Tag: Edward Snowden

The eleventh post of pre-Christmas 2018: November

Sunday, 23 December, 2018

Frederick Forsyth was 33 when his first novel, The Day of the Jackal, was published in 1971. The story of how the OAS (Organisation Armée Secrète) hires an English assassin to assassinate French President Charles de Gaulle became an international bestseller and gained the author fame and fortune. On 14 November, here, we welcomed Forsyth’s latest novel, which is very much about modern espionage.

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What if the most dangerous weapon in the world is not a nuke in a backpack but a 17-year-old boy with a brilliant mind, “who can run rings around the most sophisticated security services across the globe, who can manipulate that weaponry and turn it against the superpowers themselves?” That’s the premise of The Fox, the new thriller from Frederick Forsyth. Born in the year of the Munich Agreement, when British, French and Italian leaders agreed to Hitler’s demand for the German annexation of the Sudetenland, Forsyth has grown up in a world that has experienced its share of evil in his 80 years. The latest manifestation, in his latest novel, is the Vozhd, a Russian word meaning “the Boss” or, in the world of crime, “the Godfather”. When Forsyth was 15, the old Vozhd, Joseph Stalin, died. The new Vozhd is Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and one of his prized assets arrived in Russia in 2013, having fled from Hawaii. Snippet:

“When defector and traitor Edward Snowden flew to Moscow it is believed he carried over one and a half million documents on a memory stick small enough to be inserted before a border check into the human anus. ‘Back in the day’, as the veterans put it, a column of trucks would have been needed, and a convey moving through a gate tends to be noticeable.
So, the computer took over from the human, the archives containing trillions of secrets came to be stored on databases… Matching pace, crime also changed, gravitating from shoplifting through financial embezzlement to today’s computer fraud, which enables more wealth to be stolen than ever before in the history of finance. Thus the modern world gave rise to the concept of computerized hidden wealth but also to the computer hacker. The burglar of cyberspace.”

The Fox

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The review of the year as posted by Rainy Day ends tomorrow with the twelfth post of pre-Christmas 2018. The subject is the street-fighting man, then and now.


The tenth post of pre-Christmas 2018: October

Saturday, 22 December, 2018

On 25 October, here, we posted an entry about Siracusa, the home of the world’s best sandwich. Who knows, we might even get to see a live performance of this in 2019.

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Described by Cicero as “the greatest Greek city and the most beautiful of them all”, Siracusa (Syracuse) is one of Sicily’s most historic places. It’s mentioned in the Bible in the Acts of the Apostles 28:12 as Saint Paul stayed there, and its patron saint is Saint Lucy, who was born there. Her feast day, Saint Lucy’s Day, is celebrated on 13 December.

Today, Siracusa is home to a street-food artist who makes the very best sandwich in the world. Watch this.

Back on 19 September, our post here was about the affordable and delicious street food sold at markets and train stations and from ‘pojangmacha’ (carts) in most of South Korea’s urban areas. The featured Korean Egg Toast was made with remarkable efficiency and an almost Confucianistic solemnity, and while we’re warned today by our PC overlords about comparing cultures, we’re still allowed to express preferences and the making of this sandwich is Siracusa wins. It’s craft and art; it’s theatre with an enthusiastic audience; it’s loving, passionate, creative and, especially noteworthy, it nourishes a community that appreciates good food prepared with local ingredients.

Talking of the ingredients, one very thoughtful YouTube commentator has listed them:

Filoncino bread, olive oil, Parmesan, dried ciliegini (sweet tomatoes) with basil, fresh salad (radicchio + lettuce + lemon juice and lemon zest), fresh tomatoes, grated Caciotta, grated sheep Ricotta (the same he serves on a plate in the meanwhile). The one in the plate has been aromatized at the moment with fresh garlic, olive oil and oregano, more Ricotta, olives, red sweet onions and some more dried ciliegini.

The filling roll: Slices of a massive Caciocavallo cheese, mashed potatoes with parsley and oil, ham, more Ricotta, more sweet onions (with a drop of lemon this time), parsley.

Divine. Sublime. The way the ham is added is magical.

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Tomorrow, here, our review of the year approaches the end of this series with the eleventh post of pre-Christmas 2018. The subject is the author Frederick Forsyth and his subject is the thief Edward Snowden.


The innocent internet, safe from prying eyes

Sunday, 4 March, 2018 0 Comments

In 1995, A Crooked Man by Christopher Lehmann-Haupt was published by Warner Books. Blurb: “Part political thriller, part murder mystery, A Crooked Man is a gripping and superbly constructed novel which takes us into the dark heart of American society.”

Those who cannot imagine life without the internet, and many who regard the year 1995 as the Stone Age, might be surprised to learn that the World Wide Web was part of the communications mix two decades ago. The scene: Washington D.C. The players: Senator Nick Schlafer and the Secretary of the Department of Drug Control, Emery Frankfurt.

“Incidentally, we’re getting a surprising amount of support around the country. In the boondocks, even.”
“What makes you think so?”
“We’ve taken polls.”
Emery laughed. “I’d like to see them.”
“You can. I’ll have Segal fax you a printout.”
“Have him send it by modem over Internet. Saves paper and it’ll stay on the computer, out of the way of prying eyes.”
“Fine. I’ll see to it.”

It would stay on the computer and would be safe from prying eyes there. How quaint. And then along came the thieves, chief among them, Edward Snowden, and nothing would be safe on the computer again.

WWW circa 1995


Edward Snowden: “Ich bin ein Berliner”

Friday, 1 November, 2013 0 Comments

Stern Once upon a time… Well, July 2008, actually, and the Guardian titled it, “Obama wows Berlin crowd with historic speech.” Reading it today, one cannot help but smile. Jonathan Freedland described it as “a summer gathering of peace, love — and loathing of George Bush.” The madness of crowds, and all that. Freedland reminded readers that “the latest edition of Stern magazine features Obama on the cover, above the line ‘Saviour — or demagogue?'” Ah, fickle media. The current issue of Stern features Obama on the cover, too, but the title is “Der Spitzel“, a German term redolent of a Gestapo-Stasi horror that can only be approximated in English with informer, rate, fink, snitch or stoolie. But back to the Guardian and its treasure trove of mirth. Freedland noted an outbreak of “warmth” when Obama explained his belief in “allies who will listen to each other, who will learn from each other who will, above all, trust each other”. Yeah. Listen.

Were Obama to appear in Berlin now, “The young and the pierced, some with guitars slung over their shoulders” would, no doubt, pelt him with rotten eggs, or worse. The “Love Parade” affection that was paraded back then for the Democratic candidate would now be demonstrated for the data thief Edward Snowden. Today, Hans-Christian Ströbele, a German politician and lawyer, who once defended RAF terrorists, announced that he had met Snowden in Moscow and had invited him to Germany to testify about US intelligence gathering activities. Ströbele is noted for his hatred of America and it would be the ultimate irony of recent trans-Atlantic relations if Snowden, at the behest of Ströbele, and guaranteed exemption from extradition, were to appear at a mass rally in Berlin and declare “Ich bin ein Berliner.” Sounds daft, of course, but 200,000 crazy Germans turned out to hear another American promising “Hope and Change” in July 2008. The madness of crowds.


Germany is so dull it’s Breaking Bad

Thursday, 22 August, 2013 0 Comments

With that tweet, Spiegel, for once, was reporting something that approximated the truth. The upcoming German election is dull. In fact, it must be the dullest election campaign of all time. Why is this? Well, one reason could be that there appears to be no political parties in Germany. Sure, there are politicians and they claim to lead political parties but it is impossible to tell one from the other — the politicians and the parties. Part of the problem is that the “parties” are meant to be distinguished by letters of the alphabet, but it isn’t easy to separate the sheep from the sheep when what you’ve got to go on is CDUCSUSPDFDP. For the alphabetically-challenged, there’s a colour scheme that’s used — black, green, red, yellow — to tell the differences between the uniforms, but like all childish arrangements, it has its limits when it encounters dull reality.

Another reason why “Germans Tune Out Dull Campaign” is that the German media is a mirror image of German politics. All the newspapers, magazines, TV stations, radio stations and websites are identical. Within the ZDFTAZARDSZFAZS axis, it is impossible to find one that is different or isn’t dull. For example, when David Miranda, the Brazilian mule used by the self-aggrandizing Glen Greenwald to smuggle stolen security information into the UK, was questioned, lawfully, by the UK authorities, German media uniformly reported this as the end of press freedom in Britain. Not only were the dull headlines identical; the broadcast and written reports were indistinguishable in their absurdly leftist homogeneity. Similarly, it was the copycat coverage of the Guardian‘s reportage of the material filched by the traitorous Edward Snowden. The German media, uniformly, republished it all, lines-for-line.

So if Germans are tuning out a dull campaign made duller by a dull media, what are they turning to for diversion and enlightenment? Two words: Breaking Bad.


Peak oil has peaked

Tuesday, 23 July, 2013 0 Comments

For those ideologues camouflaged as journalists, Edward Snowden is the new global warming and the reincarnation of Hugo Chavez all rolled into one. When the old chestnuts of the left begin to lose their credibility, along comes the latest scam artist and the likes of Der Spiegel and The Guardian would have us believe that he’s a hero, not a traitor.

In time, Snowden will join the lots of other tropes in the dustbin of history. The latest addition is what was termed “peak oil”, which was supposed to be the point in time when the maximum rate of petroleum extraction would be reached, after which the rate of production would enter terminal decline. But now comes the news that The Oil Drum, a site created by believers in “peak oil,” is shutting down on 31 July after an eight-year innings. With daily news of record-breaking US oil production, it was, clearly, impossible to maintain the fiction that the world’s oil production was peaking.

Drill, baby, drill!

The dustbin of history is very commodious.