Wednesday, March 20, 2002

Compare and Contrast


Sudan says that the slavery problem is not nearly as bad as Western activists make it out. It insists slavery has been wiped out in government-controlled areas, and now only exists in rebel-controlled territory. Talisman, which owns a share of the pipeline along with the national oil companies of China and Malaysia (see related story), points out the many good works it has done in Sudan and says things could be worse if it leaves. Those works include developing water wells, building roads and hospitals and providing an example of ethical Western corporate leadership in the war-torn south, it says. Sudan’s civil war has left more than 2 million dead. “If you eradicate poverty, you also eradicate one of the root causes of violence and human rights violations,” said Stuart McDowall, Talisman’s director general of Sudan public relations. “What we’re doing is addressing some of those basic needs.” [ABC News]

Hey, how about that ... here's an example of the good done by corporations. Sounds reasonable, right? Well, corporate fanboys, you can probably tell I'm setting you up for a fall because we all know what scum sucking liars directors general of public relations are ... here's the sound of the other shoe dropping: Canadian Oil Company Ordered Ethnic Cleansing in Sudan.
The memo, issued on May 7, 1999, reported that "… fulfilling the request of the Canadian Company (Talisman)… the armed forces will conduct cleaning up operations in all villages from Heglig to Pariang." ... Two days later, a major offensive was launched and villages from Heglig to Pariang were destroyed. A Canadian Foreign Ministry report described how civilians were killed, homes and whole villages destroyed, foodstocks looted or burned, humanitarian aid forced into flight. It is estimated the attacks reduced the overal population in the county by 50% -- all so that oil could be more easily extracted ... The complicity of oil development in the ongoing destruction by the radical Islamist regime in Khartoum of Christian, moderate Muslim and animist Civilian populations in Southern Sudan has been chronicled by Amnesty International, the UN, the Canadian foreign ministry, Human Rights Watch, and Christian Aid (UK).
Ironic that we're having such a hard time fighting the War on Terror, the bad guys being so hard to find and all ... when it seems they're actually quite easily found listed on the NYSE [TLM].

When allegations against Talisman first began to surface, large institutional investors ignored the outcry falling back on the tried and true mantra of "capitalism ... value for shareholders ... investments based solely on financial merits" and many refused to even consider divesting. Turn a blind eye as long as the money flows, that's the capitalist way. Anyone who sees things differently is a tree-hugging hippie commie dirtbag. The blatant fucking hypocrisy of those same people getting all misty-eyed and patriotic over the War on Terror makes me so fucking sick. I'm all too familiar with stories of workers being fired for things they've written on their weblogs, so I'm going to practice some self-censorship ... but I can't help but notice that some big name mutual fund companies still list Talisman among their top 10 holdings in large cap funds focusing on Canada or the energy industry. I'm trying to imagine how I would react if I saw the manager of one of those funds driving around with an American flag plastered to the left rear window of his SUV. I'd like to point out to him how his fund is profiting off genocide and slave trading, then curb that motherfucker like in American History X. (Caveat: I'd never actually curb anybody, no matter how much they deserved it. Just venting a little repressed rage there.)

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