Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

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FTR #216 Trouble on Oiled Waters, Part III

MP3 Side 1 | Side 2

This pro­gram fur­ther devel­ops the sub­ject of the clan­des­tine pow­er pol­i­tics of the petro­le­um indus­try, begin­ning with dis­cus­sion of Otto Von Bolschwing, a key SS intel­li­gence offi­cer and (for a time) Adolf Eich­man­n’s supe­ri­or in the admin­is­tra­tion of Hitler’s pol­i­cy toward the Jews.

Von Bolschwing became a key CIA oper­a­tive after the war. One of Von Bolschwing’s pro­teges in the post-war peri­od was Helene Von Damm, who select­ed the list of per­son­nel from which Ronald Rea­gan’s cab­i­net appointees were select­ed

Von Bolschwing also over­saw a com­plex Nazi intel­li­gence gam­bit in the Mid­dle East. Uti­liz­ing rene­gade British intel­li­gence offi­cer Jack Phil­by, Von Bolschwing autho­rized appar­ent col­lab­o­ra­tion between Sau­di king Ibn Saud and the Zion­ists. This osten­si­ble col­lab­o­ra­tion entailed a plan to pro­mote Jew­ish emi­gra­tion from Europe to Pales­tine under the pro­tec­tion of the Saud­is. Like Ibn Saud (and of course Von Bolschwing and his Third Reich supe­ri­ors), Phil­by was a rabid anti-Semi­te and had no inten­tion of aid­ing the Jews. His “coop­er­a­tion” with the Zion­ists was a decep­tion, intend­ed to betray both the Jews and Great Britain.

After secur­ing British approval for the osten­si­ble Saudi/Zionist col­lab­o­ra­tion, Phil­by was instru­men­tal in leak­ing news of the oper­a­tion to the Arabs. The result was height­ened Arab out­rage at the British and con­se­quent sym­pa­thy for the Third Reich.

The sec­ond half of the pro­gram focus­es on a com­plex con­spir­a­cy between the Third Reich, the afore­men­tioned Jack Phil­by, Allen Dulles, Sau­di Ara­bia and major Amer­i­can and British oil com­pa­nies. A for­mer attor­ney for the pow­er­ful Wall Street law firm of Sul­li­van and Cromwell, Dulles worked for the OSS dur­ing World War II. (The OSS was Amer­i­ca’s World War II civil­ian intel­li­gence ser­vice.)

Dulles was a trai­tor to the Unit­ed States, com­plic­it in the financ­ing of Nazi indus­try and cen­tral­ly involved with wartime duplic­i­ty by the petro­le­um indus­try.

Sau­di Ara­bia col­lab­o­rat­ed with Nazi Ger­many, while black­mail­ing Great Britain and the Unit­ed States. Dulles and the major Amer­i­can and British oil com­pa­nies were instru­men­tal in arrang­ing this black­mail. Because the U.S. was able to “out­bid” the Unit­ed King­dom in pay­ing off the Saud­is, Amer­i­can petro­le­um inter­ests emerged dom­i­nant in the con­test for con­trol of Sau­di Ara­bi­an oil.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: Tex­a­co’s piv­otal role in pro­vid­ing oil to the fas­cist forces of Fran­co dur­ing the Span­ish Civ­il War; Tex­a­co king­pin Tork­ild Rieber’s work as a Nazi Spy dur­ing the Sec­ond World War; the col­lab­o­ra­tion of Stan­dard Oil of New Jer­sey with Nazi Ger­many; the col­lab­o­ra­tion of Socal with the Third Reich; Dulles’ threat to cut off oil to the British war effort if they exposed the col­lab­o­ra­tion of “Big Oil” with the Nazis; a sim­i­lar threat to cut off oil to the Amer­i­can war effort if the petro­le­um indus­try’s Nazi links were exposed; Nazi chem­i­cal com­pa­ny I.G. Far­ben’s cap­i­tal par­tic­i­pa­tion in Stan­dard of New Jer­sey and Socal (it was the sec­ond largest stock hold­er in Stan­dard behind the Rock­e­feller fam­i­ly); the Bor­mann group’s inher­i­tance of the I.G.‘s Stan­dard stock; the Wahab­bi sect of Sau­di Ara­bia and its his­tor­i­cal links to inter­na­tion­al fas­cism and U.S. oil com­pa­nies.


2 comments for “FTR #216 Trouble on Oiled Waters, Part III”

  1. Ooo...a mod­ern day David and Goliath sto­ry which, of course, means Goliath wins:

    The Wall Street Jour­nal
    Texas Pro­hibits Local Frack­ing Bans
    New­ly signed law is one of sev­er­al across the U.S. to cur­tail munic­i­pal gov­ern­ments’ pow­er

    By Rus­sell Gold
    Updat­ed May 18, 2015 4:51 p.m. ET

    AUSTIN, Texas—Last year, a city in North Texas banned frack­ing. State law­mak­ers want to make sure that nev­er hap­pens again.

