Thursday, September 30, 2010

Don't Let Anyone Mention Ecuador!

A few months ago I blogged about Chevron having protesters arrested at its annual shareholder meeting in Houston. Chevron’s CEO John Watson went even further and filled criminal charges against Chevron’s longtime critic Antonia Juhasz for speaking out about Chevron’s despicable environmental record. I wonder if it was also John Watson who thought forcing people to stay quiet would be a solution.

Read more on Chevron Pit.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Numbers Are In

If there is anyone out there not realizing how extensive the devastation in the Ecuadorian rain forest is, they need to read Chevron Pit’s latest post. New damage assessments have been submitted to the Ecuador trial court and the numbers are mind blowing!
Below are some of the horrific findings. For more detailed look, visit The Chevron Pit

A mother holds her ten-month old daughter
with a skin rash caused by bathing in
oil-polluted water in Rumipamba in 1993.

• Soil Remediation: A conservative estimate of potential costs to remediate contaminated soils at all of Chevron’s 378 former oil production facilities in Ecuador ranges from $487 million to $949 million depending on the clean-up standard used. The actual cost could be significantly higher.

• Groundwater Remediation: Based on data in the trial record, the range for clean-up of groundwater is $396 million to $911 million.

• Rivers and wetlands: Data indicates that sediment contamination exists, but no clean-up number was presented pending further investigation.

• Health Care: Using recent data from the World Health Organization and the Ecuadorian Ministry of Health, an estimated $1.4 billion will be needed to provide health care to the thousands of affected persons over the next three decades.

• Drinking Water: Degradation of the environment with petroleum hydrocarbons associated with Chevron’s production activities has been documented at numerous locations. The cost of a comprehensive series of regional water systems is estimated to be between approximately $326 million to $541 million.

• Excess Cancer Deaths: Actuarial life-table methodology demonstrates that the aggregate cost of excess cancer deaths due to exposure to oil contamination in the area where Chevron operated could be approximately $69.7 billion. This is the based on the value of a statistical life used by averaging relevant data used in the U.S. court system and by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ($7 million for each lost life), and comparing it with official Ecuador mortality data and census information. Up to 9,950 people in the affected area will face a significant risk of dying from cancer in the coming decades even if the area is remediated in the next ten years. Even if the analysis stops in 1990 – the year when Chevron ceased being the operator of the oil fields – the aggregate cost of excess cancer deaths is still estimated at $12.1 billion based on 1,732 deaths from cancer. (The earlier Cabrera report estimated 1,401 deaths from cancer, but he did not project future deaths.)

• Natural Resources Losses: This estimate is based on the evidence that concentrations of petroleum hydrocarbons and harmful metals in soil, groundwater, and surface water have exceeded levels considered to be toxic to terrestrial and aquatic biota. While determining the exact values of service losses in the rainforest with precision is not possible, it is not clear that further studies would produce a range of plausible values different from the range posited earlier by Mr. Cabrera – approximately $874 million to $1.7 billion, depending on the methodology employed.

• Unjust Enrichment: Chevron’s unjust enrichment ranges from $4.57 billion to $9.46 billionassuming a 100% probability of detection and ultimate payment, and from $18.26 billion to $37.86 billion assuming a 25% probability of detection and ultimate payment. Given the evidence of Chevron’s malfeasance in Ecuador, the plaintiffs assume the company had at best a 25% probability of detection and ultimate payment, and therefore the unjust enrichment award should at minimum range from $18.26 billion to $37.86 billion. This is a conservative figure, as in reality it is highly unlikely that Chevron believed it had more than a 10% probability of detection and ultimate payment.

• Cultural Impacts on Indigenous Groups: Representatives of the Amazonian communities, noting the acute interdependence between indigenous groups and the rainforest ecosystem, analyzed the impact of hydrocarbon contamination on indigenous culture. The team reviewed economic valuations to repair the loss of cultural and ancestral practices, including a program to purchase unspoiled land, and to construct pools of native fishes and centers to restore flora and fauna. The cost for this restoration is estimated at $481.5 million.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Diego Borja! Time To Speak!

Diego Borja was supposed to help Chevron. He was the person responsible for the recordings of the Ecuadorian judge and now we have recordings of him bragging about knowing all of Chevron’s dirty secrets and how Chevron is paying for his nice house and a very comfortable life. Well, time has come for him to tell the court all the details. How ironic that Chevron’s own “secret agent”, will have to reveal Chevron’s dark side.

