Friday, July 8, 2011

PME - It Could be Worse Part Deux

There is a cancer at the heart of academia. In the field of International Relations and Politics, the LSE had one of the best reputations, not just in Britain, but in the world. Yesterday MIL INT discovered that the LSE had granted a PhD to Saif Gadaffi and a donation to the school was provided at some point (it now appears after the degree was granted). MIL INT was particularly annoyed that despite the Gaddfi's having a long association with terrorism against the UK and other countries (Saif "Escorted the convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi home to die in August 2009"), the LSE fawned on Muammah during a VTC seminar. MIL INT strongly believes in dialogue, even with monsters, as a matter of principle - namely to air all sides of an argument.** But fawning on them is another matter.

I did not question the veracity of mini-me's PhD. Even if some LSE academics are completely compromised, from a purely political/bureaucratic posterior-covering perspective I would have thought that his supervisors would make extra efforts to ensure that there was no plagiarism. HA! How naive, if not foolish of me. I woke up in the middle of the night last night and looked up his PhD supervisor. My foolishness was thrown right in my face...

The UK Independent reports this sickening news (emphasis added):
Meanwhile, amid continued allegations of plagiarism by Saif Gaddafi, his formal PhD supervisor, Professor Nancy Cartwright, admitted that she could not be entirely confident that he didn't have help with his thesis."I can hardly be confident that nobody else helped him since there's evidence that he lifted bits, but I'm confident that it isn't in the sense done by anybody else start to finish" she said.
Oh that's OK then! Is that now the standard? Really? No doubt all the indolent PhD candidates will be flocking to Prof Cartwright's office looking for a new supervisor. I'm not sure if I want to ask whether the good professor received research funding from any Libyan source?

The late great Fred Halliday is the only shining light in this sordid affair - according to the Telegraph

Fred Halliday, the school’s professor of international relations, had warned the council that accepting the money would taint the LSE’s reputation
Update: Incredibly the academic who fawned all over Gaddafi senior says she has nothing to apologize for.  Dr Alia Brahimi "who is of Algerian-American background and was educated at Stowe and Oxford, met Saif on a number of occasions and believed she had got to know and understand him".The Mail Online continues
Perhaps not surprisingly, it was the glamorous [sic] Dr Brahimi whom the university authorities chose to fly to Crete for a meeting with Saif in order to obtain his ‘objectives and expectations’ on how his £1.5million donation should be spent. They also met in London, most recently just before Christmas.
‘I’ve got nothing to apologise for,’ she said last night. ‘Saif told me he was keen that democratic reform should happen soon in Libya. ‘He was saying: “Let’s have civil society workshops all through Ramadan.” He couldn’t have been more in favour of liberal reforms.’ She admits now that she and her colleagues were ‘fooled’.
So as Muslim women and children are being, in Saif's words "eradicated", Dr Brahimi can think of no reason why she might want to apologize for her obscenely obsequious grovelling to a dictator who had attacked Britain in the past and now promises to mount terrorism operations on London and elsewhere in the UK. MIL INT challenges Alia Brahimi to use some of her Libyan research funds go to  Libya to work in an aid station tending to the wounded with the Red Crescent or MSF for a month or two to learn about civil society in Libya today.

People commenting on various stories in the UK press have started the renaming already:

LSE - Libyan School of Economics (subtle)
LSE - Libyan School of Executioners (pointed)

**  To those who would say monsters need to be silenced, I would respond that from an IO perspective there is greater value for the forces of freedom for monsters to be judged o their own 'merit'. There is also perhaps some minor intelligence value in such meetings.

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