Tag Archives: USA

Short on sight, darkness without a light

It is the Washington Post who gives (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/05/22/qualcomm-violated-antitrust-law-judge-rules) a stage that is now three days old, but this is one event that keeps on getting bumped to the top of the list for a long time to come. With ‘Qualcomm violated antitrust law, judge rules‘ we see a dangerous step into a murky road, a road that is all about the bottom dollar and those who are pushing for decisions have not considered the long game and how it ends a lot more. Perhaps you remember the issue with anti-trust, why it came into existence in the first place. With “protect consumers from predatory business practices“, it is the foundation that is at play, especially when we consider the quote “U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh ruled that Qualcomm had used its monopoly power to bully companies such as Apple into overpaying for royalties on Qualcomm’s wireless inventions, ordering Qualcomm to renegotiate its business deals“. I wonder who she serves in this case, because I am personally getting the feeling that it is not the law, or the case.

To understand that you need to consider a few items, the first is Intellectual Property. Qualcomm has something everyone wants and no one bothered to redesign or improve on it, and now at the start of 5G, the bottom line of Apple, who has always been eager to bleed its consumers dry, they now see the bottom line and they feel wronged. For three generations they became iterative, and as they now have a second iMac, for sale at A$22,197.00, (mainly because of the colour I reckon). That is the joke that once was Apple. A similar PC for High end gaming will remain under $10,000 (and that is with all the bells and whistles. As apple gives us that we must pay for exclusivity, than so must they.

In addition when it comes to royalties, the judge merely needed to look at iTunes to see that the stream income has settled at $0.00735. Artists on Apple Music would need around 200,272 plays to earn the US monthly minimum wage amount. And important side part is that Apple is by no means the worst there. (Google got that distinction).

From what we see, I have a few reservations whether Justice Lucy Koh has a good view on what ‘predatory business practices are. I do not think that Qualcomm is innocent here, yet to see the example “bully companies such as Apple into overpaying for royalties” voiced, whilst from more than one direction we see that this could be a case of the pot calling the kettle Space grey.

The Post also gives us “Qualcomm is the only U.S. company making 5G chips for mobile phones, the components necessary to connect smartphones to cellular networks. The new generation of cell networks might create another round of innovation and economic growth as start-ups figure out how to use it in new products and spur the development of self-driving cars, smart appliances and remote medicine, which rely on a stable Web connection“, as well as the mention of Adam Mossoff, a law professor at George Mason University who gives us: “the FTC’s case against Qualcomm the result of “self-serving arguments by some companies looking to benefit their bottom line.”” and I agree with him. Whilst the FTC was too stupid to sound the horns when iterative technology was the key in ‘their’ profits, others realised that new borders will always come and they will be ruled by the true innovators, as this happened and that firm is not an American one, but a Chinese one. We see these cases come up so that optional momentum can be gained, all whilst Apple had 10 years to find an equal solution, to reengineer technology to equal, they never did that, they merely copied old ideas and let their marketing department spout some innovation story. To their credit Apple Marketing is extremely good at their job, so when we accept: ‘They create something that is designed to improve the lives of their customers. To market that, they create experiences that are memorable and keep people coming back‘. It is brilliant in the now, but innovation is about tomorrow and the Apple board of directors forgot about that part in 2004-2017, so they can only move forward with Qualcomm and that is hitting their bottom dollar hard, especially in 5G. That is the market and the gap between US industry and Huawei is increasing, the US is falling further behind.

Yet the bigger issue is not seen and the article was not about that, so there is no blame. The issue now is that the US is a mere 325 million and they are left in the dark that the larger world with well over 2 billion have (with the exception of politicians kissing US ass) embraced Huawei, equal or better quality at half the price, which is in light with the iMac Pro and normal maximised PC’s. True innovation sells itself, the rest needs marketing to get to the base of their revenue needs. In my case I have an older Huawei, the Nova 3i, it is older than the P30 series, yet still for the most on par with the latest android phones released this year. They learned, when others refused to learn that storage is everything to consumers, so whilst Samsung and LG started jerking around the consumers with ‘sorry, we only have a 32GB model‘, or the ‘that specific model was not available to us‘, Huawei decided to give us 128 GB (Google did a similar thing early on). The rest followed much later. The mobile industry has for the most all been about ‘Iteration to facilitate for exploitation‘ as I personally see it. Both Google and Huawei were instrumental in turning that around. So whilst I can get an iPhone for A$1,299.00, the Huawei I got has the same storage and for the most an equally able phone for A$499 (6 months ago). As we see the issue of ‘bully companies such as Apple into overpaying‘, whilst Apple has been known to be the biggest bully of all (optionally a shared #1 spot with Microsoft). It seems to me that the FTC is about the bottom line and not losing more distance with true innovators like Huawei. So when we look at the FTC and we see: “Competition in America is about price, selection, and service. It benefits consumers by keeping prices low and the quality and choice of goods and services high. By enforcing antitrust laws, the FTC helps ensure that our markets are open and free“, is the Apple iMac pro not a direct violation of that directive?

In addition, as the Trump card of bullying was given regarding Huawei, we see: “Google said complying with the ban would mean future phones sold by Huawei would be without a license for its Android operating software and would have no access to its Play app store, which would render them nearly useless“, so what happens when that becomes actuality? When Huawei has its own ‘app store’ and its own system in place? When hundreds of millions are willing to switch, what would it cost Google? What happens when we demand action on taken paths and Google is seriously impacted? Will the FTC wake up and see the folly that they created?

And let’s be clear, the biggest issue is not the Trump administration. It is the collection of technology dumb fucks (to coin a phrase) that have been so eager to rely on iteration and now that these people no longer matter in their respective board rooms, what remains? Apple relies on computers that almost no one can afford, especially as hundreds of PC assembly providers can build equal powered solutions at less than half the price, that too will impact 5G, because even as we are a mobile planet now, when we are at work (over one third of our daily life), it is the workstation and not the mobile that rules our needs.

So now as we look at the impact that 4G had with: “When the United States took the lead on 4G mobile technology, for example, it gave rise to the app economy, which is still dominated by U.S. firms, according to Cisco“, Cisco is a player there, yet with the severe vulnerabilities it showed and remains showing until the end of the year, they too are in the dump. Even now as TechTarget gives us a mere 9 hours ago: “The Cisco vulnerability fix for thrangrycat could make affected hardware unusable. But the vendor said it’s ready to replace products, if needed.” At what point do you realise when you read the article (at https://searchnetworking.techtarget.com/news/252463965/Cisco-vulnerability-fix-for-thrangrycat-carries-risks) that Cisco is not merely falling behind too, the impact that they have to deal with will hinder them for some time to come. In addition, the quote “If an affected product becomes unusable and requires a hardware replacement, it will be replaced according to the terms of the customer’s support contract or warranty,” gives rise to other considerations too. How many would sue when they lack the support contract or warranty? Let’s not forget that they have advertised for the longest of times on ‘the Trust Anchor‘. It was innovation, true innovation. But there we see how iteration can diminish innovation. Once the feature is surpassed and dealt with, the issue becomes a much larger concern. So as Cisco is trying to deal with the Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA), Huawei is moving forward another leap. Now, there is no chance that Cisco will be replaced, they are too big and they have good hardware. What do you think happened to the Samsung with their Samsung ISIS (with exploding battery), it took Samsung 2 years to recover and now they are surpassed by Apple and Huawei; that is how the cookie crumbles. Samsung is still in the race and could regain momentum (especially with the power share novelty), but it took them 2 years and now in the start of the 5G dimension, 2 years is a lifetime, it is the difference between the locomotive that drives the innovation and the caboose that gets all kinds of shit. That is the game and the US is in and not in the caboose, but on a hand trolley trying to catch up with the train that has already left the station, the US is in that deep at present.

