Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Trafigura: “Everything …. Determined by Money”


I have just come across an article in which the Dutch prosecutor in Trafigura’s appeal said -  Google Translated -

But in the whole file is no clue to finding that Trafigura itself but at some point is concerned about the possible consequences of its actions on the environment or human health, says the prosecution. "Everything in this case was and is determined by money."

Very, Very Occasionally - Mmmm


Two very different pieces but both are just mmmm!

Duke Ellington & John Coltrane                               In a Sentimental Mood


Two magicians at work.


The second video is part of the music sample which comes with Windows 7.

Debussy: Maid with the Flaxen Hair                                Richard Stoltzman



Well done, Microsoft for bringing me this lovely music!

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Trafigura’s Appeal: Jurisdiction Confusion


One line which Trafigura has taken in its defence is very simple: so simple in fact that I think it deserves to be known more widely.  [For background info on the case see here and here]

Apparently, Trafigura assert that the Dutch courts have no jurisdiction because Trafigura is not a Dutch company because her HQ is only based in the Netherlands as a PO box.  Her real operational decisions are taken in the UK and Switzerland.


If true, Trafigura’s line is:


We have our headquarters in Holland as a PO box only and are not subject to Dutch laws.

We have our headquarters in Holland as a PO box only and are subject to Dutch tax laws.


An interesting concept!

Can we use this argument to get Trafigura to pay more UK tax?

Monday, 28 November 2011

Trafigura: 2010 Guilty Verdict – More Info


I have more information about last year’s trial at which Trafigura was found guilty of illegally exporting waste from Amsterdam to Abidjan.

One of the key points, which I have debated with Gary Busch, is whether the Probo Koala’s waste from washing coker naphtha with caustic soda arose from a normal operation of a ship.   Busch shared Trafigura’s thinking.

Despite Trafigura’s claim, the court found that the process was NOT a normal operation of a ship.

Some of the court’s reasoning is outlined below.  [This is a translation from Dutch and there are a few glitches but I have left the translation ‘as is’.]

It appears that in this case, the washing process was carried out on board a ship, since the ship was obviously no longer welcome on land.

On 18 April 2006, [name 21, Christophilopoulos] wrote the following in an e-mail addressed to his co-workers at Trafigura, the subject line of which read "PMI shit": "We are coming up with some problems regarding the treating/disposing of the PMI naphtha out of Brownsville. We are now limited to caustic washing on a ship"(lxxxiv). On 27 December 2005, [name 7, Ahmed] sent an e-mail to his co-workers which contained the following: "We have already spoken to all the main storage companies, US/Singapore and European terminals no longer allow the use of caustic soda washes since local environmental agencies do not allow disposal of the toxic caustic after treatment" (lxxxv).

The ship was also no longer welcome in La Skhirra (Tunisia) after the noxious smell incident (lxxxvi).

However, regardless of the reason, this essentially boils down to the moving of an industrial process from land to sea. The ship was not used for its designated purpose as a ship, but instead as a floating factory which was carrying out a process for which it was in no way necessary for the ship to be at sea since all of the resources necessary may be obtained on land.”

In the current appeal, Trafigura will be arguing that the reasoning, shown above, is wrong.

In March last year I blogged,

but the focus, I think, will be on their knowledge and intent before the dumping of the waste ….”

“It is unfortunate that this court case will come down to the meaning of ‘normal’ and will not look at Trafigura’s knowledge and intent.



Trafigura: Greenpeace Criticism – Thoughts


A week ago I reported  that Greenpeace had been accused of exercising undue influence on the Trafigura – Probo Koala affair.  I struggle with time to write and so I can’t comment in detail on the criticism and so I make a few points only.

The critical articles and book (henceforth ‘articles’) were well-timed, I imagine, to coincide with the start of Trafigura’s appeal against the guilty verdicts found at a 2010 trial in Amsterdam.  I cannot know if, and I do not claim that, the release of the articles was coordinated but in a world where PR is incredibly important I would not be surprised to find that their release was timed, if not coordinated, to coincide with the appeal.  Many books and articles are timed for maximum impact.


There is no doubt that, through Carter-Ruck and Bell-Pottinger, Trafigura has managed the flow of information about the Probo Koala incident with the selective release of documents and comment.  I know from my own experience with them that most of my requests for documents and comments were ignored. 

Trafigura will assert, I am sure, that they did so to protect their good name from being unjustifiably sullied.  Others may have a more negative view but, with a restricted amount of information in the public domain, getting to the truth  - so that one can publish safely – is very difficult. 

In these circumstances one should not be surprised that media organisations in the UK, Netherlands and Norway came together with Greenpeace to pool their knowledge.  This was a very sensible decision.  In a global market multinational cooperation is necessary.


I give just one example where the restricted amount of information makes life difficult.

Trafigura’s internal emails show that they knew in December 2005 that the waste from caustic washing of coker naphtha was toxic, expensive to treat and they could not find a shore-based facility to carry out the process. In December 2005 a treatment cost of $250,000 per tonne was the going rate but in June 2006 in Amsterdam such was the Trafigura’s description of the waste that they were quoted $36 per tonne. For more information about the costs of treatment see an earlier post.

Trafigura has not answered questions raised by these emails.

I know because I asked Trafigura.


Dr Busch, a regular commenter here and occasional writer on Trafigura, refuses to answer questions about the effect of Trafigura’s knowledge on their subsequent actions on the basis that he cannot know the truth and that he deals in facts and not opinions. He may deal in some facts but he ignores those which are inconvenient to him and the case he makes.

I know because I asked Dr Busch.


Now why would Trafigura not answer questions on this subject?  Is it not in their interests to give a simple explanation and have the question disappear?


By not answering Trafigura then beg another question.  Why do they not answer?

I wrote earlier,

“with a restricted amount of information in the public domain, getting to the truth - so that one can publish safely – is very difficult.”

I can have my own thoughts – that’s all I can have - about how to reconcile these two apparently irreconcilable facts but I cannot publish them in case Carter-Ruck come calling.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Trafigura: Pinocchio, Where Are You?


My ‘friend’ – on-line adversary is more accurate – Dr Busch has consistently promoted a pro-Trafigura / anti-green view which he supports by saying he deals in facts and not opinions whereas the other side …..  You’ll know what I mean if you get to the end of this post.

Today he published an editorial on his website which I find …..  Well!  Let’s just say that he and I couldn’t be further apart.  For ease I’ve appended his words at the end of this post.

In time, I will reply but, until then, you’ll need to make do with his words.  I often think they do my job better than I.

I pose one question.

Whose side has a long nose?

Pinocchio: The Patron Saint of Green Activism
By Dr. Gary K. Busch 25/11/11                                                                  Nov 25, 2011 - 3:26:36 PM

There is a theme of dishonesty and disingenuous claptrap which runs through much of the pseudo-science of Green activism. Recognition of this fact began to permeate the consciousness of the civilised world when in November 2009 an anonymous hacker of a server at the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia copied thousands of emails and computer files to various locations on the Internet showing that an august body of international climate scientists, the IPCC, had exaggerated its findings and lied about the implications of its false or incomplete research.. This was just before the international summit on climate change. This incident, known as “Climategate” was very embarrassing to the Green community and to the media circus which had attached itself to an untrammelled pursuit of Global Warming. The specious claims associated with the scientists’ findings were shown to be less than accurate and the opprobrium these same scientists had apportioned to their scientific opponents, who doubted the veracity of the IPCC findings and conclusions, was inordinate.

Despite a few busy days of stories in the world media about Climategate, there was soon a media consensus that in their unqualified scientific judgement, the leaked emails were a bum rap for the scientists and that the bulk of the evidence was compelling, despite being unsubstantiated and unable to withstand scientific scrutiny. This Green activist disaster porn apparently sold more papers than rational scientific analysis and insistence on rigorous proof and replicability. Melting glaciers and forlorn polar bears became emblematic of the problem.

