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Terrorism is OK

How is that for a title? Is it nice, cool, rad or merely scary? One would think that people wake up at some point, especially when we see the condoning of terrorism because of the ‘signs’. It is in that light that we need to see the New Yorker and what it brought to the people (at https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/the-ceasefire-in-gaza-a-turning-point-for-hamas-and-netanyahu). Here we see the writing of Bernard Avishai, a man who teaches political economy at Dartmouth, Dartmouth being a private university in Hanover, New Hampshire. It does not matter where he is teaching, from my personal point of view; the man has been in a stage of historic denial. You see, over the ages Hamas has only ever agreed to a cease fire when the ammunition was lot and they would only keep it until the stocks were back up. In this stage we need to consider what the impact is. You see, the issue is not that missiles were fired on Israel; it is the fact that 400 were fired. The storage for this would have been pretty enormous. This also implies that for the most, the rocket fire is done with the ‘blessing’ from the Palestinians to a much larger extent than we ever considered before. The even more hilarious view is given by the Washington Post with: “Why did Israel carry out this military operation at a time when many were heralding novel progress in diplomatic steps toward alleviating tensions between Israel and Hamas?” My response would be: ‘Didn’t you guys lose a temporary reporter recently? How much of a stink did you kick up over that one? So when 400+ missiles get fired at civilian targets in Israel, we see clear cause and even the consideration that the response was disproportionate (too light), in this that for every 10 missiles one building van get flattened, Israel can still lower the maximum altitude towards zero for at last 35 buildings at present‘.

From my point of view is that we need to hunt the money. These were not some 400 garage band projects, they were ‘commercial’ products (and not cheap) and there should be a trace on where they are from. 400 missiles, even over 10 months is just too much of an amount. There will be a trace and that stuff needed storage, even if it is after the fact, we need to look at the options at what could be backtracked. There is also debate over ‘Israel risks igniting a war that no one can win‘. I agree that there is a partial truth in all this, yet the risk is already ignited as the premise of premeditation that it takes to launch a 400+ missile attack, yet the Washington Post is not really that interested in giving us that light, merely keeping the darkness alive in hindering the light to shine on the truth of attacks against Israel. We can argue that Boaz Atzili has a point or two and he does have them, yet the lack of illumination on the actions of Hamas is also leaving me with a question mark in all this. In addition, the news (very generic) giving us Likud Minister Tzachi Hanegbi downplaying the rockets is also an issue, let’s be clear that it is a valid political play, but the stage with 400+ missiles is a changed stage and the denial over that is a little too weird for me. You see as a national security expert he knows better, the storage, the preparation to get this done was decently impressive. The timeline before this will be equally important. No matter how many rat tunnels are drowned. There is a direct need to look into the trace these missiles back as this will happen again and again and the next time it could optionally hit the wrong place (what Hamas calls the bullseye) and at that point the fence comes of and we do get a full scale war. We could consider that the pressure is removed as Gaza becomes part of Israel, yet another option would be preferred by pretty much every party (including Israel). It is there where we see the agreeing light to the statements by Dr. Mordechai Kedar. He gave us (more than once): “What would the UK have done to anyone who launched 400 rockets at its civilians? How about just one rocket? What would France do to anyone who dared launch one single rocket at its territory? What would any US president do to Mexico if it dared launch one mortar shell at America?” The bulk of the world has had enough of the mind games that Hamas and Hezbollah plays (as well as Iran and to some degree Turkey too) and the people are getting angry, they want it resolved it in any way that takes Hamas and Hezbollah out of the equation permanently. If anything that feeling is mostly fuelled by the images from Yemen, a situation that Hezbollah was a much larger part of than the news is letting on and the people are realising that too, hence the increased anger and frustration from the civilians in nations all over the globe.

Then we get one accusation that is a much larger issue. When we see: “Qatari money is being transferred at Iran’s behest. Iran’s rulers, under severe economic sanctions at present, do not want peace and tranquillity between Israel and Gaza. On the contrary, they want the smoke rising from a war between Israel and Gaza to divert media attention from Iran and the “deal” which granted the Ayatollahs 150 billion dollars in cash with which to destroy the Middle East. Qatar, a long-time supporter of the terror espoused by organizations whose ideology originated in the Muslim Brotherhood, backs Hamas publicly. It has, for the most part, built the infrastructure, including the military one, for a Hamas state in Gaza.” It is an issue as the evidence is required. It will not only end any nuclear deal, there would be enough public outrage that any politicians who was connected into diminishing this part in the equation, that person will be an outcast, the people will demand that person to be removed from office for life and the media is actually aiding some of these connected politicians. Certain people in the EU will see another light if we can ever clearly show evidence of their ‘assistance’ in feigned opposition to Hezbollah and Hamas, as it comes with a large consequence. One that needs to be put in legislation, yet the calls for an adjustment that a political voice is set to zero if any terrorist assistance could be clearly proven. To get there it is more and more important to trace the missile attacks not merely before the attack, but collect the evidence after the attack so that a much better case could be made against those supporting Hamas and Hezbollah through military hardware. I make it sound easy, but it is not, the water is deeply dark and there will be no clarity, not for a long time. Yet identifying the players in all this is becoming increasingly important., and there is a call to expose those who seemingly hide behind a humanitarian political cloak, and let’s face it the people have a right to know, do they not?

Yet the issue remains clouded and it will do so for some time. So as we see innuendo, gossip and covered information take the central road in all this, we need to consider the impact that inactions have. Even as we see US actions with: “The U.S. Department of State announced on Tuesday rewards of up to $5 million each for information or identification leading to the capture of the following terrorist figures: Hamas leader Saleh al-Aruri, and Hezbollah leaders Khalil Yusif Mahmoud Harb and Haytham ‘Ali Tabataba’i” we need to wonder if it has any impact at all. A Dark web ‘source’ made mention that one of them (Hezbollah) is supposed to be at a place called ‘مسجد الإمام الهادي يحيى بن الحسين’ either within the next 72 hours, of was there in the last 36 hours (the text was ambiguous and the translation by Google did not make any sense at all). Parts of the other text translated to a mosque supposedly in Sadat, which is in Egypt and that made even less sense to me. So relying on Google translate does not seem the best idea in any of this (as well as the fact that I cannot decipher the native Arabian alphabet), yet the exercise was important. Knowing the elements you cannot fathom in the first place is a first step in finding the limitations of a thought process. Data is the foundation of creating the timelines we need down the track and the lack of effort that are seemingly in place is impressive.

Even when we accept: “Qatar played a bad role in supporting the Houthis, especially after having already fought them as a former member state of the Arab Coalition, is self-destructive behavior, “ Al Adini said while explaining that Qatari leadership fully understands that Iran’s agenda in Yemen threatens both Arab and Gulf security“, we are seemingly missing a larger element in all this. You see, Hamas, Hezbollah, Houthi forces, Qatar and Iran are all elements in all this. They are all elements in a progressing destabilisation and money is the central key here. The issue has been going on for a year when we were first treated to “Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain have imposed a near-total embargo on Qatar since June 2017 over allegations of Doha supporting radical groups and seeking closer ties with Tehran“, I always have doubts, but the given links are becoming overwhelming. It is not merely ‘where there is smoke, there is fire‘, it has evolved into: ‘There is so much smoke in this room, I can no longer see the walls‘, ignoring this and ignoring the games that Iran is playing in all this is becoming a very dangerous stance to maintain.

I did do some (highly speculative and debatable) research in this and there is more and more alleged links towards bitcoin exchange on the dark web. This leaves me with the worry that there are even more Qatari links active as there would be an easy method for Saudi’s to use their banks as they do not reveal anything to anyone ever, so whoever is using this path is requiring an almost total level of isolation. I am not stating that Saudi Arabia is innocent, but the implied facts give more and more rise that other players are using the dark web to launder money and make payments as well as supportive accounts. This is a stage that cannot be proven as any link will never go towards any source that has any value, yet I searched as 400+ missiles represent value and deployment of such resources will cost a fair bit too. So I looked into whatever dark web search I could. Now, there is no way to get anything remotely reliable and my method was as plain as it was useless. I merely looked at the haystack hoping I would see anything metallic (optionally the needle we all seek). That is as good as it gets and even as I got more and more details on optional events, finding the wheat from the chaff is unlikely to happen. I reckon me winning the lottery has better odds. Yet the idea that this path has been taken makes more and more sense so even as we cannot find the relative data, finding the relative data becomes increasingly important because there is every chance that places like Iran would use it to fund events for Hezbollah optionally all over Europe and finding the money is a top priority. Just on the side of all this, the fact that I (as a mere exercise) would have been able to get a Glock 17 & silencer for $1149 (and an additional $49 for two extra clips with a box of 50 rounds delivered to a drop place in the UK, and you still think the entire Novichok issue in Salisbury was as clear cut as everyone thinks? If I was able to find this, then the GRU would have known about it, that entire situation never did make any sense.

There were links that offered something more exotic, but I was unable to get there (reason unknown), so in all this there is a reason to check the links and there was even more reason to pursue or is that peruse the information? I believe that the dark web is the Chinese wall that both Iran and Qatar are allegedly using (extremely speculated by me at this point) to keep insulated from any accusations and therefor that data will become increasingly important. There was more, a Dutch Freelance (detective or Journalist) found an extremist with: “an .onion link in their bio. I thought, Wow, this is the first time I’ve ever seen a jihadist group using an onion link. So I opened it, and I was blown away. I sent the link around to a few different friends with similar interests, and they were also blown away. We wanted to think it was a scam, but there were just too many factors ruling against it being a scam“, I personally believe that the issue is larger and even as some can be stumbled upon, there is a growing trend to use .onion links like burner phones. To be merely there for a short time (a speculated 96 hours) and then abandoned. Yet in those 96 hours, traffic of goods and finances could have been completed. It would be the operations equivalent of an entire lone wolf operation with no chance to find it in time. That too gives rise to the need to start tracking with a long term need after the fact. Even as prevention should remain the initial need, the data could down the track be enough for conviction and that too is important. Yet, for the most I cannot prove any of this. There is a lot of implied and even more speculation linked in all this (as I stated earlier) yet the connections are too realistic and probable to ignore. If people like Ben Strick are correct and there is an actual setting of: ‘jihadi crowdsourcing‘ then the impact of escalations in Europe will only escalate with all the issues that follow, which is an additional reason to stat mapping all this. So unless we want to start living with the slogan: ‘Terrorism is OK‘ we need to start to think about creating solutions that can deal with inverted data funnels with an optional stage that an inverted funnel leads to 3-4 other inverted funnels. This is not an easy path and there is no real direct answer, because it is not merely which inverted funnel it goes into, it could be that the third tier is a funnel where the path is not where it leads to but where it went when the data bounced, that too is a destination and that path that skill will become increasingly important. To illustrate this is a lot harder, but I will try though market research. Consider an interview; it is a mere one on one event. Now we assume that the interviewee was the jihadi crowdsourcer’s data point. So we begin with a few simple narrow, closed-ended questions. From there on we move to broader, open-ended questions. This gives an optional pattern and we move from both specific and general questions. When we have asked enough questions (collected enough data), we enter a stage with Diamond questions, which is a combination of Funnel and Inverted Funnel questions.

