Archive for the ‘Economy’ Category
Cosmo: Posit: People think a bank might be financially shaky.
Martin Bishop: Consequence: People start to withdraw their money.
Cosmo: Result: Pretty soon it is financially shaky.
Martin Bishop: Conclusion: You can make banks fail.
Cosmo: Bzzt. I’ve already done that. Maybe you’ve heard about a few? Think bigger.
Martin Bishop: Stock market?
Martin Bishop: Currency market?
Martin Bishop: Commodities market?
Martin Bishop: Small countries?
In a previous post I wrote about the nascent “Anon Analytics” group that had popped up claiming that they were going to out corruption in corporations by using OSINT and inside leaks/whistle-blowers. On the face of it, I thought this was a good idea and said as much in the post. I had caveats though that they confirm their information and that they be above board. I received a response from Anon Analytics thanking me for the article and that they had found it interesting. I however, had failed to read the disclaimer on the first report by Anon Analytics and as such, this is my mea culpa as well as another warning to Anon that they need to keep things above board here.. Lest they become just as bad as those who they are claiming they are outing for misdeeds.
I was alerted to an article from Finance Asia that called them on the fact that within this disclaimer, they are making the statement that the assumption must be made that the “Partners, Affiliates, Consultants, Clients, and other related parties” hold “short” positions in the securities profiled in the report. Which means that all of the parties named there will profit from shorts due to the data being released and potentially causing the stock to plummet and fail.
Say.. Isn’t that what got us all into this fix today with the markets and the banks in general?
Yes, indeed, that is the case and this statement within their disclaimer alone causes me to pretty much rescind my previous statements about any kind of approval for these efforts by Anon Analytics. Really, this is the pot calling the kettle black and then throwing feces to boot. This is not how you rectify malfeasance! Frankly, this could just then be considered only a machination to make money off of the use of information warfare (disinformation as well) to profit and manipulate the markets.
.. And as far as I know, this is rather illegal…
Look, what I said before about being above board with this effort still stands. If you want to right wrongs then you cannot use this effort as a potential piggy bank as well. At the present time, I cannot confirm all of your data from Chaoda however, if you look at the news following the reports release, you can see how you affected the market and the stock. The cause and effect may or may not have anything to do with your report in fact, but, time will tell if there are any real arrests in the whole affair concerning Chaoda. If there aren’t and nothing can be conclusively proven, then what has really been done to the company? Some losses yes, and, by your statement, those around you will profit.. Potentially.
If you want to make a difference, you cannot be a party to profit from information warfare that you are generating.
It All Started With Anonymous and Wikileaks
The Chinese have an aphorism “May you live in interesting times” It’s a bit more of a curse than it is an aphorism, but, the gist is that they are not wishing you a “good time” It has been feeling pretty “interesting” this last year and I really have to say that it all stems from Anonymous’ and their ignition of the nascent feeling today of powerlessness on the part of many. Whether it be their personal lives, or perhaps by looking at the whole of the world through the instantaneous news cycles that today’s technology has afforded, in general, people are not feeling as though they have much control over their daily lives.
I would have to say that much of this has its genesis in 9/11 and the post 9/11 world that we have come to be in. Security has become the operative word for some excesses by government to use its powers (self created) Case in point, the ability to spy on anyone deemed to be a threat without a warrant. The knee jerk reaction to 9/11 has allowed for a fear based response that has set some pretty scary precedents these last 10 years. Add to this the bank scandals, the recession, the fallout from Fanny and Freddy, and waves of greed and misdeeds on the part of corporations that influence the government, and we have quite the picture of how things have gone sideways.
But.. Much of this is not new I’m afraid. Wikileaks just opened the secret flood gates in some ways. Though, had you been paying attention you likely would have already known much of what Wikileaks was trying to say before the big dumps began to show up online.
What is new is that a new generation of youth have been disenfranchised enough to take up arms against it all as they see fit. Anonymous, was the catalyst for this in their early attacks on oppression like “Scientology” a system which really is much more a corporation melded with a religiosity (faux) to create an entity that is not taxed, does not have oversight by anyone, and seems for all intents and purposes, to be a “Corporate Cult”… Which when I think about it now post Steve Jobs departure from this mortal coil, is a lot like the reverb surrounding Apple and the Jobs-ian “passing on to a higher plain” claptrap.. But that is another story…
Either way, the gist of this all is that Anonymous and Wikileaks is the progenitors here I think, and it is the very nature of the collectives technical bent that has lit this fuse that finally reached out of the digital Kabuki theatre and on to the real streets.
Technology, The Great Equalizer
Anonymous’ use of technology only comes naturally as they formed online. It is with the growth of social media and the connectivity that we all have today with smart phones, that the movement went viral. Some may say it was the targeting, but I would say that the targeting was always there, but those who were feeling the miasma weren’t able to express it in the normal ways of yesterday. However, with blogs, micro-blogs, twitter, texting, etc, people coalesced into groups on their own with a collective gravity that eventually, had enough psychic mass to catch on large scale.
It is this very thing that has led to what we see today. From flash mobs to the final outcome of the occupy movement that harkens back actually to the early Tea Party movement in the way the word got out and collected like minds to its cause. All of these people have found each other and inspired one another to react to what they are perceiving as injustice within the systems in which they live. The technology has given the tools to the populace to respond in a way that only the mass media has had the corner of the market on for so long.
Added to this the technical aspects that bred not only the Anonymous “Hactivism” we have a new paradigm for dissent. The recent threat to DoS NYSE by Anonymous is case in point to the technology being used as not only a weapon but also as a means of protest, though the legalities of such attacks is questionable. The law has yet to catch up on much of the technology, so the arguments upcoming over the LOIC arrests for the MasterCard denial of service attacks will likely generate new law either way.
Interesting times indeed.
Occupy Wall Street.. Why Again?
Of late, the “occupation” movement has picked up speed all around the globe. However, it seems that with these demonstrations unlike the ones in the 60’s over Civil Rights, seems rather more diffuse when you go and observe what’s going on. Now, one could say that this is media spin, but, when I look at the aggregate reporting from all sides, I can see how some might categorise the movement as being diffuse. On some fronts, the movement seems to have been co-opted by others with more shall we say, exotic demands? I guess my fear would be that this turns into a Lolapalooza or a Burning Man instead of a protest with specific goals in mind.
Occupy Wall Street has a set of 13 goals that seemed to me pretty straight forward, yet, they seem to be open ended. Perhaps the movement might tighten them down a bit and generate some more concise and workable (demands) for lack of a better term? In the era of the 60’s there was a defined demand for a civil rights bill.. I suggest to you all now that you work something akin out on paper to give to the congress critters that want to work with you. After all, its kinda pointless to ask for things like “stuff” and expect to get something back (including support) that is concrete from the establishment. How about you get some of the luminaries in the economics field to give you ideas for positions?
Unless you direct all this energy, you will all be collectively mocked as a bunch of stinky hippies without jobs or just attributed to be “malcontent’s”
Define the argument… Get the 60’s protesters to show you the way.. After all, they really did change things.. For a while.
The Media, Lapdogs To The Corporations?
Speaking of perceptions, here we have one of the key issues today. For a long time it seemed as though the mainstream media was ignoring the protests. Perhaps they thought it was just going to go away and it wasn’t news. However, as they have come to find out, there seems to be a large disenfranchised populace out there willing to protest. Just who are they protesting and what seems to be the issue both from the perspective I have as well as what the media might want to portray it to be.
Yes.. That’s right, I am not a fan of the media today. It is my opinion frankly that Cronkite’s demise only saved him further pain and anguish over the career that he loved so much. The mainstream media as it’s called, is pretty much a corporate run “profit” centre as opposed to what it used to be “a cost centre” That’s right kids, as soon as news became a “for profit” business as a whole, its efficacy in providing true reporting became much diminished. Now, this is not to say that this wasn’t the case before. In the 19th century all you had to do was look at the newspapers of the day and you could see it was all about “if it bleeds it leads!” and just how much money could be made with a lurid headline. Of course today we get the same treatment from a fire-hose of sources online and off, all of which is now pretty much solely being run for profit.
