think it is not merely choice and presentation, the absence of those players give rise to questions, perhaps even speculated questions and as there are none to be given, it makes me wonder what else is missing, what other data was filtered because in the light of data and presentation there is one golden rule I have always kept in the back of my mind.

The Analyst shows you which investment needs to be made, the presentation makes you look forward to the invoice.

So what invoice is the G30 group making you look forward to and where did it need to go? Two questions with optionally very different results, and in that setting, whilst you know the impact the European economy has had over the last 15 years, whilst we also know that Mario Draghi has been spending $3 trillion, in that setting the G30 does not make the news?

Who is getting fooled by all this and who is getting fooled by making sure that you do not get to notice this?

It is a much larger playing field that is from whatever point of view you have a field of inclusion, or a field of exclusion, yet in all this there are questions that are not asked at all, questions that even I am not asking because I decided to go into technology, engineering and law whilst giving a pass on the Economic subjects. Yet the Financial Media is not asking them either and that is an issue, especially in light of that ‘secretive‘ group set to a stage of networking inclusion, or is it networking through filtered exclusion?

I’ll let you decide on that.


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The Global Economic Switch

There is a shift going on, now this shift is still in the planning stages, but the switch is very real and as we see the crumbling switch from enabler and entrepreneur, the US is moving towards becoming a mere consumer and dependent user. That is a switch some might have seen coming, others have not seen it at all and some are still in denial, claiming it is a short term inconvenient stage. I have no idea which is true, but the events that are a given are showing to be more than a mere short term event and the diplomatic impact will equally show to be a long term impact on what the US had and what it will become. Now there are indicators, but the image is not seen in a single view, so let’s paint this picture for you whilst adding the sources.

Saudi Arabia

The Saudi Arabian announced investment (at https://www.cnbc.com/2018/03/05/saudi-arabia-and-egypt-agree-to-a-10-billion-deal-to-build-a-new-mega-city.html), is actually a lot more than the $10 billion forecasted, because the value as I showed in over the last year is more than becoming a reality, it is now in a planned stage, and planned much larger than I foresaw it going. It starts with “Saudi Arabia and Egypt have agreed to create a $10 billion joint fund to develop a mega-city in Egypt’s southern Sinai Peninsula, with both countries committing more than 1,000 square kilometres (386 square miles) of land to the new project“, you see, depending on the distance from Sharm-El-Sheikh the infrastructure will grow much faster and even as they will rely on what Sharm-El-Sheikh has, the growth of this new Mega-city could be the start of the tech-hub that benefits both Egypt and Saudi Arabia. As the technology hubs grow, so will the economy. It is also the first part to start getting combined 4G/5G preparation in place, because as this technology becomes available Saudi Arabia now has a first advantage in both upgrading its services and that gives optional access to 23-32 million out of a 95 million population. With the tech hubs, both the Sinai one as the half a trillion dollar NEOM, there will be a massive growth in dependency and requirements for technology. There is in addition, the Barcelona World Mobile Congress where on February 26th Huawei announced its full range of end-to-end (E2E) 3GPP-compliant 5G product solutions, now the other players will be following, yet Huawei has an advantage for now. With “The featured products are also the only available options within the industry to provide 5G E2E capabilities” we see that Huawei has chosen a path that allows them to grow and they will not be alone, but for now they are ahead of the crowds, so even as we see now “Huawei partnered with Zain Saudi Arabia, signing a Memorandum of Understanding promising to develop a new network strategy in the Kingdom. The aim of the MoU is to accelerate the realization of 5G networks and assist Zain in building the most advanced end-to-end networks in the region. The two companies will work together to accelerate the deployment of 4.5 to 5G networks, make further advances towards full cloudification, and produce additional strategy and planning in the field of ICT Synergy Cloud” (at https://www.arabtimesonline.com/news/huawei-outlines-vision-5g-future-co-unveils-latest-innovative-products-solutions-mwc/) merely a day ago. I gave that indication almost two weeks earlier, so how is that for a prediction. So even as the US is setting the bar at “Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, Atlanta, Washington, DC and Houston” to be the first with 5G at the end of the year, what happens when you need to reach out to Wall Street and Manhattan? Will that be merely 4G, or will you suddenly experience other issues (between providers, reception issues and so on; oh, and as you go from protocol to protocol switching per cell tower on the move, watch that battery power drain as the battery percentage goes down like a timer in seconds 75, 74, 73, 72, 71 and so on. Please do not take my word on this, it is much better when your own eyes see the battery counter go down, it adds to the dramatic effect when you hear me howl with laughter (stating: ‘I told you so’). So even as the article ended with “Ken Hu, Huawei Rotating CEO, said: “The intelligent world is drawing near, filled with potential and possibilities. Ground-breaking technologies like 5G and IoT promise to solve complex business challenges and improve the lives of the population. Yet challenges remain on our path before these dreams are realized. MWC 2018 was an excellent opportunity for us to meet with other leading companies and discuss how together we can overcome these obstacles, achieve sustainable business growth, and Build a Better Connected World.”“, I will admit that I have an issue with that part, you see with ‘IoT promise to solve complex business challenges‘, we see the implied solution, but the IoT (Internet of Things) is merely the applied hype word in a solution that has not been designed yet. It is true that the application of IoT is a solution in itself towards a whole shoal of options and challenges, but as we consider that the 4G smartphone brings solutions, it requires the apps to be there and solve actual settings and that takes time, like all other needs. In that regard I see the IoT as the old sales technique of selling a concept before the product exists and I always thought that to be a broken non resolving approach to the greedy salespeople coming with a ‘pay it forward’ solution that is paid for before the product has been completed. It is a dodgy need, because in the end the (business) consumer needs and actual product to work with. Yet that might just be me imagining things.

