"Fuel tax revolt" propaganda


After the sinister role played by oil companies in 2000's UK "fuel tax revolt" (which looked at one point like bringing the country to a standstill), the Sunday Times (17/6/2001) detailed the close links between oil companies and MI6 (the UK equivalent of the CIA).

In a story which sounds like a James Bond script, a spy employed by a private intelligence firm posed as a left-wing documentary-maker to infiltrate Greenpeace, Body Shop and other organisations critical of the oil cartels. He reported back to oil companies, who were then prepared in advance to deal with adverse environmental publicity coming from these environmentalist groups.

According to the Sunday Times, the private intelligence firm which hired the spy was founded by ex-high-ranking MI6 and oil company executives (involving the ex-chief of MI6, the former deputy chairman of BP and the former chairman of Shell). Some politicians believe the affair poses questions about the blurring of the divisions between the secret intelligence services and the interests of big companies. Norman Baker, home affairs spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, said: "The fact that this organisation is staffed by people with close ties to MI6 suggests this was semi-official."