Archive for February, 2011

Saif Gaddafi: There’s more!

Monday, February 28th, 2011

This one took ten minutes (much quicker than last time). Gaddafi’s thesis has taken a section from a paper by Joe Painter, Head of the Geography Department at Durham. A presented version of the paper is available through Google Docs here. No citation to Painter in this section, though the dissertation does have a footnote to one of Painter’s sources.

“In sum, the old belief in congruence between national identity, territoriality, statehood and citizenship in the European Union is being challenged and undermined in three related ways. First, the supremacy of nation-states as institutions of governance is being eroded. Governance in Europe is becoming increasingly polycentric and multi-levelled. This involves the emergence of overlapping spheres of political authority at several spatial levels—local, regional, national and European.” (Gaddafi, p. 274)

“At the turn of the twenty-first century, the idea that there is or should be a congruence between national identity, territoriality, statehood and citizenship is being challenged and undermined in three related ways. First, the pre-eminence of nation-states as institutions of governance is being eroded . . . Governance in Europe is increasingly polycentric and multi-layered. For Anderson (1996) this involves the emergence of overlapping spheres of political authority at several spatial scales (local, regional, national and European). (Painter, p. 5)

“Second, in many parts of the world, state-based national identities are being challenged by regionalist or minority nationalist interests, undermining the alignment of identity and nation-state. Successful mobilisation behind regionalist goals can intensify the rate of reconfiguration of both governance and identity. Third, international migration has increased cultural diversity. Members of diasporas may form distinct regional populations, such as Russians in North-East Estonia, or they may be dispersed more evenly. Both situations will undermine the link between citizenship and national identity. In Estonia, Russians are even denied formal citizenship on grounds of ethnicity.” (Gaddafi, pp. 274-5)

“Second, in many parts of Europe state-based national identities are challenged by regionalist or minority nationalist identities. These challenges undermine the fit between identity and nation-state. In addition successful mobilisation behind regionalist goals can lead to increased political autonomy or secession, intensifying the restructuring of governance and potentially reconfiguring both the rights-based and the identity-based aspects of citizenship. . . . Third, international migration has increased cultural diversity. In some cases members of diasporas form distinct regional populations, such as the Russians in north-east Estonia (Smith and Wilson 1997). In other cases they may be dispersed more evenly. Both situations undermine the link between citizenship and national identity. In Estonia, Russians are denied even formal citizenship, on grounds of ethnicity.” (Painter, p. 5)

Saif Gaddadi, Ph.D, and the London School of Economics

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

UPDATE: There’s more!

UPDATE: There’s a wiki listing other instances of plagiarism in the dissertation, none of which (at writing) overlap with mine):

The London School of Economics has come in for well-deserved heat (for example, here, here, here, here, here, and here) for its consorting with the Gaddafi clan, awarding Muammar’s son Saif a doctorate and getting back a multi-million dollar donation (though the check seems to have been delayed in the mail, only part of the funds having been received and actually spent).

Unseemly, certainly, but what if Said did the work and earned his Ph.D fair and square? Saif promised in his dissertation that “I certify that the thesis I have presented for examination for the MPhil/PhD degree of the London School of Economics and Political Science is solely my own work other than where I have clearly indicated that it is the work of others.” His examiner Lord Desai declared “I grilled him for two hours on it — there was no suggestion he hadn’t written it himself.”

Oops. I spent an hour on google and found big chunks of plagiarized material, evidently not caught by the academics whom Saif thanks in his dissertation: Nancy Cartwright, David Held, Alex Voorhoeve, and Joseph Nye.

Compared to turning combat aircraft on crowds of civilians, cutting corners on your dissertation is small beer. But it does raise important questions about what happens to scholarly standards when big piles of money are involved. You can see Saif Gaddafi’s dissertation here.

The first set of suspicious passages I found came from a report by Tony Hill on UN cooperation with non-governmental organizations, available for download as a link on this page.

