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Killings, Cancer, Corruption and Azerbaijan: Eurovision in the Islamic Republic of BP

World  (tags: Azerbaijan, BP oil, 'CIVILLIBERTIES!', conflict, corruption, crime, death, government, politics, violence, world )

- 2158 days ago -
When I was arrested by the military police of Azerbaijan during my investigation of BP for Channel 4 Dispatches in 2010, one of the cops who surrounded our crew in the desert told us, with great pride:"BP drives this country."

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Kit B (276)
Saturday May 26, 2012, 10:22 pm

In 1992, the newly independent former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan elected a kindly Muslim Professor, Abulfaz Elchibey, as President.

But the voters had made an error: Elchibey refused to give BP an exclusive contract to drill the nation’s massive Caspian Sea fields as the company wished. In 1993, with assistance and, reportedly, guns provided by MI6, Elchibey was overthrown by the nation’s former Soviet KGB boss, Heydar Aliyev.

Within three months, Aliyev handed BP a sweetheart deal, called “The Contract of the Century”, to take Azerbaijan’s Caspian oil.

The way to the no-bid deal for BP was “greased”, to use the term applied by former BP operative Leslie Abrahams, with several million dollars in illicit payments and weekends with lap dancers in London for Azeri officials. I asked Abrahams, who was ordered by BP to provide military intelligence to MI6, whether he understood that he was paying “bribes on behalf of BP and the British government”. He replied, “absolutely, yes”.

When asked, BP would not directly deny paying bribes.
The company told us, tantalisingly, that:
“While there were some facts in [Abraham's] account that were accurate, we do not recognise most of it and regarded it as fantasy.” (here is Abraham's in the BP office with his Kalashnikov).
By Greg Palast for Left Foot Forward

Article and excerpt from the wonderful book "Vultures Picnic" by Greg Palast, also see videos. This is REAL investigative journalism, no holds barred!

Abdessalam Diab (145)
Sunday May 27, 2012, 6:09 am
I did read the article several times and couldn't find any relationship between the corruption,known about all central Asia former soviet union republics,and the word ISLAMIC in the title.I wonder why does this word appears in the title.Yes the majority of Azerbaijan's population is Muslims.But we also know that corruption has no religion or even home.It is a global disease.I have served in the Egyptian embassy in Tashkent,Uzbekistan and know how far the corruption spreads starting with the highest level of the rulers of not only central Asia republics but all former soviet Union independent republics.Although the corrupted may be Muslims by birth in Azerbaijan,the corruptors are Europeans and Americans as well as Israelis who make use of the poverty of the people and the greed of the highest level officials but CERTAINLY HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ISLAM.Corruption is also widespread in other European former soviet union republics including Russia.Even Europe,North and south America,Africa,Asia and Australia.It is a global disease.

Vicky P (476)
Sunday May 27, 2012, 10:51 am
it's an ex-soviet country, it's secular, not so much Islamic, so using that word is kind of inappropriate.

Kit B (276)
Sunday May 27, 2012, 12:16 pm

Do note that Greg Palast has no negative opinions regarding Islam, in fact if one reads his book his main concern is for the people of the countries being used by BP. I have read many accounts that state that the as the vast majority of the people follow the Islamic faith it is their preference for Azerbaijani to be denoted as an Islamic country. If that offends others, I most certainly do not understand why, it's their country and their independent desire.

Approximately 99.2 percent of the population of Azerbaijan is Muslim according to a 2009 Pew Research center report. The rest of the population adheres to other faiths or are non-religious, although they are not officially represented. Among the Muslim majority, religious observance varies and Muslim identity tends to be based more on culture and ethnicity rather than religion; however, many imams reported increased attendance at mosques during 2003. The Muslim population is approximately 85% Shi'a and 15% Sunni; differences traditionally have not been defined sharply. (wiki)


Abdessalam Diab (145)
Sunday May 27, 2012, 2:18 pm
I think the author has chosen that title to attract buyers to his book.It is a marketing policy that uses or abuses the unjustified atmosphere in the west against Islam and Muslims.Putting this in mind I am not offended but still feel the writer failed to choose a correct title based on the fact that corruption has no religion and that many others who adopt other religions are deeply involved in corruption including of course British Petroleum.

mar l ene dinkins (264)
Sunday May 27, 2012, 3:23 pm
noted thnx

Past Member (0)
Sunday May 27, 2012, 7:28 pm
Money wins over Nature, all things ethical, spiritual and wise, yet again

Robert O (12)
Monday May 28, 2012, 12:02 pm
Thanks Kit.

