Friday, May 16, 2008

New neighbors with some ugly baggage . . .

Chevron recently moved its regional offices from New Orleans to Covington, along with some 500 good paying jobs. Some folks think that's a good thing for the Northshore.

But Chevron also brings with it some ugly baggage.

Even though the Bushiviks are publically rebuking the military dictatorship in Myanmar for it's Katrina-Like performance following the recent cyclone, Chevron is continuing to help finance the junta by refusing to sell off its investment in the Yadana natural gas and pipeline operation.

The original American partner in the pipeline venture was Unocal, which was sued by EarthRights International for millions because the pipeline was built with slave labor - people forced into labor by the military junta. As soon as that lawsuit was settled, while Condi Rice was on the board of Chevron, the Unocal interest was bought by Chevron. And, because Unocal was in business before the Bush sanctions, Chevron was grandfathered in and allowed to continue doing business in Burma. Since then it is the profits from Yadana gas and pipeline projects that have financed the military control in Maynmar (Burma).
Last year the military junta was murdering Buddist protestors. Laura "The Decider's Wife" Bush took up the cause against the brutality, and shook her finger, but apparently couldn't convince Dubya to stop Chevron from doing business there. So the killings went on. There is no way to know how many Buddist priests and their followers have been murdered. More recently, she shook her finger again with no tangible results - so she switched to wedding planning . . .

Once again OIL and GAS are at the core of the problem. Human rights organizations have called on Chevron to sell off its investment in Myanmar, but Chevron's CEO David O'Reilly has refused, calling its project an attractive asset. "Somebody's gonna do it, so why not us?" Chevron did, however, generously pledge $2Million (tax deductible) in relief after the cyclone. And well it could, since its reported profits for the 1st quarter 2008 was $5.17Billion.

And while relief is starting to trickle into Myanmar since the cyclone, the military is still very much in charge, and Chevron is continuing to play their part in financing that military.

SO. We have new neighbors on the Northshore. But sometimes there's more to your neighbors than meets the eye. You gotta watch those folks moving across the causeway.

No comments: