Tag Archives: the Netherlands

That pathetic sign

The guardian gives us the news with ‘Grieving Florida community pleads for end to gun carnage after mass shooting‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/feb/15/florida-shooting-suspect-charged-questions-nikolas-cruz), actually the news is not new. They have been on top of it since it happened just like any decent news agency would. It was the image this morning, the image of a man holding a sign ‘NRA please stop killing our kids‘ that set me off. A sign so pathetic that I had to speak out! You see, the National Rifle Association does not kill children, people kill children! It is a simple and basic concept. If anything, I would optionally be a member of the NRA if I was in America. You see, I love rifles. The army trained me (and trained me well), I have been a member of the shooters association for a decade and if it had been a possibility, I would have been a hunter too.

Why was I not?

You see, I grew up in the Netherlands. I got some of the highest scores when I was an active shooter and the club I was a member of, were equally driven to excellence. On several events we could have forgone showing up and still end up with the annual cup. Now, I was by no means the best shooter, but our scores put all others merely in the shadow of our scores. We were all finely coached and aware of the fire arms law (which is a lot more constricting than the US, UK or Australian laws will ever be). A rifle is a tool, merely a tool and that is how it is to be used, whether we use a fire arm for target shooting, hunting or other needs, and as for the hunting part. I never really hunted like others; you see the Netherlands is not really a hunting country. It is the size of New Jersey with over 17 million people, so even if I went to the most remote part of the Netherlands and shoot a bullet in a random direction, there is still a chance that I would accidently hit a person. So those who are into hunting will go to France, Sweden or Germany. In this, I myself have a code, if you hunt, only hunt what you will eat! If that is not your goal then you become no more than a basic wannabe killer, and who needs those to be around? So if there would be hunting for me, I would do it in Sweden, because I do love my Bambi burgers, venison is the good life for me! So this is about me, which in light of all this is important.

So back to that pathetic sign!

I understand that parents and direct friends will be angry, they are driven by emotion. I get that, the man with the sign is merely seen by me as a man pointing a finger in the wrong direction, optionally intentionally doing so.

When you see some of the articles, you can see that this is a person with anger issues, with other issues and if he did not have a rifle, he would have acted out with pipe bombs or something similar. The ABC gives us: “Chad Williams, 18, a senior student at the school, said Mr Cruz would set off the fire alarm, day after day, and got expelled in the grade 8. More recently, Mr Williams saw Mr Cruz carrying several publications about guns when they ran into each other at the high school“. My issue here is that I had at times the Guns and Ammo a few times when I was a lot younger, does that make me a danger issue? OK, I don’t remember ever setting of the fire alarm, yet that shows us a person with perhaps some kind of an attention disorder, we can equally opt that he was some kind of pranker with a lack of imagination, or merely a person trying to skip classes regularly. None of this breathes school massacre initiator. So as we see the part from Senator Bill Nelson as briefed by the FBI: “He said the shooter wore a gas mask as he stalked into the school carrying a rifle, ammunition cartridges and smoke grenades, then pulled a fire alarm, prompting students and staff to pour from their classrooms into hallways“, now from the previous part to the part now (that is not being questioned by me), is still a part in the middle and that is the part that counts. Nobody and I state again nobody suddenly starts doing that, something set him off and it was not an in the moment thing. He was prepared, had smoke grenades, additional cartridges, additional ammunition and a gas mask. So he had made preparations, so there are two parts missing, and we can accept that they might be missing for now. So let’s keep on checking the sources.

CNN gives us a little more, especially the part from attorney Jim Lewis. He gives us: “The family took Cruz in last year after his adoptive mother died. Cruz was depressed, Lewis said. The family’s son knew Cruz, so they opened their home, got him into a GED class and helped him get a job at a Dollar Tree“, this is a reference to the family too him in after he lost his adaptive mother died. So he was receiving signals that people around him cared. It also leaves me with additional question on how he got the weapons and where from. It was not merely the depression, we also get: “Cruz had shown him guns, and other students say they worried he was violent“, where were these shown to them? It seems to me that this is a clear red flag, now the kids who it was shown too is not to blame, but that signal should have been passed on to others. The article (at https://edition.cnn.com/2018/02/14/us/nikolas-cruz-florida-shooting-suspect) ends with: ““They care about this kid. They took him into the home,” the attorney said, “but, as the mother told me, if they had any inkling … that this kid was capable of something like this, they never would’ve brought him into their home.”“, a response that makes sense and as we realise that he was not the only kid in that family, there is even more cause for concern, because there are several clear indications that he was hiding it all from everyone, which gives (from my non-medical insights) cause for concern as he seemed to have deeper levels of paranoia.

Insider news (at http://www.thisisinsider.com/florida-shooter-nikolas-cruz-bought-ar-15-legally-2018-2), gives us a little more. When we read “Cruz bought the semi-automatic rifle about a year ago, and law enforcement agents said it was done legally“, yet the timeline is now an issue. The events happened around the time his adoptive mother died, even as we accept that every person is innocent until proven guilty, the data should have raised additional flags, the question is whether the police have these kinds of data or authority to get them. If we accept the red flags as were admitted to be the case earlier. CNN had given us “Cruz had a gun. The family knew that, but they had established rules. He had to keep it in a lockbox in his room. Cruz had the key to the lockbox“, which is fair enough. However, in the beginning it gives: “Before he allegedly committed one of the worst mass shootings in US history at a Parkland, Florida, high school on Wednesday, police officials say Cruz wrote social media posts so threatening he was twice reported to the FBI” the two show the picture, no matter how innocent, the second quote should have had someone look into the data, showing he had a rifle and it was purchased around the time his mother died. This data should have been readily available. The death of his mum as public record, the purchase of the rifle as they should be recorded together with the background check and the red flag could have given the FBI the signal to give that data to local police forces to investigate. It is actually that simple!

The fact that these end up being non actions is for others to look into, yet the one thing that was stupid is to merely blame the NRA. It would be like me slamming a basketball into someone’s face until they die and blaming the NBA for showing games on TV, as I see it pointless, ludicrous and utterly stupid.

Yet we are still left with the notion on the trigger. Even as he (allegedly) went on social media to become a “professional school shooter“, the act of seeking attention in violence and chaos was set off somehow, a rage, mistreated, some suggest jilted love, whilst the last one would make me sad, and some might get angry. I am not sure what set him off, but from that moment there would be the FBI notion that he started his preparations and the outburst in the school might be him seeking attention, the fact that he allowed himself to be captured alive could be indicative of that (but I is no shrink, so I is not knowing for certain).

It is actually Fox News (at http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/02/15/nikolas-cruz-school-shooter-comment-reported-to-fbi-months-ago-vlogger-says.html), that gives us some parts that were reflected in the previous articles, yet they fly with the parts focused on it. The title ‘Nikolas Cruz ‘school shooter’ comment reported to FBI months ago, vlogger says‘, gives weight to the view I had regarding the available data, yet they also give us: “After conducting database reviews, however, the FBI said it could not identify the user who made the comment a part that is new. If that is truly the case than it means that Nikolas Cruz had done above basic things to remain ‘less traceable‘, with “Ben Bennight said he reported a comment made by user Nikolas Cruz that stated “I’m going to be a professional school shooter.”” and the fact that it was on YouTube and given to the FBI, the fact that this profile was made with his actual name does not make it easier, but it gives rise that a few more facts should have been available to the FBI as well as to Google, so there is a system flaw here. So, Bennight, a Mississippi bail bondsman did the right thing, reported it and the FBI was there the next day. In this my question becomes, why give that quote to a bail bondsman? It seems to be a cry for attention, but was it asked or shouted in the right direction?

The Fox News article shows that the FBI reacted and acted as far as they could, the question becomes why parts were missed. I am not claiming it was intentionally so, I am questioning how Nikolas Cruz, who seems to have been seeking attention, was not higher on the list to be found. If I had skip traced the Google account, how far would I have gotten? Was there a Google+ account? What else had he watched; and who else was connected to him? Could the FBI have asked Google the data on what interactions the ‘Nikolas Cruz‘ account could have made? So, when we get to ‘the right to privacy‘, we need to look back at the man holding the ridiculous sign blaming the NRA. He wanted his right to privacy and he got it, along with all the other Americans and that also got 17 people killed. Is it not interesting that this part is not shown anywhere on the media? It seems so much fun to point and blame, to go after the NRA, in this case making a case for ‘white supremacist referencing‘, but there too there was cooperation. Even as I am not approving of white supremacists, as they all tend to be racists in the first degree, yet I want to know more and a local news station gives us more on the Republic of Florida group (at https://www.local10.com/news/parkland-school-shooting/what-is-the-republic-of-florida-militia), they a start with the 10 codes that they need to obey. The part that got to me was seen in the second code. With ‘The group’s site states that members can consider people of other races allies, but they must not “sexually mix with them or pretend that we have no differences.”‘, I see something I had not expected, they seem to not be focussing on hate, but on finding themselves better than others, which is a foundation of white supremacy, but most non-Americans have only seen what some call white-power in league of hatred towards others. It ends with “ROF has members in north and south Florida and “borrows paramilitary concepts from the anti-government extremist militia movement.”“, so there is no interview, no captions or talks to other members. It seems to me that the foundation of the ROF is to grow as a political party. This would require more members, yet their setup is not openly hatred based, so over time we will see the name ROF pop up more often. The article also links to Florida Governor Rick Scott stating that ‘everything is on the table’, you see he cannot alienate the NRA, but something has to happen, and there is too much emotion on it all. In my view he needs to look at the data captures, the data available and the missing data in all this, more important as signs were given that the FBI knew long in advancement, there will be questions on how this was not stopped in time. Even as the Republican is getting ready to go up against Democrat Senator Bill Nelson, we need to be cautious of any politician at this stage, with upcoming midterms we need to be aware that events will be misrepresented to a much larger degree and any issue will be deflected under the guise of ‘miscommunication‘, yet that is just my personal view in all this.

