Bush conflict of interest
- Bush conflict of interest: Texan oil company wants to build Afghanistan
by gotcha dubya 11:39pm Tue Sep 18 '01
The Central Asian Gas Pipeline, Ltd., or "Centgas" is backed to be built by
"Unocal and Saudi Arabia's Delta Oil held a combined 85% stake in Centgas,
while Turkmenrusgas owned 5%." Then, follows four articles about Unocal,
particularly about Burma.
It seems that Dubya wants to invade Afghanistan because a Texan
oil company is keen on finally building a pipeline through Afghanistan
(to break the Russian monopoly on oil 'drainage' from Central Asia) --
the section that mentions Unocal Corporation:
REGIONAL PIPELINE PLANS
In January 1998, the Taliban signed an agreement that would allow a proposed
890-mile, $2-billion, 1.9-billion-cubic-feet-per-day natural gas pipeline
project led by Unocal to proceed.
The proposed pipeline would transport gas from Turkmenistan's 45-Tcf
Dauletabad gas field to Pakistan, and most likely would run from Dauletabad
south to the Afghan border and through Herat and Qandahar in Afghanistan, to
The line would then link with Pakistan's gas grid at Sui.
Gas shipments had been projected to start at 700 Mmcf/d in 1999 and to rise
to 1.4 Bcf/d or higher by 2002.
In March 1998, however, Unocal announced a delay in finalizing project
details due to Afghanistan's continuing civil war.
In June 1998, Gazprom announced that it was relinquishing its 10% stake in
the gas pipeline project consortium (known as the Central Asian Gas Pipeline
Ltd., or Centgas), which was formed in August 1996. As of June 1998, Unocal
and Saudi Arabia's Delta Oil held a combined 85% stake in Centgas, while
Turkmenrusgas owned 5%. Other participants in the proposed project besides
Delta Oil include the Crescent Group of Pakistan, Gazprom of Russia, Hyundai
Engineering & Construction Company of South Korea, Inpex and Itochu of Japan
On December 8, 1998, Unocal announced that it was withdrawing from the
Centgas consortium, citing low oil prices and turmoil in Afghanistan as
making the pipeline project uneconomical and too risky. Unocal's
announcement followed an earlier statement -- in August 1998 -- that the
company was suspending its role in the Afghanistan gas pipeline project in
light of the recent U.S. government military action in Afghanistan, and also
due to intensified fighting between the Taliban and opposition groups.
Unocal had previously stressed that the Centgas pipeline project would not
proceed until an internationally recognized government was in place in
Afghanistan. To date, however, only three countries -- Saudi Arabia,
Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates -- have recognized the Taliban
Besides the gas pipeline, Unocal also had considered building a 1,000-mile,
1-million barrel-per-day (bbl/d) capacity oil pipeline that would link
Chardzou, Turkmenistan to Pakistan's Arabian Sea Coast via Afghanistan.
Since the Chardzou refinery is already linked to Russia's Western Siberian
oil fields, this line could provide a possible alternative export route for
regional oil production from the Caspian Sea. The $2.5-billion pipeline is
known as the Central Asian Oil Pipeline Project. For a variety of reasons,
including high political risk and security concerns, however, financing for
this project remains highly uncertain.
In April 1999, Pakistan, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan agreed to reactivate
the Turkmenistan-Pakistan gas pipeline project, and to ask the Centgas
consortium, now led by Saudi Arabia's Delta Oil (following Unocal's
withdrawal from the project), to proceed. As of mid-2000, discussions on
this issue reportedly were continuing amongst India, Pakistan, Iran,
Turkmenistan, and Afghanistan. It remains unlikely, however, that this
pipeline will be built until the political and military situations in
Sources for this report include: Agence France Presse; Alexander's Oil and
Gas Connections; Associated Press; BBC Monitoring South Asia; BBC Summary of
World Broadcasts; Dow Jones; Economist Intelligence Unit Viewswire;
Financial Times Asia Intelligence Wire; New York Times; Oil and Gas Journal;
Petroleum Intelligence Weekly; Reuters
Unocal Coropration information
Unocal, Koc Holdings to form natural gas
marketing services venture in Turkey
Sugar Land, Texas, Nov. 10, 1997 - Unocal Corporation said today that its
Unocal International Energy Ventures, Ltd., subsidiary and Koc Holdings,
A.S., have signed a letter of intent to create Turkey's first private energy
distribution and marketing company.
