Monday, March 14, 2011

Chevron’s Human Rights Hitmen

Chevron has created the world’s worst environmental disaster. The irreparable damage to the Amazon is heartbreaking. Even worse, Chevron’s irresponsibility has caused poisoning and death of indigenous and rural Ecuadorians. Chevron dumped over 18 billion gallons of toxic waste, but instead of taking responsibility and doing the right thing the oil giant is pouring money into getting itself off the hook.

The Rainforest Action Network makes an accurate assessment with their new Chevron’s Human Rights Hitmen.The site states:
But rather than take responsibility for cleaning up its oily mess in Ecuador, Chevron has enlisted a team of legal vultures, PR hacks, and other people more greedy than principled to distract attention from the overwhelming evidence of its guilt and deny justice to the victims of Chevron’s contamination. Help us expose Chevron’s Human Rights Hitmen by using the buttons to the right to share with your friends, family, and other networks.

It’s shocking to see the phrase hitmen, but that’s essentially what these people are. This is a major human rights issue and every step of the way these people do more to pile on to the pain and suffering that the Ecuadorians are experiencing.

Mitch Anderson at City Brights hits the nail on the head when discussing Chevron’s actions:
What first struck me, which shouldn't have been a surprise, is how Chevron's spokesperson Kent Robertson is able to consistently, and in a very disciplined way, manipulate the truth. Not an admirable job, but given that Chevron has spent hundreds of millions of dollars over the years on high powered law firms and public relations outfits, it's no wonder that the company has developed a sophisticated (but disingenuous) narrative in order to distract the media, financial analysts and shareholders from the central issue: Chevron has been proven guilty of massive environmental crimes in the Amazon, thousands of indigenous peoples and farmers continue to suffer a widespread public health crisis, and Chevron is facing a very real multi-billion liability, with serious financial, operational and reputational consequences to the company.

Just who are these ‘hitmen?’ They include lawyers, dirty tricksters and spies. Diego Borja helped skew evidence. He is even quoted as saying: “Crime does pay.” Sam Anson tried to convince a journalist to spy on plaintiffs in the law suit. Andrea Neuman has a history of defending reckless corporations. R. Hewitt Pate, Chevron’s Vice President and General Counsel, even admits that the company has no intention of ever paying the victims of this disaster.

When you think about the millions upon millions of dollars Chevron is spending on these dirty tricks and hired guns it’s hard not to feel a sense of outrage. Especially considering that all of that money is going to getting out of paying for their disaster.