September 11, 2009

EarthRights International Says Burma's Military Regime Has Received Nearly $5 billion From U.S. Oil Company CHEVRON and French Oil Company TOTAL!!!

What happened to the SACTIONS IMPOSED on Burma?!?!

Earthrights International
written by Matthew F. Smith
Thursday September 10, 2009


EarthRights International Reveals Burmese Regime Hiding Multi-Billion Dollar Gas Revenues in Two Offshore Banks in Singapore

September 10, 2009, Bangkok, Thailand -- EarthRights International (ERI) released two reports today linking oil giants Total and Chevron to forced labor, killings, high-level corruption and authoritarianism in military-ruled Burma (Myanmar). For the first time, ERI reveals that the military regime is hiding multi-billion dollar revenues from natural gas sales in two offshore banks in Singapore.

Based primarily on over two years of research, the first report, entitled Total Impact: The Human Rights, Environmental, and Financial Impacts of Total and Chevron’s Yadana Gas Project in Military-Ruled Burma (Myanmar) explains that Total and Chevron’s Yadana gas project has generated US$4.83 billion dollars for the Burmese regime. The 110-page report explains how the regime would have excluded at least US$4.80 billion dollars of that revenue from the country’s national budget.

Citing “confidential and reliable” sources, ERI named the Overseas Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC) and DBS Group (DBS) as the offshore repositories of Yadana gas pipeline revenues. OCBC is Singapore’s longest established local bank and according to ERI holds the majority of the revenue, while DBS is Singapore’s largest bank in terms of assets.

As a result of this revenue, Total and Chevron are a “leading external factor contributing to the regime’s intransigence” and a primary reason why international and domestic pressure on the SPDC has to date been ineffective, according to ERI.

“The military elite are hiding billions of dollars of the peoples’ revenue in Singapore while the country needlessly suffers under the lowest social spending in Asia,” said ERI Burma Project Coordinator Matthew Smith, a principal author of the reports. “The revenue from this pipeline is the regime’s lifeline and a critical leverage point that the international community could use to support the people of Burma,” he added.

ERI is calling on the international community to apply targeted multilateral pressure to block these misappropriated revenues from international capital markets and to restrict transactions to and from the relevant accounts.

Photographs and interviews with hundreds of villagers in the area of Total and Chevron’s gas pipeline, which generates the revenue, reveal forced labor, killings, and violations of property rights and freedom of movement connected to the Yadana Project.

“We can no longer do farming around our village because we don’t have existing land [anymore],” said one villager whose land was confiscated by Total and Chevron’s security forces.

“The work we have to do for the military is still happening,” said another villager, referring to forced labor for pipeline security battalions.

ERI details several killings of ethnic villagers by Yadana Project security and violations of freedom of movement. “We cannot move freely around,” said one villager last year, explaining restrictions imposed on her village by Yadana Project security battalions.

“Total and Chevron claim abuses have stopped in connection to their project but it’s simply untrue,” said ERI Program Coordinator Naing Htoo, another principal author of the reports and coordinator of ERI’s investigations in Burma. “Forced labor, killings and other abuses are being committed by Total and Chevron’s security forces while the companies mislead and lie to the international community about their impacts.”

Please click HERE to read the entire article... MUST READ!!!

No comments: