Monday, 10 May 2010

Dr Gary K Busch – Some Background

I became aware of Dr Busch about two weeks ago when he left a comment on a Trafigura post of mine about the Investigative Journalists who an international award for their reporting of “The Trafigura Affair”.

“Does it not bother anyone in the investigative journalism business that, however earnest their quest and honourable their endeavours, that their facts were wrong; their 'science' was specious; their 'medical evidence incompetent;and their absence of any political investigation of a long-term black market in dirty fuels in Abijan makes their investigation pointless and biased.They may not like Trafigura for the sin of being successful but they hold no moral high ground as their researches were amateurish and blind to facts.”

He then left me a link to an article which I posted in full.

Because I have mentioned him and quoted him on several occasions I thought it worthwhile to post what I know about him.  I do this NOT to denigrate him or criticise him -  not at all – but simply to let others see some more of his background.  A brief biography of him can be read here.

Dr Busch seemed to have a lot of knowledge but his article was very very supportive of Trafigura’s case and very negative about all other participants.  I wondered then whether Dr Busch was/had been employed by Trafigura or its agents.   I emailed Dr Busch to find out.

“I was amazed at the detailed information you had which I have not seen reported anywhere else and that leads me to ask the following questions,

Have you at any time been paid by Trafigura or any of its associates to write about the Probo Koala incident and/or its precursors and/or effects? 

Have you ever been paid by Trafigura or any of its associates for any work?

Have you been paid by ANYONE to write about the Probo Koala incident, its precursors and effects? 

Have you ever attended any meetings with Trafigura or its associates about the Probo Koala incident etc?

Have you ever attended any meetings in Trafigura's London offices?

For the record I have not been paid for any work which I have published on the web.  I have not been paid for any work, whether published or not, to do with Trafigura or any other environmental, political or activist subjects.

Dr Busch was very open and replied as follows:

(1) I have not been paid by Trafigura or anyone to write about the incident.

(2) When the incident occurred I was contacted by one of the companies for whom I consult to assist them with a background report of the political situation in the Ivory Coast. As you may know I am a specialist on the politics of the Ivory Coast. If you Google me you will see that I have written extensively on the Ivory Coast and wrote a book together with the President of the National Assembly on the French presence in the country. This US company asked me to visit with them at the Trafigura offices in London to brief them about Ivoirian politics and the regime at MACA prison. I visited their offices and gave my report. I was paid for this by the US company whom I assume billed Trafigura.This was in 2006.

(3) The people in the FPI leadership of the Ivory Coast (President Gbagbo's party) were very interested in Trafigura and for an evaluation of the details of the investigation. I researched this for them and I visited Abidjan for this and other projects for them. I have written a number of articles on the Trafigura case and have reported regularly to the people in Abidjan.

(4) There were other African governments with whom I consult (including Nigeria and Zimbabwe) who had an interest in the Ivorian case. I reported to them what I had found.

In summary, I can repeat your statement " For the record I have not been paid for any work which I have published on the web.  I have not been paid for any work, whether published or not, to do with Trafigura or any other environmental, political or activist subjects (except as delineated above.).

My website, www.ocnus.net is free for all and unsponsored or paid for other than by me. I am thinking of writing a book on the Trafigura case as a paradigm example of activism vs. truth. Activism is good and useful. I support the banning of whale fishing; restricting nuclear power; stopping overfishing and using 'killer nets' et al.. These seem worthy of support. However, harassing a company in the pursuit of its business when there is an unfortunate accident over which they had no control on specious and overblown analyses is just plain harassment. That's where you lose me.

Again I have no reason to doubt Dr Busch’s motives  nor do  I question his motives in any way although we have different views.

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