A “carbon cowboy”, internet censorship and REDD-Monitor

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Recently, an Australian businessman, visited Peru and attempted to set up a REDD-type deal with the indigenous Matsés people. The Matsés rejected his approach and AIDESEP (Inter-Ethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Amazon) demanded his expulsion from Peru. REDD-Monitor has (so far) written two posts about this story.

This morning REDD-Monitor received an email from Bluehost, REDD-Monitor’s web hosting provider. The email stated that Bluehost had received a “report of Terms of Service Violations”. Bluehost demanded that all images and references to the name of the Australian businessman be removed from the website.


Click here for the non-censored version of this post.


Bluehost’s Terms of Service include a series of “prohibited uses”, including this one:

Private Information and Images. Subscribers may not post or disclose any personal or private information about or images of children or any third party without the consent of said party (or a parent’s consent in the case of a minor).

Because I don’t really want Bluehost to pull the plug on REDD-Monitor, the Australian businessman’s name has (for the time-being, at least) been replaced throughout REDD-Monitor with this image: censored.

It’s difficult to believe that Bluehost really intends this clause to be used to prevent any website hosted on Bluehost’s servers from using anyone else’s name without first getting their consent. But that is what censored appears to be doing (I’m assuming that censored sent the complaint to Bluehost). This interpretation of Bluehost’s Terms of Service would make it just about impossible to write anything critical about anyone on any website hosted by Bluehost. It also appears to be in breach of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, which states that:

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

I have pointed this out to Bluehost. Meanwhile, REDD-Monitor’s discussions with Bluehost are ongoing.

The matter is somewhat complicated by the fact that not long ago, censored commented on a previous post on REDD-Monitor asking for an interview, in order that he could explain the “really facts”. Perhaps foolishly, given his subsequent complaint to Bluehost, he used his real name.

When REDD-Monitor sent a series of questions to censored, he replied as follows:

From: censored
To: Chris Lang
Date: 6 August 2011 11:35
Subject: Live Interview

Dear Mr Lang

I would be delighted to do a live interview with you face to face please provide me with a time and place.

Best wishes

censored

I pointed out that as censored is based in Australia, meeting face to face would be both a waste of money and a would result in unnecessary carbon emissions. I offered an interview by skype or that censored could record his answers and send them to me.

That was three days ago. Since when I’ve heard nothing from censored except via Bluehost with his complaint about the use of his “personal information”. Here, for the record, are REDD-Monitor’s questions for censored. REDD-Monitor looks forward to posting censored‘s answer.

From: Chris Lang
Sent: Friday, 5 August 2011 7:13 PM
To: censored
Subject: Interview for redd-monitor.org

Dear Mr. censored,

Thanks for getting in touch via your comment on REDD-Monitor. I would be grateful if you could answer the following questions about your activities in Peru and elsewhere.

1. Please describe your background and how you became a carbon trader. When did you set up the company Sustainable Carbon Resources Limited? How many people are employed in the company? Could you explain why the company is registered in Hong Kong? For several months, the company website was “under development”. It now seems to have disappeared. Could you please explain why your company, which promised “billions of dollars” to the Matsés does not even have a functioning website?

2. Has Sustainable Carbon Resources Ltd produced any documentation about its forest carbon activities? If so, I would be grateful if you could send me a copy. Has the company raised any financing to carry out its forest carbon activities?

3. Why did you decide to travel to Peru? And why did you choose the Matsés people for your first carbon deal in that country?

4. Do you have any previous experience of establishing forest conservation projects, or of working with indigenous peoples? Did you employ an anthropologist to help with translation and with contacting the Matsés people, for example?

5. Did you contact the Peruvian government before travelling to Iquitos to inform them about your proposed project? Is any government permissions required for this sort of project in Peru?

6. Which NGOs did you work with in Peru? Did you contact AIDESEP (Inter-Ethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Amazon) before attempting to set up your carbon deal with the Matsés? If not, why not?

7. REDD-Monitor has seen a “Joint Venture Agreement” between Sustainable Carbon Resources Ltd and the Matses Indigenous People. I assume you hired a legal company to write this document. Could you please explain who wrote this contract and why the contract is written in English.

8. In a previous post on REDD-Monitor, I described you as having “a chequered past”. You have been accused in the Australian Parliament of selling non-existent plots of land in Queensland to investors in Nauru. Leo Keke, a former Minister of Justice on Nauru has written that you “made fools of the innocent and simple Nauruan investors.” Could you please explain exactly what happened with the land deal in Queensland.

9. I understand you have also had business dealings in the Philippines, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea. Could you please describe these projects. Have you, so far, established any successful forest carbon projects? Have you sold any carbon credits from any of these projects?

10. There is a great deal of discussion among REDD proponents about free, prior and informed consent. Could you please explain how you intend to carry out a process of free, prior and informed consent in setting up your projects in indigenous territories.

11. Carbon trading is one of the most controversial REDD issues. Could you please explain how your proposed project with the Matsés would generate carbon credits. What exactly does Sustainable Carbon Resources Ltd intend to do in order to ensure that the carbon stored in the Matsés’ forests remains in the forest? The Joint Venture Agreement mentions “sustainable forest management” – could you please explain what you understand by this term, how you define it and how (and who) would determine whether any logging carried out in the name of “sustainable forest management” is in fact sustainable.

12. Could you also explain how trading the carbon stored in forests will help address climate change, since for every carbon credit sold, there is a buyer who will use the carbon credit to continue pollution. In other words, while REDD may reduce emissions in one place, selling carbon credits will ensure continued burning of fossil fuels somewhere else.

If you have anything else you would like to add that isn’t covered in these questions, please do so.

The interview process on REDD-Monitor is as follows: first you answer the questions, then I ask any follow up questions to clarify your responses. Once you’ve answered the follow up questions, I do an edit which I send to you for re-writes, edits etc that you want to do. The interview will be published in full.

I look forward to hearing from you, please consider your response to be on the record.

Regards, Chris Lang

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29 Comments

  1. @Chris

    I know this is entirely unconnected with this posting and indeed with the subject of REDD altogether, but I am wondering whether any of your readers can help me remember the name of the singer of a very popular song back in the 1970s called “Without You”. I’m pretty sure the singer’s surname was Nilsson, but what was his first name? For some reason, the name ‘David’ keeps coming to mind, but I am not sure this is right.

  2. @C Witness (#1) – I wonder whether they are related?

    Midnight Cowboy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AzEY6ZqkuE

    Carbon Cowboy: http://bit.ly/pz27zW

  3. Harry Nilsson (as far as i can recall)

  4. Crazy – get a decent webhost, try http://www.hostgator.com The business plan option is a good service that I’ve used for many years and multiple domains.

  5. Chris,
    Fighting this guy will only make him stronger.

    You need a new webhost. I suggest that you make inquiry at EFF.org for a principled provider.

    Thank you for your good work.
    Paul

  6. A fine example of the many ways that power serves the power-hungry, and undermines the righteous….

  7. Hi Chris,
    Hmmm seems that the carbon cowboys are allowed to run rife, with little to worry from the authoritys…. if u need advice on on how to set up your own hosting , which no one can shut down or censor contack Steve at http://www.scammerleaks.com

    Keep up your great work in exposing the fakes..

  8. Chris , you don’t deserve a pat on the back yet?

    The real criminals are running around as free as a bird , while you glee on shitty stories of Nilsson ,or who ever else not desired by the UNFCCC or tagged carbon cowboy.
    This blog is now becoming usless as a toothless tiger the passage of conversation from your bloggers has become ignorant and conversation pointless.
    You are not following through facts its now messy , which has become confusing to the layman.

  9. Chris, as you are aware just because someone posts something on a blog doesn’t make it a fact or even true.

    There are alot of bloggers out there posting things on the web that aren’t true and are calling them fact, for there own personal gain.

    Now I am not saying this is what you have done. I just think if you are going to start these personal attacks on people, that you should (I hope you did and continue to do so) make sure that you are reporting the facts.

    Imagine how you would feel to wake up and to find the web full of stories about you that aren’t true. I think people forget sometimes that the internet is real and what is done on here can affect people in the real world.

    What do you think?

    Cheers
    Brian

  10. @Brian (#9) – Thanks for this comment. Yes, I’m fully aware that not everything posted on blogs is true. Do you have any evidence that anything written about censored in the Sydney Morning Herald and elsewhere is not true?

    You’ll note that the above post includes a series of questions for censored. There is even a chance for him to add anything else that isn’t covered by the questions. If he answers the questions, I will post the interview in full. censored therefore has the opportunity to tell the “really facts“.

  11. Chris , I will put my hand up to say most certainly the article on censored is bias , there are some land owners supporting him and others been brain washed by redd+ agents.
    The SMH plays the political game as AAP, etc, and when it comes , that a individual , doing something the Australian Government or its REDD+ counterparts fear threatened then through SMH and AAP etc arrange the information to suite through their media outlets.
    Then that story is rehashed and rehashed to discredit the threat.
    Unfortunately land tenure for carbon trading is a huge concern for the REDD+ fiasco and their supporting governments.
    Take this with a grain of salt , but I have witnessed the exploit in the past before REDD Monitor was even heard of.
    To add a AAP Journalist in PNG in conjunction with The Economist journo won a award on pure corrupted untrue phone calls of information from a lawyer in the middle of defending is own crimes,the biggest laugh out of this is that the presentation was awarded by Prince Frederick who is on the REDD+ land tenure band waggon.
    Please Chris when you find the facts that are at least relevant with your articles finish the discussion.
    And don’t be so weak regarding Governments,why don’t you at least finish the Australian Gov- Borneo Indonesia debate so the Australian tax payers can find out the real truths and how much money these idiots are wasting, with out the consent of the Borneo forest people.
    If you have a problem reporting this story properly because you live in Indonesia , say so.
    An example the UK PM has declared that Londons civil revolt is pure thuggery, and expects the world to believe that.
    But with the power of the ‘ their’ media they nearly did a good job in making that convincing , of course the Australian and USA media could never advise different.
    Interesting enough the London so called ‘thugs’ have put their own media group together and the truth has been welcomed by many open ears.
    Now the UK PM has declared war on their own people lolol.
    Is this the same management that we would expect for a Global REDD+ if not what could it be.

  12. – @ Don , Interesting opinion and very good examples,
    I have always wondered why the carbon cowboys have been so popular in the media, and the many many REDD+ complaints only come as far as this blog and a few other sites.
    I have never seen front page news explaining the worried concerns of Indigenous land owners, and how they see REDD+ conditions for their land tenure and the pay per result plans and their safeguards that the donor countries have enforced in their terms.
    The UK explanation you have shared is now becoming obvious,especially if you view other world news from neutral to UK countries.

  13. @Don (#11) and @Wendy D (#12) – I’m delighted to see that you agree with each other. I’m not surprised though, since you share the same IP address.

    I’ll deal with your points one at a time:

    1. “there are some land owners supporting him and others been brain washed by redd+ agents”

    Could you provide any evidence that some land owners support censored. Is this “support” based on a process of free, prior and informed consent? Which “redd+ agents” have “brain washed” other “land owners”?

    2. “Australian Government … through SMH and AAP etc arrange the information to suite”

    Do you have any evidence whatsoever that the Australian government in any way influenced the stories about censored, Kirk Roberts and/or Brett Goldsworthy published in the Sydney Morning Herald, AAP or elsewhere?

    3. “AAP Journalist in PNG in conjunction with The Economist journo won a award”

    The award given to Ilya Gridneff (AAP) and Natasha Loder (The Economist) was a Bronze medal from The Prince Albert Foundation/United Nations Correspondents Association Global Prize for coverage of Climate Change (http://bit.ly/pcd1hR). The prize was awarded by Ban Ki Moon. Who is Prince Frederick? And how is he on the “REDD+ land tenure band waggon”?

    If you have a problem with the reporting by The Economist there is a Press Complaints Commission in the UK and for AAP you could complain to the Australian Press Council or the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

    4. “why don’t you at least finish the Australian Gov- Borneo Indonesia debate”

    I’ve made several posts about the Kalimantan Forest and Climate Partnership. REDD-Monitor exists to encourage debate not to “finish” it. If you have any concrete, verifiable information about this project, please pass it on.

    5. “the UK PM has declared that Londons civil revolt is pure thuggery”

    I’m not sure what to say about the riots in England (it wasn’t just London), apart from to say that Cameron is not one of my favourite politicians. This article seems pretty good to me (from one of my least favourite newspapers, The Telegraph). But you lost me somewhere in your leap from riots in England to “Global REDD+”.

    6. “why the carbon cowboys have been so popular in the media”

    I’m surprised how little coverage of this aspect of REDD there has been in the media. But maybe that’s because I spend too much of my time working on this blog.

    I agree, that it would be great to hear more from indigenous peoples in the media about their concerns – regarding REDD and other developments on their land and forests.

  14. @ Chris every one uses the same IP address here.
    your not dealing with any points at all..as your questions are frivolous and incorrect again.
    1 yes
    2 yes
    3 thank you for the correction of names still the same thing as the Prince Charles Foundation of wasting time and other peoples money until their supposed compliance.
    who are all on the Redd+ bandwagon as you know.
    4 yes
    5 OK,England has been the benchmark of management in the Western World since the Romans retired from England …. would this be the same management as you would expect for a Global REDD+ and Global World Bank carbon bank.
    6 As you know Wendy D has never given comment before the other day while we were in discussion regarding over a cup of coffee, are you saying that she spends to much time on your blog?
    Chris as your wife is employed by the UNFCCC , which has always made your position with this blog dubious, we all wonder sometimes what you agenda really is.

    Here are my points to deal with and to find out if we are all on the same page…………..
    Do you the support REDD+ ?

    Do you believe and have you evidence that REDD+ can and will reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation

    FYI Everyone associated here are either Indigenous or married to a PNGean

    If you are looking for evidence and fact full information send an order with a cheque.

  15. @greenie cap (#14) – This is getting tedious, but here goes:

    1. I asked three questions. You answered “yes”. That makes no sense.

    2. Please provide the evidence. It’s not enough just to confirm that you have the evidence.

    3. Has Prince Charles got anything to do with the Prince Albert Foundation/United Nations Correspondents Association Global Prize?

    4. If you have any information about the KFCP please pass on the information.

    5. As far as I’m aware, England is not going to be managing any Global REDD+ or Global World Bank carbon bank (whatever that is).

    6. I have no idea who Wendy D is – or who you are for that matter.

    My wife does not work for UNFCCC and has never done so.

    Obviously, reducing deforestation and forest degradation would be a good thing. But I think there are serious problems with the way REDD is developing which have been documented extensively on REDD-Monitor. I’ve attempted to summarise these problems here: “REDD: An Introduction“.

    I have no intention of paying you for information but if I did, I wonder to whom I should make the cheque payable?

  16. I answered the your questions yes and if I could not I would have answered no.
    I asked you 2 questions and you could not answer them with a yes or no…..
    Here are my points to deal with and to find out if we are all on the same page…………..
    Do you the support REDD+ ?

    Do you believe and have you evidence that REDD+ can and will reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation

    could you please answer my 2 questions with a yes or no.
    If you could pay it would be to a foundation……………………
    PS we are probing your wifes employment…stand by.

  17. @greenie cap (#16) – You provide no evidence whatsoever to back up your claims. I did answer your questions, but will do so again as you seem to be having difficulty finding them. I’ll also expand on the answers.

    Do you the support REDD+ ?

    Obviously, reducing deforestation and forest degradation would be a good thing. But I think there are serious problems with the way REDD is developing which have been documented extensively on REDD-Monitor. I’ve attempted to summarise these problems here: “REDD: An Introduction”. I oppose carbon trading and REDD is currently being developed as a carbon trading scheme.

    Do you believe and have you evidence that REDD+ can and will reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation

    See my answer to the previous question. If REDD is a carbon trading scheme it will by definition not reduce emissions because for every seller of carbon credits there is a buyer who will use the carbon credit to continue pollution.

    My wife works for GIZ (not UNFCCC) – the German agency for international cooperation.