“Partly in response to the experience of NGO participation at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, a working group was established by ECOSOC in 1993 to begin a review and evaluation of relations with civil society, leading three years later to the adoption of Resolution 1996/31 as the formal, legal framework for UN-NGO relations.” (Gaddafi, p. 82)

“In 1993, partly in response to the experience of NGO participation in the Rio
Conference of 1992, a working group established by ECOSOC began a review
and evaluation of relations with NGOs and Civil Society, leading three years later to the adoption of Resolution 1996/31 as the formal, legal framework for UN-
NGO relations.” (Hill, p. 2)

“Resolution 1996/31 replaced Resolution 1296 of 1968, and advanced on it by explicitly opening up UN consultative status to national, regional and sub-regional NGOs . . . .” (Gaddafi, p. 82)

“Resolution 1996/31 replaced Resolution 1296 (XLIV) of 1968 and
advanced on it by explicitly opening up UN consultative status to national NGOs . . .” (Hill, p. 2)

“The years following the adoption of Resolution 1996/31 have seen enormous growth in numbers of NGOs (many of them national) applying for consultative status, with the number of those acquiring it growing from 744 in 1992 to 2,350 in 2003. A growing backlog of applications (over 800, as of 2003) is waiting for review by ECOSOC’s committee on NGOs. (Gaddafi, p. 82)

“Over the seven years since 1996 there has been an exponential growth of NGOs, many of them national NGOs, applying for consultative status, with the number of those acquiring it growing from 744 in 1992 to 2,350 in 2003 with, today, a growing backlog of applications waiting for review by ECOSOC’s Committee on NGOs.” (Hill, p. 2)

I also found big chunks of material from the WTO’s website explaining how the organization works dumped wholesale into Gaddafy’s Appendix 3. Gaddafi has a footnote (# 546) saying he’s drawing information from the WTO website–that doesn’t do justice to what he’s in fact done.

“The WTO is ‘member-driven’: it is run by its member governments and all major decisions are made by the membership as a whole, either by ministers (who meet at least once every two years) or by their ambassadors or delegates (who meet regularly in Geneva). . . .” (Gaddafi, p. 396)

“The WTO is run by its member governments. All major decisions are made by the membership as a whole, either by ministers (who meet at least once every two years) or by their ambassadors or delegates (who meet regularly in Geneva).” (WTO)

“Topmost is the Ministerial Conference, which is the supreme body of the WTO, composed of representatives of all members, with the authority to carry out the functions of the WTO, take the actions necessary to this effect, and take decisions on matters under any of the Multilateral Trade Agreements . . . .” (Gaddafi, p. 396)

“Topmost is the ministerial conference which has to meet at least once every two years. The Ministerial Conference can take decisions on all matters under any of the multilateral trade agreements.” (WTO)

“Six other bodies report to the General Council. Their scope is smaller, so they are merely ‘committees’, but they still consist of all WTO members. They cover issues such as trade and development, the environment, regional trading arrangements, and administrative issues.” (Gaddafi, p. 398)

“Six other bodies report to the General Council. The scope of their coverage is smaller, so they are “committees”. But they still consist of all WTO members. They cover issues such as trade and development, the environment, regional trading arrangements, and administrative issues.” (WTO)

“The Singapore Ministerial Conference in December 1996 decided to create new working groups to look at investment and competition policy, transparency in government procurement, and trade facilitation.” (Gaddafi, p. 399)

“The Singapore Ministerial Conference in December 1996 decided to create new working groups to look at investment and competition policy, transparency in government procurement, and trade facilitation.” (WTO)

“Two more subsidiary bodies dealing with the plurilateral agreements (which are not signed by all WTO members) keep the General Council informed of their activities regularly.” (Gaddafi, p. 399)

“Two more subsidiary bodies dealing with the plurilateral agreements (which are not signed by all WTO members) keep the General Council informed of their activities regularly.” (WTO)