No doubt there is evidence of global warming in some environments; that is not the point. The point is that in apportioning the blame and responsibility for creating global warming, these specious scientists attribute the phenomenon to human consumption of fossil fuels, etc. The argument, despite the disaster press and the activists, is not if there is global warming but whether this is a naturally occurring phenomenon (as is has been for several hundred millennia) or if it is attributable to malign human interference. This has been made prominent in the public consciousness by a media which concerns itself with a concentration on the manifestation of the evidence of global warming and not a rational analysis of how it was caused or if there is any linkage between the putative effects of human intervention without concentrating on its causes. Post hoc, ergo propter hoc is a fallacy whether it is worked forward or in reverse.

This attention to apparent effects rather than cause distorts rational thinking about the problems and skews the course of the solutions. The world has been asked to spend billions of dollars in the search for alternative energies; the creation of vast inefficient and unsightly wind farms; accepting nuclear energy plants despite the lessons of Fukushima and Three Mile Island; and acting as a brake on industrial development and renewal when urgently needed jobs and investments have already been impeded by the credit crisis. This is a media crisis not just a scientific one. The recent exposure of additional false science as the next climate summit approaches has not dimmed the media’s pursuit of the drama and attractive of newer disaster scenarios.

However, this manifestation of media hyperbole is not only important to an examination of climate change. In a Dutch court there is a similar problem being addressed right now. In 2006 the company Trafigura delivered a small quantity of some marine slops which had accumulated in its ballast tanks, composed of gasoline and caustic soda (the stuff used to clear the drains in your house), to a licensed disposal agent in Amsterdam who was to dispose of the slops as per the international rules on the disposal of marine wastes. This Dutch company started to discharge these slops and found that they smelled; which is not unusual for solutions with a high sulphur content. The Dutch company asked for a much higher rate for disposing of the cargo than had been agreed. The company decided that this was unreasonable and had the slops returned to the ballast tank (as it didn’t affect the cargo-carrying capacity of the vessel). For some  reason the Dutch retained a barge with sixteen tons of slop on board a barge which has remained in Amsterdam without harming anyone.

The vessel left Amsterdam to pick up a gasoline cargo in Estonia and then delivered that cargo to Nigeria. Having discharged the cargo in Nigeria without incident it then was sailing back to Europe and decided to remove the ballast waste in Abidjan, one of the biggest and most advanced ports in Africa with its own oil refinery, gas plants and bitumen refinery. Its port agent in Abidjan arranged for a licensed company to dispose of the slops and the vessel emptied its slop tanks by pipe to the agent’s trucks and sailed off. The local agent didn’t dispose of the slops properly and dumped the wastes on existing foul and contaminated waste dumps in a few areas of Abidjan.

The smell hadn’t improved so it was initially recognisable. Greenpeace and some other environmental activists decided that this discharge was toxic to humans and a hazard to the population. They led a campaign of media hysteria which grew more fanciful by the day. Soon they were saying that thousands of people were affected; that fifteen or even more people were killed. It was, of course untrue but that didn’t impinge on their consciousness or that of the media with their teeth into a good story. Disbelief was suspended and an international media frenzy continued.

The international media was joined in the uproar by the other green activists. They refused to look at the scientific analysis carried out by the Dutch authorities who showed, as was later proven in court in the UK, that the substances were not toxic at all and would have caused flu-like symptoms at worst. Several journalists won international prizes for pursuing the lies and misrepresentations about the case without any reference to the truth or the science. The problem, once again, was that an apparent environmental effect had happened and that the activists and the media decided that the blame for this should lie with the company, despite all the scientific evidence that showed this was not true.

The company was fined by the Dutch authorities on the basis of contrived evidence and misrepresentation and is now appealing the fine. Greenpeace, the author of this false evidence has form in lying to the Dutch Government. A prominent Member of Parliament, Richard De Mos, a leader of the ruling PVV (Freedom Party) in Holland introduced a motion in the Dutch Parliament on 23 November 2011 which called for the regulatory body which supervises NGOs in the country, de Vereniging Fondsenwervende Instellingen (VFI), to examine the various bodies it evaluates for the transparency, reliability and quality of the information distributed by these groups. In particular he cites Greenpeace for having a track record of lying to the Dutch Parliament over the Brent Spar case and the Trafigura case. Recently Greenpeace has been shown to have gone beyond mendacity to felony by digging a hole under the railroad tracks which were to be used to transport nuclear waste materials.

