Thursday, August 19, 2010

Zennie: The Lies That Destroy Your Credibility

Last week our friend and pro-Chevron blogger Zennie Abraham at took a page from Chevron's talking points and went on yet another ill-informed rampage against the 30,000 rainforest residents suing Chevron. The point of Zennie's rant? That one of the lawyers for the Amazonian communities supposedly "destroyed" the case against Chevron with a single statement, as shown in film outtakes from Joe Berlinger's documentary CRUDE.

Zennie makes his usual outlandish claims – ranging from those relating to the film outtakes (the "statement that destroys the case") to wholesale and paternalistic condemnations of entire countries ("under-developed nations like Ecuador…don't take steps to make life better for their poorest people [but instead] allow them to be exploited by [lawyers] for their own personal gain.") At one point he claims that the video shows consultants to the communities stating that they don't have evidence of groundwater contamination and the lawyers saying it doesn't matter because the case is all "smoke and mirrors."

But Zennie and Chevron are wrong again. It turns out that the video that created this manufactured outrage are heavily-edited clips that were, predictably, spliced and diced by Chevron to mislead the court. In reference to Chevron's court filings, filmmaker Berlinger told Fortune magazine
that he was ""dismayed at the level of mischaracterizations... The footage citations are being taken out of context and not being presented to the court in its entirety, creating numerous false impressions, precisely what we feared when we were first issued the original subpoena."

Once the plaintiffs finally got a chance to look at the same outtakes (which in an amazing violation of protocol Chevron had refused to turn over to the Lago plaintiffs), their response shredded Chevron's claims. An excerpt from the brief from the communities:

Now it is clear why Chevron hid the full outtakes from the Court and from Plaintiffs, and pressed to have this motion decided before Plaintiffs could even review the evidence. Chevron and its counsel have rushed to mislead the Court and the public with a McMotion based on sound-bites and highly-edited, de-contextualized snippets constituting less than 0.1% of the outtakes. It did so while concealing massive evidence in the outtakes of its own misconduct. And it did so in plain violation of a Second Circuit order.

Zennie's claims that the scientists for the communities said that there is no evidence of the damage to the region? The actual quotes from the film scene show the consultants really said just the opposite:

"[W]e also have water with very, very high contents of carcinogenic minerals .... The contaminants are located all over. If you just go through the area and you look at a small stream you will see the sheen of the oil on the water. Which means it's still going on."}; "The ground water is contaminated. How much? How far? You know, we know that Texaco is wrong, Chevron's wrong, you know, it's definitely some ground water contaminated, there's discharges that go right in the waterways .... They destroyed this area. It's done."

Zennie, why the animus toward the thousand of rainforest residents? What in your fragile psyche makes you lie on behalf of an American company trying to cover up its crimes?

We hope you are smart enough to get paid handsomely for your undying service to Big Oil's cause.