Tag Archives: Paris

Stupid after the fact

We have always heralded stupidity, some in their work sphere, and some in the private sphere. It happens. Yet, when we are lucky we get to see the rarest of events, ‘greedy and stupid’ in one neatly wrapped package. That is the view we need to take when we see the Associated Press give us the events of ‘Carlos Nuzman, president of the Brazilian Olympic committee‘. So as we are treated with “In total, 11 detention warrants were issued for people in both Brazil and France in what police dubbed “Operation Unfair Play.”” we need to wonder how this came about. Now, there is the non-existing reality of ‘honour amongst thieves’, yet when it comes to the corrupt that rule will never exist. Most of these people are merely one skip away from being a target themselves. So when we see that the associated press gives us not a lot to go on (most merely circumstantial facts). The NY Times (at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/08/sports/olympics/whistle-blower-says-he-told-of-rio-olympics-corruption-years-ago.html), has a lot more. With “Mr. Maleson, an outspoken critic of Mr. Nuzman, made accusations about Olympic projects and asked the I.O.C. why it had not prevented Mr. Nuzman, 75, from occupying the dual roles of leader of the Rio 2016 organizing committee and chief of Brazil’s national Olympic committee. “This is a clear conflict of interests, and the I.O.C. should never have allowed this to happen,” Mr. Maleson wrote in a Sept. 6, 2014, email to the I.O.C.’s president, Thomas Bach, and the organization’s judicial body. He contacted the I.O.C. in 2012 to accuse Mr. Nuzman of corruption and election fraud“, here we see systematic failures of organisations that grew beyond their means of comprehension. Consider the time-line. When we consider the Oxford Olympics Study 2016, with: “the outturn cost of the Sydney 2000 Summer Olympics at USD 5 billion in 2015-dollars and cost overrun at 90% in real terms. This includes sports-related costs only, that is, (i) operational costs incurred by the organizing committee for the purpose of staging the Games, e.g., expenditures for technology, transportation, workforce, administration, security, catering, ceremonies, and medical services, and (ii) direct capital costs incurred by the host city and country or private investors to build, e.g., the competition venues, the Olympic village, international broadcast center, and media and press center, which are required to host the Games. Indirect capital costs are not included, such as for road, rail, or airport infrastructure, or for hotel upgrades or other business investment incurred in preparation for the Games but not directly related to staging the Games“, The paper by Bent Flyvbjerg, Allison Stewart and Alexander Budzier (The Oxford Olympics Study 2016) shows levels of failure. The mere realisation of cost overruns that goes into multiple editions of 100% makes it a multi-billion dollar cash cow and there are too many players eager to dip their private (or is that privacy) parts into the golden troth of exploitation. Now, this does not state that Carlos Nuzman is corrupt; it merely gives us the setting. With the NY Times, we see that there is a much larger issue. The fact that there are clear records that there were issues and oppositions, whilst we now see that nothing was done, shows larger levels of failure that seem to be more about not rocking the boat, than to stop hurting the utterly broken image of the Olympics. When we consider the person linked to this, we see that Eric Leme Walther Maleson is the founder and former president of the Brazilian Ice Sports Federation has a long lasting life in sports and winner of three bronze medals in the sport, so we have a winner. This man seems to have been devoted to sports for most of his life. So it is a voice the Olympic committee should not have ignored. You see, the broken image of the Olympics, an image that went from excellence in sports towards the need for big business to promote their products under the guise of media exploitation is utterly void of spirit. Coca Cola, Dow, Intel, Samsung and Visa have changed that landscape. Agreeing to a situation that shows a growing curve of getting it all (namely the infrastructure) in place. You see, the earlier mentioned paper is important, even as we see “cost per athlete has been increasing for both the Summer Games and Winter Games, driven mainly by London 2012 and Sochi 2014. Overall, however, the changes over time are statistically non-significant for both Summer Games“, it is important as we know, or should know that the Olympics are set in three parts: ‘The event, the players and the cost of the location’. If the increase of cost per athlete had been significant, we would have had a less to go on, so with them out of the equation (and take the massive cost for Sochi 2014 away) we now have two elements: ‘The event’, which gives rise to internal corruption of stakeholders and sponsors; with the internal corruption of sponsors not in the mix (at present). We are left with the location and the stakeholders. Now, we all agree that the cost of everything goes up, but consider “15 of 19 Games (79 percent) have cost overruns above 50 percent and 9 of 19 Games (47 percent) have cost overruns above 100 percent“, now we can accept that such events will always come with the cost of business, we need to consider that ‘cost overrun‘ is merely a motto for political downplay of elements in their moment of national pride. I personally see it as an optional place where you can soften opposition with parked billions!

I believe that the paper has cornered certain Olympic elements and it cannot prove it, yet by exposing other parts as non-factorial we now see that the Olympics are a much large mess than the media is making it out to be. Even as we are focused on Carlos Nuzman, we are ignoring the elements that are part of the machine behind it. So when we see USA Today “French and Brazilian authorities said Nuzman brought together businessman Arthur Cesar de Menezes Soares Filho, and Lamine Diack, the former head of track and field’s governing body who at the time was an IOC voting member. Soares Filho’s company, Matlock Capital Group, allegedly paid Diack $2 million into a Caribbean account held by his son, Papa Massata Diack. Authorities said Lamine Diack, an influential African member from Senegal, was instrumental in organizing the African bloc of votes. The widening case implicated four-time Olympic medallist Frank Fredericks. The former sprinter from Namibia has said a near-$300,000 payment he received via Diack’s son on the day Rio won the vote was for legitimate consultancy work. Still, Fredericks lost his place leading an IOC inspection team to visit Paris and Los Angeles” these all seem legitimate elements in all this and it is not part or regarding ‘Frank Fredericks‘, I wonder how and what work he did to get the $300,000. I and many others have never been offered $300K for a consultancy job, so what does ‘legitimate’ entail? The element in this is ‘an IOC inspection team to visit Paris and Los Angeles’, you see, what would they have been privy to and exposed to? The USA today gives us that in the very last line. With “dozens of top politicians implicated in a sweeping judicial corruption investigation in which construction giant Odebrecht illegally paid billions to help win contracts” we are exposed to the cost of doing business. Paying 2 billion to gain 11 billion in contracts is merely good business and the locations still need to be constructed, the untold part in all this. Odebrecht is present in South America, Central America, North America, the Caribbean, Africa, Europe and the Middle East. They have been stepping on large toes and as such certain French players are eager to see it stop. Construction is the largest unmonitored Wild West industry remaining on the planet. Odebrecht with a value now approaching 42 billion is an issue for many players. Even as we are confronted in the US with “Howard Archer, chief economic advisor to the EY ITEM Club, reckoned Friday’s economic data indicated UK GDP growth may likely be limited to just 0.3% for the third quarter, he also acknowledged the disappointment in trade and construction output“, which might not be anything worth mentioning, unless you see it next to Odebrecht and the currently unsubstantiated channels towards a multiple billions (read: expected 2.08 billion) to get 11 billion in extra jobs, now it becomes something the American players (as well as the European ones) are getting huffy and puffy about, because if Odebrecht is getting it, they are not and that is where investigative parties get creative. So when we see “They emerged with suitcases, documents and a computer“, we need to wonder. Was the taken away party actually that stupid, or are we witnessing a new Flim Flam visitation of: watch ‘here’ whilst out of view certain deals are brokered. In all this the sponsors are still part and equally guilty. You see the sponsors let cost overruns of over 100% go and not give proper light to EVERY element in this. Merely that the local political engines were sorting it out for them (and those political players get to live with the consequences), the sponsors merely move on. As I personally see it, these sponsors are supposed to be intelligent, so this is happening with their silent approval, only when they fail to meet the targets that is set towards the costs, only then will we hear them loudly. This is exactly why Qatar 2022 remains in the news, again and again. The media is already kicking up stinks because they aren’t getting anything out of it, they are merely in a place to either accept it or move out. The Daily Mail is giving us more and more allegations and even as some smile because Qatar did not qualify for the world cup 2022, we see “Qatar’s elimination will be enjoyed by its many critics in the West who claim the emirate should never have been given the chance to host the World Cup, pointing to a lack of footballing pedigree as well as corruption and labour abuse claims“, how about these critics in the west shut up as continue to suck the tits of corruption they are currently sucking on? I am more lenient towards Christopher Davidson, who with ““Having never qualified for a World Cup before, I don’t think Qatar should have ever made the claim that it was a genuine footballing nation,” Christopher Davidson, a Middle East expert at Britain’s Durham University, told AFP” we might accept their words, yet when we consider the Jamaica bobsled team, ending up ahead of United States, Russia, Australia and France. Should we take bobsleighing away from the USA or France? We have heard 2 years of utter bullshit of these critics with supposedly showing all air and no evidence? In that same light, should we dissolve the Sunday Times this coming Monday? Remember the claim of “obtained millions of secret documents – emails, letters and bank transfers – which it alleges are proof that the disgraced Qatari football official Mohamed Bin Hammam made payments totalling US$5m (£3m) to football officials in return for their support for the Qatar bid“, so if they do not go public with all the evidence, can we force closure of the Sunday Times? Personally I find the existence of Rupert Murdoch and Martin Ivens offensive. They represent what is wrong with media today, so if they are gone, I will feel happiness. They are going with alleged and proclaimed, whilst the construction levels of corruption are happening at their front door and at that point they remain really really silent. In light of FIFA, we have seen levels of failing where the press was eagerly not rocking any boats at all, merely when big business saw it was losing out, at that point everyone screamed murder and mayhem.

These players have been stupid after the fact for much too long and as such we need to consider whether we need to overhaul the Olympics in ways never conceived before. Perhaps it will downgrade those events for the much larger extent. It will no longer be about drugging, about substance abuse or about the next mobile phone that works better when you drink Coca Cola. It will be about athletes competing for the title of who is actually the best, no sponsors, no advertisements and no billboards.

This is all still ongoing, with Qatar finishing Hamad port, we will see more and more issues rise, but as the stream for completing the WC 2022 event going straight into Qatar, we see that some players will take other venues to see what stink they can kick up. We can see the validity of France trying to aid in resolving the issue. An opportunity Turkey let fly by is now in the hands of Bertrand Besancenot, diplomatic adviser to the government. As France has close ties with Egypt and the UAE while also being a major arms supplier to Qatar and a key ally of Saudi Arabia, we see a player that is eager to find a solution for all as they greatly benefit any solution. If there is one issue, then it is the one that the UAE edition of the National brings us. With “Despite its claims of being ‘under blockade’, Qatar has also expanded shipping routes to India, Oman, Turkey and Pakistan and announced plans to raise its liquefied natural gas (LNG) output by 30 per cent in an effort to weather the boycott“, we see a dangerous turn as there is an actual danger in pushing to raise output towards 30%, as I see it, it requires certain players to circumvent larger safety settings, which could be the start of a very different disaster in Qatar. In addition, who in Al Jazeera will be part of the committee in charge for building and setting up the media centre during WC2022? It could potentially become a new Al Jazeera building merely months after the event and as such, it is an opportunity for Al Jazeera to set the bar for their competitors in the Middle East even higher. There is nothing like raising the output of your own station by 300% to truly get more visibility. In that view, as we will soon hear on how Qatar has optionally additional satellites available for all reporting parties, has anyone considered the impact of government fuelled competition? So when we are stupid behind the fact, were we not looking on what is additionally provided for? So when we are watching Tokyo bring live every match and event in hi-res to our G5 phone free of charge, has anyone considered the fact that we spend an additional $400 to get that phone ahead of schedule? So with 3-5 players getting an additional share of $20 billion for 5G on the initial launch, what is the part we were not looking at? Until the moment is there, we can understand that players like Apple, Google, Huawei and Samsung are quiet as a mouse, but all that ‘bedazzling entertainment‘ represent additional construction billions, additional satellites and longer terms benefits not charged or taxed, all under the guise of: ‘sports’. If it is true that we see the first pilots go live during Pyeongchang, and we will all readily accept that this will be the shining moment of Samsung (the local player there) as it shows what more we can expect from becoming the mobile entrepreneur, what do you think that Tokyo (2020), Qatar (2022), Beijing (2022) and Paris (2024) will bring? These 4 will have a growing infrastructure need which means that construction will grow even further. Four events that can only be done and almost literally set in stone by the strongest and largest players in construction, the instant moment to make several billions merely by being at the right place. That is what others fear Odebrecht could do. Larger players that are at present not ready to the extent that they needed to be for the upcoming considerations. Even as we see the South American headlines regarding Odebrecht, we need to realise that Odebrecht is everywhere. In that, it is: ‘who’s who in Legal’ that brings the ending gem to all this. With “Big-ticket cases involving the likes of Rolls-Royce, Petrobras, Odebrecht and Barclays remain at the forefront of the international corporate crime market, encompassing both corporate and individual defence and therefore keeping a vast number of lawyers across the world exceptionally busy. It is a trend that the majority of lawyers canvassed during our research see no sign of abating, as the fight for transparency and the activities of enforcement agencies intensify” we are shown to the cost of doing business and Odebrecht is not alone and it is not evil, the world changed yet the players on other sides remains stoic and unmoving, now that they are no longer regarded as people who matter, they now shout foul and demand action. So as we see the greedy idiots trying one more tantrum to get the WC away from Qatar, we need to see that the foundation of sports have become rotten and corrupt, the foundations are falling because the structure were never adhering to the reality of doing business. Merely a presentation from an outdated PowerPoint shows that what we saw and what we believe was never a reality. So as the media hides behind claims and allegations stating that the entire system is corrupt and sick, we might argue that the media has labelled themselves as healers seeing what is wrong whilst they are merely the hypochondriacs in this game; seeing and reporting on sickness whilst they have no medical degree or knowledge of the symptoms, or claiming to have the results but are unwilling to make them public. Hiding behind documents that never see the light of day, they proclaim exist, whilst not presenting the evidence, all whilst they herald politicians who in the same air and at that same moment present the acceptance of the ‘invoice of buildings’ that ended up being 100% more expensive as it was for the good of sports. Only after the fact, when the dust settles will some ask questions and do we see that people like Carlos Nuzman, guilty or not being towed away, that whilst questions were asked years before the event. With 5 large events coming up, with close to a trillion at stake, sponsors and stakeholders will not ask questions until targets are not met, or are close to being a risk of not making it. The media will remain on the foreground silent ‘awaiting‘ evidence, merely speculating at times, whilst shouting on behalf of others when those ‘friends’ (read: advertisers) have too much to lose. Greed driven media, this is exactly why people like Rupert Murdoch and Martin Ivens should be discontinued. In the end they are merely in it for the circulation at best and personal greed at worst.

