The Unsuitablog

Exposing Ethical Hypocrites Everywhere!

Archive for August, 2009

Climate Camp – What Does It Stand For?

Posted by keith on 26th August 2009

Climate Camp 2009

I find myself a little confused, not for the first time admittedly. Having just come back from a wonderful direct action and environmental information camp in the English Lake District, replete with thoughts of anarchy (proper anarchy, that is) and a future that we have to make our own, the news is now full of London Climate Camp 2009 which appears to be assembling at the scene of the 14th century Peasant’s Revolt, Blackheath in south-east London. Wat Tyler would have approved of the location, but would he have approved of the motivation?

I spoke to a fair number of people last week who were intending to go to London Climate Camp, most of whom I would consider to be anarchists (“anarchist” simply means “one who has no leaders” : any other definition must be taken with a big pinch of salt) and most of whom were pretty excited about going. This made me feel better about Climate Camp than I had in the past: they had no intention of watering down their ideas. But this must be tempered with the fact that many people who attended the last summer Climate Camp were certainly not radical, and spoke at length about the need to engage politicians and work to help corporations become greener(!)

BBC Radio 5Live featured a few interviews from Climate Camp attendees this morning, one of whom called himself “Oscar” (actually, it’s probably his real name). Oscar found himself in the apparently uncomfortable position of having to defend actions that would potentially affect people’s “legal right to work” (the presenter’s words, not his). Unfortunately, rather than take the magnificent opportunity to decry the entire industrial capitalist machinery that is progressively destroying every aspect of the global ecosystem in the pursuit of profit — and which most of the people who are “legally” working are playing a very active part in — he proceeded to apologise to those people who would be affected, and then stumbled into a description of why climate change is a serious issue.

It would be unfair of me to single out Oscar, after all he was probably one of many people put forward for interview, but his words are deeply resonant of the environmental mainstream, not any radical form of environmental activism. If a camp is to be about taking action to prevent climate change then it needs to take action against the root cause of the problem, not scratch at the surface of our cultural concrete overcoat.

I don’t say this as an unqualified armchair observer: I have taken part in many actions on behalf of groups like Greenpeace, Campaign Against Climate Change and Friends of the Earth, and seen f-all result from them, even the ones that appeared to be fairly radical at the time. The reason for this is because the environmental mainstream are utterly petrified of facing up to the reality of the problem: the ubiquitousness and all-pervasive nature of the industrial economy.

So where does that leave Climate Camp?

At best, it is a place for people to meet, discuss the things that are upsetting and angering them and, for a good few of them, become radicalised against Industrial Civilization, understanding that nothing in the industrial system should be trusted nor accepted as a way forwards. I have no doubt that some of the people attending will already be radicals and anarchists, and they may help guide more mainstream activists towards actions that are more effective in undermining the industrial system. That said, Climate Camp is not, directly at least, a threat to the industrial system.

At worst, Climate Camp will reinforce the mainstream belief that it is possible to create change through existing means — political lobbying and campaigning, symbolic protest (such as banner drops and office invasions), public engagement and so on — and so ensure that those people who might have become radicalised remain deeply entrenched in a “softly softly” mindset. Meanwhile, the (largely symbolic) direct actions continue to emanate from the camps, giving the activists the impression that they are making a real difference.

I don’t know how this one is going to pan out, nor does anyone else; my guess is that it will fall somewhere between the two, but it would be nice to think that something really good could come out of Climate Camp, rather than just a load of placards and pro-consumer platitudes.

Posted in Advice, Should Know Better | 2 Comments »

BioFuel Africa Representative Goes Apeshit Bonkers

Posted by keith on 24th August 2009

Angry Email

I wouldn’t have written this story had I not been asked to, but I was and so I have. Strangest of all, the person who asked me to write it is the subject of the story and is really angry for most of the time. Confused? I still am. Anyway, here’s the back story.

Last week I wrote an article about a company called BioFuel Africa, who took it upon themselves to plant around 38,000 hectares of jatropha in an area of Ghana replete with rich biodiversity and cultural heritage which would be irrevocably damaged in the event of such an industrial monocultural invasion.

The majority of the article quoted third party sources, primary of these being the web site of the company carrying out the plantation project. There was a little bit of opinion from myself, but as with almost all of the posts on The Unsuitablog, the bulk of it was factual information, along with a chunk of logical extrapolation. However, I did refer to the two buyers of the newly reformed company as “arseholes”, which I have now changed to “ecocidal maniacs” (I’m not going to apologise; what would you call people who want to produce vast amounts of agrofuels for profit at the expense of an ecosystem and a cultural milieu?)

A representative of the company — Ove Martin Kolnes — possibly a director, and definitely a relative (brother?) of the owner Steinar Kolnes, attempted to post a couple of rebukes after the article. My view on comments is that if I feel they are adverts, illogical rants or I simply don’t like the tone or content, then I won’t publish them. It’s my blog, it’s not a democracy (for all that is worth); if you want to say something then start your own blog. In fact, I was about to accept Ove’s comments when Mr Kolnes decided to send me an email, and not just any old email: a very offensive, very angry email.