Under the agreement, Unocal and Koc will be working to create a new natural
gas marketing services venture to purchase, market and transport natural gas
supplies to end-users in Turkey. In addition, the proposed joint venture
would evaluate opportunities for creating a pipeline system within Turkey
that could accommodate the privatization of the country's energy industry.
"Our association with Koc Holdings in this new venture promises to help move
Turkey's energy market into a new and exciting arena," said John F. Imle,
Jr., president of Unocal Corporation. "Koc is the premier conglomerate group
in Turkey and is highly respected in the manufacturing, international
finance and energy communities. We look forward to working together to
provide Turkey with regional energy solutions."
One of the alliance's key objectives is to provide energy independence for
end-users in Turkey and to help relieve some of the region's current and
future power shortages. To this end, Unocal and Koc have been working
closely on possible development of power projects under Turkey's ongoing
power-sector privatization program.
"Our main goal is to secure reliable, long-term and cost-effective natural
gas supply, enabling our country's businesses to compete with other European
Union businesses, which currently have access to competitive sources of
natural gas," said Rahmi Koc, chairman of Koc Holdings, A.S. "We teamed up
with Unocal because of its regional resources activities, and its expertise
in pipeline construction, energy marketing and resource development. We
believe this will be a very successful alliance."
Unocal and Koc will seek economically competitive gas supplies for delivery
through pipelines and to power plant joint ventures in Turkey that are
contemplated by the two companies.
Turkey-based Koc Holdings is a Fortune Global 500 conglomerate, operating in
Turkey for more than 72 years. A diversified corporation, Koc is involved in
automobile and white goods manufacturing, banking and finance with Koc Bank
and KOC Finance, food and white-goods distribution and is the largest
liquefied petroleum gas distributor in Turkey. Headquartered in Istanbul,
Koc has 26 offices around the world and is increasing its exposure in the
former Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) area.
Unocal Corporation is one of the world's leading energy resource and project
development companies, with reserves of more than 9.8 trillion cubic feet of
natural gas equivalent (1.6 billion barrels of oil equivalent) and major oil
and gas production activities in Asia and the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. The
company is also active in energy resource development activities in
Azerbaijan and Bangladesh and is developing gas-marketing solutions for
Turkmenistan. The company maintains twin headquarters in California and
Malaysia, with major offices in Singapore, Jakarta, Bangkok and Sugar Land,
Forward-looking statements and estimates of future financial and operating
results in this news release are based on assumptions concerning market,
competitive, regulatory, environmental, operational and other
considerations. Actual results could differ materially.
UNOCAL AND BURMA
UNOCAL: MAKING A KILLING IN BURMA
The Unocal Oil Corporation is involved in a natural gas venture with one of
the world's most brutal and repressive military regimes, Burma's State Law
and Order Restoration Council (SLORC). SLORC has received the strongest
condemnations from the US Congress, the US State Department, the European
Parliament, the United Nations Human Rights Commission, the International
Labor Organization, Amnesty International, and ten Nobel Peace Laureates.
***Foreign oil corporations provide one of the largest sources of revenue to
the SLORC regime***, helping them keep their reign of terror.
Note: Unocal sold its "76" gas stations and gasoline refineries to Tosco Oil
Company in 1997, thereby ending the boycott of "76" gas stations.
THE DEADLY DEAL
In February 1995, Unocal signed a contract with SLORC to extract and
transport natural gas using a pipeline from the Yadana Field located 43
miles off Burma's coast. The field is estimated to have six trillion cubic
feet of gas with a market value of $6.5 billion. Daily gas production levels
are estimated at 650 million cubic feet. Unocal is a 28.26% shareholder in
this project. Its other project partners include Total of France with
31.24%, the Petroleum Authority of Thailand with 25.5%, and the Myanmar Oil
and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) with 15%. Unocal's current net share of payments
to SLORC to gain the concession is about $10 million. Unocal and its
partners will get $400 million annually from Thailand for the gas.
