“We’ve detected activity, and we have captured some U.S. citizens in undercover activities, in hidden activities, espionage, trying to win over people in towns along the Venezuelan coast, trying to win over people in some neighborhoods. In Táchira, we captured a pilot of a U.S. plane of Latin origin with all sorts of documentation.” — Nicolás Maduro, Democracy Now! March 3, 2015
democracynow on Dec 27, 2011
DemocracyNow.org – Communities along Nigeria’s Niger Delta have been put on alert following a major oil spill from the oil giant, Shell. The massive oil slick is making its way to the Nigerian coast, threatening local wildlife and massive pollution along the shore. Much of the available information about the spill comes from the company responsible for it, Royal Dutch Shell, which says less than 40,000 barrels have leaked so far. Continue reading
19 May, 2010 — Update
Whoops! The ‘press release’ was a hoax (I thought it was too good to be true, shades of the Yes Men as it is in fact a production of the Yes Lab). However, it doesn’t alter any of my comments. Here is the mail I just received on the hoax: Continue reading
4 May, 2010
EXCLUSIVE…Secret Recording of Erik Prince Reveals Previously Undisclosed Blackwater Ops
Investigative journalist and Democracy Now! correspondent Jeremy Scahill obtains a rare audio recording of a recent, private speech delivered by Erik Prince, the owner of Blackwater, to a friendly audience in January. The speech, which Prince attempted to keep from public consumption, provides a stunning glimpse into his views and future plans and reveals details of previously undisclosed activities of Blackwater. In a Democracy Now! exclusive broadcast we play excerpts of the recording and speak with Scahill about the revelations. [Includes rush transcript]
Jeremy Scahill, award-winning independent journalist, a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow at The Nation Institute and the author of the international bestseller, “Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army.” His article, Secret Erik Prince Tape Exposed is published on his new blog for TheNation.com.
Various news organizations’ reports on the incident in Detroit.
Al Jazeera English
Dec. 26, 2009
A reported attempt by a Nigerian man to light an explosive aboard a US passenger aircraft has been described by the White House as “an attempted act of terrorism”.
Abdulmutallab, who was overpowered by passengers and crew of Delta Flight 253, was taken into custody after the jet landed safely in Detroit.
US officials said he appeared to have links to al-Qaeda.
May 9, 2008
Free from Nigerian Military Custody, “Sweet Crude” Director Sandy Cioffi on Oil Politics in the Niger Delta
The Nigerian government, along with foreign oil companies, have reaped enormous profits over the years from the sale of oil and gas reserves, while the residents of the Niger Delta live in abject poverty. We speak to Sandy Cioffi, director of the the upcoming documentary Sweet Crude. She was recently arrested by the Nigerian military and held for a week before being released following international pressure.
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“Sweet Crude”, Oil in the Niger Delta
The oppressive and repressive activities of the oil companies and the Nigerian State [sic] impact women first and foremost. During military occupation of communities, the women suffer psychologically, emotionally, and physically. They are raped and maimed. They suffer as their sons get arrested and killed…and feel it most when their brothers, husbands and lovers are tortured maimed and killed. The military and armed police have brutalized and sacked whole communities, assaulting and beating indiscriminately. The objective is to humiliate, intimidate, and eliminate all those who resist oil exploitation activities. ~ Emem J. Okan
On November 10, 1995, a small group of ten human rights activists including Ken Saro-Wiwa was led to a prison yard to face punishment for their crimes. Ken Saro Wiwa was executed by hanging. The Nigerian military wanted to make an example of individuals who might consider further protest of the destruction of their land, the poisoning of their air and water, and the theft of their natural resources, namely oil.
In September of 1999, a group of journalists with the Essential Action and Global Exchange spent ten days in the Niger Delta meeting with community leaders, residents, and state and local officials. According to the report that subsequently followed released on January 5, 2000, “There is a long and terrible record of environmental destruction and human rights violations in the oil-producing regions of Nigeria. The gross level of environmental degradation caused by oil exploration and extraction in the Niger Delta has gone unchecked for the past 30 years.” However, in spite of the atrocities committed by the Nigerian government, Shell, and other multi-national companies, the murder of Wiwa, environmental degradation, and civil unrest caused by oil exploration and drilling went unnoticed by Western audiences. Stories of celebrity drama continue to hold the attention of the American people, even as they pay close to three-dollars and fifty cents for one gallon of gas.
The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, or MEND has claimed responsibility for several bombings that have taken place in recent weeks that have forced oil conglomerates to shut down operations and have removed close to 164,000 barrels of oil a day from world markets. According to a recent article in the Tehran Times, “The latest wave of attacks and an eight-day strike by senior oil workers at U.S. energy giant Exxon Mobil which ended on Thursday, had slashed Nigeria’s output by 50 percent, helping to push oil prices to new records.”
In an electronic communication released this week, the group stated, “The MEND command is seriously considering a temporary ceasefire appeal by Senator Barack Obama. Obama is someone we respect and hold in high esteem.”
