Exxon "helped torture in Indonesia."
June 22, 2001 5:03 PM   Subscribe

Exxon "helped torture in Indonesia." The Aceh uprising brings up the point--how far do we allow multi-nationals to go to "protect their interests"? Would you sanction torture to keep the price of gas and other petroleum products low?
posted by aflakete (10 comments total)
Of course we wouldn't sanction it... but the beauty of our growingly globalized, corporatized economy is that such sanctioning occurs out of sight, out of mind. We've "externalized the costs of production"- and in this case, the costs of production were death and torture. But luckily for us, consumers don't see that cost translated at the pump, so we don't have to actually sanction it! Whew! Thank god for that!!!
posted by hincandenza at 6:05 PM on June 22, 2001

Here in California a few elections back we had a staunch conservative Republican named Michael Huffington. He lost a Senate campaign to Diane Feinstein. During the campaign it was revealed that his oil company had sold electric shock batons to the Indonesian military. That may not have been hypocritical, however. After the campaign it was revealed that he may have liked that sort of thing in his personal life as well.

BTW: The spell checker is now crashing my browser. It didn't used to do that. Sorry in advance for any mistakes.
posted by hwright at 8:29 PM on June 22, 2001

As my last girlfriend used to say, saying doesn't make it so. All we have here are some allegations by a lawyer who probably hopes to make a fortune by attacking Exxon. I'm not saying it didn't happen, and I'm not saying it did, but that article was very high on rhetoric and very low of supporting facts. Just think about that before you start condemning Exxon.
posted by gd779 at 4:29 AM on June 23, 2001

Sanction torture for cheap consumer goods?

You(and I) do it everyday you flaming MeFi hypocrite. You think any part of our lovely western lives comes without some exploitation? Pretty much everything you own was made by a worker making less then US minimum (which ain't that great to start with), shipped by people being exploited by evil corporations and delivered to your 'has 90% of the wealth' ass..

Either Exxon didn't do it, or you helped..
posted by Leonard at 7:03 AM on June 23, 2001

Conversely: If everyone making 50 cents a day felt as angry about it as the people who make 50 dollars an hour do guilty; it would be a bad scene..
posted by Leonard at 7:05 AM on June 23, 2001

these corp. inc. types see torture and killing as an ends to the means. They think they are doing you a favor. They get out boggy-man flashcards and smerk and lament that without order, your gas whould be 4$ a gallon, tossing use into a economic bust(and it might) with high gas prices, leading to pissed off consumers screaming for octane. A tradeoff to them. suppress even kill=save america(and her allies) Now Bin-laden has a price on his head. If you had the chance to wack him would you allow it? closing one facility would cost 100million a month...indonesian leadership must be pissed. Killing for oil... ill be glad when this petrol addiction is over. I love the internal combustion engine but i never love the price we pay to keep it.
posted by clavdivs at 8:03 AM on June 23, 2001

> these corp. inc. types

You know some of these people?

"Our enemy is an inhuman monster who does not have morals and feeling like we do. They will kill your children and rape your wife and feel good about it, so you'd better do what we say, cause you don't want that.."

I love it that people like this are suppost to represent 'freedom'..
posted by Leonard at 8:21 AM on June 23, 2001

Public pressure can force retrenchment: Shell's complicity in the arrest and execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa triggered a wave of protest; other petroleum giants have come under fire at their AGMs for expansion in war zones such as southern Sudan: after all, if Friends of the Earth becomes a shareholder in BP, it has every right to a voice. Exxon, though, remains the least willing to budge when it comes to such questions of corporate accountability.

It certainly doesn't help that there's a fairly regular correlation between petrochemical reserves and human rights abuses around the world.

(Not that I include Texas in this list, though others might be willing to make a case. But it's a worthwhile point that some of the most contentious political issues in the US arise in areas with interests in developing energy reserves. Which you can perhaps read this way: if Texas is an example of how a single industry can influence the running of a peaceful, democratically-accountable state, then imagine what happens in the war-torn dictatorships that represent some of the richest pickings for the Exxons of the world.)
posted by holgate at 8:32 AM on June 23, 2001

start with Goralskis' 'Oil and War'. Talisman in Sudan. Shells' little jaunt into Nigeria...and i have a hard enough representing my car payment. at least throw some life into your denuciation.
posted by clavdivs at 9:59 PM on June 23, 2001

Put simply, if corporations think they can get away with it without too much negative press from the press they'll do it. It's a simple cost equation that's computed every day. How much will it cost for us to kill a few people versus how much it will cost for us to clean up our act.

Can you say Bhopal, India? I know you could!
posted by dr. zoidberg at 8:05 PM on June 24, 2001

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