Daily Archives: April 11, 2017

Report: Shell Knew About Billion-Dollar Corruption in Nigerian Oil Deal

Apr 11, 2017

A new investigation by Global Witness has revealed oil giant Shell knowingly participated in a massive bribery scheme that ended up robbing Nigerians of more than $1 billion. In 2011, Shell and Italian oil company Eni paid a combined $1.1 billion for access to a massive offshore oil block. Newly revealed internal emails show Shell executives knew the money would be stolen by Nigeria’s former oil minister, a convicted money launderer, who used the stolen money to bribe government officials and to buy a private jet, armored cars and firearms. Shell has long denied knowing anything about the corruption involved in the deal.

Tillerson Heading to Russia, as White House Threatens More Attacks in Syria

Apr 11, 2017

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is heading to Russia today, where he’s meeting with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov amid increasing tensions between the U.S. and Russia over the ongoing war in Syria.

Russian President Vladimir Putin will not meet with Tillerson—a move that points to increasing conflict between the two countries following the U.S. decision to launch 59 missiles at a Syrian government air base last week. The U.S. says that strike was in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack, allegedly carried out by the Syrian government, which killed 86 civilians, including dozens of children. On Monday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer signaled the U.S. may take further military action in Syria—not only in retaliation to chemical weapons attacks, but also to attacks like barrel bombings.

Press Secretary Sean Spicer: “I think the president has been very clear that there are a number of lines that were crossed last week. I think what not just Syria but the world saw last week is a president that is going to act decisively and proportionately and with justification when it comes to actions like that. I mean, and I will tell you, the answer is, is that if you gas a baby, if you put a barrel bomb into innocent people, I think you can—you will see a response from this president.”

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spent Monday in Italy for the G7 meeting, where the foreign ministers discussed the ongoing Syrian war. Outside the meeting, demonstrators protesting the G7 meeting were attacked by Italian police. This is one of the protesters, Marco Rizzo.

Marco Rizzo: “The people in Europe and the Middle East need to wake up and find a way to make their real enemies pay the price [for what is being done]. Our real enemies are the governments, the banks, the big multinational arms manufacturers, who make profit with the blood of each one of us. This is the only solution there is. We think the only solution is not to expect anything more from these governments.”

Does Trump Stand to Profit Personally Off the Wars He’s Escalating in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia?

Democracy Now!

Published on Apr 11, 2017

http://democracynow.org – Does President Trump stand to personally profit off the wars he is escalating in Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Somalia and beyond? That’s the question many are asking, after it emerged that Trump has personally invested in Raytheon, the military contractor who makes the Tomahawk missiles used in the U.S. strike on a Syrian airbase last week. Raytheon’s stocks briefly surged after the attack. Overall, the stocks of defense contractors, such as Boeing and General Dynamics, have increased since Trump’s election, further fueled by his promise of a “historic” 10 percent increase in U.S. military spending. For more, we speak with William Hartung, director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy. His latest book is “Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex.”

U.S. Sending Warships to Korean Peninsula

Apr 10, 2017

The Pentagon is sending an aircraft carrier and several warships toward the Korean Peninsula in a major escalation of the conflict between the U.S. and North Korea. The decision to deploy the aircraft carrier, known as the Carl Vinson, and three guided-missile destroyers and cruisers to the peninsula came only days after North Korea launched its latest ballistics missile test. This missile reportedly flew only 37 miles.

NBC News is reporting, citing unnamed military officials, that the National Security Council has presented President Trump with a series of options on North Korea, which include deploying U.S. nuclear weapons to South Korea’s Osan Air Base. This would mark the United States’ first overseas nuclear deployment since the end of the Cold War. Another option reportedly presented to President Trump is the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Raytheon Stocks Surge After Chemical Attack, Personally Benefiting Trump

Apr 10, 2017

Meanwhile, the stocks of the military contractor Raytheon surged following the missile attack, which used 59 of the company’s Tomahawk missiles, estimated to cost $1.4 million apiece. As stocks surged, Raytheon added about $1 billion to its market value Friday morning. According to financial disclosure filings, President Trump personally invests in Raytheon, meaning he profited directly from the attack.

Global Tensions Rising After U.S. Strike on Syrian Airbase

Apr 10, 2017

Global tensions are rising following the United States’ missile attack on a Syrian airbase last week. President Trump said Thursday’s attack on the Shayrat air base, which came without U.S. congressional approval, was a response to a chemical weapons attack the Syrian government allegedly launched from the base last week. This attack in Khan Sheikhoun killed 86 civilians, including dozens of children.

International allies of the Syrian government, including Russia, Iran and Hezbollah, have vowed to retaliate against any future attacks against the Syrian regime. On Sunday, the group issued a joint statement saying, “The aggression against Syria oversteps all red lines. We will react firmly to any aggression against Syria and to any infringement of red lines, whoever carries them out.” Over the weekend, Russia also sent a warship armed with cruise missiles to the coast of Syria in response to the U.S. attack.

Meanwhile, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley now says President Bashar al-Assad’s ouster is inevitable.

Nikki Haley: “So there’s multiple priorities. It’s—getting Assad out is not the only priority. And so what we’re trying to do is, obviously, defeat ISIS. Secondly, we don’t see a peaceful Syria with Assad in there. Thirdly, get the Iranian influence out. And then, finally, move towards a political solution, because at the end of the day this is a complicated situation. There are no easy answers, and a political solution is going to have to happen. But we know that it is not going to be—there is not any sort of option where a political solution is going to happen with Assad at the head of the regime. It just—if you look at his actions, if you look at the situation, it’s going to be hard to see a government that’s peaceful and stable with Assad.”

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is heading to Russia on Tuesday. Ahead of the meeting, Tillerson accused Russia of being partially responsible for the chemical weapons attack, saying, “Either Russia has been complicit or Russia has been simply incompetent.” In Russia, meanwhile, lawmaker Mikhail Yemelyanov has accused the United States of provoking a nuclear war.

Mikhail Yemelyanov: “This act goes far beyond just Syria, because clearly Russia supports the legal Syrian government and takes part to a certain scale in this conflict. Therefore, such strikes are an act not just against Syria, but also against Russia. Moreover, when Americans were striking the airport, they didn’t know if our citizens were there or not. So this situation may lead at least to a repetition of the Cuban missile crisis, which almost pushed the world onto the edge of a nuclear war.”

The U.S. attack on the air base appears to have caused little damage to the Syrian regime’s military capabilities. The government was able to largely evacuate the Shayrat air base before the attack, since the U.S. had warned Russia before the missile strikes. On Friday, only hours after the attack, the base was once again operational, and the Syrian military resumed flights. On Saturday, activists say at least one civilian was killed in airstrikes on a residential neighborhood of Khan Sheikhoun—the same town where the chemical weapons attack occurred on Tuesday. Majed Khattab, a resident of the town, told The Washington Post, “The American strikes did nothing for us. They can still commit massacres at any time.”