From Iceland — Björk Answers Ross Beaty: We Shouldn't Complete This Deal

Björk Answers Ross Beaty: We Shouldn’t Complete This Deal

Published July 22, 2010

dear ross beaty
i appreciate your answer
it is good for the icelandic nation to see this information in the open , before it makes up its mind on this . a lot of bad deals for this country’s fortunes have happened in closed back rooms recently and , as you can imagine , after the bankcrash this is something that icelanders are especially sensitive about right now . let’s leave this information in the hands of investigative journalists and bloggers and anyone else interested . i see in the news that árni sigfússon , the town mayor of reykjanesbær , has already used this opportunity to question the quality of the loans magma would overtake if this deal pulls through .  
you are right , it could be said that in reykjanesbær’s case you have come and helped them . the town is close to bankruptcy after what in short could be called overambitious heavy industrial plans ( in the style of what brought this country down ) so it might seem fair they sell their rights to their geothermal energy for 130 years . even though they have to lose their chance of income from that and lose their chances of energizing other businesses like greenhouses , data centers or whatever energy-needs the town will have the next century . and let’s put aside for now that i feel the deal is exceptionally bad . that they sold themselves cheap . and now the contract with them is almost fully legalised …
meanwhile  you are trying to buy access to geothermal energy in hrunamannaafrétt and the mývatn area as well as rights to freshwater in öræfi  . you are contacting landowners, municipal governments, engineering firms and more . you have also been pressuring landsvirkjun for the development rights to the bjarnarflagsvirkjun power plant which is one of the most potentially profitable enterprises in our country. you have also commissioned a report on the possibility of harnessing geothermal energy at reykjahlíð and vogar, which does not meet the requirements of the icelandic state regulations for development; you want to get the rights and therefore pressure landsvirkjun if they don’t want to work with you. could it be that magma energy is not, like you seem to want to prove in your answer to me, helping icelanders in their recovery to build up hs orka, but rather you are trying get hold of anything you can get hold of and are knowingly abusing the weak positions of landsvirkjun , icelandic municipalities and individuals? and everything behind the nation’s back ?
i agree with lára hanna , an icelandic investigational blogger , when she asks if it could be that your intention is to create a company that you could then sell to the highest bidder and make a lot of money ? do you intend to sell to the chinese who bought your mines ? is it a coincidence that you own mines in various countries in which the international monetary fund has been into  ? 
so please don’t insult our intelligence by playing the great benefactor . we know very well that the value of all our natural resources will increase dramatically over the next few decades. and so do you – that’s why you’re here. you wish to expand and thereby destroy some of our beautiful nature, like krýsuvík and kerlingafjöll , some of the most beloved natural pearls in iceland . 
you asked in your letter if we would rather work with bulgarians or the polish ? to be honest , i am not too bothered about nationalities . half of the people i have worked with in my life are honest , generous foreigners with good intentions . and after watching iceland’s venture capitalists bring the country down , we have seen too much of our own countrymen working against their own nation to naively think that in keeping our precious geothermal energy plants in the hands of icelandic businessmen , we are going to keep them safe .  but if you want to go by nationalities , i´d like to remind you that a fellow canadian , otto spork , came here and worked with people in snæfellsnes . he got bought off them the rights to their glacial water for 99 years . he made put into the contract that it’s content was a secret . i wonder why ? later , the canadian superior court judge ordered that otto spork’s company , sextant capital management inc. be put into receivership. so to quote the canadian newspaper “globe and mail” : “ mr. spork has invested illegally in firms with rights to icelandic glaciers for the purpose of selling bottled water. there is ample evidence of “potential fraud, misappropriation of investors’ money, misrepresentation, self-dealing and record manipulation “.  mr. spork provided canaccord capital corp. with forged documents purportedly from the los angeles department of water among others indicating that they would buy water from the glacier companies. “. so do you think it is odd we are a little suspicious ?