We can all be stupid after the fact, which includes me. Yet when I am I will be in a state of ‘Wow, I so did not see that coming!‘ and I will to improve the way I see things, whilst the others are playing another iteration of ‘the next wave’ to fill their pockets. It sets me apart as I want improvements to a system that could be good and they merely want continuation of their luxurious way of life.

I still believe that certain players will push for the change of Qatar 2022. Yet after that, after it happens, when evidence lacked, we should demand their mandatory retirement from income and public life, and those sponsors should be barred from global sport sponsoring events forever. I wonder how many politicians will turn out to be a mere representation of cowardice at that point in time, trying to find some compromise that their way of life finds acceptable?

 

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To be mindful

We can have a go at President Macron and at this point, it seems more like kicking a man when he is down. His numbers are sliding and as the Guardian reported, they are now at: “Poll shows French president’s ‘dissatisfaction rating’ among voters rising to 57%, up from 43% in July“, labour reforms, housing assistance, it is all giving him a beating. The issue is not what he did wrong; the issue is what mess he inherited. Even as there was a chance that it could have fallen into the lap of Marine Le Pen, the people too scared gave it to Emmanuel Macron. There is clear realisation that France with a €2.1 trillion debt, its population in France would have to accept that hard times would be coming, no matter who had won. Francois Hollande had made THAT much a mess of things. So, France is dealing with a few things, the first is that the interest on the debt is per second more than a monthly income of a person on minimum wage, before taxation. The debt is growing that fast. To counter that labour reforms are essential to grow any level of economy. The UK has figured it out and is working on it, yet President Macron is unable to make any headway. Yet the article is not about that. It is merely the background for another matter that caught my eye. You see, the sad news is that RFI reported 12 hours ago that a French army volunteer took his own life. A young man dedicated to his nation and the security of the French people killed himself in his place of accommodation. This is about Operation Sentinelle!

You see, this event is more important than you might think. I know what he is going through; I get it (in part at least). The importance and the dangers is not because he volunteered, it is because he was not abroad. This is not some placement in West-Africa, Iraq or another Middle East placing. He was in France protecting the French. So this matters and if this is the beginning of a problem, it needs to be dealt with soon and fast. We often forget on the mental strain that any soldier of medical volunteer faces, even if there is merely the threat of danger. So when it is at the home base, it becomes a much larger issue as I see it. I agree with Colonel Brulon, who stated: “It is much too early to say anything about the reasons that led him to this extreme act“, whilst he added that an investigation had been entrusted to the gendarmerie, which is where it partially belongs.

I am stating partially, because the French Defence Health Service (Service de santé des armées) short named as SSA should and would be on top of this. It is important because the SSA findings would be important to other NATO nations. France might have been the most visible nation under attack, but it is not the only one and as such we need to know early on how isolated a case this is. I guess that Colonel Brulon would love to make a statement as soon as possible that it was an isolated case, but he can’t really, well can he? Operation Sentinelle involves 10,000 military troops and 4700 members of the Kepi Bleu (aka police or gendarmes). We know that the stress levels have been high for 2 years, which could explain part of it, yet there is little known of the soldier. Le Parisien gives us ‘a member of the 5th Combat Company of the 1st Regiment of Tirailleurs‘, yet not how long he served and how long he was on operation Sentinelle. We could normally wait for more information, but too many sides of any governmental operation are too often of hiding mental health issues and not deal with the problem face on immediately and that is where the problem lies. Colonel Benoît Brulon might overreact and give a larger side of Operation Sentinelle to the Kepi blanc (aka Légion Étrangère) yet that is equally a flawed plan as the cause of the stress is unknown and exposing the French population to the raw deadly power that is Légion Étrangère is equally not the best idea to go forward on, if only to consider the diplomatic escalated side of the matter. The second side is that there have been so far 6 attacks by French civilians on the deployed soldiers. Sky News gave us earlier this month: “Police have shot and arrested a man after he rammed his BMW into a group of French soldiers in western Paris before speeding off“, which is odd to some degree. My experience of the French people was quite different. Whilst in Orleans, in uniform I was suddenly hugged by two lovely French ladies, an always welcome salute to a summers day whilst admiring Orleans was quite the different experience, so I have seen on how friendly the French can be to their uniformed population, so for people to attack those who are actively protecting them is a bit of a weird situation. Yet, they are for the most either ‘extremist idiots’ or people with mental health issues, and there we get the issue in a little more clarity, we can dismiss the ‘idiot’ category. When a person comes to you with ‘I am here to die for Allah‘, he gets the short end of the stick because they are military units and those are not really there to arrest people, so when we get the quote “Man shot to death after grabbing the weapon of a soldier“, we can easily state that the man only had himself to blame. When it is a mental health case, in the issue of: “An Egyptian national visiting France on a tourist visa has attacked soldiers at the Louvre Museum in Paris with a machete, in what officials are describing as a suspected terror attack“, we have to wonder how sane the Egyptian was in the first place. The issue is now different. Any soldier, French or not has been (or should have been) trained to kill without reservation any enemy that threatens their life, yet when our brain tells us that this is not a real enemy, but a person with a mental health problem, are we still willing to kill just like that? For the most we are not monsters, we do not kill snakes because they are snakes, we optionally kill them because they are an immediate threat to our health and possible our lives. Now we get an entirely new situation, one that the army has never trained their soldiers on (read: never had to train them on), when placed in places of peace under non-wartime conditions dealing with non-combatants, how are they affected? Until directly attacked that person is not a soldier or a terrorist, but a person, that switch comes when the attack happens and the soldier under attack has now got to react as instructed, securing his life and protect the optional victims around him (or her). This is a muddy place where mental health issues could flourish, so the investigation into the soldier’s suicide will be a lot more important and a lot more essential than most people realise. France 24 gives us another side (at http://www.france24.com/en/20170810-operation-sentinelle-france-fight-counter-terrorism-working), with the quote ““It is essentially just posturing that has zero operational impact,” Jean-Charles Brisard of the Center for the Analysis of Terrorism told FRANCE 24. “Sentinelle has never stopped, prevented or hindered any terrorist attack in France since its creation in 2015.”“, yet he does not know that does he? Jean-Charles Brisard is a political player, one with extensive education and one who does know things, but how certain is he? Is a visual deterrent disproven? What evidence is there? It is possible (speculation on my side) that their presence has stopped several attacks, and attacks by mental health cases is all that remains, yet that is from my side and it is equally speculative. The question becomes can France take the chance of a busload of explosives getting parked next to the Louvre or the Notre Dame? Paris has a much too large dependence on tourism and its cultural heritage is packed together like a tin of sardines on a small area. It’s almost like assisting Dolly Parton to fit into a B-cup bra. It looks like a really nice exercise, but it is never going to work. Meaning that in the end, the risk factors will stack against the French military, because the extremists only need to get lucky once.

That is where one factor lies. 10,000 soldiers being aware that it is not that they win, but the fact that one failure could impact lives in France in an incomprehensible way. That is where the hidden stress lies. You see this is not an unknown. When we accept that ‘Setting goals too high – unrealistic goals can lead to stress, or lead to demoralisation‘ is giving us mental health issues. We might need to face that France has indeed been lucky that this is merely the first case and that it happened after 2 years. Again, this is speculative, but there is enough evidence to warrant this train of thought. If such levels of demoralisation leads to people giving up, and knowing that giving up is not an option for soldiers and perhaps even less so for volunteers (due to internal peer pressure), it is my personal believe that Colonel Benoît Brulon could be in much deeper waters than he has currently considered to be. He is facing a larger issue and the SSA would need to step up towards actual treatments and rotation schemes to deal with the growing pressures. Even if this is already happening, this suicide shows that there is a partial failure in place. In addition we have seen that in mental health, especially under the guise of goal setting that ‘excessively focusing on certain types of business goals can lead to competitive or unethical behaviour, or conflict in the workplace‘, so we can accept competitiveness to some degree, but when it comes to soldiers and armed individuals, when we get issues of ‘unethical behaviour, or conflict in the workplace’ we end up with an entirely different can of worms, those who are intelligent enough to see these signs, how will they react, perhaps their brooding and their inner conflict could potentially lead to depression and suicide. Again, this is partially academic speculation, yet there has been enough evidence in the past on several levels in several nations that it is a realistic danger.

This now gets us back to President Macron, not because of his approval ratings, but the issue that he faces (which got him the sliding approval ratings). The two elements that do impact the soldiers is one, to a lesser extent labour reform, because their setting is different, but the rotation approach could be seen as labour reform, and the second is housing assistance. You see, no matter which country you are in, housing tends to be an issue for everyone in the lower incomes and soldiers were never heralded with large pay cheques so that issue would still remain. We have seen how a homely place can help alleviate the pressure and stress. Having soldiers in barracks is one thing, but in such a place privacy becomes rare and the essential need to dissect peer pressure within the military is a much larger factor than most consider. Even as the peers accept such stress levels, we have seen too often that mental health issues are too scary an issue to deal with, people are too scared to deal with things they do not understand and fear that it will happen to them. Soldiers are no different here, so no matter what we can expect to read or be informed on, the focus will move towards the French Defence Health Services sooner rather than later, because it might be one suicide, yet history has shown where on acts, a dozen have at least contemplated the issue, so there is a growing concern, one that the French press seems to ignore for now.

 

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Oh La L’argent

Reuters is giving us the news yesterday that there is trouble brewing in France. The article titled ‘France’s Macron says defense chief has no choice but to agree with him: JDD‘ (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-france-defence-idUSKBN1A00TE). The best way to trivialise this is by going on the fact that the world’s 6th most spending nation on defence is cutting the defence of France back by almost a billion. Now, for the number one and two spenders in this field, that is a laughable amount. In the national terms it is a little below 2% of that total budget. In light of the UK NHS and other players needing to trim the fat and handover a pound of beef that amount is equally laughably low, yet for France? The article gives us in addition ““If something opposes the military chief of staff and the president, the military chief of staff goes,” Macron, who as president is also the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, told Le Journal du Dimanche (JDD)“, we can see this as hard talk and a kind warning to any opposition, or we can accept that this former financial advisor is setting up the board. He is placing certain pieces in reflection of the events coming in 2018. I wonder if it is merely about defence spending. Even as we see the other quote “General Pierre de Villiers reportedly told a parliament committee he would not let the government ‘fuck with’ him on spending cuts“, the questions are rising on two fronts, fronts that are not them by the way. You see, when we see another source (at http://www.iiss.org/en/militarybalanceblog/blogsections/2017-edcc/july-c5e6/franco-german-cooperation-1efd), we see ‘Can Franco-German cooperation deliver a new European defence?‘, yet the question is not merely the side that matters, it is the quote “German Chancellor Angela Merkel has committed her government to meeting the symbolic 2% defence-spending threshold” as well as “Germany remains far off the 2% spending mark – it is projected to spend 1.2% of GDP on defence in 2017 – and the Chancellor’s main opponent in this September’s federal election, Martin Schulz, has poured cold water on Germany’s commitment to that goal“, this is where the cookie starts to crumble. Is there a consideration that France is cutting costs, to remain on par with Germany, mainly because that would simplify a European Army where the ‘pound’ of all power is based on France and Germany? It works for President Macron, because at that point he could spend it somewhere else, in some form of local Quantative Easing (read: funding economy projects) as well as highly needed infrastructure overhauls. Although, 1 billion will not get this too far, but overall one or two larger issues could be resolved to a better degree, depending on whether he goes for roads or waterworks as a first priority. In all this there is a second issue, which is the combined design of a new 5th generation fighter jet, which will impact both German and France’s defence spending a lot more than anything else.

So as General Pierre de Villiers is contemplating the impact of 2% less, whilst a new jet is on the design table and 2018 will become the year of whatever EU army is up for initial presentation, the amounting costs of that infrastructure change, the General is confronted not with a president, but with a former investment banker that relies on Excel and predictive analytics to set the possible options of a virtual reality against a person who deals in real time events, idle time strategy impacts and an need towards an affirmation of hierarchy whilst having a complete operational army. In all this there is no telling when France gets attacked next and for that the DGSE will need 5 high powered computers with access to a cloud system. With a new encryption that surpasses the current 1024-bit RSA encryption that is used. So yes, that is also going to cost a bundle.

This is not just ‘all about the money’, you see, the IISS article seems to give rise to the Nuclear planning part, but that is not the actual issue that will play. As in any war and any intelligence operation, it will be about the data and intelligence that is acted on, and whilst there is data going back to 2007, that the growing issues becomes a shifting one. With: “Arjen Lenstra, a cryptology professor at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland, says the distributed computation project, conducted over 11 months, achieved the equivalent in difficulty of cracking a 700-bit RSA encryption key, so it doesn’t mean transactions are at risk — yet“, the growing deadline was set to roughly 5 years, with the growth of Ransomware and other criminal cyber solutions, we have gone passed the deadline of 2012 and as such, the is now a growing need for matters a lot more secure. when we consider the added quote: “the University of Bonn and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone in Japan, researchers factored a 307-digit number into two prime numbers“, this might be a breakthrough in some ways, yet it still took 11 months to get to the solution, with other solutions like distributed calculating (example the famous Seti@Home program) and the cloud, as well as the fact that the bulk of PC users leave their computers on and way too unsecured, we are facing a combination that could spell cyber disaster. Just consider all those kids working their DDOS attack games. What happens when the computer is not aware because it is no longer attacking places (that can actually register these events), but just silently mulling over data? The person is asleep or at work, now we get that shared options gives us for example 50,000 calculators, changing an 11 month gig into a mere 10 minute job. Now, there is no precedence for this, yet the amount of people that have an infuriating lack of common cyber sense is still way too high (well over 75% too high), so getting to 50,000 computers silently is not the greatest task. It had been made easier by the Microsoft security flaws all over the place and the users not being adamant in upgrading their system when needed, as well as the need from Microsoft to keep on pushing some version of blue (read: Azure), my speculation is not that far away, moreover, it could actually already slowly being used in one way or another (read: extremely speculative suggestion).

Yet, the gist must be clear, the governments, pretty much all over Europe are due a large overhaul of data collectors and data storage systems. Even as we see on how Russia and the US are so called collaborating on quantum computing, those who comprehend the technology will know that whomever has that technology would be able to gain access to any data, it like you using a PC XT, whilst others are all about the Pentium 2, the difference will be that severe.

