Tag Archives: UK

A political Chucky

I love cricket, I played it and loved it. That is as long as I was not bowling. There is no point in handing 10 overs to the opposition when Chucky (me) is bowling and I am happy that I am not considered outside of the field or batting. Some things should not happen, so, what do you do when your own party (the conservatives) considers chucking as a valid tactic in a game where it has been an illegal action?

That is what the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/mar/24/tory-islamophobia-row-15-suspended-councillors-quietly-reinstated) informs us on in ‘Tory Islamophobia row: 15 suspended councillors quietly reinstated‘, and the fact that it is openly and ‘quietly’ done implies that my own party does not seem to grasp the educational need of the matter. We have all made ‘questionable’ considerations. I have on occasion noticed a lady who had an amazing * (assterix). I did not state that out loud, but optionally whispered it as softly ass possible (pun intended). It gets us to the old situation ‘If you are alone in a forest and no woman can hear you, are you still wrong?

So, when we see: “More than a dozen Conservative councillors who were suspended over posting Islamophobic or racist content online – with some describing Saudis as “sand peasants” and sharing material comparing Asian people to dogs“, when we see this, this is not whispering. This is loudly proclaiming, shouting even as it happened online. This is stupidity of a whole new level and there needs to be an investigation. It is not merely for the norm of the PC of it all. This has business impact. We can consider that the Middle East will be funding hundreds of billions in business decisions and the UK would want as much of it as possible. And in that is Mohammed Amin wrong? When we see the chairman of the Conservative Muslim Forum for the publication of set of formal disciplinary processes that far off? When discrimination is condoned to the degree that it is, should we not expect a much larger impact? When we see Islamophobia and anti-Semitic issues, we need to remember that there is a larger impact. If parties are rejected from consideration, it shows that political players are dismissing optional best solutions from the political arena because they are wearing filtering glasses, implying that the cost of doing business is optionally increased due to unacceptable practices and as the article implies that it has transpired 15 times, we see a systemic failure of a political engine that besides doing things wrong is optionally transgressing into the field of criminal acts. So even as James Cleverly claims that that swift investigations was made, the stage of quietly adding them back to the party gives light of more than Islamophobia, it gives light to the acceptance of racism within the party and that is not a good thing.

There is no doubt that there is a lot of emotion regarding the Middle East, yet anti-Semitism and Islamophobia will never solve it, it merely polarises issues beyond repair. I wonder what happens when Huawei and Saudi Arabia complete their initial setting and Saudi Arabia becomes a 5G powerbroker? Some analysts made the claim that there will be 30 million subscriptions in the Middle East by 2024. I believe that to be wrong, Huawei is not the only player and Ericsson is showing to be almost as capable as Huawei (driving competition and innovation), giving Saudi Arabia an option to drive partnerships to nations including the UAE, Oman and Egypt. OK, we admit that Egypt is Africa, yet the light that Saudi Arabia could grow subscriptions towards 60 million upwards when they get to include Egypt, and set the stage for Telecom growth a lot wider than that. A speculative step is seen in the Arab News on March 4th. When I looked at the complete language regarding Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir, I noticed that the statements were precise (read: too precise). So when I saw: “ruled out restoring diplomatic relations with Syria or reinstating Damascus to the Arab League without progress on a political process to end the eight-year-old war“, as well as: “Riyadh will also not take part in any reconstruction efforts until stability is restored in Syria“. Yet in this, 5G and creating options for communication is not reconstruction, or political progress. Yet it facilitates for both when the innovative players are allowed for a push towards global 5G considerations and it is my believe that Adel Al-Jubeir could use it to set an increasingly larger stage for the KSA.  I admit that my speculation is based on text (and interpretation) that is super thin, you could not skate on it, but you might lie down on it and cautiously create forward momentum. In light of the optional growth all over the Middle East and Africa, Saudi Arabia (read: Huawei business partners) are all gaining an advantage that allows for multiple conversations on a much larger board. The direct impact being that the setback for American corporations will increase larger and faster.

The 5G push would also allow options towards Jordan and now we see that Saudi Arabia (via Huawei and Ericsson) has created a much larger bond for future options for all these players. Now we see an optional line through Saudi Arabia to Oman, Egypt, Jordan, the UAE and optionally Yemen to follow. A big chunk of the Arab league, basically the big 5 all connected in 5G together making one voice more and more powerful. And with every victory there, the US gets pushed into becoming less and less relevant in 5G in that same wave. In that stage, when we see these steps unfold, do you really think that keeping racist and Islamophobic politicians is serving anyone’s purpose other than fear mongering and extremism?

So when we see the Guardian quote: “When CCHQ has been made aware of the small number of such cases we have acted swiftly, suspending members and launching immediate investigations, in sharp contrast to other parties” my issue here is that it is the exact party line that James Cleverly gave us. It sounds like a Microsoft sound byte, a claim made when they cannot solve a problem and they need it to be put into a drawer for well over a full upgrade. The fact that the Guardian treats us to: ‘quietly reinstated‘ gives rise to a systemic failure, one that can cost the UK many opportunities down the line and should we allow for that?

The Middle East is currently actively investing funds in excess of £1.4 trillion (not billion) on numerous projects in constructions, ICT, telecommunications and infrastructure, do you think that the UK has a chance of scoring any jobs when these contractors ask for a clarification on the application of ‘sand peasants‘? I also wonder what we will find when we read the transcripts and investigation papers regarding the 15 members that had been ‘quietly reinstated‘. How loud are we allowed to be when we look into this? The UK has enough worries with new Brexit fear mongering and a non-accountable ECB as Europe is about to get several trillions deeper in debt (because they found a miracle formula that explains it all. source: Bloomberg), digging our own graves by not acting against racism and discriminating phobias seems to be a problem we can avoid from the start.

When one of these Middle Easters investors asks feedback from Miqdaad Versi of the Muslim Council of Britain, what would these people hear? Quietly allowing chuckies to be set up as bowlers whilst we know that they will (through inadequacy, insensitivity and lack of professionalism) optionally knowingly instigate an illegal play is not common sense at all.

Any cricket captain should know better than to allow any chucky to bowl, but that is exactly what is seemingly happening right now.

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, IT, Military, Politics, Science

The political blame

I love the Guardian for the most. They have a good grasp of things and we might not see eye to eye on certain matters at times, their opinion is still valued as it enables me to critically reassess my own view. It is the opposing part that got to me this morning as I read an article a mere 4 hours old. The title alone woke me up. With ‘Despite Hammond’s threat, the Tories cannot be trusted to end austerity‘ Richard Partington makes a dangerous statement. Does he imply that the Conservatives love austerity too much (not entirely false), is he making the statement that Labor (the Jeremy Corbyn facade) is likely to end it immediately placing the UK in even more danger? There are several ways to see this. The article with “Chancellor hints that a no-deal Brexit will mean an unwanted extension to austerity“, which is absolutely true in a few ways, still that extension of 2-3 years will be better than the ECB push to set the stage for 15 years of additional austerity. And when we are treated to “The chancellor is likely to argue that money has been set aside for a no-deal Brexit, but should it be avoided, he can use these funds to end austerity. The thinly veiled threat – coming on the day of the crucial vote on whether to leave without a deal“. From my point of view, whatever is in reserve is essential to reduce debt as soon as possible. You see £2.1 trillion in debt is a killer. The interest alone will be well over £210 billion each year. So every month £17.5 billion is required to be set aside (all speculated on interest being a mere 1%), lowering that requirement as soon as possible is the only way to survive whatever comes next. Germany did massively push austerity around 2010 and the debt (as well as the interest) went down. We acknowledge that Germany was in a much better place (export wise), yet the truth in undeniable, the debt is killing the people of England and it needs to stop. Irresponsible acts by Labour in the past got us into this mess and Labor is just too stupid to see the danger that they are exposing their citizens to, it must stop and that was for me the largest reason to embrace Brexit, even now when we see: “For the most part the Conservatives have recycled savings from austerity into tax breaks for the better off” we should get angry, not because of the falsehood, but because of the presentation. You see, any austerity will affect the better off a lot less than the others, there is no denying it. If only Labor had not gone overboard spending the way they did (apart from the £11.2 billion NHS IT fiasco), they had no clue what they were doing and gave us this death through poverty sentence. The banks are all on the side of Labor as they are making bankers rich whilst these bankers do not have to do anything at all, the long term commitment to £17.5 a month does that for them.

Then we get even more fuel with: “Analysis from the New Economics Foundation this week shows that raising the tax-free personal allowance to £12,500 and higher-rate income tax threshold to £50,000 will cost as much as £30bn. The financial benefit of the increases have benefited higher-income households most and further stoked inequality“. In the first, no one, not even the rich oppose the £12,500 part, the part that predicts the cost to be £30 billion is misrepresented as that also includes the losses by those who went from £11,850 to £12,500, and this is the largest part. These so called ‘rich’, an interestingly small number basically gaining a mere £3,650 to be taxed lower earning them £700 over a year, whilst the even wealthier group did not gain the additional benefits as their tax bracket remained the same. As for the numbers in 2017 only an estimated 364,000 (out of 68 million) made over £150,000 a year. An additional 4.2 million got to the £50,000 range. those people are not gaining £30 billion, the benefit is mostly there for the lowest range being the largest group by far and Richard should be ashamed of himself trying to push buttons in that way.

Inequality has been there for a while and it is not due to the tax regulations as such, it is due to Labor (and Conservatives) being cowards and not adjusting the tax machine to make large corporations making pay their due. When we see Google, Amazon and others paying a mere 1%, we need to hang those policy makers in Piccadilly square. That is the real culprit, but it is likely too uncomfortable for Richard Partington to point that out, he likely has well paid friends in large corporations. We can agree that “The deficit is still expected to remain as high as £19.8bn in 2022-23 according to the Office for Budget Responsibility, the government’s own tax and spending watchdog“, and guess what, properly taxing large corporations would have taken care of that and optionally reduced austerity as well, yet policy makers are unwilling to try that as they fear large corporations walk out. So what? Let them go and forsake a 68 million consumer base, they will learn soon enough when that move goes tits up for them.

It is not all him though, Richard is allowed his view (even the ones I very much disagree with), and the issue goes beyond certain people. Consider just a year ago when we were ‘informed’ on Apple at Battersea Power Station, a luxurious setting of hundreds of millions, of course they do not have to pay for it, as the tax payers gets to pay for all the taxation that they do not have to pay at that point. It gets even worse when we see the quotes in the Apple Insider. It is developer Simon Murphy that literally gives those readers with the prospect of them moving to plan B: “We’ll give [Apple] that building at the end of 2021. That’s what everyone is very confident about at this stage“, so not only did they short social housing by 40%, they also give away a place to large corporations? No one is asking questions on every level of government at this point (at https://appleinsider.com/articles/18/09/22/construction-delays-leave-apples-iconic-london-battersea-offices-in-doubt)? It seems that the way we do business has to change quite a lot and it is time to slash freebees to zero for the largest corporations. It is not only the Guardian though; we see a changed stage when we go to the Financial Times. They start (at https://www.ft.com/content/b2225c56-419c-11e9-b896-fe36ec32aece) with: “With economic risks again mounting, the EU needs new instruments” and that is merely the beginning. In addition to all the massive blunders they had by fictively keeping an economy running, by pumping 3 trillion into it, we now see: “reviving part of its stimulus programme after two years of weaning the eurozone off easy money — took markets by surprise. It should not have done. Signs of eurozone weakening, especially in Germany, and in key partners such as China, had been evident for months. Once the US Federal Reserve signalled a pause before lifting rates again, the ECB became likely to follow suit. In his final months in the role, ECB president Mario Draghi is clearly trying to get ahead of events“, form my personal point of view, Mario Draghi (and the ECB) are merely trying to keep the gravy train rolling and pushing the EU citizens into deeper debt with no option to get out, Brexit is the only way to cut that anchor. The ECB has become that irresponsible. It becomes an even larger problem with “By promising a new round of cheap long-term loans to banks willing to expand lending, moreover, the ECB will enable Spanish, Italian and other banks to roll over funding they have already received, some of which is set to mature“, so not only is it failing, the stage that the new debts are there to cover old debts is even more ludicrous and it should be to every person who read that. That is the push we see and we need to get out of it, these debts do not make governments better, they do not set the stage for an actual economy, it merely deposes nations to be ruled by banks, when any population is set to the stage where they are contributing to any economy by being a consumer against those who are not and regarded as a burden, at that point do we see that people are truly no longer equal, we are merely facilitating to the need of the balance of corporations and bankers are placed above the law and above any consideration. So at what point did we see elections that place banks and bankers above the law? And this is merely the beginning; we see part of this shift when we consider the words at CNBC by Invesco’s Kristina Hooper at a deeper level. She starts with: “I don’t think the slowdown is going to be that bad as we sit here today, and certainly that’s not what we got from the ECB [European Central Bank] in terms of their downgrade of growth forecasts“, yet when we see: “Now that we have the European Central Bank piling on, that raises questions about what’s going on. What are central banks worried about that is causing them to make rather dramatic pivots?“, that was actually simple, the ECB is dead scared of the ‘R’ word, it is ‘recession’ that scares them. Recession is on the horizon and basically the large four are all hit by it, or are optionally hitting it next quarter (France, Germany, Italy and UK), and for the ECB that is a problem, it would truly show that their policy was a failure, no matter how you dashboard the results into a precisely sliced and diced result that shows only positivity, the cost of living and the quality of life are impacting all and austerity is not a merely a dirty word, it is at this point a cause of suicidal depression for the many confronted with it. If only large corporations had been truly decently taxed, we could have avoided so much pain. We see even more in the end when we are treated to: ““China is employing a lot of stimulus both monetary and fiscal,” said Hooper. “We could actually see signs of some improvement in economic data in China.”” She is only partially right. China is not impaired with 26 anchors all trying to keep the EU boat on their needy little turf; in addition China has taken the lead in IP and Patents making a huge difference, in this America and the EU have fallen far behind. I have seen them ignore billions in IP merely because iteration is the prospect of long term management for large corporations nowadays in an age when these people are left without ideas, we see them surpassed by players like Huawei and Google leaping ahead and now we see the terms like ‘protectionism’ and how bad it is. On the other hand there is a solution against it, the Americans merely had to accuse Huawei as a national security danger and as long as they do not have to prove it can they get away with it, the moment they fail that they lose a lot more than merely an industry (in all fairness they do not really have any credibility left, so there is that too). There too we see issues; as John Bolton (the Trump geriatric solution to national security) gives us through the Sydney Morning Herald: “Bolton also offered blunt assessments on China’s island and military base building in the South China Sea and raised concerns “Manchurian” chips in Huawei technology could be activated for espionage” in this ‘could‘ is the operative word, there is no evidence, and as far as I can tell there never was. This too links to economies and economic welfare, Huawei leaped forward whilst the bulk of all economies were based on iterative progress. Why do you think that places like Google and Huawei truly leapt forward? Their rise is all about actual innovation, not iterative marketing. This makes for all the difference. And linked to all this is something truly away from the UK. With ‘STC, Huawei complete first indoor 5G trial in the Middle East‘, when we are treated to “Saudi Telecom Company (STC) and Chinese vendor Huawei confirmed they have completed what they claim to be the first trial of indoor 5G in the Middle East region. During the trial in Dammam, STC used 100 megahertz in the 3.5 GHz band on the 5G network, and achieved a peak user downlink throughput of 1.3 Gbps” with the additional “STC said it currently provides 5G coverage in more than 450 locations across Saudi Arabia” and this relates directly to the EU and the UK. To have an economy growing you need to be ahead of the curve and both are no longer doing that in several fields. Even as I personally understand and accept the statements by Alex Younger (fearless leader of MI-6); we accept his position and he is not wrong, but it is inconvenient for the economy. The others are merely supporting fear mongering absent of evidence and it is about to cost them. You see, 5G is the economy maker and even as I have well over 2 billion in IP value ready to stage to those with the proper offer, I am but one person and I am not alone. 5G will drive IP and it will push new borders in IP, specifically in trademarks, a shift we have not seen ever. In all this, we see the stage where not only will we see the technology shift where Saudi Arabia is surpassing the US technologically, they now have the stage where they can push and own a 500% growth all over the Middle East, America lost out by being stupid and complacent in an industry where free runners set the stage, not those that rely on status quo. The UK (and the EU) will either catch up, or be regarded as lost for consideration.
At some point people there will push for political blame, I do not think that this is a great idea, but that is what will happen soon enough and at that point, all those who gave rise to John Bolton and the US administration will face a massive setback, to be removed from consideration in a world where they once had mighty voices, the funny part is that every success that we now see by Huawei and Saudi Arabia will be another nail in their coffin. A coffin soon to be named ‘rented by [irrelevant person]‘. What a legacy to have in an age where political delays were the foundation of austerity through improper taxation of corporation. There is more than one setback on the location called Lake Iteration; I saw that coming a mile away. Too bad that those relying on status quo never realised that blinkers of that nature is only to stop wearer of seeing the bigger play-field through the adaptation of fictively removing fear, fear keeps us on our toes, it makes us consider what others do and why they do it; with blinkers we only see what those in charge of us want us to see and that is a large limitation, it makes us focus on what is in front of us and we seem to forget that we are not alone, by not seeing that others pass us by and we only see that whilst we watch their asses rush forward at that point will we consider picking up the pace, picking it up way too late. That too is part of any economy, it is the essential part of being ahead of the game and the ECB is seemingly all about a horse named ‘banker’ to get that advantage and it is costing us. You see, it is not about Huawei having this advantage, it is about the realisation that British Telecom is no longer in the place where Huawei now is. All whilst there is plenty of documentation that the US has been accusing Huawei since before 2012 and up to now, no evidence has ever been produced. So whilst we can go back to the quote from October 2012 with: “American companies and its government should avoid doing business with China’s two leading technology firms, Huawei and ZTE, because they pose a national security threat to the US, the House of Representatives’ intelligence committee will warn in a report to be published on Monday“, consider the options, is US Intelligence this bloody inefficient and incompetent, or was this about something else? The leaping headway approach by Huawei was visible 7 years ago and in that time nothing changed. That non change is important for the people to realise; it is the UK economy that is getting hit time and time again. If you wonder why austerity takes this long (and longer still) consider the steps that industries had not taken, investments not done and we see non-stop tax relief for those sitting still (read: sitting on their hands). the issues are directly connected and when we realise that Germany has decided not to ban Huawei (a nations decently paranoid on security), when we watch the German economy pick up sooner we all know where to point the finger, we point it at the inactive and the exploitative, when we link names to those connected there, that is when we see a first sign of carefully phrased denials and weighted mention of ‘miscommunication between parties’. At that point, will you be forgiving and accept the ‘moving forward’ excuse, or will you hold them and their tax policies to account to a much larger degree?

Stop blaming the rich, they already got there! You need to go after those facilitators, those looking for free scraps and scraps through inaction; those are the ones you want to make suffer for your delayed and optionally permanently deleted so called ‘quality of life’.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Law, Media, Politics, Science

Electing Stupid People?

It was the first thought that I had when I got confronted with ‘ECB Injects More Stimulus as Draghi Reveals Slashed Forecasts‘, trillion upon trillion added in debt and none of it worked, the Europeans merely added 3 trillion in debt and they have nothing to show for it. The ECB has become a clear and present danger to the quality of life of Europeans. At present every European should consider that they have an added €5,859 of debt that they have to pay, so in a family of 4 that amounts to €23,437 with the optional €156 of interest every month. A setting where we see that close to 53% cannot make that payment, so that is merely the interest with no chance of ever paying the actual debt. A debt that was a bad idea and has been a bad idea for over 4 years and still the ECB does whatever makes themselves and their friends rich. No accountability for their actions, no transparency and no way to undo the damage they push unto others. Still people ask me why I am a Brexit person. The acts of the ECB are a clear indication that the EU has failed its people to the largest extent.

So as Bloomberg gives us “But bank stocks dropped as the new loans will have less favorable terms than the ECB’s previous operation. There may also be concern about the ECB’s gloomy prognosis for the economy and the limited ammunition it has left if things worsen“, I merely see that what I mentioned in my blog for over 2 years is becoming a reality. the article (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-03-07/draghi-slashes-ecb-outlook-as-officials-inject-more-stimulus) also gives us “The ECB is reverting to more monetary support just three months after policy makers decided to end their bond-buying program and hoped to start weaning the euro-area economy off its crisis-era stimulus. The export-dependent European economy buckled under the weight of trade tensions, a slowdown in China and the uncertainties around Brexit.” This is making matters worse. You see the stage of ‘the uncertainties around Brexit‘ is one that the ECB gunned for trying desperately to keep the UK in and the actions of the ECB are pushing the UK away. Yes I agree that matters will become worse, yet only for the short term, the UK will over time rise faster and faster whilst the economies of France and Germany will become more and more stagnant towards facilitating to the other 23 players, as they are merely there to get an unrealistic economy and the loans that go with it. When I speculate, I come to the conclusion that Austria will get an expected debt that equals their GDP of 83% by 2021, Belgium is racing towards 108%, optionally by November 2020, Italy is likely to be at 135% by then, Spain is actually doing well, but it will not continue, if they are really lucky they will remain steady at 97%, France will climb to 99.2% and those nations are adding trillions more debt, because the ECB is not kept in check. that is the Europe that Europe is steering to and no one is asking the serious questions on how retirements will falter before 2028, the cost of living no longer realistic and there is no way to keep any economy in check because tee was never any real stage to keep it in check, with merely the impossibility to cast members out. Greece has a chain around its neck that will soon surpass the current debt level of 179% of GDP. So whilst ABC News over sells it with “Provisional data released Thursday show the economy grew 1.9 percent in 2018, down from a 2.1 percent estimate by the government, but closer to the European Commission forecast of 2 percent“, all whilst Greek Industrial news gives us: ‘Greek Economy Loses Steam in Q4, Recovery on Course‘, which might be really true as summer is coming for Greece so from that we accept that the Greek economy numbers will fluctuate positively. And those travelling to Greece tend to see a Greek alternative location, not an alternative country which is great for Greece but the overall numbers are merely positive, not overly positive. The weather has been part of that. There has been a tendency for people in Europe to select less foreign destinations for their vacations, especially the Netherlands and Belgium. This part is not the most important art, yet it still matters. If one nation is off by 0.1% we see an impact, however it is Germany where the economic slowdown is the most visible, and from the past people in Germany get cautious really fast, the 2013 smash down taught them that the hard way. It would impact Spanish tourism by a fair bit. For France we see a similar impact but less in tourism, for them the game changes in other ways and it impacts the EU as well. French RFI reported that the OECD gave “Italy is likely to go into recession. France comes out well, relatively speaking, with 1.3 percent, exactly half the likely growth rate for the US economy“. I personally have some serious doubts on those numbers. If France ends up with 1.1% they would be lucky, as we already have a debate on 0.2%, nation after nations have ‘recovery’ idea’s and not one is staged in any rock solid situation, it is all fluid and most of them hide behind ‘Brexit uncertainty‘ whilst they are all desperate to see Brexit fail before it becomes a reality, their economies will all take a massive hit, even the UK however, the UK once out will be able to push forward momentum just for the UK not for the dozen members hanging on the coattails of the UK. That was the truth that the ECB and the EU commissions are so desperate to hide. The UK residents get fear mongering story, one after another. How there will be no toilet rolls, how things collapse and how values are soon gone. Yet the direct impact is ignored. Once out the UK can determine for the UK again, not have an usurper player setting policy.

For clarity: a usurper is a person who takes a position of power or importance illegally or by force. It does not seem to apply to the ECB, yet how are they setting policy that is pushing the Europeans into debt by trillions, even after the second stage where it did not impact the economy in a positive way? The moment it was switched off, the EU economy is showing to buckle, so how is such a stimulus ever going to be a solution?

When we see “offering banks cheap loans to try to help revive the economy“, well from my point of view, a plan to revive that has been going on for four years is not a plan to revive, it is a vegetation form of life that is being kept alive artificially, as it would have been dead for some time under any other condition. It is merely facilitating for large invoices on a cadaver that no longer has the ability to self-determine its life. And in this case the ECB is really ready to facilitate large invoices, the question becomes who gets that cash, the people of the EU merely get to pay the bill and there are questions that are not getting answered by anyone, giving us a much larger problem. Are people this stupid allowed to be elected into such powerful positions?

You tell me, because from my point of view it does not make sense, and it never did, not past 2015 anyway. It is one part that is wrong; we see even more when we give regards to the issues shown by the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/mar/07/ecb-to-keep-interest-rates-low-recession-fears-eurozone-banks). With: “The central bank for the 19 euro nations said it would launch a series of targeted, long-term refinancing operations (TLTROs) in September. These are to run until March 2021 to help banks roll over €720bn (£617bn) of ECB loans and to ward off a credit squeeze that could deepen the economic slowdown” we see a situation that could optionally be interpreted as: “we predict that we cannot pay the outstanding loan of €720 billion, so we are creating a new loan to pay the old loan. We will not mention that as our economic position is not as good, so the fact that this will come at a higher interest is something we will have to accept“, a danger I saw coming a mile away well before 2017. Greece was the most visible one, but not the only one, Italy is in a similar position with its 131% of GDP debt and it will go from bad to worse. With a current predicted debt of €2,526,450,000,000 its interest responsibility is beyond horrendous and that too is swept under the carpet. When we see these acts of stupidity and irresponsibility the Europeans do not have a clear prospect, they basically have seemingly no prospect at all. At present every EU nation will denounce my view, yet what will they say in 2024 when I am proven correct? What happens to the people born between 1956 and 1960 when they look at their pensions and see that they really cannot afford being alive having to pay their bills on what is left? What excuses will their governments and the ECB give them when these people get to hear: ‘OOPS!‘ The chaos that comes with it will be one we get to remember for generations. It will be the moment where all over Europe the life of a Ministry of Pensions official will have a speculated shorter lifespan than that of a crack addict overdosing.

