Tag Archives: Pegasus

Retry or retrial?

It is time to revisit a few issues, actually one issue and a whole lot connected to it. To start, I decided to go with The Verge, it has its ducks decently in a row, the article ‘NSO’s Pegasus spyware: here’s what we know’ is the best of them all, they also make reference to a lot of articles, and they have a decent line. The article (at https://www.theverge.com/22589942/nso-group-pegasus-project-amnesty-investigation-journalists-activists-targeted) is best if you read it yourself. Mitchell Clark did a good job, and as you have read the article, I can make a few jumps. The important jump gets us to the Washington Post (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/interactive/2021/nso-spyware-pegasus-cellphones/). This came from the link in “However, much of the reporting centers around a list containing 50,000 phone numbers” and when we seek the Washington Post article, we get “reporters were able to identify more than 1,000 people spanning more than 50 countries through research and interviews on four continents: several Arab royal family members, at least 65 business executives, 85 human rights activists, 189 journalists, and more than 600 politicians and government officials — including cabinet ministers, diplomats, and military and security officers. The numbers of several heads of state and prime ministers also appeared on the list”, no evidence mind you, merely statement and boasting. I call it boast, because we see there that the Amnesty’s Security Lab examined 67 smartphones all whilst close to 50% had an inconclusive test. If this is 67, what about the other 49,933? So when we get to “NSO chief executive Shalev Hulio expressed concern in a phone interview with The Post about some of the details he had read in Pegasus Project stories Sunday, while continuing to dispute that the list of more than 50,000 phone numbers had anything to do with NSO or Pegasus”, my support goes to Shalev Hulio. The Washington Post has a declining amount of credibility and this does not help. From my point of view, I would have made a dashboard based on the 50,000 numbers with a clear separation, In the top layer the continents, then the countries, where we see number of mobiles, versus number of landlines. This basic setting was never done, how stupid is that? A second dashboard could be the identifying class (journalist, government, lawyer, NGO) just to coin a phrase, the Washington Post was all about emotion, not about fact. I see this as a prime time hack job, with the alleged journo’s being the hacks, we also do not get any level of trustworthy setting on how the leak got to the Washington Post. Question upon question and in the mean time we get to see “In Hungary, numbers associated with at least two media magnates were among hundreds on the list, and the phones of two working journalists were targeted and infected, forensic analysis showed” 4 people and 50,000 numbers, could the article be any less relevant? And the stupidity of the Washington Post does not end, no it goes further with “Amnesty’s forensics found evidence that Pegasus was targeted at the two women closest to Saudi columnist Khashoggi, who wrote for The Post’s Opinions section. The phone of his fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, was successfully infected during the days after his murder in Turkey on Oct. 2, 2018, according to a forensic analysis by Amnesty’s Security Lab”, we see ‘two women closest to Saudi columnist Khashoggi’, so how did they get there? Because the numbers were on the list? And when we see ‘The phone of his fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, was successfully infected’, so how was that evidence obtained? From my point of view the text “according to a forensic analysis by Amnesty’s Security Lab” just does not cover it. It even gets worse with “Also on the list were the numbers of two Turkish officials involved in investigating his dismemberment by a Saudi hit team”, I see it as a weak approach to mention “investigating his dismemberment” which was NEVER proven, the proof requires a body, they never got that, at best the man is theoretically still merely missing. And from there we get to “Khashoggi also had a wife, Hanan Elatr, whose phone was targeted by someone using Pegasus in the months before his killing. Amnesty was unable to determine whether the hack was successful”, consider the text “Amnesty was unable to determine whether the hack was successful”, if that is true, how come we get “targeted by someone using Pegasus in the months before his killing”, how was that timeline proven? It is a simple question, the article is a bad approach to give more visibility to a journalist no one gives a fuck about. I like the quote ““This is nasty software — like eloquently nasty,” said Timothy Summers, a former cybersecurity engineer at a U.S. intelligence agency and now director of IT at Arizona State University”, is it eloquent because the NSA never made it, or because an Israeli company has the lead on this? I wonder what Timothy would have said if this was an NSA application? 

And the Verge is on my side, they give us “WAIT, WHO MADE THIS LIST?”, as well as “At this point, that’s clear as mud. NSO says the list has nothing to do with its business, and claims it’s from a simple database of cellular numbers that’s a feature of the global cellular network”, which is supported by “A statement from an Amnesty International spokesperson, posted to Twitter by cybersecurity journalist Kim Zetter, says that the list indicates numbers that were marked as “of interest” to NSO’s various clients. The Washington Post says that the list is from 2016” and when we consider these quotes and we read the Washington Post article for the shite it seems to be, I wonder who is waking up to the fact that the media, all the other media is merely re-quoting what the Washington Post stated and it is absent of all kinds of facts, or they merely didn’t bother putting the facts there. 

