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Posts Tagged ‘espionage’

ID Cards and Certificates for Some of My Zillion Professional Organizations

Posted by Scott Holstad on October 23, 2019

I want to try to blog more, but my health is very poor and I’m horribly busy, largely trying to buy a house in another region of the country and get us moved — all remotely. It’s been far more time consuming and labor intensive than I anticipated, it’s wearing me out and not leaving me time for much more. But I actually have taken quite a few pictures over the past few months, so I thought it might be fun — for me at least — to post some picture blogs! Most of you still looking at this blog probably didn’t notice the new Page I created a few months ago titled “PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS” and listed as one of the menu items at the top of this page. You can find it here. I know most people probably wouldn’t be interested in a topic like that, but a couple of the things that I think make it pretty cool are A) I belong to a Zillion, as the title of this blog post states. Actually, not that many, but currently over 40, and if you were to count the number I did belong to at one point and have left, it would be over 55 easily. And there are some interesting things about this stat. For one thing, they are very varied in the fields they represent, so I’m betting not many people out there are members of such a huge variety of professional organizations, let alone such a crazy huge number. Another interesting fact is many are very hard to get into, very specialized, and have high to insanely high educational, work experience, experience levels and years and so forth requirement for consideration, and a good number of them vett applicants, which can last anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks to over a month. Some of these organizations reject the majority of their applicants. And then the other main point I think is pretty cool is that B) I haven’t initiated applying to all of these or even many of these. For quite a few, I was invited to apply or even invited to join! Why? Sometimes it made sense and other times it beat the hell out of me! But it’s still a bit of a compliment, so while I actually do NOT join every organization I’ve been recruited for (including two pretty famous and influential ones I may mention later), I do try to join ones I wouldn’t normally think I’d be qualified for if they represent my interests, official or unofficial experience, etc.

Anyway, you can find the list of most of the professional organizations of which I’m currently a member at the top of my blog site along the header menu, the far one on the right, titled PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS. But that’s not the purpose of this post. Remember I said I was hoping to do a few picture blog posts? Well, this is one. Some of these organizations may be viewed as a little more “professional” than others, and as a result, some of them send or provide you a Member ID Card and/or a certificate for framing, some of which are quite nice, while others are simply paper you print out and they’re cheap looking. One organization even sends an attractive metal medallion of some sort, although for the life of me, I’ve never figured out why. It’s not a pin, you can’t wear it, what can or are you supposed to do with it? But I actually like it, so I’m not complaining. When I decided to do this, I was going to try to put the photos of the cards and certificates in alphabetical order to mirror the list on the webpage, but I really don’t have the time to devote to that, so I’m just going to place them on this blog post I think in alphabetical order of their acronyms rather than the official organization name, but I’ll try to provide sufficient identification so you’ll know what they are as you see them. (And I may put a couple of screenshots of a profile or something I have on an organization’s site rather than a member ID card or certificate.)

 

 

 

American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC) – the top half of my web directory profile page

 

AAPC

 

 

 

 

American Counseling Association (ACA) Member Certificate

 

 

American Counseling Association (ACA) Member ID Card

 

 

 

 

 

Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Professional Member Certificate

 

 

 

Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Professional Member ID Card

 

 

 

 

 

 

Armed Forces Communications & Electronics Association (AFCEA International) Member ID Card (Front & Back)

 

 

 

 

American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) – Upper section of my profile on the organization’s website

 

 

 

 

 

A screenshot from The AllHumanity Group‘s Network website in which I was welcomed to the group some years ago

 

 

 

 

ASIS International Member ID Card

 

 

 

ASIS International Member Logo

 

 

Espionage Research Institute International (ERII) Member Certificate

 

 

 

Espionage Research Institute International (ERII) Member Medallion (Front)

 

 

 

Espionage Research Institute International (ERII) Member Medallion (Back)

 

 

Foreign Policy Association (FPA) Membership Webpage Header

 

 

 

 

IEEE: The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Member Certificate

 

 

 

 

Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society (AESS) Member Certificate

 

 

Computational Intelligence Society (CIS) Member Certificate

 

 

Nuclear & Plasma Sciences Society (NPSS) Member Certificate

 

 

 

Power & Energy Society (PES) Member Certificate

 

 

 

 

Robotics & Automation Society (RAS) Member Certificate

 

 

 

Systems, Man, & Cybernetics Society (SMC) Member Certificate

 

 

 

Society on Social Implications of Technology (SSIT)  Member Certificate

 

 

 

IEEE Member ID Card

 

 

 

Institute of Industrial & Systems Engineers (IISE) Senior Member ID Card

 

 

Internet Society Member ID Card

 

 

 

Framed, Hung ISACA Member Certificate

 

 

 

50 Year Anniversary ISACA Member Certificate

 

 

ISACA Bronze Member ID Card

 

 

Information Systems Security Association (ISSA) Member ID Card

 

 

 

There are a few others not mentioned on my blog Page, and obviously I am missing member ID cards or certificates from quite a few that are listed. One reason, though, is that a number of these organizations, some of which I’ve been a member of for decades such as Usenix, no longer produce member ID cards, although I have many of my old ones from previous decades and I have Usenix member ID cards for myself for the last four years before the turn of the century! So I’m about to finish this idiotic post that no one will read or care about, but I’ve had fun putting it together, by posting a few screenshots while leaving many more unposted from my very large profile on a site that used to be called ExecuRanks, but which changed its name to AdvisoryCloud a couple of years ago. I was invited to become a member and while there is an annual charge for most people, I was not required to pay it. Since I was in the process of doing some consulting and had been thinking about getting a seat on an advisory board again somewhere, I decided to join (because I have actually declined invitations, although it probably seems hard to believe), put together a profile, have a public listing and see if anything would happen. Unfortunately, almost immediately after, my poor health took a serious nosedive, getting progressively worse ever since, and I’ve been forced to turn down numerous opportunities, some of which would have been great, such as being asked to join the advisory board of an Australian cryptocurrency startup, collaborate on a technical security paper with a Ukrainian security expert for a large circulation European security publication, engage in research, experiments, publication of findings with a US nuclear entity doing some cutting edge research and work, help a university “rebrand” itself and much more, as well as sadly having to cancel or turn down an unreal number of speaking engagements, ranging from everything from being a featured speaker at a major university’s graduate MBA program in which I was asked to give a presentation on entrepreneurship to speaking at a well known annual security conference on cloud technology security to a UN NGO on the topic of successfully accomplishing one of the UN’s official SDGs before 2030 to being asked to speak on sustainability at a well known annual international science conference in Paris and more. Serious disappointment! I’ve also had to cancel trips to various conferences and conventions around the country, in places like Atlanta, Huntsville, Washington DC, Baltimore, Charleston SC and Los Vegas, among others. And finally, I’ve had to consistently turned down repeated requests to provide me with VIP passes to serve as a visible SME at conferences and conventions throughout the country, ranging from Atlanta to Nashville to Knoxville to Washington DC to New York City to Baltimore to Las Vegas to Los Angeles, as well as repeated invitations to be a guest at conferences located elsewhere, such as England, Poland, Switzerland, Australia, South Korea and more. Most of these would have involved compensation plus expenses. Bitterly disappointing, I have to say. Finally, a couple of somewhat humorous and somewhat odd situations. Two organizations have tried fairly hard to recruit me with my either refusing or not agreeing to commit for an indefinite period of time. One is the Freemasons, where over a period of several years, I was approached by three members of various ranks, all of whom attempted to persuade me, and the second was especially odd. Most of us have heard of, if not being pretty familiar with the historic Knights Templar, and while history tells us the group was outlawed with its members hunted down, and tortured and killed by the Inquisition even though these Christian knights had dedicated their lives to guarding pilgrims on their way from Europe to the Holy Lands, as well as having to fight numerous, gruesome battles with a variety of Muslim groups surrounding the area. There are confirmed, documented historical reasons why they were banned, but I won’t go into that here. Suffice it to say that many people believe them to be a part of the past while many believe a good deal of them survived and fled to other countries, especially Finland, England and Scottland, and depending on which conspiracy theory you read, either have survived under the radar all these centuries while wielding tremendous influence behind the scenes (as well as the belief they still hold a huge fortune, as well as the Holy Grail and the Ark, etc…, the second two being solely rumor) to their descendants being one or both the Freemasons (and there is a lot of evidence to support that theory) to the Illuminati, where this is not nearly as much evidence, aside from the fact that many members of that group were also Freemasons, which was allegedly linked to the Templars, so there you are! And while the Freemasons have survived and thrived all these centuries (our first president was one, as were many of the other Founding Fathers), the Bavarian Illuminati was banned 10 years after it was formed and its members were hunted down throughout Germany, so naturally conspiracy theorists believe a number of them escaped, fled elsewhere, with a certain number eventually making their way to America. Where they united with former German colleagues to form the Skull & Bones fraternity at Yale, which is a whole different story and conspiracy theory that is huge enough to fill many books and which I won’t get into. The point is this: there is little tangible evidence to conclude or confirm the Templars A) remain in existence while under the radar for centuries or B) ever made it to the US. Nonetheless, there has been such historical international obsession with the order, that for centuries, publications have appeared about them, books have been written, and even movies made (The DaVinci Code with Tom Hanks is one of them) because a whole lot of people believe or want to believe this group still exists. For whatever reasons. And the irony is, there ARE current organizations claiming heritage of and the right to use the name for their organization, and while they no longer are actual “knights,” they typically maintain the same original goals concerning Christians in the Middle East, aiding others, and much more. And the largest and most visible such organization that asserts it is the only group with the historical right to the name “Knights Templar” is OSMITH. This international organization is called “OSMTH,” which is an acronym for The Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem, headquartered in Europe with some 5,000 members around the world, and its US branch called The Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem (SMOTJ). OSMITH is a registered UN NGO with many privileges, great influence, and as just one example, it is one of the few entities allowed to vote on winners of the Nobel Prize every year. The majority of its members are retired general and admirals from countries around the world, with several others who are high ranking commercial or national governmental leaders and heads of state. It is invite-only, and few are admitted. So I was incredibly surprised when over the past year or two, two different high ranking individuals approached me about possibly joining, and one of them was so ardent a recruiter of me, that he assured me privately that if I wanted in, I would get admitted! WTH??? That’s incredibly bizarre, although also strangely flattering. I never committed, wanted time to mull it over because A) I’m not sure I can commit to what they ask of their members in terms of service, and B) I don’t know if I share the same values and goals of the organization. However, I’m still in touch with the second in command in Europe so I guess if I did decide I wanted to be a member, I could simply contact him and discuss it and I guess it would happen. I had to include this bit, because these recruitments were so unexpected, so unlikely, so ardent, with so many possible implications that it kind of blew my mind.