“Each of the higher level councils has subsidiary bodies. The Goods Council has eleven committees dealing with specific subjects (market access, agriculture, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barriers to trade, subsidies and countervailing measures, anti-dumping measures, customs valuation, rules of origin, import licensing, trade-related investment measures, and safeguards). Again, these consist of all member countries. Also reporting to the Goods Council is the Textiles Monitoring Body, which consists of a chairman and ten members acting in their personal capacities, and groups dealing with notifications (governments informing the WTO about current and new policies or measures) and state trading enterprises.” (Gaddafi, p. 399)

“Each of the higher level councils has subsidiary bodies. The Goods Council has 11 committees dealing with specific subjects (such as agriculture, market access, subsidies, anti-dumping measures and so on). Again, these consist of all member countries. Also reporting to the Goods Council is the Textiles Monitoring Body, which consists of a chairman and 10 members acting in their personal capacities, and groups dealing with notifications (governments informing the WTO about current and new policies or measures) and state trading enterprises.” (WTO)

“The Services Council’s subsidiary bodies deal with financial services, domestic regulations, GATS rules and specific commitments.” (Gaddafi, p. 399)

“The Services Council’s subsidiary bodies deal with financial services, domestic regulations, GATS rules and specific commitments.” (WTO)

“At the General Council level, the Dispute Settlement Body also has two subsidiaries: the dispute settlement ‘panels’ of experts appointed to adjudicate on unresolved disputes, and the Appellate Body that deals with appeals.” (Gaddafi, p. 399)

“At the General Council level, the Dispute Settlement Body also has two subsidiaries: the dispute settlement “panels” of experts appointed to adjudicate on unresolved disputes, and the Appellate Body that deals with appeals.” (WTO)

“Important breakthroughs are rarely made in formal meetings of these bodies, least of all in the higher-level councils. Since decisions are made by consensus, without voting, informal consultations within the WTO play a vital role in bringing a vastly diverse membership to an agreement.” (Gaddafi, p. 400)

“Important breakthroughs are rarely made in formal meetings of these bodies, least of all in the higher level councils. Since decisions are made by consensus, without voting, informal consultations within the WTO play a vital role in bringing a vastly diverse membership round to an agreement.” (WTO)

“One step away from the formal meetings are informal meetings that still include the full membership, such as those of the Heads of Delegations (HOD). More difficult issues have to be thrashed out in smaller groups. A common recent practice is for the chairperson of a negotiating group to attempt to forge a compromise by holding consultations with delegations individually, in twos or threes, or in groups of 20-30 of the most interested delegations.” (Gaddafi, p. 400)

“One step away from the formal meetings are informal meetings that still include the full membership, such as those of the Heads of Delegations (HOD). More difficult issues have to be thrashed out in smaller groups. A common recent practice is for the chairperson of a negotiating group to attempt to forge a compromise by holding consultations with delegations individually, in twos or threes, or in groups of 20-30 of the most interested delegations.” (WTO)

“These smaller meetings have to be handled sensitively. It is necessary to ensure that everyone is kept informed about what is going on (the process must be ‘transparent’) even if they are not in a particular consultation or meeting, and that they have an opportunity to participate or provide input (the process must be ‘inclusive’).” (Gaddafi, p. 400)

“These smaller meetings have to be handled sensitively. The key is to ensure that everyone is kept informed about what is going on (the process must be “transparent”) even if they are not in a particular consultation or meeting, and that they have an opportunity to participate or provide input (it must be “inclusive”).” (WTO)

“One term has become controversial, but more among some outside observers than among delegations. The ‘Green Room’ is a phrase taken from the informal name of the director-general’s conference room. It is used to refer to meetings of 20–40 delegations, usually at the level of heads of delegations. These meetings can take place elsewhere, such as at Ministerial Conferences, and can be called by the minister chairing the conference as well as the director-general. Similar smaller-group consultations can be organised by the chairs of committees negotiating individual subjects, although the term Green Room is not usually used for these.” (Gaddafi, p. 400)