The entire Pegasus setting seems like a Wag the Dog approach to whatever these papers want to create and it is optionally a setting (a speculative one) that this is the push from stakeholders who have an issue with the NSO group, all whilst no credible evidence is given to us that there is an actual issue. And in all this the money trail was ignored, I ignored it too, mainly because I was unaware, yet the Verge was aware and they give us “At the time, the costs were reportedly $650,000 to hack 10 iPhone or Android users, or $500,000 to infiltrate five BlackBerry users. Clients could then pay more to target additional users, saving as they spy with bulk discounts: $800,000 for an additional 100 phones, $500,000 for an extra 50 phones” this implies that the cheapest option would be 500 times $800,000, which gives us $400,000,000 that is a whole lot of cash for a lot of people no one cares about. Yes, there are a few alleged targets that makes the pricing worth it, but with the setting I have, there is no way that the 50,000 numbers make sense, oh and before I forget, if this is a list for multiple sources, how many of the numbers doubled up? Too many questions and the media stupidly reprinting what the Washington Post is giving us makes no sense at all, unless you are a stakeholder with anti-Israel sentiments. 

In this Shalev Hulio is right that he is “continuing to dispute that the list of more than 50,000 phone numbers had anything to do with NSO or Pegasus”, I would too and I found a lot of the disputable issues within an hour, I wonder how shortsighted the media was when they decided to reprint what the Washington Post gave them. So whilst the Guardian gives us ‘the global impact of the Pegasus project’, I merely see a storm in a teacup, because the issues in the Washington Post were never decently vetted on a few levels and that is likely the biggest failing of the media at present. It is merely my point of view and I am happy to state that I could be wrong, but the lack of credible evidence, all whilst the media has a declining level of credibility makes my view the most likely correct one, most likely, because I have not seen the evidence, but as you read the articles, that are all about details, lacking generic evidence, how would you see it?

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From horse to course

Yes, there is a horse, it is not Mr. Ed, there is no kind conversation. This one has wings, and there are a few versions, including the off-spring of Lord Poseidon. Whether we believe Hesiod or not, it does not matter. Pegasus became a part of our oldest mythological stories. Yet today, Pegasus is something else, a figment from the imaginations of the NSO group and it was made real. It has been out for some time and last week we got the media and their overemotional response that it had a connection to 50,000 people, with 0.36% of these people journalists.

So what gives?
It is important to look at a few sources. The first is the BBC (at https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-57922543) who gives us ‘Princess Latifa and Princess Haya numbers ‘among leaks’’, perhaps yes, perhaps no, who cares? We do get “The discovery of the princesses’ phone numbers on the list – and those of some acquaintances – has raised questions about whether they could have been the possible target of a government client of the group.” And here the questions start and the BBC is not asking them. Just like it is steering clear of alleged man-slaughterer Martin Bashir. So when we see ‘could have been the possible target of a government client of the group’ could is here the operative word. You see, no one is doubting that list, no one has given us a clear rundown of the names, a dashboard if you like, with the option to drill per nation and per class of person. This could all be a ruse of anti-Israeli groups, optionally the ruse of a competitor. And when we see “NSO has denied any wrongdoing. It says the software is intended for use against criminals and terrorists, and is made available only to military, law enforcement and intelligence agencies with good human rights records”, so which government leaked the list and how did THAT government leak what is implied to be a complete list? Then we get to the option that the leak came from within the NSO Group, which might be the most ludicrous thought, but I tend to look at all angles, so it is an angle that is most unlikely, but the chance is not zero. The article is all about Princess Latifa, not much about the NSO Group, it is an emotional lamentation to steer clear of massive screw ups like Jimmy Savile, Lord McAlpine, Sir Cliff Richard, and Lady Diana Spencer. As some say, the credibility of the BBC has never been lower. 

The second article is also from the BBC (at https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-57922664) less than a day ago gives us ‘Pegasus spyware seller: Blame our customers, not us, for hacking’. Here we are given “Investigations have begun as the list, of 50,000 phone numbers, contained a small number of hacked phones”, silly me for thinking that when we see ‘Investigations have begun’, we also get ‘a small number of hacked phones’, as such there is a much larger stage, and the BBC gives us “Pegasus infects iPhones and Android devices, allowing operators to extract messages, photos and emails, record calls and secretly activate microphones and cameras”, so if there are only a small number of hacked phones, how does that part matter? And when we get “a consortium of news organisations, led by French media outlet Forbidden Stories, has published dozens of stories based around the list, including allegations French President Emmanuel Macron’s number was on it and may have been targeted.” We get the real deal, a consortium of news organisations, led by Forbidden Stories hide behind ‘allegations’ and ‘may have been targeted’. Is anyone catching on? The media want to create emotional waves, yet does not want to be held accountable for their actions. The stakeholders are key here. A ‘consortium’ implies shareholders and stakeholders. It implies also that their issue is not that the NSO Group might do something outside of governments, it might show that the media does a lot more to anger the audience it desperately needs. 

And then the media does one more jab towards a currently missing journalist no one cares about with “including those close to murdered Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi”, this is the emotional stage handed to us. It is “67 agreed to give Forbidden Stories their phones for forensic analysis. And this research, by Amnesty International Security Labs, reportedly found evidence of potential targeting by Pegasus on 37 of those”, so out of 50,000 we see that 67 are investigated and potentially we see 37 are targets, but there is no evidence that the NSO Group did this, these 37 might have been targets of the NSA or even the DGSE. 

And at this point there is one interesting flaw. If it was me, the first think I did was set up a dashboard that allows us to see where these 50,000 names are part of, where they are and how they were hacked. They have had a week and the stretch of media that gives us emotion after emotion is a much larger stage of stakeholders that need a negative view to be pushed onto the NSO Group. I admit that my view is equally speculative, but is it a wrong view? 

Finally there is the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/news/2021/jul/22/israel-examine-spyware-export-rules-should-be-tightened-nso-group-pegasus) where we see ‘Israel to examine whether spyware export rules should be tightened’. Here we are treated to “An Israeli commission reviewing allegations that NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware was misused by its customers to target journalists and human rights activists will examine whether rules on Israel’s export of cyber weapons such as Pegasus should be tightened”, I can accept that view, but that also means that governments are largely to blame for this mess, if the list is real that is. There is every chance that this was a ruse to make the NSO Group less large, less of a challenge to a competitor and this is exactly what stakeholders tend to do, and using the media as their bitch is not out of the question.

My view is reinforced by “NSO has said Macron was not a “target” of any of its customers, meaning the company denies he was selected for surveillance using its spyware, saying in multiple statements that it requires its government clients to use its powerful spying tools only for legitimate investigations into terrorism or crime”, so as Macron was never a target, the BBC articles are less than accurate and that leaves the media open to all kinds of attacks. Yes, I will admit that it is a he said she said setting (she being the media), but that also means and implies that the NSO Group is not out of the woods at present. And let’s be honest, who needs a tool like this to keep track of the Dalai Lama? The man is out there in nowhere land and when he is travelling we see 50-150 reporters surrounding him, all ways to keep track, no NSO Group required.

As we see the horse Pegasus go on a course towards the government destinations, I see less of an issue with the NSO Group and a hell of a lot more with the Stakeholders who do not have the ideas, the innovations, but they really like the money attached to it. Do you still think I am on the wrong horse track?

There is always the time will tell part, but consider that if the media has not released a dashboard of these 50,000 numbers, I believe that my case is rather clear, I would personally consider that list is nothing more than the fabrication of a stakeholder who needs the revenue that the NSO Group currently has.

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The devil rang

This is too good, I had just finished yesterday’s article and the Guardian gives me ‘Spyware can make your phone your enemy. Journalism is your defence’, in this that I have some troubles accepting that journalism is my defence, they are al about circulation and satisfying their shareholders and stakeholders (optionally advertisers too). But the article came at the right moment, even as this is about Pegasus and the NSO group. Whenever I look back at the title ‘Pegasus’ I think back to Pegasus mail and windows 3.1. It is a reflex, but a nice one. So, the article gives us “The Pegasus project poses urgent questions about the privatisation of the surveillance industry and the lack of safeguards for citizens”, which is nice, but Microsoft, Solarwinds and Cisco made a bigger mess and a much larger mess, so pointing at Pegasus at this point seems a little moot and pointless. (Microsoot’s Exchange anyone?)

Yes, there are questions and it is fair to ask them, so when we see “This surveillance has dramatic, and in some cases even life-threatening, consequences for the ordinary men and women whose numbers appear in the leakbecause of their work exposing the misdeeds of their rulers or defending the rights of their fellow citizens”, yes questions are good, but the fact that millions of records went to the open air via all kinds of methods (including advertiser Microsoft) is just a little too weird. And it is not up to me, it was The Hill who asked the people (5 days ago after the Kaseya hack gone public, the larger question that actually matters ‘Kaseya hack proves we need better cyber metrics’ and they are right, when we see “Once “infected”, your phone becomes your worst enemy. From within your pocket, it instantly betrays your secrets and delivers your private conversations, your personal photos, nearly everything about you” we read this and shrug, but at this point how did a third party operator (NSO group) get the data and the knowhow to make an app that allows for this? Larger question should be handed to both Google and Apple. The fact that the phones are mostly void of protection comes from these two makers. This is a setting of facilitation and a lack of cyber security. The NSO group decided to set a limited commercial application (more likely to facilitate towards the proud girls and boys of Mossad) and they took it one step further to offer it to other governments as well, is that wrong?

