The MasterFeeds: December 2012

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December 27, 2012

This is an office of the Muslim Brotherhood” #AlJazeera has become the mother of invention


From the Call Me Cynical Blog comes this translated interview with the former Al Jazeera German correspondent who recently resigned claiming the station has become nothing more than a mouthpiece for the Muslim Brotherhood - something most rational people knew long ago...
I have excerpted some of the more interesting passages below:
Aktham Suliman’s farewell to Al Jazeera

I took the liberty of translating this excellent piece by Akhtham Suliman, Al-Jazeera’s longtime Germany correspondent, in which he details the reasons for his recent resignation from the station. There are interviews with Suliman circulating in English, but this piece,published in the FAZ, includes a number of poignant anecdotes, which paint a disturbing picture of Al-Jazeera’s decline. 
A farewell to Al Jazeera: Forget what you have seen!  
By Aktham Suliman
11.12.2012, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
The news station Al Jazeera was committed to the truth. Now the truth is being twisted. It is about politics, not about journalism. For reporters this means: it’s time to go.
Aleppo, December 2012: An Al Jazeera correspondent had images relating to Syria that didn’t suit the station’s headquarters and which were not broadcast. This is no isolated incident.
...
... Resistance to occupation is an internationally recognized right, irrespective of sympathies. It was the time of – at least relative – clarity and self-confidence at Al Jazeera. One felt committed to the truth and principles of independent journalism, no matter what the cost. Criticism of the channel from the outside and especially in front of rolling cameras was seen as confirmation, as welcome promotional material that was spliced together and repeatedly rebroadcast on our station.
The declining station 
...
“Ali! It’s me, your colleague from Berlin. Have you seen the alleged e-mail correspondence between you and Rola circulating on the Internet?” I asked Ali Hashem,  the Al-Jazeera correspondent in Lebanon, on the phone earlier this year. I had just stumbled upon the alleged email communications between Al Jazeera staff published by the so-called “Syrian Electronic Army”, a Syrian pro-government hacker group. In one of the emails, the correspondent Ali Hashem had  told Syrian TV presenter Rola Ibrahim, who was working at the network’s headquarters in Qatar, that he had seen and filmed armed Syrian revolutionaries on the border with Lebanon in 2011. 
The channel didn’t broadcast the images because they showed an armed deployment, which did not fit the desired narrative of a peaceful uprising. “My bosses told me: forget what you have seen!” Hashem wrote to Rola, as published. She is said to have replied that she was faring no better. She had been “massively humiliated, just because I embarrassed Zuhair Salem, the spokesman for the opposition Muslim Brotherhood in Syria, with my questions during a news broadcast. They threatened to exclude me from interviews relating to Syria and to restrict me to presenting the late night news, under the pretext that I was jeopardizing the station’s balance.”
Mistakes become the routine
“Desirable” and less desirable images? Penalties for interviews that are “too critical”? At Al Jazeera? Here it must be said that in the online propaganda war between supporters and opponents of the Syrian regime, anything is possible, including lies and deception, as the months since the outbreak of the uprising in mid-March 2011 have shown. Regime supporters wanted to show that the rebellion is solely waged by “armed gangs.” Regime opponents wanted to show that the Syrian army is the only [party] committing [acts of] violence. 
That’s why I asked Ali Hashem whether the story was true. His answer was devastating: “Yes, it’s true. Those are really my emails with Rola. I do not know what to do now.”
Several days later, he knew the answer. Ali Hashem left.
Leaving is the only option that remains when these mistakes, which are altogether common in the fast-paced news industry, become the routine and are no longer recognized, treated or penalized as mistakes. 
“There must be consequences. What do we do if the supervisor who told Ali that he should forget what he had seen, tells us one day: Forget that a hand has five fingers! Does a hand have more or fewer fingers based on the whims and needs of our superiors?” I remarked on Al Jazeera’s Talkback, an internal platform for employees. 
No reaction. Internal discussions were no longer fashionable at Al Jazeera. 
This process did not remain an isolated case. On the contrary: it became a lesson. It quickly became clear to employees: this is about politics, not about journalism. More precisely: about Qatari foreign policy, which had subtly started to employ Al Jazeera as a tool to praise friends and attack enemies.
A hostage becomes a turncoat
It was not the first incident. When Al Jazeera’s Japan correspondent, Fadi Salameh, came to Doha at the end of 2011 to help out for a month at the channel’s headquarters, colleagues asked him how he – as a Syrian – assessed or felt about their Syria coverage. He responded evasively with something like: So-so. And why was that? He said: well, the issue of accuracy is no longer taken as seriously as it ought to be, and mentioned the story of his cousin, who  had been depicted as a deserter from the Syrian military only a few days earlier in a video broadcast on the channel. He was said to have defected to the Free Syrian army in a short recording placed online by the rebels.
But that could well be true, replied a colleague. “Not at all.” Fadi replied. “That was a hostage video. The fear apparent on my cousin’s face, having just been captured by the rebels, was unmistakable.” 
Later Fadi went on to say that Al Jazeera now presumes to know better than one’s own family members what is happening to someone in Syria. “Only when I said that my cousin had disappeared two days before his wedding, were some people willing to reconsider,” Fadi said. “Thank God no one got the idea that the groom was trying to escape a forced marriage.” He doesn’t muster a laugh. His cousin never returned and is presumed dead. When the story was leaked to a Lebanese newspaper, this was the response from a person in charge at Al Jazeera: “Oh, those [damn] yellow papers…”
“This is an office of the Muslim Brotherhood”
Al Jazeera has become the mother of invention: Those who have protested to the editorial board or turned their backs on the station are “supporters of the Syrian regime,” as  Yaser Al Zaatra, the Jordanian author affiliated with the Islamist camp, wrote this spring in a guest article published on –  it almost defies belief – Al Jazeera’s very own website.
The attacks against its employees [waged] on its own website are meant to obscure the fact that Syria is not the core issue in this internal conflict, but rather the station’s lack of professionalism. Cairo’s Al-Jazeera correspondent Samir Omer moved to Sky News earlier this year not because of Syria, but rather, as he told his colleagues: “Because I could not stand it anymore. This is no longer an Al-Jazeera office. This is an office of the Muslim Brotherhood” – in other words, the very group that is supported by Qatar in all Arab countries, and is heralded as the winner of the” Arab Spring.”



