Thursday, October 04, 2007


The Bush administration is making headlines with its strong language against the Burmese regime. GW Bush declared increased sanctions in his UN speech.

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.”

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.” The most powerful supporters of the junta is one that Rice knows well: Chevron.

Chevron’s role in propping up the brutal regime in Burma is clear. Offshore natural gas facilities deliver their extracted gas to Thailand through Burma’s Yadana pipeline. The pipeline was built with slave labour, forced into servitude by the Burmese military. It’s Yadana and gas projects that kept the military regime afloat to buy arms and ammunition and pay its soldiers. Before Yadana went online, Burma’s regime was facing severe shortages of currency. The original pipeline partner, Unocal, was sued by EarthRights International for the use of slave labour. As soon as the suit was settled out of court, Chevron bought Unocal.

The U.S. government has had sanctions in place against Burma since 1997, but there are loopholes. Unocal’s exemption from the Burma sanctions has been passed on to its new owner, Chevron.

Gordon Brown, the British Prime Minister also expressed ‘outrage’ at the Burmese government’s despicable behaviour but conveniently forgot to mention that UK companies are merrily investing away in Burma. Between 1988 and 2004 companies based out of British territories invested over £1.2bn in Burma, making Britain the second largest investor in this supposedly ostracised country. The sun it seems has not only set on the British Empire but also set on the conscience and honesty of its politicians.

hypocrisy [hi-pok-ruh-see] –noun, plural -sies.
a pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles, etc., that one does not really possess.

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