Both the VVD (Liberals) and the PPV have asked the State Secretary of the Environment to examine Greenpeace (which is headquartered in Amsterdam) to see whether it should be allowed to operate in the country any more. Greenpeace has benefitted from a great deal of tolerance by the Dutch authorities, In 1995 Greenpeace lied to the Dutch Parliament and the world that the floating platform Brent Spar was going to be scrapped by sinking it in the North Sea while containing 5.500 barrels of oil which would cause an ecological disaster. They persisted in this lie and were supported by a frenzy of publicity in the international press. Even the normally reflective “New Scientist” carried the story and provided credibility. Unfortunately for Greenpeace the Norwegians commissioned a survey of the platform and found that there was no oil at all. Greenpeace grudgingly retracted its claims, although most of the media were less forthcoming with their retractions. A contemporary journal (International Harpoon) pointed out that the “Brent Spar was indeed a «defining moment for the environmental movement» because it opened the eyes of the world to Greenpeace’s fallibility. This was supposed to have two important knock-on effects for environmentalism as a whole. The first is that pressure groups must be held accountable if they do not tell the truth. Rather than trying to delete its mistakes from the history books, Greenpeace should offer an unqualified apology, and consider itself on probation with the media. The second is that the media must become more vigilant and sceptical when it comes to choosing sources. For every piece of misinformation that is exposed, how many others go undetected? “

In 2009 Greenpeace published 50,000 fake copies of the International Herald Tribune pretending that there was agreement on the climate change proposals by the world leaders. It was false and misleading. Greenpeace justified this with the famous line “We can’t change the science. We need to change the politics.” The Trafigura case was part and parcel of Greenpeace’s lack of restraint in promoting itself by exaggeration, untruths and misleading publicity. This is why the Dutch Government is now considering banning them from Holland.

However, they could not achieve this on their own. There are many groups in the public eye who lie and mislead by their statements. The problem is that the uneducated and intellectually challenged media take up these fantasies and give them wings. The editors don’t care. It sells papers or has people turn to their stations. Worst comes to worst, like the BBC, they have to give a mild recanting of their folly. The lie lives on and taints the science, the companies, the NGOs and the governments.

Surely it is time that some of the NGOs and the media accept some responsibility for the provision of truth to those who follow their output. It isn’t likely but it is completely unjust and unfair. The Dutch have the right idea. If they lie and mislead they have no place in a civilised country. 2011

Tuesday, 22 November 2011



Until truth matters

Until justice matters

Until death matters

Let us not proclaim our values

Let us get down on our knees and beg forgiveness


I wrote these words more than four years ago but they are as relevant today as they have ever been.

Very, Very Occasionally – Too Good to Share


This is where I find myself.  I cannot find anything to complement the wonderful music in the video below.

Damien Rice had a major hit with his composition,  “The Blower’s Daughter” -  I love it too - but this cover is just ……

Ana Carolina & Seu Jorge – Brazilian each – collaborated on a magical version which was given the Portuguese title, “É isso Aí”.


Ana Carolina & Seu Jorge                                                                  É isso Aí


I didn’t understand a word of that but I understand it all !

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Very, Very Occasionally - Sheer Beauty


Definitely more frequent than the title suggests, this post is suffused with the sheer beauty of the most wonderful music!


A Marcello      Concerto for oboe and strings - Mvt  2 Adagio in D minor

When I close my eyes and let the music enter my soul I feel God is there – as though I were praying.

Schubert                                               Serenade from Swan Song D957

[Originally for tenor and piano, arranged for cello and piano in D minor.  Anne Gastinel, cello; Claire Désert, piano]

I am stunned!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Very, Very Occasionally– Some More Moon


I’m cheating by still calling this series “Very, Very Occasionally” but …..


Despite the maddening behaviour of YouTube here are two more videos for you to enjoy.


Miles Davis                                                                               Moon Dreams

The magic of the man clear to see!


Fats Waller                                                 By the Light of the Silvery Moon


Ah!    I have been touched!

if you are lucky, you will be too.

