Sunday, October 7, 2007

Kos & Chevron, Will You Join Us? ***UPDATE 3*** (+)

By: Revisionist at the Political Fleshfeast Blog

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Everyone has seen it and marveled at the disconnect between progressive ideas and taking money from a evil petrocorp. Its been rationalized and poo-poo'ed. I saw the ad myself just a couple of days ago. In the past week it has taken on a new significance as the situation in Burma has gone from bad to worse. It is especially significant today since this is International Blogger's Day for Burma.

Several kosnics have brought it up the past week. And the usual suspects just say something sarcastic about how this has "been discussed before" so shut your fucking pie hole and don't let the door hit you on your way out.

here we go again. . . (31+ / 0-)
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by andgarden on Sun Sep 30, 2007 at 11:14:51 AM PDT

The Kos junta can not be moved by the pleas of of the people in the people-powered movement. But the greater blogosphere is a buzz with Anti-Chevron fervor

Amy Goodman poked a stick in their eye


The image was stunning: tens of thousands of saffron-robed Buddhist monks marching through the streets of Rangoon [also known as Yangon], protesting the military dictatorship of Burma. The monks marched in front of the home of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, who was seen weeping and praying quietly as they passed. She hadn’t been seen for years. The democratically elected leader of Burma, Suu Kyi has been under house arrest since 2003. She is considered the Nelson Mandela of Burma, the Southeast Asian nation renamed Myanmar by the regime.

After almost two weeks of protest, the monks have disappeared. The monasteries have been emptied. One report says thousands of monks are imprisoned in the north of the country.

No one believes that this is the end of the protests, dubbed “The Saffron Revolution.” Nor do they believe the official body count of 10 dead. The trickle of video, photos and oral accounts of the violence that leaked out on Burma’s cellular phone and Internet lines has been largely stifled by government censorship. Still, gruesome images of murdered monks and other activists and accounts of executions make it out to the global public. At the time of this writing, several unconfirmed accounts of prisoners being burned alive have been posted to Burma-solidarity Web sites.

The Bush administration is making headlines with its strong language against the Burmese regime. President Bush declared increased sanctions in his U.N. General Assembly speech. First lady Laura Bush has come out with perhaps the strongest statements. Explaining that she has a cousin who is a Burma activist, Laura Bush said, “The deplorable acts of violence being perpetrated against Buddhist monks and peaceful Burmese demonstrators shame the military regime.”

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, at the meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, said, “The United States is determined to keep an international focus on the travesty that is taking place.” Keeping an international focus is essential, but should not distract from one of the most powerful supporters of the junta, one that is much closer to home. Rice knows it well: Chevron.

Fueling the military junta that has ruled for decades are Burma’s natural gas reserves, controlled by the Burmese regime in partnership with the U.S. multinational oil giant Chevron, the French oil company Total and a Thai oil firm. Offshore natural gas facilities deliver their extracted gas to Thailand through Burma’s Yadana pipeline. The pipeline was built with slave labor, forced into servitude by the Burmese military.

The original pipeline partner, Unocal, was sued by EarthRights International for the use of slave labor. As soon as the suit was settled out of court, Chevron bought Unocal.

Chevron’s role in propping up the brutal regime in Burma is clear. According to Marco Simons, U.S. legal director at EarthRights International: “Sanctions haven’t worked because gas is the lifeline of the regime. Before Yadana went online, Burma’s regime was facing severe shortages of currency. It’s really Yadana and gas projects that kept the military regime afloat to buy arms and ammunition and pay its soldiers.”

The U.S. government has had sanctions in place against Burma since 1997. A loophole exists, though, for companies grandfathered in. Unocal’s exemption from the Burma sanctions has been passed on to its new owner, Chevron.

Rice served on the Chevron board of directors for a decade. She even had a Chevron oil tanker named after her. While she served on the board, Chevron was sued for involvement in the killing of nonviolent protesters in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. Like the Burmese, Nigerians suffer political repression and pollution where oil and gas are extracted and they live in dire poverty. The protests in Burma were actually triggered by a government-imposed increase in fuel prices.

Human-rights groups around the world have called for a global day of action on Saturday, Oct. 6, in solidarity with the people of Burma. Like the brave activists and citizen journalists sending news and photos out of the country, the organizers of the Oct. 6 protest are using the Internet to pull together what will probably be the largest demonstration ever in support of Burma. Among the demands are calls for companies to stop doing business with Burma’s brutal regime.

EarthRights continues to pound Chevron


The protests began on August 19th, when the military’s decision to sharply increase the price of natural gas and other fuels sent shockwaves through the economy. The military has recently responded with violence, killing at least several protestors (including monks) and arresting hundreds more. But the oil and gas corporations themselves, who are partnered with the military government in gas export projects, have shown no sign of trying to prevent further bloodshed. Instead, Daewoo International and the Thai gas company PTTEP initially announced plans to export more of Burma’s natural gas, and on September 25 PTTEP issued a statement assuring the public that their investment was not jeopardized by the unrest. A third company, India’s ONGC Videsh, along with India’s Petroleum Minister Murli Deora, traveled to Burma amidst the protests to sign three new deals to extract and export natural gas. And Chevron Corporation, the largest remaining U.S. company in Burma, has simply remained silent.

“The corporations who can influence the military junta know who they are. They must pressure the regime to maintain peace, and respect the rights to speech and association of the people of Burma. Instead, however, they are pursuing their business interests while people’s lives are at stake,” added Chana Maung, Director of ERI Southeast Asia. “The regime has resorted to violence against the peaceful protestors, and the companies now also have blood on their hands, but it is not too late for them to act.”

According to ERI Burma Program Coordinator Naing Htoo, “Whether they like it or not, the companies are not socially or politically neutral in the current unrest in Burma. They say that their presence in Burma helps, not hurts, our people. It’s time for them to put their money where their mouth is.”

For example, Chevron, through its takeover of Unocal, is a partner with the junta in the notorious Yadana natural gas pipeline project. Unocal's construction of that project involved mass forced labor and other human rights abuses, committed by the army on Unocal's behalf. Moreover, Chevron Corporation is one of the largest foreign investors in Burma. Their Yadana project funnels tens of millions of dollars to the regime, money the military desperately needs to retain its stranglehold on power. Despite Chevron's material support for the regime, and direct complicity in extensive human rights abuses, Chevron claims that it can play a positive role in contributing to the protection of human rights. Empty rhetoric is not a substitute for action, however, and now is the time for action. Given Unocal/Chevron's shameful behavior thus far, Chevron owes the people of Burma a moral obligation to immediately use its influence with the regime to help prevent the mass slaughter of peaceful protestors.

Other bloggers are joining in. Here is what was on the Huffington Post - The most widely read lefty blog had to say on the ads and the Burma situation.


Chevron's green wash of an ad campaign could shape its global policy. My colleague, Judy Dugan, at OilWatchdog.org makes a great argument in calling on Chevron CEO David O'Reilly to "immediately sever Chevron's ties to Myanmar's brutal government and personally speak out against its violent suppression of peaceful protest."

Judy really socks it to O'Reilly on the hypocrisy front. Her letter:


"Dear Mr. O'Reilly,

"Chevron's lavish new image-advertising campaign makes your 65,000 employees look like the Peace Corps, sowing harmony and good feeling across the world. Yet as you well know, the smiling families, poets and sports coaches shown in your 2.5-minute debut television ad, "Human Energy," don't make corporate policy.

"Chevron's continued lucrative investment in the natural gas fields of Myanmar fuels a despotic regime that has focused its "human energy" on violently suppressing its citizens -- including the murder of Buddhist monks and the apparent point-blank killing of a Japanese news photographer.

"You could have divested the Myanmar fields when Chevron bought their operator, Unocal, in 2005. Chevron said last year that it was considering such action, but failed to take it.

"You and your corporation have been silent as Myanmar troops fired on democracy proponents, beat them and incarcerated them. You have been silent about the continued imprisonment and intimidation of Aung San Suu Kyi, whose overwhelming 1990 election to lead the nation was overturned by force.

"Your ad campaign, which a Chevron official said would cost 'in the high tens of millions' of dollars, portrays a company that deeply cares about the world and its future. Given your investment in Myanmar alone, that is a gauzy, gorgeous lie.

