Environmental Malpractice 5: Custody Case 1, Egypt

This is part 5 of a series on the impacts of "E-Stewardship" and "Watchdog" campaigns in support of a boycott of 6 billion people (the "non-OECD").

- Part 1:  Due Disclosures
- Part 2:  Accidental Racism
- Part 3:  "Collateral Damage"
- Part 4:  Poverty Porn

The hard work by the fixers, tinkerers, repairers and geeks in emerging markets, has been crushed underfoot by planned obsolescence, white guilt, and false data.  Three names should be "e-waste martyrs":

Hamdy of Medi-com (Egypt)
Joseph Benson of BJ Electronics (UK, Nigeria)
Gordon of Advanced Global (Indonesia, Taiwan, Peru)


Each of these companies suffered a massive trauma from seizures of used electronics they had purchased, tested for the specifications they gave the seller.   In each case, they accepted a narrow lot of material - TVs of a specific size with RCA plugs, working CRT monitors for direct reuse, or CRTs of a certain size and model which could be remanufactured by a factory which used to make them.  They paid and arranged shipping, and paid about 10 times the value the items would have as scrap.

In each case, they were tried and convicted in the western press based on the "primitive" associations made by Basel Action Network.   False assumptions abou exports from rich countries (the ones with nice stuff), and photos of the domestic generation of "e-waste" in their own nations, were enough for the western press to cover the story without interviewing any of these men about their own "crimes".  

The headline that the used electronics were "exported" made these men "e-waste criminals".  BANimplied that the junk on the ground was the same that these three men imported.  It was not. And Interpol believed BAN, and wrote that (because the sale was "organized") that this was evidence of "organized crime". And no American or European reporter has called ANY of these men to get their side of the "e-Waste" story.

Now universities, like University of Washington, are being asked to "sign up" and show pride in a boycott which would make Senator Joe McCarthy blush.  We need Bob Dylan to write another "Hurricane" song.

Defamation Case #1:  MediCom of Egypt

From Majella Magazine:   Here are the children of Egypt, photographed provocatively next to garbage.  Even the Egyptians are now in the act of "poverty porn" (this is not a BAN.org photo).  This is from an article, Egypt, E-Waste, and the Digital Divide, by Arwa Aburawa
Egyptian children stand in a doorway flanked by piles of waste. It is not uncommon for impoverished children in Egypt to mine waste for raw materials
"According to recent statistics, the number of Egyptians using the internet increased 39 percent to 13.5 million between 2008 and 2009, and the number of people who owned a mobile phone went from 30 million to 48 million in the same period. The repair industry has no doubt played an important role in making such technologies available to those Egyptians on the lowest wages."
Two paragraphs later, Jim Puckett of BAN warns the writer, that the repair business is fraught with problems:
Jim Puckett from BAN, however, argues that “a lot of nasty imports are justified by the repair pretext” which creates hazardous waste (all be it over the course of a few years) that cannot be dealt with safely or effectively in developing countries. Anyone stating that they want to help developing nations bridge the digital divide by sending them electronic cast-offs also need to be questioned, as “e-waste is a toxic waste that needs to be dealt with and not traded with—we need to stop exporting our problems to others to deal with.” 
Jim Puckett says "a lot".  In the past, he was more specific.   The BAN estimate peaked at "Eighty to ninety percent"...  Basel Action Network was circulating bad estimates to the press for a decade.  BAN knows next to nothing about Medi-Com or other importers in Egypt.

"Eighty percent of interracial marriages end in abuse and divorce".    Imagine that totally fictious, alarmist, made up statisic...  It would be an outrage.

In 2008, as the demand for used PCs and displays was at its peak, BAN got its way.  Hosni Mubarak's government passed a law that defined any PC less than 5 years old (from date of manufacturer - which itself is usually 9-12 months prior to distribution - was "#ewaste".   For display devices like monitors, which last 25 years, and may not be sold off the shelf in the USA for a year after manufacture, that is like banning cars which are two years old... and for Egyptians, who earn