So when we see “All of these individuals were selected for possible surveillance by states using the same spyware tool, Pegasus, sold by the NSO Group. Our mission at Forbidden Stories is to pursue – collaboratively – the work of threatened, jailed or assassinated journalists”, if that were true, we would see a lot more articles regarding the 120 Journalists jailed in Turkey, not to mention the 60 journalists that were assassinated (read: targeted killing exercise) there as well. The papers are all about a journalist no one cares about (Jamal Khashoggi) but the other journalists do not really make the front page giving pause and skepticism to “the work of threatened, jailed or assassinated journalists”, my personal view is that the advertisers and stake holders don’t really care about those lives. Then I have issues with “This investigation began with an enormous leak of documents that Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International had access to”, was it really a leak, or did one government take view away from them (by Amnesty International) and handed it towards the NSO group? A list of 50,000 numbers is nothing to sneer at, as such, I doubt it was a leak, it was a tactical move to push the limelight away from them and push it somewhere else. As we consider Kaseya, Solarwinds, Microsoft and Cisco, the weak minded democratic intelligence players from the Unified Spies of America come to mind, but I admit that I have no evidence, it is pure speculation.

And then we see the larger danger “But the scale of this scandal could only be uncovered by journalists around the world working together. By sharing access to this data with the other media organisations in the Forbidden Stories consortium, we were able to develop additional sources, collect hundreds of documents and put together the harrowing evidence of a surveillance apparatus that has been wielded ferociously against swaths of civil society”, who did they share access to? Who reports to another faction that is not journalism or is purely greed driven? In this, the article (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/commentisfree/2021/jul/19/spyware-can-make-your-phone-your-enemy-journalism-is-your-defence) gives us one other gem, it is “not to mention more than 180 journalists from nearly two dozen countries”, as such we see 0.36% of the data is about journalists, so if I was to look at a slice and dice dashboard, how will these 50,000 people distribute? So when we see “If one reporter is threatened or killed, another can take over and ensure that the story is not silenced”, yes, how did that end up for those journo’s in Turkey? What about outliers in data like Dutch journalist Peter R. De Vries? He is not getting the limelight that much in the last three days, you all moved on? You pushed the limelight towards Jamal Khashoggi for well over a year, who achieved less than 0.01% compared to Peter R. De Vries. I reckon that this article, although extremely nice is there to cater to a specific need, a need that the article does not mention (and I can only speculate), but when we see all this holier than though mentions and we see an inaction on Turkey’s actions, as well as a lack of news regarding Peter R. De Vries, I wonder what this article was about, it wasn’t really about the NSO group and Pegasus, they are mentioned 4 and 7 times, the article was to push people towards thinking it is about one thing and it becomes about the 0.36% of journalists in a list of 50,000, all whilst the number is mentioned once in the article without a breakdown. Someone else is calling, when you answer, just make sure the local number is not 666.

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Those we needlessly fear

All others pay cash! Yes, that was direct, was it not? We have seen millions of articles fly by, all given the very same announcement: ‘Fear Saudi Arabia‘, as well as ‘MBS is a monster‘. Yet, what evidence was given? What actual evidence did we get?

Turkey played its innuendo game, we can also accept that the US is playing a protective game for Saudi Arabia and that too should be highlighted, yet NO ONE has taken an academic look at those so called tapes as have given the audience the rundown, what was there, what was proven. Is there even enough evidence that Jamal Khashoggi is on the tapes? Journalists are in their own corrupt little world of satisfying the shareholders, the stake holders and the advertisers and they all want Saudi Arabia to look like they are all guilty, all to the very top. In addition we see the G20 Argentina game that France played with their ‘confrontation’, conveniently enough staged to be caught on CNN. He was not that amateur like when he had to have a few words with someone high up at Crédit Agricole, was he? Where have they got that leaked conversation?

I see it as a simple operational premise to counter the fear that they have. It gets worse, at present the vultures are circling and we get to see more fallout. News dot com dot au are giving us (at https://www.news.com.au/world/middle-east/saudi-friend-of-jamal-khashoggi-sues-israeli-surveillance-firm/news-story/b0bf9d501332df9ad31bede7de904b6c) ‘Saudi friend of Jamal Khashoggi sues Israeli surveillance firm‘ gives us ‘A Saudi dissident‘, as well as ‘Omar Abdulaziz, said he was friends with Khashoggi‘. Now people make all kinds of claims, I can make the claim that I am the lover of Scarlett Johansson; she just does not know it yet. Anyone in the media can contact frukan Johansson and verify that fact (or prove it to be wrong), we can’t in the case of Khashoggi, can we? Was there corroborating evidence that they were actual friends? If so, why was that not added? The news site makes no real effort to substantiate that friendship and that is not what this is about. You see, it is the claim ‘a lawsuit against an Israeli surveillance company, claiming its sophisticated spyware targeted him and helped lead to the killing of his friend‘. We have two problems here. In the first, is there any evidence to back that up? In the second, Jamal Khashoggi was an unknown person to 93% of the planet, yet he was a journalist for the Washington Post, and as such he was a lot more visible than most others. Also, the entire filing matter in Istanbul gave rise that plenty of people knew where he was, so the spyware seems redundant. If there was quality spyware in place he could have been killed anywhere and leave the optional involvement of Saudi Arabia almost completely out of it. Does that not make sense?

