We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Secret of the Seven Sisters (Shell, Exxon, BP, Mobil, Chevron, Gulf, Texaco) [updated]

Four uploaded YouTube segments of a film from a French film company are posted by Transcend Media Service. Each one is approximately 52 minutes long. They each contain a short episode detailing the origins of the Seven Sisters, but after that they proceed to tell the story of the powerful influence of these oil companies starting with Iran in 1951.  

The films will take you on a tour through time and across the world following the trail of tears left by the machinations of the Seven Sisters. They tell a horrific story of private ownership and control of oil, an energy source that could have liberated humanity from the scourges of hunger, disease, ignorance, shortened life spans, etc. Instead, we see one social, economic, and environmental disaster after another, millions of lives lost in wars, corruption and subversion of governments, etc. There seems to be no end of this story as we witness events unfold in Syria that threaten more war. After having watched all four videos, I agree with the short posting introduction that they are "must-watch" videos.

Video One - Focuses mostly on the Mid-East [now available here]

Video Two - Focuses mostly on Africa. [now available here]

Video Three - Focuses mostly on central Asia. [now available here]

Video Four - Looks at the world of oil in relation to the US. [now available here]

In several sections the films make reference to a key role played by Saudi Arabia in relation to US interests. But, for some reason the film director omitted a key event that secured Saudi Arabia's loyalty to the US Empire and secured the value of the US dollar. This was accomplished in 1974 in negotiations conducted by Kissinger with Saudi Arabia's rulers which resulted in a major agreement (now a dead link, try this) that greatly enabled the US to have its way in the world after the defeat in Vietnam.
The Vietnam War in addition to the Cold War proved very costly for the US and they had to go off the gold standard as backing for US currency. In a crucial move to insure its own currency as the prime world currency, in 1974 the US guaranteed the security of the Kingdom and, in return, the Saudis agreed to sell oil only in US dollars and to recycle those dollars into US Treasury bonds and US stocks. This effectively backed the US dollars with oil. As Michael Hudson stated:
Saudi Arabia realizes that it exists only with U.S. support. Doing what U.S. diplomats tell them to do lets them keep their oil resources rather than being treated like Iraq and Iran.
For a much more detailed explanation of the background and the effects of this agreement, check out this report by William Engdahl where he writes:
The deal had been fixed in June 1974 by Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, establishing the U.S.-Saudi Arabian Joint Commission on Economic Cooperation. The U.S. Treasury and the New York Federal Reserve would ‘allow’ the Saudi central bank, SAMA, to buy U.S. Treasury bonds with Saudi petrodollars. In 1975 OPEC officially agreed to sell its oil only for dollars. A secret U.S. military agreement to arm Saudi Arabia was the quid pro quo.