THE PIPELINE KILLING FIELD
The gas pipeline will run undersea for 218 miles, and 41 miles across
southern Burma's Tenasserim division to Thailand. A second consortium of
Unocal, Mitsui of Japan and Total have signed a Memorandum of Understanding
with SLORC to be the joint venture partners in the "Three-In One" project.
This project consists of building an offshoot pipeline to Rangoon--
connecting it to a power plant--and building a power plant and urea
fertilizer plant near Rangoon.
The gas pipeline will go through a variety of ecosystems including dense
tropical forest, disrupting the habitat of rare animals such as tigers,
rhinos and elephants. The pipeline area is inhabited by the Karen, Mon and
Tavoy peoples who have partial control of the region. This venture is
currently linked to forced village relocation, the forced labor of tens of
thousands of local inhabitants, and fatalities at the hands of the SLORC
troops. This entire region is a war zone due to the ethnic peoples' need to
defend themselves against SLORC attacks, making the region highly unstable.
HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES
Pillaging, Torture and Rape
The Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG) and the Human Rights Foundation of
Monland both monitor and report on human right violations in the Karen and
Mon areas of Burma. Both groups have collected the testimony of hundreds of
Karen and Mon villagers, exposing a litany of heinous acts by SLORC troops
linked to the construction of ancillary pipeline infrastructure. Local
people tell of those too sick to work being beaten and tortured, forced
portering (carrying supplies), looting of homes and food supplies, rape, and
even murder for resisting orders. Despite these human rights abuses, Unocal
denies any responsibility and refuses to appoint an independent
investigation team to confirm the abuses.
Forced Relocation and Infiltration of Military Battalions
Since 1991, at least 12 Karen and Mon villages were moved by SLORC to make
way for battalion stations and Unocal/Total's field headquarters. In 1995,
at least 12 Light Infantry Battalions (LIB) conducted major military
offenses in an attempt to secure the eastern half of the route. Each
battalion contains 300-500 soldiers. Eight battalions are located near one
village alone which houses many of the oil company workers. Villagers whose
land was taken or whose entire town was relocated were never compensated.
Because the area contains few roads suitable for large trucks and heavy
traffic, the SLORC began building and improving roads and railways using the
labor of unpaid villagers. SLORC troops invade peaceful villages demanding
men, women and children to work for at least two week shifts. These people
are taken from their homes, ordered to bring their own food, clothing and
blankets, and brought to road and railway construction sites where they live
in unsanitary conditions with little food, clean water and no medical
treatment. Families that fail to provide workers are fined, often the
equivalent of their yearly income. Men and women are forced to break rocks
and carry dirt to build railways, trenches, and roads for the pipeline
security forces, and made to cut trees for lumber to build military bases.
As a result people are dying of beatings, malnutrition, sickness and
Some of the most extensive forced labor and abuses occur at the Ye-Tavoy
railway, where over 100,000 people have been forced to work. It is widely
thought that this railway will be used to bring equipment and more troops to
the area. Unocal claims they will not use the railway for the pipeline
development, but they do not deny that SLORC battalions will use the
railway, with whom Unocal has contracted to provide security for the
In April 1996, the KHRG proclaimed that forced labor is occurring on the
pipeline construction. Villagers are taken by SLORC troops to build
"pipeline roads," which run alongside the pipe. The troops tell the people
they will be paid, but this rarely happens. Villagers are not only forced to
work with no compensation they are also forced to pay "fees" described as
"porter fees", "development funds", "railway and pipeline fees" to every
military camp. Reprecht von Arnim, United Nations High Commissioner for
Refugees in Thailand, stated in the Asian Wall Street Journal, "... I know
slave labor has been used for other purposes, and once the gas pipeline is
to start, it is most likely that it will be done the same way."
Violence directly related to the pipeline development
In reference to threats by the Karen and Mon armies, who are trying to
protect their people, Unocal president John Imle said: "If you threaten the
pipeline, there's going to be more military. If forced labor goes hand in
glove with military, yes, there will be more forced labor. For every threat
to the pipeline there will be a reaction." According to the KHRG, on
February 2, 1996 an unknown armed group using rocket launchers attacked near
Total's field office, killing four people. In retaliation, SLORC battalion
LIB 403 executed eleven Karen civilians. SLORC accused the villagers of
supporting the attackers. Other villagers were told by the battalion that
they would come back and kill more people if Total was informed of the
retribution. Unocal continues to deny its connection to these types of
summary executions and human rights violations, and maintains there will be
only benefits for the local people.