    On Mon­day, Repub­li­can Gov. Greg Abbott signed a law that pro­hibits bans of hydraulic frac­tur­ing alto­geth­er and makes it much hard­er for munic­i­pal and coun­ty gov­ern­ments to con­trol where oil and gas wells can be drilled. Sim­i­lar efforts are crop­ping up in states includ­ing New Mex­i­co, Ohio, Col­orado and Okla­homa, where both cham­bers of the leg­is­la­ture have passed a bill that lim­its local gov­ern­ments to “rea­son­able” restric­tions on oil and gas activ­i­ties.

    This is all part of a broad­er leg­isla­tive and judi­cial effort, backed by the oil indus­try, to lim­it local gov­ern­ments’ abil­i­ty to reg­u­late drilling. Back­ers say that both the Okla­homa and Texas bills were pro­posed in response to a vot­er-approved ban on frack­ing in Den­ton, Texas, in Novem­ber.

    One of the authors of the Texas bill said his moti­va­tion was to pro­tect an eco­nom­i­cal­ly impor­tant indus­try. “Oil is a huge job dri­ver for the state of Texas,” said state Sen. Troy Fras­er, a Repub­li­can from the cen­tral part of the state.

    The new law elim­i­nates a “patch­work of local ordi­nances cre­at­ing more and more reg­u­la­tion, some of which is inten­tion­al­ly oner­ous and intend­ed to stop or lim­it oil and gas devel­op­ment,” said Ed Lon­ga­neck­er, pres­i­dent of the Texas Inde­pen­dent Pro­duc­ers and Roy­al­ty Own­ers Asso­ci­a­tion.

    The law has angered offi­cials in Den­ton, about 50 miles north­west of Dal­las, where res­i­dents approved the first ban in the state. Offi­cials there said they sup­port­ed it only after failed efforts to resolve qual­i­ty-of-life prob­lems includ­ing a well explo­sion and noisy drilling near homes and schools.

    “It’s a bad sit­u­a­tion when city lead­ers’ hands are tied,” said Coun­cil­man Kevin Roden. “There seems to be an atti­tude that big state gov­ern­ment knows bet­ter than the cit­i­zens of a city. I just think—conservative or liberal—that is some­thing you don’t do in Texas.”

    Oth­er crit­ics of the bill said the bal­ance of pow­er between cities and the ener­gy indus­try had been tilt­ed toward drillers.

    “The bill guts 100 years of tra­di­tion­al munic­i­pal author­i­ty to reg­u­late oil and gas oper­a­tions,” said A. Scott Ander­son, a senior pol­i­cy direc­tor for the Envi­ron­men­tal Defense Fund, which advo­cates robust­ly reg­u­lat­ing frack­ing. Oth­er envi­ron­men­tal groups say frack­ing, which involves inject­ing water and chem­i­cals deep into shale rock for­ma­tions, should be banned.

    In the past decade, new tech­nolo­gies launched an ener­gy boom in the U.S., send­ing oil and gas pro­duc­tion soar­ing. But intense drilling and frack­ing activ­i­ty trig­gered a back­lash in some com­mu­ni­ties, which by zon­ing and bal­lot ini­tia­tives have tried to keep the drilling rigs either out­side the city lim­its or far from hous­ing.

    Sup­port­ers of drilling say that local lim­its are dri­ven by envi­ron­men­tal ide­ol­o­gy, not prac­ti­cal prob­lems, and deprive landown­ers of their rights.

    Across the coun­try, the issue of the role of cities in decid­ing where drilling can occur “is still very much up in the air,” said Han­nah Wise­man, a law pro­fes­sor at Flori­da State Uni­ver­si­ty. “There is plen­ty of work for leg­is­la­tors and lawyers.”


    Just makes you want to shout “Freeeee­dom!”, does­n’t it?

    Also keep in mind that all of these moves in Texas and else­where to ban frack­ing bans isn’t just being brought to you by Big Oil. It’s brought to you by ALEC, which cer­tain­ly includes Big Oil, but should real­ly be seen as the Union of Cor­po­ratist Cor­po­ra­tions of Amer­i­ca:

    PR Watch
    ALEC and Big Oil Work to Over­turn Den­ton Frack­ing Ban

    Post­ed by Jes­si­ca Mason on Novem­ber 14, 2014

    The res­i­dents of Den­ton, Texas, had a remark­able vic­to­ry over Big Oil in the midterm elec­tions, becom­ing the first town in Texas to pass a ban on hydraulic frac­tur­ing, also known as frack­ing. But now state offi­cials with ties to ener­gy inter­ests and to the Amer­i­can Leg­isla­tive Exchange Coun­cil (ALEC), the pay-to-play cor­po­rate bill mill, are threat­en­ing to under­mine local democ­ra­cy by refus­ing to fol­low the ban.

    The chair of the Texas Rail­road Com­mis­sion, Christi Crad­dick, stat­ed that she would not abide by the ban at an event held by the Texas Tri­bune on Novem­ber 6. “It’s my job to give per­mits, not Denton’s. We’re going to con­tin­ue per­mit­ting up there because that’s my job,” Crad­dick said.

    Ener­gy inter­ests have made sub­stan­tial con­tri­bu­tions to Crad­dick, whose 2012 cam­paign received $15,000 from Atmos Ener­gy, $5,000 each from Chevron, Cono­coPhillips, Devon Ener­gy, Exxon, Occi­den­tal Petro­le­um, and Koch Indus­tries; and $25,000 from the Texas Oil and Gas Asso­ci­a­tion (TOGA) . TOGA has also filed a law­suit seek­ing to block enforce­ment of Den­ton’s frack­ing ban.

    In her com­ments, Crad­dick claimed that the ban passed only because vot­ers did not have “an edu­ca­tion process” about frack­ing and were exposed to “a lot of mis­in­for­ma­tion about frack­ing.”

    In fact, ener­gy com­pa­nies includ­ing Chevron, XTO Ener­gy, and Chesa­peake ener­gy fun­neled some $700,000 into the race through the mis­lead­ing­ly-named Den­ton Tax­pay­ers for a Strong Econ­o­my, near­ly ten times what was raised by Frack Free Den­ton, the grass­roots group that orga­nized sup­port for the ban. The ban won 59% of the vote, despite record spend­ing by oil inter­ests.


    With local com­mu­ni­ties fight­ing back, per­haps its no sur­prise that cor­po­rate inter­ests are eager to under­mine local democ­ra­cy. Some Texas leg­is­la­tors, includ­ing state Rep. Phil King (R‑Weatherford), are now promis­ing to push for­ward a law that would allow only the state-lev­el Texas Rail­road Com­mis­sion to issue reg­u­la­tions on oil and gas, an attack on local author­i­ty and deci­sion-mak­ing in an area that direct­ly impacts the qual­i­ty of life of those liv­ing near poten­tial frack­ing sites.

    Pre-emp­tion of local con­trol has been a key ALEC strat­e­gy for fight­ing pro­gres­sive gains at the local lev­el, such as city liv­ing wage laws and sick leave poli­cies.

    King sits on the exec­u­tive board of ALEC, where he has also served as a mem­ber of the Tax and Fis­cal Pol­i­cy Task Force. ALEC’s cor­po­rate mem­bers have giv­en tens of thou­sands to King’s polit­i­cal cam­paigns over the years.

    King and Crad­dick were also the sub­ject of a com­plaint alleg­ing that they col­lud­ed to con­ceal a $25,000 con­tri­bu­tion to Crad­dick­’s 2012 pri­ma­ry cam­paign. The con­tri­bu­tion was from Crad­dick­’s father, Rep. Tom Crad­dick, a for­mer Speak­er of the State House and a Chair­man Emer­i­tus of ALEC who took in near­ly $900,000 in cam­paign con­tri­bu­tions from ALEC cor­po­rate spon­sors between 2004 and 2011.

    Com­ing full cir­cle, Christi Crad­dick gave a pre­sen­ta­tion tout­ing frack­ing at an ALEC meet­ing just last year. And who funds ALEC? Cor­po­ra­tions — and Crad­dick cam­paign donors–like Atmos Ener­gy, Exxon­Mo­bil, Koch Indus­tries, and Occi­den­tal Petro­le­um (which may have final­ly sev­ered its ties to ALEC in Sep­tem­ber 2014, thanks to increas­ing pub­lic crit­i­cism).

    “Pre-emp­tion of local con­trol has been a key ALEC strat­e­gy for fight­ing pro­gres­sive gains at the local lev­el, such as city liv­ing wage laws and sick leave poli­cies.” Yep! And now ALEC has a very well-com­pen­sat­ed Texas Rail­road Com­mis­sion­er in Texas that’s more than enthu­si­as­tic about ensur­ing that ALEC’s fight for the free­dom to frack with­out local input con­tin­ues unim­ped­ed. Goliath win! Sur­prise!

    But also keep in mind that David just might get anoth­er chance to defeat Goliath. Or at least defeat Goliath’s proxy-humans. How so? Well, in Texas, being Rail­road Com­mis­sion­er isn’t some dead end job: Tex­as­’s oil queen is meant for high­er office:

    USA Today
    Christi Crad­dick: Texas oil queen

    Shan­non Sim, OZY 11:03 a.m. EDT March 10, 2015

    On a win­ter after­noon in Austin, Texas, a dark-haired woman — her chin bare­ly vis­i­ble over her desk — moves swift­ly through a per­mit to drill, a review of dis­pos­al, a license to frack and more than 500 oth­er requests. With­in just a few hours, she’s approved hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars’ worth of projects, all with the swipe of her pen. It’s just anoth­er Tues­day for Texas Rail­road Com­mis­sion Chair­man Christi Crad­dick.

    There’s a say­ing in Texas: “What starts here changes the world.” It seems like a stereo­typ­i­cal­ly over­size Tex­an atti­tude, but these days, it’s pret­ty true. The future of U.S. ener­gy and the dawn of its ener­gy inde­pen­dence is hap­pen­ing here, in a state whose econ­o­my — the sec­ond biggest in the coun­try — is run in large part by oil and gas. In Texas, oil is king. And Crad­dick — who helms Amer­i­ca’s largest state oil and gas reg­u­la­to­ry body and has a pen­chant for wear­ing Repub­li­can red and pearls — is its queen.

    This is a crit­i­cal moment for the tight­ly com­posed politi­cian, who tends to keep her hands clasped in front of her on the table, smil­ing through dif­fi­cult ques­tions then respond­ing with a crisp twang. Thanks in no small part to frack­ing, the U.S. is the world’s lead­ing oil pro­duc­er, and Texas is the top pro­duc­ing state. That’s quite a spot for the leader of an obscure local agency with a mis­lead­ing name (the Rail­road Com­mis­sion han­dles state oil and gas reg­u­la­tion, not rail­roads).

    But that’s the fun­ny thing about local gov­ern­ment: Some­times, a swirl of unpre­dictable events lands obscure fig­ures at the cross­roads of the coun­try’s future. Think of Robert Moses, the mid­cen­tu­ry urban plan­ner hired by New York City to plan a road or two, who end­ed up rework­ing the con­stel­la­tion of the city. Or Kather­ine Har­ris, the unknown Flori­da sec­re­tary of state who in 2000, in those tense days of chits and chads, effec­tive­ly chose the pres­i­dent. Today, a fluke of geol­o­gy places Crad­dick, a West Texas sin­gle mom, in the dri­ver’s seat of the coun­try’s new ener­gy era.

    Her jour­ney has been rough of late. The peo­ple of Den­ton, a col­lege town that’s out­side Dal­las and atop Bar­nett Shale, one of the coun­try’s best frack­ing spots, recent­ly vot­ed to ban the process. It’s one of the few issues that caus­es Crad­dick­’s veneer to crin­kle; she’s been rat­tled by the blow­back and believes “mis­in­for­ma­tion” led vot­ers to ban frack­ing. Still, the 44-year-old, who calls the Rail­road Com­mis­sion “busi­ness-friend­ly,” has since stepped in, argu­ing that her agency — not the city — deter­mines per­mit­ting. The Texas Gen­er­al Land Office and the Texas Oil and Gas Asso­ci­a­tion have gone a step fur­ther and filed suits against the city.

    It may seem heavy-hand­ed, but even envi­ron­men­tal lead­ers admit she’s prob­a­bly right on the law. Still, Tom Smith, direc­tor of the envi­ron­men­tal group Pub­lic Cit­i­zen, says Crad­dick runs at the plea­sure of the oil indus­try and is “in a race for envi­ron­men­tal ene­my No. 1, in terms of her abil­i­ty to wreak hav­oc.” (Crad­dick says her office will keep issu­ing per­mits in Den­ton and that, over­all, “I have no envi­ron­men­tal con­cerns about frack­ing.”)

    Indeed, she’s just get­ting start­ed. Her term ends in four years, and her posi­tion is often a “spring­board for high­er office,” says Cyrus Reed, con­ser­va­tion direc­tor of the Sier­ra Club’s Texas chap­ter. Pre­vi­ous lead­ers of the Rail­road Com­mis­sion have become leg­is­la­tors or even run for gov­er­nor. For now, though, Crad­dick is look­ing through her agen­cy’s win­dow toward the most active­ly drilled shale reserve in the coun­try — the Eagle Ford, which just hours before was grant­ed dozens of per­mits to frack — and she’s con­vinced it’s get­ting the bal­ance right: “Texas is a role mod­el for how ener­gy pol­i­cy should be run.”

    Crad­dick, who grew up in Mid­land sur­round­ed by oil rigs, was born for this job. Her father, Tom Crad­dick, is an oil­man turned leg­is­la­tor, and she accom­pa­nied him to state Repub­li­can con­ven­tions by age 12. After study­ing law at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Texas and intern­ing at the Rail­road Com­mis­sion, Crad­dick got pulled back into pol­i­tics while advis­ing dad, who’d become speak­er of the Texas House. Though Crad­dick thought she “was nev­er going to run,” vot­ers elect­ed her to the three-per­son Rail­road Com­mis­sion in 2012, and this win­ter she was made chair­man.

    Some crit­ics call Crad­dick “dad­dy’s girl” and sug­gest she got there through him. She admits her father has a great rep­u­ta­tion but says she made it through hard work, though signs of her father linger — like when she sets her ice water on a leather coast­er embla­zoned with his name. As a woman in the mas­cu­line world of oil and gas, Crad­dick has tight­ly refined her image to deter any dis­trac­tion from the busi­ness at hand. Indeed, she’s more at ease speak­ing about well­heads and methane than her home life, and she prefers the title “chair­man” to “chair­woman.”


    Yes, Crad­dick says her office will keep issu­ing per­mits in Den­ton and that, over­all, “I have no envi­ron­men­tal con­cerns about frack­ing.” And she’s just get­ting start­ed:


    “Indeed, she’s just get­ting start­ed. Her term ends in four years, and her posi­tion is often a “spring­board for high­er office,” says Cyrus Reed, con­ser­va­tion direc­tor of the Sier­ra Club’s Texas chap­ter. Pre­vi­ous lead­ers of the Rail­road Com­mis­sion have become leg­is­la­tors or even run for gov­er­nor”...

    Could Crad­dick­’s career in cor­po­rate ass-kiss­ing real­ly just be get­ting start­ed? We’ll see! But if Christi Crad­dick does decide to go for high­er office her cor­po­rate spon­sors are prob­a­bly going to be right there to return the favors. After all, as we just saw, Goliath needs an abun­dance of min­ions and he knows it. Goliath did­n’t become Goliath on his own.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 19, 2015, 1:56 pm
  2. It’s Earth Day. Yay Earth! Or rather, yay life on Earth!

    Now that we got that out of the way, here’s a reminder that if we ever want to get to the point where we don’t feel the need to cel­e­brate Earth Day every year, we’re prob­a­bly going to have to start effec­tive­ly cel­e­brat­ing Earth Day every day. At least for the fore­see­able future. After all, it’s hard to fore­see a future that does­n’t involve The Day After Earth Day Because We Destroyed It Day, every day, when the most pow­er­ful forces on the plan­et have busi­ness mod­els that more or less guar­an­tee the need for Earth Day are are will­ing to black­mail con­ti­nents in order to keep it that way:

    The Guardian

    EU dropped cli­mate poli­cies after BP threat of oil indus­try ‘exo­dus’

    Oil giant warned indus­try would pull out of EU if laws to cut pol­lu­tion and speed clean ener­gy take up were passed, let­ter obtained by the Guardian reveals

    Arthur Neslen

    Wednes­day 20 April 2016 07.42 EDT

    The EU aban­doned or weak­ened key pro­pos­als for new envi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tions after receiv­ing a let­ter from a top BP exec­u­tive which warned of an exo­dus of the oil indus­try from Europe if the pro­pos­als went ahead.

    In the 10-page let­ter, the com­pa­ny pre­dict­ed in 2013 that a mass indus­try flight would result if laws to reg­u­late tar sands, cut pow­er plant pol­lu­tion and accel­er­ate the uptake of renew­able ener­gy were passed, because of the extra costs and red tape they alleged­ly entailed.

    The mea­sures “threat­en to dri­ve ener­gy-inten­sive indus­tries, such as refin­ing and petro­chem­i­cals, to relo­cate out­side the EU with a cor­re­spond­ing­ly detri­men­tal impact on secu­ri­ty of sup­ply, jobs [and] growth,” said the let­ter, which was obtained by the Guardian under access to doc­u­ments laws.

    The mis­sive to the EU’s ener­gy com­mis­sion­er, Gün­ther Oet­tinger, was dat­ed 9 August 2013, part­ly hand-writ­ten, and signed by a senior BP rep­re­sen­ta­tive whose name has been redact­ed.

    It ref­er­ences a series of “inter­ac­tions” between the two men – and between BP and an unnamed third par­ty in Wash­ing­ton DC – and wel­comes oppor­tu­ni­ties to fur­ther dis­cuss ener­gy issues in an “infor­mal man­ner”.

    BP’s warn­ing of a fos­sil fuel pull-out from Europe was repeat­ed three times in the let­ter, most stri­dent­ly over plans to man­date new pol­lu­tion cuts and clean tech­nolo­gies, under the indus­tri­al emis­sions direc­tive.

    This reform “has the poten­tial to have a mas­sive­ly adverse eco­nom­ic impact on the costs and com­pet­i­tive­ness of Euro­pean refin­ing and petro­chem­i­cal indus­tries, and trig­ger a fur­ther exo­dus out­side the EU,” the let­ter said.

    The plant reg­u­la­tions even­tu­al­ly advanced by the com­mis­sion would leave Europe under a weak­er pol­lu­tion regime than China’s, accord­ing to research by Green­peace.

    BP said any clam­p­down would cost indus­try many bil­lions of euros and so pol­lu­tion curbs “should also be care­ful­ly accessed with close co-oper­a­tion with the indus­tri­al sec­tors”.

    Last year the EU’s envi­ron­ment depart­ment moved to lim­it the coal lobby’s influ­ence on pol­lu­tion stan­dards, after rev­e­la­tions by the Guardian and Green­peace about the scale of indus­try involve­ment.

    The com­mis­sion had pre­vi­ous­ly allowed hun­dreds of ener­gy indus­try lob­by­ists to aggres­sive­ly push for weak­er pol­lu­tion lim­its as part of the offi­cial nego­ti­at­ing teams of EU mem­ber states.

    The Green MEP Mol­ly Scott Cato said that the UK’s robust advo­ca­cy of BP’s posi­tions was a cause of deep shame, and illus­trat­ed how Brex­it would increase the pow­er of fos­sil fuel firms.

    She said: “It reveals how the arm-twist­ing tac­tics of big oil seek to under­mine the EU’s pro­gres­sive ener­gy and cli­mate poli­cies. BP’s covert lob­by­ing, com­bined with threats of an exo­dus of the petro­chem­i­cals indus­try from the EU, are noth­ing short of black­mail.

