Another Reason to Hate BP

What BP Opened Up

As the oil keeps gushing in the Gulf, here’s a little modern history to further agitate your ire toward the UK’s biggest corporation. The following excerpt is from my new book, Financially Stupid People Are Everywhere: Don’t Be One of Them:

Remember how the Iraq war was supposedly all about protecting innocent people from future terrorist attacks? It started as a search for weapons of mass destruction. Then, when there were none, it morphed into a mission to bring democracy to the Iraqi people. It was never about oil, mind you. Pesky protesters kept saying so, even to the point of rudely announcing that Iraq had no connection whatsoever to the 9/11 attacks, but the government insisted the war was never about oil. The United States and its allies, chiefly the United Kingdom, had responded to a higher calling: protecting freedom, keeping citizens from harm, and serving justice to evildoers.

That canard went down in flames in August 2009 when Scotland released a convicted terrorist to his home in Libya in exchange for oil concessions. The speeches about justice and freedom and protection fell mute the moment 44 billion barrels of oil hung in the balance. Arnaud de Borchgrave wrote in the Washington Times on August 31, 2009, that “Heated denials notwithstanding, Scotland’s ‘compassionate release’ of convicted Libyan Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi was part of a three-way oil deal among Britain, Libya and Scotland.” Sir Mark Allen, former head of the counterterrorism department of Britain’s MI6 intelligence service, retired from that post to become a senior executive at the company formerly known as British Petroleum, now known as just BP to obfuscate its line of work. It’s the biggest company in Britain and the fifth biggest on Earth. Allen’s connections from his counterterrorism days came in handy, but not for countering terrorism. De Borchgrave wrote, “Britain’s interest was the same as BP’s — a bigger share of Libya’s untapped oil reserves, estimated at 44 billion barrels.”

Two days after De Borchgrave’s article appeared, Stephen Glover wrote in the Daily Mail:

Barely a week ago Lord Mandelson pompously declared that it was “completely implausible” and “offensive” to suggest the Government had connived in the release of the Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbaset Al Megrahi, for commercial reasons. Now leaked letters show that this is precisely what the Government did. It moved heaven and earth to secure the release of Megrahi from a Scottish jail, seemingly to facilitate a multi-billion-pound deal between Libya and BP that might otherwise have been in jeopardy.

You can just picture a politician standing at a lectern, shaking a fist in the air, bellowing, “Our young men and women are fighting for the cause of freedom, catching the terrorists where they live and plot, and sending them back where we can lock them up for life to ensure —” An aide rushes up and whispers something in the politician’s ear. The politician nods, and then resumes. “As I was saying, it’s unreasonable to keep a convicted terrorist locked up for life. They’re people, too. It’s time we show compassion by letting this poor man at death’s door return to his homeland, where he can die in peace with his family.”

That’s about how it went. No number of lives lost in the various wars on terrorism could dissuade the government from its mission, but oil could. Libya told BP it would give it a sweet oil deal if Scotland released its convicted Libyan terrorist Megrahi, BP called its bought-off politicians, and Megrahi flew home to a hero’s welcome. He stood beside Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi’s son on the stairs of an airplane in Tripoli, where hundreds of supporters cheered as the two men raised their clasped hands in a sign of victory.

Government’s main advisors when it comes to military and geopolitical affairs appear to be lobbyists from the defense and oil industries. Big business, again. No new president or prime minister is going to change that. Corporations get what corporations want, because corporations pay. It’s hard to accept, but not hard to understand.

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  1. Posted June 20, 2010 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, everybody, for commenting.

    Yes, the patriotic rhetoric dies away when oil is in the balance. I wasn’t blaming that on BP, per se, and I recognize, Juergen, that the US is culpable in the unjustified wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Anybody reading my new book knows that I oppose war for no reason. As self-evident as such an expression should be, it’s too often the minority opinion. Who loves wars for no reason? Companies that make munitions and supplies for them. What kind of war is best for them? Ones without clear goals that drag on for years, which is precisely why those are the kind we usually get out of Washington. The US hasn’t fought a worthwhile war in six decades.

    The excerpt is from a section of the book highlighting corporate control of government for its own profit, and the BP example joins several US-based examples to show that the problem is not restricted to the US alone. The focus of my book is on the US, however, so those worried that I offered BP in lieu of US examples can relax. The bulk of the book’s evidence is about the United States.

    I’m no apologist for corporate controlled US government.

  2. Juergen Engert
    Posted June 20, 2010 at 2:47 am | Permalink

    sorry. It seems living in Japan doesn’t cut your American roots.

    What I really miss is true background:
    – the US government initiated all that,
    – lied to the world community…. and
    – started a war with a foreign country thousands of miles away.

    I think that’s the first time in mankind societies started a war which don’t know each other or have a common border. We know the reason: as the last 50 years showed us, behind all that is Oil.

  3. RAS
    Posted June 19, 2010 at 1:16 am | Permalink

    I think the previous two blokes just don’t get it. The point is when we deal with terrorists and human life, we don’t negotiate. But when it comes to terrorists and oil, the rules change. These are double standards that are employed by two-faced officials. They reinforce the true character of man and governments. There is nothing done out of honor or simple righteousness. All is done in the name of special interests who are and will always be in charge and above the law. We will continue down this road of iniquity until one day the rules will be taken entirely out of man’s hands because he is wholly inadequate to govern himself.

    False flag facts:

    In 1962, the US Joint Chiefs of Staff proposed Operation Northwoods to President John F. Kennedy. In it, they recommended a false flag attack to manufacture a pretext for an invasion of Castro’s Cuba. The August 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident, where US warships were apparently attacked by North Vietnamese PT Boats, was cited by President Johnson as a legitimate provocation mandating US escalation in Vietnam, yet Tonkin was a staged charade that never took place. Israel attempted to sink a Navy ship, the USS Liberty, during its 1967 Middle East war. Iraq and Afghanistan are no different.

  4. Posted June 19, 2010 at 12:05 am | Permalink

    Well Jason, perhaps that was a good move for us all. The question is, is there a point where it’s simply better for us to release an aging sick criminal, even if he’s a mass murderer? Obviously one tank of gas isn’t worth it. But is 44 Billion barrels? I’m not prepared to say it is. But I’m also not prepared to say it isn’t.
    It’s obvious that we all enjoy the benefits of oil in so many ways, even more I would argue than the Saudis and Oil Companies are benefiting from the mass of cash they receive for it.
    BP is fuc**d now that oil is spreading through the gulf, causing massive damages it is on the hook for, but let’s not forget that they are taking massive risks to bring us something we want so desperately.

  5. Charles Norrie
    Posted June 18, 2010 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    Only problem is that Mr Megrahi did not destroy Pan Am 103. The US (CIA) and Iran (Pasdaran) did jointly to give Iran its revenge for the downing of the Airbus, IR-655, and not destroy HW Bush’s fight for the Imperial Presidency

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