Mike Bingham has worked for the United States Government, British Government, Chilean Government and Argentine Government helping to preserve endangered wildlife. In 1993 Bingham was appointed Conservation Officer for the Falkland Islands, embroiling him in a savage struggle with greedy government officials, who would stop at nothing to protect financial interests in commercial fishing and oil exploration.
When Bingham’s penguin research revealed massive population declines resulting from over-fishing, he was offered a large pay rise to cover up his findings. When he refused, he was kicked out as Conservation Officer, and forced to continue his research with his own savings. But Bingham’s work was of such high standard that it attracted the financial backing of the British, Chilean and Argentine governments, and the Falklands’ first independent conservation organisation was born.
When oil exploration began in the Falklands, Mike Bingham led a protest against the hundreds of penguins that were dying from oil pollution. Government officials decided that Bingham posed a threat to their future wealth, and began a hideous campaign to remove him.
Discovering firearms planted under his bed just prior to a police raid, was the first of many lucky escapes for Bingham, as various attempts to frame, deport, and kill him failed. When this corruption was eventually exposed in the world press, Bingham found his family the target of a vicious retaliation that forced them to flee the Falklands. Bingham took the Falkland Islands Government to the Supreme Court, which ruled that the Governor, Attorney General, Chief Executive and Executive Council had committed acts of human rights abuse that were “morally and constitutionally indefensible”.
Struggling against a backdrop of personal tragedy and illness, Bingham brought the starvation of 5 million penguins, high-level government corruption, and the abuse of human rights, to the attention of the outside world, but at considerable personal cost. When the Falkland Islands Government announced to the public that they were not going to be stopped by the Supreme Court ruling, Bingham was forced to seek safety in Argentina.
It is ironic that twenty years after British troops died for democracy in the Falklands War, a British citizen would be forced to flee the Falklands to escape political corruption and death threats, to seek democracy and freedom of speech in Argentina.