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FinFisher and the absence of morals

FinFisher and the absence of morals

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Some enterprising netizen took umbrage at the machinations and outright lies of Gamma FinFisher, the Anglo-German privacy-thieving and national-aspiration-crushing software supplier so he hacked their servers and walked away with 40GB of their crown jewels.

To put it in perspective, 40GB means that “you could hold approximately: 10,000 High-Quality MP3 Songs -or- 25,000 High-Resolution Digital Photographs -or- 120 Hour-long (43 minute) television shows in high-quality. -or- 700,000 Word Documents between 3 and 5 pages long” [source]

In the Bahraini perspective, one of the prime governments supporting that poor Anglo-Germanic enterprise to the tune of €1.4 million a go, not including the training they could subscribe to at the cheap cheap price of €27,000 per session, the most important revelation that the Bahraini government discovered after all this expenditure and generated bad publicity was, wait for it, wait for it: that they need to send their “agents” (I know, double oh what the hell kind) to English language school!

For 10% of that figure – actually, I’m feeling damned patriotic this lovely Friday morning, I’d inform them of that need for absolutely free. What I would also tell them is to save their citizen’s money and just sit down with those whose opinions they don’t agree with, have copious cups of tea and simply have a chat. The proviso is to have (a) the political will to find resolution, a genuine one please, and (b) there is no “b”, “a” would do quite fine and will get this country out of the quagmire it is still suffering from. Doing nothing isn’t really an option. Carrying on with mistrusting your own people, well, apart from being costly, isn’t really sustainable. No, bringing others in and calling them Bahrainis to replace an indigenous population won’t work, believe me. The “new” Bahrainis’ loyalties will never be with the country they’re forced to adopt. Square blocks and round holes kind of logic. A two-year old would tell you that for free too.

Anyway, to those 77 whose privacy’s known to have been breeched with FinFisher, rest in the knowledge that whatever they gained, is actually their loss. The loss of your trust and respect. What you gained, is the continued respect of the whole community. You win.

As to Gamma, do I blame them for hawking their wares? Well, like arms dealers, the most unscrupulous ones of those in this case, they both lack any modicum of decency and morals, their main motivator is and always was. Whores, in fact, are saints when compared to Gamma and their ilk.

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Selective Citizenship, Bahraini-style

Selective Citizenship, Bahraini-style

Parliament is considering legislation by the government to compel Bahrainis with multiple-citizenship to rescind them in favour of the Bahraini citizenship within 3 months of the legislation becoming the law.

I know that many countries in the world have similar conditions for their citizens. What is different in our situation is that I know – through precedent – that if this law sees the light of day, and I believe it is as this parliament doesn’t have the balls to refuse anything the government shoves down its throat, it will be once again selectively applied.

Consider this: most of those affected by this law will probably be many members of the royal family, the “top” merchant families and the rest of the upper echelons of society…. I wonder if they’ll acquiesce to the government’s mandate, or are they going to simply ignore it, like they do with most other laws?

Regardless, I don’t believe that the government will pursue them of course, the law will not apply to them. It’s highly probable; however, that they will enact penalties against those less fortunate, or more appropriately, those the government deems from the opposition, undesirable for some reason, or those that it wants to intimidate or harass to leave.

Fun. And games.

This gives you a flavour of the so-called parliament we are saddled with. A bunch or rubber-stampers. One that instead of protecting the society that has supposedly elected it, are diligently working to rob it of whatever minuscule freedoms that remain. And at the same time haplessly pushing through laws which reduce the parliament’s very own rights too. Despicable.

And this has been forced through by the government in the last few days of their term, capitalising on their “injury time” as they’re about to break and  with elections scheduled for the autumn. Whether those elections will be effective amongst wide calls of boycott is another matter. In any case, I believe that this is the very worst parliament we have ever had in this country and fully agree with Shaikha Mai who wasn’t wrong when she described them as “not men”, or “مو رياييل”, because they’re anything but.

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Desperation for good news?

Desperation for good news?

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Here’s some good news:

Bahrain safest country in the Arab world: survey

Bahrain is the safest country in the Arab and the Middle East regions and the sixth internationally, it has been revealed.

An international survey carried out by Numbeo, the biggest free database on cities and countries worldwide, stated in accordance with 2014 crime indicators that Bahrain achieved 79.48 points on safety indicators, trailing Malta, which is ranked first in the world with a total of 85.83, South Korea, Isle of Man, Japan and Georgia, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.

The UAE was ranked seventh safest country in the world ahead of Singapore, Taiwan, Qatar and Hong Kong. Oman came in 18th position, Saudi Arabia in 21st and Kuwait in 41st, indicating that Gulf countries are among the safest in the world.

