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Trouble on Oiled Waters–Halliburton, BP, Bush, Cheney and Blair

Com­ment: With the dev­as­ta­tion unfold­ing on the Gulf Coast because of the gush­er BP has unleashed on the human and marine res­i­dents of the area, it is worth con­tem­plat­ing the cor­po­rate ele­ments whose actions have pre­cip­i­tat­ed the dis­as­ter. The dubi­ous cement instal­la­tion at the failed rig was installed by Halliburton–formerly head­ed by Dick Cheney and the ben­e­fi­cia­ry of numer­ous lucra­tive con­tracts bestowed by the Bush admin­is­tra­tion in Iraq and Afghanistan  (among oth­er places).

“Hal­libur­ton in Spot­light in Gulf Spill Probe” by Mar­got Roo­sevelt; Los Ange­les Times; 5/1/2010. [1]

Excerpt: “Inves­ti­ga­tors delv­ing into the caus­es of the mas­sive gulf oil spill are exam­in­ing the role of Hous­ton-based Hal­libur­ton Co., the giant ener­gy ser­vices com­pa­ny that was respon­si­ble for cement­ing the deep­wa­ter drill hole, as well as the pos­si­ble fail­ure of equip­ment leased to British Petro­le­um. . . .

. . . A 2007 study by the U.S. Min­er­als Man­age­ment Ser­vice found that cement­ing was the sin­gle most-impor­tant fac­tor in 18 of 39 well blowouts in the Gulf of Mex­i­co over a 14-year peri­od.

Hal­libur­ton has been accused of per­form­ing a poor cement job in the case of a major blowout in the Tim­or Sea off Aus­tralia last August. An inves­ti­ga­tion is under­way. . .”

In addi­tion, British Petro­le­um, Tony Blair and George W. Bush are inex­tri­ca­bly linked. A pow­er­ful Scot­tish family–the Gammells–have been cozy with the Bush­es for decades. W has long been close to scion Bill Gam­mell. The land mark text Fam­i­ly of Secrets [2] by Russ Bak­er [3] details this milieu. (Read a mini-review of the book [4].)

. . . . George W. and Bill [Gam­mell] remained close, and the two talked the day Bush was elect­ed gov­er­nor of Texas in 1994. The fol­low­ing year, Bill Gam­mell, whose com­pa­ny vice chair­man was a for­mer Labour ener­gy min­is­ter, renewed his rela­tion­ship with British Labour leader and soon-to-be prime min­is­ter Tony Blair.

Bill Gam­mel­l’s ties to Blair date back to prep school in Edin­burgh, where the two had been friends and bas­ket­ball team­mates. Gam­mell arranged the ini­tial meet­ing between the two world lead­ers, and Bush’s first words to the British prime min­is­ter were:  “I believe you know my old friend, Bill Gam­mell.”

W. would men­tion his fam­i­ly’s con­nec­tions to the Gam­mells in a 2005 Oval Office inter­view with the Times of Lon­don. . . . He [Bush] dis­cussed past busi­ness deals with Bil­ly Gam­mell, an “oil and gas guy” who used to vis­it Mid­land, Texas, and became “a very suc­cess­ful entre­pre­neur.” . . .

Blair’s deci­sion to back Bush enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly on Iraq appears to have paid div­i­dends. In 2008, when Iraq’s oil min­istry began hand­ing out no-bid devel­op­ment con­tracts to a select group, one of the lucky par­ties was BP–a com­pa­ny that had as much influ­ence in the Blair gov­ern­ment as Amer­i­can oil com­pa­nies had in the Bush-Cheney White House. Blair sur­round­ed him­self with at least a dozen exec­u­tives from BP. . . the prime min­is­ter main­tained such a close rela­tion­ship with BP’s CEO Lord Browne that news­pa­pers dubbed the giant oil com­pa­ny “Blair Petro­le­um” (although some won­dered if it would­n’t be more fit­ting to call the British gov­ern­ment the British Petro­le­um gov­ern­ment.) . . .

(Fam­i­ly of Secrets by Russ Bak­er; pp. 434–436.)