And in all this there is still the given that there was nothing wrong with the people of Florida in all this, the fact that two teachers, Football coach Aaron Feis and Geography teacher Scott Beigel as they decided to act as human shields trying to protect the students. I find that important as there is more and more evidence that the school, the adoptive parents all show a level of care that is more outspoken than we usually see. So in my eyes the people surrounding Nikolas Cruz never failed Nikolas Cruz, Nikolas Cruz failed them all, no matter how his mindset was or how he got there. there is an abundance of shown care that gives voice to the fact that to some extent the system alone is left with a degree of blame, not the NRA, not the ROF, not the school or their teachers, in the end Nikolas Cruz could have been able to prevent it all by telling someone ‘I have a problem!‘, he alone as an ‘adult’ decided not to do that.

 

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A changing language

Europe is in several stages of unease; there is the spending of Mario Draghi, Brexit remains on the mind of many. Yet, the one change that is now more and more in the foreground of many is the problem that Turkey seems to be. There are those set on the stage to end Turkey as a NATO member and subsequent becoming part of the EU, there are things going forward and backward, but the language involved in all this is changing, so are the settings for the meetings yet to come. In all this the latest Turkish act to double down on the Russian S-400 purchases in 2020. There is, as I stated unease and as I see it the entire EU-Turkey mess is now a dance around unclear settings. Yet the settings are founded on what some would call, clear and blatant lies.

So to recap, on March 26th in the Bulgarian port city of Varna with the attendance of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, there will be a summit. The given setting is “to discuss EU-Turkey relations as well as regional and international issues“, this we got from the spokesperson for Donald Franciszek Tusk. The meeting held at the leaders’ level will be hosted as a working dinner, a statement signed by Tusk and Juncker said. Yet soon thereafter it begins. With: “Ankara has been stressing that the EU fails to understand the challenges that the county faces, and calls on all sides to take Turkey’s concerns into consideration, particularly against the PKK and the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), which carried out the failed July 15 coup attempt“, yet how is that true when it has been clear for the longest time “Turkey witnessed the bloodiest coup attempt in its political history on July 15th, 2016, when a section of the Turkish military launched a coordinated operation in several major cities to topple the government and unseat President Recep Tayyip Erdogan“, this is the quote from Aljazeera, but they were not the only one giving this.

The Turkish government blames the failed coup attempt on Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish preacher and businessman who has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999. So as we accept that the Gülen movement is classified as a terrorist organization by Turkey under the assigned names Gülenist Terror Organisation (Fethullahçı Terör Örgütü, FETÖ) or Parallel State Organisation (Paralel Devlet Yapılanması, PDY), we see the link offered, yet another path in this is “MIT officials admitted that they received the very first intelligence report about a possible attack on July 15, only hours before their own headquarters was under heavy artillery fire“, as well as “As of today, more than 100,000 people have been sacked or suspended and 50,000 arrested in an unprecedented crackdown. The government has deemed the crackdown necessary to ‘root out all coup supporters from the state apparatus’“. When we consider those parts, we need to realise that the Millî İstihbarat Teşkilatı (MİT) was completely out of any loop, which makes Turkish Intelligence not just a flawed setting, it would implicate that it has limited counter terrorism options and no resources to speak of (in intelligence terms).

In opposition to this, there would be enough data to offer that it was an internal issue from within the Turkish military and whatever opposes Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Turkey got a fat target painted on them. This fills and completes the view we need to have of Turkey much better. In support of this we need to consider that one exiled cleric could not have orchestrated the military support that would have been required and that was seen in action. The width of the Turkish military acting seems to be that of an internal star chamber than a clerical imprint on the military, the latter would have given more visibility to other ranking officers within the Turkish armed forces. As this becomes more and more visible and accepted, we are treated to the view on the unacceptable acts against the Kurds yet again, which followed the Turkish official view of the coup that they ‘survived’.

So in this light the setting for March will be one that is a puzzle. You see as Turkey keeps on playing this game, their credibility will only go down further. The European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) (at http://www.ecfr.eu/article/essay_eu_turkey_relations_the_beginning_of_the_end_7226) gives us: “Both Turkey and the EU need the continuation of this partnership. It is a matter of definition whether this partnership will be in the form of full membership or in a different form. What is important is not to break the process and not to cause alienation. The need for sustainable EU-Turkey relations obliges both sides to take steps to honour their commitment to integration“, we can accept that, but at this point, is continuation feasible? We see the shifting language that shows that Germany is less and less taken with Turkey, now siding more and more with France on the anti-Turkey alliance. It gets worse for Turkey as we now hear: “A Turkish court on Wednesday denied entry to the German ambassador to Ankara to the hearing of Selahattin Demirtas, the former co-leader of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP)“, which we get from http://www.dw.com/en/turkish-court-denies-german-ambassador-entry-to-kurdish-politicians-trial/a-42579957, even as France is trying to work with Turkey regarding a ‘diplomatic road map‘ on Syria, the sounds of accusation of Turkey violating international law was not far behind it, so there is pressures on nearly every level. Only 12 hours ago, Deutsche Welle gave us “Even NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg wouldn’t hazard a guess ahead of this week’s defense ministers’ meeting. He said Turkey needs to clarify the status of the contract” (at http://www.dw.com/en/turkish-russian-missile-deal-puts-nato-on-edge/a-42572965), as I said earlier, the language is changing. As we see ‘Turkey needs to clarify the status of the contract‘ that it is about cancelling the contract? Yet in that respect, what would Turkey demand in return? How much is that going to cost and where does that invoice end up? You see, when you consider Reuters with ‘U.S. tells NATO allies spending plans still falling short‘ (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-nato/u-s-tells-nato-allies-spending-plans-still-falling-short-idUSKCN1FY013), where we see “Spain has said it will not meet the 2024 target. Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Italy, Portugal, Norway and Denmark are also lagging. Hungary expects to meet the goal only by 2026“, as well as “France will increase its defense spending by more than a third between 2017 and 2025, but Germany, is not expected to reach the 2 percent target by 2024“, this gives us that the three large economic anchors of the European Union cannot get there. It is these elements that make me wonder on the changing language involving Turkey. From a setting that would have given a clear rejection of Turkey becoming an EU member, we see the setting of new talks, new events and more ‘collaboration’ projects. I think that France is already learning the hard way that this path leads to nowhere, but the others need Turkey to be a spender here, and Erdogan is using that tactic to his own advantage, because once they are in, you cannot throw them out anymore (the EU that is), not even willingly as the UK is learning the hard way. Even as we accept that to some extent Turkey helps to reduce an influx of Syrian and other migrants and refugees into the EU bloc, the question is to what extent and for which purpose, because once these refugees make it into Turkey, Turkey is either stuck with them or they must ‘divert’ them to another place.

In this, in an earlier blog I mentioned the Visa Free EU travel for Turkey and that they had not met the demands. So as we see “Last week, Turkey manifested determination to restart a new chapter in its ailing relationship with the European bloc by submitting a paper detailing Turkey’s roadmap for the fulfilment of the remaining seven benchmarks of 72 criteria” we need to get worried on the non-committed acts from the EU on the matter which had not been met. It seems like Brussels is trying to find any way to either delay it all or give Turkey a pass, which would be disastrous for several players. This is seen in several articles, in this case the Irish Times gives us: “Instead of formally ending EU membership talks, Dr Merkel said she would look at imposing “real restrictions on economic contact” including through the European Investment Bank, EU aid, World Bank and by blocking talks on expanding Turkey’s customs union agreement with the EU, a move that could hit billions of euro in potential Turkish exports“, whilst the EU themselves was ‘dismissive of call for end to Turkey accession talks‘, stating that this is for the heads of government, European Commission says, so the EU revels in inaction and restrictions in other ways. This is a dangerous and explosive combination.

So even as one issue was the contention in the counter terrorism benchmark which has been the definition of terrorism in the counter-terrorism law that Turkey was called repeatedly to amend in order to comply with European democratic and judicial standards. Now, according to reports, a legal provision will be added soon to the current anti-terror law stating that “any critical expression that does not exceed the boundaries of journalism does not constitute a crime“, how is that enough? As we see the Kurdish issues as shown earlier as well as a new complete failure by the Millî İstihbarat Teşkilatı (MİT) should leave anyone a clear indication that not only is the counter-terrorism failing, there is an increased worry that Turkey does not really comprehends the term ‘counter-terrorism’, in support of that fact, or evidence to that, you should talk to the journalists Deniz Yücel, Huseyin Akyol, Ragip Duran, Ayse Duzkan, and Huseyin Bektas. Oh no, you can’t they are in jail! Turkey could have had a genuine excuse, but they lost that option when they denied the German ambassador to Turkey access to the court proceedings. That alone should be regarded as evidence to dismiss the ascension of Turkey to the EU.

And whilst the entire language on Turkey seems to be in a fluid state, the Brexit noise goes on, whilst some are relying on fear-mongering with noise like: “You could have a permanent Operation Stack for 20 miles” regarding shipping between the UK and the EU, ‘could‘ being the operative word. So how large was that ‘stack’ in the 70’s and 80’s? In addition we see the Financial Times (at https://www.ft.com/content/0a8799c6-1190-11e8-940e-08320fc2a277) give us: “Brussels is urging EU leaders to consider radical options such as raiding corporate tax receipts and money raised from selling carbon emission permits to fill a €15bn a year budget hole left by Brexit“, in addition it gives us: “the need to find more money for priorities such as border control and joint defence, mean negotiations are likely to be even more poisonous than previous EU tussles over money“, whilst we see “Some member states don’t want to pay more but they want to do more. Other member states want to receive more“, these elements show the desperate state the EU is in now, that whilst Mario Draghi has printed almost 2 trillion Euro in money for ‘Quantative Easing‘. This relates directly to Turkey, because it shows the desperate EU trying to open a many doors as possible, this is how I see the impact of not dismissing Turkey as an EU member at present. So when we see “impose tougher conditions on access to EU funds as a way to force the likes of Poland and Hungary to comply with EU policies on the rule of law and on asylum” as is a given view on the two needing more money, wanting a stronger voice but cannot contribute. Add to that the earlier pressure from the US for NATO member to do more gives a shifted view of the needed activities within the EU, Turkey is seen as the one floating elements that will allow a few players to keep their heads above water, but it is as I personally see it a desperate act from certain short term viewers, that whilst they also know that it will descent EU elements into chaos. As I (again merely a personal view) see it, it would cripple Strasbourg in getting issues resolved and as Turkey fails to comply with humanitarian sides, it could in equal measure become the puppet for Russia for dislodge other item in consideration, an option honoured by perhaps negating some invoices for S-400 systems, spare parts, training and consultancy? It is merely speculative thinking, but would I be wrong? It would work out very well for Turkey, for the other bloc members a lot less so.

