TBU _ Shell to Sea campaign
ABOUT the campaign - Wikipedia
...very good explanation of background etc
1/ support from Archbishop Desmond Tutu for the campaign
By Daniel Howden
Royal Dutch Shell will revisit one of the darkest periods of its history tomorrow as a potentially groundbreaking court case opens in New York. The oil giant stands accused of complicity in the 1995 execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa, a Nigerian environmental activist.
The world's boardrooms are watching the case, which is seen as a test of whether transnational companies owned or operating in the US can be held responsible for human rights abuses committed abroad.
A collection of cases brought by torture victims in the oil-rich Niger Delta and by relatives of those killed has been brought together under the umbrella of Wiwa v Shell.
The plaintiffs include Ken Saro-Wiwa's son, Ken Wiwa Jnr, and his brother, Owens Wiwa.
For Shell, which denies any involvement in the environmentalist's killing, ordered by the government of Sani Abacha, the case represents an unwelcome public hearing of grievances that the company has spent time and money trying to make people forget.
Tue Jun 9, 2009
Royal Dutch Shell has agreed a $15.5m (Ł9.7m) out-of-court settlement
Subject: [ShelltoSeaNews] Landmark Victory: Shell Forced To Settle Out
Date: Tue, 9 Jun 2009 11:19:22 -0700 (PDT)
From: Shell2Sea Community Campaign <shell_to_sea@...>
Reply-To: shelltoseanews@...,Shell2Sea Community Campaign
Late last night, we heard news of a historic victory for human rights, and a
settlement that brings hope of more victories in the future.
After 13 years, the Ogoni plaintiffs whose loved ones were killed and injured
in the military crackdowns that Shell facilitated in the 1990s, won an out of
court settlement of $15.5 million. In every way, this sets a precedent for
corporate accountability, and the universal application of human rights.
You have played a crucial role by raising awareness and ramping up the pressure
on Shell - your efforts to put Shellâ€™s abuses in the spotlight have made the
biggest difference to the Ogoni plaintiffs - thank you all for your commitment
and dedication. As our US partner, Steve Kretzmann of Oil Change International
â€śLawyers told us quite clearly that one of the main reasons that Shell
settled was because of the media and activist pressure that we brought. Just a
few months ago, a lawyer close to Shell told us that they would settle "when
hell froze over" and he "skated on it": But that was before our ShellGuilty
This is a first, and crucial step on a long road. Many more Ogoni people are
denied justice; Niger Delta peoples see their lives and land ruined by the
impact of Shell and other oil companies each and every day.
We must keep up the struggle that Ken Saro-Wiwa championed until Shellâ€™s
flares are out, the spills cleaned up and until Nigeriaâ€™s oil wealth reaches
the local people who need it most. We know that Shellâ€™s crimes will not end
overnight, and we rely on your ongoing support in the struggle for justice.
Find out more about the victory and terms of the settlement by visiting
www.wiwavshell.org and www.shellguilty.com. Visit www.remembersarowiwa.com for
press releases and the latest updates.
You can read a moving article by Ken Saro-Wiwa jr here:
On this great day,
Ben, Ed, Richard, Dan, James
remember saro-wiwa & the PLATFORM team
UK tel: (+44) 207 357 0055
NB Apologies if you have received this email more than once. If you would like
to unsubscribe at any time, please email us with 'unsubscribe' in the subject
line. Thank you.
Join the global ShellGuilty campaign to end to gas flaring in Nigeria. Find out
more by visiting www.ShellGuilty.com today.
"There are some things on earth that are stronger than death. One of these is
the eternal human quest for justice"
7 Horselydown Lane
Registered charity no. 1044485
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Shelll and the Indigenous people of Peru
Posted by: "Ellen E Hopman" Saille333@mindspring.com saille333
Sun Jun 14, 2009 2:20 am (PDT)
Posted: June 12, 2009 03:22 PM
Indigenous Protest and State Violence in the Peruvian Amazon: How the Media
(On assignment for Amazon Watch)
Before dawn on Friday, June 5, an estimated 650 Peruvian National Police and
Special Forces officers attacked several thousand Awajun and Wambis
indigenous people at their roadside blockade on the Fernando Belaunde Terry
The Awajun and Wambis indigenous peoples had been participating in a general
strike called to demand the Peruvian Government repeal a series of laws and
executive orders that would allow the government to make it easy to grant
indigenous lands to multinational oil, mining, and energy corporations. A
Peruvian congressional committee declared several of the laws to be
unconstitutional, but President Alan Garcia and his APRA party (American
Popular Revolutionary Alliance) have repeatedly blocked congressional debate
that would vote to revoke the laws.