    “This doc­u­ment paints a dis­turb­ing pic­ture of the degree to which glob­al cor­po­ra­tions sub­vert the demo­c­ra­t­ic process, influ­ence the com­mis­sion and threat­en the vital tran­si­tion to a clean­er, green­er Europe.”


    Before the report’s pub­li­ca­tion, Oettinger’s team removed fig­ures from an ear­li­er draft which revealed that EU states spent €40bn (£32bn) a year on sub­si­dies for fos­sil fuels, com­pared to €35bn for nuclear ener­gy, and just €30bn for renew­ables. The commissioner’s office argues that the num­bers were incon­sis­tent and “not com­pa­ra­ble”

    Ear­ly in his tenure, Oet­tinger had been forced to back down on plans for a mora­to­ri­um on deep­wa­ter off­shore oil drills in the wake of the BP Deep­wa­ter Hori­zon dis­as­ter. With­in two years, he had become an indus­try cham­pi­on, argu­ing that Europe was com­pet­i­tive­ly dis­ad­van­taged by a reluc­tance to take off­shore drilling risks.

    Oet­tinger reg­u­lar­ly hosts alpine retreats for gov­ern­ment min­is­ters, bankers and cap­tains of indus­try. In 2013, these includ­ed exec­u­tives from Shell, Sta­toil, GDF Suez, EDF, Alstom, Enel and ENI, although not BP.


    Along with Shell, BP began lob­by­ing for an end to the EU’s renew­ables and ener­gy effi­cien­cy tar­gets in 2011, but the scope of its lob­by inter­ven­tion went fur­ther.

    In its let­ter, BP strong­ly opposed renew­able ener­gy sub­si­dies, par­tic­u­lar­ly in Ger­many, and a planned cap on cer­tain bio­fu­els which stud­ies have shown to be high­ly-pol­lut­ing.

    Over the year that fol­lowed, an EU state aid deci­sion on renew­ables went against Ger­many, while a cap on the amount of first gen­er­a­tion bio­fu­els that could be count­ed towards EU tar­gets was also weak­ened.

    Europe’s efforts to cut car­bon emis­sions should be built upon mar­ket-based tools such as its flag­ship emis­sions trad­ing scheme, BP said in its let­ter.

    But EU pro­pos­als to label tar sands oil as more pol­lut­ing than oth­er oil – which could lead to addi­tion­al tax­es – risked com­pa­nies “being penalised sub­jec­tive­ly on the basis of adverse per­cep­tions”, accord­ing to BP.

    The tar sands pro­pos­al was vehe­ment­ly opposed by the UK and the Nether­lands, and the plan was even­tu­al­ly dropped in 2014.

    Jos Dings, the direc­tor of the sus­tain­able trans­port think­tank Trans­port and Envi­ron­ment said: “In case any­one doubt­ed why Europe chose to treat all oil – reg­u­lar and high pol­lut­ing – the same, here’s the answer: Big Oil telling the com­mis­sion that real­ly its impos­si­ble to tell them apart.”


    BP recent­ly topped a sur­vey of the most obstruc­tive com­pa­ny on cli­mate change, and is increas­ing­ly a tar­get for fos­sil fuels divest­ment cam­paigns.

    The plant reg­u­la­tions even­tu­al­ly advanced by the com­mis­sion would leave Europe under a weak­er pol­lu­tion regime than China’s, accord­ing to research by Green­peace.”
    Well done, BP. We will be anx­ious­ly cel­e­brat­ing Earth Day for decades to come thanks to the dam­age inflict­ed on the bios­phere by the unyield­ing efforts by the deci­sion-mak­ers at BP to do what­ev­er it takes to ensure that human­i­ty does basi­cal­ly noth­ing to pre­vent the dis­as­trous impacts of cli­mate change.

    But BP obvi­ous­ly can’t take all the cred­it for ensur­ing Earth Day for the fore­see­able future. It’s had help. Some (the sane) might argue WAY too much help. For WAY too long:

    The Sci­en­tif­ic Amer­i­can

    Exxon Knew about Cli­mate Change almost 40 years ago

    A new inves­ti­ga­tion shows the oil com­pa­ny under­stood the sci­ence before it became a pub­lic issue and spent mil­lions to pro­mote mis­in­for­ma­tion

    By Shan­non Hall on Octo­ber 26, 2015

    Exxon was aware of cli­mate change, as ear­ly as 1977, 11 years before it became a pub­lic issue, accord­ing to a recent inves­ti­ga­tion from Insid­e­Cli­mate News. This knowl­edge did not pre­vent the com­pa­ny (now Exxon­Mo­bil and the world’s largest oil and gas com­pa­ny) from spend­ing decades refus­ing to pub­licly acknowl­edge cli­mate change and even pro­mot­ing cli­mate mis­in­for­ma­tion—an approach many have likened to the lies spread by the tobac­co indus­try regard­ing the health risks of smok­ing. Both indus­tries were con­scious that their prod­ucts wouldn’t stay prof­itable once the world under­stood the risks, so much so that they used the same con­sul­tants to devel­op strate­gies on how to com­mu­ni­cate with the pub­lic.