It is all merely part of a larger issue, even as Reuters gives us less than 24 hours ago ‘German industrial orders post strongest drop in seven months‘, we forget that this also impacts shipping numbers, the Dutch harbour revenues, in addition the “Contracts for goods ‘Made in Germany’ were down by 2.6 percent on the month, Economy Ministry data showed on Friday, marking their steepest fall since June 2018 and confounding forecasts for a 0.5 percent increase” gives rise to questions. We accept that we cannot predict increases and decreases to some degree, yet the stage of +0.5% against a 2.6% drop is quite another matter. I also had an issue with: “The Federal Statistics Office put the revision down to large orders for December being reported late“. I am not stating that they were misreporting to us, yet the question on the validity and quality of their forecasting pipeline shows to be more than a mere glitch, it shows that elements are either ignored or not properly doused in awareness. I am not sure which of the two is more dangerous, as the faltering positivity could also give rise to an increased risk of negated negativity through managed unawareness. I do not believe that either form exists by itself. I have accused some of orchestrated reporting through delayed bad news. I personally believe that this is a much larger problem in the EU, and it needs to be addressed really soon and to a much larger degree than it ever was. For that we need to make one final jump. It was last year September when Forbes gave us (at https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelfoster/2018/09/29/bernankes-2020-prediction-is-dead-wrong/#3132f00c4df5) “Something strange is happening in the investment-bank and hedge-fund world: a growing sense that the next recession (which, by the way, Wall Street has long been wrongly predicting for years) finally has a due date: 2020“. By itself it is not really an issue in any way shape or form. We have all seen these predictions, all based on actual numbers before. I made a similar prediction before Forbes got there (yay me), yet when we see: “the likelihood of a 2020 recession has risen due to, among other things, a tight labour market and higher borrowing costs“, as well as “former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is getting in on the act, saying a boom “is going to hit the economy in a big way this year and next year. Then in 2020, Wile E. Coyote is going to go off the cliff“, we see a lot of it coming to fruition at present and still the ECB pushes forward? We understand that this should be about actual data and not predictions, yet the numbers have been towards the negative for some time now and pushing for more stimuli whilst there is enough data to see it as folly to become reality is another matter entirely. There is a play handed out to players, whilst whomever owns the bank is seeing exactly which player has which card and the players are kept in the dark that the banks have camera’s looking over the shoulder of every player, which indicates that the banks can decide at any moment to sell short the play made by any player. It is great to be told that you can bluff, whilst the bank gets to see the cards all the players have. So the bank decides to set a stimulus play whilst they know that all players have losing hands, how does that go over with the players in the room?

And we allow these banks to be elected to set the stage as such in the first place?

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Media, Politics

Gangsters of tomorrow?

I was alerted to an article regarding ‘Facebook labelled ‘digital gangsters’ by report on fake news‘ on LinkedIn. The article (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/feb/18/facebook-fake-news-investigation-report-regulation-privacy-law-dcms) is an interesting read, but there are issues (they always are). First of all Facebook is not innocent, Facebook has bungled a few items and they have done so several times, we have all seen that. Yet the report (at https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmcumeds/1791/1791.pdf) has a few issues too and it starts in the summary. It starts with “We have always experienced propaganda and politically-aligned bias, which purports to be news, but this activity has taken on new forms and has been hugely magnified by information technology and the ubiquity of social media. In this environment, people are able to accept and give credence to information that reinforces their views, no matter how distorted or inaccurate, while dismissing content with which they do not agree as ‘fake news’. This has a polarising effect and reduces the common ground on which reasoned debate, based on objective facts, can take place“, the issues here are:

  1. Magnified by information technology and the ubiquity of social media.
  2. People are able to accept and give credence to information that reinforces their views.
  3. Dismissing content with which they do not agree as ‘fake news’.
  4. Reduces the common ground on which reasoned debate, based on objective facts, can take place.

First of all, these are not lies, they are correct as elements. Yet we need to take another look at these issues. In the first the common side of social media is the part that makes all people talk to one another, even as we agree that when it comes to the display of news people do not really tend to talk, they often merely voice an opinion or a thought. Having an actual conversation in mobile distance based events is as rare of finding a £10 in the jeans you just took out of the washing machine. The second is obvious, it always has been so even before the age of social media, and the difference is that they now voice it to thousands of people at the same time, exposing millions of people to millions of voiced views. When it comes to item three, try to find an accepted labour idea in a conservative house of commons and vice versa, debunking each other’s views is a state of active mind and the non-elected get to have a lot more attention than the elected one (a weird logical truth), it has been the clear path of exposure since even before WW2, the fact that the loudest voice gets the room is not new, it is merely the fact that we get to hear twenty thousand loud mouthing opinions. It is number 4 that is the one issue that gives additional rise to the first three. When I search ‘News’ in Facebook I get the BBC, Nine News, ABC News, News.com.au, and several more. Yet the issue is not that they are there, it is what they state is very much the issue and the report is seemingly interestingly ignoring that part.

For News.com.au I get ‘Kate Ritchie smokin’ undies shoot‘ linking to: ‘Nova radio host Kate Ritchie stars in sexy underwear campaign‘, ‘Woolworths to axe $1-a-litre fresh milk but Coles refusing to follow’, and ‘Sailor from World War II kissing photo dies at age 95’, so as ‘news value’ goes, the value of news is very much a discussion a well, these organisation use social media to the max as to increase exposure to self, which is what it is supposed to do, the committee seems to have forgotten that part. The BBC is all about news, even as ’50 Cent: Claims police told to ‘shoot’ rapper investigated’ stands out a bit (it is still news). 9 News gets the attention with: “Human remains have been found during the search for a woman who went missing more than 300km away, with two people in custody over her suspicious disappearance“, it is all about the clicks as the article (on their site) gives us from the beginning “Human remains have been found in Victoria’s east“, the news themselves are exploiting social media to improve circulation (clicks are everything), yet that part is missing in all this. When it comes to ‘fake news’ the media is equally to blame, yet that part was clearly missed by the committee.

And as we see the news “There’s nothing new about personalised number plates, but soon drivers will be able to go a step further and add emojis!“, all this 2 hours ago whilst,

  • Hamas enlists female participation in border riots
  • London social housing block residents warn of ‘death trap’ conditions
  • Terror expert warns Sweden against repatriating Syria jihadists

They are merely three out of a whole range of news items that do not make it to social media. The issue of ‘the common ground on which reasoned debate‘ requires a much wider base and the media is not using social media for that, it makes the media equally to blame, a part that has not been put under the spotlight either. The media uses social media as it is supposed to be used and it seems that the committee is a little too much in the dark there.

On page 10 we get: “In our Interim Report, we disregarded the term ‘fake news’ as it had “taken on a variety of meanings, including a description of any statement that is not liked or agreed with by the reader” and instead recommended the terms ‘misinformation’ and ‘disinformation’. With those terms come “clear guidelines for companies, organisations and the Government to follow” linked with “a shared consistency of meaning across the platforms, which can be used as the basis of regulation and enforcement”.” You see ‘fake news’ is at the heart of the matter and when we see ‘disregarded’, as well as ‘a variety of meanings’ we get the first part that this is about slamming Facebook (always entertaining mind you), yet the media is at the heart of the matter and they too need to be held to account in all this. It is enhanced by statement 16 on the next page: “proliferation of online harms is made more dangerous by focussing specific messages on individuals as a result of ‘micro-targeted messaging’“, it sounds nice until you realise that the media themselves are doing this too, so the overall view gets to be skewed by the media from the start. So consider ‘Start-up founder says employees should only work six-hour days’, whilst in the text we see (amongst more) “Next, we should cut down or get rid of tasks that “don’t add value” such as slashing wasteful meetings in half and switching off distracting notifications. For process-oriented jobs, Mr Glaveski said it was a good idea to automate where possible, and where it wasn’t, the option of outsourcing should be explored“, which largely impedes the existence of places like IBM, Microsoft, and a few other large players. Yet the idea is concept based and the optional loss of 25% income is not expressed as to the stage of who can afford to continue on that premise.

In all this, the media has its own need for micro-targeted messaging, where that ends is not a given and that part does not matter,  it does matter that the message micro and macro is enhanced by the media themselves, yet where is their part mentioned in all that?

When the reports finally makes it to Data use and Data targeting we get: “We have instigated criminal proceedings and referred issues to other regulators and law enforcement agencies as appropriate. And, where we have found no evidence of illegality, we have shared those findings openly. Our investigation uncovered significant issues, negligence and contraventions of the law“, which we wold expect, yet in light of the larger issue where we see: “the use of data analytics for political purposes, which started in May 2017. It states that it “had little idea of what was to come. Eighteen months later, multiple jurisdictions are struggling to retain fundamental democratic principles in the fact of opaque digital technologies”“, I taught it 20 years ago, although not in a political setting, yet the use of data analysis was used in political fields as early as the mid 80’s, so the confusion is a little weird, especially when the footnote linked to the report (at https://ico.org.uk/media/action-weve-taken/2260271/investigation-into-the-use-of-data-analytics-in-political-campaigns-final-20181105.pdf) gives us on page 8: “Particular concerns include the purchasing of marketing lists and lifestyle information from data brokers without sufficient due diligence, a lack of fair processing and the use of third party data analytics companies, with insufficient checks around consent“, the issue not given is that marketing lists have been available for 20 years, laws had the option of being adjusted for well over 15 years, yet the players only realised too late (some never did) how affordable Facebook and other social media players made this route towards creating awareness, as well as using media to adjust a person’s view became a cheap solution for political players that had little or no budget. The paths were there for well over a decade and nothing was done, now Facebook is lashed at whilst the lists of Dunnhumby and like-minded owners (Dutch Airmiles) and several others are ignored to a larger degree, a path that has been open to adjustment for decades. The law could have been adjusted, but no one bothered, now we see the impact and the lashing out at Facebook, whilst the players were clueless to the largest extent, the 2015 evidence seen as we see: ‘dunnhumby: how Tesco destroyed £1.3bn of value in 9 months‘, the initial moment already showed the failing of insight (as I saw the entire Tesco disaster unfold when it happened in 2015), and with:

In haste to ready Dunnhumby for sale, Tesco made two critical errors that left the company unsellable:

First, Tesco terminated its 50/50 joint venture with Kroger, instead restructuring in such a way that Kroger bought out Tesco and formed a new wholly-owned data company called 84.51°. In this new arrangement, Dunnhumby USA retained its other clients and was now free to pursue new business with Kroger competitors, but no lost its access to Kroger’s customer data.

Second, Tesco capped the length of time that Dunnhumby would have exclusive rights to use the data from the 16 million Tesco Clubcard users. As outlined above, Dunnhumby relies on this data not only to derive profits from its partnership with Tesco but also from reselling this data to the manufacturers.

(source: https://digit.hbs.org/submission/dunnhumby-how-tesco-destroyed-1-3bn-of-value-in-9-months/) we see just how clueless the larger players have been and there are additional questions that this committee should be able to answer, yet they cannot and as you can read they decided not to address any of it.

Its members:

  • Damian Collins MP (Conservative, Folkestone and Hythe) (Chair)
  • Clive Efford MP (Labour, Eltham)
  • Julie Elliott MP (Labour, Sunderland Central)
  • Paul Farrelly MP (Labour, Newcastle-under-Lyme)
  • Simon Hart MP (Conservative, Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire)
  • Julian Knight MP (Conservative, Solihull)
  • Ian C. Lucas MP (Labour, Wrexham)
  • Brendan O’Hara MP (Scottish National Party, Argyll and Bute)
  • Rebecca Pow MP (Conservative, Taunton Deane)
  • Jo Stevens MP (Labour, Cardiff Central)
  • Giles Watling MP (Conservative, Clacton)

They should also be held to a much higher account, as I personally see this situation. Not that they have done anything wrong officially. Yet the consideration that we see on page 87 where we are treated to: “As we wrote in our Interim Report, digital literacy should be a fourth pillar of education, alongside reading, writing and maths. In its response, the Government did not comment on our recommendation of a social media company levy, to be used, in part, to finance a comprehensive educational framework“, the fact that digital literacy is missing on a global scale is a much larger concern, one that political players on both sides of the isle in the House of Commons seem to have been ignoring to the largest extent. It should be part of primary school education nowadays, yet it is not.

We see supporting evidence in the ‘Impact of social media and screen-use on young people’s health‘ publication. When we read: “In 2017, however, the Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, reported that children were “not being equipped with adequate skills to negotiate their lives online” and that they needed help from adults to “develop resilience and the ability to interact critically with the world”“, we see one part, it comes from oral evidence Q566, which gives us the question by Stephen Metcalfe ‘There is a lot of emphasis on preparing children and young people for a digital life—on making them digitally literate. What do you think digital literacy actually means? What are the boundaries? What should we be teaching them, and at what age should we start?‘, the response is “A report I put out earlier this year, “Life in Likes,” which dealt with eight to 12-year-olds, focused heavily on emotional literacy. Schools seem to have done a decent job in looking at safety online. Children will now tell you that you should not put out a photograph of you wearing your uniform. People go to great lengths to trace you. Safety within school has really progressed, but the emotional resilience to be able to deal with it is not there yet. The key age for me is about year six and year seven. Beyond that, it is to do with the mechanics: how it works and algorithms. You do get targeted with stuff. It is not just everyone getting this. There are things coming your way because the machine is set up to work out what interests you. There are things around terms and conditions and knowing what you are signing up to. We did a big piece of work last year with lawyers that reduced and simplified terms and conditions from 17 pages to one. Of course, when people read it and it says, “We own all your stuff and we’ll do what we like with it,” it gets a different response. That is probably not the thing that will make us all turn off, but it might make us think twice about what we are doing.” Longfield gives us a good, yet in this case incorrect (read; incomplete) answer.

From my point of view through the abilities within Facebook we forget that ‘There are things coming your way because the machine is set up to work out what interests you‘, yet the numbers do not add up, you see the bigger issue behind it is that people can buy likes and some do, so the person clicks on something that has 50,000 likes, yet if they knew that 45,000 likes were bought they might not have clicked on it. It becomes the consideration of likes versus engagement. That elementary lack is important. Engagement is everything and in the consideration of item 4 earlier where we saw ‘reasoned debate, based on objective facts‘, we might seem to think that clicks are an objective fact, yet they are not. The amount of people engaged in the conversation is a subjective fact, yet an actual fact, bought clicks are not and that is an important failure in all this. So when we are confronted with upcoming 2% digital services tax, which is merely a cost of doing business, whilst the lack of digital literacy that is spawned from a lack of education is a difference that most are not made aware of.

When we finally get to the Conclusions and recommendations we might focus on: “Social media companies cannot hide behind the claim of being merely a ‘platform’ and maintain that they have no responsibility themselves in regulating the content of their sites. We repeat the recommendation from our Interim Report that a new category of tech company is formulated, which tightens tech companies’ liabilities, and which is not necessarily either a ‘platform’ or a ‘publisher’. This approach would see the tech companies assume legal liability for content identified as harmful after it has been posted by users. We ask the Government to consider this new category of tech company in its forthcoming White Paper” we do see a truth, yet again an incomplete one. The media is equally to blame and not holding them to account, letting them focus on populist views and pressures (apart from the authentic news bringers like the BBC, Washington Post and the Guardian), we are pushed into a skewed view from the very beginning, that part was equally important and avoided throughout the report. For example the Daily Mail gives us ‘amazing footage‘ of ‘Heartwarming moment Syria’s White Helmets rescue two puppies from being crushed to death by rubble after a building was torn apart by heavy shelling‘, yet the news given several hours ago ‘Saudi Arabia has provided more than $13 billion in support to Yemen since 2014‘ never made it did it? The Daily mail was all about on how to not open a beer keg (by making a hole in the side using a spigot and a piece of wood) and ignoring ‘UK-based man charged with inciting attack in Germany‘ (source: Washington Post). So when it comes to the entire matter of social media and their ability of being merely a ‘platform’ (which they are) the accountability of the media as a whole is a much larger failure and the fact that the committee decided to leave that on the side invalidates the report to a much larger degree (not completely though) as I personally see it.

Facebook might not be innocent, yet the media as a whole is just as guilty. They have made the consideration of what is ‘fake news’ a much larger issue. The few that do a good job are filtered into silence by the hundreds of media outlets that do what social media is supposed to do, create awareness of self through promotion of ‘self’ on a granular population, as granular as possible.

The fact that the word ‘engagement‘ is only seen three times in the report, ‘click‘ is only seen twice, ‘filter‘ (like: filtering, filtered) is seen once and so is ‘selected‘, yet the last word is not see in regards to what the user of a social media account chose to observe.