The broad coalition of Amazonian indigenous peoples fighting the laws called
a general strike on April 9 and has since been carrying out well-coordinated
acts of civil disobedience throughout the region.
At about 6 am on June 5, the police attacked the indigenous peoples' highway
blockade, ignoring their pleas for dialogue and opening fire with automatic
weapons on two sides of the blockade and firing teargas grenades and live
rounds from helicopters. The protesters were unarmed or carrying traditional
wooden spears. Many fled into the surrounding hillsides and became trapped.
Many hid. And some fought back in self-defense.
The government reports that 22 police officers have been killed; indigenous
representatives report that at least 40 protesters have been killed by
police gunfire and that over 150 are missing or being detained by police.
However the government report on the number of police killed -- widely
circulated by the media--deliberately conflates conflicts in two distinct
locations that took place on different days, adding to the Bagua count,
deaths that occurred the following day during a police operation to reclaim
an occupied oil pumping station.
The order of events is important for it determines the chain of
responsibility. When police surround and attack from land and air using live
rounds on a group of peaceful protesters the responsibility for violence is
clearly on the aggressors and their unjustifiable and disproportionate use
The initial press reports however preferred to report on generic "clashes"
and thus fold the responsibility for bloodshed into what would seem to be an
authorless or inexplicable confrontation.
With the authorship of violence obscured, the citations of government
speculation and slander coupled with a failure to even engage with the
indigenous participants' perspective, serves to insinuate the old colonial
stereotype of "uncivilized" and "barbarous" "Indians" and to subtly displace
the responsibility for violence on those who suffered the attack.
The Los Angeles Times article, "Insurgents threaten Peru's Stability"
(published online on June 5 at 6:30 pm, headline subsequently changed)
illustrates the problem. The headline represents protesters engaged in a
two-month long campaign of non-violent civil disobedience as "insurgents"
and claims that they are the ones "threatening" Peru, rather than defending
their ancestral and communal lands.
The article opens with the following declaration: "Protests by indigenous
communities over oil drilling and mining in the Peruvian Amazon region
turned violent Friday, leaving at least 13 people dead in clashes with
police and subsequent rioting."
The Los Angeles Times here presents the violence as a continuation of the
protests themselves ("Protests..
predawn police raid as "clashes with police" and even adds the unexplained
claim of "subsequent rioting." No other news report from June 5 or since has
described riots. Thus "subsequent rioting" must be left hanging there to
describe the chaos of indigenous protesters running from gunfire, local
residents taking to the streets outraged by the repression, and people
fighting back in self-defense.
In the chaos some non-indigenous and mestizo townspeople burned government
offices and vehicles. The Los Angeles Times however, conflates the protest
blockade on the road, the police attack and the subsequent acts of property
destruction altogether in "clashes" and "rioting."
The Los Angeles Times article is somewhat conflicting however, for eight
paragraphs down the reporters write: "The clash between protesters and
security forces occurred after the government sent 650 police to clear
for they fail to mention that the act of "clearing" the protesters involved
shooting at them from land and air.
Other initial reports in The New York Times ("Fatal Clashes Erupt in Peru at
Roadblock," June 6) and Reuters ("At least 20 dead in Peru clash over Amazon
resources," June 5) described the violence as generic "clashes" with police,
though they cited early on indigenous testimony of the police attack.
The Guardian led with a more factual headline, "Peruvian police fire on
unarmed indigenous tribes' oil and gas protest" also published on June 5.
They also write, "Indigenous tribes... clashed with Peruvian security
forces," but then immediately clarify the nature of the clash: "The
bloodshed broke out before dawn when police tried to lift a road
It is difficult to cover outbreaks of violence from distant capital cities
where most foreign correspondents are based, but in cases where both
witnesses describe and readily available photographs show 650 police in full
riot gear, armed with assault rifles, and flying in military helicopters
firing teargas grenades and live rounds on unarmed protesters wearing shorts
and t-shirts from the air, it is not difficult to discern the basic order of
Obscuring the order of events makes it easier to displace responsibility for
violence, especially when the demands and tactics of the indigenous
protesters are also unstated or misrepresented.
