Burma is a nation ruled by military thugs who control enormous riches which they dangle before Chinese, Indian and European eyes in order to secure their cooperation in allowing its military to tyrannize citizens. The French energy giant Total is being accused of colluding with the Burmese government to force thousands of villagers to toil on repairing roads, carrying wood and acting as porters in order to further construction of a new pipeline. Total insists that forced labor is never used in Burmese activities, but this claim is not supported by the International Labor Organization.
A former soldier who was stationed in the area of construction said: “During the portering the soldiers treat porters not so good. I do not want to mention about these bad things so much since I myself I have done it to these people as well.” In 2005, Total paid $6.12 million in an out of court settlement after a group of villagers near the Yadana pipeline alleged the company was involved in human rights abuses.
What price salvation if the choice is billions?