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Sun May 26, 2013, 07:05 AM

How Corporations Are Subverting Attempts to Rein in Their Power

http://www.alternet.org/environment/how-corporations-are-subverting-attempts-rein-their-power



In 2009, when the government of El Salvador refused to issue an environmental permit to a Canadian mining corporation, community activists in Las Cabañas rejoiced. For years they had been fighting a pitched battle against the efforts of the company, Pacific Rim, to mine for gold in their region - plans that included the dumping of toxic arsenic in their rivers. It was not a campaign without risk. Four Salvadoran anti-mining activists have been assassinated in the course of their courageous efforts. That victory, however, may well prove to carry a high cost for the people of El Salvador. In a legal assault filed in a World Bank trade court, Pacific Rim is now demanding $315 million in compensation payments from the Salvadoran government, an amount equal to one third of the country’s annual education budget.

That is just one example among many where citizens have fought for and won an important policy victory only to find that victory undermined by corporations using the growing web of international investment rules and arbitration courts. There are many others. Public health campaigners in Uruguay won a huge victory in 2010 when the national government passed new health laws to discourage tobacco consumption. Even though those new laws (including aggressive new warnings on cigarette packages) directly mirrored the guidelines of the World Health Organization, the U.S. corporate tobacco giant Philip Morris retaliated with a $2 billion legal action against the government.

Nowhere is this muscle-flexing by multinational corporations a greater threat than on issues related to sustainable development. The result is a little known but enormous legal obstacle planted directly in the policy path toward a sustainable future. The Democracy Center has just documented that threat in an important new report released this week: Unfair, Unsustainable and Under the Radar: How Corporations Use Global Investment Rules to Undermine a Sustainable Future.

For many this system of corporate-driven investment rules and “dispute resolution” burst into public view a decade ago when Bechtel, the San Francisco-based engineering conglomerate, sued the people of Bolivia for $50 million following the now-famous Cochabamba Water Revolt, after investing just $1 million in the country. A global citizen campaign aimed at the corporation ultimately forced Bechtel to drop that case for a token payment of 30 cents. Yet in the years since, the pile of corporate cases has only grown ever higher.

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Reply How Corporations Are Subverting Attempts to Rein in Their Power (Original post)
xchrom May 2013 OP
Buns_of_Fire May 2013 #1
Zorra May 2013 #2

Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun May 26, 2013, 07:47 AM

1. K&R. One way or another, as the song goes... nt

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun May 26, 2013, 10:00 AM

2. We need to subjugate wealthy private interests. End of story. nt

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