Behind Bars

Before BP

By Mumia Abu-Jamal

BP didn’t begin as BP. Indeed, it didn’t begin as British Petroleum.

In 1908, it was known as the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, and it exploited Iran’s natural resources and labor ruthlessly. Majority shares of the company were owned by the British government, and Iran offered a rich yield for APOC.

In 1947 for example, the company pulled in after-tax profits of £40
million, while Iran received a mere £7 million.

The average Iranian worker, housed in huts assembled of rusted, hammered oil cans, lived in desolate oil towns, and earned about 50 cents a day.

One observer from Iran’s Petroleum Institute described one such shanty town, Kaghazabad (Farsi for “Paper City”) as a place where “in every crevice hung the foul sulfurous stench of burning oil.” Instead of streets, narrow alleyways existed, which the describer called “an emporium for rats.” He said the town was so desolate that there was not a single tree.

Is there any wonder that the government of Mohammed Mossadegh wanted to nationalize the country’s oil wealth—or that the CIA (and MI-5—British Intelligence) assured his ouster, and imposed the dictator, the Shah?

BP plundered the country, making money, hand over fist.

Now, they are plundering American natural resources—its southern shorelines, and its matchless fishing and shrimping grounds—and the chickens have indeed, come home to roost., June 3, 2010

(Source: Majidi, Mazda, “The Latest Crime in BP’s Criminal History,” Liberation, June 4, 2010, p.7.