Roundup of Commentary on Shell trial & military massacre in Warri

Ken Saro Wiwa Jr writes in London Observer “Now at last it’s time for Shell to atone for my father’s death

Ken Saro-Wiwa’s real “crime” was his audacity to sensitise local and global public opinion to the ecological and human rights abuses perpetrated by Shell and a ruthless military dictatorship against the Ogoni people. The success of his campaign had mobilised our community to say “No to Shell” and to demand compensation for years of oil spills that had polluted our farms, streams and water sources. My father called the world’s attention to the gas flares that had been pumping toxic fumes into the Earth’s atmosphere for up to 24 hours a day since oil was discovered on our lands in 1958. He accused Shell of double standards, of racism and asked why a company that was rightly proud of its efforts to preserve the environment in the west would deny the Ogoni the same. Continue Reading ./blockquote>

Patrick Bond and Khadija SharifeShell on trial while Nigerians are slaughtered”

But at a time of worsening state massacres of environmental justice activists in the Delta, a moment of reckoning nears. In New York’s Southern District Court this Wednesday before Judge Kimba Wood, Shell goes on trial for crimes against the Niger Delta people and environment, which could lead to substantive reparations payments.

The state’s most recent assault against the Delta left the villages of Opuye, Okerenkoro, Kurutie and Oporoza (site of the new documentary Sweet Crude – www.sweetcrudemovie.com ) burned to the ground in mid-May, with hundreds of Ijaw people – both armed activists (called ‘militants’) and civilians – feared dead. Journalists are banned from the area.

Nigerian Vanguard “WAR IN THE CREEKS : Chased from home,driven away from refugee camp *Horrifying tales of victims”

five days after the Joint Task Force (JTF) on the Niger-Delta started the bombardment of Ijaw communities and militant camps in the creeks of Gbaramatu kingdom, Warri South-West Local Government Area, an Ijaw youth from Oporoza community, Mike Itima and more than 20,000 thers are still trapped in the forests, where they ran into on Friday, May 15, to avoid airborne missiles from invading soldiers.

Hundreds of others, including women and children, who were brought to the emergency refugee camp, Imageset up by council at the Ogbe-Ijoh General Hospital, Ogbe-Ijoh on Sunday, May 17 were chased away by soldiers, who alleged the doctors were training wounded militants. By Tuesday, May 19 when Sunday Vanguard visited the hospital, it had been abandoned by the entire medical personnel for fear of intimidation by the JTF.

From the Daily Telegraph “Shell ‘played role in activist executions'”

The trial could result in the first successful prosecution brought under the Alien Torts Statute, which gives non-US citizens the right to file suits in US courts for international human rights violations.

AllAfrica – “Displaced out of aid workers reach”

Aid agencies are unable to access an area in the Niger Delta where more than 2,000 people are believed to be hiding in the bush after a military offensive against militants forced families to flee their homes. Security forces have cordoned off the area as their operation continues. “Our mandate is to provide relief to people in distress,” Yushau Shuaib, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) spokesperson, said in a communiqué. “We have tried to get relief materials into the creeks for those trapped there, but the military say it [the aid effort] has to wait until the military operation is over.”

UK Independent”Shell on Trial”

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.