European Police Arrest Africans for Environmental Racism

"African On African Externalization Matrix" 
Compounds Harm, Confounding Pollution Watchdogs

Interpol vs. Reuse Matrix
[Lyons, France April 1, 2013]  Multiple European and American Police forces converged on African used computer businesses in Egypt, Nigeria and Ghana today, seizing equipment destined for reuse in the growing cities of Cairo, Accra and Lagos.   The Africans were called part of an extremely organized syndicate which imported used "e-waste" from Europe and the USA, and laundered it for two decades, through a matrix of African "middlemen" at hospitals and internet cafes.  Eventually, the importers planned to turn it in for disposal at African dumps and junkyards, many years later.

The sting on trans-boundary and trans-neighborhood movement of used goods was described by International Police and EPA as a complex system, or "e-waste matrix".  The trans-boundary movement had not been apparent, and therefore hidden.  According to the agencies, African buyers based in the UK, USA, and EU have cleverly avoided used electronics which were obsolete, in order to "bide their time" in a network of African-on-African reuse, planning eventually to burn the computers in a fire.

"The buyers are organized, and therefore we can call them 'organized crime'," said Emile Lundermiller, author of Interpol's 2009 Report on E-Waste Export Crime.   "It's ingenious.   They can apparently hide the computers, monitors, and televisions in plain sight for decades, in living rooms and offices."

Lundemiller continued, "Africans pay for it with African money, and distribute it into the cities before we can even catch it."  He cited the PIOOA statistic, that up to 79.5% percent of Africans are actively involved in the purchase, sale, repair, use, and reuse of electronics which ultimately victimizes Africans.   "It's environmental racism of the worst kind, African against African," said Lundemiller. "Africans routinely externalize waste to other Africans, exploiting each other, using more Africans as the middlemen, in a cross-fire of repurposed gear."

A Matrix of Self-inflicted racism:

As profiled in Lundemiller's 2009 Interpol Report on E-Waste Crime, the initial e-waste transaction is initiated by Africans, based in Europe, who cleverly test equipment prior to export.   By avoiding very old and obviously obsolete equipment, the African buyers make the equipment pass as working and repairable, exempt from European E-Waste shredding laws.  "They cleverly avoided the older, larger TVs.   This would have been difficult to track if their inter-African system of trade hadn't tipped us off," said the enforcement agency's undercover spokesperson, wearing a grass skirt, and carrying a canvas drum.

E-waste repaired to disguise its waste-ness
As documented in studies and audits from the Basel Convention Secretariat, African buyers showed a strong preference for newer-looking, black plastic, major brand name, and working equipment.  Usually the ones rejected had more copper and precious metals, but the patient importers forgo the cash in order to stymie investigators.

Between 85% and 90% of the e-waste the Africans received in Lagos was made to function to such a high level that the e-waste could be passed along, for years, hidden through normal retail channels.  After decades of reuse "laundering", the copper and other raw materials were to be harvested at African scrapyards.

Link to studies:
- USITC Estmates 88% of USA electronics are reused prior to disposal
- Arizona State University study documents 87% reuse prior to disposal
- Basel Secretariat studies (Ghana, Nigeria) find 85-90% of imports repaired or directly reused.
- BAN Kenya study estimates 90% reuse, 10% disposal
You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, er, Eden

In the latest break-up of the Egyptian "E-waste Cartel", the Cairo importer paid (according to EPA) $21 per CRT monitor, enough to ensure bad ones were removed and good ones relabelled.  Once the Egyptian government spotted the use of the monitors in internet cafes, prior to the revolution, it reacted by decree. Any CRT, working or not, is defined to be "waste" if it came off an assembly line more than 5 years ago (a time few CRT monitors were being made).

Once the Egyptian government dictated the working equipment to be "#ewaste", and seized them to halt "use", EPA was able launch its arrests of Americans selling working monitors into that market.  (China announced a similar move, labeling books with images of the Dali Llama to be "e-waste like").

Lecturing a room of confused police and detained Africans, Jim Puckett, Executive Director of Basel Action Network in Seattle, Washington, described the Reuse Matrix as a kind of internet "Rabbit Hole". "The African Reuse Matrix is a system. That system is our enemy. But when you're inside, you look around, what do you see?  African Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system, and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it."

"Ultimately, we were correct about exports of intact units being dumped and burned," said Jim Puckett.  "It may take decades, but we are now tracking the disposal of televisions purchased by Africans as long ago as 1978.  What hath we wrought??"

Africans Hath Been Wroughting All Over Africa for Years:

Carefully shrink-wrapped TVs, under Greenpeace's nose
Most of the 10-15% of the goods which were not repaired may have been damaged in African customs searches, or other transportation damage, as regulators looked desperately for more obvious e-waste.  But most officials were only able to pre-damage a small percentage of the e-waste before it was sold, allowing the rest to filter into schools, businesses, hospitals, and internet cafes.

"The percentage of Africans actively participating in the criminal e-waste laundering is huge," said EPA spokesperson Stacy Kika.  "We think 70% of Africans are willing to purchase working used equipment, and hide it in offices and homes, in order to cover up the waste-wroughting."

