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British Government Memos Tie Iraq Invasion to Big Oil

Posted on Apr 18, 2011
U.S. Army / Luke Thornberry

Demonstrators in cities around the world chanted “No Blood for Oil” as a Western invasion of Iraq became more and more likely in 2002.

Memos obtained under the U.K.’s Freedom of Information rules confirm some of the fiercest critiques by the war’s opponents. They detail arrangements made between the British government and the world’s largest oil companies, orchestrating trades of access to oil and gas for military commitment.

The Independent reported, “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.”

Former President George W. Bush and Blair have been adamant in maintaining that Iraq’s natural resources did not factor into their decision-making, as have BP and other energy companies. —KDG

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RenZo's avatar

By RenZo, April 19, 2011 at 9:02 pm Link to this comment

It seems I saw this in a movie once…..
Cheney Bush & Blair: ‘We’re shocked, shocked to find that oil deals were going on in Iraq!”
[an oil executive hands Cheney Bush and Blair each a pile of money]
Oil Exec: ‘Your profits, sirs.’
Cheney Bush & Blair: [sotto voce] ‘Oh, thank you very much.’
Cheney Bush & Blair: [aloud] ‘Everybody out at once!’

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RenZo's avatar

By RenZo, April 19, 2011 at 8:48 pm Link to this comment

Wow, this is so extremely exciting - I am sure that now, with proof in hand, all our western democracies will launch an aggressive campaign to prosecute and punish those responsible for the war crimes (war of aggression!) and make restitution to Iraqipakghanistan.
I will just wait and see…......

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By surfnow, April 19, 2011 at 3:07 pm Link to this comment

Dave L:
Again, that’s the point. When my students imagine they sound informed when they answer ” they hate us for our freedoms”  they are only parroting what W. said over and over and over again back in 2001 through 2008. Recall, that was his answer to every question about the 9-11 “terrist” attacks

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By Dave L., April 19, 2011 at 2:47 pm Link to this comment

Lafayette - what the constitution says this country has and what we actually do have are vastly different, but I believe we are on the same page. I also believe that if the supremes give corporations all the benefits of being treated as an “individual” then they should be taxed as individuals as well.

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Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, April 19, 2011 at 12:54 pm Link to this comment

DL: What “freedoms” do we have exactly?

Open your mind to all those guaranteed by the Constitution and its subsequent amendments. The combination of the two is one of the most advanced demonstrations of both liberty and democracy of any nation on earth.

If one feels that those are not nearly enough, go talk to “Mo” Gadaffi. Or how about Ai Wei, the Chinese dissident in prison for daring to suggest that his “government could do better” on a blog in China?

Enough of the Righteous Indignation about our “rights”. We’ve got a lot more than many other countries. We should learn how to use them ... or we lose them.

Of course, the manner in which those liberties are applied leaves us sometimes wondering. But such a dereliction is not because of the rules but due to the manner in which they are applied or not applied.

So let’s learn how to exploit them to make ours a better country. Let’s start by reforming our Political Class and get some people who have had at least one course in Civic Duty - the foremost of which is to forgo personal advantage and demonstrate moral integrity.

Then we might try to convince the Supremes that Corporations are not “individuals” who benefit from the same set of rights and obligations as citizens.

We might then get a handle on ousting the influence of the plutocrats.

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Go Right Young Man's avatar

By Go Right Young Man, April 19, 2011 at 12:52 pm Link to this comment


If we believe in phantom “Neo-Con” monsters we are missing the point.

I did not write that everyone knew Iraq was all about oil.  You only imagined me writing such a thing.

In the context of Iraq having the second largest known oil reserves on the planet it is a given that everyone will understand that the issue of oil contracts, at that time, would have to be dealt with in a global manner.

Some people, in fact most on this Web space, see oil only in the context of perceived U.S. interests.  That context is, truly, missing the point.

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Go Right Young Man's avatar

By Go Right Young Man, April 19, 2011 at 12:42 pm Link to this comment


The world is a great deal larger than the United States.  The world does not revolve around the United States.

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Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, April 19, 2011 at 12:36 pm Link to this comment


drb: And, at the expense of taxpayers, whom “administrations” try to keep in an information vacuum.

Yes, of course. It is all a BigConspiracy to commandeer oil and sell it to Americans at hallucinatory prices and thus make greedy profits.

Of course, that the US has one of the worst energy-usage efficiency quotients on record has no bearing whatsoever.

Yeah, right ...

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By Dave L., April 19, 2011 at 12:21 pm Link to this comment

@ surfnow - What “freedoms” do we have exactly ? I would like to hear those 18 yr olds try to answer that intelligently. The aftermath of 9/11 gave us The Patriot Act, which has shredded what little “freedoms” we had left.

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By Tom Weidermeijer, April 19, 2011 at 12:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

... I’m shocked… just shocked.

SOOOO… HOW’D that work out for them?

