Monday, April 19, 2010

CBS News "60 Minutes" slamed by CJR for Chevron Ecuador segment

CBS News 60 Minutes was massively body slammed by Martha M. Hamilton of the Columbia Journalism Review Thursday, for presenting in a May 3, 2009 segment what Hamilton writes was "clear impression that Chevron trashed the place and left, while downplaying the fact that Petroecuador has been operating alone at the former Texaco sites since 1990."
If you're just reading this, the CJR's article is another chapter in the long story of one man, Steve Donziger's, 20-year-old and now $27 billion lawsuit against American Chevron for environmental damage that Donziger claims was done by Chevron without an adequate cleanup effort.

(Proponents will chime in that the lawsuit was presented by indigenous tribes of the impacted areas, but in point of fact, the architect of the suit has been Steve Donziger, who's a brilliant man so this is not personal against him, from day one.)

This song is getting old because now with 1) revelations that an Ecuador judge in the Chevron lawsuit was in on an alleged bribery relationship where his apparently planned decision to rule against Chevron would have resulted in a payoff for that judge, and 2) discovery that the environmentalist on the case rendered a view that cleared Chevron of environmental damage but his writing was replaced with a false report, and 3) the fact that Ecuador has worked to kick out American Oil Companies and nationalize its oil industry, Ecuador looks more like what this blogger always asserted it was: a nation that does not take care of its poorest people, but blames foreign companies for its economic irresponsibility.

People who attack American Oil and American Business, I've found, are really part of an environmental industrial complex that has it's own monetary relationships. One must ask why none of the plaintiff lawyers in the Chevron Ecuador lawsuit ever bothered to sue Ecuador? Why is it that Ecuador's attorney general said Ecuador would collect 90 percent of the court's $27 billion award?

Anyone who attacks their claims that protect Ecuador is painted as someone paid by Chevron, as opposed to having a view that simply disagrees with the lawsuit. Just wait for one person to accuse Martha M. Hamilton of being paid by Chevron.

The fact is that Ecuador must take care of its poor. Chevron proved it cleaned up its mess, but an environmental report saying so was apparently doctored to avoid such news, all the better to win a lawsuit.

None of that helps Ecuador's poor and it was clear from a long time ago that the money from a court win against Chevron would see the pockets of Ecuador's elite before Ecuador's poor ever got wind that a victory happened.

That fact alone should make anyone who really does care about what's happening down there cry.

Stay tuned.

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