Chevron Pulls Greatest Magic Trick Ever as They Make Plaintiffs Disappear!

by February 3, 2011
 

In what may prove to be one of the most bizarre legal moves ever, lawyers for the oil giant, Chevron, asked an Ecuadorian court to dismiss a multi-billion dollar lawsuit on the grounds that the plaintiffs don't actually exist. Just who is it that Chevron's legal team wants to make 'disappear' like some rabbit from a top hat? Indigenous tribal members from Ecuador, that's who.

I originally covered this storyline for the news outlet, "Native American Times" in July of 2007 and I was appalled then at the horrors being faced by these 'invisible' plaintiffs. To read this past week that this case is still unresolved and that the people in this region continue to live without clean water or access and payment for medical care made my blood boil. Now they are told that they 'don't exist!'

The case against Chevron has been on trial since 2003 and now, nearing a final judgment that could see damages of $113 billion levied against them, the legal-beagles are howling and snapping at any opportunity to rescue the oil giant.

From 1964 to 1990, Texaco, which was later bought out by Chevron, operated massive oil drilling operations in the remote Amazon rainforest regions of Ecuador. Between 1971 and 1992, more than 1.5 billion barrels of oil was extracted from this area. Chevron has been unable to make Texaco's toxic mess disappear through magic or other means and may now be left holding the bag for a disaster of epic proportions.

How big is the disaster you ask?

Some experts consider this to be the worst oil-related disaster in history with toxic waste covering a region the size of Rhode Island. Billions of gallons of toxic waste were dumped into the rainforest area. Cancer rates, the highest in the region where Texaco operated its drilling operations, are blamed for hundreds of lives lost and contributing to the complete extinction of one indigenous group and the endangerment of two others.

Now, Chevron's legal team has resorted to magic tricks beyond any scope of the imagination by stating that the lawsuit should be dismissed because the plaintiffs don't really exist.

Really?

Well, maybe that is because you killed off a bunch of them! I mean, one tribe is now completely extinct so I am quite sure that you could manage to say that they don't exist but what about the remaining plaintiffs? If Chevrons' lawyers have their way, the delays and magic tricks may delay the final judgment long enough for the rest of the plaintiffs to die off too

Early scientific reports revealed that some water samples from this region contained toxic chemical levels thousands of times higher than permitted by Ecuadorian and U.S. environmental laws. Chemical agents like benzene, toluene and xylene are just some of the more glamorous waste by-products from petroleum operations and are known cancer causing agents.

Gee, I always like to have a little benzene in my morning coffee don't you?

Ah yes, the fresh taste of a xylene cocktail after a long days work is quite refreshing indeed!

The list of plaintiffs that Chevron-the-Magician wants vanished before your eyes includes five indigenous groups- the Quechua, Siona, Cofan, Secoya and Huaorani. Approximately 80 communities allege that Texaco dumped more than 18 billion gallons of toxic wastewater into Ecuador's rainforest during its operations. Documented cases of cancer, skin disease, reproductive abnormalities, and nerve damage are just a few of the benefits from drinking your morning chemical-cocktail if you live near these types of dump sites.

YUMMY! Pour me another glass of that for sure!

This case is hardly rare. Sadly, it seems most of modern society dabbles in such magic-self-deception. Like an ostrich surrounded by a pack of snarling dogs waiting to devour it whole, entire societies blindly believe that all is well in the world because their heads are buried deeply in sand.

Perhaps a cup of benzene would cure that.

We believe that all is well in the world and that our water, air and food supplies are safe because we want to believe it. We hold onto some warm and fuzzy commercial marketing ploy following such things as the BP Oil spill with hope and endearment to these mega-monster-corporations because we have been trained to for decades. All the while the deception continues and we lap it up like kittens for a bowl of warm milk.

The very real plaintiffs in the Ecuador case are still living with poisoned water and land this long after the realities of their plight became public. The old 'out of sight, out of mind' magic trick is still alive and well it seems. Until, that is, this scenario plays out in your own back yard.

According to an LA Times financial article, Chevron posted a net income of $5.4 billion for the second quarter of 2010.

I wonder how much of that will be left after their attorney fees? Enough to send a few cases of designer-label bottled waters over to Ecuador?

No, probably not.

I hear that the cost for magicians that can make entire Indigenous tribes 'disappear' runs quite high these days.

For more background information on this case, visit:
http://amazonwatch.org or http://chevrontoxico.com. Also see http://changechevron.org

original article by this author is at:
http://amazonwatch.org/news/2007/0611-spotlight-on-environmental-catastrophe-effecting-indigenous-people-in-ecuador-illuminated-by-celebrity-visit

 
  • February 3, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    Great editorial! Chevron also just threatened the judge with prison if he didn't grant their motions! I was deposed by Chevron over this case, as I did some work for the indigenous communities a couple years ago. Their tactics are reprehensible. If anyone has any money invested with them, I would watch out, they are about to lose BIG!!!

    Reply

    • Shelley Bluejay
      February 4, 2011 at 12:50 pm

      Thanks Peter! We can only hope that Chevron takes a major financial hit! Sadly, we will then probably find them standing in line at the steps of the White House begging for financial bail-out money....financed of course, by the American taxpayer. I am appalled at the behavior of the legal team defending Chevron...but then I don't know why...just look at the company signing their abundant paychecks. The whole thing is sickening!


  • tin
    February 7, 2011 at 7:10 am

    Incredible!

    Please post developments on this case. Eight years in the making with a ruling in sight and you get "missing plaintiffs"? Did the court buy this BS? And is there any possibility of a (coerced) settlement between Chevron and the tribes?

    Reply

    • Shelley Bluejay Pierce
      February 9, 2011 at 8:55 pm

      Tin-- there are many eyes on this case and I too, will be trying my best to get to the facts. WIll be getting updates out. So far, there doesn't seem to be any deficits within the Indigenous population that hinders a final judgement....I think all of this falls on the desperate legal wrangling by Chevron's attorneys.


    • February 9, 2011 at 10:24 pm

      Hey Tin. A settlement is definitely possible, but I think Chevron would have to be willing to pay out enough money for a full cleanup & provide compensation for all the family that have been effected by the oil. Sadly, I don't see Chevron ever agreeing to that. (My guess is, they'd rather just send down a couple cans of green paint)


  • February 8, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    The richest part is that a couple weeks later Chevron turned around and sued those very same plaintiffs! So, one week they allegedly did not exist, the next week they are gangsters being prosecuted under the RICO Act for perpetrating a criminal conspiracy against poor little old Chevron. Unbelievable.

    Here's a great video of several Quechua people learning they're being sued by Chevron, then chanting in their native language "We reject this! We reject this!"

    http://understory.ran.org/2011/02/08/ecuadorean-plaintiffs-reject-chevron%E2%80%99s-bullying/

    We're trying to spread the video around -- any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

    Reply

  • Shelley Bluejay Pierce
    February 9, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    ROFL!!! love this insight of yours Mike! Sure must be upsetting to Chevron's "magic-management" team... ain't that just the way it goes? You try REALLY hard to magically make things disappear but then the little buggers re-appear before your very eyes! lol! Serves Chevron right for making such ridiculous claims in the first place.

    I will be sharing the video and trying to get major attention to it. Thanks for sharing it.
    bluejay

    Reply

  • Vicky Lucas
    February 16, 2011 at 10:37 am

    Excellent Shelley: perfectly put. It makes me feel glad to know that not everyone is doing their best to ignore this world order which threatens us all. Thankyou

    Reply

  • February 18, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    I had not found this website before, I'm going to make sure I add it to my followed blogs...

    They threatened to JAIL the judge???

    Either they have someone on the payroll or they have just added to the bill...

    Reply

  • February 18, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    Hey all. In case anyone missed it, Chevron was found GUILY!

    If you want all the details, please visit: http://changechevron.org/

    Reply

  • tin
    February 19, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    Yes, however, just as expected, Chevron's contesting the verdict. I hope they're delaying tactics and other legal maneuvers don't work this time. Just pay the $9bn. Aren't they lucky none of the people behind this extremely depraved atrocity ain't going to jail.

    Reply

  • chris
    January 6, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    all of this is mere editorial retort and changes nothing for what the fossil fuel industry believes is their entiltlement while most of us go right on our merry ways seeking compensation instead of environmental accountability and sustainability by big corporations and government regulation.

    Reply

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