If YouTube Took over Your Home!


Once I loved YouTube …. but no more!

I found so much music I loved!  I saved the music to playlists to keep the videos organised and to let others listen to my selections!

I loved you …. but no more!

You changed - lots of small changes – until now you are unrecognisable.

My love for you has died …. but I still want you back!


Recently, YouTube has made many, many changes in the ways in which users manage their playlists and all of them, or least the vast majority, have reduced functionality.  I’m now at the point where YouTube doesn’t allow me to add any video to certain playlists. 

Rather than go through the actual process let me try to explain in terms of your house.


Imagine all your power switches.

You come home one day and find that the switches are in the correct rooms but they’ve been moved to the ceiling.  You can still use them if you get a pole and stretch to the ceiling to switch the power on.  You’d wonder what had happened.  What was the point of changing what already worked?


But there’s more!

Once you’ve adjusted – but still unhappy - to the previous change you find that all the power sockets have been moved into one room.  They’re in a logical order but to switch the lights on in the toilet (say) you have to go into the spare bedroom (say) where all the switches are now.  You can do it but what was once easy is now much, much more difficult.


You accommodate this …. with difficulty.

But still YouTube is not finished.


Soon you find that the sockets are still in the spare bedroom but they’re no longer in a logical order.  They’ve been randomised.

Imagine being desperate to go to the toilet but you have no idea which switch is the one you need!


By this stage you wonder what madman has taken over YouTube to totally screw the simple organisation of power sockets.

But the madman hasn’t finished yet.  It’s incredible but he has more torture.


The next time you need to switch a socket on and go into the spare bedroom you find that the sockets are still in random order but lots of them are missing.  You still have a bathroom light but no means to switch it on. 

This is what YouTube has done to me and all who use playlists!  One of my most recent YouTube playlists is still there, I can play videos from it, but I cannot add any more videos: there is no switch.


But still they haven’t finished.


Occasionally, just very occasionally the toilet switch will appear.  I won’t know that it has unless I check all the randomised switches.  This morning I could pee with the light on but when my son went two minutes later the switch had disappeared.


Can you understand why my love for YouTube has gone?

All I want is my YouTube back. 

She doesn’t have to be as she was before.

Just stop messing with my head.


YouTube, I want to love you but you have driven me away, almost driven me mad with sheer frustration.

What have I done to deserve your hateful actions?


I want to love you again but ….

I can’t unless you come back to me!


Please, YouTube come back to me!

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Trafigura: Calum - A “Useful Fool”?


No blogger likes to be ignored and so comments are like gold dust especially to an intermittent blogger like me.

Today I received a smidgeon of gold dust: Gary Busch with whom I’ve had many online conversations about the Trafigura – Probo Koala saga left a comment – not the most polite or respectful I’ve had - on a recent post in which, he asked if I was a “useful fool”.

The easy and flippant way to answer is to say, “No! I am a useless fool” but flippancy sits ill with my new-found faith and so I answered respectfully.

Below is his comment (with a couple of typos corrected).

I read your piece with interest. I have gone through much of the correspondence between us and I am puzzled about one thing. You claim to be a seeker of truth and an impartial observer but you seem to have access to a whole lot of documentation and reports, some of which have not been found in public circulation.

Can it be that you are not neutral at all but a hack writing for Greenpeace, the obvious source of these documents?

Is your neutrality a blind to avoid attracting a lawsuit for libel or are you just a 'useful fool' whom Greenpeace and the other ecofreaks use for the dissemination of their ill-advised allegations?

In short, who are you really working for?”

If only Gary had access to my stats he’d know that no self-respecting organisation would leak anything to me.  Pointless!  Pissing into the wind!

But still my occasional posts are tweaking one tail, at least.


I sent this back to Gary.

I will ignore your jibes and address your serious points.

"who are you really working for?"
I am a blogger - now an infrequent blogger - and I write on subjects that interest me. I write for NO-ONE but me!