Consider the image, we see inverted funnels (yes, go with it), so as we go from A, will B be the exclusion, or did it enter the funnel? If it entered, C is out of the question, so if F, yet E remains a player. This is near impossible and it is not in one transaction, it is over hundreds of connected transactions that certain players will be excluded, even more events are needed to find a group, yet there will be a pattern over time and that is what is needed. Yet if C is not an inverted funnel, but a funnel, or it as an inverted funnel and the traffic went through C, we now see that F remains an option and B, D and E were excluded. It will be a data collection over a much larger time frame that will prove this and time is what is needed. Most Jihadists will not care to live, yet the people behind it will always prefer to outlive events and it is the only way to get to them. You see, when we look at history, we all know Ghandi, many, especially Hindu will know that he was murdered by Nathuram Vinayak Godse. Yet the movie (by Sir Richard Attenborough) implies someone behind the screen and those are the people we need to find. It starts by proving that there was a person behind the screen. In case of Hezbollah that is actually decently simple as the amount of Yemeni missiles required is impossible Hezbollah to afford (or produce) in any way shape or form and it is easy to state that it was Iran, but we need the individuals to connect to it all and that takes time. ‘Follow the money’ is the most realistic path to take in this case. It is more realistic as Mossad has been unable to find actual missile traffic for the longest of times, and even if they did, it would be for one shipment. That too is still important as it links goods and money, so that path must not ever be abandoned, yet conviction without the money path proof is pretty much impossible and the time is now as we see more and more events leading to Europe and to a larger stage, so this path is becoming essential. If we translate the events to marketing (or market research) the same paths can be used. Whether we go via vendor, via drop point or via the path of the funds and buyer, we have the elements of awareness of what to get where, interest to get what is needed, choice of goods and purchase to go through and unless every stage was another person (not enough people) there is still a path. The unaware cannot purchase, the unaware cannot choose, the interested part is aware, a choice was made, it does not matter whether online or offline, it is not virtual, so there was traffic in some form. Even if the first two stages are negated a specific person has made the choice of goods to purchase, so now we have inverted or not a much smaller funnel to work with. In the end at the bottom we have the point of purchase (or point of sale) and there is a connection there. Something was bought/sold and funds are linked to that, so that part is optionally set in cement, the rest is not, yet the deployment path is still ‘riddled’ with actual people as well making the picture more complete. Now we need to find their optional connections to the dark web, if it is web and not dark it becomes increasingly easy, yet this is not a path where we bank on too much good news and there is in the end the question if convictions will be possible. Even if the path is an inverted funnel (showing what some call a Customer Experience Funnel view), we can see that the jihadists unite in certain views and if they were the advocates in this, it stands to reason that they try to engage to increase their footprint (and attempted funding). Finding that point will give optional identification of channels with an optional overlap to people linked to the buyer and/or shipper. It is a slow path, yet as time progresses an essential one. It achieves two parts, the first the optionally linked people, yet it also shows that those not linked to anything can optionally be excluded freeing up resources to refocus in this path, because this path drains resources and whatever resources there are available will be stretched. It is precisely the view we need to have as more data means more efficiency. One could argue that it could make it an optional track to find links to servers that have remained invisible for the longest of times, because if two people are found, there is the optional chance that they have gone to a .onion link that we have never noticed before and that would be a first true victory, yet in a short term span, if temporary is the name of the game, it becomes a near impossible task, should we therefore not do it? Are we ready to admit defeat by stating: ‘Terrorism is OK‘, or will we get the notion to get clever about it and limit the dangers we are exposed to. For this we can actually quote Tom Cruise (the Firm): ‘If you want the criminals, go after their lawyers‘, in the case of Hamas and Hezbollah, we need to go after their accountants and contributors, and optionally their military goods distributor as well.

If you truly want to decrease pressures in the Middle East, this will be the only path that really works. If you are delusional enough to consider peace talks, consider how many there have been since 1982 and how often it worked (as well as the cost involved). It is a discouraging picture that makes depression look like a healthy positive look on life.

Oh, and should you consider Europe to be completely innocent in all this, consider that Bloomberg gave us: ‘U.S. Warns Europe against Iran Payments after Austria Bows Out‘ (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-11-15/u-s-warns-europe-against-iran-payments-after-austria-bows-out). The quote: “Austrian officials rebuffed entreaties from France, Germany and the U.K. to host the so-called special purpose vehicle, a system that the European Union sought to handle payments to Iran in defiance of U.S. sanctions” has absolutely no bearing on terrorism or fuelling terrorism. Yet it does show a desperate need to keep a level of facilitation to keep some Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in play, a situation that has not been realistic for several months now. The issue optionally becomes a much larger vessel. Even as we see: “EU nations have identified Austria as the best candidate to host a special purpose vehicle that could handle payments to Iran, according to three people familiar with the negotiations. Austria itself is not so keen. Belgium, Luxembourg and France have also been identified as potential venues but Belgium and Luxembourg have declined while France is looking to Austria“, we see a nation not interested and an EU ready to take a desperate step, in all this, when we see the earlier quote ‘France, Germany and the UK‘. Why isn’t France, Germany or the UK doing this? It is that setting that shows a political game of facilitation on too large a field. From my limited knowledge, I feel that the EU is all about non-accountability yet the impact will be felt in Europe. Unless direct evidence can be produced by all EU signatory nations that this Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action could prove to be an actual solution. And in this I mean that politicians have to put their name under it and live with the consequences of being cast out of politics (for life) when it backfires, at that point we will end up seeing that no one would have been willing to put their name under any of this and you still think that Iran is merely sitting on the sidelines?

We need to figure this out before the Middle East destabilises close to completely and we are running out of time, if we have to choose, I personally see no other option but to openly side with Saudi Arabia in all of this, they might not be perfect, but with Iran as an alternative, we are basically ending up not having any options for any stable future at all. That part of the equation was given to us by the SMH merely a few hours ago (at https://www.smh.com.au/world/middle-east/us-eyes-ways-to-remove-erdogan-foe-to-appease-turkey-nbc-20181116-p50gew.html). when we see that the US allegedly accused through: “The Trump administration is exploring possible ways to remove US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, a foe of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, NBC News reported on Thursday“, Turkey an open ally of Iran, as they are openly strengthening trade relations, giving even more pressure to the European union in all this, when the US ends up handing over the ‘enemies’ of President Erdogan to Turkey, so that they can be lost forever, at what point was Iran even a choice?

How much longer must we wait until we make hard and essential choices in setting a path that actually stops terrorist actions, because 400+ missiles can be considered as actual evidence that there is clearly a lack of actions on that front by way too many political players and governments as a whole.

 

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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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The non-knowing speak loudest

There is an old saying that goes back to the original circus, the days of Sir Alec Guiness, John Le Carre and the circus (MI6). Those who do not know speak and those who do will not. There is however a valid issue with that mindset. When it is merely intelligence and what some regard as spyshit, we tend to not care. It is their world and they tend to live by other rules even as they have the same lack of common cyber sense as some US generals, it is their choice to make. Yet when we see labour people like Michael Danby need to present evidence in regards to “an opposition Labor party MP, called on the Liberal-National coalition to block Huawei and fellow Chinese telecoms company ZTE from supplying equipment for the 5G network. “Both Huawei and ZTE must report to the Communist party cell at the top of their organisations,” he told parliament. “Let me issue a clarion call to this parliament: Australia’s 5G network must not be sold to these telcos.”” I am actually in the mindset that his seat should be put up for auction if he does not disclose a proper setting and give evidence as to the reasoning of all this. It becomes more pressing when we see “Mr Lord, a former rear admiral in the Royal Australian Navy, told Australia’s state broadcaster on Monday that these claims were “wrong”, adding that Huawei was not owned by any committee of government and posed no risk to Australia’s security“. It is not just because Mr Lord is a former rear admiral, more that the average naval midshipman tends to be more reliable than any politician. We get this from the Financial Times (at https://www.ft.com/content/1a2d19ba-67b1-11e8-8cf3-0c230fa67aec). In addition, when we get politicians start the scare tactics of ‘critical infrastructure pose a risk to national security’, there is a clear need for both Duncan Lewis and Paul Symon AO to get hauled in a chair in Canberra and ask them to openly answer the questions regarding any evidence that Huawei is a security threat. To blatantly accept the US on their ‘china fears’ is all well and good for Telstra, yet the setting is not a given and the fact that Telstra is nowhere near the technological levels of Huawei is not something that we blame them from, but they basically lost the 5G war before it started through their own actions and inactions.

Now if there is an actual national security concern, we should be open about that and when that happens, and evidence is presented, at that point we can all relax and state to Huawei that we feel sorry for the inconvenience caused, but such concerns are just too big to ignore. I think we have had quite enough of these presentations that reek of Colin Powell and his silver suitcase with evidence that no one ever saw in 2001. We cannot go in that direction ever again. We will not be the play toy of greedy telecom companies and their internal needs for stupidity and inactions; we can no longer afford such a nepotism environment.

That same issue can be said regarding Nationals MP George Christensen. Apart from him trying to undo a business deal of a 99 year lease, no matter how silly that deal was, Australia cannot be perceived as a nation that cannot be trusted at the business table. My second issue is why a maroon (Queenslander) is involving himself with NT politics. In that regard, why do we not see the responses form Vicki O’Halloran is she has any, is she not the appointed administrator? In this, the game is not over. The Australian Financial Review gives us: “Huawei faces the likelihood that Cabinet’s national security committee will veto it supplying equipment for the 5G network, based on the recommendations of security agencies, over concerns about the potential for cyber espionage at the behest of China’s leaders“. In this the question becomes, is there an actual security concern, or is it that the national concern is the devaluation of Telstra? In additional support we need to see the Sydney Morning Herald two weeks ago when they gave us (at https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/how-a-huawei-5g-ban-is-about-more-than-espionage-20180614-p4zlhf.html): “The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age reported in March that there were serious concerns within the Turnbull government about Huawei’s potential role in 5G – a new wireless standard that could be up to 10 times as powerful as existing mobile services, and used to power internet connections for a range of consumer devices beyond phones“, as well as “the decision will have an impact on Australia’s $40 billion a year telecoms market – potentially hurting Telstra’s rivals“. the first part is something I wrote about for well over a year, the second one is important as we see ‘potentially hurting Telstra’s rivals‘, from my personal point of view it reads like the one lobotomised idiot in telecom country gets to decide through arm-twisting on how we need to remain backwards as they set the standard that they could not deliver for the longest of times (a little sarcasm regarding Telstra’s 2011 3.7G), I wrote about that recently.

ABC gave us yesterday: “it continues to be the target of criticism over its connections to the Chinese Government, including allegations it is involved in state-sponsored espionage“, yet the people have never been shown actual evidence, so where is that at? There might have been doubts to some degree for a while, but the Powell stunt is too clear in our minds and the USA does not have the credibility (or credit rating for that matter) it once had. The fact that the opposing former rear admiral of the Australian navy trumps two half bit politicians seeking the limelight any day of the week and some stay silent, the reason for that is only speculation, but we might not need to seek far and a few words ion Google Search might help find that answer (like ‘Telstra’ and ‘8000’). When we see some giving us: ‘Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX:TLS) is betting it all on 5G‘ and we see the Telstra strategy briefing (at https://www.telstra.com.au/content/dam/tcom/about-us/investors/pdf-e/2018-Strategy-Update.pdf), we see on page 6, Leading with 5G, that would never be an option with Huawei in play as they are ahead by a lot, so the presentation given a week ago, whilst we realise that the presentation was prepared way before that is giving the setting that Huawei is no longer considered to be competition, that is what we now face! What some might call a backward organisation proclaiming to be leading whilst 8000 men will be missing through inaction. That page is even more fun when you consider the quote ‘new technologies like IoT‘, which is funny when you consider that the Internet of Things (IoT) is a system of interrelated computing devices. It is not a technology; it is a network that enables technology. In addition, when you start nit-picking in that 34 page event, we see all the bells and whistles we need to see, yet when you consider consumers and small business (the millions of people that Telstra charges) starts at page 9 and gives us 5 slides. We see ‘cutting edge 5G capability’ (by whose standards?), we see location devices (with the image of a dog), Access to rewards an tickets, a fully-digital relationship with Telstra (an implied no more personal interaction after the sales, merely a chatbot) and value added services, yet the value of a service like customer service and customer care are absent in that part of the equation, so how does this push the people forward, because I doubt that it actually will achieve anything in the long run and one flaw will anger the actual consumers without limits.

You see, personally I believe in the IoT, I believe in 5G, they are tools to enhance experiences and interactions, not make them obsolete and that is what  feel when I saw the Telstra strategy update. These two elements can enhance customer care, customer service and customer support, not replace them with ‘AI’ enhanced chatbots. So the moment we get a 2.0 version of ‘Telstra’s new chatbot, Codi, is making so many mistakes customers are furious’ (at https://www.businessinsider.com.au/telstra-codi-bot-backlash-2018-3), chatbots can be a great asset to get the information and channel the call to the right person, yet that again is merely enhancing and that can work fine. The presentation implies the loss of actual customer values and ignoring their need for interactions. That in an aging population might be the least intelligent stance to make ever.

Yet this does not give way to the issue on Telstra versus Huawei, as the Sydney Morning Herald states “Telstra has refused to exclude Huawei from its 5G tender, but that is seen more as a way of keeping its existing supplier Ericsson on its toes“, as well as “In other words, a ban could be bad news for TPG, Vodafone and Optus. Whether it is necessarily good news for Telstra – which has its own issues at the moment – is less clear“. In finality we get “Intelligence agencies tend to get their way on matters like these“, this beckons the question what are they actually after? The US seems to be in bed with Samsung and their 5G routers, so it makes sense that this will be the path that Telstra walks as well, time will tell how it ends.

So why is this such a big deal?

We are currently in danger of actually falling behind Saudi Arabia, yes, that place in a large sandbox is about to surpass us in 5G and other technologies. They had the audacity to reserve half a trillion dollars toward Vision 2030 and Neom. So when we got “Al-Khobar in the Eastern Province, of Saudi Arabia, has become the first city in the region to benefit from the fifth-generation wireless network or 5G network, according to a press statement issued by the Center of International Communication“, last month. There was not a surprise in my bone. You see, this will drive their Vision 2030 plans even further. So as Saudi Arabia is now the new pond to grow speciality in 5G, app designers can promote, test and deliver on knowledge that will be available whilst Telstra is trying to figure out how to get 5G installed. with “All the necessary national 5G policies and supporting administrative provisions are planned to be in place before the end of 2019, along with the award of initial batches of the spectrum to support the full commercial deployment of 5G technologies“, we see that Saudi Arabia had been taking this serious for a much longer time. This goes a little further when we see ‘the Middle East and Africa 5G Technology market (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Nigeria, and South Africa)‘, so at this point, Saudi Arabia has a head start to not just push Saudi Arabia forward, they have quite literally first dibs on gaining a chunk of the 98 million Egyptians. Not all can afford 5G, we get that, but those who do are confronted with only Saudi Arabia as a Muslim player, you did not actually believe that they would run to Vodafone, did you?

So back to the 5G local ‘market’! For this we need to take a look at the Australian Financial review 2 weeks ago. Here we see (at https://www.afr.com/opinion/columnists/the-technical-reasons-why-huawei-too-great-a-5g-risk-20180614-h11e3o), with the title ‘The technical reasons why Huawei is too great a 5G risk‘, the start is good, this is what we wanted. Yet we are treated to paragraphs of emotion and alleged settings. So when we see: “Huawei presents unique additional risk beyond the “normal” risk of buying complex equipment. China has demonstrated a long-standing intent to conduct cyber-espionage“, so is ‘intent’ shown in evidence? How did the CIA and NSA acquire our data or Cambridge Analytica for that matter? ‘China is thought to be behind data breaches‘ is merely a statement ‘thought‘ is speculation, not evidence. Then we get: “The US Trade Representative’s Section 301 report from March this year details the very close cooperation between the Third Department of China’s People’s Liberation Army (3PLA is a military hacking unit, also known as Unit 61398) and Chinese enterprises“, I have to get back to this. We are treated to ‘At one extreme, Huawei could be asked‘, is a case of fear mongering and not evidence. In addition we get ‘it is certainly a possibility‘ which came after ‘Vulnerabilities may already exist. This may not be the most likely possibility‘ as well as ‘very likely‘ all emotional responses, none of them evidence in any way, so the article with included in the title ‘The technical reasons’, has pretty much zero technology and close to 90% ‘allegedly’, speculations and emotional twists, whilst we cannot deny the optional existence of vulnerabilities, yet these are found regularly in Cisco hardware and Microsoft software, so have those two been banned in Australia?

Now to get back to the Section 301 report (at https://ustr.gov/sites/default/files/Section%20301%20FINAL.PDF). It is 215 pages and I did not read that complete political US marketing behemoth. There is one that actually carries weight. On page 153 we see: “evidence from U.S. law enforcement and private sources indicates that the Chinese government has used cyber intrusions to serve its strategic economic objectives. Documented incidents of China’s cyber intrusions against U.S. commercial entities align closely with China’s industrial policy objectives. As the global economy has increased its dependence on information systems in recent years, cyber theft became one of China’s preferred methods of collecting commercial information because of its logistical advantages and plausible deniability“, which is basically good application of intelligence gathering. Please do not take my word for it, feel free to call the NSA (at +1-301-6886311, all their calls are recorded for training and quality purposes). Oh, and before I forget, the text came with footnote 970, which gave us “A number of public submissions provided to USTR state that the Chinese government has no reason to conduct cyber intrusions or commit cyber theft for commercial purposes, see CHINA GENERAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE [hereinafter “CGCC”], Submission, Section 301 Hearing 16 (Sept. 28, 2017); that the US has not provided evidence of such actions by China, that China is also a target of cyber-attacks, and that the two countries should work together“, there is that to deal with and is that not a rare instance where we are treated to ‘the US has not provided evidence of such actions‘, how many times have we seen claims like that since 2001? Would that number be a 4 or 5 digit number?

The point is not whether it can or could happen, the question becomes did it happen here? let’s not forget that in most settings the section 301 report is about US interests and their technological advancement (which they lost by becoming iteratively stupid). Here we have a different setting. In the setting we face Huawei has a technological advance over all we have in Australia and most of Europe as well. Huawei was one of the first to realise the power of data and 5G and they are close to a market leader, the US is basically relying on Samsung to get them there. BT (British Telecom) is on the ball, but still not on par. They are in bed with Finland “BT has teamed with Nokia to collaborate on the creation of 5G proof of concept trials, the development of emerging technology standards and equipment, and potential 5G use cases“, so this sets the larger players in a field where Nokia and Huawei are now active. The SAMENA Telecom Leaders Summit 2018 and Saudi Telecom Company (STC) announced today that it is working with Nokia to launch a 5G network in 2018 within Saudi Arabia, yet the technology agreements show that it does include Huawei and Cisco, so they aren’t already active, the setting for the initial bumps in the road that Cisco, Nokia and Huawei will surely overcome is knowledge that we will not have in Australia long after someone was able to connect the 5G router to a power point (very presentable, yet the online green light seems to be broken).

So whilst politicians are considering who to be buddies with, Saudi Arabia joins the US and they will be the first 5G providers, which means that the UK and Australia are lagging behind and optionally not for the short term either.

So am I not knowing or am I all knowing? I actually prefer the first, because it is more relaxing; yet the need to speak out loud is becoming increasingly important even if it was only to place the loud mouth limelight seeking politicians like Michael Danby and George Christensen in their slightly too arrogant place. They are of course welcome to present ACTUAL evidence proving me wrong. #WishingForAMiracleHere

 

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Filed under Finance, IT, Media, Military, Politics, Science

Telstra, NATO and the USA

There are three events happening, three events that made the limelight. Only two seem to have a clear connection, yet that is not true, they all link, although not in the way you might think.

Telstra Calling

The Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/jun/20/telstra-to-cut-8000-jobs-in-major-restructure) starts with ‘Telstra to cut 8,000 jobs in major restructure‘. Larger players will restructure in one way or another at some point, and it seems that Telstra is going through the same phase my old company went through 20 years ago. The reason is simple and even as it is not stated as such, it boils down to a simple ‘too many captains on one ship‘. So cut the chaff and go on. It also means that Telstra would be able to hire a much stronger customer service and customer support division. Basically, it can cut the overhead and they can proclaim that they worked on the ‘costing’ side of the corporation. It is one way to think. Yet when we see: “It plans to split its infrastructure assets into a new wholly owned business unit in preparation for a potential demerger, or the entry of a strategic investor, in a post-national broadband network rollout world. The new business unit will be called InfraCo“. That is not a reorganisation that is pushing the bad debts and bad mortgages out of the corporation and let it (optionally) collapse. The congestion of the NBN alone warrants such a move, but in reality, the entire NBN mess was delayed for half a decade, whilst relying on technology from the previous generation. With 5G coming closer and closer Telstra needs to make moves and set new goals, it cannot do that without a much better customer service and a decently sized customer support division, from there on the consultants will be highly needed, so the new hiring spree will come at some stage. The ARNnet quote from last month: “Shares of Australia’s largest telco operator Telstra (ASX:TLS) tumbled to their lowest in nearly seven years on 22 May, after the firm was hit by a second major mobile network service outage in the space of a month“, does not come close to the havoc they face, it is not often where one party pisses off the shareholders, the stakeholders and the advertisers in one go, but Telstra pulled it off!

A mere software fault was blamed. This implies that the testing and Q&A stage has issues too, if there is going to be a Telstra 5G, that is not a message you want to broadcast. The problem is that even as some say that Telstra is beginning to roll out 5G now, we am afraid that those people are about to be less happy soon thereafter. You see, Telstra did this before with 4G, which was basically 3.5G, now we see the Business Insider give us ‘Telstra will roll out 2Gbps speeds across Australian CBDs within months‘, but 2Gbps and 10Gbps are not the same, one is merely 20%, so there! Oh, and in case you forgot the previous part. It was news in 2011 when ABC gave us (at http://www.abc.net.au/technology/articles/2011/09/28/3327530.htm) “It’s worth pointing out that that what Telstra is calling 4G isn’t 4G at all. What Telstra has deployed is 1800MHz LTE or 3GPP LTE that at a specification level should cap out at a download speed of 100Mb/s and upload speed of 50Mbps [ed: and the public wonders why we can’t just call it 4G?]. Telstra’s sensibly not even claiming those figures, but a properly-certified solution that can actually lay claim to a 4G label should be capable of downloads at 1 gigabit per second; that’s the official 4G variant known as LTE-A. Telstra’s equipment should be upgradeable to LTE-A at a later date, but for now what it’s actually selling under a ‘4G’ label is more like 3.7-3.8G. “3.7ish G” doesn’t sound anywhere near as impressive on an advertising billboard, though, so Telstra 4G it is“, which reflects the words of Jeremy Irons in Margin Call when he states: “You can be the best, you can be first or you can cheat“. I personally think that Telstra is basically doing what they did as reported in 2011 and they will market it as ‘5G’, giving premise to two of the elements that Jeremy Irons mentioned.

This now gives a different visibility to the SMH article last week (at https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/how-a-huawei-5g-ban-is-about-more-than-espionage-20180614-p4zlhf.html), where we see “The expected ban of controversial Chinese equipment maker Huawei from 5G mobile networks in Australia on fears of espionage reads like a plot point from a John le Carre novel. But the decision will have an impact on Australia’s $40 billion a year telecoms market – potentially hurting Telstra’s rivals“, as well as “The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age reported in March that there were serious concerns within the Turnbull government about Huawei’s potential role in 5G – a new wireless standard that could be up to 10 times as powerful as existing mobile services, and used to power internet connections for a range of consumer devices beyond phones“, you see I do not read it like that. From my point of view I see “There are fears within the inner circle of Telstra friends that Huawei who is expected to offer actual 5G capability will hurt Telstra as they are not ready to offer anything near those capabilities. The interconnectivity that 5G offers cannot be done in the currently upgradable Telstra setting of a mere 2bps, which is 20% of what is required. Leaving the Telstra customers outside of the full range of options in the IoT in the near future, which will cost them loads of bonus and income opportunities“. This gives two parts, apart from Optus getting a much larger slice of the cake, the setting is not merely that the consumers and 5G oriented business is missing out, private firms can only move forward to the speed that Telstra dictates. So who elected Telstra as techno rulers? As for the entire Huawei being “accused of spying by lawmakers in the US“, is still unfounded as up to now no actual evidence has been provided by anyone, whilst at the same speed only a week ago, the Guardian gave us ‘Apple to close iPhone security gap police use to collect evidence‘, giving a clear notion that in the US, the police and FBI were in a stage where they were “allowed to obtain personal information from locked iPhones without a password, a change that will thwart law enforcement agencies that have been exploiting the vulnerability to collect evidence in criminal investigations“, which basically states that the US were spying on US citizens and people with an iPhone all along (or at least for the longest of times). It is a smudgy setting of the pot calling the kettle a tea muffler.

The fact that we are faced with this and we prefer to be spied on through a phone 50% cheaper is not the worst idea. In the end, data will be collected, it is merely adhering to the US fears that there is a stronger setting that all the collected data is no longer in the US, but in places where the US no longer has access. That seems to be the setting we are confronted with and it has always been the setting of Malcolm Turnbull to cater to the Americans as much as possible, yet in this case, how exactly does Australia profit? I am not talking about the 37 high and mighty Telstra ‘friends’. I am talking about the 24,132,557 other Australians on this Island, what about their needs? If only to allow them than to merely get by on paying bills and buying food.

Short term and short sighted

This gets us to something only thinly related, when we see the US situation in ‘Nato chief warns over future of transatlantic relationship‘. The news (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jun/19/transatlantic-relationship-at-risk-says-nato-chief) has actually two sides, the US side and the side of NATO. NATO is worried on being able to function at all. It is levied up to the forehead in debts and if they come to fruition, and it will they all drown and that requires the 27 block nation to drastically reduce defence spending. It is already trying to tailor a European defence force which is a logistical nightmare 6 ways from Sunday and that is before many realise that the communication standards tend to be a taste of ‘very nationally’ standard and not much beyond that point. In that regard the US was clever with some of their ITT solutions in 1978-1983. Their corn flaky phones (a Kellogg joke) worked quite well and they lasted a decent amount of time. In Europe, most nations were bound to the local provider act and as such there were all kinds of issues and they all had their own little issues. So even as we read: “Since the alliance was created almost 70 years ago, the people of Europe and North America have enjoyed an unprecedented period of peace and prosperity. But, at the political level, the ties which bind us are under strain“, yup that sounds nice, but the alliances are under strain by how Wall Street thinks the funding needs to go and Defence is not their first priority, greed is in charge, plain and simple. Now, to be fair, on the US side, their long term commitment to defence spending has been over the top and the decade following September 11 2001 did not help. The spending went from 10% of GDP up to almost 20% of GDP between 2001 and 2010. It is currently at about 12%, yet this number is dangerous as the economy collapsed in 2008, so it basically went from $60 billion to $150 billion, which hampered the infrastructure to no end. In addition we get the splashing towards intelligence consultants (former employees, who got 350% more when they turned private), so that expenditure became also an issue, after that we see a whole range of data gathering solutions from the verbose (and not too user friendly) MIIDS/IDB.

In CONUS (or as you might understand more clearly the contiguous United 48 States; without Alaska and Hawaii), the US Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) Automated Intelligence Support Activity (FAISA) at Fort Bragg, NC, has access to the MIIDS and IDB by tactical users of the ASAS, and they maintain a complete copy of DIA’s MIIDS and IDB and update file transactions in order to support the tactical user. So there are two systems (actually there are more) and when we realise that the initial ASAS Block I software does not allow for direct access from ASAS to the FAISA System. So, to accomplish file transfer of MIIDS and IDB files, we are introduced to a whole range of resources to get to the data, the unit will need an intermediate host(s) on the LAN that will do the job. In most cases, support personnel will accomplish all the file transfers for the unit requesting that intel. Now consider 27 national defence forces, one European one and none of them has a clue how to get one to the other. I am willing to wager $50 that it will take less than 10 updates for data to mismatch and turn the FAISA system into a FAUDA (Arabic for chaos) storage system, with every update taking more and more time until the update surpasses the operational timeframe. That is ample and to the point as there is a growing concern to have better ties with both Israel and Saudi Arabia, what a lovely nightmare for the NSA as it receives (optionally on a daily basis) 9 updates all containing partially the same data (Army-Navy, Army-Air force, Army-Marines, Navy-Air force, Navy-Marines, Air force-Marines, DIA, DHS and Faisa HQ). Yes, that is one way to keep loads of people employed, the cleaning and vetting of data could require an additional 350 hours a day in people to get the vetting done between updates and packages. In all this we might see how it is about needing each other, yet the clarity for the US is mostly “Of the 29 Nato members, only eight, including the US and the UK, spend more than 2% of their GDP on defence, a threshold that the alliance agreed should be met by all the countries by 2024. Germany spent €37bn (£32.5bn), or 1.2% of GDP, on defence last year“, it amounts to the US dumping billions in an area where 28 members seem to have lost the ability to agree to standards and talk straight to one another (a France vs Germany pun). In all this there is a larger issue, but we will now see that in part three

Sometimes a cigar is an opportunity

you see, some saw the “‘Commie cadet’ who wore Che Guevara T-shirt kicked out of US army” as an issue instead of an opportunity. The article (at https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jun/19/west-point-commie-cadet-us-army-socialist-views-red-flags) gives light to some sides, but not to the option that the US basically threw out of the window. You see the Bill of rights, a mere piece of parchment that got doodled in 1789 offering things like ‘freedom to join a political party‘, as we see the setting at present. The issue as I see it is the overwhelming hatred of Russia that is in play. Instead of sacking the man, the US had an opportunity to use him to see if a dialogue with Cuba could grow into something stronger and better over time. It might work, it might not, but at least there is one person who had the option to be the messenger between Cuba and the US and that went out of the window in a heartbeat. So when we see: “Spenser Rapone said an investigation found he went online to advocate for a socialist revolution and disparage high-ranking officers and US officials. The army said in a statement only that it conducted a full investigation and “appropriate action was taken”“. Was there a full investigation? To set this in a proper light, we need to look at NBC (at https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/sexual-assault-reports-u-s-military-reach-record-high-pentagon-n753566), where we see: “Service members reported 6,172 cases of sexual assault in 2016 compared to 6,082 last year, an annual military report showed. This was a sharp jump from 2012 when 3,604 cases were reported“, we all should realise that the US defence forces have issues, a few a hell of a lot bigger than a person with a Che Guevara T-Shirt. So when we ask for the full investigations reports of 6172 cases, how many have been really investigated, or prosecuted on? NBC reported that “58 percent of victims experienced reprisals or retaliation for reporting sexual assault“, so how exactly were issues resolved?

Here we see the three events come together. There is a flawed mindset at work, it is flawed through what some might call deceptive conduct. We seem to labels and when it backfires we tend to see messages like ‘there were miscommunications hampering the issues at hand‘, standards that cannot be agreed on, or after there was an agreement the individual players decide to upgrade their national documents and hinder progress. How is that ever going to resolve issues? In all this greed and political needs seem to hinder other avenues though players that should not even be allowed to have a choice in the matter. It is the setting where for close to decades the politicians have painted themselves into a corner and are no longer able to function until a complete overhaul is made and that is the problem, a solution like that costs a serious amount of funds, funds that are not available, not in the US and not in Europe. The defence spending that cannot happen, the technology that is not what is specified and marketing will merely label it into something that it is not, because it is easier to sell that way. A failing on more than one level and by the time we are all up to speed, the others (read: Huawei) passed us by because they remained on the ball towards the required goal.

So as we are treated to: “A parliamentary hearing in Sydney got an extra touch of spice yesterday, after the chief executive of NBN Co appeared to finger one group of users supposedly responsible for congestion on NBN’s fixed wireless network: gamers“, whilst the direct setting given is “Online gaming requires hardly any bandwidth ~10+ megabytes per hour. A 720p video file requires ~ 500+ megabytes per hour. One user watching a YouTube video occupies the same bandwidth as ~50 video gamers“, we can argue who is correct, yet we forgot about option 3. As was stated last week we see that the largest two users of online games were Counterstrike (250MB/hour) add Destiny 2 (300 MB/hour), whilst the smallest TV watcher ABC iView used the same as Destiny 2, the rest a multitude of that, with Netflix 4K using up to 1000% of what gamers used (in addition to the fact that there are now well over 7.5 million Netflix users, whilst the usage implies that to be on par, we need 75 million gamers, three times the Australian population). Perhaps it is not the gamers, but a system that was badly designed from the start. Political interference in technology has been a detrimental setting in the US, Europe and Australia as well, the fact that politicians decide on ‘what is safe‘ is a larger issue when you put the issues next to one another. If we openly demand that the US reveal the security danger that Huawei is according to them, will they remain silent and let a ‘prominent friend‘ of Telstra speak?

When we look one tier deeper into NATO, they themselves become the source (at https://www.nato-pa.int/document/2018-defence-innovation-capitalising-natos-science-and-technology-base-draft-report) with: ‘Capitalising on Nato’s Science and Technology Base‘. Here we see on page 5: “In an Alliance of sovereign states, the primary responsibility to maintain a robust defence S&T base and to discover, develop and adopt cutting-edge defence technologies lies with NATO member states themselves. Part of the answer lies in sufficient defence S&T and R&D budgets“. It is the part where we see: ‘adopt cutting-edge defence technologies lies with NATO member states themselves‘ as well as ‘sufficient defence S&T and R&D budgets‘. You introduce me to a person that shows a clear partnership between the needs of Philips (Netherlands) and Siemens (Germany) and I will introduce you to a person who is knowingly miscommunicating the hell out of the issue. You only need to see the 2016 financial assessment: “After divesting most of its former businesses, Philips today has a unique portfolio around healthy lifestyle and hospital solutions. Unlike competitors like GE Healthcare and Siemens Healthineers, the company covers the entire health continuum” and that is merely one field.

Rubber Duck closing in on small Destroyer.

In that consider a military equivalent. The 5th best registered CIWS solution called MK15 Phalanx (US), the 3rd position is for the Dutch Goalkeeper (Thales Netherlands) and the 2nd best CIWS solution comes from the US with the Raytheon SeaRAM. Now we would expect every nationality would have its own solution, yet we see the SeaRAM was only adopted by Germany, why is it not found in the French, Italian, Spanish and Canadian navy? Belgium has the valid excuse that the system is too large for their RIB and Dinghy fleet, but they are alone there. If there is to be true connectivity and shared values, why is this not a much better and better set partnership? Now, I get that the Dutch are a proud of their solution, yet in that entire top list of CIWS systems, a larger group of NATO members have nothing to that degree at all. So is capitalising in the title of the NATO paper actually set to ‘gain advantage from‘, or is it ‘provide (someone) with capital‘? Both are options and the outcome as well as the viability of the situation depending on which path you take. So are the Australians losing advantage from Telstra over Huawei, or are some people gaining huge lifestyle upgrades as Huawei is directed to no longer be an option?

I will let you decide, but the settings are pushing all boundaries and overall the people tend to not benefit, unless you work for the right part of Palantir inc, at which point your income could double between now and 2021.

 

2018 – DEFENCE INNOVATION – ALLESLEV DRAFT REPORT – 078 STC 18 E

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Let it (or them) die!

Harsh words that are befitting a slightly harsher world than we bargained for. Yesterday I had one of those ridiculous epiphany. In my view I saw some news regarding ICE and how it is so addictive and how it is costing healthcare 500 million. There is news all over the place in both the UK and Australia regarding the abuse of both drugs and alcohol. We seem to go out of our way to reward and support stupid people. Now when it comes to simple things like consumer protection it is one thing. A person can be misinformed and a person can be misled, for this we have consumer protection to give them additional protection. I have no issue with that, when a consumer loses out on a misrepresented or misled purchase, there should be protection. For the most, many shops will exchange and usually even refund. Yet at some point in this day and age, we need to make changes, we need to adjust. It is not by choice, it is out of necessity. You see, choices were made and politicians will need to be held to account. We need to show to all around us that going soft on corporations and going too soft on the people at large can no longer be supported. You see, it is the price you pay for making a choice.

What if we change the law? As per January 1st 2017 certain medical options fall away from adults. You see, from that date, what if we stop paying for treatment of drugs and alcohol abuse. A person can only get treatment if they pay fully and pay upfront. Without that, there will be no treatment and the drugs and drunk tanks are reintroduced. You see, as stated, we no longer have an option. How can we accept that our governments push us deeper and deeper into debt, unable to keep a proper balance whilst at the same time give more and more breaks for corporations to skim from the top and become more and more non tax accountable! Until we get the law properly to properly adjust certain parts in taxation, accountability and prosecution we no longer have an option. We stop to support certain acts of stupidity. If they die? Let them!

I see images of thousands of refugees, genuinely wanting a future for them and their family, not an extremist thought in sight, just to start a life and create a future for their children. How can we stop these people and keep on supporting junkies? At 7.35 billion mankind is not going extinct any day soon, so why bother with outrageous forms of support for someone so stupid to make such mistakes again and again. In my cruel view, let them die! Let the first 100 be a clear sign to people that drugs kill, there is no next, there is no after again and again. I truly believe that it will push the use of drugs down, when more and more people are confronted that someone they directly know, who had died from drug or alcohol abuse, these elements will soon diminish to a much lower amount. It will never go away, but it will go down to such an extent that people will seriously consider not taking drugs. You see, the drugs pusher will always come with the ‘once will not hurt‘, ‘once is fine, we all do it!‘ He/she lies to you! I and many of my friends never took drugs. And let’s look at the additional benefits this solution will bring. Hospital costs go down, healthcare support goes up, less pressure on support systems and as these people relishing freedom of choice die, their places open up to you me and the refugee. All those who want a real life, a new life or a better life.

This is about more than just booze and drugs. On January 23rd 2015 I wrote ‘The danger topic‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/01/23/the-danger-topic/), here we see the issue I raised almost a year ago. We see “At The Bruegal Institute in Brussels is not the only think-tank to believe the estimated €250bn cost of a Grexit, while covered by the bailout funds, would cripple the Eurozone and delay recovery for a decade we now see that the ECB is about to spend 1.1 trillion for bonds. When we see “The Frankfurt-based bank will use electronically created money to buy the bonds of Eurozone governments – quantitative easing – to try to boost confidence, push up inflation and drive down the value of the single currency, helping to increase exports and kick-start growth”“, yes the Italian Draghi had an idea to kick-start the economy. Now we see ‘ECB Day: markets tumble as Draghi disappoints investors‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/live/2015/dec/03/ecb-stimulus-qe-negative-rates-mario-draghi-live#block-566070ebe4b073bf0735b3be). “But they may have a point. As Draghi pointed out – the Eurozone economy is growing, credit conditions are improving. QE is working, and they’ll keep doing it. Why bring out a bigger punchbowl?” and “The wave of selling rippled from Frankfurt and Paris to Madrid and Milan, as traders expressed disappointment that the ECB hadn’t expanded its QE programme, or hit the banks with tougher negative interest rates“. This is the problem for us. You see, investors expected more, they always expect more, which is why it would not work. In addition, their push could result in more spending and less and less control on that spending. I foresaw it almost a year ago, but as people ignored me and listened to these good weather forecasters on how the economy would grow, are now confronted with more and more bad news management. How the economy grew between 0.3% and 0.4%, so when we look at http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/eu/forecasts/2015_winter_forecast_en.htm, and we see a forecast that is written like “Growth this year is forecast to rise to 1.7% for the EU as a whole and to 1.3% for the euro area. In 2016, economic activity should grow by 2.1% and 1.9% respectively“, that 0.3% does not come close, and still these governments are living the gravy train, spending more and more and leaving the invoice for a next government who will borrow even more to deal with invoiced that cannot be dealt with. So how about taking away certain support. How about letting the people see in the street how the future is warped because the symbiotic relationship between nations and large corporations are no longer correctly honoured. Letting the system collapse is one option, letting the people die, so that those nurses can focus on nursing to true health, NHS systems on a global scale will have less and less costs and we can actually move forward.

