Book cover

Book cover
There are some 'clues' if you wish to find them!

Thursday, 28 February 2013


Those of you who have read Alpha to Omega, will know the tremendous risks posed by pathogenic viruses. This week, I received an email from a reader about the Internet variety.

I have previously posted about the problems in the Middle East, not least in respect of Israel and Iran. Since then, Israel has hit a convoy carrying arms from Syria to Hezbollah militants in Lebanon. In the process (through good intelligence) it appears to have killed top Iranian General Hassan Shateri. Now what, you might ask, is an Iranian General doing getting mixed up in all of this. For an answer, I refer you to one of my earlier posts. At the same time, Iran has been making further advances with its nuclear programme.

So where do Internet viruses figure? Well my reader reminded me about the stuxnet virus. This was probably jointly developed by the USA & Israel specifically to attack Iran's nuclear facilities and seems to be 'intelligent' as it can target specific systems. As tensions increase so, I imagine, will cyber attacks.

And they're not the only ones at it! The Chinese People's Liberation Army are also very active. Unit 61398 based in Shanghai spreads it net around the world, trying to steal - and succeeding - commercial and military secrets. It also has the capacity and motivation to spread major internet viruses, whenever it suits its purpose. In this day and age, you don't just need the world's largest army to achieve domination.

Returning to Israel/Iran, these problems are likely to be right at the top of President Obama's list during his upcoming visit to Israel. I previously gave my views on when military action was most likely and the weeks following this visit would seem to be worth watching. No doubt there will be a good deal of cyber activity in the run up to any military action.

Throughout history, there have been periods of time that historians refer to as 'Ages'. We are now very much in the Age of the virus - both pathogenic and cyber.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Did you hear the sighs of relief in January!

Christmas over, a new year underway. January appeared like some temptress, quietly suggesting that things were starting to get better.

The European Union leadership were keen to play up the fact that the worst of the crisis in the Eurozone was now over and things were on the mend. Stock markets around the world started to rise on this and other news. The people of Israel having rejected the old right wing, sabre rattling government, now expected that moderates - through coalition - would play a more active part in policy making. The senior UK Liberal Democrat MP, Chris Huhne, again stated unequivocally that he was not guilty of trying to pervert the course of justice. And there were a few other hints of good things on the horizon.

But as January came to an end and February beckoned, things - including perceptions - started to change. Maybe the Eurozone crisis wasn't over, after all. A leading French politician suggested that France was effectively bankrupt. Both Italy and Spain started to look politically unstable. Borrowing costs for some of these countries started to rise again and stock markets began to lose the gains they had been making.

While the Israeli parliament is finely balanced between left and right, there seems a good chance that centre and centre-right parties will be able to form a government. With Iran pushing ahead with its nuclear programme and also openly supporting President Assad in Syria, it is still - I believe - a question of 'when' rather than 'if' an armed strike against it by Israel will take place.

And if you are reading this outside the UK, I can tell you that this morning the politician Chris Huhne suddenly changed his long held 'not guilty' plea to 'guilty'. His political career is over, he will almost certainly go to prison and eventually, he will probably try to rehabilitate himself with charitable work - or perhaps go  to work in the European Community in some role or other. 

2013 has only just begun and it will be some while before we start to hear the fat lady sing!