Thursday, 30 November 2017

40 years of Voyaging - Part 3

This is my last look at the Voyager Program, probably the most ambitious of its kind. Other probes have been sent to explore the solar system, but none has had the vast scope of the Voyagers in its wide-ranging travels.

The Voyager Program was similar to the Planetary Grand Tour planned during the late 1960s and early 70s. The Grand Tour would take advantage of an alignment of the outer planets discovered by Gary Flandro, an aerospace engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. This alignment, which occurs once every 175 years, would occur in the late 1970s and make it possible to use gravitational assists to explore Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. Limited funding ended the Grand Tour program, but elements were incorporated into the Voyager Program, which fulfilled many of the flyby objectives of the Grand Tour except a visit to Pluto.

Pale Blue Dot is a photograph of planet Earth taken on February 14, 1990, by the Voyager 1 space probe from a record distance of about 6 billion kilometers

Carl Sagan insisted that Voyager 1 turn its camera toward Earth registering the smallness of our world against the vastness of space, the "pale blue dot" picture. Sagan's eloquent lines, as he reflected upon our planet -"everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives ... on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam."

As for the future, it is expected that in the year 40,272 AD, Voyager 1 will come within 1.7 light years of an obscure star in the constellation Ursa Minor (the Little Bear or Little Dipper). 

And in about 40,000 years, Voyager 2 will come within about 1.7 light years of a star called Ross 248, a small star in the constellation of Andromeda.

And finally, Ed Stone, Voyager project scientist, California Institute of Technology, holds a model of NASA’s Voyager spacecraft during a news conference to discuss the Voyager 1 spacecraft officially venturing into interstellar space. Now 81, in 1972,  he became project scientist for the planet-hopping Voyager mission.


Wednesday, 29 November 2017

40 years of Voyaging - Part 2

The Voyagers both contained a record of sounds and voices from Earth. No other probe sent out did. This was because it would eventually leave the solar system, and travel onwards, barring accidents, until the end of time. Here is the story of that record.

In the upper left-hand corner is an easily recognized drawing of the phonograph record and the stylus carried with it. The stylus is in the correct position to play the record from the beginning. Written around it in binary arithmetic is the correct time of one rotation of the record, 3.6 seconds, expressed in time units of 0,70 billionths of a second, the time period associated with a fundamental transition of the hydrogen atom. The drawing indicates that the record should be played from the outside in. Below this drawing is a side view of the record and stylus, with a binary number giving the time to play one side of the record - about an hour.

Electroplated onto the record's cover is an ultra-pure source of uranium-238 with a radioactivity of about 0.00026 microcuries. The steady decay of the uranium source into its daughter isotopes makes it a kind of radioactive clock. Half of the uranium-238 will decay in 4.51 billion years. Thus, by examining this two-centimeter diameter area on the record plate and measuring the amount of daughter elements to the remaining uranium-238, an extraterrestrial recipient of the Voyager spacecraft could calculate the time elapsed since a spot of uranium was placed aboard the spacecraft. This should be a check on the epoch of launch, which is also described by the pulsar map on the record cover.

Each record is encased in a protective aluminum jacket, together with a cartridge and a needle. Instructions, in symbolic language, explain the origin of the spacecraft and indicate how the record is to be played. The 115 images are encoded in analog form.

The remainder of the record is in audio, designed to be played at 16-2/3 revolutions per minute. It contains the spoken greetings, beginning with Akkadian, which was spoken in Sumer about six thousand years ago, and ending with Wu, a modern Chinese dialect. Following the section on the sounds of Earth, there is an eclectic 90-minute selection of music, including both Eastern and Western classics and a variety of ethnic music.

As Carl Sagan has noted, "The spacecraft will be encountered and the record played only if there are advanced spacefaring civilizations in interstellar space. But the launching of this bottle into the cosmic ocean says something very hopeful about life on this planet.“

The records also had the inscription "To the makers of music – all worlds, all times" hand-etched on its surface.

Many people were instrumental in the design, development and manufacturing of the golden record. Blank records were provided by the Pyral S.A. of Creteil, France. CBS Records contracted the JVC Cutting Center in Boulder, Colorado to cut the lacquer masters which were then sent to the James G. Lee Record Processing center in Gardena, California to cut and gold plate eight Voyager records. Gold plating took place on August 23, 1977; afterward, the records were mounted in aluminum containers and delivered to JPL.


Tuesday, 28 November 2017

40 years of Voyaging - Part 1

I've always been interested in astronomy from an early age, and remember the glossy Sunday supplements with the first fantastic pictures of the gas giants in the solar system, transmitted back from the Voyager space craft. And they built these craft solidly: they last.

Humanity’s farthest and longest-lived spacecraft, Voyager 1 and 2, achieved 40 years of operation and exploration this August and September. Despite their vast distance, they continue to communicate with NASA daily, still probing the final frontier.

Voyager 2 launched on Aug. 20, 1977, about two weeks before the Sept. 5 launch of Voyager 1.

To get a scale of the technology, 1977 saw the Commodore PET (Personal Electronic Transactor) – a new line of home/personal computers produced in 1977 by Commodore International.

It also saw the first Apple II Home Computers. 

The Atari 2600 games console is also released. It needs connecting to a TV set.

Voyager 2, which was actually launched before Voyager 1 (I know, this gets a bit confusing) is currently at a distance of 10.713 billion miles from the Sun. It’s traveling at an estimated speed of 34,390 miles per hour. It hasn’t yet reached interstellar space.

Voyager 1, on the other hand, has. That’s due to the fact that Voyager 1 is traveling at a slightly greater speed of roughly 38,026 miles per hour. It is currently located some 12.974 billion miles from the Sun, and has successfully broken free from our star’s “bubble” called the heliosphere. Having passed that, Voyager 1 is now in interstellar space, where its fate will be determined solely by whatever it manages to run into.

The heliosphere is the bubble-like region of space dominated by the Sun, which extends far beyond the orbit of Pluto. Plasma "blown" out from the Sun, known as the solar wind, creates and maintains this bubble against the outside pressure of the interstellar medium, the hydrogen and helium gas that permeates the Milky Way Galaxy. The solar wind flows outward from the Sun until encountering the termination shock, where motion slows abruptly.

The Voyager spacecraft have explored the outer reaches of the heliosphere, passing through the shock and entering the heliosheath, a transitional region which is in turn bounded by the outermost edge of the heliosphere, called the heliopause. 

The termination shock is the point in the heliosphere where the solar wind slows down to subsonic speed (relative to the Sun) because of interactions with the local interstellar medium. This causes compression, heating, and a change in the magnetic field.

The shock arises because solar wind particles are emitted from the Sun at about 400 km/s, while the speed of sound (in the interstellar medium) is about 100 km/s.

As one moves far enough away from the Sun, the pressure of the solar wind drops to where it can no longer maintain supersonic flow against the pressure of the interstellar medium, at which point the solar wind slows to below its speed of sound, causing a shock wave.

So how can you have a speed of sound in space?

And what was space physicist Don Gurnett talking about when he stated at a NASA press conference in Sept. 2013 that he had heard "the sounds of interstellar space?"

Sound travels in waves like light or heat does, but unlike them, sound travels by making molecules vibrate. So, in order for sound to travel, there has to be something with molecules for it to travel through.

But space is not empty. The solar wind is a stream of particles and plasma (gas), and the interstellar medium, is a mixture of electron–proton plasma and hydrogen atoms. So linear acoustic waves can propagating through it.

Shocks occur when matter moves into a medium at a velocity that exceeds the local sound speed - a condition that is easily met in many different astrophysical contexts, just like breaking the sound barrier in air.

Strictly speaking, the plasma wave instrument does not detect sound. Instead it senses waves of electrons in the ionized gas or "plasma" that Voyager travels through. No human ear could hear these plasma waves. Nevertheless, because they occur at audio frequencies, between a few hundred and a few thousand hertz, "we can play the data through a loudspeaker and listen," says Gurnett. "The pitch and frequency tell us about the density of gas surrounding the spacecraft


Monday, 27 November 2017

RNLI and the Lifeboat Saga: A Comment

A record £2941.70 raised in the annual RNLI Jersey Boat Pull, in 2014

RNLI and the Lifeboat Saga: A Comment

The Doctor’s resignation

The JEP published a full and frank interview with Andy Hibbs on Friday, in which he stated that one of the reasons why Dr David Howell resigned. This is what Mr Hibbs said:

“In October, volunteer medical adviser Doctor David Howell resigned after the RNLI tried to make him take a First Aid course.”

There is some evidence for this being part of the reason for Dr Howell’s resignation, as one report states: “Dr Howell, who also carries out of medicals for crews at no cost, said he also considering whether he would do this in future too after what he said was a row over courses he had to attend.” (BBC News)

What also is stated is that his letter cited “citing multiple issues”, one of which was the way in which the RNLI handled complaints. What we have not seen is the full text of the letter, and instead all we have are bland assurances from the RNLI that “We will be addressing any concerns he may have raised.”

It would be extremely useful to see the concerns that were raised in the letter, preferably by one of the parties in the dispute or Dr Howell himself allowing its publication.

While the RNLI might dismiss Andy Hibbs as something of a maverick, those accusations would seem facile if made against a professional member of the medical establishment. It would be also good to have accurate confirmation that part of the row was about him having to attend a First Aid course.

That’s rather like asking a Chartered Accountant to undertake a course on elementary book keeping! If true, it would highlight an odious tick box mentality by the RNLI that should certainly be subject to scrutiny.

The Offer to Arbitrate

Many people watching in dismay from the sidelines have wondered why no one steps in to help arbitrate, or as I have heard it express for forcibly, to “bang heads together”. But it turns out offers have been made.

Ben Shenton, in his JEP column, notes that:

“Sir Andrew Ridgway, the former Lieutenant-Governor of Jersey, and I wrote to Paul Boissier and Stuart Popham of the RNLI on 9 October 2017 and offered to act as mediators in the dispute. This would have been in an honorary capacity at our own expense.”

“The reply we received was courteous and explained that ‘the channels of communication between the RNLI and all the various stakeholders in the Island remain open’, and there was no need for our services at that time. A follow-up offer on 14 November 2017 was also rejected.”

It is clear that the RNLI does not want an independent arbitrator. This is not some Facebook group of activists. Sir Andrew Ridgway is a highly esteemed former Lieutenant-Governor of Jersey. To refuse that offer seems to give little hope for a way forward, and once again the RNLI seem to be acting in a manner likely to anger the general public.

Any establishment of an independent lifeboat service would be fraught with problems (insurance, ongoing maintenance), and it would be best if the dispute could be solved without that. But the RNLI don’t seem to want any peacemakers to get involved, and in the meantime, a group has been formed to look at an independent life boat.

They will also need a lifeboat station, and perhaps the only thing that might cause the RNLI to leave their citadel and actually take up Ben Shenton’s offer would be some kind of stick. The lifeboat is a movable object, and has gone off Island.

The lifeboat station remains, albeit locked up, and if nothing is done to resolve the dispute, then surely the possibility of compulsory purchase by the States for the Island of Jersey might be considered. That threat might just be sufficient to bring the RNLI to their senses and allow an intermediary.

As Ben Shenton says:

“If there is no mediation and no resolution, Islanders should throw their full weight behind the creation of a local lifeboat service early in 2018. And the States, as custodians of our money, should dig deep in their pockets to make it happen. After all, they are partly responsible for the mess we find ourselves in.”

And after all, the compulsory purchase of a station would only be buying back for the people of Jersey what their own fund raising efforts gave the Island in the first place.

Sources on Dr Howell's resignation

JEP,: Oct 5, 2017

The crew’s lifeboat medical adviser, Dr David Howell, stepped down this week and it has also emerged today that second deputy coxswain Graham Smith quit earlier this year.

Speaking about Dr Howell’s resignation, Mike Jackson, deputy launch authority for the crew, said losing a qualified doctor was a real blow. He was a much-valued member of the crew. He was with the crew for some five years. I am very saddened by it,’ he said. ‘Having a qualified doctor on crew is a real asset and medical knowledge on-board is a real benefit.’

In a statement, the charity said: ‘We can confirm that we have received Dr Howell’s letter of resignation from the volunteer crew on St Helier lifeboat.

‘While we respect individuals’ decisions, we’re always very sorry when a volunteer makes the difficult decision to step away from their role. We will be following normal procedures to acknowledge Dr Howell’s resignation from the crew and thank him personally for his volunteering commitment to the RNLI over the last five years. We will be addressing any concerns he may have raised. We are still committed to working with remaining volunteers at the station.’

