“The Bush administration, promiscuously invoking the war against terrorism, is using its influence inappropriately to assist an American oil company that has been sued for misconduct overseas. The intervention reinforces the impression that the administration is too cozy with the oil industry.
The case involves Exxon Mobil and its activities in the Indonesian province of Aceh. The Bush administration weighed in to discourage a lawsuit against the company filed on behalf of 11 Acehnese by the International Labor Rights Fund, a Washington group. The suit alleges that the company knew about and did nothing to stop murder, torture and other crimes by security forces guarding its gas fields in Indonesia. Exxon Mobil says Indonesia is responsible for security at the facilities. At Exxon Mobil’s request, the judge in the case asked the State Department whether the case could adversely affect American interests. The administration implausibly said the case could endanger Indonesia’s cooperation in fighting terrorism.”