In sharp contrast and in spite of the pleas of organizations and authors like Emem J. Okan, Human Rights Watch, Oxfam International, Amnesty International, and the Council of Ijaw Associations Abroad, the administration of Bill Clinton continued to allow the use of private military contractors in the Niger Delta. Regardless of the fact that the use of private military personal has become the focus of recent US attention, Mother Jones Magazine points out, “The use of private military companies, which gained considerable momentum under President Clinton, has escalated under the Bush administration.” Part of this escalation took place in the Niger Delta where companies like Shell and Chevron hired private military for ‘security’.
To further the power of multi-national corporations and military contractors, Clinton joined with these companies to overturn laws that allow states to use “selective purchasing” power. According to Corp Watch, “Selective-purchasing laws are designed to force companies to choose between continuing to do business with repressive foreign governments and bidding on often-lucrative state or local government contracts.”
Most recently in a press release dated February 2008, the Clinton campaign has said about military contractors in Iraq, “From this war’s very beginning, this administration has permitted thousands of heavily-armed military contractors to march through Iraq without any law or court to rein them in or hold them accountable… We need to stop filling the coffers of contractors in Iraq, and make sure that armed personnel in Iraq are fully accountable to the U.S. government and follow the chain of command,” However, prior to Clinton’s most recent statement and in spite of sitting on Armed Services Committee no legislation has been presented by Clinton. When questioned about this contradiction, Clinton claimed she did not know about this problem, “Maybe I should have known about it; I did not know about it.” This in spite of well-documented human rights abuses around the world by the very contractors who contribute regularly to her campaign.
Juxtaposed with Clinton rhetoric is bill S.674: Transparency and Accountability in Military and Security Act of 2007, submitted by Barack Obama in February of 07. According to the Obama campaign website, the bill would “require accountability and enhanced congressional oversight for personnel performing private security functions under Federal contracts, and for other purposes. The act would clarify the legal status of contractors, subjecting them to the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (MEJA) to ensure that all contractors working in war zones – regardless of contracting agency would be held accountable under U.S. law. Passed in 2000, MEJA says that contractors for the armed forces can be prosecuted under US law for crimes committed overseas.”
The potential for the United States to regain the respect and admiration of the world is within our grasp. As some elder statesmen have pointed out, as long as the United States continues to build relationships with foreign nations whose records on the democratic process are abysmal, we will continue to pay the price. A price paid at the gas pump and in innocent blood.
Oct. 4, 2007
England has organizations established to change the oil industry…
I was doing this search about exactly when George Shultz was on the board of directors at Chevron. I found refs verifying he was, but never the years, other than before Condo Rice. That just seemed so strange. Most bios did not even mentioned he was ever there. Another story stranger than fiction is how Chevron ended up in Burma. Unocal emerges from behind the walls and under the rocks, yeh, from the company that brought you Zalmay Khalizad, that brought the Taliban to Houston on a friendship tour, the same company that bought and supported the military dics, yes, yes, Unocal was sued and lost for complicity in murder, rape, forced prostitution, and eviction of people from their land and homes in Burma.
The company of Shultz and Condo Rice, that’s right, Chevron comes along and buys them in 2005, but since the initial ‘investment’ on development had been made prior to the US clamp down on trade with Burma due to the above offenses, Chevron gets the benefits accrued in gas and oil. Now isn’t that fair, so all’s well in the Empire and G ‘global warming’ Bush can spout his indignation about the bullies of Burma without worrying about Condo’s professional future. Think Chevron will have her back?
So all’s fair in Kapitalism. We don’t need no Kolonialism. Now we Kall it ‘FREE TRADE’.
Now, just trying to write about this I’m get as hot as a stolen car with a blown radiator, but to forget about Nigeria and what Chevron is doing there does not see the problem.
For those that have read Howard Zinn, there has been a sad awakening to an old paradigm. The United States’ foreign policy has been replicating the same behavior since it’s inception. Burma is just another example, so if we are going to correct the pattern we have much work to do. Currently, Burma is not the only iron in the fire. Nigeria is not just another instance of corporate- (Chevron)/government imperialism, it is every bit as vicious as Burma and has been going on for years.
In England, the resistance to oil industry atrocities in Nigeria is well established. Unraveling the Carbon Web (http://www.carbonweb.org/) was started in May of 1997 by a collaboration of Platform and CorporateWatch. Unraveling is about the bigger vision based upon analysis of those affected by the oil industry’s impact on society and the environment. Their goal is to educate and influence the public, government and corporate leaders, “its roots lie in the Crude Operators conference – a gathering to understand and challenge the oil industry.”
In their own words:
Platform “works across disciplines for social and ecological justice. It combines the transformatory power of art with the tangible goals of campaigning, the rigour of in-depth research with the vision to promote alternative futures.”
This site is of incredible depth, but here is a reminder if you have forgotten: “On November 10th 1995, Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight Ogoni colleagues were executed by the Nigerian state for campaigning against the devastation of the Niger Delta by oil companies, especially Shell and Chevron.”
Understanding is empowering and these sites are an education about the monster, but may be also worthy of consideration for organizing here in the United States.