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Colonialism, Human Rights, and Scoundrels - Page 2

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Colonialism, Human Rights, and Scoundrels
Oil Interests
African Dictators
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Oil Interests

Bildt waxes eloquent in his blogs on humanitarian issues, but the acquisition of wealth through oil is undoubtedly the central theme of his life – which may have been one of his motives in supporting the destruction of the Saddam regime. In 2007, following a complaint from the Green Party, Swedish prosecutor Christer van der Kwast launched an investigation into Bildt’s shares in the gas and oil investment company Vostok Nafta, is tied to Gazprom, the Russian gas export monopoly. The investigation ended without prosecution, but Bildt’s interest in oil has a more explosive little secret, tied up in the sands of Sudan and an oil company called Lundin Petroleum, which is 40% Swedish owned.

Bildt was a board director of Lundin for several years until October 2006 when he resigned after becoming foreign minister. Human rights and aid organizations accused Lundin of large-scale displacement and destruct ion, as well as of hiding the reality of the armed conflict going on in an exploratory area called Block 5A, where the construction of the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company (GNPOC) pipeline to the red sea was taking place. In 1999, the World Food Program put out an SOS stating it feared “a worsening humanitarian crisis’ as it was unable to deliver urgent relief assistance to tens of thousands of people trapped by the fighting.

In 2001, Christian Aid, a London-based charity funding relief, education, health, and community-building activities in southern Sudan, issued a report, The Scorched Earth: Oil and war in Sudan quoting evidence from victims about Sudanese government troops and militias burning and depopulating the entire length of Lundin’s oil road in 2000 in order to make way for Lundin’s operations. Christian Aid also demanded that Carl Bildt who was on the Lundin board at the time resign as U.N. Special Envoy to the Balkans saying his position as a U.N. peacemaker was incompatible with his ties to Lundin Oil which did business with the Sudanese government, which was gaining notoriety for human rights violations.

Backed by an indifferent Swedish government, Bildt refused to resign from the Lundin board or his U.N. peace position, and instead countered his critics with press releases. Lundin would eventually respond to the Christian Aid report with an expression of concern, saying “the company has not witnessed the acts alleged and would not accept violations of human rights within its sphere of operations.” It said it would monitor the situation and look further into the allegations. It stated that its environmental impact study contained information indicating low density population settlements in the area It did not reveal when the study was done, nor if its activities or army operations had any impact on these people whose presence was admitted.

Unconfirmed reports say Bildt still owns shares in Lundin – but don’t check his blogs – there’s no admission of his ugly ties to Sudan – a country whose name is synonymous with dark human rights violations.


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