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Private Eye"Penguin Man" by Jane - May 2003
FIG's formal reasons for refusing his application for Islander status and work permit paint an interesting picture of the Falklands regime and how it deals with criticism. They say Mr Bingham "sought to discredit and bring into disrepute the state of the Falklands Islands environment and the role of the Government in its protection". They also list his attempts to win support from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Outrageous behaviour for a conservationist!
In 1996 he lost his job at Falklands Conservation after going public with the findings of a penguin population census. He took work at a power station and continued to research independently, publishing studies in peer-reviewed journals.
Meanwhile he received anonymous phone threats and several bizarre trumped up criminal accusations that were abandoned once they came to court (Private Eye - January 2000). Then, last May, 100,000 penguins were found dead. Falklands Conservation said further research was needed, but Mr Bingham told the BBC the penguins had undoubtedly died of starvation.
Then, in November, Mr Bingham's application was turned down. His work permit just ran out. With no unemployment benefit in the Islands, he expects to leave in June.
Surely this was the sort of heavy-handed dictatorship the Falklands War was meant to protect the islands from.
"Spot the eco-thug" by Rotten Boroughs - January 2000
Departing Chief Executive Dr Blanch, off to be Chief Executive of the Falkland Islands, took the opportunity of a farewell speech to councillors to smear peaceful protesters who have objected to the scheme as "eco thugs".
By an amazing coincidence, the Falklands has been having an environmental row of its own. A Stanley conservationist, Mike Bingham, who pointed out that the local penguin populations had dramatically declined due to the depletion of food stocks as a result of industrial-scale fishing, has been subjected to an extraordinary sequence of abuse, anonymous phone threats and trumped- up criminal accusations. Evidently the government of the Falkland Islands shares Dr Blanch's distaste for environmentalists. He should feel at home there.