Tag Archives: Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud

To decide in anger

We know it, we do it, even though our inner voice screams not to do that, we still at times do it. I had such a moment hours ago on a few settings, in the first there is WordPress pushing their Gothenburg editor fiasco on their users. I would think that 2/3 of the ratings being a 1 star for the new editor would be a clear message to not enforce an editor the is not ready, but there is no fighting stupidity that is linked to the ego of others, so as such we see a group of people now looking to Wix as an option, I wonder how long it takes for WordPress to catch on.

The second issue was quite the opposite, I just learned that La Famiglia Trump has the Coronavirus, I got pinged by over a dozen papers, so there is for some the small satisfaction that the coronavirus could kill him before the election does, some will be thankful, I merely see it as an option where people can consider taking the day off, stay at home and not vote, time will tell. Yet the final two were the larger anger settings. Here it is important to set a few things straight. I am a christian (Catholic), I tend to be neutral on religious matters (for the most), but the utter stupidity that we see (at https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/10/2/macron-announces-new-plan-to-regulate-islam-in-france), where we are given ‘Macron says Islam ‘in crisis’’, so how stupid does a person need to be, especially when he is a non-Muslim to make a statement like that? There is the additional “‘Islam is a religion that is in crisis all over the world today’, says Macron, as he unveils plan to defend secularism”, which only makes things worse. As I see it secularism is a form of ego driven faith in nothing but self and your own greed (or hunger for power). In a world where well over 80% believes in something more (even the agnostic adhere to that), we get an atheist thing towards us the there is nothing more, well, he is allowed to believe this, yet in a nation that is Catholic driven, why does he not state that towards the Vatican? Afraid the there is little boy movie that he might be interrupting? #JustAsking

In addition as we are given a little repetitive quote by Al Jazeera “President Emmanuel Macron has unveiled a plan to defend France’s secular values against what he termed as “Islamist radicalism”, saying the religion was “in crisis” all over the world”, we need to take notice that apart from Christianity, he also does not push the setting towards India (Hindu), which is another billion people. As such we could flag the statement as discriminatory. So why is he isolating the Muslim voice here? When we look at the issues in play in India, there is a lot we could say, President Marcron isn’t doing that, so what is his game? It is a fair question, he seems to be aware of the world issues in some way, so the question is relevant.

The last piece is from Al Jazeera as well (Qatar is in rare form today), here it is another attack on Saudi Arabia, the story (at https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2020/10/2/mbs-why-the-world-may-be-stuck-with-the-ceo-of-saudi-inc), gives us ‘MBS: Why the world may be stuck with the ‘CEO of Saudi Inc’, well as I see it stuck is a bit of a stretch. Perhaps we forget that MBS stands for Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. This means that when his father Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the current King of Saudi Arabia relinquishes the crown, Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud becomes King of Saudi Arabia. When? We do not know, yet as his father is 84 years, so there is a decent expectation that this will happen within the next 20 years. In addition, the nation of Saudi Arabia is a monarchy, so this setting was never a surprise, as such the entire ‘stuck with’ falls under the stage of what I call BS. In addition there is “Two years after the brutal murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi by a Saudi hit squad” we seem to ignore that never any reliable evidence was delivered. We could go on with the setting the Jamal Khashoggi is merely missing. OK, I do not believe that either, but if the media ignores vital facts, I can do the same thing, fair? And I will give Al Jazeera that they do give light to the with ‘Two years on, Khashoggi murder unresolved, body still missing’, yes, the murder remains unresolved. As such I could accept that Khashoggi is most likely killed, yet murder sets a level of intent that cannot be proven, and without a body a manslaughter conviction is a fairy tale in any Common Law court.  Anyone accused would most likely walk away, no verdict given. In the end the article is exactly what I expected, a mere written form of advertisement towards the newly released book ‘Blood and Oil’, it also gives us (on the cover), the sub-line ‘Mohammed Bin Salman’s Ruthless Quest for Global Power’, here I take a little bit of a distance. In the first I haven’t read the book, so the stage of ‘Quest for Global Power’ is optionally a stretch, in this American presidents are more easily accused of that. Yet, let’s not forget that the King and Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia have (optionally) a sworn duty to do what is best for Saudi Arabia, I wonder if the book touches on that. And in Muslims terms there is another side to the Al Said family. They are (the king is) Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, one could argue that the responsibility of the King (and optionally) the Crown Prince is larger than life. Consider that ALL Muslims accept that these two places are the heart of their faith, in this 24% of the entire population of the planet, 1.85 billion are Muslim and their faith is centred on Masjid al-Haram (the Great Mosque of Mecca) and Al-Masjid an-Nabawi (the Prophets Mosque of Medina), 