A danger that could have been resolved almost 2 years ago, I will let you ponder on the reasons why the EU never negated this danger.

 

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The failure of a current generation

If we look at the failures that we have seen going all the way back to the 80’s, there is a growing concern that the United Nations might be the biggest failure of all. Before I go into the deeper more complex parts, let’s take a look at some of these failures, whilst we need to realise that other optional successes have no impact at all.

June 2016, it might be one of the few times where the existence of a whistle-blower was essential. Anders Kompass, director of field operations at the UN human rights office in Geneva was suspended because he became the whistle-blower on exposing the sexual abuse of children in the Central African Republic (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/29/un-aid-worker-suspended-leaking-report-child-abuse-french-troops-car). A man suspended whilst elements in the United Nations were on an eager path to distort the truth. The Deutsche Welle (at http://www.dw.com/en/bolkovac-un-tries-to-cover-up-peacekeeper-sex-abuse-scandal/a-19082815) gives us: “continued scandals surrounding the UN botched, covert and now overt, attempts to remove, terminate and discredit those who blow the whistle on their deeds. The terms cover-up and whistle-blower are common within the walls of the United Nations and peacekeeping missions“, in addition we see “The cases involved the officers from many foreign countries, including the USA, Pakistan, Germany, Romania, Ukraine, government contractors, and local organized criminals. The human rights investigators were never allowed to fully investigate, the suspects were immediately removed from the mission or transferred to other missions“. When we look at the French side we see: “A statement from the defence ministry said the government “was made aware at the end of July 2014 by the UN’s high commission for human rights of accusations by children that they had been sexually abused by French soldiers.” An investigation was opened shortly after by Paris prosecutors, it said. “The defence ministry has taken and will take the necessary measures to allow the truth to be found,” the statement added. “If the facts are proven, the strongest penalties will be imposed on those responsible for what would be an intolerable attack on soldiers’ values.”“, the issue now remains that as far as published there have been no convictions, no prosecutions have been completed after nearly 4.5 years.

March 2011, an armed conflict rises in Syria, within a year this conflict goes out of control and Syria becomes a nation where extermination and mass slaughter are the foundations of what should laughingly be regarded as Arab Spring. Syria becomes a cesspool for growing extremists and terrorists. The UN influence to broker anything substantial is set to 0%, as Syria does not have the massive resources the rich nations need, Syria is seemingly isolated so it can kill all opposition until the population becomes zero.  As the participating nations reach 45, we see that no actual incursion is ever made by NATO. Both are afraid of a new Vietnam and with the USA being pretty much bankrupt, no military activities on the ground will be possible. The failure of the United Nations grows and grows and reaches new heights (or is that a new extreme lows?) on 21st August 2013, when a chemical attack hits the Ghouta region of the Damascus countryside. In addition, on several occasions, some as recent as February 2017, the Syrian government forces have been using coordinated Chlorine strikes in a strategy to retake Aleppo. There have been no UN sanctions as Russia and China voted against these resolutions, making the United Nations the joke it has been for far too long.

So far, from these two events alone, the UN shows to be a talk, talk and no action operation that is costing the nations of the world billions, whilst nothing comes from it. The UN only has itself to thank for its own failure to get anything done. It might be not too diplomatic, yet when I see quotes like “worst man-made disaster since World War II” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein seems to be stating the obvious that nobody will fix or act against. I wonder, if these ‘talks’ would have been happening in World War 2, how many nations would now have German as their national language? Do not think I am joking, because the evidence clearly shows that if the UK did not start its offensive against Germany in September 1st, 1939 (together with France mind you), Germany would have been able to complete several lines of defence that would have made Normandy no longer an option. In addition, the Battles of Salerno and Hürtgen Forest would have gone very differently. With limited losses in Hürtgen Forest, the Germans would have been able to counter much stronger in the Battle of the Bulge, making that victory as such a debatable point. These elements show just how cheap talk would have been and as such, a United Nations that has been regarded as talk only and no actions, the existence of the United Nations becomes more and more a point of debate. Even when we try to find what the UN costs the people we find next to no clear information in the Media, the UN gives us ‘Assessment of Member States’ contributions to the United Nations regular budget for the year 2017‘, with the United States paying $610,836,578 (22%), this is excluding the peacekeepers of course. Yet, when we see the UK paying $112,569,794 (4%), we need to wonder where this all is spend on, especially when we see ‘Credit from staff assessment‘, which in case of the UK is $11 million. The Netherlands at 1.4% has a $41,148,173 contribution, minus the $ 3,767,838 ‘Credit from staff assessment‘. So is it any wonder that every party wants to talk until the seas are dry? I cannot state that this shows the inaction of the United Nations to act, but we can wonder how Syria can act with “the Syrian Foreign Ministry sent two letters to the UN Secretary-General and the Director of the UN Security Council about what it defines as “Israeli aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic in outrageous defiance of international law, UN resolutions, the sovereignty of Syria and the ban on the attacking its lands.”“, this whilst no one in the UN is achieving anything regarding the use of Chemical weapons by the Syrian government on civilian populated areas. After 6 years, the war gets messier and the failing of the United Nations more and more clear. At present there are 11 million displaced Syrians. The information becomes a larger issue when we consider the Jordan Times (at http://www.jordantimes.com/news/local/jordan-second-largest-refugee-host-worldwide-%E2%80%94-unhcr), they give us “Of all countries, Turkey sheltered the greatest number of refugees, hosting 2.8 million by mid-2016. It was followed by Pakistan (1.6 million), Lebanon (1 million), Iran (978,000), Ethiopia (742,700), Jordan (691,800), Kenya (523,500), Uganda (512,600), Germany (478,600) and Chad (386,100)“, which is largely confirmed. You see the part that is not confirmed is “UNHCR reported that there are 4,289,994 Syrian “persons of concern” of whom 630,776 are registered as refugees in Jordan. There are about 1.4 million Syrian refugees in Jordan, only 20 percent are living in the Za’atari, Marjeeb al-Fahood, Cyber City and Al-Azraq refugee camps“, this implies that Jordan is dealing with 800,000 floating refugees. Yet the Refugee Fact Sheet, (at http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/JordanFactSheetFebruary2017-FINAL.pdf) gives us: “the population of concern, A total of 728,955 individuals“, so there are numbers out there and all over the place. To some extent it is set to the different moment of measuring, yet some of the numbers are way too far of several marks. The question becomes what has the United Nations achieved in protecting and tracking these people over the last three years? This as well as the blunders we see in Greece, (source: the Guardian) we get “the $803m total represents the most expensive humanitarian response in history. On the basis that the money was spent on responding to the needs of all 1.03 million people who have entered Greece since 2015, the cost per beneficiary would be $780 per refugee. However, the bulk of these funds was used to address the needs of at least 57,000 people stranded in Greece after the closure of the borders on 9 March 2016, and on this basis the cost per beneficiary is $14,088“, we are looking at staggering amounts where 70% is basically wasted, down the toilet as some would state. In addition we get: “The decision by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to classify the situation in Greece as an emergency turned what had been a backwater posting into a major placement almost overnight. An office with a dozen staff who had previously spent much of their time overseeing contract workers assisting the Greek asylum service expanded rapidly. The UNHCR team in Greece expanded to 600 people across 12 offices. Roughly one-third of the workforce were international staff“, I wonder with a Greek unemployment rate why this was necessary. I have been to UN and SC sites, so I know that some functions need to be international for a few reasons, yet with the number as high as 34% beckons the question why not give Greek youth the chance to intern, make some money and get experience? We all knew that this was not going to be a short term issue and at present, if the Turkish deal falls through, there is every rick that some places will have border people sleeping round the clock as 200,000 refugees try their options going into Greece. So this situation is not over by long shot. It is in that part where I would opt that Vasilis Kikilias and Giannis Panousis fumbled a few of their own balls whilst being in charge of the Ministers of Public Order and Citizen Protection. It is not clear what mess they left for Panagiotis Kouroumblis to look at, but I reckon that there are a few issues that up to today are still not dealt with (I apologise if I am wrong), yet with the imminent risk of 200K more mouths to feed, pressures will only increase and that is right on the eve of the French elections where Marine Le Pen can claim ‘We are about to get hundreds of thousands of more refugees and security risks, what will Emmanuel Macron do?‘, if she gets to ask that question loud enough, Macron would sit with a non-response as the French Infrastructure might be in a much better place than Greece is, but such an overload of people is not something that they can easily deal with. Even as this group needs to get via several nations, if they get the jump from Greece to Italy, it will soon be game set and lost match to Emmanuel Macron. Oh, and that is before this pressure hits Italy in addition in more than one way, time will tell what it starts. Yet, most can agree that several issues will go from bad to worse in a very short amount of time.

All these events show the bitter disappointment that the people have started to realise that the United Nations has become. Like the EEC councils, the UN is seen too much as an optional gravy train where people network 7 figure positions whilst they facilitate for whatever needs to be done. These are not my own words, these are thoughts that come from a legion of blogging sites, newspapers and information sites. The UN seems to have lost too large an amount of cohesion with reality.

Another part that we see in Greece, again from the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/09/how-greece-fumbled-refugee-crisis), is seen in “But in the last couple of years Greek migration officials have had access to one of the largest money pots administered by the European Commission, the aforementioned AMIF and ISF funds. These funds are relatively complicated to access. They are arranged in seven-year programmes, commencing in 2014, and required Greece to set up a managing authority and develop a strategic plan. When Syriza took office it found little of this groundwork had been done by the previous conservative administration“, which shows us that Greece had a separate option to resolve a few thousand jobs with added opportunity to overhaul their registrations systems, whilst the United Nations would foot the bill for up to 500 million. So optional Greek industry that could grow to some extent as an identification template would be introduced. Now, this is not the easiest task or given that it would be a success, but it was an option for a larger seat at the table at the UNHCR, this is just one of the elements where I stated that some of the gentlemen fumbled the ball.

All this and Rock and Roll too?

That is the matter we are with now, because as the larger players have been questioning their contributions (the USA most loudly), so how is this about the UN and not the nations I mentioned? That is actually easier to state. You see as the UN representatives kept on talking, no one decided to take charge and as such, the discussions continue as no actual victories are achieved. A large slice of the Syrian population has been witness to that, in addition, so are the victims of sexual abuse through inaction by the United Nations.

Any organisation, especially the size of the United Nations, will have its issues and its barriers, yet, the inactions to the size we currently see is a new low for the UN. The allowance for vetos, opposition, especially when it goes at the expense of human lives it becomes the debate whether the UN has anything left to offer, you only need to ask any Syrian refugee to hear clear doubt, especially after 6 years of too little actions and for the most no solutions. We as a global population have failed these victims who turned to us for help in the most disgraceful of ways.

 

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The Turkey shoot

There are these moments when we hear that term, especially in the US in October & November where the American dream for some is a father and son(s) trip get into the wild and shoot one of them Turkeys. It is nothing most of us are used to, but like the foxhunt, there is tradition. I am in favour of the Turkey hunt, because, for one, there are strict limits which usually tends to be 2-3 at the most. Meaning that in this case, the family has thanksgiving and Christmas covered. You see, in that case I am not against hunting.

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There is a wisdom to only shoot what you eat, which in my case is not an option because cannibalism is a crime under the NSW Crimes Act of 1900. Yet in this case it is not about such a Turkey shoot. Today is about Turkey as a nation. This turkey shoot started a few hours ago when (at http://www.businessinsider.com/40-turkish-nato-soldiers-have-requested-asylum-in-germany-2017-1), we saw the change with ‘40 Turkish NATO soldiers have requested asylum in Germany‘, with the quote “About 40 mostly high-ranking Turkish soldiers who worked at NATO facilities in Germany but were suspended after the failed coup in Turkey in July have requested asylum in Germany“, you see, this is a Turkey shoot of another calibre. One where President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is continuing the strangest of policies. It is hard to draw and make distinction between what happened and what is publicly stating in Turkey that happened. There is too much going back and forth and unless you are there in Turkey, there is little hope of anyone getting straight facts. The Independent gives us “to establish an all-powerful presidency while seemingly Islamising Turkish society to a degree not seen since the fall of the Ottomans“, yet in all this, the stated quote “the sacking of 8,000 police and 30 governors as well as 52 high ranking civil servants. This is in addition to 70 admirals and generals along with 3,000 soldiers and 2,700 members of the judiciary fired“. This is not just an overhaul this looks like a national change one that is not unlike the changes Saddam Hussein started in 1968, yet in this case it is anything but bloodless and like Sadam Hussein, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is also a Sunni Islam, giving us more issues down the line as the ties with Saudi Arabia will strengthen over time. This change will also impact Israel as there is every chance that cultural ties with Israel will dwindle more and more in the same way the cancelled military contracts in 2011 went the way of the Dodo. So as we realise within the quote “This coup may not have been as big as the Government now says it was in order to justify its crack down on all its opponents, but it was still impressively large and was not far from succeeding from seizing power for a few hours on 15 July” that the numbers were not there, yet success was inches away from getting the change made, we can sense the paranoid approach that President Erdogan is setting its mind to. Yet, will he undermine his own presidency? In a country with 79 million people. Its population is only slightly larger, yet land mass wise, it is 350% the size of the UK, giving additional issues over time. Turkey as a secular nation has had a freedom of religion in place, yet when we look at Saudi Arabia, where Muslim law is in place, these elements could fall away from Turkey down the road, which means that two events are likely to start over the next year. The first one will be a shift in investors as they see the investment waters turn muddy and none too friendly. This will in turn escalate a brain drain where the brighter Turkish minds will seek their fortune elsewhere and elsewhere in this case means nearly anywhere but Turkey.

Is this a given?

No, it is not, but overall they are the likely event that will come to places like Istanbul, impeding, if not stopping commerce and the Turkish economy. A massive slowdown will come and the Turkish borders are confronted with more and more radicalisation. On May 1st 2016, in my blog ‘Homerun by UKIP‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2016/05/01/homerun-by-ukip/) I gave a link to heavy.com where ISIS was making an appeal to Turkish sympathisers. Heavy.com is showing more and more extreme video’s where ISIS is giving a message of suicide attacks in Mosul, which is not that far from either Syria or Turkey. Three weeks later a similar video on actions in Sinai. There are indication that this level of radicalisation will deliver different flavours of Muslim faith to Turkey, the question becomes how realistic are these dangers? We can agree that there is a long way from Mosul to Istanbul, yet the people in the Istanbul nightclub who saw the attack on New Year’s Eve will not agree with that assessment. Even as many might agree that ISIS does not have the numbers in Istanbul, the 40 high ranking Turkish NATO soldiers are a first indication that as the top of the Turkish military falls away, there will be an increasing amount of chaos and more important a lack of military based support as the people are either not there, or the higher ranking troops require too much confirmation from too many locations before acting, giving ISIS a tactical advantage, in addition to the ones they already had. So as ISIS is inviting its followers to a Turkey shoot, it will be the bird population that will feel a sense of safety and security as they are not the target at that point. If you think I am trying to make a point, I am! The actions that ISIS is showing where people get casually decapitated by knife or by strapped on bomb, we have to wonder one element. You see, The Observer is showing ‘UK’s £100m weapons deal with Turkey ‘turns blind eye to rights abuse’‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/28/100m-arms-deal-turkey-blind-eye-rights-abuse), what they are not mentioning is the ever increasing danger that business partner and NATO ‘ally’ will request (read: demand) assistance from its partners when it comes under more direct attack by ISIS. At that point what will happen? When NATO allies are thrown into that extreme mix? The French Legion Etrangere, the UK Marines/SAS and Dutch Marines might be trained up and ready for that fight, the rest of the Eurozone military is unlikely to be ready and partially too inexperienced. In addition, if some remember the January 2016 quote “Dutch police have arrested a former soldier suspected of killing Islamic State (Isis) jihadists while fighting alongside Kurdish forces in Syria last year, the prosecutor’s office said” (source: the Guardian). We need to consider how the law is impeding the fight on these Jihadists. We can all agree that the rule of law counts and as such it was legally the correct thing to do. Yet as ISIS becomes more aggressive in its inhumane actions, can we afford to remain this ‘legally minded‘ (read: politically correct in a legal way). I am not stating or inviting lawless acts, yet the law has ignored the fact that terrorists utterly ignore rule of law, in that regard, should they receive any consideration? In the view of some, the rights of non-combatants needs to cease in the eyes of prosecution, which in this view evolves as ‘if you go there to ‘hunt’ terrorists you might not be prosecuted, yet in equal measure you have no national protection to call on when things go south!‘, this is one approach and perhaps not the worst one, because when you consider that the Turkish diaspora in the top 5 nations, namely Germany, France, the Netherlands, the USA and Austria surpasses 4 million, most of them having ties of some sort to Turkey, the dangers of anti-Jihadi Turkey shoots in Turkey is not far-fetched. I am willing to go one step further, the amount of people signing up for that event would easily surpass the people who went to Syria to chip in, meaning that the Intelligence services will have an entirely new dimension of issues with radicalised returning veterans giving Europe at large more issues to deal with, that whilst certain logical systems are still not ready for the last three issues that plagued Europe and this too will drive nationalism and Eurozone rejection on larger scales.

In all this, we need to underline one issue in the entire alleged military plotter. the Quote “The German government has expressed alarm about the crackdown on alleged plotters linked to the coup while Turkey has criticised Berlin for failure to extradite alleged terror suspects“, is more than just a small issue (at https://www.thelocal.de/20170128/turkish-nato-soldiers-seek-asylum-in-germany-report), you see, this isn’t opening or closing doors between Germany and Turkey. It is merely handing opportunity to ISIS who will have options to cash in on the tactical advantages Turkey is handing to them. In that, the arrest of an ‘ISIS judge‘ around January 26th, implies that this judge remained around for 3 weeks after the attack, with possible more recruitment drives completed. The fact that his bum storage mobile was caught as well might assist the ISIS hunters (read: although it will be smelly data), the fact that ISIS has some level of organisation running on the European side of Istanbul should be seen as a worry and the current path President Erdogan is on might not be the best option, as it will very likely give way to more radicalisation, a path that ISIS has been exploiting a little too successful lately.

 

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This last day

This last day should be a day of reflection, a day of consideration. I feel none of these things as I am observing the mistakes that Marine Le Pen is now making. I get why she would get the referendum vamped up and get stronger waves towards Frexit, yet her call to leave NATO makes a lot less sense. For one, NATO still does mean the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, France is part of that North Atlantic, she has a duty of care there (a lot less so for the EC, the EEC or the Euro for that matter). She does make a point when we look at the expansion into Eastern Europe. Let’s face it, when we look into the original line, there was Germany which goes a lot to the south, then basically it is Italy. Getting into Eastern Europe makes a lot less sense. Let’s not forget, the Americans at present no longer have the means to play this game. A fact Lockheed needs to take into consideration, even if the price of the F-35 is given without an engine ($133 million, without engine), making it basically the most expensive paperweight in history. In addition, it came with a truckload of issues in 2014, whilst the 2015 report states “the majority of the fixes and for capability deficiencies being discovered are being deferred to later blocks rather than being resolved“, with new items of concern added. I found the additional quote form the 2015 report “inherent design problems that are only becoming more obvious and difficult to fix” most amusing, so if Marine Le Pen has in mind to not go anywhere near a Lockheed design, that would make sense. Now I do not want to brag, but with all my flying hours in the Microsoft Flight Simulator (2004), I might actually beat that latest flawed Lockheed F-35 with my experience in a Mikoyan MiG-35 (OK, I am bragging a little as I have never flown ANY jet in my life). What is the issue is that the politicians have not kept a good accord on the military abilities of the armed forces, not the people mind you, but the equipment they get stuck with. As such we see a 1.5 trillion dollar project showing more holes than an IKEA Pasta insert (named ‘Stabil’, which is hilarious as it is also means stable in Swedish). A project $160 billion over budget and 7 years behind schedule, and these were the numbers in 2014. A defence project that was too big to kill and that is what the NATO partners have to content with?

So why these topics? The world is changing, it is changing faster than ever before and the minders of the store have been so selfish in regards to their own personal needs (read: visibility of self via ego) and achievements that the duty they had was pushed under the rug. This is how I personally see the F-35 project.

The financial sector in the UK alone these financial boys (girls also) had the bulk of the £44bn in bonuses this year, so did your quality of life increase any (the topic jump will make sense in a few moments)? Now, even as wealth increased, it did not do so to that extent. It is not that fair to just have a go at the financial sector, apart from the fact that they ended up with bonuses of 1900% more than the amount all the others got, so balance is not that much in play. That view is shown stronger as we look at Forbes this week (at http://www.forbes.com/sites/francescoppola/2016/12/28/greece-the-game-is-on-again/#2585dbd946e5), the quotes that matter here are “Euclid Tsakalotos, the normally mild-mannered Finance Minister, accused the IMF writers of “economizing on the truth”. He pointed out that the main reason why so few Greeks pay income taxes is that their incomes have crashed, and that nearly half of Greek pensioners are living below the poverty line” and “The IMF’s case is that pension cost as a proportion of GDP is now unsustainable, and further, that the creditors are not going to agree to debt relief while pension cost remains so high. It is probably right on both counts. But once again, what really matters is the psychological framing“, in that regard I will be on the side of the Greeks, but not on the side of Greece. You see when their previous governments got loans and misrepresented their value, they had zero consideration on what pensions were in regards to the loans that they were getting under false pretense, in that regard, did any of those politicians go to jail? Did they refund 90% of their incomes? I am certain that the answer to both is ‘No!’, in addition those elected officials are sitting pretty and nowhere near the poverty line. Yet in all this the hardship is not over, in addition, the facts (as I personally see them) requires a little more digging, especially when I read “Attica Bank, the country’s fifth-largest lender, was poised to install a new management team he thought was capable of turning round the struggling lender” which were the thoughts of Yannis Stournaras, the governor of the central bank of Greece, which was followed by “While he was in the air, the government in Athens reversed the decision to award the job to Mr Pantalakis. It was his introduction to a web of allegedly related events, ranging from a raid on his wife’s business to an unsuccessful bid for TV rights backed by Attica loans“, this gives the implied issues on Yannis Stournaras, which gives more cause concern when we see “A confidential report on Attica carried out this year by the European Central Bank, the Eurozone’s top bank supervisor, and seen by the Financial Times, cited “severe findings” of poor governance and inadequate controls on lending. With some 70 per cent of its loans rated as non-performing, Mr Stournaras and others believed Attica urgently needed a professional banker at the helm. Government sources denied any intervention in the process to select Attica’s CEO” (at https://www.ft.com/content/aab0aaba-c6db-11e6-8f29-9445cac8966f). The implications are on a few levels especially in the light of ‘government sources denied‘, there is a mess on a few levels and the idea that personal needs were adamant in decisions is not without probable cause. The levels that are in question cannot be set because too much information is missing, but there are issues, make no mistake about that.

These issues connect, not directly but in the view of national voters, governments have made absolute shambles of their nations giving power to those with key wealth management options, in that need those who need to be at the helm are politicised and set to markers that are off the table and outside of the scope of visibility to scrutinise, whilst the presentations are showing markers that do not fit the person best suited for the job, in that Greece is not the only place with such issues. In the UK Mark Carney is facing similar issues, yet in the opposite direction. The best person for the job is the one the elected government seems to have an issue with. The independent (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/bank-of-england-mark-carney-theresa-may-attack-monetary-policy-tory-conference-speech-a7380016.html) gives us “Mr Carney argued that the monetary policy pursued by the Bank in recent years has had a positive impact that is “without parallel”, despite the Prime Minister using her speech to claim it had led to “bad side effects”“, in addition we see “Since quantitative easing was first introduced in the economy in 2009 … there’s been 2.6 million jobs created, GDP is up 16 per cent, per capita income is up 9 per cent and this is following a trauma in the economy“, we might see this as good news, but the good news is in the UK not dripping down to the other people just yet. In addition, the dangers will change if sharp budgets are not maintained. Getting the debt down is an absolute first, it will have additional benefits down the road, yet the initial benefit is that money could go to other destinations than paying for the interest of the debt, the interest of a debt amount that is currently in excess of 1.6 trillion. This was not the first attack, Michael Gove had a go at England’s Marky Mark in October. It is always nice when a person is called arrogant, especially when that person has proven to be amongst the very best in his field on the planet. I myself had had some issues in the past with Mark Carney, yet not against the man, but the economic issues that the UK faced because of actions (read objectives) pushed for by politicians, however his speech in the House of Lords showed him to be the expert he is and he nearly got me away from the Brexit team. Yet Mark Carney himself states it very well when he said: “Politicians have done a very good job of setting up the system. Where it can be difficult, sometimes, is if there are political comments on our policies as opposed to political comments on our objectives“, in this we see the issue that is part of the problem. as the politicians set up the objectives, they are then confronted with the policies from technocrats and those two groups do not see eye to eye, so friction goes back and forth, the Lockheed F-35 lightning is an excellent example here, in addition that part got an extra iteration as the military requirements were added by yet another group (read: the military). In all this the political objective is hampering the essential need against ‘it needs to be done by date X for no more than amount Y‘, which gives us the political joke that the NHS IT project was. A present from the Labour government which boiled down to a £11.2 billion wrapper around an empty box. Two projects set through objectives that ended up being off the wall and the back and forth friction that resulted in something unmanageable and non-functional. I reckon the political side of both events needs a new level of scrutiny, one that we have not considered before. In that regard having people like Mark Carney around is essential for the wheels of a state to remain functional, because if there is one clear thing, it is that America lost that oversight some time ago, before this Democratic Administration, the previous republican one lost sight of the needs and the accountability of the intelligence network and data processing side no later than 2006, we can all agree that the 2007-2012 total budget of $435 billion was money massively spent in all the wrong ways. This was shown in a Foreign office document that was quoted in an article stating “Army officials, though, said Palantir wasn’t up to the job. Now, a 57-page report by the Pentagon’s acquisitions arm basically says the Army was wrong to dismiss the Palantir system. The study instead gives Palantir high marks on most of the Army’s 20 key requirements for the intelligence system, including the ability to analyse large amounts of information, including critical data about terrorist networks and the locations of explosive devices, and synchronize it in a way that helps troops on the ground combat their enemies more effectively“, so there too billions were spent when millions could have sufficed. When the EGO of an individual with the power to decide is on the line, the results could be disastrous. In my personal view, if we accept the wrongful spending of 25 billion, how many extra troops could have been saved by adding fire support groups to those in IRAQ in those years? How many of the 4486 fatalities could have been prevented?

Politicians, advisors and ego are a really dangerous combination in many ways, even as we look at what is coming now, we need to be mindful of the changes that some are pushing for. Even if we are in favour of dropping the EC altogether, pushing NATO boundaries might not be the best solution. France might be privy to one of the better intelligence machines, that machine is also dependent on the intelligence it is fed from allies, an essential element that will fall away when NATO does, Marine Le Pen should be very mindful of that.

Yet this year and more important 2017 will go beyond Frexit. There is still a large debate on the Netherlands making any move away from the European Community, the numbers require people to be realistic on what will happen, yet those numbers are nowhere near the numbers Brexit had, so it is still unlikely that this will happen at present, no matter how certain Frexit will be. Italy might not have any manoeuvring space, it requires a massive infuse of funds, when we see the Reuters quote “An Italian government official told Reuters on Tuesday that €20bn earmarked for the rescue of the Italian banking system should suffice“, we need to wonder in how much trouble Italy is. This question is raised as we see Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena will issue €15 billion of debt next year (source: RTE). So we see another iteration where “The Treasury may have to put up around €6.6 billion to salvage the lender, including €2 billion to compensate around 40,000 retail bond holders“, so, how exactly is it acceptable that people ‘invest’ with a risk, yet when that risk comes calling, they still get compensated? How did any of us ever sign up for that?

Anyone who mentions that it is for the good of all is of their rocker plain and simple. Here too we see connection between France and Italy, mainly that the Natixis Global Asset Management (NGAM) thought it was a good idea to list Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena as a major purchase right next to Ubisoft. I reckon a little less ‘lack of nationalism’ and putting all of that cash in addition to the other amount into Ubisoft might have been a decently better idea. I feel certain that next year when we see the ‘Top Ten Holdings’ in the Natixis report will not make mention of Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, which could just be me though.

