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..There's a little Samuel Pepys in all of us..

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A number of interesting points..
It would appear the CIA is about to broaden it's influence over the internet beyond Wickipedia.. there's about to be a dedicated site for CIA operatives and analysts, to conduct discussions on their findings using a u-Tube, or Bebo format..
Yet something else to hack into..
It's been admitted by the CIA, that it has altered profiles on certain people in Wikipedia..
It would seem this internet might well be both more, and far less secure, than we who generally use it..
Take the edits by the Agency concerning a certain right-wing radio hosts, Ruch Limbaugh..
His profile includes indications that that a computer owned by the US Democratic Party was used to make changes to the site of poor old Rush..
The changes brand Mr Limbaugh as "idiotic," a "racist", and a "bigot". An entry about his audience now reads: "Most of them are legally retarded."
Ironically, that's the opinion of some of the folks who listened to him, but, they listened..
But more.. Last month Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg found his Wikipedia biography had been vandalised and contained a number of libellous statements, a story which was widely covered in the national press..
Then former MTV VJ and podcaster Adam Curry admitted to anonymously editing the podcasting entry to remove credit from other people and make his own role in the early days seem more significant..
And at the end of the month, US journalist John Siegenthaler wrote a scathing article in USA Today about the libellous material in his Wikipedia biography. The material was later revealed to have been a prank by someone who thought that the encyclopaedia was a joke site..
Following Mr Siegenthaler's article, the site team changed its policy to require creators of new content to register, although since there is no verification of identities this is hardly likely to make a big difference to anyone intent on vandalism or character assassination.
It was also confirmed that you cannot sue the Wikimedia Foundation for libel in the US because it is a hosting company and not a publisher, and US laws protect online publishers from legal action.
Of course, now that a printed version of the German edition is to be made available this may not keep them out of the courts, at least over in Europe.
One wonders how far a European Court would get, in filing a suit against the CIA..

Vlad leaves office this year.. his time too is up.. But it would appear that before he goes, he's bent on pushing his Russia back on the path of being a Major World Power again.
He's already shown a certain lack of remorse when it comes to business, with his gas price hikes to the former States of the USSR, and with the continuation of the construction of a pipeline across the Baltic, bypassing traditional landlines through the Baltic States and providing a direct link to the European market.
This provides for possible action in the future, towards drawing the old Soviet States into economic dependency, if not political solidarity.
He's restarted European bomber patrols, some of which were escorted by British fighters as they approached British airspace. The Russians pulled back, of course, well before Sovereignty bacame an issue.. but it's a warning to the EU that Russia is not a 'former power', but has the economic clout, and the military capability, to be taken seriously.
This all, naturally, a result of the American expansion of it's nuclear detection capabilities in Poland and the Czech Republic..
Had to be expected.. Russia will not allow itself to be relegated to a 'secondary power' on the world stage, and Vlad can posture with the best of them..

Now. The markets.
A few facts from the past week, and a few observations..
The various World Markets are afloat today, entirely due to the various National Treasuries tossed billions of dollars into the markets, to offset the losses in the credit market.. and while the end of this week saw a weak recovery, it's a certainty we can't return to the credit society we've been enjoying.
Now not entirely on the personal level. It's not all high-risk mortages falling through in the States, and the resulting fall in the housing market. High risk corporate takeover bids have proven to be less than profitable as well, and it is these investments, made by the banks and sold on to credit companies, which have caused the bulk of the damage.
The downstream effect has certainly reflected itself in reposession rates in the US, and has been predicted many times in this missive, the banks will soon be the largest holders of over-valued real estate in the country..
But, with the $US devaluating constantly, and the Fed showing a willingness to drop rates to prop up a collapse, it may well be that the effects will be felt, eventually, much harder in Europe..
One may laugh.. but what are the chances of yet another bout of Supply-Side Economics in the States..?
And what will happen, when the inevidable correction comes into effect, and the value of the Euro plunges?
Even though the price of gold is increasing, and gas at the pumps in the US and Canada may be falling.. One would think a cache of bullion and oil futures would be as safe as one could get..

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