30 January 2010

The Cadbury Question



As is well known by now, Kraft has taken over Cadbury after a four month takeover battle ("The work for Kraft starts after winning Cadbury").

During the four months of this takeover battle we got to hear about the history of Cadbury, the decent way in which the workers were treated by the company, and, in the end; how the takeover would be paid by the workers through job losses.

Which brings us to the Cadbury question ...

why didn't the Cadbury management initiate, organise and prosecute a strike in order to fight off the takeover?

Who would buy a company whose workers are not prepared to work for you?

28 January 2010

One down, two to go

I blogged earlier expressing the argument that the climategate gang should be subject to an open, clear and transparent investigation with a view to prosecuting them for 1) freedom of information offences; 2) misconduct in public office; and, 3) fraud.

See, The Royal Society and The Royal Society of Chemistry v Phil Jones and the poll, Climategate Prosecution?.

The BBC has just reported that, "A university unit involved in a row over stolen e-mails on climate research breached rules by withholding data, the Information Commissioner's Office says.

Officials said messages hacked in November showed that requests under the Freedom of Information Act were "not dealt with as they should have been".

But too much time has passed for action against the University of East Anglia.
"

See, "Climate e-mails row university 'breached data laws' ".

So, I ask again, why aren't the climategate 'scientists' being investigated with a view to prosecuting them?

Two offences (that I can think of) are outstanding. How are the climategate scientists supposed to clear their names in the absence of a court case?

23 January 2010

Election Threat Raised To 'Severe'


The Guardian explains that the terror threat has been raised from substantial to severe by Alan Johnson.

"Johnson said the change was not ­specifically linked to the increased threat from international terrorism following the failed Detroit plane bombing on Christmas Day or to any other incident.

He said the Joint Terrorism ­Analysis Centre (Jtac), a unit within MI5, had taken the ­decision based on a broad range of ­factors, ­including the intent and ­capabilities of international terrorist groups in the UK and overseas.

Johnson said: "We still face a real and serious threat to the UK from ­international terrorism, so I would urge the public to remain vigilant and carry on ­reporting ­suspicious events to the appropriate authorities, and to support the police and security services in their ­continuing efforts to discover, track and disrupt ­terrorist activity."

He said the public should be reassured by the UK's "very adept and very focused counter-terrorism" services.
"

This has got nothing to do with the general election; this has got nothing to do with the forthcoming election campaign.

Yeah, right.

16 January 2010

Throwing Out Your Conscience With Your Credibility

Lord Lucas is working hard in the Lords but appears to have collapsed from exhaustion; Out-Law reports,

"A Conservative peer who had proposed forcing copyright holders to detail the exact damage they suffered when trying to force alleged infringers off the internet will drop the plan. Lord Lucas told OUT-LAW Radio that he would "not pursue" the proposal."

Mmmm ... so we're going to get something similar to the US Copyright Act which gives the right to fine people for loss even though there has been no loss. An example of this nonsense occurred when a downloader was fined US$ 1.92 million.

See, Jammie Dodger.

Pathetic.

Isn't legislation a process of discovery rather than imposition? Shouldn't attempts be made to make legislation lawful other than by force?

And while we're at it ... the Times reports, "Music 'piracy' website founder acquitted of fraud."

"A man accused of running a sophisticated music piracy website used by more than 200,000 members was acquitted of conspiracy to defraud today.

Alan Ellis, 26, was accused of making hundreds of thousands of pounds from the Oink website, which he ran alone from his own bedroom.

But a jury at Teesside Crown Court unanimously cleared the software engineer of the charge.
"

Why was he prosecuted in the first place?

15 January 2010

Come on Myleene

Ever had the feeling that you've been cheated? This time, not by Peaches but by Myleene Class and her operation?

I first heard about it over at the Magistrates Blog who explained that, Nothing Is As It Seems and points to a story in the Guardian.

"Myleene: a hero for these lawless times" which tells the tale of how the media was shamelessly used in order to raise the profile of Myleene.


"There might conceivably be the odd member of a remote Amazon tribe who is still unaware that Myleene saw two teenagers acting suspiciously in the garden of her Hertfordshire home last Thursday night, but such benighted individuals are very much a minority of Earth's population,..."

