The BP Debacle and the Niger Delta — John Vidal in The Observer

[First of all, I do not want to belittle what is happening in the Gulf of Mexico.  BP’s willful, callous and  catastrophic destruction of life boggles the mind, as does their and our government’s inability to commandeer the forces to respond quickly to the disaster.  But here is an article that reminds us that we are part of a larger world, and the disregard that these capitalists hold for the world is the stuff of legend.  This is Cronos eating his own children. It may be worth taking the myth to its logical metaphoric conclusion here.  Cronos was afraid his children would rebel and overthrow the rule of the Titans.  The CEO of a company that profited to the tune of billions of dollars in the last quarter has no interest in placating the world wide poor, including the Niger and Mississippi Delta’s residents.  The CEOs of the companies whose pipes cross — and continue to leak into —  the Niger Delta are obsessed with short term profitability.  Governments have a responsibility to the people who live under them. They have a responsibility to bring the lawbreakers like BP tp justice;  more, to take them over (not buy them: expropriate them).  Politicians and their state who cannot provide for the people need to be replaced.  Those are the questions we need to be discussing, the very rights of the corporation to exist, beyond whether or not we should be treating corporations as persons.  The government needs to take them over and consign them to the dustbin of history.  —  Lew Rosenbaum]

Nigeria’s agony dwarfs the Gulf oil spill. The US and Europe ignore it

The Deepwater Horizon disaster caused headlines around the world, yet the people who live in the Niger delta have had to live with environmental catastrophes for decades

Burning pipeline, Lagos A ruptured pipeline burns in a Lagos suburb after an explosion in 2008 which killed at least 100 people. Photograph: George Esiri/Reuters

We reached the edge of the oil spill near the Nigerian village of Otuegwe after a long hike through cassava plantations. Ahead of us lay swamp. We waded into the warm tropical water and began swimming, cameras and notebooks held above our heads. We could smell the oil long before we saw it – the stench of garage forecourts and rotting vegetation hanging thickly in the air.

The farther we travelled, the more nauseous it became. Soon we were swimming in pools of light Nigerian crude, the best-quality oil in the world. One of the many hundreds of 40-year-old pipelines that crisscross the Niger delta had corroded and spewed oil for several months.

Forest and farmland were now covered in a sheen of greasy oil. Drinking wells were polluted and people were distraught. No one knew how much oil had leaked. “We lost our nets, huts and fishing pots,” said Chief Promise, village leader of Otuegwe and our guide. “This is where we fished and farmed. We have lost our forest. We told Shell of the spill within days, but they did nothing for six months.”

That was the Niger delta a few years ago, where, according to Nigerian academics, writers and environment groups, oil companies have acted with such impunity and recklessness that much of the region has been devastated by leaks.

In fact, more oil is spilled from the delta’s network of terminals, pipes, pumping stations and oil platforms every year than has been lost in the Gulf of Mexico, . . . Click here to read the rest of this story .

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