29 March 2010

Crude - corporate scum polluting the jungle

I just watched the excellent documentary "Crude" which details the 15 year fight between the indigenous Amazonians of Ecuador and Chevron (Texaco). The back story is that while operating a series of of concessions in the 80s and early 90s, Texaco dumped millions of gallons of crude and other toxic crap straight into the jungle. This contaminated water supplies and destroyed the environment. We are not talking about a little spill here or a few drops there, we are talking the systematic, willful pollution of hundreds of sites, presumably because it was cheaper than doing things properly and because its in the jungle, nobody who really matters would care. Now thousands of people have cancer in their teens, skin disease is rife, their animals are dying and their lives have been destroyed.

While the film is clearly emotive, the company, it's lawyers, scientists and executives are given ample opportunity to present their case. Their first defence is initially to deny that it is happening at all and when that fails, they then try to deny that it is their fault. It is painfully obvious that they are stalling in an attempt to "deep pocket" the Indians, hoping they will run out of money and be forced to give up. "La la la not listening, if I ignore you, you will go away."

This post is not about the evils of the oil industry because while it definitely can be evil (Nigeria, Iraq, etc) it does not need to be. There are plenty of places where they industry has managed to work in a practical and responsible way. No the purpose of the post is to ask one simple question...

"How do these people sleep at night?"

From the scumbag lawyers in the jungle, standing next to open pits of crude oil, surrounded by little kids covered in sores, arguing that this is normal oil industry practice and when that fails trying to shift the blame. Right up to the cold, sanctimonious, bitch Sara McMillen, Chevron's principal environmental scientist who sits there and smugly tells bare faced lies, with absolutely no hint of feeling, compassion or remorse. These are horrible, horrible fuckin people. I wish that I believed there was a hell for them to go to. I wish I could make them live in a jungle that stinks of gas while their kids die of cancer, I wish I could even begin to understand how a human being can be so cold, callous and uncaring.

Texaco fought for 10 years to NOT have the case heard in the US. Presumably the thought they could bribe their way out of trouble more easily in South America. Now the Ecuadorian judge has made a non binding recommendation that they pay $27 billion (use billion with a B) in clean up costs and compensation. But the decision is non-binding and the case will probably drag on for another 10 years.

Its pretty simple. You would not shit in your own living room, so going around to someone's house and crapping on their coffee table just because they are poor and you think nobody cares, is not acceptable.

It's your fuckin mess, stop lying and start facing up to your responsibility!

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