The way the ITU operates seems rather too secretive
to me, so I was happy to join the Stop the Internet Coup campaign.
The UK Labour government's long awaited Freedom of Information bill, when first
drafted by Jack Straw, the Home Secretary, contained pages of exemptions, which
I objected to in
June 1999 and again in
Former MI5 officer David Shayler revealed that the UK secret services had been
spying on various Labour politicians.
I backed the
Public Friend No1
that was launched in his support against legal efforts by the UK government to jail him.
Forest clearance on the Philippine island of Palawan was displacing the Batak and Tagbanwa
indigenous people, who stood to gain no benefit from it, so I wrote to Palawan's
Mayor Hegedorn urging reasonable behaviour.
Although he has introduced some environmentally friendly projects,
habitat loss is still a
major concern for Palawan's 232 endemic species.
Survival of tribal peoples
Many of these campaigns were brought to my attention by
Exxon Mobil's exploration for oil in Peru in 1996 risked dire consequences for the
indigenous tribes in those areas, which I
put to Mobil and President Fujimori.
block 77 in 1998,
and block 78 in 2000.
Peruvian loggers and mineral explorers putting previously uncontacted tribes
at risk of violent eviction and western disease - President Garcia published the
fantastic view that such tribes were 'invented' by anti-capitalists.
My letter to him urged more
responsible behaviour. He was voted out of office in 2001, though came back in 2006.
The Canadian government, while in the middle of negotiating land ownership with
the Innu, were simultaneously giving chunks of disputed land to
multinationals, which I put in a
letter to Jean Chretien, Prime
Minister in 2000.
Botswana in 1997 decided to evict the Khwe and the Bakgalagadi tribes of the
I complained to President Mogae
back in 1998
and then in 2000.
The Jarawa people of the Andaman Islands, a group of islands in the Bay
of Bengal belonging to India, were in 1999 being threatened with forcible
resettlement, which seemed like a recipe for disaster to me, so I put this
to Ms Maneka Gandhi
Minister of Welfare at the time.
Colombian paramilitaries were busy in 1999 shooting opponents of the
Urrá Dam megaproject,
in particular the Emberá Katío people that were due to lose their land. I wrote
wrote to President Andrés Pastrana
to urge the Colombian government to look after all its people.
Big business misbehaviour
Nestlé SA boycott,
which was a protest against their promotion of formula baby milk started in 1977.
I protested to Unilever
about their refusal to label GM Soya products in the UK.
BT in 2001 were effectively demanding £100 extra per year for broadband services
to non-windows users. I complained
to David Edmonds, DG of OFTEL.
Imagine my surprise when, following
my suggestion to the UK Highways Agenc
of a new cycle lane along the A23 in London, close to Streatham Station, they actually did
it! Sadly they dug it up again only a few years later.
Unbelievably Powergen's web site expected me to type my bank details into an
insecure page which to me
seemed rather lax.
July 2000 Powergen security breach