The Guradian continues ...

"The story, based on quotes from Ms Klass's publicist and interpreted by some national newspapers, does not reflect the events of that night in an accurate way," they [the Hertfordshire police] said. "Ms Klass was treated with respect and sympathy by the police officers who came to her home." The force has since pointed out that no reference was made in the incident report to use of a weapon, countered that the law allows householders the proportionate use of defence to protect themselves and their property, and added that "words of advice were given in relation to ensuring suspicious behaviour is reported immediately".

Why was advice on prompt reporting given? Having bothered to establish the chain of events, Lost in Showbiz discovers that the initial call to police was not placed by Myleene but by a man believed to be her agent or publicist, to whom she was naturally on the phone at the time. Truly, the fourth emergency service. It was one or other of these men who called the Met in London, who then passed the matter on to the Hertfordshire force who attended Myleene's address in the small hours of Friday, by which time she had also been in touch with police. As for the story's appearance in the Sun the very next day, Hertfordshire police state: "We believe the media found out about the incident following a phone call from Ms Klass's publicist to Emma Cox from the Sun."

Alas, despite having given copious quotes and assistance on the story all week, both publicist and agent declined to discuss this yesterday, ...
"

14 January 2010

More on the Icelandic Saga



Max Keiser provides an interview with one of the Icelandic refuseniks just before 10 mins in. (Original link, here).

See Iceland Chills for earlier comments. It is unanticipated events such as this that could bring the house of cards falling down.

Proposed Blacklist Regulation Protects All?

Draft Regulations laid before Parliament under section 3 of the Employment Relations Act 1999, for approval by resolution of each House of Parliament.

Draft Statutory Instruments

2010 No. 0000

Terms And Conditions Of Employment

The Employment Relations Act 1999 (Blacklists) Regulations 2010



Appears to only protect trade unionists with the general prohibition providing ...

3.—(1) Subject to regulation 4, no person shall compile, use, sell or supply a prohibited list.

(2) A “prohibited list” is a list which—

(a) contains details of persons who are or have been members of trade unions or persons who are taking part or have taken part in the activities of trade unions, and

(b) is compiled with a view to being used by employers or employment agencies for the purposes of discrimination in relation to recruitment or in relation to the treatment of workers.

(3) “Discrimination” means treating a person less favourably than another on grounds of trade union membership or trade union activities.

(4) In these Regulations references to membership of a trade union include references to—

(a) membership of a particular branch or section of a trade union, and

(b) membership of one of a number of particular branches or sections of a trade union;

and references to taking part in the activities of a trade union have a corresponding meaning.




So, if you are a tradeunionist ... sorted. You have some protection under the law.

But isn't this discriminatory? I'd say so.

I wonder if it would be possible to use The Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 (No. 1660) in order to extend the powers of the proposed blacklist statutory instrument?

Mmmmm. Still thinking.

... and thinking. No.

15th Feb 2010. Upon receiving the comment from 'Blacklist' I did some googling and found the following post "blacklisting hearings part deux: legislation delayed" which fills in some details. Thanks again for the comment.

12 January 2010

Where's the Posse?

Will Lord Alton of Liverpool get up a posse of Parliamentarians to de-proscribe,

"Extremist Islamist groups to be banned under new terror laws"?

"The Islamist group Islam4UK, which planned a march through Wootton Bassett, and its "parent" organisation, al-Muhajiroun, are to be banned under new legislation outlawing the "glorification" of terrorism."

I have written before (To Proscribe Or Not To Proscribe) about proscription. Lord Alton of Liverpool and others challenged the proscribing of People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran ... and won.

I wonder whether or not it will be possible for this gov to 'ban' (under section 21 of the Terrorism Act 2006) or maintain this 'ban'.

I look forward with interest to the legal challenge against the Home Secretary.

Lights which dazzle

The Telegraph reports a "New law bans shining laser beams at aircraft."

"The new regulation makes shining a light or laser at a plane a specific offence and its introduction comes after a growing number of incidents near British airports."

