Russian Wikipedia

7 Reasons Why Rex Tillerson Should Not Be America's Next Secretary of State

3. Exxon' Human Rights Abuses

Rex's human rights record is coming back to bite him. As Raymond C. Offenheiser, the president of Oxfam America writes, as "Exxon CEO, Mr. Tillerson worked closely with some of the world's longest standing dictatorships, where human suffering is most acute … Many of the tactics Exxon employed to secure profits under Tillerson's leadership are not only ethically questionable, they contradict American values of enabling democracy and combating corruption."

To give you just one example: As Antonia Juhasz brilliantly explains in In These Times: "When he appears in January before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee to be considered for U.S. Secretary of State, Exxon Mobil will be preparing to appear before a jury at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, just blocks away. There, the company will face allegations that security forces under its employ engaged in serious human rights abuses, including murder, torture, sexual violence, kidnapping, battery, assault, burning, arbitrary arrest, detention and false imprisonment. The complaint specifically names Rex Tillerson."

Among the plaintiffs is "John Doe II," who according to the complaint was beaten and tortured by soldiers working for Exxon "using electricity all over his body, includ[ing] his genitals."

After approximately three months, the "soldiers took off his blindfold, took him outside the building where he had been detained and showed him a pit where there was a large pile of human heads. The soldiers threatened to kill him and add his head to the pile."

Exxon has fought the case for 15 years.

4. A Patriotic American or Putin's Puppet?

Again much has been written about Tillerson's links to Putin. All the indications are that Tillerson will be Putin's puppet in the U.S.; pushing for sanctions to be lifted which will benefit Putin and his old company Exxon.

Exxon is desperate to get into Russia's Arctic. As the Financial Times reported in 2014, "Russia was going to be Exxon's next mega-area. And the list of mega-areas in the world is very short." Then came sanctions which Russia tried to flout. Despite sanctions, Tillerson sent an Exxon executive to a Russian business forum last year.

5. Other Sanctions Busting

Exxon did business with Iran, Syria and Sudan through a European subsidiary at the same time as these countries were under U.S. sanctions as state sponsors of terrorism.

6. Financial Conflicts of Interest

As I wrote about earlier this week, Tillerson has so many investments that he cannot possibly operate without a conflict of interest, if he becomes Secretary of State. He "will be a walking disaster zone waiting to happen."

Tillerson says he will divest from 156 different entities within 90 days too. Some conflicts will be avoided, but many will not.

7. No Experience as a Diplomat

Tillerson is the first Secretary of State to have no experience in the public sector which is seen as a first in modern U.S. history.

Numerous politicians and commentators have raised concerns: He may be great at doing oil deals, but "has no proven knowledge or regard for the norms and necessities that so much of our modern diplomatic and security efforts depend upon," said Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey.

"Mr. Tillerson has demonstrated he knows the corporate world and can put his shareholders' interests first, but can he be a respected Secretary of State that puts the national security interests of the American people first? It remains to be seen," US Senator for Maryland and ranking Democratic committee member Ben Cardin, also said last month.

Steve Coll, author of Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power, added: "Yet it is hard to imagine, after four decades at ExxonMobil and a decade leading the corporation, how Tillerson will suddenly develop respect and affection for the American diplomatic service he will now lead, or embrace a vision of America's place in the world that promotes ideals for their own sake, emphatically privileging national interests over private ones."

Indeed, as Raymond C. Offenheiser, the president of Oxfam America noted "Conducting business abroad is no substitute for a track record in strong and principled diplomacy for U.S. interests and values. We look forward to hearing Tillerson address how he would fill the gaps in his resume and explain how exactly an oilman becomes a statesman overnight."

Oilman or Statesman? Its time for the Senate to find out.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Oil Change International.

Prev Page
Next Story
Show Comments ()

Three Outlandish Ideas to Cool the Planet

By Jeremy Deaton

Climate change is a big, ugly, unwieldy problem, and it's getting worse by the day. Emissions are rising. Ice is melting, and virtually no one is taking the carbon crisis as seriously as the issue demands. Countries need to radically overhaul their energy systems in just a few short decades, replacing coal, oil and gas with clean energy. Even if countries overcome the political obstacles necessary to meet that aim, they can expect heat waves, drought and storms unseen in the history of human civilization and enough flooding to submerge Miami Beach.

Keep reading... Show less

Those Little Produce Stickers? They’re a Big Waste Problem

By Dan Nosowitz

Those little produce stickers are ubiquitous fruits and vegetables everywhere. But, as CBC notes, they're actually a significant problem despite their small size.

Keep reading... Show less

Despite Trump’s Bluster, U.S. Officials and Scientists Maintain Climate Work with International Partners

Trump has loudly declared his intention to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris agreement, but, behind the tweets and the headlines, U.S. officials and scientists have carried on working with international partners to fight climate change, Reuters reported Wednesday.

Keep reading... Show less
Gina Loudon and administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt speaking at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. Gage Skidmore

EPA Sued Over Failure to Release Correspondence With Heartland Institute

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is being sued for its "unlawful and unreasonable delay" in responding to requests for information about the agency's communications with the Heartland Institute, according to a complaint by the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).

The Heartland Institute is an Illinois-based think tank that rejects the science of man-made climate change and has received funding from the Koch brothers and the fossil fuel industry.

Keep reading... Show less
Trump Watch
Aerial photo of Duke Energy Coal Ash Spill. Wake Forest University Center for Energy, Environment & Sustainability

Trump Administration Seeks to Gut Water Pollution Safeguards, Putting Communities at Risk

By Mary Anne Hitt

A Hollywood scriptwriter couldn't make this up. One day after new data revealed widespread toxic water contamination near coal ash disposal sites, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head Scott Pruitt announced a proposal to repeal the very 2015 EPA safeguards that had required this data to be tracked and released in the first place. Clean water is a basic human right that should never be treated as collateral damage on a corporate balance sheet, but that is exactly what is happening.

Keep reading... Show less
Impossible Foods

Impossible Burger Executive Grilled at Sustainable Foods Summit

An executive from a company selling a genetically engineered meat alternative faced tough questions at the Sustainable Foods Summit held in San Francisco at the end of January.

Keep reading... Show less
Elephant family in Kenya. Nzomo Victor / Flickr

Why Trump’s New Trophy Hunting Council Is a Disaster

By Elly Pepper

In early November—the same week the Trump administration announced its disastrous decision to allow elephant and lion trophy imports from Zimbabwe and Zambia—the administration decided to create an advisory committee, the International Wildlife Conservation Council (IWCC), to advise Trump on how to enhance trophy hunters' ability to hunt internationally.

Yup, that means the administration now has a council dedicated exclusively to promoting the killing of more imperiled species, like elephants and lions, for sport. The council's mandate includes counseling Trump on the economic, conservation, and anti-poaching benefits of trophy hunting, of which there are very few. Sadly, Trump doesn't want advice on the many drawbacks of trophy hunting.

Keep reading... Show less
A robot bee from a season three episode of Black Mirror on Netflix

Walmart Files Patent for Robot Bees

With the mass die-off of bees spelling trouble for agriculture, the world's largest retailer has filed patents for the use of "unmanned vehicles," or drones, to aid with pollination and crop production.

In U.S. Patent Office documents made public last week, Walmart has applied for six patents on drones designed to identify pest damage, spray pesticides and pollinate plants.

Keep reading... Show less


The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!