blanket immunity for US corporations in Iraq

Holy Crap, how did I miss this story. Thanks Horst. Read this carefully.

“According to the order, ‘any attachment, judgment, decree, lien, execution, garnishment or other judicial process is prohibited, and shall be deemed null and void, with respect to the following:

(a) the Development Fund for Iraq and

(b) all Iraqi petroleum and petroleum products, and interests therein, and proceeds, obligations or any financial instruments of any nature whatsoever arising from or related to the sale or marketing thereof, and interests therein, in which any foreign country or a national thereof has any interest, that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of United States persons.’

The order defines ‘persons’ to include corporations, and covers ‘any petroleum, petroleum products or natural gas originating in Iraq, including any Iraqi-origin oil inventories, wherever located.'”

“The Iraqi resolution halted the immunity to the point of sale. Once the oil is sold, the revenues are there for the development fund’s Coffers. Bush went further, he went through the whole lifetime of that oil, once the title passes hands, it’s still immune, as long as it’s handled by U.S. corporations. So once it’s on a tanker, once in the U.S. marketplace, once it’s at the gas pump, it’s still immune from any kind of accountability for anything that happens associated with the handling of that oil.”

The story appears to originate from an LA Times article by Lisa Girion. She notes:

An executive order signed by President Bush more than two months ago is raising concerns that U.S. oil companies may have been handed blanket immunity from lawsuits and criminal prosecution in connection with the sale of Iraqi oil.

The Bush administration said Wednesday that the immunity wouldn’t be nearly so broad.

But lawyers for various advocacy organizations said the two-page executive order seemed to completely shield oil companies from liability — even if it could be proved that they had committed human rights violations, bribed officials or caused great environmental damage in the course of their Iraqi-related business.

“As written, the executive order appears to cancel the rule of law for the oil industry or anyone else who gets possession or control of Iraqi oil or anything of value related to Iraqi oil,” said Tom Devine, legal director for the Washington-based Government Accountability Project, a nonprofit group that defends whistle-blowers.

Taylor Griffin, a Treasury Department spokesman, dismissed that interpretation, saying the president issued Executive Order 13303 to protect proceeds from the sale of Iraqi crude oil, which are supposed to go into a special fund that the United Nations set up in May to help rebuild the war-torn country.

“This does not protect the companies’ money,” Griffin said. “It protects the Iraqi people’s money.”

I just can’t believe that position.