Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Trafigura: Snippy Knip-py

It takes all sorts to make the world go round: some are helpful, some are pleasant, some are many other things and some are downright snippy. 

Karel Knip falls slap-bang into the final category.

Yesterday I posted about an article written by Karel Knip in a Dutch newspaper for which Dr Busch supplied a translation.  The article was based on three reports submitted by Trafigura to the Dutch courts which, therefore,  became public documents.  I assume Knip went to the courts for copies although it is possible that they were supplied direct by Trafigura.  When/if I hear definitively then I will update.

I emailed Knip asking if he could forward copies of each document to me.  This is his first reply.

“Dear mr. Calum Carr(?)
Who are you? What do you do? It is not my habit to answer questions from somebody I don't know.
Is Calum Carr your real name?  If not, what is it? 
Give me your telephonenumber and I will - perhaps - call you.
Karel Knip”

I replied, politely I hope.

Dear Mr Knip

Thank you for your reply but I am surprised because your response is not one I have encountered elsewhere with other journalists. 

I write online exclusively under the name of Calum Carr which, therefore, is not my real name.  This, however is not uncommon even for bona fide journalists.  I write a blog covering many of my interests one of which might be termed the "Trafigura Affair".  You can read my writings - http://calumcarr.blogspot.com/ -  but you may already have visited and read.

My question can be split quite simply into two:

"Are there any circumstances in which you would release the 3 reports?"

If the answer is "No" then who I am is irrelevant.  If the answer is "Yes" who I am offline is still irrelevant.  What matters is who I am online and how I would attribute and cover the reports.  Then we come to the 2nd part which is,

"What are the circumstances?"

I believe that my posts on Trafigura give you all the information you need to decide if you want to release the reports to me.

I could understand your not wanting to release the reports to me but not a blanket refusal to communicate without knowing my personal details.  Even with my personal details you said only that you would "perhaps" call me.  That is not a deal to which I, or anyone else, could ever agree.

I  hope that you can get sufficient comfort from reading my blog to know that I am honest and would write about the reports in a responsible way and that you can release the reports to me.

Kindest regards


I received this short reply.

“Sorry, this is not my kind of journalism.”

I decided – after a fair bit of thought -  not to continue with swapping emails: I’d rather retain my higher standards.

I might add as a postscript that when reading articles by Mr Knip in Google Translate his name

Karel Knip” appears as  “Charles Cutting”.


  1. Mr Cutting was sharpening his shears on you.. Are you sure your real name is not Calum Carr-borundum?

  2. Very sharp yourself, Jams!!! :)