Bullyboys 12: George Wallace and Collateral Damage

How We Rationalize False Arrests and Misused Authority

You might feel better that some of the men hanging from the trees were no angels.   You might take consolation in the bribes and forged dates and mislabeled bill of ladings on some of the 91% reused and repaired equipment.   But there's not much "pollution crime" to see  here.   I have hundreds and hundreds of photos of men and women who were accused, some of whom lost their businesses.

They were arrested thanks to one gnome-like dude in Seattle, who enlisted an exotic photographer, and made up a strange, bizarre, unsupported statistic, framed with words like "ghoulish" and "macabre", "skeletons" and "witches brew".   E-Stewards ran and got the rope, tied affordable internet to a wooden stake, and applauded while dictators lit the match.   It was a witch hunt, charged with racial exoticism, misleading photography, water samples from downstreams of textile mills, rumors and hyperbole.

It's all recorded on my hard drive.  I have a suspicion, they will get me next, somehow.  Three years ago an E-Steward company came and offered virtually every one of my Vermont clients to collect their junk TVs for a penny a pound.   It was predatory pricing, and the sole purpose was to put me out of business.   And they probably justified it to themselves by calling me an "exporter-lover".  I see them circling around a CRT glass recycler who refused to join E-Stewards, refused to pay for "certification".  With the  foreign market now better researched, they will turn on the domestic recyclers, and manufacturers.

To Kill a Mockingbird.  That accuser made the story up.  There were no facts to support the accusations against Tom Robinson.   And there are no facts about Benson, or Semarang, or Penang factories.

The 80% "statistic" is a lie, it's a fabrication.  It comes from a single source, a man so certain of his mission that he calls the very people targeted "collateral damage".   Personally, I don't think that definition works when you declare someone guilty, aim your gun, and shoot them.

The arrested and ruined businesses were doing something rational and good, they were following the recycling hierarchy, and they were bringing mass media to a hungry population.  To a degree their loads were less than perfect, but they were better than brand new, and they were suffering from a boycott at their source, a lack of places to buy from, and 91% reuse seems a remarkable achievement in a back-alley marketplace.

The Africans were creating jobs for young men in cities like Cairo, which desperately need them.   Three billion people who earn three thousand dollars per year have been getting television and internet access and cell phone access at astonishing rates.  The people who made this possible are in the same business as printing press traders of the 1700s, they are making information affordable and possible.

Here again is the link.  I'll post it over and over again.  The UN Study found 91% reuse in Africa - a higher use rate than brand new product sold there - and BAN claimed credit.  It's horrible, and as we head to the E-Scrap Conference in Orlando, we will have to see who has the cojones to stand up and end this decade of Bullyboy defamation.

What do we have to show for the ten years of boycotts and arrests?  Abandoned CRT glass, gathered like buffalo skulls in warehouses across the country.  Like a dog in the manger, we upgraded to something flatter and nicer, and then ruined the used ones.   And Basel Action Network will next claim the piles of glass are someone else's fault, and never address their role.

The piles of CRT cullet in the USA, after ten years of an anti-export campaign, is proof the Africans were innocent, that they were not buying this junk and dumping it in Africa.  The piles are here at home.  The habeus corpus, "show the body", missing from Joseph Benson's media trial, is the focus of "environmental sustainability" at E-Scrap 2013 next week.

While I could, I exported to Africa and I'm proud.  I hope I'll do it again someday.  Should I wear an E-Steward badge in the meantime, proudly displaying that Vermont stopped reusing too?  Jim told me it would make me a lot of money.   Like he thinks that's what Robin Ingenthron cares about.   He thinks I export because it's cheap and easy, and if he advertises I'm a good person for doing it his way, he'll move me up in the recycling community.

He'll make me "high yellow".  I'd make more money, and I'll share it with him.

I'd be a partner in the negative marketing campaign against exporters.
If there are no blacks eating in my restaurant anyway, why not put up a sign that says "whites only"?
Sorry Jim.  I know where the bodies are buried.  And they aren't called "collateral damage" when they have targets on their backs.  I warned you personally when you set out to defame them, to arrest them, and the fact you thought they were guilty of a crime they weren't guilty of does not make them "collateral damage".

91% of electronics imports to Africa are reuse and repair
When a television repairman like Joseph Benson of BJ Electronics is accused of #wastecrime in Nigeria, the intelligent thing to do is to find out if he's guilty or not, and then report correctly what he's guilty of.   If a computer monitor reseller in Michigan is guilty of faking labels on monitors, but is selling them not to deceive the buyer but to help his buyer, there are legitimate questions about whether to prosecute him or not.  But to portray the Egyptians paying $21 for the display devices as "primitive Africans"?

Not cool, dude.  Not cool.

That's not environmental justice, 
that's racist defamatory falsehood.

Stop the bullying.  Stand up.   Display your Fair Trade Recycling logo, display your credentials, stand up and applaud for the Geeks of Color.

Click Here, or follow the link below.

Reject the lies, the fairy tales.  African cities aren't perfect, they have a long ways to go.  But they are going there, in the right direction, and don't deserve the Halloween treatment.

witches brew

91% of electronics imports to Africa are reuse and repair
Relentlessly, BAN prints photos of kids at dumps, dumps outside of major cities with millions of people.  Yes, there are scrappers in Cairo (Zabaleen), and scrappers in Accra, and scrappers in Guangdong and Lagos and Rio, and Mumbai.    And there are internet cafes, and TV repairmen, and medical school students (like Hamdy), and revolutionaries, and writers and singers, and they desperately want access to the internet, and cannot afford a flat screen when a used CRT is good enough.

