Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Dark Deep Political History of BP

Three weeks ago I wrote a blog entry that detailed the blame game being played in the wake of The Great Oil Leak of 2010. While I tried to go into detail on the responsibility we all play operating within the paradigm of an economic infrastructure predicated on cheap oil, I most certainly am not copping out a generic blame on "society" for the leak itself. That blame rests primarily on the corporation responsible for owning and lead operator of the blown out well, British Petroleum. Their history is worth noting for its dark associations:

In May 1901, William Knox D'Arcy was granted a concession by the Shah of Iran to search for oil which he discovered in May 1908.[8] This was the first commercially significant find in the Middle East. On 14 April 1909, the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC) was incorporated to exploit this.[8] In 1923, the company secretly gave £5,000 to future Prime Minister Winston Churchill to lobby the British government to allow them to monopolise Persian oil resources.[9] In 1935, it became the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC).[8]
The company still held contracts to bewild on the oil industry in general, generating Bose gas in both ways, mainly in agreements with preapproved terms.
After World War II, AIOC and the Iranian government initially resisted nationalist pressure to revise AIOC's concession terms still further in Iran's favour. But in March 1951, the pro-western Prime Minister Ali Razmara was assassinated.[10] The Majlis of Iran (parliament) elected a nationalist, Mohammed Mossadeq, as prime minister. In April, the Majlis nationalised the oil industry by unanimous vote.[11] The National Iranian Oil Company was formed as a result, displacing the AIOC.[12] The AIOC withdrew its management from Iran, and organised an effective boycott of Iranian oil. The British government - which owned the AIOC - contested the nationalisation at the International Court of Justice at The Hague, but its complaint was dismissed.[13]

The preceding history is the set-up for one of the pivotal events in the history of the military-industrial complex; quite ironic since Dwight D. Eisenhower, who would warn so eloquently about the dangers this complex posed to our freedom seven years later, was President at the time. The role of British Petroleum in this event was illustrated brilliantly by Octafish at Democratic Underground in this recent post:

BFEE Overthrew Iranian Democracy for BP
A reminder of who did what to whom 57 years ago, helping us get into the fix we're in today. CIA and MI6 overthrew Iran's democratically elected government and installed the Shah in order to reclaim "their" black gold:

Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and Vice President Richard M. Nixon greet the freshly minted Shah Reza Pahlavi to Washington, D.C.

History of BP Includes Role in 1953 Iran Coup After Nationalization of Oil

AMY GOODMAN: As we wrap-up, as tens of thousands of gallons of oil continue to spew into the Gulf of Mexico from the BP oil spill, we continue our series on BP. Yesterday we looked at their horrendous safety record on the millions of dollars they’ve spent on lobbying congress to prevent regulation. Today, we’re going to look at the history, sixty years ago, BP was called Anglo Iranian Oil Company. In an interview on DEMOCRACY NOW!, Stephen Kinzer, the former New York Times bureau chief, author of "All the Shah’s Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror", told the story of the Anglo Iranian Oil Company’s role in the 1953 CIA coup against Iran’s popular progressive Prime Minister, Mohammed Mossadegh. Let’s go to a clip of what Steven Kinzer says.

STEVEN KINZER: At the beginning of the 20th century as a result of a corrupt deal with the old dying monarchy, one British company, owned mainly by the British government, had taken control of the entire Iranian oil industry.


...What happened was that Prime Minister Mossadegh, who really was an extraordinary figure in his time, although he’s in somewhat forgotten by history, came to power in 1951 on a wave of nationalism aimed at this one great obsession, we’ve got to take back control of our oil and use the profits for the development of one of the most wretchedly impoverished nations on earth at that time. So the Iranian parliament voted unanimously for a bill to nationalize the Anglo Iranian Petroleum Co. and Mossadegh signed it and he devoted himself, during his term of office, to carrying-out that plan. To nationalize was then Britain’s largest and most profitable holding anywhere in the world. Bear in mind that the oil that fueled England all during the 1920s and 30s and 40s all came from Iran. The standard of living that people in England enjoyed all during that period was due exclusive to Iranian oil. Britain has no oil. Britain has no colonies that have oil. every factory in England, every car, every truck, every taxi, was running on oil from Iran. The Royal Navy, which was projecting British power all over the world, was fueled a hundred percent by oil from Iran. Suddenly Iran arrives and says, 'Oh, we're taking back the oil now.’ So this naturally set-off a huge crisis. And that’s the crisis that made Mossadegh really a big World figure around the early 1950s. At the end of 1951 Time magazine chose him as 'Man of the Year,' and they chose him over Winston Churchill, Douglas MacArthur, and Dwight Eisenhower; and they made the right choice because at that moment, Mossadegh really was the most important person in the world.

AMY GOODMAN: That was the former New York Times reporter Stephen Kinzer. Wrote "All the Shah’s Men." Talked extensively about the Anglo Iranian Oil Company which was renamed British Petroleum. That’s BP. That does it for our show.


Here's an excellent overview from Mr. Bill Hare:

When the CIA Overthrew Iran for British Petroleum

By Bill Hare


Iran had just elected Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh, that nation's most popular political figure.

The fact that Mossadegh was elected by the will of Iran's citizens did not deter the efforts of an invigorated CIA that used the Cold War as a pretext to move away from the fact finding agency conceived of by President Harry Truman to an aggressive international political body willing to overthrow nations in contravention of popular national will.

Mossadegh immediately angered the international power cartel with which the CIA actively interlinked. British Petroleum had been garnering the lion's share of profits from Iran's wealthy oil deposits.

Mossadegh nationalized Iran's oil as a means of obtaining what he deemed to be a fairer portion of that important asset. The nationalization law was passed unanimously by the Iranian Parliament.

Despite the fact that BP was offered considerable compensation by Mossadegh his days were numbered after the nationalization bill was passed.

Richard Helms, who would later become CIA Director, was prepared to act with a close Iranian friend becoming political beneficiary. A plan was launched to overthrow Iran in a coup and hand over the reins of power to a reliable figure who would accede to the international power elite's interests on behalf of British Petroleum.


Corp Watch adds more on BP:

Hey, America! Doncha just LOVE that Imperial attitude? Who needs Democracy, anyway?
"The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all." - John F. Kennedy

For the uninitiated, BFEE stands for Bush Family Evil Empire. Certainly one of the most prominent members of that empire is Dick Cheney. It should come as no surprise that when Cheney chaired the NEPDG, his secret energy task force, BP had a prominent seat at the table:

Document Says Oil Chiefs Met With Cheney Task Force
By Dana Milbank and Justin Blum
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
A White House document shows that executives from big oil companies met with Vice President Cheney's energy task force in 2001 -- something long suspected by environmentalists but denied as recently as last week by industry officials testifying before Congress.
The document, obtained this week by The Washington Post, shows that officials from Exxon Mobil Corp., Conoco (before its merger with Phillips), Shell Oil Co. and BP America Inc. met in the White House complex with the Cheney aides who were developing a national energy policy, parts of which became law and parts of which are still being debated.
In a joint hearing last week of the Senate Energy and Commerce committees, the chief executives of Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp. and ConocoPhillips said their firms did not participate in the 2001 task force. The president of Shell Oil said his company did not participate "to my knowledge," and the chief of BP America Inc. said he did not know.
The task force's activities attracted complaints from environmentalists, who said they were shut out of the task force discussions while corporate interests were present. The meetings were held in secret and the White House refused to release a list of participants. The task force was made up primarily of Cabinet-level officials. Judicial Watch and the Sierra Club unsuccessfully sued to obtain the records.

Special thanks to Mike Ruppert for providing that link on his blog. I found his commentary on this situation that he wrote yesterday quite illuminating:

Wednesday, June 02, 2010


June 2, 2010, 1300 PDT -- Press and politicians are suddenly remembering NEPDG since it's just been disclosed that BP was one of the companies that got secret access to Dick Cheney's energy task frorce. And Halliburton was also directly involved in the cluster**** that led to the blowout and explosion. People who have followed me for all these years know that I have been virtually screaming since 2003 that all of the deepest, darkest secrets are in the NEPDG records. I don't think it will happen, but the one thing that could help us all most right now is to know what's in those records. They laid out Peak Oil, They looked at all their options. They saw what was coming and they began implementing a plan. What I think may happen is that some heavy-heavy backroom pressures will be brought to bear and that maybe DoJ will get a chance to (as the press will report) look at those portions of the records having to do only with BP... We all know the drill.

But if I had just one wish it would be that the whole world could see and understand everything NEPDG did. They figured out exactly how much oil and gas was left, where it was, and how they planned to deal with (steal) it. This was PNAC. This was the raison d'etre for Bush-Cheney. This was why they stole the 2000 election and for everything that followed. And if we knew what was in those records, we could build so many more lifeboats, the right ways, and in the right places.

I think it came across pretty clear in "Collapse" how passionate I am about this. That information would be the most valuable gift we could leave to future genrations. -- I don't dare let myself have hope.


For those who believe the BP-Cheney connection ended with the change of Presidential administrations, think again. Thanks to Ruppert for highlighting and kpete at Democratic Underground for providing these links:

BP hires ex-Energy Dept official for U.S. media effort

(Reuters) - BP has hired a former U.S. Department of Energy official as head of U.S. media relations, as it fights to defend its reputation in the face of political attacks and public rage over its oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Anne Kolton, former head of public affairs at the DOE, starts this week, the head of group media at London-based BP, Andrew Gowers, said on Sunday.
BP's media team has been overwhelmed by press and public attention since the Deepwater Horizon rig, which BP hired to drill an oil well, exploded and sank in April, killing 11 workers and unleashing what has become the largest oil spill in U.S. history.


Most recently, Ms. Kolton served as Vice President Dick Cheney’s Campaign Press Secretary. Prior to joining the Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign, Ms. Kolton was Director of Public Affairs at the Department of the Treasury and previously served as Senior Advisor to Chairman William H. Donaldson at the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Ms. Kolton joined the Bush administration in January 2001 as Assistant Press Secretary in the White House Press Office after serving on the Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign as Assistant Press Secretary to then Vice Presidential candidate Dick Cheney.

Before joining Bush-Cheney 2000, Ms. Kolton was Washington Liaison for Texas Attorney General John Cornyn.


This is the dragon we face. I share the hopes of the political activists quoted above that by publicizing and sharing the dark history of BP far and wide, we might help to slay this dragon.


Tanya @ TeenAutism said...

Wow - are people really blaming "society" for the leak? I suppose we could blame "society" for drunk driving accidents as well.

Robert Paulsen said...

Not in so many words, but I'm seeing lots of strange reactions at some of the political discussion boards I frequent. Sorry if this was a difficult blog entry to read, I had problems formatting, but it should be fixed now.