So in this last day we see that we have quite the collection of choices to deal with, some good and many bad ones. Yet no matter what is happening, no matter what will fall, there is a decent indication that unless changes are made 2017 will not be a good year. I might be too negative to see some level of collapse in Q2 (no later than Q3) in the next year, yet the proper setting and if the key players are willing to forego ego and focus on cooperation, they would be setting the stage for a lucrative 2018, that is beside the initial technological presentations of the new age of G5. G5 will be the pushing power in IP, especially Trade Marks, yet that path is also loaded with new growth opportunities for IT and developers as they start setting the tone of what 5G could personalise, it will be the first firm push to switch providers to SaaS. That is almost without question, the degree to it happening is very much depending on actual cooperation. In that the Telco providers need to realise as per immediate that thinking SaaS whilst selling Paas and charging IaaS, which sounds nice on bonus day. Yet the boomerang effect is that clients will walk away a lot faster and they will also automatically entice 10 personal connection to not seek the services of the telecom provider being that stupid. Infrastructure as a Service is almost a thing of the past. It seems weird, because there should be space for it, yet in our new outfits we see that infrastructure is a long term commitment and with annual mobile purchase the people have learned to be as flexible as possible, so the limited mobiles that some sell (32Gb instead of 64Gb editions) is why people are realising to walk away from those offering limitations instead of solutions. It is at times harder with Platform as a Service. You see, PaaS might sound nice when we see Apple and SAP connecting, yet the bulk of the revenue will be the smaller fish in the pond, the small players will be 80% of the revenue, one can argue the actual taxable cake of government will be largely depending on those players and for them IaaS is a laughable solution when they are trying to get as much as possible in the first few years and those smaller players want as much flexibility as possible taking to some extent PaaS from the table. SaaS will be solution of choice and those now adhering to that need will fall short in 2018 and they are unlikely to be part of anything in 2019. In that we see the government need of objectives that cater to what the SME’s need. A mere application of supply and requirement. You might think that this is not connected to the previous parts, but it is. When we see the NHS, Banks and government, their needs to address their audience, they need to consider that no matter the infrastructure or platform for communications, they all need to see that their clientele is no longer rigid, no longer bound to certain paths for the simple reason that the infrastructure of places like the NHS can no longer deal with. It is by definition a mobile customer base that needs addressing, this means, or at least implies that the SaaS solutions require a wider setup, other paths of non-repudiation and a very different approach to data, its quality, its controls and the application of the results in any report or estimation towards costings and profit. It is a path of contribution, which is set as revenue minus costing.

For the better part an entirely new path in a setting that has for too long been about a rigid collection of data, which when compared to a setting in a flexible framework no longer holds a candle and will come with the implied death of data quality. in these places there will be a growing need for a data team that has the sole purpose of managing the quality of data, this path is one that IT has never worked on to the degree it had, because in the past systems were set in concrete and after the correct data pass had been made, the data usually would not require ‘resetting’ it in another framework, a change that will be almost evident in the systems we will see start in the next 4 years. There, for some the problem becomes that they have never contemplated the changes, which now also means that once they go into the deep of it all, the time required and the resources required will be a lot more draining than ever before. It is in that path that we see the danger of politicians and technocrats in the required path of objectives and policies. As there is plenty of evidence that so far this track record is not that great, we will see a squandering of funds and a dangerous curve of unprotected data whilst no one will be actually held accountable for the transgressions against those consumers aka victims.

So on this last day there is no way that any solution will be found, just take in the information and next week wonder what on earth is about to hit you, there is some speculation in this, yet I believe that the ‘objective callers’ (read: politicians) will rely on the word ‘glitch’ a lot more than ever before, it might just become the most popular word for 2017.

 

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Batches of three days

After a Law conference of three days and a case of the flu, it is time to get back into the saddle. For the speculative people amongst you, I needed 8 boxes of tissues, so if you invested in Kleenex, their forecast is very expected to be up, so you are all good! There are a few things to deal with, but let’s get into the deep end, with ‘Trump cabinet appointments will ‘undo decades of progress’, rights activists say‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/18/trump-cabinet-appointments-sessions-pompeo-flynn). Yes, from their point of view that might be, but you do not get to cry wolf over Syria, whilst leaving a pussy to deal with the situation. This is now a Republican administration and as such, there will be a change of hearts, minds and a few tactical directions. The first one to look at, director Pompeo is an interesting choice. He has earned his stripes in several events. A thorn in Clinton’s Benghazi disaster and a member of the Tea Party. However, this is not same Jasmine flavoured variety, this member from Kansas is more like gunpowder tea. An acquired taste that is likely to turn a few stomachs in Iran. As I see it, one of the most likely to receive a high Israeli award for keeping them safe from Iran’s bile as some would quote it. My issue has always been no matter how liberal this elected official is, we have seen that the next elections could bring another Ahmadinejad, not something anyone is waiting for.

But let’s get back to nominated director Mikey. The one part that was part of the Wichita Eagle (link lost) was that Mike Pompeo predicted a new energy bill would cost millions of jobs and make the United States a net food importer. There are two sides to all this, the first the energy part. There are too many question marks (apart of the change to make it realistic), the net food importer is another matter, and it also drives at the core of national security. You see, NAFTA, opened up a whole range of options in regards to the trade with Mexico and overall there is a benefit, yet when we realise that this opens up regional security options (as stated by s Col. Michael Dziedzic, USAF), we see that in light of multiple sources stating that the Mexican Cartels have been assisting ISIS members to get into the US to explore targets. The fact that ISIS sleeper cells are reported by a few sources to be close to the US border gives cause to consider certain new avenues for the CIA to consider. That is, if they aren’t already doing that, because we can all agree that yours truly isn’t being kept up to date by Langley for reasons that need no clarification.

The Wichita Eagle also gives us: “Pompeo ended up co-authoring a separate report from the main committee investigation, which accused former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic nominee for president, of downplaying the attack to boost President Obama’s re-election efforts” (at http://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article115756373.html), which is only half the truth I reckon. I mentioned earlier that the intensely wrong acts by people in the US Department of State in 2012 was centre in all this and the events since have only shown that they were utterly negligent in several ways (not only the office of State Secretary Clinton), the downplay has been beyond that office and as such left too many concerns, especially when you do not react strongly to such an event, should you be considered President of the United States?

I reckon that once confirmed, Mike Pompeo might be one of the strongest members of the Trump government and could possibly be one of the better CIA directors of these last three administrations, which is speculative, and time will tell. Jeff Sessions is another interesting pick, although the President elect could have taken several extreme options, which in light of following Eric Holder, the only cabinet member in history to be held in contempt of congress (there will always be a first one), the President Elect had a few options, yet those were basically taken off the table when Loretta Elizabeth Lynch, the 83rd United States Attorney General decided

On June 27, 2016, Lynch and former President Bill Clinton met privately aboard Lynch’s Justice Department jet which was parked on the tarmac in Phoenix. ABC15 Phoenix reporter Christopher Sign broke the story on June 29, citing unnamed sources. (at http://www.abc15.com/news/region-phoenix-metro/central-phoenix/loretta-lynch-bill-clinton-meet-privately-in-phoenix), in light of Benghazi, when we see the quote ““Our conversation was a great deal about grandchildren, it was primarily social about our travels and he mentioned golf he played in Phoenix,” said Lynch Tuesday afternoon while speaking at the Phoenix Police Department“, now we can agree that if you have 35 things to do before lunch, having a social meeting on the tarmac of an airport in a jet is rather odd, to say the least. It is true that it might not have been about Benghazi, it might have been about future careers, yet the event on the tarmac and not in some closed of 1st class business lounge implies that this was about deniability, not something that is required when Golf is on the menu of conversation. The image of Benghazi remains, whether just of unjust, when you decide to do a Deep Throat (read: Woodward, Bernstein & Washington Post), you set yourself up for all kinds of gossip.

So when we see Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, a former senator of Alabama, we have to wonder what America will get this time. The media is already all over it. The Guardian stated: “The hawkish trio have made inflammatory statements about race relations, immigration, Islam and the use of torture, and signal a provocative shift of the national security apparatus to the right“, the subsequent quote is “For liberals they appeared to confirm some of their darkest fears about the incoming Trump administration“. To them I have this message. ‘Over a period of 8 years, this administration has done absolutely nothing to reign in corporate accountability, the financial sector can go its own sweet way and this American administration turned 180 degrees around on corporate taxation. Their acts, together with the IMF is why Brexit is now a fact and is also still the driving force for Frexit. Those who are now fear mongering in the direction of France better realise that a second bad estimate (like Brexit) will be regarded as clear evidence to dismiss their services’. Columbia Threadneedle was quoted in Reuters on what a catastrophe it will be. Yet, who would it be disastrous for? The quote “Mark Burgess, chief investment officer for the firm in EMEA, said that unlike the positive or even ambiguous market reaction to the British vote on an EU exit or Donald Trump’s win last week, a win for avowedly anti-euro, anti-EU party in one of the many euro zone elections next year could spell disaster for the still-undercapitalized European banks“, the banks have had more than enough time to get their affairs in order. We have seen bail-out after bail-out and we have been all subject to a large loss of quality of life, whilst the financial sector played and gambled living on incomes that most people have never seen, not even before the financial crash. This has driven anti-European Union sentiments. The sentiment of all talk and no achievements, no forward momentum for anyone but the large corporations. This is what the Democratic Party left America with, no real future and a 20 trillion dollar debt. It is now up to the Republican Party whether they can return the USA towards a status of less debt and a healthy economy. This will take a years to achieve, but no matter how far it is taken, America seems to realise that the party is over, they only have themselves to blame on how they got to this point.

So how did I get from these three to Frexit and Greed? Let’s face it, the President-elect is part of a system of greed and Frexit is pretty much next on the agenda. All those ignorant economists and media that have been ignoring these events for over two years, all with comments on how this was never a reality now have faced Brexit and after that, they played anti-republican for 8 years, they now see their options cancelled and they are left in the dark regarding events in the White House. How many wrong predictions does it take for the media to realise that reporting is not the same as speculative empowering?

As the world is now setting the stage of how the first three picks of the President-elect is to be regarded. We need to realise that the world is a lot larger than America and our choices are indeed diminishing when we side with only one group of governing people. For those who seem to be focused on how bad this upcoming president will be, perhaps we need to take a look at a little place like Syria and how this current administration has not achieved anything at all. With bombings increasing and the Non-Assad supporting Syrian population getting closer to zero, we need to ask questions that no one is asking and even less are willing to answer.

