Craig Murray: Profiteering from Death

Murray says energy giants such as Shell are not alone in profiting from the war in Ukraine. Everybody with a finger in the pie is clamoring to send more tanks and planes. 

U.S. President Joe Biden signing an executive order to impose more sanctions on Russia, Feb. 18, 2022. (White House, Erin Scott)

By Craig Murray

How much of Shell’s record $40 billion profit was due to the Ukraine war and freezing Russia out of the market? 

If you apply the “excess deaths” methodology we became familiar with during Covid, comparing profit against a running average of the previous five years, [from 2017 to 2021], we get a figure of about $25 billion “excess profit.”

This is of course a rough technique, both with deaths as with profits, as neither Covid nor the Ukraine war were the sole factor affecting the outcome, and “all other things” are not equal but in some degree variable. 

But it is a good indication when a major new factor comes in to play. 

If we simply remove Shell’s 2020 accounts, with their $20 billion Covid loss, from the equation as exceptional, we still have a figure of $15 billion excess profit, arising largely from the war in Ukraine. 

Isn’t it good to know that all those people have not died or been maimed in vain? At least Shell is raking it in.

Shell of course, is not alone. We are seeing something similar from all the energy companies, including those that are billing you massive amounts to heat your home. It isn’t costing any more to produce the energy, it is simply vulture predation on market disruption.

[Related: US Utility Giants Reap Huge Profits as Households Struggle]

Capitalism in theory works in free markets of trade flows. But in practice financial flows are manipulated by states to the benefit of the rich in numerous ways, of which war and sanctions are just the bluntest examples.

The United States blowing up the Nordstream pipelines, according to Seymour Hersh, was a pretty significant state market intervention. Yet when the result of that kind of action is to cause super profits to Western energy companies at consumer expense, market intervention to remove that super profit becomes “unhelpful.”

[Related: DIANA JOHNSTONE: Omerta in the Gangster War and SCOTT RITTER: Pipelines v. USA]

Arms manufacturers are also coining it. By December, investors in merchants of death BAE had seen an increase in value of their investment by 63 percent in 12 months. Now everybody with a finger in the pie is clamouring to send more tanks and planes to the Ukraine. Money, money, money. 

The story is no different at Lockheed Martin etc.

We should also not forget that the military and security services are themselves a vested financial interest. Vastly rising budgets, more career opportunities, more second career jobs in the arms industries and the think tanks that pump out the propaganda for more war, war without end.

I have said this before, but J. A. Hobson’s short book, Imperialism: A Study contains analysis of how all this works that stands true over a hundred years on, is expressed with clarity, and fundamentally changed how I view the world, when I read it 40 years ago.

There is yet more acceleration in the massive transfer of resources to the wealthy.

Every world event — Covid, the war in Ukraine — is manipulated by states to increase inequality. Oxfam, who seem the most genuine of the large relief charities (admittedly not a high bar), recently published this:

“Billionaires have seen extraordinary increases in their wealth. During the pandemic and cost-of-living crisis years since 2020, $26 trillion (63 percent) of all new wealth was captured by the richest 1 percent, while $16 trillion (37 percent) went to the rest of the world put together. A billionaire gained roughly $1.7 million for every $1 of new global wealth earned by a person in the bottom 90 percent. Billionaire fortunes have increased by $2.7 billion a day. This comes on top of a decade of historic gains —the number and wealth of billionaires having doubled over the last ten years. “

In this Western world, I am not sure what percentage of ordinary people have to reach what stage of desperation before we see the start of genuine revolt. Should things continue on this trend, we are going to find out eventually.

Craig Murray is an author, broadcaster and human rights activist. He was British ambassador to Uzbekistan from August 2002 to October 2004 and rector of the University of Dundee from 2007 to 2010. His coverage is entirely dependent on reader support. Subscriptions to keep this blog going are gratefully received.

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The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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9 comments for “Craig Murray: Profiteering from Death

  1. John Ressler
    February 11, 2023 at 11:06

    “In this Western world, I am not sure what percentage of ordinary people have to reach what stage of desperation before we see the start of genuine revolt.” It seems that people can’t see or even begin to comprehend where we are right now (in spite of the fairy tale 911 story, JFK assination, the clown presidency of DT and the fraud Obama, the WikiLeaks revelations, Snowden efforts, etc.) You can’t see what you deny . . . even as the whole house of cards is on fire and no help is on the way. I expect no revolt in the US.

  2. robert e williamson jr
    February 10, 2023 at 13:04

    Not long after WW1 the actual descent of the fabric of social fabric started in earnest. If we are to accurately assess the this rotting of this fabric we must first accept the the dynamics involved would and did overwhelm any and everything encountered during the process.

    Triggers were numerous, the ethnic tribes movement became enormous as the result of extreme suffering in Europe and other areas after WW1, raging exuberance followed shortly after for a period of time, ‘the roaring twenties’ then reality set in as those of an ilk to profit illegally clouded the joy faux sense of security.

    Then the Great Depression, which got it’s name honestly. The die had been cast. Mr. Murray is correct of course, his report here is as accurate and much more accurate that much of anything the government publicly admits to.

    The great pity is that the long term results are that corrupt money rules the planet.

    The dynamic, that discrete takeover by those , amoral outlaws, working outside the confines of rule of law, and any moral justification started a rot in the society of the human driven by greed and the power of money buying influence.

    The process seems to be 99.999% complete.

    What started as a shadow figure of Death has reached maturity.

    SEE: hxxps:// I used with great thanks and reverence to history and the Lakoda.

    #15 Two-Face is a monstrous being who murders it’s victims with it’s razor sharp elbows.

    As with several naive
    american monsters, Two-Face is widely considered to retain a preference for children and female victims, especially pregnant women.

    According to Lakoda mythology Two-Face was once a women who was turned into a creature as punishmentfor attempting to seduce the Sun god.

    We have all been taught, by life itself to do better, don’t miss that class friends.

    Thank you Mr. Murray for your inspiration and one Whitney Webb for a hard slap in the face.

    As the law, government and MSM would say , “move along here there is nothing to see!”

    Thanks CN

  3. CaseyG
    February 10, 2023 at 12:32

    Maybe corporations should read up on the French Revolution. The poor—most of the population_ had finally reached the point of no return. People were so desperate and angry, that even dead kings and queens were being dragged out of their graves. Yes, that’s pretty angry.
    I think Americans are seeing that many of the elected ones seem to think that THEY are royalty too. I have no idea what will eventually happen—–but it will no doubt be both sad and painful.
    I also love the words of the Preamble—I wish more of the elected ones had heard of it, as it’s design is both positive and doable. We the People seem to have forgotten the power of the people that they once had—- maybe it’s time to wake up.

  4. Cynic
    February 10, 2023 at 00:16

    I believe a revolution in the West is coming. And it will be very ugly.

    • John Ressler
      February 11, 2023 at 10:48

      Indeed. We are in grave danger and in the last stages of “total denial and ignorance.” Ugly – very ugly is not too far away. How can we revolt when most people support the status quo ? Most of the folks I know STILL think Obama is a hero – in spite of it all.

  5. February 9, 2023 at 18:11

    When the average guy finally revolts against the excesses of the super rich, he will find himself squinting and blinking in the morning light.
    Those who stripped him of his fair share would be long gone, living in exotic places far from his grasp. Perhaps they will toast him from $500 bottles of wine while being fed caviar by scantily clad young men and women. Life will still be very, very good.

  6. Smedley
    February 9, 2023 at 16:44

    War is a racket.
    Always is, Always was, Always will be.

  7. Rudy Haugeneder
    February 9, 2023 at 14:18

    Life is like that. It always has been and always will until AI takes over and even the billionaires have no voice or profit.

    • Gordon Hastie
      February 10, 2023 at 03:35

      AI is all about the billionaire class consolidating their profits and power.

Comments are closed.