"We urge you to immediately sever Chevron's ties to Myanmar's brutal government and personally speak out against its violent suppression of peaceful protest."

Now let's see if Chevron finds any truth in its advertising.

Human Energy. Is that like people-powered? Even Kos sister Firedoglake nipped at Chevron


Brave bloggers and their friends outside Burma are trying to keep information flowing to the outside world. Firepup Bob in HI sent me a set of great links he found in the WSJ - including Mizzima News, Irawaddy News which reminds us of the international oil companies including Chevron still doing business in Burma, and Democratic Voice of Burma.

Many Blogs will be staging more protests in the upcoming days. Docudharma is onboard too. Kisses Budda CORRECTION: Buhdy and DocuDharma just support posting images and not doing much else. They fully support Kos running the ad

CALL TO ACTION!

We will be holding the CHEVRON PROTEST through FAX and PHONE calls on TUESDAY October 9th from 1:00pm-3:00pm Pacific Time (9:00pm-11pm GMT).

Chevron pays millions of dollars in oil and gas royalties to the current military junta. We will demand that they put these royalties in escrow for the legitimate, elected government of Burma headed by Aung San Suu Kyi. These monies are being pocketed by the military leaders - it is not their money.

Below is the contact info for each Chevron office throughout the world.

Will Kos just stop running the Chevron ad once and for all. Or at least run this as well?

Free Burma!

But we all know when it comes to MAMZ, its all about the money.

SHAME, SHAME on you MAMZ.

*** UPDATE ****

Kos blinks. Sort of. Bending to the Pressure HERE and by a brave martyr at DocuDharma they sent out Meteor Blades since he is their Trojan caring liberal to post on Burma. Day is nearly over but still its something. NO OFFICIAL WORD THE AD HAS BEEN DROPPED. Or for that matter that they even have the ad. I found Meteor's post ironically funny. Once again special thanks to Big Tent Dharmacrat for building a fire under the poseurs. Had Budhy joined in the boycott maybe they would have trotted out MB sooner.

*** UPDATE 2****

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This is NOT a photoshop. This is the page I got not one minute ago. Is this supposed to be Kos sticking it to the man? A bad joke? Or just sloppy webmastering. I will leave it to the blogosphere to decide. So very Crass. Will you join us now Buhdy?

*** UPDATE 3****

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As of 11:15 AM this morning the ad is STILL running. They just dont care. Or like other petty dicators MAMZ will just keep running it to prove how macho he is. Fuck you dirty hippies.

PRAISE THE MARTYR carlos oaxaca!!

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3 comments:

Anonymous said...

KOS has started a national service program like Hillary and others. He wants it to be financed by the US government like the Peace Department. Like all the plans for national service and univesities for civil servants, he doesn't explain the cost or the beurocracy that comes along with the service requirement or the staff or the teachers; The idea is to create more government jobs. The volunteers are not paid or insured. They are required to serve. It's national service outside the US military, but doesn't pay the same or offer benefits. The draft is the next step after these program exist.

KOS is was also a Peace Corps Volunteer. Peace corps is in trouble with military juntas put in place by coups and is in violation of federal laws regarding sanctions in several countries. The new national service will put volutneers overseas in these types of dangerous situations and not pay what they should pay in relation to the danger.

As far as the Chevron thing, Peace Corps is acting like oil companies, putting their interest in the staying in the country before what is best for the country and legal; they have no agreement to be in country with the military juntas and are violating federal sanctions regarding staying in country and dealing with the juntas. So, the usual excuse for oil companies is the need for the product and intelligence. Peace Corps is being accused of the same thing. The clearances for the employees change when they stay in country and work with a military juntas under santions from the US. Peace Corps employees usually use the higher clearance as an excuse to keep their jobs beyond the five year limitation(opportunity law) and get work at other agencies. The PCVs are in the middle, with no promise of employment when their clearances change and no federal employment because of the clearance change. The oil companies an Peace Corps have alot in common.

Francis L. Holland Blog said...

If Kos starts a national service program, will his volunteers be trained by the CIA as he was?

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