Wednesday, April 13, 2011

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Bush Babe

Shell and other convicted “rapists” at large in SA

Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Comments: 12
Picture your son or niece, wife or friend being gang raped while you stand by helplessly. See the five huge rapists bending over them while they scream and bleed. Do I have your attention?

The outrage about hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in the Karoo is building up a nice head of steam. This is good. It’s noble. But please, my innocent poppets, do not imagine for a second that we will escape this rape by signing petitions.

How do you imagine a country with our fantastical levels of corruption and our world-class apathy when it comes to public dissent will manage to slap Zuma and his revolting cadres into line or send huge corporations packing? We can shout. We can stamp and yell. We can sign petitions as we have done for umpteen other causes. Stop crime, stop corruption, fix this, stop that, prevent the other. Think back. How well did any of that work out for us?

We seem to forget that we have an African democracy. Allow me to translate. This means we pack the finest paperwork ever seen in the history of human rights but none of it means a fracking thing. It’s paper. Africa laughs at paper. Africa spits on paper. It is meaningless. African democracy works like this: if I have an AK47 and/or 25 billion dollars and if you and your dorky protest buddies have placards and a signed petition, guess who wins the argument and/or the contract? Paper and public protest is meaningless to African politics unless it comes with a side serving of ongoing, violent, civic disobedience. Here endeth the lesson.

Now, about this fracking…In a nutshell, our government has granted permits to five (five!) major companies and consortia to evaluate the country’s shale gas reserves. Please understand that this is a fait accompli. When our particular brand of rulership says it is ‘considering’ something, you can bet the family silver the deals are already struck, money has changed Swiss bank accounts and the wheels have been turning for a long, long time.

The alarm went off too late. The rapists are in the house. Right now they are moving quietly through our country, sliding their hands under the curves of veld; probing deserts and hidden valleys. The violation will come later, once they’ve sussed out the landscape. The hitmen work for Royal Dutch Shell, Falcon Oil & Gas, Anglo American, Bundu Gas and Oil and a joint venture between Sasol, Statoil of Norway and Chesapeake Energy of the USA – all evildoers of immense proportions.

Shell has a particularly lengthy rap sheet of ecological and human rights abuses. It is truly breathtaking but too long for this column. Please inform yourself by or simply Google ‘shell human rights violations’. And that’s just Shell. The others are equally heinous thugs. Be afraid. You can hear their footsteps. Soon the door handle will turn. They are here.

I hope you’ve grasped the scope of this. These are the big guys. They have resources behind them that we cannot imagine. They are linked to global power brokers that you and I can’t conceive of. These are massively powerful corporations that instigate and manage wars over oil and minerals. They practically run countries. You can be sure they are running rings around our shortsighted, blubbery ANC domestics.

While greenies get their tie-dyes in a twist about the precious Karoo, the same companies are busily assessing geological maps from Worcester to PE, sweeping on through the Eastern Free State and deep into the KZN midlands and further. It’s not only the Karoo that’s in peril. We’re talking about a huge chunk of South Africa while God alone knows what’s happening to the rest of Africa.

Plenty has been written and said about the dangers of hydraulic fracturing. Briefly, it uses up millions of litres of water (on average 20 million litres per drilling). As a water-poor nation we cannot afford this. Worse, the process itself requires huge quantities of over 200 different horrifying chemicals such as benzene, formaldehyde, various acids and pesticides all of which leach into and poison groundwater, river systems and dams.
These chemicals are recognized carcinogens and endocrine disrupters. In real terms, this means you and me and some of our friends and someone’s baby will get pancreatic cancer or be born with terrible defects. Endocrine disrupters cause defects in reproductive systems and growth development. Think fish without fins, birds hatching with no eyes, children born sterile or with mental and physical defects, as well as many variations of neurological and immune system defects in humans, domestic livestock and wildlife. These chemicals remain in the soil and water for generations. They find their way into animal and plant tissue, the ocean, rain and the air. Everything we eat and drink will carry these chemicals into our lives. Money, social advantage and living in posh enclaves will not protect any of us from this poison once it gets into the arteries of the country. Every living thing will be affected.

When hydraulic fracturing is over and the gas has been removed (and profits taken offshore); when Shell and the others are long gone, the legacy that remains will be poisoned water and devastated environments. Finally, shale gas is a highly tenuous fossil fuel option. It too will run out and it will do so a lot faster than oil (the productivity of a shale gas extraction well is very limited and declines drastically over the first five years). So this entire holocaust will result in a very confined outcome. Fracking has been used in the US and Canada where widespread public fury has begun to force a halt. Typically, the next obvious step is for the same corporations to buy their way into the backyards of the dumb, greedy third world with a handful of brightly coloured beads.

Here’s how our government and the companies they sell us out to will convince us it’s okay:

They will tell us how many jobs it will create. They will point to knock-on economic prosperity.

They will prove that their ‘natural, clean solution’ will alleviate energy shortages.

There will be gigantic hearts and minds campaigns explaining how they plan to protect us and the environment and put everything to rights after the mining.

They will conduct transparent environmental impact studies and invite all manner of public participation. When this time comes, please remember that EIA studies are widely acknowledged to be highly corrupt, even by EIA companies themselves.

The bid-winning company will build clinics and schools. They will plant forests, fix roads, fund cycle races and fly to the rescue of underfunded wildlife foundations.

They will pour money into needy communities. Talented, shiny-eyed kids will be sponsored to learn the cello in Vienna with world famous teachers. Others will be provided with kidney transplants their families can’t afford. South Africa’s hearts will melt.

They will schmooze this country into a coma. And then they will frack us over and over till we pray for death.

Get ready.

They are here.

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