United States of America

The view here starts with the Financial Times, who brought us ‘Currency markets send a warning on the US economy‘ (at https://www.ft.com/content/de57a6a2-1e32-11e8-a748-5da7d696ccab). So even as this is about the financial markets, there are a few points to take away from that. First there is “The pattern of higher interest rates and a weakening currency suggests that on multiple dimensions US assets now have to be put on sale to convince foreigners to hold them or induce Americans not to diversify into overseas assets. This pattern is relatively uncommon in the US though it happened in the Carter administration before Paul Volcker’s appointment as chair of the Federal Reserve and in the Clinton administration before Treasury secretary Robert Rubin’s invocation of the “strong dollar” policy. It is fairly ubiquitous in emerging markets where it reflects anxiety over a country’s policy framework“. The dangerous part here is ‘convince foreigners to hold them or induce Americans not to diversify into overseas assets’; you see it is a move of limitation, either the non-American buyer holds onto the for a much longer time, which needs convincing (usually with higher yields), as well as stopping Americans to go overseas into other markets, so it is not actually an ‘or’ situation, it is actually an ‘and’ setting where the inclusion needs to be both to remove doubt and volatility. The article ends with “The confidence of global markets is much easier to maintain than to regain. Currency markets are sending a signal that the US is not on a healthy path. Its time for the US to strengthen the strong fundamentals on which a strong dollar and healthy economy depends“, you see that view is set not merely in the war of tariffs, it is set where the global markets have been seeing a decline in US activity and more important acts that show that the US economy is feeble and the US infrastructure is not in strength, it is merely getting by and that is a dangerous place to be in. Even as I predicted that the inactions and the inability to act against Russia will be felt when Russia calls the bluff of America, it is now showing that the US on a larger scale is showing to be set towards a series of hurdles that will stagnate its economy and over the long haul (within two years) will show the danger of another recession, so when that happens and projects get halted, how will Sprint and other players pay for 5G? Entrepreneurial innovation tends to demand buckets of cash, cash that is not available, certainly not readily. Protectionism is merely the first hurdle and one of at least three in the setting of the tariff war. The Financial times gave the people the biggest fear and doubt on February 21st with “US ‘too big to fail’ regime set for Trump overhaul“, that ‘too big to fail‘ has been used before and a whole bunch of billionaire grapes got bitten rather badly in Europe. It is not merely the Chapter 14 implementation with the by-line ‘to shield the tax payers’, it is the text “Both Wall Street and overseas regulators have warned the administration over the dangers of dismantling the system but the Treasury said it wanted to narrow its use so it could serve only as a last resort“, the fact that ‘narrow’ and ‘Wall Street’ imply that the Chapter 14 will lack the teeth it needs and as such it is another parachute for the 1% bankers, banks and those making upwards of $253 million a year. So how much will this marker cost the tax payers in the end? Even as there is an abundance of recession fear articles and announcements by the media at large, that part even as it is likely to happen, it is not certain to happen and that fear needs to be removed (by other means than the Chapter 14 messages). You see, the problem is that the 1% has enough wealth to survive the next two recessions, whilst the quality of life of the other 99% has not been pushing forward towards the level it needed to be. So they will get hurt really bad if another recession happens within the next 16 months, which is close to all speculated views by the media at large. Whilst that is not much of an indication, the events in Saudi Arabia is only one element, the other elements is the one we will see next

Other players

There is more than one player in all this. The first is seen by CNBC (at https://www.cnbc.com/2018/03/05/saudi-russia-oil-deal-leads-to-bigger-russia-role-in-middle-east.html), where we are treated to “The partnership with OPEC, led by Saudi Arabia, allows Russia to strengthen its hand in the Middle East at the same time the U.S. role has been diminished“, the diminishing of the US as stated by other sources closes doors to the US on several shores, a dangerous change that comes at one of the least fortunate times. The quote “it is now the foundation for a broader relationship that has the potential to reduce already waning U.S. influence in the Middle East” is foremost set to the chilling friendships with Syria and Iran, it is not merely there. Turkey has been out of control for the longest of times and now that Turkey is smelling blood, it is trying to get much more out of the US, making them a very expensive ‘friend’, more so, the question becomes was Turkey ever a friend? In that whatever bites there could hinder the US with its access to the Middle East at large. Should Incirlik and Izmir become an issue, the economic print of the US would drastically change, because that would require the US to find a way to grow the option to get a base in Saudi Arabia and optionally in Israel. Whilst neither is a given, the costs of that will be staggering and the economic footprint of the US will equally become an issue down the road. Even if there would be an option to get one in Western India (who would like that economic windfall in their region), it would be a drastic fund pressuring move for the US.
Another option would be in Egypt and if that becomes an option it would in the longer term benefit both Egypt and Saudi Arabia, whilst Egypt gets to grow its stability in the Sinai, the US would become a much larger target in Egypt, wherever its base would be placed. So that too would come at a cost for the US in a time it needs to turn over every dollar it spends. Another is Jordan, but there is no way to tell the impact, the costs and the options in that regard as I have no clear information or sources to give at this time. You see, the memorandum of understanding was signed with Jordan with Rex Tillerson a mere 3 weeks ago, so adding a conversation of adding a US base there might not be the one that would work (pure speculation from my side). In addition, the EU News (and others) who gave us “Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström added: “These US measures will have a negative impact on transatlantic relations and on global markets. In addition, they will raise costs and reduce choice for US consumers of steel and aluminium, including industries that import these commodities”” gives rise that there is a cooling of ‘friendliness’ between the EU nations and the US to some degree, so there is that impact as well. I am not talking about the tariff, I am talking to the diplomatic language where Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte gave us “Relations with the United States can no longer be taken for granted“, which is not a good thing as the Dutch port of Rotterdam is the gateway to Germany and its industrial heart, in addition the US pressures on France regarding the Iran nuclear deal could impact the two, but that is not a given, even better, it is unlikely to be an issue, which is a plus point, for the US for now as the Italian elections are over and the anti-EU parties made a massive gain (from 4% to 18%, whilst they surpassed the Berlusconi party) is still an issue in play. I agree with the Guardian that stated that the EU-issue is not in play, but as we see (at https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/mar/03/italian-elections-european-union-populism), the need for Berlusconi was the man to save them from populism has now become a non-reality, the impact will grow and in that matter the US would need to play nice, very nice with Italy. You see there was always going to be an issue with Matteo Salvini, yet the fact that they became the largest party with 37% was unforeseen. There is no issue with iExit as the Italian version of Brexit is called, but its anti-immigration policies will give headaches for many EU nations and as the impact of US-EU nations is cooling, becoming an enabler for Italy might be the wiser of solution for the US. The BBC (at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-43294041) gives much more, but the power is at the end with “Voter frustration here in Italy but evident and ongoing in Germany too surely shows it’s time for Brussels to sit up and really pay attention“, the shown fact that Brussels have not been doing that is the anchor around the neck for the EU and that will impact the US numbers as well. Even as Germany was the biggest friend of the US in the EU, the tariff and, the EU army and the need by America for Germany to play a larger role in the EU borders (taking some pressures from the US) are all elements that put more and more pressures on the US, even as some of the needs by the US are very valid, we need to realise that Newsweek gave us “Germany’s top diplomat has told foreign policy experts that his country’s relationship with the U.S. has suffered irreparable damage under the administration of President Donald Trump“, even as the damage began in the previous administration (to a small extent), the chosen path by the Trump administration has been adding negativity to it all. Syria must be seen as the largest of catalysts in that regard, it is merely my sense of humour that the Germans see the forced ‘friendship‘ with the French as a larger issue than the actual absence of the US in all that, but that is just my take on humour.

All these elements are part of the economic switch in all this, in support of this, there are sources that show that Saudi Arabia wants to grow its arms industry and as SAMI (Saudi Arabian Military Industries) is sitting down with the Russian who are eager to accommodate, I need to wonder why the hell Raytheon and Northrop Grumman were asleep at the wheel, or decided to remain vacant from that setting. So even as Remington (American outdoor Brands) has a product of sheer excellence, they are now not at the middle Eastern table, but in a novel mentioned in Chapter 11 and seeking a quick sale, perhaps someone can tell me how much could have been gained at the Riyadh SAMI conference table? So even as we read (at http://www.business-standard.com/article/international/saudi-arabia-wants-to-make-their-own-weapons-russia-eager-to-help-118030300622_1.html) that “likely to alarm American policy makers, who worry about losing ground to Russia and China in the Middle East“, where we see that this is understated to the largest degree. With “They’re already planning to buy the Russian S-400 air-defense system, under a deal that would let them manufacture related products at home” as well as “Half of Saudi procurement is supposed to be done locally by 2030, from about 2 per cent today” we see the extent of the market lost for both Raytheon and Northrop Grumman as two of the largest players in that field. Someone (more than one player) was asleep at the helm and by playing the card of exclusivity the ended up playing the card of exclusion, which takes them out of the game as such and that is the issue in this, because as far as I see it we have not seen such a large shift of plays optionally towards Russia and away from the US since before WW2, perhaps it might be more correct that this has never happened to this degree in history, that too is a factor that must be considered; so, suddenly the extended play changes. I mentioned part of this on Feb 24th (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/02/24/losing-values-towards-insanity/) in ‘Losing values towards insanity‘, yet I only had some unconfirmed parts and no idea why I had some parts, I had these parts a week ago, yet all these parts came to me over the last 24 hours with 1-2 exceptions, now we see a shifted picture. When we consider LLC Megaline (as well as Concord Management and Consulting) where Yevgeniy Prigozhin and Dmitry Utkin allegedly have been preparing to grow an ICT/Mobile infrastructure in Syria, that whilst construction fortunes would be coming their way too, the entire growth with Saudi Arabia as an optional side allows those two to split a few billions between the two of them, whilst at the same time growing the other fields they have access to and get a seat at the Saudi Arabian table at the same time. A side I never saw as I did not have the information I have read over the last 24 hours. To get any additional part in that play could set me up for life within 3 years, to get a 400% better lifestyle in 36 months than the 36 years of hard work allowed me to get is what would get any person to change their pupils to dollar signs and that is merely in their need for ICT, Data farms, Mobile facilitation, Data systems, forecasting, reporting and logistical infrastructures. In all this we see the clear evidence as given by several players that is now on route in a place where the US has a setting that is diminishing, so as those currencies go elsewhere, do you think it will not impact the US economy. That is apart from the greedy pharmaceuticals that are now pushing on India for the longest time. It is an additional place where non-US players will have options to gain market share. All that because certain players in the patent field were enablers towards the few greedy US pharmaceuticals as they increasingly ‘demanded‘ more and more outside of the patent scope that was once given (the attempted Trans Pacific Partnership was clear evidence of that), now we see hat impact and the US is at the axis of an economic switch where someone else will soon decide whether that switch will be switched on or off, no longer as the setting where the US sets the status, which is something the US has not faced before ever as far as I can tell, even the 2004 and 2008 events did not remove that option from them, but that is now a reality from sources like Bloomberg, Reuters, the Financial Times, CNBC, BBC and other players are setting the view that we are getting now. Even as none as saying it outright, the news as given provides a speculated picture where that may become a reality. I do believe that it could be prevented to some extent, but at the current course of the US ‘Kingmakers’ and ‘Wall Street regents’, that reality is slowly being removed from the US table of decision makers and once that reality hits, when they have to report that the Switch is set to ‘OFF‘, the impact will hit pretty much every market where the US is policy maker.

A world where the US player involved goes from being exclusive to excluded!

I wonder how the media will then cover it and who will they blame, because they will always be about laying the blame.