From: “Ove Martin Kolnes” ovmko@online.no
To: keith@theearthblog.org
Date: Sat, 22 Aug 2009 17:40:37 +0100

I find your article about Bifuel Africa Ltd very disturbing. You are in public calling the founders by names and naming them “assholes” and want people to spam their E mail and fax- machine. I dont know what kind of Idiot U are, but I have left an answer that I asume U are not going to allow to your blog. I see you dont know nothing about what is going on down here you fucking wealthy piece of shit. I am really surprised by your lack of knowledge and politness, but I can not expect more from a man from the UK. I live down here, work down her, employed with Biofuel Africa. We employed over 400 poor people before assholes like you and others started putting out shit about us. Now there is a lot of people suffering, and we “white” on the ground here is trying to heal some of the damages that has been done to our employees. I dont have numbers of how many I had to pay hospital bills for from my own money to save their lifes because of the shit you have published. Well… U can sit in your middleclasshouse in UK and fuck your nice wife and tell your nice little kids about powerty in Africa and think that you actually do something with the powerty in the world, while we “bad guys” in Biofuel Africa actually do something about it, creating working places for the poor people. Anyway.. I expect you to remove names and charactheristics like “assholes” in your stated lies about us… or else we maybe go to some legal steps to remove them.

Ove Mk
Biofuel Africa
Ghana

Well, obviously I couldn’t stay silent about that, so published it as a comment below the post (now moved to here). I responded:

Cool! I’ll be sure to print this.

Then after reading it again, followed up with:

Oh, and if you ever threaten any member of my family again, no legal steps will be enough to stop me.

You have sealed the fate of your company.

The first statement was based on the phrase “fuck your nice wife and tell your kids about powerty (sic) in Africa”, which can be taken a number of ways, including as a threat. The second statement reflected the fact that I would be posting his email on the blog, which would be appalling publicity.

Now it gets interesting. It seems that Ove thought he had a right of confidentiality, sending me emails. Incorrect: anyone who posts a comment has to enter an email address, and their IP address is also shown for moderation (this is standard practice to prevent spamming), neither of which I ever reveal. The same does not apply to emails sent directly to my personal mailbox, unless the sender requests, politely, confidentiality.

This was his response (verbatim):

so.. this is how you work? Im not surprised. How you can “find” a threat in my email against your familily is fantastic.. Get your ass, if your feets can carry you, down at the local police- station and do something about it. I will come to the UK defending myself in the court. We are not a big multi- national company. We are a family- company spending munch of our own money. I get provoked when somebody is mentioning names, calling them for assholes and want people to spam their email, telephone and fax- lines. We too have familiy..you are not the only one knowing how to make children.. and you never know what kind of (left- winger) nut- cases out there wanting to hurt us. You are the first one charactherising people in the company like this with names and want other to do illegal actions against us… thats why I react to your statement…

So dont try getting any sympathy by acting like a poor victim here.. you started this. You have a choise to remove names, charactheristics and wanting people to do illegal actions against us.

“you hav sealed the fate of the company”… he he.. you know nothing. We have assets in the comapany, we could just pack everything down, sell it off, and do something else that is not so taboo in your eyes. I have a good job in Norway waiting for me were I make better money, but we are burning for this, our workers, the community and the project itself so we will try getting this up and going. The people around us depend on us.. and we will try not to let them down. As I told you, we have increased farming land for the farmers in “our” community with almost 10 times. Dont let the lies you read blind you.. internet is full of shit. I invite you to come down one day, maybe time will heal our little dispute.

Omk

My response:

Heal? Ok, I have changed “arseholes” to “ecocidal maniacs”, and posted your previous email in the comments. My readers can decide for themselves what you meant.

As can any solicitor you employ.

At this point, I’m not going to comment about the nature of BioFuel Africa’s business model, nor their philanthropic claims; I’ve already made my opinion (and others’) clear.

The next email from Ove was interesting, to say the least:

Keith Farnish, I demand one thing from you. You should remove the “paste and copy” answer you have put up on your blog. You dont act like a responsible person enough to admin a blog. You signed a contract with me, not revealing my E-mail answering your so- called article. You have violited that contract. You are in right not to make the answer public, but NOT faking it. If you want you can publish my E- mail to you in a new article and put up lies as much as you want, but not fake an answer! I have never seen anything like this “paste and copy” practise in my life…and that is coming from the UK?!? Well.. I know this “paste and copy”- game myself… there is much damage to be done to your name if you know somebodys name and E- mail adress and there is a personal agenda. My name is not important enough, so the damage is not big at all, just to my family, but your name is more in public so the damage to your name will propably be bigger. Call this a threat.. or what you want.. but I know this game very well :) You started this fraud.. I hope you will end it, and you will never hear from me again. There is a family on both sides here.. and making things public like you have done from the first moment is not ethical like you suppose to honor. Well.. let the game begin… or?

