We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

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Il est tout au sujet d’huile

Those of you who still think that US foreign policy is a tool of commercial oil interests, might be advised to look away now:

The former president of Elf Aquitaine testified Monday that the French oil giant paid about $5 million to French political parties during his leadership — including to President Jacques Chirac’s former party.

Loik Le Floch-Prigent said nearly all the money went to Chirac’s former party until then-President Francois Mitterrand, a Socialist, demanded the cash be spread to both sides of the political spectrum. Chirac, a conservative, succeeded Mitterrand as president in 1995.

But hang on a minute, I thought it was George Bush who was supposed to be up to his neck in oil industry slush funds??!!

“We absolutely needed French politicians who supported us,” Le Floch-Prigent testified. “There were politicians who didn’t want to favor Elf … We had to keep them quiet, to have them on our side.”

But surely European politics is driven by high-minded ideals of social justice? I don’t know, it’s all too much, it really is. How many more cherished myths are going to be put to the sword by reality?

17 comments to Il est tout au sujet d’huile

  • Mark

    All of this Old European political maneuvering is just way too nuanced and sophisticated for me to comprehend. Shucks, I’m just an ol’ redneck cowboy. (F*ckin’ French are backstabbing cowards)

  • marek

    Why to invoke sophistication for a plain old whoring. The old ‘follow the money” rule applies to French political and intelectual elites just fine.

  • Rick

    But hang on a minute, I thought it was George Bush who was supposed to be up to his neck in oil industry slush funds??!!

    Well… Duh.

    I can’t imagine being naive enough to thing G.W. Bush or Chirac for that matter are the only oilwell hugging leaders out there. George is just more blatant.

    But please. Don’t try to take our eye’s off G.W.’s oil connections by pointing out Chiracs.

  • Tom Kince

    Come on, France’s entire history has been based on the fact that their government leaders have values lining their own pockets over the national interest. They lost North America and India because of it. And their commercial interests are going to lose enormous amounts now. Chirac knew that with the U.S. leading the way graft was out of the picture in the rebuilding of Iraq. Yes Rick you clever boy, it was. And Chirac would rather see French interests excluded if he wasn’t going to get his cut.

  • Ian

    I’ve been telling everyone about France/Elf for some time now, but all these bloody lefties won’t listen. Nor will they accept that Saddam runs a police state, for that matter. Fuckwits.

  • William

    Imagine if was found out that Iraq’s “oil for food” accounts, some $2 billion per year, were being held in French banks, with the banks skimming a portion of the interest for their “troubles”.

  • Colin

    I’m not sure if I see David’s point. How does Chirac’s ’embeddedness’ with big-oil imply that W is _not_ in bed with big-oil? To me, it just reinforces the fact that big-oil gets around, and is seriously affecting policy globally. Regardless of your political position, unchecked corperate influence in government _weakens_ your power as a citizen.

    No matter your feelings towards the Bush administration, you are not being served when corperations have more influence than constituents.

  • The notion that I have ‘power as a citizen’ is a splendid and comfortable fiction… a lie in fact. A democracy is a tyranny of the majority, or more accurately, a tyranny of the best organized group. The fact I am entitled to vote does not give me ‘power’, it just legitimises my repression as an individual by trying to bring me into the system which robs me. I do not vote because no one represent my views and I do not consent to myself and others being constantly being robbed and threatened by the state and its apologists.

  • Liberty Belle

    I think consideration of oil supplies is a proper component, among others, including the disabling of a regime which is is threat to western civilisation, of what this war is about. It is all one and the same in any event. Our civilisation is dependent on having a reliable supply of cheap oil. Leaving aside transport issues, which are too obvious to address here, and manufacturing issues for the same reason, modern medicine is overwhelmingly dependent on those wonderful petroleum derivatives, plastics. All the ancient hippie marchers who whine, “It’s all about oiiiiilll!” and who needs a heart valve or a hip joint replaced, should have the courage of their convictions and ask for one fashioned out of wood. Also, they should request that the surgeon and OT personnel not wear plastic gloves during the op and that all the lifesaving equipment in the theatre be turned off. And the operation would, of course, have to be performed in the dark or by torchlight. Oil is as important to our civilisation as is being free from terrorist aggression.

  • Has anyone here read former lingerie model Christine Devier-Joncour’s autobiographical book ‘Whore of the Republic‘ about her time as mistress to French Foreign Minister [later to be head of France’s Supreme Court] Roland Dumas?

    A large part of her role was to encourage the transfer of other people’s money between Dumas and French state oil company Elf Aquitaine.

    I haven’t read it – I’m just wondering if anyone here has.

  • A_t

    Liberty Belle… i take your point; oil is pretty essential. The question though is, how are Iraqi people supposed to view this? If things are as you suggest (and i reckon you’ve got some of the truth there), how are they supposed to be anything but resentful when they discover that actually their cities were bombed, and friends & relatives killed, in order to keep us in regular supply of artificial heart valves & SUV-juice?

    And from our Western perspective, yes clearly none of us want to die from lack of said valve, but would you be willing to have someone else killed in order to survive?

  • Liberty Belle

    A_t – Very fair comment. I’m bucking and winging it a bit here, but I think that had it not been for the danger posed by Saddam’s regime, we would not be in there now. Protecting oil supplies for the West is a byproduct, but I don’t think we went to war for it. They’re being bombed because we have to defang a rogue regime which has the potential to do untold damage to our civilisation. Few on this side of the Atlantic understand the ferocity of America’s determination not to be cowed by terrorists and to preserve its liberty. If it takes an entire war to spike one gun — meaning Saddam’s eventual ability to sell nuclear weapons to terrorists and assorted loonies who would circumscribe all our freedom through terrorism — then that’s a start. (Incidentally, despite some confused journalists, the war is not about freeing the Iraqis, which is another byproduct.) But if America was desperate for oil, there’s still plenty under Alaska and off California if they could just get the Dept of the Environment to free up drilling rights. They still buy from Venezuela and Mexico. They’re still drilling in Texas, on and off shore. And the North Sea. And if they’d wrung all those sources dry of the last drop before they developed alternatives (which will not happen), they can always invade Alberta! It’s closer, everyone speaks the same language, all the Big Macs and ham sandwiches you can eat, cheap gas all round and they have a stampede up in Calgary that rivals the Texas Prison Rodeo …

    To your serious question, would I be willing for someone to die in order to get a plastic heart valve replacement or whatever, I am not being flippant when I say, that’s a tough one. I honestly don’t know – unless the decision was whether to shoot an environmentalist demonstrating against drilling offshore Santa Barbara.

  • Sandy P.

    Colin: opensecrets.org will answer some of your questions as to who gets what from whom.

    Instapundit had a link from someone who has a good idea as to how to handle the oil money. Based on Singapore’s model.

  • Sandy P.

    Colin: opensecrets.org will answer some of your questions as to who gets what from whom.

    Instapundit had a link from someone who has a good idea as to how to handle the oil money. Based on Singapore’s model.

  • Michael Gill

    Poor, Poor Perry de Havilland. The world’s adreadful place. I think you should just wander down to the beach and pull a wave over your head.

    Kind Regards

  • Valerie

    Perry de Havilland—is it Micheal Moore in disguise? The only thing that is fiction around here is the notion that, “I’m not going to play with you because I don’t like you”, rational is the best approach. As the ol’ saying goes, “If you don’t vote, you have NO right to complain.”
    Take this kleenex, wipe the snot from your nose and choose to make a difference with action.

  • A Rollerskating Jam named Saturday.

    What about if you DO vote? Can you complain then?

    Maybe I should just join Michael Gill down at his beach.