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BP won't Boycott the Pentagon, Claims Innocence of “Geopolitics”; but don't do a Google Search

By Nick Mottern, Director, ConsumersforPeace.org

In July, in letters citing U.S. war crimes in Iraq and endorsed by peace worker Cindy Sheehan, historian Howard Zinn and 40 international organizers, Consumers for Peace asked 12 major suppliers of petroleum products to boycott the Pentagon until U.S. troops and mercenary forces leave Iraq.

Among the firms receiving letters were the following, with the amount of their Pentagon sales in fiscal years 2004 and 2005:

BP (British Petroleum) - $2.2 billion
Shell (Royal Dutch Shell) - $2.07 billion
ExxonMobil - $1.3 billion
Valero Energy - $898 million

On August 30, BP responded to the Consumers for Peace letter, the only firm to date to do so. Howard M. Miller, BP’s General Manager for Corporate Reputation, North America, said that BP did not agree “with your organization’s position on our engagement with the U.S. government.” And he went on to say: “We operate within the rule of law and responsibly offer our goods and services to all legitimate customers, including the U.S. government.”

“Moreover, Mr. Miller concluded,”we (BP) do not take positions on geopolitical issues.”

But the most superficial Google search appears to contradict Mr. Miller’s assertion.

For example, CNN reported April 9, 2003, just after the U.S./British invasion of Iraq, that “British oil company BP PLC has put a team to work on a strategy for its future in oil-rich Iraq, “ according to people familiar with the situation. The team was reported to be led by Peter Nolan, head of long-term business development for BP and previously responsible for new development in the Middle East.

BP declined to comment, said CNN, but a spokesperson said: “If…the government of Iraq wanted foreign investment, we would look at the opportunity just as we would anywhere else in the world.”

BP, and Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, has been involved in Iraq since the early 1900s. In 1920, CNN says, Anglo-Iranian became the largest shareholder in the Iraq Petroleum Company, a cartel of Western oil companies “that sought to carve up the energy resources of Iraq and those of other Middle East nations.”

BP is politically and socially intertwined with the government of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who made John Browne, the head of BP, a lord. A top adviser to Blair became BP’s communications director in 2001. When Blair’s Labor Party came into power, former BP chairman David Simon became Blair’s Minister of European Trade and Competitiveness, according to AngloCatholicSocialism.org,, and “numerous (BP) executives have served on governmental taskforces or been seconded to the Foreign Office or Department of Trade and Industry. Some commentators call BP “Blair Petroleum”.

BP is also involved with powerful functionaries in the U.S., which continues to work toward dominance in oil in the Caspian region, according to an article entitled “Revolution, geopolitics and pipelines” in the Asia Times of June 30, 2005.

The article reports that BP was the major backer of the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline to bring oil from the Caspian region to the world market, and:

“Former U.S. national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski was a consultant to BP during the Bill Clinton era, urging Washington to back the project. In fact, it was Brzezinski who went to Baku in 1995, unofficially, on behalf of Clinton, to meet with then-Azeri(Azerbaijan) president Haidar Aliyev, to negotiate new independent Baku pipeline routes, including what became the BTC (Baku-Ceyhan) pipeline.”

“Brzezinski also sits on the board of an impressive, if little-known, U.S.-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce (USACC). The chairman of the USACC in Washington is Tim Cejka, president of ExxonMobil Exploration. Other USACC board members include Henry Kissinger and James Baker III, the man who in 2003 personally went to Tbilisi to tell Eduard Shevardnadze that Washington wanted him to step aside in favor of the US-trained Georgian president Mikahil Shaakashvili. [The pipeline passes through Georgia]
Brent Scowcroft, former national security adviser to George H.W. Bush, also sits on the board of USACC. And (now Vice President) Cheney was a former board member until he became vice president. A more high-powered Washington team of geopolitical fixers would be hard to imagine.”