Article 222 of The Air Navigation Order 2009 (No. 3015) provides,

"A person must not in the United Kingdom direct or shine any light at any aircraft in flight so as to dazzle or distract the pilot of the aircraft."

The penalty for which is found in part B of schedule 13 where article 241(6) provides,

"Any person who contravenes any provision specified in Part B of Schedule 13 is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 4 [£2,500] on the standard scale."

Anyway ... all very interesting.

The point I want to make is ... if mad terrorists can bring Heathrow airport night flights to its knees with a £20 laser pen ... why bother making any explosives? Why bother trying to blow up the aircraft in flight?

All very puzzling.

Ever had the feeling that you've been cheated?

Peaches Geldof wins damages over prostitute claims, according to the BBC.

I don't know about you, but to me, this story stinks.

"Peaches Geldof, daughter of Bob Geldof, has accepted substantial, undisclosed libel damages over a newspaper claim that she had worked as a prostitute."

I can't believe that a newspaper would make such a stupid mistake. I can't believe that the newspaper would have any interest in defaming the protagonist.

I wonder what will happen to the undisclosed damages?

Part payment for raising the protagonist's profile, perhaps?

Price Discrimination

"What is price discrimination?

Price discrimination or yield management occurs when a firm charges a different price to different groups of consumers for an identical good or service, for reasons not associated with costs.
"

What happens if a company charges a different price for the same product but with a different label? This is an example of price discrimination, we see it all of the time.

In the pharmaceutical industry this is seen with generic drugs. The price of something is what you're prepared to pay for it: while the something, the product isn't only the product but the packaging and advertising associated with it.

Price discrimination describes the process of getting a greater penetration of the market and hence a greater profit for your product. This is done by discriminating the same product from itself by altering the packaging of the product, advertising the product in different ways and placing it in different retail outlet environments. By this process the price of something like aspirin can vary hugely; the difference in price reflecting the market that the product is satisfying.

All very interesting.

What happens when you have a product that is patent protected?

You can't differentiate between different aspects of the same product, as is done in generics, because everyone knows that there is only one supplier of the patent protected product. Because it is patent protected.

This leaves a huge untapped market. There is a large group of people who have a need, when talking about pharmaceuticals this is usually a desperate need, for the product but they have insufficient money. How do you tap into this market?

Why not counterfeit your own product?

How do you do this? Well, see above for generics. By having different, 1) labels (ie, get a 'not quite right label'); 2) retail outlets (ie, sell it on the internet); and, 3) advertising. Get some people arrested for counterfeiting your product - this leads to lots of publicity.

The above is a reflection of my thinking that led to the comment I made on pharmalot today ...

Sanofi-Aventis Cuts Prices In Southeast Asia

The drugmaker hopes to eventually boost sales and profits of various meds in the region ..”

I wonder if they will re-import some of these drugs back to the West as counterfeit products?

In this manner they can take advantage of the process of price discrimination and participate in a part of the market that they ordinarily wouldn’t be able to access."


Awaiting a reply from the EU Commission as to whether or not they are investigating this phenomenon.

14th March 2010. The EU (that is the Commission courtesy of Phil Lewis, p2) replied, "... the Commission is not empowered to investigate companies' or rights owner's use of their intellectual property rights."

In other words, no.

Meanwhile, Outlaw informs us that, "[t]he European Parliament has threatened to take the European Commission to the EU's highest court if it does not disclose the details of a secret international copyright treaty.

The Parliament has voted by an overwhelming majority to adopt a resolution demanding that the Commission limit the scope of the proposed treaty and inform it of its contents immediately.

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is a deal being negotiated by governments around the world outside of the confines of existing trade bodies such as the World Trade Organisation or the World Intellectual Property Organisation. The Commission is negotiating on behalf of the EU's 27 member states.

Secrecy has surrounded the two-year negotiations from the start and critics have alleged that figures from copyright-reliant industries such as music and film have been allowed to see more of the proposals than the citizens of the governments involved.
"

Silence

Back in April I was astounded to read the scientific paper,
Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe pp.7-31 (25) Authors: Niels H. Harrit, Jeffrey Farrer, Steven E. Jones, Kevin R. Ryan, Frank M. Legge, Daniel Farnsworth, Gregg Roberts, James R. Gourley, Bradley R. Larsen.

doi: 10.2174/1874412500902010007.

