Crime does pay


BY 1993, as Shell's spin-doctors were teaching budding executives that "ignorance gets corporations into trouble, arrogance keeps them there", 300,000 Ogoni peacefully protested against Shell's operations (i.e. massive pollution and employment of paramilitary gangs as 'security'), only for 2,000 to be butchered, and countless others raped and tortured by the Nigerian military.

In November 1995 Ogoni leader Ken Saro-Wiwa was executed, having been framed by the Nigerian authorities. At the time Shell denied any complicity with the Nigerian regime, but has since admitted paying the Nigerian military.

When Shell managers in Nigeria declare openly that they prefer military dictatorship to representative rule, they know what they are talking about. Nigeria's successive military dictators have served the multinational well, holding down the restive minority ethnic groups of the Niger Delta and plundering their resources in collaboration with Shell.

Last year, the Shell Group's income was a record £5.7 billion, the proceeds from sales of £110 billion. This year Mary Harney did her bit for Shell by appointing Patrick Lynch, managing director of Irish Shell, to chair the new board of FAS. It probably means that trainees leaving the centre without permission will be shot by armed sentries!

This article is from Workers Solidarity No 53 published in January 1998