In today’s Obs…

In today’s Observer, Peter Preston describes Yavuz Baydar as a; “good and respected Turkish columnist”. He goes on to quote Baydar’s words in Today’s Zaman ; “There are 16 journalists in jail in Great Britain, under arrest pending trial in the so-called hacking scandal.  What?  There are, of course, none at all.  Perhaps it’s natural for a journalist operating in Turkey to make the assumption that journalists arrested by the police would languish in jail until tried; natural, but hardly professional to fail to factcheck the central detail underpinning one’s argument.  Yet considering that Baydar wants to contextualise Turkey’s jailing of journalists, i.e. to argue that it’s pretty much as bad in the UK as it is in Turkey, his failure to check his central non-fact is all the more striking.   What’s much worse, though, is Preston’s forgiving of the insidious non-error as ‘an honest mistake’  and his conclusion that if even Turkish journalists are worried about the UK then we should  be careful how we treat those caught up in the hacking business.  Peter, if you go to Turkey you’ll find that there really are many journalists in jail for opposing the establishment (not simply always the Government); notably but not exclusively Kurds. And you’ll find that some Istanbul-based journalists are very keen to ‘contextualise’ the problem, too. You may wish to check out a friends bona fides before giving him the benefit of the doubt.

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Congo Fire Sale 4

I’m sending the shell company findings to the Serious Fraud Office.

DRC_Shell_Companies

 

Congo Fire Sale 3

Shell companies in the BVI and South Africa continue to drain Congo’s wealth.  Read my press release below first, documenting how more billions have disappeared from the Congo.   The Ugandan Lake Albert oil developments are set to yield billions while the DRC side remains on the starting blocks thanks to the less-than-mysterious sale of rights to friends of the powerful.

Lake_Albert_Press_Release

Annual Return – Africa Management (UK)

French_Tullow_Heritage_PSA&annexes_July_2006

contrat_rdc_caprikat_foxwhelp

BVI Registration Foxwhelp

BVI Registration Caprikat

Congo Fire Sale 2

New documents provide further details of undervaluation of state assets, sold to off shore ‘shell’
companies at a loss of $1B to the Congolese people. Documents appear to show, in addition, the transfer of $10,000,000  from state company Sodomico to a 2011 election fund by Congo Mines Minister Martin Kabwelulu.
Letters from Laurent Kangoa, CEO of the state owned mining firm, SODIMICO to Congolese President
Joseph Kabila; Mining Minister Martin Kabwelulu and the central bank Governor also confirm the details of a
sale of shares in two copper projects.

SODIMICO – letter 1 – election funding

SODIMICO – letter 2 – election funding

SODIMICO – letter 3 – election funding

SODIMICO – Order to make payments

Congo Fire Sale

I’m chair of the All Party African Great Lakes Group (www.africangreatlakes.com), with over 200 MPs and Lords we’re one of the largest and most active groups at the UK parliament. For some time, I’ve been working on the issue of the alleged underpriced sale by the government of the DRC of billions of dollars worth of state assets. In the light of powerful new evidence, I’m now releasing these important documents.  Start by reading the first document, my press release, below.

Summary $5.5bn loss to Congolese People through Questionable Mining Deals

Summary $5.5bn loss, FRENCH Version

2. Response de Gecamines Sarl au Questionnaire du FMI

3. Communique de Press de Gecamines. August 2011

5. BVI Records – Rowney Assets Limited

6. BVI Records – Biko Invest Corp

7. ENRC Africa Holdings Limited Financial Statement for t

8. Proces- Verbal Synthetique [Gecamines 09 Avril 2010]

9. CAMEC plc aquires extensive copper and cobalt assets i

10. BVI Records- Emerald Star Enterprises Ltd0001

14. 8 January 2010 Gecamines’ Board Minutes (2)