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

Your GCC resume

Qatar remains in the news, some are looking at the $5.9 billion deal in Italian dinghy’s, others look at the cancelled deal to become an American Airlines stake holder and others like me are focussing towards the GCC futures. According to the Defence minister Khalid bin Mohamed Al Attiyah this setting is not in an increasing danger. The problem is not merely the GCC in itself, it is what you will not see in many newspapers, it is the overhanging impact on OPEC. The news given by Oilprice.com is “All GCC countries depend on stability in the oil and gas markets, which is evident from the recent OPEC deal. A full-fledged confrontation will, without any doubt, put pressure on the current compliance rate of OPEC members to production cuts. Doha will be able to sabotage the current 6+3 production cut agreement between OPEC and non-OPEC members. If Doha decides to join the ranks of Iran and Iraq, OPEC’s future will be in doubt” it is at the very end of the article (at http://oilprice.com/Geopolitics/International/Clash-Between-Qatar-And-The-Saudis-Could-Threaten-OPEC-Deal.html), yet that in itself is not the bacon maker, or if pork is taboo, it is the lamb to the slaughter. When we see: “The Arab criticism may have been less harsh if U.S. officials would not have put oil on the fire. U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis openly warned Qatar that it should change its support of the Muslim Brotherhood. Mattis also stated that U.S. president Trump is considering classifying the Brotherhood as an international terrorist organization, which could have a very negative impact on the U.S.-Qatar economic-military cooperation in the coming months“, this reflects right back to the pressures that the American players where trying to establish through pressuring the WTO issues as written yesterday (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2017/08/02/a-big-tree-in-the-desert/). Another source (Leaprate.com) gives us the links to Iran and re-elected Hassan Rouhani. Here we see “America’s new-found protectionist outlook and open contempt for the JCPOA, has put a question mark against its future, while Iran’s ties with Qatar, currently the subject of embargos by many neighbouring states, is a further concern for investors“, this is the part that most do not get informed about. Partially the US has a valid point as the previous president of Iran was openly waging war towards the US and against the state of Israel. The dangers as I gave them years ago, especially in the light of the nuclear treaties is not how good or how reforming the newly elected President Hassan Rouhani was, it is the issue about the next person, who will get the presidential trophy in 2021 and what happens then? This is the long term worry, most will agree that one extreme leader on the edge of insanity is good enough and keeping that person in North Korea is for now the best place.

Yet, that was not what this is about, when we consider that the JCPOA (also known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), we see the given by Ali Akbar Salehi with ““After JCPOA, our oil production has soared from 1 million barrels per day to 3.9 million bpd,” IRNA quoted Salehi as saying on Sunday, two days after the two-year anniversary of the action plan. This marks a success for Iran’s oil-based economy in reclaiming its market share lost over the years of sanctions“, the issue is that this directly opposes OPEC with “All GCC countries depend on stability in the oil and gas markets, which is evident from the recent OPEC deal. A full-fledged confrontation will, without any doubt, put pressure on the current compliance rate of OPEC members to production cuts” for the UAE and Saudi Arabia that is a problem, as Iran has increased its production by nearly 3 million barrels a day, the other players have to decrease even more, which means that they are hurting well $150 million a day or we will see the pressures shift all over the Middle East, which is not good for America (or the UK for that matter), because that impacts what Saudi Arabia can buy, and the monthly $4.5 billion is partially for the hardware delivered and expected before December 2017, so as these sales paths are impacted, we will see a level of hurt all over the weapons of mass consumer requirements market.

So we have valid and greed driven concerns regarding Iran, in this the Qatar issue does not help and the play that the US is making as we see it should not be considered as a beneficial path. No matter how valid the present situation is as we see it given through the Russian Academy of Sciences, Stanislav Ivanov is giving a present truth with “The main line of Tehran’s policy is to get out of sanctions and gradually restore its economic and financial potential“, we do not deny this, yet the past decades was about setting the pressures to Iran as the western nations had to deal with extremism, in addition to the funding that Iran gave Hamas as it kept on attacking the State of Israel, there are ample issues in all this as the strategic setting before 2021 (Iranian general elections) could face the US, Israel and Western Europe with an economic revitalised Iran, which will be pushing the players back to square one if that seat will become the sitting arrangement for another Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which is not out of the question.

When that happens, those with a GCC resume, with or without references to OPEC might wonder where their employability resides. Now, if they have been smitten with a 7 figure annual income, they might not care, yet those without that part for at least 4 years might need to scrape by, having to live on $40K a month for the rest of their lives. I can advise these people that it can be done, if they shed the 4 luxury cars (Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati and Bentley), give up their membership in the Yas Links Golf Club, Almouj Golf and The Majlis, Emirates Golf Club as well as their 4 bedroom apartment in Riyadh and they are already half way there. So how serious is this? Well, it is actually a lot more serious than most people realise. When we consider that the GCC is a realistic target for cyber-attacks and cyber terrorists, Raytheon is setting up technological barriers to thwart to some degree these plans. the issue is not what the presentations give, whilst we do not oppose of attack the stance that CEO Thomas Kennedy has, the quote (source: Raytheon) “It has since reinforced its cybersecurity capacity with the purchase of 14 companies. In 2015, it acquired a company called Forcepoint (previously known as Websense and Raytheon|Websense) to enhance its commercial presence. This is now the world’s second-largest privately-held cybersecurity firm. Raytheon recently secured a five-year, $1bn contract for the US Department of Homeland Security to help defend “.gov” websites from cyber-attacks. Now the goal is to bring that working knowledge to the Gulf” is merely showing a deficit in the technology. Acquisition is a partial solution to any cyber given industry, the given premise to survive is not what can be bought today, but what must be developed for tomorrow. You see the firms that have that focus tend not to be for sale in the first place. Whilst Raytheon’s focus is very valid to catch up, it is much less a solution for those who are arming themselves for tomorrow, their own missile system department can teach them that part. It is not merely about the technology, it is the development of new systems in cloud and non-repudiation that will give the GCC and other gulf places the edge to be ahead of the cyber-attack curve. A partial issue is found with “We have one of the best data-leakage protection systems in the entire cybersecurity field, and we combine this with our insider-threat behaviour system, which detects suspicious activity and ensures IP and data is not compromised“, which might be non-false, yet the events as Sony has seen shows that the reflective comments are from a behind the wave assessment, with HBO being an example as they were hacked a few days ago. The one provider that relies on cyber security as it sells its value through Netflix is now giving Vanity Fair “When Netflix was hacked earlier this year, the cyber-criminals behind the attack demanded a ransom. But there was no such demand in the hack that struck HBO over the weekend, and the sheer amount of compromised data has led some to believe that video footage, internal documents, or e-mails could be leaked next. The premium-cable giant is working with the F.B.I. and cyber-security firm Mandiant to investigate the breach, in which hackers claimed to have stolen 1.5 terabytes’ worth of data“. This is what Raytheon is up against, not some access issue, but stopping the drain of terabytes, basically every part of the GCC removed in mere hours, whilst the cyber minders were in the dark until after the event and the quote that follows (at https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2017/08/hbo-hack-seven-times-larger-sony) “A traditional business-grade D.S.L. link would take about two weeks at full blast to exfiltrate that much data,” Farsight Security C.E.O. Paul Vixie told T.H.R. “If not for video and sound, a corporation the size of HBO might fit [entirely] in a terabyte, including all the e-mail and spreadsheets ever written or stored.” Another expert added that the entire Library of Congress contains an estimate of 10 terabytes of print material—so it is almost certain that video and/or audio were stolen“, this directly reflects on Raytheon. It is not what we know it is what others have figured out that is the issue. Whether it was through frame leaking, through cloud replication, there are issues that remain non-secure, even as security is at the top of the salespersons mind. There is a need for a new designed system no longer merely on access, but on ‘bio wired’ non-repudiation that is driving the need for evolution and these sales forces have remained in denial as it is something that they cannot offer at present, so they reflect on it as being a non-solution, a non-reality. They stick to the solutions that they can sell now and that is where the GCC finds itself, the lack of visionary evolution of data systems.

