Britons enjoy substantially less press freedom than Americans. The leading British law firm, Carter-Ruck, proved just how much less in the past few days. Trafigura, a Swiss multinational, has been implicated in a number of crimes, most recently illegal waste dumping. It is also tied to the infamous Marc Rich, billionaire criminal several times over and beneficiary of Bill Clinton's notorious last-minute pardon.
Carter-Ruck has been representing Trafigura. As Wikipedia now records, "On October 12, 2009 The Guardian newspaper reported that it had been prevented by legal injunction from covering remarks made in Parliament. " That injunction was secured by Carter-Ruck. Twitter and the internet blew the lid off Carter-Ruck's attempts to do an end-run around democracy and freedom of the press.
It is one thing to defend the accused, a right all have (even criminal corporations, polluters, health insurers, Wall Street thieves). It's another to abet a crime by suppressing the public's right to know.
We the People shouldn't underestimate the actions of Carter-Ruck nor should we let Trafigura or Carter-Ruck get off scot-free. Below is the email I sent to Carter-Ruck:
To Whom It May Concern:
For an essay on practical issues of professional ethics and justice, I would like to enquire on Carter-Ruck's response to the overwhelmingly negative press received following your attempt to suppress the truth in the case of alleged misconduct by Trafigura.
In particular, do Carter-Ruck's senior officers feel any sense of shame or are they simply breathing a sigh of relief that worse publicity was averted? Do they view their attempts to suppress truth and subvert democracy as unethical? Do they view themselves as effectively complicit in the any crimes of Trafigura?