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Web target: MARS INC.
Mars Incorporated, a board member of NFTC, has kid-friendly web-sites
including one for M&Ms. You can actually write to individual M's (blue,
green, red, etc.)
Here is my letter, sent via http://www.m-ms.com/feedback/feedback.html:
I have enjoyed your many products for much of my life, as did my grandfather
who was a Bird Colonel in the U.S. Army. When he arrived in Germany to find
people starving, he released truckloads of army rations to the people there.
I have little doubt that M&Ms played a role in warming international
relations then. And you could play such a role today in Burma.
I now find myself in the position of possibly having to say NO to M&M's
because I have just discovered that MARS Inc. is on the corporate board of
the National Foreign Trade Council. As innocuous as the Council's name may
sound, its real mission is to oppose a democratically elected parliament in
Burma, as it is suing the Commonwealth of Massachusetts over a law that
denies tax dollars to companies doing business there.
Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and leader of Burma's National
League for Democracy (NLD), has specifically called for companies to
withdraw from Burma until her party, which won elections by a landslide, is
allowed to take office.
The NFTC argues for engagement with the junta. The fact is, if you brought
truckloads of food to Burma, the military regime would either distribute the
food to their own friends and family, or administer the food distribution
and claim their manner of ruling is responsible for the food, and then would
turn around and make the people pay for it. This was the experience when a
Western computer company donated computers to Burma -- they weren't released
to the schools until every family had "donated" compulsory monies directly
to the junta, then staged an event with the state-controlled media whereby
the junta appeared to be donating the computers to the schools.
The main U.S. company still in Burma is Unocal, an oil company in a joint
venture with the brutal military dictatorship. From unanimous United
Nations resolutions to the International Labor Organization to the U.S.
Dept. of Labor to Amnesty International, reports of gross human rights
violations, carried out by Unocal's business partner to the present day, are
consistent and horrific. Torture, mass rape, forced relocation, using
villagers as "human mine sweepers", and slave labor are what the Burmese
regime is about.
Yet, the National Foreign Trade Council is using Mars' good name to say that
U.S. companies want to do business with this junta.
If you cannot convince the NFTC to halt their lawsuit against the people of
Massachusetts, I urge you to renounce your membership and take a stand for
democracy (which my grandfather fought to defend).
I speak for many thousands of people around the world who have taken up the
cause of a Free Burma. The interests of a few unscrupulous corporations in
your midst should not be placed above democracy and freedom.
Former lover of M&Ms
To: TheTruth@xxxxxxxxxxxxx <TheTruth@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>; burmanews@xxxxxxxxx
<burmanews@xxxxxxxxx>; Burmanet-l@xxxxxxxxxxx <burmanet-l@xxxxxxxxxxx>;
Burma-L at American University <burma-l@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thursday, November 05, 1998 6:30 AM
Subject: Re: URGENT NEWS - District Court Rules in Favor of National Foreign
>Dear Free Burma Activists:
>At this stage, I would recommend that people first write Massachusetts AG
>Scott Harshbarger to urge him to appeal the ruling.
>Attorney General Scott Harshbarger
>Commonwealth of Massachusetts
>1 Ashburton Place
>Boston, MA 02108
>(617) 727-5778 - fax
>Secondly, if you live outside Massachusetts, please also contact your
>Attorney General. Ask him or her to contact the Massachusetts Attorney
>General Scott Harshbarger and support Massachusetts by filing an amicus -
>or friend of the court - brief in defense of the Massachusetts Burma Law.
>You can find the address of your state's Attorney General from your phone
>book or on the website of the National Association of Attorney's General
>Thirdly, with that out of the way, I'd suggest writing to the companies
>listed as Board Members of the National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC). Tell
>the companies to put pressure on the staff of the NFTC to halt this
>A list of the NFTC's Board Members is below. (The list is also available on
>the NFTC's website at: <http://www.nftconline.org/board.html>)
>NATIONAL FOREIGN TRADE COUNCIL
>BOARD OF DIRECTORS
>Allied Signal Inc.
>American Home Products Corporation
>American International Underwriters
>Arthur Andersen & Co.
>Bank of America NT&SA
>Bank of New York
>Bankers Trust Company
>Bechtel Group, Inc.
>Boise Cascade Corporation
>Caltex Petroleum Corporation
>Chase Manhattan Bank
>Chevron USA. Inc.
>Chubb Group of Insurance Companies
>Digital Equipment Corporation
>Dresser Industries. Inc.
>Duracell International Inc.
>Eastman Kodak Company
>E.l. du Pont de Nemours & Co.
>Ernst & Young
>First National Bank of Chicago
>General Electric Company
>General Motors Corporation
>Johnson & Johnson
>Mobil Oil Corporation
>National Foreign Trade Council Oil Capital Limited, Inc.
>Pepsico Foods & Beverages International
>Pfizer International Inc.
>Procter & Gamble Company
>Ridgewood Group International Ltd.
>Steptoe & Johnson
>United Technologies Corporation
>W.R. Grace & Co.
>Westinghouse Electric Corporation
>Please send a copy of your letters to the New England Burma Roundtable so
>the we can gauge the response from this action alert. Thank you for your
>* for the New England Burma Rountable *
>Franklin Research & Development
>711 Atlantic Avenue, Boston, MA 02111
>(617) 423-6655, x225
>(617) 482-6179 - fax
>At 12:28 PM 11/5/98 -0500, Rangoon Post Co-Editor wrote:
>>NOTE: Does anyone care to send letters to the NFTC ?? Ask them what
>>does companies have preference over people. Why are companies trying to
>>steer foreign policy? Company business in any country has NOTHING to do
>>with Foreign Policy. The NFTC is steeping on our rights as citizens of
>>District Court Rules in Favor of National Foreign Trade Council; Finds
>> Massachusetts Burma Law Unconstitutional
>> WASHINGTON, Nov. 4 /PRNewswire/-- The National
>> Foreign Trade Council, Inc. issued the following press
>> release today: The United States District Court for the
>> District of Massachusetts today ruled the Massachusetts
>> Burma Law unconstitutional on the grounds that the statute
>> violates the federal government's power to regulate foreign
>> The ruling in National Foreign Trade Council v. Baker,
>> stated that "...the court finds that the Massachusetts Burma
>> Law impermissibly infringes on the federal government's
>> power to regulate foreign affairs... State interests, no
>> how noble, do not trump the federal government's exclusive
>> foreign affairs power."
>> "Chief Judge Tauro's ruling rests on clear constitutional
>> grounds, and should significantly deter states and cities
>> imposing their own foreign policy sanctions," said Frank
>> Kittredge, President of the National Foreign Trade Council,
>> the suit's plaintiff.
>> "The constitutional problems created by the Massachusetts
>> Burma Law are serious, and the proliferation of similar laws
>> in states and cities throughout the country creates a
>> not only for business, but for the ability of the United
>> to conduct a coherent foreign policy," Kittredge continued.
>> "We share concerns over reported human rights abuses in
>> Burma, however, our system of government was not
>> designed to allow the fifty states and hundreds of
>> municipalities to conduct their own individual foreign
>> The NFTC has, for most of this century, represented the
>> interests of hundreds of companies in free international
>> trade. NFTC filed the Massachusetts case on behalf of its
>> 580 members because the law establishes a "restricted
>> purchase list" which currently includes over 30 of the
>> member companies-- preventing these companies from
>> competing on an equal basis for contracts with
>> Massachusetts state agencies unless these companies
>> cease doing business in Burma.