From the Front Lines: African Technicians Jailed in England

On my way to Lyon, France, home of Interpol.   Lots of blogging in the draft folders.  But let's keep things simple.  Joe Benson of BJ Electronics was a technician of color accused by BBC and Skynet and Lord Chris Smith of the EA of wastecrime.   He was sentenced after years of appeals (which cost him more than paying the fine, I'm told).   And now he's in jail.   White environmentalists can sleep easier, knowing the black geeks aren't burning their iPhones in "witches brews" of e-waste toxics stirred by children.

What does Africa see?

1.  Teeming cities in the emerging markets generate tens of thousands of tons of municipal solid waste.  e.g. Economist 2.2014  "Nigeria’s sprawling megacity, Lagos, with a population of 21m or so, disgorges 10,000 metric tonnes of waste a day."

2.  Cities in Africa and China have had CRT televisions and monitors for decades and decades.  World Bank 2006 statistics show Nigeria already had 6.9M households with TV.

3. The cost of shipping a containerload of used CRT televisions from England to Africa costs, per television, more than four times the value of the copper that can be recovered from the TV.   A trader to Africa loses money on every junk TV shipped.

4.  Plastic shrink wrap does not have any significant effect on the damage to CRTs shipped to Africa.  It's purely cosmetic.

5.  Independent EU and African consultants examined hundreds of the sea containers with used electronics seized in African ports and during a 2 year study funded by the UN, found 91% reuse, better than brand new product.

6.  Greenpeace and Skynet had to pay 20 times scrap value to get their television with the tracking device back out of the African market.

7.  Arrest and imprisonment of THEIR Michael Dell, Simon Lin, Terry Gou... the same tinkerer-refurbishing economy that built Singapore, Shenzhen, Taiwan and Inchion is "forbidden fruit" to Africa under "Project Eden".

I have the documentation used to convict and sentence Hurricane Joe Benson to 16 months is prison.  They did NOT test his TVs, did NOT allow repair to be considered.

My thesis is that there is no evidence to justify Benson's experience except the following.

A.  Basel Action Network made up a hoax statistic that 80% of the electronics exported were scrapped by "primitive" Africans.
B.  Interpol in 2009 accepted BAN's statistic, reprinted it as an official guidance document despite 0 evidence of the statistic.
C.  Interpol did discover (expressing surprise) that the shipments were not paid for by EU waste companies to avoid disposal costs, but that the electronics were purchased by Africans ("waste tourists") for far more than the value of the scrap, that the Africans refused to buy most of the electronics they could have purchased, and that after purchasing the electronics for more than scrap value, the Africans paid shipping and customs duties on each piece.  Interpol's Emile Lindemulder described the trade as "organized" and (see A) therefore "organized crime".

Despite the proof that most material photographed by Basel Action Network and Greenpeace at African dumps was generated in African cities after decades of use, after comparison of Greenpeaces own photos showing drastically different years of manufacture in sea containers compared to the white Magnavox black and white TVs filmed at Agbogbloshie, despite the fact that the UK officials who opened Benson's containers (on film) allowed them to fall and break before testing them, despite all this, Benson's prosecutor described him as...

get this...

"like a rapist"

A naturalized UK Nigerian TV repairman is like a scary black rapist??  He's not accused of rape, or of any other crime other than exporting used electronics.  But the UK proceedings describe it as a "repeat offense" and then used the r word to describe Joseph Benson.

I'm taking this to Amnesty International.   This is totally racist, #whitesaviorcomplex, bad math.   Basel Action Network's quiet description of "collateral damage" (!!!) does not cut it.  It's post-colonial paternalism and it's no longer an excusable mistake, this has been out in the open for more than 5 years, and and Greenpeace are curiously silent.

Come out and tell my why I'm wrong and why Mr. Benson deserves to be in jail.  Chickens.

@AmnestyUK, @AmnestyInternational Someone is going to break this and it may be the last straw for Greenpeace, which believed Basel Action Network.

Check out research by MIT, Memorial U, ASU, others.   This is a case of white fundraisers creating a hoax problem and not admitting to it as people are jailed.   Notgoingaway.  Mike Enberg has resigned from E-Stewards, if you are a reporter still on the fence about this ask Enberg about "collateral damage" of the geeks of color.  Ask IFIXIT.  This is garbage.


This post got a surprising number of reads.   File under key words "friendly fire", "environmental malpractice", "environmental justice", "racism", "whitesaviorcomplex", "PovertyPorn", "geeks of color", "e-waste hoax", "unintended consequences", "planned obsolescence" and "collateral damage".  E-Waste Hoax has made me ashamed to be a recycler and ashamed for my fellow environmentalists, but it does show the 50 somethings preaching about "third world" and "primitive African recyclers" got one thing right - don't believe everything from someone over 30.   Environmental studies is now officially mature because it can apply scientific method to flush out the false hypothesis.   In the meantime, release Hurricane Joseph Joe Benson of BJ Electronics from English jail.   Do it quickly, do it now, and apologize to Africa for mistaking them for colonial children.

And by the way, Mike Anane (who I met at an Interpol meeting), the Ghana Journalist, is guilty too. He called Agbogbloshie "worse than Chernobyl", mistook aluminum phosphors for "lead poison" and attributed contagious diseases to heavy metals... all on camera.   I met him, I'm sure he means well, but he's a one-trick pony.  As a journalist, he had a chance to expose the false arrests of Africans, to "follow the trail" and find that the Agbogbloshie scrap comes primarily from Accra city dwellers and not from African importers like Joe Benson.  He is an active participant in the lynch mob targeting geeks of color.  I mention him specifically because I'd like to be attacked by him.   Mr. Anane, Come out and tell my why I'm wrong and why Mr. Benson deserves to be in jail.   I'd like to introduce you to Eric of Ghana, Fred of Burkina Faso, Miguel of Angola,  Hamdy and Essam of Egypt, Wahab of Ghana, Jinex of Peru,  Gordon of Taiwan, Fung of Malaysia, and Hurricane Joe, and let you explain the colonial power witches brew toxic export theory to them, and how the money THEY spend to buy used goods is bad, and how you are smarter than they are.

I don't export because Vermont believes you guys.   I've been banned from international trade.  Yet according to FOIA documents, Vermont ANR staff cited my support of "Fair Trade Recycling" in scoring of my company's bid.  Thought crime and opinion were weighed in award of a contract paying $477,000 more of Vermont public revenue funds for out of state shredding.   It's not enough that my company never sold a Vermont TV to Africa, it's the thought that counts.

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