Tuesday 25 January 2005

Avarice Anonymous

A business opportunity for the non-thinking expert
For years, a number of enterprising but nefarious and dishonest people have traded successfully in exploiting an abundant resource of gullibility and greed. Surprisingly, this resource has been more abundant in the West than in the Third World where these business deals are hatched from.
It is with amusement that one has watched the re-living of that fable, moral, idiom or ditty - "A fool and his money are soon parted" [1]. Whilst one does not in anyway condone these activities, having an education and being dumb is probably the congenital illness of many who are duped into "Get rich quick - GRQ" schemes.
The only GRQ I tacitly approve of is the moderate activity of minimum funding of a licensed lottery where the fact is you have to be in it to win it, your numbers could come up, but it is not something to invest in and break the bank. One ticket with your chosen numbers is just as good as a thousand with your numbers, only one set of numbers would take the jackpot, if and only if Lady Luck called at your boudoir.
Dear Partner? Are you talking to me?
Anyway, back to this scamming business, I hardly get as excited about email as when someone out of the blue sends me some information with a header like this:
Dear Partner
My name is Owen Kings; I am the credit manager in a bank here in the West Africa.
Then the proposition
I am the account officer of a foreigner named Gerald Welsh who died in an air crash along with his wife on the 31st October 1999 in an Egyptian airline 990 with other passengers on board. You can confirm this from the website below which was published by CNN WEBSITE.
Fine, there is a few million dollars to be made for masquerading as the long lost heir of a deceased Bwana; say William Wilberforce for example or a despot like Sani Abacha, warlord or corrupt African Mandarin, whatever.
In some versions of the letter the amount in words does not correspond to the figures. [2]
Take time to find out
A simple act of detective footwork – that is – searching the Web for either “Owen Kings” or “Gerald Welsh” reveals it is a 419-scam. [3] Otherwise known as Advance Fee Fraud. In my view it is simply Wily Fox meeting Stupid Chicken – the result of that meeting hardly needs extraneous imagination.
The conclusion of this deal normally includes you sending your account details and a fee to help unlock the account. This fee can run into millions of dollars with the hope of earning more millions.
However, you get fleeced, No not robbed; because you willingly parted with money with the inadvertent intent of being an accomplice in a crime that might bring great reward.
The business proposition at times end with this nice sounding part
Because I intend to retire after the conclusion of this transaction. If this proposal is acceptable by you, please endeavour to contact me immediately. Do not take undue advantage of the trust I have bestowed in you by informing you of this transaction from my bank as I will advise you to kindly desist from responding at all if you do NOT intend to render any assistance. Endeavour to respond via my confidential and official email address which is richschol_white@yahoo.com or call me on +234-8034-7444-81 for detail information.
Indeed, your partner intends to retire on your funds and does not take kindly to your further inquiries if you are not gullible enough to respond in the affirmative to the proposal. The cheek!
My Retort
I will help you; we are not stupid people here.
First of all, your CNN reference does not exist.
Secondly, a search for Gerald Welsh on Google reveals that your letter is a 419 scam.
Thirdly, I have reported your nuisance to the ISP staff so your account would be removed forthwith.
Finally, get yourself a job and stop this dishonest stupidity, that you have the gall to call me partner in your nefarious scheme is too much of an insult to contemplate an effective response other than a rotten expletive.
Saving people from themselves
What one finds most surprising is the number of sites that offer help to people who have succumbed to their greed just as fish take to water. One wonders what help can be offered for the lacking of basic commonsense in the quest for easy money.
Luckily, I am not in law enforcement, the total redress for this situation is to both capture the scammer and the scammed who in addition to the shame of being humiliated and having lost money should be taken off the street.
These people are the selfsame sort who feed the beast of corruption that makes many Third World societies ungovernable.
Should there be a crime for giving in to your greed? Well not if you are having cheese cake, for the rest, the blame can only be yours - Surely!
[1] A fool and his money are soon parted
[2] Foreigner Named Gerald Welsh who Died in an Air Crash along with his Wife on the 31st October 1999
[3] Nigeria - The 419 Coalition Website
[4] 419 Known Operatives - FraudWatch International

