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Changing the headline

It started (for me) around 6 hours ago when Emma Boyle at Techradar gave us ‘Ubisoft is aiming to create more unique games with an editorial shake up‘, which sounds nice, yet the initial problem for Ubisoft will be to make proper games, an initial essential requirement. As I see it, Ubioft lost their edge and now they are using PR and marketing to make it into ‘Ubisoft is aiming to create more unique games with an editorial shake up‘ (at https://www.techradar.com/au/news/ubisoft-is-aiming-to-create-more-unique-games-with-an-editorial-shake-up), proper games are made not merely by innovative designers and thinkers, but it requires a team of methological thinkers to properly test the game, they need a few wild cards to make sure that ‘stupid choices’ are optionally caught. We are now all about the results of The Division 2 and Ghost Recon Breakpoint, yet the fuming disasters of Assassins Creed Unity are still not forgotten. All whilst Far Cry 4 was more of the same (not a flaw and not the worst idea), yet the short sighted impact of Ubisoft needs to be seen where the bungle of a title is best prevented, at the very top (Yves Guillemot). I have had my issues with Yves Guillemot, yet he does have a proper business instinct and that is something that Ubisoft needs as well. The eyes are now all on Watchdogs: Legion which is approaching release and the idea, concept and work on it is pretty amazing. It takes Watchdogs in another dimension, one that we have not seen before (as far as I know) and it could make way for an entirely new Cyberpunk line. Yet the story is merely one part, it is the release and the initial feel that matters and to be honest, with previous blunders, I would feel more relaxed if they delay it to fix things BEFOREHAND, than give us some lame excuse afterwards, because that is marketing for you, get the money first. 

Consider the fact that I was able to initially ‘design’ a new Watch Dogs 3 (playing in Okinawa) in less than 8 hours, setting the initial stage for close to 50-100 hours of gameplay and with the setting of optionally 4 storylines, all set in hypermodern (slightly futuristic) Japan. Each of the storylines was different and a separate play through of the city with other approach options. Taking lessons from past successes and failures to give the people a new experience. And I got there by ignoring the storyline and setting a free roam stage where you could fall into choices. 

Yet Polygon gives on the 17th (at https://www.polygon.com/2020/1/17/21071083/ubisoft-editorial-team-changes-paris-serge-hascoet-yves-guillemot) ‘With all its games looking the same, Ubisoft shakes up its editorial team‘, there we see the words of CEO Yves Guillemot “blamed on a lack of differentiation in consumers’ minds“, it is actually simpler than that, when you try to build game that pleases all, you end up with a product that pleases none, as I see it, it is really that simple. And as I personally see it, the quote: “Ubisoft chief creative officer Serge Hascoet will remain in charge of Ubisoft’s editorial group, but that he will be given more subordinates and they will be given more autonomy, so that he is able lead from a broader perspective rather than directing individual projects himself” sounds nice, but will it work out that way? It is merely internal marketing of another kind (I am not laying blame on Serge Hascoet). Ubisoft is in a difficult place and this preemptive setting is merely good for the stage if Watch Dogs: Legion misses out too much, if this goes sideways (which I will not initially expect), the value of Ubisoft will diminish 30%-60%, which would scare the shareholders to no degree.

That this is all marketing (to some point) is seen with: “Guillemot said Breakpoint had “been strongly rejected by a significant portion of the community” and that it “did not come in with enough differentiation factors, which prevented the game’s intrinsic qualities from standing out.”“, how about the fact that it was littered with bugs? There is a reason why people are happy to wait 12-20 weeks and pick up the game for 75% less, bugs are a main reason. The lack of quality has driven the massive day one release buy to a soft interesting week 5 or later buy. You can only remain with a setting of special editions with optional additions when you do something about the quality, and that had remained absent. As such I hope that the Watch Dogs: Legion delay is also so that it can be properly tested. I also oppose to some degree the statement “the company needed to leave more time between the launches of its live service games so that they aren’t cannibalizing one another’s interest and audience“, yet too many games at the same time is an issue, but it is not merely about Ubisoft, the game designers ALL want to capture the audience, even as they all know that the consumer in this day and age can only afford one new game, the stage is still set to getting them all. So as we then get into comparing Breakpoint against Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, we saw how Activision kicked the hell and nearly all life out of Breakpoint, that danger would have been a lot less if it had been properly tested. Activision also took a stand, as we take notice of “Modern Warfare’s single-player campaign focuses on realism and feature tactically-based moral choices whereupon the player is evaluated and assigned a score at the end of each level” (source: GamesRadar). Making of forcing a choice is not debilitating, bad testing is, that simple truth hit Breakpoint at least twice over, and as such if became the failure it is (as I personally see it). In all this, the power of better testing will enable ALL games from Ubisoft and making sure that the release date is not what marketing it makes out to be, but when development states that it is ready is a second part in all this. They forget that in the end it is the gamer who wants it and as CD Projekt Red has proven twice over, it comes when it is ready, and as I see it their 93% rating proves them right, which opposes 57% from Breakpoint and it sets a different precedent, it makes the gamers wonder if Ubisoft is still a AAA developer, a question they never really asked before, as I see it Watch Dogs: Legion will push that question to a larger degree in a much larger population making the 60% loss more and more direct, in this I am trying to remain an optimist, the losses could be larger.

The clear message becomes, that Ubisoft better get it right with Watchdogs, if that fails several franchises could be up for grabs for very little, because that is also the curse of shareholders, they will sell, as long as they break even in the deal and for now, that is not the case.

I for one would be a little sad, Ubisoft is a French company, to see a non American (or Japanese) company be this successful was an interesting side, it opened others to the idea that good games did not need come from either two countries (CD Projekt Red also proved that) in all, France has too much on the anvil and they could win and remain or lose a lot, it is not a great place to be, but the two elements I gave out could limit losses to some degree and there is no fault or damage to shift a release date, that is just junk others thrown into the mix. 

And it is not over for Ubisoft, as we see how top title after top title is making an impact on Nintendo Switch, there is a lot from Ubisoft that does have a massive following and they could again. Consider FarCry III on Switch, and even as some are already on Switch, they were not the greatest Assassins Creed games (I still do not regard Assassins Creed IV an AC game). More important, as we see Witcher III on Nintendo, where is AC Origins? It was a masterpiece, could that not be transferred? It is easy to look at transfers, but it is also the cheapest way to repair a software house (and it optionally gives low cost and high yield revenue). In addition the setting where a games might take up to 100 hours, yet the main story take no more than 20 hours, making it an unbalanced equation. Set that against a speed run on Witcher 3, which is not my favourite game mode by the way, taking a player no less than 25 hours. As such we should take notice that there is an optional shortfal in some Ubisoft games (not in AC Origins, or AC Odyssey though), as such there is a lot more that Ubisoft can do, especially in Watch Dogs: Legion and as I personally see it, they better do that BEFORE the game is released, not as some lame DLC excuse (free or not). All this is coming to roost at Ubisoft even before that new Microsoft contraption and the Sony PS5 are released. It shows just how much Ubisoft needs to get fixed and not in a marketing way. They actually remained in the game longer than I anticipated, but as far as I (and others) can tell, they are running out of options, so whether we see an obituary of Ubisoft in the coming year, or a revitalisation is up to the big chair, the quality of games is not something they can short change the gamer on again, they have done that too often (as I personally see it) and the entire “but we fixed it” will not hold water, not this time, there are too many competitors at present.

Their first-person shooter is up against Activision (80%), their RPGs are up against Guerrilla Games  (90%) and CD Projekt Red (92%), and several other games are up against Santa Monica Studio (94%). It goes on and Ubisoft needs to see that they are not alone and that others are winning the gamer share that Ubisoft once had, it is the direct result of sub-standard delivery on quality all that whilst we see that there is no other group that is so into gossip like gamers, mistakes like this become the setting of failure within hours of day one sales and there is a larger group no longer running out on day one, they are largely becoming week 2 buyers (at best)  when it comes to Ubisoft games, as I personally see it, when a gamer gets to spend their cash once on a new game twice a year, that new game better be really good. 