All elements at the very foundation of: ‘Disinformation and ‘fake news’‘, in that light, just how valid is that report and what else are the people not made aware of? So in light of the members of that committee and the amount of money they made (and the costs that they gave the taxpayers) through lunches, travel expenses and all other forms of remunerations: Can we get that back please?

 

Leave a comment

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

Evolving an infrastructure

The news is all over the place when it comes to Saudi Arabia. Reuters (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-saudi-defense-naval/saudi-arabia-signs-warship-construction-deal-with-frances-naval-group-idUSKCN1Q60B0), with the headline ‘Saudi Arabia signs warship construction deal with France’s Naval Group‘, then there is Arab News giving us (at http://www.arabnews.com/node/1453471/saudi-arabia) ‘Saudi crown prince oversees $20bn of deals with Pakistan‘, all opportunities lost to the US and Europe (well most of Europe). A lot of it is ‘part of its efforts to develop domestic manufacturing capabilities‘, which they have been very clear about for some time now. All options lost. In part to the circus that Turkey had put in place. Some give us: ‘Turkey Has Not Revealed All About Khashoggi Killing: President Erdogan‘, others give us: ‘Khashoggi’s remains may have been burned in well‘, items like ‘not all revealed‘, ‘may have been‘, as well as a few other implied making statements that leave too much doubt on the matter. The fact that Turkey apparently has not revealed all implies orchestration. As the lackey of Iran it makes perfect sense, the fact that the media has been skating around that issue for months now does not. The fact that Turkey is trying to push the US, whilst they should have revealed all the facts and evidence is a much larger issue.

Let’s be clear, I am not stating that Saudi Arabia is innocent (because I cannot tell), I am not stating that nothing happened (something happened that is clear, what exactly happened is another matter), I am merely claiming that there are too many issues in all this from the very beginning. When it comes to the media, we see close to 18 million placements on ‘Kim Kardashian’ and ‘boobs’, we see 889,000 placements on ‘Jamal Khashoggi’ and ‘tapes’, yet how many made a critical analyses on the tapes? We see mention in papers on: “a man alleged to be Maher Mutreb, the suspected coordinator of the mission who worked for some time in the kingdom’s embassy in London, is quoted as replying to the Washington Post columnist“, we see ‘alleged’, so how were the tapes critically analysed? We also see: “The report adds that a later recording captures another “hitman”, Mustafa al-Madani, who was used as a body double to Khashoggi, saying: “It’s really creepy that I am wearing the clothes of someone who was killed minutes ago.”” as we see ‘a later recording’ should that not be one and the same recording? Then there is ‘transcript of a tape recording’, the fact that it is stated to be ‘a recording’ not ‘the recording’ is also mind for analyses and that list goes on.

We see claims by a Kardashian getting numerous cross references, with Khashoggi there is a consistent stream of doubts and debatable issues. As I stated, I am not saying nothing happened, I am merely wondering what actually happened. The fact that Turkey goes crying to USA to put pressure on Saudi Arabia merely gives more and more debate and debatable doubt to the entire setting. We also see the mention at the UN of “The Special Rapporteur travelled to Ankara and Istanbul with British Baroness Helena Kennedy, a forensics expert who sits in the House of Lords, and homicide investigator Paul Johnston“, yet in the BBC we see: “Evidence suggests the murder of Jamal Khashoggi was planned at the highest level, Baroness Helena Kennedy says“, yet here the BBC states ‘evidence suggests’, which is something different from ‘Evidence shows beyond reasonable doubt’ and for the most that should initially suffice if the stakes were not too high for comfort. In the UK the Press Gazette gives us: “After an initial examination of the evidence, Callamard found that Khashoggi was the victim of a “brutal and premeditated killing planned and perpetrated by officials of the state of Saudi Arabia”“, yet when we look on we also get claims on quotes made in 2017. All an emotional package to push us in a certain direction, and whilst we might accept: “Woefully inadequate time and access was granted to Turkish investigators to conduct a professional and effective crime-scene examination and search required by international standards for investigation,” the fact is that the event occurred on Saudi territory and the Turkish government has no jurisdiction there. If there was such a level of evidence with the tapes, they would have been made public, yet we see more and more games played by the Turkish government making the issue debatable again and again. We can argue that if they had gone out and revealed everything, the entire setting would be different. They basically invalidated themselves with all the preposterous claims.

This is when we go by the source I used (at https://pressgazette.co.uk/jamal-khashoggi-un-saudi-investigation/). As stated there are issues, there really are, but the emotional games played using the media takes away a lot of credibility. As we were shown “Germany halted arms exports to Saudi Arabia over what it said was the uncertainty surrounding the murder“, we now see well over $20 billion in deals going to other places. That is the name of the game. The issues are important because the governments being holier than though, yet refusing to hold Turkey to account over well over 200 incarcerated journalists is part of the entire package. It comes across as a mockery when we get treated to Turkish journalist Nazli Ilicak who is now apparently serving life plus 6 years in prison. Now we can agree that one should not be the other and I would agree with this. Yet the fact that there is doubt on many levels and the fact that the media kept on shouting and screaming ‘alleged‘ as well as ‘according to unnamed sources‘ whilst there is all kinds of issues in several directions is also a reason for some to not include certain parties. We can argue the same part in the stage with the USA, when we consider “The US Senate, in a largely symbolic gesture, voted in December to end US military support for the war in Yemen and blame the Saudi crown prince for the murder of Khashoggi“, this whilst we can agree that a partial case can be made for the Yemen conflict, the fact remains that the Houthi forces have been receiving support from both Iran as well as terrorist organisation Hezbollah, making the withdrawal by the US a bit questionable (yet not invalid), as for blaming the Crown Prince whilst there has been no evidence showing his involvement is just slightly too silly. If there was clear evidence beyond all reasonable doubt that would be one part, but that part has not been given, now once in 16 weeks makes the claim silly, France was happy though, so there is that to consider.

There is still space for the Dutch if they reconsider a few places. I am decently certain that Saudi Arabia would love to get their ships upgraded with the Dutch Goalkeeper system which is (for the most) a defensive system. And that is merely the defence part, there is a much larger goal for Saudi Arabia and the Dutch could become contenders is a few ways. And in regards to the stage, is being critical about what is written that bad a position to have? I am not stating avoiding writing anything, merely be clear and produce evidence, if we demand it in some directions, should that same request not be in all directions?

The issues evolve even now. As we were introduced to: “Jubeir said the public prosecutor responsible for the case had sought evidence from Turkey but had received no response” is the reference to Adel al-Jubeir, Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs. The fact that evidence is not shared is also an issue; it could imply that there is no evidence at all making this hot potato no longer a potato, but a disaster in the making. If the evidence was so clear, it would have been in Turkey’s interest to share it with the world and all the media (to some degree), the media will refer to the event as leaking (like they normally do). I wonder when all the facts are clearly published, what would be left?

The fact that News24 also gives us “The CIA has concluded the Saudi operation was likely directed by the powerful crown prince” is now a growing concern. It is not ‘beyond all reasonable doubt‘, it is not ‘on the likelihood of probability‘ it is merely ‘was likely directed‘, implying that evidence is missing on a whole range of issues. So when we see all the unsupported accusations, all the calls for ending cooperation with Saudi Arabia, are we even surprised that Saudi Arabia is spending their cash somewhere else? And when we see the 500 billion and 185 billion go to alternative places, how will that impact economies? To be honest, I would love to get my fingers on the full report of homicide investigator Paul Johnston. It might clear up a whole truckload of issues, and perhaps leave too much reasonable doubt. I honestly do not know, yet I would love to find out.

So when we see that here truly is too much reasonable doubt and when the US hopes to make deals for the good of the economy, we will see what the decisions form Riyadh will be. The fact that 8 hours ago the news as given with ‘Sultan Bin Salman reviews prospects of cooperation with Russian space officials‘ is from my point of view a first message that Saudi Arabia is seeking more interactions on a global scale (read alternative cooperation partners), the fact that it is not going to Europe or the US should be a clear indication that there are troubles brewing under the Saudi sands, and more is coming when we look at the upcoming cutbacks that NASA will be facing.

When we see the amount of evolution that Saudi Arabia is trying to give its own infrastructure should be a massive input towards global economies, but so far the players needing it the most end up with the least, it could of course be a coincidence, but when we realise that it is not, can we actually place any blame, or should we merely blame our own politicians for bluffing whilst holding merely a pair of threes, I will let you decide on that one.