Oh and when it comes to the FTC, as they see themselves as: ‘The FTC protects consumers by stopping unfair, deceptive or fraudulent practices in the marketplace‘, so when it comes to AT&T 5G Evolution, how much action has the FTC undertaken, whilst the media in many places have clearly stated it as deceptive conduct. Even whilst AT&T hides behind “5G Evolution is a lot more than just a name“, yet it is not 5G and the FTC remained silent on it all, which as I personally see it is all about the bottom line, as such, how much credibility does America have left? Even as Sprint and AT&T settled, Sprint was not the only player and as far as we can see the FTC did nothing, so when we see (in several sources) ‘speed tests have confirmed that AT&T’s 5GE service is no faster than LTE from Verizon and T-Mobile‘, I merely wonder how the antitrust ruling could be given whilst the market itself is in such disarray that this case should not have made it to the courts for years to come, but that is the problem with a nation that is $22,000,000,000,000 in debt, the bottom line becomes everything and the concept of the rights of any consumer will be hung out to dry until that noose has been removed from the neck of the US economy. Too bad they relied on iteration; a nation that relies on innovation might be able to move forward on its merits, an option the US seemingly no longer has at present.

So what happens when the next step is open to all non-Americans? What happens when one of the 10 competitors does come with a truly innovative step? You see that is the nice part of true innovation, what goes down, might come up, so if the setting changes and for example the Kodenshi AUK Group finds some solution in 5G that the others did not consider, how will that play out? There is a long term short sighted approach to IP and the drive to truly push it forward in a non-iterative way. The 5G players will soon and quickly learn that 5G will not have space for iteration; it would almost literally play out as: here today, gone tomorrow.

I don’t think that technological America realises that danger to the degree it needs to, that is the vibe I have been getting for a while now.

 

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Questions on coming events

I have spoken out in favour of Saudi Arabia and the issues that were thrown at them. Yet, I too look at issues from all optional sides (or at least try to do so). So when I saw Al Jazeera give us (at https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/05/saudi-arabia-execute-scholars-ramadan-report-190521165816192.html) ‘Saudi Arabia to execute three scholars after Ramadan: report‘ I started to wonder what was going on. You see, I am a Christian (Catholic), as such I am currently trying to comprehend the Muslim state of mind to a much greater degree as I refuse to give in to Islamophobia.

And as I see: “Sheikh Salman al-Awdah, Awad al-Qarni and Ali al-Omari to be sentenced to death by Riyadh” I wonder why this is, as such my first issue was to look at who these people are.

Sheikh Salman al-Awdah

NBC News (at https://www.nbcnews.com/news/mideast/saudi-cleric-salman-al-awda-called-reform-now-he-s-n840916) gives us ‘Saudi cleric Salman al-Awda called for reform. Now he’s in solitary confinement‘, and I will get back to that. It is YouTube blogger NasirAlHanbali who gives us: “Look ant take into consideration that it is permissible for the Muslim ruler to incarcerate specific people or individuals if he sees that they are corrupting the lands and the Muslims“, yet that is not what NBS News gives us. they give us: “He has since called for greater democracy and social reform, and publicly denounced extremist violence. He has also been quoted as saying that gay people should not be punished — a remarkable statement for a Muslim cleric in a country where homosexuality is still punishable by death.” in this instance we see that Muslim law is not accepting homosexuality and as such it could be seen as ‘corrupting the Muslims‘, I am not stating that this is so, I am merely extrapolating the voices that publish and trying to understand the situation. So as I read (my Arabic knowledge is absolute nil) “it is permissible for the ruler to halt them or punish them with any type of punishment that has come in the book and the Sunnah. so then this ruling has come in the book of Allah and the Sunnah of his prophet“, in first 41 seconds NasirAlHanbali gave insight and some clarity on how things seemingly are (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOo9T1a0UqY), for all its good and decent reporting, the NBC gave a view on events that never explained the actions that lead to the implied death penalty as Al Jazeera gave the readers.

We can fight Islamophobia in two ways, through grandiose actions on how great Islam is, yet if we do not comprehend the actions as many grew up not being Muslim, we fall short because the media is not explaining matters, merely fitting what we call ‘Christian humanitarian values‘ in a setting that is not Christian. Sun Tzu taught the proper reader ‘Understand your enemy‘, this applies to many settings when we use Sun Tzu (and optionally The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli into ‘Comprehend the other party‘ (read: the other person). We always seem to tell others to adjust, but when was the last time that YOU adjusted your views and standards to understand the actions of other people? The video of NasirAlHanbali gives a lot more, most of it towards the interpretation of ‘Speech of falsehood‘, it is a trip into secularism, which goes too deep for me at this point, but for some it is an interesting view into learning more of a Muslim way of thinking. I particularly liked that he speaker was not merely droning Islam verses. The man gives view on what happened, what is stated as events and explains to the audience on why this should be regarded as wrong. We might not agree as non-Muslims, but it is their right to have their point of view and he brings the view in decent clarity (as I personally see it). The speaker also speaks out to the partnership with Sufi Islamic preacher Habib Ali al-Jifri, a man who seemingly polarises some views. I have even seen a Facebook comment stating: “I genuinely feel embarrassed for Habib Ali Jifri and his followers“, I did not understand the reason and that is part of the issue. There is a lot we do not understand and still we judge others by our ‘rules and values’ on how wrong ‘their view’ is.

Awad al-Qarni

The second name is one of controversy in a few ways. As we learn that he published several books, one is stated to be very similar to a 1948 publication of “Dale Carnegie,’How to Stop Worrying and Start Living‘, 1948“, as well as “Don’t despair” published in 2011 and is found to be a 90% copy of “Salwa Al-Ódaidan,’Thus overcame despair‘,2007“, he was found guilty of plagiarism and the book was withdrawn, in addition he had to pay for compensation to the original writer (at https://www.aljazeera.net/news/politics/2019/5/10/%D8%B3%D9%84%D9%88%D9%89-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B9%D8%B6%D9%8A%D8%AF%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%B9%D8%A7%D8%A6%D8%B6-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%82%D8%B1%D9%86%D9%8A). In light of plagiarism, it is odd to see him lecturing at Western Mindanao State University on March 1st 2016 when he got injured. And as Gulf News gave us only this month: “he says that after reading interpretations of the Qur’an by classical scholars, after travelling to “40 countries” and having “read thousands of books“, as well as meeting intellectuals, religious scholars and poets, he now embraces the reformist Islam of crown-prince Mohammad bin Salman“, this now interacts with the previous part. We can do the 40 countries trip easily enough, yet the thousands of books take a lifetime, we see a scholar approaching western ’embossing’ of values, or perhaps better states, we optionally see the application of ‘Speech of falsehood‘ in another way. When we realise that his hard-line views were televised a mere 9 years ago (at https://www.memri.org/tv/saudi-cleric-awadh-al-qarni-fighting-jews-religious-islamic-duty) on Al-Resala TV. Also in light of what had transpired, to see Al Jazeera refer to Awad al-Qarni as a ‘academic and author‘ whilst we see at least one convicted case of plagiarism is also cause for debate on what sets him as an academic and more debatable an author here.

Ali al-Omari

There is very little I have at present; from all sources he is a popular Sunni cleric. Even as we see: “a famous Saudi public figure and cleric whose TV shows have called for more rights for women and campaigned against violent extremism. His TV and social media appearances, particularly on Snapchat, have gained him a large following among young Muslims across the Arab world“, it calls towards the initial YouTube part, it calls towards what some call the ‘speech of falsehood’, this is pure speculation on my side (I happily admit to that), Ali al-Omari is also a member of an organisation that the Saudi government labels ‘a terrorist organisation’, I cannot tell whether that is true or not, but in light of all the American actions against who they call ‘terrorists’ I would like to see more evidence before I cast my vote one way or another.

Even as the Saudi Public Prosecutor brought more than 30 charges against him, there is no way to tell how these stack up (I have no access to these papers), still 30 charges is a lot and even as the US convicted Huawei without evidence, I think we need to see the charges and evidence before we give a non-Muslim view to a sovereign state. The Middle East eye (at https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/saudi-arabia-seeks-death-penalty-cleric-ali-al-omari) gave me most information, yet it is not my only source.

In the end there is a lot we do not get, but in the NBC article we see one part that does strike a chord for our way of thinking. It comes from Michael Stephens, research fellow for the Middle East at London’s RUSI think tank. As we see: “It is an assertion of power”, as well as “It is only reform if it is reform in MBS’s image“, is that not a truth and when we realise that MBS, Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud, is indeed the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia and future ruler of Saudi Arabia when his uncle Salman of Saudi Arabia, the current King of Saudi Arabia passes away.

We see the truth. Saudi Arabia is a monarchy, it is ruled by the Royal Al Saud family and the future of Saudi Arabia is theirs to guide, is any opposition not treason? Saudi Arabia is not a republic with 10,000 voices; it is a monarchy with a family in charge, not unlike the Monarchy of Great Britain, the Monarchy of the Netherlands or the Monarchy of Sweden. The big difference between one and the others is that Saudi Arabia has set their rule not to their family needs (partially debatable), but to the Quran and Islam, they even state that on their flag: ‘There is no god but Allah; Muhammad is the Messenger of God‘, it is there plain and simple, it was never ever hidden, we tend to forget these parts of the equation a little too often.

I wonder why!

 

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That’s the way the money flows

The Independent had an interesting article 2 hours ago. The article (at https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/china-drones-spy-us-dhs-security-data-alert-a8922706.html). The title leaves little to the imagination with: ‘Chinese drones may be stealing sensitive information, DHS warns‘, after the Trump google play, after his refusal to submit to subpoena’s, after the anti Huawei activities that so far has never yielded any active evidence (the 8 year old case was settled within months are done with). Now we see: “Chinese-made drones in America may be sending sensitive data to their manufacturers back home where it can be accessed by the government, the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has warned“, which might be a nightmare if it was not so hilarious. You see the next quote: “CNN, which obtained the internal alert, reported that the DHS fears drones will offer Chinese intelligence unfettered access to American data“, it comes across like we have a case where a CNN reporter has been hit by a silly stick and never recovered. Consider the drones we see, there is no space to have a dedicated hack system on board. Yes some can be done with a mobile, and there is plenty of space in that device, now consider the ‘sensitive’ data that needs to be found, the data needs to be connected to (and with all these faulty Cisco routers that is relatively easy at present), then a selection needs to be downloaded and that is merely for one place, one device. All this stops when any person uses common cyber sense. It is the revelation that we see next, that is the one that matters. With: “Though the alert didn’t name specific companies, the vast majority of drones used in the US and Canada are made by the Shenzen based Company, DJI, CNN reported” we see the part that matters. As drone services are up on an almost exponential growth as we see the push that got there. The news from November 2016 gave us: “Domino’s Pizza Enterprises Limited (Domino’s) and drone delivery partner Flirtey delivered the first order, a Peri-Peri Chicken Pizza, and a Chicken and Cranberry Pizza“. Consider the option to avoid traffic in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Seattle, Pittsburgh, all places with massive congestion. Drones are the optionally the newest quick way to deliver food, Amazon needs, Walmart needs, all in growing need due to the events where retailers and shippers combine forces to avoid a few items, and with congestion set to zero, people will flock to that consideration. Now the operational part, it seems that DJI is ahead of the curve, another Chinese company decided to truly innovate and now that the push is there and America is bankrupt (as I personally see it) anything possible to avoid money going to China, America is taking a pot shot at that. So when we are also treated to: “A spokesman for DJI denied that any information was being transmitted to it from its drones, adding that the security of its technology has been independently verified by the US government.” I start wondering if DHS was able to do its job properly. Now let’s be clear, there is no doubt that ANY drone can be used for espionage, especially if it is quiet enough. Yet is that the issue for DJI, or is that an issue with the spy that utilises drone technology? Yet that is actually not the only side, on the other side we see mentioned: “Those concerns apply with equal force to certain Chinese-made (unmanned aircraft systems)-connected devices capable of collecting and transferring potentially revealing data about their operations and the individuals and entities operating them, as China imposes unusually stringent obligations on its citizens to support national intelligence activities,” Now, this part does make sense. It is the same as the Apple Fitbit, that due to its global nature started to hand out the jogging patterns of Special forces in the Middle East, so within 3 days several members of the two dozen operatives had a check on their calorie burning and health, whilst the mapping data showed the world where the CIA black site was (oh apologies, I meant to say a military specialist endeavouring location of an undetermined nature). The question becomes how was the ‘the security of its technology has been independently verified by the US government‘ achieved? Was that verification process competent, or perhaps slightly less so?

I am not stating my verdict in either direction; yet the entire Huawei mess, as well as the DJI setting implies that the growth industries are shunned from America, mainly because it is not an American industry. Yet in all this, the forget that places like the EU and India are large enough to go forward with both players and truly grow further, whilst the downturn and the economic lag that the US is creating will merely grow the loss of momentum and the recession it will fuel in other ways. I would consider that the setback that Google is trying to create will have larger repercussions down the road. As larger Data vendors will now optionally choose the Chinese side, they will grow market share. You see no matter how it is sliced, all this is data based and data can only grow if there is usage. So when people remain with Huawei as their phone keeps on working, we see that there is a larger concern soon enough. At some point people will stop trusting Samsung, Google and Apple phones, which works out nicely for several players (Microsoft actually more than most), what do you think happens when the larger share of 14.7% of a global market changes to player three and not use Google apps to some degree? Google momentum relies on non-stop data and usage, when a third of the 60% that these three cover stops, do you think that this has no impact for Google?

The same applies to drones. You see intelligence makes the drone and as it grows its market share and the collected data of drone usage is set, the innovation of DJI grows faster. It is the difference between generation now and generation 2022, DJI will grow and can grow in several directions, yet the entire the setting of ‘data theft’ we see that there is a lack of ‘what’ data. What data is collected, the flight path? Well, I think we all need to know in 2023 what flight path was taken for the delivery of 342,450 pizza’s delivered per hour, is it not? It is not that Google Map has that data, and within a building in New York, is there truly a clear sign in the drone itself who exactly the merchandise was for, or was that on the box (instead of the drone). Now, there is no denying that some of that data would optionally be accessible to the Chinese government? Yet what data, what level of data? Do you think that they have time for the hundreds of drones and the data whilst they can monitor 20,000 times that data with a spy satellite (and an additional truckload of data that the drone never had in the first place?

It is when I see ‘unfettered access to American data‘ where the questions become pressing. It is like watching Colin Powell coming into a non-disclosed location with his silver briefcase and in the end the lack of WMD’s, are we going in that direction again? when I see ‘unfettered access to American data‘, it is at that moment I see the optional comparison (an extreme lose comparison mind you) with the innocent preachers daughter who did the naughty thing to 30% of the boys coming to Sunday sermon, having attempted things I cannot even rent on adult video. It is the CNN article (at https://edition.cnn.com/2019/05/20/politics/dhs-chinese-drone-warning/index.html) that gives additional rise to concerns. When you see: “Users are warned to “be cautious when purchasing” drones from China, and to take precautionary steps like turning off the device’s internet connection and removing secure digital cards. The alert also warns users to “understand how to properly operate and limit your device’s access to networks” to avoid “theft of information.”” It seems to me that there are dozens of ways to get this data, a drone seems like an expensive long way round-trip to get to that data, whilst more can be accessed in several other ways and it is the speculation through ‘device’s internet connection‘, so when we see one of these devices (at https://www.dji.com/au/phantom-4-pro-v2/info#specs), we are treated to: “The new Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 features an OcuSync HD transmission system, which supports automatic dual-frequency band switching and connects to DJI Goggles wirelessly“, where did the internet come in? Yes there is an app, to get a live view from the drone, so what ‘unfettered access to American data‘ could there be that Google Maps at present does not have in more detail?

It is the next part that is the actual ace. When we see: “DJI, which reported $2.7 billion in revenue in 2017, is best known for its popular Phantom drone. Introduced in 2013, the drone is the top-selling commercial drone on the market“, information the Independent did not give us, that is the actual stage as I personally see it. It was $2.7 billion in 2017, there is no doubt that when drone delivery truly takes off, at that point revenue that sits between $15 and $27 billion is not unrealistic, the dire need to avoid congestion on a global scale will drive it and that is before you realise the non-US benefits in London, Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin, Munich, Madrid, Barcelona, Rome, Athens, Moscow. At that point you will see stronger growth and I haven’t even looked at the opportunities in a place like Mumbai, Tokyo, Delhi, Bangkok, Rio, Buenos Aires and Sydney yet. Everything leaves me with the impression that this is not about security, it is about money. That fact can be proven when you realise that everyone remains silent on the 29 new vulnerabilities that Cisco reported merely a month ago. How many Cisco router stories have come from that non-technologically refined White House, where they are currently optionally limited by “Cisco routers, including ones that can be found in malls, large companies or government institutions, are flawed in a way that allows hackers to steal all of the data flowing through them“, the cybersecurity company Red Baron handed out that issue to the media last week, so who picked up on that danger to ‘unfettered access to American data‘? And when you consider ‘it allows potential malicious actors to bypass the router’s security feature, Trust Anchor. This feature has been standard in Cisco’s routers since 2013‘, when we realise that Cisco is a household name on a global scale (especially when connected to the internet), the entire Cisco matter seems to be at least 15,000 times worse than any DJI drone ever could be, and the fact that DHS remains silent on that gives (again, as I personally see it) is added proof that this is merely about the money and the fact that US companies are losing markets on a global scale.

I could set the stage by singing ‘All ‘Bout the money‘ by Meja and ‘That’s the way the money goes‘ by M, but then, I realise that people would most likely pay me serious money not to sing (my voice is actually that bad).

That’s the way the money flows, specifically at present in a direction that the US is for the foreseeable future most displeased about.

 

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War and its monger

You might have heard the expression ‘drumroll please’, it is not new and often it is done to emphasize a twist a good thing or something unexpected. This is not the case here, this is the drumroll to emphasize that my ‘I told you so’ and ‘for the love of all bullies’. A stage that is anything but positive. A stage that Iran has pushed again and again and now that the pot is getting to the boiling pot, we see: “Iran is not seeking war, the leader of the country’s elite Revolutionary Guards said Sunday“, to which the proper western response is: ‘In a pigs eye perhaps!‘. In addition we see: “The difference between us and them is that they are afraid of war and don’t have the will for it,” Major General Hossein Salami said, as quoted by local news agency Fars.” Well, that remains to be seen, doesn’t it? There has been overwhelming evidence that Iran directly and indirectly (via Hezbollah) equipped Houthi forces with missiles that were fired into Saudi Arabia; missiles that, according to several experts, could not have been made by known Yemeni manufacturing locations. We have the will for war and ending Iran as a nation is actually what we are hoping for, but as the Iranian forces acted like the Jackal forces that they are as they hid behind the skirts of Hezbollah, that is the impact of a proxy war and we need to consider that we need to stand with Saudi Arabia, and we need to be fast and clear about it.

Turkey

Iran’s largest and perhaps only true ally is Turkey. This is an issue on two fronts. Turkey is messing with EU settings and trying to grease the Gravy train wheels to get a more positive response on their actions (presumed). What is actually more pressing is that Turkey is showing to be the turncoat that they have been for close to 16 years. The evidence for that (apart from the 9/11 blackmail attempt) is that the Deutsche Welle (at https://www.dw.com/en/turkey-to-produce-new-s-500-missile-system-with-russia/a-48792240) is one of several sources confirming ‘Turkey to produce new S-500 missile system with Russia‘, so the recipient of the new F-35, is building Russian missiles? This is (on the side) evidence that the stupid Americans are not about national security and that the entire Google-Huawei issue is only about money and economic fear (aka their Blacklist, my ass).

The fact that the quote merely is seen as: “The move is likely to further strain Turkey’s relations with the United States“, merely strained? If it was an actual issue, the US would have broken off all connection with turkey months ago, this is about a bankrupt nation trying to influence the limits of loss against China and as Turkey and Iran are tightening bonds, these S-500 become a direct threat to the safety and security of Saudi Arabia, implying that it would optionally need to place a huge Patriot missile defence order as soon as possible, it also implies that any act from the Houthi forces means that a powerful military act is required. No matter what the size of Saudi Arabia is, a war on two fronts is not a good thing. Not with the Size of the Saudi forces are at present. So they should try and test the Naval sinking solution I designed whilst having a sandwich some months ago, and sing “لقد رأيت سفينة جميلة تقع في قاع البحر ، وسهند اسمها” (translated: ‘I saw a pretty ship lying at the bottom of the sea, and its name is Sahand‘) when the task is done (preferably whilst the Sahand is sinking). It is time that the bully tactics of Iran meet the resolve of all others to tell them that there is only so much BS that we accept from some of these non-politicians. I intentionally added the word ‘جميلة‘ (pretty) as this is the one word that does not apply to the the USS Zumwalt (fair is fair).

