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Imperial Oil
by Julian Smith
Monday Oct 2nd, 2006 11:48 AM
addicted to oil
In his State of the Union address, George Dubya said that the U.S. is "addicted to oil." What he didn’t say was that post-WWII oil policy – which has been a central plank of U.S. foreign policy since President Roosevelt met King Saud of Saudi Arabia and cobbled together their ‘special relationship’ in 1945 – is in shambles. The pillars of this policy – Iran, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf oil states, and Venezuela – are hardly models of U.S. spheres of influence. With surplus capacity in the world oil market at an all-time low, and speculative capacity in the commodity exchanges at an all-time high, the transnational oil companies and the oil producing states are awash in petro-dollars – but the days of cheap oil seem to be fast disappearing.

It is no surprise, then, that other suppliers of oil should be very much on the Bush radar screen (since the alternatives of conservation strategies or increased gas taxes are conspicuously absent). The Cheney Energy Report in 2001 made the point about MidEast oil dependency long before the State of the Union. A recent headline in the Financial Times (March 1, 2006) makes the agenda crystal clear: Africa is the "continent all set to balance power."

Though not as rich in hydrocarbons as Saudi Arabia, Africa nevertheless is, said the Financial Times, "the subject of fierce competition by energy companies." IHS Energy – one of the oil industry’s major consulting companies – expects African oil, especially along the Atlantic margins (the so-called Gulf of Guinea), to attract "huge exploration investment" and contribute over 30 percent of world liquid hydrocarbon production by 2010. Over the last five years, Africa has contributed one in every four barrels of new oil discovered outside of Northern America. A new scramble for Africa is afoot. The battleground is the continent’s oilfields – the looting of what the Times calls Africa’s "copious reserves of natural gas and its sweet light oil."

Energy security is the name of the game. The Council of Foreign Relations’ call for a new approach to Africa in its report "More than Humanitarianism (2005) focuses on Africa’s "growing strategic importance" for U.S. policy. This means cheap and stable oil imports but also keeping the Chinese – important new actors in the African oil business – and Islamic terror at bay. (Africa is, according to the intelligence community, the ‘new frontier’ in the fight against revolutionary Islam.) It turns out that energy security is a terrifying hybrid of the old and the new: primitive accumulation coupled to American militarism and the war on terror. Will it work?


Currently Africa is the center of a major oil boom. The continent accounts for roughly 10 percent of world oil output and 9.3 percent of known reserves. Though oil fields in Africa are generally smaller and deeper than the Middle East - and production costs are accordingly 3-4 times higher - African crude is generally ‘sweet’ and low in sulfur, making it attractive to U.S. importers. The twelve major African oil producers - dominated by Nigeria, Algeria, Libya, and Angola, which collectively account for 85 percent of African output - are highly oil-dependent. In Nigeria, for example, 85 percent of government revenues, 98 percent of exports, and almost half of gross domestic product are derived from oil earnings. In short, the governments of African oil states are ‘oil dependencies.’ They are also – and here they share an affinity with oil producers in the other Gulf and in the Caspian – categorized as among the most corrupt in the world, mirroring the global oil industry in which they are embedded. For the impoverished populations of these wealthy oil states, black gold is nothing more than a mirage; oil has brought corruption, waste, repression, a venal and authoritarian local ‘oilygarchy,’ and economic stagnation.

The jewel in the crown is the West African Gulf of Guinea, encompassing the rich on- and offshore fields stretching from Nigeria to Angola. Nigeria and Angola alone account for almost half of African output, nearly 4 million barrels per day. U.S. oil companies have invested $40 billion in Africa over the last decade (and another $30 billion is expected between 2005 and 2010). Oil investment now represents over 50 percent of all foreign direct investment in the continent.
On this canvas of African oil security and a new scramble for the continent, the recent events in Nigeria and the crisis in the oilfields of the Niger Delta are of enormous importance. In late 2005 and early 2006 there was a massive escalation in violent attacks on oil installations by ethnic militants (primarily Ijaw, the largest ethnic group in the oil producing region) including the taking of oil hostages by a largely unknown militant group MEND (the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta). As a result of this escalation (and events in Iran and Venezuela), oil markets remain very jittery.

The recent hostage-taking and attacks on oil infrastructure in the Delta, however, are simply the tip of a political iceberg. Earlier in 2005, political representatives from the oil-producing region walked out of a national meeting on the distribution of oil revenues. A few months later the Obasanjo government arrested a Delta militant and insurgency leader on treason charges which prompted renewed political turbulence across the region. Since the late 1990s, there has been a very substantial escalation of violence across the Delta oil fields, accompanied by major attacks on oil facilities (it is estimated that more than one thousand people die each year from oil-related violence). A year before 9/11, the U.S. Department of State, in its annual report on ‘global terrorism,’ identified the Niger Delta as a volatile breeding ground for militant "impoverished ethnic groups" for whom terrorist acts (abduction, hostage taking, kidnapping and extra-judicial killings) were part of their stock in trade.

Since the late 1990s, the Niger Delta has been pretty much ungovernable. A 2003 report prepared for the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, entitled "Back from the Brink," painted a gloomy "risk audit" for Big Oil. A leaked report by Shell in the same year explicitly stated that their "license to operate" in Nigeria was in question. And with good reason. Between 1998 and 2003, there were 400 "vandalizations" on company facilities per year (581 between January and September 2004), and oil losses amounted to $1 billion annually. Yet in the Delta various NGOs have demonstrated that at least some of this vandalization is the result of poor maintenance by the oil companies. Nevertheless, the mobilizations against the companies have been various: demonstrations and blockades against oil facilities; occupations of flow stations and platforms; sabotage of pipelines; oil "bunkering," or theft (from hot-tapping fuel lines to large-scale appropriation of crude from flow stations); litigation against the companies; hostage taking and strikes.

Mounting violence in 2003 resulted in many deaths and widespread community destruction and dislocation in the Warri region of the western Delta. The protests and conflicts were complex and multi-faceted. In Warri town – a center of the oil industry – conflicts between three differing ethnic groups were prompted by fraudulent local elections and a longstanding battle over the delineation of electoral wards and local government jurisdictions as a way of gaining access to government oil revenues. In the creeks and oil-producing communities protests erupted over company policies and longstanding grievances over oil spills and company practices, especially employment of local indigenes. All of this was overlaid by a lucrative oil theft business, organized by high ranking military, politicians, and civil servants, in which militant Ijaw youth (the largest and most militant minority group in the Delta) were fighting to get a cut of the illegal "bunkering" trade (that in 2003 siphoned off a staggering 15 percent of national production). Violence across the oil fields prompted all the major oil companies to withdraw their staff, close down operations, and reduce output by more than 750,000 barrels per day (40 percent of the national output). This, in turn, provoked President Obasanjo to dispatch large troop deployment to the oil-producing creeks. In April 2004, another wave of violence erupted around oil installations, this time amid the presence of two militias led by Ateke Tom (the Niger Delta Vigilante) and Alhaji Asari (the Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force), each driven, and partly funded, by oil monies. By the end of April 2004, Shell alone was losing production of up to 370,000 barrels per day, largely in the Western Delta.

Ten years after the hanging of novelist and minority rights advocate Ken Saro-Wiwa, conditions in the oilfields remain abysmal. An Amnesty International report (2005), entitled "Ten Years On: Injustice and Violence Haunt the Oil Delta," declared that things have only gotten worse. Security forces still operate with impunity, the government has refused to protect communities in oil producing areas while providing security to the oil industry, and, above all, the oil companies themselves (Shell, Chevron, AGIP, TotalElfFina) bear a share of the responsibility for the appalling misery and the political instability across the region.

The most recent events in Nigeria mark something of a watershed. After taking international oil workers hostage, one of MEND’s demands was the release of two Ijaw leaders. On January 29, 2006 these hostages were released unharmed although the Ijaw leaders in question remained under arrest in Abuja, the Nigerian capital. MEND stated that the release of the hostages was made on "purely humanitarian grounds" and were quoted as saying: "This release does not signify a cease-fire or softening of our position to destroy the oil export capability of the Nigerian government."

By the first week in February, MEND had contacted the Nigerian press directly, calling for the "international community to evacuate from the Niger Delta by February 12, or ‘face violent attacks.’" Two weeks later, MEND claimed responsibility for attacking a Federal naval vessel and for kidnapping nine workers employed by the oil servicing company Willbros, apparently in retaliation for an attack by the Nigerian military on a community in the Western Delta. The Nigerian government claimed they had attacked barges involved in the contraband oil trade. The geography of the Nigerian Delta, a maze of creeks and swamps, and its marginalization from state transportation and communication infrastructure, make the region extremely difficult to police. This isolation amplifies the significance of MEND’s threats to destroy facilities. Behind these threats is the prospect of attacks on the enormously expensive liquefied natural gas plants in Bonny and another under construction at Escravos. In the days following the violence, the prices of a barrel of oil increased by almost $1.50 and Shell and Chevron indicated that their production in Nigeria had been cut by 15 percent.


Nigeria reveals all of the contradictions of the new U.S. energy policy in which African suppliers are expected to play an expanded role. Nigeria is an archetypical "oil nation." Oil dominates economic and political life. Crude oil production runs currently at more than 2.1 million barrels per day valued at more than $20 billion at 2004 prices. Nigeria’s oil sector now represents a vast domestic industrial infrastructure: more than three hundred oil fields, 5,284 wells, 7,000 kilometers of pipelines, ten export terminals, 275 flow stations, ten gas plants, four refineries, and massive liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects.

A multi-billion dollar oil industry has, however, proved to be a little more than a nightmare. To inventory the ‘achievements’ of Nigerian oil development is a salutary exercise: 85 percent of oil revenues accrue to 1 percent of the population; perhaps $100 billion of $400 billion in revenues since 1970 have simply gone "missing" (The anti-corruption chief Nuhu Ribadu, claimed that in 2003 70 percent of the country’s oil wealth was stolen or wasted; by 2005 it was "only" 40 percent). Between 1965-2004, the per capital income fell from $250 to $212 and income distribution deteriorated markedly over the same period. Between 1970 and 2000 in Nigeria, the number of people subsisting on less than one dollar per day grew from 36 percent to more than 70 percent: from 19 million to a staggering 90 million. According to the IMF, oil "did not seem to add to the standard of living" and "could have contributed to a decline in the standard of living." Over the last decade GDP per capita and life expectancy have both fallen.

Essentially, petro-development has resulted in the terrifying and catastrophic failure of secular nationalist development. It is sometimes hard to grasp the full consequences and depth of this failure. From the vantage point of the Niger Delta—but no less from the vast slum worlds of Kano or Lagos—development and oil wealth is a cruel joke. These paradoxes and contradictions of oil are nowhere greater than on the oilfields of the Niger Delta. In the oil rich states there is one doctor for every 150,000 inhabitants. "The oil-based economy has wrought only poverty, state violence, and a dying ecosystem," said Nigerian scholar-activist Ike Okonta. The government’s presence, Okonta says, "is only felt in the form of the machine gun and jackboots." It is no great surprise that a half century of neglect in the shadow of black gold has made for explosive politics.

Overlaid upon the corrupt Nigerian petro-state, a volatile mix of forces reveal the deadly operations of imperial oil. First, geo-strategic interests in oil employ military and other security forces (including the private security forces and local residents, contracted by the oil companies.) Second, the transnational oil business – the majors, the independents and the vast service industry – are actively involved in the process of local development through new oil company interventions in which the NGO sector and local communities are now drawn into new ‘partnerships.’ Third, multilateral development agencies (the IMF and the IBRD) and financial corporations like the export credit agencies appear as key "brokers" in the construction and expansion of the energy sectors in oil-producing states. Afterwards, the multilaterals are pressured to become the enforcers of transparency among governments and oil companies.) And not least, there is the relationship between oil and the shady world of drugs, illicit wealth (oil theft for example), mercenaries, and the black economy. This entire oil complex is a sort of corporate enclave economy that is at once violent, unstable, heavily militarized, and largely unaccountable.

The struggle for resource control has taken center stage over the last decade in Nigeria as the Niger Delta has become more volatile. The question is: what is the U.S. prepared to do to keep the oil flowing to feed its addiction? Nigeria is now awash with oil money as the 2007 elections approach, and if the past is any guide, much of this will be deployed to fund political thuggery, intimidation, and outright fraud by the ruling political classes. President Obasanjo is considering a run for a third term – requiring a constitutional amendment – which in turn would be destabilizing in the Muslim north and in the oil producing delta. The increasing U.S. military presence in the Gulf and its anti-terror forces in the north are naturally seen within Nigeria as the price the Bush regime is prepared to pay to keep American cars on the road. An Iraq or Colombia option – civil war and American militarization – cannot be discounted. Blood and oil are never far apart.
by Jenny Lancaster
Monday Oct 2nd, 2006 11:49 AM
Another sub-title for this article could well be "a study in state monopoly capitalism." A book of the author, Dan Briody, focused on the Carlyle Group, the spectacularly well-heeled firm that includes former President George H.W. Bush, his crony James Baker and a veritable rogues’ gallery of washed-up politicians and businessmen of questionable integrity who blatantly trade upon their inside knowledge of government for private gain in yet another textbook example of state monopoly capitalism.

Yet, their money-grubbing pales in comparison – and chutzpah – to Halliburton, a firm formerly headed by Vice President Dick Cheney, a firm that is frequently in the headlines in light of the lucrative contracts they have been awarded by Cheney’s government in the theater of war that is Iraq.

The story begins in Texas where a predecessor firm of Halliburton, Brown & Root, was catapulted into prominence – and obscene profitability - because of a tight relationship with former Senator, then Vice President and President, Lyndon B. Johnson. Large scale construction and oil services were the two pillars on which this giant company was built. Routinely the government handed out handsome "cost plus" contracts, e.g. building the Corpus Christi Naval Air Station, to this corporation. "Cost plus" means that the contractor could recoup all expenses plus a guaranteed profit based on a pre-negotiated percentage. This eliminates risk for the contractor and erodes the necessity to eliminate wasteful billing which, says the author, is "great for the contractor, not so great for the taxpayer." "Basically, it’s a blank check from the government….when your profit is a percentage of the cost, the more you spend, the more you make."

Brown & Root reaped a bonanza of wasteful contracts during the war in Vietnam, which – coincidentally – Johnson prosecuted as vigorously as Cheney has done in Iraq. By 1967 this firm was the largest employer in South Vietnam. Yet even then there was an obvious downside to relying so heavily upon the private sector to perform the clear government function of waging war: motivated by the lust for profit their employees were "manipulating currency and selling goods on the black market," among other transgressions.

Johnson was so helpful to this company that the author argues that actually he was "working for Brown & Root, not the people of his district or the state." Something similar used to be said about another leading Democratic Party politician, the late Henry "Scoop" Jackson of Washington, who was referred to as the "Senator from Boeing." Obviously today we are in dire need of deeper examinations of the ramified ties between various sectors of state monopoly capitalism and leading political figures and parties, along the lines of the work at hand.

Brown & Root was also viciously anti-union. At one time, for example, progressive formations e.g. the National Maritime Union, played a pivotal role in Texas politics but after Brown & Root and their confederates pushed through anti-union legislation in the 1940s, the political complexion of what is now the second largest state began to change to the point where it has now become a reliable Republican redoubt and, not coincidentally, the home of both the current President and Vice-President.

But as profitable as it had been, when Dick Cheney left the Pentagon in the 1990s to become head of Halliburton, this company was catapulted to a new level of profitability. A staunch conservative, while a member of Congress Cheney avidly opposed imposing sanctions against apartheid South Africa while pushing aggressively for sanctions against socialist Cuba. Before leaving the Pentagon, which he headed during the administration of George H.W. Bush, he accelerated the privatization of core military functions in a way that – coincidentally – aided the company he was about to lead. "They made $109.7 million in Somalia…$6.3 million from Operation Support Hope in Rwanda…..Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti netted the company $150." Halliburton was "becoming another unit in the US Army" and reaping millions from war and misery, providing a perverse incentive for an increase in such pestilences. "From 1995 to 2000, Brown & Root" – now part of Halliburton—"billed the government for more than $2 billion in services. The company did everything from build the [military] camps to deliver the mail, with 24-hour food service and laundering. It provided firefighting services, fuel delivery, sewage construction, hazardous material disposal, and the maintenance and delivery of equipment." War in the Balkans was the "driving force" for Halliburton’s increased profitability and heightened profile. "Halliburton’s government business doubled while Cheney was CEO."

Yet Cheney also left this firm with a basket of problems after he was elected Vice-President and this may have given him incentive to steer contracts in Halliburton’s direction in order to lessen the pain inflicted on his firm. He pushed through a merger with Dresser Industries, a profoundly disastrous maneuver, given the backbreaking liability for asbestos related lawsuits that this company carried. Coincidentally – that word again – Dresser was "the company that gave George H.W. Bush his first job." After Cheney left Halliburton a "grand jury investigation into over-billing and a Securities and Exchange Commission [SEC] investigation into Halliburton’s accounting practices while Cheney was CEO" ensued. That is not all. The company was accused of bribing a "Nigerian tax authority in exchange for contracts to build a liquefied natural gas plant." A French magistrate "was looking into the possibility of bringing charges against Dick Cheney for complicity in the bribery case and allegations that $243 million in secret commissions were paid from the late 1990s to 2002….the United States Justice Department and the SEC are looking into accusations that Halliburton made $180 million in illegal payments to win other contracts in Nigeria."

This points up another festering problem with Halliburton. The French investigation of Cheney’s alleged malfeasance has complicated Washington’s already deteriorating relations with Paris, while Halliburton’s chicanery has contributed mightily to a culture of corruption in West Africa.

After Cheney left, Halliburton stock plummeted precipitously and given the millions of stock options that he still holds, this jeopardized his own personal fortune, not to mention the fortunes of his fellow executives with whom he had become quite close.

Though the author does not stress this, his study reveals a critical fault line within state monopoly capitalism. For when Halliburton began to feed ravenously at the government trough, other firms in the same business became angrily resentful, which helped to fuel congressional investigations and adverse publicity. For example, during the Reagan years, Bechtel was the government contractor of choice, as suggested by the prominent role in his administration played by two of their former executives – former Secretary of State George Schulz and former Pentagon chief, Caspar Weinberger. "The rapid rise" of Brown & Root, for example, "brought on a fit of jealousy" from their "biggest rival, Bechtel of San Francisco."

book: The Halliburton Agenda: The Politics of Oil and Money
author: Dan Briody
by Adrian Sorensen
Monday Oct 2nd, 2006 11:52 AM
Beyond Oil or is it GreenWash.