When people talk about the media being the lapdogs of corporations, they need only look as far as FOX *cough* News, who really came down to the point in a court case claiming that they aren’t really news, but instead “entertainment” Enough said really huh? So, when I see the stories not only about things like Occupy Wall Street, but also anything I have a pretty good knowledge of, I see their spin to get headlines and attract viewers.. Viewers who in turn are the targets of marketing and advertising between segments. Follow the money…
Of course speaking of Fox, you only have to read a bit more and see how Mr. Kane.. Uhh, I mean Mr. Hearst… Uhh, I mean Mr. Murdoch uses his papers and other media operations to sway the public and the government. Even his machinations involving phone hacking is a telling piece of the puzzle no? Yes Virginia, Mr. Murdoch does underhanded things to get what he wants…
So, while we are protesting the other injustices, one might suggest that you all pay attention to the media that you are being interviewed by and made into sound bytes…
They can control the story.. Catch them at it… Stop it when they do.
The Governmental Response and New Backlash
Meanwhile, another faction that is being used by the media (hand in glove) is the government and the players within it who would use these tools. The recent coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement on CNN for instance shows how the media can be used to portray the movement as nothing but unwashed stupid hippies (the falor Newt gave to the debate) Perhaps Newt was misquoted? Maybe it’s out of context? I think not. I find it really funny that the Republicans have latched onto this issue by saying that it is a symptom of “Class Warfare” and generally acting like the old man yelling at the kids to get off his lawn. Well, come to think about it, I guess that is pretty much on the mark, Wall Street is their lawn ain’t it?
The Democrats are only a little better on this issue as well. Sure, they support what is happening or what’s being said, but really, do any of us really think they are feeling so moved by their own ethos? Or might it be that it’s election season and they are seeing potential voters? Yeah, I think its the latter too. Frankly both parties are useless in my book and as for the Tea Party, well, they are pretty much tinfoil hat wearing reactionaries to me. However, this is not to say that they don’t have a core idea that is right.
Change needs to happen.
It’s just how and by whom is the real question.
So, when all of the Congress critters get in on talking about this I take it all with a pillar of salt, not just a grain. Meanwhile, we have the police responses to the protesters. For the most part, I can take no issue with the arrests that have happened on the face of them “legally” however, when violence is involved, then I begin to wonder just what the Hell is going on. Of course tensions will run high and there will be morons like Bologna (mace boy) but on the whole, I think the response thus far has been pretty even handed on the part of law enforcement. I know others will likely take issue with this, but, this is just my opinion of what I have seen thus far.
However.. Just how long will it be before the anti-occupy Wall Street folks start showing up fueled by the likes of the Tea Party whacknuts or worse?
Time will tell…
A Return of the Sixties and Socio-Economic Upheaval?
I have written at least a couple of times in the past year that I was beginning to feel as though the 60’s were coming back. With the Occupy Wall Street movement gathering strength and more voices being added, the spectre is back isn’t it? We still have many of the issues from the 60’s that haunt us all, but I would have to say that I am going to amend this statement with a time shift as well as political bent. I would have to say that this movement has much more akin with the 70’s than the 60’s.
In the 70’s we had the Vietnam war still ongoing. We had Nixon and the excesses of his grab at illegal wiretapping and wet-work in the US as well as outside. When it all came to light with the publishing of the Pentagon Papers as well as the exposure of the “Plumbers” by Woodward and Bernstein we got a peek into executive malfeasance. Compare that to today post GWB and two wars post 9/11… No wonder we all don’t trust our government huh? Now though, we have the elephant in the room added to the mix of business and money seeking to control the government through lobbying and other chicanery.
Frankly, it took an economic apocalypse to wake people up to it all..
