Live from Brussels

Musings from a bored analyst/project-manager.
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Friday, February 06, 2004
This Made My Stomach Turn Nobody Cares About the Norks?. I'm going to look for an e-mail address at our Foreign Ministry to send this to. I suggest you do the same.

Update: seems to be the contact address at their site. Any other Belgians willing to send in something?

Thursday, February 05, 2004
Temporary Message

For the remainder of the Instalanche this site is currently under, I've put up a temporary message at the top of this site. I'd appreciate your help if you have a blog too...
Update: message removed.

Wir haben es nicht gewu?t... Again?

Here is a thought-provoking article about the concentration camps of North Korea: Auschwitz Under Our Noses ( It asks questions about the reliability of the stories that got out (they were reported by the BBC, after all) and wonders if this data is enough to warrant some action now. It also says that fifty years from now, if the truth comes out by then and it turns out to have been as bad as it seems now, nobody can claim they didn't know at the time...

The Shortest Fisking Ever

Bloggerheads 'responds' to my pointing out the facts regarding their claim that my graphic was libel. Here is their answer, in full:
Hm. I think I can safely ignore this twaddle. Oh, here we are! Oh, that is nice...
I shall now proceed to Fisk it: whatever...

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Reuters has some good news from the Sci-fi front: Galactica is coming back!

Look Who's Accusing Me...

I found this gem by somebody identifying him/herself only as 'Trans Sub' in my comments:
Interestingly, even the first sentence is libellous. The Hutton report does not conclude that the BBC lied. It concludes that the BBC was wrong to report what Hutton suggests was David Kelly's lie.

So, surely the box should read "Dr. Kelly lied - Dr. Kelly died", and should merely evidence this government's commitment to bringing capital punishment back is as unobtrusive a way as possible.

Now let's have a look at what the Hutton report actually says:
291. (1) The allegations reported by Mr Gilligan on the BBC Today programme on 29 May 2003 that the Government probably knew that the 45 minutes claim was wrong or questionable before the dossier was published and that it was not inserted in the first draft of the dossier because it only came from one source and the intelligence agencies did not really believe it was necessarily true, were unfounded.
Reporting "unfounded allegations"? Sounds like lying to me, no?

Meanwhile, over at Bloggerheads, they've put up this:

Since both statements in my graphic are factually correct and no causation is implied, I'm pretty confident there is no libel going on here. But it is interesting to note that the 'champions' of the 'believable BBC' seem use a very tabloid-like graphic to try and discredit their opponents. They are not claiming it *is* libel, but that it *might* be.

For people defending 'independent' and 'quality' reporting, they sure seem to have a lot to learn yet...

Tuesday, February 03, 2004
Cookie Lies

I had more or less suspected it when I first saw it, but PHOTON COURIER has the confirmation: the cookie budget Flash animation is fiddling the numbers, badly...
The animation makes it appear that the U.S.A. spends massively more on defense than on education. This is true at the federal level, but most of the education budget is located at the state level. In fact, the total education budged is massively bigger than the defense budget. So even if the suggestions in the animation are followed (take a few tens of billions of dollars away from defense and give them to education), it would still only be an increase of a measly few percent instead of the whopping big one the animation makes it to appear.
I guess this refutation won't be spread far and wide in the blogosphere, certainly not here in Europe, where most critics of the U.S.A. are only vaguely or not at all aware that the U.S.A. consists of multiple states each with their own budget...

BBC Update

Well, the mysterious 'Manic' at the I Believe In The BBC page has updated his site with the following bit of text, way down at the bottom:

And now, in the interests of remaining 'fair and balanced', some opposing views prompted by BrusselsBlog (UPDATE - now blogged by Instapundit) who gets down to the 'heart' of the issue with a 'BBC lied, Kelly Died' graphic and makes his case as follows: 'Why did I do it? In the entire article behind the first graphic, there is not a word about the death of Dr. Kelly or the sloppy reporting by Andrew Gilligan.'
Clue boy? Look up. My reference to it may have passed you by, but it gets a passing mention from others as well. Hope that's enough for you. Cheers.