The last paragraph is the killer here: “citing news reports and other sources claiming that NSO Group sold Saudi Arabia the technology in 2017 for $US55 million ($A75 million)“. The first thing here is to look at those news reports; I wonder how much innuendo is in there. Then we get the stage that technology worth $55 million was bought when JK was very much alone, giving rise to the reason of purchase, last by not least is the investigation on the NSO group and their software and that is what I believe was the foundation, it does not matter where and how the NSO group software was used. I believe that Omar Abdulaziz got wind of a 2016 article not unlike those on Vice (at https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/3da5qj/government-hackers-iphone-hacking-jailbreak-nso-group), and saw ‘Government Hackers Caught Using Unprecedented iPhone Spy Tool‘. so when we see (or saw) “Ahmed Mansoor, a 46-year-old human rights activist from the United Arab Emirates, received a strange text message from a number he did not recognize on his iPhone“, the brain of Omar Abdulaziz  optionally went ‘ka-chink‘ and his pupils turned to dollar signs, It was optionally his opportunity of a lifetime.

So who is right?

I am telling you right now that all I am writing from my opposition is pure speculation, yet is it less of more believable? Is the NSO group real? Yes they are and they have something that every nation on the planet with a decent technology level requires. Any government have people they want to keep tabs on, and that is what this solution optionally provides for. It is not a killing tool, and at $55 million it is not some tool you use for simply ending someone’s life, there are more convenient and more elegant ways to facilitate to punch out someone time clock of life. When you stage a $55 million solution when $50K in an account does it, that solution does not make sense.

Still, we cannot ignore the NSO group software and it might have been used to keep tabs on JK, that is optionally a reality we face, yet we all face that optional for a number of reasons and there we have the crux, knowing where a person is does not mean that their life has to be ended, the fact that we have tools, does not imply that we have to use other tools. The audience factor is trying to give us that idea, an emotional driven premise of events to set the stage of intentional international execution. There has been, and unlikely will be any evidence showing that. Not by some eager frog (an unnamed France governmental executive) stating to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ‘I am really worried!‘ worried about what? Conversations eagerly and ‘unintentionally’ leaked right in full view of the CNN camera, are people truly stupid enough to go for that bait?

Then we get claims in papers like the Sydney Morning Herald trying to up their game, yet at present I am not certain if the Saudi government would lose if a defamation case was brought to court and that is me merely contemplating two of the JK articles that I have read in the last two days.

In addition, the article has the claim ‘and helped lead to the killing of his friend‘, which is actually very clever as in this way stated we have a problem, or do we? Is there any evidence that the solution was or was not used? If there is a way to check the usage of that software then Omar Abdulaziz opened an interesting door. You see at that point, under the US freedom of information act, close to two dozen claims can be made regarding the NSA (the San Antonio location) on how they have been keeping tabs on people. In the January case of Sherretta Shaunte Washington, her attorney might optionally (with properly applied intelligence) be able to overturn any given sentence against her. There has been the rumour that the NSA assisted in keeping tabs on a dozen burner phones. You see, it is not the sim card; it is the mobile imei number on EVERY phone that is the issue. The NSO group seemingly figured out the algorithm to take this to the races and that advantage is worth well over $55 million. That is exactly why the Mexicans wanted the solution too. Most Mexicans are still believing that without the sim it is nothing, yet one call gave away the imei number and that number is a lot more useful than most consider.

And in the end it is Forbes who gives us the missing diamond going all the way back to August 2016. Here we are treated to: “looking at the domains registered by NSO, they determined Pegasus could have been used across Turkey, Israel, Thailand, Qatar, Kenya, Uzbekistan, Mozambique, Morocco, Yemen, Hungary, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, and Bahrain, though there was no clear evidence“, in all this the one logical step, the one thought that no one has been willing to voice for a number of reasons. Turkey is on that list. So what if this was Turkey all along from beginning to end? Turkey, who had the solution to keep tabs on thousands of journalists, reporters and bloggers, and jailing hundreds of journalists, do you actually think that they are beyond killing a journalist? I mentioned a few yesterday, so you there is evidence all over the field and so far no actual and factual evidence has been given on any involvement of the Saudi Royal family, yet everyone is playing that card as often as possible.

I am not in denial, I am not stating that they are innocent, I am merely looking and hoping to see real evidence, and so far the absence of that investigation has been astounding. There is enough evidence on the involvement of Saudi’s in all this, yet the proper vetting of Turkish evidence by the media has seemingly been lacking. The press (and the media as a whole) merely pushed that same button again and again and it makes me wonder on the premise in which other ways we are (seemingly) being deceived. That is the clear consequence of orchestration, it makes us all doubt all the other evidence, and in light of the USA playing their silver briefcase WMD game in regards to Iraq, that has made us distrust a lot of other evidence, evidence that might have been valid, but we are in a stage where we no longer trust the messengers in all that and as the media and newspapers lose more and more credibility, we have started to treat most news as fake news.