Yet, this was about France (read: actually it is not). The issue is not just the small disagreement that was going on between two important players within a Western European nation; the fact that it was on a subject and amount that is not that drastic, but Reuters is going with it on the front of its pages. In all this France is also getting the forefront of visibility trying to become the facilitator for the Qatar, which comes with the added danger that France will become more of a target for extremists because of it. Not a given, but it is more likely than not that there is a danger that this will happen.

On the coming year, we see that it will be all about the money, that has always been a given, so it is just telling people that there is water coming out of a water tap, yet it will be growing in the coming year as several nations have overly neglected infrastructures and there is a decent prediction that some part will have to give in, which will require additional budgets. France and Belgium are taking the top ratings on the need to improve their roads and as some roads have been neglected for too long, the road repairs bill could become exceedingly large for those two players. As such, the total debt of France will take a rising hit (one part that France cannot really afford at present) and Belgium would be in a similar predicament. These are the additional elements that President Macron will need to deal with.

Does that not make defence cuts more important?

Well, that is one way to look at it, which is a valid one, yet the rising projects and the growing chance of a European Army start would give rise to either more spending needs in the French defence budget or the French Ministry of Defence could end up having to deal with additional pressure points soon thereafter, in this other nations (including the UK have similar complexities to deal with)

Why the reference to France?

Well, that will become a little more obvious in about a moment, yet it was important to show that the cost cutting on Defence in France is a first mistake (read: blunder) by President Macron.

The article ‘Government offers £2m for scientific research into counter-terrorism‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jul/17/government-offers-2m-for-scientific-research-into-counter-terrorism), is showing us a first step in regards to solve possible extremist behavioural issues. In my personal view it is a competition that Israel could win hands down as they have been employing certain parts of that with success at Ben Gurion Airport and other places for close to a decade. Yet, doing it in some automated way through data gathering is a new side to that and here is where all the hardware and DGSE comes into play, or in the UK terms, this is where GCHQ could be starting to earn the big bucks (read: £). The quote “The threat from terror does not stand still, so neither will we, which is why we are calling on the best and the brightest from the science and technology sector to come forward with their ideas and proposals to support our ongoing work to keep people safe” is the one that matter, yet overall, even beyond the £2M price, the costs will be decently staggering. You see, this is no longer about intelligence dissemination; it will become the field of real time parsing, gathering and analysing. Yes, the sequence is correct! You see, it requires the analyses of gathered information, parsing new data and overlaying the results, all that in real time. So as I stated earlier by relating this to Paris (and the attacks), it is the applied use of General Pierre de Villiers with the added parsed intelligence in real time. For the non-military trained people. It is like watching a Command and Conquer videogame, yet now seeing the entire map and knowing how the opposition is moving next, whilst in reality you are not seeing the map at all. Look at it as a version of blind chess, Hi-Octane style. Now consider that this is happening in real time at this very moment in London, with all the information of CCTV, facial recognition and back tracking the first attack and then back tracking the faces where it happened, seeing where they came from and seeing how the next event would likely happen and how soon. The computational power would be close to unimaginative large. So when you see ““In light of the horrific attacks in London and Manchester, the government has committed to review its counter-terror strategy,” Wallace will say. “Further to this I am announcing today that we are making up to £2m available to fund research into cutting-edge technology and behavioural science projects designed to keep people safe in crowds.”” we need to consider not just doing that, yet as I stated encryption, it will also require the collected data to remain safe, because the first one to have the manpower and the skill to hit not just in extremist ways with weapons, yet to hit their opponent with a cyber-assault to corrupt the initial data, will not merely have the advantage, it could cripple that forecasting system, implying that crowds will suddenly no longer be safe when an actual attack occurred.

So when we consider “Counter-terror agencies are running 500 investigations involving 3,000 individuals at any one time as they confront an unprecedented threat“, we aren’t being told the entire story. You see, it is not just that, in a crowd event, there would be the need to be able to scan 50,000 people and be able to flag as many and as fast as possible those who are not a threat. To teach a system where to look is one way, where not to look and what to overlook is equally a required skill. To do this in real time, requires loads of data and might not be entirely feasible until quantum computing is a realistic option. When someone tells you that 50,000 people can be easily scanned, we could concur, yet when every person needs to be checked against 200 sources? Consider the lone wolf (or wannabe extremist). Having an initial harmless person in the crowd is one thing, having one that came all the way from Grantham, whilst there is no data that this person has ever attended such an event becomes an issue, now correlate that against the event (like a concert, a humanitarian event or a political rally), how often has this person attended? It might be the first time, which does not make that person a worry, merely a flag that it is out of character. So how many people would have a similar flag setting? Now you get to see the need of exiting gathered data, which gives a rise to knowing those who are merely vested interest people, and optional worries. When you consider that it could require 100 additional flags that give rise to danger, you will now see the need for the computing power required. So how has Israel been successful? Well, they have observers, people who see people walk by, their stance, and their actions, how they look around, levels of nervousness, the way they walk, the luggage they have. The human brain is the most powerful computer there is, the eyes are camera’s that can see more detailed in 3D than nearly any given camera on the market and those persons can read the people walking by. I believe that there is a future where devices can do similar things because they can look different (read: infra-red), not better.

I think that the approach by Ben Wallace, the security minister, is brilliant. He is opening the doors towards out of the box thinking and perhaps set a new stage of technology. There will always be people outside the government who are more brilliant that those within, he is merely inviting them to cast the stone of innovation, I reckon that in light of the technology changes we will see in the next 2 years, the timing is great, time will tell us whether the solutions were real ones too. At least the ball has started to roll and in light of the cut backs by France, the United Kingdom could have a technological advantage that might be a long term solution all others want, which is great too for several reasons of economic growth, which keeps the commercial solution providers interested.

 

 

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Awaiting next week

Whatever happens, will happen. You see, the E3 is on next week and in this it will be the week of gamers. We will see presentations from the big makers and they will either wow or BS us. The interesting part is that this is the one week in the year where we either do not care or we cannot tell the difference. You could tell a little better if you are actually there, but that is not for all to do, unless you live in California that is.