So when Raytheon gives their next presentation and someone at the GCC asks “How can we assure that the Bolero electronic Bills of Lading are not stolen or corrupted?” what happens then? Will that person at GCC need to write his resume tout suite, or will his superiors realise that the question was valid and that this situation is an immediate threat to the GCC members? Because in this day and age where extremists are all about the attack on infrastructures, the Bolero Title Registry, the repository and application that manages the transfer of title of the eBL is a clear weak point. Ones the recipients are scrapped and the cargo gets locked down, the ship will have two issues. The first being that the ownership cannot be transferred, you might think that this could be solved in a few days, and that would be right. The direct consequence is that the transfer of oil stop would cost an additional $578,000 in port charges, twice the amount in addition for pilots and towage fees. And as they are moved around additional costs will be incurred, that is apart from the issue that the delays bring and when a visionary does find the way to reset ownership, the delivery of 1 million barrels comes down to a nice $50 million fee, that optionally went somewhere else.

The one place where cyber security was essential is as given in indications running behind and not catching up; the only way to do that is to get ahead of it all. Now, as stated, this is not an attack on Raytheon, this is merely the direct issue on the business need to set serious cash into evolving the new systems to be ahead of the curve and be in a state where the hackers learn that it is not merely about access, the nice part of adding a new ‘language‘ to the plot is not to delay their invasion, it become to take away their comprehension of what they see (hopefully for longer than short term). You see, I have loved Cisco solutions, but they all talk the same language and their precise documentation have been a real assist on those with no-good intentions, we merely need to ask Google ‘what does a cisco frame look like?‘ and we get so much information, enough for too many to get to the heart of the matter and in the early stages of the internet that was a really good thing, we need to move beyond certain settings and push towards dedicated systems that have additional layers of protection, now that might be a mere delay, yet consider what is being protected. How willing are you to keep data safe? Not merely oil data of ownership, in the age of Netflix whilst hackers are streaming the episodes by the dozen, depriving places like Sony and HBO from valid revenue, revenue they invested in, the game needs to be changed. We have seen the uselessness of some governments as they were facilitating towards the communication sellers on bandwidth; we need to change the game regardless of those players. One way to do that is remove their existence to impact. Google did that to some extent, but not to the extent needed. As we realise that providers are 15 dimes to the dollar, we need to set a different scope, not merely in the cloud, but in the need for dedicated non-repudiation. Only then can we make a first effort to push the boundary towards a safer zone. And perhaps Raytheon will bring that to the table, the fact is that we do not know the player that delivers the need of tomorrow today, we merely know that it will not be Beaker bringing it (a Muppet Show reference). In this the ‘evidence’ can be seen when we realise that Raytheon gives us John D Harris II and his view on how forward thinking Talon laser guided rockets are. Yes John this was really the need for Cyber safety! As we consider the issue beyond point-to-point communication. In addition the $100m development program reads sexy for your bonus, yet the issue is data, both at rest and in transit. There are the issues, not in the rocket man shooting by a member of the UAE air force. So as we moved from certain parts of the GCC, via Iran to other providers, we need to see and comprehend that there are several players, all with their own agenda, a perfectly sound and valid situation, yet when we see that stability is centre in all this, destabilisation will impact both the GCC members, the OPEC members and when the overlap is shown (those in both), we need to realise that Iran and Iraq will not care about the needs of the GCC, they are not part of that, which ties hands of the six GCC players and in that Qatar is the centre of the seesaw that the 6 members prefer to have in some level of balance, yet the issues as we are seeing them escalate will impact all the given needs for all the players having their ‘own’ needs to satisfy. None of that is likely to happen any day soon. We could see the US and both their needs towards JCPOA and the WTO as an opposing issue, one that is not beneficial to the GCC or the Qatar issues as they are playing. I cannot say what the GCC members should do next, but it seems to me resolving some parts and creating a new initial balance is the best way forward. This gets me back to the question phrase yesterday. If each of the 4 members could phrase one issue to resolve by Qatar, what would that be? If Qatar can get the conversation started on that, as merely a first show of good will, yet from my point of view, if they Promise to have a good look at Al-Jazeera and do some immediate reforms there as a first step of good will towards the four opposing parties, it might just be enough to reduce tensions and give time for non-escalations to settle and as such forward momentum in resolving issues will be found. In my view it would leave Qatar in a much better view by all other players and global non players. It will open the doors and perhaps that is a good beginning, merely a good beginning, but more than we have now.

And none of this, none of my views were set to painting any of the players as the bad people, merely a path to find the track towards profit and growth, profit for all the players and economic growth for all of them. In all this the one question that is forming in my mind is that Oman has been the one GCC member that is outside of the equation to some extent, could they be a mediating party in all this? I actually do not know the answer; I am merely voicing the question that I have not seen in the news. You see when you realise that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been the driving force behind Vision 2030, the economic diversification strategy. Is that something that a nation like Oman could see benefits in, when we consider diversification, when we realise that this impacts range of products as well as field of operation. Would it not be interesting how this view could be beneficial to the Middle East as a whole? In all this, as the driving force surpasses boundaries, is that not a field of economic diplomacy to see it grow? To push forward momentum is to find a place and subject of discussion, in my view it would be to find a topic many can agree on, a topic that is always a hard sell in most occasions and it seems to me that oil dependency is always a good option for those realising that it is the only thing they offer, by adding more options, any nation connected is merely opening paths to more stability and more opportunities, especially when these paths can be sold to nations seeking more than oil, which is close to every nation on the planet. Finding a place of stabile growth is the best product any player is ever likely to sell. In this stability is a lot more sexy than quick gain, especially on Wall Street and they are having too often too much to say on that matter. As we need a different language in the cyber world, it is clear that outside of that world a common language is the only solution. The question becomes what language and how to start the conversation, even those setting up their GCC resume right now. That is a fact as it is a resume that they want everyone to read, a comprehensible common ground is the first step in this.


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Prospecting black gold

There has been news all over the world, some news is good, some less so and at times we cannot see whether news is good, bad or irrelevant. To see the dangers, or perhaps the opportunity of what is what we need to look back to 2014, and start that issue with a quote from the Marvel Movie: Age of Ultron. The quote originally from Tony Stark was: “As I always say, keep your friends rich, and your enemies rich, and then find out which is which“, it is a reference to the arms industry and the benefit of mutual escalation. Keep this in mind when you consider the article in the Independent (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/royal-mail-float-scandal-how-hedge-funds-cleaned-up-9303674.html), the title gives us the immediate threat with ‘Royal Mail float scandal: how hedge funds cleaned up‘, and “Speculators were allowed to buy £150m of shares despite Vince Cable’s pledge to favour long-term investors“, I omitted the claim that it was all due to the postman. That person usually rings twice, especially when Jessica Lange is around. Yet the heart of the matter, like in the movie, is not in the ‘boner’ or the ‘bonee’, it is the aftermath that matters. You see, the gem is seen in the local prosecutor and his ploy to get to the truth by going after one side, yet it is Cora’s Lawyer Katz who stops the evidence to get to the prosecutor, which nullifies whatever was attempted. So consider the part we see in the Independent: “around 20 per cent of the shares it had allocated to 16 preferred investors had gone to hedge funds and other short-term investors. This would equate to around £150m of Royal Mail shares – 13 per cent of the entire stock sold by the Government. The companies bought in at the float price of 330p a share. The shares shot up within seconds of trading, eventually peaking within weeks at more than 600p, allowing the hedge funds to bank vast profits at the taxpayers’ expense“, now consider also that this is a reflection of ‘£150m of Royal Mail shares‘. A system that has issues and allows for ‘deal sweeteners‘, now when you see this, and knowing that the bulk of hedge funds managers seem to get away with murder, consider the arrival of Aramco, better stated, the Financial Times headline ‘The $2tn Saudi Aramco question‘, which is now squarely an issue of titanic proportions (intentional pun towards the sinking dinghy). First things first, you see, this is not a fuel vendor like Shell, or a social media company like Facebook, this is the Privatised Saudi oil company that is larger than the sum of Shell, Facebook, Apple and Google. It is a 2 trillion dollar company, now consider the danger of the floating dangers of something like that, hedge funds managers can clean up and those who do will be set for a decadent life, for the rest of their lives. The dangers of something this big is pretty astounding and the fact that it could happen is not that small. You see, the dangers increases as we consider certain facts. NASDAQ gives us: “OPEC agreed in November last year to curb its output by about 1.2 million barrels per day between January and June“, that is because the stocks are a little higher than expected. This happens, oil will always fluctuate, now consider in the US alone there are 32 oil fired power plants. Production is down (for now) and the moment the first heatwave gets to the US, we see a massive spike in power requirements and 32 of those power makers require fossil fuel. In this I am only mentioning the USA, there has been power issues on a global scale, which is always going to be the case, but one of the largest providers towards the demand is going public and that is what speculators really like, because if the supply & demand need is not properly managed, we see an increase option towards fluctuation. Those speculators only need to get lucky once and the mess would be unrepairable.

The Financial Times gives us some of the goods with: “Privatising Aramco is the first step in rebalancing the economy. By disentangling the company, which accounts for more than two-thirds of government revenues, from the state, Prince Mohammed hopes to make Riyadh less oil-reliant, while providing capital for investment in new industries, ranging from technology, where it is pumping $45bn into the SoftBank Vision Fund, to mining. The privatisation of its national champion is crucial to this process” (at https://www.ft.com/content/7ed59bee-163b-11e7-b0c1-37e417ee6c76), but the heart is seen in: “That is even without looking at the question of how much oil actually lies beneath the desert kingdom’s sands“, when we consider that the oil gains in the North sea is slowing down and this is a signal seen in several places, the fact that at some point (in past, present or future) that something similar will happen to the Aramco goods is a certain fact, it is the when that cannot be anticipated. In addition, going public means that you need to be commercial, when it is government no one really cares, but in the public sector the trend must forever be upwards, so when will we see a similar float in Aramco when the numbers are not as great? It has been an utter certainty that nearly all companies go through, some did it calculated knowing they would kill the numbers within a quarter, some hoping they would kill the numbers and some did it whilst they were desperate for a miracle. Yet floating they went. How much of a $2 trillion dollar company in stock value will tumble when that happens?

And these are the circumstances where the acts were valid and not criminal at all (see UK Mail), I am not making any Tesco assumptions here, because the damage in that case will be devastating to the London Stock Exchange. One firm representing close to 70% of its entire market, there would be no London Stock Exchange after such a disaster. Bloomberg gives us the second tier of risks and dangers with ‘Saudi Aramco Cuts Oil Pricing for Europe Where Russia Dominates‘ (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-04-05/saudi-aramco-lowers-some-crude-pricing-for-asia-raises-for-u-s), a market that Russia already dominates. What would happen if let’s say 3 days after going public, Russia decides to slash their prices for a short time? How would the market react? Not just to Aramco having to follow, but the forecasted annual numbers then take a dive, at who’s expense? Consider that the European market is ‘ruled’ by Russia and Norway, together they make up for 50% of that market and the Saudi part is smaller than Norway and 80% of that 50% market is just Russia. So they can influence the market a fair bit. You see, Bloomberg gives us “There is a risk price wars may resume in Europe, raising the possibility the output cut agreement won’t be extended to the second half of this year“, meaning that in the second half Russia could flood the markets and the streets with black gold. That impact would be felt all over the stock market. There is one part that I am uncertain on. You see, it reads like a small and insignificant part. The quote: “Aramco will tweak the benchmark it uses in the region to make it easier for crude buyers to hedge their purchases” seems small, but consider that hedging is done by a few hundred buyers for up to 25,000 barrels. It seems like nothing, but with 179 buyers it is almost a week worth of crude oil, now the ‘stock is full‘ issue becomes a larger one, because this is a level of fluctuation on stock levels that would impact on the stock prices, the mere stock is full a few weeks ago had a $3 impact (or 4.6%), that becomes a little more than insignificant. Now, I could be wrong here as I am not in the oil, yet you see that this is a concern when it impacts a $2T invested interest by more than just hedge funds managers.

The last part comes from the Guardian. In Jan 2016 they stated “Saudi Aramco is likely to be worth well over $1tn (£685bn)“, this is important as we do not see 1.2 or 1.5 trillion, so this given number implies that in a year Saudi Aramco grow by more than 40%, the exact number cannot be determined. Other media stated that Aramco had grown to 2 trillion last year, but none have given enough evidence to state which number is the reliable one. That too impacts this new market, especially the initial dangers of floating a stock. Yesterday (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/apr/05/theresa-may-lse-saudi-aramco-uk-london-stock-exchange-oil) we see: ‘May and LSE chief woo Saudi ministers for $2tn Aramco listing‘, here we see: “Xavier Rolet, has launched a charm offensive in Riyadh to woo Saudi ministers with the prospect of London hosting the upcoming flotation of Saudi state oil company Aramco, which is likely to be the largest of all time“, the word ‘flotation‘ is given and the danger is now out and about, in clear view of all. So as the UK government is trying to appease Khalid Al-Falih, energy minister of Saudi Arabia (and CEO of Aramco), as well as Yasir al-Rumayyan, the director of the Saudi public investment fund – a sovereign wealth fund, I have to wonder where the Rothschild’s are, because there is no way in heaven or hell that the Rothschild family would be absent of a 5% of a $2T company option and not be a player in something with the ROI of billions, especially after the losses they had with Kurdistan and Africa. They have skin in the game now, and they need a victory in this field, their ego demands it from themselves!

In all this the final part given in the Guardian must not be overlooked, because the quote “Downing Street announced on Monday it had drawn up plans with Riyadh to boost support for Saudi’s much-vaunted Vision 2030 strategic plan for diversifying the Saudi economy to decrease its over-reliance on oil, spearheaded by the deputy crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, who met May on Tuesday“, as this now offers the level of revenue to fund the ability to become the largest 5G player in the middle east, with options to diversify into Europe, the far East and America. It is perhaps the first time in history that a public company would shoot to a top position in mobile communication, ready to set the market and their values in a few ways on a global scale. For the simple reason that moving into technology and not go for the new tech that will determine the fate of the large mobile and telecom players between 2019 and 2027 seems extremely short-sighted.


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8 Generations

I thought long about this and until this morning I had not made up my mind whether I would write this. You see, this is not based on facts (or at least extreme loosely facts), I had spoken to a priest about this, but as I see the article in the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jul/21/five-biggest-threats-human-existence), I decided to write the story anyway.

Consider the notion, the one that Anders Sandberg wrote in his story “Not those who will live 200 years from now, but 1,000 or 10,000 years from now“. In my view the man might actually be an optimist. For the most we have been deceived so long (not by the fore mentioned writer), that we have not been heeding anyone’s word in matters of survivability.

What if we are ending the option of life the way we currently are? What if we have at the maximum only 8 generations left? Did you consider this? Why 8 generations? Well, the number is slightly random, we might actually only have 7 or even 6 generations left.

This train of thought started with two events. The second one is the one I wrote about in ‘Tusks!’ earlier this month. It was about the Ivory trade and how at this stage, elephants will be extinct in 15 years (a claim by the World Wildlife Federation). The first one was the news by several sources that Japan was intend on slaughtering whales again for ‘scientific’ purposes (at http://www.nbcnews.com/science/environment/experts-concerned-japans-talk-scientific-whaling-n156766). The interesting quote is “What bothers Clapham is that ‘whaling nations have said forever that they advocate sustainable whaling, and then they go on to ignore mounting evidence of population declines in the interests of profit’“. I must say that the IWC has not been overly outspoken in visibility of the numbers, some they have, some are estimates and it can all be found here: http://iwc.int/estimate. The numbers imply that between the two markers 1985-1991 and 1992-2003, the Minke Whales in the southern Hemisphere were ‘culled’ for almost 30%. That is a MASSIVE number! So far Japan has not produced ANY viable information on why whales have to die for their ‘research’. In my view, Japan has an obligation to openly produce the entire scientific data on the whales, with the spectrum of issues they want to prove/disprove by slaughtering whales. If they do not, it is only fair that we perform medical experimentations on the Japanese population in regards to resistance to radiation for the term 1944-1947 and 2010-2014. Will they wait until 30% of the population is ‘culled’ until they complain? I do reckon that national interest in Whale meat would likely go down.

