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The Oil Road: Journeys From The Caspian Sea To The City Of London Paperback – September 10, 2013
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"An elegantly written travel book about a pipeline … A distinctive blend of travelogue, reportage and history."—Financial Times
"Inspirational in the proper sense."—Guardian
"A lovingly crafted narrative, a rich tapestry of first-hand anecdote and historical reconstruction."—Independent
"Elegant … verges on the psychogeographical … The human stories behind the pipeline’s construction."—Literary Review
"Opens the lid on the often-shady energy economy, weaving absorbing travel reportage into powerful investigative journalism."—Time Out Book of the Week
"Seamlessly weaves an engaging personal story into the current geopolitics of oil aggression and the volatile recent history of the region."—Red Pepper
"Part-travelogue, part-reportage, The Oil Road is a powerful … account of how a valuable natural resource can ruin the lives of ordinary people … This is no dry historiography."—Sunday Business Post
"Beautifully written as well as formidably well-informed … A pleasure to read."—Neal Ascherson, Black Sea
"The Oil Road is an inspiring act of political cartography. It makes chastisingly visible the means by which we blithely consume ‘the geology of elsewhere.’"—Robert Macfarlane, The Old Ways
"Well researched and written with empathy, integrity and imagination. It is timely and much needed." Ahdaf Soueif, The Map of Love
"This book is so masterful, so authortatively researched and so elegantly written, that it suceeds in distilling a complex and changing ‘Carbon Web’ of engineering companies, legal firms, and financiers, into an intimate and engaging personal story."—Suzi Gablik, Has Modernism Failed
About the Author
James Marriott is an artist, naturalist, activist and co-author of The Next Gulf: London, Washington and the Oil Conflict in Nigeria.
Based in Cairo, Mika Minio-Paluello is a sailor, beekeeper and campaigner for social movements resisting oil companies. Both work for Platform, a London-based arts, human rights and environmental justice organisation (www.platformlondon.org).
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Clearly, BP or Anglo-Persian and its banks are linked in this book to wars between Azerbaijan and Armenia, and the Aliyev coup which put to bed the chance for a real democratic republic there. "Stability", i.e. no surprises from voters and wage earners, is after all what the real controlling stake owners of BP want in these places (concealed by Cazenove, but that is just a detail). The template revealed also shows how conflicts are stirred up between groups on the ground through unequal payment and unequal treatment of one ethnic group over another to cause conflicts. These practices of divide et impera are perhaps most closely revealed by the situation in Azerbaijan and Armenia and amongst the ethnic groups in Eastern Turkey. We all know how the British Foreign Office did it in India, after all. And, how the combined cultural institutions still do it at home.
Marriott and Minio-Paluello load up the book with dozens of clues. The casual mention of BP drilling in the conflict zone Congo/Uganda reveals what we must assume goes on everywhere arms are trafficked, states destabilized, populations terrorized by "arditi" and brigand, finally culminating in £500 nights charged up on Oligarch offspring credit cards in London nightspots. The British troops defending Rothschild railways in Baku, French troops defending Societe Generale plantation holdings in SE Turkey, or and Brit frigates on Gulf of Aden patrols for supertankers tell us exactly what is going on then all over the world today with our "defense" budgets, despite the mishigas we are fed about the origins of these conflicts (religion, yeah right!).
It goes without saying, the propping up of Aliyev dictators by these banks, and the governments they control (Foreign Office and State Department shown as the step and fetch clerical offices they are) reveals what must therefore go on all over the world with other dictators for other corporations. BP and Shell or Exxon or Chevron are not the only corporations being served by State Dept or Foreign Office. This book reveals what must therefore be going on everywhere a conflict erupts out of nowhere between long peaceful neighbors over land grabs and forced enclosures so that banks can fund resource extraction or plantation projects. We think of Myanmar now, where Chevron drills along coasts, Hillary Clinton opens trade missions with another dictator, whose state police forces incite violent episodes between Buddhist and Muslim neighbors, who are now pitted against each other in fights for their ancestral lands and lives. The whole thing can be seen for what it is. Or, Sudan and Horn of Africa.
The Balfour Curzon exchange though about "mismanaging" the occupations is perhaps the most revealing about the role our governments play for the banks in all of this "wealth" accumulation for London or NY. We can understand then how the Provisional Authority in Iraq or the Karzai government of Afghanistan have both failed so miserably while roadways, garrisons, and mines did get built nevertheless. "Mismanaging" the occupation then is the real duty of these state doormats, so that populations remain terrorized and divided against the combined forces of limited liability corporate charters and unlimited bank balance sheet money created as debt by the owners of banking licenses.
That leads to the final lesson of this book. And, the lesson we will all learn next. Marriott and Minio-Paluello also reveal quite well the fragility of corporate capitalism. This BP saga reveals the mere matter of days it all comes down to when the unlimited fractional-reserve money creation game of the City of London or Wall Street or Frankfurt can be shut down. The chartered corporation leviathans that are killing us all can be shut down for good once we shut down this fake money machine that feeds all of them through money creation as "credit". The banking licenses that allow the owners of these oil corporations to create money as debt for these corporate balance sheets is the Achilles heel of the whole system. The secret lies in the power of these banks to create money out of thin air in such huge sums for their pet projects, while claiming shortages for everybody else in the real economy. We see the heartland of the US midwest or the North of England reamed out as they direct their credit money elsewhere in huge tranches to their new enormous and enormously destructive capital intensive projects. That will be the next lesson we learn. That Rothschild or Rockefeller or Morgan or Samuels were behind so many of these early capital intensive oil railway or pipeline projects, descendents of whom we should assume are still buried somewhere in the "institutional" shareholders at the likes of Cazenove (shhh! mum's the word), should reveal something to us of the role of easy peasy fractional-reserve money creation in all of this.
This book though presents all the clues needed to see whole new forms of action and activism for real change. Its all in there. Lots of dots to connect in brand new ways for radical change. Love this book. Breathing a sigh of relief to see it all in one place.