Chevron has been trying very hard to hide the truth but it seems the harder Chevron’s people try, the more trouble they get into. Truth will always come out. Right now, Chevron even refuses to submit its damage assessment reports. If I was working for Chevron, I’d want to hide it too. The damage in Ecuador is so immense, it’s sickening!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Power of Manipulation

Even though evidence is mounting against Chevron and it has been scientifically proven that Chevron is guilty of the contamination in Ecuador, Chevron still manages to trick some people into believing Chevron's false arguments. This time it's a reporter Roger Parloff. His story ran on Fortune.

But, I recently ran across an excellent response to his story. The post on Chevron In says it all.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


September 14, 2010 By Rebecca Beyer
Daily Journal Staff Writer

SAN FRANCISCO - The Republic of Ecuador, which has seen its judicial system come under attack by Chevron Corp. in the last year, has taken a strategy from the oil giant's legal playbook in an effort to defend itself in an arbitration in The Hague.

Home to a massive environmental lawsuit against the San Ramon-based company, the South American country has stood by for nearly a year while Chevron - armed with a law dating back to the 1800s - has filed multiple discovery requests in federal courts across the United States aimed at proving the Ecuadorean judicial system is corrupt. In Ecuador, Chevron is fighting plaintiffs' claims that the company should be held responsible for cleaning up the devastation from nearly 30 years of drilling by Texaco in the Amazon rainforest (Chevron acquired Texaco in 2001).

On Friday, Ecuador filed its own discovery request in San Francisco federal court under the same law Chevron has been using - 28 U.S.C. 1782, a statute designed to help parties obtain U.S.-based evidence for use in foreign proceedings. Ecuador is seeking to depose Diego Borja, one of two men who secretly videotaped a conversation with the original Ecuadorean judge in the case. In re Application of the Republic of Ecuador, 10-80225. Chevron claims the tapes showed the judge - who denied wrongdoing but recused himself - had already made up his mind to rule in the plaintiffs' favor as part of a bribery scheme. But Ecuador cites a report made by an investigator hired by the plaintiffs that suggests Borja is improperly linked to Chevron.

A spokesman for Chevron said the Borja videos were authenticated by forensic experts and that it was too soon to say whether the company would oppose Ecuador's deposition request. Ecuador's filing is just the latest chapter in litigation that dates back 17 years, spans three continents and includes allegations of corruption and collusion on both sides. The country's 1782 petition also comes after Chevron has had great success using the law to obtain discovery from people involved in the Ecuadorean case on the plaintiffs' side.

"Turn-around is certainly fair play," said Georgene M. Vairo, a professor at Loyola Law School. "It's appropriate for Ecuador to try to protect itself by looking into the alleged wrongdoing of Chevron. 1782 is there to do that."

Although Ecuador is not a party in the litigation within its borders, it is a defendant in an international arbitration Chevron initiated in The Hague last year under the Bilateral Investment Treaty between Ecuador and the United States. There, Chevron is seeking, among other things, a declaration that it has no liability for the damage in the Amazon because of a settlement Texaco signed with Ecuador in 1995 in which the oil company agreed to do some environmental clean-up and Ecuador agreed to release any claims against the company.

In the arbitration, Chevron alleges that it is being denied due process in Ecuador because of a corrupt judicial system. For its part, Ecuador wants to depose Borja about his employment history, his relationship to Chevron, his wife's relationship to Chevron and his meetings with the judge and others. The discovery request is "directly relevant to the Republic's defense in the Treaty Arbitration," Ecuador's attorneys from Winston & Strawn wrote in Friday's filing, and "will help determine the authenticity, importance and relevance of Chevron's videotape evidence, and to discover the underlying motives for Borja to produce such clandestine videotapes."

Ecuador is represented by Washington, D.C. partner Eric W. Bloom and New York partner C. MacNeil Mitchell, who did not respond to a request for comment. Richard A. Lapping, of the firm's San Francisco office, declined to comment. Cristina C. Arguedas, an attorney for Borja from Arguedas, Cassman & Headley in Berkeley, declined to comment.

"I think it is legitimate for [Ecuador] to investigate instances of judicial corruption," said Andrea E. Neuman, a Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher partner in Irvine and one of Chevron's lead attorneys. "It strikes me that the target of the investigation here would normally be the judge who was seen on these authenticated tapes soliciting a multimillion-dollar bribe."