Sunday 23 January 2005

Of Tsunamis and people

The Chain of years
Finally, one has gotten to that point where it is impossible to not realise that the New Year has come and gone and there are new things on the horizon.
In the time before Christmas 2004 and now, there have been such world changing events it has been impossible not to be affected, concerned or involved, but how much of the response to all this is genuine, reflective and the impetus to do better at working for a just and free world?
Tsunami of water
Starting with the tsunami which made a devastating visitation to the Indian Ocean wiping out almost 200,000 souls, it appears from all analysis that whilst the tsunami was not preventable preventative measures could have been taken to prevent that magnitude of loss of life if people who observed that earthquake had been more imaginative in their understanding of that event.
An earthquake of that magnitude 9.0 on the Richter scale with its epicentre in the middle of an ocean would almost always result in a tsunami on its surrounding shores. In some cases people had up to 3 hours to evacuate before being overwhelmed with such damaging force.
Whilst there is no sophisticated tsunami warning system and outlying areas were inhabited by rural folk who live in standards of poverty unseen in the West, but also with dazzling amounts of contentment not seen in the West either, it is debatable that every house does not have a wireless and probably a town-crier.
A wireless, one must say is a radio, the news of impending danger could have gone out on the primitive communication device and been much help.
However, at the cost of probably billions of dollars an early warning system would be implemented for the sophisticated and hopefully, not to the exclusion of the less technologically savvy.
It simply goes without saying that the quantity of scientific brains lacking common sense is increasing alarmingly, the inability to use imagination in the useful salvation of life when pigeon-holed in the scientific laboratories and research centres without thinking of cost and profit is becoming unforgivable.
It is that same misguided notion that makes September the eleventh 2001 most poignant, America was not attacked with bombs, missiles or military weapons rather, it was 4 fully laden airplanes - passengers and fuel - that flew into the twin towers and the Pentagon - the advent of Mr George W. Bush's interesting presidency.
Basically, security, freedom, democracy, safety are in the hands of the citizens of the world, not the tools that we use to bring them about. What would seismologists have done if the earthquake were closer to home?
The exhortation rings along once again - always think globally, no matter what is happening locally. [1]
The Tsunami of aid
Yesterday at a benefit concert in the United Kingdom, GBP 1,25 million was raised for the victims of the tsunami disaster just at the same time that it was making the news that tetanus is becoming the biggest threat to survivors and the relief volunteers.
Pledges close to $2 billion have been made with so much noise made of the generosity of the West and the miserliness of the Arab states.
It comes to might that teaching of Jesus where He exhorts that works of charity should be such that the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing.
For once, I have distanced myself from the hysteria of donations whilst trying to see where if the pledges would be fulfilled first, and then if all that would really be used for the affected.
The Tsunami of democracies
First with Ukraine, who have finally been able to inaugurate their chosen president because one principle was about the people and the other was about methods and tools.
Democracy should always be about people, and if any lesson can be learnt from the trial of democracy in Ukraine; the will of the people should and must prevail.
The Palestinians had an opportunity to elect someone after the death of the man who kept the Palestinian cause in the public eye. Mr Yasser Arafat did not lead his people to the chosen land, he was no Moses.
What he saw from the mountain top was not pleasing to him nor could he persuade his people of that in 2000. It was an opportunity missed, but he hoped he would get better. No matter how Mr Arafat is castigated, he remains the true spirit of the Palestinian cause any successor would be dwarfed in his shoes, but a new beginning beckons.
Next change? Israel.
An inauguration costing $40 million; and this for a re-election that nobody but Americans wanted. The tendency for a leader of a constituency of just under 300 million people of a global population close to 6.3 billion to intend and imply that that election leads to world presidency needs to be nipped at the bud.
The slanted American democratic practices which I have covered in many ways in my blogs do not have the kudos to be extrapolated to mean global leadership.
One could be forgiven for thinking the inauguration speech was a Sunday morning TV evangelist sermon on freedom and liberty, but then for someone who has such strong moral values, determination and convictions, I am at loss in seeing the difference between Mr George W. Bush and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini – the former leading a democracy masquerading as a theocracy in the US and the latter having lead a theocracy masquerading as a democracy in Iran.
Basically, the government of the people cannot move back to a theocracy in the earth that we live in today, because the concepts of God, authority, leadership and attendant interpretation of those issues impact of the citizenry in different ways.
The agreement of purpose cannot only be imposed by accepted tyranny as in Iran or the Patriot Act in the States exemplified in the so vividly in Guantanamo Bay.
Next on the democratic list is Iraq, where the candidature is hardly known to the electorate and chaos reigns as if the birthplace of chaos is Babylon, it is unlikely Nostradamus foresaw that amazing genius that has used the force of freedom to sacrifice life, peace, sovereignty and common sense in one blow.
If there is any change, it cannot be the increase of peace for the foreseeable future.
Nevertheless, it appears the year 2005 would be ever so interesting – how you read interesting would depend on if you are a native English speaker from Britain or from elsewhere.
[1] The Asian Tsunami: Think Globally, Locally, Journalistically

Saturday 1 January 2005

My heartfelt gratitude

Dear Friend, Supporter and Reader,

I want to thank you very much for supporting my blog. I appreciate the time you have taken to donate in acknowledgement of my work and I am flattered by your contribution borne from your interest in my writing.

I assume you have been a regular reader of my blog which I started in December 2003 and probably have left comments on my blog in the past either on http://akin.blog-city.com which will close in January 2012 or http://akinblog.nl which is the new location of my blog.

Writing has been a hobby and sometimes a serious pursuit, your contribution is both an endorsement however tacit and an encouragement.

I hope you will continue to visit my blog and support my efforts; your kind contribution will be helpful. Please leave a comment if you can about how you have found my blog and writing, it will provide an opportunity for me to personally thank you for your generosity.

Accept my gratitude and kindest regards,

Akin Akintayo