BP, formerly known as British Petroleum, has marketed itself heavily as the greenest oil company, even going so far as to say that they believe BP stands for "Beyond Petroleum." They've been quite successful at working the environmental organizations in their campaign to separate themselves from the dinosaurs like Exxon Mobil. But, with the disclosure this week that their Prudoe Bay pipeline must be shutdown in order to take care of years of neglected repairs, that reputation has suffered a big blow.

But that carefully-crafted "Beyond Petroleum" image led by its green-friendly chief executive John Browne may be in jeopardy as BP deals with the latest blow to its U.S. operations -- the shutdown of its massive Prudhoe Bay, Alaska oil field after a spill from a corroded pipeline.

Now it looks like much of their story was just a Potemkin sham and the drive for profits has overcome their responsibility for taking care of their own equipment. And in this they were aided and abetted by our government who has decided that industry is overregulated.


The announcement about the Prudoe bay pipeline reminded me of another story I read back in March. Back then, a very large spill was found on the pipeline that indicated not all was well.

The spill was discovered early Thursday morning by BP operators visually inspecting lines, Beaudo said. He was not sure how long it took to respond but said the line was quickly blocked and depressurized.

BP workers also shut down Gathering Center 2 in response. Gathering centers separate oil from water and other materials that come out of the ground during drilling.

The spill was about a mile from the gathering center, which processes about 100,000 barrels of Prudhoe Bay's daily production of 470,000 barrels. That oil is fed into the 800-mile trans-Alaska pipeline, which provides nearly 17 percent of domestic oil production and carries about 850,000 barrels per day from all sources.

The spill was not detected by automated leak detection systems, which are geared to automatically shut down pipelines during catastrophic failures.

"They are not necessarily as sensitive to very small leaks at any one time," Beaudo said.

Air monitors measuring high levels of hydrocarbons kept crews away Thursday morning. Beaudo said there could have been an explosion risk as well as a breathing risk for workers.

Even then back in March, Chuck Hamel, a oil industry critic, indicated that the leak was much bigger than BP had admitted and the problem was poor maintenance.

The amount spilled is far greater than BP and government officials are saying, according to oil industry critic Chuck Hamel. Hamel, of Alexandria, Va., said he learned from onsite personnel that the spill volume is closer to 798,000 gallons, which would make it the second largest oil spill in Alaska, second only to the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill of 11 million gallons in Prince William Sound.

Hamel said meters record the volume flowing into the pipe as well as the amount leaving it.

"There's a 798,000 gallon discrepancy," he said in a phone interview.

Tuesday, in an interview with NBC News, a federal official in charge of pipeline safety charged that BP has been doing inadequate maintenance for 15 years.

It is clear that the shutdown of the pipeline should not have been unexpected as the problems along the pipeline have been known for quite a while. While BP was polishing its green sheen, it was also directing its workers to neglect performing the basic maintenance on the pipeline.

"I think this was predictable and preventable," says Phil Flynn, an energy analyst with Alaron Trading Corp.

In fact, allegations about BP's maintenance practices have been so persistent that a criminal investigation now is under way into whether BP has for years deliberately shortchanged maintenance and falsified records to cover it up.

The criminal probe was triggered by Chuck Hamel, a longtime nemesis of the oil companies and advocate for oil workers.

"They're playing the Russian roulette up there," he says.

Hamel says a dozen past and current BP employees came to him claiming they'd been told to cut back on a chemical put into the system to retard rust and corrosion, and to falsify records. A federal official confirms that many of these workers have also talked to the FBI.

"They were telling me that they were not properly injecting the corrosion inhibitors into the system," says Hamel.

Does he think it was deliberate?

"Absolutely," he says, "to save money."

This week, in announcing the shutdown, BP acknowledged that a key maintenance procedure to check for sludge — known as "pigging" — had not been performed in more than a decade.

It looks like BP's GREENWASH has been just as manufactured as Chevron's "People Do" campaign where more money was put into the ads than put into programs that the ads talked about.

The solution is to stop killing the Electric Car and seriously start kicking our oil habit. We can't afford the never-ending oil wars nor the destructive damages that come from large petroleum companies proclaiming their environmental credentials while neglecting their responsibilities to the people and our environment.

The worrisome thing is that BP is not the worst oil company. Shell's probably in the same camp.
by Nancy Becker
Monday Oct 2nd, 2006 11:59 AM
The internal memo, a proposal from PR firm Nichols-Dezenhall, outlines tactics such as the creation of phoney front groups and spying on activists to undermine pioneering laws that protect the environment. Unfortunately the Chemistry Council is just one of many industry front groups dedicated to making sure nothing interferes with corporate profits.

Why is the American Chemistry Council (ACC) taking proposals for spying and hiding behind front groups to covertly campaign against more chemical safety testing?

First a little background. On its website, the Council proclaims itself to be "committed to improved environmental, health and safety performance through Responsible Care, common sense advocacy designed to address major public policy issues, and health and environmental research and product testing."

Sounds all fine and dandy doesn't it? But as the document helps evidence, the Council is really a lobbying body funded by the chemistry industry. Their unwritten mission is to ensure industry profits are not hindered by government regulations.


One concept the chemical industry really doesn't like is called the precautionary principle. This means that new chemicals must be proved safe before they can be produced on environmental and health grounds. This principle is becoming established in laws in Europe but has yet to gain a foothold in the US.

What the US chemicals industry really fears is that new laws on chemicals being debated in the EU will inspire new laws in the US. The proposed EU laws place more emphasis on protection the environment and health. So the industry is fighting tooth and nail against the new laws in Europe with, of course, help from the corporate-friendly US administration.

To prevent the precautionary principle gaining a foothold in California the memo, obtained by the Environmental Working Group through an undisclosed source, recommends to ACC members that they pay US$120,000 a year to Public Relations and 'marketplace defence' firm, Nichols-Dezenhall. This firm reportedly hires former FBI and CIA agents to conduct selective intelligence gathering about the plans, motivations and allies of opposition. The memo says Nichols-Dezenhall would also create an independent watchdog group to act as an information clearinghouse and attack the precautionary principle laws in public and media forums.

The memo is a rare, but not unique, glimpse into the murky world of front groups, misinformation and smears that typify the lengths certain companies and industries go to prevent effective regulation. Of course the ACC website contains no reference to the memo or such tactics. The site crows about how members are signed up to its voluntary Responsible Care program to prevent harm to the environment. But scratch the surface of the programme and all is not so rosy.


By Dictating US Energy Policy, Exxon Dictates World Energy Policy

ExxonMobil Chemical is a member of the ACC. And Exxonmobil/Esso is no stranger to using front groups to undermine environmental protection. In September last year another leaked memo revealed that the Competitive Enterprise Institute was suing the US Environmental Protection Agency seemingly with the collusion of another part of the Bush Administration. The lawsuit was an attempt to gag a report on climate change that would contradict the Bush stance of doing nothing. ExxonMobil just happens to be a leading funder of the Competitive Enterprise Institute. That will be responsible care for the climate then?

To combat concerns over genetically engineered (GE) foods, Monsanto uses PR companies who create fake online citizens to denounce the scientists and environmentalists who were critical of GE crops. These fake citizens reportedly started a campaign that succeeded in getting one of the world's foremost scientific journals to do something it has never done before: retract a published paper on GE contamination of crops. Monsanto is another member of the ACC. Fake online citizens and disinformation must be part of the "common sense advocacy designed to address major public policy issues" of Responsible Care.

Greenpeace and over a hundred survivors of the 1984 Bhopal disaster today set up signs to cordon off toxic land left by Union Carbide after the company abandoned the factory and land in 1984.

Greenpeace and over a hundred survivors of the 1984 Bhopal disaster today set up signs to cordon off toxic land left by Union Carbide after the company abandoned the factory and land in 1984.

The much vaunted Responsible Care program is the result of the world's worst industrial disaster when a Union Carbide pesticide plant exploded in Bhopal, India, in 1984. Toxic gas leaked from the poorly maintained and understaffed plant owned by Union Carbide, killing up to 20,000 people to date and leaving 120,000 chronically ill. Dow Chemical took over Union Carbide and is a proud member of the Responsible Care program. But 20 years on the plant, abandoned on the night of the disaster, still bleeds poisons into the groundwater of the surrounding communities. Survivors have received little or no compensation.

Closer to home Dow has been working hard to avoid cleaning up the toxic pollution around its global headquarters in Michigan. Dioxin pollution was discovered downstream from the plant up to 80 times the state safety level. Rather than clean it up, Dow has attempted to negotiate raising the state safety level to absolve itself of responsibility. So the residents of Bhopal and Michigan should obviously take with a large pinch of salt the claim of Responsible Care "to lead in the development of responsible laws, regulations and standards that safeguard the community, workplace and environment."

