Friday, 2 September 2011

Why we really send troops to war...
As the moving ceremonies at Wooton Bassett come to an end, news emerges of the wheeling and dealing going on behind the scenes to get access to Libyan oil. Similar moves were made in Iraq. Afghanistan has some of the largest undeveloped mineral resources (including oil and gas) in the world. Where there is wealth on such a scale there are exploiters who will use any strategy to get their snouts in the trough. Political influence is useful. Political influence at the highest levels is very useful. Another way of putting it is corruption. Read the following from today’s Daily Telegraph and see what you think.
“An oil firm whose chief executive has bankrolled the Conservatives won exclusive rights to trade with Libyan rebels during the conflict, following secret talks involving the British Government. The deal with Vitol was said to have been masterminded by Alan Duncan, the former oil trader turned junior minister, who has close business links to the oil firm and was previously a director of one of its subsidiaries.
Mr Duncan’s private office received funding from the head of Vitol before the general election. Ian Taylor, the company’s chief executive and a friend of Mr Duncan, has given more than £200,000 to the Conservatives.
Vitol is thought to be the only oil firm to have traded with the rebels during the Libyan conflict. Oil industry sources said that other firms including BP, Shell and Glencore had not been approached over the deal. One well-placed source said this was “very surprising” because other companies would have been keen to be involved.
Last night the Coalition was under pressure to disclose details of Mr Duncan’s role in securing the deal, worth about $1billion (£618million). The firm is thought to have supplied fuel and associated products to the rebels and traded oil on their behalf.
The controversial firm has previously been fined for breaching sanctions and paid money to Arkan, the Serbian warlord, allegedly for oil contracts.” 
“Mr Duncan, a minister in the Department for International Development, is reported to have arranged the setting up of a special “Libyan oil cell” which brought together officials from the Cabinet Office and Foreign Office to stop the Gaddafi regime benefiting from its control of oil reserves. The oil cell is said to have been key in paving the way for deals between Vitol and the rebels.”
This is the same Mr Duncan who spoke about his three homes when on ‘Have I Got News For You’ and who paid back £4000 wrongly claimed for gardening expenses. Clearly a man of probity.
There is a real debate to be had about our role in the world. It is sickening to listen to armchair warriors delighting in the way we ‘punch above our weight’ on the world stage. This is a euphemism for getting involved in a series of squalid little wars costing untold thousands of  innocent lives. 
The question of why we need such a large offensive armed force (as opposed to a defensive security service) is never put. When the vast amounts of cash to be gained from collateral activities are considered it is not a surprise. The interests of our political elite and their financial backers are synchronous. Our armed forces are being used to further the ends of a rapacious corporate sector. We have moved on from our imperial past. We now promote corporate imperialism.
Our troops are dying to provide Duncan and his cronies with even more cash.
“Do not mourn - organise!” Joe Hill

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