U.S. ruling says firms liable for abuse abroad
This is huge. Multinationals who pretend they see nothing when thugs do their dirty work for them can now be sued in U.S. court. Expect howls of protest along with lamentations they had NO IDEA such horrible things were happening.
In a setback for multinational corporations, a federal appeals panel ruled Wednesday that they can be held liable in U.S. courts for aiding and abetting human rights violations committed by others abroad.
The ruling, which the panel said was unprecedented, came in a case that accuses El Segundo-based Unocal Corp. of turning a blind eye to alleged human rights abuses, including murder and rape, against Burmese villagers. Myanmar government soldiers allegedly forced the villagers to work on a $1.2-billion natural gas pipeline.
Myanmar (Burma) is home to perhaps the most brutal, thuggish, corrupt government on the planet. Unocal, and other multinationals are happily doing business with them, and if the Army destroys villages, forces people into slavery to work on the pipeline, well of course, the multinationals profess cluelessness that such things are going on.