The Los Angeles Times article, as mentioned above, elides two months of
coordinated civil disobedience with unexplained "riots" and also states
later on: "There were reports of protesters dragging bodies of police
through the street." Who precisely reported this is left unstated. And, in
fact, no other media outlet included a similar report then or since. The Los
Angeles Times did not include here the numerous reports of police burning
bodies and dumping bodies in the river.
"I spoke to many eyewitnesses in Bagua reporting that they saw police throw
the bodies of the dead into the Marańon River from a helicopter in an
apparent attempt by the Government to underreport the number of indigenous
people killed by police," said Gregor MacLennan, spokesperson for Amazon
Watch who arrived in Bagua on June 6.
"Hospital workers in Bagua Chica and Bagua Grande corroborated that the
police took bodies of the dead from their premises to an undisclosed
location. I spoke to several people who reported that there are bodies lying
at the bottom of a deep crevasse up in the hills, about a mile from the
incident site. When the Church and local leaders went to investigate, the
police stopped them from approaching the area," reported MacLennan.
Though such reports have been widely circulated since Friday, most media
have failed to include them.
The New York Times article also leaves out the necessary context and
trivializes the indigenous demands as "the government's failure to involve
them in their plans."
The article also quotes critics who "pointed out the potential" that the
indigenous could link to the Shining Path and "speculated" that Venezuela
and Bolivia were behind the protests. Such "potential" and "speculation" are
not only inaccurate; they conjure up fear and doubt that only serve to
denigrate the indigenous peoples' autonomous protests. The New York Times
did not include quotes from indigenous organizations that have pointed out
the potential for a policy of genocide against the indigenous peoples of the
The Amazonian indigenous peoples' mobilizations have been peaceful, locally
coordinated, and extremely well organized for nearly two months. Yet
President Alan Garcia insists on calling them terrorist acts and
anti-democratic. Appealing dangerously to underlying racism against
indigenous peoples, Garcia has even gone so far as to describe their
mobilizations as "savage and barbaric."
The media have widely reported Garcia's vague and insidious attempts to link
the autonomous indigenous protests with the Shinning Path and unnamed South
American governments (undoubtedly those of Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales, and
Rafael Correa) without including critical commentary.
"It is unfortunate that President Garcia has invoked the terrifying history
of the Shining Path to describe what happened," Robin Kirk wrote in an email
response to questions. Kirk is the author of The Monkey's Paw: New
Chronicles from Peru and co-editor of The Peru Reader: History, Culture,
Politics; she reported extensively on the Shining Path in the early 1990s
and is now the director of the Duke Human Rights Center at Duke University.
"There is no credible information showing that such ties exist; to the
contrary, these groups have a long and well-documented history of
independence regarding their geographic, political and cultural heritage,"
Kirk wrote, "To link them even indirectly to the Shining Path only serves to
obscure and confuse issues which the government must try to solve in
peaceful and productive ways. At a time when the government should be
investigating what happened and seeking to calm the waters, this kind of
language only inflames the situation."
The initial media response to the violence obscured the order and nature of
events and thus the responsibility for violence, converting a bloody police
raid into generic "clashes." The Peruvian government has in turn attempted
to recast state violence as the necessary response to "terrorism" with
insidious speculative claims linking the indigenous protesters with an array
of demonized outsiders, and the media have largely lent the government a
hand in this task by widely and uncritically reporting their insinuations
What has been missing, and what is urgently needed, to understand what
happened are precisely the voices and testimonies of the indigenous
participants in the roadblock, the victims of the initial attack, and
witnesses to the full unfolding of events from police raid to self-defense
to the police cover-up operations, using helicopters to dump the bodies of
slain indigenous protesters into the Maranon River.
The Peruvian Congress suspended the one of the divisive decrees, 1090, on
Wednesday, June 10. That very action could have happened a week earlier, as
was originally scheduled, had the Garcia administration and his supporters
not blocked the debate, another fact left out of most of the recent
reporting: the bloodshed could have been avoided.
John Gibler is a reporter based in Mexico and author of Mexico Unconquered:
Chronicles of Power and Revolt (City Lights, 2009).