So now that I rambled like an idiot and got off track, I’m going to finish this post up by posting a few screenshots of the top main portion of my AdvisoryCloud profile. The actual size of it contains informaton documenting education, employment, specializations, and various credentials and notices of SME in various subjects and it is so long, printing out the profile results in about 7-8 pages with the majority being the information I just mentioned. But I don’t want to post all of that because even I would be bored, so I’m just going to post screenshots of my main profile description to amuse you and make you giggle. And if anyone out there does or did read this, A) I’m grateful to you, B) I hope you found it at least mildly interesting or entertaining and C), you have a very high pain tolerance level. LOL! Thanks and cheers to all. The last few photos are from my AdvisoryCloud profile, as mentioned.

 

 

 

Partial Screenshot of my AdvisoryCloud Profile

 

 

 

 

A couple of examples of some credentials from my AdvisoryCloud Profile

 

 

 

My only “Business”-type photo, which is displayed on my AdvisoryCloud Profile

 

 

The first (top) main part of my AdvisoryCloud Profile

 

 

The remainder of the main part of my AdvisoryCloud Profile

 

Go ahead and laugh. It’s okay and I won’t be angry. While everything here is true, it admittedly seems bizarre and not totally believable to everyone, I would imagine, but I can back all of this up, so odd or not, it’s accurate. But you can still snicker. LOL!

 

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It’s Not Just Huawei and ZTE…

Posted by Scott Holstad on June 4, 2019

I published an article on my LinkedIn page on April 4, 2019. This is the gist.

There are other technology-based companies in China, some much bigger and wealthier than Huawei, that *could* be capable of things some accuse the more famous companies of while hiding beneath the surface. Here is the link to it if you’re interested: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/its-just-huawei-zte-scott-holstad.

 

Well, what I found after publishing the link on my blog here was that while, if memory serves me correctly, for many years LinkedIn has been an open site, if not for posts, articles, original content, etc., at least for people’s profiles, often viewed as expanded digital resumes. The impetus was simple. Your profile, and hence your digital resume, could be located by anyone, anywhere, most prominently headhunters, recruiters, HR professionals, etc. That was, after all, the original point. But no more! I really don’t know when changes started happening, but I discovered sometime last year that if one searched for me by name and my LinkedIn profile came up in the search results, clicking on it would take you to a black page with a login, and subsequently ever since, everything I’ve posted, shared, written, published, created, and yes, even my ever fluid profile has been completely off limits to anyone who cannot log into LinkedIn, presumably anyone who does not have an account. I’ve said publicly what I think about this new trend, but for this particular purpose, that’s a topic for another post.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

In any event, when I posted the original post with the link to my article here, I heard from some of you telling me you couldn’t access the article, was there another way for you to read it? And yes, there is. Forgive me for taking so long to address this, but I’ve been ill, busy and out of town, so I’m only now getting to it, but my solution is to simply reproduce my article in its entirety as it appears on my LinkedIn profile here on my blog, at which point it will be accessible to all. The formatting may not be as perfect, but the content will be the same. So, as requested,

 

It’s Not Just Huawei and ZTE…

 

Yesterday, Foreign Policy magazine published an article titled “The Improbable Rise of Huawei” with the tagline reading “How did a private Chinese firm come to dominate the world’s most important emerging technology?” (https://bit.ly/2HXEcU2) Current trendy topic, legitimate questions. I get it. And I don’t blame the authors or the journal. It’s a good piece, well written in a quality publication, and it’s one that needs addressing, although in my opinion, there’s probably been a little bit of overkill recently.

Huawei Mobile Phone\

[Huawei Mobile Phone]

I’ve been researching this myself. But I’ve been researching some other things, other companies, their owners, and shell games – all Chinese. And I’ve got a LOT of questions, and one thing I’m curious about is why the founder of Huawei, a Communist party member and former PLA soldier, is getting so much notoriety, and everyone knows how fabulously wealthy the company has become, yet no one is talking about another Chinese entrepreneur who started a company of his own, also under mysterious and unusual circumstances, and who has been so very successful, that he is worth about 20 times what Huawei’s Ren Zhengfei is worth and according to this year’s Forbes, is the 22nd richest man in the world (https://bit.ly/2HYsbhq), compared to Ren, whom Forbes lists at #1,425 (https://bit.ly/2G1jnFb)!

Do you know of whom I refer? Does the name “Jack Ma” ring a bell? Does the company, “Alibaba” (or Alibaba Group) ring a bell? (https://www.alibaba.com) Let’s just say that his background is of a person who was largely a massive failure, who found out about the Internet and somehow found 20 grand to start a web design company out of his house with his wife. (I intend to write more about this some other time, so I’m leaving a great deal out…) Around 1999, with his wife and a group of friends, Alibaba had been formed as a B to B technology marketplace start-up. (https://bit.ly/2fcoC5c)

Then Ma disappears. Nothing on him. I’m sure it’s possible to find stuff, but just take a cursory glance and see if you can find him in, say 2006 or 2010. Yet, in 2015 he surfaces and takes the company public at the NYSE in the biggest IPO in the history of the world! Now how did he get from poor, miserable failure (rejected on 30 out of 30 job applications after barely making it through a minor teacher’s institute with a BA in English, just as one example), start two companies in three years, start making bank and then disappear from view for 15 years, only to emerge in the public’s eye to become, by today, owner of a relatively unknown (in much of the West) Chinese company that is literally worth twice as much as the notorious, world famous Huawei, and whose own net worth as of this year is over $40 BILLION compared to Ren’s $2.2 billion, as of two days ago? Doesn’t that strike anyone besides me as just a little … odd? And while Huawei is everywhere in the world, so is Alibaba. Indeed, I have very senior level contacts at both companies (C-level), both in China and in the US. I’ve interacted with some people at different times. And the Foreign Policy writers, if I recall correctly, noted that Huawei is everywhere now – specifically in 170 countries. Guess how many countries Alibaba operates in? Going on 200. Yep, bigger, richer, more successful, founder possibly more mysterious than Huawei’s, and while the company hasn’t become notorious for making devices like mobile phones, they sell the hell out of them! I know, I bought one. Recently. A high-end Kyocera, unlocked international, for half the retail cost elsewhere. But I didn’t keep it. There were multiple reasons why. I looked at it, tested it carefully, and returned it. The company actually has a program where they award certificates, of a sort, to third party resellers whom they deem sufficiently good enough to represent them. And while the company is not a manufacturer, like Huawei is, it has access to and sells more (I believe) items, generally technology items such as … mobile phones…, than most companies in the world. And while people are up in arms about Huawei’s alleged ties to China’s communist party, certainly in the company’s beginnings, many analysts believe that NO “private” company, especially such huge, successful international behemoths – that are everywhere throughout the western world, for instance – could possibly operate without both the permission AND most likely the backing of the CCP, or at least elements of the CCP. Think about that. And think about the fact that Alibaba sells a virtually unlimited number of Huawei and ZTE products, as well as many other international products (including from other Chinese companies), in more places than Huawei! And how hard is it to modify a mobile phone? If MSS, or one of the newer agencies that have been created over the past few years, were to somehow be involved in some way – and I’m NOT saying they are at all!!! – it wouldn’t be too difficult to replicate or even improve on some of the possibilities that some people are accusing Huawei of. Think about that too. And just in case you’re wondering if the company is just a giant marketplace, understand this – like many other companies, they’re ambitious. And they’ve developed a cloud program so massive, it can be rivaled only by the likes of AWS, Google, IBM and it seems Oracle is also moving up the ranks. Literally, Alibaba has come out of nowhere to become one of the roughly 5-6 biggest cloud providers in the entire world! And yes, I have connections with people at Alibaba Cloud (https://us.alibabacloud.com).

