/ NEWS: Mike Robertson Arrested As He Climbs The Eiffel Tower

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Michael Ryan - on 14 Nov 2007
Mike Robertson (45) of Wareham, Dorset, the deep-water soloist and recent Banff award-winning author of Deep Water was arrested on Monday whilst climbing the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

There is a possible jail term of up to 5 years for an ascent of this historic monument.

Mike was protesting against Total's - the French oil company, based in Paris - continued involvement in Burma, despite...

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/
yesbutnobutyesbut - on 14 Nov 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: Good Effort. Lets hope it gets some more general media coverage.
JPGR - on 14 Nov 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: Good effort. Would be interesting to see if this makes the newspapers etc, or have they forgotten about Burma already?
Boogs on 14 Nov 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

absolutely agree with above fairplay Mick & Mike Robertson ! is anyone aware of video footage . . ?
Darren Jackson - on 14 Nov 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

Who arrested him? Alain Robert?
McBirdy - on 14 Nov 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

Big respect, in an apothetic age when people all too often turn the other cheek.
martin k on 14 Nov 2007 - server1.thebmc.co.uk
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: excellent (not the arrest, the protest)
JLS on 14 Nov 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

Gloves and a chalk bag? How does that work?

Do these protester types not realize the questions they force the public to ask as a result of their silly actions?
BelleVedere on 14 Nov 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

Good on him

Anonymous on 14 Nov 2007 - 155.136.80.25 whois?
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

Oui, oui, tres bon, bert wart az ee dun on greet eh? eh?
Mystery Toad - on 14 Nov 2007
In reply to JLS:
> (In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com)
>
> Gloves and a chalk bag? How does that work?
>
> Do these protester types not realize the questions they force the public to ask as a result of their silly actions?

Protests whether "silly" or not don't force the public to ask themselves anything if they choose not to.
Witness the majority of responses to my thread dealing with anti-war Veterans on Veterans Day.
But here I'm uncertain of the wisdom of his approach.
Climbing the Tower? His actions are patently dangerous to the general French public and may encourage those not qualified to attempt such a feat to give it a go.
Gordon Stainforth - on 14 Nov 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

Very fine effort for a very important cause. Did it appear in any of our papers at all?
Michael Ryan - on 14 Nov 2007
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> (In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com)
>
> Very fine effort for a very important cause. Did it appear in any of our papers at all?

Nope, not so far. Just UKClimbing.com.

JoeL 90 - on 14 Nov 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: Good effort for an important cause. Good job reporting it.
ArnaudG - on 14 Nov 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

Very good effort. for an excellent cause
Climbing on public monument in France is a tricky games. There are a handfull of very incovenient laws that can be used against it ranging from trespass to attempt break-in. For things like the Eiffel Tower they can charge you with damaging or attempting to damage an historical monument.

This said, Alain Robert aside there is a fair history of climbing monuments in Paris. The Tour Montparnasse was climbed in 74 IIRC I can't remember by whom now. The FA climbed the first few pitches in the dark to make sure they were out of reach of the fire brigade's ladders then waited for day break and the news crews.
My old club did a couple of ascent of the Tour Carree at Jussieu University during Freshers' week. There's quite a bit of climbing to be done on the riverbank but it's a lot less controversial.

Well done again.

A.-
mike robertson on 14 Nov 2007 - user-514faff8.l2.c4.dsl.pol.co.uk
In reply to Darren Jackson: see your point, Darren! It's very hard to explain the topography of the tower, it's VERY large, and there's stacks of steelwork, more than you'd imagine. But there are internal walkways that run alongside the outside edge/face of the upper section, and there came a point where continuing might endanger someone else; thus I stopped at 720ft.
mike robertson on 14 Nov 2007 - user-514faff8.l2.c4.dsl.pol.co.uk
In reply to ArnaudG: thanks for your words, Arnaud. It does seem French laws are pretty much against climbing buildings. This is further complicated by the tower being copyrighted, at least at night (the lights are relatively new).
If anyone is interested in Montparnasse tower footage, there's a vid of Alain Robert climbing it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03K6smXffrk
pwhiteside - on 14 Nov 2007
In reply to mike robertson: Cheers for the link. Everytime he took his hand off to wave it made my hands sweat even more.
mike robertson on 14 Nov 2007 - user-514faff8.l2.c4.dsl.pol.co.uk
In reply to yesbutnobutyesbut:

Plans afoot for more media coverage, watch this space. Burma does seem to have once more been left hanging by the newspapers... and that's the reason I did it.

There might be plenty of arguments for either side (some folk might even be on Total's side, God forbid), but we all have to do what we feel we need to do. I wrote a letter to Total and got an unfavourable response, and my answer was to drive to Paris. I can't explain it any better than that.

The man you need to talk to is one Jean-Francois Lassalle. He's the Vice President for Total Public Affairs, and you can write to him at 2 place de La Coupole, La Defense 6, 92078 Paris. So go and hound him.

In response to the negative reactions - I don't give a shit. I risked a jail term to do what I believed in. Maybe we should all do that more often.

Martin - on 14 Nov 2007
In reply to mike robertson:
Good on you Mike, i did wonder what you where going to france for.
ads.ukclimbing.com
In reply to mike robertson: Superb effort Mike
Darren Jackson - on 14 Nov 2007
In reply to mike robertson:
>
> see your point, Darren!

Good on you for highlighting the Burmese cause still further, anyhow. I'd say that you'll be well fixed for a holiday over there, once the dust has settled.. Good luck in the Bastille in the meantime! ;-)

Tufas Mum - on 14 Nov 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

And my mobile phone at 2am, bless him!!

Sam x
Gordon Stainforth - on 14 Nov 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

I actually think there should be some kind of medal/award for this kind of thing e.g. 'The Adventure Stunt for Freedom Medal', or some such.
mike robertson on 14 Nov 2007 - user-3e88cdbe.tcl119.dsl.pol.co.uk
In reply to Tufas Mum:
sorry, Sam! long drive home. I went with an old pal of mine, Pete, who hasn't had a road accident in 16 years...oops the Paris traffic got him. What red light? That was our first day... hehe x
Doghouse - on 14 Nov 2007
In reply to mike robertson:

Good effort Mike, well done.
mike robertson on 14 Nov 2007 - user-3e88cdbe.tcl119.dsl.pol.co.uk
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

If anyone out there wants to make a difference - go to

http://www.burmacampaign.org.uk/total.html

and send an email via that website direct to Total.

The French Prime Minister has just urged Total (and other French companies) to halt any further investment with the Burma generals. Good news indeed.
John2 - on 14 Nov 2007
In reply to mike robertson: A very fine post by Barbie here http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=264895&v=1#3905929 on what you (not you Mike, you as in you) can do to help.
Michael Ryan - on 14 Nov 2007
In reply to mike robertson:
> (In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com)


> The French Prime Minister has just urged Total (and other French companies) to halt any further investment with the Burma generals. Good news indeed.

Because you climbed the Eefeel Tower?

Gordon Stainforth - on 14 Nov 2007
In reply to mike robertson:

I like to think that your Eiffel Tower climb was perhaps the final unwelcome piece of anti-Total publicity that led to the French PM's decision - because surely you featured heavily on French TV?
mike robertson on 14 Nov 2007 - user-3e88cdbe.tcl119.dsl.pol.co.uk
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

hope so! ;-)
Tufas Mum - on 14 Nov 2007
In reply to mike robertson:

I did think when I got the text that you wanted me to fly to France to get you out of jail!!!
I was so worried I...........







.....went back to sleep xxxxx
mike robertson on 14 Nov 2007 - user-5440b013.wfd77a.dsl.pol.co.uk
In reply to Tufas Mum:

thanks for that. good to finally know of your sense of importance... ;-) xx
Mick Ward - on 14 Nov 2007
In reply to mike robertson:

> we all have to do what we feel we need to do... I can't explain it any better than that.

> ...I don't give a shit. I risked a jail term to do what I believed in. Maybe we should all do that more often.

Mike, in the interim, was thinking of what you wrote earlier - and you're right. My first concern was with you being in a French jail (but never mind, Sam was on the case!)

So often we do... little or nothing. Apathy? Fear?? A sense of our unimportance??? Who knows.

Bernadette Devlin once wrote, "The price of my soul is that it has no price, is not up for sale."

I didn't agree with much of what she said, but I agreed with that. It's an easy lesson to forget. Today you've reminded us of it.

Mick

P.S. And you were right about Freeborn Man - cosmic!



mike robertson on 14 Nov 2007 - user-5440b013.wfd77a.dsl.pol.co.uk
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:
> (In reply to mike robertson)
> [...]
>
>
> [...]
>
> Because you climbed the Eefeel Tower?

Mick Ryan has this wild theory about the Eiffeeel Tower. It's to do with copyright, and the fact that there's a secret department over there that monitors the web, and searches for all the things that are written about the tower. I think it's true; I jumped off the roof of an internal office block at second level whilst trying to evade the old bill, and saw a group of office workers clearly up to no good, all staring at me. So you can write what you want about the tower, as long as it's mispelt. Or is that misspelt?

M ;-)

Michael Ryan - on 14 Nov 2007
In reply to mike robertson:
> (In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com)
> [...]
>
>saw a group of office workers clearly up to no good, all staring at me.

Don't brag. I get that every day. Both males and females of the species.

mike robertson on 14 Nov 2007 - user-5440b013.wfd77a.dsl.pol.co.uk
In reply to Mick Ward:

Thanks, Mick. Had a bit of handcuffed time to think about such matters. And got to thinking Blighty might be a fair time away, maybe days or weeks. Realised that it didn't really matter, it wouldn't be forever, or even important - just another of life's anomalies. But was somehow glad I don't have a cat. Hehe.

