Letter: Pernicious attack on Saro-Wiwa

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The Independent Online
Pernicious attack on Saro-Wiwa

Sir: What Richard D North is saying about Ken Saro-Wiwa and Shell ("Can you be sure of Ken Saro-Wiwa?", 8 November) can be refuted by those who know the facts - as your correspondents demonstrate (letters 11 November). What he is doing is far more pernicious.

When an investigative journalist builds a career on the fearless uncovering of official secrets; when a research scientist blows the whistle on dangerous pollutants or unexpected threats to health; when a politician spends years in the wilderness nursing his reputation for honesty: watch them. Their records make us trust them.

When the journalist exposes fellow campaigners as frauds; when the scientist endorses procedures others are warning against; when the politician chairs a sensitive inquiry producing an anti-democratic report, our trust in them as individuals may lead us to accept their word.

The day when the polluter starts paying has to come: like death, it is inevitable - because death is the alternative.

Richard D North and his ilk are being paid to postpone it.