Tag Archives: Russia

The assumption of right

This happens, it happens almost every day and we all (including me) see that happen. My view was that oil prices would go up. It is a logic set to demand and supply, a basic principle. As OPEC cut production by 1.2 million barrels a day, we would have expected a rise, maybe not directly, but overall when you get less of a product, the prices rise. It is the basic foundation of commerce; shortage tends to drive prices up. Yet a Forbes article proves me wrong (at https://www.forbes.com/sites/gauravsharma/2018/12/10/opecs-output-cut-not-enough-to-provide-short-term-70-oil-price-floor/#668312a8d58d).

This is fine, I never proclaimed to have all the answers, yet it does seem odd that less oil still drops the price from $80 to $51 in one month, and the logic is gone at my end of the table, yet I also know that oil prices are a little more complex, so I took this moment to learn a little. Gaurav Sharma gives us: “oil price is not just a story of supply; it is also a story of demand“. That part makes sense, yet this part only gives rise to changes if demand dampens and dampens by a whole lot. We see that with: “It cannot be ignored that Eurozone growth continues to disappoint, global trade is decelerating and China’s slowdown is a visible fact, and not just a forecast. We haven’t even mentioned the words “trade wars” and a prospect of further U.S. interest rate hikes“. Yes, so far I am on board, yet does that dampen the need for oil to THAT degree? This is precisely the setting when we consider: “If anything OPEC’s move provides U.S. drillers with a further incentive to pump more, and they already are, having made America the world’s largest producer of crude oil.” This implies that the need is changing; America needs less as they become self-reliant more. This explains the setting in the short term, yet it also gives rise to other dilemmas. As the US is using its own stock to keep cheap oil, we also see the change in the dynamics. Less money in the treasury through cheap oil, more costs (and optionally more jobs mind you), yet the budget and shortages of America (like $21 trillion debt) now has another not so nice tail. The interest on 21 trillion can no longer be fuelled with fuel. With a downwards economy, the debt will rise a little faster and there will not be anything left for infrastructure. Now, in this case none of this is the fault of the US Administration, or the current administration to be a little more precise. There is a lot wrong as the Clinton administration left the nation with surplus. I am not ignoring that 9/11 changed the game, yet the Obama administration had a clear directive to do something and that was not done. We can argue whether they had the options or not, we know that the war on terror has had a long-lasting impact. And the downward fuel price does not help. Yet cheap fuel is good for all the non-petrochemical industries and the people requiring cheap oil for heating.

The writer also gives us: “As things stand, a sustainable $70 oil price doesn’t look certain at all for 2019“. OK, I can only support that for as long as the US can keep up with the reductions that OPEC and Russia implement, when that stops working prices will go up, just how fast is unknown. It depends on the current storage and demand and I am not certain that this will not bite in 2019. I cannot academically argue with Gaurav Sharma and his 20 years of experience. His point might be valid, yet the Economic Times gives us: “WTI is forming Doji candlestick pattern and also near its long term Fibonacci retracement. Both are positive signs for crude oil prices“, If this happens within the next two weeks, my predicted increase of 15% comes true. Yet how is that chance? Focussing on merely my point of view tends to be delusional, which is why I liked the view by Gaurav Sharma. He gave me something to think about. It is Mike Terwilliger, portfolio manager, at Resource Liquid Alternatives, in New York who gave us (last week): “It’s a stunning market backdrop where everything from the adjectives used by the Fed chairman to whom is appointed head of trade negotiations can roil the markets. While the macro backdrop remains firm, with strong earnings and historically low unemployment, sentiment is unquestionably vulnerable. That would, in my view, fit the definition of an opportunity – a disconnect between the underlying and perception.” (at https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/markets/stocks/news/us-wall-st-tumbles-growth-trade-unnerve-investors/articleshow/66946928.cms)

I have always considered and known about ‘the underlying‘ and or versus ‘perception‘, no mystery there, yet are there factors we see to forget about? Part we get from the Guardian (May 2018) when we were given: “Demand is expected to average 99.2mb/d this year.” I am adding the part where that demand is not going to diminish over at least part of 2019. Even as we see more and more drive towards sustainable energy, most players are still all about presenting and not completely in the realm of achieving, hence oil demand remains stable (as far as stable tends to be), in addition we need to look at the oil futures. S&P global (at https://www.spglobal.com/platts/en/market-insights/latest-news/oil/121018-crude-oil-futures-stable-to-higher-on-opec-production-cuts) gives us: “risk sentiment remained heightened after US Trade Representative Robert Lighthize Sunday said that he considers March 1 to be a hard deadline for a trade deal to be reached with China and that tariffs will be imposed otherwise“. So basically the futures are rolling towards the up side making me correct, yet as long as the US can keep up with demand and as long as we see this continue, oil will remain stable and not push beyond $60 per barrel in the short term. MatketWatch is actually more optimistic towards the consumers of fuel. With: “Oil futures fell Monday to settle at their lowest in about a week on growing concerns surrounding a slowdown in energy demand“.

Why do we care?

We care because the drop in demand as projected and given by several sources is also the economic indicator that not all is well. This is seen in several sources. Goldman Sachs, via CNBC gives us: “We expect the U.S. to slow down to less than 2 percent by the end of next year and as a result of that you could see the market getting quite scared“, yet would be an overly optimistic view. We saw last week that the US Economy gained 43,000 jobs less than last year giving us a much less optimistic view on that part of the equation. Apple is falling down, tension on the Economy (specifically the US economy) is on the rise, some might say sharply on the rise. In addition, the Financial Post gives us: “Wall Street ignored trouble signs for months. Now it sees risks everywhere Markets face stomach-churning swings as economic uncertainty grows“. Even when we stick to the headlines, it was nothing really breathtaking. The US trade deal with China, the growth fears in the EU, they all link into a negative setting of the economy. Not recession, yet a negative impact due to no growth (too little growth is more accurate) and the events in France do not help either. In addition, there is now a realistic chance that Italy is entering recession territory. Even as it is possible to avert it, it will means that the Italian economy will end at a standstill (which is not a recession), yet in all this, with the Two large EU economies at 0 (France and Italy), it falls to Germany to bring home the bacon and sausages, implying that they are all eager and desperate to sink any notion of Brexit as soon as possible. As we see the jesters giving us that the UK can exit Brexit, that whilst they are seemingly unable to get a handle on the ECB and their everlasting lack of transparency, so whilst we see (at https://www.euractiv.com/section/politics/news/ecb-chief-rejects-chance-to-adopt-eus-transparency-register/) the unsettling part “The European Central Bank’s President Mario Draghi has rejected calls from European lawmakers to have financiers who give advice and feedback to the ECB register as lobbyists, saying they merely provide “information”.” I merely see an extended reason to pursue Brexit stronger. I actually am in a state of mind to demand the right for targeted killing these so called ‘informers’, which is a massive overreaction, yet the need to get these information givers listed next to the lobbyists is becoming more and more essential. If any nepotism, or if any under the table deal is found within the EU, their exposure is essential. I believe that this will flush greed out into the open rather fast, but then I am merely one voice in all this.

It connects

You see, the QE is supposed to come to an end this Thursday, or at least the formal announcement to end it at the end of this month. However, when we consider Reuters: “the economy weakening, trade tensions darkening the outlook and headwinds still on the horizon in the shape of Italy and Brexit, financial markets are looking ahead to next year and just how the ECB will protect the bloc from a severe downturn“, not only does the rejection to officially end QE have an impact, it also means that suddenly demand for things like oil will suddenly spike, that means that reserves go down, oil prices go up and there the cost of living will impact harshly on Europe in winter and as such on American soil the need for a price hike will not really be one that people will cherish, and when we add to that the part that Germany also has a depressed economy to look forward to, we see the three great economic players all in a diminished form, implying that the economy will tank on the low side not merely in this year, it will have a depressed form of growth in 2019 as well. There will be all kinds of lessened good news, whilst the good news is not that great to begin with. It gives rise to the point that I might be wrong on the oil price as I expected it to grow by 15%, it might still go up yet not that much and it will come at a really high cost this time around.

Right or Wrong?

It does not matter in this case; the issues seen are openly visible and heralded throughout the net, magazines and newspapers. The issue of ‘the underlying‘ and or versus ‘perception‘ is at the heart of the matter. Even as energy and oil prices show certain paths in all of this, it does not make it a correct view (which is neither right not wrong), what we perceive in opposition to the underlying elements connected, that is the bigger picture of impact. It is also a new stage. As the politicians are fighting over the carcasses of opportunity and bonus structures, we see that Germany has a few other elements in play. It is not merely the manufacturing part of it all, it is infrastructure as well and that is where we get my earlier statement, a statement I gave 3 days ago in ‘Behind the facade‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/12/08/behind-the-facade/), if Huawei (minus one arrested exec) shows their value in Germany with the given quote, which came well over a day after my article (at https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/12/09/germany-is-soft-on-chinese-spying/), where we see: “In the terms of reference published last week by the German Federal Network Agency for its 5G auction, security was not even included in the conditions for awarding the contract. In October, the government announced: “A concrete legal basis for the complete or partial exclusion of particular suppliers of 5G infrastructure in Germany does not exist and is not planned.”“, as well as “For Deutsche Telekom and other network operators, the situation is clear: Huawei offers innovative and reliable products at highly competitive prices. Legally, Deutsche Telekom does not bear any liability for the security risks associated with Huawei technology. And the company does not care about the fact that Huawei’s price advantage is the result of a highly skewed playing field in China. In the world’s largest market, domestic providers control 75 percent of the market, giving them unbeatable economies of scale“, we see the hidden trap that some people related to Mr S. Tupid are now in hot waters (optionally with the exception of Alex Younger). Not only have they not given any evidence regarding the security risk that Huawei is supposed to be. Foreign Policy also gives us: “Given the massive cybersecurity and national security risks, the only responsible decision is for Berlin to follow the Australian, New Zealand, and U.S. lead and ban Chinese providers from the German 5G network“, yet there is no evidence, that was always the problem and so far there is more and more indicators (especially in Australia) that the claim “In none of these three countries will domestic suppliers be the primary beneficiaries“, which I regard to be false, on paper it does not impact ‘primary beneficiaries’, but it does harshly (in Australia at least) negatively impacts the competitors of Telstra, which amounts to the same thing (TPG, Vodafone, Vodafail et al). And when we go back to my writing in ‘Behind the facade‘, where I give the reader: “You see, Huawei can afford to wait to some degree, as we see the perpetuated non truths of devices being pushed forward, the replacements better do a whole lot better and they are unlikely to do so. When we see another failure in 5G start and we see transgressions and those screaming that ‘Huawei’ was a danger, the moment they cannot prove it and their ‘friends’ give us a device that is malicious, the blowback will be enormous. There is already cause for concern if we go by CNBC. They give us a few points that show the additional fear that America has on Huawei“, when the intrusions are not proven and Huawei shows to be a strength for consumers and businesses, heads will roll, there will be a demand for blood by the people, which means that politicians will suddenly hide and become ‘on the principle of the matter‘ and transform their perspectives into in all kinds of lethargic versions of denial.