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By surfnow, April 19, 2011 at 11:53 am Link to this comment

You’re missing the point,which is really not so surprising-that is what conservatives do. Of the NINETEEN ratinales offered by members of the Bush Cabal- from Cheney, to Rice, to Rumsfeld to the members of the PNAC and other neocons- as to why we needed to invade Iraq, oil was only mentioned once-and that was from a largely unreported quote from Richard Perle. So your lengthy argument that somehow everyone, everywhere always knew it was about oil is absurd.

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By felicity, April 19, 2011 at 11:34 am Link to this comment

Remember April Glaspie, the American ambassador who
gave tacit approval to Saddam’s possible invasion of
Kuwait in 1990?

Was Ms Glaspie just an inept ambassador, a clueless
dolt or did she have instructions from central
casting (George Bush I) to leave Saddam with the
impression that the US would not interfere should he
invade Kuwait because the US wanted him to invade?

Like Bush needed a nice little, quick war to boost
his poll ratings at home?  Whether it’s poll numbers,
or oil, or you name it, reality seldom makes the
evening news.

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By aprohricht, April 19, 2011 at 11:09 am Link to this comment

No one is surprised by this, but it is certainly nice to have some more factual back-up.

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Go Right Young Man's avatar

By Go Right Young Man, April 19, 2011 at 10:43 am Link to this comment


The problem with people like “us” ,who visit informed sites like Truthdig, is that TruthDig simply reflects and regurgitates the farthest Left regions of the huge corporate main Stream Media..


This “secret report” just released outlines the complexities of dealing with a toppled Saddam Hussein and the oil deals already penned with Russia, France, and others.  That’s not a secret.  In fact, not dealing with those complex global issues prior to removing Hussein would have been, well, none too bright.  If those issue had not been addressed prior to removing Hussein most here on TruthDig would be adding to the list and screaming about the ineptitude of Bush and Blair.

Would everyone expect British Petroleum to step in with a desire to be included or considered?  Of course.  As did every oil related company on the planet.


Russia and France knew Saddam Hussein was a large and looming problem.  In fact both France and Russia said as much.  What each would not say publicly, however, was how removing Hussein would effect their respective oil interests, which, as it turns out, was their first concern.

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By Laws456, April 19, 2011 at 10:25 am Link to this comment


I agree with you. From time to time, I’ll visit conservative sites and try to drop some jewels on them but they are so adverse to new facts and information that I don’t bother anymore. The USA took many cues from the Nazi’s. I see it all the time, but again, people don’t like to be told that what they’ve believed in for so long is a lie. They will fight you to the death to be wrong. Such a shame. 9/11 is another big lie. When a Wikileaks or some other entity exposes that farce many people will feel my left hand come right across their face. lol.

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By surfnow, April 19, 2011 at 9:52 am Link to this comment

But that’s just the point. As I wrote below, the same morons who supported shock and awe in 3/2003 ,still do. That just demonstrates the power of media persuasion and propaganda. It’s frightening. Look at the propaganda dynamic at work in Nazi Germany. In April 1945, with Soviet artillery booming just blocks away, Berliners were STILL Sig Heiling Der Furher.

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By Laws456, April 19, 2011 at 9:36 am Link to this comment

What do you call it when you know you’re correct about something but you wished you were wrong? Is there a word to describe that? More and more light is being shed on the Iraq occupation and what many of us said from the very beginning is true. I wonder how all the fools who supported this occupation feel now, especially that the price of gas is where it is now and expected to climb even higher? But I was just a Bush hater and conservative hater and a tree hugging peacenik who knew nothing about what I saw back then and I was only 21 years old then.

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By rend, April 19, 2011 at 8:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

stunning, I imagine the repercussions will be devastating.

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By SarcastiCanuck, April 19, 2011 at 8:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You mean that corporations run the government and that they are also liars?Unbelievable…Next you’ll be telling me theres no Santa Clause.

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By surfnow, April 19, 2011 at 7:45 am Link to this comment

You of course have asked the $64,000 dollar question. 50 percent of polled AmeriKans STILL believe Iraq attacked us on 9-11. The problem with people like us ,who visit informed sites like Truthdig, the only preaching done is here to the choir. Most of the moronic publik still get their news from the MSM.

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By surfnow, April 19, 2011 at 7:41 am Link to this comment

And yet when I ask, ” Why were we attacked on 9-11?”  My 18 year old high school seniors still proudly respond, because they feel so informed and intelligent-  ” Because they hate our freedoms.”

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drbhelthi's avatar

By drbhelthi, April 19, 2011 at 2:35 am Link to this comment

And BP has been approved to drill further in the Gulf of Mexico, by the
Obama administration? 

It is past time for the altruists in MI5 & MI6 to join the increasing
number of altruists among the FBI, CIA, NSA and similar organizations,
in order to accurately reveal what has gone on and continues to go on
behind the scenes.  And, at the expense of taxpayers, whom
“administrations” try to keep in an information vacuum.

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By SteveL, April 19, 2011 at 12:19 am Link to this comment

Anyone surprised?

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By ronjeremy, April 18, 2011 at 11:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

greg palast reported on all this a long time ago.  good to see that it may get more press now, though.  i am reading tony blair’s autobiography right now.  what a doozy it is

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By Trisha, April 18, 2011 at 10:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

And this is news, why, exactly?

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