Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Chevron Tries To Silence The Critics Again

Chevron has filed a racketeering lawsuit against the named Ecuadorians who are suing Chevron for the contamination in the Amazon . This is not only another desperate attempt to run away from what could be a costly judgment for them in Ecuador, but also an example of Chevron’s bullying of anyone who dares to speak up against them. Just how low will Chevron go? It files criminal charges against the very people suffering from the company’s shoddy drilling practices that led to the destruction of their land and culture and, in thousands of cases, the death and illness of people living near Chevron’s former oil sites. This is unbelievable.

Chevron’s lawsuit was filed under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations act which was designed to prosecute the Mafia. I read about it in this San Francisco Chronicle article. It quotes Sean Hecht, executive director of the Environmental Law Center at UCLA. saying that Chevron’s suit looks more like a form of SLAPP, a strategic lawsuit that seeks to essentially silence people from protesting.

"I can't judge this as a SLAPP suit, but it looks like it has some of the hallmarks," Hecht said . "It's trying to convince someone to throw in the towel."

As the evidence against Chevron mounts up, Chevron is now trying to force the Ecuadorians to back away. I’m betting they are going nowhere. Also, remember that Chevron had five protestors arrested last year at its shareholder meeting and prevented 20 people, many from foreign countries, including Ecuador, from attending the meeting, even though they had legitimate proxies.

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