and then there are the interactions between your silver-mining company pan american silver corporation and the people of peru . magma energy owns there one of the biggest and precious silver and gold mines in the world . according to their laws, your company should have paid the miners their share of the growth, but as you cleverly managed to make them sign a contract so that they’re only temporary workers –they’re signing because they’re afraid there will be no better deal for them- they don’t get their share. and when they joined unions, they were fired. and when the government tried to control the situation, they didn’t succeed. and they didn’t want to push you too hard, afraid then to seem against foreign investment.  there are possibilities of fair trades with foreign investors. but you are not offering us this opportunity …
magma is now offering more shares for sale, for 40 million dollars, to strengthen the company . could it be you are having money problems too, just like us? could it be that you reaching out to our pension funds and to myself for shares because you cannot afford this? and can you tell me why does magma pay double more per megawatt in nevada than here ? 
now , in only 3 days , over 10.000 people have signed a petition where they insist that the sale of hs orka to magma energy is stopped . that is around 4% of the nation . and next week that might go up to 10% , even 20% . and these folks want the government to set up a national referendum where they themselves decide what happens to ownership and access to their energy sources . 
your nationality is not the reason why people feel troubled about this sale . actually , if you asked me to describe how the icelandic people feel about their own rulers or the business men who cut the icesave deals for example , trust is not the first word that comes to mind . when you stood on that balcony on hotel borg and watched the nation hitting their pots and pans , we could perhaps debate forever if your intentions then were to help these people or to abuse the situation . but you caught us at a historical time . we are not ready for you , whatever nationality . we threw our right government out , got a left one that didn’t solve our problems either . we managed to write a 2800 page report on the business exchanges of both government and the banks and are now taking these people to court . but it is not only us who are redefining what is left and right , privatization and public ownership , business regulations and more . like i said :  these are historical times . big crossroads for the whole world . only yesterday barack obama set a new law . he said  “because of this law, the american people will never again be asked to foot the bill for wall street’s mistakes . there will be no more taxpayer-funded bailouts. period. if a large financial institution should ever fail, this reform gives us the ability to wind it down without endangering the broader economy. and there will be new rules to make clear that no firm is somehow protected because it is ‘too big to fail,’ “
does this remind anyone of the icesave case ? 
your deal with icelanders , is in my opinion , out of date . a 20th , even 19th century model . we tried being a colony for 600 years . we didn’t like it . we have only been independent for 66 years .  and even though a handful of icelanders seriously fucked up with the icesave case , we are not ready to become an energy colony  . we want to pay our bills , but this is too harsh .
we have entered the 21st century . with globalization and the arrival of the internet we need to redefine interactions between people . how we do banking , sell music , privacy laws and the list goes on  .
but for now ross
i feel we shouldn’t complete this deal
first, the nation needs to decide how it wants its energy sources and the access to them dealt with  . and if it chooses privatization , perhaps you could come back
that is if you offer a better deal .
Click the above link to sign Björk’s petition

More on that whole Magma business, in reverse-chronological order:
10.000 Have Already Signed Björk’s Petition
(An update on the state of Björk’s petition)
Magma’s Ross Beaty Addresses Björk’s Questions
(Ross Beaty addresses the questions put forth by Björk in ‘Björk Speaks Up On Magma Again’. This is the letter Björk is responding to above).
Björk To Ross Beaty: You Totally Miss My Point
(Wherein Björk replies to Ross Beaty’s proposal)
Ross Beaty’s Got A Proposal For Björk
(Wherein Magma CEO Ross Beaty offers to sell Björk shares in HS Orka)
Björk Holds Press Conference Regarding Sale Of HS Orka
(A report from Björk’s press conference concerning HS Orka)
Björk Speaks Up On Magma Energy Again
(Björk’s statement from last week, in which she asks several questions regarding the Magma deal)
Björk On Magma Energy
(Björk’s first statement on the matter)
Magma Energy Lied To Us
(An article from author of the below feature, Catharine Fulton, wherein she exposes several some severe cases of “half-truths” from the Magma camp)
Blame Canada
(Our feature from October, about geothermal energy, Swedish shelf companies and the privatisation of Iceland)

Photo by Ohashi Jin, courtesy of Bjö

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