Afghanistan, Venezuela, Guatemala, Kenya, Trinidad and Tobago came at the top of the crime indicators list. [ source ]

Interesting…

This report has been widely circulated in Bahrain with no time given to check sources, or maybe because of desperation for good news, they chose to just publish it and receive much needed approbation.
Fair enough. But knowing the reality on the ground, pushed me to investigate this phenomenon a bit more as I knew it can’t be farther from the truth in my logic. What I found out, unsurprisingly, is that the publishers get their “data” from user contributions exclusively. They probably then massage whatever they receive and apply statistical magic to the pot until a beautiful dish is served, and subscribers gained.
Numbeo is the world’s largest database of user contributed data about cities and countries worldwide. Numbeo provides current and timely information on world living conditions including cost of living, housing indicators, health care, traffic, crime and pollution.
1279993 prices in 4380 cities entered by 147751 users (information updated 2014-06-04)
Are these stats enough to base a decision on though? Realistic business decisions? Not to people with two or more brain cells I should think. People might be happy enough to use Numbeo’s “findings” as generic info to start from, maybe, but nothing other than for entertainment value really.
So is this worth making such hoopla about? Well…
That’s probably part of what $28.5 million in PR money can buy.

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Terrorism Will Not Win.

Terrorism Will Not Win.

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My thoughts and prayers are with all the families of the dead and injured as a result of this heinous crime against humanity. Terrorism doesn’t serve anyone and attacking the innocent doesn’t serve ANY any cause. The intention to do the maximum harm was quite evident in the selection of the Boston Marathon as a theatre of their hateful operations.

To all my American friends, you have my full support and sympathy. While I do not have the answers, I encourage you not to hate, because if you do, the dark forces behind this and other terrorism attacks win. I applaud the statement and reasoning of the US President who promised that “Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups, will feel the full weight of justice.” which shows the humanity of that nation and its respect for human rights and due process, rather than go into an automatic collective punishment.

I do hope that those responsible are caught and they do feel the full weight of justice. As I hope their sources of sustenance do too because they are just as complicit in this as the perpetrators of the crime themselves.

boston-blast

My complete and unfettered sympathies. This is yet another sad day for peace loving people.

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What? No thanks notices?

What? No thanks notices?

Here’s a breath of absolute fresh air:

تعميم ديوان ولي العهد للوزارات: الشكر على الزيارات الميدانية بالعمل وليس بالإعلانات

أعلن مكتب النائب الأول لرئيس مجلس الوزراء، في تعميم من ديوان سمو ولي العهد، بأن الشكر موصول لمختلف الجهات الحكومية على حرصها لابداء امتنانها وتقديرها لزيارات العمل الميدانية التي يقوم ولي العهد نائب القائد الأعلى النائب الأول لرئيس مجلس الوزراء صاحب السمو الملكي الأمير سلمان بن حمد آل خليفة من أجل الاطلاع على الأهداف الاستراتيجية والوقوف على سير العمل بالوزارات والهيئات الحكومية. وأنه وفق توجيهات صاحب السمو الملكي ولي العهد نائب القائد الأعلى النائب الأول لرئيس مجلس الوزراء على الجهات الحكومية عدم نشر إعلانات الشكر بشأن زيارات العمل الميدانية التي يقوم بها سموه؛ وأن الشكر الحقيقي هو العمل الدؤوب لتوفير الخدمات الحكومية المتميزة والمتكاملة للمواطنين وتحقيق كل ما يصب في مصلحة الوطن. [Alwasat Newspaper]

Essentially, the release above is a directive by the Crown Prince to government (and other) agencies NOT to publish their customary “thanks for your visit” notices in papers and other media, but show their actual thanks through diligent work and actions which can benefit the country and its citizens!

This is a distinct departure from the status quo, and a very welcome one at that.

This is bound to piss off Anwar Abdulrahman as he built his whole career on such, ehm, appreciation. This directive will no doubt tick off other editors too as this unnecessary practice has unquestionably been a good source of revenue for their organisations. More importantly, the ramifications of such decision is that others will (and most definitely should) follow suit. To say that this has been a very long time coming is an understatement as far as I’m concerned, and it does shows that the Crown Prince has literally rolled up his sleeves and will not take any crap from anyone.

Observers might think nothing of this move. To us Bahrainis; however, this is quite significant in its intentions. I believe this country over the last few years has gone quite overboard in the art of brown-nosing with people actually being rewarded for doing so. I do fervently hope that this signals the end of that decrepit and degrading “custom”.

Here’s to a better future!

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A Letter from Arif Aldoseri to the Minister of Housing

A Letter from Arif Aldoseri to the Minister of Housing

A video letter from a Bahraini citizen – Arif Aldoseri – to the minister of housing (in Arabic). Worth watching as it shows you what normal citizens in Bahrain are suffering from as they live in a country rich enough in resources and have many billions of US Dollars pumped into it by neighbouring countries.

This is symptomatic of the government’s continued failure in various sectors. The way that these situations could be corrected is by holding the government to account by the people. Unfortunately, those in Parliament whose job it is to ensure accountability and a sustainable future for the country are very complicit in those continued government failures. And unless proper representation is achieved, a more equitable distribution of national wealth and the establishment of social justice permeates all aspects of this country, we shall continue going through the strife we have experienced for decades.

Merry Christmas!

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Global thinking obstructed by parliament

Global thinking obstructed by parliament

What’s wrong with Bahrainis – be they with current jobs or jobless – seeking employment and further career advancement elsewhere in the world?

A whole lot, according to those in the Bahrainis parliament:

Bahrain’s ailing national carrier Gulf Air may be forced to hire 100 unemployed Bahraini pilots despite plans to slash its heacount by as much as 1,800 as part of a proposed US$492m government bailout deal, it was reported.
A parliamentary committee has asked MPs to agree to a new proposal to hire unemployed local pilots, despite a plan to try and reduce losses at the national carrier, said Gulf Daily News.
“We don’t want to see those qualified Bahraini pilots moving elsewhere either to regional or foreign competitors because then we would have lost loyal Bahrainis, spent money unnecessarily on training them and allowed our competitors a marginal cutting edge,” parliament’s legislative and legal affairs committee chairman MP Ali Al Ateesh was quoted as saying. [ArabianBusiness.com]

Is it only me that sees only an emotional rather than a rational objection here? What is Gulf Air going to do with an extra 100 inexperienced pilots when they’re in dire straits and cutting many hundreds of jobs as a step to cope with its situation? Other than directly affecting the safety of its passengers that is?

This kind of thinking is dangerous. Those who find themselves in parliament here or in positions of power would be well advised to encourage Bahrainis to seek good jobs and career advancement where ever they find them, not sequester them into a parochial vision of hell just to ameliorate their own feelings of guilt – probably brought on from their active encouragement of firing those who took even mediocre parts in the ongoing pro-democracy activism.

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The Return of the “Traitor Circles”

The Return of the “Traitor Circles”

This is very troubling:

Crackdown on cyber defamation

Posted on » Monday, September 10, 2012

THE Interior Ministry is set to crack down on defamation against national and public figures on social media networks, the acting general director for combatting electronic and economic crimes revealed yesterday.

He said anyone can report violations with details of the websites and eForums involved to the ministry website.

He said the ministry had received complaints by personalities who demanded an end to such acts.

“Online smear campaigns are tarnishing the reputation of national and public figures,” he said, warning that violators would be prosecuted.

He stressed that legal procedures wouldn’t mean curtailment of the freedom of expression but to deal with cyber crimes.

No matter how well intentioned this move is, some will take full advantage of it to continue to sow the seeds of discord in this country. This will be their ready and preferred method of exacting vengeance by levelling baseless allegations against those whom they don’t agree with. It will of course waste a lot of the authorities’ time who will be required to following up those allegations. At best, this move will see the return of the “traitor circles” this society has been suffering to this day for the past 18 months.

This is a very dangerous, not well thought out and completely unnecessary escalation that will further relegate Bahrain’s already damaged reputation to the very back of the various press, human rights and freedoms indices around the world.

The timing of announcing and enacting such a scheme is very wrong too, just days before Bahrain has to face the music in front of the UN Human Rights commission. Regardless, we have enough problems to contend with, why add one completely avoidable issue on an already heaping plate? A reboot and a grounded rethinking is very much required, gentlemen.

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Rogue Police or Systematic Terrorism?

Rogue Police or Systematic Terrorism?

Another day, and another staggering example of Bahraini police inhumanity, irresponsibility and criminality which can only be borne of the certain escape from prosecution is shown to the world:

Why?

What possible reason encourages someone who’s been entrusted with the upkeep of the law and protection of citizens to do the diametric opposite and wilfully endanger the very charges he has been sworn (presumably) to protect?

And what of his colleagues who are sitting in those air conditioned Jeeps? Did their conscience not at least tickle them to prevent their team mate from carrying out this heinous and completely unnecessary act or throwing that tear gas canister into a ladies beauty parlour? What danger do those inside pose?

This is not the only instance in which we witnessed such behaviour from the Bahraini police. There are tens of others which are easily accessible to show that there is no other interpretation to their consistent brutality other than acquiescence from the very top of their pyramid. If there wasn’t, then what possible reason is there that clearly identified personnel demonstrably disregarding basic human logic by inflicting unnecessary pain and suffering from being prosecuted to the maximum extent of the law to ensure that others like them – like those persons in those two vehicles shown in the video above who are fully culpable in this crime – don’t follow suit?

It is absolutely abhorrent that these crimes are being perpetrated on human beings, it is even more so to find these acts are condoned and encouraged by the absence of any intent to prosecute and persecute those perpetrating them.

Security is absent in this country and it shall continue to be so until people answer for their actions in a universally applied rule of law.

Bahraini police terrorises residents

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