Env Malpractice 6.1: Joseph Benson, BJ Electronics, Contends Innocence, Temporarily Settles Plea

Profiling 3.0, Green edition
Revised based on contact from Benson's associate, following the Vermont Fair Trade Recycling Summit 2013.04.16.

Subsequent to my last post, about the arrest of "Hurricane Carter" (Joseph Benson), the UK agency @EnvAgency and newspaper reporter, Cahal Milmo (@CahalMilmo), of the Independent @Independent, released this news that Benson has just settled his plea, three years later, after unsuccessful appeals taken through the court system.

The UK Independent reporter Milmo and UK Environmental Crimes units seem to absolutely crow over the Eleven thousand British pound settlement (about $23,000), sending tweets and photos.   If Benson was interviewed, they don't use it.

Anyone in business knows that the cost of hiring a lawyer and running appeals was far, far more than the 11K plea settlement.  I have not spoken to or dealt with Mr. Benson, but my suspicion is that it's evidence he wanted to clear his intentions and good name with this long appeal.  Should I be going out on a limb for someone who has just accepted a financial settlement guilty plea ?  Benson's associate insists this is not a "guilty" plea, and that they expect the funds to return when Benson is exonerated.

Hurricane Benson was publicly accused (@Guardian as well as @Independent) in 2009 of primarily exporting TVs and electronics for primitive wire burning;  David Fedele, Pieter Hugo, and others take film of African dumps and tie it primarily to men and women like Mr. Benson.   That is thanks to one person:  Jim Puckett of Seattle Washington, who has told everyone in the world that the scrap burned in Agbogbloshie and Guiyu is a "dirty little secret", that it comes from wealthy nations recycling programs.

According to the UN, which went to Lagos following Mr. Benson's arrest, and individually audited 279 sea containers of used electronics:

"The majority of refurbished products stem from imports via the ports of Lagos. The interim results from project component 2, the Nigerian e-Waste Country Assessment, show that 70% of all the imported used equipment is functional and is sold to consumers after testing. 70% of the non-functional share can be repaired within the major markets and is also sold to consumers. 9% of the total imports of used equipment is non-repairable and is directly passed on to collectors and recyclers."
- Final report of the UNEP SBC, E-waste Africa Project,  Lagos & Freiburg, June 2011 

Jim Puckett was quoted (previous blog 7.0) saying that of the working units, Benson and others sent half back from their stores to be burned.  The BAN website is adorned with Pieter Hugo photos of black children separating metals, engaged in the "crime" of recycling.  THAT is not what he was convicted of.  He was convicted in his participation of taking good units under a UK system designed to stop exports, even of reuse, the same as California SB20 "crimes" by ARC.   (ARC and Tung Tai were charged with defrauding the CA SB20 by claiming the recycling funds and then exporting the good ones anyway).

The statement by Puckett that half of working units are sent for burning was ludicrous on its face, disproven by UNEP (See EM#7.1).  But it and his "80%-90% primitive" statistic left a cold legacy:   based on his distortions and use of poverty porn photos, nations passed laws to prevent any exports, and Mr. Benson and BJ Electronics - who have no desire to export anything but workable and repairable product - were caught as collateral damage.

The UNEP followed up on Benson's containers, and as I reported in the last post, found them to be 85%-90% good.   Compare that to returns of brand new electronics product, returned under warranty in the USA.  11% of WalMart sales are returned.

But if something arrives unrepairable in Africa, the solution is to shred the other 90% and let Africans go barefoot and pregnant.  That was the law put in place, and Benson has caved and admitted to violating that bloody law.

It is outrageous that this was publicly reported as 80-90% waste, and in the three year follow up they found 9-15% waste and they still run this story as if it was found to be true.

In a range of humor, facts, citations, anger, mocking, and insult - every possible tool I can find - I have tried to stop the flood of BS which is polluting my friends in the environmental community and defaming the best hope of Peace Corps, USAID, and the development community.

BAN staff have said, and will say again, that because of some of the tools I use, they will not talk - to ANYBODY - about any of the mistakes they have made.  But when I disarmed for the California Compromise, and introduced them via Skype to a good Asian factory team, they did nothing, said nothing, showed no public sign of disarming their bloody campaign to cast reuse and repair in the same police van as dumping barrels of radioactive waste on African beaches.

I offered to pay a third party to resolve this, and EPA did pay a third party mediator - John Lingelbach of decideagree, to separate fact from hyperbole.   BAN walked out on R2 and on Lingelbach.    Benson is found guilty, Medicom has $85K in affordable computers seized from Egypt, and Indonesia and Malaysia shut down the very best things environmentalist could ever, ever have imagined for "ewaste", they have killed the best thing I have seen in my environmental career, and they killed it the way they killed Benson, via poverty porn.

The worst example of "environmentalism gone wrong" will be in Environmental Malpractice Part 8, about the "semiknockdown", aka "semi-knockdown", aka "semi-knock-down", aka SKD, aka contract manufacturing, aka warranty return, aka producer takeback factories.  When BAN drove over THIS Asian child, and didn't stop to help or look back, they crossed a line with me that set in motion this blog's direction, and culminates in a demand that Jim Puckett be fired, demoted, replaced, or publicly apologize for his "collateral damage".

This is the photo proudly released by the UK Environment Agency.  Cahil Milmo, David Fedele, Scrap Boys producers, everybody smugly points to this and says "explain that!?"   How could this photo of haphazardly stacked monitors possibly not be going for 80-90% primitive wire burning, informal disassembly, toxic dumping?

I've replied @EnvAgency repeatedly - no response.

It's like a close up of a head wound.   Shocking, until our eyes adjust, and you realize that you are witnessing brain surgery.  I will explain what this is in Environmental Malpractice 8:  about Gordon Chiu, PT Imtech, and the contract manufacturing massacre, the General Custer charge by Basel Action Network's Jim Puckett.

Photo Looks bad?  To the untrained eye.  To the trained eye, this is a professionally loaded container.  You see, by trading with Geeks, I found out that MY method of exporting, which looked better to me, actually caused more scratches on screens which had to be rebuffed on machines.   I will show in Part 8 where these monitors went, and explain why this loading method I found to be better than mine.

Here are photos from a factory which buys the CRTs stacked the way @EnvAngency treats as proof of "primitive recycling".


How did I discover it?  By not assuming colored people are stupidly paying money to buy crap, by visiting them and asking them.   I hate seeing my friends in the environmental community participate in environmental malpractice, unjustice, profiling, slander, and race baiting.   I hate it. I hate it.  You are cowards if you refuse to hate it too.

Another Guardian editorial:  Privatising AID is a dangerous strategy.  Let's compromise:  don't take Benson's free market development away from him, and he won't take your taxpayer AID away from you.   The story of Japan, Korea, Singapore, Guangzhou all show who will succeed first.

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