That is some responsibility, it is one that the royal family accepted and it has been the centre of their actions. I wonder how much consideration was given to these parts of the larger equation by Bradley Hope and Justin Scheck. If we look distant and fair to actions in play, we can argue the most nations are looking for Global Power. The UK, the US, Russia, China, all players seeking global power, it has been like that for decades. Yet now there is a new stage, as Saudi Arabia embraced 5G, they are no in a stage to get ahead in the game, r better stated, they could end up with a decent slice of the 5G environment, mostly because others were stupid and made accusations that had no evidence creating a vacuum, and Saudi Arabia, especially in the Neom sage has embraced whatever they could get and that is now optionally a much larger slice of a cake they never vied for. Yet the article gave me one part that was actually insightful. It was given to us by Patricia Sabga. She states: “The Saudi royal family is something of a black box. It’s largely impenetrable to outsiders, including people who have spent decades visiting and studying in Saudi Arabia. How do you go about carving a window into that black box?” There are two sides, in the first the this is optionally true, but how many royal families will allow carving a window in their private lives? And second to that, why would the Al Said family allow it, no matter whether other royal families have done so? Privacy is an expensive commodity and it seems to me that privacy should not be given away, but that is merely my take on that.

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Simple Complexity

Less than 24 hours after we looked at Iran getting ts fingers on a ship with too many unknown variables (like Owner, origin and so on), we see them fall into their old habits by grabbing two tankers with British links. The article (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jul/19/british-tanker-iran-capture-fears-stena-impero-uk-ship-latest) gives us plenty to consider. And when we are exposed to the quote: “Iran’s Revolutionary Guard claimed to have taken the British-flagged Stena Impero into port with its 23-strong crew, and Iranian officials claimed it had infringed maritime regulations” er see the first play in a larger game. The first question we get is likely to be ‘how did it infringe maritime regulations?‘ Yet that is not what this is about. And whilst we look at both ships, all whilst for the second one we get: “The Mesdar’s Glasgow-based operator, Norbulk Shipping UK, confirmed that the vessel had been boarded by armed guards but had then been allowed to continue its voyage. “All crew are safe and well,”” we now get a new scene, one you might not have considered.

The idea hit me in the early morning 8 minutes after the first tanker (who is still missing on Iranian grounds) message came to me. The thought:

If you cannot fathom the simplicity of complexity where will you remain?

You see, most people want you to believe that they are opposites; we see studies that are about understanding the relationship between simplicity and complexity. It is not that, no matter how complex an equation, it must adhere to the simplest of rules. When we go back to the foundation of programming, some might recall one of the oldest lessons. Any program consists at the most of sequences, selections and loops. Once you get that, the simplicity of complexion becomes a point of focus. The entire Iranian matter is not about the Gibraltar tanker (although it will be voiced as such), it is only partially about pushing the opponents. In its current state it is to prove that the US and Europe are basically pussies, they will try to do whatever they can except start the war, that what this is about. All the big words that we got from the man and his administration are starting to become null and void. Even now we see: ‘Trump Says He’ll Work with U.K. on Response to Tanker Seizure‘, we also get: ‘Trump confirms he authorized Rand Paul to negotiate with Iran‘, it is all about ‘reducing’ tensions.

So at present Game, Set and Match for Iran.

This is about sending a message to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the State of Israel that they stand alone, it was a simple play and the media remains clueless, merely reporting the voices and not seeing the orchestra play. It is like watching Wagner (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZP-yXsNV2E) with the sound muted, we see the dance, we see the subtitles, yet without the music the play makes little sense. That is what the media enabled in all this. Iran is playing the game a lot better than I expected them to play. There is at present a 20% chance that Europe will find some excuse to let the tanker go to Syria, yet the tanker will not be empty, it might be reduce, or what the media will quote as ‘nearly empty’, yet an oil tanker optionally holds more than oil.

