We served an arrest warrant for Chevron CEO John Watson today.
Brazilian prosecutors have issued criminal charges against Chevron and several of its employees, including the chief executive of Chevron’s Brazil unit, in response to the company’s November 2011 oil spill off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. It’s refreshing, to say the least, to see corporate criminals being held accountable to the full extent of the law.
But the thing is: Chevron has committed similar — and in many, many cases, far worse — crimes against humanity and the environment. And the company has committed these crimes in numerous places around the world. As Chairman of the Board and CEO, John Watson is responsible for setting the profits-over-planet-and-people mentality that guides all of Chevron’s operations worldwide. We didn’t think it was right that only Chevron employees in Brazil were served warrants today.
So we headed down to Chevron headquarters and served an arrest warrant for Mr. Watson. We asked to speak with him to serve the warrant personally, but, like any wanted criminal, Watson was in hiding. So we tacked the warrant to the Chevron sign out front. Then we went to Watson’s house and left a copy for him there, as well.
Chevron’s crimes are truly heinous and despicable.
There’s the ongoing human rights and environmental crisis in the Ecuadorean Amazon, caused by Chevron’s 18 billion gallons of toxic oil waste that were deliberately dumped in the rainforest, which the company refuses to clean up even though it has been found guilty by a court in Ecuador and the verdict was upheld on appeal.
There’s the fire at one of Chevron’s Nigerian offshore rigs that claimed the lives of two workers and burned for a month and a half. The fire went out on its own, but not before wreaking havoc on local ecosystems and the people who rely on them:
The burning inferno of what used to be a Chevron Corp. natural gas rig still stains the night’s sky orange more than two weeks after the rig caught fire, and no one can say when it will end as swarms of dead fish surface.
The environmental damage is hitting a region whose poor still rely on the delta’s muddy waters for survival. A nearby clinic remains overrun with patients who are showing up with skin irritations and gastrointestinal problems.
Oh and that Brazil spill? Chevron appears to have still not adequately taken care of it, as a new oil leak has been discovered at the same well, four months after the initial spill. The first time around, Chevron not only had to be informed that there was a leak at its oil well, but the company had to borrow the equipment to even locate the source of the oil leaking into the Atlantic Ocean.
Taken together, just these three stories paint a picture of shocking criminal negligence, a corporate culture that prizes production and profits over all else — even the health of people and our planet. And these are just three of what could very well likely be hundreds, maybe even thousands, of similar stories.
It’s high time that Chevron the global corporate criminal was brought to justice.