Monday, March 10th, 2008 at 4:38 pm - - UN, Whipping 2 Comments »

I’ve got a lot of emails from people telling me about this new United Nations Data site. Unfortunately, the same people don’t seem to have actually looked at the site before declaring that it’s interesting and sending the top level link to me.

I’m not saying that the site isn’t interesting (it’s a repackaging of the UN Common Database whose current interface will discontinue in July), but you would think that if anyone had actually found it interesting, they’d have found some statistics in it that were interesting, and sent me a note about that.

Otherwise it’s like a friend passing you a book that they say is interesting, but you can tell they haven’t even opened. In other words, they think you might find it interesting, even though it is not even slightly interesting to them.

Anyway, the undata website itself is much better done than it used to be. The way to get into it (ie surf around on it without getting bored within the first five seconds) is to search for the page on your own country (in my case they united kingdom), and then apply one of the filters on the left.

I chose “Energy”, and then looked at the decline in the UK of all its fossil fuel production since 1996.

Oddly, our production of keyboards has gone up about 2-fold in 10 years, and there’s a very low point in in 1997. Also, you can see which countries are manufacturing revolvers and pistols.

While this is all very interesting, it is, sadly, not easy to go any deeper. What I’d really like are links from each of the statistical references to their precise source. Stats are aggregations, and you really want to be able to drill down into them as far as possible. This requires you to know where they came from.

The industrial commodity production statistics appear to come from a questionnaire sent in by each government. The rest of the statistics come from a list of 15 other sources.

Many of the monetary statistics are quoted in US Dollars, which isn’t so good, given the recent fluctuation in that currency. Maybe there should be an option to normalize the figures into another currency of choice. Would it depend on whether the accounts that are summed were in the first part of the year or the last if there has been a drastic shift in its value?

Aggregate stats are a real problem, and there’s no excuse for it when there’s easily enough room on the database to have it at a much lower level of granularity, for example by month.

The gold standard for this type of data is the US Treasury and their debt to the nearest penny and who holds it webpage.

Got bored yet? Thought so.

Look, I am trying very hard to find things which I both care about and which are also interesting to other people. Most of the time it’s a struggle to find any overlap at all. For example, I don’t care whatsoever about Madeline McCann or Lady Diana, both of whom, if newspaper covers are anything to go by, people find endlessly fascinating.

I do care about the coming space wars — something that has major, lasting consequences to everyone on the planet, yet surprisingly few people seem interested in.

Being sent links to unexplored databases doesn’t seem to help with this quest.

I can see everyone queuing at the movie theatres getting all excited about the next Science Fiction blockbuster at the movies, while their government irresponsibly conducts weapons experiments in orbit and cause Kessler Syndrome to manifest, rendering the use of satellites too prone to loss to be feasible for many generations. Maybe we’ve just gotten bored with our GPS and accurate weather predictions to find it interesting anymore.

Friday, March 7th, 2008 at 6:11 pm - - UN, Whipping 7 Comments »

I received a message through the emailbag:

…I’m interested in learning more and doing what I can to volunteer at

Probably the easiest thing to do is find a wikipedia article that needs some updating with citations to the official documents. For a good simple example, look at UNMIN.

A big project would be to work on AMISOM, because there was a United Nations Security Council Resolution passed that extended its mandate a week ago. (Read the meeting.)

Less challenging projects can be found under Category:United Nations observances to bring them all up to the standard of International Year of the Potato, by locating the meetings and General Assembly Resolutions that authorized them.

Those are just two ideas off the top of my head. It depends on what sort of UN activities are you interested in. I’ve designed it so that Wikipedia is the natural way to index the documents, and that’s where I expect there will eventually be a complete timeline of its interventions and of the documents that support them. This is always going to be better than a search engine for leading people (eg journalists) directly to the sources.

Please post any questions about the useability as you go along to the comments in this blog post. Nothing is too stupid or trivial — especially if it helps lead to some necessary clarification.