The last part in all this is the IMF, as mentioned before. When we see the Australian, we get: “The IMF has given powerful backing to Labor’s call for a crackdown on negative gearing saying Australia’s tax rules are encouraging people to take on too much debt to invest in the housing market, pushing prices higher. The IMF’s annual mission to Australia has also criticised the Turnbull government’s May budget, saying it is trying to narrow the budget deficit too rapidly and risks hurting the economy.” Can anyone please explain what the fuck (pardon my French), the IMF is doing telling a sovereign nation on how we prefer not to be in deep debt and that is not OK with them? Consider in what state the debt driven economies are when it can be endangered by one economy removing its deficit. Consider on how many papers have given proper attention to debt driven economy (read: meaning almost none have done so, apart from those ridiculing the issue), this in light of the IMF quote in the Australian “The IMF says the government has been right to allow deficits to blow out over the past few years, saying the shortfalls have been mainly due to weak revenue, not excessive spending. The fund suggests that if the government spend more on infrastructure, it would generate enough economic growth that there should be little impact on the ratio of debt to GDP“, we need to wonder on how we were all kept in the dark when the media at large ignored calls for clarity, when we were (as I see it) intentionally misinformed, now we see that ‘right to allow deficits to blow out‘, which was never OK, even as Australia is getting out of that dark valley, other nations are still fighting their own battles. This is one of the driving sides to France, who have been pushed into a $2.4 trillion dollar debt. Perhaps President Hollande will have the same excuse that it was ‘mainly due to weak revenue‘, so the French people get to live with consequence of the IMF driven ‘equalising’ of debt. Now this last part is purely speculative from my side, yet how wrong is my train of thought? And as other nations realise that these debts are orchestration and the governments refused to tighten belts, spend irresponsibly regarding the need of other nations, keeping debt at a maximum. How do you think people will react when they realise that irresponsible behaviour will keep their quality of life down, perhaps for more than one lifetime? Are you still wondering whether Frexit will happen, or are you realising that Frexit not happening is no longer being considered?

Now, events differ from nation per nation, yet there is clear evidence that nations have been overspending for well over a decade and none had the idea to tighten the belt (except Germany in 2009). This is how Europeans feel and all this to enable big business, whilst they get more and more deals offered. This is the setting in which President elect Trump finds himself. The three nominations are not part of any of it, but they give rise to the question, who will be the elected officials in the departments, of State, Interior and Commerce, these three subsequent nominations will be at the core of what will happen next. No matter what the pressures are for the upcoming American Administration, they will be at the core of events that will take centre stage in 2017 and 2018. So many eyes, not just in America will be on those nominated for these three fields. We will have more and more questions, we only need to await the first results.

In that light we get to look at some of the issues I predicted two years ago. Last Saturday I got the Quote “European leaders have come to a 27-nation consensus that a “hard Brexit” is likely to be the only way to see off future populist insurgencies, which could lead to the break-up of the European Union” (at https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/nov/19/europes-leaders-force-uk-hard-brexit-farage-le-pen). The subtitle gives us even more ‘Fears grow about impact of populist surge as Nigel Farage predicts Marine Le Pen could win French presidential election’. I got there a year earlier, even now there is still some doubt as Sarkozy is making an about turn move on French National issues, yet Marine Le Pen remains a contender. Slightly stronger than before Trump got elected and there is where the issue for Europe now resides. Their indecisiveness in certain matters is driving people towards nationalism, with President elect Trump now approaching office, those issues will polarise and the shift will move stronger towards the right. The additional quote: “The latest intervention by Farage will only serve to fuel fears in Europe that anti-EU movements have acquired a dangerous momentum in countries such as France and the Netherlands, following the precedent set by the Brexit vote”, is one that is not correct as I see it. You see, Brexit was always a risk, yet those working behind the screens were so intent on the Status Quo that they forgot sight of the effects of the actions that they caused, Greece being the first and strongest elements. By trying to hang onto a non-realistic 300 billion, they now stand to lose 14.5 trillion, you tell me how stupid this was. The Netherlands is not the strongest influencer and at present, the Dutch PVV might be strong, twice as many seats as the number three (CDA) and leading by merely 4 seats on number 2, the reality is that this party became the largest fast and as they were only regarded as something not to be taken serious, the size they are now does not warrant such consideration, they are the largest player. Yet in all this, the issue is that 150 seats are there and a majority requires 76 seats, which cannot be done without some coalition that will require the PVV. In this the PVV is the only clear anti-EU party. The example as given by me in ‘A noun of non-profit’ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2013/05/15/a-noun-of-non-profit/), where I state: “Consider a large (really large) barge, that barge was kept in place by 4 strong anchors. UK, France, Germany and Italy. Yes, we to do know that most are in shabby state, yet, overall these nations are large, stable and democratic (that matters). They keep the Barge EU afloat in a stable place on the whimsy stormy sea called economy. If the UK walks away, then we have a new situation. None of the other nations have the size and strength of the anchor required and the EU now becomes a less stable place where the barge shifts. This will have consequences, but at present, the actual damage cannot be easily foreseen”, What I predicted on May 15th 2013 is not just coming to pass, finally others are admitting that this is the future, a future they kept you in the dark about, consider that when you realise that this had been known for some time. They played their ignorance and fear mongering game and those who have done so are now considering what one more bad prediction will bring them. I still believe that it required the second of four to truly collapse the EU barge, but that reality is now getting closer, with the Republican push we see, the chances for Marine Le Pen getting elected as President is now an actual reality. I knew that there was a chance just within France and as President Hollande failed again and again her chances increased, now with the Republican view of nationalism, the French view only enhances that view for themselves, enabling Marine Le Pen as a possible President of France. This links to Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III and his conservative views. He plucks the same chords on the musical loom of government as Marine Le Pen will when it comes to immigration. In that regard, the choices that still have to come will make even stronger impressions for European nations as they unite or dissent from that view. You see, we still need to realise that America is 20 trillion down, which implies that if Europe decides to exit hard for the second European nation (France most likely), the economic view for America changes, especially as it has been a net importer of food and a few other materials. It would need to strengthen ties with Canada and Mexico by a lot, allowing those two to get a better overall deal, increasing the cost of living for Americans. At this point, we see that Wilbur Ross is now the strong favourite for the Commerce position. It is CNN that gives us a quote, which seen in a different light implies the issue I had for a long time. The quotes “Pritzker strongly supported free trade, traveling to 38 countries over her tenure. She advocated clean energy partnerships and the Trans Pacific Partnership deal” as well as ““Free trade is like free lunch: There is no free lunch,” Ross told Lou Dobbs of Fox Business in August. “Somebody wins and somebody loses. And unfortunately, we’ve been losing with these stupid agreements that we’ve made””, Here we see that someone visited 38 countries, which sounds like an office paid world tour and we know that is NOT the case, but all that travelling must be nice. Following that, we see Wilbur Ross stating that there is no such thing as a free lunch. That we have all learned, many of us learned it the hard way and the TPP was a bad deal from the get go for several nations. These quoted came from CNN (at http://money.cnn.com/2016/11/20/investing/wilbur-ross-donald-trump/index.html) and are at the core of changes for commerce, which will reverberate in both the English and French minds as well. So 4 of the 6 main nominees are also powering the European Exit. I believe that one of them is in for quite the challenge. Michael Flynn is a veteran on several levels, as a retired General he knows the military and as former director of the DIA he knows the intelligence whip. Yet, the premise he faced will start to change dramatically in 2019, as such the America he will be the National Security Advisor for will have new challenges, some none have seen before. Time will tell how realistic those challenges are, yet we are already faced with the limitations of dealing with 4G and the next wave is now less than 365 days away. The funds needed for cyber security and cyber development were never forthcoming, giving nations at large new challenges and totally new issues in Criminal law. All fields untouched to the degree they needed to be. Another reason why W. Ross and J.B. Sessions need to sit down sooner rather than later. In that regard, the UK needs to clearly revisit some of the protocols that never worked in the first place.

There are many changes coming towards us, some will drive others, some will just be met with complaints, and others will just drive the Democratic Party insane, which will be used to the entertainment of the media at large.

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A New Disney

There was an Italian, who has been famous for over 125 years, he is not the first or the only famous Italian. There was this guy who came up with Pizza, There was this other Italian who thought fast Ford cars were a joke and he created Ferrari, then there was this other Italian, who made tractors, disagreed with the previous Italian and created Lamborghini. It is actually none of those. It is Carlo Lorenzini who was born 190 years ago. You might not know the name, perhaps his alternative name? Carlo Collodi! If you are still in the dark, than remember the story of a wooden boy who wanted to become a real live boy. Steven Spielberg used the notion in AI, but the original remains the best, namely Pinocchio!

Yes, the story of a wooden boy going into the world, yet as a wooden boy he was not alone, there was a little Cricket accompanying him and he would be a lot more important than your average Cricket, Jiminy was his name. Today the story is even more relevant, you see, the name Yemini Cricket might be ringing bells, but the truth of the wooden boy is there. The question becomes, who is the wooden boy?

So when I read ‘US, Britain and UN demand Yemen ceasefire within days‘ (at http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2016/10/16/us-britain-and-un-demand-yemen-ceasefire-within-days),

Yet when I read “The United Nations envoy, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, said: “We are here to call for an immediate cessation of hostilities, which will be declared in the next few hours.” Cheikh Ahmed said he had been in contact with the rebel Huthi militia’s lead negotiator and with Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi’s government“, my recollection does not go towards the classical story, it goes to a reference a little closer to the present (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFZrKOCdHFs), the laughter applies to both the sketch and reality. Aleppo is a great example, how 5 years and 400,000-450,000 fatalities later, no solution is there, but they are still flying to places like Switzerland to talk. I wonder when we add up all the costs, how much did the taxpayer pay for this play?

