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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Middle Eastern/African/Asian Background, NSA Whistleblowers, and More

- whenever you take a on a new job you feel naive (the following are all publicly available videos/documentaries often from well known media outlets). Despite what is being said by a lot of people in the public spotlight I don't believe that there is a way to acheive victory in a timely fashion. Kids of primary school age are being trained to hate the West, to learn how to use weapons, to become suicide bombers, etc... We can destroy large parts of the organisation but then it will be a case of managing the situation downwards if there is to be some form of major 'direct foreign intervention'. This will be a multi-generational fight which people in these areas seem to understand. Teachers know that there's a strong chance that they will be killed if they attempt to re-educate children against such groups...
Peshmerga vs. the Islamic State - The Road to Mosul (Full Length)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbsesrAMjTw
The Enemy Within (Pakistan Taliban)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtE0dJMrd2s
Yemen - A Failed State
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ggen-595Ng
The Alleged Iranian Plot To Kidnap And Kill British Nationals (2010)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wam5Fg6Z6wc
The Battle for Iraq - Shia Militias vs. the Islamic State
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pEZcCJIKkg
The War Against Boko Haram (Full Length)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kimbo5c0Ak
Syria's Unending Rebel Conflict - Wolves of the Valley
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Cb3OURdl3g
Naxal - Terrorism from Inside
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Rfje3x-37E
ISIS  - Vice Iran vs ISIS Documentary 2015 (isis vice)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQheKnnYoRI
- assume that any media that you see regarding conflict will be controlled. A common tactic among biased regimes/media is to interview people who are less than competent. You may be shocked by some customs among some militaries... and some of the decisions that are made. The way that the a lot of these rebels fight is foolhardy at times. They often have no body armour, have little/no aerial/naval/artillery support, limited ammunition, wepaons, and communications capability, and yet they walk around problem areas as though things were peaceful. Only when they get fired upon do they up the tempo...
The War Against Boko Haram (Full Length)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kimbo5c0Ak
Full Documentary US Marines Attack On Taliban War Of Afghanistan HD 2015 !! 720p
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMI_PNQJoO8
People and Power - Chad - At War With Boko Haram
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAx90cho8c4
- just like in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 it feels like a lot of public officials are unsure exactly what to do. The public services (including defense and intelligence) are supposed to fill the breach. However, it's clear that publicly elected officals sometimes don't listen, the services are getting swamped, etc... Ultimately, it means that public officials are effecitvely just getting a filtered version of what may be happening. They may not making the best decision after all. For any official to have a genuine chance they need more background prior to them entering their job at the highest levels of government
http://www.smh.com.au/comment/paris-attacks-the-west-should-let-the-middle-east-settle-its-own-differences-20151115-gkzqss.html
http://www.smh.com.au/comment/paris-attacks-we-still-dont-understand-the-enemy-within-20151115-gkzpjp.html
http://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/paris-attacks-global-economic-cost-of-terrorism-highest-since-september-11-2001-20151117-gl0vfk.html
- at times, some of these groups almost seem sane. At others you just wonder how on Earth they can believe what they believe. One thing which is interesting (if you know about prophets and prophetic visions) is that they seem to be trying to attempt to acheive prophecies rather than letting them happen. I'm certain that if there is a God, things will be done according to his timing not ours
The Islamic State (Full Length)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUjHb4C7b94
Featured Documentary - ISIL and the Taliban
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYfBeeUzVME
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-islamic-state-apocalypse-20151116-story.html
- the more you look the more it feels as though the average person in these areas doesn't care about who governs them as long as they are safe and well looked after. Most of these strange groups aren't that much different though and foreign intervention can often be interpreted as 'plots' when countries/companies later try to exploit the resources of their country. If there is to be foreign intervention, the interests of the people in these countries must come first not the interests of those who are intervening to stop the spread of such propaganda. Stay out of internal politics and religious issues if at all possible
- the average citizen doesn't really care about major conflicts in distant lands as long as it's not in their own homeland. A lot of the time it feels as though the US is unsure (and the rest of us are well) of it's place in the world
http://www.nationalinterest.org/feature/expecting-more-our-allies-why-us-foreign-policy-needs-reboot-14333
- a lot of decisions that need to be made by governments are effectively the lesser of two evil type decisions... Whether it's supporting one side, engaging in a proxy war, etc... The irony is that a lot of what we end up is often a consequence of an earlier decision. We think we know a group or individual and think that we're on the same side. Not always
- regime change isn't as simple as changing leader like changing your vote in a democracy. The USSR/US have had a long history of involvement in proxy wars and yet they still haven't figured things out. Often it's a combination of luck as well as skill to determine whether your strategy will hold
Afghanistan War - Military Documentary HD
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOUriSlOJAg
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_proxy_wars
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proxy_war
- I have a feeling no matter how much intelligence we have we'll never understand what is actually happening. There is no perfect solution. The other issue is that we're basically getting all the information that we need as is (even without extra powers). It feels as though it's just a decision every once in a while which is allowing an attack to slip through the net. Something which a lot of whistleblowers also seem to be saying (see the next section on NSA whistleblowers in this post). Making better decisions would probably save us more money (and would probably be more effective) than simply spending more money on our intelligence/defense budgets
Featured Documentary - ISIL and the Taliban
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYfBeeUzVME
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Iraq-warned-of-attacks-before-Paris-assault/articleshow/49798041.cms
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-paris-attacks-20151115-story.html
http://www.nationalinterest.org/feature/increasing-us-defense-spending-when-addition-subtraction-14349
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/terrorism-in-the-uk/11997853/Revealed-Britain-foils-seven-terror-attacks-in-just-six-months.html
- a lot of multi-generation Westerners are too blinkered. A lot of immigrant parents would prefer to be in their homeland and they transfer this tought into their children as well. To those people who say, 'go back their homeland' a lot of the time these people simply don't have a choice... If they think that 'Western interference/intervention' is for the greater good wait until they come up against people who have been cut loose from covert operations or feel that their homelands have been destroyed as a result of it. At the other end of the spectrum, if the situation were explained more completely in the media a lot of the time strategic decisions will make much more sense and people will likely give some strategies greater acceptance
- at times it feels as though some public officials are just inviting/inciting further trouble. Some areas they shouldn't touch at all... It makes it a thousand times easier to turn into anti-Western propaganda. Free speech is great but at times like this it can sometimes feel more trouble than it's worth
The Stream - Alarm over Australia's counterterrorism plans
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rb7r2lvMRqM
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/16/world/europe/obama-g20-turkey.html?_r=0
- whether it's the Russians, Chinese, Iranians, or terrorist groups part of the problem is that Western strategies are often too predictable (admittedly, there are only so many tricks in the bag). Due to this opponents often take pre-emptive measures to hedge against any actions that the West is likely to take
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-11-10/how-the-unshackled-ruble-has-changed-russia-s-economy-forever

- some of what the NSA does makes no sense (I've worked on this type of stuff and there are solutions which help to maintain 'national security' while maintaining privacy. Some of which they also worked on...). If the problem comes down to deicision making and not collections/technology capability why don't they spend more time in training in these areas rather than new programs which have little chance of succeeding? Sometimes it feels as though the US is simply feeding into the 'military complex' for no reason other than to create employment. If that's the case, aren't there industries with better money to employment ratios? The other thing that's obvious is this. In the past, the US defense industry clearly had spin off technologies which could be used in the civilian sector. Obviously, this helped to pay the bills over the long term. I wonder whether this is what they're thinking. The obvious problem is that it's in the technology sector. A sector which generally employs fewer people for the amount of money involved...
NSA Whistleblower - Everyone in US under virtual surveillance, all info stored, no matter the post
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TuET0kpHoyM
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ThinThread
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trailblazer_Project
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stellar_Wind
http://securityaffairs.co/wordpress/14749/intelligence/thinthread-us-spy-system-tested-on-nz.html
- problem of mass storage of data (in context of Operation Trailblazer) is that the job of analysts is much more difficult. Throws you much more work for something not neccessarily worthwhile. Operation Trailblazer makes sense if required data wasn't coming into the system but they did? The impression that I get over and over again is that they're getting enough information in order to prevent something from happening. The reason why things are getting through are bad decisions every once in a while (9/11, Boston, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc...). The main reasons why I think they're holding data is to use as leverage in investigations where something has managed to get through (Boston), some for encrypted/encoded content, some for 'Automated Analysis/Intelligence' type techniques, etc... The obvious problem is like that of Russia, China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, etc... With lack of oversight individuals could get into trouble for doing something that the government does not like, not what is actually unlawful. I've heard of bizarre cases where people have been visted by Federal Agents for talking about stuff that was already in the public sphere...
'NSA owns entire network anywhere in the world' - whistleblower William Binney
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdJCPc9Kz-U
Exclusive Interview with Former NSA Technical Director - William Binney
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWPc7FlQjGY
http://leaksource.info/2014/10/03/nsa-whistleblower-william-binney-private-presentation-qa-on-snowden-files-thinthread/
US' Betrayal of Truth _ Interview with Whistleblower Thomas Drake
- I find it strange that they haven't been able to make better progress on 'Operation Trailblazer'. Technically, it's not much different to what scientific and financial programmers face. Think about HFT/Algorithmic trading and the issues faced are almost identical (high speed analysis of massive amounts of data). They shouldn't have issues with wages either since intelligence/defense contract wages are pretty high as indicated by Snowden
- even though the US government has said otherwise it doesn't seem plausible that these people would be whistleblowing without probable cause. The whistleblowers all have high level access which means that technically they would have access to operations intelligence which would also give them a high level overview similar to the highest levels of government. They would know if something seemed wrong with the current setup
William Binney on The Alex Jones Show - March 18,2015
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvOIMY2cZ0U
http://www.nationalinterest.org/feature/increasing-us-defense-spending-when-addition-subtraction-14349
- a lot of whistleblowers just sound slightly naive
Assange on 'US Empire', Assad govt overthrow plans & new book 'The WikiLeaks Files' (EXCLUSIVE)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3HWiydFlJc
Live Q&A - Edward Snowden
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhKXTVc5h4A
- if the internal electronic, monitoring systems of the US intelligence is that inefficient Russian and Chinese practice of relying more heavily on HUMINT makes much more sense. They can gain everything for the cost of a single agent... (doesn't matter if it takes one thousand agents are caught) Obviously, it's possible that some of these whistleblowers could be 'false flag' operations but what's the point?
William Binney on The Alex Jones Show - March 18,2015
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvOIMY2cZ0U
- if the reason for high US spending on defense/intelligence is for subsidising jobs wouldn't they be better off subsidising jobs in other areas? Think about it, bang for buck? Skills in intelligence/defense are somewhat limited to that particular field. A lot of private defense jobs are mostly about high wage jobs for a small number of people. The US could create chain stores/resturants and employ heaps more people? Else, help people start up firms. It would surely be a more more efficient way of creating jobs? Unless this is about veneer of success? Like when you bring people over but only show them the 'finest cutlery'?
- Soviet/Russian whistleblower/defectors tend to have very short lifespans after they defect or speak out. If you want more details look over some of my previous posts. The West tends to punish those that speak out via professional discrimination thereafter as indicated by the accounts of some of the people mentioned in these videos
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/09/21/alexander-perepilichny-fsb-whistleblower-death_n_8170744.html
- after getting a lot of background it seems clear that the US is unsure of how to attack the terrorist issue. Hence, they've resorted to mass surveillance and the solutions are neither elegant, efficient, cost-effective, etc... They sound rediculous, incompetent, and wasteful at times. This theme seems to be consistent across the intelligence as well as the defense sector. Indications (by people employed by US defense and intelligence agencies) are that they can slash about half their spending and still achieve the same capability which means the current targeted reduction in spending make much more sense...
NSA Whistleblower William Binney the 3 words that will put you on the NSA List
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPMNrmRgxhc
Edward Snowden, v 1.0 - NSA Whistleblower William Binney Tells All
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M66saPW2Gq8
Thomas Drake 60 Minutes Documentary
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mVpMp9QLPE
https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=thomas+drake
https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=william+binney
https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=edward+snowden
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diane_Roark
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Binney_(U.S._intelligence_official)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NSA_warrantless_surveillance_(2001%E2%80%9307)
China employs two million microblog monitors state media say
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-24396957

- reset of firmware password on a Macbook can be fairly painless on older systems but extremely difficult on newer ones
https://www.ifixit.com/Answers/View/78792/How+do+I+reset+the+firmware+password+on+my+MacBook+Pro
http://jerseycityrepair.com/macbook-air-efi-password-removal/
https://ghostlyhaks.com/blog/blog/hacking/18-apple-efi-bypass
http://osxdaily.com/2015/01/28/forgot-mac-firmware-password-what-now/

- certain Macbook performacne issues can come down to SMC issues (which will require a reset)
http://apple.stackexchange.com/questions/33764/macbook-3-1-2007-white-model-works-slow-and-lags
Resetting the System Management Controller (SMC) on your Mac
https://support.apple.com/en-au/HT201295

- just like other operating systems Apple hardware/software also has these options
http://www.howtogeek.com/189104/troubleshoot-your-mac-with-these-hidden-startup-options/?PageSpeed=noscript

- I wonder how many refugees are hailing Facebook's efforts? Who cares about food and water as long as have have connectivity, huh?
http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/facebook-chief-mark-zuckerberg-plans-to-bring-the-internet-to-refugee-camps-20150927-gjvr9b.html

- it had to happen sometime, huh?
https://theintercept.com/2015/09/22/apples-app-store-infected-type-malware-cia-developed/
http://www.itwire.com/business-it-news/security/69601-malware-that-hit-apple-similar-to-that-developed-by-cia-report

- always been curious about this as another form of 'passive income'...
http://www.replayscience.com/blog/how-to-monetise-your-online-video/
http://websitesetup.org/33-ways-to-monetize-website/

- what should you charge as an IT specialist as determined by Google
http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2012/05/what-are-the-hourly-rates-for-it-contractors/
http://www.quora.com/What-is-the-typical-hourly-consultant-rate-for-a-good-software-engineer
http://www.payscale.com/research/AU/Job=Web_Developer/Salary
http://programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/95946/how-should-i-determine-my-rates-for-writing-custom-software
https://www.elance.com/trends/talent-available

- proxying web requess via the CLI

Some recent quotes in the media...

- “Great companies don’t hire skilled people and motivate them, they hire already motivated people and inspire them. People are either motivated or they are not. Unless you give motivated people something to believe in, something bigger than their job to work toward, they will motivate themselves to find a new job and you’ll be stuck with whoever’s left.”
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/small-business/what-steve-jobs-was-missing-about-innovation/article26093148/
- I think this only amplifies that, for the most part, we are doing hiring wrong. What shows up in an interview is often the person you like the most, or the person that fits your interviewing style, rather than the best person for the job. This is why contract-to-hire has been in use much more recently. The problem is that contract-to-hire usually isn't appealing to a candidate if they already have a job.
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-i-hire-separating-top-performers-from-those-great-robert-herjavec?trk=pulse-det-nav_art
- China never promised to be the global factory forever. Its export-driven model was fine for a while because it allowed for fast growth, but it also ruined the country's environment and made the economy dependent on foreign demand, which, as recent economic crises have proved, can be unreliable. This model is being gradually dismantled and those countries that built their own economic plans upon it need to rethink and prepare for slower growth.
http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-09-01/it-s-a-bad-time-to-depend-on-china
- David - otherwise known as the hero our city deserves - called out: “Did you see Tony Abbott eat the onion?”

“T - Tony Abbott? Tony Abbott what?”

“The onion! Eat the onion! Tony Abbott ate the onion!”

The sheer disbelief in Oliver’s voice said it all, as he attempted to make sense of the question. Just remember that this was a man hearing that the current Prime Minister of Australia bit into a raw, unpeeled onion.

“Did he do it competently?”

Laughter followed, but it soon became clear that words were not enough. Oliver would need evidence of this. He just wasn’t getting it.

“He ate an onion? He ATE an ONION? He ate an onion like a two-year-old eats an onion, thinking: ‘It’s round and I’ve seen round apples! Is this an apple?’ No. He did not do that.”

And then, when an audience member enlightened him further: “He ate TWO?! Get the f**k out!”
http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/tv/john-olivers-hilarious-reaction-to-tony-abbott-eating-a-raw-unpeeled-onion/story-e6frfmyi-1227508279661?from=google_rss&google_editors_picks=true
- I am struck not only with the rubbish in this article, but the success of P. Leahy in espousing conflicting and incoherent views without in any way realising their combination of sectarianism, futility, militarism and inconsistency.However his recognition that “A strategy should be about what we want to happen” is sensible – even if he endows us with the right to decide how Middle Easterners should live and who should run it.“Our” decision regarding Saddam Hussein was impressively wrong, with continuing consequences.

Most of the mass murderers and war criminals who took part in the invasion of Iraq in 2003 have now received the Freedom Medal.  Those behind America's Iraq adventure - people like Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, John McCain and Condoleeza Rice - are as visible as ever, pushing their hawkish views in the papers and the talk shows.  As Conor Friedersdorf comments, it's amazing 'how much influence Iraq War supporters still have in US foreign affairs'.

Yet Iraqis are still dying in large numbers from the war that they started. They also made ISIL what it is today.So our real scale of values is our ruling clique demonstrating their impunity to plunder us while using us and our resources to attack their self-defined “enemies”.Our so-called enemies will have noticed – after all, our ruling clique ruthlessly drives a global order that has long done the same to them. That is why the peasants are revolting.

As Thatcher said, “We are all responsible for our own actions. We cannot blame society if we disobey the law.  We simply cannot delegate the exercise of mercy and generosity to others.”

Note the media silence on the enormous costs of these utterly futile wars to the American people.
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/taking-on-terror-strategic-leadership-lacking/story-e6frg6zo-1227525339029
- There is no requirement for the Australian electorate to vote for these idiots. Yet we do it regularly and constantly. I put it to you, we are the bigger morons.
http://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/moronic-lesser-minds-make-a-meal-of-migration-20150911-gjkgsh.html#ixzz3lq1U5I4W
- Greetings to you all at the NSA and everybody else who is reading this on ECHELON.
http://www.f-16.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=33&t=27948
- Sir Winston Churchill quote: "The vice of capitalism is that it stands for the unequal sharing of blessings; whereas the virtue of socialism is that is stands for the equal sharing of misery."
http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/tax-avoidance-crackdown-1000-multinationals-face-tax-squeeze-under-new-rules-20150916-gjnsyu.html
- The developed world is rich but ageing, and unevenly recovering from the profound shock of the GFC. And China is no longer our free ride. In business, as Mr Turnbull says, the only way forward is by disrupting others and avoiding it yourself. New interconnecting digital technologies mean old natural barriers to competition and old business models built around them are crashing, with people's jobs changing in ways we are only just grasping. That is the world Mr Turnbull says we can master. It will mean changes at basic levels, from schools and universities, through to creating the entrepreneurial culture that our top econocrat, Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens, says we have too little of. It means accepting failure as a step on the path to success and of praising tall poppies who earn their place. 
http://www.afr.com/opinion/malcolm-turnbulls-bold-new-political-message-20150918-gjpoas
- He noted that he was asked at a hearing last year whether the U.S. would come to the defense of those it trained when they were attacked by forces loyal to Bashar Assad. Hagel said yes.
“The White House didn’t like that answer, but I said, ‘Guys, let me give you the facts of life. You can’t play think-tank nonsense and bullshit when you’re getting a question like that because the whole world is listening and watching what your answer to that is,’ ” Hagel said.
http://www.omaha.com/news/politics/chuck-hagel-says-he-warned-the-white-house-against-syria/article_fcec4dc9-8bec-501e-9550-ead9765afb8e.html
- Having worked with pilots, I have seen their enthusiasm to play with something shiny and new. But in their enthusiasm, they tend to gloss over a lot of problems in its implementation.

I will take a problem that we had when Canada initially received the F-18. On take off there was a fault where instruments would throw a breaker on take off. The pilot solution, and the solution that was accepted,was to get the pilot to unclip the panel and use a rod to flip the circuits back on. All this while flying the aircraft fter takeoff. This was the accepted solution for quite a while as the maintenance people tracked down and repair the problem. The rational solution would have been to ground the fleet and make this repair a top priority.

This is the problem with pilots and remember that it is pilots who are in charge of the air force. They would risk their lives in a slingshot and a large bucket than give up an opportunity to fly. Time and time again, u have seen a pilot (an officer) try to coerce a technician (not an officer) to sign off that a plane was safe to fly when it wasn't. Just to get a little more flight time. Now if that plane suffered from an incident, you would see that same pilot screaming for the tech'support head for signs in off on the a/c.
http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2015/09/air-force-fighters-will-carry-laser-cannons-cyber-weapons-by-2020/?comments=1&start=80
- Elliot: My father picked me up from school one day and we played hooky and went to the beach. It was too cold to go in the water, so we sat on a blanket and ate pizza. When I got home my sneakers were full of sand, and I dumped it on my bedroom floor. I didn't know the difference; I was six. My mother screamed at me for the mess, but he wasn't mad. He said that billions of years ago, the world shifting and moving brought that sand to that spot on the beach and then I took it away. "Every day," he said, "we change the world," which is a nice thought until I think about how many days and lifetimes I would need to bring a shoeful of sand home until there is no beach... until I've made a difference to anyone. Every day we change the world, but to change the world in a way that means anything, that takes more time than most people have. It never happens all at once. It's slow. It's methodical. It's exhausting. We don't all have the stomach for it.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4730012/quotes
- A wise man once pointed out that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view. Relative to the 1970s and 1980s, the United States is almost incomparably powerful and secure, enjoying presumptive military advantage over any opponent or plausible coalition of opponents. We sometimes forget, for example, that there is some history to the idea of Russian troops freely operating in Ukraine.

And the point is not that the United States deserves some kind of comeuppance for its arrogance. Geopolitics isn’t a Shakespearean drama, or a morality play. Noting that Russia, China, and others have the growing capability to act independently in their regions does not imply that they will act justly, or that they have any special right to torture their neighbors.
http://www.nationalinterest.org/feature/yes-americas-military-supremacy-fading-not-its-superiority-13885?page=2
- “On June 22, 1941, Churchill had enough common sense to make an alliance with the USSR, because the alternative alliance with the Third Reich was even less appealing than the one with Moscow,” observes Maxim Sokolov, a popular Russian political commentator. “But John Kerry is obviously no Churchill. He has a different style of thinking.”
http://asia.rbth.com/international/2015/09/22/build_a_coalition_to_save_syria_49437.html
- Like that quote that's usually attributed to Einstein says, "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid."
https://www.quora.com/What-can-you-teach-me-that-can-be-useful-in-my-life
- iSight makes 90 per cent of its revenue from subscriptions to its six intelligence streams, each focused on a particular threat, including cyberespionage and cybercrime.

The company's most recent competition comes from its oldest clients, particularly banks, which have been hiring former intelligence analysts to start internal operations. One former client, which declined to be named because of concerns that doing so could violate a nondisclosure agreement, said it had been able to build its own intelligence program at half the cost of its cancelled iSight subscriptions.

But most businesses do not have the same resources as, say, a company like Bank of America, whose chief executive recently said there was no cap on the bank's cyber security budget.

Many of those businesses remain paralysed by the drumbeat of alarms that expensive security technologies are sounding on their networks.

At iSight's threat centre, the company's approach is perhaps best summed up by a logo emblazoned on a T-shirt worn by one of its top analysts: "Someone should do something."
http://www.smh.com.au/it-pro/security-it/intelligence-startup-isight-goes-behind-enemy-lines-to-get-ahead-of-hackers-20150915-gjmuvj.html
- "We don't have a good sense, sometimes, of what's going on," she said. "And worse, as a policymaker, it's not like they can fly in and take a look at what happened."
http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/dem-fumes-whats-going-on-in-afghanistan/article/2573481
- On Syria, the president said we could work with Iran and Russia to combat terrorism, but: “we must recognize that there cannot be, after so much bloodshed, so much carnage, a return to the pre-war status quo.” Bashar Assad must go.

Putin’s riposte “We think it is an enormous mistake to refuse to cooperate with the Syrian government and its armed forces, who are valiantly fighting terrorism face to face.” Bashar will stay and his Russian and Iranian friends have the military power to make it so — regardless of how many Syrian Christian and Sunni “terrorists” they have to butcher.