Well, this "boy" obviously missed the mention of Andrew Gilligan's reporting or Dr. Kelly's death because they are simply not there. Noting that "Lord Hutton has ruled that one aspect of it was flawed in one instance." is hardly a real reference, is it? It might just as well mean that some cleaning lady forgot to sweep some corridors at the beeb occasionally, or that one or two typos slipped by the editors now and then.

Saying that the people who commented at the site made the reference is just a pathetic excuse, in my opinion, and certainly not "enough for me". But what do I know, I'm just "the voice of the opposition" that is "rearing it's head" (quotes from, no permalink available).

For your enjoyment, here is the text that I failed to detect the references in:

I Believe In The BBC
January 29, 2004

BBC Chairman Gavyn Davies has resigned, as has BBC Director General Greg Dyke. Rest assured that this won't be enough for some people. As hard as it may be to believe, there are already people calling for the complete dismantling of the British Broadcasting Corporation because Lord Hutton has ruled that one aspect of it was flawed in one instance. (We all await with bated breath the announcement that the team from Blue Peter presented the Iraq conflict with a pronounced anti-war bias by not showing the kiddies how to build their own Mark 77 firebombs with some kerosene, a few pipe cleaners and an empty detergent bottle.)

The man who is sure to lead the angry mob will be the media magnate Rupert Murdoch. He has made no secret of his hatred for the BBC, and his plans for the void its absence, under-funding or effective castration would create should be obvious.

Through his newspaper The Times and 'news' paper The Sun, Murdoch's minions will no doubt reach millions with a barrage of negative messages intended to bring about the under-funding, over-regulation or complete destruction of a the most vital public institution in this country.

The BBC not only serves to inform us, educate us and entertain us; by its very existence it also serves to protect us from a level of commercial saturation that would destroy much of what we currently take for granted. If you've ever watched television anywhere else in the world, you'll know what I'm talking about...

In the face of what is sure to be a bitter and concerted attack (no doubt including claims of bias from people with a very clear agenda of their own), I'm proposing a simple show of solidarity and support that is also meant to spread valuable information to those who may not know exactly who is behind this attack and what their motives are.

Can you spot the place where Gilligan or Dr. Kelly are mentioned? I certainly can't!

Some advice to 'Manic': if you 'want to believe' the BBC, stop ranting and raving about Rupert Murdoch and quit babbling about 'Mark 77 firebombs'. Instead, ask yourself how the BBC can restore its reputation for quality reporting: what changes are needed at the beeb? How can the public be reassured they can trust their reporters? How can we keep them honest?

Not by blindly believing them, if you ask me, but by exposing them when they lie. Like this:

The BBC Lied, Dr. Kelly Died

Graphics & Stuff...

In reaction to this:
Click here to find out why.

I have created this:
The BBC Lied, Dr. Kelly Died

Why did I do it? In the entire article behind the first graphic, there is not a word about the death of Dr. Kelly or the sloppy reporting by Andrew Gilligan. It's all ranting and raving about the evil Rupert Murdoch and the commercialization of the media. Like much of the reporting being done on the Hutton report, it seems to completely ignore the central issues of the case, namely sloppy reporting and the death of Dr. Kelly.

If you want to put the button on your site, just copy/paste this code:

<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" width="90" height="90" border="0" alt="The BBC Lied, Dr. Kelly Died"></a>

Monday, February 02, 2004
An Interesting Experiment...

In the past month my old college town (Antwerp) has seen a string of armed robberies, at a rate of about one per day: supermarkets, fast-food restaurants, etc... have all been victims.
Two solutions have been proposed:
  • UNIZO, an organization grouping entrepreneurs, said that the only people who can and should do something about armed violence is the state. The police should do more.
  • Colruyt, a chain of supermarkets, has hired armed guards.
    Let's see which enterprises get robbed most in the coming weeks...

    We Probably Won't Be Doing This...

    As some of my regular readers know, my wife and I are expecting our first child somewhere in April. We have already drawn up a shortlist of possible names, but we probably won't do this: - Engineering geek names son version 2.0 - Feb. 1, 2004

    Silly Schooteachers...

    For a nice example of what's wrong with some teachers today, check the blog of Cecile Dubois (hat tip: Samizdata).