Company Claims: Insult to Injury
The corporations boast that the project will bring employment, education and
training, health care and useful technology for thousands of people. Unocal
in consultation with Total claims to be implementing projects such as free
medical services, agriculture assistance, and to be paying fair wages for
The KHRG reports that sometimes the oil companies give wage money for the
villagers to SLORC commanders who pocket the money. In very few cases the
villagers are paid directly by the oil companies.
The minuscule amount of assistance by the oil companies pales when compared
to the amount of strife affecting the Mon, Karen and Tavoy people due to the
endless cycle of military-induced abuses in the area. The Karen, Mon and
Tavoyans are seeking refuge in Thailand because of the forced labor and
other SLORC brutalities. This transient and impoverished lifestyle is
preferred over that of one where SLORC poses a constant danger. There is
little the oil companies can give to compensate for or replace the
livelihood the local people once had.
Exploration, development and production of natural gas has similar risks as
oil extraction activities. Impacts from gas exploitation include dumping
toxic drilling muds, (including radioactive materials), air pollution from
drilling rigs, and toxic chemical releases such as hydrogen sulfide into the
sea and air.
The ecology of the pipeline area is very diverse ranging from coastal
wetlands to mountainous dense tropical forest--one of the last in Burma.
Just south of the pipeline area, also in the Tenassarim watershed, the Karen
have established a protected wildlife sanctuary which contains tigers,
rhinoceros, elephants and other rare species.
Unocal and Total have not publicly released any environmental assessment
study. Projected environmental impacts from the pipeline include destruction
to wetlands and mangrove ecosystems, forest clearing, fragmentation of
habitat and disruption of biological corridors, establishment of logging
concessions, and increased poaching of endangered species.
Burma's Struggle for Democracy
In the late 1980s a growing democracy movement gained widespread support
from the entire spectrum of Burmese society, including its diverse ethnic
nationalities. People took to the streets to demonstrate for democracy, but
the military retaliated in the summer of 1988 by gunning down thousands of
civilians. Soon afterward the military announced that the State Law and
Order Restoration Council would rule the country. Years of ruthless and
violent repression against all citizens have been the result.
On May 27, 1990, SLORC held elections and the National League for Democracy
(NLD) gained 80% of the seats. SLORC nullified the election results and
placed NLD leaders under arrest, including leader Aung San Suu Kyi. In 1991,
Aung San Suu Kyi won the Nobel Peace Prize, but remained a prisoner under
house arrest until her release in July of 1995. Despite Ms. Suu Kyi's
release, which many hoped would spark an improvement in human rights
standards, widespread political repression, human rights abuses, abject
poverty, forced labor, and summary executions continue unabated.
The Ethics and Economics of Investing in Burma
SLORC has made the economy a shambles, strengthened its civil war against
the ethnic nationalities, and turned Burma into a United Nations "Least
Developed Country (LDC). SLORC rapaciously exploits natural resources and
sells them to foreign interests, which keeps the regime propped up and
further impoverishes the ethnic nationalities. Most foreign revenue is
derived from natural gas and oil reserves.
Investment and business ethics analysts argue that doing business with SLORC
surpasses the threshold of ethical business guidelines. According to Richard
DeGeorge, director of the International Center for Ethics in Business at the
University of Kansas, "One of the guidelines I would put out is that a
company should not knowingly cooperate with any supplier, government or
other enterprise that engages in slavery, slave labor, or even child labor.
Saying, 'We know they're doing it, but we're not doing it', doesn't let you
off the hook. If you know it's being done, you're ethically responsible for
it. It's your responsibility to mitigate the harm they're doing to those
people. They can't simply be ignored".
Many economists believe that investment in Burma is just bad business.
Recent reports by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank cited
in April 6, 1996 The Economist , conclude that neither Burma's Gross
Domestic Product (GDP) nor its agricultural output have reached the previous
levels of the mid-1980s, and that unless the Kyat (the Burmese currency) is
greatly adjusted the economy will remain poor.
North American Companies Withdraw from Burma
Not all companies choose to remain in the dark about SLORC's abuses. Liz
Claiborne, Macy's, Eddie Bauer, Reebok, Levi-Strauss, Amoco and Petro-Canada
have all withdrawn their operations. Levi-Strauss pulled out in 1992,
stating, "...under current circumstances, it is not possible to do business
in Myanmar without directly supporting the military government and its
pervasive violations of human rights." Unocal's slogan is "We Get It." While
this may be true when it comes to bathrooms at gas stations, they clearly
don't "Get It" when it comes to human rights and democracy.
Burma: The South Africa of the 90s
During a 1993 visit to Thailand with six other Nobel Laureates to call for
the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, Archbishop Desmond Tutu said,
"International pressure can change the situation in Burma. Tough sanctions,
not 'constructive engagement', finally brought the release of Nelson Mandela
and the dawn of a new era in my country. This is the language that must be
spoken with tyrants--for sadly, this the only language they understand."
"These people are hurrying in to make cosy business deals while pretending
that nothing is wrong," Aung San Suu Kyi told The Times Magazine. "They need
to be reminded that this is one of the most brutal military regimes in the
world and putting money into the country now is simply supporting a system
that is severely harmful to the people of Burma."
The exile National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma elected in
1990 and many of the ethnic nationalities have called upon the world
community to impose economic and arms sanctions against SLORC. In support of
Burma's democracy movement, we call on Unocal/Total to withdraw their shares
in the gas pipeline project. We ask that all corporations not engage in any
business in Burma until a democratic government is in place. Foreign revenue
only lines the pockets of SLORC officials and helps keep the brutal regime
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Write or call the CEOs of Unocal and Total. Tell them to withdraw from Burma
Don't invest in Unocal or Total stock, or sell your stock and tell them why
Send $5.00 for our activist's packet to become more involved.
Join the Free Burma Coalition, call: 608-256-6572 or
Help support our effort by donating funds to IRN's Burma Project.
Send letters to:
Roger Beach, CEO
2141 Rosecrans Blvd., Suite 4000
El Segundo, CA 90245
UNOCAL RESPONSIBLE FOR INTENTIONAL POLLUTION AND ONE PERSON'S DEATH IN THE
UNITED STATES: ***DEPARMENT OF JUSTICE** KILLS THE STATE LEVEL LEGAL CASE
AGAINST THE CEO'S RESPOSIBLE, AND THEY GET OFF WITH A $15,000 FINE
RACHEL'S HAZARDOUS WASTE NEWS #350 --- August 12, 1993 ---
Under federal law, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may
investigate but cannot prosecute violations of environmental law.
Prosecution is handled by state attorneys, by a U.S. Attorney or, most
often, by the Environmental Crimes Section (ECS) of the U.S. Department of
In 1990, rumors and occasional press reports were circulating about
sweetheart deals between ECS and major polluters. At EPA headquarters,
disquieting reports were coming in from EPA field criminal investigation
agents, indicating that DOJ was dropping criminal cases against executives
of Fortune 500 companies.
Richard Emory, Acting Director of EPA's Criminal Enforcement Counsel
Division, warned his superiors about the situation and was promptly ordered
to investigate. What he found was shocking, even by the standards of the
Reagan-Bush years. He documented at least 20 cases of sweetheart settlements
by DOJ. Here are a few examples reported by Congressional investigators:
Congressman Dingell, heading the House Subcommittee on Oversight and
"Disturbing trends emerge from these cases. First, there seems to be a
disinclination to prosecute the responsible corporate officers of large
corporations. In the case of Weyerhauser... the DOJ overruled both the EPA
and the U.S. Attorney, and no individuals were charged even though the
investigation showed that a Weyerhauser [paper] mill... had KNOWINGLY dumped
toxic... waste... into a stream for at least a decade." [Emphasis added.]
Dingell went on to point out that, in contrast, a small businessman with a
plant near the Weyerhauser mill was convicted of felony charges for
illegally burying ten drums of dried paint.
