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Rocking the bullshit

There has been a massive issue with Huawei, the accusations by the US is the largest one, one of its sheep (aka Australia) has been on the same post on how Huawei is such a large danger to the safety and security of a nation. It gets ‘worse’ when we see ‘The DNC tells Democrats not to buy Huawei or ZTE devices ever’, (at https://www.theverge.com/2018/8/3/17649920/dnc-democrats-huawei-zte-devices-ban-china-hacking-threat). Here we see the quote “people shouldn’t be using devices from either Chinese company for work or personal use. The words echo what federal officials have already said about Huawei and ZTE posing possible security threats to the US. In February, CIA, NSA, and FBI chiefs testified in front of a Senate committee that the two companies were beholden to the Chinese government and the devices could become tools for undetected espionage“, my issue has always been: ‘show me the evidence!’ Basically EVERY phone can be used as a spying device, that is one clear thing we got out of the Cambridge Analytica part, in addition, the Fitness tracking app Strava was a great way to find CIA black ops bases, so even as Strava merely mapped ‘a regular jogging route’, using Google or Apple maps, you would be able to map out the base, the supply routes and so on, the Apple Fitbit would be there for the Russian government knowing where these specialists were and when the were there. So in all that, and all the security transgressions seen here, not of the were Huawei or ZTE, yet, how much noise have you heard from the CIA, NSA, or FBI on Apple? Even now, they are that one Trillion dollar company, are they too big to mention?

I wonder why?

Yet, Huawei is not out of the hot water yet, they are actually in deeper hot waters now but this time it is allegedly by their own actions. Reuters is giving u mere hours ago: ‘Huawei in British spotlight over use of U.S. firm’s software’, the news (at https://www.reuters.com/article/huawei-security-britain-usa/huawei-in-british-spotlight-over-use-of-us-firms-software-idUSL5N1US343) gives us: “One of those is due to Huawei’s use of the VxWorks operating system, which is made by California-based Wind River Systems, said three people with knowledge of the matter, all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity when discussing details which were not made public in the report“, which now leads me to the setting that the American accusations are set on the premise of American Software used? How dopey is that?

Then we get: “the version of VxWorks being used by Huawei will stop receiving security patches and updates from Wind River in 2020, even though some of the products it is embedded in will still be in service“. In all this, the fact that it is still serviced for another 2 years, how are we now in the stage of: “potentially leaving British telecoms networks vulnerable to attack“? Is that not equally a questioning setting? Do we not have enough issues out there with Microsoft which has been nearly forever a security concerns, at this point, 2 years early we get the security warning on Huawei, yet not on Microsoft or Apple for that matter, in all this Google is equally a place of patches, and in all this, Huawei is the one getting unbalanced and unfairly burned at the stake like a Catholic at an Elisabeth I barbecue gathering.

Yet the good stuff is “All three sources said there was no indication that the VxWorks mismatch was deliberate. There is also no suggestion that the software itself represents a security risk“, this now leads us to two parts. The first is if it is true that ‘no suggestion that the software itself represents a security risk‘, does this mean that Huawei never had a security risk and if that is incorrect, why not present that evidence so that every Huawei Owner can test for this transgressions ending whatever future Huawei had in the first place.

In the second part, if there is no proven security flaw in the Huawei on hardware, is the security flaw a software one, or better stated an American software one, and if so, why are these people only going after Huawei and not after a dozen American firms?

The one part that we see in Channel News Asia is “Consultant Edward Amoroso, a former chief security officer at AT&T, said Huawei’s experience in Britain showed the challenges of securing international supply chains. Although no one should dismiss Huawei as a supplier solely because of its geographical location, reliance on software that is going out of support is a legitimate concern, Amoroso said“, the news (at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/business/huawei-in-british-spotlight-over-use-of-us-firm-s-software-10590268) gives the part that does matter, in this Edward Amoroso is right, software at the end of its reign is often the true safety concern, not merely because of the time frame, but in extent the time required to properly update the software on all the devices, which is not always a smooth path and tends to open up additional security gaps. In that part of the equation Huawei does have a legitimate problem to address. The second part to all that is “In addition to the issue with VxWorks, this year’s report also cited technical issues which limited security researchers’ ability to check internal product code“, I believe it to be a minor part and the proper investigators could seek or test for the issues, not merely that, the limitations also remove whatever options there are for zero day breaches, which has a much larger legal frame to address. So even as we agree that the US setting of accusation without evidence (proper presented evidence is merely the stuff that makes the grass grow in Texas). We also get that the US is giving us: “In the United States, the Pentagon is working on a “do not buy” list to block vendors who use software code originating from Russia and China“, there is an actual thing called national security and as such, it is their right to implement that part, I do believe that in the end it might be somewhat counterproductive, but it is still within their rights to be in such a setting nor no other reasons.

In the end there are a few issues in the field and some are out there, but with a lack of technical details, some cannot be proven, yet the fact of what some have done in the past might give the setting of ‘is it more likely than not that some do not really have 5G‘ is a true setting, yet I prefer to have the actual evidence, that some are trying to keep buried, and the media is part of that chase, which is odd to say the least. Huawei is bouncing back and forth and their hold to grow fast via the UK will be there, but from my point of view, they will need to fix the VxWorks part a lot faster than they think they need. From my estimation a new software solution should be well beyond the Beta stage in Q1 2019 if they want to have any chance of keeping their lucrative growth contracts in place. In equal measure we need to look at Canada and Australia, as they are currently set to be nothing more than US tools in all this. In all respects no actual and factual evidence was thrown out in the open. If that was done Huawei would have lost pretty much every non-Chinese contract, the fact that the BS is spread even larger with absence of evidence gives more reliability that there is no real security danger and it is more a tool for some to get the slice of 5G pie, probably at the expense of a monthly data dump, nicely mailed via UPS to: N 11600 W, Saratoga Springs, UT 84045, USA. That alone should give us the goods on who to trust and who to be cautious of. In all this, no evidence has been presented to the public (and their right to know) on how Huawei is a threat to our security. The fact that I believe that this is all bogus in one thing, the issues seems to be blown up as everyone takes a queue from John Bolton, that whilst the setting “Five Eyes is an alliance between Canada, New Zealand, the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom that facilitates collaboration in intelligence activities” gives us that there are three in the dark, the UK might be around with the knowledge and the rest merely takes a queue form the US, which has seemingly been whispering like they did in the WMD in Iraq phase, you do remember that in the end, they were never found and it was merely bad intel. So in that setting whilst Corporate America, Canada and Australia are all in fear of their gap against leading Huawei, in that setting we are supposed to have faith on the American gospel on what constitutes a danger from Huawei? And now that we are made aware that the software solution used is an American one?

Yup, we have all kinds of problems and some are valid issues of concern as Edward Amoroso phrases it. Yet between a setting of concern and an actual concern is a mile long gap and whilst we acknowledge that Huawei has some fixing to do, until actual evidence is shown that there is a security breach, the only thing that the US can do is to offer a $229 instant price match for the Apple, or an $100 instant price match for the Google Pixel 2, or a $400 instant price match for the Samsung 9, why would anyone in this day and age pay more for the same, actually, with the enhanced batteries of Huawei you will still miss out, but that might be the smallest cross to bear. All this because some players just didn’t get the pricing right, too many fingers on the margin pie, that alone seems to unbalance the entire equation, because all these players will miss out when Huawei is given free reign there. In this the equation is no longer about security, it will be merely about greed and those enabling for it. Is that not equally important an element to consider?

I’ll be honest, I am still happy with my Huawei P7, it was really affordable against anyone offering anything and after 3 years working 24:7, where would you think I would look first? The one who had proven himself, or the one overpricing its brand (OK, with the Pixel at a mere $100 more, that is still an awesome deal).

When we decide on pricing it is one, when unreliable players in the game force us away from the affordable option it becomes a different stage and so far, the US has proven to lose reliability again and again when it comes to their version of security. To emphasize on that, check on all the printing regarding the Landmines in Yemen placed by the Houthi and the amount of articles that we see in the NY Times, the LA Times and the Washington Post. Now consider the impact of mines and why Americans seem to be eager not to inform you. By the way, that setting was almost certain a setting that Iran enabled, if you questions that (which is fair) then answer the simple question, where did the Houthi forces get 1,000,000 mines from?

We are kept in the dark on the wrong topics and it is time to set the limelight on those people keeping us knowingly in the dark.



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The wrong side of news

We all have those moments where we get stopped by news. Not because it was shocking, or because it was some breaking event, we all have those moments. Yet, how often did news stop you because it raised a few too many red flags?

That was the case with me this morning when I saw ‘News Corp wants limits on ABC to prevent ‘advantaged’ competition‘. The article (at https://www.theguardian.com/media/2018/jul/23/news-corp-wants-limits-on-abc-to-prevent-advantaged-competition) might be fair enough. Yet when we get treated to the story that is (at https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/commentisfree/2018/jul/16/news-corps-promotion-of-lauren-southern-is-disturbing), merely a week ago, giving us ‘News Corp Australia’s promotion of Lauren Southern is disturbing‘ with the quote: “Her speaking engagements with rightwing YouTuber Stefan Molyneux will go ahead, as will the top-dollar dinner engagements with those willing to shell out $750. But if the notion that she might be prevented from entering Australia was credible, it’s because Southern has been banned from entering a country before“, what is an issue is that News Corp seems to be about creating visibility, but what part of all this was the news? It might be relevant, it might even fit, but all these resource draining tantrums that we get with “A temporary setback was re-purposed as precious publicity, and News Corp papers continued to unfurl the red carpet ahead of her visit“, seems to indicate that as a ‘commercial provider‘ they seem to be wasting loads of energy and resources. All these events are on their turf, so when I see “Rupert Murdoch’s Australian arm has told a government inquiry the internet has transformed the ABC and SBS into “news publishers” who have the advantage of being taxpayer-funded, while denying commercial competitors revenue” as ABC (and SBS), whilst the question on News Corp, whether it should exist at all is on the mind of many people. It’s like watching a butter salesman stating that a Brioche with margarine just tastes better. I am asking whether the limelight seeking News Corp, by their own actions (against ABC, SBS and Facebook) made their own existence debatable. As that comes into focus and people are more and more shying away from anything News Corp brings, they are now in a silly position. They painted themselves into a corner and now that they are in that corner being immobile for the time being, they are telling all the painters to stop, so that those painters will not get an actual lead on the amount of painting done.

One source gave me a partial interesting view. It is the setting of Sinclair broadcasting next to News Corp. This is seen in the Washington Post, where we get: “The Company is the largest owner of local television stations in the country, with 173 stations in 81 broadcast markets that stretch from coast to coast and just about everywhere in between, at a time when local news outpaces national news outlets both in overall viewership and trust. About 85 percent of Americans trust local news outlets, more than the 77 percent for family or friends, according to the Pew Research Center“. The article (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/style/wp/2018/04/02/get-to-know-sinclair-broadcast-group-the-conservative-local-news-giant-with-a-growing-reach) shows a very different setting. You see, when we see those two, we get the setting: “using local voices and optionally celebrities to push a national and even an international agenda, in this pushing any other media as an enemy creating market penetration that is set on the foundations of a political required brand or view“. When we see that places like the Sinclair Broadcast Group (headquartered in Hunt Valley, MD), we start seeing that there is a larger play, in this light we do not see ABC or SBS in an advantaged playing field, we see two players bringing newsworthy events that oppose the playing field that News Corp relies on. We see a setting of opposition in a place where News Corp can’t stomach any. Now we get a very different light and in all this we need to wonder what the hell anyone is doing allowing and paving the way for News Corp.

In addition we see the Washington Post also give us: “Interest in Sinclair picked up recently after reports exposed a seemingly Trump-friendly script the company ordered its anchors nationwide to read, lambasting “irresponsible, one-sided” and “fake” news stories. The one-minute-long script, which appeared to echo Trump’s efforts to attack the reporting he has disagreed with as “fake news,” brought to the fore long-standing critiques about what many view as the company’s rightward tilt. The fake stories promo, which was first reported by CNN in March, drew wide attention after Deadspin published a video Saturday that layered dozens of the company’s anchors around the country reading the script over one another, creating a visceral portrait of corporate message control“, now we have ourselves a party, because if that is the future of News that News Corp is bringing us, then we are a lot better off keeping ABC and SBS enshrined in the places they are now.

One source gave us regarding a similar setting: “It should feel familiar; our very own News Corp has employed these strategies“, from that point of view we need to become extra careful.

It was the Sydney Moring Herald that gave us (at https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/news-corp-s-war-on-facebook-is-a-decade-in-the-making-20180511-p4zet3.html) the article ‘News Corp’s war on Facebook is a decade in the making‘, yet it is the quote “The company has made it very clear it thinks Facebook and Google should pay publishers “carriage fees” for running their stories. This would be a similar economic construct to the American cable television industry, where distributors such as Comcast and Time Warner Cable pay programming suppliers such as Murdoch’s Fox and Disney to carry their channels” gives a different light. You see, Murdoch took a path (one that he is allowed to. Whenever you share a story (like a link) you get transferred. In this example Google search gave me: ‘Daily Telegraph editorial: It’s time to embrace our freedoms and fight …’, which comes with the quote: “DURING the 1960s and into the 1970s, when waves of post-war Baby Boomers came of age and began to exert their demographic influence”, it might have been an interesting read, yet when we go there, we get pushed to ‘myaccount.news.com.au’, asking to log in, or take a subscription, which is fair enough. But now, all those papers like the Daily Telegraph, the Courier Mail and others are no longer used. People link others to the Sydney Morning Herald, the Guardian, the Independent, and the Financial Times. Social media is about sharing and an interesting article remains interesting when you share it with a like-minded person. So now News Corp is getting less and less traction, as others get the limelight. That is the effect on users trying to keep friends alerted. that is very much also the path and the entire ‘the foundations of a political required brand or view‘ is all about emotion (well mostly), so now as people regard News Corp to be less and less relevant, as people are relying on ‘any other source‘, we see that the long game as spoken about in the SMH, as well as the setting that the Guardian gives us is becoming more and more unacceptable to the people. for a lack of a better view, Murdoch dug his own grave and even as the coffin he has for the plot will be massively comfortable, once we cover it with dirt at roughly 6 feet deep, he starts becoming a ‘forgotten item’ from the era of the Jurassic age where the loud voice carries weight. At 6 feet deep no one can hear you scream (I just had to add some Alien factor).

So as SBS and ABC are all about sharing news, it opposes the agenda and revenue of News Corp, so now they cry like (for a lack of a better term) ‘prissy little bitches’. When we look at the Parliament page (at https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/rp/BudgetReview201617/Publicbroadcasting), we see: “The ABC is to receive revenue of $3.1 billion in base operating funding over the three years to 2018–19“, as well as “Base funding for Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) is also included in the Portfolio Budget Statements. The broadcaster will receive $271.9 million in 2016–17, $269.8 million in 2017–18 and $272.4 million in 2018–19“, when we realise some sources giving us: “The company reported total revenue of US$8.14 billion (AU$10.35 billion) last year“, which seems to be in line of previous reporting, although there is a shift and that hurts News Corp, I think considering the waste of resources when we look at events like Lauren Southern, how much was the entire bill for News Corp?

I am not saying that they should not have done that, but this is about creating emotion, not about reporting news. News Corps creating news (through their promotions) and that makes it another matter entirely. In all this, when I see: “She believes Australia should close its borders and that there “are only two sexes — male and female”“, it is my personal view that there is one poster that does give us the actual goods. So, what do you think? Should we all revert to Aboriginalism? At that point I do wonder who would embrace Pauline Hanson as a sister (but that is merely my evil sense of humour). I would never attack freedom of speech and freedom of expression, she is allowed her views, yet from my point of view, she’s a Canadian, a British Columbian. Her views are extreme right (or is that extremely incorrect), but pushed through the internet, a libertarian with a populist focus. A 23 year old not hit with the ugly stick and those factors make her an internet personality. The issue I also see is that she is seen as a Journalist, yet she never graduated University (University of the Fraser Valley). I am a blogger and I refuse to call myself a Journalist, even as I have a Masters in IP Law as well as two other postgraduate degrees from the University of Technology Sydney, I never graduated in Journalism, so I refuse to call myself a Journalist, even as I have publications going back to 1988 in several magazines, being a reviewer of multimedia products does not make me a journalist, plain and simple.

In this case Lauren Southern matters. You see, when you consider her education, the fact that we see that in March 2017, Lauren Southern left Rebel Media to become an independent journalist (without a degree in journalism I might add), this whilst she still additionally gained access to White House press briefings, so how is that even possible? In addition, News Corp is promoting her events making the entire matter even more debatable. So in that setting, when I see the Guardian giving us: “The publisher of the Australian and Daily Telegraph wants the ABC to be barred from promoting its news stories online using Google ads“, I am of the mind that someone stupid enough to promote a non-Journalist and giving the limelight to “News Corp papers continued to unfurl the red carpet ahead of her visit“, they should realise that there are places where people (and actual Journalists) actually focus on the news, reporting on events not creating hypes through: she chose Luton because it is the home of Tommy Robinson, the currently imprisoned founder of the English Defence League. In May, Robinson was sentenced to 13 months in prison for contempt of court after broadcasting details of a trial from outside Leeds crown court that risked causing it to collapse“.

News Corp is showing to be on the wrong side of the News, their approach on spreading news, I apologise! I meant spreading the subscription page is valid. They are allowed to do that and their tactic that they should be paid by places like Facebook is a fair choice to make, but they forget that actual reliable sources (BBC, the Guardian, SBS, ABC) are allowing such a path (without subscription), and when it comes to results, the people sharing stories want to share the story, not the subscription page. Add the entire Lauren Southern promotion and we don’t get news, we get the acceleration of emotional hype’s and we have had quite enough of that.

The question becomes, will political need buckle to their needs via News Corp, and once that is out and in the open, when we investigate those politicians who allowed for this, will we tolerate answers like ‘It was a complex setting‘ and ‘there appeared to have been a level of miscommunication‘, when those quotes are given, will we be able to demand their eviction from any political seat? I am asking these questions because all those shouting on how our privacy is gone and how we are all monitored whilst the political setting is in a stage where smothering real news is a reality that we are optionally allowing for. In that part we are actively allowing for media outlets to create fake news. When we are not allowed to see the whole story, when we merely see a carefully scripted partial side, are we not in the foundation where we are being fed fake news?


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Something for the Silver Screen?

There is an issue in Europe, well, there are plenty of issues in Europe, but until now, I steered clear of one of them. Something does not add up and it is now more of an issue than ever before.

This trip started in the Washington Post, after I saw several articles in the Guardian. You see, with one article it has become something else and that is very much an issue. So (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/russia-to-respond-very-soon-to-british-decision-to-expel-its-diplomats/2018/03/15/89e27b4a-2839-11e8-b79d-f3d931db7f68_story.html), we see ‘U.S., France and Germany join Britain in saying Russia likely responsible for chemical attack against former spy‘, the mere title. Now, I am not saying that this is not what happened, not even implying that it is some figment. Yet, why would we see ‘U.S., France and Germany join Britain‘? This is a simple murder, perhaps an assassination, or liquidation. Whatever word you use for the event, it does not matter to the person who got iced, he definitely no longer cares. But we, we should care, for us this entire situation matters. So when we see in the very beginning “formally backed Britain’s claims that Russia likely was responsible for a chemical toxin attack against a former spy living in England“, I personally am not convinced. There would have been any number of actions that would have resulted in the demise of that person. To get a gun is usually not hard if you know the people. There was a person in the 90’s that one could meet near Ilford, would be able to get a whole range of guns, no silencers though. Still for £350-£500 (in those days) you could get something not too fancy and it would clean the clock of whoever needed to be done. Just make sure you do not do it in the wrong place and upset the local family guy, because that tends not to work. Still, consider the ease of a mere gun against the dangers, the risks and the trouble of getting VX into the country, than getting it to the location. You only need to see the movie ‘The Rock‘ to know that it requires several things, a lot of it dodgy and that stuff is not that stable to begin with. Now, as we see that there was a nerve agent in play, so I am not opposing that. I am merely stating that this kind of work is odd to begin with. That is beside the point of any SVR RF, FSB or GRU member freaking out having to take that shit with them. It is not merely overkill; it tends to leave you without options if you fail at first. And ask any Murphy that your shit goes wrong the first opportunity nature gets their hands on you. It is a fact of life. So in that regard it seems to me that Novichok is a weird choice to use. This is also me stating that I have no evidence that it was NOT used. So when I take a little lesson in Novichok, I learned the following:

  1. At https://www.opcw.org/fileadmin/OPCW/CSP/RC-3/en/rc3wp01_e_.pdf, we see “Regarding new toxic chemicals not listed in the Annex on Chemicals but which may nevertheless pose a risk to the Convention, the SAB makes reference to “Novichoks”. The name “Novichok” is used in a publication of a former Soviet scientist who reported investigating a new class of nerve agents suitable for use as binary chemical weapons. The SAB states that it has insufficient information to comment on the existence or properties of “Novichoks”” which they state on page 3 in paragraph 8. Now this is 2013 and this is 5 years later. Yet, as some sources give us that it was developed in the 70’s up to the early 90’s, it seems interesting that there was nothing on the matter 20 years later.
  2. Yet that same OPCW gave us in April 2011, two years earlier the two following parts on page 7 at 11.1 and 11.2. With: “This has been attracting increasing attention in recent years, particularly among non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Although very little information has appeared in the public domain, there have been claims that a new class of nerve agents, known as “Novichoks”, has been developed. In December 2008, a former defence scientist published a book, which included information on structures reported to be those of the new agents. Some of these structures meet the criteria for Schedule 2 B4 (S2 B4); however, all others are non-scheduled chemicals. The author claimed that the toxicity of certain “Novichok” agents may exceed that of VX“, something that should have woken up the CIA instantly, something deadlier than VX and no defence? There is no way that they wouldn’t have been chasing that, even if it was merely to find a defence against it.

So now we have the play to some extent in view. The BBC gave first view (at http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-43377856) with “Former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned by a military-grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia“, yet it is the innuendo of News.com.au that takes the limelight. With “Investigators believe the nerve agent that poisoned former Russian agent Sergei Skripal was planted in his daughter’s suitcase before she left Moscow, The Telegraph newspaper reported, citing unidentified sources. Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, were found slumped unconscious on a bench outside a shopping centre in the genteel southern English city of Salisbury on March 4“, so not only did they go the whole nine yards to get to both, the entire issue is that both could have been removed simple enough in Salisbury. The entire matter does not add up. Another source, The Jamestown Foundation gives us “Sergei Skripal (66), a former Russian military intelligence (GRU) colonel, was arrested in Moscow in 2004 for allegedly being an agent of the United Kingdom’s MI6 intelligence service. Skripal was convicted, in 2006, to serve 13 years in prison for treason. In 2010, he was pardoned, released and sent to the UK in a major spy exchange involving a big group of “sleeper” spies who had been arrested in the United States, promptly convicted and deported to Russia“, so if we accept these facts, than we see that he was shipped to the UK 8 years ago. So now we see such an overkill event? It does not add up!

This level of overkill implies (mind you I am saying ‘implies’) personal orchestration, this is a message, but for who the message is for (or ‘from’ for that matter) is not clear. There is enough evidence that the toxin was used, but there is a long road here. Even as we accept the Jamestown Foundation giving us “Other officials insist Novichok was never officially defined as a chemical weapon and was not destroyed, because it never officially existed (Interfax, March 14). Mirzayanov, who is apparently the main whistle-blower on Novichok, is being actively discredited by the pro-Kremlin press (Komsomolskaya Pravda, March 15). Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov categorically denied there ever was a secret nerve agent program named “Novichok in Russia or in the USSR,” while Russia has stopped all work on developing new chemical weapons and has completed the destruction of existing stockpiles. Ryabkov referred to Mirzayanov as a “defector,” who was not trustworthy (Militarynews, March 15)“. This now gets us to the crux of the matter. The whistle-blower Vil Mirzayanov is now living in the US. Now we get to the good stuff, which is given by The Guardian, the article (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/mar/16/russian-spy-poisoning-attack-novichok-chemist) gives us ‘chemist says non-state actor couldn’t carry out attack‘, that is a notion I can very well agree with. In addition, as I stated earlier “the chemical was too dangerous for anyone but a “high-level senior scientist” to handle and that even he – who worked for 30 years inside the secret military installation where novichok was developed and gained extensive personal experience in handling the agent – would not know how to weaponize it“. If this stuff has been weaponised it would be a novel usage and also a very novel situation. The fact that the luggage went from Moscow without setting off any alarms, the fact that it survived the trip (you know how luggage carriers tend to be), as well as the setting that it went off at the time it did gives rise to all kinds of technological options. Still we have the setting of who would have done it. Mirzayanov supports this with ““You need a very high-qualified professional scientist,” he continued. “Because it is dangerous stuff. Extremely dangerous. You can kill yourself. First of all you have to have a very good shield, a very particular container. And after that to weaponize it – weaponize it is impossible without high technical equipment. It’s impossible to imagine.”” and let’s not forget the target, a former GRU agent who had been in prison for 4 years and then exchanged. It seems to me that it is not impossible that Russia was behind it, but I feel that the entire approach was too personal. I speculate that this was likely a Russian with a personal axe to grind, moreover this was a test-run (a mere speculation) and the person decided to go after the one person he had hatred for and in that regard going after the daughter made perfect sense, even more so as it would hurt the person he wanted to get to even more. So was this the case?

Now the last part is all speculative but it adds up, the effort shown for stuff that is still material for denial from the original whistle-blower giving us ‘would not know how to weaponize it‘, and that is from the person who actually handled the stuff. It is the very last part that also matters; with “Mirzayanov thinks the Salisbury attack was performed with a binary version of the agent brought through customs and automatically mixed at the time of the attack“, so two elements, mixing and distributing, such a device was not seen when the luggage got to the UK?

There are too many issues and even as I agree wholeheartedly on the message that Vil Mirzayanov brought to us, I am not convinced that this was some elaborate scheme from the Russian government. Sending any officer of the SVR RF, FSB, GRU or even the Voyska Spetsialnogo Naznacheniya to go shopping in London with the message “Oh, and before you fly back, would you kindly put a bullet in the back of the head of both Sergei and Yulia Skripal?“, a simple mandate avoiding well over half a dozen of cogs that could be clogged with mere sand at any given time.

That is why it does not add up. In hindsight there is one additional part. Is it true that ONLY Russia has that stuff? The entire matter when we see some papers where the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, was to some extent in the dark 5 years ago. In light of Vil Mirzayanov moving to New Jersey in 1996, so 15 years later the OPCW is still in the dark? That path makes even less sense. In addition, the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) seemed to have been equally in the dark. From those parts alone, whilst one of the handlers was in the US for the last 22 years, the entire setting is a stretch. It does make sense that the US would have been part of the conversation, yet how do France and Germany fit in? Some presented unity on standing up against Russia?

There is little question on the timeline. So when we see the BBC (at http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-43297638), they are found by a doctor and nurse at 16:15, both unconscious. So they had made it to the Malting’s shopping centre (or so the information implies). So when we learn “A police officer who was the first to attend the scene is now in a serious condition in hospital, Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said“, which we get form the article (at http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-43323847) we should be able to tell more. But we cannot, the News is too chaotic, BBC, SBS and other reliable sources give us the snippets, but not an actual slice of the cake. The timeline implies that they were poisoned on the spot, the fact that Nick Bailey, a police officer who became unwell after taking part in the early response to the attack gives additional rise to the use of a toxin, but that implies that it was done there, on the spot. Even if the toxin was moved through touch, the speed at which Nick Bailey got it implies (speculative from my side) that the toxin worked fast, unless the location was less than a 4 minute walk from their house, that option would be taken away as the toxin would be pushed through the body via the bloodstream. In addition any longer would make the Novichok useless, nerve agents are that because they are close to lightning fast, even as we expect that the police officer was lucky and too little got to him.