My Conclusions On All of This
I foresee “interesting times” ahead. This movement will continue and likely will have no real effect in the short term on how our government is being run (primarily meaning going to the highest bidder) However, I think that this movement may in fact spawn the youth of today to action. Action meaning that they will take an interest in the system and perhaps seek ways to improve it. My hope is that they do and that someday things get a bit more cleaned up but, that may not be for some time. The sad truth of it though, is that for every Mr. Smith going to Washington, there is another who goes without the wide eyed wonder and sense of honesty who just seeks to puff themselves up and line their pockets.
Another sad fact is that there may even be some altruists who go there with good intentions and then find themselves following the lead of the Mr. Potter’s of the world.
One hopes that is not the case..
Now that the file has been around a while, I have gotten around to reading all 61 pages of it and have the following analysis to blog about. After thinking about it a bit and doing some research from data culled from the file and the prose I have to say that yes, this is a slick attempt at recruitment for the teen-twenty somethings in the West. However, when I say slick, I only mean that it has some interesting graphics and methods to get kids to join their cause. On the whole though, it is an uneven piece of propaganda that does harbor some serious portents about things that I have mentioned here before.
- They are adopting espionage tradecraft
- They are splintering further down, advocating small independent action cells
- They are using encrypted communications and advocating for more secure operations online
- They have begun marketing to the “youth culture”
- That same “youth culture” that idealists inhabit includes the “green movement” arguments
- They have begun to adopt the more mainstream propaganda tools of major governments
I have to say, these guys are learning and they I swear that they have begun to read psyops texts as well as advertising age to get to where they think they need to be to win. This is something different, however, this is not as much of a threat to the nation as “they” would have you think it is per their posts and chatter after its release and subsequent hacking/infection by malware.
All they really need to do next is watch “Cool Hunters” on PBS and then apply some more of these tactics.. Then they could maybe sell.. Well, would any Western teen buy into the 72 virgins idea? I think not. So, they try to be slick and all Mad Men, but they fail because of what they are trying to sell…
Religious zealotry and a culture of loving death.
Which, I should think is quite the opposite of the Western mindset. Of course they are trying to get the whole “It’s an adventure” thing going with all the talk of going on site and fighting the good fight, but, it just will not ring true with the majority here in the US. Of course, there are always those who are willing to follow along. I think though, that most will have to be deranged or brain washed by the local Imam and cell mosque in order to really buy a ticket and bring a friend along for the ride. These folks also more than likely will be originally from other countries that they feel ties to which are re-enforced by this type of rhetoric.
So, here are some observations:
First article attempts to make a “green” argument for jihad and the removal of the US from the area. This is an alleged piece by OBL and claims that all of our problems with the world are oil based and this can be remedied by Jihad. In other words Allah will be loving it if you get the khafir out of the Muslim lands. Once that happens its all good.
This was quite interesting to see OBL getting all green. Somehow I doubt it was actually him doing the writing here. I just don’t see OBL wearing a Greenpeace shirt and protecting a baby harp seal.. Do you?
The articles vacillate between saying if you leave there will be peace to “all khafir must die” There are some wild mood swings in this pdf. Its almost like you were talking to someone under anger management therapy and you have to talk them off the ledge.
Mukhtar’s piece is oriented toward college age males with media board bandito imagery. He also advocates brining a friend and learning the language. This is the very “college” looking piece and is aimed at the twenty somethings. I would hazard a guess too, that the handwritten look is not just a type font, but in fact someone’s actual handwriting. Let the graphologists loose!
Abu Musab Al Suri’s piece advocates small cell/single jihadi terrorism. There is a long section of history and philosophy on their war thus far. They have learned that the agile force is the one that is hard to catch, hard to destroy, and has the most bang for their buck. Thus they are advocating making small bombs at home that could kill 10 people as a process to learning how to make bigger ones. All the while they are using guerrilla warfare tactics and philosophy to sell jihad everywhere. What it boils down to is this: Do this at home and breed fear. This is a dangerous idea because inevitably there will be people who buy into this. The bomb making section has been removed from the document for your and my protection.