    Experts, how­ev­er, aren’t ter­ri­bly sur­prised. “It’s nev­er been remote­ly plau­si­ble that they did not under­stand the sci­ence,” says Nao­mi Oreskes, a his­to­ry of sci­ence pro­fes­sor at Har­vard Uni­ver­si­ty. But as it turns out, Exxon didn’t just under­stand the sci­ence, the com­pa­ny active­ly engaged with it. In the 1970s and 1980s it employed top sci­en­tists to look into the issue and launched its own ambi­tious research pro­gram that empir­i­cal­ly sam­pled car­bon diox­ide and built rig­or­ous cli­mate mod­els. Exxon even spent more than $1 mil­lion on a tanker project that would tack­le how much CO2 is absorbed by the oceans. It was one of the biggest sci­en­tif­ic ques­tions of the time, mean­ing that Exxon was tru­ly con­duct­ing unprece­dent­ed research.

    In their eight-month-long inves­ti­ga­tion, reporters at Insid­e­Cli­mate News inter­viewed for­mer Exxon employ­ees, sci­en­tists and fed­er­al offi­cials and ana­lyzed hun­dreds of pages of inter­nal doc­u­ments. They found that the company’s knowl­edge of cli­mate change dates back to July 1977, when its senior sci­en­tist James Black deliv­ered a sober­ing mes­sage on the top­ic. “In the first place, there is gen­er­al sci­en­tif­ic agree­ment that the most like­ly man­ner in which mankind is influ­enc­ing the glob­al cli­mate is through car­bon diox­ide release from the burn­ing of fos­sil fuels,” Black told Exxon’s man­age­ment com­mit­tee. A year lat­er he warned Exxon that dou­bling CO2 gas­es in the atmos­phere would increase aver­age glob­al tem­per­a­tures by two or three degrees—a num­ber that is con­sis­tent with the sci­en­tif­ic con­sen­sus today. He con­tin­ued to warn that “present think­ing holds that man has a time win­dow of five to 10 years before the need for hard deci­sions regard­ing changes in ener­gy strate­gies might become crit­i­cal.” In oth­er words, Exxon need­ed to act.

    But Exxon­Mo­bil dis­agrees that any of its ear­ly state­ments were so stark, let alone con­clu­sive at all. “We didn’t reach those con­clu­sions, nor did we try to bury it like they sug­gest,” Exxon­Mo­bil spokesper­son Allan Jef­fers tells Sci­en­tif­ic Amer­i­can. “The thing that shocks me the most is that we’ve been say­ing this for years, that we have been involved in cli­mate research. These guys go down and pull some doc­u­ments that we made avail­able pub­licly in the archives and por­tray them as some kind of bomb­shell whis­tle-blow­er exposé because of the loaded lan­guage and the selec­tive use of mate­ri­als.”

    One thing is cer­tain: in June 1988, when NASA sci­en­tist James Hansen told a con­gres­sion­al hear­ing that the plan­et was already warm­ing, Exxon remained pub­licly con­vinced that the sci­ence was still con­tro­ver­sial. Fur­ther­more, experts agree that Exxon became a leader in cam­paigns of con­fu­sion. By 1989 the com­pa­ny had helped cre­ate the Glob­al Cli­mate Coali­tion (dis­band­ed in 2002) to ques­tion the sci­en­tif­ic basis for con­cern about cli­mate change. It also helped to pre­vent the U.S. from sign­ing the inter­na­tion­al treaty on cli­mate known as the Kyoto Pro­to­col in 1998 to con­trol green­house gas­es. Exxon’s tac­tic not only worked on the U.S. but also stopped oth­er coun­tries, such as Chi­na and India, from sign­ing the treaty. At that point, “a lot of things unrav­eled,” Oreskes says.

    But experts are still piec­ing togeth­er Exxon’s mis­con­cep­tion puz­zle. Last sum­mer the Union of Con­cerned Sci­en­tists released a com­ple­men­tary inves­ti­ga­tion to the one by Insid­e­Cli­mate News, known as the Cli­mate Decep­tion Dossiers (pdf). “We includ­ed a memo of a coali­tion of fos­sil-fuel com­pa­nies where they pledge basi­cal­ly to launch a big com­mu­ni­ca­tions effort to sow doubt,” says union pres­i­dent Ken­neth Kim­mel. “There’s even a quote in it that says some­thing like ‘Vic­to­ry will be achieved when the aver­age per­son is uncer­tain about cli­mate sci­ence.’ So it’s pret­ty stark.”

    Since then, Exxon has spent more than $30 mil­lion on think tanks that pro­mote cli­mate denial, accord­ing to Green­peace. Although experts will nev­er be able to quan­ti­fy the dam­age Exxon’s mis­in­for­ma­tion has caused, “one thing for cer­tain is we’ve lost a lot of ground,” Kim­mell says. Half of the green­house gas emis­sions in our atmos­phere were released after 1988. “I have to think if the fos­sil-fuel com­pa­nies had been upfront about this and had been part of the solu­tion instead of the prob­lem, we would have made a lot of progress [today] instead of dou­bling our green­house gas emis­sions.”

    Experts agree that the dam­age is huge, which is why they are liken­ing Exxon’s decep­tion to the lies spread by the tobac­co indus­try. “I think there are a lot of par­al­lels,” Kim­mell says. Both sowed doubt about the sci­ence for their own means, and both worked with the same con­sul­tants to help devel­op a com­mu­ni­ca­tions strat­e­gy. He notes, how­ev­er, that the two diverge in the type of harm done. Tobac­co com­pa­nies threat­ened human health, but the oil com­pa­nies threat­ened the planet’s health. “It’s a harm that is glob­al in its reach,” Kim­mel says.

    To prove this, Bob Ward—who on behalf of the U.K.’s Roy­al Acad­e­my sent a let­ter to Exxon in 2006 claim­ing its sci­ence was “inac­cu­rate and misleading”—thinks a thor­ough inves­ti­ga­tion is nec­es­sary. “Because frankly the episode with tobac­co was prob­a­bly the most dis­grace­ful episode one could ever imag­ine,” Ward says. Kim­mell agrees. These rea­sons “real­ly high­light the respon­si­bil­i­ty that these com­pa­nies have to come clean, acknowl­edge this, and work with every­one else to cut out emis­sions and pay for some of the cost we’re going to bear as soon as pos­si­ble,” Kim­mell says.


    “Experts agree that the dam­age is huge, which is why they are liken­ing Exxon’s decep­tion to the lies spread by the tobac­co indus­try. “I think there are a lot of par­al­lels,” Kim­mell says. Both sowed doubt about the sci­ence for their own means, and both worked with the same con­sul­tants to help devel­op a com­mu­ni­ca­tions strat­e­gy. He notes, how­ev­er, that the two diverge in the type of harm done. Tobac­co com­pa­nies threat­ened human health, but the oil com­pa­nies threat­ened the planet’s health. “It’s a harm that is glob­al in its reach,” Kim­mel says.
    Worse than the tobac­co indus­try. It isn’t easy cre­at­ing harm that is glob­al in its reach. If Exxon was a per­son it would mer­it some sort of life­time achieve­ment award. Or at least a very rig­or­ous golf clap. But Exxon isn’t a per­son who will even­tu­al­ly meet the grim reaper. It’s a cor­po­rate enti­ty that can con­tin­ue to grow in pow­er and influ­ence indef­i­nite­ly and use that pow­er and influ­ence to keep mak­ing the tobac­co indus­try look rel­a­tive­ly humane. Unless, of course, we col­lapse the bios­phere. That might be the end of Exxon. But until then, there’s going to be plen­ty of increas­ing­ly urgent Earth Days. Thanks Exxon.

    So as we cel­e­brate Earth Day by clean­ing trash and shut­ting off the lights, etc, per­haps part of Earth Day should a dis­cus­sion about how exact­ly we address what is increas­ing­ly look­ing like a col­lec­tive crime against life on Earth per­pet­u­at­ed by many of the most pow­er­ful forces on the plan­et. After all, pow­er­ful forces that com­mit egre­gious crimes aren’t like­ly to hold back on using that pow­er to con­tin­ue those crimes when the crimes are crit­i­cal to their pow­er. Com­pa­nies like BP and Exxon would have been amongst the best posi­tioned enti­ties on the plan­et to lead a green ener­gy rev­o­lu­tion and pre­vent mass cat­a­stro­phes. But they chose basi­cal­ly the oppo­site route, mak­ing vast for­tunes along the way that has left them with enough pow­er and clout to cor­rupt gov­ern­ments across the globe. And it’s not like those gov­ern­ment offi­cials put up much resis­tance. The efforts to ensure that what­ev­er we do about cli­mate change is too lit­tle, too late involved more than just the super-vil­lain behav­ior by Exxon and BP. It’s been a group effort.

    So how do we even begin address­ing what amounts to a de fac­to dic­ta­tor­ship of the pow­er­ful forces on the plan­et using that pow­er to per­pet­u­ate that pow­er even when it threat­ens to destroy us all? It seems like we should spend at least one day a year pon­der­ing such issues. If not on Earth Day, how about Offer We All Can’t Refuse Day. A day for brain­storm­ing offers that the glob­al rab­ble could make to the glob­al pow­er elite that involves tran­si­tion­ing away from the cur­rent sui­ci­dal klep­toc­ra­cy and towards some sort of sus­tain­able future where hap­pi­ness max­i­miza­tion and san­i­ty, as opposed to prof­it max­i­miza­tion, becomes the glob­al norm.

    What do we do when sav­ing the world involves end­ing the world from the per­spec­tive of the peo­ple who run the world? When human­i­ty’s col­lec­tive lead­er­ship is sort of of crime against human­i­ty, how does human­i­ty even begin to address a sit­u­a­tion like that? It’s a pret­ty impor­tant ques­tion, with­out obvi­ous answers.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 23, 2016, 4:35 pm

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