Yet it was only a few hours ago that the Guardian is giving us a timeline (aren’t they just the best). So the article (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/mar/16/skripals-poisoning-what-we-know-so-far) gives us a decent timeline. I particularly liked “most likely in powder form and the means of delivery could have been as simple as a letter“, so perhaps it might be: “most likely in powder form and the means of delivery could have been as simple as the restaurant bill“, you see the hour at Zizzi as well as the fact that they were found 40 minutes later. A nerve agent will work fast, really fast so the 40 minutes would have been a stretch no matter what, yet the fact when they were found and when they were overcome is not a given, so they could have been smouldering there for over 20 minutes. It equally gives rise that the longer they were there the less impact it would have had on Constable Nick Bailey, his luck I might add. The Guardian is now showing the issues I had and that is good (for me), so as I finalise reading that article, I see a number of issues and even as I had seen most issues, the one part that they aren’t giving us (as It was not part of the timeline) was seen in the in depth of the Independent (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/uk-russia-nerve-agent-attack-spy-poisoning-sergei-skripal-salisbury-accusations-evidence-explanation-a8258911.html). Here we see: “Some analysts have claimed that Novichoks could have been smuggled out of chemical weapons and storage sites after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when facilities were abandoned by unpaid staff and security was low“, “if the precursor ingredients were smuggled out in the 1990s, stored in proper conditions and mixed recently, they could still be deadly in a small-scale attack according to some experts” as well as “In 1995, a Russian banking magnate called Ivan Kivelidi and his secretary died from organ failure after being poisoned with a military grade toxin found on an office telephone. A closed trial found that his business partner had obtained the substance via intermediaries from an employee of a state chemical research institute known as GosNIIOKhT, which was involved in the development of Novichoks” give us a few things. In the first that the experts are kind of clueless, we might be blaming Russia on all this and it might be true, yet the latter part that involves Ivan Kivelidi takes away the ‘beyond all reasonable doubt’. The fact that this stuff is out in the open to some degree is a much larger issue and when we see “Leonard Rink, told police he had been storing poisons in his garage and selling them to pay off debts“, we see part that takes the Russian government optionally out of the equation and gives us the part I came with earlier “the entire approach was too personal. I speculate that this was likely a Russian with a personal axe to grind“, it fits the bill of the restaurant one might state, that is, if the timeline of the events and the timeline of the toxin can be proven, because both are the axial in the issue.

No matter how this plays out, this could become one hell of a movie and when we see it on the silver screen, will Matt Damon play the person with the grudge, or the scientist who initially played a role in developing it? However we should reserve the role of Skripal for John Larroquette, it will be nice to see him again on the big screen.



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Time Magazine as a comedian

There are days when things go pear shaped, we all have them. Some go pear shaped in the best of ways, others less so. Now, I am not a big fan of Time magazine. I have nothing against them and the pictures tend to be pretty awesome. Yet, until today I had no idea that they had an interesting sense of humour. So, let’s take a look at ‘This Is What the U.S. Can Do to Help End It‘ in regards to the Syrian war (at http://time.com/5195442/eastern-ghouta-syria-civil-war-anniversary/).

It starts with “as it stands today, the U.S. is essentially a bystander. The Trump Administration has on cruise control the same ISIS-centric policies of the Obama Administration. The small contingent of U.S. troops present in eastern Syria only marginally stabilize territory liberated from the Islamic State while preventing Iranian and Syrian government forces from seizing the region. The Trump Administration has ended the CIA’s arm-and-equip program for the Syrian moderate opposition, a program which was created under President Obama, which was never sustainable or substantial“, which is true, there is nothing in opposition of that and in that regard we remain serious. That is, until we see: “Find a way to deliver aid. The U.S. must work with the international community to find an effective means of getting resources to the region. The stream of videos coming out of Ghouta shows a population subjected to the worst conditions imaginable. We should take the lead in enforcing United Nations demands for a real cease-fire to alleviate this brutal suffering. We can save lives now.” Is that so? Perhaps some can remember the ceasefire that was unanimously set in motion at the UN around the 1st of March. So, how did that pan out? Knowing that Russia and Syria hold the US in even less regard than the UN, the chances of the first part becoming reality is not that much of a reality to begin with and re-iterating that point 12 days later is a little bit of a joke at the very least. In eastern Ghouta, according to SBS, the death toll has passed the ‘thousand mark’, implying that the Ghouta region gets depopulated by close to one hundred cadavers every day. One could argue that until the culling stops, it will be too late for humanitarian aid. If the players had only acted 6 years ago, instead of waiting, sitting on ones hands and hoping for diplomatic resolution, or accept the reality that Syrian lives have no counterbalance in oil and let them pass away (it is not humane, but the reality we see here will never ever be near humane). Wasn’t it Friedrich Nietzsche who said: ‘To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering‘? So how much meaning can we find in Syria at present?

But that was merely their opening act. Getting to the main event we get “Repair relations with Turkey. In the end, U.S. policy in Syria rests on the U.S. and Turkey working together. Turkey is currently engaged in Operation Olive Branch against Syrian Kurds in the northern Syrian city of Afrin, to stabilize its own southern border and to prevent the establishment of a Kurdish state“. So, how delusional is that? Turkey only cares about Turkey, which in itself is nothing they can be blamed for, that stance is fair enough. So, how will the US continue in regards to the Armenian genocide? Let’s not forget that we might soon have the situation that Turkey could be blamed for two genocides, at that instance Turkey would in theory surpass Nazi Germany. The entire PKK issue is one that hangs around the necks of both the US and NATO. The headline ‘Kurds threatened with beheading by Turkey’s allies if they don’t convert to extremism‘, which we see in the Independent (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/syria-civil-war-assad-regime-turkey-afrin-kurds-eastern-ghouta-us-allies-militia-a8252456.html) also shows “Mr Abdulrahman, who is the leading human rights monitor in Syria with a network of informants throughout the country, says he is worried that international attention is entirely focused on the Syrian army assault on Eastern Ghouta and “nobody is talking about” the potential slaughter of the Kurds and other minorities in Afrin“, with in addition: “as many as one million Kurds may be threatened and adds that it is becoming extremely difficult for them to escape from Afrin because Syrian government checkpoints on the only road leading south to Aleppo “are demanding bribes of up to $4,000 per family to let people through.” Mr Abdulrahman points to growing evidence drawn from videos taken by themselves of militiamen claiming to be members of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) that the units advancing ahead of regular Turkish troops are extreme jihadis“, the reasoning there is “Isis recruits had been instructed by Turkish trainers not to use their traditional tactics, such as the of extensive use of car bombs, because this would identify them as terrorists. He suspected that Isis fighters would be used as cannon fodder in Turkey’s war against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and then discarded“.

Perhaps we should also remember the part that Time Magazine did not give us. “The Turkish military responded with a ferocious counterinsurgency campaign that led to the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, most of them Turkish Kurdish civilians, and the displacement of more than three million Kurds from south eastern Turkey“, which is seen in The Middle East by Ellen Lust. My knowledge of the PKK goes back to the days when we saw Öcalan pleading for an independent Kurdistan. I am not stating that the PKK was innocent, there are questions on both sides, yet as the Americans are so actively ignoring the Armenian issues as well as trying to please Turkey, a nation that has never proven to be a true ally, will the US and NATO remain in denial in regards to the 40,000 dead Kurdish civilians? That would be wrong on a whole new level. In that regard there is one additional part. The claim that ‘the PKK had been accusing Turkey of supporting ISIS at the time when the PKK was part of several offensives against ISIS in Iraq and Syria‘, an issue reported by Al Jazeera in 2015. Was that ever proven or disproven? You see, allowing an ISIS supporter in our midst is one part that should offend everyone, yet that too does not make it to the radar of Time magazine.

