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Archive for November 2009

Make a vid for freedom and defy #Trafigura!

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Earlier today we showed up outside Trafigura’s offices to video ourselves reading out the information they have been trying so hard to suppress.

If you couldn’t make the protest, you can still help to drive the point home, by reading out the ‘banned text’ in your own Youtube video at home or work.

The more of us do this, the more clearly we can send out the message that the internet can’t be gagged, and that efforts to do so are doomed to backfire.

Please be as original and creative as you like, but if you need a starting point here’s the basic text that we’ll be using:

I am [name] and I’m using my freedom under the 1688 Bill of Rights to read the following quote from Parliament, in defiance of Trafigura:

“The recent example of the release of toxic waste in the Ivory Coast leading to the deaths of a number of people and the hospitalisation of thousands underlines the risks involved in the movement and management of waste.”

The next step is then to upload the video to Youtube (or Vimeo or Yfrog), with the word “Trafigura” somewhere in the description text, and tell as many people as possible. If you’re on Twitter, please do spread the word by Tweeting the link to your vid with the #Trafigura hashtag.

We’ll be embedding and linking to every video we find, and eventually editing them all together as part of a top-secret new web 2.0 project, so please do let us know via this page once your work is published!

Here’s Kate defying #Trafigura!

…and here’s Chris

Here’s Simon


Here’s Sly…

Here’s Reggie

…and here’s Lianne

Here’s Alex defying #Trafigura!

Here’s Jimbo Gunn defying #Trafigura to the tune of “Ode to Joy”

Here’s Derek defying #Trafigura

Here’s Dom defying #Trafigura

Here’s Lauren’s cat defying #Trafigura

Here’s Peregrine defying #Trafigura

Here’s Joel Sams defying #Trafigura with gravitas!

Here’s a robot space alien defying #Trafigura

Here’s one I made earlier


Here’s Paul defying #Trafigura

Written by Richard Wilson

November 25, 2009 at 1:03 pm

Tweet if you support us! Online flashmob – 1pm, Thursday 26th November

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*UPDATE* – Make a vid for freedom! We’re defying #Trafigura, and you can too!

Unable to join the #Trafigura flashmob in person this Thursday? Still want to help? Well now you can…

We will be using our freedom under the 1688 Bill of Rights to stand outside Trafigura’s office and quote from a Parliamentary debate which highlighted an allegation that the company has been very keen to suppress:

Newsnight” is being threatened by the lawyers for Trafigura, Carter-Ruck, if it repeats an allegation against Carter-Ruck that deaths were caused by the dumping of toxic waste in Ivory Coast, even though in 2007 Hansard reported the Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Regulations laid by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs before Parliament, and a memorandum of explanation to those regulations stated:

“The recent example of the release of toxic waste in the Ivory Coast leading to the deaths of a number of people and the hospitalisation of thousands underlines the risks involved in the movement and management of waste.”

How can it be that that can be in Hansard, yet there are still threats of legal action against “Newsnight” if it reports the very same wording that is used in there?

From 1pm onwards on Thursday 26th November, please show your support for the campaign by Tweeting the following, and encouraging others to do the same:

Beat the gag! “toxic waste in the Ivory Coast leading to the deaths of a number of people” #Trafigura http://bit.ly/4DvaNV

OR

I’m tweeting banned text: “toxic waste in the Ivory Coast leading to the deaths of a number of people” #Trafigura http://tr.im/FBZi

Click here to help us defy Trafigura on Youtube!

Click here for more information about the campaign.

Written by Richard Wilson

November 23, 2009 at 10:18 pm

*Flipcam Flashmob!* Multimedia protest @ #Trafigura’s London office, 1pm Thurs Nov 26th

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*UPDATE* Sign up for the event on Facebook here – and if you can’t make the protest, you can make a vid for freedom here, or support us on Twitter.

We’re going to ‘flashmob’ Trafigura ( 2 Portman Street, London W1H 6DU ) at 1pm on Thursday November 26th. The main aim is to highlight the fact that Trafigura/Carter Ruck are, even now, still suing the BBC for libel - (over this report) and thus continuing to cast a chill over the UK media.

The key feature of the protest will be an act of defiance against Trafigura’s attempt to stop the reporting of the fact that their toxic waste is alleged to have caused a number of deaths (ie. not just ‘flu-like symptoms’).

The plan is to quote verbatim from Hansard, as (despite some uncertainty recently) we know that we have an absolute legal right to quote from Parliamentary proceedings.

According to Evan Harris MP (quoted here in a Parliamentary debate, hence we can quote him):

“Newsnight” is being threatened by the lawyers for Trafigura, Carter-Ruck, if it repeats an allegation against Carter-Ruck that deaths were caused by the dumping of toxic waste in Ivory Coast, even though in 2007 Hansard reported the Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Regulations laid by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs before Parliament, and a memorandum of explanation to those regulations stated:

“The recent example of the release of toxic waste in the Ivory Coast leading to the deaths of a number of people and the hospitalisation of thousands underlines the risks involved in the movement and management of waste.”

How can it be that that can be in Hansard, yet there are still threats of legal action against “Newsnight” if it reports the very same wording that is used in there?

So the plan is to turn up outside their offices with as many people (and cameraphones, mini-video cams, etc.) as possible, and recite this text – either all of the above, or just the two lines Harris is quoting from the ‘memorandum’.

The highlight will be Sly and Reggie, with their “Suburban Pirate” mobile (a lovely old Morris pickup), which has a public address system they will employ to a similar purpose, together with the rather good song they’ve recorded specifically on this subject.

There’s a rumour that (subject to local byelaws) we’ll also be drinking a toast to freedom outside Trafigura’s office, with some banana bread beer…

Written by Richard Wilson

November 19, 2009 at 8:57 pm

Posted in Democracy

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Standby for more #Trafigura fun and frolics

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We’re still finalising the details, but on Thursday evening I’ll be unveiling the next step in the ongoing campaign to persuade Trafigura to end their attacks on freedom of speech in the UK. It will involve music, and talking, and cameras, and a number of TBC peaceful, legal activities!

If you’d like to get involved, please do contact me via richardcameronwilson AT yahoo dot co dot uk

Written by Richard Wilson

November 17, 2009 at 9:51 pm

BBC Newsnight are still being sued for libel by Trafigura and Carter-Ruck

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From The Guardian

Carter Ruck’s support today for some of the changes put forward in the report came amid continuing criticism of firms that launch expensive libel claims against journalists and other publishers, often using conditional fee agreements which result in higher costs for defendants.

“If we don’t get reforms, what is there to stop a law firm like Carter Ruck bombarding journalists and suppressing information that is in the public interest for three years?” said Meirion Jones, producer at BBC’s Newsnight, which is currently being sued over its reporting of oil trading firm Trafigura.

Written by Richard Wilson

November 17, 2009 at 9:10 pm

Time to cut off state handouts to the Quilliam Foundation?

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Until the Quilliam Foundation made the very ill-advised decision to threaten Craig Murray with legal action, I had assumed that they were a vaguely OK sort of conflict-resolutey-type charity. Now I’ve learned that they’re not actually a charity but a limited company, who nonetheless receive huge amounts of state funding, and that they’ve chosen to pour that money into Britain’s notorious and abusive libel system.

More background on Quilliam’s “toxic take on liberty” in this enlightening article by Douglas Murray:

The nature of QF and its funding arrangements ought to be a source of concern to all British taxpayers, no matter what their political or religious opinions, and finally be brought out in the open. I know very well how these people work because I used to employ some of them. Around the time Ed Husain came to public notice, I recruited him to work with me (through Civitas, the organisation that originally hosted the Centre for Social Cohesion). He liked my views and I had great hopes for him to become a source for real reform. This gave him the time and financial freedom to set up QF. But the increasing oddness of his opinions (particularly relating to my own freedom of speech) meant that eventually we parted ways. What is scandalous is that QF – set up to counter extremists such as their former colleagues in Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT) – has done nothing substantial to challenge HT in the UK or radicalisation on UK campuses, the things it was actually set up for.

So what are we getting for our money? Husain said that “It would be morally wrong of a taxpayer-funded programme designed to prevent terrorism if it was not designed to gather intelligence in order to stop that terrorism from happening.” It is striking that someone who has received almost £1m directly from the Contest agenda and Prevent strategy is under the impression that Prevent is about spying. This is certainly not what Prevent is about.

Husain also seems to be under the impression that if a Muslim seems “suspicious” to anyone, the police should be called straight away. In fact it is social workers, youth-offending teams and other such bodies who are supposed to be the focal point of any such concern. Unless a crime has been committed or is about to be committed there is no reason why any innocent person should be reported to the police. Husain, in particular, ought to know the difference between a police state – especially since his co-director was until recently in such a state’s prisons – and a developed liberal democracy.

This anti-extremism organisation seems entirely unaware of the tenets of the society it is paid to extol. Anyone who has any knowledge of how counter-terrorism was practised in Northern Ireland or elsewhere knows that the bar for monitoring people (let alone, as the Guardian has reported, the collection of information on innocent peoples’ personal lives) has to remain exceedingly high for society to retain any semblance of freedom.

Written by Richard Wilson

November 13, 2009 at 9:36 pm

Posted in Don't Get Fooled Again

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“Skeptical Voter” launches today…

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From Skeptical Voter

NB – I should say that pretty much all the really difficult aspects of this project, including the writing of the press release below, were sorted out by the outstanding duo Craig Lucas and James O’ Malley!

Politicians to be asked for evidence of their commitment to evidence

New Skeptical Voter project hopes to hold MPs and candidates views on evidence-based policy to account

Author and campaigner Richard Wilson today launched a new campaign to hold to account the views of MPs and candidates standing at the next General Election with regard to ‘evidence-based policy’. ‘Skeptical Voter’ is an apolitical grassroots project by the ‘skeptic’ community – those who have a scientific worldview who believe that evidence should be at the centre of all public policy making. The Skeptical Voter website intends to identify which parliamentary candidates embrace the use of evidence as a means to inform their decisions and which prefer to obfuscate, ignore or suppress the evidence for political convenience.

Today sees the launch of phase one of their plan – Richard is asking for contributions to a collaborative ‘wiki’ on the website and for suggestions for questions to ask to MPs – the best of which will be put into a survey that will be sent to all 2010 General Election candidates.

Speaking about the project, Richard said, “It’s based on two principles and a hypothesis: The first principle is that everyone has a right to know where their MP stands on things like the role of scientific advisors, spending NHS cash on so-called ‘alternative’ treatments like homeopathy and the role of the libel laws in scientific discussion. The second principle is that MPs who stand on the wrong side of these issues ought to be held to account. Our hypothesis is that there are enough of us out there to make a splash if we get organised.”

Those wishing to get involved, or find out more information can go to the Skeptical Voter website at http://www.skeptical-voter.org

Written by Richard Wilson

November 13, 2009 at 7:54 pm

Posted in Don't Get Fooled Again

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