And even as the Guardian gives its readers the quote: “Jeremy Hunt, the UK foreign secretary, told Sky News: “We are absolutely clear that, if this situation is not resolved quickly, there will be serious consequences.”” there will be a debate and we will find the ‘serious consequences’ laughable in the end. A second message that the support to Saudi Arabia will be scaled back. I have no idea how King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud could ever see these two players as actual allies. So far they have folded at close to the first time of pressure. Consider the evolution of the events and place them next to a phone call made 20 hours ago: “Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani urged Europe on Thursday to speed up efforts to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal, during a phone call with French President Emmanual Macron“, consider that the tanker was already clearly on route to be intercepted, consider the timeline of events and the complexity becomes a simple equation, Iran is playing a multifaceted game to show its enemy the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that it has no western friends, it has no western allies and so far the US the UK and the EU states have been playing their part in musical chairs exactly as Iran hoped. We can see Senator Rand Paul the Republican from Kentucky as evidence in that game. Even the Washington Post is giving part of my view a few hours ago with: “Resetting the U.S.-Saudi relationship on a more honest basis is urgent now, as the danger of regional conflict grows. The latest sharp escalation came Friday as Iran seized a British tanker in the Gulf, according to a U.S. official. This provocation makes British and probably American retaliation likely — compounding the crisis further, which seems to be Iran’s goal.” (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/saudi-arabias-leader-must-reset-his-relationship-with-the-us-as-iran-tensions-soar/2019/07/19/10cd6c0c-aa46-11e9-86dd-d7f0e60391e9_story.html), they call it resetting, I think they are creating a distance between themselves and the KSA, a bad escalation, Iran seems to have its tactic in place and even as we see the stage given as “demonstrate accountability by prosecuting Saud al-Qahtani” on the death of a journalist no one cares about, that part is proven with the inaction on Journalists kept in Turkish prisons, its flim flam theatrics that are collapsing on itself. It is a media circus propelled through UN essay writer Agnes Callamard, a stage of issues lacking actual evidence, only assumptions, circumstantial evidence at best and all trying to influx circumstance by adding the CIA report of ‘high confidence’ again not evidence.

Iran saw it for what it was, an option to push and not get any pushes back, pushing until Europe (holding a nuclear deal carrot) and America (sending Senator Paul) fold in their contributions towards the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I expect that at that point the Iranian attacks will intensify via both Yemen and through Hezbollah. If I am 100% correct these attacks will start again no later than August 4th, or more likely within 1-2 days after some form of agreement with Europe and America has been reached. At that point Israel will have to get very careful on their actions because all bets will be off and Europe is unlikely to do anything operational they will merely leave Israel to their own devices, there is less certainty with the US, but Iran will not care about that part in the short term.

To be honest I fear that August will be a stressed month to be certain, to what degree is not known, because it will depend on what actual orders Senator Paul has at present. I have not forgotten about the US troops, but overall, their mission statement was not given to the media, was it? We get ‘hosting U.S. troops to enhance regional security‘, yet that does not mean that they have any operational value at present . The quote I found was: “USMTM’s mission is to advise and assist the Saudi Arabian armed forces through security cooperation efforts in developing, training and sustaining capable deterrent and self-defence forces for Saudi Arabia in order to facilitate regional security“, so basically these people are consultants and trainers, which is fine, yet when the regional security is threatened, will they act in defence, or only act in self-defence? When you remember the issues that the MFO could have faced in 1982/1983, that setting is rather important. And if Iran changes the premise with their actions, how useful will these US troops be?

These are valid and important questions and the media pushed away from these parts to the largest degree. As far as I can tell, this is an evolving game of chicken with Iran walking around wearing a white table sheet saying ‘Boo!

The fact that both US and Europe Jumped is cause for worry (the European ministers are actually scrambling) which is a worry to the degree that we are watching a paper tiger with its teeth and claws yanked, it looks nice but in the end its a rather pointless and powerless presentation.

 

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Where to focus?

This is an issue on the best of days, we are overwhelmed with information, real news, fake news and of course the Direct marketing waves that hit our internet eyes nearly 24:7. The internet is no longer some child, it is a grown adult and adults tend to lack a certain sense of humour, well the adult eyes of the beholder that is. Yet, what matters to us? When we move beyond the job that feeds you, the partner that … you and the family that gives you (usually) strength. When these things are dealt with, what matters next?

