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REPORTING · 20th December 2010
Merv Ritchie
The Wikileaks document ‘scandal’ has revealed the corporate mindset of two of the regions most significant players. Rio Tinto, which owns Alcan, the regions single largest industrial employer and one of the world’s largest mining companies. They have also been actively looking at properties in the Northwest corner of BC. Royal Dutch Shell is the world’s largest oil and energy company, which is interested in developing the Coalbed methane region of the Klappan, the headwaters to all the major river systems.

According to ‘Business Spectator’ an Australian news organization, the documents released by Wikileaks demonstrate markedly different characteristics when dealing with government officials. The cables released state Royal Dutch Shell has employees or persons loyal to them in every relevant Nigerian ministry, departments responsible for the oil interests of Royal Dutch Shell in the Niger Delta. This was revealed by the senior Royal Dutch Shell executive in Nigeria, Ann Pickard.

"She said the GON (government of Nigeria) had forgotten that Shell had seconded people to all the relevant ministries and that Shell consequently had access to everything that was being done in those ministries," US Ambassador Robin Renee Sanders was quoted as saying in a cable to Washington.

In contrast, Rio Tinto offered the Chinese self incriminating evidence to assist that government in conducting their own investigations of wrong doing. This was in regards to the arrest of the Rio Tinto employee, Stern Hu. He was suspected of taking bribes and stealing state secrets. Rio Tinto did their own internal investigation and reportedly informed the Chinese Government of their findings.

‘‘Rio’s internal investigations have uncovered no evidence of employees stealing secrets but have found two employees holding relatively small amounts of money from sources they cannot verify,” the cable said, referring to $4,400 in cash and $20,000 in dividends from a private steel mill.

To extract the methane gas from the coalbed at the headwaters of the Stikine, Nass and Skeena River systems, Royal Dutch Shell will use a method called ‘Fracking’. Used all over Canada and the United States, this system of ‘fracturing’ the underground coal fields, to release the trapped gas, forces immense quantities of pollutants into the ground water. Numerous and untold examples of poisoned ground water, wells, rivers and streams have resulted from this activity all across North America. It is this Company, which has been shown by these Wikileak documents to actively engage in the infiltration of government ministries, that desires to perform the same demonstrably destructive behaviour on the coalbed water filter for the entire northwest corner of BC. All three rivers, the Skeena, the Nass and the Klappan (upper and lower), which feeds the Stikine, originate from this bed of coal in the high alpine regions immediately bordering the Spatzizi Wilderness Plateau.