Freeborn Man truly rocks the world; did it just last week.

Can I just say that I owe a huge thanks to my old pal Pete, who drove me to Paris, had his first car accident in 16 years, then had to wait around whilst I dived about up there. Ta, Pete!! What would I have done without ya...

M :-)
biped - on 14 Nov 2007
In reply to mike robertson:
> (In reply to yesbutnobutyesbut)
>
>
> In response to the negative reactions - I don't give a shit. I risked a jail term to do what I believed in. Maybe we should all do that more often.

Good for you for trying to make a difference instead of tutting at the paper like I, and lots of others, do.

Tufas Mum - on 14 Nov 2007
In reply to mike robertson:

Sweetie, hope you know how much you mean to me (and the old man of course) we is dead proud of you!

Hope to see you next week x

Sam
Simon - on 14 Nov 2007
In reply to mike robertson:


Zut alors! - par excellance mon Grand Garcon - cest fomidable!!

Bet it was a right ol fooker of a rush up there Mikey, what was the boulder grade do you reck?

;0)

Seriously well done for standing up for what you beleive in and have the cajonies to even take on something so massive... any nice French fillies cheer you on your way big man?!

Si
ads.ukclimbing.com
mike robertson on 14 Nov 2007 - user-54476638.wfd88a.dsl.pol.co.uk
In reply to Simon:

There were a couple of poodles runnin' around. And some soldiers, but they were male, I think. Shucks.
Ackbar - on 15 Nov 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: Well done!
buddha1369 - on 15 Nov 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: Well done mike on your outstanding effort. Its refreshing to see.
Wingman on 15 Nov 2007 - host81-151-90-132.range81-151.btcentralplus.com
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

is there an external news link anywhere (newspaper website or something) that I can link to on some other forums?
Al Evans on 15 Nov 2007
In reply to mike robertson: Good luck Mike.
Al
Michael Ryan - on 15 Nov 2007
In reply to Wingman:
> (In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com)
>
> is there an external news link anywhere (newspaper website or something) that I can link to on some other forums?


http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/older.html?month=11&year=2007#41222

If you go to the news page, go down the bottom and click on News Archive. Then choose your month which then lists each news item, click on a news item and that gives you a specific url for that news item.
Mystery Toad - on 15 Nov 2007
In reply to Simon:
> (In reply to mike robertson)
>
>
> Zut alors!

*Zoot Allures.
It appears Mike's feat may have turned the tide?
If so congratulations and cheers on behalf of those not in a position to offer them.
....how's the food in French jails anyway? ; )
steve taylor - on 15 Nov 2007
In reply to mike robertson:
> (In reply to Simon)
>
> There were a couple of poodles runnin' around.

That could be the Hard Grit response to "Were there any dogs at the crag that day Mike?
Wingman on 15 Nov 2007 - host81-151-90-132.range81-151.btcentralplus.com
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

Thanks Mick - but is there any other news report? No offence to anyone but I want something with a bit more impact than 'ukclimbing'
ring ouzel on 15 Nov 2007
In reply to mike robertson: On the one hand, congratulations Mike on doing something for a cause you believe in. On the other hand, we are the same age and now I'm wondering if I am doing enough for the causes I believe in. You've got me pondering (as CJD would say)! Thanks.
Rampikino - on 15 Nov 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

Sorry, but I think I am missing something here. Yes, the publicity is better by climbing the Eiffel Tower, and yes it is something Mike believes in. However...

Why not go and climb the Total HQ, or an Oil Rig and have a direct impact on their employees and cause them a lot of embarassment that way rather than sticking to the old formula of a national monument where the inconvenienced people are members of the public/tourists and staff oat the monument.

Opinion of the way Fathers For Justice go/went about things was pretty negative because of their (similar) methods (and attitudes to be fair). Personally I don't support climbing national monuments to make a point. If Mike had strapped himself to an oilrig or climbed up Total's HQ Building in France (or something similar) then I probably would feel a lot more sympathetic.

There does seem to be an element here of glorifying Urban Climbing too.

However, what do I know? And Mike doesn't "give a shit" about my opinion anyway.
Michael Ryan - on 15 Nov 2007
In reply to Wingman:
> (In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com)
>
> Thanks Mick - but is there any other news report? No offence to anyone but I want something with a bit more impact than 'ukclimbing'


Mike may be able to answer that. When I talked to him the French police where very concerned about photos and film; Mike and friends have both. So I think they try to smother any press from actually knowing about it.

So the seed was sewn at UKClimbing.com, plus Mike telling people and I believe one of these people is Ed Douglas who does work for the Guardian, so maybe we shall see something in there.

I did a search and only found three sources so far: UKC, Rock and Ice and a blog. I'm sure that will change very soon.