BBC Oct 3rd

3 October: David Howell resigns from the crew citing multiple issues including the "outrageous" way a complaint against lifeboat manager Glen Mallen was handled by the charity.

BBC, 4 October

The RNLI said it was "committed" to working with remaining volunteers at the St Helier lifeboat station after a volunteer crew member resigned, saying he had "lost all respect" for the organisation. Dr David Howell wrote to the local crew, criticising how complaints within the organisation were being handled and to highlight the amount of money the charity had lost as result of the dismissal and reinstatement of the coxswain earlier this year.

BBC, 3 October

Dr Howell, who also carries out of medicals for crews at no cost, said he also considering whether he would do this in future too after what he said was a row over courses he had to attend.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Black Slavery and the New Testament.

Black Slavery and the New Testament: A case study from the Parables

In the parable of the talents, the faithful slaves may be proud to advance their owner's interests, but they should certainly be fearful of the punishment that awaits them should they fail.

I was listening to this reading last week, and I was struck by how it was probably used as a stick in sermons to the black slaves when the European and American slave trade was taking off.

It is the perfect material for a sermon by a slave owner: slaves, obey their master, and be obedient, and use your skills to make him more money. So I wondered what the black community made of this.

In “Black Theology, Slavery and Contemporary Christianity” by Anthony G. Reddie there is presented an inverted interpretation based on the understanding of black slaves in America, and that heritage in the black community.

Reddie comments that:

"Matthew clearly uses the language of slavery. Moreover, in no way does he indicate that these slaves are atypical. Rather, his parabolic slaves personify first-century stereotypes of managerial slaves.”

“Do these parables tell slave success stories, offering evidence that slavery could serve as a positive route to advancement in the ancient world? In one sense we may respond affirmatively. The Matthean parables depict slaves who enhance their own positions by diligently pursuing their owners' interests.”

“At the same time, however, every Matthean parable that features a managerial slave also highlights the vulnerability of such slaves to physical abuse. An elite slave may have sufficient access to his owner's estate to accrue an enormous debt of ten thousand talents, but this slave still knows that his master has absolute rights over his body, rights that include the prerogatives of torturing him or selling him and his family into a harsher slavery, which could include the sale of family members to geographically scattered households.”

Some of those enslaved in the Slave Trade, if they had bibles, would tear out those pages which told a slave to be dutiful to their master.

Reddie looks at how the parable of the talents can be seen, from the viewpoint of the subjugated slave, as a story told from the point of view of the master, rather than that of the slave, and how we can read between the lines a story in which the third slave is the only one who stands up to his oppressor:

“We have the situation presented of a slave master giving differential amounts of money to his slaves. Two of the slaves double the money, while a third slave, who was only given one talent/pound returns the one talent, stating the master was an oppressor and he feared losing the funds and decided not to play the game. The master confirms that the assessment of him as a harsh task master was true. It is the third slave who had the courage to stand and name the system as oppressive and consequently told the master the unsparing truth about himself. Unsurprisingly, he is the one who is thrown out. The other two slaves are called good and trusted slaves and are rewarded”

“As we are accustomed to interpret this parable, we are encouraged to dislike the slave with the one talent who in Mt 25:26. is called wicked and lazy. and in Lk 13:22 is called wicked. We preach this passage with the message. ‘Stop worrying about what other people have and do the best with what you have! ‘”

“By this reading, we are encouraged to stop thinking that this parable, as do so many others, speaks essentially of slavocracy. We miss this aspect. and continue to proceed with the one talent being taken from one slave and given to the other slave, who started out with the most and who has the most....We also miss that the slaves who double the money are still slaves. While the one who was thrown out is now free‘“

This is also taken up in a thesis by Gerald West on “Thabo Mbeki’s Bible: the role of the religion in the South African public realm after liberation”

He explains how South African Black theologian Takatso Mofokeng emphasised the contested nature of the Bible, and that Mofokeng insisted that there are numerous “texts, stories and traditions in the Bible which lend themselves to only oppressive interpretations and oppressive uses because of their inherent oppressive nature.”

And he notes how in a speech to the International Labour Conference in 2003, the current South African President Thabo Mbeki engaged with the Parable of the Talents as seeing it as ““a money merchant, angry that one of his servants did not discharge his duties as a fund manager, by using the Talent given to him to trade in the money markets”

And Mbeki concluded:

“Among the hundreds of millions of the African world from which we came, as we travelled to Europe, the outer darkness into which the money merchant cast his unprofitable servant, there is much weeping and gnashing of teeth. Those who do not hear and do not see the agony, have neither ears to hear nor eyes to see”

This interpretation, as West notes, is not a typical one that we find in commentaries on Matthew, but it is apparently fairly common in marginalised communities, “reading against... a dominant tradition of interpretation”.

Jennifer Glancy writing on “Slaves and Slavery in the Matthean Parables”

“the slaves in the parable of the talents (25:14-36) serve as their master's financial agents” and that this and other parables “contrast the exemplary work of the faithful slave with the flawed work of the wicked slave”.

She also notes that “The representation of the slave's body as the locus of abuse is thus pervasive in the Matthean parables, constituting the most prominent aspect of Matthew's ideology of slavery. Consciousness of disciplinary realities produces the faithful slave, of a divine master as of a human master.”

There is something very deeply disturbing about these texts, which are complicit in practices in a society where slavery was rife. As Glancy notes:

“ a faithful slave is one who occupies a managerial position and has moreover internalized the master's interests to the extent that he will work unsupervised when his master is away. Slave morality is inextricably identified with the master's interests. In return for their labors, these faithful slaves receive additional responsibility

“The faithful overseer will have oversight of his master's entire estate (24:47); the first two slaves in the parable of the talents will have care of many of their master's affairs (25:21, 23). Even their rewards forward their master's concerns.”

In the parable of the talents, “there is no consideration of the possibility that the slave's moral options are separable from the master's interest.”

And she concludes that:

“The Matthean parables focus on managerial slaves, a visible and influen tial minority among the enslaved population. They promote the view that a slave's moral purpose is to advance the interests of his or her owner”.

And notes that:

“Modern sensibilities are likely to shrink from an endorsement of the master's grasping and punitive nature.”

