Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Chevron Loses in Ecuadorian Court!

Ecuadoran court slaps Chevron with $8 billion fine


David R. Baker, Chronicle Staff Writer

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

An Ecuadoran judge today fined Chevron Corp. $8 billion in a bitter, 18-year-old lawsuit over oil-field contamination in the Amazon rain forest.

The judgment, however, does not mark the end of the marathon court case, closely watched by environmentalists and oil executives worldwide...




This is way less than the plaintiffs were asking for, and Chevron will, of course, employ every dirty trick in the book to delay and avoid paying this fine, but it's still an historic victory. The war is far from over, but the good guys just won a major battle.



Saturday, January 8, 2011

Ecuador mentioned in Wikileaks document

A Norwegian newspaper has revealed the following classified document, dated 30 January 2008, which pertains to Ecuador. I won't pretend to understand its significance, but here it its, for what it's worth:

ECUADOR: CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY FOCUS UNCLEAR

C O N F I D E N T I A L QUITO 000090

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/30/2018

TAGS: PGOV, EFIN, SNAR, KCOR, EC

SUBJECT: ECUADOR: CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY FOCUS UNCLEAR

REF: A. QUITO 55

B. 07 QUITO 2580

Classified By: Ambassador Linda Jewell for reason 1.4 (B, D)

1. (SBU) Summary: As the Constituent Assembly reaches the

two-month mark, members are meeting with various interest

groups and holding private committee meetings, but have yet

to debate publicly any constitutional language. The Assembly

has approved six laws or other documents, including the

controversial tax reform. President Correa´s speech to the

Assembly marking his first year in office and the

government´s denunciation of bribery attempts have been

highlights. End Summary

60 DAYS AND COUNTING

--------------------

2. (SBU) Since its inauguration on November 29 in

Montecristi, the Constituent Assembly has sometimes appeared

more interested in legislating than in drafting a new

constitution. So far it has approved the tax reform law (Ref

A), three "constituent mandates," and two resolutions.

Democratic Left Assembly member and former Finance Minister

Diego Borja explained to poloff the differences between these

legal instruments: Laws are equivalent to those that the

suspended Congress would approve, constituent mandates are

approved under an expedited process and last only as long as

the Assembly is in session, and resolutions are the

Assembly´s internal rules.

3. (U) The Assembly´s legislative and oversight committee is

currently analyzing two additional bills submitted by the

executive branch. One would regulate land transport,

transit, and road safety. The other deals with restructuring

management of public finances, including bringing the

petroleum funds into the central budget.

4. (C) Proud and Sovereign Fatherland (PAIS) political bureau

member Augusto Barrera, who is serving as a liaison between

the Executive and Assembly on substantive matters,

acknowledged to the Ambassador on January 24 that each law

the Assembly passes has a political cost. While claiming

that 80% of past constituent assemblies in Ecuador have also

legislated, he said the government would seek consideration

of only a minimum number of laws, namely those necessary for

effective governing.

5. (SBU) The constituent mandates have addressed diverse

topics. One approved mandate regulates salaries in the

public sector so they do not exceed that of the President.

It sets a monthly ceiling of $5,000, with the exception of

personnel representing Ecuador abroad and "specific strategic

jobs." Another mandate suspended the elections of members of

congress representing two new provinces, Santo Domingo de los

Tsachilas and Santa Elena, until after the official results

SIPDIS

of the referendum on the new constitution. Ref B described

the first constituent (or constitutional) mandate, which

affirmed the Assembly´s full powers.

INTEREST GROUPS SWARM TO MONTECRISTI

------------------------------------

6. (C) The work of the Assembly´s nine

constitutional-drafting committees has centered thus far

around consultations with interest groups, plus executive and

judicial officials, and private committee discussions. The

committees and Assembly leadership have been besieged by

requests for meetings on every imaginable constitutional and

legislative topic. Several committees are also holding

meetings outside of Montecristi to solicit citizen input in

specific constitutional areas under their jurisdiction.

Barrera mentioned that PAIS was struggling with how to

balance being responsive to citizen groups with the need to

focus on substance ) he cited a recent meeting between a

group that believes in UFOs and the Sovereignty committee as

an example of how things were out of control to the point of

near absurdity.

7. (SBU) There are indications that the committees are hard

at work debating constitutional issues behind closed doors.

For example, after a draft text leaked to the press, PAIS

assembly member Betty Amores, the vice president of the

Committee on Reform of State Structure and Institutions,

explained during a January 22 television interview that the

committee is contemplating a number of changes, including the

elimination of the vice presidency and extension of the

presidential term from four to six years. Amores stated that

the committee had not yet reached a consensus on whether

immediate reelection of the president would be allowed under

the new constitution.

8. (SBU) An encouraging sign of seriousness as well as

open-mindedness on at least some issues, the international

donor community has been approached for technical assistance

in several areas, in most cases by request from ministries

working with given committees on specific policies. USAID,

for example, has been asked to provide technical assistance

on several issues under review by the Environment committee.

CORREA SPEAKS TO ASSEMBLY

-------------------------

9. (SBU) On January 15, President Correa delivered a speech

to the Constituent Assembly describing his government´s

accomplishments during his first year in office and detailing

ambitious plans for the coming year. Perhaps harking back to

his days as a professor, Correa spoke for more than two

hours, accompanied by a 133-page PowerPoint presentation. A

system for governing through seven regions was among the new

proposals. Correa also urged amnesty for several groups

involved in protests and release from prison of individuals

charged with carrying small amounts of drugs as "mules."

Some opposition Assembly members walked out at the start,

arguing that the Constitution required that the President´s

annual speech be delivered to the Congress, not the Assembly.

A WEEK OF CONTROVERSY

---------------------

10. (SBU) Minister of Government Fernando Bustamante and

Anticorruption National Secretary Jose Luis Cortazar

announced January 22 that a bribery attempt in the Assembly

had been discovered. Authorities detained Bolivar Lopez and

Cao Lay Munoz after PAIS assembly member and former

Anticorruption Secretariat employee Gabriel Rivas claimed

that they had offered him USD 3 million to obtain 25 assembly

votes against the new constitution and for re-opening

Congress.

11. (SBU) A video recording that is being used as evidence by

the authorities mentions Patriotic Society Party (PSP)

Assembly member Julio Logrono, which triggered angry

responses from the PSP. During a press conference, Minister

Bustamante cast blame on former PSP President Lucio

Gutierrez, who categorically denied any involvement in the

matter.

COMMENT

-------

12. (C) Suspicions that PAIS already has a written

constitution in its pocket continue to worry commentators,

although PAIS leadership strongly denies it. The

government´s investigation of acts of corruption implicated

the second largest bloc in the Assembly, which in turn gave

the latter ammunition to claim political persecution. With

the perceived lack of results thus far and with corruption

rearing its evil head, the Assembly needs to demonstrate a

greater focus on constitution drafting if it is going to

retain a wide measure of public support.

JEWELL




Original article (translated into English) here:

Wikileaks documents: your input, our search results



Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sorry Chevron, you just got PWNED!

From Yahoo News:

New Chevron ‘We Agree’ ad campaign hijacked by anti-corporate tricksters

Hah, hah, hah!

Do be sure and check out the fake Chevron site right here:

http://chevron-weagree.com/

Hey, if Chevron can make a fake Web site like The Amazon Post, in which one of the world's most notorious polluters masquerades as a concerned corporate citizen, why shouldn't the people who actually care about the rain forest make a fake Chevron site?



Friday, October 15, 2010

Chevron's Toxic Waste Pits in Paradise

The good folks at Amazon Watch have posted a new video on their Chevrontoxico blog, giving you an up close and personal view of the toxic sludge pits which Texaco/Chevron intentionally created in the rain forest, sludge pits that were designed to pollute.

Don't watch this video if you don't want to feel disgust and outrage:

Chevron Toxic Waste Pit in Ecuador: Designed to Pollute

If you have a YouTube account, please "like" and "favorite" the video:

Watch on YouTube

And please share this video with folks on Facebook, Twitter, your blog, and anywhere else.

The more we get the word out, the more weight of public opinion is brought to bear, the more Chevron will be forced to finally own up to what it's done.



Friday, October 1, 2010

Order Restored in Ecuador

One day after the violent coup attempt, I am relieved to learn that Ecuador's neighbors have reopened their borders and President Correa is firmly back in control of his country.

And as the following BBC article reveals...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-11457012

...I'm not the only one who knew there was a lot more to this than cops rioting about a pay cut.

QUOTE:

He alleged that the uprising was not just a dispute over benefits.

"There were lots of infiltrators, dressed as civilians, and we know where they were from," the president said.

"The people of Lucio Gutierrez were there, provoking, inciting to violence," he added, referring to the leader of the opposition Patriotic Society Party (PSP).


Who wants to bet Chevron Corporation is funneling money and ideas to Gutierrez's party? I'd be shocked if they weren't.



Thursday, September 30, 2010

Breaking News: Ecuadorian Government Under Seige!

As I write these words, Ecuador is in a state of chaos, due to a violent uprising by police officers protesting the country's new austerity measures. Rebellious police have seized control of police barracks in several cities and have set up numerous roadblocks with burning tires in order to cut off access to Ecuador's capital city, Quito. Looting has been reported, and a state of martial law has been implemented in order to restore order.

President Rafael Correa was even physically attacked and brutalized by out-of-control police officers. True to his tough nature, however, he faced down anti-government protesters, saying,

"If you want to kill the president, here he is! Kill me!"

Read the whole story here:

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/world/police-soldiers-in-ecuador-seize-airport-block-roads-in-protest-of-benefit-cuts-104088148.html



What does all of this mean?


Well, I want to be the first person to publicly go on record as saying I sense the hand of Chevron working behind the scenes.


We know Chevron is guilty of playing all manner of illegal, dirty tricks in their effort to undermine the lawsuit in Ecuador (see my previous blog entry about Chevron's attempt to recruit a Mexican journalist to spy on the plaintiffs for one small example of the company's ruthless criminality).


