All entries for January 2007

January 20, 2007


Writing about web page

This box contains information from Amnesty's database of examples of censored material on the internet.

Screw internet censorship

January 15, 2007

BAE accused of corruption

So, what’s new then?

It’s true that it’s not that revelationary to highlight corruption in the arms trade, but the Guardian has a good piece on a Tanzanian deal that is now under investigation.

The alegations are serious. Apparantly, BAE paid $12m (representing 30% of the contract value) to a middle man, whilst securing a deal that would see Tanzania, a country higly dependant on foreign aid for most basic services, buying a sophisticated radar system. Furthermore, there doesn’t seem to be any reason for them to buy this technology. Most seem to agree that a basic civilian radar system, for a fraction of the cost, would be suitable for the coutries needs.

This story comes almost immediately after the Attorney General dropped all investigation by the Serious Fraud Office into extremely dodgy looking deals made by BAE to the Saudis.

My worry is not that this allegation, if true, will go unpunished. My fear is that the investigation will proceed wholeheartedly. Either the allegations will unfounded, or BAE will be punished in some form. Either way BAE can stand up and make claims of the legitamacy of its business. Meanwhile the authorities (and the public) will continue to ignore the (more serious) allegations in regard to the Saudi deals.


Also, for more government pandering to the Saudis, have a look at this report on Sandy Mitchell, Bill Sampson and Leslie Walker, three British expats, accused of terrorism by the Saudi authority. They were then tortured before they ‘confessed’. Posessions were confiscated and they were made destitute. No help has been provided to these British citizens by their own government in their search for justice.

January 11, 2007

Temporal Motviation Theory?!

According to the upstanding news source that is the Metro, Piers Steel (great name), a lecturer at Calgary university, has worked out a formula for procrastination… Naming it Temporal Motivation Theory.

Given the expectation of suceeding at the task (E), the value in completing the task (V), the availability of the task (A) and the person’s sensitivity to delay (D): Utility = E x V/AD..

Thought you’d all be interested in that, but anyway, back to my assignment..

January 08, 2007

The ICA Newsletter

Want a copy of the ICA newsletter for free? it turns out that you are in luck…

ICA Newsletter

Welcome back to the new term, if you didn’t get Scott’s e-mail then you might be interested to know that the meeting will be on Wednesday at 2-3 but in S0.18; that’s different, and possibly exciting…

I thought we might start with some of the biggest news from over the Christmas period, being the hanging of Saddam Hussein. It took a fairly long legal trial and quite a lot of bloodshed, but was it worth it? I thought the main areas for debate here would be 1) if the execution itself was a good thing, 2) if the manner of the execution has compounded a bad situation or if it could contain some benefits, 3) if the trial could have more usefully have been held in the Hague or if that would have made a bad situation worse.
The video of the whole execution is on YouTube as I understand it if you feel desperate to look it up.

Secondly to some newer news of the former secretary of state for education (the cabinet minister in charge of education), Ruth Kelly, who has decided to send her child who has special needs to a £15,000 a year private school. Kelly’s choice has outraged many Labour backbenchers who disagree with the move. Labour has closed at least 70 special schools for children with special needs since it came to power in 1997 – a move which has lead a commons select committee to say that the system is “not fit for purpose”. Is it right that Ruth Kelly is making this decision – even though it runs counter to the requirements of justice and the fact that she created (or at least didn’t fix) the system which obviously fails badly enough for her to opt out – if it benefits her child?

Finally another story in the seemingly never ending saga of “Princess” Diana who died in 1997 in Paris as a result of a car crash. Despite the fact that at least two separate investigations have confirmed the previous statement and no reliable information can show that anything suspicious happened it seems a large amount of the population just can’t let it go (not least the Daily Express who seem to have Di on the front page at least once a week, often far more). Do you still have any doubts that this accident was just that? Do you worry the Queen might be trying to kill you? Do you ever get the feeling the whole of the ruling elite might be giant lizards?

Anywho, come along, we look forward to seeing you at the meeting

Far–right to form EU caucus

With the inclusion of Romania to the Eurpean Union this month, 5 new far-right MEPs will join the European Parliament. These will almost certainly form with a current far-right group of neo-fascists and Holocaust deniers to propel them over the 19 MEPs needed to form a ‘causcus’. This means, among other things, a higher level of EU funding.

The group includes such wholesome figures as Dimitar Stoyanov of Bulgaria, who apparantly knows where one can find a ‘high-quality’ “loving [Gypsy] wife aged 12 or 13” for a mear 5,000 Euros. Also, we have Alessandra Mussolini, granddaughter of her famous namesake, who says of fascism, “[it’s] better than being a faggot”. Well, naturally..

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