"We predict that Chevron’s bad faith will be on full display yet again," said Pablo Fajardo, the lead lawyer for the Amazonian communities. "Chevron complained that it did not have an opportunity to produce its own damages assessment. But when given the opportunity, company lawyers accuse the judge of bias against Chevron and launch attacks on the justice system." Fajardo said the Amazonian communities would submit their own damages assessment prepared by a team of scientific and medical experts to the court today."The new damages report submission, comes a day after another major dilemma for Chevron’s defense in Ecuador. On Wednesday a Federal Judge ordered Diego Borja, a spy video operative and former Chevron employee, to appear for a deposition in San Francisco next week. The deposition is in regards to Borja’s involvement with Chevron in a potentially illegal entrapment scheme. Borja became a lightning rod of controversy in the lawsuit after partnering with a former drug runner and secretly videotaping themselves having conversations with the judge presiding over the trial. The videotape as been a key piece of evidence for the defendants and human rights activists claiming the Chevron continues to attempt to undermine the rule of law in Ecuador with "dirty tricks".
U.S. Magistrate Judge Edward Chen says "that Mr. Borja was not an innocent third party who just happened to learn of the alleged bribery scheme but rather was a long-time associate of Chevron whom Chevron would pay for any favorable testimony."Chevron has denied any association with Borja, however an investigation uncovered that Chevron had arranged for his relocation from Ecuador to a $6000 a month Northern California townhouse, and is currently providing him legal counsel. Diego Borja’s deposition is scheduled for October 1st, pending any objections from Chevron.
Now Chevron, having used up any credibility as a genuine actor (outside of a few bloggers) in the $27 billion lawsuit, must now outsource their deceptions. They’ve enlisted the private investigation firm Kroll to do their dirty work. What was Kroll’s latest task for Chevron? Buying up a journalist to act as spy in Ecuador.See part 2 of the new story here, with reaction to Chevron's attempts to buy journalists HERE In a well-publicized case, Kroll has been outed for offering to pay a journalist $20,000 to go to Ecuador undercover to “report” on Chevron’s behalf. To the reporter Mary Cuddehe’s credit she did not accept Chevron/Kroll’s offer, and instead reported on the shady dealings of Chevron in Ecuador. Chevron’s strategies read like juvenile pranks, yet unfortunately there is much more at stake than which table you get to sit at in the cafeteria. Chevron continues to trivialize, with games and delay tactics, the health and well being of over 30,000 Ecuadoreans. Chevron may very well continue to dig deeper into their bag of tricks as they reach for any way to distract the world from their responsibility in Ecuador. Yet it’s clear at this point Chevron will only be building up their reputation as a disingenuous company with cynical motives, because the world is squarely focused on the facts of the lawsuit, the suffering Chevron is causing, and not the desperate efforts to distract from the truth.
“The footage citations are being taken out of context and not being presented to the court in its entirety, creating numerous false impressions, precisely what we feared when we were first issued the original subpoena."Secondly, Chevron has gone against the court’s order prohibiting Chevron from using the footage or PR. Instead of first filing a claim based on Chevron’s edited video Chevron actually went on a media blitz before they filed any such claim. Upon editing the video Chevron immediately distributed the material on Twitter and provided it to bloggers hours before it was even served to opposing lawyers.
According to Berlinger’s legal filing, Chevron’s violations of the court order include:As laid out in a recent press release, the simple above timeline shows Chevron’s intentions are only to divert attention from their responsibility, and the decades forth of pollution in the Amazon while dragging film directors, lawyers, and courts through another merry-go-round of deflection and delay. Deflection and delay that becomes more elaborate and desperate as Chevron realizes they have run out of options to obstruct justice any further.
- On August 3 at 7:47 p.m. -- more than two hours before Chevron served its motion on Berlinger’s lawyers -- a detailed article on the film outtakes was posted on the blog of the National Association of Manufacturers.
- Nineteen minutes later and also well before the papers were served, Chevron posted “Crude' Footage Reveals Lies Behind Trial Lawyers' Suit Against Chevron" to its Twitter.com page, and linked to the above-referenced article.
- On August 5 the San Francisco Chronicle posted an article entitled "Chevron: Outtakes prove collusion with expert," in which the author states that he was given the outtakes by Chevron.
"Many environmental and social NGOs are skeptical with the moratorium commitment. Many question on whether the government can achieve the noble objective of the partnership. The palm oil industry is facing abundant dilemmas that might hamper the moratorium commitment due to an absence of a much needed system, institutions and implementing framework with strong and proper social, economic and cultural as well as environmental considerations."From my time in Sumatra last month, I heard similar concerns from many of the communities and NGO's in the provinces of Riau and Aceh. To be effective in conserving forest and respecting basic human rights, it is clear that the perspectives of all stakeholders, including Indigenous and communities and civil society groups, must be fully included in the planning, implementation and evaluation of REDD projects in Indonesia. In his op-ed, Jiwan also pointed out that a freeze on new forest concessions in Indonesia starting in 2011 is not enough:
"The moratorium must be extended to zero conversion of primary forests and other high conservation value ecosystems within the existing concessions. The government also must ensure the effective monitoring of the slash and burning policy, evaluate and revoke the certificates for oil palm in disputed areas with local communities."Thorough investigations into Indonesia's forestry sector have shown a lack of compliance with Indonesian law to be common at Indonesia's industrial logging and agriculture operations. As Jiwan stresses, "When plantation companies and mills committed illegal practices and irresponsible operations, the government must be firm in upholding the rules of the laws." Basic to any effort to control deforestation is a sturdy foundation for the rule of law, and until underlying issues of governance, corruption, and compliance are addressed in Indonesia, there is a chance that Norway's billion dollars and the prospect of a just, green, and low carbon development future for Indonesia could well be captured by the same elites and corporate interest that have fueled corruption, social conflict, and environmental harm in the past.