So even as (long term implied) the F-35 equipment is halted form the US for now, the US in in a financial caper where they might not be able to afford not to deliver, whether they get paid is off course another matter, and even if they get paid, it is not a given that the FSB is funding part of that deal, it is just too easy a way to get your fingers on non developed nextgen technology.

Back to the Saudi Arabia – Iran match

Even as we see: “The attack came two days after four vessels, including two Saudi oil tankers, were sabotaged off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. Iran has denied it was behind the attacks which come as Washington and the Islamic republic spar over sanctions and the US military presence in the region, raising concerns about a potential US-Iran conflict“, I remain in doubt. Yes, Iran is the most likely perpetrator, but it is not a given, Iran has played its proxy war with decent competency, as such it is not a given that it is Iran directly, yet I do believe that Iran has its fingers in this indirectly. Hezbollah has had access to the Iranian-made Shahed-129 UAV for almost two years now, as such whether it is Hezbollah, or Houthi trained forces, these two are Iranian driven proxy parties and even if the evidence is found that either of these two were directly involved, the fingers of Iran and most likely the fingers of Major General Hossein Salami, the fact that he is the Aerospace Force of the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution is likely to be written off as a coincidence by a few newspapers.

Our allegiance is essential now, it is essential to step up against Iran. Not only because it is the right thing to do, the fact that this act would scare Turkey into making some very clear life changing choices would be essential, when they learn that Russia is not paying their bills, when they realise that Russian oil is not free, at that point will they need to seek a resolution that will not end them, taking Iran out of the equation is therefore an essential push for all people concerned. So as Al Jazeera (at https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/05/saudi-arabia-seeks-avert-war-ready-respond-force-190519055552084.html) gave us: “Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has dismissed the possibility of war erupting, saying Tehran did not want conflict and no country had the “illusion it can confront Iran”.” He better change the tone he has when the people stand firm with Saudi Arabia on this. We have to agree with Adel al-Jubeir, Saudi state minister of foreign affairs when we see: ““We want peace and stability in the region but we will not sit on our hands in light of the continuing Iranian attack,”al-Jubeir said. “The ball is in Iran’s court and it is up to Iran to determine what its fate will be.”” In light of the actions against Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia has shown restrained, we can argue that there is indeed a case where Saudi Arabia is avoiding war to the largest degree because Iran is no small opponent and it will be capable of launching barrage after barrage at Riyadh, that is why getting the patriots there will be one of the most important actions.

When we look into history we see the same thing happen again, and if we sign up for Saudi Arabia we might have to, because we did not accept the Germans moving into Poland in 1939, we should equally not allow Iran to continue on the path it is currently on. There is also other news, but it is not direct or clear. The news (at https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201905201075144170-yemen-houthi-plan-attack-saudi-targets/) is only two hours old. Even as we see the headline: ‘Yemeni Houthis Plan to Attack Some 300 Targets in Saudi Arabia, UAE – Reports‘, we need to realise that Sputnik News is a Russian government held media outlet. So is this their way to support Iran? Even as we see the origin pointed at the UAE through ‘local media reported on Sunday‘, we need to be cautious on the quality of this news. When we realise the stage of the player (the Houthi forces), they lack the setting of “Yemeni Shia Houthi rebels are going to attack some 300 critical infrastructure facilities in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates“, most of the UAE is out of their reach making part and even as I stated: “One source gives an implied presence of Hezbollah in Shinas (Oman), yet there is zero reliability as well as the fact that any attack would have required different tools as well as location does not add up” (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2019/05/15/the-political-winds/) almost a week ago, I still have not seen anything reliable making that a truth, because that would put the UAE directly in harm’s way. The entire Sputnik News setting can only hold water if Houthi forces get direct access to all the Hezbollah and Iranian resources available, hence the question mark! That is perhaps the only part that gives it optional value intelligence wise and there is not level of confirmation at present. All this relies on what the actual UAE source was and Sputnik News was adamant in not giving that part up, so is the Russian government handing out support against Iran or baiting the Saudi government to act prematurely, neither option sounds good to me, no matter how we slice it, but as we see the ‘news’ I had to include it, if only to emphasize certain governments needing to set the stage and the media is still the best way to do this to us.

The Endgame (not a Marvel movie)

I personally believe that Iran is willing to skate at the edge of war, not actively seeking one. Their goal is to show how impotent (opposing important) US politics and policies have become. It partially had to as the Trump administration is tightening the pressure on Iran. As it is achieving some goals (just ask Huawei and the Chinese government) Iran is openly trying to oppose it through its two puppets Houthi forces and Hezbollah. In this Turkey is still a trump card (pun intended) but as they are becoming the buddy of Moscow, Iran realises that whatever Turkey does will be vetted by Russia for more than one reason, in this we need to see the escalations and I feel certain that Adel al-Jubeir, Saudi state minister of foreign affairs realises this too, but in the end there are a growing amount of nations that are willing to create an alliance with Saudi Arabia, it is sad that the foremost reason will be what they stand to gain through economic options with Saudi Arabia against the ethical need to oppose Iran, but that is a conversation for another day.

 

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The €0.01 pledge

Yes, we all heard it before, ‘I hereby solemnly swear‘, ‘I pledge my allegiance‘ and ‘for what we are about to receive‘. All nice sounding words, yet are they worth the value of the printed paper when people speak these words? That is where you stand when we were given ‘Leaders and tech firms pledge to tackle extremist violence online‘. And the quotes are nice to read too. First there is: “World leaders and heads of global technology companies have pledged at a Paris summit to tackle terrorist and extremist violence online in what they described as an “unprecedented agreement”“. The article (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/may/15/jacinda-ardern-emmanuel-macron-christchurch-call-summit-extremist-violence-online), and President Macron, who is in all kind of non-economic states took the time to shed light on this. So when I saw: “a “plan of action” to be adopted by countries and companies to prevent extreme material from going viral on the internet” I needed well over 10 minutes to stop howling with laughter. It was funny, I agree, but in the article there is supporting evidence for my ‘howls of deriving laughter‘ (borrowed from Monty Python).

You see, the first delusion is ‘prevent extreme material from going viral on the internet‘, the internet is all about going viral, and we enabled marketing and SEO systems of doing just that for the need of creating awareness in whatever way possible. The creation of viral events is what drives Facebook and their social companions. And even as their might be some form of control on Facebook, places like 4Chan have close to 0% control and whilst people are trying to find the viral video, a dozen copies will be spread to alternative locations. If you want to understand viral video, take a look at Medium dot com (at https://medium.com/this-happened-to-me/10-ways-to-make-your-video-go-viral-d19d9b9465de), they make a nice top 10 with actually interesting issues to consider. Social media is about getting viral (or is that virile?), they need to sell advertisements and the list mentioned give at the second tip the stage where you have millions of views in just under 72 hours, and that was merely some girl dancing.

The Guardian gives another part. When we see: “The footage was picked up by some international media outlets who initially published excerpts of the video and links to the gunman’s extremist “manifesto” before quickly dropping them in the face of political and public outrage“, so until outrage became slightly too loud, the news media themselves had no issue propagating the video (partially), that is the larger failure. You want to stop social media, whilst the media themselves use the material? What was that, ‘the people have a right to know clause?

