Sunday, November 16, 2008

Chevron Nigeria: Niger Delta Pipeline Shutdown May Be Work Of Rogue Militant Groups

In the ongoing set of problems that is the relationship between Chevron and Nigeria, and as the trial of Bowoto v. Chevron, continues in San Francisco, we have this latest report from Saturday, November 15th, where the pipeline facility in the western part of the Niger Delta was shut down and while the actual reason for this was not reported, speculation was that a militant group was responsible for the damage.

The relevance to the Bowoto case is the organization responsible seems to have ties to the organization Bowoto belonged to. But the real problem is the poor state of Nigerian economic development.

The speculation for this is based on an incident of June 23, 2008, as reported in All Africa.Com.

In that account, Cynthia Whyte, the representative of the militant organization The Joint Revolutionary Council (JRC), said that her organization took responsibility for the act of terrorism:

Spokesperson for the Joint Revolutionary Council, Cythia Whyte who disclosed this yesterday in Port-Harcourt in an on-line message said attacks on key oil installations in the region will continue as long as the federal government continues to short change the people of the oil-rich region.

Only last, Saturday, Chevron suffered a big loss in its Abiteye Olero crude oil line near Escravos resulting in the shutting down of operations at the terminal which produces more than 100,000 barrels of crude oil per day.

"More of such attacks will continue as long as our people continue to be short changed in the affairs of the Nigerian state", the Whyte said, adding that. "Violence begets violence. If they attack us, then we too would follow that option. No one has the monopoly of violence. Rebellion against tyranny is righteousness before God. We have suffered enough.

"If the armed forces of the Nigerian state attack our people, then we too will attack their people. It will be a war between David and Goliath. Our strength is in our belief in the Almighty God and in the fact that the people of the Niger Delta deserve a better deal."

But while the JRC was the culprit in the June pipeline attack, it appears that the Saturday pipeline damage may have been caused by a rogue organization. I found this account, again by Ms. Whyte in Sahara Reporter, that was posted just on Friday, November 14th, and regarding a kidnapping of a person -- Chief O.B. Lulu-Briggs -- who was described as "a peacemaker."

Whyte said:

Dear People,

It is with great shame in our hearts and with deep apologies to key stakeholders in this sojourn that we have borne thus far, that we announce that in the early hours of yesterday, at about 1.30 am and thereafter, renegade gunmen and outlawed units of the Joint Revolutionary Council (comprising of the Reformed Niger Delta People's Volunteer Force, The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta and the Martyrs Brigade) in a rare show of shame attacked the residence of a honored son of the Niger Delta, peacemaker, philanthropist and hardworker, Chief O.B. Lulu-Briggs, taking into captivity his wife Sienye.

While we mourn this misadventure by a band of misguided and mis-informed youths, we plead with the family of Chief O.B. Lulu-Briggs to please forgive this wickedness that had been done to them. It was an act of the devil working gladly in the hearts of men.

Let us also announce herewith that the Movement of Niger Delta People (MONDP) is no longer a member of the JRC alliance. The struggle for the liberation and emancipation of the people of the Ijaw and Niger Delta territory must never be tampered with criminality and banditry.

Only a few weeks ago, in a usual show of rare philanthropy and with the guidance of the President of the Ijaw National Congress and Pro-Chancellor of the Niger Delta University Professor Kimse Okoko, Chief O.B. Lulu-Briggs had given the go-ahead for the construction of a 500 room hostel facility for the Niger Delta University. It is evil to repay good with evil.

Let us however assure all that Mrs. Lulu-Briggs will be safely returned to her family in the next few hours. She has already been released but is currently in transit to safe grounds.

Make no mistake, justice will be done.

Thank you very much.

Cynthia Whyte

Spokesperson, Joint Revolutionary Council

Chief Lulu Briggs is more than just a peacemaker, he's in the oil business and is the CEO of Moni Pulo , an oil producer in the region. His direct ties to Chevron are not exactly clear, but Moni Pulo, like Chevron, is a major tax-paying oil company in Nigeria. The Chief's kidnapping undoubtely is related to his oil business. Where he's represented by Nigeria's top law firms.

More to the point, because he's Nigerian and successful, it's possible that the rogue group sees him as part of "the problem" of poor Nigerian economic development.

But that action is further evidence that Chevron's problems in the region are more complicated than the "Black v. White" veil that the Amazon Defense Coalition paints. Indeed, with such actions as this kidnapping, it's clear that there are warring militant factions with different agendas.