You say "Is your neutrality a blind to avoid attracting a lawsuit for libel"? I have been in contact countless times with Trafigura. If they felt that my writing breached limits I have no doubt they would tell me regardless of any neutrality. They have never approached me about the accuracy or inaccuracy, fairness or unfairness of my writing. Either I am too small to bother about or I have never breached their limits.

You say "you seem to have access to a whole lot of documentation and reports, some of which have not been found in public circulation." Clearly we should concentrate only on those which you say "have not been found in public circulation." I try to be rigorous and link to my sources. Certainly I have not had privileged access to any information from any source whatsoever. Where information has been given to me - for example, from both Trafigura and their lawyers, Macfarlanes - I have referred to them and made that publicly available, if possible.

Let me have a list of the reports etc about which you are concerned and where I refer to them and I will try to identify the public source.

Please tell me what information, reports etc you are concerned about and I will try to tell you where I found them. [Calum’s comment: I did say the same thing twice – apologies]  If you want copies of any which you can't find then please ask and I will forward.


I’ll let you know when I hear back from Gary.

Trafigura: Negative Influence of Greenpeace


Karel Knip has written an article in Dutch (unfortunately for me) in which he details the influence of Greenpeace on the Trafigura-Probo Koala case which they and the key reporters of the saga did not mention.  Peter Olsthoorn also writes about this – again in Dutch.

I have used Google Translate on both articles and picked out what appear to be the key points.


-  Martyn Day who represented the Ivorian victims in the English courts was, for years, chairman of Greenpeace UK

-  the prosecution lawyer who led against Trafigura in the Dutch courts worked for Greenpeace between 1993 and 1995

-  an Ivorian investigation commission employed a Greenpeace lawyer Jasper Teulings as advisor

- Greenpeace had easy access to parts of the Dutch criminal and UK civil case files ”from which 'bad” information was distilling”.


As I was writing this I found that my old ‘friend” Gary Busch had published an English translation but with his own title.  You can find that here but for ease I append it below.

Corrupt EcoFreaks and Their Journalist Supporters Lied
By Karel Knip, NRC (Holland) 14/11/11

“Europe poisons Africa”- was painted on the Probo Koala by Greenpeace activists in September 2006.

There was no toxic disaster, but it was a stench incident that was caused by the Probo Koala in the Ivory Coast in August 2006. Less than 2 weeks after Jaffe Vink has explained this in his book, new consensus arose. The smelly fumes from the waste did not reach life threatening concentrations, there were no deaths, no injuries. Even environmental organisation Greenpeace, leading in the battle against Trafigura (owner of the waste), admits that there is no evidence for great misery in Abidjan.

How could the media coverage be so wrong? The master thesis “Journalism Poison and Influenza in the Ivory Coast” by Bibi Bleekemolen of the University of Amsterdam explicit appoints Greenpeace as the source of aggressive intonation. Maybe not completely correct: terms as ‘toxic dump” and toxic deaths” already circulated before the organisation uttered the sound, but Greenpeace eagerly kept on using them. It is clear that Greenpeace established a firm grip on the information around the Probo Koala.

Only three weeks after the first reports about the “toxic disaster” were sent to Europe, photos of Greenpeace activists appeared who prevent the Probo Koala from leaving the port of Estonia with their action ship Arctic Sunrise. To make it clear the “Greenpeace toxic patrol” painted “Europe poisons Africa” on the ship. That was a strange conversion, because ten days earlier the scientific bureau of Greenpeace in Exeter indicated that it was not likely that the fumes would reach deadly concentrations.

In Estonia, the tone changed permanently, also thanks to the European environmental commissioner Stavros Dimas who visited the Arctic Sunrise. From the bridge he stated that the waste was “heavily poisonous” and the behaviour of Trafigura “criminal”, after which he thanked Greenpeace for their efforts. A couple of days earlier Greenpeace filled a complaint at the DPP. The Volkskrant announced that “the poison” from the Probo Koala originate from an even severe manner than expected: refining at sea. That were the results of a draft desk study that investigated the theoretical effects of the waste who third parties mistakenly had passed on as a real reconstruction. In the meantime “local authorities” announced toxic death on toxic death