That too is impacting the economy, because those on track to start pushing out new innovations on 5G will have a clear advantage over the other players and that pushes for success even more, will it come to pass? I cannot tell as there are too many elements in motion and the policies now in place are off course under optional revised in the future as Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer will replace Angela Merkel if her party is re-elected as the biggest one.

We are seeing a few versions in the assumption of right, and we need to realise that the assumption of right and speculative version of what will happen overlaps one another, but they are not the same thing. States of delusion tends to be an impacting factor. Am I delusional to think that big business gives away greed? Am I delusional to consider that Huawei is not a danger? If we go by ‘the underlying‘ and or versus ‘perception‘ I am correct. You see, would China endanger the true power of economy where Huawei would become the biggest brand on internet and 5G requirement, using it for espionage when there are dozens of other methods to get that data (including Facebook policies implemented by Mr S. Tupid and Mrs M. Oronic). As this sifting of data exists on many levels in several ways, not in the least that the overly abundance of TCP/IP layer 8 transgressions happening on a daily basis and at least twice on Sunday), when we realise that, why would any Chinese governmental (namely Chen Wenqing) endanger a Chinese technological powerhouse? The logic is absent in all this. This gives us the light of Alex Younger opposing the others. He gave a policy setting of national need, whilst the others merely voiced all this ‘national security‘ banter on risks that do not even exist yet. Especially when we saw the Australian version of: ”5G will carry communications we “rely on every day, from our health systems … to self-driving cars and through to the operation of our power and water supply.”” Perhaps anyone can tell me how many self-driving cars there are at present or within the next 10 years?

And none of these клоуны (or is that Sarmenti scurrae) considered the step to start with Huawei 5G and replace them at the earliest convenience whilst you work out the bugs of your currently incomplete 5G solutions, the few that are out there for now, a simple business decision that is at the heart of any daily event, including military ones. A nice example there is the ugliest dinghy in US history (aka the Zumwalt class) where we see: “Zumwalt-class destroyers are armed with 80 missiles in vertical-launch tubes and two 155-caliber long-range guns“, which is an awesome replacement from the previous version that was regarded as a Ammo less Gun edition, in the face of continuing budget shortfalls, personnel problems and of course the fact that the previous edition was $1 million per shell, for its smart (GPS) capability. The mere elements that some sources gave out that shooting straight was an ability it naturally acquired as well as the fact that a $440 million ship was not given the budget to get its unique, 155-millimeter-diameter cannon that can shoot GPS-guided shells as far as 60 miles the 600 rounds of ammo at a total cost of $600,000,000. And that is apart from the $10 billion the Navy spent on research and development for the class. So perhaps people still have questions why I considered this monstrosity to be regarded as a ‘sink on the spot‘ project. The fact that The Drive gave us a year ago: “the Navy has steadily hacked away at various requirements, stripping planned systems from the design, in no small part to try and control any further cost overruns and delays. Close-in protection, ballistic and air defense capabilities, and various other associated systems are no longer part of the base design, something The War Zone’s own Tyler Rogoway explained in detail in a past feature, leaving it with limited utility despite its size and cost” (and apart from some minor issue regarding stability and stealthablity which we shall ignore for now) in that light the entire 5G redeployment after the fact and the ability are acquired, tested and evaluated, at that point re-engineering away the advantage that Huawei had built, did that not make sense within 10 seconds?

It is common business practice in IT, and has been for over 2 decades, that is why ASUS and not IBM rules the lay of the desktop land nowadays. so getting even would not have been the dumbest idea either, but no, we see all kinds of unfounded accusations and that is where those people are most likely to lose and out in the sunlight, when they cannot prove that claim, that is when we see on how some elements will soon be disregarded. In this Huawei has a nice advantage in Germany and Saudi Arabia. When they prove the elements there, we will see a large driven technology shift and those making the claims at recent days better have their stories straight.

Yet again, I might be wrong, my assumption of right might get sunk on false premise and nepotism, I do recognise that this has happened before and will happen again.

The assumption of right is at times hindered on delusional thoughts, as well as the need that the other players are straight shooter, and that definitely applies to all politicians, does it not?

 

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Heating at what price?

We all know it; in winter it is about the heating, in summer about the quality of the fan, in addition, we need to make sure that apart from food, and drinks that we have the proper attire. We have known this for almost a lifetime. So even as this is known in the US, President Trump decided to have a conversation with Saudi Arabia to increase production to keep prices down. It seems really nice that Saudi Arabia came forward, yet they had no practical reason to do that did they? Not in an age of bullet points, business cases and maximised profit.

Oil is a commodity, and in the professional world of business, you have to go for the buy low, sell high equation if you want to be in business. So I was surprised to the extent that Saudi Arabia was facilitating towards America.

Yet this is seemingly coming to a halt when Bloomberg treats us to: ‘Putin Says Russia and Saudi Arabia to Extend OPEC+ Oil Pact‘. In itself the title does not give the US the warning that they need to read, the text does however give us: “OPEC, which pumps four-in-ten barrels produced worldwide, will convene in Vienna on Dec. 6 to discuss output cuts after oil prices in November suffered the largest monthly drop since the global financial crisis in 2008” the article also gives us “an advisory group to OPEC told ministers the market is oversupplied, with a need to cut about 1.3 million barrels a day from October levels“, apart from Bloomberg, there were several others showing the news, adding their own political flavour towards facilitation and that will be discussed soon enough. The shape here is not merely that there is oil in the Al Saud family, it is the fact that they are (as any good business does) trying to maximise what they have. People seem to forget that. It might seem a buyers’ market, but that is merely the presentation, once production stops for 12% or more that balance will change really quickly. Let those who want it somewhere else, go somewhere else. The direct impact is that it merely drives prices faster. Even as there is an oversupply, the entire setting seems to be focussed on getting past this winter, the players are in error not to focus on the next winter, for that part will be impacted and it will be a large impact.

As the conversation between Russia and Saudi Arabia continues, whether or not it is some OPEC+ setting, the setting that is evolving is one that I mentioned in ‘Two issues in play‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/11/20/two-issues-in-play/). The day after we saw Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) giving the statement that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was “unstable and unreliable”. So as we were treated to ‘Putin says Russia, Saudis agree to renew OPEC production cuts‘ mere moments ago. How much reserve is there? How long until the prices are raised, optionally just before Christmas as a speculative Ebenezer Scrooge bonus to your household?

The entire matter was just waiting for an opportunity to happen, as we see this unfold over the next few days, we will see additional parts too. The best example that anyone who served knows is that there are three people you do not mess with. The first is your Supply officer, the second is the payroll officer and the last one is the cook. These three are sacred and you leave them alone. So why push the person who is a supply officer, that impacts your payroll officer (as you end up with a fair amount less) and that in turn unbalances what the cook gives you as you cannot afford a full meal. As the price of food goes up, as we see clear data from several sources (Washington Post and HILDA) that larger groups of workers have been on stalling incomes for years now, have I made a clear enough point? When the total income is the same and food prices go up, what would you surrender to the currents of loss, once you realise that fuel prices will be on the rise as well?

In anticipated opposition, don’t give me that ‘ethics regarding Jamal Khashoggi‘ routine, because the bulk of the US senate and US congress have not made any noise regarding all those journalists (well over 240, with over 140 wanted) in Turkish prisons, several of them for life. Not much noise is there? The fact that Turkey isn’t getting slammed for being an ally of Iran is still a mystery, yet there might be some European need there, especially around some ‘nuclear accord’.

Even as I anticipate some reaction in all this, we must also heed the opposition in this. Here I call for Oilprice dot com. Martin Tillier gives us (at https://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/Oil-Output-Cuts-May-Be-Coming-But-Dont-Bet-on-It.html): Crude oil has been in freefall, with both Brent and WTI having lost around a third since hitting highs in early October. There are some demand related worries involved as trade wars threaten to slow global growth, but the biggest reasons for the drop are supply related. A couple of months ago, those highs were achieved in anticipation of a disruption to global supply as the Trump administration’s abandonment of the Iran nuclear deal with Iran and the resulting sanctions took effect. Since then though, a few things have become clear. Firstly, U.S. production has been stepped up by more than imagined. In addition, the Saudis increased their output to help offset the expected loss from Iran but, most importantly in that context, that loss doesn’t look likely to materialize“, he goes on giving us the tough talk part and he is right. Whether we see it as political windbags or perhaps merely a storm in a cup of tea, the impact is not merely some good needed, it is a larger issue that goes beyond supply and demand. Just like the predicted shortage of concrete for the building of Neom city. Those who saw it have been upping their ability for production. Several have doubled it and there is a chance that the UAE will have its own large concrete facility soon enough. As Saudi Arabia could decide to cut production, it could in addition merely seek to seel part of it elsewhere. The end result is the same, yet that trajectory will be much slower. For the current administration it is about getting past this winter, with the next winter being a larger impact on the elections, so it will also impact the cost of living all over the US.

CNBC gives support here (at https://www.cnbc.com/2018/11/28/expect-a-saudi-first-policy-on-oil-production-cuts-regardless-of-trumps-demands-analysts-say.html). It is early days and what we anticipate or expect does not usually happen, yet with “Analysts believe that despite Washington’s geopolitical leverage over the kingdom, after its staunch defense of the Saudi monarchy amid accusations over its alleged role in the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Riyadh will still pursue its own economic interests rather than abide by the wishes of President Trump. The pivotal question hanging over oil markets remains that of production cutbacks. Who will tighten their taps, and by how much?” This is the game for now and even as it is all set in common sense, the one part we cannot anticipate is ‘by how much?‘, I predicted a rough 12% a week before this article came out and so far, the fact that it is still likely to happen before the end of the year, optionally before before Christmas, it does remain to be a the speculative part for now. I expect Russia to try and get a consensus with Saudi Arabia to go well over 12%, optionally closer to 20%. It is essential for Russia, it will be good to the super wealthy oil friends that President Putin has and it will also bring joy to the coffers of the Saudi Monarchy. The question is who can pick up that slack and how fast. The US has its own facilities in it, yet could they keep up? Leave it to the US to piss off 3 of the top 5 producers, which leaves Iraq and they do not have the working infrastructure, moreover, volatility is still their middle name for now, as well as the fact that they merely produce 16% of the other three that the US insulted (more than once I might add).

So will oil prices go up? If the US is set on its current policy, the issue of oil prices is a given certainty, the fact that they will go up before winters end seems more and more likely, yet by how much is not to be anticipated. In this Saudi Arabia, merely needs to have a ‘technical glitch’ and the pumps go down twice for 2-3 days, and the damage is done. At that point, Saudi Arabia merely has to drop production for 15%-20% until the technical matter is ‘resolved’ and all the US can do is pray for Saudi Arabia to accept the assistance of their engineers. Although as Saudi engineers go, their knowledge might be (vastly) superior in all this, they have had plenty of time to get ahead of the curve for some time now.

