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Shell Hath No Fury Like A People Scorned

category international | miscellaneous | news report author Friday August 25, 2006 01:00author by Mark - Seomra Spraoi Report this post to the editors

The Trials and Tribulations Of Royal Dutch Shell : Aug 2006

If the population of Ireland needs any more reason to doubt the word, or integrity, of Royal Dutch Shell, you can pretty much look anywhere on the planet and find plenty to shake your faith in profit driven ‘progess’. This is just a brief round-up of some of the swirling mess that Shell brings where ever it goes. However you are unlikely to see these stories covered in the Irish mainstream media in such a way as to portray the various realities of those that resist such ‘progress’

Its worth noting though. This is just a snapshot of 4 weeks of controversial activities. It took little more than 5 hours sourcing on the internet. The truth, as they say, is out there. More realistically there are many truths out there.

Royal Dutch Shell is but one of many. A biggy it’s true. But there are many more, in every aspect of our lives. In our energy production, our food production our homes production, our clothes production, and increasingly our ‘public’ services. The costs are always incurred by the under represented, by communities considered as after thoughts, by peoples considered voiceless harmless and unimportant in elections, should that charade occur. Unfortunately there is nothing new in that.

What is new is our ability to find out for ourselves, to sift through and make our own minds up. Who do you believe, who do you trust. And to see the common threads, the machinations of unjust legal systems, of fluid links between political parties, public relations, and big business. Of cynical arrogance and double speak.

And then the common threads of dignity, of purpose, of solidarity, of democracy that only lives through real participation in shaping your life yourself, even if that is defined by resisting

Currently in the Philippines, Shell (named as Philipinas Shell Petroleum Corp) is fighting local communities and government officials, as the company refuses to move from Pandacan terminal, as required by local legislation. This was to take effect from 30th April 2003 with the expiration of a memorandum of agreement signed by the oil companies and Manila Mayor Lito Atienza that extended the depot’s stay in Pandacan on a scaled-down basis.
An oil spill occurred as recently as 20th July prompting the Laguna Lake Development authority to review in its entirety the environmental permit that the company operates under. Despite constant assurances of safety to the public, the local communities have not been swayed in their opposition to Shells ongoing activity.
“Hope Esquillo Tura, a member of the United Front to Oust the Oil Depots (UFO-OD), traveled to the 2003 Shell AGM in London where she presented community concerns for the continued presence of Shell’s oil depot was circumventing a city ordinance that requires its removal. She explained that Shell had used its significant influence to secure a special permit to operate, rather than respect and comply with the local ordinance. At the AGM, Sir Philip Watts announced that Shell would protect the local community by creating a “buffer zone” between the oil depots and nearby residents. However Hope exposed the misleading nature of this announcement, pointing out that the so-called “buffer zone” was only going to be a few meters wide.”
Pandacan:The Alternative Shell Report @ http://www.philsol.nl/pir/v3/AltShell.htm