Why did Whyte not reveal that Chief Lulu-Briggs was a major player in the oil business? Are they being paid by his company? Whatever the case, the situation is a muddled one, and such that the attack on Chevron pipelines in June delayed the annoucement of these jobs, which were only now just posted two weeks ago from this writing in November 5th in AllJobs Nigeria:

Chevron: Vacancies @ Escravos Terminal!
« on: November 05, 2008, 12:05:34 PM »
Warehouse Superintendent - Escravos - Nigeria
Employer: Soul Resources Limited
Desired Expertise: Mechanic
Experience: 4+ years
Education: Some College
Salary: Negotiable
Location: Escravos, Nigeria
Date Updated: 10/29/2008

Job Description:
Soul resources requires a Warehouse Superintendent for their clients projects Natural Gas Conversion Project located in Escravos, Nigeria.

Warehouse Superintendent
Location – Escravos – Nigeria


To ensure efficient and cost-effective management of warehouses, guaranteeing constant, optimised service in the fulfilment of projects and work orders


* To co-ordinate the organisation of storage facilities, and to ensure their optimal positioning in terms of cost-efficiency and geographical coverage.
* To ensure efficient and cost-effective management of warehouses, guaranteeing reception, storage, preservation and distribution of consumable materials.
* To ensure prompt distribution of materials on request of operative work orders or maintenance, guaranteeing the optimisation of services provided to projects.
* To guarantee monitoring of deadlines and the notification of delays in the delivery of materials by suppliers, to request intervention of the organs responsible.
* To guarantee that materials are checked in compliance with established specifications.
* To guarantee the structuring of inventory procedures regarding stored equipment and spare parts and of updating procedures.
* To ensure correct taking of inventories and the notification of obsolete spare parts or materials for elimination.
* To guarantee that samples by checking at least 2% of coded goods in loading are taken
* To guarantee that samples to check the correctness of handling operations are taken
* To locate warehouse stocks subject to slow handling, obsolescence and/or in excess of normal requirements
* To organise the warehouse, checking that the company procedures are implemented correctly, and ensuring training of warehouse personnel as regards accounting and IT procedures
* To identify and prearrange material storage sites, and to co-ordinate the physical depositing of spare parts and materials
* To guarantee / carry out audits / inspections in the stores in accordance with the company procedures.


Role: Warehouse Superintendent
Location: Escravos - Nigeria
Rotation: 56 / 21
Flights: Provided
Contract duration: 25 months
Salary: Negotiable
Monthly overseas allowance: Available
Overtime: Paid
Completion Bonus: Available
Retention Bonus: 10% of total earnings after completion of work and/or contract.
Accommodation: Camp accommodation with full boarding
Start date : Asap

If you are interested in this position please forward your resume to

E/I Supervisors FPSO
Employer: Soul Resources Limited
Desired Expertise: Electrical Engineering, Instrument Engineer, FPSO experience
Experience: 3+ years
Education: High School/Secondary
Location: Nigeria and Brazil,
Date Updated: 10/30/2008

Job Description:
Soul Resources is urgently seeking to recruit an two E/I Supervisor for offshore Brazil and Offshore Nigeria onboard an FPSOs as follows:

* Locations; Offshore Brazil and Offshore Nigeria- FPSO
* Start date: As soon as is possible
* Duration;12 months renewable contract
* Rotation; 28 days on and 28 days off
* Salary; Negotiable x 12 months paid net of local taxes
* Flights; Provided by the client
* Insurance/Medical; Provided by the client

If you wish to be considered for the above position, please send an updated copy of your CV/Resume to

From this, it's clear that the real problem is between the Nigerian government and wealthy Nigerians, and Chevron and other organizations are caught in the middle, dealing with a very complex set of cultural economic issues and relationships than defy simplicity. To paint this as the Amazon Defense Coalition has is just plain intellectually sloppy at best, and ignorant at worst.

One should look at the very government of Nigeria itself. But the relationship to Bowoto v. Chevron is clear to me: what relationships did Mr. Bowoto have to these organizations -- or their variants -- at the time of the events that led to the lawsuit? Was Bowoto with an organization that was the precursur to the Joint Revolutionary Council? What about the rogue groups within the JRC? Why? Because if he was in some way, it could be that he's partcipated in such acts as kidnapping in the past.

But this is not to demonize any one person but an organization: Nigeria's Economic Development efforts have been an abysmal failure, and African Scholar Ukoha Ukiko has pointed to this problem of not just the oil companies, but the state itself. Interethnic violence is the rule of the day, and Militant groups have successfully shut down oil production on several occastions since the turn of the 21st Century. An article referenced here -- "Alienation and Militancy In Nigeria and The Niger Delta - 2003" -- summed it up best:

This history of conflict notwithstanding, the Ijaw violence of March and April departs fundamentally from prior patterns.First, although Ijaw grievances still include significant local concerns, their focus is increasingly at the national level,directed at flaws in the national electoral process, resentmentof Nigeria's national army, and most notably inequities in the national formula for allocation of oil wealth. This last grievance has intensified significantlysince the Federal Court decision determining that off-shore oil production is a national asset and hence not subject to the 13 percentderivation formula for Delta communities (which holds that 13 percent of the revenue derived from natural resourcesshould be paid to the states where it is produced). Inaggregate, Ijaw mobilization now extends well outside the Delta region and can no longer be dismissed as an outlier issue limited largely to localized concerns that are relativelyeasy to contain. President Obasanjo, now in his second term,will need to confront Delta grievances reflecting broader national concerned ”resource allocation, political access,corruption” for which he will bear ultimate responsibility.

In closing, I've installed my video interview with Don Campbell of Chevron who explains the oil companies.

Obama Will Reach Out To The "Other 46 Percent" - Reacting To Brian Solis

I just read Brian Solis otherwise well-considered blog post entitled "Barack Obama, The Social Web, and the Future of User-Generated Governance", and I have to totally disagree with his central idea that because of Senator Obama's huge win -- a landslide in the electoral college -- that the "losing side" of the coin of the election will not be reached. 
I take issue with this for two reasons: the failing economy and the need for government aide will cauuse a good portion of "the other 46 percent" to pay attention to President Obama.

I remind Brian and others that the reason Barack Obama won the 2008 election is 1) the failing economy, and 2) the fact that the Republicans' expressed reliance on "the free market" (the adherence to the belief in the existence of such which I take for intellectual laziness because it's a reason to do nothing), as well as 3) market failure is in part what helped Obama "over the top". (Solis is right about the other aspect components of Obama's victory.)

But my assertion is that the economy's continued deterioration will cause even Obama's detractors to look to hear and see what he's going to do about it. Our economy is tanking. Citicorp is set to lay of 9,000 people. Google's feeling the crunch. American Express wants a cut of the Bailout money.

We're in trouble. The "free market" is too sick to get us out of it, and it's actually under the influence of a confluence of international government actions. Everyone in America is waiting for us to act, and those who didn't support President-Elect Obama will watch on television and discover YouTube to see what he does.

Enter Barack Obama.

First Glimpse of the Star Trek Trailer (video)

You can see the glorious (and surprising) Star Trek trailer if you check out the new James Bond flick this weekend. Some people have already had this privilege, and they managed to upload the contents of their memories via a mobile device. So now we have the trailer right here! Cautious optimism. It looks fresh and cool.

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Activists throw flour on fur-clad Lindsay Lohan

U.S. actress Lindsay Lohan has been pelted with a flour bomb on arrival at a Paris nightclub wearing a fur stole.Animal rights activists showered the 22-year-old actress with flour when she went to the VIP Room Theater in the early hours of Saturday with her friend, disc jockey Samantha Ronson.

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20 Great Online Image Editors

The online image editing space has grown rapidly in the past year, providing great free and subscription-based options for users of all levels. These well-rounded services let you import images from your social networks, touch up photos, promote your work, and more.

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Are Our Brains Becoming “Googlized?”

Are our brains being rewired by using the Internet? The evidence tends to be pointing that way. With internet usage, a significantly bigger piece of neural real estate lit up on the fMRI indicating that more parts of the brain were engaged.

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Michigan Football-Worst Season in 129 Years!!!

Michigan sank to an all-time low on a day as miserable as its season. C.J. Bacher threw touchdown passes on his first two drives of the second half to lift Northwestern to a 21-14 win Saturday over the Wolverines, handing them eight losses overall and five at home for the first time in the storied program's 129-year history.

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The Center-Right Political Myth

We have been hearing pundits saying this is a center-right country on television for the last couple of weeks, despite all available evidence. CNN even did a poll a week after the election to ask people if they wanted the country to head in a Democratic direction. We already had that poll - it was called Election Day!

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T. Boone Pickens Expects Obama to Implement Pickens' Plan

Billionaire American entrepreneur T. Boone Pickens is optimistic that the Obama administration will bring the United States’ energy infrastructure into the new millennium by implementing his plan for energy independence.

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