The fearful will look at North Korea, on how they are a threat and when we look at the Washington Post, a very respectable paper we see (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-north-korean-nuclear-threat-is-very-real-time-to-start-treating-it-that-way/2017/05/18/d60cbeec-39a4-11e7-8854-21f359183e8c_story.html) on how the threat is real. Even as we saw two failed launches, and in addition, we have yet to see anything from North Korea to get any missile that far (reaching the US), that an opinion piece states: “Stephen Rademaker, a principal with the Podesta Group, was an assistant secretary of state responsible for arms control and nonproliferation from 2002 to 2006“, so here we see the message, yet the core truth is: “The Podesta Group is a lobbying and public affairs firm based in Washington, D.C.. It was founded in 1988 by brothers John Podesta and Tony Podesta, it can be found at 1001 G Street, NW Suite 1000 W Washington, DC 20001“. Basically it is a marketing firm working a very niche market. Don’t get me wrong. I am not ‘attacking’ them, I would accept a position in such a firm any day of the week. Whether we call them marketeers, government strategy councillors or even diplomatic assistants, they are professionals and I do love working with professionals, especially in an environment I am not fully comprehensive of. You see, when you are out of your waters, most people tend to get to be a little apprehensive. Not me, it invigorates me, whether it is working as a document carrier for Faisal bin Abdullah, or Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, doing work for google (which has been one of the most mentally intoxicating and invigorating environments ever) or merely finding new data solutions, working through data and solving the puzzle I see. So is North Korea a real threat or a perceived one? The safe bet is too see them as a real threat as they have access to Uraninite. You see, the world tends to be a little more complex than that. Having the stuff is not enough, getting the delivery method working correctly is an entirely different matter. It can be by having people from Pyongyang masked as South Koreans attending international universities in science and engineering would be a first, which is not that far a stretch. I literally (by accident) I told this Korean student “Does your family still have that bar in Pyongyang?“, he turned pale and said ‘How did you know that?‘, which was not the response I was going for, but OK, such is life, full of surprises. So as you ponder this, wonder on how China has little or no worry. If North Korea ever actually launches a missile towards America, do you think that the President of the USA would not instantly retaliate (especially the current one), what happens to places like Shenyang (in China), also consider whatever hits the water will make fishing no longer an option for decades, Japan learned that the hard way, so there you have it. In addition, we have seen the North Korea military look at systems like they were magical and those were computers the current European generation laughs at. That can be corroborated by the press as they were on a North Korean press tour a little over a year ago. The ‘minders‘ of those groups had NEVER seen a smart phone. I think that North Korea talks a lot, but for now has no real byte. Now the last part of that the Podesta group is a professional organisation. So was it merely an opinion piece or was the article their business, business they charge for? I will leave you with that thought.

The older American would look at the danger of pensions, which we also see in the Washington Post (athttps://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2017/05/18/trumps-budget-calls-for-hits-on-federal-employee-retirement-programs), the article ‘Trump’s budget calls for hits on federal employee retirement programs‘ describes on how it impacts. The article is a really good read and gives me the feeling that US retirement plans are an awful mess, with the additional danger that they seem to be running dry slightly too soon, which is what you get with a 20 trillion-dollar debt I reckon. The quote “A preliminary budget document released in March called for a domestic discretionary budget decrease of $54 billion, with an equal increase for defense, homeland security and veterans. Nineteen 19 small agencies would be eliminated, along with their workforces“, the additional “Increasing the FERS employee contribution would result in the average federal employee losing nearly $5,000 per year in take home pay, that’s per year after the phase-in is finished, he estimated. “Phasing this outrageous pension cut in over several years does not make it any more palatable. If this change is made, federal employees will no longer have a secure retirement. Period.”” is even more food for thought. The one equaliser in American business has for the longest time been that those people had a secure retirement, when this is off the table the one part of quiet governmental officials was that there was a long term benefit, with that off the table the environment in government positions will change. Now, we might think that this is not a bad thing, but it will result in chaos, and when we have seen and known that the American infrastructure has no real way to deal with chaos in its ranks, we will see different whirly waves of discontent, a few will leave marks on everyone. So when we read “The budget proposal President Trump plans to unveil Tuesday would give to federal employees with one hand, while taking away with five others” is an interesting one and I reckon that when the full paper is released this coming Tuesday, the US national papers will give it high visibility, because the United States federal civil service has a total of around 3 million people, which is 1% of the US population, making it decently important to cater to them. Perhaps those trying to sell the change might have been better off talking to the Podesta group first?