Dingell says further: "Another closely related trend that we are finding is
the tendency to settle criminal cases by only having a corporation pay a
monetary fine. By substituting fines for individual accountability,
environmental crime becomes just another cost of doing business and the
whole purpose of the criminal law, which is to establish individual
responsibility, is undermined."
He cites the example of PureGro, a subsidiary of the giant Unocal company.
Corporate officials had KNOWINGLY allowed toxic waste to be dumped in an
open field, poisoning farm animals and perhaps causing the death of one
person. When caught, the company was willing to plead guilty to a corporate
felony and pay a substantial fine, but the state attorney's office rejected
the offer in order to pursue criminal charges against responsible corporate
officials. DOJ took over the case and allowed the company to plead guilty to
one misdemeanor and to pay a $15,000 fine.
Case after case showed that corporate officials, who had knowingly allowed
illegal dumping and other mismanagement of toxic wastes, and who could have
been sent to prison as a result, were let off the hook by DOJ. Additional
corporations named by Dingell and by a second Congressional report were
Chemical Waste Management, United Technologies, U.S. Sugar, Hawaiian Western
Steel, and the Thermex Energy Corp. The most notorious case, however, and
the one that received the most publicity, was the Rocky Flats nuclear
weapons plant in Colorado, run by Rockwell International for the U.S.
Department of Energy. This plant is extensively contaminated with plutonium
and toxic wastes and will cost more than one billion dollars to clean up.
A third Congressional report, from Representative Wolpe, Chairman of the
House Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight, points out that,
"Rockwell officials responsible for the facility knowingly violated the law
over prolonged periods of time and aggressively resisted all efforts to
force them to comply with environmental standards."
Among the violations mentioned in the report, which Rockwell officials were
aware of, were: the burning of plutonium-laced hazardous waste in an illegal
unlicensed incinerator for at least ten years as part of a phoney "plutonium
recovery" scheme; illegal unlicensed storage of mixed toxic and so-called
low-level nuclear waste which leaked into nearby public waters; and false
certification that the company was in compliance with government
Representative Wolpe's report goes on: "Although the prosecution collected
significant evidence of criminal wrongdoing on the part of high-level
Rockwell officials, they did not indict them on either felony or misdemeanor
charges. In fact, before they had even directed their investigators to
finally compile the evidence that had been collected against individuals,
and before they had formally reviewed that evidence, the prosecutors had
established a 'bottom line' for settlement purposes that there would be 'no
individual felony indictments.'"
However, Rockwell's notoriety is not due to the nature of its violations.
Indeed, there are even worse among the 20 cases that Richard Emory initially
investigated. Rocky Flats/Rockwell hit the front pages because the grand
jury hearing the case rebelled and refused to go along with the DOJ
cover-up. A Colorado reporter following the story wrote:
"[The prosecutor] refused to subpoena a witness jurors wanted to question.
They directed witnesses not to answer questions posed by the jurors. They
refused to help the jurors draft an indictment they wanted to issue. They
told the jurors it would be 'inadvisable' for them to continue to meet. They
refused to help the jurors draft a report.... There's a legal term for this
pattern of conduct: obstruction of justice."
Finally, the jurors drew up their own indictment, which the prosecutor
refused to sign. The grand jury then drew up its own report, which it
released to the public. At that point the FBI began investigating the grand
jury, thus placing the federal government in the absurd position of
preparing to prosecute grand jurors for pointing out the government's
failure to prosecute criminals. The FBI investigation continues today.
The head of the Environmental Crimes Section of the Department of Justice
was Neil Cartusciello. His name, and that of Criselda Ortiz, one of the
supervisory lawyers working under him, appear frequently in the
Congressional reports as two of the principal perpetrators of these
sweetheart settlements. These reports show that, typically, when a case
would be prepared against a big name polluter by a U.S. Attorney or a state
attorney general which included criminal charges against individual
corporate officials, Cartusciello or Ortiz would arrange to take over the
prosecution and regardless of how much evidence had been amassed it would
always be, in their view, insufficient.
By early 1992, reports of these goings-on had also reached Congressman
Dingell (who is known as "the junk yard dog" of the House of
Representatives), and his staff started investigating. EPA gave Richard
Emory the task of responding to the Committee's inquiries. The Committee
staff did not know about the internal investigation that Emory had been
conducting. . .