Mick
Bruce Hooker - on 15 Nov 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

Such an original prank as climbing the Eiffel tower on the outside will certainly bring the Burmese regime to it's knees :-)
Dave Garnett - on 15 Nov 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

Might not Charles Arthur also be useful?
Mystery Toad - on 15 Nov 2007
In reply to Rampikino:

You aren't the only poster to feel this way.
See my first post to this thread.
My opinion on this topic may not be as um....
feisty as yours but it appears he may have achieved something.
If so then I repeat: well done.
The injustice, suffering and murder in Burma needs addressing. Now.
Bruce Hooker - on 15 Nov 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

As at present France is in the middle of a national rail strike which is widely considered to be a major test for the new government I'm afraid this feat got absolutely no news coverage here in France, at least not on the principal TV and radio stations. Perhaps Mike should have checked out local events before setting out this week... with a little preparation he could have been on the news but most people in France this week are more occupied by how they will get to and from work (or how they will prevent others from doing this!) than Total's involvement in dodgy regimes... not exactly news anyway, their involvement in Africa and numerous scandals over the years are common knowledge.
Morgan Woods - on 15 Nov 2007
In reply to mike robertson:

good effort Mike....i just can't believe the UKC effics police haven't waded in yet to discuss the grade and/or tactics.....so do you think you can still go back to claim the onsight?
Anonymous on 15 Nov 2007 - 88-104-151-45.dynamic.dsl.as9105.com
In reply to mike robertson: good work- i would have thought it would at least be reported on the paris indymedia site, but it appears to be broken
maybe take some banners next time?
http://www.greenpeace.org/international/photosvideos/photos/greenpeace-activists-scale-the-2
JIMBO on 15 Nov 2007
In reply to Morgan Woods: Could still claim ground up onsight, since he didn't weight the rope?!

Good to make a stand on things... however I feel it does need pointing out that protest doesn't have to be illegal or dangerous to the public in order to make an impact.
mike robertson on 15 Nov 2007 - user-5444a7b9.lns6-c10.dsl.pol.co.uk
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

A few topics here:

I think it might be a good idea to buy the Guardian this Saturday. Just an idea.

I'm not gonna offer a french grade or an E grade, I'd rather talk about Burma! But I carried no rope, and used no aid, except for the big bar of chocolate in my bumbag. In answer to the questions about gloves - fingerless leather gloves and chalk.

Here are a few points re the action itself:

It would have been wiser to set it up in advance, but I was too gripped the night before to tell anyone but friends in Paris. I'm not exactly an expert in such matters, although who knows what may happen in the future... Many thanks to the Greenpeace folk for posting here on UKC - you know where to find me.

As for the rail strikes - doh! But sometimes the weather is the best indicator of the right moment - Paris was stunning blue sky on Monday.

The correct building - if you're quibbling about the correct building, you're probably not gonna climb any building. But I did recce the 200m Total HQ on Sunday, it's climbable at about E5/6 solo, and looks scary but ok. I won't say any more on that subject, in case Total are viewing these pages and thinks I might come to Paris and climb their lovely HQ. Now that's an idea...
I wrote this morning to a certain Jean-Francois Lassalle, who is the vice president of Total's Public Affairs. Please write to him yourself at:
2 place de La Coupole
La Defense 6
92078 Paris
If anyone has access to a direct email link to Mr Lassalle's office, please share it with us at UKC and beyond. Mr Lassalle's official line is that Total are 'improving' the region around the pipeline. What he fails to mention in his letter is that Total are providing the generals with a generous amount of cash each year, with which they purchase guns, munitions and vehicles, and train their private army to beat monks about the head.

Please do anything you can to make a difference.

A huge thanks for all your words of support, you have no idea how amazing that is to me right now.

Mike




ali_mac - on 15 Nov 2007
In reply to mike robertson:
Mike, just so taken aback by your actions. Utterly brilliant. I so hope your actions are not missed on the public psyche.
All the very best to you.
Al.
Mystery Toad - on 15 Nov 2007
In reply to ali_mac:

i still wanna know if French jail food is any good.

not that i'm planning on tasting it!

just wondering. i mean, what do they give ya?
escargot? eggs benedict? yankee slop?
Rampikino - on 15 Nov 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

If you truly want to make global headlines about Burma, then why not go climb something in Burma. Now that would be risking going to jail for something you 'truly believe in'.
Jus - on 15 Nov 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

Mike, you're an inspiration.

I hope the world sits up and takes notice (again). It's amazing how quickly the press and governments forget about things.
Rob Naylor - on 15 Nov 2007
In reply to mike robertson:
>
> If anyone has access to a direct email link to Mr Lassalle's office, please share it with us at UKC and beyond.

try: jean-francois.lassalle@total.com

I have email addresses of over 30 total employees in my contacts book and they all follow that template, so it should work.

