What big oil company takes video of its own technicians committing fraud in a pollution trial? Thanks to the tenacious activists at Amazon Watch, we know the answer: Chevron.
With the disclosure of these shocking videos, we are now beginning to think that acts of stupidity have become a regular feature of Chevron’s legal team led by former Bush Administration official and General Counsel R. Hewitt Pate. Pate is the mastermind of a $2 billion Chevron defense strategy that has only put the company in a deeper hole in the Ecuador case in the last five years with a series of stunning legal setbacks – including losing the underlying environmental case in its chosen forum and being hit with a historic $9.5 billion liability.
Things in Ecuador are again going from bad to worse for Chevron.
In a shocking press release and blog post, Amazon Watch explains how a Chevron whistleblower sent 42 internal company videos to the group documenting an obviously desperate attempt by the oil giant to hide evidence of contamination from the Ecuador court.
A compilation of these disturbing videos can be seen here. In some of them, Chevron folks are seen laughing at the pollution the company left behind in Ecuador.
In our opinion, the videos show Chevron technicians engaged in obvious acts of fraud at the company’s former well sites. These individuals were secretly trying to pinpoint spots at polluted well sites where they could lift “clean” samples at later judicial inspections of the same sites supervised by a judge.
The whole idea was to dupe the court into thinking there was little or no pollution when in fact the area was saturated with oil waste. Chevron also had falsely certified the same sites as “remediated” to Ecuador’s government years earlier.
It turns out that Chevron’s elaborate attempt at trickery failed. There was so much pollution at the sites even company technicans found it at the later judicial inspections – as did the technicians for the affected communities and several independent experts. Which helps explain why Chevron lost the trial in its chosen forum and why eight separate appellate judges affirmed the judgment.
It is unbelievable that Chevron has used at least 60 law firms and 2,000 legal personnel to carry out this losing strategy. In the meantime, Chevron’s lead outside law firm (Gibson Dunn & Crutcher) has been found to have falsified evidence by the High Court of England – just as it tried to do in the Ecuador case with the lying testimony of a witness to whom it paid $2 million in cash and benefits.
Chevron is also the same company whose CEO John Watson recently was lambasted by more than 40 environmental and human rights groups for claiming a “citizenship” award in San Francisco after Ecuador’s courts found his company had deliberately dumped billions of gallons of toxic waste into the country’s rainforest, decimating indigenous groups and causing an outbreak of cancer affecting thousands of people.
Kudos to the Chevron whistleblower who turned over the tapes. Sir or Madam, you have done the cause of justice a great service.
If any other other Chevron whistleblowers want to give up the goods on the folly orchestrated by Watson and Pate, please do so. Just contact the good people at Amazon Watch for further instructions.