That is the setting that Ubisoft faces and marketing will not save them this time. As to what the new headline should be, I leave that up to the reviewers who took over from me, I looked at games for 13 years, I gave a view of games to two generations and even as I still love games, it had become time (in 2000) for others to take over, yet I never stopped looking at games with a critical eye (yet enjoying them became my number one priority). No matter what story you see published, Guillemot must be realising that his time is over, I will admit that even as For Honor was never my cup of tea, it was unique and amazing as a title, even as it was a multiplayer title, Ubisoft outdid themselves that time around. I recognise that there are plenty of games that are not my cuppa tea, yet that does not stop me from admiring excellence, for Honor delivered, and they are not alone. 

As I stated, changing the headline would give us the real issue and I think the headline should be ‘If we had only given more time to testing out product‘, it might end up being a lousy obituary, but the truth tends to be that, lousy and hard hitting. In the end, we will need to wait until later (after Q2) 2020 to see where Ubisoft is going and what the optional gamer will buy from that point onwards. Yet this is all happening whilst some of the others are solely focussed on getting their one games out. So no matter how we personally see it, Ubisoft is in a vice and they basically put themselves there, considering that AC Origins was a 2017 release. When you get articles on ‘Here are the best (worst) <insert title> bugs‘, you have an actual problem and with 2 years of bugged titles, something should have been done a long time ago, especially as I personally see it that this issue has been around since 2012 to an increasing degree (I will abstain from the ‘to a larger degree’) expression. I understand that NO GAME is absent of bugs, Ubisoft merely has too many of them and for the most they are all over the web and YouTube, so it is not merely my view, as per illustration have a look at the funny parts (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykcA3yKPolY), it is merely the tip of the iceberg and we all know what happened to the Titanic when they wanted their drinks on the rocks.

 

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The Prince Andrew debacle

It is seen as it is, yet what is to be seen? There were failures all over the board, yet where are they to be found? It is that part that takes the light out as well, even as we do not realise it. To see that we need to take the camera back, we need to do this, because we can see now, we can hear now, but years ago it was different, it was different as the media you see this goes back to 2005, way before 2005. Even then we see: “He served almost 13 months in custody, but with extensive work release” (source: 2009 quote), even then the media and a lot of people were connected to Jeffrey Epstein; a lot of voices were drowning out what was really happening. I was confronted with it in January 2015 ‘As we judge morality‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/01/07/as-we-judge-morality/), I added a copy of the affidavit, the Palm Beach records at that point. Because of the Daily Mail headlines I added: “When someone is on a case for this long, is this distinguished (80 commendations), you might want to consider being an actual journalist and look into the matter, especially when it is about a member of the Royal family” They also relied on “Prince Andrew’s billionaire paedophile friend given permission to land private jet at RAF base for visit Sandringham” which was an event that happened in 2000, yet in 2000 there was very little on the events in Jeffrey Epstein’s life, the media was (optionally knowingly) unaware of what Jeffrey Epstein was up to, the events did not come to blows until March 2005. We get from sources: “In March 2005, a woman contacted Florida’s Palm Beach Police Department and alleged that her 14-year-old stepdaughter had been taken to Epstein’s mansion by an older girl. There she was allegedly paid $300 (equivalent to $380 in 2018) to strip and massage Epstein.” After that filing it wold take the Police 13 months to get anywhere, that included a search of his home. It would take a long time before the police had anything at all, In 2006 the Smoking Gun had ‘Billionaire In Palm Beach Sex Scandal‘, yet the American Hypocrite media had very little to say, it was bad business to advocate issues, we have seen that, in all this we see Prince Andrew is getting slapped around, yet his media centre, the one that should have been protective of him, where were they? I am not telling, I am asking!

There are very little records available to me. The New York Times gave us (in 2019) ‘How a Ring of Women Allegedly Recruited Girls for Jeffrey Epstein‘, yet what was out in the open in 2005? Well we see the involvement of Haley Robson, the 2006 smoking gun gives us the Police Case which states (as in image) and is basically part of the affidavit that I added later on. “Several of the victims were recruited by and brought to the residence by Haley Robson to perform massages for Epstein” and apart from the New York Post, there is very little we are aware of when the clock moves to August 2006, Even then we see “But a bitter rift between Palm Beach cops and prosecutors over how to handle the case has put Epstein at risk of more serious charges. The FBI is weighing whether to investigate his alleged contacts with underage girls“, I know that this is a media Bonanza, but as we read ‘The FBI is weighing whether to investigate his alleged contacts with underage girls‘ we read levels of non-determination, or even levels of doubt on a paedophile and this is American ‘justice’ the issues is not even European at this point, even as the affidavit gave way to a larger issue going back to September 2004, and the fact that Robson was included for two years in all this was seemingly not taken into account by the glamour news articles, the papers made very little sense either. The Miami Herald (at https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/article221404845.html) gives “2005 March: A 14-year-old girl and her parents report that Jeffrey Epstein molested her at a mansion in Palm Beach“, yet the affidavit goes back to September 2004 in the mention and this article is from November 2018, so why is the OFFICIAL AFFIDAVIT ignored?

In October 2006 we get (from the Miami Herald in this case: “With the non-prosecution agreement still being debated, Acosta meets with Epstein lawyer Jay Lefkowitz at the West Palm Beach Marriott on Okeechobee Boulevard to discuss finalizing a deal. Among the terms agreed upon: that the victims would not be notified, that the deal would be kept under seal and all grand jury subpoenas would be cancelled“, so that was the stage 12 years ago, There was a legal deal, one that gives him in the end a 13 month in this Alexander Acosta who would later end up being United States Secretary of Labor after he was Dean of the Florida International University College of Law and before that he was United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida (when he gave the deal), that is the level of protection that Jeffrey Epstein enjoyed, the Miami Herald gives us at that point: “the non-prosecution agreement “essentially shut down an ongoing FBI probe into whether there were more victims and other powerful people who took part in Epstein’s sex crimes”. At the time, this halted the investigation and sealed the indictment. The Miami Herald said: “Acosta agreed, despite a federal law to the contrary, that the deal would be kept from the victims“, so before people go after HRH Prince Andrew, we need to see the real protection that was out there, and the media had a role to play as well, there were no investigative journalists out there in 2005 and 2006 thinking that this might be a larger story that goes all the way to the White House, Epstein was protected, a billionaire optionally flexing his multi-billion dollar wallet. So when we read: “he was sentenced to 18 months in prison. While most convicted sex offenders in Florida are sent to state prison, Epstein was instead housed in a private wing of the Palm Beach County Stockade and, according to the sheriff’s office, was after ​3.5 months allowed to leave the jail on “work release” for up to 12 hours a day, 6 days a week” which was in opposition of “The sheriff’s own policies requiring a maximum remaining sentence of 10 months and making sex offenders ineligible for the privilege. He was allowed to come and go outside of specified release hours” we see an optional different story, he got to (optionally) tell all around him “I am innocent, they flexed the rules, but a real convicted child molestor doesn’t get these options” and the media would not attack those rules, the freedoms given to a billionaire child molester, why not? The person who was at the centre of this deal (Alexander Acosta) would not be persecuted for his part until 2019, and he stepped down as Secretary of Labor in July 2019. We see that Jeffrey Epstein house manager was arrested in 2010 (for obstructing justice) he had a journal giving rise to additional victims, and material witnesses. The events in France did not come out until August 23, 2019 when the prosecutor’s office in Paris, France opened a preliminary investigation into Epstein. He was already dead then.

So in all this mess it is Prince Andrew who gets to be the next victim, the victim of media that is, after all the debatable amount of exposure (none to say the least) the media now sees stuff for circulation, that is the actual crime isn’t it? Papers need to circulate and finding a famous man with a dead girl or a live boy is the best (a live abused girl is pretty OK too). So when we get to the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/nov/20/prince-andrew-jeffrey-epstein-and-newsnight-anatomy-of-a-pr-disaster), we need to have the right mindset, my initial focal point is not the prince, it is his PR and media group (or person). It is not “Andrew had already lost the services of Jason Stein, the spin doctor hired in September to restore his reputation. Stein had reportedly advised Andrew against the whole thing, preferring a longer-term strategy that included a great deal of charity work and interviews with print outlets to mark his birthday“, where were the clear voices to break off any connection that Prince Andrew had with Jeffrey Epstein in 2007 onwards (we could argue 2006, but American Law can be confusing at best)?

And when we see “The unravelling of the strategy began almost immediately after the interview ended. Andrew appeared pleased with his performance, even giving the Newsnight team a tour of the palace afterwards. But when lines from the interview began reaching journalists’ inboxes early on Friday evening, they were astonished by what they read“, who the hell advised him on proper approach to this tinder fest of sulphur laced journalism? In the article Jo Swinson of the LibDems states it best: “how somebody could be talking about their relationship with [Epstein] without recognising, or understanding, or discussing, how he felt about those victims. And I felt they should have been much more at the centre of that discussion“, even as I have issues with “Andrew was facing calls to speak to the FBI from lawyers representing 10 of the Epstein’s victims“, there is a larger issue and the media was part of it, as it is feeling exposure towards the ‘protection’ of the image of Jeffrey Epstein, they are going after a royal like there is no tomorrow, so as we see ‘without recognising, or understanding, or discussing, how he felt about those victims‘, we need to realise that the media gave very little of that in the days that Jeffrey Epstein was alive, why was that?

the New York Post gave us in 2008 “Jeffrey Herman, who’s representing two other alleged victims, said, “The guilty plea is a very positive development for the civil cases,” and “is some measure of justice for these girls.”” I wonder how much recognising, understanding and discussion is going on in that sentence.

Yes, the Prince’s interview was an absolute horror, yet I wonder where the priorities of those who were supposed to have the back of the prince were, was there anyone on his side before he was thrown to the wolves? Oh and before I forget, When I search ‘“BBC” “Jeffrey Epstein”‘ I get 8 results and they are all on the interview, how much digging did the BBC do in the 2006-2012 era? We see all the attacks on Prince Andrew who knew a man that was indecently not researched by law officials all over the world and especially in America, whilst that man was given non-prosecuting options that most of us dream of when we commit murder. Yes the interview was a Prince Andrew debacle, but let’s face it, the media was part of that debacle long before they interviewed Prince Andrew, that evidence is all over the field and clearly readable, but that is the one part that the media does not want you to do, they do not want you to figure out that they were at the centre of letting a billionaire off the hook, especially as that person is now dead.

There is a larger play in all this, I wonder if you can figure it out.

 

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Premise towards boredom

Yesterday’s article in the Guardian by Alex Hern is a bit of a wakeup call. When I re-read the article I start to agree with him more and more. As a gamer, RPG’s have been my life. This started in the old days with the Ultima series by Richard Garriott on CBM-64. The first full game experience was the third installment. On the CBM-64, the quality was a little less then you see now, but the entire experience was amazing. This game made me addicted to RPG’s for life and Ultima 4 made matters worse for me. I was lucky; some RPG’s will never have the amazing depth that the Ultima series offered, not for at least a decade.

Yet Alex asks the important question: ‘are role-playing games getting too predictable?‘ When I sat down I did exactly that, try to avoid predictability. In my version of TESVI I was at all times considering replayability. As such the creation required sidesteps, not to be reflectively repetitive, but to set the stage of 100 missions at least twice over, so you did not play two versions of a mission, but two very different missions. It allowed for the market value of a game to remain high, whilst at the same time give other players something to think about. I had been there. I must have played Oblivion 3-4 times all the way through the end. Yet at heart it remained repetitive, so my design was the thwart that nuisance. Skyrim was a little the same in many ways, and Skyrim even as it outperformed Oblivion by a large amount had a few issues, some slightly terminal, but with a game that large it is almost unavoidable (I did say almost). So if we open The Elder Scrolls to number 6 a lot more was required, and as I set the model in play (not the one Bethesda is releasing) I remained dedicated to what Bethesda will offer, because so far they have not disappointed me (this is NOT about Fallout 76). So as we see the push towards the outer Worlds, we are given: “In this world, where mega corporations are starting to take over alien planets, you can act like a hero, an opportunistic mercenary, or a total idiot. The writing is sharp, snappy and funny, the world exciting and vibrant, and there’s a classic New Vegas interplay between factions of characters, any of whom the player can help or hinder“, I am not questioning, not judging, and not placing a verdict. I await the final result that is open for review and purchase. The writer (at https://www.theguardian.com/games/2019/aug/20/from-cyberpunk-2077-to-the-outer-worlds-are-role-playing-games-getting-too-predictable) is giving us a lot more. So when the article ends with: “But their genre needs its Breath of the Wild moment: an outsider to toss out the conventions, and build something beautiful from what is left. Surely choosing between shooting, stealthing or sweet talking can’t be the only options that the next generation of virtual worlds have to offer“, I find myself agreeing with him to the part that games (at times) need more. Yet is that in part the limitation of an RPG? What if we take another look at the Ultima range? Ultima 7, the Black Gate is one of the few games that EVER received a 100% rating from me (on PC). In that time (1992) that game surpassed anything else, and others never came close to what The Black Gate offered. So when we see the part ‘shooting, stealthing or sweet talking‘, we need to consider alternatives. There was the option of getting a job (so not shooting and killing), stealing (stealthily not working), and Retail industry (not sweet talking). In part we saw the retail on Skyrim by selling (just like in Oblivion), in Fable 2 and 3 we see the option of doing jobs and gaining money that way, even buying the place and getting the revenue, so we have seen it (almost) all. Yet what happens, when the world is truly a lot larger? What happens when your impact is seen as one of thousands creating commerce and in that way create price fluctuations? What if the game needs to be set to the larger premise? To get one part right, and through the linked limitations create a new system of balances to get the whole environment correct? Make the game impact seen through the changes that not just you create. As a member of the thieves guild you can never be a companion, or with the fighter guild or the Mages guild. So what happens when we take a much larger bite out of the apple of gaming and actually set the apple to be an actual much larger play of impact? The apple of knowledge (Eden), the golden apple (Olympus) and the apple of immortality (Asgard), set the stage where you can merely choose one of them, creating a tripod where one leg is rigid and the other two vary to create some form of balance.

What if one choice demolishes the others and through that path offer 300% more? There is still the challenge of making all missions decently unique and challenging, and if you realise that the Skyrim guide is over 1100 pages, we are facing a serious clambake, not a mere picnic. It was the largest stage setting, so whatever I considered to be the design of TESVI, needed to be able to surpass that, and I mean by no less than 20%.

Now, this does not mean that boredom will not set in, the biggest issue with any RPG is the danger of grinding, and preventing that is a first. Most games have become decently adept in minimising that risk, yet it is not zero, even my version would not have zero grinding, so the need to remain long term appealing is essential. The game does not stop there. Now that the gamers soon get Google and Apple with streaming gaming, the game changes even more and finding original content in any RPG game is the essential search for every gaming junk (I am proudly part of that family), so basically the ante is upped by a fair bit. It becomes even more impressing as I look to more challenge and the Skyrim guide has 350 quests, which implies that in my book, I will need close to 800 missions to keep head of the curve and in all this, anyone getting the range of 800 quests is less interactive in what we see and the mountain of work we look up to. It also requires very different IP to continue on a higher level of gaming.
The second level of grinding is often the places where things are found. In many situations we needed to get to the same places (shouts) and we needed to find essential hardware, however if the word wall did not contain Kyne’s Peace, but a random shout? In addition, what happens when you influence the entire game by making another choice as to where the Fighters Guild, the Thieves Guild, the Dark Brotherhood and the clan of Minimarco is placed (Necromancers), more important when you shape the game as you play and the impact is seen on a larger scale. A stage where the trade route from Skingrad, via Arenthia, to Riverhold, Orcrest, Rimmen and Bravil takes another step as the Fighters guild is placed in Riverhold and not in Rimmen, these are all choices that shape a world you live in. Consider the real (non-virtual) world if not Brussels, but Paris had become the centre of the EU, it would massively impact Belgium economy negatively and France’s economy positively, the direct aftermath is that living in Paris would be almost impossible, cause and effect in play. That same setting might be applied to gaming. Where the aggregation of the lowest and highest 1,000 gamers sets the parameters of your RPG game. a game not set in stone, but in motion as 2,000 players are not set to the average, but on the outliers of the high and the low players, a game that is shaped by all as the economic footprint changes. Yet to prevent deal seekers, we make time a much more definite in any RPG game.

As the measure evolves over time, other players become part of the low and the lower high end. A game now in flux, no longer rigid and confined. Add to that that they all might have issues on some of the resurrection choices and we get an entirely new path towards gaming. Boredom can only start to set in when the game is fixed, so we start by setting change to the game itself. A second choice is to add a management part, not just overall, but a specific super large quest, where you cannot complete the quest, but you provide the options for the quest. I can no longer sneak in like William Tell grasping apples, now we create a workforce working the field and still we are involved to maximise what is possible. Yes, we need virtual worlds that have more and differences to offer, but the best option is allowing evolution in ways that we cannot set, we might be able to influence them towards 6%, impacting but not overwhelming. That too allows for a game to be enjoyed again and again. That is the kind of RPG all RPG players want and yet up to now, no one delivered that option, it is surprising and perhaps it will be the cornerstone of any RPG, the amount that cannot be predicted, for all those coming from the very bottom of the maze and interesting challenge to face.

For now we await The Outer Worlds and Cyberpunk 2077 to make it into the family of RPG fanatics, yet we too await the next Elder Scrolls, and who know, perhaps my idea makes it into The Elder Scrolls VII, as a gamer I can only hope to be given the chance to change the game for thousands of RPG lovers in a new never seen before direction. Even as I accept that this is almost not possible and I would settle for a ‘novel’ place in new original gaming, we need to see that it all has been done before, well, it almost all has been done before. Yet so far, the idea’s I had have not popped up anywhere, so I am sitting pretty for now.

I actually do not care whether someone else finds them and implements them; it means new and original gaming, the ultimate rush for an RPG gamer, preferably additions done to a game that the gamer loves. So Alex Hern is correct and the first step in avoiding all this is to make sure that we take a non Ubisoft approach to gaming, I have faith that Bethesda can do that, they might have missed the ball with Fallout 76, but still, they took it in a direction that had not been done before. Let’s not forget that before Nintendo gave us the Switch, we were given the WiiU. Everyone gets to have a bad day and when we realise that Bethesda have given us winners from 2002 onwards, over a dozen clear winners in 16 years, the existence of one less popular title (Fallout 76) with so many winners is not an issue at all, in Bethesda we trust, the rest can take a number and await their turn with the global RPG population.

 

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That’s the way the money flows

The Independent had an interesting article 2 hours ago. The article (at https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/china-drones-spy-us-dhs-security-data-alert-a8922706.html). The title leaves little to the imagination with: ‘Chinese drones may be stealing sensitive information, DHS warns‘, after the Trump google play, after his refusal to submit to subpoena’s, after the anti Huawei activities that so far has never yielded any active evidence (the 8 year old case was settled within months are done with). Now we see: “Chinese-made drones in America may be sending sensitive data to their manufacturers back home where it can be accessed by the government, the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has warned“, which might be a nightmare if it was not so hilarious. You see the next quote: “CNN, which obtained the internal alert, reported that the DHS fears drones will offer Chinese intelligence unfettered access to American data“, it comes across like we have a case where a CNN reporter has been hit by a silly stick and never recovered. Consider the drones we see, there is no space to have a dedicated hack system on board. Yes some can be done with a mobile, and there is plenty of space in that device, now consider the ‘sensitive’ data that needs to be found, the data needs to be connected to (and with all these faulty Cisco routers that is relatively easy at present), then a selection needs to be downloaded and that is merely for one place, one device. All this stops when any person uses common cyber sense. It is the revelation that we see next, that is the one that matters. With: “Though the alert didn’t name specific companies, the vast majority of drones used in the US and Canada are made by the Shenzen based Company, DJI, CNN reported” we see the part that matters. As drone services are up on an almost exponential growth as we see the push that got there. The news from November 2016 gave us: “Domino’s Pizza Enterprises Limited (Domino’s) and drone delivery partner Flirtey delivered the first order, a Peri-Peri Chicken Pizza, and a Chicken and Cranberry Pizza“. Consider the option to avoid traffic in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Seattle, Pittsburgh, all places with massive congestion. Drones are the optionally the newest quick way to deliver food, Amazon needs, Walmart needs, all in growing need due to the events where retailers and shippers combine forces to avoid a few items, and with congestion set to zero, people will flock to that consideration. Now the operational part, it seems that DJI is ahead of the curve, another Chinese company decided to truly innovate and now that the push is there and America is bankrupt (as I personally see it) anything possible to avoid money going to China, America is taking a pot shot at that. So when we are also treated to: “A spokesman for DJI denied that any information was being transmitted to it from its drones, adding that the security of its technology has been independently verified by the US government.” I start wondering if DHS was able to do its job properly. Now let’s be clear, there is no doubt that ANY drone can be used for espionage, especially if it is quiet enough. Yet is that the issue for DJI, or is that an issue with the spy that utilises drone technology? Yet that is actually not the only side, on the other side we see mentioned: “Those concerns apply with equal force to certain Chinese-made (unmanned aircraft systems)-connected devices capable of collecting and transferring potentially revealing data about their operations and the individuals and entities operating them, as China imposes unusually stringent obligations on its citizens to support national intelligence activities,” Now, this part does make sense. It is the same as the Apple Fitbit, that due to its global nature started to hand out the jogging patterns of Special forces in the Middle East, so within 3 days several members of the two dozen operatives had a check on their calorie burning and health, whilst the mapping data showed the world where the CIA black site was (oh apologies, I meant to say a military specialist endeavouring location of an undetermined nature). The question becomes how was the ‘the security of its technology has been independently verified by the US government‘ achieved? Was that verification process competent, or perhaps slightly less so?

I am not stating my verdict in either direction; yet the entire Huawei mess, as well as the DJI setting implies that the growth industries are shunned from America, mainly because it is not an American industry. Yet in all this, the forget that places like the EU and India are large enough to go forward with both players and truly grow further, whilst the downturn and the economic lag that the US is creating will merely grow the loss of momentum and the recession it will fuel in other ways. I would consider that the setback that Google is trying to create will have larger repercussions down the road. As larger Data vendors will now optionally choose the Chinese side, they will grow market share. You see no matter how it is sliced, all this is data based and data can only grow if there is usage. So when people remain with Huawei as their phone keeps on working, we see that there is a larger concern soon enough. At some point people will stop trusting Samsung, Google and Apple phones, which works out nicely for several players (Microsoft actually more than most), what do you think happens when the larger share of 14.7% of a global market changes to player three and not use Google apps to some degree? Google momentum relies on non-stop data and usage, when a third of the 60% that these three cover stops, do you think that this has no impact for Google?

