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TRAFIGURA

Poor old Trafigura!
On the face of it they are a company attempting to make a profit in this difficult world of ours.  A whole bunch of people just trying to make a killing living.  Their web site at http://www.trafigura.com/ presents a nice professional image with pictures of clean cut men in shirt-sleeves looking fresh faced and busy doing business.  Opulent architecture and images of young attractive women adorn the front page.  All in all a perfectly presentable image of western capitalist culture [see creative capitalism page].
Addendum:  Since writing this page they seem to have changed their front page.

But Trafigura are blighted by a whole bunch of accusations from around the world.

There was the Oil-for-Food scandal where the Trafigura chartered ship the Essex was allegedly carrying hundreds of thousands of tons of illegal crude oil from Iraq in 2001 under the auspices of the United Nations Oil-for-Food program.

In 2006 there was the disgusting Probo Koala affair where the ship, chartered by Trafigura, dumped several hundred tons of liquid toxic waste in various places in and around the city of Abidjan in the Côte d'Ivoire.  This waste was not packed into toxic drums!  It was simply poured out of the back of lorries onto rubbish tips, onto roadsides and even into lakes.  It is well known that exposure to these toxins damages lungs and causes nausea.  As a consequence it is claimed that over 30,000 people have suffered poisonous effects and at least twenty people have died.

There was the Vest Tank explosion in Norway in 2007 which was processing toxic waste [see toxic things page] from Trafigura when a storage tank exploded causing serious contamination and poisoning the surrounding population.

Greenpeace has condemned Trafigura's £152 million deal with the Presidency of the Côte d'Ivoire over the Probo Koala affair.  It appears Trafigura have paid the dosh to gain impunity from any further action, to clean up the waste and compensate folk.  It seems a bit odd that as I write the toxic waste has still not been cleared up.  I wonder where the £152 million is.

But what are these nice people working for Toxifura, Foxitura, Trifgiruna, Trofligana, oh dif this fuxlexia [see typoglycemia page] I mean Trafigura supposed to do?  They are ordinary people, brought up in a nice civilised country, educated to believe in working hard for a living, they are expected to have aspirations, ambitions and careers and they are only trying to do their jobs.

Tongue in cheek though some of this might be, the point is that the people running these companies and working in them are actually the product of their culture.  The culture puts profit before morality.  It pretends not to but the law, too often, protects money more than it protects people.  Unfortunately people are expected to work for businesses and businesses are expected to make profit.  And, just so long as you are not breaking the law it is deemed perfectly acceptable to do whatever it takes.  There is a very clever arrangement whereby so long as some people are willing to act ruthlessly with disregard for human values they can profit immensely and they are well protected by the hierarchy of people who are "only doing their jobs".  It is true that if you stand against evidently wrong behaviour by your company you will not be employed for long.  It is simply true that if you are not willing to keep your mouth shut they will effectively shut it for you.  They don't even have to do anything specific themselves they just put you out of a job.  The system supports the immoral behaviour of corporations [see I blame the parents page].

Added 4 November 2010:
Wikileaks has published a document which the BBC submitted to the UK High Court which states their defense against a libel claim from Trafigura and is ample justification for the Newsnight program and an article about Trafigura's dumping of toxic waste in the Ivory Coast. You can view the document at http://mirror.wikileaks.info/leak/bbc-trafigura.pdf.

Added 28 May 2009:
There seems to be some mischief and strange goings on in Jamaica too.
Around October 2006 Trafigura paid $31 million to a certain Collin Campbell who was, at the time, a minister of the Jamaican government.  It seems there is no adequate explanation of what this money was for or where it went.

Here are a couple of links to articles in the Jamaica Observer:
The Sham of Democracy in Jamaica
The Trafigura Travesty
 STOP PRESS:  Both the above pages seem to have disappeared.  Strange!  But you can still visit the Jamaica Observer and search for "Trafigura" on their website to find more info.
...and a couple from the Jamaica Gleaner:
Contractor General Still Probing Trafigura Award
PCJ buys Ecuadorean oil for Trafigura Beheer
...and the Office of the Contractor-General in Jamaica seems to have lots of references to this afair (just search the page for "Trafigura") at: http://www.ocg.gov.jm/ocg/news_search.php
I was browsing around trying to find out where the name TRAFIGURA came from.  Usually you can find the origins or meaning of names somewhere on the internet but all I could establish was that the company had previously been called Raw Material Services Limited.  It was apparently established in 1992 and changed it's name to TRAFIGURA in May 1993.  Whilst browsing I did come across some interesting stuff about oil company names like how they got from "Standard Oil" to "Exxon" and how many millions it cost a certain oil company to italicise two letters on Zyra's exname page.


Made 14 May 2009 Updated 4 Nov 2010
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