So, I have done as he asked: I published his email in a new article. I wasn’t tempted to put up any lies, nor “fake” any answers — there was too much real stuff to need to fake anything.

As it happens there were lots of emails from Ove, some of which overlapped, so here is this one to fill in the gaps:

hehehe.. I am not surprised your way of working… and you are trying to be taken serious? I see now that you are a totally jerk. You did not put public my response to you, but my email to you. Well.. this is the kind of idiots we are facing every- day… people that can not answer when we are telling our story.. I thought people from UK were honest ones, but you are acting more corrupt than anything UK created down here in Africa. Well.. I am not a director.. I am just a simple farmer.. but I see I have really stepped on you.. You dont have any power in your pen, since you are laying down for me :) … a simple farmer drom Norway.. I must laugh :) You.. afraid for my pen???

put out my telephone- number too so people can call me down here +233249649737

This was sent at about the same time as the email that began: “so.. this is how you work? Im not surprised.” Yes, it’s getting a bit confusing, but it’s important to give the whole story, as Ove is so keen on. By the way, I’m not sure how a relative of the owner, and the person listed as the primary Ghana contact on the web site could be a “simple farmer”; but what would a “fucking wealthy piece of shit” know?

Then the threats began:

by the way.. I must see in any way how I can stop you now. You are running this blog, stating that you will not publish any e-mail when anyone is replying. You are editing my answers, you are a cheater and a lier..but worser, you are putting out my e-mail in public when you are doing a “contract” with your readers not to do so…. so now just put out my telephonenumber too..

Very confusing: he asked me to publish his phone number, then keeps on about the email address…

So, bringing these together, I responded:

What contract?

You sent the email, I published it. That is not libel.

If you want to make issue, make it with the people who published the original article about your activities, or The Independent who also published (see the link on the article) information about your activities.

I will happily publish your email to me. Again, you sent it, so can hardly claim it was fraud.

By all means send a solicitor’s letter, but make this personal — and by the way *I* didn’t reveal the names of the people in the company in the original article, you did, by publishing them on your web site and sending me emails that any sensible person would publish.

Keith

P.S. It’s my blog, I reserve the right to delete comments or shorten them. I don’t have to publish anything if I don’t want to.

The last main bit of my response was a bit garbled, I meant to add “– and I will not be happy.” Anyhow, he responded, and I was starting to become impressed with his typing speed and the sheer volume of information in the emails. At no point in my original article did I mention financial corruption, so why is he making such a big deal of this. It seems — and this is not just idle speculation but based on exchanges I have had with companies in the past — that the ecological and cultural damage of the BioFuel Africa project is less important in his eyes, than the financial situation; such is the nature of capitalism…

when I answered the article.. there is a writing that my E-mail is required, but will not be published. Its like a contract, I accepted to make a comment, but only if my Email was not published. I trusted this so much that I even gave a correct E-mail… but I see that I was too naive trusting you. You can publish my Emails as much as you want, but not as it is an answer to the article with copy and paste. You are in fact an editor, you are responsible what you are putting out in public.. you are inviting people to comment.. its a fraud when you false this answers. It was a general E-mail to you as an editor were I was angry at you mentioning single persons as assholes, it was not an answer to your article. If you want to publish it, make a new article instead., just an advice…. Well, its your blog, do whatever you want, keep up the work insulting people in public.

When it comes to the source of this lies its a consultant that did not get a assignement with us.. he tried to blackmail us.. and got money to publish the story in the biggest newspaper in Ghana and on internet. Media in West- Africa is some different than in our world. You have to pay to get any story in the newspaper. I have journalists every week to my house wanting to write a story, but its all about money. When a lie has come to internet its impossible to stop it.. then Der Spiegel picked it up, Norwegian television, ..you name it…now 2 years after Independent wake up from their sleep and publish it. There is much more to say about this issue, and we are not people that does not do mistakes.

The bankrupcy were not because of this lies from this consultant. The bancrupsy were because Statoil(Norwegian oilcompany), not with the best story when it comes to corruption, should invest first 10million dollars in our project. We had worked over 2 years with them finalizing the investment. The day before the formal signing they come up with some story about us..I have it here, a story with AA, BB, in the country Y, doing some moneytransaction to officials. We were shocked, because the story did not suit the country we were in, we did not get any information were they get this from. They had outsourced! the investigation to a UK, London based, investigation company.. and by contract with them not allowed to reveal their name. It was therefor impossible to clear our name..and therefor it was impossible to get replacement in investment. We had to lay off all of our workers the same day and declare bancrupt. Now we are on scratch, trying to get it all up again. By the way, our own investigasions here in Ghana show that the investigation- company is named “Kroll”. I know that this company dont have clean hands tehmselves…

Anyway.. do what you want. Its your blog. I dont have time trying to spoil your name.. but I get pissed off.. and lose some more of my naivity about decent people.

