Ecuador v. Chevron: Oil Giant Tries Dirty Tricks to Derail $27B Trial

With a major new documentary about Texaco’s petro-pollution travesty in the Amazon on the way, Big Oil giant Chevron — owner of Texaco — seems increasingly desperate to evade responsibility. Evidence has emerged that Chevron has used dirty tricks to try and derail the 16-year-old lawsuit underway against it in Ecuador.

The company recently released spy camera footage of former Chevron employees trying to bait the Ecuadorian judge in the case into saying Chevron was guilty before the trial has even come to a close — which, if true, might lead to a mistrial.

“This is a total trap on the part of Chevron,” Nuñez said in an interview with Ecuadorian network Teleamazonas on Sept. 1, according to a report yesterday in Time magazine.

Chevron’s attempt to derail the trial is just one more desperate move by a Big Oil titan that sees a $27 billion hammer of truth about to come down.

This isn’t the first time Chevron has tried using dirty tricks evade its culpability in Ecuador. After a feature critical of the company aired on the CBS news show 60 Minutes, Chevron issued a fake news report in an attempt to spin the facts in its own favor.

This is even dirtier than Chevron’s earlier attempt to spin the truth: launching an Astoturf campaign to dispute the documentary’s findings.

(Although Chevron is, of course, contributing to pro-oil industry Astroturfing here in America).

We’ve reported on this blog about Chevron and the “largest environmental lawsuit in history.” A verdict is pending from the Ecuadorian court that could make Chevron liable for some $27 billion dollars, to clean up over 18 billion gallons of toxic waste water, as well as 13 million gallons of crude oil, that Texaco left in the Ecuadorian Amazon.

This malfeasance has left thousands of Amazon residents without an adequate supply of drinking water, and has caused increased incidence of health problems like cancer, miscarriage, and birth defects.

The new film, Crude tells the story of the communities, lawyers, activists, and corporations involved in the ongoing court battle. It promises to be a powerful record of what’s going on down in Ecuador right now.

Crude was made by Joe Berlinger, the guy who made Paradise Lost and Metallica: Some Kind of Monster, both really intriguing films. Berlinger recently told Mother Jones magazine of Crude:

I hope that the film sends the message out that you should be very aware of where your products come from and how companies act in your name.

On a more direct level, I would love people to donate to the Ecuador Water Project [a UNICEF program founded by Trudie Styler, Sting’s wife]. The only tangible benefit that these people have received from all of this attention to this case is the fresh drinking water.

When you consider all these attempts to keep doing business as usual, it’s hard not to conclude that even Big Oil knows that the time for a reckoning has come.

Let’s keep it up, and keep them on the run!  Check out Amazon Watch to find out what you can do to keep the pressure on Chevron.

Clean energy now!

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