Lawsuit against Unocal for slave…

Lawsuit against Unocal for slave labor

Fourteen villagers from Burma are suing Unocal in U.S. court for human rights violations and for using slave labor in building a pipeline. The Court of Appeals is due to rule on whether the suit can go forward.

And what, you may ask, explains the Bush administrations almost complete silence on this issue? Burma is a brutal dictatorship run by thugs who are complicit in massive heroin production. You might expect the Bushies to be yelping about how we need to do a ‘regime change’ there, but wait, –  Unocal is an oil company, isn’t it? Golly <slapping forehead>, could that have anything to do with their silence?

“<Unocal> the El Segundo oil company is accused of complicity in human rights abuses allegedly committed by soldiers in Myanmar who were guarding a pipeline partly owned by Unocal. Last year, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found that there was sufficient evidence for Unocal to stand trial. Tuesday, at a hearing before an 11-judge panel of the appeals court, Unocal will argue against last year’s ruling.

If the case does wind up before a jury, it will be a sweet moment not only for the plaintiffs directly involved — 15 Myanmar refugees now living in hiding — but for Peter Weiss as well.”

Weiss is the lawyer who found the 1789 law, signed by George Washington, that opens U.S. courts to foreigners, which is being used as the basis for the lawsuit.