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Raymond K
Lives in Oslo
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There are so many things I don't understand about the Algeria hostage situation. I can't grasp it. 

It's like this big mystery box with a Hydra inside. 

What's the Canadian link? Does Algeria have any proof for this? Seems like Canadian authorities at least want more intel on that. 

Why are Algerians not willing to let for instance Norwegian specialists assist them with getting an ID of the corpses that are currently in the capital?

How can Norwegian citizens, who have lived in Norway all their life but who for instance have pakistani heritage, suddenly turn not only islamist, but also praise these kinds of terrorist attacks? I guess I'm just naive...

What will this mean for Algeria in the future? The gas facility is now starting up again and will probably be in full motion within a week, with or without Statoil employees on the site. 

What will this mean for Statoil's global activities? 

Will Norway in some way become involved in the battle in Mali, actively supporting France? 

This is clearly an escalation, and the islamists have threatened to strike again. They might do that. More innocent people will die. But do they really think they can force France to disengage from Mali? I don't think so. I think they are strategical about this. I think it's pretty clear that it was NOT the France intervention in Mali conflict that is the source of last week's terrorist attack. It was just convenient to use that as their excuse. Likewise I am pretty sure that they didn't expect the US to free the high-ranking jihadist that is in prison there. So why make those demands? Smoke and mirrors, yes, but what is the strategic and tactical reasoning behind it?

My nightmare, my real, utter and deep nightmare, is that my uncle's corpse will not be found. That we might not know for a very long time what happened to him. That someone will speculate that "oh, maybe some terrorists somehow escaped and brought a few hostages with them". That would suck so badly. 

I don't know how many hospitals in Algeria victims from this ordeal were sent to, but let's say its below 10 of them. How long will it take to search through the people there?

So many questions, and so few answers. But I know that I need to read up on AQIM, and I need to understand more of the islamists living in western countries such as Norway. I need to understand the process behind the radicalization. What really drives them to it. Of course, individuals are - - - individuals. The stories might be different for each one. But I need to understand through seeing the whole story of more of these. 

We are so used to group-think. Putting people into neat boxes based on nationality, religion, ethnicity, education level, class, economic status. We are not cruel by doing so, it's very natural. A defense mechanism against the hypercomplexities of the world around us. Fight or flight. But we need to somehow manage to move beyond that, if we are to evolve. 


And now, now I have become more eager to work more for the organization that I have been involved with here in Norway. The small NGO that raises funds for creating educational opportunities for girls in rural Afghanistan. 
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Raymond K's profile photoDeirdré Straughan's profile photo
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Thanks, Deirdre!

www.sianorge.no - we facilitate home-schooling opportunities for girls in the Nangarhar province in Afghanistan. 
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9/11 and 7/22 all over again. 
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Jannik Lindquist's profile photoRobert Le Blah's profile photoElaine Leyda's profile photoRaymond K's profile photo
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<sigh>
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Watching Twin Peaks for the first time in my life. Just finished first episode. It's crazy that I have avoided this all these years. 
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It's funny I have the collected DVDs and I've been meaning to rematch it I haven't seen it since it was first aired. Enjoy
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Ahh, the feeling of a new work laptop is great. 
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I'm good!  Contrarily, I probably spend too much time on here...
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Google + confuses me. What's up with this network now? 
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Tom Moncho's profile photoRobert Le Blah's profile photoRaymond K's profile photoLexidh Solstad's profile photo
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You do have the option to have a single stream.
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Raymond K

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I haven't used G+ for a long while. In the meanwhile I have stopped using Facebook. I return here, and I am confused by the new GUI. Am I the only one? Is this something I will get used to?

Anyway. Entering the last days of my vacation, begin at work again on Monday. We had 1.5 weeks in Spain - Costa Brava. Great times. 

Otherwise, this Snowden thing has kept me awake more than a few hours per night. Not because I am surprised at all by the US and UK wiretapping en masse, but by how the governments are responding to this whistleblower. 

First Snowden is a spy, US wants HK and China to send him to the US. They don't do it. Snowden goes to Moscow airport, apparently. US asks Russia to hand Snowden over. Cloak and shadows. Putin finally says that Snowden IS at the airport transit, and that since Snowden hasn't broken Russian law, they see him as a free man and won't hand him over. 

So, we have seen the limits of US power here. But also, we have seen how Obama, who before his first election, spoke so much about the rule of law, has turned into a president who drops even more drones-bombs worldwide, who apparently wants to turn drones on US land as well (without the bombs for now). A president that talks about the whistleblower being a spy and criminal, instead of starting those important discussions we need to have to - as a society - evolve in a positive manner. 

The illegal wiretapping can always be excused, by putting security in the spotlight. "We need to spy on the world to stop the bad guys". I agree that there are bad guys. My anger was immense in January this year when north-african scumbags kidnapped my uncle and others at In Amenas, and later he and others were killed. 

Statoil had information about the dangers in the area. Not specific information about the what, when and where, of course, but still. They knew how Libya situation and AQIM was affecting their security at the gas plant. We are yet to see the details of what they actually did. 

I am not saying that we shouldn't look for the bad guys. Quite the opposite. But what I don't get is why the governments of UK, US, and others, need to datamine all my communications with others in order to look for the bad guys. 

Of course, the computers doing the datamining and looking for the patterns are more advanced now than 15 years ago. The technology is amazing, from a technical point of view. But the insensibility to people's privacy is worrying. And if we look at the larger geopolitical picture here, wow, what a minefield. 

We know China and Russia are spying and hacking. It's a fact. We know the US and UK are doing it as well. I know that whatever I write here is, stored in databases in the US and elsewhere.. I expect the content to be analyzed. Even though I have deactivated my Facebook account (you can't ever delete it, the data will outlive me, there to be datamined until the end of time), my relationships with the 700+ people there is analyzed, and some machine and later some person might look at it and connect the dots. Who I am, where I stand politically, there might be some tags put on my persona, like "liberal", "politically active", "artist", "works in technology" and so on. They will - most likely - conclude that I am not a threat to the security of my country, Norway, or to US interests. 

BUT what if they conclude otherwise? What if they then also decide to put my name on other lists? It won't likely turn so bad that I will be barred from entering the UK or US, but there Are other lists, that's a given. Other levels of scrutiny. 

At times I have contemplated going silent. Totally. Stopping using non-secure email services, and other services. Live like a hacker, which, incidentally, according to the powers that be is almost the same as living as a terrorist. I have concluded that no, it's not worth the hassle. Both because I have nothing to hide, I need to get used to the idea that all my communications is being monitored by an analyzing computer (whether I like it or not), and because we don't win anything by doing this. 

Sure, I might feel personally better knowing that my personal emails to friends and other contacts isn't being sniffed by the NSA, but I won't gain much apart from that. And instead I would turn into some annoying paranoid person. "Hey, if you want to reach me, use this specific method". Bleh. 

I am rambling, I rarely do that these days, because so much can be read between the lines by others, and I don't feel very comfortable with that. And because, well, I surely am much more private now as a person compared to 2004-06 when I made most of the public videos on http://dltq.org/media . Videoblogging, yay. My wrinkles, my living conditions, all out there to be analyzed as well, by humans and machines alike. 

I work more than play now, and I enjoy that. Play is fun, but it doesn't buy me a house unless I am one of those Really good ones. It's like wanting to be an author. Only the top 5% make a Living from it, the rest are given small checks now and then, if they are lucky. 

So. Work. No time for checking twitter all the time for news on topics that I am interested in. My blog is mostly half-dead. This google+ space mostly dead, stone dead. (I Still associate this arena with the july 2011 events). Work and family. Donate some money to causes I believe in, artists I want to see thrive. But not get much more involved. 

Oh, politics? Um, yeah, I can't stop myself, so since 2011 I have been involved with that again, a year as president of Stovner Venstre (my local branch of the Norwegian social-liberal party), and now as vice-president. We have parliamentary elections coming up here in Norway in September, and I will do my little part in the campaigning. I sit in a committee in my part of Oslo, dealing with kindergartens/upbringing, youth and culture, representing my party. Meetings once a month, manageable. Unlike my cousin the minister, I have no ambitions beyond that. 

SO. 

It's Saturday, I will work again on Monday, I love my job as solutions architect, which is strange and new for me. I mean, loving my job, and not seeing it just as the way to pay the bills. 

This autumn I will be studying part-time at BI, the Norwegian private business school. Project management and some basic business economics. Since it's part time studies, I hope my co-students wont all be 19 year olds with Frogner-clothes and a slick haircut. I hope to have good discussions about project management, and to learn stuff about numbers, and how corporations deal with their numbers. 

.so. What else? Family. Kid of 2.6 years old. A wife I love to pieces. 

They are what matters to me. These things are things that matter to me. I write my emails, read my news without cloaking my IP, use Google a lot despite the fact that everything I do will be logged. I expect it, and I don't have the will to fight that fight. To stand up, to protest, to spend time dealing with these scumbags. I have grown older, more comfortable, and I will support the causes in other ways, mostly by some money I make by NOT spending my days on ze internet, reading more more more, writing more more and talking more with people around the world. Insular, I know. But for now, this is where I am. 