At the end of September 2006, Greenpeace was in great form. It was almost obvious that an Ivorian investigation commission employed a Greenpeace lawyer Jasper Teulings as advisor. Subsequently when the Ivorians want to locate a law firm to support 30,000 victims of the stench incident, Teulings recommends the London firm Leigh Day & Co. They put lawyer Martyn Day on the case. "It could also have been another lawyer”, says campaign leader Marietta Harjono of Greenpeace. "It was a coincidence." Perhaps not: Martyn Day had been chairman of Greenpeace UK for the last ten years. He is still with Greenpeace. Who will gossip about that? What the outsider sees is that the group of journalists that formed itself around Greenpeace never said a word about it. Just as discrete the Greenpeace background of DPP Luuk Boogert, who in Holland lead the criminal procedure against Trafigura, was kept silent. During his training as a DPP from 1993-1995 he worked for Greenpeace as a lawyer. Here also a wrong insignation would not be appropriate, only the conclusion that " the group" never said anything about it.

Do an advisor, a lawyer and PP form a network together? A member of parliament can be added there. There was nobody as aggressive as the MP Diederik Samson, former campaigner of Greenpeace. It is him who gets Ibeanu, the Special UN Rapporteur on the "toxic dump" to parliament in 2008. It is not documented how many politicians met this Nigerian. But he certainly he met Marietta Harjono. And Martyn Day.

The period between 2006 and the first Probo Koala court case in 2010, was characterised by sudden explosions of shocking news which pushed Trafigura into the defence. A campaign. Somethimes the news exploded in the UK, somethimes in the Netherlands. The source seemed invisible, until you look more closely. The news always came from the Amsterdam criminal file or the London case file. The files were not inaccessable. Martyn Day requested parts of the Amsterdam criminal file for his civil case in London. There, anyone interested could get the files at the UK court, because that is possible in the UK. If you know that they are there. It is through this route that Greenpeace delivered the infamous revealing internal emails to the group of journalists. The NFI chemical analysis of the waste probably ended up at the BBC like this. Those familiar with the procedure [requesting legal documents] probably use it more frequently. You can also think about other shorter route. The shortest route becomes visible in the official "Complaint" filed by Greenpeace in The Hague in 2009. The complaint appears to be based for a part on the criminal file and the civil case file. Not much investigative journalism is required. The group of journalists got this information neatly presented to them. And that the Dutch court in the end commented on the campaign with its unproven conclusions, was also not mentioned by the group of journalist. Just as the cost claim by Martyn Day. Which amounted to GBP 105 million, more than three times the compensation paid to the Ivorian "victims".

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Trafigura: Guilty


As Trafigura’s appeal against one guilty verdict starts it is worth considering a small but very important aspect of the Probo Koala incident.

In December 2005 Naeem Ahmed, of Trafigura, wrote this email about the disposal of waste from the caustic washing of coker naphtha.

EM 1

$250 for each and every kilo of waste.

$250000 for each and every 1000kg (approx 1 cubic meter) of waste.


The very same Naeem Ahmed who noted the very high cost of waste disposal said this to APS (the company to whom Trafigura intended to discharge the waste).

EM 4

and he got this quote back from APS.

EM 5

€6675 for 250 cubic meters approx. €27 for each and every cubic meter.  At today’s exchange rate €27 = approx. $36

The APS quote was $36 / cubic meter but the cost they knew they would have to pay at the specialist company in Rotterdam was $250000 / cubic meter.


Clearly there must be a mistake!


Trafigura, being a company which operates responsibly, would realise there was a serious mistake and correct APS and ensure the waste was disposed of correctly.  


“On July 23 last year, an Amsterdam court also found Trafigura guilty of hiding the cargo's real nature when it arrived in Amsterdam. Judges however acquitted the company of forgery.” [Courtesy of AFP]

Trafigura Appeal Probo Koala Guilty Verdict


Yesterday saw the start of Trafigura’s appeal against the guilty verdict and fine imposed on them for illegally exporting waste from Amsterdam to Abidjan.

In the same case the prosecution are appealing against the acquittal of the City of Amsterdam and Amsterdam Port Services.


You can find more information on the guilty verdict here.

I will update you as and when I find something interesting.