And it does not end there, the comedy gets to be better with “Only Turkey has the credibility, resources and geopolitical heft to steward U.S. interests in Northern Syria“, it is Saturday Night Life (SNL) in magazine form. Turkey has not had any credibility for close to a decade; perhaps some Americans remember how Turkey wanted all their debts wiped to allow US planes over Turkey. This happened shortly after 9/11, so when you remember that part, how dicey is their allegiance? And the only resources it clearly has are the ones they have and others pay for. That is seen with “Turkey’s continued membership in NATO means that American taxpayers subsidize the Turkish state in the form of guarantees of military defense in case of military conflict with non-NATO nations”, which implies that at least in part, the US is paying for the conflicts that Turkey is currently in. When was that going to be exposed and in that light, what resources does Turkey actually have, bought and paid for with non US supported funds? I do not know, I am merely asking.

So after the main event we get a small collection of one-liners like “Threaten additional, immediate sanctions of Russia. Putin is directly responsible for the Syrian government’s actions. Options at the U.N. have been exhausted. Accountability mechanisms are non-existent — even investigative mechanisms like the U.N. probe into chemical attacks in Syria have been undermined and curtailed by Russian veto“, sanctions have never worked (so far), Syria will never listen to Russia but will knock on their door for aid (linked to clear profitable agreements that is) and the UN options were never exhausted, in fact none were actually used in the end as none had any chance of working.

It is like me stating that my sex life with Scarlett Johansson is exhausted! That part is absolutely true, yet I never have been with her in the first place and as I never have had any Dangerous Liaisons with the youthful young lady (read: 33 years, 3 months and 21 days at present) and I am merely looking at optional non-existing future endeavours, so for that part I am completely honest (and equally unrealistic), just like the United Nations.

So as the article ends with the truth in the shape of “There will be no winners in the Syrian Civil War, and the reconstruction costs of returning the country to even a minimal level of functioning will be enormous. Neither Russia nor Iran alone can afford to support it, and the Syrians will bear the costs of this debacle for decades to come“, we all agree that this will be the case. So as the EU and US are preparing to make some good will gesture in the shape of 3-4 billion, I wonder how much of that will in the end make it to the people. I personally see it as a path that will invigorate corruption and self-indulgence of the administrations that receive such funds. UN oversight will be close to pointless and in the end a fair bit of that will go towards paying the Russian constructions firms like LLC Priceline, who had the connections to end the war by culling the opposition of President Bashar al-Assad. So in the end it is like watching the UN feeling better about themselves because they added some relief funds. When we set the entire spectre of events into a classical frame, we could be watching the reality of the Divine Comedy. When you consider that in the end well over 500,000 soul ended in eternal torment, the setting of reality is worse than the one Dante Alighieri envisioned, but then the Syrian war was no Time Magazine Comedy, or a classic Italian Poem, which is at present 700 years old. Syria will end up being the damnation of us all, we will end up being damned through our inaction to get anything done because in the end none of us got anything positive done towards the Syrians, not those in Syria and not the millions of refugees, we ended up disappointing them all close to completely.

Yet with the end of the Divine Comedy we got ‘My guide and I did enter, to return To the fair world‘ making it a fairy tale compared to the Syrian reality, the reality of the world we helped create, merely the darkness of caves and the evil we harbour in our midst. I feel certain that is how the refugees feel for generations to come, the eternal curse of inaction and those watching those remain absent of action towards their survival.


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Fuelling a Fire that fools no one

Today we watch again how escalations in the political field are moving in separate directions. It is SBS (at http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2015/11/28/turkeys-erdogan-warns-russia-not-play-fire), that gives us a few items for concern.

  1. At 1:32 we hear that cooperation between Russian and Turkish forces have been suspended. In light that a Russian plane was downed, I kind of think that cooperation was never a big thing here in the first place.
  2. At 1:42 we hear (what I regard to be an outspoken lie) that if the Turkey had known it was a Russian plane, it would have warned it differently.

The title ‘Turkey’s Erdogan warns Russia not to ‘play with fire’’ adds to the entire article. the added quote “Moscow said it would suspend visa-free travel with Turkey” should read like sunshine in Greece, because with all the hardship, whomever from Russia can afford a vacation would usually desire the Mediterranean, which now means that they could end up visiting Greece by the boatload, which would be OK with the Economically stricken Greek population.

All this because some power players did not think things through. Turkey wanted to play games and now they are realising that they woke up an angry bear, all whilst the protection Turkey expects from USA might not come. No one wants to come to the aid of a partner as stupid as Turkey.

No one denies that the Russian flight might have taken it over Turkish soil, yet the response of a transgression of 17 seconds is beyond ridiculous, especially in light of the fact that Turkey or its citizens were not under attack. I will be the first to give way to downing any actual opponent, yet in all this, Turkey was never an objective or target. In all this, the lie (as I see it) shown on French TV gives us another side. As stated in my earlier blog (‘The additional price of War‘, November 25th at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/11/25/the-additional-price-of-war/), where we got the data from the Guardian that the Russian plane had transgressed over Turkish space for 17 seconds. Now understand that it should take a plane in the vicinity 5 seconds to get into position and fire the kill shot, with an additional 2-3 seconds for the missile to hit the plane. This gives the minimum required time of almost 8 seconds. Which means that in 9 seconds, the planes had to be there, information through the chain of command had to be given for the Russian plane to be shot down, which give us only one option, the planes were send out with a definite kill order from the start. This invalidates what I consider to be a massive public lie by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in addition, it also disposes the ‘thread’ that there was any communication between Turkey and Russia, so that red phone was massively useless. Turkey has been a joke for the longest time. They showed that when they expected a 30 billion pay off in 2003, now we see that the times Turkey became active, we can doubt whether this was against Syria or against Kurdistan. Which now take us to the introduction of the debate on the demons of idiocy that we seem to find behind some of the European charters.  The first one was shown a year ago when Greece did not keep any of its promises and weaselled itself away from any agreement. It was only months later, after papers of innuendo and false rattling. I dealt with that part on July 6th 2015 in ‘The mere legality’ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/07/06/the-mere-legality/), basically the lawmakers as stupid as they were seem to forget the cancellation clause, no matter how bad Greece behaved, Danuta Hübner, Chair of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs, European Parliament, with the added paper by Phoebus Athanassiou ‘Withdrawal and expulsion from the EU and EMU‘ gave clear view that a nation cannot get expulsed from the EEC, no matter how bad they behave. Now we see with Turkey in regards to this overreaction that expelling them from NATO seems to be equally impossible. Which makes me question the stupidity of any politician who was connected to the request. How stupid will people get?

You and I cannot answer that question, we can only watch the fallout and see what happens next.

Yet, this is only the beginning. The NY Times (at http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/28/world/europe/russia-turkey-tensions.html), gives us ““I would like to meet Putin face to face in Paris,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech on Friday, referring to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. “I would like to bring the issue to a reasonable point. We are disturbed that the issue has been escalated”“, I am not that surprised, you see, the total lunacy of shooting down a Russian plane whilst Turkey was not under attack, or even under any form of threat made the downing of the Jet an act of utter stupidity. It is not unlikely that President Obama told him that he would be on his own against Russia, so Turkey gets the play the submissive joke it should have been regarded as from day one. It is the final ‘statement’ that makes it all hilarious. He stated: “He warned Russia “not to play with fire” in reacting to the downing of the plane, adding, “We really attach a lot of importance to our relations with Russia, and we don’t want our relations to suffer in any way”“. First of all it was Turkey playing with fire, this close before Thanksgiving, now we see the added part “Turkish prime minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, said that Ankara would “work with Russia and our allies to calm tensions”“, so what tensions are they Mr Davutoglu? Apart from Turkey, NATO members are not in any dangers, as you started hostilities NATO has no need and no interest in getting involved. In the worst case scenario, Turkey will get a different flag, they will just replace the crescent moon and replace it with a hammer and sickle. The one bright spot could be that Constantinople will get its original name again and it will have its original Cathedral once more (a Coptic version I reckon). None of that should read as disastrously bad news.


Will this become the new flag of Turkey in 2016? That is the question, because no matter how we seem to stand on ego, you don’t just shoot down any plane like that, not in the frame of 17 seconds, not when there is no threat of any kind against that sovereign nation. In addition, there would not be enough time to warn the plane against transgressing on Turkish airspace and then fire on the plane. 17 seconds is not enough time and warning a plane whilst still over Syrian air seems pointless. Yet, like Greece, Turkey might bank on the fact that he can’t get thrown out of NATO, just like Greece could not get thrown out of the EEC. This makes for a much larger issue, because if the smaller players are suddenly resorting to ego based activities whilst they indiscriminately continue to target their own political ‘opponents’ we have to start asking the serious questions no one tends to ask at present.


How could this have been allowed in the first place?

That answer is a little too complex to answer, yet I feel certain that part of this is linked to the fact that not governments but large corporations are in growing command of the nations involved does have something to do with this. The entire financial debacle is at the centre of this, as Turkey would never have don that if the US would have been in a much stronger economic position, but it is not and as I see it, which is part of the problem.

In addition there is an article from April 2015 which was in the Business insider. The title ‘Turkey is ‘making NATO very uncomfortable’’ (at http://www.businessinsider.com.au/turkey-is-making-nato-very-uncomfortable-2015-4). the issue here is “Turkey’s push to carve out an independent foreign policy and purchase arms from countries outside of NATO is raising concerns among members of the defensive military alliance, Emre Peker reports for the Wall Street Journal“, so even as there are certain rules to this game, turkey has been ignoring them for well over 7 months, so why should Turkey be regarded as a NATO nation? It’s not like they are connected to the Atlantic Ocean is it? The additional “a military deal with a Chinese company could open NATO’s door to espionage, especially given that the company is on the US proliferation list“, which might not account for much, but China has been regarded as a ready wielder of industrial espionage on many levels and not just by the US, so we have more than one issue with Turkey and as such, the question becomes why allow Turkey in NATO? I wonder if NATO might be better off with Russia and not Turkey in NATO (yes, just allow for the idea for a second, the hidden gem might just pop up). It is not even the worst of the transgressions according more sources than just the Business Insider. There is the sponsoring of Hamas, the support to hunt down Kurds and ignore ISIS altogether. All of these facts bring into question the reasoning of keeping Turkey as a NATO ally. As far as I can tell, should this come to blows, once Turkey loses its EEC and NATO privileges, once it realises that ISIS oil is not reliable and as it realises that other funds mainly came from Moscow, whatever is left will not sustain the Turkish Nation, that part might become food for thought soon enough, even as winter is coming, next summer will show the consequence on irrationally and irresponsibly downing the Russian jet. Consider that the Turkish Deficit is partially contained by tourism, with the 25% of its tourism in danger (Russian tourists) how will Turkey get by in 2016, because that deficit would grow beyond expected percentages. The Russians have always been very nationalistic, which would drive them towards Greek shores with the greatest of ease. So a loss of 3.3 billion is only the beginning. If Russia employs a Turkish border ban and those trucks end up having to go via Iran or Armenia/Azerbaijan, the profit margins will evaporate giving additional blows to the Turkish economy (source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-11-26/turkey-without-russian-tourists-strikes-economy-where-it-s-weak). In addition we see the speculation that Russian suitcase trade (tourism purchases) exceeds 6 billion, which is 0.8% of their current GDP, which will push debts even further. So as we get to 2017, the Turkish economy might not be close to breaking even. All this for mere ego? That remains the question because there was no tactical reason to down the Russian plane, there was no defence reason for downing the plane, in that light only ego seems to remain. In final addition to this, it is of course only the beginning. As Germany and the US removed their patriot systems from the Turkish borders, those Chinese defence systems will become very essential to the defence of Turkey and they are not that cheap. The Chinese HQ-9 (if that is the one they ordered) has a price tag that is around 3.4 billion for Turkey, which is according to the latest gossip 3 billion for the missiles and hardware and roughly 370 million for an English/Turkish translation of the operating manuals. So even in the world of weapons, knowing additional languages pays off nicely.

So how are we fuelling events? That question becomes a lot more pressing when we consider the original ‘The North Atlantic Treaty (1949)‘. Here we see in article 4 “The Parties will consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the Parties is threatened” and article 5 “The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area” (at http://www.nato.int/nato_static/assets/pdf/stock_publications/20120822_nato_treaty_en_light_2009.pdf). Now consider article 5, no armed attack occurred, at no point was Turkey even under attack or under the impression of attack, a 17 second border transgression is not an attack. That remains in the core of this. This means that if Russia retaliates now, Turkey might stand alone, which is not what they hoped for and gives rise to the question “How could Turkey have been this stupid?

That is for you the reader to ponder on, so enjoy your thanksgiving as the Russian are. They are apparently having Turkey, both deep fried and roasted!


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Conroy’s freedom of Speech

Conroy’s freedom of Speech

There have always been reasons to check out the front page banner of any newspaper. Some make us curious, some make us angry and some make us realise that the budgie cage needs cleaning. Whatever we think, we do tend to react to a banner.
So, like most people I also reacted. Now, personally I have a slightly less positive view on the Telegraph. So when a politician gets compared to Stalin, Jong-un, Mao Zedong and Castro, it tends to wake me up. My first thought being, now what is the media trying to get away with?

So I first took a little jump into what other media’s are stating and quoting. ABC quoted the following “He also announced plans to establish a new watchdog to ensure that media companies comply with independent journalism standards.
In addition another newscast from ABC stated “The Federal Government has unveiled the long-awaited details of its proposal which enshrines media standards and tightens ownership regulation through an arms-length advocate to assess media mergers.

This does not sound too bad, does it?

There is however opposition. ABC also mentioned the following “But independent MPs Andrew Wilkie and Rob Oakeshott have raised concerns about the laws. Mr Wilkie flagged the proposed public interest test for media ownership, saying the area is open to political interference.

Both sides make clear arguments, yet, what is really at stake?

You see, from my point of view we need to do whatever we can so that we do not have to live and listen to the world according to Fairfax/Murdoch only. When there is a chance to keep the little ones in the field so that multiple views can be heard, the views we hear remain to be from a fair collection of voices.

For me there is another side that is not mentioned at present anywhere (or so at least it seems). Stronger self-regulations and stronger watchdogs were also clearly stated by Lord Justice Leveson. This issue is out far beyond the borders of Australia. The Leveson report is attacked by so many, yet this report shows how out of control the media is. Even though the report is focussed on the UK, there is a clear indication that the issue is playing FAR beyond those borders, and it is even an issue in nations NOT part of the Commonwealth where ‘Freedom of the press’ is nothing less than freedom to harass, freedom to stalk and freedom to display at the expense of everything and everyone for the need of profit and circulation. They however, refer to it as ‘the people have a right to know’.

The media seemed to be upset when the trials started, however I personally think that they seem to be more upset about the fact that they got found out mainly due to a trivial newscast in my humble opinion, than a ground breaking case of journalism.

Professor Ivor Gaber, professor of political journalism at City University London stated the following in his book ‘After Leveson’: “Many people have had much to say about the Leveson report, most of it pretty negative, but in his broad sweep of the relationship between the press and politicians, the good judge gets more right than wrong“.

As stated, the UK is in the middle of reforms halting and talks are breaking down at present. This was reported by the Guardian yesterday March 12th. So what is Senator Stephen Conroy about?
Well, first of all he is a politician and he is trying to get certain reforms in place. I would think that there is an Ego factor in place as well (let us not forget that he is a politician). If he pulls of certain reforms then not only will he look good to many many people. He will also be known as the man who was able to get reforms done, unlike his English counterparts, who are locked in a stalemate at present. So, I would say ‘Well done Stephen!’ at that point.

So is he a media dictator, or is he just in the way of a small group of upper level directors who need to fuel their altars devoted to money? That fair question is not really asked by the press is it?

He is quoted stating that the Australian people want the press to be held accountable. Is that so wrong? One side of the plans is to cut licensing fees in some instances so that the small players get a fair chance in this game. That part is supported by Independent senator Nick Xenophon. Xenophon mentioned in the same ABC story I quoted earlier that this part of the plan has merit. I reckon we can all agree that if the fees are too high, then the voice of Murdoch and Fairfax are all that remain at that point. This is NOT a good idea! Australians might agree that the small new players could bring us fresh artistic views in both news and media in general.

Consider the history of Oporto restaurant which was founded in 1986 by António Cerqueira. By media standards without the changes Conroy proposes, people like him might not exist in the future. We would be limited to Mac Donald and Hungry Jack. By giving smaller players a fair chance we get options, we will get to read and watch other opinions.

The plan of Conroy allows small media groups to reach a much larger audience in open honesty. That is one of his sides. So let us take a look at that. On the Department of broadband, Communication and Digital Economy the following issues were stated:

1. A press standards model which ensures strong self-regulation of the print and on-line news media.

2. The introduction of a Public Interest Test to ensure diversity considerations are taken into account for nationally significant media mergers and acquisitions.

3. Modernising the ABC and SBS charters to reflect their on-line and digital activities.

4. Supporting community television services following digital switchover by providing them a permanent allocation of a portion of Channel A.

5. Making permanent the 50% reduction in the licence fees paid by commercial television broadcasters, conditional on the broadcast of an additional 1460 hours of Australian content by 2015.

The first one is a good one. Giving the press some minimum standards cannot be a bad thing. He is NOT impeaching freedom of the press; he is basically stating that a minimum standard is required. In addition there is the part that the press would be held accountable. So when those ‘implied’ newsbytes, which call for rage and later are stated that they were ‘mis-communications’ might come to an end. I see this in the light of reading a newspaper and getting a much higher quality than a Facebook gossip byte. Is that a bad thing? In addition, do not forge that this is about self-regulation, not about government interference. Labor wants a real watchdog with teeth in place that monitors, not one that is government controlled. They want something better than a Chihuahua lapdog that yaps at time.

The second one is likely the one that keeps the big bosses of media awake for some time to come. This is about more than just the fear of big boys buying out the small ones and drown out smaller voices with the voice of the agenda of the big media owner. Make no mistake, that big media owner has an agenda. If you doubt that take a look at the front page of web search giant Yahoo. It is filled and almost drowning us with the Channel 7 views. Their branding, their ruling kitchen, their sunrise. Compare it to the American Yahoo page and see how small THAT American page is. Channel 7 is not the only one, make no mistake, they all do it in one form or another. When I personally interpret the second rule, I see a voice that states that diversity is always considered. This is to ensure that the smaller interest is never forgotten or ignored. Also, do not forget that no laws are broken here, the steps that Senator Conroy tries to implement is to make sure that the small voices are never lost.

The third one is the only one without a voice from me. I watch SBS, I seldom watch ABC, so I have no idea how out of touch their charter is. C’est la vie!

The fourth one is one I believe in. I never watch them, so why do I care? Because community is about just that, communities! There should be space for all, and to guarantee a space for them is just fair dinkum. Is that not the Australian way?

The fifth should be for us all, making it economically interesting for Australian content to be added to their channels. This is about more than just our voice. It will also grow the view of Australian arts. Australian made shows that might even grow our broadcasting interests on an international level.
If this drives us to get us new original drama that could equal shows like New Zealand’s achievement Top of the Lake, which by the way includes our own David Wenham and Thomas M. wright, as well as a respectable groups of high quality playing kiwi’s, then this is not a bad thing.
The fact that ABC pulled out of the funding here is a nice example (for whatever that reason was) and whether it was valid or not.

Now, I will be the first to admit that these issues should be looked at by more than just the mere blogger (like me). And in this regard I have very good company (as does Senator Conroy). We seem to be voicing the Clarion call of Lord Justice Leveson, who said pretty much the same thing and more (he did it in a document sized over 1900 pages). So that is where item’s one and two come from. Three is a local thing, so I will step over that one. Items 4 and 5 seem to be double edged. Not only do they imply to give strength and fair dinkum to the small fish. In addition it will give additional limit to the bigger boys. If they push diversity from within (whether it is for a discounted license fee or not), it will give a diversified voice and one that is not placed on the pedestal of other US/UK sitcoms. So people a lot wiser then me agree with me (OK, in honesty, I agree with them, but my ego requires a little nourishment at times), and the only ones out for the blood of Conroy seem to be those who dislike accountability.

Yet, is there validity from the other side? In all the articles that paint Senator Conroy in a not to favourable light, I actually found one voice that brought a decent point across. It was by Tom Morton at the Australian. (http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/opinion/the-onus-of-the-media-is-to-adopt-decent-standards/story-e6frgd0x-1226297524636)

He has concerns and opposes certain views, but he does address a fear we hold. A journalist SHOULD be held accountable. That is perhaps the biggest fear we have. From what we have seen in the past, most journalists seem to be too shielded with the slogan ‘the people have a right to know’. The fact that most Journo’s seem to get away with murder (figuratively speaking) is why the people would be empowering the acts of Senator Stephen Conroy.

The funny part is that if the press (especially in the UK) had dealt with these issues themselves much stronger, then the current changes might never have had a chance and the British taxpayer could have saved themselves many millions on an extremely chunky sized report.

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