Greg Palast - Exclusive for Truthout
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Chevron petroleum Corporation is attempting to slither out of an $8 billion judgment rendered yesterday by a trial court in Ecuador for cancer deaths, illnesses and destruction caused by its Texaco unit.
I've been there, in Ecuador.
I met the victims. They didn't lose their shrimp boats; they lost their kids. Emergildo Criollo, Chief of the Cofan Natives of the Amazon, told me about his three-year-old. "He went swimming, then began vomiting blood." Then he died.
And then I met Chevron-Texaco's lawyers.
When I showed Texaco lawyer Rodrigo Perez the epidemiological studies tracing childhood cancers to their oil, he sneered and said , "And it's the only case of cancer in the world? How many cases of children with cancer do you have in the States, in Europe, in Quito? If there is somebody with cancer there, [the Cofan parents] must prove [the deaths were] caused by crude or by the petroleum industry. And, second, they have to prove that it is OUR crude — which is absolutely impossible."
The Texaco man stated, "Scientifically, nobody has proved that crude causes cancer."
President Barack Obama has said that the British-based BP must pay for all the damage it caused in the Gulf.
I've just returned from the Gulf and I can tell you, it's grim, it's terrible. But compared to the damage caused by Chevron-Texaco, the Gulf blow-out is a picnic.
So now, Mr. President, will you stand by your words and tell this renegade, deadly US corporation to pay for the damage they have done?
At the end of my meeting with the oil company lawyers, I showed them a document in which Chevron-Texaco directed its underlings to destroy evidence.
The oil company men said they would get back to me with an "explanation." It's been three years, and I'm still waiting.
There is another insidious game being played by Chevron. The oil company's ethically-challenged law firm, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, has attempted to block the Cofan and other victims of Chevron from having legal counsel. They have even convinced some pinhead judge to block collection of Ecuador's judgment because harming Chevron would be a blow to "global business."
It would - and it should.
Greg Palast's investigation of Chevron's oil drilling operations in the Amazon for BBC Television Newsnight is included in the DVD compendium Palast Investigates.
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Palast's investigations are supported in part by the Puffin and Cloud Mountain Foundations and the Palast Investigative Fund, a 501c3 charitable trust.