Should this happen, what will the US do? Throw a tantrum; throw a curveball? I am eager to find out, because the entire journalist part is still a matter for discussion. You all seem to know Jamal Khashoggi. Yet how many of you know Mehmet Topaloğlu, killed by the Turkish police, as was Metin Göktepe. Then we see Önder Babat, Serena Shim, Rohat Aktaş and Yaşar Parlak. The Turkish authorities have shown less than 0.5% effort here when comparing it to Jamal Khashoggi and the silence from the US in these deaths (a few of many) have been deafening, we can ignore the European Union in all this as they seemingly do not care. So when I made the claim that Jamal Khashoggi is merely a convenient puppet to hit Saudi Arabia with, I knew what I was talking about. When we see that inaction is the natural state, the entire Jamal Khashoggi was a game of political players, emotions used to drive an audience, an audience giving Google search currently well over 72 million hits when we see for that JK journalist. Try that with one of the other murdered or imprisoned journalists in Turkey, they are not even a blip on the radar. It is my speculative thought that Neom and the future drive by Saudi Arabia scared the US as it did several European players. It is the first time in history that a Middle Eastern nation has the ability to put the US and EU to shame with their lack of technological progress. They claim to have it, yet Saudi Arabia is making a move towards ‘showing to have it‘, changing the game for both the US and Europe.

This is where we see the difference. China and Russia see this as an opportunity, whilst Europe and the US are seeing it as an inconvenience. In Europe it seems that only Salini Impregilo is taking the charge of that future, having scored already well over half a billion in contracts, the rest of the players are either under the surface or not there at all. Is that not odd either? When we see close to a trillion dollars in opportunities in Saudi Arabia, the noise should be deafening but it is not.

How does that matter?

Well, if oil fuels the coffers, the daily input is more than enough to warrant actions, yet I see not activity anywhere, not to the degree it should have. In all this, within a day I found a way to revolutionise information using 5G (designing a new device in the process), and there we see opportunity, a pilot the size of a city that could have global repercussions and no one is there. I cannot be the only player in town, my ego would never be that delusional, yet there is not activity at all. It makes sense that it is not out in the open, yet some people would have to file for concepts, optionally for patents and I see the light of at least 4 of them right there, yet there is no visible action, and believe me, as a Master of Intellectual property law, I do know where to look.

Karma kicks greed’s ass

We have all seen the news when it comes to Huawei and the list of those banning them is growing, there too we see that China has a vested interest in making a local company a true success and there we see the options too. So when we consider the Verizon offer: “As part of a 10-year agreement, Verizon will expand its wireless small cell infrastructure to build out its existing 4G LTE network and prepare for 5G deployment, with streamlined permitting from the City of Boston. TV licensing will also be amended to support an expansion of Verizon’s Fios TV service to more neighborhoods“, it came in 2016. So consider the actual wording ‘as part of a 10-year agreement‘ and ‘prepare for 5G deployment‘, by the letter, it implies that Boston will optionally not have 5G before 2026, in this it could optionally have been in the foundations of Neom by 2021 (depending on then the first buildings are completed). It would be a kick in the nuts for the US to have something operational after Saudi Arabia, does it not?

Karma bites like Piranha if need be.

This all impacts the oil price, because the Saudi Crown Prince is driven to get Neom right, it also impacts the coffers so whatever is done regarding the oil, would optionally not be allowed to endanger Neom. I cannot prove that, yet I am decently certain that this is the case. We can see this as an opportunity, that as the US seeks options, it can make other offers to offset the optional ‘loss’ to Saudi Arabia. If enabling can be done in money or goods, offering goods is still an optional path to take for the US, yet they too need to realise that the overly visible acts of playing the ‘Khashoggi blues’ whilst not making any noise on the ‘Turkey newspaper shuffle’ is going to be a debate soon enough, especially as there is enough evidence that Turkey has been facilitating for Iran.

In the end

In the end it is about the oil prices and I expect them to go up regardless of what happens, yet there is leverage to a small extent, the amount of price increase is one that could be under negotiation. The question is, will we see proper actions by the US and Europe to limit the price increase and the impact on their citizens? I expect to see an answer to that part within the next two weeks.

Have a fun Monday!

 

 

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Two Issues in play

There is a larger issue in all this, part of it is Wall Street, the gig is up (to some extent) yet no calls are being made to investigate the Analyst game by aspiring new Wall Street kings, and moreover no one is asking questions.

We start with the impact that Apple has had and the Financial Post is giving us (at https://business.financialpost.com/investing/us-stocks-wall-st-pulled-lower-by-apple-trade-worries) “Shares of Apple Inc fell 3.5 per cent after the Wall Street Journal reported the company had cut production orders in recent weeks for all three iPhone models launched in September“, as well as “Other market leaders — including the ‘FANG’ stocks — also fell sharply, underscoring the view that their leadership was on shaky ground. Shares of Facebook were down 5.1 per cent, Amazon.com was down 4.3 per cent, Netflix was down 4.9 per cent and Alphabet (Google) fell 3.4 per cent“. Now, we can go two ways in this, yet I am concentrating on the mere logical view. It is not the part of loss that is concerning me, it is as I said in ‘Annual medical bill $864,685‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/11/17/annual-medical-bill-864685/) “Consider the $2365, whilst their opponent is offering a decently close solution for $1499 (Google) and $1599 (Huawei) all top end phones and the next model is 33% cheaper, in an economy where most people are turning around pennies (just look at Debenhams). It was a really bad market moment; one could argue that Apple believed their marketing whilst it was nowhere near realistic“, when we consider this part, which is the basis application of common sense in a day and age of hardly being able to get by and we see such drops in stock levels, is that because there is underperformance, or a more clear image of overestimation by certain analysts clearing an optional path of short selling? When we consider the definition of short selling as: “The trader sells to open the position and expects to buy it back later at a lower price and will keep the difference as a gain“, is my speculation on a market set to implode that far from the actual truth? Has the entire FAANG group resorted to hiring mentally challenged Business Intelligence enabled accountants, or is someone spiking the Wall Street environment?  Is my thought on this that far out or synch with reality? When we see SBS reporting with ‘Nissan chairman arrested in Japan for financial misconduct‘, and we are given: “Besides being chairman of Nissan, the 64-year-old is also CEO of Renault and leads the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi alliance“, “Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa expressed “despair,” but also suggested that Ghosn had accrued too much power and eluded proper oversight“, as well as “Saikawa gave few details about the nature of the improprieties, including refusing to confirm reports that Ghosn under-reported his income by 5 billion yen, or around $60 million (AUD), over five years from 2011. He said an ongoing investigation limited what details could be shared, and refused to be drawn on whether other people were involved, saying only: “These two gentlemen are the masterminds, that is definite.”“. As we consider the impact of Representative Director Greg Kelly and Carlos Ghosn, we might think that the entire matter is contained, yet is it? The fact that Automotive is a clear element on Wall Street, when we see this and we do not see another part, how wrong have the analysts been getting it? The fact that numbers on Wall Street would not fluctuate to the degree needed as the numbers were spiked by a major players is interesting to consider yesterday’s news (at https://www.zdnet.com/article/nuance-spins-off-automotive-segment-into-new-publicly-traded-company/). You see, just like I found the issue in the Harbour or Rotterdam two decades ago, I looked into another direction. When we consider “Other automotive brands such as Honda, Volkswagen, Ford, Hyundai, Audi, Porsche, Nissan, Kia, Chevrolet, Harley Davidson, Ferrari are ranked by their brand value among the top 100 brands in the world!“, so if we see the SBS part with: “years of financial misconduct including under-reporting of income and inappropriate personal use of company assets“, which looks weird as this is merely an internal part (criminal or not), is there a decent chance that the entire matter is larger and as such, would a provider like Nuance not be hit as they are a component in the Nissan (and Renault, and Mitsubishi)?

In all this, when we consider The actions of one, and the impact on another, yet we see that expectations were ‘firmly’ in the wrong place, at what point will we start asking the damaging questions to analysts who were ‘overly’ positive? So when we see: “Wall Street was looking for earnings of 32 cents a share on revenue of $525 million. Shares of Nuance were down slightly after hours“, were we shown a realistic stage? This gets us to the Sydney Morning Herald, where we see: “Since the FANG outperformance run peaked on August 30, the group has underperformed the S&P 500 by 16.25 per cent. That is their worst underperformance since the first half of 2014 when they underperformed by around 20 per cent“, is it truly an underperformance, or is it set towards unrealistic overestimation and as such, is the foundation of short selling not done on the word of analyts? So in that light, would it not become more and more prudent to ask the analysts certain questions? The fact that certain Nissan events were not on their radar, what else did they not see and as such, would that not have impacted the numbers at Nuance in a similar, yet there unfairly?

What else is there?

Well, that can be seen in one way as these players all need power to be available and energy is becoming an issue in the US. What happens when we put the (big) mouth of Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to the test? As he was ‘kind’ enough to use Bloomberg to state that the current crown prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was “unstable and unreliable”, would it be an idea to ask his royal highness to kindly consider that Oil is a sellers’ market and that it is important to consider the long term future of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as such, it is important to consider the value of oil and I personally believe that it should be raised to $73 per barrel, in light of this cutting oil production by 12% would be essential.

So when Lindsey gets the news that his lack of diplomacy is cutting oil and raising prices, at what point will he ever feel safe again as the American people will react to the mere stage of commerce, it is a sellers’ market plain and simple. It is a sellers’ market because the buyer is always open to get it somewhere else, and in all that there is merely Iran left. How does it all flow now? Let’s not forget that these are not my rules, they are the consequences of Wall Street. At what point will people wake up?

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a monarchy, it is one where the monarch of that nation makes decisions that decide what would be the best track for the people of THEIR nation (which is Saudi Arabia). In a time where the life of a journalist does not matter, Turkey showed that and both the EU and America remained largely quiet, so let’s face it, we do not care about Jamal Khashoggi, yet that person has received more pushed and powered visibility than for example Matteo Messina Denaro (I chose him as I grew up being a huge Diabolik comic fan), so when we see his actions and his absence from the press for the longest time, why would we care about Jamal Khashoggi? Because a knave speaking for Iran direted others to do so? We keep on getting the news, the media, the mention of tapes, yet how clearly has the evidence been investigated? The media stays silent, mostly playing on innuendo as much as possible.

You see, it the Crown Prince succeeds in getting the stage of Neom Started, Saudi Arabia will have started and aspired to something never seen before in the history of this world, all the things that America claimed to have done will be seen active in Saudi Arabia, it is optionally the biggest blow to American ego and optionally their economy too and they are finally scared, like the UK was when the 70’s peace accords had a chance, they pushed Egypt in another direction. Now we see the stage where there is so much anti-Saudi news, that it is sickening to me, especially as the acts of Turkey and Iran are smothered. How much news have you see on the 214 journalist jailed in Turkey? most of them all convicted, the last one a week ago, we were given “A court sentenced Turkish journalist Ali Unal to 19 years in jail on Wednesday on a charge of being a leader in the network accused of carrying out a failed coup in July 2016“, Jamal Khashoggi got 60 million hits in Google Search this morning, it is that far whacked out of balance and the industrial next generation all technological marvel that could be Neom, including the Bridge that links the Sinai (Sharm-El-Sheik) to Saudi Arabia, opening even more options to commerce and growth for Egypt and the Sudan? A mere 2.8 million, a project that is well over $500 billion in investments for technological and financial opportunities; that got less than 3 million hits. I reckon that Saudi Arabia also needs additional PR and digital PR on a much larger scale.