For me, the news was not in a newspaper. It was found in Digital health article. It re-iterated the issue of ‘urgent change‘ I voiced in my blog yesterday. In there I showed the NHS digital part regarding the endgadget quote “NHS digital had notified staff on patches” which would have diminished the Cyber attack gives us two sides. One, would there have been diminished damage, because that would suffice as evidence. Yet in Digital health we see: “a small team of developers is recommending the health service reduce its reliance on Microsoft“, which is overall not a bad idea, yet the NHS is too big to just make a shift in policy like that. I would be in favour of a shift towards something a lot safer like Linux, but that requires expertise. Another option is to rely on an android option where the NHS is all about apps, equally optional, but it will require massive amounts of resources on programmers, testers, upgraders and cyber monitoring. All these options require a drastic shift in IT operations. When we accept that in too many places there is no minding the NHS IT store (by not patching) the dangers will increase. As I quoted: “It is also my personal belief that in many cases the person claiming ‘urgent action is needed’ is also the person who wants the ‘victim’ to jump the shark so that they can coin in as large a way as possible“, which is what we see right here in the article. Now consider the quote: “To demonstrate that there is a licence-free alternative, GP Marcus Baw and technologist Rob Dyke have adapted the open source Linux-based Ubuntu operating system specifically for the NHS. They call it NHSbuntu“. So why not just use the foundation called Ubuntu? I cannot judge the intent (noble or not), but consider that technologist Rob Dyke has to pay for rent and so much, where is his interest? Do not get me wrong, we should not just dismiss any idea that might work, yet will it? You see any IT environment needs oversight and maintenance. The NHS is in no position to make such drastic changes as it is short on basic needs (nurses and doctors), I do agree that the IT needs to be addressed, yet two Labour governments wasted the IT budget of close to 10 years, lets leave it alone until we can actually address solutions. In this, one additional quote from Beta News. they give us “The report reveals that 12.8 percent of non-Microsoft programs were un-patched in the first quarter of this year“. If patching is so important, and it is, why give voice to 12.8% of additional risk? As stated, I am no Microsoft fan, but it does work in the current NHS environment and if we believe NHS Digital and the trusts do actually patch their stuff, the danger would have been a lot lower. As the evidence is at present, this issue would have been addressed by mere policy and replacing those not adhering to it might be the cheapest and best solution. In all this IT News gives us one more part, the fact that Microsoft is actually releasing a patch for operating systems that are no longer supported is also evidence. I do not see it as merely “to protect the company’s customer ecosystem“, which is a decent answer if you believe that. You see they could have merely told the customers to freely upgrade to Windows 10. I believe that, as they state it “to protect users against NSA-derived ransomware“. I believe that someone has evidence on a Microsoft-NSA cooperation in the beginning of the data snooping age and somehow the makers of the Ransomware (less and less likely to be North Korean) got access to the information needed. I reckon that anyone upgrading will be removing the digital evidence on their computers of that event. If you doubt me, consider the quote in that same article “Current versions of WannaCrypt use two exploits leaked by the ShadowBrokers hackers, who gained access to systems at The Equation Group, which is linked to the United States NSA, last year“, if that is true, how did North Korea get this? If they are good enough to be allegedly part of the NSA (source: Kaspersky), how come that the bulk of the cyber intelligence world has no knowledge of North Korea being such a threat against a player like that? It does not matter how it got out. Whether it was a disgruntled ex-employee. Some hacker that got sucked and suckered by a honey trap, there are enough options nowadays. The reality is that somehow the intel got out. It is being addressed and fixed. It does not make the issue go away, it merely tells us that remaining up to date and properly patched was the way to go. Urgently addressing does apply to systems being reasonable up to date, which does mean that there are costs, pushing yourself away from Microsoft (not the worst idea) comes with a cost, one that the NHS cannot afford, no matter how ambitious it seems and they got plenty of that, especially with non working systems. So, lets not make that error twice!

So when you wonder where you need to focus, I am merely suggesting that when your private house is in order, consider playing a video game or watch a nice blu-ray. It seems to me that a balanced life is the most important thing you can arrange for yourself, let the circus play its game and decide not to watch every show they offer, in the end it could just be merely Direct Marketing.

Get what you actually need, not what others state you need!

 

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