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remained mired at a near entry-level pay grade after seventeen years of service. Jesse Jackson has been vociferous in denunciations of Texaco. When the infamous Texaco. Company tapes first surfaced, with racist remarks by Texaco executives played on Ted Koppel’s Nightline, Jackson called for a boycott of the company, for drivers to cut up their Texaco credit cards. Then he warned of a nationwide stock divestiture campaign if Texaco did not change its ways. However, no such fulminations have come from Jackson in the case of Shell. The reason may have to do with one of the foulest chapters in Shell’s history: its role in the destruction of Ogoni tribal lands in Nigeria, and in the execution of the premier Ogoni political activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa, and eight of his colleagues. Exactly a year ago Saro-Wiwa and his friends went to the gallowsnot long warned the Nigerian government that Ogoni protests over its environmentally destructive drilling practices and tribal demands for a share of the billions in past oil revenues must be quelled, or else Shell would pull out of Nigeria altogether. In the weeks after Saro-Wiwa and his compatriots were sentenced to death, the international campaign fighting to save their lives implored Shell to take a public stand. Shell did nothing, thus signaling the Nigerian dictatorship run by General Sani Abacha that it was safe to proceed. Right after the execution, Randall Robinson of TransAfrica sent a letter to Bill Clinton calling for fierce U.S. sanctions against Nigeria. The U.S. buys nearly half of Nigeria’s oil exports \(oil revenues regime if it led an oil embargo. But the administration responded with only token sanctions, involving delays in some arms sales and a scolding of the country’s diplomats. Senator Nancy Kassebaum of Kansas and Representative Donald Payne of New Jersey denounced this as inadequate and introduced a bill in Congress calling for a full embargo. The administration was horrified. “There’s plenty of oil [available on world markets],” said one U.S. government official in an off-the-record talk. “But there’s only so much Bonney Light.” He was referring to Nigeria’s coveted sweet crude oil, which is ex tremely pure and economical to refine. At this moment, pressure from Jackson would have counted for something. But he remained silent. His fellow Chicagoans, Senator Carole Moseley-Braun and Louis Farrakhan, went to Nigeria under the supervision of U.S. lobbyists retained by General Abacha for more than $10 million. One of the firms hired by the Nigerian regime was Symms, Lehn and Associates, headed by for. mer Idaho senator Steve Symms. Another key player was Shell’s lobbyist Tommy Hale Boggs, the brother of news diva Cokie Roberts and a Clinton golfing pal. Using a PR strategy developed by these firms, Nigeria began a nationwide advertising blitz that included full-page ads in The New York Times, implying that SaroWiwa was a terrorist and that the environmental problems of oil drilling in Nigeria had been cured. Meanwhile, Moseley-Braun and Farrakhan returned from their Nigerian “fact-finding”‘ mission saying that an embargo would be premature and counterproductive. Moseley-Braun testified in the Senate against the embargo bill, and told colleagues \(falsely, it turns issue. Randall Robinson then revealed that he personally had rejected a bribe of $1 million offered to him by Abacha’s operatives in an attempt to change his position. “Oil money makes a huge difference,” he said, “because it puts spunk in the spine of your enemy.” An unpublicized part of the anti-embargo campaign was the intense lobbying effort by American oil companies, including Mobil, Amoco, Chevron and Texaco, which are planning a $4-billion natural gas project in Nigeria. As a result of all these pressures, the Kassebaum/Payne bill never even got out of committee. This came as a disappointment but not a surprise to Ken Saro-Wiwa’s brother, Dr. Owens-Wiwa, who has recently filed a multi-million dollar suit against Shell, charging it with crimes against the environment and human rights. “The evil alliance between Shell and the military dictatorship could only have been broken by an international embargo,” Dr. Wiwa said. “Oil is the only thing that keeps the regime in power.” Today, eighteen other Ogoni activists await execution for their efforts to drive Shell Oil Company from their homeland. The Clinton administration remains silent. 16 THE TEXAS OBSERVER DECEMBER 20, 1996