The same applies to drones. You see intelligence makes the drone and as it grows its market share and the collected data of drone usage is set, the innovation of DJI grows faster. It is the difference between generation now and generation 2022, DJI will grow and can grow in several directions, yet the entire the setting of ‘data theft’ we see that there is a lack of ‘what’ data. What data is collected, the flight path? Well, I think we all need to know in 2023 what flight path was taken for the delivery of 342,450 pizza’s delivered per hour, is it not? It is not that Google Map has that data, and within a building in New York, is there truly a clear sign in the drone itself who exactly the merchandise was for, or was that on the box (instead of the drone). Now, there is no denying that some of that data would optionally be accessible to the Chinese government? Yet what data, what level of data? Do you think that they have time for the hundreds of drones and the data whilst they can monitor 20,000 times that data with a spy satellite (and an additional truckload of data that the drone never had in the first place?

It is when I see ‘unfettered access to American data‘ where the questions become pressing. It is like watching Colin Powell coming into a non-disclosed location with his silver briefcase and in the end the lack of WMD’s, are we going in that direction again? when I see ‘unfettered access to American data‘, it is at that moment I see the optional comparison (an extreme lose comparison mind you) with the innocent preachers daughter who did the naughty thing to 30% of the boys coming to Sunday sermon, having attempted things I cannot even rent on adult video. It is the CNN article (at https://edition.cnn.com/2019/05/20/politics/dhs-chinese-drone-warning/index.html) that gives additional rise to concerns. When you see: “Users are warned to “be cautious when purchasing” drones from China, and to take precautionary steps like turning off the device’s internet connection and removing secure digital cards. The alert also warns users to “understand how to properly operate and limit your device’s access to networks” to avoid “theft of information.”” It seems to me that there are dozens of ways to get this data, a drone seems like an expensive long way round-trip to get to that data, whilst more can be accessed in several other ways and it is the speculation through ‘device’s internet connection‘, so when we see one of these devices (at https://www.dji.com/au/phantom-4-pro-v2/info#specs), we are treated to: “The new Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 features an OcuSync HD transmission system, which supports automatic dual-frequency band switching and connects to DJI Goggles wirelessly“, where did the internet come in? Yes there is an app, to get a live view from the drone, so what ‘unfettered access to American data‘ could there be that Google Maps at present does not have in more detail?

It is the next part that is the actual ace. When we see: “DJI, which reported $2.7 billion in revenue in 2017, is best known for its popular Phantom drone. Introduced in 2013, the drone is the top-selling commercial drone on the market“, information the Independent did not give us, that is the actual stage as I personally see it. It was $2.7 billion in 2017, there is no doubt that when drone delivery truly takes off, at that point revenue that sits between $15 and $27 billion is not unrealistic, the dire need to avoid congestion on a global scale will drive it and that is before you realise the non-US benefits in London, Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin, Munich, Madrid, Barcelona, Rome, Athens, Moscow. At that point you will see stronger growth and I haven’t even looked at the opportunities in a place like Mumbai, Tokyo, Delhi, Bangkok, Rio, Buenos Aires and Sydney yet. Everything leaves me with the impression that this is not about security, it is about money. That fact can be proven when you realise that everyone remains silent on the 29 new vulnerabilities that Cisco reported merely a month ago. How many Cisco router stories have come from that non-technologically refined White House, where they are currently optionally limited by “Cisco routers, including ones that can be found in malls, large companies or government institutions, are flawed in a way that allows hackers to steal all of the data flowing through them“, the cybersecurity company Red Baron handed out that issue to the media last week, so who picked up on that danger to ‘unfettered access to American data‘? And when you consider ‘it allows potential malicious actors to bypass the router’s security feature, Trust Anchor. This feature has been standard in Cisco’s routers since 2013‘, when we realise that Cisco is a household name on a global scale (especially when connected to the internet), the entire Cisco matter seems to be at least 15,000 times worse than any DJI drone ever could be, and the fact that DHS remains silent on that gives (again, as I personally see it) is added proof that this is merely about the money and the fact that US companies are losing markets on a global scale.

I could set the stage by singing ‘All ‘Bout the money‘ by Meja and ‘That’s the way the money goes‘ by M, but then, I realise that people would most likely pay me serious money not to sing (my voice is actually that bad).

That’s the way the money flows, specifically at present in a direction that the US is for the foreseeable future most displeased about.

 

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The €0.01 pledge

Yes, we all heard it before, ‘I hereby solemnly swear‘, ‘I pledge my allegiance‘ and ‘for what we are about to receive‘. All nice sounding words, yet are they worth the value of the printed paper when people speak these words? That is where you stand when we were given ‘Leaders and tech firms pledge to tackle extremist violence online‘. And the quotes are nice to read too. First there is: “World leaders and heads of global technology companies have pledged at a Paris summit to tackle terrorist and extremist violence online in what they described as an “unprecedented agreement”“. The article (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/may/15/jacinda-ardern-emmanuel-macron-christchurch-call-summit-extremist-violence-online), and President Macron, who is in all kind of non-economic states took the time to shed light on this. So when I saw: “a “plan of action” to be adopted by countries and companies to prevent extreme material from going viral on the internet” I needed well over 10 minutes to stop howling with laughter. It was funny, I agree, but in the article there is supporting evidence for my ‘howls of deriving laughter‘ (borrowed from Monty Python).

You see, the first delusion is ‘prevent extreme material from going viral on the internet‘, the internet is all about going viral, and we enabled marketing and SEO systems of doing just that for the need of creating awareness in whatever way possible. The creation of viral events is what drives Facebook and their social companions. And even as their might be some form of control on Facebook, places like 4Chan have close to 0% control and whilst people are trying to find the viral video, a dozen copies will be spread to alternative locations. If you want to understand viral video, take a look at Medium dot com (at https://medium.com/this-happened-to-me/10-ways-to-make-your-video-go-viral-d19d9b9465de), they make a nice top 10 with actually interesting issues to consider. Social media is about getting viral (or is that virile?), they need to sell advertisements and the list mentioned give at the second tip the stage where you have millions of views in just under 72 hours, and that was merely some girl dancing.

The Guardian gives another part. When we see: “The footage was picked up by some international media outlets who initially published excerpts of the video and links to the gunman’s extremist “manifesto” before quickly dropping them in the face of political and public outrage“, so until outrage became slightly too loud, the news media themselves had no issue propagating the video (partially), that is the larger failure. You want to stop social media, whilst the media themselves use the material? What was that, ‘the people have a right to know clause?

As I see it: “as a voluntary initiative it is for individual countries and companies to decide how to honour their pledge” that pledge is (as I personally see it) nothing more than another way to grease the wheels of the EU gravy train. When we add “nations to bring in laws that ban offensive material and to set guidelines on how the traditional media report acts of terrorism“, so we get non mandatory actions linked to censoring of the traditional media, and you wonder why I was laughing? All this whilst a mere two days before that we got: “The case has been appealed, and in the time since two federal Courts of Appeals have ruled in separate cases that viewpoint discrimination on government social media pages is illegal.” Even as we see that they are separate issues, the stage of ‘Courts to Government Officials: Stop Censoring on Social Media‘ sets a larger stage and sets the stage where there is a much larger issue not addressed. So as we look at the term ‘viewpoint discrimination’, we see places like Heavy.com who had extremist video (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2016/05/01/homerun-by-ukip/), in May 2016. there in the article ‘Homerun by UKIP‘ I added a link to an ISIS video that remained viewable for well over a year. And that was something that was openly searchable. So at what point will we get a true status change? These places need the clicks to get their cash and many of them will not care how they get their money, their traction, their visibility.

So as we see “The US has reportedly refused to sign up because of concerns about freedom of speech“, we will see these people move to US servers, as there is free speech, as such this entire effort is largely wasted, when the larger players on social media are not willing to play ball, when we see that shifting stories and videos can move location in seconds, we see a gravy train switching tracks again and again, never resolving anything. Yet, they mostly agree on Huawei being a national security threat (without documented evidence), all that whilst the Cisco mess is presently well over 1000% worse (and documented).

This is all about money and it is time that we wake up and realise that as soon as something can be made to currency, it gets free reign. That is the consequence of debts that go into the trillions. And the traditional media only stopped after the outrage, after the cost of publishing started to grow that is when they stopped. In this I have nothing against the actions of Jacinda Ardern, they make perfect sense, but the Intelligence community could have clearly explained the traps of lone wolves, the traps of a media stage that is out of control. It is also nice to note that the presence of Justin Trudeau and President Macron was encouraging (according to Emmanuel Macron), yet these are two politicians with the ratings that are deep into the basement, any positive news that mentions them is political currency for them, so I wonder what their attending stake is in the end.

In this Jacinda Ardern makes one mistake (unintentional). As we see: “Facebook had made a changes to its livestreaming, announced at the same time as the summit, under which the Christchurch terrorist “would not have been able to livestream his act of violence”“, might be true to some point, yet there are so many other streams (like 4Chan), so even as the wave towards a viral video goes down in the reach to maximum (see the Medium article), the moment the links get spread through all media, the race is on and the multimillion views are almost guaranteed, optionally with a few minutes delay from slaughter happening, to slaughter watched. And after the event the world en mass will likely be watching. That is the impact of viral views and the ca$h for those cashing in on the advertisement on those pages. Because as the views go over the millions, the ads will get visibility and the dollars come pouring in stacks of them per tenth of a second. When you realise those numbers, you see the first part in why this is not getting resolved, and the danger merely increases as lone wolves get to make themselves martyrs for a cause they never understood, shouting a name they were never part of giving extremism even more visibility.

Unless you take these glossy propagators of what they call news off the 0% VAT (read: GST, BTW and so on) list, this will merely continue, for the media circulation is everything. Consider that we hear 4 days ago that ISIL was using Instagram to promote jihad and what does the Telegraph do (at https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/05/11/isil-extremists-using-instagram-promote-jihad-incite-support/), they used the picture of a smiling ISIL fighter as well. I think we can agree that this is like mopping the floor whilst the tap is running at full, we merely shift the mess and never end up with a dry floor.

You merely have to look at the Google failure and search: ‘Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi‘, he is not a terrorist; he is labelled as a ‘political leader‘. So how exactly will we end up seeing forward momentum, true forward momentum not presented momentum whilst we see that others label terrorists as political leaders. The pledge is worth a mere €0.01 and I think we are all still getting screwed on the deal at that price.

 

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Two sides of currency

There was more news yesterday. The article that gave me the previous view has been updated with a new one (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/feb/16/shamima-begum-isis-extremism-expert-criticises-sajid-javid). At the foundation of it is the view of Hanif Qadir, CEO of the Active Change Foundation. I disagree with him on a few levels. Now before I begin, we need to look at his ‘resume’, this is important in this case. As such we see: “Hanif once joined Al Qaeda members in Afghanistan, but was deterred by the crimes he saw being committed against civilians and turned his back on them. Upon his return to the UK, he vowed to safeguard young men and women from similar experiences, losing their lives and harming their communities. Having a unique understanding and hard-won experience of the modus operandi of Al Qaeda / ISIS inspired groups and individuals, he is now recognized as arguably the best violent extremist and de-radicalization expert in Europe“, the important part is that he knows the game, he knows what is at stake, yet I still disagree.

When we see: “Hanif Qadir said Sajid Javid’s reaction to the teenager’s predicament fed the narrative of Isis. On Friday Javid said he “would not hesitate” to prevent the return of UK Isis recruits, an approach at odds with Begum’s family in Bethnal Green, east London, who want the 19-year-old to return home “as a matter of urgency”“, I am with Javid on this. In addition there is: “Javid is fuelling the [Isis] narrative and giving wind to the sails of other extremists. If we continue with this trajectory we’ll be sowing the narrative for them to reap and use against us“, it is a fair enough view to have, but that is the setting when all was ‘well’ with ISIS, ISIL, Al Qaeda and such. This is no longer the case. They are not defeated, that much is certain, yet the world is very aware on how desperate they have become. The next part we see is: “If the government doesn’t change their approach to this, we potentially have a second wave of Isis coming, the connecting up and reloading of Isis, fence-sitters who are more sympathetic to another kind of narrative” and finally we get: “Baroness Sal Brinton, president of the Lib Dems, who described Begum’s radicalisation as a form of grooming. “We know that in that particular school three girls went [to join Islamic State], but probably more were approached. Surely our child protection laws have to kick in. As she returns we should look at what happens, as she was 15, and what happened out there“. I think that the cure is much simpler. It is called targeted killing, it is a simple path; if Shamima Begum wants back she has to earn this. As the Baroness points out (a little clumsy) we understand that there was grooming, we know that there was a stage, the fact that 15 year old girls got to fly to Turkey, had access to her passport, got to travel via smugglers, into Syria implies that they have optional intelligence value. It is the price for life, plain and simple. The message needs to be clear and without any level of reservation. Those who embrace terrorism will be hunted down and put to death. The European governments have a clear responsibility to its citizens. And here we see a clear field where we do not negotiate with terrorists. There cannot be a stage of some level of ‘biased’ mercy. People like Shamima Begum will optionally open options for ISIS and become the second wave. It is almost damned if they do and damned if they don’t, in this case the setting of not allowing them back, or merely long term imprisoned might be the safest route in all this.

And again we see the failing of the EU. when we see: “In Brussels the focus has been on trying to raise standards in the swift sharing of information among EU member states, and its dissemination to border databases should there be an uncontrolled wave of returnees“, we think that we are seeing something novel, yet the dangers had been shown since 2012. One year after the Syrian war there was a massive drive of refugees. In December 2012 the number of refugee’s trying to find alternative living had surpassed 500,000. At that point there was the already growing concern that if only 0.1% was ISIS minded, there would be a massive security concern in Europe, the fact that we now see ‘the focus has been on trying to raise standards in the swift sharing of information‘ is evidence that the EU has been sitting on their hands for too long a time, whilst those sitting on their hands remained to be well paid, and you still think Brexit is a bad idea? The intelligence failing in Europe had taken monumental proportions in 2014 as the Greek-Turkish events took a larger stage. Merely 4 years and as it seemingly shows, not actual quality improvement. That is the danger that the UK faces as an Island and ISIS is too large a problem to ignore, whether they get defeated or not, the timeline shows that splinter groups will form and they will take a slow silent step hoping that governments will fall asleep again, people like Shamima Begum will assist in making that happen. So when I see: “Although Begum is likely to be traumatised, Qadir said that if she received the right mentoring, counselling and passed through the necessary security protocols, she could be successfully rehabilitated“, I see a failing in the making. At this point I completely disagree with Hanif Qadir. Only the ego driven and their need for justification will give us the story that they can rehabilitate her. There are too many pressure points for Shamima Begum. At some point some radicalised person will find a way to blame the Europeans and Americans for the loss of her two children and the cloud of terror will be on route to disaster. In addition, she will need to be monitored 24:7 for years to come, if her family failed her once, it will do so again. She will play nice the first 18 months, yet at some point, she will be ‘woken up’ and that is when the problem starts. It is amazing how people cannot learn that lesson. They seem to focus on 9/11, focus on Syria and forget about the sarin attacks (in Syria), they focus on events that the media exploded on mental health cases like Sydney Martin Place, and forget the Charlie Hebdo shooting of January 2015 to a much larger degree. Two people, Saïd and Chérif Kouachi were able to kill 12 and injure 11. What is the damage when 6-8 start having fun with a Belgium FN MAG? Consider that I could with decent ammo, set the stage for a (800 m – 1,200 m) slaughter spree in London, and consider what would not be in range on that distance? It is a direct option for hundreds of deaths in the shortest time. Now consider the impact on tourism and economy if 6-8 did that. I used this example as it is relatively easy to get a hold of one in India, Egypt, and China. Consider that ISIS still has a logistic system in place and until it is utterly destroyed weapons like that can make it into Europe a lot easier than you think. Now consider that one attack will impact a little yet 3-4 events will massively upset all lives. If you doubt that, consider how long France needed to keep its soldiers in the street, merely to make the people feel safer. Consider that impact in London, Amsterdam, Manchester and Birmingham. It will end up doing a lot more than merely spook Europeans.