As I see it: “as a voluntary initiative it is for individual countries and companies to decide how to honour their pledge” that pledge is (as I personally see it) nothing more than another way to grease the wheels of the EU gravy train. When we add “nations to bring in laws that ban offensive material and to set guidelines on how the traditional media report acts of terrorism“, so we get non mandatory actions linked to censoring of the traditional media, and you wonder why I was laughing? All this whilst a mere two days before that we got: “The case has been appealed, and in the time since two federal Courts of Appeals have ruled in separate cases that viewpoint discrimination on government social media pages is illegal.” Even as we see that they are separate issues, the stage of ‘Courts to Government Officials: Stop Censoring on Social Media‘ sets a larger stage and sets the stage where there is a much larger issue not addressed. So as we look at the term ‘viewpoint discrimination’, we see places like Heavy.com who had extremist video (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2016/05/01/homerun-by-ukip/), in May 2016. there in the article ‘Homerun by UKIP‘ I added a link to an ISIS video that remained viewable for well over a year. And that was something that was openly searchable. So at what point will we get a true status change? These places need the clicks to get their cash and many of them will not care how they get their money, their traction, their visibility.

So as we see “The US has reportedly refused to sign up because of concerns about freedom of speech“, we will see these people move to US servers, as there is free speech, as such this entire effort is largely wasted, when the larger players on social media are not willing to play ball, when we see that shifting stories and videos can move location in seconds, we see a gravy train switching tracks again and again, never resolving anything. Yet, they mostly agree on Huawei being a national security threat (without documented evidence), all that whilst the Cisco mess is presently well over 1000% worse (and documented).

This is all about money and it is time that we wake up and realise that as soon as something can be made to currency, it gets free reign. That is the consequence of debts that go into the trillions. And the traditional media only stopped after the outrage, after the cost of publishing started to grow that is when they stopped. In this I have nothing against the actions of Jacinda Ardern, they make perfect sense, but the Intelligence community could have clearly explained the traps of lone wolves, the traps of a media stage that is out of control. It is also nice to note that the presence of Justin Trudeau and President Macron was encouraging (according to Emmanuel Macron), yet these are two politicians with the ratings that are deep into the basement, any positive news that mentions them is political currency for them, so I wonder what their attending stake is in the end.

In this Jacinda Ardern makes one mistake (unintentional). As we see: “Facebook had made a changes to its livestreaming, announced at the same time as the summit, under which the Christchurch terrorist “would not have been able to livestream his act of violence”“, might be true to some point, yet there are so many other streams (like 4Chan), so even as the wave towards a viral video goes down in the reach to maximum (see the Medium article), the moment the links get spread through all media, the race is on and the multimillion views are almost guaranteed, optionally with a few minutes delay from slaughter happening, to slaughter watched. And after the event the world en mass will likely be watching. That is the impact of viral views and the ca$h for those cashing in on the advertisement on those pages. Because as the views go over the millions, the ads will get visibility and the dollars come pouring in stacks of them per tenth of a second. When you realise those numbers, you see the first part in why this is not getting resolved, and the danger merely increases as lone wolves get to make themselves martyrs for a cause they never understood, shouting a name they were never part of giving extremism even more visibility.

Unless you take these glossy propagators of what they call news off the 0% VAT (read: GST, BTW and so on) list, this will merely continue, for the media circulation is everything. Consider that we hear 4 days ago that ISIL was using Instagram to promote jihad and what does the Telegraph do (at https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/05/11/isil-extremists-using-instagram-promote-jihad-incite-support/), they used the picture of a smiling ISIL fighter as well. I think we can agree that this is like mopping the floor whilst the tap is running at full, we merely shift the mess and never end up with a dry floor.

You merely have to look at the Google failure and search: ‘Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi‘, he is not a terrorist; he is labelled as a ‘political leader‘. So how exactly will we end up seeing forward momentum, true forward momentum not presented momentum whilst we see that others label terrorists as political leaders. The pledge is worth a mere €0.01 and I think we are all still getting screwed on the deal at that price.

 

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Awareness west of India

Awareness is a first need for anyone, there is no exception to this; a person looking for a job or a person seeking to sell a product, or a terrorist organisation. Without awareness they are all equally in the shadows, unknown and disregarded at the spot. So when we were alerted to yesterday’s airstrike by the Indian Air force on Jaish-e-Mohammed, most people had the response: ‘You who now?‘ The group which translates to ‘The Army of Muhammad’ is a terrorist organisation that operates out of Kashmir. Their goal is to relocate Kashmir from India into Pakistan and as such, it would cause great friction with India even under the most docile conditions. It is Al Jazeera, who less than a day ago reports ‘India foreign secretary says jets hit Jaish-e-Mohammed camp in Pakistan, but Islamabad denies casualties in air raids‘, which is now also a much larger escalation in creating a more direct conflict between Pakistan and India. We also get: “Pakistan reported the Indian airspace incursion, with military spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor saying its air force jets were scrambling to respond, forcing the Indian aircraft to “release their payload in haste while escaping“, I found the term ‘in haste while escaping’, that is no jest, even as the Pakistani air force is merely half the size of the Indian one, the insider gossip is that this Pakistani air force is more than able to deal with the IAF even as it is twice the size, so we could consider that the Indian act, whilst being optionally essential was not the tactically clever. Consider that the act was against a target that was less than 60 Km across the border finding another solution would have been a much better act. This is speculation as I have no terrain intelligence at my disposal, yet hitting a target that is optionally around 225 Km from Islamabad, where one of the more alert airports is was definitely not a great idea, so the ‘in haste whilst escaping‘ becomes pretty much the ruling for India at that point. This does not invalidate the attack on Jaish-e-Mohammed, it merely becomes tactically questionable. Of course there are other considerations, how does the Kashmir population feel about joining Pakistan, because that also impacts the tactical choices available. Any planned attack on Jaish-e-Mohammed from closer to the border whilst that population is loudly singing

Count 1 to 10 in a MIG on high

You go hide, and they come fly!

Better prepare, make a stinger rage in flight

(Source: adapted nursery rhyme)

At that point, we can agree that there are not that many options, especially in remote areas. Yet there is another side, and that is on Pakistan at present. After we have seen that they sheltered Osama Bin Laden only two miles from their military academy, they need to lash out stronger against terrorist organisation operating from their territory. We can agree that Pakistan is too large to keep properly in check with military against extremists, but this escalation could have larger repercussions and in this day and age as Pakistan’s economy is in dire needs of international investment. That setting alone will not go anywhere when operations like Jaish-e-Mohammed pretty much have the lay of the land. Now, be aware that is me not speaking out in favour or against the need of Kashmir that is for the people of Kashmir. I am however of the mind that it is not up to Jaish-e-Mohammed to decide either. The anti-feelings between India and Pakistan have been around long before the Mahatma accepted the separation, it is a setting that might never be resolved, yet in all this a much larger issue plays and I am painfully aware I do not have the wisdom on how to feel (as well as a massive lack of data intelligence on the area and the subject matter), yet the escalation as the IAF pushed for is up for debate. Even now we see ‘It was a non-military, pre-empted action targeted at terrorist activity‘, yet how exactly was that place bombed? So when we are also given: “In an early morning attack on Tuesday, the Indian Air Force Mirage 2000 jets crossed 50 miles undetected into Pakistan and hit Balakot“, my question towards Indian Foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale would be: “Who were the civilians flying the borrowed Mirage 2000 Jets and can I please borrow one? I have always wanted to get my flight wings on that fabulous French jet!” Perhaps the foreign secretary could limit the BS regarding a ‘non-military’ action when it requires the high end Mirage to get there, clearly a non-civilian form of transportation (a crazy assumption from my side). We all agree that actions against terrorists are essential, we all know that rules will be broken under these conditions, yet the essential need and then reflect on the term ‘non-military’ is too much of a stretch.