I think that America (as well as the European Union) needs to wake up and smell the coffee and they need to do it fast. As they whinge like little children, they are optionally giving additional fields of economy to India, China and Russia to move into a market where the oil revenues will be pressed for a different directions, so as these people are merely trying to bait infighting within the Saudi Royal family, they should start to realise that one of them wakes up and decides to close the tap by 20% and merely adjust the vision towards 2035, at that point whatever comes next will no longer have any America and even less Wall Street, at what point will the American administration have to forfeit on 21 trillion of debts they can no longer pay? Let’s not forget that the entire FAANG group can vacate and move anywhere globally, at what point will we see the news: ‘NASDAQ shuts down!‘  leaves us with the question: ‘is my speculation so outlandish?’ You see, the needs for the next technology is no longer in America and the difference between global and global minus America is not that big, at that point the politicians of the European Union will fold like little bitches and accept whatever deal will keep them employed and on their gravy train; they are that predictable.

The nice part is that there is every chance that I will be around when that happens, getting to tell the economic and financial editors of all the major newspapers: ‘I told you so!‘ and the blatant attacks, the media toolkit against the current crown prince of Saudi Arabia makes my speculation more and more likely. You see, it was merely a week ago, when CNBC gave us (at https://www.cnbc.com/2018/11/15/trump-duped-saudis-into-tanking-oil-prices-analysts-say.html) ‘Oil analysts say Trump fooled Saudis into tanking crude prices‘, with the quote: “Oil market analysts say it now appears that Trump hoodwinked Saudi Arabia, fooling the U.S. ally into pushing the oil market into oversupply and sparking a roughly 25 percent drop in crude prices. That accomplished Trump’s goal of driving down energy costs for Americans“, it is optionally a decent tactic, but at present it can backfire, the KSA can take a step back and let it all fall to pieces as the Saudi government can survive a few years in the up scaled oil prices, yet the US and European economies will start to collapse as they have no infrastructure left, so when we see Bloomberg giving us ‘The Oil Price Is Now Controlled By Just Three Men‘, whilst we know that America has pissed of the other two to the largest degree; if truly three man control the price, the names are given to us as Presidents Donald Trump, President Vladimir Putin and Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. That whilst America needs to import to survive making them actually pretty weak. So at what point do the people in Wall Street wake up and realise that the oil morning special is served at $91+, whilst there are 3-4 months of extreme cold ahead? At what point will they realise that oil is a sellers’ market, not a buyers one and the oil companies can wait, they can watch it all collapse and pick up cheap labour for a mere apple and an egg (quite literally so).

In the end, America can start making a deal with Iran and Russia for oil, yet at what cost will that come? Which concession will the American people have to agree to? I am pretty sure that this moment will become the nightmare scenario for Israel as well as the others get to cater to Iran, and the oil setting makes that an optional reality; the amount of concessions Turkey will get will give the EU something to cry about to a much larger extent; apart from the nightmare that the Italian budget is becoming at present.

There were a few games on everyone’s desk and at least three of them have been handled so badly that the impact needs to be felt in the US, even if it was for the mere reason to get them to wake up and smell the coffee that they spilled and the cost of living that they helped raise soon enough.

Oh, and when the Italian economy stops stagnating and turns to recession again, the mere impact of a 5% oil price rise would be enough to stop Italian traffic in its track, how much will be possible there when that happens? Consider that Italy has the highest fuel prices costing €1.65 per litre. When that goes up by 10%, how many people would be able to afford a car? More importantly, the Italian economy has misjudged this super high price for taxation, so when that falls away, how much of the Italian infrastructure is also likely to collapse?

It is a mere side thought, because France and Spain will be in similar distress on a few stages there too, not to mention the impact in Greece. It would decimate the Mediterranean economy to a much larger degree, yet Wall Street will trivialise it and when there is no more trivialisation left, who will they blame?

Saudi Arabia, President Trump or themselves?

I will let you figure that part out.

 

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Fruity tech sides ignored

We have seen plenty of events in the last few days, some we will side one way, and the next the other way. some of these issues are not black and white, they are grey at best and we can no longer decide which shade of grey we are looking at, even less decide if there are 50 shades of them. We see places like the Sydney Morning Herald give us: ‘Facebook is turning into an Apple lookalike‘, whilst CNBC gives us: “Facebook’s revenue miss means more ads could flood user timelines“. I believe that this goes beyond a mere notion of ‘Facebook growth slows as Zuckerberg says developed countries are saturated‘, which we get from the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/oct/30/facebook-quarterly-report-revenue-growth). Yes there definitely is saturation, but there is also a growing resentment from the users themselves. You see, Facebook is no longer about the users, it is no longer about what we want, Facebook is about telling us what we want and the resentment group is starting to grow, perhaps soon enough on an exponential scale. This is what I would call the precursor to collapse. Facebook did this to its self and that is not even considering the Cambridge Analytica element in the equation. When I start Facebook I want to see my timeline as a timeline, I need it chronologically as I have friends and family all over the world, so time zones are important here. Yet every time I start Facebook on desktop or mobile, it resorts to what gets the most visibility, it is about the most interactions hoping that it will lead to more engagement, but that is now more and more less likely to be the case as users have evolved. They know what to look for and when to look. Facebook is about traffic pressure and does not seem to care on what the users want and that saturated group is starting to look for other places where they can get what they need. It ends up not being good news for Facebook and they are hurting themselves more and more by not considering their users and placing them first, they place traffic pressures for the need of enhanced advertisement first and the people are now backing away.

So when the Guardian treats us to: “Zuckerberg cautioned that revenue could slow in the future“, I merely see the truth as it should be which is “Zuckerberg should be cautioning us that revenue will slow in the foreseeable future“, they are not the same.

And even as we are told: “Last week, the company announced that the war room team had detected and deleted 82 pages, groups, and accounts, all found to be part of an Iranian disinformation campaign targeting voters in the US and UK” it seems merely the top of the iceberg and even as I have no real notion of what they think is a war room, but there are doubts on what Facebook thinks it is and what it actually should be from a few directions.

To continue that it would seem important that I use the quotes from last May when Bloomberg gave us: “At the end of April, Al-Ahed’s website linked to an Arabic Facebook page with more than 33,000 followers. Content on the page included a video of masked snipers targeting Israeli soldiers. Another Al-Ahed Facebook page had more than 47,000 followers, and one in English had 5,000. Facebook’s policies prohibit material that supports or advances terrorism. The company’s definition of the term, published last month for the first time, includes a ban on nongovernmental organizations that use violence to achieve political, religious, or ideological aims. It specifies that such groups include religious extremists, white supremacists, and militant environmental groups. Facebook also says content that violates its policies is “not allowed” on the site.

Now consider this site (at https://www.memri.org/reports/hizbullah-reveals-drones-and-missile-museum-jihadi-tourism-south-lebanon), whilst we see: “In August 2018, for the first time, Hizbullah revealed drones and the short-range 75-kilometer Khaibar missile that it used during the July 2006 war with Israel. These are on display as part of a new exhibition held at the organization’s “Museum for Jihadi Tourism” (also known as the “Mleeta Tourist Landmark”) in Mleeta, South Lebanon, to mark 12 years since the war. Reports about these new exhibits and others were published in various Hizbullah media“, also consider “the head of Hizbullah’s media department, ‘Ali Daher, told the organization’s news website Al-‘Ahed that, until recently, the museum had displayed only old-generation drones, but now drones of several generations, which can carry out a variety of missions, are on display. The report stated that Hizbullah has a fleet of advanced drones stamped with the emblem of the organization’s “aerial force,” which first came into operational use during the July 2006 war“. That place also shows missiles used on targets last year (‘liberating’ Al-Juroud in 2017). So in this my short and direct message to Mark Zuckerberg is (as diplomatically as I could presently possibly muster): ‘Do you have a fucking clue what you and your war room are NOT achieving?‘ You see the Memri.org group has over one hundred and seventy eight thousand followers on Facebook mind you! As martyrs are ‘heralded’ and optionally ‘recruited’ via a non-profit organisation there is no issue? Who exactly are they effing kidding here?

Now we must be careful, as MEMRI also gives us: “Speaking at the International Institute for Strategic Studies’ (IISS) 2018 Manama Dialogue, Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah said: “Israel is one of the countries in the region… Maybe it is time that Israel had the same privileges and duties as other countries.” Bin Abdullah said that the Torah and the Israelite prophets emerged in the Middle East and that there had even been Jews in Medina. He stated that improved relations between Israel and its neighbours can be accomplished“, which could be seen as a monumental step, yet there is still an issue. I will agree that the shades of grey become increasingly hazardous for everyone here, so painting with one brush will not bode well for everyone, yet Yesterday they also gave us: ‘Palestinian Columnist In Qatari Daily Calls For Armed Struggle Against Israel‘, which can be read (happily or not) on Facebook at this very moment (I did just so roughly 221 seconds ago). So there is a lot on Facebook that is out of whack. And with “He called on Fatah to take up arms, and on Hamas to expand its struggle against Israel to the West Bank and the Palestinian diaspora” we can see how roughly 178,633 followers were kept up to date (optionally picking up arms against the state of Israel) less than 24 hours ago. It seems to me that Facebook is mopping the floor and forgot to shut off the water tap before commencing the mopping, so we can see that this is going anywhere ever, and in that process they are going nowhere anytime soon. How is that for recognition? You Markie Mark Zuckerberg!

Oh and by the way Mark, feel free to reward me for bringing this to your attention with a 4.2 GHz quad-core 7th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, 27″ iMac 3TB and a new iPad Pro Cellular and Wi-Fi 1TB (12.9 Inch) with Keyboard and pen (preferably both with Apple Care). I mean let’s face it; you just had a sweet deal of 128 Million dollars by selling 5 million shares just in time. There is nothing like spreading the wealth (or at least recognise the fact that you have become a little lost for now).

You see, being fruity is all good and fine, yet when you neglect the need of your users the game changes. You will merely be feeling the pressures of less and less forward momentum as you neglected their direct desires and their indirect needs and this group is actually increasing so much faster than you can imagine. With every semester as students are connecting through international exchange programs, at that point their time line need changes as well, because not every exchange student goes to MIT, Stanford or Berkeley. Some will go to the Luleå University of Technology (the Swedish version of MIT) where we see only 75,000 in the entire city, or perhaps Örebro University, a place you might not know, it merely has 107,000 people living there, yet Örebro University has a Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences that is ahead of the curve by a comfortable space. In addition, Örebro University is in the lower part of the top 2% of all the universities on the planet. So whilst you, Mark Zuckerberg, you seem to be focussing on the 2 billion daily users. You are seemingly trying to build engagement pressure. You will of course fail as you are also (seemingly) forgetting that these 2 billion users all staged in segments to some degree and in that you seemingly forgot the (roughly) 5,324,883 niche groups that are a large chunk of Facebook as a whole. So whilst you focus on a net that captures all the people, the mazes of that net are getting too large and you will start to lose all the sardines, after which you will lose the herrings, then the eels, and so on. I hope that you get the idea of the danger you have put Facebook in. You have been so upset with a net that captures all the fish that you completely forgot on why the fish were there in the first place. It was not just a new deep blue sea, it was a comfortable place for fish and as you have been removing that part, you will see the shoals swim away. There is logic referring to fish. You see when we see “Any group of fish that stays together for social reasons is said to be shoaling, and if the shoal is swimming in the same direction together, it is schooling. About one quarter of fish shoal all their lives, and about one half of fish shoal for part of their lives.” In this TJ Pitcher gave us an article in 1992 on the behaviour of Teleost Fishes; it is on Page 363 if you are really curious. So whilst we concentrate on a net capturing them, your teams forgot to focus on the reason that they were there. Most for union, some for connection, some for protection and some just to swim and all these niche groups are the reasons for these fishes to remain together, yet some shoals unite and are what is seen as ‘about one half of fish shoal for part of their lives‘, yet they will move from shoal to shoal and that is where these niche markets become increasingly important. Google+ figured that part of the equation out within the first 30 days, so as you are placing pressure on your 2 billion users, you forgot all about the basics and you could be losing a lot more faster and sooner than you think and that is where my prediction “Zuckerberg should be cautioning us that revenue will slow in the foreseeable future” becomes more than a reality, it will be optional prophecy and it could have been avoided a long time ago. It almost feels like me and Mark Zuckerberg are opposites to some degree (and in some ways, especially financially) not the greatest place for me to be, but I believe in my path, that is how I roll.

