In 1996, UNOCAL became the first corporation in U.S. history to go to trial for committing human rights abuses abroad. During the 1980s, the oil giant and its partners had hired local military forces in Burma, now called Myanmar, to secure a pipeline carrying natural gas from the Andaman Sea into Thailand. These army units forced locals to work on the pipeline; raped, robbed, and murdered civilians; and displaced entire villages.1

In U.S. federal and California state courts, peasants...

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