Jose Ramon Fisher Rodriguez (13)
Monday May 28, 2012, 12:28 pm
Abdessalam, I agree with your objections. I think that a better title for the book would have been The Caspian Republic of BP or The Post-Soviet Republic of BP. The author may have also been wanting to make a comparison between the Islamic Republic of Iran, which also has very much oil but cannot be accused of having sold out to foreign companies or gathering all the oil wealth in the hands of a few leaders (in spite of many other distasteful features of the Iranian regime), and Azerbaijan, which is a state with a majority Muslim population but that according to the author is being robbed (to make an understatement) by BP.

Kit B (276)
Monday May 28, 2012, 12:45 pm

The title of the Book is "Vultures Picnic" and this is but one excerpt from one chapter. This is a deep investigation of the corruption of the OIL companies and how the few leaders, whether Islamic or American/western have taken that corrupt money and allowed companies like BP to poison the people. Read the book before you condemn it on the basis of one word. It so happens that as I said, Azerbaijan does think of itself as Muslim or Islamic, why then should that have a negative connotation? People are dying because of the greed of Oil companies and leaders who swim in that corrupt money and all you can see is a WORD?

Emma S (239)
Monday May 28, 2012, 3:46 pm
Thank you, Kit. All the best.

Kit B (276)
Monday May 28, 2012, 3:56 pm

Sorry but Azerbaijan is not secular, at least not any definition of secular that I know. I don't why this and not the corruption of the Oil is the point of dicussion but here is the information:

Approximately 99.2 percent of the population of Azerbaijan is Muslim according to a 2009 Pew Research center report. The rest of the population adheres to other faiths or are non-religious, although they are not officially represented. Among the Muslim majority, religious observance varies and Muslim identity tends to be based more on culture and ethnicity rather than religion; however, many imams reported increased attendance at mosques during 2003. The Muslim population is approximately 85% Shi'a and 15% Sunni; differences traditionally have not been defined sharply.

Most Shias are adherents of orthodox Ithna Ashari school of Shi'a Islam. Other traditional religions or beliefs that are followed by many in the country are the orthodox Sunni Islam, the Armenian Apostolic Church (in Nagorno-Karabakh), the Russian Orthodox Church, the Georgian Orthodox Church, and various Christian sects. Traditionally villages around Baku and Lenkoran region are considered stronghold of Shi'ism. In some northern regions, populated by Sunni Dagestani (Lezghian) people, the Salafi movement gained great following. Folk Islam is widely practiced but there is little evidence of an organized Sufi movement.

There are fairly sizable expatriate Christian and Muslim communities in the capital city of Baku; authorities generally permit these groups to worship freely.

Is religion the only measure of a people? If so then we all have long road to walk.

Lois Jordan (63)
Monday May 28, 2012, 4:23 pm
Yes, Kit, the article refers to the "Islamic Republic of BP"---but the point is that BP goes in and takes over a whole country. They buy leaders. They buy politicians of every religion in every country the can claw their greedy way into. We shouldn't spend our time on divisive conversation...BP is the evil, money-grubbing Corporation. They corrupt entire countries, and that should be the point. We should all be on the same side AGAINST BP. They are destroying environment on a worldwide level through bribery and collusion. Nitpicking divides the cause...our personal sensitivities to something regarded as a "slight" should be put on the back burner when rallying against such a behemoth intent on destroying our beautiful planet. Thank you for posting this.