A number of civilian casualties that have now surpassed the total US Military casualties, of those who died during WW2. Doesn’t that look like a clear message that massive change was required a few years ago? I reckon all the players know that, yet, having long conversations with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, whose only concern is to stall so that the population can be made extinct before the resolution passes, reads a lot more like the Friends edition of Pinocchio, than the original by Carlo Collodi, where we see the conscience that is Jiminy Cricket.

So as we see the beginning of the same slow train in Yemen, I have to wonder if creating a new version of Pinocchio with Yemini Cricket is the way to go. It educates politicians as well as bring some hard needed cash towards Hollywood (or Bollywood).

So why is this different?

To one degree it is not, towards the other degree it is very much so. The problem is that both Syria and Yemen could be on the same page, no degrees of separation. In this case there are two at least. You see, Yemen has limited ties to Russia, making it less complicated, what is the issue is that the Houthi’s are actively shooting missiles at the US Navy complicating matters a lot more. It only takes one direct hit, and Yemen would technically be in a state of war with the US. Now, normally, a bankrupt nation is not that much a bother, but Yemen is not an economic or military superpower, so going against America sounds like a PR approach to get them ‘involved’. What is an issue is that Yemen, the neighbour of Saudi Arabia could get lucky at some point, what happens after the hit will be an issue, because Americans tend to get cranky when you successfully blow up something American. Interesting is that there are now multiple sources claiming that Iran is now moving towards the Red sea. An interesting story as the Red sea is on the other side of the Persian Gulf and Iranian war ships have no actual business there (which could also apply to the Americans). The question becomes how is Saudi placed into all this? Here there are issues too. There is no stating if there is even any link but the changes and the Attention that members of the Saudi government are drawing attention to themselves become a factor (speculation from my side).

One part is from the Australian Financial Review (at http://www.afr.com/news/world/middle-east/saudi-prince-mohammed-bin-salmans-shatters-decades-of-tradition-20161017-gs3yt5), where we see the title ‘Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s shatters decades of tradition‘, is not giving us the ‘goods’. The first quote is “He has slashed the state budget, frozen government contracts and reduced the pay of civil employees, all part of drastic austerity measures as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is buffeted by low oil prices“, which would be quite acceptable in one view, at least it appears that one government in this world is dealing with its budget issues, although not in the most ‘desirable’ way, when a nation is so dependent on oil, there might not be too many options. The second quote is “While vacationing in the south of France, Prince Mohammed spotted a 134-metre yacht. He dispatched an aide to buy the ship, the Serene, then owned by Russian vodka tycoon Yuri Shefler. The deal was done within hours, at a price of approximately €500 million (roughly $720 million today)“, which implies the opposite. The question is not the cut-backs or spending spree, the issue is neither quote, it is the quote I will give now “Many young Saudis admire him as an energetic representative of their generation who has addressed some of the country’s problems with uncommon bluntness. The kingdom’s media have built his image as a hardworking, businesslike leader less concerned than his predecessors with the trappings of royalty” as well as “Others see him as a power-hungry upstart who is risking instability by changing too much, too fast“. So is the prince a go-getter or power-hungry? I cannot tell as this is all based on third degree of information, what matters is how the view and the actions will reflect the counteractions of the US and Iran in regard to Yemen. The moment the conflict results in a direct attack on Saudi grounds, what then? Iranian warships in the Red Sea would only complicate that, making a harsh response from the Saudi Military even more destabilising.

In my view there are two sides within Saudi Arabia, yet how they should be seen is another matter. I do not claim to have a proper view. I have questions. You see Mecca is an Islamic Holy city (the most important one) and it is part of Saudi Arabia, so as Saudi Arabia is the caretaker of this holy site, the involvement if Iran is more than just a small issue. Whatever they decide to escalate could have large repercussions all over the Middle East. The Sovereign State of Saudi Arabia has every right to defend it in every way possible, so Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman is also Minister of Defence and the youngest one in the world, which as a stat sounds nice, yet it also means that in light of other decisions, he is ready to do that what the US has been unable to do, declare war on its enemy by actually acting against them! Not that the US needed to declare war, but in light of Syria, doing anything actively would have been nice, an absence of resolution that His Royal Highness Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud is less likely to show.

What is a problem is the fact that the complications are more and more likely as days go by and that is the one spark that this powder keg does not need. Iran cannot be denied access to international waters, which will not lessen the impact. One of the elements in all this is seen in the second quote regarding the ‘power hungry’ side of it. You see, the AFR article is also mentioning “Mohammed bin Nayef, the interior minister and longtime counter-terrorism czar“, which is now an element in all this. You see, whatever happens next is all surrounding the need for intelligence. So whatever issues there are between His Royal Highness Muhammad bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and His Royal Highness Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud gives wake to the Disney sequel, a tale of two princes. A new approach to the classic Dickens story where the plight of two members of the Royal family of Al Saud are protecting the Sovereign state of Saudi Arabia as well as the safety and security of all Muslims that are in and nearby Mecca. Even as the papers are expecting a ceasefire, the issue is that stalling is equally a tactic here. There is no way of telling why Iran is involving its warships in that region, other than trying to complicate matters and demanding a seat at the table of decision, which would only change the time table in the worst of ways. What the Deutsche Welle did give was the quote “the Saudi-led coalition has blamed an airstrike that killed over 140 people at a funeral ceremony in Yemen on “erroneous information” received from a “party” affiliated with the country’s embattled government“, it matters, because it gives light to the essential issue that the two princes need to rely on quality intelligence, sources that can be scrutinised. And in this matter, mentioning the yacht was to iterate that spending that money on a satellite over the area might not have been the worst personal idea I am having. And let’s face it, any prince that can claim that he has his own satellite wins the discussion with any other prince relying on yacht and status. So many have a yacht, but how many of these rich individuals (very wealthy people in general) would own their own satellite? Especially if it becomes a source of intelligence.

Of course there is a lot more to owning one’s own satellite, but I hope we can all agree that intelligence will be key in whatever escalates over the next week. My issue is that too many players have their own agenda, yet would those agenda’s be truly 100% be focussed on whatever is best for Yemen and/or Saudi Arabia? You see, oil prices are down now, but why and for how long? What happens when prices go through the roof again? What happens then? Suddenly all these political issues are all linked to the price of Oil and the profit it brings?

I do not claim to have these answers, but the fact that too many sources are not asking the questions that require asking is troubling, yet the AFR article gives us a lot more, even more than I bargained for, which is comforting to say the least. What becomes a matter of discussion is the one quote that shows the elements “People who have met Mohammed bin Salman said he insisted that Saudi Arabia must be more assertive in shaping events in the Middle East and confronting Iran’s influence in the region – whether in Yemen, Syria, Iraq or Lebanon“, giving the links that require addressing and the prince is not afraid to do just that, however it take two to dance rings around Iran and taking away its influence in the Middle East. As I see it, Riyadh will have to make changes to some degree. Counter-Intelligence will be key in dealing with Iran and the impression I get when I see a quote like “has deep ties to Washington and the support of many of the older royals” shows the speculative possibility of the older ‘let us see how this plays out‘ against the younger ‘let us get this party started through action‘. It is not about the balance, but about what works best. In that regard both princes might have to make changes a lot faster than they are comfortable with, because if the news is correct, the Iranian ships and submarines will soon be active in the Red Sea, but active to what extent is something that remains speculative, whatever they do, the fact that it includes Iranian submarine presence (as reported but not confirmed), will also raise tensions with Israel.

As I see it, the biggest issue is Iran and what they are trying to get out of it. Putting themselves in the middle of a conflict where they are now trying to imply that it is all about them (especially as they are in the Red Sea), yet is their presence less valid than that of the US? It seems to me that we are creating a new Vietnam, just not with the Russians involved (like Syria). So there are two solutions to consider. One is that the US is replaced by for example the Commonwealth, or France, which takes away the Iranian-US issues. That is, if Saudi Arabia would be willing to consider that move. No matter what, the navy that does that, could find themselves in an armed conflict with Iran, so it better be a competent and modern Navy which leaves not that many options. The Netherlands, the UK, France, South Korea and India. Giving the option to either South Korea or India would benefit, as Iran cannot spin some NATO link story. In addition Iran cannot afford to piss of too many additional nations as either could make short work of the ego of Iran as these navies decide to sink Iranian war vessels like rubber dinghies, because they pushed one button too many.

No matter what happens, Saudi Arabia must do what it can to keep safe and the Yemeni issue is one that tests many sides of those who see and witness it, because there is a dilemma in conscience. A revolution that got out of hand, a set government overthrown with its own agenda. When we see the Houthi’s slogan “God is great, death to the US, death to Israel, curse the Jews, and victory for Islam“, can we really show any kind of support or sympathy?

The most important part to realise is that we need to set aside our version of what is acceptable, we have seen the US and Europe at large impose their version of ‘civility’, whilst bending over, grabbing their ankles and let the financial industry quite literally get away with murder in many ways. We impose rules and expectations, whilst having no clue how to manage a budget or how to stem greed to the point of strangulation. In all this, we have given up the high ground in several fronts, so we are no lecturer with any level of confidence. It is my opinion, that the Middle East can only be decently governed by someone in the Middle East. I personally believe that Saudi Arabia should be at the centre of it, there is no doubt that it would beneficial that a coalition that would include Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, but I am not knowledgeable enough to see whether it is just them, or that other players should be seriously considered. What does matter is that both General Intelligence Directorate (GID, aka Mukhabarat) and Jordanian General Intelligence Directorate would be important in ascertaining Iran’s hostile actions and if need be counter them. From my academic point of view is the challenge that the SIGNT of the three would pose to get one coherent reporting and analytical solution on Iranian intelligence. One that would definitely benefit all three nations. Yet perhaps that will evolve into a third Disney project, which could be the next big thing. It’s all just a thought, but think it over for yourself and ask yourself the question you did not hear voiced, this is important, because this stage could get ugly in a hurry and possibly before Christmas this year.

 

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