The big players will give us on Saturday the 10th the EA press conference, the day after it will be for Microsoft and Bethesda to ‘wow’ its public. Monday will be Ubisoft and Sony, followed that day after by Nintendo and several small presentations with two unannounced AAA games. There is a chance that the new GTA expansion Gunrunners will take one of them. Tuesday till Thursday, from 19:30 (LA time), we will get the Giant Bomb Live (whatever that is). During those days we will get additional presentations some like Shadow of War (Shadow of Mordor 2) is set, and we will see demonstrations of games (titles not given, other than the platform they are on) and the rest is about seeing the stands and watching what wealthy gamers can enjoy in person. It is the chaos all gamers desire. There are already games in place, games by marketeers. You see Ubisoft is in a difficult position. When we see: ‘New Assassin’s Creed: Origins Leak Shows Main Character, Pyramid, And Bonus Content‘ we see a title that implies that either the issue of Ubisoft not knowing how to deal with security, which is a problem. Or, what is more likely is that its marketing department is dipping its toes in the water trying to see the feedback. The second is more likely as this is pretty much the last chance Ubisoft has to recapture the audience it lost from this franchise and that is a large audience. The fact that it is safer nowadays to just wait 8 weeks and buy the limited editions with 50% discount gives you the idea of their loss. In the old days those boxes would be sold out even before the first day of release was even close to happening, Ubisoft lost that much. The EA presentation is a hard one. When we consider what is confirmed, than they do have an issue, however, they might have surprises for us, which most tend to have. For EA it is a hard one, because they are kicking off E3 2017. Bethesda did such an amazing overwhelming job last year that EA is in a tough position, I am not writing them off, but until we see a gossip part of something truly amazing, EA might not rock-da-house so to speak. Bethesda comes the next day with several titles that will capture the minds of gamers. Several of them are all about shooting; at least one will be about shooting, stabbing and killing Nazi’s, so Blazkowitz is expected to be nearby. The Evil within 2 is announced through rumour, which is a nice surprise. After giving us a different kind of nightmare a few years ago, we will get to see what will make us fear what is under the bed this year. In addition Elder Scrolls online players will get to see more, so there is that to look forward to. The latest rumour is that there is a small chance that we will get a first glimpse of the new Elder Scrolls game, and a smaller chance that a tease for the next Fallout will hit our eyes in roughly 3 days 4 hours and a few minutes. We got a fistful of teaser last year with the upcoming god of War last year from Sony. The title is still not out, so we should expect to see more of that game, hopefully updated with an actual date of release. For the PS4pro fans, we should be hopeful to see David Braben show off the PS4 edition of Elite Dangerous, as this version is out on June 27th, which is less than 2 weeks after the E3. This E3 will be a lot more about DLC’s, so the Blizzard fans will get to see loads of upcoming stuff. The list of people awaiting the Diablo 3 addition is larger than the LA White pages, so this is something we hope to see the official release date on. Another reason to seek YouTube on the E3 events is to see the floors. When you realise that the booths of Ubisoft, Bethesda, Microsoft and Activision are the size of a department store, you know you will get to see unique things that the non-visitors will envy you for; especially, when you start forwarding the ‘selfies’ with a larger than life Butcher (Evil within, 2013). This is just one of several halls described, so when I say that the E3 is the gamers place to be, I am understating the need to be there by a fair amount. It gets even wilder when you realise that in another hall, the Sony stand is larger than the Bethesda and Microsoft combined, so we will very likely get to see a few more things regarding all things PS4pro.

In the end, do not just take my word, find the E3 events and watch the presentations. Those will show you for one what you missed out on and it will also be a first step in creating your upcoming Christmas wish list. So far the last three years have shown me what was coming and how much I was unaware of the games I really wanted. One presentation is unknown to be there, but the Subnautica early release on Xbox One was overwhelming. Not just as a game, but as the game grew and as we got more and more, the game will become an absolute must on the PS4, which is expected to be released in September 2017. Oh, and the E3 is not just software, hardware players like NVidia will also be present, so any new hardware development for PC graphics will be visible too.

So as we are awaiting the arrival of next week, for those who are a little over the bulk promises from political parties, the escalations in France and Germany’s move from Turkey, there is the option to just get into gaming and see where that leaves your sanity. In addition, as you get deeper into Call of Duty, you might find yourself more and more imagining these Nazi’s to be ISIS fighters; there is no war like the present I say. So as I leave Activision with the idea of a free DLC, so that we can practice. I also leave you with the comment of Josh Hutcherson in Red Dawn, where he states: “Dude, we are living Call of Duty and it sucks!

That is to make you aware of the difference between gaming in a lazy chair and an actual theatre of war. Because as we seek a little escapism from reality, which is good for the soul at times. We should not forget that the deadly reality is on several doorsteps; in addition, the implied changes I suggested yesterday were partially implemented by France less than 24 hours later. What were the chances of me predicting that? I offer the thought that this was not a game and the changes required in Europe seem to be adopted in France, which is good as they lack a level of security that the UK has due to the fact that it is an island. In addition, the BBC (at http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-40195212) gives us more on Youssef Zaghba and more important, the fact that Italy placed Youssef on the SIS2 list, which now beckons the call on how Youssef actually entered the UK. If it was though the Netherlands (Ferry) or the smaller airfields like Rotterdam or Eindhoven, the question becomes how diligent are these checks? There are a few unknowns, but it seems that within Schengen, certain unchecked issues are now an actual security concern. So as we see certain implied accusations, we need to wonder whether Youssef was on SIS2, and if so when was he added?

These are all issues awaiting us for next week, one is all about recreation, one is about anything but recreations and the rest falls in the middle. We can argue, or have a conversation how the terror curve is an inverted recreation curve, yet in all this; the one element that I raised yesterday is now coming to the forefront. I mentioned that we need to think in new ways, we need a new approach to tackle intelligence solutions. The one part they all ignore, or philosophise around it, is that the better game designers have been developing at the edge of hardware possibilities and software creativity for years, a few literally for decades. It is not the worst idea for some of the larger players in the field of security find a way to have a serious conversation with some developers in regards to how creative solutions in data parsing could be found. Some of the larger developers have been doing just that for a decade or more.

As I stated, and I stand by that ‘we need to stop looking in the same direction and regard any box to be obsolete, we need to start being creative to the application of data and technology‘, it is that approach that got me to solve the NHS IT issue. The foundation took a mere hour to ‘solve’.

To those doubting me (always a valid option), I now have a few dozen I told you so articles where what I stated and those following learned came with a difference of weeks, not hours. So I reckon I have made my point a few times. When it comes to the upcoming elections, my larger fear is that Corbyn succeeds by swaying the people to dive the UK in a deeper debt, one that it cannot overcome for decades, it leaves the UK too vulnerable. So consider your choice, and also consider the bleeding hearts of Amnesty International. As they proclaim on loss of rights in Paris, they seem to leave the people in the dark on the dangers that France has faced a few times and how these dangers for now persist. There is a time and a place for everything, and for the most I have never opposed peaceful protests, yet these tend to escalate fast, and it only takes a few people to escalate it beyond proportions. In a time when a man attacking people with a hammer near Notre Dame is just another moment of extremism, is the question, should we protest now, at a time when groups get targeted by extremists? There is nothing stopping them to do this online, via Facebook or Twitter. As stated, it is not about the protest it is about the timing in the light of events as they are happening in Europe. Perhaps my thoughts are wrong on this, and you are welcome to oppose that. Yet with the amount of attacks, with the dangers as the flood of extremists is not known, do you want to be the person starting a peaceful protest, only to guide those who agree to a dangerous life threatening situation?

I do not proclaim to be wise enough to have the answer here; I am merely going on common sense here. So as we get towards and through next week. Perhaps at that point will the information be shown that I was right or wrong? I am happy to be wrong, I am less happy that me, myself and I setting the wrong stage costing the lives of others. That is fair too, is it not?

So as we see the throne of games evolve over the next week on the stages of politics, policies and PlayStation, we need to try and identify, what is marketing and what is BS marketing. The difference will impact the lives of many. It is easy to shrug it off when it is a $100 video game; it is less entertaining when it causes 15 years of austerity. I’ll let you decide on how fair that is, when in doubt, see austerity in action by watching the news on Greece!

