The Curmudgeon


Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Helping Business

Well, here's a thing: a British company has been found guilty of corruption. The use of leaded petrol is illegal in Europe and the US; but Octel, a stalwart British enterprise with the environmental consciousness of BP and the ethical scruples of BAE Systems, chose to maximise their cash flow by greasing officials in Iraq and Indonesia, who returned the favour by helping to poison their countries' citizens. The first suspicion that all was not entirely above board came in 2003 when, as Britain's leading liberal newspaper delicately puts it, "US troops invaded Iraq"; whereupon, as if by magic, "oil ministry files fell into their hands". Alcor, a subsidiary of Octel, had been shipping barrels of toxic chemicals "to Saddam" (in person?) from the company's factory at Ellesmere Port which, nevertheless, the Bush administration and our brave boys in the Royal Air Force somehow failed to bomb. Over the eleven years between 1998 and 2009, Octel's profits from exporting tetra ethyl lead to the Third World exceeded six hundred million dollars, which is about as much excuse as any corporation is likely to need; and, sure enough, the executives responsible have collected their millions and the company itself has been given a fine one-tenth the size of what could have been imposed. In a further effort by British and American prosecutors to show that there are no hard feelings (we are not, after all, speaking of welfare claimants), Octel was permitted to pay in instalments, and to operate under a new identity in case of reprisals by irate Iraqis who might have thought the effects of depleted uranium more than enough to cope with. Still, it is a great pity that the governments of Bush, Cheney, the Venerable Tony and Lord Mandelbrot the Infinitely Recurring failed to exercise sufficient influence over the sovereign, independent Iraqi government and prevent all that underhanded conduct taking place.


  • At 12:38 am , Blogger Giovanni said...

    (in person?)

    Of course. He insisted to sign all bills of parcels himself - they didn't call him the Thorough Dictator for nothing.

  • At 10:13 am , Blogger phil said...

    where "prevent" can presumably stand in for "facilitate" presumably

    almost the same thing, depending on where you sit

  • At 3:58 pm , Blogger Philip said...

    the discontents of bloggery are many
    as when the trolls emerge from their holes
    and spatter you with spam
    but then again there is always the chance
    that a drunkenly incoherent australian
    will turn up and do his
    e e cummings bit


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