Thursday, March 6th, 2008 at 7:07 pm - - UN, Whipping

I hope you are enjoying your little conference in San Diego.

Does anyone else think it’s crazy that a pre-eminent internet/tech gathering has no means of distant on-line participation? Instead, everyone is encouraged to fly their heavy meat bodies halfway round the world to take part.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Maybe when it eventually becomes easier to arrange high quality video conference calls with people at a distance than it is to take hours out of your life flying over to them, we’ll be moving on the right direction.

More specifically, I’d like to talk to people about, because I have quite a lot to say, and some actual software to distribute to enough people so that it makes a difference. Believe it or not, the technology for enabling this has already emerged, so to speak, if it wasn’t for the fact that everyone was too busy flying all over the world going to these conferences all the time.

Here is the 5 minute lightning talk I was able to give at the Chaos Computer Congress (24C3) in Berlin last December. Because it’s too blurry, the slides are available here. (I happened to be in Germany for the month while my partner printed a load of 3D objects to use for her haptic psychology experiments. That’s where I saw a two-way conveyor belt under construction, and completely failed to take a photograph of it.)

I can be contacted at, or through the Skype-id: goatchurch. Please do so if you have any questions. My mailbox is not exactly overwhelmed by messages about this work.

Postscript notes: The 24C3 Day 2 Lightning talks session was the only one that didn’t make it into the official archive. The only copy of the ASF video stream anywhere on the internet appeared in this directory. With the power of VLC and a MacBook, and four hours trying to work out how it was done, this blurry result was eventually obtained.

Thursday, February 14th, 2008 at 8:34 am - - UN, Whipping 3 Comments »

Have refrained from doing Wikipedia and UN for a while. Last night I accidentally got onto it and have just lost several hours.

I was pleased to find something which sorts out the rather stringent and obviously counter-productive all rights reserved copyright issue regarding the United Nations documents. It was found in Template:PD-UN, which refers to Administrative Instruction ST/AI/189/Add.9/Rev.2 on wikisource.

I immediately scraped it into ST-AI-189-Add.9-Rev.2 on undemocracy so you can see it in its full shambolic reproduction.

I don’t know what geniuses found out about it or transcribed it. Actually I do; they are credited in the history page in wikisource, although it doesn’t explain it.

JesseW wrote the comment: “(clarify status of this instruction — /Add.2 extended it without a expiration date, and I just checked that it’s in force in the most recent (2007) index.)”

So I scraped ST-AI-189-Add.9-Rev.2-Add.2 into undemocracy.

Now you wouldn’t have thought that a recursively extended and obscurely labeled document would be of any importance a few years on, but this one is, because back in 1985 the Revision 2 of Addendum 9 on the 189th Administrative Instruction by the Secretariat said:

The present instruction revises, on an experimental basis until the end of 1989, the Organization’s policy towards copyrighting as set forth in administrative instruction ST/AI/189/Add.9/Rev.1 of 26 March 1985.

1/ That policy was, in essence, not to seek copyright with the intention of thus facilitating dissemination as widely as possible of the ideas in United Nations publications. However, numerous exceptions to that policy were made over the years as it became clear that there was a need to retain control over certain United Nations materials to ensure that they were used in the best interests of the Organization, or to protect the revenues that might accrue from sales publications and that would be adversely affected by unauthorized, competitive commercial publication.

2. The following categories of material will, as at present, be left in the public domain, i.e., the United Nations will not seek copyright therefor unless, prior to issue and in exceptional circumstances, the Publications Board decides otherwise, in consultation with the Office of Legal Affairs.