Edward A. Klein, a partner at Liner Grode Stein Yankelevitz Sunshine Regenstreif & Taylor in Los Angeles who has handled 1782 cases said Chevron would be "pretty hard-pressed to resist Ecuador's efforts to get discovery in the United States given Chevron's liberal use of the 1782 process."

Chevron has used the 1782 statute to get a wide range of discovery - mostly aimed at proving their claim that consultants on the plaintiffs' side were behind the $27 billion damages estimate found in a court-appointed expert's report - for use in the proceedings in Ecuador and The Hague. Its highest-profile use of the law came when a New York federal judge - and later the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals - agreed with the company that a documentary filmmaker should turn over hundreds of hours of raw footage from "Crude," a film about the litigation (last week the same judge granted Chevron's request to depose the filmmaker). Earlier this month, a magistrate judge in New Mexico granted a discovery request for Chevron and cited the footage as one reason for doing so.

Karen Hinton, a spokeswoman for the plaintiffs in the Ecuadorean lawsuit, said Chevron's discovery efforts "are nothing but theatrics to draw attention away from what the company cannot deny, the overwhelming evidence that Texaco intentionally contaminated the rainforest and Chevron is now responsible for it."

In court papers, the plaintiffs have called Chevron's assertions that they have improperly colluded with the expert "hypocrisy," claiming Chevron's consultants' work appeared in the report of another court-appointed expert. No hearing date has been set on Ecuador's request to depose Borja.

The List Gets Longer and Longer

The long list of issues that show Chevron's shameless and very often
illegal attempts to hide its crimes in Ecuador and escape the
responsibility keeps on growing. Looks like the real picture of
Chevron is slowly coming out for all of us to see. The Chevron
has posted a short summary of Chevron's
manipulative actions that have backfired and gave us a little preview
of the lengths Chevron will go to hide the truth. Here are some of

· Diego Borja, a Chevron contractor in Ecuador, ran a “dirty tricks”
operation for the oil giant in Ecuador that attempted to ensnare the
trial judge in a corruption scandal, according to taped phone

· Borja claimed that Chevron had “cooked” court evidence and that he
would turn against Chevron if company officials did not pay him what
they promised for videotapes he made of the judge in the lawsuit.
Widely covered by the news media, the videotapes were later

· Chevron hired Kroll, the publicly traded investigations firm, to try
to pay an American journalist to become an undercover spy for the
company in Ecuador, according to a recent article in The Atlantic.

· Chevron’s lawyers had ex parte meetings with judges and have not
denied having ex-parte meetings with court-appointed experts on the
case – the exact same basis for Chevron’s false claims of “fraud”
against lawyers for the plaintiffs.

· The plaintiffs also produced evidence that a court-appointed expert
adopted many materials wholesale that were prepared by Chevron’s own
expert without citation – the exact same charge that Chevron has
leveled against the plaintiffs.

· Two Chevron officials are under criminal indictment in Ecuador for,
according to the charges, conspiring to defraud the government by
lying about the results of a sham remediation in the mid-1990s.
Chevron’s own tests submitted into evidence show illegal levels of
contamination at the so-called “remediated” sites.

· Due to a series of death threats from unknown sources, lawyers for
the plaintiffs and their families are now protected with armed

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Chevron, Did Cat Get Your Tongue?

Chevron has been very quiet recently and has not commented on the latest findings about Chevron’s manipulations, mistakes and blatant lying about the contamination in Ecuador. The audits I mentioned in my last blog that show Chevron is guilty of the pollution, unbelievable story of trying to hire a journalist spy to write false stories for Chevron and spying on the people whose lives were destroyed by Chevron. Staying quiet will not make it go away. We will not stop talking about it!

Here's what Chevron Pit has to say: Chevron Desperate Over Ecuador Disaster

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Proof of Guilt

Two audits have been submitted to a U.S. Federal Court that show that Chevron is guilty of knowingly contaminating Ecuadorian rain forest and then lying about it. Those audits were conducted at Texaco’s request. (Chevron bought Texaco in 2001.) Looks like Chevron is getting lost in its own web of lies!

Read more here: Court Filing: Chevron’s Own Audits Prove Company Lied About Massive Pollution in Ecuador