Kit B (276)
Tuesday May 29, 2012, 10:19 am

Because I read this book when it first was released and know this is but part of one chapter, I wanted to share the research. I meant no ill by posting this or using the word Islamic in the title. Perhaps Mary is correct and that using the words Islam or Muslim does gain attention, that was not my intention. If people have paid attention to my submissions then they should be aware that I have often submitted articles that praise Islamic countries or articles that seek to defeat stereotypes. If any feelings have been hurt then I am deeply apologetic, it was not with intention.

Ken S. (3)
Tuesday May 29, 2012, 7:03 pm
Azerbaijan is another Islamic state controlled by a despot, adding to the hideous array of atrocious governments ruled by tyrants. in the Middle East, where human rights and freedon of religion are meaningless phrases, there seems to be no possibility of reform while jihadists reign supreme. It seems the message of the Koran has been distorted by unscrupulous clerics to create intolerance and bigotry, with the miost violent repercussions for the Islamic people. Unless there can be a permanent reconcilliation between the divers Islamic sects, to form a unified Islam, the situation will continue to deteriorate.

Kit B (276)
Tuesday May 29, 2012, 7:08 pm

That does seem an over generalization to me. There are terrorist in America as well, does that mean all Americans are terrorist?

Abdessalam Diab (145)
Wednesday May 30, 2012, 9:07 am
Kit B. my dear friend.Please don't blame yourself.It is the Auther who put this word not you for commercial reasons may be .I personaly know pretty well where you stand.You always stand on the side of the truth and refuse generalization.Thanks for your reply to Ken.

Kit B (276)
Wednesday May 30, 2012, 9:27 am

Sending a Green Star is a simple way to say "Thank you"
You cannot currently send a star to Abdessalam because you have done so within the last week.

Thank you, Abdessalam. I was very concerned when it became apparent that others were taking offense at this title. It is not my intention to generalize or categorize people. It disturbs me when I see the amount of ill will that currently exists because of the lack of understanding or effort to learn of a cultural beyond their own. This world is tortured by this lack of understanding, and lack of acceptance.

This is from page 12 in the Chapter titled "Goldfinger"

There is only one story: the story of Them versus Us.

THEY get homes bigger than Disneyland,

WE get foreclosure notices.

THEY get private jets to private islands,

WE get tar balls and lost futures, and pay their gambling debts with our pensions.

THEY get the third trophy wife and a tax break,

WE get sub-primed.

THEY get two candidates on the ballot and

WE are told to choose.

THEY get the gold mine,

WE get the shaft.

Them versus Us: that’s my career, my obsession—and my tombstone.

This is Greg Palast - one of the last of the few remaining true journalist, seekers of truth. He insults those who harm the rest of us. He has no agenda other then protection of the poor, from the greed of the wealthy. He does not allow anyone to stand behind the shield of capitalism or religion. His life is and has been seeking truth. So for that I do admire him, he and others put their life at risk with every story. Those stories are not found on the daily news, it's all now owned by 5 corporations that work to screen out truth and tell us stories.

Abdessalam Diab (145)
Wednesday May 30, 2012, 9:38 am
Ken B. It seems that you missed reading the article posted by Kit.It is about corruption in Azerbaijan where both BP and high officials are involved. It has nothing to do with Middle East or Islam.If you are infected with Islamophobia then I advise you to see a psychiatric.If you are one of Islam haters,then I pray for you and ask Allah to help you . According to the Quran " I am going to quote from the holy Quran : "The true servants of the Most Merciful are those who behave gently and with humility on earth, and whenever the foolish quarrel with them, they reply with [words of] peace.’
(AL-Furqan 25: 63).
Now my word to Islam haters is " Peace "

Kit B (276)
Wednesday May 30, 2012, 9:51 am

What better answer to those filled with hate and lack of knowledge then to wish them peace.
It's been a long time since I read the Quran, and then it was with the guidance of an Imam. Each time I have studied a religion I seek guidance from those who are truly knowable about the religion and it's source. This does not have to be life time pursuit, but before one can understand they first must know the source.

Education is or should be a life time pursuit, not just to get a job, but to realize that through education, self taught or formal, we become open to all possibilities. Thank you, again Abdessalam.

