In the summer of 2016, we found out that our web host, 1984.is, had taken down the Bananama Republic blog. The reason was a court ruling in Holland that came out of a lawsuit filed by Patrick Visser and his wife, Keren Visser-Katz, against yours truly. I was unaware of these proceedings — Visser et al deliberately hid the case from me — so their claims went uncontested. Supposedly, Bananama Republic had unjustly called the Vissers fraudsters, crooks, scam artists, and so on. The court also awarded the Vissers damages.
Needless to say that upon finding out about this case, I immediately appealed. That appeal is still pending, but I won a preliminary injunction (“kort geding”, in Dutch) that forbids Patrick Visser and his wife to try to collect these “damages.” The Vissers didn’t show up at that hearing.
Why did all this happen? The Vissers, and their business partner Maurice Sjerps, were quiete upset when I followed up on reporting in the American publication Christian Science Monitor about their Silva Tree carbon credit scheme. The Vissers and Sjerps falsely claimed that their carbon offset scheme was “verified” and promised fixed high returns on investments in a Panamanian plantation with Paulownia trees. Long story short: The trees didn’t grow, the verified carbon credits were just a load of crock, and Maurice Sjerps was arrested in Costa Rica on fraud charges stemming from a previous forestry scheme that was also linked to Patrick Visser and his wife. Victims of the scams have since launched court cases in Costa Rica, Israel and the Isle of Man against the Vissers and Sjerps.
The Bananama Republic website will be restored to its former glory soon. We’ve backed up the posts meanwhile on medium.com, here. The articles are however not accessible from Panama and the Netherlands, so if you visit from one of these two countries you need to use a proxy.
For more information about Panama, Okke Ornstein and press freedom, visit: