Apr 25, 2016

Spend Some Time on Russian Research Vessel

RT today posted this interesting documentary on the Academician Keldysh. Enjoy.

Apr 11, 2016

Some More Information on the Panama Papers Affair

It's just an incredible story, this Panama Papers saga, and one that I hope the parties concerned with releasing it, will eventually release to Wikileaks as raw data. The rest of us should be able to mine this data as well.

This said, Apropos to my last story, came this release just moments ago, by Journeyman Pictures from Australia - They do some great work. Documentary below:




Dirty Money & Tax Evasion: The Panama Papers Explained

Sueddeutsche zeitung muenchen
Sueddeutsche zeitung muenchen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Over a year ago, an anonymous source contacted the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) and submitted encrypted internal documents from Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian law firm that sells anonymous offshore companies around the world. These shell companies enable their owners to cover up their business dealings, no matter how shady.

In the months that followed, the number of documents continued to grow far beyond the original leak. Ultimately, SZ acquired about 2.6 terabytes of data, making the leak the biggest that journalists had ever worked with. The source wanted neither financial compensation nor anything else in return, apart from a few security measures.
What a story these Panama Papers, and not just for what they're showing us, but maybe more importantly, what they don't - To read more visit The Süddeutsche Zeitung whom published this piece. Great reportage by Frederik Obermaier, Bastian Obermayer, Vanessa Wormer and Wolfgang Jaschensky

Apr 2, 2016

Egyptian Government Corruption Seems Alive & Well

Coat of Arms of Egypt, Official version. Gover...
Coat of Arms of Egypt, Official version. Government Website (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Unfortunately for the Egyptian people, one official that was good at rooting out such corruption has been fired from his job.  Webzine Al-Monitor is reporting that Hisham Geneina, the head of the Accountability State Authority (ASA) has been relieved of his job by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Apparently Geneina's former deputy has his boss's job.

Many were expecting this decision months before its issuance, given the fierce campaign waged against Geneina due to statements he made to Egyptian daily Al-Youm Al-Sabea in December 2015, which claimed that the cost of corruption had reached 600 billion Egyptian pounds (around $76 billion) in 2015. These statements stirred a nationwide controversy in Egypt.
Consequently, Sisi formed a commission tasked with investigating these claims, headed by the chief of the Administrative Control Authority and assisted by Badawi, deputy head of the ASA, in addition to three representatives of the Ministries of Interior, Planning and Finance.
Read Story

Iraqi Government Corruption Scandal - Reportedly the World's Worst

Huffington Post has done some great investigative journalism, (good to see some organizations still doing some) in conjunction with The Age and Nick McKenzie, Richard Baker, Michael Bachelard and Daniel Quinlan, on a huge Iraqi corruption scandal involving the Iraqi government.
Heck, even the Ayatollah Sistani has issued a fatwa against the Iraqi government, vis-a-vi this corruption.

It's a great read:

There was little about the man walking through Heathrow Airport to show he held secrets that could bring down some of the most powerful men in Iraq.
Moustached, olive skinned, hair receding, eyes sharp. His name was Basil Al Jarah. His British passport showed he lived in Hull, an unremarkable town in the north of England, but it bore the stamps of a frequent traveller: London, Baghdad, Basra, Amman, Paris, Istanbul, Kuwait.
Basil Al Jarah was an oil industry fixer. But had authorities known his true business, they might have taken a far keener interest in the man waiting for a plane to Amman in 2011. Because by that stage, Al Jarah and his employer, a Monaco-based company called Unaoil, had cultivated an astonishing web of influence in the upper echelons of Iraqi power – all based on the simple expedient of bribing the right man at the right time.
As tens of thousands of secret emails reveal, Al Jarah and Unaoil were at the heart of a global bribery operation funded, sometimes wittingly, by dozens of US, British, European and Australian multinationals. These firms paid huge sums to Unaoil. In return, Unaoil used its friends in high places to win billions of dollars worth of government contracts.
Read More

Mar 28, 2016

Syria's Bashar Assad - Secular Government

Bashar and Asma al-Assad, President and first-...
Bashar and Asma al-Assad, President and first-wife of Syria. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Opinion

The government of Bashar Assad was/is a secular government, and the various ethnic groups and religions got along quite well. This of course would change if the western supported rebels win the civil war. The country would be far less democratic and subject to Sharia, which is brutal in it's punishments meted out.
Our western governments are quite mad to be supporting the Gulf Arab states who support extremist Islamic ideology called Wahabism.
Another thing our western press often neglect to mention, when talking about the Assad government - His wife, the 1st lady of Syria is a Sunni and many government ministers are too.

Mar 27, 2016

Russia's Military Upgrading Quite Successful


Russia's Modern Military Showcased in Syria

With the Russian Air Force's recent successes in Syria, the Russian Federation has served notice that their aerospace forces aren't to be trifled with.


Today, reading an article on Sputnik, I was impressed with some of the remote controlled combat vehicles the Russian Army was showcasing. Here is one in action courtesy of Sputnik News:



read story on Sputnik.
Pretty impressive. Western analysts are considerably impressed on how fast and accomplished the Russian Federation has been able to upgrade. Since NATO is aggressively expanding to the Russian Federations borders, I'm sure a new arms race is inevitable.

The Military Industrial Complex's on both sides will be happy I'm sure.



Mar 10, 2016

Iraqi Minister of Defense Visits Samarra Island

Unfortunately the above video is in Arabic, but the gist of it is the Iraqi Minister of Defense, Dr. Khalid al - Obeidi visits the liberated areas of Salahuddin, Samarra Island Iraq.
 

I've been following the Iraqi Ministry of Defense YouTube feed for about 2 years now. I'm impressed with how open the minister documents his meetings and visits. I think we in the west could learn a thing or two on how this fledgling democracy informs it's public and the world at large. Obviously he doesn't allow audio on some meetings between ambassadors et al, but you get what I'm saying - There's a visual record of how hard working he is. I have to admit, I like the man's style!


Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) Treat Wounded DAESH Fighter


As the foregoing video shows, this injured jihadi islamic fighter doesn't seem to mind the fact that a woman is treating him for his injuries. Seems like they're treating him as they would one of their own.
Imagine the shock he has being treated by an unmasked woman! What will his Jihadi friends have to say, upon viewing this video?!
The mainly Kurdish SDFs seem well disciplined.


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