So next time you hear an 'expert' in the media expounding a point of view that sounds remarkably similar to the position of a corporate interest, check who is paying for their microphone. If you see a corporation talking up its worthy "voluntary programmes" for protecting the environment, it could just be trying to avoid government regulation that can be enforced by law.
by Putin Norgieaga
Monday Oct 2nd, 2006 5:01 PM
"The struggle between people and corporations will be the defining battle of the 21st century. If the corporations win ... democracy will come to an end. The great social democratic institutions which have defended the weak against the strong – equality before the law, representative government, democratic accountability and the sovereignty of parliament – will be toppled. If, on the other hand, the corporate attempt on public life is beaten back, then democracy may re-emerge the stronger for its conquest. But this victory cannot be brokered by our representatives. Democracy will survive only if the people in whose name they govern rescue the state from its captivity." George Monbiot


1. Environmental History of BP
2. Environmental History of Tyumen Oil Company (TNK)
3. War for Oil
4. TNK-BP Environmental Policy
5. Russian Environmental Protest
6. George Galloway versus TNK-BP London
7. Guy Taylor Goes to Russia
8. The Anticorporate Association in London
9. What Hope for the Future?
10. Appendix I. BP Goal 2001
11. Appendix II. Russian oil demonstration photos
12. Appendix III. Shingarkin: Enquiry Of A Citizen (3 letters)
13. Appendix IV. Oleniev Letter To G. Galloway, MP
14. Appendix V. George Galloway Letter To Lord John Browne
15. Appendix VI. BP Letter To George Galloway
16. Appendix VII. Guy Taylor Interview


BP-Amoco(3) was among the top 10 polluters in the U.S. Between 1989 and 1997 they ranked between the 5th and 9th largest toxic emitters under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Toxic Release Inventory.

In 1995, Lord Browne(4) – whose lifetime work had been with British Petroleum (BP) – had meanwhile become their Chief Executive Officer (CEO), aged 47.

In 1999, BP-Amoco won the special Greenhouse GreenWash Award. The publicity surrounding oil companies was not good. "When toxic chemicals are spilled, forests destroyed, employees left in poverty, or communities devastated through plant shutdowns, corporations view these as unimportant side effects outside their area of concern. But when the company 's stock price dips, that's a disaster." wrote Robert Hinckley.

In December of 1999, feeling the heat, Lord Brown responded,

"The old order, symbolized by the remote and arrogant corporation, convinced of its own virtue and invincibility, is passing. The new order is neither comfortable nor predictable; but it reminds us that companies, however big, are simply servants of society. We exist only because someone wants to buy what we provide. In a complex world, the companies that thrive will be those that can combine the traditional strengths, like a strong financial balance sheet and a great portfolio of assets, with something new: the capacity to listen and to learn."(5)

The environmentalists were not pacified. In 2000, 100 BP-Amoco shareholders signed a petition against the BP-Amoco’s controversial plan for oil exploration in Alaska.

Between 2000 – 2002, Sharon Beder wrote, "BP planned to spend $200m rebranding its facilities, changing its signs and stationery and another $400m on advertising its gasoline and pushing the new logo…

In the end, despite BP's rhetoric about social responsibility, triple bottom lines and enlightened self-interest, profits seem to count most. An oil company might invest in solar energy and admit that global warming should be prevented, but it will do all it can to ensure it can go on drilling for fossil fuels and expanding its markets for them." More


The Siberian Samotlor oil field(7) in Russia was declared an ecological disaster in June 2000.(8) Samotlor was owned by Tyumen Oil Company (TNK), and BP-Amoco.(9)

In 2002, talks were underway between BP and TNK.

Meanwhile, on 19 November 2002, the tanker, Prestige, on its way to Singapore, sank off Spain’s north-western coast with a 70,000 - ton cargo of oil. The Prestige family tree was intentionally confusing. Prestige was owned by a Liberian company, Mare International, which itself was reputedly owned by a Greek. The ship was registered with Bahamas Maritime Authority, with offices in London. It carried oil for Crown Resources, a company formed in Gibraltar, based in London with (mostly) British directors, which moved to Switzerland. Crown Resources was, in turn, owned by the Russian Alpha Group Consortium. Alpha Group was founded and controlled by a member of the ‘new oligarchy,’ Mikhail Freedman(10), (also Fridman; Friedman) then owner of Tyumen Oil Company (TNK). It was never made clear if the oil on Prestige was from the Russian oil fields.

TNK had a history of corruption and other dubious practices. Further, a TNK contract with Halliburton(11) was being questioned. In May 2003, Friends of the Earth said the compensation payments offered for the Prestige oil spill were a "grim joke."
And in November of 2003, FOE reported that victims might never receive full compensation for their losses. Control and regulation appeared to be lacking whilst communities paid the price. FOE drew up a document making pertinent suggestions (PDF document).

TNK had decided, before its 50-50 ownership with BP, to spend $900m on programs to protect the environment. This amount doubled with BP’s cooperation.


On February 15th 2003, the world exploded with the largest demonstrations ever known in history. ‘Black Propaganda’ had failed. The connection between government policy and oil was understood, and rejected. (See more information about these connections in Siberian Shadowlands, Part II, 3.)


By 2003, the vast oil fields (+ pollution) in Siberia were owned by TNK-BP.(12) The key power people in this corporation are Lord John Browne(13) and Mikhael Freedman(14). This company employs almost 100,000 people. Halliburton(15) was hired to help revitalize these fields. Halliburton reported that Samotlor(16) oil production had increased, as a result of their techniques, from 30 tons of oil per day per well in 2000, to 117 tons per day per well in 2004.

The first discussion on the TNK-BP website is ‘Our Company,’ with descriptions of its history, strategic overview, code of business conduct, corporate governance and contact information. This description takes precedence over people and the environment, which are then discussed in a lower hierarchical place. Environment and Safety effuses:

"Since Day 1, the Company leadership has worked to fulfill its commitment ... to the following goals: no accidents, no harm to people, no damage to the environment. ..." The company spends, it says, "approximately $180 million annually on mitigating operational injuries, damage to property and reducing the negative impact of our operations on the environment as well as upgrading our existing infrastructure." Pipeline leaks are, the company says, the main "environmental problem."

A July 2005 TNK-BP press release announced: "Preventing a Problem is Always Less Expensive Than Mitigating its Consequences." More

The company stated: "We inherited approximately 5000 hectares of polluted soil and hundreds of pits. We have already reclaimed about 400 hectares of polluted soil last year and are going to increase the area of annually reclaimed soil each year… which increases the cost of oil production."

And deforestation? The Russian fire safety requirements say: "deforestation is necessary for the construction of a drilling site, whereas the present-day international practice strives to minimize environmental changes and preserve forests."

TNK-BP then consider ‘corporate social responsibility’.

"The Company’s voluntary commitment to a high level of social responsibility is the foundation of TNK-BP’s social policy."

If one accepts this moral upside-down brief, it all sounds very reasonable. However, this hides the corporate convolutions of TNK-BP board squabbles, power struggles, share-holder complaints, political muscle-flexing, profit-pocketing, ethically questionable tax haven deals and transfer-pricing, and the highjacking of and irresponsibility towards serious environmental issues. More


In March 2005, Project Citizen, The Institute for Globalization Studies (IPROG), and the International Social and Environmental Union, combined to form the Anticorporate Association. The purpose of the new Anticorporate Association was to find "persistent and habitual corporate lawbreakers … and to compel them to be more responsible."

Boris Kagarlitsky is the Director of IPROG. He is a writer(17) and lecturer, and a member of the Transnational Institute
He is 47, married with two children and has been active politically for many years. He became involved with environmental issues in 1988. In April 2005, Boris announced the first meeting of The Russian Social Forum. A larger opposition was taking shape in Russia, with honorable precedents dating back to 1994 with the protest of the Zapatistas(18) in the rainforests of Mexico. Resistance to corporate interests and plundered resources have now become the bedrock of Latin American politics. More

The Russian Social Forum brought students, trade unions, environmental and human rights groups together. One thousand people attended this meeting in Moscow, followed by a demonstration on Pushkin Sq. Their purpose was to discuss tactics directed at present day Russian policies. More

The group decided their first focus would be on TNK-BP. TNK, a member of the group says, was "one of the most criminal and notorious oil corporations." This person said that the company "was always involved in scandals. These were exposed in the press and on television. These scandals were caused by the criminal past of its owners," former window cleaner A. Freedman and Chelsea’s football club owner, R. Abramovich.(19)

People didn’t protest about TNK because they were "either bribed, blackmailed or simply scared of possible violence on the part of TNK."

The Anticorporate Association have demonstrated in five separate regions: Orenburg; Ryazan 26-7 June; Tyumen, 27 July; Voronezh, S. Russia, about 400 kms from the Black Sea, in mid July, and in Moscow 14 September and 14 & 19 November.(20) Group organizational problems and Russian corruption made matters difficult. And campaigning in Russia is hard because the laws are pro-corporate.

After they started their campaign, Simon Zhavoronkov, the 23 yr. old IPROG coordinator, was threatened nine times; one member, Mikhail Sevostianov, was beaten.

Three places were investigated in greater depth: Orenburg, Ryazan and the Siberian Samotlor oil fields.

Orenburg is in S. Russia, on the border with Kazakhstan. 200 meters away from the village of Zhivinka, a pipeline had burst the previous year. "It was like an volcanic eruption from the pipeline. There was huge environmental and social damage. The company cleared up the territory in 2004 and paid a fine of £40. None of the villagers have been reimbursed for the damage caused." A small group picketed in the center of Orenburg.