16. Numis Securities Ltd, report on FQM. 7 July 2010

17. BVI Records – Highwinds Propoerties Ltd0001

18. BVI Records Pareas Limited

19. BVI Records – Interim Holdings Limited (2)

20. BVI Records – Blue Narcissus Limited

25. BVI Records – Sandro Holdings Limited

Tariq Jahan – How British Muslims are making us Proud

I just watched Tariq Jahan describe to the BBC how he arrived on the scene of three likely murders in Birmingham, a car had piled into a crowd during riots, and immediately began administering CPR to one of the victims.   He then realised that another of the victims was his own son, Haroon.  I can’t see the links to the interview up yet (here’s a report in the Asian Image) but I’m sure his words will be repeated many times across the media.  His grace, dignity and decency in appalling circumstances were beyond compare.  Muslims will be proud of that man; every single person in the country should be proud of him.

Tariq Jahan, his words and his demeanour, captured something fundamental about the riots and, more deeply, UK society.  It’s that we’ve been so obsessed by the perceived societal causes of terrorism that we’ve miscast muslims terribly – defined people through the prism of faith and associated them exclusively with issues of immigration and security.  When, in fact, if any communities have encapsulated, through their own actions, values of decency and bravery, a preparedness to do their best to secure the things they’ve worked hard for, then it’s those from Pakistan, Turkey and elswehere who happen to be muslim.

Here’s a Youtube clip of Kurds and Turks driving rioters away from their properties in Stoke Newington.  Along with Tariq Jahan’s words, it’s a potent reminder that our muslim communities often represent the best of British.  Shop-owners, mechanics (like Haroon Jahan), workers, businesspeople, taking measured action to defend what they’ve worked hard for.  Perhaps these riots will be a defining moment when everyone starts to get this.  I really do hope Tariq Jahan’s malice-free, moving and wise words represent a watershed in how we as a nation deal with diversity and where we see our best examples of decency.

P.25 OF TODAY’S GUARDIAN – THE WEIRDEST AD FOR YEARS

There’s a quarter-page ad on p25 of today’s Guardian which is so astonishing in its meaninglessness as to be actually hilarious.  It’s Sam Fox as a hooker leaning into a car. There’s an accompanying explanation in the form of a short article here in which agency TBWA say how brilliant the ad is.  No, TBWA, it looks truly like a spoof – it is surely the most misconceived campaign for years.  It’s being tweeted about all over the place and no-one seems to understand what it’s about. Maybe that’s the ad folk’s cunning plan – causing viral hilarity – but i really don’t think so.

The ad is for the Albert Kennedy Trust, which apparently helps young gay people.  But there are no young gay people either in the ad or on the website.  The ad, and the accompanying video on the website makes no coherent link between being young and gay and being a prostitute/old/abused in later life. Literally none at all.  The campaign, which has the active support of Sam Fox, Ian McKellen, Sue Perkins, Paul O’Grady and other well-intentioned celebs (they’re in the video), isn’t a spoof but if you check it out I swear you’ll be expecting Chris Morris to put his and up to it later in the week.

I don’t know how much the ad cost, but it’s a quarter page in the Guardian so it won’t be cheap.  And I imagine TBWA is quite expensive too.  So given that the ad makes no sense at all (are you really more likely to become a prostitute if you’re young and gay without support as opposed to young and heterosexual without support?) what lies behind it?

At face value, the campaign seems to simply be saying ‘give money to gay causes’.  That’s laudable and so are the folk who star in it free.  But beyond that, what’s it about?  Why give money to the Albert Kennedy Trust?  How many transgender young people are really in foster care?  Are there any?

It looks to me like a little charity has somehow acquired a lot of money to spend on a big campaign and is growing arms and legs upon its original modest, no doubt very valuable, purpose.  The effect has been to provide a confusing brief to the ad agency which has in turn produced a dog. I know some folk are tweeting that the trust has helped them, but a campaign of this order could pay a dozen case workers for a year.  There’s a bit of charity politics at play here, for sure.  But what else.  Can anyone explain?