We know the vast, overwhelming majority of Ecuadorians love and cherish their president, who they regard as a hero.


We know Chevron does not like Ecuador's president at all, because he has been uncompromising in his commitment to the victims of Chevron's genocide.


We know Chevron got the lawsuit relocated from North America to Ecuador because they felt they had a much better chance of corrupting the process and undermining the suit if they were dealing with a third world legal system, as opposed to a US court of law.


What, therefore, are the ramifications for the lawsuit against Chevron, if the country in which the suit is to be heard is thrown into a state of instability, chaos, and possible regime change?


And what wouldn't Chevron do to promote such insurrection and upheaval?


Pray for Ecuador.


Pray for her president.



Saturday, September 18, 2010

Thank You, Frog Blog!

The team of artists and writers responsible for the awesome Frog Blog have given Chevron Shills some very welcome exposure by featuring my anti-Chevron cartoon art. Check it out:

http://obituarytypo.blogspot.com/2010/09/gocomics-reader-art-flight-suit.html


I love how they even included my colorful ¡Viva Ecuador!

If you like Frog Blog (and how couldn't you?), do be sure to also check out their daily comic strip, Frog Applause.



Chevron Attempts to Bribe Journalist to Spy on Ecuadorians

There truly is no depth to which Chevron will not sink. The Atlantic just published a stunning article detailing the oil company's effort to recruit a Mexican journalist to spy on the plaintiffs in the Ecuadorian lawsuit and "dig up dirt" on them.

Read all about it here, and prepare to be outraged:

http://www.chevroninecuador.com/2010/08/chevron-tries-to-bribe-journalist-to.html



Wednesday, September 8, 2010

More Lies and Law-Breaking from Chevron

Chevron, which is one of California's biggest polluters, is at this very moment using well-paid lobbyists to try and gain an exemption from state environmental laws for the rebuilding of its notorious Richmond refinery.

Listen to KQED radio's report on the situation right here:

http://www.kqed.org/a/kqednews/R201009081730/a

Or read all about it at the San Jose Mercury News:


http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_16018970?IADID


A highlight from the article:


"The courts have said, 'You didn't follow the law. You are going to be polluting communities a whole lot more than you are disclosing," said Tina Andolina, legislative director for the Planning and Conservation League, a Sacramento environmental group. "This company broke the law, and now they are coming to ask for an exemption to the law they broke."


Chevron's shills will inevitably be posting pro-Chevron comments on both of the pages I've linked to, so I encourage you to visit both pages and post your feelings about Chevron's criminality and the genocide in Ecuador.

Thank you.



Monday, July 19, 2010

The Amazon Post's Sickening Lies

For a while now I've been meaning to mention Chevron's primary shill site, The Amazon Post.

Originally, The Amazon Post masqueraded as an impartial information source, purporting to tell the truth about Chevron's genocide in Ecuador. Anybody searching the Web might find themselves reading The Amazon Post, and it would only be when they got to the bottom of the page that they might happen to notice the fine print stating that the site represented the views of Chevron employees.

More recently, the phrase "Chevron's views and opinions on the Ecuador lawsuit" has appeared at the top of the page. I can only assume that the site's original, more deceptive configuration did not test well with focus groups.

Anyway, I just popped over to The Amazon Post to make sure I was getting its URL right so that I could link to it here. I hadn't meant to actually read any of their disingenuous content, but the following shameful blog post immediately jumped right out at me:

Amazon Defense Front Exploits Ecuadorian Hardship in Gulf Publicity Stunt

Chevron's blogger writes,
"A recent delegation led by the Amazon Defense Front traveled to Louisiana in attempt to draw a parallel between a lawsuit backed by U.S. trial lawyers against Chevron and the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

There is no question that the people of Oriente face difficulties. However, there is no valid comparison with the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the trial that is currently taking place in Ecuador. It is disappointing that the Amazon Defense Front (the named financial beneficiary in the Ecuador trial) and its supporters would take advantage of the people of the Gulf and their tragedy in an attempt to legitimize their fraudulent lawsuit against Chevron..."

And that's just the first two paragraphs. To see a major American corporation engaging in such a blatant and extreme distortion of the truth is truly chilling. This reality-distorting spin reminds me of exactly the type of galling dishonesty exhibited by shills for the Chinese government when they're trying to justify their continued occupation of Tibet.

It reminds me of the propaganda employed by the National Socialists against the Jews in the years leading up to World War II.

For the truth regarding the Ecuadorian mission to Louisiana, please refer to my previous blog entry, or get the straight dope from a real unbiased news source (Public Radio International) right here:

Ecuadorians Share Lessons for Battling Oil Companies with Louisiana Tribes


This is a photo a friend of mine took during a recent visit to Ecuador. Seen here is a caregiver walking on the grounds of an orphanage with one of the countless children whose parents have died as a direct result of Texaco/Chevron's poisoning of the Ecuadorian rain forest:



This is who Chevron is calling a liar.




Photo credit: Mary "Grassroots Girl" B.