Churning, churning, for ten years the BAN organization has relentlessly printed lies about good people in secondary markets.  They called these people "sham recyclers".   They said used sales are a loophole for waste burning.   Good enough product is never good enough for Basel Action Network.  It's ludicrous that major journalists at CBS, USA Today, PBS and BBC report on their press releases "from Basel" or "from Bameko".

Basel Action Network is not a UN agency, it's a small organization that got non-profit status in 2009.   That's as a non-political charity... one raising money with pictures of poor kids which doesn't share a dime with Africans, they use the money to promote legislation.    (How about that?).

But I must steer without anger.

The same thing could go wrong with Fair Trade Recycling.  And that's why we need researchers and why we need journalists and bloggers.   I've copyrighted the name "Fair Trade Recycling", and another company has already registered or is using "Fair Trade EWaste".   But the names mean nothing more than "Bamako meeting" or "Basel Action" or "Declaration of Independence Network" if we don't have a credible means to distinguish ourselves from the BullyBoys.  Authority without borders is trickier than we might think.

This is hard work.   We are drafting contracts, visiting end markets, vetting them.  It's risky.  Kelley Keough of Greeneye Consulting flew for us to visit Net Peripheral, our FTR partner in Penang, and Adam Minter of Shanghai wrote an article about them.  Someone, as part of their "R2 Diligence", sent the report we paid Greeneye for to the Malaysia Department of Environment, which decided to rescind Net Peripheral's import permit because they had decided repair is waste treatment.   It's not, and it's a violation of the WTO Doha Round, it's a violation of the treaties USA has ratified and Malaysia has signed on export of cores for repair and reuse.  But the simple thing to do is stop exporting, and our company is now paying tens of thousands of dollars to destroy working computer monitors we used to sell.   Thanks R2 for the friendly fire, thanks a lot.

91% of electronics imports to Africa are reuse and repair
In this BullyBoy environment, where people shout out accusations of "80% Waste", and pass laws based on photos of poor black children and witchcraft voodoo vocabulary, the easiest thing is to let the business go underground.  The easy thing is to stop selling, to presume African buyers to be "primitive" without trial, to remove the Joseph Bensons and Net Peripheral from your downstream audits.

But is it moral, is it ethical, to boycott someone falsely accused by a bullyboy?  BAN.org, in an act of supreme moral cowardice, simply claimed they never said 80% was exported, and claims not to know the name of Joseph Benson, claims to have nothing to do with the lynching.   And I'm told that they are the body who should certify my company for E-Stewardship.

How about this... how about colleges and universities boycott E-Stewards, until BAN publicly issues an apology to all the Egyptians, Nigerians, and Ghanaians arrested, the 40 European exporters whose goods were seized?

Does "collateral damage" mean not even having to say you're sorry?

I'm of the generation that likes having watchdogs around.  They alert us to the plights of the poor, to forgotten and abused people living in squalid conditions.  To the plights of endangered species.

But like a carbon monoxide alarm with a dead battery, beeping shrill notes at all times, the warnings from the Seattle Basel Action Network do no good.

Their statistics are fake.  The Basel Ban Amendment isn't a law (it is a proposed amendment to change the law!)   A broken fire alarm, issuing fake news of unclear and unpresent danger, Basel Action Network is not helping anyone.

It is not helping USA CRT recyclers, it is not helping government agents, it is distracting Interpol from ivory, rhino horn, and tiger paw smuggling.   BAN isn't helping consumers.  And in the long run, the longer we allow their false sirens to linger, the more danger we do of permanently injuring society's response to actual emergencies, actual dangers.  "Raising awareness" was ok, and I worked with them and gave them a pass until 2007.   That year, the World Bank found 6,900,000 households in Nigeria with televisions.   And that year, BAN buried a report from their own researcher in Kenya finding 90% reuse.
"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 
They don't answer this blog.  But they will have a higher power to answer to as a new generation of environmentalists begins to study geography, international law, life cycle, and good enough markets.   Jim may make it to an old folks home, he may make it to retirement.

File:Wallace at University of Alabama edit2.jpg
But the man will be remembered for standing in the doorway and blocking brown people from the internet, like a modern day George Wallace.


Basel Action Network says they "never ever" said that 80% of the product exported by people like Joseph Benson was waste.   It should be the last straw.

 George Wallace is forgiven for telling the truth, that he was wrong, and for breaking bread with the African Americans he tried to block from Alabama universities and schools.  Jim will be forgiven, and can join us at the table, when he apologizes for the "collateral damage".  When he finally tells the truth for a change, that he didn't know what he was talking about and was making it up as he went along, it will free R2, E-Stewards, and others to compete again in the international recycling trade.

That's the nice thing about Africans.  In most of the cultures I've seen there, they are so forgiving that I think it may actually hold them back.

Puckett and others simply say that the photos of dumps in Lagos and Accra and Guiyu "speak for themselves."   But if you want a different view, try Google Maps (coming preview).  Find Agbogbloshie near Accra.  Find the port, the reuse market, and the dumps in Lagos.  Find out whether Guiyu, China, is visible from outer space, the way the OK Tedi Copper Mine is.  Halloween descriptions of environmental problems, in the hands of false testifiers, do the environmental community as much harm as racists did to the reputation of my home state of Arkansas.

Find the dump.  Then zoom out slowly.  Zoom back into different places.  
23.293279, 116.354200
+23° 17' 35.80", +116° 21' 15.12"

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