“One term has become controversial, but more among some outside observers than among delegations. The “Green Room” is a phrase taken from the informal name of the director-general’s conference room. It is used to refer to meetings of 20–40 delegations, usually at the level of heads of delegations. These meetings can take place elsewhere, such as at Ministerial Conferences, and can be called by the minister chairing the conference as well as the director-general. Similar smaller group consultations can be organized by the chairs of committees negotiating individual subjects, although the term Green Room is not usually used for these.” (WTO)

“In the past delegations have sometimes felt that Green Room meetings could lead to compromises being struck behind their backs, so extra efforts are made to ensure that the process is handled correctly, with regular reports back to the full membership.” (Gaddafi, p. 401)

“In the past delegations have sometimes felt that Green Room meetings could lead to compromises being struck behind their backs. So, extra efforts are made to ensure that the process is handled correctly, with regular reports back to the full membership.” (WTO)

“The way countries now negotiate has helped somewhat. In order to increase their bargaining power, countries have formed coalitions. In some subjects such as agriculture virtually all countries are members of at least one coalition—and in many cases, several coalitions. This means that all countries can be represented in the process if the coordinators and other key players are present. The coordinators also take responsibility for both ‘transparency’ and ‘inclusiveness’ by keeping their coalitions informed and by taking the positions negotiated within their alliances.” (Gaddafi, p. 401)

“The way countries now negotiate has helped somewhat. In order to increase their bargaining power, countries have formed coalitions. In some subjects such as agriculture virtually all countries are members of at least one coalition — and in many cases, several coalitions. This means that all countries can be represented in the process if the coordinators and other key players are present. The coordinators also take responsibility for both “transparency” and “inclusiveness” by keeping their coalitions informed and by taking the positions negotiated within their alliances.” (WTO)

“In the end, decisions have to be taken by all members and by consensus. The membership as a whole would resist attempts to impose the will of a small group. No one has been able to find an alternative way of achieving consensus on difficult issues, because it is virtually impossible for members to change their positions voluntarily in meetings of the full membership.” (Gaddafi, p. 401)

“In the end, decisions have to be taken by all members and by consensus. The membership as a whole would resist attempts to impose the will of a small group. No one has been able to find an alternative way of achieving consensus on difficult issues, because it is virtually impossible for members to change their positions voluntarily in meetings of the full membership.” (WTO)

“Market access negotiations also involve small groups, but for a completely different reason. The final outcome is a multilateral package of individual countries’ commitments, but those commitments are the result of numerous bilateral, informal bargaining sessions, which depend on individual countries’ interests. (Examples include the traditional tariff negotiations, and market access talks in services.)” (Gaddafi, p. 401)

“Market access negotiations also involve small groups, but for a completely different reason. The final outcome is a multilateral package of individual countries’ commitments, but those commitments are the result of numerous bilateral, informal bargaining sessions, which depend on individual countries’ interests. (Examples include the traditional tariff negotiations, and market access talks in services.)” (WTO)

“Thus, informal consultations in various forms play a vital role in allowing consensus to be reached, but they do not appear in organisation charts, precisely because they are informal.” (Gaddafi, p. 401)

“So, informal consultations in various forms play a vital role in allowing consensus to be reached, but they do not appear in organization charts, precisely because they are informal.” (WTO)

“They are not separate from the formal meetings, however. They are necessary for making formal decisions in the councils and committees. Nor are the formal meetings unimportant. They are the forums for exchanging views, putting countries’ positions on the record, and ultimately for confirming decisions. The art of achieving agreement among all WTO members is to strike an appropriate balance, so that a breakthrough achieved among only a few countries can be acceptable to the rest of the membership.” (Gaddafi, p. 402)

“They are not separate from the formal meetings, however. They are necessary for making formal decisions in the councils and committees. Nor are the formal meetings unimportant. They are the forums for exchanging views, putting countries’ positions on the record, and ultimately for confirming decisions. The art of achieving agreement among all WTO members is to strike an appropriate balance, so that a breakthrough achieved among only a few countries can be acceptable to the rest of the membership.” (WTO)

Whew! It’s not about us!

