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1999-05-10

Drilling and Killing: Chevron and Nigeria’s Oil Dictatorship Wins Project Censored Award, as Chevron Talks of Merging with Texaco

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Democracy Now! won a Project Censored Award this year for its documentary Drilling and Killing: Chevron and Nigeria’s Oil Dictatorship. Today we play an excerpt from the documentary in light of new developments at Chevron. [includes rush transcript]

There are reports today that Chevron and Texaco are currently conducting high-level talks about a possible merger between the two oil giants. A Texaco company source said there have been a series of high-level meetings with potential partners in the wake of rapid consolidation in the oil industry.

Drilling and Killing exposed Chevron’s involvement with the killing of two Nigerian villagers last May 28 in the Niger Delta. The following is an excerpt of the documentary where Chevron admits its role in the killings. It is followed by Chevron CEO Ken Derr responding to a question from Amy Goodman at the company’s annual shareholder meeting two weeks ago, where he was asked if would he tell the Nigerian military to stop killing protesters at Chevron sites. His response: no.

Tape:

  • Excerpts from Drilling and Killing: Chevron and Nigeria’s Oil Dictatorship and from Chevron’s Annual Shareholders’ Meeting in San Francisco.

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Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: As you know, the Project Censored Awards also honored Democracy Now! and the documentary that Jeremy Scahill and I did called Drilling and Killing: Chevron and Nigeria’s Oil Dictatorship

. We thought we’d play you an excerpt of that documentary for a few minutes before we go on to our last story, in light of the latest news, and that is Texaco shares are likely to be the focus of renewed takeover interests this week amidst speculation that exploratory talks with Chevron might lead to a merger of the two oil giants. And we’re wondering if a Chevron-Texaco deal might not lead to increased investigation on the part of the mainstream media of Chevron’s human rights violations in Nigeria.

Regular listeners know that the documentary Drilling and Killing exposed Chevron’s involvement in the killing of two Nigerian villagers last May 28th in the Niger Delta, when Chevron flew in, in Chevron-leased helicopters, the Nigerian military and Mobile Police to an oil platform that was being occupied by Nigerian protesters. What ensued: the killing of two Nigerian activists and the critically wounding of a third. At least one who was put in prison as a result of that was seriously tortured.

We go now to an excerpt of the documentary where Chevron admits its role.

    AMY GOODMAN: Until now, Chevron has claimed that its only action against the occupation was to call the federal authorities and tell them what was happening. But in a startling admission in a three-hour interview with Democracy Now!, Chevron spokesperson Sola Omole acknowledged that Chevron did much more. He admitted that Chevron actually flew in the soldiers who did the killing. And he further admitted that those men were from the notorious Nigerian navy.

      SOLA OMOLE: I guess —-

      AMY GOODMAN: Who took them in?

      SOLA OMOLE: What’s that?

      AMY GOODMAN: Who took them in?

      SOLA OMOLE: Who took them in?

      AMY GOODMAN: On Thursday morning, the Mobile Police, the navy?

      SOLA OMOLE: We did. We did. We did. We, Chevron, did. We took them there.

      AMY GOODMAN: By how?

      SOLA OMOLE: Helicopters. Yes, we took them in.

      AMY GOODMAN: Who authorized the call for the military to come in?

      SOLA OMOLE: Chevron’s management.


    JEREMY SCAHILL: Chevron’s management.

    AMY GOODMAN: And we should also mention that Sola Omole speaks for the Chevron Corporation based in San Francisco. A letter to Pacifica from the corporation’s manager of media relations, Mike Libbey, states Sola Omole’s comments, quote, "fully represent the views of both our Nigerian business unit and of Chevron," unquote.

    JEREMY SCAHILL: So, Chevron authorized the call for the military and transported the navy to the barge. On top of that, Chevron’s acting head of security, James Neku, flew in with the military the day of the attack.

      AMY GOODMAN: Were you on that helicopter?

      JAMES NEKU: Yes, I was in the helicopter.

      AMY GOODMAN: And how many people were there in that helicopter?

      JAMES NEKU: That helicopter had seven -— six of us. There were six of us, six officers.

      AMY GOODMAN: Including the Chevron pilot or not including?

      JAMES NEKU: I think excluding the pilot. Including the pilot would be seven.

      AMY GOODMAN: And then, was it a mix of navy and —-

      JAMES NEKU: A mix of navy and the police. The police were armed with tear smokes.

      AMY GOODMAN: Was it the regular police or the Mobile Police?

      JAMES NEKU: Mobile Police.


    AMY GOODMAN: The Mobile Police, also known as the "Kill ‘n’ Go." That’s the Kill and Go. Shell Oil, the largest producer of oil in Nigeria, came under heavy international condemnation in recent years for their use of the Mobile Police, forcing them to publicly renounce the use of the Kill and Go because of their brutal record in Ogoniland.

      ORONTO DOUGLAS: They shoot without question. They kill. They maim. They rape. They destroy.


    AMY GOODMAN: Environmental lawyer Oronto Douglas was one of the lawyers on Ken Saro-Wiwa’s defense team.

      ORONTO DOUGLAS: The Kill and Go are a murderous band of undisciplined paramilitary Mobile Police force. Their order is to kill. When they go to a community, it’s not to maintain peace, it is not to maintain order.


AMY GOODMAN: That’s an excerpt of Drilling and Killing: Chevron and Nigeria’s Oil Dictatorship. And the follow-up, the fact that just in the last two weeks I got a chance to go to the Chevron shareholders’ meeting, and I got to ask the CEO of Chevron, Ken Derr, whether Chevron would tell the Nigerian military not to shoot protesters on its sites in Nigeria. Listen carefully. This was the question and Ken Derr’s answer.

    AMY GOODMAN: But have you officially demanded that they not shoot protesters on your site?

    KEN DERR: I don’t know if we officially demanded it, but I think it goes without saying that nobody -—

    AMY GOODMAN: Will you officially demand it?

    KEN DERR: No! I mean, that’s ridiculous. OK, next question please?


AMY GOODMAN: That’s Ken Derr saying, no, Chevron would not tell the Nigerian military not to kill protesters on its sites in Nigeria. Well, we’ll leave it at that, this in the midst of the Texaco-Chevron talks about a possible merger.

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