(a) Official Records: a series of printed publications relating to the proceedings of organs or conferences of the United Nations. They include verbatim or summary records, documents or check-lists of documents, issued in the form of annexes to those records, including periodic supplements, such as the quarterly ones of the Security Council; and reports to those organs of their subordinate or affiliated bodies, compilations of resolutions, certain reports of the Secretary-General and other selected publications, which are issued in the form of supplements;

(b) United Nations documents: written material officially issued under a United Nations document symbol, regardless of the form of production, although, in practice, the term is applied mainly to material offset from typescript and issued under a masthead. The term also applies to written material issued simultaneously or sequentially in the form of documents and publications;

(c) Public information material: publications, periodicals, brochures, pamphlets, press releases, flyers, catalogues and other materials designed primarily to inform about United Nations activities. For the purposes of this instruction the term does not include public information that is offered for sale, which may be subject to copyright registration.

There follows a lot of details of the procedures to keep something in copyright if you absolutely have to.

Well, that’s sorted it out at least, up until 1989. However, as JesseW noticed, Addendum 2 of Revision 2 on Addendum 9 etc (known as ST/AI/189/Add.9/Rev.2/Add.2) says:

There is a general consensus that the revised copyright policy has had a positive impact and yielded the desired result of enhancing the control the Organization retains over the use of its intellectual property to ensure that it is used in the best interests of the United Nations and to protect the revenues that might accrue from sales and external publications. However, it is apparent that greater efforts are required by author departments at all duty stations to adhere to and apply uniformly the copyright policy and procedures announced in ST/AI/189/Add.9/Rev.2. It is equally apparent that issues pertaining to the copyright of designs originating within the Organization as well as the copyrightability and possible revisions to the guidelines set out in administrative instruction ST/AI/189/Add.9/Rev.2. The purpose of the present instruction is to extend the experimental period until these issues have been resolved in a further revision to that instruction.

I scraped for both ST/AI/189/Add.9/Rev.2/Add.3 and ST/AI/189/Add.9/Rev.3 and neither exist, so I guess he may be right in that we are still, 20 years later, experiencing the experimental period.

I think that all of life is an experimental period, so it’s good to hear that someone else sees it that way too.

Thursday, January 31st, 2008 at 11:44 am - - UN, Whipping 3 Comments »

Just before new year I was in Berlin for the Chaos Computer Congress. The video-casts of that event are finally coming on-line here, or, if you don’t like that, you can pick from this chaotic list of about a hundred conference recordings, where they don’t tell you which ones work.

I got featured in a podcast by bicyclemark — which I’m not going to listen to because it’s my own voice, which is even more excruciating to me than reading my own writing — that I’m told is not bad. I also showed my site at a lightning talk, which is not on-line. Maybe I have to trawl through the hundred unofficial recordings to find it.

I did see some very good talks at the 24C3, which I can share with you from the list:

Those are the main ones that spring to mind. I might trawl through and list some other that were good, and watch the talks I didn’t mean to miss. Maybe I can go through the videos of the conference next year and not need to go. Howzat for using the internet to reduce travel, rather than as a tool to find yet more travel opportunities you would not otherwise know about.

What we need is to hold a post-ghost conference where you get a bunch of friends for two days and watch all the videos hourly on separate screens according to a strict timetable and discuss what you’re seen while having a beer in between sessions. You sometimes watch the same thing, or different things.

The groups who do the ghost conference before you can thin out the crap so when it’s your turn you get all the best bits only, and all the talks are outstanding. You could arrange to have the speakers on-line at some point during the day through their Skype connections and take questions.

I want to see people arranging conferences as a visual unit. Maybe the talks of the past three chaos conferences could make one kick-ass day long sessions all perfectly programmed on a timetable because you know what they are like now they are recorded on disk. Then we hold it, much like those Star Trek festivals where it’s every episode back-to-back over 40 hours. Same deal, but with conference material. If it’s worth travelling to, it’s worth doing this.

Monday, January 21st, 2008 at 5:13 pm - - UN, Whipping

Our out-of-his-depth Prime Minister, Gordon Brown has hit the news with his support for permanent membership of India on the United Nations Security Council:

Britain is pressing for the Security Council’s five permament members to be increased to include India, Japan, Germany and Brazil, plus an African country. Diplomats refused to say which, for fear of offending the chief contenders: South Africa and Nigeria, both regional powers, and Egypt, which is backed by Arab states. One possibility is a permanent African seat rotating between three or more countries.

