The Basel Action Network (BAN), represented by its legal team consisting of the firms, John Phillips Law Group, PLLC (Seattle) and Winston and Strawn (Chicago) have responded to Chicago Heights company Intercon Solutions' recent lawsuit that alleged “defamation” and “false light” against BAN and its Executive Director, Jim Puckett. BAN denied the allegations and filed a counterclaim against Intercon Solutions asking for “declaratory relief” to restore BAN's full credibility and to recognize that BAN has told the truth in the matter regarding the export of electronic waste to China by Intercon Solutions. Two weeks ago, BAN removed the case from Illinois State Court to Federal Court in Chicago. “BAN intends to vigorously defend itself and its most valuable asset – its credibility,” said BAN's legal counsel John Phillips. “BAN is not going to be intimidated by this lawsuit or prevented from pursuing the public interest through objective investigation and reporting of the exportation of hazardous waste to the developing world. We will not rest until the truth in this case is known to all concerned.”
The Intercon lawsuit followed by almost one year, BAN's refusal to grant a license to Intercon Solutions to be certified under its e-Stewards Certification program for responsible electronics recyclers ( www.e-stewards.org). BAN refused Intercon the license because it obtained clear documentation that containers on Intercon's premises were shipped to China and Hong Kong -- a clear violation of the e-Stewards Standard. In accordance with the e-Stewards program's policy, Intercon was investigated and subsequently suspended from the possibility of becoming certified for at least 2 years. In this case, BAN photographed intermodal containers leaving the highly-secured property of Intercon Solutions and tracked them to China. One of the containers was opened by Hong Kong authorities at the bequest of BAN. The Hong Kong authorities then notified BAN and US EPA that the container in question did indeed contain hazardous electronic waste and was illegal to import into Hong Kong. BAN subsequently made public what it had discovered and the reasons for suspending Intercon Solutions.
In 2008-2009, BAN with CBS's 60 Minutes program, exposed another electronics recycling firm, Executive Recycling of Denver, Colorado, by photographing their containers and following them with the journalists to Hong Kong. BAN also notified federal authorities. Executive Recycling executives are currently under indictment for 16 criminal counts for illegal export and fraud. BAN will be witnesses for the government prosecution in that case.
The Basel Action Network ( www.ban.org) is named after the Basel Convention, a United Nations treaty designed to halt the exploitation caused by the export and dumping of toxic wastes of all kinds on developing countries. BAN is a non-profit organization which seeks to implement the Basel Convention and to prevent toxic trade and global environmental injustice.