He also announced a new Russian-led front against “terrorism,” defined as anyone who opposes Assad. Their destruction, he promised Europe, will stem the flow of refugees as Assad’s authority is restored — under Russian guidance. Front members include Syria, Iraq and Iran; bombing has already begun.

So, on one hand, a man with a relatively weak state but who is a realist with specific goals; long-range plans; a thirst to right what he describes as a “historic tragedy”; and an iron will to act.

On the other, a man leading the world’s most powerful nation who pronounces his visions and cannot grasp why they do not come true, as they often do at home. Who is confused when his opponents are not cowed by his words. Whose irresolution fills his allies with apprehension. There is weakness in the water, thicker than blood; below, sharks circle.

This will not end well. Not for anyone.
http://www.summitdaily.com/opinion/18512764-113/liddick-obama-and-putin-agree-everythings-our
- So Russia's state-dominated space industry is set to continue struggling to outperform its Western counterparts. Meanwhile, existing companies are plagued by lack of quality control and expert oversight. In 2013, a Proton rocket was lost because a worker installed a sensor upside down — and hammered it in to fit.
http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/russias-geriatric-space-program-creaking-n413607
- If you want to understand Afghanistan’s opium problem, put yourself in the shoes of an Afghan farmer. Your country’s in turmoil, you’re largely disconnected from the rest of the population, and you have few options to earn a living. There’s no irrigation infrastructure, and poppies are the only plants tough enough to withstand the environmental conditions. You could plant wheat, but why bother? Poppies will earn you eight times as much money.

So the extent to which Afghanistan has become ground zero for opium, as the latest United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime 2007 World Drug Report makes plain, should be no surprise. Around 92 percent of the world’s heroin comes from Afghan poppies, and—thanks to the 49 percent increase in poppy cultivation in Afghanistan between 2005 and 2006—global opium production reached a record high of 6,610 metric tons last year. Opium production and trade accounts for at least a third of all economic activity in Afghanistan.
http://foreignpolicy.com/2007/07/02/why-do-afghan-farmers-grow-poppies/
- In a typical year, Afghan farmers sell about 7,000 tons of opium at $130 a kilogram to traffickers who convert that into 1,000 tons of heroin, worth perhaps $2,500 a kilogram in Afghanistan and $4,000 at wholesale in neighboring countries. That works out to roughly $900 million in annual revenues for the farmers, $1.6 billion for traffickers from operations within Afghanistan, and another $1.5 billion for those who smuggle heroin out of the country. (2010 was atypical; a poppy blight drove opium production down and prices up.)
http://foreignpolicy.com/2011/04/01/think-again-the-afghan-drug-trade-2/
- Often, but not always. In the early years of the Afghanistan war, coalition policy included widespread forced eradication. In June 2009, however, Barack Obama’s administration announced that U.S. and other international forces would no longer conduct eradication operations, on which the late Richard Holbrooke said the United States had "wasted hundreds of millions of dollars."

The sensible motivation for this reversal was recognition that eradication produced unintended consequences. Pulling up a farmer’s opium crop could generate ill will, perhaps enough to produce a new recruit for the insurgency. It was also geographically inconvenient. Afghanistan is a horrendously complicated place, but to oversimplify, two-thirds of the country (roughly 27 of 34 provinces) has been nearly poppy-free and relatively stable for a few years. The remaining third — in particular Helmand and Kandahar provinces — is rife with both poppies and insurgents. Eradication in those areas has a minimal and temporary effect on the drug trade, at most pushing production to the next valley or district. And angering farmers where Taliban recruiters prowl seemed like a gift to the enemy. So the Obama administration swore off direct support of eradication, though the governors of some Afghan provinces continue to pursue their own eradication programs.
http://foreignpolicy.com/2011/04/01/think-again-the-afghan-drug-trade-2/
- It violates the essence of what made America a great country in its political system. Now it's just an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or being elected president. And the same thing applies to governors, and U.S. Senators and congress members. So, now we've just seen a subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors, who want and expect, and sometimes get, favors for themselves after the election is over. ... At the present time the incumbents, Democrats and Republicans, look upon this unlimited money as a great benefit to themselves. Somebody that is already in Congress has a great deal more to sell."
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eric-zuesse/jimmy-carter-is-correct-t_b_7922788.html

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