Abdessalam Diab (145)
Wednesday May 30, 2012, 9:56 am
Mary my friend
You say " We see how positive news about Muslims and Islamic countries never make the News in a hurry!"

Mary Don't bother yourself . Didn't you read in the Quran that " Allah defends those who believed "? Didn't you read the verse I posted in reply to Ken about how Muslims behave whenever the foolish quarrel with them ? Cheer up my friend because the meek will inherit the earth.

Kit B (276)
Wednesday May 30, 2012, 8:26 pm

The tie that binds us all together is peace, love and open acceptance. Let's just always remember that we are first human beings all of the same species, all capable of love and acceptance. My most sincere thanks to Abdessalam and Mary.

Some times words do hurt, we must all rise above the ignorant who chose to live with hate or distrust in their hearts. It's difficult to not forget that a person on Care2 told me I would enjoy killing, slitting the throats of Israeli babies and that my daughter was lucky to dead so as to not be near me. She is always near me. I wish no ill will towards the Jews of Israel, I wish only that they will strive for better more open acceptance of their brothers. Their corrupt leaders are walking a path to encourage dissonance and war. I hope for new younger leaders, that will see the only path to a future is to live side by side with brothers, the Palestinian people and, all Arab countries.

Mary P (157)
Friday June 1, 2012, 6:39 am
OMG!! Kit, all my comments from your post has also been Deleted! Care2 hates to
hear Truth and Just comments! Sic!!

Past Member (0)
Friday June 1, 2012, 9:58 am
Mine have gone too.

Kit B (276)
Friday June 1, 2012, 10:28 am

I'm hoping it's all just a Care2 glitch.

Abdessalam Diab (145)
Friday June 1, 2012, 11:58 am
May be there is a technical problem. However here are your comments reposted
Monday, May 28, 2012, 2:00 PM
Kit B

Azerbaijan is secular.

Republic of Azerbaijan
Azərbaycan Respublikası

I'll look for the others and repost them. Don't worry


Abdessalam Diab (145)
Friday June 1, 2012, 12:06 pm
Mary.Here are some of your posts
Monday, May 28, 2012, 10:49 PM
Lois Jordan I totally agree with BP is the 'axis of evils' with its filthy claws trying to take
Over the world; leaving behind death, destruction, corruption and greed!!

Abdessalam, unfortunately anything 'negative' about muslims or islamic countries is a huge
'crowd puller' due to false spread of 'islam is the Bogeyman' in mainstream medias and some scrupulous people love to exploit the baseless inner fears and hate of ignorants! Just add the word
'Muslim' or 'islam' and it makes the 'News'!!!

We see how positive news about muslims and islamic countries never make the
News in a hurry!

May 30, 2012, 2:06 PM

Kit, thank you for your comments. I have never known you to be anything but
Fair and just towards all people, irrelevant of country, religion, race or cultures and
You have my utmost respect, for standing up for the Truth!

Abdessalam, Jazakallah! I say Inshallah and Ameen!

Thursday, May 31, 2012, 4:33 AM
Kit, I am so sorry about the painful words inflicted on you ! Please forgive him or her!
Forgiving another will hopefully set u free from this horrid pain. :)

I wish I could send you another star; but know that I am sending u umpteen
Heavely Stars for your words "Their corrupt leaders are walking a path to encourage dissonance and war. I hope for new younger leaders, that will see the only path to a future is to live side by side with brothers, the Palestinian people and, all Arab countries."

And I say Inshallah, Ameen to your words!


Kit B (276)
Friday June 1, 2012, 12:29 pm

Some days I get tired and discouraged reading the way some treat others on Care2, so allow me to thank Abdessalam, Mary, and John D for lovely and encouraging thoughts.

Mary P (157)
Friday June 1, 2012, 1:41 pm
Jazakallah Abdessalam for re-instating my comments! My comments on many posts have been, I think,
Intentionally deleted! Unfortunately Care2 is not for Truth, unity, love and justice. :(

Kit thank your for your kind words; all the best to you! Lots of love and peace!
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