In addition, when less than 10 hours ago, the news (at https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/government-economy/eu-urges-maximum-restraint-from-india-pakistan-after-air-strike) give us: ‘EU urges ‘maximum restraint’ from India, Pakistan after air strike‘, it needs to be stated that the EU needs to grow a spine and stop being a paperback, a bad one at that. We either accept actions against terrorist organisations, even if they operate from deep within Pakistan. When I see the bloated “exercise “maximum restraint” after Indian warplanes attacked a militant camp in Pakistan, sending tensions soaring between the nuclear-armed arch-rivals” in light of the fact that it was an attack on a terrorist group, and in the second when Pakistan claims “insisting there was no damage or casualties” we see that both sides are to some degree in denial and the comments from limelight seeker Maja Kocijancic are just a little to hypocrite. We understand that the EU is in denial of terrorist activities all over the board and keeps on facilitating for Turkey and Iran for too many reasons, most merely for those trying to instigate another gravy train in the EU, others to keep their desolate economy from completely collapsing, in that day and age as we see the actions of Iran facilitating for the Houthi and Hezbollah forces, the entire matter as well as the call by Maja Kocijancic becomes increasingly distasteful.

That being said, Pakistan is not without blame, finding a common ground with India to take Jaish-e-Mohammed out of their jurisprudential domain seems to be an essential first. It is not a solution that JeM is likely to go for, yet at that point enabling the IAF in these actions would set a much larger stage of trust for foreign investors to take Pakistan more and more serious for serious investments, it will enable Pakistan more and better than Jaish-e-Mohammed ever could. You see the more immediate issue is neither, the more immediate issue is the question on where the people of Kashmir want to be. I actually do not know, mainly because the media has kept many in the dark in that regard, or merely quote some politician seeking the limelight (read: Maja Kocijancic) on a call of restraint from ‘nuclear enabled nations‘ (India and Pakistan).

The first issue for Kashmir is to get awareness, it might not give us information that we like, that we accept or information we hope for, but awareness is a first need. For now the awareness is merely limited to terrorist groups acting from within Pakistan and the fact that Indian civilians have access to military jets for hot rodding and cruising through the mountains of Kashmir and Pakistan. Perhaps it is a great day to upgrade Grand Theft Auto 5, to become Grand Theft Jet 6, hot wiring a Mikoyan MiG-35 at Shatalovo airbase and take it for a nice cruise and land it at Stockholm Arlanda (undamaged), would that make for a fun game or what? And it was Indian Foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale who gave us the idea with his ‘non-military, pre-empted action‘, some half-truths really should not be used ever, it complicates matters as we make light and fun of the situation.

So why make fun?

That is the issue when we give light to NDTV who (at https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/15-years-ago-us-took-note-of-jaish-e-mohammeds-terror-training-camp-in-balakot-1999829) gives us “15 Years Ago, US Took Note Of Jaish’s Terror Training Camp In Balakot“. If this can be confirmed, we see the setting where Pakistan allowed a terror training camp was allowed to go on for more than a decade, unopposed and unchallenged. It is one of the reasons why foreign investors will not consider serious investments in Pakistan. We accept that Pakistan is too large to police to the degree it needs to be, but 15 years is just too unacceptable. The quote “The memorandum talks about a Pakistani national Hafez K. Rahman, a Guantanamo Detainee, who was 20 years old and born in Gujrar, Pakistan, who turned out to be a jehadi” is very much at the heart of the matter here. In addition, the quote: “Rahman has admitted to volunteering to fight jihad against the US and its allies, remaining after the events of September 1lth to continue to fight, and receiving training from the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM). The JEM espouses Jihad against the US and is directly supported by Al-Qaida, General Miller wrote“, in this light we need to ask a lot more questions form a lot more people, as this is not limited to some Kashmir disagreement, any place that caters and facilitates towards terrorism to a much larger degree is a direct threat to the continuation of Pakistan. Pakistan might seek out to remain in seclusion form world trade, yet they are already learning that Pakistan cannot continue to survive in that way. Pakistan must select a path that gives Pakistan forward momentum and it is clear that JeM training camps cannot cater to that future.

In the end it is up to Pakistan to find a solution that they can live with, the question ultimately becomes, what caters to the continuation of the Muslim State of Pakistan?

If we take three publications, the first being the Business Standard (at https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/pakistan-s-hamstrung-economy-can-t-weather-a-conflict-with-india-119022700052_1.html), where we see: ‘Pakistan’s hamstrung economy can’t weather a conflict with India‘ with the quote “The country has been facing an ever-rising fiscal deficit, increasing debt and high inflation“, is more than a truth and a half, in addition, the dependence and reliance of the IMF will at some point end, there are multiple sources giving indication that the support to Pakistan must stop, at that point what will be left for Pakistan? The second supports the views. It comes from the Nikkei Asian Review (at https://asia.nikkei.com/Opinion/Pakistan-must-end-damaging-dependency-on-IMF) giving us: ‘After 21 assistance programs in 60 years, time to create sustainable economic growth‘, as well as “the new government is slowly persuading the public that Pakistan will need another International Monetary Fund bailout. At the same time, it has stepped up diplomatic efforts to secure short-term financial support from friendly countries. This approach appears to be bearing fruit. The government recently received $4 billion from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and is expecting a further $2.5 billion loan from China. Such bilateral support may allow Pakistan to seek a much smaller IMF package than expected“, yet behind the partial truth is that the Pakistani government has no way to pay these loans back in the immediate future, whichever path they take, repaying the loans and interest via a road that is twice as long as projected and merely gets settled with new loans under less optimal conditions is all that the Pakistani people have to look forward to. All this whilst the Indian Business Today (at https://www.businesstoday.in/current/economy-politics/pakistan-trying-to-hide-dead-body-of-terrorists-in-balakot-tries-to-debunk-india-claims-source/story/322532.html) gives us: “The Pakistan Army has cordoned off the entire area of Balakot and are clearing away evidence such as dead bodies so that they can deny India’s claims of the latest IAF strike wiping 300 militants in the area, a source has told India Today“, in my legal view, i would change “are clearing away evidence” into “are seemingly clearing away evidence“, for the mere reason that most Indian publications would more likely than not be too biased in this matter. Yet the given accusation, as well as intelligence from multiple sources give rise to the decent reliability of the Indian claim. Yet the article has a gem at the end. With “A sound relationship and cooperation between the two serves the interests of both the countries and peace and stability in South Asia” we see a much larger truth. Both nations could flourish to a much larger degree if they can find a common not to move forward on and both their economies would benefit in finding in such agreements. If only to learn that several players outside these two are too much interested in those two to lack stability to a much larger degree, when they realise that, and look for stable forward momentum would cater to both economies to a much larger degree and that is never a bad setting.

