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 - 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…