That is the price of orchestration and the players remain in denial that it is happening. That is the part we see form a source called Foreign Policy dot com. The article (at https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/12/03/how-an-internet-impostor-exposed-the-underbelly-of-the-czech-media/), gives us: ‘How an Internet Impostor Exposed the Underbelly of the Czech Media. When politicians own the press, trolls have the last laugh‘, the article by Tim Gosling gives us: “Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis—and expose just how easily disinformation can slip into the mainstream press, especially when politicians control it.” It is a mere introduction to: “In September, the Czech broadsheet Lidove Noviny published an op-ed by Horakova expressing support for Babis’s refusal to offer asylum to 50 Syrian orphans, as was proposed by an opposition member of parliament. Playing up to his populist pledge not to allow “a single refugee” into the Czech Republic, the prime minister said the country had its own orphans to care for“. It merely gives us parts to ponder, the amount of pondering increases with: “In tapes released by unknown sources onto the internet last year, for instance, he was heard discussing stories damaging to his political rivals with a reporter from Mlada fronta Dnes, which alongside Lidove Noviny is controlled by Agrofert—the agrochemicals conglomerate that is the centerpiece of Babis’s business empire.

I have written again and again against the media facilitation for the shareholders, the stakeholders and the advertisers, here we see the impact when the media and the shareholder are one and the same. That article from a freelance reporter who seemingly contributed to Foreign Policy, The Telegraph, Politico Europe, Deutsche Welle, World Politics et al. He shows that there is a much larger issue and that the difference between those bringing the news and fake news bringers is almost indistinguishable. We might give passage to the LA Times, the Washington Post, New York Times, the Times, the Guardian and several others, yet after that the mess becomes no longer trusted, mostly because the source is too unknown to us. The media did this to themselves through facilitation and until that changes fake news will have too many options to gain traction with the people influencing a populist political nation on a near global scale.

It is one of the reasons why I refuse to merely accept the view of people blaming Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for it all. There are too many intelligence gaps, too many parts of merely insinuated conjecture whilst the intelligence was not properly vetted and it happened for the most in Turkey (the consulate is Saudi ground). We might never ever get the answer of what truly happened, and to a very large extent it is because of the games that the media played from the very beginning. A game staged in innuendo, unnamed sources and people talking on the promise of anonymity. It is not the fact that these elements exist, it is because to a much larger extent too many of them were used at the same time, pressing the same directional button, most of it not scrutinised to the degree that was essential, and when contra dictionary evidence was found, those issues were ignored by the largest extent by all the media, that too is the foundation of fake news, we merely chose to ignore it, it is our emotional side and that is the bigger issue. People are no longer adhering to innocent until guilty, the media has become a ‘guilty until proven innocent machine‘ and that drives the populist agenda more than anything else, so I oppose them all by stating: ‘The Saudi government is one we needlessly fear, until we have conclusive evidence of their action that is the only way we should be‘. We have become puppets in a world where tyrants (Robert Mugabe), alleged mass murderers (Slobodan Milošević), criminals (shooters who were granted indemnity from prosecution) and paedophiles (Catholic clergy) get more consideration than any Muslim ever had, how sad has our world become?

 

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A Bill of Goods

So when was the last time that you were sold a bill of goods? Have you ever been in that place? Some people avoid most of it by never purchasing 2nd hand materials to avoid that, I am for the most one of those people. I tend to inform myself before I go into anything, like a good person should. Now there is a level that we should attend to and after that it is overkill, paranoia and optionally a few other things. So there is a basic check we all should make. You get that don’t you? So when I looked into Cambridge Analytica in previous articles, I was a little late to the party (4 hours late), but that was because I wanted to look into a few things. So on the 18th of March, I got a few issues that made me wonder, and off course the first question I had was “Here I wonder (for a mere moment) if something wrong was done at all“, you see not having that question makes it all emotional and useless. It is all about the facts. So when we see the utter inactivity of the police and other elements for close to 10 days, I knew that this was about something else and there was even the premise that Cambridge Analytica was not the only player in town. So when I went “Robert Mercer has found a business model that works. The question merely remains on how that data was captured“, I had a little more than you all bargained for. This continued whilst ‘my emotional‘ side also added “for years I have spoken out clearly that these users are all about stating ‘privacy’ no the NSA whilst at the same time sharing indiscriminately on social media like Facebook, whilst not comprehending the system because it was ‘free’. This is the direct consequence and these users will be used again and again because that is what they signed up for“, the evidence (a slightly overstated word), had seen parts of this going back to 2014. The quotes were from ‘How Facebook data flows‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/03/18/how-facebook-data-flows/amp/). Yet today’s article ‘Cambridge Analytica closing after Facebook data harvesting scandal‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/may/02/cambridge-analytica-closing-down-after-facebook-row-reports-say) leaves us with a lot more questions. Consider the following quote “The company has started insolvency proceedings in the US and UK. At Cambridge Analytica’s New York offices on an upmarket block on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, it appeared all the staff had already left the premises“, yet this is in direct opposition to “Although Cambridge Analytica might be dead, the team behind it has already set up a mysterious new company called Emerdata. According to Companies House data, Alexander Nix is listed as a director along with other executives from SCL Group. The daughters of the billionaire Robert Mercer are also listed as directors” and that is not where it stops. You see Metro (at https://www.metro.us/news/the-big-stories/cambridge-analytica-backers-new-data-company-emerdata) gave us 3 days after the news “Emerdata was incorporated in the UK in August 2017, reports Business Insider“, this puts a spin on the previous statement, because as the first liner sinks, the Rigid Inflatable Boat (pun intended) was already prepared for the main cast of it all to vacate the premises onto a different vessel, yet were they visited by the police and other digital forensic instances? No they were not! It seems that when you are backed by a billionaire, the machines of prosecution tend to maul extremely slowly, or the machines is inhabited by cowards that are not willing to press any buttons until they can blame someone else. Whatever the reasoning will be, it is about to get a lot more juicy!