Too many questions and a lack of clear reporting contributed to all this, of that I personally have little to no doubt at all.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Law, Military, Politics

Two sides of currency

There was more news yesterday. The article that gave me the previous view has been updated with a new one (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/feb/16/shamima-begum-isis-extremism-expert-criticises-sajid-javid). At the foundation of it is the view of Hanif Qadir, CEO of the Active Change Foundation. I disagree with him on a few levels. Now before I begin, we need to look at his ‘resume’, this is important in this case. As such we see: “Hanif once joined Al Qaeda members in Afghanistan, but was deterred by the crimes he saw being committed against civilians and turned his back on them. Upon his return to the UK, he vowed to safeguard young men and women from similar experiences, losing their lives and harming their communities. Having a unique understanding and hard-won experience of the modus operandi of Al Qaeda / ISIS inspired groups and individuals, he is now recognized as arguably the best violent extremist and de-radicalization expert in Europe“, the important part is that he knows the game, he knows what is at stake, yet I still disagree.

When we see: “Hanif Qadir said Sajid Javid’s reaction to the teenager’s predicament fed the narrative of Isis. On Friday Javid said he “would not hesitate” to prevent the return of UK Isis recruits, an approach at odds with Begum’s family in Bethnal Green, east London, who want the 19-year-old to return home “as a matter of urgency”“, I am with Javid on this. In addition there is: “Javid is fuelling the [Isis] narrative and giving wind to the sails of other extremists. If we continue with this trajectory we’ll be sowing the narrative for them to reap and use against us“, it is a fair enough view to have, but that is the setting when all was ‘well’ with ISIS, ISIL, Al Qaeda and such. This is no longer the case. They are not defeated, that much is certain, yet the world is very aware on how desperate they have become. The next part we see is: “If the government doesn’t change their approach to this, we potentially have a second wave of Isis coming, the connecting up and reloading of Isis, fence-sitters who are more sympathetic to another kind of narrative” and finally we get: “Baroness Sal Brinton, president of the Lib Dems, who described Begum’s radicalisation as a form of grooming. “We know that in that particular school three girls went [to join Islamic State], but probably more were approached. Surely our child protection laws have to kick in. As she returns we should look at what happens, as she was 15, and what happened out there“. I think that the cure is much simpler. It is called targeted killing, it is a simple path; if Shamima Begum wants back she has to earn this. As the Baroness points out (a little clumsy) we understand that there was grooming, we know that there was a stage, the fact that 15 year old girls got to fly to Turkey, had access to her passport, got to travel via smugglers, into Syria implies that they have optional intelligence value. It is the price for life, plain and simple. The message needs to be clear and without any level of reservation. Those who embrace terrorism will be hunted down and put to death. The European governments have a clear responsibility to its citizens. And here we see a clear field where we do not negotiate with terrorists. There cannot be a stage of some level of ‘biased’ mercy. People like Shamima Begum will optionally open options for ISIS and become the second wave. It is almost damned if they do and damned if they don’t, in this case the setting of not allowing them back, or merely long term imprisoned might be the safest route in all this.

And again we see the failing of the EU. when we see: “In Brussels the focus has been on trying to raise standards in the swift sharing of information among EU member states, and its dissemination to border databases should there be an uncontrolled wave of returnees“, we think that we are seeing something novel, yet the dangers had been shown since 2012. One year after the Syrian war there was a massive drive of refugees. In December 2012 the number of refugee’s trying to find alternative living had surpassed 500,000. At that point there was the already growing concern that if only 0.1% was ISIS minded, there would be a massive security concern in Europe, the fact that we now see ‘the focus has been on trying to raise standards in the swift sharing of information‘ is evidence that the EU has been sitting on their hands for too long a time, whilst those sitting on their hands remained to be well paid, and you still think Brexit is a bad idea? The intelligence failing in Europe had taken monumental proportions in 2014 as the Greek-Turkish events took a larger stage. Merely 4 years and as it seemingly shows, not actual quality improvement. That is the danger that the UK faces as an Island and ISIS is too large a problem to ignore, whether they get defeated or not, the timeline shows that splinter groups will form and they will take a slow silent step hoping that governments will fall asleep again, people like Shamima Begum will assist in making that happen. So when I see: “Although Begum is likely to be traumatised, Qadir said that if she received the right mentoring, counselling and passed through the necessary security protocols, she could be successfully rehabilitated“, I see a failing in the making. At this point I completely disagree with Hanif Qadir. Only the ego driven and their need for justification will give us the story that they can rehabilitate her. There are too many pressure points for Shamima Begum. At some point some radicalised person will find a way to blame the Europeans and Americans for the loss of her two children and the cloud of terror will be on route to disaster. In addition, she will need to be monitored 24:7 for years to come, if her family failed her once, it will do so again. She will play nice the first 18 months, yet at some point, she will be ‘woken up’ and that is when the problem starts. It is amazing how people cannot learn that lesson. They seem to focus on 9/11, focus on Syria and forget about the sarin attacks (in Syria), they focus on events that the media exploded on mental health cases like Sydney Martin Place, and forget the Charlie Hebdo shooting of January 2015 to a much larger degree. Two people, Saïd and Chérif Kouachi were able to kill 12 and injure 11. What is the damage when 6-8 start having fun with a Belgium FN MAG? Consider that I could with decent ammo, set the stage for a (800 m – 1,200 m) slaughter spree in London, and consider what would not be in range on that distance? It is a direct option for hundreds of deaths in the shortest time. Now consider the impact on tourism and economy if 6-8 did that. I used this example as it is relatively easy to get a hold of one in India, Egypt, and China. Consider that ISIS still has a logistic system in place and until it is utterly destroyed weapons like that can make it into Europe a lot easier than you think. Now consider that one attack will impact a little yet 3-4 events will massively upset all lives. If you doubt that, consider how long France needed to keep its soldiers in the street, merely to make the people feel safer. Consider that impact in London, Amsterdam, Manchester and Birmingham. It will end up doing a lot more than merely spook Europeans.

If a tiger gets out of the zoo, you would like to catch it, when 3 run amok you either consider the death of the visitors, or shoot to kill as soon as you can. We would all like to hide behind the tranquiliser gun, but when there is more than one, the danger of mass carnage becomes a little too large for comfort. You can do this exercise yourself. When you are in a zoo (any zoo that has a tiger), consider three tigers to get out, how much time will you get to get yourself and optionally your children safe, actually safe? How many will not make it? Try doing it on a summer day when the zoo is filled with children on school excursions. How many do you expect to die?

That is the actual situation, yet the area is not a zoo, it is a city filled with people and the members of ISIS are in their stage of ‘doing the will of Allah‘ in the end being nothing more than rabid animals. They will kill indiscriminately. We sometimes look back to videos like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LItKd2VE-NE, yet these are seemingly the most humane ones. Sources filter the video’s away as soon as they can (which we understand completely) and as such we have no reference just how inhumane the actions of these terrorists are, and as the spoof video’s come (like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Momc2e1wHG8) we end up merely persuading ourselves that it is all a joke, yet it is not. The problem is when it happens, the moment you get the real deal the first thing you will do is blame someone else, it was their fault. It is not, you will be just as much to blame as anyone else. So when we consider: “Ferdinand Grapperhaus, recently braved the critics by revealing that the government was cooperating with local authorities in Syria for the return of women accused of Isis membership and their children, and if this woman is shown to be involved with ISIS in any capacity, at that point will you blame Ferdinand Grapperhaus for allowing this to happen, or will you blame yourself for getting him elected? The problem is that until something happens there is no issue, it is the hidden trap. In my personal opinion, anyone who sided with ISIS remains a danger, to others and optionally to themselves as well. Normally we have systems in place, when someone is a mental health problem we have procedures, we have support systems in place. When they actively engage with ISIS, ISIL and Al Qaeda in the attack on others, either directly on the front lines or in support functions behind the lines, we have nothing and weirdly enough, it is the ISIS support people that become the larger problem down the line, they can really rack up the damage in whatever nation they end up living in.

That is the currency we all forget, that is the danger we allow others to be confronted with and that is why I am in opposition of Hanif Qadir and Baroness Sal Brinton.