 

 

 

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The Outsourcer’s Furlong

The race is on, we heard last year just how poorly the setting of Interserve was. We all head how Interserve served the people the small fact that they were half a billion (in £) in debt. I discussed it last December (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/12/17/one-to-the-hospital-one-to-the-morgue/) in the article ‘One to the hospital, one to the morgue‘, and if the previous financial model applies, there is every consideration that so far another £200 million has been added to the debt. The guardian gives us: “the directors danced around the issue. A “fully consensual” financial restructuring would be preferable but Interserve was “also actively preparing alternative plans to ensure the proposed transaction can be implemented in the event that shareholder approval is not forthcoming”“, and as they very correctly state it ‘What alternative arrangements?

In this Coltrane and Farringdon Capital Management have between them one third of the equity and the message of “the proposed £480m debt-for-equity rescue in which the banks would take control and current investors would be diluted to just 2.5% ownership“, you can imagine that these two campers were not happy. They stand to lose it all if things go pear shaped, the awkward impact of a wrong investment made bare. The fact that these two could stagger it all if there is not a full house (which is the most likely event), could stop everything and as the Guardian states (to be more specific Nils Pratley does at https://www.theguardian.com/business/nils-pratley-on-finance/2019/feb/13/interserve-needs-a-plan-b-given-the-rebellion-over-its-current-plan), a plan B is needed. I personally think that a plan C is equally essential. At present chairman Glyn Barker has his work cut out for him, not only are 45,000 out of the 74,000 employees in the UK and they are waited with baited breath, there are more than two parties that are on the ropes and he needs the bulk to fall in line with his vision. One part is the lucrative Interserve Saudi Arabia. Even as it is profitable now, it is also in demand now, auctioning it off to Salini Impregilo could give them a decent reduction in debt overnight and with matters in Saudi Arabia as they go, Salini Impregilo needs the workforce, they are scoring job after job and at some point the workforce will not hold up to the scrutiny of deadlines. As it includes presence in the UAE, Interserve might want to choose dollars for doughnuts before the stage has changed and all that they can hope for is 10 cents to the dollar, because at the stage where two players having one third push for change, Salini Impregilo merely needs to wait for Interserve parties to become utterly desperate and that given stage is a little more realistic than some players are comfortable with.

If debt reduction is the goal and we see that their Middle Eastern part involves:

  • Hospitality and leisure
  • Oil and gas
  • Retail
  • Transport and infrastructure

I see at least three branches that could be pruned and it is a first step to push Interserve back to their core and optionally into a field where cost becomes increasingly lower than the current balance statements require them to be. A similar view could be held for the US and Asia. I wonder just how profitable these branches are, the total debt implies that it goes way beyond the UK (or the UK part is optionally mismanaged in the most dreadful way). I am not implying or judging, half a billion in debt is doing that for me pretty convincingly.

So as the Times gives us: “The New York hedge fund attempting to derail the £905 million rescue plan at Interserve is nursing losses of nearly 90 per cent on a £25 million bet that the public services contractor could recover without falling into the hands of its lenders“, we also see another side. The fact that we see someone hedging 3% into moving away from the £900 million rescue plan, and losing 90% of their attempt also implies that the tress intensifies. Another view is given by the Financial Times (at https://www.ft.com/content/8cd9d920-2b98-11e9-a5ab-ff8ef2b976c7) with: ‘Hedge fund in Interserve feud profited from Carillion collapse‘, with the addition “Coltrane Asset Management, the biggest investor in Interserve, earned £4m wagering on Carillion’s collapse by selling its shares short“, so why give them any consideration? the fact that they decided to add a 20+% share in Interserve with the assumed and highly likely path to try that trick a second time implies that they have no vested interest in the firm, merely a need for greed. So why cater to that? When we are given: “Carillion collapsed in January 2018 leaving banks, investors and pensioners nursing heavy losses and the government struggling to deliver key services such as hospital cleaning and school meals. Some 3,000 staff lost their jobs, with another 14,000 transferred to other employers, in one of the biggest corporate failures in British history“, we know that this was not the fault of Coltrane Asset Management, yet they had no issue selling it all down the drain as it allowed them to fill their pockets. We get it and we do understand that Coltrane is in it for the money, that is how the cookie crumbles, yet when we see the impact on an optional 74,000 employees, we need to look beyond. It is not like Coltrane is taking over and making it a profitable setting, are they?

We do get that Coltrane is not the actual evil party in this, unless they explored short selling here too, at that point they are on their own. Coltrane is not without teeth, the mere setting of shareholders losing out on their investment will make them gang together and plenty of them are small investors; it is their retirement that is at stake. Scottish pubs tycoon Alan Macintosh is also still an element in all this, the swap would make him massively rich so he is willing to stick with the plan, there are still 6 weeks until the deadline gives us the setting of the battle line that will be drawn, and where that ends is anyone’s guess. yet as the Financial Times points out “People close to Coltrane said it was confident of winning support from the numerous smaller investors — which include Hargreaves Lansdown and Standard Life“, those with their retirement savings in the balance will turn to Coltrane soon enough, some will be scared enough to offer their part to Coltrane at any amount that gives them more than 30 cents to the dollar, giving Coltrane the option to upgrade the size of the bat that they wield in this encounter, leaving the people at Interserve with little to work with, and in light that there is no plan B or a plan C, gives more and more the impression that they never properly prepared for this war, making the outcome of a win for Coltrane against them a rather large likelihood.

So who goes to a war theatre without at least three options ready? Anyone who starts a tactic without two alternative routes handy at any given time is merely on a one way street to defeat. That is not predictive, that is an issue that has been gospel since WW1, I would go further that the Siege of Khartoum of 1884 was another example to that premise. In those days there were thousands of Brits sneering and making fun of Muhammad Ahmad bin Abd Allah, in the end he walked into Khartoum leaving mountains of corpses in his wake. From that setting alone, the board of directors at Interserve have made a few too many really poor decisions, when we add that to the pile, we see that Coltrane is not done, not by a long short and when it falls over, Coltrane walks away with an ox-cart of gold and a fair share of the 74,000 employees will not be that lucky.

Those who want a better stage better find themselves a new deal and set themselves as independent contractors finding new alliances. It might be easy for some where the market is vastly on the rise, but that is merely in a few places where the stage can be set to take control of the projects, making the situation of Interserve a lot less manageable soon enough.

I am merely speculating now, yet consider the projects over the last 6 months.

  • Qatar National Theatre
  • Southwark Council
  • Highways England
  • North Lincolnshire Council
  • Durham University

These are merely a few of many projects where ownership of the project could revert to other players if the pressure on that project is high enough. Those customers will need to seek a solution for their invested needs and there is now enough doubt whether Interserve can fulfil its side of those contracts, the mere absence of a plan B would essentially be enough to facilitate for change if the proper cards were played and £150 million is nothing to make fun of.

But that could be merely my wrongful view on the matter, we will know soon enough.

 

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