That is seen with “The data was collected via Facebook’s permissive “Graph API”, the interface through which third parties could interact with Facebook’s platform. This allowed Kogan to pull data about users and their friends, including likes, activities, check-ins, location, photos, religion, politics and relationship details“, not only was the Facebook team extremely lazy, the setting of the app could have potentially made things worse. They could have been accumulating data and reset the data against aggregated statistical margins, that means that EVERY market research company on the planet had optional access to additional data they never ever had before, it would have optionally increased value of any dashboard by 400%, now consider that I saw part of this flaw (I never knew that Facebook had made it THIS easy) from 2014 onwards. Even if the system was less able, there was a flaw and there is absolutely no chance that this merely involves Cambridge Analytica. So when we consider this, and add the quote “He told an undercover reporter: “We did all the research, all the data, all the analytics, all the targeting. We ran all the digital campaign, the television campaign and our data informed all the strategy.” He also revealed that the company used a self-destruct email server to erase its digital history. “No one knows we have it, and secondly we set our … emails with a self-destruct timer … So you send them and after they’ve been read, two hours later, they disappear. There’s no evidence, there’s no paper trail, there’s nothing.”” this changes the game on a few levels, this is no longer merely data capturing, or data analyses, this is tradecraft, deleted things cannot be acted on, a truth that has existed even before Facebook existed (ask the horse Pegasus). So when we think that James Brien Comey Jr. esquire, who served as the seventh Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation from September 4, 2013, until his dismissal on May 9, 2017. The dismissal is part of it all because, as I personally see it, he never had a chance, this is not some commercial app; this was tweaked on a much higher level (to where will never be proven, and unless someone kept a printed email, the evidence is gone forever). That part shown that this was no small operation, this was tried and tested on several levels and if there had been no whistle-blower, we would never have known, even if the metropolitan police decided not to sit on their hands for about a week, it still would not have mattered.

It does not stop there, this is a lot bigger and I think Mark Zuckerberg knows this, he must have realised this in the first hour the mess landed on his desk, the question is what he would have been able to do after the fact, I think it would have been very little. The fact that the Guardian had part of this in 2015 also counts, even as there is a large lull in activity, a journalist hands are tied to some extent, no evidence, no setting and even as I knew parts of this earlier, I could not prove it and Facebook was certainly not going to be much help there, because the value of their treasury is their data and someone telling them it is overstated by 70% is not what they are willing to hear or give attention to.

The next part is Cambridge University researcher Aleksandr Kogan, when we see “My view is that I’m being basically used as a scapegoat by both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica. Honestly, we thought we were acting perfectly appropriately. We thought we were doing something that was really normal“, really? Capturing private data is perfectly normal? We see that part in “Aleksandr Kogan, a Moldovan-born researcher from Cambridge University, admits harvesting the personal details of 30 million Facebook users via a personality app he developed. He then passed the data to Cambridge Analytica who assured him this was legal, he said“, he had no clue on Intellectual Property rights? Because that was already an issue when I attended University years before that, there are Facebook documents on what can and can’t be done, none of that rings a bell? And this statement now completely opposes the mention by Cambridge Analytica that there was never any data. In addition, his title, where he is boasting his title as a Data Scientist, he should be aware of Loshin (2002), Loshin, D. (2002). Knowledge Integrity: Data Ownership, June 8, 2004. Here we see “Researchers should have a full understanding of various issues related to data ownership to be able to make better decisions regarding data ownership. These issues include paradigm of ownership, data hoarding, data ownership policies, balance of obligations, and technology. Each of these issues gives rise to a number of considerations that impact decisions concerning data ownership” the fact that the information came from a protected source, should have been clear indication that Aleksandr Kogan should have clearly known that what he did was illegal to the larger extent, or he could remain in denial and just hand in his degree and title (Cambridge University might like that a lot better too).