Commentaries invariably, as Reddie observes, see the parable in terms other than those seen within a slave-owning society. The typical interpretation of Jesus' "Parable of the Talents" is that the talents symbolize gifts and abilities that God has given us.

But there is a brutality and harshness in some of these parables of Matthew which appear to endorse an image of God akin to a slave-owner.

Why does Matthew present the slave owner as so brutal in his treatment of his slaves? In some parables, there is a degree of cause: the slave who is not merciful as his master is, receives a just reward. But the parable of the talents is far more ambiguous.

Nils Chittenden, speaking at the Episcopal Center at Duke University, cautions against readings which downplay the harshness of the text:

“If the rich man represents God, and the slaves represent us, what does that say about God’s view of us, and ours of him? Does God view us as slaves? Do we think of God as an oppressive and harsh master that we live in fear of, and who’s bidding we have no choice but to do?”

“We are told that the rich man is harsh, and reaps where he does not sow. What on earth are we to make of this, if we stick with the view that the rich man represents God in this story? Even with the most charitable reading, ‘reaping what you do not sow’ sounds awfully like exploitation.”

Slavery and the New Testament, because of the use of texts as an instrument of oppression, will always be problematic. What is important is that do not gloss away this problem. Clearly there are different interpretations of the parable, as seen above, but it is important not to ignore or down play the very real impact of this text on a slave owning society, and how it would appear to the slave.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Sea Magic

One from the back catalogue from 8th November 2005.

Sea Magic

(A Villanelle)

The sea, the sand, the sky
Fresh breezes blowing free
Windswept, in joy I sigh. 

Listening to sea gull's cry
Soaring above, so endlessly
The sea, the sand, the sky 

Walkers on sands drift by
Dogs running excitedly
Windswept, in joy I sigh. 

Rocky cliffs stretch up high
Enclose the bay, so agelessly
The sea, the sand, the sky 

Wishing now that I could fly
Above the foam flecked sea
Windswept, in joy I sigh. 

Waves breaking intensify
Exhilaration now in me
The sea, the sand, the sky
Windswept, in joy I sigh.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Jersey Our Island: The Years of Darkness – Part 2

Published in 1950, this is an interesting snapshot of the Island and its customs as it was in the immediate post-war period, and not without humour. Most guide books of the time give the tourist information, or give the impressions of an outsider to the Island, but this is in "inside view", which is rarer.

Jersey Our Island: The Years of Darkness – Part 2
by Sidney Bisson

The two books about the occupation that have so far appeared (Ralph Mollet's Jersey under the Swastika and L. P. Sinel's German Occupation of Jersey) are tantalisingly impersonal.' They tell you what the official rations were, but nothing of the housewife who wept because she could only offer her family cold water and cold boiled potatoes for breakfast whilst their wealthy black-marketing neighbours indulged in tea at £20 a pound, butter at thirty shillings, pork at a guinea, eggs at three shillings each, and white bread made from locally ground flour that fetched £20 a hundredweight. Or of the indignation of the poorer classes that such a state of affairs was allowed to continue. For obviously in a small place like Jersey, where every- body knows his neighbour's business better than his own, the authorities could not be unaware of what was going on.

The commonest explanation offered is that the black market was really a patriotic institution. `If it hadn't been for the black market we'd have starved,' many a local resident has told me, forgetting that the poorest lived through the occupation without being able to patronise this luxurious institution. And when I ask if it wouldn't have been more patriotic for the authorities to exercise a stricter control over agricultural and dairy production and divert food from the black market to increase the general ration, the answer is that the Germans wouldn't have allowed it.

It is difficult for one who was not present during the occupation to decide whether this is a genuine reason or a mere rationalisation. I can only say that I should find the argument more convincing if some attempt had been made to requisition and re- distribute the vast quantities of food that were illegally sold at prices that only the rich could afford to pay. 

Not every farmer, of course, made a fortune out of the black market. Praise is due to those who resisted the temptation of turning the situation to their own advantage, and who sold food cheaply or gave it away to friends and neighbours whom they knew to be in need.

Another form of black marketing that I have also heard defended as an act of patriotism was the sale of food to German soldiers. The argument was that only soldiers with plenty of money could afford to buy food. It made the others discontented and lowered their morale ! One farmer told me more frankly : `If you refused to sell, they'd come back the next night and burgle. We'd have been fools not to take the money.' 

I chuckled to think that the Germans were foolish enough to offer to buy what they could so easily steal, but later learnt that there was some truth in his statement. German discipline was strict, and soldiers caught breaking out of camp or returning with stolen goods were severely dealt with. So it is quite likely that many took the risk of a nocturnal expedition only when their money had failed to get them what they wanted.

Side by side with the black market grew the more legitimate `barter market.' Until September, 1941, when the exchange, as well as the sale, of soap and foodstuffs was prohibited except under license, the `small ad' columns of the local evening paper were full of offers of this for that.

At one period eggs were most freely offered; at another, saccharine. Soap and sugar were most in demand. But the beauty of barter is its flexibility. Eggs might be converted into coke, bird seed into pepper, poultry food into soap. One reader offers a cycle tyre for cocoa; another, cockerels for salt. (One wonders how many for how much. Quantities are not always specified in this column.) 

There is something pathetic in the offer of a bottle of whisky for ajar of honey. And for what sinister purpose did someone offer `sugar for African Grey Parrot (stuffed) Perhaps the printer has got this one the wrong way round, and it's Aunt Agatha offering to part with her most treasured possession so that she can go on sweetening her ersatz (or black market?) tea. Was there ever such an optimist

I mis-spent one of this summer's many wet afternoons com- piling a table of barter values from these little ads. Here is the result.

All the examples I have quoted are authentic. Don't blame me if you can prove from the table that 12 eggs = 36 eggs. (12 eggs equal 1 pair shoes, which equals 1 cycle tyre, which equals 800 saccharines, which equal 36 eggs.) There are eggs and eggs. Brown eggs and white eggs, small eggs and large eggs, new laid eggs and pickled eggs, good eggs and bad eggs, eggs taken and eggs offered . . . In fact every egg has its price. 

Some people who had not bothered to work out a little table like mine and were doubtful of the value of their egg got into the habit of advertising `1 egg. Will exchange for WHAT?' Regular readers of the Exchange and Mart column regarded this as cheating and wrote long letters to the editor pointing out the abuses to which it might lead. Hungry though he was, the Jerseyman had not lost his sense of humour.

In 1942, however, two blows fell which cast a gloom over the island. In June all wireless sets were confiscated. In September the English residents were deported.

Except for the first two weeks of the occupation, when listening to British stations was forbidden, there had been no restriction on the use of wireless receivers. With the German-controlled press publishing only enemy war commentaries and communiqués, the habit of tuning in to B.B.C. news broadcasts had become almost universal. The curfew, transport difficulties, and the limitation of public entertainments, had made recreational listening more popular than ever before. The depressing effect of the withdrawal of all sets from the civilian population can be imagined.

The fact that wireless sets are licensed made it difficult to evade the order. The Germans could easily make a check on license holders. Some of the more resourceful bought and handed in an old set, keeping their own for secret listening. The penalty for those who were found out was imprisonment or deportation. Some were taken to concentration camps from which they did not return.

The Deportation was effected with a dramatic suddenness that made it all the harder to bear. On September 15th a warning order appeared in the evening paper, stating that all persons whose permanent residence was not in the Channel Islands and all Englishmen between the ages of sixteen and seventy would be transferred to Germany, together with their families. 

No date was given for the evacuation, but the following morning German soldiers, working from lists compiled the previous year, started serving notices on some of the people concerned, ordering them to report for embarkation by four o'clock that afternoon. They were to take hand luggage only, and give the keys of their houses to the police. Failure to obey meant trial by court-martial.

The usually efficient German organisation seems for once to have broken down, and contradictory orders added to the confusion. Hundreds of people who were at work or who had gone out could not be traced at such short notice. A further sailing was arranged for the i8th, but about half of those who reported were turned away and told to return the following week. Many were in despair, having sold or given away all their food, linen, and fuel before leaving home.

Remembering how the Germans had requisitioned the contents of houses evacuated in 1940, some had, even in the short time available, stored their more easily movable furniture with friends. It was a time for testing friendships. Some were welcomed back by their neighbours with rejoicing. Others returned to find that `friends' had already broken into their houses and removed what they could lay their hands on. A musician caught his neighbours in the act of removing his grand piano. So much had two years of occupation done to the morals of the normally honest islanders.

There were similar scenes after the third and last deportation parade on September 29th. Two ships were filled, in no particular order of priority, and those who could not be accommodated (including some who had been turned away the first time) were sent back to their homes. Apart from a few who were deported the following year, they were not troubled again. It has been suggested that the remarkably haphazard organisation of the deportation was due to the German Commandant's disapproval of the order, which came from higher authority.
The depression caused by these two blows was lightened as winter advanced by the news of Montgomery's triumphant progress across North Africa. Even the German communiqués could not disguise Rommel's retreat, and news of each British success was passed round by the owners of hidden wireless sets.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

And so to bed

And so to bed... my regular selection of night time quotes.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Madeleine L'Engle:

Most of the time nowadays we human beings are referred to as consumers. What does the consumer think? What does the consumer want? How ugly. Forest fires consume. Cancer consumes. I want us to be nourishers. To be a librarian, particularly a librarian for young adults, is to be a nourisher, to share stories, offer books full of new ideas. We live in a world which has changed radically in the last half century, and story helps us to understand and live creatively with change.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Avi:

A sailor chooses the wind that takes the ship from a safe port. Ah, yes, but once you're abroad, as you have seen, winds have a mind of their own. Be careful, Charlotte, careful of the wind you choose.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Lin Yutang:

I like spring, but it is too young. I like summer, but it is too proud. So I like best of all autumn, because its tone is mellower, its colours are richer, and it is tinged with a little sorrow. Its golden richness speaks not of the innocence of spring, nor the power of summer, but of the mellowness and kindly wisdom of approaching age. It knows the limitations of life and its content.

And so to bed.. quote for tonight comes from Simon Armitage:

It was the kind of music that God must hearing, no matter how busy or distracted, because it comes out of hundreds of square Miles of nothingness, out of the emptiness of the hills and the silence of the moors.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Clifford D Simak:

He leaned back in his chair and let his eyes go shut and his mind drift back.

He was crouching in a corner of a garden and the leaves were drifting down from the walnut trees like a rain of saffron gold... When he held it so that the Sun struck it, he imagined that he could almost see through it, the gold was spun so fine.

He crouched with the leaf clutched tightly in his hand and for a moment there was a silence that held him motionless. Then he heard the frost-loosened leaves pattering all around him, pattering as they fell, talking in little whispers as they sailed down through the air and found themselves a bed with their golden fellows.

In that moment he knew that he was one with the leaves and the whispers that they made, one with the gold and the autumn sunshine and the far blue mist upon the hill above the apple orchard

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Richard Rohr:

People who’ve had any genuine spiritual experience always know that they don’t know. They are utterly humbled before mystery. They are in awe before the abyss of it all, in wonder at eternity and depth, and a Love, which is incomprehensible to the mind.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Simon Armitage:

Of all the doorways in the world
to choose to sleep, I’ve chosen yours.
I’m on the street, under the stars.
For coppers I can dance or sing.
For silver-swallow swords, eat fire.
For gold-escape from locks and chains.
It’s not as if I’m holding out
for frankincense or myrrh, just change.
You give me tea. That’s big of you.

I’m on my knees. I beg of you.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

A Century in Advertising - Part 10

A Century in Advertising - Part 10

My look at some of the advertisements and products of yesteryear. Some weird and whacky, some surprisingly still around today. Here are their stories.

1927 - Kodascope

Kodascope is a name created by Eastman Kodak Company for the projector it placed on the market in 1923 as part of the first 16mm motion picture equipment. The original Kodascope was part of an outfit that included the Cine-Kodak camera, tripod, Kodascope projector, projection screen, and film splicer, all of which sold together for $335

Kodascope Library, which operated from 1924 to 1939, and offered both educational and commercially released films on 16mm film and, from 1932, on 8mm film.

One of the great silent movies, “The Lost World” became a victim of its own popularity and the death of silent films. In the late 1920s when 16mm was introduced, 'Kodascope' digest versions were made of some popular silent films, for the home movie market. The Lost World was one of the first. The full version of Lost World was junked, and only recently pieced together from some Czech copies.

