White House Executive Order Shields U.S. Oil Companies in Iraq

| August 2003

An obscure executive order penned by President Bush in May exempting U.S. oil companies doing business in Iraq from criminal or civil penalties has raised concerns among several advocacy groups.

The broadly worded Executive Order 13303, published May 22, exempts these companies from prosecution even for human rights, environmental destruction, or government bribery charges, reports Lisa Girion in The Los Angeles Times.

'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 of the Washington-based Government Accountability Project.

Administration officials argue that the order protects oil proceeds destined for the Development Fund for Iraq, not the companies that pump the oil. 'This does not protect the companies' money,' said Treasury Department spokesman Taylor Griffin. 'It protects the Iraqi people's money.' He added that the order would be refined by rules the Treasury Department is currently drafting.

But Jamin Raskin, a constitutional law professor at American University, said the executive order's language appeared to negate occupational safety laws and strips U.S. citizens of their right to sue. The order 'seems to destroy the prospect of any enforcement of civil or criminal liability,' he said. 'People are saying of Iraq, 'It's a jungle out there,' and this order kind of makes that the law.'

Go there>>Immunity for Iraqi Oil Dealings Raises Alarm

Pay Now Save $5!

Utne Summer 2016Want to gain a fresh perspective? Read stories that matter? Feel optimistic about the future? It's all here! Utne Reader offers provocative writing from diverse perspectives, insightful analysis of art and media, down-to-earth news and in-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.

Save Even More Money By Paying NOW!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5 and get 4 issues of Utne Reader for only $40.00 (USA only).

Or Bill Me Later and pay just $45 for 4 issues of Utne Reader!

Facebook Instagram Twitter