In January 1991, I took a tape-recorder from Thailand into Burma to meet students hiding in the forests where they had fled after the 1988 massacres. Weeks later my editor at Pacifica Radio, Amy Goodman, broadcast my 30 minute documentary on the reality of life under dictatorship. I was hooked. Abandoning a potential career at the Financial Times, I became an activist to bring these little known stories of human rights abuse to public attention.
For ten years, I reported from several dozen countries on environmental and human rights abuses, notably on land issues for indigenous communities facing major multinational corporations and multilateral agencies like the World Bank: I uncovered land theft in the Peruvian Andes and water pollution at gold mines in New Guinea. I co-founded Project Underground, a grassroots activist group to fight abuses in extractive industries. We designed curriculum for youth, alternative reports for shareholders, raised money to bring community representatives to speak truth directly to CEOs and helped sue them. To this day, I am banned from the United Arab Emirates for my work on human trafficking.
After 9-11, I worked on corruption and abuse in the War on Terror, from worker abuse on U.S. bases to victims of the drone war in Pakistan and now on NSA surveillance.
As executive director of CorpWatch and serving on several nonprofit boards I have done crisis management, fundraising and conflict resolution. I have collaborated with Amnesty for a decade helping arrange testimony in Congress, doing volunteer investigative work on private military contractors, interrogation, weapons trafficking and police training. In the last three years, I have been honored to serve on the Amnesty board as liaison to the business and human rights and security with human rights program and would be honored to serve another three.
Author: Gold, Greed and Genocide; Iraq, Inc; Halliburton’s Army.