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NGOs cross London Rising Tide picket line to attend BP greenwash meeting

da groom | 25.02.2004 22:19 | Ecology | Globalisation | London

Police ringed the Radisson Edwardian Hotel in Stratton Street, London, on the morning of February 24th as inside, BP prepared to meet and greet specifically invited non-governmental organisations (or NGOs).

The subject on the agenda was the highly controversial Baku Ceyhan oil pipeline, with BP's intention being to celebrate its securing of public funding for the project, as well as to hoodwink its guests that all concerns about it had been addressed. The intention of the guests was to listen politely, perhaps to raise a gentle voice of concern on a small detail or two, but most of all to relax in the luxurious surroundings and consume large amounts of the topnotch nibbles supplied by the world's second largest oil company. Conspicuous by their absence from this event were the Baku Ceyhan Campaign (ie. the Kurdish Human Rights Project, FOE, Platform & Cornerhouse), and the World Wildlife Fund, boycotting this meeting in solidarity with the Campagn but still unfortunately collaborating with BP on its equally controversial Tangguh gas project in West Papua.

Meanwhile outside, a small, hardy and creative bunch of London Rising Tiders had assembled at the doorway, studiously ignoring police attempts to corral them into a pathetic crash barrier-surrounded 'free speech area' across the busy road. Some unravelled a banner which had up to now read 'Oil Fuels Climate Chaos', but which had been modified ingeniously to read 'NGOs Fuel Climate Chaos' for the day. Others gave out leaflets covered in images of the true impact of our oil use, with the text crafted into the shape of a pawn, which was what those accepting BP's invitation surely were.

Then along ambled a wedding party made up of a bride, (being the newly-created NGO 'Co-opted International'), a groom (being BP in beautifully -designed spoof BP logo sunglasses and limited edition BP baseball cap), and a minister (possibly Cabinet as well as clergy).

Conference participants, hotel guests, policemen, BP security, hotel security and a friendly doorman were all witnesses to the ceremony, (see specially modified wedding service below). Or ceremonies, since it was carried out three times during the morning. Throughout the proceedings, Co-opted Int'l wore a tasteful green blindfold with which BP led her up and down the pavement and street. 'I'm going into this with my eyes wide open,' she declared proudly, as BP literally ran rings around her.

After one hitching together of the happy couple, BP wandered over to the protest area and hung his head in shame, asking 'why does (almost) everyone hate me?' and other self-pitying claptrap.

We could really have done with a fossil fuel-free brazier on the picket line, especially when it started snowing, but we kept ourselves toasty with the white heat of improvisation, the gentle hum of adrenalin and the warm glow of knowing that the threat of our presence had probably kept many participants away. And it can't have been much fun for those who had walked through our protest and a ring of fluorescent police jackets to reach their oily junket within. Apparently there were less than ten of them there, so let's hope they're feeling isolated and uncomfortable to have supped with the devil with a dirty green spoon.

(You may be interested to hear that BP are running a similar greenwash event on its Tangguh project in the Smeaton Room at 1 Great George Street, Westminster, London, SW1P 3AA on Wednesday 10th March from 09.30. Who knows - maybe we'll see you there...)

Then, partly to draw some parallels between oil, war and climate chaos, the wedding party headed off (some with a half-hearted police escort) to Bechtel in Pilgrim Street, which was being targeted by Voices in the Wilderness as part of a day of action to Stop the Corporate Invasion of Iraq.

London Rising Tide is part of the wider Rising Tide UK network, which seeks to confront creatively the root causes of climate chaos, while seeking local, community-owned solutions to our energy needs. For more information, see or
62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
BP-Co-opted Int’l Wedding Service, February 24th 2004

Music: Here Comes the Bride

Minister: Dearly beloved, we are gathered together here in the name of Capitalism, to join together BP and Co-opted International; to signify the union between the Corrupt and the Corruptible: which Capitalism dost adorn.

Let us be reminded that marriage is not to be entered into unadvisedly or 
lightly; but reverently, discreetly and after considerable thought.

If any person knows any just cause why this couple may not lawfully be joined together, let him now speak, or else for ever hold his peace.

Audience: [a rant about how they shouldn’t be wed]

Minister: If either of you know why you should not be joined in Holy Matrimony, you should now confess it.

Minister: BP, will you take Co-opted International as thy wedded wife, to corrupt her? Will you exploit her, weaken her, ignore her and use her for green wash PR spin? Will you continue to have flings with other NGOs and abuse the environment and human rights? Will you love her when your relationship causes her early retirement due to loss of public support?  

BP: I will.  

Minister: Co-opted International will you take BP to be to thy wedded husband, to honour and obey his commands? Will you sell him your good name, comfort, honour, and keep him regardless of how he abuses you, undermines environmental laws and causes social upheaval? Will you forgive him for the loss of public support you will receive as a result of your marriage? Will you love him in times of war and peace and in floods, droughts, heat waves, hurricanes and typhoons so long as you both shall live?

NGO: I will.  

Minister: BP, repeat after me: I BP take thee Co-opted International to be my wedded Wife‚

BP: (repeat the above)

Minister: To use and abuse for as long as I feel like it. In sickness and in health as in profit or bankruptcy.

BP: (repeat the above)

Minister: So long as the world isn’t flooded and I can continue making money out of oil, and for as long as it is useful for me we shall be united.

BP: (repeat the above)

Minister: And this is my solemn vow.  

BP: (repeat the above)

Minister: Co-opted International, repeat after me, I Co-opted International take thee BP to be my wedded Husband.‚

BP: (repeat the above)

Minister: To have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, whatever the weather, till death us do part.

BP: (repeat the above)

Minister: I promise to help BP convince the public that it has the interests of the people and the planet at heart even though this is a blatant lie.

BP: (repeat the above)

Minister: And this is my solemn vow. 

BP: (repeat the above)

Minister: Capitalism dost preserve, and keep you and will look upon you with merciful favour; that ye may allow the oil industry to flourish. You will help suppress information on climate change, pipeline spillages, human rights abuses and general environmental destruction and make climate change and social inequity everlasting. Amen

da groom
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Display the following 7 comments

  1. Theatre of War — Ann
  2. All else falls away when you look at climate change — rising tide? bloody tidal wave more like!
  3. Let's Give The World A Helping Pawn — pongo the penguin
  4. da point — pongo
  5. Don't support corrupt NGO's — tragic torment
  6. Amnesty a tale of confusion — JC
  7. 3 NGOs taking BP's tainted dollars — Boris Berezos