Let us all remain calm and realise that this is not some anti-Japanese issue! But, the example is here for a reason!

The whale has a massive impact on the aquatic balance “When one species of animal that is important to the food chain dies it allows other species to thrive” (from whalefacts.org). In addition there is the quote “Studies have shown that the nutrients in sperm whale poop helps stimulate the growth of phytoplankton which pull carbon from the atmosphere to provide a cleaner and healthier breathing environment for all animals. Estimates state that as much as 400,000 tonnes of carbon are extracted from the air due to these whales each year!“, the whales also keep the krill population in balance, who in term deal with some of the carbon issues we create. Here is where it all becomes a bit weird. It seems that we, Homo Sapiens need Krill oil too. We have been taking massive amounts of it from the arctic and as such, we have denied the whales their food source. Another part is the quote “The adult Antarctic krill feeds preferentially on phytoplankton” implying that the whales themselves foster and nurture their own food source, making it a symbiotic relationship. “Several threats to Antarctic krill have been identified, including increasing commercial demand for krill oil and meal for the aquaculture, medical and cosmetic industries, as well as advancing technologies which enable much greater catches and quicker processing” show that we need the krill food source too, making the whale a competitor, as such, in conjunction with global warming (which removes the chances of successful Krill reproduction), should give us a larger pause then it is currently giving us.

All this has further consequences, as these two species are culled stronger and stronger, the predators in the arctic will end up with different needs. Like the whale, the Elephant has a similar impact. As the Lions and subsequent the Hyena’s lose this food source, they will have to pick on other sources. Consider that an elephant carcass will feed the pride for a week, taking them out means that they become solely dependent on the other species, which will then take a downturn in numbers too. How is all this linked to these 8 generations?

We have been feeding ourselves and through this our biosphere into extinction. The time we could have had to resolve issues are slowly and surely getting lost to us due to sheer greed! You do not have to believe me, but when was the last time you have beef without the fear of horse meat? Is it about profit (partially accepted as correct), or is this because veal is getting harder and harder to get? We see part of this at http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/05/23/us-usa-agriculture-inflation-idUSBREA4M0FI20140523, where it is stated that prices in the US are at a record high. They blame the drought, which might be true in part. Another side here is the fact that this planets population grew by 30% in the last 20 years, that is within two generations. This is the need to feed over one and a half billion more people. The US only grew by 22% in that time, but consider the given truth that you need greens and livestock to feed another 60 million and add obesity into the mix and you have the beginning of a food disaster.

It goes beyond food, which is the main event, but not the whole picture. The site IndexMundi is telling us, that the world requires 90 million barrels of oil EACH DAY! This number becomes an issue, when we know that the bulk of all oil comes from OPEC and the OPEC-12 reported in that same time a production of 31 million barrels a day. The entire world produces roughly 80 million barrels of oil a day, there seems to be the issue that we need more. Before you go into the idea that it is just oil, and like running water we have plenty. Think again, oil is begotten (for the lack of a better word), from the earth. These fields are finite plain and simple! If we take the following premise that over the last 12 years, we used on average 80 million barrels of oil a day and a barrel in 159 litres, then how much oil did we need to spawn? that number comes to 12.72 billion litres of oil each day for 4380 days, which gets us to a cube that is 59 Km by 59Km by 59Km. That is one massive cube and this is only for the last 12 years. If we accept that the atmosphere end (roughly) at 17Km, then we get an interesting rectangular cuboid which is just over 109 Kilometres long and wide reaching to the edge of our atmosphere (at twice the height of the Mount Everest). I think the picture is clearly shaping that we are seriously on route of consuming ourselves quite literally into extinction. That view is only enhanced when we see the extreme ways on how large companies are now trying to get a little more gas using shale gas methods of getting a little more out of rock. Do you think they would go this distance and setting themselves up to these dangers if it was not ‘essential’? The question becomes, is it greed, or is it finality that is getting us into these waters?

I do not claim to have the answers, but there is every indication that 8 generations might be optimistic. Yes, we see the words on ‘responsible’ fishing and on the need for other solutions. It was only last July when we saw on ABC the quote “Australia’s east coast is experiencing a chronic shortage of wheat and stocks could run out by November“. No matter what this precise reason is for that one newscast, we are confronted that a larger part of the 7 billion population (a 2012 number) needs bread on a daily basis. How much wheat is needed to make 7 billion buns of bread each day?

It is when we realise these astronomical numbers that we get a first inkling on the dangers we face when we hear the words ‘food’ and ‘shortage’ together. More important, what can we do to prevent the nightmare the eight generation will face once he/she arrives there. I am not the first one to make these claims and in many places, we see some ‘expert’ giving us numbers that it will not be such a harsh reality. Is that so? For decades global warming was ‘debunked’ by carefully selected ‘experts’ even today they are still trying to throw sand in many eyes to dissuade many from seeing the perilous times that lie ahead.

In this article I only raised two of the daily needs we face every day, what happens when we add the need for clean (healthy) water? Part of that was illustrated last February in the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/feb/09/global-water-shortages-threat-terror-war).

The six areas in direct threat give us an indication that drought or not, we are in long term dire need for the one substance we cannot do without. If the human body needs 3 litres of water each day, then how will we get by on getting 21 billion litres of water each day for years to come? We all think too easy that this planet is 70% water. That water is not all fresh water and we have to share it with many other life forms (not just the fish). Feel free not to take my word on this. The WWF had this to say “By 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population may face water shortages”, that is just a decade from now, will this come to pass? Consider that the current population requires a body of water the size of the Dead Sea is not entirely comfortable when we consider the amounts of fresh water we have been polluting in recent years.

Time will tell, in the end we might not even get 8 generations to figure it out, however I always was an incurable optimist.


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