1928 - Aspironal

The website Nostrumopia comments:

Aspironal was a purported cold remedy manufactured by Aspironal Laboratories in Atlanta, Georgia, around the period of 1919 to 1921. The name obviously played on the name of Aspirin, as the medicine, which was a liquid solution, contained a solution of sodium salicylate and other ingredients. Salicylates are compounds from which aspirin is derived.

The advertisements for the medicine claimed it was "better than whiskey" for the treatment of colds or flu. Of course, although whiskey can provide some relief from the symptoms of a cold, it is not a cure, by any means. Neither are salicylates or any of the other ingredients in the Aspironal. Although the labels claimed that the solution contained 10% alcohol, it probably contained much more.

When federal prohibition tool place in 1920, some states had already enacted their own prohibition laws. Druggists and patent medicine makers took advantage of a loophole that allowed the sale of "medicinal Whiskey.”

You can imagine in what for this 'immediate relief' and 'quick warm-up' might come for a person in dire need of a drink! The dose instructions on the bottle were essentially to keep taking 1 teaspoonful until the desired effect. In other words, drink until you feel the desired buzz. Of course, they were careful to give the dose for children as drops.

For more information, see:

1929 - Turtle Soup

Jack Hitt, on his blog, comments on this now rare delicacy:

I wanted to find out what had happened to turtle soup, which was among the most sought-after and popular dishes in all of American history. Accounts in the 18th and 19th centuries of massive parties known as “turtle frolics” suggest they were more popular than hog barbecues and oyster roasts, with descriptions of servants bearing three-foot-long upturned turtle shells filled with hot turtle stew for large crowds.

No early cookbook lacked a recipe for turtle, terrapin, or snapper stew—made from sea turtle, snapping turtle, box turtle, or diamondback terrapin, all of which, in Southern slang, became “cooter” in the pot. But some 50 years ago, turtle soup disappeared and, to most palates, now seems almost improbable verging on unacceptable. What happened?

For centuries, the flavor was legendary, and, really, nothing said American democracy like turtle. The poor man could often find a few slow-moving specimens hanging out at the backyard well, even as the privileged man sought out its refined flavor. Two days after voting for independence in Philadelphia, on July 4, 1776, John Adams celebrated with a bowl of turtle soup; when the war was over, George Washington met with his officers at Fraunces Tavern in lower Manhattan for a farewell frolic; and Lincoln celebrated his second inaugural with terrapin stew. Before Aaron Burr murdered Alexander Hamilton, both were members of the elite Hoboken Turtle Club.

The thing about an average turtle is that once cleaned, it will yield about three or four pounds of meat, so it's easy to see why it was once the workingman's meal. At any house with a well, there might be one or two turtles hanging out in the nearby puddles. I ran across accounts of people finding turtles here and there and tossing them into the water barrel at the well until there were enough to invite friends over for a frolic.

There was a big shift in tastes somewhere after World War I, Freedman told me. It's hard not to note the sheer variety of what was available before then, not just of turtle, but of all manner of meats.

Menus from that time routinely offered everything from roasted snipe and plover to rabbit hash, mutton cutlets, and oxtail. The decline of the family farm and the rise of mechanized factory farming, a process described as the “Eden Crash” in Christopher Leonard's Meat Racket, meant that by World War II, American taste for meat had bottlenecked into chicken, pork, and beef, all three of which could be grown, fed, quartered, and slaughtered according to the efficiency demands of Henry Ford's assembly-line theories. And I can testify that gutting and cleaning turtle is a big hassle and a poor candidate for any kind of industrial streamlining.

For more, see

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Breakwater Blues

Breakwater Blues

In Guernsey news, BBC news reports that “The Alderney breakwater ‘remains vulnerable’ despite the £23m. Guernsey has spent maintaining it in the last thirty years, according to the president of Environment and Infrastructure.”

“Deputy Brehaut said the future of the breakwater had to be handled sensitively. However, a long-term strategy is needed that is more than just ongoing repairs. In many ways, he said the breakwater is a ‘metaphor for the protection that Guernsey provides Alderney’. ‘[The level of investment] does seem to be something of a folly, but to the people who live and work in the bay it provides them with protection.’ In powerful storms the breakwater is vulnerable to significant damage and in its current state it would be ‘difficult for someone to invest in’. “

‘The last time an option was put forward it cost £26m. to demolish part of the breakwater, shorten it and strengthen what was left,’ said Deputy Brehaut.

But in the Guernsey Press, Alderney representative Graham McKinley has accused Environment & Infrastructure of being less than supportive of the island’s most important assets.

One of the comments by Annette Curtan has some interesting historical background:

“Just for clarification .....When the French built a breakwater at Cherbourg in 1842, the British Government decided that a 'Harbour of Refuge' to protect the British fleet was needed. In 1847 work began on the Alderney breakwater and thousands of tons of granite had to be transported from the east of the island and from Portland. Irish workers escaping from poverty at home arrived in their hundreds to work on the project”.

”By 1864 at the western breakwater at 4,827 feet long was complete, but had cost an astonishing £1.5 million. However within a year, 1,780 feet was abandoned to the seas following heavy gales and as relations with the French had improved, the eastern arm was not continued with. “

“By 1871 all maintenance had ceased but as the old harbour was silting up, (allegedly because of the breakwater), Alderney appealed to the UK for financial assistance for its upkeep, this was granted in 1874.”

“This arrangement remained in place until the 1980s when Guernsey agreed to its upkeep in lieu of Defence payments. (Jersey pay approx £5 million per year to the UK for Defence.) Something of a folly eh Barry!”

In fact, a missing part of the history is that Guernsey’s troubles with the breakwater are Jersey’s fault.

After the Falklands War, mindful of the way the UK Government had helped with Jersey's post-war economy, and the help also provided by the Red Cross, the States decided (following a proposition by Senator Ralph Vibert )to make a one off payment to the Falkland Islands to help with their economy, island reaching out to island.

A gift of £5 million pounds was made "towards the expenses incurred in the recovery and rehabilitation of the Falkland Islands", of which £250,000 was made available straight away to the Falkland Islands Appeal, and the rest was originally going towards a jetty.

In fact, the balance was not used for that purpose. When Peter Crill, the new Bailiff, reported back to the States on 28th January, 1986, he noted that:

"I discussed the matter with Senator Vibert and we decided that the most appropriate items would be the provision of new housing and a renovated and expanded water treatment and supply plant. Accordingly, I informed the Home Office and the Executive Council of the Falklands now proposes to use the balance for these two projects. The housing development will be known as the Jersey Estate within which streets will be named after places in Jersey."

But the outcome of the donation had another effect. The Island's generosity had been seen by Whitehall, and the UK had noted that no defense contribution had been previously forthcoming since 1920, when after a protracted dispute, a single 'voluntary' payment of £300,000 was paid, on the grounds that Jersey had fiscal autonomy, and no representation in the UK Parliament.

Accordingly, both Jersey and Guernsey were now asked to pay their part in the defense of the realm. It was not hard to see why. If Jersey was capable of an act of generosity of £5 million pounds (the equivalent today of around £12,600,000) it clearly had money to burn.

The way in which the initial decision was made - like Ministerial decrees, this was decided without any discussion in the States - generated a lot of anger. The consensus was that the States, by acting precipitously, had woken up the UK Government to an extra source of revenue. Guernsey people, in particular, were even more annoyed by having to contribute as a result of Jersey's action.

There were several proposals on the table for defense, the most popular (especially with the Ministry of Defense in the UK) being a minesweeper, which would be supported in costs by Jersey, and which would hark back to the Island's maritime legacy.

The Special Committee consistently was recommending a Minesweeper as the contribution, although Deputy Rumboll favoured a contribution to search and rescue helicopter for the English Channel. In the end, Deputy Dereck Carter's proposition of a Territorial Army Unit, itself harking back to the Jersey Militia, managed to win the day, in the teeth of strong opposition.

Pierre Horsfall had won for the Special Committee the mandate (on 28th January, 1986) that "the Special Committee should enter into detailed discussions with the United Kingdom authorities regarding the feasibility of establishing in the Island a Royal Naval Reserve Unit, together with its attached minesweeper, the costs therefore being borne by the Island; and report back to the Assembly."

But the TA unit gained support, both with the public (who felt that if Jersey had to pay, at least this was not just writing a blank cheque) and the States. On 21st January, 1987 the States (including Pierre Horsfall) voted against the Minesweeper.

Looking back on the saga, Geoffrey Rowland, Bailiff of Guernsey, commented, that in 1984, when the Secretary of State in London raised with the Channel Islands the question of a financial contribution:

“It followed the Falkland Islands War and objective observers are of the opinion that the request was precipitated by Jersey making a voluntary contribution to Her Majesty’s Government. The outcome was that in 1987 a compromise was reached. Guernsey assumed, amongst other things, liability for the Alderney breakwater without giving an undertaking to Her Majesty’s Government that Guernsey would maintain it. Conspicuously Her Majesty’s Government had never over the years given any undertaking to Alderney that it would maintain the breakwater.”

So the cost of the Guernsey breakwater was part of a bargain struck which was precipitated by Jersey’s initial donation to the Falklands. Is it any wonder it is difficult for the politicians of both Islands to co-ordinate their affairs?

Recently, the matter of the Aircraft Registry, and now that of splitting the role of the Information Commissioner, show that a stance of short-sighted mutual belligerence is all too often the way ahead.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Nominee Directors: Still in the Frame

Nominee Directors: Still in the Frame

“A Latvian pensioner has emerged as one the World’s richest men – on paper. The 73 year old, appears to be a billionaire with an empire that has interests in hundreds of businesses including banks, investment funds, pharmaceuticals and shipping. But they are not his. He is revealed today as the stooge nominee director of “brass plate” companies from London to the Caribbean. He and others have also served on companies linked to a series of financial scandals. The stooge directors would have signed away rights to any powers and been unaware of any alleged fraud. “
--The Times, London 16 June 2013

The recent “Paradise Papers”, as reported in Radio 4’s “File on Four”, showed a web of companies from Nambia to Mauritius to Hong Kong. As the BBC reported:

“The fishing company in Nambia was Atlantic Pacific Fishing (APF), 51% Namibian owned. APF signed a deal with a company called Brandberg to manage their affairs, in return for 4% of the company's revenues. But despite being named after a Namibian mountain, Brandberg is based 4,000 miles away - in Mauritius. Why? Well, because of the island's double taxation treaties with Namibia, signed more than 20 years ago. In theory, this agreement means that companies operating in two countries can avoid being taxed in both by deciding which one would get the tax. In this case, it is Mauritius which gets the money.”

“The BBC went looking for Brandberg at its registered address in Port Louis, Mauritius. Only, it couldn't find the company. Where it should have been, we found instead an office for Appleby, one of the world's largest providers of offshore legal services. In fact, Brandberg the company that manages the Namibian fishing operation is actually based in Hong Kong. It was set up by Pacific Andes - one of the world's biggest fishing operations.””

“They show that Brandberg appears to have no economic activity in Mauritius. The only two directors of the company based in Mauritius both work for Appleby. And an email from a firm of auditors asking for the physical address of Brandberg is told in reply: Hong Kong.”

It appears these are nominee directors.

Another case in the Paradise Papers is equally instructive

Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais was trying to invest offshore but was having a hard time finding a place to put his money.

As ICIJ reports:

“First, Bastos tried Appleby’s office on the island of Jersey, a popular offshore financial centre in the English Channel. But Appleby employees there balked at his 2011 request to set up a shell company without being told why it was needed or what assets it would hold. One thing that concerned Appleby’s Jersey lawyers was the possibility that the shell company would own a shipping port in corruption-prone Angola.”

“Next Bastos, an amateur tennis player who runs an asset-management firm, Quantum Global Group, tried Appleby’s office on the Isle of Man, in the Irish Sea. Appleby’s management there decided that Appleby would require a seat on the offshore company’s board of directors to exercise some supervision over what they described as his high-risk business. The arrangement did not go ahead.”

“Finally, in 2013, after Angola’s sovereign wealth fund entrusted Bastos with $5 billion, he turned to another Appleby outpost: Mauritius, an island nation in the Indian Ocean, 1,200 miles off the east coast of southern Africa.”

“We are pleased to be able to act on your behalf,” Appleby’s top lawyer in Mauritius, Malcolm Moller, wrote to Bastos’ Quantum Global in October 2013.

The Affinex Group notes that:

“An offshore company registered in Mauritius must have at least one director. If you do not want to be the company director for any reason, you can use the services of a nominee director.”

“Nominee director - natural person EUR 400 a year (including one general Power of attorney verified by a Notary with Apostille and an undated resignation)”

The Guardian notes that “nominee directors” in some jurisdictions have no legal status but are “fettered” – it gives an example of a BVI company. The mechanisms used are:

·         A promise by a nominee director only to do what the real owner tells them – “I hereby declare that I shall only act upon instruction from the beneficial owners."
·         A "general power of attorney" – handing back power to the real owner. "To transact, manage and do all and every business matter … To open any bank account and to operate the same … To enter into all contracts … To collect debts, rents and other money due."
·         A signed, but undated, director's resignation letter – this can be used if the director acts in a way that the beneficial owners do not desire, but which may be part of his general fiduciary obligations as a director.

There used to be lots of nominee directors in Jersey, as noted in Mark Hampton’s 1996 book “The Offshore Interface”. But when the company law was changed in the Companies (Jersey) Law 1991 ("Companies Law"), it made directors far more responsible in law, and a lot of companies which had provided such services thought long and hard about it and ceased to do so.

Under the 1991 Law, as in the UK Company Law – there is no such legal entity as a “nominee director”. Indeed as Collas Crill point out, under the law:

“In general, a director may not fetter his discretion by contracting with other directors or with third parties to act in a certain way in the future. In other words, a directors obligation to act in accordance with his fiduciary duties would usually take precedence over any course of conduct he may have previously agreed with co directors or third parties.”

In Hawkes v Cuddy (2009) EWCA Civ 291 Stanley Burton LJ stated that:

"In my judgement, the fact that a director of a company has been nominated to that office by a shareholder does not, of itself, impose any duty on the director owed to his nominator. The director may owe duties to his nominator if he is an employee or officer of the nominator, or by reason of a formal or informal agreement with his nominator, but such duties do not arise out of his nomination, but out of a separate agreement or office. Such duties cannot however, detract from his duty to the company of which he is a director when he is acting as such.

That is not to say that nominee directors may not exist in Jersey or even in the UK. TCS Group UK says:

“We can provide UK or overseas nominee directors.”

Although it adds the caveat:

“A nominee director is not recognised by law and as such has the same legal obligations as a client providing their own directors. Where we are requested to provide nominees we will therefore require a full understanding of the nature of your business and also want to know who the beneficial owners of the company are, we will require certified copies of the passport and a recent utility bill or other proof of address for all beneficial owners of the company. This information is provided to us in the strictest confidence and we would only disclose it if required to do so by law.”

Comsure cite a case looking at “Duties of nominee directors faced with fraud” in the case of Central Bank of Ecuador and IAMF v Conticorp SA and others (2013). It notes that:

The Court “found the defendants guilty of dishonestly assisting and procuring the ‘nominee director’” to act in breach of his fiduciary duties, who acted at all times on the instructions of the other defendants.”

The Privy Council held: “Mr Taylor was in breach of fiduciary duty to IAMF because he failed to exercise any independent judgement.”

Comsure note that:

“The law relating to nominee directors’ duties is broadly speaking the same in the UK as it is in the Bahamas. As Lord Mance put it, “A nominee director is not entitled to forego, or surrender to another, any exercise of his discretion, however paltry the amount he may be paid.” In short, a nominee director is in no different a position to a normal director when it comes to the exercise of this duties.”

In the UK, in 2013, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) noted that in the UK alone:

“Assuming that an individual acting as the director of over 50 companies is almost certainly acting as a nominee director, it estimates that 1,175 individuals are nominee directors and that 141,600 companies have nominee directors on their boards ‒ many of which are of course perfectly legitimate.”

Valetime Group notes that “nominee director” has no legal status, and yet can exist. However, they point out that: “Nominee directors share the same level of legal responsibilities as any other director. These responsibilities cannot be signed away to others or be treated as non-existent.”

And they state:

“We can provide directors and other nominee services, support to business processes & office services; and much else to present an UK face to a company’s image.”

And notes that:

“It must not be overlooked that nominee directors share the same level of responsibilities as do normal directors.  Their obligations cannot simply be signed away and directors cannot treat responsibilities as being non-existent (an accusation known in law as “abrogation”.)”

The OECD book “Behind the Corporate Veil: Using Corporate Entities for Illicit Purposes” comments that:

“Nominee directors and corporations sewing as directors [“corporate directors") can also be misused to conceal the identity of the beneficial owner and their use renders director information reported to the companies registry less useful. Nominee directors appear as a director on all company documents and in official registries (if any] but pass on all duties required to be performed by a director to the beneficial owner of the company. In many jurisdictions, the nominee or corporate director is not required to own shares in the company in which it serves as a director.”

“Certain jurisdictions, including most OECD Member countries and OFCs such as Cyprus. Isle of Man. Jersey. Malta. and the Netherlands Antilles, do not recognise nominee directors. Consequently a person who accepts a directorship is subject to all of the requirements and obligations of a director, including fiduciary obligations, notwithstanding the fact that he is acting as a nominee. “

“In certain jurisdictions, directors cannot be indemnified by the beneficial owner. Non-recognition of the concept of nominee director has one indirect benefit — those furnishing or acting as professional directors are likely to take greater precautions to ensure that their client - the beneficial owner - does not misuse the corporate vehicle for illicit purposes. “

And it gives an example:

“In the Netherlands Antilles, which does not recognise the concept of nominee directors, reputable trust companies that are asked to serve as directors will conduct a rigorous background check on their clients and. in the case of bearer share companies, will insist on the immobilisation of those shares as a condition to accepting a directorship. “

To curb the availability and use of nominee directorships certain jurisdictions, such as Ireland, impose a limit on the number of directorships a person may hold. In Ireland, a person may hold a maximum of 25 directorships. In the United Kingdom, the Companies Act requires disclosure of the identity of "shadow" directors, who are defined as persons on whose instructions the directors of a company are accustomed to act.

Even Mauritius does not recognise the concept of “nominee directors”, but it seems that some jurisdictions are better than others at ensuring directors face the full legal responsibility of their office. Jersey and the Isle of Man seem far better than Mauritius at ensuring that any directors acting as nominees do so as if they were not nominees, but properly appointed directors and not just stooges for the beneficial owners. 

But it would help to strengthen the case against nominee directors if the directors were made to declare by law, if they had any promissory notes, powers of attorney or unsigned resignation letters as outlined by the Guardian’s piece above so that their nominee status could be exposed in public.