Royal Dutch Shell’s tactics of using massive and all pervasive public relations strategy is well known to the UFO-OD. In circumstances very close to those in Rossport, where Shell and the government frame the debate as ‘issues to be managed’, the local population within Pandacan are under no illusions about the sincerity of soothing words spoken or printed by those paid to do so.
“That campaign promulgates misleading claims by the company, and also employs Shell’s increasingly routine tactic of enticing residents with “feel good” offers, such as scholarship programs and supposed employment opportunities, which, of course, do nothing to address residents’ complaints of environmental and health problems, as well as security concerns. Rather than acting as a socially responsible corporation, Shell perverts the principle of social responsibility into something more akin to “pay-offs” in an attempt to pacify serious local community concerns.”
It’s hardly surprising that local communities will fight tooth and nail, and with infinitely less resources and ‘expertise’ at their disposal. It is local communities and environment that have to social and environmental cost.
Trust in large multinational is not something that past experience suggests should be easily given. Whilst many corporations now produce corporate social responsibility reports, outlining how they intend to offset the negative impact of their activities, most if not are birthed by marketing and public relations depts. They are at their core the smoke and mirrors used to argue against tighter regulations. Within the companies the same cultures tend to exist. Perhaps this is because such companies only have one reason to exist.
The public are increasing aware of the lengths that companies will go to ensure and secure maximum profits. Often the hypocrisy is brazen. Only yesterday Shell Oil Co. President John Hofmeister argued against the Federal government introducing new regulations after massive corrosion was found in BP’s pipeline in Alaska a month ago. 270,000 gallons of oil escaped. BP failed to examine its pipeline to the required standard and had to shut off about half of crude oil production from Alaska's Prudhoe Bay, the largest producing field in the U.S. and also one of the most delicate ecosystems on the planet.
"The regulations are appropriate," said Hofmeister "The judgment of the methodology and technology relied upon was not sufficient, but I don't think its warrants a complete review of regulatory authority. We have a robust system."
Again this is the language of technocrats and issue management. But perhaps if he had of delayed his comments 24 hours he might not seemed so foolish as tonight BP further cut back production to just over one quarter of normal production, citing further problems with their pipeline. More worrying is the fact that BP may have known about pipe corrosion that it now claims was ‘unforeseeable’. Criminal charges are being investigated focusing on a consultant engineering report that predicted such accelerated corrosion and still BP did not act.
(For more on BP very scary recent history in the USA check out to start of. http://environment.guardian.co.uk/energy/story/0,,18558....html)
Hofmeisters words do ring very hollow. But just to highlight how big companies like Shell like to grab all they can, and how government departments and individuals are up to their necks in it to we just need to wheel out that ever present excuse…why it’s THE CLERICAL ERROR. This excuse seems to pop up all the time, as is the given excuse for why Shell and other petro-chemicals are getting much of the gas and oil in the Gulf of Mexico royalty free. The American electorate is getting a bit uppity at escalating oil, gas and energy costs whist Shell et al are making massively growing profits with no public gain, with a total loss of up to $10 billion over the next 25 years.
Shell is also currently facing court actions in Nigeria for underpaying a total of $3.2 billion to the national exchequer. This comes out today after at least 10 militant activists were killed in Nigeria.
"Our response to Sunday's killings will come at our time, but for certain it will not go unpunished," the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) said in an email to Reuters." It was an unprovoked attack on people on a peaceful mission to free a hostage," the group added. State government officials frequently seek the help of militants to secure the release of hostages, and usually tip off security forces of any such operation to ensure they are not attacked.
The Defense Ministry expressed "deep regret" over the incident on Thursday and launched an investigation. MEND said it wanted to put an end to a string of kidnappings in the delta this month which saw 17 oil workers abducted in seven separate incidents. All but one has now been released. "The reason we decided to put a stop to this is the involvement of criminal elements who have no connection with our struggle," MEND said.
Dr. Rasheed Akinyemi, an expert in development studies, Department of Political Science, University of Lagos described the rising spate of hostage taking as a reaction to the continued frustration of the people - raging poverty, deprivation and environmental crisis despite the huge oil wealth being extracted from.
From Russia with Greed
The Russian authorities are also looking at taking legal action against Shell. Russia's Resources Ministry is set to complete an audit of Royal Dutch Shell's (RDSB) $20 billion gas project on Sakhalin Island next week. The findings are expected to increase pressure on Shell, which doubled the projected costs of the liquefied natural gas project last year. Earlier this month, the ministry's environmental monitoring arm threatened to take Shell to court, claiming the pipeline would create safety risks. The Shell-led project, which includes other multi-nationals like Mitsubishi and Mitsui, consists of three offshore platforms, offshore and onshore pipelines, an onshore processing facility, a liquefied natural gas facility, and an oil and gas terminal and has met with massive resistance.

Known as Sakhalin II, this ambitious project will have severe, if not irreversible environmental impacts, particularly as the oil pipeline will cross over 1,000 wild rivers and tributaries, many of them important to salmon spawning. In addition, a million tons of dredging waste has been dumped against public protest into Aniva Bay — an area crucial to the livelihood of the island’s indigenous community — has led the destruction of the local fishery and other marine species like scallops. It remains to be seen if the Natural Resources and Environmental departments concerns will be addressed
So perhaps the local community and those supporting and acting in solidarity will take solace in that fact that they are most definitely not alone. Their voices are not the voices of the margins, however much SEPIL and their hired conduits to the mainstream media might have us believe.

author by Markpublication date Fri Aug 25, 2006 01:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Sorry for such bunched up text!

author by anonpublication date Fri Aug 25, 2006 08:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Liam Reid, Political Reporter

An Oxford academic and energy policy adviser to British prime minister Tony Blair is to address the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party's annual "think-in" next month - an indication that the party is to prioritise energy policy in the run-up to the general election.

Economist Dr Dieter Helm, considered to be one of Britain's leading experts on energy policy who has recently written about how to encourage new nuclear plants in the UK, will be one of five guest speakers at the two-day meeting in Westport, Co Mayo.

The allocation of a full session of the meeting to energy issues, and the attendance of Dr Helm, is an indication of the seriousness with which energy policy is now being taken by Fianna Fáil.

The Government is due to publish a Green Paper on energy policy by the end of the year.

author by m.m.mc carron - osipublication date Fri Aug 25, 2006 09:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It is suggested that now is a useful time for Shell to Sea to follow the saga of the BP pipeline corrosion in Alaska by setting up a Google Alert. We were assured so often that pipelines are safe and were told nothing about their life design. All of the pipes affected are less than thirty years old. There are references to regulatory authorities at all levels and criminal proceedings as well as Congressional hearings for a small leak. That is how serious it is when it happens in the unpeopled tundra. The State of Alaska is badly hit financially as it lets itself depend almost totally on the taxes and royalties. It is reasonable to be concerned about pipelines - average 500 leaks each year in the Alaska system; many can and are mended quickly in the wilds. Thanks for drawing attention to this pipeline incident which is current and very informative as regards pipeline safety. Indeed one of the commentators on the Alaska situation is the expert who prepared the Adventica Report.

author by Paul o toolepublication date Fri Aug 25, 2006 12:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Last month Kofi Annan 'negotiated' a deal with Shell for whats left of the Nationalised oil in Nigeria. He backed up his negotiations with an assignment of 15,000 U'N' 'peacekeepers.
The Rowandan genocide could have been averted with an assignment of 5,000 un troops.
!8% of Nigerian oil floats western economies while John O Shea calls Nigerias the 'poorest of the poor' . Nigeria is one of the richest of Africas Countries.
He and the 'others are in it for the money only. When Fianna Fail meet they will be drinking themselves stupid on shell profit from our resourses given away by bertie and burke while clapping themselves on the back for the 'progress theyve made. The F.F think in will be no more than a drink in. Just a pissup.

author by cool jpublication date Fri Aug 25, 2006 13:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The stuff John and his friends at SHell would rather you didn't know about!

PS - Ironically given Noel Dempsey's love of all things Shell, Meath CC recently issued court proceedings against Shell for polluting the Boyne near Navan in 2001. True to form Shell are deneying the claims despite numerious independent wintness statements and a mountain of evidence which confirms their guilt.

author by yoga fanpublication date Fri Aug 25, 2006 15:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

a full can of combustible just begging for an eviction protest and a typical Irish 50+ year old to use it. (bertie's generation). Of course certain ethical questions are raised with dousing yourself in fuel. It's not just like a cheap option to strapping explosives on yourself for the non-sussed type.

author by Mark - Jack White's Shell Watchpublication date Sun Aug 27, 2006 15:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The IJaw communit is one that has suffered most from the degradation of landscape, water supplies and air by Shells ongoing oil and wealth extraction. In the Niger Delta at the moment there is a sense of foreboding. Before last Sunday’s alleged massacre of members of an Ijaw delegation that went to Letugbene community in Bayelsa state to liberate an oil worker that was being held hostage by soldiers from the Joint Task Force in the region, the Niger-Delta region has been kept on edge by the incessant cases of hostage taking by aggrieved youths and miscreants who had turned the abduction of their fellow human beings to a money-spinning venture. Many, however, believe that the situation would not have degenerated to the present level if President Olusegun Obasanjo did not give his recent “meet force with force” order.

Over 40 oil workers have been kidnapped during the last six months, and all have been released unharmed, and it is generally accepted that there is a rise in kidnapping by those not connected with the struggle for justice within the Niger Delta.

Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo, has urged increasing force against all kidnappers and it is within this context that the killing of last Sunday took place. Already named ‘Bloody Sunday’ by the IJaw community, it is still unclear how and why the 10 where murder by the states Joint Task Force (JTK).

There seems to be the possibility that this was a case of mistaken identity, but the aggressive nature of President Obasanjo’s recent pronouncements have undoubtedly primed the state security forces to act with implied impunity. So it was not very surprising that the government hailed the shooting if ‘militants’ last Sunday as a success.

However it is becoming clearer that to 10 people killed where activists within a delegation comprising some Ijaw youths and leaders, that was dispatched to the riverside community of Letugbene in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State to liberate the community liaison officer of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Mr. Nelson Ujeya, who was kidnapped on August 8.. The delegation, numbering about 24, went in three speedboats. In fact, the team succeeded in negotiating the release of the oil worker and was coming back with him when the members ran into the JTF team. It was gathered that the delegation went on the trouble –shooting mission to Ekeremor creeks to the knowledge of the Bayelsa State government, the SPDC and the Ijaw ethnic nationality. The only member that survived where those that escaped from the JTF firepower

Its also seems that the JTF at the time where carrying logistical equipment to be transported a nearby Shell plant

“Some Niger-Delta leaders wondered whether the president’s order was to please the international community, which was becoming increasingly agitated by the incessant cases of kidnap and give them the confidence that the government was in-charge. And that was actually the impression in the first few days of the JTF bombardment in Port Harcourt but whatever the gain was appeared to have melted away with the decision of the United States to ask its nationals to stay away from the region. Already, some oil companies and their servicing firms have stopped operations in the region.”


For more in depth report on the shooting and that present situation in the Niger Delta

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