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The real reason our security is compromised (Read 421 times)
abu_rashid
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The real reason our security is compromised
Apr 22nd, 2011 at 10:39am
 
These are the mongrels we should be blaming for our lack of safety and security, not those who are merely defending themselves against such unjust and greedy invasions and occupations.



Britain backed 'fair slice' for big oil in Iraq

Paola Totaro, London
April 20, 2011


BRITISH government ministers discussed plans to exploit Iraq's oil reserves in the months before Britain took a leading role in invading the country, sensational new documents have revealed.

The secret papers, obtained by an oil campaigner and published by The Independent newspaper, are minutes of meetings between senior oil executives and Labour cabinet members. They highlight for the first time the hollow nature of Western governments' denials of national self-interest in the decision to invade Iraq.

The documents, which have not been provided to the ongoing Chilcot inquiry into Britain's involvement, appear to contradict statements made by Shell in 2003 - just before the invasion - that reports of meetings between the company and Downing Street about Iraqi oil were ''highly inaccurate''.

BP had also denied it had any ''strategic interest'' in Iraq, while former prime minister Tony Blair dismissed as absurd what he described as ''the oil conspiracy theory''.

But papers published by the newspaper, covering October and November 2002, show that just five months before the invasion, Baroness Symons, then the trade minister, told BP that the government believed British energy firms should take a share of Iraq's enormous oil and gas reserves as a reward for the country's military commitment to US plans for regime change.

The minutes reveal that the baroness agreed to lobby the Bush administration on behalf of BP as the company feared being ''locked out'' of discussions and deals purportedly being thrashed out between the US, France and Russia - and their oil companies.

''Baroness Symons agreed that it would be difficult to justify British companies losing out in Iraq in that way if the UK had itself been a conspicuous supporter of the US government throughout the crisis,'' a minute from October 2002 read.

The minister pledged to report back before Christmas on her lobbying campaign.

And in November 2002, the Foreign Office invited BP to discuss opportunities posed by ''regime change'', describing Iraq as the big oil prospect and noting that ''BP is desperate to go there and anxious that political deals should not deny them the opportunity''.

Another minute quotes Edward Chaplin, the Foreign Office's then Middle East director, who noted Shell and BP could not afford not to have a stake in Iraq, adding that: ''We were determined to get a fair slice of the action for UK companies in a post-Saddam Iraq.''

Obtained under freedom of information legislation, the documents' release was the result of five years' work by an oil campaigner, Greg Muttitt, and show that at least five high-level meetings were held on the topic in late 2002.

Muttitt's book, Fuel on the Fire, is to be published next week. He said that before the war, Britain went to great lengths to insist it had no interest in Iraq's oil. ''These documents provide the evidence that give lie to those claims,'' he said.

After the war, the 20-year contracts signed were described as the biggest in the history of the oil industry, covering half of Iraq's reserves. This stake, representing some 60 billion barrels of oil, was bought up by companies including BP and CNPC (China National Petroleum Company).

The Independent reported that this joint consortium stands to make $US658 million in profit a year from the Rumaila oil field.

Source: The Age
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