I didn't tell you, though.
morphus on 15 Nov 2007 - 88-104-151-45.dynamic.dsl.as9105.com
In reply to Jus:
> (In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com)
> It's amazing how quickly the press and governments forget about things.

not to mention the internet masses
http://www.google.com/trends?q=burma%2C+myanmar

purple sue - on 15 Nov 2007
In reply to Mike Robertson - UKClimbing.com:

Awesome Mikey.
Glad you pulled it off safely. x
mike robertson on 15 Nov 2007 - user-5444a7b9.lns6-c10.dsl.pol.co.uk
In reply to Rob Naylor:

You're a genius, Rob. It would be nice if Mr Lassalle had to work a little harder for his salary this coming week... ;-)
sollyf - on 17 Nov 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

Bingo. There's a full double page spread in today's Guardian (Saturday), on pages 26 & 27.
Shirl on 17 Nov 2007 - cpc1-flee1-0-0-cust18.glfd.cable.ntl.com
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:
I have known Mike since he was 14 years old! He has always been determined to make the most of his life, and make a difference. Well done Mikey. See you at the party! S xxx
sutty on 17 Nov 2007
A Longleat Boulderer - on 17 Nov 2007
In reply to JLS:
> (In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com)
>
> Gloves and a chalk bag? How does that work?

I presume he took the gloves off for that section which looks harder than just plain gurder hauling.
Anonymous on 17 Nov 2007 - 88-104-130-26.dynamic.dsl.as9105.com
In reply to sutty: well done ed douglas & the guardian
here's another report http://www.planetmountain.com/english/News/shownews.lasso?l=2&keyid=35900
Jon e H - on 17 Nov 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: Fantastique! Yeh Blue Fish pin-up du jour!...awesome picture and much respect for the act!
Jon
adamtimothy on 17 Nov 2007 - 5ac99cf1.bb.sky.com
In reply to biped:

Yep brilliant Mike. Too many people these days are 'thinkers' not 'doers'.
stp - on 17 Nov 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

Great stuff. I sent my email.

On the climbing side I can only imagine that must have been a massive buzz. The other overhang (pictured on Planet Fear) looks bigger and harder than the crux one. Too bad the rozzers didn't let you top out. You'll just have to go back to it to finish it off sometime :)
Jus - on 18 Nov 2007
In reply to mike robertson:

Awesome full middle page spread article & photo in yesterday's Guardian thanks to Ed Douglas.
saintlade - on 19 Nov 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: Just seen the video, inspirational stuff Mike. Need to start getting involved in stuff again. A second recommendation for Barbie's post here;

http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=264895&v=1#3905929

lots of useful info.

Check out the facebook group, lots of action taking place this Saturday with rolling protests occurring at various Total stations throughout the country. Anybody heading to the castle this weekend would be easily placed to demo at Manor House Total station at 13:00. Would be a good mid climb break ;-) Make yourselves heard.
Michael Ryan - on 19 Nov 2007
ianto - on 19 Nov 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: awesome dude!
ads.ukclimbing.com
reyeb on 19 Nov 2007 - 82-71-41-28.dsl.in-addr.zen.co.uk
In reply to saintlade: Anything going down in the Leeds area anyone to stir it up for total? keen to get involved but lacking the funds to get to paris (bit rude to attemp a repeat this soon eh :-)
James Moyle - on 19 Nov 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: Well done Mike, you have really inspired me.

I felt inspired to send an e-mail to lots of my non-climbing friends with links to the vid and the burma campaign website.

Hopefully the news will spread, and more people will find out about this, than would have done through traditional media.
Martin - on 19 Nov 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/Burmacrackdown/ lets let The PM know we are serious too
Psychopathic_Barbie - on 20 Nov 2007
In reply to James Moyle: yeah, just did the same. will also use martin's link.
mike robertson on 20 Nov 2007 - user-3e8873db.tcl114.dsl.pol.co.uk
In reply to James Moyle:

James, I think that's exactly what's needed. Get the word out to anyone who cares, or is interested. It's just amazing to see Burma in the news again.

Can I just repeat Barbie's link here:

http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=264895&v=1#3905929

A stack of relevant info in one place - please take a look, and pass it on. Barbie, you have an enormous amount of energy. I wouldn't ever dare get in the way of your vacuum cleaner...

Thanks for all your comments, even the small number of negative ones. At least we live in a country where we're still allowed an opinion... unlike the country we're discussing.

One final point: Total commissioned a guy called Bernard Kouchner to visit the area of Burma near the pipeline, and write a full report. The subsequent report clearly stated that the region should be opened up to independent observers. So email Mr Lassalle (see posting above) and demand that independent observers be allowed to visit the region to take pictures and see for themselves. I offered my services in this regard; the subject was avoided in his rather half-assed letter back to me.

Thanks again for all your comments and support - and a huge thank you to Niki and Anna, without whom there would be no video on youtube.

