Criminalizing Activism – The Steven Donziger Case – Amazon Defenders Part Two


EcoJustice RadioEcoJustice Radio celebrates the land and water protectors of the Amazon Rainforest in a Four-Part series called Amazon Defenders. In Part Two, we investigate the story of Chevron’s crimes in Ecuador with New York based attorney Steven Donziger who represented Ecuadorian communities demanding justice in a $9.5 billion decision against them for one of the largest-ever oil disasters. Through brazen judicial activism against him, Chevron has turned Mr. Donziger into a Corporate Political Prisoner, under house arrest for more than a year, disbarred, with frozen bank accounts, $32 million in legal fees, a lien on his home, and no way to make a living. The judgment has not yet been paid. LISTEN TO PART ONEPART THREE

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Steven Donziger - Ecuador Oil Disaster, Chevron crimesChevron’s Crimes in Ecuador and the Brazen Legal Attack to Evade Responsibility

While drilling in the Ecuadorian Amazon from 1964 to 1990, Texaco – which merged with Chevron in 2001 – deliberately dumped more than 16 billion gallons of toxic wastewater, spilled roughly 17 million gallons of crude oil, and left hazardous waste in hundreds of open pits dug out of the forest floor. To save money – about $3 per barrel – the company chose to use environmental practices that were obsolete, did not meet industry standards, and were illegal in Ecuador and the United States. In an historic judgement, Chevron was found liable by Ecuadorian courts and ordered to pay $9.5 billion.

Chevron’s tactics to avoid responsibility for its admitted acts of environmental crimes and destruction in the Amazon region of Ecuador have been unprecedented. Despite losing a 20-year legal battle and receiving a $9.5 billion judgment against it, Chevron says it will never pay. Instead, they launched an extraordinary racketeering and extortion lawsuit against the Ecuadorian and U.S. attorneys, and various consultants alleging they were all lying about Chevron’s pollution and that the entire case was “sham litigation.” Chevron has turned our guest Steven Donziger into a corporate political prisoner, placed under house arrest, bankrupt, disbarred.

STORY: Amazon Oil, Biodiversity and Human Rights in “Yasuni Man”

EcoJustice Radio looks into how Chevron, supported by US federal judges, is using retaliatory attacks against Mr. Donziger and the Ecuadorian Peoples, and how their actions set a dangerous precedent and represent a growing and serious threat to the ability of civil society to hold corporations accountable for their misdeeds around the world. Now a wide cross-section of U.S.-based environmental and corporate governance groups have condemned Chevron’s most recent retaliatory attacks to intimidate the Ecuadorian indigenous peoples and farmers who have been harmed by the oil giant’s massive contamination of their ancestral lands.

Donate to Steven Donziger’s Defense:
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More info:
Vice Video:
David Sirota on Judicial Corruption in the Case:
Chris Hedges on Corporate Tyranny:

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Amazon Defenders by EcoJustice Radio, Steven Donziger

Hosted by Jessica Aldridge
Engineer: Blake Lampkin
Executive Producer: Jack Eidt
Producer: Emilia Barrosse
Show Created by Mark and JP Morris
Music: Javier Kadry
Episode 84
Photo courtesy Steven Donziger

Updated 9 March 2021


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About Jack Eidt

Novelist, urban theorist and designer, and environmental journalist, Jack Eidt careens down human-nature's all consuming one-way highway to its inevitable conclusion -- Wilder Utopia. He co-founded Wild Heritage Partners, based out of Los Angeles, California. He can be reached at jack (dot) eidt (at) wilderutopia (dot) com. Follow him on Twitter @WilderUtopia and @JackEidt