Under Mr Brown’s plans, the new members would not initially win veto powers similar to the existing five – the United States, China, Russia, Britain and France. Instead, places on the Security Council would be offered without blocking powers in a first phase, followed by subsequent changes that included veto rights.[1]

The Ambassador from India spoke at length on the subject last November,[2] referring extensively to the book, Surrender is not an Option (Defending America at the United Nations and Abroad), a recently published tome by John Bolton that has had rave reviews from the forces of war.[3]

There are many intelligent things which one can say about the dysfunctional workings of the Security Council, but none were said during those three days of debates.

The first thing to note is that the Security Council is the single body whose resolutions have the force of law regarding war, peace, and international economic sanctions. It is within the treaty obligations of the United Nations that members must respect the Chapter 7 resolutions passed by the Security Council.

Obviously, certain powerful nations with their “manifest destinies” aren’t going to put up with this type of thing, and have negotiated an exception to this rule for themselves. If there is any resolution about to come out of the Security Council which they don’t like, they can strike it out with a unilateral veto. Even if they are in a minority of one, the resolution will not pass, which makes them safe from any ruling. Technically, a nation with this veto power must be on the Council at all times, otherwise the world would merely have to wait until they were rotated off to pass any sanctioning resolutions against them. That is why they are known as “permanent members”.

The veto can also be used to prevent resolutions that “determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression” by an ally of the permanent member. That’s why Israel doesn’t violate very many Security Council resolutions: the United States vetoes them out of existance. Remember that when the next politician proves that Israel is more peaceful than Iran by counting the number UN resolutions against the respective countries. The judge is demonstrably corrupt. A raw count of the disproportionate attacks on neighbouring states gives a better picture. After all, it’s those which draw blood, not the resolutions in condemnation.

We can be pretty clear that had Iran been a permanent member of the Security Council, no resolutions would ever have been held against them. Iran was an ordinary member of the Security Council in 1955-56. In case you’re wondering what democracy has to do with the Security Council, their CIA backed coup d’état against their elected government was in 1953.[4]

The five permanent members of the Security Council are: China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, and the United States.

In the meantime, there is another important component of international law known as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which makes it illegal for all nations in the world, except for five, to develop or possess nuclear weapons. These five nations are: China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, and the United States.

Clearly, as with United Nations Charter, at least one these five nations doesn’t feel it confers any obligations upon it with regard to disarmament.[5] And another openly flouts the letter of the treaty which in Article III (2), says:

Each State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to provide: (a) source or special fissionable material, or (b) equipment or material especially designed or prepared for the processing, use or production of special fissionable material, to any non-nuclear-weapon State for peaceful purposes, unless the source or special fissionable material shall be subject to the safeguards required by this article.

Those safeguards are embodied by the IAEA and the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

And this is where it all comes full circle. The equivalence between the Security Council permanent members and the nuclear states is not an accident. Only three nations did not sign up to the NPT: India, Israel, and Pakistan. (North Korea withdrew in 2003 during the process of its largely irrelevant political narrative.) Israel, for all purposes, already has the representation of a permanent member. Pakistan built their bomb in response to India and is in record that they would disarm immediately once India does so. Which leaves India as the main front for nuclear proliferation. As a government official once explained

No-first-strike’ policy does not mean India will not have a first-strike capability.

So, what’s the conclusion?

I don’t know. I am not a professional journalist with access to politicians and in a position to bring important questions to the public’s attention, but choses not to. Questions like:

(a) Is Security Council permanent membership simply a nuclear club?
(b) Would India be willing to trade its illegal nuclear weapons for its permament seat, or is the world offering it for free?
(c) Why does the world need the UK on the Security Council at all?

Sometimes it’s hard to believe the Cold War actually happened, with all this continuing military build-up and mass threats of nuclear-death. It seems as if the process doesn’t require an terrifying enemy to stimulate this reaction — our dysfunctional political class seems able to prepare for armageddon all by itself. They’re clearly insane.

On the other hand, one wonders what the hell is going on inside the minds of the engineers who are still devoting their lives to putting these bombs together. Are they doing it only for the money? No way can they believe what they’re doing is helping the world. What do they think they’re doing?

Thursday, December 27th, 2007 at 7:21 am - - UN, Weekends, Whipping 2 Comments »

Well, I’m here in Berlin. I’ve put back on line for the duration, in case I meet up with anyone. I don’t know if I will, but you never know.

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007 at 12:32 am - - UN, Whipping 9 Comments »

Sometime after the discovery of the International Year of the Potato, there was a late night vote of 1 to 0 with 0 abstentions to put the project on strike, because nobody loves it.

The UN_document wikipedia template has been diverted to the UN Documentation Centre. The front page links to this blog post. And the full output of the parser, which will still continue to run, remains in this directory.

If there is an objective measure of respect for a website, it can be expressed by the number and quality of links that come into it. Aside from the couple hundred structured wikipedia links which I did myself, now harmlessly disabled, the exhaustive list of links to is as follows:

  • A large handful from my blog and another blog which I write for
  • A spam report page on wikipedia
  • A link most of the way down on the Cambridge University Model United Nations Society research page which doesn’t even work
  • Two [1] [2] references from blogs about Hack Day in June
  • A minor note at the bottom of someone else’s blog post in July
  • One minuscule sentence somewhere lost in a blog posting in September
  • The page for my scheduled talk at Pycon 2007
  • A talk by “net-political troublemaker extraordinaire” Stefan Magdalinski in October where he mentioned the site in detail (I know because I went down to London especially), but where the write-up links to everything else but it
  • A link I put in for BarcampUKGovweb under my own name
  • er…
  • That’s it.

Clearly, in spite of my best efforts (and I’ve left out all the blow-by-blow details), I’ve not got what it takes. And nobody who has what it takes has made themselves available.

This site stays down until further notice, except when I want to look at it, or I want to show it to someone, or I am on my way to barcamp, which I guess is the same thing. I wrote the whole original parser for for no credit, which obviously matured into no social capital of the kind that can be used to influence people. This one is definitely sitting out in an unhappy place.

Feel free to contact me through the comment system on this blog post, or email, which so far has never used.

Messages I do not want to hear include:
(a) “You’re too impatient. You haven’t given this enough time+effort”;
(b) “You’re no good at connecting with people. Try a little more persuading and a little less ranting”;
(c) “You’re being completely unreasonable. You have no right to do this with the work of so many other people.”

Messages I would prefer to hear include:
(a) “It does seem odd and unfair how little has come out of it in six months, even though you have jumped at every opportunity you could think of”;
(b) “You have proven to be far less capable of generating publicity than at programming. I’m pretty good at doing publicity. Maybe there’s stuff I can do which doesn’t involve beginning with a lecture about all the things you’re doing wrong”;
(c) “I can see why you have been driven to go on strike. I thought I was quite interested in the project, but now I realize I have never once put a link to it on my blog or tried to get to know the project better. Frankly, I’m not sure why that is. And if can’t decode exactly why I’ve felt this apathetic, I don’t see why should be able to.”

Anything else remotely productive or encouraging will be gratefully received, although I am primarily looking for tangible offers from people who can convince me they will actually do something. I plan on this lasting at least a couple of months. Maybe a year. Or until I experience a change in mood. But, believe me, if I can get this far on what has basically been zero encouragement, my moods can be pretty stable over long periods.

Friday, November 16th, 2007 at 1:21 pm - - UN

Just when I have no time to spare, I get sucked into the nexus of and Wikipedia, beginning with the Ustica Massacre and riding through the Category of Airliner Bombings, back to
Korean Air Flight 858
which I patched up extensively using some amazing transcripts from the Security Council documenting the North Korean terrorist agent Kim Hyon Hui’s confession. Prior to carrying the bomb on board, she had been shipped through several European cities pretending to be a Japanese tourist, having learnt Japanese while living in North Korea from a woman who had presumably been kidnapped from Japan.

You can’t make this sh*t up. I started the page for the book Shoot the Women First. And now it’s long past lunchtime. I was originally trying push the scraping of UN documents back to 1980 and the Ustica Massacre, but I only got as far as September 1985. I’ll need to come back when they’ve scanned some more, if that’s what they’re doing.

Sunday, October 21st, 2007 at 1:13 pm - - UN, Whipping 1 Comment »

It has been brought to my attention that there is a Terrorism Suppression Amendment Bill going through the New Zealand Parliament.

As usual, there are a few suspicious police raids which are too unsubtly timed to match with the legislative process to work as intended. It’s a lie only if people believe you. And as no one believes it, there are lots of good protests going on.

What of the Bill itself? Well, it’s 90 pages of PDF from which nothing particular emerges except a mishmash of the provisions found in Terrorism Acts of the UK, and some stuff about a new offense of a terrorism using nuclear material.

That’s interesting. The UK Act was more fun because they decided that all the nuclear treaties were not enough, because in 2001 a law was passed which said:

A person who–

    (a) knowingly causes a nuclear weapon explosion;
    (b) develops or produces, or participates in the development or production of, a nuclear weapon;
    (c) has a nuclear weapon in his possession;
    (d) participates in the transfer of a nuclear weapon; or
    (e) engages in military preparations, or in preparations of a military nature, intending to use, or threaten to use, a nuclear weapon,

is guilty of an offence.

Well, I wish. There’s a tonne of exceptions added in later clauses to make it okay for Government agents to do all these sorts of things themselves, unfortunately. I don’t have the time to go on about that, but I take issue with this vote in particular.

Drafting nuclear materials laws is a tricky business because you have to make sure that inevitable accidents due to recklessness cannot be brought to book, whilst peaceful protesters who are attempting to shed light onto that recklessness of even having this material at all, can be prosecuted for getting in the way.

But I haven’t got time to read it.

I did have time to look at the First Reading debate of the Terrorism Bill which took place last March. This was interesting because they made frequent invocations of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1267, about which I am the world wikipedia expert. That all started off because of an action based on that resolution which took place on the streets of Liverpool, as reported in my blog post, which after some curious investigations (I don’t just wait like a vegetable for newspapers to feed me their selection of stories; I follow what’s interesting) has led to the development of the webpage:

New Zealanders should go read up about that Security Council resolution, seeing as it seems to be the foundation on which their Terrorism Act is being built. The UK did not pass a special Act of Parliament to implement it themselves, choosing instead to rely on the authority of their United Nations Act 1946. Ironically, that Act was passed by a generation of politicians who had just been through a World War, and who gave us the fundamentally unambiguous document of Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Read it. It’s quite clear and relevant to this.) What they didn’t realize was that a generation of politicians would emerge 50 years later who were so mendacious that they willing to get out of the basic Human Rights obligations (eg right to Habeas Corpus) by simply declaring against evidence from all five senses that there was, within the shores of Great Britain, a “public emergency threatening the life of the nation” from 13 November 2001 on till 8 April 2005 after Lord Hoffman had observed:

The real threat to the life of the nation, in the sense of a people living in accordance with its traditional laws and political values, comes not from terrorism but from laws such as these.

Essentially, the people who wrote these derogations about suspending due process in in time of an emergency were thinking about World War 2 and bombs raining down from the sky when people might not have the time to go through with convening courts and gathering evidence, and so forth during the heat of the crisis. They didn’t expect Governments to be this lazy and for citizens to be this politically stupified that they could get away with banging innocent people up incommunicado for years on no evidence to show that there was a War on Terror without even so much as needing to go to the effort of staging a show trial in a kangaroo court. It’s that bad.

