Tuesday, October 13, 2009
How Carter-Ruck and Trafigura challenged freedom of speech
Image: How Trafigura and Carter-Ruck would prefer things to be. Creative Commons License.
The Guardian has been blocked from reporting the following Parliamentary question:
N Paul Farrelly (Newcastle-under-Lyme): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of legislation to protect (a) whistleblowers and (b) press freedom following the injunctions obtained in the High Court by (i) Barclays and Freshfields solicitors on 19 March 2009 on the publication of internal Barclays reports documenting alleged tax avoidance schemes and (ii) Trafigura and Carter-Ruck solicitors on 11 September 2009 on the publication of the Minton report on the alleged dumping of toxic waste in the Ivory Coast, commissioned by Trafigura.
This scandal is an upwardly mobile trend on Twitter. Here is a sample of the Twitters going out:
Superb work from email@example.com & firstname.lastname@example.org in keeping their client's name quiet. #trafigura #carter-ruck
I have emailed these addresses in the following terms, and I hope you will too.
Dear Adam and Isabel I was surprised to read that a national newspaper has been prevented from reporting on a Parliamentary question, since this would seem to go against the 1688 Bill of Rights. Could you explain the thinking behind this situation please? Thank you
Dr Richard Lawson
Carter Ruck can be reached on
Tel: +44 (0)20 7353 5005, or for those who live in shacks,
Fax: +44 (0)20 7353 5553.
Trafigura's number in Lucerne Switzerland is 0041 41 41 419 4323.
The great thing about this is that it's not just us greenies and bleeding heart liberals who are hopping mad about it. The Rabid Anarcho-Libertarian Right is on the case too.
The BBC can be encouraged to mention this matter here. [update: they have now mentioned it, briefly. Twitter pressure?]
If you do not know that all this is about, here is the story of how Trafigura dumped toxic waste in Africa, with serious health problems for the local community. Internal emails showed that Trafigura knew of the harm that they were doing.
Flashmob on this Thursday 1 pm outside Carter Ruck's offices.
No 10 Petition here.
President Kagame of Rwanda has cited the Trafigura incident as a reason for African States to look to China as a trading partner. (Thanks to Frank Habineza of the Rwandan Green Party for this)
Update 1 pm BST: Victory! Carter Ruck caves in!!