a timeline by Le Petit Gateaux
In analysing British Petroleum we see how methods of corruption carry through recent history, be it lobbying or government-backed coups. BP is only one of many global companies that exploit people and contort laws in order to profit. In a world of so many interests, why are only a few given precedent to disregard the many? And can this be remediated? Perhaps both corporations and the governments that maintain them should be dissolved.
1901: False icon of “progress” William Knox D’Arcy makes it big in his shareholding of a gold mine. Then, like all good colonizers of his day, he travels to a foreign country (Iran) to expand upon his wealth.
1901-1908: Like something from a biblical story, D’Arcy is granted permission by the Shah to search most of Iran for oil deposits. This begins a seven year pilgrimage, backed by profits not prophets, until D’Arcy strikes gold, that is, black gold, Texas tea. And just in time too….
1908: Oil becomes a more popular commodity as people trade in their bikes and horses for the Ford Model T, just coming off the assembly line.
1909: D’Arcy and Glasgow backers form the Anglo-Persian Oil Company(APOC) to exploit Iran’s natural oil wealth.
1923: APOC heavily lobbies Winston Churchill in order to monopolize all Persian oil resources. And we always wondered where Churchill got those big cigars!
1935: APOC becomes the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company(AIOC)
1951: Iran’s pro-Western cop of a Prime Minister, Ali Razmara, is assassinated. The anti-imperialist Mohammed Mossadeq is elected Prime Minister, and Iran’s Parliament nationalizes the oil industry, displacing AIOC. AIOC in turn organizes an effective multinational boycott of Iranian oil.
1953: Operation AJAX: Newly elected U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower oversees a coup by CIA and its British equivalent, MI6, ousting and imprisoning Mossadeq on August 19th. Iran’s democratic constitution is dismantled and another pro-Western traitor, Fazlollah Zahedi, assumes autocratic power. A few months before this unlawful incident, Eisenhower stated, “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed.” Ike the hypocrite must have wanted a new wardrobe.
1954: AIOC renames itself British Petroleum. for image’s sake… as you don’t want to be tied to a war now, do you?
1959: BP goes beyond the Middle East, into Alaska.
1979: During the Islamic Revolution and the Iran-Iraq war, most oil refineries are destroyed. The new regime of Ayatollah Khomeini signs new contracts with BP instituting a 90-10 split of oil profits, where 90% goes to BP and 10% to Khomeini and his followers.
1979: October. BP is corporatized under British PM Maggie Thatcher and her government’s strategy of privatization and deregulation, which would be
followed by Reagan. Steve Ignorant of Crass declares “Do you really believe in Thatcher? Maggie sucks!”
1984: Standard Oil of California sells off many of its Southeastern US acquisitions, yes including Louisiana, to BP. The beginning of a crime…
1993-1995: In Endicott Island, Alaska, BP illegally dumps paint thinner, hazardous materials, and waste oil for over a year. In 1999 they’ll be required
to pay a fine of merely $500,000.
2005: March. BP Texas Oil Refinery Explosion. Due to cuts on safety and maintenance and a policy of ignoring engineering problems 15 people die, 180 are injured, and nearby residents are forced to remain in their homes for shelter. Inspectors note 270 safety violations. BP is fined $50,000,000.
2006-2007: Prudhoe Bay. BP recognizes that it’s leaked some one million liters of oil from its Alaskan pipeline onto the frozen Arctic tundra and a few months later spilled 2,000 gallons of methanol around the same site. This is again noted as occuring in conjunction with money-saving budget cuts in safety and maintenance. Sound familiar?
2008: Democratic senator Mary Landrieu (LA) receives $17,000 from BP oil giant in one of many lobbying payouts. Look back at Winston Churchill 1923.
2010: April 20th. Deepwater Horizon oil rig explodes and kills 11 workers. Workers had previously expressed concerns over the safety of the rig, but management ignored these claims.