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Time Magazine – A Brief History of BP

Well, well, well… with memories of the Lockerbie’s released bomber, the coalition forces invasion of Iran’s neighbour Iraq and the Gulf of Mexico Oil Disaster still fresh in everyone’s memory and the Americans allegedly intent on neutralising Iran’s nuclear capability with what will amount to Third World War. Oh and don’t forget Iran/Contra. Oh, and don’t forget the Iranian Embassy siege in London of 1980. Oh, and don’t forget the west-funded coup in Iran in 1953…

It appears there are billions of barrels of subterfuge in the long history of BP’s involvement with their asset-partner Persia aka Iran.

Here’s the BP timeline, for those who didn’t know: the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (1908) renamed to the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (1947) renamed to the British Petroleum Company (1954 to present).

BP, the giant multinational now responsible for untold millions of gallons of oil billowing into the Gulf of Mexico, has taken pains in recent years to spruce up its image. Its logo, a flowery pastel helix, beams earthy friendliness while the company’s current tagline — “Beyond Petroleum” — expresses its desire to diversify into sustainable, greener energy. But the scale of the spill — and the seeming inability of the government to staunch the flow without BP’s aid — has provided a stark reminder of the power that Big Oil still holds over national politics and the fate of entire communities that live in its shadow.

BP has long wielded such influence — in fact, the story of its origins is moored in empire and controversy. In 1901, an Australian-British mining magnate named William Knox D’Arcy won a concession from Persia (now Iran) to explore for oil in the country’s rugged, arid southwest. Seven years later, after almost giving up, D’Arcy’s surveyors struck it rich atop a sulfurous patch near where the armies of Alexander the Great had supposedly once seen the lights of black liquid fires burning upon the earth. The Anglo-Persian Oil Company emerged from this discovery and stood in command of what was the greatest oil find of its time. The British government became the company’s major stakeholder on the eve of World War I thanks to the vociferous prodding of Winston Churchill — then the chief of the British navy — who saw in Persia’s wells a bottomless source of fuel for Britain’s modernizing fleet. By the Great War’s end, says BP’s own website, “war without oil would be unimaginable.”

Needless to say, many Iranians were not happy with AIOC’s presence. In 1951, the country’s democratically elected premier, Mohammed Mossadegh, decided to nationalize its holdings. The takeover plunged the world into crisis — an essential pipeline was shut off as the U.K. and the U.S. boycotted Iran and blocked other European technicians from replacing the British ones who had been fired. TIME made Mossadegh Man of the Year in 1951, depicting him, somewhat uncharitably, as a “strange old wizard” leading a hapless, faraway nation into the clutches of Communists. Ultimately, U.S. fears of Soviet influence — and the British desire to regain their oil — led to a joint CIA and British intelligence operation known as “Operation Ajax.” It toppled Mossadegh in a carefully orchestrated 1953 coup and eventually handed the country back to the pro-Western Shah, who assumed autocratic powers. [source TIME]

I find it ironic that the Cold War started, as an Oil War cover(?), in 1947 just about the time of BP’s penultimate renaming. UK a ‘junior partner’ to USA, eh Cameron? With all the Iran/Iraq shenanigins, past, present and future from both sides of the Atlantic, it seems possible to suggest that there’s been a war between the City of London and USA oil magnates since before 9-11 but then the ‘coalition forces’ working together in Iraq and Afghanistan doesn’t make sense. What the hell is going on, in the name of callous commerce, on this ridiculous planet?

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