Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Opponents of the Iraq war always insisted oil had a part to play in the 2003 invasion, whatever Western leaders claimed about their desire for regime change.
The theory that Iraq’s oil was of interest to the UK was even dismissed as ‘absurd’ by then prime minister Tony Blair as the British government prepared for the invasion while BP also insisted they had ‘no strategic interest’ in Iraq.
But the real link between oil firms and the Iraq war has now been confirmed after secret documents showed ministers met with senior oil bosses, months before the invasion.

The above is from the Daily Mail's "Blood for oil? Documents reveal talks between Government and oil giants BEFORE invasion of Iraq." The Independent of London broke the story this morning. Paul Bignell (Independent) reports, "The papers, revealed here for the first time, raise new questions over Britain's involvement in the war, which had divided Tony Blair's cabinet and was voted through only after his claims that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction." In a series of meetings in October and November of 2002, British officials made the case -- to oil execs -- that they had a right to Iraqi oil (yes, it is similar to the argument Donald Trump's making currently):

Five months before the March 2003 invasion, Baroness Symons, then the Trade Minister, told BP that the Government believed British energy firms should be given a share of Iraq's enormous oil and gas reserves as a reward for Tony Blair's military commitment to US plans for regime change.
The papers show that Lady Symons agreed to lobby the Bush administration on BP's behalf because the oil giant feared it was being "locked out" of deals that Washington was quietly striking with US, French and Russian governments and their energy firms.
Minutes of a meeting with BP, Shell and BG (formerly British Gas) on 31 October 2002 read: "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."

Reuters notes:

BP told the Foreign Office that Iraq was "more important than anything we've seen for a long time," the newspaper said.
Then trade minister Elizabeth Symons assured the oil group that the government believed British energy firms should be given a share of Iraq's oil and gas reserves, given Blair's commitment to U.S. plans.
"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 U.S. government throughout the crisis," the newspaper cited minutes of a meeting with BP, Shell and BG Group (BG.L) as saying.

The Independent's Patrick Cockburn offers this conclusion, "It has never seemed likely that the US and Britain invaded Iraq primarily for its oil. Reasserting US self-confidence as a super-power after 9/11 was surely a greater motive. The UK went along with this in order to remain America's chief ally. Both President Bush and Tony Blair thought the war would be easy. But would they have gone to war if Iraq had been producing cabbages? Probably not." AFP (link has text and video) notes, "A new book by oil campaigner Greg Muttitt claims oil was one of the UK Government’s main strategic considerations for going to war in Iraq and that there was collusion with oil companies."

The following community sites -- plus Tavis Smiley, Military Families Speak Out, Jane Fonda, Antiwar.com and War News Radio -- updated last night and this morning:

And we'll close with this from Nick Mottern's "Drones Fly Through Congress to Enter US Skies" (World Can't Wait):

Within weeks and possibly days, President Obama is likely to sign into law a bill that will bring unmanned aerial vehicles - drones - into US general airspace, crisscrossing the country in company with passenger planes and other human-carrying aircraft.

The story of how planes without on-board pilots will gain entry into our crowded airspace, where birds are life threatening, possibly within the next three years, is one involving campaign contributions, jobs and fear. As we will see, safety appears not to be the top priority.

I became aware of the pro-drone legislation from a February 10, 2011, Syracuse Post Standard report that Sen. Charles Schumer (D-New York) was supporting an amendment to the pending Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill (S. 223) that would create test zones for the introduction of drones into general airspace.

The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.

thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends