Return to Video

Robert Newman - History of Oil

  • Not Synced
    PART ONE



    Chapter 1



    (PICS) SCRIPT



    FILM OPENING TITLES - ROB CYCLES.

    HE PASSES PAVEMENT ARTIST DRAWING MAPS.

    HE PASSES CCTV CAMERA.

    CYCLES THROUGH ARCHIVE,

    AND MAKES IT TO HOXTON HALL.



    OPENING TITLES













    GRAPHIC ON STAGE TITLE CARD

    ‘ROB NEWMAN’S HISTORY OF OIL’



    TITLE ‘ROB NEWMAN’S HISTORY OF OIL’

    GRAPHIC. STILL/ FOOTAGE OF OGONI CYCLIST PASSING SHELL’S FIERY OIL STACKS. (See ‘REMEMBER SARO WIWA LEAFLET)


    ROBERT (V/0): The Petrol Bubble is about to burst. We have lived inside the Petrol Bubble for a hundred years. To see what we are about to lose we need to recognize what we have had.
    British history tends to under-estimate just how central oil has been. But you can’t understand the wars and politics of the last hundred years without placing oil centre stage.

    AUDIO SAMPLE: PLANES TAKING OFF FROM BRIZE NORTON

    COPYRIGHT-FREE AUDIO SAMPLE OF NOAM CHOMSKY: The main reason for popular anger in the Middle East is that people in the region have simply never accepted that they shold get nothing from their one natural resource.

    ROBERT (V/O): This is rarely done. Why? A curious, fashionable taboo nowadays dismisses any reckoning of the strategic and economic reasons for war as ‘conspiracy.’ At other times and in other places it has been well understood that states go to war to secure access to vital strategc commodities and raw materials. It was understood by Tacitus and Thucydides, and they didn’t even know how to tell the time or flush the toilet, so why not here and now?






    ROB ONTO STAGE GREETED BY AUDIENCE.


    ROB (PERFORMANCE)

    I found this book in a skip in Kentish Town.

    ROSTRUM OF BOOK ‘Marching..’, As Edwardian drawings of men with guns

    ROBERT (PERFORMANCE)

    The book was a military history called Marching To The Drums - From The Kabul Massacre To The Siege Of Mafeking, it was a gung-ho military history full of stirring tales of the British Empires Colonial campaigns 1860 – 1900.

    Marching To The Drums has chapters on Gordon of Kartoum, Omdurman, the Boer War.


    ROSTRUM
    Edwardian drawings of men with guns from ‘Marching..’ book

    ROBERT (PERFORMANCE)

    At the top of each chapter there’s a short single paragraph introduction explaining just what the British Army in the 1880's was doing in Egypt or Sudan or Afghanistan.



    Now, because the people who read gung-ho military histories are really only interested in one thing:

    weapons,



    weapons and tactics,but above all weapons.
    ROBERT (PERFORMANCE)

    There was refreshing honesty, lack of cadre, and lack of hypocrisy about this little stand alone introductory paragraph…





    ROB READS FROM ‘Marching…BOOK

    “In 1886 the Suez Canal became the most direct route to India, the most valuable possession of the Empire.
    Thus it was necessary for Britain to control all traffic through the Suez Canal, which therefore meant crushing the indigenous independent movement of Egypt and the Sudan.Now! The Wembley Automatic Gattling Gun was able to fire 500 rounds per minute which proved more than a match for the scimitar swords and wicker breastplates of the Mahdi Army.”

    ROBERT (PERFORMANCE)

    This bald stating of geo-political facts of life struck me like a revelation, like an epiphany.



    MARCHING TO DRUMS BIT THEN


    ROBERT : ...‘An American plan to bring democracy to the Middle East’. The reason the news-media can foist such phrases upon us DAILY is because the British are unique among nations in their naivete about geo-politics and the economic caues for war, and that’s because we are unique among nations in our ignorance of our own history.
    How curious for example that the First World War is never taught in schools as an invasion of Iraq.
    Okay. You’re not c
    People who fly short-haul should be ASBO’d.
    Train carriages should no longer be divided by class but by ethos. So you got one carriage that’s the Ibiza Foam Party Carriage. Then the next carriage is the Eminent Victorian Scientists’ Carriage: burgundy leather armchairs, an open fire and glass-topped display cabinets full of entomological specimens. Then there’s the Hobo Carriage which is full of straw with a big sliding barn door and you have to hop on when the train slows at a corner.
    Carbon ration of 40 kilograms per person per annum. (Which is why, incidentally, this series doesn’t have me flying to distant locations, but instead uses people who live nearby. We’re trying t

    THE STAGE DIMS AND ROBERT SAYS WE NEED FRESH LEGS PLEASE.WE SEE NEW AUDIENCE MEMBERS TAKE TO CYCLES AND TENT LIGHTENS UP AGAIN.

    People who eat fruit out of season get 100 hours community service.
    AND...
    World War One should be taught in our schools for the invasion of Iraq it was.
    Okay, now here’s where we were and you weren’t buying it. But let’s start from where there is consensus and build out from there. Now I suspect that many of you, like me, have never been entirely convinced by the standard explanation which were given at secondary school for the origins and causes of the First World War: the asassination of Archduke Ferdinand... I mean, no-one’s that popular.

    MONTAGE: FAMOUS ASSASSINATION FOOTAGE OF ARCHDUKE FERDINAND IN PLUMED WHITE HAT IN LANDAU IS FOLLOWED BY DOCTORED STILLS OF FERDINAND IN PLUMED WHIT

    ROBERET V/O: People all over Europe saying ‘I loved that guy. I really loved him.

    BACK TO TENT A rather more efficient cause might be the Berlin-Baghdad Railway.

    ARCHIVE: ROUTE MAP OF BBR

    ROBERT V/O: The Berlin-Baghdad Railway begins construction in the years leading up to the First World War. What happens is that Admiral Jackie Fisher converts the British navy from coal-fired to oil-powered ships.

    BACK TO TENT

    ROBERT: The German navy follows suit but they don’t have any oil-producing colonies, no place in the sun. Thus begins the ‘Drang Nach Osten’, the ‘drive to the east.’ The spine of this policy is the Berlin-Baghdad Railway.
    ROBERT: But there’s huge opposition to this plan among all the European powers Russia, France, Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands of Royal Dutch Shell. Britain has a special reason, over and above all the other allies, for opposing the railway. In engineering terms we cannot compete because we know that people will simply not accept the Sarajevo-to-Basra replacement bus service. And like the other powers we know that once the track is laid, there’s nothing to stop a Munich businessman alighting at the Baghdad terminus with a Deutschebank chequebook, undercutting our concession and smashing the cartel.
    War breaks out, and because it’s a war to defend plucky Belgian neutrality -
    ARCHIVE: STILL PHOTO OF BELGIAN OVERSEER HERDING CONGOLESE RUBBER WORKERS CHAINED AT THE NECK

    ROBERT V/O: while Belgium was defending Congolese rubber and ivory

    ARCHIVE: POIROT REACTION SHOT. (PERPLEXED/RAISED EYEBROW/ PENSIVE.)

    BACK TO ROBERT IN ECO-TENT
    - because of this the first British regiment to be deployed in the First World War - the Dorset Regiment - goes to Basra 1914. Where it is joined by 51 other Britsh divisions.
    The Ist Battalion of the Dorsets fought in Mons in August 1914. The 2nd Battalion of the Dorset regiment fought the the grandmother of all battles for Basra, occupying the city from November 22nd 1914.

    MP3: IRAQI STANDING IN BRITISH FIRST WORLD WAR CEMETRY IN BASRA READS THE FOLLOWING SCRIPT (IN EITHER ENGLISH OR ARABIC WITH SUBTITLES).

    GRAPHIC: [SMALL BOX, BOTTOM RIGHT OF SCREEN]
    MODE OF TRANSPORT TO LOCATION: BUS.
    DURATION OF RIDE. 1 HOUR.
    FUEL: DIESEL.
    ESTIMATED CARBON EMISSION: 500 GRAMS

    IRAQI: In July 1915 the 2nd Battalion of the Dorset Regiment were helped in their search for WMD by the Royal West Kents’s arriva buried their dead.

    BACK TO ROBERT IN ECO-TENT

    Now if you look on the Dorset regiment’s web-site (Man, have I got too much time on my hands), there’s plenty about the Ist Battalion’s exploits in Mons, but nothing, not a word on the 2nd Battalion shooting their way into Basra in 1914. If Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfrid Owen had fought by the Tigris or Euphrates instead of the Somme we would never have heard of them. Even if, in the First World War, truck-loads full of nothing but poets had been sent to Iraq we would never had heard of a single one of them. I’ll go you one further
    “If the Special Poets’ Battalion decides to pitch camp here they cut our supply lines in two, have access to the strongest partisan militias, all under a rocky canpoy providing a natural defence from air bombardment. Fortunately, however, they have decided t came here, where dappled shade falls on rusted farm equipment entwined with bougainvillea, near an almond grove where walks a young shepherd boy of unblemished complexion.”

    BACK TO IRAQI INDYMEDIA BUT THIS TIME IN A CEMETERY OF RECENT IRAQI DEAD.

    GRAPHIC: [CARBON COUNTER BOX AS ABOVE SHOWING MODE OF TRANSP

    IRAQI: In 1914 secretary of the War Cabinet Sir Maurice Hankey wrote to Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour that ‘control of Middle Eastern oil supplies’ has become ‘a first-class British war aim.’ But even if you don’t remember World War One as an invasion of Iraq, the locals do. The security wing of Islamic Response which held a US Marine Corps corporal hostage on the day of the 2004 so-called ‘handover’ were called The 1920 Revolution Brigades, named after the year of a great uprising against the British occupation which began in 1914.

    CUT TO VHS OF IN-HOUSE CCTV OF ENTRANCE TO DINGY CLUB. ROBERT TALKING INTO CCTV CAMERA:

    ROBERT: But Baghdad, Basra, Mosul and oil are defintely NOT part of the World War One story. They do not feature in the Great War Them

    BACK TO ROBERT IN ECO-TENT

    Now, the reason why World War 1 ain’t taught in our shools for the invasion of Iraq it was, is because a good war always has to be presented to us as a one-off, a discrete event, no more related to other wars than two consecutive plays in the same theatre. Each war must have its own wardrobe, backdrop and moral purpose.
    And that’s because all the justness-of-our-cause arguments fall down if ever a war is seen to be part of a continuous foreign policy which has been consistent for decades. In the 95 years since Messopotamian oil was discovered the UK has been at war with or occupying Iraq
    Now if you’re a mainstream broadcaster and you’re looking to objectively describe that reality in an impartial, forensic way free of ideological bias, then the phrase you want to use will be British and American plans to bring democracy to the Middle East.





    ROBERT: Okay, cycle slower so we can dim the lights for a sombre, moody effect as I get into the .... Too dark... faster... bit slower... just right. Perfect. Now...


    ALI HAMDANI - CAMCORDISTA REEL ABOUT 1920 REVOLUTION BRIGADES

    In 1920, Miss Gertrude Bell, who worked in the Foreign Office was commissioned to draw the border because she was good at art.

    CAPTION: MATISSE-STYLE MAP OF IRAQ AS RECLINING WOMAN DONE BY RASHMI CHAVDA

    Now the Great War ends on 11,11,1918, and a continuous ten-year bombing campaign of Iraq begins in its stead. In the 1920’s nine thousand Iraqis died under RAF Middle East Command’s bombing campaign. Arthur ‘Bomber’ Harris demanded ‘A bomb in every village that speaks out of turn’ as the best way of crushing Kurds - similar to Sadaam’s policy.






    SKETCH cgi

    VIET-CONG ROB HIDING IN SHELTER LISTENING TO RADIO FREEDOM



    ROBERT (PERFORMANCE)

    As witness, I was listening to the Today programme on Radio 4, and there was a phrase they kept repeating, on the half hour, every half hour:



    ‘The G8 has today endorsed an American plan to bring democracy to the Middle East.’



    CAMCORDISTA HOLDS UP CARD DECLARING ‘AN AMERICAN PLAN TO BRING DEMOCRACY TO THE MIDDLE EAST’

    CAMCORDISTA HOLDS CARD

    ‘An American plan to bring democracy to the Middle East.’

    rob (PERF)


    The level of naivety necessary before you can talk about an American plan to bring democracy to the Middle East.

    You will not find that level of naivety anywhere outside of 1970’s porn, “Gee mister you mean the time machine only works when I take off all my clothes.”

    ARCHIVE 1970’S OIL RIG.

    (CHEESY MUSAK)







    SKETCH

    1970’S SPOOF PORN



    ROB THE OIL-RIGGER DOES OIL-RIG/ SEXUAL INNUENDO GAGS WITH PORN STARLET



    SKETCH

    ROB (OIL-RIGGER) AND ACTRESS (AS PORN STARLET. (Dialogue TBA)





    ROBERT (PERFORMANCE)

    ‘An American plan to bring democracy to the Middle East’.



    Chapter 2



    (PICS) SCRIPT





    STILL OF CAESAR-LIKE, JOHN D ROCKEFELLER




    STILL/ARCHIVE EARLY STANDARD OIL

    ROBERT (PERFORMANCE)

    STILL OF LIEUTENANT WILSON




    ARCHIVE OF CAVALRY RIDER


    CAPTION SPELLS OUT ‘See Psalm 104, Verse 15, third sentence’).




    ROBERT (PERFORMANCE)

    The first Middle Eastern commercial oil-well had been struck, and in the 97 years since, Britain has been at war with or occupying Iraq for 44 of them.



    CAMCORDISTA IRAQI STARES AT CAMERA

    Chapter 3



    (PICS) SCRIPT



    GRAPHIC

    CHAPTER 3: BERLIN-BAGDHAD RAILWAY
    ROB (PERFORMANCE)

    ‘An American plan to bring democracy to the Middle East’.



    The reason the news-media can foist such phrases upon us DAILY is because the British are unique among nations in their naivety about geo-politics and the economic causes for war, and that’s because we are unique among nations in our ignorance of our own history.



    ARCHIVE 1ST WORLD WARFARE


    ROB (V/O)

    How curious for example that the First World War is never taught in schools as an invasion of Iraq.
    Okay you’re nt all coming with me but no pressure. I will say plenty of things in the course of tonight’s show that we won’t agree with each other about, that’s cool, like

    People who fly short-haul should be ASBO’d.

    People who eat food out of season should do 100 hours community service.

    Train carriages should no longer be divided by class but by ethos. So you got one carriage that’s the Ibiza Foam Party Carriage. Then the next carriage is the Eminent Victorian Scientists’ Carriage: burgundy leather armchairs, an open fire and glass-topped display cabinets full of entomological specimens. The next carriage is the hobo carriage, ain’t nothing in there but a big load of straw and there’s a big sliding barn door, and you have to hop on when the train slows at a corner.



    Carbon ration of 40 kilograms per person per annum.



    (Which is why, incidentally, this show doesn’t have me flying to distant locations, but instead uses local camcordistas. We’re trying to do a carbon-neutral show about oil.) There they are…



    And also why we’ve got people on bikes fuelling the show.





    THE ROOM GOES DARK AND ROBERT CALLS FOR MORE POWER PLEASE. ROB GOES TO ROOM WITH AUDIENCE MEMBERS ON CYCLES. THEY CYCLE FASTER ROOM LIGHTENS UP AGAIN. THEN DARK

    ROB (PERFORMANCE)

    AND... World War One should be taught in our schools for the invasion of Iraq it was.



    Okay, now here’s where we were and you weren’t buying it. But let’s start from where there is consensus and build out from there. Cos I’m not going to take you with me straight away, OK.



    ARCHIVE ASSASSINATION OF ARCHDUKE FERDINAND (IN PLUMED WHITE HAT IN LANDAU) IS FOLLOWED BY…



    ROBERT [V/O]

    People all over Europe saying “I loved that guy. I really loved him.”



    SKETCH

    (GRAPHIC-STILL) ARCHDUKE FERDINAND (ROB) HELPING PEOPLE PUSH CAR

    SKETCH

    (GRAPHIC-STILL) ARCHDUKE FERDINAND (ROB) DJ-ING AT VILLAGE HALL WEDDING RECEPTION IN THE 1980’S

    SKETCH
    (GRAPHIC-STILL) ARCHDUKE FERDINAND (ROB) REFEREEING DISABLED BASKETBALL


    ROBERT (PERFORMANCE)

    A rather more efficient cause might be the Berlin-Baghdad Railway.


    PAVEMENT ARTIST DRAWS ROUTE MAP OF BERLIN-BAGHDAD RAILWAY

    GRAPHIC RED-LINE ON MAP TO SHOW ROUTE


    STILL/ OR COPY OF STIL DONE BY PAVEMENT ARTIST ADMIRAL JACKIE FISHER





    ROBERT [V/O]

    The Berlin-Baghdad Railway begins construction in the years leading up to the First World War.

    What happens is that Admiral Jackie Fisher converts the British navy from coal-fired to oil-powered ships.

    ROBERT (PERFORMANCE)

    The German navy follows suit but they don’t have any oil-producing colonies, no place in the sun. Thus begins the ‘Drang Nach Osten’, the ‘drive to the east’. The spine of this policy is the Berlin-Baghdad Railway.

    ARCHIVE RAILWAY CONSTRUCTION

    ARCHIVE 1914 STEAM TRAIN TRAVELLING. TRAIN COMES TO A HALT
    ROBERT (V/O)

    Now there’s already track laid from Berlin to Constantinople. It’s called the Orient Express. The Germans just need to build that last 900-kilometre extension that will bring them clear into Baghdad.

    PAVEMENT ARTIST DRAWS IN THE ROUTE OF THE RAILWAY













    ARCHIVE OLD BUSES CIRCA 1914



    ROBERT (PERFORMANCE)

    But there’s huge opposition to this plan among all the European powers Russia, France, Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands of Royal Dutch Shell.Britain has a special reason, over and above all the other allies, for opposing the railwayIn engineering terms we cannot compete because we know that people will simply not accept the Sarajevo-to-Basra replacement bus service.And like the other powers we know that once the track is laid, there’s nothing to stop a Munich businessman alighting at the Baghdad terminus with a Deutschebank chequebook, undercutting our concession and smashing the cartel.


    War breaks out, and because it’s a war to defend plucky Belgian neutrality –



    ARCHIVE/STILL PHOTO OF BELGIAN OVERSEER HERDING CONGOLESE RUBBER WORKERS CHAINED AT THE NECK



    ROBERT [V/O]

    While Belgium’s busily defending the neutrality of the Congo –

    ARCHIVE 1ST WW BRITISH TROOPS IN BASRA

    ROB (PERFORMANCE)

    Because of this the first British regiment to be deployed in the First World War - the Dorset Regiment - goes to Basra 1914. Where it is joined by 51 other British divisions.

    The 1st Battalion of the Dorsets fought in Mons in August 1914.

    The 2nd Battalion of the Dorset regiment fought the grandmother of all battles for Basra, occupying the city from November 22nd 1914.



    CAMCORDISTA VIDEO

    IRAQI STANDING IN BRITISH FIRST WORLD WAR CEMETRY IN BASRA READS THE FOLLOWING SCRIPT (ENGLISH OR ARABIC WITH SUBTITLES).


    IRAQI CAMCORDISTA

    In July 1915 the 2nd Battalion of the Dorset Regiment were helped in their search for WMD by the Royal West Kents’s arrival at Nisiriyeh and the 1st Battalion of the Manchester Regiment occupation of Baghdad.

    By September 1915 the 1st Battalion of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry were scouring nearby Kut al Amara for the banned weapons, along with 13th and 14th King’s Hussars, the Royal Leicester Regiment and the 1st Battalion Seaforth Highlanders. And this where they buried their dead.

    GRAPHIC: [SMALL BOX, BOTTOM RIGHT OF SCREEN]

    TRANSPORT TO LOCATION: BUS

    DISTANCE: 22 MILES

    DURATION OF RIDE: 1 HR

    FUEL: DIESEL

    ESTIMATED CARBON EMISSION: 500 GRAMS

    (Contact Leo Benidictus ‘Guardian’ for count)





    ROSTRUM WEBSITE DORSET REGIMENT



    ROB (PERFORMANCE)

    Now if you look on the Dorset regiment’s website (Man, have I got too much time on my hands), there’s plenty about the 1st Battalion’s exploits in Mons, but nothing, not a word on the 2nd Battalion shooting their way into Basra in 1914.

    If Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen had fought by the Tigris or Euphrates instead of the Somme we would never have heard of them.

    ARCHIVE TRUCKS OF SOLDIERS

    ROB (V/O)

    Even if, in the First World War, truck-loads full of nothing but poets had been sent to Iraq we would never had heard of a single one of them.

    ARCHIVE OF BASRA 1914


    ROB (PERFORMANCE)

    I’ll go you one further. There could even have been a 1st Special Poets’ Battalion, but if it had fought in Iraq in the First World War we would never have heard of a single man jack of them.

    Although you can’t help thinking that the 1st Special Poets Battalion would have been wiped out quite soon in the hostilities.



    SKETCH

    MAP ROOM OF TURKISH/GERMAN HQ, NAJAF. (SKETCH)

    GENERAL ROBERT:

    If the Special Poet’s Battalion occupies this position here they cut our supply lines in two, have access to the strongest partisan militias and all under a rocky canopy providing a natural defence from aerial bombardment.

    Fortunately however they have chosen to pitch camp here where dappled shade falls on rusted farm machinery entwined with bougainevillia and almond blossom and where there is a young shepherd boy of unblemished complexion wanders through an almond grove.



    CAMCORDISTA

    READING WORDS

    IRAQI CAMCORDISTA

    In 1914 secretary of the War Cabinet Sir Maurice Hankey wrote to Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour that control of Middle Eastern oil supplies “has become a first-class British war aim.”

    CAMCORDISTA IRAQI IN CEMETERY OF RECENT IRAQI DEAD.

    IRAQI CAMCORDISTA

    But even if you don’t remember World War One as an invasion of Iraq, the locals do.



    The security wing of Islamic Response which held a US Marine Corps corporal hostage on the day of the 2004 so-called ‘handover’ were called The 1920 Revolution Brigades, named after the year of a great uprising against the British occupation which began in 1914.



    GRAPHIC CARBON COUNTER BOX AS ABOVE SHOWING MODE OF TRANSPORT TO LOCATION ETC.

    SKETCH

    CCTV AT ENTRANCE TO DINGY NIGHTCLUB.



    SKETCH (TALKING INTO CCTV CAMERA)

    But Baghdad, Basra, Mosul and oil are definitely NOT part of the World War One story.

    They do not feature in the Great War Theme-park. ‘Sorry mate’, says the Doorman of History, ‘you’re not getting in wearing sandals.’


    ROBERT (PERFORMANCE)

    Now, the reason why World War 1 ain’t taught in our schools for the invasion of Iraq it was, is because a good war always has to be presented to us as a one-off, a discrete event, no more related to other wars than two consecutive plays in the same theatre.Each war must have its own wardrobe, backdrop, production, unique selling point and moral purpose.
    And that’s because all the justness-of-our-cause arguments fall down if ever a war is seen to be part of a continuous foreign policy which has been consistent for decades. ROBERT (PERFORMANCE)

    Okay, cycle slower so we can dim the lights for a sombre, moody effect as I get into the .... Too dark... faster... bit slower... just right. Perfect. Now...

    .In the 95 years since Mesopotamian oil was discovered the UK has been at war with or occupying Iraq for 45 of them.Now if you’re a mainstream broadcaster and you’re looking to objectively describe that reality in an impartial, forensic way free of ideological bias, then the phrase you want to use will be British and American plans to bring democracy to the Middle East.



    PART TWO





    (PICS) SCRIPT








    ROB (v/o): Apart from the taboo against mentioning geopolitics there’s another reason the centrality of oil is underplayed. We are in denial about the full extent of our oil addiction and dependence. It’s near impossible to imagine ourselves without oil. So many of the things we think of as us are not us at all, they’re just oil. Suburbs, for example, are a by-product of oil. They didn’t exist before cheap petrol and they will not last a day after it. (Back when oil was cheap the poor got left the inner city blight while everyone else escaped past the ring road. Now at £1 a litre the rich want the inner cities back and the poor are returned to the rustbelt and the arrondisement).

    LIZZIE AS FILM NOIRE FEMME FATALE:

    LIZZIE: So long celluloid, imported shoes, hair grease, electrcty grid, supermarkets, monocrop agriculture. We barely have time to dig up the Multiplex to see how the soil has survived beneath. ‘Cos that popcorn ain’t gonna feed us for long now that the age of Hydrocarbon Man is over.
    So how did we get here?


    OIL THE EARLY YEARS


    4000 years ago the Hittites from Hit on the Euphrates not far from where Baghdad now is, used bitumen and the rock oil or petroleum which seeped from the perpetually flaming oil fissures in the ground. They worshipped these fires, which so displeased the Lord that in Deuteronomy 16.18 he called for genocide against the people who lived on the site of Baghdad.

    ‘In the cities of these nations whose lands the Lord your God is giving to you as a patrimony, you shall not leave a creature alive. You shall annihilate ... the Hittites... so that they may not teach you to imitate their abominable practices and so offend the Lord you God.’

    1830’s the Europeans imported China’s fifteen-hundred year-old salt-drilling technique. Oil was originally just a by-product of salt-boring, just as natural gas would later be a side-product of oil drilling.

    AUDIO: ‘MEDICINE SHOW’ BY BIG AUDIO DYNAMITE


    In 1854 the Ploesti oilfields in Rumania lead production with 36,000 barrels of crude a year. At the same time Dr Abraham Gesner extracted illimunating oil from asphalt and called it kerosene. And the Pennsylvania Rock Oil Company sold petroleum as patent medicine for toothache, rheumatism, fevers, for caulking wounds and stemming cuts and as a general health tonic.
    Then, in 1859 drifter Colonel Edwin Drake drilled the first US oil-well in Titusville, Pennsylvania. Until Drake’s oil well, crude had been hand dug from shafts in Eastern Europe.
    Rock oil or petroleum could also be converted into kerosene. Kerosene was also refined from crude and mainly - before Rockefeller - by local mom and pop refiners out back or in the pantry. It was not an exact science.In 1870’s there were six thousand deaths a year due to kerosene lamps exploding. People lived dangerously, it was a time when paraffin chewing gum was popular - less so with pipe smokers. Rockefeller called his oil Standard Oil so as you’d know it wasn’t going to blow up in your face. He was planning another way of stealing your eyelashes while you slept.

    GENERAL MOTORS’ FIRST RECLAIM-THE-STREETS ACTION

    The oil barons’ monopoly concentrated power into few hands, this affected the physical landscape as much as the political one. On the History Channel, however, now’s when you get the slideshow of Norman Rockwell happy motorists to a soundtrack of Chuck Berry singing riding around in his automobile. But there was nothing inevitable about re-tooling of towns and cities, about how street went from being community cafe and playground, football pitch and washing line to commercial freight route...

    In 1921 General Motors lost $65 million. GM’s Alfred P Sloan concluded that the stagnating car market needed the help of that free market superhero: The Invisible Hand.

    DC COMIX STRIP:

    (SUE REID THE INVISIBLE GIRL FROM FANTASTIC FOUR AS THE INVISIBLE HAND APPEARS BEFORE ALFRED P SLOAN?)


    HAND: Last year Americans made 90% of journeys by rail, mainly trolley car. Streetcars and trains carried 15 billion passengers, employed 300,000.
    But if you can’t beat ‘em , buy ‘em and scrap ‘em.

    LIZZIE IN BLACK & WHITE AS FAST-TALKING, HARD-BOILED BROOKLYN DAME WITH ALL THE ANSWERS IN DA’S OFFICE

    General Motors sets up National City Lines, one of several front companies that buy up 90% of the US rail network and roll it up. National City Lines pays $50 million for Chicago and Wisconsin’s North Shore Line, the world’s fastest electric train line and scraps it. With mob help they scrap Minneapolis trolley-cars.
    Federal prosecutors indict General Motors for combining with Standard Oil of California, Phillips Petroleum and Firestone to drive the streetcars and trains out of business. In the mid-50’s General Motors admits to the US Dept of Justice that it has asphalted and motorized 900 of 1000 electric rail lines it had bought.




    WORLD WAR 2


    WAR IN THE PACIFIC

    ROB (V/O) The attack on Pearl Harbour is always represented as being as random and senseless as a mental patient stabbing a lunchtime shopper. But the Japanese had three strategic aims.
    1. To escape the US oil and scrap iron embargo.
    2. To secure their supply lines to the oil fields of the Dutch East Indies and to Royal Dutch Shell’s Balikpappan refinery against their being cut by the US naval base in Hawaii.
    3. To join with the other industrial powers in the Great South-East Asian Land Grab. British Malaya and Singapore, French Indo-China, US Phillipines and Dutch East Indies.
    So, Japan bombed Pearl Harbour for what a military strategist would call rational reasons, if any military invasion can ever be described as rational. Which is of course moot.
    Britain and Japan wanted to control Malaya and Singapore for the one thing more important than oil itself; the movement of oil.

    PAVEMENT ARTIST DRAWS THAT SECTION OF THE WORLD-MAP FROM HORN OF AFRICA TO INDIAN OCEAN AND SOUTH CHINA SEA SHWING THE STRAITS OF BAB-EL-MENDEB, HORMUZ AND MALACCA.

    ROB: (V/O) Besides the Bosphorous and the Suez Canal there are three major “chokepoints” in the world for getting oil to market: Bab-el-Mandeb, the Straits of Hormuz, and off the coast of what since their 1963 liberation has been Malaysia, the Straits of Malacca.

    SHE/HE THEN DRAWS ON THE MAP TODAY’S US BASES BY EACH OF THEM FROM DJIBOUTI TO RIYADDH.

    Archibald Macleish while US Assistant Secretary of State at the end of the war said ‘As things are now going, the peace we will make,... will be a peace of oil, a peace of gold, a peace of shipping, , a peace .. without moral purpose or human interest.’
    Britain’s bombing of Malaya in the 1950’s fulfilled this prophesy of moral bankruptcy. ( As well as showing life
    imitating ‘Catch 22, that great novel about the institutional psychopathology of war). After dropping 35,000 tons of defoliant and bombs in 4000 bombing raids on Malayans who sought independence from Britain, RAF Strategic Command informed the Joint Intelligence Committe that “offensive airstrikes... in Malaya... probably did more harm than good.”



    WORLD WAR 2 IN THE MIDDLE EAST


    I used to wonder why tank battles happened in the desert. Had Rommel’s Afrika Korps and and Montgomery’s Eighth Army, like rival football firms, arranged to meet where there’d be no-one around who’d alert the law and get the fight stopped? Was that why they were in such a sandy part of the world?
    ‘It was not for nothing’ wrote the British Minister Resident in the Middle East ‘that we sent to Egypt in 1940, when this island was in imminent jeopardy of invasion, the only armoured division of which we stod possessed. It was no mere accident that the whole face of the war began to change after our victory, two years later, at Alamein.’
    Many different cities around the world including Salt Lake City, Melbourne all put in bids to host the great World War tank battle which finally became known as El Alamein, after the small Egyptian town was able trump its rivals thanks to its proximity to the major oil shipping route the Suez Canal and to the Abadan oil wells and Shatt-al Arab refineries.
    In 1945 the US State Department describes the Persian Gulf as a “stupendous source of stratgeic power and the greatest material prize in world history”. While Lord Altrincham, the British Minister Resident in the Middle East described the region as ‘an area in which without desiring to dominate ourselves, we cannot allow any other Power to dominate.... The Middle East is no less vital to Britain than Latin America to the United States’.

    PAVEMENT DRAWING OF MAP OF MID-EAST


    Here’s the British army in Egypt in 56, Jordan in 58, Kuwait in 61, Oman in 71, Aden, now the Yemen in 73.
    What are we doing there? What’s all that about?

    ARCHIVE FOOTAGE SUPERMAC

    ROB(V/O)

    Well, as Prime Minister Harold Macmillan wistfully notes in his 1955 diary:
    ‘It’s rather sad that circumstances compel us to support reactionary and really rather outmoded regimes because we know that the new forces .. always seem to drift into strongly anti-Western positions.’
    Yes, and for the very fact that we’re supporting these repressive, puppet regimes so that the oil can be taxed at the pump and not the well-head by nationialst governments who want a social democratic welfare state of their own. But the tide of history was with them, not us; with self-determination not colonialism and exploitation. Nasser kicked British butt out of one corner of Africa at least and nationalized the Suez Canal.
    Immediately after the war Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin told Cabinet that “without the Midle East and its oil [there is] no hope of our being able to achieve the standard of living at which we are aiming in Britain.” And aside from the energy the country ran on: isn’t the post-war years’ higher standard of living epitmoized by oil-derivative products - vinyl LP’s, plastic seats in the Cortina, central heating and Camping Gaz?
    But by the begiinning of the 70’s there there was only enough power for a three day week. Britain became known as the sick man of Europe. We were David Bowie sipping absinthe at the end of The Man Who Fell To Earth. Then, in October 1970, three months after Britain’s third forlorn application to join EEC, the jammiest, least-deserving nation on earth discovered a huge oilfield 110 miles east of Aberdeen in British sector of North Sea. By April 1976 Britain was even exporting oil from the Forties Field!



    {Notes on IG Farben awaiting research request.
    In the meantime, potential competition from a nascent Germany led Exxon to sign a deal with I.G.Farben in 1926 agreeing to stay out of chemicals if Farben stayed out of oil. ...As a result, Exxon supplied Nazi Germany with aviation fuel and Texaco continue to supply oil to Germany well into World War II. A royalty on kerosene used by our Spitfires during the Battle of Britain was paid via BP and Standard Oil directly to Farben. As each Spifire, Wellington and Lancaster took off from the runway a 2% royalty on its fuel was paid to the Third Reich}









    VIETNAM AND OIL


    ROSTRUM PAVEMENT ARTIST’S MAP OF GULF OF TONKIN
    ARCHIVE GULF OF TONKIN

    ROB (V/O)


    In 1952 the US National Security Council recorded in a memo that ‘Southeast Asia, especially Malaya and Indonesia, is the principal world source of natural rubber... and a producer of petroleum and other strategically important commodities.’

    This required two things: the encirclement of China with military bases strug along Okinawa, the Phillipines, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand; and conquest.

    In 1963, Kennedy’s Under Secretary of State U. Alexis Johnson told the Economic Club of Detroit that Southeast Asia was ‘desirable and important’ because of its ‘rich natural resources’. ...’The countries of Southeast Asia produce rich exportable surpluses such as rice, rubber, corn, tin... [and] oil..’
    The existence of one of the world’s largest off-shore oil fields in the Gulf of Tonkin had been known since the 1920s. In 1947 on Bock 32 eleven miles into the Gulf of Mexico the first offshore oil platform came onstream. It was now possible to pump the oil from under the Tonkin seabed. Standard Oil began pumping Ho Chi Minh with weapons in the hope of driving out French oil corporation Elf. But after liberation in 1954 Ho Chi Minh, having just offloaded decades of first French, then Japanese then once again French exploitation, wanted Vietnamese oil for the Vietnamese.
    In August 1964, President Johnson and Secretary of Defence McNamara, needing a pretext for invasion, lied that US destroyer Maddox was torpedoed in the Gulf of Tonkin by North Vietnamese boats.
    Cue napalm death in the villages. But meanwhile back in the Gulf of Tonkin the US Navy and Standard Oil used depth charges to create seismic readings of likely underground oil deposits. After the war when Vietnam sold concessions, Standard Oil bid only on those areas of the Gulf of Tonkin which the US naval survey had shown to be oil rich, while European companies bought nothing but silt and hotel toilet paper, rock lobsters and a ten million dollar octopus garden.

    END SECTION WITH GRAPHIC: ‘GOT OIL?’ BY StreetRec Collective c/o www.counterproductiveindustries.com as featured in book ‘No Blood For Oil’.

    Now I’m not sayng in all of this that for a century wars have only been fought for oil. All I’m saying is that we have downplayed the role of this vital strategic commodities in the stories we tell ourselves about where we have been and what we have done. I’m saying that history makes more sense rather than less whne you see oil as more rather than less central. This following observation from a US State Department officer writing in 1945 gets the balance just right. ‘A review of the diplomatic history of the last 35 years will show that petroleum has historically played a larger part in the external relations of the United States than any other commodity’.




    ARAB OIL EMBARGO

    ROB (V/O)

    ARCHIVE


    In October 1973, Egyptian jets and Syrian troops invade Israel. The same month OPEC countries followed thei previous week’s70% oil price hike agreed in Sheikh Yamani’s Viennese hotel suite, with a political strike. They agree to keep cutting production by 5% per month every month until a total halt of oil supplies to the United States or an end of US military aid to Israel, whichever comes soonest. But then on October 20th, the day after Nixon announces his 2.2 billion military aid package for Israel, Saudi Arabia and the other Arab states cut production completely. The iron wheel on the pipeline valve is turned all the way clockwise: a total embargo of oil exports to the US mainland.
    The Arab Oil Embargo - so called because the Iranians (who are Persian not Arab) weren’t invloved - showed that the Middle Eastern oligarchs and not US, British or Dutch corporations controlled the world oil supply and therefore the world economy. The centrality of oil to the economy was made still more explicit by another astonishing and unforseen development which had come home to roost a few weeks earlier.
    In 1970 when the US was stil exporting oil it was the world’s banker and number 1 lender nation. By September 1973, by which time the US had been importing oil for three short years, America was now the world’s number 1 debtor nation.





















    PART THREE




    GRAPHIC

    CHAPTER 7: SALVADOR DALI AND THE EURODOLLAR THEORY OF THE 2003 INVASION OF IRAQ







    ROB (PERFORMANCE)

    ... So we know what the war wasn’t about, but what was it about?



    CAMCORDISTAS HOLD UP SIGN’S WITH ‘MR NEWMAN’S EURODOLLAR THEORY OF GULF WAR 2’ WRITTEN ON IT





    ROB (PERFORMANCE)

    Now if you’re a broadcaster and you’re looking to describe that reality in a neutral objective way, free of ideology, the phrase you look for is:A British and American plan to bring democracy to the Middle East.



    CAMCORDISTA HOLDS UP CARD SHOWING WORDS ‘A British and American plan to bring democracy to the Middle East.’







    ROB (PERFORMANCE)

    This is why when I was asked to go on ‘Question Time’……I said NO, because of a narrow little spectrum of doctrinal obedience, and the only time you try and step outside that, they just can’t hear you your like some raving anarchist nutter .
    For example were I to go on question time and say “If the Nuremburg laws applied, Tony Blair would be hung” “This is rhetoric, this is sloganeering” Absolutely true fact.
    By the way, what they were hung for at Nuremburg was quote “Planning and waging an aggressive war”




    FOOTAGE OF US SUPREME COURT JUSTICE ROBERT JACKSON READING THE DEATHS ENTENCE OTU AT NURMENBURG.


    CAMCORDISTA READS NUREMBURG “Planning and waging an aggressive war etc”


    Yes, yes but this is rhetoric, Tony Blair can’t be a war criminal because he listens to Oasis.



    And he can’t be a war criminal because well we know what war criminals look like and they look like Goebbels, ah but what did Goebbels look like to the Germans?



    ARCHIVE NAZI PARTY RALLY



    SKETCH

    ROB AS GOEBBELS ON PODIUM IN FRONT OF NAZI RALLY

    SKETCH

    GOEBBELS

    …“Well we are a modernising party, we’ve broken the mould of German politics, and I tell you this, there is going to be no return to the stale old divisions of left/right left/right apart from when we march on Poland, when there’s going to be quite a lot of left/right left/right and we are faced.



    Now I know that the war has caused deep divisions in the country but, we are faced with the real problem of global terrorism and its not going to go away, and the only way we can deal with this, as I see it, is to kill and maim as many Arab preferably Muslim children as possible, in a war that Kofi Annan describes as illegal.



    Well if he does, it doesn’t really matter because I tell you this if there is any other way of uniting the forces of secular Arab Nationalism where there is a militant Islam, then I’d like to hear it because I don’t think there is and if I’m wrong may god strike me down with a heart attack.”



    ROB (PERFORMANCE)

    There is a real problem of word fatigue, “people should realise that when we are talking about chemical and biological agents we aren’t just talking about washing powder and detergent”

    He actually said that. Feel the contempt and that is a classic New Labour psychology, projection and transference put onto us that we had the problem with word fatigue not them. Word fatigue when the tongue becomes a wooden clapper in a cardboard bell because you hear yourself reciting a mantra you don’t believe the WVM and the D.





    ROB (PERFORMANCE)

    By psychological contrast the opposite of word fatigue might be I don’t know: The joyful exuberance of at last uttering the truth which has for too long been suppressed.











    ROSTRUM ‘TIMES’ HEADLINE OF 2002 ‘WEST SEES GLITTERING PRIZES..”

    ROB (PERFORMANCE)

    The Times headline of 20th July 2002. The Times by the way brilliant newspaper because ever now and then it forgets that there are certain things you are not supposed to mention, and it just gets carried away and the headline was:


    “West sees glittering prizes ahead in giant Iraqi oil fields”



    SKETCH

    ROB AS HOSTAGE ON ‘AL JEZEERA TV’

    (AL JEZEERA SKETCH #1)



    SKETCH

    ROB AS HOSTAGE ON ‘AL JEZEERA TV’

    (AL JEZEERA SKETCH 1#)



    ROB (PERFORMANCE)

    But just because there’s this fashionable taboo against mentioning that, the economic causes of the war and strategic questions of power and control don’t mean to say we have to obey it.I therefore offer you my euro-dollar theory for the war on Iraq. I’m not saying this is THE reason for the war in Iraq, I’m saying it’s A reason.

    Obviously part of a nexus of multiple weekly acting causal pathways, that’s my new catch phrase.



    ARCHIVE 1971 OPEC MEETING

    ROB (PERFORMANCE)

    To understand the economic reasons for the war you’ve got to go back to the 1971 OPEC meeting, when the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed that from this day forth, whenever a barrel of oil is bought or sold anywhere in the world, it can only be bought or sold in US dollars.

    Mexico selling oil to China - US dollars; Holland selling oil-futures to Morocco - US dollars, even though the more natural currency for that particular transaction, of course, would be hashish.


    ROSTRUM UP OFFICIAL LIST OF TOP DEBTORS OF WORLD TO US AT TOP. ‘FORTUNE’ LIST.


    ROSTRUM ON ‘MAGIC CHECKBOOK’ ON VELVET CUSHION WITH SPARKLING MAGIC GLITTER, AND ANGELS SINGING

    ROB (V/O)

    Now this 1971 OPEC deal gave the US Treasury a licence to print money, but with no inflation, because everybody has to buy dollars to buy oil. This is how come the US can be the world’s number 1 debtor nation, trillions of dollars in debt but it doesn’t matter.Since 1971 the US dollar has been a kind of magic chequebook...

    ROB (PERFORMANCE)

    Imagine you’re maxed out passed your over draft limit in every branch of ever bank in the world and have been for the last 34 years, but it doesn’t matter every body still accepts your cheques and they never come back to the bank.

    You’re way past your overdraft limit at every bank in the world, have been for 34 years, but everyone’s happy to take cheques written against funds you don’t have, and the cheques never come back to the bank.

    So it’s like the US dollar has become a Magic Chequebook.


    By way of analogy they only example I can think of to give you from real life of is an actually existing Magic Chequebook, would be the last years of the life of Salvador Dali this is absolutely true



    ARCHIVE OF DALI



    ROB (V/O)

    In his last years Salvador Dali would take all his acolytes to the fanciest restaurants in Barcelona and order the finest things from the menu: quail’s eggs, capers, venison... brandy, cognac, armagnac - if indeed those aren’t the same things. Um, fine wines, er, apple crumble, cigars, nothing from the kids’ menu.



    End of the night the owner would bring Salvador Dali the bill for 8 million pesetas.



    SKETCH

    LAST SUPPER TABLEAU WITH ROB AS DALI. WE SEE LOTS OF LAVISH FOOD LEFTOVERS ON THE TABLE. DALI TWEAKS HIS MOUSTACHE AND THE WAITER APPROACHES, HANDING DALI THE BILL.



    DALI WRITES CHEQUE, ABOUT TO HAND IT TO OWNER BUT THEN TAKES IT BACK, FLIPS IT OVER AND DRAWS A DOODLE ON THE BACK, SIGNS IT AND THEN HAND IT OVER.



    SKETCH

    LAST SUPPER TABLEAU WITH ROB AS DALI. WE SEE LOTS OF LAVISH FOOD LEFTOVERS ON THE TABLE. DALI TWEAKS HIS MOUSTACHE AND THE WAITER APPROACHES, HANDING DALI THE BILL.

    DALI WRITES CHEQUE, ABOUT TO HAND IT TO OWNER BUT THEN TAKES IT BACK, FLIPS IT OVER AND DRAWS A DOODLE ON THE BACK, SIGNS IT AND THEN HAND IT OVER.



    OWNER: [MOVED] Signor Dali you do me a great honour! A signed orignal drawing from the hand of the Maestro. I will frame this drawing! This cheque will never go to the bank. I will mount the Salvador Dali original here on the wall right above where you sat.



    DALI GIVES CUNNING LOOK TO CAMERA.





    ROSTRUM WRITING ON E-BAY WEBSITE

    ROB (V/O)

    Next morning of course the owner is on E-bay: For sale, one signed Dali original... But that’s okay too because then there’s a trade in Dali’s, and the crucial fact is that the cheques never come back to the Bank of Santander.





    ROB (PERFORMANCE)

    But suppose one day - as is long over due - an influential caucus of art critics led by Brian Sewell and Robert Hughes were to say:



    SKETCH

    BRIAN SEWELL LOOKING AT DALI PAINTING

    ROB (PERFORMANCE)

    “Salvador Dali - he’s not very good though is he?’ Calls himself a surrealist but none of his paintings are like dreams, because he misses the authentic note of dreams, which is that among the rich and strange there is the hundrum and everyday.
    Yes, here’s the dripping watch and the egg-strewn-desert but in between them there must always be Bjork saying”

    SKETCH
    DALI-SCAPE WITH ROB AS BJORK


    BJORK

    “Look, Robert I have found the Prince Buster record you have been looking for. But oh no, the vinyl is made of custard!
    What shall we do? Quick, we must have sexual intercourse to make it solid again.

    ROB (PERFORMANCE)

    Brian Sewell slags him off, the value of signed Dali’s collapses on E-bay, the owners of restaurants and hotels all across Andalusia and the Cap D’ Azur take down the framed copies and suddenly the cheques come flying Back to the Bank of Santander.

    Dali don’t have the money because he’s spent it on giant herons and so he has to get a job as a house-painter.



    SKETCH

    ROB AS DALI IN DUNGAREES WITH DAILY MIRROR IN POCKET TALKING TO HOME-OWNER



    SKETCH

    ROB AS DALI THE HOUSE-PAINTER



    DALI: So, magnolia, then?
    HOME-OWNER: Yeah.
    DALI: You want maybe I rag-roll, get a bit artistic?
    HOME-OWNER: Just matt.
    DALI: Just matt. Okay. Maybe I paint a goat with an iris of vermillion and in the iris we can see an egg and in the egg we can ... Magnolia. Okay.

    ROB (PERFORMANCE)

    Okay, so that’s the analogy. What could happen to make the magic cheques of the US dollar start flying back to the bank from all over the world?


    ARCHIVE NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE.


    ARCHIVE/ OR FILM SHOTS OF SWIPE CARD THROUGH VISA MACHINE.

    ROB (V/O)

    Well, it all started on the 30th October in the year of our Lord 2000 AD at a New York branch of the unfortunately-named French bank BNP-Paribas, with a change made to the UN-administered dollar-escrow account through which Iraq was selling 2.3 million barrels per day under the Oil For Food programme.

    The Iraqi’s said we want to change it from a dollar-denominated account to a euro-denominated account. The UN said, well, we’ve had a meeting and legally we can’t stop you, but you’re a fool to yourselves because the Euro’s only worth 80 cents, you’re gonna be losing money on every barrel and bankrupt yourself within the year.



    The Iraqi’s said, “We’ll take the risk, we don’t want to handle the enemy currency.” And so the switch was made.





    ROB (PERFORMANCE)

    Now in 2001 the euro gained 25% against the dollar thanks to strong sales of Moon Safari by Air.



    ARCHIVE NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE. (POSTERIZE SLO-MO IMAGES)



    ‘MOON SAFARI’ TRACK PLAYS



    ROB (PERFORMANCE)

    The Iranians said we’ll have some of that and changed the central bank reserve funds from dollars to euros.


    ARCHIVE IRANIANS



    GRAPHIC : AXIS OF EVIL MEMBER NUMBER 2


    ARCHIVE NORTH KOREAN GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS

    ROB (V/O)

    December 7th 2002 North Korea announced it was going to trade not just oil but all goods and services in euros.




    GRAPHIC AXIS OF EVIL MEMBER NUMBER 3.







    ARCHIVE 2002 OPEC MEETING

    ROB (V/O)

    And then Hugo Chavez is elected President of Venezuala, chairmanship of OPEC falls to him same year and on the table at the April 2002 OPEC meeting in Spain is a proposal that OPEC amends the 1971 agreement trade oil not in dollars but in euros.





    CAMCORDISTA

    (Rob’s friend Tennesee Jones’ girlfriend talkingon Wall Street)

    CAMCORDISTA

    And that is the US Federal reserves worst nightmare. Because if that happens then every central bank of every country in the world has to flush all the dollars out of its vaults to buy Euros. Then, the international money market becomes glutted with dollars, their value collapses and everyone evacuates the New York Stock Exchange.


    ARCHIVE 1930s DUSTBOWL DEPRESSION


    ARCHIVE NAZI GERMAN CAR PRODUCTION



    ROB (PERFORMANCE)

    The US is back in its dustbowl-nightmare 1930’s-style depression only this time without a strong, union-busting Nazi Germany to invest in...

    ... Hitler comes to power from 29, takes power 33, US corporate investment declines everywhere on continental Europe apart from one country, Nazi Germany, where between 1929 and 1940 it increases its investments by 48.5%.

    That’s almost 50%. On a graph that’ll be like this.

    ROB STANDS SIDE-ON GIVING SIEG HEIL SALUTE
    Obviously it would be different in some sectors [RAISING AND LOWERING ARM] Ford would be like this, General Motors, ITT, IBM, International Harvester, Union Banking Corp., Coca-Cola.



    ARCHIVE OF NAZIS SALUTING



    GRAPHIC NASDAQ STYLE GRAPH AND 1940’S US-NAZI CORPORATE LOGOS SUPER-IMPOSED



    Therefore the war on Iraq can be seen as a very public punishment beating. You have to imagine the world..

    ARCHIVE OF RAF TORNADOES DROPPING PAYLOAD
    MEANWHILE RUNNING LCD BLOOMBERG/ STOCK-ECHANGE-TYPE CAPTION:
    [NB. No V/O here. The viewere as with Bloombrg’s screen may either read or ignore as they choose]

    ....Before war on Iraq had begun, March to December 2002 sees 300% increase in British bombing raids on Iraq as the sterling zone drops 124 metric tonnes of bombs on Iraq. Then RAF Tornadoes combine with US F16’s launch 62 attacks between August to December. One bombing raid every two days.....




    ROB PERFORMS ALL CHARACTERS USING STAGE, BUT ALSO THE VARIOUS LEVELS AT HOXTON HALL, IN AUDITORIUM ETC..

    ROB (PERFORMANCE)


    You have to imagine the world is a Bronx project, and United States - the number 1 crack dealing gangster.



    US: [mafiosi] You buy rock in this neighbourhood you gotta come through me. Everybody gotta come through me. Udderwise you end up like that guy over dere.



    ROB: And there’s Iraq bloody and bruised, limps back to work at the petrol station. It’s his first day back since Desert Fox Christams bombings. Opens shutters. Speaks into the intercom.



    IRAQ: [only just able to speak] OK... Come to me... I sell crack to ...everybody.



    US: Say what!!



    ROB: Venezuela, Bolivia and Peru are leaning out the Andes Tower block, Venezuela calls down:



    VENEZUELA: (taunting) Hey man I thought you said you had this neighbourhood under control, man



    US: Don’t make me come up there!



    VENEZUELA: You tried it last week, man you couldn;t get up the stairts. Maybe I come down to you.



    US: I’ll deal wit choo later.



    ROB: So now US got all his boys and they all go with baseball bats and they get Iraq by the hair in the spotlight of the petrol station forecourt



    US: OK, everybody watching: Lula in Brazil, take a good look, maybe you thinking about not implementing the IMF austerity package. Iran, Syria, everybody: Take a good look!



    ROB: And they belabour Iraq with their baseball bats and boots and leave Iraq a bloody, broken mess in pieces on the floor. Venezuela inspects the US, walkign round him.



    VENEZUELA: You short of breath man. That fight took it out of you. Ten years ago you would not have sweated so much, man. In fact I don’t think you could even of taken this guy without the help of your leedle friend.



    US: You mean this bitch?



    TONY BLAIR: Well, actually, when he says bitch what he really means is...



    USA: Shut up! I got this neighbourhood under control!



    ROB: At which point a Hyundai drives by with North Korea hanging out of the window



    NORTH KOREA: [giving the finger] Death To Americaaaa!



    US jumps out of the way.



    VENEZUELA: You were saying, man?



    US: OK! I deal with you right now. Let’s go!



    FX: SOUND OF SLOW, GIANT FOOTSTEPS. US LOOKS UP.



    ROB: Here comes China.



    FOOTSTEPS STOP.



    CHINA: [looking down] Is there a problem?



    USA: No sir, no problem. All under control. We owe you 149 billion dollars. Just keep buying those dollars, sir, everything is fine.



    ROB: And I just felt I couldn’t put all that across on one answer on Question time.



    SKETCH

    ROB AS HOSTAGE ON ‘AL JEZEERA TV’

    (AL JEZEERA SKETCH #2)



    SKETCH

    ROB AS HOSTAGE ON ‘AL JEZEERA TV’

    (AL JEZEERA SKETCH #2)





    ROB (PERFORMANCE)

    Such are the narrow ideological constraints, my entire world for all the incredible things going on there eco-rights, paranomical dynamism, this is how shallow I am.



    I can’t get my head past one central political fact, about Chinese political life, can’t get my head past this one simple fact which is that the President of China is called Hu Jintao the Prime Minister is called Wen Jiabao, so the President is Hu and the Prime minister is Wen.



    This is a great 19th century Vaudeville sketch.





    SKETCH

    VAUDEVILLE-TYPE SKETCH WITH ROB AS ABBOTT AND ACTOR AS COSTELLO.

    SKETCH

    ABBOTT: Hu is Prime minister of China?

    COSTELLO: No, Wen is Prime Minister

    ABBOTT: Who’s President that’s what I’m asking?

    COSTELLO: That’s what I told you.

    ABBOTT: Wen

    COSTELLO: No that’s the Prime Minister

    ABBOTT: I know that, I wanna know who’s the President?

    COSTELLO: He’s the guy.

    ABBOTT: Who’s the guy?

    COSTELLO: That’s the guy I’m telling you about.

    ABBOTT: Don’t start that again.











    PART FOUR



    (PICS) SCRIPT

    GRAPHIC

    PART FOUR: PEAK OIL - OR THE END OF OIL

    ROB (PERFORMANCE)

    From now on till the end of the show, I want to talk about radical discontinuity. We are about to enter a whole new era with Peak Oil.



    Petroleum geologists predict that at some point between 2006-2010 we will pass the planetary Peak Oil spike, and from then on with every year there will be less and less net energy available to humankind no matter what we do.


    ROSTRUM THE GUARDIAN JUNE 27TH 2005


    “As energy prices soar, it will seem ludicrously…Once Peak Oil has passed, and experts predict that in 30 years oil production could be down by three-quarters. The global repercussions will be both swift and brutal.’



    ARCHIVE VARIOUS FOOTAGE OF FAMINE AND DUST-BOWLS



    ROB (PERFORMANCE)

    The start of this new epoch is, I believe, an event of such enormity that to make any kind of meaningful comparison at all you’ve got to go back to the Mayans and the Romans and the collapse of the last complex civilisations.



    The Mayans and the Roman Empires - these societies didn’t end because they got bored of being Mayans and Romans. The high priest didn’t come out onto the temple steps of Chichen Itza one solstice going:



    STILL OF CHICHEN ITZA, MAYAN TEMPLE (CLEARLY A CHEAP POSTCARD)



    DISSOLVE TO





    SKETCH

    ROB AS MAYAN HIGH PRIEST AT TOP OF TEMPLE STEPS IN CHICHEN ITZA

    SKETCH

    ROB AS MAYAN HIGH PRIEST AT TOP OF TEMPLE STEPS IN CHICHEN ITZA

    HIGH PRIEST:

    ‘HEY-HEY HOYA HIYA, HEYA Oh, this is bollocks this is, innit? What am I playing at?’





    ROB (PERFORMANCE)

    And the last days of Rome it wasn’t because they got bored of being Romans.



    There wasn’t just a few people dotted round the Coliseum, and the gladiators hearts not in it, even the lions are bored.





    ROB (PERFORMANCE)

    Most of the gladiators end up playing dandy racket ball or gay lord tennis, the scoring is fiendishly difficult a hot Italian sun made perspiration inevitable no matter the ‘sang froid’ of the dandy racketeer.





    ROB (PERFORMANCE)

    Complex civilizations collapse because their strategies for energy capture become subject to the law of diminishing returns.

    CUT TO KING’S CROSS STATION

    THE FOLLOWING EXTRACT IS READ OUT AS AN ANNOUNCEMENT OVER THE TANNOY ON LONDON UNDERGROUND OR ST PANCRAS IN WHICH WE DO NOT SEE THE READER BUT JUST THE PASSENGERS AND THE PLATFORM AS THE ANNOUNCEMENT IS READ OUT.

    BEST IF TRAIN STAFF MEMBER THEMSELVES WOULD READ IT OUT COULD READ IT OUT. BUT IF NOT... WE SEE ROBERT READING IT IN THE STATION CONTROLLER’S BOOTH

    READING FROM AN EXTRACT FROM A BOOK CALLED ‘THE COLLAPSE OF COMPLEX CIVILIZATIONS’. THE FOLLOWING QUOTE IS CITED IN ‘THE PARTY’S OVER’. SEE INDEX FOR ITS AUTHOR WHOSE NAME I FORGET

    ‘Why would people intelligent enough for temples, cities, foreign travel, communications networks, imperial accounts, and distribution systems suddenly lose the ability to continue or maintain them?’

    ROB (V/O): The energy windfall of that one-off historical blip called the Petroleum Interval made possible a six fold growth in human population from 1 to 6 billion, five billion of us would not exist but for cheap abundant easily extracted fossil fuels. The Petroleum Interval also institutionalized the least energy-efficient food-distribution network the world has ever known.


    ROB (PERFORMANCE)

    There’s an excellent book out at the moment by a guy called Richard Hindberg called ‘The Party’s Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies’.



    Though I sometimes suspect that its because my life is so empty that I’m attracted to a book who’s title is ‘The Parties Over’ yeah, got Jude Law swanning around the world with your actress girlfriends, well I’m afraid to have to tell you the parties over.



    And all you young people in the night clubs having free love well, excuse me while I remove the needle from the record put those lights out, its candles from now on, there’s no more drum and bass just drum. Parties over.

    Heinberg’s thesis is, the name we gave to the world that oil made was industrial society, when oil becomes scarce it’s the collapse of industrial society - massive social change is coming one way or another - and people are in denial about this and they reach for the techno fix.

    ARCHIVE/STILLS SHOWING YAMI VILLAGERS FROM ORCHID ISLAND TAIWAN PROTESTING ABOUT NUCLEAR DUMPING (FROM SEPT’ 2005 NEW INTERNATIONALIST)



    ROB (V/O)

    Hydrogen will save us, we’ll just switch to Hydrogen. There are no hydrogen reservoirs underneath the Chilterns.





    SKETCH

    ROB AS HOSTAGE ON ‘AL JEZEERA TV’

    (AL JEZEERA SKETCH #3)



    SKETCH

    ROB AS HOSTAGE ON ‘AL JEZEERA TV’

    (AL JEZEERA SKETCH #3)



    ARCHIVE SCIENCE LABORATORY STUFF ON HYDROGEN



    ARCHIVE WAVE POWER, WIND POWER, NUCLEAR FUEL



    ARCHIVE/STILLS JOHN PRESCOTT CRASHING HINDA’S SOLAR-POWERED CAR INTO BACK OF A TAXI.

    (FROM SEPT’ 2005 NEW INTERNATIONALIST)



    ROB (V/O)

    You can make Hydrogen fuel cells with fossil fuel you can use it for storing wave and wind so its not useless but its not an energy source, its an energy carrier.





    ARCHIVE/STILLS

    1950’S NUCLEAR PRODUCTS, INCLUDING ‘URANIUM RUSH’ AND REPLICA THREE-MILE ISLAND

    (FROM SEPT’ 2005 NEW INTERNATIONALIST)



    ROB (V/O)

    Well, then there’s nuclear!



    But the nuclear cycle produces over 75% as much carbon as coal with its mining and milling and processing and storing and decommissioning.





    SKETCH

    AS HOODED MONK IN APOCALYPTIC GOTHAM CITY TYPE LANDSCAPE,



    SKETCH

    HOODED MONK

    No way out!



    ROBERT (PERFORMANCE)

    There is no way out, but we are suckers who need to believe, like the victims of a very con-trick ever played we need to believe, but there is



    SKETCH

    SEATED SATAN IN ARM CHAIR AT THE END OF A LONG CORRIDOR WHICH THE CAMERA HAS JUST SPED UP LIKE A RAT FLYING UP A MAZE.



    SKETCH

    SATAN

    No way out!




    ROBERT (PERFORMANCE)

    I don’t want to bum you out totally. There are some hopeful technologies, like zinc-air fuel cells.



    If you must have cars in the future, they can be powered by zinc air fuel pellets, which produce a non-toxic by-product zinc oxide which is a kind of thick creamy white viscous substance that can be re-processed into fresh zinc fuel pellets using electrolysis and walnut oil.



    And the catalyst they’re developing at Stanford University where they are doing research into this is Thermabroma-cacoa or coca solids.



    So as the car of the future drives along powered by zinc fuel cells, out the back on a little tray will be produced rows of conical white viscous substance surrounded by a chocolate whirl with a walnut on the top.




    ROB (PERFORMANCE)

    And transportation is the least of our worries. There is the small matter of the oil we eat.



    Since the pesticide revolution of the 60’s food is oil.



    ARCHIVE STILLS

    WORDS ON 4 SEPARATE OIL DRUMS IN 4 SEPARATE LOCATIONS.

    DRUM 1: ‘THE’

    DRUM 2: ‘OIL’

    DRUM 3: ‘WE’

    DRUM 4: ‘EAT’.


    ARCHIVE

    MONTAGE

    - RURAL FAMILY FARMS

    (1940’S ENGLAND)

    - CHEMICALIZATION

    AND STANDARDIZATION OF MONO-CROP AGRICULTURE (2000’S ENGLAND)

    - POLLUTION, LONG SUPPLY LINES AND ENORMO HANGARS FULL OF PRODUCE.

    - LINCOLNSHIRE GANGMASTERS

    - MIGRANT LABOURERS





    ROB (V/O)

    In 1944 the average American farm produced 2,300 calories of food energy for ever calorie of fossil fuel energy that went into the fields.



    In 74 that ratio became 1:1.



    In 2004 it became two-thousand to one the wrong way round thanks to oil-based pesticides, insecticides, and nitrogen fertilizers (which are made from natural gas a side-product of oil wells) tractors, combines, refrigeration, four figure food miles.



    You’d think the top item on ever news story ever night would be ‘How are we going to feed ourselves when the oil runs out?’


    ROBERT (PERFORMANCE)

    There’s a brilliant book out at the moment called ‘Who will feed China: wake up call for a small planet’, although I think there are asking the wrong question the question should be, ‘Wen will feed China’. Who’s doing any research into this?



    ARCHIVE/STILL THE ECOLOGY INSTITUTE





    ROB (V/O)

    One little place The Ecology Institute in Willits, California.







    ROB (PERFORMANCE)

    They’ve said ‘Okay, starting with the presumption that there’ll be 7.5 billion of us in the middle of the 21st century, what’s the minimum amount of land per person we need to devote to agriculture, to support that population without fossil fuels? They worked out 2800 square feet, so it’s do-able.



    Their calculations, I should say, are based on bio-intensive farming a strictly vegan diet and composting all plant and human waste, including post mortem humans.



    A somewhat skanky concept at first, I grant you, but I think in time especially if the rich and famous start doing it first it could have its own dignity and gravitas.



    You walk into the Vatican garden and there’s a big cylindrical composting drum, and one of the Cardinals says ‘well it’s a year now since Pope John Paul II sadly passed away so lets give him a turn. Look at that he’s mulched up lovely for a leathery old bird, look at that. Let’s spread this rich compost over the beetroot and cabbage so beloved in his native Poland. Oh Glasgow Rangers tattoo, he kept that quiet’.



    SKETCH

    CARDINAL ROBERTO NEXT TO MULCHING DRUM

    SKETCH

    CARDINAL

    Well it’s a year now since Pope John Paul II sadly passed away so lets give him a turn. Look at that he’s mulched up lovely for a leathery old bird, look at that. Let’s spread this rich compost over the beetroot and cabbage so beloved in his native Poland. Oh Glasgow Rangers tattoo, he kept that quiet’.


    CAMCORDISTA

    RICHARD MANNING’S ‘THE OIL WE EAT’



    CAMCORDISTA

    RICHARD MANNING’S ‘THE OIL WE EAT’ GREEK WATER VENDOR IN BUSY ATHENS STREET

    ATHENIAN CORNER SELLER: [In Greek with English subtitles] Wheat agriculture in particuluar is only possible thanks to huge gasoline inputs. And we won’t be the first society in history to have fallen foul of planet earth’s wheat allergy, gas or no gas...

    [ [PLATO EXTRACT FROM MANNING’S PIEVCCE IN “THE NATION MAGAZINE IN 2004. Article was called the Oil We Eat’. ]


    ROB (v/o) [OVER FOOTAGE FO ATHENS WHERE WE JUST WERE HWOEVER ROUGH AND CHOPPY THE SHOT IS]

    Peak Oil also means that from now on you will spend more energy getting extracting the oil than the energy that oil will give you.

    ROB: (PERFORMANCE)
    And I ain’t talking about something that may happen in the future. Most every country that ever produced oil has already had The Big Rollover, already passed its peak of oil-production.
    Colombia had the big roll over in 2004, Britain in 2003, Venezuela 2000..Trinidad and Tobago in 77,..Iran in 76..the US in 1970



    Within three years of the peak, the US went from world's number 1 lender nation to world's number 1 debtor nation.







    ROSTRUM DOCUMENT ‘OIL FIELDS AS MILITARY OBJECTIVES: A FEASIBILITY STUDY’

    ROB (V/O)

    Three years later the House Sub-committee On Foreign Relations produces a paper called ‘Oil fields as military objectives, a feasibility study’ - now known as an American plan to bring democracy to the Middle East.



    CAMCORDISTA HOLDS UP SIGN DECLARING ‘OIL FIELDS AS MILITARY OBJECTIVES: A FEASIBILITY STUDY’.





    CAMCORDISTA READING FROM ‘OIL FIELDS AS…’



    ROBERT (PERFORMANCE)

    I’m not saying that the US if more evil than anybody else. They’re not. They just gots the capability.

    ROB (V/O)

    I’m sure in 1977 Trinidad produced their own document called ‘Oil-Fields as Military Objectives’. It just wasn’t so feasible.



    ‘What is the full strength of our Navy?’,



    ‘Would that be including jet ski’s sir?’



    And of course Catch 22…



    VISUAL ONE-SECOND SAMPLE OF TERRY HALL OF THE SPECIALS SINGING THIS PHRASE IN ‘GANGSTERS’



    AUDIO OF SAMPLE OF LOOPED PHRASE ‘CATCH-CATCH-CATCH 22’ CONTINUES UNDER



    END AUDIO SAMPLE







    ROBERT (PERFORMANCE)

    ..is that the very worst disaster that could befall humanity is to suddenly find huge amounts of new oil.



    ARCHIVE

    SAMPLED FROM GREENPEACE CINEMA ADVERT SHOWING A FAST-FORWARD OF ACCELERATING CLIMATE CHAOS



    ROB (V/O)

    Because the climate chaos that would wreak would make the mere collapse of industrial society a sideshow bagatelle.







    ROBERT (PERFORMANCE)

    So since we’ve got to make the switch from finite oil anyway why not do it now whilst we’ve got an electricity grid that works 24 hours a day to work by.



    While we’ve got cash left from the energy windfall of the 1970’s to invest in renewables and in changing the whole structure of everything.



    Or we can spend the cash on sending boats and tanks and planes to go out and capture the dwindling deposits of the last hours of ancient sunlight.

    ARCHIVE

    PNEUMATIC DRILLS BREAKING UP ASPHALT.



    ROSTRUM

    MONKEY’S HAND HAND PICKING UP A URBAN LANDSCAPE AND PUTTING DOWN FIELDS.
    (MY TOUR MANAGER ANDREA WORKS AT LONDON ZOO WITH THE MONKEY’S)

    (MONKEY HANDS)



    ROBERT (PERFORMANCE)

    It’s near impossible to imagine ourselves without oil. So many of the things we think of as us are not us at all, they’re just oil.



    Suburbs, for example, are an invention of oil. They didn’t exist before cheap petrol and they will not last a day after it. Goodbye out of town shopping malls, supermarkets, mono-crops, leaf-blowers, imported shoes. We barely have time to smash up the Multiplex -- and see how the soil has survived beneath. Cos that popcorn ain’t gonna feed us for long.



    ARCHIVE

    WARTIME BRITISHERS DIGGING ALLOTMENTS



    ROBERT (PERFORMANCE)

    But to make the switch from oil now, it’s going to take a World War 2 effort on behalf of the citizenry. Massive social change is coming one way or another, like it of not.



    ARCHIVE

    NAOMI KELIN’S ‘THE TAKE’ OF ARGENTINIAN NEIHBOURHOOD MEETINGS ON ROADSIDE VERGES TO DISCUSS WHAT TO DO (FROM ICA)



    ROB (V/O)

    It will mean taking the dead hand of the petrol chemical corporations off of our democracy which is going to mean that for once in our lives we are going to have to get up off our arses and do something.









    ARCHIVE

    FROM THE SAME OF NEIGHBOURHOOD BAKERY AND FACTORY RE-OCCUPATION



    ROB (V/O)

    Us, not politicians. Us. Running our our own light and heating, energy and food supplies. Doing it for ourselves, home by home, street by street, neighbourhood by neighborhood, community by community, village by village, town by town.



    ARCHIVE

    FROM SOMEWHERE OF HOME SOLAR POWER, HOME GENERATOR, HOME PHOTOVOLTAICS.



    ROB (V/O)

    Massive social change is coming one way or another, like it of not. Either we are going to be agents of that change or passive victims and spectators.



    ROB (PERFORMANCE)

    Rapid response to climate change might save us in the short-term too...

    Right now, if some suicide bomber flies into Hinkley Point, Sizewell B or Sellafield our goose is cooked. Same suicide bomber flies into an offshore wind-farm he’s just going to get two extra propellers. Even if they send ten planes, all timed to pelt offshore wind-farms up all around the coastline at exactly the same moment, what’s the very worst that could happen? A slight power-surge.



    SKETCH

    OSAMA BIN LADEN AGAINST ROCKY DESERT BACKDROP HOLDING HAND-HELD MICROPHONE TALKING INTO TIME-CODED VIDEO CAMERA



    SKETCH

    OSAMA BIN LADEN AGAINST ROCKY DESERT BACKDROP HOLDING HAND-HELD MICROPHONE TALKING INTO TIME-CODED VIDEO CAMERA



    OSAMA BIN LADEN: Unless you remove the military bases from the Holy Lands the volume of your CD’s will continue to fluctuate unpredictably!





    ROBERT (PERFORMANCE)

    Now when I first started to get involved with radical direct action, non-hierarchical, eco-, autonomous grassroots organizations, I didn’t understand the concept of no leaders. I thought I did but I didn’t.



    And I couldn’t understand the concept of no leaders and I used to go up to the nearest alpha male alpha female and say, ‘I’ll tell you what someone needs to be saying, what you should be doing is this and here’s what you should do’ and they gave me this look which I never understood which was (and I didn’t know what they meant and the next alpha and I’d say ‘here’s what you should be doing, and what someone needs to be doing is this, and someone should be doing this.’



    And they’d give me this look and eventually after about a year the penny dropped an I suddenly realised what that look meant it meant yeah good idea, why don’t you do it yourself, you print a leaflet I’ll distribute it, you hold a meeting I’ll attend you organise an action we’ll come along.



    And from the moment that penny dropped my whole philosophical out look changed and from then on instead of suggesting things other people could be doing I stopped suggesting things altogether in case I’d be expected to do them!


    CUT TO LIZZIE AS 50-SOMETHING WW2 HOUSEWIFE. DAYTIME

    1940’S BBC V/O:

    Here’s Mrs Hemmings. Where are you off to today, ducky?

    LIZZIE: I’m going to occupy the offices of Shell in the Strand and use it as a bulk drop-off point for our local food co-op. I’m hoping it won’t kick off, but if they want it they’ll get it.

    MONTAGE: sustainable living, Earthships ( see biotecture.com or earthships.com) 2




    ROB: (PERFORMANCE) So just before we split up into small groups…

    BAND ACCOMPANY ROB IN ‘APOCALYPSO’.







    END TITLES



    FILM

    SEE ROB MAKE UP HIS CARBON-DEBT BY PLANTING TREE SAPPLINGS









    PEAK OIL SECTION

    ROBERT: From now on till the end of the show, I want to talk about radical discontinuity. We are about to enter a whole new era with Peak Oil. Petroleum geologists predict that at some point between 2006 2010 we will pass the planetray Peak Oil spike, and from then on with every year there will be less and less net energy available to humankind no mater what we do.

    The start of this new epoch is, I believe, an event of such enormity that to make any kind of meaningful comparison at all you’ve got to go back to the Mayans and the Romans and the collapse of the last complex civilisations. The Mayans and the Roman Empires - these societies didn’t end because they got bored of being Mayans and Romans. The high priest didn’t come out onto the temple steps of Chichen Itza one solstice going:

    NOT VERY WELL-CHEATED ESTABLISHING SHOT OF CHICHEN ITZA AS SHOT IS CLEARLY A BUDGET ONE OF POSTCARD CHEATED TO LOOK LIKE ACTUAL LOCATION. JUST ADEQUATE DISOLVE/ CUT TO ROB AS HIGH PRIEST AT TOP OF TEMPLE STEPS IN CHICHEN ITZA

    HIGH PRIEST: ‘HEY-HEY HOYA HIYA, HEYA Oh, this is bollocks this is, innit? What am I playing at?’

    ROB: And the last days of Rome it wasn’t because they got bored of being Romans. There wasn’t just a few people dotted round the Coliseum, and the gladiators hearts not in it, even the lions are bored. Most of the gladiators end up playing dandy racket ball or gay lord tennis, the scoring is fiendishly difficult a hot Italian sun made perspiration inevitable no matter the ‘sang froid’ of the dandy racketeer.
    Complex civilizations collapse because their strategies for energy capture become subject to the law of dimishing returns.
    There’s an excellent book out at the moment by a guy called Richard Hindberg called ‘The Party’s Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies’ though I sometimes suspect that its because my life is so empty that I’m attracted to a book who’s title is ‘The Parties Over’ yeah, got Jude Law swanning around the world with your actress girlfriends, well I’m afraid to have to tell you the parties over.

    SKETCH OF ROB IN DRESSING GOWN AND SLIPPERS IN NIGHTCLUB TURNING OFF THE MUSIC AND LIGHTS? WE COULD FILM IT ATTHE END OF ANY CLUB NIGHT IN A SMALL-ISH CLUB)

    And all you young people in the night clubs having free love well,excuse me while I remove the needle from the record put those lights out, its candles from now on, there’s no more drum and bass just drum. Parties over. Heinberg’s thesis is, the name we gave to the world that oil made was industrial society, when oil becomes scarce it’s the collapse of industrial society - massive social change is coming one way or another - and people are in denial about this and they reach for the techno fix.

    GONKY SCIENCE ARCHIVE AND STILLS FROM SEPTEMBER 2005 NEW INTERNATIONALIST SHOWING YAMI VILLAGERS FROM ORCHID ISLAND TAIWAN PROTESTING ABOUT NUCLEAR DUMPING

    ARCHIVE OF JOHN PRESCOTT CRASHING HoNDA’S SOLAR-POWERED CAR INTO BACK OF A TAXI.

    AND 1950’S NUCLEAR PRODUCTS ALOS FEATURED IN SAME ISSSUE INCLUDING ‘URANIUM RUSH’ AND REPLICA THREE-MILE ISLAND

    ROB (v/o) Hydrogen will save us, we’ll just switch to Hydrogen. There are no hydrogen reservoirs underneath the Chilterns. You can make Hydrogen fuel cells with fossil fuel you can use it for storing wave and wind so its not useless but its not an energy source, its an energy carrier. There is no way out, but we are suckers who need to believe, like the victims ofevery con-trick ever played we need to believe, but there is

    SEATED SATAN IN ARM CHAIR AT THE END OF A LONG CORRIDOR WHICH THE CAMERA HAS JUST SPED UP LIKE A RAT FLYING UP A MAZE.


    SATAN: No way out!

    ROB: I don’t want to bum you out totally. Ther are some hopeful technologies, like zinc-air fuel cells. If you must have cars in the future, they can be powered by zinc air fuel pellets, which produce a non-toxic by-product zinc oxide which is a kind of thick creamy white viscous substance that can be re-processed into fresh zinc fuel pellets using electrolysis and walnut oil. And the catalyst they’re developing at Stanford University where they are doing research into this is Thermabroma cacoa or coca solids. So as the car of the future drives along powered by zinc fuel cells, out the back on a little tray will be produced rows of conical white viscous substance surrounded by a chocolate whirl with a walnut on the top.

    SATAN:

    ROB 9v/o) There is no way out!
    And transportation is the least of our worries. There is the small matter of the oil we eat.

    CAPTION: KEY SLOGAN EACH WORD APPEARS ON AN OIL DRUM. ‘THE’ ‘OIL’ ‘WE’AND ‘EAT’.

    Since the pesticide revolution of the 60’s food is oil.

    ROB: (v/o)

    ARCHIVE MONTAGE TO ILLUSTRATE THE MOVEMENT FROM RURAL FAMILY FARMS CIRCA 1940’S ENGLAND TO CHEMICALIZATION AND STANDARDIZATION OF MONO-CROP AGRICULTURE OF NOW, ITS POLLUTION, ITS LONG SUPPLY LINES AND ENORMO HANGARS FULL OF JUST-IN-TIME-DELIVERY PRODUCE. SHOTS OF LINCOLNSHIRE GANGMASTERS AND MIGRANT LABOURERS WOULD BE GOOD TOO.



    In 1944 the average American farm produced 2,300 calories of food energy for every calorie of fossil fuel energy that went into the fields. In 74 that ratio became 1:1. In 2004 it became two-thousand to one the wrong way round thanks to oil-based pesticides, insecticides, and nitrogen fertilizers (which are made from natural gas a side-product of oil wells),tractors, combines, refrigeration, four figure food miles.
    You’d think the top item on ever news story ever night would be ‘How are we going to feed ourselves when the oil runs out?’ There’s a brilliant book out at the moment called ‘who will feed China: wake up call for a small planet’, although I think there are asking the wrong question the question should be, ‘Wen will feed China’. Who’s doing any research into this?

    BACK TO ROB

    ROB: One little place The Ecology Institute in Willits, California.

    PICTURE THEROF?

    ROB: They’ve said ‘Okay, starting with the presumption that there’ll be 7.5 billion of us in the middle of the 21st century, what’s the minimum amount of land per person we need to devote to agriculture, to support that population without fossil fuels? They worked out 2800 square feet, so it’s do-able. Their calculations, I should say, are based on bio-intensive farming a strictly vegan diet and composting all plant and human waste, including post mortem humans. A somewhat skanky concept at first, I grant you, but I think in time especially if the rich and famous start doing it first it could have its own dignity and gravitas. You walk into the Vatican garden and there’s a big cylindrical composting drum, and one of the Cardinals says ‘well it’s a year now since Pope John Paul II sadly passed away so lets give him a turn. Look at that he’s mulched up lovely for a leathery old bird, look at that. Let’s spread this rich compost over the beetroot and cabbage so beloved in his native Poland. Oh Glasgow Rangers tattoo, he kept that quiet’.
    Peak Oil also means that from now on you will spend more energy getting extracting the oil than the energy that oil will give you. So it’s not worth the candle.
    And I ain’t talking about something that may happen in the future. Most every country that ever produced oil has already had The Big Rollover, already passed its peak of oil-production. Colombia had the big roll over in 2004, Britain in 2003, Venezeula 2000, Trinidad and Tobago in 77, Iran in 76... and the USA in 1970.

    CAPTION OF DOCUMENT

    ROB (v/o) Three years later the House Sub-committee On Foreign Relations produces a paper called ‘Oil fields as military objectives, a feasibility study’ - now known as an American plan to bring democracy to the Middle East.


    ROB: I’m not saying that the US is more evil than anybody else. They’re not. They just gots the capability. I’m sure in 1977 Trinidad produced their own document called ‘Oil-Fields as Military Objectives’. It just wasn’t so feasible. ‘What is the full strength of our Navy?’, ‘Would that be including jet ski’s sir?’
    And of course Catch 22

    VISUAL ONE-SECOND SAMPLE OF TERRY HALL OF THE SPECIALS SINGING THIS PHRASE IN ‘GANGSTERS’

    AUDIO OF SAMPLE OF LOOPED PHRASE ‘CATCH-CATCH-CATCH 22’ CONTINUES UNDER

    ROB: is that the very worst disaster that could befall humanity is to suddenly find huge amounts of new oil.

    MONTAGE SAMPLED FROM GREENPEACE CINEMA ADVERT SHOWING A FAST-FORWARD OF ACCELERATING CLIMATE CHAOS

    ROB (v/o) Because the climate chaos that would wreak would make the mere collapse of industrial society a sideshow bagatelle.

    END AUDIO SAMPLE

    ROB: So since we’ve got to make the switch from finite oil anyway why not do it now whilst we’ve got an electricity grid that works 24 hours a day to work by, while we’ve got cash left from the energy windfall of the 1970’s to invest in renewables and in changing the whole structure of everything. Or we can spend the cash on sending boats and tanks and planes to go out and capture the dwindling deposits of the last hours of ancient sunlight.
    It’s near impossible to imagine ourselves without oil. So many of the things we think of as us are not us at all, they’re just oil. Suburbs, for example, are an invention of oil. They didn’t exist before cheap petrol and they will not last a day after it. Goodbye out of town shopping malls, supermmarkets, monocrops,leaf-blowers, imported shoes. We barely have time to smash up the Multiplex -

    SHOT OF ONE OF THOSE THINGS WHICH AREN’T PNEUMATIC DRILLS (BUT WHICH DO THE SAME SORT OF THING) BREAKING UP ASPHALT

    CAPTION OF DUSTBOWL ARAL SEA WITH STRANDED BOATS

    ROB (v/o) which is now as useless as a fishing smack beached high and dry in the salty , rusty dustbowl Aral Sea - and see how the soil has survived beneath. Cos that popcorn ain’t gonna feed us for long.
    But to make the switch from oil now, it’s going to take a World War 2 effort on behalf of the citizenry. Massive social change is coming one way or another, like it of not.


    MONTAGE

    FOOTAGE OF WARTIME BRITISHERS DIGGING ALLOTMENTS

    FOOTAGE FROM NAOMI KELIN’S ‘THE TAKE’ OF ARGENTINIAN NEIHBOURHOOD ASSEMBLIES MEETIING ON ROAFDSIDE VERGES TO DISCUSS WHAT TO DO

    FOOTAGE FROM THE SAME OF NEIGHBOURHOOD BAKERY AND FACTORY RE-OCCUPATION

    FOOTAGE FROM SOMEWHERE OF HOME SOLAR POWER, HOME GENERATOR, HOME PHOTOVOLTAICS.

    ROB (v/o) It will mean taking the dead hand of the petrol chemical corporations off of our democracy which is going to mean that for once in our lives we are going to have to get up off our arses and do something. Us, not politicians. Us. Running our our own light and heating, energy and food supplies. Doing it for ourselves, home by home, street by street, neighbourhood by neighborhood, community by community, village by village, town by town. Massive social change is coming one way or another, like it of not. Either we are going to be agents of that change or passive victims and spectators.



    BACK TO ROB IN HOXTON HALL

    ROB: Now when I first started to get involved with radical direct action, non-hierarchical, eco-, autonomous grassroots organizations, I didn’t understand the concept of no leaders. I thought I did but I didn’t. And I couldn’t understand the concept of no leaders and I used to go up to the nearest alpha male alpha female and say, ‘I’ll tell you what someone needs to be saying, what you should be doing is this and here’s what you should do’ and they gave me this look which I never understood which was () and I didn’t know what they meant and the next alpha and I’d say ‘here’s what you should be doing, and what someone needs to be doing is this, and someone should be doing this.’ And they’d give me this look and eventually after about a year the penny dropped an I suddenly realised what that look meant it meant yeah good idea, why don’t you do it yourself, you print a leaflet I’ll distribute it, you hold a meeting I’ll attend you organise an action we’ll come along. And from the moment that penny dropped my whole philosophical out look changed and from then on instead of suggesting things other people could be doing I stopped suggesting things altogether in case I’d be expected to do them!
    So just before we split up into small groups…




    ROB AND GREEK MUSICIANS PLAY ‘APOCALYPSO’

























Title:
Robert Newman - History of Oil
Description:

more » « less
Video Language:
English, British
Duration:
45:44

English, British subtitles

Incomplete

Revisions