Good night.

So that, would appear to be that. I was going to respond, then didn’t, then finally did, because I had finally understood what he was getting at with regards to the email privacy issue:

This will also be my last response. I never publish email addresses when people post comments; there is, however, no such agreement when you decide to send me a personal email, which you did, especially one that is so offensive.

Regards

Keith

I didn’t expect this response:

ok Keith.. I find your charactheristic of persons also so offensive that I have to take som steps further… Calling people for assholes and even worser IN PUBLIC like you did, inviting people to spam their emails and fax is very offensive. You can not just delete it and believe that everything is ok. Remember, you have brought everything to public. You have edited everything… you are the editor.. you are responsible bringing this to the public. I propably find some time anyway to bring things public about you to then. By the way, calling me a director..hehe.. Well as you said, its your blog.. Im just sitting in a slum in Africa wondering how I will attack all this :) You really provoked me with this last E-mail

Why would clarifying a point be so provocative? Anyhow, I have no intention of deleting my blog, and I’m quite tempted to reinstate the word “arseholes” except neither of the people alluded to in the article have chosen to write to me in such a way.

Finally, late last night he sent the following:

Maybe you should take a look at this one. http://blogethics2004.blogspot.com/2005/03/cobe-revised-form-based-duties-in-blog.html#comments Its about blog- ethics. You are a radical (raddis) fundamentalist that does not want any reflection or new knowledge. No discussion is allowed, all should be in the hands of you. The meaning of life should be to learn something new every day. Well.. I have learnt something from you yesterday, thats for sure :)
Well… read this list. I think the one about promoting free expression and the one about deceiving others should be read carefully.

Anyway.. you have gotten me into this blog- thing. I will propably create my own, inviting you, since you will be my first subject, to a comment :) I will handle my blog in an ethical way, free expression. I even think I will make it more popular than your own.. I dont think you have so many visitors.. propably because you dont let them speak… Well, I will contact you when I am up an going :)

He went on to list the COBE, which you can read via the link above. Well, I have my own form of ethics, and it’s rooted in Natural and Common Law, along with basic social politeness: in short “Be nice, unless you have a very good reason not to be nice.”

This may be continued…

Posted in Advice, Corporate Hypocrisy, Techno Fixes, Unsuitablog News | 10 Comments »

Plane Stupid Receive Remarkable Special Offer

Posted by keith on 19th August 2009

planestupidguest1.jpg

This week The Unsuitablog is taking a little holiday (obviously not by plane), so I leave you in the safe hands of Richard George of Plane Stupid*, who has sent me this little gem of a story. Thanks, Richard…

One of the greatest achievements of the Forces of ReactionismTM is that opportunities to achieve real change have been subjugated by opportunities to do absolutely nothing. Take changing lightbulbs, recycling or using those trendy jute bags: somehow these futile acts became central to any strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while reducing the amount we buy, fly and drive are taboo. That’s why our Secretary of State for Environment seems to think it’s OK to talk about tackling climate change while preserving the right to fly – and to promote airport expansion in his constituency.

Central to this, as The Unsuitablog has consistently pointed out, is an army of greenwash and astroturf groups, which are doing their bit to ensure that what little we’re doing is spent on activities which most support existing power structures. Take the latest helpful email we at Plane Stupid received:

Greenlight Marketing are looking for sites that would be interested in publishing green related content and/or banners on behalf of a number of the UK’s major brands including British Gas and Vodafone.

For a site such as planestupid.com we would pay £60 per month for a small image and text based banner on your homepage, and/or £30 per article, per month for up to 3 unique articles linked to from the homepage. The articles will of course be relevant to your site, and topics could include ‘Five Easy Ways To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint’ or ‘How Energy Efficient Is Your Home?’.


Let’s look at what’s going on here. British Gas and Vodafone, amongst others, are paying blogs which talk about climate change / environmental issues to host articles written by a PR company. These articles are designed to blend in with the actual content, pushing a corporate message from within. People browsing the internet for practical advice about stopping climate change are being advised by neutral-looking websites which are written by the very companies which enable and depend upon rising greenhouse gas emissions to keep their shareholders happy.

To add insult to corporate stoogery, the people who work for the PR company clearly don’t give a toss about the environment, or are too stupid to even read or understand the websites they’re approaching. It’s hard to imagine a world in which a casual reader of the Plane Stupid website would think we’d take part in this offer. Especially as the website they directed us to for examples, www.energysavingnow.com, is littered with adverts for cheap holiday homes abroad…and only offered us £60 a month.

Seriously, that’s only going to buy 3 d-locks and a small tube of superglue. Surely selling our souls is worth a least a couple of hundred?

(*Yes, we have had our differences in the past, but people can change — unlike companies.)

Posted in Adverts, Corporate Hypocrisy, Sponsorship | No Comments »

BioFuel Africa: Norwegian Rainforest Wreckers – Down But Not Out

Posted by keith on 14th August 2009

BioFuel Africa Blood

When I mention Norway to you, things like a high standard of living, sexual equality, beautiful but harsh landscapes and the Northern Lights are almost certain to come to mind. You might also think of North Sea oil and gas, and the fact that Norway has claims to the majority of remaining reserves; or perhaps you will think of the constant pressure that Norway piles on the IWC to allow it to resume commercial whaling. Even less likely, perhaps, you would recall Norway as the home of a private company that defrauded indigenous forest dwellers in Ghana of tens of thousands of hectares of homeland in order to destroy it and plant a lucrative crop of jatropha for use as a biofuel — or rather, an agrifuel.

Incredibly, it wasn’t until last week that this came to my attention; a bile-inducing article in The Independent about resource colonialism (which is essentially what colonialism was always about) mentioned the Norwegian company — the one that angered me the most — in this way:

Food is not all the new colonialists are after. About a fifth of the massive new deals are for land on which to grow biofuels. British, US and German companies with names such as Flora Ecopower have bought land in Tanzania and Ethiopia. The country whose name became a byword for famine at the time of the Live Aid concerts has had more than 50 investors sign deals or register an interest in the cultivation of biofuel crops on its soil.

From Ethiopia’s point of view, the economic logic is straightforward: the country is an importer of oil and is therefore vulnerable to price fluctuations on the world market; if it can produce biofuels it will lessen that dependency. But at a cost. To keep the foreign biofuel investors happy, the government doesn’t force any companies to carry out environmental impact assessments. Local activists claim that 75 per cent of the land allocated to foreign biofuel firms are covered in forests that will be cut down.

More worrying is the plan by a Norwegian biofuel company to create “the largest jatropha plantation in the world” by deforesting large tracts of land in northern Ghana. Jatropha, which can be cultivated in poor soil, produces oily seeds that can produce biodiesel. A local activist, Bakari Nyari, of the African Biodiversity Network, has accused the company of “using methods that hark back to the darkest days of colonialism… by deceiving an illiterate chief to sign away 38,000 hectares with his thumbprint”. The company claims the scheme will bring jobs, but the extensive deforestation which would result would deprive local people of their traditional income from gathering forest products such as shea nuts.

A little digging around, reveals the company in question to be called BioFuel Africa, a private firm that specialises in the production of agrifuels in West Africa and, according to their website, operates “under the principle that production can only be sustainable if it is low cost, provides a solid return, and enhances and enriches the lives of its workers and surrounding communities.”

Now, even this self-serving definition of “sustainable” is extremely revealing, for it shows clearly that the priorities of the company are profit and exploitation of local people. Quite how sustainability can be equated with profitability is a question that only arises in Industrial Civilization; justifying this outside of a system that values intangible profits and growth above the survival of the global ecology, would be utterly impossible. Even inside the system, it is illogical. And as for enhancing and enriching the lives of those people who up to the invasion of commercial forces were connected to the land, wanting little beyond that which sustains them on a daily basis, and the cohesive structure of a stable community…this is about as hypocritical as it is possible to be in a few words.

On BioFuel Africa’s “Social Impact” pages, you will also find this description of how they “restore” land by planting Jatropha:

By the current national definition of “forest” as outlined by the Forestry Commission of Ghana, the project area can be considered degraded and therefore suitable for reforestation. Planting jatropha trees removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, helps restore soil fertility and protects the land from wind and water erosion.

The roots of the jatropha trees bind with topsoil to make it less vulnerable to wind and penetrate the soil to allow infiltration of water, thereby reducing land degradation. This makes the crop ideal especially for marginal soils where land degradation, desertification and water stress are real problems.

Which is great; providing you want monocultural green concrete as your restored ecosystem, you don’t want any indigenous forest people disturbing your commercial operation, and you accept the definition of “degraded” from the Forestry Commission of Ghana which, incidentally, is funded through a combination of government money and “our share of revenue from the sale of timber and wildlife resources to contractors.”

On the sustainability point alone, the true impact of the 38,000 landgrab is outlined in a brilliant report by the Regional Advisory and Information Network Systems (RAINS), based in Ghana:

In November 2007 a team from RAINS discovered massive destruction of vegetation cover over a large stretch of land near a village called Alipe within the White Volta River basin about 30 kilometres from Tamale, the capital town of the Northern region of Ghana. Heavy agricultural machinery were systematically pulling down trees and decimating the area a few metres south of the village. The land had been stripped bare of all its vegetation cover. Enquiry revealed that the site was to be the beginning of a large jatropha plantation developed by a Norwegian biofuel company called BioFuel Africa – a subsidiary of Bio Fuel Norway (www.biofuel.no). At a public engagement session in Kusawgu, the traditional capital of the Kusawgu Division of the Gonja Traditional Council, Mr. Finn Byberg, Director of Land Acquisition for BioFuel Africa, stated that BioFuel Africa hoped to “develop the largest jatropha plantation in the world in Ghana”.

The discovery of the cleared land brought the realization that the battle against land grabbing and community disempowerment was no longer just happening in other countries but also in Ghana. In collaboration with the Central Gonja District Assembly and the Environmental Protection Agency, work was suspended on the development site.

I strongly urge you to read this paper; it is factual, and covers the issues in far more detail than I could here. Not knowing the background — as I said, I’m new to this story — it’s still pretty clear that this paper was the catalyst for BioFuel Africa going into receivership. In effect, this report screwed up the company…

…almost:

STAVANGER, NORWAY – BioFuel AS founders Arne Helvig and Steinar Kolnes have acquired 100 percent of the shares in BioFuel Africa Ltd. (Ghana), a biofuel company focused on growing sustainable alternative fuels in West Africa, a company that was fully owned by BioFuel AS.

As a result of slanderous public remarks made against BioFuel AS and one of its primary shareholders, the company was forced to file for bankruptcy on 13 March, 2009, putting all of BioFuel AS assets up for sale. Two of the company’s founders took that opportunity to buy all shares of BioFuel Africa Ltd., assuming all its debt and acquiring all assets. As a result, BioFuel Africa will be able to continue its operations in Ghana.

“We feel optimistic about the acquisition, which will allow us to focus on the business at hand,” said Chief Executive Officer Steinar Kolnes. “We will not let false accusations or petty behavior on the part of one highly irresponsible company deter us from the mission of bringing a socially and environmentally product to market.”

A new company, Solar Harvest AS, has been formed in Norway and is now the sole owner of BioFuel Africa Ltd. (Ghana).

The Solar Harvest/BioFuel AS founders are preparing for a lawsuit against the company that wrongly accused is shareholders of misconduct. Because the case is about to be filed in Norwegian courts, no further details of the ongoing investigation and subsequent lawsuit will be released at this time.

EDITORIAL CONTACT:
Steinar Kolnes
Chairman of the board – Solar Harvest AS
CEO – BioFuel Africa AS

To the rescue of a penniless company comes a couple of ecocidal maniacs, determined to continue the work of the destructive incumbent.

Fancy having a pop at the new company? Here’s where to make your feelings known:

Steinar Kolnes
Solar Harvest AS
Verven 12, Ground Floor
Seaside Entrance
NO-4014 Stavanger

Phone: +47 9004 2374
Fax: +47 5189 1312 [I wouldn’t dream of encouraging you to clog up their fax machine]

steinar.kolnes@biofuel.no

There is such a thing as bad publicity!

Addendum: One of the directors of BioFuel Africa, who I didn’t even name in this article has started resorting to personal threats. These are published in a more recent article. If I receive a “cease and desist” letter from a UK solicitor, then I will remove any non-factual, subjective, statements from this article.

Posted in Corporate Hypocrisy, Offsetting | 7 Comments »

Taco Bell: Another Spot-On Onion Spoof

Posted by keith on 12th August 2009

Beautiful, and so close to the truth, as usual.

Hint: GM! ;-)

Posted in Spoofs | 1 Comment »

Humane Society Of The United States: Michael Vick And The Dog Fighting Debacle

Posted by keith on 11th August 2009

HSUS

If you are a fan of American Football or have an interest in animal rights, you may well have heard about the former (and soon to be “rehabilitated”) star of the NFL, Michael Vick. This was a guy who, in common with an increasing number of inner-city gang members, took part in dog fights: or rather, the poor animals he baited, drugged and caged, took part in dog fights; the humans involved stood at the side and eagerly watched two hounds rip each other to shreds…repeatedly.

Not the kind of guy you would invite to meet your mother, I would think, and certainly not the kind of guy you would ask to front an animal rights campaign. But then we all know how screwed up the world is, and particularly what lengths some organisations will go to ensure they have a steady stream of income with which to continue their work (yes, PETA, I’m talking about you and your consistently sexist campaign images).

To this list — which also includes Greenpeace, buddying up with Kimberly-Clark; WWF, having a love-in with any company who submits the cash; and the Nature Conservancy, who have never left their corporate love-nest — we must add the Humane Society of the United States, for one of the most misdirected and stupid decisions by a non-environmental NGO I have seen for a long time.

There is now a web site called Boycott the Humane Society of the United States. The images aren’t pretty, but then dog fighting isn’t either. This is their take on the whole Michael Vick–HSUS debacle:

It is with great sadness that we are compelled to call for this boycott against the Humane Society. They have facilitated Michael Vick being able to return to the NFL and football which puts forth a horrible example for young children everywhere to believe they can kill and torture dogs, and live a criminal life, and still be a great football star and a spokeperson for HSUS. No, Michael Vick will not be going around the country and teaching children what to do with violent dogs. This is preposterous. Michael Vick may be the rule rather than the exception for the NFL bad boyz with their glamour and fame privilege. But we do expect more from the Humane Society.

The Humane Society didn’t need Michael Vick to do a campaign against dog fighting. They could have pointed him out from a distance as an example of what not to do and that is exactly what they would have done had he been some poor hick in the south fighting roosters. They would have never highlighted it in this way.

The difference here is a super sophisticated public relations effort to clear Vick’s name and reputation so he can make them all some money. And indeed this deal is all about money–big money. So much money that not a week, or even a moment, can be lost in rehabilitating Michael Vick’s reputation enough to get him out on the field for those big money making games which brings in lots of blood money for all of them, including unfortunately the Humane Society.

The Humane Society, The NFL and their sponsors and this sadist Michael Vick all depend on you having a short attention span and getting used to what they have done. I don’t know about you who are reading this page, but I have a very long attention span. Hope you will speak out about this in every avenue you can and apply pressure on everyone you can think of until Michael Vick is told in no uncertain terms that he has no business teaching anything to anybody, any more than OJ needs to be snatched up by battered womens centers to teach men how not to beat and kill their wives. If Michael Vick is not euthanized like the dogs he tortured, sexually abused and murdered then the only other thing that needs to happen is he needs to shut the fuck up, listen and learn and do his best to transform himself into a human being over the next decade or so and then we might be interested in what he has to say but even then certainly not as a representative of the Humane Society or the NFL.

There is also a Facebook Group for the boycott — if you feel strongly about this, then that is the place to start.

Posted in NGO Hypocrisy, Promotions | 2 Comments »

Greenpeace USA Grants Kimberly-Clark Two Years Unlimited Destruction

Posted by keith on 6th August 2009

Kleercut Greenwashed

Let’s say I had been punching you in the face for a few years during which time you had been offering no resistance to my violence. After all this time you would be a bloody mess, barely able to speak, see or breathe. Then, for practical reasons, i.e. I couldn’t find any flesh that hadn’t been already mashed and there were a few people hanging about that might hit me back, I said I would stop hitting you. The people who had been hanging about overhear this and walk away — after all, I can be trusted, can’t I? Then, let’s suppose you say that I don’t need to stop hitting you straight away and I can carry on for another couple of years, but which time you might be dead. Is that ok?

Yesterday, I received a breathless email from Daniel Kessler at Greenpeace USA, hailing the actions of a “former” face-puncher extraordinaire: a deal had been done, and all was forgiven…

Hello:

I have big news about forest protection. Kimberly-Clark, the maker of Kleenex, Scott and Cottonelle brands, today announced stronger fiber sourcing standards that will increase conservation of forests globally and will make the company a leader for sustainably produced tissue products. In turn, Greenpeace, which worked with Kimberly-Clark on its revised standards, announced that it will end its “Kleercut” campaign, which focused on the company and its brands.

A video celebrating Kimberly-Clark’s move as well as a history of Greenpeace’s campaign can be found at www.greenpeace.org/kleercut.

Kimberly-Clark has set a goal of obtaining 100 percent of the company’s wood fiber for tissue products, including the Kleenex brand, from environmentally responsible sources. The revised standards will enhance the protection of Endangered Forests and increase the use of both Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified fiber and recycled fiber. By 2011, Kimberly-Clark will ensure that 40 percent of its North American tissue fiber is either recycled or FSC certified — a 71 percent increase from 2007 levels that represents 600,000 tones of fiber.

Also by the end of 2011, Kimberly-Clark will eliminate the purchase of any fiber from the Canadian Boreal Forest that is not FSC certified. This forest is North America’s largest old growth forest, providing habitat for threatened wildlife such as woodland caribou and a sanctuary for more than one billion migratory birds. It is also the largest terrestrial storehouse of carbon on the planet, storing the equivalent of 27 years worth of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Furthermore, the revised standards reinforce Kimberly-Clark’s long-standing ban on use of wood fiber from illegal sources; adds a preference for post-consumer recycled fiber; and supports expansion of recycling initiatives and the identification, mapping and protection of areas that have the potential to be designated as Endangered or High Conservation Value forests.

Please contact me with any questions,

Daniel
Greenpeace Press Officer
510-501-1779 (cell)
dkessler@greenpeace.org

About Kimberly-Clark

Kimberly-Clark and its well-known global brands are an indispensable part of life for people in more than 150 countries. Every day, 1.3 billion people – nearly a quarter of the world’s population – trust K-C brands and the solutions they provide to enhance their health, hygiene and well-being. With brands such as Kleenex, Scott, Huggies, Pull-Ups, Kotex and Depend, Kimberly-Clark holds No. 1 or No. 2 share positions in more than 80 countries. To keep up with the latest K-C news and to learn more about the company’s 137-year history of innovation, visit www.kimberly-clark.com.