  18. @ Chris, I have noted you attemps to answer my 2 questions and I do not require any extension to your answers.
    Could you please answer the 2 questions either yes or no?

  19. THANK YOU cHIS……………..

    The German federal government has launched a new agency for technical cooperation. At
    the start of 2011, the new ‘‘Deutsche Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit”
    (German Agency for International Cooperation) will take up its work. This agency, called GIZ, will be created by merging the three government organisations of GTZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit), DED (German Development
    Service) and InWEnt (Capacity Building International, Germany). Having some 19,000 employees, operating in around 130 countries with revenues that are close to € 2
    billion a year, the GIZ is likely to be the largest consulting company. Seven men will compose the executive body. In essence, the reform aims to streamline TC
    organisations and make them more effective agents of development cooperation. It also
    seeks to enhance the political steering role of the Federal Ministry for Economic
    Cooperation and Development while clearly allocating implementation tasks to the new
    organisation. The German financial cooperation continues to be carried out separately by KfW Entwicklungsbank

  20. @ Chris…. would the UNFCCC , WB , and GIZ and company be on the same Christmas card list?

  21. @greenie cap (#18) – It’s not possible to give a yes or no answer to a question about whether I support REDD+, because REDD+ does not yet exist. I have explained what I support and what I do not support. I’ve written more than 500 posts on REDD-Monitor, many of them pointing out the flaws with REDD as it currently stands.

    One thing that REDD has done that is positive is generated an international debate about the importance of reducing deforestation. Part of that debate includes the importance of land rights and indigenous peoples’ rights.

  22. Yes logically REDD+ does not exist as REDD at the end of the day.
    The debate of REDD reducing deforestation is only smoke and mirrors, cheap talk,please explain to me or show evidence that REDD has a structure or mechanism that can enforce avoid deforestation or fund ancient forests protection, within the ownership of the forest owners.

    There is no REAL debate of preserving ancient forests within a UN REDD, however I agree with you on Indigenous forest areas debate of land tenure……as REDD+ and its bright ideas of their pay per result con to forest Governments.
    Remember the World Bank is the planets oversee of Legal Logging , if there is any such thing as legal logging.

  23. If REDD+ does not exist why does the UNFCCC give forest countries millions of dollars to establish and promote REDD+ under a unfccc REDD+ banner.The people of Vietnam have absolutely no idea other than how to be paid the 4 million REDD+ has deposited into REDD+ account.
    PNG the same which was given 6million, all the so called REDD+ promoters
    and people lecturing Indigenous people to simply give up their land.
    Why do Western Governments use there aid departments to facilitate and regulate REDD+ throughout forest Governments and Indigenous villages.

    I wonder if Aus aid and USA aid governments and their personal and staff think that REDD+ does not exist?

    Does GIZ think REDD+ exists ?

    As I have said many times the whole thing is one scam after another,.
    and it is only going to get worse except in PNG.

  24. greenie cap is a well-known apologist for Kirk Roberts and Nupan in PNG. I think he even works for them, or is closely involved by association.

  25. @ Wantok………. have you ever caught a fish?
    and who the hell do you think you are , most certainly not from PNG, why are you using an important and respected PNG word “wantok” as a white nussiance.
    Have you any relevant debate or information to add to this blog.

  26. I am having the same problem with BLUE HOST, do not use their services, they do not respect or work for their customers.
    Boycott Blue Host

  27. @Lina – Any chance of letting us know your website address? Have you contacted the Electronic Frontier Foundation about this? If you are boycotting Blue Host, presumably the problem has now gone away…

  28. Hi Chris ,
    Thanks for publishing the transcripts on Goldsworthy and Nilsson Carbon Cowboy exposures on TodayTonightAdelaide and 4 corners.. seems a few people owe u a apology but guess they would be 2 gutless to admit it..

    Of particular interest was Nilsson Admission after rorting the Carbon Credits in the Amazon for 25 years he was going to sell the timber to China and then replace it with palm oil plantations.. what a great guy.

  29. @Bob (#28) – Thanks Bob. I’ll post the Nilsson 60 Minutes transcript tomorrow.

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