We can no longer afford to be nice. If you doubt that, thank consider the title ‘Investors got ECB odds wrong but Draghi could pay hefty price‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/nils-pratley-on-finance/2015/dec/03/investors-got-ecb-odds-wrong-but-draghi-could-pay-hefty-price), when we read “It’s hard to know who is most to blame: Mario Draghi, for leading investors up the garden path; or investors, for believing that the European Central Bank president’s talk of doing “what we must” equated to a firm promise of a bigger dose of quantitative easing“, in what way ‘bigger dose‘? We can’t even take care of the current dose and the investors want more and more and more. So, we need to think differently. When we get rid of a surplus population, more jobs, more rental places, less costs, which means lower debt options. The investors will go ‘Baahhhhh, humbug!‘, but only because greed is eternal and they require that extra cash.

When we start hitting governments a dollar for dollar (or pound for pound) option, the game will change and we will see additional false promises on how the economy will get sooo much better in 2017. I say, well, when those tax dollars come in, we can consider paying for certain treatments, only when those dollars (or pounds) are actually COLLECTED.

You know, I can already predict the answer, it will be some accounting stunt that allows for ‘spare change‘. If PriceWaterhouse Coopers comes with that option, you should ask how that worked out for Tesco, both them and the press will remains massively silent on either matter. So, we must change the game, as the players have changed the format of the game. We can’t change the players, but we can limit their actions, hence dropping services.

How inhumane is it? In equal measure I ask, how inhumane is it to leave a multi trillion debt to our children? Is Greece not a clear example, they will never escape the debt that previous governments left them, they will go through life blaming those not responsible, whilst not prosecuting those responsible, what kind of a future is that? At http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/greece-debt-crisis-athens-narrowly-passes-2016-austerity-budget-1532011 we see the title ‘Greece debt crisis: Athens narrowly passes 2016 austerity budget‘, you might think that this is good news, but so far all additional debts have been used to pay bills and pay for interest, Greece is not moving forward, which means that 5.7 billion in spending cuts is required, with one third of that as cuts towards the pensions, so the 10,000 not so poor Greeks are leaving, whilst leaving the rest to pay for an invoice no one in Greece can afford, it is not that far a thought that 2016/2017 will be the years when Greek youth, man and women will marry out of Greece so that they can have a future, reducing the future of Greece even further. Public debt will grow the coming year by another 8% towards 188% whilst unemployment will remain at 25%, so how is that any future? Statistica reported that the advantage of marrying a foreigner received 42% of the women and 33% of the men stating that ‘better education and social stability of the children‘ was received, only 2% for both gender relied on same religion, which could be a massive blow to Orthodox Greece. Whether this comes to pass is not possible to predict, but as options diminish, other solutions will be sought by those hardest hit, so is my leap of not caring for a collection of idiots that cannot accept responsibility such a massive leap? The Sydney Morning Herald reported in June (at http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/newtown-gets-busy-as-kings-cross-empties-20150619-ghseco.html): “According to NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research numbers analysed by Fairfax Media, in the 10 months from April 2013 to Jan 2014 there were 86 instances of alcohol-related attacks in Newtown. From February 2014 to the end of November there were 102 attacks, an increase of 18 per cent.  From January to March 2015 there were 34 assaults, compared to 27 in the same period the previous year“, so will the drunk tank be a solution? That remains to be seen, but I feel certain that the first hospital invoice to be paid upfront will definitely have an impact. As people get to pay $300 for alcohol treatment it will not go to bars, if they cannot pay, the drunk tank will be the route to take. How long until someone figures out that this lifestyle gets them killed? How about changing the lifestyle of binge drinking that has absolutely no positive impact other than a fake instilment of Ego?

We have tried all these soft labour solutions and none, I repeat none have worked. It is time that we employ different solutions.

I will be the first one to admit that it is as inhumane as it gets, but people are for the most massively stupid, especially when they are in groups, so as such less intelligent solutions must be considered. Perhaps it will work, perhaps not, but can we truly ignore the option? The cost for alcohol related abuse was $14.352b in 2010 (Australia, at http://www.aic.gov.au/publications/current%20series/tandi/441-460/tandi454.html), yet, can an alternative be found? Yes, there is one other solution, how about on June 30th all Australian residents receive an additional tax invoice of $625. If over 80% pays it, we keep to the old system, if not we will try my option, dollar for dollar. If you are unwilling to pay one way, you get to pay another way. I reckon it will not take more than 3 months until 90% plus suddenly decides to pay that additional bill.

I prefer to let the debt die, not the people, but we are running out of options and those who should truly inform us are hiding behind experts who will treat us to carefully phrased denials, how is that leading to a solution? Yes, in this blog I phrased more questions than answers. I am pretty intelligent, yet a solution cannot be given until we make massive changes to the society we currently live in so that our children and our grandchildren will have any future. When you realise that we are getting to a point that it is proven, that making the life of a person negotiable is a lot less impossible than we ever thought, that will be the point that a push for massive legislative change is more likely than not to succeed, it is the one push big business cannot counter, some things can truly push a shadow over greed, we only have to be willing to push enough people into that shadow.

 

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The sexualised animal house

I just stumbled upon an article that got published a week ago. It is video by Laura Pintur and was produced by Bill code (at http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/video/2015/may/21/lads-mags-sexist-zoo-magazine-supermarkets-collective-shout-video). The article is decently made, although one could wonder how something this serious would be brought with such a smile, but that is beside the point. She has started an offensive against Zoo Magazine. Now for the most, I stay away from these magazines. Zoo is just the bottom of the barrel and it competes with a score of magazines that are slightly better (Maxim and FHM) for example. I have read a few in the past and I personally preferred the UK editions as they were more playful in wordplay and were overall slightly better written.

But back to Zoo magazine. The first thing I noticed was the tag ‘Feminism’ at the bottom. Now, I need you to take that word and stamp it in your brain!

Now let’s look at the video!

She quotes a few things, yet the part at 00:19 puzzled me “cut your ex’s face, than nobody will want her”. It is part of a response in the ‘Ask Danny!’ column. So now we get to the part where we revise the word ‘feminism’. You see article 33 of the NSW Crimes act will categorise the act of slicing a face as ‘Wounding or grievous bodily harm with intent to cause grievous bodily harm’. Wounding any person in such a way is a crime and comes with a maximum of ‘Imprisonment for 25 years’, so is it feminism, or just plain criminal?

Now we get the other side. This is not last week, Laura Pintur is grabbing back to an event that happened (was published) on the 5th of May 2010. There were all kinds of apologies and the quote “Zoo and Danny Dyer condemn any violence against women. A donation will be made to Women’s Aid” was published. Danny Dyer stated “This is totally out of order, I am totally devastated. I have been completely misquoted. This is not the advice I would give any member of the public I do not condone violence against women“, yet what was exactly quoted? That remains a question.

In addition to Laura Pintur I need to add, why did you not do your homework? If you need to grasp back to events 5 years old, what did you not find in Zoo magazine? I am much more on hand of Ceri Goddard, chief executive of the Fawcett Society, who said: “It is appalling that a writer thought this acceptable and that the editor let it through“, which makes me wonder how the editor (and if) it was read to begin with!

What is much more recent is the ANZAC day issue with the girl in the red bikini and a poppy, which got labelled “gross, disgusting and idiotic” on social media. I will agree on Gross and idiotic, less disgusted. My grandfather was in WW1 (not in Gallipoli), so I feel my view is valid. I will assume, she was pretty through Photoshop, which makes her an unreal and virtual individual!

I did very much like the response on Twitter by a man called Richard Bright, his view: “@sallywhyte @BernardKeane Exploit women for $, exploit diggers for $. It’s almost as if the mag is dedicated to unprincipled pursuit of $“, and this is a surprise….how?

When we go to the Zoo Weekly page we see: “So it’s little wonder we reach almost 500,000 Aussie men every issue. They turn to us to see the hottest Australian women, have a laugh and stay ahead of the pack when it comes to what’s hot in the worlds of sport, gaming, entertainment and gadgets“. So a weekly magazine that hits 500K readers on a weekly base is not something that is going away any day soon.

Then we see the comparison between the Zoo comments and rapists. So, did you do any work on this Laura? You see, this was shown in the article by Anna North, an article found on Jezebel.com, which has the ample title ‘Can You Tell the Difference between a Men’s Magazine and a Rapist?‘ (at http://jezebel.com/5866602/can-you-tell-the-difference-between-a-mens-magazine-and-a-rapist), which was published in September 2011. This does not invalidate Laura’s view at all, but the smiling face in her video is a lot less mysterious now. What she did not elaborate on is the part that Jezebel (Anna North) did have a decent handle on, and takes time to properly go over the materials in her article.

The men didn’t want to agree with rapists”, is a quote that makes perfect sense, in addition, Dr Miranda Horvath and Dr Peter Hegarty found the results disturbing. The powerful addition is: “There is a fundamental concern that the content of such magazines normalises the treatment of women as sexual objects. We are not killjoys or prudes who think that there should be no sexual information and media for young people. But are teenage boys and young men best prepared for fulfilling love and sex when they normalise views about women that are disturbingly close to those mirrored in the language of sexual offenders?

The article shows 16 quotes, with at the bottom a list whether the quote came from a magazine or a rapist. I found the list disturbing because it was hard to tell which was which, this in addition gets me back to the issue how the editor let the Danny Dyer quote get by in the first place?