The "laundering" occurs at the African retail establishments, where enforcement agents found African consumers trade in older equipment, imported decades ago and often twice-repaired.  African generators trade in the older equipment for more recent imports, blurring the lines to deceive Ewaste Watchdogs.

Pre-Meditated:   1977 concealed e-waste
"We wondered why, when PIOOA reports 80.2-91.6% of our exports were being disposed of in primitive conditions, the goods were not shipped directly to dump sites like Agbogbloshie," said Jim Puckett of Basel Action Network.   "But that would have been too easy to track!  They have been bringing the sea containers to sites on the East side of Accra, where it's concealed in the reuse-matrix.   Repair people, retail shops, and maintenance jobs serve as a multi-million dollar window-dressing for the eventual, ghoulish and primitive practices which await."  Puckett called the reuse trade "a silent killer, biding its time, waiting for decades."

In a desperate effort to warn Africans of the commerce they were participating in, Puckett donned a TV-Zombie-Mask, and began chasing small African children, scaring them with a PS1 keyboard, and snapping photos of them when they cried.  "Ghoulish!  Witches Brew!  Toxics!  Brominated ju-ju!  E-waste Hell!  Primitive!" he screamed, picking a frightened African child up at one point, and sitting him diaperless onto a pile of laptops.

Domino Effects on Other Enforcement:  

"I'll take it.. Mooh hah hah hah!!"
"Externalizing the cost of repair, and externalizing the secondary value of working equipment, it's confounding," said Steward Hickins of Interpol.   "The reuse crime reaches an epidemic stage, where it employs so many people that we are overwhelmed in our efforts to stop it."

Steward connected the drain on enforcement with other African crimes. "The reuse of ewaste is distracting our officers and consuming resources which could be pursuing illegal ivory sales, poaching, child soldiers, illegal logging, mercury disposal, and sex trade."  He said that by stubbornly continuing the trade in normal working equipment, the Africans involved were leveraging his office from the pursuit of worse criminals.  "It would be easier on my bosses in Europe if we just shredded everything", he sighed.

Disguised ("Re-manufactured") Working Ewaste time-bomb
Selling new goods, counter to "precautionary principle":   The next stage of the ewaste externalization enterprise may be even more difficult to track.   According to sources in Asia, African buyers are now cutting Europe and the USA out of the market, buying both used and new equipment directly from Asia, where it is being manufactured and generated in secondary markets.

"If they buy electronics, they will eventually generate WEEE and E-waste," said Greenpeace Europe Man.  "Eden is slipping away."  A group of Dutch academics has designed a system to shred new equipment immediately upon manufacture, in an effort to make secure precautionary principles fool-proof.

Recycling rather than mining.   While mining virgin metals in Africa has been blamed for funding conflicts, child labor, and roads for bushmeat and ivory trade, one thing it does not do is "transfer waste".   The mining of metals, such as coltan, from African mountains and rivers, generated more lead and mercury pollution than all the "e-waste" sites combined.   However, no white guilt is created in the extrication of minerals by Africans from African lands.   Mining the metals to create the electronics consumed and disposed of by Europeans was considered outside the scope of the Basel Convention, which focuses purely on white involvement and white waste generation, effectively attaching a fetish to the material via fingerprint which does not exist in toxics generated from the ground.

Environmental Injustice:   American and European enforcers say the poor are the victims, forced into the trade of things they can afford.   "Ninety-two percent of the time, it's sad a case of environmental racism," said the Executive Secretary of PIOOA  [Pulling Info Out of Our Asses].  "The victims are black Africans.  The purchasers are black Africans, the importers black Africans.  Black Africans consume the material, where it circulates in Black African cities for decades before Black African scrap yards purchase it for primitive metal recovery."

"It's black-on-black environmental racism, a kind of self-inflicted racism," the PIOOA spokesperson said, bemoaning the fragile white consciences who may be put at risk with feeling guilty over the end-of-life of their stuff.  "Africans should only buy electronics they cannot afford, and they should wait for internet until they are a fully developed continent.  It's precautionary to require modern ewaste recycling systems before a nation can be allowed to own computers or access internet." The EU Department of Give-away Unicorns declined comment.

Not much, you?
In the background, a thunderstorm rumbled.  The environmental racism seemed sure to continue.   Racist lightning bolts kill hundreds of Africans in African fields every year, victimizing blacks.  Racist malaria viruses, born by racist mosquitos, infect children.

"It's everywhere," sniffed Jim Puckett from inside his TV mask.  "We just need to halt the trade, it's the globalization of trade that involves us in Africa.  

"We need to isolate ourselves from it."

Many Africans, Asians and Latin Americans concur.

International Police also put out an all points warning for Marquese Scott, who served in the USA Navy before leaving for a career breaking
(or break-dancing) the laws of physics.  "This is NOT Eden-ish" said the spokesperson for Interpol, who also questioned Scott's USA birth certificate, insinuating a strong resemblance by Scott to East Africans who were detained in an Internet cafe, watching youtube videos of Marquis "NonStop" Scott online (85 million views).

Africans are using used American computers to view break dancing by African Americans in a globalization matrix which the agents appear unable to out-maneuver.

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