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10 Worst Corporations of 2008 : Hall of Infamy of Plunder & Abuses, Social & Political

Business  (tags: 2008, worst corporations, Multinational Monitor, 20th anniversary, responsibility, deregulation, non-enforcement, improper, political influence, Cargill, food profiteers, AIG, Chevron, Constellation Energy, CNPC, fueling, violence, Darfur, Dole )

- 3884 days ago -
20th anniversary of MultinationalMonitor's annual list of yr's Worst Corps is a winner: financial meltdown/economic crisis showed corps left to own devices will destroy themselves & system that nurtures them. Saving life still not good business, either..


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LucyKaleido ScopeEyes (82)
Friday November 28, 2008, 3:50 am
This is a long article, written by Multinational Monitor editor Robert Weissman, who is the director of Essential Action. There is not one superfluous word, however.

There is more than just a list, because the author explains the abuses of each corporation & the context in which they occur. There is also an introduction which provides analysis of this year's landmark economic and financial meltdown, "emblematic of the worst of the corporate-dominated political and economic system that we aim to expose."

This is the list, but the comments are simply extracts and NOT the whole story:

1)AIG: Money for Nothing (There's surely no one party responsible for the ongoing global financial crisis. But if you had to pick a single responsible corporation, there's a very strong case to make for American International Group (AIG)...)

2)Cargill: Food Profiteers (The world's food system is broken. Or, more accurately, the giant food companies and their allies in the U.S. and other rich country governments, and at the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, broke it. ... replaced by a multinational-dominated, globally integrated food system, in which the World Bank and other institutions coerced countries into opening their markets to cheap food imports from rich countries and re-orienting their agricultural systems to grow food for rich consumers abroad. "The result of these interventions and conditions," explained Raj Patel to U.S. House Financial Services Committee at a May hearing "was to accelerate the decline of developing country agriculture.")

3) Chevron: "We can't let little countries screw around with big companies" (EarthRights International, a human rights group with offices in Washington, D.C. & Bangkok, has carefully tracked human rights abuses connected to the Yadana pipeline, another of Chevron's inherited legacies, and led a successful lawsuit against Unocal/Chevron. In an April 2008 report, the group states that "Chevron and its consortium partners continue to rely on the Burmese army for pipeline security, and those forces continue to conscript thousands of villagers for forced labor, and to commit torture, rape, murder and other serious abuses in the course of their operations.")

4)Constellation Energy: Nuclear Operators (Although it is too dangerous, too expensive & too centralized to make sense as an energy source, nuclear power won't go away, thanks to equipment makers & utilities that find ways to make the public pay and pay. Case in point: Constellation Energy Group, the operator of the Calvert Cliffs nuclear plant in Maryland, that has cost the state a lot in lawsuits.)

5)the Chinese National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC): Fueling Violence in Darfur ("The relationship between CNPC and Sudan is symbiotic," notes the Washington, D.C.-based Human Rights First, in a March 2008 report, "Investing in Tragedy.")

6) Dole: The Sour Taste of Pineapple (Dole now leases its land from its workers, transformed via legal hocus-pocus into nominal owners, on extremely cheap terms & most workers continue to work the land they purportedly own, but as contract workers for Dole. The Philippine Supreme Court has ordered Dole to convert its contract workers into regular employees, but the company has not done so.)

7)GE: Creative Accounting (General Electric (GE) has appeared on Multinational Monitor's annual 10 Worst Corporations list for defense contractor fraud, labor rights abuses, toxic & radioactive pollution, manufacturing nuclear weaponry, workplace safety violations and media conflicts of interest (GE owns television network NBC).This year, the company returns to the list for new reasons: alleged tax cheating and the firing of a whistleblower.)

8)Imperial Sugar:13 dead, dozens badly burned and injured

9)Philip Morris International: Unshackled ( ...The world is just starting to come to grips with a Philip Morris International even more predatory in pushing its toxic products worldwide...)

10) Roche: Saving Lives is Not Our Business (Monopoly control over life-saving medicines gives enormous power to drug companies. And, to paraphrase Lord Acton, enormous power corrupts enormously...)

Pamylle G (458)
Saturday November 29, 2008, 4:45 am
If we want to know why there is such a lack of progress on ALL FRONTS in this world, we need look no further than big corporations !

Marion Y (322)
Saturday November 29, 2008, 5:02 am
Wow! Several of these companies I had never heard about. Where's the Exxon's and Monsanto's? Thanks Alba.

LucyKaleido ScopeEyes (82)
Saturday November 29, 2008, 6:10 am

You can't have the same ones winning every year, Marion; got to give other corporations a chance ! So many are deserving...but there are only 10 places.

Peace Monger (185)
Saturday November 29, 2008, 6:29 am
I'm sure the list of worthy corps is long, with many well known and some not so well known corps making it. There are many more who are just as deserving of recognition, but space is limited. I'd like to see this in the media, but fat chance of that happening, is there? Not with the news sources owned by the same corps who have made the list, past and present.
Thanx Alba!

Marion Y (322)
Saturday November 29, 2008, 8:01 am
Alba and Kim ~ So true and I understand that. Just throwing my two cents worth in.

Stephen Hannon (203)
Saturday November 29, 2008, 9:26 am
Noted, thanks Alba.

There are some new names on the list of shame this year. Chevron named one their tanker after Kindasleazy Rice. And she's proud of this fact. And she is Bush poorest millionaire. That is if being a millionaire is being poor. Perhaps by their standards she is. But not by our standard of living. We skimp and save where ever we can, but in the end we still get ripped off big time. It will not ever end. Not now not ever. Doesn't matter who is president, many of the same conditions will exist when the "cracker" in the WH leaves on January 20, 09. And that's as good as it's going to get for awhile anyway. Then we will see if Barack keeps his promises. I hope he does....

LucyKaleido ScopeEyes (82)
Saturday November 29, 2008, 11:12 pm
Oh, Stephen! I had never heard 'Kindasleazy,' before and, here I am, Sunday morning, gently sipping my first café au lait ('caffe latte,' for the French), and I almost spit out a mouthful ! Too much!

Otherwise, I'm afraid I agree with you, very sorry to say.

The best we can hope for is oversight committees and hearings and legislation with balls. (oh my god, did i say that? Yes, she did!)

Or a truly activist, committed population: see what's going on in Thailand? The people are so fed up with their government that they have occupied the airport & the roads leading to it, paralysed air and ground traffic, and won't budge until they get action - until the government resigns. Very impressive! Now if something like that were to occur when certain corps held their AGMs, if demonstrators were so numerous that they could block people getting in...if there were Gandhi-inspired massive, peaceful protests, in favor of morality in business, to end the abuses, I wonder if corporations would continue the kind of economic plunder & human rights violations that are denounced in the Year's Worst list. Particularly if demonstrations came in addition to year-in/year-out boycott of every product these people make. Because these are people, behind the impersonal façade of 'corporation,' people who have forgotten, if they ever knew, what being a human being is about, who think their power permits everything, corporate decisionmakers and lawyers who have nothing to envy a John Yoo, Jay Bybee, Alberto Gonzales or David Addington ( Nothing is too morally repugnant for these guys in the board room, but public outcry & public boycott & shaming might do the trick!

And, Marion, of course, you (& your 2cents) are right ! On the subject of criminal corporations missing from this year's list, there's Coca-Cola : the assassinations of union leaders/the intimidation of union members, present and potential, with the armed help of Uribe's paramilitary groups. There have been so many union deaths this year, it suddenly dawned on me, that I question Coke not being on the list. After all, this was one of my posts: "To Die For" - Colombian Human & Labor Rights Lawsuits Vs. Coke

Maybe they should edit an 'expanded' version of the 10 Worst.

Barbara Tomlinson (431)
Sunday November 30, 2008, 12:36 pm
Alba you are an angel! Dark Angel to the Corporations......
And yes you are so right about what the Thai people are doing.....!

Haudeno Saunee (19)
Monday December 1, 2008, 1:49 am

Well done graci. I've been a longtime subscriber to Multinational Monitor (along with a number of other political and corporate crime investigation websites) and am quite pleased that it's being publicized here...BTW: For everyone who would like to be informed about the evil machinations and vile actions of the elitist scum and villainy her are some other websites
that may likely blow your mind with the scope of corporate and government illegalities perpetrated upon US citizens ansd theri counterparts worldwide:


* (this site is a treasure trove of criminal acts by gov't agents, agencies, departments, police departments, e.g., Columbine CO. PD, corporations, et al)


* (CIA methods and deception, gov't conspiracies, et al)

* (Banks crimes, extortion, larceny, conspiracies, et al)

LucyKaleido ScopeEyes (82)
Monday December 1, 2008, 4:57 am
Thank you, Haudeno. I only just discovered Multinational Monitor, but I applaud the work they've done here for 2008, and have been doing for TWENTY YEARS !

I will check out the sites that you recommend. I often discover what misdeeds corporations are doing from EarthJustice, as well as sites devoted to the Amazon or Nigeria, where oil giants have been waging war on the people and the environment for a long time, but lawsuits against them have been moving very slowly throught various courts for years and I admit that I haven't been tracking this regularly, since there is rarely any news.

LucyKaleido ScopeEyes (82)
Saturday December 6, 2008, 1:36 am
Just accidentally happened upon a July, 2008 article that shows the source of that memorable quote Multinational Monitor used to highlight Chevron's philosophy --
It was a Chevron lobbyist who said : 'We Can't Let Little Countries Screw Around With Big Companies,' & that Newsweek used as the title of their article, 'Chevron Hires Lobbyists To Squeeze Ecuador in Toxic-Dumping Case', which was published by CommonDreams, too.

That Texaco (since bought by Chevron) had created the Amazonian Chernobyl in Ecuador, I sadly knew of, but this I hadn't heard about, that is the US trade blackmail attempt and the Obama connection parts of the case are revelations :

WASHINGTON/QUITO, Ecuador - Few legal battles have been more exotic than the lawsuit tried over the past five years in a steamy jungle courtroom in Ecuador's Amazon rain forest. Brought by a group of U.S. trial lawyers on behalf of thousands of indigenous Indian peasants, the suit accuses Chevron of responsibility for the dumping (allegedly conducted by Texaco, which Chevron bought in 2001) of billions of gallons of toxic oil wastes into the region's rivers and streams. Activists describe the disaster as an Amazon Chernobyl. The plaintiffs-some suffering from cancer and physical deformities-have showed up in court in native garb, with painted faces and half naked. Chevron vigorously contests the charges and has denounced the entire proceeding as a "shakedown."

But this spring, events for Chevron took an ominous turn when a court-appointed expert recommended Chevron be required to pay between $8 billion and $16 billion to clean up the rain forest. Although it was not the final verdict, the figures sent shock waves through Chevron's corporate boardroom in San Ramon, Calif., and forced the company for the first time to disclose the issue to its shareholders. It has also now spawned an unusually high-powered battle in Washington between an army of Chevron lobbyists and a group of savvy plaintiff lawyers, one of whom has tapped a potent old schoolmate-Barack Obama.

Chevron is pushing the Bush administration to take the extraordinary step of yanking special trade preferences for Ecuador if the country's leftist government doesn't quash the case. A spokesman for U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab confirmed that her office is considering the request. Attorney Steven Donziger, who is coordinating the D.C. opposition to Chevron, says the firm is "trying to get the country to cry uncle." He adds: "It's the crudest form of power politics."

Chevron's powerhouse team includes former Senate majority leader Trent Lott, former Democratic senator John Breaux and Wayne Berman, a top fund-raiser for John McCain-all with access to Washington's top decision makers. (A senior Chevron exec has met with Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte on the matter.) Chevron argues that it has been victimized by a "corrupt" Ecuadoran court system while the plaintiffs received active support from Ecuador's leftist president, Rafael Correa-an ally of Venezuela's Hugo Chávez. The company says a loss could set a dangerous precedent for other U.S. multinationals. "The ultimate issue here is Ecuador has mistreated a U.S. company," said one Chevron lobbyist who asked not to be identified talking about the firm's arguments to U.S. officials. "We can't let little countries screw around with big companies like this-companies that have made big investments around the world."

But Chevron's foes are not without their own resources. Just recently, Donziger and other trial lawyers in the case retained their own high-profile D.C. superlobbyist, Ben Barnes, a major Democratic fund-raiser. And they have tapped a capital connection that may pay off even more. Roughly two years ago, when Donziger first got wind that Chevron might take its case to Washington, he went to see Obama. The two were basketball buddies at Harvard Law School. In several meetings in Obama's office, Donziger showed his old friend graphic photos of toxic oil pits and runoffs. He also argued strongly that Chevron was trying to subvert the "rule of law" by doing an end run on an Ecuadoran legal case. Obama was "offended by that," said Donziger. Obama vetted the issue with Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy (who has long worked on Latin American human-rights issues), and in February 2006 the two wrote a letter to the then U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman urging the administration to permit the Ecuadoran peasants to have "their day in court."

The Obama letter, written before the senator had even announced his run for president, is now the wild card in the Ecuador-Chevron dispute. Donziger said he has had no further discussions with Obama on the issue (although he has co-hosted a New York fund-raiser and, together with his wife, raised between $40,000 and $50,000 for Obama's campaign). An Obama spokesman last week said the senator "stands by his position" that the case is a "matter for the Ecuadoran judicial system." So now the prospect of an Obama presidency has given additional urgency to Chevron's plea for help in Washington. Waiting until next year could leave the oil giant at the mercy of a judge in the Amazon jungle.

(this is not the whole article)


Haudeno Saunee (19)
Monday December 8, 2008, 1:55 am

Here's another great site to keep abreast of corporate and government scandals, malfeasance, misdeeds, bribes, coverups, conspiracies, complicity, et al: (Center For Media and Democracy-The Weekly Spin).

Although the following site deals principally with declassified historical docs of the Cold War era, it, nonetheless is one which everyone should delve into. Like the Memory Hole website, this is a treasure trove that contains a vast amount of docs that can finally be viewed by the public that were never available previously: (National Security Archive)

Narco News has been meticulously covering events/situations in Latin America that the main press wouldn't touch, like the House of Death, corruption, illegal guns and drugs in Mehico (complicity of ICE, FBI, CIA involvement) and the story you cited here, re: Texaco/Chevron debacle in Ecuador, et al.
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