The NSA and Stratfor: An Intelligent Perspective.

After nearly a month of silence on the Snowden issue, George Friedman, the founder and chairman of Stratfor has now written an article that has been published in the online magazine's Geopolitical Weekly column.

The article is called Keeping the NSA in Perspective, and takes us all the way back to The National Security Agency's origins arising out of the intelligence failure that was Pearl Harbour.

Besides the history that makes the NSA what it is today, Mr Friedman raises some very interesting and valid points (italics are mine in each of the 3 blockquotes below):

'There are two major differences between the war on terror and the (covential) wars. First, there was a declaration of war in World War II (for example). Second, there is a provision in the Constitution that allows the president to suspend habeas corpus in the event of a rebellion...Neither of these conditions was put in place to justify NSA programs such as PRISM.'

So perhaps they should have been.

'The problem with the war on terror is that it has no criteria of success that is potentially obtainable. It defines no level of terrorism that is tolerable but has as its goal the elimination of all terrorism, not just from Islamic sources but from all sources. That is simply never going to happen and therefore, PRISM and its attendant programs will never end.'

The programs are, and will be, ongoing and never ending but we essentially knew that (or should have done).

'Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden is charged with aiding an enemy that has never been legally designated. Anyone who might contemplate terrorism is therefore an enemy.'

And this is where we get the Mr Friedman's elegant perspective on the whole affair:

'So the critical question is whether the danger posed by terrorism is sufficient to justify indifference to the spirit of the Constitution, despite the current state of the law. If it is, then formally declare war or declare a state of emergency. The danger of PRISM and other programs is that the decision to build it was not made after the Congress and the president were required to make a clear finding on war and peace. That was the point where they undermined the Constitution, and the American public is responsible for allowing them to do so.'


"Keeping the NSA in Perspective is republished with permission of Stratfor."

Zimbabwe: Baba Jukwa New Look?

From an article in The South African.com.

Never seen this one before, any ideas?

The original story - Who’s afraid of Baba Jukwa? Zanu-PF insider reveals party secrets on popular blog - is essentially a re-run of the continuing story that is rolling across the globe reported earlier here and here, and also here, in this blog.

Again we have an interesting comment posted to the above article by one Muthi Nyathi:

'Important correction Paula Baranowska and your readers – ASIJIKI used to sign-off by Baba Jukwa is NOT a Shona word but derives from Zulu/Ndebele ‘ukujika’, which is to turn or retreat. ASIJIKI simply denotes that “we will not retreat until victory” or “victory is certain”. Remember when Margaret Thatcher berated her opponents clamoring for policy reversal, she responded by stating firmly that “This lady is not for turning!”, equivalent to Baba Jukwa’s battle -cry ‘ASIJIKI’. This man sounds every bit determined.'

So now you know.



Australia: Rudd : Abbott - 50:50 Out the Window?

'Suddenly Coalition Leader Tony Abbott finds himself at a dangerous disadvantage to Kevin Rudd. I don’t think Australian markets and the business community have fully comprehended what has happened, and what Tony Abbott will need to do to overcome this new disadvantage'

The latest polls last Sunday from Neilson gave the two major parties each having 50 percent of the two-party preferred vote. Whereas, Gottliebsen's remarks that 'Australian (financial) markets need to accept that there is more than a 50/50 chance that in 2013 Australians will elect their third consecutive Labor government."

The Cat could be back!

From The Business Spectator's Robert Gottliebsen.

See: The guilt that threatens Abbott’s conquest

New Adiction New Reality.

Posted on my Jux blog about one year, which now seems to have already gone off line in spite of the site saying it will close on August 31, 2013.

Jux closure see: Creative blogging platform Jux to close August 31, cites growth as not being “large or fast enough”.

The original picture was called Reality 1920x1200 by EranFolio in devianART

And that was posted back in 2005...still a great picture.


China: Macquarie Bank Downgrades GDP Growth Sharply.

They have downgraded 2013 GDP forecast for China to 7.3% (from 7.8%). 

But that is not all: they have downgraded their entire 'growth profile' (as they put it) for China as follows:

  • 2014 - no recovery, and expect growth to slow further to 6.9% 
  • 2015 - down to 6.5%
  • 2016 - 6%

Compared to 7.3%, 7% and 7% previously, and 'largely to ongoing structural (not just cyclical) issues.'



Zimbabwe: Baba Jukwa World Press Updates (2)

"The well-informed mole, who calls himself “Baba Jukwa” and appears to be operating from within the heart of the regime, began posting revelations on a Facebook page four months ago.

The page has been viewed more than a million times and he has amassed more than 239,000 followers, with hundreds of responses and shares to every update. Efforts to track down the mole have so far failed. His postings have accused government ministers of corruption and senior police chiefs of brutality, publishing their private mobile phone numbers."

From the (UK) Telegraph.

See: Mugabe hunts for internet mole 'Baba Jukwa' revealing his secrets

Uncle Bob, the Mole Hunter.

and

"Zimbabweans who are fans of Baba Jukwa’s page now say they have unfettered access to what they have always wanted to know but never dared ask for fear of being arrested. Under the nation’s sweeping security laws, it is an offence to undermine the authority of the president and national security operatives."

From Voices of Africa

See: Baba Jukwa, ‘Zimbabwe’s own Julian Assange’

Remind him to stay away from Ecuadorians...


Zimbabwe: More Baba Jukwa in World News.

'An anonymous Facebook poster calling himself "Baba Jukwa" is causing a stir in pre-election Zimbabwe. Baba Jukwa purports to a member of President Robert Mugabe's ruling political party, but exposes details of corruption by party officials.'

From the NPR Weekend Edition on Saturday, when host Scott Simon talks with Zimbabwean senior researcher for Human Rights Watch Dewa Mavhinga.

The link is to a transcript of the talk, although I am not sure why they have decided to head the article:

A Troublemaker Emerges In Zimbabwe Elections

See as the real trouble is being caused by the people in power.



Movies: Two to Watch - 'The Hunt' and 'Crystal Fairy'.


'An unspoken question addressed by the movie is why adults so readily believe the words of confused young children. The self-righteousness of those eager to believe the worst is as galling as it is believable. The movie suggests that the solidarity of the village’s condemnation is a measure of individual uncertainty. It’s a matter of finding safety in numbers.'


         ‘The Hunt,’ With Mads Mikkelsen, Charts a Town’s Hysteria.






'The movie is so deceptively easygoing that it feels semi-improvised by the actors... The seeming casualness is such that, at a certain point, you feel like a traveler on a real-life journey during which the tensions between Jamie and Crystal threaten to erupt into warfare.'

From The New York Times review also by Steven Holden.

         In ‘Crystal Fairy,’ Young U.S.Tourists Aim for the Mystical

Zimbabwe: Baba Jukwa Article Published in Las Vegas Sun by Associated Press

An article has been syndicated by Associated Press, which, as far as this blogger can tell, was originally published by Nehanda Radio.

Original Nehanda story:

Baba Jukwa dishes out dirt

With the Las Vegas Sun story:

Zimbabwe ‘mole’ blogger dishes out dirt on gov’t

Both articles report "Zimbabwe has an estimated 12 million mobile subscribers with 60 percent estimated to have direct access to the Internet through their cell phones, according to commercial company reports from the three main mobile networks."

Reader here will recall my earlier blog post entitled "Zimbabawe: Damn Lies and Social Statistics", which essentially put smart phone usage around 2 to 3 million users.

If we now read deeper into the Baba Jukwa dishes out dirt article, it would also seem that these smart phone users are texting their no-smart phone brethren with the Baba Jukwa Facebook updates, thus greatly increasing coverage.