The UN resolution 1267 operates in the following way. Any government has the right to fax the name of anyone they like to the Al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committee of the Security Council where they will kindly insert the name onto their list.

Well, not just anyone. If you’re dark and Muslim you get onto it straightaway because the stupid white men running the Security Council find it easy to accept a claim that you could be Taliban or Al-Qaida if you are of the right colour. If you don’t look the type, they might require some evidence.

This list gets incorporated into the terrorism sanction lists of the member states where they have laws — like that Terrorism Act in New Zealand — to impose economic sanctions onto the victims.

Now, they think that these economic sanctions are quite a clever device, because to a really stupid nitpicking lawyer it appears not to violate any Human Rights. You see, an offense is created for people other than the targeted person. The target is perfectly in his rights to do anything he could do before, such as go into the bank and ask to withdraw some cash from his bank account. But it would be illegal for the bank teller to give him the money. Got it? So the victim’s rights are not infringed, only the bank’s rights are limited. And since the bank can still hand out money to anyone else whom they choose in the world, their rights are much reduced.

Beautiful, isn’t it? And, of course, after some years it finally got tested in the court which kindly “recognized that freezing of funds constitutes a particularly drastic measure, but adds that that measure does not prevent the individuals concerned from leading a satisfactory personal, family and social life, given the circumstances.”

The circumstances in one of these cases was that the undeniably innocent wife of a terrorist suspect who was in jail at the time was not allowed to withdraw more than ten pounds at a time and was “barred paying for a taxi or bus or for paying for their children to go swimming or to the cinema.”

It’s important to get right down to the specific instances, because otherwise people have the propensity to believe that the Government can be trusted to act reasonably when they are given power without any oversight. These stories matter. If an MP in the Parliament is able to deplore the failure of the New Zealand Government for not doing their bit against terrorism because they don’t designate enough people as terrorists, then it’s not good enough. In the MP’s speech he also named Ahmed Zaoui, possibly with the idea that this was the sort of person who ought to be on the list, for example.

I had a little look on the old wikipedia article about this dude, and a throwaway comment in the discussion page helped me rescue from the memory hole this 2004 article:

Prime Minister Helen Clark admitted yesterday that she could not back up a statement issued by her office, linking asylum seeker Ahmed Zaoui’s former political party with al Qaeda.

The statement was issued over a week ago and its accuracy subsequently challenged by a member of Mr Zaoui’s former party, the FIS (Islamic Front for Salvation).

The statement listed individuals and organisations designated as terrorist entities, following a United Nations Security Council decision to list them.

The designation denies any of those listed entrance to New Zealand.

The UN website which lists terrorist entities does not mention FIS.

Professor George Joffe, a specialist in North African affairs from Cambridge University, said any claim the FIS was linked to al Qaeda was “laughable.”

“There is no evidence that al Qaeda was operating at the time when the FIS existed. In fact, they didn’t exist .

“Secondly, there is no evidence the FIS as a movement espoused or endorsed any of the values that were subsequently associated with al Qaeda.” It was a “quite unnecessary smear.”

“I can’t imagine any Government would willingly inflict upon itself the kind of media damage it seems to be going through.”

It’s the same-old same-old, over and over again! Wherever you look! Had the Government been a little more competent they would have organized for Belgium, Algeria, or even Australia to have forwarded Zaoui’s name along with some fabricated “secret” evidence to the 1267 Committee and got him put onto the list. Then they could have used the power of the Security Council to deport him without being responsible for any justification.

Any Kiwis who want to get involved in doing some wikipedia reported research on the Resolution 1373 which is also part of this mess, please do, because I haven’t got time. I’ll give you all the help I can through the website, which doesn’t have enough users at the moment and needs some activist feedback. The stories have got to get out everywhere. I am tired of these nuts in Government lying and lying and lying because they know how to abuse human nature which makes us instinctively believe authority.