 

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In light of the evidence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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The disagreement on solutions

There is an issue that came to the forefront yesterday, as we read about ‘Jeremy Corbyn: the war on terror is simply not working‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/may/26/jeremy-corbyn-the-war-on-terror-is-simply-not-working). Now, I have gone against JC more than once. Yet in this case, this simple statement is a correct one. The statement “UK needs ‘smarter way’ to reduce terror threat” is the one that is correct, yet it entirely depends on the point of view you take on how complete it is. When we look at the quote “The Labour leader said there must be more money for law enforcement, as he suggested Britain’s intervention in wars abroad had fuelled the risk of terrorism at home” we need to be a little more cautious. All parties agree that there is a lack of police, nurses and doctors. Yet in equal measure none of them has an actual point or policy option to rectify this without plunging the UK into deep extra debt. In this the problem is that the extra police officers will not get the job done either. You see, we need to be willing to change that war entirely. The response towards the accusations against Jeremy Corbyn was well stated. As JC states: “terrorists were entirely to blame for their own actions but that governments must also examine the effectiveness of their policy decisions“, he does not have it wrong, yet the issue as I see it will not be resolved any day soon.

My reasoning is a tactical one, I stated certain issues in 2006, 2009 and again when Islamic State started its funnel of activities. To deal with these people you do not require an entire police force, you need a few small groups that has all the access and their requirement is simple. Hunt down the two layers for the Lone Wolves and execute them, yes, not some lame idea of trying to make an arrest and get a conviction. This situation requires targeted killing, yet politicians, the soft belly almighty proclaiming, stating and blaming group does not want to get caught in the shallows of targeted killing, their stomachs just lack the required strength to do this. Two days after Manchester I was proven correctly again. Not for the simplicity of the solution, but the fact that there was an early indicator that this Salman Abedi had support, which took me less than 30 minutes to figure out. I am not in agreement (at present) with the Manchester Evening News that this was planned for a year. The indications of Salman Abedi are of such that he might have been travelling (allegedly), that he might have been intent of the act. Yet when you consider the optional amount of issues to consider implies that he had either advisors, or someone prepped the event for him. Consider the information available for yourself. Imagine ANY event in your city, or any concert you could have attended. Getting past security, with a ticket, with pushing fans around you, with CCTV and other elements. Many would not have attempted it at all (thank heavens), but the chance of such a streak all falling correctly into place (like metal scanners and gates larger concerts tend to have, with the fact of hiding the device on you. That is not something that anyone but a calculated stone cold killer can achieve and most stone cold killers want to get out alive. There are enough flags and considerations raised that there is an active preparation or support team. Yet how to catch those? Because as we might consider the Lone Wolf to be a tool for ISIS, tools can’t get all the elements done and there is an equal risk that such a person has second thoughts. Consider that he was a University drop out? Getting into University is still a big thing, it gives you the clear feeling that you have a future to look forward to. So, when we consider the future he was going to such a person would not have been the extremist of the bat, yet not making it, seeing your dreams shattered, the depression that follows could easily make him the mental punching bag for ISIS, they need tools to send out self destructive messages that go boom. It does not make Salman Abedi innocent, it merely changes the game on how we deal with ISIS. Now, lets also remember that there are unknown issues, especially as the media has been all about any hear say, so a lot of information is decently unreliable. The timeframe when he dropped out and when he decided to go this extreme way. Now consider one source, a source that is reliable. The Guardian in a separate article states: “In an interview, Abedi’s father said he did not believe that his son could have carried out the attack and said he had told him he was going to Mecca“, that would make perfect sense. As a Muslim he would go to Mecca, each Muslim is supposed to do that at least once in his life. Now as I personally see it, it would make perfect sense that he would seek inspiration after dropping out of University. Any person going through that would seek answers. Perhaps he thought that this was his solution, to travel to Mecca. Now that does not make him innocent, but that opens up an entirely different door. You see, when people are on a similar path, they talk. He could have told the wrong person about his ‘failure’. When you know that places like the Vatican, Lourdes, Mecca and Lumbini. When a religious person is in distress, does it not make sense to consider a pilgrimage? The amount of people who take a road trip for whatever reason cannot be counted, there are so many of them. Not all go on a pilgrimage mind you, but Salman Abedi might have.
Is my speculation that ISIS has people preying on tools on such roads so far fetched? In addition, when you consider the actual facts, not those speculations from places like Sky News, where we see: “Counter-terrorism sources tell Sky News there was a “significant” connection between Salman Abedi and IS recruiter Raphael Hostey” as well as “Hostey is thought to have been killed by a drone strike in Syria last year at the age of 24“, so within 4 days, there is suddenly a link? When we see “a huge cache of documents obtained by Sky News – shows how a baby-faced IS fighter called Raphael Hostey, from Moss Side in the south of the city, sponsored hundreds of terror recruits“, obtained how? The fact that both seem to have been from Manchester is what we call really thin evidence. I cannot state whether the link was real, yet the fact that Hostey was killed a year ago makes all the issues thinner and a little too circumstantial. In addition, with the claim of hundreds of recruits sponsored makes it all a little too shallow. I feel 100% certain that the Intelligence Branch would have acted long before that, hundreds tends to get out there. Even shallow connection tend to gain reliability and that stuff tends to not end up in the hands of a pace like Sky News. The Guardian gives us “There are several reports that Hostey, 24, was a friend of Abedi’s“, you see that I can believe and that makes to some degree sense. Muslims tend to stick together and as both attended university (not the same one) they would at some point meet at some University social event. The second part the Guardian gives is “The key element in any radicalisation is usually exposure to extremist activities and ideas through peers“, that too makes perfect sense. Now we have two elements, the acceptable chance that Raphael Hostey was a recruiter, yet to get shifted to extremism would require a person Salman Abedi could look up to, an imam of sorts. We now have a decent acceptable scenario that there was a turning and training stage in place, it also gives additional reliability that there would be an explosives team ‘in place’ one small group, possibly even just one person preparing the bombs for those lone wolves. We now have a situation that gives credibility to my solution. These people work in shadows, behind screens. That cannot be done by a police force. there are too many elements that allow them to slip through the nets. This is not a statement of negativity towards any Metropolitan Police organisation. The people they are up against are predators, they must be hunted by the proper hunters and even if there is a credible chance of an arrest, the premise must be not to arrest them and put those extremists in the limelight for more to become ‘martyrs of insanity’, we hunt them down and make them disappear, as the counteroffensive is to remove those people, those supporting them will fear arrest or worse more and more, degrading and disrupting their activities. To make any insistence of resolving lone wolves is just insane, because these outliers in activities will always exist, but by removing their support engine and taking away the extremist support for such a lone wolf to go forward, would push that person to truly act alone and the chance for that person to succeed will now instantly be reduced by 60%-80%. I like those odds a lot better.
Beyond that, Jeremy Corbyn had one valid point, yet what he will never do is what needs to be done, actively set up the need to hunt those extremist supporters down, he will believe, that what he would call a ‘sane and humane solution‘ into action, one that costs a lot and will not work. A lesson Theresa May already knows and soon after the elections would need to act on, that makes all the difference between a viable and non-viable choice for Prime Minister. Should you doubt me (which remains forever valid), then take a look at photos of the Sbarro bombing of August 9th 2001 in Jerusalem, the Charlie Hedbo attack January 7th 2015 in Paris and the bombing in Baghdad December 31st 2016. Take a good look at the people who survived and those who did not. Most will not because they do not want to consider such images (which is fair enough), these extremists think of nothing else, that is what makes the difference, that is why other solutions are called for. Jeremy Corbyn might be correct with the statement “We need a smarter way to reduce the threat from countries that nurture terrorists and generate terrorism“, the truth is that the actual solution is one that he will not ever enact, because it would not be humane or socialistic. I wonder how much humanity these people showed the 130 murders in Paris on the 15th of November 2015. In addition, the responsible planner of the Paris attack Fabien Clain has been active for years and such people will continue doing this until their dying day. So why would you want to endanger innocent people by allowing him to grow old?

It is one of several solutions, the question becomes, when you cannot live with one solution that works, do you have any valid case to blame or point at anyone at all? Not all solutions are once we find acceptable, some are merely the ones remaining to stop the body count from continuing.

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For Only the Messenger

A few things were showed yesterday from several sources. We can see that there is a new peacock session going on, the parade is in Hangzhou. There the representatives of Wall Street and Dow Jones are making themselves heard regarding the world needs by talking about something else. So, as we see Japan (at http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/sep/04/britain-japanese-brexit-letter-eu) making mention of certain expectations, we wonder who is asking them how their failed objectives by trying Stimulus package after stimulus package whilst not showing any return on that investment. A nation one third of the US having a debt that surpasses 10 trillion dollar. So when I read “a deal that leaves Britain not just in the EU customs union, and single market, but also retains a free flow of workers between the EU and the UK“, it is my personal belief that the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is not working with all thrusters. The idea of self-governing is that the British people decide on a course via their politicians. Not listen to some spokesperson who has (pardon my French) been kissing the arse of the USA (mostly large corporations) for the longest of times. When they were all up in arms about the TPP, see what slice of cake they could get. Now that the TPP is near certainly of the books, Japan has a problem, because these so called Japanese reforms were largely dependent on the TPP opening non-taxable options. Politico stated: “Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be challenged to find some other way to make much-needed economic reforms to stimulate growth if Congress fails to approve the TPP pact and the initiative dies on the vine, a former U.S. trade official said Thursday” (at http://www.politico.com/tipsheets/morning-trade/2016/08/tpp-failure-could-derail-abe-reforms-in-japan-216092), just a week ago, meaning that the G20 is likely to get a side meeting or two between senior US politicians and the Japanese Prime Minister.

So isn’t it interesting how these people are now finally ‘uniting’? The quote “The fear for Downing Street is that other non-EU countries – under internal pressure from their business communities – will now follow the Japanese example and publicly set out the parameters of an acceptable deal from the point of view of their UK-based companies“. This all relates to an equal worry that the UK is seeing within its own borders. It is partially shown in the article ‘Theresa May refuses to commit to Brexit pledges on immigration and NHS’ (at http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/sep/04/theresa-may-refuses-to-guarantee-brexit-pledges-on-immigration-and-nhs) that is apart from the quotes like “Tokyo said Japanese firms could move to other parts of Europe unless many of the current privileges of membership were maintained“, which is a simple indication that Tokyo is licking the heel of Washington DC. I can give that speculation with a certain amount of certainty as they had absolutely no issues pulling out of Australia with Toyota and Mitsubishi. That is after they maximised the troth of subsidies and ate the lot. In my view, Japan does not get to have a word in this. So if they want to leave, let them. Consider that they are willing to gamble on 68 million potential consumers to switch to German brands, not a good move Japan! Yet, this was not the issue initially. You see the quote that Teresa May gives: “the best possible deal for the UK in terms of the relationship that we would have with the EU, following us leaving“, there are unknowns, that has always been the case, yet in light of Japan’s actions, the question becomes, what other actions is lame duck Obama playing with? You see, we are all getting played. part of it is shown in Reuters (at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-eu-finance-idUSKCN10D2OM) the quote “Deepening ties with European companies and “old friends” like the United States and Japan would help Britain preserve its global role in finance after leaving the EU, an industry body said on Wednesday” is only partially a given. You see, the industry bodies do not want their cushy bonuses to fall away. So as they are striking out with the government directly, they are now pushing for the battle stages to be placed with the ‘larger’ economies. The only issue is that Japan has run out of options and the US cannot get the TPP of the ground, meaning that the current lame quack quack is out of options to look good. You see, my reasoning is as follows. When we see the following quotes given to Reuters “they like to do business through London due to the depth of the talent pool and capital markets here“, second quote is “Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Paris and Milan all hope to win a slice of London’s market share in financial services” and third there is “Britain must make more of how much companies across Europe rely on Britain’s financial services and allied professions like accounting and law to do business“, now we get the what we for now will call the Shinzo Abe list. “Maintenance of the access to workers who are nationals of the UK or the EU“, “Maintenance of the freedom of establishment and the provision of financial services, including the “single passport” system” and “the provision of services as well as the free movement of capital, including that between associated companies“. How is this any list that has validity? We are not here to empower Sony, Apple or Microsoft for that matter. You Honourable Shinzo Abe do not get to make the dictation of a list after your companies moved out of Australia because the profit margin was not up to scrap, even after we learned that every Toyota came with a $1800 bonus per car and including those who got shipped to China, so how does the Honourable Shinzo Abe thinks that he is seen anything else then the voice of corporations who have massively been filling their pockets with margins that are too obscene for words. In addition, when we combine the lists we see a play that is all about giving large corporations a free ‘go’, which is how we got into this mess in the first place. The more voices we see on a compromise of the acts without the title makes me wonder who is in charge in the United Kingdom. We know Wall Street controls the USA, but I still believe that the monarchy that is the United Kingdom needs to hold fast and continue on the path that makes them rulers again, not vassals to the corporations.

By the way, when will we ever allow a corporation to dictate what passport comes into play?

So as we (for now) see the Honourable Shinzo Abe as a mere messenger, we have to worry why he took these steps to begin with. This reeks more towards setting the US corporate needs than anything else. Now it could be that even within Japan tough questions would be asked, if political pressures had not been used to get rid of Ichiro Furutachi, Hiroko Kuniya and Shigetada Kishii. Of these I only know Shigetada Kishii to the smallest extent. People in the workplace asking the hard questions, not the useless questions you would get from Lisa Wilkinson (Australia) or Ben Shephard (UK), but the likes of Andrew Jennings (BBC News). So that is a loss!

In all this I see that in more and more nations it is the corporations that decide on news, because those breakfast news shows are all dependant on advertisers, whomever controls them, controls the press to a decent amount. So as we see the messengers on several fronts we see that all of them are now giving way to large corporations and their ‘needs’ whilst the players as a whole are not held accountable for any of this and together they seem to be keeping the non-taxability of corporations a certainty. If you doubt that then wonder why Ireland is now suddenly supporting the appeal from Apple. So not only do they all want a united Europe, but its court rulings are not all that valid. I wonder what will happen if it is ever overthrown. How angry will the people get?

Will the announcer claim protection with the phrase ‘I am only the messenger?‘ Time will tell, but it is clear that Brexit was always going to take a while and for those corporations? They knew the risk was there for well over a year, now they cry wolf? Actually, they are making the Honourable Shinzo Abe cry wolf (which might be worse).

It only shows that they never prepared for this. So why give considerations to people who cannot prepare for these events? Oh and the threat from Japan to take the car makers out of UK? Well, you could do that, but when the Commonwealth population as a whole decide to not to buy a Japanese car, you will make the Korean and Chinese Car industry very happy. Japan? Did the history books not tell me that they became Eastern China in 2018? Perhaps the Yen completely collapsed, as did their economy!

I’ll let you decide on how the industrials are now trying to play the UK!

A friend that threatens our freedom of choice is not a friend. Did they not learn that lesson the hard way on August 6th 1945? I know it’s only been 25,964 days ago, but still!

 

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