Have a great Sunday

 

1 Comment

Filed under Law, Media, Military, Politics

Living with choices made

We do that at times, we also endure the bitter fruits that we gained from choices. I made some myself, in two cases I trusted the wrong person and it costed me dearly, an invoice payable over decades. I get that, it was my choice, I was an adult and therefor I accept to live with the choice made. It is partially the reason I go out and expose bullshit artists’ because of the dangers that they represent, as well as their friends who knowingly stand by them. So when I saw ‘UK will not put officials at risk to rescue Isis Britons, says minister‘, the article (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/feb/14/uk-isis-britons-officials-risk-syria-schoolgirl-shamima-begum) gives us “I’m not putting at risk British people’s lives to go looking for terrorists or former terrorists in a failed state,” I personally believe that this makes perfect sense. Some might have a bleeding heart when they see: “it was revealed Shamima Begum, one of three pupils from Bethnal Green, east London, who left to join Isis four years ago, told the Times she wanted to return to the UK“, yet there is no way to tell how radicalised she has become. In addition, even as we accept that “Wallace said that as a British citizen, Begum had a right to return home, but anyone who joined Isis should expect to be investigated, interviewed and “at the very least prosecuted” on their return“, we also need to accept that would need to be under scrutiny for some time to come, she is optionally a direct threat to the Britons around her and as such her return also means putting pressure on the budgets of GCHQ and MI5, so there is that to consider. Now, I am not stating that is a reason to keep her out, yet when people state that they are so adult, so well informed and go to places like ISIS Syria, getting married to a Muslim she did not know, have three children with two of them dead is the lifestyle she chose. In addition there is another matter that I had not considered. Even if she is not radicalised, Sir Peter Fahy (former chief constable of Greater Manchester police) gives us: “The biggest challenge if she did come back will be how the police will keep her safe and how she wouldn’t be some sort of lightning rod for both Islamic and far-right extremists“, as an optional catalyst she becomes a new threat on other levels too, as stated, that was something I had not considered and it is important to see that as a matter that could lead its own life. In all the papers and media events we focussed on radicalisation and we forgot that the threat of being a catalyst is actually a larger issue to consider.

And the news is now pouring in from all sides regarding Amira Abase, Shamima Begum and Kadiza Sultana. As all focus on Begum, we know that Kadiza Sultana is dead, the other two were alive in August 2018, and the present status of Amira Abase will be looked at in the near future. My reasons for having the position that I am showing to have is that all need to be held accountable for their actions, not merely governments and large corporations, individuals as well. So when we see “Aqsa Mahmood, a former Scottish university student, has been put under international sanctions for her role as an online recruiter, with other female jihadists including Khadijah Dare and Sally-Anne Jones have called for terror attacks on social media and called on other women to follow them to Syria” (source: the Independent), we need to realise that a governments job is to keep its citizens safe, with the danger of radicalisation and being a catalyst becoming too large a danger, there is everything to be said to leave these people to their fate, so they either become a danger or they die. It seems a simple equation. Yet, we know it is not. The move by more and more Muslim girls (and women) from the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands to step onto the ISIS platform is a given stage for dangers, more than we see at first light. You might think of Robert Ben Lobban Wallace being a softy, think again, he is Sandhurst trained, and a Scots Guard commander with 24 years of intelligence experience. He knows what he is in for and he is more aware of most on the dangers that former ISIS women present. That needs to be taken into consideration before we give rise to: ‘Let Shamima Begum come back, say Bethnal Green residents‘ (the Guardian), ‘British schoolgirl who fled London to join IS pleads to come home to have her baby‘ (News.com.au) and ‘UK schoolgirl Shamima Begum who fled to join Islamic State ‘wants to return home to England’‘ (ABC). you see, the moment she is back and some misguided catalyst event explodes (optionally very literally), we will get all the accusations and all the pointing fingers of a failed police force, yet from my point of view, the people of Bethnal Green will not be allowed to complain. It will be the direct consequence of ‘let her come back‘ and the family members of those victims can ask those people for reparations and grief counselling. So as we see the impact of Shamima Begum (19) mother of three with optionally only one child left alive is seeing the impact of what she thought would be a fairy tale in ISIS. The people who stayed awake have been aware of the danger that ISIS is more than half a decade before she left, she merely listened to the wrong people and it got her family and optionally soon enough her killed. That is the impact of terrorism.

ABC News also gives us: “Independent of this, Home Secretary Sajid Javid is expected to weigh in on whether Ms Begum should have the right to return to the UK, along with intelligence agencies MI5 and MI6 and counterterrorism police, who are anticipated to conduct further investigations into potential dangers Ms Begum could pose to the UK“, the issue is not merely that, the words of Sir Peter Fahy are important too, it is not merely what she does, it is what triggers others to do because of her that counts too and that is where the problem begins. This is not merely come algorithm, it is the dimensional impact that others will trigger at her presence, merely via news, or by seeing her. The part that is not about whether she was ISIS, but the part where others see her as a member of ISIS until she is dead, that is the larger issue and there is no way to set that stage in a dependable way. It is like fishing for sharks in the North Sea. You can go to places where they are most likely to be found, yet throwing out bait and a fishing line does not give rise to catching a shark, you could end up with another fish entirely.

It is in that light that I oppose the view of Amina Mohamed, 52, a housewife, who gave us in the guardian: “She was a baby, she didn’t know what was going on there. People played a game with her and brainwashed her. She was a child“, she made a very clear choice, she decided not to listen to her parents, and it is actually that simple. I do not have much on the parents of Shamima Begum, yet the Evening Standard gave us: ‘after deceiving their parents‘, so in all that, it seems to me that a choice was made and as such, they will have to live with the consequences that they created at the age of 15.

The BBC (at https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-47240100) if the sides in all this as even as there are sides that give rise to the responsibility of the British government, the question that we cannot answer is how radicalised has she become? The fact that we see: “She and two friends – Amira Abase and Kadiza Sultana – flew from Gatwick Airport to Turkey after lying to their parents about their plans for the day. Their aim was to join another friend, Sharmeena Begum“, there is a part that is seemingly ignored by a few people. Not only did was she able to get to Turkey (so they had passports and they tend to take a while, and apart from the fact that an unsupervised minor got one), the fact that the BBC gives us: “The trio were picked up by smugglers working for the IS group and taken across the border into the group’s territory in northern Syria” that there was a logistical support system in place that set the stage for minors to get to Syria from Turkey, the costs that is involved (three times £175 plus additional expenses), the fact that Gatwick raised no questions on unaccompanied minors, the smugglers they willingly followed (so waiting at the airport), there is a larger support system in place for this. There was a recruitment drive and there is a financial stage in all this. There are clear reasons that no one on the ISIS side wants her to be able to talk to MI5, so the issue is not that clear and it is a lot more hazardous for those around any of the optional two still alive that make it back to the UK, so from where I stand, I see that Sir Peter Fahy is correct in several ways.

Investigating these elements should be high on the priority list and they might be, yet the coverage I have seen so far does not ask any of those questions, do they?

I do realise that the entire matter is more complex that this, yet the fact that dissemination of information is lacking levels of scrutiny is a larger issue that needs to be addressed. To see this, we need to consider to parts, first a local one. In Australia Jenny McAllister has voted very strongly against more scrutiny of intelligence services & police on several occasions. Now, that is her right and partially it is her duty to vote one way or the other. Then there is the Financial Times two weeks ago who gave us: ‘Foreign Office criticised over scrutiny of UK spy agencies‘ (at https://www.ft.com/content/4a1cc4e6-2619-11e9-b329-c7e6ceb5ffdf) and we see: “The two agencies use section seven of the 1994 Intelligence Services Act, often referred to as the “James Bond clause”, to authorise activities overseas that might otherwise lead to criminal and civil liability under UK law“, yet in the same trend we see a lack of questions when it can be established that 15 year old girls are recruited in the UK, there is a logistical support system to get them to Syria and the media seems to remain oblivious to a much larger degree (it is the people need not know approach) to something much more pressing in all that. I must have forgotten the lessons on common law regarding the recruitment of children for criminal purpose, how did that go again?

So when I see: “Such missions could include MI6 agents breaking into properties in foreign countries to obtain documents or GCHQ infiltrating computers and networks in ways that might otherwise fall foul of UK laws“, which is a larger implication when a 19 year old is having her third child and it raises no questions, especially as the marriage might be seen as illegal?

At that point my question towards Dan Dolan, deputy director at Reprieve, who is so about doing the right ‘thing’, will be about: What should we do? How far are we allowed to go to prevent recruitment and radicalisation of minors straight out of primary school? How far are we allowed to go to keep British children safe? I think that plenty of intelligence operators lost the plot in the Huawei events (which the Financial Times endorses with a photograph), yet when it comes to threats like ISIS the intelligence industry hasn’t even seen the outer limits lights at present, I am not entirely sure if they are able to tell the colour of those lights when asked. the larger issue is that the intelligence operators are not merely walking a tightrope, they are walking one that is covered in razor blades and at any time there is not merely the risk that it cuts into the feet, it is also a risk that it cuts the rope they are walking on, giving rise to additional hazards, Shamima Begum is merely one of several risks at present and it is important to realise that a Queensberry Rules approach is not merely making us human and humane, it is getting us killed with 99% certainty, the opposition does not warrant, endorse of accepts any kind of rules. I do hope that the recruitment of 15 year old girls will suffice as evidence at present.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Media, Military, Politics