ExxonMobil blood money March 29, 2007Posted by elizabethwong in Environment, Human Rights, International, Malaysia, Southeast Asia, Women.
My eyebrows raised late at night when I read an email from my former colleague, K. Shan, who now works as the Coordinator of Amnesty International Malaysia. By the time I finished it, I was almost close to tears.
ExxonMobil, one of the oil and gas companies in Southeast Asia with an appalling human rights record in Aceh, which we have been campaigning against for many years, has decided to pull a PR stunner on our shores when they awarded RM 1.3 million to 2 women’s rights organisations – WCC and WAO.
I visited the areas surrounding the ExxonMobil oil and gas plant in Leuksomawe, Aceh, together with villagers who had suffered from torture, sexual assaults, massacres and disappearances. The collusion between this giant oil company and the Indonesian Army is well-documented.
The grave of my late and very dear friend Jaafar Siddiq, lawyer and human rights activist lay only a few kilometres away.
We founded the Solidarity Campaign for Human Rights in Aceh together with several other friends in the region in 1999. One of his major work was investigations and documentation into the activities surrounding the ExxonMobil plant and corporate complicity in systematic human rights violations. For his work he received a number of death threats.
Jaafar disappeared in 2000 and his body was found only a month later with four others.
If one googles “ExxonMobil human rights”, one will find more than a million entries, and some 40,000 are related to Aceh. ExxonMobil is estimated to have extracted US$40 billion from Aceh alone.
Now they want to ‘gift’ their ill-gotten, blood-tainted tax-deductible earnings here, and we take this as if the recent past has been made right?
Blood money is blood money, and it has Jaafar’s smeared on each and every one of the ringgit received by these two groups. This is no different from money laundering.
Please visit the link below for the full story on the ‘gift’ (available for a week)
K. Shan writes,
It is therefore interesting to learn about Exxon Mobil
and their human rights record.
Even by oil company standards, ExxonMobil’s human
rights record is appalling. Amnesty International has
documented many cases around the world where oil
exploration and extraction is fueling armed conflict
and contributing to human rights abuses, such as
through the use of security forces to protect oil
company staff and assets; violent repression of
protest; and forcible displacement of large
populations of local people. Examples include Sudan,
Nigeria and Colombia.
ExxonMobil is being sued for complicity in human
rights violations in Aceh, Indonesia, including
allowing its facilities to be used for torture and
interrogation. Human rights investigators and
journalists have reported that the Indonesian military
has used Exxon Mobil facilities to torture its victims
and used company equipment to dig mass graves for
burial of murder victims.
In Chad and Cameroon, citizen opposition to the
environmental and social consequences of ExxonMobil’s
Chad-Cameroon oil pipeline has been met with brutal government suppression.
In Colombia, an entire village was forcibly relocated
last year to make way for the expansion of South America’s
largest open pit coal mine, majority owned ExxonMobil’s wholly owned subsidiary Intercor. ExxonMobil then sold Intercor to its minority owners.
And when Exxon merged with Mobil in 1999, it became
the first U.S. employer ever to rescind non-discrimination
policy covering sexual orientation.
Since 1997, Exxon Mobil has spent $47 million in
lobbying government officials. In the 2000 election
cycle, ExxonMobil and its employees donated
$1,375,250, 89 percent of which went to Republican
candidates, helping to ensure that fellow Texan and
oil executive George W. Bush got elected to the White
In 2001,its investment has paid off. ExxonMobil
lobbied hard against the Kyoto Protocol, the only
international treaty to address global warming.In
March 2001, the Bush Administration announced that the
US would not ratify the Kyoto Protocol.
ExxonMobil have spent a staggering $7.9 billion last
year on exploration and development, with much of it
in pristine ecosystems, such as the Arctic Refuge and
the sensitive habitat of the endangered Western
Pacific Grey Whale off the coast of Sakhalin Island,
Some of West Africa’s last untouched rainforests are
threatened by ExxonMobil’s Chad Cameroon pipeline,
which is partially financed by US taxpayer dollars via
the World Bank, while the company’s proposed McKenzie
pipeline may jeopardize important forests in Alaska
ExxonMobil is also a major funder of The Competitive
Enterprise Institute(CEI) which has received
US$2,005,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998. CEI is a
Washington-based conservative think tank and is
currently at the center of the global warming
CEI has tackled tough and contentious scientific
issues such as global warming, carbon dioxide and
fuel-economy standards, most recently expanding into
the politics of food.The organization mixes
free-market ideas with the antiregulation and
environmental movements, but unlike most institutes
that are content just to think and speak, the CEI does
not shy away from forcing action through the courts or
the legislative process.
CEI, among many other statements denying the
seriousness of global warming, has argued that climate
change would create a “milder, greener, more
prosperous world” and that “Kyoto was a power grab
based on deception and fear”. In addition to leading
the campaign to convince the public that global
warming is uncertain, CEI has weighed in on pesticide
risk and endocrine disrupting chemicals – both of
which pose no threat to human health, in CEI’s view –
and has supported regulatory “takings” measures.
For more information-please visit
Human rights work,just like any other work involves
cost and spendings and have turned out to be an
expensive state of affairs.NGOs and groups in Malaysia
might have came across at many times the question of
the ethics and the big picture of what a cause
actually should be or is.The longstanding argument of
questioning the ends rather then the means is hereby
What is the actual price that is attached to the so
called ‘means’ that is necessary to meet a noble end?
What is the cost for a cause actually? Do we practice
and assume upon ourselves the very pertinent judgment
values and principle stand that we often demand from
Or are we-immune from this set of questions
and therefore a new set is much needed. If so-what
should it be? or is it just wrong for such questions
to be asked?