In Ryazan, a regional capital with 1.5m people, there had been a large oil spill. In addition, some of the oil from this factory had fallen into the river and has now permeated the subsoil.

The group observed rivers and lakes polluted with oil. One oil leak was found in a stream next to the TNK-BP Ryazan oil refinery. The mineral oil, which came from an illegal drainage platform, mixed with water on open ground. The oil permeated the ground, affecting the local residents’ drinking water and also residents along the Listvyanka and finally the Oka River that flows to Moscow.

A spat had developed between TNK-BP and SFAT-Ryazan. No one wanted to accept responsibility for the oil leak. BP denied that any oil was coming from its pipelines at Ryazan. "This oil has nothing to do with us. It's coming from outside our yard." Journalists and environmentalists landed in Ryazan to investigate the matter. TNK-BP guards detained them. The oil continued to leak. Maxim Shingarkin, director of the Citizen Foundation, told BBC Russia that "TNK-BP was paying little attention to the oil leak in Ryazan because it was one millionth of what is spilled at the company’s West Siberian oil fields."(21)

On 30 June 2005 The Association lodged complaints to different authorities,(22) who then said the letters had been lost. They were told to not intervene. "If, in Russia, a corporation does not like a law, it ignores that law," a member of the group wryly observed. One reply was received.

A five point program was sent to TNK-BP, asking them "investigate environmental and social crimes" and to "re-cultivate polluted areas. " They also asked TNK-BP to create a Russian-British environmental observation group to monitor changes. BP did not respond to this letter.

On October 3rd, cases were submitted to the Ryazan regional court, and, as of 23 November, were still being checked.

No individual or above mentioned NGO group has ever had an invitation to any TNK-BP meeting, or had a written or verbal response from TNK-BP in either Russia or the United Kingdom.


On the 26th of July, Mr. V Oleniev, a member of the Ryazan Regional Duma, wrote a letter(23) to George Galloway,(24) UK Respect Member of Parliament. He had received letters, he said, from concerned citizens about oil pollution, which was illegal on health and environmental grounds. He asked Galloway to address BP in London about the urgent measures needed for elimination of environmental pollution in Ryazan.

Galloway wrote(25) to Lord John Browne,(26) Chief Executive of BP on the 28th of July about the "large-scale infringements of environmental protection legislation of the Russian Federation caused by the economic activities of BP." He listed the damage in the Ryazan and Oranberg regions and the 3780 square miles of oil coverage(27) in Samotlor.(28) 10% of the Samotlor devastation had happened, he noted, within the preceding 2 – 3 years.

He asked Browne to "investigate with the utmost urgency these alleged infringements by BP in the specified regions and to arrange the elimination of this pollution." He also asked for a public report "on how much you have spent from January to August 2005 inclusive on ecology, recultivation and rehabilitation and social responsibility in Russia." He asked BP to inform the UK general public and the Russian Federation "on the measures undertaken by the company on restoration of the polluted regions." He concluded: "I believe that prompt action will provide BP with a chance to show that the principles you espouse of openness, honesty and social responsibility are more than mere words."

Lord John Browne did not reply. But on 11 August Lamar McKay, (‘BP’ Group Vice President, Russia and Kazakstan) did reply "on his behalf" from his 1 St. James Sq., London office.(29) "None of these organizations has made any enquiry to BP’s Moscow office on the matters covered in your letter," he wrote. He speaks of money spent on "legacy remediation and safety improvements" as well as "pipeline replacement and anti-corrosion work " which are intended to improve and address the environmental performance of TNK-BP. He writes of contacts with NGOs. BP had not, he wrote, made a separate report on TNK-BP’s "environmental performance" and refers to the May ’05 report which "notes that environmental issues are high on TNK-BP’s agenda." Actions taken by TNK-BP are described in this report, he wrote. He

1. denied TNK-BP was responsible for the Ryazan oil spill.

2. said the TNK-BP subsidiary company oil spill at Orenberg had been cleaned up and the company had paid the fine.

3. said the aerial photograph was taken in 2000, before the formation of TNK-BP.


Simon Zhavoronkov visited London from 13 – 15 September. He approached the Respect Party in the hopes of getting Respect involved in their Russian campaign against TNK-BP. John Rees, the national secretary of Respect, then introduced Simon to Guy Taylor(30) from the Globalize Resistance office. Guy spoke with Simon on behalf of Respect concerning the campaign and potential actions in the UK. "I met with Simon a couple of times before going to Russia," Guy said. "Simon wanted (and still does!) George Galloway to make the journey. The campaigners in Russia believe an MP going to Moscow, and perhaps Siberia, will add more weight and power to their campaign." First, however, Guy was invited to Russia in order to form a stronger relationship between all the activists and Respect.

On 30 September, Guy traveled, on behalf of Respect(31), to Nizhnevartovsk in Western Siberia with Simon Zhavoronkov and Maxim Shingarkin to inspect oil spills and leaks in the TNK-BP run Samotlor Oil Fields. In Guy’s report to Respect he wrote, "The best way of getting an overall view of the damage done to the area is from the sky, so we rented a helicopter and flew over the area for more than an hour. We were accompanied by a security official from either TNK-BP itself or the FSB (domestic branch of the reformed KGB)." He was prohibited from filming or taking photographs.

"What we saw was devastation - oil deposits up to a couple of hundred meters wide, some as much as a kilometer long.

These were particularly prevalent alongside roads and near to small extraction yards which had anywhere from 2 to 15 working pumps, connected to larger storage facilities by a network of pipelines, where there were more incidences of leaks onto the ground.

Most yards had at least a small spillage beside them and some had much larger deposits.

Further afield, the onset of autumn being very mild this year, the forest was green and plush.

After the helicopter journey we then went by car to the edge of the security-protected oil field, travelling into the area on foot, through woods and over marshes. On this expedition we photographed many comparatively small deposits of oil, sitting in ditches and on the ground, making areas of lifeless swamps surrounded by a border of a few meters which were entirely devoid of any sign of life.

Nearby there was much evidence of the presence of TNK-BP, the distinctive blue and white trucks and huts. There was also a regular occurrence of many silver birch trees chopped down to provide a rough and ready track over swamps and oil spills.

Some areas were flattened by the pollution. Others, presumably more recent, were marked by skeletal trees, many at unnatural angles, about to fall.

Where oil is no longer on the ground, having seeped into the ground, black scars which appeared like the damage from a fire remained. On closer inspection, it was the remains of a spill rather than a fire, with drying oil encrusted onto every surface.

The next day we managed to drive into the heart of the oil field, having walked through woods again to avoid security. Here we saw much more drastic pollution. Huge swamps, ones we had seen from the air the previous day, lay on the ground. There was one area that had been cleaned up and re-cultivated, as TNK-BP had been ordered to do by environmental agencies, but it was a tiny area compared to the untreated swathes of oil swamps there. This time we managed to record film footage of the spills, and short statements from ourselves to camera stating where we were and why we were there."

A press conference was held in Moscow on October 2nd. About 20 journalists, and a TNK-BP representative attended. "It was a big success. We managed to get considerable coverage in the Russian press," Guy said.


The Anticorporate Association decided to visit London to find solidarity with others. They wanted UK Parliamentary questions asked, pressure put on BP and street protests in London. This was a good idea, Guy thought. "The penalties for protesting in Russia are enough to scare the best of us, and illegal intimidation by corporate interests is formidable."

At a press conference on October 13th, George Galloway joined Boris Kagarlitsky, Simon Zhavoronkov and Guy Taylor in a condemnation of the drilling activities of TNK-BP. They noted that the amount spent on safety and environmental concerns by TNK-BP amounted to 4.67% of the amount paid out in dividends to shareholders at the end of 2004.

Guy Taylor said, "Funny way of expressing a priority, that. Take a closer look at TNK-BP's accounts: Given the amount of noise and gloss that BP make on their environmentally friendly image, it's worth knowing that it doesn't wash with us. This from a company that puts out press releases entitled: Ecology, Our Priority."

Activists then gathered outside the London BP office. Simon led chants of "BP out of Russia, Clean up Siberia," "Freedman out of Russia," and "BP Blair, Hands off Russian Oil!"

"The campaign will continue. BP would be better off just cleaning up the mess. Campaigns like this can be a real pain in the arse, you know?" said Guy.


Parliamentary hearings are alleged to be "under threat." Sergey Sobyanin was a governor of Tyumen and is now President Putin’s "Chief of the Kremlin." Vladislav Surkov, once connected with Alpha and TNK’s lobby group, is now Vice President. "What chance do NGO’s have?" asked Simon.

A Human Rights Watch document says that "In July 2005, at a meeting of human rights activists in the Kremlin, President Putin lashed out at environmental groups: "Ecological expertise must not hinder the development of the country and the economy. As soon as we start to do anything, one line of attack against us always has to do with ecological problems... At the same meeting, President Putin also said Russia would not tolerate foreign funding for political activities. He did not define "political activities."

