Monday, October 8, 2007

French Oil Giant Total SA's Total Denial

Let's not forget Total SA. Besides American-owned Chevron, French oil giant Total is one of the junta's most substantial investors. From Total alone, the military regime pockets $750 million annually.

According to the Students Against Total website, Total is responsible for being complicit in:

"Funding one of the worst regimes in the world-providing them with $750 million per year while they use rape as a weapon, torture political prisoners and carry out ethnic genocide

Using slave labour on their pipeline (Total recently came to an out-of-court settlement with 6 villagers who had Total in court for using them as slaves)

Employing Burmese soldiers (including child soldiers) to guard their pipeline and not investigating or pressing for investigations into the abuses comitted by the soldiers in the area-including the rape last year of a 14 year old by 16 soldiers guarding the pipeline

Providing the French government with millions of dollars a year in response for France vetoing all EU resolutions against Burma"

According to an Earthrights International reported (linkedHERE), one of the most incriminating articles of evidence against Total and Unocal (Total bought out the latter after it lost the monumental case DOE VS. UNOCAL, in which an Alien Tort Claim brought against UNOCAL was won by 15 indigenous villagers from Burma)was a telegram sent from the US Embassy in Yangon to the US State Department in 1995. It was sent my Joel Robinson, Unocal's manager for special projects. I exposed Unocal's knowledge and acceptance of the environmental degradation, forced relocated of villages, and forced labor of civilians in connected with the Yadana gas pipeline project. Robinson so notably wrote:
"It is impossible to operate in a completely abuse-free environment when you have the Burmese government as a partner."

It was thought that corporate social responsbility would be a cornerstone principle of Total CEO Christophe de Margerie's approach to oil extraction. Previously, he declared "We have to go where the oil and gas is, though not at any cost." However, he has reversed his stance, defiantly stating that Total will not pull out at Burma.

According to Journalist Evan Williams's expose Burma's Secret War, which is linked HERE, Total SA works out of British tax havens in the Bermuda Islands. The UK has been trying to stop this for years, but due to EU common law, the British government's hands are tied.

Boycott Total Oil: The Students Against Total's website.
Total Out of Burma's website HERE.
For Total, pulling out of Myanmar not the answer.International Herald Tribune. Sept. 27, 2007
Total's response to allegations of human rights abuses HERE. Total SA website.
Last Friday, Total's CEO says Total won't leave Burma. His statement HERE.

The Dirty List of companies doing business with Burma's junta, compiled by The Burma Campaign UK.

The Clean List of companies that have either pulled out of Burma, or made a principled decision not to do business in Burma. It is not comprehensive, but does give a scope of how public outcry has led to corporate social responsibily. The list details the companies' reasons for pulling out or refraining from investing in Burma. Also compiled by the Burma Campaign UK.

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