BAN's Jim Puckett vs. "Hurricane" Joe Benson

Imprisoned based on fake statistic

Thanks to all for the polite applause and pats on the back as I profile the arrest and imprisonment of an African used goods trader from the safety of my Vermont office.

Many people have told me how "brave" I am to risk offending the Senator Joe McCarthy of E-Waste.

" Never has BAN ever stated that 80% of US e-waste is exported." From / fair use.   

One year ago, "Hurricane" Joseph Benson of BJ Electronics was involved in our efforts to get Puckett to actively withdraw his accusations against African techs.  I travelled to Interpol, met Benson in London, and engaged with Puckett (via BloombergView) over Basel Action Network's silence about it's "80%" statistic being discredited in major UN funded studies in Nigeria. Jim Puckett tried to spin the story, claiming credit for what he called the vast improvement in standards of imports to Nigeria.

Outrageous.  The study was the same containers seized from Benson's arrest!  Puckett was acknowledging the quality of the studies funded by Basel Convention Secretariat, but implying the quality of the loads was a result of the goods seizure.  Rarely does an expert get caught so bloody red handed.

Unfortunately for Joe Benson, trade of used goods in Africa has already been tried and convicted in the press, based on BAN and Greenpeace's accidental racial profiling of allegedly "primitive" electronics repairers.

Portions of the Hurricane Joe Benson blog, with quotes from Puckett and from the 2011 report on the findings of Benson and others sea containers are reposted below the lyrics of Bob Dylan's song Hurricane.  It includes a link to an academic article reportedly submitted in Benson's trial, from University of Northampton UK, which quotes Puckett estimating only 25% of exports to Nigeria are actually reused...

Recall also, a year ago, that Puckett and BAN refused to come clean about their "statistics" on e-waste.  "Never has BAN ever said..." etc.  Recall as well that Puckett used articles mentioning Joseph Benson of BJ Electronics by name in his powerpoint presentations, taking credit for the crackdown.

Bottom line:  Africa has enough REAL problems, needing real solutions.  They don't need us to manufacture scandals for them.  (See another old blog chestnut, "The finite world", riffing on Economist Paul Krugman).

"Hurricane" Rubin Carter, memorialized in Bob Dylan's song, passed away two months ago, April 20, by the way.

My point is that I told Jim Puckett, to his face at E-Scrap in the fall, that his stats about Africa were resulting in an Innocent Man's arrest and imprisonment.  Jim Puckett said to me that Joe Benson was "collateral damage".  That's the best he could do.   And now Benson is in prison.

Rubin Carter was falsely tried
The crime was murder 'one' guess who testified
Bello and Bradley and they both baldly lied
And the newspapers they all went along for the ride
How can the life of such a man
Be in the palm of some fool's hand ? 
To see him obviously framed
Couldn't help but make me feel ashamed to live in a land 
Where justice is a game.

From the blog, June 2013.

Get this straight. Hurricane Joe Benson was accused in the Guardian and Independent of exporting "e-waste" for "primitive" recycling and metal recovery, and arrested.  The goods in Benson's containers were seized and gone through by African and Swiss consultants Lagos and Freiburg, and found to be 91% good, a higher portion of useful product than brand new electronics sold in Nigeria from China.

Yes, the goods seized from Bensons arrest are the same bloody televisions which Jim Puckett of BAN say prove Nigeria's situation has improved.

"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 
Here's another quote from the Nigeria E-Waste Assessment Study:
"Refurbishing of EEE and the sales of used EEE is an important economic sector (e.g. Alaba market in Lagos). It is a well-organized and  a dynamic  sector that holds the potential for further industrial development. Indirectly, the sector has another important economic role, as it supplies low and middle income households with affordable ICT equipment and other EEE. In the view of the sector’s positive socio-economic performance, all policy measures aiming to improve e-waste management in Nigeria should refrain from undifferentiated banning of  second-hand imports and refurbishing activities and strive for a co-operative approach by including the market and sector associations."
Sounds a lot like "Fair Trade Recycling".  So how does BAN balance the UN Study, showing 91% reuse, recommending AGAINST laws like CAER's Green-Thompson bill, with its applause for the crackdown by Interpol and Europe on exporters like "Hurricane" Joseph Benson of BJ Electronics

First, embrace the study.  Second, take credit.

Quotes from Jim Puckett:

"I am very satisfied with the quality of the UNEP studies. I know well the authors and have worked with them and discussed findings with them.   These studies were funded due to our film Digital Dump which was shown at the Basel meeting whereafter the EU donated 1 million Euros to assist Africa in solving the e-waste crisis.  
"Nigeria was faced with a very serious abusive importation scene when we first arrived in 2005.  They took the appropriate action and Nigeria is one of the great success stories of addressing the e-waste crisis.  In China it has worsened, in Nigeria, they have really exercised control over the egregious toxic e-waste trade impacting their environment.  "
This is Jim Puckett's spin on the UNEP study, which took sea containers in Ghana and Nigeria (104 of which came from Joseph Benson's adapted country, the United Kingdom).   The researchers pieced all the TVs out, and found 91% reuse rate.   He tries (in the second quote) to take credit for the turnaround. 

In fact, BAN was very, very busy in 2009 and 2010, the period when the 91% reuse was documented in the UNEP study.

Here is a report from the University of Northhampton (UK) which uses BAN as a source, stating only 25% of what Nigerian techs imported could be fixed or reused - complete with photos by master photographer Jim Puckett himself.  What a terrific turnaround it is, from only 25% reuse to 91%.  So fast, that the innocence/improvement happened before the crime!

No silence

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