About Greenpeace

Greenpeace is the leading independent campaigning organization that uses peaceful direct action and creative communication to expose global environmental problems and to promote solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future.

The story of this “historic” agreement was prefixed by a period of decades of wanton destruction: it wasn’t merely a case of K-C not realising the damage they were doing — they knew exactly what they were doing, it was spelled out in the terms of the campaigners’ articles and petitions and the rapid denudation of the ancient forests they were wiping out. Kimberly-Clark carried out systematic ecocide on a truly gigantic scale. Greenpeace appear to have very short memories:

Go to the Kleercut web site and the banner says, “Case Closed!” But hang on! The press release quite clearly says the following:

- By the end of 2011, Kimberly-Clark will eliminate the purchase of any fiber from the Canadian Boreal Forest that is not FSC certified.

So who will be monitoring the activities of Kimberly-Clark for the next 2 years? There is nothing to suggest that they will be easing up on their destruction any time soon, and no veto on the agreement should K-C decide to increase their usage of virgin or uncertified pulp. It is also vital to note that Greenpeace Nordic’s own report heavily criticised the FSC in Sweden, saying: “The FSC has failed to prevent the destruction of HCVFs [High Conservation Value Forests] in Sweden. Swedish FSC-certified forest companies are misusing the FSC system and…the FSC are sanctioning this mismanagement by failing to stand by the FSC Principles and Criteria”. FSC certification is clearly not adequate, especially when companies wish to cover up their activities.

– By 2011, Kimberly-Clark will ensure that 40 percent of its North American tissue fiber is either recycled or FSC certified

Meaning that 60 percent will still be of extremely dubious origin in two years time, and that the remaining 40 percent could fall under a scheme that Greenpeace (Nordic) have said is unreliable. The original Kimberly-Clark policy document, makes no undertakings to increase its use of recycled materials.

The aforementioned K-C document makes another interesting statement, not mentioned in the Greenpeace USA press release. The press release states, “Kimberly-Clark has set a goal of obtaining 100 percent of the company’s wood fiber for tissue products, including the Kleenex brand, from environmentally responsible sources.” whereas the Policy Document has a different take on this:

Kimberly-Clark has a goal of purchasing 100% of its wood fiber from suppliers that have had their forestry operations or wood fiber procurement activities certified to one of the following third-party verified forest certification systems. The Corporation will give preference to wood fiber certified under FSC standards.

* For purposes of this policy, “forest certification systems” will mean the following five schemes: Forest Stewardship Coucil (FSC); Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI); Canadian Standards Association’s National Sustainable Forest Management Standards (CSA); Sistema Brasileiro de Certificacao Florestral (CERFLOR) in Brazil; and Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes (PERF)…

With remarkable precience, Jared Diamond in his 2005 book “Collapse”, said the following about certification schemes:

“The effectiveness of the Forest Stewardship Council has received the ultimate compliment from logging companies opposed to it: they have set up their own competing certification organizations with weaker standards. These include the Sustainable Forestry Initiative in the U.S., set up by the American Forest and Paper Association; the Canadian Standards Association; and the Pan-European Forest Council.”

“All of these ‘knockoffs’ differ from the FSC in that they do not require independent third-party certification, but they permit companies to certify themselves (I’m not joking).”

And there is no indication from K-C what the phrase “give preference to” means in the real world.

So, what we have here is a policy change made by an ecocidal company that, in reality, doesn’t promise anything fundamentally different: as far as you should be concerned, Kimberly-Clark remain an ecocidal company. But making a complete mockery of the facts, is the slavish behaviour of Greenpeace USA, quoting K-C verbatim, including the priceless phrase, “Kimberly-Clark and its well-known global brands are an indispensable part of life for people in more than 150 countries…to enhance their health, hygiene and well-being.”

Why have Greenpeace done this? Because it makes it look as though they have achieved something significant; ensuring a boost in their revenue stream, and ensuring the paid staff and volunteers feel that what they do within Greenpeace (rather than outside it) justifies their continued efforts in applauding anyone and anything — whatever their history and whatever their other continuing activities — that does anything “environmental”, however symbolic it may be. The message is that we only have to make a few trivial changes in order to prevent ecological collapse. This is bullshit, and the sooner people realise it, the sooner we will be able to escape from the powerful grip the mainstream environmental groups have over the minds of people who only want to make things better.

You can do better than that.

Posted in Company Policies, Corporate Hypocrisy, NGO Hypocrisy, Should Know Better, Sponsorship | 17 Comments »

Video: Wal-Mart’s Greenwashing Campaign

Posted by keith on 3rd August 2009

Worth watching to see the range of views between the different commentators, three (out of the 4) who are right in their own way.

QED: It’s all about profit, whichever way you look at it.

Posted in Company Policies, Corporate Hypocrisy | No Comments »