Cheryl SealNIGERIA REBELS: The "other" Bush/Cheney/Rice Oil WarTue Feb 21, 2006 18:02
Rattling the Bars of the Bush-Cheney-Rice Oil Dictatorship
By Cheryl Seal
To see the article with embedded links to go
"It is like paradise and hell. They have everything. We have nothing... If we protest, they send soldiers." Eghare W.O. Ojhogar, chief of the Ugborodo community of Nigeria.
Most Americans do not realize that approximately 16% of all oil imported by the US comes from Nigeria - 1,248,000 barrels per day (total oil exported) as of December, 2005, a close runner up to Saudi Arabia at 1,370,000 barrels per day. It is the fifth largest exporter of oil to the US. Iraq, at 390,000 barrels total per day doesn't even come close, trailing behind even Angola and Algeria. So why is there so much focus on the Middle East and Central Asia? Easy: While the public's focus has been directed to Iraq and the so-called "war on terrorism," US oil companies are continuing, with the aid of Nigeria's corrupt government, to run Nigeria like one giant Abu Ghraib/Guantanamo prison camp. For those who know Nigeria's tragic story, this week's outbreaks of violence directed against oil facilities in the Niger Delta, come as no surprise - in fact, the upheaval may seem long overdue.
The Roots of the US Oil Empire in Nigeria
The CIA-led takeover of Nigeria was triggered by the OPEC oil embargo of 1973-1974. By February 1973, the CIA had managed to engineer a bloody coup in which Nigerian leader Muritala Mohammed was assassinated and puppet leader Olusegun Obasanjo was installed in power. This was the heyday of the Kissinger/CIA-engineered coups in countries with resources the US coveted but whose governments were too left-leaning for the NeoCon's taste. Victim nations included Chile, Cyprus, and East Timor (see this story and this one:). Today, US companies are the dominant controllers of Nigeria's oil resources.
Nigeria has received especially brutal treatment in the decades since the US "oil invasion". In 1992, writer/activist Ken Saro-Wiwa described his nation's plight, "Oil exploration has turned Ogoni into a wasteland: lands, streams and creeks are totally and continually polluted; the atmosphere has been poisoned, charged as it is with hydrocarbon vapours, methane, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and soot emitted by gas which has been flared 24 hours a day for 33 years in very close proximity to human habitation. Acid rain, oil spillages and oil blowouts have devastated Ogoni territory. High-pressure oil pipelines criss-cross the surface of Ogoni farmlands and villages dangerously."
The load of toxic dust and greenhouse gases being pumped into the atmosphere above Nigeria, which is a part of the critical climatic zone known as the Sahel, has been linked to the increased intensity of Atlantic basin hurricanes by providing westward pumped heat energy and ultra-fine cloud condensation nuclei. However, this is a complex and major story in itself, one that will soon to appear in Cheryl Seal Reports.
The Nightmare Intensifies Under Bush
In the past 5 years, with Bush, Cheney, and Rice at the helm, conditions in Nigeria have deteriorated so much that Amnesty International issued a scathing report just three months ago (Nov. 2005). It should be noted that one of the most brutal offenders was Chevron - and it perpetrated some of its worst atrocities while Condi Rice was on its board of directors. Now as Secretary of State and Bush's bosom buddy, Condi is in a position to protect Chevron from any and all consequences. Meanwhile, Chevron's 136,000-ton oil tanker named for Condi is still regularly plying the Atlantic, full of blood-tainted Nigerian oil.
As soon as he commandeered the White House, Bush took steps to cement the hold of US corporations on Nigeria. Military aid to Nigeria's corrupt regime skyrocketed, climbing from $90,000 in 1999 to more than $4 million by 2003.
Meanwhile, from 2001-2003, Cheney's company Halliburton made a series of huge bribes to the Nigerian government. Halliburton Watch reports: "In May of 2003, Halliburton reported to the Security Exchange Commission (SEC) that company employees made $2.4 million in "improper payments" to officials of Nigeria's Federal Inland Revenue Service in 2001 and 2002 "to obtain favorable tax treatment. "
In 2003, French investigators recommended that Dick Cheney be indicted for overseeing the payout of huge bribes between 1995-2000 while he was Halliburton's CEO that greased the way for his corrupt operation to build a $6 billion gas liquification factory in the Niger Delta that is an environmental nightmare.
Here's an excerpt from Amnesty International's November 2005 report: ""Based on a recent Amnesty International mission to the Niger Delta, the report, Ten years on: injustice and violence haunt the oil Delta, focuses particular attention on human rights violations committed [in 2005] at the Escravos oil terminal and the community of Odioma, both on the Niger Delta coast.
"On 4 February  soldiers from Nigeria's Joint Task Force fired on protesters at Chevron Nigeria’s Escravos oil terminal from the nearby Ugborodo community. One man was shot and later died from his injuries while 30 other demonstrators were injured, some of them seriously by blows from rifle butts and other weapons. It took several hours to transport the injured by boat to a hospital. Neither the Government, nor Chevron Nigeria provided adequate medical care or assistance to transport the injured and no thorough or independent inquiry has been carried out into the incident.
"On 19 February, at least 17 people were killed and two women were allegedly raped when Joint Task Force soldiers raided the Ijaw community of Odioma. The raid was ostensibly to arrest members of an armed vigilante group but the suspects were not captured and about 80 per cent of homes were destroyed.....
"Amnesty International is calling on the Nigerian Federal Government to conduct thorough and independent inquiries into allegations that the security forces killed, injured and raped civilians, and destroyed their property. The findings should be made public and those responsible for human rights violations brought to justice.
"The organization also demands that Chevron commission an independent and impartial investigation into the company’s role during the incidents at Escravos terminal on 4 February, and that Shell investigates allegations of a security arrangement between a Shell Nigeria subcontractor and a criminal group in Odioma."
Instead of holding his oil pals accountable for such atrocities, Bush is instead extorting silence from the Nigerian government in exchange for AIDS money. He made his first "good will" trip to the region in 2003. But even a few writers in the usually clueless US mainstream media weren't fooled. CNN's Liz George wrote:" U.S. President George W. Bush is set to visit Africa to talk about AIDS and try to settle the situation in Liberia. But there may be one more issue on his agenda. Some are saying he's keen to further secure U.S. oil supplies..Some are asking whether oil is the real reason behind Bush's visit"
Considering the fact that the atrocities outlined in the Amnesty International report occurred AFTER Bush's visit, it's safe to say that "humanitarian aid" had never been his real motive.
Now, with a revolt occurring in Nigeria, it will be interesting to see what Bush & Co. do now. Whatever it is, I seriously doubt it will be in the best interests of the people of Nigeria.
:” Claiming rights and resources - Injustice, oil and violence in Nigeria”
An excellent site that provides a thorough overview of recent (past 4 years) developments in Nigeria is the "Niger Delta Fund Initiative”
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