Mike


ErikV on 21 Nov 2007 - adsl-75-61-66-210.dsl.pltn13.sbcglobal.net
In reply to boogie man: Yeah, there is something on YouTube. Nice soundtrack. Just look up Mike Robertson
Michael Ryan - on 21 Nov 2007
In reply to ErikV:
> (In reply to boogie man) Yeah, there is something on YouTube. Nice soundtrack. Just look up Mike Robertson


Get with the program dude.

Video here: http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=646
Bruce Hooker - on 21 Nov 2007
In reply to mike robertson:

> Total commissioned a guy called Bernard Kouchner to visit the area of Burma near the pipeline, and write a full report.

Bernard Kouchner is at present Minister of Foreign Affairs in the French government....

PS. Your climb has still had absolutely no coverage in the French media... so what was the point apart from the nice glow?
mike robertson on 21 Nov 2007 - user-514c187d.l1.c5.dsl.pol.co.uk
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

Apart from the fact that thousands of people are now talking about Burma again, and are more aware of the various issues than previously? Warm glow aside, I do think that was worth getting the rock shoes on for, Bruce. And it was certainly worth risking jail for.

pat m - on 21 Nov 2007
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to mike robertson)
>
> [...]
>
> Bernard Kouchner is at present Minister of Foreign Affairs in the French government....
>
> PS. Your climb has still had absolutely no coverage in the French media... so what was the point apart from the nice glow?


Well I for one will avoid buying Total fuel and have emailed the company to state the same.

The same small actions led to changes in the way business invested in South Africa.
Michael Ryan - on 21 Nov 2007
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to mike robertson)
>
> [...]
>

> PS. Your climb has still had absolutely no coverage in the French media... so what was the point apart from the nice glow?

Be good if it was but not essential. Lots of actions like Mike's have a culmulative effect. I have no doubt Total are aware of Mike's actions and other protests. Lots of small actions together can be the tipping point.

When we posted Mike and Nicoletta Fagiolo's video at UKClimbing.com it had been seen 39 times (November 18, 22:07pm - ET). Now it stands at 2,856 times.

There are two news items about Mike's actions at the UKC news page which gets viewed over 3,000 times a day.

Significantly, Ed Douglas (climber/outdoor/environmental journalist) then pitched it to the Guardian and a full double page spread was run about Mike's protest. Guardian circulation is around 350,000.

So warm glow apart, any self-promotion apart, it is pretty safe to say that Mike's climb up the Eiffel tower has been noticed and stimulated discussion which can lead to action.

Mick

Bruce Hooker - on 21 Nov 2007
In reply to pat m:

Which oil company do you intend to buy from that is not involved in working with despicable regimes? Do you know many who don't dabble with Saudi Arabia, for example?

If you were unaware of what is going on in Burma, despite the pretty intensive news coverage lately, until Mike climbed the Eiffel tower then I suppose it was worthwhile... if it woke up even one soul etc. but to imagine it will have any effect on Total is rather naieve.
Michael Ryan - on 21 Nov 2007
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

So we do nothing?

Power to the people.
derekm on 21 Nov 2007
The Guardian coverage was absolutely brilliant - double page spread! Mike should be proud of what he's done. And it's keeping Burma in the news. I'm probably not the first to put this link on , but do look at

http://www.guardian.co.uk/france/story/0,,2212601,00.html

Why shouldn't climbing become a political act?

Well done Mike
Bruce Hooker - on 21 Nov 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

Climbing the Eiffel tower is equivalent to doing nothing, except that it is good feat of climbing and certainly good fun for the climber. The risk of going to prison for such things in France is very low, it's being done all the time for one reason or other.

What Total and Elf are up to in Africa is far worse but I bet no one has even heard of that outside France.
gribble - on 21 Nov 2007
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
Well done. You keep up that positive line of support. The world needs apathy.
JPGR - on 21 Nov 2007
In reply to Bruce Hooker: Please could you point me in the direction of what Elf and Total are doing in Africa as I only have limited knowledge of this areas. I am aware of Chinese involement in the Congo and Sudan. Links to decent sources would be prefered rather than second hand information from you.
kipper (the original one) on 21 Nov 2007 - edsiaah02.eds.net
In reply to mike robertson:

Mike
thanks for bringing this to our attention.
i have e mailed the company to advise i will be boycotting their products from now on

Thanks
Sarah G on 21 Nov 2007
In reply to Mystery Toad:

>
> Gloves and a chalk bag? How does that work?
>
> Do these protester types not realize the questions they force the public to ask as a result of their silly actions?

Protests whether "silly" or not don't force the public to ask themselves anything if they choose not to.
Witness the majority of responses to my thread dealing with anti-war Veterans on Veterans Day.
But here I'm uncertain of the wisdom of his approach.
Climbing the Tower? His actions are patently dangerous to the general French public and may encourage those not qualified to attempt such a feat to give it a go.


Awww, bless, Toad, there you go proving the rule that yanks don't understand irony....!
;)
Sxx
Bruce Hooker - on 21 Nov 2007
In reply to Jon Redshaw:

Look at Nigeria... oil pipelines leaking and blowing up, dozens dead, a few coup d'Útats etc. Elf has been the agent of the French government for decades... there's also a little story of some frigates and Taiwan which is has been in the news for years.. that's not Africa though!

Plenty to get your teeth into if your are unaware.
ads.ukclimbing.com
John2 - on 21 Nov 2007
In reply to Bruce Hooker: I thought that the major oil related problems in Nigeria were to do with armed local rebels attacking western oil workers.
Bruce Hooker - on 21 Nov 2007
In reply to John2:

Never wondered why they attacked them?
gingerkate - on 21 Nov 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:
Good effort Mike.

Is there anything practical we can do here? Sorry, haven't read the whole thread (too long), would be glad to hear of anything we can do to encourage Total to end their tacit support for the generals.
JPGR - on 21 Nov 2007
In reply to Bruce Hooker: Bruce I am aware of all of that, but thought it was Shell and BP in Nigeria. Hence I asked you to back it up!!

Oil companies and chemical / mining companies are doing lots of damage to Africa.

Half of it is them facilitating the corruption that already exists, the other pure explotation. I am familiar with Totals involvement in Burma. And will boycot them for this.

But why? Surely I am now just buying my petrol from another company with equally dodgy practices.
JPGR - on 21 Nov 2007
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to John2)
>
> Never wondered why they attacked them?

Because the revenue from the oil isn't taken by the government and not passed onto the people? Is this the fault of the Oil companies or the Nigerian government?



Rob Naylor - on 21 Nov 2007
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to Jon Redshaw)
>
> Look at Nigeria... oil pipelines leaking and blowing up, dozens dead, a few coup d'Útats etc. Elf has been the agent of the French government for decades... there's also a little story of some frigates and Taiwan which is has been in the news for years.. that's not Africa though!

a) "Elf" as such no longer exists. Although they continue to operate as "Elf" in some countries, it's all part of the "TotalFinaElf" group

b) In Nigeria, it's not "oil pipelines leaking and blowing up, dozens dead". It's "oil pipelines being cut open by locals who then line up with buckets to take it away. Sparks/ cigarettes cause explosion, dozens dead".

Every incident I've known about for the past 5 years down there has been due to locals deliberately breaching pipelines, not the operator negligently allowing them to leak, as your post implies.

Michael Ryan - on 21 Nov 2007
In reply to Jon Redshaw:
> (In reply to Bruce Hooker)
> Oil companies and chemical / mining companies are doing lots of damage to Africa.

And hence we are, every single one of us.
Bruce Hooker - on 21 Nov 2007
In reply to Rob Naylor:

The Elf building still exists well enough at La Defense! I think the previous boss may still be in prison for dirty deals and it is generally accepted that he was just the fall guy, the whole group is an open sore...

Concerning the explosions the way you present it is rather more generous than the French press... even the state TV! These companies are making fortunes, in part for the French state and little is going back into local economies, amongst the most corrupt and violent in the world... the lack of security and poor maintence of the pipe lines is blamed openly for mi=uch of the danger. When France wants to change a government in Africa it is through such bodies that the dirty work is done... numerous books have been written on the subject.

Which in a way justifies Mike's action... my objection really is the timing and the evident lack of thought that went into this climb... doing at just the time when France was in a major transport strike shows a total (!) lack of preparation... hence my perhaps over critical reaction. With the minimum of thought and research he could have got a lot more attention. So perhaps I should apologise for being so negative, even if I really do doubt that such things have much effect.... Elf/Total is not only state controlled, some would say it works both ways.
Rob Naylor - on 21 Nov 2007
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to Rob Naylor)
>
> These companies are making fortunes, in part for the French state and little is going back into local economies, amongst the most corrupt and violent in the world...

Again, I'm not sure that is true (not the corruption bit, but the "little going into the local economy" bit). In Nigera, for work we're doing down there at the moment, we're invoicing our clients over $ 1,600 for every $ 1000 we see net. The rest is either going to our Nigerian middleman or to the Nigerian government in taxes. That's higher than our taxation/ local costs level almost anywhere else we operate.

This money *should* be going into the Nigerian economy. Now I'm pretty sure a lot of the "take" of our Nigerian Technical Partner company ends up in Geneva or London, but the largest component of that 60% markup by far is tax and ostensibly stays in the Nigeran economy. If it doesn't, that's not the fault of foreign companies like us who operate legally and pay our (very large) taxes there legally.
Anonymous on 21 Nov 2007 - 88-104-207-196.dynamic.dsl.as9105.com
In reply to Rob Naylor: yeah, i'm sure the oil industry is doing all it can to appease the locals
Bruce Hooker - on 22 Nov 2007
In reply to Rob Naylor:

I think Nigeria was still at the top of the most corrupt countries in the world table that is published regularly and quite recently was said to be one of the most dangerous... The stories of pipeline explosions and the film of dozens or even hundreds of charred bodies we see regularly on the TV news would seem to contradict the rosy view of things.

I don't know if one can put all the blame on the oil companies but if a bunch of people got into the habit of breaking into pipe lines to steal the contents and blowing themselves up on a regular basis in Europe don't you think public opinion and the state might not just put a bit of the blame on the lack of security and consider that those exploiting the pipeline were a teeny bit responsible?
Rob Naylor - on 22 Nov 2007
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to Rob Naylor)
>
> I think Nigeria was still at the top of the most corrupt countries in the world table that is published regularly and quite recently was said to be one of the most dangerous... The stories of pipeline explosions and the film of dozens or even hundreds of charred bodies we see regularly on the TV news would seem to contradict the rosy view of things.
>

There's no "rosy view of things" from here (read what I've actually been writing, rather than what you think I wrote). And I don't need to see the TV news to know what it's like there...I visit the place regularly.

I'm not denying that there are pipeline explosions, resulting in dozens or even hundreds of deaths. What I was questioning was your implication that these explosions are due to poor maintenance by the oil companies. Every case I've seen for the last 5 years the explosions have come about due to locals trying to tap into the pipelines.

> I don't know if one can put all the blame on the oil companies but if a bunch of people got into the habit of breaking into pipe lines to steal the contents and blowing themselves up on a regular basis in Europe don't you think public opinion and the state might not just put a bit of the blame on the lack of security and consider that those exploiting the pipeline were a teeny bit responsible?

The pipeline "exploiters" (ie the people who paid for it to be built, paid for the exploration and paid for the drilling and pumping) do not have standing armies of their own. They are reliant for security on the Nigerian government, who take a good whack in taxes and should therefore be able to provide a level of security. But they can't even provide decent security at main bases, never mind over every yard of thousands of miles of pipelines.

Certain areas of the Delta are virtual no-go areas for government troops anyway. You could say that if the population of the Delta was getting a fair deal from the government, then they wouldn't have any incentive to break into pipelines, but knowing Nigeria as I do, I think that this would not be the case...even if the Delta region was receiving the vast majority of oil revenue, people would still bust the pipes.

Same as the locals on survey boats...paid extremely well by local standards, fed well on board, but still stuff their bags with tins and tins of food when they demob home. It represents a fraction of a percent of their salaries, but they still risk their jobs for it.

This is at the door of the government, NOT the oil companies. If there was a change of government, the power balance would shift, but the behaviour would be the same, and the oil cos would have to deal with the new corrupt people just as the dealt with the old ones.

If the western oil companies became "super-ethical" and pulled out, the vacuum would immediately be filled by the Chinese, then we'd see a huge reduction in safety and environmental problems (way above what we see now) just as we have in Sudan.

Yes, Nigeria is as corrupt as hell. Yes, the western oil companies cosy up to a corrupt government. Mostly, though, they *do* attempt to do the best they can under the circumstances. It's certainly not true, as you imply, that the Nigerian nation is completely exploited by these companies...a lot of money from oil and related taxes goes into Nigerian coffers and it's hardly the fault of the oil cos that much of it goes straight out to accounts in Switzerland and elsewhere, or to pay for grandiose projects that are of no benefit to citizens.
Bruce Hooker - on 22 Nov 2007
In reply to Rob Naylor:

By exploiting I didn't mean any value judgement, just those that take care of the pipeline. The Tv news shows that the people who get blown up and burnt are carting fuel off in buckets over a long period of time. In any country with a functioning legal system the company managing the pipeline would be expected to make sure accidents didn't happen, just as railway companies must fence of high-speed tracks and electricity companies are expected to make sure that kids can't just put their hands on high tension cables... if they didn't they would be sued for a mint.

In Nigeria where the state does not function as it should then the responsibility is even more on the companies concerned, this seems obvious to me. I find it hard to believe that they are not just taking advantage of the fact that the families of the dead locals are not in a position to defend themselves.

I'm not anti-oil company in general and know that many contracts have technology exchange clauses and all sorts of obligations... I'm just not convinced that this is the case in Nigeria, nor that oil companies don't take advantage of the situation when they can... maybe I'm wrong and it just the fault of the silly locals who are their own worst enemies?
Ju Lewis on 26 Nov 2007 - 10.2.68.77 [proxy-25.swgfl.ifl.net]
In reply to boogie man:
> (In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com)
>
> absolutely agree with above fairplay Mick & Mike Robertson ! is anyone aware of video footage . . ?

there's a video on You Tube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4bjmXFcJsc

enjoy!!
johncoxmysteriously - on 28 Nov 2007
In reply to Ju Lewis:

Nice video.

Sort of a Paris equivalent of Coronation Street?

jcm

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