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Woo-hoo! A story about scientific ignorance NOT starring American students!

The well-respected All-Russian Center for the Study of Public Opinion (hat tip to AOL.com via Johnson’s Russia List) has found that
46% of Russians think antibiotics kill viruses (I’d hate to see the US figures on that one).
32% think the sun orbits the earth.
29% think human beings coexisted with dinosaurs.
26% think lasers work via sound waves
17% think contemporary humans did not evolve from earlier types (I’d wager one or two limbs that percentage would be significantly higher in the US).

The headline figure was the number of Russians (55%) who thought radiation was a human creation. I’m not willing to read so much into that particular question–it’s easy to misunderstand. James Oberg, speaking with AOL, quite sensibly said that he’d want to see the Russian text. That text is “Vsia radioaktivnost’–delo ruk chelovecheskikh?” More or less, “Do you agree that all radioactivity is the work of human hands?” Of course, the correct answer is no, but given Chernobyl, widespread use of radiation for medical purposes, debates over the implications of nuclear testing, and widespread and legitimate public health concerns about the legacy of Soviet pollution, that doesn’t strike me as quite as ridiculous as believing in an earth-centered solar system.

The biggest point, it seems to me, is not that the Russian public is particularly ignorant of science. It’s that the sorts of things we see in the United States about popular ignorance of history or science need to be put in perspective. Things are bad everywhere. As Schiller said, “Against ignorance, the gods themselves contend in vain.”

Vladimir Putin’s Reading List

Friday, February 4th, 2011

Vladimir Putin provided the readers of World War II magazine his suggestions for what to read about the Soviet Union. Given the ongoing debates about falsification of history (see here, here, and here, for example), Putin’s comments are instructive. The English version is here; the Russian version is here.

Putin condemns “any falsifications, any distortions of the history of World War II” as “a personal insult, a sacrilege.” As has become increasingly clear, though, these ritual denunciations of falsification don’t ever actually name individual falsifiers or specify what exactly it is that they have falsified. What had me excited about this message from Putin was the chance to get his sense of who’s doing good history. Sad to say, that opportunity was missed. Putin didn’t name any actual historians, Russian or Western, who are working on the war.

Instead, he suggests novels, all written under the Soviets. This isn’t necessarily bad advice, and he’s not suggesting bad books: Russians certainly know how to write novels, and even the Soviet Union couldn’t quash that. Nonetheless, the authors and books he recommends are quite instructive.

The names Putin gives us are standard figures in the Soviet pantheon of literature, who wrote books on the war that were perfectly politically correct: Konstantin Simonov, Mikhail Sholokhov, Boris Vasiliev, Konstantin Vorobiev, and in particular Vladimir Bogomolov. Bogomolov was a veteran of Soviet military counterintelligence (though there’s some controversy over his military service), and the book that Putin recommends (Moment of Truth, also known as In August 1944) glorifies the work of Smersh (Death to Spies) in restoring Soviet rule in liberated territory.

Two names leap out by their absence: Viktor Nekrasov and Vasilii Grossman. I’ve done no survey, but my sense is that if you asked people who really know literature about the best work to come out of the Great Fatherland War, Nekrasov and Grossman would be the first mentioned. So why doesn’t Putin mention them? I can’t speak for him, but Nekrasov ended up expelled from the Soviet Union and stripped of his citizenship, while Grossman couldn’t get his masterwork Life and Fate published because of the uncomfortable parallels he drew between Nazism and Stalinism. It certainly seems as though Vladimir Putin isn’t comfortable with writers who aren’t comfortable with the Soviet system.

Soviet Industrial Safety

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

The good folks at englishrussia.com have lots of great photo galleries on life in today’s Russia. Here’s one that’s more historical: a wonderful collection of Soviet work safety posters. The style of art and text is identical to posters covering more familiar political and propaganda themes, but without any sort of political content. Their gruesome explicitness is quite striking, and they offer a nice look at the physical processes of Soviet industrial production.