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?

Wise Judge Judge, hilarious lawyers, stupid footballers, brilliant Twitter

Judge Judge’s comments re: injunctions and Twitter are naturally an intelligent and decent attempt by the Lord Chief Justice to begin to deal with the legal trickinesses presented by social media.  Ultimately, though, he’s a long way behind the technological curve. Hilarious and opportunistic (obv not like the rest of us) lawyers have added comedy to the episode, though.

Judge Judge (I asked a supreme court judge the other week if that’s his real name, and it is! Prescient parents) reckons twitterers should be pursued if they break injunctions.  Well, I appreciate some people tweet without caring if they can be identified by email trails and so forth, but if you want to tweet anonymously, it really couldn’t be easier.  So pursuit is hardly likely to stop anyone who wants to fire up naughty injuncted info.  Moreover, the legal talk pouring fourth from Schillings lawyers is a complete red herring.  It’s really entirely academic that Twitter itself, as a Californian company, may or may not be bound by an order of the UK High Court.  The point is that there are millions of messages flying all over the place and no-one has the resources to chase them all and make them all accountable.  Very least of all the cops. Moreover, it’s not just Twitter, obviously.  It’s being suggested that injunction breaches can be prevented just like child pornography.  But it costs a couple of million quid to chase a few hundred sites each year (money well spent) and that hardly compares to millions of injunction references.  It’s a daft suggestion.  Perhaps judges should stay in more.

Cleverly, Judges Judge and Neuberger (who produced this week’s report) have also noted that people give much less credence to interwebby gossip than they do to the newspapers.  And they’re right. Social media has ensured that hundreds of thousands of people think they know the identity of ‘the footballer’ and elsewhere lying gossip passed by mouth in the office and pub routinely costs people their reputation and jobs.  As it is with regular gossip, people make up their own minds about the veracity of the stuff they’re hearing and give it import or otherwise accordingly.  With Twitter, it’s no different. Most celebs can adjust to that, I think. If not, just the way it is.

But finally, what of Schillings, the famous law company, prostituting themselves by advising a footballer to make himself their fool by paying them to acquire massive publicity by otherwise pointlessly pursuing Twitter?  I’d toss them a sixpence and head on to a proper lawyer.

Confusion in the Media about Tweet Traceability

The papers today are filled with comment on the implications of the Twittersphere’s response to UK superinjunctions.  There’s a lot of comment on how the originator of THAT Twitter account, and others, can expect to be identified and have legal action taken against them.  One omnipresent media lawyer is quoted in The Independent, and probably elsewhere, as saying; “the emails being used to upload this information are be traced, I imagine, as we speak”.  What? What emails exactly?  It seems remarkable that quite a few people prepared to comment have yet to grasp how Twitter works. An internet cafe paid in cash, a new Twitter account and a hashtagged post  – it’s wholly anonymous if that’s how folk choose to use it.

Social media has far wider implications than simply super-injunctions for how previously guarded information flows around the world.  I attended a dinner last night where a former Cybersecurity minister told me that if people broke the secrecy laws then they had to be pursued.  Well, I wouldn’t argue with the notion that there is information in the public and private sector which deserves to be allowed to be kept secret.  But we are where we are now and the simple fact is that if information moves beyond a tiny group of identifiable people and onto the internet, there’s nothing governments, or anyone else, can do to keep it private.  That’s just the way it is.  Organisations, and individuals, need to find new ways of holding on to information they want to keep secret.  But it’s now going to be much, much harder than ever before. Governments and courts are largely powerless. Human behaviour, moderated or not by themselves, is pretty much everything.

Prince William to be King Arthur?

Here’s a fun, post-Royal-wedding thought.  Is Prince William the future King Arthur?

I’ve been told, no idea by whom now, that Prince Charles is likely to adopt the name George (one of his middle names) when he ascends. Apparently, he’d like to honour  his grandfather, King George 6th (now of ‘Kings Speech’ fame) but will have a weather eye on avoiding reference to the interregnum between the previous two Charles’. (Moreover, all the previous George’s have been Kings of the UK – nice and tidy). So, King George 7th then.

But what of William?  King Billy? Don’t think that’s going to work! And quite apart from the sectarian implications, there’d be the additional thought that future sovereigns will likely want to avoid the trickiness presented by the general assumption that the current sovereign is Queen Elizabeth 2nd of the UK, which she obviously isn’t  (William would be the 2nd of UK, 5th of England and 3rd of Scotland and there’d be a royal scrap about which number he should adopt).

So,what are the options for William Arthur Phillip Louis?  Phillip – tricky Spanish antecedents.   Louis?  Too French.  Arthur?  Hang on, Arthur? Hasn’t there been one of those before?  Well, actually, no.  Henry 8th (of England)’s bro Arthur, Catherine of Aragon’s first husband, didn’t make it and the mythical King Arthur is just that.

So, the die is cast.  King Arthur it is.