In Russia: Draft Law Would Eviscerate Civil Society, the Human Rights Watch document said that on 23 November, the State Duma had "the first reading for legislation that would tighten government control over Russian civil society groups and force foreign organizations in Russia to close." If adopted, Human Rights Watch says, "the law would have far reaching consequences for Russia’s already severely weakened civil society. It would require all non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) to register ahead of the upcoming national elections, would prohibit foreign NGOs from operating in the country, and would give the government wide discretion to interfere in the work of NGOs."

"The new draft law on NGOs is targeted at what is perceived to be 'revolutionary activity,' or the alleged role of foreign organizations in instigating public protests and popular revolutions … to include Human Rights Watch, the National Democratic Institute, anti-AIDS and environmental groups who could be prevented from operating in Russia unless they could reinvent themselves as local organizations."

I asked Simon what other groups would be affected. He replied: "this means organizations such as Greenpeace, WWF and also organizations sponsored by foreigners. The results of their inspections could be ‘used by a foreign intelligence service’, the government claims."

"This law", Simon says, "passed in the first readers. Participants in an unsanctioned picket before the State Duma were arrested and are still (24 November) imprisoned."

TNK-BP and the Russian government need to address questions from the Russian environmentalists, whose interests focus on truth and the plight of Russia, and, exponentially, our planet. Corruption, huge corporate incomes, the marriage between corporations and governments, and environmental poison are an anathema, a blight to be remedied as soon as possible.

"NGOs remain among the last independent voices that can criticize the government and demand accountability in Russia."
Holly Cartner , Executive Director , Europe and Central Asia Division

[1] Isaac Levitan 1860 - 1900.
[2] Monbiot, George, Captive State, Pan Books, London, 2001, p. 17
[3] See Siberian Shadowlands, Part I: 2
[4] See Siberian Shadowlands, Part II:1, Lord John Browne
[5] Also see Appendix I; BP Goals 2001
[6] See Siberian Shadowlands, Part I. TNK history to the present day is discussed.
[7] See Siberian Shadowlands, Part I:3, Samotlor
[8] Russian Federation - Energy and environment review, World Bank, Washington, 6 June 2000, p.20
[9] See Siberian Shadowlands, Part I.2 History of Halliburton and TNK
[10] See Siberian Shadowlands Part I. 1
[11] See Siberian Shadowlands Part I.2
[12] 50% @ BP + Alpha Group, Renova & Access Industries. Shareholders also own 50% of Slaveneft. which will be integrated with TNK-BP.
[13] Siberian Shadowlands Part II.1
[14] Siberian Shadowlands, Part I.4
[15] Moscow address: Business-center "Meridien", 18 floor 24 D, ul. Smolnaya, 125445
[16] Siberian Shadowlands, Part I.3, Samotlor.
[17] See also Russia’s Worst Competitive Advantage
[18] Paul Kingsnorth, One No, Many Yeses, The Free Press, London 2003
[19] See Siberian Shadowlands Part I.4
[20] See Appendix II, photographs
[21] See Appendix IV, Russia’s Worst Competitive Advantage, 11 July 2005.
[22] See Appendix III, letters dated 30 June 2005.
[23] See Appendix V, Oleniev letter to Galloway
[24] Galloway; transcript of statement to Senate May 2005
[25] See Appendix VI, Galloway letter to Lord John Browne
[26] See Siberian Shadowlands Part II.1
[27] Based on January 2005 analysis from the satellite LNDSAT-7"
[28] Topography of the Siberian Ob River and its tributary, the Irysch River.
[29] See Appendix VII, McKay letter to Galloway (pdf). The errors contained in this letter are discussed throughout Part III. A discussion of this letter, to include McKay errors, can be found (subscription) in Nov. ’05 issue of Ikey int. oil magazine, Russian Petroleum Investor
[30] See Appendix VIII and
[31] GuyTaylor’s report to Respect can be read on the Full Respect Report

"We will pursue our business with integrity, respecting the different cultures and the dignity and rights of individuals in all the countries where we operate. BP supports the belief that human rights are universal. They are enshrined in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which we support. The Charter sets out the obligations to promote universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction as to race, gender, language or religion. The promotion and protection of all human rights is a legitimate concern of business. In our actions and our dealings with others, we will:
- respect the rule of law
- promise only what we expect to deliver, make only commitments we intend to keep, not knowingly mislead others and not participate in or condone corrupt or unacceptable business practices
- fulfil our obligations and commitments, treat people according to merit and contribution, refrain from coercion and never deliberately do harm to anyone
- act in good faith, use company assets only for furthering company business and not seek personal gain through abuse of position in the company
We will expect the same commitments from third parties directly acting on BP's behalf."


From Shingarkin M.A, Director - 30 June 2005

Federal service on supervision in sphere of the rights of consumers and well-being of the person
103055, Moscow, Vadkovskyi per., 18/20

Center of the State sanitary-and-epidemiologic supervision of Ryazan Region
Ryazan, ul. Ostrovskogo, b. 51?

Federal Wildlife Supervision Service
123995, Moscow, ul. B. Gruzinskaya, b. 4/6,

Central Department of Federal Service of the Wildlife Supervision in Ryazan Region 390044, Ryazan region, Ryazan, Moscow shosse, b. 12

Federal Service on Environmental, Technological and Nuclear Supervision
109147,Moscow, ul. Taganskaya, b. 34, corp. 1

Central Department of Federal Service on Environmental, Technological and Nuclear Supervision

(according to Clauses 33, 42 of the Constitution of Russia, Clause 8 of the Federal Law «On sanitary-and-epidemiologic well-being of the population»)

I address to you with the request to undertake urgent measures in connection with the facts of environmental contamination in city of Ryazan.
At territory of the Ryazan Refinery (RNPK) owned by TNK-BP corporation, part of "Alpha-Group" Consortium, from under the aperture in the fence of enterprise starts a stream to the width up to 2 meters, depth up to 1 meter and extent about 100 meters of water polluted by mineral oil. Stream origins in the territory of TNK-BP refinery, where in it longs for 400 meters. Dumps of mineral oil occur directly on open ground. I assume, that, being filtered through a ground, mineral oil penetrates in the Listvjanka river, and from it – right into the Oka river.
However under the statement of representatives of the company the source of the given pollution is outside of the territory of RNPK.
Other fact of environmental contamination is dump of mineral oil into the natural reservoir which was earlier settled down outside the territory of RNPK and then was captured by the enterprise and attached to protected territory of RNPK. I assume, that the given reservoir can be connected with the small river Listvjanka or subsoil waters, that in turn assumes hit of mineral oil into a river system of the Oka.
The administration has recognized that in the given reservoir the drains of the storm industrial water containing mineral oil are being dumped.
The inhabitants who have informed on pollution, believe, that the given infringements occur already for some years.
Pollution of ground, water objects by mineral oil directly is forbidden by operating Russian legislation: clauses 13, 42 of the Ground Codes of the Russian Federation, clauses 98, 104, 106 of the Water Codes of the Russian Federation, clauses 3, 46 of the Federal law "On protection of the environment".
I consider, that the facts of environmental contamination mentioned above infringe the right of citizens to the favorable environment, guaranteed by clause 42 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, clauses 3, 11 of the Federal laws "On protection of the environment". Dumps of mineral oil can make also a threat for health of inhabitants of the Ryazan region as the polluted waters can get in sources of potable water of the settlements located below on the Oka river.
In correspondence with a clause 11 of the Federal law "On protection of the environment", citizens have the right to address in bodies of the government of the Russian Federation, bodies of the government of subjects of the Russian Federation, institutions of local government and other organizations with complaints, applications and offers concerning protection of the environment, negative influence on an environment, and to receive the duly and proved answers.
The Ryazan oil Refining Company (RNPK) is one of the largest enterprises of the Ryazan region and a source of the high danger. Inhabitants of Ryazan are extremely concerned by the fact of environmental contamination by mineral oil, therefore I address in bodies of the government, authorized to carry out the control and supervision of observance of the nature protection legislation, and I ask you:

1. To lead sanitary-and-epidemiologic investigation of the facts specified in circulation with the purpose of revealing of sources of dumps by mineral oil, and also responsible entities and persons.
2. To make sampling and necessary analyses of ground, water and air for definition of concentration of mineral oil with a view of an establishment of conformity to sanitary rules.
3. To inspect the specified facts with the purpose of finding-out influence of the given dumps on quality of potable water of settlements.
4. To undertake corresponding measures to the elimination of environmental contamination by mineral oil.

On results of checks and the measures undertaken on the basis of our reference in conformity with clause 52 of the Federal law "On sanitary-and-epidemiologic well-being of the population" I ask to inform in writing to the address of: 117449, Moscow, street Bolshaya Cheremushkinskaya, b. 2, corp. 3, fl. 63.

Director, Shingarkin M.A., Resp. Ivanova Y.A.

And also 30 June 2005 letter

To the Public Prosecution Office of Ryazan Region
390023, Ryazan, ul. Vvedenskaya, b. 81

(according to the Federal Law "On Public Prosecution Office of the Russian Federation")

I address to you with the request to undertake urgent measures in connection with the facts of environmental contamination in city of Ryazan.
At territory of the Ryazan Refinery (RNPK) owned by TNK-BP corporation, part of "Alpha-Group" Consortium, from under the aperture in the fence of enterprise starts a stream to the width up to 2 meters, depth up to 1 meter and extent about 100 meters of water polluted by mineral oil. Stream origins in the territory of TNK-BP refinery, where in it longs for 400 meters. Dumps of mineral oil occur directly on open ground. I assume, that, being filtered through a ground, mineral oil penetrates in the Listvjanka river, and from it – right into the Oka river.
However under the statement of representatives of the company the source of the given pollution is outside of the territory of RNPK.
Other fact of environmental contamination is dump of mineral oil into the natural reservoir which was earlier settled down outside the territory of RNPK and then was captured by the enterprise and attached to protected territory of RNPK. I assume, that the given reservoir can be connected with the small river Listvjanka or subsoil waters, that in turn assumes hit of mineral oil into a river system of the Oka.
The administration has recognized that in the given reservoir the drains of the storm industrial water containing mineral oil are being dumped.
The inhabitants who have informed on pollution, believe, that the given infringements occur already for some years.
Pollution of ground, water objects by mineral oil directly is forbidden by operating Russian legislation: clauses 13, 42 of the Ground Codes of the Russian Federation, clauses 98, 104, 106 of the Water Codes of the Russian Federation, clauses 3, 46 of the Federal law "On protection of the environment".
Clauses 250, 254 of the Criminal Codes of the Russian Federation provide the criminal liability for pollution of waters and damage of the ground.
I consider, that the facts of environmental contamination mentioned above infringe the right of citizens to the favorable environment, guaranteed by clause 42 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, clauses 3, 11 of the Federal laws "On protection of the environment". Dumps of mineral oil can make also a threat for health of inhabitants of the Ryazan region as the polluted waters can get in sources of potable water of the settlements located below on the Oka river.
In correspondence with a clause 11 of the Federal law "On protection of the environment", citizens have the right to address in bodies of the government of the Russian Federation, bodies of the government of subjects of the Russian Federation, institutions of local government and other organizations with complaints, applications and offers concerning protection of the environment, negative influence on an environment, and to receive the duly and proved answers.
The Ryazan oil Refining Company (RNPK) is one of the largest enterprises of the Ryazan region and a source of the high danger. Inhabitants of Ryazan are extremely concerned by the fact of environmental contamination by mineral oil.
Therefore I ask to undertake measures of public prosecutor’s reaction according to the Federal law "On Public Prosecutor Office of the Russian Federation" for the elimination of environmental pollution by mineral oil. On the measures accepted on the basis of the inquiry I ask to inform in writing to the address of: 117449, Moscow, street Bolshaya Cheremushkinskaya, b. 2, corp. 3, fl. 63.

Director, Shingarkin M.A., Resp. Ivanova Y.A.


For George Galloway


Dear Colleague!

The Government of the United Kingdom is the biggest shareholder of the BP company. This corporation together with the Russian Consortium "Alpha-group" created the joint company TNK-BP extracting and processing oil in territory of the Russian Federation. One of the enterprises of the multinational corporation is the Ryazan Refinery (RNPK – Ryazansky Neftepererabatyvayushiy Zavod) which is shared for 100 %.
Being the Member of the Ryazan Regional Duma, I receive letters of citizens where there are pointed out dumps of water polluted with mineral oil on open ground caused by the activities of RNPK. The width of dump makes 2 meters, depth about 1 meter and extent about 100 meters.
Other fact of environmental contamination is dump of mineral oil in a natural reservoir directly in territory of the RNPK. A prospective source of pollution of this natural reservoir is superfluous waters of the storm industrial water drain. The given pollution occurs for a few years.
Pollution of ground, water objects with mineral oil is forbidden by the current Russian legislation: clauses 11, 21, 22 of Federal laws "On sanitary-and-epidemiologic well-being of the population", clauses 13, 42 of the Ground Codes of the Russian Federation, clauses 98, 104 of the Water Codes of the Russian Federation, clauses 3, 46 of Federal laws "On protection of the environment".
Citizens consider, that the facts of pollution mentioned above infringe their right to the favorable environment, guaranteed by clause 42 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, clauses 3, 11 of Federal laws "On protection of the environment". Dumps of mineral oil can represent also a threat for health of inhabitants of the Ryazan Region as the polluted waters can penetrate in sources of potable water of the settlements located below on a watercourse of the Oka river.
In connection with that international company British Petroleum is under jurisdiction of the United Kingdom, I ask you to address to a company management with the requirement to take utmost urgent measures to for elimination of environmental pollution at the RNPK.

Member of the Ryazan Regional Duma, V.V. Oleniev


HOUSE OF COMMONS LONDON SW1A 0AA, John Browne - 28th July 2005

BP Group Chief Executive, International Headquarters 1 St James' Square London, SW1Y4PD

Dear John Browne,

BP environmental pollution in Russia

I am writing to you as a representative of the Board of Directors of BP, whose responsibilities include supervision of BP’s observance of environmental protection and social legislation in countries where you have established a presence. My letter is based on information I have received from Russian organizations mentioned below.

Experts in the field of environmental legislation from the International Social-Ecology Union, Citizen Foundation together with a group of environmental monitors from the Institute for Globalization Studies, during scheduled spot checks earlier this year across the territory of Russia, identified a number of large-scale infringements of environmental protection legislation of the Russian Federation caused by the economic activities of BP. These included unauthorized oil emissions and accompanying mineral oil in the following regions:

1. Ryazan region, Central Federal District of Russia - on June, 27th, 2005 near the territory of the Ryazan oil refinery there were fixed dumps of water polluted by mineral oil on open ground; the polluted water came from an illegally established drainage platform;
2. Orenburg region, Ural Federal District of Russia - on April, 24th, 2005 near the pipeline NGDU "Buzuluk Oil" (a BP pipeline) at the village of Zhilinka there was an emission of oil in the form of a fountain to the height of 50 meters and total volume of 400 tons of mineral oil;
3. Samotlor oil-and-gas deposit, Western Siberia — in January, 2005, based on an analysis of data from the satellite LANDSAT-7, there appeared to be oil covering an area of 3780 square km. According to the data analysis, the surface covered by oil exceeded 11,000 hectares, and more than 10% of the polluted territory was covered with the fresh emissions of oil deposited over the preceding 2-3 years. On tentative estimations the quantity of oil per hectare was between 100 and 400 tons.

The Russian BP office has not presented any public information concerning these cases and has ignored inquiries from the above-mentioned organizations. BP has also failed to undertake any measures to address these infringements of environmental law.

I am therefore asking you to investigate with the utmost urgency these alleged infringements by BP in the specified regions and to arrange the elimination of this pollution.

In addition I think it would be a very good idea if you were to present publicly a report in September on how much you have spent from January to August 2005 inclusive on ecology, recultivation and rehabilitation and social responsibility in Russia and to inform the general public of the United Kingdom and the Russian Federation on the measures undertaken by the company on restoration of the polluted regions.

I believe that prompt action will provide BP with a chance to show that the principles you espouse of openness, honesty and social responsibility are more than mere words.

Yours sincerely,
George Galloway MP

Guy Taylor is a quiet spoken, very likable person. He is totally dedicated to his anti-war, anti-corporate vision. He was born in Kent in 1966. He never studied at University. "I screwed up my A Levels," he said. He then attended Brighton College of Technology, dropping out of the software engineering course when he was elected President of the Student Union. He set up Globalize Resistance, which has attracted a very large following. He is presently involved with the Climate March in London on 3 December. Then he will go to Hong Kong for the WTO protests, traveling via South Korea to join up with peasant activists from Korea.

When did the idea of setting up Globalize Resistance occur to you?

"The idea came after the IMF/World Bank demonstration in Prague in 2000. There had been 2 separate mobilizations: the hard left (socialist and anarchist) and the NGO's - especially Jubilee 2000 / Drop the Debt.

The original idea of Globalize Resistance was to create a broad and inclusive mobilization for Genoa in July 2001. We set up a conference which would tour the country with speakers from the left, NGOs, commentators (George Monbiot, John Pilger, etc), unions and others. The state was found to be involved in canceling our venues - twice in London Imperial College and Goldsmiths, once in Manchester. When Monbiot mentioned this in the Guardian, and printed my mobile number at the end of the article, the bookings went through the roof. We had over 1500 people at the London event and almost 5000 in total around the country.

Soon afterwards we organized a meeting at Conway Hall in central London entitled "Preparing for Genoa" with no big name speakers. It was to be an organizing meeting and we expected about 30 -40 people to come. On the night 250 showed up, the police were outside filming and the place was buzzing. It was at that point where it was obvious the thing was more than a mobilization to just the one protest. Instead of the 4 planned working groups set up that night - we planned fundraising, mobilizing, networking and transport / logistics - we had 10 working on things like MayDay, women and globalization, climate change and such like. Soon afterward, I packed in my photography course at the local college and rented a small office in Mile End. We set up an open steering committee, but that was regularly getting 70 - 100 at each meeting. It was too unwieldy and things moved very slowly, so we set up an activists conference and elected a smaller committee there with about 20 people or so from all different parts of the movement."

What is the main focus of Globalize Resistance?

"This varies as the situation progresses. After Genoa, we were set on an anti-corporate course. GAP had been hit on international women's day. We held a small but significant campaign against the pharmaceutical companies. Then 9/11 happened. We were one of the first groups to help forge the Stop the War Coalition - one of our proudest achievements. It became the biggest social movement ever known in UK history.

We have a history of lots of smaller things: against pharmaceutical corporations, the Get Kissinger campaign, international solidarity actions, helping to organize and build the European Social Forum and the World Social Forum - that kind of thing.

Now we're turning the spotlight on environmental campaigns - especially on TNK-BP in Siberia and the damage they are doing there, and on Climate Change. We're very much a part of the Campaign Against Climate Change and want to make this a central issue for protesters and public alike."

For how long has Globalize Resistance been 'on line?’

"Since very soon after we started. In fact, I started sending out weekly emails to people who had signed up for the original London conference as we booked more speakers, arranged more workshops and changed the venues after they'd been cancelled! Those mails mutated into the emails that our members and supporters are still subjected to now!"

How has Globalize Resistance developed over the years?

"We've made things up as we go along. We can't set agendas ourselves; the political situation we are in does that. We've had to be adaptable, I think it's been in four overlapping and indistinct phases:

1. Genoa, more anti-corporate activity, lots of small mobilizations and about 5 - 10 projects going at any one time.
2. Post 9/11, focused on building a huge anti war movement in the UK.
3. Lots of international mobilizations - against the EU, the IFIs and such like. Within these mobilizations we tried (and largely succeeded) to export the antiwar movement ideas across Europe and further afield.
4. The Social Forums. Florence in 2002 was an amazing experience and Paris and London in the proceeding years were both good boosts to the movement. They took a lot of time and resources to prepare.

I think we're returning to a time more like number 1 above, but with elements of 2 - 4 included. It is hard to predict... "

Could you tell me some of the Globalize Resistance highlights for you?

"Personally it would be hard to beat getting 1500 people to Genoa, an historic protest. Others include: Kissinger has not been back to the UK (as far as we know) since we protested at his last appearance for the Institute of Directors back in April 2002. I enjoyed the Seville anti-EU mobilization enormously - met some fantastic people, experienced a national general strike for the first time. The Florence ESF was unforgettable. A small delegation of us went to New York for the WEF protest in Feb 2002 and marched through Manhattan months after 9/11 with an antiwar banner."

Is there anything else you would like to say?

"The anti-capitalist movement, or global justice movement, is an inspiration. Never before have we had such a vibrant and massive movement. Just a glance at Latin America shows what is possible (and what is at stake). There have been arguments and splits but that is natural. What matters is that the defensiveness of some corporations and the sensitivity of the state are obvious. Labour is trying to clampdown on every form of dissent for a reason. Corporations like BP portray themselves as environmentally friendly because they're scared what might happen to them.

I don't believe in people getting 'burned out' by working too hard. We all need a break or a holiday every now and then, but there's so much at stake we have to push it harder all the time.
When we are looking at changing the world, we have to take into account where mass consciousness lies, what is achievable in the immediate and short term future and where best we can put our efforts. It is not about protest heroics; it is about encouraging, convincing and inspiring the mass of people. I hope we are contributing towards that."
by John McNight
Monday Oct 2nd, 2006 5:06 PM
Halliburton is of Brown & Root, a company that obtained government contracts via Lyndon B. Johnson during the New Deal. They also took most of the government contracts during the Second World War, Korean War and Vietnam War. It was all done by controlling the chairman of key Senate Committees and having their people holding key posts in the government such as Secretary of the Navy, Secretary of Defense and Secretary of the Treasury.

Not that this is common knowledge. This group of Texans (sometimes known as the Suite 8F Group) bought into Operation Mockingbird (a CIA project to control the US domestic media). However, the web has undermined this project.

The key point made by Bryce and Briody is that this is really an economic issue. The politics of all this is about making money out of their ideology. It does not matter who the US is fighting, it is the spending this goes on it that is important.

Global military spending is $956bn and rising. US spends 40% of this. Most is spent with companies based in Texas.

In 1963 John F. Kennedy tried to deal with the Texas stranglehold over government policy. However, he underestimated the power of the Suite 8F Group.

book: Cronies: Oil, the Bushes, and the Rise of Texas
author: Dan Briody
by William Boerer
Monday Oct 2nd, 2006 5:48 PM
Per the Sustainable Industries Journal,
the Pentagon has blocked the construction of 16 Wind Energy sites in the USA.
The military claims the Wind Farms are a threat to national security.
Maybe the Wind Farms are a threat to Big Oil and Big Coal?

Who Killed the Electric Car?

and the DESTRUCTION of the POOR


We've been depending on the internal combustion engine (ICE) for more than 100 years and over all that time the efficiency of the ICE has climbed to just under 15%. The remaining 85% is waste heat, unfired combustibles.

For every $10 bill you put in your gas tank, $8.50 is wasted. It's not that 85% of that gasoline didn't produce anything, it means that only 15% was used to turn the wheels. The 85% produced waste heat, unburned chemicals.

We're addicted. And an addict will do most anything to satisfy their addiction. Money will be found, people might get hurt, and we'll make deals with anyone to get what we want. We depend on foreign imports for over 50% of our oil. If this sounds familiar it's because it's the same scenario that preceded the 'Energy Crisis' more than 20 years ago.

Our trusted trading partners (the dealers) flooded the market with cheap gasoline (the drug) and we (the addicts) of course just started using more. Then they cut the supply and raised prices. The cost to the nation was incredible. The cost to Detroit and the Big 3 was even worse. Suddenly, there was a market for smaller, high mileage cars and Japan was there to take that market.

D J VU IN 1999?
We're importing about the same, still making deals with anyone, the drug is cheaper than it's ever been (adjusted for inflation), we're using more (SUV's), and driving more than ever. It's obvious we don't have a clue.

Saddam Hussien was a dealer. We knew he was unstable and couldn't be trusted, but he was OUR dealer. We depended on him. Things you normally wouldn't even think about doing aren't an obstacle when you're addicted.

When Saddam moved in on Kuwait (another dealer) our supply was threatened. It was war. Our addiction is so strong we are willing to send our own children to war for gasoline.

Most drug addicts wouldn't go that far but for us it's a logical step. We were willing to use up natural resources regardless of the consequences. We were willing to pollute the air, the land and the water. Our kids can see their air.

As kids we dreamed of the day we'd get our drivers license. The fact that we're willing to sacrifice lives for gasoline is unthinkable, but that is our policy and what it says about our values is worse. We pay more for a gallon of coke, than a gallon of gasoline. Or do we?

The cost of gasoline at the pump includes a tax which is meant for infrastructure.

Value of clean air?
Value of clean rivers, lakes, ponds, drinking water?
Value of Natural Resources?
Value of quality of life?
Cost of military defense of 'our' oil ?

The cost of our military defense of our oil is a tangible amount. It's estimated that if that cost were included, the price of oil from the Middle East would be $100 per barrel. The cost at the pump would be at least $3 per gallon. Instead of including that cost in taxes at the pump, it's being paid by every taxpayer regardless of whether they drive or not or how many miles they drive. Instead of a tax policy that promotes efficiency, we build the best highway system in the world but not the best schools. Our tax code allows corporations such as Exxon a tax deduction for the cost to clean up the oil spill from the Valdez.

The CAFE standards were introduced to increase automobile efficiency but due to industry lobbying these standards have been frozen for the past 5 years and Congress just did it again in 1999.

This can only happen when the true cost of gasoline is levied at the pump. This is also known as a tax shift and in this case we'll pay those taxes at the pump and not from payroll deductions.

The increase in the cost of gas would raise demand for high mileage (energy efficient) automobiles. Manufacturers, using currently available technology can and would build cars whose efficiency would eliminate the need to import oil. This would go a long way toward eliminating our trade imbalance as well as eliminating national security risks due to our dependence on foriegn imports.

In the end, the environment is improved. Although we've grown up believing that it's every American's God given right to drive an automobile, the truth is that everyone has the right to breathe clean air.

It doesn't make any sense that this issue is even being debated. What was sold to the taxpayer was the promise of 'energy so cheap it you couldn't even meter it'. What we have instead is the most expensive electricity, without including the cost for decommissioning or the unknown cost of nuclear waste.

These of course are passed on to you but be aware that you also contributed more than 50 BILLION dollars for it's development.

Here's the Nuclear Waste policy: Remove nuclear waste from nuclear plants all over the country and transport it through most every state, within 1/2 mile of more than 50 million citizens and store it anywhere we can regardless of what the locals residents have to say.

The US Congress is moving ahead with the development of a nuclear waste site in Nevada over the objections of not only the citizens of Nevada but their Senators and Representatives as well. The project will also violate EPA regulations.

Sure we take risks all the time just crossing the street. If your crossing the street to get to work your risk of getting hit by a car is low if you're a law abiding pedestrian. You took a small risk and received a large benefit .. you made it to work and won't be fired today.

The problem with nuclear is we get all the risk and no benefit.

By law nuclear waste becomes the property of the US taxpayer. It's your problem now. The nuclear plant will one day be decommissioned, dismantled and also become your property.

Do you want the waste? Do the folks that produced that waste want it? If nobody wants it ? don't make it.

A nuclear plant is a nuclear waste dump. Why create another and then take the risk of moving it all over the country?

Why be foolish and reckless like the Americans? You can choose an intelligent and responsible energy policy using sustainable technology. Sustainable technology creates long term economic growth with more jobs, a clean environment and healthy people.

Are you going to follow the ignorant Americans?

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