Last week I wrote the following letter to my local paper. I sent the info contained therein to another local paper that originally reported the story, and have seen nothing from them concerning that info. I realized that the only way other local readers might hear of this was to write a letter myself - the local media will not touch this hot potato.
If - and this is a very long shot - this lone letter ignites some sort of "established" journalistic scrutiny then I may be in for a very stormy ride. Everyone from the ALEC funded tea-party US Reps of the local districts to the construction trade unions will come after me and anyone who raises these questions, with a pitchfork. But what I reported were facts, easily and quickly obtainable via the internet. I made no accusations, and If Marubeni follows its historically established business model we will only learn of wrongdoing after the fact, when or if, they might be prosecuted. Yesterday the editor confirmed my authorship and the letter will be published this coming Sunday:
"To the Editor:
Several weeks ago all the local media reported the news that several major investors had selected Shadyside as the site of a multi-billion dollar ethane cracking plant. Those investors were PTT of Thailand and Marubeni Corporation of Tokyo. Since these local reports did not offer any profiles of these investors I decided to do a simple on-line search.
PTT is two-thirds owned by the Thai government, is very diversified with several branches in energy industries, and has had its share of environmental troubles. However, they are quite tame compared to Marubeni Corporation.
Since the mid-‘70’s Marubeni has been convicted in one bribery scheme after another, beginning with the “All Nippon Airlines” scandal in Japan that saw the disgracing, imprisonment, and several suicides of prominent Japanese. Prime Minister Tanaka was even arrested. About that same time Marubeni was convicted in a bribery-labor scheme of the Ferdinand Marcos regime. Researching further I found that again in 2012 and 2014 Marubeni was convicted by the Corrupt Foreign Business Activities arm of the US Justice Department in separate but similar bribery schemes, involving coincidentally, energy and petro-chemical developments similar to the Shadyside proposal.
Just yesterday, looking further I found that Marubeni is in a dispute with China involving tax evasion and there are other scattered ongoing actions against Marubeni alleging or proving tax evasion on a global scale.
It took only minutes online to learn these things. Are all of our local media so uncurious that they didn’t take the simple step I took to find this out? Or is it that they are in lock-step with the mentality of “go along to get along” and they are not going to inform the unsuspecting local communities that we are welcoming with open arms a global mega-corporation with a duly convicted history of bribery and corruption?
This lack of curiosity and obedient subservience to “don’t rock the boat” is exactly the failure of duty on display by the media when the US illegally invaded Iraq. There were many sources of truth that proved the lies of the Bush Administration and who accurately predicted the disaster in the Middle East that we are now witnessing. The obedient fourth estate ignored those telling the truth and instead actively propagated the lies.
Searching further, business periodical reporting shows that PTT and Marubeni and many other Asian investors view the current effects of the collapse of oil prices as a lucrative opportunity. The shale-gas industry’s profitability was marginal even before the collapse of oil prices and some investors are looking to bail out right now. Predatory investors with cash reserves that enable them to wait out the current low can acquire controlling interests at bargain prices.
Maybe these global mega-corporations will come to our community and will be models of labor fairness, environmental responsibility, and community responsibility and safety. And maybe I will sprout a tree in the middle of my forehead that will immediately begin to dispense $100 bills.