Naval Extremism

Let’s take a look at an extremely fictive setting that is based on the truth, so as the story begins, a story I wrote and thought up myself mind you: “There is always an upbeat path in looking at ‘new’ technology. In the age of now, as I got bored, the need for entertainment was nigh and highly needed. So as I got the details on the USS Pennsylvania (via a documentary), my mind went racing. I always had a soft spot for Submarines. Cary Grant and Tony Curtis in Operation Petticoat might have been the first starting that interest; they were in the end not the only inspiration. There was the Hunt for Red October on the CBM Amiga (as well as the silver screen with Sean Connery). It is especially interesting to see the development of submarines from WW2 onwards. So as I looked at my initial solution to remove the Iranian navy from every equation, I decided to think through on how a submarine could be used to deploy such solutions. It is not a hard task and it seems applicable to do so, so it was not really a challenge. Then I got the idea to apply my solution in another way. The technology of the fibre torpedo gave me the idea, not to blow up a submarine, but to incapacitate it. The only problem at present is that the solution will not work on a submarine at full speed, so it is basically not a solution (yet). Now my mind focusses on solving problems and I like that. It does not matter what kind of puzzle it is. The less I know, the more I can learn; it is applied engineering and design in one cool patent package. At this time my engineering knob is 99% active and likely merely 1% efficient; I look at the video and remember the Russian VA-111 Shkval, a torpedo that goes like a bat out of hell (200 knots) at whatever they need to hit. The fact that this puppy can be nuclear is not a good thing for any submarine to meet, so I look at this puzzle and wonder how to make it less efficient. It takes an hour to come up with the craziest idea and I do not expect it to work because someone in any navy would have had that idea as well, or so I would believe. Yet what if no one had ever looked at this solution? Now consider that the Russian VA-111 Shkval uses GOLIS autonomous inertial guidance, giving me the idea in the first place , as we are confronted with the stage of Go-Onto-Location-in-Space, we see that this has the flaw of requiring a stationary or near-stationary target, and in a war condition a submarine getting fired on is like a virgin shouting that she is in heat, if she stays stationary she is going to get screwed, so movement is pretty essential at this point. This is where I had the craziest idea of releasing a cylinder behind the submarine, roughly 500 KG with copper and liquid (preferably solid) Oxygen (or Nitrogen) and let pressure blow it apart (nothing heat related), the water around it would freeze and the copper would likely transfer it stronger as well as making the object more solid, solid enough for the lump to take the hit and not the submarine. OK, it is the craziest idea and it might not ever work, yet it took me less than 30 minutes to come up with the idea after watching one History channel episode on the USS Pennsylvania” Now we go back to Facebook and we see a whole range of iterations ignored by the makers themselves. They have been so growth oriented that they forgot all about quality orientation, a part that is my only conclusion as we see the failings in the app and desktop side of the matter. It goes further as we see the evolution of people now getting judged on their social media profile, a stage where Facebook is completely ignoring the two sides in every person (a fun and a work related side), yet the people are not tailored to, and that is seen as more and more young new worker bees are leaving Facebook unattended to a bigger degree (and for longer times) and they are focusing more on LinkedIn and optionally learning that Twitter has what they need to a much better degree. All niches falling away, all niches selling other waters that look, feel and sense like the other deep blue sea, the deep blue sea they once thought they were in. A staged exit for all the people looking for what they need, for what they desire whilst Facebook has been focussing on what they thought their subscribers wanted and desired for the benefit of the selling of ads that the bank account of Mark Zuckerberg (et al) required, all versions of perceived and proclaimed truths whilst the fish in the Facebook database no longer experience it to be.

For a better term, Facebook lost the Googlyness it once heralded and there are sharks around who desperately needs to trim Facebook, because the strength is had with 2 billion, the strength of having a true global opinion customer base was just too scary for some of the political players and the sharks are circling the Facebook net that is showing more and more weakness at present. It is a risk of catering to the goals that were outside of the perception of the fish in the net. Fruity and techie can remain yummy for all the players, yet it will require a massive adjustment. When you consider that both Sony and Microsoft made claims in 2011/2012 on what was to come and that never really happened to the degree that the people might have hoped for. Now also consider that Facebook has 2 billion users and that other sources give us that more than 1.2 billion people are playing games worldwide, part of them is a group of 700 million who play online games. When you realise that, and you see that Facebook only touched on that to the smallest of degrees, when you realise that gaming social media is as isolated as it gets, how many balls did Mark Zuckerberg drop? And to be clear I am not talking about the two he should have on a biological level. I have watched on a massive oversight, one of the biggest niches on the planet.

It is a stage where 16% of the entire planet plays games, optionally up to 60% of all Facebook users. When we realise that, what other avenues is Facebook not investigating? Like the shoals of fish, gamers are part of several flocks, moving from flock to flock, yet staying in that same part of the ocean, how long until Facebook realises that the fish they had moved to another ocean? If gaming brings comfort to so many people, is it not weird that Facebook is not trying to appease such a large title dedicated group? Once we realise that we are all seeking a place of comfort where we can be ourselves, where we can unwind, does the failure of the current version of Facebook still makes sense to too many? Have we become complacent or are we merely too lazy to look around for the players that actually are customer engagement oriented?

You tell me!

 

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The Elephant Room

It started a few days ago and I talked about it in my previous few blogs. I was wondering how to set the stage, because setting the stage to a conversation or an explanation is important. Whenever I taught data technology and data cleaning solutions I always relied on my ability to give the students something to relate to, it is easier than you think, it merely takes a little imagination. Just like my mind envisioned two new video games, it takes little effort. Now, if I was a crack programmer, I could make those games a reality, but that is where the shoe does not fit. I can script data in any form, but programming a video game is not my forte, just like drawing is not my forte either. I am a crack photographer, I can edit the pictures with the greatest of ease, yet drawing is not for me. Even if I can see what I want to draw, my hands fail me when it comes to drawing. Knowing my limitations was never a problem for me and hiding them is a waste of energy. If I add the vision of Elder Scrolls 6 (now optionally Elder Scrolls 7), I have come up with close to half a dozen games, including an out of the box far-fetched version of Watch Dogs 4. My mind is never ever sitting still, it is always crunching data. Whether it is a new weapon that could optionally sink the USS Zumwalt (anything smaller was not a challenge), an optional never explored novel idea to let any Iranian nuclear reactor (or any other reactor) self-destruct on itself (OK, It is an idea, but an untested one), the creative mind can be pushed in every direction you want to push it to, if you are willing to let your mind go there.

Whether it is a simple fantasy story, or a new movie, the setting is simple, let your mind go free, that is all that is required. Yet, the brain needs nourishment, in my case it is music, I found out that different scores, will set my mind in different directions and it is not set in the style of music, Whilst one album gave me the brain jump to get me to find the Zumwalt pounder (initially merely a solution to take down the Iranian navy), it was David Bowie, and his album ‘the Next day’ that pushed me to make an initial design of the Elder Scrolls X (formerly known as ES6). I never figured out why it happened, merely that it does.

So in all this, we get to Far Cry 4, In that game (which I recently started to replay (and it still irritates me that the programmers pushed for assumption is pissing me off), anyway, the DJ in that game mentions on the car radio: “Let’s talk about the Elephant in the room, let’s talk about Pagan Min“, the mere ‘Let’s talk about the Elephant in the room‘ got me to today’s part. It starts with the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/22/erdogan-to-reveal-naked-truth-about-khashoggis-death). There we see: ‘Erdogan to reveal ‘naked truth’ about Khashoggi’s death‘, which is nice if he reveals stuff, yet it is all covered in loads of insinuations, is it not? So we see: “A Turkish intelligence source told Reuters that at one point Qahtani told his men to dispose of Khashoggi. “Bring me the head of the dog,” he said“, “it is possible that the president instead sees the episode as a chance to engineer a recasting of the political dynamic across the Middle East, chiefly by weakening the crown prince’s authority“, as well as “It is understood that Erdogan has not shared the recording with the US“. This is all partial game play, a game of innuendo, Turkey, as the mere assisting tool for Iran is playing the media.

The Evening Standard is playing that same game with: “Mr al-Otaibi is said to have been recorded in a seven-minute audio clip during the alleged torture of Mr Khashoggi, saying: “Do this outside; you’re going to get me in trouble.”” and not just them, yet the people are still to hear that recording, that piece (at https://www.standard.co.uk/news/world/sevenminute-audio-captures-screams-of-dismembered-dissident-journalist-jamal-khashoggi-a3964306.html) 4 days ago, gives light to all kinds of innuendo, whilst the recording has not been shared, has it? So how stupid can a journalist become? And whilst we again see (in several publications) “The audio recording allegedly captures the Washington Post columnist’s screams as he was dismembered“, no one ends up having heard that recording that is now seen as ‘not being shared‘. In this the media has been a much larger failure. In all settings, Turkey as a mere knave of Iran is not shown to be in alliance with Iran as it continues its proxy war on Saudi Arabia, is that not weird either, merely because it is part of all this.

Then we get to another part, one that involves Lolwah R M Al-Khater, the foreign policy spokeswoman of Qatar. When she stated: “She had faith in the Turkish justice system“. I would really like to demand that Lolwah R M Al-Khater calls the editors and chief editors of the 214 journalists that were jailed, it includes the 22 convicted, and 4 detained at present. I would really like the recordings of those (chief) editors to be played for the news, and I think that if she truly believes in ‘Turkish justice‘ she has no problem with that, does she? It is not like she is optionally busy, is she?

So even as we see dozens of articles on the continuing saga of Khashoggi innuendo, there was one who gave us a mere 17 minutes ago: “400,000 severely acutely malnourished children“, merely a part of the 8.4 million Yemeni’s in that position, a position that Iran and Hezbollah are bolstering. So whilst we see certain parts, we need to take another step towards CNN, in light of certain parts they played. In this case it is an opinion piece. The article (at https://edition.cnn.com/2018/10/22/middleeast/jamal-khashoggi-murder-cynics-analysis-intl/index.html), gives us ‘Jamal Khashoggi’s murder shows that the cynics have won‘. There we see at the very end: “Khashoggi’s horrifying death has not brought the best out of (most of) the international community. It has given way to cynical, transactional calculation. And as Oscar Wilde said, “A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.”“, the writer Tim Lister gives us the goods and he is from my point of view merely partially correct. You see, I agree with the setting as my personal thoughts are (in all honesty): ‘Khashoggi was optionally a nice guy. I did not know him and I do not care about his life or death, he was a journalist!‘ You see, if the newspapers had given us a much better view, not relying on all that innuendo, we might have cared, yet that was not the case, the overall stage of journalism has lost its value to us because of the actions taken, because of the allegedly, unnamed sources and almost never ending amount of innuendo, the media is being used as a tool for people like Erdogan to take centre stage and almost nowhere did we see any recollection to those jailed journalists in Turkey, did we? We also did not see any mention of the Turkey-Iran alliance and the fact that Iran is in a proxy war with Saudi Arabia (and has been for the longest of times) and the bulk of the Yemeni population is feeling the impact of that.

There is the elephant in the room, the part that the media avoids!

So, now on the Saudi Arabian side of the events, we agree things have been done really really badly, actually the only one doing allegedly a worse job is GRU director Igor Korobov with the operations in Salisbury and the Netherlands (OPCW), that part is still on the minds of many as well. If this required a creative mind, then there would have been no issue. You see, taking care of Sergei Skripal could have been done with a mere illegal weapon acquired in Ilford (Redbridge, UK), take him out with the right donkey punch, make it look like a robbery and problem would have been solved. No OPCW operation required. The same could have been said for Khashoggi if that was the true operation. Merely give him his papers, super fast and courteous, wait for that next trip and fulfill the mission, no involvement of any official grounds, the divorce papers puts the embassy in the clear, a person like Khashoggi will get around and the right place will open solutions of several kinds. So, you see, the creative mind can be kind, can be joyous and it can also be horrible, and when its training has been to solve puzzles and data equations, cleaning a data set is like a simple targeted killing, it is merely a puzzle to solve. It only needs the variables and the proper environment to stage the solution. Unlike the media that merely solves its own problems through innuendo and it is seemingly treating some events like it is the elephant in the room, giving the readers less and less to trust. So there is the part where I disagree with Tim Lister, we became more cynical and today’s press largely made it so.

Oh, and to end the stage of creativity, let’s look at the Iranian nuclear meltdown solution, I will merely give you two hints, the first is 1:3:9, the second is the image you see here; that is how I got to the optional solution, it also gave me the idea to designed a wasp valve and a piranha valve to ‘introduce’ the meltdown (deployment was a separate puzzle to solve). Now, I cannot vouch that it will work, but if it does, it should work on many reactors, so never underestimate the creative mind willing to really jump outside the box, an ability that is seemingly lost on many people. A person with Business Intelligence and no creativity is nothing more than an excel user going through the numbers trying to tell a story that people with lack of vision will be willing to swallow.

 

 

 

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Consideration for dinner

It is Monday, Monday morning and I am in a stage of contemplation. There are all these events going on and for the most they are hollow, empty and merely the setting for the next stage for whatever the staging area needs to be. It is at this point that the Guardian gives us: ‘Two images that show we need to be sensitive about our photos‘, or perhaps the article started the contemplation I am in, it works either way!

The article was actually a quite excellent read, so well done Paul Chadwick!

Where’s Wally (Khlalid Masood)?

The article discusses Khalid Masood, who killed 5 people in March 2017 at Westminster. Now we get the goods. We are offered: “Over several days of covering the hearing, Guardian editors had access to a limited range of images of Masood. For one report they used a photo of him taken in the Great Mosque of Mecca, Islam’s holiest site“. We are then treated to: “From an editorial standards perspective, there was nothing wrong with the image. Legitimately obtained, it depicted a smiling Masood dressed in the traditional white, and behind him the Kaaba, the great cube, around which pilgrims walk seven times. Conscious that the Muslim community can suffer discrimination when terrorist acts are committed in the name of a political ideology that feigns religiosity“.

My thought becomes: “How many criminals and murderers were photographed in a church, or cathedral?” That does not seem to happen either does it? Of course in that specific example Catholic priests, bishops and cardinals were taken away from consideration in this case. I searched Google and a few other sources and I could not find an example. So when I see: “as a gesture of goodwill the editors replaced the photo for another image, a police mugshot. Muslims who had raised the issue were appreciative“, I do accept that the Muslims are appreciative of the gesture, yet the question remains how many criminals were photographed and observed in church? It also gives me the question on how they were able to identify Khalid Masood in that picture to begin with. I understand that the photograph exists; I reckon that the hearts of Muslims will flutter at the sight of being able to see the Grand Mosque of Mecca on the inside to begin with. I myself am struck with wonder, amazed to see this image. Not for the religious reason, but the fact that the original parts were build 1380 years ago is important. You see, it would take centuries until the Netherlands had decent housing (places not made from wood, or a mixture of shit and clay). The oldest house in the Netherlands is almost 500 years younger than this mosque and only parts of a wall in that Dutch building are that old, the rest of the house would not be build (or restored) until 230 years later. When we consider that, seeing the grand Mosque of Mecca should have an impact on anyone, Muslim or not. So as we realise that the building is not merely a beautiful building, it is a millennia old marvel for all the religious reasons, we understand that anyone would want to be photographed in that place and be recognised, but as you take a look at the inserted photograph (click on it to see the full version), finding that person, considering the resolution of the film remains a slight miracle at best. So what would have been the value of showing thousands of Muslims in that one place whilst we cannot tell with any certainty who exactly Khalid Masood is there. Yet, the article (at https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/oct/14/sensitive-images-upsetting-photos-essential-truthful-account), is still important. We see that with: “Coverage can justifiably include images of perpetrators but should take care not to glorify them. Had the photo related directly to evidence given in the inquest it might have been necessary to retain it“. I personally do not completely agree. If we accept that a picture is 1,000 words, which photograph ads a 1,000 words or more to the story? Is it the one in Mecca, or the photograph of the scene (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/oct/12/westminster-bridge-attack-khalid-masood-lawfully-killed-inquest-concludes). I like it that Paul Chadwick makes us consider the use of a photograph and when not to do it. It gets us to the linking of another event. You might have heard of a disagreement between the elected government of Yemen and Houthi’s which has since spilled over into a much larger disagreement. the amount of times where the western world trivialised the attacks on Saudi Arabia whilst Iran backed Houthi’s were firing missiles into Saudi Arabia has been too large to ignore, In addition the Washington Post gave us a mere two days ago (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/foiled-paris-bomb-plot-raises-fears-that-iran-is-planning-attacks-in-europe/2018/10/11/2ccf8d0a-c8b9-11e8-b1ed-1d2d65b86d0c_story.html). Here we see ‘Foiled Paris bomb plot raises fears that Iran is planning attacks in Europe‘. In this article, the use of the image of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) supporters makes perfect sense. In light of “The diplomat, based at Iran’s embassy in Vienna, had been under surveillance for some time and was suspected of involvement in a plot to bomb a rally of Iranian dissidents in Paris. Despite his diplomatic status, he was arrested and extradited to Belgium, where two others, suspected of planning to carry out the attack in France, were detained”, yet would the image of the ‘Iranian diplomat’ not have made more sense? The fact that he is not mentioned anywhere by name is also a consideration in all this. The fact that this indirectly links to the proxy war that Iran is having with Saudi Arabia is linked in all this. So when we consider these elements. So as we get back to the Diplomat named Assadollah Assadi, we need to some degree also look at Jamal Khashoggi. You see, you cannot turn a page in any paper and Jamal Khashoggi shows up. Probably best known as a contributor to the Washington Post, we wonder why he ended up MAAC (Missing as a contributor). ABC gives us: “But his troubles began later, when he was fired from his post as an editor at the Al-Watan newspaper just two months after he took the job in 2003. The country’s ultra-conservative clerics had pushed back against his criticism of the powerful religious police and a medieval cleric viewed as the spiritual forefather of Wahhabism, the conservative interpretation of Islam that is the founding tenant of the kingdom“, and the question becomes not merely did he vanish because he was a critic of ruling Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. I reckon that the Crown Prince has been surrounded with people disagreeing with him, as such Khashoggi might not have been a blip on his radar. Yet, when we see the Washington Post (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/global-opinions/wp/2018/10/06/read-jamal-khashoggis-columns-for-the-washington-post) we see a different story, one that opposes mine and I am fine with that. Yet consider that the people in charge in Riyadh are actually decently intelligent (compared to me) and the entire event in the embassy does not make sense. Lt. Gen. Khalid bin Ali Al Humaidan is not stupid, he is a general and he has been around the war time sandbox long enough, to just let a person vanish in an embassy, whilst there are dozens of cameras pointed at it is not seemingly the brightest act. This leaves me with the setting that there is either orchestration, or someone not as bright listened to the wrong person and acted individually. The quote in the Post, which was “Dozens of Saudi intellectuals, clerics, journalists, and social media stars have been arrested in the past 2 months — the majority of whom, at worst, are mildly critical of the government. Meanwhile, many members of the Council of Senior Scholars (“Ulema”) have extremist ideas“. So here we have a setting that certain people are seemingly opposing the forward drive that HRH Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud is trying to move towards. The post mentions both Sheikh Saleh Al-Fawzan and Sheikh Saleh Al-Lohaidan and also we see “protected by royal decree from counter argument or criticism“. Yet when I search for these two men, I find close to nothing at all in the present media. Now, that is not an essential part, but in light of the Washington Post articles, I wondered what would drive an implied assassination this short sighted. Whether you agree or not, targeted killing is both an art and a skill and in the digital age, the skill outguns the art by a lot. There are additional parts that do not make sense, yet when you look at the larger picture, there is (highly speculative by me mind you) an active stage of attacking Saudi Arabia any way possible. the overly leftish liberal side to break up US sales to Saudi Arabia, the UK is on a partial similar setting, yet they trivialise any attack on Saudi Arabia (I did filter for the fake news from places like PressTV and a few other sources), yet the attacks are quite clear and even as I understand that the press at large (in more than one way) would want to be protective of fellow journalist Jamal Khashoggi and I get that, yet the absence of critical questions is also a larger issue. When you see this, does the openly defensive stance of Saudi Arabia not make sense?

So how does this get us from where we started?

There are two parts here. The first is the image of the Grand Mosque, whilst we know that Saudi Arabia is its protector, and the view from Paul Chadwick makes perfect sense. Yet, here too we should take caution on certain notions. Mind you, I am asking the question, I am not implying that there is more. that part is seen when we look deeper into the ‘Cricklewood mosque’ event of September 19th and when we search the international news bringers, the shiploads of newspapers that would strike out against Saudi Arabia and others in what I perceive to be non-hatred stories, yet they are certainly not pro Saudi Arabia, or pro Muslim, they did not show up in any google search when I look for the ‘Cricklewood mosque’ event, not at all. That too is important, whilst some are taking down the steam a notch, the opposition events are also ignored to a much larger degree. It leads us to the question, was the mosque image not added as it made for an overly clear anti-Muslim article?

