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<nettime> -ALLSORTS- Shell Accused of Complicity in Massacre

>Date: Fri, 08 Jan 1999 19:28:06 +0000
>From: (by way of genetics <>)
>Subject: -ALLSORTS- Shell Accused of Complicity in Massacre
>Mime-Version: 1.0
>X-MIME-Autoconverted: from quoted-printable to 8bit by id
>Please read the following release and take action TODAY by using the sample
>letter and addresses that follow.  Please forward this to your allies and
>friends. The media is ignoring this urgent issue, and we need to spread the
>word ourselves.
>Hundreds Shot in Severe, Underreported Niger Delta Environmental Struggle
>Shell, Chevron, etc. Accused of Complicity with Military Regime on
>Crackdown Affects Sierra Leone Pullout, Prospect for February Elections, Big
>[Kaiama, Niger Delta, Nigeria -- January 6]
>Somewhere between Iraq, impeachment, Sierra Leone, the Congo and the record
>Dow, the worst unrest in Nigeria since the Biafran civil war has so far
>slipped through the cracks in US news outlets other than wire
>service reports and Pacifica Radio.  Yet this is an easily coverable story
>involving hundreds of killings and egregious human rights abuses with
>important context for Nigerian troops pulling out of Sierra Leone, profound
>implications for
>multinational oil company earnings and for the prospects for Nigeria's
>scheduled democratic elections in February.
>On New Year's eve, the military government imposed a state of
>emergency on the oil-rich Niger Delta and government troops fired on
>non-violent demonstrators complaining of severe environmental and health
>damage from the Chevron, Shell and other oil transnationals operating there.
>Life expectancy and per capita income is very low amid the Delta's severely
>polluted land, water and air, and oil revenues do not benefit the local
>economy.  The troops killed 26, wounded scores, incarcerated youths and
>leaders in the Bori
>Camp prison where the martyrred Ogoni leader Ken Saro-Wiwa was imprisoned.
>Thousands of troops, two warships and helicopter gunships (weapons purchased
>by the military regime with Delta oil revenues) were deployed against the
>Delta's civilians.  The state of emergency was lifted Monday night, January 4,
>according to AP, but not before over 200 Ijaws, the main ethnicgroup
>represented among the environmental protestors, were pulled from their houses
>and cars and summarily shot, according to local sources.
>Some wire services as well as US National Security Council and CIA
>briefings today indicated that Olusegun Obasanjo, one-time military ruler of
>Nigeria (1976-79), rumored to be the US's preferred presidential candidate,
>brokered a deal with Delta students' groups to cease action until after
>February's elections.  The report is doubtful: Obasanjo has his own agenda
>as well as US backing and does not represent the Ijaw or the Delta groups,
>and the Delta students' group in any case have vowed to continue their actions
>through January 10, so the crisis is very far from defused. Tensions in the
>remain extreme, with many attempting to flee the crackdown harried by
>soldiers at highway checkpoints, and Human Rights Watch's Bronwen Manby says
>it could deteriorate seriously. Last night four soldiers in the Delta were
>reportedly killed in the Delta town of Kaiama, and threats and fears of
>severe government reprisals are running high.  Pacifica Radio's "Democracy
>Now" investigated the Ijaw citzens' groups accusation of complicity by
>Chevron, Shell and others in countenancing or ordering
>government crackdowns, and found they checked out.  Shell for example,
>brought 26 troops armed with machine guns and bombs to its gas plant in Komo
>Creek. "Democracy Now" interviewed Bronwen Manby yesterday, who revealed
>that Chevron severed all communications with human rights groups just days
>before the government crackdown.
>Wire stories on Nigeria today sport optimistic business reports about
>oil and gas exploration in the Niger Delta, notably that Texaco January 5
>announced it found a gusher off the Delta coast, and that prospects for high
>earnings are bright, provided production in the region remains high.  Texaco
>makes no mention of troubles in the Delta, or of the fact that the Ijaw
>groups have already non-violently shut down 40% of oil and gas capacity in
>their part of the Delta, and vow to continue shutting it down through
>January 10.
>The December 28-January 4 issue of Business Week carries a report that Mobil
>(a.k.a. Exxon-Mobil) also knew about environmental justice and human rights
>abuses arising from its operations in Indonesia, further opening an
>investigative path some
>reporters are following into what the transnational oil companies knew and
>when they knew it.  The current pattern is that very low oil prices drive
>transnationals to exploit cheap oil as fast as they can regardless of local
>consequences. The Niger Delta's oil is some of the world's cheapest to
>exploit, hence the intesifying clash between local and transnational
>interests.  Meanwhile, Nigeria's military ruler Gen. Abubakar has many troops
>engaged in Sierra Leone while also deploying thousands in
>the Delta. February elections are supposed to make Nigeria democratic, but
>these events are more indicative of an oil-backed military regime abusive of
>human rights.  Delta citizens' groups are asking for UN mediation of the
>crisis and call for a divestment campaign aimed at the oil and gas
>transnationals in the Delta.  So where is Nigeria headed, to representative
>democracy or military oiltocracy?
>                                                      ###
>Please write to Shell today!
>Mailing addresses for Shell are:
>     Jack Little, President and CEO
>     Shell Oil Company
>     PO Box 2463
>     Houston, Texas 72252, USA
>Fax: 713-241-5512
>     Mark Moody-Stuart
>     President and Managing Director
>     Royal Dutch/Shell Petroleum Company
>     Carel van Bylandtlaan 30
>     2596 HR, The Hague, The Netherlands
>Fax: 31-70-377-2616
>A sample letter follows. Feel free to modify.
>Please send your letters today!!!
>TO: Jack Little, CEO Shell International
>I am deeply concerned about the situation in the Niger Delta. In order to
>ensure that a peaceful resolution to the crisis involving the Ijaw people
>and the Nigerian military is reached, please do the following:
>               1) Immediately shut down your flow stations, oil wells, and
>gas flares in the Niger Delta and begin discussions with the leaders of the
>ethnic minorities of the Niger Delta to avoid unnecessary conflict;
>               2) Do all in your power to encourage the Nigerian military to
>peacefully resolve this crisis--without further bloodshed or harrassment of
>civilians-- in dialogue with the true leaders of the oppressed ethnic
>minorities of the Niger Delta.
>[your name]
>Michael Morrill
>Pennsylvania Fair Trade Campaign
>A Project of the Pennsylvania Consumer Action Network
>223 North Brobst St.
>Reading, PA 19607
>(610) 775-5958-v
>(610) 775-2953-f
><<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<        >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>Daphne Wysham                       ph:  (202)234-9382, X208
>Institute for Policy Studies        fax: (202)387-7915
>733-15th St., NW                    e:
>Suite 1020
>Washington, DC 20005                <>

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