I made a short post about it (Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe); simply drawing it to the attention of the very few people who may happen to stumble across the blog.

At the end of the post I expressed the opinion that it would be interesting to see how this work would be received.

I suppose I've got my answer.

Silence.

As far as I can tell the paper has been ignored.

I don't know what to say ... evidence supporting one of the many competing hypotheses surrounding a catastrophic event simply ... ignored.

Anyway, if you want to make some of your own nano-thermite, reference 19 from the paper leads to,

Making Nanostructured Pyrotechnics In A Beaker by A E Gash, R L Simpson, T M Tillotson, J H Satcher, and L W Hrubesh. However, in order to make sufficient quantities to destroy a building, plant and equipment would be required (perhaps along the lines of ...).
Update 5th March 2011. The nanothermite paper has been destroyed by Prof D Rancourt. For details see Editor in Chief resigned over the Harrit et al. nanothermite paper

11 January 2010

Pay Off: technique number 208

We all know that if you need to pay off the labour unions you go to Vegas and gamble away the money, which gets passed on.

Craig Murray tells us that he "think[s] there needs to be an investigation into the practice by publishers of paying massive advances to politicians, which they know will never be recouped. That is, its another pay-off technique.

Now we have, "News International admits payout to phone-hacker was for unfair dismissal."

"News International has admitted it was forced to hand former News of the World journalist and convicted phone-hacker Clive Goodman a generous payoff because it failed to follow statutory procedures."

Was it really forced or were the statutory procedures simply not followed?

"Glenn Mulcaire, a private investigator who worked for the paper, received a six-month jail sentence. He also received a pay-off from News International after his lawyers began employment tribunal proceedings."

These pay-offs are quite impressive.

Whoever is currently working for News International under similar circumstances will certainly get the impression that they'll be 'looked after' if they come a cropper.

Along the line of honour amongst thieves, this behaviour is quite reputable.

At least nobody got killed.

09 January 2010

Fitts Fights Vampyric Squid

Interesting post from CAF (Catherine Austen Fitts) in her round up of 2009 in, "2009: The Year of the Great Vampire Squid".

If you take the time to read it, make sure you have a look at the link to the James Goldsmith interview ...


... from here

07 January 2010

Designer Opiates ..?

Interesting paper,
DOI: 10.1021/jm901503e

discusses a series of compounds that were synthesised and tested for activity against the opioid receptors.

Expect to see these compounds in a cut near you! There's no excuse not to expect more from your high.

For an insight into the increasing sophistication of the techniques around those supplying drugs of abuse consider, World-wide cocaine cut mystery: from Mindhacks where the authors says,

"The fact that this relatively obscure compound [levamisole] has become so common in the global cocaine industry might suggest that it was selected on the basis of its pharmacological properties.

In other words, on the basis of the study of neuroscience. One study reported that professional heroin cutters can charge up to $20,000 a kilo and I wouldn't be surprised whether the big players in the cocaine industry can afford to pay for neuroscientists or pharmacologists to tweak their products.
"

06 January 2010

The History of Disconnections

Curly Arrow blog writes about the history of curly arrows explaining that they were the idea of Robert Robinson.

Something else invented by Robinson was the disconnection approach made famous by Stuart Warren's book of the same name.



The disconnection approach is an intellectual strategy designed to help chemists design a synthesis of a molecule. An approach that I've used many many times in order to synthesise new molecules. Astounding to think that Robinson published these ideas almost one hundred years ago (1917 sadly, pay per view) and called his disconnections, imaginary hydrolysis.

Israelis Guilty of War Crimes?

It appears that the UK gov thinks that some Israelis are guilty of War Crimes and will not be able to acquit themselves of these charges in court. Rather than giving the opportunity for the Israelis to take on all comers and clear their names, the Guardian explains, "British government will fight legal attempts to indict Israeli leaders in UK".

So frightened are the UK gov that one of the Israelis will be found guilty of War Crimes that,

"The government is determined to protect high-ranking Israeli officials from arrest in the UK, the attorney general said, as it emerged that a further visit by the Israeli military had been cancelled."

It isn't clear exaclty how this will be done. It is thought that a safe haven for some accused war criminals will be created in the UK. This will be done by stripping power from those who want to hunt down war criminals in the UK by stopping universal jurisdiction - "the principle in international law whereby states claim criminal jurisdiction over persons whose alleged crimes were committed outside the boundaries of the prosecuting state, regardless of nationality, country of residence, or any other relation with the prosecuting country" in the UK.

Or if not stopping this doctrine completely, preventing all and sundry; in other words, the victims, from using it.

Whatever happened to ... if you've got nothing to hide?

Another report from the Times explains,

"The power for a private individual to seek an arrest warrant from a British court for a foreign national they wish to prosecute is an unusual but not unique quirk of English law. The ability, which derives from the Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980, is also available in varying forms in the Netherlands, Spain, the Czech Republic and New Zealand.

....

The process requires the individual to provide a specialist district judge with admissible evidence that a crime has been committed by the suspect. Despite suggestions that warrants have been granted solely on the basis of newspaper articles about the accused, lawyers insist that the evidential burden remains high. Admissible evidence typically means presenting a witness of the alleged crimes who is willing and able to be cross-examined at trial.

...

Change has been mooted before but lawyers say the most likely option is that the Attorney-General will be given a veto on the arrests of certain categories of individuals.
"

Obviously the veto will be exercised along the lines of, if they have committed War Crimes and we like them the application will be subject to veto; if they have committed War Crimes and we don't like them - no veto.

Iceland Chills

The story from Iceland is interesting; the Guardian explains in, "Iceland president vetoes collapsed Icesave Bank's bill to UK" that,

"Iceland was plunged back into crisis after its president refused to sign a bill promising to repay [eh? repay??? somewhat biased article here, anyway ...] more than €3.8bn (£3.4bn) to Britain and the Netherlands after the collapse of the country's Icesave bank in 2008."

But why should the Icelandic taxpayer be on the hook for this debt? It doesn't have anything to do with them. In the comments section of a closely related story from the Times,

" R. Gunnarsson wrote:
....

Another point: Icesave money was not being handed out to Icelanders like candy at Christmas time. Much of it was directed into misguided business ventures in England. The Icelandic bankers and their friends had a habit of buying UK businesses at ridiculously inflated prices, in many cases from british owners. They used the banks to finance these ventures, and when money became scarce they offered higher interest rates to lure in more deposits. Most of the Icesave money therefore never really left England but ended up in the pockets of british businessmen.

The idea that it is now time for the common Icelander to "shut up and cough up" shows a complete lack of understanding of the facts.
"

Bear in mind that this is the sort of thing that could lead to a UK debt default which is becoming increasingly likely.

At least the Icelandic President, Olafur Grimsson, is not behaving in the same manner as Siad Barre. Instead of using force to collect a debt imposed upon the Icelanders, he's giving them a choice as to whether or not they want to pay.

It's very disturbing that the UK gov expect the Icelandic gov to treat the Icelandic people as chattel and are quite willing to abuse the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 (c.24).

What scum.

03 January 2010

How to throw a case, example 82

  1. Build your case on inadmissible evidence

The Guardian reports some fallout from the collapse of a court case in, "Iraq threatens action after Blackwater case collapses."

"Iraqi officials and relatives of 17 Iraqis who were killed in a crowded Baghdad square in September 2007 in an allegedly unprovoked shooting spree by Blackwater private security guards reacted with fury today to the decision by a US federal judge to dismiss all charges against five of the guards."

Whilst the New York Times explains that, "U.S. Lawyers Knew About Legal Pitfalls in Blackwater Case".

"WASHINGTON — The sudden blow to the case against the former Blackwater security guards over a shooting that killed 17 Iraqis and wounded at least 20 may have come as a surprise to the public in Iraq and the United States, but the legal problem that the judge cited Thursday when he threw out the indictments was obvious to American government lawyers within days of the shooting."

The judgment is here, US v Paul A Slough et al for closer scrutiny.