The second part is the setting of events and more importantly how certain parties decided to illustrate them. Anything that is about Jamal Khashoggi carries his photograph and that makes perfect sense, no one debates that, yet when we seek Khalid Masood, we see no image of him in several Westminster attack articles, merely the stage and the victims. Now, here we see clearly that some will say that it might glorify him. There is equal voice not to give Islamic State any kind of visibility. I do not totally agree, but I understand the logic behind it. Yet the article I mentioned earlier, ‘Westminster attacker lawfully killed by minister’s bodyguard, jury finds‘ shows no mention of Islamic State at all, which is actually a little weird. all the other parts are there, the justification of the protective units, the victims, the stage as well as the attack on Sir Craig Mackey, which gets more light in another Guardian article with “The Express front page on Thursday read “Police hero who put his boss to shame”, comparing Mackey’s actions unfavourably with those of the armed protection officer who shot Masood dead, while an article on the Sun website was headlined “Mark of cowardice”“, the actions of Sir Craig make perfect sense and the Express, not the most intelligent player in the news world under the most optimal conditions was left in a clueless state aiming for (a speculated) increased circulation that day, whilst the actions of Sir Craig made tactical sense to say the least, cowardice was not a factor here as I see it. Mind you, getting fired at is unnerving under the best conditions, seeking out a hair storm of lead is just stupid to begin with and Sir Craig staying out of the way, especially as he had no useful gear makes sense. Yet the Independent gave us in March 2018: “A review by Mr Hill’s predecessor found that neither MI5 nor the police had any reason to anticipate the attack, concluding that Masood was “a long way from the top of anyone’s grid”“. From the little that I was able to access, all the elements make sense, the Guardian article leaving Islamic State mention out does not.

It is the illustration by the news that matters, because it causes a lack of illumination and more important we see the shifting balance of a seesaw in the direction of emotional acts, which has never been a good thing. There are questions regarding Jamal Khashoggi no one denies that, yet the stage we see ourselves in is expanding. We see this with: “The event is being hosted by the kingdom’s Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman to promote his reform agenda. Several sponsors and media groups have decided to withdraw“, as well as “US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and UK International Trade Secretary Liam Fox might not attend an upcoming investment conference in Riyadh, but White House aide Larry Kudlow said Mr Mnuchin had not yet pulled out.” Now I understand that such a situation would not have been expected, or even anticipated. Not by me. Yet, do you think that this was not on the mind of Lt. Gen. Khalid bin Ali Al Humaidan? when we see settings that are adding up to half a trillion dollars, do you think that a Saudi event like the one we see now regarding Jamal Khashoggi would not have been looked at from every angle? And in light on how highly regarded journalists are in Turkey, the overreaction by turkey is equally unsettling (or let’s just call it suspicious). In the entire setting towards the consulate, we see that the one event now taking shape is a direct win for Saudi’s indirect enemy (Turkey as a supporter of Iran), no one seems to look too deeply there either. It does not mean that Turkey was involved, or that Turkey did anything. The mere absence of looking is an issue and that would drive the defence from the side of Saudi Arabia high up, all this in an action on Saudi soil (the embassy) where there would have been absolutely no tactical advantage for the Saudi government by acting in a building everyone is watching 24:7.

The elements do not add up and the photograph of the Grand mosque brought it to light (read: the forefront of my mind). You see, in opposition to the Christians and their bible (they have over 40 different versions), we see that there is ONE Quran, Sunni and Shia they all have the same Quran, exact to the letter, yet their split happened as you can see in the New York Times (at https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/04/world/middleeast/q-and-a-how-do-sunni-and-shia-islam-differ.html) through: “A schism emerged after the death of the Prophet Muhammad in 632, and disputes arose over who should shepherd the new and rapidly growing faith. Some believed that a new leader should be chosen by consensus; others thought that only the prophet’s descendants should become caliph“, I am not wise enough to give any level of wisdom here.

I do feel I am wise enough to look into the matters we currently face. Until the press has a more balanced view of the matters in the Middle East, specifically the acts by Iran and the acts by Houthi’s in Yemen, we will see a prolonged level of distrust. Let’s not forget that the building of Neom in Saudi Arabia continues and that it is the utter need of American stability that requires cheap oil. In all this, merely going back to 2017 levels will drain the American economy to the levels if cannot sustain and its need to do business with Iran at that point will be the largest moral defeat the US has ever faced. In addition, the Saudi coffers are getting $73 per barrel against the optional setting that the prices return to $121 per barrel, as winter sets in the US (UK too) that impact will be felt by these populations to a much larger degree, so in all this an optional demand from Saudi Arabia to get the news more balanced is not the weirdest request. Yet the foundation of issues giving rise to the price of oil next month by a mere 2% is not out of the question, and that is not all. The overreaction by President Trump with: ““severe punishment” if Khashoggi, who has been critical of Bin Salman, has been killed“. Fair enough, yet in all this, he has been merely setting the stage where Russia comes for a visit and is the reason for cancelling orders, whilst Saudi pilots are suddenly optionally ‘retrenched’ to get better in using the Mikoyan MiG-35 (Fulcrum-F), and a few other alternatives. Shutting down options for American business seekers in Neom is not a good step to take either; no one can afford walking away from 1,000 billion dollars in projects in this day and age. In addition, for Saudi Arabia having a united technical air force corps with Egypt might not be the worst consideration either, and as ties with Egypt and Russia optionally strengthen in Saudi Arabia, the US will be finding itself on shallow ice with fewer options for their economy and even less possibilities over the next 10 years. All elements out in the open and it would be a strategy that Iran would love to see happen, whether it was to weaken Saudi Arabia or to kick the US where it really hurts, it would be an Iranian victory either way.

So when you consider these elements as well as the notion that for the most there is not a high regard for journalists in the first place (for a few years now), do any of the overreaching actions by certain players make any sense? It is there that we see the consideration for dinner.

Yet I could be wrong in all this. I openly admit that. I have had the longest issues with the entire Skripal setting, the Novichok debacle in Salisbury. Yet there is no denying the Reuters article that gave us ‘Russian website names third GRU officer involved in Salisbury poisoning‘ 4 days ago. With: “The Russian news website Fontanka named on Wednesday a third GRU military intelligence operative, Sergey Fedotov, as having been involved in trying to kill ex-spy Sergei Skripal in the English city of Salisbury“. You see, the facts did not add up, there was too much noise and too little reliability. I have no reason to doubt Reuters, yet I still have issues with this. I do acknowledge that they name a Russian site, yet I know next to nothing about the Fontanka online news agency. When I read (yet again) on this, and the fact that they all seem to know the staff directory of the GRU, as well as the setting of travel, there are things not adding up. Not the travel, that part can be verified in several ways. The fact that we now have a third player, one that apparently did not show up in all those CCTV stills, the fact that three people were involved in a failed attack does not speak highly of the abilities of the Russian GRU, is that not weird either? The fact that humidity decreases the potency of the Novichok, but the perfume was dumped in the trash, not merely ‘accidently’ dropped in a pond, where retrieval would have been unsuccessful and the lethality of the Novichok would have been close to nullified. So with Salisbury basically surrounded by the Avon, they did not consider dropping the ‘perfume’ in there? How badly are these ladies trained (me stating the need for a well-paid job and replacing Colonel general Igor Valentinovich Korobov), I mean, I could hardly do any worse, could I? Let’s face it, in Australia a general’s pay starts at $235,595 with 0 years of experience in that rank. I’d accept that as a starting wage (LOL), even if it turns out to be merely for a year.

Getting back to the Russian stage, Bellingcat gives us (at https://www.bellingcat.com/news/uk-and-europe/2018/09/26/skripal-suspect-boshirov-identified-gru-colonel-anatoliy-chepiga/) the goods which are hard to deny, but it is merely their word against others. Yet they also become the doubt in this. Even as we accept: “The suspect using the cover identity of “Ruslan Boshirov” is in fact Colonel Anatoliy Chepiga, a highly decorated GRU officer bestowed with Russia’s highest state award, Hero of the Russian Federation. Following Bellingcat’s own identification, multiple sources familiar with the person and/or the investigation have confirmed the suspect’s identity“. When we add “Anatoliy Chepiga graduated the academy with honors in 2001. He was then assigned to serve in the 14th Spetsnaz Brigade in Russia’s farthest-eastern city of Khabarovsk, one of the elite Spetsnaz units under GRU command. Chepiga’s unit (74854, formerly 20662) played a key role in the second Chechen War, and was also observed near the Ukrainian border in late 2014“, we see an optional picture of a dedicated Russian officer, no one questions that, yet in that light, how come that he was involved in active failures of this degree and in the end a second event caused the death of an innocent bystander?

He could have used a knife, a mere piece of thin nylon rope, all methods that optionally makes finding evidence a near impossibility. Then we get the doubt again with “The research team was able to find Anatoliy Chepiga in two locations and time periods in the database: in 2003, in Khabarovsk; and in 2012 in Moscow“, you see, even by their own admission, heroes of the Russian Federation tend to be really well documented, so why do we see awards, failures and almost no documented admissions (even less photographs, beside the point that most photo’s never made it into newspapers)? It makes no sense and that brings us back to the Saudi Arabian setting. Even now as we are treated to so called audio evidence, evidence that was debunked by the BBC on more than one level, yet in all this Al Jazeera gives us: “Technology experts are sceptical that Jamal Khashoggi was able to sync recordings from his Apple watch to a phone in his fiancée’s possession from inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The claim, as reported in Turkey’s pro-government media, is that Turkish officials have audio recordings from Khashoggi’s smart watch that prove the Saudi journalist was tortured and killed while inside the embassy. Saudi Arabia has called the allegations “baseless lies” and it is still unclear how Turkey would have obtained the audio evidence“, I personally believe that Al Jazeera is wrong here. The BBC (at https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-45857777) debunks that story via Rory Cellan-Jones, the Technology correspondent. He does it point by point and does it with clarity, so in all this, why would the pro-Turkish government media blatantly lie about this? that and the other elements give doubt to all this and when we consider that it was optionally not a Saudi operation at all, we might be treated to a setting where the Turkish government is optionally involved in making the trade waters murky, optionally merely as a tool for Iran. What do you think is more likely and when we look at the photographs and the choices made, it is not merely contemplation for dinner, the entire setting of doing what is correct sheds a light on the media that is not as great as we hoped it would be.

Yet the BBC also gave us: “it seems far more likely that they have other means of detecting what foreign diplomats are up to and the Apple Watch story is just useful cover“, that we can agree on, both Iran and Turkey have every interest in keeping ears on every room in the Saudi Consulate and there we agree is the option that technical solutions are in abundance but without the proper vetting of sources, it remains speculation to some degree.

Still the actions in the consulate are a question mark, a person that is watched to this degree, acting in the consulate only seems to be the safer option, ‘seems’ being the operative word.