You see, my view in all this is entirely different. I do not hide behind feminism and I find the quotes equally if not more disturbing. You see, you the reader (no matter which gender) are just consumer, product to purchase ‘a’ magazine. There is one for the He’s of the planet and one for the She’s of the planet. The younger male group is all about sex (and cars and footie). They say that the younger male thinks of sex at least five times a minute every single day (even more when he has his eyes closed), apparently women think of sex with regularity too, but I have no true source that can be regarded as ‘reliable’ here. You see, the issue people forget is that magazines are not about making sex objects, or building the world of misogyny, magazines are about one thing only, they are about profit!

There was a study years ago that gave the notion that single man and single women are 35% more likely to buy a glossy magazine. 35% is a lot! So we see that those male editions would focus on the sex premise of threesomes and other artistically tantalising events of a carnal nature. There are loads of articles written not with the scientific notion of accuracy, but with the scientific eye of keeping people reading and nudging them towards a path where the man makes his ‘perfect’ choice, which is a woman that is so unlikely to exist, which will allow for him to remain single for a lot longer, which of course is good for magazine revenue.

The ladies might have read articles in the air of: ‘wait for that right one, that Brad Pitt, so suave and so good looking, so fashionable’. I am phrasing this in my own way, but that is what some of these articles add up to. Guess what, if he looks like Brad Pitt and is Suave and sophisticated like Brad Pitt, then it is either Brad Pitt or George Clooney and both are taken! Whilst you wait on that impossible guy, going out with the girls, scoping the field for that man, 5-10 years passed by and soon you are out of options and your biological clock will soon be shutting down! Do not fret ladies, the men are in a similar position. The magazines like Zoo, Loaded, Maxim and similar magazines, give that raunchy woman, boobs with a matching thigh region like a porn star, they are about naughty dances, dressing up and bringing their girlfriend to rile you both up with lap dances and then they get the night of their life! It is all innuendo, but the men are getting deceived just as much (perhaps even more). Photo shopped women in cheerleader outfits, or in their high school skirt with transparent top. All fake image to prevent both sides to actually look around and get talking to that decent woman who looks nothing like a porn star, but is likely warm, well-articulated and passionate (once you get to know her). You ladies are ignoring these men at bar because they look slightly clumsy (they are just nervous because you do look a lot better than they bargained for) and whilst these two wars of confusion are going on, each on their own lawn, neither party will receive any feedback on the attempt to communicate! Now if you (that man or woman) are remaining single on purpose than that is just fine! It is your choice! No one will think less of you!

Back to the initial issue. I think Laura Pintur’s video is debatable, not because of her approach, but the fact that she comes with 5 year old material (which was used by other sources), including a fair bit based on an article by Anna North (Jezebel.com). I do not oppose her goals and if Zoo is lost from all the shelves I will not lose a moments sleep on it. However, she did not do her research in a proper way and she should have mentioned her sources, as the video is quite close to Plagiarism (as I see it). In addition, Zoo was not that original on that Boob job raffle, which made the news in 2005 (at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4377968.stm), yet now we see the interesting part. When we look in the Sydney Morning Herald (at http://www.smh.com.au/national/boob-job-competition-outrages-experts-20070813-t2o.html), we see that Zoo is doing it again, only not in the UK, now they are trying it in Australia. Here we have ourselves an issue. The Sydney Morning Herald one quote states “A publicist for the magazine said the surgeon was still yet to be confirmed. Asked if she was aware that such a competition may be illegal, she said ‘that may be the case but that’s something the winner can sort out directly’“, so the spokesperson was asked regarding the legality of the issue. Now I wonder, if sales are gained by advertising something illegal, should there not be harsh consequences?

So Perhaps Laura Pintur might have added to her article that the magazine has possibly engaged into illegal activities, is that not an excellent additional reason to bar Zoo Weekly from the shelves of Supermarkets?

My issue remains that the bulk of these examples are years old, which definitely dulls the ‘bang’ of the article.

 

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Another online danger

It seems that we the consumers are soon in danger of being left out in the offline cold. You might not realise it, you might not even worry, but your money, your payments online are finite!

You see, not only are the events of last week troubling (not the UK election mind you), the consequence of allowing this to move forward unanswered could be a costly one.

With online presence there is the additional danger of non-online absence.

For this I will emphasize it with one example. The game is from Enix and the title is ‘Order of War: Challenge‘, if you had bought it from Steam, then you have a possible issue, because the game has been wiped of your account. Now, this is not a massive issue of today, this is an issue from the sheer point of view called ‘You paid for it!’ and now it is no more and you can never play it again. An important fact is that this issue played in 2013, so you might wonder what gives!

That is an excellent question. I for one would not care too much for Steam, I never did. Yet the issue of yesterday is now quickly progressing towards issues out today and even more important those who are out tomorrow and after that. This goes far beyond the wiping of a ‘Silent Hill Playable Demo’. Some changes are made because the circumstances changes, which is fair enough. That is not the true issue (even though the Silent Hill fans who missed out would be miffed).

The issue is found in the mobile and console games out now and more important those released after tomorrow.

Let me give you an example.

The mobile/Tables environment has a game called ‘Dungeon Keeper’. Many of those who loved that game when it was originally released on the PC went nuts the moment that game reappeared. Yet, in hindsight this new game was a massive failure on many levels. The game had actually destroyed the image the masterful game maker Peter Molyneux had built. The game is now all about delaying events and forcing people to make very expensive purchases online in the form of Gems. As micro transactions go, this game is the one example why micro transactions should be illegal. A nice view is given at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GpdoBwezFVA. Yet compared to the pc edition of the second game (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DJmS7prcmE), the mobile game is horrendous.

Now we have an additional side, I cannot tell when this happened, but several people (including me) have only had access to the game once in the last two weeks, there have been ongoing server connection issues. In light of the issues that have been mentioned in the past there is now a matter for other cause. You see, if there is an issue with a game, if you had purchased enough gems, the issue at hand is not just that you are forced to a server, the fact that the server is no longer there and the player can no longer play gives weight to the question whether there should be legal consequences for those eager to sell a micro transaction relying game. Can something offered as ‘freemium’ but will only work smoothly when purchases be made, should that game be allowed to be non-functional?  Should the makers not offer an offline side to the game? That is at the foundation of what is wrong. The danger of consumers paying for something that can be removed as soon as the exploiters no longer consider the product to be viable and it stops working for various reasons.

What are those reasons?

Well Dungeon Keeper is a first example. The fact that a server is down is one thing, the fact that the server cannot be reached for two weeks is an entirely other matter. Which leads us to the question, should games that only have online server options be allowed? Beyond that, when gameplay is removed, are those who paid for additional gaming experience be entitled to credit vouchers?

This is the loaded question because basically it is payment for a service, which should be regarded as temporary, however, was that clearly communicated to those buying the service? Now we have ourselves a different video game altogether!

You see, this part will be a growing issue as people are dependent on downloads and could storage of games that are not played on a daily basis. There is the added consideration that these providers never did anything wrong as they might have specified that in the terms of service, yet who reads them? This is not a business agreement, or isn’t it?

Let me move on (for now to another example).

Now we have (or better states we used to have) the PlayStation 3. It has the option of PSN and PlayStation Home. PlayStation Home was discontinued, but what about those people who have spent money for years on the locations there? There had always been an implied assumption that there would be PlayStation Home in PS4. Clearly implied is not correct, too many sources stated most options in silence. Then when the PS4 came it was initially incomplete and in 2014 the verdict was final, no PlayStation Home on the PS4. And recently PlayStation Home was also removed from the PlayStation 3. There was no fault here, there was never any clear agreement that PlayStation Home was to be ported to the PS4, but to lose it on PS3 would never be an acceptable option to those who like it.

I thought it was a cool place, it was partially useless, yet it had the option of being a playful marketing tool. Trailers, unlockable extra’s for games and so on, there were even a few decent games in that environment. Because it had channels so that people could chat, it was something that is out there that would forever be an option. Now it seems that Sony is mostly rejecting the social media, or it is partially doing that. PlayStation home is not the only place, the profiles are a second part, but here we are forced online and in an almost ‘anti-social network’ situation.

This is where the wheels come off the wagon, you see there is another side to all this!

This all links to the previous as there is a real danger that someone at some point will deactivate a service, then what? There is currently an uneven, unequal and a dangerous push to force people online. There is now a second part that has massive consequences for gamers on a global scale. I have made references with the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) before, and it seems that several other sources are now on the bandwagon regarding the dangers here, gaming is only one aspect (and not even close to the biggest one, but because of the global setting of gamers a lot easier to spot). It is not just the ‘profile’ issue, that is the least of it all, but it is a driving force around it. More important, the cost of being ‘online’ could soon be another matter altogether.

It would be too simple to state that the TPP is just a bad consequence of a group of utterly incompetent politicians, mostly staying presently at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but that would be not entirely correct either. You see, their inadequacies resulted in a group of industrials to change the premise on Digital Rights Management (DRM) on a massive scale. For the most, I have mixed feelings. I believe that it is perfectly legit for a corporation to protect their product from being illegally copied. Now, the internet providers (ISP’s) are all about bandwidth, so as such, they like people who copy movies, they love it even better when people copy Blu-rays, because 100,000,000 people going for 2-3 blu-rays every night is a massive amount of bandwidth. There is to the smaller extent that a DRM is all about setting up who can legally use something and who cannot, but that seems to be the smallest tip of the iceberg.

An article in the Sydney Morning Herald gives us ‘http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/politicalnews/trans-pacific-partnership-will-push-medicine-prices-up-review-finds-20150303-13sxty.html‘. This is not entirely correct, but not wrong either. If we take this quote “The leaked treaty text also reveals new American and Japanese proposals designed to enhance the ability of pharmaceutical manufacturers to extend and widen their patents on drugs and medicines“, it is the word ‘extend’ that is the issue. Because some pharmaceuticals are all about prolonging, we see more and more new patent additions to give any drug a longer exclusivity, which means that generic medication will be less and less of an option. There is in addition the quote “Jeffrey Bleich, accused Australian consumers of habitually stealing copyrighted content and of being some of the worst offenders with amongst the highest piracy rates … in the world“, that statement makes Jeffrey Bleich an idiot to some degree (not the worst he’s ever been called), because his peers in the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden say exactly the same and he should properly investigate these matters before making those statements.

