Karen Hinton, the tireless public relations director for The Amazon Defense Front – that was called The Amazon Defense Coalition before the media picked up on the fact that it wasn’t formed to protect the Amazon at all, but to collect fraudulently gained legal award money, and case investments for Hinton, lead lawyer Steven Donziger, and Ecuador President Rafael Correa (shown in the photo telling Donziger to “keep it up” referring to the lawsuit) – has come out swinging with a new press release obviously designed to rally her troops.
They’re going to need it, because the case Mr. Donziger and she have assembled has been revealed to have been built on a foundation of false reports, bribed judges, paid indigenous Ecuadorians who believed they were working for food and not to take down an American Oil Giant, and an Ecuadorian President so involved with the plaintiffs that he took up the task of speaking on behalf of the lawsuit after hiding behind the story that the lawsuit was driven by Ecuador’s poor.
As the real story of this fraud has come to light, Karen Hinton and Steven Donziger have lost the assistance of case investment companies like Burford Capital, and well-known law firms like Keker Van Nest.
But as the bricks in the house Hinton and Donziger have built continue to crumble, Hinton keeps repeating the idea that Chevron itself was in Ecuador from 1967 to 1992, when it was a company called TexPet, and part of a consortium mostly owned by the real cause of Ecuador’s environmental damage, Petroecuador, with Texaco (as TexPet) being nothing more than a 35 percent player in the role of helping a country build an oil industry as a partner.
This is what the reporting document says about the relationship between the two organizations and with respect to cleanup responsibility:
The former Petroecuador-Texaco Petroleum Company’s (Texpet) concession lies in the northernEcuadorian Amazon. The concession area covered roughly 440,000 hectares (about 1,700 square miles). Texpet secured rights to the concession as a minority partner with the national Ecuadorian oil company — Petroecuador. As part of a 1995 Remediation Action Plan agreement, Texpet remediated 161 of 430 identified oilfield pits (and 7 spill areas), a proportion that was equal to their share in the consortium.
Petroecuador was to clean up the remaining pits, but up to 2006, did not do so. In a speech before Congress on May 10, 2006, Ecuador’s Energy Minister Miguel Muñoz, Director of National Environmental Protection Management, Ministry of Energy, said “Using their methods, Texaco conducted the remediation of the pits under the company’s responsibility, which was 33 percent of the total. For over 30 years Petroecuador has done absolutely nothing to remediate those pits under its responsibility.” Mr. Muñoz also said that the underfunded oil pipeline system “is one of the most important causes of spills we face now.”
Mr. Muñoz is right in saying that Petroecuador “has done absolutely nothing to remediate those pits under its responsibility,” but it did do one thing: support a lawsuit against Chevron, and work to trick the media into thinking Chevron was active in Ecuador, when it never was.
Who can forget the time Petroecuador officials blamed oil spills on Chevron, when a Wikileaks cable revealed that the state-run Ecuador oil company was personally responsible for 226 oil spills in one year, 2006, alone.
When I first asked members of the Amazon Defense Front why Petroecuador wasn’t a focus of their lawsuit, first, I was met without an answer, then eventually a number of them said “We’ll get to them.” That never happened, and for a good reason. The Amazon Defense Front has no plans to upset its main ally, President Rafael Correa, who is the de facto head of Petroecuador.
Instead, it continues its attack on Chevron, throwing wild punches of crazy legal evaluations of why its losing in court, and hoping for the best in a still-active case now in Canada’s appellate court. Hinton thinks that because a key part of Canada’s ruling to stay the case was because Chevron operates subsidiaries, the appellate court will turn in her favor; she’s in for a massive surprise and certainly doesn’t get one important fact: Chevron has no assets in Canada.
Thus, even if the appellate court happens to have gotten drunk and sided with Hinton and Donziger in saying that subsidiaries of Chevron are a part of Chevron, the operative counter answer is “So what. Chevron has no assets in Canada.”
When that appellate court decision comes down against them, and it will, it will be yet another example of how Ecuador’s high politicians, Hinton and Donziger are on a wreckless, shameful, money chase, trying to get many of the World’s courts to do their bidding via the employment of fraud.
A massive example of unchecked hubris.