Server Farm - Alibaba Rev

What does one make of this? I guess my primary point is to not discount this company simply because it does not manufacture high tech wireless devices. It’s a technology company, first and foremost, and it’s gone from reseller to a very big player, essentially under most people’s noses. Which begs another question: how big do and will they get? I anticipate acquisitions, partnerships, new divisions in other areas. I would think AI would be very attractive to them at the moment, especially in light of Xi’s announced ONE TRILLION-dollar goal to have the biggest and best quality (by far) AI industry in the world by 2025. And with the R&D available in China, and that kind of financial backing, and – forgive me if it seems like I don’t know what in the world I’m talking about, because I know enough to be dangerous, but I’m not a scientist – with the likely advent of advanced quantum computing, it’s virtually impossible to imagine the possibilities of that bizarre universe as a base for AI. And what could come from that. Need I continue?

But that’s not all. I’ve been delving into other, smaller and lesser known, but increasingly popular, Chinese wireless manufacturers and companies, and have turned up quite a bit of interesting information in the process. I’m not ready to name names, but one company that interested me turned out to be owned by another company – in the same district in the same city – that turned out to be owned by yet another company – same district, same city – all of whom had unlisted, but official representatives who shared the same email domain – that of one of these companies. And their items and inventory are similar, but grow more diverse, and you start hitting walls, have to find ways around them, and continue on, while more and more companies pop up. And they go out of their way to hide their connections with the others, and the next one and next one. Standard shell game. Makes one wonder who the ultimate owner is… Possibly Huawei? Or ZTE? Or MSS itself? Who knows? All I know is there’s a lot more going on in China than many realize, particularly with certain types of technology being sold and provided in the West. And that begs an interesting question – could Huawei simply be a distraction – a large one – thus allowing an untold number of much smaller, relatively unknown companies (or in Alibaba’s case, certainly not smaller, but definitely not a household name) to produce and distribute goods that actually might do what Huawei’s products are often accused of? Let’s not forget, there are a lot of devious people in the world, including in some governments (I think the US learned that in 2016, although preparations for that began many, many years earlier). Face it, many Westerners, and especially Americans, are – or have been for decades – simply naïve because we haven’t bothered to study other peoples and cultures and so on much more the way so many other countries have studied the US. Kissinger himself said that was probably his biggest mistake, circa the ‘70s. Not educating himself properly, not getting to know other peoples, other cultures, others’ goals and ambitions, even among one’s perceived allies. I would like to hope many Americans have come a long way since then, but I fear that most US geopolitical policy efforts since the Cold War have finally brought many to realize we have not, that we sat on our haunches, focused on the wrong agendas while ignoring important issues, and now there could be some major prices to be paid, if not already, then almost certainly in the near future.

I’ll wrap things up now, although I have much more to say. As mentioned, I hope to continue researching and digging and be able later to publish a more detailed piece with more specific information and harder analysis. Besides, I’ve been banging this out for too long now, and I have to move on to other projects. And while everyone is focusing on Huawei, I’d encourage people to take a hard look at some other entities, such as was mentioned here, as well as numerous other examples, and then do some reflecting. Feedback is welcome.

 

Scott C. Holstad

Founder, COO, CTO, Chief Strategy Officer, VP Cybersecurity @ WireMe Designs, LLC – Retired!

WireMe Designs, LLC

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It’s Not Just Huawei and ZTE…

Posted by Scott Holstad on April 4, 2019

I published an article on my LinkedIn page today. This is the gist.

There are other technology-based companies in China, some much bigger & wealthier than Huawei, that *could* be capable of things some accuse the more famous companies of while hiding beneath the surface. Here is the link to it if you’re interested: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/its-just-huawei-zte-scott-holstad.

Thanks!

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