Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Dirty Truth About Big Oil: ExxonMobil

While the Gulf Coast region is soaking in oil, the American public is being fed a steady diet of clever and deceptive marketing and advertising from Big Oil to keep us addicted and away from alternative energy sources.

These fossil fuel companies are also spending millions of dollars to lobby against climate and clean energy legislation on every level.

All of these efforts have been well-documented. But many in the American public don't know about the controversial history of these companies and their manipulative tactics to cover up their true purpose -- making record profits off the American consumer at the expense of the environment and our health.

This series of blog posts will examine the Supermajors -- ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, British Petroleum, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Total S.A. Also, smaller companies such as Citgo will be investigated.


This company is the legacy of John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil. In 1909 the Department of Justice sued Standard under the Sherman Antitrust Act for monopolistic practices and restraining interstate commerce. In 1911 the Supreme Court ruled that Standard Oil must be dissolved and split into 34 companies. Ironically, two of those companies -- Exxon and Mobil -- later merged to become today's dirty energy powerhouse.

But even more sinister is Standard Oil's support of pre-war Nazi Germany. This is an excerpt from the book "Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler," written in 2000 by Anthony C. Sutton.

"The Standard Oil group of companies, in which the Rockefeller family owned a one-quarter (and controlling) interest, was of critical assistance in helping Nazi Germany prepare for World War II. This assistance in military preparation came about because Germany's relatively insignificant supplies of crude petroleum were quite insufficient for modern mechanized warfare; in 1934 for instance about 85 percent of German finished petroleum products were imported. The solution adopted by Nazi Germany was to manufacture synthetic gasoline from its plentiful domestic coal supplies. It was the hydrogenation process of producing synthetic gasoline and iso-octane properties in gasoline that enabled Germany to go to war in 1940 — and this hydrogenation process was developed and financed by the Standard Oil laboratories in the United States in partnership with I.G. Farben."

And in case you don't know about I.G. Farben, here is an excerpt from Wikipedia:

"IG Farben built a factory (named Buna Chemical Plant) that produced synthetic oil and rubber (from coal) at Auschwitz, which was the beginning of SS activity and camps in this location during the Holocaust. At its peak in 1944, this factory made use of 83,000 slave laborers and prisoners. The pesticide Zyklon B (infamous for its use in gas chambers during the Holocaust), for which IG Farben held the patent, was manufactured by Degesch (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Schädlingsbekämpfung), which IG Farben owned 42.2 percent of (in shares) and which had IG Farben managers in its Managing Committee."

ExxonMobil would like us to believe it is "taking on the world's toughest energy challenges." Really? According to a 2008 ABC report, the company only spends one percent of their profits on alternative energy sources. But there is some encouraging news as the petroleum company recently announced a new $600 million collaboration with Synthetic Genomics Inc (SGI) on research and development of the next generation of algae-based biofuels. I hope this will be a serious commitment to transition the company from primarily petroleum to algae oil.

I hope ExxonMobil sees the writing on the wall and understands that Peak Oil is coming and Global Warming is real and is caused by human-made greenhouse gas emissions. If so then this might be a chance to start to repair its ignoble past and present for a bright future with algae oil.

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