And then, in 5, 10, or 20 years, I will be in a position where I have that house in Norway, that 2nd house in The Philippines, no debts, a kid that has grown older, perhaps more kids that are growing too, and I will show them the world as it is, could be, and should be.
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You can at least choose to have a single column, if the multiple columns are too much. But I'm used to it from the tablet version.
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Raymond K

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There are a few days I remember clearly because of the way those days showed me the face of evil. 

9/11. 
The horrible day, realizing that someone did this on purpose, letting jets fly into buildings. Killing thousands of people. I followed the situation closely, from my place half a world away from NYC. Trying to see the story from all aspects. 

7/22. 
The bomb in the midst of Oslo, and then the shootings on Utøya. I followed also this story from a bit of distance. Nobody I personally knew well were involved. 

1/16
January 16th 2013 was the day when terrorists stormed a gas facility in Algeria and took hostages. Among those hostages was my uncle Tore. 


* 

Tore is now one of five missing Norwegians, and tonight Statoil released the names of those 5. I can now talk about this incident. There was no way on earth I was willing to risk anything those last days, risk that somehow it came out that Tore is who he is - the step-father of Heikki, my cousin, who is a member of the Norwegian government. If that information came out, it could lead to all kinds of nasty situations. 

Still, here we are. My thoughts go to my aunt, Tore's wife, and their children and grand-children. I realize how this is the first time that terrorism has really struck me at the heart. Before it was something that was vaguely distanced, even after that awful July day in 2011 when ABB the terrorist rampaged. 

Now. Right now. Here. I am remembering back to my encounters with Tore in the past, and I realize that it is only a glimmer of hope left; hope that he will be safe, found at some hospital somewhere in Algeria. Or that he managed to hide somewhere. 

But to be honest, I don't think so. He has/had a management position at the gas facility, and if it is true that this terrorism attack also was an inside job - that some of the terrorists were in fact working at the facility - then for sure they would know where his quarters are. 

How do I feel? I am trying to write this out, here, like I wrote it out here on G+ during the July day of 11.

I just re-read what I wrote back then: https://plus.google.com/110668479729372555286/posts/QJPjZK95rva

"It saddens me that someone can walk into a path that leads to such utter disregard for other people and their lives."

Back then, it was a blond Norwegian who had killed political opponents and blown up parts of our capital. Who didn't care who the victims of his bullets and home-made bomb were. He just wanted to fight against Islam.

Now, it was islamic terrorists who, according to some reports, shouted "Allah is great" before shooting hostages. 

I feel sick to my guts. Sick with worry for my uncle, and sick over how detached some people can be from the reality of others. 

I don't know what to say here. The global has suddenly become dirty and personal. No longer can I look at the war on terror from a theoretical distance. Not that I will now suddenly become a Muslim-hater, who goes all group-think and doesn't see the individual. But I will definitely have a different stance on things. 

Before, like 9/11, I hated those bastards who planned and executed the attacks. 7/22 onwards I hated the mug of Anders B. Breivik, his manical weird smile glaring at us from newspapers on the street. And this week, I have learned to hate Mokhtar Belmokhtar and those who are with him. Those who has no moral barrier to killing innocents. Those who justify murder by saying things like "This is revenge for France attacking our brothers in Mali". 

Some may try to justify it, pointing to the plight of Palestine, or collateral damage in Iraq, Afghanistan, or elsewhere. Those who died because of the 'surgical bombings' from western planes that weren't so surgical after all. 

I am a crappy political analyst, but I know this: Blood-lust gained from a feeling of justified violence is still mere blood-lust. 



* 

Do I have any conclusions? 

We are still waiting for confirmed news about my uncle. 
I need to look into this whole terrorism thing, including reading up on AQIM. 
It sucks to lose a family member because someone somewhere just wants to promote their religion or whatever goal they claim to have. 

Again: I feel sick to my guts. 
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Hope, yes, we must always have hope. But the uncertainty is utter HELL. It's hard to explain to someone who hasn't experienced it. It's very very intense in these kinds of situations. Hope is a useful tool, but not The Solution. Not for me, at least.
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LOL (no, I can't sleep)
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Attention is the key. 

http://bcove.me/yfma7p0i
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Norwegian. Technologist. Non-geek. Humanist.
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Raymond M. Kristiansen is a Norwegian technology user, and works at a communications company. He is interested in politics, media, international relations, and the future of our media-saturated society. 

All views expressed here are personal and do not reflect the views of workplace or other affiliations.
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Belonged to 2nd wave of videobloggers, started Dec 04
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