Posted by: Khepera | Friday, 18 September 2009

Trafigura, British oil trading giant, agrees to a multimillion-pound payout to Ivory Coast toxic waste victims

More & more of the same…..folks need to PAY ATTENTION!!! Try reading some international news instead of the oatmeal hype we get here…

One of the rampant atrocities scathing the globe is the abuse of poor countries by wealthy corporations, by offering BIG $$$ in exchange for the dumping &/or abandoning of toxic waste in the national waters of these nations. While this is not news, it is no less heinous. The most recent example is Trafigura, a British oil trading giant which has agreed to a multimillion-pound payout to settle a huge damages claim from thousands of Africans who fell ill from tonnes of toxic waste dumped illegally in one of the worst pollution incidents in decades.

There are several aspects of interest to this story, including the initial denial of injury by Trafigura, to the paying of a multi-million pound bounty to the government of Ivory Coast — without any admission of liability, which got their president, Claude Dauphin, out of a Cote d’Ivoire jail, and resulted in pending criminal prosecution against Trafigura being dropped(article).

Also of interest are the efforts of Trafigura to squelch news reportage of the incident, and its unfolding debacle, by ‘leveraging’ Britain’s libel laws(article).

It is specifically worthwhile to take the time to read the full series of articles, to apprise oneself of the sequence of events, the steps/actions taken by Trafigura, and the final unraveling of the story in the British press.  Now, ask yourself two questions:

  • Do you remember reading or hearing about this in the domestic USA press at any time going back to the event of the dumping in 2006?  If not, what does that tell you?
  • Secondly, like many crimes, specifically rape, most such events go unreported, even by the victim, as a result of the government being bought off(which occurred in this case), or the victim nation and its people are considered so inconsequential that their plight doesn’t even show up on UN radar.

If  we consider these aspects with any degree of critical thinking, then immediately it becomes clear that this ‘rape of the earth’ is not an isolated incident.  Accountability seem to be the clarion call of this age…and it needs to be shouted MUCH MORE LOUDLY!!!


How UK oil company Trafigura tried to cover up African pollution disaster

by David Leigh
16 September 2009

The Guardian can reveal evidence today of a massive cover-up by the British oil trader Trafigura, in one of the worst pollution disasters in recent history.

Internal emails show that Trafigura, which yesterday suddenly announced an offer to pay compensation to 31,000 west African victims, was fully aware that its waste dumped in Ivory Coast was so toxic that it was banned in Europe.

Thousands of west Africans besieged local hospitals in 2006, and a number died, after the dumping of hundreds of tonnes of highly toxic oil waste around the country’s capital, Abidjan. Official local autopsy reports on 12 alleged victims appeared to show fatal levels of the poisonous gas hydrogen sulphide, one of the waste’s lethal byproducts.

Trafigura has been publicly insisting for three years that its waste was routine and harmless. It claims it was “absolutely not dangerous”.

It has until now denied compensation claims, and its lawyers repeatedly threatened anyone worldwide who sought to contradict its version. It launched a libel case against BBC Newsnight, forced an alleged correction from the Times, demanded the Guardian delete articles, and yesterday tried to gag journalists in the Netherlands and Norway with legal threats.

But the dozens of damning internal Trafigura emails which have now come to light reveal how traders were told in advance that their planned chemical operation, a cheap and dirty process called “caustic washing”, generated such dangerous wastes that it was widely outlawed in the west.

The documents reveal that the London-based traders hoped to make profits of $7m a time by buying up what they called “bloody cheap” cargoes of sulphur-contaminated Mexican gasoline. They decided to try to process the fuel on board a tanker anchored offshore, creating toxic waste they called “slops”.

For the rest of the article, including audio report


  1. Some how a 1000 pounds isn’t really all that much considering if you translate that into Canadian or American dollars is amounts to less then $2000 per person. Pretty chinsy if you ask me.

  2. Your blog is so informative … ..I just bookmarked you….keep up the good work!!!!

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