Technologically, they are getting more savvy. The writers have given the would be jihadi’s pointers in internet security that include the use of encryption technologies (Al Majahden 2) which I have written about before and have a copy that has been pulled apart. They even go as far as to show how to authenticate that the program is official with hashing sigs. They also are advocating the use of proxies as well as being in internet cafes. Another surprise was a section on cell phone safety too AND the use of live distro’s on USB. It was inevitable as all this is out there on the hacking sites anyway.
In the final analysis, they also put in their pulic key as well as a series of emails to contact with with. Ironically, the actual posting o the pubkey gave me something to use in Maltego and it turned up some very interesting results! I will be chasing those down in the near future as well as more on the email addresses.
I wonder if there will be an issue #2….
I have to say though, that their market of young and impressionable individuals may be swayed by some of their arguments. They do lay them out logically (well their logic) and try to use the tools of the west on itself, but then you hit the sections of “kill all kafir!” and you have to go
“whoa, where was I?”
As a psy-op they have gotten off to an interesting start…
The full file sans bomb making plans can be downloaded HERE The sections omitted have graven images of Muhammad so YAY fatwa’s on me! Take a long swig of something and sit down to read the drivel.
Recently, I came across an old episode of PBS’ Frontline that was titled “Losing The War With Japan” (click link to see it on YouTube) In this 1991 report we see how the country was concerned with the rise of Japanese business and their “unfair” practices of Keiretsu and Zaibatsu. Of course the report calls it “Predatory Capitalism” but I would just say that they were being smart. I guess one man’s smart is another losers 1-800-WAAA, but we are a country of laws are we not? So sure, I can see my way clear on some of the charges in unfair practices. However, now that nearly twenty years have passed what have we learned?
Obviously not much…
Lets run down whats happened since the Frontline piece.
1) Japan took over the car market and the US Auto industry learned nothing. They remained bloated and making poorly thought out, bloated, gas guzzlers and are now in bankruptcy or near to it.
2) Japan got too close to America and took on too many of her ways. Soon there was a meltdown in their economy and a slew of admissions of malfeasance by corporate entities.
3) America had a boom and bust over “internet stocks” basically vaporware Greed was indeed good and the Ivan Boesky set began to plan for even bigger schemes that would come to roost in our current “credit default swaps” fiasco and near depression. The net effect, we began to not make anything here except maybe “intellectual capital” that is currently being stolen and reverse engineered in China.
4) America began the great outsourcing of all the things we no longer “make” in order to have better bottom lines on balance sheets from cheaper labor in third world countries.
5) China buys great quantities of our debt.. They now effectively “own” us.
6) The “Great Recession” comes post 3 front wars for many years and an abdication of any kind of regulation on business, banking, stocks, etc. Even though, we were warned that the big banks were playing fast and loose with our money and selling us magic beans.
7) Now China looms as a new kind of super power that deems to attack us on cyber and economic fronts in order to become the pre-eminent super power. Basically, they have us by the short and curlies economically as well as technically (e.g. cyber warfare)
So, how did we not learn from history? How is it that this country just went on its merry way and learned not one thing from its near miss with Japan? Did greed and self absorption just blind us to it all?
In a word.. Yes.
We have failed ourselves by not paying attention and our government has failed us for not being able to comprehend what was going on. We elected the morons in office and they let go of the tiller that controlled the business world’s ethical rudder. Of course, we the people didn’t help either as we were rolling in the new money that was rolling in from tech stocks, or ponzi schemes that had been all the rage.
There’s a line from “Rising Sun” that always struck me as true and now that I look back it is absolutely so.
Lets face it, we are playing catch up because we have been too intellectually incurious to see what has been happening all these years. Can we catch up now I wonder? Or will we continue down the same path of blind faith in the system and personal greed?
Of course one would have to also hope that the “system” i.e. our government would not let themselves be led down the primrose path again like they have with all of this credit default swaps and “too big to fail” banks falderall… I hold out little hope.
Take as look at the Frontline stories and ponder…
Looking at this with the 6 years of history one cannot but see some validity.Take note of the debate now about pulling out of Afghanistan as opposed to the lack of talk in removing forces from Iraq. The difference is of course that there are no petrodollars to be made there. Poppy dollars sure…