Friday, October 19, 2007

Western Oil Money Spigot Still Open for Burma Junta?

President George W. Bush added another layer of sanctions on the military strongmen running Burma but may have left their cash cow mooing. Total SA's and Chevron's production field in that oppressive country historically filled the coffers of the ruling junta from its 19 million cubic meters of natural gas per day?

President Bush in his speech said, "In light of the ongoing atrocities by these men and their associates, the United States has today imposed additional sanctions. First, the Treasury Department has designated 11 more leaders of the Burmese junta for sanctions under existing authorities. Second, I've issued a new executive order that designates an additional 12 individuals and entities for sanctions. This executive order grants the Treasury Department expanded authority to designate for sanctions individuals responsible for human rights abuses as well as public corruption, and those who provide material and financial backing to these individuals or to the government of Burma. Third, I have instructed our Commerce Department to tighten its export control regulations for Burma."

Did Total SA and Chevron make the list of entities for sanctions? Most doubtful, especially with past Chevron board member Condi Rice in the background. But I'll hold judgement until I get clarification of the freedom spreader's new punishment. The old can be found on the State Department website. As least George W. beat the freedom watchers to the punch, punctuated by his closing "And we are confident that the day is coming when freedom's tide will reach the shores of Burma." Unfortunately, that country is experiencing a red tide at the hands of brutal leaders willing to cart people off in the middle of the night without charges. It's a shame the United States lost its moral high ground for doing much the same thing, albeit on a smaller scale to date.