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Today, Liberation, the French national daily, carried an
exasperated appeal by the FIDH (Paris) to boycott TOTAL
("Le coup de maitre de TOTAL").
"Should one invest in a dictatorship? The "phantom" company
mystifies the question by raising its right to defend
France's national interests against Americ," exclaims the
title. FIDH authors P. Baudoin, lawyer and FIDH
(League of Human Rights) president,
and Anne-Christine Habbard, co-author of the 1996 October FIDH
Report on Burma against TOTAL's pipeline investment, confront
the sophistry and disinformation campaign by the
media contortionists at TOTAL, with supercilious arguments
side-lining the human rights crisis while rallying alongside
MOGE, the junta's investment partner, widely considered to be
nothing more than a money-laundering front for the military
FIDH parodies TOTAL official line: "Business is business.
That is the key word of TOTAL. We, do we do anything political?
Great gods, no, it only has to do with a little gas here and there..."
Late September, TOTAL signed a $2 billion oil deal in Iran
in defiance of US sanctions, claiming that
infrigement on the right of France
to do business in Iran or Burma.
But TOTAl does so while in France dangerously telling Washington off
at the risk of justifying a "perfectly condemnable government"
by the virtuous indignation of the defense of French national interests".
(FIDH doesn't say that Clinton and Albright took the medicine with
bowed over and shaking their heads at their stupifaction.
Meanwhile Shell leads a long list of international and US companies lining up for approval of their deals.)
Not unlike TOTAL's defiance of sanctions against apartheid in South Afirca,or
the dictatorship in Argentina, TOTAL aims to get in fast, assure high profitability for
shareholders (the French state), and stay for the long term exhausting foreign ressources.
The race for Asian oil and gas energy ressources, whether it be Burma, Indonesia, China
or for that matter anywhere in the world as TOTAL is virtually on every continent, while
its stock leads the French market (last result up 5,33% closing at 573 FF).
Neverless, FIDH rejected TOTAL media propaganda, and condemned its support
of the Rangoon dictatorship, as well as the latest TOTAL
publicity campaign overdose here. In reply to the TOTAL ad gimmick,
"You will not choose TOTAL by chance?", FIDH
answers back, "Well, it will not be by chance that many will no
longer choose TOTAL".