Monday, November 21, 2005

Europhiles thwarted again

Qualified, professional archivists concerned about the European Union (EU)'s tendency to seek control of the cultural heritage content of the Internet through the Malvine Project (see our previous blog A Common Cultural Heritage?) will be overjoyed to learn of a recent development which will ensure the true diversity of cultural heritage content on the World Wide Web.

At the recent World Summit on the Information Society in Tunisia a proposal for the United Nations to assume control of the World Wide Web in place of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which answers to the United States Department of Commerce, was defeated.

Execution vans awaiting their first call of the day

The United Kingdom was not represented at the conference as despite having invented the World Wide Web it is no longer a self-determining, sovereign nation state. Instead our interests were supposedly represented by the EU, which aligned itself in favour of the proposal with such fellow dictatorships as China, Cuba, Iran and Zimbabwe. The move was only foiled by the USA, Australia, Canada and New Zealand so three cheers for the English speaking free world and the Anglosphere.

Readers may glimpse something of the nature of the EU's preferred bedfellows in relation to China whose mass execution programme provides a disturbing indication of the EU's direction in foreign policy.

Read more on China's fleet of mobile execution vans and mass executions by firing squad.

It is apparent that several UK archive bodies have an interest in fostering relations with China in particular. They are led by the EU whose foreign policy includes arms exports to China and collaboration in development of Galileo, a GPS missile targeting system to rival the USA's version. Galileo's cover was blown by Christopher Booker in The Sunday Telegraph.

The Museum, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) has recently (9 November 2005) hosted a visiting Chinese delegation and we don't suppose human rights issues were high on the agenda. The subject of the visit was Workforce Development. SQA archivists in this country will be glad to note the EU has not yet got as far as dealing with dissident archive staff who protest at compulsory professional development by means of mobile execution vans!

Meanwhile the Victoria and Albert Museum and British Museum also trumpet partnerships with museums across China, click here and in 2003 MLA published a paper on International Activity in English Museums, Archives and Libraries indicating government policy of international cultural heritage outreach. We also believe the UK National Archives is keen to export is electronic documents and records management to overseas countries, possibly including China. It is not apparent that quasi-governmental archives bodies have expressed any moral qualms about nurturing such regimes as China.

SQA will watch with interest any dealings TNA and other representatives of the British archives profession have with China and other repressive dictatorships.

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