All simple points that seem to have been looked over or is that looked past).

Now let’s get back to my previous promise ‘it is about to get a lot more juicy!‘ and go just there. So you all have heard the one truth, ‘If you don’t want your naked selfies to make it to the internet, do not make any!‘ So there is this girl who thinks she might be a photo model, so she goes ‘tits out’ and shows that she is photo model material, she sees the results and realises that she is not, so she makes her boyfriend promise to delete them and he does. At home he undelete’s the pictures, posts them online and he looks for a new ‘fuck of the week’. For her it all goes tits up which is worse that tits out and that is where we are now, Facebook has ‘shared’ the data and now it is out, so when we see the link to Emerdata, and the mention that Alexander James Ashburner Nix has the following company appointments

  • SCL GROUP LIMITED (05514098), as Director since Jan 2016
  • SCL ANALYTICS LIMITED (09838667), as Director, since Oct 2015
  • CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA(UK) LIMITED (09375920), as Director, since Jan 2015
  • SCL DIGITAL LIMITED (09375055), as Director, since Jan 2015, DISSOLVED
  • SCL SOVEREIGN LIMITED (09375809), as Director, since Jan 2015, DISSOLVED
  • SCL COMMERCIAL LIMITED (08840965), as Director, since Jan 2015
  • SCL SOCIAL LIMITED (08410560), as Director, since Feb 2013
  • SCL ELECTIONS LIMITED (08256225), as Director, since Oct 2012
  • EMERDATA LIMITED (10911848), as Director, since Jan 2018, RESIGNED, Mar 2018
  • FIRECREST TECHNOLOGIES LIMITED (11238956), as Director 2018, RESIGNED same day

This is all form one address in one instance he resigns the day he is hired? How weird is that? Don’t answer, the options are all overwhelming, but in all these instances he would have had access to infrastructure allowing the passing through of terabytes of data, it is also so interesting that they were all called Alexander, perhaps a fluke! Yet when we look at Alexander Bruce Tayler, we see that he is also a Director at Emerdata limited, so the plot does thicken. In addition, these places are all linked to PKF Littlejohn, the chartered accountants, now that last part makes sense as a director might seek one accountant for all companies, nothing weird about that. The issue is that there is a whole web of connections that allow the data to have been moved to Hong Kong and New York with no options to securely obtain the data and have it wiped. So this is not an accusation, this is the realistic setting that the data could (I do say ‘could’) have been spread all over the planet, until proven that the data was illegally obtained there is no crime and no option to get anything done, Facebook should have known this from day one. Even in the mid 90’s it was clear that Intellectual property and Data ownership was the hard-core central point for any corporate setting. If not, why would there have been such a booming business in transferring legacy systems?

Data has value, ask any salesperson!

So are we sold a bill of goods, because that is what it looks like? Let me also add that this is not sold by the Guardian, I think that the players in this game has been a lot more clever than most players and the paraphrased suggestion that the rats pretty much walked away with a whole wheel of cheese (ask any sinking ship) is not the strangest notion in all this. The final part we see (at https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/05/02/cambridge_analytica_shutdown/) with ‘Cambridge Analytica dismantled for good? Nope: It just changed its name to Emerdata‘, yet is that information valuable? I cannot tell because I am not an accountant. You see, I found it interesting that even as PKF Littlejohn, the representative of PKF International was seen in all the registrations, it is “the boards have applied to appoint insolvency practitioners Crowe Clark Whitehill LLP to act as the independent administrator for Cambridge Analytica“, there might be a valid reason for that yet when I seek into PKF international I see: “PKF International member firms lead the world in Insolvency services, we can help you through financial misfortune and the recovery process globally” (at https://www.pkf.com/services/advisory/insolvency/). In this it is merely my speculation that this is the start of a Chinese wall, a level of isolation regarding information and reporting. It protects all the players in the house. It remains speculative, yet is it an optional truth? When was the last time you saw an accountancy firm walk away from revenue? Tesco lunch anyone?

So whilst someone might cry for the people involved, I wonder how much tears an executive deserves when you realise that 2 hour mail deletion systems were in place, what else were they hiding and who else is playing that game, because when we see the 2 hour deletion setting and the police sitting on their hands for around a week (as I personally see it), I have little faith that the actual truth will ever be found through any level of evidence. The whistle-blower Christopher Wylie E Coyote is the one clog in the cog that set this all to an open investigation status; so whilst the rest is doing the ‘meep meep’ roadrunner we are left wondering how many other social media corporate settings are filled with stupid people. The numbers rarely add up, but I never expected the books to be this out of balance, not when we realise that this partially implies that Mark Zuckerberg has been doing open heart surgery on himself with a butter knife (a stupid idea for at least two reasons).

That is what it looks and feels like and it is as I personally see it as the result of being sold a bill of goods by all the reporting players, most of them unaware that they were doing just that (I am referring to the actual newspaper reporters in this instance).

 

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