If a tiger gets out of the zoo, you would like to catch it, when 3 run amok you either consider the death of the visitors, or shoot to kill as soon as you can. We would all like to hide behind the tranquiliser gun, but when there is more than one, the danger of mass carnage becomes a little too large for comfort. You can do this exercise yourself. When you are in a zoo (any zoo that has a tiger), consider three tigers to get out, how much time will you get to get yourself and optionally your children safe, actually safe? How many will not make it? Try doing it on a summer day when the zoo is filled with children on school excursions. How many do you expect to die?

That is the actual situation, yet the area is not a zoo, it is a city filled with people and the members of ISIS are in their stage of ‘doing the will of Allah‘ in the end being nothing more than rabid animals. They will kill indiscriminately. We sometimes look back to videos like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LItKd2VE-NE, yet these are seemingly the most humane ones. Sources filter the video’s away as soon as they can (which we understand completely) and as such we have no reference just how inhumane the actions of these terrorists are, and as the spoof video’s come (like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Momc2e1wHG8) we end up merely persuading ourselves that it is all a joke, yet it is not. The problem is when it happens, the moment you get the real deal the first thing you will do is blame someone else, it was their fault. It is not, you will be just as much to blame as anyone else. So when we consider: “Ferdinand Grapperhaus, recently braved the critics by revealing that the government was cooperating with local authorities in Syria for the return of women accused of Isis membership and their children, and if this woman is shown to be involved with ISIS in any capacity, at that point will you blame Ferdinand Grapperhaus for allowing this to happen, or will you blame yourself for getting him elected? The problem is that until something happens there is no issue, it is the hidden trap. In my personal opinion, anyone who sided with ISIS remains a danger, to others and optionally to themselves as well. Normally we have systems in place, when someone is a mental health problem we have procedures, we have support systems in place. When they actively engage with ISIS, ISIL and Al Qaeda in the attack on others, either directly on the front lines or in support functions behind the lines, we have nothing and weirdly enough, it is the ISIS support people that become the larger problem down the line, they can really rack up the damage in whatever nation they end up living in.

That is the currency we all forget, that is the danger we allow others to be confronted with and that is why I am in opposition of Hanif Qadir and Baroness Sal Brinton.

Have a great Sunday

 

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Could I be wrong?

That is a question I always ask myself. You see, I never proclaim to know the facts (unless I was a direct witness). I have tried to use the better journalistic sources as often as possible and whenever I look at issues I try to look into different directions, and from different directions to get the better view. It is not a perfect solution, and I have never claimed that my version is the only option. So as I have written in regards to certain steps in the entire Novichok matter, the pushed actions by Natixis as well as settings into Tesco, The Geert Wilders case, the Yemeni conflict and other matters, I believe that I did a decent job, and one that was a lot better than any of the Rupert Murdoch gossip hounds could have ever hoped for.

So when I am confronted with: ‘Novichok poisonings: what is the GRU and how does it operate?‘, as well as: ‘PM points to Putin as Russian pair accused of Novichok poisonings‘ I wonder what is going on, because certain matters do not make sense.

This is the initial setting we need to contemplate when we look into the entire Novichok case. When I see the mere 4 hours old article with “In a special statement to a packed House of Commons, the prime minister, Theresa May, revealed the two suspects who flew into Britain to murder Sergei and Yulia Skripal in March with the military grade nerve agent were officers in the GRU, Russian military intelligence“, I wonder what drives this train wreck.

Consider that this is true; now consider that in the entire Skripal matter, no evidence was ever revealed on HOW they got infected. Then we get the setting that they SURVIVED that part matters when we consider the part ‘military grade nerve agent‘, all whilst the operation was a failure. Was it intended to fail? Were they ever on any CCTV in the surroundings of the Skripals? Then we get the mention “Photograph issued by the Metropolitan police of the Novichok poisoning suspects Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov“. So tell me, where was this picture taken and WHICH metropolitan police had issues it? And when we get “The GRU is a highly disciplined organisation with a well-established chain of command“, which is true, and no one opposes that, yet they could have been merely there as tourists (if it was actually them), that is wherever that shot was taken. You see, from the facts given, we can in equal measure consider the arrest and extradition of Major-general Charles Stickland for the alleged killing of a US Navy Seal in Djibouti. Let’s face it, when it comes to the training and ability to even wound a US Navy Seal, he might be one of the few persons with the skills to do that. How ridiculous does that sound? Well, in that same light, we need to see a lot more when it comes to the Novichok. I get it! We are not privy to national security investigations, that part is not in doubt. Yet the entire matter, the lack of evidence presented and the Media merely boastful setting the stage of events, whilst evidence is lacking is a much larger issue, it literally serves absolutely no one.

So when we are confronted with ‘The Salisbury attack has all the hallmarks of the audacious actions of Russia’s most secretive intelligence agency‘, my initial personal response towards the writer Shaun Walker would be ‘What a fucking idiot!‘ You see when you look at the two parts ‘all the hallmarks of the audacious actions‘ and ‘most secretive intelligence agency‘, we see hem cancel each other out. Audacious actions is in the light, most secretive is not. Oh, and before I forget, how successful was the operation? They are both still alive and let’s not forget that a 7.62mm bullet from a silenced Tokarev has no risks of biological agents and would NOT have failed. The article gives us historical anecdotes that are useless, especially as the first one was from BEFORE the Spetsnaz GRU was even created.

Then we get to the second part in this. With: “The GRU has been identified as the main culprit in hacking ahead of the 2016 US election. A recent indictment from the team of special investigator Robert Mueller named 12 apparent GRU officers over the alleged hacking and leaking of Democratic Party emails. Like the US operation, the Novichok poisoning fits an apparent pattern of GRU operations: ingenious and audacious, yet uncovered and publicised by the target countries“. Here again we see the issue of evidence. How was the GRU identified? I am not stating that the Russians were not part of it, but between political hacks (or is that hackers), optional Russian Cyber units and the GRU is quite the leap and what evidence has given that part? When we see ‘Robert Mueller named 12 apparent GRU officers‘, how did the identity of the members of ‘Russia’s most secretive intelligence agency’ even make it out to the open? Is that not a weird thing either? In that we get to the final art of the first article, and it is again given with “the Novichok poisoning fits an apparent pattern of GRU operations“, so is the GRU about failures? In that, how does the second attack fit, and there we get the different news articles where the victim is dying in one and to be released in the other (see Yesterday’s blog at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/09/05/the-target-is-killing-me/).

The Article Two fiasco

The second one was from Marc Bennetts in Moscow. This gives us “Vladimir Putin signed a presidential decree making information about freelance agents working for Russia’s foreign intelligence agencies a state secret, two days before Theresa May accused Russian secret service officers of carrying out the Skripal attack in Salisbury“, this gives us merely two elements, it is implied to be connected, yet through what evidence? Basically we see the non-denied truth that ‘information about freelance agents working for Russia’s foreign intelligence agencies a state secret‘. That might be the case and that is fine, but is it related to any of this?

