Guardian gagged from reporting on Parliament

#1
Without knowing the detail I find the story below quite disturbing.

The Guardian has been prevented from reporting parliamentary proceedings on legal grounds which appear to call into question privileges guaranteeing free speech established under the 1688 Bill of Rights.

Today's published Commons order papers contain a question to be answered by a minister later this week. The Guardian is prevented from identifying the MP who has asked the question, what the question is, which minister might answer it, or where the question is to be found.
Guardian online article
 

Guns

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#2
This is a real hot one. If anyone was to publish the details (and yes I know what they are but I can't tell you what, where or who - in fact I can't tell you the offshore website that can tell with out breaking a High Court Injunction that I should not know about) they would be in contempt of the High Court. The order was issued by them for an event no one can report. The issue was raised in Parliament - MP's can not be sued for speaking in Parliament. But no one can report this action.

Lawyers circle and will slap injunctions in. Ignorance of the injunction is no defence and the whole thing stinks. The rotten legal system of liable needs reform.

I would advise against anyone give any details about this - the firm of lawyers are quick to sue. See Private Eye passim.
 

Guns

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Book Reviewer
#3
On a different note can recommend the following web site for all the latest news from Westminster

Order-Order
 
#4
As a now-expat Brit I like to try and keep abreast of developments in the Mother Country. Although I prefer reading magazines and newspapers physically I realise that the distance means I will need to rely more on web-based media.

Following on from Guns' last comment, can anyone add to this list of media sources which would enable me to keep up to date with Parliamentary news?

Private Eye
They Work For You
The Spectator
BBC Parliament
Official Parliament website

Please accept my apologies for taking this thread off-topic.
 
#5
Losing the Guardian totally would be little loss to real news and current affairs reporting
 
#7
I would love to know what the sibject is....
However, the Guardian has a barefaced bloody cheek to complain about infringement of The Bill of Rights, despite all the battering the Bill of Rights has recieved from this government over the last decade the Guardian only bothers to worry about it when its themselves on the pointy end of that abuse.
 
#8
jagman said:
I would love to know what the sibject is....
However, the Guardian has a barefaced bloody cheek to complain about infringement of The Bill of Rights, despite all the battering the Bill of Rights has recieved from this government over the last decade the Guardian only bothers to worry about it when its themselves on the pointy end of that abuse.
Precisely, considering The Gurdianistsas are mainly responsible for the Orwellian state we now live in you'd think they'd applaud the governments brave stance against wicked press intrusion on their private criminal lives.
 
#10
Guns said:
On a different note can recommend the following web site for all the latest news from Westminster

Order-Order
Its on various other web sources too, makes you wonder why the Guardian has been gagged. Evidently somebody still believes stories on the internet carry no credibility and don't matter.

As I said earlier, its a bi rich for the Guardian o get all affronted about the abuse of The Bill of Rights now, its never bothered them before.
 
#11
From Guido Fawkes website,

According to the Guardian, despite the 1688 Bill of Rights, it has been gagged from reporting a question to be asked in parliament later this week. The gag was obtained by Carter-Ruck. Wonder if it is this question:

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.

Note to Carter-Ruck – Guido’s publishers will only accept service as per the requirements of the Hague Convention. Come to Charlestown, the weather is fantastic…
 
#12
The Bill of Rights 1688 has been virtually ignored by the 'lawyer' Bliar and his grinning coterie of 'spivs', psychopaths and third-hand car-dealers for a dozen years or more.

Now that their ludicrous Party newspaper the 'Grauniad' is precluded from some 'non-story' or other, all hell is let loose.

A pox on Bliar and his wife; a pox on the 'Grauniad' and a pox on all libel lawyers - or 'liable' lawyers as they are invariably referred to on this site.
 
#13
jagman said:
Guns said:
On a different note can recommend the following web site for all the latest news from Westminster

Order-Order
Its on various other web sources too, makes you wonder why the Guardian has been gagged. Evidently somebody still believes stories on the internet carry no credibility and don't matter.

As I said earlier, its a bi rich for the Guardian o get all affronted about the abuse of The Bill of Rights now, its never bothered them before.
Really? Are you being serious. I'm not an avid Guardian reader but do tend to check it regulary and I'm pretty sure it has been one of the loudest voices stating that our rights are slowly being eroded and that we are sleepwalking into an Orwellian state. I'm not really sure how you can accuse the so-called 'guardianista's of this either; they are usually the ones that protest (both legally and illegally) outside Parliament are the erosion of rights in the UK.

Back on topic:

I quite like the fact that the injuncted question is one about injunctions. Nice of Barclays to try and cover up their tax evasion and the law firm to cover up dumping of Toxic waste in the Ivory Coast. Good on teh MP who has made sure the public will get to hear about this by asking it in Parliament. The law can be both a sheild and a sword.
 
#15
jest265 said:
jagman said:
Guns said:
On a different note can recommend the following web site for all the latest news from Westminster

Order-Order
Its on various other web sources too, makes you wonder why the Guardian has been gagged. Evidently somebody still believes stories on the internet carry no credibility and don't matter.

As I said earlier, its a bit rich for the Guardian to get all affronted about the abuse of The Bill of Rights now, its never bothered them before.
Really? Are you being serious. I'm not an avid Guardian reader but do tend to check it regulary and I'm pretty sure it has been one of the loudest voices stating that our rights are slowly being eroded and that we are sleepwalking into an Orwellian state. I'm not really sure how you can accuse the so-called 'guardianista's of this either; they are usually the ones that protest (both legally and illegally) outside Parliament are the erosion of rights in the UK.

Back on topic:

I quite like the fact that the injuncted question is one about injunctions. Nice of Barclays to try and cover up their tax evasion and the law firm to cover up dumping of Toxic waste in the Ivory Coast. Good on teh MP who has made sure the public will get to hear about this by asking it in Parliament. The law can be both a sheild and a sword.
To be fair, you are mixing my comments in with those of another poster, I made no reference to Guardianista's and have never used the term.
And yes, I am serious. The Guardian (and other media too for that matter) have made precious little effort to address the removal of our rights long gauranteed by The Bill of Rights and Magna Carta. I didn't here them grumble much when the right to silence was binned in favour of Gatso's, did you?
 
#16
Excuse my ignorance here, but won't anything said in Parliament be documented in Hansard, and therefore available for all to read?


This is not a wah, I truly don't know.
 
#17
Methinks this injunction could be a very very bad idea....
Would appear the Guardian has form...

How UK oil company Trafigura tried to cover up African pollution disaster
• Trafigura offers payout to 31,000 victims of toxic dumping
• Secret email trail exposes truth behind £100m legal battle
• Read the emails here

David Leigh
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 16 September 2009 22.08 BST


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".


David Leigh: 'They claimed the injuries were all imaginary' Link to this audio
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".

One trader wrote on 10 March 2006: "I don't know how we dispose of the slops and I don't imply we would dump them, but for sure, there must be some way to pay someone to take them." The resulting black, stinking, slurry was eventually dumped around landfills in Abidjan, after Trafigura paid an unqualified local man to take it away in tanker trucks at a cheap rate.

Trafigura's libel lawyers, Carter-Ruck, recently demanded the Guardian deleted published articles, saying it was "gravely defamatory" and "untrue" to say Trafigura's waste had been dumped cheaply and could have caused deaths and serious injuries. The Dutch paper Volkskrant and Norwegian TV said they were yesterday also threatened with gagging actionsTrafigura also launched a libel action against the BBC's Newsnight, complaining it had been wrongly accused of causing deaths, disfigurement and miscarriages, and had "suffered serious damage to their reputation". The BBC filed a fighting defence this week, accusing Trafigura of knowing its chemicals were "highly toxic, potentially lethal and posed a serious risk to public health". The broadcaster also alleged a cover-up, saying Trafigura's denials "lack credibility and candour".

The UN human rights special rapporteur, Professor Okechukwu Ibeanu, criticised Trafigura for potentially "stifling independent reporting and public criticism" in a report the oil trader tried and failed to prevent being published in Geneva this week.

He wrote: "According to official estimates, there were 15 deaths, 69 persons hospitalised and more than 108,000 medical consultations … there seems to be strong prima facie evidence that the reported deaths and adverse health consequences are related to the dumping."

Trafigura's lobbyists, Bell Pottinger, claimed to be "appalled" by the report, saying it was "premature", "inaccurate", "potentially damaging", "poorly researched", and "deeply flawed".

Yesterday Greenpeace launched a legal action in Amsterdam calling for the oil firm to be prosecuted there for homicide or grievous bodily harm. It said: "This intentional pollution … has caused many people to suffer serious injuries and has even led to death."

Trafigura said it "utterly rejected" claims of a cover-up. "Every statement that has been made … has been made in good faith". The firm said the autopsy reports were unreliable and that hydrogen sulphide in the waste was only there in "potential" form. It had never actually been released. It said the emails contained "crude and distasteful" language, but had been taken "out of context" and should "not be taken literally".