Aktham Suliman’s farewell to Al Jazeera


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December 25, 2012

Merry christmas!! Brevan Howard Paid Partners 270 Million Pounds Last Year - Bloomberg


Brevan Howard Paid Partners 270 Million Pounds Last Year

Brevan Howard Asset Management LLP paid its partners as much as 269.8 million pounds ($436 million) in the 12 months ended in March, more than double the amount it paid them a year earlier, after the hedge fund’s investment performance beat rivals.
The highest-paid partner, who wasn’t identified, got 78.9 million pounds, up from 64.8 million pounds in the year earlier, according to a filing by the London-based fund posted Dec. 22 on the U.K. Companies House website. Brevan Howard had 49 designated members during the period, meaning each partner received an average pay of as much as 5.5 million pounds, the filing showed,
A sign is displayed on the wall outside outside 55 Baker Street, the building housing the offices of Brevan Howard Asset Management LP, in London. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg
Brevan Howard’s Master Fund, the firm’s biggest hedge fund, with more than $25 billion of assets, gained 12 percent in 2011. Competing macro funds, which trade currencies, interest rates and bonds to try to take advantage of global economic trends, declined 7.4 percent on average, as they were tripped up by the euro-area sovereign-debt crisis and slowing growth in Asia.
Officials at Brevan Howard, which manages a total of $39 billion, declined to comment.
Hedge funds earn money from fees to manage clients’ assets and for positive investment performance. Brevan Howard, Europe’s second-largest hedge fund based on assets, made 371.9 million pounds in fees in the year ended March 31, compared with 236.8 million pounds a year earlier.

Further Gains

The Master Fund has advanced about 3 percent this year through Dec. 14, according to investors. The firm has been hiring credit traders in 2012, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s Wayne Leslie and Credit Suisse Group AG’s Josh Bertman, as the Master Fund trails its historical gains.
Alan Howard, 49, founded the hedge fund in 2002 with four other traders from Credit Suisse’s proprietary fixed-income trading desk. Howard, whose personal wealth was estimated at 1.4 billion pounds by the Sunday Times in April, relocated in 2010 to Geneva from London after the U.K. government announced plans to raise taxes on top earners.
BlueCrest Capital Management LLP, Europe’s third-biggest hedge fund, with $32 billion of assets, made 502 million pounds in fees for all of 2011, according to a Companies House filing in September. Winton Capital Management LLC, the fourth-biggest, with $28 billion of assets, generated 351 million pounds of fees last year, the hedge fund said in an October filing. Europe’s biggest hedge fund is Man Group Plc (EMG) with $60 billion of assets.
To contact the reporter on this story: Jesse Westbrook in London at jwestbrook1@bloomberg.net
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Edward Evans at eevans3@bloomberg.net
Brevan Howard Paid Partners 270 Million Pounds Last Year - Bloomberg

December 19, 2012

#Greek #bond bet pays off for hedge fund

#Loeb's Third Point sits on $500m profit after making a bet that Greece would not be forced to leave the eurozone, bucking the trend in the industry

Financial Times, 3:27pm Tuesday December 18th, 2012
Greek bond bet pays off for hedge fund
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By Sam Jones, Hedge Fund Correspondent
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Loeb's Third Point sits on $500m profit after making a bet that Greece would not be forced to leave the eurozone, bucking the trend in the industry
Read the full article at: http://www.ft.com/cms/a11f5be4-4940-11e2-b25b-00144feab49a.html



December 11, 2012

Three men arrested in UK Libor inquiry

Serious Fraud Office says it arrested three men

Financial Times, 5:54pm Tuesday December 11th, 2012
Three men arrested in UK Libor inquiry
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By Caroline Binham, Daniel Schäfer and Brooke Masters in London
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Serious Fraud Office says it arrested three men aged 33, 41 and 47 and suspects were 'all British nationals currently living in the United Kingdom'

Read the full article at: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/814cafd2-4388-11e2-a68c-00144feabdc0.html

December 5, 2012

Syria: Al Assad Reportedly Considering Seeking Asylum In Latin America - Stratfor


Syria: Al Assad Reportedly Considering Seeking Asylum In Latin America

December 5, 2012 | 1416 GMT
Syrian President Bashar al Assad is considering seeking political asylum in Latin America for himself, his family and his associates if forced to flee Damascus, an unnamed source in Caracas said Dec. 5, Haaretz reported. Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al-Miqdad held meetings in Cuba, Venezuela and Ecuador over the past week and delivered classified personal letters from al Assad to local leaders, the source said.

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