Socialist Worker

'All we are saying is give oil a chance'

Issue No. 1855

'GIVE OIL a chance,' sang Exxon Mobil shareholders during a meeting in Dallas. Some oil companies, like BP and Shell, have tried to give themselves a 'green' makeover in recent years, pretending they care about the environment.

But there was no such window-dressing for the biggest oil company of them all, Exxon Mobil.

The shareholders loudly demanded their right to pollute the world, bursting into song to drown out environmental protesters. The shareholders then threw out resolutions about reducing global warming and promoting renewable energy.

'We won't jump on the bandwagon just because others may have a different view,' said Exxon Mobil's chief executive, Lee Raymond. 'We don't invest to make social statements at the expense of shareholder return.'

An Indonesian activist shareholder, Radhi Darmansyah, addressed the conference, saying, 'You are killing my brothers and sisters.' Top boss Raymond had his microphone switched off and contemptuously told him to 'come back another time'. Raymond keeps a low profile - appearing in public only to attack any attempt to limit global warming.

He is unapologetic about doing business with some of the most repressive regimes in the world. And he refuses to add gays to the company's equal opportunities legislation.

Thanks to A Bhattacharyya for this story.


In the Frame - No. 14 Bernard Kerik

NEW YORK'S ex police chief has been appointed to bring law and order to Iraq. When asked about the US failure to find weapons of mass destruction, Kerik said, 'I don't care.' He says he wants to 'show the Iraqi people why the US is so great'.

Kerik is also on the board of Taser International, which produces 'non-lethal' weapons for law enforcement.


Bush and Blair vetoed peace

TONY BLAIR says the threat of an 'unreasonable' French veto on the UN Security Council forced him to abandon efforts to get a second resolution backing the war.

This is a lie. Britain and the US dropped their plans because they knew they would lose. An investigation by the Financial Times has discovered that all six of the 'undecided' states on the Security Council planned to vote against a second resolution. The US and Britain needed backing from five to secure a majority.


Met's home movie sale

LONDON'S MET police force is doing a nice little sideline. The Met turned up at a big TV industry conference this year flogging off 3,000 hours of footage shot by police cameras in London. The Met's sales team offered film from CCTV surveillance units, and roadside cameras to TV production companies.

They also offered to hire out police uniforms, buildings, vehicles and even police officers for use in TV programmes.

Thanks to Steve Lax for this story.


The Iraq visit that wasn't

THE MEDIA trumpeted Blair's recent visit to Iraq's second city, Basra. In fact, he only got as far as the outskirts as officials feared protests. The school he visited was reconstructed specially for the day. He spent most of his time holed up in one of Saddam Hussein's heavily fortified palaces.


No mercy for army widow

THE WIDOW of a soldier based at the Deepcut army barracks in Surrey is being deported. The Home Office has told Deveen Clarke that she must leave Britain by September after she lost her appeaL against deportation.

The Deepcut army barracks is where four young soldiers have been found dead in suspicious circumstances over the last two years. Deveen's husband, Mario, who served at the barracks, was shot outside his home in Hackney in east London.

Despite all the talk of 'our boys' during the war against Iraq, the Home Office has shown no compassion to the grieving widow of a serving British soldier. It has refused her appeal to stay on compassionate grounds, saying she does not have a 'marriage visa'.

She will be able to stay until a headstone is erected on her husband's grave, then she will be sent back to Jamaica. 'I have to go back immediately afterwards,' said Deveen. 'I'll never be able to see it again and the thought of that devastates me.'


NHS photo opp flop

'FIND A good TV backdrop.' That's what the Department of Health told bosses at UCLH hospital in central London when health secretary Alan Milburn decided to pay a call. UCLH is being rebuilt under the Private Finance Initiative.

Milburn wanted to be pictured next to some expensive equipment bought with government money. Trust bosses tore through the hospital tearing down newspaper cartoons that joked about the government's disastrous PFI schemes.

The entrance bosses thought Milburn would use was freshly painted. But at the last minute the venue switched because the scanner he planned to pose with had been paid for by the voluntary sector.

Milburn opted for another site at the hospital to be pictured near a government-funded scanning machine. Managers rushed around, spending hundreds of pounds hastily repainting doors. But they failed to inform doctors of the visit.

Seriously ill cancer patients were forced to miss urgent scans while Milburn was interviewed for television and pictured next to the scanner for two hours.


Figure it out

54 - That is how few asylum seekers there are in Burnley. If you believed the scaremongering of the Nazis and the right wing press you might think the figure was ten or 100 times the real one.


Who says?

'We're here to kick ass. Let them think the Marines are prepared to top 'em all if they step out of line.'
Lieutenant Colonel Erik Growbsky serving with the US Marines in Iraq

'I don't often feel like I've been taken for a sucker. How could I have been so naive?'
Michael Portillo former Tory leadership contender on how he feels betrayed by Blair over the war

'My god, if this is the best intelligence they have and we find nothing, what about the rest?'
Hans Blix chief UN weapons inspector on his thoughts when British and US intelligence tip-offs proved useless

'I would not put it past the Americans to plant their own weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.'
Denis Healey former deputy leader of the Labour Party

'I think capitalism has got everybody's goat.'
Walter Becker Steely Dan band on their new album Everything Must Go

'We will apply all necessary combat power to ensure that opposition is removed.'
Lieutenant General David Mckiernan US command in Iraq

'There is a danger of being sucked into a quagmire.'
British military commander in Iraq


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Article information

Inside the System
Sat 14 Jun 2003, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1855
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