It might be that GNOME contains a small trap awaiting the unwary: moving files for which you have no write permissions to the Wastebasket using Nautilus. This happened to me in Ubuntu 8.04 and I couldn’t clear the Wastebasket using the normal means. To resolve the situation, I thought of finding where the Wastebasket in the normal file system and that isn’t as easy as it might be. One place to look is ~/.Trash but I didn’t have that at all because the location in Hardy Heron is ~/.local/share/Trash/Files. Armed with this knowledge, I turned to the command line and performed the required erasure using sudo. It was all over very quickly once I knew where to look.