It repeated denials that the slops could have caused death or serious injury, and were highly toxic. It denied lying about the composition of the slops.

A sudden public announcement about the settlement offer in the compensation case followed legal attempts yesterday to prevent publication of Trafigura documents. The compensation deal is likely to be confirmed imminently, according to Martyn Day, a senior partner at the British law firm Leigh Day, which has brought one of the biggest group actions in legal history, seeking damages of £100m.

He said today in Abidjan, where he has been negotiating the settlement: "The claimants are very pleased."

Trafigura said the deal – for an undisclosed amount – was likely to be acceptable to most if not all of the claimants. It was based on an acceptance that the company had no liability for the most serious deaths and injuries alleged in the dumping scandal. Trafigura says it is the world's third-biggest private oil trader, and declared a $440m profit last year. Its 200 traders are reported to receive annual bonuses of up to $1m each.
 

Biped

LE
Book Reviewer
#18
Good old Carter-Fuck are at it again then. Is it possible that Carter-Fuck are defending a couple of companies accused of indefensible behaviour, like fraud and dumping toxic waste in Africa?

Could it be that they have managed to silence the reporting of Parliamentary debates? The Labourista MPs will be paying very close attention to this as it may suggest they can get away with murder, and then use the likes of Fuck and Co. to stop people finding out.

Who'd-a'thunk it eh?

I'm not suggesting for one second that they are of course, it's just that everyone else is.
 
#19
Follow up to the first article. Respect to the Guardian on this one;

Greenpeace continues Trafigura pursuit over toxic waste
Buzz up!


David Leigh
guardian.co.uk, Sunday 20 September 2009 20.15 BST

Greenpeace said today it would continue legal action against Trafigura, the London-based oil traders whose toxic waste was dumped in Ivory Coast in 2006, injuring thousands of Africans.

Trafigura confirmed a last-minute £30m deal to settle compensation claims. That amounts to almost £1,000 for each of the 31,000 people involved.

A high court trial in London was due to open on 6 October, after three years in which the oil traders denied liability and threatened critics with libel actions.

One Ivorian group representing victims criticised the deal and accused the company of exploiting Africa's poverty.

Greenpeace wants Trafigura prosecuted for manslaughter and grievous bodily harm, citing documents it says demonstrate the waste's high toxicity. Trafigura also faces a Dutch prosecution for allegedly lying about the true nature of its waste.

Greenpeace said of Trafigura's strategy: "Justice is not a commodity to be bought and sold: only when those who are responsible are prosecuted under the full force of the law and made to pay for their crime will environmental legislation become a force to be reckoned with."

The Ivorian National Federation of Victims, which says it represents nearly all the victims, accused Trafigura of trying to avert a public trial. Denis Pipira Yao, the group's president, told Reuters in Abidjan: "As people are poor in Africa, Trafigura is using money to get away with it."

Trafigura said in a statement agreed with solicitors Leigh Day, its opponents in the litigation, that it was paying on the basis that the hundreds of tons of illegally dumped waste had only caused "flu-like symptoms".

It said: "Independent experts are unable to identify a link between exposure to the chemicals released from the slops and deaths, miscarriages, stillbirths, birth defects, loss of visual acuity or other serious and chronic injuries. Leigh Day and Co, in the light of the expert evidence, now acknowledge that the slops could at worst have caused a range of short-term low-level flu-like symptoms, and anxiety."

The settlement will cost Trafigura slightly more than 10% of its reported $440m (£270m) profits last year, and comes on top of the £100m the company had already previously paid the Ivorian government for a clean-up, also without conceding legal liability.

Although the deal costs Trafigura £30m and does not appear to absolve it of blame for the illegal dumping or resultant injuries, company director Eric de Turckheim claimed today: "This settlement completely vindicates Trafigura."

The sudden announcement of the £30m deal followed the disclosure by the Guardian of dozens of Trafigura internal emails, which revealed a cover-up. The documents showed that, despite its denials, the company had been aware that its waste was so toxic that its disposal was banned in Europe.
 
#20
Interestingly I did read a while ago about similar toxic dumping off Somalia that had led to the piracy problem.
What the truth is I don't know but the story was that Somali fishermen turned to piracy after toxic dumping killed off fish stocks and left them with no means of making a living.
Just how big is this toxic waste dumping problem?
 

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