Now we get to the beef of the matter. It is seen with “The Fotanka News Agency appeared to confirm claims by the Metropolitan police that the men had used their Russian passports before. The force said the pair travelled regularly to Europe between September 2016 and March 2018, with trips to Amsterdam, Geneva, Milan and, repeatedly, Paris. Petrov visited London between February 28 and March 5 2017, the news agency said, citing its own unnamed sources“, now add to this “They purchased return tickets from London to Moscow for both Sunday 4 March – the day Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were poisoned in Salisbury“. So these two experts fly into Salisbury with no preparations time, no options to set anything up, infect them with a Novichok and get out (all in 48 hours)? This would essentially need a second team prepping it all (if it were them), this implies a team of at least 5 people in total. I admit that when I see ‘for both Sunday 4 March‘, there is something we need to contemplate, yet from my point of view they could have been used for a mere embassy courier drop, or any dead drop. However using that for the Novichok is ludicrous, so much could go wrong that failure was almost a given. A flight with zero leeway, that is not the acts of a secretive agency that is merely an advertisement of something else, what else? I have no way to know that. Oh, and for all the travels. That might be perfectly valid and true, but do we have any intelligence on where they went (exactly that is), where they stayed and which CCTV’s showed them? London and Amsterdam have a sizable CCTV system, also where did they go in Geneva? When we combine it all, there is a chance that they were optionally state security, no one denies that it is a possibility, yet the other side is that they might be the couriers or the personal assistant of one of these Russian billionaires, and if that is anyone related to organised crime we see my initial setting where I never stated that it was not Russian, merely that it was not Russian state and that does fit the bill. When you want your essential secrets to be transported, will you turn to the Randstad employment agency, or to Russian State Security offering people like that, offering a cushy job with a nice income that guarantees a lovely golden pension parachute, who would ever resist that?

Let’s not forget, we still have no actual evidence that these two (Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov) were GRU. They might be FSB, SVR, or perhaps merely intelligent and optionally well trained Russian citizens, where is the evidence? In finality Marc Bennets adds the anecdote of Dmitry Gudkov, for whatever value that has.

So far all articles that merely set optional allegations lacking evidence, so far when it comes to the Novichok, there has been a lack of evidence and even less cohesive evidence. The small parts that might have been an optional were overturned with the easiest of searches by me; all lacking the proper setting. Now I want to get back to the initial part, because I was not ignoring “assistant commissioner Neil Basu, laid out a compelling trail showing how the suspects travelled from Moscow to London and then on to Salisbury“. You see, when we see compelling as ‘not able to be refuted‘, it does matter, yet why not a mere CCTV pic of the Train platform or Bus platform to Salisbury? That is the part that is so weird, when a picture gives 1000 words and you rely on the one that gives merely 50 words, questions need to be asked and in that part the entire Novichok case (both attacks) is all about questions and no actual answers, mere allegations and accusations. So now we get to the quote “Police produced CCTV footage of the Russian assassination team during their 50-hour visit to Britain, entering at Gatwick airport at 3pm on Friday 2 March, and smuggling in the Novichok“, so where was the Novichok? It is another accusation that is lacking evidence. Apart from the fact that a biological agent got past Gatwick Airport which gives us a whole range of other questions too, but that is for another day.

I will also get us to the setting of the CCTV images. There were a few and I never ignored them. So let’s take a look at the setting (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/sep/05/novichok-poisoning-what-we-know-so-far)

Arrival Friday March 3rd 15:00

There is no mention what was done between arrival and the first image, that part is actually important too. You see, that part might have supported or even denied the defence of mere tourists.

Saturday, March 3rd 16:00 Image one

Sunday March 4th 11:58 Image two, different outfit from image one, different shoes too, different hats. So are these the same people? (I wonder), the walk implies that the legs are slimmer too (what diet is that, please gimme some of that.)

Sunday March 4th 13:05 Image three seems to be the same as image two, yet now one of them has a backpack. Jeans of one of them looks different, could merely be the contrast of the two cameras.

Sunday March 4th 13:08 seems to fit image three, yet from behind, we can agree that it is most likely the people from image three, yet how certain are we that these are indeed the ‘culprits’? You see, from my (optionally wrong) point of view. We might have clothes to travel within 48 hours, yet two coats and two pairs of shoes? Also, in the end the mention of: ‘CCTV footage of the Russian assassination team’? Is there clear evidence that they were an assassination team? Yet the article gives one part that is the heart of it. That was given with: ‘For six months since the incident in Salisbury, the government has faced criticism over the apparent lack of evidence linking the crime to Russia‘, which was my case all along. I would love to get my fingers on that presentation and go over it with a really fine comb. I wonder what else I can find when I get access to all the raw data and raw footage, and let’s remain fair here, if there was a clear case of guilty in that mix, I would be able to find that too.

I am still willing to consider that I have been wrong, but the lack of evidence gives me the edge and some of the evidence seen is a little off, giving me the edge of my conviction even more. Oh, and in all this, the second ‘attack’ is still an issue and the fact that the second attack was a lot more lethal than the first one, in the light of humidity being a factor in making the Novichok less efficient remains a factor too, especially when we consider the time passed and the Charity bin part is just too vague on a few sides, as well as the setting that no one else got caught with any issues, too many parts are off there too (but that could be my lack of knowledge on how the entire charity bin path goes).

If I had to speculate on this, I would give the comparison of a factory making Jigsaw puzzles. Two different puzzles of the same size gives us two different puzzles with the same cut of pieces and someone mixed parts up so that we get a partial part of puzzle one in puzzle two and vice versa, that does not give us two puzzles, but basically 4 puzzles with an incomplete and incorrect view. In data we get the comical setting that: ‘to get any linear correlation, merely plot two observations’, yes it is 100% linear, as well as 100% unreliable mind you. I personally feel that the issues are pushed in one direction not because the evidence is there, but because the presentation was orchestrated, optionally by a third party, so who was this 3rd party?

I never stated that I was not wrong, I could still be wrong, but the evidence looks too tainted to be accepted as such we are all (including me) set on the wrong foot, you merely have to Google ‘Charlie Rowley’ and look for the news in the last week to see that (also mentioned in my blog Yesterday, as in the link given earlier). In the end, we must not forget the official government news (at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/foreign-secretary-statement-on-the-opcw-report-into-amesbury), where we are given “The police continue their investigation into the poisonings in Amesbury and Salisbury and we await their further conclusions”, when we read that on 4 September 2018, whilst we were given “Two Russian nationals named and charged over the novichok poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury have been identified as officers from Russia’s military intelligence, Theresa May has said, saying the attack was clearly authorised by Moscow” the day after in the Guardian. So what evidence was added in those 24 hours?

The issue given in the government statement with: “The recklessness of the Russian state in bringing a nerve agent in to the UK, and total disregard for the safety of the public, is appalling and irresponsible. Our thoughts are with the family of Dawn Sturgess and with Charlie Rowley” is the one in question. You see, no one ever denied the fact that Novichok is of Russian origin, yet there have been several sources in the past that showed that somehow Novichok got to be out in the open and that gives us the part where: ‘The recklessness of the Russian state in bringing a nerve agent in to the UK’ is the debatable part, merely ‘the Russian state’ as the setting whilst there is more than one alternative part in that trajectory. The push of that path is giving so much doubt and so much consideration towards a botched investigation on several levels. Even if we accept the optional two names to be Intelligence officers’ aliases, and if I was the Russian Mafia, I would definitely use names that at the mere sight of them would be intentionally ignored by border officers at Moscow airport. The fact that this path was ignored FROM DAY ONE is just too big an issue, add to that the failures of the events and we get something quite debatable.

I am always happy to be wrong, yet the presentations we have seen so far makes it more likely then not that this is actually not the case in the end.

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