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let's see the opinions on this piece of news(10 posts)

let's see the opinions on this piece of newsrufus
Aug 8, 2003 8:13 AM,1,1986875.story?coll=la-headlines-frontpage

An executive order signed by President Bush more than two months ago is raising concerns that U.S. oil companies may have been handed blanket immunity from lawsuits and criminal prosecution in connection with the sale of Iraqi oil.

The Bush administration said Wednesday that the immunity wouldn't be nearly so broad.

But lawyers for various advocacy organizations said the two-page executive order seemed to completely shield oil companies from liability — even if it could be proved that they had committed human rights violations, bribed officials or caused great environmental damage in the course of their Iraqi-related business.

"As written, the executive order appears to cancel the rule of law for the oil industry or anyone else who gets possession or control of Iraqi oil or anything of value related to Iraqi oil," said Tom Devine, legal director for the Washington-based Government Accountability Project, a nonprofit group that defends whistle-blowers.

Taylor Griffin, a Treasury Department spokesman, dismissed that interpretation, saying the president issued Executive Order 13303 to protect proceeds from the sale of Iraqi crude oil, which are supposed to go into a special fund that the United Nations set up in May to help rebuild the war-torn country.

"This does not protect the companies' money," Griffin said. "It protects the Iraqi people's money."

For instance, administration officials said, if an American energy company received a shipment of Iraqi crude, the money to pay for the oil would be off limits in any litigation. That way, they explained, the proceeds would be sure to find their way to where they belonged: the Development Fund for Iraq.

Administration officials said the intent of the executive order would become clear once regulations, now being drafted by the Treasury Department, were issued. "Rules are forthcoming that will deal with some of these issues in greater specificity," Griffin said.

But Devine and others said the administration's stated intentions were not borne out by the sweeping language in the executive order.

"Unless they offer a different, credible translation for plain English, it's no solace that the administration meant something different," Devine said.

According to the order, "any attachment, judgment, decree, lien, execution, garnishment or other judicial process is prohibited, and shall be deemed null and void, with respect to the following:

"(a) the Development Fund for Iraq and

"(b) all Iraqi petroleum and petroleum products, and interests therein, and proceeds, obligations or any financial instruments of any nature whatsoever arising from or related to the sale or marketing thereof, and interests therein, in which any foreign country or a national thereof has any interest, that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of United States persons."

The order defines "persons" to include corporations, and covers "any petroleum, petroleum products or natural gas originating in Iraq, including any Iraqi-origin oil inventories, wherever located."

Betsy Apple, an attorney for Earthrights International, which brings lawsuits on behalf of alleged victims of human rights abuses abroad, said the scope of the order goes far beyond the way the Treasury Department has billed it.

"It's very disingenuous to suggest that the only thing that's being protected here are development funds for Iraq," she said. "That's trying to hide the fact that it's the oil companies who are doing that work and generating those proceeds."

Devine of the Government Accountability Project suggested that the wording of the order was so broad that it could apply to anything from exploration and production of Iraqi oil to advertising and s
Bush stated that he was "Shocked" "just Shocked" to hear..MR_GRUMPY
Aug 8, 2003 8:47 AM
that his buddies.......I mean the America loving oil companies would benefit from this.
And I share his shock. I still dreamed . . . .cory
Aug 8, 2003 9:05 AM
...he might have clung to SOME principles, if only out of embarrassment.
Remember what Mailer said, cory.OldEdScott
Aug 8, 2003 9:34 AM
The worst thing about Bush is he's absolutely incapable of being embarrassed by himself.
I think that's a rather common Presidential trait ;O) nmLive Steam
Aug 8, 2003 1:16 PM
He DOES cling one principle.......MR_GRUMPY
Aug 8, 2003 10:53 AM
Look out for #1 ( and friends)
Does this really surprise anyone?Fr Ted Crilly
Aug 8, 2003 9:18 AM
Does it surprise anyone that Bush would be looking after old friends and the business interests that financed his way to the White House?
Whether it be environmental concerns, human rights abuses, respect for international law or America's (rapidly diminishing), credibility around the world, everything else comes second to following the White House's determination to have increased influence over the middle east and it's oil, and keeping happy those who got Bush to where he is today. This executive order just follows the same pattern.
Bush is an HONEST politician.dr hoo
Aug 8, 2003 10:43 AM
Honest politicians STAY bought.
Everyone on earth should despise all you French loving commiescritmass
Aug 8, 2003 11:28 AM
I am absolutely positive that this is about my beloved intelligent prez momentarily misthinking what a few English words mean.

Kinda like "I'm gonna talk about the ideal world, Chris. I've read, I understand reality. If you're asking me as the president, would I understand reality, I do"
Dubya on Hardball, MSNBC, May 31, 2000
As long as we're quoting Fearless (Bring it on) Leader..MR_GRUMPY
Aug 8, 2003 11:56 AM
" I think anybody who doesn't think I'm smart enough to handle the job is underestimating."

"They misunderestimated me."

"They want the federal government controlling Social Security like it's some kind of federal program."

Beam me up Scotty.............