We need to take all these elements into consideration, whenever we ‘actively engage’ in settings of consideration, the larger picture matters, it matters a lot and even as I spoke out against the guilt of Russia as a state operator in Salisbury, the Bellingcat part is seemingly more persuasive in voicing that there is an issue, yet what I personally perceive to be the stupidity levels of the Skripal operation (for lack of a better description) is one that we should also consider in the Khashoggi events in Istanbul. So until the Turkish government gives public access to their audio files I remain in doubt. Clearly something happened, but what exactly and by whom are still elements that cannot be answered for now, and when we contemplate things that needs to be on the forefront of our minds.

When confirmed the implied image of Khalid Masood in the grand mosque of Mecca is merely the fact that he is Muslim, we already knew that, yet the Guardian also gave us the goods that he converted no earlier than 13 years before the attack, so after his prison sentence in 2000, so he was optionally a Christian for the longest time of his life, another part that few news media looked at to a better degree, the Guardian fortunately did. We are also given that around 12% of home grown terrorists were converts, considering that there are billions of Muslims, that number is interesting. It might not merely be about the conversion; it could be that those doing the conversion might have optionally left converts at the mercy of extreme imams, which is a debate for another day. It merely shows that there is a larger issue I all this and before we contemplate what is the right course of action, we need to realise that certain acts to stop intelligence gathering has been the shackles that prevent the intelligence community and the police to effectively act against lone wolves, moreover, there is less evidence that it can be stopped, for that you merely have to look at the picture of Masood in his football team when he was young, even as the one non-white individual he does not stand out, giving MI-5 a much larger headache then they needed in the first place.

Yes we need to be sensitive about photographs at times, yet when they also reveal that they basically reveal nothing, how would their use have value in the first place? Setting a stage, setting an emotional bias, or merely an illustration to make the article readable?

 

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The price of identity

We all have needs, we all have identities. It is important to us, as it is for many others. No one debates or disagrees with it. Yet what to do when identity hinders us? When we see the Washington Post (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/former-nsa-deputy-is-mattiss-leading-choice-to-head-the-spy-service-if-it-splits-from-cyber-command/2018/10/05/1be8d7a8-c73d-11e8-b2b5-79270f9cce17_story.html) giving us ‘Former NSA deputy is Mattis’s leading choice to head the spy service if it splits from Cyber Command‘, we need to consider the impact of identity, corporate identity, governmental identity, military identity, projected and presented identity. They are not the same and can vary to a much larger degree. When someone is part of what used to be referred to ‘No Such Agency‘. We will get the impact of identity; we all know that and many faced it too. Look at any friend or co-worker you have ever known and ask him/her about the impact of a merger and they will tell you, there are changes. Some are subtly, some are not noticed, yet others are, usually in infrastructure and the way things were done. Now the change tends to be for the good in the long run but that is not a given.

So what gives?

It is my personal observation and a highly speculative one at that. Yet I believe that the Washington Post giving us: “The current head of both organizations, Gen. Paul Nakasone, has urged Mattis to keep the NSA and U.S. Cyber Command under one leader on the grounds that the nine-year-old military organization is not ready to stand on its own, these people said. In recent weeks, Mattis was close to a decision to separate the leadership arrangement, but Nakasone’s counsel has caused him to reconsider, according to two U.S. officials. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive internal deliberations“, is not entirely accurate. I believe that ‘military organization is not ready to stand on its own‘ is not the setting that matter. I believe that Stratfor who gives us ‘A New, More Aggressive U.S. Cybersecurity Policy Complements Traditional Methods‘ is very much at the heart of that. I believe that the general is not ready or perhaps unwilling to set the offensive and aggressive part in motion. Now, this is no bad reflection on the general, let that be a first. He is well decorated, he has seen the field in many ways and he has done a fair share of field events. He has earned his rank. I merely wonder that a man who has seemingly played a defence and protection game is the man for the offense. I think that this is a football moment, and as a non-football expert (and a 49ers fan) I would compare the General to DeMarcus Lawrence from the Dallas Cowboys against what the US seems to demand is a Derrick Henry (Tennessee Titans), or even a Tom Brady (New England Patriots), roles that are not really moveable. Even as a Quarterback might become a really good Derick Henry that Quarterback will never become a DeMarcus Lawrence. The defence and offense game is that far apart. This is where Chris Inglis comes in. He is an analyst (at heart), he is used to counter offensive strategies and introduce strategies of his own (effective one’s mind you). I believe that this is the game that is in the open at present and these two will need to find a way to make it work. Not merely because it is good for the needed strategy, but because the segregation of the two elements might hurt U.S. Cyber Command in a few ways, not merely funding, but the elements that U.S. Cyber Command currently have access to will partially fall away and getting two infrastructures like the NSA is unyielding, unaffordable and in the end will introduce flaws and dangers on both sides of the isle making the setting (as I personally see it) a non-option right of the bat. Stratfor gives us a few other items.

One of them is “A best-case scenario for a U.S. cyberattack would be disabling computer systems and networks being used against U.S. interests to prevent an attack from happening or to disrupt an attack that is in progress“. The problem there is that some of the opponents are getting to be really good at what they do and a few of them are not state driven, not by any state changing the dynamics of the solution. Even as I discussed the hop+1 strategy almost three years ago, settings like that require an expert layer one knowledge and the players cannot both have these experts changing the needs of the infrastructure overnight.

The second consideration is: “Perhaps the main challenge to U.S. engagement in tit-for-tat cyberattacks is that the United States is by far the biggest target for such attacks“. That might be true but that goes beyond mere true enemies, it includes a truckload of students wanting to finger the man (or is that giving them the bird)? Do they really want to waste resources to those people whilst the US has actual enemies in the world?

The larger issue is seen with: “Discussing the strategy, national security adviser John Bolton hinted that the administration had already taken steps to bolster offensive efforts in recent weeks, warning that the United States is no longer just playing defense when it comes to cybersecurity. But despite the Trump administration’s more hawkish tone regarding cybersecurity, it will continue mainly to rely on traditional measures such as the legal process, regulations and cooperation with the private sector when it comes to cybersecurity” It is here when we get the consideration of the resources required. The defence, offense and legal sides of it all becomes a real mess if the two split up giving the chance that targets and issues walk away on technicalities. How does that help?

The strategy s even more profound when we consider “Clandestine, discreet attacks are certainly already key elements of U.S. cyber tactics. There have likely been more examples of U.S.-launched attacks that have not come to light, perhaps because they were never recognized as cyberattacks. While the less known about U.S. cyber capabilities, the more effective they will be when deployed, this by definition limits the deterrence value of U.S. cyber capabilities“, at this point is the setting of ‘discreet’ that comes into play. With the two separated they will get into each other’s fare waters and more important give accidental light to the discreet part of the operation, there will be no avoiding it, only the most delusional person would think that it does not get out when more than one player is involved, because that will always introduce a third item being the intermediary, the cold war taught many players that part of the equation. And that is even before we get to the statement: “recent cases like the September indictment of North Korean cyber operatives, which displayed heavy FBI reliance on private security firms such as Mandiant and Alphabet to collect technical evidence and carry out investigations“, now we see the folly as Mandiant and Alphabet are mentioned, the entire matter grows further as soon as Constellis becomes part of the equation. That is beside the point of realising (highly speculative on my side) that neither three Mandiant, Alphabet and Constellis have the required safe servers in place to prevent names, places and facts from going out into the open. I might not be able to get in, but there are dozens who will get in and that voids the security of the matter to a much larger degree. For arguments sake I will leave Booz Allan Hamilton out of that equation, they have been snowed on long enough.

And even as we see the instance of legal preference, the US must realise that any attack from state or non-state parties in China or Russia has close to 0% of being successful (outside of the exposure part), the entire matter in case of the OPCW in the Netherlands is one. An attack was thwarted, yet was it THE attack? The guardian article (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/04/visual-guide-how-dutch-intelligence-thwarted-a-russian-hacking-operation) reads nice, and we see all these facts and from my point of view, things do not add up. You see, I would have used the car that we see mentioned “In the boot of their car was uncovered an arsenal of specialist electronic Wi-Fi hacking equipment” as a fire and forget consumable, use it as an access point, segregating the hacker from the accessing unit. When you have (as they stated) “cash: €20,000 and $20,000” getting a second car far enough to access yet not be directly linked is seemingly easy enough. Then there is the setting of the photo at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport. I am not debating the issue of the photo, it seems genuine enough. In this operation they did not fly to Germany and took the train, or take a car and cross at Oldenzaal, Emerich, or even via Belgium and enter via Antwerp, or Eindhoven. It almost read like they wanted to get noticed. They know that Amsterdam Airport is high tech and nothing escapes their camera eyes. To me (a paranoid me) it comes across as ‘Where did they not want us to look‘. A mere sleight of hand deception, and again the entire GRU mention. A phone outside of that building and they had the taxi receipt? No one merely driving them to the airport in Russia or even them taking a bus from any hotel in Moscow. No a taxi receipt of all things, is anyone buying that? So in this it is not the Dutch, it is the Russian side that makes no sense at all.

How did I get there?

This is the initial setting of offense and defence. The proper application of strategy in all this matters, because we seem to undervalue and underestimate the need of either in all this. Because we get to push a button anywhere and anytime we seem to underestimate on what is recorded, what is collected and what can we verify. That entire mistake is how any offensive strategy can optionally become folly from the moment the instigation of ‘press any key‘ to start gets us. Proper offensive is not about doing what needs to be done, it is about being able to prove who did what. Perhaps Sony remembers that part as they were given that it was North Korea did something, whilst their computers were not even close to PC gaming ready, the mere processor, which was about 25% (at best) of a 1994 Silicon Graphics Indigo system is not the system that gives you what you need to hack the night away. The tools are equally as important as the access and ability to negate identity. When you see that part, the entire hop+1 intrusion path makes a lot more sense.

This now gets us to the end of the Washington Post, where we were treated to: ““As the build of the cyber mission force wraps up, we’re quickly shifting gears from force generation to sustainable readiness,” Nakasone said in a statement in May. “We must ensure we have the platforms, capabilities and authorities ready and available” to carry out successful cyber-offensives. Some former senior intelligence and defense officials oppose separating the “dual-hat” leadership arrangement, including former NSA Director Keith Alexander, former Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates. This week, former CIA Director David Petraeus, a retired Army general, said during a Washington Post cyber summit that he’d keep the dual-hat arrangement “for the time being.”” It is not merely the ‘we have the platforms, capabilities and authorities ready and available‘, you see, when we get to capabilities we see the need of offensive players and even as Cyber command might be aces in their field, the offensive game differs to some degree and even as we see that they are way above the student levels, we get back to the Football equivalent you see the application of defence and offense. It is not DeMarcus Lawrence versus Derrick Henry, the question becomes can DeMarcus Lawrence be a Derrick Henry that is good enough, that is the battle within. The mere realisation that if you fail this when the offensive is broken into a train wreck that makes the limelight in every paper, that is the game that is the dilemma that Gen. Paul Nakasone faces as I personally see it.

And when we see Stratfor with the one little gem we did not consider, the mere proposed fact that North Korea has a mere 9,000 IP Addresses, do you really think that they could have done this all, or are we in a setting where someone had the ability to act on BGP hijacking and was able to mask it to the level it needed to be masked at, because that was the offensive play that needed to be considered and there was no way that the evidence had been uncovered to that degree with a backdoor could be removed with a simple reset of routers.

#FourtyNinersRule

 

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