Now, he was not being too bright (or massively misinformed) and a mere voicer for large corporations, which is to some degree his job I reckon, but he could have been a smudge more thoughtful in that regard. You see, the American side has been utterly stupid for a long time. Because it was always American first, then ‘whomever is left’! We have seen that in Movies, Music and games. Although music not as much. It started in the mid 80’s when Greed took over and American corporations were utterly clueless on global corporate actions from day one. I am not just talking about Games, or movies (even though they are the most visible ones). No the utter consumer disrespect shown by Ashton-Tate, IBM, Lotus Development Corporation, Oracle, Novell and Adobe was beyond belief in those days. You would actually look forward to meeting with Macromedia, WordPerfect and Corel to see that humanity in IT was an option. Now many of them changed tunes over time, the movie and games industry stayed behind for a long time, it is only recently that the US is seeing that the money of their blockbusters are coming from outside the US in some cases in excess of 75%. Now we have ourselves a ballgame! Now we see the shift some are making, but in other ways.

You see, there is a reason why some people have an aversion to buying a game at 40%-70% more. In my early days, I had no options, a game advertised in the American magazines at $19.95 would cost me $69, that’s a not so nice 300%, so America changed the environment from the very beginning. Even today, Australian gamers will pay 40%-70% more for a new game. Now, we will see casual mention on how it is all about shipping. Well guess again. PSN (PS4) was offering games on day one in a shop for $89, On Amazon it was $59 and guess what, the download in Australia was priced at $99.

How do these elements link?

There are two parts. First the quote by Julian Assange “The TPP has developed in secret an unaccountable supranational court for multinationals to sue states. This system is a challenge to parliamentary and judicial sovereignty. Similar tribunals have already been shown to chill the adoption of sane environmental protection, public health and public transport policies“. It is actually not that far a stretch, you only need to consider the legal disagreements between Apple and Samsung to see the dangers here.

After which the following claim is made “The leaked text shows that this agreement is more about corporate power than “free trade”. Investor-state dispute settlement is really a form of corporate sovereignty“. That part can be found here (at https://wikileaks.org/tpp-investment/WikiLeaks-TPP-Investment-Chapter/page-1.html).

Basically, in there you can find the issue “where foreign firms can ‘sue’ states and obtain taxpayer compensation for ‘expected future profits’“, this now reverts back to the earlier mention of games, movies and especially music. A false dimension of revenue has been maintained by corporate ‘baboons’, claiming ‘loss of revenue’. Relying on incomplete information from Napster, Kazaa and a few others players in the peer to peer networking solution. They basically went on the premise, one download means one sale lost. I believe that this was never a reality. People might download and listed, but would never have bought the bulk of it in the first case. That same premise of certain lacks is seen when we see the quote “Attorney-General George Brandis has signalled his intention to introduce more stringent copyright laws to crack down on online piracy“. In that regard the attorney general does not seem to strike too high on the academic scale of logic (on any given day for that matter). I posted an article on September 10th 2014 called ‘Changing topics?‘, in there the issue is better shown, you see it is not just about copyright, because that could have been dealt with quite easily. It was about Malcolm Turnbull’s anti-piracy forum. You see, if copyright was truly the issue, which would have been easy. But in that event the words ‘revenue‘ and ‘bandwidth‘ were very much skated around. Telstra was extremely cautious (and eager) to steer clear of that because in the case of Telstra, monitoring bandwidth, people actually stopping copying movies will cost Telstra billions! Now we see the consequence!

You see, America is figuring out that it cannot deal with its own ISP’s and they definitely cannot deal with the others like Telstra, Tele 2, Com Hem, KPN, TDC and a few others. They are doing it stepwise and the TPP will give them some options. Now back to that term that is laughingly referred to as ‘expected future profits‘.

One source states: “Losses to Video Game Makers Due to Piracy: $8.1 Billion“, based on what numbers? ISP’s state they cannot monitor. Then we get “Pirated Software Impact to Businesses: $63 Billion“. Again on what premise and how?

Well the first one gives us: “Video game piracy of hand-held games leads to the loss of about $8.1 Billion a year, as losses due to pirating of Sony PSP and Nintendo DS games between 2004 and 2009 lead to worldwide losses of nearly $42 Billion“. Here we see an interesting side. These are only two consoles. More important, these consoles have again and again limited legitimate access to games released in US and Japan again and again. So is this truly about piracy, or is the decision as seen here “Monster Hunter 3rd is the best-selling PSP game ever in Japan with 4,780,000 copies sold. Its PS3 HD remaster sold an excellent 500,000 copies as well, yet neither version is scheduled for an international release“. By the way, is the maker not guilty of discrimination? Let me be frank, I will not and have never condoned pirated games. I believe in getting a game and playing the original (I rarely buy games, so when I do, I will go for the VIP options that an original game brings). So, is this about piracy, or about segregation?

That part is harder to prove in the business case. The source “Business Software Alliance, “2011 BSA Global Software Piracy Study,” May 2012” is an issue. I cannot be certain how they got to $63 billion, but with so many illegal versions of Office, that number seems a lot more plausible. It is funny that there, US and China are the biggest transgressors representing a little less than one third of the entire lost stack. The UK is set at 1.9 billion and Australia less than a billion, yet how were these numbers achieved, through ‘rough’ estimation perhaps?

Now we get to the monkey’s banana moment “Losses due to Music Piracy: $12.5 Billion“, which is stated “According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)“, yes, they wanted the number to be as high as possible, because it made bad productions and louse representatives look a little better. In addition, some of these numbers cannot be decently vouched for in any way, shape or form. It boils down to well over 500 million CD’s, in a numbers game that number on a population of 7 billion seems small, but here is the kicker, that same source had the following, which I found illuminating: “In a survey of over 6,000 people in Finland between the ages of 7 to 84, researchers found that on average each person who downloaded pirated content online had about 2,900 pirated music files and 90 pirated movie files. The researchers who conducted the study believes that downloaders have more music files is due to the ease of downloading pirated music. According to the study, downloading movie files require faster internet speeds, more digital storage space, as well as a higher technological ability to playback movies“.

The term ‘each person’ now becomes really interesting, because 90 movies boils down to 360 Gb, and 2900 songs come to an rough (very rough) estimation of 14.5 Gb. A person downloading that much would be visible on the ISP counter. You see, you buy bandwidth monthly and downloading this much, as well as watching online and perhaps stuff they no longer have, you are looking at $80 a month, however, only 6 years ago, I paid $70 for 25Gb. you see how the picture changes? That is centre here. By the way, if you think that 25 Gb is little, consider that I have only hit that maximum once during my entire contract with my ISP and that was because on a Friday my system decided to update Windows 7, Office 2013 and my Adobe Master collection, which was quite the resource drain that evening.

Your online presence is now a danger in more than one way. In the first more and more ‘providers’ are forcing us to save on the cloud, forcing us using bandwidth. Now, I understand the first download, but many systems are now gearing towards less memory and more reliant on cloud drives. Which was my issue with the Microsoft Xbox One even before that system was launched.  Are those not streamed services? More important, my issue there was that once a service is disconnected, would we just lose it all overnight? Consider your movie and TV series collection. What happens when your old versions of Star Trek, Dexter and Game of Thrones are discontinued?

In addition, if online presence is essential for our services to run, how will that be monitored? I only need to refer to the Sony hack, to give you a first fright that certain owned items could be lost by a mere scripted command. Again, a situation the consumer is not ready and not prepared for. Now, in the case of PlayStation Home, there is some understanding that certain services will be lost, could a local copy have solved it? (I am asking, not telling). There are unresolved issues, mainly because the new technologies move so fast and to be quite honest, some considerations are new, we never had to make them before. We the consumer must accept that some parts are lost to us at some point. Yes, I loved HERO on the Atari 2600, but to expect that game to function 30 years later is not that realistic either. In that regard, we have attached to software (especially games) to the same extent we hold onto a book. They are not the same, which is a simple reality.

But the dangers of online remain, or do they? In that regard, the issues I raise are mostly about time. We see the failing of a game and losing out on what we spend within a year totally unacceptable, yet in that same notion, we should find peace in the notion that nothing lasts, it is all a mere matter of time. Yet, there we see a partial solution, we cannot realistically expect the provider to give ‘eternal’ support, but is a local version (no servers) after a while, or before the service is pulled a possible solution? That I have yet to see and it is not that far-fetched, because in the end, with the amounts of products and the change of IP, that part is slowly but certainly becoming an essential step to consider, especially in light for the business model of any software corporation. Consider you the player with your game of Halo, or Gears of War. I reckon that at some point, you will accept that online mode falls away, but how would you feel is the single player option falls away too, especially if you still have the console or PC to run it on?

A gaming dimension that will fall away at some point, but are we ready to let go of those moments? Now consider that your console/PC can no longer link to the service, even though you have the original disc. In the new DRM, it is entirely possible that no online verification means no playing the game. This is the certainty that we face and the TPP will push us there a lot faster than you realise. Should you doubt any of the last part, then consider the site gog.com. It holds some of the most brilliant games ever created (sold at very low prices), people still revere these games and many of them (especially the original dungeon keeper) will find a place in the heart of gamers. Moreover, several of these would make fine console games when adapted (higher graphics in most cases). I believe that the MSDOS Dungeon Keeper could be a hit 3DS game (like many other games on that site), even today.

Gaming is not about the latest game (decent graphics and sound aside) it is about joy and the games on that site are most pure joy to play.

Now you might all think that this is about games and many of you readers do not care about games, but now consider that same step when you look at your Office 365 account and the fact that you are pushed away from a version that works perfect for you (like the nightmare Office 2007 users faced in the past). There is an abundance of programs that offer a similar scary outlook.

Now translate this to collections you do care about. Your music, your TV shows, perhaps even your digital books. Do not take the word of those stating that it will not happen, because it will, it has happened in the past, it is happening now and it will happen in the future. The DVD and book on your shelf are a touchable item, that part is (if you treat them properly) secure, something online can be lost by merely removing a server or damaging its data. If someone states that this can never happen, then look at Sony, they experienced that event first hand.

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